Disclaimers: I do not own Torchwood or any of its characters. I am making no money from this. It is purely for entertainment purposes only.
Summary: Ianto has a secret. Set during series one, after Cyberwoman.
Warnings: MPREG! I am a HUGE fan of Mpreg. There are also hints of past child abuse.
Notes: Please remember that I am just another stupid American. Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors as I must rely solely on my own knowledge and my irritating spell-checker.
More Notes: Still set very close to 'Out of Time.'
After the movie, Rhiannon gazed down at her brother, who was dozing a little. He'd jerked awake near the end of the movie, but couldn't keep his eyes open for long. It worried her seeing him so tired. The presence of the nasal cannula and the IV made it all the worse. He said he just needed rest, but she couldn't stop the niggling doubts that told her he was far worse off than he claimed to be.
Glancing at her watch, she sighed. She leaned over and kissed his head. "The kids will be home soon. Do you want them to know about your condition, or keep it a secret from them?"
Ianto blinked his eyes open. It was a moment before he answered. He looked up at her, a bit confused at first, and she could see the fog lifting from his brain as comprehension filled his eyes. "Johnny might be persuaded to keep it secret, but I remember what we were like as kids." He smiled weakly. "Remember that kitten we found? We were trying to keep it a secret, but got so excited about it and Tad overheard us so we had to give it to the family down the street."
Rhiannon remembered it well. It hadn't been long after their mother had died. They'd kept the kitten in an old box in Rhiannon's closet. They'd put in old shirts for it to sleep on, and under Ianto's insistence, Rhiannon had put her desk lamp into the closet so the kitten wouldn't be kept in the dark. It had been such a tiny little thing. They'd been so scared when Tad had found it. But they'd been lucky. He'd been sober for a change.
She stroked her hand through Ianto's hair. "Yeah, but we were allowed to visit him, and he grew up nice and healthy since they were able to afford to take care of him properly. He grew to be a gorgeous creature."
Ianto hummed, a small smile curling his lips. "I remember. I used to go over when Tad was-" He cleared his throat and shifted to sit up properly.
He didn't have to finish. She knew what he was talking about. She'd lived through it with him, had gotten a few lumps of her own, a couple of broken bones, when Tad had been in one of his moods. Oh, he never meant to hurt them and he was always sorry afterward, but he was an angry drunk, and most days he could be found drowning himself in a bottle.
She patted his hand. "So, you want it to be kept secret from the kids?" He nodded and she smiled. "Will you be alright wearing that ring? It won't hurt the baby, will it?"
Ianto looked over to the table by the bed, where Owen had left the ring within Ianto's easy reach. He picked it up and held it, just twirling it idly in his fingers. He smiled, shaking his head. "It drains my energy, that's all. Makes me tired. I'll only wear it when the kids are around."
"I don't like it," Rhiannon admitted, carding her fingers through his hair again. "I don't like seeing you like this."
The smile on his face was frail at best. He looked up at her, tired and sick, and burdened with a pregnancy his body was not prepared to deal with, and it made her want to weep for his sake. Something must have shown on her face, or maybe it was the tears slowly leaking from her eyes that got his attention. He reached up his hand, brushing the wetness away with his thumb, his smile fading.
"Don't cry, Rhi. I am getting better," he assured her, leaving his hand against her cheek. "I was only rescued a couple days ago. I just need rest."
Easy for him to say, but Rhiannon was well-practiced with worrying about him. He was her little brother. It was her job to worry. Still, she swiped at her teary eyes and forced a smile on her face, not wanting to cause him any more stress.
She was stopped from having to say anything by a loud knocking from downstairs. "That'll be Annie with the kids," she said, then placed her hand gently on his stomach. "Better get that ring on."
Leaving Ianto to get ready, Rhiannon left the room and jogged downstairs and to the door. She opened the door and grinned. Annie was a good friend, and a neighbor from down the road. Her son was friends with David. She could always count on Annie to watch her kids and vice versa.
David darted around her into the house. She called out to him, telling him to stay downstairs. At seven-years old he was a hyperactive little menace, but he was a good boy. He flopped dramatically onto the sofa and proceeded to sulk. Although, Rhiannon noticed that he took his shoes off before his feet ever touched the upholstery. His coat and backpack were thrown carelessly to the floor.
More sedately than her brother, Mica entered the house. She was a generally quiet four-year old. And God, was she tidy. She never left her toys lying around and her room was spotless. She reminded Rhiannon of Ianto a bit, her temperament and cleanliness, her razor-sharp mind. Mica left her shoes by the door and hung her coat over the back of a chair - she couldn't reach the coat rack - then dropped into a heap on the floor in front of the sofa and dragged a coloring book and crayons from her bag to keep herself busy.
"Thanks for looking after them," Rhiannon said, smiling at her friend.
Annie waved a dismissive hand. "Oh, it was no problem. James was thrilled he got to spend a couple hours after school with his friend. And Mica's an absolute princess." She leaned in closer. "I hear your brother's visiting? That he's sick or something?"
Rhiannon was hardly surprised that she'd heard. News tended to spread around fast on the neighborhood grapevine. "Yeah, he's spending the holidays."
"Susan said he couldn't even walk on his own, or breathe. And her brother told her he's got a doctor with him. Oh my God, it's cancer isn't it? Is he dying?"
Rhiannon clicked her tongue loudly. "He's not dying. He's tired, and yes, he's on oxygen and has a doctor with him, but he's recovering. He just needs some rest to get back on his feet again." She wasn't going to say what was wrong with Ianto, because nothing was actually wrong with him. He was pregnant and his body was under a strain. She couldn't tell Annie that, it would spread like wildfire. Let her and the other gossip-mongers think he had cancer, or some other illness. It would be easier than trying to think of a lie of her own.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Annie said, and the expression in her eyes was genuine. She offered up a small smile. "Still, it's got to be nice seeing him again. It's been a while hasn't it?"
"Years," she responded. "We drifted apart, but he's back now and that's all that matters."
They talked a bit more, mostly about idle things. Rhiannon gently disengaged herself from the conversation, not wanting to keep Ianto waiting too long. She headed into the lounge and tapped David on his legs. He shifted to sit up properly and Rhiannon took a seat and gestured for Mica to come over. The little girl put away her book and crayons before climbing onto her mother's lap.
"Okay, you two, I have some good news for you. Your Uncle Ianto's visiting. He's going to be spending the holiday with us." She didn't really know how either of her children would take the news. Mica had never met Ianto, and David had been so young when Ianto had cut ties with the family. He probably didn't remember Ianto at all.
Mica perked up excitedly. "Uncle Ianto is here?" She looked around, as if expecting him to pop up suddenly out of nowhere.
Rhiannon remembered when Mica had caught her and Johnny talking about Ianto a few days ago. Rhiannon hadn't been able to get into contact with her brother - she supposed that had been when he'd been kidnapped - Johnny had been trying to keep her calm, and Mica had immediately demanded to know who Ianto was, latching onto the word 'brother,' when Rhiannon had been speaking to her husband. She'd been dying to meet him ever since. It was good to see that her excitement hadn't waned in the slightest.
Mica tried to slide off of her mother's lap. Rhiannon tightened an arm around her waist, holding her in place. "Now, wait a minute, you." She settled Mica back on her lap. "Your uncle isn't feeling very well right now. Don't expect him to be able to run around after the two of you."
"What, he's sick?" David asked, bluntly. "What's wrong with him?"
"That doesn't matter," Rhiannon replied. "What does matter, is that he gets all the rest he needs to recover. He's weak and he tires easily, but he is getting better. I want the both of you to be on your best behavior while he's here. Don't get upset if he can't run around and play with you." She said that last part more to Mica than David. She didn't want her daughter to be disappointed if Ianto couldn't keep up with her.
"Can he color? I can sit and color with him!"
Rhiannon feigned deep thought. "Hm, well I don't know. It's been such an awfully long time since I last saw him. Why don't we go ask him?"
Mica replied enthusiastically. This time, when she tried to slide off her mother's lap, Rhiannon let her. She did reach out to grab the little girl's hand though, to keep her from running off.
She looked over and saw that David was still slouched on the sofa. "Well, come on. Don't you want to meet your uncle?"
David shrugged. "What's he going to be able to do? He's sick. He can't play." He shrugged again and crossed his arms.
"Well, how about you show him your video games?" Rhiannon suggested. She nudged him lightly. "Come and say hello at least."
Although he got up, David was moving as if she had told him to do some distasteful chore. He muttered a reluctant, "Okay."
Rhiannon sighed and shook her head at his actions. There was nothing she could do about it except hope that David warmed up to Ianto. Knowing her brother's winning charm, she had a feeling it wouldn't be long before he and David were the best of friends.
She took her children upstairs. She knocked on the bedroom door, wanting to give Ianto warning before barging in on him.
"But that's your room, Mam!" David proclaimed, a scowl on his face.
Rhiannon smiled at her son. "And Ianto is a guest. He's ill, and my room is more comfortable than the sofa bed downstairs." She opened the door and ushered her kids in. "David, Mica ... this is your Uncle Ianto."
Mica, for all of her earlier enthusiasm, suddenly turned shy and ducked her head while moving to hide behind Rhiannon. That was just like her. She'd always been quiet around strangers, but once you got her going she could be a little chatterbox.
Ianto was sitting up in bed, awake but looking tired. He smiled, a shy crooked smile. That ring he had was concealing his stomach from view. He looked as skinny as ever. She wondered how it did that.
David, with all the tact a stubborn seven-year-old can possess, spoke up. "If you're not dying, how come you're hooked up like those people in the hospital shows Mam likes to watch?"
Rhiannon gasped sharply, her mouth dropping open. "David!"
Ianto chuckled weakly. "I've been sick and all of this is helping me get better."
Rhiannon set her hand on David's back and gently urged him further into the room. "Go on," she said. "He's been looking forward to seeing the two of you."
It was rare for David to turn shy. He was altogether adventurous and outspoken. She supposed that it was the sight of the oxygen and intravenous tubes that made him hesitate.
Sweeping Mica up into her arms, Rhiannon stepped closer to the bed. If her children weren't going to introduce themselves, she'd just have to help them along. She set Mica on the bed and smiled at Ianto, even as her daughter turned toward her shyly. "Mica was wondering if you knew how to color," she said with all due seriousness.
Ianto was equally serious when he replied. "I used to love coloring, but sadly have fallen out of practice in recent years. Perhaps someone more familiar with it can teach me how to do it again?"
Mica giggled and peeked out at Ianto. "Coloring's not hard," she replied.
"Ah, that is true. So tell me, what's your favorite color?"
"Green," she said. She was facing Ianto now and smiling. "What's yours?"
"Well, I'm partial to red myself." He rubbed at his eye tiredly, but his smile never wavered. "Say, why don't you go and get some paper and crayons and maybe we can draw a picture together?"
Mica practically glowed with excitement. She readily agreed, then ran from the room in a flurry of exuberance. "Don't run in the house!" Rhiannon shouted after her, and was gratified by the slowing pace of her daughter's loud footfalls.
David was picking at the blanket by Ianto's feet, his eyes transfixed on the IV line. "You sure you're not dying?"
Rhiannon caught the faint flicker of doubt in Ianto's eyes, but she didn't think David noticed. "I'm sure," Ianto said, actually sounding as if he meant it. Rhiannon knew him better though. He was worried that things wouldn't turn out well, but he'd never say that to her or - God forbid - the kids.
"So, do you like football, David?"
David nodded eagerly. Sports was an easy subject to discuss with David. He loved anything where he got to run around and burn off some of his vast reserves of energy.
"Tad's teaching me rugby," David enthused.
"Is he? My Tad taught me, too. And your mother."
David giggled, shaking his head. "Mam can't play! She's a girl!"
"Really now? How do you think she met your Tad? He and his mates were having a game in the park and we happened to be there. He thought asking me if I wanted to play would be a good way to get her attention. You know, maybe he could show off a bit so she'd like him. But she decided to join in, too. He and his mates laughed and told her she couldn't. She got so mad, she tackled him into the mud."
David laughed, and so did Rhiannon, remembering the look on Johnny's face. He'd been beet-red with embarrassment and his friends were all having a good laugh over it. He'd certainly learned not to underestimate her. It had been a week before he'd plucked up the nerve to approach her again, with an apology and an invitation for a date. Of course she'd turned him down, but he was persistent and he'd eventually worn her down.
Ianto patted the bed with his hand. David gingerly sat next to him, eying the tubes again.
"Don't you worry about those," Ianto said, seeing where the boy's attention was. "With any luck they'll be gone in the next few days and I'll be able to move around a bit more." He ruffled David's hair. "But for now, I'm kinda stuck in bed. It's dreadfully boring. And I've completely run out of things to do to keep me busy. Do you have any ideas?"
David thought for a moment, tongue poking out between his lips as he hummed. "I've got a Nintendo DS. My friend Kevin got a new DS Lite for his birthday. I want one too, but Mam says the one I have is good enough. But I have a few games. We could play those."
Before Ianto could say anything, Mica came back into the room and stood by the bed, her little arms loaded with coloring books, blank paper, crayons and colored pencils. She was literally bouncing with excitement. The box of crayons slipped from her arms, clattering noisily to the floor. Mica paused only long enough to look down at the box, then resumed her bouncing. Rhiannon chuckled at her daughter's antics and helped her to place her things on the bed. Then she helped the little girl up and watched her flop down beside Ianto.
Ianto was smiling gently. He put his arm around Mica and pulled her in against his side. With his other hand, he tapped David on the knee. "I already told your sister I'd color with her, but I promise I will play those games with you," Ianto said.
David's face morphed into a look of disappointment. Rhiannon knew it could quickly escalate into a tantrum if it wasn't handled quickly. "David, let your sister have her time with your Uncle. He's going to be here until after Christmas. You'll have plenty of time with him. For now, why don't you help me downstairs? I was thinking about baking cookies." Actually, she hadn't been thinking anything of the sort. But it was one of the few things she knew of that would be able to distract David at this point.
Mica looked over at her and whined. She began to pout.
"Don't worry," Rhiannon stated. "We'll make two batches and you can help me with the second."
Mica immediately cheered up and agreed. Then all of her attention was back on her Uncle. She eagerly started chattering away, spreading out her supplies and giving Ianto a red crayon.
"Come on, Mam," David called, already waiting impatiently by the door.
With her son already impatient to get going, Rhiannon didn't linger. She brushed her hand over Mica's head, telling her to be good for her Uncle Ianto. Then she gave Ianto a wink and left them to their coloring, telling them both that she'd be just downstairs if they needed anything.
"I've told your brother, and now I'll tell you the same," Rhiannon said as she placed the freshly baked cookies on the rack to cool. "You're not going to get one of these until after dinner."
She turned to regard her daughter, who had helped to make them. David was up with Ianto now, and every now and then she could hear one or the other of them exclaiming over something, shouting encouragement or proclaiming dismay over some failure. At least they were getting along. She was glad for that.
"Okay," Mica murmured. She was sitting at the table, scribbling on a piece of paper.
Upstairs, she heard a shout of elation. Mica looked up briefly, then frowned and went back to coloring. Maybe she was missing Ianto. Or perhaps she was jealous that he was spending time with David now.
Wiping her hands off, Rhiannon sat across from her daughter. "Did you have fun with your Uncle?"
"Yeah." There was a brief flicker of a smile, but she seemed more intent in coloring than in conversation.
Rhiannon shrugged and got up to start dinner. Crispy chicken fettuccine. It was quick and easy to make and the kids loved it. That made it perfect tonight when she didn't really have the time for anything more complicated. She dug out the tomato sauce and pulled the chicken nuggets from the freezer, then pulled the pot out for the pasta. In under an hour she'd have dinner done.
She was draining the pasta when Johnny and Owen shambled back in. It was obvious that Johnny had had a few drinks, but he was far from drunk. And Owen looked dead sober. But then, she didn't really know him, he could just hide it well. He went straight to the stairs with only a nod for a greeting.
She started heating the sauce, adding some diced tomatoes and fresh parsley. Johnny came over to her and tried to kiss her on the cheek. She turned away to avoid it, stirring the sauce. She was still angry at him.
Johnny sighed. "Right, I'm sorry," he admitted. "I was an arse. I'll apologize to him."
"That's better." She turned her cheek toward him and accepted his kiss. "You can apologize after dinner. It's almost done. Set the table."
David came downstairs. He was still playing his video game as he climbed up onto a chair. Johnny started setting out the plates and managed to squeeze in two extra place settings, dragging out a pair of old fold-out chairs they hadn't used in ages.
"What are you working on there?" Johnny asked. Rhiannon looked over and saw that he was talking to their daughter.
"It's a letter for Santa," Mica replied, lazily kicking her feet back and forth under the table.
Johnny laughed gently. "But you already sent him a letter. It's a bit late to be asking for more toys, isn't it?"
Mica looked up at him. "I don't want more toys, Tad. I want Santa to keep my presents and make Uncle Ianto better instead."
Rhiannon shared a look with her husband. She crossed to stand by the table and ran her hand over Mica's back, bending to kiss the top of her head. "That's very kind of you, sweetheart. Why don't you go get washed up for dinner?" Mica obediently cleared away her supplies. Rhiannon nodded in her son's direction. "You too, David." He was less than enthusiastic, but complied, turning off his game with obvious reluctance.
When the kids were out of sight, Rhiannon let Johnny envelop her in a hug. She tried to hold back the tears, but a few managed to escape, dampening his shirt.
"He'll be okay," Johnny reassured her. Rhiannon really hoped it would turn out to be true. Her worries and doubts persisted though. She hated seeing him so sick.
To Be Continued ...
Further notes: I wasn't sure how old David and Mica were in Children of Earth, so I guessed. For my fic, David is currently seven and Mica is four.