Ianto was hurrying, not quite late but for him even turning up on time was too late for his liking and as he pulled into the parking space Max called out with glee from the back seat. Ianto turned to look in the direction the little boy was pointing and nodded, "Alright then. Engine off, safe to remove the safety harness then."
Max undid the harness on his large care seat and struggled for the door, opening it to clamber down and run towards the group of children yelling that they were here. Ianto got out and calmly stepped to the grass at the front of the vehicle and took a knee as the first child met him, the sea of hands clasping at him as child after child embraced their biological father.
The Survivor's Group.
Once a month they met, many only children now able to have siblings as those who bemoaned the sorrow of not being able to conceive a second child revelled in the friendships with other parent as well as falling in love with children who resembled their own.
This was the third meeting, the three month mark and Ianto rose with a limpet on his back, little arms locked around his neck as the little girl snarled and wriggled. He walked towards the picnic tables as parents now moved to greet the giver of life, the man responsible for the twenty odd children running around … some quite odd with their serious frowns and little coordinated outfits.
"Oh no! You have a horrible animal on your back" one laughed as she retrieved her child, Ianto giving the child a little kiss before settling and a lap was claimed by another child.
"Oh my god" a voice said, a stranger with twins standing there as he looked around at the children and the six women who were calmly preparing the tables to eat as the other men and women had walked back to the vehicles for more food "All these are yours?"
"Yes. These are my wives" Ianto said with a straight face, "We believe in the teachings of the profit. Nice children… how old? I may have a daughter we can promise to one another?"
The man's face paled as he snatched his sons back and slowly started backing up, one of the fathers laughing as he stepped forward to claim his wife "Ianto is family, we all are. He's pulling your leg!"
The man hurried his sons away looking back over his shoulder to show he didn't quite believe them, more laughter as Ianto shrugged and cuddled a child. The roar of an SUV filled the air as Jack sped into the parking lot and skidded to a halt next to Ianto's smaller one, clambering out followed by the rest of the team. The Family all noted the way Ianto's smile faded slightly and he became quiet, the excited childish one gone. A mask had been pulled on that they all talked about. They all saw that Ianto was a closed person, the one they rarely saw was the sweet man their children took after. Clearly things with Jack were still fluid and they exchanged looks.
"Sorry, sorry!" Jack yelled as he waved merrily, "Got me foot stuck in a door!"
"That's a new one" Glenda said softly "Makes a change from the … car won't start"
"Yeah" Jack grinned, then seized a random child and took off screaming with the kids following.
"He still pretends so much he forgets, we know about the Alien thing" Christophe sighed.
I know … he really needs new material that doesn't include the words Alien or shooting" Ianto agreed sagely as everyone laughed softly, "I may make him a word a day calendar or something."
"Hey, you two get any closer to … you know. The conversation?" Fred asked softly, watching the older children race for the wading pool with Owen and Gwen.
"Well …I don't want to push things" Ianto grimaced, "We have another date on Friday."
"Another? Two in the same week?" Ella said with glee as she and Fred had been seeing a lot of Ianto and now saw him as a friend, "So … progressing?"
"Yeah" he smiled softly.
"I don't get it. The house is his that you live in, he clearly loves Max and wants more with you … I really thought he would have moved in with you by now." Fred shrugged.
"Jack … he doesn't do monogamy that well" Ianto was clearly uncomfortable now, "We never agreed to that. I just … if we got serious and then I found someone else waiting for him some nights …I might not feel so happy right now."
"Pessimist" Fred scolded, "Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Come on Ianto, the fear of getting hurt cannot stop the possibility of things feeling so much better. You think the first man who ever tried a segway wasn't scared of falling on his face?"
"You know what happened to the inventor of those things?" Ianto canted his head, "He fell off a cliff on one!"
Fred threw his hands into the air as he puffed with exasperation.
Ianto was such a bloody pessimist.