A/N: Just a little Father's Day one-shot that fits in The Holiday 'Verse. It was supposed to be posted on Father's Day. Oops.
Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who or anything related. That all goes to the BBC.
"What's all this?" the Doctor asked as he helped Rose sort through the bags Jackie had dropped off along with her son a few minutes previously.
"Since Dad's off work for the next couple of days, Tony needs help making his Father's Day present away from the mansion," she answered, smiling at her younger brother.
"Ooooh! A project! And what are we making today?"
Tony's eyes lit up at his almost-brother-in-law's enthusiasm. "Plasta' handprints!"
"Brilliant!" the Doctor exclaimed. "Love a good clay handprint, me. You know I once met a sentient plaster-"
"Annnnd that's enough of that!" Rose cut him off. "Tony go wash and dry your hands. The instructions say you need clean, dry hands to do this. The Doctor and I will get the mix ready while you do." After the young boy trotted off to the loo, she turned around and kissed the pout off the man next to her. "Now don't be like that. You know what my mum said on Easter. We need to be careful about what stories we tell Tony for awhile. He's been sayin' things to his playmates and they don't understand. They think he's making things up and kids can be cruel. Until he's old enough to understand what we can share with people and what we can't, we need to watch what we say around him."
The Doctor shook his head. Easter had been a quiet affair, just a small lunch at the Tyler mansion followed by an Easter egg hunt in the backyard. That night, the Doctor had offered to put Tony to bed and ended up telling his finance's younger brother stories of his previous travels in the TARDIS. When Jackie Tyler overheard, she was none too pleased. "I don't like lying to him."
"We're not lying," she argued. "We're just not telling him about sentient plaster people that you met on the planet Skaloof."
"It was the planet Skaloff," he corrected with a huff.
"S'cuse me. The planet Skaloff. Now can you help me mix the non-sentient plaster up?"
"Fine, fine," he answered as Tony came racing back in the room with still damp hands.
Once Tony's hands were dry and the plaster properly mixed, Rose and the Doctor helped Tony place his hands in the setting. "Rose?" the boy asked as he resisted the urge to wiggle his fingers in the squishy mixture.
"Did you ever make your first daddy plaster handprints?"
Rose's breath caught in her throat. "N-no, sweetheart. He died when I was still a baby."
"Oh. What about you, Doctor?"
He raised his eyebrows. "Huh?"
The young boy giggled at his response. "Did you ever make your dad plaster handprints?"
The Doctor blinked several times as he thought about how best to respond to the question. "Well, no. No, I can't say I ever did."
"Then what did you give your dad for Father's Day?" he inquired.
"The thing is, Anthony, Father's Day wasn't really celebrated where I'm from."
"It just... wasn't. My-" he cleared his throat as he searched for the right word, "-family didn't celebrate things like Mother's Day or Father's Day. And, well, I wasn't very close to my father. We weren't like you and your daddy."
Tony stayed silent as Rose helped him lift his hands out of the wet plaster. After he quickly washed his hands, he used the small stick his sister handed him to write out a special message above his hand prints. "I'm sorry about you and your daddy, Doctor."
The Doctor smiled. "Quite all right."
"But at least you have my daddy now. And when you and Rose get married he'll be your father-in-law," he pronounced carefully.
As if a light bulb had lit up above his head, Tony gasped with glee. "I know! You and Rose can make Daddy handprints too!"
Rose and the Doctor looked at each other in equal surprise. "But I already about 'im a tie, sweetheart," the former told the lad.
"But you buy him a tie every year," he responded his an exasperated eye roll.
"Well, he likes ties."
"Yeah, but he would like this too! Come on, Rose! Please! Doctor?"
Making eye contact over Tony's head, the couple shared an amused look. "What do you think, Doctor?"
"I think," the Doctor grinned, "we're going to need more plaster."
A couple of weeks later the Doctor was strolling into Pete's office at Torchwood Headquarters. Though the Doctor didn't work at Torchwood full time, he was always there whenever he was needed. Of course the only reason he was needed that day was to drop off some of the ginger nuts Rose had made the previous night. But still, it was an important job! When he entered Pete's office, he saw that a couple new pictures had been added to the desk, including a family shot taken on Easter. Behind the desk was a large shelf where Pete kept everything varying from artifacts that had been gifted to him by visiting aliens, pictures Tony had made him with finger paints, and certificates that Rose had received while working for Torchwood and building the Dimension Cannon. Now, on the middle of the shelf were three new additions "Oh," was the Doctor's only verbal response to the surprising sight.
Swinging his chair around, Pete saw what had caught the Doctor's eye. "Oh, yes! Had to give my Father's Day presents a place of honour."
"You..." he swallowed. "You put mine up as well."
"Course I did! Why wouldn't I?"
"I'm not, I mean... I understand why you would display Rose and Tony's. But why mine?"
Pete gave a small half smile and gestured for the Doctor to take a seat. "You know," he began, "my youngest has been quite distraught recently. He told me all about how you never celebrated Father's Day with your own father. How the two of you were never close."
He cleared his throat and said, "Things worked differently on my planet. Family units weren't like what humans are accustomed to. I didn't mean to upset him. He asked and I-"
"It's okay, Doctor," the other man assured. "You know, aside from Rose, you're his favourite person. He cares about you."
"I care about him too," the Doctor replied, swallowing a lump in his throat.
"You know, you'll make a great father someday, whenever you and Rose decide to have children. If you decide to. No pressure of course."
"I don't know about that. I've been a father before. Was sort of rubbish at it." His gaze fell once again on the plaster handprints. "I was a bit better at being a grandfather, but even then." He shrugged.
Pete stayed silent for a few minutes before saying, "You know, sometimes I forget what a long life you've lived. You do a good job, playing the young lighthearted man engaged to my daughter. But then I remember that my wife is a parallel version of my first wife and my daughter is the actually the daughter of a parallel version of myself and nothing is really as it seems."
"Sometimes I like to forget myself."
"I imagine after everything you've seen and experienced forgetting for a little while would be nice reprieve."
"Well," he drew out, "maybe for a bit. But it's my duty to remember."
With a smile Pete pointed to his shelf behind him. "Do you know what everything on the shelf represents to me? It's all the stuff I'm proud of. Those gifts from other planets remind me how proud I am of what Torchwood has become in this world. I know it was corrupt in your original universe, or at least it started that way, but here we do good work. Those pictures Tony's painted me? Those remind me of just how damn proud I am of that kid and how excited he is about life. The certificates Rose was awarded remind me of how proud I am of her and how she handled everything life threw at her while she worked so hard to, not just get back to you, but to save the multiverse in the process." He stood up from his chair and moved to pick the plaster plaque that held the imprints of the Doctor's hands. "I know you made this to appease Tony, but it really does mean a lot to me and it deserves a place of honour on the shelf."
"Pete, I..." the Doctor trailed off at a loss for words.
"I know I'm not your father and that you are, in fact, much older than I am, but I want you to know, Doctor, that I am very proud of you and the man you've become."
The Doctor was awestruck. Never had those words been said to him, and for good reason. "You don't... I don't... You shouldn't be. The things I've done, Pete..."
"Were things you should have never had to experience," Pete injected. "But you made the choices you had to. You stood up and made the hard decisions when nobody else would or could. You may not feel like you deserve it, a sentiment I hope changes for you, but why don't you let me be the judge of what and who I'm proud of."
He nodded. "Thank you. And for the record, I hope that if Rose and I ever do have children, that I will be half the father you are."
"No, son. You'll be better."