Jack awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of crying. He blinked his eyes open, frowning, and reached for his boyfriend.
"Ianto?" he whispered.
There was a choked sob, and then snuffling. "Y-yeah?"
Jack placed a hand on Ianto's chest. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing, Jack. Go back to sleep."
Jack propped himself up on his elbow, rubbing Ianto's chest slowly. The boy hiccupped, and Jack felt it. "Something's wrong. Is it Rhi and Johnny?"
Ianto sighed. "Yeah."
Pressing a kiss to Ianto's damp cheek, Jack felt his anger rise again. While it was unfair that Ianto should have to work to support his mother, he did that out of love and a feeling of obligation. Bethan couldn't help her condition, and therefore her own behavior and emotional state was not something Jack blamed for Ianto's situation. She also couldn't take care of herself. His sister and her husband, however, were another story.
"We're going to fix this, Ianto," Jack told him, reaching for his hand. "We're going to get things back to normal."
"If need be, we can call in the authorities."
His boyfriend tensed up. "Jack, no."
"Why not, Ianto?" Jack replied softly, squeezing Ianto's hand. "Protective services were set up just for this kind of situation. If we call them they can ensure that your mother is in safe hands."
"I can't do that to my sister. She's got the baby on the way, and she's just not thinking straight."
Jack took a deep breath. This marked the seventh work night over the last three weeks he'd stayed over at Ianto's house, and the seventh time they'd arrived home from work and stepped straight into an argument with Rhiannon and Johnny. Well, Johnny, for the most part. Rhiannon seemed to just follow along with whatever he said.
It hadn't been any better when Jack wasn't there, either, if Ianto's moods at work were anything to go by. Sometimes he'd talk about it, but many times he refused to. Jack did know that according to what Ianto had seen, Johnny had not lifted a hand to Rhiannon a second time. Jack supposed that, at least, was a small blessing.
"And what about what this is doing to you and your mother?"
"I can take care of us both."
"You already do that, Ianto. But you can't keep coming home to be yelled at. You've done nothing wrong." Jack's head was beginning to hurt. "And they've not given you any money to stay here, besides!"
"It's not fair for you to be supporting your entire family. Johnny should be taking care of your sister and the baby."
"So apart from calling the authorities and having my sister and her lousy husband hauled off, how do I fix this?"
"Maybe just Johnny?"
Ianto shook his head. "They're married, Jack. And if he disappears I'm just going to have to take care of Rhiannon and her baby anyhow, right?"
"Why?" Jack asked. "Why can't she get a job and pay for daytime care for the baby, when he or she arrives, as well as contributing some money towards household expenses?"
"And exactly who is going to hire a pregnant woman, Jack? The economy is horrid right now. If your parents hadn't been so amazing and hired me, I'd have been working at the chip shop for a very long time. There're just no jobs right now. It's an employer's market."
Jack kissed Ianto's cheek again. "Did they already replace you at your last job?"
"I don't know," Ianto replied.
"We could look into it. Maybe recommend your sister for the job?"
"If she's honestly gone off the drugs, Jack, that would be an idea. But I don't think I could give her a glowing recommendation right now. Not with Johnny around and able to influence her." He stopped, sighing again. "I've just no idea how to fix all that's gone wrong."
Wrapping his arms around his boyfriend, Jack cuddled him close. His glance at the clock told him it was barely two in the morning. They needed their sleep if they were going to be any good at work the next morning.
"How about we try to forget about everything for right now and maybe focus on it later?"
"Yeah, you're right. I'm sorry I woke you, Jack."
"Don't be," Jack replied, kissing him softly. "Let's just try to get back to sleep, alright?"
Jack nuzzled Ianto's neck, breathing in his scent. After finally hearing the soft sounds of Ianto's even breathing he let himself drift back to sleep.
tw tw tw tw tw
Once Saturday rolled around, Jack was insistent upon taking Ianto out. The other boy had argued, not wanting to leave his mother alone with his sister, but since Johnny had gone out of town and was visiting with friends in Newport, Jack told him they should give her a chance.
"Have you seen her take any drugs since she's been at the house?"
"Well, no. I've seen Johnny smoking marijuana, but not in the house, and Rhiannon stayed inside watching the telly."
"So maybe she's taking this pregnancy seriously, Ianto. Give her the opportunity to redeem herself."
Ianto seemed to consider it for a moment and then nodded, though Jack could tell it was somewhat reluctantly. "I suppose a couple hours can't hurt. Not too much, anyway."
"If things go well today, and there're no issues with Rhiannon, then we can be pretty sure that Johnny's the real problem."
"I was sure of that anyway, Jack."
Jack smiled, kissing Ianto's forehead. "Let's go ask her, okay?"
They headed into the lounge from the kitchen where they'd been eating lunch, and found Rhiannon where they'd left her, sitting on the couch.
"Hey, Rhi," Ianto greeted, smiling. "Would you be alright to watch Mam for a few hours? Jack wants to take me to the cinema."
Rhiannon looked up at them. "She's having a good day, yeah?"
Ianto nodded. "Yes. She's sleeping at the moment, but she was doing really well earlier."
"Alright then. But you won't be out late, will you? The baby has been making me a bit ill in the evenings."
Jack sympathized. He could remember his mother's morning sickness with Gray, and it was never strictly in the morning. It hit her any time of the day and made her pretty weak.
"I won't keep him out long," Jack promised, taking Ianto's hand. "We really appreciate this, Rhiannon."
"Thanks Rhi!" Ianto offered.
She smiled at them and nodded. "Yeah, yeah. Go on now, before I change my mind. Or before the bub changes it for me." She then turned back to the television.
Jack looked at Ianto, shrugged, and then winked. Rhiannon had been referring to the baby as "the bub" for a while now. It was still too early to find out if she was having a boy or girl, so the nickname had stuck. Jack rather liked it.
"So, the cinema, Jack?" Ianto asked when they got into the car.
"That's the plan. Anything you want to see?"
"Not particularly. Anything is fine with me. You?"
Jack thought for a moment. "Actually, no." He grinned. "Why don't we do something else?"
Jack smiled. "Why don't we head to the bay? Maybe just wander around a bit? We could get some ice cream at that little shop on the boardwalk."
Ianto returned the smile. "I'd love that."
"Alright," Jack said, starting the car. "Cardiff Bay it is!"
tw tw tw tw tw
Stepping out of Cadwaladers with his mint chocolate chip waffle cone, Jack grinned up at the sun. The rainy first days of summer were long gone and he welcomed the heat.
"Bloody sun is going to melt my ice cream," Ianto complained from behind him, stepping closer to join Jack on the pier. "I miss the rain."
Jack laughed. "Seriously? Ianto, it rains too much in Wales as it is. You want more?"
Ianto licked his strawberry ice cream and shrugged. "I'm used to it."
"So am, I," Jack argued, taking a bite of his own dessert and talking with his mouth full. "But still, the sun is a lovely change."
"Are you going to savor that?" Ianto asked, wincing. "Keep that up and it'll be gone in a couple bites."
Jack grabbed Ianto's hand, swinging it slightly. "Maybe I should nibble, instead."
"If you insist. But licking is the better option."
Jack smirked. "Oh really?" He leaned in and swiped his tongue along Ianto's neck.
"Mmm. Maybe you're right."
"Jaaack!" Ianto cried as he pulled his hand free and wiped at his neck. "Ew! Your tongue is all sticky!"
"I don't remember you complaining the last time I used my tongue."
The blush that crept up Ianto's neck and face was intense, and he looked around them as if checking to see if anyone could overhear their conversation. "You, uh…weren't eating ice cream at the time, Jack."
Jack winked at him and pressed a quick kiss to his lips before grabbing Ianto's hand again. "No, I certainly wasn't."
They strolled along the pier and then around Mermaid Quay, looking in the windows and talking. An hour later they wandered over to the Millenium Centre, checking out the gift shops.
Jack plucked a plush sheep off the shelf, playfully sitting it on Ianto's shoulder. "Hey Ianto?"
"I forgot to ask you… Did your mother ever say anything about all the boxes Rhiannon and Johnny placed in storage?"
Ianto glanced at him before taking the sheep and putting it back on the shelf. "A few things, actually."
"At first the paranoia took over and she thought we were all out to get her," Ianto replied, shaking his head. "Then she forgot for a couple days. When she remembered she cried, telling me she couldn't live without her things. She accused Johnny of wanting to make her miserable. She called him a few names I don't even want to repeat."
Jack's brow furrowed. "And now?"
"Well, she was told we still have it all, but that it's in storage. I think that was what settled her down." Ianto sighed. "But there's no storage, Jack. They had no money for that."
"You mean they threw it all away?"
"Did they even check to see if there was anything important in those boxes before they tossed it?"
Ianto shook his head. "I don't think so. If they did, Johnny probably sold whatever they found for his drug habit."
"Oh, Ianto," Jack replied. "How'd you find out?"
"Rhiannon told me."
"Apparently she was feeling guilty. That was about a week ago. You forgot to ask and I forgot to tell you."
"That's two poor memories," Jack agreed, smiling. "But I'm glad she told you."
"Me too." Ianto looked down at his watch. "We should probably head back soon."
They left the store and then the building, making their way over to the Red Dragon Centre where they had parked the car. Being the weekend, there were different vendors lining the main aisle of the building. Jack drug Ianto over to the tables.
"We have a little time left," he explained, shrugging. "We'd have been gone longer if we'd seen a movie."
"True," Ianto agreed, following behind him.
"Oh wow," Jack said softly, picking up a wood beaded bracelet. "Look at this, Ianto."
"That's really nice," his boyfriend acknowledged, taking it from his hand. A moment later he grinned. "There's a red dragon on this bead."
"And hey, a matching one in a darker brown," Jack murmured. He picked it up, looking at Ianto. "Let me buy you one?"
Ianto's eyes widened. "You don't have to do that. You bought me ice cream."
"But I want to. See? They match. We can both have one."
Smiling, Ianto said, "Okay, Jack. But I have money too, now, remember? What if I wanted to buy one for you?"
"Then you buy mine and I'll buy yours. Deal?"
Ianto gave him a toothy smile. "Deal."
They handed the bracelets to the gentleman manning the table and each pulled out a few pounds to pay for one of them. When they'd completed the purchase they walked away from the table, heading to the car park.
Once inside the car Jack pulled Ianto's bracelet out. "Here," he said, reaching for Ianto's left arm. He secured the beaded bracelet on Ianto's wrist.
"Yours too," Ianto said, taking the other bracelet from the bag and placing it on Jack's wrist. "Now we match. Yours is just a shade darker."
Jack grinned, reaching to cup the back of Ianto's head and draw him closer. "Happy Saturday," he murmured, pressing a kiss to Ianto's mouth.
"Happy Saturday to you too," Ianto replied when the kiss ended, licking his lips. "You still taste like mint chocolate chip."
Jack kissed him again, this time using his tongue. He traced patterns inside his boyfriend's mouth, making Ianto moan into the kiss. Hands clutched at his shirt, holding him close as Jack broke the kiss and turned his attention instead to nibbling at Ianto's neck.
Several minutes later they were both panting. Jack groaned, pulling back enough to look into Ianto's eyes. What he saw there was need that more than matched his own.
"I want you so much, Ianto," he growled, touching their foreheads together.
"We can't go to my house. My parents are there with Gray."
"And we can't do anything at mine until Rhiannon goes to bed."
Jack took a deep breath, pulling back from Ianto and smiling. "I think we can wait, can't we?"
"I think we must," Ianto said, returning the smile. "I don't know what it is you did to me, Jack Harkness, but you drive me crazy. I like it."
"Yeah?" Jack asked, grinning.
They headed back to Ianto's house, and Jack couldn't help but smile when Ianto took his hand and held it between them. When they arrived Jack was reluctant to break the connection, but knew he had to.
They joined hands again once they exited the car, and made their way up the front walk to the door. When they got inside they headed straight for the lounge, and both stopped dead in their tracks. There on the couch, beside Rhiannon, was Ianto's mother.
"Oh, hello, boys!" she said happily, waving them over. "Come watch telly with us."
"Hi, Mrs. Jones."
"Oh please, Jack! It's Bethan, really."
"Of course. Hi, Bethan."
"Come here, come here!" They both moved closer, and Bethan smiled down at their joined hands. "My precious boys."
Ianto blushed. "Mam, I didn't expect to see you out here."
"Yes, it's nice to see you up and about," Jack added.
"I felt like spending time with my little family. But all I found was my baby girl." She reached an arm around Rhiannon and pressed a kiss to her cheek. "I do so love her."
"Mam, you're going to smother me," Rhiannon whined, looking up at her brother with pleading eyes. "She's been like this since you left."
"I just want a cuddle, Rhiannon!"
Jack smirked and tugged on his boyfriend's hand. "Come on, Ianto. We can watch some telly with your mother and sister."
Jack took a seat at the end of the couch and yanked Ianto down beside him, effectively pinning the boy between himself and his mother. "There."
"Oh, my baby boy," Bethan cried, wrapping an arm around Ianto as well. "Just like it should be. Our little family. Including you, Jack!"
"Why thank you, Bethan."
"Mam, don't forget about Johnny," Rhiannon said, scowling.
Bethan frowned. "I don't like that boy, Rhiannon Jones. I don't care for him at all."
"Mam! He's my husband! And it's Rhiannon Davies now."
"I don't care," she continued, shaking her head. "This is my family. Right here on this couch."
Rhiannon pulled out of her mother's embrace, standing and putting her hands on her hips. "Well if you can't accept Johnny I don't suppose you'll be accepting our child, either!"
Bethan pointed her finger at her daughter. "Now you listen here, Rhiannon. I may be a few screws short of a toolbox a lot of the time, but I know a bad person when I meet one, and that Johnny Davies is a bad person! That little baby, however, why, that's my family right there. That baby is part of us."
"The bub is part of Johnny!" Rhiannon replied. She shook her head, storming out of the room.
Bethan simply sighed and slid further over on the couch. "Come on, then. Scoot over here and give your mam a big hug."
Ianto hesitated for only a beat before he flung his arms around his mother, burying his face in her neck. "Oh, Mam…"
"Shh, shh. There, now. Why the tears, Ianto Bug?"
Jack watched the two of them, mother and son, looking for all the world like they were a normal, happy family.
"I'm just glad you're doing alright, today," Ianto told his mother. "It's nice to have you out here."
"It's nice to be out here. I see you two have matching bracelets," Bethan added, effectively changing the subject.
Jack smiled. "We picked them up today. At the Red Dragon Centre."
"Jack's idea," Ianto said, smiling at him. "We bought each other's."
"They're lovely," she told them, holding up Ianto's wrist for a closer look. "You're wonderful, Jack. Did you know that?"
"I may have suspected," Jack replied, grinning.
"Arrogant git," Ianto said, chuckling. "Mam, you're going to inflate his ego."
"Well he is, Ianto Bug," she argued. "You're very lucky to have such a wonderful boy in your life."
"I know, Mam."
Jack kissed Ianto's temple. "I'm the lucky one. Your son means everything to me."
"He's my only little boy," Bethan replied, smiling gently. "My special boy. You'll take care of him, right Jack?"
"Of course I will."
"Good. Because you know I can't always do that myself. I'm going to depend on you a lot, Jack."
"You can count on me."
"He's just so precious to me."
"Hello? Sitting right here." Ianto was blushing furiously.
Jack laughed, winking at his boyfriend's mother. "Sorry, Ianto."
"Well boys, I'm going to head back to my room. Lots of EastEnders to catch up on!"
With a kiss to each of their foreheads Bethan Jones made her exit, leaving Jack and Ianto alone on the couch.
"Well, that was certainly…different," Ianto said, still watching the doorway where his mother had disappeared.
"How long has it been since she's come out to the lounge, Ianto?"
His boyfriend turned to face him. "At least a year, Jack. She wouldn't have even realized the clutter was all gone if Johnny hadn't have mentioned it to her."
Jack winced. "And considering how much she adores Johnny, no wonder she had choice words to call him."
"Yup." They were silent for a few moments and then Ianto smiled. "Do you want to watch the telly in my room?"
Jack raised an eyebrow. "Ianto Jones, are you trying to get me alone on this fine summer afternoon?"
"Well then…lead on, my Ianto Bug."
Ianto groaned, but switched off the television, pulling Jack by his hand out of the room and down the hallway.