The rain was spattering against the window and the wind was getting much stronger as Ianto Jones took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger. He was tired, cold and stiff and he was starting to get a headache. Glancing at his watch he realised he had been reading the PhD thesis that he was due to examine in a week or so for over four hours and it was almost midnight. Saving his comments to his laptop and laying the heavy document carefully to one side, he rose gracefully to his feet and stretched, grimacing as he heard the vertebrae in his spine crack and pop.
'Getting old' he said to Toshi, his chocolate coloured Burmese cat who was stretched out on the sofa next to where he had been sitting. Toshi favoured him with the disgusted look that all cats do so well. 'Old and mad' amended Ianto, 'if I'm talking to the cat.' Toshi yawned at him, prettily and went back to sleep.
Staggering slightly as the cramp in his legs started to bite, Ianto headed towards the kitchen to make himself a hot drink. As he entered the darkened hallway, he froze; someone was standing outside of his front door. He could make out a vague shape through the opaque stained glass of the door and could hear the shuffling of footsteps on the tiled porch. Moving silently Ianto pressed himself against the wall and quietly opened the drawer in the hallway table, congratulating himself on his foresight as he puled out his gun. Just because it had been nearly nine years since he had resigned from Torchwood didn't mean he had lost any of his fieldwork skills. He sidled up to the door, carefully removing the chain. Bracing his leg behind the door so that whoever was outside could not force their way into the house, Ianto opened the door and switched on the porch light.
'Who's there?' he growled. He could see a small shadowy shape, hovering on the edge of the light from the porch, 'what do you want? Move into the light so that I can see you' Slowly the small figure moved forwards, to Ianto's surprise it seemed to be a young boy dressed in trainers and jeans with the hood of his zip top pulled up over his head. 'Lose the hood' ordered Ianto then nearly burst out laughing.
It was a young boy, around ten, eleven maybe, he stood there thin and vulnerable blinking in the bright light. Glancing briefly at the boy and smiling at his own paranoia, Ianto tucked the gun into the back of his jeans and stepped back, 'Sorry Kid' he said, 'can I help you?'
'Excuse me, Sir' well, the kid was polite, Ianto had to give him that 'Would you be Professor Jones?'
'Yeah, that's me'
'Professor Jones who is the professor of Welsh history and literature at Cardiff University?'
'The one and only,' replied Ianto impatiently, 'It's a bit late for a kid like you to be out isn't it? Won't your parents be worried about you? Why are you here?'
The boy seemed uncomfortable, he scuffed his toes on the tiles floor and looked down at his feet, 'I'm sorry to bother you, Sir' he said uncertainly, 'but I-I think you might be my Tad'
Ianto stared at the boy who was beginning to shiver as he stood in the pouring rain and a long silence stretched between them. The boy was soaked through to the skin and his blue eyes looked suspiciously bright with tears, he bit his lip in distress as it became apparent that Ianto was not going to respond.
'Sorry,' the kid said, 'sorry, this was a mistake. Dad said it would be but I hoped, I hoped...I'm sorry I bothered you, Professor Jones.'
With a hastily smothered sob the boy turned and slowly walked back down the pathway towards the road. Ianto pulled himself together,
The boy stopped and looked back towards the house, the look of hope and anticipation on his face remind Ianto so painfully of the one person he had spent the last nine years trying not to think about. He sighed and stepped back into his hallway
'Come in' he said, 'let's at least try and dry you off'
The boy sprinted back to the house and skidded on the tiled floor, cannoning into Ianto and crashing into the wall.
'Whoa, Kid, steady on' Ianto grabbed the boys arm to keep him up right, 'Fuc..' he caught himself just in time, 'blimey you are soaking! How long where you out there'
'Sorry, sorry Professor Jones, it took me a while to walk here from Sully
Ianto blinked, 'You walked?'
'Dad won't let me ride my bike in the dark'
'What's your name kid?'
'Gethin Ianto Grey Franklin Harkness...'
Ianto blinked 'That's quite a mouthful'
The boy rolled his eyes and recited, 'Gethin because my hair was dark from the day I was born, Ianto after my tad' Ianto's heart lurched, 'Grey for my uncle and Franklin after my dad's dad.'
'So,' said Ianto carefully, 'because you have the same name as me you think I'm your tad? Ianto is a pretty common name you know'
Gethin shook his head, 'I know you are my tad' he said confidently as a shiver shook his skinny frame, 'my dad said...'
'This has to wait' interrupted Ianto firmly, 'until we have stopped you getting hypothermia. Upstairs, door on the left, get yourself into a hot shower, leave these wet clothes outside the door, there's a bathrobe on the back of the door put that on when you have warmed up, come back down and I'll make you a hot drink.
Obediently Gethin made his way up the stairs, squelching slightly as he did so. Ianto stood stunned in his hallway; he looked at Toshi, who was making her way into the kitchen to explore the possibility of supper,
'What the hell, just happened?' he said. Toshi mewed unsympathetically
From the upstairs landing a mobile phone rang from the sodden pile of clothes. Ianto leapt up the stairs and fumbled for the phone
There was a brief pause then an achingly familiar voice growled, 'who the fuck is this? Listen, you bastard, if you do anything to hurt my son I will kill you slowly and very painfully, I promise...'
'Jack, Jack' interrupted Ianto, 'it's Ianto, Ianto Jones, relax Gethin's safe, he's fine, he turned up on my doorstep about 20 minutes ago, soaked through, he's in the shower right now.'
Relief was palpable in Jack's voice, 'I'm on my way, I'll be with you in five minutes' the line went dead
It was only as Ianto put Gethin's phone down it occurred to him to wonder exactly how Jack knew where he lived.
Gethin was slowly making his way down the stairs looking very young and small inside Ianto's bathrobe when there was a thunderous hammering on the door. Gethin stopped and sat down on the step, looking at the front door with marked trepidation
'Gethin!' Gethin Ianto Grey Franklin Harkness-Jones, you are in so much trouble right now'
Ianto raised an eyebrow at Gethin, 'Think your dad is here' he said dryly as he moved to open the door.
'It's a possibility' said Gethin, deadpan and they smiled at each other before Ianto turned to open the door
As soon as there was a gap big enough Jack Harkness, wrapped in a very familiar greatcoat, barrelled into Ianto's hallway and stood, hands on hips surveying his son
'Something you want to talk to me about?' His focus was entirely on the young boy in front of him; he was ignoring Ianto completely.
'Sorry dad' Gethin's voice was quiet and wobbly, 'I just thought...I wanted to...' his lower lip wobbled and he began to cry
'Oh Yanny' for a moment Ianto thought the love and tenderness in Jack's voice was being directed at him, until his ex-lover strode forward and swept the crying child into his arms, 'c'mon it's OK. No harm done. It's late, you are tired, we'll talk about this tomorrow. Go wait for me in the car' He put Gethin down and ruffled his hair, 'Go on son'
Gethin carefully gathered up the bathrobe and headed towards the door. On the threshold, he paused and turned to face Ianto
'Thank you Professor Jones,' he said, 'you have been very kind. I'm sorry that I bothered you, I promise not to contact you again.' Then head down against the driving rain he sprinted out to the black SUV parked outside the gate.
Alone in the hallway, Ianto turned to face Jack but before he could say anything Jack was heading out of the door
'Can't apologise enough Professor, I'll talk to him, make sure this doesn't happen again'
'Jack, wait' Ianto grabbed at his sleeve as he pushed past.
Jack spun round, 'What?'
'That's it?' Ianto was losing patience, 'your son turns up on my doorstep in the middle of the night, calling me his dad then you come sweeping in...and...you won't even look at me, Jack'
For the first time, Jack looked directly into Ianto's face 'Our son, Professor Jones, our son. Take a good look at him. How could you doubt it?'
Ianto looked at Gethin, illuminated by the inferior light of the SUV, dark hair, so like his curled into the young boy's neck, Jack's bright blue eyes were set above a tip-tilted nose identical to his own and the boys chin was clearly developing a very Jack-like cleft as puberty beckoned and baby fat disappeared. He is mine, realised Ianto, me and Jack, we made him. Oh gods, we have a son and I've ruined everything'
'Harkness-Jones?' queried Ianto
Jack laughed bitterly, 'You made it clear you wanted nothing to do with either us, but it didn't seem right to deny Yanny his proper name. I wanted at give him at least that much connection with his father, even if that was all he'll ever have. I'm afraid Yanny is too young to understand that. Don't worry I'll try to explain everything to him once more'
'I thought his name was Gethin?' said Ianto softly
Jack gave a small smile, 'Only I call him Yanny,' he said, 'drives him crazy' he turned to leave and then reluctantly turned back 'It was good to see you again, Yan' he said sadly, 'painful but good' and he strode out of the door
Ianto watched Jack Harkness walk away from him; he was surprised how much it still hurt to see it. He couldn't let it go like this
'I still really like the coat'
Jack's stride faltered for a second but he didn't look back
Then Ianto closed the door, sat down on his stairs, thought about his past behaviour and cried for the first time in nine years