Title: Heaven Can Wait
Characters: Ianto, Owen, Tosh, Lisa, Jack, OFC
Spoilers: Children of Earth fix-it.
Summary: There’s more beyond death than Jack has ever seen, but Ianto can’t stay.
Word Count: 722
Warnings: Temporary character death.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Lying on the cold, hard floor in Thames House, cradled in Jack’s arms, Ianto breathed his last. He didn’t want to die, didn’t want to leave Jack, but he was Torchwood through and through, he’d always known he’d die young. He’d just hoped he’d have a little longer.
Jack had always said there was nothing after death, just blackness and an absence of everything. No light, no sound, no sensation, just nothingness in every direction. Ianto hadn’t wanted to believe it, but then Jack brought Owen back to life and he’d said the same thing, so in his last few seconds of life, Ianto thought he knew what was to come.
Turned out both Jack and Owen were wrong. Ianto opened his eyes to gentle sunlight, blue sky, warm grass beneath him… He was in a valley, trees dotted around, people scattered about laughing, singing, enjoying themselves. It was the most beautiful place he’d ever seen.
Among the people were faces he recognised: Tosh, Owen, his grandmother, even Lisa. They greeted him warmly, hugged him, told him they were happy to see him, and he was glad too. But something wasn’t right. As beautiful and perfect as this place was, Ianto knew that he couldn’t stay. Only part of him had made it this far, the rest of him was still back in Thames House, beside the tank containing one of the worst evils the earth had ever faced. He couldn’t walk away, leave Jack trying to defeat the threat by himself.
“I’m sorry, I’m not ready to give up yet, I’m needed back there. Jack needs me.”
“Yeah, mate. We know. We just wanted to see you, let you know you’re not forgotten and make sure you don’t forget us.” Owen punched him on the shoulder.
“We’ll all still be here when it’s your time,” Tosh added, hugging him. “I promise.”
“You still have a lot to do, Ianto.” Lisa smiled at him. “I’m so proud of you.”
“It’s time to go back now, my lovely,” his gran said. “You’ve got a long road ahead, but you’ll be fine. I always said you’d go far, but you’ll be going farther than I ever imagined. Be safe.”
“I will, Gran. I miss you.” He looked around at the others. “I miss you all, but I’ll see you again someday.”
Everything was starting to fade, but Ianto drank in the sight of his loved ones for as long as he could. Something was tugging at him and he didn’t resist, letting it pull him away, back to where he belonged.
“Give ‘em Hell!” Owen shouted.
“Tell Jack to stay strong, no matter what happens.” That was Tosh.
“Stand by your man!” Lisa was giggling. “I’m glad you found someone special, but he’d better treat you right or I’ll haunt him!”
“Tell your man… tell him to do what he has to, Stephen will be safe, I’ll take care of him. He’ll understand when the time comes.” The last thing Ianto saw was his grandmother’s kindly face, eyes sparkling with unshed tears and a look of such sorrowful compassion that it made his heart ache. Then his vision blanked out and he was in darkness.
He drew his first breath in with a loud gasp, hands flailing, reaching to grasp something, anything, as an anchor. His eyes opened, then immediately shut again; there seemed to be too much light and it stung his eyes
The voice was as familiar as his own name. Strong arms swept him up, pulling him into a tight embrace, and Ianto grabbed onto a sleeve, feeling the familiar warm woollen fabric beneath his fingers.
“Looks that way. I guess it wasn’t my time.” Ianto buried his face in Jack’s coat, inhaling the familiar scents of wool and Jack. It didn’t smell quite right, this coat was too new, but it would absorb Jack’s scent in time just like the old one had. Ianto briefly wondered if coats could get into heaven. Maybe Jack’s old coat was already there, waiting for them. It was a nice thought.
Heaven was real, but for now it would have to wait, because his own personal paradise was right here in Jack’s arms.
Ianto smiled. He didn’t know what the future held, but one thing was certain; right now he was home.