Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs.
Spoilers: Set after Children of Earth, but it’s a fix-it.
Summary: Ianto Jones is alive, but until he finds Jack again he won’t be complete.
Word Count: 1579
Written For: Prompt 2: Connected Souls at lovers_corner.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Somewhere out there in the black of space was Jack, running from the pain and grief of too much loss in too short a time. Running from the terrible thing he’d been forced to do in order to save earth’s children, sacrificing his own grandson’s life and destroying his only daughter’s world.
One life traded for thousands; it had been logical but it shouldn’t have been necessary, and Ianto knew if there’d only been time Jack might have found another solution, one that meant no one had to die, but the government had taken away what little time had been available, and now Jack had fled, somewhere out among the stars. Ianto couldn’t blame him; Jack believed everyone who mattered to him was either already dead or would be better off without him.
He was wrong on both counts; Ianto was still alive, or more accurately, alive again, since he’d died and been recreated, then died again and resurrected. It was complicated, and he still wasn’t entirely clear on how or why it had happened; he wasn’t sure he even particularly cared. What mattered was that he was alive, completely human, and apparently immortal. He wished he could let Jack know, but he had no means of doing so.
It hurt. It was as though he’d been abandoned yet again after Jack had promised the last time he’d never repeat the same mistake. Ianto understood that it wasn’t Jack’s fault this time; he couldn’t have known his lover had somehow miraculously been restored to life, but still…
Even if Jack did someday return to earth, he wouldn’t be returning for Ianto, and Ianto wasn’t there anyway. When he’d awoken it had been to find himself on another planet, uncounted light years from the world of his birth, and even if he could somehow make his way back home, there was nothing there to return to. His family had buried his original body long ago; if they saw him they’d think him an impostor.
So if he couldn’t go home, what should he do? All he was sure of was that he missed Jack and wouldn’t feel whole again until they were reunited. Should he leave this world, go searching for his lover among the stars? Or should he wait where he was, in the hopes that Jack would eventually show up here, irresistibly drawn by an impulse he didn’t understand?
Because Ianto could feel it even if Jack, in his belief that the man he’d loved so deeply was dead, couldn’t. Ianto knew if he tried he could track his lover down; there was an intangible connection between them, a thread finer than spider silk effortlessly spanning the distance between them, connecting them somewhere in the depths of their souls.
Perhaps if he tugged on that thread, ever so gently, Jack would follow it, seeking out the source. Or perhaps it would be simpler to follow the thread himself, because he’d be doing so with a known purpose whereas Jack would be following by blind instinct, if he allowed himself to give in to the impulse at all.
Ianto considered his options for months, during which time he gathered his resources, earning credits wherever and however he could. Passage on a spaceship didn’t come cheap and he’d shown up on this planet with literally nothing, not even clothing. Most people at one time or another had experienced that dream where they found themselves in class or at work naked, but that was nothing compared to being dropped in the middle of a busy marketplace without a stitch on, and knowing with absolute certainty he wasn’t dreaming. Embarrassing didn’t even begin to describe it.
Luckily for him, the natives had been very nice about it, quickly supplying him with clothing since it was rather chilly out. They’d fed him, housed him, made him feel at home even though they didn’t have to. They’d listened to his sad story, and believed every word, even when he hadn’t been entirely sure he believed it himself.
He’d worked hard, saved hard, established himself as a member of the community, but after almost a year he’d finally come to a decision.
Leaving the friends he’d made was harder than he expected, and yet in the end it felt like the only thing he could do. As kind as the people he lived with were, without Jack he felt like half a person, his soul stretched thin to reach across the vast distances separating him from his lover. If they were apart for too long, or if the distance between them grew too great, he was afraid the connection between them might snap; then he might never find Jack again, and that was a risk he wasn’t willing to take.
So he secured a place aboard one of his new home’s trading ships, working as a technician, utilising the skills he’d learned over recent months, and when the ship reached the space station that was its destination, he parted company with the crew and kept going, working as crew when he could, travelling as a paying passenger when he had to.
It was a long journey, and he was guided only by instinct, following that tenuous thread through frequent changes of direction, sometimes having to backtrack, but he never let himself become disheartened, or distracted from his ultimate goal.
Eventually, after more than eighteen months, because he still calculated the passage of time in earth terms out of habit, Ianto Jones arrived on a rough and ready frontier world and knew immediately he was closing in on his goal; Jack was here, somewhere close, almost within reach.
He wasn’t surprised when he tracked his long lost lover down to a rundown tavern on the edge of the spaceport, sitting at the bar and drinking heavily. Neither was he surprised when Jack initially dismissed him as a hallucination brought on by alcohol poisoning; it was a perfectly understandable assumption on Jack’s part. He simply dragged Jack bodily out of there, back to a cheap rented room, and waited patiently for him to sober up. Thanks to Jack’s rapid healing abilities it didn’t take too long.
“You can’t be real! I saw you die. Twice!”
“I know, I was there; the first time in Thames House, and the second when I remained in the House of the Dead to make sure the bomb you made would detonate and close the Cardiff Rift for good.” Ianto smiled sadly. “I’m so sorry I had to trick you, but you know I couldn’t have just walked out of there. If the bomb hadn’t gone off…” He shrugged. “I did what I had to, and I expected to die, so imagine my surprise when instead I was ejected from the other end of the Rift onto another planet. Naked. You should’ve been there, you’d have loved it.”
“Ianto?” Jack looked like he scarcely dared to hope. “It’s really you?”
“It really is. Open your heart, Jack, let yourself feel and then you’ll know. We’re connected somehow, maybe I have some your vortex energy in me, I don’t know. All I’m sure of is that I can feel you, no matter where you are; that’s how I found you. I would have followed you to the ends of the universe if I’d had to, but I’m glad I didn’t have to go quite that far; I’m getting a bit low on funds, and I’m sure you know how difficult it is to get a decent cup of coffee way out here.”
That was all Ianto managed to say before Jack was wrapped around him like a clinging vine, and it felt as though two interlocking puzzle pieces were clicking into place, fitting right where they belonged.
“I thought I’d lost you forever!” Jack’s voice was muffled against the front of Ianto’s tunic. “I’ve missed you so much, and I haven’t had coffee since I lost you.”
“Seriously? The caffeine withdrawal must have been sheer hell!”
“It was nothing compared to losing you. I deserved to suffer.”
“No you didn’t; I went with you of my own free will, I just should have come up with a better plan, one that involved a HAZMAT suit. I don’t know where my mind was at that day, but I’m blaming lack of sleep. Anyway, that was long ago; it doesn’t matter now.”
“Hush, Jack, you were out of choices, the government made sure of that. You did the best you could in impossible circumstances, and you saved the lives of so many children. I’m sorry for what you had to do, but I don’t blame you, I blame the people who prevented us from doing our job. They’re the ones who were ultimately responsible.”
Jack nodded. “If there’d been any other way…”
“So what now?”
“I don’t have a clue, I didn’t really plan past finding you. Any ideas?”
“There’s a big universe out there, and I have a spaceship. It’s not huge but it’s big enough for two. If you’re interested.”
Ianto snorted, rolling his eyes. “Of course I’m interested, twpsyn! I didn’t come all this way to find you just to say goodbye again.”
“Good, because there are so many places I’d like to show you.”
Checking out of the hotel, they made their way hand-in-hand to where Jack’s ship was docked, ready to face whatever the future held the way they were always meant to be: together.