This story was inspired by Danse Macabre's 'Innocent Damage' which can be found on Teaspoon and an Open Mind.
Beta: milady_dragon Torchwood- Copyright BBC. This Fan fiction has been created for enjoyment and is not for profit.
Please note warnings: This a trauma recovery fiction has some very dark moments especially during the first part. This Fiction will contain references to and deals with the aftermath of the following rape, physical and psychological torture
Closing the door behind him, Jack stood silent. He was on his own. The others had offered to assist but he had refused. If anyone was going to pack up the last remaining fragments of the life of Ianto Jones, he wanted it to be him and he wanted to be alone.
The flat was unchanged from the first time he had come here four months ago. On the kitchen table was a credit card statement with purchases halfway checked off, a pen lying on top. A DVD cover was on the floor, the disc still in the player. A plate and mug in the sink, unwashed. Up until now he could never bear to move them because doing so meant he had to face the fact that Ianto was never coming back. He glanced around, and if he ignored the thin layer of dust, he could just imagine that Ianto would be home soon. He closed his eyes; he could hear the key in the lock, he would come in, go and hang up his jacket and waistcoat. Return, wash up the plate and cup, grab a beer from the fridge, throw himself on the sofa and start watching tv.
Jack laid the boxes along with the large roll of bubble wrap on the table. Removing his coat, he put it on the back of the chair and began to assemble a box. He pulled the brown packing tape from a coat pocket and sealed the bottom. Turning it over, he started to pack up the kitchen.
He left the hardest room to last. He stepped in and sat on the bed. How many nights had he laid here, wrapping himself in the duvet, closing his eyes, remembering their last night together? One last wonderful night, and morning, and then his life had turned to chaos. First the incident with the dance hall, then Abbadon, followed by his running off with the Doctor. He took a deep breath and wiped his face dry.
He had left a note for Ianto, scrawled in haste, telling him where he was going, and that he would be back. He had found it unopened on his return. In his hurry to leave, he hadn't noticed it had fallen down the side of the coffee machine. A sob caught in his throat. How many times had he gone over this, and still the pain was as raw as when he discovered that Ianto had not found his note. It hurt, because it meant he had gone with the belief that Jack had abandoned him.
He took a deep breath as he went over the mystery as it had been told to him. Ianto Jones had disappeared into thin air. One moment he was there and the next he was gone. The team, minus Jack, had been at the Hub, preparing for their trip to the Himalayas. Ianto turned to his coffee machine to get everyone a last round of drinks. When Ianto didn't appear with the coffee, they looked around and he had vanished. They had searched the Hub inside and out. They had pulled out old schematics of the place leaving no corner unsearched, but he was not there.
Every possible situation and scenario had been ruled out. The CCTV footage was clear, he was there one moment and gone the next. They had sent the footage out to be analyzed in case they had missed something, but there was no jump in the footage. Whatever had happened had done so in the fraction of a second. There were no rift spikes, no strange energy readings, no anomalies of any kind, and no alien incursions. He was gone as if he had been erased in the blink of an eye.
Jack had to admit the team had done everything in their power to find him. Their search was exhaustive, thorough, and organised; they checked every possible sighting; including hospitals,. The posted Ianto as a missing person worldwide, with every possible agency imaginable. They had pestered the police to such an extent that Andy had been sent to ask them to stop. The police had done everything they could, he told them. There was always the possibility that Ianto had killed himself, Heddlu said. This opinion was dismissed, and Jack agreed. Ianto had had many blows in his life, and he had always emerged stronger. He had a resilient personality, and besides that, Ianto had purchased this flat not six months before. Things he had bought via his credit card had been delivered to him here, after his disappearance.
The other possibility was that he had engineered his disappearance, but he had taken no money, his bank accounts were untouched. He had just made a deposit to his already substantial savings account, and just renewed an investment, not something Ianto would have done if he was arranging to disappear. Besides, the CCTV footage showed he had never left the Hub. It was clear he had not disappeared of his own free will.
Jack pulled open the bed side table and pulled out Ianto's photo album. He opened it. It began with pictures of his parents his only family, now dead. The pictures were of happy times, parties, birthdays, graduations, school and class photos, holidays, Christmas. Then of Ianto and Lisa, and finally him and Jack. Jack had been surprised at just how sentimental Ianto actually was. He had taken far more pictures than Jack was aware of. The album, it seemed, was full of moments special to Ianto, that documented almost every step of their relationship. Jack closed it, held it to his chest for a moment, and then put the album to one side.
Pulling down a suitcase from the top of the wardrobe, he began to fill it with clothes. Checking the suit pockets just to make sure they were empty, he pulled out some tubes of lube and a couple of condoms. A ghost of a smile touched his face; Ianto was nothing if not prepared. He kissed the condoms, then along with the lube, put them on top of the album. Going in the bathroom he filled a box with various bottles of shampoo and shaving gel, along with the used razor he found. He picked up Ianto's aftershave and he took a sniff. Memories flooded his mind and he braced himself against the wall. Pulling back, he wiped his face dry, again, and put it with the album, along with the other objects he was keeping. Moving the things he would take with him to the kitchen, he returned to the bedroom and began stripping the bed. Several hours later he looked around at the cleared flat. Nothing remained to give any indication that Ianto had lived here. Not much was left of the man's life; a few cardboard boxes, two suitcases, and a few personal articles to remember the vibrant, intriguing, enigmatic, witty intelligent, wonderful man he loved.
The doorbell rang, and he pressed the buzzer to give the second-hand shop people who were picking up the furniture access to the complex. He stepped back as they began to clear the flat. He closed his eyes as they clattered around, but he couldn't bear this any longer. He picked up the album and the few mementos he was keeping, and walked out.
"Much more of this, I am going to walk out," Owen said quietly to Gwen as they huddled in the Hub kitchen, each nursing a mug.
"I might join you," Gwen agreed.
"Talk about a bear with a bad head. What's his problem today? His mood is well out of order." Owen grumbled.
Gwen shot a quick look across at Jack's office. He had done nothing but stare at the same file for hours, and any approach was met only with a sullen brooding anger. They had been shouted at, glared at, and then ignored. They had gone out on one rift alert earlier, and Jack had scared them all with his driving. When they arrived, they had traced the Weevil in question into a derelict building, at which point Jack had killed it out of hand with a single shot to the forehead then stalked off. Gwen had confronted him and an almighty row had ensued. They had returned and Jack retreated to his office, slamming the door.
"I think it's the date," Tosh said quietly, as she joined them after pouring herself a coffee.
"And what's so special about today?" Gwen said, over the top of her mug.
"19th August," Tosh told them, to blank stares.
"And?" Owen asked.
"Ianto would have been 25 today," she told them.
"Oh, God," Gwen said, as Owen swore under his breath.
"How the hell could we have forgotten?" Gwen added after a few moments, distressed.
"We could do something," Tosh suggested.
"A bit late for that," Owen pointed out, as Jack stormed across the Hub towards the garage.
"How could we forget?" Gwen repeated.
"25 years old. Not much of a life, when the people you worked with can't even remember your birthday," Owen told them as he gripped his mug so hard Tosh thought it would break.
"Don't, Owen. I feel bad enough," Gwen told him, grabbing a tissue from her purse.
"I wonder if he ever knew how much he meant to Jack," Tosh said sadly after a few moments had passed.
"I don't think he had any idea," Gwen told her.
"He was very upset when Jack went missing. I know he tried to hide it, but we all could see how much Jack's leaving like that hurt him," Tosh told them as they nodded.
"Didn't help, you calling him a part-time shag," Gwen added, as she sipped her coffee.
"Look, I said it in the heat of the moment, I was angry," Owen replied.
"It hurt him," Tosh said as Gwen handed her a tissue, and she blew her nose.
"Well, it didn't exactly help, you telling him all about the real Captain Jack," Owen retorted.
"Let's do something." Gwen offered after few silent moments had passed.
"Like what?" Tosh asked.
"What were we doing this time last year?" Gwen asked, thinking out loud. "I remember, we were on that terrible call-out, chasing those tiny spider monkey things Jack hates so much," she reminded them.
"That's right, we finally managed to cram them into those cat cages. Then we were all so hungry, we stopped off near the wharf at that great fish and chip place," Tosh recalled.
"We all sat on the sea wall, fish and chips spread out on newspaper covered in curry sauce," Gwen added wistfully.
"When was the last time we had fish and chips out of newspaper?" Owen spoke up.
"Okay. For Ianto, fish and chips," Tosh spoke for them all as they grabbed bags and coats and locked the Hub down for the night.
"I'll text Jack, see if he would like to join us," Tosh said as they were leaving.
"Yeah, good idea," Owen said and he put his arm around Tosh's shoulder as they left.
Sitting on the sea wall, all three sat quietly, enjoying the view. The fish and chips were as good as they recalled. Occasionally, one of them would speak, remembering a moment when Ianto had said something funny or pointed out his love of punishing them with decaf. And the fact that, one time, Jack didn't notice. After a week, they had begged Ianto to put him back on full strength, because Jack had become so cranky.
"Let's see how old this newspaper is," Owen said pulling out the bottom sheet. "'Western news roundup'. Christ, this paper's eight months old," he commented, "What was happening?"
"Let me guess...the usual pointless local politics, corruption, petty crime," Gwen said, as she brushed her fingers clean and threw a chip at a passing seagull. She leaned in, reading the same page.
" Hopefully, tits on page three," Owen told her.
"Owen," Gwen said, bumping his shoulder.
"Owen, turn the page over," Tosh said, her voice shaking.
"What? Tits?" Owen said, as he looked up and saw she had gone pale.
"Turn it over," she told him, trying to control her voice.
"Better be good, I was just reading the missing pet section. Some one here has lost a black cat called Fluffy," he warned her, good naturedly.
"Just turn it over!" Tosh shouted.
"All right, all right," he said as he turned it over, then went completely silent.
"Jesus Christ!" Owen blurted as he saw the picture and heading.
'Does anyone recognise this man?' the headline stated. Below was a grainy, smudged picture of Ianto Jones.