"So ya see, once UNIT began to fall over it was easy to …well…borrow some of their gear." Leo shrugged as he finished telling the tale of how they had nicked the UNIT kit and trekked across London to Cardiff.
"But why here!" Gwen frowned.
"The Doctor." Leo answered as you would to a small child, "He likes Cardiff. If he didn't come to London when we needed him I figured maybe he was here instead."
"That's when Leo found us." Rhia said quietly, holding baby Joseph as she gave him his bottle. No one asked about Leo's wife. It was obvious she was gone. The older child, a little girl toddled past to reach for her father's embrace.
Rhia was thankful no one had asked about their meeting so she didn't have to look Francine in the face when she would have told them how she nearly shot him with her own brother' gun she had kept from his flat. Micah and David half-starved existing on snack machine food as they hid in the library downtown.
Ianto smiled at the little girl now whining for attention. The spitting image of Francine and Ianto felt a swell of affection for her. Leo scooped her up and cuddled her as he continued talking with Mickey about the cannon.
So the girl was Leo's. The grandchild Francine had been mourning and this baby a survivor. The body upstairs, its father. Mother long gone. Another orphan of time.
It was also obvious to Ianto who had taken up the slack. No Johnny either. His sister had done what was needed to survive. But what was this? Did she love him? Was he just a safety net?
Rhia looked up and caught her brother's frown as he rubbed his little boy's back. Angel had fallen asleep in his arms and was like a rag doll. Boneless and floppy. Jack stepped into view as he reached for the child, and a kiss.
She saw Ianto's face change into one she'd never seen before. Wow. Happy. Her little brother was happy.
As Jack lifted Angel he cried out in his sleep and Ianto rose then kissed his face, soothing him back to sleep in Jack's arms. They stood as a family, looking down with love at their little man.
Rhia had never seen such a lovely scene. She wished her mother had lived to see this. She had confided in Rhia that she thought Ianto would never settle down as he was too shy and unsure of the world.
Rhys had the little mute boy Gwen had started to call Boss. It was obvious that they hadn't realised that he had chosen them yet, still thinking they were just taking up some slack by taking him on. You only had to see the way Rhys engulfed him in constant hugs that this silent little waif had a forever home.
Boss was eating an apple, Rhys cuddling him on his lap as he and Gwen spoke quietly about the Hub. Gwen eager to tell him that Ianto had confessed to seeing him naked in the shower. Rhys' laugh had startled the child who had looked at Rhys and then snuggled into his arms more. Yep definitely theirs now.
Snatch filched another bread roll before retreating behind Joe's chair to eat it, still sure he would be told off for taking food. She had noted how Joe had pulled the basket closer to the edge before the child had struck. A big gentle man. As soft as Rhys. As soft as her Johnny had been.
She closed her eyes to chase away the sorrow. He had died well, getting his family and their neighbours to safety. Leo was hard and lithe. Not Johnny. But warm still the same.
She tried to remember the name of the twin girls playing on the floor with Micah. Didn't matter, they were so much like the "Shining" twins that she would never warm to them. Still had both their parents. How can you not hate them, just a little for that?
Walt and Geoff with their little button. So much money and angst to get their miracle only to have this happen. The same sex couple couldn't adopt that easily due to Geoff's heart condition so they had spent copious amounts to get their own baby and now there were children going spare. How crazy. She looked more like Walter than Geoff despite them saying they didn't know which the father was. Mixed their spunk and hoped for the best. Lucky. Geoff was a bit weedy on it. Not to mention the heart condition might be hereditary. Walter was big and gorgeous like a fireman. Good genes. Rhia felt sure they would lose Geoff eventually, especially the way he rubbed his chest when stressed. She had watched her brother note that as well.
Two babies, at least Joseph would have a playmate roughly his own age. What a sad thought. Maybe the last babies. She sighed then looked around the room. No. More will come. They'll survive.
She looked back at her brother again. He will survive. Her babies will survive. He will make sure of that. She was no longer afraid to die or to live. She knew Ianto would make things OK. That's what he did. Even as kids Ianto protected her, loved her. Small but fearless.
Everything's going to be OK in the end. If it's not OK it isn't the end yet. That's what he used to whisper as they hid from their drunken father's rampages.
Rhiannon smiled as she watched her brother arguing with himself in his head. Something was going to happen. Unafraid she returned her gaze to the baby in her own arms.
She began to hum an old welsh lullaby her Mam hummed once upon a time to her and Ianto.
Ianto was crunching the numbers. They now had a grand total of twenty three adults and eleven children of varying ages from infant to about ten. Shit.
Jack knew his mate was itemising, assessing and allocating. Collating data as Tosh would say. It would be another hour or so before he was ready to quietly give him his orders. Jack smiled. It sounded so good when he stood up and spouted his ideas. Only Gwen knew that it was Ianto's words in his mouth. Jack was a soldier through and through. This logistical nightmare of housing, food and education was not part of his training.
Ianto looked down at the table but didn't see the food placed there. Rhia's humming was like a balm, he took a deep breath a let himself drift.
Jack and Ianto with Angel needed a room to themselves. Rhia and Leo with 4 kids needed at least a room. Joe and Francine with "Snatch" needed a room. Martha and Mickey with Tish bunking with them meant another room.
Gwen and Rhys with Anwen and "Boss". Another room. Margo and Paul with the two little girls. Nancy and Ella. Another room. Walter and Geoffrey with baby Pearl. Room.
Amy and Ralf had recently hooked up. Room. Baby material? Too early to tell.
Monty, Selina, Robert, Carl, Jenna and Wendy who came with Leo could bunk in together as they were used to being together when they were UNIT. Possible coupling there?
That was a minimum of nine rooms at a squeeze. They had eight. The soldiers could bunk down on cots in the mess but it wasn't a good long term solution. Damn.
Ianto knew what had to be done and waited until Jack went to change his shirt and begged his leave to check on their sleeping chick in their room.
"We need to go." He said without preamble.
"OK Babe. I'll get some fresh socks." Jack muttered absently buttoning his shirt. Ever the soldier thinking of his feet. He then looked up at Ianto and froze.
Jack we have too many people to stay safe here. We need somewhere safer. Especially with the babies." Ianto wrung his hands knowing Jack was not liking what he was hearing. "Security details working in shifts of five warm bodies changing every six hours, we can't keep that up forever. We all need rest. Somewhere we don't need a full patrol each night. Just one or two on night watch. Some of these people have never fired a gun, never learned combat skills. We need to protect them, not utilise them."
"OK" Jack said slowly, "Where do we go?"
"Well, it has to be safe. No Larggettes. Right? No new people either. I think we've hit our quota and besides … we still don't know who attacked the safe house." Ianto droned.
Jack nodded and settled back on the bed. This was it.
"We need plenty of room for the kids to run, alone spaces for the emerging families to bond as well as cooking facilities. Food is another factor. Somewhere self-sustaining would be a boon." Ianto found confidence and sat beside Jack, "We could still go on recons once a week or so for fresh stuff but most could be kept on the island and …"
"Wait. Island?" Jack gasped then smiled. Flat Holm. Of course. Larggettes can't swim and it is invisible due to the perception filter in place. No new people. No threats.
"We have … how many patients there?" Ianto asked.
"Down to four after the miracle" Jack answered. "Six staff. Shit Yan, we can house up to forty people easily, the sheep and chickens as well as the veggie gardens …"
Ianto shushed him and stood, shooting his cuffs.
"It'll be more like 44 people including staff but that's if we all get there in one piece." Ianto corrected him softly, looking down as his lover began to ignore him. Lost in his thoughts.
"Shit, good thing the bus is going. Need another one though, plus we need to bring supplies. Maybe a few trucks. Rhys could help with that, he'll know if any are still about." Jack was formulating now.
"Good thing we have a boat, take a few trips though. Maybe if we can borrow another big one like a barge? We could drive the trucks straight onto it." Jack reached for a pad by the bed and began to write ideas.
"Kitset houses? Maybe some single room batches along the shoreline if we can get the barge for the wood." Jack scribbled furiously.
"Your ideas have merit Sir." Ianto winked before swishing out of the room.
Jack grinned after him. Look at that. Not even a coat and he swished. Wow!
Jack had his orders.