Ianto stood in Jack's bunker, looking around for… something, anything, to say where Jack had gone and why, perhaps a message of some kind, but there was nothing out of place, nothing out of the ordinary, except the backpack that usually hung from a hook on the wall was gone. So was the severed hand in its jar that had lived in Jack's office since before Ianto had joined Torchwood Three.
He sighed, resigned; most likely the Doctor had shown up and Jack had left with him, but why hadn't he said something first, let them know he was leaving? Did he and the rest of the team matter so little to Jack that they didn't even merit a goodbye? Well, maybe they didn't at that; they'd betrayed him, and although Jack had said he forgave them, what they'd done still had to have hurt him. He'd trusted them, and look how they'd repaid that trust. Maybe none of them should be surprised he'd left at the first opportunity.
Perhaps there hadn't been time for him to write a note, but… Jack had been waiting for the Doctor for a very long time, if the files Ianto had read in the archives were anything to go by. If he knew he was going to leave someday, then surely he could have written something beforehand and just dropped it on his desk as he was leaving. He hadn't; Ianto had already gone through everything on there, and everything in the desk drawers, several times before coming down here to search.
The bunker somehow seemed smaller and colder without Jack there; it already had an air of abandonment and Jack had been gone less than a day. Ianto felt a lot like that room, empty and cold, echoing hollowly inside where the sight and scent and sound of Jack had once filled his senses, making him feel alive. Now like the room he was abandoned; they all were. Ianto knew he shouldn't single himself out, the others must feel as lost as he did, but he'd thought after that kiss… Had Jack ever cared for him at all, or had he just been a convenient distraction, a bed warmer, a placeholder until something or someone better came along? It was unlikely he'd ever know for sure, not now, but it hurt to think Jack might have just been using him.
Hadn't he used Jack though, back when he'd been hiding what he'd believed was Lisa? Maybe this was no more than he deserved, payback in kind.
Sinking onto the edge of Jack's cramped little cot, Ianto dropped his head in his hands; it just wasn't like Jack to vanish without leaving some kind of clue. Then again, always before when he'd gone missing, he'd still been in Cardiff so Tosh had been able to trace the signal from his wrist strap and find out which rooftop he'd retreated to. Not this time. She'd tried, hoping that perhaps he'd just stepped out for a breath of fresh air; he'd been dead for several days, after all, and had still been looking a bit peaky. But wherever he'd gone to must have been well beyond the range of her equipment because there hadn't been so much as a blip.
Pulling out his phone, Ianto checked it for what felt like the hundredth time, and might well have been; he hadn't been counting. He got the same result as all the other times: no missed calls, no voicemails, no texts. He hadn't honestly expected anything, it was unlikely Jack was still on earth and Ianto was doubtful even one of Torchwood's alien tech enhanced mobiles could send a signal through space or through time, but still, if there was even the smallest chance…
Maybe Jack had set something up on his computer, an email or private message that would be sent to them all if he didn't log on within a specified period of time. In a few days, perhaps they'd all receive a message in their inboxes… He shook his head; he was clutching at straws now. There was no note, no explanation, no 'Sorry, guys, I had to go away for a bit but I'll be back. Don't wait up.' Not even a line to say, 'You all betrayed me so I'm leaving forever. Have a nice rest of your lives. Or not.'
Deep down, Ianto couldn't even find it in himself to blame Jack for taking off like that; betrayed by the four people he trusted the most, shot dead by one of them, only to revive and have to face a gigantic demon intent on sucking the life force out of every single person on the planet… Being dead for three days after that probably hadn't been particularly restful; he hadn't looked too well when he'd eventually resurrected again. If anyone deserved time off it was Jack, but that left the question of whether his absence was temporary or permanent, and since he hadn't contacted them they had no way of knowing. So where did that leave them? Abandoned and leaderless, apparently.
Sitting up straight again, Ianto rubbed his face wearily; it was late, the others had left hours ago. He knew he should probably go home too, only that would leave the Hub empty and what if there was a Rift alert? What if Jack came back and found the place deserted? What if he had left a recorded message and because of the disruption opening the Rift had caused to the computer systems, it played in the middle of the night when nobody was around to hear it? Besides, what was waiting for him back home? Just a cold, empty flat, there was nothing there that needed his attention, and anyway, if he went home he'd only have to come back again in a few hours. It didn't seen worth the effort; might as well stay where he was and try to get some sleep. He could certainly use it.
Turning out the light, he undressed in the dark, slipped between the cold sheets of Jack's cot, and wrestled with the pillow until he got it into a reasonably comfortable position. Despite being much too narrow for two grown men to share, now he was the only one in it the cot seemed far too big, or perhaps he just felt small and alone, huddled beneath the thin covers, without Jack's body to warm him like a living hot water bottle.
He never noticed the slip of paper that escaped from beneath the pillow as he wriggled around, falling to the floor where an errant gust from the ventilation system blew it beneath the small cabinet at the head of the bed. If he had, he would have seen his name written on it in Jack's familiar flowing script.
'Dear Ianto,' the note read. 'If you're reading this it's because the Doctor has finally shown up; I have questions only he can answer, and I've been waiting for him longer than you can imagine. This isn't goodbye, I am coming back, I promise; with any luck I'll be back before you even find this, but just in case I end up being gone longer than planned, keep this place running for me, will you, and make sure everyone gets paid on time? I trust you. Take care of yourself and the team; tell them not to worry. I'll see you soon, I hope. Yours, Jack.'