Characters: Owen, Jack, Ianto, Tosh, Gwen, OCs.
Summary: Owen has made a new and rather strange friend.
Word Count: 1507 words
Written For: blackbird_song’s prompt ‘Owen arrives at work with a pet that pretty obviously came through the rift...’ at torchwood_fest.
Beta: spikesgirl58, who generously volunteered her time at very short notice.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“Whatever is that?” Gwen asked, sounding equal parts intrigued and horrified. She stared wide-eyed at the creature that was trotting along at Owen’s heels as he arrived for work one morning, late as usual.
“That’s my new dog,” Owen replied with a wide grin. “It followed me home last night so I’ve decided I’m goin’ to keep it.”
“Uh…” Jack looked at the dog rather dubiously. “I hate to be the one to tell you this, Owen, but… that’s not a dog. I’ve seen dogs and trust me, that’s not one.”
Owen threw Jack an annoyed look. “I know that, Mister ‘I’ve seen it all and them some’, I’m not stupid. It’s just, I always wanted a dog, but I never got one, and it looks sort of doggish. Besides, it likes me, don’t you?” He looked down at the creature, which waggled its whole body and barked. Or really more sort of honked. “See?”
“You’re going to have a job passing that off as any sort of dog when you take it walkies.” Ianto considered the creature thoughtfully. “You might be able to explain away the fact that it’s hairy at the front and mostly bald at the rear, the scales aren’t too conspicuous, but the six legs are a bit more noticeable.”
“I saw a six-legged lamb on TV the other week. Extra legs happen sometimes.” Owen shrugged, unconcerned by the doubts of his teammates.
Ianto continued to study Owen’s new pet. “Seems friendly enough at least. Anyone know what it is?” He looked pointedly at Jack who just shook his head, as baffled as the rest of them.
The creature looked like a cross between a dachshund with long legs and a clipped poodle, all fluffy around the shoulders and head, the rest of its long body hairless, except for a long, feathery tail like that of a setter. The skin of the bald areas was covered in tiny scales and the entire animal was a rather attractive shade of yellow. Ianto decided not to mention that it reminded him of the daffodils that had been blooming a few short weeks ago, although…
“C’mon, Daffy, let’s give you a quick medical check-up.”
Maybe that resemblance hadn’t escaped Owen’s attention, either.
“What does he… it… eat?” Tosh asked.
“Seemed to like the pizza last night, but I want to run a few tests and work out a healthy diet for him,” Owen replied over his shoulder as he headed down into the med bay with Daffy scampering along behind him. “I’m pretty sure he’s male, though. I should know more after I run some scans.”
“Are you going to let Owen keep it?” Gwen asked Jack quietly as soon as Owen was out of earshot.
“Why not? It’s tame, friendly, and Owen likes it. Haven’t seen him look this happy in a long while.”
“But it’s an alien, it could be poisonous or something…”
“If it is, Owen will find out. What would you have me do, Gwen? Make him lock his new pet in a cell? Just because it’s alien doesn’t automatically make it bad.”
“I know, I suppose you’re right; that wouldn’t be fair.”
Thankfully Daffy turned out to non-venomous, mostly vegetarian but with a fondness for cheese, and tinned spaghetti. He was as smart and eager to learn as the most intelligent breeds of dog, and Owen soon had him trained to retrieve things on command, push the button to open the secret door in the tourist office when they arrived in the morning, and to open the drawers in the autopsy bay. With pride in his voice and a smug smile on his face, he drove his colleagues nuts by constantly boasting about how clever Daffy was.
“He’s the best assistant I’ve ever had! Way better than any of you lot.”
Everybody soon got used to having Daffy around, and on quiet days they happily entertained themselves by playing fetch with him. But he was still definitely Owen’s ‘dog’ and went home with the medic every night.
Within a few weeks it was hard for any of them to remember what Hub life had been like before the friendly alien had come into their lives. Daffy had become an indispensable member of the team. Whenever they went out on a retrieval, he went with them, helping to sniff out whatever had come through the Rift, quite often saving them time and effort. On Weevil hunts, Daffy liked to stay close to Owen, honking a warning when he spotted one of the toothy aliens. He had keen eyesight even in the dark, and both his hearing and sense of smell were much more acute than a human’s.
Weeks turned into months and life went on, until the day a small alien spacecraft appeared on the Plas. The five aliens who stepped from it at Torchwood’s approach were a family, three parents and their two offspring, and through Tosh’s translator they explained to Jack that they’d come in search of a missing family member, their beloved pet, which had been snatched up by the Rift on a distant world. They’d used the instruments on board their ship to track where their pet had washed up, and then followed, a journey that had taken them several months.
Owen stood off to one side, watching sadly as Daffy, who turned out to be a female, bounced around her family, jumping up at them and honking excitedly, before trotting over to Owen to say goodbye.
“Thank you for taking care of her so well; we had been afraid that she might not even have survived the journey through the Rift, and yet we find her not only alive but healthy and happy. You are truly a good and kind person.”
“It was nothing. She was no trouble to look after.” Owen shrugged casually, hands jammed in his pockets and voice gruff. “It was fun having her here. I’ll miss her, but it’s good she’s goin’ back where she belongs.”
“The younglings have been inconsolable since Murfle was lost. Now they have their playmate back our family is complete once again. We owe you a great debt; one day we will repay your kindness.”
“There’s no need for that, just as long as she’s happy.” Owen turned to his former pet. “Bye, buddy; you be good now.” Stroking Daffy, or Murfle, one last time, he turned away and slouched back into the Hub, shoulders hunched.
A month passed, then two, and Owen seemed to have reverted, becoming cranky and short-tempered once again. He was obviously missing his constant companion and nothing the others did or said could cheer him up, until one day Ianto called to him as he arrived at work.
“There’s a package for you; I put it down in the autopsy bay, think you should have a look at it right away.”
“Whatever it is, it can wait,” Owen grumbled, tossing his jacket over the back of his chair and slumping onto the seat. “What does it take to get coffee around here?”
Ianto rolled his eyes and glanced at Jack. “Told you I should’ve just put in on his desk.” With a long-suffering sigh, he traipsed down the steps to Owen’s domain, picked up the plastic crate, and carried it over to Owen, dumping it on the medic’s lap. “Here. Open it.”
“Fine. Then can I get a coffee?” Scowling, Owen unfastened the clasps holding the top closed and immediately a fluffy yellow head popped up, followed by a second one. Owen’s eyes went wide as the creatures honked at him, scrabbling to get out of the box. “What? How?”
“There’s a note; Jack translated it,” Ianto explained. “What it boils down to is that our friends felt bad about taking Daffy away from you after you’d got so attached to her, so they sent you a couple of pups from her first litter as replacements. Looks like they need some training though,” he added as the two bundles of fluff swarmed over Owen, licking everywhere they could reach. Owen didn’t seem to care, he was laughing as he fended them off. “Oh, and they’re both girls. Apparently the females are smarter, easier to train, and more affectionate than the males. They make better pets.”
“What will you call them?” Tosh asked, smiling as she watched Owen with his new pets.
Owen didn’t have to think about that for long. “Daffy the second, and Dilly, of course!” He stood up, one wriggling body tucked under each arm. “C’mon, kids, let’s check you over and get you something to eat; bet you’re hungry,” and he headed down into the medical bay.
“That went well,” Jack commented with a smirk.
“Yep!” Ianto agreed. “But with those two around, I think life is about to get very interesting. At least until Owen gets them trained.”
“Can’t be any worse than Myfanwy when she first arrived.”
“Good point,” Ianto said with a laugh. “I’d better make coffee; I have a feeling we’re all going to need it!”