Everyone believed that Myfanwy finally took a shine to Owen after he bought her several dark chocolate Easter bunnies. While that certainly helped, there was another reason that Myfanwy found herself spending time with Owen.
“I swear I heard Myfanwy humming today,” Gwen said as they all ate lunch in the conference room.
“You must be mistaken,” Ianto answered in a tone laced with just a touch of sarcasm.
“I’m not making this up. Ever since Owen gave her that giant wooden guitar, she’s been bouncing around her aerie making the most peculiar sounds.”
“You’re daft. I’m with her several times a day and I’ve never seen her do that.”
“Maybe it’s because she knows you wouldn’t approve. She doesn’t want to be scolded for doing something she obviously enjoys, Tosh added.
“Owen, what do you know about this?”
“Don’t look at me.” Owen said with indignation. “I thought she’d chew it to bits, how would I know that she would try to play it like it was an instrument?”
Before Ianto could answer back, Jack interrupted. “You were the one who said she understood everything we said and do. You’re the one who insisted that she understands words and can read a bit.”
“What? You’re going to gang up on me as well,” Ianto retorted.
“We’re not ganging up on you,” Gwen replied, “I thought you’d be pleased that she has, uh, musical talent. Makes sense, she has really taken to watching Owen’s dissections, and he hums to himself all the time.”
The banter continued the rest of the meal until Jack ordered everyone back to work.
Down in the archives Ianto considered what the group had told him. He pondered whether the team was just pulling his leg or whether Myfanwy was trying to make music. It wasn’t that he didn’t think that Myfanwy was smart enough to gain some understanding of melody and rhythm, but she had never done anything but squawk and occasionally make a gurgling growl when she was upset.
He had to acknowledge that she was alone in the Hub more evenings now that Jack was coming home to his flat. Maybe she was bored, or upset, or lonely. Maybe she wasn’t singing but making noises of distress. Maybe Owen was doing something horrible to her or worse, maybe Owen was her favorite now. The thought was too terrible to contemplate.
A few nights later, Ianto ended up staying overnight at the Hub. Jack had gone to London for a meeting with UNIT and Ianto had volunteered to monitor the rift. Jack had pointed out that he didn’t have to; they had a remote alert system for just this purpose.
“I know, Jack. But it will give me a chance to catch up with some paperwork. And I feel a little guilty about neglecting Myfanwy.”
Jack smiled. “Yeah, I bet you not only feel a little guilty, but you’re a little jealous how she hangs out with Owen now.”
“Good idea, I’m sure she misses you.”
Ianto didn’t get much work done that evening, but he did enjoy playing some of the games with Myfanwy that he had taught her over the years. She was clearly overjoyed to spend time with him. They played fetch the basketball and find the treat, her favorite counting game (counting pieces of dark chocolate of course), and the alphabet games that she loved best of all. When Myfanwy was finally exhausted, she sat down on the floor and began to preen her feathers.
“Squawk.” (Tired, Myfanwy go to sleep now).
“Are you worn out,” Ianto said affectionately.
“Squawk.” (Yes, need to have energy for later.)
Ianto wished her goodnight and watched Myfanwy fly a few laps around the Hub and settle in her nest. He realized that he was pretty tired himself so he went down into Jack’s bunker and quickly fell asleep.
A few hours later, Ianto was woken up by a racket.
“Squee! Scree! (BANG, BANG) Squawk.”
Ianto quickly climbed up from the bunker to see a startling vision. There was Myfanwy, in the middle of the Hub, flapping her wings rhythmically against the giant guitar and making a series of very peculiar noises. Occasionally, she would take the guitar and slam it against the floor to make the banging sound.
“Kwill! Wabbbert! Kwill Wabbert! Nyah Nyah Nyay.”
She repeated this jumble of sounds over and over and finished with a thunderous slam of the guitar against one of the work stations. Ianto couldn’t resist, he began to applaud.
“Bravo, Myfanwy.” Myfanwy ducked her head in embarrassment.
“Was that by any chance Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor?”
“Squawk! Squawk!” (Of course not, it’s Kwill Wabbert in Myfanwy major).
“Whatever it was, it was splendid.”
“You didn’t just blow a raspberry at me, did you?”
“Squawk.” (Yes, why you not know this song?)
Ianto knew that Myfanwy was irritated with him for some reason, “Well, I’ll just let you get on with it,” he said.
She squawked again and he realized that she was staring at him. “Of course, how silly of me, just give me a moment.” He went over to the kitchen and retrieved a large bar of dark chocolate.
Myfanwy ate the treat and crooned a few times for Ianto. “Pter, pter, pter,” (Love chocolate, love Ianto, love chocolate).
Ianto realized that it had been some time since he had heard her croon to him.
“I have been neglecting her. Jack’s taking up all my evenings and she’s here all by herself. No wonder she’s got so much pent up anxiety and resentment. No wonder she looked for new friends. But Owen, she really must be desperate.”
“I’m going to do better by you Myfanwy. I’m going to insist that we stay over here a couple of times a week, because you are my one and only cariad. What do you think?”
“Squawk!” (Great, go ahead and ruin my jam sessions.)
Jack returned the next day and Ianto recounted his strange evening with Myfanwy. Even if Jack didn’t believe that Myfanwy actually understood all the things that Ianto claimed she did, he did know that she was a sensitive creature and that she probably didn’t like being neglected by Ianto. He supported the idea of staying over at the Hub a couple of nights to keep Myfanwy company.
“But don’t say anything to anyone,” he told Ianto. “I’d love to see her perform and I doubt she would if she knew we were both here. We can pretend to leave as we normally do, and then double back through the boat house entrance to the archives. Hopefully we’ll catch her putting on a show.”
With alien retrievals keeping Ianto and Jack busy several nights in a row, it was almost a full week until they could sneak back into the Hub as planned. They stayed down in the archives (canoodling around a bit) until they heard loud noises and banging from the main area of the Hub.
They headed up the stairs. There was Myfanwy pretending to play her wooden guitar while Owen strutted around playing a mean air guitar. Even more amazing, they were singing along to a video on one of Tosh’s giant monitors*:
“Kill the wabbit,” Owen sang.
“Kwill! Wabbbert!” Myfanwy countered and they finished the song together.
“I think you’ve got that one pretty well mastered. Let’s try something new,” Owen said as he clicked around YouTube for another video.
Myfanwy squawked and ruffled Owen’s hair. Ianto hadn’t seen Myfanwy do that to anyone but himself. He could feel the jealousy building in him. That was his Myfanwy, his pteranodon, and now she seemed to prefer Owen. He started up the last stairs, but Jack grabbed him by the collar and yanked him back.
“Don’t,” Jack whispered. “Let’s just watch some more.”
Considering that Jack had a tight grip on his favorite red shirt, Ianto had no choice but to relent. He couldn’t help how he felt. He had lost Myfanwy’s affection and he had only himself to blame.
His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Owen’s voice. He looked up to see Owen and Myfanwy watching another video.**
“Now this one’s a classic. But I think it’s too difficult,” Owen remarked as he went to choose another video.
Myfanwy clacked her beak and nipped at Owen’s hand. “Ouch. Myfanwy, you are very clever, but I don’t think you can learn to play the piano in two weeks.”
“Squawk!” (Silly Bunny is playing).
“Yes the silly bunny is playing, but I have it on good authority, that he has studied piano for years. Maybe we can find something easier….”
“Squawk!” Myfanwy interrupted and tapped her beak against the monitor.
“That’s Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody, in C-sharp minor,” Owen said reading the description to her.
“Squawk!” (I can read, you git).
“Let me guess, its Ianto’s favorite.” Myfanwy flapped her wings with excitement. “I have an idea, we can play the video for him and I’ll tell him that you picked it just for him.”
Myfanwy’s head bobbed up and down.
“Okay, it’s settled then. You’ll perform your guitar and song for him and then we’ll play the piano video as an extra surprise.”
“Squawk!” (Perfect! Is everything else ready?)
“Gwen is getting the cake, dark chocolate of course. And Tosh is bringing balloons.”
“I can’t wait to see Ianto’s face when we surprise him for his 30th birthday next week. He’ll be so proud of how hard you’ve worked to make it a very special occasion.”
Jack and Ianto looked at each other. Jack was beaming. Ianto was smiling but he had tears in his eyes. Jack motioned to him and they both headed back down the stairs to the sounds of Owen speaking to Myfanwy.
“Of course Ianto is your best friend forever. He loves you.”
“Platonic love, you silly vulture.”
“No, he won’t be jealous that I taught you to sing and play your guitar…go on, class is over for the evening. Time for Uncle Owen to go and get drunk. We’ll practice at least once more before the big day. I know you want this to be his best birthday ever.”
And it was.