Chapter Two

(Torchwood, Cardiff…)

Jack Harkness took a sip of coffee as he sat in his office. He was reading a report from PC Andy about a recent attack in downtown Cardiff. According to the report, there were ghostlike things attacking people. They appeared to be ghosts but they had seriously injured three people, putting all of them in the hospital. Whatever the things were, they had claws. His team was compiling data, checking the rift and preparing to go out and confront whatever these things were. It was going to be a grueling day and Jack hoped they could finish up in time to go back home for Hope's birthday party.

While he read the report, he felt the Doctor nudging at his mind and he opened it, allowing him entry. He was not officially a Time Lord since he didn't want to give up his immortality so he didn't have the morass of consciousness that everyone else did. But the Doctor did teach him to shield his mind from unwanted telepathic intrusions after someone took control of it and tried to use him as an assassin so now anyone that needed to speak to him had to psychically knock first.

Yes, he thought to the Doctor.

It's Hope's birthday, did you know that, the Doctor thought back.

Of course I did, Jack thought. We are trying to track down these wraith creatures but we're hoping to be back in time for the party tonight.

I…forgot, the Doctor thought sheepishly. I wouldn't have known if my daughter hadn't left a note for me. Alan and Rose took her to get a birthday breakfast while me and the wife took the dogs to the vet for a checkup. I feel embarrassed now.

Eh, I forget birthdays all the time, Jack thought to him.

You didn't forget Hope's birthday.

Only because she reminded me a few days ago. Otherwise, I would have forgot.

Well, I feel a bit better now. Anyway, hope to see you and the others at the party tonight.

We'll be there. If not all of us, some of us, Jack said.

The Doctor wished him luck and Jack put the mental barrier back up when he felt the Doctor's mind retreating.


"Okay! Here we are!" Alan said when Daisy landed and powered down. "Are you ready for a birthday feast?"

"Yes!" Hope said as she and Rose stood up.

"And you," he said, pointing to Rose. "Are you ready for mush or perhaps some gruel or something. I can't pay for both of you!"

"In that case, I'll wait till you leave, take Daisy and go somewhere else on my own," Rose said.

"And touch my ship! Are you nuts, woman?" Alan said, thrusting his arms out while Hope giggled. "No one touches my ship but me! You are not even to breathe on…OI!" Alan said when Hope ran up and put her finger on a lever on the console. "I just said…"

He tousled her hair when she giggled and beckoned for her and Rose to follow him. He went to the door, opened it and peeked out before he opened it fully. The TARDIS had landed in the middle of an alley, next to a dumpster filled with trash bags. Alan stopped Hope and Rose when they started to walk past him.

"Wait!" he said to Hope. "See this?" he said, pointing to the dumpster.

"Yeah," Hope said, staring at it.

"See this?" he said, pointing to one of the trash bags.

"Yes," Hope said, looking at it.

"This…is a rubbish skip and a bin bag. And that concludes your birthday adventure, nothing more to see here, get back inside!" he said as he tried to shove Hope back inside Daisy.

"No! I want to see more!" Hope yelled as Rose stepped back and watched them with a grin.

"I can't let that happen!" Alan said dramatically as he playfully shoved her towards the TARDIS. "Already, I've overloaded your mind with too much sensory input. If I show you something else, it might go ker-splody and then I'll have to pay for your funeral. That is, if I live long enough to pay for it. Now, back inside, missy!"

Hope spun around and tried to run past him and squealed when Alan grabbed her from behind and held her against his body in a tight bear hug.

"No!" he yelled as Hope squealed with delight. "Friends don't let friends go ker-splody!"

"Help, Aunt Rose! I wanna see more than a bin bag today!" Hope yelled as Alan held her close to his body.

"Don't interfere, spousal unit, or you'll be celebrating our divorce on the same day as her birthday!" Alan said to Rose.

"Here, let me," Rose said, walking towards Alan.

Hope giggled when Alan gave her a wary look.

"Be warned, I will go kung-fu on your arse if you interfere," Alan said to her. "I will be shoving my fists of fury in your face if you try to stop me from preventing ker-splody!"

"See, in order to make him docile, you have to hit the docile button on top of his head," Rose said to Hope. "Watch."

She mimed pressing a button on top of Alan's head and Hope giggled when a wide-eyed blank look came over Alan's face and he let go of Hope before standing at rigid attention.

"See, docile button," Rose said to Hope while Hope giggled. "Had it installed under his skull ages ago so he'd obey when I needed him to. But he doesn't know about it because I did it in his sleep so don't tell him when he snaps out of it."

"Okay, Aunt Rose," Hope said.

"Now, what were you saying?" Rose said sweetly to Alan.

"I was saying that obedience is desirable," Alan said in a monotone voice. "Obedience is the ultimate goal. I love to obey."

"Good," Rose said while Hope laughed harder. "Now…take us somewhere so we can have our breakfast."

"I will obey because obedience is good," Alan said in his monotone voice. "Obedience is the ultimate goal. I…"

Alan began to quiver as he stared into space with wide eyes.

"Must…break…free of…control," Alan said in a pained voice while Hope sniggered. "Must…fight…docile…button."

"He's fighting it, Aunt Rose," Hope said, pointing to Alan.

"Well, then I need to initiate Plan B then," Rose said to her.

"What's that?" Hope said.

She howled with laughter when Rose gave Alan a swift kick in the butt at the same time she yelled, "OBEY!"

"Ow, you mean thing," Alan said, glaring at his wife while he rubbed his butt. "Well, turnabout is fair play then!"

Hope squealed with laughter when Alan chased his wife out of the alleyway.

"Wait for me!" Hope yelled while she chased after them.


The Doctor sat on the sofa in his living room and stared into space, deep in thought. He felt bad for forgetting his daughter's birthday but it'd only been a couple of centuries since he started keeping track of birthdays on a regular basis. Before that, he really hadn't bothered. He had celebrated his companion's birthdays when they traveled with them but that was only when they bothered to tell him what day it was. He didn't make anyone fill out a data sheet when they came on board the TARDIS and he had long since forgotten the date of his own birthday, which was why he celebrated it on Valentine's Day when his wife had hers. Not to mention the fact that he had so many children, it was hard to keep track of all of them and then there was the constant burden of being a Time Lord and trying to keep the universe running as smoothly as he could make it along with Xashon and the council and their concerns.

"Blimey, it's a wonder I remember the names of my family at all with everything going on in my life," he said to himself.

Still, he couldn't help but beat himself up as he was wont to do. It was embarrassing to him, especially since everyone around him remembered. He had spoken to most of his family by telepathy and they were getting the party ready which filled him with relief. If it'd been left to him, nothing would have gotten done and they'd be eating sandwiches and tea.

Not to mention, he needed to find a gift to give his daughter. He wanted to give her something special and he was wracking his brain, trying to think of something when he heard a knock on the front door. He was going to get up to get it when the door opened and Tara peeked inside.

"Hey, Daddy," she said as stepped inside. "How's tricks?"

"Tricks are progressing normally, daughter. How's tricks with you," he said as she turned and shut the door behind her.

"Tricks are progressing normally," she answered before walking over to kiss him. "We're getting Hope's party ready. When are you and Mom going to be coming?"

"When I stop feeling guilty for forgetting my own daughter's birthday so it may be several days," he said while Tara bent down to kiss his cheek.

"Oh, Daddy, it isn't the first time you've forgotten. Don't linger on it. You have eight kajillion family members, you know."

"Don't remind me. Things were simpler when I was just me and a few friends traveling time and space," he said before he kissed her back. "I wasn't required to remember the birthdays of half a planet's population then."

"What are you getting Hope for her birthday?" Tara said.

"Dunno. Thinking that over now. Alan and Rose took her to get breakfast so I might pop out while she's gone and find something."

"Get her a puppy, she'll love you forever," Tara said over her shoulder as she went to find her mother.

"We have puppies. I just took them to the vet this morning," the Doctor said to her as she left the room. "The problem is she's growing up so fast, I'm not sure what to get her."

"She'll love whatever you get her, Daddy," he heard her say as she walked down the hallway. "Just relax and don't sweat it."

The Doctor nodded but he went back to thinking. He could hear his wife greeting their daughter somewhere in the back of the house and he smiled, thinking how much his family had enriched his life. He shuddered to think what might have happened if he never had them in his life, probably would still be the Valeyard's slave now or dead if the Valeyard ran out of uses for him. They were special to him and he wanted them to have special gifts. He continued to think, vaguely aware of his wife and daughter laughing at the back of the house. Then his eyes widened and he grinned when he suddenly had an idea for the perfect gift. He leapt up from the sofa and ran towards the back of the house to share his idea with his family members.

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