Characters: Ianto, Nosy, Meriel.
Summary: Ianto is busy doing chores when he notices how quiet Meriel is being.
Word Count: 829
Written For: Prompt 101: Smooth at anythingdrabble.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: This is the longer version of the ficlet posted to the community.
Busy with the endless round of household chores that never seemed to be finished with no matter how often they were done, Ianto was in a world of his own until he suddenly became aware of how quiet the flat was. Normally it was filled with the sounds of a boisterous young child at play: shouts, laughter, delighted screams, the patter of running feet, and constant chatter, but now there was utter silence, and in Ianto’s experience that never boded well. What could Meriel be getting up to that required such an uncharacteristic hush? He wasn’t at all sure he wanted to know, but it was his parental duty to investigate so he decided he’d better check it out.
Although she took after Ianto in a lot of ways, being tidy-minded, conscientious, and quick to learn new things, Meriel had also inherited her father’s mischievous nature and propensity for getting herself into all manner of unlikely scrapes. Ianto knew wherever his daughter was Nosy would be with her, but lacking hands there were certain limits to the Fluff’s capabilities as a nanny. Still, if there was any kind of problem with its charge, Ianto knew Nosy would always fetch him. Unless Meriel had shut her fluffy playmate in her bedroom the way she had the time she’d got into the bathroom and poured all her bubble bath down the toilet. That had led to some rather alarming results when it was flushed. She’d only been two and a half at the time though; she was a whole year older now, and hopefully a little more sensible…
Nevertheless, complete silence was not a sound Ianto relished in his home. At the Hub, yes: silence there was to be welcomed, it meant there were no alerts to deal with and everyone was quietly getting on with their work for once. Silence where there was a small child present but not in sight, however… Ianto had a feeling now might be a good time to start worrying.
Quickly drying his hands, he returned the towel to its hook and set off in search of his daughter. She wasn’t in the lounge or dining area, he could see both from where he’d been working in the kitchen. She couldn’t be outside because the French doors were locked and bolted so while she might be able to turn the key and slide the bottom bolt, the top one was far beyond her reach, even if she tried standing on a chair, and besides, he would have noticed her attempting something like that. She probably wasn’t upstairs in the master bedroom either; she knew she wasn’t supposed to go up there without the permission of one of her parents and that was a rule she’d never disobeyed, although that might be at least in part because Nosy was always there to stop her.
All that was left were Meriel’s bedroom, playroom, the bathrooms, and the guest rooms at the far end of the flat, so Ianto made his way through one of the archways at the back of the lounge to begin his search.
It didn’t take long for him to locate his missing daughter. He stopped in the doorway to her bedroom and just stood watching her, smiling to himself. Meriel had her little toy hairbrush in hand, the one she used to brush her dolls’ hair, and was determinedly grooming Nosy with it, working slowly but steadily along her friend’s more than five-metre length, brushing away until its long, green fur lay smooth and shiny as silk. She’d only got about halfway so far, leaving Nosy’s front end beautifully sleek while on the rest of its body the Fluff’s fur was sticking out all over the place. For its part, Nosy looked thoroughly relaxed, stretched out as straight as possible on the floor and clearly enjoying the grooming.
“Taddy!” Meriel said happily when she spotted Ianto. “I’m making Nosy all pretty, see?”
“I see, sweetheart. You’re doing a very good job there, but I think you could do with a bigger brush.”
“I was gonna use my hairbrush, but I thought I’d better not ‘cause it’s new and Daddy said I should be careful with it and only use it on my hair.” Meriel had used her previous hairbrush to help Jack sweep up in the garden, which hadn’t done its bristles any good at all.
“Very wise decision. Nosy does have its own brushes though. You’ve seen Daddy and I using them.”
“Uh huh, but they’re big and my hands are too little.” Meriel kept brushing. “We were playing hide and seek. Nosy hid under the bed and got all fluffy. It didn’t look comfy.”
“I don’t imagine it was. Do you want me to help?”
“No, thank you Taddy. I can do it.”
“Well, if you’re sure.”
Ianto left his daughter to take care of her friend, reflecting that maybe complete silence around the flat wasn’t always a bad thing.