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01 December 2009 @ 12:29 am
Torchwood/Bagpuss 1/1  
Title:Once There Was a Girl Named Emily
Character(s)/pairings:Captain Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Gwen Cooper, Bagpuss, Professor Yaffle, Madeline the Ragdoll, Gabriel the Toad and the Mice.
Fandom and/or Prompt:Torchwood/Bagpuss prompted by aeron_lanart for Day One of consci_fan_mo. It's all her fault, doncha know ;-)
Rating: G
Disclaimer: None of it's mine, not one little bit. Quite clearly because I'm far too silly to be allowed such power.

For those of you who were deprived of Bagpuss due to age or nationality, here's one of my favourite episodes on YouTube:

Once There Was a Girl Named Emily

Legend tells of a tiny little side street, in a small town somewhere in Britain, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years. It’s full of those old fashioned shops that sell home-made jam and ‘traditional’ crafts to gullible tourists and townies who think it’s quaint and countrified and therefore proper. But there is one shop that stands apart from the others, one that is never open for business and yet it is never closed either.

It was the plaything for the daughter of a ridiculously rich businessman who indulged his child’s every whim. But, this girl didn’t want a pony or a sleepover, or any of the normal things little girls want – she wanted her very own shop. So daddy bought her one.

But Emily, for that was the girl’s name, didn’t bake cakes or cookies to sell. She didn’t make lemonade, or sweets, or pot pourri and she didn’t knit cute dolls or sew. She found things. She would wander the streets and pick up any lost property she discovered, anything that was a little moth-eaten or threadbare and neglected. Then she would take it to her shop, repair it, and place it in the window for the rightful owner to come and claim it.

Legend says that it was not little Emily that did the mending. Legend says that there was a magic in that shop.

But that was many years ago and Emily had passed away and, quite bizarrely, left the entire contents of her shop to the Torchwood Institute with the instruction that they continue her good work and take very good care of the residents.

And so a bemused Jack, Ianto and Gwen found themselves in a tiny, dusty room surrounded by bric-a-brac wondering what they had got themselves into.

“So where are these residents?” Gwen asked, looking around the room.

“According to the will, they’re here,” Ianto said and pointed to a bay window, the sill of which had obviously been used as the shop display. On it were arranged a cloth frog, a rag doll, a wooden bookend in the shape of a woodpecker, a musical toy organ, and a large, pink striped, saggy old cloth cat. Ianto leant over and picked up the cat. “His name is Bagpuss, apparently.”

“Oh dear, he doesn’t look like much, does he?”

“Maybe not, but I’m getting definite readings from here,” Jack said looking at his vortex manipulator. “Let’s get this stuff packed up and back to the Hub where we can get a proper look at it all.”


“So, they’re aliens?” Ianto asked sceptically, examining the rag doll for signs of life. Gwen cautiously prodded the frog with her finger.

“More like alien tech. They contain the memory emgrams of different lifeforms. Probably downloaded to prolong their lifespans and somehow they ended up in a kid’s toys,” Jack explained.

“Didn’t the file say her father was a scientist? Maybe they were an experiment?” Gwen said and brought up the file on the monitor to confirm what she’d said. “I think he wanted them to keep Emily company. There’s a command protocol to be recited and they are activated. It seems their primary function was to mend things.”

“Well, let’s give it a go!” Jack said and took off his wrist strap, laying it in front of the toys.

“Jack! The Doctor told you…”

“What the Doctor doesn’t know won’t hurt him,” Jack replied with a grin. “Besides, I’ll only use it in emergencies. Scout’s honour.”

Ianto picked up a piece of paper that had come with the will and began to read.

“Bagpuss, dear Bagpuss, old fat furry catpuss, wake up and look at this thing that I bring. Wake up, be bright, be golden and light, oh Bagpuss hear what I sing,” he intoned, the tips of his ears getting slightly red with embarrassment.

The three of them watched with anticipation for a moment, but nothing happened.

“Well that was disappointing…” Gwen began but she was cut off as the toy cat came to life and yawned as though he’d merely been asleep. The frog woke up and played his banjo, the rag doll stretched in her rocking chair, the woodpecker hopped down from his bookend and on the organ all the little carved mice came to life and danced down to the floor, singing in tiny high-pitched voices as they made their way to Jack’s VM.

“We will fix it,
We will mend it,
We will stick it with glue, glue, glue.
We will stickle it,
Every little bit of it,
We will make it like new, new, new”

Bagpuss blinked twice and stared wide-eyed at his surroundings and the three humans who were looking down on them all.

“Oh! Oh, I say. Who are you? You’re not Emily,” he said.

“Indeed!” declared the woodpecker. “And this is not the shop,” he added before making a noise that sounded a lot like one of the Three Stooges.

“I’m very sorry, but Emily has died. We’re your new owners now,” Gwen explained sympathetically.

“Well, I am Bagpuss, that is Proffessor Yaffle, Gabriel the Toad, Madeline the rag doll and of course the mice,” Bagpuss introduced everyone, and the toys all made a little bow as they were announced, all except the mice who danced up to Gwen and chorused,

“Delighted to meet you!”

Gwen stifled a laugh, but Jack grew sombre. He looked at Ianto and indicated his office and the two of them left Gwen with the toys.

“Is she safe with them?” Ianto asked.

“I don’t think they’d harm anyone, especially not someone they perceived as their owner. But I am worried by the level of sentience they’re showing. I assumed they were automatons, programmed to repeat functions but with added personality. Clearly they are self-aware,” Jack answered, all the time keeping an eye on the toys.

“So, what do we do with them? Stick them in a cell next to Janet?”

“They seem harmless; I don’t think we need to go that far. Maybe we could find them a corner of the basement? Somewhere with lots of damaged artefacts to tinker with?” Jack suggested. Ianto smiled, cottoning on to his meaning.

“Somewhere like sub-level seven?” he offered. Jack smiled back.


And so, the toys took up residence at Torchwood where they happily lived, mending all the broken alien tech and occasionally helping find lost shoes or pens. They all lived happily ever after, except for the unfortunate incident when Professor Yaffle tried to blow up Cardiff, but that’s another tale for another time.
kensiegkensieg on December 1st, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
lovely! please tell Professor Yaffle's story! Is Jack's "watch" now completely fixed?
But, I don't want to be a pie,: marvellousidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:20 pm (UTC)
I haven't decided yet, it would be fun if it is, opens up tremendous possibilities. :)

It seems that popular request would demand that I do write a follow up, hopefully the muses will comply and I can post something this month!
The other Weird Al: minitorch - Ptenderaeron_lanart on December 1st, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)
Feel free to be as silly as you want if it brings me such gems as this! I love it!

*squishes the fic*

Oh and I'm curious about Professor Yaffle's story myself...

Edited at 2009-12-01 12:45 am (UTC)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: dinobaitidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
You know what you are, don't you? An enabler.

Thank you! ;-)

Very glad you liked it, and we'll have to see what the muses bring...
I'm a walking doodle: better than cookiesmad_jaks on December 1st, 2009 12:47 am (UTC)
I've been looking forward to reading this since you said you'd finished it already the other day, but Hee! That is far too perfect.
memory emgrams explains everything. And I loved the way the mice curtsied to Gwen, that is so something they would do :D
But, I don't want to be a pie,: marvellousidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm so pleased that it works.

There's also an Ivor the Engine one that someone *cough cough aeron_lanart cough* prompted me to write, but I couldn't wait to post that, so it went up a few days ago. :-)
(no subject) - mad_jaks on December 1st, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sexycazzysexycazzy on December 1st, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
When I read the prompt and was wondering what is Bagpuss till I read your story and you mentioned the cat! And then I remembered!

Brilliant and so funny ~ I loved it! Like the others, I'm curious about Professor Yaffle's tale!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: ribbonidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

*gah* It seems that I will probably be writing that fic, the bunnies have already started nibbling! I've got some prompts from my flist to write first, but hopefully I'll be able to squeeze it in :)
Rusty: teddy bearrustydog on December 1st, 2009 03:47 am (UTC)
I'd never heard of Bagpuss, but I've just been reading about it on Wikipedia and it sounds ADORABLE. As is this fic! Lovely! I'm so fond of the image of these sentient toys living in the Torchwood archives.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: crossoversidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
It is adorable! I think everyone in the UK of a certain age has fond childhood memories of the saggy old cloth cat, me included!

I've embedded part of my favourite episode at the top of this post, and you can find more on Youtube, I heartily recommend taking a look. Oh and it's available on DVD too :)
(no subject) - mad_jaks on December 1st, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bugeyedmonsterbugeyedmonster on December 1st, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
Ah, I could have used an episode like this. Totally cute and fluffy and cute. One needs cute and fluffy sometimes.

Oh, lord, imagine if the "toys" got into the TARDIS. It might actually end up going where the Doctor wants it to go. Either that or the sentient part of the TARDIS will make friends with the toys and heck knows what they will do together.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: ribbonidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)

Glad you enjoyed, everyone does need fluff now and again, but one must beware the insidious nature of the fluff side. ;-)
(no subject) - aeron_lanart on December 1st, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - idontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - bugeyedmonster on December 4th, 2009 06:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - aeron_lanart on December 5th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
prochytes: Tosh Discworldprochytes on December 1st, 2009 10:28 am (UTC)
This was very sweet. I particularly liked Ianto's embarrasment at doing the poem and Gwen's gentleness in explaining that Emily had gone.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: marvellousidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)

And I particularly like that icon. Although, I think, given Ponder's multi-tasking in Unseen Academicals, perhaps Ianto is the Ponder of Torchwood? ;-)

Edited at 2009-12-01 03:38 pm (UTC)
Padawanpooh: TW Jack puzzledpadawanpooh on December 1st, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)

“More like alien tech. They contain the memory emgrams of different lifeforms. Probably downloaded to prolong their lifespans and somehow they ended up in a kid’s toys,” Jack explained.

Best explanation EVER.

I loved this. Sweet, funny and a perfect crossover.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: ribbonidontlikegravy on December 1st, 2009 06:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
Marcus L. Rowlandffutures on December 1st, 2009 10:08 pm (UTC)
Killer last line! Wonderful!
But, I don't want to be a pie,: marvellousidontlikegravy on December 2nd, 2009 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much :)
badly_knittedbadly_knitted on December 3rd, 2009 10:11 am (UTC)
*G* I was wondering when someone would write Torchwood/Bagpuss! Thankyou! I'm a long-time Bagpuss fan so I love this, especially Ianto reading the rhyme to activate everyone and getting all embarrassed. Hope they did fix Jack's VM, that would be very helpful.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: marvellousidontlikegravy on December 3rd, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm very pleased you enjoyed it! As a long term Bagpuss fan myself it was important to do this right, so it's great that it's been so well received. :)
David Brider: Bagpuss - fiddlesticks and flapdoodledavidbrider on December 3rd, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
Oh. My. God.

The Bagpuss gang are now living at the Hub? That is *so* part of my personal fanon now!

Lovely fic.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: happinessidontlikegravy on December 4th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
*blush* Thank you!
missthingsplacemissthingsplace on December 9th, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
Oh that was just lovely :)
But, I don't want to be a pie,: happinessidontlikegravy on December 19th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Thank you :)
(Anonymous) on December 19th, 2009 12:16 am (UTC)
Quite lovely
Hello. I was pointed this way by the Bridging the Rift Podcast and I'm very grateful for it. What a lovely, sweet story. The final lines a killer, LOL - Never did trust that woodpecker.

The Tin Dog Podcast did a Torchwood/Ivor The Engine Crossover, and for myself, I did a 'Mr Dalek Invades Trumptonshire'. At some stage we'll all have to put the lot of em together as a kiddies website, LOL

You can have a listen to the Trumpton one here..


Im still smiling at this though...lovely.
But, I don't want to be a pie,: happinessidontlikegravy on December 19th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Re: Quite lovely
LOL Thank you very much. Funnily enough, I've written a Torchwood/Ivor fic too.

Trumpton! What a fantastic idea, can't wait to enjoy that. :)
temporal_witchtemporal_witch on May 8th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
Here by way of aeron_lanart. This is so very wrong in all the best ways. I want to find some Bagpuss now! ♥
But, I don't want to be a pie,: marvellousidontlikegravy on May 8th, 2010 07:23 pm (UTC)

Thank you very much for coming, you're very welcome here :)