I feel fine

Chapter 23

"I shall not cry Return"

I shall not cry return nor weep my years away,

But as long as sunsets burn, and dawns know no delay.

I shall be lonesome – I shall miss your hand, your voice, your smile, your kiss.

Not often shall I speak your name for what would strangers care.

That once a sudden tempest came and swept my gardens bare.

And then you passed, and in your place

Stood silence with her uplifted face.

Not always shall this parting be for though I travel slow,

I too, may claim eternity and find the way you go.

And so I do my task and wait

The opening of the outer gate.

By Ellen Gates.

Jack had found this in Ianto's diary, slipped between the last page and the back cover. So worn and finger softened as he had obviously folded and unfolded it many times to read this simple poem of loss.

Jack had wept, knowing it was meant for him. Or worse, was about him.

When Francine had come to his bed, climbing in to cuddle and coddle him as he wept she had told him gently of their plans for a service.

Unable to bear letting the piece of paper go, he had begrudgingly rose from the bed to copy it onto the back of a piece of packing paper from one of the boxes that sat still packed with Ianto's things in the corner of his room.

He had not attended the service, too overwrought and had preferred to hide out on the western edge of the island, staring out at sea.

Standing tall and impassive like the lighthouse giving him shadow from the sun beating down.

I am a rock. I am an island. Ianto used to hum that song when Owen was prowling for a fight. Simon and Garthunkle working as a balm.

Gods he had never wished for rain before. Ianto's favourite days on this island had been in the rain.

Jack remembered him laughing as he danced in the gentle rain, swinging his arms and daring Jack to catch him as he flitted in and out of view between the rocks below.

Jack closed his eyes as he remembered making love to him down by those rocks, laying his greatcoat down on the wet sand as Ianto giggled at his grabbing, needy hands. Ianto's hands stroking his face as he'd whispered endearments in welsh that he actually did recognise but would never admit to in case Ianto stopped saying them.

Oh, Ianto's hands. He had kissed those hands, sucked those fingers and caressed those knuckles so many times.

Untold boring meetings reduced to private porn as Ianto had silently eaten his chosen meal across the meeting table with slow languid licks of his fingers making popping sucks at the end of each lick. The end of the meeting signalled "sexy time" as Ianto made an excuse to exit stage left to the archives with his Captain following to request an extra file he'd forgotten.

The sound of the team giggling as they watched the parody unfold, like a child's play seemed to echo in the whispering wind.

Jack smiled and stepped forward towards the edge as he held his face to the sun, smelling the sea further out of the bay. The seagulls cried a parody of his own cries and he grimaced at their noise.

Those on the beach throwing flowers and letters of love into the water looked like children trying to skip stones. With a sigh, he turned to watch them mourn as the balloons were released into the sky. Red blobs against the blue forever.

Jack had leapt from the boat as it came alongside the barge, deep into the churning blood red water as he had surged down for his love.

But no matter how many times he dove, how deep or how far he searched, Ianto was gone.

Angel had been inconsolable, clutching his Tadda's watch to his breast as he screamed for his Tadda until Martha had shakily sedated him. He now stood down there, in the surf. Gwen's arms around his little shoulders as he looked desperately across the waves for his absent parent.

Boss held his free hand fiercely defying anyone to take Angel away when he knew he needed him, the other hand still clutching Ianto's watch.

Mickey had taken it personally, blaming himself for panicking and also for not having his gun drawn already. As far as he was concerned he had killed Ianto himself.

Jack was too tired to care.

When Helen stood crying on the dock as they finally dragged him, wet and bedraggled from the boat, he hadn't cared either.

When Gwen had told him she was keeping Angel with them for a while he hadn't cared.

When they unpacked the vehicles with Mickey having retrieved the barge, he hadn't cared.

When they tried to take Ianto's box marked "I & J" he had cared. Oh gods he had cared. He had screamed, roared and thrown things, he had bloody well cared fuck you all very much.

They had retreated and left him to howl like the wounded animal he was, how could he not be with his heart torn asunder for another time.

All afternoon, evening, night and then next morning they had searched the shores. Mickey taking the speeder back to the waters to lay out a grid search. Jack knew they were searching for a body. He also knew it would take a minimum of two days before the body would float so he left them to it.

It had been two days. No body. He now knew somehow there wouldn't be one. Either drifted out to sea while still submerged or hooked deep in debris on the bottom. He hadn't had a body to bury the first time thanks to UNIT or the second thanks to the rift.

Now he took a deep breath as the first verse of amazing grace drifted up from the beach and he gave a bark of laughter. Ianto hated that song.

With the image of Ianto rolling his eyes Jack calmly stepped forward again into oblivion.

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