Author's Notes:
The Doctor isn't the only one keeping secrets this time....

Seven & Ace & Hex, double drabble.

Originally posted to AO3 as a gift for human_nature (AllyHR, romanajo123) in the Seasons of Drabbles Summer 2022 exchange.

Ace and Hex have been whispering behind his back lately. He doesn't take steps to find out—he's not sure he wants them to know how easily he can find out—but he can't help but worry. Has he done something that crossed one of those inscrutable human lines, and lost their trust without even knowing it? Has someone got to them and demanded something, threatening them if they told him their predicament?

He lets them have their secrets, for now. But when it all comes out, he realizes there are still sides of human nature he's never accounted for.

It was Hex who started it, trying to work out when his own birthday was due. Ace claimed that since turning eighteen she'd stopped counting. But what about the Doctor?

Ace insisted the TARDIS was helping them keep their party planning a secret: the Doctor, who usually walked in when least wanted, never interrupted.

When they sprang the surprise on him, he checked his pocket watch, then asked how they knew the day.

"We don't," said Ace, "we assigned you one. Like a racehorse."

"Or the Queen," added Hex.

"Officious troublemakers," said the Doctor, starting his second piece of cake.