Because Jack loved musicals of all kinds, and because it just so happened to be on TV, the whole family had watched The Sound of Music together earlier. Jack was still singing ‘My Favourite Things’ as he bustled around the kitchen, helping Ianto fix dinner.
Meriel and Nosy were in the flat’s open plan living room, playing with a big box of Lego. Well, Meriel was building something and Nosy was passing her the blocks she asked for. Because of its lack of hands, the Fluff couldn’t snap the blocks together or pull them apart the way a human could.
Occasionally, the two adults could hear their five-year-old daughter joining in with the singing, although ‘These are a few of my favourite things’ was the only line she knew. She did at least manage to hit most of the notes, and sometimes Nosy hummed along too. The friendly alien could be quite tuneful when it wanted to be, although, since the Fluff language was made up of modulated hums, it made Ianto wonder exactly what Nosy’s ‘singing’ would translate as.
Pausing in her construction, Meriel sat back on her heels, frowning at the Lego house she was building. “Do you think that’s tall enough, or should I make it a bit taller before I put the roof on?”
Humming thoughtfully, Nosy looked at the house from several different angles.
“Hummm,” it said at last.
“Yes,” Meriel agreed, reaching for some more bricks. “That’s what I was thinking too. I wouldn’t want the people to bump their heads on the ceiling.” Starting on the next row of bricks, alternating two colours to make it prettier, the little girl added, “You know, I think Lego is one of my favourite things. I can use it to make almost anything I want. I think I might try to make a dragon next. Or maybe a dinosaur. Or one of those sausage dogs. Have you ever seen one of those, Nosy? They’re funny, really long like you, but they’ve only got short little legs.”
Ianto paused to watch his daughter and the family Fluff.
“She’s a very lucky little girl,” Jack said, coming to slide his arms around his husband from behind, and resting his chin on Ianto’s shoulder. “No matter what she wants to do, she has a willing and tireless playmate, which means we can get on with whatever needs doing without having to keep an eye on her.”
“Mm,” Ianto agreed, “and Nosy always puts the toys away afterwards, saving us a job.” He laughed softly. “Well, can’t watch our daughter all day, I suppose, much as we might like to. Better get on with dinner; it won’t cook itself.”
“More’s the pity.” Jack kissed Ianto on the cheek, and Ianto turned to kiss Jack lightly on the lips, both of them basking in pure domestic bliss, until Meriel’s next words took all the wind out of their sails.
“You know, Nosy, you’re my very favourite person in all the world! I love you even more than I love chocolate!”
Ianto’s shoulders sagged, and he gave Jack a mournful look. “That’s us put firmly in our places. Not only is Nosy first and foremost in our daughter’s affections, but we don’t even merit second place. That’s reserved for chocolate.”
Jack pouted. “Nosy I can understand, it’s very lovable, but how is chocolate better than her daddies?”
“You love chocolate too though.”
“Not that much, not more than I love my family!”
“That’s good to know. I wonder how far down Meriel’s list of favourite things we are.”
Jack looked alarmed. “I don’t think I want to know. I went through hell carrying her for nine months, swelling to the size of a hippopotamus, constant heartburn, hardly able to get up from a chair without assistance. It would be too demoralising to find I’m somewhere on the list below Meriel’s best friends, her teachers, her stuffed toys, and her Lego blocks.”
“You’re right, maybe we’re better off not knowing. Your ego might not survive.”
“It is fragile,” Jack agreed. “But for the record, on my list of favourite things, you and Meriel share the top spot, with Nosy a close second, our friends and family third, followed by your coffee.”
“What about chocolate?”
“Fifth place, along with Myfanwy.”
Ianto smirked. “Fitting.”
“I thought so. Right, let’s get these cooking before we’re too weak with hunger.” Jack gathered up the vegetables Ianto had been peeling and carried them over to the sink for washing while Ianto went to check on the roast in the oven. “What did you have in mind for dessert?”
Ianto sighed. “I was going to whip up a quick chocolate cheesecake, but I think I’ve changed my mind.”
“Don’t fancy giving one of our closest rivals space at the dining table?” Jack teased.
“Something like that.”
“Why don’t I make baked apples instead? The oven’s already on so they’ll be ready by the time we finish our main course. We can have them with hot custard.”
“Sounds perfect.” Ianto smiled at his husband. “You know what one of my favourite things is?”
“Me, I hope.”
“Yes, of course, but I was talking about this. Cooking dinner together on a lazy Sunday afternoon.”
Jack nodded. “I know what you mean. I’m happy doing just about anything as long as I get to do it with you.”