(A/N: 'Allo! This seemed like a good idea of a one-shot at the time so I kinda just wrote it. I think you'll know in which timeline this fits in when you read it. Sorry for any errors — especially grammatical ones — English is not my first language. Anyway, enjoy!)
(EDIT 08-30-15: This work is now available on AO3, under the name of 'DoctorIdiot".)
A Thousand Years' Time
These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase
When you cried, I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream, I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me
Ianto Jones, one of the most important being in Jack Harkness's life, was dying and it was all the immortal's fault. The immortal cradled the young man's head close, as if he was a baby. Jack's vision blurred with unshed tears and he struggled for it to remain that way.
"It's all my fault," he choked. The so-called Captain felt ever-growing pain in his chest, yet he knew it wasn't caused by the 456's poison gas. It was the pain of regret and guilt.
"No, it's not," said Ianto, shaking his head. Loyal Ianto, sweet Ianto, still tries to make him feel better even at his dying moments.
"Don't speak, save your breath." Jack was desperate. In a way, he knew no one was going to survive this — except himself. But he pushed the thought that was threatening to break him in so many ways away into the little corner of his mind.
The young man started to cry. "I love you."
Jack found that he could not say the same. He had never been able to say those three words for a long time. "Don't," he said instead. He was going to tell Ianto not to die, to hold on, but he couldn't get the rest of the words out. If he did, he'd break down, and it wouldn't help anyone if he did that. Ianto's head lolled to the side, his eyes closing. "Ianto?" Jack begun to panic. "Ianto! Ianto, stay with me. Ianto, stay with me, please." He repeated those words, hanging on to them with whatever hope he had left. A traitorous tear was beginning to slide down his cheek.
Ianto opened his eyes to look at Jack, smiling sadly as the immortal man caressed his face. "Hey, it was good, yeah?"
"Yeah," Jack managed to say.
"Don't forget me." One last favor.
"Never could." Jack wasn't sure if what he's saying was true. Living for so long can make people forget so much. However, the captain promised he'd do anything to save the memories of the young man in his arms forever in his head.
Ianto knew that, too. "In a thousand years' time, you won't remember me."
"Yes, I will. I promise, I will."
The young man breathed in his last breath and for the last time, Ianto Jones closed his eyes, forever.
"Ianto? Ianto," Jack whispered, not quite believing that his best friend, his lover, had passed away in his arms. "Don't go," he begged. "Don't leave me, please."
"You will die," said the trapped 456. "And tomorrow your people will deliver the children."
The leader of Torchwood looked up at the glass cage. He pressed his lips in a thin line, wanting no more than to shout and scream at the creature, to kill it for what it had done but he had no more energy left in him. He was slowly dying, too. Leaning down, he pressed a kiss, slowly, gently, on Ianto's lips.
Then, he, too, collapsed on the ground, his hand resting on Ianto's lifeless form.
The next day, when he woke and put his arms around Gwen, he thought of his life. His lover's death had ripped open a big hole in his soul, and worse, the hole felt like a black hole. It sucked his life away and leaves the hole bigger.
As he sent Gwen home to protect Ianto's niece and nephew, as he was thrown in jail, as he used and killed his own grandson to save the world, as he tried to apologize to his daughter for his actions, as he left the Earth to travel somewhere that doesn't hurt, he felt the black hole grew wider and wider.
There was only one Ianto Jones in the universe. And that Ianto Jones is gone.
Jack even wondered, what if he could go to a parallel universe? Then Ianto might still be alive there. He shook off the thought. Even if he found another Ianto, it wouldn't be his Ianto and the Doctor would never approve of him universe-hopping.
He had to accept the truth, that his lover passed away, and there's nothing he can do to change that fact. Nothing to bring back the tea-boy, now.
Even after a year passed, Jack still found it hard to get over Ianto's death. He would wake up on a strange planet in a pool of his own blood with no memory but a suspicion of what he did before he was killed. He picked fights. With aliens. He had no doubt he had pissed off more than one species of them. He couldn't care less.
And most of the times he raised from the dead, he would rather if he stayed dead.
Ten years had passed since Ianto's death. Jack had retrieved some of the ground that he lost his footing on. He met the Doctor a few times. The Time-Lord fixed him a bit. Told him a few reasons as to why he shouldn't give up and why he should still go on.
The immortal man had finally learned how to look at pictures of Ianto a smile, instead of break down in tears. He'd venture to the Earth a few times, but careful not to visit Gwen, not wanting to bring danger to her doors. Especially given that she has a daughter.
So far, he had kept his promise to remember Ianto but it didn't mean it was easy. He was slowly losing his memories of Ianto. He'd forgotten the little things about him, like how he smelled like, or what kind of shampoo he used.
Jack hates it.
A century passed and Jack was struggling to remember the young man who used to make him the best coffee ever. He strived to remember what color Ianto's eyes are, what the man used to wear or what he hated.
Unfortunately, he was losing the battle. He'd forgotten Ianto's personality, the taste of his coffee, how his skin felt, how his lips tasted. He couldn't remember anything, except for Ianto's name and the black and white picture of him to help the immortal to remember his face.
Even with that help, he'd forgotten most of his Ianto.
On one night — or was it morning? You can never tell when you're in space — a thousand years after a death of someone long forgotten, Captain Jack Harkness awoke in his — stolen — spaceship and immediately checked the time. He had been asleep for only four hours. Usually, when he slept, it would be for one whole day, since he rarely sleeps.
He looked out of the capsule's window, seeing the stars and the wonders of the galaxy and he smiled. He laid back on his makeshift bed on his ship. It was just a mattress of bed sheets and pillows, but it was comfortable enough.
As his mind wandered, he started to think about what had woken him up. Then he remembered a dream, a very strange one. He dreamt about… A man, in a three-piece suit, with dark hair, blue eyes and an angry and somewhat hurt expression on his face. The man said something, too.
Jack strained to recall what the stranger said. "You've forgotten."
The captain frowned. What had he forgotten? After thinking so hard that his brain ached, he stopped and shrugged it off.
It was just a dream, so it couldn't be something that important, could it?