Author Topic: All The Little Fishies  (Read 254 times)

Olivia Storm

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All The Little Fishies
« on: August 23, 2015, 04:45:35 PM »
Keeping a family ruled by children entertained outside of school time was proving to be hard work. Liv wasn't entirely sure she was winning the battle against boredom, but at least some of their outings could be arranged at little to no notice. Like today; their planned trip to Hatton Point had been vetoed vehemently by Alex and Maria after they caught Mommy going through the morning ritual of throwing up before cleaning her teeth, which had resulted in a house full of bored people trying not to be bored. On a whim, she'd suggested maybe they'd like to visit the fishes they'd bought for Old Man Granger, and to her surprise, boredom had quickly become excitement. It was still a little like mobilizing an army to get them all out of the house and onto the track that led from Willow Manor to the main house, but at least no one was complaining that someone was looking at them funny.

With Bella bounding along happily in front of them, the Storms made their way into the relative cool of the woodland that separated their home from the main house on the Grove. Liv sighed with relief. "You know ... if we get a chance to plan this ever happening again, I'm going to plump for a heavy pregnancy in winter," she informed her husband conversationally, laughing as Bella went headfirst into a rabbit hole and started digging.

"What fun is that?" Johnny asked with a smirk as he followed along behind the excited children and canine with Fliss taking the lead, like the Pied Piper of Hamlin ... or a Mother Hen. "Wouldn't you rather be ..." Surprised was the word he was going to use there, breaking off as Bella buried her head in a hole and started digging out Old Man Granger's lawn. "Bella, no!" he shouted, as he tried to wrangle the dog, though he wasn't quite sure what it was she was after.

"If we end up with six kids in the same house at the same time, my sanity might start to suffer," Liv warned him, looking down at Maria, who was hanging onto her hand. The two of them shared a grin, knowing she didn't mean a word of it, and giggled together at the sight of Johnny trying to wrestle Bella out of her hole. Fliss paused, up ahead with Alex, and looked back, pointing out the ridiculous sight for the boy's amusement.

"Well, don't just stand there! Help me!" Johnny called over to anyone who cared to intervene. He couldn't imagine what had gotten into the dog, who was usually very well behaved. He wondered if a certain border collie they all knew and loved was being a bad influence on her.

Snickering, Fliss caught Liv's eye and gave in. "Bella! Come on, girl!" She whistled for good measure, but by the time she'd finished calling, the beautiful - if slightly loopy - dog was already backing out of the hole she'd found, trampling Johnny in her desire to get to Fliss because she'd been called.

Maria abandoned Liv to run over and make sure her Daddy was okay, tugging at him with worried little hands all the while.

Johnny toppled over onto his back, as he was run over by Bella, looking a little like an upside down turtle with arms and legs flailing and a couple of paw prints on his shirt. He'd muttered an "Oof" as he'd gone down, and was looking a little stunned, but it was mostly just his pride that had been injured.

Alexei, seeing his sister was tending to their father, darted over to poke around in the rabbit hole and see what it was that had gotten Bella in such a tizzy.

"Thanks, sweetheart," Johnny said to Maria as he climbed to his feet and brushed himself off, not realizing how ridiculous he'd looked. "I'm okay."

With Fliss now wrangling the joyful Bella a few feet away, Liv joined them, still laughing at the silly scene they'd presented to her. "Everyone all right?" she asked in amusement. "No cracked nuts or anything? Alex, what are you doing?" Whatever had excited Bella about the hole was well and truly gone now, but there were enough droppings around to prove that it belonged to a rabbit family.

"Rabbits, I think," Alex explained without really explaining.

"Alex, no!" Johnny exclaimed, having a minor panic attack as he seized his son around the middle and spun around with him in his arms before whatever was occupying that hole in the ground could attack him. Hey, how did he know it was rabbits? This was Rhy'Din, after all. There could be anything down there!

Alex squealed in surprised as his father snatched him away from the hole.

Of course, with Alex safely out of the way, that meant there was room for Maria, and with Bella's enthusiastic attempts to widen the hole very nearly successful, the little girl's head and shoulders disappeared into the earth curiously. "Oh, calm down, Johnny," Liv smiled at her boys. "I doubt Mr. Granger lets anything dangerous live on the Grove. Maria, sweetie? Come out before your dad has a heart attack."

"Maria!" Johnny exclaimed further, looking like he was about to have a heart attack, as he snatched the other child up with his free arm, holding Alex in one arm and Maria in the other and making it look pretty effortless. "How does he know what lives on the Grove? Besides, you know what happened to Alice when she started poking her nose around in rabbit holes!" he pointed out. Anywhere but Rhy'Din, that might have sounded a little bit crazy, but here, anything was possible.

"Who's Alice?" Alex asked from where he hung at his father's side.

Far from upset by the grab, Maria giggled her odd, silent laugh, wrapping her arms around Johnny's neck as she grinned, nodding toward Alex as he asked his question.

"Alice in Wonderland," Liv explained, reaching out to help put Alex back on his feet with a hug. "It's a book about a little girl who falls down a rabbit hole and has lots of adventures with weird creatures. We should read it. I loved it when I was little."

"Loved what?" Fliss asked, surfacing from Bella's soggy affections.

"Alice in Wonderland," Liv told her with a quirk to her smile.

"Oh, cool," the teen agreed. "That movie's kind of weird, though. Psychedelic trip before the 70's even arrived."

Johnny pointed at Fliss in over-enthusiastic agreement at her statement. "That movie is totally creepy! Wait, which one are we talking about? The Johnny Depp version? He was a totally creepy Mad Hatter!" Not to mention Willy Wonka, but that was another story. "You think this is funny, don't you?" he asked, looking just a little insulted as he glanced at the teen and her mother, Alex grabbing hold of his hand while Maria still clung to his neck. "I'm telling you ... You don't go poking your head into rabbit holes on Rhy'Din, unless you're looking for trouble!"

"Or unless your dad completely overreacts and tells you no repeatedly, which just makes it all the more tempting," Liv pointed out gently. "I thought we were going to see the fish, anyway? Fish don't live down rabbit holes!" She grinned at the little group, moving off down the track again as Bella obediently trotted along beside her. The silly dog was being very good when it came to Liv these days, ever since she'd been kicked in the ear by the baby.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: All The Little Fishies
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2015, 04:46:22 PM »
"Dad?" Alex asked, peering up at his father from where he clung to his hand at his side. "Can we get a bunny?" he asked, out of the blue.

"I thought you wanted a fish," Johnny countered with a puzzled expression on his face.

Removing her arms from around Johnny's neck, Maria tapped on his cheek to get his attention before offering up her own suggestion with her hands. "Can we get a mermaid bunny?"

Fliss just about managed to turn her laugh into a suspicious cough, hurrying ahead to catch up with Liv before she laughed and made her little sister feel silly.

Johnny momentarily wondered if he'd misunderstood her, but it was Alex who beat him to a reply, almost knowing what his sister had said with barely a glance. Johnny wasn't sure which astounded him more - the fact that Alex seemed to "hear" Maria without reading her signing or the request Maria had just made. "Don't be silly, Mar! There's no such thing as mermaid bunnies. There's mermaids and there's bunnies, but they aren't the same thing."

The little girl's face fell - she'd only been trying to find a happy compromise, after all. "Bunnies don't swim?" she asked, as much with her fingers as with that ever-increasing certainty of telepathy they were going to have to address at some point. "Fish fly."

"What?" Johnny asked, furrowing his brows at her as he fell into step behind Liv and Fliss and Bella. "No, they don't. I mean, not really." He didn't think so anyway, though he wasn't too sure. He'd heard of flying fish, but he didn't know a lot about them, and again, he wasn't too sure about Rhy'Din. "I've never heard of mermaid bunnies, Mar. Sorry. We do know a real live mermaid though, don't we!" he said, as if trying to make it up to her that way.

"How about this?" Liv suggested from ahead of them. "How about we go and see the fishes we gave Humphrey, and then if we're still set on getting another pet, we can take a trip into town and look at some of the aquarium shops that sell fishes?" She smiled faintly as she suggested this, one arm looped comfortably over Fliss' shoulders. She could remember when a trip to just look at fishes for sale had been a real treat.

Alexei seemed to seriously consider that offer a minute. It wasn't exactly the same as getting a bunny, but it was better than nothing, and he knew better than to push his luck too far. "Tell you what," Johnny went one step further. "Let's with fish for now, and if you two do well with them, we'll think about a bunny down the road. How's that?" he suggested, offering a compromise.

There was a pause as this was considered rather closely by Maria, at the very least. Then her hands came up again. "Will they be pretty fish?"

Despite the fact that neither of them could see the hand gestures, Liv and Fliss exchanged a smile. Maria was turning into more of a girly girl by the day.

Johnny glanced at Maria to see what she was saying. His hands were too occupied to reply likewise, but she had no trouble hearing them - it was speaking that was the problem. "Of course, they'll be pretty fish. Do you really think we'd buy ugly fish?" he pointed out with a smile.

"Blech!" Alex unshyly expressed his boyish disgust at his sister's very girlish preference. "Can we get a shark?"

"Where are you gonna keep it, in the bath tub?" Fliss teased her little brother affectionately, glancing back over her shoulder with a grin. "You do know there are some pretty cool fish that look beautiful and are really poisonous, right?"

"Poisonous!" Johnny and Alex exclaimed in unison, the elder looking appalled, the younger looking excited by the prospect.

"No, no, no, there will be no poisonous fish in the Storm household," Johnny said. "No sharks, no killer rabbits, no poisonous fishies." Thankfully, they had almost reached their destination and Alexei broke free of his father's hand to scoot ahead of the group excitedly.

"Come on, Maria!" he called back to his sister.

In Johnny's arms, Maria flailed to be let down so she could run with her brother, little feet already kicking before she hit the floor running. Bella bounded after them, just as excited as they were, despite not having the first idea of what was going on today. Chuckling, Liv let Fliss escape from under her arm.

"I'm just gonna see if Lucas is in," the teen offered innocently, gesturing toward the front of the manor house, where the garage and Lucas' apartment above it were hidden. "That okay?"

"Go for it, baby girl," Johnny replied for both himself and Liv. He would have been very surprised if she hadn't suggested checking in on Lucas, who, though shy, was quickly becoming part of the family. Arms and hands free at last as the kids skittered off, he caught Liv's hand in his, a smile on his face. "An aquarium, huh?" he asked, with an amused smirk on his face. "And I thought I was the softie."

Hand in hand, Liv grinned up at him. "It's easier to keep an aquarium clean and remember to feed the fish than it is to teach a pair of small people to muck out and feed a rabbit," she offered with a chuckle. "Besides, I was thinking we could get them one each, for their bedrooms. Built in nightlights that have fish to watch, and something of their own to look after. Like Fliss is pretty much Bella's human, and we'll have the baby taking up a lot of our attention - so they get some fish each to be in love with."

"That's two aquariums, then," Johnny pointed out with a warm smile for his wife. "You're a genius, Liv. I think we've got our hands full enough right now without a couple of rabbits." He leaned close to brush a kiss against her cheek while Alex and Maria oohed and aahed over the fish pond. "How's Junior treating you today?"

"I'm smarter than Lucy," she laughed, leaning into him as they moved closer to the children looming over the edge of the pond. "You know she and Steve are planning on getting a puppy and a kitten at the same time?" She snorted with laughter, rolling her eyes. She loved her sister, but Lucy's big ideas sometimes outweighed her ability to handle the outcome. Her hand touched her belly briefly. "Sleeping at the moment, I think," she assured her husband. "Ten more weeks, and we're more or less there."

Ten more weeks and they were going to have their hands full, as if they didn't already. A bark greeted them, and Cosmo loped up to say hello to some of his favorite friends, especially the furry one, like him. "Ten more weeks," Johnny mused aloud. He didn't mention that in ten weeks he was going to be a dad because by all definition, he already was one three times over.

"Jon's offered to take the kids overnight, if we need him to," Liv assured him softly. Her boss had made the offer, initially, the day his son had been born, but had been repeating it almost weekly since she'd hesitantly told him she was pregnant. She smiled at the sight of Cosmo and Bella cavorting together, glancing toward the house in time to see Old Man Granger making his careful way out into the garden. She tensed, just a little; as much as she respected Humphrey Granger, Liv was still mildly terrified of him.

"As if they don't have their hands full already," Johnny remarked, though he didn't mind if her boss and his wife wanted to help out. They were a lot closer than Steve and Lucy, and though he had a feeling her sister might insist on doing her part, as well, not to mention the myriad collection of Grangers who had taken them in and made them family. "Uh-oh," he murmured upon spying the Old Man coming there way. "Try to be nice. He likes you. He just likes to get your dander up," he whispered sidelong to her as he smiled and waved to the Old Man. Johnny had a feeling it was Maria and Alex who had really drawn his attention, more than he and Liv. It was no secret that Humphrey Granger was a sucker for children.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: All The Little Fishies
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2015, 04:47:10 PM »
As always, there was a member of the big house's staff on hand to reach the pond before Humphrey got there, setting out a chair for the Old Man to sit on when he arrived. He spared a wave for Johnny and Liv as he made his slow way over the lawn toward his koi pond, a warm grin on his face for the children who were pointing at the different fish in there and trying to find the ones they'd chosen for him.

Liv made an attempt to relax as Johnny reassured her. "I'm always nice," she muttered a little defensively.

"Yes, you are, but you're also terrified of him," he whispered back, frowning a little at the chair that had been brought out for Humphrey. The Old Man was looking more and more frail, and yet, his eyes were as lively as ever. "Hello, Mr. Granger!" he called over to the older man as he led Liv to a bench nearby.

"Uncle Humphrey!" Alex exclaimed, his Russian accent still having a little trouble with the man's name. "Maria and I bought you some fishies and we came to see what you would like to name them." The boy was becoming less and less shy as the days went on and he became more comfortable and secure in his new home here at Maple Grove.

"Johnny, Olivia," Humphrey greeted the adults warmly, but his full attention turned instantly to the children as soon as Alexei greeted him. "Little Alexei and tiny Maria, how marvelous it is to see you!" He sank down into his seat with a faint grunt, perched on the edge to look down into the water as Maria came to join him, one little hand over his where it rested on his cane. "You'd like to name my new little wonders, would you?"

Alex nodded enthusiastically, probably mirroring his sister's nod. "Well ..." he started, frowning a little as he looked to his sister, then back at the old man. "We thought maybe you might need some help." It was as good an excuse as any and only partially true. He moved to stand on the opposite side of the chair, crowding Humphrey between them, but thoughtfully and respectfully careful of the old man's cane.

"Well, have you found them yet?" Humphrey asked the pair, glancing between them before inching forward to look down into the water. "They've been a little shy. Is that one there?" He pointed, and Maria let go of him to peer down into the water with such an intense look of interest on her face that Liv was forced to cover a laugh with a quiet cough.

"No," Alex said, joining his sister by the pond and peering intently into the water. "That one is too orange," Alex declared thoughtfully, studying the water a moment, his eyes searching the multitude of fishes. "Wait! There he is! See, Mar? That one there with the black spots! That's one of them!" he said pointing a finger excitedly in the general direction of the fish in question.

Bereft of a way to express her pleasure vocally, Maria clapped her hands together, beaming delightedly as she watched the koi circle lazily beneath the wide pads of the lilies. "And what is his name, do you think?" Humph asked them curiously, more than happy to join in with this little bit of silly if it kept them entertained. He thought Liv and Johnny looked tired, which didn't bode well for when the new one arrived.

Maria thought about this, and looked quizzically at Alex, forgetting to sign at all this time. "Spot?"

Alex chuckled at his sister's suggestion for a name, though it seemed he was the only one who'd heard it. He didn't even stop to think that this was out of the ordinary at all, as he'd been hearing her in his head for a while now, some inexplicable connection formed between them before they'd been rescued by S.H.I.E.L.D. "She wants to name him Spot," Alex told Humphrey with a little roll of his eyes, as if the two of them shared some secret in that brief glance.

To his credit, Humph didn't even blink. He'd been born and raised on Rhy'Din; this wasn't even a little bit strange compared with some of the things he'd seen and heard over the years. "Spot, hmm? That's rather a doggy name for a fish," he pointed out. "How do we feel about Dapple, maybe? It means almost the same thing, you know."

As Maria and Alex considered this, Liv turned slightly thunderstruck eyes to Johnny. "Did you see that?"

"See what?" Johnny asked, having missed that silent communication between the two children as he had been busy, watching Cosmo and Bella cavorting on the lawn. He looked back at the children, but noticed nothing out of the ordinary. "What happened?" he asked, furrowing his blond brows curiously.

"Maria didn't sign," she told him quietly. "But Alex knew what she said, or what she meant to say, and he translated it for Humphrey without even thinking about it. That's amazing." It had apparently gone straight over the heads of the children themselves, who were engaged in the very serious business of finding and naming the second fish.

"He did?" Johnny asked in undisguised amazement as he watched the trio near the fish pond. It came as no big surprise to me as they'd already suspected Alex possessed such abilities, though they weren't too sure yet. Whether it was some innate ability in the boy, or something that was the result of the experimentation done on the children, they didn't know. "Do you think he can only do it with her?" he whispered back.

"I have no idea," Liv admitted. "But it could mean we have two telepaths on our hands here. Although Maria seems to respond better to strong emotions than pointed thoughts. The way she knows how to find us if we're a bit wobbly, or to send us looking for Fliss or Alex if they are."

"So, maybe an empath and a telepath," Johnny suggested quietly, having read enough comic books to know that much. Meanwhile, Alex and Maria were chattering away in their own way to Humphrey as the three of them tried to come up with properly appropriate names for their fish.

"Maybe." It said a lot for how well Liv had acclimatized to Rhy'Din that she didn't view this as suddenly overwhelming information. After all, Fliss had calmed down after a little input from them, and Maria and Alex were ready and eager to trust and be taught. "Keeping secrets in this family just got a whole lot more difficult," she murmured with a faint giggle. "How do we make birthday presents surprises?"

"I don't know!" Johnny chuckled. That was something he hadn't really considered. "There has to be a way to-to shield our thoughts from them somehow," he said. This being Rhy'Din, it was unlikely this wasn't the first time anyone had encountered such a problem as theirs.

"We'll work something out," Liv smiled. She liked her big, slightly odd family. It remained to be seen whether or not the child in her womb would follow in their father's footsteps with a talent of their own, but even if they didn't display anything unusual, they'd still be loved. It might even be nice, not to be the only person in her house who didn't have extra senses and skills to play with. "By the way ... who let you near the phone when Fliss was on air?"

"Near the phone?" he echoed, trying as well as he could to look innocent, face flushing just a little to give him away. "I'm not sure what you're talking about. And speaking of Fliss, how long does it take to check on Lucas?" he asked, forming air quotes with his fingers when he said "check on".

"Don't change the subject," she laughed, nudging him fondly. "I do have ears, you know. I thought you were on shift - quiet one, was it?" Her smile grew to a grin as she teased her husband with affection, knowing he couldn't have ignored the opportunity to call in and give Fliss his support right then and there, even if he'd tried.

He frowned guiltily at her, unable to lie - at least, not to her. "Sorry, I couldn't resist. I'm proud of her, you know? Did I embarrass her too much?" he asked, worried Fliss might be upset with him for his phone call, though it was hard to stay angry at Johnny for long.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: All The Little Fishies
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2015, 04:47:54 PM »
Liv chuckled, squeezing his hand. "To be honest, I think she might have been more angry with you if that idiot child hadn't been the second caller," she told him. "She got so wound up over him, she completely forgot you'd called while they were on air at all. And you did get her ice cream, just like you promised."

"What idiot caller?" Johnny said, obviously not having heard that part of the segment. "We got a call after I hung up, and I wasn't able to listen to the rest." He was sure, whatever had happened, his Fliss had been awesome. "Well, of course I got her ice cream. She's my best girl, besides you and Maria and Bella." That kind of took the best of out the equation, but Johnny didn't care.

Liv rolled her eyes. "Oh, one of those boys who keep giving them trouble called in to ask why they'd put her on air," she shrugged. "Lucky for you, I recorded it. She did you proud." She smiled once again, not too concerned about Fliss and her bullies; their eldest seemed to be able to handle herself just fine.

Johnny knew the "they" was in reference to both Fliss and Lucas, as the bullies had been harassing the boy as much as his daughter. "What did she say?" he asked, curiously, one arm going around her shoulders. "Didn't threaten to burn their house down, did she?"

"No," Liv laughed, settling comfortably into the tuck of his arm around her shoulders. "She made a case for people just being people, no matter what makes them different. After arguing a bit with the boy who called in, who I think just fancies her and doesn't know how to express it. I didn't know she'd punched him."

"Yeah, well, it's Rhy'Din ... You'd think people were used to that sort of thing by now," he said, that frown still in place on his face. He didn't bother to mention that he'd been the one to teach her how to throw a punch, though he hadn't encouraged it. "Fancies her?" Johnny echoed. "I thought she liked Lucas."

"What, you don't think your daughter's attractive enough to have more than one boy like her at a time?" she asked teasingly, though she would understand the concern. "It doesn't matter how many boys like her, she likes Lucas. That's the important part."

"I guess it's a little too soon to get attached, huh?" Johnny said, still frowning a little. He had grown fond of the kid and thought he and Fliss were good for each other, but it was very premature to assume they'd stay together long term. After all, they were barely teenagers.

"Little bit," his wife smiled, shaking her head. "First love, sweetheart. It might last, it might not. But so long as they're enjoying it, that's all that really matters. She's not even fifteen yet."

"I know, I know. Can't we just adopt him, too?" Johnny asked with a sheepish grin. Never mind that the kid already had a father of his own. Johnny wondered what kind of father would send his son all alone to a strange world, but he supposed that was none of his business.

"Haven't we already?" Liv laughed back at him, patting his thigh. "He has dinner with us almost every night as it is!" Not that she minded; she liked Lucas, and she thought that being around their slightly chaotic family was good for him. He was slowly coming out of his shell, and that could only be a good thing, right?

"Yeah, but if they ever break up ..." Johnny trailed off with that worried frown in place, though it was a little silly to worry about something that might or might not ever happen.

And speaking about Fliss and Lucas, another voice suddenly popped up in mention of the couple. "Fliss and Lucas are on their way," Alex remarked, matter of factly, though the young couple was still nowhere in sight.

"Definitely a little telepath there," Liv murmured under her breath, making a mental note to address privacy with Alexei a little more in-depth at some point soon. "Thank you for telling us, sweetheart," she said to the little boy aloud, though. "Did you find the fishes in the end?"

Alexei beamed a smile back at the only mother he remembered ever having, obviously happy and thriving at Maple Grove, surrounded by people who loved and cared for both him and Maria. The night terrors were becoming less frequent, and he was turning into a happy, healthy, normal six-year-old. He nodded his head enthusiastically in reply to her question. "I named mine Swizzle and Maria named hers Droplet. Uncle Humphrey says they're really ours, but that they should stay here with all their fishy friends."

"Isn't that a nice thing for Uncle Humphrey to say about his birthday present?" Liv smiled, deeply grateful to the Old Man for being so welcoming and friendly to their children. "Which one was yours? The one with black spots?"

He shock his head and laughed, shuffling his feet a little in that way children do when they're too excited to keep still very long. "No, Mama! Droplet is the one with the spots and Swizzle has the swirls." It was fairly obvious that Humphrey had had a hand in helping name the fish, or they would have likely ended up with names like Spot and Stripes, but the boy seemed pleased and even proud of the names they'd been given. "Uncle Humphrey says we can come and help feed them and watch them anytime we want."

"Of course you can," Liv assured him, reaching over to ruffle his hair. "But not during school, obviously." She grinned, glancing up as the sound of voices announced the imminent arrival of the teens. "And no splashing your little sister, by the way. I don't want her pouring a jug of water on you while you sleep again."

"And he says we can stay for dinner tonight if we want. They're having ice cream for dessert. Can we, Mama, pleeeeease?" Alex asked, young eyes pleading with her. "I won't splash her. I promise!"

Johnny only tried to hide a smirk, and shrugged at Liv, allowing her to decide. It seemed Humphrey wasn't ready to say good-bye to the pair just yet.

Ordinarily, Liv might have looked over at Humphrey to make sure that the invitation had been extended, but he was known for enjoying big gatherings in the evening. Inviting the Storms was like having a party ready-made arrive on your doorstep. "All right, sweetheart," Liv conceded, glancing at Johnny with a chuckle. "But only if you promise to be on your best behavior. Both of you," she added, including Maria in this. The little girl was perched on Humphrey's knee, offering up a blushing grin and a nod in answer to her mother's warning.

In answer to his mother's reply, Alex hopped up and down, clapping his hands happily and shouting, "Yay!" at the top of his young lungs. "Fliss, we're staying for dinner! You, too, Lucas!" Alex told his sister and her boyfriend as they arrived, inviting them along, even if Humphrey hadn't. He surged forward to give his mother a hug before hurrying off to catch Maria by the hand and go chase after Cosmo and Bella.

"Oof!" Laughing, Liv squeezed her little boy and let him surge away with Maria in tow, leaning back with an almost relaxed smile for Humphrey, who was chuckling away quite contentedly himself.

"We're staying up here for dinner?" Fliss asked, just to be completely certain of what was going on. She didn't entirely trust Alex to relay accurate information, with good reason.

"Looks like it," Johnny replied. "Is that okay with the two of you, or would you like to sneak off for burgers and fries?" he added, unable to resist teasing them a little. Lucas had become almost a regular with both families, sometimes sharing meals with Jon and Vicki and the clan and sometimes with Johnny and Liv and their brood. So far, all of the Grangers had been kind and welcoming to him. He wished he could say the same for his classmates.
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]

Olivia Storm

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Re: All The Little Fishies
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2015, 04:48:58 PM »
"Mm, we wouldn't want to keep you away from your adoring fans now your act is getting famous," Liv teased with a laugh, yelping a little as Fliss flicked her ear in retaliation.

"One show, it was one show," she protested defensively. "Not even a ten minutes!"

Johnny might have brought up the subject of her second called if it wasn't for Lucas looking more than a little awkward as he stood beside her, hand in hand. Personally, he thought they were good for each other. He helped keep Fliss out of trouble, and she helped him get acclimated with Rhy'Din. Besides, it was obvious they adored each other, even if they didn't recognize it themselves yet. "You'll be as famous as your mom's boss before long if you keep this up," he teased, with a chuckle.

"Shut up," Fliss grumbled, but it was obvious from her blush that she quite liked the praise. She'd shyly admitted to having enjoyed being on the radio, once she'd got over the shock, but it would take more than that to make her do it again. She looked up at Lucas. "Are we staying, or sneaking off for fast food?"

"Don't forget I'm your father," Johnny teased further. "I could still take you over my knee." They both knew it was a ridiculous statement that had never and would never happen, but Johnny couldn't help himself.

Lucas shrugged in reply, unsure which she'd prefer.

"If it's burgers you want, that's easily done," Johnny interjected, snapping his fingers and producing a flame to prove his point, though Fliss was just as capable of doing the same.

Fliss snickered, leaning over to blow out Johnny's flame, just because she could. "I guess we're staying, then," she conceded, squeezing Lucas' hand. "C'mon, let's go and extract the terrible twosome from whatever they've gotten into." She gave him a tug, pulling her boyfriend safely away from her parents toward the chaos that was her little brother and sister and the dogs.

"Was it something I said?" Johnny laughed as Fliss dragged Lucas away. "He's almost as quiet as Maria," he whispered to Liv. "You think he's okay?"

Before Liv could answer, however, Humphrey leaped in with his own opinion. "He's a quiet boy," he commented. "It may be that he's still getting used to having quite so many people who want to look out for him. Wouldn't say boo to a goose when I'm around."

Liv blushed; that was nearly an accurate description of her around the Old Man.

"You remember Fliss when we first found her?" Johnny asked, turning to watch the pair of teenagers who had just caught up with the younger two. "She was afraid of her own shadow and look at her now." It was no secret that he was proud of the children - all four of them, Lucas included. "He just needs a little time. That's all."

"Your Felicity is very good for him," Humphrey agreed with a nod. "He has a place at one of the colleges in the coming term, so you may find him at your house even more often after school hours. No time to socialize with her at school, after all."

Liv smiled faintly, resting her head on Johnny's shoulder. "We'll need all the help we can get, come November."

"We'll be fine, love," Johnny assured her, with a touch of a kiss to her hair as she settled her head against his shoulder. "So, should I fire up the grill for burgers?" he asked Humphrey with a smirk. No grill was necessary when Johnny was around and they both knew it. "Flame-broiled ala Johnny Storm?"

The Old Man chuckled. "If you can get to the kitchen in time to prevent Lucille from starting her preparations for whatever she has planned for us tonight," he warned. "She was muttering something about quesadillas, whatever that is, this morning."

"Quesadillas?" Johnny echoed. "I love quesadillas!" he said with a grin. It wasn't quite the same as burgers, but it was finger food that would likely make the younger set happy. "You've never had quesadillas?" he asked, chuckling a little at the Old Man's admission. "You're in for a treat. I wonder if she's making fried ice cream for dessert!"

The look on Humphrey Granger's face was too comical for Liv not to laugh. "Fried ... ice cream?" To his credit, the Old Man rallied. "Well, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. Doesn't it melt, though?"

"Nope," Johnny replied with a chuckle. It was a bit of a misnomer, as the ice cream itself wasn't really fried, just the topping, but Johnny offered no explanation, letting Humphrey see and taste it for himself. "Maybe I should go poke around in the kitchen and see what Lucille is up to."

"Perhaps you should," the Old Man nodded approvingly. He didn't say it out loud, but that meant he got time to lay the charm on for Liv and get himself permission to say hello to the baby in her womb. He really was a terrible pushover for all things child-related.

Liv glanced up at Johnny curiously. Was he really going to leave her out here with Humph?

"I won't be long," he told Liv with a smile and a kiss to her cheek. Besides, she wasn't really alone with Humphrey, a gaggle of children and dogs cavorting nearby, and it likely wouldn't be long before Jon or Vicki came looking for Cosmo. "He won't bite," Johnny whispered into her ear before moving to his feet. No flying today, as he wasn't wearing his protective suit beneath his clothing.

"Definitely not," Humphrey agreed, flashing them both a grin. "I may not have all my teeth, but my ears still work, thank you." Liv blushed crimson, deeply embarrassed to have been caught being reassured about being alone with the Old Man, but Humph only laughed. "My dear girl, are you still holding my temper tantrum over me? I'm a grumpy old man, we have fits of pique on occasion. Shoo your husband away, and let me stroke your tummy."

Johnny couldn't help but break into laughter at that. "If you were a younger man, I might have decked you for that," Johnny teased the Old Man, knowing his interest in Liv was purely paternal - or patriarchal. Johnny wasn't quite sure which word fit the situation better, considering they weren't Grangers by blood.

"If I were a younger man, you wouldn't dare leave her alone with me," Humphrey snorted with laughter. He'd been something of a philanderer in his younger years; not something he was proud of, but it gave him a valuable insight when it came to dealing with David's offspring.

Liv rolled her eyes, laughing helplessly. "All right," she conceded, pushing herself to her feet to introduce the Old Man to her bump. She waggled a finger at her husband. "This is entirely your fault."

"I trust you," Johnny said, knowing Humphrey well enough by now to know he could be trusted with both Liv and their children. In fact, he was pretty sure Humphrey was as fond of them as he was of his own flesh and blood. Johnny only laughed at his wife as she introduced her bump to Humphrey. "Have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do!" he warned before starting off toward the house, trying very hard not to "Flame on".

"That doesn't leave me much that I can't now, does it?" Humphrey laughed, but his attention was fully on the movement beneath his hand as Johnny slipped away.

Liv sighed softly through her smile, letting the Old Man commune with the baby rolling over in her womb. Perhaps Johnny was right, after all. They'd become honorary Grangers, and with that had come an honorary grandfather for their children. She could be brave around him, if that was what Humphrey wanted to be to their children. She could do almost anything for her motley band. But she was looking forward to school starting up again. She loved them all, but a few hours of peace in the day wasn't too much to ask for. Was it?

[size=9]((The Storms are settling it pretty well, aren't they? All five of them, soon to be six!))[/size]
[size=9:184a99ac32][color=darkblue:184a99ac32][i:184a99ac32][b:184a99ac32]I want you to be everything that's you, deep at the center of your being.[/b:184a99ac32][/i:184a99ac32][/color:184a99ac32][/size:184a99ac32]