It has been perhaps twenty days since Nosy first met its human friends and came to live with them in their big cave. While it does occasionally miss the sunshine and the grass and the trees, even the stars and moon in the sky at night, it likes its new home a lot. There are so many interesting things here, the likes of which it would have never imagined if it had never seen them with its own eyes. A lot of the things it’s been warned never to touch because they could prove dangerous, and others it can only touch if one of its new friends say it’s okay, but there are other things it can play with whenever it wants, and some of those belong to Nosy. Its friends will only touch and play with them if they have Nosy’s permission.
Nosy has never really had things of its own before, at least not things like these, so colourful and amazing. Some are soft and squashy, nice to cuddle up to, while others make noises or do things, and most of them are pretty colours. Nosy likes colours.
Back on the world it came from, Nosy had a small collection of pretty pebbles, and some feathers from the Quarras who strutted about pretending they were more important than any of the other creatures. That wasn’t true but Quarras never paid any attention to what anyone else thought. They weren’t terribly smart. Sometimes Nosy even had a few flowers, brightly coloured and sweetly scented, but they never lasted long. Come to think of it, neither did the rest of its collection because the Quarras kept stealing the pebbles and feathers to decorate their bowers and then Nosy would have to find more. Here though, nobody takes Nosy’s things for their own use. Humans have much better manners than the Quarras ever did.
All of Nosy’s new friends are very kind to it. When they’re not busy with Very Important Torchwood Matters, they show Nosy how to do all kinds of amazing things, how to play clever games, and how some of their own toys work. That’s really a lot of fun and Nosy often wonders if one day, provided it pays attention and listens closely to what it’s told, it might be as clever as its friends are.
Another good thing about living here is the food; there are so many kinds with so many wonderful flavours and textures! Back where it came from, Nosy ate mosses, lichens, grasses, and roots, with berries and seeds when they were in season. When it first arrived on this world it ate the same kinds of things, and they were nice enough, although to get at the berries it had to brave very thorny branches that kept getting caught in its fluff. The berries were juicy and sweet though, so it persevered; they made a pleasant addition to its diet and provided enough moisture that it didn’t have to drink from muddy puddles too often.
Here in the Hub, which is what the Humans call their big cave, there’s no grass or trees, everything is cold stone and metal. There’s only one place where things grow and Nosy is not allowed to go in there and eat any of the plants because Owen says they might be harmful to it. Nosy thinks that’s a bit silly because it can easily tell what is harmful to eat and what isn’t; it’s perfectly obvious with living plants from their smell and their aura.
It’s harder to tell with the not-growing things that make up its diet, but Owen has what he calls a scanner, which tells him what is safe for Nosy to eat and what isn’t. What it can’t tell Owen is whether or not Nosy will like the taste, but when Owen was trying it with various foods there were only a few Nosy really didn’t like, and none of those are included in its meals, it only gets the nice things.
There are leaves and roots and seeds, berries, and bigger fruits, and also things called cookies and biscuits and cakes, but Nosy is only allowed one or two of those a day. It’s the same with cheese, which Nosy really likes a lot, having never tasted anything like it before, but is only allowed a little bit occasionally.
Thankfully, after its first couple of days, Nosy has been served a mug of the delicious hot drink its friends call ‘coffee’ almost every time the rest of the team have some, and that’s the best thing of all. It’s full of the stuff the Fluffs of its home world could only get from the berries of a particular plant, and in much lesser amounts, from the bark and leaves of certain trees. Nosy has never felt better! It gets at least three cups of coffee a day, along with its diet of fruit and vegetables. Its fur is long and glossy, its eyes are bright, and it thinks it could easily bud three or four Flufflets at a time if it wanted to, but it doesn’t know enough about this world yet and wants to wait until it knows all the important things before it produces young, so they will arrive knowing almost as much as Nosy does. There’s no reason to rush, its humans aren’t ready to bond with Flufflets anyway. They still have a lot to learn too.
Tonight, most of the team have already left for their homes even though it’s still quite early. Even Ianto and Jack have gone, but Nosy knows they’ll be back later since they live in their own cosy little cave below the main one. The only human still here is Owen, who’s on duty with Nosy tonight. They will sleep in the beds that arrived the day after Nosy did, Owen in the bottom one and Nosy in the top. Beds are another thing Nosy never knew about before it came to this place; it used to sleep curled up with some other Fluffs, or by itself in a nest of dry grasses under a tree. Beds are better.
Owen had gone out for a while just before the others left and had come back with his dinner, something called fish and chips. Now he’s sitting on the sofa, eating while flipping through something called a magazine. Nosy isn’t sure about the fish, it smells like the flesh of some kind of creature and Fluffs don’t eat flesh, but the chips smell… rather good.
Even as Nosy watches, Owen leans forward, reaching for his drink, causing a chip to topple from the package on his lap and onto the floor. He doesn’t seem to have noticed and Nosy wonders if it should pick the chip up for its friend. It doesn’t think Ianto would be happy on arriving back at the Hub later to find chips all over the floor; he likes things to be kept neat and tidy, everything in its place. The floor isn’t the right place for chips; even a Fluff can tell that.
Slinking closer, Nosy sniffs at the chip, then carefully grasps one end between its lips and lifts it from the floor. It dangles a bit, but nevertheless, Nosy holds it out with a helpful hum, offering to put it back with the others in the package.
Looking up from his magazine, Owen makes a snorting sound, amusement radiating from him. For some reason he seems to think the sight of Nosy with a chip drooping from its mouth is funny. He copies Nosy, looking back at the Fluff, a chip dangling from his own mouth, and Nosy understands. It does look funny, like a strange tongue. Then Owen eats his chip, but Nosy isn’t sure what to do with the one in its own mouth since Owen doesn’t seem to want it back. Humans are a bit strange when it comes to food that has been on the floor.
“You can ‘ave that one if you want,” Owen says. “One chip won’t do you any harm, it’s just potato. Um, that’s a vegetable. Chips are bits of potato fried in vegetable oil. Just be careful you don’t burn yourself; it might still be hot.”
As if a hot chip would harm a Fluff! Nosy can drink its coffee hotter than a human could stand, although usually it lets it cool a bit, because it it’s too hot the flavour isn’t as full and rich.
Nosy sucks the chip into its mouth and chews thoughtfully. It’s not too hot, and it does taste nice. It’s slightly crisp on the outside, soft and fluffy within.
“Liked that, did you?” Owen’s smiling, happy. “You probably shouldn’t ‘ave too many, not with all the fat in them; it’s not good for anyone, but I can’t see any harm in you ‘aving a few occasionally if you like them. Want another?” He holds one out and Nosy delicately accepts it, humming appreciatively. There aren’t many chips left, so they share them; some are fat and fluffy, others thin and hard, and a bit on the cold side. Nosy decides it likes the fat ones best; they stay hot longer.
Chips gone, Nosy coils up on the sofa at Owen’s side, licking its lips. Clearly it still has a lot to learn about its new home, but it doesn’t mind, not when the learning comes with such unexpected treats. Chips are definitely something it would like to sample again.