I hope you've all enjoyed the story. Here's the last chapter.
Owen had been right; it only took a few moments for both the pain medication and the local anesthesia to kick in. He wasn't completely pain free, but he felt so much better than he had.
"Gwen, I need a small blanket and a sheet," Owen instructed. "Tosh, I'm going to need a pillow." Both women hurried off to find their items. "I'm no surgeon, but I've assisted on one or two of these in my career. Jack, I'm going to need you to assist me now."
"Anything you need, Owen," the captain replied.
"How are you feeling, Ianto?" the medic asked him.
"Much better," he confirmed.
"Alright, Jack, go ahead and wash your hands, then pull on a pair of those gloves."
Jack squeezed Ianto's hand once more before moving to the sink and doing as he was told. Ianto watched as Owen set up his tray with scalpels, clamps, needles, and various sizes of gauze. When the girls returned they carried a blanket, a sheet, and a pillow between them.
"All set, Jack?" Owen asked.
"All set," the captain replied, stepping back to the other side of the table once more and holding up his gloved hands.
"Girls, I'll need you to stand on either side of Ianto and hold up the sheet in front of his stomach," said the medic. "Sometimes the trauma from seeing yourself operated on can be too much. Go ahead and position the pillow under his head and place the blanket on his chest."
Tosh and Gwen came down the stairs. Ianto lifted his head for the pillow and whispered a thank you. Gwen placed the blanket on his chest.
"Ianto, fold your arms over your chest so you're comfortable," said Owen, spreading antiseptic and iodine over his patient's stomach. Ianto did as he was told and then the girls moved into place with the sheet. "Okay, I'm going to make the incision. As I said, Ianto, you shouldn't feel more than a lot of pressure."
Ianto nodded, even though he could no longer see the doctor, and swallowed past the lump in his throat. He couldn't believe he was this close to having the baby out of him. It was almost surreal.
"You alright, love?" asked Gwen, placing one of her hands on his.
He smiled up at her. "Yes, thank you, Gwen."
The pressure in his abdomen was extreme, causing him to wince, though there was no real pain to speak of. He wondered how much pain he'd be in later as he healed.
"I'm through the stomach wall now," Owen advised him. "Jack, I'll need you to place these clamps for me."
"Can you see the baby?" Ianto asked.
"Almost there," Owen replied. "Ah, yes, there we are. What a lovely uterus you have, Tea Boy."
Ianto rolled his eyes as the others chuckled. He knew Owen hadn't been able to come up with an antidote to the toxin, but he hoped he'd at least be rid of any female reproductive organs once everything was said and done. If they had to they could use protection from then on out, just in case his body chemistry was irrevocably altered.
"Cutting into the amniotic sac now," announced Owen. "Jack, get that bulb syringe ready."
Gwen's hand closed over his and squeezed. He was beyond grateful for the support. In mere moments the baby would be born, and his breathing increased as he realized how ill-prepared he actually was for that eventuality. To think about it was one thing, but to experience it was quite another.
"Oh my God," gasped Toshiko, covering her mouth with one hand.
"It's beautiful," said Gwen, looking down at him with tears in her eyes.
"Jack, hand me the syringe."
Ianto held his breath until he finally heard the baby's first cry. He let it out in a shuddering pant. He hadn't realized exactly how worried he'd been that something would be wrong with the baby.
"It's a healthy baby boy," Owen declared. "Jack, if you'd do the honors of cutting the cord?"
"Oh, he's lovely, Ianto," Gwen told him, giving him a gap-toothed grin.
"He's perfect," Tosh added.
"Okay, I'm removing the ovaries, uterus and afterbirth," Owen said. "Jack, go ahead and use that blanket to wipe the baby down gently. I'll sew him back up and then we'll take measurements."
Toshiko handed Jack the blanket, and Jack wrapped the baby up and began to wipe off the worst of the blood and other fluids. When he was done he curled the baby into the crook of his arm. The child was still whimpering, but his caterwauling had ceased.
"Alright, just finished up the final stitches," said Owen. "You can put the sheet down now."
The girls did as advised, moving to stand beside Jack and the baby as Jack smiled down at his small form. Ianto watched with wide eyes as Jack placed the baby down on his chest. His arms moved to cradle him immediately, his chest tightening as the baby's eyes met his.
Jack removed his gloves and tossed them into a lined bin. "What do you think, Ianto?"
"He's so small," Ianto replied, scarcely able to believe that tiny being had come out of him.
"All stitched up," said Owen, cleaning off Ianto's stomach and then pulling the sheet down over him. He moved to stand beside Ianto's head. "Hey, not bad for the spawn of the Tea Boy and the captain."
Gwen smacked his arm. "He's absolutely gorgeous."
"We're going to need that formula," Toshiko reminded them. "I'll go prepare a bottle."
Ianto was barely paying attention, his focus never leaving the baby. His eyes were blue, but not the blue of birth. Instead they were the shade of Jack's eyes. He had a thick smattering of dark brown hair, and fair skin like Ianto's own. Or he would, anyway, after the initial blotchiness disappeared.
"What will you be naming him?" Gwen asked softly.
Ianto looked up at her, brows furrowed, then at Jack. "I don't know."
"Can you give us a few minutes?" Jack asked, looking at Gwen and Owen in turn. They nodded and headed up the stairs. When Tosh returned, she saw the others leaving.
"Here Jack," she said, handing him the small bottle. "I've already temperature tested it." She then went back up the stairs to join the others.
Jack held the bottle up. "Do you want to do the honors?"
Ianto licked his lips. "You can do it, if you want."
Jack smiled. He pulled up Owen's stool and sat down before removing the baby from Ianto's arms. He held him in the crook of his arm and tipped the bottle towards his mouth. For a moment the baby seemed not to understand, and then his lips opened and he latched onto the nipple and began to drink, eyes closing.
"Would you look at that?" Jack said, smirking. "Our son's a natural."
Ianto swallowed thickly as he watched Jack feed their baby. The lines that had begun to form on Jack's face seemed diminished now, as if he hadn't a care in the world as long as their son was in his arms.
Their son. God, he couldn't believe it. They had a son together. A miracle baby.
"C-can I hold him again?"
Jack nodded and slid their son back onto Ianto's chest, relinquishing the bottle when Ianto took a hold of it. "He looks just like you."
Ianto took in the button nose, the shape of the baby's mouth as he suckled at his first meal. The eyes were Jack's, but the captain was right. Everything else screamed Ianto.
"He looks like I did as a baby," the Welshman acknowledged.
"Then you were adorable," Jack said, playing with one of the baby's hands. "Just like our son."
The baby's fingers curled around one of Jack's and Ianto saw the captain's mouth open in awe. Tears formed in his eyes. He'd never seen such a look on the other man's face. He tried to remember life as just Jack and Ianto and somehow it was hard to do so.
The baby forced the nipple from his mouth and let out a wail. Ianto tried to feed him the bottle again but he refused it, screwing up his face. Jack took the bottle from his hands and set it on the counter.
"Here, let me." Jack picked up the baby, setting him on his shoulder and firmly tapping his back. After a moment their son let out a loud burp, and stopped crying. "There we go. Just a little gas."
Ianto surprised himself by holding out his arms. Jack obliged and gave him back the baby. Ianto smiled down at him. "You make a lot of noise for such a little man."
The baby just blinked up at him sleepily, a bit of milk dribbling from his mouth. Ianto used a corner of the blanket to dab at it. The baby blinked a couple more times and then closed his eyes, falling asleep.
"That didn't take long," Ianto said, tightening the blanket around him.
"Babies sleep a lot."
"Not enough," Ianto replied, remembering his sister's complaints when she first brought David home. "I imagine there will be many of these feedings during the night."
"It's almost guaranteed."
Ianto thought for a moment. "We haven't bought a cot, Jack."
The other man's eyebrows went up. "No, I guess we haven't, have we? We'll have to send one of the girls out for something temporary."
"Temporary?" Ianto asked, looking up at him.
"Well, yes," Jack replied, frowning. "I'm sure the Bowens will have their own."
Ianto's face fell and he looked back down at the baby. For just a few minutes he'd completely forgotten. He'd forgotten this wasn't their baby and that he'd have to turn the child over to another family.
His eyes went wide. "Jack?"
"Hmm?" the other man replied, his eyes not leaving the child in Ianto's arms.
"We…" he started, licking his lips. "We haven't signed the contract with the Bowens yet."
Jack did look up then, meeting his eyes. "No, we haven't."
"Should we…call them?"
A sad smile formed on Jack's face. "That's up to you, Ianto. We can wait until tomorrow if you want."
Ianto suddenly felt everything crash in on him. Every fear, every argument they'd had regarding the fate of the baby, every emotion he could imagine hitting him at once. He didn't know what to do. Up until the moment he'd held their child in his arms he'd known he was going up for adoption. But now… Now he couldn't be sure it was the right thing to do.
""What if I…" he started, then snapped his mouth shut.
"What if you what?" asked Jack.
Ianto felt one of the tears he'd been holding back slip down his cheek. "What if I wanted to…to keep him?"
Jack placed a hand on their son's head, rubbing a thumb over his temple. "Is that something you're considering?"
Ianto looked into the face of his sleeping child, trying to picture handing him over to Mr. and Mrs. Bowen. "Yes, Jack. I think I am."
Jack's sad smile morphed into a genuine smile, the kind only Ianto ever seemed to receive. "Then I think he needs a name, don't you?"
Ianto reached up and cupped Jack's cheek. "Cariad?"
"Yeah?" Jack replied, his blue eyes searching Ianto's.
"I think I'd like to name him Alexander."
Jack's eyes welled up. "Ianto…"
"We don't have to, if you don't want to."
Jack shook his head, swallowing. "No, I think it's perfect. But are you sure?"
Ianto nodded, looking back down at the baby. "Alexander Harkness."
"I think Harkness is appropriate," Ianto said, smiling. "But we'll need a middle name. Certainly not my father's."
"Mine wouldn't sound right."
Ianto turned to look at him. "I'm not sure you've told me."
Ianto's nose wrinkled. "You're right, it doesn't work."
"How about David, after his cousin?" Jack suggested.
"Alexander David Harkness," Ianto said, seeing how the name sounded on his tongue.
"It has a nice ring to it," Jack admitted.
Ianto smiled down at the baby. "What do you think, Alexander?" The baby slept on, oblivious. "Well he's not arguing, yeah?"
Jack laughed, leaning down to kiss the top of Ianto's head. "Should I call the others down so we can give them the news?"
Ianto wiped his eyes. "Please."
Jack moved to the top of the stairs and waved everyone over. "Ianto and I have an announcement to make."
"Oh?" asked Gwen, stepping up to the railing.
"Well what is it then?" Owen asked.
Jack went back down the stairs to stand at Ianto's side. "You want to tell them?"
"You go ahead, Jack."
"Alright. Ianto and I have decided we're keeping the baby." There was a moment when everyone started talking at once, loudly, and Jack held his finger to his lips and pointed to their sleeping son. The others quieted down.
"Have you picked out the name?" Toshiko asked, voice hushed.
Jack looked down at Ianto, nodding. "Alexander," the Welshman supplied. "Alexander David Harkness."
"We are so very happy for you," Gwen said, smiling. "I can't believe it. A baby, at Torchwood!"
"It's very exciting," Tosh added.
"I'm not changing any nappies, just so you know," Owen muttered, folding his arms and scowling. "It's bad enough I won't have use of my autopsy table for a few days."
"A few days?" Ianto asked, eyebrows raised. "Can't I go home before that?"
"You'll go home when I say it's alright," Owen replied. "And not a moment before. I have to keep an eye on that incision until it begins to heal."
Ianto nodded and then looked up at Jack. "We're going to need to let the agency know we changed our minds," he whispered.
"I'll give them a call."
Jack headed up to his office and the others went back to their workstations, leaving him alone with the baby. Ianto looked down at his sleeping face and knew his decision was the right one. He'd never felt such an instant bond with anyone in his life.
"We're going to make an interesting little family," he told his son, rocking him gently.
It was several minutes before the captain returned, coming down the steps and sitting back down on the stool. "All done," he said. "The agency will give the Bowens our apologies."
Ianto bit his lower lip. "I didn't even think about how they're going to feel," he admitted, sighing.
"I know," Jack replied, forehead wrinkling into a frown. "But there will be other children for them to adopt. This one is ours."
Ianto reached out a hand, clasping Jack's. "He's really ours, isn't he?"
Ianto groaned. Oh God. How was he going to explain this to his sister?