Title: Doctor Doolittle
Disclaimer: I do not own, nor ever will, Torchwood or the characters within.
Note: This is the Redisourcolour Challenge 21: Job. The word prompts used are ‘icing, expedite, mossy’ and the phrase ‘Animal, mineral or vegetable?’
Author’s Note: I’ve been fiddling with this idea for Ianto where he's more than just a junior archivist and I’m looking at future prompts to investigate it further. And yes, stupid title is stupid like me…
“So?” Owen Harper’s voice came through his com and Ianto Jones sighed.
He stared at the small creature who was staring right back at him. It looked like a small rock. A small mossy rock with claws and bright yellow eyes. It also had what appeared to be four leek stalks growing in the middle of its back.
“Which is it? Animal, vegetable or mineral?” Owen asked and Ianto automatically reordered the question into ‘animal, mineral or vegetable’ and then wondered why it just didn’t sound right. He stared at the little beast.
“Cenhinen,” he said and heard Gwen’s laugh in his ear.
“What the hell’s that?” Owen sounded rather testy and Ianto heard Gwen explaining the Welsh word to her colleague.
“Ianto,” Jack’s voice was firm and Ianto’s lips twitched into a small smile.
The little beastie had been thrown rather roughly into the cell after managing to take a bite of everyone except Ianto. Which was why he was now alone in the cells while his teammates watched through the CCTV.
“No, seriously, they’re in the database as Cenhinen,” Ianto said and he could hear someone – probably Tosh – pounding on a keyboard.
“How do you know that?” Jack asked with a suspicious voice and Ianto could easily visualise the narrowed eyes.
“There was a file in London,” Ianto replied deliberately.
“UNIT can have it,” Jack said and Ianto hid a smirk. Jack was so predictable. Bringing up his Torchwood One past was the easiest way to stop any questions. He’d had to admit to an eidetic memory to explain why he could recall so much of the content of One’s files. And while he hadn’t lied about his memory, he hadn’t been completely honest about just what his duties in Torchwood One had entailed. Junior Archivist could and did cover a multitude of sins and talents.
The creature smiled at him showing off a mouthful of very sharp teeth. Ianto nodded at it and it nodded back.
“It’s mostly harmless and a lot hungry. It can have some of Janet’s meat mix for now.”
“As long as you get rid of it tomorrow. It’s creepy,” Jack pouted audibly.
“I will find somewhere for it,” Ianto agreed.
“We can’t keep it?” Gwen asked with disappointment.
“No!” Jack and Owen shouted at the same time.
“It does bite, Gwen,” Tosh politely reminded her. “Ianto, I can expedite the transfer to UNIT and have it collected tomorrow morning.”
“It’s okay, Tosh. I have a contact from when we got rid of those spider-mice.” Ianto had no intention of sending the Cenhinen to UNIT. He hadn’t sent the spider-mice to them either. UNIT were almost as bad as Torchwood One when it came to the treatment of alien life-forms.
He busied himself with getting a small bowl and filling it with the meat and cereal mix he fed the weevils. He opened the cell door to an assortment of protests on the coms. He ignored them as he put the bowl down.
“There you go, Cenhinen. Much better than eating the team,” Ianto said calmly and watched the Cenhinen sniff at the bowl. Yellow eyes looked at him for a long moment before the little creature began eating. Ianto filled another bowl with water and left the cell, closing the door behind him.
“There’s no need to worry about him now.” Ianto brushed at his suit and left the cells for the main Hub after a last look at the happily eating creature.
He smiled to himself as he walked up the stairs. Mildly empathic and slightly telepathic, Ianto could sense the Cenhinen’s contentment. It hadn’t needed much persuading to settle into the cell and after the little beast had finished eating it would sleep for the rest of the day. Ianto turned his attention upstairs and knew he’d be called on to supply coffee for his team-mates as soon as he appeared.
There were some sticky iced buns in the kitchen too. He wondered if the Cenhinen would like a sugary treat later. Ianto pursed his lips. The little beastie probably would. Ianto had yet to meet an alien creature that didn’t like a bit of chocolate icing every now and again.
Ianto was still smiling when he entered the main Hub to coffee and cake demands from four humans.
And one pteranodon.
Author's Note: According to an online translator, Cenhinen means leek in Welsh.