Owen glared at Jack. "What do you mean you're moving out of the Hub? Where the hell are you going? And more to the point, who's going to do the nightshift in this bloody place now? If you think I'm spending my soddin' nights here, you've got another thing comin'!"
Jack shifted the worn duffle bag he was carrying to his other shoulder. "I'm moving in to Ianto's and we'll take it in turn to do the nightshift. I've been with Torchwood for over a 100 years and I think it's time I began to let go and trust my team to be able to handle themselves."
Owen, Gwen and Tosh exchanged worried glances, all of them clearly unsure of what to say, each prompting the other to speak. Jack rolled his eyes. "Listen its fine, I'm fine. I just need to get out of the Hub and Ianto's is where I feel most comfortable."
Gwen moved forward and took Jack's hand in hers. "Jack, Ianto's gone. You can't make his place a shrine to him, it's not healthy."
Jack pulled his hand back angrily. "You think I don't know that! It was my fault he died! If I'd got there a bit sooner instead of screwing around playing the hero, he would still be here."
It was Tosh's turn to talk to the Captain. "Listen to me, there was nothing you could have done differently. You weren't playing the hero, you were being a hero. If you hadn't, then that little girl wouldn't be alive today. You weren't to know that Ianto was in trouble, it was a routine weevil hunt, one that Ianto did every single day. How were you supposed to know that the weevil would be immune to the spray?"
When Jack refused to answer, Tosh took hold of his chin and turned his head so that he had no choice but to look her in the eye. "It wasn't your fault. It was an accident, just a tragic accident. Forgive yourself, I'm sure Ianto has."
Jack jerked his head out of Tosh's hand and stepped back, crossing his arms defensively across his chest. "Ianto can't forgive me because Ianto is dead. His body is lying in a morgue drawer downstairs and he is never going to come back. There's nothing after we die, Tosh, no heaven, no hell, no haunting loved ones or old enemies; there is just nothing!"
Adjusting his duffle bag on his shoulder, Jack moved towards the invisible lift, before stepping on it and rising to the surface, his coat flapping in the breeze. As he stepped off the lift he caught sight of couples walking hand in hand and felt his throat convulse trying to hold back sobs of despair. Jack and Ianto had never been the holding hands type of couple, instead they had watched others and tried guessing their story, how they had met, who wore the trousers in the relationship and whether they were a vanilla couple or had a kinkier side. Jack had tried to shock his younger lover with his suggestions, but had soon found himself having to pick up his jaw at Ianto's descriptions.
Jack made his way to Ianto's flat and stood outside the front door, indulging in the fantasy that his young lover was waiting inside for him, ready to scold him for leaving his boots on and dirtying the carpet with a trail of mud. With a sigh he opened the front door and was deafened by the silence.
Although it had only been a week since Ianto died, the house held an air of long neglect. The air smelt slightly musty and the surfaces were covered in a thin layer of dust. Jack had put off clearing Ianto's house, knowing that it would bring his death into sharp reality and there would be no more denial, no more hope that the hub proximity alarm would go off and Ianto would walk in reading the newspaper, navigating his way to the coffee machine without lifting his head from the pages.
Jack toed off his boots and placed them neatly on the doormat, before hanging up his coat on the coat stand. He dropped his duffel bag by the coach and moved to the windows, opening them wide, letting the breeze chase away the musty smell.
He looked around the flat noticing the book sitting on the arm of the couch, a bookmark noting where Ianto had read to. Jack sat on the couch and wept; wept for himself, wept for Ianto, wept for what he had lost and for what would never be. His body and mind tired from the emotional and physical exertions of the last few days gave in and he fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.
When Jack woke hours later, he groaned as the bones in his back and neck ground together before clicking back into place. The couch had always been a bone of contention between the two men. It was a deep burgundy leather monster that wouldn't be out of place in a Victorian gentleman's parlour. Although Jack couldn't fault its stylishness and how it fit in with the rest of the furnishings, he could fault its comfort level. The couch was rock solid and had no give in it at all, something that had frustrated Jack greatly when he found himself on his back with Ianto on top of him, grinding him into the unforgiving leather. Jack had tried tirelessly to get Ianto to buy a new sofa, but the young man was attached to the monstrosity and blocked every argument for its replacement with a simple reply of 'it's my sofa, I like it, if you want a comfortable sofa, then buy your own place and you can furnish it how you like'.
Jack made his way into the bedroom and looked at the rumpled covers on the bed. He knew that he should change the bedding but the temptation to lay where Ianto had lain and breath in his scent was too much for him. He quickly stripped his clothes, dropping them in an untidy heap at the bottom of the bed and crawled, naked, beneath the covers. Ianto's scent surrounded him and his own body heat warming the bed and the covers, made him feel like his body was being cradled by Ianto's. Before he closed his eyes he felt a soft touch on his forehead and for a moment he imagined he saw the face of his dead lover in his bleary gaze.