Ch. 4 Torchwood morning antics
The sun broke over the horizon bathing the sleeping city in an orange and pink glow. The hoarfrost clung to every surface. If anybody had been awake and had bothered to look, they would have seen the strange sight of a prehistoric creature gliding gracefully across the sky over the bay. Suddenly it swooped down into the water and came back up a moment later. It flew towards the city and the Roald Dahl Plass. A city garbage truck was moving along its route, gathering the waste and making the streets tidy again. ‘Should‘ve been a street sweeper’ the burly garbage man thought to him self, at he hauled the heave bins to the truck. He pressed the button that would cause the machine to lift the dirty bins and empty their smelly contents into the hold and crush it; making room for more. They still had a long way to go before being finished for today. ‘Must be nice to actually clean the streets. To see it make a difference. All we do is empty the same bins day in and day out.’ He pulled the now empty bins off the truck and hauled them back to their original place. He stopped a moment to flap his arms to get warm and looked up at the sky. ‘Still it’s nice to be out this time of day. No people about, ‘cept the really early risers or those that had been out all night.’ He was brought out of his musings when he spotted something in the air. ‘It’s that flying creature again.’ He had seen it several times, looking like one of those dinosaurs his kids liked to read about. He knew his co-workers had seen it too, but they never talked about it or any of the other strange things they found lurking about the city at the small hours of the morning. They had all learned to stay away from those ugly humanoid beasts with the teeth. He shrugged and pulled the scruff of his jacket closer. This was Cardiff after all. He went back to work.
It was at about this time that Jack was pacing up and down the corridors on the lower levels of the Hub. In his arms was the screaming Orion. The child seemed inconsolable, as nothing Jack had tried to calm the child had worked. It had been going on for an hour now.
“Maybe he’s coming down with something” Ianto said, fretting. “Is he hot?” Jack put a hand on Orion’s forehead. The child was a bit hot and his face was flushed, but that could be just from all that crying. He shook his head.
“Orion baby, what’s wrong? Does it hurt? Do you need a diaper change?” he asked. The child continued screaming. There was no smell from the diaper, so that wasn’t it.
“Maybe he just wants to cry. Sometimes kids do that.” Jack said uncertainly. Ianto considered it. It was possible. His sister’s kids had cried sometimes, without any discernible reason.
“Maybe he’s hungry.” Ianto yawned. It really was ungodly early, considering they had gone to bed late because of the weevil chase. He absentmindedly scratched his chest under the t-shirt he had pulled on along with the sweatpants. The lower levels were cold this time of year. Jack smiled at him fondly, walked over and put his hand on Ianto’s neck, pulling him in for a kiss.
“Come on, we’ll try with some food.”
They entered the small kitchen and Ianto busied himself with heating a bowl of baby food and making some coffee. When it was ready, he grabbed the two mugs, the bowl and a spoon. Jack joined him on the old tattered sofa in the Hub. Sitting Orion on his lap he picked up a spoonful of the mush and held it to Orion’s mouth. The kid pulled an incredible face of pure disgust, grabbed the spoon and tossed it clear across the room. It could be heard clattering to the floor somewhere over by Tosh’s workstation. Orion cried on.
Suddenly there was a movement followed by a wet squelching sound of something landing on the coffee table. Both adults looked at the thing. It was a medium sized fish. Still fresh, as it had no smell other than the smell of the ocean and a slight tinge of pollution. Myfanwy looked down at her humans and their youngling. ‘There, that aught to teach them’ she thought as she flew back up to her nest.
Orion seemed to be too surprised to cry anymore. He clapped his tiny hands together and laughed heartily. One would thing Myfanwy had been a circus elephant performing tricks for all the joy she had brought. The laugh was infectious and soon the adults were doubled over with it too. That was how Toshiko found them minutes later.
Jack and Ianto had gone back downstairs to shower and get dressed for the day. Toshiko had volunteered to babysit. She really was quite taken with the child and was excited to see if he would display any of the interesting qualities she had read about in Oxbridge’s easy guide to the Saluvian species. She squatted down in a rather un-ladylike position, causing her skirt to rise dangerously high. ‘Oh well, this guy is too little to be any danger.’ She thought as she studied the baby. He sat on a blanket on the floor of the Hub. His chubby little body covered in a play outfit. Perfect for tumbling around on floors. He was smiling at her, looking so much like his dads, it was almost uncanny. Particularly that smile. Because of it, he would have the female half of the human race wrapped around his little finger if he ever decided to go into a public line of work.
“Tos.” He beamed at her. She smiled back.
“Tosh.” She corrected.
“Tos…” he frowned, “Tosh.” A very satisfied look appeared on his face and he beamed at her again.
“Yes, Tosh. It’s short for Toshiko. Toshiko Sato.” She felt a little foolish to be introducing herself to the small child. But then again it only seemed proper. She had read in the pamphlet, that the Saluvians prided themselves on their ability to act properly and show due courtesy.
“Tos-iko?” ok, so he had a problem with the sh-sound. He pointed at the object in her hands. ‘Oh, right, the toy.’ It had been the reason she had found herself so close to the ground in the first place.
“This is called a ball.” She said to him. She rolled it to him, making his little face light up in glee.
“Ball.” He said proudly. He grabbed a hold of it and wrapped his little arms around it. “Ball.” She smiled at him. When he showed no signs of returning the ball to continue the game, she decided to prompt him a little.
“Do you want to play with the ball?” he nodded. “Then roll it back to me.” He looked at her suspiciously and then at the ball. He clearly didn’t want to part with it. “Then I’ll roll it back to you.” She hurriedly added. He seemed to consider this, biting his lower lip and looking a bit wary. Then he seemed to reach a decision and rolled the ball back to her. She smiled hugely at him. When the ball rolled back to him, he broke into a huge grin.
“Tos-iko ball” he exclaimed delightedly.
“So is this what you do in the mornings when I’m not here?” Owen was leaning against the work console behind them. She blushed furiously. ‘Typical, he would walk in just now.’ She hastily got up and straightened her clothes. Her heart hammering in her chest. He smiled nonchalantly. She swore it was like he knew about her hidden feelings for him.
Owen smiled inwardly. ‘Damn she looks cute blushing like that. Wait, what?! It’s Tosh, supreme science geek and vestal virgin wanna-be!’ he hurriedly looked away, so as not to revile his thoughts to her. His gaze fell on the little tyke on the floor. His mind turned to the physical and the test results from yesterday. They had been quite interesting. The kid was perfectly healthy as far as he could tell. He had a weird physiology, not to mention the strange things going on with the … well with every part of the body, really. The DNA was weird, so was the blood, and it seemed that there was something weird going on with the breakdown of the enzymes that… Well the kid was just weird. ‘alien weird.’ He corrected himself, ‘one would think the human side would be more prominent in him… considering two-thirds of his parentage is human.’
The kid noticed his gaze on him and pointed to his toy.
“Ball.” He said eagerly.
“That’s nice, kid.” Owen told him and walked away, lost in thought. Orion looked taken aback, not expecting the brush off. He pouted.
By now Toshiko had gathered her composure. She looked after Owens retreating back and she spotted a spoon of baby food on the floor by her work station.
“How did that get there?” she said to no one in particular and picked it up. Orion made a face when he saw what she was holding. He really did not like banana. Mashed or not. She looked around the Hub and spotted the bowl on the coffee table. “Is that a fish?” she looked around the Hub, but Owen had disappeared down into the autopsy bay, so it was just her and Orion.
Orion clapped and laughed when she picked up the fish and bowl and carried it to the kitchen. She had only just tossed the fish in the trash and was about to empty the bowl, when she felt an insistent tug at the hem of her skirt. Startled she looked down at the cause.
Orion was standing on wobbly legs beside her, still tugging at her skirt.
“What? How did you get here?” her surprised voice echoed on the tiles. Her strong exclamation startled Orion who promptly lost his balance. A strange squelching sound could be heard as his posterior impacted with the floor.
“Yuk.” He said quite clearly a moment later. She looked at him closely. He showed no signs of being hurt and there certainly were no tears. ‘Wait, he said…’
“Orion, what do you mean by yuk?” ‘surely he didn’t mean…’ she prayed silently. She had begun to notice a certain odour beginning to permeate the room. He pouted at her. She bent down and picked him up. As her hand made contact with his back for support, she became aware of a sticky warm… something… on his back. It was soaking through his shirt, as well as his pants, onto her sleeve. There was no longer any doubt regarding the smell or the substance causing it.
“Shit.” She cursed.
Orion nodded seriously. A pout still on his face.
Five minutes later they were downstairs and approaching the door to the locker room. Orion started squirming on her arm.
“No. Not go in.” he pleaded with her, shaking his head. She looked at him sternly.
“You are having a bath and that’s final. You can’t walk around covered in sh… poop. We are not animals.” Her patience was wearing thin. This was not what she had pictured her self doing when she left home earlier that morning. She put her hand on the door handle. Orion hid his face on her shoulder, as if he couldn’t bear to watch. She opened the door.
Up in the autopsy bay Owen was lazily surfing the internet, while waiting for the medical computer to finish processing the latest sample. It was therefore quite understandable, he later reasoned with himself, that he jumped and screamed like a little girl, when he heard the loud raucous from the bowels of the Hub.
A few minutes later Toshiko came storming up into the Hub, still carrying the filthy Orion. Her face was an astonishing shade of red. Hot on her heals were the captain and the tea-boy. Both were wet and wearing nothing but towels. ‘Tiny towels’ Owen noted.
‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god… I did not just walk in on them having sex in the shower.’ She glanced back over her shoulder. ‘Oh god, I did! Oh, no, this is so embarrassing.’ By the looks of him Ianto wanted nothing better than to become invisible and pretend it never happened. Or better yet, that it had never happened. Jack was taking it calmly. It would take more to faze him.
“Tosh, it’s ok. Really. You couldn’t have known (Owen rolled his eyes at this).” Jack glanced back at Ianto who was half hiding behind him. “We should’ve locked the door. It’s all our fault.” Ianto nodded, though not making eye contact with anyone. Tosh was still blushing profusely, but she gave a curt nod in acceptance of the apology.
“Good.” He beamed his megawatt smile at her. “Oh hi, Gwen,” he said to the figure lurking behind them further into the Hub. Tosh and Owen both turned to look at her. Gwen was staring at Jack with huge eyes and a lecherous look on her face. ‘She’s practically drooling,’ Ianto thought. ‘Back off, Bitch, he’s mine.’ He scowled at her. She didn’t notice. Orion too was glaring at Gwen in a pretty good imitation of his Tad. ‘Me not like her. She smells weird and her colours are wrong.’ (A/N: he means her aura). Gwen started sniffing the air.
“What is that smell?” she asked disgustedly.
“Shit.” Orion told her defiantly, as if daring her to contradict him. The adults all looked at him sharply. Gwen spluttered, Owen and Jack chuckled, Toshiko blushed again and Ianto looked at Tosh and then back at Orion, as if he didn’t know where to start.
An awkward moment passed. Then Toshiko decided to act.
“Well, seeing as you are no longer using the showers, I’ll take Orion down there and gets us both cleaned up.” She gave a short nod and brushed past the two naked men. Jack put his hand on Ianto's butt and leaned in and whispered something in his ear. Something that made the younger man blush before giving a tiny nod and a smile in return. Owen rolled his eyes and went back to his nice quiet autopsy bay. Gwen stood still, looking after the two naked men as they followed the Asian woman downstairs. It was a really nice sight, but it should be her walking down there with Jack. Not the bloody schoolboy.
Up in her nest Myfanwy guffawed before she finally turned her back on the Hub and went to sleep.