Author's Note: Well, we've reached the final chapter. Thank you so much for the reviews! I enjoyed reading each and every last one of them. I hope everyone enjoys this last chapter.
Jack was exhausted, but he didn't move from his spot on the chair, sitting between Ianto's bed and the baby's incubator.
He watched Salted Peanut—Maddox—move his hands slightly as the incubator helped the baby keep warm while he was fed through a feeding tube. Although the initial scan reported Maddox as healthy, additional scans found that Maddox was having trouble maintaining a stable body temperature on his own, and when Jack attempted to feed him it was discovered that Maddox was having trouble sucking from the bottle and swallowing milk, lacking the proper coordination to do both. While it worried him, Jack was grateful that those were the only two complications that were a result of the premature birth, complications that were tiny in nature and should be resolved within the next few weeks. Until Maddox could keep warm on his own, he would have to stay in the incubator when not being pressed against bare skin, and until Maddox could feed from a bottle on a regular basis without trouble, he would be fed through a feeding tube.
Jack shifted his gaze to his lover, still unconscious nearly five hours after the birth. It seemed too long for Ianto to still be unconscious, but with the trauma from the kidnapping and the added stress of premature labour, Ianto's body was probably trying to recover, especially when Ianto had nearly died.
Jack was grateful that Terry had managed to stop the bleeding. It had been the worst twenty minutes of his life, holding his son without any idea if Ianto was going to live to see the baby he had carried in his belly. Now Ianto slept, with two small tubes up his nose and a gown on his body to hide the stitches covering the wound that Terry had made to deliver the baby. Ianto would have to be on bed rest for a while to let his wound heal.
Gwen quietly appeared in the doorway of the room Ianto and Maddox had been brought into a recovery room of sorts, but it didn't look as sterile as an actual hospital room. Terry had wanted it made so Ianto would have a place to rest after the birth.
"You need sleep," she murmured, moving close to the incubator to peek inside.
"I'll sleep when Ianto wakes up." He rested his head against the back of the chair, reaching out to grab Ianto's hand. He lightly brushed his thumb against scraped knuckles. He would have to ask where Ianto got them from. There were no injuries that proved physical abuse, but one couldn't be certain that the Yamni didn't possess torturous talents that never left a mark on their victims' bodies.
"He's so adorable," Gwen murmured, placing a hand on the clear top of the incubator. "Bloody fantastic, he is."
Jack's smile was proud. He couldn't help it. Maddox was a handsome little baby, down to his tiny toes. "With two fantastic fathers, it isn't much of a surprise."
"Heaven help us if the baby develops your ego." The baby's head moved in her direction, and Gwen's excitement visibly grew. "Hopefully he inherited Ianto's modesty." She looked at Jack. "You never did say, what's the baby's name?"
"Maddox." Jack glanced at Ianto's relaxed expression, remembering how and knowing why Ianto had chosen that name. Ianto had wanted his baby to bear the name of a family war hero.
"Ianto chose it, named after an ancestor."
Gwen laughed, using a finger to tap at the incubator to keep the baby's attention on her. "I half-expected you to name the baby after a past lover or a one-night stand."
Jack snorted. "I have it on good authority that Ianto would never have allowed that." She didn't have to know that he had suggested one or two names that belonged to past lovers, although the raised eyebrow sent his way told him that she already suspected.
Gwen detached herself from the incubator to carefully sit on Ianto's bed, making sure she didn't dislodge anything. She glanced over Ianto's prone body. Ianto rested on his back with a blanket thrown over him.
"I wouldn't have been able to handle it," Gwen suddenly announced.
"I wouldn't have handled it very well myself. Losing Ianto or Maddox." Jack's tone was only mildly sarcastic.
"I know," Gwen hastily said. "I'm not saying you wouldn't have cared, but after losing Tosh and Owen, I don't know how strong I would've been to stick around. I like Nia and Terry, I do, but Ianto might've been one loss too many in the Torchwood family."
Jack studied her for a moment. "Want to know something?" When Gwen nodded, he admitted, "I would've left."
Her eyes widened. "You wouldn't have."
"I would've. If Ianto died, I wouldn't have wanted to raise Maddox in Torchwood, not if I was going to raise him by myself." Glancing at the incubator, remembering how it felt to hold Maddox in his arms, there was no "if" about it. He would've raised Maddox. That was his son. No way could he have allowed anyone else to raise him.
He sighed heavily, looking back towards Gwen. "And if they both had died, I would've left to find a new life, some place where I wouldn't lose a lover every five minutes. Losing Ianto and the baby at the same time would've been one too many deaths for me to handle."
Gwen studied her fingers. "What would you have done if, you know, Ianto survived and the baby hadn't?"
"That really would've depended on Ianto. I would've stayed if Ianto stayed. I would've left with him if he wanted to quit and get away, even if it was just for a little while. He would've needed me a lot more than Torchwood." Jack looked at Ianto fondly. "He's important enough for me to follow."
Gwen was silent for a moment. "I never thought you'd leave," she murmured. "I mean, you left that one time for your Doctor, but you came back. Torchwood is a part of you, I've heard you say it, but hearing you say you'd leave because of Ianto . . ." She cocked her head, studying him. "Ianto said you gave him your loyalty, your fidelity, and your protection."
"I'm thinking there's something else you gave him, he just doesn't realize it."
Jack refused to look away, letting her see the truth in his eyes. She peered at him, and then a smile curled her lips. Jack thought he saw just a flash of envious resignation in her eyes, but her overall expression showed acceptance and happiness.
"You best let him know," she practically ordered him.
He smiled and lifted her hand to kiss it. There would always be something between him and Gwen, but it was muted, something that would remain unexplored, and rightly so. Gwen had made her choice and Jack had made his. He didn't regret the outcome.
"Rhys is a lucky man," he said, holding onto her hand.
"So are you." Gwen touched Ianto's leg through the blanket.
Jack sighed and looked at Ianto. "I know."
Terry entered the room, looking as exhausted as Jack felt. "Nia wants you."
Jack furrowed his brow, releasing Gwen's hand. "What does she want?"
"Nia just received a message from the Yamni spaceship"
The doctor ran a hand through his hair. "The letters just appeared. It's on all the computer screens, just like the message Ianto had sent."
Jack stood up from the chair. "What does it say?"
"It wants to know what happened to the others on the ship, and demands the baby as compensation."
"Compensation for what?" Jack nearly growled. "They damn near killed Ianto."
"You left evidence of the Yamni's deaths, didn't you?"
"God damn it, when will this nightmare end?" Jack stomped towards the door. "Terry, stay here with Ianto and the baby. Gwen, come with me."
Gwen frowned and carefully got off the bed. "Where are we going?"
"Just come on."
They left Ianto's room and reached the main hub in seconds. Nia looked up from her computer. "I assume Terry told you."
Jack reached her side. "Did they say anything else?"
"They're now saying that they won't kill those who harmed the Yamni if the baby is handed over."
"How do they even know Torchwood is responsible?" Gwen asked.
"They're probably using the same transmission Ianto used to contact us. If the Yamni are as smart as they think they are, it wouldn't be too hard to find."
Jack stared at the screen. They were never going to stop going after Maddox. Not unless Jack followed through with his threat to send the Yamni a message to back off.
"Send a message back. Tell them I want to meet them on neutral ground for negotiations."
Gwen looked horrified. "Negotiations for what? Maddox?"
"No. I told you, I am not negotiating with them." Jack glanced at the women. "But they don't have to know that, do they?"
When Ianto woke up, it was to find Jack sleeping in a chair beside his bed. Then his eyes moved to an incubator not too far away. He spied tiny hands waving in the air through the clear enclosure.
He made a noise, one that had Jack jolting in his chair. He blinked at Ianto before he grinned wide and fell off the chair to crouch beside the bed, taking one hand in his own while running his fingers of the other through Ianto's hair.
"I'm awake." The words came out hoarse. He swallowed, mouth and throat dry.
"Here." Jack reached for a jug of water beside the bed, pouring it into a glass. He placed a straw in it and lifted it to Ianto's lips. He drank greedily through the straw. When he finished, Jack put the glass back on the end table. "How do you feel?"
"Tired." Ianto shifted and winced when there was sharp pain in his abdomen. "In pain."
"You have quite a few stitches. It's going to take a while before you can move without feeling the stitches pull at you." Jack's smile dimmed slightly. "You almost didn't make it. A lot of tissue was disappearing with the sac."
Ianto frowned. "But I'm okay?"
"Yes. Terry fixed you up."
Ianto looked at the incubator once more. "And the baby?"
Jack laughed softly. "Healthy. Has a little trouble keeping his body temperature stable and can't really suck and swallow from a bottle, but Terry said it will only take a few weeks before the baby will manage to do both."
"Can I hold him?"
Jack stood up. "Let's get you sat up, then." Jack placed several pillows behind Ianto, just enough to recline his body and make it possible for Ianto to cradle his baby in his arms. "Lower your gown a little, the baby needs warmth and can get that from your skin."
Ianto lowered his gown as Jack went to the incubator and carefully pushed it closer to the bed. Ianto found himself getting nervous and excited all at the same time as Jack opened the incubator and removed a couple of tubes before picking the baby up and carefully placing him in Ianto's arms.
"And I introduce to you Maddox Jones-Harkness."
Ianto was speechless when he finally got to look down at his son. He wore a beanie on top of his head, and Ianto noticed a nappy before Jack carefully tucked a blanket around the infant's body. The baby made a little noise of discontentment, face scrunching up. Ianto was afraid that the baby would cry, unhappy to be in the arms of a stranger, but the baby settled.
Awed, he lifted a hand to trace the tiny fingers, and he made a happy sound when the baby grabbed a hold of his finger.
Jack slid the chair he had been sitting on closer and sat down. "He has your nose."
Ianto bit his lip to prevent himself from crying. He wanted to—his emotional barriers were down and he found it far too tempting to let his emotions go—but somehow he managed to do nothing more than sniff. "He has your jawline, I see."
"Of course!" Jack leaned in to place a hand over the baby's head, gently caressing. The baby's head looked tiny against Jack's broad hand. "He weighs four pounds, two ounces, and is sixteen inches long."
"He's gorgeous." Ianto really couldn't take his eyes off of him. "I've been waiting to meet you," Ianto whispered.
Jack stayed quiet, seemingly knowing that Ianto wanted a bit of time to bond with his son. Ianto couldn't believe that they made it, that both he and his baby survived. So many times he had wondered if he had been doing the right thing by going through with the pregnancy, if he would get a chance to see his baby alive, but none of that mattered now. Ianto shifted the baby until the little body was fully planted on his chest, caressing his son's head and tilting his own head so he could look into Maddox's face, noting the slightly rounded cheeks and a tiny mouth that suddenly parted for a yawn. Maddox waved his hand a little until his thumb was in his mouth, but he didn't seem to know what to do with it. Ianto now understood what Jack meant when he said that Maddox couldn't coordinate sucking.
He glanced at Jack and found him watching them both with a smile. "What?"
Jack shook his head, planting his elbow on the bed and resting his chin on his upturned hand. "I don't think I've seen anything as beautiful as what I'm seeing right now."
Ianto chuckled, feeling embarrassed. "I must look a fright."
"Doesn't matter how you look. You're beautiful holding our son." Jack smiled. "Our son." He said the words like he was cherishing them. "I never thought I'd get to say that."
Ianto tilted his head just enough to invite Jack for a kiss. The captain happily accepted, leaning forward to brush their lips together before pressing harder. Ianto indulged him, mindful of Maddox.
Jack eventually pulled back and rested his head on Ianto's shoulder, close to the baby. "I thought that I was going to lose you on that Yamni ship."
"Are they gone? All of them?"
"Yes and no." Jack pulled back to look at Ianto. "Everyone on Ichtaca's team is gone, but it turned out that there were two Yamni who had left the ship prior to our arrival. They reported to the Yamni elders every other month."
"So they came back from their reporting duties?"
"Yep. They returned soon after we killed Ichtaca and the others, saw what happened on the ship, and contacted us."
"The transmission you left behind when you gave us the coordinates."
"Oh." Ianto felt lightly sheepish.
Jack chuckled. "Too make a long story short, they wanted the baby, I said I would negotiate with them on neutral ground, the two came down here to earth where we—me, Gwen, and Nia—waited, and as soon as they appeared I killed one while Gwen wounded another."
"Why did you just wound him? Why not kill him?"
"Because I wanted this particular Yamni to go back home with a message." Jack's smile turned a bit cold. "I threatened to destroy the Yamni if they ever came after you and Maddox ever again. To show them I'm serious, I let Nia obliterate the Yamni ship."
Ianto gaped. "How?"
"Missile strike of the alien kind." The edges of Jack's smile slightly turned downward. "Nia was a little too happy to follow orders."
"Think they'll listen?"
"This particular Yamni seemed to take us seriously, particularly when I blinded him."
"You—what?" Ianto stared at Jack with wide eyes. "You didn't."
"I did." Jack's eyes went flat. "He tried to give Gwen a heart attack. I stabbed one eye to stop him, and then I stabbed the other to let him know I'm serious about destroying what's left of their race."
"That was . . ."
"Cruel?" Jack nodded grimly. "They needed to know that I wasn't going to tolerate their antics, not with the others, and most definitely not with you and Maddox."
"So what happened?" Ianto murmured. He was glad he hadn't witnessed Jack's mild form of torture. He knew Jack was capable of ruthlessness, but Ianto never wanted to play a role in bringing out Jack's darker side.
"He got the message. Said he would teleport home. A minute later, this small watch appeared. Turned out to be an automated messenger, letting us know the Yamni were going to follow my advice and seek other solutions to save their race from extinction."
"So it's over?"
He kissed Ianto's temple. "It's over. You're both safe."
Relieved, Ianto took a moment to bask in the knowledge that he no longer had anything to fear from the Yamni. He no longer had to look over his shoulder to see if a Yamni was there, ready to snatch him or his son.
"I'm glad," he whispered. Thinking of the Yamni brought memories of Bidziil, who had died an ugly death. "Not all of them were bad," he felt a need to say, remembering the coldness in Jack's voice every time he mentioned the Yamni. "There was one named Bidziil. He took care of me. He helped me send the message to you."
"What happened to him?" Jack asked softly.
"He died." Ianto hadn't known Bidziil for too long, but the sadness in him was strong. "Ichtaca melted him." Ianto couldn't hold back the bitterness. "Right in front of me, he just melted." He pressed his lips against Maddox's covered scalp. "He was nice."
Jack gave him a moment to grieve, but eventually he said, "Terry ran your blood—Maddox's as well—through a couple of tests to check the pregnancy gene."
Ianto peered at him. "What did he find?"
"Yours is inactive now, but Maddox's is not. In fact, the sequence of nucleotides in the gene for Maddox is slightly altered from the sequence that had been in your gene when it was active. Terry believes that the slight alteration in Maddox's gene is the reason why the pregnancy gene is permanent for the baby. "
That wasn't much of a surprise. Ianto sighed. "They were going to make him a breeding slave. Use technology to accelerate his aging until he was of age to have sex, and then make him produce dozens of children. They were going to do the same to me, pump me with drugs to make sure the gene didn't become inactive, and try to see if I can give birth a couple of more times."
Jack curled his lip slightly. "Glad I killed the ones I did, then." But then he gave Maddox a curious frown. "But this means that we're going to have a talk with Maddox when he's older, especially if he decides to be with a man."
Ianto groaned. "I don't even want to think about the sorts of problems that'll rise from that talk." It would be a strange conversation to have, telling his son that he and any male descendants from his family line could get pregnant.
"There's something else I've been thinking about." Jack was still looking at Maddox with that frown on his face. "Ichtaca said that humans were just one of the Yamni ancestors, and that somewhere along the way humans mated with aliens, which eventually created the Yamni branch. I thought the male's ability to conceive was because of their alien DNA." He reached out to touch Maddox's nose. The baby snuffled slightly. "But I wonder if maybe that ability to conceive starts with the humans. With Maddox."
Ianto's mouth fell open in the shape of an 'o', staring down at his son. "So they come back to find a way to save the Yamni race, but might've ended up creating one of their direct ancestors?"
It was an irony that boggled the mind, the fact that the Yamni race might have taken its first step into existence by helping him conceive Maddox.
"Perhaps, but the Yamni race won't exist for quite a few millennia and only after several couplings with aliens. We'll never know if Maddox truly is a direct ancestor of the Yamni or not."
Looking down at Maddox, Ianto decided it didn't matter. Whatever happened thousands of years from now had nothing to do with him or Maddox. The only thing Ianto needed to worry about was raising his son.
When Ianto was deemed fit to leave the hub a few days later, Ianto stayed put. He wasn't going to leave until he could take Maddox home, especially when the rift wasn't one to stay quiet for long. It only made sense for him to stay at the hub to keep an eye on his son, considering that there could be a few times when no one else would be able to stay behind.
As a result, Jack stayed at the hub with him. He occasionally went back home to retrieve clothes for them, but most of his time was spent in the makeshift recovery room alongside Ianto. Terry also moved into the hub temporarily so he could be close to monitor Maddox and ensure no medical emergencies occurred with the baby.
A week after his birth, Maddox was able to suck and swallow without much problem, but he still couldn't keep a stable body temperature on his own.
"And you're sure it's nothing to worry about?" Ianto pressed when Terry delivered the news.
"Yes, Ianto, I'm sure." Terry made a tiny sound of exasperation. "You and Jack are the same, always asking me the same questions over and over."
"Well, excuse me for looking after the welfare of my son."
Ianto ran a hand down Maddox's back as he cradled him against his chest. He has started to keep his shirt partially open at the top so he could press the baby against his skin whenever he held them, something Jack seemed to enjoy. Made him look less uptight, apparently. It was a little uncomfortable walking around the hub with his shirt partly open, but Ianto ignored his discomfort for the sake of holding his son and keeping him warm.
Despite his exasperation, Terry bent over slightly so he could tickle under Maddox's chin. The baby blinked at him. "Give him another week and I'm sure he'll no longer need to stay in the incubator." Terry straightened and rubbed the baby's back as he gave Ianto an indulgent smile. "I get that you're worried, but trust me when I say that everything's going to be okay. He'll soon be able to maintain his body temperature and you'll be able to take him home, all right?"
Ianto sighed and nodded. He trusted Terry, but it was hard not to worry.
After giving Terry his thanks, he left the medical bay. Gwen and Nia were hovering over a computer, and his steps were quick to catch the attention of Gwen, who abruptly left Nia's side to approach him.
"How is he?"
Ianto wondered if it was normal to have friends who fretted over his baby's health the way Gwen did. One would think Maddox was her son. "Okay. Still having trouble with his body temperature, but he should be okay in a week or so."
Gwen held out her hands. "May I?"
Ianto carefully handed Maddox over, murmuring instructions on how to hold the baby's head despite the fact that this wasn't the first time she held Maddox. "Just for a little bit," he said. "I don't want him to get too cold." He settled the blankets around Maddox's body.
The baby waved his hands, eyes slightly open to inspect the person now holding him. "Oh, aren't you the most adorable baby ever!" Gwen gushed.
Ianto glanced in Nia's direction. She watched them with a wary eye. She had claimed that she didn't mind babies; she just preferred not to deal with them until they were older.
"You don't want to hold him?" he asked.
Nia lifted her hands and took a giant step back. "I'm good."
She had only held the baby twice, and while her past experience with her nieces had been obvious in the way she expertly held Maddox, Nia had made it clear that while she thought Maddox was cute, if they ever wanted a babysitter, they damn sure better not call her up.
"He won't bite."
"He cries. That's enough for me to stay away."
Ianto laughed and kept an eye on Gwen and the baby. She seemed to have the natural instincts when it came to holding Maddox, and Ianto no longer worried that she might accidentally drop him, but as a new parent, Ianto wasn't at all comfortable leaving Maddox alone with anyone other than Jack.
Gwen lightly rocked the baby in her arms. "I want a baby now." She looked up and scowled at Ianto. "Damn you for creating such a cute incentive for me to give into Rhys's pleas."
Ianto shrugged. "Blame the Yamni. I would've been happy not going through seven months of pregnancy, thank you."
"But you're happier with Maddox."
"Of course I am." One week with his baby and he couldn't imagine his life without Maddox. It wasn't exactly what he had planned for his life, but since the moment he had started employment at Torchwood, all his life's plans had gone out the window.
Maddox made noises of discontentment. Gwen tried to comfort him, but he soon started to cry. "What did I do?" She looked slightly panicked. This was a first for her, having Maddox cry in her arms, and she was obviously unsure of what to do.
"Nothing." He reached for Maddox. "I think he's just getting a little fussy. The rift alarm woke him up earlier."
Gwen obediently handed him over with a disappointed pout on her lips. Ianto settled Maddox against him, trying to calm him with soothing words as he lightly bounced him in his arms, but the baby continued to cry. Well, if Ianto couldn't stop Maddox from crying, Jack certainly could.
Ianto carefully made his way to Jack's office. Jack was arguing on the phone, a harsh scowl on his lips.
Ianto paused in the doorway, rethinking his route, but Jack saw him and grinned. "Sorry, but I gotta go. Parent duties and all."
"Who was that?" Ianto asked, walking in with a crying Maddox.
"U.N.I.T. They want to send some of their men here to work with us. I told them to screw themselves." Jack circled the desk. "Aw, what's wrong with him?"
"Fussy." Ianto handed him over. "He started crying in Gwen's arms."
Jack began to rock their son, rubbing his hand up and down the baby's back. Maddox possessed quite a pair of lungs, ones that he must have inherited from Jack.
Jack walked around the office, working his charm until Maddox's cries turned into whimpers before disappearing altogether. One quick peek and Ianto found Maddox looking at him with a red nose and wet eyes.
"There we are." Jack leaned against his desk, trying not to dislodge the baby and send him into another crying fit. "What did Terry say?"
"He said that Maddox might need to stay here for another week or so."
"Fuck." At Ianto's glare, Jack opened his eyes comically wide. "What? It's not like he understands it."
"Doesn't matter. I don't want that kind of language used around my son. He's going to grow up with aliens and guns. Can't his ears remain pure for the first few months of his life?"
"Okay, okay." Jack shifted the baby until Maddox was cradled in his arms. Ianto snorted as Jack spent half a minute doing weird expressions to amuse his son. "I was hoping we could take him home today."
"Me, too." Ianto leaned against the desk beside Jack. "We'll get him home soon."
Ianto watched as Jack resumed his weird expressions. Jack looked different whenever he held Maddox, subdued and content, almost like he was actually comfortable in his own skin. Jack had always held this aura of restlessness, but when Ianto had become pregnant, that aura had rarely appeared. And now it wasn't there at all.
This was Jack as a father, Ianto realized. This was a new side to him. Not the leader, not the captain, not even Ianto's lover. This was Jack as a father, paternal adoration in his eyes whenever he looked at Maddox, his whole world narrowed down to the little baby that depended on him for love and guidance.
"What?" Jack asked when he caught Ianto smiling at him.
Ianto's smile widened even more before he echoed words Jack had told him not too long ago. "I don't think I've ever seen anything as beautiful as what I'm seeing right now."
The first time Ianto brought Maddox home was a joyous one.
With Jack opening the door for them, Ianto carried the baby carrier across the threshold, happy to be home after two weeks at the hub, recuperating and unwilling to come home until Maddox came home with him. Maddox had managed to pass a milestone earlier in the day, managing to keep his body temperature stable on his own, and as soon as Terry said Maddox could go home, Jack and Ianto wasted no time leaving the hub.
Hearing the door close behind him, Ianto ran a keen eye over the flat. It has been nearly a month since he last saw it, and a part of him had expected the flat to be in total chaos. He was surprised to see it clean and tidy.
As if he knew what Ianto was thinking, Jack said, "I kept it clean for us." Jack wrapped an arm around Ianto's waist. "Made sure you didn't come home to dishes piled in the sink and dirty laundry thrown on the floor."
Ianto sniffed. "And how long will that paradise last?"
"Ha-ha." Jack led him to the nursery. "Time to introduce Maddox to his new room." Jack grabbed the knob of the closed door that displayed a wooden plaque that bared his son's name. That hadn't been there before. "I spruced it up, made sure that everything else you ordered was assembled and put in its proper place."
When Jack opened the door, Ianto padded inside and paused just inside the doorway, eyes going wide as he saw the room. The last time he had seen the nursery, it had been mostly bare.
But now, the walls were painted a light shade of blue, the crib pressed against the opposite wall of the door as the mahogany hue of the wood shone under the incoming sunlight. Large letters above the crib spelled the name Maddox, surrounded by what looked like tiny versions of Pteranodon. There was a changing table against the adjacent wall, stocked with diapers and boxes of baby wipes, and there were a couple of sets of drawers that held stuffed animals. On the carpeted floor rested a rug in the shape of a cartoonish bear, and pushed to one side was the baby gym Ianto had purchased on a whim. The best part of the nursery, however, was a rocking chair that sat close to the window, the teddy bear Jack had bought him sitting proudly on top of a blue cushion that rested on the seat.
"Where did you get it?" he asked softly, looking at the rocking chair.
"The team bought it, a few days before the Yamni kidnapped you. It was supposed to be a surprise for the both of us, actually, but when I told them I was fixing up the nursery as a surprise for you, they let me in on their gift so I could surprise you with it."
Ianto turned to Jack. "Thank you." He kissed him.
The baby made a sound, catching their attention. His face was scrunched up, looking ready to cry.
"I think it's time to change the nappy."
"How do you know?"
Ianto took the carrier to the changing table, depositing it on top so he could take out the baby. "Because he was fed and burped earlier." Once he got the baby out, Jack removed the carrier from the changing table so Ianto could lie the baby down.
"This is the worst part about having a baby." Jack grimaced when Ianto proceeded to change Maddox.
"I sort of figured, considering you refuse to change the nappies unless you have to."
A minute, Maddox was cleaned and changed. "You look much more content, don't you?" Ianto said, subconsciously cooing at his son. Maddox kicked his feet and waved his arms, happily reacting to Ianto's voice.
"Now let's put this little guy to bed."
Jack picked up Maddox and placed him in the crib. Ianto reached up to turn on the mobile that hung over the crib, an acoustic lullaby filling the room while the mobile began to turn. Maddox was immediately entranced by the moving object, settling down and watching the little stars move around, head tilting to the side and blinking up at it with curiosity. It didn't take long before the baby fell into a deep slumber. Quietly, Ianto turned on the baby monitor that sat on top of the chest of drawers by the crib. He grabbed the other monitor and took it with him as he left the nursery, Jack following close behind.
Once in the hallway, Jack immediately hugged Ianto from behind and nuzzled his neck. "How about you and I go to bed ourselves?"
The erection prodding his backside told him that Jack was thinking of doing something other than sleeping. Ianto wasn't much surprised by Jack's strong hint for sex. The last time they had sex, it had been the day before his kidnapping.
Ianto tilted his head to give Jack better access. "As much as I want sex, Jack, I miss sleep. I've barely had any in the past couple of weeks." As if to prove his point, his mouth decided to deliver a jaw-popping yawn. With Maddox crying or needing to be fed throughout the day and throughout the night, Ianto had yet to have a night of proper sleep.
Jack nipped his throat and guided him to their bedroom, as clean as the rest of the flat. "We can't even have a quickie?"
Ianto chuckled but collapsed on the bed as soon as it was within reach. He buried his head in the pillow. "Sleep," he muttered, suddenly exhausted.
Jack lay down beside him, draping his arm across Ianto's body and dragging him close. "It's good to be home," Jack murmured in his ear before giving it a kiss.
Ianto's only response was a grunt, too tired to do much else.
Within the first couple of months, Ianto managed to find some sort of balance between parenthood and Torchwood. As agreed, Ianto stayed off field-work, and while he thought he would feel useless to the team by not going out on missions with them, he found himself happy just staying with Maddox, waiting until Jack returned home from whatever mission had sent him out. Ianto was always available to man the hub as well, if it didn't interfere with his parenting duties.
Jack continued to have his penchant for roofs, and more than once Ianto woke up to an empty bed because Jack stayed at the hub for something Torchwood-related or because Jack got slightly restless and needed to walk outside for a bit, but there were many nights when Ianto fell asleep in Jack's arms or found Jack in the nursery taking care of Maddox so Ianto could sleep for a little longer.
One early morning, Ianto woke up to Maddox's cries coming through the baby monitor on the nightstand. Jack was beside him, sleeping deeply with his face inches away from his own. Jack may not need much sleep, but clearly the lack of it had finally caught up with him. Ianto quickly got up to cater to Maddox before his cries woke up Jack.
He put on a robe, tying the belt as he went to the nursery. He lifted Maddox from the crib. "There, there," Ianto murmured, going to the rocking chair and sitting down as he soothed his baby. "Daddy's here."
He rocked the chair, letting the back and forth motions calm the baby's cries. Despite all the reading material that warned him about sleepless night, he certainly hadn't expected it to be so difficult. Ianto thought he had been prepared, with sleepless nights being the norm in Torchwood, but the sleepless nights from Torchwood were somehow less exhausting than the sleepless nights that accompanied parenthood. Maybe it was because of the added stress that came with having a baby, the constant worrying if he was doing it right, if Maddox was being fed too much or too little, or if that tiny nappy rash was something to panic about and should be inspected by a doctor.
Maddox eventually quieted down, but he didn't fall back to sleep just yet, sniffling and looking up at him with big blue eyes. "You look like him," Ianto muttered. "Your other daddy. I reckon you're going to grow up to be a heartbreaker."
Maddox smiled, as if he knew what Ianto was saying and agreed with him. Ianto took in the toothless smile with a chuckle. "I figured you'd agree." Ianto leaned down and kissed Maddox's forehead. "I love you," he murmured. "I love you just as much as I love your other daddy."
Ianto continued to rock the chair until Maddox fell asleep. Ianto slowly stood up and put him back in his crib. With a light brush across the scalp, Ianto left the nursery and returned to his own bed, getting under the covers and pressing close to Jack's side, falling asleep almost immediately.
The next time he woke, it was to find Jack lying on his back as he held Maddox in the air above him, making faces at him.
"What are you doing?" Ianto muttered.
Jack glanced at him. "Good morning." He lowered Maddox and placed the baby between them, rubbing his hand over his tiny belly. "I was trying to entertain our son and make him laugh, but he refuses to comply."
Ianto smiled sleepily. "He might not laugh for a few weeks yet."
Jack leaned forward to kiss his lips. "He started to cry when I woke up. I was trying to make sure he didn't disturb you, but he didn't seem to like the rocking chair."
Maddox grunted, looking very much displeased that playtime with Jack was over. Ianto reached down to tickle his chin. The baby squirmed. "That's because you don't do it right. I told you to slowly rock in the chair. You always act like the rocking chair was meant to launch you in the air." He yawned and stretched carefully, not wanting to hurt the baby with his movements. "I'm going to take a shower. If you feed Maddox, I'll make you breakfast."
After a quick shower, Ianto was sizzling bacon and eggs in the frying pan while Jack carried Maddox against his shoulder, burping him. A cloth was draped over his shoulder to protect his clothing from any potential spits up.
The phone rang, and Jack answered it. "Hello?" He blinked and grinned. "No, no, you got the right number. You must be Rhiannon." Ianto jerked his head around, mouth dropping open. "I'm Jack, Ianto's lover."
Ianto waved his hands frantically, telling him to shut up. Ianto had insinuated that he was seeing someone when he talked to his sister several weeks back, a call that Ianto hoped was the first step in reconnecting with her. Maddox's arrival had made him realize the true importance of family, so he had reached out, and Rhiannon had reached back.
But Ianto certainly hadn't explained every detail of his life, and that included the fact that his lover was a man. He dropped the spatula, intending to yank the phone right out of Jack's hand, but it was too late. Jack plowed on. "Oh, nothing much, just taking care of our son."
He could hear a faint shriek coming from the phone. Rhiannon was going to kill him for not telling her about Jack and Maddox, but before he died, he was going to kill Jack. He didn't care if Jack came back from the dead, Ianto was going to kill him.
He glared murderously as he snatched the phone out of Jack's hand before he revealed anything more. "Why don't you tell her that we deal with aliens while you're at it?" he hissed. He turned his back to Jack as he held the phone his hands, taking a deep breath as he prepared to deal with what he knew was going to be an earful from his sister.
Bravely, he placed the phone against his ear. "Rhiannon! Hi."
What followed was ten minutes of his sister shrieking and berating Ianto for his failure to mention that the person he was seeing was a man and that they now had a son. Ianto did his best to placate her, telling her that he had planned on telling her eventually, but that only seemed to egg her on. After Ianto reluctantly promised to pay her a visit with Maddox and Jack (for a "proper inspection," as she put it) sometime in the coming weeks, they hung up.
Placing the phone back in its cradle, he turned to scowl at Jack. "You." He took a step forward.
Jack took a step back. "You would dare harm the man carrying your child?" He nodded at Maddox.
"That was really uncalled for, Jack." Ianto retrieved plates to put the bacon and eggs on, having finished cooking while on the phone. "It wasn't your place to tell her about your gender or about our offspring."
"Perhaps, but I gave you two months to tell her. You kept procrastinating." Jack lightly patted Maddox's back when the baby gurgled. "Besides, this way its better. Ripping off the bandage."
Ianto placed the plates on the table. "I'm still going to kill you."
Jack's own phone rang this time, and he whipped it out of his pocket, keeping a tight hold on Maddox. "Hello?" Jack frowned as he listened to whoever was speaking to him. "How bad?"
Before the conversation even ended, Ianto knew that his efforts for breakfast were wasted. Jack heaved a sigh, promised that he was on his way, and hanged up. "Looks like you're gonna have to kill me later. Torchwood is calling."
Ianto took Maddox when Jack handed him over. "What happened?"
"A tree bent over and ate a dog."
"Yep." Jack grabbed the towel from his shoulder and tossed it by the sink.
"And that requires you?"
"Well, no, but having the trees of a whole neighborhood suddenly attack the residents does."
Ianto couldn't argue with that. "Need me at the hub?"
"Nah. We can handle it."
He blinked when Jack grabbed a plastic container and put the bacon, eggs, and a piece of toast inside of it. "What are you doing?"
"Breakfast-on-the-go!" Jack grinned and grabbed a fork. "Not going to let this go to waste."
Keys and wallet in pocket, Webley in holster, and coat on, Jack grabbed Maddox's hand and shook it. "Bye, Maddox. Be good for cute daddy while hot daddy goes to work."
"If his first words are cute daddy, I'll make your life miserable."
Jack laughed and kissed Ianto. "See you later."
"Be careful," Ianto called out as Jack left. Ianto tilted his head to look at Maddox's face, who smiled at him. "Please don't let your first words be cute daddy."
He was about to take Maddox back to the nursery when the door banged open, making Ianto jump at the abrupt sound. He angled his body in such a way that the baby would be protected from whatever threat had decided to invade his home.
When Jack strolled in, Ianto's pulse settled into a pattern close to normal. He acted like he hadn't just been scared out of his wits and arched a brow when Jack stopped in front of him. "Forgot something?"
"Yep." Jack placed a hand on Maddox's head, looking at their son. "I love you, Maddox Jones-Harkness."
"How adorable." Ianto smiled as Jack pulled back to look at him. "That is the—"
"I love you, Ianto Jones."
His words faltered. Ianto stared. Jack looked calm, content, and completely serious, his gaze intense as Jack stared at him. He found himself feeling flustered. He hadn't expected such a bold confession. He had long ago decided that he would be content with whatever Jack gave him, that he didn't need Jack's complete love.
Except that maybe he did need it.
"Oh." Ianto floundered for something to say, something a little more intelligent than a single syllable in response to a life-changing admission such as that, but the only thing he could say was what he has always felt for Jack. "I love you, too."
Jack gave him a smile. "I know. Heard you on the baby monitor this morning."
"Don't cook anything tonight." Jack kissed him again. "I'm going to cook for you."
Then he was gone. Still in shock, he stared at the closed door, wondering if what just occurred really did happen or if he just had a really vivid hallucination due to lack of sleep. Eventually, he managed to make his feet and legs work. He carried Maddox to the nursery in a daze.
It was when he was putting down the baby in his crib that Ianto realized what Jack meant when he said that he heard Ianto on the baby monitor. On the chest of drawers near the crib sat the baby monitor, which had been turned on when Ianto had come into the nursery earlier that morning. The other baby monitor had been left behind in the bedroom where Ianto had left Jack, who must have woken up in time to hear Ianto confess to their son that he loved him as much as he loved Jack.
Had Jack been waiting for Ianto to give him a sign about his feelings before confessing? It certainly seemed so. Ianto had thought that Jack knew how he felt, but maybe Jack had wanted verbal confirmation before admitting his own feelings. Maybe Jack had needed to hear Ianto say that he loved him almost as much as Ianto had needed to hear those precious words from his lover, even if Jack hadn't heard the words being said directly to his face the first time around.
Ianto stared down at Maddox, watching as those blue eyes were slowly hidden by tiny eyelids. He hadn't realized how much babies tended to sleep during the day. Ianto hoped that Maddox would soon be able to follow a more normal sleeping pattern that would give Ianto a little more time to sleep during the nights.
A sense of euphoria suddenly filled him. This was happiness, he realized. This warm feeling inside of him. Watching Maddox sleep, knowing that Jack loved him—Ianto's world that was once so bleak was so much brighter now. His life turned out much better than he had ever expected, and he grinned. For the first time in a long time, he was truly happy.
Then he remembered what Jack said about cooking, and his smile vanished. Jack? In the kitchen? He groaned at the very thought of Jack trying to cook for him. He saw burnt vegetables and charred meat in his near future. Ianto sighed and left the nursery, determined to find any kind of medicine that would help with stomachaches because that was love, enduring your lover's romantic gesture, even when it came in the form of horrible cooking.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading!