In this chapter, we check in on Ianto and see how he's doing. Jack reads Ianto's diary, he and Mickey have another chat, Jack and Gwen have an argument and Jack visits the cemetery.
There is Gwen bashing in this chapter, most definitely. So if you don't like her then you should enjoy it. ;)
One month later…
Ianto and his daughters' new flat—apartment rather was in San Diego's East County, the city of El Cajon; it was less expensive than the main city. Even with the money Cara left him and his own savings he knew he needed to be careful, so Devin had found a place for him that was not only decently priced but in a good neighbourhood—which was apparently a rare combination in El Cajon.
Ianto had even researched it himself—at least he was fairly certain he had, he couldn't quite remember due to that concussion. The last four years were a little fuzzy and blank in some places but he couldn't think about it as it gave him a headache and made him feel sick.
He had just accepted a job offer of office assistant that paid 18 dollars an hour, decent pay for El Cajon but he certainly couldn't live in San Diego proper on that, not with two children. Hell, even on $18 it will be tough but he needed the job. It would do for now, till he found something better.
The twins were doing well, they each had nightmares occasionally about their mother's death, but they liked their new school and had even made new friends already.
It was still pretty hectic for Ianto though, a nice respite in the mad days of adjusting to a new country was meeting Jason for coffee twice a week. He knew he'd met Jason in Texas though he couldn't remember exactly—he was certain sunscreen was involved though.
"Did you take the job?" Jason asked once they had their coffee and muffins in front of them.
Ianto nodded "I did though I think she hired me purely for my accent."
Jason smiled "The good looks help too."
Ianto blushed, Jason was always flirting with him and if he was honest, Ianto quite liked it. Jason was very hot. It was weird, Ianto had a feeling he'd experimented with other men or at least one but he couldn't remember, couldn't quite see through the fuzzy memories. The colour blue often evoked these feelings so maybe whoever he dabbled with liked blue.
Branwen and Ceinwen already thought he was gay and wouldn't mind if he started dating Jason—in fact they wanted him to—if Jason was genuinely interested that is.
Ianto smiled "You keep flirting with me Jason, are you ever going to ask me out?"
Jason grinned "When are you free?"
"As it happens, the girls were invited to a sleepover next Friday."
"It's a date."
The girls were getting ready for their sleepover and Ianto was watching the time. He had just enough to take them to their friend's house and then get back and get ready himself. He wouldn't wear a suit because Jason assured him it wasn't required.
"Where's Jason taking you Tad?" Branwen asked.
"Some restaurant in Hillcrest and then dancing I think."
"Are you gonna kiss him?" Ceinwen asked with a sly smile that shouldn't belong on an eight year old.
Ianto sighed and looked at his daughters "If I do I won't say because a gentleman doesn't kiss and tell."
They giggled "You are! You are!"
Ianto rolled his eyes "Come on, let's go, you want to be in time for pizza don't you?"
Ianto couldn't believe this, he was making out in the men's room of a gay bar on his first date. At least it was with Jason.
They pulled apart for air and when the door opened.
Jason was smiling "You doing okay?"
Ianto took a breath "Oh yeah, just my jeans weren't as tight when I put them on this evening."
Jason laughed "Ditto."
It might be bad form to have sex on the first date, but it's not like Jason was a total stranger and besides Ianto really wanted him. He didn't think there was any other way to get rid of his erection. He rubbed his nose against Jason's "Wanna go someplace a little less public?"
There was desire in Jason's brown eyes "Only if you do."
"Oh I do."
Anger had helped for a while, Jack took it out on the shooting range and weevil hunts. He also didn't talk to anyone unless it was to give orders and he avoided Gwen at all costs.
Jack still hadn't read that letter Ianto had left him—it was still in his coat which was still crumpled on the floor—but Ianto had left his diary in the Hub and Jack read it more thoroughly than the last time.
When he was finished he threw it across the room, not caring where it ended up. Ianto had actually thought Jack was in love with Gwen. Why the hell did people think that? If he ever was, he sure as hell wasn't anymore. Why didn't Ianto talk to him about this?
Jack sighed angrily, he said why in his diary, he thought Jack would just brush him off. The thing that was really making Jack angry was that he knew he should have done things differently with Ianto, with all of them. One of Ianto's entries when Jack was away was particularly haunting:
Tosh, Owen and I were talking today after Gwen had gone. Why did Jack trust her with his secret when he'd only just met her? Why not tell the rest of us? Okay, I'm not one to talk because I was hiding something too but why not Tosh and Owen? They've known him longer. I heard rumours at Canary Wharf but I never knew to believe them or not. It was a shock when I saw that it was true. I admit, I was hurt, so were Tosh and Owen that Jack didn't trust us enough with this. Owen grumbled "Why the fuck trust the newbie?" he also pointed out that Jack always talked to her, and always "fucking listened to her" like he did with the cannibals. He told me stuff sometimes, not deep dark secrets and in bed but I wasn't about to tell that to Tosh and Owen.
Jack kicked at his desk, why had he trusted Gwen and not the others? He should have had more faith in his team. But he was waiting for the Doctor, thought he'd finally leave this godforsaken little backwater planet so he didn't see the point of sharing his secret after he got command of Torchwood 3. So then why did he let Gwen know? He could have retconned her again or told her she didn't see what she thought she saw.
He needed some air. He stormed out of his office and to the lift, ignoring the others. But he stopped when his eyes fell on a picture of Tosh and Owen Gwen kept at her desk.
He almost heard Owen say "Maybe things would be better if you hadn't hired little Miss heart-on-my-sleeve Cooper."
Jack glared at the photo "Like you could talk" he growled aloud without thinking "at least I never slept with her!" with that he got on the lift and ignored the three shocked faces.
Mickey followed him again "Jack, if you wanna talk, I'll listen."
Jack sighed and sat down, legs hanging over the roof ledge. "Reason you followed me?"
Mickey sat next to him "Gwen's a bit miffed for some reason, also hurt that you haven't been talking to her."
"I don't want to talk to her."
"Apparently you usually do."
"She's the reason Ianto left me."
"Well one of them. I told Gwen when I hired her that I couldn't die because she saw me die and wake up. I didn't tell the others. I read in Ianto's diary that they were hurt when they found out."
"So that's it."
"Gwen thought she was special, that's why she fell in love with you."
Jack stared at him "When did you get this perceptive?"
Mickey gave him a smile "Always been just never practised much before."
After a minute Mickey said "Ianto confided in me a little before he left. Said he'd always love you and that's why he had to forget, felt it was unhealthy loving you if you didn't feel the same."
"Should I just cut myself and hand you a salt shaker?"
"That's not what I'm trying to do Jack."
Jack looked away "I just needed more time."
"Ianto couldn't wait. He needed to think about his daughters. You might have been able to wait for him but he couldn't wait for you."
Jack felt tears come, tears he'd refused to shed for more than a month now "I know. I was such a blind and stupid fool."
"Least you can admit it. Look Jack, the best thing you can do right now is to stop being so angry. Ianto wouldn't want that. You're not acting like the man he fell in love with."
Finally the floodgates opened and Jack cried, sobbed like he hadn't before. "I don't want to be that man if he's not here to love me."
"Jack" Gwen barged into his office the next day when she got in "What the hell is wrong with you?"
He regarded her coolly "Isn't it obvious? Aren't you supposed to be the humanitarian of the group? The one who can read human emotions and remind us what it's like out there?" Jack had been going over his captain's logs from when he first hired her and her employee sheet.
Gwen took a breath "I know you're missing Ianto, that's not what I meant. What was that about yesterday before you swanned off? And anyway, he's been gone over a month, you should be over it by now."
Jack glared at her "My random outbursts are nothing of your concern Mrs Williams."
Gwen blinked "What did you call me?"
"That's your name isn't it? You are married after all. You wanted to marry him even though you've cheated on him" Jack knew he was probably upsetting her further but he didn't care.
"Why are you bringing that up?"
Jack stood "For the human factor of the group you can be a real bitch sometimes you know that?"
"How dare you?"
"You think I don't know what you did with that retcon last year when we dealt with the weevil fight club? My guess is you confessed to Rhys you cheated on him and you retconned him. And you only stayed with him because I told you not to let your life drift."
She was trying to remain calm "Jack, you have no right to take your anger out on me. If you wanted Ianto to stay you should have made him."
"I don't recall you giving me that advice when it mattered. You supported his decision. Because you want me to yourself, I'm not completely blind. He meant everything to me and I didn't realise it till it was too late. You're the reason he left, thought I was in love with you too. I'm not. I am never going to come in on a white charger and steal you from Rhys so, Mrs Williams I ask you to stop staring at me like I'm the fucking god of love. Now get out of my office."
Gwen was pale and her eyes glistened. Jack had hurt her, he knew that and it felt good. He didn't want to be the only one hurting. She left the room without a word.
"And knock next time!" he called after her.
"I think she'll be all right" Martha told Mickey when she got back from taking Gwen home—the Welshwoman had been in no state to drive "told her to take a few days, let Jack calm down. I told Rhys to keep an eye on her, said Jack was lashing out at everyone without going into details."
Mickey nodded "Good, he's not come out of his office and according to the gunshot I heard, he's killed himself at least once." He took a breath "You talk to him this time, he likes you better."
"He's known you longer and you've got Rose in common."
"I don't know if now's a good time to invoke her name."
"I could call the Doctor."
Mickey shook his head "I think that might only make things worse. If he's not better in another month or so, then maybe. All right, we'll both talk to him, safety in numbers."
They approached Jack's office cautiously and then knocked on the closed door.
"What?" came the gruff response.
They took that as an invite to go in. They found Jack at his desk, blood on his shirt.
Martha took a breath "I sent Gwen home for a few days."
"Good, I don't want to see her."
"Jack, it's not her fault and I think you know that."
Jack sighed "You're right, it's mine. I'm a terrible leader and a worse lover. I should have handled everything differently."
"Maybe you should take some time off" Mickey suggested tentatively "Martha and I can handle things."
"What would I do?"
"Catch up on your sleep?"
Jack sighed "I could stand to do some shopping. I suppose a day couldn't hurt. I don't feel like arguing right now" He went down to his bunker and came out a few minutes later, dressed in a clean shirt. He put on his pilot's jacket "I'll be back later, call if you need me."
The first place Jack went was the cemetery where Tosh was buried and there was a memorial stone for Owen next to hers.
Jack normally hated cemeteries, reminders of what he'd never have and of what he'd lost. But he felt he had to visit today.
"I've said often enough that the dead stay dead and there's nothing for it. But they say that it helps sometimes to talk to the dead, even if they can't hear you. So I'm going to give it a try, I don't want to talk to the living right now." Jack took a breath "I suppose you know that Ianto's left, found a new life, taken retcon. Maybe I'm a little jealous" he laughed bitterly "I wish I could forget sometimes. Ianto was the smart one, I just wish he'd given me a little longer but then he deserves someone he can grow old with. I wish that person was me." He sighed and sank to his knees "I miss you two. If you were still here, I think Ianto would have stayed, at least he wouldn't have taken retcon. He missed you too. It hurt him, more than he let on that we lost you. I need to tell you both that I'm sorry, sorry for not sharing my secret with you before you found out yourselves. I should have trusted you. I'm sorry too that you two never had the chance to be together and I hope that if there is an afterlife you're together now. I wish you two were here."
After Jack had dried his tears, he went to the shops. He bought several new shirts, all black; he was quite tired of blue. Ianto always liked him in blue. He also bought jeans and trainers, screw the forties. Why live in the past? It was time for a new image. He found himself a leather jacket.
He also browsed the car lots, perhaps something a little sportier or even a motorcycle. He'd look good on a motorcycle. He'd drive Owen's convertible but it was blue and Jack had a sudden hatred of all things blue. He wasn't overly fond of red either—red was Ianto's colour.
After making a list of vehicles he might like, he went back to the Hub. It was late by the time he returned, Martha and Mickey were still there but he didn't say anything to them. He changed into a pair of his new jeans, a black t-shirt and long sleeve button shirt. Then he gathered all his old clothes together and put them in a sack. He took that to the incinerator. He thought of burning his greatcoat too but couldn't bring himself to do it so he hung it in the farthest corner of his closet.
Again, don't shoot! Jack is in more pain than he wants to admit. No, he hasn't read that letter yet, it's still in his coat pocket. Good thing he didn't burn it, huh?
I grew up in El Cajon by the way. East County all the way!
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