Title: A Valediction, Forbidding Mourning
Characters: Jack, Ianto, Torchwood Three
Disclaimer: Oh, please. If I owned them, would I let some of those idiots write the scripts? And if I were making any money off them, would I be where they could find me?
Summary: Jack and Ianto attend a very special ceremony…
Author's Note: This was written so I could have a place to put all the sadness. In the HomecomingVerse, this comes after everything except The Christmas Conspiracy and Help me Remember. Don’t worry; there will be other fics in the Universe
The strangely elegant Chula warship ghosted over the deserted Plas. As it reached a certain spot, it faded out, leaving two men standing in the moonlight. One wore a three piece suit; the other wore full WWII military get-up, including long coat and cap. They held hands as the pavement started to move slowly, taking them down into the base. There was no need to do it this way. The existence of Torchwood had been recognized by all the world’s governments and it had become the Torchwood Institute, a fully accredited but independent arm of the United Nations. But the Torchwood staff had insisted, and the men were happy to accommodate them.
A young man with a round, jolly face and a small gap between his front teeth waited for them at the bottom. As they stepped off the stone, he saluted.
“Captain in the Hub!”
The sound of feet as people snapped to attention resounded in the enclosed space.
“At ease.” The captain returned the salute and then winked. “What’s with all the military pomp, Rhys?”
“We wanted to do it right, Uncle Jack.” Gwen’s great-great-great-grandson squirmed a little. “This has been home to generations of our families. As of next week, it becomes the
Jack frowned. “I’m not sure I like the idea of all of you losing touch.”
“We won’t, Uncle Jack. We’ve taken steps.” He pointed at a regal middle-aged woman with Francine Jones’s bone structure and Andy Davidson’s coloring. “It was Aunt Francie’s idea.”
“We’ve set up a family registry. Every one of us is there, as far back as we could find written records.” She tapped a few commands into her wristbook and the large screen above their heads showed a family tree. “That’s me, all the way to
“So you’ve named the planet, then?” Ianto grinned.
She grinned back cheekily. “What else could we call it? Half of us are showing signs already!”
Jack glanced around with satisfaction. The people around him – a hundred or so, which he knew were only the on-duty agents – all carried the stamp of the people he had loved, back at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Gwen, Rhys, Martha, Tom, Tish, Andy, John, Yan, Pryce, Toshi, Sara Elizabeth, and a number of other agents that had passed through the Hub; they were all around him, in the shape of their descendants. His heart hurt from the joy of it. His only grief was that Tosh and Owen had not lived to have children.
“Rhys, what about the… bodies?” Ianto asked. “I wouldn’t want them to be part of a tourist exhibit.”
“That’s why we asked you to come,” Rhys said. “Most of them have been removed and reburied. If there was a fake grave, we put them there. Or if there was a family plot… Lisa went home to her parents, Uncle Ianto. Grey we sent off with Uncle the Doctor, uncle Jack. The Ood have agreed to keep him. If anyone can help him it’s them, though they make no promises. Others we found a place for in local churchyards. But we wanted you to be here for the last part. Would you come with us?”
They led a procession down to the old vault. They noticed that the tunnel had been refinished and the walls lined with photos and sketches of agents past and present. A new door had been installed, a simple matching set of oak panels with the “T” logo carved into them.
Beyond them, the vault was exactly as they remembered it, except for the large metal box resting on top of a table. It was nine feet long and two feet wide and featureless; at one end, three levers protruded. At the other end of the table several polished metal caskets were lined up. Jack sucked in a breath. He knew what it was, had seen it used after battles.
Ianto, always tuned to his One, felt Jack’s distress. “Jack?”
“It’s a portable crematorium, Ianto.” He looked at Rhys. “What are you planning?”
“We want to take them to New Gallifrey, Uncle Jack. They were the beginning of… us. It feels wrong to leave them behind. There will be a memorial here in this room, but… Anyway, we won’t do it if you don’t want us to.”
Jack looked at Ianto. *Ianto?*
*Let them, Cariad. They may be birthing a whole new race. They need the ceremonies and the symbols*
Jack nodded. “Do it, Rhys.”
“Thank you, Uncle Jack, Uncle Ianto. We have already cremated most of them, but we wanted you to be here for the last ones. Would you stay?”
Jack and Ianto stood at the head of the crematorium unit and watched as the first body was removed from its compartment. One of the agents – from his looks, he was descended from John Hart – pulled the first lever. The crematorium box opened, and the body was placed inside.
“Wait.” Jack said. Reaching inside, the brushed the shroud away from the face. Toshiko, still young as he remembered her, seemed to be slumbering peacefully. “You’re taking her too?”
“She’s part of the family!” Rhys protested in shocked tones. “She’s Mainframe’s mother. Besides, I don’t think the others would like it if we didn’t.”
Jack brushed his fingers over the sharp cheekbones and beautiful mouth, then stepped back.
“Wait!” Ianto said urgently, looking towards the far corner by the doors. Everyone turned. The air was shimmering, solidifying, and then, with a sharp ring like a crystal bell, Owen Harper was standing there, in his usual tatty jeans and t-shirt. The agents stood to attention.
“Oi, cut it out! I’m just a jumped- up NHS doctor.” He walked to where Jack and Ianto stood. “Hey, boss. Couldn’t stay away.”
“Haven’t seen you in a while.”
“You’ve been good about not getting killed in creative ways, so you haven’t needed me.” He leaned into the box and pressed a kiss to Tosh’s lips. “I miss you, love. Even after all these years.’
He looked at the young man at the controls and nodded. The youngster threw another lever and the top closed. Francie came up with one of the caskets. After a few seconds a small chute-like projection appeared at the end of the crematorium unit. Francie held the casket under it as a golden powder poured out. Once it was finished, she closed and locked the casket. Jack noticed it was engraved with Tosh’s name in English, Japanese, and Gallifreyan script.
The process was repeated time and time again. Martha and Tom, who had died together battling an alien plague and in whose name the United Nations had established colleges in both Cardiff and Boston for the study of extraterrestrial medicine; Andy, who had been killed when a training exercise had turned into the real thing as Cybermen erupted through a unmapped opening in the Rift, but who had lived long enough to see his first grandchild off to Uni; Tish, who had died a decade after, when a lorry lost control and crashed into the café where she and some colleagues had been having lunch; John, who should have lived another fifty years, but had gone three years after Tish of what everyone swore was grief; Gwen, who had, amazingly enough, died of old age in her bed with her husband holding her hand and her best friends sitting on either side; and finally Rhys, who had, improbably, lived to be one hundred and six, and had died on the observation deck of the TARDIS with his children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren around him as he finally saw the Earth from space.
After it was all done, a maglev platform was brought in and the caskets laid alongside others already waiting. The crematorium was loaded in the center and the whole thing surrounded by a transparent protective shield.
“It will go in the ship with us.” Rhys said. “We have already chosen a site for their memorial.”
“Good.” Ianto touched the shield briefly. “And so we move on.”
“And leave a small piece behind.” Owen whispered. “This place… I wonder if it will be haunted.”
“There might be times,” Jack said with a smile, “when the night crew will hear noises they won’t be able to explain.”
Young Rhys laughed. “Well, they’ll know there’ll be nothing to worry about. How can you be afraid of your own family?”