Bang! Crash! “Bloody hell!”
Ellie giggled. “Shhh, Daddy, you’ll wake Mummy.” Ellie placed her finger on her lips to ensure the Doctor’s silence as she crawled over the mess on the floor to find the pancake pan. Holding it aloft she cried, “I think this is the one Mummy uses.”
“Brilliant!” The Doctor grinned. “Let’s get cracking before Mummy wakes up.”
He and Ellie were making breakfast for Rose. It was Mother’s Day, and as Jackie had reliably informed him a week ago, it was his job to make sure Rose had a restful, loved day. The Doctor had agreed and with the help of Ellie, had arranged a jam-packed day of pampering and looking after Rose. First on the list was breakfast in bed. And therein lay the problem. The kitchen looked like a bomb site, there was juice on the work surface, teabags in the sink, the pancake batter was somehow splattered all over the cupboards and the contents of the pan drawer were now scattered all over the floor.
The Doctor poured the batter into the pan and gently cooked it. Ellie was at his elbow eager to help flip the pancake. The Doctor regaled her with stories of the history of pancake making and the day he helped win the 1582 pancake-day race. Ellie as always was enthralled with his story telling, even if she thought he was telling fibs most of the time.
“Are you ready to help me flip the pancake?” the Doctor asked, pointing to Ellie to hold the handle of the pan carefully with him.
“Ready, one, two, three.” Ellie giggled as she and the Doctor flipped the pancake and over it turned, perfectly caught in the pan.
“Hooray!” She clapped and laughed. The Doctor smiled his mega watt smile at her as he slid the pancake onto the plate.
Ellie carefully spooned the strawberries onto the pancake and the Doctor folded it up.
“Now, does Mummy like cream or syrup or both?” he wondered. Ellie didn’t know; she just shrugged her shoulders. “Both then I think,” he decided, loading up the tray with the jugs of cream and syrup. He added the pot of tea and a cup then picked it up to take to Rose upstairs. Ellie followed, clutching her homemade card and a bunch of flowers, eager to give them to Rose.
As they arrived at the bedroom door, the Doctor motioned to Ellie to be quiet and the two of them tiptoed into the room to find Rose still huddled under the covers. The Doctor placed the tray onto the chest of drawers then lifted Ellie up onto the bed where she promptly uncovered Rose and kissed her awake.
“Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy!” Ellie shouted with a smile. “Me and Daddy have made you breakfast.”
Rose sat up and cuddled Ellie tight. It was her first proper Mother’s Day; never before had she been woken up by Ellie with a gift or breakfast in bed or even a card. Dean was good, but often forgot the little things like that. She couldn’t always rely upon Jackie helping as she was always busy with Tony and all the charities she worked for now.
“What have we here?” Rose asked, eyeing the tray with interest. “You’ve been making pancakes? Mmm, my favourite.”
“With strawberries too.” Ellie grinned, proud with herself for remembering Rose’s favourite fruit.
Rose looked over Ellie’s head to catch the Doctor’s eye and mouthed ‘thank you’. He leaned over Ellie and kissed Rose.
“Ewwww, gross!” Ellie hid her eyes. The Doctor and Rose laughed and he tickled Ellie.
”Gross? Where on earth did you learn that word?” asked Rose, giggling at the sight of Ellie and the Doctor laughing and wriggling on the bed.
“Jenna says it at school,” Ellie answered. Ellie, since turning four, had started attending the local school. Rose insisted on her having as normal a life as possible, even though her mother was heiress of the Vitex fortune. The Doctor was horrified to learn that he could not teach her everything she needed at home. Rose had battled with him on that issue, saying it was important for Ellie to make friends and socialise. The Doctor had reluctantly acquiesced.
“Hmmm, I don’t think I like this girl Jenna,” said the Doctor, “if she says things like that.”
“Don’t be silly, Doctor, children learn lots of things at school, sometimes good, sometimes bad. And that isn’t exactly a bad word is it?”
The Doctor sulked, Rose was just too good at reasoning for his liking.
“Bloody hell,” Ellie said, “this tea is too hot.”
“And did Jenna tell you that too?” Rose asked, amused.
“No,” said Ellie, innocently. “Daddy did.” Rose looked at the Doctor, stifling her smile.
The Doctor flustered and mumbled something about cleaning the kitchen up as he backed out of the room, Rose glaring at him.
“And you worry about ‘gross’!” Rose picked up the spare pillow and launched it at the Doctor, who held out his hands up in defence.
“Okay, okay, I’m sorry, I’m going,” he laughed as he left his two girls in the room together. He really should mind his language when Ellie was around; she was always getting him in trouble.
Rose had finished her breakfast and was sitting cuddled up with Ellie under the covers when Ellie asked, “Mummy, why do you call Daddy the Doctor, I thought his name was John?”
Rose took a deep breath; she had been wondering when this question would be asked. Ever since Ellie had decided to call the Doctor daddy, John had ceased to be a name used by the family.
“I thought my daddy’s name was the Doctor.” Ellie’s voice wobbled as she asked the question.
Rose cuddled her even closer. Rose thought carefully about what she was going to answer, Ellie was still only 4 years old, and even if she was cleverer than most her age, it was still a difficult situation to understand.
“Mummy?” Ellie questioned.
Rose wondered where the Doctor was when you needed him; he’d manage to distract Ellie with a babble about the history of something or another while she thought of a suitable answer. Ellie shifted out of Rose’s embrace, but Rose brought her arm back around her; she was going to answer the question as best she could.
“Well, I met the Doctor a long time ago. We fell in love, Ellie, as he took me on these wild adventures, oh anywhere and everywhere. But one day, I lost him.”
”Did he wander off? You always tell me not to wander off,” said Ellie earnestly.
Rose chuckled at that. “Not exactly. I fell and I got stuck on one side of a wall and he was on the other. There was no way through the wall, or over it, or around it.”
“Couldn’t you have dug a tunnel under it? I’ve seen that in a film,” asked Ellie, thinking of the ways that her mummy could have got back to her daddy.
“I don’t think that would have worked either. I was stuck on this side of the wall with Gran and Granddad; the Doctor was stuck on the other side. But he managed to get a message to me, to tell me he couldn’t come and get me. He couldn’t get through the wall. Do you understand what I’m telling you?” Rose looked at her little girl’s face and smiled. Ellie nodded.
“Then, I found out I was having a baby, you,” she pointed at Ellie, “but it was too late, I couldn’t tell the Doctor about you.”
“But the Doctor found you, eventually?” Ellie asked, cleverly working out what wasn’t said.
Rose laughed. “Actually, I found him. A bit of girl power, sweetheart.” She gave Ellie a high five. “And then we came back here, but I hadn’t told the Doctor about you. I wanted him to meet you and love you first. He did, didn’t he?” Ellie nodded.
“So,” Ellie said slowly, “John is the Doctor, and my daddy is the Doctor, so John is my real daddy? The one in the brown suit in the picture downstairs.”
Rose nodded; deciding that explaining a Time Lord metacrisis was just not going to work on a four year old. And anyway DNA tests had confirmed it, Dr John Noble, aka the Doctor, was Ellie’s biological father.
“Excellent!” Ellie squeed. “I love my daddy. But why do other people call him John if the Doctor is his real name? Is it cos the Doctor sounds silly?”
Rose laughed out loud, and nodded. She couldn’t wait to recall this conversation to the Doctor.
Rose and Ellie tidied up the bedroom, got dressed and ventured downstairs to see if the Doctor had managed to clear up the earlier mess or just make it worse. The kitchen was immaculate, so was the rest of the house. All except for the lounge. The lounge had been set up as an impromptu beauty parlour.
The Doctor stood by the side of the sofa, in a white shirt and trousers, a towel over his arm. “Your massage awaits, m’ladies.”
Ellie and Rose giggled, walking over to the Doctor; Rose kissed him and whispered, “Thank you.”
Rose and Ellie spent the rest of the day being pampered by the Doctor. He massaged their backs, painted their toe and fingernails and even attempted to style their hair. Somehow he’d managed to end up having his own fingernails painted by Ellie, while his and Rose’s face masks were drying. Rose had never felt so pampered and loved.
Cuddling Ellie on the sofa later that night, Rose told the Doctor of her earlier conversation with Ellie. He was astounded, he told Rose how Ellie was a clever little thing and that she did a good job of explaining what happened. Mind you, he wasn’t exactly sure he agreed with Ellie’s reasoning about his name.