A/N - This was written after I visited Westminster and saw a pamphlet saying that they have a special ceremony just like I described here.
Crossing the road, Jack glanced up at the imposing gothic structure. He had been coming for decades, but these past two years seemed to have much more meaning.
Reaching the door, he showed the invitation to the serviceman, and stepped into the quiet shadows of the Abbey. He paused for a moment, taking in the solemn atmosphere before turning to the right and walking down the nave to the chapel.
The other guests had already begun to gather as he took his seat in the rear of the small chapel.
As silence fell over the chapel and then the Abbey itself, Jack along with the other guests turned his attention to the nave as the Roll of Honour began its slow parade through the abbey. It was escorted by 12 men in uniform… six veterans and six junior officers. Jack's attention was on the veterans… their classic uniforms brought back so many memories. The music from the dance hall swam through his thoughts.
The Honour Roll was followed by the Fighter Command Silk Ensign; the young man bearing the Ensign was in full dress carrying the Moneypenny Sword. As the veterans and junior officers took their places, Jack closed his eyes and let the memories wash over him.
He sat in the back of the chapel, as the names began to be read. One thousand four hundred and ninety seven names… 1497 men lost so many years ago. One name among so many made his heart pause - one name that he had carried on through time. At first it had simply been a name, an identity, but now he knew the man who had first borne it. Now he carried it with honor.
Several hours later, Jack blinked as he stepped back outside. It was mid afternoon and the sun was shining brightly. He walked slowly as his eyes adjusted to the brightness and didn't notice at first as someone fell into step beside him.
As his thoughts caught up to the present time, he instantly recognized the stride of the man beside him. "Ianto."
"Jack." The younger man spoke for the first time as the pair approached Westminster Bridge. He had obviously waited for Jack to speak first.
"How did you know I'd be here?" Jack asked. Then after a pause he spoke again. "No, wait. I probably don't want to know, do I?"
They continued to walk in silence, finally settling on one of the benches overlooking the river across from Parliament. They sat there together, but both lost in their own thoughts.
"Jack?" Ianto spoke first, still gazing out over the water.
"You don't have to hide this."
"I'm not hiding it. I just didn't mention it."
Ianto turned to face him and gave Jack the knowing look, indulging the Captain's rationalization. The older man took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. He honestly didn't know how to respond to Ianto without possibly hurting the younger man.
Taking Jack's hand in his own, Ianto spoke softly. "I know why you come every year. I know who you come for and it's okay."
Jack turned to look at Ianto and saw the love and acceptance in the younger man's eyes.
"Jack," He paused for a moment. "I'd never ask you to hide or forget anything from your past. All of it is what makes you who you are… all these people you've known... they're a part of you... they live on through you."
He raised his hand and wiped a single tear that had begun to slide down the Captain's cheek. "And someday I hope I'll have the honor of being among them."