A/N: Spoilers for Torchwood: Children of Earth

After You, Who?

By Lizabeth S. Tucker

After Captain Jack Harkness left the warehouse where he had engineered the destruction of the 456 as well as his grandson, he headed to Gwen Cooper-Williams' flat. He let himself in with a copy of a temporarily stolen key filched from Gwen's purse over year earlier. He moved to the small work table where her computer sat. Pulling up a blank document, Jack began typing.

Gwen, I'm sorry that I'm not telling you this in person. I truly can't face you. Not after all that has happened, all that I've done. The children of Earth are safe, but at what cost? My grandson, Stephen, sacrificed for the good of millions. It had to be done. My daughter, Alice will never understand that, I know. And Ianto. My beloved Ianto, also sacrificed. But for what? Nothing he and I did in Thames House accomplished anything other than to kill more people. I don't know what I was thinking, letting him come with me. I should've left him behind, I should've stopped him. I couldn't even tell Ianto that I loved him as he lay dying in my arms. I think he knew, but I still should've put it into words.

Jack brushed at his face, struggling to keep the tears in check. There would be time for crying later. For now, he had to say his farewells.

It's over now, Gwen. Torchwood is destroyed, I'm destroyed. We've lost so many over the last couple of years. Suzie, Owen, Tosh, Ianto. I can't do this anymore. Those who work for Torchwood die young. It is always so. Get out. Start up your life again with Rhys and the baby. Leave Torchwood behind, let UNIT have whatever is left of our equipment, let them keep the world safe. As for me, I won't be here when you get home. I need to get as far away from Cardiff as I can, see what the rest of the world can show me. If I had my Vortex Manipulator, I'd leave the planet, but it is somewhere under the rubble of Torchwood.

This reminder of the missing cuff had Jack rubbing at his wrist. It had become such a part of him that it seemed strange to be without it.

Take care, Gwen. If you see the Doctor, please tell him what happened. Love always, Jack.

He left the computer on, saving the document filling the screen. It might take a while, but sooner or later the last member of Torchwood would see the message. With a deep sigh, he walked slowly to the front door, stopping for a moment beside the mantel where photographs of Gwen and Rhys' wedding were displayed. His breath caught as Jack spotted the picture of he and Ianto dancing, oblivious to others around him. A shaky smile crossed the Immortal's face as he gently touched Ianto's face in the photograph. Taking the frame down, Jack quickly took the picture out, slipping it into his pocket. One last look at the pictures of the team in happier times, then Captain Jack Harkness strode out the door. Alone again.


August 2009