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After All My Searching

Series: Lyrics 'Verse
Word Count: ~ 1.300
Summary: There it was: the elephant in the room they'd ignored since Jack had found out about Gwen's engagement.
Characters: Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper
Pairing: Jack/Gwen (UST), Jack/Ianto (hinted), Gwen/Rhys (hinted)
Rating: PG
Spoiler: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, To The Last Man
Setting: after To The Last Man
Author's Note: This was very hard to write. I started it a thousand times before I finally settled on one version. This 'verse is about Jack and Ianto, I know that, but so much in their relationship extends to Jack's UST with Gwen, in my opinion at least. I'm a big fan of that UST, so it had to make an appearance here sometime.
Beta: larsinger29, thank you!
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv-show Torchwood and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.
The song This Is Home belongs to Switchfoot.

No Room Left For Flight
Lyrics 'Verse Masterlist

***
***


And now
After all my searching
After all my questions
I'm going to call it home
I got a brand new mind set
I can finally see the sunset
I'm gonna call it home
(This Is Home by Switchfoot)



“Where's Tosh?” Gwen asked and Jack looked up at her, standing in his office door with her handbag slung over a shoulder, her arms crossed and a tired expression on her face.

”Ianto took her home.” He cleared his throat. ”I offered but she ...” Taking another sip of his scotch, he tried to settle into a more comfortable position in his chair, but nothing seemed to ease the aches today. ”Well, she doesn't want to talk to me at the moment.” He closed his eyes. ”I'm the one who ordered her to send Tommy back after all.”

He startled slightly when Gwen's fingers closed around his hand. He hadn't heard her come closer. Entwining their fingers, Gwen gave him a sad smile. ”I'm sorry, Jack. It must have been hard for you, too.”

”The way she looks at me now …,” he said softly.

”She's grieving. And her and Ianto have become quite close over the last few months so don't blame her for turning to him, alright?”

”I blame myself.” He gulped the last of the scotch down.

”You always do,” Gwen whispered. She leaned against his desk, reminding him of the way Ianto had stood there just a few hours ago. He missed him, but didn't dare call or text him. Tosh's broken heart was more important than Jack's self-pity.

Jack stared down at Gwen's hand, at the engagement ring glimmering in the weak lights of his office. ”It's beautiful.”

Her face brightened and she blushed. ”Daft sod spent months saving up money for this.”

Jack smiled sadly, relieved to change the topic. ”He adores you, you know.”

”You don't even know him.”

”You keep telling us about him,” Jack reminded her. ”If I've learned one thing in my life then that it's cold and lonely out there. You should grab every chance of happiness you can.”

”Do you?”

Jack thought of Ianto and their dinner plans that evening and the way they'd silently agreed to keep their relationship to themselves for now. He smiled at her. ”Maybe. Coming back certainly was a start.”

”Well, in case there's any doubt about it, we're glad that you're back.” She smiled at him.

He caught himself sighing in relief. Hearing the words from someone other but Ianto meant a lot. Ianto had forgiven him too easily and moved on to taking care of him in the aftermath of the year that never was.

Gwen pushed off the desk. ”Well, I'll go home then. World saved, report typed up, same old, same old.” She winked at him and he laughed softly. Instead of leaving, though, Gwen paused, looking at him thoughtfully. ”Do you ever think ...” She hesitated. Jack waited, knowing she would go on when she was ready to. She didn't disappoint him. ”Do you think I'm doing the right thing? Marrying Rhys.”

He grinned at her teasingly. ”Is there someone else I don't know about?”

Gwen's answering smile was weak, tired. ”Oh, you know about him. You certainly do.” Jack became earnest and his eyes slid away to the empty glass. There it was: the elephant in the room they'd ignored since he'd found out about her engagement. She looked at him for a long moment, then she added with a sad smile, ”He's not an option, though.”

Ashamed, Jack felt relief well up in his chest. Relief that she'd apparently overcome that particular demon, the one he'd called by flirting too much, by touching inappropriately, by planting false hope. ”You knew that from the start.”

”I certainly did.” He saw her swallow and her hands closed around the edge of the desk. ”It's not because of him that I'm unsure about the marriage, though.”

”Why then?”

She sighed. ”There's this job and … I've seen what it can do to us. I'm scared I'll … damage Rhys by marrying him, by pulling him into this. One day, he will find out.”

”He will. And he'll be retconned.”

”Yes, but I won't. I'll know what happened. It'll change things between us.”

”Gwen ...” Jack paused, thinking his words through carefully. He knew it wouldn't do to give her some empty promise. Gwen was a smart one. His whole team was. He'd always felt drawn to that kind of soul. The Doctor, Rose, Martha … even John was very intelligent. He looked at her earnestly. ”Do you know why I keep pushing you to have a normal life outside of Torchwood? Why I don't push the others as much?”

Gwen shook her head.

”Because you're the only one I didn't recruit because I felt responsible. We were all scarred and broken the first time we set foot into the Hub, but you … you weren't. I hired the others because I knew they were going to be tough enough, because they survived battles and grief and isolation … because they're like me. They live for this place. They've seen the darkest side of the human race. You haven't.”

”You hired me because I'm naïve?” Gwen asked, incredulous.

”No, I hired you to heal us. We locked ourselves away down here, scared to be hurt again. There was a time you said we forgot how to be human.”

Gwen swallowed. ”I didn't mean it. I … was wrong.”

”We didn't forget,” Jack said with a nod, ”but we chose to distance ourselves from the world outside, from the victims. I hired you because you seemed to be the kind of person who could remind us of the fact that, while distance is necessary, too much of it can be poisonous. We even isolated ourselves from each other. Look what happened to Suzie because of that. I completely missed Ianto's problems because ...” He smiled tiredly. ”And I think I should tell you that in my absence, you did a brilliant job. You managed to do what I failed at. You made them a team.”

Gwen blushed and ducked her head. ”It was a team effort. You were gone. We just tried to fill the hole.”

Jack nodded slowly. He leaned forward, sliding his chair closer to the desk, and wrapped his fingers around her wrist. ”You should get married, have something of a normal life, set an example for us.”

”No pressure then,” Gwen said with a grin.

Jack laughed. ”No pressure.”

She nodded and pushed away from the desk, pausing. Then she looked at him, her green eyes telling him how very, very serious she was about her next words. ”Jack … that guy I was talking about – the one who's not an option ...”

Jack nodded.

”He is a good man. He really is. Sometimes, though, he can be a bit careless with hearts. He should be more careful from now on … because Ianto deserves it.”

Jack swallowed and nodded slowly.

Gwen leaned down and kissed his cheek. ”Goodbye, Jack”, she said softly.

Jack took her hand, looking at the ring again. ”It really is beautiful.”

Gwen smiled, slowly releasing his hand and heading towards the door. Reaching the frame, she turned to face him once more, a face-splitting grin tugging at her lips. “It’s perfect.“


END
11/12


Immortal
Lyrics 'Verse Masterlist

Icon created by trexaur

Comments

( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
jo02
Dec. 2nd, 2012 10:34 am (UTC)

This kind of Jack.Gwen UST is good, it doesn't feel like it cheapens what Jack feels for Ianto, which is definitely how it came across on the show. Very well done.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:17 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
I think that Jack's feelings for Gwen never cheapened what he felt for Ianto. But it's true, the show sometimes made it appear that way. In my head-canon, Jack loves Gwen and Ianto in different ways and he also still loves the Doctor in yet another way. That doesn't mean that anyone means less to him than others, if that makes any sense. :)
iolo1234
Dec. 2nd, 2012 11:22 am (UTC)
Thanks for this. I never can join in with the Gwen bashing stuff and this suits how I think about things. A lovely story.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:17 am (UTC)
Thank you. :) I don't like Gwen-bashing, either.
sandysan2013
Dec. 2nd, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
Well said on both their parts.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
meatball42
Dec. 2nd, 2012 02:09 pm (UTC)
I cannot say how much respect I have for people in this fandom who can write non-bashed, in-character, intelligent Gwen. She /does/ have good sides, no matter what people seem determined to believe, and this is the best possible showcase. What a sweet conclusion to that affair, I want to give it a nice hug :)
jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
withywindle01
Dec. 2nd, 2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
Ditto to all the above comments. KKBB! is my second favorite ep of TW (Fragments being number 1), but I've always hated that scene between Gwen and Jack. This story really puts a good and satisfying spin on it. Well done!
fide_et_spe
Dec. 2nd, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
I really like the way you've used the scene in KKBB. I actually hate that scene and cringe so much I can't watch it. However what you've written makes sense, it's so much better and they both feel in character.

I think it's also nice what you've done for Rhys here, one of the things I hated with that scene was her attitude towards Rhys, as I like him a lot and think they have great chemistry. It's nice you've extrapolated her reasons for being ambivalent into something that really works.




jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:21 am (UTC)
Thank you. :) It's a very strange scene as it seems out of character for both of them. I don't even peg Gwen for the type to say something like "Nobody else will". It doesn't fit her.
fide_et_spe
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
Yes she's too confident and wouldn't think that way about herself. We've already seen her have an affair. Plus we've seen evidence of how much she cares about Rhys by that point. It's just odd and I hate the dynamic, her googly eyes and both of them are histrionic.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
KKBB is one of my favourites, too. I just love John Hart for some reason.
marii_chan
Dec. 2nd, 2012 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for this. There are a lot of things that Gwen does that make me dislike her from time to time, but that doesn't mean I enjoy Gwen bashing. I find those kind of fics tend to portray her completely out of character. I like more earnest stories like this one that show her as morally conflicted.

Good job on this.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 3rd, 2012 07:22 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
Any kind of character bashing tends to be OOC, so I don't read it. Even characters I don't like so much somehow deserve to be portrayed in a realistic way.
larsinger29
Dec. 3rd, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
This turned out fantastic (not that it wasn't already). It really, really nicely explores the relationship between Jack and Gwen. My take on their situation is pretty much the same as yours: they have an initial spark, an attraction that they flirt with, but eventually their UST turns into a friendship-type love. One of my favorite elements of COE and Miracle Day was that the characters could be best friends and not have to always be attempting to lead the audience to believe they'll end up together.

Anyways, this is terrific. Gwen is written in a competent, compelling way that highlights what is really likeable about her character. She does have some great elements, and her insight and drive to do good and help are definitely part of that. Similarly, Jack is self-aware and understanding, and his argument for why he hired Gwen and what she brings to the team rings true.

I enjoyed this so much. Thanks for writing and sharing it! :o)
jolinarjackson
Dec. 4th, 2012 07:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for helping me out with it. :)
dylantoms
Dec. 4th, 2012 12:23 am (UTC)
Wow, unexpectedly [for me] lovely. A positive, warm and believable interaction between these two. Very good indeed.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 4th, 2012 07:04 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
aviv_b
Dec. 4th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
Very nice, you've kept the characters in canon, but cleared up that very awkward scene
of Gwen, Jack and the ring. I always felt that Gwen chose Rhys not because she couldn't have Jack but because she realized that TW was changing her and she'd never be able to have an honest relationship with anyone else. Not that she had one with Rhys at that point, but it was closer than she'd be able to have with anyone else. He at least knew her before TW messed with her head.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 4th, 2012 07:06 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)
I personally think that she came to realize what Rhys really meant to her starting with End Of Days and his temporary death. It's a development, but it goes through the entire second season - her and Jack still being close but realizing that their relationships to Rhys and Ianto are more than a relationship between them built on hasty decisions and want could be.
itsmeyousee
Dec. 8th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
First time comment and i enjoy your stories, while liking this one, i think the timing is wrong, sorry. It's too early in Season two to believe that either one of them have given up on this , i don't know fantasy maybe or whatever their relationship is. Not saying that it has anything to do with Ianto or Rhys but just not buying at this time. Will look forward in the verse of yours to see how you will deal with it being back in the forefront in Meat, SB and EW
jolinarjackson
Dec. 8th, 2012 10:18 am (UTC)
Thank you for commenting.

As for the timing, nobody says this is over. :) Did you ever decide not to pursue a potential love for some reason? I did and it worked good for a while, but in the end, it always comes back to bite you in the arse. In my head-canon, Jack and Gwen made an effort at the start of series 2, with Gwen further planning her wedding and Jack stepping things up with Ianto. They tried to leave this UST behind but of course, it takes time and there are setbacks.
itsmeyousee
Dec. 9th, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
Thank you for replying, your canon head makes it sound reasonable but i don't see it, particularly from Gwen i would love to have seen more of the woman in KKBB that is so proud of Rhys and his new job, but i don't see her until COE or more completely in MD, in Season 2 i still see her wanting Jack to make the first move and if he did, Rhys would be gone, not saying that would be a good or bad personally i think bad, she needs Rhys more than she realises in Season 2, so i'm not seeing this effort as for Jack, he does what he has always done to me anyway when they put a choice there for Jack he chooses Ianto , he reasonings might be different in Season 2 compared to Season 1 but even in Season 1 Jack chose Ianto
jolinarjackson
Dec. 9th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
That whole getting over the UST is a WIP in series 2. I think it's hard for her to get over that crush. But Jack doesn't make it easy on her, either.
itsmeyousee
Dec. 10th, 2012 05:13 am (UTC)
No Jack doesn't, and while always love reading your stories, interesting to see where you take Gwen with this now you have her acknowledge that Ianto is in Jack's personal life and deserves better
triquetralin
Dec. 17th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Wonderful story. A very honest and intimate moment, and spot on how it should have been! Very well done.
jolinarjackson
Dec. 18th, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )