Chapter 13 For better or for worse
Ianto was standing at the kitchen counter expertly operating the coffee machine, when it happened. It was the sudden loud noise of several car alarms going off at the same time. Both he and Johnny looked out the window to see what was going on. The car parked in the driveway was flashing its lights and howling furiously to let everyone know it was being stolen. Except that it wasn’t. Neither were the other cars parked at the various neighbours houses that where also sounding their alarms.
Then to their amazement the hood of the car started opening and closing, the car windows began sliding open and shut, the locks on the doors locking and unlocking. Johnny gaped at the sight. He had never seen such a mad display before. Ianto was only slightly surprised. When you worked for Torchwood you got used to the unusual no matter how surprising it might be. He speculated at the cause of the disturbance. ‘Some electrical impulse? Maybe caused by the rift or an alien ship? Was it a deliberate attack? A ruse to unsettle us and make us an easy target?’
Then the lights in the house started to flicker on and off again. Though he noticed that it stayed on at the other houses. The coffee sudden exploded out of the machine, splashing every surface with the dark liquid. The hands on the clock on the wall started spinning rapidly. There was a noise from the living room, as if the stereo and the TV had been turned on by themselves. He left Johnny and went in there to check. The room was empty.
He went over and turned the devices off, only to have them flicker back on again a moment later. After the same thing had been repeated a few times he resolved the problem by simply pulling the plug from the wall socket. ‘What the bloody hell is going on?’ he thought as he headed up the stairs to check on his loved ones.
As he arrived on the top of the stairs he had to swerve away quickly in order to avoid hitting a toy fire engine that was floating through the air; its little siren sounding shrilly. He looked at the toy. It appeared to be hovering in the air unassisted. He grabbed it and turned off the noisy siren. He stared at it for a moment. ‘Why would aliens cause this? Did they suddenly have a poltergeist on their hands? A poltergeist with a love for noisy vehicles? That didn’t make any sense’ he thought as he moved further down the hallway.
When he reached Mica’s room he again stopped to survey the goings on. Rhiannon was by the bed, tending to Mica while Jack was by the window. It seemed he had been backed into the window sill by a floating glob of water hanging just in front of him, with an empty water jug near by. The room was full of floating objects; children’s toys, books, clothing, even some small furniture like the desk lamp and the chair David had used to ward off Orion. Ianto gaped open mouthed. He had seen many things, but this… he ducked as a doll came sailing past his head a little too close for comfort. Just as he locked eyes with Jack all the objects came crashing to the floor.
“What the bloody hell was that?!” Owen shouted from behind Ianto, making him jump. Jack removed the pair of pink Cinderella leggings that had landed on his head and said:
“Some sort of telekinesis, it seems. Maybe even some form of electricity control.”
“But… how..?” Owen seemed lost for words. It was rather unlike him. The man normally had a snarky remark for every occasion.
“Things went haywire downstairs as well. Not to mention the cars out on the street.” Ianto told Jack. He nodded.
“This house appears to be the epicentre.” Ianto paled. He looked over at the bunk bed.
“Orion.” He whispered. Jack heard him though and agreed.
Owen looked at them in confusion.
“Are you saying he is responsible?” he asked incredulously. It seemed so unlikely to him that a small child could cause all of that. Though he didn’t much appreciate little kids he had grown fond of the little tyke. If he suddenly posed a threat… well that didn’t bear thinking. He looked over at the lower bunk, where Ianto was now sitting beside Orion. The child was tossing and turning, mumbling nonsense and clearly suffering from a fever. Rhiannon looked at Jack unapprovingly. How he could blame a small child for this she would never understand. She kept quiet though, for now at least. This was their area of expertise after all.
Ianto held a fresh cool cloth to Orion’s forehead as Jack answered.
“It seems likely. Remember the information in the pamphlet. The Saluvians have all sorts of special abilities. Is it such a big leap for Orion to have some of those abilities as well? Last week at Christmas he turned David’s clothes pink.”
“No, its just that… wait… what? He did what?” Ianto's lips curled up at the sides at that.
“Well it was an accident and we still don’t know how he did it, but…” Jack shrugged dismissaly. Owen gave him a long hard stare, before he finally shrugged and went over to the bed. Ianto reluctantly moved out of the way to give the doctor room to examine the kids. Orion was still tossing restlessly in the bed and all around the room objects were shuttering, as if they wanted to be airborne again, but were struggling with it.
Owen examined Mica first. Gently pulling her duvet back and checking her vitals. Rhiannon stood passively by keeping a close watch. The man did know what he was doing, she knew. In spite of his earlier appearance he now seemed quite sober and the modicum of cleaning up he had managed before the disruption had helped a bit. If anybody could figure this thing out, it would be him. He was the world’s leading expert on alien diseases. She snorted inwardly. He was the only expert in this field on the planet.
She spotted Johnny by the door. He looked as spooked as she felt. This whole thing was like something out of the films. Like that poltergeist movie. A frightening thought occurred to her. What if they had to bring in someone else and it was someone like that little scary woman with the squeaky voice like that movie? She shivered and berated herself for being silly. There were no ghosts here. This was alien, not spectral. Ianto noticed his sister’s discomfort and joined her, throwing his arm about her waist. She smiled gently at him, grateful for his support. Johnny left to check on David, while they waited for the doctor to finish with the other two children.
Ianto stayed with Orion and Mica, while Owen was examining David in the next room. Jack had gone downstairs to clean up in the kitchen and to be alone with his thoughts. This was the part of being a family that he hated. The worrying. The fear of loosing them. He had lost so many people already. It had not been easy for him to surrender him self to the force of nature that was Ianto Jones. He had in fact put up a good fight. But Ianto had persevered and patiently stood by him through thick and thin. One night things had come to a head. They had argued and Ianto had given him an ultimatum. Either he committed him self to the relationship or they were through. He had stormed out and abandoned Ianto and the team for a whole week.
He’d gotten drunk, slept with some random chick he’d met at a bar, woken up in a back alley with no clear recollection of how he had gotten there. A street bum had smirked at him and pulled him over to a small fire to get warm. They had sat in silence for a long time. Then the bum suddenly spoke. He told him, that the only home a person has is the present; that you cannot make a living in the past or the future. After that he became silent again and went back to ignoring Jack. It had been most unusual. To this day Jack still couldn’t figure the bum out. Was he a psychic? Maybe he had been The Doctor in disguise or something… Jack snorted at the idea ‘as if the Gallifreyan didn’t have other things to do. Like saving the world as we know it.’ He had gone back to his hotel, gotten cleaned up and then gone and apologized to his wonderful Welshman. Things had been a bit rocky at first. Trust once lost is not automatically returned, he discovered. Things were good now, though.
He looked down at the ring on his finger. Things were very good indeed between them. He had never imagined Ianto would propose. But he sure was glad that he had. These days he could not imagine being without the young man. He knew someday, hopefully in the distant future, he would loose him and be alone again. But he was here now and that was all that mattered. The bum had been right. His life was in the here and now and shouldn’t be spent bemoaning the past or dreading the future. He sighed. It wasn’t easy though. The many years weighed heavily on him and there were so many years of careful conditioning to break. Ianto helped though. He was a breath of fresh air in his life and now Orion was too.
He had had other children. Alice was just the most recent. He had even carried a child to term once a long time ago; though that was not an experience he cared to repeat. 51st century men might be able to become pregnant, but that didn’t mean that they should. No, he would gladly leave that to the women, who were actually built for that kind of thing. He smiled as this thought led him to thinking about Sybille. What a night that had been! It was sad what had happened to her. Death by husband didn’t sound like a nice way to go. But he was grateful in a strange way, because her death had let to Orion’s arrival in their midst.
He smiled at the thought of their son. The kid had wormed his way into the hearts of everyone very quickly. Even Gwen’s. He had been astonished, when Gwen had joined in the fun at the party before Christmas and he suspected Orion had had something to do with it; though he didn’t know what exactly. Tosh already behaved like an adoring aunt, Owen could be perceived as a grumpy uncle and Ianto’s family clearly loved the kid. Rhiannon was a good mother-figure for him. Jack smiled at the thought of her. The woman was a fierce protector of first Ianto and her kids and now of Orion as well. He knew she had practically raised Ianto; taking over the role of the mother after their real mother died. Their father had been a broken man; first with grief over his wife and then by the failure of his master tailor’s shop. He had instead been forced to get a job in a department store selling men’s wear. He had turned to the drink after that. It had been a hard childhood for the both of the Jones children. Jack sighed. He knew he and Ianto as well as Rhiannon would ensure that Orion would get a better upbringing. If they could figure out what was wrong with him, that is.
Upstairs Ianto was sitting awkwardly on the side of the lower bunk and holding his son’s hand. He had a crick in his back and his neck was killing him. He had to lean at a weird angle because of the top bunk. He rolled his head and shoulders in order to relieve some of the aches. Then he rapidly had to duck again as a book came sailing past him. One by one the various objects in the room started to become airborne again and fly around the room; some of them just seemed to float gently, while others whizzed around in circles. There seemed no discernible pattern to it. From downstairs he could hear the tumble dryer turn on and the lights flickered again. He looked down at Orion. He appeared to be delirious. He was mumbling in a strange language, or maybe several different languages; Ianto couldn’t be sure. The kid tossed restlessly and Ianto put his hand on his forehead to prevent the cloth from dislodging.
“Ducks are roller-skating… the beach… scissors chasing the moons… song…” were some of the only words he could make out that were in English. ‘What in the world was going on in the kid’s sub consciousness?’ he wondered.
Owen poked his head in on the way past. He gave a momentary start at the sight of the things flying around before continuing.
“I’m going to the Hub. I need to feed these samples to the medical computer for analysis.” Ianto nodded. He hadn’t expected a diagnosis already, though it would have been preferable. “Call me if there is any change, okay?” He nodded again. He was prepared for a long vigil.
Downstairs Jack was on the phone with Gwen. The woman had called to ask about the thing she had seen on the news. Jack had proceeded to the living room and grabbed the remote to turn the TV on. Nothing had happened though. It took him a few moments to realise that the plug had been pulled. When he was finally able to turn it on and switch to the news channel he felt rather shaken. They were reporting from the hospital, where several children had been admitted with a mysterious disease. More children could be seen arriving as the reporter spoke. All of the children had fevers and purple spots.