Chapter 12

Ianto woke with a start.

It had taken some time to fall asleep after the argument with Jack, and he'd lain in the dark bitterly regretting his temper long into the night.

Ianto had wept into his pillow like a heartbroken heroine after Jack left, then spent the next hour berating himself for being such a girl's blouse. Each word, each facial expression was analysed as Ianto tried to work out what had tipped him over the edge with Jack.

Was it the brakes? Jack had scoffed when Ianto said there was something wrong with the car's brakes and Ianto had taken it to the shop without his knowledge. When he'd informed Jack that the garage said the brake lines were damaged, he'd made a comment about older cars being less reliable.

Was it the familiarity with Walter? Was he jealous of the growing friendship between his son and Jack? The way Jack talked like he had a say in Walter's development?

Ianto had felt slighted. Pugnacious even. Then mollified after slamming the door like a drama queen. Now he felt childish. Taking his frustration of the day out on Jack had been such a shitty thing to do.

Ianto lay there for a few beats listening to the darkness of the room. What had woken him?

A noise like glass breaking made him jump. Then the smell hit his senses: smoke. God, fire!

Ianto leapt from the bed and rushed to the bedroom door. Trying to remember all he had seen on TV, he reached out and touched the door. Not hot.

He opened it and smoke began to fill the room. Ianto dropped to his hands and knees as he felt his way along the pitch black hall to Walter's room. Feeling around in the blankets, he searched for Walter, but after several precious minutes he realised the bed was empty.

As he exited the room, heading further down the hall, his hands met a foot, then a leg. WALTER!

Myfanwy was slowly crawling through the smoke towards the back door on her belly and every few inches she made forward, she reached back and used her teeth to pull the boy forwards by his clothing. Oh, my beautiful girl.

Ianto knew he was weeping as they all moved forward, but he also knew that each moment was a moment too long for his baby, who was breathing in the thick toxic smoke that swirled around them.

Finally, she stopped pulling. His baby was still. Ianto moved forwards, then met the backdoor with his hand.

He took a deep breath, then stood and unlocked the door, opening it to the cool outside air.

The roar of the fire gave him little chance of further thought to the damage it was causing their home as the backdraft flicked its tongue at him. The explosion threw him through the doorway where he fell onto the crisp dewy grass. Myfanwy pulled her charge from the house and carefully lifted her head higher so the collar in her teeth lifted the child's head higher as well. She pulled him over to lay him by his father, then sat beside her family.

As the night crept on across Cardiff, the deep booming bark of the Cane Corso echoed through the neighbourhood.

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