"Let's see what your mother says," he said, copping out like every dad did when he didn't want to make an unpopular decision.
Nodding, Jamie tucked his hand into Steve's to finish the walk into the infirmary. When they got there, it was to find one calm corner, and one definitely not calm corner. The calm was Liv, Bessie, and the youngest set of twins, cuddling quietly on one of the beds. The not calm ... Lucy was flat on her back on one of the other beds, with Sarah lying across her face, and Natalia rummaging in her pockets, both little girls cackling with glee.
Steve paused in the doorway, having a hard time stifling his laughter. "Um, girls? I think your mother would like to be able to breathe, if you don't mind," he said, trying hard not to sound like he was either amused or angry.
Jamie snickered next to him, glad he wasn't the one causing problems for Mummy this time. Natalia was the one who looked up guiltily, snatching her hands out of Lucy's pockets as her mother flailed. Sarah, on the other hand, just turned her head, shifting just enough that Lucy's mouth came into view. "Dada!"
Steve and Lucy had wanted a big family, but the twins had a habit of continually testing their patience. He sighed, letting go of Jamie's hand so that he could rescue Lucy, easily snatching both girls up off their mother and into his arms. The other Rogers' children had never been so full of impatience, at least, as far as Steve could remember. He blamed Nat.
"What exactly are you both looking for?"
Left breathless on the bed and more than a little disheveled, Lucy gasped, laughing at the sight of Steve hoisting the two troublemakers up into the air.
"Someone thought they could get hold of my stethoscope if they pinned me down," she told her husband, sitting up with another smile for Jamie.
"Mmm, I see," Steve murmured thoughtfully. Of course, Liv had been sitting right there and could have easily assisted. He was also pretty sure Lucy didn't make much of an effort to fight off the two troublemakers. "You know what happens when you make trouble for your mama," he warned them both, trying hard once again to keep a straight face.
Natalia's eyes went wide and worried at the prospect of being told off. Her sister, on the other hand, just hugged Steve around the neck and kissed his cheek. "Dada make dinner," she said cheerfully.
Steve chuckled. The only punishment he'd had in mind was ticking them both, but the look on Natalia's face and the smooch from Sarah had him chuckling instead. "You're both lucky you're so cute," he told them, rubbing noses with one and then the other.
"You are both complete pushovers," Liv said from the other bed, cuddling Marnie while Bessie cooed over Izzy.
Lucy snorted, sticking her tongue out at her sister. "Maybe we like the chaos, ever think of that?"
"Says the woman who's married to the biggest kid in Rhy'Din," Steve teased with a smirk. "Shall we go find the rest of the brood?" he asked, but before anyone could answer, he could hear said brood approaching in the hallway. The only ones missing was Johnny and Fliss, who were likely still at work and school, respectively.
"Who's the biggest kid in Rhy'Din?" Colin asked, as he poked his head in the door, the rest of the Rogers and Storm kids flooding the room.
"Papa says Uncle Johnny is," Lianne said confidently, skipping into the room to bounce up onto the bed with Lucy and Jamie. "Are we going home now?"
"As soon as your mom is ready," Steve told his daughter. "Jamie, show everyone your award," he urged the boy, proud of his son for doing so well in school, after something of a struggle at times.
"Wow, a gold star for spelling!" Martin praised his younger brother, giving him a high five.
It didn't take long for the children to gather around Jamie, cheerfully praising him and sharing their own stories about the day they had had. And that, in turn, gave Lucy and Liv the opportunity to pack up the infirmary and secure the youngest twins in a stroller respectively.
Behind Colin in the doorway, Nat chuckled quietly, still hugging Alia on her hip. "If we have any more kids, we're going to have to learn how to do that distraction thing."
"Maybe we should quit while we're ahead," Colin whispered back, chuckling a little to himself. While he was overjoyed to be a father, he wasn't sure he wanted to have such a large family as the Storms or the Rogers. Meanwhile, Steve helped wrangle the kids, zipping coats and shouldering bags.
"Mama!" Alexei said, tugging on his mother's sleeve. "I almost flew today! Just like Papa!"
"So I heard," Liv told him with a warm smile, turning to hug him. "I'm so proud of you! But we need to have a talk about setting down some rules if you're going to start flying around, okay?" She stroked his hair fondly, blinking as Maria waved a hand for their attention.
"Can I fly on Lir next to Alex in the sky?"
"Okay, Mama," Alex obediently replied without hesitation. He took great pride in pleasing his parents, knowing he was lucky to have them, and he was especially close to his mother. "Can we fly on Lir together?" Alex countered, taking up where his sister left off.
Liv chuckled. "Let me talk to Lir about that before anyone goes climbing on him," she suggested. "But you're getting so strong with your telekinesis, sweetheart! And a little bird tells me that you, little miss, are getting a special teacher tomorrow."
Maria beamed happily, definitely looking forward to the special lesson the next day.
"What special teacher?" Alex asked, merely curious, as everyone around him started toward the door, filing out into the hallway to head for home.
"Alyona is coming to work with the students whose abilities are more empathetic," Liv explained to him, maneuvering the stroller out into the hallway in the wake of the others. Maria nodded along with her, hand in hand with Bessie and unable to sign for the time being.