Characters: Gwen/Ianto friendship. References to J/I and J/G.
Spoilers/Notes-Spoileriffic through Journey's End. Much schmoopy and fluffy love to my two awesome betas, hllangel and beta_goddess. Missing scene from Journey's End.
Summary: Caring can only go so far, even for Gwen.
"He’s left us. Again.”
They weren’t going to die, not this time anyway, thanks to Tosh and absolutely no thanks to Jack. Unfortunately there was no way to contact the outside world to find out if they’d survived as well. Gwen couldn’t just sit still, so she set about tidying up, sorting out bits and bobs that had previously been furniture and equipment, all the time keeping an eye on Ianto, whom she could sense falling into one of his dark moods.
“He’s Jack. That’s what he does.”
Of all the responsibilities that had fallen on her in Jack’s previous absence, Ianto had been the one that weighed most heavily. He was the one who knew where everything was and there was no way she could lead the team without him. They hadn’t been terribly close before, but this was the time for unity. They’d mutinied together; the least they could do was form a solid front until Jack returned. She’d forgotten about his fragility following Lisa, only to realize exactly how badly things had gone when he didn’t show up at work for two days in a row, something completely unheard of according to Tosh and Owen, who both looked incredibly uncomfortable contemplating Ianto’s personal life in spite of what had happened the last time they chose to ignore it. Gwen reminded them that Torchwood was a family and they were to start acting like one, immediately.
She’d set Tosh to work breaking through every security lock on Ianto’s personnel files, which produced records from a therapist whom Ianto had seen during his teens. As soon as Gwen looked them over, she told Owen to drive her to Ianto’s flat, breaking at least ten traffic laws in the process.
When she got there, Ianto denied he had any plans to hurt himself, but Gwen insisted that she’d stay as long as it took. Hours, as it turned out. First he told her to get out, then to get the hell out and bloody well leave him alone, punctuated with a flung liquor bottle. When she refused, he started talking as if he could punish her with words about his childhood and Lisa and Torchwood One. Some things she’d suspected and others she’d never imagined were hiding behind the well-groomed facade. In the end one thing was strikingly clear. The only bright spot in Ianto’s life was Jack Harkness.
That’s when Gwen made her decision. If Jack returned and wanted to act on the attraction between them, she’d say no. Anything else would destroy Ianto, and in that long night she’d come to care too much about him.
“To be with him.”
Rhys’ proposal made it easier, but she knew herself too well to believe she’d stay faithful just because of a ring. Those few mad weeks with Owen were still stuck in her memory, popping up at unlikely times to make her blush. The guilt had been awful, but the sex had been everything Owen had promised and more. Poor Tosh. She never got to find out exactly what she’d been missing.
“I think he was trying to save the world. “
She still wondered if she’d made the right choice every time she caught Jack looking at her, felt his hand touching hers when they sat together in the front of the SUV, or even as they danced at her wedding. Until she saw the happiness on Ianto’s face when he awkwardly took her place in Jack’s arms. She had left for her honeymoon hoping Jack would start to appreciate what was right in front of him, and maybe learn to rate it higher than pizza.
“We could have died.”
What exactly was new about that?
Even after the chaos caused by Gray, she’d done her best to stay off Jack’s emotional radar, although he seemed to be clinging to her as much as he did to Ianto in the wake of Tosh’s and Owen’s deaths. Only Jack could manage not to see how much that was hurting Ianto. Gwen wanted to smack him, but all she could do was leave the Hub in tears, taking her own pain home to Rhys where it belonged, ignoring Jack’s silent plea to stay and offering only a glare intended to send him back in Ianto’s direction.
“Maybe he knew about the time bubble?”
Gwen felt herself clutching at straws, trying to save the thing she’d worked so very hard to keep together, no matter how much Jack seemed willing to throw it away.
Maybe it wasn’t worth the trouble. Perhaps Ianto would be better off facing the truth about his precious Jack, who cheated at more than naked hide and seek.
Sure, she thought, like Nikki Bevan was better off.
“Gwen, I can’t lose him.”
After everything she’d done for him, it was too much. The words formed in her mind, in spite of the guilt and remorse that she knew would accompany them and the scene she could imagine following.
Who the hell do you think gave him to you in the first place?
”Torchwood Hub, this is the Doctor! Are you receiving me?"
It wasn’t a bell, but it was salvation. The Doctor was calling and Jack was with him, which meant Gwen and Ianto were both safe from the truth.
At least for now.