Author's Note: So, I'm definitely new to Torchwood, and I've never seen Dr. Who (though for the story I did do a little research), but this plot bunny wouldn't leave me alone, making writing the next chapter in my House story freaking impossible. I'm hoping that by bring this fic to fruition I can move on.
Author's Note Two: I don't do AU's. I don't know why, but for some reason, all I can do is write fix-its, and make them take place in the future. So, suffice it to say that this piece right here begins after Children of the Earth (obviously), after Miracle Day, after Torchwood's eventual demise (because I'm assuming at some point in the future they'll dissolve Torchwood), after all of it. Oh, and if anyone wants to Britpick, that would be straight-up awesome, just send me a message because I'm doing the best I can, which unfortunately merely consists of switching out words like "apartment" for "flat."
Ianto Jones never thought he would end up as a ghost. After all, the best years of his life were spent destroying spirits and the like, so naturally he'd assumed that he wouldn't exactly be welcomed into their fold when his time finally came. He had expected the darkness that had been described to him by others in the past, but somehow he had emerged from Death a floating, transparent being.
Life, and death as it turned out, were weird.
It had taken some getting used to, of course, though learning to travel from one place to another hadn't been hard. Common sense had told him to try just thinking of somewhere he desired to be, and desire to be there, which had worked flawlessly. Unfortionately, however, figuring out how to move objects around by channeling emotion through his ethereal hands hadn't been such a cakewalk.
He had known from the beginning that it was something that could be done. Years of working for Torchwood had instilled that knowledge in him. Though several frustrating months of swatting at Jack's surroundings fruitlessly tested his faith. Finally, in a fit of fury, Ianto had aimed a slap at a nearby book and the damn thing had actually shifted a little to the left. Ianto's following yell had been so loud that he later wondered if it was his imagination that Jack's eyes had narrowed slightly in suspicion.
Jack. Fuck. After everything he still loved Jack.
Jack. Who had still, in Ianto's final minutes, been unable to say the words that had risen so readily to his own lips. But he'd promised to never forget him, which Ianto had supposed was something. For a boyfriend destined to live forever, never was quite a long time.
And it had been to Ianto's immense relief that Jack seemed to be following through with his word. No, it wasn't as if his Time-Traveling-Unable-To-Die-Ex spent years, lives, still crying over the consequences of the lethal fog, but there was a small picture of the two of them that Jack kept on the inside door of his closet, and every Sunday, like clockwork, he swung the door open and stared at it.
The reason Ianto knew this was slightly embarrassing: even in the afterlife, Jack was still his entire world.
He had tried to waste his time doing other things; he really had. Once he'd become good at moving objects around, he had picked up a book and began teaching himself Italian, and after that, the violin. After that, he'd visited every place in the world that he had ever wanted to see. But nothing kept him entertained, not one damn thing because nothing could replace the excitement that he'd felt every time he had opened his eyes to see the long masculine form lying beside him. And so it hadn't been long before he gave into the temptation and began invisibly stalking Jack, though he tried to tell himself that that wasn't what he was doing. But morning, noon, and night he loitered around wherever Jack happened to be, listening to his conversations, reveling in the sound of his voice. Every so often, when Jack was talking to Gwen, or occasionally to others, Ianto's name would come up and each time "Ianto" was uttered with an American accent, tears ran down his cheeks.
He was, even in death, slightly pathetic.
Which was how he had ended up in South Africa that Tuesday evening.
Since Torchwood had disbanded, Jack had taken it upon himself to handle whatever alien remnants he could find. He'd heard some whisperings about a small cave on the Southern side of the continent so he'd traveled that way, with Ianto following, muttering the entire way about the "fucking heat" (as he was a ghost he actually didn't feel different temperatures, but it relieved some of his concern for Jack to complain).
The cave in question was easy enough to spot - not too many others gave off light from the inside. As Jack stepped inside the lights went out and both man and ghost were left in total darkness.
"Fantastic," Ianto heard Jack mutter, and he found himself grinning lightly. He'd forgotten how amusing Jack could be when he was frustrated.
It's odd, he thought, with a touch of melancholy. The things you miss.
Ianto wasn't sure at what point Jack withdrew the flashlight, but suddenly the cave was bathed in bright yellow light, making it possible to step forward without walking into things. The pair moved further inside, Jack going further than Ianto, who was distracted by a small, glittering stone wedged between the floor and the wall of the cave. He wondered how Jack had missed it, then reached for it, his hand acting of its own accord.
His fingers closed around the smooth, black stone, and as he brought it up to his eye line, carefully watching to make sure Jack wasn't paying attention, he caught sight of the silver chain dangling. Oh. Right. So it was a necklace then. There was minuscule writing carved into the bottom of the stone, almost invisible due to a thick layer of dirt, so Ianto did the only thing that made sense: he dusted it off.
Immediately he realized that he had made a grave mistake. The air in the cave began to pick up, and if ethereal hair on the back of his neck could have stood up it absolutely would have.
He spun around to face Jack, who of course couldn't see him, and wasn't really looking his direction anyway (which Ianto counted as a plus because he might have been a little unnerved to see a piece of crude jewelry just floating in air). Instead, Jack was staring at the opening to the cave as though it was the culprit, smiling, almost laid back about the entire thing.
Ianto followed his gaze, not sure what he was looking for, but when no sentient being came running into the room he relaxed slightly (though he couldn't begin to guess why he had been worried - it wasn't as if Jack could die).
Until an unfamiliar female voice from behind him said, rather flatly, actually, "Oh. So you're dead then. Well, I guess I know what your first wish is going to be."