“Ianto! Watch me!”
Jack waited until Ianto looked up from the sandbox: curly brown hair falling in his eyes, bright blue eyes glittering in the sun as he squinted up. “What?”
Jack waved from his position on top of the monkey bars. He wasn't supposed to be up there: Mrs. Richards had said he'd hurt himself. But Jack, in all his six years of wisdom, knew better. And with Ianto watching him, he'd be brilliant. He always was when Ianto watched.
“Are you watching?” Jack shouted down to Ianto. It was very important that Ianto watched him. If Ianto didn't, then he wouldn't see how brilliant Jack was.
A mass of bobbing curls was his immediate answer, followed by a “Yeah!”
With that, Jack picked himself up onto the top of the monkey boys, standing with barely a wobble. He could hear Ianto's gasp even all the way up there. “Get down!” his best friend shouted. “You're going to get hurt!”
Jack laughed, arms spread out like wings as he walked one foot in front of the other across the top of the monkey bars. He wasn't going to get hurt. Not with Ianto watching him. “Are you watching?” he called again, not quite willing to dare to look away from his feet.
“I'm watching!” came Ianto's reply, closer to Jack than the last time. Startled, Jack glanced down, to spot Ianto standing almost directly beneath him, bright red lips tugged under his teeth as he peered up. Jack grinned, smiling down at Ianto and waving. His tummy flip-flopped when Ianto smiled back up at him, blue eyes sparkling.
Abruptly, Jack's entire world slipped out from under him. His foot misstepped, leading to his arms pinwheeling frantically. His stomach lurched, and then the sky was above him and the ground beneath him and nothing was under his feet as he fell, fell to the muddy ground far below.
The impact knocked the wind out of him, causing Jack to gasp and struggle to breathe, panic rising in his throat. He couldn't breathe, he couldn't breathe, he was going to die...
Jack's breath came back to him in a rush, air dashing into his lungs as tiny fingers plucked at his shoulder.
Blinking and shaking his head, Jack peered up. Above him was bright blue sky. He slid his eyes shut against the glare. But then a shadow fell across him, and he chanced another glance up. The harsh blue of the sky had been replaced by the worried blue of Ianto's eyes, tearing up now as he stared down at him.
“Jack! Are you okay? Jack!”
Slowly Jack's senses came back to him, and he managed to register Ianto's shaking grip on his shoulder. Slowly he pushed himself upright, checking himself over as Ianto managed to both cling to him and give him space. Jack frowned as he looked down at his palms, finding them cut open and bloody. “Ow,” he whined. Now that sensation was returning, they stung . And his bum hurt from the fall. Jack sniffed. “ Ow ,” he whined again.
Before he could work himself up into a really good cry, Ianto was there: tugging at his wrists, bringing his hands to his mouth and kissing them gently. Jack blinked, tears disappearing in an instant. “What are you doing?”
Ianto peered up at Jack, eyes still a touch teary. “My mam does this whenever I get boo-boos. It makes them better.”
Jack blinked, considering this for only a moment before he replied. “My bum hurts, too.”
Ianto giggled uproariously at that, all traces of tears gone as he fell backwards on the ground, slapping at Jack as he went. “Ew! No!”
With a quick wipe of his hands on his trousers, Jack scooted over to join Ianto on the ground, staring up at the monkey bars he had just fallen from. Ianto's head bumped against his. “Don't do that again,” he whispered.
“But wasn't I brilliant?”
There was a pause, long enough for squirming nerves to start up in Jack's belly. He lifted himself up on elbows, peering over at Ianto. The other boy's eyes were closed against the sun, but a smile crept across his lips. “Yeah,” he conceded. “You were brilliant. Until you fell.”
Jack settled back down on the ground next to Ianto. Then all the boo-boos were worth it.