Title: Welcome To Owen Harper’s All-You-Can-Eat Fluff Buffet - Part 1/2
Characters: Tosh, Owen, Mickey, Andy, Jack, Ianto, Nosy. Brief mention of Gwen.
Pairings: Jack/Ianto, slight Tosh/Owen
Spoilers: Don’t think so. Set after Exit Wounds and Doctor Who, Journey’s End, but everyone’s still alive and the team has been expanded.
Warnings: Typical silliness, fluff etc.
Word Count: 4023
Summary: Nosy discovers the delights (and otherwise) of earth foods.
Series: Fifth in the Nosy-Verse, follows The Care And Feeding Of Alien Fluffs
Disclaimer: I still don’t own Torchwood, or any of the characters, but I do own Nosy.
A/N: This is for everyone who’s commented, with thanks; your enthusiasm for Nosy makes me want to keep writing. Hope you all enjoy this one.
Owen and Tosh were standing in the Hub’s small kitchen area, surveying the spoils of Owen’s shopping trip.
“What was the farmer’s market like?” Tosh asked curiously.
“Packed! Couldn’t even get near some stalls. You wouldn’t believe some of the things that were on sale, stuff I’d never even heard of. I saw asparagus and artichokes – never seen them outside a fancy restaurant before.” He glanced at Tosh quickly. “Maybe you could come with me to the next one. It’s not all fruit and veg. There were tons of stalls selling homemade cakes and all kinds of chocolates, and I’ve never seen so many different types of sausages in my life! I would’ve bought some, but I was already so loaded I even had to leave some of the stuff I wanted to try Nosy with.”
Tosh scanned the piles of fruit and veg. “That’s hard to imagine. It looks to me like you bought everything they had.”
“I left some of the bulkiest stuff – carrots, turnip, swede, corn on the cob… They even had whole pineapples! And sweet peppers too, in every colour you can imagine.”
“Blue?” Tosh teased.
“Well, no. Okay, maybe not every colour. They had beetroot, but I don’t think Ianto and Jack would be pleased if I turned the new pet purple. Not going to bother with potatoes either, they’re not something I’d serve raw.”
“Ugh, no.” Tosh wrinkled her nose at the thought.
“I’ll get the other stuff next time, there’s another market in a couple of weeks.”
“Okay. I’d love to go with you.”
“Yes. Sounds like it would be fun! Best forget about the swede though, Jack seems to have developed an aversion to it. No idea why,” she added at Owen’s look, “but I don’t think he’d be happy if we bought one into his home.”
Owen shrugged. “Well, who doesn’t have an aversion to swede? Not exactly gourmet dining, is it?”
“True,” Tosh agreed with a grin.
“No swede then. Fine by me, less for me to carry!” Owen shuffled things around on the table a bit, spreading them out. “Okay then, time to see what our new friend likes to eat.” He looked over at Nosy who was coiled in the entrance to the kitchen, watching them curiously and sniffing the air. “Do you think it looks hungry?”
“It’s been running – well, slithering about chasing a ball for over an hour, must have worked up an appetite by now.”
“Good. So, any suggestions on how to do this?”
“We should be systematic, handle it like a scientific experiment. I’ll make a list of everything we’ve got, then you can offer the subject of the experiment a sample of each food in turn and I’ll make notes.”
Tosh hurried off to fetch a note pad and pen, while Owen laid all his purchases out on the kitchen worktop, then got out a knife and a cutting board. He knew Ianto would kill him if he made a mess of the polished surface.
It only took Tosh a few minutes to draw up a chart and list everything. She turned to Owen, “Right, I’m all set, let’s get the food sampling started.”
“Okay. We’ll start with the easy stuff, the various greens. Just a small amount of each so we can test everything out. Once we know what it’ll eat I can make up a feeding plan. Cabbage first. Nosy?”
Hearing its name, Nosy sat up. Well, as much as something the same basic shape as a snake is capable of sitting up, that is; it raised its front metre or so off the ground, looking alert and interested.
‘Close enough to sitting up to merit the term,’ thought Tosh. “Come here, Nosy,” she called, and it slithered over ‘sitting up’ again in front of them.
Owen held out a bit of cabbage. “What d’you think of this?”
Nosy sniffed it, then took it carefully and ate it, though without noticeable enthusiasm.
“Oh,” said Tosh.
“I only charted for two responses – ‘likes’ and ‘doesn’t like’. That was somewhere in the middle.”
“You could change your categories to ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’,” Owen suggested.
“That would work,” Tosh agreed, quickly altering the headings in her notebook. “Okay, cabbage is a ‘maybe’.”
It turned out that spinach and kale were also in the ‘maybe’ category, but broccoli and cauliflower were both devoured enthusiastically enough to merit a yes, as was the rocket. Watercress was also a yes, so Tosh made a note to see if they could grow it in one of the new tanks set up for growing pond weeds. They were the same sort of thing, after all. Celery got a ‘maybe’ for the stalks and a ‘yes’ for the leaves.
“Going to be a fussy eater, are you?” Owen asked. Nosy just hummed noncommittally.
The real fun started with the sprouts. Owen offered one to Nosy, who tried to take it, but it slipped out of Owen’s fingers onto the floor. Nosy spent the next several minutes chasing it around the floor as every time it tried to take a bite, the sprout shot away. It was finally cornered against Owen’s shoe and eaten happily.
“Food and entertainment all in one,” said Owen approvingly.
Cucumber got nibbled at briefly then pushed away, so that was a ‘no’, but the peas, complete with pods, and the various beans went in the ‘yes’ category.
Tomato? No. Nosy didn’t seem to like the pips.
Owen was using the knife by now, cutting slices off various things and wiping the blade in between samples. He cut a slice from the next item and offered it to Nosy, who crunched on it happily for a moment. Then its eyes went wide and its fur stood on end. It swallowed fast, gave a squeaky sort of sneeze and slithered hastily to its water bowl, downing the contents in several huge gulps before slumping on the floor with a relieved sigh.
Owen frowned. “I guess that’s a ‘no’.” He cut another slice and stuck it in his own mouth, chewing quickly. His eyes went wide and he dashed to the sink, stuck his head under the tap and gulped water. He turned back to Nosy.
“I see what you mean!”
Tosh cut a herself a slice, crunched it up, then cut another.
“Oh, that’s good!”
Owen and Nosy stared at her incredulously.
“What? I like radishes. The hotter the better.”
Owen shrugged. “You’re welcome to them. At least they won’t be wasted. Nosy and I have more discerning taste buds.”
Tosh slapped him playfully.
“Ready for dessert?” Owen asked Nosy, “Take away the taste of that radish?”
Nosy hummed agreement and slithered back to Owen.
Apple, pear, peach, plum – all definitely yes. Strawberries? Yum! Grapes? A little tricky to get hold of, but worth the effort. Blueberries? Fiddly, but quite nice. Gooseberries? Nosy’s eyes crossed, it fluffed up and shuddered from end to end, but it eagerly accepted a second – which unsurprisingly had the same effect. Melon wound up on the ‘maybe’ list. Owen thought that as it was relatively bland, it could be used to bulk up a fruit salad so Nosy didn’t get too much of the richer fruits.
One fruit left. Owen peeled a banana and held it out. Nosy took one sniff and recoiled, wrinkling up its nose and seemingly shrinking to half its length.
“I think it’s safe to say that’s a no,” Tosh stated.
Owen shrugged. “Waste not, want not,” he said and ate it himself, washing his hands afterwards, not wanting to put Nosy off anything else if it didn’t like the smell.
For the final course, there were the items from the heath food store. The nuts and seeds were greeted with enthusiasm, the dried apricots were enjoyed, but the prunes stuck Nosy’s teeth together – though it did seem to like the taste. The cranberries were an instant favourite, making Nosy fairly vibrate with pleasure at the taste, and even the rice cakes, despite their bland flavour, seemed to meet with guarded approval, if only for their crunchiness.
Food tasting session over, Owen studied Nosy, who was now dozing in the middle of the floor. It seemed to have expanded somewhat during its meal. He nodded approval, then putting on an outrageous attempt at a French accent, he made a grand gesture and announced like a cheesy TV chef: “And zere you ‘ave it – Stuffed Fluff!”
Tosh laughed. “It does look a bit stuffed. Do you think we overfed it?”
“Maybe a little, but not seriously I don’t think. It doesn’t seem uncomfortable, just full and sleepy. Probably best to give it smaller meals in future, spaced out. We don’t know how long it was stuck out at the arse end of nowhere, grazing with the sheep, but what it was eating out there wasn’t exactly nutritious, it probably needed to eat most of the time just to keep going. Now the food is plentiful and more nutritious, we’ll need to make sure it gets plenty of exercise, otherwise we’ll have a fat fluff on our hands.”
“We’d better put all this food out of reach then,” said Tosh, starting to gather things together. Owen came to help and between them they cleared everything away. Perishables went in the fridge, packets in a high cupboard, and everything else got hung up in bags, hopefully beyond Nosy’s reach, or shoved on top of cupboards, out of almost everyone’s reach unless they stood on a chair.
“It’ll do for now I guess.” Tosh looked thoughtfully at a couple of lower, seldom used cupboards. “I’ll see about getting child locks for these, so we can use them store some of Nosy’s provisions. It should be easy enough to buy some online, and I’m sure Ianto wouldn’t mind fitting them.” Tosh headed off towards her computer station, carefully stepping over the dozing fluff.
Owen followed her a few minutes later, after refilling Nosy’s water dish, just in time to nearly collide with Andy and Mickey, who were struggling along carrying a very large and heavy looking object swathed in plastic. He and Tosh must have been so engrossed in feeding Nosy that they hadn’t even registered the cogwheel door alarm.
“Couldn’t give us a hand here, could you?” gasped Andy breathlessly, “This thing weighs a ton!”
Owen was torn between watching them struggle and lending a hand, but as Tosh was nearby he decided he’d better help. She’d only give him an earful later if he didn’t. He grabbed hold and the three of them staggered onwards, their unwieldy burden wobbling about between them.
“What the hell is this and where are we taking it?” he panted.
“New bed for the night duty room,” Mickey answered, puffing hard.
The night duty room was a fairly recent addition to the Hub, added when Jack decided to expand the team. He and Ianto had converted a small room near the conference room, just off the main Hub to house whoever was on overnight duty. To one side of the door stood a computer desk and chair, the computer on it set up to alert the room’s occupant to any night time Rift alerts, while tucked into the far corner was a battered old armchair with a small table beside it, holding a reading lamp. Against the wall between the computer desk and the armchair stood a bookcase, containing a selection of novels and an iPod dock for entertainment. The other wall was clear, the old army cot that had been passing for a bed since the room had been set up having been shoved out into the hallway earlier to make room for the new bed. Ianto had phoned Mickey from the shopping centre to let him know it would be delivered to the Tourist Centre after lunch.
“New bed? About time! That cot was killing my back,” Owen grunted, helping to heft their burden through the door.
“You should worry,” grumbled Mickey. “My feet hung off the end of the bloody thing.”
“Mine too,” Andy agreed, “ Must’ve been designed for one of the Seven Dwarfs. Maybe it fell through the Rift from the land of fairytales.”
Mickey snorted and shoved Andy good naturedly. “Come on, Happy, let’s get the next bit. I want this bed assembled before Captain Cheesecake shows up and tries to help. Don’t want it collapsing the first time someone tries to use it.”