Disclaimer: I own little Sophie, but as for the rest of it, nah, not me. The standard people own the standard things, RTD, Moffat, The BBC, etc.
Summary: Sophie turns 5, it’s a little sad, a little sweet, a little funny, kind of everything in one.
Spoilers: Day 4 and Day 5 of COE, sorry…
A/N: This continues on from “The First Year” and “Orange-Yellow,” you won’t really get it unless you read those first.
A/N 2: It’s AU, and the fifth in a series.
Characters: Jack, Ianto, Sophie, Ten
Beta: cookielaura, you are wonderful!
Word Count: 2,188
The Fifth Year
“Daddy, daddy, daddy!” squealed Sophie Harkness. She charged into her father’s bedroom and jumped onto his belly. “Daddy! Guess what?”
“Sophie’s awake,” Ianto said from the doorway, “she’s very excited to tell you something.”
“I can hear,” chuckled Jack. He yawned and grabbed his daughter, he pinned her to his chest and covered her head with kisses. “What is so important baby? What could possibly be so important that you had to wake me up? What is so special about today?”
Sophie looked at Jack and smiled happily, “I’m five today!”
“What?” gasped Jack. “No way, it couldn’t be.”
“Yes I am,” she challenged. “Five years ago today, you were at the Hub and Auntie Martha was cutting me out of your tummy, and I can never ever tell anyone here that story, because no one would understand that my daddy carried me in his tummy and not my mummy.”
“And that makes you what?” asked Ianto, playing his part in what had become the birthday version of the little girl’s morning ritual.
“Very, very, very, very SPECIAL!” she shouted as she jumped off of Jack and ran back to Ianto. She hugged his leg and grinned up at him. “I’m special enough to have strawberry pancakes for breakfast right?”
“Special enough to have a sip of coffee?” she asked cheekily.
Jack laughed from the bed, “Oh you walked right into that one, Ianto Jones!”
“Hmmm,” her tad paused, “I think you’re special enough to have strawberry pancakes and some of my special hot chocolate with whipped cream, sprinkles, AND a toasted marshmallow.”
“Yay! Yay! Yay!” she shouted as she tore out of their bedroom and down the stairs to the kitchen.
“Is the Doctor coming today?”
“He hasn’t missed a birthday yet,” said Jack. He stood up from the bed and walked into the closet. “Even if there’s something going on, he makes it a point to come and see her.”
“Taddy! Breakfast!” yelled Sophie from downstairs.
“Better get to feeding her, lest she get like me,” said Jack with a smile.
“Your manners are only atrocious in bed,” Ianto teased affectionately. He moved from the doorway and headed to the kitchen. “Sophia Rhiannon Harkness, if I find you anywhere near that kitchen, doing anything to make breakfast on your special day, I will frog march you back upstairs and leave it up to your father to decide how much he should tickle you.”
“Ahhh,” the little girl shrieked, and scurried out of the kitchen. Ianto heard the telly click on and the sounds of the latest animated program fill the living room.
Five Hours Later
“How are you today Princess?” asked the Doctor as he opened their front door and wandered into the kitchen where Ianto and Sophie were eating lunch.
“Doctor!” said Sophie happily from the kitchen table. “Can I get up Taddy?” she asked as she jumped up from the table and threw her arms around the Doctor’s waist.
“Of course,” he replied with slight shake of his head and a smile. “How are you Doctor?”
“Oh fine, good, really never better. Being off on my own, well, it makes having friends to come visit all the more special. So listen Ianto, I was thinking, how about Sophie come with me for a week? Just five days really, give you and Jack a chance to be all couple-like, maybe work on a sibling for her? What do you say?”
“It sounds fine to me, but you can run it by Jack just to be sure.”
“Run what by Jack?” he asked as he loped into the kitchen.
“I was just asking Ianto if I could take Sophie for a week, kind of a dual birthday present, a vacation for her and for you. But I realised that I have to ask both parents first, protocol and all.”
“Ianto, Sophie, could you give me and the Doctor a moment?” Jack asked slowly.
“Okay,” said Ianto, recognising the sudden elevation in tension in the kitchen. “Come on Sophie, let’s go and wait for Uncle Rhys and Auntie Gwen outside.”
“‘Kay,” she replied and slid her hand uncertainly into her tad’s.
As soon as they had stepped out and shut the door, Jack turned and wheeled on the Doctor. “Spill it! What’s about to happen?”
The Doctor sighed and looked down as he fiddled nervously with something in his pockets. There was a long pause before he looked up and said, “I’m sorry Jack, it’s a fixed point, I can’t interfere, much. All I can do is remove Sophie from the situation because her name never comes into it, and with her special circumstances – it is for the best.”
“Does something happen to me? To Ianto? Gwen?”
The Doctor looked at his old companion with a somber expression, “I’m so sorry Jack.”
“Sorry for what? Doctor, you have to tell me!”
“I can’t Jack, you know the rules. I can only do this. Let me do this little bit, what I can do for you, please let me do.”
Jack let out a long breath and looked at the ceiling, he blinked back a tear and muttered, “Should I retcon myself?”
“No, I haven’t told you what’s going to happen, just, just, be ready.”
“Okay, okay, yes, take her tonight after the party. We’ll tell her that it’s a special treat, just be a quick trip, she’ll be back in a week. But Doctor,” he said quietly, “make sure that you protect my daughter. Promise me Doctor, if five days isn’t enough, you don’t bring her back until it is totally safe.”
“Of course Jack, of course I will. Now!” he exclaimed as he clapped his hands together, “let’s make this a good party!”
Two Hours Later
“What do you pack for a five year old these days? Her entire wardrobe?” grumbled the Doctor as he lugged Sophie’s fourth suitcase into the control room.
“Just because you wear a ratty brown coat and an ill-fitting suit every day, doesn’t mean that the rest of us do,” said Jack. He was standing at the door with the Sophie on his hip while Ianto stared agog at the sight in front of him. “What do you think Ianto?”
“It’s magnificent, it really is. I get what you mean Jack,” he muttered, “I finally get it.”
“Well thank you Mr. Jones,” said the Doctor.
“Sophie, are you ready for your special trip?”
“Yes Daddy,” she said.
“Well how about a big hug and kiss for me and your Taddy?”
She jumped down and threw her arms around Ianto’s middle. He bent down and lifted her up into a tight embrace. “I love you sweetheart. We’ll see you in five days. Be good yeah?” he whispered.
“‘Kay Taddy, I love you,” she replied as she wrapped her arms around his neck.
“My turn now,” said Jack. He snaked his arms around his family and drew them close to him, “I love you Sophie, be a good girl and I’ll see you soon.”
“Okay Sophie, where would you like to go?” the Doctor said as he walked back down the ramp towards them. “Any preferences? Want to meet The Ood? They are impressive, OR, we could go to Space Disneyland, you’d love that.”
“I could meet Mickey Mouse in space?” she asked happily.
“Well Doctor, I think your destination is set,” laughed Jack. He kissed Sophie’s head and unwound Ianto’s arms from her middle. “Bye baby!”
“Bye Daddy! Bye Taddy!”
Jack led Ianto down the ramp and out the door of the TARDIS; he slid an arm around his waist and kissed his neck. “She’ll be fine,” he murmured.
“I know,” Ianto said quietly.
Jack leaned over and kissed Ianto slowly, putting every emotion that he couldn’t ever say out loud into it. Jack opened his eyes, capturing a memory of the young man before him, unconsciously knowing that they had precious little time left. He broke away and whispered, “I’ll be back later. I have something I need to do.” He ran a hand through the Welshman’s hair, “I’m only going to be gone for a bit, and when I come back, we’ll pick up where we left off…”
Six Months and Five Days Later
The TARDIS landed with a thump back on Earth, sending her two passengers sliding to the floor in a heap.
“Can I go Doctor? I want to see Daddy and Taddy!”
“Wait a minute Sophie, they’ll still be there after I get my coat on and unlock the door,” called the Doctor. He untangled his coat from around the railing and slid it on. “Okay, open the door.”
Please let him be all right, thought the Doctor.
The ship had honed in on the coordinates that appeared on the psychic paper a fortnight ago. The Doctor didn’t know what they’d find, but he knew that Jack would be there; whether Jack would be broken or not, that was another matter.
Sophie opened the door onto a wintery day in Cardiff Cemetery. The neat rows of headstones were covered with a faint coat of frost, and sparkled in the midday sun. This section of the cemetery had very few graves, and the headstones were clean and simple. At the end of one of the rows stood a hunched figure, bundled up tight in a blue coat. He knelt down and ran his fingers lovingly over a headstone.
“Daddy!” shrieked Sophie.
The man straightened up and turned towards the sound. He smiled sadly, “Hi Sophie.”
The little girl ran and threw her arms out as she collided with her father. “Daddy, I missed you and Taddy so much! But me and the Doctor had so much fun! We went to Space Disneyland, and chased Mickey Mouse, and hugged Minnie Mouse, and rode on all the rides, and the Doctor got sick, he threw up on one of the spinning rides. The Disney people said he shouldn’t have eaten so many frozen, chocolate covered bananas, but then the Doctor said he liked bananas, Daddy, why does the Doctor like bananas so much?”
Jack pushed Sophie’s hair back from her forehead and stared down at her through very tired eyes. “I don’t know baby.”
Sophie looked around, “Where’s Taddy?”
“Oh Sophie…Sophie something happened while you were with the Doctor.”
“What happened Daddy? Is Taddy hurt?”
“Baby, Taddy died.”
The little girl’s blue eyes darkened and filled with tears. “Taddy died?” she whispered.
Jack lifted his daughter into his arms and held her close to him. “I’m so sorry Sophie. Taddy died saving lots of kids like you from some really bad people. He went somewhere dangerous, and told those bad people that they weren’t going to hurt any more kids. Then they did something that made him very sick, and he, he died.”
“Why didn’t you go to the dangerous place? You can’t die! Why did Taddy go?”
“Sophie, Taddy and I were there together. I told him to stay behind, but he knew that I’d need his help and he followed me. I was with him at the end.”
Her face was pressed into his coat as she said, “But there’s more isn’t there?”
“You’re not old enough to understand how I finally stopped the bad people. I’m pretty old, and even I can’t understand why I did what I did. I’ve had six months alone to try and figure it out, but I don’t think that I ever will.”
She leaned back and looked up into Jack’s face, “You’re hurting.”
“You’re right baby, I am, but having you with me makes me feel a little bit better.”
“Is this Taddy’s grave?”
“Yeah it is,” whispered Jack.
“Taddy needs flowers on his grave!” Sophie said quickly. “He liked the flowers in the back garden, I want him to have something pretty.”
“That’s a really good plan sweetheart. Let’s go and find the Doctor, see if he can’t find some nice flowers for us,” said Jack hoarsely.
He carried Sophie back towards the TARDIS, but when they got there, the ship had gone. All they saw were Sophie’s little suitcases and a large arrangement of Christmas roses.
“He didn’t even say goodbye,” she said softly.
“He does that sometimes. Yet he thinks I have a flair for the dramatic,” sighed Jack. “But look baby, he left us some flowers to put on Taddy’s grave. Should we go and do it?”
“Yeah,” she said in a small voice.
Jack set Sophie down and picked up the flowers. He slid Sophie’s hand into his, and together, father and daughter went back to say a sad and silent goodbye to the man that they both loved.
As they were walking from the gravesite Jack said, “Sophie, I’m going away for a little while. I just need some time away from this planet. I do want you to come with me, but if you want to stay with Auntie Gwen and Uncle Rhys and go to school and be normal until I come back, I’ll understand. They know that you’re like me, and you’d probably stay home with Auntie Gwen and her baby, but you’d get to stay in one place for a time.”
“No,” she said flatly. “I don’t want to be away from you anymore.”
Jack nodded, “We’ll come back one day, I promise, when we’re both ready.”
To be continued in The Seventh Year