Disclaimer: Foyle's War is a copyright product and does not belong to me. No infringement is meant, characters used for entertainment only.
Rating: U, suitable for all.
A/N: I know it's not our main man's birthday, I didn't get this finished in time. Story of my life really, lol. Hope you don't mind a brief diversion from my other scribblings...
"That's a lot of cards Daddy. You and Mummy must know lots of people."
Ex Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle looked at the array of birthday cards dotted around the sitting room and couldn't bring himself to disagree with his daughter. Another birthday. They came around so quickly these days.
"It would appear so."
He picked up one or two at random and read the salutations inside.
"Are any of them from people you put in jail?"
Standing facing the mirror above the mantel, Foyle was perfectly placed to see the expression of surprise on his face. He replaced the card with care amongst its companions and turned to look at Rose.
"N..no, no, I'm quite certain that none are from people I put in jail."
At seven years of age, the world was still quite simple for Rose. Foyle would be sad to see that innocence go, as one day it must.
"Why not? They were naughty and they got sent to jail, so they must be glad that you stopped them being naughty."
His lips twitched as he regarded the serious green eyes looking back at him.
Rose inhaled for her next question, but Foyle fielded her with the ease of long practice.
"Is that someone calling from the kitchen?"
Rose lit up.
"Mummy's making a cake. She's making little ones too. She said I could help with the icing."
She puffed with importance. Foyle smoothed his tie out of habit before realising that he wasn't wearing it yet.
"You'd better run along then. Can't keep the icing waiting."
The door was already banging back on its hinges; he was talking to thin air. He turned back to the cards.
"'Youth is wasted on the young'."
"Talking to yourself again, Dad? That's a bad sign."
Foyle looked up and saw his eldest daughter had entered the room.
"I'm not quite ready for the funny farm yet, Iris. I was just talking to Rose."
Iris looked around the room with exaggerated care.
"I say, has Adam perfected his invisibility cloak after all? You appear quite alone."
Foyle pulled a face, but it was lost on Iris, who at eleven thought she was far too old for silliness.
"No, your mother has baked cakes, Rose is icing. Adam is polishing his shoes. Your twin is more assiduous in his duties than some I could mention."
Iris contrived to look bored.
"Fraternal, not identical; chalk and cheese."
"Are you the chalk or the cheese?"
"The bees knees Daddy-o."
Foyle's eyebrows raised in query.
"Chill, man. I'm the cheese, Louise."
"Are you actually speaking English, because sometimes I'm not sure."
Exasperation made Iris resort to plain English.
"Honestly Dad, you'd think you were a hundred the way you talk. It's 1960 baby, Elvis is the King."
"Actually, I think you'll find that Elizabeth is still the Queen."
"Yes, Yes, I know, but Elvis is the King – of rock and roll, baby! Honestly, don't you know anything?"
Foyle regarded his daughter with a policeman's eye. Blue eyes so similar to his own looked back at him briefly before dropping to the piece of cushion piping that she was fiddling with.
"What can this old man who knows nothing help you with, hmm?"
For a long moment, Foyle thought his daughter would remain silent. He watched her colour come and go until it settled on a delicate pink. Obviously whatever was bothering her was more important than her embarrassment.
Oh grief, not 'that' talk already.
"Dad. If I ask a question, would you not go all policeman on me?"
Please talk to your mother about this.
"I'll do my best, but perhaps your mother...?"
Iris shook her head.
"No, I need a man's opinion."
"I was going to ask Adam, but he's not a man yet, and probably won't be for ages, and besides, he's my brother..."
Iris squirmed, but soldiered on.
"...Do you think...possibly, that I'm...sort of ...nice...to look at? I mean, am I okay-ish? Not too bad?"
Foyle managed to relax slightly. He smiled gently so that his daughter would not think he was laughing at her.
"Answering as a man, I would say that you are a lovely young lady, who shows the promise of being a very attractive young woman, who will require the services of both her brother and father to keep all the young men from your door."
Iris managed a small uncertain smile.
"That's a 'yes', then?"
"Yes. You are pretty. You have lovely hair, beautiful eyes, clear skin - "
"Those, too. I like them. Your mother once told me that Grandma Stewart told her that they were baby beauty marks that God hadn't finished colouring in before he dropped them in her cradle."
Iris was quite diverted for a moment.
"Really? So, Mum didn't like them either?"
Foyle too, had been momentarily diverted, remembering the situation he had been in at the time of the freckle conversation. He forced his attention back to Iris.
"No, I assume not."
"She seems okay about them now. But does that mean that I have to wait until I'm really old like mum before I'm okay about them?"
Foyle was debating whether or not to feel insulted. If forty-one was considered 'really old', then what did that make him?
"I should ask your mother about that, you know she will give you an honest answer."
Iris jumped up and headed for the door to the kitchen while her father viewed himself in the mirror again, feeling every one of his sixty-two years, as he muttered under his breath.
"...while I stay here and think about the fact that most of your friends' grandfathers are my age."
Iris stopped, hesitant, her keen hearing having caught the gist of her father's comment.
"Yes, some of them are, but they're all slow, overweight and bal-..."
She managed to stop herself after a glance at her father's head.
"...um, not like you at all, y'know. You're active and still slim-ish, and you're around for the fun stuff, not just the telling off, unlike other dads that are out at work."
Foyle did not know whether to laugh or cry, but he took his daughter's comment in the spirit it was meant, and felt overwhelmed with love for his family.
"Thank you, Iris. I appreciate that. I'm glad that I'm here for the fun stuff too."
Iris smiled, suddenly looking a lot like her mother.
She vanished after her sister and the room was quite again. Foyle turned away from the cards, feeling better than he did a few moments ago, and found that he was no longer alone. His wife of twelve years regarded him with fond amusement from the doorway to the hall.
"Penny for them?"
He indicated the cards.
"Feeling my age. What on earth do you see in me, Sam?"
His wife sighed theatrically, shaking her head.
"I see a man I respect, adore, cherish and love beyond anything else. The father of my children, the keeper of my heart. We have this very conversation every year. As I have said before, you should enjoy the now; in ten years you'll look back and say, 'gosh, I was only sixty-two, look how much younger I was then than I am now'."
Foyle allowed a wry smile to escape.
"You're right, of course."
Sam crossed to her husband, going in to his arms.
"Happy Birthday, darling."
She kissed him and he was happily lost to the moment.
Adam passed the open doorway, carrying his polished shoes. He stopped dead.
"Oh, gross, mum and dad are snogging!"
Rose's voice came from the kitchen.