You try to move on.
You run away. You hide. You drink. You have sex. And it's rubbish sex, although it's better than being alone. Because, sometimes, it isn't all that rubbish and then you can pretend it's him.
But that just makes it hurt even more.
You've forgotten how much it hurts.
Before you left Earth, before you abandoned Earth, you wondered round it. Watching those small, inconsequential people going about their day to day lives. They have moved on. They have forgotten. How easy it is for them.
A man sitting in a little café on the front, in some neglected sea-side resort. The day is dark and over-cast, a drizzle just starting. It does not bother you, sitting on a bench across the road. Why should it? You watch this man through the glass. He is agitated, looking at his watch and the clock on the wall, just in case one isn't working. Then his face lights up and it's as if the sun as come out. A small dark haired little girl and her mother have entered the café. "Daddy!" She cries, even though you cannot hear you can tell that is what she says, and she throws herself into his arms. He hugs her close, and his wife leans in and kisses him on the cheek. They smile at each other, then at their daughter. They are happy.
In a flash, you see them in twenty years time. The dark haired girl now a dark haired woman, holding her sons hand and although he is blonde, you know he is her son. As they approach the house, the door is thrown open and the husband and wife appear. Even after all these years, seeing his daughter still makes the sun come out for that man. Both man and wife are older and greyer, but smiling and laughing happily as they hug and kiss one another. Reassuring what doesn't need to be reassured, because it has never been called into question. They know they are loved.
And that's what hurts you the most, Jack Harkness.
Oh, Ianto Jones may never be a blip in time to you. You loved him. Of course you did. But you've loved and lost before. It's hard, and painful, but you can move on. There have been others before him, and there will be others now he is gone. Even if it does take you longer than usual to get over him.
But you killed your grandson. And with him, a bit of your daughter. They were your flesh and blood.
She was right to make you stay away.
Look what happened when you got too close.
That's why you left. Why you ran. Why you'll keep on running. It was your duty as a father and as a grandfather to protect them. You failed.
Just like Lucia said you would.
You so wanted to prove her wrong. The relationship between the two of you had always been full of passion and fire. You could hardly keep yourselves off each other. And she was strong, always prepared for anything. Something she passed onto your daughter. That fighting spirit.
You remember the first time you saw her. She was a beautiful baby. All big eyes and giggles and smiles. And the way she clung to your finger…You cried. Lucia laughed at you. Told you you were going soft. Maybe you were.
Didn't stop you murdering your grandson though.
It's strange. You remember Grey. You've made a habit of failing your family, haven't you? He would've been her uncle. Like Ianto was an uncle.
You can't drink coffee anymore. It tastes sour. And bitter. And it makes you cry. You've been crying a lot recently. Sometimes it's just a tear that escapes that you blame on the wind. Other times it's gut-wrenching, angry sobs that shake your whole body. That only happens when you've found no one to spend the night with. No one to mindlessly fuck while thinking of Ianto…and stop watches and tape measures and M&S suits and hide-and-seek. And coffee.
Why do people have to die? It's such a pointless exercise. It just makes a mess. No, that's wrong. Ianto didn't make a mess. Ianto was ever so tidy. No blood. No haemorrhage. No ugly disease. Just…air. Bad air, but air none the less. Air doesn't leave a mark.
You laughed at him the last time he made a mess, remember? Why, Jack Harkness, you're blushing!
You'll forget him eventually, you know. He'll become a face and a name, and the two won't connect. In a thousand years from now, you'll see a man in an old-fashioned suit or someone will offer you coffee and it'll make you smile, though you won't for the life of you be able to remember why.
And maybe, in several thousand years, you might forget about Alice. You might have other children. A son, perhaps. You may, just by chance, call him Steven and wonder why the name sounds so familiar. Or why when it first came to you, you felt so incredibly upset.
You could write it down, then you'd never forget. But do you really want to take the time? After all, those around you only have one life. And it is so, so short.
You have a long life ahead of you Jack Harkness. It's not over, however much you want it to be. You are a fixed point in space and time.
That's what the Doctor says.
You are more alike than you think, you and him. Both lonely. Both running. Both wanting most what you can't have. Both murderers of your own kind.
And yet, so ashamed are you, you can't bear to face him. He's been such a good friend to you. And he'd understand. You know he'd understand and that's why you can't see him. You need someone to hate you. To blame you. To tell you that it's all your fault. Gwen, with her big eyes and big belly, doesn't get that. That you need someone to hate you. Not just for Ianto, but Steven and Alice too, even Lucia.
They deserved so much more than you.
You're a monster.
Ianto saw that in you. And yet he still loved you. Even after Lisa, he loved you. Lisa who he so adored. He would have followed Lisa to the ends of the earth. And you? If you asked, he would've followed.
They all would. You know they would always follow you, never getting tired of it.
And they shouldn't.
You'd forgotten, hadn't you? That these mortals die. How permanent their death is. He had been with you. He should've been safe. As for Steven, don't pretend it didn't flitter across your mind, just for a moment, that he might survive. That there might be just one ounce of your long-lasting DNA in his little body.
It was the blood that was the worst. Out his ears, his mouth, his nose. Just…dripping down his face. And her screams. You will never forget her screams. Screams that ripped through your heart and tore it to a thousand pieces.
And it'll take a thousand years for it to mend.
A thousand years for you to even start forgiving yourself for what you've done. By which time, the world will have forgotten all about the 456 and Alice and Steven Carter will be swallowed up by time.
Poor, poor, Jack Harkness. Even your name doesn't belong to you. You stole it off a dead man. Is that what you are? A dead man walking?
The last one got to die. Bastard.
Once a conman, always a conman. You conned them into giving you their lives. Showed them the amazing world there was out there. Showed them how beautiful it was. Until it all came crashing down. At your feet. Because it's you who survives. You who is left to keep fighting. You who is left to move on. Oh, you may have saved ten percent of the world's children, but by doing so you lost the one closest to you. The one you can honestly say you cared about.
Only the good die young.
And you, Captain Jack Harkness, will never be among them.