A/N: end and a beginning are one and the same.
Spoilers all around.
Jack never saw the end coming. He was so consumed by their tasks that he stopped worrying about Ianto's safety. Maybe he even started to consider him invincible, because for Jack he was, spotless, perfect, a reflection of the beauty in the Universe. When he died it was like all light had gone out. It took him awhile to even consider the world without Ianto, but when he eventually came out of the abyss of sorrow he realized that the legacy Ianto had left him would never end, it would persist with him till the end of his days, and even his days would come to an end.
For Ianto the time they spent together was a few short years before his first death on Earth, but even that time was endless for Jack. Because it was filled with his presence. And for Jack that time spanned centuries. He spent an unmeasurable amount of time buried in the ground, waking and dying and what kept him sane in all that was the focus, Ianto waited for him at the end of it.
But even before that he spent what seemed an eternity in hell, and even there Ianto found him and took him home.
Not lesser amount of time was in that year Ianto didn't remember when he rescued him on the Master's ship.
And in retrospect all that time before, maybe from the first moment Ianto entered the Hub, was painted with his presence, with his care.
Counting all the moments that Jack spent suffering, knowing that Ianto would be there in the end. Even in those terrible days before Ianto died, when Jack experienced the worst things ever; spending time in a tomb seemed a pleasant reminder of good times and Ianto's face in times before he would die again, being blown apart and then put back together was painful beyond comprehension, and being embedded in cement was perpetual darkness without the tiniest space for breathing in. Ianto was there rescuing him once more, standing beside him, not giving up.
Adding up all those points, Jack spent more time with Ianto than with anyone else, and Ianto stood apart from his line of lovers and loved ones, because of his unfaltering nature, his… he could call it love now, from a distance.
But in time he got used to his presence in his memory, his past, he could appreciate all the things Ianto did for him, and he could be grateful for them. When the sadness subsided Jack discovered that the legacy that Ianto had bestowed upon him would, in fact, last him for an eternity. Because of what Ianto taught him, he taught him that he himself deserves to live, that he deserved to live and love.
In succession, he learned from Ianto that others deserved to love too. That love wasn't just some weakness that made them abandon their duties. First ones that benefited from that were Gwen and Rhys. That was on that day Jack first realized that he loved Ianto. Gwen defied his orders to Retcon Rhys and he let her keep him, and he let Rhys keep his memories. That, and others like it, proved to be a lifesaver because things would have gone differently on many occasions since if Rhys hadn't been on their side. That wasn't the least of the lessons Ianto taught Jack, there were many like it. In a sense Ianto was family to Jack because he took the time to teach him the small things that were probably absorbed in a family that works, that doesn't grieve a loss they can't accept.
All those were the reasons because Jack was irritated beyond comprehension when versions of Ianto started to appear on his ship. How could his enemy know of Ianto? Who was this enemy that knew him so intimately, and what end would serve to send armies of Iantos at Jack? All that could be the end result was suffering for the versions of Ianto because they were true to the original. They wanted to be loved by Jack, and Jack could never do that, love a false Ianto. Because for him there was, and would be, only one Ianto Jones.
Ianto died peacefully. All his versions would die peacefully in the end because they resembled him enough. It was one of many qualities of his personality.
And all Ianto's versions loved Jack because they were designed to. That's why their love was a desperate one.
Ianto, the original Ianto if that could be found still, didn't desperately love Jack. He just loved him, simply, and honestly. That's why he saw Jack as he was, the flawed but spotless whole of a man that always tried to win, tried to find a way out.
Like he loved Lisa before him and was willing to do anything for her, that's how he loved Jack, no less, no more. And that kept him in balance, that realization that he knew how to love, that he could do it again if he was forced to, but he would always choose to stay, if he could like he would have gladly taken the road where he could have kept Lisa. His dead Lisa he didn't have the desire to touch anymore.
Jack he still had the desire to touch. But he was out of reach, and that hurt Ianto.
When Jack's Hub was destroyed, Jack was set free to roam. His team was dissembled. Gwen was left on Earth and created a family, living her days until her end in more or less a common manner. She didn't have any special ability to overturn Jack from the present. Owen and Tosh died. That death hurt Jack significantly, but their deaths were suffered and overcome. Creating versions of them would bring only joy, not pain to the old monster in Jack. But that silent, pacing man, the one you wouldn't notice, he could be useful. Jack's enemy smiled creating a new plan, a plan that would surely make Jack, how he hated that name, suffer, and then suffer some more.
A/N: so we finished this long story only to stumble upon another one. A sequel is in plan and I hope I'll put it in motion soon enough. For those interested subscribe and try it. I'll try it to see where it leads. Hope you're not annoyed by my Scheherazade move, but I want to live another day, and it seems that I want for Ianto to live in some manner or another.
I hope you weren't too annoyed by the end of this. I was surprised by the end title myself, but the story was inevitably over, the boys stopped their narration. The goal was reached and everything stopped. If you remember I started this journey to find love, to see how their relationship grew to the love we see in The House of the Dead. I hope I've resolved that question to your satisfaction.
There was one idea I had, that was to make short standalone stories of some episodes that are before us, that didn't go into this story. If you have some episode you would like see written out by me, just let me know. My beta desired From out of the Rain so she'll probably get that one.
So till future reading.
Track record: 645 pages, cca 215 000 words, 182 chapters.
CONGRATS TO ALL FOR MAKING IT WITH ME THIS FAR. Thanks to all reviewers and subscribers, as well as anonymous readers. Special thank you to my betas TattoedLibrarian and Glass Splinter.
It was a wonderful journey.
if you like, leave your print for me in the review box.
Read you later :)