Author Topic: A Day in the Life  (Read 1747 times)

Steve Rogers

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A Day in the Life
« on: December 28, 2019, 04:28:09 PM »
It was just an ordinary day in the life of Steve Rogers - or at least, as ordinary a day as he was accustomed to these days, now that he and his family were permanent residents in Rhy'Din. That morning, amidst the organized chaos that always accompanied the start of a day in the Rogers' household, he had kissed his wife good-bye and headed off to work at the school they had opened on the grounds of Maple Grove for those children who were gifted with various talents beyond their understanding or ability for control. He knew Lucy was due to give birth to their sixth child - the fourth by birth - but he was only a phone call and a short distance away.

There were contingency plans upon contingency plans, though everyone hoped none of them would be needed. Lucy could be a little difficult in the last month of her pregnancy, however, so it was just as well they had those plans in place. But she was keeping in contact, and as such, Steve knew that his wife had left the twins with her sister and headed into the city to pick up a few groceries while she had the energy and headspace for it. That left him at least mostly free to focus on the children in his classes, which was just as well, really. A loud crunch sounded from by the lockers, the small group parting to show a lad of no more than eight years old staring in horror at the indented handprint he had left in the edge of his locker door.

It was almost like Moses parting the Dead Sea, children moving out of their headmaster's way as he stepped into view, but they did not fear him the way some children feared their elders. Steve's gaze swept the scene, taking it all in, especially that of the small boy who looked as frightened by what he'd done as by what the consequences might be.

"Hey, Ryan," Steve said, lowering himself onto a knee so that he wasn't looming over the boy. "What's going on?"

Ryan hesitated for a moment, clenching his fists before coming up with his answer. "I squeezed too hard, Mr. Steve," he said apologetically. "I'm sorry I broke the locker."

"It's okay, son. Lockers can be replaced," he assured the boy, reaching out to give his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. "But how did it happen?" he asked, and more importantly, why. Meantime, other teachers were dispersing the crowd of students around them, sending them on to the classrooms.

The little boy looked conflicted, which suggested he didn't want to get anyone else in trouble for something he had done.

A small, familiar hand tugged on Steve's sleeve, drawing his attention to Maria. She smiled, raising her hands to flicker the answer to his question quickly.

"Ron was teasing him and he got angry and he doesn't want Ron to get in trouble because Ron will tease him more."

Steve turned to find little Maria there - Johnny and Liv's adopted daughter who they had rescued some years ago from a remote Hydra base, where she'd been one several children being kept there. He furrowed his brows at what she was telling him. If there was one thing he wouldn't tolerate here or anywhere else, it was bullies.

"Okay, Maria. Thanks for telling me. You can go to class now," he told his niece, smiling reassuringly.

She nodded happily, patting Ryan's arm as she skipped past toward her own classroom. The boy watched her for a moment, looking back to Steve with wide eyes. "What did she say?"

Steve chuckled a little at the question. "I guess we'll have to start teaching you all sign language," he said, which wasn't a bad idea, at least for those who weren't telepathic. "She told me someone was teasing you and you got angry. Is that right?" he asked, not bothering to mention any names. He'd deal with the bully later.

Ryan frowned, looking down at his feet. "I'm sorry I got angry, Mr. Steve," he apologized again. "I won't do it again, I promise. Soft hands, like you told me."

"It's okay to get angry, Ryan," Steve assured the boy. "Everyone gets angry sometimes. But you have to learn to control your anger so you don't hurt anyone. There are always going to be people in the world who think they're better than you are, or who tease other people because it makes them feel better about themselves. More powerful. But you know what? Deep down, they're cowards."

"I don't want to hurt people, Mr. Steve," the boy said quietly, looking up at him. "I will try harder. And ... and maybe if I give you my 'llowance, it'll pay for the locker?"

Steve smiled, giving the boy's shoulder another gentle squeeze. "That won't be necessary, Ryan. You keep your allowance. Tell you what, though? Mr. Zachary is putting together an after school session in self defense. Is that something you might be interested in?"

"But won't I hurt them if I go?" It hardly seemed fair that a boy as gentle-hearted as Ryan should have found himself with a mutation that gave him super strength. Worry was in danger of becoming paranoia.

"Not if you learn how to control your anger and your powers. There's nothing wrong with getting angry, Ryan. It's what you do when you get angry that matters. Zach can help you with that," Steve explained.

"Okay, Mr. Steve." Ryan seemed to brighten up, smiling a little at the reassurance. "I'm late for Mrs. Dani's class. We're doing art today," he added shyly.

"Okay, you run along and have fun," Steve told the boy, reaching over to tousle his hair. "And if you have any more problems, don't be afraid to come to me or to tell one of your teachers. That's what we're here for. Okay?"

"Yes, sir!" Nodding, clearly relieved not to be in trouble or to have given up the name of his bully, Ryan hurried away down the hallway just as the bell rang for the start of class. Within seconds, the hallway was quiet, all sounds of the children settling to their lessons muffled behind doors.

The harder problem for Steve wasn't teaching Ryan how to defend himself without hurting anyone, but teaching Ron not to be a bully. He didn't want to have to kick the kid out of school, but he wouldn't tolerate bullies either. He sighed, contemplating all that while he made his way back to his office.

He encountered Nat in the hallway, apparently escorting one of the smallest of their students to her lesson. The little girl in question was taking each step very carefully, as though making sure her foot would stay on the ground before lifting the other one, holding tightly to Nat's hand as she went.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2019, 04:28:40 PM »
"Hey," he greeted his bestie, careful not to mention the bully in the presence of another student. "Got a few?" he asked, wondering if she had any suggestions on how to deal with Ron once she had escorted her charge to her lessons.

The redhead caught his expression, raising her eyebrow curiously. "Yeah, I'm free this period," she nodded. "Just got to deliver Hana here to Danielle safely, and I'll come meet you in your office."

Hana looked up at her headmaster in awe, a gap-toothed smile showing itself cheerfully.

"Hi, Hana!" he greeted the littlest of their students. "Are you going to Miss Dani's class?" he asked her, though Nat seemed to have already told him that. "I hear you're doing art today."

Hana nodded happily. "When I take both my feets off the floor, they don't go back down," she informed him, visibly tightening her grip on Nat's hand before demonstrating. Yes, that was a four year old girl floating in the air.

"Oh! What if we got you some ankle weights?" he suggested with a glance at Nat to see if she thought the idea might work. "Maybe those would hold you down."

Nat nodded imperceptibly. "Maybe we can get you some special shoes so you don't have to wear weights on your ankles, too," she suggested as well. "Remember how to get back down?"

Hana frowned with fierce concentration, and very slowly began to descend. She needed just one push on her shoulder to get her fully onto the ground again. "I did it!"

"Weighted shoes. Even better," Steve said with a nod. He seemed somewhat distracted today, and it wasn't just the incident at the locker that was distracting him.

"Good job, Hana!" Nat grinned down at the little girl. "Let's get you to Mrs. Dani's class, and she'll take care of you from there, okay?"

"Okay, Mrs. Prepscat!"

The look in Nat's eyes dared Steve to pass comment on that butchering of her surname. "I'll be back," she said, as the pair of them began their slow walk along the hallway once again. "Try not to text her again before she texts you."

Steve couldn't help but smirk at the mangling of Nat's new surname, but he dared not say a work. "Bye, Hana! Have fun in art class!" he called, waving to the little girl as she and Nat departed. Once they were gone, he frowned, sliding one hand into his pocket to pull out his cell phone, but resisting the urge to text his wife yet again. Maybe he should have stayed home or gone with her into the city, but she had assured him she'd be fine.

Less than five minutes later, Nat was closing the door to his office behind her, still smiling at the goodbye and thank you she'd gotten from the little floater. "That one might be a handful," she warned in amusement, thumping down into one of the chairs. "What's up?"

"Well, we don't want her floating away on us, do we?" he asked, imagining the little girl floating over Rhy'Din like a child-sized balloon. He blinked, shoving the thought from his mind. "There was an ... incident earlier. Ron's been bullying again, and I'm not sure what to do about it."

Nat frowned thoughtfully. "There's got to be something else happening we don't know about," she pointed out. "Kids don't escalate the way he has been without having some reason. Maybe we should get him access to a counselor or something?"

"That would probably be a good idea," Steve admitted, frowning with concern. Maybe it was something to do with the boy's home life, or maybe it went deeper than that. The only way to find out was to dig a little deeper, but it had to be done carefully, properly, and he wasn't the one to do it.

"Well, we've got Fliss' mentor coming in to do assessments of all the kids, right?" Nat pointed out. "The parents already know about it, and they've agreed. So maybe she'll be able to get something out of him. Let's give it that before we start working out how to meddle deeper."

Steve nodded, obviously distracted this morning by something more than a troubled kid. "You know, Lucy is due any day now, and I'm planning on taking some time off to spend at home," he told her, all of which she knew already.

Nat's smile gentled for her friend. "I've got this," she promised him. "I may be the scariest deputy-head in all of creation, but I care about this place and these kids as much as you do. Your job is to be a good dad for a while."

The problem was that meant he wouldn't be there to deal with Ron or any other problems that might crop up, and as headmaster, this school was his responsibility.

"I'm only a phone call away," he reminded her. As the school was located on the grounds of Maple Grove, he really wouldn't be far away at all.

"I know," she assured him. "But while you are on paternity leave, I am the acting headmaster. You need to trust me to handle things, Steve."

"There's no one I trust more than you, Nat. You know that," he told her. "But I can't be in two places at once, and Lucy is gonna need me, at least for a little while." Again, he didn't really have to explain any of this to Nat, but maybe what he was really trying to do was justify it in his own mind.

"Steve." Natasha waited until she had his full attention before continuing. "Lucy is never going to stop needing you. Your kids are never going to stop needing you. They should always be your first priority. This school, a labor of love though it is, is a job."

"I know, I know," he admitted with a sigh. "So, why do I feel guilty about taking time off?" he asked. Though she was not his therapist, she was his friend, and he trusted her judgment. She knew him better than most anyone, besides Lucy, after all.

"Because you care," she reminded him. "And because the whole point of this school is very close to your heart. It's your baby, in a way. But I am a pretty good babysitter. Your kids love me, after all."

"They do, but let's not forget you have a kid of your own now, too," he reminded her, though she hardly needed reminding. In all truth, she was like family to him - like the sister he'd never had. So was Liv, but Nat understood him in ways Liv never could. "I'll be okay, once this baby is born." It wasn't so much the baby that worried him, as it was Lucy. "I think maybe we should stop at six. What do you think?"

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2019, 04:28:57 PM »
"Yeah, half a dozen is enough!" Nat laughed cheerfully, shaking her head. "I cannot believe Lucy's had four babies. I'm still on the fence about having one more."

"It is a lot," Steve replied, smiling at last. "You'll know when you're ready," he told her, confident she and Colin would have one more, given time.

"Unlike you two, with your indecisiveness over whether it's time or not to have another one," she teased, glancing at the desk as the phone began to ring.

"Who you calling indecisive?" Steve quipped with a grin. "I'm not indecisive." He glanced at the desk, wondering who'd be calling him there, and reaching to answer the phone. "Rogers here. How can I help you?"

"Steve, it's Libby. Lucy's in labor in the middle of the market and being stubborn about calling you." Thank gods for a midwife who routinely overruled her patients when they were being idiots. "I'm on my way to pick her up and get her to the General. You should get here soon."

"What?!" Steve exclaimed, worry written all over his face. "Okay, I'll be there as soon as I can. Thanks!" he said, cutting the call short and hanging up. He'd heard all he needed to hear. "I gotta go," he told Nat. "Lucy's in labor and being stubborn about going to the hospital."

The abrupt change in his energy was all she needed to guess what had happened, but Nat let him get the words out before answering. "I'll let Liv and Johnny know, and we'll work out what's happening with the kids between us," she told him, waving a hand. "Go. She'll kill you if you're late."

"I'm going!" he told her, grabbing his jacket and heading for the door. "I'll call as soon as I know something," he assured her, wasting no time in leaving, knowing he was leaving everything in good hands.

"You'll call when it's over, shoo," she countered, rising from her own seat as she waved him out through the door, laughing at his sudden outpouring of nervous energy.

Though he wasn't able to call up fire to speed him on his way, the super soldier serum enabled him to move at incredible speed, and it was times like this when he took advantage of it. Moving faster on foot than he would by any other means, he arrived at Rhy'Din General in record time, searching the lobby for the information desk.

The girl on the desk looked slightly alarmed by the sight of a large man, only slightly breathless, looking wind-swept and panicked and looming over her. "Um ... can I help you, sir?"

"Yeah, my wife is supposed to be here somewhere ... Lucy Rogers? She's gonna have a baby," Steve explained, knowing he could probably explain himself better, but the normally calm and cool-headed soldier was a bit rattled. He had enough sense to know she was probably in the labor ward, but he couldn't very well just barge in there without checking in. "I mean ... she's in labor!" he quickly corrected himself.

"Well, she'll be on the labor ward then, sir," the girl told him, typing quickly to confirm that. "Yes, here we are - Lucy Rogers, admitted twenty minutes ago. You should probably just go on up. Do you know the way?"

"I know the way!" Steve called back, already halfway to the elevator. "Thanks!"

He punched the button three times, as if that might help the elevator get there faster, before finally deciding to take the stairs, easily beating the elevator to the labor ward. Once there, he realized he'd forgot to ask what room.

"Excuse me," he said, as he approached the nurse's station. "Lucy Rogers? She's my wife."

"Oh, you made it! She's in Delivery Suite 4, Captain Rogers," the nurse told him with a grin. "Seems like your baby wants out as soon as possible."

"Good thing I got here in time then! Thanks!" he said, turning and quickly searching the hall for the room numbers before heading in the right direction. He knocked only once on the door before pushing his way inside. "Luce?" he asked, as if to make sure he hadn't wandered into the wrong room.

"It's about time!" Lying on the bed, legs akimbo, Lucy waved a hand toward her husband. "Get over here!"

At the end of the bed, apparently as calm as ever, Libby was waiting to play catch.

"Yes, ma'am!" Steve replied, moving into place beside Lucy and taking her hand. "I got here as fast as I could," he told her, both of them knowing that was true. The only way he could have gotten there any faster was if he could have teleported there.

"I broke the milk," she whimpered, gripping his hand tightly. It said a fair amount about Lucy that the thing she was most distressed about while giving birth was the fact that she had dropped the milk on the cobbles during that first strong contraction.

"Shh," he said, brushing her hair back from her face, a reassuring and adoring smile on his face. "Don't worry about that now. Just worry about having the baby." Now that he was there, he hoped she would focus her energy on just that and not worry about anything else.

Gritting her teeth, she let her head fall back, pushing as hard as she dared through the contraction that was gripping her body.

"Beautiful, Lucy," Libby encouraged her. "A gentle long push next time, and it'll be almost over."

Steve glanced in Libby's direction a moment, as if he looking for her reassurance as to whether things were going well or not. A simple nod was all he needed.

A simple nod was all he got, but Libby knew he'd be reassured. She had delivered their twins, after all - she knew them well enough not to be too concerned by the focus this couple had on each other during times of stress.

Lucy gasped for breath, tilting her head into Steve's shoulder as she took the opportunity to rest briefly before another contraction hit. "I love you, I'm a bitch, but I love you so much," she muttered, silencing herself abruptly to give Libby that long, gentle push she wanted.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2019, 04:29:13 PM »
Steve almost chuckled at the blunt honesty of her statement, more amused than shocked by it. "I love you, too, baby. Always have and always will," he assured her, brushing a kiss against her brow while she paused to take a breath. His smile faded, turning serious, one arm sliding behind Lucy's back to support her while she made that final push. "Almost there, Luce. You can do it!"

"There we are, just one more and we're done," Libby said from the end of the bed, as a thin wail made itself known, cradled securely in one hand. Lucy let out a faint laugh at the sound, tears starting to drip down her face as she prepared herself for the last last push.

If Steve could have gone through pregnancy and labor for her, he would have. All he could do was be there for her, to lend her support, to help in any way he could. He would walk through fire for Lucy if he had to; he just wished what little he could do to help was enough.  "Hear that, Luce? One more push, baby!" he echoed Libby's encouragement, laughing a little himself at the sound of their newborn's wail.

"Just in time, huh?" she managed, bearing down for that last push, and with a wet noise, their youngest was born.

"You have a boy," Libby told them with a grin, quickly tying off the cord and wrapping the baby in a blanket.

"A boy!" Steve echoed with another laugh that was full of joy and relief. It wouldn't have really mattered to him whether the newborn was a boy or a girl, so long as it was healthy, but they'd been secretly hoping for a boy, and now it seemed that wish had been granted. "Can we see him?" he asked, impatient to meet the newest addition to the Rogers family.

"Well, if you come here and cut the cord, yes," Libby told him with a laugh. She was practiced enough now with maternity and antenatal magics that the afterbirth and after-effects were already mending themselves, allowing Lucy to ease back against the pillows with a low sigh of relief.

"Be right back, baby," Steve told Lucy, touching a kiss to her lips as he carefully eased his arm from beneath her so that he could cut the cord connecting mother and son.

She smiled wearily at him as he eased his arm from beneath her, only too happy for him to meet their son first. It was an unpleasant sort of thing to do, but it helped him to feel involved, and within a few minutes, Steve was holding his new son as the baby boy calmed down from his distressed complaints about being born.

"Well, hello there, little man," he said, quietly greeting the newborn, face to face for the first time. It was likely the baby already recognized the sound of his father's voice as Steve had spoken to him often while he was inside the womb, but until this moment, Steve could only guess at what their child might look like. "I hope you didn't give your mama too much trouble being born."

"He was in a hurry," Lucy murmured, more amused now than annoyed by it. "Didn't even let me drive myself to the hospital." The newborn gazed up at Steve with the familiarly unfocused blue eyes of all newborn babies, apparently utterly charmed by his father's voice.

"So was I," Steve murmured, knowing how he'd rush to get here in time, choosing to go on foot, rather than deal with traffic. "Would you like to meet your mother?" he asked the newborn, not expecting an answer. He moved closer to Lucy so that she could get her first look at her new son. "What do you think, Mama? Think he's a keeper?"

Lifting her head, Lucy looked over at their newborn son, unsurprised to find him staring adoringly up at Steve. Steve just had that effect on all children. "He's cute, we can keep him," she said with a low laugh, pulling herself to sit up. "So can we go home tonight, Libby?"

The midwife rolled her eyes as she paged for a porter. "You know the drill," she reminded them. "Both of you need to eat and use the facilities before you can go."

"It wouldn't hurt to stay one night, Luce. I, uh ..." Steve chuckled, a little embarrassed at the confession he was about to make. "I didn't bring the car."

She tilted her head curiously. "How did you get here if you didn- ..." Her lips curved in a teasing smile. "Steve, did you run all the way from the Grove in less than half an hour?"

Steve shrugged, actually blushing a little in embarrassment. "It was faster," he admitted, truthfully. "I'll bring the car later ... or tomorrow. Or we can have someone pick us up," he said, not too worried about it. There were numerous people who'd be more than happy to pick them up, if he asked.

Lucy giggled tiredly, resting back against the pillows once again as the porter knocked and entered. "I think we should give the honor to Johnny," she suggested with a faintly mischievous quirk to her lips. "He doesn't get to be the responsible uncle very often on his own."

"Johnny?" Steve echoed, confused for a moment, until he realized she was talking about names. They'd gone over names a few times over the last months, but had never been able to settle on one. "First name or middle name?"

"Middle," she clarified, reflexively gripping the sheets as the porter took the brakes off the bed and began to wheel her out of the delivery suite toward a private room.

"Okay," Steve murmured agreeably, falling in beside the bed as the porter pushed it along the hallway away from the delivery room. "So, what about first names?" he asked. "Did you have anything in mind?" He wasn't too keen on the idea of naming their son after his father, as they'd never been very close, and they'd already named Jamie after Bucky.

"I like traditional names," Lucy admitted. "Something like David or Daniel or Joseph. What do you think?" She tilted her head to smile over at him, unable to keep from grinning at the sight of Steve once again completely in thrall to a baby.

Steve frowned at the mention of one of those names. Should they name this son after his father, whose name had been Joseph? It really hadn't been the man's fault that he'd died too early, had it? But Joseph Jonathan? Would he then end up being called JJ, and would he mind that? "What do you think, little man? Do you like any of those names?"

"Maybe Joseph's a bit too on the nose, this close to Christmas," Lucy mused, quietly pleased by the porter's soft chuckle at her comment. There was a low thump as the door to the private room opened, and a few minutes later, the new parents were alone with their new bouncing baby boy.

Steve might have had something to say about that, but not with the porter nearby. "So, what other names do you like?" he asked, waiting until they were alone to ask, as he sank into a chair beside the bed.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2019, 04:29:27 PM »
"Adam, maybe," she said softly, settling herself more comfortably in the bed to look over at her husband and son. "I keep coming back to Daniel. What do you think, darling? Any ideas?"

"Joseph was my father's name," he admitted, now that they were alone. "But ... We weren't very close." As a matter of fact, his father had died when Steve was just a boy, and sadly, he hardly remembered the man. "Why Daniel?" he asked, curiously. "Any reason or just like the sound of it?"

"I'm sorry, darling," Lucy apologised. "I wouldn't have suggested it if I'd known that." She reached over, gently touching his knee. "I don't know Daniel keeps coming to me. I don't know anyone called Daniel, but I like the name. And it fits with the others - Martin, James, Daniel."

He reassured her with a smile. Whatever sadness he'd felt at the mention of his father was already gone. It was hard to miss someone you couldn't even remember. "What do you think, little man?" he asked, looking back at the little bundle in his arms. "Are you a Daniel Jonathan?" he asked, not really expecting an answer.

"Are you happy with that, Steve?" Lucy asked, her expression just a little worried. "I'm the one who named Jamie, after all. You should say whether you have another name in mind for your son."

"He's not my son, Luce. He's our son," Steve pointed out, and as far as he was concerned, they'd named Jamie together. "I like it, Luce. It's a good name," he told her, unable to offer any alternatives.

"Daniel Jonathan it is, then," she agreed with a smile. "Does the doting daddy want to wash him up and dress him?" she suggested. "I've been carrying around the hospital bag as my handbag for a week, so we have everything."

"It's the least I can do, after you carried him around for nine months," he said, not to mention giving birth, but from the look on his face, he was just teasing. "What do you say, Danny Boy? Are you ready for your first bath?"

"Oh god," Lucy muttered, realizing she was going to have that sung at her at least twice in the coming days before she made it perfectly clear it was not allowed. She was laughing, though, watching as the newly named Daniel Jonathan Rogers waved a fist in answer to his father's suggestion.

"There you go! Brave boy," Steve remarked with a grin as the baby waved a fist around, though it was unlikely to have anything to do with his father's question. He knew the newborn was probably going to protest at being undressed, but Steve was experienced enough at bathing and diapering and swaddling that it would all be over soon.

As Steve set about making their son presentable, Lucy rummaged for her phone, calling her sister's house phone to pass on the news and find out what was going on there."

There was a cumulative chorus of excited voices on the other end of the phone that Steve could hear, even from across the room. He chuckled at the sound of it, as he rewrapped the little one in a blanket and swept him up onto a shoulder.

"Tell them we'll be home tomorrow," he told Lucy as he rejoined her.

Putting the phone on speaker, Lucy didn't need to relay that for the small cheer to resound happily from the other end.

Jamie turned out to be the loudest, declaring into the receiver at the other end, "You did me a baby brother! Thank you, thank you!"

"His name is Daniel ... Danny for short," Steve told them, laughing a little at Jamie's remark. "Three girls and three boys," he added, mostly to himself. "I'm the luckiest man in the ... well, in the whole multiverse, I guess!" he said, laughing again.

"Uncle Johnny said you runned all the way, Papa," Lianne interjected. "Did your shoes break?"

Lucy grinned over at Steve, enjoying this ridiculous conversation a little too much.

Steve chuckled again. "Yeah, I did, and no, they didn't. But I might need a new pair soon," he admitted.

"Papa can run faster than anyone," Martin interjected. "Isn't that right, Papa?"

Steve smiled. "I don't know about that, but I can run pretty fast. Not as fast as your Uncle Johnny can fly though."

"He got here just in time," Lucy told the children, her grin widening at the sudden peal of giggles. "I had to hold my legs together so he wouldn't miss it!"

Steve winced, unsure he wanted to field the questions that might follow Lucy's remark. "Would you like to see what your new brother looks like?" he asked, instead.

"Yes, please! Does he have a scrunchy nose? Is he all red? Is he pretty?" It was hard to tell who was asking what question, especially when you added the burbles from Sarah and Natalia in the background as well.

Steve laughed, exchanging smiles with Lucy before tapping the video chat button so that the children could not only hear them, but see them, too. "There, how's that?" he asked as he shifted the phone so that the children could see what their new little brother looked like.

There was a round of cooing from the other end, all three faces crammed into view to stare at their new baby brother. "His nose is like yours, Jamie!" Lianne declared, resulting in a delighted cheer from the brother in question.

"He's all red and wrinkly, but he won't be for long," Martin remarked, old enough to remember Jamie's birth, as well as the twins. "When are you coming home?" he asked further, missing them both more than he cared to say.

"Probably tomorrow, petit," Lucy answered, although she had a quiet idea that she wanted to talk to Steve about first. Martin was the one who struggled the most when they were both unavailable.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2019, 04:30:15 PM »

"Okay, Mama," Martin replied, both obediently and trustingly. He knew without a doubt that his parents would come home as soon as they could, and he wanted his mother to come home healthy, bringing his healthy baby brother home with her. "Jamie, stop pushing!" he was overheard saying as the three of them jostled for the phone.

As the kids jostled, Lucy caught Steve's eye. "Can we bring Martin in for a visit tonight?" she asked, quietly enough that none of the kids heard her.

"Just Martin?" Steve whispered back, quietly enough that the kids wouldn't hear him on the other end of the phone. He didn't mind, but he wasn't sure what Lianne and Jamie would have to say about that.

She nodded. "He needs it more than they do," she whispered back. "We can make sure they all get time alone with the baby, but he'll sleep better if he sees we're okay for himself."

"Okay, but how are we gonna explain it to them?" he asked, still whispering while the children oohed and ahhed over their new baby brother.

"He's the oldest, and we don't want to overwhelm the baby with everyone at once," Lucy whispered in return, offering him a smile. "I'll explain it to them when we get home. Lianne will understand better than Jamie, but I can talk him round."

Steve nodded, trusting his wife to know their children best. "Okay," he agreed, but that led to another question. "Who's bringing him and do you want me to stay the night?" he asked, considering the fact that he'd come on foot.

"Let's ask Johnny to bring him in the car, so he can drop it off and some clothes for you, and still get home without freaking out," she suggested, glancing back at the phone to discover that Jamie had got bored and wandered off.

"Okay," Steve agreed, assuming from what she'd said that she wanted him to stay the night. The children would be fine for one night without them.  "Lianne, can you go get your Uncle Johnny for me?" he asked, turning back to the phone.

"Oui, Papa!" The little girl blew a kiss into the video phone, just in case it was going to be hung up before she got to see them again, and scurried out of sight, leaving Martin holding the phone himself.

"Martin, would you like to come visit tonight? Johnny has to bring some things to the hospital. Would you like to go along?" Steve asked his son, once Lianne had scurried off.

"Me?" Martin responded, blinking in surprise. "I would like that very much," he replied. At least, he hadn't lapsed into French, which both he and Lianne had a tendency to do when they were upset or excited.

"You'll have to fly with Uncle Johnny to get back home," Lucy warned him gently, not wanting her gentle boy to get a shock when there was no other choice. "Is that okay?"

"Fly home?" Martin echoed, a mix of trepidation and excitement on his young face. It wasn't that he didn't trust his uncle to get him home safely, but he thought himself a bit old to be carried like a sack of potatoes. "Couldn't I just take Lir?" he asked, hopefully.

Lucy smiled fondly at her son. "How would you get him into the city, darling? And where would you leave him while you were in the hospital?" she asked in a gentle tone. "I promise you, flying with Uncle Johnny is an amazing experience. Ask Auntie Liv."

Martin frowned but nodded his head like the obedient son he was. "Okay, Mama," he said agreeably. It was a small price to pay to get his first look at his new little brother. Besides, it would be an adventure.

"Don't worry, son," Steve was quick to assure the boy. "Uncle Johnny will keep you safe."

"And you can tell him that if he does anything to scare you while you're up there, I will give him a wedgie that needs to be surgically removed," Lucy added, fully aware that she was the scariest member of their extended family purely by dint of occasionally following through on her threats.

That got a chuckle out of her oldest son. "Oui, Mama. I will tell him," he assured her, amused at the idea of his mother threatening the Human Torch. "Thank you," he added, smiling proudly to know he was being given this special privilege, but too kind to boast about it.

"Love you, petit," Lucy told him. "I'll see you later. Let your Dad tell your uncle what's up." She winked at him, hearing Johnny being ushered into the room by an excitable Lianne behind him.

"Love you, too," Martin said, before handing the phone to Johnny who was looking a little bewildered at Liane's insistence he come to the phone.

"Is something wrong?" he asked, looking concerned.

"Hey, Everlast, fancy a little trip into the city?" Lucy said with a grin. She was pretty sure Johnny would never pass up the opportunity to show off just a little, not to mention be one of the first to see the new baby in person.

"Uh ... What's the catch?" he asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously at Lucy. It wasn't that he didn't trust her, but he had a feeling she wasn't telling him everything.

Steve chuckled, scooping their son up to check his diaper, while Lucy chatted with her brother-in-law.

"You gotta drive the car here, and fly back with Martin," Lucy informed Johnny with a faint smile. "And bring clothes for Steve for tomorrow. Think you can handle that without traumatizing my sweet boy?"

"Drive the car and fly back with Martin?" Johnny echoed, brows furrowed in confusion. "What's this really about, Lucy?" he asked, knowing it wasn't just about bringing Steve a fresh change of clothes. "Is everything okay?"

She sighed softly. "Martin struggles when both of us are away," she explained. "He needs to see me and the baby, just so he settles tonight and doesn't worry himself sick, okay? The others can handle one night, but he didn't get a chance to say goodbye when I went into labor, and I know my little man. He's going to worry about that until he gets eyes on."

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2019, 04:30:31 PM »
"Okay, Luce. You can count on me!" Johnny said, grinning. He was one of those people who needed to be needed, and he'd do just about anything for his family, even if it was something as simple as this. "What time?"

She considered this for a moment, checking her watch. "The ward is open to visitors in private rooms pretty much all the time," she mused. "Let him have a late night - bring him over when Lianne and Jamie have gone to bed. I'll be washed and presentable by then, too."

"Okay, see you in a few hours! Do you wanna talk to Liv?" he asked, unsure if he should hang up or not.

"I'll call her later," Lucy told him with a smile. "We had a quick chat before the kids commandeered her phone. Thanks, Johnny. Looking forward to seeing you meet your namesake." She had to get that in there, if only to be the first one to experience Johnny's reaction.

"Okay, sounds good! Wait ... My namesake? What do you mean?" Johnny asked, looking confused and just a little suspicious again. He wasn't sure if he trusted Lucy not to be teasing him.

"His name's Daniel Jonathan," she told him, and her smile assured him that she wasn't teasing this time. "For his uncle, who is pretty much the reason why we're all in such a good place."

"Really?" Johnny said, eyes widening in disbelief. "You named him after me? Seriously?" he asked, still not sure she was being honest with him, despite her smile.

"I wouldn't joke about that, Johnny," she promised. "Of course we named him after you. You're a big part of our lives, you know."

"No one's ever named anyone after me," he said, swallowing past a strange lump that was forming in his throat.

"You're family, Everlast," she reminded him affectionately. "It was gonna happen sometime. And, yanno, he was in such a rush to get out into the world, it fits."

"I don't know what to say," he replied. For once in his life, it seemed Johnny Storm had been rendered speechless.

"Say thanks and see you in a few hours," Steve was heard replying, amusement apparent in his voice. "Your namesake is working himself up into a hissy fit. I think he's hungry."

"That's good advice," Lucy agreed with a grin. "I have to pop a tit out, Uncle Johnny. See you later!" She chuckled, handing the phone over to Steve in exchange for the fussy Daniel.

Steve exchanged a few more words with the baby's namesake before finally hanging up. He chuckled as he set the phone aside and settled himself beside Lucy. "I think you made his day. Heck, I think you made his year!"

Laughing with him, she relaxed, Daniel already latched on for his first meal. "I think we did," she agreed, tilting her head to rest against Steve's shoulder. "Don't worry about the other kids, Steve. I'll explain to them why Martin got dibs on a first visit."

"I know, and I doubt they'll hold it against him," Steve said, leaning close enough to kiss her. "Love you, Mrs. Rogers," he whispered, brushing a kiss to her lips, looking like he didn't have a worry in the world.

"Mmm." She smiled against his lips, nuzzling close. "Love you back, oh captain, my captain," she murmured impishly. "I'm sorry I swore at you in the heat of the moment. It was nothing personal."

"Swore at me?" he echoed, pulling away just a little from her kisses. "When did you swear at me?" he asked, either not recalling it or having ignored it or both.

"Oh, you don't remember? All right, never mind." She laughed once again, wincing a little as the boy at her breast chewed for a moment before going back to suckling. "I think we might need to transition to bottles quicker with this little one, you know."

It wasn't like Steve to forget much, but for some reason, he chose to pretend he hadn't heard a thing. "Oh? Why's that?" he asked, turning a curious glance to the newborn. He couldn't feel what she was feeling, but it was likely the little one was stronger than he looked. He was his father's son, after all.

"He's a chewer," she said in amusement. "It isn't the most comfortable experience, and I am not risking him doing it while he's teething."

Steve chuckled, thankful newborns weren't born with teeth. "Okay, we'll switch to bottles. Besides, you'll get more rest that way," he told her, perfectly happy to share baby duties with her. In fact, he could go longer on less sleep, so it made sense that he take the middle of the night feedings.

"As soon as my milk comes in, I'm going to start pumping," she nodded. "So in a couple of days, we should be able to get onto a workable routine."

"Whatever you want, Luce," he told her. It wasn't the first time they'd gone through this, and dealing with one newborn at a time should be a lot easier than two. The other five at home were probably going to prove the challenge.

Thankfully, Martin and Lianne would be only too happy to help with keeping Jamie and the twins entertained, and there was always the wide support network in case of emergencies.

"We're in this together, you know," she pointed out with a smile. "It's not all about me."

"I know," he replied, his smile fading a little at something he and Nat had discussed earlier that day. "I think maybe we should stop at six though, or we're in danger of becoming the Von Trapps," he said, with a hint of teasing in his voice.

She bit her lip. "What would you say if I were to suggest having my tubes tied?" she asked carefully. They'd never discussed his feelings about birth control, really.

"It's not something we have to decide today, but we should probably start thinking about it, or we're gonna end up with another half dozen," he told her. It was a hard thing to admit out loud and even to himself. He adored their children - every one of them, even the ones who weren't theirs by birth - but they had to stop sometime.

"I don't think we can cope with more than six," she said quietly. It had never been the plan to have so many children, but since when had any of her plans ever come to fruition? "I can talk to Libby about getting a magical block placed. We've conclusively proved that super sperm laughs in the face of birth control."

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2019, 04:30:49 PM »
Chances were good that if Steve had a vasectomy, his body would only seek to right itself. Their best chance at preventing another pregnancy was probably with magical means. "I don't know if we want to do anything ... permanent yet," he reasoned, given she'd only just given birth and who knew what they might think a few years from now. "But I think we need to do something."

"Well, short of having all the bits removed, everything I can have done is reversible," she promised him. "I think a magical block is probably our best bet, though."

"I think so, too, but it's not something we have to decide today," he reminded her. Not when they'd just welcomed their youngest son into the world.

"Yes, captain," she teased softly, glancing down to find Daniel dozing. "Oh, wonderful. He both chews and falls asleep as soon as he's done." With gentle hands, she lifted the newborn up to her shoulder to rub his back and burp him, trying not to laugh at the grumbling that erupted upon his being woken up.

"At least, he's content," Steve remarked. With any luck, the little guy would continue to be content once they got him home to the chaos that was the Rogers' household. "Thank you, Lucy," Steve said suddenly, a soft smile on his face.

"I think I should be thanking you," she countered, reaching up with a free hand to stroke his cheek. "It's a little early, but ... Happy Christmas, Steve."

"Thanking me?" Steve echoed, blond brows arching upwards. His expression softened as she touched his cheek, and he smiled. "Happy Christmas, Lucy. How's the song go? All I want for Christmas is you?"

"And our ... six children, three pets, two sisters, one sister in law, two brothers, one brother in law, multiple nieces and nephews and the rest of the menagerie," she agreed with a warm chuckle. "I love the chaos that is our life together, Steve. Nothing could possibly be better."

He laughed as she gave him an inventory of all their family members, human and otherwise. "It beats the hell out of being alone," he said, though that was an understatement. His life had changed completely the day he'd met Lucy Broderick, and all for the better.

"Definitely." She tilted her head back, kissing his cheek affectionately. "Do you want to cuddle the newest member of the family while I shower and change?"

"I can't think of anything else I'd rather do," he told her, though that wasn't entirely true. "Go on," he said, reaching to take the little one from her arms. "We'll both be here when you get back."

"Thank you, sweetheart." Tugging her top back into position, she swung her legs out of the bed, giving herself time to stand slowly rather than keel over and freak him out with a postural drop she knew was coming. A few minutes later, she was in the bathroom, singing to herself as she washed off the last aftermath of giving birth and a magical healing.

He would have helped her to her feet if she'd let him, but that was Lucy - far too independent for her own good sometimes. It was something the two of them had in common. He was right there, though, in case she needed him.

And that was why she was so confident to do just that - because he was right there. He even made her nap a little so she wouldn't be completely strung out when their son arrived. Lucy knew she was lucky to have such a sensible husband when she was so stubborn with her own well-being. And Steve's responsibility meant that when the knock came on the door to signal the arrival of uncle and nephew, Lucy was awake, fed, and comfortable, and not looking at all as though she had lost a good ten pounds of weight in a hurry today.

Steve had grabbed something to eat, too, so he wasn't starving when their guests arrived. As for rest, he could go weeks without sleep, so that wasn't a problem. He had a feeling Lucy wanted a little time alone with Martin, though, so he had to convince Johnny to take a walk with him with the excuse that he needed a cup of coffee.

Lucy patted the bed to invite Martin up there with her, smiling as the door closed behind Steve and a still slightly confused Johnny.

"Come here and give me a hug," she said. "I've missed out on all my Martin hugs today, I'm deprived."

Martin scrambled easily up onto the bed and wrapped his arms around his mother's neck. "I missed you, too, Mama," he whispered back, his breath warm against her cheek as he hugged her close.

She pulled him in close, hugging her eldest warmly. She knew he worried about her when she had to be away, and she was absolutely prepared to let him have a late night and even take tomorrow off school if he needed it, if it meant that he would not be anxious. Kissing his cheek, she drew back, stroking his hair.

"I'm fine," she promised him. "It was sooner than I was expecting, and it happened faster than I expected, but everything went perfectly. Okay?"

He nodded his head, happy just to be near her. He wasn't so young that he didn't remember his birth mother, and while he missed her sometimes, he knew he was lucky to have found a second family who loved him and Liane as much as their birth parents had.

"Did it hurt?" he found himself asking, though he wasn't truly sure he wanted to know.

Lucy wasn't one to lie to her children, even when the truth might hurt a little. "It did, for a little while," she told him. "But it's a good kind of pain, and it is almost forgotten as soon as it is over. Libby did her magic on me as well, so I don't have any of the aches or pains that a lot of women have afterward."

"Can I see him?" he asked, now that his mother had assured him she was and would be well. She was coming home tomorrow, and he'd have to share her with his father and his siblings again, especially with the newest one who he knew would demand a lot of her time.

"Of course, sweetheart." Lucy smiled at him, reaching into the bassinet to lift his newest little brother out. "Would you like to hold him?"

Martin nodded his head enthusiastically. This wasn't the first newborn baby he had ever encountered. First had been Jamie, and then his twin sisters, not to mention numerous cousins.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2019, 04:31:08 PM »
"He's small, but not as small as the girls were," he observed aloud.

"Well, there was only one of him in there," Lucy pointed out, waiting for him to get settled. Then she leaned over, carefully setting Daniel into his big brother's arms. "He's much quieter than they were, too."

"They used to cry a lot," Martin said, though they didn't cry so much anymore. From what he'd observed, babies cried a lot in general and needed a lot of attention. But then, that was because they were so helpless and could do nothing for themselves. He looked his youngest brother over as his mother laid him in his arms, noting the color of his hair and his eyes and the fact that he had all his fingers. He looked perfectly normal and perfectly healthy, and he found himself filled with a strange sense of relief. "Do you think he'll like me?" he asked, for some reason.

"Petit, I know he will," his mother promised him. "You're his big brother. There's a very special place in people's hearts for their oldest siblings." Her smile warmed as Daniel stirred, blinking open his eyes to stare blankly up at Martin.

"But ..." Martin started, blinking back at the little wriggling bundle that was staring up at him. "But I am older than all my ... siblings," he said, awkwardly repeating the word he mother had used for his brothers and sisters. He looked from her back to his brother. "He's looking at me, Mama."

"Of course he is," she said. "He knows your voice, petit. He's been listening to you for months, and now he finally gets to see you. Who wouldn't want to look at your handsome face?" She smiled once again, reaching out to stroke his sandy hair. "And you don't need to worry about not having any older brothers or sisters," she added. "You will love your little brothers and sisters the way they love you. That's what family is."

He said nothing, but listened silently to her explanation while he looked back at his brother, cradling him carefully in his arms.

"Can I teach him to speak French?" he asked, as abruptly as his previous question. He wasn't sure why it was so important to him, but for some reason, he was afraid of forgetting that language - the language of the country he'd been born into.

"I see no reason why not," was her answer. "We can teach everyone French, can't we? It is always a good idea to know more than one language and to be comfortable in it."

"Like we all learned sign language so we can understand Maria," Martin reasoned, though he hardly needed to speak French anymore when everyone around him spoke some form of English. "Bonjour, petit frère," he said to his little brother, leaning close so he could whisper something else. "Je promets que je te protegerai toujours." I promise I will always protect you. No one was ever going to hurt any of his siblings again - not if he had anything to say about it.

"Nous vous protégerons toujours," Lucy corrected him softly, tucking her arm about his back and hugging him as he hugged his baby brother. We will always protect you. "Aucun de vous ne sera jamais mal aimé." None of you will ever be unloved.

Martin lifted his head to smile up at his mother, tears of happiness shining in his young eyes. "Merci, Mama. Je t'aime," he told her, leaning into her embrace, with his little brother in his arms.

She kissed his hair, resting her cheek on his head as Daniel gurgled, as though the newborn had understood what was being said to them. "Je t'aime, petit," she murmured, deeply proud of her eldest little boy. He had come such a long way from the shy, quiet, traumatized child he had been when she had first met him.

He turned quiet for a moment, content just to be close to his mother and to hold his littlest brother, safe in his arms. "Can we teach him to play baseball?" he asked, out of the blue once again. "When he is older, I mean. And Jamie and Lianne and the twins, too." If they added in the Storm kids, they'd easily have a whole team.

"I think your father would love that," Lucy told him easily. She knew Steve desperately wanted to take his little family to a baseball game at some point, but she kept getting pregnant. "He wants to take us to a game sometime, you know."

"In New York?" Martin asked, eyes wide. It was his dream to go to a baseball game with his father someday - not so much because he loved the game, but because he knew his father did.

"Mmhmm, in New York," she confirmed with a smile. "Maybe you and I could arrange it for his birthday next year, what do you think?" Danny would be big enough to handle a long day out by then, though Sarah and Natalie might not want to do it.

"Really?" Martin asked, eyes wide and bright with hope. "New York is not too dangerous anymore?" he asked tentatively. He was observant and bright enough to know that was why they'd made the move to Rhy'Din.

"It's not as dangerous anymore," she told him gently. "And we will have people keeping an eye on us, just in case something happens. I don't think anything will happen, but our friends will be there to make sure of it."

Martin nodded, trusting his mother's judgment in all things. She'd never lied to him, and he trusted not to start lying to him now. "Will people recognize Papa?" he asked, knowing that was the true danger - if his father's enemies knew where he was.

"Probably, but most people don't make a big deal out of it," she assured him with a smile. "And as I said, we will have our friends around us to keep us safe, but I don't think we'll need them."

"Papa really loves baseball, doesn't he?" the boy asked, looking up at his mother with adoring eyes. "It would be a good surprise," he added with a smile, regarding her suggestion.

"He really does," she agreed with a laugh. "So will you help me make it happen? We can start planning after Christmas." It would make Steve's year just to go to a game in New York, but to add his family into the mix might just reduce him to tears again.

Martin nodded enthusiastically. "Oui, Mama. I would like that very much," he told her. And it would give him some time to explain the game to his siblings, though he wasn't sure they'd much care.

"Wonderful!" She kissed his hair, still hugging him with that one arm wrapped about his shoulders. In his arms, Danny was still blinking up at his big brother, wriggling in his blankets with sleepy good humor.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2019, 04:31:28 PM »

"Someday I will teach you how to play baseball, too, mon frère," he assured the newest addition to the family, shifting slightly as his arms were starting to get tired from holding his little brother.

"Do you need to be rescued from his hugeness?" Lucy asked, her smile audible. Babies were always unexpectedly heavy for a while before you got used to it again.

Martin smiled a little sheepishly. "He is not so big, but he is heavier than he looks," he admitted. "Thank you for letting me see him first," he told her in almost perfect English with just a hint of a French accent.

Chuckling softly, Lucy lifted the baby out of Martin's arms, settling him against her shoulder so she could keep her other arm wrapped about her older boy. "Tu peux me parler comme ça quand tu veux. Ce serait bien pour moi de pratiquer plus." You can speak to me like this whenever you want. It would be good for me to practise more.

Martin chuckled at his mother's French, which was better than his English had once been.

"Votre Francais est tres bon!" he praised her. It was rare that she spoke to him in his native language - a language both his mother and father spoke fluently. "Can we teach the others to speak French?" he asked, meaning his younger siblings, though he and Lianne had already started teaching Jamie a few words.

Though she had already suggested it, Lucy smiled again, nodding in agreement. "Of course we can, petit," she promised him. "It would be good for all of us to be fluent."

"I was worried," Martin admitted, his smile fading a little, though his worries had apparently been unfounded. Not only worried for his mother, but the baby she'd been carrying inside her, too. "Jamie will be very happy," he added, the smile returning.

"I know, sweetheart," she said, making an effort to speak in French for him. "That is why I asked Uncle Johnny to bring you with him tonight. The others don't worry so much when we're away, but I know it bothers you."

"I know I should not worry," he admitted with a small frown and a shrug of his shoulders as he snuggled against her. In a few years, he'd be too old for snuggling, and his younger siblings often demanded more attention than did he.

"No, darling, no one can ever tell you not to worry," she told him. "Everyone worries about something. The best thing you can do is share your worries with us, and let us help you work through them."

"What do you worry about?" he asked, curiously. He had never considered that his parents might worry, too, but he supposed they probably worried about their children's safety, or they wouldn't have moved to Rhy'Din.

"Oh, I worry about a lot of things," she assured him. "I worry about you, and Lianne and Jamie, and the girls. I worry that you're not as happy as you seem to be, or that I'm forgetting to do something to be a good mum to you. I worry about Auntie Liv when she's tired, because she does so much. I worry about your Papa when he gets worried about other things. It's part of what happens when you love someone, Martin. You worry about them, because you want them to be happy, and healthy."

"I worry, too, Mama," Martin confessed, though it seemed his mother knew this already. He did not mention the biggest worry of all, though she had addressed it in the past. He mostly worried about his family's safety, especially that of his parents. He'd lost one set of parents and didn't want to lose another.

She paused, twisting to lay Danny back down in the bassinet, and wrap both her arms around Martin, hugging him close. It didn't take much to know just why Martin worried to much when both his parents were out of sight. "I've got no intention of going anywhere," she murmured. "Your father won't, either. And we will never let anyone hurt you ever again."

The boy snuggled into his mother's embrace, wrapping his arms around her as best he could, savoring the short time that he had her all to himself, knowing it wouldn't last. "I know, Mama," he assured her, though he still worried sometimes. The nightmares were coming less frequently, and that was due in good part to his parents' care.

"You're not a weak person for worrying, Martin," she told him gently, absently rocking him as they hugged, as she always did. "I think it takes a strong person to be open about their worries and their fears, and to reach out for help when they need it. I'm very proud of the young man you're becoming."

He didn't say anything for a moment, too overcome with emotion to speak. He knew his parents were proud of him, but it was another thing to hear one of them say it. "I am proud of our family," he finally managed. "And I am proud to have you and Papa for my parents."

"I'm proud to be your mama," she assured him. "And I know your papa is proud to call you his son, too. You're a part of us, petit. Our hearts wouldn't be complete without you in them."

"Vraiment?" he asked, looking up at her with trusting, young eyes. "Even though we are not ..." Here he trailed off, unsure how to put it. Though they were his parents, it was only because he and Lianne had lost their own. Despite that, Steve and Lucy had never made them feel any less loved than those who they had birthed.

"Family is not defined by blood, petit," Lucy told him quietly, stroking his hair back off his forehead. "Family is the people that you love, who love you, unconditionally. And I am very glad I get to watch you and Lianne grow up, and to call you my children."

"I am glad, too, Mama," Martin said, reaching up to brush a tender kiss against her cheek. His young heart swelled with love for this woman who had not given him birth and yet loved him like he was one of her own children. He could not have asked for a better family than this one.

Lucy could feel herself getting a little choked up as he kissed her cheek, touching her forehead to his. "You will always be my best boy, you know that?" she said softly.

"Better than Jamie and-and Daniel?" he asked, eyes wide. He didn't think his mother played favorites, especially when it came to the children she'd carried inside her for so long.

She kissed the tip of his nose, smiling. "I don't mean that I love them less than I love you," she explained. "I mean that I think ... I feel that you and I have something extra that we share, something that binds us just a little bit closer."

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2019, 04:31:43 PM »

"Oh," he murmured, furrowing his brows as he considered that a moment. "It will be our secret, Mama," he told her at last. He wouldn't want his brothers to feel bad, just because he had a special bond with his mother that they couldn't share.

"It will," she agreed, wrapping herself around him for a last hug. Steve and Johnny would be back at any moment - no doubt Uncle Johnny wanted to get his hands on his namesake.

Almost as if on cue, his father and uncle could be heard returning - mostly his uncle who was being shushed by nurses for talking too loud, but he was excited, not only to be an uncle but to finally have someone named after him.

"Oncle Johnny est tres fort," Martin whispered to his mother with a giggle.

"He's like a big kid on Christmas morning, every day," she whispered back, laughing with him. If she and Johnny had made a go of their relationship years before, their home would be a complete chaotic disaster by now.

"He is happy," Martin remarked with a shrug, unwrapping himself from his mother's embrace - because he wasn't a baby - but remaining close. There was nothing wrong with being happy, but did he have to be so loud?

"I'm glad he is," she answered. "I think we're all pretty happy, aren't we?" She smiled at her son, letting him ease just a little away. There was a time and place for hugs, and though she was sad he was growing out of them, she was always happy to follow his lead.

"Shh, Johnny ... You'll wake the baby," Steve was overheard telling his brother-in-law in a hushed tone of voice before he knocked on the door. He had a feeling Lucy had wanted some time alone with Martin for a reason, and he didn't want to interrupt.

Overhearing his father scolding his uncle, Martin clapped a hand over his mouth so neither would overhear him laughing as he nodded in response to his mother.

Lucky for Johnny that the baby was already awake, waving his fists around and watching them in fascination in his bassinet. "Everlast, are you done waking up every baby and new mother on the ward yet?" Lucy asked in amusement.

"Sorry," Johnny murmured, looking just slightly sheepish as he wandered into the room. He gestured toward said baby with a wave of one hand. "May I?"

Steve tossed Martin a wink, an amused smirk on his face at Johnny's scolding.

"You know you can, Johnny," Lucy assured him with a smile. "He's even awake for you." In the bassinet, little Danny gurgled to himself, sucking on his fingers.

Being a father of six children, ages 10 months to 18 years, Johnny was well acquainted with how to handle babies. The fact that his body radiated warmth didn't hurt. He carefully scooped the newborn up and cradled him in his arms. "Hullo there, little one. Your mama taking good care of you?"

"He's the one who decided to take a leaf out of your book and do everything at twice the normal speed," Lucy protested laughingly.

Johnny chuckled, as he looked to the small bundle in his arms. Had it really been almost a year since his own twins had been born? "Are you sure he doesn't get that from his old man?" he asked, with a smirk.

"Nope, I have decided that it's all you, Everlast," Lucy informed him cheerfully, absently reaching for her glass to take a sip of water. She glanced at Martin and Steve, knowing that her boy would have to get home sooner rather than later but happy to have him there for a little while longer.

Johnny furrowed his brows at her. "Do you know something I don't because I'm pretty sure he's not part of my gene pool," he teased her back.

Meanwhile, Martin tugged on his father's sleeve. "Papa, can I have a soda?" he asked his father hopefully, merely because he was thirsty. Thankfully, he was distracted enough by his thirst not to ask what a gene pool is.

"You've infected my gene pool by - no, I can't finish that one." Lucy laughed at her terrible humor even though she couldn't share it, adding a nod over Martin's head to Steve so he could answer that polite request.

Steve rolled his eyes at the pair of them, as he slid his arm around his son's shoulders. "And on that note, we're gonna go get a soda," he said, hoping Martin didn't ask any questions about his so-called gene pool as they slipped out the door.

"Don't blame me for that!" Johnny said with a smirk, once he was left alone with Lucy and the newborn.

Tucking her knees comfortably up to her chest, Lucy smiled at Johnny. "Thank you for bringing him, Johnny," she said softly. "He needed to come."

"What, bringing Martin?" Johnny asked, as if he'd almost forgotten that fact in all the excitement. "Don't mention it. He's a good kid, and I got to a sneak peek at Baby DJ before his Auntie Liv," he added with a grin.

She snorted with laughter. "If you ever call him DJ again, I am going to tie your penis in a knot," she informed him affectionately. "Danny, I will take. How are the other kids doing?"

"What's the matter with DJ?" Johnny asked, looked a little bewildered. "And you're not getting anywhere near my penis! You already had your chance," he teased back, claiming a chair and crossing his legs in an attempt to protect his private parts. "The other kids are fine. Excited," he added.

"DJ? Disc Jockey Rogers?" She grinned, watching him sit down and try to protect his crotch from her threats. "Good. No trouble with the twins, then? Sarah's a bit of a troublemaker if left to her own devices."

"What are you kidding me? When was the last time you spent time with Marnabel? Do you know what those two are going to be like once they get mobile? But Bess thinks they're a hoot, and Maria and Alex are trying to teach them to sign before they can talk," he said, proud of his own little family, as crazy as it was.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2019, 04:32:44 PM »

Lucy laughed, sympathising in amusement. "I think we all got a little carried away with the babymaking, you know," she commented. "Wouldn't change it for the world. Definitely no more for a long while, though."

"No, I think we have our hands full for a while, too," Johnny said, with a chuckle. "But, uh ... I think we may be planning a wedding sometime soon," he added, regarding his oldest daughter by adoption. Fliss might have been adopted, but that didn't mean he loved her any less.

"Oh god, yes!" Lucy had actually forgotten about that. "She's got, what, a year and a half before she qualifies? Do they plan on getting married before or after that?"

"I have no idea, but I hope it's a long, long, time before they decide to have kids," he said, a troubled frown on his face. "I'm way too young to have grandkids." He was. Not Liv. Him, Johnny.

She nodded slowly, her grin widening as she looked at him. "Yeah," she drawled. "You don't get to dictate when your daughter has children, Johnny. You're just going to have to suck it up."

"She's only eighteen!" he argued. Just barely eighteen actually. "She should wait until she's at least ... uh ..." He trailed off, trying to do the math in his head as to when he and Liv had their first child, who just happened to be Fliss.

"She's not an idiot, Johnny!" Lucy laughed. "Have a little faith in your girl, okay? Stop freaking out over something you have no control over in the first place."

"I do. I do have faith in her," Johnny said, truthfully. "I just ..." He sighed, looking down at the little bundle in his arms. "Marriage is a big commitment, and so are babies. I want her to be sure that she's ready."

"She's not exactly rushing into marriage, is she?" his sister-in-law pointed out in a gentle tone. "Lucas proposed last year, after all, and neither of them are pushing for a wedding right this second. They both have their own goals they're supporting each other in."

"I guess so," Johnny said. He'd already had a long conversation with Liv about this. He knew he wasn't losing his daughter, so much as gaining a son; and he knew there was a special bond between him and Fliss that would never be broken. He just wanted to be sure she was ready ... or so he told himself.

"What's really the problem, Johnny?" Lucy asked him as gently as she could. "You obviously haven't been able to tell Liv what's really bothering you about this, or it wouldn't be so high in your mind."

Johnny nibbled at his lower lip for a moment, unsure how to answer without just spitting it out.  "The problem is my little girl is all grown up already," he confessed, but there was more to it than that. "You ever wish you could go back in time? I mean, you can, here in Rhy'Din."

"You would have liked more time with her?" Lucy hazarded, tilting her head curiously. "As just your little girl, and not the young woman she's grown into?"

"No, I ..." Johnny trailed off, unsure what he wanted exactly. "You should have seen her when we first brought her home. She was ... traumatized. Yeah, I know, we did a good thing, and she's turned into an amazing young woman, but ... She deserved better right from the start, Luce. And yeah, I would have liked more time with her. I know, I know. She's always gonna be my little girl, but she's not really. She's all grown up now, and she belongs to Lucas."

"She belongs to herself, Johnny," she reminded him gently. "And don't ever forget, she chose to call you Dad. She didn't have to. She chose to live nearby. She didn't have to. She chooses to spend time with you every week. You want to have known her and had her with you when she was smaller for longer, but the truth is, you gave her something no one else ever did. You gave her an anchor and a family, something to be a part of. Believe me, that is amazing."

Johnny mutely nodded his head, his gaze focused on the newborn in his arms, not trusting himself to speak or even look at Lucy without risking her seeing how emotional he was getting about this. He knew everything she was telling him was true, and he knew he and Fliss would always be close, no matter what, but there were times when he wished they'd had more time before she'd grown up.

"It sounds like you and she need to put time aside to spend together more often," Lucy suggested, making a mental note to tell Liv about this. "I know I'm not the best person to talk to, or to trust on this, though. Maybe you should talk to someone who's been through it?"

"Like who?" Johnny said, with a suspicious sniffle. He shook his head at her suggestion. "Like you said, she has a life of her own now. Nothing stays the same forever, Luce."

"Like Miranda, or Humphrey?" she suggested. "Someone who's had kids grow up and get married. For all I know, when it comes the time for Martin to do his thing, I could be in a worse state than you are now."

"Martin isn't even old enough to date yet," Johnny said, though he knew how quickly time passed. He considered her suggestion a moment though. "I'll think about it," he said, making no promises.

"You know what I mean, though," she said. "I think I have with Martin what you have with Fliss. You're probably going to be the one talking me through it when I have to let go just a little bit."

"You shouldn't have to worry about that for a while yet," he assured her. He swiped at the corner of an eye and cleared his throat. "I'm gonna be a mess at the wedding," he murmured, knowing he had to get his s*** together long before that event.

"Because you're so proud of her, of the woman she's become," Lucy reminded him. "And you played a huge part in helping her become that woman, Johnny. Don't count yourself out."

"So did Liv. I couldn't have done it without Livvie. I couldn't have done any of this without Liv. Let's face it ... If it wasn't for Liv, I'd probably wouldn't have stayed here. I don't know what I'd be doing," Johnny said, giving Liv full credit for setting him on the right track.

"You do as much for Liv as she does for you, Everlast," Lucy said firmly. "Trust me. You think she was mousey when you first met her? On Earth, before she came here, she was worse."

"See, I don't think she's mousey at all," Johnny remarked. That wasn't how he saw Liv or how he'd ever seen Liv. The Olivia he'd always known was a kind, compassionate, loving, honest woman. That was the Liv he had fallen in love with.

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2019, 04:33:05 PM »
"Which is most of the reason she's not like that anymore. You're good for her, Johnny. I couldn't ask for a better brother-in-law." She smiled over at him encouragingly. "So what do you think of your namesake?"

"Thanks, Luce. You're pretty awesome yourself," he replied, smiling at last. They might not have made a very good couple, but as family, there were pretty tight. Johnny chuckled a little at her question. "I think he takes after his Dad," he said, which meant the boy did have a slight resemblance to his uncle, as well. "You ever wonder why Steve and I look so much alike?" he asked, out of the blue.

"You know, I never really thought about it," she admitted. "You're both so different, it never occurred to me to consider why you have so many similarities. At least with AJ, we know that it's because he's distantly related to Steve, but with you? No idea."

"You're the doctor," he said, with a shrug, all the science of it a little over his head. "Could just be the Nexus' idea of a practical joke," he suggested. Stranger things had been known to happen. Twin sons of different mothers falling in love with identical twins. That couldn't just be a coincidence, could it?

"I never pretended to understand the why, just the what and the how to fix it," she said, leaning back against her pillows again. "We should be home sometime in the morning, so we'll be able to take our collection of small nutcases off your hands relatively soon."

Johnny frowned as he looked over at her, remembering she'd just given birth and all that entailed. "You must be tired. I should get going and let you rest." And that meant, taking Martin with him. There'd be plenty of time to visit when she got home. "Luce, I want you to know ... Everything happens for a reason, and I wouldn't change a damned thing."

"Neither would I," she agreed softly. "We made a mess together, but Liv fixed it. And without you, I wouldn't have gone to New York to find Steve. So, like I said, you're the reason all this happened for us, Johnny."

Johnny smiled, a little shyly, despite his usual brashness. "I wouldn't go that far, but I'm happy, Luce, and you are, too, and I can't argue with that." He got up off the chair and moved over to set the little man in her arms and brush a rare kiss against her cheek. "You're my favorite sister in law," he told her. She was, in fact, his only sister in law.

"Cutest brother in law ever," she countered, returning that kiss with one of her own to his cheek. "So what do you think, should we keep him, or wait for the stork to come check on us and return him to sender?"

Johnny might have remarked that he was her only brother in law, but instead he only chuckled and drew back a little to give her space, his gaze shifting to the bundle he'd returned to her arms. "If you don't want him, we'll take him. He is my namesake, after all," he teased.

"Yeah, I think Liv might have something to say about that," Lucy chuckled, absently tucking the blanket just a little closer about Danny as he wriggled to get comfortable.

"Steve, too," Johnny added, knowing Lucy wouldn't dream of giving away her newborn son. "Anyway, he's happy and healthy and adorable. What more could you ask for?"

"Absolutely nothing." Her answer was soft, given as she looked down at her newborn son, stroking his cheek with one finger tenderly. Who would have thought, five years ago, that Lucy would ever have been so happy to be a mum?

"Then I think you should probably keep him," Johnny remarked, knowing Lucy wasn't serious about giving him back to the stork anyway. Never mind that there was no such thing as the stork. "Seriously, Luce ... I'm really happy for you."

"We did good, didn't we? All of us." She smiled up at Johnny, cocking her head at the sound of Steve and Martin outside the door.

"Yeah, we did," Johnny agreed with a soft smile in return. Sometimes he thought it was nothing short of a miracle, but it was Liv he really credited with his own happiness, and maybe Steve for Lucy's. "We were a disaster as a couple," he added with a chuckle, just in time for Steve and Martin to overhear part of it.

"Who's a disaster?" Steve asked, as he and Martin rejoined the pair.

"We really were," Lucy laughed in agreement, reaching out to hug Martin as he came within range once again. "You about ready to fly home, petit? I think we all need to get some sleep about now."

Martin frowned a little at the mention of flying. He wasn't afraid of heights exactly, and he trusted his uncle to keep him safe, but the thought of being that high in the air and so close to fire made him a little nervous.

Johnny saw the look on Martin's face and chuckled. "Don't worry, kid. I'll call a cab," he said, ruffling Martin's hair and stepping back so the boy could bid his mother farewell.

Handing off Danny to Steve, Lucy slithered to the edge of the bed to hug her boy more fully, kissing his hair. "Thank you for coming to see me," she murmured to him, choosing to speak in French now she knew he wanted to hear more of it in his day to day. "We'll be home tomorrow."

"Thank you for letting me see him first," Martin replied, also in French, before throwing his arms around his mother's neck. "Je t'aime, Mama! Come home soon!"

"Sleep sweet, darling!" She hugged him tight for a moment, letting him go so he could say goodnight to his father as well.

Martin hugged her tight for a moment before very gently kissing his new brother on the forehead and whispering a good night. There wasn't much he needed to say to his father, as they had talked together while they'd been getting their soda.

"Bonsoir, Papa!" he told his father, as Steve turned to hug his son close.

"Bonsoir, Martin," Steve replied in return. "Tell your siblings we'll see them tomorrow, okay?"

Martin nodded obediently, trying hard not to yawn.

"You look after our boy on the way home, Everlast," Lucy told Johnny with a grin, giving him a salute since they had already said goodnight in their way.

"Yes, ma'am," Johnny replied, returning her salute. "Don't you worry. I'll get him home safe and sound."

Martin gave his father one last hug before turning to Johnny, who slid an arm around the boy's shoulders.

"Get some rest, Mama! We'll see you tomorrow!" Johnny called back as he led Martin out the door.

"Are we really flying or driving home, Oncle Johnny?" Martin was overheard asking as they started down the hall, but Johnny's reply was too quiet for them to hear.

Lucy smiled, leaning back against the pillows again, a vast amount of tension gone from her body. "Well, I feel better for that," she told Steve cheerfully. "What about you?"

"So long as Martin feels better for it," Steve remarked, reclaiming his place beside her. "You want me to take him for a while?" he asked of their son. "And don't worry about Martin. Johnny will keep him safe," he assured her.

"He seems happier for it," she mused, tipping her head onto his shoulder affectionately. "Johnny's got a few issues he needs to talk to a more experienced parent about, though."

"Oh?" Steve mused, casting a sidelong look at her from where he sat with the newborn in his arms. "Why's that?" he asked, more curious than concerned about Johnny's issues.

"He's having trouble with the whole concept of Fliss getting married," she said quietly. "I'm not sure quite what's giving him trouble, but I think he's feeling guilty about feeling sad that she's growing up. He keeps talking about how she belongs to Lucas now. I told him to talk to Miranda or Humphrey."

"She's probably grown up a little too fast for him," Steve reasoned. "I mean, what if we'd adopted Lianne as a teenager?" he asked. Then they'd be in Liv and Johnny's shoes. "I'm sure he'll get used to it in time. It's not like she's going anywhere."

"I know," she agreed. "He's just struggling with it. I told him I'm probably going to be in the same state when Martin eventually moves out." She chuckled.

"I don't think we have to worry about that for a while yet," Steve remarked, carefully turning so that he could face his wife. "Is everything okay between you and Martin?" he asked.

"Yes," she assured him with a smile. "He's a worrier, love, just like me, but hopefully he knows he can talk to us about whatever's worrying him. He needed to see us, that was all. Oh, and he'd like everyone to speak French more often. I think he's afraid of forgetting how to."

"Speak French?" Steve echoed, brows arching upwards. That was an easy enough thing to fix. "We can do that. We can be bi-lingual. Jamie already understands a little," he said, though Jamie probably understood more than he let on.

"It'd be good for all of them to have another language they can speak fluently," she nodded. "As well as signing, which we all know as a matter of course by now."

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Re: A Day in the Life
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2019, 04:33:23 PM »

"It would help if we ever ..." Steve trailed off for a moment. "If we ever go to France," he said, brows furrowing at his own statement. They'd been talking about taking the kids to Disney Paris for a while, but something had always come up, and now with a newborn, it was unlikely to happen anytime soon.

"Maybe next summer," she suggested. "We really should pin down a time to go to Disneyland. They would all enjoy it so much, and I'm fairly sure Alyona and Nikolai wouldn't have a problem shadowing us as protection."

Or to any French-speaking country, he supposed, but really, speaking French was a matter of comfort for Martin and Lianne. "Well, it doesn't have to be Paris," Steve pointed out. He frowned at another thought. "You know, I've never been to Disneyland. Have you?"

"Well, we went to Disneyworld for Liv and Johnny's wedding," she reminded him. "But Disneyland is smaller, I believe. And we could extend it to showing them around Paris itself, perhaps."

"Yeah, but that was more for Johnny and Liv than for us. I mean, we didn't even have any kids then," Steve reasoned. "It would be different now."

"It would." She nodded, smiling. "We have to get through Christmas first, though." With a newborn so new for the season, it remained to be seen how easy that was going to be for the parents.

"Maybe next summer then," Steve said, echoing what she'd said earlier. "Don't worry, Luce. Everything will work out," he assured her, leaning close to brush a kiss against her lips. After all, even if Danny turned out to be a fussy baby, Steve didn't need much sleep to get by. They'd been through this before, they'd get through it again.

She smiled into the kiss. "Love you, Steve," she murmured. "It's going to be mayhem again for a while, but that will never change."

"Happy mayhem," Steve pointed out with a smile. "Love you always, Luce. No matter what," he told her, though she should know that already.

"Are you boys going to stay up and stare lovingly at each other a while longer?" she asked with teasing fondness, well aware that Steve's face was an object of abject fascination for every newborn he had ever held in his arms.

"Tired, baby?" he asked, his smile softening. Magic healing or not, she'd just given birth a few hours ago, and he knew she had to be tired. "Go ahead and get some rest. I'm just gonna sit with the little one a while longer," he told her.

"Thank you, sweetheart." She kissed his shoulder, too tired to stretch up and kiss his cheek. Despite her attempt to seem absolutely normal for Martin, she was exhausted still. It was probably just as well they were going home in the morning.

He smiled, moving off the bed so that she could get comfortable. "We'll be right here when you wake up," he assured her, whether they fell asleep or not. He leaned close to brush a kiss against her brow and tuck the covers around her, while the newborn was easily cradled in one arm.

Nestling down into the sheet, Lucy turned onto her side, so she could watch them even as she fell asleep. It wouldn't be too long before Danny needed feeding again, anyway. "Goodnight, Papa."

"Goodnight, Mama," he said before moving over to the rocking chair to bond with his son a little bit longer. He wasn't really tired, but it had been a long day, and he knew both wife and son needed their rest.

"Tomorrow, you meet the rest of the family," he whispered to his son.

Tomorrow was another day. None of them needed to worry about it right now. Tonight, this was enough.