Title: Hold Onto What Is Good
Spoilers: Series 1
Summary: Missing scene at the end of Small Worlds
Disclaimers: I own nothing!
Notes: The poem is a native American blessing. Comments please!
Ianto kept in the background, always in the background. They didn’t notice him and that was how he liked it. Today nobody noticed him because they were all too mad at Jack. Ianto stood back and watched as they barely spared him a glance as they packed up ready to storm out.
Jack didn’t even look at them as each of them sent him a glare and strode out. Ianto watched Jack. He was sitting at his desk staring straight ahead. Ianto chewed his lip, then slunk silently over to Jack’s liquor cabinet. He poured a whiskey and placed it in front of Jack without a word.
Jack’s fingers curled around the whiskey glass and he held it tight for a few moments before he seemed to realised it was there. He took a sip, then glanced up at Ianto.
“You not having one?”
Ianto shook his head. It was Jack’s whiskey. Besides, his tablets weren’t supposed to be mixed with alcohol.
Jack sighed and sat back in his chair. “So, you’re not mad at me?”
Ianto blinked at him. “Why should I be cross with you, Sir?”
Jack smiled a little bitterly. “They all are.” He took another sip and he studied Ianto carefully for what felt like a long time. “So, what do you think? About me letting Jasmine go with them?”
Ianto glanced away then back at Jack. “What would have happened if you hadn’t?”
Jack sighed. “End of the world. Those… creatures would have torn the Earth apart in rage. They’re unstoppable.”
Ianto looked down. “Then you had no choice. She was already lost, wasn’t she? Sometimes…there’s nothing else you can do.” He swallowed hard. In his head, echoed the words Jack had once said to him. ‘She’s gone. Your loyalty is to us now.’
He felt Jack watching him. “Ianto, how are you?”
Ianto, startled by the question, glanced at Jack. “How am I?”
Jack sipped casually. “Yes. Are you still taking those pills? Do they help?”
Ianto shrugged. “They help me sleep, I suppose.”
Jack looked hard at him. “No nightmares?”
Ianto shook his head. “I don’t remember my dreams these days.”
Jack frowned. He drained his glass then got up and walked around to Ianto’s side of the desk. He perched on it and looked at him.
“Have you said goodbye to her?”
Ianto looked back at him. “Have you said goodbye to Estelle?”
Jack frowned and looked away. “People die, Ianto. She was old.”
“Yes, she was. But you loved her.”
Jack glanced at him, eyes wide and surprised. “Yes,” he admitted quietly. “I loved her.”
Ianto nodded, then strode away from the desk and towards Jack’s coat stand. He could feel Jack watching him. He picked up Jack’s coat and returned to him. He helped Jack into it.
“Come on.” He strode out, expecting Jack to follow him. Jack did. Ianto hoped he could help, just a little bit, the way Jack helped him.
Outside the tourist office, they stopped and stood by the chain link fence and looked out at the calm, dark blue water. Jack sighed as he watched the little ripples below them. It was so calm. It wouldn’t be this calm if he’d not have let Jasmine go. But Estelle. She’d had years left yet. To be killed by those creatures for nothing, just because of their malice. It wasn’t fair.
He glanced at Ianto. The young man was standing with his hands clasped together and resting on one of the fence posts. His eyes were closed and he was whispering something. It was in Welsh and he couldn’t quite hear well enough to understand so he just watched. He watched peace settle over Ianto’s face and his chest ached. He wanted to feel that too.
Ianto finished his prayer and turned to face him with the slightest smile. “Do you have religion, Jack?”
Jack shook his head. “There isn’t religion where I come from. Only faith.”
“It can help, you know. I pray every day, about Lisa. It helps.” Ianto looked out over the water as he spoke, his voice soft and sad.
Jack stepped a little closer to him. “There is something,” he whispered.
Ianto looked at him. “What?”
“My mum used to say it, after…when she was feeling bad.”
“Tell me,” said Ianto, gently.
Jack took a deep breath and recited the poem he remembered his mum whispering whenever she got that sad look in her eyes, when she thought of those she’d lost.
Hold onto what is good
even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold onto what you believe
even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold onto what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold onto life
even when it is easier letting go.
Hold onto my hand
even when I have gone away from you.
For a moment, the memories swamped him. Estelle, cold and limp in his arms, frail and brittle. He swallowed down the tears which threatened and pushed that memory away. Others took it’s place: the comfort of having Estelle in arms; the joy of laughing with her; the affection he felt as he indulged her latest obsession.
He’d had her in his life, for a short, unforgettable time, she’d been there. There had been others there, so many people he’d loved in his life. He could never forget any of them, not ever. Their absence still hurt but their presence had brought him so much and he couldn’t ever forget that. He owed it to them
He glanced at Ianto and found him watching him with tears of compassion in his eyes. Jack looked back at him. They’d both felt the ache of grief. Jack didn’t even know how many loved ones Ianto had lost, even just at Canary Wharf. So young but already burdened with grief, just like him.
“I like that,” said Ianto. “I’ll always hold her and the others because no one else will.”
Jack nodded and took a deep breath. “Yes, always,” he whispered.
Ianto sighed and turned back to face the water. Jack watched him for a moment, then turned too and watched the gentle ripples. He breathed in deep, feeling settled somehow by the quiet around them and the presence of Ianto by his side.