Title: Paternal Instincts
Summary: Youth ray. Need I say more? Okay then.
Rating: R (overall) for the slash, but not in this chapter.
Warning: Slash, duh. Oh, and an uncomfortable nappy changing scene.
Spoilers: I haven’t yet decided whereabouts in the series this will take place, so let’s just say spoilers for up to the end of the series.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything from the show; I’m pretty sure I stole the appalling ‘youth ray’ concept from somewhere as well.
A/N: I don't know where this is going yet, if anyone has any ideas let me know.
Ianto proudly scanned the gleaming hub; it was remarkable to believe that less than three hours ago the place had looked like the post-apocalyptic aftermath of a wild house party. Well, it kind of had been. Last night the team had indulged in a monumental drinking session, resulting in broken glasses and sticky-sugary patches on the furniture.
When the alien-tech-locator went off at nine o’clock earlier that morning, they’d all been suffering, well, everyone but Jack. Ianto had never questioned Jack’s odd qualities; the fact that he didn’t get drunk no matter how much he drank, how he never seemed to get ill, how his cuts and bruises always healed faster than normal. It was just Jack. Ianto had brewed a special hang-over cure coffee, for which the others had been extremely grateful; Owen in particular actually appeared greenish grey until he’d gulped down a mug of the miracle coffee.
Ianto had watched them gather together all the bits and pieces they were going to need; guns, PDAs, and other relevant gadgetry. He’d smiled and nodded as they sped past him and out of the door without as much as a ‘see ya later’. Then he’d gone to the supply closet, collected the cleaning equipment, and set about making everything sparkle.
Now he was going to head down to a pleasant little delicatessen that sold world-class sausage rolls, and make sure they had food in for when the team returned. But before he reached the door, it was kicked open. For the briefest moment Ianto was scared; he didn’t have his gun on him, and he remembered the last time he’d been taken by surprise… But the fear subsided when he saw it was Jack booting the door open; his hands were full so Ianto went to him immediately to relieve him of his cargo.
Ianto was surprised to say the least, to take the bundle from Jack and discover it was a pair of babies. He quickly adjusted his hold so as not to hurt/drop them. Jack had disappeared back out the door only to return twenty seconds later with a young boy held firmly in his grip.
The boy looked about five years old and was wearing a familiar leather jacket that swamped him and nearly reached his bare ankles, he had a mischievous glint in his eyes that was also familiar.
“I’ll be back in ten minutes, I’ll explain everything then.” Jack’s words were rushed and as quick as he’d made his entrance, he was gone again.
Ianto looked from the babies he was holding, to the blond boy.
“Can I have some chocolate milk?” The boy asked, climbing up onto the chair at Owen’s workstation.
“Uhm, certainly.” Ianto glanced at the babies again; one had a thick mass of black hair and enormous blue eyes, the other had silkier, straighter black hair and a general oriental appearance. “I’ll just put this down.” He scanned the room for somewhere safe to put the babies. The sofa? No, they could easily roll off. The floor? No, there were too many steps and it wasn’t exactly carpeted, he wasn’t sure if the babies were at crawling age yet, but he wasn’t going to risk it. He looked back to the boy. “Could you watch one of these babies while I go to the kitchen?”
The boy nodded eagerly, holding his arms out. It hadn’t escaped Ianto’s notice that the babies were wrapped in Tosh’s coat, and as much as he tried not to think about it, he was pretty sure he was holding Tosh and Gwen, and that the boy was Owen.
“Sit down on the sofa.” Ianto instructed, he was surprised to see Owen actually doing what he was told. “Now, hold her carefully, she’s asleep.” He handed Gwen over; she was wrapped in her own shirt beneath Tosh’s coat. “Please don’t drop her.” He added, shifting Tosh into the crook of one arm. Once he was certain that Owen wasn’t going to do anything dangerous, he ran to the kitchen as quickly as was safe.
Fortunately, they had several cartons of chocolate milk at the back of one of the cupboards in the kitchen, although the rest of the team probably had no idea they were there; it was Ianto’s job to be prepared.
He brought back a couple of cartons as fast as he could; just as if he were serving the coffee. He handed one carton to Owen, then punctured the little foil circle with the straw for him.
Whilst Owen slurped away at his milk, Ianto propped Tosh up at the corner of the sofa, then took Gwen back and sat her next to Tosh. He crouched down on the floor in front of the sofa and wondered what exactly he was supposed to do until Jack got back.
“I want a sammich.” Owen suddenly demanded.
“Sorry?” Ianto looked up, reluctant to take his eyes away from the babies.
“I want a sammich!” Owen demanded, louder this time. “I want a cheese and marmite sammich!”
“I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until Jack gets back.” Ianto wasn’t going to leave Owen to look after the babies for that long.
“But I’m hungry! Want a sammich now!” His face started getting redder and he threw himself from the sofa and began writhing on the floor, screaming incoherently and every now and then shouting ‘sammich sammich sammich’.
Ianto was an only child, he’d never had to deal with children before. He recalled discussing starting a family with Lisa; they’d both been so excited about the idea, about holding in their arms a baby born out of their love for each other. But they’d decided they were too young at the time, and now… well, now it was too late.
Lost in his thoughts, he hadn’t heard the door opening again and Jack returning.
“Owen, will you shut the hell up?!” Jack shouted; clearly he’d had just about as much experience with kids.
Owen screamed louder.
“I want a SAMMICH!”
“Tough shit!” Jack shouted back at him. “Now, I got you some clothes, put them on.” He threw an M&S bag at him and actually seemed to expect the five year-old to do as he was told. Jack then shifted his attention to Ianto. “Okay, so the alien tech is this ray, right?” As he was talking, he pulled a packet of nappies out of a second carrier bag. “No one’s picked it up, no one’s around.” He tore the packet open and pulled two nappies out, he threw one at Ianto and indicated towards Gwen. “Owen says ‘hey, this isn’t alien, this is just some kid’s toy!’ next thing you know; zap! He’s gone and squeezed the trigger.” He unwrapped the t-shirt from around Toshiko and started putting the nappy on her. “The girl’s both claim they feel fine, then there’s this blue light and they seem to be shrinking, the ray-thing malfunctions and the blue light starts seeping out of it into Owen’s hands, and then he’s shrinking, too.” He fastened the nappy and lifted Tosh into the air to see if it would stay on; it did. “By the time I can see again - it was a really bright light – there’s these two piles of clothes; two screaming babies in one of them, and that,” he pointed at Owen who had by this point become bored of his tantrum and was instead chewing the tags on his new clothes, “in the other.”
Jack looked at Ianto who was still staring at the nappy in his hands.
“Are you going to put that on her, or what?” Jack spoke as if it was the most natural thing in the world to put a nappy on one of his colleagues – well, for Jack it may well have been, but he didn’t particularly want to think about that. “For god’s sake, have you never changed a diaper?”
Ianto watched in a confused type of distaste as Jack removed Gwen’s shirt and started playing ‘this little piggy’ with her toes.
“How do we get them back to normal?” Ianto asked in a quiet unassuming voice.
“Don’t even know if we can yet.” Jack admitted. “Can you give Owen a hand getting dressed?”
Owen had removed the leather jacket and had one leg through the arm of a red t-shirt. When Ianto turned to help him, Owen dropped the t-shirt and ran, naked, away from him, giggling like a lunatic. Ianto sighed heavily and set about chasing him, brandishing a small pair of y-fronts and the t-shirt.
“C’mon Owen, don’t make this difficult.”
Half an hour later Owen was dressed in plain jeans and a t-shirt, slurping away at another carton of chocolate milk and smugly disassembling his cheese and marmite ‘sammich’.
Ianto was still straightening up the furniture around the hub; Owen had managed to upturn every chair in his path and he’d smashed several coffee cups. It had taken the threat of a spanking from Jack to get him to behave.
Jack was reading through the archive files, looking for anything that might be of use in repairing/reversing the odd weapon.
“Well, I’m stumped.” Jack pushed his chair away from the desk and laced his fingers behind his head. “I’m gonna have to call Rhys and let him know Gwen won’t be home tonight.”
Ianto looked at Gwen; she was lying on her back on the floor gently gurgling and waving her earpiece in front of her face. He smiled, relieved at the air of quiet calm that had fallen since the hub had become a nursery. A high-pitched whine indicated that Tosh had woken up and wanted feeding. Ianto picked her up out of the make-shift cot (a broken filing cabinet padded out with blankets and pillows), and walked with her to the kitchen where he’d left a bottle of warm milk in the microwave. After testing the temperature of the milk on his wrist, he went back to the main part of the hub, sat down on the sofa, got comfortable and found that feeding a baby came very naturally to him.