For a week after the Lisa incident, Jack took over pterodactyl duties.
They'd been Ianto's job before, but even though he was back at work, doing what he could to forget and forgive, hoping they'd do the same, he found himself unable to even look at Myfanwy without wanting to wring her leathery green neck, or possibly kill himself. So he didn't. Jack understood, taking her bucket of meat in silence that first night, cleaning up after her, making sure Ianto didn't have to. It was a small kindness, very much appreciated.
But after eight days came the day with the fairies, whatever they really were. The others had trooped in, all looking somewhere between furious (Gwen), numb and sullen (Owen), worried (Tosh), and coldly, deeply miserable (Jack). They barely spoke when they arrived. Jack stomped into his office and locked the door behind him. Gwen appeared to be near tears. Owen's voice cut the silence.
"Alright you lot. I think we can call it a day. Reports can wait for morning. Ianto, can you lock up? Oh, list of cleanup instructions is on the pile there."
"Of course." He didn't think coffee would help any of them. Best for them to leave, really. He watched them troop out, satisfied that the end of the world had been averted, again, and picked up his list of instructions. Oh dear. Three dead, one child taken, a distraught mother to retcon and a plausible story to come up with. This was going to take a while.
Two hours later he put down the phone after one final call, satisfied that he'd bullied enough officials into cooperation. The woman had been slipped some retcon by Owen before they'd left there- by morning, she'd find herself at Cardiff Royal, waking up from sedation, to be told the tragic story of her husband and daughter's deaths in a car accident. It wouldn't lessen her pain, but it would give her some closure and look better in official records. There wouldn't be enough left of the daughter to identify- fires could burn very hot in a car. Ianto knew he was condemning the woman to a lifetime of survivor's guilt, but then, why should she be different from anybody else who lived? At least she'd have the luxury of memories.
He raised his head, rubbing the stiffness out of his neck, and froze mid-motion. Not three feet away, Myfanwy was watching him with one patient, yellow eye. She was perched oddly on her clawed hind feet, balancing, just watching him.
"Go away." He closed his eyes. Then he opened them and looked up at Jack's office. The desk light was still on, but the door was closed and the glass walls darkened for privacy. From the general feel of the incident, Ianto didn't think it'd be wise to bother Jack just now. And the pterodactyl was clearly hungry, damn her. He considered just letting her own for her nightly flight without feeding her. So what if she snatched an unguarded sheep or somebody's dog? It'd happened before. Jack had been rather angry, every time. Someone might shoot her…Ianto's hand hovered over the lever that opened the roof. Let someone shoot her, please.
He was too busy looking up to notice what was happening by his feet, and jumped with a squeak when something nudged his leg. Looking down, he saw Myfanwy had hobbled towards him, and was now practically pressed against his leg. And she was…cooing? Warbling? It sounded like a mix between a pigeon and a cat. And it was oddly soothing, which was all that kept Ianto from kicking her away and jumping a meter back. She tapped his leg with her beak again, gently, and he shuddered, thinking of that same beak tearing into Lisa's flesh.
"Go away, bird." He repeated, in Welsh this time, backing away himself. He knew she was hungry, but she wouldn't attack him. She knew- he swallowed hard- she knew how to recognize food by the special mix they used. Looking up again, his eyes landed on Jack's office again and the rising nausea turned to anger. Was it really Myfanwy's fault, if Jack used her? She couldn't help being a killer, just like Jack couldn't, except that she was just an animal. There'd been no malice to her attack, vicious as it had been. "I suppose you don't deserve to be starved, do you?" Talking to a pterodactyl. This was definitely the beginning of the end. She cooed again, or purred or whatever it was, and he sighed. "Alright. Just…stop touching me." It made his skin crawl.
She left him alone as he went to the back kitchen and pulled out the meat they kept for her. They had it delivered twice a week- another one of Ianto's jobs, and not one that Jack had taken over, when it came to Myfanwy. In this case, Ianto didn't really mind. It was just a phone call, after all. He emptied the meat into the pail they kept for that purpose, and dragged it outside. The rush of claws and wings in his direction nearly made him drop it, but after that initial burst of speed she waited quite politely until he drizzled the special sauce all over the meat and backed away.
Ianto turned away, unable to watch as she devoured her dinner. He couldn't help hearing it, and the memories that triggered sent him crashing into a chair, too shaken to stay upright. He covered his ears with his hands, trying to drive away the sounds both inside and outside his own mind. He screwed his eyes shut, lost in memories that made him want to scream. He didn't even notice the silence around him until the slurping and tearing was replaced with a soft purr. Slowly, he let his hands fall to the desk to cradle his head. When a leathery crest rubbed against his forearm, he didn't even bat it away. That purr really was very soothing, he thought after a longish time. Raising his head, he noticed two things: one, it was almost 2 am, and an hour at least since he'd sat down, and the second was that Myfanwy was still pressed against him, one wing wrapped firmly around his leg, purring and apparently fast asleep.
"Shit." He shook his leg, trying to dislodge her. Nothing. "Myf, wake up will you?" He pushed against her head. She nuzzled his palm, purring again. I never thought of her as a flying cat. But apparently she wasn't about to let go. Ianto hurriedly wiped his eyes, glancing up towards Jack's office again. The light was out, the door still closed.
"Don't you want to go out flying, girl?" He tried to peel back the wing holding on to him, and managed to remove her. Yellow eyes blinked at him sleepily. Was he imagining the silent apology? Probably. "Come on, let's let you out for the night, ok?" Then he could maybe go home, but he needed to be in again in five hours anyway. Might as well sleep here, it wouldn't be the first time. Myfanwy rose into the air to circle his head, but made no move to leave when he opened the overhead hatch for her. "No, huh? Ok." He closed it again.
"I'm going to sleep now." Still talking out loud with the pterodactyl. In Welsh, too- he must be more tired than he thought to slip like that. "And if you shit on me during the night, I swear I'll chop you up into bait." Her coo held a slightly scornful note. Definitely gone off the deep end there, Ianto, thinking she can understand you. She was a prehistoric creature washed in through the Rift. She had a brain the size of a walnut. Hell, they weren't sure she was a she. There was no way she could understand him.
Still, when he took off shoes, tie and jacket and pulled an afghan over himself on the ratty sofa in the corner, she came to perch above him. She was a flying reptile. Flying reptiles didn't cuddle.
But until that night, Ianto had no idea how sweet the cooing song of a pterodactyl could be. He had no idea pterodactyls sang. Or maybe it was just this special one.
The next morning, he told Jack he'd feed her again from now on. Jack, his eyes shadowed and his face drawn, just nodded. That night as he was locking up, Ianto found Myfanwy following him, claws scraping against the carpet. He thought about how tired Jack had looked, and about how he hadn't even felt glad about that.
"Go visit Jack tonight, girl." He whispered. "I'll sleep at home, and he needs it more than I do." She cooed, flapped herself into the air and away towards the main Hub. Ianto smiled for the first time in weeks, locked up the information office and went home, humming the pterodactyl's song.