Gwen gripped Rhys' hand, giving it a tight squeeze before she stood and walked up to the pulpit. The congregation was quiet, other than the few sniffles and the soft crying that could be heard from the group that had come to pay their last respects for Ianto. She walked slowly up to the pulpit and stood, staring at the group that was there.
The church was full to bursting. All the people that lived on the council estates were there. Gwen scanned the faces, seeing every day men and women, their arms wrapped protectively around their children. She saw Martha, just back from her honeymoon looking sad, her husband Tom's arm around her. She saw uniforms scattered through the people seated, representing the police, the military, UNIT – all people who had known Ianto or had worked with him from time to time. She kept searching, looking for a particular face, but didn't see it there. Sighing she bowed her head in a silent prayer before starting.
"I've come today to speak about an incredible man. A special man. A man who gave his life to save the people of the world. To save you people who are in this room today. A brave man. One who met evil in the eye, stood up for what he believed in, and said no when it needed to be said. That man is Ianto Jones." Gwen looked at the small family huddled in the front row next to her husband and she smiled at Ianto's sister Rhiannon.
"It's been said that I didn't know Ianto. That I didn't know where he came from. And that's true, I suppose. But I will tell you what I did know.
"I worked with Ianto. He kept me going when times were tough, and was always there whether I needed a shoulder or a laugh; help with a project or just companionship and a cup of coffee. He was the glue that held our organization together." Gwen could feel the tears streaming down her face and she swallowed, taking a moment to gather her thoughts before continuing.
"The man I knew was a man of conviction. A man who loved what he did, which was protecting those he loved from harm. He did it day in and day out, quietly, without fuss and without fanfare. He didn't need that. He didn't need people to know. That wasn't his way.
"Ianto was a private man. A passionate man. A man who held true to his convictions. And who was greatly loved as well," Gwen had to pause as her throat closed up. "I grew to love this man. I learned to appreciate his wit, his cleverness, and his incredible resourcefulness. I feel that while I didn't know the history behind what brought him to work with me that I believe I knew the man that he became, and the man he wanted me to see.
"Ianto was a hero," Gwen said, her voice echoing in the small church. She laughed softly. "Oh, how he would hate that term! But he was one, to me. Because he stood up for what he believed in, and for the people he loved. I wish I could tell you of the many times I watched as he faced danger head on; knowing that any moment could be the last. But he never let that stop him. Not my Ianto. Not the man I grew to love.
"And that's what this is all about in the end," she said softly, the acoustics of the chapel carrying her voice to the listening congregation. "Love. Love for one's family, one's land, one's world and for our children. And I can think of no finer tribute for a man than that.
"Ymadawol cu Ianto. Safe journey, my dear friend," she said softly and bowed her head. After saying another prayer, she stepped away and sat back down. Rhys put his arm around her and held her tight as the service concluded. People stood and began to shuffle as they waited for the family to depart to the graveyard beyond. Gwen and Rhys stood, letting Rhiannon, Johnny and the children go first before following behind them.
Once outside, Gwen looked up as the sun peeked out behind the clouds that had been overhead for most of the day. Hand and hand with Rhys, she walked the pathway which led to Ianto's final resting place. The tears dried on her face as she watched the bearers lower the casket into the earth. She had said her farewell, and this was simply a coda.
As people left in small groups, heading back to the Davies house for the sad gathering to follow, Rhys squeezed her hand and she looked up at him. He titled his head to the right and she followed the direction he indicated. There, under the trees not far away was Jack. So he had come. She wanted to run to him, to wrap her arms around him and to comfort him, but she couldn't. Not yet. She had unfinished business here.
"Rhiannon? Could I have a moment?" Gwen asked after turning away from the shadowy figure in the shade. Rhiannon looked at her for a long moment before nodding. She told the children to follow the neighbor and to stay where she could see them before turning to Gwen.
"Those things you said," Rhiannon spoke, her eyes red with tears. "You really believe all that?"
"I do," Gwen said with quiet conviction. "I was there. I saw it with my own eyes." Rhiannon nodded and looked down. Johnny put his arm around her protectively, staring at Gwen suspiciously. Gwen bit her lip before continuing. "Look, I have something for you." She turned to Rhys who pulled out a manila envelope and handed it to her. She looked back at Rhiannon and passed it over to her.
"And what's this?" Rhiannon asked, not looking inside.
"It's an accounting of Ianto's estate. As he worked for Torchwood there were accounts he had that listed you as the beneficiary," Gwen said. "He left everything to you."
"Everything?" Rhiannon echoed. She turned the envelope in her hands and looked up again. "He couldn't have had much now, could he?" She opened it and pulled the sheaf of papers out and began to read. Then her knees buckled. "Oh, my God." Johnny held her up and was looking over her shoulder in disbelief.
"There's enough there for you and your husband to live comfortably and the account he had put aside for David and Mica stipulates that it is for their schooling, or for whatever they want to do when they get old enough," Gwen said softly. "It won't bring him back, but it will help you give a better life for your children. I know that in the end, he was thinking of you and of Mica and David."
Rhiannon was crying anew, the tears rolling down her face. "I know. He told me." Her lip trembled as she carefully tucked the documents into the envelope and closed it. "Can I ask you something?"
"Yes of course," Gwen said. Rhiannon seemed to steel herself before asking her question.
"In the end, when he… when he died," she started, stumbling over the words. "He wasn't alone, was he?"
"No," Gwen said with a sad smile. "No, he wasn't. Jack was with him."
Rhiannon looked up. "Jack? Is that his boss? The one he… his friend?" She asked softly. Gwen nodded. "Then he died, too?"
"Yes," Gwen said. "He did. They died in each other's arms." Rhiannon closed her eyes and nodded.
"Thank you, Gwen," Rhiannon said after a few moments. "It's a little comfort to know that he wasn't alone in the end."
"He wasn't," Gwen said. "Jack loved him, Rhiannon. I don't know if you knew that. But he did. And Ianto loved him so very much."
"I'm glad he had someone then," Rhiannon said softly. She leaned against Johnny for support and sighed heavily. "Are you coming back to the house?"
It was on the tip of Gwen's mouth to say no since she wanted to go to Jack but when she turned and looked, he was no longer standing under the trees. She looked around, but there was no sign of him anywhere. She turned back to Ianto's sister. "Why not? For a little bit, anyway."
The two couples began walking down the path, away from the graveyard and down the road which led to the Davies house. When they were gone, Jack stepped out of the shadow of the trees and made the solitary walk to the newly filled in grave. He knelt and bowed his head, reaching out to touch the name etched into the headstone. With tears in his eyes, he traced the familiar letters slowly.
"Goodbye, Ianto. I will never forget you," he whispered brokenly. He stood and walked away, shoulders hunched, on a journey to distance himself from what he had done….