The Child Is Father To The Man
A Fanfic by Jennifer
The summer night was soft, not overly hot, not overly humid.
The army base was no longer a place for planning war, no, not this night, but for
celebrating peace. England had suffered bombing, air war, countless civilian
and military casualties...but had, in the end, known, as its Prime Minister had
put it, its "finest hour." She had helped to drive back the tide of
Nazi tyranny and stood, once more, with its allies at the summit of the world's
respect, and the people milling about the base on that warm summer night
bubbled with the joy of victory and patriotism as they milled into the base's
large communal hall. The sounds of tuning instruments could be
heard...occasionally a trumpet or clarinet would blast out a riff from
"Swing, Swing, Swing" or "Take The A Train."
In all the excitement, no one noticed the whirr of the small
blue box that had materialized out of nowhere, or the silver-haired gentleman
who stepped out of it to survey the scene before him with a smile.
"1945...and Benny Goodman and his orchestra here to help the populace
enjoy the peace," he called back over his shoulder. "Ready yet,
"Just allow me another minute, Doctor," a sweet
voice answered. "You did say that pillbox hats were in style around now,
"Yes, Jo...I'll just have a little stroll around while
you're finishing up," the Doctor answered. He felt so much freer now that
his Tardis was able to travel, and pleased with the idea of showing Jo this
particular period in his beloved England's history.
He breathed in the scents of the summer night and smiled at
the sounds of tuning instruments. He had with him, as souvenirs, some
recordings of the "swing revival" of the late twentieth century...the
Cherry Poppin' Daddies and the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the like. Jo had
fallen in love with them and nary a night went by that he didn't hear the
sounds of "Zoot Suit Riot" or "Mr. Pinstripe Suit" from her
room. Pleased that she was moving toward "real" music and away from
"that noisy rubbish" as he'd often put it, he offered to take
her to the heyday of "original" swing music. Benny Goodman was here
on this Royal Army base tonight, on one of his world tours, a talent to rival
that of Glenn Miller, so sadly lost during the war.
He cleared his throat and tried a few steps. Slow, slow,
quick-quick. Slow, slow, quick-quick...Swing, swing, swing, swing,
da-da-da-da-da-da-da… No, he hadn't lost his touch. Or his step. Wait until
Jo saw...he'd show her the meaning of the word "dance"! Not that he'd
monopolize her long. Not with handsome soldiers aplenty to claim the pleasure
of a dance.
"STOP THAT CAVORTING, AND STAND AT ATTENTION,
The Doctor, startled, whirled about to come face to face
with the small person who had produced that huge shout.
Immediately, he laughed. It wasn't so much that
the little boy--four or five, he'd surmise--was so small to be barking army
commands, or that he'd shouted so loud...it was the look of utter seriousness
on the little round face. The little boy wasn't just playing army...he
apparently believed in it to the nth degree. As much as he believed in the
mock-army uniform he was wearing...a perfect replica in miniature of a Royal
Army uniform, right down to a few medals carved out of silver-painted
cardboard. The uniform
was slightly worn in places, bespeaking that this boy had surveyed his troops
many times. To the boy, however, it was obvious that this was a perfect,
shining, authentic uniform, and that the medals were not cardboard but real
brass and silver, given for deeds of inestimable heroism.
Commander," the Doctor chuckled, "going to finish the job on what's left of the
Nazis tonight?" He
tousle the boy's unkempt mop of dark brown hair.
The boy drew
back, scowling threateningly. Apparently, no one tousled the hair of a hero of
the British Royal Army.
stand at attention, soldier," he ordered imperiously. "Is this how the world's
finest army acts? You expect
Jerry a thrashing if soldiers can't follow orders?"
decided not to remind the child that Jerry had already been thrashed. He stood
at attention briefly to
that Jerry will be beaten soundly with commanders like you at the helm," he
said solemnly. "Now, you're
are you? Let's see if we can find your mum and dad."
lost," the boy replied fiercely. "I'm looking for German spies. And my father's
a general and he won the
I'm sure," the Doctor smiled, noting the look of pure pride on the boy's face
at these last words.
child answered, briefly forgetting military demeanor in a rush of enthusiasm,
"and he would have shot
himself if he'd had the chance. And he says that we may have won, but we still
ought to be careful that some
don't sneak around our country and try anything funny. You know, to get back at
us." He scowled.
a spy, are you?"
was," the Doctor laughed. "You think I'd tell you just like that?"
apparently failed to see the humor. In a flash, the military bearing was back.
certainly would tell me," he said threateningly. "You'd tell me anything. I'm
wearing this uniform and that
means I'm in
the Royal Army, and that means you have to do whatever I say. And I think
you're a spy. And you'd
with me so I can take you to prison!"
was starting to lose his patience. It had been rather cute a moment ago, but
the boy was taking this just a
seriously. And if there was one thing he disliked, it was being ordered around…especially
who, at his age, would be in diapers if he were back on Gallifrey.
here, young man," he stated, "I am not a spy, I am not going to go with you to
prison, and wearing that
not make you the boss of anyone. Especially me. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm
going to go fetch my
around…and suddenly felt a sharp poke in the back. The boy had picked up a
nearby stick; apparently, in
it was a bayonetted rifle.
he hissed, eyes narrowed. "No one disobeys a British Army commander. And I'm
defend this island. And my father's going to have you hanged!"
glared at his "captor", hardly a third his size.
father, I'm sure," he answered, "will be more concerned with tanning your hide
than hanging me!"
you shot at dawn!"
"And I," a
voice boomed from behind them, "am inclined to agree with your friend there,
around to face a tall, handsome man in general's uniform. The Doctor smiled in
relief, but something
little odd. Something was familiar about the gentleman.
man intoned sternly, "shame on you! Talking like that to a guest. I've taught
you better manners than
that! Now, I
may have talked about stray spies, but I certainly don't think this man is
immediately relaxed. Apparently, if General Dad said so, it was so.
Dad," he said.
nice man you should say that to." And a twinkle appeared in the father's eye.
"That's an order from your
smiled up at the Doctor. He was a handsome lad, and would no doubt be charming
whenever he wasn't
he said. "I guess you're not a spy. Pass, friend."
the Doctor laughed, good temper restored. He grinned at the father. "Must keep
you in line."
certainly does," the general laughed. "My wife made him that uniform this past
Halloween and we can't get him
soldier's always ready to fight," the boy said. "You told me that, Dad."
"So I did,"
the father answered, ruffling the boy's hair (apparently this gesture was
allowed from his idol). "And you
are a good soldier, son." His sternness had
relaxed into fondness. "Hope you'll enjoy yourself tonight, sir." He
toward the base.
lingered behind to snap a salute at the Doctor, which the Doctor returned. But
suddenly the Time Lord felt
his jaw drop
as the father called back,
understand, when she caught up with the Doctor, why he was standing there
open-mouthed like an idiot.
At least not
until he explained.
the Brigadier understand, upon their return, why the Doctor took one look at
him and started laughing so hard he was virtually incoherent for the next three
anyone who didn't see it coming, raise your hand. And if you don't know
the tune "Swing Swing Swing"…it's that tune that you hear in the
Chips Ahoy commercials. It's also prominent in the movie "Swing
All in all,
a lighter look at our beloved Brig's childhood than "When The Tigers Broke