The scenery flashed past like snapshots. Slides. There was a slideshow outside the car window Ianto was leaning his head against. Cool. Tad used to do those.
After Mama was gone, Ianto took the projector to the basement and looked at every slide of her he could find. When Tad had found him, he had confiscated them. Only the pic of him as a baby in Mam's arms remained. Ianto had that one in the palm of his hand, never let go. Not even during the beating. When the old bastard died, he looked for them. No sign.
Lamppost. Dog. Lady with shopping. Cars waiting at crossing. Children running. Lamppost. Oh, wait. Rhi's street. Ianto sat up and wished he hadn't. The freezing was all but gone in his hip and it screamed blue bloody murder.
Ianto still couldn't believe Jack was so nice. His shift ended at five and his partner - Gwen, right? - said she would go back and clock them out, which meant that right now the two men were quietly sitting outside his sister's in a cop car. Not just any cop car. A big, black special ops beast. No Heddlu label stamped on this baby, just the Captain's division – Torchwood.
Ianto found he liked the name Captain for this man, now opening his door for him. Wow, he moves so fine. Like a dancer. Wait, didn't even feel him get out. Shit. Still a little shaky.
Captain, the man in charge. Ianto liked someone else in charge and really, he'd do. He'd do fine.
Ianto half climbed, half slid from the vehicle and straight into Jack's arms, where he then rested. Jack seemed to sense his dizziness and held him against the doorframe, one leg between his and cradling him in his arms. Ianto's head felt just right nestled into that neck. He wanted to stay there but someone was coming.
The click, click, click of her heels got closer and faster. Finally they stopped, and the gasp sounded Tosh-like so he looked up blearily at his friend.
"Ianto? Oh my god. What happened, is that blood?" she gushed, reaching for him.
Jack had heard the details of the mugging and the way Ianto had touched the ring mark with despair. So this must be her. Lisa.
"Hello there. I'm Toshiko, Ianto's friend. Why are you humping him against that car?" she said, all of it so nicely that it took Jack a moment to realise what she had said. Jack froze and slowly pulled back a bit to separate their crotches. Wow, that was a surprise. As was Ianto's moan of disappointment.
"Ianto was mugged earlier today. He's a bit shaky. How about we do this inside where it's warmer?" Jack smiled and she melted. Wow, where did Ianto find this one? Tosh thought.
They walked up the path, through the door and into the front room. The yells of "Surprise" did not get the desired effect.
Ianto jumped out of his skin with a shriek of terror and promptly collapsed against Jack, shaking like a leaf.
Jack rushed him to the sofa and sat him down, then sitting beside him and pulling him back into his arms, Ianto's sobs became louder as he hid his face from his family and friends. As per usual, Rhia took control.
"Right, you lot, something's wrong with me wee brother, so fuck off to the other room can't yas," she barked, and Johnny hastily relocated the guests to the kitchen.
Rhiannon watched her brother cry into the chest of this Greek Adonis and wondered what the fuck was going on. Tosh returned with a glass of whiskey which Jack waved away.
"He has a concussion and is on pain meds, so no alcohol," he growled, then grimaced and apologised.
The women both noted how Ianto clung to him and how one of those lovely hands enclosed Ianto's while the other rubbed circles on his back.
"Oh God, how embarrassing," Ianto moaned into Jack's neck.
"It's OK, you've had a bad day," Jack soothed, suddenly very protective of this vulnerable man.
"I'm sorry. I'm making a fool of myself and … oh, I'm making you wet," Ianto howled, rubbing his face against Jack who huffed with good humour.
Ianto's sobs died to snores as he succumbed to exhaustion. Jack hugged him against himself as he shuffled to the edge of the sofa then lifted him gently into his arms.
"Bed?" he asked Tosh, who blushed prettily then tittered.
She motioned for him to follow, and led him to a room with a generous-sized bed of which Rhia was folding back the linens. She looked up as Jack entered with her brother in his arms, and sighed.
Jack carefully sat and slid Ianto from his lap to the bed, keeping him snug against his chest. With Tosh's gentle help they managed to remove his jacket, tie and shirt, then, as Ianto groaned in his sleep, Jack lifted him gently so his trousers could be eased past his hips.
Jack lifted him one more time, to lay him back onto the pillows. As he undid one shoe, Rhia worked on the other one. Tosh stroked the hair from Ianto's face and kissed his forehead softly, taking in the bruises evident from his struggle against the brickwork.
Finally he was undressed. His white singlet and cotton boxers looked comfortable enough and Jack carefully arranged him so he was not on his bad hip, placing a pillow behind him in case he tried to roll on it. Seeing the gauze made Rhia gasp, and Jack whispered that he would explain later.
He rose as Rhia tucked the bed covers around her brother and looked into his face. Ianto was frowning so Jack impulsively kissed him softly on those sweet lips, and they moved in response.
Rhia's gasp reminded him they were not alone, and he looked over Ianto's prone form and winked.
She snorted and rolled her eyes, shaking her head as they exited the room. Jack looked back and left the door slightly open before following the women back to the other room and the questions they would have.