Labor's Love by enchantment
Foremost on her mind though is, What in Rassilon's name is going on back home?
You Don't Know Jack - Part One
Susan's unspoken question is answered almost immediately as each TARDIS reappears in her home with each Doctor stepping cautiously outside of his blue box and dreading what he will find as he enters the living room only to be met with complete silence. Unfortunately, a quick survey around the living room is all that it takes to instantly reveal all that is being left unsaid.
A cardboard sign written in black marker is propped up on the coffee table with the words 'Torchwood Hub' in large block letters on it. The couches, arm chairs and several areas of floor are littered with dozens of inflatable humanoid figures, both men and women, which the last three Doctors recall having seen before in connection with Jack and a two week exile in the Vortex due to TARDIS repairs. The Fourth Doctor instantlytakes stock of the area and dejectedly closes his eyes while pleading, "I deny this reality."
"Too late for me, I've already lived it," grumbles the Ninth Doctor while his jaw tightens as he continues scanning the living room for Jack. "Those plastic dolls had better be Autons."
"They are, Sir," pipes up Ian from behind the couch as he runs over to the group of Doctors, almost tripping over his own feet as they tangle in his father's trench coat. "Uncle Jack brought them out for us to play with. Aren't they great?" He scratches his head as he curiously inquires, "Although, I wonder why he has so many? Training exercises, perhaps?"
"Never mind that," insists Eleven as he whips out his sonic screwdriver and scans for bacteria. "What's more important is have they been sanitized?"
One by one, the Doctors watch as the children start popping out of different areas of the house, a few more of them bearing coats, some from David's wardrobe and some from Susan's. "Why are you all dressed like that?" demands the First Doctor irritably.
"Isn't it obvious?" boasts Ten while he gestures towards his own overcoat laying over the back of the couch, "they're obviously emulating their hero."
"That's right!" declares Christopher as he points at the Time Agent strolling through the kitchen doorway with a cocktail in one hand and an overflowing laundry basket in the other while David enters alongside him. "We're dressed just like Uncle Jack!"
Nine watches the Tenth Doctor's face drop with fiendish glee and notes, "You know, it was worth it to hear the boy call him 'Uncle' just to see that face." He seems to consider his own words as his future self glowers at him. "Actually, it's the only thing that makes that face worth looking at."
"Why hello, Doctors," greets Jack smoothly after he takes a sip of his drink. "Back so soon? I hope that you didn't rush on our account, everything's been running ship-shape over on our end." He holds up the basket of clothes as proof. "We've even been doing a bit of housekeeping while you've been gone."
"That's very commendable of you, Jack," compliments the Tenth Doctor right before he does a double take and reaches out to withdraw two pairs of Susan's lace undergarments from Jack's shirt pocket.
"What?" cries Jack without an ounce of culpability. "The laundry basket was full!"
"Of course," remarks Ten with a patronizing tone and slight grimace as he motions towards Jack's person. "Do you have any more in there?"
"Gee, I don't know," claims Jack as if he were the epitome of virtue before he flashes a devilish grin. "Maybe you should frisk me."
"I'll do it," offers Carole readily until a swift glance at her great-grandfathers and the possible timelines advise her otherwise. "Oh," she peeps in a small voice, "never mind."
Jack tosses a wink over to the young girl before turning to the Fifth Doctor and calling out, "Cricket Pants!" He waggles his eyebrows and widens his smile at the young looking Doctor. "Remember me?"
"Yes, unfortunately," replies Five with a sigh. "As you can see, we've returned from our visit with Susan so you can feel free to take your leave as your services are no longer required."
Seeing the Doctor's rebuff as a challenge, Jack responds flirtatiously, "You only think that because you haven't tried them yet."
Rubbing his head as if trying to rid himself of a particular ache, or in this instance Jack, the Fifth Doctor briefly closes his eyes to relieve himself of Jack's smiling visage before spinning around and walking away leaving the Captain to turn his attentions onto the Sixth Doctor.
"Hi there, Curly Top! You know, I've always had a crush on Shirley Temple, there's just something about a mop full of curls," he teases Six as he takes a finger and pokes at a hanging blond tendril.
"Really?" inquires Six with great interest as he grabs Jack's finger and gives it a twist. "Well, I've always had a penchant for violence." Jack yelps in pain and hurriedly jerks his finger away while the Doctor mocks, "Well, they do say love hurts."
The Eleventh Doctor has been observing amusedly from the sidelines while unconsciously tapping his sonic against his head as he suddenly realizes, "Of course, that's where Susan learned that trick from! I remember quite clearly now!"
Tenaims a scowl at Six as that same memory forms in his mind as well. "Yes, thanks so much for that," he grouses when he recalls being on the receiving end of that particular injury earlier.
Jack aims a pout at the Sixth Doctor and scolds, "I can't believe that you did that! What are you a child?"
Not giving a whit for Jack's injured finger, the Doctor hums a tune that sounds suspiciously like 'neener-neener-neener' before taunting, "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."
The Fourth Doctor comes up to stand alongside the Sixth and nods his head in consideration before acknowledging, "True, true. A rather brilliant man said the same thing to me, once." His eyes alight with the memory. "Oh wait, that was me!"
Six tosses his head with one final sneer of condescension towards Jack before walking away to leave Nine, Ten and Eleven to face Jack's wrath. He barely opens his mouth to let loose with a tirade when Ten wearily holds up his hand and orders, "Don't, Jack…just don't."
Billie, while shooting a rather dark glare at a taken aback Eleventh Doctor,approaches the Second Doctorand requests, "Great-Grandfather, I'm feeling a bit better now. Could you please make me something to eat that won't upset my stomach?"
The Doctor smiles down lovingly at her while he pats her cheek. "Why of course, my dear girl, of course, just let me find…," he looks around the room in consternation and not finding what he's looking for, reaches back and takes hold of Billie's hand, or at least what he thought was Billie's hand.
"Let go of me!" demands the Third Doctor as he roughly jerks his hand away from Two.
Horribly embarrassed by the accidental gesture, the Second Doctor hastens to compose himself while he attempts to pass blame. "Do you mind?"
"What are you on about, man?" blazes the Third Doctor. "I never took your hand!"
The Second Doctor suddenly clasps his own hands together in his typical humble fashion and casually remarks, "Well, in a way you sort of did when you regenerated, didn't you?"
The Third Doctor merely rolls his eyes in exasperation as Jack darts a wink in Billie's direction and nonchalantly mentions, "Actually, I believe that was me." The two Time Lords stare quizzically at him for a moment before each man rapidly takes up one of Billie's hands and drags her away from the interloper.
Jack's careless shrug of indifference gives way when he's almost knocked over by Christopher and David fighting over the same trench coat. "Give it over!" shouts David while tugging hard enough to nearly tear the coat in two. "It's my turn to be defrocked!"
Jack offers Nine an uneasy smile in exchange for his fierce growl and presents his own military coat from off of the coat rack to appease them. Regrettably, wearing their Uncle Jack's coat is deemed a prize worthy of continuing their battle over and the current overcoat is tossed aside with a hastily muttered, "Rubbish," from one of the boys before they renew their struggle.
"Rubbish?" cries the Tenth Doctor. Rubbish? That's my coat!" he exclaims heatedly while snatching it up off of the floor and dusting it off as the children as well as the adults ignore him.
"And why are you wearing my glasses?" he inquires as he looks down his nose at Sarah before tugging them away from her face.
"Hey, I need those!" she replies as she squirms away from him and pulls them back towards her and straightens them back onto her nose. "I'm the resident computer expert, Tosh."
"Tosh, yes, that's a perfect description of this situation," notes the Ninth Doctor with a befuddled shake of his head.
The momentary distraction of Matthew greeting, "Hiya Doc," while his little sister, Katy, waves her dolls around in her tiny fist and squeals, "Hiya Doll," give the other children just enough time to surround the Doctors while they withdraw their armory of whisks, hairdryers and water pistols.
"Nobody make any sudden moves, we're on Torchwood business and we're searching for aliens," pronounces Christopher with a wave of his hairdryer.
The Eighth Doctor merely offers them a dry stare and waves a hand around the room to indicate all of the Doctors. "Well, you're definitely in the right place; you'll find plenty of them here."
Ten storms over and without any warning, removes a water pistol right out of Ian's hand. "Can't you play with a flashlight or something? You know how I feel about guns!"
Ian immediately backs up and shouts, "Hostile alien! Hostile alien, we're on mauve alert people!" He never moves his gaze from Ten as he slowly circles him and cautions, "I must warn you, I do know Venusian Akido."
Ninechides the children with a laugh, "Alright you lot, calm down! You might scare the alien."
Ten gives him a withering glare while Eight kneels down to meet them at eye level and counsels them, "Besides, you children are forgetting everything that we've taught you! Not all aliens are bad, remember?" The children all smile and nod in assent as the Eighth Doctor remarks to Nine and Tenin an indulgent tone, "They've obviously been watching that John Hurt movie one too many times."
Eleven watches the children continue their play and without once taking his eyes off of all of the chaos surrounding them, nimbly unties his apron and tosses it into the First Doctor's unsuspecting face. Onesputters for a few moments before he turns on Eleven and demands irately, "What was that for? I thought you were covering kitchen and nappy duty!"
The Eleventh Doctor responds in a tone that is meant to inform the recipient that the matter is considered closed. "Only while you were on your break, of which you must have had a considerable one while I was on Skaro."
The First Doctor scoffs, "Skaro? Surely you jest, my boy! Skaro is nothing compared to this lot and you know it!"
"Nice try," replies Eleven as he plops his fez down on a nearby end table, "but fair's fair after all. You've had your break and now I'm taking mine."
"That's telling him, Doc," praises Jack with a wide grin. "It's always the young ones that need the most discipline." He turns his most charming grin towards both the First and Eleventh Doctors and offers, "Let me know if you need any help with that."
Eleven merely rolls his eyes while the First Doctor'seyes bulge with anger as his mouth curls into a sneer of disgust. "I can assure you, you shamefully wretched excuse for a lothario and a cur, that particular proposal will never be called upon!"
One spins on his heel intending to stalk off before pivoting back around when Jack cheekily comments to the Eleventh Doctor, "You used to have quite the mouth on you, Doc. Seriously though, that offer is still open whenever you're ready. Do you still have your old cane?"
The Eleventh Doctor so doesn't as much flicker an eyelash as he notes his first self coming up behind a completely ignorant Jack. "Is this what you're looking for?" inquires One harshly before swinging it hard against Jack's leg.
"Owwww!" yelps Jack in pain as he hops away from the First Doctor who smugly commands, "And don't call me, Doc!"
Eleven laughs heartily and tells his younger self, "Oh, I needed that after today," then he quickly points at Jack and states, "And so did you!" He turns back to One and says, "I'm glad that you came back though, I forgot to give you something."
"Another break?" questions One hopefully. "No," Eleven answers as he places Matthew into the First Doctor's arms, "this." He sniffs the air with a hint of repugnance while noting, "He definitely needs a change."
The First Doctor reluctantly accepts the boy and walks off with him as Matthew releases a series of raspberries in the direction of the Eleventh Doctor as One begins to search for a place to lay him down. He pats the boy's back and concurs, "I feel the exact same way my boy, the exact same way. Hmmm, let's see about freshening you up, shall we?"
A quick sniff of the air clears any occupants off of the couch that the Doctor has chosen to change Matthew's nappy and he rapidly pulls a baby blanket from his coat pocket to place on the cushion before settling the toddler down onto the couch. He works quickly and efficiently to change Matthew's nappy and comments satisfactorily with a tickle to the boy's tummy, "Now that's much better my boy, isn't it?" as he looks around for a bin to dispose of it.
When he doesn't spy one, he takes note of Eleven's fez left unattended on a side table with monstrous delight. He promptly deposits the soiled nappy into the hat with a smirk and sweeps Matthew into his arms as they hurriedly leave the scene of the crime. Stick me with the domestics, will you, my boy? Hmmph!
A few moments later Eleven sees something sticking out of his fez and peers down in horror at its contents before pointing down at it and demanding in a yell, "What in Rassilon's name is this?"
The Sixth Doctor happens to be strolling by at that precise moment and opines, "Public opinion?" Eyes blazing with fury at his younger self's cheek, Eleven retorts, "You'd know!"
With an indignant sniff and yet dignified nod of his head, the Sixth Doctor takes his leave of a fuming Eleven and walks over to David while still casting an evil eye towards Jack as a blushing Carol chats with him across the room. "What's wrong, Sir?" queries David curiously. "Worried that Carole will catch his eye?"
"No," replies the Doctor in a worried tone, "more like a great number of diseases." When the Doctor turns his full attention onto David, he notices that he appears to look a bit too casual as he holds something behind his back. He narrows his eyes in suspicion and questions, "What's behind your back, David? And I want a straight answer, no preposterous gobbledygook that supposed Time Agent might have taught you."
David reluctantly pulls a very old bottle out from behind his back and the Doctor immediately recognizes drinking it. "Why, you little scoundrel! How did you manage to get a hold of this? I had it safely locked away on my TARDIS. When David remains silent, the Doctor informs him, "This particular bottle is from a case of Dexof wine that my old tutor, Azmael, gave me in congratulations for graduating from the Academy." His gaze grows distant and fond when he recalls, "The last time that I shared it with him, I was in my Fourth incarnation and I had to throw Azmael into a fountain to sober him up."
He snatches it out of David's hands and lectures him, "Are you out of your mind? Do you have any idea how potent Dexof is? You could lose all control of your bodily functions!"
"It could do all that from just one sip?" inquires David disbelievingly.
"Yes," replies the Doctor, "because that's exactly what would happen if your mother ever found out you'd been drinking!" He uncorks it and takes an appreciative sniff before darting a sideways glance at David. "Besides, this stuff is too good to be wasted on the young."
David expresses a pout and complains, "I don't see what the big deal is, it's not nearly as strong as the Hyperactive Vodka that I made up for Uncle Jack."
The Doctor gives him a slight glare and begins to reprimand him. "I told you not to call him Uncle Jack, he's not your —" He stares hard at David for a minute when he takes a moment to absorb the boy's previous statement. "Did you say that the Hyperactive Vodka? And that it's stronger?"
David nods sulkily while the Doctor immediately straightens with a huge smile and pats the boy heartily on the back. "Well then my boy, take me to it!"
"Do you really think that you should be imbibing while you're watching all of us?" inquires David in a shrewd imitation of his mother.
The Doctor gives him a condescending stare as he reassures him, "It's merely for medicinal purposes, my boy," while propelling him forward. "Trust me; I am the Doctor after all."
Across the room, the Tenth Doctor is patting down his inner and outer pockets, and having no luck finding a certain item shouts out, "Has anyone seen my pocket watch?"
Eleven continues to buff and sonic his fez as he notes off-handedly, "You were holding Katy earlier on Skaro, weren't you? She might have it," he ponders as he spares her a suspicious glance.
Christopher, who's currently next to his little sister gives her a quick pat down and concludes, "Nope, she's clean!" to the Tenth Doctor's utter dismay.
Eleven purses his lips in thought as he pulls out his sonic and taps it against his chin before ending his musings with a frustrated shake of his head. "Well, there's nothing for it then. Everyone needs to spread out, go on you lot, have a butcher's!" he commands with a wave of his arms. "That's right, I want everyone looking for it, even the littlest ones since they have the best eyes amongst us!" He looks over at Ten and points at him while earnestly insisting, "You're going to need that later!"
Carole sidles up alongside the Ninth version of her great-grandfather who is busy leaning against a bookcase as he watches everyone else search for the pocket watch and throwing out suggestions on where to look as needed. "So…whoever finds it, would they be rewarded?" broaches Carole. "Possibly even with a trip in the TARDIS?"
Nine stares down appraisingly at the girl and casually replies as he continues watching the hunt, "I don't know, I guess it depends."
"On what?" inquires Carole eagerly with an excited gleam in her eyes.
"On if withholding my personal possessions from me is worth incurring my wrath on your backside," he answers with a knowing glance.
Carole's gaze widens in alarm while still never once leaving the Doctor's own as she loudly announces to the room, "Everyone can quit looking now, I've found the watch!" and throws it over to a delighted Ten.
"Well, fancy that," deadpans the Doctor, "looks like it was here the whole time."
Carole holds up her head and twists her lips in a wry grimace. "Yes, well, there's no need to be facetious. And oh," she exclaims excitedly as she offers him a huge grin and hands him a book, "I forgot to give this to you! I found it in an antique store on an outing with Mum last month and I thought that you'd enjoy it."
The Doctor turns the book over and runs his hand over the old and worn leather cover to read in faded gold lettering, 'A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens', and a first edition at that if he knew his books and he did.
"And there's this as well," she adds as she hands him a homemade holodisc labeled Moonlight Serenade by Glenn Miller. "I know how special they both are to you, Great-grandfather," she comments quietly as she notices his eyes misting over from the gesture.
He rapidly blinks his eyes a few times to clear them of any excess moisture as his heart fills with love and affection, not just for the memories evoked from the items, but for the little girl, no make that young woman now, standing before him. She gently bumps his shoulder with her own and hopefully inquires, "Let me know if you fancy a dance later?"
The Doctor offers her his most manic grin before declaring, "If there's anything that an old time-traveler like me can tell you, love, is that there's never any time like the present. You'll find your feet at the end of your legs; you may care to move them."
Carole giggles like the young girl that she is as she is swept up into the Doctor's arms and into a waltz around their little corner of the room. Lost in the pure enjoyment and heart of the moment, neither of them are aware of Jack Harkness' presence until he begins to applaud. "Aw, you two are just so sweet, you know that?" He pushes himself off the table that he was leaning on and taps the Doctor's shoulder. "May I?"
"Leave?" clarifies the Doctor as he gives Carole a twirl. "Why yes, be my guest."
"Very funny, Doc," says Jack with a pout. "You know that I want to cut -"
"Your throat?" supplies the Doctor smoothly for the ex-Time Agent. "Yes, I can easily see that happening. Shaving mistakes occur all the time, Captain, can read timelines me."
When Jack advances once more, the Doctor dips Carole at the same time as he delivers a not so hidden warning aimed directly at Jack. "Sometimes other things get cut off as well." Jack nods once in understanding and hastily throws his hands up in a gesture of surrender as he very quickly steps backwards a few paces in retreat.
Over at the kitchen doorway, Billie is still awaiting her snack as she finishes refereeing yet another argument between the Second and Third versions of the Doctor. Fortunately for her, Three has just spotted Ian bent over something and with a quick nod and mental note to Two, leaves to go investigate.
Sighing with relief, Billie and the Second Doctor enter the kitchen and see One washing the dishes while immediately noting that Matthew is nowhere to be found. Panicked, Two hastily demands, "Where's Matthew?"
The First Doctor briskly orders, "Calm down, my boy! I couldn't very well accomplish anything with him underfoot, now could I? So I placed him in a Time Loop with a Jack in the Box." He waves a soapy hand dismissively in the air. "He'll be fine."
Feeling much calmer, the Second Doctor is able to take a more leisurely survey of the room and spy the boy sitting in the corner with his toys. "Oh well, that's all right then," he decrees with a relieved nod. Albeit slightly traumatizing for the boy.
Without turning around, One asks, "Now, what do you two want? As you can clearly see, I'm very busy and I don't need you two hanging about making a nuisance of yourselves!"
Ignoring his prior self's gruff attitude, the Second Doctor offers a reply as he inspects the refrigerator's contents. "We're here to find something for Billie to eat, she's hungry."
The First Doctor beams at Billie before gazing sternly at his successor. "Well, hurry up and be quick about it, and don't make a mess! I've just tidied up in here," he comments as he turns away from them.
"We'll do our best," answers Two in a tone that's far kinder than the face that he is pulling in regards to the First Doctor's behavior. He then shifts over to the counter stationed alongside the refrigerator with Billie in tow and rears back in disgust upon seeing Eleven's casserole on hideous display. Holding his finger up to his mouth in a shushing motion to Billie, he slyly looks around to ensure that nobody is watching him and then slides it into the waste bin, dish and all.
One's head jerk's up at the sound of the dish hitting the bottom of the bin. "What did you that for?" he asks irritably. "I wasn't done with that yet."
Two is completely gobsmacked. "You can't honestly tell me that you were intending to eat that…that!"
The First Doctor barks, "Oh course not, don't be a fool!" He turns back to attend to the washing up and releases a mischievous giggle. "It's just that I still have a few more plans for that fez."
Billie tugs on Two's sleeve and asks, "May I just have some apples, please?"
The Second Doctor smiles grandly as he chirps, "Why of course, my dear!" He reaches across the counter and pulls the bowl full of apples towards him. "An excellent choice apples, you can never go wrong with the fruit of knowledge, you know. Now, how many would you like?"
Billieeagerly holds out her hands and says, "All of them, please!"
Two holds the bowl close to his chest and advises, "You know, Billie, there can be too much of a good thing. Why don't we try just one apple for starters, hmmm?"
"Where would be the fun in that, Doc?" questions Jack from the doorway. He leans against the doorjamb as he addresses Billie while she pulls out Two's old Piper's hat and places it atop her head. "So, I see you're ready to practice those moves that I showed you, huh, Billie the Kid?" he inquires while mimicking shooting guns with his thumbs and forefingers. "Let me know when you're set up and I'll show you my William Tell."
The next thing Jack knows is a sudden stinging pain as a splash of soap suds lands in his eyesas the First Doctor orders, "You keep your William far away from that child, understand? And I won't Tell you again!"
"Yes," concurs the Second Doctor wholeheartedly, as he walks past Jack while cradling Billie protectively to his side, "I quite agree." He stops long enough to issue his own threat in a particularly harsh tone. "And if you so much think about showing any of your moves to any of my family members, I'll be sure to permanently pluck both of your apples from your limb. I'm sure you understand my meaning, don't you?" he ends pointedly with a hard stare.
Jack shifts uncomfortably under the Doctor's gaze as he gulps audibly before squeaking, "Yes, Sir. No worries on that end," he promises with a swift nod. Man, you sure don't change much, do you? he considers sullenly while thinking back on his hasty exit from his Ninth self and Carole.
Two proffers a tight grin and voices, "That's a good lad," and then gazes affectionately down at Billie. "Come along, Billie, I'm sure that we can find something more suitable for you than what the kitchen has to offer and in the meantime, you can tell me how you happened to come across my old hat. I'm sure that I had it locked safely away in the TARDIS," he muses as he glances at the antique frame on the living room wall still bearing Susan's TARDIS key and sealed tight with his own sonic shortly after David was born.
Jack pulls a face behind the Second Doctor's retreating back before turning his most charming smile onto One. "You know, you may not believe this, but I do grow on you."
"Like a fungus, I presume?" chuckles the Doctor at his own joke. "How do I end up with you as a companion anyway? You might as well tell me, I won't remember any of this you know."
"Really, why not?" quizzes Jack.
"Never mind that, young man," huffs the Doctor, "simply answer the question or is the answer too shameful for you?"
Jack straightens up to his full height and proudly declares, "I'll have you know that I was sacrificing my own life to save a planet full of people, Earth to be exact, when your Ninth self came back to save me."
The Doctor scrubs away at a particularly difficult spot as he shakes his head in amazement. "Hmmpph, I must become soft in my old age."
Taking pity on the old man, Jack divulges, "If it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure that it was down to Rose's urging." He releases a wolfish grin. "There's not much that you'll deny that girl."
The Doctor rolls his eye in a mixture of disgust and disbelief. "Oh, so there's a woman involved now is there? This sounds better and better."
"Ah, ah, ah, Doc," tuts Jack, "that's a bit like the TARDIS calling the Vortex Manipulator blue, isn't it? Besides, I've heard all about your romantic overtures both from my travels during my time with and after your Ninth self." He leans in closer to the Doctor as he teases, "You little old cocoa bean lover, you."
"That does it, you bounder, you cad, out, out of this kitchen this instant with your impudent manner and scandalous ways! Out right now and don't call me D-"
"Yeah, yeah, I know," interrupts Jack as he races out the doorway to avoid the mop that the Doctor is swinging at him, "and don't call you Doc!"
To Be Concluded in You Don't Know Jack Part Two… and this time I really mean it! ;)
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