Characters: Nosy, Ianto, Dizzy.
Word Count: 1155
Summary: Nosy is a very hardworking Fluff, always helping out around the Hub in any way it can, but what is it up to now?
Written For: Challenge 310: Tape at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
As usual, Nosy was slithering busily about the Hub, helping out by running errands for various members of the team so they wouldn’t have to stop whatever important work they were doing. Ianto smiled as the Fluff glided past with a cold can of coke from the fridge for Owen, then over to Gwen’s workstation with a packet of wet wipes because she’d dripped jam from her doughnut on her keyboard. A few minutes later, there the Fluff was again, this time taking a new pen to Tosh, some rags to Mickey, and a KitKat for Jack, who would no doubt be disappointed at not getting the whole packet. Nosy knew by now that Jack was only allowed one snack at a time because otherwise there’d soon be nothing left for anyone else.
Ianto went on about his own business, gathering empty coffee mugs and plates, taking them to the kitchenette and loading them into the dishwasher. Life was so much easier now he didn’t have to wash everything by hand; he really should have requisitioned a dishwasher years ago.
Heading back into the main Hub, Ianto spotted Nosy again, this time slithering past in the direction of its play area. He frowned; there was something long and thin trailing from the Fluff’s mouth. Curious to know what it was, he followed, eyebrows going up as he realised Nosy had somehow got hold of his measuring tape. What on earth could the Fluff possibly want with that? It wasn’t off limits or anything, he’d never told Nosy not to touch it, but neither had Nosy ever shown any particular interest in it before. Ianto was mystified.
When the furry alien reached the part of the Hub that had been set aside for it a few days after it had first taken up residence at Torchwood, it hummed questioningly.
Immediately a purple and black head popped up out the ball pit, and Dizzy the Flufflet hummed back, wriggling and squiggling its way through the balls and onto the concrete, its fur sticking out in all directions thanks to static electricity, making it look more like an animated feather boa than ever. Slithering up to its parent, Dizzy stopped, raised its head, and goggled enquiringly at its parent.
“Hummm!” Nosy said firmly, and Dizzy came to a sort of attention, lying flat on the ground and stretching its long body out straight as an arrow.
Ianto watched, fascinated, as Nosy persuaded its offspring to grasp the end of the measuring tape in its mouth, then proceeded to stretch the rest of it alongside Dizzy until it reached the very tip of the Flufflet’s tail. It goggled at the tape for a moment, then picked up a piece of chalk, and wrote something on its blackboard.
Returning to Dizzy, Nosy took the tape measure and laid it on the ground, humming another order. Dizzy obediently slithered across it and, after a few false starts, Nosy managed to wrap the tape around its Flufflet at the widest part of Dizzy’s body, just behind its head. Once again. Nosy goggled at the tape, then went and wrote on its blackboard.
The temptation to see what the Fluff was writing was irresistible; Ianto strolled across, stepping carefully over Dizzy, who hadn’t moved an inch, and went to look at what Nosy had written.
There were several lines of writing on the blackboard, the topmost of which read, ‘1.01 m. 22 cm’ and the last, ‘1.17 m. 25.5 cm’. Clearly this wasn’t the first time Nosy had borrowed Ianto’s tape measure.
“Keeping track of Dizzy’s vital statistics and growth rate, are you?”
The team had done the same with Nosy when it had first arrived, measuring the Fluff every week to start with, then once a month when it became clear the alien was growing very slowly, if at all. Nowadays they’d settled on twice yearly measurements, unless Nosy seemed to be getting a bit plump from too many snacks and not enough exercise.
“Hum,” Nosy agreed.
“Shouldn’t Owen be doing that?” Ianto sighed, answering his own question. “I suppose he’s been delegating again. I hope he doesn’t expect you to measure yourself as well.”
Nosy was smart and adaptable, but even so it wouldn’t be an easy task for a creature with no hands. At approximately five and a half metres, the Fluff was much longer than any measuring tape Torchwood owned, and Ianto couldn’t see any way it could get accurate measurements without help. The usual method was to straighten Nosy out, make chalk marks on the concrete at nose and tail tip, then measure the ground between the marks, something that took two people, one to hold each end of the tape, and several additional chalk marks.
With a noncommittal hum, Nosy retrieved Ianto’s tape measure and dismissed its offspring. Dizzy happily slithered back into the ball pit, vanishing from sight, and Nosy returned the tape to its owner.
“You’re welcome. Maybe I should get you a measuring tape of your own; then you wouldn’t have to keep borrowing mine.”
Ianto studied the rough chart on the blackboard; from the looks of it Dizzy had grown 16 cm in length over the last 7 weeks, and had filled out by 3.5 cm. That didn’t seem extreme; human babies grew quite fast in their first couple of years, from what he remembered of his niece and nephew, so why shouldn’t Flufflets?
“Looks like you’ve just about run out of room. Why don’t I make a note of these measurements and then you can clean your board, ready for next time?”
Fetching a manila folder and some paper, Ianto copied the information from the blackboard, and labelled the folder appropriately.
“There. Let me know the next time you take measurements so I can add them to this chart, and if you ever need a hand or two…” He trailed off, petting the Fluff. “Well, I’m usually around somewhere.”
“Right; I’d best get on. Lots to do. I expect you’re busy too.”
“Hmmm,” Nosy agreed.
The Fluff picked up its basket and headed out into the main Hub to see if any of its friends needed anything, but Ianto paused a moment, took out his phone, and photographed the blackboard; he’d show the picture to Jack later. He should also probably have a word with Owen about how unfair it was of him to leave tracking Dizzy’s growth to someone who wasn’t anatomically suited to the task, even if Nosy didn’t seem to mind. Dizzy’s care had been entrusted, in part, to Owen, and if he was shirking his responsibilities... Well, it would have to stop. If this kept up, next thing he knew, Owen would have Nosy doing his paperwork for him too.
Ianto smiled as he went to make coffee. If Fluffs had hands, they could probably rule the world, and do a better job of it too.