“Jack Tyler, are you listening to me?” Mrs Brooke called out to the six year old who was normally one of the keenest and most active class members that she’d ever known, but who for the last half hour had seemed to divide his attention squarely between the clock and the window and not toward the maths. She knew that it was far beneath his own mathematical abilities but he had his own work book to be looking at and Nathaniel was sitting next to him and had received none of the usual assistance and prompts from his six year old peer.
“Not really, Mrs Brooke.” Jack answered more honestly than she had expected. She tried not to break into a smile at him, but to look stern.
“Why aren’t you paying attention?”
“Because, I am waiting for home time.”
“Uncle Doctor is coming home from hospital today and I need to go and help Daddy and Aunty Sue look after him,” Jack explained to his teacher. Normally he didn’t wait for home time and sometimes he was a little bit sad when home time came and he couldn’t do any more school work, especially when it was maths lessons, but today he just wanted home time to come so that he could go and help Daddy look after Uncle Doctor.
“I am sure that your Uncle Doctor would want you to pay attention to your class until it is home time, wouldn’t he?” Mrs Brooke asked Jack and he thought about it for a moment. Jack didn’t think that Uncle Doctor was going to be too worried about if he paid attention to his teacher or not. He could help him do his school work. Uncle Doctor had a very poorly leg that was hurting him a lot and had plaster and metal inside and outside of it.
Daddy he had told him that he had to be very good because Uncle Doctor was sad because Captain Jack had been upset and had gone back to the other universe without any Zeppelins to get better with Doctor Martha looking after him. He wasn’t allowed to tell Mrs Brooke that they sometimes went to another universe though, so he just nodded even if he didn’t think that Uncle Doctor would mind if he didn’t pay too much attention. They were only doing adding up so it wasn’t as if he couldn’t do it straight away.
“Nine, twelve, seventeen, four, and twenty eight,” Jack told his teacher and pointed to the black board. Mrs Brooke glanced back at the five sums she had written up for each of his classmates to write down into their work books and then figure out. It was supposed to keep them going for the last twenty minutes of the day.
“That is very good, Jack, but what have I told you before about being cheeky?” she asked him. “Have you finished the work in your work book?”
“In my head,” he nodded.
“Well, why don’t you finish the work and write them down in the work book.”
“I want to do them with Uncle Doctor,” Jack advised his teacher. “I have finished my home time maths book and because Uncle Doctor has been poorly and Daddy has been busy I don’t have a new one yet. I don’t want to do them now. I want to do them later.”
“And, if you don’t do them now how are you going to finish the last part of the lesson?” Mrs Brooke asked him.
“By looking out the window to see if Daddy is here yet.”
“Well.” Mrs Brooke went into her back cupboard and got a book out of it. She then went over to crouch down at the side of Jack’s desk so that she was talking to him and not to the rest of the class as well who had decided to listen to Jack and Mrs. Brooke rather than do their own work, which, had they been listening properly they now had the answers too. Judging by the number of her young students who were scratching their heads and scribbling they’d not been paying enough attention and Jack had not entirely ruined her lesson.
“I’m sorry Mrs Brooke,” Jack whispered. He didn’t want to be in trouble. “I want to help look after Uncle Doctor.”
“I am sure you do,” Mrs Brooke confirmed. She knew some of what had happened because Professor Tyler had been in and discussed what he cou1d with her in case Jack had been distracted in school and because he’d missed some time while they had been down at the coast to protect them from the situation arising from some classified Torchwood matters that Jack was far too intelligent not to pick up on. “You also need to make sure that you do your work, so, how about you do your own work now and you can take this work book home to do some with your Uncle?” Mrs Brooke gave him a new maths work book that his father had left in case of emergency.
“Is this for me?” Jack looked at the new maths book wide eyed. He was working through book 7 in the series and this was book 8! It was the next one! How did Mrs. Brooke know that was the book that he needed? Mrs Brooke nodded and smiled. Never had she known a six year old get so excited about maths home work. She ruffled his hair and gave him his book. “Now, do your class work and you can start this book with your Uncle Doctor while he gets better can’t you?”
“Thank you,” Jack beamed at his teacher. He got up out of his chair and gave her a hug making her smile, but then she saw Professor Tyler come into the playground with their young dog, Welly, on her lead. Jack saw his Daddy too. He barely managed to sit on his classroom chair for the last fifteen minutes until the bell went and then he grabbed his book and his bag and sprinted out of the classroom shouting his byes to his friends and teacher while already half way down the corridor. Mrs Brooke just shook her head and smiled, hoping that her incredible young student had a good evening with his Uncle Doctor.
“Daddy!” Jack beamed as he ran out and leapt at his father. John grabbed and hugged him. “Is Uncle Doctor home from hospital?”
“Yes he is,” John confirmed as he held Jack on his hip starting to walk back toward the mansion with him.
“Is he feeling better?”
“He’s still poorly, and he’s resting on his bed, so you need to be quiet and well behaved okay?” John warned him. “I am taking you home and Greta is going to look after you, while I go and get Michael.”
“Where is he?”
“He’s doing his special exercises at the swimming pool with Oscar.”
“To make his legs better?” Jack checked.
“Yeah,” John confirmed.
“So he can play football more.” Jack giggled knowing that Daddy didn’t think it was very good for him to like playing football but Michael liked it a lot and Oscar had even bought him an Arsenal football kit. Daddy had tried to put it in the bin but Michael had cried and he’d had to get it out and Aunty Sue had said Daddy was a meanie! “Can I do my maths with Uncle Doctor?”
“Not tonight, okay? Let’s just see how he is feeling first,” John suggested.
“I can take him tea can’t I?”
“I think he’d like that,” John agreed. “Greta is going to make a cake.”
“Yay! I can help!” Jack commented. He slid down off his dad’s hip and started to run.
“What’s the rush?” John asked his son.
“We’re going to help Greta make cake for Uncle Doctor!” Jack sounded like it was obvious. “Come on Daddy! Hurry up!”
“Okay.” John chuckled and jogged along with his son back through Duncan Park and towards the back entrance into their grounds. Jack waved at Emmett who was repairing a hole in Donald’s fence where the ginger goat had managed to escape again. Emmett waved back, but guessed that with the Doctor back at the mansion that young Jack was going to have plenty on his mind. Emmett had mixed feelings about it all, he needed to stay and tend to the farm animals on the Tyler’s estate, but Gray had sought time off from veterinary college and had gone with his brother back to the other universe.
Jack ran up the steps and into the kitchen where his Grandma was sitting with Marcia drinking tea. Jack bounded straight through the kitchen towards the stairs up to the flat. “Oi? Where are you going, Sunshine?” Jackie called after him. “Don’t I get a kiss?!”
“Catch it!” Jack cheekily blew a kiss at his grandma as he made his way up to the flat. He burst in through the door and then remembered that he had to be calm and quiet and well behaved because Uncle Doctor was still poorly. He had heard Aunty Sue talking to Daddy about him being so sad about Captain Jack that he was depressed. Jack wasn’t entirely sure what that was but he thought it must be more sad than just normal sad.
“We’re going to make cake!” Jack exclaimed when he saw that Greta was in the kitchen preparing him a glass of milk and some biscuits to snack on while waiting for his dad to go and get Michael so the boys could have their tea together. He dropped his coat and his school bag on the floor and went into the galley kitchen.
“Ahem?” John stood over the discarded coat and bag. “This is not where these belong is it?” he asked his son. Jack huffed and ran and picked them up and put them on the low down hooks by the door. “Have you got maths work to do?”
“Mrs. Brooke gave me maths book number 8!” Jack exclaimed.
“Wow.” John smiled knowingly.
“So I can do some with Uncle Doctor.” Jack went back into the kitchen and stretched up to get two mugs down. He put it by the kettle and then got teabags and put them in the cup.
“Who are they for?”
“Me and Uncle Doctor,” Jack commented. “You have to get Michael.” He reminded his dad.
“Yeah I do,” John agreed. He kissed Jack on the head and glanced to Greta. “See you in a bit.” He then left to go and get Michael from the swimming baths. It was a bus ride there and back but he didn’t mind and he hoped that Jack might have been able to do a bit of magic. He went over to the spare room in the flat and knocked on the door lightly and poked his head in. The Doctor was lying on the bed. He had pillows supporting his leg which was cast from thigh to ankle with metal work protruding through the cast to keep his shattered knee in line. He had another pillow under his cast wrist. He’d not used his crutches since he’d fallen almost a week ago and ended up being subjected to a beating from the Captain. A wheelchair was folded by the bed but the Doctor had little interest in using it. He was staring out of the window out onto the roof terrace.
“Jack is in from school. He’s making you a cup of tea but he knows to behave,” John advised him. “I just need to go and pick up Michael from the swimming baths. Oscar can’t come back tonight or he’d just bring Michael with him, but he’s got football training. Okay?” John asked the Doctor not even sure if he’d listened to him.
“Yeah,” the Doctor acknowledged tonelessly as he continued to look out at the sky.
John sighed and went back out. He ruffled Jack’s hair and kissed him on the top of his head. “See you in a little while. Be good. You can take the Doctor his tea but then you need to let him rest, okay?”
“I will, Daddy,” Jack confirmed. He kissed his dad and then Greta finished helping him making the cups of tea. She went over and opened the bedroom door so that Jack could carry the Doctor’s cup of tea in for him. Jack was careful not to spill it as he concentrated on not tipping the cup and moved right around to the other side of the bed with it so that he was standing where the Doctor was looking. “Hello! I got you a cup of tea!”
“Thank you, Jack.”
“Are you going to help Greta and me make cake?” Jack asked him. “You could sit in your wheelchair still. The kitchen has low bits for when Daddy had to use a wheelchair.”
“Not just now.”
“Oh, I have got a cup of tea as well, can I bring it in here to drink it?” Jack asked him.
“If you want to.”
“Yay!” Jack ran back out to get his tea and then he carefully carried it through as well. He put it on the other side of the bed. “If I’m gentle can I get on the bed as well?” Jack asked him. “Oh, I can get my maths book too!” He bounded back out of the room again and grabbed his new maths book from his school bag. He then clambered up onto the bed beside the Doctor and sat up against the headboard. He shuffled right over to the side where the Doctor was so that he could rub his arm. “Is your leg very sore?”
“It is quite sore, yes.”
“Have you got painkillers?”
“Do you want a hand to drink your tea?”
“No just now.”
“Okay.” Jack opened his maths book and carefully folded it back so that it stayed open on the first page. He looked at the sums. They looked quite hard. There was sums that had divides and multiplies in the same sums. He thought about it for a little while and the Doctor resumed his stare out of the window. “Uncle Doctor?”
“If there are divides and multiplies in the same sum which one do I do first?” Jack asked him a little confused by the new complexities going from book seven to book eight.
“Are there brackets?”
“Then you do the sum in the brackets first and then the other sum,” the Doctor instructed.
“Um…” Jack scribbled in his book. “Like this Uncle Doctor?” He showed the Time Lord how he had worked out the sum.
“No, not quite,” the Doctor looked at the book with Jack. He showed him how to do the sum right and then worked through the next couple with the six year old. It wasn’t long before he had used the bed control to sit up a little more and had managed to get hold of his cup of tea and was holding Jack’s math book with his cast hand and was working through the sums with him.
“I only have to do the first page today,” Jack told the Doctor when they had finished them. “Now I have to go and make cake with Greta. Are you going to come and help?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” the Doctor admitted.
“I do, Uncle Doctor, I think it’s imperry-with.”
“Imperry-with?” the Doctor repeated and couldn’t help the little giggle that escaped his lips. “What does that mean?”
“That you have to,” Jack commented frowning. “I don’t think I said it right. Daddy said it to Aunty Sue.”
“Did he? What did he say? Did he say imperative?”
“I wasn’t supposed to be listening,” Jack advised. “That is what he said.”
“He said that it was imperry-with…”
“Yeah… that you start trying to get better again even without Captain Jack being here and try to get happy again and stop being so sad and tired or he is going to have to get his secret weapons out.” Jack looked at the Doctor gravely.
“His secret weapons?” the Doctor raised his eyebrow. “What are they?”
“I don’t know.” Jack sounded worried. “Daddy doesn’t talk about his weapons but I know he has some at work. You have to come and help make cake and then Daddy won’t have to get weapons. I don’t want Daddy to get weapons. Do you?”
“Not really, though, but I don’t think he’s actually got weapons has he?”
“Maybe he will buy some?” Jack sighed. “Please come and help me and Greta make cake? If it hurts your leg lots you can just stir the mixture and I can hold the bowl so you only have to use one hand?”
“Okay.” The Doctor sighed heavily. He didn’t particularly feel like making cakes but regardless of anything he didn’t want to upset John’s eldest son by refusing him. He already knew that Jack was one of John’s secret weapons. The other was at the swimming pool, but he wasn’t much in the mood for emotional blackmail when his life was in tatters. The integrity of his knee was in question after being tortured and his lover had beaten him for crying in pain. Making cake with a six year old was going to go no where in fixing any of that.
“Do you need me to help you get out of bed?” Jack asked him. “I can hold your wheelchair for you?”
“That would be helpful,” the Doctor agreed. “As long as you put the brakes on as well? I’d not want to run you over would I?”
“No,” Jack giggled. He unfolded the Doctor’s wheelchair and pushed it close to the bed like he used to do for his Daddy when he was poorly. Then he put the brakes on and held the handles as the Doctor managed to get across from the bed into the wheelchair. Jack helped him to get his leg up onto the elevated rest and then took the brakes off and pushed him out into the main area of the flat.
“Oh, hello, Doctor? I did not think you would be happy to be out of bed just yet?” Greta asked him hoping that Jack had not bullied him into it.
“We’re making cakes!” Jack exclaimed. Greta regarded the Doctor who forced a half smile as Jack manoeuvred him into the kitchen.
“You happy to make cakes too?” Greta checked with him.
“I’ve nothing better to do.” The Doctor didn’t exactly confirm that he was, but he was not prepared to upset Jack.
“Banana and chocolate cakes?” Greta asked hoping to spark some enthusiasm in the Time Lord.
“Yay! They’re your favourite aren’t they Uncle Doctor?” Jack exclaimed. “We can make lots of little ones and put slices of banana and chocolate buttons on the top!”
“Okay,” the Doctor agreed. He sat in the wheelchair and followed the instructions that Jack repeated as Greta guided the six year old in what they had to do. When they started to nicely mix cocoa powder, baking powder, and flour together it all went everywhere. Jack giggled when it puffed up out of the bowl like chocolate smoke and the covered his face and his hands. The Doctor had some on his pyjama top and they all giggled.
When John returned to the flat with Michael half an hour later he was stunned to hear the Doctor’s laughter filling the front room of the flat. He’d expected Jack to have had a hard lesson in how to leave a sulking, miserable, hurt, and stubbornly depressed Time Lord alone when necessary. Instead he walked in and it looked like a flour bomb had gone off in his kitchen. There was chocolate powder all over the place and both the Doctor and Jack had massive metal spoons coated with melted chocolate and were licking them off much to Greta’s distaste as she was the only one being sensible.
There were cup cakes on a cooling rack and it looked like there were more in the oven. John went to pinch one and received a rap on his knuckles with a chocolate and saliva covered spoon courtesy of his six year old son. “They’ve not been decorated yet, Daddy,” Jack complained. “They’re not ready!”
“They look very tasty and the smell great,” John commented and regarded the Doctor who looked like he’d been dusted with flour in the same manner as the kitchen. “Having fun?”
“We’re baking,” the Doctor confirmed.
“I can see that, and making mess?” John offered. “I hope you’re going to be helping to clean it up as well.”
“Uncle Doctor is too poorly to clean up,” Jack advised.
“Is he now?” John asked as the Doctor laughed and nodded. “We’ll ask Aunty Sue about that when she gets home, in ooo?” John looked at his watch. “Ten minutes or so?”
Greta made a cup of coffee for John and Michael got lifted up into his high chair so that he could help decorate the cup cakes with melted chocolate, banana slices, and chocolate buttons. Though he seemed to manage to eat more of them than made it to the top of the cakes he was decorating. “Cake!” Michael beamed. “Doftor! Cake!” He passed one of his cakes over to the Time Lord.
“Thank you very much,” the Doctor grinned. “That looks like a lovely cake.” He offered and swapped it with one of the ones he had decorated so that it had chocolate button eyes and a banana smile. Michael giggled when he saw it and then bit straight into the top of it getting melty chocolate all over his face immediately. John just sighed and then regarded the Time Lord and smiled knowingly. “Secret weapons?” the Doctor queried when he noticed John smiling at him.
“Sorry?” John tried to look innocent and glanced at Jack who as giggling and ducking down behind the other side of the kitchen counter.
“Jack here believes that you have a couple of secret weapons stashed for if I stayed in bed too long,” the Doctor challenged his brother. John just nodded. “You got some Torchwood torpedoes stashed somewhere?”
“Yeah, two of the worst kind,” John laughed. “It looks like they might be working?” He asked. The Doctor smiled though it was not convincing. John knew it was early days and they were going to have hard times, but he was picking Ryan up in a couple of days after he got debriefed from his return from Africa and he was coming over for the remainder of his gap year to do some hospital work with Sue and to spend time with the Doctor.
“Have you got torpedoes?” Jack asked his dad wide eyed from the kitchen side of the counter. He had chocolate all over his face and cake batter in his hair and flour all down his school polo shirt.
“No, don’t be daft.” John chuckled. “But, do you know what I do have?” he asked Jack.
“What is that?”
“Toe-pedoes!” John exclaimed and made tickling gestures with his hands.
“Aaarrrghh no! Daddy?! Not toe-pedoes!” Jack shrieked and giggled and ran off as his dad gave chase.
“You wish to go back to Torchwood, no?” Greta grinned at the Time Lord as he watched John playing. He grabbed Jack and turned him upside down, holding him in one hand and tickling him with the other as Jack shrieked and giggled and wriggled. Michael was clapping and spraying chocolate cake crumbs all over the place that Welly was scooting around the kitchen to lick up from the floor much to Greta’s dismay. The Doctor’s smile reached his eyes.
“No,” he offered honestly and sincerely. “I think this is just fine.”