Chapter 11

Myfanwy settled into the house like a duck to water. Well, to Walter, to be precise. She saw the small man as her responsibility and took to following him everywhere with adoring eyes.

Rhiannon was understandably shocked when she first met the beast but quickly mellowed as she watched Walter eating a sandwich and carefully removing the crusts with his little fingers to feed the dog, who never once touched his fingers with her teeth.

Now a month had gone by and a daily pattern had emerged.

Jack called in after he'd been to the gym each morning. If he'd stayed overnight he forwent the gym to have extra time with Walter. Jack ate a cooked breakfast with Walter and Ianto then, after a chaste kiss, he headed to work. After work he would call in to check on them and sometimes stay for an evening meal. Each weekend he stayed overnight. Although they still hadn't had sex, they felt like a family.

Jack didn't want to rush Ianto, who was set in his ways and still adjusting to a new possible family member, but he secretly hoped they would be more intimate by the end of the month when Walter's third birthday came around and Jack had to meet the rest of the Jones clan.

Jack wondered how the day had gone as he walked up the steps to knock on Ianto's front door. Walter had a sniffle that morning so Ianto had stayed home and the multiple texts throughout the morning only confirmed the worst: a cold. Jack had started to ignore them after the third text about the colour of his snot.

The door opened before his knuckles could rap on it and a heavy bundle was thrust into his arms.

"Quick, the spaghetti sauce is burning! You're late," Ianto barked as he turned back into the hallway.

As Jack stepped over the threshold he looked into the fluffy blanket and sad pools of chocolate peered back.

"Oh Walter. You are sick, you poor wee man," Jack consoled with a soft kiss to Walter's forehead.

A warm forehead. Jack placed his cheek against the wee tot's face and decided it was very hot.

"Do we have any liquid paracetamol?" Jack asked as he walked into the kitchen, where Ianto flittered about with a tea towel, flapping at the pots.

"He's just had a dose, I don't know what else to do for him. He's always such a hot potato when he's sick," Ianto replied as he drained the spaghetti.

Jack pulled out a chair and settled the wee man in his lap, pulling back the blanket as the boy whined at the loss of heat.

"Feel cold baby?" Jack asked, and his worry grew as he tucked the blanket back around Walter's back.

"Ianto, he has a fever; do you think we should call a doctor?" Jack asked.

"Teething! Jack, his molars are giving him grief on top of the cold. Been at the doctors since two this afternoon - didn't you get my text?" Ianto was flustered and turned to face Jack with his hands on his hips.

Damn! So hot, Mr Jones. Ianto's hair had curled with the steam and a light sheen of sweat on his top lip made him positively edible to Jack's eyes.

"I was assured by the doctor that he'll be fine," Ianto finished, turning to finish dishing up the meal.

"Can I call Owen for a second opinion? Just for my silly old piece of mind?" Jack asked, not wanting to offend Ianto.

"Yes, whatever. God, I'm so tired!" Ianto sighed as a plate of perfectly cooked pasta was placed in front of Jack and a smaller one beside it for Walter.

Jack looked up with surprise as Ianto handed Walter a fork without seating him in his own chair.

"He wants you. Has been asking for you for the last hour so I don't think he'll let you put him down for at least another hour, Captain," Ianto growled as Jack watched the tot twirl the fork in the spaghetti like a professional.

Jack tasted his own plate of food and let out a groan of pleasure.

"Is it alright?" Ianto smiled as he sat to eat his own portion. "Bug's favourite food when he's poorly."

"God, Ianto, you should have been a chef. This is wonderful," Jack enthused as Ianto rose to get another serving for Jack's rapidly emptying plate.

Walter had decided his tummy was full and sighed into Jack's shoulder. Jack looked down to watch the boy nodding off to sleep and then looked over the top of his head at the dog staring defiantly at him.

"Yan? I though we agreed she'd stay out of the kitchen?" Jack frowned.

"Won't leave him. Besotted, the poor girl. What can I say? It's the Jones charm," Ianto preened, and Jack laughed.

Ianto scraped his plate into a large bowl, then added Walter's. To Jack's surprise, Ianto then dropped it on the floor in front of the dog, who eagerly wolfed it down.

"She loves people food. Don't worry, nothing in spaghetti to upset her!" Ianto hastened to add as the garlic bread incident the night before was still quite fresh, so to speak. Or smell.

After a warm bath for Walter that was provided by Jack as Ianto washed up, the wee man was put to bed in his favourite PJs with the Despicable Me minions dancing all over the fabric. Jack didn't even need to open a book as the poor baby was asleep before Jack had finished tucking him in.

Owen was phoned and he demanded a temperature check be done. The ear thermometer confirmed he was sick but not overly hot. Jack was mollified by Owen's admonishment for overreacting, but knew he wouldn't sleep unless he knew for sure that the wee man was okay. He'd wanted the baby in the big bed but Ianto insisted Walter be in his own bed as he was so hot and would keep him awake otherwise.

Myfanwy settled by the cot and Jack frowned again. He left the room to hunt down Ianto.

"Hey, I thought we agreed she would sleep in the garage at night." Jack began the conversation as he found Ianto getting ready for bed, brushing his teeth in the bathroom.

"Excuse me?" Ianto snapped as he slammed down the toothbrush in the sink, finally sick of the whole day.

"That dog needs to learn boundaries. What if we want a night off? Do you think a babysitter wants that slobbering mutt-" he wavered as Ianto's thunderous glare met him through the mirror.

"A night off? And what the fuck is this royal "we" business?" Ianto snarled, turning to face Jack.

Jack saw that he had miscalculated and took a step toward Ianto to pacify him.

"My son is not a bloody chore we take a night off from. Jesus H Christ, we've only known each other for a few months and I don't need you trying to run my life! I'm fucking it up very nicely on my own thank you very much!" he continued to rant as Jack took a step back instead.

"Ianto, I didn't mean to step on your toes, it's just that that dog-" Jack could have bitten his tongue as Ianto's eyes flashed with anger.

"That dog is the only thing that pleased him today. My little baby is sick and I've been all alone with him. Every time I tried to put him down he cried, so I've carried him everywhere and believe you me mister, he's getting heavy. You know the car's in the shop for the brakes failing on me the other day but I've taken him to the doctors on the bus, had to take the bloody bus over to the other side of town from the doctor's office to get to the chemist with him grizzling and everyone looking at me like I was a bad parent when it was obvious that he's sick!" Ianto roared.

Jack held his hands up and tried to look contrite but Ianto was on a roll.

"Then I had to wait for nearly an hour in the cold with him for the bus home and now you come home and start picking like I'm too bloody stupid to care properly for my son!" Ianto ran out of steam and took a breath to calm himself.

Looking back on the argument, Jack knew he could have chosen his next words much better, but in the heat of the moment he railed straight back.

"Well I could have helped if you let me - I do care for Walter. I would have driven you both to the doctor's office and the chemist. At least then I'd know what the doctor said. God knows what bugs he's picked up off those bloody buses!" Jack snarled.

"How dare you! Check your fucking phone before you accuse me of not contacting you then you would have seen my unanswered texts asking you for fucking help and as for the comment about the doctor's diagnosis, who the fuck do you think you are!" Ianto was shaking with rage. "Get the fuck out of my house!"

"What?" Jack gasped with his eyes growing wide.

"You heard me, you sanctimonious twat. If my parenting skills suck so much maybe you need to find another readymade family with less work needed to control the little woman." Ianto had stormed to the back door as Jack meekly followed hanging his head.

As they both stood staring at the slammed door, one inside and the other outside, they both wondered the same thing. What the hell just happened?

The click of the mouse showed Walter still asleep in his bed, the covers pulled up over his head with a tuft of hair poking out. The dog lay on the floor looking towards the door. Another click of the mouse changed the picture to the living room where Ianto sat with his head in his hands as his shoulders shook. He was crying.

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