In his soul, The Face of Boe knew he was dying. Centuries had gone by, eons, and he’d been waiting. It was time. Finally, it was time. He had delivered the final message, the one he'd been waiting many centuries to deliver. And the Doctor, trying to save him. Always trying to save him. He almost regretted the betrayal in his final message. You are not alone, indeed, Doctor, he thought. Too bad the other Time Lord is the Master. It was too, too bad that the Year that Never Happened was a fixed point in time and space. It had to happen, then un-happen. And it had to happen to him. He often wished he'd had his own insights then, but as a fixed point in time himself, he understood that things that have to happen cannot be altered even a tiny bit.
His fixed point was finally closing. He'd known for a thousand or more years it would happen, but until recently, he hadn't known when. He closed his eyes and relaxed in a way he had never relaxed before, even when he was in his full body. The end had found him. He could feel the darkness. The light that leaked through his eyelids faded and he gave himself to it.
An unknowable amount of time later, he became aware of sounds. His memory dredged up something that terrified him. "Something is moving in the dark," he'd been told. "And it's coming for you."
Somewhere to what felt like his left, someone cleared his throat, then spoke. "You forgot. I knew you'd forget."
Jack's eyes flew open before he realized he was Jack again, in full body and no longer just the Face. "What?" he cried hoarsely. He saw a man standing in front of him, a young man with beautiful eyes, dressed in an impeccably tailored suit in the fashion of a time long gone. He was familiar. Jack felt a lump in the throat he'd forgotten he had. "You...you're..."
The young man smiled with genuine humor. "I want to know how long it took you to forget. Ten years? Twenty? A hundred? Surely less than five hundred."
A name slipped into Jack's mind. "Ianto Jones!" He wasn't sure how he was able to say it, but to himself he sounded young again, or as young as he had sounded several eons ago.
The other man raised one eyebrow. "That was impressive, sir. I was sure it would take you a few hours to sort through old memories and come up with the right name."
Jack stared. "I never forgot you," he said, his voice gaining in strength. "I may have been slow to dredge up the name but, Ianto, you can't expect me to have forgotten the one person I would have sacrificed the human race to save."
Ianto's face fell. "I'd been hoping you were not entirely serious when you said that. Even for a dying man, that was a bit much to live up to. If you'll pardon the expression, sir." It was impossible for Jack to stifle the snort that rose up in response to the comment. Ianto continued after a brief but unheartfelt frown. "You sacrificed your grandson for the human race, and you would have sacrificed the human race for me. That's ... well, that's something we'll never have to deal with again."
Jack realized he had free movement. He walked hesitantly toward Ianto. When he reached him, he held back from taking the man in his arms and simply took his hands. "I would have spared Stephen if there had been any other way. I had no time to try anything else. It cost me my daughter. She would never look at me again. If you'd been alive, I'd have lost you, too."
Ianto shook his head sadly. "No, you wouldn't have lost me. You could never have lost me. I love you that much. I've been waiting here in the dark to tell you that. You were never unloved."
Then Jack did gather Ianto up into his arms. "What happens now?" he asked softly.
"Not sure," Ianto admitted. "I guess we walk into the light or something cliched like that. Of course, I don't see any particular light source. Maybe we're meant to make it up as we go along."
"We've always been good at that," Jack said, kissing Ianto's lips lightly, then harder and more passionately. It might have gone on for longer had Ianto not pulled back. "We do have to go somewhere," he said. "No idea where. But I think we'd better go. We can catch up on that later. Inasmuch as we ever can catch up on that.” He grinned boyishly.”So, Jack, you've been a head in a jar lately, have you?" He took Jack's hand and they started to walk in a direction neither of them could identify, not that they cared.
"Yup. With a two legged cat nun taking care of me. She had no sense of humor. It was just dull, dull, dull. She played a mean game of poker, though, once I taught her. Something about a cat's poker face."
"So it worked out for you, yeah? Good to hear that."
They continued talking, hands entwined, as they walked into the unknown.