Full 3/4 1/2Expand TightenA Long Way Away

Jack looked over into the eyes of Gwen Cooper, and smiled. It was good to be home again, amongst familiar things, and the people who cared most about him, but even so he still couldn't shake that familiar empty feeling that something was missing, something so important that even time hadn't been able to heal his broken heart.

This planet still held far too many painful memories for him, and Jack wasn't even sure that he was ready to face these demons. He had spent so long trying to run away from the pain, but these were desperate times, and in his heart Jack knew that the time had finally come to let go, and to say goodbye.

"Where did you go Jack?" She asked him, her dark eyes betraying her feelings of abandonment, and the conflict she felt at him having come back. She wanted to feel happy, relieved that after all this time of her wondering where he was and if he was alright, that he was finally home, but she couldn't conceal her raging anger.

Jack could fully understand her hostility. He hadn't expected her to welcome him home as though nothing had ever happened – there would of course be consequences for the manner in which he had left. He could sympathise entirely with her feelings of abandonment. He'd been through them all himself with the Doctor, and those feelings had festered away for over a century, but he could not apologise to her nor feel sorry for what he had done. He had dedicated the latter part of his long and lingering life to helping people, to saving the world – and he'd needed some time alone, with no pressure, no commitments, no responsibilities, to try and help heal his own broken heart.

"A long way away." He told her.

"And did it help?" She asked him.

He averted his gaze from hers, unable to look into her warm eyes any longer, leaking compassion, despite how angry she felt. He was struggling to retain his composure – for whilst the rest of her soft features were contorted in an expression set hard as stone, her eyes still betrayed the depth of her love for him. The truth was that he really didn't want to have to confess to her that it hadn't helped at all.

It was going to take Jack a very long time to get over Ianto, far longer than he'd been away for. The grieving process was a long one, and he'd had to learn to embrace the pain rather than run away from it.

Jack had had to give himself permission to laugh, to cry, to see Ianto's face in the window of every coffee shop on every street corner, and hear his voice as the smell of the beans stirred up memories of their love. He'd had to to learn to cherish their time together, and not to want to forget, until time eventually worked to patch up the gaping hole in his heart with sticking plaster, and the gut wrenching agony turned into a dull ache.

This time there were no shortcuts, there was no easy way out. It was going to take Jack a very long time before he was ready to say goodbye. He still had an entire lifetime stretching out before him, thousands, maybe even millions of years – during which he was not sure that he would ever really come to terms with the death of Ianto Jones. Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten