Characters: Ianto, Jack, Nosy.
Summary: Ianto is forced to change his tune about Nosy watching too much TV.
Word Count: 1245
Written For: Challenge 148: Quiz at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Arriving home tired and hungry from a meeting in London, Ianto let himself into his and Jack’s apartment. He could smell something delicious cooking and smiled; Jack had obviously anticipated his arrival and got dinner started. Hanging his coat in the closet and putting his shoes on the shoe rack, he made his way down the steps into the living room, only to let out an exasperated sigh at what he saw there.
“Jack, what have I told you about letting Nosy watch too much television? We discussed this only a couple of weeks ago and I thought we agreed to restrict its viewing!”
Once again the Fluff’s eyes were glued to the flickering screen; it was one thing to let Nosy watch with them in the evenings if it wanted, but another thing entirely to let it stare at the TV all day. This time, instead of being curled up on the sofa with Jack, it was lying on the floor, only a few feet away from the screen.
“Look at it! That can’t be good for Nosy’s eyesight, and I hardly think we can take it to the opticians to get glasses.”
“Probably not,” Jack agreed, coming out of the kitchen area. “It doesn’t have any ears to hook them on.”
Ianto rolled his eyes and turned to glare at his lover, hand on hips. “That wasn’t what I meant, and you know it!”
Jack was smirking with amusement, but sobered at Ianto’s look. “Would you relax? There’s nothing wrong with Nosy’s eyesight; it’s even better than mine, which is saying something, so stop worrying. What are you going to be like if we ever have children? Are you going to be the kind of parent who doesn’t let their kid do anything fun in case they might get hurt in some way? So what if Nosy wants to watch TV; it’s pouring with rain outside so it can’t play in the roof garden, the Fluff jungle gym isn’t finished yet so that’s too dangerous, and I’m busy cooking dinner, which it can’t help with.”
“So you just parked it in front of the television? If we DO ever have kids, I don’t want to be the kind of parent that relies on TV and computer games to keep their children entertained.”
“It’s not like that; Nosy was working very hard at the Hub earlier, doing a spot of cleaning since you weren’t there, and anyway, it’s watching an educational programme.”
Frowning, Ianto looked at the TV screen. “Educational? It’s a quiz show!”
“Exactly! Just think how many facts about earth and humans Nosy can learn. It’ll watch pretty much any quiz show, but it prefers the multiple-choice kind, like Who Wants to be a Millionaire, or Eggheads. It likes trying to guess the correct answer. Oh, and it loves Countdown, making words out of the letters and unravelling the conundrums.”
“How do you know all that?” It wasn’t like Nosy could tell them, since it couldn’t talk as such and was still getting to grips with the written language.
The quizmaster asked another question and the possible answers appeared at the bottom of the screen. Nosy looked at them, then picked up one of its blocks and set it in front of the TV. It was only then that Ianto realised the Fluff had four of its letter blocks on the floor between it and the TV: A, B, C, and D. It had moved the C block.
The contestant gave his answer.
“Sorry,” said the quizmaster, “that’s incorrect; the correct answer is C: Potassium.”
Nosy hummed with excitement, put its block back with the other three, and waited for the next question, goggling eagerly at the TV.
“Huh,” said Ianto.
“Told you.” Jack was grinning. “We have a very smart Fluff; Nosy absorbs facts like a sponge. It gets that from you.”
“Nosy is not our offspring, Jack! It can’t have inherited genetic or personality traits from us!”
“I know that; I just mean that it watches and learns from us, and it’s empathic. It’s most likely sensed the way you grab onto new information and file it away in your brain, so it does that too.”
Ianto inclined his head thoughtfully. “I suppose that makes a kind of sense.” He looked at Jack dubiously. “Makes me wonder what it gets from you though.”
“A vivid imagination and the ability to fly spacecraft?” Jack suggested.
Ianto snorted. “The imagination thing I’m willing to believe, but somehow I can’t quite see a Fluff piloting a spaceship.”
“That’s because you don’t have our imagination,” Jack declared smugly.
Ianto pouted at his lover, following him into the kitchen to check on dinner. “I have a perfectly good imagination, thank you very much!”
In the living room, Nosy hummed excitedly again; it had got another answer right.
“Obviously not as good as mine if you don’t believe a Fluff can fly.”
“In case you haven’t noticed, it doesn’t have any hands to work the controls.”
“Ah, that’s your problem; you think too much in human terms. Not all spacefaring aliens have hands, and not all spaceships have manual controls. Some are flown almost entirely by computer so it’s just a case of pressing buttons and pulling the occasional lever; Nosy wouldn’t have any trouble with that.”
“Really? Fine, in that case I’ll concede that maybe Nosy could possibly learn to fly a spaceship that doesn’t have complicated manual controls, but right now that’s theoretical.” He lifted the lid off a saucepan and looked inside. “Is dinner almost ready? I’m starving.”
“Will be in about five minutes. That gives you just enough time to slip into something more comfortable and freshen up before we eat.”
“Good; I’ll do that.” Ianto disappeared up to their bedroom to change, leaving Jack to set the table.
When he came back, Nosy was still watching TV, but it seemed to be a different quiz show now. Jack saw him looking.
“Did you know there’s at least one TV channel that shows nothing but quiz shows?”
“I do now, but there’s no way I’m letting Nosy watch TV all evening. It might be educational in small doses, but it shouldn’t completely replace other activities.” Ianto sat down at the table as Jack dished up their dinner.
“I never said it should. Maybe we could all play a game after dinner.”
“That sounds relaxing. What d’you have in mind?”
“How about Trivial Pursuit?”
“Are you serious? I was thinking more along the lines of snakes and ladders, or Ludo.”
“Why not? Nosy can use its blocks to spell out its answers.”
“Maybe we should let Nosy choose what to play.”
“Fine with me.”
Later that evening, sitting around the coffee table, the Trivial Pursuit board laid out on its surface, Ianto was forced to admit that Jack was right, watching TV quiz shows had served Nosy well; it might not be getting all its answers right, but then neither were he and Jack. At this point Nosy had as much chance of winning as either of its human opponents, having correctly answered several questions that Ianto didn’t know the answer to.
“You know what?” he said to Jack as Nosy got another answer right.
Ianto gave a sheepish grin. “I think maybe I need to watch more quiz shows; I’ve heard they can be very educational.”
Jack laughed. “Maybe we all should; who knows what interesting facts we might learn?”