A/N: Next story in The Making of Theta Tyler series. Would just like to point out that, if you want to get updates on this series, you will need to follow/subscribe to me as an author, not the story as they will all be posted as individual stories :)
As the bell rang for playtime, Theta's heart sank. Now, just because Theta enjoyed learning and being in lessons didn't mean that he hated playtime, but recently he had been afraid to go out to play. He couldn't tell his Mummy, because she'd get upset, and Theta knew how hard his Mummy tried to remain happy for him. He couldn't tell his Gran, because she'd worry and tell Granddad and Mummy. Granddad would go all awkward before storming up the school and causing a scene. Theta had considered talking to his Uncle Tony, but he supposed his Uncle wouldn't be able to do much; he didn't want to tell any of the teachers at school, because that would just make matters worse, and he doubted Uncle Tony would be able to come up with any other plan. It was times like this that Theta wished his Daddy was still around, because he'd heard all about his Daddy now, and he sounded like an amazing man. He sounded like a man who would know what to do about the playground bullies that were terrorising his son.
That playtime was just like the others. Theta stuck to the little benches near the doors leading into the school hall, his eyes wide as he kept a look out for the bullies. He kept trying to convince himself that he was a big boy; he could stand up for himself. He tried to imagine his Daddy being there beside him, telling him to be brave, that he could do it. But none of that helped as the bullies approached. They were a bit taller than Theta, which was quite tall considering they were still only halfway through year three. There were four of them too, and Theta bit back a comment that that wasn't very fair; he somehow thought that they wouldn't really care about being 'fair' to him.
"Here he is, Chris!" one boy piped up "He's the little nerd in my class!"
Theta blinked at the boys, staring at the one who had spoken. They had been bullying him for several weeks now, and he still didn't know their names, but it now appeared that one of them had a big brother called Chris. Theta stepped back, flattening himself against the brick wall. Chris looked to be in year six, and Theta was terrified of what he'd do to him.
"So, this is the little nerd who thinks he knows everything?" Chris asked, smirking.
Theta certainly didn't like the look in the boy's eyes.
"Thought he'd wear glasses or somethin'." Chris continued to his younger brother before speaking directly to Theta "Why are you such a freak?"
"I…I don't understand!" Theta stammered, pressing himself further into the wall.
The boys chuckled.
"Oh, finally something the great Theta Tyler doesn't understand!" one of the boys crowed.
"You're a weirdo, Tyler," Chris continued, stepping forward and leaving Theta with no means of escape "you know stuff. You get top marks in every subject. You're a freak of nature, and no one likes you!"
"But I thought getting top marks was good!" Theta replied innocently "That's what my Mummy told me!"
"How do you do it?" another boy piped up.
"I…I read," Theta answered, still confused by this questioning.
By now, Chris had stepped back a bit, and Theta made a bid for freedom. However, he found himself slammed back into the brick wall, and he cried out, tears running down his cheeks at the shock of his skinny frame impacting with the bricks.
"Oh look! He's a freak and a cry-baby!" Chris announced, laughing.
Theta bit his lip, willing the tears to stop. They didn't.
"Now, hand over your lunch money, Tyler!" Chris told him, his hand out expectantly.
Theta stared at the outstretched hand for a few moments before he processed exactly what had been said.
"My Mummy made me a packed lunch!" Theta replied quietly, eyes wide.
"Well go get your lunch bag then!"
"But Mummy bought it for me! It has a dinosaur on it!" Theta answered, desperate to not hand over his dinosaur lunch bag. He loved his dinosaur lunch bag.
Chris suddenly pushed him to the floor, and Theta bit back a scream as he felt the skin on his hands and knees shred as they scraped along the tarmac. He heard a teacher call out, and suddenly, the boys were gone. As the teacher helped him sit up, Theta realised that, for the second time in five minutes, he was crying.
"Now come on, Theta, let's get you to the nurse, eh?"
The teacher helped him to his feet, and Theta finally recognised the voice as that of Mr Strong, his teacher. Theta allowed Mr Strong to lead him inside to the nurse's office, not really listening as the teacher babbled on about calling his Mum and telling her all about the bullies.
Theta sat on a chair in an office. It wasn't the head teacher's office. No, that's where he was waiting to go once Mummy and Uncle Tony got there. He was currently sat in Miss McKee's office; she was the head teacher's receptionist, and she was very nice- she had given Theta a lolly. Theta was aware that Miss McKee was giving him strange looks, and he supposed it was because he had had only one request; that they called his Uncle Tony. Most kids were begging for their Mummy or Daddy after an incident like the one Theta had just gone through, but Theta thought that was stupid; they were already calling his Mummy, so she would be coming whether he'd asked them to call her or not. And he had no Daddy to ring, so he chose his Uncle Tony. Uncle Tony would know what to do. Just then, the door swung open, and Rose hurried in, heading straight to Theta and sweeping him into a hug. Theta gladly accepted the hug, and he felt hot tears burning behind his eyes again as he buried his face in his Mummy's neck. The hug was over far too soon for his liking, but it seemed that his Mummy was intent on checking over his injuries. She couldn't see them of course, the nurse had given him these huge plasters that covered up the scrapes on his hands and knees.
"How are you doing, buddy?"
Theta looked up, only just noticing his Uncle Tony was in the room. He sniffed and shrugged.
"The headmaster will see you now," Miss McKee told them, smiling gently.
Rose led her son into the office, Tony following. The headmaster smiled gently, and gestured for them to take a seat.
"Now, Miss Tyler, Mr Tyler, we've called you in because, as you can see, Theta's having some trouble with bullies," the headmaster explained gravely.
Tony rolled his eyes.
"We know that, Mr Lewis, but what are you going to do about it?" Tony asked pointedly, eyebrow raised.
Mr Lewis sighed.
"Believe me, Mr Tyler, all five children involved are to be suspended and their parents will be spoken to," Mr Lewis told them.
"And what happens if it starts all over again when they come back? I don't want Theta constantly scared of coming to school!" Rose told Mr Lewis angrily.
"Now that we know what's been going on we can keep an eye on the boys. The two who are in Theta's class will be transferred to another class and we will keep an eye on them at break times," Mr Lewis explained.
Evidently not a hundred percent happy, but knowing that it was the best the school could do, Rose nodded and both she and Tony shook hands with the head teacher before they led Theta from the room. It had been decided over the phone earlier that Theta was to go home. Rose hadn't been able to get more than an hour off at the restaurant, so Tony offered to look after Theta until Rose had finished work for the day; it was Tony's day off anyway, and seeing as he worked for Torchwood- which Pete was in charge of still- he figured they wouldn't mind if he took a little longer with some paperwork.
Theta swung his legs back and forth as he sat on the park bench. He licked at his ice cream cone, wiping one sticky hand on his jeans (Rose insisted on him getting changed out of his dirty school uniform).
"Do you think Daddy would be disappointed in me?" Theta asked his Uncle suddenly.
Tony looked at his eight year old nephew in shock.
"Why would you say that, Theta?" Tony asked, confused.
"Because I let those bullies beat me," Theta answered quietly.
"Theta, listen to me, mate," Tony instructed gently.
When Theta didn't look at him, Tony gently tilted the boy's face so he was looking at him.
"Theta, buddy, your Daddy would never be disappointed in you. You're brave, smart, compassionate…He'd be so proud of you!" Tony told his nephew, grinning.
"Really?" Theta asked, a smile beginning to spread on his face.
"Really," Tony answered.