Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, mentions of pretty much everyone, OCs
Spoilers: Seasons 1 and 2, Children of Earth
Warnings: Character death. Lots. Major characters, minor characters. Original and canon.
Summary: Ianto always kept a mental list of the people that he knew Jack would stay alive for, then later who he would stay human for. Ianto is that last one on that list and his own time is running out. Fourth and final part of my "Crossings" 'verse.
Author's Notes: As mentioned above this is the fourth in a series (and I know it's been like a year since the last one. My apologies). Nothing will really make sense unless you've read those - sorry to be assigning extra reading. I know it's been awhile. Earlier fics are as follows:
Crossing Back (Prologue plus 13 parts)
Crossing Eyes and Dotting Tees (one shot)
Crossing Lines (11 parts)
The beach was preternaturally gorgeous. It was always beautiful just after a rain storm but it seemed that he was seeing it the way he used to see things today. He’d never discussed with anyone what exactly it was like to see the living world through a pair of spectral eyes. He may have spoken about it with Harry of all people but only then it had been a passing reference. Harry had certainly been an appreciator of the natural world and, Ianto had worried, that his description had made Harry perhaps a little too eager. He knew that had been an unfounded fear now. Harry had lived longer than Gwen had and had died naturally.
The first time Ianto had crossed over he remembered being cross eyed for a good hour before his eyes adjusted. It was like turning on a high def television for the first time when you’d always had a set from the 60s. It was as though you could see the life of the world even more than you ever could when you were alive yourself. It had been, probably, the most beautiful thing had ever seen.
Except for maybe this beach. He was glad he’d talked Jack into going with this property instead of the one more central to town. It was much prettier here, yes, but Ianto knew now that this was an early sign of withdrawal from life. The further they were away from town, the less likely he was to make friends, the fewer ties to keep him here. Ianto had no friends or even distant relations. The only person he had any sort of tie with was the man holding his hand and walking the beach with him. Well, the Doctor as well but the Doctor really hadn’t counted that much. Jack and him really...
“Where are you this time?” Jack asked.
Ianto shrugged. He had no answer for Jack and he really hadn’t been reminiscing on anything specific enough to satisfy Jack. He didn’t know why the image of Tegan and Nigel playing together in the Torchwood Hub came to mind but it did. Tegan Toshiko Williams had been nearly seven years old when Nigel Maurice Olden had come into the world but the two of them had certainly become fast friends. They wound closer to each other as their parents had died off by one. Torchwood had never been a great environment for children but, for some reason, neither Nigel or Tegan had held it against them.
“Tegan and Nigel” he said to Jack. “Just thinking about them.”
Jack smiled fondly. That same nostalgic smile that must always be in his own eyes, Ianto figured. “The Torchwood children.”
“The Torchwood children who never joined up.”
“What ever happened to them? Do you remember?”
Of course he remembered, Ianto thought. He remembered everything so Jack didn’t have to.
“Nigel did what Mel always she said she should have done,” he began. “He opened up a computer repair shop and did consulting work on the side. He married a girl he hired called Lucy Norman and they had a family together. Three boys and a girl.”
“Tegan was with forensics,” he answered. “She moved to London, worked with Scotland Yard. Eventually married her girlfriend, Laura Mayhew, and had a daughter.” He’d kept tabs on their descendents as best he could over the decades. More nostalgia there. He though he’d met Tegan and Nigel’s families once or twice but never visited them again. Tegan had moved to London, a place that Ianto tried his best to avoid, and Nigel was almost as inept at communication as his father had been. The moment Nigel and Lucy had met that had been it for the rest of the world.
It had been for the best, Ianto allowed. They’d gone on to live long and happy lives. Same as Rhiannon’s children had. He’d done a touch better with being involved in their lives the second go around but once they’d died that was the end of it on his end. He didn’t think he’d ever met David’s kids. Mica had never married.
Bloodlines. They tangled and twisted and carried the histories of those gone before. Ancestry. Immortality of sorts. Yes, Gwen was gone. Tegan was gone. Tegan’s daughter was gone. That didn’t matter so much because parts of them lived in their descendants. It was the tackiest idea in human existence but Ianto couldn’t stop himself from thinking that. That being said Ianto was far from bothered that he’d had no children over his very long life. When he left that would be the end of him. He just fine with that.
Nothing would be left of Jack either and he figured that Jack would be alright with that as well. The less said about the late Alice Carter the better. Jack had never seen Alice again but Ianto had tracked her down and kept an eye on her in his own way just in case. She’d died alone at the age of seventy-three in Florence. He’d left the obituary for Jack to find on that day (the Ides of March) and he’d said nothing about it. Neither of them had. Stephen was discussed but Alice had never been mentioned again. Ianto didn’t blame either of them for that. Neither of them would be able to face each other again. On any plane of existence.
Ianto preferred it that way too. He’d always had a fear that one day he’d have to explain his continued existence to Alice. Mickey had always said that was bollocks to the tenth degree, plus Alice hadn’t known who he was. He chuckled aloud at that.
“Who’s that?” Jack asked. It was a tone that Ianto remembered using on Rhiannon when he’d visited her in the nursing home before she’d died. He didn’t really care.
“Just thinking of Mickey’s wonderful ability to put things in perspective.”
Jack snorted. “That’s for sure,” he agreed solemnly. “Him and Martha both.”
That was, Ianto was fairly sure, the first time that Martha Jones and Mickey Smith had been referenced in the past half century. Out of everyone that Jack had loved and lost, with the obvious exclusion of Stephen, it was the loss of the husband and wife team that had made Jack the angriest. The reason for that was twofold.
One: Jack had not been there and therefore actually could not blame himself.
Two: It had been on the Doctor’s watch.
Mickey and Martha had been nearing sixty, very active still in their freelance work but slowing down the way that age slowed down everyone. At some point, for some reason, they had gone travelling with the Doctor again. Ianto was still unclear on whether the Doctor had invited them along or whether they’d asked; probably a combination of both.
At any rate, nine months later, the Doctor had paid a visit to refuel the TARDIS and give Ianto and Jack some awful news. The news being that Mickey and Martha had died heroically on a long dead planet thousands of years in the past winning a war against an invading race. Jack had been furious. Furious at Martha and Mickey for thinking they could still do that sort of thing and furious at the Doctor for bringing them in the first place. The Doctor had said something about timelines and set events but Jack had wanted to hear nothing about it. He’d tossed him out on his ear and the Doctor hadn’t appeared in Jack’s presence for nearly twenty years - that was linearly anyway. Jack had the decency to be nice to the few visits by previous incarnations of the Doctor. No point holding the man accountable for something that he hadn’t yet done, Jack had grumbled when Ianto had applauded him on not resorting to fists.
The Doctor, there was another person he hadn’t seen in awhile. In any incarnation. That didn’t mean too much to Ianto, personally, since he had never gotten particularly friendly with the Time Lord. Even if Jack didn’t worry too much anymore about how he’d been treated in the past, Ianto certainly did. It was also incredibly difficult to keep tabs on a man who was literally a different person almost every time he met him. Ianto was an orderly man, trying to remember to keep twelve different time lines in order for one person was simply nauseating.
Ianto was suddenly overcome with the desire to wade in a bit. He knelt down and unlaced his shoes and pulled off his socks. “Going in?” Jack asked.
“Only a few feet. Care to join?”
Jack eyed the water as he would a poisonous snake. “Not this time. I think I’ll play lifeguard instead.”
Jack hadn’t set foot in the water since the time he’d come out partially covered in scales. It was one of those many things about Jack’s changing physiology that they didn’t speak of. It was amazing, Ianto thought as rolled up his trouser legs and headed in, how much they didn’t speak of despite how long they had been together and how long they’d been alive. Some things he could understand, some things he could make himself understand, other things were just unnecessary. Martha and Mickey, to bring the thought process full circle, did not deserve to be locked away in their own separate hearts and minds because of how they had died.
And just like that they were there.
Martha and Mickey were dancing on the water. Martha’s long white dress spinning out as Mickey, dressed smartly in a suit that Ianto had never seen before, held tight to her hand. “Don’t worry about it,” he said to Ianto despite his eyes never leaving his wife. “He remembers us, that’s all that matters to us.”
“Want to dance?” Martha asked. She straightened herself up and held out her free hand. “Mickey won’t mind.”
Ianto looked at himself and his bare feet, remembering how he’d danced with Martha at Mel and Harry’s wedding. “I’m still not used to leading, you know.”
Martha chuckled. “You still let Jack lead when you dance?”
“He is still a much better dancer than I am.”
Martha waved her hand again. “Come on! It’s about time you got a bit of practice in, don’t you think?”
Ianto heard some sort of objection in the distance but he took Martha’s hand anyway. Mickey stood back and Ianto spun Martha and, for a moment, he thought he saw Lisa in that white dress smiling back at him. Martha’s easy smile quickly came back to him as he reminded himself that Lisa and he had parted ways many, many lifetimes ago.
More yelling – this time he knew it was Jack and he looked down as his feet and back up again. He was underwater with the pair of them. He’d gone too far and failed to notice. This was interesting. Ianto knew how to swim, he could swim very well, and for some reason he made no move to swim to safety. He just held tight to Martha’s hand and raised an eyebrow.
Mickey suddenly appeared in between them. “You ready to come along?”
His actions should have made that answer obvious but Ianto was still not sure. “He’s coming for you,” Mickey told him. “You can either wake up or not.”
“I’m out right now?”
“We’re not really here,” Martha told him. “This is all in your head this time around. Did you think that we’d appear to you right here and lead you into danger?”
Fair point. “I want to come,” Ianto said. “Not ready to go without a good bye though.”
“Then give yourself some time to think of one.”
Ianto shut his eyes. The sound of water stopped and the last thing he felt was Jack grabbing his arm.