It wasn’t often that the Harkness-Jones family got to spend a day at the beach. For one thing juggling work responsibilities seldom allowed both Jack and Ianto to take a day off at the same time. Despite having a dozen team members besides themselves, it was usually advisable for one of Torchwood Three’s immortal bosses to be on duty every day.
Then there was the fact that they had three kids now instead of just one. Of course Meriel, now eleven, was more of a help than a hindrance when going anywhere, but the three-year-old twins more than made up for that. Ianto was often tempted to rename them ‘Chaos’ and ‘Disorder’, though he had yet to decide which was which.
As if that wasn’t enough, if they wanted to have a family day out, it never seemed fair to exclude the family pets. If Nosy, Squiggle, and Spot had been dogs there wouldn’t have been a problem, but they were alien Fluffs, and as the world in general wasn’t yet ready to learn that aliens were real, the fluffy trio had to be kept out of sight for their own safety.
Today though, they’d all made an effort. Getting up early, they’d packed a picnic, left the Hub in Owen’s capable hands, and piled into the family SUV, kids in the back seat and Fluffs in the rear, hidden amongst the beach paraphernalia. Then they’d headed out along the coast to a secluded beach well off the beaten track, where sand dunes and rocks provided plenty of concealment for the Fluffs if it should become necessary for them to hide.
So here they all were, the whole family together, enjoying the sand, the sun, and the sea. Fluff and Flufflets alike had changed from their usual unique colours to a uniform, speckled sandy shade that made them blend into the background, much to the twins’ initial consternation. They’d soon come to see it as another wonderful game though, a sort of open-air version of hide and seek, with the Fluffs part burying themselves in loose sand only to pop up unexpectedly to a chorus of delighted squeals and laughter.
While Ianto swam with Meriel, Jack and the Fluffs kept the twins out of mischief, building sand castles, and playing ball. Then when Jack and Ianto splashed about with the twins in the shallows, Meriel watched and took photos, keeping lookout for anyone who might happen along and disturb their idyll.
The Fluffs remained on alert at all times too, their empathic senses tuned to pick up any unknown presences. Not being waterproof, they kept away from the sea, preferring the dry sand where they could roll about and play tag among themselves when their humans were otherwise occupied.
“I wish we could do this more often,” Ianto said, flopping onto his towel and opening the picnic basket, distributing food and drink to his family.
“Maybe someday we’ll live somewhere with a private beach.”
Ianto smiled; that would be heaven.