Characters: Nosy, Ianto, Jack.
Summary: On an outing to the countryside, Nosy imagines itself a pioneering explorer, and a native guide.
Word Count: 1208
Written For: Challenge 149: Pioneer at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Nosy welcomed the chance of a day out in the country. It loved its home with Jack and Ianto in their new flat, where there were fun things to do and a big TV to watch, and it loved being at the Hub, where there were always a lot of things going on and it could help all its friends, but it did miss being out in the fresh air. It had seen so many nature documentaries on TV, and learned a great deal about the world it now lived in, but since it had been found and rescued, and brought back to Cardiff to live with its human friends, it had mostly been shut indoors, away from all the wild things. While its arrival on earth had been scary, and the sheep it had spent time with hadn’t been very stimulating company, it sometimes wished it had explored a bit more while it had the opportunity instead of spending most of its time trying to hide.
The roof garden of the new flat at least gave Nosy somewhere it could sunbathe on warm days, or slither about for some outdoor exercise, but there wasn’t much out there yet, mostly building materials; a great deal of work still needed to be done before it would look nice, with plants and grass to bring in the birds and insects. Nosy very much wanted to see in real life some of the creatures it had watched on TV. They were so fascinating!
Today it was finally to get that opportunity! It kept itself hidden beneath a blanket on the floor in the back of Ianto’s car until they were away from built-up areas, and then Ianto said it would be safe to stick its head out the window and watch the scenery passing by, if it wanted to. Changing colour to a nondescript shade of brown, so that at a passing glance it wouldn’t look much different from the dogs it had seen on TV, it poked its head out into the wind, breathing in the smells of the countryside. It saw lots of sheep, and bigger creatures it identified as cows and horses. It saw birds flying in the sky, and perched in trees and bushes, singing. It even saw a fox, slinking through a field in the morning sunshine. It was wonderful, and travelling by car was a lot of fun, but the best was yet to come.
Ianto found a good place to begin their adventure, far away from villages and farms, and turned onto a narrow track, stopping behind a small cluster of trees, out of sight of the road. Turning off the engine and getting out, he opened one of the back doors and Nosy slithered down onto the grass. There was a brisk breeze blowing, although it wasn’t particularly cold considering the time of year, but even if it had been the Fluff had plenty of thick fur to keep it warm. As long as the weather stayed dry Nosy would be perfectly fine, but it doubted its friends would have brought it out here if rain were likely. They knew Nosy’s fluff would quickly become waterlogged in wet conditions, which was never a pleasant experience.
Changing colour again to green and brown, the better to blend in with the surrounding countryside, the Fluff set off ahead of its friends along the bottom of the valley they were in, eager to explore.
Humming quietly, Nosy imagined itself as a pioneer, leading the way into the wilderness, like Daniel Boone in the movie it had watched with Jack the previous week. Or perhaps Jack and Ianto were the pioneers and Nosy was their faithful native guide, Slithering Fluff, teaching them the ways of the land, showing them what was good to eat… It paused, nibbling some fresh and tasty moss. Delicious!
It sniffed at this and that, smelling the sweet scents of the small clumps of wild flowers, wrinkling its nose in distaste as it caught a rank aroma from a clump of grass. Some wild creature had passed this way, marking its territory. Nosy remembered such things from back on its own planet; some animals were very smelly indeed! Others barely had any scent to them at all; bees, it discovered, had a very faint sweet aroma of nectar, and flies an equally faint smell of rotting things. Birds, like the wild grouse the Fluff accidentally startled from under a bush, had a warm, earthy, feathery scent.
Slinking silently around a rocky outcropping and into a wide, grassy meadow, Slithering Fluff led its small band of brave pioneers into a land of plenty; grass for grazing, a narrow rippling stream for fresh water, clumps of tasty wild onions, and massive brambles that would be covered in blackberries by late summer. Nosy remembered wild blackberries with affection; they tasted so very good, warm from the sun, but picking them had been tricky. It had got prickled a lot.
Scattered across the meadow were a number of small furry creatures Nosy quickly identified as rabbits. They didn’t notice Slithering Fluff, who was well camouflaged and one with the land, able to move silently through the undergrowth. Nosy watched the rabbits hopping about and nibbling grass until Jack and Ianto came into view around the rocks, at which point the rabbits scattered, vanishing into their holes. Approaching the nearest burrow moments behind its occupant, Nosy poked its head down into the darkness belowground, humming a friendly greeting, but the rabbit didn’t reply; obviously it was shy of strangers, as Nosy had been when it first arrived on this planet.
The fearless explorer slithered onwards, through trees and bushes; now it was the great explorer Nosy Stanley, deep in the rainforests of Africa, in search of Dr Livingfluff! All too soon it was out the other side, having not seen any sign of the missing doctor, and into another grassy meadow, where it abandoned its explorer persona and took on the role of valiant tracker and bounty hunter, chasing after its ball and Frisbee, and returning to lay them at Jack and Ianto’s feet. No outlaw could escape the Lone Fluff!
Being a pioneering explorer, native guide, and bounty hunter was hard work and Nosy was glad to stop for lunch, drinking from the stream and sampling the various mosses and lichens that grew among the rocks. Jack and Ianto sat on a large, flat outcropping to eat their packed lunch. After a while, feeling a bit hot, the Fluff slithered into a patch of shade and settled down for a well-deserved nap.
Soon the explorers would be heading back to their base camp, but there was no need to rush; Slithering Fluff well understood the need to conserve energy whenever possible. Closing its eyes, it drifted off to sleep and dreamed of marvellous adventures, discovering the Great Pyramids in Egypt, drifting down the Nile by barge, braving the Arctic wilderness…
In all its dreams and imaginings, however, it never occurred to Nosy that it was in fact a pioneer in its own right, the first Fluff to ever come to earth and live among the natives. As adventures went, that was a pretty big one right there.