I'm terribly sorry how long it has taken me to finalize this story. Writer's block is a bitch and a half. Thank you for sticking with it!
The day that Ianto decided to confront his sister was one Jack was not prepared for. While several months had passed, and Dr. Singh had seen the Welshman quite a few times since he'd recovered his memories, it seemed too soon. But Ianto insisted he was ready, and Jack couldn't deny him the chance to clear the air. He only hoped it would be a day of healing and not more pain.
Ianto had insisted on coming back to work less than a week after his discovery. Jack had asked him to at least take a couple of weeks, but again the man was determined to do things his way. His stubbornness was always something Jack had admired, so he couldn't do more than sigh and throw his hands up.
The welcome the Welshman received when he stepped into the Hub was extraordinary. Jack hadn't given his team the details, of course, but he had explained that Ianto's memory had returned and that he was going through some emotional upheaval over it. Tosh had hugged Ianto to within an inch of his life, Gwen had linked her arm through his and demanded that he and Jack join her and Rhys for dinner, and Owen had dragged him away, ostensibly to discuss medical supplies. But Jack knew he wanted to give Ianto a chance to talk, and also himself an opportunity to give his patient a thorough examination.
Ianto had handled all the attention with grace, never once attempting an escape to the archives or throwing a desperate look for rescue Jack's way. And Jack was extremely proud of him for it. With everything Ianto had gone through, he had every right to want to flee. It just showed Jack that the man was being honest when he said he was ready to come back to work.
When Ianto had been back to work for three months without mentioning the events of his childhood, Jack assumed he was alright with how things stood. After all, if it was eating him up inside, he would have said something, right? In fact, the moment Ianto mentioned wanting to speak to his sister they'd been calmly sitting in a restaurant, sipping wine.
"I've called Rhiannon," Ianto had stated, putting down his glass and picking up his fork.
"Sorry, you did what?" Jack replied, eyes wide.
Ianto smiled around his bite of food, swallowing before speaking. "I called my sister. I told her I had something to discuss with her. She's invited us up for the weekend."
Jack just stared across the table for a moment. "You're ready to confront her?"
"But you've been doing well, Ianto. Are you sure you want to bring this all up again?"
Ianto frowned. "I've allowed myself time to come to terms with what happened, yes, but I still need to tell my sister. I can't allow this to stand between us. Dr. Singh has taught me that in order to complexly heal, I have to release the burden. You must understand that, right?"
Jack sighed. "Yeah, I do, sorry." He gave the Welshman a small smile. "When do we leave?"
And so there they were, driving up to Rhiannon's and Johnny's place once more. Ianto had insisted on driving, Jack spending much of the time tapping a rhythm on his own knee and staring at the landscape as they passed. He was nervous. He couldn't help it. The last time he'd seen Ianto's sister things hadn't gone over so well. But Ianto told him that Rhiannon was extremely apologetic on the phone, begging him to forgive her behavior. It went a long way toward easing this reunion.
"It's going to be fine," Ianto said, placing a hand over Jack's and effectively Jack out of his own little world.
"When did you become so wise?" Jack asked, teasingly.
"This isn't work, Jack," Ianto replied, raising an eyebrow as he briefly glanced in his direction. "You don't always have to be the strong one."
Jack shook his head, turning his hand over to entwine their fingers. "I'm just worried about you, that's all."
"I'll be alright," Ianto stated, squeezing his hand before putting it back on the steering wheel. "I'm ready for this."
They parked in front of the house and Jack helped Ianto carry their things to the front door. He wasn't looking forward to spending the weekend with Ianto's family. What if it all went wrong and they needed get away? Knowing they were only there for an afternoon would have been so much easier. But Ianto had agreed to stay until Sunday, and that meant Jack had to stay as well.
The door opened before they had a chance to knock or ring the bell. Rhiannon stood there with a tentative look on her face. When Ianto smiled, however, Rhiannon pushed past the door and flung herself into his embrace.
"I'm so sorry, Ianto," she murmured, holding him tight.
"I know," he replied, hugging her just as tightly.
They stood that way for a couple minutes while Jack stood to the side, relieved. When the two siblings finally broke apart, Rhiannon turned toward Jack, holding out her hand. Jack took it, and then pulled her into a hug of his own. "We're family," he whispered. If they were all a little teary-eyed as she led them into the house no one mentioned it.
The kids were out with Johnny for a couple of hours, as Rhiannon said it would probably be better to discuss whatever it was that Ianto wanted to talk about without them at home. Both Ianto and Jack agreed that was for the best. And as they sat with cups of coffee, a plate of homemade biscuits on the table between them, Ianto told his sister what had happened to him as a child.
Jack immediately felt like the biggest arse in the known universe, having assumed that Rhiannon would handle the news badly and blame her brother. Instead, she was inconsolable, shaking and sobbing into her mug. Jack had to take it away from her before she spilled it, setting it on the table as Ianto knelt at her feet in front of her chair and held her.
"Oh God, Ianto," she cried, pulling back from him with a miserable expression. "How could I have let this happen? Oh, my poor baby brother."
Jack looked down, swallowing the thick lump in his throat. He started to get up to give them some privacy by Ianto's head whipped around and he fixed him with a pleading look. "Please stay, Jack."
Jack nodded, settling back down into the couch and leaning his elbows on his knees. He put his head in his hands and rubbed at his face and scalp. Even though he wasn't Rhiannon, he knew exactly what she was going through. He, too, was an older sibling, and he, too, knew what it felt like to let his little brother down. It was up to them to make sure their brothers stayed safe, and they had both failed horribly.
"I thought he was a good person," Rhiannon sobbed, crossing her arms across her chest. "I let him into our house. I let him stay the night. Oh God, forgive me, Ianto!"
Ianto grabbed her shoulders, holding her still. "I do forgive you, Rhiannon," he said through his own tears. "It was Gavyn who was responsible, not you."
"But I let him…"
"You were asleep," he insisted, shaking his head. "You were still a child yourself! He was the adult."
"I'll never forgive myself."
Ianto laid his head on his sister's knees. "If Dad had been around, this never would have happened."
"Dad was sick, Ianto," she whispered, brushing fingers through his hair.
Ianto raised his head. "No, he was drunk, not sick. He should have been home. He should have been the parent. Gavyn would have never been allowed near us if he had been!"
Brother and sister stared at each other for a moment before Rhiannon nodded, sniffing. "But he wasn't. And I had to be the adult." She shook her head, both hands cupping his face. "I failed you. I am so, so sorry."
After that there were only more tears. Jack waited patiently, letting them get their emotions and apologies out into the open. It wouldn't do to rush this, as both Ianto and his sister needed to get past this to heal properly. He hoped that once the raw feelings were processed, they'd be closer than they'd been before. He wished he'd had the opportunity with his own brother.
By the time Johnny had returned with Mica and David, Ianto and Rhiannon had cried and talked everything out. Jack knew she and her husband would more than likely discuss everything later, but for now it was family time. They ate dinner, thoroughly enjoyed dessert, and played board games until it was time for the children to go to bed.
After a movie and some more coffee, Johnny and Rhiannon excused themselves as well, leaving Jack and Ianto to settle into the lounge for the night. The couch doubled as a pull out bed, already furnished with sheets and a duvet. They took turns in the bathroom and then settled back on the pillows Ianto had pulled out from the closet in the hallway.
Jack tucked an arm around the Welshman, drawing him close and pressing a kiss to the side of his head. "Are you alright?"
Ianto sighed, resting his head on Jack's shoulder and placing a hand on his chest. "As well as can be expected, I imagine."
"It's going to take time for things to get back to normal between you."
"That's just it," Ianto replied, snuggling closer, "I don't want things to go back to the way they were. Our normal was never good. I want things to be better."
"I think you're already halfway there," he supplied, smiling against Ianto's hair.
"Maybe you're right," Ianto agreed.
They were silent for a few moments, and Jack just enjoyed listening to the Welshman's breathing. Things could have gone so differently. He was proud of how well Ianto was handling everything that had happened to him, proud to be able to help him through it.
"Thank you," Ianto told him, lifting his head and pressing a kiss to Jack's chin.
Jack's eyes widened. "For what?"
"For being here for me. For supporting me."
"Where else would I be?"
"I don't know," said Ianto, settling down again and drawing patterns on Jack's shirt. "Out there somewhere, having adventures. I know you never meant to stay at Torchwood permanently."
Jack frowned, not having realized Ianto understood so much about his time there on Earth. "Torchwood might not be permanent for me," he said slowly, "but you are."
"Yes, Ianto Jones, you are. As long as you're here there's nowhere else I want to be."
Ianto snickered. "That was quite possibly the sappiest thing I've ever heard you say."
Jack chuckled, unable to disagree. "It might be sappy but it's true."
"Then I say again, thank you, Jack."
Closing his eyes, Jack wrapped both arms around the Welshman. "You're welcome, Ianto."
Several minutes passed but nothing more was said between them. Ianto's steady breathing let Jack know he had fallen asleep. Jack didn't expect sleep would claim him for quite some time. The Jack before Ianto's accident would have slid out of bed and climbed to some rooftop to look out on his city. But post-accident Jack was a different person.
Ianto still had a long journey ahead before he was completely healed, and Jack knew there would always be emotional scarring, so Jack stayed in bed, holding Ianto close and keeping any nightmares at bay. Ianto was peaceful when he slept, and Jack was happy to hold him and maintain that peace for as long as possible.
He finally nodded off an hour later, still holding the other man close to his heart.