Written for Challenge 400: Did You Hear That? at fan_flashworks.
Set in my Nosy-Verse.
Being a new parent was equal parts terrifying and enthralling. Ianto knew Jack had done all this before; he had a daughter, Alice, older than Ianto although Jack hadn’t been the one to carry her. He’d also mentioned to Ianto that he’d been pregnant before, but he hadn’t gone into detail. Ianto suspected a sad ending to that particular experience, so he’d respected his husband’s privacy. There were some things in both their pasts it was better not to dwell on.
Still, Jack was an experienced dad while Ianto was a complete novice. He hadn’t even held his nephew and niece when they’d been babies, mostly because he’d been living in London when they were born. Looking back, he’d been a crappy excuse for an uncle, hardly ever around. It was a miracle Mica and David wanted anything to do with him.
This was his baby though, his own new-born daughter, less than twenty-four hours old. She was such a tiny, fragile little scrap, but she had quite a set of lungs on her when she wanted attention. He held her now, looking down into her bright blue eyes, and almost forgot to breathe. She’d just been fed and burped, and now she was sleepy. Her tiny mouth opened wide as her eyes slid closed, and Ianto gasped in delight.
“Did you see that?” he asked, unable to tear his gaze away from his daughter’s face. “Her first yawn!”
Jack snorted softly, coming to sit beside him. “Not the first one.”
“Well, it was the first one I’ve seen. You were hogging her earlier.”
“I was not. You were afraid to hold her in case you dropped her.”
“I’d never held a baby before, of course I was scared; she’s so tiny!”
The baby yawned again.
“She’s a sleepy little girl; we should pop her in her crib for a while, take the opportunity to rest while she's sleeping."
Ianto knew that was wise, they’d been up half the previous night, feeding and changing their daughter every couple of hours, and would no doubt be doing the same tonight, but he was still reluctant to let go of her. He just wanted to hold her forever, protect her from the world and all its many dangers. That would be impossible, however, and Jack was right; they should rest while they had the chance. Getting to his feet, Ianto laid his little bundle of joy carefully in the crib set up beside the sofa and settled down for a nap with Jack, leaving Nosy keeping an eye on the baby.
The days passed in a frantic haze of baby care and exhaustion, but each one brought something new for Ianto to marvel at.
“Jack! Did you see that? She smiled at me!”
“It’s just wind, Ianto.” Jack smiled indulgently at his husband. “She’s only two weeks old, too young to be smiling yet.”
“Oh.” Ianto frowned, oddly disappointed. “She could be more advanced than other babies though, couldn’t she? I mean, her daddy’s from the future. You’re always saying humans are more evolved in the fifty-first century.”
Jack laughed, picked Meriel up, and rubbed her back, getting a loud burp from her. “Like I said, just wind.”
“Right.” Ianto slumped against the sofa cushions, part of him hating having been proved wrong.
“You’ve still got a while to wait for that first smile. She won’t start smiling until around six weeks.”
“I know that; I’ve read all the books on baby development, I just thought…” Ianto sighed and shook his head, knowing he was being ridiculous.
“Don’t be in too much of a hurry for her to do things. Babies grow up way too fast anyway; she’ll be walking before you know it.”
“And won’t that be fun?” Ianto smiled wryly.
“Oh yeah!” Jack grinned back. “Good thing we’ve got Nosy to help us keep track of her. We won’t have to worry about her getting into mischief the moment we take our eyes off her.”
“Especially if she turns out to be a speed demon like her dad,” Ianto agreed.
Almost before Ianto could blink, Meriel was a month old, five weeks, six weeks, and then he was left wondering how he’d ever mistaken wind for a smile, because his daughter’s smile was so like Jack’s, lighting up the room. Soon she was smiling every time she saw either of her parents, or Nosy, or a dozen other things and people that made her happy. She still woke everyone up at night, wanting to be fed or changed, but she was a happy baby, always looking around her with wide blue eyes wherever they went, eagerly taking everything in.
When their daughter was thirteen weeks old, Jack and Ianto arrived home laden with shopping. With Meriel still in her car seat they trudged wearily into the flat, relieved to finally be home. The shops had been packed, queues a mile long at the checkouts, and then they’d got stuck in a traffic jam thanks to roadworks so both men were feeling tired and frazzled. Carrying the car seat, Ianto made his way down the steps to the lounge while Jack took several bags straight through to the kitchen, wanting to get certain items into the fridge and the freezer as soon as possible.
Setting his daughter down where Nosy could watch her, Ianto took off his shoes and coat, picked up the rest of the shopping bags, and headed for the kitchen himself, but stopped dead halfway there, eyes going wide, as he heard something he’d never heard before.
“Jack! Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” Jack’s head popped up above the breakfast bar.
The sound came again, and Jack’s face lit up. Ianto was grinning so widely his face was starting to hurt, but he didn’t care, in fact he barely even noticed.
“She’s laughing! Meriel’s laughing!”
Nosy was playing a kind of peek-a-boo with their baby girl, ducking down out of Meriel’s eyeline, then suddenly popping up, making her kick her little feet and laugh out loud, her hands grabbing uselessly at her best friend, who was out of her reach.
Dumping the bags of groceries on the floor, Ianto fumbled his phone out of his pocket, turned to the camera setting, and started filming as Jack came out of the kitchen to join him, leaving a tub of softening ice cream abandoned on the counter. At that moment nothing mattered to them except their daughter’s gleeful chuckle.
As much as Ianto was eagerly awaiting his little girl’s first tooth, her first word, her first steps, and all the other milestones that still lay ahead, this was one he’d somehow completely overlooked, and yet surely it was one of the most important. It was their daughter’s happiness and delight made manifest for all to see and hear, and he was sure he’d never get tired of that sound. He’d never heard anything so wonderful! If he could have one wish on his daughter’s behalf, it would be that she’d live a life full of joy and laughter, spreading happiness wherever she went.