Title: Gwil's Guide to Growing Up Torchwood: Year 5, Chapter 2
Word Count: 2,556
Summary: When a seven-year-old boy falls through the Rift, Ianto and Jack decide to adopt him. This is the story of his life at Torchwood.
Chapter Summary: Gwil has his first school dance; Jack and Ianto behave like terrible parents and spy on him.
A/N: Sorry for the lateness. My desktop's harddrive went tits up. I didn't lose anything irreplaceable (all the fic is on my laptop, and backed up a couple places), but I've been spending the last day since they replaced it re-downloading all my v. v. important stuff, like Chryed edits for Eastenders and Queer as Folk. Also, I'm on this new birth control that's supposed to control acne, but all it's done is given me extreme mood swings for my PMS week. I've been crying for no reason for half of the day. It's like having an emotion cold. Fucking awful. Anyway, so many random events conspired against me the last couple of days. Enjoy the fluff :P
Gwil rolled his eyes as he pulled back from Ianto's hands, which were trying to straighten his tie. “Tad,” he groaned. “It's fine. I did it right.”
Ianto frowned at the knot, tugging at it just a bit between forefinger and thumb before stepping back. “Just double-checking,” he muttered.
Just as Ianto was stepping forward again to smooth down Gwil's curls – and Gwil was yanking his head away, a scowl on his face – Jack bounded into the living room, camera in hand. “Pictures!”
Both Ianto and Gwil turned to Jack, matching frowns on their faces. “Not of me,” Ianto insisted, taking a step back. Gwil stared up at him like his Tad had just betrayed him.
But Jack stepped forward and placed a hand on Ianto's shoulder, urging him back to Gwil. “Come on,” he urged. “I want at least one picture with both of my gorgeous men.”
Matching eye-rolls replied to Jack's flattery, but Ianto scooted into Gwil and wrapped his arm around him. Begrudgingly Gwil lifted his head to look at the camera, flashing a smile at the last second before the picture, then dropping it just as quickly. Jack tutted as he took another quick picture, laughing when Ianto and Gwil both protested that they weren't ready. “What's with all the frowning, anyway?” Jack prodded.”It's your first dance! And you've got a date!”
“She's not my date,” Gwil insisted, fiddling with his cufflinks. “Estella's just a friend. We're just going together as friends.”
Jack nodded knowingly. “That's what they all say,” he confirmed. “Trust me: ask her for a few slow dances, treat her right, and you'll be getting a kiss by the end of the night.”
Gwil's entire face flushed red. He yanked himself away from Ianto – who had just been trying to get a stray piece of lint off his lapel – and put as much distance between himself and his parents as their living room would allow. “It's not like that!” he insisted from over by the telly. “She's just a friend.”
Seeing the distress Gwil was in, Ianto frowned over at Jack, about to tell him to stop. But Jack was grinning broadly, obviously having too much fun. “And,” he continued, rolling the camera in his hands thoughtfully as he spoke, “if you need some alone time with her, just put your tie on your bedroom door. We won't come in.”
Ianto coughed delicately. “I don't think we're quite at that age, yet,” he warned. Gwil sagged visibly in relief from his safe zone next to the telly.
Jack laughed but didn't press the issue, instead snapping another picture of Gwil as he stood, wide-eyed and terrified on the opposite end of the room. Gwil scowled at the flash, prompting Jack to take another picture. “Dad!”
Looking significantly at his watch, Ianto nodded to the front door. “Right, don't want to be late, then. Are you sure you want to walk?”
Gwil shot Ianto an exasperated look, which Ianto thought that maybe he should chastise Gwil for, but he let slide. Better Gwil be a little defiant than scared of upsetting him or Jack. Just so long as it didn't get out of hand and start being outright rude. “You have the Torchwood car. I don't want to go to her house in the Torchwood car.”
Ianto frowned. “We could take my car.”
Jack made a noise at the same time Gwil wrinkled up his nose, and then Ianto remembered. “Right,” he muttered, pressing his fingertips to the bridge of his nose. “The exploding fish eggs last week.” He had stopped noticing the smell days ago, but he knew it was still there. Secretly, Ianto was considering selling the car for scrap and getting a new one, since otherwise he'd have to have the entire interior redone. He just hadn't told Jack about his plans, yet. And he hadn't finished his research, either.
“Why don't we walk you just to the end of the block?” Jack suggested.
Gwil narrowed his eyes, but nodded after a moment's consideration. “Okay. But no teasing!”
Jack held up his hands palms out in surrender. “Promise.”
As Ianto held open the door for the two of them, Jack wrapped a big hand around Gwil's shoulder as he steered him down the path. “So what's Estella like? This female-friend-who's-not-your-girlfriend?
Gwil glared at Jack's entirely unsubtle teasing, but said nothing about it. “She's from Spain. Her parents moved here a couple years ago, but they're not British yet. She said she's an alien.” Gwil scrunched up his nose and laughed, Jack and Ianto sharing a look and joining in as they walked behind him. “At first I thought she meant a real alien! I told her not to say it so loud, but then she said from Spain. So humans are aliens too, I guess, if they're from other planets.” Gwil turned his head around and up to glance back at Jack. “Like you.”
Jack and Ianto exchanged a look. “Yeah,” Jack agreed. “Human. Just from somewhere else.” When Gwil turned back to face forward again, Jack looked at Ianto and winced, before shrugging. Ianto just shrugged back. They hadn't decided when they'd tell Gwil about Jack's not-entirely-human DNA, or that not only was he from Boeshane, but Boeshane sometime around 5,025. Jack's mantra for years now had just been “later”, and Ianto hadn't the heart to push the issue just yet.
“Is she nice?” Ianto asked, steering the conversation back to safer waters.
“Real nice. And funny,” Gwil added. “She likes making jokes about waffles. And bunnies.”
Ianto just nodded and ignored Jack's bafflement. Sometimes it was just safer to nod, with kids these days. Ianto shook his head, frowning at himself. He sounded like an old man.
Gwil was continuing to wax poetic about Estella. “And she's got really long, silk dark brown hair. It's like.. it's almost Asian, it's so dark and silky.”
Again, Ianto found himself having to ignore the faces Jack was making, though a smile did quirk at Ianto's own lips. He risked a glance over at Jack, who pressed a hand to his heart before he stuck his fingers into a semblance of a heart. Ianto stifled a snort. “You've been spending too much time with the women, lately,” he teased Jack.
“All Martha's fault,” Jack replied. “She did it last week when we were at the pub. Going on about some new stud actor. Gwen and Tosh did it back, so I thought I'd try it out sometime.”
“And her eyes are so brown,” Gwil breathed. Ianto turned his attention away from Jack, who had started to thump the finger-heart against his chest in a mock-heartbeat, and back to Gwil. “All our eyes are blue, but Estella's eyes are really, really brown. Darker than Uncle Owen's. And bigger!”
Ianto hummed knowingly. “Big doe eyes,” he commented. “I can see the appeal.” For a moment Ianto's mind flashed back to Lisa: her beautiful brown eyes illuminated by candlelight on one of their first dates. He felt a twinge of guilt, even still, before Jack was nudging him in the shoulder with a grin on his face.
“I dunno, champ: I'm partial to blue right now, myself.”
Ianto gave Jack a look that said he knew exactly what Jack was doing, but smiled anyway. Gwil satisfied himself with a quiet noise of disgust, before slowing to a stop as they reached a corner. “That's the end of the block,” he informed his parents, turning around. “You can go home now.”
Reluctantly Jack and Ianto stopped, both men peering down the streets, trying to spot Estella's house from there. When Gwil started shifting around discontentedly, Ianto relented with just one last check over Gwil's suit. Jack moved to ruffle Gwil's hair, only to have Gwil leap away and cover his head defensively. “It's the way I want it, Dad!”
Jack held his hands up before shoving them in his pockets. “Have fun,” he commanded.
“Be safe,” Ianto countered. “The dance ends at ten, so I expect you home by ten thirty at the absolute latest. And remember that you don't have to stay until the end if you don't want to.”
Gwil rolled his eyes. “Fine. Okay. Go!” He made shooing motions with his hands, obviously refusing to turn around and continue on his way until his parents were safely heading in the opposite direction. Ianto let himself be shooed, turning with Jack back down to their house. He glanced over his shoulder one more time as they walked, to see Gwil nervously tugging his curls upwards as he hurried down the path.
Ianto paused for a moment in his reading, rubbing his eyes tiredly. He understood that to the U.S. Torchwood office this matter seemed like the utmost importance, but for the life of him Ianto couldn't see the reason they had a rush order on a currently inert, probably inanimate object. Opening his eyes wide, Ianto returned his attention to his laptop. If he could just get through this one last parameter search, he could message back the office with ninety-eight percent certainty that there was nothing in their files on the object, and then worry about double-checking any files of theirs that remained non-electronic tomorrow.
“Oh! Oh, Ianto! Quick!” Jack's excited voice reached Ianto from the living room. Startled, Ianto jumped up from his desk and hurried to him.
Jack was sitting on their bed, bowl of popcorn in his lap and rapt attention focused on the telly. Ianto turned to the wall where the screen was mounted, face splitting into a grin when he saw the grainy CCTV footage that currently filled it. “Oh,” he said, hurrying over to join Jack on the bed without taking his eyes off the screen. Wordlessly Jack passed him an opened beer and held out the popcorn, which Ianto took a handful of.
“They just left the school,” Jack updated Ianto. As he watched, Gwil and Estella – who really did appear to have beautiful long, silky dark hair – stepped out of frame. A moment later the image changed to another CCTV camera, and Gwil and Estella were back in frame. The picture zoomed as Jack fiddled with his wrist strap. Ianto took a sip of his beer. Bless Torchwood technology.
Jack gasped as the two little figures continued to walk, nudging Ianto hard on the shoulder. “Did you see that? Their hands brushed!”
Ianto squinted at the screen as he toed his shoes off and tugged his legs up onto the bed, crossing them as Jack's already for. He reached for another handful of popcorn as he watched. “That may have been an accident,” he mused.
But Jack was shaking his head. “No way. No boy of mine is going to 'accidently' brush a girl's hand. That was on purpose.”
As the couple went out of frame again, Jack fixed it with a single button pressed on his wriststrap. Now Gwil and Estella were heading up her drive, walk meandering slower and slower as the night drew to a close.
Pointing with his beer at the telly, Ianto observed: “His palms are sweaty. He's wiping them on his trousers.”
Jack was leaning forward, popcorn almost tumbling out of his lap as he cheered on the imagine on the telly. “Come on, Gwil. Go in for the kiss. You can do it!”
Ianto shook his head, grinning into his beer. “He's not going to do it,” he said into the neck before taking a swig. “He's too nervous.”
Jack's hands were clenched into fists as he pumped them up and down. “Come on, come on. You'll regret it if you don't.”
Abruptly, little Estella leaned forward on the screen and pecked a kiss to Gwil's cheek, before jumping back in embarrassment. She escaped into her house not a moment later, leaving a stunned Gwil gaping on her doorstep, hand slowly drifting up to touch his cheek. Jack let out a whoop, nearly upsetting the popcorn in his lap before Ianto grabbed it and tugged it to safety.
When the front door opened and shut a few minutes later, the telly was turned back to the normal stations and Jack and Ianto wandered slowly out of their room, both with their best innocent faces on. “How was the dance?” Ianto asked, all casual curiosity.
“Fine.” Gwil shrugged, glancing warily at his parents. “The music wasn't very good.”
“It never is,” Ianto sympathized.
“What about...” Jack started, before Ianto glanced over at him. Jack did his best to look reassuring before turning back to Gwil. “What about your friends? They all have a good time?”
“Michael and Tyler got kicked out for exploding the toilets,” he informed them. Jack and Ianto took this news matter-of-factly. From what they had learned of Gwil's two new friends so far this year, the two boys were brilliant. Brilliant, and either going to burn the school down or discover cold fusion by the time they graduated. Possibly both.
“You didn't get in trouble, did you?” Ianto asked needlessly. If he had, they would have gotten a call, and Gwil wouldn't have been able to have his walk home with Estella.
“Nope.” Gwil popped his 'p'. “So...” he eyed his parents, “Okay. Night.”
“Night!” Jack and Ianto chimed, watching as Gwil headed to his room.
He stopped just outside, peering back suspiciously at Jack and Ianto. Rather than giving voice to his worries, however, Gwil just asked: “Estella mentioned going to church on Sunday – she goes to a Catholic one. Would it be okay if I went with her family?”
Ianto looked at Jack, both men trying – and failing – to hide their equal parts amusement and surprise. “Sure,” Ianto said. “Just make sure it's okay with her parents. And you have to be respectful.”
Gwil rolled his eyes. “I know,” he grumbled. “Okay. Thanks. Night.”
They waited until Gwil's door snicked quietly shut behind him before turning to each other. Jack was the first to react: squeezing Ianto's cheeks in his hands and pressing a great smacking kiss to his lips. “I'm going to buy him condoms!”
Ianto's eyes widened, heart going all sick and fluttery as he watched Jack bound over to their shopping list and add “condoms” to the bottom. He underlined it three times with a flourish, before running back over to Ianto and tugging him to the bedroom. Ianto went, somewhat unwillingly, as he stared at that terrifying little word adorning the bottom of their shopping list. “It's going to be a few more years!” he spluttered. “At least five. Ten? Ten's better.”
Jack's laugh sent a shiver through Ianto's system that he couldn't shake for the rest of the night, even curled up into Jack's warmth and drifting to sleep.
Continue on to Chapter 3.