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Fic: Lonely Among Us

Title: Lonely Among Us
Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: CoE
Disclaimer: I sure could have made a better job if they belonged to me.
Beta: laren01
Summary: “We are here because you have to make a decision,” the Vortex answered.
                     “A decision?” Ianto asked. “About what?”

A/N: Ok, I have been lazy faaaaaaaaaaaaaar too long, but certain events in Torchwood S3 broke through my writers block like wow. So, here is my try to fix it. Hope you enjoy. (PS: Title was stolen from Star Trek: Next Generation)


Lonely Among Us


Somehow Ianto had always assumed that everything would go black when one died. At least, that’s how it was in every book or movie he ever read or saw. Someone dies and everything goes black. That was how Jack described his moments of death – on the rare occasions Ianto had gotten him to speak about it. Even Suzie, during her brief return from the dead, had said that it was dark where she’d been. But when Ianto’s body shut down, his lungs slowly stopped working and his heart stopped beating, when he died, suddenly everything was golden.

 

Ianto didn’t know how long he was floating in the strange golden light; it could have been moments or centuries. He wasn’t even sure if floating was the right word to describe it, but he definitely wasn’t standing or lying. He felt as if he didn’t have any weight at all, he didn’t feel any pain, he was warm, and even his regrets and sorrows because of his death and everything he left behind were – not gone, but they didn’t really matter anymore. He felt content. Peaceful. So it was rather abrupt, almost a shock, when he suddenly found himself standing in some sort of big hall, looking down on a body covered with red cloth.

 

Startled Ianto took an involuntary step back and looked around. There were bodies everywhere, all of them covered with red cloths, except the place right beside the body he was standing by. There was just the red cloth, laid out as if there had been a body beneath once, but empty now. What was this place, and more important, how had he gotten here? Wasn’t he dead? He definitely remembered dying, and somehow he just couldn’t believe that life after death looked like a morgue. If there even was something like a life after death.

 

Again Ianto looked around hoping to see something that could help him to figure out what exactly was happening here, but nothing had changed. There still were only a lot of bodies, all of them covered up. When he finished his turn he almost cried out with shock, because suddenly he wasn’t alone anymore. Someone was standing there, right beside him. Or rather, something.

 

It had the vague shape of a human, but it was completely golden, and it looked like – energy? Ianto blinked and looked again. Yes, whatever that thing was, it didn’t have a solid body even if it had the shape of one. It looked a little like rift energy, but the colour was wrong. Where the rift was a white, almost bluish silver, this entity was completely golden. It looked almost like the golden light Ianto had seen when he’d died. That is... Ianto blinked again. It looked exactly like the golden light he had seen. What the hell was going on here?

 

“Who are you?” Ianto finally asked after some moments, when the creature didn’t seem to want to make a move or any sort of announcement.

 

“We are the Vortex,” the entity answered, and Ianto almost cringed. The voice of the entity sounded like nothing he had ever heard. Like a mixture of nails on a blackboard, squealing brakes and thousand voices all talking at the same time.

 

“Alright,” Ianto answered slowly. “And why are you here? And for that matter, why – and how – am I here?”

 

“We are here because you have to make a decision,” the Vortex answered.

 

“A decision?” Ianto asked. “About what?”

 

“Watch,” the entity said and pointed at something behind Ianto, and Ianto turned around just in time to see a golden flash.

 

****************************************************************

 

Jack blinked a few times to clear his sight after the Vortex had transported them to whatever place it had wanted to go. Maybe he should have been a little more surprised by this sudden turn in their conversation, but for some reason he wasn’t. After all this time of searching for the energy, the creatures who were responsible for making him the way he was, he should have known that it wouldn’t be easy, even if he found them. Nothing ever was, so why should this be an exception?

 

When he finally could see again, he realised he was standing in a big hall. Bodies covered in red cloths lined the floor and it was cold and quiet, like in a morgue. For a second Jack could just stare. He knew this place.

 

“No...” Jack whispered and recoiled in shock. It couldn’t be. He couldn’t be here. He didn’t want to be here. The last time had been over two thousand years ago, and he still had nightmares about it. Angrily he turned to the energy-creature beside him.

 

“Why did you bring me here?” he hissed between clenched teeth.

 

The Vortex looked at him curiously but didn’t answer. Not that it really could look, because it didn’t have eyes or a face, but somehow Jack could feel something like curiosity emanating from the entity.

 

“I didn’t ask you to bring me here,” Jack started anew, still angry. “I came to you so you can finally end it. I don’t want to live any longer. I can’t live any longer, not like this, so please, just stop it!”

 

“We already told you,” the Vortex answered, “we can’t undo what was done to you. We are sorry.”

 

“Why not?” Jack was almost wailing, and he knew it, but this situation... He felt raw, as if someone had torn open a wound that hadn’t even started to heal. His eyes were completely fixed on the Vortex, so that he wouldn’t have to look at what was lying in that hall.

 

“A part of you is like us, now,” the entity answered. “Because we don’t die, you can’t die, either.”

 

“Then take it back!” Jack was almost shouting now. “I never wanted to be a part of you! I never wanted to live forever! Just take it back so I can die, that is all I want!”

 

“We are sorry,” the Vortex said again. “If we could, we would do as you ask. You are part of us now, and whatever you feel, we feel it too. Your pain is – disturbing.”

 

Jack snorted. Yeah. Disturbing. Not quite the word he would have used, but then he wasn’t an all-knowing, immortal energy-creature without emotions. God, how he wished he was.

 

“Then take at least away the pain, if it disturbs you so much,” Jack sighed. He would take anything, if it would just stop.

 

“We can’t,” came the answer. “You are part of us now, but you are also still human. The pain you feel is part of your human side. Only you can stop it.”

 

Jack snorted again, although it sounded more like a sob to his own ears. “So I’m going to feel this pain forever, then,” he said almost conversationally. “Because it didn’t lessen in the last two thousand years and I don’t think it will any time soon. You should better get used to it, because it seems my pain is going to disturb you for a long time to come.”

 

Again the entity seemed to emanate curiosity. “Why are you hurting so much? We don’t understand.”

 

“I don’t think I can explain emotions to someone who doesn’t know what emotions are,” Jack answered.

 

“We know what emotions are,” the Vortex answered. “We just don’t understand them. We have seen many universes being born and die again, but this one is the first that had someone who could see time and space like we can. That is why some of us went to live and work with the race known as Time Lords. We were curious; we wanted to learn about species that were bound by time and space. And although we learned a lot during this time we still didn’t know, not really. Not until you. Only after you became part of us we could experience feelings for ourselves.”

 

“So what,” Jack asked, surprisingly rather disbelieving than angry, “I have been – an experiment? You did this to me so you could feel???”

 

“No,” the Vortex answered. “What was done to you was an accident. We wouldn’t even have known what or how to do it if it hadn’t been for the human Rose Tyler. We didn’t know it was even possible.”

 

“And you can’t undo it,” Jack concluded, suddenly defeated. “Then why did you bring me here? Here, of all places.”

 

“Because this is where the pain started,” the creature answered. “We want to understand.”

 

Jack closed his eyes tightly. He didn’t want to look, and he certainly didn’t want to explain the Vortex about his feelings. But leave it to some alien energy-creature to pinpoint exactly the worst moment of his life, and then bring him there to relive it all over again.

 

“I can’t,” Jack said, eyes still closed. “Please don’t make me.”

 

The Vortex didn’t answer, and for long minutes they were just standing there, doing nothing. Finally Jack sighed and opened his eyes again. Apparently the Vortex intended to wait here until Jack did what they wanted. It certainly would have a lot of patience and nothing else to do. Maybe he should just get it over with as fast as possible. Slowly he turned around until he was facing the direction he knew so well from his nightmares.

 

“Because he died,” he said quietly.

 

“Everyone besides us dies eventually,” the Vortex said, curiosity and incomprehension in their voice.

 

“Yes,” Jack answered, staring at one covered body in particular. Because now that he finally laid his eyes on it he couldn’t move them away. Like a moth to fire he was drawn closer and closer to it, and he couldn’t do anything against it. “Everyone dies. He wasn’t even the first person I loved who died. But he was different.”

 

“How?”

 

“Because he knew me.” Jack knelt down, eyes never leaving the body lying beside the only empty space in the whole hall. “He knew me, everything about me, my dark secrets and my past and that I can’t die. And he still loved me. No one else ever did, not so unconditionally. And I failed him.” Jack stretched out his hand but didn’t touch the cloth. “I didn’t think and then he died. And I didn’t...” Jack stopped and closed his eyes again, trying to stop the tears.

 

Over two thousand years and suddenly he felt as if it was just yesterday. As if it was just moments ago that he held him in his arms, begging him to Don't go. Don't leave me please. Please, don't. Waking up again, here, just a few centimetres to his left, feeling empty, hollow, broken.

 

Jack opened his eyes again, looking up at the Vortex. “I never told him how much I loved him. Not even when he was dying in my arms. I was such a coward, always afraid to say those words, and so he died thinking I didn’t love him.” Tears were burning in his eyes but Jack didn’t try to hold them back any more. He didn’t know when he’d cried the last time, but what sense did it have to stop them? There was no one here to see him besides the Vortex.

 

He looked back down at the body, and this time when he stretched out his hand he pulled back the red cloth. His breath caught and his tears finally started to fall. “Ianto,” he whispered. “I’d forgotten how beautiful he was.”

 

Jack couldn’t look away, even if it hurt like hell staring at the waxen, still face of Ianto. For the first few hundred years after Ianto’s death he had tried to somehow undo it. Had tried to use the rift, every alien gadget he could get his hands on, even begged the Doctor to take him back in time just far enough to prevent Ianto from inhaling the virus. To make him bring a hazmat suit or just leaving Ianto with Gwen, something simple like that. But nothing had worked. He didn’t know why, but he either landed too far back in time, before Ianto was even born, or not far enough, when it was already too late. Even the Doctor hadn’t been able to tell him why, and as he was not happy to alter a personal timeline to begin with he stopped trying very soon. And no amount of Jack's pleading could change that.

 

After that Jack had started to search for the Vortex. It had been the Doctor who had told him about them, about what the TARDIS really was, where she came from. It had been the Doctor who had given him the hope that if he couldn’t save Ianto’s life then maybe he could at least stop this existence he was caught in. He had lived long enough, longer than any human was ever meant to be. He was tired and lonely and heartbroken. He just wanted to close his eyes and never open them again. Never feel anything again. But just like everything else in his life it wasn’t meant to be.

 

Closing his eyes again Jack bent forward and kissed Ianto’s cold lips. “I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I’m sorry I never told you. I love you, Ianto. I still do. And I didn’t forget you. It’s been a lot more than a thousand years and I still remember you. I always will.” He kissed him again and rested his forehead on Ianto’s for a moment. Then he sat up again and looked up at the Vortex.

 

“Is that it? Did you see enough? Do you understand now what you wanted to know? He was the only one who could have made what happened after that at least almost bearable but he died and left me alone and the pain started, and it will not stop until you end my existence.”

 

“We can’t undo what has been done to you,” the Vortex repeated its statement. “But we can stop the loneliness. We can give you a companion, someone who will be like you, who will not die and who will be a part of us. You just have to choose.”

 

“What?” Jack stared up at the entity, not believing what he was hearing. “You want to what? You want to put someone else through the same agony I am living? Are you insane?”

 

“You have to choose,” the Vortex said. “The one person you want to have by your side until the end of the universe.”

 

Jack couldn’t prevent his gaze turning to Ianto and a tiny surge of hope blossomed in his chest. To have Ianto by his side would make his life more than a mere existence. It would make him live again, in fact, the only time he had ever really lived and enjoyed his life to the fullest had been those short years with Ianto. To have him with him again, to hear his voice, to feel his touch... It was everything he ever wanted, everything he wished for. But he couldn’t do it. Because it would mean to sentence Ianto to the same state of limbo Jack was in, and he couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t do that. Not to Ianto.

 

But before Jack could shake his head and refuse the offer, the Vortex announced: “You have made your choice. So it will be.”

 

****************************************************************

 

Ianto looked at Jack, kneeling beside his corpse, staring with horror up at the Vortex. He still couldn’t really believe what he’d just witnessed. He could still see the tears on Jack’s face, and as long as he’d known Jack he had never cried. And he would never have thought that Jack would cry because of him. He had always hoped that Jack felt the same for him, but deep down there had always been doubt, that tiny voice that asked him again and again why Jack would love him of all people. He was nothing special, he was just Ianto. But apparently he had been wrong.

“Can he see me?” he finally asked and gestured at Jack.

 

“No,” the Vortex answered.

 

“So I’m dead, then,” Ianto said and looked at the Vortex.

 

“Not exactly,” the Vortex replied. “We pulled you out just one moment before you died. What happens next depends on your decision.”

 

“My decision?”

 

“Yes. You can die, just as you were supposed to. Or you can become like Jack and be like him.”

 

Ianto blinked for a moment, then he asked, “Why me?”

 

“Because you are the one Jack chose.”

 

Ianto looked back at Jack, who was shaking his head frantically, still that horror-stricken look on his face.

 

“He doesn’t look like he wants me to be with him,” he said, heart clenching at the rejection.

 

“He does,” the Vortex contradicted. “We can feel what he feels, and there is nothing he wishes more. He just doesn’t want to force you. That is why you have to decide.”

 

Ianto closed his eyes. He needed to think, and think fast. Did he want to die? That question didn’t really need any thought. Of course he didn’t want to die. He was still so young; there was so much he’d still wanted to do. So that question was easily answered. But did he really want to live forever? Never die, never age, always be left behind? He had seen what it did to Jack, to always loose the people he loved, to always be the one person that survived everything. Did he really want to live like that?

 

But that wasn’t exactly true, wasn’t it? Because if he became like Jack, he wouldn’t be the only one left behind. Sure, other people would die, his family, his friends (although they already thought he was dead) but not Jack. If he’d accept the Vortex’ offer he would have Jack, always. He wouldn’t have to worry about growing old and someday leaving Jack. He wouldn’t have to worry about accidents or diseases. He could always be there for Jack, and Jack would always be there for him.

 

Ianto opened his eyes and looked at Jack. Jack loved him. Jack loved him, even after over two thousand years. He hadn’t forgotten him, like he promised, no, even longer than he promised. He had done all this, searched for the Vortex, all because he loved Ianto and didn’t want to live without him. So the real question was: was Jack worth it to live a life like that? Ianto smiled. That question didn’t really need any thought, too. There was nothing Ianto wouldn’t do for Jack. So there was really only one question left.

 

“What will happen at the end of the universe?” he asked, turning back to the Vortex again. “What will happen to Jack and me when the universe stops to exist?”

 

“We don’t know,” the Vortex answered. “When the universe dies, there will be no matter anymore, no space, no time, not even energy. So your bodies will stop to exist, too. But we don’t know what will happen to you. Maybe you will also stop to exist. Maybe you will become like us. We don’t know. And that is quite exciting, isn’t it? Not knowing.”

 

“Yes, it is,” Ianto smiled. “Alright, I have made my decision.”

 

“So be it,” the Vortex said, and then there was a bright, golden flash, and the next moment Ianto was lying on his back, gasping for air. He opened his eyes, sat up und pushed down the red cloth that was covering almost every part of his body. A gasp steered his gaze to the man kneeling beside him, and Ianto smiled.

 

“Jack.”

  

Comments

( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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laren01
Jul. 12th, 2009 05:34 pm (UTC)
I just wanted to say how much I love this story. You know how I cried while reading it.
It's just perfect.
Would give anything for this to be canon
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:43 am (UTC)
Would give anything for this to be canon.
I don't know what you mean. This is canon. You're clearly speaking in tongues. *lalalala holding her hands over her ears*
cazmalfoy
Jul. 12th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
*claps happily*
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! *claps happily too*
stargazer60
Jul. 12th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Oh I love this.....
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:38 am (UTC)
Thank you!
bookwrm89
Jul. 12th, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
See, there's so many possibilities to bring Ianto back. We should send them all to RTD. *nods*

Love this!
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
Thank you!

We should send them all to RTD. *
Better not. I shudder to think what he would make of them. Maybe kill of Ianto AND Jack this time.
3500doch
Jul. 12th, 2009 06:23 pm (UTC)
My thoughts on this piece can be conveyed with one word 'YAYFLAILJOY!'
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:35 am (UTC)
Thank you!
teachwriteslash
Jul. 12th, 2009 06:35 pm (UTC)
Oh I love this ... I really do ...
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC)
Thank you!
(no subject) - zannabq - Jul. 13th, 2009 01:34 am (UTC) - Expand
geeky_ginger
Jul. 12th, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
OMG....seriously! Why can't the real writers have awesome ideas like this and bring Ianto back!?

Bravo!
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
Thank you for your comment!

Why can't the real writers have awesome ideas like this and bring Ianto back!?
Because they suck. :-)
soryu
Jul. 12th, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh! This was...boa! *like it* No, no I love it. :D Thank you.

Und ich habe geheult beim lesen, wirkich. *schnief* Perfect.
laren01
Jul. 12th, 2009 06:59 pm (UTC)
haste denn CoE inzwischen geguckt?
(no subject) - soryu - Jul. 12th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zannabq - Jul. 12th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - soryu - Jul. 12th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laren01 - Jul. 12th, 2009 09:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - soryu - Jul. 13th, 2009 08:13 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laren01 - Jul. 12th, 2009 09:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
torchwoodlove
Jul. 12th, 2009 07:29 pm (UTC)
That was....wow! That's the canon in my world now. As far as I am concerned THIS happened! I saw it as I was reading it, I saw the camera angles and everything.
Amazing!
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:32 am (UTC)
Thank you for your comment! I'm glad you liked my fic so much. And of course this is what happened! Because Ianto can never die, he just can't!!!! And now I made sure he never will. :-)
monikkk
Jul. 12th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
the real writers suck. this is so much better. amazing one, thanks
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:29 am (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.

the real writers suck.
They really do. We should take over writing screenplays for Torchwood (or any TV show we like, let's just be safe) from now on.
searoute
Jul. 12th, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
Seriously... I could imagine the camera angles, the voices, the scene, everything. THIS. IS. CANON. I won't hear any more about it! XD

Send this to RTD, pleeeease! <3 Gahhh this was amazing. It would be so perfect. And it would be make so much sense if it were actually canon.

You're awesome!
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
Thank you for your wonderful review! And you are right, this is canon! :-)

Send this to RTD, pleeeease!
I'm not sure that would be good. Who knows what he would make out of my fic, and I could end up hating it. No, I think it would be better if we fanfic authors would take over the screenwriting for Torchwood from now on. That's the only way. *nod*
(Deleted comment)
laren01
Jul. 12th, 2009 09:11 pm (UTC)
grummel...
why didn't I see this? I'm a bad beta *sigh*

(no subject) - zannabq - Jul. 12th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - laren01 - Jul. 12th, 2009 09:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zannabq - Jul. 12th, 2009 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
romyra
Jul. 12th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you. This is just what I need now. Plausible resurrection fic with a happy Jack and Ianto. This helps the pain a bit.
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:24 am (UTC)
Thank you.

This helps the pain a bit.
I know, it does. After I wrote it I finally started to feel better (and not bursting into tears at random moments).
tarlanx
Jul. 12th, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)
Wonderful story!
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you!

(Oh god, your icon made me tear up all over again. *sob*)
forgiveninasong
Jul. 12th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)
D':

Wonderful!
zannabq
Jul. 13th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
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