The second bus sat in the main yard so Joe could weld in better light than the warehouse and Angel squatted behind him in his own matching welding goggles watching him work. The floppy hat was at Tadda's insistence but it did keep the sun off his face good.
Huge things Grandy Joe had called "Cow Catchers" had been put on the front of each bus shaped like knight's visors and now metal grillwork was going on the windows with slots for guns to still fire from safely. It was hot work and Nanny Fran had made yummy lemonade and peanut butter sandwiches with real homemade bread for her "working men".
Angel was waiting impatiently because Tadda said he could paint them when they was done and the pots of paint sat in the shade with the brushes, ready to go. He couldn't start until Grandy Joe was finished 'cos of the sparks. Tadda said the paint might catch fire if one fell into the pot. Wow!
Daddy said that the other kids might want to help but he really wanted to do the cow catcher things himself. Tadda knew this and had whispered that he could ask the kids after he'd started so they knew what he meant. Tadda knew stuff like that. He can do the big metal bits on the front himself. Maybe then he'll go get the others.
There were two large transport trucks Uncle Rhys and Uncle Leo had brought in and they could paint those too if they were quick.
Tadda and the others were filling the trucks with all the boxes from the warehouse and Tadda had a clipboard he was ticking things on. Tadda said they were going on a big bus ride soon and these were going to be their transport. He also said he didn't have to go on the bus, he could ride with Daddy and Tadda in the SUV.
Angel was relieved about that as he still had nightmares about the last bus ride, the thought of another ride had amped them up until he wet the bed. Tadda and Daddy weren't angry when he said what he'd dreamed and spent the rest of the night cuddling him between them after Tadda had changed the bed for nice clean sheets.
Tadda told him he would never hurt him, he was immune to the bites and would never, ever need to be tied in the back of the bus. Daddy would never hurt him or Tadda. Daddy would never tie them in the back of the bus with the monster people. Tadda is always right. Daddy said so when he gave him an extra big kiss.
Angel still found it weird that Tadda and Daddy were both boys and kissed and stuff but they kissed him too and that didn't feel weird at all. Angel remembered his first Daddy and his yelling, angry voice at mommy. They didn't cuddle. They didn't kiss. He was bad and they were angry all the time.
Tadda Yan called him his little angel, his precious baby. It felt really nice. Daddy Jack let him wear his big coat even though it dragged on the floor and he was allowed to eat his dinner in it once, so cool! Even when they were angry with each other their yelling was not filled with hate, he still got cuddles and was never told he was bad or the reason for their fighting. They always fed him too. They never stayed angry for long and when Daddy made Tadda cry he sometimes cried too. They always say sorry and then kiss some more.
Daddy and Uncle Mickey had brought back some cool toys and he didn't mind sharing with the other kids. It was nice to have friends that didn't ask about bruises and stuff. Nice not to have bruises and stuff.
Angel worried about Boss. He was so scared. His dark floppy hair hung over his eyes and they were big brown pools of chocolate sorrow. Angel felt like he probably needed a cuddle, like Uncle Rhys gives him but was scared he would push him away. He never said anything, so scared of everyone. Angel had never felt like this before. He wanted to help Boss, to protect him. He needed that. A big brother like Uncle Leo is to Aunty Tishy. Hugs and kisses, laughing and games. He could do that.
Tadda was Aunty Rhia's brother too. They thought he hadn't seen but the other night Tadda had held her while she had a good cry and then he sang a sweet song as he danced with her in the moonlight. He could do that. He could love someone else, Tadda and Daddy gave him so much and they always say it's best to share the good stuff. Love is the bestest of the good stuff like Nanny Frannie's chocolate mousse and Tadda's laugh and he would never get tired of being loved.
With that thought in place Angel stood as he brushed off his jeans and looked around the compound until he found Boss, crouched by the fence, drawing in the dirt with a stick. The other kids were playing but he was all alone. Angel sighed as he felt a wave of sorrow for the little boy. Definitely needs a big brother, aye.
Angel went over and crouched next to him. Boss looked up when he noticed his shadow and eyed him wearily. When Angel held out his hand Boss thought he wanted his stick and handed it over. Angel shook his head and held out his hand again. After a beat or two Boss put his hand gently into Angel's.
Angel kissed his fingers like he'd seen Daddy do to Tadda's when they hold hands and Boss gasped with surprise then blushed, just like Tadda. Angel smiled and shuffled closer, placing his arm around his shoulders in an awkward hug. Boss lunged into his arms with a sob, burying his face in his neck.
Oh. Tadda did this once. He tried to remember what Daddy did and carefully held him tight, singing the lullaby Tadda likes. After a while Boss went all soft and cuddly then looked up with a big smile. Ok, a kiss then. Angel kissed Boss gently on the cheek and then stood up.
"Come on little bro, you can paint one of the cow catchers and I'll paint the other. Just us. The others can paint with us after that." Angel held out his hand again.
Boss scrambled to his feet and eagerly clutched at Angel's hand as they went to choose their paint.
Rhys had been watching the exchange. He always watched his wee man and had been shocked and confused at first, then saw the kiss and offer to paint. Ianto and Jack were rubbing off on this one for sure, he'd not seen Boss smile like that.
Rising from the planter boxes of baby lettuces he'd been preparing to move, he wandered off to find Ianto, knowing the kids were safe with Joe and Mickey who were opening the tins of paint for the two boys.
Ianto was standing next to some crates frowning at them. As he sighed and turned to look at another one he saw Rhys approaching. The last few weeks had been hard, especially with the kids on the scene but the two men had forged a friendship amongst it all and Ianto smiled his welcome.
"Our two monsters are painting the buses" Rhys smiled as Ianto grimaced at the thought of paint on his boy's clothes.
"Problem?" he had noticed Ianto's frowning when he'd arrived and knew Ianto would tell him.
"I need a bloody forklift to get these on the trucks, too big for the trollies" Ianto shrugged.
"One in the next warehouse isn't there?" Rhys tried to remember the neighbouring sheds they'd checked.
"Ah! Yes! Good man. Don't tell Jack," Ianto slapped the clipboard into Rhys's chest to hold and took off leaving Rhys standing there staring into the thin air left behind.
Rhys wandered back out into the sunshine in time to see Ianto slip through the gates. Shit! Jack was gonna kill him for putting the idea in his head. Mickey had noticed Rhys worrying at the gates and looked in the direction he was looking in time to see Ianto disappear into the warehouse next door. Shit!
Now Mickey joined Rhys in their silent watch. After a few minutes that seemed like hours they heard the throaty growl of the forklift starting. Now the entire compound was looking. The doors swung open as Ianto pushed them with the forks and then calmly proceeded towards their compound.
Jack stood calmly with his arms folded, having perpetual kittens internally, as Ianto approached the gates and the men swung them open. The warning call for approaching Larggettes sounded as they closed the gates behind Ianto and Ianto laughed at Rhys who was making exaggerated motions for parking.
"Hon? Got a minute?" Jack called out with a smile.
Ianto smiled and waved back, not falling for it. If they were going to have a "Barney" as Owen used to call them it'll be without witnesses' thank you very much. Swinging the forklift into the warehouse, he passed Mickey approaching the wire excitedly with his new flamethrower he'd made and hoped the kids weren't watching what was gonna happen there.
With the ease he shows with everything, Ianto lifted one of the heavy boxes and swung the machine to head for the nearest truck.
Sliding it home as Rhys signalled for him from the side, Ianto felt they were finally getting somewhere. Backing the forklift slowly for a second box, Ianto noted Joe watching with his arms folded too, a frown on his face.
Finished, Ianto turned it off and jumped nimbly to the ground where Jack was glowering. He kissed him on the lips quick and turned to face Joe. Jack, surprised by the action had to melt and forgive him. Damn!
"You handle that well young fella" Joe called out as he approached.
"Yeah well, my misbegotten youth again." Ianto smiled back.
The time he and his mates spent on building sites had helped with moving Lisa and again when Jack needed him. He didn't even think about it.
"If I cage that, could you add it to the convoy?" Joe nodded at the forklift.
"NO!" Jack barked with alarm, the thought of Ianto driving it through packs of Larggettes panicking him.
"A flatbed to get it to the docks, Jack." Joe saw the fear on his face, "We'll need to unload again though, and shit! He sure can drive it!"
"Joe …" Jack warned.
"No! Think about it Jackie. How do we get them back off? What do we have on the island to unload? Come on man, this will make a great hydraulic lift for vehicle repairs later and we've not even checked the path to the docks is big enough for the busses. What if we need to move a vehicle back?"
Jack made a noise in the back of his throat and looked to Mickey.
"Well, he's right. We could fit at a pinch but if we need to move in a hurry … we need more room and less corners. "Mickey nodded.
"Why not go see?" Ianto interrupted them. "Take the SUV and check the streets to the dock. Look at more than one way to get there in case we need to change the plan. Also look for diesel and petrol tanks. If we keep these vehicles we need fuel. The forklift would be a good addition. If we can truck it, all good but we'll need a flatbed now!"
"Yep. On it. Rhys?" Mickey was nodding enthusiastically.
"Yep, I know where some flatbeds are, need one with ramps." Rhys was already going through the conversation he will need to have with Gwen when he tells her he's going out again.
"Well? What are we waiting for? Let's map out a route," Ianto smiled and motioned toward the SUV.
"OK, but I'm driving!" Jack muttered as he followed them.