horizonssing Challenge: Day Twelve
Date Written: 7/16/08
Word Count: 1,201
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa, OC
Spoilers: Up through Doctor Who 02, major for Cyberwoman
Warnings: Pre-series AU in which there is no Lisa hiding in the basement.
Author Notes: Bribe for cazmalfoy. I'm starting to see a disturbing trend. NOT. A. SERIES.
- C.S. Lewis
Two weeks. It had been two long, frustrating weeks since he'd hired Ianto Jones, the young Welshman from the fallen Torchwood London.
For all his earlier reluctance, Jack was immensely happy that he'd hired the man. He kept the Hub tidy, did the work of three people without breaking a sweat (despite sneaking out to his car five minutes early every day), and managed to keep all of then in line. He couldn't remember a time when the Archives hadn't been a mess before Ianto stepped in. And that coffee was to die for.
But there was still something that made Jack take pause. The man was obviously still grieving, he'd lost a girlfriend and most of the people he'd known in Canary Wharf. Maybe if Jack tried to do a little bit of bonding -- no sex now while the pain was fresh, but later if Ianto turned to him...
As if summoned by his thoughts, Ianto Jones appeared in his doorway, looking pale but wearing a schooled expression. "Captain, I'm sorry but I need to take a half-day," he said.
"Is everything all right?" Jack asked, his mind casting back to PTSD. It had barely been a month since Canary Wharf. Had Ianto exhibited any symptoms recently? "Should we let Owen give you a once-over?"
Ianto looked as if he was warring internally with himself for a few moments before he sighed. "You'll find out eventually," he muttered.
"Find out what?" Jack asked, crossing his arms.
Ianto tugged at his suit jacket. "Captain. My daughter is feeling poorly at the daycare center she is enrolled in and asking for her father."
"Well, of course you can take a personal day for th-- wait. Daughter?"
Bethany Jones was a gorgeous little girl. Jack had seen pictures of her mother and there was a strong maternal resemblance; the high cheekbones, the wide nose, full lips currently wrapped around her little thumb. She had her father's dark black hair, which was currently resting on his shoulder. Ianto smiled softly at her and pressed a kiss against her caramel-colored forehead.
Even at two years old, Jack knew she was going to be a heart breaker when she grew up.
"I'm sorry Mr. Jones," the daycare woman was saying in an Irish accent, "but ya know how it gets with the little ones. One of 'em gets sick and the next thing ya know they're all droppin'."
"It's all right, Ms. Maggie," he told her, kissing the little one's head again. "I'll see you in a few days."
Maggie reached out and rubbed the little girl's back. "Get better, love," she told Bethany before turning back into the house.
Ianto turned back and walked to the car, murmuring softly to her. He stopped when she caught sight of Jack, intelligent blue eyes regarding him carefully. "Beth, this is Captain Harkness."
Jack gave her a trademark smile and stooped a little to get on her level. "Hi there, pretty girl. I hear you aren't feeling well," he said softly.
She turned and buried her face into her father's shoulder. Ianto laughed a little. "She can get a little timid around new people."
"Not like her father then," Jack said with a wink. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a dummy. "Hey. Is this yours?"
Bethany turned to look at Jack, eyes widening when she saw the little rubber nipple. Jack had almost sat on it in when he'd gotten into Ianto's car. Her dark little head bobbed in agreement, thumb still firmly in her mouth.
"What do we say when we want something?" Ianto asked, mouth against her forehead again.
"P'ese," she murmured around her thumb.
Jack laughed and gave her the dummy, which was immediately popped into her mouth. "I can drive you home if you want to sit in the back with her," he offered.
For a moment Ianto looked as if he was going to argue, but he smiled. "That'd be lovely, Captain, thank you."
Ianto was telling Bethany a story. Jack could hear the muffled Welsh accent coming from her bedroom as he looked around the den. If Suzie and Tosh and Owen ever got a peek into Ianto's flat, they'd probably have him on the examination table checking to see if he was an alien.
The den was in a state of carefully-organized chaos that only life with a very young child could produce; toys were scattered in the far corners, with stragglers hiding in the sofa cushions, and sippy cups and bowls were strategically forgotten on the lower shelves of the bookcase. He gathered them all up and was in the process of loading them into the dishwasher when Ianto came out of her room.
"How is she?" Jack asked, looking over his shoulder.
"Slight fever. I gave her some aspirin and a cool bath, it's broken now," the Welshman replied, moving to sit on a stool in the corner of the kitchen. "She gets whiny when she isn't feeling well. And she still misses her Mum."
The Captain smiled softly and nodded, continuing to load the washer. After a few moment of silence he said, "I didn't realize -- "
"Most people don't," Ianto replied. "Lisa never wanted to get married, so on paper she looked like a single mother. Jones is common enough a last name that people don't really question." He smiled a little.
"She's her mother."
Jack nodded again, sliding the racks into their place and kicking the door shut with his foot.
"Thank you, sir. I realize that if I had told you that I had a daughter at home, you probably wouldn't have hired me, even with the pteradactyl hunt."
He leaned back against the sink. "I had a child once," Jack confessed. "A son."
"What happened?" Ianto asked, looking up at him.
"There was a war." World War One. Sixteen years old, ran off and lied about his age to get in, to fight for the cause. Came back in a wooden box.
"Me too," Jack replied, moving over to put a hand on Ianto's shoulder. "I'm sorry."
"Thank you." His voice was soft and wavering, on the verge of breaking.
"But... Ianto. You know what could happen, probably better than anyone else," Jack said, squeezing the shoulder a little. "She's already lost one parent to Torchwood. Why did you want to rejoin so desperately?"
Ianto stared at his hands for a few moments. "I've... I've seen what's out there, Jack. What can happen and what we are completely unprepared for." He looked up at him. "I have to keep her safe from those things."
Jack gave him a long, understanding look before leaning down to press a kiss to his forehead. "Take as much time as you need," he said, "and call me if you need anything."
"Jack." Ianto swallowed a little. "Could you..."
Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out his mobile, hitting a number he knew by heart. "Su. I'm taking the rest of the day, call me if something big comes up."
Ianto's grateful smile was worth the twenty kinds of hell he caught later from his second.