Jack watched from the doorway as Ianto spoke to the little girl, sliding the costume over and around her limbs and then muttering in Welsh when he got her arms caught.
"Need a hand there?" he asked, chuckling.
"No, Jack, I've got it," was the reply.
Folding his arms across his chest Jack shook his head slowly, hearing the whines from inside the mass of black and white faux fur. They had picked the best costume for her, without a doubt. Since October was a particularly chilly month to be spending any time outside, especially for Wales, they'd been excited to find a costume that wouldn't require a coat to go over it.
"You alright in there?" asked Jack, moving to kneel beside the child as she started to cry in earnest.
"She's been cranky all day, Jack," Ianto told him, sighing. "You should have seen her at the school party."
Jack hadn't been able to get away from the office, but since Ianto was now working from home he'd been able to accompany the little girl to her nursery class. He'd even baked Halloween cupcakes, much to Jack's amusement.
"I'm sure it wasn't that bad," Jack said, hugging the little ball of fur. "What's wrong, sweetie?"
"Wanna be a pwincess!"
Jack smiled, wiping the little girl's eyes. "You wanted to be a skunk, remember?"
Ever since they'd watched Bambi several months before, the precocious two – and a half! - year old had decided she wanted to be Flower. There was no arguing that Flower was actually a little boy skunk. She didn't care. She wanted to be a skunk and they were happy to let her, the fluff guaranteed to keep her warm.
"When we got to nursery this morning no less than half the girls were dressed as Disney princesses," Ianto explained, fastening the costume and pressing a kiss to the skunk's forehead. "She demanded I remove her skunk costume and make her a princess as soon as possible. I took the costume off and figured I would wait until tonight to put it back on."
"You can be a princess next Halloween," Jack told her, holding out his arms and lifting the fluff ball onto his hip.
"No! Wanna be pwincess now!"
Jack and Ianto both sighed, and Ianto shrugged his shoulders. "We don't have another costume for you," he said, "and the shops are all closed now."
"Yep," added Jack, bouncing her until he got a giggle out of her. "If we take off the costume again there won't be any Trick or Treating."
She frowned. "No candy for Bwynne?"
"Nope, no candy for Brynne."
She seemed deep in concentration for a moment. "Awight. I be a skunk."
"Thought you might see it that way."
Jack motioned for Ianto to grab her Halloween bucket – decorated, of course, like a flower – while he grabbed his keys, and then waited for the Welshman to pick up their coats and exit the house. Jack locked up behind them.
The trip to the mainland was relatively peaceful - especially since they had purchased two of their own boats a short time ago and no longer depended on hired transportation - and they spent the time telling stories to their daughter. There were no more outbursts from the little girl, who now seemed to be content to sit on her daddies' laps and watch the water as they made their way across.
On the other side, Ianto's whole family was waiting for them. Rhiannon stood with her arm around her husband Robert, Mica at their feet holding her younger brother David. To their right was Bethan, waving at them as they moved the boat into its slip and Ianto secured it for the evening.
"Hi Uncle Ianto. Hi Uncle Jack! Can I hold Brynne?"
Mica, the eight year old version of Hermione Granger, handed off her pumpkin brother to her dad and then accepted the bundle of skunk that Jack placed in her arms. None of the adults had dressed up, preferring instead to let the children have all the fun.
"We brought both cars," explained Rhiannon, waving a hand behind her. "There should be plenty of room."
When they'd first moved to the island, the family had lived in the houses that had been built especially for them. After Rhiannon had married Robert, however, they'd decided it was best to move back to the mainland so he could remain close to his work. As a police investigator he had varying hours, and it would be entirely too difficult to travel back and forth at all hours of the day and night. They'd tried it for six months and it had been a harrowing experience. They were now living in a lovely home in Swansea, and Bethan had moved in with them just a year ago.
It was quiet on the island, except when the family came to visit, or when they hired out the two vacant cottages for the occasional weekend, but Jack and Ianto both liked it that way. Jack saw his parents at work, where he was now a partner, and he and Ianto came for dinners or a weekend quite often at Jack's family's home.
If Gray weren't spending the night with one of his mates from school he'd likely be tagging along with them, even if he had insisted he was too old for Trick or Treat. There was no doubt in Jack's mind that his brother and his friend were out in costume, just as he'd been at that age.
They piled into the two vehicles, the car seats already set up in each for David's use, and headed for the family's old neighborhood. It was closest and they still knew many of the families who lived there. Rhiannon took Bethan, Mica, and David in one car, and Robert took Jack, Ianto, and Brynne in the second car.
They strolled the neighborhood for over an hour, saying hello to friends and letting the children collect candy and run around working off their energy. Jack glanced over at Ianto as they strolled, watching him watch their little girl as she bounced along behind her older cousins. He slid his hand into his husband's, Ianto turning to give him a smile before his eyes went back to watching the children.
They'd gone through their options carefully when deciding to try their hand at parenthood. After Jack had finished university, they'd looked into surrogacy. The only problem was they couldn't decide who should be the surrogate. Should they look for a friend to carry the baby, or pay for a surrogate? The latter seemed rather impersonal. Even though they both agreed that it really wouldn't matter which of them ended up being the biological father, trying to find the perfect person to be the birth mother was never going to be easy. In the end, they chose adoption, and brought home their little girl when she was less than a day old.
Brynne's mother had given the baby up for adoption and wanted no ties. They weren't sure if there was ever a father in the picture, apart from his share in the conception. No name was on the birth certificate and since they never actually met the mother, having used a private adoption agency, they never got an opportunity to ask her about him. The agency had arranged for blood tests to be run to ensure their child was going to be healthy, and then sent them home. All results were in within a few weeks and they were the proud parents of a healthy baby girl.
Jack couldn't believe two and a half years had already gone by. It seemed like just yesterday he and Ianto had been sharing the middle of the night feedings. Jack had insisted he could handle it, as he had many times with Mica back when they'd all been living together, but Ianto wanted to be involved as much as possible. Jack admired him his willingness to lose sleep. Jack had never needed much, but Ianto certainly did. It was within that first year that they'd mutually decided Ianto should start working from home. It made it a fair amount easier on him as he could set his own schedule and have a lie in if needed. Ianto now worked as Jack's personal assistant, scheduling his meetings, handling orders, and generally making Jack look good.
"What are you thinking about?" the Welshman whispered, squeezing Jack's hand.
"Just how lucky I am," he replied, pulling his husband close for a quick kiss. "Did you ever think back when we met that we'd end up married with a perfect little girl, and be taking her around for Trick or Treat?"
"Actually, I often thought about it." They'd begun walking again and Jack tilted his head at Ianto's profile. "Being married with a child, I mean. Obviously when we first met I didn't know it would be the two of us together."
"Really?" asked Ianto.
"Sure. You were cute as a button, Ianto. I always wanted you to be mine."
"Ah yes. Spin the bottle when we were ten. How could I forget?"
"I thought about it all the time," Jack continued, remembering fondly. "Although I admit I never pictured the skunk costume."
"What did you have in mind?"
Jack grinned. "I'd pictured a little princess."
Ianto smirked, shaking his head. "I suppose that doesn't surprise me."
"Hey!" It was Ianto's turn to pull him into a kiss and Jack went willingly, pulling back and smiling when it ended. "You know, I think if we ever decide to have another child it should be a boy. Then we could dress him in little gray suits just like yours. He could be you for Halloween."
Ianto's eyes twinkled in the streetlight. "I'd like that, Jack. A little mini me. I'm ready whenever you are."
Jack's eyes widened. "Seriously?"
"What in the world?" asked Bethan.
Ianto's family spun around at the exclamation just as Jack grabbed Ianto and spun him off his feet. When he'd placed him back down Jack slid his arm around Ianto and turned them towards his family.
"We're going to have another baby!"
"Really?" asked Rhiannon, grinning. "Oh, Jack, Ianto, that's wonderful!"
"Congratulations, mate," said Robert, reaching out to shake both of their hands. "Having two is a lot of work, but so worth it."
Robert had come into Rhiannon's life not long after Jack and Ianto got married, and he never, in the subsequent five years, treated Mica as anything but his own daughter. Since Johnny had never re-appeared Mica called Robert her daddy, and that suited everyone just fine. He was a great man and treated Ianto's sister the way she should have been treated from the beginning.
"Another grandbaby," whispered Bethan, eyes wide and grin stretching her face. "I am so blessed!"
There were hugs all around and then the adults began to round up the children, getting them ready for the walk back to the cars. As Jack strapped Brynne into the child car seat he was smiling. She had passed out in Ianto's arms on the way back and was now sleeping soundly.
"You're going to be a big sister, baby," he told her, stroking a thumb across the downy hair hanging out of her costume and resting on her forehead. "You and me, and Daddy and a baby brother." He pressed a kiss to her nose and then pulled out of the backseat so Ianto could slide in next to her.
"You do realize she's sleeping, yeah?" Ianto teased him, buckling his seat belt. "We'll have to explain it all to her again when she's awake."
"I know, Ianto," he replied, leaning into the car once more to press a kiss to his husband's mouth, "but I couldn't wait to tell her."
Once everyone was packed into the vehicles they headed back to the dock. As it was a weekday there was work to be done in the morning, otherwise the small family would have spent the night in Swansea.
"We'll have to get together again soon to celebrate," Bethan told them as they stood by the side of the boat.
"I'll be calling my family tomorrow," Jack told her, holding his daughter against his shoulder as Ianto loosened the ropes. "We'll be in touch with the agency this week, more than likely, and maybe we can have a get together this weekend."
They all knew it could take a while before a child was found for them, although they'd been relatively lucky with Brynne. Private adoption gave them much more control over timing than did the public option, but Jack knew they were both willing to wait if necessary. It was a discussion they'd had before deciding to adopt the first time.
They said their goodbyes and shortly Jack's little family was on its way back to Flat Holm. He confiscated a few pieces of candy from Brynne's little bucket, and Ianto smirked at him. Neither of them were planning to let the little girl eat very many anyway. Candy would be terrible for her teeth and it really wasn't necessary to indulge a habit. As far as Jack was concerned, that meant more for him. Oh, and Ianto too.
After they got her into bed that night Jack and Ianto snuggled on the couch, drinking a glass of red wine. Ianto rested his head on Jack's shoulder and Jack ran a hand up and down Ianto's arm.
"Thank you," he told the Welshman, kissing the top of his head.
"For wanting to expand our family."
Ianto raised his head, turning to face Jack. "Then I have to thank you too. I'd been hoping you'd agree to it."
"Why didn't you say something sooner?"
Ianto put his glass on the table. "When you made partner at your dad's company I was pretty sure he was planning to retire. I thought you might be too busy to start again with another child."
"I don't think he's considering retirement for some time yet," Jack assured him, placing his own glass next to Ianto's and taking both of his shoulders in his hands. "And I could never be too busy for you or our family."
"So, a little boy?" asked Ianto, scooting closer.
"Sounds perfect, doesn't it?"
"If only we could conceive our own," Jack whispered, moving one hand to cup Ianto's face. "Think of all the trying we'd need to do..."
Ianto kissed his palm, then hopped off the sofa and drew Jack up after him, pulling him toward their bedroom. "Then we'll just have to practice until the art of male conception is perfected."
Jack grinned, feeling his trousers tighten in anticipation. "Oh, that sounds like a wonderful plan."