Characters: Ianto, Owen, Dizzy, Nosy.
Summary: When Owen decides to have a few beers at work after a rough day, one of the Hub’s resident aliens winds up getting sloshed too.
Word Count: 1068
Written For: Prompt 010 – Overindulgence at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Ianto froze in mid-step, staring in abject horror. “Owen! What in God’s name have you done?”
“What’re you on about now?” Owen opened bleary eyes where he was sprawled untidily on the Hub’s battered old sofa. He’d had one hell of a day, battling most of the afternoon to save the life of a seriously injured alien. He’d succeeded, just barely, and the last thing he needed was to get yelled at. Didn’t he deserve to have a beer or six in peace? The long hours of surgery had done him in; his legs and feet were aching, his back throbbing, and as for his hands, he was amazed they hadn’t fallen right off. He dragged his wandering attention back to Ianto, who was still ranting.
“You’ve spilled your beer all over the floor!”
“Damn! I was drinkin’ that. What a waste.” Owen realised he must have dozed off for a few minutes, not surprising considering how exhausted he was.
“A waste? That’s all you have to say?” If anything Ianto seem to be getting even more furious.
“Lighten up, why don’t you? What’s the big deal about a bit of beer on the floor anyway? Easy enough to clean it up, not like it’s blood or anything.”
“Oh, it’s already been very effectively cleaned up,” Ianto said in dire tones. “It’s one thing for you to overindulge in alcohol, you’re used to it, but Dizzy’s only a baby! How many times have I told you to keep all food and drink well out of its reach? It’s too young to know what might be bad for it! All it wants is to copy you!”
That finally got through to Owen. “Dizzy?” He shot upright on the sofa and looked around frantically, not that he had to look very far. A metre and a half of purple and black furry alien snake creature lay tangled on the floor near his feet, beside what remained of a pool of beer that had poured out of the can Owen had dropped when he’d nodded off. He tried to remember how much had still been in it and groaned, realising it had been almost full. “Oh God! Dizzy?”
The six-week old Flufflet twitched and hiccupped, toppling sideways, an impressive feat considering it was already mostly flat on the ground. Its big, round, violet eyes were glazed over and some of its fur was matted and sticky where beer had splashed or been dripped onto it.
Owen practically fell off the sofa, kneeling down beside the little alien whose health and welfare were his and Tosh’s responsibility. Tosh was out with Jack and Mickey, helping the crewmates of the injured alien with repairs to their ship, so keeping an eye on Dizzy had been left to Owen, but he’d screwed that up royally. Now the Flufflet was completely sloshed, all because he hadn’t been paying proper attention. This didn’t bode well for if he and Tosh ever had kids.
“How the hell do you sober up a Fluff?” Owen carefully picked up the sozzled alien, which had somehow managed to tie its long body into several knots, and set about gently untangling it. Dizzy did nothing to resist, just hung limply in his hands, which wasn’t a good sign. Usually it wriggled and squiggled happily whenever it was picked up, loving the attention.
“No idea, don’t you know? You’re supposedly the expert on alien medicine.” Ianto followed behind as Owen carried Dizzy to the medical bay, where he placed it carefully on the examination table and ran one of his medical scanners from one end of it to the other. On the plus side, Fluffs were fairly indestructible, immune to most things they might encounter, and there was nothing in beer that of itself would be harmful to the alien in the long term, but overindulgence in alcohol wasn’t good for anyone and it was a safe bet that the Flufflet was going to have a nasty hangover when it sobered up. Making sure it was hydrated would help, so Owen administered water and a dose of vitamin C. Dizzy just rolled its eyes and hiccupped.
By now, Nosy, Dizzy’s parent, was in attendance, watching over its offspring and radiating disapproval. At over five and a half metres in length it could be quite intimidating when it wanted to be, but as it was also empathic and knew how bad Owen felt about what had happened, it focused its attention on the youngster. Being a parent was tougher than it had thought, even if you happened to have human childminders to do most of the work.
Nosy knew only too well what it was like to be drunk, having once been accidentally doused in alien wine. Between what had soaked in and what it had licked off its fur it had been so drunk it hadn’t been able to slither in a straight line, weaving erratically all over the place, bumping into things, and nearly knocking its friends over, but the worst part had been later, when even dim light was too bright, everything hurt, including its fur, and just lapping water from its dish had felt like too much of an effort. It hadn’t touched a drop of anything alcoholic since. Hopefully, Dizzy had now learned the same valuable lesson; however interesting it might smell or taste, alcohol was best left to the humans. Too much of it affected them just as badly as it did Fluffs, but they drank it anyway, which Nosy found baffling.
Hours later, Dizzy lay on a blanket beside the sofa, looking very sorry for itself. It was still hiccupping occasionally, its eyes were tightly closed against the light, and it flinched every time there was a noise. Sitting on the sofa, Owen didn’t look much better. Ianto brought coffee for both of them.
“No more lapping up spills,” he told the Flufflet firmly, getting a feeble hum in reply.
“I don’t think it’ll be doing that again,” Owen said glumly. “I know I won’t; if I want to get hammered I’ll go down the pub. It’s one thing indulging my own vices without inflicting them on an innocent creature.” He gazed morosely down at the hungover Flufflet, looking smaller than ever among the folds of the blanket. It would recover, but Owen knew he’d have to be a lot more careful around it in future.