The drive back to Cardiff was surprisingly uneventful and after the day they’d had, it was quite a relief. The first part of the journey, along deserted country lanes, Jack opened the rear passenger side window and Nosy stuck its head out, much like a dog, humming enthusiastically into the breeze. When they got close to the busier roads, Jack pulled over and made sure Nosy’s head was inside before shutting the window. It seemed a bit disappointed, but settled down and continued gazing out at the world rushing past, occasionally sticking its head between the front seats to see where they were going. Once again, Ianto found himself thankful that the windows were tinted. Their odd passenger would have gained a lot of unwanted attention otherwise.
About twenty minutes into the journey, Ianto finally managed to get a signal on his phone and put through a call to Tosh.
“Ianto, thank goodness! Is everything alright? We were getting worried. Owen and Mickey have been arguing for the last hour about whether or not they should form a search party and go looking for you!”
“Everything’s fine, Tosh, just couldn’t get a signal where we were. We got delayed by a storm, had to take cover in a cave for a couple of hours. Then Jack had to fetch the SUV and pick me up. We’re on our way back now, should be at the Hub in about 40 minutes, traffic permitting.”
“Did you catch whatever was responsible for killing the sheep?”
“Yes and no. Yes, we caught what the farmers saw; no, it’s not responsible for the sheep. I think there may be a pack of stray dogs about. Jack warned Mr. Morgan and he’ll spread the word among the other farmers. I’m sure they’ll be able to deal with the problem themselves.”
“That’s good. I mean, it’s not good for the farmers who’ve lost livestock, but… Oh, you know what I mean. So what is it? The creature you caught?”
“No idea. I’ll check the databases when we get back, but I don’t think Torchwood has ever come across anything even remotely similar,” Ianto told her, glancing over his shoulder at their backseat passenger. “Anyway, you’ll see it for yourself soon enough.”
“Oh. Okay then, see you soon.”
“Bye, Tosh.” Ianto hung up and turned to Jack, who was smirking. “What?”
“Nicely edited version of events!”
“Didn’t see any reason to worry Tosh by telling her what actually happened. We’ll be putting the unedited version into a report when we get back anyway.”
“True. Still, it’s odd hearing our eventful day condensed down to ‘Got caught in a storm, took shelter in a cave’.”
“We do seem to have packed a lot into the last few hours, don’t we?”
Arriving back at the Hub, Jack drove straight into Torchwood’s small underground garage, the door closing automatically behind the SUV. He turned off the engine and they sat for a moment in the silence that followed, before turning as one to look at the creature in the back seat, which gazed back at them.
“Are we sure about this?” Ianto asked, turning to Jack. “I mean, the Hub can be a dangerous place and I don’t want Nosy getting hurt if it pokes its nose in the wrong place.”
“We managed to train Myfanwy,” Jack replied, “Smart as she is, I’d lay odds on our new friend being smarter.”
“I hope you’re right. The last thing we need is an extra crispy alien snake if it decides to nibble on high voltage cables.”
Jack shuddered, “Don’t even joke about that. We’ll just have to keep a close eye on it until we’re sure it can be trusted not to. Right, time to introduce our new friend to the rest of the team.” Jack jumped out of the SUV and opened the rear door for Nosy, who poked its head out, peered around curiously and finally slithered out onto the concrete floor. Ianto climbed out more slowly and limped round to join them, his knee having stiffened up during the drive.
Noticing, Jack said, “You should get some ice on that as soon as you can.”
“I will, but first we have to unload Nosy’s food supply and find somewhere to store it.”
“The others can help me with that after we’ve introduced everybody. You need to put yourself first for once.”
Ianto rolled his eyes, “Yes, Sir,” he replied with a smirk.
Jack just grinned and turned back to Nosy, “Come on, time to see your new home,” and he set off out of the garage, Ianto beside him and Nosy slinking along in their wake.
Entering the main Hub, the place seemed deserted and they were starting to wonder if everyone had left for the night when Tosh suddenly appeared from the autopsy bay, nose deep in a file.
“Hey, Tosh, where is everybody?” asked Jack, slightly disappointed that their grand entrance had gone unnoticed.
She glanced up and smiled, “Oh good, you’re back! Owen’s around somewhere, Mickey and Andy are out. There was a small rift spike about half an hour ago, so they went to investigate, said they’d pick up dinner on the way back. We figured you two would probably be hungry after your wild alien hunt.” She pushed her glasses back up. “Which reminds me, where is the… Oh!” she gasped, jumping back and nearly dropping the file she’d been reading as a furry head suddenly rose up from behind the coffee table and stared at her.
Ianto struggled not to laugh at her reaction. “Tosh, meet Nosy; Nosy, meet Tosh.”
“I wanted to call it Fluffy,” Jack muttered, pouting a bit.
Nosy slithered around the coffee table into full view and Tosh took a couple more steps back.
“It’s big.” She sounded a bit nervous.
“It’s also perfectly harmless,” Ianto assured her.
“How do you know it’s harmless if you don‘t know what it is?”
“Look at it!” Jack exclaimed, “Does it look dangerous? It’s just a big, loveable bundle of fluff,” he assured her, crouching down and petting Nosy, who hummed contentedly.
“I’m not really fond of snakes…”
“Then it’s a good thing it’s not a snake,” Ianto told her. “Anyway, it’s a herbivore, it eats moss and lichen. It’s also very smart and surprisingly affectionate. Come and say hello.”
Tosh put her file down on the nearest desk and stepped closer, studying the strange creature carefully. “I suppose the only thing snakelike about it is that it’s long and sort of… squiggly,” she admitted after a moment.
“Squiggly?” Jack sounded amused, “Is that a scientific term?”
“Yes it is,” Tosh replied with a grin of her own, “A very old and time honoured one,” she added solemnly. She approached Nosy cautiously and at Jack’s urging, crouched down and ran her hand along part of its furry body. “Oh,” she gasped, “It’s so soft and warm!”
“Not really very snakelike at all, when you think about it,” Ianto said.
She smiled up at him, “Not really, no,” she agreed. “What are we going to do with it?”
“We’re keeping it, of course,” Jack said, “By Torchwood tradition, it’s alien, so it’s ours. There’s plenty of room here and it’ll be nice to have around. It wouldn‘t be fair to lock it in a cell when it hasn‘t done any harm. Besides, it likes company. Ianto thinks that might be why it was hanging around with the sheep. Not that sheep would be very good company, but I suppose they were better than nothing.”
“Poor thing,” Tosh sighed, “Stranded in a strange place, far away from its own kind. Why do you call it Nosy?”
“Because it’s curious about everything and has a habit of doing that,” Ianto chuckled as Nosy prodded Jack firmly with its nose, nearly knocking him over. It turned towards the entrance to the lower levels, staring intently, and a moment later, Owen appeared.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” he smirked, catching sight of Jack and Ianto who were, in all honestly, looking a bit dishevelled. Then he caught sight of Nosy. “What the fuck is that?” he yelled.
There was a squeak and a rapid slithering as Nosy tried, without much success, to hide behind Ianto, peering out nervously from behind his knees.
“Owen, you’re scaring it!” scolded Tosh.
“Don’t mind him,” Ianto said soothingly, petting the trembling creature, “He makes a lot of noise, but it’s all hot air, he won’t hurt you.”
“This,” Jack said with a wry smile, “is the fearsome creature we spent most of the day hunting.”
Owen snorted. “I’ve seen gerbils scarier than that thing! What did it do, fluff at you?”
Ianto rolled his eyes, “We got caught in a thunderstorm.”
“Likely story.” Owen turned his attention towards Nosy again and crouched down, holding out his hand. “’e’s right you know; I’m a bad-tempered bastard, I stomp around and make a lot of noise, but I’m not all bad. Sorry I scared you,” Owen murmured soothingly, “Come out where I can get a look at you.”
Nosy hesitated for a moment, then cautiously slithered towards Owen’s outstretched hand. Owen let it sniff his fingers for a minute before slowly reaching out to scratch behind where its ears would have been, if it had ears.
“There, see? That’s not so bad, is it?”
Nosy hummed in agreement, clearly enjoying the attention.
“Always had a bit of a soft spot for dogs,” Owen said with a smile.
“Um, Owen, it’s not a dog…” Ianto informed him helpfully.
Owen just shrugged, “Close enough. It’s furry. A bit longer than your average dog, I’ll grant you, fewer legs too, but I can overlook that.”
“Very generous of you,” Ianto commented dryly.
“Don’t expect me to take it for walks though. At least it’s friendlier than your giant budgie!”
“Myfanwy is perfectly friendly, she just doesn’t like you!”
“Is it a boy or a girl,” Tosh asked Ianto quickly, hoping to prevent an argument.
Ianto just stared at Tosh. “When did I become the expert at determining gender in alien creatures?” he asked, confused.
“Well, you worked out that Myfanwy is female.”
“Myfanwy occasionally lays an egg. It seemed like a reasonably safe guess.”
“Oh.” Tosh turned towards Jack.
“Hey, don’t look at me! Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an expert at sexing alien species…” Jack paused and thought for a minute as Owen sniggered. “Let me rephrase that. I may, in the past, have had a lot of… hands-on experience with aliens, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily always knew whether they were male or female, or even if they had specific genders.” He shrugged, “If they were attractive and willing, that was good enough for me, we always seemed to find ways to make things fit.”
Owen stuck his fingers in his ears. “I really did not need to know that!”
“All I’m saying is, I don’t have any idea. Anyway, isn’t that more your field of expertise?”
“You’re the doctor, you do all the medical stuff. Scan it.”
“Scan…” Owen looked from one end of Nosy to the other. “Do you have any idea how long that could take?”
“You’d better get started then. We need to know that it’s healthy and uninjured.”
Muttering darkly to himself, Owen went to fetch the Bekaran scanner, setting it on the coffee table, then turning to Nosy and patting its head. “Stay,” he commanded, before proceeding down the creature’s length, straightening out all the kinks and wiggles so that that Nosy would be a nice, straight line for easy scanning. Nosy, of course, had other ideas and when Owen reached the tail end, he turned to find himself looking at its head, which had followed him all the way, much to everyone’s amusement, and was now watching him curiously.
“Oh for… you were supposed to stay straight!”
Jack burst out laughing, “Good luck with that!”
“You could lend a hand!”
“Doing what? If we straighten it out and then sit on it to keep it still, we’ll be in the way when you scan it.”
“I’m not used to scanning things that can still move! Most of the things I deal with are already long past that stage.”
“Well, now’s the perfect opportunity for you to learn. Think of it as a challenge.”
“Gee, thanks, boss.”
Ianto started forward to see if he could persuade Nosy to at least stay in one place for scanning, but winced as he took his first step.
“What’s wrong with you?” Owen asked, automatically switching to doctor mode.
“I fell and twisted my knee earlier,” Ianto replied. “It’s fine, I just need to put some ice on it.”
Owen pointed at the couch. “Sit. Might as well check you over first since I’ve already got the scanner. If the fuzzy worm sees me use it on you first, it won’t be scared when I try to scan it.”
That made sense to Ianto, so he limped over to the couch, sank down on it with a sigh of relief and put his feet up, leaning back against the arm. Nosy followed and laid its head in Ianto’s lap with a sympathetic hum. Owen joined them, picking up the scanner and sitting on the coffee table, while Jack sat on the arm of the couch behind his lover. Tosh settled herself on the end of the coffee table, running her fingers through Nosy’s soft, silky fur. Now that she’d got over her initial uncertainty, she found herself quite taken with the new addition to the team.
Owen switched on the scanner, which buzzed quietly, drawing Nosy’s attention. Green eyes watched with interest as Owen ran the scanner over Ianto’s whole leg, checking for other damage before concentrating on the injured knee.
“It’s sprained,” he announced, “but I’m guessing you already knew that. Stick a cushion under it to raise it and I’ll get you an ice pack.”
“I can do that,” Jack said, getting up, “You get on with scanning your other patient. Like you said, it’s a big job, could take a while.” He smirked and headed off towards the autopsy bay.
Owen glared at Jack’s retreating back, then turned his attention to his next task - scanning several metres of very hairy, roughly snake-shaped alien. At least it was staying reasonably still at the moment, enjoying being made a fuss of. He turned the scanner on again and held it over Nosy’s back, just behind its head, adjusting the controls to see further and further into its body, before moving on to the next section and repeating the process. A third of the way down the long body, he realised he had company - a furry head was peering over his shoulder, watching the scanner screen intently. Owen could hear Tosh giggling behind him. He sighed heavily, shaking his head, and continued with his task, trying to ignore the fact that he now had part of an alien draped around him like a fluffy scarf.
Finally, Owen switched off the scanner and stood up, dislodging Nosy in the process. He stretched the kinks out of his back and turned to the rest of the team.
“Seems healthy as far as I can tell and I can’t see any signs of injury. What passes for a skeleton seems to be made of tough, flexible cartilage instead of bone; it would bend rather than break.”
Jack nodded, “Good. Anything else?” He was sitting on the couch now, with Ianto’s injured leg resting on a cushion on his lap, ice packs on each side, on top of and under his knee - Jack was nothing if not thorough.
“I found nothing resembling female reproductive organs.”
“So it’s a boy then,” said Tosh.
“Nope. No male reproductive organs either.”
Owen turned to Jack and Ianto. “Congratulations!” he announced with a smile and a satisfied nod, “It’s an it!”
There was silence for a long moment, then:
“Is that even possible?” Tosh asked, “Surely it has to be one or the other.”
“Not necessarily, Tosh. It’s alien; we have no idea how this species reproduces. For all we know, this might be just a baby. Maybe they become male or female when they’re fully grown. Maybe the species has three genders, or none.”
“Maybe it’s like a caterpillar and will eventually pupate and change form,” Ianto added.
“Oh, I hope not,” Tosh said, “I like Nosy just the way it is!”
“We should at least check our alien database and see if we have anything similar on record. Tosh, you could hack into UNIT’s databases too, see if they have anything.”
Tosh nodded, “I’ll get on it right away, Jack.”
While Tosh set to work at her computer, Nosy mooched about nearby, exploring its new environment, peering under, over and wherever possible, inside everything it came across, but looking back frequently as if to make sure Jack and Ianto were still there. It was interested in everything, sniffing things and sometimes poking them experimentally with its nose, but thankfully not trying to chew anything. When Tosh opened a drawer, Nosy hurried across, not wanting to miss anything, peering in and humming at the contents, making Tosh laugh.
“Nosy by name, nosy by nature,” she said with a smile.
Owen disappeared into the autopsy bay and after several minutes of crashing, banging, rustling and muttered curses, he reappeared with a rather battered measuring tape. Jack and Ianto looked at each other and grinned, remembering all the fun they’d had with a similar, but considerably less tatty item.
“So,” Jack started, turning his attention back to Owen, “what are you planning on doing with that?”
“Got to take measurements, so we’ll know if it’s still growing.”
Jack smirked at Ianto. “This should be fun. All we need now is some popcorn!”
“Oh ye of little faith! It’s not like using the scanner; just a few quick measurements, length and girth, no problem.”
He strode over to Nosy, who was currently investigating the possibilities of stairs, slinking up and slithering back down again several times before winding half of itself around the catwalk handrail and dangling from it like a fluffy vine, idly swinging back and forth.
Owen looked at the measuring tape in his hands, then back at the swinging alien. Maybe this wasn’t going to be quite as easy as he’d thought!
As it turned out, getting Nosy back on level ground was the easy part. Curious as to why Owen was just standing there staring at something in his hands, Nosy slithered back down the stairs and onto the ground to get a closer look, raising the front metre or so of its body off the ground and contemplating the grubby yellow tape solemnly. Apparently finding it not very interesting after all, it mooched back to see what Tosh was doing, resting its head on the desk beside the keyboard and staring wide-eyed up at the monitor screen.
This, thought Owen, was the ideal opportunity. He decided to start at the tail end this time and work forwards, so positioning the end of the measuring tape right at the tip of Nosy’s tail, he started to smooth it out along the sinuous body. Maybe it tickled, or maybe Nosy didn’t like its fur being ruffled the wrong way; whatever the reason, it chose that moment to suddenly flick its tail, hitting Owen in the face and startling him so much he fell over backwards. Hearing Owen’s yelp of surprise, Nosy turned to look at him, then slithered its front end over and stared down at him, blinking innocently into his face from inches away as if wondering why he was lying down. Owen reached up and shoved gently.
“Get your fluffy snout out of my face, you overgrown feather duster!”
Nosy just hummed and started prodding Owen in the ribs with its nose. “Arrrrggghhh! Stop that, it tickles!” Owen yelled, squirming away. Nosy squirmed right along behind him, occasionally prodding with its nose, thoroughly enjoying this new game.
On the couch, Jack and Ianto were clinging to each other, nearly helpless with laughter. “Round one to Nosy,” Ianto gasped breathlessly, wiping tears from his eyes.
“Thought you said it would be easy,” Jack shouted across to Owen.
“Shut up!” Owen replied, trying to squirm faster, “One of you could at least help!”
Snorting in an undignified and most unladylike manner, Tosh tried valiantly to suppress her laughter, but it was hopeless. Still, she thought it only fair to rescue Owen from Nosy’s relentless pursuit before Nosy could get hurt by Owen’s flailing.
“It’s alright, Owen,” she giggled, “I’ll save you from the fearsome monster!” She got between the two and still giggling, wrapped her arms around the warm, fluffy body, wondering briefly how she could ever have been nervous about such a friendly creature.
Free from pursuit, Owen hauled himself to his feet and glared at Tosh and Nosy. “About time, I was getting tickled to death! You,” he added, pointing sternly at Nosy, “should be ashamed of yourself, that was not polite!”
Despite his stern expression, Tosh could tell he was trying not to smile and his eyes were twinkling in the way that always made her heart skip a beat. She smiled up at him, giggling, “I think you just got fluffed!”
Owen couldn’t help but smile back at her, “Yeah, I think you’re right!” He thought for a moment. “Okay, I admit it, I was wrong,” he sighed, “I can’t do this alone, it’ll take at least two of us to measure this monster. Tosh, pretty please, would you mind helping me?”
“I’d be happy to, Owen. I’m not sure how we’re going to manage it though, Nosy is so wriggly we‘ll keep losing our place.”
“There is an easier way, you know. All you need is a piece of chalk.”
All eyes turned towards Ianto.
“Huh?” said Owen, “What’re you on about?”
Ianto rolled his eyes and patiently explained, “You use the chalk to make a mark on the concrete at the tip of Nosy’s snout. Then, while Tosh keeps it occupied, you straighten its body like you tried to do in order to scan it and make another mark when you reach the tip of the tail. When Nosy gets bored and wanders off, just measure between the two marks.”
Everyone continued to stare at Ianto for a moment in stunned silence.
Finally, Tosh said in a small voice, “Oh. Yes, that would probably work,” while Owen started hitting himself over the head, muttering repeatedly, “Stupid, stupid, stupid…”
Before the new plan could be put into action, alarms suddenly blared as the cog door rolled open, admitting two more of Torchwood Three’s expanded team.
Nosy squeaked in alarm and tried, with little success, to hide under the coffee table, only managing to conceal the front third of its long body. The front half of Tosh also disappeared under the table as she tried to reassure the frightened creature.
“Doesn’t exactly have nerves of steel, does it?” Owen asked no one in particular.
“Dinner’s here,” Mickey shouted, “Come and get it, you lazy lot!”
Trailing along behind Mickey, ex-PC Andy suddenly noticed something different about the place. He put down the box he’d been carrying and ambled over.
“Hello, what’s this then? New rug? Bit fancy for this place isn’t it? I mean it doesn’t really match the décor.”
“New pet, actually,” Owen corrected him, “It seems to be under the impression that it’s hiding.”
“It’s alive?” asked Mickey, dumping the bags containing dinner on the nearest workstation and strolling over for a closer look.
“Very much alive,” agreed Tosh, popping out from under the coffee table, “but I don’t think it likes loud noises very much. The door alarms scared it.” She crawled back under the table, making soothing noises.
Andy, game for anything, got down on hands and knees, crawling under the table to join in. “Bit crowded under here, isn’t it? Cosy, mind. Hello there,” he added, “Who’re you then?”
“This is Nosy,” Tosh started before Jack interrupted.
“I still think it should be Fluffy,” he grumbled.
“Shut up, you,” Ianto chuckled, “We agreed.”
“Who agreed? I said Fluffy, you said no. Next thing I know, you‘re calling it Nosy. I don‘t remember being consulted. Shouldn’t we all get to vote?”
“Whenever something needs a name, we always ask Ianto anyway,” said Tosh reasonably, “He’s Torchwood’s official Namer of Things.”
“Ah,” said Jack, “but this isn’t a thing we’re naming, it’s a living creature!”
“Ianto names those too,” Owen reminded him.
“I named Janet!”
“That was before Ianto joined us,” Owen replied.
“Well, I’m not calling anything Fluffy!” Mickey broke in, “It’s a girly name.”
“Thank you, at least someone agrees with me,” Ianto sighed.
Owen nodded, “I have to agree with Ianto and Mickey on this one, and that’s something I never thought I’d hear myself say.”
“One for Fluffy, three against. Tosh? Andy?” Ianto asked.
“I’m already used to calling it Nosy. Sorry, Jack.”
“What? Sorry, wasn’t listening,” said Andy, scrambling out from under the coffee table.
“We were voting on what to call the new pet,” Owen told him. “Jack wants Fluffy, the rest of us are sticking with Nosy.”
“Huh. Doesn’t sound like my vote will make any difference either way.”
“Gwen can’t vote until she gets back from her holiday,” Jack pointed out.
“Still wouldn’t change anything,” Ianto replied. “The best you could get would be three for Fluffy and four against. Looks like you lose.”
Jack huffed and folded his arms, almost pouting.
Relenting a little, Ianto added, “Doesn’t mean you can’t call it Fluffy while the rest of us call it Nosy. Of course, it’ll probably end up completely confused and suffer an identity crisis…”
Jack brightened, “So you don’t mind if I call it Fluffy?”
“Not at all, as long as you don’t expect the rest of us to,” Ianto smiled.
Jack beamed and leaned forward to kiss him. “Thank you!“ Owen covered his eyes.
“Break it up, you two, dinner’s getting cold!” Mickey retrieved the bags from where he’d left them and carried them into the kitchen area. Owen followed, digging through the bags while Mickey got plates and cutlery for everyone.
“Fish and chips?”
“The Chinese place had queues a mile long. You complaining? ‘Cause if you want something else, you can get it yourself.”
“Nah, I’ll eat it.”
Jack slid Ianto’s injured leg (complete with cushion and ice packs) off his lap and stood up, stretching, before wandering into the kitchen to fetch salt and a big bottle of vinegar. He set both on the coffee table where Ianto could reach them, then collected plates of fish and chips for them both, handing one to Ianto and settling himself on the floor, leaning against the couch, to eat his own.
Owen took a plate for himself and one for Tosh - who was half under the coffee table again, still trying to coax Nosy out of hiding - putting hers on the table above her and taking a moment to appreciate the view.
“Better eat while it’s still hot, Tosh.”
“What? Oh, thanks Owen.” She smiled brightly up at him and patted the ground beside her, “Sit with me?”
“Why not? I‘ve already spent most of this evening crawling around on the floor.”
Once everyone was settled and eating (Mickey had dragged a chair over from the workstations while Andy had joined Owen and Tosh on the floor), Jack launched into the full tale of how he and Ianto had found and captured an alien that, for once, turned out to be harmless and friendly instead of the ravening beast they’d been led to expect.
The beast in question seemed to have more or less recovered from its fright, though it remained half under the table, perhaps just to be close to everyone, and lay quietly.
When Jack finished his story, he turned to Mickey and Andy.
“So, what about you two? Tosh said you went out on a rift alert, find anything?”
“Um, yeah, nothing important though,” Mickey replied, looking a bit uncomfortable.
“So what was it?” Jack prompted.
“Seventeen odd socks, three bent teaspoons and a size 22 shocking pink cowboy boot, left foot,” Andy listed calmly. “Who has feet that big? Anyway, it took us a while to collect everything, it was scattered across a school playing field in Splott.”
“Ah, one of those,” Jack said, nodding.
“What do you mean, ‘One of those’?” Mickey asked with a frown.
“Sometimes the rift seems to have a sense of humour and drops a whole bunch of random objects on us, no idea why.”
“Last time, it was 92 fluorescent orange ping pong balls, a brass door knocker and a cabbage,” Ianto chuckled, “Took us nearly four hours to get all the ping pong balls, most of them landed in a lake. Jack fell in three times trying to fish them out! We have a section in the archives devoted to what we term Rift Gifts. Everything is filed by date, but there‘s no pattern - the events occur anything between two months and a year apart. The last one was just under eight months ago.”
“You filed a cabbage?” Andy asked incredulously.
“Ah, no, that went in the incinerator, it’s generally not a good idea to file perishables.”
“I should think not,” Andy agreed, pulling a face at the thought.
No one had really been paying attention to Nosy as they talked, so they were startled by an odd, slurping sound. Looking down, Ianto saw that Nosy had slithered a little way out from its refuge and now had its nose jammed in Jack’s water glass, sucking up the contents. Jack’s amusement turned to sheepish apology as he petted the creature, getting a slightly muffled hum in response.
“Sorry, I should have thought to give you a drink. After everything you’ve been through today you’re bound to be thirsty.”
Nosy lifted its head, the glass still wedged on its snout, and Jack tried hard not to laugh at the sight as he pulled it off with an audible pop.
“Let me find something a bit more suitable for you to drink from.”
“There should be some glass mixing bowls in one of the cupboards, use the biggest one of those and we can buy something better tomorrow,” Ianto suggested. “It’s probably hungry, too, so maybe someone could fetch its food from the SUV.”
“What does it eat?” Mickey asked curiously.
“Moss and lichen - at least, that’s what we’ve seen it eating, it seemed to like it. We’ll need to find a supplier, maybe try it on some other greenery too, see what it will eat and what it likes best. I thought of trying it with some pond weeds, possibly even seaweed, but that might be too salty.”
“Probably,” agreed Owen, “but the pond weed is worth a try, it might be possible to grow several kinds in large tanks. In the meantime, I can set up lamps in one of the unused tunnels, see if I can grow a supply of moss. Given the right conditions, it should grow quite well, it just needs warmth, some light and plenty of air and moisture. If we can grow our own, Nosy will be able to help itself whenever it feels peckish.”
“Good idea, Owen. Anything you need for the project, let me know.” Jack had returned with a large mixing bowl full of water, which he set down for Nosy. Immediately, a fluffy snout thrust into the water, practically vacuuming it up with a loud sluuuurrrrp. When less than an inch remained at the bottom, Nosy settled back down with a satisfied hum. Jack refilled the bowl and set it nearby.
Meanwhile, Mickey had volunteered himself and Andy to fetch Nosy’s food supply from the SUV and a few minutes later they returned, carrying the first two containers.
“Where do you want these putting, boss?” Mickey asked.
“Owen, since you seem to be the moss expert, where would you suggest?” Jack asked.
“Best to keep it cool but not too cold. I want to use some of this to see if I can grow it. We’ll put it in the side tunnel near the boardroom for now, I’ll set up some troughs tomorrow to plant it in. Take the lids off the containers though, don’t want it going mouldy. In fact, better yet, just dump it out on the floor, let the air circulate through it. How many more are there?”
“Three,” Mickey replied as he and Andy headed towards the chosen storage spot.
“Right, I’ll get one, you two collect the others when you’ve dumped those. I’ll give some of the moss a rinse and see if our friend is hungry.”
Owen took the container he collected straight through to the small kitchen where he found Jack stacking plates and cutlery in the dishwasher, something that Ianto would normally do. He watched as Jack closed the door, referred to a piece of paper on which Ianto had written instructions, checked off the last one and pushed the start button with a pleased smile. “Done it!” The machine whirred into action.
“Congratulations, looks like you’re finally mastering 21st century technology,” Owen smirked.
“Don’t laugh, Owen, it’s new and I’ve mislaid the instruction booklet. I didn’t want to break it the first time I used it, not after the amount of trouble it took getting it installed and retconning the plumber after Myfanwy stole his spanner right out of his hand!”
“Right, whatever. Ianto said there should be an old plastic tea tray in here somewhere that I can use as Nosy’s food dish.”
“The blue one? Yeah, it’s in that cupboard,” Jack said, pointing. “Right at the back.”
Owen fetched the tray and rinsed some of the moss for Nosy’s supper, shaking off the excess water before piling it on the improvised dish.
Jack watched him, smirking. “It’s interesting how eager everyone is to help care for our newest pet, you included.”
“Yeah, well, everyone likes cute, furry creatures, don’t they? It’s a damned sight more appealing to look at than your bald chicken. Speaking of which, where is she? Would’ve thought she’d be down here checking out the new arrival by now.”
“She’s temporarily shut in her cave. I wanted to get Fluffy settled before introducing them, don’t know how Myf will react.”
Owen shook his head, picked up Nosy’s supper and marched out of the kitchen area, calling back over his shoulder, “Think I’ll make myself scarce before you introduce them. You might want to have a hosepipe on hand, just in case you have to stop her trying to eat it.”
“Optimism really isn’t in your nature, is it, Owen?” Jack asked wryly.
Owen paused. “Nah, I’m a realist. Expect the worst, I always say. Then it if happens you‘re prepared and if it doesn‘t, you get a pleasant surprise.”
Back in the main Hub, Owen found Ianto still on the couch with Nosy’s front end in his lap, the measuring tape around it at its widest point.
“Circumference, 58.5cm approximately. Less than I’d estimated,” he commented as Tosh made a quick note.
“It’s the fluffiness,” she replied. “It makes it hard to guess. Oh look, Nosy, Owen‘s brought you some supper!” She pointed and Nosy quickly slithered over to Owen, managing a fairly good impression of sitting up and begging. Setting the tray down, Owen patted Nosy on the head, getting a brief hum in response, then left it to eat in peace, joining Tosh and Ianto around the coffee table.
“I’m starting to think Nosy must have been someone’s pet wherever it came from,” Ianto mused, “It’s tame and enjoys our company, certainly doesn’t behave like a wild creature.”
“That’s a sad thought. Whoever owned Nosy probably really misses it. I wonder if it misses its old home…” Tosh trailed off with a sad sigh.
“It’s just as likely that the previous owner had so many they haven’t even noticed it’s gone,” Owen replied. “Nothing we can do about it anyway, it’s here now, so this is its home. It’s probably already forgotten where it came from.”
“Maybe, maybe not,” Ianto said thoughtfully, “It’s intelligent and learns fast, so it probably has a good memory. But Owen’s right about one thing - this is Nosy’s home now, so we’ll just have to do our best to make sure it’s happy and well cared for.”
“Can’t see that being a problem,” Jack said with a chuckle as he joined them, “It’s probably going to get spoiled rotten! ”
“We’ll need to get a few things besides a food supply and a better water dish,” Ianto told Jack.
“Well, brushes for a start, we’ll probably need to groom it. Toys might be a good idea too.”
“Why?” Jack asked, puzzled.
“We already know it’s at least as intelligent as a dog. Probably not a good idea to let it get bored, so we’ll need something to keep it occupied when we’re busy. With a bit of luck, having a few toys to play with should keep it from getting in too much trouble.”
“What sorts of toys do you think it would like?” Jack wondered.
“Don’t know, we’ll have to experiment a bit, see what it thinks is fun besides chasing Owen.”
“Ha ha, very funny,” Owen grumbled, glaring at everyone.
“Well, do you have any suggestions?”
Owen thought for a bit. “A ball maybe, or something squeaky. Dogs love things that squeak.”
“I know, I know, it’s not a dog. But it’s comparable. Behaviour is similar enough we can get away with treating it like a dog, at least for now.” He stared at Nosy for a moment, “It’ll need somewhere to sleep too. Wonder if anyone makes a dog basket big enough.”
Jack laughed. “Probably not! I’ll dig out an old blanket for Fluffy to sleep on tonight, we’ll have to look for something better when we have time. Maybe we can get an old mattress from somewhere.”
“Might need a double,” Ianto said thoughtfully, “especially if we find it’s still growing.”
Nosy seemed to have had enough to eat for now and carefully nosed its food tray and the remains of its supper under the coffee table, presumably saving it for later.
“Why can’t everyone around here tidy up after themselves like that?” Ianto asked himself wryly.
Before anyone could reply, Mickey reappeared from the direction of the cells.
“That’s all the residents fed and settled for the night,” he announced, dropping into a chair.
“Thanks, Mickey, I owe you one,” Ianto said gratefully.
“You kidding me? Way I see it, I‘m still repaying you for letting me take over your flat!”
“I was hardly spending any time there anyway. Besides, I feel better about moving out now that I know there’s someone I can trust looking out for old Mrs Evans next door. She and her husband did a lot for me after I moved back to Cardiff. Things have been hard for her since he died.”
“I like her, she reminds me of my Gran. Treats me the same way too, not afraid to give me a clip round the ear if she thinks I’m being cheeky!” Mickey laughed.
“She’s done that to me a few times too!” Jack butted in. “Never to Ianto though.”
“That’s because I have manners.”
“I have manners too,” Jack said indignantly.
“You do,” Ianto agreed, “Sadly, most of them are bad.”
Jack just glared at him.
“Where’s Andy,” Tosh asked.
“I sent him down to the archives with that box of rift junk, told him to put it on Ianto’s desk down there,” Mickey said.
“Oh God,” Owen sighed, “Hope he hasn’t got lost again.”
“Hey, I resent that,” Andy grumbled as he appeared through the doorway and joined them, “I only got lost that one time. There‘s a lot of tunnels down there.”
“There are,” Jack agreed, “and we have a new pet who likes to explore, so for safety’s sake, I’m going to ask that we all take care to keep the door to the lower levels closed at all times. We don‘t want Nosy getting lost down there.”
Andy spun on his heel and headed back in the direction he’d just come from, rejoining them a few moments later. “Right, it’s closed now.”
Jack smiled and nodded at him, “Thanks, Andy. Right, next order of business.” He dug in his pocket and pulled out a box of chalk.
“What’s that for?” Andy asked.
“Owen thinks we should measure Nosy so we’ll know whether or not it’s still growing. Unfortunately, the only measuring tape we have here is a metre long; Nosy is considerably longer and not very cooperative,” Jack explained, “So, following Ianto’s advice, we’re going to try a different way. We’ll make chalk marks on the floor at Nosy’s nose and tail tips, then measure between the marks. In order to get the most accurate measurement we can, we need a straight Nosy.”
Everyone looked at Nosy, who at that moment was anything but straight.
“We only need it straight for a moment, so here’s the plan.” He handed Tosh and Owen a piece of chalk each. “Tosh, you’re at the head end, it’s your job to keep Nosy occupied while the rest of us attempt to straighten it out. Owen, you get the tail end. As soon as it’s straight enough, use your chalk. Mickey, Andy and I will do the straightening. Clear?” Everyone nodded. “Right, take your positions.”
Ianto watched with amusement as his team mates arranged themselves at various points along the creature’s body. Tosh knelt by Nosy’s head and started stroking the long, thick fur. As Nosy’s happy hum filled the air, Jack grinned suddenly as inspiration hit and crouching down, started stroking too. Mickey and Andy looked at each other and shrugged, before copying Jack. Soon, Nosy had relaxed completely beneath their soothing hands and straightened out quite willingly, making the task easier than any of them had expected. Tosh and Owen chalked neat lines at nose and tail tip, then everyone stopped stroking and stood up. Nosy didn’t move.
Owen folded his arms over his chest and grumbled, “If we had a long enough measuring tape, we could’ve measured it easily now.”
Jack turned and grinned at Ianto, “Looks just like you do after a massage, completely boneless!”
Ianto snorted and grabbed a cushion, throwing it at Jack and hitting him in the chest. “Looks more like you,” he replied, “Even the hair style’s similar! You sure you‘re not related?”
Jack picked up the cushion and strode over to the couch. “You take that back,” he said indignantly, “I have much better hair!”
When Ianto just smirked up at him, Jack started hitting him with the cushion as Ianto tried to defend himself, both of them laughing.
The battle was brief, lasting only a few minutes as the rest of the team looked on, grinning at their antics. Finally, Jack had Ianto pinned to the couch as they caught their breath.
“I surrender,” Ianto gasped.
“Good decision,” Jack panted. “Now admit it: I have much better hair than Nosy.”
“Vanity, thy name is Jack Harkness,” Ianto drawled.
Jack growled and threatened him with the cushion.
“Okay, okay, I admit it, your hair’s better than Nosy’s!”
“Thank you.” Jack dropped the cushion and sagged to the floor beside the couch.
“Think they’ll ever grow up?” Mickey asked.
“Nah, not likely, guess we’ll just have to put up with them as they are,” Owen replied with a long-suffering sigh.
Ianto twisted to look at Jack, nudging him to get his attention. “Jack?”
“I thought you wanted to call our new pet Fluffy.”
“What do you mean?”
“Just, every time you’ve referred to it since then, you’ve called it Nosy.”
Jack was silent for a moment, “I have? Are you sure?” He looked around at his team; they were all nodding agreement.
“Humpf,” Jack grumbled, “Why is it that even when I win I end up losing?” He folded his arms across his chest and slumped down, scowling. “Fine, you win, Nosy it is.” Then after a moment, he added, “Nosy the Fluff.”
Ianto rolled his eyes. “You have to have the last word, don’t you?”
“Always,” Jack smirked.
While the team had been watching Jack and Ianto’s cushion fight, Nosy had finally surfaced from the blissed-out trance their stroking had put it in. It blinked drowsily, fluffed up its fur and gave itself a shake before looking around and slinking over to its water bowl for a quick slurp. Then it slithered over to Jack, who had closed his eyes, and poked him in the ear with a wet snout, getting a very interesting response. Jack yelled, eyes snapping open, legs and arms flailing in every direction. Nosy quickly dodged out of the way.
“What the hell…?” Jack gasped, rubbing at his wet ear and glaring at the culprit. Nosy just blinked innocently at him. “Don’t give me that innocent look, I don’t believe it for a second,” Jack growled, “You did that on purpose!”
Nosy seemed to droop, which was quite impressive considering it was already flat on the ground.
“Jack,” Tosh chided, “Don‘t be mean, Nosy was just trying to get your attention.”
“Well it succeeded,” Jack grumbled, glaring.
Nosy sighed heavily and started to slink sadly away. Everyone glared at Jack.
Now it was Jack’s turn to sigh. He got to his feet and headed after Nosy, “Hey, I’m sorry I yelled at you, okay?” he said, kneeling down and petting Nosy, “I just don’t like having wet things poked in my ears.”
“You didn’t seem to mind the other day when I…” Ianto started.
“That was different!” Jack interrupted quickly. “Anyway, we were in the shower, everything was wet.” The rest of the team turned to stare at Ianto, who blushed slightly.
“Owen,” Jack snapped out suddenly, “weren’t you supposed to be getting that measurement you insisted on?”
Owen snapped his fingers, “Yeah, right,” he looked around, “Where’s the bloody measure?”
“Here,” Tosh said, picking it up from the coffee table and handing it to him.
“Thanks, Tosh. Give me a hand?” Together they crouched and set about measuring between the two chalk marks they’d made.
A couple of minutes later, Owen announced, “Approximate length of subject, 5.79 metres. What did you measure the circumference as, Ianto?”
“58.5 centimetres, as near as I could tell through all the fluff.”
“Good. Tosh, could you set up a chart and we’ll measure Nosy… oh, say once a week to start with. If there doesn’t seem to be much change after four weeks, we can switch to once a month.”
Tosh nodded and quickly did as she’d been asked.
Jack, who had been sitting of the floor quietly petting Nosy, suddenly jumped to his feet and clapped his hands, “Right, I know it’s late and everyone’s tired, but there’s one last thing I want to get out of the way tonight. I think it’s about time we introduced our new pet to Myfanwy.”
“Right,” said Owen, “I’m outta here, ‘night everyone.”
“Not so fast.” Jack grabbed Owen and pulled him back, “You might be needed. Listen up, everyone. We have no idea how they’ll react to each other, but I’m sure none of us want Nosy getting hurt. As Owen pointed out earlier, if we prepare for the worst, we won’t get caught out. Mickey!”
“Could you get a couple of tranq guns from the armoury? I’m hoping we won’t need them, but if Myfanwy decides Nosy could be food…” he let the sentence trail off.
“On it,” replied Mickey, turning away. He paused and turned back, “What if Nosy attacks Myfanwy?”
Jack stared blankly at him, then looked at Nosy and back at Mickey. “Do you honestly think that’s likely?”
Mickey looked at the fluffy, snake-like creature, which was happily untying Andy’s shoelaces, and shook his head, “What was I thinking? Forget I said anything.” He sauntered off towards the armoury, muttering to himself about weird aliens with foot fetishes being right at home at Torchwood.
Andy glanced down, “Here, what do you think you’re doing to my shoes?” Nosy looked up, blinking innocently, still gripping the end of Andy’s shoelace in its mouth. “You rascal! Give that here. I suppose I should be thankful you can’t tie them together like Gwyn used to do.”
“Who’s this Gwyn then?” Owen asked, “School bully?”
Andy snorted as he crouched down, re-tying his laces with an extra knot this time for safety. “Hardly! Gwyn Hughes was my best friend for more than ten years, lived right across the road from me. Loved playing practical jokes, but he had no imagination whatsoever. Dunno where he is now, his family moved to England when we were sixteen and we lost touch after that.”
“You should try to track him down,” said Tosh, “Friends are important, especially in a job like ours. It’s nice to have people outside of work that you can just be yourself with, forget about saving the world for a while.”
“I’ve thought about it,” Andy admitted, “even checked to see if he had a police record, but I didn’t get anywhere. I‘m… I was just a PC, computers aren‘t my strong point. Anything beyond the basics and I get a bit lost.”
“I could help if you’d like, run a trace for you sometime.”
Andy’s face lit up. “Would you? That would be great, Tosh!”
Tosh smiled back at him, she really did like Andy. “I’d be happy to. I’ll make a start as soon as I get a bit of free time.”
While they were chatting, Jack had moved the chair Mickey had been using earlier, setting it in a clear area where Myfanwy could land easily. Once it was in place, he headed over to the couch and attempted to hoist Ianto up.
“Jack, what are you doing?” Ianto yelped, pulling away.
“Helping you up! I need you to sit on that chair and coax Myf down with this,” Jack replied, waving a bar of the pteranodon’s favourite dark chocolate at Ianto. “Mickey and I will take positions to either side, where we’ll be able to get a clear shot if necessary.”
“Fine, but I’m perfectly capable of walking.”
Jack looked surprised. “Of course you are, I never said you weren’t. On the other hand, you’ve already walked more than enough today with that injured knee and the longer you can keep from putting weight on if, the faster it will heal. I was just going to help you.”
Ianto sighed and shook his head. “Fine, you can help me, but don’t you dare try to pick me up!”
Jack raised his hands in surrender. “I won’t, I promise.”
Jack leant down and let Ianto wrap an arm around his shoulders, putting his own arm around Ianto’s waist and hoisting him up. Once Ianto was balanced safely on his good leg, Jack helped him hop over to the chair and sit down.
Returning with the tranquilizer guns, Mickey put them down on a nearby desk, while Owen fetched a vial of tranquilizer and filled several of the darts with the appropriate dosage for the pteranodon. Mickey and Jack checked and loaded the guns, then moved into position.
“What about the rest of us?” Tosh asked.
“The rest of you get to be Nosy wranglers. Try to keep it out of the way until Myfanwy is down and eating her chocolate, and reassure it if it’s nervous.”
Tosh and Andy settled into their assignment willingly, talking quietly to Nosy and stroking it, while Owen moved over to the stairs leading to the autopsy bay, just in case he needed to get medical supplies in a hurry. Everyone felt a little tense and nervous, hoping this first meeting wouldn’t be a complete disaster.
“Okay,” Jack said, “everybody ready?”
“Ready as we’ll ever be,” Mickey confirmed as the rest of the team nodded agreement.
Jack flipped open his vortex manipulator and pressed the short sequence of buttons that would open the grille at the entrance to the pteranodon’s cave.
Ianto unwrapped the chocolate bar, rustling the foil, and whistled for Myfanwy. After a moment, there was a scuffling sound followed by the leathery flapping of Myfanwy’s wings as she took to the air and circled high above them. Everyone looked up, watching her fly; it was such a spectacular sight, none of them ever tired of it.
Staring upwards, Nosy hummed questioningly. Tosh hugged it gently. “That’s Myfanwy, she lives here too,” she murmured, “She fell though the rift just like you, but she travelled through time instead of space.”
Another whistle from Ianto brought Myfanwy swooping down to land a few metres from the chair he was sitting on. Graceful though she was in flight, she was a bit ungainly on land - the sky was her element and her body really wasn’t designed for walking. She hopped and shuffled her way clumsily towards Ianto, making a rusty, cawing sound and looking rather hopeful.
Ianto broke off a piece of chocolate, tossing it towards her and with the snap of her beak, she snatched it from the air and gulped it down. Ianto smiled and broke off another piece.
“Come on, old girl.” She hopped a bit closer and opened her beak, letting Ianto throw the next piece straight in, then tossing her head back to swallow her treat.
Tosh looked down to see Nosy watching in wide-eyed fascination as Ianto fed the pteranodon several more squares of chocolate.
Suddenly, the fluffy alien wriggled free of Tosh’s gentle hold and started slithering towards Ianto and Myfanwy.
“Nosy, come back here!” Tosh tried to grab the wriggly creature.
“It’s okay, Tosh, let’s just wait and see what happens,” Jack said, his voice quiet but tense.
The commotion drew Myfanwy’s attention and she turned, cocking her head to one side and looking down her long beak at the strange thing approaching her. She cawed at it querulously.
Nosy seemed delighted. “HUMMM!” it replied enthusiastically.
Startled, Myfanwy scrabbled backwards and almost sat down on her stubby tail before managing to right herself. She tried to spread her wings to take off, but she’d backed up so far there was no room. Supremely unconcerned, Nosy continued to slither towards her, humming happily, finally stopping just out of reach of Myfanwy’s beak.
Everyone held their breath, wondering what would happen next, as the two creatures studied each other. None of them had ever seen Myfanwy look nervous before, but she stood there, trapped and trembling, clearly wishing she could fly away from the monster in front of her. Jack and Mickey had their tranq guns aimed carefully towards her, just in case fear made her attack the possible threat.
Nosy raised its front end off the ground to get a better look at Myfanwy, humming softly in the tone that seemed to mean it had found something interesting. After a few moments, it slithered forward and poked Myfanwy experimentally. Myfanwy squawked in alarm, so Nosy poked her again, then drew back a bit to look at her. Once she realised the strange creature didn’t seem interested in eating her, Myfanwy relaxed a bit, watching it curiously. Nosy stretched up and rubbed its head against the leathery body, humming soothingly and drawing a scratchy sort of purr from Myfanwy, the sound she usually reserved for when Ianto scratched around her crest.
Slowly the team relaxed, though Jack and Mickey kept hold of their guns, just in case. Myfanwy settled to the floor, resigned, her wings half spread, as Nosy slithered over her, poking her here and there, the way it did with anything it found interesting. She looked over at Ianto with a long-suffering expression and cawed plaintively before turning her head and trying unsuccessfully to push her tormentor off.
Finally, apparently satisfied it had seen everything there was to see, Nosy slithered back onto the ground and over to Ianto. Before Ianto even knew what was happening, Nosy had grabbed the remains of the chocolate bar from his hands and slithered back to Myfanwy, placing it on the floor and pushing the sweet treat towards her with its nose. Myfanwy cawed softly and scooped up her reward, gulping it down with a clack of her beak. Nosy hummed approval and slithered over to the coffee table, retrieving the remains of its supper from underneath and settling down to eat.
With Nosy’s attention directed elsewhere, Myfanwy took the opportunity to shuffle forward and take to the air again, cawing harshly as she swooped low above them before soaring back up to her cave and taking refuge there, where strange hairy creatures couldn’t get to her.
The team breathed a collective sigh of relief; it looked like their two pets would at least co-exist peacefully, although Ianto suspected Myfanwy might be a bit wary of landing for a while. Getting thoroughly prodded and poked all over by something fluffy was probably a new experience for her!
“That went better than expected,” Jack said, unloading the tranq gun and putting it safely out of Nosy’s reach. There were murmurs of agreement from the rest of the team as they started to mill around, not sure what to do next. “Mickey, if you wouldn’t mind returning the guns to the armoury?”
Mickey nodded, picking up Jack’s gun and heading for the armoury once more.
“Right, the rest of you, go home, I’ll see you all in the morning,” Jack said firmly.
“Shouldn’t someone stay to keep an eye on… things?” Tosh asked, “Especially since Ianto’s injured.”
“I’m fine, Tosh, a sprained knee is hardly life-threatening.”
“Besides,” Jack said, “it’s Mickey’s turn for the night shift; if there’s a rift alert between now and morning, he and I can handle it and if we can’t, we’ll call you.”
“Come on, Tosh, I’ll give you a lift home,” Owen said, handing Tosh her coat.
She smiled at him, “Thank you, Owen.” Crouching down, she gave Nosy a quick hug, “Goodnight, Nosy, see you in the morning. Be a good… Nosy,” she finished lamely. “Goodnight, Ianto, Jack,” she called out as she headed towards the door with Owen and Andy.
The next few minutes were a confused babble of everyone saying goodnight to everyone else, until finally the cog door closed behind Owen, Tosh and Andy, and something like peace and quiet settled over the Hub, the only sounds the muted hum of the computers and the drip of water.
“When did we turn into The Waltons?” Ianto asked.
“What?” Jack looked confused.
“Pop culture reference, never mind, it’s not important,” Ianto replied, stifling a yawn.
Jack smiled, “I think it’s time a certain sleepy Welshman was tucked up in bed.”
“You’re not carrying me,” Ianto warned.
“Spoilsport,” Jack grumbled. He fetched an old blanket and spread it on the floor near the couch, patting it invitingly, “Come on, Nosy, bedtime.”
Nosy slithered over and obediently coiled up on the blanket, humming to itself as it picked up a corner and dragged part of the blanket over its body. Jack patted it. “Goodnight.”
As Mickey made his way to the small room near the boardroom, which had recently been equipped with a cot and a rift monitor for whoever was on night shift, Jack dimmed the lights to their night time setting and helped Ianto to his feet, the two of them making their way slowly towards Jack’s office and their bedroom beneath.
“It’s been one hell of a day, hasn’t it,” Jack murmured to his lover.
“Mmmm,” Ianto agreed sleepily, turning to kiss Jack softly. “Tomorrow should be interesting.”