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The Veil Between Worlds

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Sex came as easy as breathing to Jack. Male, female, hermaphrodite, or even gender less. Humanoid or... not. As long as it was sentient and willing then Jack was able. After thousands of years he had tried every combination and every kink while still holding himself to a rigid moral code concerning his bed partners. He'd bedded kings and paupers, virgins and jaded prostitutes, Time Lords and simple, ordinary humans, and every one of them had left his bed with their equivalent of a smile.

When he slept alone it was by choice, either as a conscious decision to not have sex at all, or simply to let his memories be his bed partner. On those nights he felt the ghost of remembered touches caressing his skin. He felt the wet heat of a mouth closing over him, tentative with inexperience at first but growing more confident in their short time together. Too short. So many lovers had come both before and after, and yet only one other had ever touched his soul as deeply as Ianto Jones - and his path would cross the Doctor's many times before the end of time.

Ianto was lost forever except to his memories... or so he had once believed.

Tonight was different though. He had heard of this world centuries earlier but its location had been shrouded in myth and legend until a chance encounter brought him to this place. It was a gateway where the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was so thin that they could meet in the place in between.

Jack saw the line of those desperate to be with a loved one again, aware that some had spent years waiting their turn. He smiled wryly because all he had was time - all of time - and he would cease to exist only when time itself came to an end. Not even the Time Lords lived forever. He had worried at first when he thought that he was aging, imagining a time when he would be nothing more than a shriveled shell of an old man, but the process had halted millennia ago when he reached an age that was considered prime for his people.

He was truly immortal, and would remain like this for all time. It was his gift, and it was his curse. So he took his number and walked away, returning every few years on this day to see how far the line had moved forward. He could have easily stolen a number closer to the front, or earned it through gambling or bedding its owner, but he recognized the need in the eyes of those standing ahead of him. He saw it reflected back in his own eyes whenever he looked into the mirror and dwelt on one blip in time - and those ahead of him did not have the luxury of eternity to wait in line. They were unwilling to take the risk that they would be reunited with their loved one in death, willing to put their faith in the promise offered by this place rather than miss that last opportunity.

Who was he to take that from them? Especially when he had never seen Ianto in all the many times he had met his death - now matter how gentle or brutal.

This night his number was called, and he stepped into the hidden chamber beyond where he was led down a corridor to a small room containing simple items of furniture; a bed and a single chair.

As soon as he stepped inside he felt a change in the quality of the air. It wasn't drugged, just heavy with a feel of other-worldliness. One whole wall was missing, shrouded in swirling gray, and yet when he reached out, his fingers dragged across a surface. He pulled back when something pressed back against his fingertips, narrowing his eyes to see if he could make sense of what lay beyond. A figure was forming, and he felt his heart beat faster as he recognized the man taking shape before his eyes.

"Jack?"

"Ianto."

The well-remembered smile had Jack sucking in a deep breath as tears brimmed in his eyes. He reached out again and felt the ghostly sensation of fingers entwining with his. He felt the soft brush of lips against his own as Ianto solidified, and a hand carding through his hair in a gesture that belonged only to Ianto.

"I've missed you, Ianto Jones."

Blue eyes shone back at him, and he led Ianto to the small bed, drawing him down and holding him close. The ghost memories of touch became real once more, dancing over his skin as he rocked into Ianto, and losing himself once more in the scent and feel of his lost love. Afterwards, they lay together, wrapped in each other's arms until the veil between the worlds began to thicken and Ianto faded from his embrace.

Pulling himself together, Jack dressed slowly, lost in new memories as he was led back out.

He paused by the high marble entrance... and took a new number.

END