Title: The Innocence Of Children – Sequel to ‘The Most Beautiful Sight’
Characters/Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Meriel, Nosy
Word Count: 994
Summary: The boys and their daughter take the family pet to the beach.
Written For: My cottoncandy_bingo square Innocent/Innocence.
Beta: None but yours truly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
A/N: Sadly, I can’t remember whose idea it was to take Nosy to the beach, but whoever it was, I hope you like this.
One day, out of the blue, shortly after her wonderful day out with her fathers, Meriel announced that she wanted to take Nosy to the beach. Apparently, she’d told the Fluff all about how much fun it was and now Nosy wanted to see for itself. Jack and Ianto looked at each other, then back at their small daughter, sitting with her arms as far around the family pet as she could reach and looking up at them with wide blue eyes.
“Nosy wants to have fun too!”
“Meriel, you know other people can’t know about Nosy. They might want to hurt it,” Ianto explained carefully.
The little girl nodded solemnly.
“I know, taddy, but daddy says there’s lots of beaches. Isn’t there one for Nosy?”
“We might have to drive a long way to find one without people.”
“That’s okay,” Meriel said. “Nosy likes riding in the car.”
So here they were, on a sunny day, beach gear in the boot of their personal SUV, a small girl and a large Fluff in the back seat, looking for a deserted beach.
They’d worried that Meriel might get bored on the long drive; she was a very lively child and seldom sat still for long, but she seemed perfectly happy strapped into her child seat, chattering away to Nosy, pointing at things through the window and telling the Fluff what they were.
“Look, Nosy, sheeps! Just like your sheep teddy!” To Meriel, all soft toys were teddies, regardless of what shape they were. Nosy hummed happily back at its little friend, staring out at the ‘sheeps’ and all the other fascinating things they passed.
After nearly an hour of driving, they finally reached a suitably secluded beach and parked up close to the sand dunes, some distance from the road. Jack got out and checked that the stretch of sand was deserted before they started to unload.
Once all the essentials were ready to be carried down onto the beach, Jack opened the rear door of the SUV, unbuckled Meriel from her seat and lifted her out of the car. Nosy followed, slithering onto the sandy soil, humming eagerly.
“Don’t go far on your own, Nosy,” Ianto warned, checking the car was locked and loading himself with various bags. Jack handed Meriel her own little bag, with her bucket and spade then gathered up the rest of their things, and the odd little group wound their way through the dunes onto the beach with Nosy keeping close to Meriel.
The Fluff was able to slither surprisingly well on the loose sand and seemed to like the way it felt. While Jack and Ianto set up the windbreaks and spread out blankets, Nosy had a good roll in the dry, powdery grit, wriggling and squiggling, humming its approval, eyes tightly closed to keep the loose grains out. Meriel sat out of the way, watching Nosy’s antics and laughing.
“See, Nosy? Sand is fun!”
Ianto looked thoughtful.
“Maybe we should build Nosy a sand pit. It could play in it and use it as a dust bath.”
“We can look into that when we get back,” Jack agreed. “Right now, let’s just enjoy the rest of the afternoon.”
Soon they were all in their swimsuits and covered in sunscreen, except Nosy who didn’t need either. Meriel was busy in the damp sand near the water’s edge, trying to teach Nosy how to build sandcastles. The Fluff was at a serious disadvantage, not having any hands, but it was trying hard. Shovelling sand into a bucket was easy enough using the little trowel Ianto had found for it; the hard part was turning the bucket upside down and lifting it off. Meriel helped with that until she decided they had enough towers then Nosy dug a moat right around their castle.
Ianto and Jack had both pulled out cameras, snapping away, capturing the sight of their child and their Fluff working together, searching for shells to decorate their lopsided construction and admiring it as if it were the greatest work of art ever created.
“Daddy, taddy, look! Isn’t it pretty?” Meriel draped seaweed over the biggest tower and beamed up at her fathers.
“It’s perfect, Princess! Here, let me take some pictures of you both. Sit behind your castle.” Jack snapped a few more pictures. “Your aunties and uncles will want to see what you made!”
As it was cooler than the last time they’d been to the beach, they didn’t go swimming this time, just paddled at the water’s edge. Nosy kept just clear of the water until a big wave swept in, catching the Fluff by surprise and rolling it up the beach before trying to drag it out to sea. Jack and Ianto ran to the rescue, grabbing Nosy and turning it right side up, then dragging the waterlogged Fluff onto dry sand. Nosy lay still for a few moments getting its bearings after being tumbled about, then gave itself a vigorous shake, instantly soaking its human friends who fled out of range, laughing and wiping water from their faces.
Settling down to sun itself, Nosy dried off while the rest of the family had a snack, then the four of them spent a happy hour tossing the beach-ball around and playing tag up and down their beach.
Eventually, they all agreed it was time for a rest before they packed up and headed home. Nosy lay basking in the sunshine, worn out but content, with Meriel draped across it, telling it a long and involved story about a mermaid and a big wave. A short distance away, her fathers sat watching them, smiling and occasionally taking photos. It was a beautiful scene, like something out of a fairytale.
Surely there could be nothing more precious than the innocence of Fluffs and children and they silently vowed to themselves that they’d do everything in their power to preserve it for as long as possible.