Ianto did the washing for his little family every other day, depending on the weather. In the three weeks since Angel had arrived, a routine had formed.
Ianto hung things on the main line while Angel hung his own washing on a little like Mickey had strung for him. His little smalls and clothes looked so cute.
One of the other children had told him only poofs hung out washing but he changed his mind after Angel showed him that even poofs can punch you really hard in the face. When Ianto had been told he'd hit another child Ianto hadn't been mad like he thought he would. Instead he cuddled him and gave him a really big piece of Mamma Francine's chocolate cake whispering in his ear that he wasn't a poof, just someone who loved really well.
The noise was like the sea, an incoming spring tide. Ianto had been outside with Angel, hanging washing as he waited for Jack's recon team to return when they came.
A wave of rabbits, swarming through the container yard outside the wire fence to slam against it, screaming an ungodly din.
Their bodies were crushed against the fence as others pushed from behind. The grey wave rippled and undulated as they frantically tried to escape something.
Everyone stood in shock looking at the gore show unfolding as the larggette hoard arrived. Jesus! They were herding them.
As they watched with horror the rat creatures began to snap and tear at the small bodies.
As Angel clung to Ianto he spied a small baby rabbit struggling to get through the fence links and he rushed forward to grab the rabbit. Ianto cried out and ran after him.
The rabbit fit his small hands and he tugged desperately as he tried to free it. The larggette that struck did so with precision. Its fangs reaching through the wire to clamp down on Angel's left hand.
His scream was louder than the rabbits and Mickey saw the danger too late. Ianto was there.
Ianto roared like a lion as he pummelled the larggette's muzzle, insane with grief.
Finally it released the child who flew back into Ianto's arms, the now dead baby rabbit forgotten in the links.
Mickey sprayed the animals with rapid fire and then dropped his gun, grabbing Ianto under his arms and pulling them both back from the fence as Ianto's howls of despair brought everyone else running.
Martha was yelling and everyone was panicking as Ianto held the boy's hand by the wrist, trying to staunch the flow of blood.
"Martha, Martha, not my baby" Ianto was hysterical.
"Ianto, let me look. Maybe it was the links that …" Martha tried.
"No" he whispered suddenly shocked to a low volume as he looked her in the eye. "He's bit. My baby …"
Ianto wept, clinging to the boy as he rocked them both back and forth.
Mickey stepped closer and Ianto looked up, meeting his grim stare.
"No" he shook his head miserably, his eyes dropping to the gun Mickey held in his hand.
"NO!" Ianto scooped Angel into his arms and ran.
Jack returned triumphant. Not only did they have food, he had clothes for Angel and even a hutch for the bloody white terror called Flash the ferret.
As they swung into the compound he noted the rabbits, larggette carcases and an air of defeat.
"What happened" he demanded as he shot from the truck.
"The hoard pushed the rabbits into the fence so they could … well eat them in front of us" Mickey spoke looking down. Jack followed his gaze. Blood, a trail heading inside. Shit.
Jack felt a chill and looked around. Washing on the line included some small underwear and a little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle t-shirt he got last raid. Angel's. Jack looked back at Mickey and felt his despair wash over him. Gods no.
He ran, knowing where Ianto would have gone. A hidden place no-one knew about. Their secret place.
Down to the lower level of the bunker, he slowed until he was walking stealthily down the side of the wall. A few feet in he heard the sobbing. Gods, Yan. Oh no, not the boy.
Jack tried to remember the way to the hidden safe room in the dark. Feeling with his feet in case Ianto had left traps. Finally the hidden door.
Jack tapped gently on the door and the sobbing stopped. "Jack?"
"Yan, hon let me in" Jack asked gently swallowing down his fear at what he might find.
"Just you. No gun!" Ianto demanded.
Jack took a breath. Ianto sounded calm. That was a good sign, wasn't it?
"Just me. Baby please" Jack pleaded.
Jack heard the locks disengaging and light flooded the hallway as Ianto peered out at him. Blood flecked his t-shirt and Jack pushed past him into the room. Angel lay curled up on the bunk bed, his face to the wall. He was panting. So small. So fragile. Blood was everywhere.
Jack cautiously approached the bed and looked back at Ianto for permission to touch Angel. He saw Mickey silently slip into the room and un-holster his hand gun.
He examined the boy noticing Ianto had placed a shunt in his arm. He looked up at Ianto and frowned, Martha came in behind Mickey and rushed to the bed to kneel by Jack.
"Oh my god, what did you do!" she gasped, looking at the shunt.
"Blood transfusion. We're the same type remember, you test all newcomers." Ianto said quietly, watching Jack. "He wouldn't stop bleeding, I didn't know what else to do. Owen taught me how to do straight person to person blood transferal in the field because I was the same as Toshi."
Angel groaned and Jack slowly stated to roll him away from the wall to look at his face.
Ianto tensed as Mickey stepped behind Jack to look into Angel's face. Angel opened his eyes and they saw twin pools of black.
Jack snatched Mickey's gun and swung it at the bed. Ianto screamed, crouching down to hug himself and Martha lunged for Jack.
The gunshot was loud in the small space and Ianto had collapsed on the ground covering his face with his hands. As the room grew silent he did the only thing he could. He ran!