A/N: Final Chapter! I didn't think it would be, but it just happened that way :P ... I might write an epilogue in a while, but for now this is it :) I hope you all like it and enjoyed it, thank you for all those who reviewed and alerted and so on :) Please review again? For the final time? :)
"Nina, Ianto is..." Not bringing himself to say it, he sank back onto the sofa
"It's okay, I said we'd wait." She smiled "Oh, I'll tell you now, we can tell him later. The adoption has gone through, all we need now is to go to court to finish things off; you're ready to start your family. Ethan can live with you guys now." His head sank into his hands "Is he at work? I can come back later if that's better for both of you." She filed through her bag and produced a diary, flicking through it and mumbling times to herself "How about half seven tonight?" Seeing Jack go to speak she flicked the page back "Half eight? Is that any better?"
Jack stood and turned to face her "Nina...Ianto...he died last night." He sat back down, not waiting for her reaction
"Oh, I-" She stopped herself and bit her lip; for the first time, she appeared speechless "Maybe it's best if we put this off for a while, let you get back on your feet again?"
"No." He lifted his head, he could no longer see properly, his vision blurred by tears "I want him here."
"Jack...I'd love to leave him here with you, you know I would." She placed a hand on top of his "You're a good man, Ethan loves you, you and Ianto would have been amazing parents to him...but I have rules that I have to follow, Jack. If I didn't follow them for every person, children like Ethan could get hurt, I can't let that happen. I can agree to supervised visits; I'm sorry, Jack, Ethan has to come first and I have to say you're in an unstable state. I know it isn't what you want, but it's the best I can do." He stayed silent, not knowing whether to be in agreement for Ethan's sake or to follow what his emotions told him and cry at the unfairness of everything "I'll go make you a cup of tea." She rubbed a hand along his back then turned back to the kitchen. After hearing the kettle turn on, he could hear her talking on the phone to somebody, he guessed she'd called somebody in the agency to tell them. He could tell what they would say, what they would do, taking his little boy away.
Ethan watched Jack, perplexed, he'd never seen anyone like this before. He wondered whether to follow Nina to the kitchen or sit here with Jack. He watched Jack shake and jolt slightly at the feeling of small fingers trying to pry his hands from his eyes. The same small fingers wiped his eyes gently, understanding that something was wrong. He placed himself in Jack's lap, and nestled silently into his chest. Jack held him tightly, crying into his hair.
"Jack?" He half aknowledged the boy "Where's Ianto?"
Not knowing what to say, he put a hand back over his face "I thought I could do this..."
"It's alright if you cry..."
The boy's words didn't even register "I can't do it, not without Ianto, he was the one who knew what to do with kids; look at my last attempt at being a father."
"I love you the same..." Ethan looked from his dog to Jack and back again, before holding it out and wiggling it when Jack didn't look "Here."
"Here. He's a good dog. David says he can make anything better." Jack patted the dog's head gently, smiling.
Nina walked back to the lounge, placing a mug on the table "I'm going to see what I can do for you, but I can't promise anything. The worst that can happen is supervision for a few months, an evalutation about your state, that kind of thing and then you can be reconsidered."
He shrugged "I'll wait, however long it is."
"Dad?" Jack sat up and rubbed his eyes "You looked like you were having a nightmare..." He focused his eyes on Ethan "You're crying...are you alright?"
Jack beamed at him, pulling him close "I'm fine... just another dream."
"Oh, it was that dream, wasn't it?" Ethan frowned "Are you sure you're okay?"
Jack waved him off "How are you? I haven't seen you in weeks... are you alright? Have you had enough money? Been eating okay?"
"I'm fine..." He scratched his head "So you haven't stopped having them?"
"No...It isn't to do with anything else, but me. I had them all the time I was away...you were so little..." Ethan smiled "The first time we saw you, when we bought you home for the first time, you asking where Ryan was." Jack laughed
"He called by the way, he wanted all of us to meet up in a couple of weeks."
"Really? How is he?"
"Just had a baby girl, Lola."
"Didn't know he had a girlfriend..."
"...He doesn't..." They shared a chuckle "But that was always Ryan wasn't it."
He hummed his agreement, throwing an arm around his son again.
"So, how's it going?" Gwen sat at the small round table in her kitchen, scooping mash off of a baby's chin before trying to put it back in her mouth again
"It's fine...Just getting settled again I suppose..."
"It was always going to be hard." The baby spat the mash back at her and gurgled quietly "Oh, come on, Robyn, you like mash!" She sighed and wiped at her chin with some tissue, scooting her chair in as she heard the footsteps of the boys. Ethan and Tom whirlwinded through the kitchen before running back out and up the stairs
He smiled after them, Ethan was revelling in getting to play with an 'older boy' "Yeah...I knew it was going to be hard, I just .. I still can't think of myself as a 'single' parent..."
"I might as well be..." She laughed quietly "Rhys doesnt get in until dinner time."
"I'm making lunch...do you want something?"
Ethan looked up from his book "Sure...I'll help you."
Jack buttered the bread while Ethan put in the fillings, Jack leant back against the counter, watching Ethan as he spread everything evenly to the corners then cut them delicately into perfect triangles
"What?" Ethan smiled, realising he was being watched
"You're his son...that's for sure." He opened the fridge, reaching for a yoghurt to put on his place. He gestured to ask Ethan if he wanted one, he shook his head.
"What was he like?"
"You know what he was like...you did know him...I must have told you a million stories."
"Yeah, when I was small...What was he really like? Without the fairytale heroism...How did you end up together?"
Jack looked up "Oh, that heroism wasn't a fairytale...you really think we didn't do all that stuff?" He laughed "He was quiet, at first, mysterious and guarded, but quite charming...in a way... until we found out he had his girlfriend hidden in the basement; remember the robot story?"
Ethan nodded, taking a bite from his sandwich "What happened after that?"
"...He was...angry, to say the least," He gave a slight chuckle "He hated me...but, over time, he wasn't so angry and it just sort of happened. We turned into the 'normal' couple."
"What made you move away, dad?"
"Hello, sweetie." Ria pulled Ethan out of Jack's arms and bounced him on her hip, she beamed from ear to ear, as if he had come back to them "How are you?" He said nothing, but hugged her close. She turned to Jack "How have you been? Eating okay? I'll go make you a cup of tea..." She rubbed a hand down his arm, he shrugged it away, aggitatedly
"No, I don't want any tea..." He took Ethan back from her, picking a banana off of the table, peeled it and handed it to him "I'm sick of people making me cups of tea, thinking I can't funtion for myself and I'm sick of people acting like everything's fine and nothing's happened for my sake. We aren't fine, but we can cope; I want someone to talk to me, not to pity me, like it used to be. I'm sick of Gwen coddling me, I'm sick of work, I'm sick of Cardiff...I'm sick of everything."
"He wants to know who he is; it's normal..." Ria sounded tinny down the phone "If you want me to come down then I can, I could talk to him...David's still living at home, I want to get him out of the house, I could bring him with me. He could talk to him even..."
"I think he's missing you guys...and Tom and Gwen and everybody... Me leaving and Ryan calling while I was away; I think all these things that connected to Ianto are just triggering something...If I'm not careful about it he might start having the dreams too..."
She was silent for a moment "Jack...Ethan's had them for as long as you have...Hasn't he told you?"
Jack frowned, putting the phone down before she could say anything else "I've got to go."
He frowned, his large brown eyes shifting slightly between looking at his lap and his dad "Why? Are we still going to see Tom? And baby Robyn?"
"Sometimes...We just...we have to move away for a while...you never know, we might move back some day." The boy sat sideways on his lap, turned in to his chest. The train rocked them uneasily; He didn't know whether he had motion sickness or the thought of leaving and starting anew was creating this feeling.
Jack took a deep breath, looking up at the new house; it was a secluded street with perfect, clean cut front gardens. The houses on the end had seesaws and toys sat out the front and children ran round them through the side gates laughing and falling into eachother. Perfect as it was, that same uneasy feeling caught in the back of his throat making him gasp slightly.
Ethan wriggled out of his arms, rushing up the steps and banging on the front door; almost anticipating somebody answering. Jack sighed, he would have loved this house...this street. He followed his son and opened the door, his son rushed ahead, running up the stairs and around the corner excitedly. There was a new message on his mobile; Ria.
"Jack? Pick up... Alright...Well, it was nice of you to say goodbye...Look, Ethan's your son and I dont want to make you feel guilty or force you into anything, but he's my nephew, so...just bring him home once in a while? For us? Both of you are part of my family too. See you at Christmas? At mine as usual. Bye."
"Ethan?" He pushed the door slightly "I just talked to Ria."
He smiled "How is she? Are they all okay?"
"She told me something...She said that you were having the dreams too..." He watched him shift uncomfortably "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I was worried about you...I...I don't even remember a lot of it. For me, it was the first time again, you remembering it all and having it twice must have been heartbreaking..."
"I'm supposed to be the one who's worried about you...not the other way around..."
He shrugged "Well...I'll tell you next time?" He smiled, cheeky like he was four years old again.
"Yeah, yeah, sure you will." He smiled back "Well, it gets better from now on...We didn't have Ianto, but we got by."
He sat on the sofa, head in hands and sighed, relieved it was all over. Ethan was safe and happy, things were going to be looking up from now on...he remembered all of it. The smell of the house, the sound the TV made that they had for a few months when they moved in...what he didn't remember was the scream he heard.
Jack flew up the stairs, his heart pounding in his chest; looking frantically around the house for his son "Ethan?" He released the breath he was holding; Ethan was laughing, not screaming.
"Daddy, help!" He ran from one of the bedrooms laughing, gripping and hiding behind his dad's legs.
A growling came from the bedroom and the figure leapt from the bedroom with a snarl. Ethan ran down the stairs giggling, Jack stood rooted "Ianto..."
"Well done Jack," He smiled "You raised a good kid."
A/N: And that is the end. Thank you to those who have reviewed, I hope you enjoyed the end :) x