Ianto knows he's taking a risk but he can't help himself. Over the last few weeks the weather has been tumbling toward winter at an alarming pace, and Ianto's heard through a static television that he only half pays attention to and the ramblings of his mother that the first Snow of Winter is due any day now. All the kids in his class are ridiculously excited, snow usually means snowmen, schools closed, and epic snow ball fights. Yet all little Ianto Llewellyn Jones can think about is the mysterious man that sometimes visits him at the bottom of his garden. Ianto knows how easily someone can get sick if he doesn't wear warm clothes, Joel was off school for what seemed liked forever last year after he came to play at Ianto's in just his favourite jumper and jeans.
So Ianto waits till both his mam and Tad are busy, and Rhiannon is off with her new boyfriend, to make his move. He rummages through the cloakroom underneath the stairs for a coat suitable for the Captain. He bypasses the jackets that are hung up neatly on the pegs as Ianto knows that they will be easily missed by the rest of the Jones family, and goes straight for the huge wicker basket that lays underneath them, a home for the old and neglected coats and shoes, that are no longer needed but have not made their way to the local jumble sale or Aunty Joyce's house where little cousin Gareth ends up with all of Ianto's cast offs. He decides upon a huge great blue coat with huge silver buttons that Ianto has never seen his father wear but knows that it cannot possibly have belonged to anyone else in the Jones household.
Ianto feels ridiculously proud of himself as he half carries half drags the great coat out of the house and through the garden.
"What in God's name have you got there Ianto?" Ianto freezes when he hears his Mam's voice calling to him from the back door. "Ianto" she calls again, her voice raising slightly in a tone that Ianto knows that he should answer, and quickly. He turns sheepishly and smiles at his mam though she can read his naughty expression like a book.
"I'm just playing" Ianto calls back, but he begins to walk toward her anywhere, knowing that he will have to show her the coat before she will allow him to go anywhere else with it. She picks up the item with ease, dusting off the leaves and twigs that have already attached themselves to the woollen front of the coat.
"Where on Earth did you find this?" She asks, though her voice has lost any of the edge that it had previously held. Ianto fiddles with his hands pushing his weight from foot to foot, before answering.
"It was in the basket, no one's using it Mama" Ianto explains quietly, his voice taking on a whiny quality that makes his Mam roll her eye, and hastily drop the coat into his arms, clearly she is accustomed to a Ianto tantrum and is very keen to avoid another.
"Well your Tad really does hate this thing." She sighs sadly "I will never understand why Mam-Gu thought he would like the coat of one of her ex-boyfriends during the war." Ianto just stares at his Mam. When she talks to him like this he knows that she doesn't expect him to answer her, to be honest he doesn't really have the slightest clue about what she is talking about, but Tad always says the best way is to just smile and nod, so this is what he does.
Ianto's Mam smiles, ruffling his hair affectionately "Off you go my boy, your Tad won't mind, just make sure you keep yourself out of trouble."
Ianto does not have to be told twice, he quickly pulls the coat along with him as he disappears to the bottom of the garden. He is just about to stuff the coat in the base of the old oak tree when a cough startles him.
"Is that for me Ianto Llewellyn Jones?"
Ianto's face breaks out into a smile as he turns to see his Captain once again in his old assortment of clothes, hastily rubbing his arms against the chill.
"Yes, it's supposed to snow soon and our teacher says that everyone has to wear coats when they go outside. I didn't want you to get sick." Ianto states, as he pulls the coat out with some difficulty, before giving it to Jack.
"Thank you very much Ianto" Jack says as he pulls on the coat that feels strangely familiar to him. He is touched for the lack of the better word that Ianto would worry about his wellbeing. It's not as if he talks to a lot of children but jack is certain that not many of them would worry about an adult's health.
Ianto just shrugs at jack's words his eyes staring intently at the older man. "I didn't want you to have any reason not to come back . . . to me. Last year Joel got sick and he was away from school for a very long time, I didn't like it. I missed him, I think I would miss you too if you didn't come back" Ianto states slowly, as if he is taking care over every word he has chosen.
Jack can feel butterflies beginning to swell in his stomach. He hasn't expected such emotion form the boy. Jack loves his time with the young Ianto, he treasures the gift of being able to see a different side of the man that he will become to be; but he has never once thought about the impact that Jack must be having on the Welshman.
"Well now that I'm warm, there will be no getting rid of me" Jack replies with a trademark Harkness grin, as he tries to lighten the mood. "So where on earth did you get this coat Mr Jones?"
Ianto smiles again as he recounts in detail his 'super spy mission' about sneaking round the house and rummaging everywhere for a suitable piece of clothing for the Captain, and tricking his mother into thinking that Ianto was just playing around.
"So you see Captain Jack. I could be a spy. I am very good; no one has suspected a thing. I could help you Captain, sir. I know I'm small but no one would suspect me of being a spy. I could be you're partner." Ianto is smiling manically as he goes over and over all of the ways he could help Jack as a spy. Jack has to smile indulgently at the boy, realising that in the future Ianto indeed would be his partner, but in a whole different sense.
"Is that what you want to be when you grow up then Ianto, a spy for the queen?" Jack asks, when the boy finally comes up for breath, Jack is still amused at how verbose the young incarnation of Ianto is.
Ianto appears to truly ponder this, as a slight crease appears on his forehead and he bites his lip before answering.
"It's what I wanted to be, but Tad says I am just being silly. He says that James bond is a story and that when I grow up I will have to get a proper job like his." Ianto's face contorts into one which jack can only distinguish as disgust. "But I don't want to be like tad, he comes back from work covered in soot, messing up the house, getting his dirty hands on everything. I don't like mess" Ianto states and Jack can definitely detect a connection to the elder Ianto, who seems almost fanatical about the state of the tourist office and archives. "All he ever wants to do is sit in his special chair, with dinner on his lap, and for mam to bring him in bears and whiskey as he watches the rugby!"
Ianto seems to be going away from the point, but Jack allows it as the conversation drifts to Ianto's father. Jack knows very little about Ifan Jones, the older Ianto is predictably silent on his family's past, Rhiannon and his mam get the occasional mention, but Jack can count on one hand the number of times Ianto has mentioned his father, and it is never been in the most positive light, though Jack can tell Ianto is very conscious of not being overly negative, as this would pique interest.
"Do you and your Tad not watch Rugby together, like you do with James Bond?" Jack asks attentively, constantly gauging when to back off the subject.
Ianto shakes his head emphatically. "No, not anymore, Tad used to let me watch it on his lap, and he would explain all the rules to me, but when I said I liked the team in white, he got really angry, and told me that they were the wrong team and that we were welsh and we had to support the Welsh team and not the English." Ianto still looks a little upset at the memory, and Jack is finding it hard to decide whether Ianto is over-exaggerating as kids have the tendency to do or whether this is a genuine argument between father and son.
During their conversation, the sky has turned from a light winter grey of a late afternoon to the an almost midnight blue as darkness descends; though both Jack don't seem to be that bothered, in fact they do not notice at all until they hear Ianto's mother shouting out across the garden that dinner is ready.
"You had better go" Jack states fondly, inwardly hoping that he will not have to wait long alone until he is returned to his appropriate time.
"I wish you could come in and have dinner with us" Ianto laments, his eyes huge blue orbs against the darkness around him.
"But then I wouldn't be a secret anymore would I?" Jack reminds him; Ianto nods sadly at this and trudges away.
Jack can't help but draw comparisons between this Ianto and his elder self, Young Ianto almost wants to show off his time travelling friend, though the older Ianto seems to be at pains to keep his and Jack's relationship for lack of a better word away from the rest of the team. What happened Ianto that changed you so drastically?
Ianto is almost at the tree line when he turns around to Jack. "Promise you will come back? I don't mind when just promise you will come back?" There is so much hope in that sentence that it constricts Jack's throat and he fights it to breathe back
Ianto must hear it though, as he bestows Jack a blinding smile as he rushes into the night air.