Title: A Hole in the World
Spoilers: Post-series 1.
Rating: PG: language.
Notes: 600 words. Also, I am angst’s bitch.
Summary: Without Jack, the world seemed empty and wrong.
A contribution to ‘s “lost in the hub” challenge.
Without Jack, the world seemed empty and wrong. Like a single shoe on the side of the road, Ianto thought–like himself, just a shadow in a suit.
He got up every morning. He ran, he drank coffee, he showered. If he had a wank he tried not to think about Jack. He put on a suit: always dark, and he left the brightly patterned ties on the hanger. Black, purple, blue. No reds.
Work continued at the Hub, just like always, only more subdued. They were excessively polite to each other, as if keeping the peace would bring Jack back. There were plenty of theories, of course, but that never changed the fact that there was no Jack in the Hub and they didn’t know if there would be again.
Ianto filed. He made coffee. He cleaned up the pizza boxes. He made notations about the new artifacts they found. He ignored all the times conversations halted when he came into the room.
He stood watching the weevils and wondered what they knew and couldn’t say. Gwen joined him and slipped her hand into his.
Ianto said quietly, “He was cold.” Gwen squeezed his hand and he said, “He was cold so he put on his coat. We were out of coffee so we went to get some. He asked you to stay behind.”
“There was a noise,” she said, like a ritual. “I’ve never heard anything like it before or since. There was a noise and wind, and when I came out of the conference room he was gone.” She looked at him. “That’s what happened, Ianto. That’s how it happened.”
“It still feels like I’m waiting to wake up.”
“We all are.” She squeezed his hand again and let it go. “I’m going back to work.”
“I’ll be up in a moment.” He watched the weevil until it growled at him, and then went back up the lift to the main level.
He kept Jack’s office exactly as he’d left it. Every ruffled paper, every open book, the chair askew. He went down to Jack’s quarters sometimes, just to see that nothing was disturbed. Twice, Tosh discovered him asleep down there, Jack’s pillow in his arms. She didn’t wake him either time.
Ianto ran. He ran when he first woke up and he ran when he got home, and sometimes he ran in the middle of the night. He wondered, when his lungs ached and the muscles in his legs jumped with fatigue, if he could run far enough to find the Rift, to run through it to Jack.
He came early and stayed late. The Hub had never been so spotless and organized.
“Get some fucking sleep, Ianto,” Owen said. “You look like a fucking ghost.”
Ianto supposed the hallucinations were inevitable, but they were easy to deal with. Ignore them. A glowing nimbus around Gwen’s head, waves of blue light streaming from Tosh’s fingers, Owen’s voice echoing and reverbing around the walls? Ignore it. Ignore it, ignore it, go about his business. That rushing noise, that wind from nowhere? Jack standing next to the water tower? Jack walking closer to him, smiling? Ignore it.
Ianto went on collecting used coffee cups.
Jack said his name. Ianto picked up the tray.
Jack grabbed his arms and placed a kiss on his mouth.
That got Ianto’s attention. He almost dropped the tray.
“You shouldn’t be here,” he said.
Jack smiled back, cocky and confident, Jack’s smile. “Neither should you,” he said and kissed Ianto again.
“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I miss you like hell.”
— Edna St Vincent Millay