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How Endlessly You Fall

Series: Lyrics 'Verse Masterlist
Word Count: ~1.200
Summary: Jack took a breath, tried to explain, to make it better but the truth was that he'd tried it out in his head - every single excuse - and there was nothing that came even close to being good enough to utter.
Characters: Jack Harkness, Owen Harper
Pairing: Jack/Ianto
Rating: PG-13
Spoiler: Reset, Dead Man Walking, A Day In The Death
Setting: after A Day In The Death
Warnings: references to canon character death
Contains: sexual references, language
Author's Note: I know it's been a while and I'm so ashamed for it, but - as always in these cases - real life is to blame and a major writer's block. I'm back on track now, though. This first, and soon, something a lot longer will come. Watch this space! ;)
Beta: Because this took long enough without being beta'ed, I decided to fly solo ...
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 Breathe belongs to Alexi Murdoch.

You'll Be The Death Of Me
Lyrics 'Verse Masterlist


And all the suffering that you've witnessed
And the hand prints on the wall
They remind you how it's endless
How endlessly you fall
(Breathe by Alexi Murdoch)

There was something serene and peaceful about Jack's quarters at night. Something that had been sorely missing when he'd still been waiting for the Doctor, still listening to every sound with nervous tension, hadn't dared to close the hatch in fear of missing an alarm that would tell him the Doctor had arrived ... it was easier to relax, to focus entirely on Ianto, to just be, now that he'd chosen to be here. With the hatch closed and only the soft light of the standard lamp in the corner, it was quiet. Like a bubble only inhabited by Ianto and him.

It was warm under the duvet, wrapped around Ianto as he was. Jack buried his face in Ianto's hair and breathed in, smiling against the dark strands when Ianto shifted in his sleep and mumbled something into the pillow.

”Need to get some paperwork done,” he whispered, knowing Ianto wouldn't hear him but feeling better saying it. Leaving Ianto alone in bed at night struck him as strange. He tried not to, tried to sleep and sometimes succeeded, other times just drifted … but there were nights like tonight when he got too restless to stay, no matter how relaxed he felt.

When he reached his office, he noticed that something was out of place. It was just a feeling that made him freeze on the last rung of the ladder through the hatch. He was so in tune with the Hub that he sometimes felt like the slightest changes in the air currents could tip him off to something not being as it should. He didn't think it was dangerous but closed the hatch softly behind him either way and grabbed his Webley nevertheless … being careful had never hurt anyone and he had Ianto to think of.

However, as soon as he'd sneaked into the main room, he relaxed. It was Owen's leather jacket that had tipped him off, draped over the back of his chair. He wasn't in the med-bay, though. Jack re-holstered his gun and raised his gaze. He was rewarded with the sight of a shadow moving behind the window of the hothouse and went up the spiral staircase.

In the doorway, he hesitated for a moment. Talking to Owen was hard these days. Jack was all too aware of what he'd done. He'd taken the thing he hated the most about himself and turned it on Owen ... and then he'd made it worse. It was hard to look into Owen's eyes. It was hard to be around him … Owen knew, he was sure, and he probably resented Jack for being unable to cope with something he'd inflicted.

”What are you waiting for?” Owen asked, stepping from behind a tall plant. He didn't look at Jack, instead focused on watering it.

Jack shoved his hands in his trouser pockets and gathered his resolve. ”Permission to enter, I guess.”


Jack stepped inside … and stopped. He looked around the collection of plants - both alien and from Earth. Struggling to find something to say, he finally asked, ”What are you doing here? I sent all of you home to get some rest.”

“I don't need rest, remember?” Owen answered. ”Don't need sleep, don't need food, don't need orgasms.” He glanced at Jack as if he expected an answer. Jack found himself in the unusual position of having not the slightest idea what to say. Owen snorted and shook his head, then started to water another plant that had black, big leafs. ”So I came here and wanted to do the inventory in the med-bay, but then I decided that I really didn't need to hear you and Ianto shag, so I went up here.”

Jack forced a grin. ”Don't tell him you heard. He'll be mortified.”

Owen glanced at him from the corner of his eye, then - to Jack's relief - a slow grin started to grow on his lips. ”He wasn't the one begging.”

Jack chuckled. ”Still, he'll be embarrassed.”

”All the more reason to tell. It's not like I have any other joy in life … death.”

Jack ducked his head, the good mood the short exchange had brought evaporating in an instant to be replaced by shame. ”I'm sorry.”

”As you should be!” Owen answered angrily, stepping towards him with a finger pointed at Jack's chest. ”You had two jobs to do, just two: Freeze me and hire a new doctor. Instead, you screwed up and you screwed me over and how exactly is this supposed to be better than death?!”

Jack swallowed and shook his head. ”I didn't think this would happen.”

”You never think, Jack, that's the problem! You just act and then you wing it! Well, this time, you can't wing anything! This time, you went too far. And the worst thing is that you won't learn from this. You'll do it again! And next time, it won't be me you're killing, it will be Tosh or Gwen or Ianto."

The thought brought angry tears to Jack's eyes. "Don't say that!"

"Why not? It's true!" He brushed past Jack to leave, but Jack grabbed his arm.

Owen shook him off angrily. "Watch it, you might break me!"

Jack let go of him, startled.

Owen didn't leave, though, he waited, regarding him coldly. "So?"

Jack took a breath, tried to explain, to make it better but the truth was that he'd tried it out in his head - every single excuse - and there was nothing that came even close to being good enough to utter.

So he didn't apologize, he just told the truth.

”I couldn't lose you.”

Owen stared at him, waiting.

”I couldn't,” Jack repeated after a while. ”Not without saying a proper goodbye.”

Owen shook his head. ”You don't fool me. It was never just about saying goodbye, was it, Jack? You let yourself be torn apart by Weevils to get to this glove, Tosh told me! You wouldn't have done that for just two more minutes with me. You knew … you knew something like this would happen.”

”I never-”

”Admit it!”

Jack closed his eyes. ”I assumed.” He ducked his head, his eyes finding the entrance to his office. Underneath, Ianto was still sleeping soundly. Owen's words rang through his head and he nodded. ”That's why I used it, I thought being immortal would give me the chance to do for you what Gwen did for Suzie, just not as devastating to myself.”

”Well you guessed wrong,” Owen replied, ”'cause I'm still dead. I'm a walking, talking corpse. I can't even do my job right. I can't give CPR and that's only the beginning. I'd rather be dead.”

”I said that I'm sorry.”

”Prove it.”

Jack shrugged helplessly. ”How?”

”By not making the same mistake twice.” With that, he turned away and headed down the stairs to the main Hub.

Jack leaned on the rail, looking after him. ”Owen ...”

He stopped at the doorway to the med-bay.

”Forgive me?”

Owen turned around to him. ”I don't have much of a choice, do I?” he asked slowly.

Jack closed his eyes … and wished he could turn back time.


Lyrics 'Verse Masterlist
Complete Fanfiction Masterlist

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 23rd, 2013 05:58 pm (UTC)
It's great to see another story from you after all this time. Somehow Torchwood has made such an impact on people that we can slip right back into that mindset years after the last episode. This was another case where Jack acted impulsively from good or at least understandable motives, and this time Owen paid the price. And without ever making it explicit, you've really illuminated Jack's loneliness. Looking forward to more from you!
Nov. 24th, 2013 05:23 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
Nov. 23rd, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
Ditto to what teaboyfan said - it's wonderful to see a new story from you, and I'm now anticipating what's to come. Great characterization for both Jack and Owen. Your motive for Jack rang very true. I always thought he believed (or hoped, at least) that he could bring him back like Gwen did with Suzie. It's an interesting premise, cause there are just so many ways that could have gone wrong.
Nov. 24th, 2013 05:24 am (UTC)
Thank you. :)

I think he at least hoped he would be able to do the same Gwen did for Suzie. It's just his (and Owen's) luck it didn't quite work that way.
Nov. 24th, 2013 12:31 am (UTC)
Yay! Another story from you!

Oh Jack, admit it. There's no reason and no excuse for what you did. You're a creature of impulse and emotion, for all that you pretend to be the Heartless Commander. You're so selfish -- and yet at the same time you're so generous. I suppose that's why we love you.
Nov. 24th, 2013 05:26 am (UTC)
I think Jack's selfish in kind of a good way. He tries to keep his team around because he loves them all very much. So, yes, he might pretend he's heartless but he's probably the most emotional one on the team.
Nov. 24th, 2013 10:00 am (UTC)
Ditto Teaboyfan! This was wonderful and heart-wrenching. You really captured the emotion of this situation.
Nov. 25th, 2013 01:54 am (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Nov. 24th, 2013 12:44 pm (UTC)
That packed a punch! I feel bad for both of them. Owen has a living death that's worse than death, Jack is full of guilt and shame for what he did in an attempt to keep from losing one of his team. The road to hell is paved witg good intentions, that's never been as clearly illustrated as it is here. Jack meant well, but that doesn't make Owen feel any better or change his situation in the slightest.
Nov. 25th, 2013 01:54 am (UTC)
I completely agree. Thank you for reading. :)
Nov. 24th, 2013 06:38 pm (UTC)

Lol, everybody ditto Teaboyfan :) This was nice and painful, a good combination. It's lovely to see you back with another story and I'm really looking forward to what's coming next.
Nov. 25th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
Don't quite know what will be next, 'cause I have several things in their finishing stages, but the next Mosaic installment will be one of them. :)
Nov. 25th, 2013 09:39 am (UTC)
This was so heart-wrenching and perfect. I could definitely feel Jack's guilt, and Owen's anger, resentment and resignation were perfectly captured as well. This entire thing just hits you right in the stomach with the emotions, and I'm glad you explored more this turbulent time. What we saw in the show seemed like it just scratched the surface, and this gave us more depth to the tensions boiling between the two.

Great job! This was really excellent!
Nov. 25th, 2013 01:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )