When he’d first put it on, it had merely been part of the role he was playing, helping him to fit into a time not his own just the way his stolen name did. It was a prop, a costume, nothing more.
A lot has changed since then; now the coat is as much a part of him as his own skin, the familiar weight of it on his shoulders is reassuring, comforting. It makes him feel invincible, which he is, in a way. More than that, it grounds and anchors him; some might even say it defines him. What had once been little more than an article of clothing has, over the decades, become more like an old friend; he feels naked without it.
Not that he’s ever minded being naked, but this is a different sort of nakedness; perhaps it’s more accurate to say that he feels vulnerable without it, as if it has come to symbolise a kind of armour against the world, a talisman to protect him, even though he really doesn’t need protection. It’s just a piece of blue-grey woollen fabric, cut and shaped to fit, and fastened with fancy buttons, but he cherishes it. Judging by the attention and care Ianto lavishes on it, he isn’t the only one.
Cleaned and repaired once more, it hangs on the coat rack awaiting him and he smiles as Ianto lifts it reverently from its hanger and holds it for him to put on. As it settles onto his shoulders, Jack stands straighter; he feels taller somehow. Whatever they are going to face out there, he’s ready.