Warning: Contains slight angst, usage of a mild swear word and a reference to custard (see my fic Goody Bag View Cam Returns, which is Chapter 12 in A Tale of a Few View Cams).
Summary: Set in a fluffy AU where the Doctor and Donna have two young sons, John has returned home.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters from Doctor Who, only the two people I've given them to love.
A/N: This was written with hints by missdoctordonna.
A/N2: The whippet joke is an old Morecombe & Wise one
A/N3: John's return will continue in a new series of stories.
Chapter 5 - Back Where He Belongs
"Donna?" John began hesitantly, worried that his words would offend. "Why does Jamie keep referring to me as his brother?"
"Oh that! Does that worry you?" Donna tried to laugh it off, and then considered him. "We did explain how you came into being to both the boys, but Jamie in particular decided that made you his brother as well as his uncle, and since it seemed to make you more real for him I let him carry on thinking that." She tenderly caressed his hand, and then leant over to kiss his cheek, "I hope you aren't too eeked out by that… I mean… I could see his logic… and normally it was only said between the two of us."
"So what do you think I am? Your child or your brother?" his soft question tugged at her heart strings.
"I think of you more as my brother, but if I'm honest you… you… oh you're going to say I'm stupid for saying this… but I've missed you as if you were my child." She wiped away a tear, "You left a gaping hole…," she patted her chest, "right here."
"I felt that way too," he grinned through his own unshed tears. "I used to…"
"What did you do, Timeboy?" she gently asked.
"I had that photo of us Jackie took, do you remember her doing it?" at her nod he continued, "I showed it to everybody I met. It made what I'd left behind feel real too, so I understand the 'brother' bit. It's a closer tie." They gripped each other's hands tightly, remembering recent grief unknowingly shared.
"We did the right thing finding you, didn't we?" Donna breathed a sigh of relief. "I was worried you'd tell us to bugger off and leave you alone in your fantastic new life."
"I'd never tell you to bugger off! Unless, of course, you catch me naked again," they giggled together.
"I can't help it if you're on a mission to flash me at every opportunity!" she sparkled at him. "Though I'll be more impressed when you get some meat back on your bones."
"Are you saying I'm skinny!" he retorted, a playful anger behind his words.
"Let's just say that you're in need of a meal or two," she gave him a little wink. "And I might be the woman for the job."
"Oh, I've missed your cooking. At least, I think I do!" he scowled for a second. "It's strange when you don't know if it's your own memory or someone else's."
"Either way it's a compliment, so I'll take it as such!" she gave his hands a squeeze. "How does slow-roasted beef, roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, mixed veg and gravy sound?"
He licked his lips enthusiastically, "Sounds great! Will it be followed by apple crumble and custard?"
Donna burst out laughing. Seeing his puzzled expression, she told him, "Sorry, but custard has all sorts of connotations for me now!" At that point Jamie entered the kitchen, so Donna whispered to John, "I'll tell you later!"
"Mummy, did I hear you mention dinner?" Jamie asked expectantly. "'Cos I'm starving!" he sidled over to Donna and sat on her lap.
"How unusual!" Donna smiled. "I think you have hollow legs at times, Squeaks."
"Nanny says I'm a growing lad," Jamie defended himself. A thought struck him. "You haven't met Nanny yet, have you Uncle John? You'll like her! She always has treats for us, and gives us lots of cuddles; though I'm a big boy now and soon won't be getting all that stuff."
"Oh you're never too old for cuddles!" John smiled at him.
"Do you think Nanny will like Uncle John, Mummy?" Jamie stared at John intently, "Or will she have the same problem liking him like she did Daddy. 'Cos he is the spitting image of Daddy, apart from the hair being a bit more…" his little hand waved about as he fought to find the word he was looking for.
"Ginger, Squeaks; there's a hint of ginger in there," Donna prompted. She smiled broadly, "Whatever you do, don't point that out to your dad unless you want him to throw a hissy fit." All three of them giggled together.
"Or the fact I'm miles younger," added in John.
"Oh yes! Not that one either!" agreed Donna, and they laughed some more. "I'd better get this dinner sorted out if little bodies are starving," Donna pushed Jamie off her lap so that she could stand, as she kissed his head fondly.
Jamie turned his eager attention back to John, "I like you Uncle John!"
"And I like you!" John told him. "You certainly are a mixture of your mum and dad to look at, but with a touch more Doctor."
Jamie beamed at him, "Mummy says I'm lovely like her."
John roared with laughter, "I can well imagine! Do you give great cuddles too?"
"Yep! I sure do!" and Jamie dashed around the table to throw his arms around John's neck, hugging him soundly. John hugged back.
"You were right," John let the boy break the embrace he'd enjoyed so much. "I think I'm going to like being your uncle a lot!"
"What about me?" came from the doorway, where Teddie stood. "Do I get a look in?"
John beckoned him over, "Room for one more!" And he was delighted when Teddie flew into his arms to hug him too.
"I love you Uncle John!" Teddie whispered close into his ear, giving him an extra squeeze. "We didn't forget you."
John felt the tears well up again, and he blinked them back desperately. He mumbled some reply into the boy's neck that Teddie didn't catch but understood anyway.
"I think I need to make a note of this moment, don't you?" Donna appeared waving a camera about. "How about a photo of my boys?"
"Where's Daddy?" Jamie put in. "You have to include Daddy!"
"Go get him then!" Donna ordered, throwing John a wink. "As if I could exclude him as well."
Jamie dragged in a slightly reluctant Doctor a few minutes later. "You know I hate having my photo taken!" he whined.
Donna patted his cheek, "Come on, just for me? I want to commemorate this special moment. I have all my boys finally back together."
"Yes dear!" he mocked, with his usual reply.
"That's it! Good obedient husband! Now get together a bit more… that's it… Smile! Say 'smelly socks'!" Donna directed them into a posing group.
"Smelly socks!" they all chimed, and the camera flashed a couple of times.
Donna viewed the images on the LED and grinned ecstatically. "Isn't there a timer button on that thing?" asked the Doctor as he made a grab for the camera. "Can't have a family photo without you in it!" He fiddled with the settings with an expert hand, then they all re-posed themselves again just in time for the flash to go off.
"What would I do without you?" Donna kissed the Doctor's cheek.
"Buy a whippet!" he and the boys recited, causing them to snigger.
"How long 'til dinner, Mum?" Teddie asked. "I'm hungry!"
"You poor half-starved thing!" Donna hugged him. "About an hour, so go entertain yourselves somewhere."
"I know! Why don't we go to the bowling alley?" suggested the Doctor. "We can easily split into two teams."
"Yay! I bagsy Uncle John!" exclaimed Jamie as he tugged on John's hand and pulled him towards the bowling alley.
"I'll take that as a 'yes' then! Are you okay on your own, love?" the Doctor looked towards Donna; but Donna merely shooed them off to go enjoy themselves and work up an appetite.
Just over an hour later the family sat down to enjoy a roast dinner feast, full of teasing chatter and bonhomie. "Who won the bowling match?" Donna asked innocently.
"Ah, well, it doesn't matter because we enjoyed ourselves," stated the Doctor.
"So I take it you lost then!" smirked Donna.
"You'd better believe it!" John chuckled. "Only by a short margin; I'm sure it was beginner's luck."
"Uncle John was brilliant at bowling!" added Teddie. "I bagsy him for our next match!"
"Watch it! Or we'll have a grown-ups against children match next time," the Doctor playfully threatened Teddie.
"You just want to win, you mean!" teased Teddie, and got a pretend clip round the ear for his cheek.
"Oi! Play nicely!" Donna glared. "Stop spoiling my dinner!"
"Sorry dear!" sing-songed the Doctor, and got his own pretend admonishment.
John happily sat back and watched his family; life didn't get better than this! And this was only his first proper day with them. He couldn't wait!