Aug. 6th, 2009

captgreatcoat: (Looking down)
It's been no time at all since Ianto left; it's been an eternity since Ianto left. Sometimes it seems like it was just a couple of days ago that he woke in the early hours with Ianto curled by his side, looking content and peaceful in his sleep. He wishes now he'd stayed to savour that moment, watched Ianto sleep, listened to the deep, gentle rhythm of his breathing, leaned in and savoured the smell of his hair, the feel of his skin, tasted his lips one last time. If he'd done that, at least he'd have that one clear, content moment to hold onto, to give him something to fight for. He didn't.

And often, that lost opportunity feels like an eternity ago. Perhaps not an eternity – he's well aware of the weight of that word, and doesn't use it lightly – but a long time ago. So much has happened since then; he's broken promises to himself, he's seen a friend lose her mind, he's killed, he's been wounded and recovered, he's pushed away his friends. He's spent nights that seemed endless.

Perspective aside, he knows precisely how long it's been. 12 days, and not one of them has been easy. Some have been harder than others, the ones when he couldn't find enough distractions and prowling the city or the hotel and books and mindless television and little things like cleaning the Webley and playing with the configurations on his wrist-strap weren't enough. The days he was laid up while his shoulder healed were the worst.

But worse than the days have been the nights, where there's nothing to keep the darkness at bay and it's easier just to avoid sleep altogether than to face the empty room and the things he knows even sleep won't let him escape because when he's alone, they always come through in his dreams.

Once, in such a similar situation, stranded on Earth with a broken vortex manipulator and a broken heart, he took to alcohol as the answer. Since that night in the lounge with Gren, he hasn't done that. Nor has he indulged in the one other thing he knows would dull the loneliness for just a while: a no-emotions, no-names, no-expectations one-night stand. He's done it before; the rebound shag is something he's intimately familiar with. But no matter how much he feels himself falling towards hopelessness sometimes, he can't give up on getting back to Cardiff. He can't break the promise he made to Ianto, that flirtation aside, he's his and his alone. That would be one betrayal too many. And that hypothetical empty liaison couldn't in any way replace what he's lost. It's not just having someone in his bed, it's having someone he trusts, someone he can, just sometimes, stop pretending with. Someone who knows him, who believes in him, who'll help him when he asks for it and back away when he doesn't. And do it all without judging him. In short, who can help his life be not just bearable, but something more.

And that's why, through the fog of alcohol that permeates his memory of that night in the lounge, one thing stands out to him of all the things Gren said: If you believe in Ianto like I know you do ... then find a way back. Don't lose sight of that and don't give up. (The other thing he can't forget - though he knows he should - is the feel of Gren's lips, pressed ever-so-briefly to his cheek.)

Since he learned to really fight for what he believes in, no matter how deep the despair, he's always come back to that. To searching and fighting for the man he loves, to a stubborn determination to find the Doctor, whatever it took. And he succeeded, though it took well over a century. This is his first real test since that success.

Ianto deserves him to have enough faith in himself to fight to get back to him, too.

No matter how hard it gets, no matter how sorry he may feel for himself, he can't lose sight of what's really important here. And that's twofold: his duty to find out what's going on here, and his desperate need to have Ianto back.

He's Time Agency-trained, he's travelled with a Time Lord. He's the head of the Torchwood Institue. Like Gren said, if anyone can sort this out, it's him.

So.

What does he know, and what does it tell him?

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Captain Jack Harkness

July 2014

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