Jack looked over the team as Mickey went over the last minute checks.
Gwen had come to see him the night before and begged him not to take Rhys but Jack had reminded her that it was Rhys' decision. Gwen had then insisted on going as well and he had again reminded her that the island needed her for patrol duty while the bulk of the soldiers were with him. She had stormed off for a repeat performance with Ianto and he knew it had not been pretty judging by the sulking now on display.
What Gwen forgot was the fact that he was going to have to swallow it down and watch his own husband storm into the middle of danger.
Rhys and Leo were showing Paul how to load a clip with bullets while Monty and Carl were rechecking their kit bags.
The barges were ready to go and Jack was sure they had everything. Ianto had spent most of the night holding Angel tight as he wept into Ianto's chest. Poor little mite was so sure he would never see them again and Jack could only hold them both in the dark.
It was not surprise that Angel refused to see them off, hiding in the bed and Jack had convinced Ianto to leave him there. Mamma had promised to care for him and Pearl, a welcome respite from her own pain at the loss of Snatch. Ianto had gently kissed the baby in her arms and Jack had felt a slight pull in his chest as a little hand had reached for the face he himself stroked so often in the dark.
As they loaded up Jack took one last look at those assembled as they bravely waved. Rhys was blowing kisses to Gwen who was gamely catching them with exaggerated jumps and Boss was laughing.
The breeze was light and they soon approached the far shore. With no problems they secured the barges and Rhys soon had a bead on a nearby big rig with the Harwood's GPS system. As the SUV roared up the ramp and onto the empty roads Jack reached across the console for Ianto's hand.
They travelled most of the night and in the early dawn of the next day they were parked next to the cattle transport vehicle that Rhys assured them was safe for sheep as well. Ianto had agreed that cattle and sheep get along and they decided they would grab at least five cows, a bull and six to seven sheep. Ianto insisted on two rams as well to ensure good breeding and the transport carrier was more than large enough in case a few goats were around.
A small sign telling them that a hobby farm was ahead woke Jack from his driving daze and he swung the wheel, turning the SUV into the driveway and he saw with satisfaction in the rear view mirror that the big rig was following the turn. When he didn't expect to see was the small blonde curls peeking from under the tarp and he dreaded telling Ianto what he knew in an instant would send him into a frenzy.
Angel was hiding in the back amongst the ammo.
They came to a stop in the sweeping driveway and Jack sat frozen in the driver's seat and Ianto frowned as he recognized the look of panic.
"Jack?" he whispered.
"We have a stowaway" Jack whispered back.
"What? Who?" Ianto turned to look behind them and gasped with horror as Angel peered out of the tarp at him with an apologetic smile.
"Oh no. Baby what the flying fuck are you doing here?" Ianto moaned.
"Oh, who's using big boys words now swe…." Jack stopped and cleared his throat as the Jones Stare of Doom shot him down in flames.
The Rig had stopped and Mickey was laughing as Leo and Paul were hastily peeing in nearby bushes. Monty and Carl showed their Unit training by actually doing a sweep before they peed and soon they noticed that the SUV was still occupied.
Mickey was the first to see the small head appearing and he cursed as he recognised Angel climbing between the seats.
Ianto was the first to disembark and they could see he was struggling with some sort of panic attack as he fell to his knees and gasped for air. Leo reached him first and laid him down on his side as Ianto grabbed desperately at his arms.
"Easy, easy. Take even breaths. Come on Ianto. In and then out. Come on Ianto. Breathe" Leo said soothingly as he rubbed Ianto's back.
Jack climbed from the other side of the SUV and Angel looked down from Ianto's seat with horror as Ianto curled into the foetal position and continued to gasp.
"Step away. Please, everyone stop looking at him" Jack begged as he threw his coat over Ianto, covering his head and shoulders as well.
Angel climbed/fell from the SUV and draped himself on top and begged Ianto to stop. Finally Ianto sat up and leaned against the SUV. He opened his arms to Angel who snuggled in and looked at Jack with fear.
"We've not seen one. Not a single one. We might be lucky. He does not leave our sides. We do not separate and we make all decisions together" Jack said calmly as Ianto nodded.
Jack resisted the urge to put the wee man over his knee for such open anarchy.