You Don't Know Jack — Part Two
The Seventh Doctor is picking his way through the various bits of clutter of Autons and the children's toys strewn about the living room floor when he spies Christopher and Katy off playing together in a corner of the room. No wait, not playing together but fixing something, something that looks suspiciously like a TARDIS engine part.
He heads over to the children and looms menacingly over them as Katy stares in fascination at her brother as he works on the engine part, both Christopher and the part equally covered in an obscene amount of oil. "What are you doing with a brake option?" immediately interrogates the Doctor upon his arrival.
Christopher looks up in surprise at the Doctor's presence and beams a wide smile at him before announcing, "I'm fixing it up for you, Sir! I remember that you've been complaining that your current one is rubbish," he imitates the Doctor's rolling r's. He drags his sleeve across his brow and proudly declares, "It's all done now! See? I've lubricated it and everything!"
Seven narrows his eyes and hums, "Mmmm, yes, I can see that." He points the tip of his umbrella in the direction of the engine part. "And where did you happen to find this one?"
Christopher bats Katy's hands away from the brake option as he answers, "I found it in your Fourth self's storage room for TARDIS parts while we were traveling to Skaro." He puffs up as proudly as a peacock as he points out, "Now you won't have to keep patching up that old one."
The Doctor's returning smile is present as the boy expected but not as enthusiastic as he had anticipated. Seven leans down over the handle of his umbrella and inquires sensibly, "And did it ever occur to you that I wouldn't have had need of continuous repairs if you had simply left the replacement part where it belongs?" He straightens up as he notes irritably, "I've been looking for that particular piece for the past two regenerations!"
"Oh, really?" bleats Christopher. "I guess that I didn't take that into consideration."
"No, you didn't," chides the Doctor as he gives him a stern glance. Upon the rebuke, Christopher's countenance immediately becomes downcast and the Doctor's scowl morphs into a gentle smile while he pokes the boy in his tummy with the tip of his umbrella. "Oh well," he sighs resignedly and remarks, "oil's well that ends well," as he wipes the now greasy tip of his umbrella against the last clean area on the boy's shirt. As a relieved grin breaks out on the boy's face, the Doctor adds one last warning. "But no more taking things that don't belong to you, do you understand?" He eyes Katy unsympathetically as he catches her pulling a pair of spoons from his coat pocket and ignores her squalling when he stops her from reaching in for more.
"You're one to talk," mutters Christopher under his breath, but not quietly enough.
"That's enough fussing from both of you," orders the Doctor before wryly commenting, "There's no ornery among thieves."
Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, the Third Doctor is quietly standing behind Ian while he grumbles almost inaudibly as he attempts to repair an old broken model of the Fifth's Doctor's screwdriver causing a vast array of sparks to shoot out of the tip. "Watch it with that thing, will you?" barks the Fourth Doctor as he passes by. "That's not how I happened!"
After offering Four an apologetic smile, Ian all but jumps out of skin while releasing a squeak when the Doctor inquires, "Need some help with that, old boy?"
"Oh my giddy aunt, you nearly scared my remaining lives out of me!" wheezes the boy as he tries to catch his breath. "You shouldn't sneak up on people like that, especially your great-grandchildren!"
"I have found throughout my lives that it is especially my great-grandchildren who I need to sneak up on, particularly when they have one of my sonic screwdrivers." He picks it up from the table and inspects it. "Even if it does happen to belong to one of my future selves."
"But Sir," protests Ian, "you're not even using it! Why just look at the condition! It's barely fit for more than anything than the loss of an old friend."
"Be that as it may, Ian," concedes the Doctor as he appraises the state of the screwdriver, "that doesn't give you the right to pilfer your way through my belongings whether they are in working order or not. And you and I both know that we have discussed this before on several occasions and in several bodies, and you are not to have your own sonic screwdriver until your mother and I both deem the time to be appropriate!"
The Doctor crosses his arms across his chest as he gives his great-grandson a stern look of disapproval. "Now having heard this argument more times than I care to recount, what on Gallifrey possessed you to try and repair this pathetic pittance for use without our express consent?"
Wearing a defeated slump to his shoulders and the most pitiful expression the Doctor had ever seen since the first time that Susan had tried to make her shopping bags bigger on the inside at the Father Christmas Toy Shoppe on the Southern hemisphere of Polaris Kringle-Claus, Ian gazes woefully up at his great-grandfather and confesses, "I just wanted to be like you."
The Doctor's eyes rise up into his hairline as he recalls Susan telling him that very same thing during her misguided experiment with the shopping bags. Well, there was that and the simple fact that she just wanted more toys. That was also the first time that he had ever reversed the polarity of the neutron flow, he recalled with a soft smile. If he hadn't, the entire toy shoppe would have been sucked into a neverending vortex of endless space and so he had worked quickly and deftly to ensure that all was set right and that there was absolutely no chance in the universe that the Time Lords would catch even the slightest whisperings of what had happened.
Had they only known, he was positive that the mockery of his trial would have been considered the high point of his lives so far. His mouth twisted in a distasteful grimace as he gave a shudder and pondered the taunts of the High Council on the daydreams of a foolish girl and her exiled grandfather that they both surely would have received. Faced with a choice between the two, he knew instantly that he would have rather accepted the position of Lord President, as incredulous a possibility as that was and could ever be, than continually force Susan to endure their cruel jibes and you couldn't become any more domesticated than that.
At the time, that stunt had been one of his biggest gambles and now it seemed that he wasn't the only gambler in the family. "Ian, come here my boy," he requests kindly as he draws him into a comforting embrace. "Now if there's one thing that I never want you to ever do, it's to compare yourself to anyone, not even to someone as wonderful as me. "So why don't you take this," he pulls away from him as he hands him his own sonic screwdriver, "and show me what you can do."
The boy's eyes widen as to nearly pop out of his head as he gulps audibly. "I promise to do my very best, Sir."
"I can't ask for anymore than that, Ian," attests the Doctor with an encouraging smile and pat on the back. The Doctor watches the boy with a keen eye as Ian takes a deep breath to steady his nerves and adjusts the settings on the sonic before finally aiming it and setting it off.
Unfortunately that's not all he set off as the Sixth Doctor's shout of, "Do you mind?" resonates throughout the house as the toilet flushes of its own accord.
Ian spares the Third Doctor a slightly embarrassed glance and murmurs, "Sorry about that for later, Sir," before fiddling with the sonic again only to hear the First Doctor mutter a string of Gallifreyan curses from the kitchen as the garbage disposal shoots out it's contents in reverse covering everything, oddly enough, but the pink, frilly apron. "And sorry about before," mutters Ian dejectedly before handing the Doctor back his screwdriver.
"What? You're not going to quit now, are you?" he asks in a surprised tone. "After all, the third time is the charm and nobody knows that better than me," he finishes with a grand smile. He holds out the screwdriver to Ian and prods him to take it when he still looks unsure. "Go on, lad, I have the utmost faith in you."
A few twists and turns and one last aim at the experiment that Ian Campbell has worked so hard on and put every ounce of effort into that his two hearts could hold for the past three months, all in an effort to impress his great-grandfather, and…nothing happens…except for a peculiar clinking sound. Bewildered, the duo turn and face each other and then scan the area for the noise until their gazes land upon a tea cup sitting on a nearby table.
"Don't look so sad, Ian," urges the Doctor as he takes note of the boy's depressed countenance. "As you said, you tried your best and well…now there's simply nothing left for it."
Ian nods astutely at the Doctor's wisdom and queries, "You're saying that I just have to work harder and keep practicing until I get it right?"
"Yes, well, there is that of course," he concurs as he rubs at the back of his head while casting a chagrined expression at Ian, "but mostly I was wondering if you had any sugar to put in the tea."
Straining to hear One's burbled cursing from the kitchen, but still able to hear it all the same, Ian offers some sage advice of his own. "I don't think that either of us should enter the kitchen just now, Sir, especially me. Besides, if you're really thirsty, I happen to know of some Hyperactivevodka that David's enlightened your Sixth self about. Mind you," he considers with a furrowed brow, "that might be why he's in the loo."
Upon hearing the toilet flush again in accordance to an accompanying groan from Six, the Doctor makes a face of displeasure and suggests, "Why don't we start working on your experiment now, Ian?" as he begins to steer him back around towards his project. "I believe it would be best if we avoided both the kitchen and the Hyperactivevodka for now." They hear another groan from the loo. "And possibly we should include avoiding my Sixth self for the time being as well."
Pffttt! Pffttt! sounds Matthew as he and the Fourth Doctor rush past the curious gazes of the Third Doctor and Ian. "Well said, my boy, well said," as he rubs the boy's back consolingly while he searches out his little sister to play with and Matthew idly spins the wheels on his favorite toy truck. Imagine, placing the boy in a time loop with a Jack-in-the-box! Why, it's positively barbaric! Now had it been something that was bright, joyful and full of goodness, like a bag of jelly babies…well, that I could understand!
Upon spying Katy playing next to Billie and Sarah, the other Doctor immediately heads over to the three little girls and sets Matthew down next to his little sister. "Hello, ladies!" greets the Doctor jovially. "And what are you three up to?"
Katy clicks two more Legos together as she points to her newly made castle and pronounces it, "Lego-opolis!" Matthew joins in by rolling his truck into the side of the castle and declaring it, "Truck-in!"
"That's Trakken, my boy," corrects the Doctor with a pat to his head as he moves to stand next to the other two children. "Ah, cat's cradle, a splendid game full of skill and dexterity."
Sarah and Billie's matching grins of pride are short-lived when the Doctor's eye happens to spy a rather large amassed jumble of yo-yos on the floor that are all devoid of their strings.
Instantly recognizing his beloved yo-yo collection from Nacnud IV, he turns on the two young girls and growls, "That's my prize collection, you egregious thieves! How could you possibly have gotten a hold of these? I personally ensure that they're kept under lock and key in my Games Room whenever they're not in use!"
With a sympathetic gaze, Sarah blithely replies, "We know and you should seriously consider a much better lock, Great-Grandfather, as it was ever so easy to pick."
His eyes bulging in anger, the Doctor silently seethes as he turns to face Sarah's co-hort in crime for her side of the story thus immediately causing Billie to scoot behind her big sister for support and possibly shielding while she meekly offers, "You simply can't play cat's cradle without string."
A clattering of noise behind the trio interrupts any further explanation and they all turn to find Matthew and Katy chucking the black pieces from the Doctor's chess set against one lone white piece that is now lying on its side. "Take that, Melkur!" cries the boy triumphantly.
"And my chess set!" wails the Doctor. "I'll have you know that I play with my companions and K-9 when the occasion lends itself, I always win of course, and throughout all of those times I have managed to maintain it in the same condition in which I first obtained it!" He bends down to pick up the white piece being utilized as Melkur and notes in a petulant tone, "I think you've nicked it."
He lifts his gaze and watches the girls nonchalantly unraveling the string to start another game. "Why is it always my things that inspire you to wreak havoc?" he complains as he observes Sarah execute a flawless cat's cradle. "Exactly what is it in particular," he wonders aloud as he repeatedly plucks at the side of the cradle, "that attracts you pilfering pirates to my possessions, hmmm?"
Tugging the cradle away in exasperation, Sarah huffs, "It's nothing personal, Great-Grandfather! It's not as if we set out on a personal vendetta, we just happened to stumble across them."
"In a locked box?" he cries in disbelief.
"Those are the most intriguing kind," contributes Billie helpfully.
"Besides," interjects Sarah before the Doctor can continue admonishing them, if you truly want to be upset at something then you should direct your ire over there," as she points at David in the corner. "He's been looking at some of Ben Jackson's old magazines again."
"What?" roars the Doctor in shock and outrage, "I thought that the TARDIS had hidden those the last time that Adric had came across them!" He begins to stalk off towards the unsuspecting boy when he suddenly changes direction and strides back over to the girls. "We're not through here, ladies, so I suggest that you start working on these yo-yos!"
"What do you mean?" queries Sarah with a trace of apprehension. The Doctor's smile is cool and almost sinister as he replies, "Something's going to be strung up here by the end of the evening, whether it's the yo-yos or you two, I shall leave up to your discretion."
Then after a last stern glare, the Doctor pivots on his heel and heads out in David's direction bellowing his name with each step. However, David being the eldest boy has long since grown accustomed to the Fourth Doctor's boisterous tones and remains completely unfazed. Pushing his Viking helmet up and away from his eyes, he announces, "Hello, Sir, look what I found! It's a helmet for space cows!"
"Yes, I can see that," acknowledges the Doctor as he notices David holding his hands behind his back, "I also heard that you found a few other things as well. Perhaps even whatever paper that I hear rustling behind you."
"Oh, that?" remarks the boy with pure innocence. "That's just schematics, Sir. I've had a few ideas on how we could fix your chameleon circuit."
"Have you now?" inquires the Doctor with great attentiveness as he nods in consideration before booming out his displeasure. "I know all about your 'schematics' as it were and I can imagine the designs that you're having." He stretches out his arm and moves his fingers in a beckoning motion. "Hand them over!"
Blowing out a stream of air in a disappointed manner, David reluctantly drags his plunder from behind his back and drops the magazines into the Doctor's awaiting palm. With his free hand, the Doctor removes the Viking hat while whacking David on the head with the rolled up magazines before neatly dropping the helmet back down all within a few seconds time.
"Sorry," mutters David with a wince, "I was only looking for some advice on girls."
The Doctor relents with a softened gaze and a dry chuckle. He places his arm around David's shoulders and begins to walks with him as he speaks. "Well, it's always been my experience, my boy, that women tend to bring nothing but trouble and they always seem to leave with your dog."
The Fifth Doctor shares a smile with a passing Four as he catches bits of their conversation as they walk by and then squints his eyes as he notices Carole reading a book and making notes in its pages. "A bit early for you to be doing homework, isn't it? I thought that you were still on holidays."
"I am," she replies without looking up from her reading while she makes another notation alongside a paragraph. "But we've already been notified of our upcoming curriculum next term and so I thought that I would make a head start." She glances up at him with a warm smile. "And it's quite an enjoyable read actually. Even though this story's a bit old fashioned, it's giving me the most fascinating ideas for my paper."
"Well, that's very studious of you," he complements, "but you really shouldn't write in a book no matter what brilliant bit of inspiration might strike you." The Doctor plucks it out of her hand to see what she's been reading and suddenly growls, "Especially this one!" He glares at her and says, "You wretched little fiend! This is my Black Orchid book, given to me by Lord George Cranleigh himself!"
"I know," defends Carole blithely, quite used to the Doctor's temper, in any incarnation, "but it's not as if I'm defacing anything, I'm merely updating the text to the current tongue, so to speak." She points to a specific section of the book. "I mean, honestly, can you believe this? The wording in this passage alone is so outdated that it makes your Type 40 look positively brand new by comparison!" She waves dismissively towards the book as she scoffs, "We don't even use that form of grammar anymore."
The Doctor is livid. "That's because this book was written in 1925 when story and substance were considered to be more important than the flashy, fast-paced, and over emotional tripe and drivel that's trotted out at the drop of a hat!" He drags a hand through his hair while shaking his head in disgust. "No one appreciates the classic writers anymore," he mutters loathingly before turning his full attention and temperament back to Carole. "This," he indicates the book as he holds it up in the air, "is not some common notebook, Carole! In the future, if you want to jot down your thoughts and ideas then use a diary!"
He glowers at her in frustration as she remains calmly sat on the sofa, completely nonplussed at her grievous error in judgment. "Do you have any idea what I had to go through to be awarded such a treasured tome of literary genius?" At the negative shake of her head, he says, "I had to win a cricket game, discover a dead body, be accused of the aforementioned body and solve the murder! Not to mention the ticket that I received from the local constable who monitors the train station for illegally parking the TARDIS!"
He takes deep calming breaths in an effort to reign in his temper which is just beginning to work when Carole inquires curiously, "How much was the fine?"
"That doesn't matter!" he cries exasperatedly. "The lesson that I am trying to teach you is that you should never, ever take something that doesn't belong to you!"
Carole releases a hearty laugh before mentioning with a smug smirk, "You mean like your TARDIS? Or your first two companions, clothes from hospital lockers after a regeneration, Bessie's predecessor, the Master's dematerialization circuit and not to mention all of the other things that I'm aware of and that this you hasn't done yet?" When he merely returns her taunts with a heated stare accompanied by a very noticeable muscle twitching alongside his jaw, she rapidly dawns a contrite expression and adds, "And did I mention how you stole both of my hearts?" as she points at her gold celery pin attached to her dress that he gave her at his last visit.
With a final knowing glare aimed directly at her, he sits down next to his great-granddaughter and opens the book and begins flipping through the pages one by one. "Shall we take a tour of these brilliant musings of yours, then?"
Carole presses her lips together anxiously before snuggling against his side and whispering, "I love you Great-Grandfather."
"As well you should," he grumbles good-naturedly before relenting and leaning down to whisper his reply along with a soft smile and a soft kiss atop her head.
Over by the alcove, the Fourth Doctor is discussing his mercifully brief conversation with David with his Eighth self, when he glances up with a slight grimace as he sees Christopher and Sarah approaching them while dragging a toy wagon in their wake. "So it's you two again is it, what do you want? We're very busy."
"What are you doing?" asks Sarah, ever the inquisitive one.
Without looking up from his work, the Eighth Doctor replies, "We're making a transdimensional dollhouse for Katy so your parents won't have to keep tripping over all of her dolls."
"That is so cool!" enthuses Christopher as he peeks between the Doctors' arms. "Could you do something like that for us when you're through?"
"Well, let's see," muses the Fourth Doctor as he and his future self make the necessary adjustments to finish Katy's surprise, "since you are being so especially kind to knit me a new scarf after you went to all of the trouble of destroying it in the first place…" He turns to them with a wide grin. "Well, I should think not!" Pocketing his sonic screwdriver, he begins to storm off in a huff when he suddenly spins back around and spying Christopher wearing one of his old hats, speedily snatches it off the boy's head and plops it down onto his own before continuing his exit in an angry stride.
A glimpse at his sister has forced Sarah's twin into fits of laughter as she pushes out her front teeth so that they're protruding out of her mouth and twining chunks of her hair so that they curl around her fingers. "Teeth and curls!" her brother snorts out, "that's brilliant!"
Almost doubled over in laughter, they both turn around to face the Eighth Doctor who looks highly less amused than either of them. Giving them a moment to compose themselves, he inquires, "Is there something that I can help you with?"
Christopher clears his throat and humbly requests, "Could we please borrow your cravat, Sir?" while his sister removes the blanket covering the article that she had been towing in the red Radio Flyer wagon that the Doctor had brought Susan so long ago when she was first pregnant with David.
"Well, that is an interesting request," remarks the Doctor in surprise, "have we finally decided to pick up some culture?"
"More like pop culture," declares Sarah. "We're going to reactivate K-9," she indicates the old model sitting in the wagon, "and play Scooby-Doo! We need your cravat so that Christopher can play Fred, I'm Thelma because I'll solve everything and Billie can be Daphne once she's done untangling some string."
Eight stands with his hands linked behind his back as he casually inquires, "And what about, Shaggy? Who's going to play him?" The twins only reply is to stare beseechingly at the Doctor who is already backing away with his hands in the air as he shakes his head in refusal.
"Oh, please, please," they beg in unison, "you're the perfect choice." "Look!" says Sarah as she points at the TARDIS, "you even have your very own mystery machine!"
"You stay away from that," he orders as he pushes her back a few steps. "The only mystery that would be involved in this scenario would be if I agreed, which I don't! Besides, why choose me?"
Christopher straightens to his full height and girds himself to protest with all of the vehemence of youth. "Because…because…," he casts a hopeful eye towards his sister who merely returns a baffled shake of her head in return, "because of your appetite! Yes, your appetite, your appetite for life and mystery and adventure!"
Christopher breathes a sigh of relief as the Doctor seems to nod in his head in deliberation and approval before noting, "That would be an admirable assessment if Shaggy wasn't such a coward."
"But that works for you too," insists Sarah excitedly.
Affronted, the Doctor gives them a cold stare and barks, "And what exactly do you mean by that?"
"Isn't obvious, Great-grandfather," quizzes Sarah with a touch of confusion. "You're always saying 'coward me'," she notes with air quotes, "and I don't know anyone better at running away than you."
Completely flabbergasted by both the audacity and the accuracy of the statement, the Doctor remains stock still until he is finally able to muster up a reply for the awaiting children. "I have no response for that," he relents with a sigh. He whips off his cravat and waves it in a gesture of surrender before handing it over to Christopher who deftly ties it into a proper knot. After the Doctor lays his coat over the back of the couch and kneels down to inspect K-9 and informs them, "Once I'm done here, we can go search for our Daphne, and while we do that, you two investigators can tell me how it is that you came across this particular version of K-9. Because I am absolutely positive that the last time that I fiddled with this model was during my sixth incarnation before I left the unfinished product in a lower level TARDIS storage room."
"Sir," queries Christopher, "as I recall from your other selves' stories, you always seemed rather fond of K-9. So why is it that you never finished this model?"
A lobster red flush spreads across the Eighth's Doctor's cheeks as he grudgingly admits, "You have to remember that I was rather a gruff sort in that particular incarnation and I wasn't usually the most considerate person when it came to other people's feelings." He glances shamefacedly over to the patiently waiting children and sighs. "After thinking it over, I didn't want to K-9 to be further competition for yet another person to be yapping in my ear as I felt that Peri met that requirement quite commendably without any assistance."
The twins lock astonished gazes with each other before mouthing 'wow' in unison and staring silently back at the Doctor. He uncomfortably clears his throat and says, "Yes, well, that was another lifetime…literally for me. And I'm sure that none of us see a need to mention this if we happen to run into Miss Brown during one of our TARDIS trips, correct? After all," he threatens in a tone that seems too casual, I would hate to see them come to an end."
A shocked gasp and a hurried promise of, "Cross our hearts and hope to regenerate!" practically leaps out of the children's mouths much to the Doctor's satisfied relief as they make the matching gestures to their sworn vows. "I don't think that it's anyone else's business what you've done, do you Sarah?" prods Christopher with a nudge to her ribs. "Absolutely not, Christopher," nods his sister fervently.
"Good," says the Doctor with a huge smile, "I'm so glad that we could come to an agreement. Now let's all work on K-9 in silence, shall we? I think the less said the better." And for once the only replies from the twins are two quick and very quiet nods.
Flopping back down onto the couch between the Tenth and Eleventh versions of the Doctor, David releases a disgruntled sigh. "What's wrong with you?" questions the Tenth Doctor as he throws on his glasses for a closer look. "You haven't been sampling that hideous casserole have you?"
"No," bemoans David while Eleven does his best to send his prior self a death glare. "I fancy a girl named Georgia, you know not like the city but like the planet, and I'm wondering how I can capture her attention."
"Ah," states the Eleventh Doctor as he and Ten share a knowing glance, "women troubles! Well, David, I dare say that you came to the right place. Have you tried anything to catch her eye so far?"
"No," answers David fretfully, "not yet. Do you think that I should impress her with my Venusian Akido skills?"
"Definitely not," declares Eleven with a firm shake of his head. "No, girls are more impressed by acts reflecting one's cultured refinement and gentlemanly attributes."
David waits patiently for all of five seconds before prodding, "For instance?"
Ten leans forward as he shares in confidence, "For example, refer to your worldliness by expressing your various travel experience. If you know another language than drop in a few foreign words into the conversation every now and then, impress her with the aptitude of your tongue."
Sudden realization begins to dawn in David's gaze and he looks at his great-grandfather as if seeing him through new eyes. "Is that why you always lick everything?"
The Eleventh Doctor taps the boy on his shoulder to regain his attention. "Also, dress to impress." Ten smirks as he queries, "So, no bow ties then?" Taking the higher road, Eleven smiles tightly as he remarks, "Bow ties are cool." The Tenth Doctor gives a slight shake of his head while insisting, "No, they're not."
Eleven gives his former self a once over and observes, "They're cooler than trench coats." Ten shakes his head more emphatically this time. "Again…no, they're not." Eleven shifts in his seat as he tries to find a more comfortable position and mocks, "Yes they are, you look like Columbo. Are you going to solve a murder?" Ten sneers, "Only if you were the victim but by that point, I'd most likely be under suspicion. And you're one to talk about a person's wardrobe, you look like you just invented Flubber."
The boy's eyes end their ping-ponging back and forth between the two and he loudly clears his throat as he rubs his temples to try and rid himself of his sudden headache.
"Oh…yes, sorry about that," offers Eleven while looking chagrined. "Anyway, another way to win a girl's heart is through her stomach. And by that, I mean give her a sweet, not literally as through her abdominal cavity."
David's eyes widen in mock surprise as he dryly notes, "I'll try to remember that."
Ten eyes the Eleventh Doctor in suspicion. "Please tell me that you're not about to suggest fish fingers and custard." Eleven actually surprises the other two males by appearing to scoff at the very idea of one of his favorite treats. "Of course not, don't be ridiculous, this isn't about fulfilling a craving, no matter how exquisitely satisfying that fine fare may be, in fact save it for later to make on your first date, no this calls for a heartfelt gesture of romance, this calls for…Jammy Dodgers!"
Ten stares at him in disbelief. "Honestly, that's the best that you can do?" Eleven stares back at him in complete bafflement. "And what's wrong with it? It's a tremendous idea, sure to win the girl." Ten contemplates his suggestion for a moment before proclaiming, "Yes, I agree wholeheartedly, if she were five years old." He turns to his great-grandson. "She's not, is she?" David shakes his head no. "That's not tremendous; it's molto male, which is very bad." Eleven leans back with his arms crossed over his chest and inquires with rapt attention, "And what's your brilliant idea? Banana pudding pops? Or no…how about jam tarts, after all we all know how much you love tarts, particularly French ones."
Eleven offers his counterpart a glowing smile while Ten's gaze blazes with fury as he hisses, "Oh you just wait until I get all the dirt on you, you just wait. Once I meet your next incarnation, I'm going to butter him up like a roll!"
The Tenth Doctor takes a moment to sulk before dispensing one last piece of advice. "Poetry's nice too, a lovely bit of poetry will work wonders in wooing a girl's heart. I prefer Robert Frost's The Rose Family myself."
Eleven releases an unexpected cry of delight. "I can't believe it, finally, something that we both agree on! Although something that you've spun from your own heart can work a treat as well. How's this? Roses are jeopardly friendly, violets are blue, some things are best left unsaid, like does it really need saying and quite right too." He grins a little too brightly at Ten and questions eagerly, "So, what did you think? Nine helped me write it."
The Tenth Doctor's just about to lunge for the Eleventh when David pushes them apart. "Well, that was very helpful and I will definitely take all of your advice into consideration. Now if you'll please excuse me, I would like to go off and ponder these amazingly creative options that you've presented me with so that I don't have to appear as a witness in any future trial."
"What?" questions Ten as the boy walks away. "I end up on trial again?" He looks over to his next self for an answer but Eleven merely shrugs and mutters, "Spoilers." They both stare after the boy's retreating back and Eleven murmurs, "Some people, they're simply incapable of taking any advice." "Yeah," remarks Ten with a pout as he leans back into the couch and links his hands to cradle his head. "And I thought it was some pretty excellent advice, myself." "Quite right too," pipes Eleven to which Ten swiftly replies with a hard whack of the pillow to Eleven's face.
Nine soon walks over and joins the bickering duo while gesturing to the other side of the room where all three men simultaneously cast dubious gazes over to the corner where Jack is leaning down to accept something from Billie while she whispers in his ear, "Thanks for lending us your TARDIS key, Uncle Jack, it's been great fun using it! And he hasn't even noticed half of the stuff that's missing since he came back from visiting Mum!"
"Anytime, Doll," he assures her with a grin, "nobody should be locked out of the TARDIS when they need to get into it, especially if they're hanging on to the outside of it!"
"Oh…okay," mumbles Billie quizzically before quickly taking her leave as she notices the Doctors watching her.
Not bothered in the least by their lack of trust, Jack saunters over to the Time Lords and explains, "Cute kid, she wanted a few tips on boys."
"It better have been on what kind to avoid," mutters the Ninth Doctor as he shoots Jack a wary gaze.
Bearing a confused expression, Jack faces the three Doctors and quizzes, "Doctor, the kids and I have been chatting a bit and I've been wondering something."
Nine asks, "Oh yeah, and what's that?"
Jack says, "Well, I know why I lost my memories," sending a heated and pointed look directly at Ten, "but you've been here on this day eleven times. Why was each version of you so surprised at being asked to remain here with the kids?"
The three men all return Jack's stare with that same sad expression he remembers so well, the one usually indicating that he's an idiot. God he's missed them. "Harkness," denotes the Ninth Doctor, "think about it, lad. Obviously we blocked our memories."
When his countenance continues to appear bewildered, the Tenth Doctor adds, "Jack, if you had to live through this day eleven separate times, would you want to remember it?"
Jack nods his head sagely admits, "Fair point."
Ten gives Jack a suspicious look and mentions, "And I've been meaning to ask you something as well. How is that you arrived here without hitching a ride on the TARDIS?"
Jack pulls up his sleeve to reveal his Vortex Manipulator. "I used this."
Ten grits between clenched teeth, "Jack, I told you not to use this again! That's why I disabled it in the first place!"
Jack is unruffled by the chastisement and impertinently retorts, "Sorry, Doc, but I needed a ride and since the best one wasn't available," he waggles his eyebrows suggestively at all three Doctors, "I had to settle for second best."
Eleven promises, "Well, you won't have to settle for long. You're going back home via the TARDIS once we leave here and I'm disabling this time meddler once and for all." He reaches out for the manipulator when Jack grabs his arm with one hand and wags a disapproving finger at the Doctor with the other.
"Ah, ah, ah," tuts Jack reproachfully, "I don't think so. See the kids told me all about how they absconded with the TARDIS to Skaro and how you made them swear not to tell their mother anything about it."
Nine grunts, "You can't trust anybody these days! Those wretched little ankle biters weren't supposed to breathe a word of that fiasco to anyone!"
Jack exhibits a devilish grin as he consoles, "Don't blame them too much, Doc. After all, it's pretty hard to keep a secret from their Uncle Jack." They all shoot daggers at him until their jaws all simultaneously drop when Jack nonchalantly inquires, "So, Theta Sigma, huh? Cute Academy nickname, I have a nickname too but I'm guessing that you wouldn't want the kids to hear it," he remarks before tossing them a cheeky wink.
Ignoring the Doctors worried gazes of what other secrets the children might have let slip, Jack begins to gather all of the children around for story time. Ninehurriedly grabs Jack by the arm and warns, "Oi, watch it, Captain! I don't want the children to hear any stories about you ending up or starting out naked."
Jack rapidly denies this harsh accusation and in a hurtful tone asks, "Geez, they're kids, Doc, just what kind of guy do you take me for?" He then goes over to stand amidst the circle of children and announces, "Okay, kids, it's time to sit back and relax and listen to your old yet incredibly handsome and flexible Uncle Jack tell the story of The Emperor's New Clothes!" Nine and Ten both groan and give identical eye rolls while Eleven merely holds his arms out to his sides as if silently pleading, 'What can you do?'
Deciding that the sooner this story is over the better, the Eleventh Doctor yells out, "Alright, you hooligans, settle down, settle down! Now I want you all to sit quietly while the rest of us take a moment to catch our breath and monitor you lot. We're going to turn this day around from the chaotic mess it started out as to the Day of the Doctor! Alright? Good! Now everyone turn your attention to Jack and keep your clothes on!" He points at Jack. "Especially you, Harkness!"
A hush falls over the room as Jack begins recanting the old tale and the First Doctor brings out a pitcher of lemonade along with some finger sandwiches for refreshments and upon seeing all of the children listening with rapt attention to Jack's story, decides to take a short break and settles himself down onto the couch. A moment later he's unexpectedly jostled when Eleven plops down alongside him and offers him a wide grin. "Hello, there!" he greets as he crosses his legs and throws an arm onto the back of the couch.
The Eleventh Doctor releases a sigh of relief as he observes his great-grandchildren, for once all sitting quietly, attentive and serene and shakes his head in amusement. "It's funny when you think about it, isn't it?" he inquires of the First Doctor. "You look at this lot, botching every time and space experiment ever invented, stealing a TARDIS, terrorizing a planet full of Daleks, not to mention their creator to boot, and drawing all sorts of the wrong type of attention into their lives," as he gestures at Jack with a wry grin and sighs. "How in Rassilon's name are we expected to cope with this group of troublemakers when they each inherit their own TARDIS?"
"Oh, I wouldn't worry about them too much. After all, that's how we started, isn't it, hmmm?" replies the First Doctor with a hint of laughter in his voice.
"Yes," agrees Eleven with his own chuckle, I suppose it is." He runs a hand through his hair with a weary hum and glances over at his younger counterpart. "So…any ideas on what we should do tomorrow to keep the children entertained?"
"I was planning on taking Matthew and Katy to the library but I haven't been able to find my library card," he remarks with a frustrated grimace.
"Oh, I have it right here," mentions the Eleventh Doctor, "but you might as well take it. I'm sure I'll find it again in the TARDIS when I need it."
"Thank you, my boy," accepts One as he tucks the card into his coat pocket. "I'm sure the children will have a lovely time. I spoke with the head librarian earlier and they're going to be showing a children's film called the Tenth Planet and I thought it might be good for a laugh." He roughly knocks a weathered old fist into the Eleventh Doctor's shoulder which he immediately starts rubbing. "Imagine thinking that there's only ten! My yes, these humans can be quite amusing, indeed!"
Appreciating the humor of the gest, Eleven acknowledges it with a quiet nod before turning his attention back to the scene before him. Jack is busy acting out each scene in full pantomime while imitating the characters voices in funny accents and the children love every moment of it. He scans the small gathering and notes each delighted smile, enraptured gaze, laughing grin and contemplative study of every sight and sound in the room, no matter how insignificant it may seem, and the wonder and joy that all of it combined manages to bring its participants. And it's not the children that he's watching for once; it's himself, all his other selves to be exact. The outpouring of love and emotion that shines from their eyes each time that they catch a particular expression on one of the children's faces or realize their potential, not as a Time Lord or Time Lady, not as a hero or heroine of a universe, but as the amazing and loving children that each version of him knows that they have the capacity to be, it makes each marvel of the universe that he has seen and all those that have yet to be discovered seem infinitesimal and for a moment, he could actually care less if he never experienced them again.
But then he comes back to himself and remembers that he is the Doctor after all and that he truly does hate domestic. For as crazy and unpredictable as his life can become at times, he wouldn't change a thing about it, not for one moment. He loves the excitement and adventure, the laughter and friendship, the good and the bad and knowing above all that there's always another place that he can call home to retire to when he needs to get away from all of it. He withdraws a crumpled crayon drawing of his current self riding a triceratops in Susan's backyard that he was recently given by Ian to remind him of this very thing and releases a huge grin. Yes, it is a manic life he lives indeed and he wants to share every minute of it with his family.
He catches the eyes of his Ninth and Tenth selves and knows that even without the aid of a innate or telepathic connection that they share the same sentiment. This life that they lead, with this family, it may be hard at times but it is generally a good life and one that makes him a better man. He'd even go so far and dare to say that it was fantastic and molto bene as he watches his two previous selves flashing approving smiles in his direction just before Nine aims a cautionary glance at him. He shakes his head slightly and releases a soft exasperated sigh. Because of course out all these things when it comes to his family, it maybe fantastic and even molto bene but it would never be at all sexy.
HAPPY 50TH ANNIVERSARY DOCTOR WHO! :)