Jack was sitting near the front of the barge watching the teenagers as they spoke quietly at the bow. Young blood would make life interesting and Mamma would be glad of more people to fuss on. He could smell Hugo on the girl and it seemed evident her brother hadn't a clue. Might have to watch that for a flare up.
Jack felt someone sit next to him and turned to see Walter looking off into the fog.
"Walt" Jack said amicably as he whittled a piece of wood feeling all nautical.
"I never wanted her you know" Walter blurted then looked at his hands.
"OK." Jack tried not to look shocked at the outburst. No pleasant chatter then, but then again Jack had wondered when this might happen.
This man had been wearing his grief the way Jack wore his coat. He knew the grief cloyingly hugging this man, had felt it himself at the top of a cliff not so long ago. The rejection of Pearl had been most worrying, not just for Pearl but he was the other reason the rig had continued to the docks and not helped with the teen rescue. He had stuck with the soldiers, hungrily eyeing their guns. He was gonna get himself killed, or one of them.
"Geoff had wanted a child so much and I thought, he would be happier. Such a passive-aggressive man. I loved him so much but, bloody hell! Sometimes he'd sulk for days without me knowing what I've done wrong" Walter looked down at his hands.
"Walt. I know it's hard. I am so sorry but none of this is Perl's fault. She still needs you" Jack implored. "You can know joy gain. Back at the hobby farm, that little Kid. Remember how you laughed at the way it was head-butting its mother?"
"Yeah. And I couldn't wait to tell Geoff ..." Walt sighed and shrugged. "All I ever wanted was him. He made me soft and warm."
"Walt. I know it's dark now …"
Walter snorted and turned to look Jack in the eye. Jack's heart sank as he recognised the emptiness in the stare. Poor little Pearl would really need them now.
As Walter walked away Jack rose to follow. Implore for her one more time. Walter walked over to where the teens had been standing moments ago and as Jack watched helplessly he calmly stepped off.
Ianto's bark echoed as he left Angel at the controls and ran. Leo stepped up behind Angel and took over, watching Jack hold Ianto back as the thump of the body was heard hitting the hull of the barge. When the water churned red at the back he knew the prop's blades had also met Walter and he looked over to where Jack still held Ianto and shook his head.
"What did he say to you?" Ianto demanded.
"That he didn't want Pearl" Jack prayed Walter would forgive him for the betrayal but as Ianto's nostrils flared he knew he had averted the grief Ianto was feeling and had replaced it with anger.
Anger is good. Ianto can work through anger.
When they reached the shore everyone was waiting. They had heard Ianto's shout and were unable to see due to the fog. The relief on their faces that history hadn't repeated itself was evident.
Ianto was first off and he strode over to Mamma, snatching Pearl up and burying his face in her little body. Angel ran up once Jack had placed him on the dock and he looked up at Mamma with huge eyes that filled his face with horror.
"Walt got eaten by the barge" he whispered.
His next noise was a surprised yelp as Boss calmly smacked him cross the face. Everyone stood with their mouths open as Angel placed a hand to his cheek.
"You left me!" Boss accused with a shaking finger. A light Scottish lit to his voice surprised everyone. They had assumed he was Welsh.
"Oh my God, he's talking" Gwen cried, reaching for Rhys for support.
"You doo-doo head!" Boss said and Angel looked chastised.
"Sorry darling. I had to help. Look, I found a doggie" he pointed at the Dog Mickey had imaginatively called Lucky and was forgiven as Boss squealed with delight.
"Scottish huh?" Jack said to Rhys.
"Daring?" Rhys replied.
"Don't worry Rhys. Doesn't mean they're gay. Just curious and role playing. Hormones could change everything" Ianto assured him and Rhys smiled.
"The way I know you two fellas, I don't think it would matter" he smiled and Ianto swallowed the urge to hug him.
Pearl was touching Ianto's face and he turned to smile at her. No, as long as there's love nothing else matters he thought as he kissed the little hand.