Ok, so I'm going on vacation soon, so I'm going to update this story since you guys had to wait so long for the last chapter. This one was mostly inspired by a suggestion made by a reviewer called Jazzy, I hope you and everyone else enjoys it!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
Amy was laying out the breakfast dishes, so when the doorbell rang it was Rory who went to the door. "Oh, Angela. Good morning," he greeted his neighbor, a bit nonplussed. As his shifts were often irregular, most of what he knew about the blonde woman came from his wife, and they weren't altogether positive.
But the woman smiled warmly. "Good morning, Rory. I was wondering if you and Amy had a few minutes, or if I should come back later."
"Well," he began, not entirely sure if Amy ever had time for their neighbor. "Now would probably be best." Especially since it appeared the Doctor was still asleep. The woman smiled wider and stepped in, heading down the hallway to the kitchen. "Er, won't you come in?" He posed a bit late, sighing and shutting the front door.
He reached the kitchen just as Amy was greeting their guest. "Angela! How, uh, what are you doing here?"
"Good morning, Amy," the other woman replied, seating herself at the table. Rory tried his best to ignore that she was in the Doctor's chair. "I'd like to speak to you and your husband about something, if you don't mind."
"No, course not," Amy responded after a moment. "Er, can I get you something? Water, tea—"
"A coffee would be nice, if it's no trouble."
He exchanged a look with his wife, who hesitated before plastering a smile on her face. "Sure, just a moment." He saw the smile slip off the redhead's face as soon as she turned around. He felt like doing the same; the smell of coffee was rather overpowering to a Time Lord's nose, they'd recently figured out, and had resolved to stop drinking it at home. But in fairness to Angela, she couldn't know.
"So, um," Rory started as he took his own seat. "What exactly is this about? I mean, is there something we can help you with, or…?" He let it trail, hoping she would finally clue them in.
"Well, I did mention this to your wife some days ago, but I thought I'd just settle the matter myself. It's about John."
"John?" He asked blankly before Amy approached with the coffee and nudged him. He looked at her inquisitively and she sighed before jerking her head quickly in the direction of their upstairs. "Oh! Right, what about him?"
"Well he's been here an awfully long time and we haven't really had much chance to properly introduce ourselves. The neighborhood, I mean."
Rory and Amy exchanged a look. "Oh," his wife stated. "Well, uh, what did you have in mind?"
"Oh, nothing really. Patricia and I were talking to some of the other ladies and we thought it'd be nice just to have a little get-together. You know, a bit of a social for the street."
"Er…" Neither of them could really think of what to say. If they refused, Angela would want to know why. But they both were very certain that this was a very bad idea. After all, the Doctor at a party was hard enough to handle at the best of times. But the Doctor at a party being held for his sort-of undercover self?
They didn't get the chance to give their opinion, however, as the alien chose that moment to come practically hurtling down the stairs. "Ponds, you've—oh." The Doctor thankfully did not appear any differently than usual, and there was nothing that could possibly alarm their guest aside from pure manic energy. As it was, the woman raised an eyebrow as the Time Lord gathered himself, becoming the more reserved human John Smith. "Angela, what a pleasant surprise, good morning. I hadn't realized we were entertaining today."
Rory shrugged his shoulders just slightly, letting the other man know this hadn't been their idea. "Angela was wondering if we'd be up for a party. Just some of the neighbors, I guess, want to get to know you." He was having trouble gauging the Doctor's reaction; for one thing, the man kept wrinkling his nose every time he inhaled due to the coffee, and for the other, Rory wasn't sure if what he was seeing was his friend's response or the human they'd constructed for Angela's benefit.
John Smith smiled. "Well, that sounds quite nice. There's no need, though, really I'm not much of—"
The blonde cut across him smoothly, "We'd be delighted if you three could make it. I'm so glad I thought of this, it's just what we all need." She stood up. "Well, I'd best finish the preparations. Thank you so much, and you for the coffee, Amy." And with another sickly sweet smile, Angela Langley showed herself out.
"She barely even sipped at it," Amy grumbled as she dumped the contents into the sink, moving instead to the teapot.
"Yes, and it sounds as if she was going to have this little social with or without our permission," the Doctor pointed out, tugging on his braces as he added, "I was only being polite when I said—"
"We know, Doctor," Rory assured him. "But, it might not be an awful idea. I mean, I could do with a bit of a party myself." Short of travelling, this was just the distraction they needed from the more emotionally charged parts of this week.
"Why can't we just have a party for Brian?" The alien argued petulantly, and Rory felt slightly touched that he had remembered the upcoming occasion at all.
"Well, I could invite him," he offered, hoping that might make him more amendable to the idea. A grumpy Doctor at a party was practically begging for trouble.
"Either way, we have to grin and bear it," Amy said with finality. "I just know I'm going to be roped into some stupid conversation about gardens or something. Anyway—"
The phone ringing cut her off, and so she sighed and picked it up. "Hello? Oh, Martha, sorry about yesterday."
"Martha?" The Doctor nearly gasped, looking almost afraid.
"She probably just wants to know if everything's ok," Rory tried to calm his friend, but then his mobile began buzzing. "Hang on. Hello?"
"Rory, good to hear your voice."
"Captain Jack Harkness?" He greeted in more of a questioning tone, and the Time Lord actually jumped. "Uh, how did you get my number?"
"Oh, got it off your file."
"You have one. Anyway, got a call from Martha Jones yesterday—lovely woman—saying that things weren't well at your house. Care to explain?"
"Oh, well that was just- I mean he's fine now, so you don't have to worry."
"Everything's ok, we got it sorted," he heard Amy saying to Martha.
"You'll forgive me if I don't believe you," the Captain replied.
"Yeah. Well, er, our street's having a bit of a get-together," he started
"Our neighbor's throwing this little party-thing," Amy said into the phone.
"So why don't you stop by?" They both suggested at the same time.
"What?" The Doctor yelped, looking at them with wide eyes.
"Alright," Jack agreed, and he could practically see the immortal man's grin. "Always up for a party. Just send me the details and I'll be there."
"Ok, um, great," Rory said, a bit uncomfortable as the Time Lord was currently fixing him with that wounded-puppy look. "I've got to go, so I'll send those to you in a bit."
As he hung up, Amy was saying to Martha, "Alright, I'll see you and Mickey soon!"
A bit reluctantly he turned back to face the Doctor. "Sorry?" He apologized weakly.
The alien had a rather stern frown on his face, but sighed, stating lightly, "No, no, Rory, you did what was best. After all, the only thing worse than a party sort-of being held in my honor is Jack Harkness at a party being held in my honor! This is terrible, your neighbors will be appalled—I've told you he's an awful flirt!"
"Oh lighten up, will you?" Amy rolled her eyes, guiding him to his chair and placing down tea and breakfast. "We've been over this; getting back together with old friends is not bad. Besides, Martha and Mickey are coming, too—they going to get a babysitter—so the three of you should be able to handle him, yeah?"
The Doctor barked a short laugh. "Hardly! Our presence will encourage him."
Rory blinked. "But Martha and Mickey are married."
"Yes, but does that stop him? Please, he wasn't just being friendly when he requested you call him Jack. That's how he works, all politeness and charm—" He practically sounded disgusted.
Amy snorted. "Yeah, cause that's what you're not supposed to do, apparently. Not what you do anyway, Doctor, what was the first thing you ever said to River?"
His wife was curios, but also focusing on her own plate, so Rory was the only one who saw it. Their friend's eyes went wide and he froze for just a second. But then he smoothed it over with a smile and shrugged. "Hard to say. Met her when she was a baby, remember? Anyway!" He continued before either of them could argue the point, "we've got things to do. A party? Let's find out those details so we can let the others know." He pushed back from the table and stood, putting his dishes in the sink and exiting the room. "And call Sarah Jane!" His voice called back to them. "It's not a party without my Sarah Jane Smith."
"Oh, it's good to see you again," Sarah Jane said with a warm smile as the Doctor opened the door. They hugged and she told him, "I came a little early because I'm not staying too late."
"That's fine, really," he replied, rather relieved the journalist had been the first of his former companions to show. He'd been getting increasingly nervous about this whole neighborhood party-thing. After all, he didn't want to ruin things for Amy and Rory. This was their home, so no silliness, no crazy dancing, and generally no being the Doctor. "Have you met Rory yet? Of course you haven't, he and his father are in the kitchen."
The two Williams men looked up as they entered. "Hello, I'm Sarah Jane Smith, pleased to meet you both," she greeted.
"Oh great, I'm Rory, this is my dad, Brian," the nurse returned, then added, "Amy'll be down in a minute, then we can head over."
The party was being held at the Langley's, with some tables and chairs set out on the front lawn as well. Some lights had been set up as the sun was slowly setting, and people were already gathering.
Their little group of five was greeted warmly by both Angela and Patricia. "Oh, here he is, this is John, he's staying with the Williams's."
"Well since John was in the area for once, I thought I'd pop in," Sarah Jane was explaining to a group of women.
"John, this is my husband, Simon," Angela dragged the broad-shouldered man over with a proud smile. He had a very strong grip.
He met Colin and Joe and Meghan and Lily and more names than he cared to really remember. "So tell us more about what you do for a living, John."
"Hey, mister," a familiar voice greeted behind him, and he was having trouble recalling a time he was happier to hear Martha's voice.
"Martha!" He pulled her into a hug, then released her and embraced her husband. "And Mickey! Goodness, it's been forever, eh Mickey?"
The other man gave a surprised laugh, but patted him on the back before stepping back. "Sure has, Boss. How've you been?"
"Oh, mostly the same, you know me," he dismissed, remembering where he was and turning back to explain, "This is Mickey Smith and his wife Dr. Martha Jones. They're friends of mine, from London."
There were various murmurs of "Pleased to meet you" from the group he was currently associating with.
One woman, he believed it was Meghan, asked, "Do you work for John, Mickey?"
"Nah, just sort of a name I have for him," Mickey replied.
"So you're a doctor, Martha?"
And the married pair slipped quite seamlessly into the conversation, leaving him at a bit of a loss. He saw Brian conversing with Sarah Jane and had to smile. Here, at least, was a tangible example for the father of how things could end mostly for the best. Of course, that train of thought had him sighing and glancing about feeling lost again.
"These socials sure are tough for singles, huh Doc?" A warm, rather familiar arm snaked around his shoulders, trapping him at the Captain's side.
"Oh, John, just who I—who's your friend?" Patricia was passing by and of course chose this moment to notice him.
"Er, this is Jack—"
"Captain Jack Harkness, ma'am," the immortal man extended his hand to shake the woman's, but did not let go of him. "John just calls me Jack—which you're welcome to, as well. We go way back, you see."
"Oh, yes. Well I—" the woman started with another wide, toothy smile, but someone inside the house called her name. "Well, I'll just leave you two to catch up, then!" She excused herself smoothly with a giggle.
As soon as she was gone, the Doctor extricated himself from the other man's grasp. "Oh, cut it out, will you?"
"What? It's just a little fun. Come on, you're glad I'm here, admit it."
"Why on Earth would I be glad?"
"Because you look about as uncomfortable as I've ever seen you, and none of these people get that. So just stick with me, alright?" Jack offered him an open, genuine smile and the Doctor sighed.
Somehow he found himself soon standing amongst a large group of people, who were all jabbering on and laughing quite a bit. What about, he hardly had a clue. But then he was being pulled into another hug.
"I have to be heading home now, K-9 likes a walk early in the morning," Sarah Jane murmured in his ear.
"Oh, well, thanks for coming."
"It was my pleasure," she assured, and quickly disappeared in the crowds.
He sighed for what seemed the umpteenth time that evening, and turned back to find Jack, but couldn't locate him in the sea of faces. The Captain had likely been distracted by one of the guests. The Doctor caught sight of a head of brown hair and darted after it, only for the person to turn around.
"Oh, Colin—it is Colin, isn't it?" He smiled a bit nervously at the other man. "Sorry, was just looking for a friend."
Colin smiled back and clapped him on the shoulder. "I'm sure they're getting along just fine—"
"That's what I'm worried about," he muttered under his breath, but the human continued on.
"So why not relax?"
"I'm fine," he excused, but Colin's friend Joe laughed quite boisterously.
"Could've fooled me. You're wound up pretty tight, mate. Loosen up, have a beer." And the man shoved a bottle of the stuff in his face.
"Oh, I, uh, really—" He began to stutter, knowing that spitting up liquor at Amy and Rory's neighborhood party was a sure way to get them looked down upon. But as his eyes darted back and forth looking for an escape or excuse, he noticed—nearly everyone at this get-together had some alcoholic beverage in their grasp.
All the neighbors, Colin, Joe, and their friends, Angela was passing by with a tray of drinks, he caught sight of Amy for a split second as she smiled at him with a glass of champagne or something in her hand, and distantly he heard Jack's American-accented voice say, "Why thank you, I think I'll have another."
"Well…perhaps a little?" He squeaked, still faced with Joe's huge, beer-breath grin. He plucked the bottle up between his thumb and forefinger with no small amount of trepidation. Well, the Doctor attempted to reason, since alcohol was a depressant, it could potentially allow his high-functioning mind to relax throughout the rest of this uncomfortable party. And his metabolism would get it out of his system quick enough, at least he was pretty sure. Then again…
"You sort of have to drink it," Colin pointed out with a raised eyebrow and a smirk, and he realized he'd been scrutinizing the thing for a good minute or so. So he scratched at his cheek, took a deep breath, and took a sip, doing his best not to cough and splutter as the liquid burned down his throat. It was worse than the fires of regeneration!
Joe and the others practically guffawed in laugher as one man pounded him on the back. "Come on, mate, you got to be better than that. Give it another go!" So the Doctor closed his eyes and tried to convince himself it was only water as he took another swig.
Jack was having a rather nice time at this party, cozying up to some of the neighbors of the Doctor's newest friends, or family as the alien had insisted. He certainly did seem particularly attached to these two; he couldn't imagine the Time Lord doing something like this for anyone else.
Speaking of his long-time friend, he realized belatedly that he'd lost track of him somewhere between Chloe and Gina. Funny that, since he'd been planning to introduce Chloe to 'John' as a bit of a joke. Still, he felt it was safe to assume the Doctor was with—except there was Brian Williams coming right at him.
"Captain Harkness, wasn't it?" The older looking man inquired, and he nodded.
"What can I do for you?"
"I'm going home now, but I wanted to say goodbye to the Doctor. I saw him with you last."
"Oh, well, he might be with your son now," he suggested, using his height to scan over the heads of people for the large-nosed man.
"No, Rory had to take a call about switching shifts with someone at the hospital this week. And Amy is currently surrounded by a group of all women, I checked," the man added before he could try.
"Huh, well," he chuckled, rubbing at the back of his neck sheepishly. "He can't have gone far. Maybe he retreated to the TARDIS for a break. Come on," he led the way around the many tables and chairs set out, sticking close to the walls of the house. It was because of this that he heard a couple of low groans from around the side of it. More than a bit concerned, he ducked around the side. "Doctor?"
The Time Lord was leaning heavily on the wall, a hand to his head, and a bit curled in on himself. But when he came into view, his friend seemed to brighten considerably. "Jack! Hello!" He pushed off from the wall, slightly wobbly, and attempted to step forward and shake his hand, but missed and pitched forward. Jack and Brian steadied him. "And Brian, good old Brian Pond."
"I'm not—" the not-Pond began, but the alien plowed on.
"Happy Birthday, Brian!" And the Doctor planted a big kiss right on the other man's lips. Jack's jaw dropped and he was sure Brian's expression was an exact mirror of his own. "You know, you know, you know—funny thing about birthdays is," their friend held up a finger as if making a grand point, but then another popped up so he was making the victory sign and he had to force it down with his other hand. "is I don't really have one. People think I know it, but how do you even keep track of that? Eh? You're in the Vortex half the time, and don't forget those years and realities and universes that never existed. You remember that year that never happened, Jack?"
"Er, yes?" Jack was quickly becoming very, very worried, because aside from the lack of a slur, the Doctor sounded incredibly—
"That wasn't a very fun year, for any of us. You and Martha were brilliant, though. But the Master- the Master added on those nine-hundred years like he said, remember? But, hell, it could've been five-hundred or two-thousand for all I know. I just pick numbers! The Ponds think I'm twelve-hundred, you see. It's just an estimate, of course. I think I'd quite like to be a thousand again, next time I meet someone. Yeah…" Abruptly, the alien's head dropped as though the strings had been cut, and he slumped in their arms.
"Doc? Doc, come on, wake up!" Jack pulled his head back up as gently as possible, slapping him lightly in the face.
"Captain, exactly how long did you leave him alone?" Brian demanded in a quietly calm voice that still made him wince.
"I'm not exactly sure. But come on, hold him steady a minute." The older Williams did as requested and Jack readjusted his arms, scooping the Doctor up with one arm under his knees and another around his back, propping the Time Lord's head against his broad shoulder. "Hey Doc? Help me out a little, wake up."
His friend's eyes snapped open suddenly and he looked very dazed. But then a smile spread across his face yet again. "Have I mentioned you're very strong, Jack?"
"Have I mentioned you're very drunk, Doctor?" He returned in the same friendly tone, quite able to smell the alcohol on the other man's breath now.
"Am I? I hadn't noticed," the alien looked genuinely surprised, his eyes almost comically wide. "You must be very smart, too, to notice that before I did. You're fantastic! Amazing, even!"
Jack couldn't stifle his own grin. "Keep comments like that up and I'll be expecting a kiss like Brian got." The older-looking male turned bright red and muttered something about Rory. "He got one, too?" He guessed, feeling quite indignant.
"They're Ponds, Jack, only Ponds get—except Marilyn and that was by accident. And I keep telling River, but she still dresses up as Marilyn Monroe every Halloween!"
"Marilyn Monroe—and who's River?" He felt incredibly lost in this conversation, but at least Brian looked more confused. The Doctor, however, began wriggling about in his hold like a puppy or a small child who wanted to be let down. "No way, Doc, you can barely stand. I'm surprised you can even speak this well."
"The TARDIS is translating!" The Time Lord happily explained.
"But drunk speaking is still English!" He argued.
"And who is 'drunk speaking'?" A familiar voice came from the entrance to the front lawn, and Jack turned to see Martha and Mickey watching them. He did his best not to look too guilty.
"Listen, guys, I found him like this." They both shook their heads and Martha gave one of her well-patented sighs before stepping forward, the female doctor checking the alien's pulse for good measure.
"How much has he had?" Mickey questioned, and Jack shrugged.
"They gave me a bottle of something," their friend supplied.
"A bottle? Boss, you only had one?" The dark-skinned male and he nearly laughed, but Martha frowned at both of them.
"His metabolism is twice as fast, so the effects would hit him twice as fast. Plus, the Doctor doesn't drink; I'm sure neither of you were knocking back bottles your first time."
"It tasted awful, Martha," the Time Lord almost whined, and she patted him gently on the head, shushing him.
"We've got to get him back to Amy and Rory's without everyone noticing," she decided, and they all agreed.
"I'll let Amy and Rory know I'm leaving, that should distract them for a few minutes at least," Brian offered.
"I'll try and get people looking the other way, then," Mickey volunteered.
So the two men set out to do their tasks and Jack quickly carried the Doctor across the street and in through the TARDIS-blue door, which was thankfully unlocked. He led Martha to the living room, which he remembered from his last visit, and gently laid the Doctor down on the couch. Of course the Time Lord promptly rolled right off and he had to pick him up from the floor.
"Ok, up you go," he muttered.
"Doctor, do Amy and Rory have any pretzels, something salty?" Martha asked from the kitchen, and Jack could hear her rummaging around in cabinets.
"I think- or maybe they took those to the party. Why do I need something salty, have I been poisoned?" He made to sit up again, but Jack pushed him back against the pillows. "I feel like I've been poisoned."
"Well, in a manner of speaking," Jack told him, "you sort of have. Now just lie back for a minute, ok?"
The front door opened again and Mickey called to them, "We're actually pretty lucky. I've only ever seen the Doctor pretend to be drunk, and that time he put his tie round his head and sang My Fair Lady."
A smile tugged at the corner of the Doctor's lips as Mickey entered the room. "That was quite good, wasn't it? Only I was a little tipsy; I wasn't joking about the banana daiquiri, Mickey." He suddenly sat up with a serious expression. "You three just have to make sure I don't wake up in jail or bank vault—Amy'll kill me."
"Actually, I'd be pretty amused you managed to land yourself in one of those, but I might still kill you, yeah," a Scottish voice responded, and they all jumped to see the two Williams'—or Ponds—framed in the doorway.
"Amy, Rory, listen, uh—how'd you find out so quick?" Jack finally gave up trying to make this look better.
"One of the kids, Michael, said he saw a bunch of people taking 'John' into our house, and that it looked silly because the man was supposed to carry a lady," Rory summarized, and Jack couldn't help snickering a bit. "So what's wrong with him?" The nurse moved forward, joining Martha.
"He had one too many," Jack explained.
"And by one too many, we mean one," Mickey clarified with a smirk.
"Figures," Amy rolled her eyes. "Doctor?"
"You don't like alcohol."
"Then how are you drunk?" The redhead demanded.
"One of them—Joe or Colin or somebody, gave it to me, and all of a sudden it was like a scene from one of those peer pressure videos you humans show your primary schoolers. John Smith's a normal bloke, go to the pub, play football, remember?"
"Doctor, we've talked about this," Rory sighed, getting up and going to the kitchen.
"Sorry, sorry, I just—I'd never want to mess this up for you, see? Normal life, normal house, normal neighbors. All normal-y…stuff. And if a bit of wibbly-wobbly wibbly-wobbly is the price, that's not so bad, eh?"
Amy frowned, seeming both frustrated and endeared by his words. She took a seat by him and said, "If John Smith's a normal bloke, you know the bowtie has to go."
The Doctor's eyes widened and he shook his head vigorously for a moment before stopping with a groan. "Oh, there's like seven of you—if you start flirting with yourself again, Pond—"
"Shut up," she growled, a little pink, and Jack really wished he knew that story. "Point is, Raggedy Man, if John Smith wears bowties, he's not a normal bloke. And he doesn't have to be. Not all humans are normal. You think Rory and I are normal? Or Martha, Mickey, and Jack?"
"Course not, you're wonderful." Jack wasn't the only one who couldn't contain his smile.
"Well, John Smith can be wonderful, too. In fact, he is," Amy said decidedly.
Rory came back with a glass of water, and his wife sat the Time Lord up. "Now drink all of this, and then we're sending you straight to bed."
"I just slept last night," the alien complained with a pout.
"Trust me, you'll fall asleep," the nurse assured. Amy helped their friend hold the glass steady as the long-nosed man tipped it back gradually, taking breaks to allow him to breath. Jack was ready to resume his role of transport, but the two beat him to it, slinging one of the Doctor's arms around each of their shoulders, and making their slow, steady way up the stairs. Martha, Mickey, and he all watched as the Ponds tucked the Time Lord into bed, Amy pressing a kiss to his forehead. Rory turned off the lights and they slipped back out into the hall, shutting the door.
"You two really know what you're doing, huh?" Martha remarked with a warm smile, but the married pair shrugged it off.
"He'd know what to do if it was us," was the redhead's reply.
"I just wish I could give him something for that hangover he'll have tomorrow," her husband said, and several of them winced in sympathy.
"Well, we really have to be home, we've stayed late enough as is," Mickey informed them, and so with a round of hugs the Smith-Jones pair departed.
The remaining three were now in the front hall, and Amy wasn't quite meeting his eyes, no doubt remembering their last encounter here. Jack cleared his throat and stated, "Well, I'd have to agree with Martha; you two do a real decent job."
"Er, thanks," Rory responded.
"I still believe what I said before," he continued, more to Amy now. "But, I suppose some things—some people are worth it. And if the Doc feels that way, then who am I to argue?"
Amy smiled softly. "Thanks, Jack."
He gave them each a hug. "Just take care of him, please. You're both one of the rare few he lets do that."
"We know," they told him, and so, feeling much better than the last time he'd left the Doctor and the Ponds.
Ok, so a final update before I leave for vacation! Yay! I referenced a lot of things, like a mini-episode thing from Red Nose day and Neil Gaiman's backstory on the Doctor and the Corsair, so if you recognize anything, it's not mine. At any rate, I hope that you enjoyed this chapter, and please review!