Chapter 2 the restaurant
Jack entered the restaurant with a story ready to go. One that did not involve the shutting of his coat in the door of the SUV or the keys becoming locked inside said SUV at the same time. Definitely not the laughter he'd had to endure from the Roadside Assistance. Thank god his phone was in his pocket, not on the dash.
He shrugged off the offending coat and passed it to the hostess as he passed with his usual sweeping stride. Looking around the tables Jack realised that he really did not want to disappoint Ianto. They had been making the effort as a couple to do more outside of work and the odd snog was just not gonna cut it. He had apologised for leaving with the doctor and he knew that Ianto had accepted it with the whispered promise to rekindle their "dabbles" so Jack was a little shocked that he couldn't see him. Shit. Had he left already?
Ianto was gonna kill him. Well, OK maybe beat him to a pulp and then kill him.
Jack checked his cell again. Yep, he was definitely half an hour late. Nope. No polite messages of doom. Reluctantly Jack called the Hub.
"Hello Jack" Tosh answered on the third ring.
"Hey cutie pie. Is Yan still there?" Jack asked hesitantly.
"Oh God! What have you done," Tosh said down the line so quietly that Jack could see her frowning at the handset.
"Nothing. I was supposed to meet him here but I can't find him," Jack returned just as worried. "Have you EVER known me to beat him to an appointment?"
"Thought it was a date," Tosh snorted wondering why the two men felt the need to hide their obvious attraction to one another.
"Yeah! Yeah, can you help me or not" Jack sighed.
Tosh felt compassion for the man and did a quick trace on Ianto's cell phone. She paused and re-checked the data before taking a deep breath.
"Jack? His cell phone is dead but his internal tracking tag is pinging at the A&E" Tosh said and she closed her eyes as the line went dead.
Jack was beyond wound up and the fact that no Ianto Jones was registered made it worse. If he was here but not showing in the system it could mean possibly one thing if he was not answering his phone. Jack felt time slipping and for the first time in his immortal life he wished for more. More time to say sorry, more time to hold hands, eat chips on the pier, laugh at stupid Owen moments. More time to taste, touch, love. With a heavy heart he waited for the morgue to pick up their phone as the nervous nurse in front of him rapped her manicured nail on the desk.
A scream rent the air and a doctor approached the desk with an out of breath toddler in his arms. Apart from a pair of blue undies he was naked. Jack looked over as the child kicked the doctor in his groin and fell to the floor. With a grunt he found his feet and started to run as fast as his little legs could go. Jack sighed and bent down to help wrangle the little monster and found arms flung around his neck and little hands grabbing fistfuls of hair with a little sobbed word.
Jack stood up in shock. He knew that word and the inflection of vowels it was spoken with. He carefully prised the little face away from his neck and stared into blue puddles or terror. "Ianto?"
A whimper and tear escaped the little bundle as Jack clutched him back to his chest in horror.
"Thank God! Are you the father?" the doctor gasped, still doubled over in pain.
"Um, yeah!" Jack muttered in shock, "What?"
"He was found in the street with no clothes on and hysterical!" the doctor began to regain his breath and decided he was angrier that he had first thought. Who looses a toddler? I ask you! Sounds like a bloody American. Typical. Explains the lack of manners.
Jack turned and began to walk away and felt the doctor's hand on his arm.
"Oh no you don't. The police want a word with you, as do child services no doubt" now the doctor was fuming.
"Back off" Jack snarled and tore back toward the SUV as Ianto's sobbing became wails.
"Did you find him? Is he OK?" Tosh asked as the cog door opened.
Jack brushed past her and with relief noted Owen still working in the medical bay. With desperation he tore Ianto out of his coat and dropped him onto the table.
Ianto gave a shriek and then proceeded to reach for Jack who stepped back causing Ianto to topple.
"Fuck!" Owen yelled, catching the little boy before he could hit the ground.
"Ianto! Behave!" Jack roared in fear.
Everyone froze and Ianto's shrieks died to a soft whimper as he drew himself into a ball and shoved a couple of fingers into his mouth. Jack started to shake and backed up until he hit the wall and slid gracefully to the floor. Placing his head in his hands he began to moan too.
"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" Owen repeated like a mantra as he slowly approached the huddled lump on the bed.
Owen scanned him noting with distaste the child had wet himself and was currently in shock. Owen waved the scanner over the boy's left shoulder where the tracking chip for each employee has been surgically implanted. Ianto's noises had stopped and he shook in silence with big fat tears running down his cheeks. His gaze fixed firmly on Jack.
"It's the tea boy alright." He confirmed turning to Jack.
"I don't know" Jack groaned knowing the next question he was going to hear. "This was how he was found."
"Did he know what happened? Can he talk?" Tosh asked approaching with her hand out.
Ianto looked at Tosh and slowly reached his free hand for her, a shuddering breath shaking his little frame. Tosh scooped him into her arms ignoring the wet undies and started to soothe him as best she could with muttered words and rubbing his little back. After a while he pulled back and shakily rubbed his face.
"Toshie. I'm fwytned." he whispered as his big blue eyes threatened to over flow again.
Jack pulled himself upright and took a deep breath. Right. CCTV. Something. Anything. With no warning he turned and left them folding the baby.
"About two? Two and a half?" Owen squinted at his equipment wondering of he should put his glasses on in front of Tosh or not. Apart from scrapped knees and a lump on his head he seemed to be a perfectly healthy little boy.
Tosh held Ianto on her lap as he buried his face in her shoulder. He didn't care. Didn't give a bloody flying rats arse how old Owen was going to decide he was. Jack left him. Just like that. He really was just a shag wasn't he and now no use anymore. Jack didn't like him anymore. Jack didn't want him. He left him … again. Ianto felt his little heart breaking and an older voice in the back of his head tried to reason with him that this was childish hysteria but his two and a half year old heart felt the rejection as if his own father had done a dump and run.
He wasn't talking or crying anymore and Tosh found this unsettling. Twisting to look in to his face she realised that he was staring at the stairs waiting for Jack to return with desperation in his eyes.
"it's going to be OK. We'll work it out" Tosh soothed looking to Owen for support but he was already mounting the stairs to find Jack.
"Well? Anything yet?" Owen asked with unusual calm.
"No. Looks like it happened in this alley way just a block from the bloody restaurant." Jack rubbed his face and leaned back in to stare at the grainy images some more. "Fuck! Why didn't I just walk with him?"
"Look. He's fine. All be it a little small, but still OK" Owen said. "We'll work it out and until then he's in no danger so just calm the fuck down will ya? You're scaring the shit out of the kid."
"That's the problem Owen. It's not a kid. It's Ianto" Jack groaned.
They both started to make their way down the stairs and found Gwen had arrived during the chaos unnoticed. She was trying to convince Ianto to drink some warmed milk and he kept turning his head away from her. They had managed to wrestle him into one of Owen's T-shirts which was nearly dragging on the floor and his bare shoulder peeked through the neck as they tried to fix it.
"He hates warm milk" Jack muttered reaching for Ianto.
Ianto responded by gripping Tosh tighter and burrowing into her chest.
"Yan? Cuddle?" Jack tried with a hesitant smile.
Barely legible came the muffled reply of "Fuck off!"
Owen threw his head back and laughed. "Yeah, it's the tea-boy alright."
"Ianto, come on. You're cold, wet and scared. You want Jack" Tosh soothed rubbing his back.
"Fuck Jack! He doesn't want me" his little child's voice wobbled and Ianto drew himself up in such a familiar way that Jack felt his heart twist. It was Ianto's hurt/angry posture.
"Yan, I'm sorry" Jack tried " I didn't mean to shout at you but I'm kinda freaking out here, OK?"
Ianto silently turned and gave him his death stare. Coming from that little cherub face it was quite frightening.
Watching from the side Owen suddenly thought of Damien Omen and couldn't help a snort. The devil's spawn seemed the correct title for the little welsh toddler that was making the great Captain Jack Harkness shrink in his gaze.
"Yan? Please don't be angry. I'm scared too and I always need you for back up." Maybe coddling would work and to hell with the audience. "I love you, big or small you are the most gorgeous thing on Sol 3 and beyond."
"Sol 3?" Gwen questioned, the milk forgotten,
Ianto wriggled off Tosh's lap and stood facing Jack with his little chubby hand gripping her skirt like a security blanket. With a deep breath that turned into a shudder he looked away and after a moment of staring into space he turned to Gwen
"Can I have a Hot Chocwit please" he asked.
Gwen was delighted that he chose to ask her and leapt from the couch eager to prove she could make him happy. She forgot the Sol 3 comment as intended and Ianto's shared look with Jack reminded him that Ianto knew more than he would ever admit to.
"Do you want it in your usual mug pet or do you think one of the smaller ones for your hands" she asked pulling at the cupboard doors to retrieve the needed stuff.
"The little wed wun pwease Gwen" Ianto was calmer now and had let Jack walk with him to the kitchen ignoring the hated word of endearment. Gwen needed handling, as usual.
Pushing a stool over Ianto climbed up to the counter and opened a drawer to pull out a cloth as he watched her spill the chocolate powder, sugar and knock over the salt shaker for good measure. With a silent shake of his head he reached out to swipe the mess before realizing he couldn't reach that far.
"Shit! Sorry" Gwen amended, taking the cloth and fixing her mistake. "You just never let me do this. It's kinda exciting."
Ianto regarded her and realized she was right. He didn't let the others in here … well apart from Tosh who liked to talk while he worked. Jack came to the same conclusion and frowned. Did they really not ever make drinks for Ianto?
"Ianto. What do you want to do?" Jack asked, knowing control would be Ianto's best calming influence right now.
"well, don't weely know." Ianto sighed grateful that Jack was talking to him as an adult. "What might help?"
"I could try Martha? My friend at UNIT. She's an ex-companion like me so she can keep a secret and maybe in her travels with the Doctor she either saw or heard something we could use?"
Jack knew he was clutching at straws and the mention of the Doctor was dangerous but Ianto's face screwed as he considered it and found he was in agreement that maybe that was an option.
"OK. You do that and me and Tosh will check the awkives for any mention of an artyfact that might have done this or be able to fix it" Ianto nodded.
"OK, I'll do that and meet you both down there. Gwen can continue with the CCTC camera and Owen can check the data he's collected against your medical records." Jack rose as he spoke and made for his office only to hesitate and turn back for the admonishment he knew would come.
"If you want to help us don't bweak anything and for gawds sake put stuff back where you got it" Ianto asked with his little hands clasped together in prayer pose.
Jack felt a rush of affection and before he could stop himself he lent down placing a soft kiss on the cupid lips that were turned up toward him. The image of little Ianto's blush covering most of his upper body stayed with jack and he made a mental note to do an image capture of it with the CCTV footage. Tosh and Gwen clasped their hands together and caught each other's gaze obviously thinking the same thing.
Ianto stopped half way across the floor as Jack got to the top of his stair and they both looked at each other. With a shared nod they went to their tasks both knowing it was probably pointless.