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Torchwood Fic: "Marigolds" (1/3)
star trek xi; finally gold
cirrocumulus wrote in cirro_media
Title: Marigolds (1/3)
Fandom/Pairing: Torchwood, Jack/Ianto
Rating: PG-13
Words: 5,626
Summary: There was someone else in the darkness.
Acknowledgments: Unquantifiable thanks to Liz for beta-ing.

It had been 86 days since Ianto died. Jack was counting because it was all he could think to do with the time he'd used to spend being happy about his life.

The team, of course, had moved on: packed away Ianto's office things, cleaned out his home, gently notified his mother and then stashed every remnant of his life into the archives so nobody would ever have to care again. Jack admired his team's efficiency, at least; they had actually acquired the resiliency that he himself pretended to have.

Curiously, Jack was able (to a certain extent) to push the grief to the back of his mind to allow his sanity some breathing room. Though the inevitable emotional implosion was always gleefully creeping around his mind trying to cannibalize his self-control, running away from fatally dangerous aliens allowed him to think of nothing else but self-preservation without feeling guilty. The team was currently tracking some creature responsible for killing several Cardiff citizens via venomous puncture wounds.

"Nothing like a few dead bodies in the morning to ruin a potentially fine day," Jack said as he and the team circled around one of the new victims in the quarantine tent.

"Why, what was so good about today?" Owen asked, prepping his forensics equipment.

"Nothing, but at least so far it hadn't involved corpses," Jack quipped.

"Well, I'm sure this poor girl appreciates it even less than you, Jack."

"Perhaps we ought to be a little more reverent towards the dead," Tosh offered, meekly but not without conviction, from the corner of the tent where she was scanning for chemical traces.

"It's not like she can hear us, Tosh," Owen muttered.

"No, Toshiko's right," Jack said. Tosh looked surprised. "These people are our responsibilities, not our burdens. You two stay in the tent; Gwen and I will scout the surrounding area for any traces this guy may have left behind."

Gwen followed dutifully behind Jack as he parted the flaps of the tent, damp with condensation, and stepped outside. The crime scene sat in the middle of a forest clearing that in this morning was slightly thick with humidity and a lazy spattering of light flitting in through the trees; it hardly seemed the place for a malicious alien to hide.

"What are we even looking for?" Gwen asked, peering doubtfully at the soggy leaf-litter that provided them no clues.

"Anything that looks like it's from another world, I should hope," Jack said as they paced around the clearing. "Any unusual biological traces or strange markings—"

"Did you hear that?" Gwen whispered sharply, frozen in the middle of the clearing, gun at the ready and gazing at some indistinguishable point in the forest.

"Hear what?" Jack whispered, moving closer to Gwen to try to acquire her vantage point; the area she was indicating was only populated with amiably quiet trees and he couldn't discern any signs of danger.

"I thought I heard... some kind of rustling, maybe," Gwen murmured, controlled though visibly frightened.

"It was probably nothing," Jack said, backing up a few paces. "It's the forest, after all, plenty of living things—"


Jack was dimly aware of searing pain, some animal lunging out of his vision, then screams and gunshots before the paralyzing venom stopped his heart.


There was someone else in the darkness.

Being aware enough even to notice the presence or absence of any other being in the dark was itself a novelty, but even before anybody spoke Jack innately knew that he was, inexplicably, not alone this time.

"I found you. I knew I'd find you."

Jack knew that voice, and he couldn't have breathed even if he'd wanted to.



There was no real up or down in this place, simply a claustrophobic, vast darkness; but Jack felt like he could still faintly see the imprint of a familiar face, familiar eyes.

"But... you're dead." (Give the boy a prize.)

"You're one to talk!" Jack knew Ianto was smiling just from the way he spoke.

Jack's mind buzzed trying to understand the situation, attempts that always ended abruptly at some impasse; he lifted a hand cautiously to where he believed Ianto's face must be in the dark and cautiously felt the side of his face, his jaw line, his mouth. He felt cold.

"I don't understand..."

"I probably don't have time to explain," Ianto whispered. "You'll probably go soon."

Jack searched desperately for something significant to say, but all that was offered to him was the mess of indistinguishable thoughts and feelings that had assailed him in the weeks after Ianto's death.

"I'm so sorry, Ianto," Jack whispered. "This should never have happened to you."

Ianto appeared to smile in the dark and Jack felt a cold, insubstantial hand slip inside his own.

"It's okay. I'll be here when you get back."


The world rushed back in a silent burst of bright light and color; all Jack could see for a moment was Gwen's face close by, her tousled hair and worried eyes.

"Oh, Jack, thank God," Gwen sighed; she moved to back off him but Jack grabbed her shoulder and tugged her unsettled face back down to his level.

"Did I die?" Jack panted. Gwen frowned, hesitating.

"Yes, the alien bit you, do you remember?"

"I remember, but are you absolutely sure..." Jack clutched her shoulder even more tightly so that she was almost right next to his face. "Are you absolutely sure that I was completely dead?"

Gwen's gaze flickered between Jack's eyes. "Yes, Jack. Nobody could have survived that bite."

Jack let go of Gwen's shoulder and stared up into the sky. For a moment he felt as ill-adapted to the pressure of the atmosphere and the pull of the earth’s gravity on his poor baby bones as he would be to the crushing pressures of the deep ocean, but with a decisive effort he managed to push himself off of the damp ground. Gwen was still standing by, afraid to be either too close or too far from him.

"Why?" Gwen asked quietly. "What happened?"

"Nothing." Jack brushed by her, hiding his shaking with any kind of movement. "Did you get the alien?"

"Yes. Owen shot it four times in the thorax." Gwen was still eyeing Jack unnervingly.

"That'll do it, I suppose," Jack mumbled, surveying the forest clearing once more. The sun beamed down through the trees in dizzying patterns and the humid air stung like an atmosphere of electrical sparks; moreover, Jack's mind felt like it had been packed into his brain the wrong way and nothing about the world was processing right.

It felt like Ianto had died all over again.

The rest of the day was tinged with the sour and unreal feeling that often accompanies the day following a particularly disturbing nightmare: the state of mind wherein no matter what happens during the day, nothing quite registers because the mind is too busy tripping over itself, haunted by the fact that its subconscious has played a nasty trick on it. Jack was vaguely aware, in an almost clinical way, that what had happened earlier wasn't just a dream or some projection of insanity. It couldn't have been a dream, it had to have been real—but all the same it couldn't possibly have been real either. Bubbles of skittering anxiety hatched in his stomach every time he allowed himself to be drawn too far back into the memory, and so he tried to fill his time up with as much distraction as possible, mostly by pretending to be interested in the case they'd just (inconveniently) closed.

Jack perched himself by the wall of the autopsy room while Gwen helped Owen set the dead alien on the slab. The alien was a purple, thoroughly grotesque creature, with globular eyes and a slack jaw filled with intimidating fangs. In death its appearance was exaggerated by its limpness and inability to control its features, its dead mouth hanging open in an eternally silent scream. Jack looked at it only in fleeting glances; it appeared to him too much like his own frazzled subconscious had crawled onto the table and assembled itself in a nightmare animal for everybody's visual appreciation.

"Why are you so interested in this case, Jack?" Owen asked, dividing his concentration between probing Jack's motives and excising the alien's viscera. "Taken a naturalistic slant all of a sudden?"

"I just find it to be one of the more interesting aliens we've caught," Jack said, which wasn't a lie. "At least this one bothered to give us a little color to appreciate; most aliens seem pretty drab-looking, don't you think?"

Gwen smirked from her hiding place in the corner and Tosh made various faces as Owen poked around inside the alien's abdomen, depositing various tissue samples into the metal tray that she was holding.

"I've never really cared much for alien aesthetics," Tosh said cringingly, trying to hold the tray of alien matter as far away from her body as possible.

Jack smiled admiringly and watched the rest of the autopsy, but the memory always ebbed back into the forefront of his mind, like the sea tides; receding for a while yet always lurking in the distance to sweep back in and drown the sand again.

He had been so cold.

The team left for the night, filing one after the other out the large rotating door. Jack waved to them all as they left but none of them picked up on the message he was half-consciously projecting; Gwen was the last to leave, and when the door slid shut behind her it seemed somehow ominous. The Hub's various inert electronic habitants increased their buzzing and whirring noises to compensate for the silence left by the departure of the team's human presence, and Jack instinctively retreated into the relatively quieter environment of his office.

However, there was nothing to do that would occupy his mind for long. All of the files and lists of things to catalogue seemed either trivial in comparison with the experience of being visited by the dead, or too daunting to tackle with a mind so contorted around itself, holes blown through and flagging.

Attempts at sleeping only made it worse: the darkness closing around his bed reminded him too much of the day's incident and if he opened his eyes he could almost believe for a terrorizing half-second that he was there. But even when he was able to put that game out of his mind, in its place he kept seeing the image of the dead alien on the autopsy table, tongue sloping out of its mouth like an escaping captive, his mind relaying the image over and over as persistently and inescapably as a song stuck in his head.

So Jack decided to kill himself.

It was an idea that had popped up fairly early on in the day, but he had been able to more or less brush it aside as simply another example of how his sanity had abruptly decided to abandon ship; with nobody around to care but himself it seemed like a nearly inevitable conclusion. Yet even his mind refused to care: he could feel the cool metal of the gun in his hand, but his brain had apparently forgotten that feeling an object in his hand meant that it existed, that he was holding it, and even this casual death machine failed to incite any significant panic in him. His instincts did offer up the requisite alarm but it was half-hearted at best.

In any case, it was easy enough to do.


Ianto looked clearer this time, at least; although it was still dark, Jack could more definitively make out Ianto's face in the darkness, his wry smile; he even appeared to be wearing the suits he always favored (though Jack wondered if this was Ianto's mental impression or his own).

Jack took a moment before even saying anything to just look at him, cautiously touching his face, just a fingertip's brush against his jaw, and he retracted his hand almost immediately. Though Ianto was still cold there was something jarringly alive about him, as well; some skittering energy underneath the surface that transmitted a jolt of confusion right into Jack when he touched him. He realized with a pseudo-nauseating feeling that he was basically touching Ianto's mind, because that was all that was left of him now. That was all the both of them were, at the moment. They were staring into the neural imprints of each other.

"The world is so stupid without you in it," Jack murmured.

"Well," Ianto said with a smirk, "it's not exactly a party here either." Judging by the smile the comment was intended to placate Jack a little bit, but it made Jack feel like crumpling all of a sudden, like a little paper ball.

"How did you find me?" Jack asked, still struggling to take in the reality of Ianto's presence, which felt strangely distant even though he was clearly quite close. Ianto frowned slightly, eyes moving as if foolishly searching Jack for an answer.

"I don't really know," Ianto said. "I mean, I suppose I was looking for you, but... I don't really know how I actually ended up finding you." Ianto paused to regard him warmly. "I guess I just got lucky."

Jack's throat closed on itself and he made a vague strangling sound.

"No, Ianto," he whispered. "I really wouldn't say you've been very lucky."

Ianto immediately dropped his smile and stared back at Jack, looking every bit like the lost little dead man he was. Jack didn't even have time to sort out his sympathy before being


sucked back into life.

Jack and Ianto had died together. In the midst of an even that would have been traumatic enough: a small band of alien warships had gotten sucked through the rift and decided that Cardiff was as good a place as any to try and absorb into their empire. Torchwood had been drawn out from underground to the shattering streets: the entire disaster was a non-stop concussion of blasts and explosions, one of which caught Jack and Ianto outside a deserted storefront. The instant before the hit Ianto had turned to Jack—for what reason he'd never know, and his mind had afterward branched that node of the present into a hundred possible futures, some of which involved lovely words and none of which involved fatality.

Jack had hit the ground next to Ianto, who was already fading; his eyes stared at Jack without really seeming to comprehend anything, and a line of blood was already escaping out of the corner of his mouth, which appeared—Jack couldn't quite remember, but he had seen it when he'd closed his eyes for days—to be trying to say something. But Jack had died almost immediately. They must have been there for a while, just the two of them in the street being slowly blanketed by the particles of the city, for when Jack woke up it was completely silent. Ianto was completely silent too.

The unfairness of not being there when Ianto had died just made the impossible even more impossible to bear. He couldn't imagine what he would have done had he been there; more than likely he would have just sat there leaking fluids out of his face unhelpfully, and the world would have turned so blurry that he wouldn't have seen Ianto die anyway. Nonetheless, the bitterness gnawed at his insides for weeks, like an infection.

The Hub remained infuriatingly inactive, with nothing but a couple seemingly unrelated and unremarkable disappearances reported, leaving Jack with little else than to do paperwork and be haunted all day. Lately every day was simply a waiting period between gunshots; the hours clocked by numbly until at last every member of the team had slipped out the door and Jack could once again descend into the facsimile of a pleasant life, where the Ianto he had no longer smelled, felt, or tasted like the Ianto he had known, but looked and sounded enough like him to cause an endless, fascinating pain. While a significant workload may have anchored him to earth, the lack of anything very interesting to do allowed his unusually flighty mind to drift off, released from the ropes that attempted to moor it to the ground and collapsed, defeated and depressed, upon his takeoff.

The changeless morning sky rolled by as the SUV plundered down the road, shy reflections from the inside of the SUV playing against the membrane of the window, blinking and transforming in coy games to make the most of their two dimensions. Gwen had thought it might be pertinent to investigate one of the recent disappearances, which Jack had absently agreed to. There wasn't anything particularly arresting about this disappearance case save for its startling lack of clues, but considering Torchwood's usual reputation for saving the world from inconvenient alien invasion attempts, it seemed inappropriate for them to sit by for too long a period of time.

Jack spaced for most of the ride, allowing Gwen to drive because she liked to feel important. His mind wandered of its own accord, picking through stray memories and upturning ones that seemed potentially interesting, but most of them felt bizarrely cold, as if their significance had been polished off of them. All Jack could really think about was how for every second he spent traversing the fragile crust of the earth, Ianto spent one waiting for him in the cold and the silence.

The house of Mrs. Crandell, the mother of their recent disappearance case, was a typical little flat affair, decorated with sad frilly things and stocky pieces of furniture hoping to provide service despite their mild garishness. The mother herself was much the same.

"I told the officers already; all I know is that she left her flat at about eight o'clock at night and... well, apparently nobody ever saw her again..." Mrs. Crandell explained, dabbing at her eyes with a tissue that was quickly becoming disfigured. Gwen was seated in a chair next to her, her face arranged into sincere sympathy to disguise her persistent drilling.

"I'm very sorry, Mrs. Crandell," Gwen cooed, "but there must be something you can remember—did she have any friends, perhaps, that you thought might have sounded dangerous?"

Mrs. Crandell shook her head and blew her nose in dismay. "No, no... Lucy hardly had any friends at all, really. I don't know why. She was such a lovely girl, you'd think somebody... somebody would have liked her..."

Jack examined a picture that was propped up on the be-doilied mantle-- a pretty girl, beaming and holding a football, blonde hair tied back casually-- and somehow the picture seemed to echo.

"The last person to see your daughter was the pharmacist on Wellington street," Jack offered, gently extricating himself from the photo's hollow stare. "Do you know any reason why she would've been there?"

"Well, I don't know," Mrs. Crandell mused, toying with her saturated tissue. "I don't think she was sick... but then again I suppose I wouldn't know if she had been. We hadn't really talked in a while."

Mrs. Crandell appeared, at any rate, to be enveloped in a thoroughly unhelpful bewilderment of grief, and Jack aimed a pointed look at Gwen to communicate exactly the extent of his frustration. Gwen attempted a scolding smirk that didn't quite match his stare for strength.

"We appreciate your help, Mrs. Crandell," Gwen assured the woman, offering her a helpless pat on the shoulder before leaving. Jack barely bothered to suppress an eyeroll as they strode out the door.

"I cannot even believe how you acted in there," Gwen huffed as she slammed the door to the SUV closed. Jack raised an eyebrow at her.


"That woman has just lost her daughter, Jack," Gwen fumed, arms crossed decisively around her middle. "It wouldn't have killed you to treat her with a little bit of sympathy instead of acting like she was some sort of bothersome invalid."

"That little investigation was about as helpful as I predicted it would be," Jack said, flexing his fingers around the steering wheel. "Which is to say, not at all."

Gwen stared out of her side window, evidently taking her frustration out on the inside of her bottom lip.

"Do you disagree?" Jack asked.

"No," Gwen relented, dispelling her anger in a drawn-out sigh. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled."

"It's fine," Jack said, finally turning the ignition. The SUV purred groggily.

"I just..." Gwen searched, flexing her fingers experimentally as she watched the buildings pass by with disinterest. "I know that it must be hard for you. How, ah... how are you doing? Jack?"

Gwen actually turned to look at him, though Jack could only offer her a passing glance in response (unless he really wanted them both to die in a tragic wreck).

"Peaches and cream," Jack said with initial sarcasm, but threw Gwen an assuring smile nonetheless. She accepted the smile whether she believed its sincerity or not.

"I still think we should ask the chemist about Lucy Crandell, though," Gwen murmured after only a meager set of moments passed.

Jack grimaced. "Gwen, leave it. Just leave it."




"You're looking at me funny."

Jack was, bit by bit, getting used to the entirely unnatural feel of being with the dead, but he was still caught by surprise every time he tried to touch Ianto and felt, instead of the accustomed warmth of a body, the skittering energy of a mind. Jack had even tried once, disastrously, to kiss Ianto, hoping somehow that it would be better, but instead the contact had seemed like a violation—so close to the surface of Ianto's mind that he could feel it—and it was the first time in a long while that Jack had felt distinctly embarrassed.

"I don't suppose you've told anyone at work yet."

Jack shook his head. "I can't imagine that they'd really understand."

Ianto smiled in a small way, but the expression seemed to trip over the jarring unreality of their situation.

"It's strange," Jack mused, "because when I'm here it almost feels like this is more real than when I'm actually alive—but when I go back my time here feels like it's... estranged from me."

"Sounds like a dream, almost," Ianto said quietly.

"A bit," Jack said abstractly. "But that isn't what this is, is it?"


Ianto looked unusually grave, but the pale colors of his face seemed to align with some kind of ghostly harmony and Jack, freed from the trappings of neurons and chemicals, felt vividly awful.

"I really miss you, sometimes," Jack whispered, staring not quite at Ianto's face.

"I'm sorry. I wish there was something I could do."

Jack shook his head bitterly. "What could you possibly do?"

Ianto's face was quiet, mouth pondering the edges of a phrase, but Jack took Ianto's white fingers instead, trying to find somewhere amidst all the noise some nodule of familiarity. If he focused, it was there: a shaky, tenuous lifeline.


Jack leaned against the railing, observing the precise machinations of his team below, each of them clicking right along with their subordinate technology. Jack used to wonder how they'd ever lived without Ianto; now he knew. That was how they did things, after all: the stresses of life underground pressed their heads into one dimension, and when things changed they forgot it had ever been different.

But Jack remembered. There was a perceptible gap that no one else perceived; no quiet, suited soul sweeping among their desks collecting their refuse, nobody to organize and collate and file, nobody to do all the jobs that no one else wanted or, more importantly, could do even if they wanted. Jack remembered how Ianto used to operate the coffee machine like a wizard; where other people made coffee, Ianto simply allowed the coffee machine to make coffee for him, tenderly encouraging it with the right strokes and button-presses until the machine thrilled and shook itself apart per his request. He didn't quite care that his grieving process had been severely rewound, though a part of him knew he should; Ianto moved among them like a time-trapped ghost, and it was Jack's duty to the be the only one to see it. (Jack liked to pretend, even, that Ianto was still there with them; studiously listening to the case reports, reclining in the painfully empty SUV seat that changed every ride depending on how each team member felt like pushing his absence to the periphery that day. Even now Ianto was leaning against the railing next to Jack, snidely remarking upon his own absence. But then Jack remembered where Ianto really was and felt abruptly sick.)

Jack moved away from the railing; the scene was overall too grotesque for his liking, too skewed in favor of the living. Instead he retreated to his office and tried to think of quiet methods of suicide so that nobody working outside would be able to notice. Unfortunately, halfway through his ruminations Gwen peeped cautiously into his office, folder in hand. Jack flashed her a casually chagrined smile.

"What have you got for me?"

"Well," Gwen said, meandering over to set the files on Jack's desk, "we have a couple new disappearances. I know you don't think there's anything to them, but—"

"Obviously you think differently." Jack steepled his fingers and enjoyed watching Gwen attempt to concoct a logical train of thought.

"There isn't much to connect the cases," Gwen admitted, "but there's just something about these disappearances, Jack. I can feel it."

"Making pleading faces at me won't convince me of anything," Jack scolded, but not without a fleeting smirk. "Hunches don't typically lead to very thorough investigations. These disappearances have nothing to connect them—the victims are from entirely different demographics, don't live in the same area, have no ties to each other..."

"But that's just it," Gwen said, leaning against the desk. "Their randomness feels... suggestive, somehow."

Jack surveyed her with a growing sense of fright. "You're actually serious, aren't you?"

"Most of our alien-related cases have this characteristic, Jack," Gwen argued. "We can't apply human motives to these aliens because they don't have human motives. They strike in a way that looks random to us just because we don't understand it."

Jack pondered silently for a moment before finally reaching a hand out to accept the file.

Gwen smiled in relief. "I'm still not sure of exactly how to approach this investigation, however," she ventured.

"I'm sure you aren't," Jack responded. "It seems to me that the only thing we can do is wait for more cases to pop up and try to draw conclusions that way."

Gwen boggled. "So we just wait for more innocent people to go missing before we actually act on it?"

"Sounds like a plan to me," Jack said, propping his feet up on his desk in the hopes of signaling an end to the discussion. Gwen looked displeased but made the wise decision of dealing with her disappointment elsewhere.

("I think you're all seeing things out of boredom," Ianto remarked from over Jack's shoulder.

"What do you know," Jack said. "You're dead.")

Jack continued to look for cyanide in his desk drawers.

Jack woke up to a bleary light and a blearier impression of a rhythm that he was only retroactively aware of once his brain started processing again, faithful little neurons whirring. It was more difficult every time; try as it may, the world couldn't hide the fact that Ianto wasn't here anymore.

Someone was knocking on his office door. Jack leapt up and climbed up the ladder from his room into his office, realizing any number of things could have happened while he was gone. The inquisitor was Gwen, though Jack could have told as much by the petulant timbre of the knocking. He unlocked the door to Gwen's slightly frazzled face.


"What were you doing in there?" Gwen asked, eyes dangerously suspicious.

"Nothing I would tell you about," Jack teased, winking. Gwen made an appropriately disgusted face but Jack still monitored her expression closely.

"So what happened?" Jack asked, closing the door.

"We just received a strange message from an unknown source; definitely of alien origin but we don't have any more specifics. Tosh is trying to decode it now but we're having difficulties." Gwen made her way to the atrium of the Hub and Jack followed a few steps behind.

"What kind of message?"

"Well, we don't really know, do we?" Gwen jibed. "Having any luck there, Tosh?"

"Not really," Tosh said distractedly, peering at the screen. "My translation program doesn't recognize the language so it'll take some time to decode."

"Well, call me if you figure it out," Jack said, backing out of the circle of onlookers.

"That's not all, though," Tosh called to reign him back in. "There are also some pictures in here, they almost look like schematics."

Jack sighed and trudged back over to the computer station. The images Tosh was referring to indeed looked like a diagram of some complex machinery—at first glance there seemed to be something familiar about the style, but Jack couldn't make much out of it.

"Does that mean anything to you?" Jack asked.

"It's probably some type of engine," Tosh said, leaning in closer. "Probably a nuclear reactor, in fact."

"So somebody sent us an engine plan, big deal," Owen said; he was slouched in a nearby chair with his feet on his desk.

"But there has to be more to it than that," Tosh said, scrolling through the message. Jack suppressed a frustrated expression and made his way over to the stairs again.

"Like I said," Jack shouted over his shoulder, "call me when you find something useful."

Jack had decided to pay a visit to the vaults. Which, he knew, was a bad idea, but he didn't see why that should stop him.

The vaults were an ominous sight, even to a person who didn't know what was contained inside. The square brown doors stacked one atop the other far overhead, until the topmost ones were lost in the shadows that condensed in the corners of the distant ceiling. The little square doors were faceless but Jack knew that there were bodies behind nearly all of them, lying stoically within the walls like bodies built into the fortress.

Jack heard her footsteps before she said anything.

"You're not going to be able to help, you know," Jack said without turning around. He didn't need to; her face was undoubtedly morphing from the epitome of concern into skepticism at his lack of faith in her consoling abilities.

Gwen was silent, and after a few moments of willfully ignoring her, Jack peeked over his shoulder. She stood under the dome entrance with a stern expression, and Jack was almost prepared to take whatever condemnation she undoubtedly had in store. Jack watched as she strode silently over to stand next to him in her unsympathetic red sweater. She didn't look at him.

"It's not like I don't understand," she said, staring determinedly up at the rows of lockers. "Because I do. I do understand."

"I'm very glad," Jack said.

"But the thing is..." Gwen started, and Jack watched her profile as she struggled for the proper phrasing.

"You can't honestly have come here to tell me to get over it, can you?" Jack stared at her face; she tilted her head slightly in his direction but still only offered him a sideways stare.

"No, I didn't, and none of us would ask that of you. But... I do think you need to let him go."

The force of gravity seemed to double. "I don't think you really do understand, Gwen."

"For God's sake, Jack, I know it isn't easy," Gwen said, and Jack was almost impressed by her petulance. "But the thing is, we need you here."

Jack felt suddenly very cold, though Gwen's searching stare couldn't have been concealing very much information. Jack turned his gaze back to the wall of doors.

"So you want me to just move on, is that it?"

"Frankly, Jack, yes," Gwen said in her approximation of a soothing voice. Jack smirked. "Not to sound insensitive, but the rest of us have. We've gotten on, we've had to."

Jack would've offered some clever remark or, in turn, some scathing reprimand, but all he could think of was the wall in front of them. Rows and rows of sad, silent doors; in some indefinite, abstract way Jack could feel all of them, all of the cold faces.

"He can hear you, you know," Jack whispered. Gwen laughed, then turned abruptly silent when she saw his strategically blank expression.

"What, are you serious?" Gwen asked, voice dropping to a slightly lower pitch of fear. "Since when have you been superstitious?"

"I'm not," Jack said finally. Gwen would either pass or fail this test. Gwen sighed, her determination, or at least confidence, flagging.

"Just... try, Jack," she said, failing. "I know it must be awful right now but I also know that you're capable of truly amazing things."

"Thank you," Jack said. "You can go now."

Gwen slowly turned and walked away, footsteps increasing in frequency until Jack was pretty sure she was nearly running. Jack, for that matter, would almost have ran too, away from the wall and the doors, and the nauseating nature of what had before been a fact but was now a truth:

Ianto was in their walls.

| Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |

  • 1
Very intriguing beginning... looking forward to the next parts :)

"No, Ianto," he whispered. "I really wouldn't say you've been very lucky."

I think this line got me the most.

Interesting start! Can't wait for more.

Poor Jack so haunted. Ianto's going to turn out to be some alien isn't he?

That was absolutely beautiful! I had tears in my eyes!

Oh, this is brilliant!

"The world is so stupid without you in it," Jack murmured.

Somehow this was the saddest, truest line for me.

Ianto's death scene with Jack not being able to be there for his last moment because he was dead too really got me.

I read your fic while physically feeling the pain... I have a love/hate relationship with stories where Ianto dies :(. I can't wait for the next part, though.

This was gorgeous. And, I loved this line, "He can hear you, you know". Brilliant!

Oooooooooooo ‘Cirro’! ! ! !

“This is FANTASTIC (smile) ! ! ! ! !”

For the Captain to know that the ‘darkness’
is more preferred as ‘life’ now that Mr. Jones
is in it, is indeed intriguing (smile).

If our Captain would just stop to think, he
would realize that Gwenny is right. The
disappearances are linked and may lead to
(gulp) . . .

“ . . . Ianto.”

Think JACK. If you both DIED together,
WHY did not you immediately SEE or FEEL
him when the so familiar ‘darkness’ came
then, yeah ! ! ? ? ! ?”

Now that you are near the vaults, why not
take a peak in and see if . . .

. . . your very beloved Mr. Ianto Jones
is there (wink)?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, the possibilities (smile).

Bitingly waiting . . .

I think that thing that really got to me was that Jack would die a thousand deaths just to have a

few moments more with Ianto.

i cant wait for the next part

This is really, really good! I'm intrigued as to where it will go. Its saddenning to see how easily the team seam to get over his death and I love how Jack is not just moving on and forgetting him, but he's not wailing and weeping all the time too.

Ok, that doesn't make an awful lot of sense, but it does in my head :D Simply put, it rocks. An awful lot

I have to say I'm hooked. Can't wait to see the next part!

Oh, great start and I will be looking out for more, so heartbreaking.
*hugs Jack*


poor Jack

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