Ianto came out into the garden at the back of the cottage they had rented for their summer holiday. Alun was already sitting under the sun-shade with coffee and sandwiches. It was nine o’clock in the evening and there wasn’t any sun. It had already set behind the mountains that surrounded them on all sides in this remote Welsh valley. The sky above was a deep azure with a few bright stars in it already. It was a perfect summer evening. Ianto sat beside his husband and took a bite of a sandwich and a sip of excellently made coffee.
“He’s gone to sleep?” Alun asked.
“In the middle of the story,” Ianto confirmed. He laughed softly. “The idea of the two of us as parents.... There are people who would throw up at the very thought. If they actually saw our ‘son’….”
“They’d be building bonfires and having all three of us burned as abominations,” Alun answered. “You really do think of Sam as our ‘son’, and us as his parents?”
“Yes. Don’t you?”
“Yes. I suppose so. Especially here. We’re living like a family. Putting him to bed with a story after a whole day when he’s been able to play out, rambling in the woods with us, eating a picnic…. It has been fantastic. I really, really felt….”
“Normal,” Alun added. “The way normal people define normal. Not gay couples, or people who have adopted a half-Weevil, half Human as their child. We were a regular, normal family just like the sort that advertise breakfast cereals and yoghurt.”
Ianto laughed at Alun’s analogy, but he understood exactly what he meant.
“The illusion would soon be destroyed if anyone wandered into this valley. We still need to be careful.”
“At a distance he just looks like a Human with unfortunate birth defects now,” Ianto pointed out. “The jaw alignment and the new teeth, and the facial job made a huge difference to how he looks. His eyes are so beautiful now they’re not hidden behind deep folds of forehead flesh. He has such gentle eyes. They must be from his Human side, not the Weevil.”
“It wouldn’t do for anyone to look too close, all the same. Besides, he’s still shy around strangers. He’d react badly. We have to check for lifesigns nearby whenever we take him out.”
“I know. But he’s having a good time, being able to go out in daylight. That’s a first for Weevil-kind. His eyes are developing properly for day vision. And he’s learning such a lot about his own abilities, walking, climbing over styles… this afternoon when he learnt how to open the latch on a gate it was a landmark for him.”
“Have you thought ahead, to the far future? What will happen to him? Apart from trips like this, will he ever be able to live outside of Torchwood? Will he ever be independent of us?”
“Have you really thought that far ahead?” Ianto asked. “I haven’t. I’ve really not thought about anything other than the next round of plastic surgery that Martha wants to do and starting him on maths and junior science now that his reading and writing is coming along. The far future…. Do those breakfast cereal and yoghurt families think that far ahead?”
“Some of them do. There are people who put their kids’ names down for the best primary schools when they’re a week old, and plan their secondary schools before they’re out of reception class.”
“Well, we’re never going to be enrolling Sam in Mount Stuart Junior school,” Ianto admitted. “I think we just have to take each day as it comes. And I love every day that we have with him. I like being a family.”
“So do I,” Alun admitted. “And after all, he’s the only son we’ll ever have. At least, not without some major medical advances.”
“Jack claimed he was pregnant once,” Ianto said. “But it might just have been one of his tall stories.”
“I hope so,” Alun responded with a laugh. “I just can’t imagine him in childbirth.”
They both laughed. Then they kissed. They kissed some more. They planned an early night and the kind of warm, cosy lovemaking that for heterosexual couples might lead to the consideration of primary schools in the course of time.
Then the gadget on Ianto’s left arm buzzed a warning. It had been designed by Toshiko and sent down from Glasgow by courier so that they could have this holiday with Sam without running into ramblers and day trippers. But it was getting dark now. The stars were much brighter in a blue-black sky. Anyone coming along the valley now was either lost or up to mischief.
“Could it be an animal?” Alun asked. “A stray sheep or a dog?”
“No. Tosh calibrated it to pick up Human DNA, only. There’s somebody out there… near the stream.”
Alun felt for his gun in his pocket, though that would only be used in a very extreme situation. He had a taser as well, but again the circumstances would have to be extreme. Most likely it was a backpacker who had gone off track and got lost. They could give the unfortunate a mug of coffee and a lift to the YMCA campsite a mile and a half away without their secret being discovered.
He took a more normal flashlight from another pocket and set off downhill towards the stream that watered the valley and had yielded a supper of grilled trout yesterday afternoon. He was walking along the rough path beside the fast running water when he heard a splash and screams that made him revise his thoughts about the backpacker – it was a she not a he and she had fallen into the water.
The stream was no more than three foot deep at this point but that was enough to drown in. Alun began to run, calling out that he was coming. His flashlight beam fell upon the struggling girl, clinging to an overhanging tree root but unable to pull herself out of the water.
“It’s all right, I’m here to help,” he called out. He placed the flashlight carefully and reached to grab her. She was panicking too much to grab his hands. He grasped her by the shoulders and hauled her onto the bank. She was crying hysterically. He looked at her in the light of the torch and revised his assessment yet again. She wasn’t a backpacker. There was no backpack for a start, and her clothes were completely unsuitable for any kind of outdoor pursuits.
And if he had to make a guess, he wouldn’t have put her age at much past fourteen.
“Where did you come from?” he asked. The girl looked at him in surprise, as if she didn’t expect him to speak to her. “What’s your name?”
“Unigol,” she answered. Alun was puzzled, because that wasn’t a name. It was a Welsh word meaning something like ‘individual’ or ‘single’ in English. He decided explanations could wait for the time being. He picked her up in his arms and carried her back along the track and up the slope to the cottage. She struggled at first but he held her firmly and spoke gently to her.
“What happened?” Ianto asked as he carried the wet and still sobbing child into the garden. “Who is she?”
“I’m not sure, but let’s get her into the kitchen and find a towel, some warm clothes, and something to eat and drink. Questions can wait.”
She was a slender girl. None of the clothes they had with them for themselves or for Sam fitted. She sat in the kitchen wearing a baggy sweatshirt fastened with a belt that passed as a dress. She had changed into the clothes herself in the downstairs bathroom and now sat eating sandwiches ravenously. She didn’t like the coffee that was offered, but accepted a cup of warmed, sweet milk. She said no more than a few words, still insisting that the only name she went by was Unigol.
“We ought to call the police,” Ianto said. “Somebody must be missing her.”
“I’m more inclined to call social services,” Alun answered. He was looking at the clothes she had discarded. It was a sort of jumpsuit or coverall made of the sort of strong paper that disposable hospital gowns were made of. It was a pale blue colour and ‘Unigol 3’ was printed on the breast pocket.
“It’s like some kind of uniform,” Ianto remarked. “Is there any kind of borstal or secure unit in the area?”
“Nothing of the sort,” Alun replied. “I checked out the area thoroughly before we booked. There’s a large private house about four miles up the valley, but nothing in the way of an ‘Institution’.”
Alun looked at the sandals ‘Unigol’ had been wearing. They were wet from her fall into the stream, but they also had twigs and moss caught in the soles. She could have walked four or five miles. It was possible.
Alun looked closer at the shoes. He wasn’t an expert on footwear, but he knew a bit. He knew that the boots he went on route marches in when he was a soldier showed signs of wear. The ones that went with his number twos and his dress uniform were always spanking new looking. They lasted for years and hardly showed any wear.
These shoes had never been worn outdoors before.
A girl who had never worn her shoes outside and who wore paper clothes, who was a teenager but seemed to have less spoken vocabulary than Sam.
“In the morning, I’m going to call Torchwood,” he said. “She can sleep on the sofa overnight.”
Ianto was dubious. But calling the police would mean noise and disruption and strangers in the house. It would wake Sam and upset him. On the whole, letting the girl sleep on the sofa and sorting it all out in the morning was the best idea all round.
They didn’t get the long, soft lovemaking. Both of them were too distracted by the strange turn of the evening. When they had settled ‘Unigol’ on the sofa they went to bed, but they talked for a while, puzzling over her strange circumstances before they both dropped off to sleep with the mystery unsolved.
Alun woke much earlier than Ianto the next morning. He usually did. The discipline of his army years was still with him in that respect. He dressed quickly and went quietly downstairs, making sure he didn’t wake their guest.
She was already awake. He looked into the drawing room and found her by the bookshelf at the side of the chimney breast with most of the books scattered around her. Apart from Sam’s picture books, the rented cottage had come with an eclectic selection of reading material of the sort that came three for the price of one in those monthly book clubs advertised on the back of the Radio Times. There was an illustrated hardback Complete Narnia Chronicles and the Lord of the Rings trilogy in mock leather bindings and a compendium of Roald Dahl stories. There was Michael Palin’s Himalayas, a large full colour guide to the solar system, a cook book, a home DIY manual, a history of the American Revolution and a set of ‘classic’ adventure novels including Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer and Moby Dick.
Unigol was three-quarters of the way through the second of the Rings. The first one was by her side and the third in front of her. Alun tried to remember how long it had taken him to read those books and realised he never had. He just didn’t have the time for anything that long. Even watching the films had taken six nights in a row when he and Ianto got them on DVD.
“So you can read,” he said, sitting down next to her on the floor and trying to put some of the books together neatly. “And fast, too. Do you like that one?”
“Can you write, cariad?” Alun asked her. He found a block of paper and a pen and offered them to her. She shook her head and pointed. Ianto’s laptop was on the coffee table. Alun switched it on and put in the password. He opened up a word document. She sat and expertly typed, from memory, the last page of the Two Towers that she had been reading.
Then Alun asked her the questions he had been unable to get an answer to last night. She typed rapidly. Alun read her answers and his certainty that this was a matter for Torchwood, not the police or social services, deepened.
“Unigol,” he said after a while. “I promise everything will be all right from now on. You never need to be scared or alone ever again.”
She didn’t respond to his reassurance with either acceptance or scepticism. She just nodded as if accepting a statement of fact.
“It’s nearly breakfast time,” he added. “Ianto will make food for you and Sam. He’s our… our son. They’ll both keep you company while I go out for a bit.”
Again she nodded in acceptance of a fact. Alun left her with her book and went upstairs. Sam was on the landing. He had been to the toilet in the proper way, as he and Ianto, with help from Martha, had patiently taught him to do, but he had lost the bottom half of his pyjamas in the process. A three year old Weevil/Human hybrid without pants on was rather a disturbing sight. He was glad Unigol was safe downstairs.
“Go and get dressed,” he told him gently. “But wait until Ianto is up to take you downstairs. We’ve got a visitor and you don’t know her yet. I don’t want you to be frightened of her, or her frightened of you.”
Sam went back into his room. His day clothes were laid out on a chair in the order he had to put them on – underwear, trousers, t-shirt, socks and shoes. Dressing himself was another milestone in his development. Martha had developed a programme of exercises that improved his manual dexterity to the extent that he could put on clothes that didn’t have many buttons or fastenings. He wore slacks with an elasticated waist and t-shirts. His shoes had Velcro fastenings - tying shoelaces was still further down the road of his development.
He broke the news to Ianto that he was in charge of two children for the morning, kissed him goodbye and headed out to the car. Ianto dressed himself and went to make sure Sam was ready then he brought him downstairs and quietly came into the drawing room. Unigol looked at them both. Her eyes widened as she focussed on Sam’s ungainly figure, but she didn’t seem in any way unsettled by the lop-sided grin he had learnt to make with his Human teeth.
Unigol didn’t seem to know how to smile at all.
“This is Sam,” Ianto said to her. “Sam, this is Unigol. She is visiting us today. You’re going to have breakfast together as soon as I make it. Scrambled eggs and toast - your favourite.”
“Una gg…o… Uni….” Sam turned over her name on his tongue. “Una,” he settled on. Then he reached and took his current reading book from the shelf – Roald Dahl’s BFG, and sat down amongst the untidy pile of books on the floor. He found the page he was on and started to read the words aloud, following them with his forefinger. Unigol returned to reading her own book while Ianto went to make breakfast, relieved that their introduction to each other hadn’t been as difficult as he had expected.
That was one of the odd things about her, he noted as he put bread in the toaster and beat eggs and milk together. She WASN’T frightened by Sam’s appearance, only nervous at first of his actual presence. It was as if she was so unused to other people that Sam was no more unusual to her than a normal Human. She didn’t know he was different.
The valley was quite remote, of course. But was it SO isolated that a girl could grow up totally disconnected from Human relationships?
Alun drove carefully along the single lane unapproved road that connected the two properties in this valley with the A-Road on the other side of the mountain. He didn’t see any other waifs like Unigol along the way.
The other house was a rambling old building, Victorian, three floors plus attic rooms under the slanted eaves and probably a basement, too. There was a wrought iron gate set into a tall brick wall that had been repaired a couple of times in recent years. It was locked. Alun brought a small hacksaw from a toolkit in the boot of Ianto’s Volvo. It cut through the hasp of the padlock with only a little trouble and a blister on Alun’s little finger. He pushed open the gate and ventured inside, aware that he was now trespassing on private property, but that he was, after all, a member of Torchwood - outside the government, beyond the law.
Besides, he wasn’t sure anyone in this house was going to call the police.
The garden looked as if it was attended to once or twice a year and was due for attention. The lawns were overgrown and weeds were invading the paths. The house was a little neglected, too. The windows could have done with a wash and the paint was peeling from the woodwork, but the windows were all intact and the front door was very firmly locked. Alun made his way around to the kitchen entrance and looked in through the window. He saw something that fully justified him breaking a window pane and forcing the back door.
The woman lying on the kitchen floor looked – and smelt - as if she had been dead for three or four days. Flies were already starting to incubate in her body. Alun covered his mouth and nose with a handkerchief as he bent closer. Her hair was matted with blood and there was a bloody impact point on the edge of one of the granite topped work surfaces. He didn’t think there was any reason to assume foul play. She had slipped – an ordinary kitchen accident – and hit her head so badly that she was killed almost instantly.
That was just as Unigol had described when she typed out the details of her ‘escape’ from the house. She had gone through the kitchen, taking a little food from the cupboard, and opening the door. The lock engaged again when it swung closed behind her, leaving the dead woman locked inside and her locked outside.
He covered the body with a cloth he found in a drawer then stepped out of the kitchen. The ground floor was obviously the woman’s living quarters. There was a bedroom, a drawing room, bathroom and a study with a computer in it. Alun switched it on. There was a password, of course, but anyone working for Torchwood knew things about the Microsoft Windows systems that Bill Gates never dreamed of. He could bypass the log on screen with a few keystrokes.
He was still reading through the extensive records that the dead woman had kept two hours later when he heard the sound of a car crunching on the driveway. He went to the window and assured himself. It was Martha. He had called her before he set off to the house. She had made VERY good time getting up here to the middle of the Black Mountains without getting lost. She must have used every bit of navigation tech Torchwood had. He went to let her in.
“What have you got?” she asked.
“I’ve just finished with the files,” he answered. “I’ll give you a short version while I look upstairs. Come on.”
Martha followed him up the stairs to the second floor. A window at the far end of the landing allowed natural light to fall on four white painted doors that all had key-coded locks on them. One, at the far end, was open. On close inspection they noted that the lock was broken, probably as a result of simple wear and tear over a number of years.
“This was Unigol’s room,” Alun said. “She’s lived in it all her life… or at least since Doctor Karen Hamer brought her from the mother and baby unit where she was born. Fourteen years in this one room. Doctor Hamer recorded every stage of her development. It’s all there in the files. Her early development – crawling, walking, learning to use a spoon to feed herself, learning to read and write, her educational developments. She’s way advanced academically. She could take a degree course in maths or science. She studies through prepared lessons on the computer.”
Martha looked around the room carefully. There was a small bathroom leading off from the main room which contained a bed, a desk with a computer on it, and an exercise treadmill.
The window was covered over by a thick plastic sheet that let in a little diffused light, but not very much. The electric light didn’t have a switch within the room. It must have been controlled from elsewhere.
“I don’t suppose you’ve ever taken a course in psychology,” Martha said to Alun.
“No,” he answered. “It’s not really a requirement for the Army.”
“When I was in my second year medical studies I took an optional module. There was a case study… a really old one, from the 1950s. An American psychologist called Harry Harlow took two groups of baby rhesus monkeys and placed them in isolation cages. One group were fed milk from a ‘surrogate’ mother made of mesh wire. The other group had a ‘surrogate’ made of soft cloth and were given milk separately by bottle. Among other things, he wanted to find out if the little monkeys would form an affection for the wire ‘mother’ that gave milk or the soft one that had no milk.”
Alun looked at Martha quizzically.
“I’m not entirely sure what ELSE he was trying to achieve. We never actually finished watching the video. Everyone in the class protested loudly about the animal cruelty and demanded to know what happened to the poor creatures when he was done. Sadly, most of them were so socially stunted from being raised in isolation with wire and cloth mothers that they couldn’t even be introduced into a zoo with other monkeys. Apparently the one thing the research did lead to was an animal rights movement in the USA that eventually put a stop to that sort of thing.”
“Glad to hear it,” Alun said. “But what does it have to do with….”
His eyes widened as he looked around at Unigol’s room.
“Oh… my… God!” he swore as the penny dropped.
“Your Doctor Hamer has been conducting isolation experiments with a HUMAN,” Martha confirmed.
“Poor kid. No wonder she can’t talk much. She had nobody to talk to. I suppose… when Hamer died… she must have got hungry and come out of the room for the first time in her life. It’s a bloody miracle we found her wandering alone out there.”
“Alun….” Martha added. “This isn’t the only room on this floor.”
“Shit!” he cursed himself for wasting time reading files instead of searching the house fully. He turned from Unigol’s room and looked at the one next to it. The key-code could be broken with a simple hand held gadget, but it was back at Torchwood.
Martha looked around and saw a fire axe within a ‘break glass in emergency’ container. She broke the glass and brought the axe against the lock in a move that impressed Alun. He pushed the door open.
This room was fitted out exactly the same way as Unigol’s, except that the bed and the desk were smaller. A child of no more than seven years of age was sitting on the bed chewing the laces from his shoes in extreme hunger.
Martha used a swear word quite unbecoming a woman and picked the boy up in her arms. Alun took the axe she had discarded and broke into the other two rooms. In one he found a girl aged a little more than three who was suffering from extreme thirst, unable to reach the taps in the bathroom to get herself a drink.
In the other he found a twelve week old baby boy who was faring better than the older children. His food was provided by a curious sort of contraption like an intravenous drip but with a rubber teat on the end that was placed near his mouth. He was able to take milk when he turned his head one way, and when he turned the other there was a soft toy for comfort and companionship.
Those Rhesus monkeys Martha had described came to mind. He picked up the baby and followed Martha down to the dining room with the other two children. He watched as she gave them both drinks of water boiled with sugar and salt.
“They can have some solid food in a little while,” she said. “Their stomachs are so empty and they’re so dehydrated they would be sick if they ate straight away. And that would be fatal.”
She took the badly neglected baby from Alun and cared for its washing and changing needs before feeding the two other children with scrambled eggs and toast. Then while she waited for Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper to arrive she read the rest of the files on Doctor Hamer’s computer.
“There were two other babies before the one you called Unigol,” she told Alun. “A boy and a girl, born six months apart. They both died before they were a year old. She recorded ‘natural causes’ in her record and buried them in a plot in the garden. Needless to say I’m going to get the bodies exhumed and conduct VERY careful autopsies.”
“Unigol – 3,” Alun groaned. “She was the first one to survive.”
“It gets worse,” Martha added opening more files. “Unigol - 4 developed psychotic tendencies by the age of three.” Martha buried her face in her hands. “She euthanised the child. It’s buried in the garden, too. We have Unigol 5, 6, and 7 here. She managed to keep them alive, at least.”
“In separate rooms. Unigol didn’t even know they were there. She thought she was the only child in the house. Doctor Hamer was the only other face she had seen that wasn’t in a picture or a video on the computer. And all she did was bring her food three times a day. She never praised her or punished her. She never looked at her work. The computer programme told her if she was right or wrong.”
“Just like the poor monkeys,” Martha said again. “And like Harlow’s experiments I can’t find anything in these notes that justifies doing something so cruel. All she has managed to conclude is that children raised in total isolation are academically advanced but seriously retarded in social skills.”
“Well what the hell did she EXPECT?” Alun asked incredulously. “That they would grow up to be the life and soul of the party? Who the hell financed this project? If it was some bloody university, using taxpayers money, then I want a refund.
“That file has additional security,” Martha answered. “I’m trying to open it.”
She had already tried several passwords that ought to have broken the security. The dialogue box remained frustratingly open on the screen.
“Cyllid,” Alun said. “It’s Welsh for ‘finance.’ She used Welsh to code the kids. Unigol… Worth a try.”
Martha tried the Welsh word and gave a triumphant laugh.
“Did I ever tell you I’m a fifth Welsh, on my dad’s side?” she asked. Then her face clouded. She read the file with a deepening sense of utter disgust. Alun looked over her shoulder at the information on the screen.
“Oh, my God,” he said. “You mean, WE financed this. Torchwood.”
“Not THIS Torchwood,” Martha said, reading on. “We can absolve ourselves from part of the blame. It was Torchwood One… in London. Doctor Hamer put the proposal to them in 1996, ten years before they were wiped out. She reckoned that the social isolation would enhance the concentration on the children’s academic work. She could nurture geniuses from ordinary Human stock with no genetic advantages. When they reached adulthood they would work in Torchwood… for the greater good of the British Empire.” Martha shook her head.
“The British Empire!” Alun sounded the words in disgust. “That’s Yvonne Hartman talking. Ianto told me about her. An obsessed woman. I guess her and Doctor Hamer were two of a kind.”
“We don’t need aliens threatening the Human race,” Martha said. “We do a perfectly good job of it all by ourselves.” She closed the files and shut down the computer and told Alun to find a screwdriver to take the hard drive out. She could read the rest of the sordid story back at the Hub.
“I’ll get Doctor Hamer’s body taken back to Cardiff,” she said. “I can sign it off as accidental. It’ll be the first death certificate one I’ve ever told the truth on since I came to Torchwood. The children… we’ll take them back to your cottage and give them a good meal and a bit of kip, then I’ll call some people I know in social services who’ll take care of them.”
Practical things like that were easy enough to arrange. What disturbed Alun the most as he drove back to the cottage with the two older children in the back of his car – while Martha followed with the baby in hers – was the terrible, awful feeling that they WERE all responsible for what had been done. Yes, it was Torchwood One that had approved the project. But didn’t anyone in Torchwood Three know? The house was less than two hours’ drive from Cardiff. Had Yvonne asked anyone locally to oversee the problem?
“Not me,” Jack Harkness assured him when he phoned him up to ask the question that burned in him. “1996 is before my time as boss. If Alex knew, he never told me. Then again, there were a LOT of things he didn’t tell me before he went nuts and murdered the whole staff. These kids slipped through the net, and I AM sorry for that. Believe me.”
“I do believe you,” Alun assured him. “Even so…. We’ve got to do our best for them, now. We owe them that. Torchwood owes them.”
He closed the call as he reached the cottage. He still didn’t feel much better about the situation. He brought the children into the kitchen and sat them down while he found orange juice and ice cream, possibly the first ‘treat’ food in their lives, and Martha gave the baby another feed.
Ianto came into the kitchen and smiled warmly at his husband.
“Come through here, and have a look,” he said.
Alun went to the drawing room door. He looked in astonishment. Sam and Unigol were sitting together on the fireside rug. Unigol was holding his hand and tracing the words on the pages of Roald Dahl’s BFG and the two of them were reading aloud together.
Sam was reading faster and easier than he ever had before. He sounded almost natural and – Human.
Unigol was reading aloud. She was SPEAKING.
Two miracles for the price of one.
“They get on like the proverbial house on fire,” Ianto said. “She’s not worried about him looking a bit odd because she doesn’t know what odd is. He’s not scared of her because she’s not scared of him. He even gave her a name. He calls her Una. They’re FRIENDS. Sam made a friend.”
The same idea came into their minds at the same time. They looked at each other.
“I wonder if….”
“No,” Martha Jones said in a firm voice. The two men looked at her in surprise. “No, you can’t adopt her,” she added. “It wouldn’t work. I don’t mean that in any kind of homophobic way. I’m all for gay couples being parents. But you two already have an uphill struggle with Sam. Unigol… Una… still needs a lot of help, more than the younger kids. They’ll soon get over their trauma with sympathetic foster parents to love them to bits. But she’s been isolated for so much longer. She needs a lot more than just TLC. Doctor Hamer noted that she hasn’t begun menstruating yet. At fourteen, she’s very late. That’s a physical side effect of the psychological damage, and one that two gay men are NOT going to be able to help her with.”
“So you’ll find her foster parents, too?” Alun asked. He was disappointed. The idea had only come into his mind a few minutes ago, but it had felt so very right.
“All four kids were adopted by Torchwood, do you know that?” Martha said. “It was in Doctor Hamer’s records.”
“No, I didn’t know. Can that happen? An organisation adopting children?”
“It’s a new one on me, too,” Martha admitted. “But they did it. So she really IS our responsibility, legally as well as morally. And what I was thinking…. You two have Sam. Jack and Garrett are a regular suburban family now. Gwen is going to be a mum in a few weeks. I’m the odd one out. I’ve got a spare room in my flat. We can sort out all the girl stuff she needs to know in our own time. I’ll get her into after school swimming clubs and stuff like that to help her socialise, and I can keep a close eye on her physical and mental development. I think by the time she’s sixteen she should be able to go to sixth form college as a normal, healthy girl and go on to be whatever she wants to be. Meanwhile she can spend time with Sam at the Hub and they can learn and grow together.”
Alun and Ianto looked at Martha and grinned.
“Seems like you’ve got it all planned out. Who are we to argue?”