Adventures in Nannying
Co-written by Kelkat9, Timelord1 and A Who Down in Whoville
It was the oddest assignment Nanny Bear had ever been sent on. She was directed to the outskirts of town toward an old Victorian home that sat on a hill far from any other homes. The agency just told her to look for the house with the blue door. As she drove up the steep driveway through the wrought iron gates and pulled around to the bright blue door, she couldn't help but wince at the condition of the yard. She sat in her car taking in the brick Victorian home with its turrets and weathered exterior. It didn't look like the type of home for a family that offered to pay her above and beyond her normal rate. The house looked like a work in progress, a fixer upper except for the door which had a fresh coat of paint on it, as if it was the most important feature of the home. She slowly stepped out of her SUV and looked cautiously at the yard which was a bit overgrown and littered with metal bits and what looked like partially destroyed microwaves. This was not exactly a child safe environment and Nanny Bear began to worry.
She had been happy for this new assignment after her last family had pushed her to her limits with their unrelenting and excessive demands. Of course, she still thought about her prior charges. Nanny Bear's greatest asset was her ability to bond with the children she cared for. No matter what the parents were like or how they treated her, she was determined to be a loving and positive influence on the lives of their children. She always left a little piece of herself behind, planting a seed for a bright future and what she hoped the children could become. Now, she found herself at a new home, about to meet a new family and enter an environment that judging by the look of the outside of the home, needed her particular help. With a quick sip of her Starbucks latte and a mental pep talk, she walked up to the door.
Before she could even ring the doorbell, a bright light flashed in the windows and the house trembled. The door was yanked open and a tall man with spiky brown hair appeared. His brown eyes gleamed with something wild and manic.
"Err, I'm Nanny Bear…the agency sent me," Nanny Bear said with hesitation.
"I'm the Doctor! Welcome, Nanny Bear!" he said with exuberance as a brilliant smile lit his face. "You're just in time!" He reached out grabbed her hand and yanked her inside and made a mad dash for the study. He shoved a metal pen-like instrument with a blue glowing tip at her.
"Hold that there," he said and aimed it at a device on a large round table that looked like a cross between an old fashioned tube television, a blender, a lamp and a satellite dish. Nanny Bear did as she was told while the Doctor almost danced around the device, flipping switches, pressing buttons and poking at wiring all the while tugging at his own hair and muttering in some foreign language.
"Um, maybe there's been a mistake?" Nanny Bear said nervously as she watched the device pulsate with a green glow.
"What?" the Doctor responded as he pulled some glasses out of his pocket and examined some rotating snow globe stuck on the side of the device.
"I don't think…" Nanny Bear started to say before being interrupted by a female voice behind her.
"Doctor!" the blonde woman shouted as she walked into the room. She didn't look much older than Nanny Bear. Her hair was in braids and she was dressed casually in jeans and cable knit purple sweater. She looked from Nanny Bear to the Doctor to the device on the table and back to Nanny Bear. "Oh gawd, you're the nanny aren't you?" the blonde woman finally said.
Nanny Bear nodded and looked at the blue lighted pen in her hand.
"You must think we're mental! I'm so sorry! I'm Rose by the way, Rose Tyler and…." She turned to the Doctor. "It's not gonna blow up again, is it?" she asked him.
He looked at the device and scratched his head before looking guiltily at her. "Oh no, course not. No explosions here! Farthest thing from exploding." He then tugged at his ear. "Maybe a bit of flashing and possibly a fire…"
Rose rolled her eyes and took the device out of Nanny Bear's hand and hit some switch on it and the device on the table coughed out one poof of smoke and turned off. The Doctor looked from the device to Rose, his mouth gaping. Rose then turned to Nanny Bear.
"Right! Sorry, 'bout that. He gets a bit excited sometimes but no worries, you're not responsible for him or his…" She waved a hand in the air. "Science stuff. Come on back to the sitting room for a cuppa and we can talk."
Nanny Bear shifted her purse on her shoulder and followed Rose. She looked back once over her shoulder to see the Doctor poking at the device which apparently burned him. He cursed in a strange foreign language and sucked at his finger. Nanny Bear then ran after Rose before she could be dragged into any other exploding experiment. This job was already looking like it would be memorable. She wasn't sure if that was a good thing.
Tea with Rose Tyler was far more relaxing and lovely than Nanny Bear expected. The sitting room was decorated in a shabby chic design, more for comfort and family living than for style. Not that it lacked style. It was quite eclectic with mismatched furniture and stacks of books on every available surface along with a few children's toys mixed in.
"So, Nanny Bear…" Rose started to say and then wrinkled her nose. "You really like to be called Nanny Bear? I mean we're real informal here."
"Well, my full name is Buttercup Bear but most people just call my Nanny Bear."
"Buttercup Bear!" the Doctor's voice rang out as he rolled the name around and enunciated the B's. "As in Princess Buttercup and the Princess Bride! I love the Princess Bride!" He exclaimed and then plopped down on the settee next to Rose who poured him a cuppa which she doused with cream and more sugar than Nanny Bear thought possible.
"Really, Nanny Bear is fine. No one calls me Buttercup, not even my husband," she said as she watched the Doctor sip the diabetic coma inducing tea and smack his lips as he snatched up one of the banana cakes sitting on the table and popped it into his mouth all in one bite.
He looked at her with an arched brow, his mouth still partly full and swallowed. "And what does Mr. Bear call you then?"
Rose smacked him. "Sorry, the Doctor can be a bit rude. Just ignore him. Nanny Bear works fine. But, please call me Rose. No Ms. Tyler stuff here. Like I said, we're a bit informal. In fact, we sort of live pretty much day by day. Wouldn't you say so, Doctor?"
Rose caught him licking his fingers after downing another banana cake. "Oh yes! We make it up as we go!"
Rose rolled her eyes and turned back to Nanny Bear. "Anyway, I have a good feelin' 'bout you. Anyone who can handle the Doctor in a crisis and stay calm like you did, can handle our kids. Speakin' of which…Doctor you were s'posed to be watchin' 'em while I talked with Nanny Bear here," Rose said and glared at the Doctor who set down his tea cup very carefully and adjusted his glasses.
"Yes, right, I am…watching them that is." He then tapped the side of his head and grinned. Rose pinched the bridge of her nose and shot him a look that did not look happy. They then proceeded with a series of eye rolls and facial expressions.
Nanny Bear watched them mime to each other back and forth and was impressed with their nonverbal communication skills although it did seem a little odd. Finally, the Doctor jumped up. "I'll just go fetch the offspring then shall I?" With that comment, he bounded out of the room.
"So you have three children?" Nanny Bear asked, trying to direct the conversation toward something more sane.
"Yep!" Rose answered, popping her p's and seeming to have recovered from whatever had happened between her and the Doctor. "Chrysanthemum is five, Rowan's three and little Clementine is thirteen months. All three of them are dead clever and always up for adventure so they'll keep you on your toes."
Squealing could be heard down the hall and Nanny Bear smiled as she saw the Doctor enter the room with three very happy children hanging off of him and with the air of a man who was delighted with his children. She immediately felt a sense that this was a close family and she wanted to be here. Each child was presented to her and she was amazed at their vocabulary and quick wit. Chrysanthemum, or Chrys as she liked to be called, had bouncing dirty blonde curly hair and fancied herself quite the scientist spouting off facts about chemical composition of tea and went on at great length about the benefits of free radicals and tannins. Rowan, with unruly brown hair like his father, had questioned her on her knowledge of astronomy and asked her thoughts on time travel. The youngest daughter, Clementine or Clemmy as Rose called her, had straight brown hair tied in braids and asked her, with the most serious face, if Death eaters showed up at the house, was she prepared to defend her family.
The Doctor had rocked back on his heels muttering, "That's my girl!"
Rose had cleared her throat and explained her children were voracious readers with great imaginations, and had their father's penchant for experimenting. The Doctor had piped in noting that they had their mother's habit of wandering off. Again, the two parents exchanged facial expressions communicating something Nanny Bear could only guess at but which seemed to amuse the children.
Rowan walked over to her and patted her on the hand. "Don't worry Nanny Bear, they always do this." Chrys looked up and commented how at least it was better than all the snogging.
"Oi!" the Doctor chastised. "Enough of the blogging. Don't you lot have a diorama to complete and a volcano to…" he trailed off as Rose glared at him and muttered how she would not be the one to clean up after any volcanic eruptions this time.
The children looked up excitedly, grinning and proclaiming they were almost ready for Mount Doom to erupt and left the room discussing the appropriate viscosity for lava. Shortly after they left, Clemmy ran back and in and hugged Nanny Bear telling her she looked forward to enjoying adventures with her. After Clemmy dashed back to join her siblings, Rose walked over to Nanny Bear and hugged her too. "Welcome to the family, Nanny Bear. We'll see you tomorrow around tennish if that works?"
Nanny Bear nodded and they walked her out. She thanked them and went to get into her car. As she was driving off pondering this new job, she looked back only to find the couple snogging against the brick wall. She turned her eyes to the road and smiled. This was going to be interesting.
Bright and early the next morning, Nanny Bear returned to the wreck of a house. Her hopes were high, but she would not be lying if she said she was not just a wee bit nervous. The couple had been nice. Very, extremely, spectacularly nice in fact. "It's the nice ones you gotta watch out for," she said to herself as parked her car.
Nanny Bear had hardly been out of her car more than two seconds when she felt a pair of smallish arms wrapped around her waist. She looked down, and a teeny little girl with two perfect brown plaits looked up at her with shining, brown eyes.
"You came back! I'm so glad," said the little girl in a lilting voice.
"Of...of course I came back," Nanny Bear said, bending down to the level of the toddler's. Rose had said their children were bright, but a thirteen month old speaking in full sentences? She stood up, shook off the shock, and smiled. "You're Clementine, right?"
"Yeah. But I wanna be called Clemmy."
"Call me Clemmy, please," primly corrected a blonde-haired girl, the elder of the three children. "I'm Chrysanthemum, but for the sake of brevity, call me Chrys. Never know when taking the one point two seconds to say the extra three syllables could make the difference between life and the end of the multiverse, you know."
The middle child, Rowan bowed from the waist. "Kuwakaribisha nyumbani kwetu," he said, before he ran off into a small pathway amidst the brush in the overgrown garden.
"Daddy's teaching Rowan Swahili this week. I learned it ages ago. Shall I translate? Of course. He said, 'welcome to our home.'" Chrys followed her brother into the shrubbery.
Little Clementine held up her arms, asking to be carried back to the house. Nanny Bear closed her car door with her foot, adjusted her tote bag over her shoulder, and lifted the child onto her hip.
"Mummy, Daddy, our new nanny is here! She came back!" hailed the girl as Nanny Bear carried the tot towards the open door.
"Knock, knock, it's me, Nanny Bear. I have Clementine with me," called Nanny Bear through the open front door. She heard a happy squeal and the sound of someone falling against a wall, from behind the door.
"Hi!" said the Doctor and Rose in unison, peeking around the open doorway. Rose's lipstick was smudged, and her ponytail was half out.
"Sorry, we were just-"
"Opening the door to let you in, right Doctor?"
"No you weren't, sillies! You were kissing behind the door! I saw you through the strained glass window," said Clementine with a giggle.
"Stained, not strained," corrected Rose, blushing as she straightened her shirt. "Come on in, Nanny Bear."
"I was greeted by your other two children, but they ran off into the garden, and I couldn't follow them, on account of the-"
"The right mess of a garden?" said Rose with a huff. "That's the Doctor's doing. He sorta got a little bit carried away with the organic compost."
"I discovered a new strain of superbugs that turn kitchen and paper waste products into compost eleven times more efficiently and quickly than standard organic methods. Supercharged with all sorts of good things for the garden!" said the Doctor proudly.
"Maybe a little bit too supercharged, Doctor. I can't see out my kitchen window! The tomato vines are up to the second floor! Now how can I ask Chrys to go pick a tomato if she can't reach it?" asked Rose.
"Have her go upstairs, and lean out the window," he said, a bit exasperated.
Clementine slipped out of Nanny Bear's arms, and toddled over to a stool next to the stove. She climbed up, and began to reach for the knob. Faster than she believed she could ever move, Nanny Bear lunged for the toddler, scooped her up, and with a kind voice, corrected her. "No, Clementine, that's not safe."
The Doctor tugged on his ear, and Rose screwed up her mouth.
"Actually, uh, Clemmy was going to put on a kettle. She probably thought you might like some tea," said the Doctor sheepishly.
"You let your toddler work the stove?" asked Nanny Bear, shocked.
Rose elbowed the Doctor and motioned with her head. "Go on, tell her. She'll find out soon enough. Wouldn't want to scare her away. Can't afford to lose another one, dearest," she said through a clenched teeth smile.
"Well, the thing is, Clemmy is highly advanced for a thirteen month old, and completely understands the responsibility and danger of fire, kitchen electronics, sharp and poky things, and has thankfully inherited her grandmum's talent for making tea, which apparently skipped a generation."
Rose laughed. "Ya didn't marry me for my tea making skills, Doctor," she said cheekily.
"I certainly didn't." The Doctor pulled her into his arms and snogged her breathless, going so far as to dip her back. They only broke their kiss when the kettle began to whistle on the stove.
Nanny Bear, who had been looking at the ceiling for the past minute and a half, cleared her throat. "Are the children on any sort of schedule, or have any special needs I need to keep in mind?"
"Schedule, shmedule," said the Doctor with a flap of the hand, and a funny sound blown through his lips. "We fit their studies in as time allows, and when we aren't travelling as a family...well, we do study while we are travelling, actually, but not studying within any sort of modern construct. You could say we are slightly...alternative in our philosophy of education."
"Yeah, guess you could put it that way. They've burned through all the books at the local library, and no regular school would know what to do with them. I won't sent them away to some stuffy, posh boarding school, so we make do here."
"Make do, Rose Tyler? I hardly call it making do! What other child has seen the spring flooding of the Nile? Or seen the entire life cycle of a brachiosaurus in one afternoon? And we have a family membership to the British Museum, even though their collection of Pacific Northwest aboriginal art was out and out stolen from..." The Doctor trailed off. "I'm sorry. We were talking about the kiddoes weren't we?"
"I go into work around nine on most days, but some days, I have to go in early. Is your schedule flexible?" asked Rose. "The Doctor here does most of his work from home, but he disappears into his lab, and sometimes doesn't come out for hours. Oh goodness, look at the time! I'm gonna be late for that meeting with the ambassador from... I'm gonna be late. Oh! One more thing! Are you available to stay late tonight? I have a surprise for the Doctor. I got tickets to see Richard II up in Stratford!"
"NO! You didn't?!" His face froze, mouth and eyes wide open.
"Yeah, I did!"
He pulled Rose into another heated kiss, but this time, Nanny Bear cleared her throat.
"Excuse me, but..." She cleared her throat and squared her shoulders, bravely. "I need to know when you will be home. I really can't be left hanging. I have a family, too."
"Oh, we wouldn't dream of it, would we Rose? Bring your family over! We have a guest house in back."
"I'll have Dad send a car for them, even. And don't worry about dinner. Order from Shan Shens, just give them our name. They know us. We have an account there."
"Mummy! Dad! I think you need to come quick! Chrys is in the observatory, and... You just need to come!"
The Doctor made a face and looked at Rose for a long moment, eyebrows arched. Nanny Bear didn't have to hear what they were communicating between one another for her to know he was saying I told you so..
Rose sighed. "Come on, Nanny Bear. You'd better see this so you know what you might be up against tonight."
The Doctor's look became even more pinched, but after another insistent tug from Rowan, he took off after his son, Rose ushering Nanny Bear along. They raced up several flights of stairs to a tower at the top of the house. The Doctor hesitated outside the door, and Nanny Bear could hear the young girl's voice talking softly behind the door. Her giggle was almost chilling.
The Doctor pushed the door open and Chrys froze, dropping a glass ball that hit the floor with a much heavier thud than an object of its size warranted. Despite being a perfect sphere, it didn't roll anywhere. The Doctor picked it up, holding it in front of his daughter, who was half-smiling as she backed away from him.
"Where did you get this?" he asked, his tone darkening.
"Doctor," Rose said with a warning note in her voice.
He looked back at her, eyebrows knit together. She responded with a shrug and dismissive shake of her head. He rolled his eyes and went back to attending to Chrys.
"You know you're not supposed to take things from the console," he said softly, crouching in front of her. "And you also know you're not supposed to call them. What if they show up?"
Chrys shook her head defiantly. "They won't. I promise. I told them you weren't going to be home."
Nanny Bear cleared her throat. "Excuse me, but who might show up tonight?"
"It's no problem," Rose said, giving Nanny Bear an ingratiating smile. "We're going to stay home after all."
"Roooose!" the Doctor whinged, stomping his foot. "Richard II."
Rose gave him a look. "Doctor. Seriously?"
"It's fine," he said, waving at the ceiling. "There's absolutely no way." He turned back to Chrys. "What did you say to them?"
Chrys's eyes turned to the floor. She ran her hand through her hair in a reflexive gesture her father repeated, though he ended his by grasping his face and sighing.
"You didn't ask them to come again did you?"
Chrys sighed. "Maybe."
He stood up, tapping his foot as he thought. Finally he huffed a sigh, putting the glass ball into his pocket. Despite its size, the sphere seemed to disappear into his trousers. "It's fine," he said at last. He gave Nanny Bear a charming smile. "I'm certain you can handle whatever arises. You wouldn't ask me to miss Richard II over something as insignificant as a few of Chrys's friends dropping by for a visit, would you? There are some frozen pizzas in the freezer. Just make those. Also, you'll find a bucket of chitterlings in there. Take that out now to thaw. That's what they eat, after all."
Nanny Bear blinked in confusion. "Your daughter has friends who eat…chitterlings?"
The Doctor laughed carelessly, leading Rose away before she could protest. "Who doesn't? Kids today, with their big pants and their colored chalk, their chitterlings and their Bieber fever. Come, Rose, let's find me a suitable frock!"
Nanny Bear stood in the observatory, staring at Chrys, who now seemed to be vibrating with anticipation as she looked up at the ceiling. Clemmy tugged on the hem of Nanny Bear's shirt.
"Don't cook the chitterlings," she whispered.
Nanny Bear's eyes went wide. The Doctor reappeared a moment later. He took Nanny Bear's hand and pressed the glass ball into her palm.
"Clemmy's quite right. They like them raw. Easier to prepare that way, after all. You'll be needing this. For the translation. Have a fun night – we'll be home before dawn, most likely!"
And that was it. Nanny Bear thought she heard the Doctor and Rose arguing before they left the house, but of course that was impossible. They argued with their eyebrows. Within fifteen minutes, the parents were gone, leaving her with three precocious charges and guests coming for dinner who preferred to eat their pig intestines raw.
Suddenly, peeling grapes for an overgrown man-child didn't seem all that unreasonable. She began to yearn for her previous job.
She and the children passed a tense evening in the sitting room. Chrys could hardly sit still for anticipation. Rowan got into the Xbox and reprogrammed it to somehow project a hologram throughout the entire sitting room, so that Bear and Clemmy played Candy Land in the midst of a postapocalyptic wasteland while Rowan battled overgrown cybernetic insects with a glowing blue pen.
"Who is coming tonight?" Nanny Bear asked as a gigantic alien bug stepped right through the top of her head.
"Probably nobody," Rowan answered, leaping onto the couch to shoot the alien bug in the face.
"Right, but if somebody is coming, I would like to know who it is. I've got ten pounds of chitterlings thawing in the kitchen sink."
"It's your turn," Clemmy said, handing Nanny Bear a card.
She reached down to play her turn when the whole house began to vibrate. Chrys, who had been sitting on the sofa for the past several minutes, squealed and leapt off the sofa. The china began rattling and pictures began falling off the walls.
"Wait!" Bear cried, scooping Clemmy up in her arms as she ran after Chrys. "It's an earthquake! Stop!"
"That's not from this earth," Rowan muttered, zapping the Xbox off with his pen.
Nanny Bear dashed outside, still clutching Clemmy, and stopped on the front porch. Wind was whipping the trees on the property in all directions and she shielded the toddler in her arms as she watched in gobsmacked horror as a gigantic metal saucer began to descend on the property.
"Kiss my grits," she whispered. The disc came to a stop hovering just a few feet above the grass in the front yard. As she watched, a silver staircase emerged from the bottom of the disc and three small, purple creatures came running out and into Chrys's waiting embrace.
"They're from Anaboroxsi IV," Clemmy explained with an annoyed sigh.
"Great," Rowan, who was standing just behind Nanny Bear, grumbled.
"Those are aliens," Bear said to no one in particular as the three creatures bounded alongside Chrys back towards the house. Just before they were close enough for Bear to freak out, a gigantic version of the little creatures with Chrys appeared on the steps of the flippin' honest-to-goodness spaceship parked on the front lawn. The creature shook its fist and shouted a stream of growls and squeaks which the three little ones returned. The gigantic creature hung its head in defeat and went back inside the ship. The spaceship. The real alien spaceship that the lunatic Doctor had said Bear would be able to handle on her own.
"If you guys stay up all night listening to the same song over and over again I'm going to call Torchwood," Rowan said as the three creatures and Chrys ran into the house and straight into the kitchen. He looked up at Bear. "Last time it was 'What Does the Fox Say' sixty five thousand times in a row."
Nanny Bear passed the most unusual hour of her life after that, sitting in the kitchen with three chattering purple alien children and three mad human children (she was pretty sure they were human. They seemed human enough. Anyway, they didn't eat raw chitterlings, so that was something). It took her several minutes to work up the nerve to speak to the alien life forms bouncing and giggling in front of her, but once she did, Clemmy showed her how to use the glass ball as a translation device.
The aliens, she learned, were the children of creatures who were friends of the Doctor and Rose. Their ship had crashed on earth several years before, and the Doctor and Rose had helped them to get back home. Rose had been pregnant with Chrys at the time, and the alien children had bonded with Chrys before she was born. They came to visit occasionally, stayed overnight and left in the morning after breakfast.
They were explaining the menu to Bear (more chitterlings, peat moss, raw eggs and toast with marmalade) when the front door banged open and the Doctor and Rose came inside. Rose's hair was a tangled mess, her lipstick smeared all over her face and the Doctor's. In fact, he seemed to have more of it on than she did. His trousers were still unzipped, his shirt untucked and his tie thrown over one shoulder.
"Hello," Rose said, giving her hair a casual toss. "We never did make it out of the driveway, and it's well past curtain, so we decided to stay home. Well, we were going to just stay at the end of the driveway and…read, until we saw the ship land. We thought you might need some help."
Nanny Bear cocked an eyebrow at the couple. One of the alien beings was now in the process of braiding Nanny Bear's hair. "They landed over an hour ago."
The Doctor cleared his throat. "We were in the middle of an important discussion that couldn't wait."
"I see," Nanny Bear said, sighing. "You know, as soon as this…whatever it is…"
"She's an Anaboroxsian, and her name is Daffodil," Chrys said impatiently.
"As soon as Daffodil here finishes whatever she's doing to my head, I am going home."
The Doctor frowned. "Damn. Lost another one." He turned to Chrys. "See what happens when you do this sort of thing the first night?"
"I didn't say I was quitting," Bear said. "I just want to get home to my family. They're never going to believe what's gone on here tonight."
"I know, right?" Rose said, clapping Bear on the back as she walked her out to her SUV. "I'm so glad you're not quitting. Now, don't worry. I promise no more alien invasions the rest of this week. I think. Probably. Do you cook, Nanny Bear? I've always wanted to try basil chicken."
Happy Birthday aintfraidanoghosts! We love you, dearest Bear! Love, Kelkat9, timelord1 and Whoville.