Characters: Ianto, Owen, Jack, Tosh, Gwen.
Word Count: 1633
Summary: Owen is not quite himself, and poor Ianto is stuck trying to keep him in line.
Written For: Challenge # 201: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge # 61: Transformation. Also for I Love Janto who asked for No. 1. “Come over here and make me,” Using Torchwood, Ianto & Owen.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“Owen, put that down!” Ianto shouted at his teammate.
“No, why should I?” Owen scowled back at Ianto belligerently.
“Because I told you to?”
“You can’t tell me what to do! You’re not the boss of me! You’re not the boss of anyone! I can do whatever I want!” Owen made a show of brandishing the alien artefact, taunting Ianto with it. “See? You can’t stop me!”
“Owen, if you don’t put that back where you got it right this instant…”
Before Ianto could even finish his threat, Owen was shouting again. “Why don’t you come over here and make me!”
“Because I shouldn’t need to. You’re behaving like a spoiled three-year-old. If you want to be treated like a grown-up, try acting like one.”
Ianto sighed heavily; he was sure this wasn’t anywhere on his list of duties. Then again, the rest of the team could hardly have taken Owen with them to round up a pack of rogue weevils, not in his current state, and someone had to stay with him. He was sure the others must have cheated when they were drawing straws to see who would be stuck with babysitting the medic.
To be honest, Ianto had preferred Owen when he’d been a baby; he’d been far easier to cope with then, sleeping most of the time, and all smiles and giggles when he was awake. Had that really only been yesterday? Tosh had done the best she could when she got in this morning to reverse the effects of the de-aging machine, but had only succeeded in speeding up the re-aging process, so that now Owen was aging at a rate of about a year every hour.
Last night he’d been a sweet little bundle of joy, but now he was mouthy nine-year-old, pushing at the boundaries of authority to see what he could get away with. He was a menace, and Ianto’s patience was fast running out. The only person whose authority Owen might respect was Jack, but since Jack wasn’t present, it was up to Ianto to lay down the law. He didn’t think he was doing too well with that so far; he felt like a stepparent trying to discipline his partner’s child.
Ignoring Ianto’s words, Owen continued to prance about, waving the device he’d snatched from the box of items Ianto had brought up from the archives for cataloguing, pulling faces and making rude gestures, but staying well out of Ianto’s reach.
“I’m not going to tell you again, Owen,” Ianto growled. “Put it back before you manage to do something to yourself that not even Tosh will be able to fix.”
A frown crossed Owen’s face and he hesitated. “What d’you mean?”
“I mean, messing about with things you don’t understand could leave you with parts missing. All your teeth might fall out, or your ears might stretch until they reach the ground, or you might go bright green all over. It could even turn you into a girl. How would you like to be stuck like that forever?”
Glancing at the device in his hand, Owen hurriedly put it down on the nearest desk and backed away from it. “I’m alright though, aren’t I?” He felt himself quickly. “I’m still a boy, and I’m not green.”
“How do your teeth feel?” Ianto raised one eyebrow.
Owen probed with his tongue. “They’re okay, I think,” he said uncertainly, then raised his hands to the sides of his head. “What about my ears?”
Ianto walked over to take a look, studying them carefully. “Hmm, looks like they’re only slightly bigger than before, and they don’t appear to be growing. I don’t think anyone will notice. You were lucky you stopped messing about when you did,” he chided. “Much longer and who knows what might have happened.”
“I’m sorry.” Owen hung his head. “I won’t mess about with your things again, I promise.”
“Good. I’m not trying to stop you having fun, Owen, I just don’t want you hurting yourself, understand? It’s up to me to keep you safe.”
“Yeah, I know. Sorry.”
“You’re forgiven. Tell you what, how about some ice cream?”
Owen brightened considerably at those words. “Yes please!”
“Okay, let’s go get some.”
By the time the rest of the team arrived back, Owen was eleven and completely engrossed in a scanner Ianto was letting him use which allowed him to look at his own skeleton. He was staring at the screen as he scanned his hand, flexing his fingers. “This is so cool!” He wandered around the Hub, scanning anyone who would stay still long enough. “I want to be a doctor when I grow up!” At least that hadn’t changed.
An hour later, he was twelve and causing problems again, trying to see down the front of Gwen’s top, ducking under the catwalk to look up Tosh’s skirt, and repeatedly hugging both girls so he could bury his face in their chests. To Ianto’s relief, now Jack was back in the Hub, disciplining the pre-teen Owen was no longer his responsibility; Jack was much better at laying down the law.
At fourteen, Owen developed a crush on Gwen and spent the entire hour, chin in hand, gazing dreamily at her. By fifteen, he’d turned his attentions to Tosh, trying to impress her. He was skinny, gawky, and smothered in acne, but Tosh didn’t laugh at him the way Gwen had, or call him ‘pet’. She treated him more like a man than a kid, although she refused to let him kiss her, saying he wasn’t old enough yet, but maybe when he was eighteen.
“But that’s forever away!” Owen protested.
“The time will pass much more quickly than you think,” she promised, knowing that when he was sixteen it would be after eleven at night and time for him to go to bed.
Owen woke up at seven the next morning as a twenty-four year old, and since Tosh had arrived early to check that his aging was progressing on schedule, he immediately asked her out on a date. They couldn’t really go anywhere, because of his hourly transformations but at noon, when he was twenty-nine, after spending most of the morning together, they had a romantic picnic lunch just outside the tourist office on Mermaid Quay.
Four hours later, much to everyone’s relief, Owen was back at the age he’d started from. He and Tosh spent the next three hours running scans and tests to make sure that he had reverted to aging at the normal rate again. Thankfully, it seemed he had, which was good news. They wouldn’t need to worry about Owen being an octogenarian in a couple of days.
Surprisingly, although Owen’s memories from his original life remained intact, he also remembered everything about growing up for a second time, or at least the parts he was awake for.
“Well, that was an interesting experience,” he commented as the team sat around drinking coffee and eating a late dinner of takeaway. “Not one I particularly want to repeat though; nobody should have to grow up more than once. I’d forgotten the horrors of adolescence; wish I could’ve slept through that part.”
“You were an adorable baby, but a holy terror between the ages of two and ten. I thought I’d go prematurely grey trying to keep you out of trouble,” Ianto admitted.
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Owen smirked, not really sounding sorry at all. He looked thoughtful. “That thing I was mucking about with; it wouldn’t really have turned me green, made my teeth fall out, and the other stuff, would it?”
Ianto snorted. “Of course not; I wouldn’t have brought anything dangerous up from the archives with a child around. It’s a velotian calculator; I just wanted you to put it down before you broke it.”
“I should’ve known you were making it up,” Owen laughed. “Even aliens wouldn’t create a device that did all that.”
“Oh, the device Ianto described does exist,” Jack said calmly. “But it’s been kept in secure archives since the nineteen fifties when poor Bernard Fowles had to spend three weeks as Bernice, tripping over his own ears and eating soup. He was a nice shade of green though, like new leaves in spring.”
“You’re joking!” Owen stared at Jack in disbelief.
“This is Torchwood, Owen; stranger things than that have happened, and you’ve seen a lot of them. Thankfully most of the effects were only temporary, but Bernard’s ears were never quite the same, they always looked a bit ragged at the edges after that. Probably from all the times they got stepped on.”
Owen shook his head, still unsure whether or not to believe Jack. “Whatever; I’m just glad to be grown-up me again. In fact, I feel like I should celebrate being back to normal.”
“We can do that; I’m always up for celebrating,” Jack said brightly. “What should we do? Go to the pub?”
“Ah, I was thinking of something a bit less all-inclusive. Not that I don’t enjoy your company. Some of the time.” He turned to Tosh. “Drinks, and maybe a movie?” he asked. “Just the two of us. I owe you, not just for figuring out how to get me back to normal but for being so nice to me.”
“You don’t have to…”
“I want to. Please?”
Tosh smiled. “Alright. I’d like that.”
“Good.” Owen stood and offered Tosh his hand. “See you guys tomorrow,” he called back as he led her towards the cog door. “Don’t wait up!”
“What was that all about?” Gwen asked, baffled.
“Not sure,” Ianto said, smiling slightly, “but maybe growing up a second time has given Owen a chance to re-evaluate his life and do things a bit differently.”
Jack nodded. “You might just be right.”