Chapter 13

Jack had never driven so fast or recklessly as he did this horrible, endless night.

When the phone had woken him to the sound of Gwen's worried barks of fear he'd thought the world was ending.

A fire. Ianto was unconscious and Walter … God, he'd been too afraid to ask. When Andy had taken the phone from her and assured Jack that both Ianto and Walter were out of the blaze, safe and just suffering from smoke inhalation in the back garden, he had found the strength to leave his bed.

He swung his SUV into the small neighbourhood and was astounded by the amount of lights, people and activity apparent. The ambulance in the lane had the doors open, and Jack bit back a sob of relief.

He looked up at the house being drowned with water and supressing foam. Ianto was going to go spare at the mess they were making.

He exited the vehicle and took a moment to calm himself, but then he heard a familiar wail of distress. Walter!

Jack pushed easily through the crowd with authority learnt as an officer and quickly reached the ambulance to find the little boy fighting the paramedic inside.

"Wally? Stop it, it's okay baby," Jack soothed as he climbed aboard the ambulance, and Walter gave a scream of fear as he reached desperately for Jack.

Jack snatched the wriggling boy from the bed and sat cuddling him to his chest as he soothed him by rubbing his back.

"Are you family? Sorry sir but it's only next of-" the paramedic began but Jack stopped him mid speech with a look. The Harkness Stare.

"Where is my partner?" Jack asked quietly.

"Mr Jones? You are Mr Jones' partner?" the man spluttered at Jack.

"Do you have a problem with that?" Jack snarled, clutching the still wailing tot like he was a life preserver in a stormy sea.

"No sir, not at all," the poor man blustered. "Mr Jones is still being treated around the back."

"Oh God!" Jack groaned, and then he saw Tosh amongst the onlookers.

"TOSH! There's my sister, Toshiko. You must let her through!" Jack demanded, "She's adopted for Christ's sake!"

Tosh was allowed into the ambulance.

"Hey little sister, can you take our boy while I check out how Ianto is doing?" Jack hoped she'd play along and her eyes gleamed with pleasure as she nodded then reached for Walter.

"Come to Aunty Tosh, bubba, Daddy Jack needs to check on Taddy," she said quietly as she pulled Walter to her bosom.

Jack walked around the side of the house trying to calm his heartbeat as he tortured himself with images of previous fire scenes he had attended in his job where burn victims had been still there. Please be okay.

Ianto was laid out on the grass with a mask over his sooty face. His hands were visible and neither were bagged in plastic. Jack was thankful as this meant he was probably not badly hurt. Coming to the side of the flurry of human activity, he saw a hand move.

In a heartbeat, Jack was holding that hand as tightly as he could. Ianto's eyes blinked open and blearily stared up at Jack. Jack kissed Ianto's knuckles and murmured to Ianto that Walter was with Tosh and was going to be fine. The relief in Ianto's eyes was obvious to all those watching the exchange.

Myfanwy lay by the rosebushes and Ianto's eyes widened with fear when he spotted her still form, so Jack hastily reassured him that she was fine as well. They had to call in animal control to sedate her as she wouldn't let anyone near the two fallen members of her pack.

When Jack referred to them as a pack, Ianto squeezed his hand again and Jack gave in to his tears as he wept into Ianto's hair.

The next morning, Owen found Jack asleep in the chair by Ianto's bed. Walter had been given a pair of hospital PJs and refused to leave Jack's arms, who now cuddled the tot in his arms as they both slept.

Ianto was watching the two sleep with a soft smile.

"Well, you look a bit better there buddy," Owen said, softly so as not to wake the two chair sleepers.

"Hey. My Wally's okay, right?" Ianto asked yet again.

Owen knew the concussion was making him repeat himself and his fixation with Walter was to be expected, so he simply nodded and tapped Jack's feet planted on the edge of the bed.

"Hey." Ianto smiled as Jack woke and focused on him.

With a cough to cover his dismay at the situation, Jack rose and carefully placed Walter in his Tadda's arms. Ianto wept and kissed his little boy's head as he reached again for Jack.

They kissed gently and Ianto held Jack's cheek as he apologised for the argument through his tears. Jack leant down and said the only thing he could.

"I love you, Ianto Jones."

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