Characters: Jack, Ianto, Nosy, Meriel, Twins, Flufflets.
Word Count: 1232
Summary: Jack has a brilliant idea that could benefit children everywhere, but earth isn’t quite ready for it yet.
Written For: Challenge 325: Correct at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“I’ve been thinking; maybe we should open our own preschool, or early learning centre,” Jack said one morning after breakfast. He was watching Nosy, Squiggle, and Spot working with ten-year-old Meriel and the three-year-old twins, Gareth and Jenna, correcting their spelling of various words as they played with wooden blocks bearing letters and numbers.
“I was under the impression we already had one,” Ianto told his husband, watching the morning lesson himself. He’d be off to work soon, but he could spare a little while longer to enjoy being with his family before he had to leave their flat.
“I meant for kids besides our own. Think about it; the Fluffs would be in their element running day-care. It would be a huge benefit to pre-school age kids, especially the ones whose parents are too busy to teach them the basics of reading, writing, and maths.”
Meriel had learned to count, read and spell from Nosy and the blocks, as well as from her daddies reading her bedtime stories, just as Nosy itself had learned human words and numbers when it had first arrived on earth. Back then it had mostly been Ianto doing the teaching, with the other team members helping out occasionally, but by the time Meriel was born Nosy had a dictionary of its own and an ever-growing vocabulary that had required several more sets of blocks, and a tablet it could type words on using a stylus gripped in its mouth.
As soon as Meriel had been able to sit up on her own, the friendly alien had started showing her words, just the way Ianto had once shown Nosy itself. Simple ones at first, like ‘Nosy’, ‘Fluff’, ‘Daddy’, ‘Taddy’, and her own name, but then it had begun gradually teaching her how to combine them with other words to make sentences. She’d been talking with blocks almost before she could say the words out loud.
Even now, she still used the blocks to improve her spelling, as well as helping Nosy and the Flufflets teach her brother and sister. Nosy knew so many more words than Meriel did and any time she wasn’t sure of something when she was doing her homework, she would always ask Nosy the correct spelling. As a result, there’d been times when her teachers had been convinced one of her parents must have done her homework for her. She always told them that she knew perfectly well how to look things up in a dictionary or encyclopaedia, or online, and that it wasn’t fair of them to criticise her for being clever and having a good memory.
“I get that from my Taddy. He remembers everything.”
She never mentioned Nosy of course, although she was quite sure her Fluff’s memory was at least as good as her Taddy’s. She knew it was important to keep her furry best friend a secret because not everyone was nice to people who looked a bit different, and Nosy was very different indeed. Her Taddy said people got scared of things they didn’t understand, and even grown-ups could be bullies. The last thing anyone wanted was for people to be mean to Nosy; it had never done anything to deserve that.
Sitting at the breakfast bar, Ianto gave his husband’s idea due consideration before reluctantly shaking his head.
“It’s a nice idea, and I agree that Fluffs would make excellent pre-school teachers, but for one thing we only have four and they’re all needed by the children they already take care off, and for another, we’re supposed to be keeping it a secret that there are aliens living in Cardiff. There’s no way of knowing how people would take the existence of Fluffs, and a lot of parents might not like the idea of putting their kids in the hands, so to speak, of aliens.”
Jack sighed. “You’re right, I know, it just doesn’t seem fair that Torchwood kids are the only ones on earth who get to benefit from growing up with Fluffs. It gives them an unfair advantage over all the other, less fortunate, kids. Lily and our three are so much more advanced than other kids their ages, which is great for them, but... I feel like we’re being a bit greedy.”
Ianto raised an eyebrow. “As parents, aren’t we supposed to be a bit biased in favour of our own kids, doing everything we can to give them every possible advantage over everyone else’s offspring?”
“Well, when you put it like that… I stand corrected. Yes, our kids should have all the advantages and all of the Fluffs. They’re better and more deserving than all the other kids in the world put together, just because they’re ours,” Jack said with a teasing grin.
“Twpsyn,” Ianto accused fondly. He finished the last of his coffee and got up to put his mug in the dishwasher. “Suppose I’d better show willing and head to work. Someone has to keep the rest of the team under some degree of control, and today it’s my turn. Lucky me. I’ll leave the kids and Fluffs in your capable hands.” It was Saturday so Meriel didn’t have school.
“My day’s not going to be much better than yours. I’ll be doing the laundry and feeding the starving horde. Maybe I’ll take the kids to the park this afternoon if it stays dry, give Nosy and the Flufflets a bit of a break. They don’t get much time for naps these days with the twins being so active all the time.”
“I’m sure they’d appreciate it.” Ianto slipped his overcoat on. “Jack?”
“Hm?” Jack turned away from watching his kids.
“Your idea; it’s a good one, just for the future, not for right now. But someday, once the people of earth are used to the existence of aliens, it’ll be something worth thinking about. There are a lot of kids who’d really benefit from being around Fluffs. Kids with autism, learning difficulties, physical handicaps. They could have support Fluffs to do things for them…” He trailed off, shaking his head and chuckling. “Now I’m the one getting a bit carried away. It would take a lot more Fluffs than we’ve got to provide for everyone who needed one. If only more could be rescued from the Fluff home world before the asteroid hits, then we might be able to breed enough to go around, but it would be too much to expect Nosy to bud Flufflets for everyone who could benefit from them.”
Nosy, listening in because it always kept half an ear on its friends’ conversations, especially when the topic was Fluffs or kids, quietly hummed to itself but didn’t bother trying to correct the error in their thinking; there’d be plenty of time for that at a later date, when everyone wasn’t so busy with their assigned tasks.
The simple fact was, it’s humans were forgetting something; Nosy wouldn’t be producing Flufflets all by itself. By the time the world was finally ready for a Fluff population explosion there would be more than sufficient Fluffs mature enough, and fuelled by enough caffeine, to produce as many Flufflets as required, and they’d do so willingly, because that was just the way Fluffs were. Helping and caring were the things they did best. The people of earth needed Fluffs in so many ways; they just didn’t know it yet.