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
John and Vivian walked back into the hospital eleven hours after they left, getting none of the rest they had planned on when they had left. How could they? Their only child was dead and they could not get any information on their grandchildren. The only thing they could do was begin to plan Lucinda's funeral. An impossible task that they could not fathom doing, but a task they had no choice but to do. They had not even bothered to check on their son-in-law to see how injured he had been in the accident or even if he had been told about Lucinda's passing. In their mind Ianto was not worthy and the longer he stayed away the better things would be.
"I still don't understand why they need a password so we can check on how they are doing? They are our grandchildren." Vivian was fed up with the lack information being given to her and John. The woman was used to everything being done her way and never being told no. "They need someone to be there for them. These are important days for those babies. How can they not let anyone in to see them? This is just wrong.”
“Hopefully things have changed and we will be allowed in.” John tried to calm down his agitated wife, knowing nothing would calm her down other than seeing her grandchildren.
The scene at the entrance to the NICU quickly become volatile when the nurse told the Harkin’s they were not on the approved visitor’s list.
“What do you mean we are not on the list? How is that possible? We are their grandparents. We are allowed to see them. It’s not like we are strangers.” Vivan clenched her fists, looking like she wanted to lunge at the nurse.
“Ma’am, it’s up to the children’s parents to decide who shall be allowed into the NICU.” the young nurse was growing fearful of the couple in front of her and had a hand on the phone ready to call security if need be.
“Our daughter is dead. Who set up these rules?” Vivian said condescendingly.
“I did!” A terse voice made John and Vivian jump. “And I have every reason not to let you in to see them.” Ianto was ready to give his in-laws the confrontation that had been brewing ever since he proposed to Lucinda.
“Ianto!” Vivian put on the sugary fake smile she had used with Ianto in the past. “I thought you were still in the hospital.” Or dead, Vivian added silently. She was shocked to see that he had not a scratch on him and wondered how this was possible.
“Nope. I was released a while ago. Thanks for checking on me by the way.” Ianto hoped the sarcasm was evident. They were not the only ones grieving the loss of Lucinda and they were daft to think otherwise.
“What gives you the right to deny us to see our grandchildren?” John had no problem getting in the younger man’s face.
“I’ve never met such entitled and selfish people as both of you.” Ianto knew this was not the place for this fight, but it was going to happen where it was going to happen. "First off, just because I'm quiet it doesn't mean I'm up to no good. Second, Gia and Harper will know who their mother is. I'll make sure of it. And lastly, the only reason I was speeding was because Lucinda was in labour when we left home. It's not my fault some stupid kid chose to drive drunk." Ianto unleashed his full fury at John before turning it onto Vivian. "But the biggest reason I'm not letting you near them is because of you." Ianto's finger was almost in Vivian's face and his own face was flushed with anger and grief. "I'm not unstable. For someone who's had as much crap thrown at them as I have, I'm quite well adjusted, thank you very much. Those scars on my back and arms are from when a building I was in was destroyed. There is no way that you are ever going to convince me that you raising my children is what is best for them. And it's hospital policy that a parent has to be with any visitors and after both of your hate speeches before, I have a hard time believing you will be able to put your hatred aside for anything. So until you two can think about anyone other than yourselves, I'm not letting you and your negativity anywhere around my children." Once Ianto had said his piece, he left both Harkins with their mouths hung open, never having been talked to in such a raw and hurtful manner before.
Ianto was still shaking when he returned to the twin's bedside. It was like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders, to finally put the Harkins in their place. It was a less than ideal timing, but it needed to be done. He was not going to be pushed around and bullied by them anymore and they needed to see their treatment of people had consequences. Ianto was also fearful that the minute he turned his back, they would swoop in and take his children away. Part of Ianto wanted to Retcon the couple so they would forget ever knowing him, but that way they would never learn.
"Sorry I was gone for so long. I had to make sure no one was going to take you away from me." Ianto was glad that the incubators were set up in such a way that he could touch both babies at the same time. Both hands offered a comforting touch to each of the small lives fighting so hard to live and thrive. And in turn he took comfort from them. The position was uncomfortable, but Ianto pushed it out of his mind because he knew he had to do this for Harper and Gia. He wanted to make sure both children knew that he was there for them.
"Now both of you listen to me. You can't tell anyone our plans. It's going to be between the three of us, okay? Once both of you get strong enough to get out of here I'm going to take you both far away from here. There's no place for me here anymore. I know I can't take care of you both by myself and I'm going to need help. Rhi would kick my ass if I didn't come to her for help. Johnny would help too and your cousins David and Mica. There is only one place I can go for help and not worry about mean people who want to steal you. You two are never going to want for anything. You are going to know how much your mum loved you. How much she was looking forward to meeting you." Ianto's voice cracked and his vision clouded with tears. "I won't be the perfect father and I will probably make mistakes along the way, but as long as the three of us stick together I think we will be okay. But it is on both of you now to fight and grow strong so you get to see the world outside this hospital. I love you both so much my little angels."
Vivian returned to the NICU shortly after the shift change for the nurses, hoping she could play on the emotions of whoever was manning the reception area to get her in to see her grandchildren. If that did not work, she had John consulting a lawyer, to see what their options were about being able to see the babies.
"Excuse me." Vivian sauntered up to the desk. "I was wondering if I could go in and see my grandbabies. I haven't had a chance to see their precious little faces yet." She played up the sweet grandma act, who could say no to such a pleading face.
"Sure, just let me check you in. What are your grandkids names?" The nurse asked.
"Gia and Harper Jones."
The nurse typed in the names and pursed her lips as she read the file notes that said that the grandparents were not allowed to visit as per the father's orders. "Are you Vivian Harkins?" When Vivian nodded the young woman reached for the phone.
"What are you doing?" Vivian reached over the desk and hung up the phone. "I just need to see and hold my grandbabies. Why is that so hard?"
"Is there a problem? Do you need some help ma'am?" A smooth voice tried to diffuse the tense situation.
"Everything is fine, sir." The nurse looked a little uneasy, but relaxed that someone else had arrived. "Can I help you?"
"You sure can." The man offered a big smile with a hint of flirting. "I'm here to see a friend and his children. The name is Jones, Ianto Jones."
"And your name is?" The nurse asked, ignoring the fierce glare from Vivian.
"Jack Harkness.," Jack showed the woman a piece of identification, knowing he was going to be asked to show it.
"Thank you. You may go in. The nurse inside will show you how to scrub up before you can visit."
Vivian could not believe what she was hearing and seeing, a stranger was being allowed in to see Harper and Gia before her. It took a moment before the name registered. "Jack! You're the ex-boyfriend. The one who he had a kid with already."
Jack turned and looked at the other woman with a raised eyebrow and shrugged. "I could be considered that. You must be the mother-in-law." He made the assumption based on the woman's age and appearance. He sensed the woman was about to unleash some kind of venomous words, but he put a stop to it. "Don't even think of saying anything bad about Ianto. If he's not letting you in to see the twins, then I'm sure Ianto has a good reason for it. I'm here to support him. Ianto needs a friend more than anything right now, not someone who is going to yell and put him down. There was only one other time that I've seen Ianto this destroyed over losing someone and last time I helped him through it and this time it's not going to be any different. Now, if you'd excuse me I have a friend to comfort." Jack slipped by the woman, not giving her a chance to say anything. When he was here last time, Jack had a sense that Ianto was not on good terms with his in-laws. And even though he and Ianto had left things hanging in limbo between them, there was no way Jack could turn his back on Ianto in his time of need.
After Jack scrubbed up and put a sterile gown on, he was finally allowed into the nursery. His heart dropped when he laid eyes upon the devastated Welshman who was slumped over in a chair, asleep while keeping a bedside vigil over his children.
"Oh, my poor Ianto," Jack whispered as he approached the sleeping man and cupped Ianto’s cheek against his left hand.
"You came?" Ianto asked sleepily as his eyes slowly opened. He hadn’t been sure Jack would come.
"Of course I did. You needed me so here I am. I'm sorry to hear about Lucinda," Jack offered his sympathies. He knew from experience that this was a pain that never fully went away. It might eventually fade into the background, but it could always jump to the forefront at any time.
"I didn't think it would end like this. She never got to see or hold them. What am I going to do?" Slowly the strong wall Ianto had put up to hold himself together since he woke up at the site of the accident started to crumble. Jack was always the one that Ianto never had to be pretend to be strong for.
"Come here," Jack offered open arms to the grieving man. It was time to put aside whatever difference there were between. When the one you love his hurting all you want to do is make it better for them.
Ianto stood up and collapsed into Jack's arms, sobs quickly overcoming him.
"Shhh," Jack whispered as he rubbed the crying man's back. "I'm here now and I'm not going anywhere. As long as you need me I'll be here. I know it hurts, but you have two very beautiful little babies who need you."
"I'm sorry, Jack. So, so sorry." Ianto looked up, his eyes red from crying and there were still many more tears to be shed. The fact that Jack dropped everything and traveled over six thousand miles in an instant made Ianto feel guilty.
"There is nothing to be sorry for, Ianto," Jack assured the other man. "You helped me through when I needed it and gave me one of the best gifts ever. It's only fair that we help you." For the first time Jack realised had Ianto never left when he did there was a good chance he would not have gone through with his pregnancy. So Ianto's leaving was really a blessing in disguise.
Ianto cried for another half hour with Jack holding on tight, soaking Jack's shirt while the older man whispered words of encouragement. That he was here for as long as Ianto needed him.
Another hour passed where Ianto just held onto Jack as tight as he could, completely spent of all energy. Jack was like an anchor to the real world and if Ianto let go, he felt that he would spiral into a pit of oblivion where escape was not possible. There was no need for words to be exchanged between the men. Some connections are never broken. Though they may be stretched to the point where the strands cannot be seen with the naked eye, they will always be there.
Both men refused to let go of each other until one of the staff doctors came around and asked if Ianto wanted to hold Harper. He was finally stable enough to be held for a while. Ianto's grief was temporarily forgotten the second the tiny baby was placed in his arms. He just knew his tiny little miracles were going to be okay. Tears of joy rolled down Ianto's face as Harper's hand clutched the edge of his shirt.
In the rocking chair across of him, Jack held Gia close, smiling as her crying stopped as he began to sing an unfamiliar lullaby and she curled her tiny fingers around his finger.
Ianto knew at that moment he had found home again. It did not matter what would eventually become of their relationship. All that mattered was they were a constant presence in each other's life again.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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 :: Chapter 11