Tony Tyler was an imaginative child, prone to fits of obsession. Jackie swore up and down she didn’t know where he got it from, but she suffered his phases with remarkable patience. When he was a dinosaur, she dutifully called him Rex instead of Tony and allowed him to stalk his macaroni and cheese all the way from the living room to the kitchen. When he was a fireman, she gave up scolding him every time he used his watergun to extinguish her scented candles and let him wear his plastic fire-helmet every afternoon when they ran errands.
So when Tony read his first Superman comic, it was no surprise he immediately plunged right into the mythos. Except to everyone’s surprise, Tony didn’t tie a towel around his shoulders and try to jump off the back of the couch. Instead, he fetched his camera and one of Pete’s fedoras and insisted that Jackie take him to the store “for more supplies.”
The next day, Tony presented the Doctor with a box, badly-wrapped in newspaper and decorated with a rubber lizard instead of a bow. Inside was a blue t-shirt emblazoned with the Superman sigil.
“I don’t know about your secret identity,” Tony said with a grave nod.
A grin spread across the Doctor’s face, and his eyebrows arched nearly to his hairline. “Is that so, Tony?”
“My name’s not Tony, it’s Jimmy,” Tony corrected with a shake of his head.
The Doctor took to wearing the Superman shirt beneath his button-down at all times. “In case of emergency,” he explained to Rose with a shrug, as he put it in the washing machine for the third time in one week. And each Wednesday when he and Rose came to the mansion for family supper, Tony dragged him into the backyard as soon as the plates were cleared. They’d disappear for the rest of the evening, the flash on Tony’s little plastic camera like a homing beacon alerting everyone else to the Doctor’s location. In those hours, Superman and Jimmy Olsen rescued baby squirrels from General Zod and foiled Brainaic’s elaborate plots to rule the world by means of the untrimmed shrubbery at the far end of the Tyler property.
Then, one Saturday, the Doctor showed up at the mansion with a large duffel bag. Jackie let him in and he disappeared with Tony into the backyard, as usual. Five hours later, Jackie finally went outside to see what was keeping the boys so very quiet and occupied.
She found them behind Brainiac’s shrubbery, along with an elaborate, humming metal contraption. Both Superman and Jimmy Olsen stared at Jackie with wide eyes, but before either of them could say anything, Jackie held up her hand for silence.
“What does it do?” she snapped at the Doctor.
He opened his mouth for a moment and no words came out, as though he was trying to decide whether a hail of nonsensical chatter or the truth would deflect Jackie’s wrath. “An antigravity machine,” he said in defeat.
Jackie nodded crisply and gestured at the contraption. “Torchwood property, I’m assuming?”
“Bits and pieces,” the Doctor said, glancing at Tony.
“Right,” she snapped. “Both of you, inside. I’m calling Pete and Rose.” With slumped shoulders and pouts, the boys both complied.
The incident hardly put a damper on their superhero antics, however. From then on, they simply refered to Jackie as “Lex Luthor.”
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