It had been a week and a half since the last time Tony Tyler had seen Aaron Lloyd. However, Tony believed that he had now given his friend enough time to calm down, and he really needed to talk to him about what he'd seen. This was how he found himself walking up the gravel drive to the Lloyd's residence. Once he reached the door, Tony nervously knocked on the door and waited. No answer. He knocked again. Still no answer. He knocked again. Finally, Aaron opened the door. It was clear that he was reluctant.
"Hi," Tony greeted awkwardly.
Aaron gave a slight nod in reply.
"Can…Can I come in?" Tony asked nervously.
Aaron shrugged and stepped away from the door. Breathing a sigh of relief, Tony stepped into the house. At least his friend wasn't making this any more difficult by making them talk about it on his doorstep.
"Are your parents in?" Tony asked, looking around the entrance hall.
Aaron shook his head.
"Good," Tony replied, smiling what he hoped was a disarming smile "because we need to talk."
"We do," Aaron agreed.
Aaron led Tony through to the sitting room, where the two boys perched themselves awkwardly on opposite ends of the sofa. They sat in silence for several minutes, Aaron refusing to meet his former best friend's eyes.
"I can explain everything," Tony blurted suddenly.
Aaron scoffed lightly.
"Go on then," Aaron muttered bitterly "let's hear another one of your implausible top secret Torchwood stories."
"This has nothing to do with Torchwood," Tony broke in, moving closer to his friend, desperate for Aaron to look at him rather than the carpet.
"No?" Aaron asked, finally looking up. He was frowning. "Judging by the fact that Rose and Theta didn't seem at all shocked by your change, I figured you'd been sneaking round Theta's lab again and had gotten some kind of liquid or experiment knocked onto you or something,"
Tony chuckled slightly at that.
"No," Tony replied "no experiment, no sneaking about. Just genetics,"
"Genetics?" Aaron repeated, one eyebrow raised "I know I'm not that great at biology, but even I know that there's nothing in our genetic codes that allow humans to become animals. Not unless you're gonna tell me that you're an animagus."
Tony rolled his eyes now.
"Look, are you going to let me explain, or not?" Tony snapped tiredly.
Aaron glared, but nodded reluctantly.
"Ok," Tony began "years ago, back when my sister was only nineteen and she'd just met Theta, something…something happened to her, and it allowed her to have all this power. Both she and Theta had assumed that it was a result of something she'd done, and once Theta had presumably removed the power, they kind of forgot about it. And then, about a year later when they were separated, Rose discovered that she still had this…power, and it allowed her to take wolf form. A few months ago, we found out that this must be in our genetics, because I have the same abilities. Both Rose and I are being monitored by Torchwood, and you can't tell anyone you know about it,"
"Why?" Aaron asked stubbornly.
"Because if the wrong kind of people find out about us, we'll be in danger. And when I say 'we', I mean Theta, Rose, me and you." Tony answered lowly.
"Me?! Why me?!" Aaron yelped, eyes wide now. He still wasn't sure he believed this wild story, but there was something about Tony's tone that was scaring him.
"Because you're connected with us now, Aaron. That's part of the reason I didn't tell you; just being with me is putting your family in danger. And, also…I'm immortal."
Aaron scoffed again, beginning to find that the story was quickly becoming implausible again.
"This is serious, Aaron!" Tony protested, angry that his friend wasn't taking it seriously "Think about it; we've known each other for thirteen years, and have you ever seen my sister age?"
The room fell silent as Aaron thought carefully about the question. His eyes widened as he begun to realise that Rose had not aged since he first met her when she was twenty-four years old.
"You're…You're immortal?" Aaron breathed, wide eyed.
"You can't tell anyone, ok?" Tony reminded his friend.
Aaron nodded, clearly still shocked.
"Anything else I need to know?" Aaron asked cautiously, his voice quiet "I mean, Theta isn't some kind of alien or something, right?" he joked weakly, attempting a grin.
That grin slipped quickly when Tony met his gaze solemnly.
"Oh, you are bloody kidding me!" Aaron muttered.
Tony had just finished explaining about his brother in law being a Time Lord when his mobile went off. Smiling weakly at Aaron, he pulled it out of his pocket and answered the call.
"Rose! I'm round Aaron's….What?! Right, ok…We will do…Meet you at Torchwood then, yeah?" Tony quickly hung up the phone, his face pale and eyes wide.
"Tony?" Aaron prompted, waving a hand in front of his friend's face.
"I'm being followed," Tony whispered, eyes flicking to meet Aaron's panicked gaze "we have to get out of the house."
As Tony leapt to his feet and hurried through the large house to the back door, Aaron hurried to keep up.
"How do you know?" Aaron asked, brow furrowed.
"Rose just told me," Tony answered simply as they let themselves out into the large garden.
"Yeah, but how did Rose know?" Aaron queried, watching his friend as Tony checked the coast was clear.
"Torchwood's been monitoring me because of…my condition." Tony explained as they hurried back round to the front of the house "They noticed that something was following me."
"Well, do they know what it is?" Aaron asked, his voice going slightly higher as he panicked.
"No, not yet," Tony admitted "they're still monitoring the aliens, but we have to get to Torchwood. We'll be safe there."
"And how do we get there? We can't walk that far!" Aaron pointed out sceptically.
"Has your Dad finished doing up that old Mercedes?" Tony asked, already heading to the garage and letting himself in.
"Well, yeah…" Aaron replied warily, watching as Tony pulled a silver tube from his pocket and unlocked the car.
"Sonic screwdriver." Tony explained, waving the object at his friend as he slid into the drivers' seat "Borrowed it from Theta,"
"Right," Aaron answered cautiously as he slid into the passenger seat "but we're not old enough to drive!"
"Oh, I'm sure we'll be forgiven just this once!" Tony replied, grinning in a manner that reminded Aaron of Theta when he used to play with them when they were younger.
And then, without warning, Tony started the engine up and pressed down on the accelerator.