Characters/Pairings: Ianto, Jack, few OCs, Jack/Ianto (past) Ianto/OFC
Warnings/contains: not applicable
Summary: Post-Exit Wounds. Ianto needed a break from Torchwood to help himself heal before he could help others. He did not expect the break to become permanent. What happens when he is reminded that there is no escaping Torchwood? Will Ianto choose his old life or keep on the road he been living? Written for tw_classic_bb.
Disclaimer: I don't make any money off of this, sadly. All things Torchwood belong to those who own them and the poem The Road Not Taken belongs to Robert Frost. OC's and the plot are mine.
Beta: timelordshines and czarina_kitty
Artists: the_silver_sun - Art found here & iantojjackh - Art found here. Combined art post is here.
Word Count: ~24k
Ethan did not know what to do for his boss. How anyone could cope with such a trauma was beyond the man's comprehension, but from what he had heard Ethan knew Ianto was no stranger to losing loved ones.
The rest of the trip passed in silence and Ianto barely managed a goodbye and thank you as he ran out of the car into the hospital. That is when he was given the first bit of good news: Harper and Gia Jones were alive and in the hospital's NICU.
Ianto raced toward the NICU to meet his children for the first time, but stopped just before he turned the last corner when he heard a hate speech by John directed at him and Ianto stood back and listened to what his father-in-law really thought of him.
"I never liked him. Never trusted him. Someone that quiet is always up to no good. I only put up with him for Lucinda. How can a man have a child with another man and claim not know about it? Did he know or didn't he? Is the girl the real reason Ianto left home in the first place? Whenever I tried to ask I got told it was none of my business. What did she ever see in him? I knew getting married within a year of knowing him was a big mistake. That is not enough time to get to know someone. Twenty-three is too young to get married anyway. Look where it got her. Our daughter is dead at twenty four years old and there are two children that will never know their mother. Children need a proper family. This is all that asshole's fault. What kind of idiot speeds with their pregnant wife in the car? It would only be fair if he died too."
Ianto did not hear what, if anything, Vivian said in response, but he did hear a smack, presumably John getting smacked in the face. For a brief second Ianto thought that just maybe Vivian might actually be standing up for him. He knew some of the harshness of John’s words were out of grief, but they all had a place in his real feelings.
It was Vivian's next words that felt like a kick to gut and at that moment Ianto made a snap decision on his and his children's future. "You never wish death upon someone even if we don't like them. When Ianto gets out of the hospital, that's even if he survives, I'll talk to him and convince him that it would be best if we raised the twins so they can have a stable home. I doubt he was ever stable to begin with. Lucinda once told me she thought the scars on his back and arms were self-inflicted. Not the type of person who should be raising children by himself. He won't raise our grandchildren. Let's go home to get some rest. Maybe when we get back they’ll let us in to see them."
Ianto did not know what he had done to cause the Harkins to have this level of hatred for him. Apparently their daughter's happiness when she was alive meant nothing to them. She had only been dead seven hours and they were already plotting against Ianto. He had half a mind to confront them, but this was not the time nor the place. He was too emotional and his retort to his in laws would make their hurtful words seem like a pep talk.
Ianto slid to the floor and buried his head in his knees. "It's not my fault. It's not my fault," he repeated over and over to try and make himself believe it. Because some stupid woman decided to drive home after one too many and now he had lost his wife and was waiting for news on how his children were doing. "They are not going to take my kids away from me,” he promised himself. “Do they think I'm so daft that I will let them raise them without me?" Ianto paused and looked up, his eyes brimming with unshed tears. "Luce, why did you have to leave me? I'm sorry I wasn't there for you, but they wouldn't believe that I wasn't hurt. I came here as soon as they released me. It wasn't supposed to end this way. We should be watching Gia and Harper grow up together and now I'm too scared to go see them. I don't want the news to be bad and then I'll have to say goodbye to them too. No matter what anyone else said or thought about me I love you and if our babies pull through this they will never not know who you are. Please don't hate me for what I'm about to do. No one, not even your parents are going to take them away from me." Ianto retreated into his own world as he raised his hand and his eyes fixed on his wedding ring. Images of his life since moving to California played through Ianto's head.
The first time meeting Lucinda on the beach after she knocked him out with a frisbee.
Their awkward first date that ended with Ianto never expecting a second date.
Lucinda teaching him how to surf and he teaching her to speak Welsh.
Proposing on the beach after a sunset picnic.
Their wedding at a local vineyard. The large yet somehow intimate ceremony and reception. It was the happiest day of Ianto's life.
How could he forget the honeymoon in Hawaii where they spent the whole time surfing or shagging.
The day Lucinda came to him with the positive pregnancy test.
Then when they found out they were having twins. A big shock, but a very pleasant one.
Their first anniversary. A quiet day at home, taking turns pampering each other.
Lucinda calling out to him to hold on as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Then the moment before everything went black: holding onto each other's hand exchanging what would be their final ‘I love you’s.
Ianto was yanked back to reality by a hand on his shoulder. "Dr. Schwartz." He quickly swiped the tears away, not wanting to show his weakness to the two woman now standing in front of him. "What are you doing here?" he asked the doctor that been Lucinda's OBGYN, but he didn't recognise the other woman.
"I heard about the accident. I'm so sorry to hear about Lucinda. I'm glad to see you aren't hurt," she offered her sympathies. "This is Dr. Helena Walcott, she will be in charge of team taking care of Harper and Gia while they are here. Helena, this is Ianto Jones, Harper and Gia's father."
"Are they okay? Are my children going to be okay?" Ianto slowly stood up, his legs a bit unsteady.
"Have you been in to see them yet?" Helena asked.
Ianto shook his head. "I just arrived a few minutes ago. Can I see them?"
"You can. Let's go inside and I can update you on their progress."
A sense of dread settled into the pit of Ianto’s stomach as he followed the doctor into the NICU, fearing the worst.
As Ianto was prepped to enter the sterile part of NICU, Helena gave him the details on each of the babies’ condition.
Gia weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces and measured 15 inches long. She had a shock of bright red hair, just like her mother and had already won over the hearts of most of the nurses on the unit. She was the stronger of the twins and so far had very little difficulty breathing and was keeping her body temperature steady.
Harper weighed 3 pounds, 14 ounces and measured 16 inches long. He was jaundiced and was having difficulty breathing on his own. The boy was completely bald and had quickly earned the reputation of being a grump.
Ianto knew he had to be prepared for the worst especially where Harper was concerned. But all the preparation in the world could not prepare Ianto for what he saw when he laid eyes upon his children for the first time. Gia was laid in a small incubator, hooked up to a number of machines to monitor her vitals and a nasal canella and an IV for nutritional purposes. She looked so tiny and perfect. His baby daughter. Ianto stepped forward to allow him to look into the second incubator. Harper was hooked up to so many more tubes and wires.
Harper looked more machine than human and that brought up more memories that Ianto would have rather kept buried deep. Memories so raw that when unearthed for the first time in years they felt new again. For a brief moment, Ianto was back in the days where he cared for the half-converted Lisa. There was so much pain and screaming and Ianto could only wonder if Harper was in that kind of pain, but too small to be able to cry out. Ianto winced as Lisa’s screams filled his head along with the screams of the other tortured half-converted Cybermen. "He's not in pain is he?" Ianto's hand went up and pressed against the top of the plastic incubator that was keeping the tiny boy safe from the entire world. Lisa's pained cries echoed on Ianto's mind. No person should ever have to live through that kind of suffering.
"No. Harper isn't in pain. He's made some progress in the last few hours. Hopefully we will able to get him off the CPAP soon. I know it's scary to see them hooked up to so many things, but babies born at this stage usually do really well with little or no long term problems," Helena explained, but wondered how much Ianto had heard as he seemed to be transfixed ,almost traumatised, by the machines his son was hooked up to.
"Why is Gia doing so much better than Harper?" Ianto could not take his eyes off his son, but in his mind he saw the bodies of all the half converted bodies he saw while trying to escape Canary Wharf."
"It happens sometimes with twins, but he'll eventually catch up."
"Can I hold him?" Ianto asked, feeling that this was the only way to know for sure that Harper was really human and not machine.
Helena shook her head. "I'm sorry. He's not stable enough to be out of the isolette yet." Telling a new parent that they could not hold their child was one of the hardest parts of the job. "But you can touch him. Hold his hand. A simple touch can go a long way with a premie."
Ianto nodded wordlessly and slid his hand into the incubator and stroked the back of the tiny hand with one of his fingers. What happened next brought tears to the man's eyes; the tiny hand made a grab for the finger. "Hey there, Harper. You're giving us quite the scare. You got to get stronger, you hear me young man. You're going to be okay. You just have to be. Please don't leave me too. How about we make this deal, you make it through this and I'll make sure you are the happiest boy ever. Do we have a deal?" Ianto spent the next couple of hours sitting with Harper with his tiny hand grasping onto his Daddy's finger trying to draw on his strength. It seemed to be working as the newborn’s vitals started to stabilise and improve with each passing hour. Ianto was not sure if it was because of him that Harper started to improve, all that mattered was that he did.
As father and son bonded, various staff members came to speak with Ianto about what he was to expect for both babies. He also discussed hospital protocols about visiting and was relieved that he could spend as much time as he wanted by his children's side except for shift changes. Ianto planned on never leaving them alone until they were out of the hospital.
Ianto must have fallen asleep because he was jolted awake by a shrill cry. It took several seconds for him to realise it was Gia crying. A nurse appeared instantly to see what was wrong.
"What's wrong? Is everything okay?" Ianto asked, panicking.
"Everything is fine," the nurse said after checking some vitals and making sure nothing else was wrong. "If I were to guess I think she wants some attention. Would you like to hold Gia?"
"Can I?" The new father had assumed that the restrictions on holding were the same for both newborns.
"You can hold her for a little bit," she said as she carefully put Gia into Ianto's arm.
Ianto was awestruck when Gia was given to him, holding her against his chest, her head resting close to his heart. It hit him that this was all real and he was really a father now. Two lives that he was completely responsible for and that he was totally on his own to raise his children. It took about a minute to find a position that was comfortable for both him and Gia, what with all the wires. It was then she calmed down and enjoyed the human contact.
"Is that all you wanted? To say hello. Well hello my beautiful baby girl," Ianto whispered and kissed the top of the girl's head. "This was quite an entrance you made into the world. You two were in such a hurry to get here you wanted to arrive two months early. I wish you could have waited a little longer, but I'm glad you are here. Your mum and I were really looking forward to this, but she's not here. I shouldn't be here either, but something happened to me a while ago that made sure that I will always be here. You and your brother will never have to worry about me leaving." Ianto silently added, albeit sadly, that he would long out live them and any future generations of Joneses to come.
To be continued... Chapter 12
Previously on The Road Not Taken
Prologue :: Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6 :: Chapter 7 :: Chapter 8 :: Chapter 9 :: Chapter 10