Gethin Harkness-Jones sat on the swings and watched his dad and his...tad. Over the last few weeks Professor Jones had become more and more of a fixture in his life; he and Gethin had begun to build a tentative relationship, Gethin was by nature a forgiving child and anyway, he decided, he really liked Professor Jones. He was funny and kind and was trying hard to make up for the past and, Gethin had to admit, he had never seen his dad look happier. Gethin was aware that his dad's open and eccentric approach to childrearing had given him a greater maturity than some of his friends displayed and he watched the two men with eyes that were both knowing and intelligent. They were sitting on a bench, slightly turned in so that they could talk to each other, Gethin noticed that his dad had his arm stretched along the back of bench so that his hand could rest on Professor Jones' shoulder and Professor Jones was leaning toward his dad with his hand on his dad's leg.
Gethin swung slowly backwards and forwards and thought about his parents. I'm both of them, he thought to himself. It's so obvious now that I've met my tad, I can see them both in me. My dad is the man I would like to try be when I grow up, He's strong and brave but he's forgiving and loving as well. His eyes drifted to fix on Ianto; my tad, Gethin shook himself, crossly I must stop thinking of him like that, I mean Professor Jones, he's so clever and caring, he's a protector – he's the man I think I probably will be when I grow up. He felt a big grin crawl across his face. Professor Jones was saying something to his dad and his dad's loud laugh echoed around the park as he turned round and waved. Gethin jumped off the swing and began to run towards his two dads, abruptly all he wanted to do was to hug them both and tell them how much he loved them and that everything was going to be OK. Suddenly both men looked scared and jumped to their feet, his dad setting off running toward him. His tad was shouting something.
'Yanny, keep running towards your dad, don't look round'
Without warning, something slammed into Gethin from behind, knocking him to the ground, stealing the breath from his lungs. Whatever it was, it was growling and hot putrid breath panted in his ear.
'Leave my son alone, you bastard' It was his dad, then the weight of the body resting on his back was gone and Gethin rolled over to see his dad grappling with a weird looking man who had a mouthful of the sharpest, longest teeth he had ever seen.
'A weevil, dad it's a weevil' yelled Gethin excitedly.
Jack shot an irritated glance at his son, 'I know' he snarled, 'now, RUN!' The weevil, taking advantage of Jack's inattention took the opportunity to savage him viciously. Screaming with pain, Jack picked up Gethin and threw him into a patch of gorse bushes some three meters away before sinking down to the grass in a rapidly growing puddle of blood.
With a snarl the weevil turned away from Jack and began a slow stalk towards the bushes where Gethin was frantically struggling to free himself and screaming shrilly. The noise seemed to upset the weevil. His dad was still down but someone else was now speeding across the playground towards him
'TAD' screamed Gethin, 'TADDY'
Ianto paused at Jack's body, fumbling in his pocket briefly then he straightened up with Jack's Webley in his hand. Gethin was thrashing about trying to extricate himself from the thorny bush when Ianto brought the weevil down with a tackle that any one of the Welsh rugby squad would have been proud of. Gethin watched wide-eyed as kind, caring, gentle Professor Jones straddled the fallen weevil, growled 'You DO NOT attempt to hurt my boy' and shot it in the back of the head.
Breathing heavily, Ianto pulled his phone out of his jeans pocket and dialled the Torchwood Tourist Information Office. 'Ianto Jones. Torchwood I.D - 03192881/Jones. There's a dead weevil in the park at Barry. Come do your job.' He ended the call, shoved his phone back in his pocket and strode over to Gethin. In one swift movement he pulled the sobbing boy from the bushes and held him close and safe in his arms. Gethin buried his face in Ianto's neck, 'It's OK, Yanny, I've got you, son.' As Gethin's tears died down to snivelling hiccups and wet sniffs, Ianto pressed a kiss to his head and said, 'let's go check on your dad shall we?'
Jack was attempting to stand when Ianto and Gethin got to him but an alarming amount of blood was on the ground and seeping through Jack's coat which he was holding tightly around himself. Gethin flung himself onto his father, causing Jack to slump to his knees again.
'Dad, dad, are you OK?'
Jack was in fact looking far from OK, he was very pale and his face was covered in a fine sheen of sweat. Ianto knew that look and felt the old familiar terror creeping up on him again.
'Gethin, we need to get your dad away from here and somewhere warm where we can take care of him,' said Ianto urgently, 'I'll go get the car, will you be OK staying here to look after him?' Eyes wide and fearful, Gethin nodded, moving round to support Jack from behind as best he could. 'That's my boy' said Ianto, 'Gethin, try to keep him awake yeah?' and he was off running across the park to where Jack had parked the SUV.
Gethin cradled his dad, trying hard not to cry. He felt his dad huff a small laugh, 'Did I hear you call Ianto "tad"?' he asked weakly, 'what happened to "Professor Jones", Yanny?'
Gethin wriggled uncomfortably causing Jack to groan with pain, 'Sorry, sorry dad' he apologised before continuing with a blush, 'I was scared, I was really scared. Do you think Professor Jones will be cross that I called him tad? I...I didn't mean to, I just call him that in my head sometimes'
Jack's voice was weak and dreamy as he asked his son, 'Do you wish he was your tad? Properly, I mean...living with us and stuff.'
Gethin didn't even have to think about it, 'yeah, I do'
'yeah...me...too...' Jack's eyes slid shut.
'Dad' Gethin shook his father, 'Dad' then in a small frightened voice he whispered, 'Daddy, please'
Suddenly he was enclosed in a warm embrace, 'It's OK Gethin, I've got you both' said Ianto, 'Get into the front of the SUV and we'll lay your dad down in the back and get him to my house'
Hurriedly Gethin did as he was told, kneeling on the seat to watch as Professor Jones tenderly and carefully lay his dad down in the back of the car and covered him with a blanket. As they bounced over the grass of the parkland towards the road, Ianto glanced at Gethin. The little boy was pale and shaking, clearly terrified. He's usually so grown up thought Ianto; it's too easy to forget he isn't even nine yet.
'Ok Gethin' Ianto put on a confident tone, 'Once we get to mine we need to clean your dad up, get him out of those bloody clothes,' from the corner of his eye he saw Gethin give a small smirk, thinking he had caught him swearing, ' and we need to keep him warm. You do know he is gonna be alright don't you?' Gethin gave a small nod and Ianto smiled at him, 'good, but coming back from an injury like this, he is always cold. So I'm going to need your help, OK?'
'Just tell me what you want me to do, Professor Jones'
Ianto fished about in his pocket and pulled out his house keys, 'When we get to my house' he said, 'I want you to go open the front door and then the second door on the left. You remember where my bathroom is?'
'Good, ' said Ianto, 'I need you to go up to the bathroom and bring down some body wash, a big towel and a sponge, then find the kitchen and bring me a bowl of warm water , can you do that for me?'
'Yes, Professor Jones.'
'Ok, we're here now. Off you go'
Gethin shot off as soon as the SUV came to a halt whilst Ianto followed at a much slower pace carrying a barely breathing Jack.
Ianto lay Jack down on the sofa and cut away his sodden tee-shirt to reveal the ravaged mess that the weevil had inflicted. As Ianto peeled away the material he heard Jack give a faint groan and two pain filled blue eyes locked onto his own.
'Yanny' gasped Jack urgently
Ianto smoothed his hand across Jack's forehead in a comforting gesture, 'He's fine, Jack. Don't worry Cariad, I'll look after him and we will both be here when you come back. Let go, my love and let me take care of you'
'Love you both' murmured Jack as he closed his eyes
'We love you too' Ianto told him. He looked up and saw Gethin hovering in the doorway with a large bowl of warm water and an intent expression on his face.
'Thanks, Gethin' said Ianto gesturing to the coffee table next to him, 'just put it there will you, please?'
Gethin did so, being careful not to look at Jack's injuries.
'Could you go upstairs again' asked Ianto, 'on the floor of the wardrobe in my room, right at the back, you'll find a pair of sweat pants and a red tee-shirt. I think your dad would like some clean clothes to wake up in don't you? And will you bring the duvet from the spare bedroom too, please. We need to keep your dad warm'
'Ok Professor Jones'
As he slowly cleaned Jack's body of blood, Ianto watched the boy walk away towards the hallway and some impulse made him say, 'Gethin, you don't have to keep calling me Professor Jones, you know'
Gethin stopped, 'what should I call you then?' he asked
Ianto hesitated, 'in the park, you called me tad' he said, 'I kinda like that'
The smile of Gethin's face was so much like Jack's it was painful to see. 'Ok...tad' he said shyly, then continued diffidently, 'you can call me Yanny...if you want'
Ianto knew he was crying and he didn't care, 'Only your dad calls you Yanny' he said, 'he said it drives you crazy'
'You are my dad' said Gethin, 'so that's OK then, besides...you called me that in the park and I kinda liked it.'
Gethin and Ianto smiled at each other.
Jack gasped back to life held securely in Ianto's arms but with his hand also being tightly held in a small sticky grasp.
'Hiya dad, we are having pizza'
Jack gave a weak laugh, 'my boys, didja miss me?'
Ianto gave him a soft kiss on the temple, 'We did. We almost waited for you before we started on the pizza, but someone insisted on having a slice while we were hanging around.
Gethin giggled, 'It was Tad, he ate the biggest slice'
Ianto looked outraged, 'It was not! It was you, anghenfil bach' and he fell upon Gethin tickling him whilst the little boy squealed with delight
Grinning at their antics, Jack struggled to disentangle himself from the duvet he was wrapped in and looked down at his body, 'What am I wearing?' he took in the black cotton pants and the red long sleeved Captain America tee-shirt Ianto had dressed him in, 'I don't believe you kept these!'
Ianto laughed, 'Your dad loved that tee shirt, Yanny. He used to wear it all the time around the house'
Jack raised an eyebrow Yanny? Tad? he thought, something good has happened between these two. He sat up to make room for them both on the sofa and reached out to snag the biggest remaining slice of pizza.
Some hours later, Gethin was fast asleep, His cheek resting on Ianto's thigh with his legs draped over Jack. Toshi, who had taken a liking to the boy, was curled up, purring contentedly, on his hip. Jack and Ianto had their fingers entwined along the back of the couch; Jack had his head tilted back, he was dozing and snoring gently.
I'm happy realised Ianto suddenly, in surprise, I haven't been this happy for years.
Carefully Ianto untangled his fingers from Jack's and lifted Toshi off of the sleeping child, dropping her gently onto the floor. She gave him a filthy look and stalked out of the room, tail waving to indicate her displeasure. Ianto manoeuvred Gethin into his arms. The little boy wound his arms around his neck and murmured 'don't wanna go bed, Tad'
'Shh' Ianto soothed him, 'you need to sleep, c'mon'. He carried him up the stairs and settled Gethin in his bed, Toshi appearing from nowhere in the manner of cats and settling down proprietarily next to the sleepy boy. As soon as he disentangled himself, Gethin began to whimper loudly, 'Dad! Dad.' In less than a minute, propelled by the mysterious sixth sense of a parent, Jack appeared at the bedroom door, swaying slightly and blinking sleepily.
'C'mon Jack,' said Ianto, ' I know how exhausted this kind of thing leaves you, and I think your son needs you, lay down and rest, Cariad.' Yawning and blinking Jack obediently climbed into the bed and cuddled Gethin close, soothing his whimpers. Ianto bent down and kissed them, 'go to sleep' he whispered, 'I love you both.' As he straightened up, Jack grasped hold of Ianto's wrist,
'Come back to us'
'I'm not going anywhere' Ianto reassured him, 'I just need to go downstairs and turn off the lights and I'll be right back'
'No, come back to us...properly...forever' said Jack
Ianto smiled at him and, leaning over Gethin who had settled into a deep sleep, kissed Jack gently, 'I can't think of anything I'd like more' he murmured.
'Good,' Jack smiled at him, buried his nose in Gethin's hair and drifted peacefully back off to sleep
Ianto went downstairs and moved through the rooms turning off the lights and making sure the house was locked up for the night then he happily went back upstairs.
To join the two people who meant more than the world to him.