Author's Note: This little scene has been swirling around in my head for the past couple months ever since I first saw the episode where Jack comes back to Torchwood. I am a huge fan of Rhys and Gwen and I think that Jack and Ianto are adorable but I always felt that the connection Jack had to Gwen was more eternal somehow, especially come CHILDREN OF EARTH's ending. So yeah, this story can be taken as within cannon because nothing really changes except for the fact that Gwen learns a couple of things, or rather one thing about Jack.
DISCLAIMER: The Torchwood characters do not belong to me, I am merely borrowing them for the moment.
"What kept me fighting is the thought of coming home to you…" Jack explained, there was such sincerity in his voice, such longing. It made Gwen's heart leap. As he said it he traced his hand down her arm till it rested on the left hand, and his fingers found the ring. "What's that?" he asked.
"Uh, that's an engagement ring that is." Gwen answered as calmly as she could while Jack brought her hand up so that he could see the ring.
"You're getting married?" he asked as though he couldn't believe it. And why shouldn't he believe it thought Gwen, he was the one who told me to have a proper life—to have some balance in her life.
She wanted to tell him that but all she could manage was a nod of her head and mutter a simple, yet infinitely complicated, "Yes," but then she composed herself and added, "Rhys asked, when you were away."
Jack was still stunned, the tone in her voice it was almost as if Gwen was punishing him—or rather taunting him by saying that he was too late. "Wow," he began as he crossed his arms in front of his chest, trying to find something to say. 'Gwen Cooper getting married,"
Jack paused and watched as Gwen nodded. "Down on one knee?" he asked.
"Well, he tried to but then he had a twinge in his back and had to lie on the setee," Gwen answered honestly, her eyes wide—a part of her not believing how calmly she was having this conversation with Jack. "And that's when he popped the question."
"And you said yes," Jack added, knowing full well that she must have because why else would she be wearing the ring.
"Well no one else would have me," Gwen stated, staring at Jack—transfixed by him. A moment passed between them then. Jack looked taken aback and Gwen's shocked expression melted. They were no longer estranged friends, but back right to where they had been before Jack disappeared.
The moment extended for several heartbeats and Jack couldn't help wonder why Gwen didn't wait for him. She was his Gwen after all and when the rest of the Torchwood team had thought him dead, she had waited by his side until his immortality kicked in and he was brought back to life.
Jack had certainly waited for her, during the year that never was—he was consumed with thoughts Gwen. He thought about the rest of the Torchwood team as well, but Gwen dominated his thoughts. He had missed her more than anything and when the year that never was vanished he was thankful that she wouldn't have had to go through the horrors under the Master that he had.
Jack had waited for her and now she was getting married to Rhys because no one else would have her. "Well I would have," he stated suddenly and the minute those words were out, Jack wished that he could take them back—that was until he saw Gwen's face and the tears in her eyes. "Hey now…"
"Would you?" she asked, trying to keep the tears at bay. "Would you have…had me," she finished trying to think of the matrimony part of that statement.
Sadly, Jack nodded. "I would have. Had I been here…had I been—"
"—mortal?" Gwen finished a hitch in her voice. She saw the sadness in Jack's eyes. She saw the pain; she saw the longing and more than anything Gwen wanted to take it away for him.
"Yes," he stated with a small nod. "But I'm not mortal, not anymore; and I wasn't here when you needed me," Jack paused and placed his hands on either side of Gwen's head lovingly. "And because of those reasons, despite what I would have—" Jack paused once again, his voice hitching slightly. "I wish you the best of luck," he whispered into Gwen's ear. "I really mean it…"
Gwen smiled longingly as Jack stood back up. "We better get back to work," he mumbled, indicating to the path ahead. She nodded and Jack walked a couple of steps before Gwen called out to him.
"I would have," she stated, watching as Jack paused but did not turn around. "If you had…" Gwen paused, unable to say that she would have married him. It was just to painful to consider the road that would never be taken. "…well, I would have too."
Jack smiled, his thoughts unknowingly mirroring Gwen's. "I know," he stated quietly. "I know."