I feel fine

Chapter 9

The boy had gotten over his initial dislike of Ianto and had started following him around, holding the tail of his shirt that had come loose in the bus. An ice-cream (or two if you count the amount of ice-cream Mickey let him eat straight from the machine like an alcoholic drinking from a tap) long gone, he now had what looked like a peanut butter sandwich that he was slowly and methodically devouring while looking around like a feral dog, daring anyone to take it from him.

The adults were eagerly waiting for Francine's lasagne as the smell made their mouths water. Finding bathtubs and hot water had reduced more than one woman to tears and the clean clothes offered had been too much for one who couldn't speak for her sobs choking her as she clutched the clothes to her chest like they were spun gold.

They had been travelling for several days and the supplies were long gone. The only ones not starving were the children who had been given the last of their food that morning. They had rationed and then starved for two days so the children wouldn't. They had hoped to scavenge for food when they reached Cardiff.

The boy who had exited the bus to protect the woman had not seen his father die early on in the piece and the woman they had thought the mother was actually a neighbour who had found him holding his dead mother's hand as she had tried to shield him in the car, still in the driveway of their house. He never saw her turn, or the kitchen knife driven with speed and force into her eye socket. He was already out the door and pulling his pet carrier from the back seat as his ferret swore loudly inside while the neighbour did the deed.

Small mercies, Ianto silently swore never to let him suffer.

Ianto absently patted his head and he smiled up at him, transformed into an angel. Ianto's returning smile was both warm and open. He reminded him a little of Mica and who could deny that face.

Ianto was talking with Gwen when Jack noticed it. A small tear. Almost missed in the old jeans he now wore as they already had holes and tears in them. No, the blood around the tear gave him away.

Jack had lamented the loss of the suits but Ianto had stood firm.

"This is not about saving the world and looking good Jack," he had laughed softly at his pout, "This is about surviving to rebuild in a new world."

Of course, the flattering way the jeans hugged his hips and butt? OK, Jack wasn't too heart broken.

Ianto seemed to be arguing with her, his eyes flashing with anger as she stood with her hands on her hips, leaning into his face. Her finger poked him in the shoulder and he showed his teeth in a snarl as he warned her off.

Ianto knew Jack had noticed it when he found himself flat on his back with Jack sitting on his chest pinning him down struggling to get his Webley to Ianto's head.

Everyone froze. Ianto regarded his lover with a raised eyebrow.

"Don't fucking move" Jack snarled, his face twisted with rage. "What are you hiding from me now sweetheart?"

Ianto's eyes widened for a moment, then went dull. Looking over Jack's shoulder at the ceiling he went limp and stopped struggling as the gun bit into his forehead. After a moment he closed his eyes and turned his face from Jack as a traitorous tear escaped to run down and kiss his earlobe.

Ianto lay limply with his arms behind his head in submission and after a slight hesitation Jack slid down his body to examine the wound.

"Tourniquet, someone, get me ..." Jack was panting as he tore as Ianto's jeans, deepening the tear so that the skin beneath was visible. As well as the missing piece of skin taken in the nip.

The size of a coke bottle top. A bite.

"Jack" Ianto said quietly.

"Sorry mate," Mickey was now at Ianto's head and his hands shook as he began to restrain Ianto's upper arms.

"Jack" Ianto said louder.

Gwen was on her knees with her hands pulling at her mouth, Rhys holding her back.

Francine and the bus woman, Margo, scooped the children into another room as the boy started to scream and struggle to get to Ianto, fierce and desperate to save him from the mean man hurting him.

The remaining adults began to circle.

"A sharp blade. Fuck, No…not now…not again …I love you I'm not…" Jack sobbed as he looked about wildly at their audience.

He rose to stand over Ianto as he motioned for assistance and Martha shook her head. He looked at her with such grief that she stepped forward again, not sure what to do.

"JACK" Ianto roared.

Jack looked down at his prone love and swallowed down his fear.

"Jack this is not an episode of "The Walking Dead" you know!" Ianto droned, "Cutting my limb off would not stop the venom after this length of time."

"No, no, no, no…" Jack shook his head frantically.

"Jack, he's right" Martha concurred.

"No you can't make me …."Jack wailed.

"JACK! You bloody fool, look at me." Ianto demanded, "Look at my eyes Captain"

Jack didn't want to see the evidence of his lost heart but knew he could not deny Ianto, so he steeled his heart and looked down.

Into blue-grey eyes.

"Three hours Sir. 's been three hours" Ianto whispered sadly.

Jack bit back a bark of laughter and looked to Martha like a lost child.

"He's right Jack. It's been hours since they arrived." Martha nodded, "If he was infected it would present already."

"So …"Jack looked at Ianto again with hope as he sank to straddle his hips, "You weren't bitten?"

"No Sir. I was bitten." Ianto sighed looking away from him again, "I'm obviously immune!"

The revelation that Ianto had built an immunity to the bites of larggette victims was staggering but Martha did not rule out his lack of immunity to the beasts themselves.

The tests Martha had run with the assistance with one of the men from the bus who, as it turns out was a nurse before the end of the world, called Peter, were promising. Now Martha understood their false hope at a cure and his quiet admission that they had been hoping to get to a disease centre had her biting her tongue as the urge to remind him again that this was not a horror move almost choked her.

They had all risked their lives, perhaps even added to the loss of the child, in the false hope of a cure at some disease centre that didn't even exist. London had a lockdown facility, sure. Cardiff? Nah.

Ianto didn't speak. Not once. Not to answer Martha's questions or to complain when Peter was rough with the blood extraction, leaving angry bruises up his alabaster arms. Ianto sat impassively naked from the waist up ignoring the world at large.

Francine had entered the room with a cup of tea for him and dropped it with horror as the myriad of scars on his body mocked under the artificial lights. Burns from Canary Warf, through to the last injury received before re-set in the house of the dead. The bright red scar across his shoulder from front to back, curling down his armpit to stop half way down the rib cage from a weevil attack like a huge question mark on his skin. His body was a road map to hell.

After that he closed his eyes and refused to open then again. He was marble, he was stone. Anyone could see, he was in agony.

In a display reminiscent of Gwen's story walls, Martha had created a wall of Ianto. Blood works, photographs and pie charts, graphs etc. The last two hours of work were productive but the silence from Ianto was as unnerving as his calm compliance.

"The virus is watered down in the human form. I believe the antibodies in Ianto recognise the human mutated virus. This would not probably work for a bite. "Martha frowned and shook her head, "Jack, I just don't know."

Jack could see Ianto was upset by his attack and subsequent lack of affection as he'd dragged him into Martha's make-shift medical bay and then left him to break down quietly in the other room. Francine had held Jack as he sobbed into her bosom, so much a mother that his heart, for the first time in many years, yearned for his own mamma's arms.

The only highlight was the hope that Ianto was safer than first thought.

As to the anger Ianto wasn't hiding very well? Maybe Jack was not as safe as first thought.

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