Title: Gone Today, Here Tomorrow (Epilogue)
Rating: Teen for language
Disclaimer: BBC owns Torchwood.
Spoilers: Through CoE (Series 3)
Summary: Jack returns to Torchwood two years after the events of CoE.
Author's Notes: Reviews and concrit are appreciated. I toyed with this and debated whether or not to post. In the end, I figured that since it was written, I might as well share. I only hope it doesn't detract from the overall story. I hope you enjoy. And while I'm writing this, I want to take a moment to say 'thanks' to everyone who reviewed, messaged me, and encouraged me to keep writing. I hope this seems a fitting end to the story.
X X X
A year later, Jack still found himself frequenting that one private spot on the docks, where he could have a bit of privacy and fresh air at the same time.
"Thought I'd find you out here," Gwen said, sauntering up in the morning sun, holding a cup of coffee in her hand. "Get to be a bit too much for you in the hub?"
"Naw," Jack replied from his position, leaned against the rope railing. "Just wanted a bit of fresh air."
As silence ensued, Jack let the sun beat down on his face, and inhaled deep. The salty tang of the sea behind him pulled the taste of the bay into his mouth and he smiled sadly. T Some days, memories pulled too hard.
"Are you all right?" Gwen asked, leaning herself against the wooden post near him.
He could feel her studying his face, and knew without a doubt she was wondering about him still – worrying he'd take off once again, only this time forever. Jack would've liked to make the promise that he'd be here forever, but he couldn't. A man could only live for so long before he had to move on or get buried by emotion.
"I'm not going anywhere in the near future," he softly said, turning his face to look at her. Relief washed through him when she gave him a gap-toothed grin, and he knew she'd accepted his words. Sometimes convincing her of any little thing could be exhausting.
"Things are certainly changing," Gwen stated, smiling wide. And they were. Just two days ago, Rhys had stood in front of Jack, given the Torchwood leader a wide grin, and said, "This time I know something before you!"
"What?" Jack had asked, schooling his face with an innocent expression. "Is Gwen pregnant again?"
The sputtering that had come out of Rhys's mouth had been beyond incoherent, but so much fun to watch.
"Has Rhys forgiven me yet?" Jack asked the glowing brunette.
"For knowing before him again or for the tongue you slipped him while he muttered incoherently?" Gwen asked, making Jack bark a laugh.
As comfortable silence ensued, Jack let himself get a little lost in memory – Alice's birth, Steven as a baby, Ianto's anguish when talking about Lisa… all of them made up a part of who he was now.
He'd made a promise to the young man. Ianto had been terrified he'd be forgotten – something that looking back, Jack could see made up a significant part of the young man himself. How could Ianto know that at the end of the day, he'd been the one to give Jack the feeling of purpose he'd needed to change into the man he was today? To that end, Ianto could never be forgotten.
"I'd apologize for Rhys walking into the hub with Evan again, but I liked it," Gwen said with a quick grin. "In fact, I'm thinking of setting up a room for the kids."
And why not? Jack mused. Things were changing. No longer did the team revolve solely around each other. Little outside forces had begun to creep in, uncomfortably at first, and more welcoming as time went on. Mica, David, Evan, and the new baby made up an important part of the world in which Torchwood existed.
"I'd say to do it," he finally replied. "However, considering Rhi occasionally brings her kids in and stations them in the video room she set up a few months back…"
"You knew?" Gwen asked.
Snorting, Jack replied, "Of course. People may surprise me, but I know my team."
"Well, not to worry. Our new doctor loves spending time with the kids," she said. "In fact, Cene's often down in the vid room playing the latest and greatest game with David."
Their new doctor had been a pleasant addition to the team. A bit on the quiet side, he loved a good challenge. And how many physicians had worked in hospital, in military war camps, and in research – all by the age of thirty?
Cene was one of those rare, brilliant stars. Besides, with his golden good looks, lean and lithe body, and dark chocolate eyes, all of them liked to just look at him. Maybe pant a little. In Jack's case, the flirt-fest had started the day they met, much to the shy doctor's consternation.
It had turned into a tease and challenge contest between the two men, as they pranked each other incessantly, constantly trying to surprise one another.
"Well, I'm off," Gwen murmured, lazily walking toward the hub, and leaving Jack to his thoughts. She'd only gotten five steps, when she turned and looked at him with a puzzled expression on her face. "I almost forgot. Cene wanted me to tell you he thinks you have a lovely name. Very fitting."
Lovely name? What was 'lovely' about the name Jack?
Then his mouth dropped open and he stared at Gwen, who shrugged and slowly walked away.
Grinning, Jack leaned back against the ropes. Yes, the good doctor was brilliant. More intelligent than even he had given him credit for. Only one person knew the name his parents had given him – and that person was currently in a cryo chamber. Tilting his face to the sun, Jack let the heat seep through his pores and sighed contentedly.
Yes, things were changing. And wasn't it brilliant?