Ianto opened his eyes, and then he opened his eyes. He seemed to be lying on his side for some unknown reason and the grass beneath him felt slightly damp. He wasn’t at all sure what had happened, but something definitely wasn’t right; he could see in front of himself, and he could see behind himself, and he wasn’t entirely sure which was which. Oh, wait; if he squinted and nearly crossed his eyes he could sort of see his nose, and if he lifted his hands… Okay, so that was obviously the front…
“Are you alright?” Jack was crouching in front of him, looking worried.
“I have no idea.” Ianto sat up carefully, with a bit of help from Jack. “What happened?”
“We were chasing a Weevil when a Rift portal opened practically on top of us. Something came flying out, hit you on the back of the head and knocked you out,” Jack explained. “Can you stand up?”
“Maybe? Won’t know until I try.” Ianto let Jack put an arm around him and steady him as he got slowly to his feet. He felt a bit giddy and tried closing his eyes, but could still see behind him, so it didn’t really help that much. “Did you find it?”
“Find what?” Jack looked confused, which Ianto thought was only fair since he was confused too.
“Whatever the thing was that came through the Rift and hit me on the head. Because I think it did something to me.”
“Well, I’ve got weird double vision for a start.”
Jack shrugged that off. “Nothing weird about that. You probably have concussion from being hit on the head.”
“Wouldn’t surprise me,” Ianto agreed, “but I don’t think that would account for the fact that I can see you in front of me, and a park bench behind me with ‘Trevor loves Ceri’ carved into the back.”
“Huh?” Jack looked past Ianto, and everything was exactly as he’d said. “How’d you know that?”
“You tell me.” Ianto turned his back to his lover and looked at Jack out of his other eyes. “Hi there.”
“Whoa! You’ve got eyes in the back of your head!” Sure enough, there was a pair of very normal blue eyes peering at Jack through Ianto’s hair.
“That’s what I thought.” Ianto turned around again and frowned at Jack. “You know, I always thought eyes in the back of my head would be a handy thing to have, but it’s not; it’s more disorienting than anything else. I can see in front of me, and behind me, and if I look down, I look up at the same time.”
“Huh. Weird.” Taking Ianto by the arm, Jack steered him over to the bench and sat him down. “Wait there while I find whatever’s responsible for these extra baby blues, then we’d better get you back to the Hub and let Owen check you over while Tosh works on the device.” Jack paused. “I think under the circumstances it might be best if I drive this time.”
“No argument from me; I’m having a hard enough time right now telling my front from my back.” Leaning back as comfortably as he could on the cold, hard wood on the bench, Ianto closed his front eyes, and after a minute, his rear eyes closed too. Not being able to see anything at all was sheer bliss.
“Okay, found it!” Jack called out a short while later.
“Good.” Reluctantly Ianto opened both sets of eyes again. Apparently, he couldn’t keep the back pair closed while the front ones were open; that was going to be a nuisance. He pushed himself to his feet as he saw Jack approaching from behind him, carrying something round and silvery, about the size of a cricket ball. “Any idea what it is?”
“None whatsoever; I’ll leave that to Tosh to figure out. She’s better at that kind of thing than the rest of us. Uh, should I bring the SUV to you?”
Ianto considered the offer, but decided it would just mean it would take longer to get him back to the Hub, and hopefully back to normal. “No, I think I’ll be okay walking, but you’ll have to steer.”
“I can do that.” Putting the silver sphere in his coat pocket, Jack slipped one arm around Ianto’s waist and they set off slowly across the grass, Ianto stumbling occasionally since his brain was having a hard time dealing with two conflicting sets of images. It got a bit easier once they reached the path, because at least that looked more or less the same in both directions, but he was still relieved when they finally reached the SUV. Once he was safely buckled into the passenger seat, he closed his eyes again, relieved not to have to look at anything for a while. It was just a shame the ride back didn’t take longer, because all too soon he had to open his eyes again and as soon as he opened the front ones, the back ones popped open too. Bugger.
Jack called for Owen as soon as the two of them stepped into the main Hub from the garage.
“Keep your pants on!” the medic grumbled, emerging from the autopsy bay. “What’s up now?”
“Ianto got hit on the head,” Jack held up the silvery ball, “by this, and now he has two sets of eyes.”
“You mean he’s got double vision, right?”
“Well, yes and no,” Ianto replied, turning around so Owen could see his other eyes. Okay, so sometimes having eyes in the back of his head might not be such a bad thing, because the expression on Owen’s face was well worth seeing.
“Bloody Hell!” Owen’s eyes practically came out on stalks and he moved closer, peering into Ianto’s rear eyes then jumping back when they blinked. “Okay, that’s different.”
“You can say that again,” Ianto agreed. “Different, however, is not necessarily a good thing. I can’t close my back eyes while my front eyes are open, and looking both ways at once isn’t helping my sense of balance. On the whole, I much prefer only having one set of eyes, so…”
Jack nodded and held out the ball. “Tosh, drop whatever that is you’re working on and see what you can make of this. I’m really hoping you can figure it out quickly and get rid of Ianto’s extra eyes.”
“I’ll get on it right away,” Tosh promised, taking the ball from him and turning to her friend. She took Ianto’s hand in hers and squeezed it. “Don’t worry,” she told him. “I’m getting pretty good at figuring out weird alien devices.”
“I know, and I’m not worried,” he replied, smiling down at his friend while his other eyes observed Myfanwy circling high above. “I just hope I don’t have to stay like this much longer. It’s really weird seeing in two directions at once.”
“I can imagine,” Tosh said with a sympathetic smile, then she frowned. “Or actually, no, I don’t think I can. I get dizzy just thinking about it.”
“Which is exactly how I feel,” Ianto pointed out wryly.
“Right you two, that’s enough chitchat,” Owen said impatiently. “It’s time I had a turn. C’mon, Eyeboy, I need to check you out and run a few tests, see if there’s still a brain in there. Y’know, from a medical standpoint, this is the most interesting thing to happen in ages!”
“Fine,” Ianto grumbled, letting Owen drag him towards the medical bay. “Knock yourself out. Nice to know someone’s getting some enjoyment from this.” His tone was as dry as the Sahara.
“Highlight of my year so far!” Owen agreed cheerfully.
“Wonderful. I’m so happy for you.” Never let it be said that Ianto begrudged his teammates their little pleasures, but did Owen really have to be so gleeful about his predicament?
Apparently, the answer to that was a resounding ‘YES’.
Owen was absolutely fascinated and ran every test he could think of, as well as some Ianto was almost certain he was making up on the spot, which made sense since there wasn’t a lot of call for the treatment of patients with two sets of eyes. Not among humans, at least. Still, after an hour of being scanned, prodded, poked, and otherwise scrutinised, Owen finally announced, contrary to expectations, that Ianto did not in fact have a concussion. “You’re fine, four eyes,” he said with a smirk.
Ianto gave him a withering look from his forward eyes. “So not funny, Owen.”
“It is from where I’m standing.”
Oh, how Ianto would have loved to wipe the grin off the medic’s face! Unfortunately, Jack would probably take a dim view of him braining their only doctor, so he turned his attention to something hopefully more likely to be attainable.
“After all this, I need a coffee.” He slid off the autopsy table and by closing both sets of eyes once he had hold of the banister, managed to walk up the steps out of the autopsy bay without mishap. Sadly, making coffee turned out to be impossible by himself because thanks to trying to juggle forward and backward vision, he couldn’t judge distances properly and kept spilling everything. In the end, he had to get Jack to do all the measuring and pouring, but at least the resulting coffee was just about up to his usual standards. Jack had to play coffee boy and hand it out though; the potential for calamity if Ianto tried to walk while carrying a loaded tea tray didn’t bear thinking about. It was a fairly safe bet there’d be coffee and broken mugs everywhere before he’d gone more than a couple of steps.
Jack got Ianto settled on the sofa and left him sitting there, sipping from his mug with all his eyes closed, as that was the only way he felt reasonably comfortable. Ianto knew he couldn’t stay like that all day though; he had work to do, and while the extra eyes did pose a bit of a problem, technically he wasn’t incapacitated. He’d just have to be careful. Going down to the archives was obviously out of the question, but surely he could still tidy up around the Hub and perhaps clean the SUV. It was better than just sitting around like a useless lump, waiting to be fixed. Returning his mug to the kitchen, and managing to put it down on the draining board without breaking it, he fumbled open the cupboard door beneath the sink, got out a black bag for the trash, and started to clear up. It wasn’t the most enjoyable of his many duties, but it was a necessary one and it would serve to stave off boredom.
Things were going pretty well, at least to start with, and Ianto thought maybe he was even beginning to adjust to his extra eyes. Yes, they caused some problems with his depth perception and balance, but as long as he took things slowly he was able to manage well enough. He was even beginning to feel cautiously optimistic about his ability to deal with his current situation, right up until the moment when he lost track of which set of eyes was facing the way he was going and walked smack into one of the catwalk support posts, whacking his forehead and falling flat on his arse.
Rushing over, Jack picked him up off the floor, hurriedly dusted him off, and steered him back down to the medical bay.
Oh joy. Not.
“Well, now you do have a concussion,” Owen told him cheerfully after another thorough examination. If there weren’t so many of him, Ianto might have given in to his earlier temptation and hit him. Seriously.
“I could’ve told you that,” Ianto groaned. “I’ve got double vision front and back now. And a headache,” he added, wincing at the painful pounding inside his skull. “Ow.”
Owen pressed a couple of painkillers into one of Ianto’s hands and a glass of water into the other. “Take these, and try not to knock yourself out again. Twice is enough.” He paused, then snapped his fingers so suddenly Ianto jumped and spilled cold water in his lap.
“Bugger.” That really was all he needed! Talk about adding insult to injury.
Owen paid no attention; he was too busy congratulating himself. “I’ve just had a brilliant idea!”
“Don’t go anywhere.”
“Wasn’t planning to. I’m perfectly happy staying right here. Possibly permanently.” If he didn’t move he wouldn’t walk into anything else.
Once again, Owen ignored him, rummaging through one of his drawers. “Aha! This should do the trick!” He turned back to Ianto, a large roll of bandage in one hand.
“Do I even want to know what you intend to do with that?”
“Shut up and hold still,” Owen ordered, head down, trying to find the end of the roll. “You’ll thank me for this.”
Amazingly, Owen was right. With the bandage wound around his head so that it covered his rear set of eyes, Ianto at least only had to deal with mild double vision in one direction, which was an improvement of sorts, but why hadn’t anyone thought of this sooner? Preferably before he’d collided with that post. It would have meant he could get on with his work if comparative safety. Not that it mattered now; with his head aching he didn’t feel like trying to work anymore and instead stretched out on the sofa, resting, with Jack sitting beside him, holding his hand.
“None of this was your fault, Jack.”
“I know, but I’m still sorry. How’s your head?”
“Aching a bit, and sore in a couple of places, but not too bad, considering.”
“That’s good. Just rest and let me know if you need anything.”
“Thank you.” Ianto closed his eyes.
A couple of hours later, Ianto was half dozing when Tosh called out that she’d figured out the device enough that she thought she could reverse the effects. “I think it’s meant to help repair eye damage,” she explained, “but when it hit the back of Ianto’s head, it instead regenerated a whole new set of eyes. It just needed a bit of recalibration.”
Unwinding the bandage covering his extra eyes, Tosh told him to keep both sets closed, carefully rested the device between the rear pair, and pressed a series of small buttons. The back of Ianto’s head grew warm and tingled in an odd but not entirely unpleasant fashion. He kept completely still until Tosh moved the device away and told him to open his eyes, when much to his relief he found himself looking in only one direction.
“Much better. Thanks, Tosh.” Ianto smiled at his friend. “Still got double vision though,” he added with a sigh. “Pity that thing can’t cure concussion as well.”
“Come on,” Jack said, holding out a blurry hand. “I’m taking you home; you can rest a lot more comfortably there.”
“That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day,” Ianto said, letting Jack help him stand up. As they walked towards the underground garage Ianto smiled. It was so nice only having to look at the things in front of him. He was never going to wish he had eyes in the back of his head again; they were a whole lot more trouble than they were worth.