Characters: Ianto, Jack, Nosy.
Summary: Ianto thinks Nosy and Jack are spending too much time watching television and decides to do something about it.
Word Count: 1521
Written For: Challenge 147: Television at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Hands on hips Ianto glared at the sofa. “Look at you! You’re turning into a complete television addict. If you’re not careful you’re going to get fat, lounging there every evening, eyes glued to the screen, and eating junk food.”
Sprawled comfortably on the cushions and presiding over the remote control, Nosy hummed in an unconcerned manner, nibbling popcorn from the bowl beside it.
“Jack, what have I told you about giving Nosy snacks between meals?”
“It’s only puffed up corn,” Jack said, coming up behind him. “Mostly air, almost no calories.”
“That’s what you think. This is not a healthy lifestyle for a human, never mind a Fluff. Hours of lazing in front of the TV can’t be good for Nosy. It’s not designed for this!”
“I don’t see the problem.”
“You wouldn’t; you’re just as bad,” Ianto griped as Jack went to sit beside Nosy, his own bowl of popcorn in hand.
“I’ll have you know TV is very educational,” Jack huffed. “Nosy is learning lots of things about its new home!”
“Yes, things like how to be a couch potato, and how awful people can be to each other. TV shows these days are full of violence and bad language.”
“I don’t let Nosy watch the news, or anything too violent,” Jack said firmly. “It prefers things like nature documentaries, sci-fi and fantasy movies, cartoons, and Sesame Street.”
Ianto rolled his eyes. “The fact that Nosy’s seen enough TV to have developed preferences kind of makes my point for me, doesn’t it?” Jack didn’t reply, already paying more attention to the television than he was to his lover. With a resigned sigh, Ianto mooched over and slumped onto the sofa beside Jack, helping himself to a handful of popcorn; if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. “So what are we watching tonight?”
“Dancing on Ice; Nosy loves ice skating. You’re just in time; it’s about to start.” Jack draped his arm around Ianto. “Isn’t this nice? The three of us watching TV as a family?”
“Very domestic,” Ianto said, tone dry as dust, but in the back of his mind he was already coming up with a plan to start introducing some more healthy activities into their lives, for Nosy’s sake at the very least. He wasn’t about to let their alien friend turn into a fat, lazy sausage of a Fluff; that wouldn’t do at all, it would be tantamount to alien abuse, which was something every member of Torchwood Three frowned upon. Nosy deserved a better quality of life than it was currently getting, no matter how content it might be with the way things stood.
It was amazingly mild for late February, with temperatures pushing into the mid-fifties, so a few days later, when he and Jack had the day off, Ianto suggested getting out of their apartment and enjoying the sunshine. “Instead of watching nature documentaries on TV, we can take Nosy somewhere away from prying eyes and let it see the real thing.”
“It already saw the real thing when it first arrived,” Jack reminded him. “Grass, bracken, trees, sheep, and farmers with shotguns.”
“This will be different; we can drive out to the Beacons, off the beaten track, where there aren’t any farmers with guns, do a bit of hiking, let Nosy chase a ball… It’ll be fun, and it’ll do us all good to breathe fresh country air. Who wants to stay home watching TV on a day like this anyway?”
Jack looked out the window at the bright sunshine. “What d’you think, Nosy? Old Fred Astaire movies or chasing a ball?”
Nosy looked at the TV for a long moment, then out the window, and finally slithered off, returning with a ball in its mouth.
Ianto smiled approvingly. “Good choice.”
“I’ll get everything set up to record the movies; we can watch them later,” Jack told Nosy.
It was a pleasant drive, although Nosy had to stay hidden in the back seat beneath a blanket until they got away from the worst of the traffic. As soon as they were well away from Cardiff the Fluff changed to a nondescript shade of brown so it could poke its nose out of the open car window without drawing any unwanted attention. Anyone catching a brief glimpse of it in passing would simply assume it was a shaggy dog of some kind. Nosy was smart enough to duck down again if they ran into heavier traffic, but once they were off the A470 and into the park proper, on the smaller roads, traffic dwindled. They found somewhere to leave the car, well off the road at the end of a dirt track, and set out to explore on foot.
There was a brisk breeze blowing, but Nosy’s thick fur provided plenty of insulation while Jack and Ianto were dressed in jeans, warm jackets, gloves, and woollen hats, so none of them felt cold as they set out along one of the many footpaths meandering through the National Park. Even if they had, the exercise soon got their blood pumping and it wasn’t long before both Jack and Ianto had their jackets open, their hats and gloves shoved in their pockets. In sheltered valleys, out of the wind, it was warm enough that there were already small clumps of early wildflowers blooming, narcissus and primroses among them.
Nosy, now green with brown splodges in order to blend in with its surroundings, slithered about, sniffing everything, occasionally wrinkling its snout in distaste at unpleasant odours. It nibbled at mosses and lichen, goggled at the occasionally bee or other insect, peered up at birds in the trees, and gazed curiously at the retreating tails of wild rabbits vanishing into their burrows, even following one and sticking its head down the hole, humming a friendly greeting. The rabbit didn’t respond, much to Nosy’s disappointment.
When they reached a reasonably flat meadow, Ianto took Nosy’s ball out of his pocket, throwing it for the Fluff to chase, then when his arm got tired Jack took over, and so it went as they strolled along in the mid-morning sunshine.
In the early afternoon they stopped for lunch, sitting on a rock outcropping to enjoy the picnic Ianto had packed while Nosy mooched about amusing itself. They were completely absorbed in their meal when a flash of light caught Ianto’s attention. Squinting against the sunlight, he searched the hillside above them and could just make out a couple of figures walking along the top of the ridge. He scrabbled for the binoculars around his neck to get a better look; there were two hikers, one of whom had a camera slung around his neck. Even as he watched, Ianto saw the figure pause, raising the camera and snapping off a few shots of the valley.
Lowering the binoculars, Ianto looked around for Nosy, who’d been browsing nearby, but there was no sign of the Fluff; it must have hidden, or camouflaged itself.
Jack was staring up at the hikers now too, sandwich forgotten in his hand. “Do you think they saw Nosy?”
“I hope not.” Ianto followed the distant figures with his eyes; the hikers were still continuing along their path, which had to mean they hadn’t spotted anything out of the ordinary, because surely if they had they’d be making their way down the slope to investigate. “Looks like we got away with it. Nosy must have felt their presence and hidden.” The Fluff’s empathic abilities meant it always knew when people, whether friends or strangers, were about, usually before anyone else did. “At least one of them was taking photographs though.”
“You think they might have caught Nosy on camera without realising?”
“No way of knowing, and even if they did, at this distance it’s camouflaged well enough that they still might not see Nosy as anything more than an uneven patch of ground, but if pictures of Nosy turn up on the Internet, or the evening news we might need to take action.”
“That would be ironic,” Jack said with a grin. “Dragging us out here to keep Nosy from watching television all day, only for it to wind up on the TV itself.”
“That would be all we needed. There’d be monster hunters flocking to the Beacons, searching for the Welsh version of the Yeti, or the Loch Ness Monster, a gigantic furry serpent seen lurking among the rocks. I’d better keep a close eye on all the websites dealing with that kind of thing for the next few weeks, just in case.” Ianto sighed. “More work. As if I didn’t already have enough to do.”
“Face it, Ianto, as enjoyable as today has been it’s probably a lot safer for Nosy to stay home watching TV.”
“Safer doesn’t necessarily mean better, Jack; today was worth the risk. We can’t keep Nosy cooped up all the time just on the off chance someone might see it.”
“Hum!” Nosy agreed, poking its head between them. Watching TV was nice, but so were country walks. It had plenty of room in its life for both activities.
Companion Piece: 'Valiant Explorer'
Sequel: 'Smarty Fluff'