Chapter: 18 | ??
Characters: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones
Genre Alternate Universe, Romance
Rating: NC-17 just to be safe.
Warnings: A bit of angst, and some tentacles and d/c in the future.
Disclaimer: If I owned anything in this, I'd be a rich rich rich bitch. However, I am not a rich rich rich bitch so you may all, therefore, assume I own nothing. Which I don't. It all belongs RTD and the BBC, in case any of you didn't know.
Summary: Ianto finds himself heartbroken and alone, but eventually learns that no matter what point in Captain Jack Harkness' life he finds himself, they will always fall in love.
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Another Life XVIII
Jack stared down at the endless lists in front of him, just the thought of the gargantuan task ahead making him want to throw his pen down and give up before he'd even begun.
“... and you're sure this isn't the Senate's job? I mean … it's not like they're the ones who are causing all this trouble ….” he asked the official in the suit before him, his briefcase clutched in both his hands.
“Very sure. Besides – you know the people better than the administrators at the Senate do. You were angling for certain living arrangements, were you not?”
“I was asking that people got to pick who they lived with and that children might possibly stay with the parents they have now. Hardly a miracle I was asking for,” the Captain grumbled.
“Anyway, if it's all the same to you, Captain, I must be off.”
“Mmm. And if you move house tomorrow, your children are going with you, right?”
The official – what was his name again? Something stupid – gave him a strained look. “Quite,” was all he said, and he left without bothering to excuse himself further.
Jack stared back down at the semi-transparent plastic before him, turning the digital pages to skim over lists and lists of names, ages, flat numbers and occupation details.
He wasn't any good at this. He had no idea where to begin.
Maybe he could work his way through alphabetically? … but what if he double-paired someone? What if he had an odd number? What if he missed someone out? What if he missed a child out?
Rubbing his eyes, he sighed. It was too early for this. Even Ianto wasn't up yet.
Or maybe he was making excuses to avoid work?
No. It was too early.
He put the electronic record into his Top Priority drawer where the red invoices and letters from his ex-mother-in-law were housed (that was from the 'messy' divorce eight years previous, and lord help him if she ever found out he'd left the School and was living in the Real World and therefore accessible) and wandered back downstairs. He crept through the living room where Giacomo was sleeping peacefully on the couch still and pulled his boots off in the bedroom.
Sliding under the covers, he was just congratulating himself on not waking anyone up as he spooned into Ianto's back when a grumble rose up to greet him.
“Where have you been?”
“I had a meeting.”
“Some guy – can't remember his name. He dropped off some … stuff. Paperwork stuff.”
“At this time?”
“They're out to kill me, I know.”
“Mmf,” sighed Ianto, pulling Jack's arm further around him. “I got cold.”
Jack smiled and nuzzled his nape. “Me, too.”
They closed their eyes and drifted off.
BEEP … BEEP … BEEP … BEEP … BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP … !
Ianto's hand flew out and landed on the alarm. “Up,” he sighed, elbowing the Captain still spooned into his back.
“It's in your pigeon hole …” Jack mumbled, turning over.
“I'm not after your paperwork,” Ianto smiled, following him as he tried to roll away. “I'm after your conscious mind. Could you find that for me?”
“You were the picture of the early bird this morning …”
“Your mother was an early bird,” the Captain replied huffily, flopping onto his front.
“Early bird gets the worm,” shrugged Ianto.
Jack squinted at him, looking as though he was trying to think of something.
“What?” Ianto asked.
“Was that an innuendo?”
“If it was, will you get out of bed?”
“Give me a blow job and I'll think about it.”
Ianto rolled his eyes, and ripped the covers off the bed.
“Fine,” grumbled Jack. “Fine – I'm up.”
“I can see that,” smirked Ianto, noticing the bulge in the Captain's trousers and reconsidering Jack's offer. He was about to fulfil his part of the deal when he remembered there was a five-year-old only possibly still asleep in the next room. “Up,” he ordered regretfully.
“... don't make me call my back-up ….” he threatened, nodding towards the door.
“No … not Giacomo … please, no!” Jack begged, springing from the bed. “I hate it when you get him to jump on me,” he scowled.
“Why else would you get up when he does it?” Ianto shrugged, making his way to the bathroom and tugging down his shorts as he switched on the shower.
Jack stretched. “I'll get him ready for school if you walk him down.”
“'Kay,” Ianto called back through the water.
Since the schoolrooms had fallen down, some of the teachers were teaching from home, and other parents had volunteered to take on some students as best they could. Ianto had hoped to rent port-a-cabins – or the future equivalent thereof – but in the end he'd given up. Hardly any point now, anyway, and the system they had going was working, according to the last formative assessment.
Jack poked Giacomo's belly. “C'mon, solider. Time to face the day.”
Giacomo opened one eye, then the other. He sat up slowly, blinking, pushing off his duvet. “I don't feel well,” he frowned.
Pressing a palm to Little Jack's forehead, the Captain frowned, too. “You don't feel war-”
Jack didn't get to the end of his sentence, as last night's meal splattered all down his front and soaked into his clothes. He squeezed his eyes shut and took a deep breath. “IANTO!”
Thirty seconds later, Ianto rushed through, his hair dripping and a towel held around his middle. “Wha-? Oh … sweetheart ….”
“He was sick … all down my front!” Jack whimpered.
“I didn't mean you, Jack,” Ianto rolled his eyes, reaching for Giacomo and lifting him away from the mess that was the Captain. “C'mon … let's get you in the bath, Little Man.”
Peeling off his sodden clothes, Jack's bottom lip wibbled slightly. What about his clothes?
“I'll … um … clean up?” Jack called after them lamely, screwing his face up in disgust as his shirt squelched in his hands.
Ianto ran the water warm and bubbly, cuddling Giacomo as he cried softly.
“My tummy hurts,” he whimpered.
“Do you think you might be sick again?” Ianto asked, pulling his pyjama top over his head.
Giacomo nodded while he pouted, and sniffed as another fat tear leaked over out of his eye. Ianto cuddled him again.
“Jack?” he called. “Jack? Just leave your clothes in the corner and I'll sort them, and put a damp towel on the carpet. I really, really need you to quickly get the washing up bowl for Little Jack.”
“Kay!” Jack replied, from where he was on his hands and knees, already having started on the carpet. He got the bowl, and crouched by his little boy, concered. “Are you feeling any better?”
Little Jack shook his head as Ianto pulled off his pyjama bottoms and helped him into the bath. He pushed the bubbles around aimlessly.
“Captain?” Ianto reminded. “You need to sort your clothes out.”
“Mm,” Jack agreed distastefully, getting up. “I'll be back in a moment,” he reassured them.
Giacomo let out a distressed sound, and Ianto was already there with the bowl. “That's it … you'll feel better soon, I promise,” he said soothingly, stroking Little Jack's hair.
“It hurts,” Giacomo told him hoarsely once he was done.
“I know. But don't you feel better afterwards?”
“I wish I felt better before. Then I wouldn't be sick.”
The Captain re-emerged wearing fresh clothes. “Will he need a nurse, do you think?”
“Nah,” Ianto shrugged. “He's probably just got an upset stomach. We'll wait a few hours, and if he's not holding down his food we'll take him to a doctor. Do you know of anything we could get him for his temperature?”
“... a nurse?”
“If he gets worse,” Ianto assured him.
Jack shrugged. “Brandy in milk?”
“That's what you give babies that won't stop crying,” Ianto sighed, reaching for a flannel. He put some cold water on it, folded in neatly and warmed it in his hands a little before pressing it over Giacomo's forehead and temples. “Does that feel better?”
Giacomo sniffled and nodded, his skin flushed.
“Captain: hold it up for him while I get him washed, okay?”
Ianto carefully sponged soap and water over Giacomo, using the soft sponge to massage his back and make him sleepy again. He got the fluffiest towel he could grab and wrapped him up warm and tight like a cocoon.
Jack dutifully pulled the plug out of the bath and added Giacomo's pyjamas to the pile of his own clothes before taking care of the washing up bowl. Once it was emptied, he took it back into the bedroom where Giacomo had been re-pyjamad and was currently being tucked into the middle Jack and Ianto's bed.
“You two have a lie-in,” he smiled, moving to tuck Ianto in as well.
“I have to work,” groaned Ianto. “If you take the day off, I'm sure no one will notice.”
“You're better at this than me – and I promise to actually do work to make up for the fact you're not in,” Jack assured him. “Besides – this morning I had some paperwork dropped off. I can get it done in the hope Karma makes Little Jack better,” he smiled, reaching out to stroke his damp hair. “You rest up, okay? Get plenty of sleep. You too,” Jack added, narrowing his eyes at Ianto.
He kissed them both on the head, and made his way up to his office. He put in a call to have some Get Well Soon flowers and cards delivered, and rang Rhys in case he wanted to drop by.
Sitting at his desk, Jack twiddled his thumbs. He sighed, and turned to his Top Priority drawer. Retrieving the lists, he started flicking through them again.
Maybe he could just set the computer to spit the data out in random pairs?
Don't put other people at risk simply because you're too lazy to do your paperwork, Ianto's voice disapprovingly muttered in his head.
Jack sighed. Ianto Voice was right.
He opened the menu, set the address column as the dominant one and rearranged the lists according to flat or barracks number.
Flat 001 obviously popped up first.
Okay, he thought, looking down at the three names of the two adult and one child occupants. He opened up their files on his computer.
Bollocks. The adults had a history of not getting along. One of them had filed to have the other removed.
Jack sighed, and wondered what he was supposed to do with them.
Another list, he decided. Another list, for people who need to be re-sorted. And another list to go with that while he decided … oh bugger … which of the adults would the kid prefer to stay with?
He checked the file.
She liked them both.
Already, Jack had his head on the desk.
After a couple of minutes, he opened up a blank document. “People Not Yet Organised”, he typed. He put in his subtitle: “... for Ianto to sort.”.
He typed in the details, and turned back to the list.
Okay … Flat 002 ….
Ianto lay on the bed next to Giacomo and stroked his hair. He wasn't too worried, but he wasn't about to fall asleep on him either. Little Jack squirmed beside him.
“Do you think he's angry at me?”
Ianto frowned. “Who?”
“Dad. I was sick on him.”
The corners of Ianto's mouth pulled. “I noticed. But no, love, he's not angry at you at all.”
“He has work to do. Everybody's very busy at the moment.”
“Because we're moving?” Giacomo asked.
“Yeah,” Ianto sighed.
“Where are we going?”
“Somewhere called Newchester.”
Ianto shrugged. “Somewhere nice, the Captain says.”
“Where are your mummy and daddy?”
Ianto shifted a little under the pretence of getting more comfortable. “They're gone. Long ago.”
“It was a long time ago, Giacomo. Everybody dies.”
“Will you die?”
Ianto looked at him sadly. “Yes.”
“I don't want you to die!”
Ianto smiled. “No, of course you don't. But I will. One day. But not for a long time if we can help it.”
“Will I die?”
Ianto closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. “Everybody dies, Giacomo. You, me and everyone. That's the way things are.”
“I don't want to die. I want to live forever. I want everyone to live forever!”
“But if everyone lived forever, where would we put them? There'd be too many people. And it would get so, so, so boring, wouldn't it?”
Giacomo clutched at his covers, and Ianto reached for the bowl just in case.
“Will you die before I do?” Little Jack asked.
“I hope so,” Ianto admitted. “I don't think I could live if you died.”
Giacomo snuggled closer. “What happens when you die?”
“I don't know,” Ianto told him. “What do you think happens?”
“I think you get to dream forever.”
Ianto smiled. “I'd like to think so, too.”
“If you die of old age, does that mean I'm dying now because I'm getting older? Does it mean I'm a bit more dead every day?”
Ianto turned on his side to face him properly. “Look at me, Giacomo,” he said softly. “You are not going to die for a very long, long, long time yet. And it's okay to be scared, but right now you don't even need to think on it. You're still a baby; still at the beginning. You've got all your life in front of you, waiting for you, and you're going to love it. But just because you're living it and getting older one day at a time doesn't mean you're dying: it means you're living. And that's far more important. You're not dying until you say you are, Giacomo, and you're not dying for years and years and years – or Rhys and I will have to get very drunk and shout at you.”
Giacomo managed a giggle, then groaned. Ianto shoved the bowl under his chin just in time to catch the few dribbles of bile he managed to bring up, trying not to grimace too much.
“Once you're better,” Ianto promised. “you'll have to have lots and lots of ice cream to make up for it.”
Giacomo sniffled, and Ianto slid out of bed, holding his towel around him as he went to fetch a glass of water for him. He pulled on his pyjama bottoms in the kitchen, wondering if it was normal for him to bother with covering himself in front of Giacomo. He knew Jack didn't bother, and given the choice both Big and Little Jack would most probably spend their lives naked, but Ianto wasn't comfortable with anyone other than the Captain.
He held out the glass of water and instructed Giacomo to sip it slowly. “You have your bowl there,” he indicated. “I'll be back in a minute. I'm going to go and make sure your father hasn't done himself an injury with the stapler – lord knows if he actually has any idea what a stapler does any more.”
Giacomo nodded and curled into the duvet.
Rushing up the stairs, Ianto poked his head around the door into Jack's office, blinking a few times to make sure his eyes weren't deceiving him. The Captain was sat at his desk, absorbed in paperwork, occasionally turning to type something into his computer.
“Is the world ending?” Ianto asked, and the Captain jumped.
“Not quite – though I believe this could be a sign of Impending Doom,” grinned Jack, pulling Ianto onto his lap and snaking arms around him so he could still get to his desk.
“How old am I?”
“Er … um … twentyyyyyyyyyyyy … sev-?”
“... five. See. I knew how old you were. Are.”
“It doesn't matter to you, does it?”
Jack blinked. “Erm ….”
“I mean … it's just a number. All it really does is … put me on a time line. How old I am now just acts as a marker on a finite time line showing how close I am to dying. That's what age is. That's why you don't know how old you are. You don't need the marker.”
“Where's all this come from?”
Ianto sighed. “Giacomo's … realised he's going to die one day. And I gave him a pep talk about … about how he's alive now, and death shouldn't even be on the edge of his thoughts. That he's young and has years and years … and I'm thinking … I'm young, and I've got years and years … but I can't stop thinking about my death, and when it might come, and … and how it all might end.”
Jack squeezed him tight. “Not for a long time yet,” he assured him. “Years and years, like you said.”
“Mmm. Listen … Jack ….” Ianto said, climbing off his lap. “I need to … to talk to you about … something.”
The Captain frowned. “I'm listening. Any excuse to avoid this paperwork.”
“Erm … right,” nodded Ianto. “I was thinking we should talk about it later? I was just forewarning you.”
The Captain's frown deepened. “How serious is this?”
“On a scale of one to ten? Round about twenty-seven.”
The door to the office from their quarters burst open, and Giacomo stood flushed and panting in the doorway. “Look outside!” he exclaimed.
Jack and Ianto frowned at each other, then moved to the window. Their mouths simultaneously hit the floor.
Giacomo was bouncing to see, too.
The Captain found his voice first. “Is that a … ?”
Little Jack cut him off. “A dragon! A dragon!”
Ianto's mouth was still hanging open. “That's … that's not a dragon … Giacomo ….”
“It is! It's a frellin' dragon!” he insisted.
“No … it's a … Jack … that's a … that's a Tyrannosaurus Rex.”
“Does that mean 'dragon'?”
“No – it means dinosaur! People eating dinosaur! Captain – we need to lock down the building and make sure no one goes outside. We need some kind of army or whatever here to … to get rid of it! Fuck! How far out does the Rift spread?”
The Captain was still staring out of the window as five tonnes of confused dinosaur started lapping at the stream through its long, sharp, yellow teeth. “Y'know … I bet that would make one helluva guard dog ….”
Ianto stared at him as if he himself was a T-Rex in the back garden. “What is it with you and prehistoric guard dogs?” he practically wailed, before being cut off by a piercing shriek as the rest of the inhabitants realised a huge lizard with pointy teeth that hadn't been there fifteen minutes ago was drinking from the stream and in very close proximity.
Jack sprang into action. “Okay – we need to lock down the building and make sure nobody goes outside. You need to get on the phone to the Senate and get some armed forces down here to contain it. Maybe even get a collar on it and maybe build it a kennel.”
“We're not keeping it,” Ianto warned, silently annoyed that Jack had pretty much just repeated his own plan of action back to him.
The Captain pouted, and lifted Little Jack up to sit on his hip. He was wearing a similar pout and Ianto was nearly overcome by the power of their combined puppy eyes.
“We're not keeping the dinosaur,” Ianto repeated.
Giacomo's eyes went even wider and more pleading. “We could call him Scribble – I'll clean him out!”
“Giacomo, love, he probably wouldn't even need to chew you to swallow you down,” Ianto sighed. “What am I saying?” he realised. “We are not keeping the dragon – DINOSAUR! And puppy eyes and pouty lips won't work on me – same goes for you, Captain!”
The Captain sucked his lip back in. “I'll put Giacomo back to bed.”
“Actually, shouldn't you be–”
“I don't wanna go back to bed! If we can't keep Dragon, can we at least slay him ourselves? C'mon, Dad! We could get big guns and be Dragon Slayer–”
Ianto covered Giacomo's mouth. “Do not give him ideas … c'mon you. Your father has a crisis to deal with, and you need to be tucked up in bed. You're ill remember?”
“But there's a dragon!”
“It's not a dragon, it's a dinosaur. Jack: go and deal with it.”
“Can I watch from the window?” Giacomo asked as Ianto carried him back down to the bedroom.
“No, you need to rest.”
“But it's a dragon!”
“It's not a dragon! Doesn't the year six-billion-and-whatever teach you about dinosaurs?”
He set Giacomo down on the bed, and he was instantly squirming to get to the window. Ianto pushed him back down on the bed and tightly wrapped the covers around him like a worm so that he wouldn't get back up again.
“Too hot!” Giacomo moaned, unable to do much more than wriggle.
Ianto glanced out of the window. The giant dinosaur was heading towards the building slowly, probably coming to investigate. He was in the middle of sincerely hoping no one was stupid enough to go outside, when a figure ran out around the corner and distracted the beast with a booming shot from a rather large gun.
Ianto didn't recognise who it was, and felt himself panic when the dinosaur turned to the sound and the man froze in fear. The wind picked up behind him, taking his scent straight to
the lizard's hungry nostrils, and it turned fully to head towards him.
Turning to Giacomo and freeing him from the duvets, Ianto spoke quickly. “Fetch all the meat from the fridge and freezer – now, as fast as you can!” he ordered, and Giacomo stared up at him wide-eyed for a moment before running off to do as he was told. Ianto turned back to the window, slid it open and half hung out, knowing he was high enough up in the building not to get eaten. Just.
“Hey, hey, hey!” he yelled, and banged on the metal plating of the building. “HEY!” He banged harder, the sound echoing, and the Rex hesitated and turned to assess the sound.
“Here!” Giacomo's voice called, and Ianto held his hands out for the large chunk of alien steak he was being offered. “There's more! I'll fetch!”
Ianto unwrapped the steak, took it in both hands and held it out of the window. The wind wasn't in his favour to carry the scent, but hopefully the dinosaur would have sensitive enough nostrils to smell the raw meat.
“Hey!” Ianto yelled again, trying to be as loud and noisy as he could.
The man with the gun was still frozen, though he was shaking like a leaf in the breeze.
The T-Rex was turning slowly, sniffing, then beginning to realise there was fresh meat in the offing. Ianto started calling it again, the large, boneless joint of red meat soaking his hands as he held it out of the window.
He glanced below him a second, and realised that there were people below hanging out of the windows to get better views.
“Go back inside!” he yelled down to them. “It's a carnivore!”
As the dinosaur approached he threw the meat as hard as he could towards it, and it landed with a thud in the grass. The Rex bent low and sniffed it, stood tall, opened it's mouth and let out a deafening, guttural roar that shook the windows in their panes.
“Is Scribble breathing fire?” Giacomo asked from behind him, dutifully staying away from the window, surrounded by packs of meat.
“It's not a dragon, Giacomo,” Ianto repeated, his voice an octave too high, shaken by the sound. He cleared his throat. “It's a dinosaur. A giant lizard – before humans, there were dinosaurs. And the carnivorous ones eat anything alive. You can't make friends with them, Giacomo. They will eat you.”
“Can I see?” he asked, and Ianto checked out of the window. The dinosaur had pinched the meat he'd thrown between it's teeth, and was now tossing it up in the air to catch it in its mouth. The man who had bravely (or stupidly) run out with the gun had disappeared, and the people who had been hanging out the windows on the floors below had retreated inside.
The T-Rex was stalking closer to where the meat had come from, and Ianto slid the window shut. “You can have a quick look,” he conceded, lifting Giacomo so he wouldn't have to stand on tip-toes.
“He's massive!” Giacomo exclaimed.
“Five tonnes of animal, and all it wants to do is eat. Most of the time it can't even be bothered with hunting – just scares other predators away from their kill.”
The dinosaur roared again, the windows shaking more violently.
“Where's your father?” Ianto groaned.
“I think I'm going to be sick again,” Giacomo announced, and reached for his bowl. He dry- heaved as Ianto crouched beside him, rubbing his back. The dinosaur roared again, and the building shook ominously with an echoing thud.
Ianto darted to the window, and had to open it to get a better view below him. There was a large dent in the metal casing of the building, and the dinosaur was looking dazed pretty close by. Before it could do any more damage, Ianto reached for another pack of meat – bacon, this time – and ripped open the plastic.
“Can I feed Scribble, too?” asked Giacomo from the bed, still clutching his bowl.
“You stay away from the window!” Ianto warned. “... and stop naming the dinosaur. That's how … long term attachments are made. Oh - about time!” Ianto growled, Jack finally making an appearance as he threw out a gammon joint as far away from the building as he could.
It was over quickly – Jack fired a small, hand-held energy weapon and Scribble keeled over onto his side, landing with an earth-shaking thud and a mournful wail.
Ianto shrugged. “Surprisingly tidy, given the fact your father was involved,” he smiled.
Giacomo put his bowl aside and came to stand on tip toe by the window. “He killed him?”
Ianto pinched the bridge of his nose, then lifted Little Jack to sit on his hip. “You can see his teeth from here, look,” he pointed. “and he wouldn't have had a problem eating anyone and everyone. It's better this way. Trust me – and he wasn't a dragon!”
“But I wanted to keep him!” wailed Giacomo.
“He wouldn't have liked to be kept,” Ianto soothed. “And he was a long way out of his time. He could never have been happy here.”
“You're a long way out of your time,” Little Jack pointed out.
“Not as far as he was. You know how many years there are between me and Scribble?” Ianto asked, inwardly cursing himself for using the name.
Giacomo shook his head.
“Sixty-five million, which means he's six-billion-and-sixty-five-million years from home.”
“You're doing okay, aren't you? Maybe Scribble will adapt,” shrugged Little Jack.
“Erm … Scribble's dead, Giacomo.”
“No,” pointed Giacomo. “He's getting up!”
“Ohhhhhh no!” groaned Ianto. “He shouldn't be doing that …. JACK!” he yelled.
The Captain seemed to noticed Scribble struggling to his feet again, too, and started grumbling and messing with his gun. Scribble was annoyed with him, apparently, and started stumbling in his direction.
“Fuck!” Ianto hissed, and turned and reached for a whole chicken. He lobbed it out of the window and struck the dinosaur's tail, but it didn't seem to notice. “Pass me more red meat – it seemed to like tha – Giacomo?”
Ianto turned to find Giacomo gone.
He ran his hands through his hair, and darted into the en suite, then the living room. “Giacomo! God, I took my eyes of you for one second ….”
Ianto hurtled up the stairs, through the little kitchenette and into Jack's office to find Giaocmo hanging out of the window.
“JACK!” he exclaimed, and grabbed him and yanked him away. “What are you doi – oh my God!”
He saw Giacomo had bacon in his hand, and Scribble was stood beneath the window with his mouth wide open.
Ianto felt slightly dizzy. “What were you … how … what … you … oh sweet Jesus – are you trying to … I nearly had a heart attack!”
“He's just hungry!” shrugged Little Jack, and dangled the bacon out of the window again. “Here, Scribble!”
“GIACOMO!” Ianto snatched him back and held on to him. “He doesn't want the bacon – he wants you!”
Scribble let out another mournful sound, and the building shook as he keeled again. The phone on the desk rang.
Keeping one hand firmly wrapped around Giacomo's wrist, Ianto lifted the receiver.
“What the Hell was my son doing leaning out of the window?”
“I took my eyes of him for one second – he just ran-”
“I'm on my way back up now!”
The line went dead and Ianto hung up. “You,” he glared. “have just got me in a lot of trouble!”
“Where's Scribble?” Giacomo asked, angling to get back to the window. Ianto sighed, reached over and shut it. He glanced out and down, and knew that this time Scribble was most definitely dead, if the lack of chest cavity and the mess up the side of the building was anything to go by.
“He's gone,” he replied shortly, and snapped the blind down. “Come on – you can help me put the meat back in the fridge and freezer before it goes bad.”
“I'm not well.”
“If you're well enough to dangle raw meat out of a window for a carnivorous killing machine, you're well enough to carry bacon to the freezer. Now come on!”
Giacomo pouted, but helped anyway without too much fuss. Ianto was just tucking him back into bed when the Captain blundered in.
“What the hell were you doing?” he snapped, and it took a moment for Ianto to register he wasn't being spoken to.
Giacomo's eyes were big, and he cowered into the pillows propping him up. “He was hungry!”
“Of course it was hungry! What if you'd slipped? What if you fell? What if Ianto hadn't caught you? - and I will deal with him, you mark my words! - What then? Did you want to get eaten? Did you want to die?”
“JACK! That is enough! He's five!”
The Captain glared at him, then Giacomo. He raised his finger threateningly. “You,” he growled. “will do as Ianto tells you. You will behave. You will never be this stupid again, do you understand?”
Giacomo shook and nodded, but Jack remained unimpressed.
“I asked you a question!”
“Yes, sir!” Little Jack squeaked, and pulled the covers over his head and burrowed down low.
The Captain's eyes widened at the honorific. “Did you teach him to say that?”
Ianto shook his head quickly. “He probably heard me call you it, is all.”
“When have you ever called me 'sir' with him in the room?”
“When you're angry at me.”
Jack glared at him, then ran his fingers through his hair to give him time to think. “Living room,” he decided.
Ianto gave the quivering lump under the duvet a comforting pat. “I'll be back in a minute,” he whispered to it, and followed Jack to the living room before shutting the door. “What the fuck … !” he hissed, trying to keep his voice down low. “I understand you're scared and angry, Jack, but … you do not talk to a five-year-old -”
“Don't tell him the truth? Don't let him realise how dangerous that was?”
“You didn't need to say it like that!”
“He misbehaved! He put himself in direct danger – and you let him!”
“I did not! I told him to stay away from the window and pass the meat to me!”
“Oh – and what about your own safety?”
“We're three metres above the bloody thing's head! I was trying to make sure the fucking thing didn't eat you!”
“I'd have been fine!”
“And what do I tell people while you're being digested? 'Don't worry – wash him off and this time tomorrow he'll be right as rain!'?”
“I wasn't going to get eaten! I was armed!”
“The first time you took it out, it had a nap! And how long did it take for you to change the settings on your side-arm to actually kill it?”
“Not long enough for the child you were responsible for to fall out that window and into waiting jaws, thankfully!”
“I took my eyes off him for one seco-”
“Well one second was long enough!”
Ianto stared at him, and snapped his mouth shut. “I told him … I expressly told him not to go to the window. Why do you think he ran away? Because I wouldn't let him near it!”
“You both shouldn't have been near it! Dear God – at least you're responsible for your actions!”
“He knew he wasn't allowed near the window! How is he not respon-”
“The point is that he was in your care, and while he is in your care everything – and I mean everything he does is your responsibility. If he doesn't do what you tell him, it's your fault.”
“How is that fair?”
“It's not. But that's how it is. Have you any idea how terrified I was when I realised that he was … that my son was hanging out of that window, metres away from those … from that … you saw!”
“You think I was 'fine' with him being there? You think my heart didn't fucking stop when I turned around and he was gone? You think I don't love him as much as you do?”
Jack glowered at him. “Of course you don't,” he muttered. “After all, you have a pretty good reason not to. Hell … how can I be certain you didn't put him by that window yourself?”
Ianto stared at him, his mouth opening and closing a few times. He felt his knees going weak underneath him, and sank into the sofa. “John told you?”
“Yeah. John told me. He didn't seem to think you would,” Jack sighed, sitting at the opposite end.
“I was … when I said I had something to talk to you about ….”
“It's too late, Ianto. It was always too late. We can't change what happened, only hope that when our Giacomo comes back he doesn't succeed.”
“How long have you known?”
“A couple of days.”
“You never changed. You never said anything.”
“Because he hasn't done it yet. And I can't be angry at a child who has done nothing yet – let alone my own son. It's just another emotional trauma, and lord knows I've grown pretty used to those. Does it scare me? Hell yeah. But … what scares me more is that … I'll protect him.”
“No matter what he does,” agreed Ianto.
“He tried to kill you.”
“Not yet he hasn't. And we can stop it happening – if we work together.”
“I don't know,” sighed Jack, lifting his arm so that Ianto could sit closer to him and have it draped around his shoulders. “It's probably already too late.”
“We can still try.”
“Yeah,” Jack replied quietly. He took a deep breath. “I think … with the adrenalin … I might have overreacted.”
“Slightly,” agreed Ianto. “There's a quivering lump in our bed that will probably need an explanation as to why Dad was so angry.”
“He called me 'sir',” Jack scowled. “I can't believe he called me 'sir'.”
“He was frightened. All he knows is to emulate my behaviour in that situation. He probably didn't realise I call you 'sir' to show you I'm upset, not comply because you are.”
“Yeah,” Jack agreed. He closed his eyes and tipped his head back. “You understand why I was angry at you, though. Don't you?”
“Yes,” Ianto conceded. “But you understand why ….”
“You can't watch him every second, but you can sure as hell try.”
“And you … you realise that right now Giacomo is more terrified of you than he could ever have been of Scribble?”
“Really?” Jack asked, his voice cracking slightly. “I didn't mean to ….”
“I'll deal with it,” Ianto sighed, getting up. “Coming?”
“I think so,” nodded Ianto, holding out his hand and keeping a firm grip as he lead Jack back towards the bedroom. Giacomo was still a quivering lump beneath the covers, his sobbing still prevalent.
Ianto sat on the bed beside him. “Giacomo? Jack? It's me.”
“Has he gone?” sniffed Giacomo, refusing to come out.
“No. He's here to talk to you.”
“Is he going to shout?”
“I don't think so – but you were very naughty.”
“I didn't mean t-to b-be!”
“But you were,” sighed Ianto, and pulled him bodily from under the covers. “C'mon, Little Jack. You need to talk to your Dad.”
He clung to Ianto's neck and refused to move from his lap.
The Captain took a step forward. “Giacomo,” he began. “I'm sorry for … the way I reacted.” He moved and sat on the bed. “But I love you so, so, so much – and you terrified me out there. You think you're frightened now? Ianto and I felt that ten times as much when you were leaning out of that window. No – a hundred times!”
“I d-din't mean to-o-o!”
Ianto tightened his grip. “We know you didn't, but that didn't stop us from being scared, did it? That doesn't change the fact I told you to stay away from the window.”
“You told me to stay away from the window in the bedroom – not the window in Dad's office!”
Jack and Ianto stared at each other.
“Oh dear God ….” breathed Ianto. “He's a lawyer.”
The Captain rubbed his face. “You're still going to be punished, Giacomo. You know you were naughty. What do you suggest, Ianto?”
“Well … the floor in the kitchenette could always do with scrubbing. On your hands and knees. With a scrubbing brush.”
“Ooh,” grinned Jack. “Sounds like a good old-fashioned punishment.”
Giacomo groaned and buried his face in the duvets. “Child labour!” he groaned. “And I'm not well!”
“Tomorrow morning – first thing. Bucket and scrubbing brush.”
“What about school?”
“It's Saturday. You're not getting out of it.”
Giacomo turned his large, puppy eyes to Jack.
Jack managed to tear his gaze away. “Listen to Ianto,” he said sternly, concentrating on not becoming enraptured by the adorable expression.
He missed Giacomo folding his arms and pout-scowling.
“Right! You're ill,” Jack reminded him. “You need to be tucked up in bed. Ianto: keep your eye on him this time. I need to go and sort out the dead lizard.”
“Scribble,” Giacomo said.
“Huh?” frowned Jack.
“The T-Rex,” explained Ianto. “Little Jack named him 'Scribble'.”
“... right. Anyway – I need to go and deal with Scribble's remains.”
“You know … 'cause you killed Scribble?”
“Erm … yes … ?”
“And he was my pet?”
Jack gave Ianto a quizzical look. Ianto shrugged. “He named him?”
“Go on ….” urged Jack.
“And he's dead because of you?”
“I was thinking … instead of a sister ….”
Ianto cut in. “Oh I don't like where this is going ….”
“... can I have a puppy?”
Jack shrugged, but Ianto spoke over him.
“We'll see, Giacomo. Why should you have a puppy when you were so naughty?”
“Because I will love it forever! I want a girl. Can we call her Molly?”
Jack looked just as eager as Giacomo, and Ianto felt the air of 'not going to win' permeating the conversation.
“Oh dear God … you're ganging up on me ….” he sighed. “Well … we'll see how shiny the kitchen floor is tomorrow. And how well behaved you are between now and when we move to the new house – the same goes for you, Captain.”
Jack grinned, and put on his best angelic face. “I'm always well behaved!”
Rhys had dropped by later on, stayed with Giacomo for a couple of hours then reluctantly agreed that he should stay with Jack and Ianto for another night. He was going to sleep in their bed with them, and apparently this was a special treat only sick children could have – not that he had shown any signs of being ill any further than eating something funny the day before and bringing it up in the morning.
He was tucked up in bed, fast asleep now, as Ianto wandered up to Jack's office with two mugs of hot chocolate and a couple of hot water bottles.
“What did you do? When you found out?” he asked Jack, who was poring over the lists of people who need allocating moving partners.
“I totally freaked,” he admitted. “I was ready to … to have him shipped off to a mental home. Keep him away from you. But … I saw you with him and realised … my little boy - our little boy – hasn't done anything wrong yet, and … if you could realise that ….”
Ianto nodded silently and sipped his hot chocolate. Jack stretched back in his chair.
“What are we going to do?” asked Ianto.
Jack sighed. “There are tests they can do. We can get him a shrink. I could ask the Doctor to help.”
“John said … that he tries again ….”
“He won't succeed.”
“And if he does?”
“And if he does?”
Jack folded his arms and stared at the table. “Then I shall do what's best for him.”
Ianto bit his lip and nodded. Sighing heavily, he stood. “It's late,” he smiled. “Coming to bed? It's nice and warm.”
“Yeah – in a minute. Oh! Ianto?”
“Did you mean what you said? About maybe getting a dog when we move?”
Ianto grimaced. “I don't know, Jack. I've had enough of pets to last me a lifetime already. And I know I'm gonna be the one that ends up looking after it.”
“So … what about the sister?”
“You haven't thought about … y'know … there's procedures. We could have a baby that's both of ours.”
“Giacomo is both of ours,” Ianto pointed out, sitting back down. “And you have your little Ian – isn't he baby enough for you for the time being?”
“They're not something of you and me, though, are they?”
“I'd like to think Giacomo would learn a lot of himself from me. That's enough.”
“You … you wouldn't consider it?”
“Ask me again in a year,” Ianto sighed heavily, standing again. “Now: are you coming to bed?”
“Yeah,” nodded Jack balefully. Ianto waited while he switched off his computer and filed away his lists, took his hand and they walked down to the bedroom in companionable quiet.
Giacomo was sleeping peacefully in the middle of the bed, and Ianto slid under the covers and watched Jack get changed into his pyjamas. He stroked Giacomo's head and kissed his hair.
“I can't believe how much it frightened me … to see him there,” Ianto admitted as Jack climbed in and kissed Giacomo's hair, too. “I've never even feared for my own life that much – and I've … I've had to fear for my life.”
“You see them on the brink of death, and know that without a second thought you'd trade places with them if you could.”
“I love him more than anything, Jack. I always will, no matter what.”
“I know,” the Captain nodded, and pulled him in for a kiss.
The three of them snuggled together, and happily, warmly and snugly fell asleep in each others' arms.
T-Rex in Cardiff - now that's an episode I'd LOVED to have seen!
This chapter was for kholran, who drew the sketches in my profile, and probably holyfrell as well, who beat me with action figures until I finished this.
Don't forget to vote for the Children of Time Awards! XD
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