herophelia: (my everything - janto)
herophelia ([personal profile] herophelia) wrote2010-01-16 01:33 am

my take on where jack might have gone and what he might have done directly after CoE

Ianto is dead. Steven is dead. Alice will never speak to him again. He doesn't blame her. He wishes he never had to speak himself again. The Hub is destroyed, and he doesn't care. Ianto's neat filing and careful catalogue and... he will miss his mug, the one with the thick blue stripes. The one Ianto always made sure was clean. Always. No matter what he had to stop doing to wash it, ever since Jack had mentioned how much he liked it. He doesn't remember saying that, but he does remember noticing the odd behaviour, asking Ianto about it, and being brushed off. He told him later, when he'd had time to work through whatever it was he'd worked through. Even remembering the parts of Ianto that drove him crazy hurts more than anything else in his life now. They hurt more than being blown apart.

He should have had more time. He'd thought there would be more time, that he'd be able to bring Ianto back. He'd been scared, and he hadn't known what he was dealing with, and he hadn't been enough. He'd known, he'd felt it, his life leaving him, felt it going into Ianto and not being enough. Not enough, no more time, and he'd died knowing he'd failed him in every way one person could fail another. A beautiful, strong, wounded, brilliant, complex man had loved him, had been brave enough to tell him so, and Jack had been too scared to give him what he deserved. Great big fucking hero. He wishes he could stay dead.

He'd woken up under heavy plastic, and known he was alone. Known without a shadow of a doubt, even before he'd heard Gwen crying. He'd kept going, because that was what he always did, because he didn't have the luxury of an ending. He'd kept himself going so that Ianto didn't die for nothing, because his family was going to be in that bottom ten percent, because something had to keep him moving while his heart was pumping agony through his veins instead of blood.

In the end it had all been so simple. Heartbreakingly simple. A choice no grandfather should ever have to make, but Jack was used to the lose/lose situations. Steven's broken body, Alice's cold eyes - the steely contempt. He wasn't even worth the energy for her to rage against. He'd been waiting for it, hearing her steps in that empty hallway. He'd wanted her to scream and cry, to know that he was still important enough to invoke feeling, because he didn't feel it himself. But she'd been a blank slate, a cold void of apathy - he didn't exist for her. Jack left that building, and he knew then that he was never coming back.

Not for any of it.


UNIT warehouse storage. There's a ship, and it's small and outdated, but it's more put together than anything else in the place. It only takes Jack forty two hours to get it working. Less than two days, and he doesn't even bother to get the doors open, just takes off right through the roof. Earth is slipping away underneath him. Gwen doesn't know where he is. He should tell her, not for himself, but because he knows she'll worry. Hypocritical Gwen and her big, bleeding heart. He can't be charitable right now. He isn't even sure what he's doing until the comm unit is already dialed in. Channel 456 loud and clear with white noise and echos. Jack stops at the first decent wayport he can find and gets a better ship and some decent electrotransference tracking equipment, and he yanks and twists and pulls at that signal until he has a clear thread to follow.

Jack remembers following the transmissions back...

He doesn't stop to sleep - exhaustion kills him and he comes back fully rested. He doesn't go out of his way for food. It takes a long time to die of starvation, anyway. What he finds at the end of his thread of communications to "home world" is a planet, shrouded in toxic smoke and gasses. Poison. Poison for them to live. He's come prepared. Warheads, strategically placed, an ion fluctuation core hidden. The gasses aren't quite strong enough to eat through his suit, but he runs out of air and each time he comes back, he doesn't last quite as long, but he can't risk beaming back to ship more than once. He does what needs doing, and then walks for miles, dying every couple of minutes, so that when they can trace his signal, it will be too far away and they won't find the payload in time.

No one was expecting it. The entire population, huddled on the surface and hovering around the planet in the battle fleet. Not close enough to be taken out by warheads, but close enough for an ion fission event. There is the slight shaking of his ship as the warheads set the atmosphere ablaze, the violent shuddering as the core goes off, the pull of gravity compounded, and then the smooth release of breaking free. He watches it for hours from his vantage point just on the edge of the safe zone, the deep black void where there once was a planet. He's committed genocide. He's reduced an entire population to a pin prick of black matter. He's done it for Alice, for Stephen, for himself, but most of all, for Ianto, and all the potential they destroyed... because he baited them. He's sobbing, watching the spot where the planet used to be. He doesn't think he's really stopped since he woke up under that plastic.

Later he'll tell himself he did it because they'd needed to be stopped, because they were a race that preyed on others, countless planets under their sway. They were evil, and they had to be stopped. He'll tell himself that so he can sleep at night, so he can escape from reality for even a few hours. But he knows it's not true. Jack remembers holding Ianto in front of the tank, feeling him slipping away. Waiting until he was gone and then trying so hard to fix him, to bring him back. Too much. He hadn't had enough left to give. It had drained him dry and still needed more. He wasn't enough. Jack remembers how he failed the man he loved, the man who didn't even now how much he was loved because Jack wasn't brave enough to tell him.

He'll tell himself he did it for all of humanity so he can slip into blackness at the end of the day, but then the dreams come. Every night, Ianto in his arms, slipping away, and Jack is powerless to stop it. So he stops sleeping instead, and it takes longer and longer for the exhaustion to kill him. The body can adapt - even his, it seems, and he'd laugh at that if he still had it in him to laugh.

[identity profile] rosesfade.livejournal.com 2010-01-18 01:17 am (UTC)(link)

Anyway. Woman, you break my heart.
ext_77187: (Default)

[identity profile] herophelia.livejournal.com 2010-02-03 07:38 am (UTC)(link)
well, woman, you are my torchwood/DW muse most days. so, thanks for that. :P

[identity profile] everyoneisemo.livejournal.com 2010-01-20 08:47 pm (UTC)(link)
I started reading this going, "Oh, this is pretty good, but I'm busy and I should come back and read it later." And then I couldn't stop reading.

Lovely and poignant. Very nice job.
ext_77187: (panda tumble)

[identity profile] herophelia.livejournal.com 2010-02-03 07:39 am (UTC)(link)
awwww YAY.

that's what i love to hear. "i started to read and then i couldn't stop." lol. like nicotine fic!