I had this fic planned out a little bit differently (basically, a little bit later in the mourning process), but then I got the news that someone quite close to me had passed away after fighting cancer for a very long time, and I needed some way to handle those feelings, so here we are...

Jack is no stranger to death, but this time it doesn't make it any easier... End of CoE, obviosuly. And I own nothing (although I have finally got the full DVD box...).

9. One brief moment brought agony, blackened my heart / No light for me, no way out...

Sturm und Drang - Indian

Jack knew death well. In this eternal life of his, it seemed to be his constant companion. And being familiar with death meant being familiar with loss. During his many years on this planet, and also during the years before he even reached it, Jack had had to bear more loss than seemed humanly possible. But somehow he did. He had to.

As time passed, Jack had learned not to mourn those who died of old age in their beds, surrounded by their loved ones, with no regrets about the past and no fears for the future. He couldn't say he thought they were going to a better place, but he knew there was no need to mourn them.

Those deaths, however, had been a minority of those he had experienced. Most people he knew died violent deaths; early deaths; unfortunate, tragic, unnecessary deaths. Those were harder to bear. Jack never got used to seeing the light go out in the eyes of someone who mere moments before had been so full of life. He cared about everyone he worked with; they were part of his team, after all, and that made it so much harder to see them die.

This, however, was even worse than losing a teammate that he cared about. This was hell. It was torture, and terror, and heart-wrenching pain. It was worse than any one of the many deaths he'd experienced himself. The pain of those deaths was temporary, but this, this seemed to be more than he could take. There was no way out of it, his head was full of it, and he feared it would drive him insane. Actually, insanity would be welcome – at least it would relieve the terrible, excruciating pain that now filled him every moment of every day.

Jack Harkness was no stranger to death and loss. He knew the pain, and the emptiness, and the sorrow. The awful finality of it all. He was no stranger to the pain it brought, but no matter how many times he had gone through it, nothing could prepare him for this, or relieve him of the feelings that were overwhelming him now.