Author's Note: So I have a lot of Jacks in my head - some of them are happy, some are angsty, some are from stories that will get written, some are just there to keep me company. This Jack is from a potential future where Ianto suffers spinal damage and is forced to retire. They adopt kids, have grandchildren, have a wonderful life together... And so Jack decided to keep me company with /this/. Thanks, Jack.

More from this version of them might follow, because they are usually adorable and sweet.


Everyone seemed to have a theory about Jack's state of mind. A few, who really didn't get it, proposed survivor's guilt, but it was maybe closer to survivor's jealousy.

Grief was a popular theory, of course it was; it was logical, sensible and wrong. Jack knew grief – it was what he'd felt every night when he'd kissed Ianto goodnight and been struck with the sudden knowledge that that could be their last. Grief was his constant companion and, yes, it hung heavily over him now – but it wasn't what they were looking for.

Some thought that he was still in shock – and of course he was, because an eighty three year old man dying in his sleep was utterly shocking... But he had been in shock when he felt Ianto's heart stop under his palm at just after three in the morning; couldn't believe that he'd missed the signs and not been able to do anything; couldn't believe that Ianto was... gone.

Others saw the thunder in the black cloud hanging over him, and they deduced that it was anger; anger at Ianto for leaving him and going where he couldn't follow, and anger at himself for feeling that way. To be honest, he was getting over that one. Ianto had lived a long and happy life, he'd made sure of that, and one more day, a week, even a year, they wouldn't have made much difference to either of them, except for making Ianto more miserable with his advancing age. So no, he wasn't angry. Hurt, and jealous, and rather resigned to waiting, but not angry any more.

Jack, though, knew that he had light blindness. The universe, life itself, was a dark place, dimly lit by the people around you so that you could feel your way in the dark through the obstacles life threw up. Just occasionally, you could meet someone who lit the world fully; who made everything seem so simple; who made the shadows less dark and the motives less bewildering. Ianto had been one of those people. He hadn't been a sunny disposition who you could never get down; he had a dark sense of humour at the best of times, and had been afflicted with frequent bouts of depression, guilt and stress that had made living with him hard, especially after The Accident. But he had lit Jack's world and made things visible, if not nicer to look at.

And now he was gone and, like a match being lit when you've got used to the dark and are just about able to see, his departure had left the world that much darker and more impenetrable, and all Jack could do was wait for his night vision to return.