Ianto was still not speaking unless necessary. He had retreated into himself with only the boy getting a reaction. Now Ianto sat, a table pulled into the corner with the boy on his lap as he spoon fed the boy lasagne. Jack recognised the same configuration as his desk down in the archives at the old Hub. His safe corner reconstructed to keep everyone away. It hurt.
Jack didn't know how to fix this, how to own this monumental fuck up.
It had only been fourteen hours since the bus had arrived and everyone was tired, cranky and on edge. They had managed to bed most of the new arrivals and now sat trying to regroup and reassess their position.
Micky had pointed out the need for more supplies and Jack had begrudgingly agreed a raid was needed to score more food. They would assess the new arrivals tomorrow for possible raid buddies. Thinking about the new arrivals he turned to look at Ianto and the boy. He needs clothes. Maybe some toys, and as for the bloody ferret. It was an unforeseen problem but it was obvious he needed to keep it. The only thing left of his old life.
The boy seemed to love Ianto's attention and ate each mouthful eagerly like a little bird. Ianto did not make eye contact with anyone and when anyone stopped at the table to speak to him or offer something for the boy he would stop and look down at the table until they left, the boy acted the same.
The boy's name had been Marcus but he didn't answer to it since the loss of his mother. As Ianto had called him his little Angel he decided he liked that better. This man who cuddled him and gave him food was nice. He was also dangerous. That meant he would protect him, keep him safe. He was also very angry right now. His friends had hurt him. The bruises on his arms were huge, like really hurting huge and he could see it was hurting him to keep lifting the spoon but he knew the man would as long as he ate.
The man with the swishy coat had taken it off and put it over a chair. He kept looking at him but his Ianto man ignored him, another spoonful of lasagne waiting.
After a few minutes the boss man came and sat at the table.
"Ianto, I'm sorry I scared you back there but you need to understand …"
"What Jack? That I betrayed you? That I will never redeem myself for Lisa? Not in the last life, this life or the next?" Ianto growled softly as Angel frowned at them both.
"Ianto, I should never have …" Jack moaned into his hands.
"Let me think you loved me? God forbid … forgave me! Lulled me into a false sense of security so you could really kick me in the balls?" Ianto interrupted him again.
"Ianto, oh Gods, please baby…" Jack wheedled, reaching for Ianto's hand.
The fork left untouched by the plate was imbedded in Jack's hand before anyone could blink and the little boy who had plunged it deep enough to impale Jack to the table was snarling as he defended his Ianto man.
Jack's un-manly squeal of pain was joined by Ianto's cry of shock.
Everyone froze, looking to Mickey who was calmly approaching the table.
"Hey little man, that'll teach him yeah?" he grinned down at the boy.
Angel looked up at him with wide eyes betraying his fear. Jack was breathing in harsh pants as the pain coursed through his hand, up his arm to find a home in his shoulder. Ianto was in shock, his mouth open as he stared at the fork.
"Everyone stay calm, it's OK. No one's angry sweetheart" Mickey cajoled the boy while squatting to look at Jack's hand. "Ouch, how're we gonna get that out?"
Angel looked back down at the fork, then up at Jack. He slowly withdrew his hand and folded back into Ianto's arms, shaking with terror at what he had just done.
"It's OK... It's OK baby. You thought I was going to hurt Yan you were just protecting him, yeah?" Jack tried to keep is voice steady, only wavering a little at the last word.
Angel stared up at him and nodded silently, Ianto's arms cuddling him like a blanket. Ianto had buried his face in his hair and Angel could feel his breath on the back of his neck. He closed his eyes and waited for the smack he knew was to come.
Jack saw that too, recognising the surrender and his heart broke for the little man. He thought he would be hurt now. This was not a new thing. His reaction couldn't be since the rift-storm so did this mean his home life was abusive?
Ianto opened his eyes and met Jack's over an ocean of curls. A silent conversation took place then Ianto stuck. His hand shot from Angel's chest and seized the fork, ripping it from the table. Jack fell back into Mickey's arms howling with pain and cradled his hand to his chest as Martha darted forward to grab it with a towel.
Angel whimpered and looked up into Ianto's face for any sign of anger. Instead he saw love.
"My hero" Ianto whispered, kissing Angel's forehead, "you protected me, I'll protect you too ya know."
Angel's fear faded as he stared into Ianto's face, he wrapped his little arms around his neck and kissed him on his neck, his check and then his lips.
"Tadda" he whispered nuzzling into him.
Ianto's heart melted and he looked at Jack helplessly as he pulled the boy closer and seemed to envelop him like he was trying to absorb him.
Jack's hand had already healed and he held it up for Angel to see. His eyes blew out to fill his face and he forgot his fear of Jack, launching himself from Ianto's arms into Jack's.
He sobbed in Jack's arms and he clutched the hand he had stabbed, kissing it over and over again. Such a display of apology, Jack had never felt so appeased and he cuddled the little boy feeling his little skinny limbs and elbows as he snuggled into his embrace.
"It's OK little Angel, you would never hurt me. I know you are a good little boy," Jack felt like crying as he felt how emaciated and small this child was for the first time.
Five years old? He felt three at the most. No wonder Ianto kept feeding him. Ianto.
Jack looked up at Ianto expecting to see his nervous fear but instead saw a gorgeous grin of love as he looked adoringly at Jack.
Forgiveness all round.
That night Jack sat in the corner chair watching Ianto sleep, unable to join him for the thoughts pummelling his mind.
He had found Margo who had confirmed a hard family life. She had heard and seen abuse, even argued with her neighbours about it. She confided in Jack that she had called Child Services more than once and the little boy was five and a half, closer to six. Gods.
Jack felt sick for the little bird he had cuddled, no way had he picked him for a near six year old. Three years at the most he had thought. Gods.
Jack again lamented the loss of Ianto's flat. His naked lover lay in repose on the bed, the soft candlelight lighting his pale skin as he slumbered on his stomach, only a corner of the sheet across his hips.
Jack remembered the way the moonlight crept through the gap he always made sure to leave in the drapes so he could watch Ianto like this. Candlelight just wasn't as good as Mother Moon's kiss.
The creak of the floor outside the door put Jack on alert and he watched with tense anticipation as the door swung inward. The little pale fingers that curled around the door gave him pause and he relaxed as Angel snuck into the candlelight.
He stared silently at Jack and then turned and looked at the bed.
"Yeah, I can't sleep either baby" Jack smiled, rising to walk back to the bed and pulling the sheet over Ianto.
He moaned in his sleep and Angel rushed to the bed intent on comforting him. Ianto opened his eyes blearily to see the little imp kneeling on the bed in his too big PJ bottoms holding out a hand. With a gentle smile Ianto took the hand and pulled him into his arms, snuggling back down in the bed.
"Keepin 'im Jck" came the mumble from the bed and Jack hummed his agreement. Yeah, we'll keep him.
Jack pulled the blankets up over them both hoping the sheet would stay between them as Ianto had clearly forgotten he was naked. Jack watched them both drift off then he slid in behind Ianto to spoon, reaching across to hug both his angels as sleep took them all away.