Raising its front end off the floor, Nosy peered into the cot at the tiny, pink, new person, the one its humans called ‘Meriel’ and ‘she’ and ‘the baby’. This was the first time Nosy had been able to have a really good look at her, because Jack and Ianto had been taking turns to hold her since she arrived. Nevertheless, she was familiar because all the while this one had been inside Jack, Nosy had been getting to know her, humming to her and sometimes laying its head on Jack’s belly to feel her move. Now it took her in avidly, the sight and smell of her, and knew it must protect her at all costs. She was so small and helpless, not like a young Flufflet at all.
Bright blue eyes returned Nosy’s gaze and chubby little hands waved awkwardly, reaching out to clutch at air. Nosy was utterly entranced. It hummed softy and Meriel gurgled in response, kicking tiny feet and dislodging the covers. Leaning further in, Nosy straightened them again. Caring for this one would be a full time job.
It could hear its humans talking, and listened to what they were saying without taking its steady green gaze off its new charge.
“Looks like Meriel has an admirer already and she’s not even a day old yet.” Ianto sounded amused.
“She takes after me,” Jack replied smugly. “Good looks and charm, how could anyone resist that combination? She’s going to break hearts when she’s older, no doubt about it.”
“She’s not dating anyone until she’s at least fifty,” Ianto said firmly. “Not if I have anything to say about it.”
Jack just laughed.
Nosy wasn’t completely sure what ‘dating’ was all about, but fifty seemed like a sensible age. This new person had a lot of growing to do before she would be big like Ianto and Jack. To Nosy’s mind, the bigger a person was, the older they must be. That was logical. It had seen young humans, like Gwen’s daughter Anwen, and they were always small.
Meriel’s eyes closed as she drifted off to sleep, lulled by Nosy’s soft, familiar humming; it approved of that, sleep was good, for young ones especially. It took a lot of strength and energy to grow. Ensuring that all but the head of its new charge was properly covered, Nosy curled up under the cot, on guard and ready to do whatever was needed to take care of her. Tonight it wouldn’t go downstairs to its own bedroom; that was much too far away. This was where it would stay because from now on it had a very important job to do.
“Staying there tonight, are you?” Ianto asked.
“Well, okay. I’ll leave the door ajar though, in case you change your mind.” Ianto fetched a blanket from next door, bending down to cover Nosy. “Sweet dreams, Nosy.”
Jack and Ianto quietly exited the room, leaving a small, dim light burning. They would be sleeping in the big bed in the next room, where they always slept, close for when the baby needed them. That was good. Nobody could get into this room, the nursery, without going through the room where the big humans slept, that made this room the safest, the most easily defendable. It was a good choice for Meriel; she would be well protected here at night.
Nosy dozed but its senses remained alert to the slightest sound. It heard every snuffle and rustle from the small, new person sleeping above it, and was awake the moment the baby woke, peering into the cot again. Meriel clearly wasn’t happy, her little face screwed up in displeasure. Soon she would wail loudly like she had earlier, a sound of distress and of wanting. Nosy remembered each time that had happened during the day Jack or Ianto had given her a bottle, which she’d sucked at noisily, or changed the coverings she wore. There was no smell this time, so that wasn’t the problem, at least not yet. Meriel must need a bottle to suck, Nosy decided. That was one of the things it wasn’t equipped to provide, not having any hands. It would need to fetch one of its humans.
Slithering out the door, Nosy looked from one sleeping person to the other, debating over which of them it should wake. Finally it prodded at Ianto until he opened his eyes.
“What is it, Nosy?” Ianto was fully awake and alert in moments, used to being woken in the night.
Nosy slithered purposefully over to where everything needed for making Meriel’s milk drink was laid out, and glanced back at Ianto, who checked the clock on his nightstand.
“Right, feeding time is it?”
Nosy hummed softly again in reply and leaving Ianto fixing a bottle for the baby, returned to the nursery, humming to soothe Meriel until her drink was ready. She whimpered and kicked, disturbing her covers again, but had barely begun to wail before Ianto was there, lifting her and plugging the bottle in. Silence reigned, broken only by sucking sounds.
While Ianto was there to care for the baby, Nosy took the opportunity to nip downstairs to its water bowl for a quick slurp. Watching over Meriel was thirsty work. Returning to the nursery, it smelled a smell, and going to the table at one side of the room, stuck its head in the bag underneath it and pulled out one of the fresh covering things with its mouth, setting it ready on top. Ianto would need that soon. What went in one end of the baby came out the other, not unlike with Fluffs; this was not an unexpected event. It wrinkled its snout; Fluffs weren’t that smelly though.
Baby fed, burped, cleaned, and put back in the cot to sleep, Ianto washed his hands at the sink in the small bathroom before coming back to talk to Nosy, who was humming Meriel to sleep again.
“Good job there,” he told Nosy approvingly, patting the Fluff. “Keep that up and we’ll hardly need the baby monitor.”
Nosy felt proud to be entrusted with such an important job, it wasn’t going to let its friends down. At the same time, to its mind this was the natural way of things. Just as it had entrusted its first young one to two of its human friends to be cared for, it was only right that the reverse should be true and it should take on the task of caring for the young produced by its human family. The two species had much to learn from each other.
After checking the baby one last time, Ianto returned to his bed and Nosy settled itself underneath the cot once more, snoozing and waiting patiently until the next time its assistance would be needed.
No matter what was to come, it would be ready.