Jack sits alone, holding the photographs. He, all grim smiles in vain portraits, barely different as years pass. She, beautiful in white, and long since lost forever. His wife.
He smiles, remembering the naivety of two souls clinging to something in the darkness. He didn’t recognise it until now, the echoes of her he sees in Gwen, and he wonders, just for a moment, if he’s been thinking as clearly as he should about PC Cooper.
Dancing with Ianto, his Ianto, has scared him so much he’s fled here to sit alone in the dark. With so much emotion, so much festivity, it seemed almost an obligation, lovers declaring themselves on the dance floor in lieu of aisles and vicars and stupid families. Ianto had been caught up in the reflected glory of the happy couple, and Jack had just wanted to get it over and done with.
He had held on in terror of Ianto realising his heart wasn’t in it, because the last thing he wants is to hurt him. Ianto had been oblivious, stayed oblivious until he’d drifted off to sleep in Jack's bed, but Jack hates pretending to someone he cares for.
He doesn’t care for the trappings, however peripheral, of marriage. Marriage, the promise of lives that will burn and fade together, reminding him death cannot part him, even from the pain. Marriage the lie, a desperate attempt to make the intangible and fickle love real. Marriage the betrayer, breaking what should never have been together, and driving apart what should.
He hates the whole stupid concept, this myth of wedded bliss.
The memory of a happier day tries its best to keep the smile. But too much has happened since and it freezes him instead.