Author Topic: After School Special  (Read 326 times)

Fliss

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After School Special
« on: September 20, 2014, 11:28:50 PM »
There are few things in any world that are more fascinating to a new parent than the playground of a school that teaches all ages and abilities - magical or otherwise - at the close of the school day. While, yes, there was a certain uniformity about the dress code, and similarities among the parents, nonetheless it looked like absolute chaos to the untrained eye. New tricks were being shown off; there were tears from some children, laughter from most; the teens seemed to be trying to act more adult, but failing miserably as teens are wont to do. It was a wonder anyone could even identify their child in the mass of movement, much less pry them away.

A motorcycle pulled up near the playground, the engine rumbling loudly enough to draw attention. To those who knew better, they'd know that the man whose face was hidden beneath the helmet was none other than Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. To those who didn't, he was just a brash young man on a very loud motorcycle. He wasn't there to annoy the other parents, though - he was there to pick one of the students up from school. After a moment, he climbed off the bike an pulled off his helmet so that he could take a better look around, searching the crowd of kids, teens, and adults for a particular face.

Of course, the children were more likely to recognize the Human Torch than the adults, and it wasn't long before an excited murmur rumbled through the playground as he waited by his bike. It was a shame he hadn't remembered just who else attended this school, though ... no one really deserves to be pounced by an over-excited half-Fae fresh from school.

Lyneth barreled out of the crowd of children, bypassing her mother entirely, and thumped into Johnny's leg. "It's the Burny Man, I found the Burny Man, I win, I win!" She clung to his leg as a laughing Fliss came into view, apparently having lost the race to reach Johnny first.

"You betcha, squirt," the teen assured the little girl. "Might wanna put him down, though."

Johnny wasn't expecting to be pounced by anyone, certainly not by the midget-sized Fae girl who seemed to enjoy harassing him every chance she got. Lucky for her, he was fond of children, human and otherwise. He never quite knew what to think of her, though she seemed harmless enough. "Human Torch," he corrected with a heavy long-suffering sigh. He shook his leg a little, but the girl only seemed to hold on tighter. "Lyneth, let go! I'm not the Burny Man!" he exclaimed, not quite noticing that they were starting to draw attention.

"Yes, you is, you're the Burny Man, and you got a sideboard, and she's the Burny Girl!" Lyneth insisted as Fliss joined them, rolling her eyes at the enthusiastic declaration from the tiny girl. If anything, Johnny's attempts to make Lyneth let go made the little half-Fae hold on tighter, giggling up at him.

Johnny looked a little bit lost as he glanced to Fliss with a look that said "Help me," hoping she could translate what the pint-size package of trouble was trying to say. His lips moved as he echoed her words silently, without actually saying anything. "Burny girl?" he mouthed to Fliss. There was one sure-fire way to get Lyneth to let go, but he didn't have the heart to turn his flame on and risk burning her.

Fliss just grinned, shrugging as though she was physically powerless to help him. Ever since it had been made official, she'd been treating Johnny even more like family, which meant he was being teased a hell of a lot more than he was used to these days.

"Yes, like Soupy Man has Soupy Girl, and Bad Man has Bad Girl, and now Burny Man has Burny Girl," Lyneth explained, looking up at him as she hugged his leg. "Also ... can you see my mummy? 'Cos I can't."

"Soupy Man?" Johnny echoed, looking doubtful as he shook his leg again in an attempt to dislodge the growth that had attached itself to him, gently though. "There's no such thing as Soupy Man. That's just ridiculous. What's his super power?" Good grief, he thought to himself. I'm debating superheroes with a munchkin. Shake, shake. He frowned a moment and scanned the crowd. "Well, if you'd stop clinging to my leg, we could go find her for you," he pointed out.

"Seriously, Dad, never heard of Soupy Man?" Fliss laughed, bending to finally unhook Lyneth from around Johnny's leg and lift the little girl onto her own hip. "Underpants over his tights, and you don't know who that is?"

Lyneth giggled, hugging to Fliss' neck as she looked around. "My mummy is the pretty one with black hair," she informed Johnny in a rather superior tone, as though he had never met Piper before.

"No, what is his super power? Does he defeat bad guys with soup? Come on, Fliss! That's not a superpower?" This was a very serious discussion, as far as Johnny was concerned. He took this sort of thing very seriously. "Oh!" It finally dawned on Johnny who Lyneth was talking about. As usual, she got the man's name totally messed up, but he wasn't sure whether it was on purpose or by accident. "You mean Superman! Eh..." Johnny said, waving a dismissive hand at them both. "Superman's got nothing on Steve Rogers." So, Bad Man had to be Batman, he figured at last. "Thank you, Captain Obvious. I know who your Mummy is," he replied, scowling a little as he scanned the crowd.

"I'm not Captain Obvious!" Lyneth objected loudly, indignant to her toes.

"No, you're Admiral Annoying from the Planet Arrrgh," a new voice interjected, and Piper came into view behind Fliss, catching Lyneth as she lunged out of the teenager's grasp. "Hello, trouble. Hi, Johnny, and Fliss. Is anyone else going to crawl out of the playground today? Jon and Vicki, maybe?" She touched the tip of her nose teasingly to Lyneth's, making the tiny girl laugh uproariously.

"There she is!" Johnny exclaimed as Piper joined them. Who was Captain Obvious now? This was almost immediately followed by a look of confusion. "Why would Jon and Vicki be here? Emmy and Benny are just babies," he pointed out helpfully. Thankfully, neither Jon or Vicki were there to hear him call baby Benjamin Benny.

"Oh, it's my subtle hint that I haven't seen you here before," Piper assured him in her gentle voice, dropping Lyneth down onto her feet and capturing one small hand firmly. "Thank you for fielding Lynnie, though. It has been known to take at least an hour to find her when school breaks up for the day."
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: After School Special
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2014, 11:29:44 PM »
"Um, well... It was really Fliss, not me." All he'd done was provide a leg or something. It occurred to Johnny then how far Fliss had come in such a short time, and he wondered if if she was ready to go one step further. "You know, if you ever need a babysitter, Fliss is really good with kids." As evidenced by the friendship she already seemed to have established with Lyneth.

"Wait, what?" Apparently Fliss wasn't quite as confident as he was, if the look on her face was anything to go by.

Piper chuckled quietly. "I'll bear that in mind," she nodded warmly. "Don't panic, though, Fliss. It'll be a few months yet before we start looking for a babysitter, won't it, Lynnie?" Desmond's two girls exchanged a cheeky, secretive grin as Lyneth nodded excitedly.

Whatever secret the two of them were sharing went straight over Johnny's head. He was too busy exchanging glances with Fliss. "What?! You're great with kids." He turned back to Lyneth, hoping she'd agree with him. "Isn't she, Squirt? Would you like Burny Girl to babysit you sometime?" he asked with a grin.

Despite knowing there were not going to be any babysitters - at least until after her new baby brother or sister was born - Lyneth couldn't help lighting up with hopeful excitement. "Can we make the fireworks inna garden if I get Oisin to clean up after?" she asked her mother hopefully.

Piper dissolved into quiet giggles. "It's a distinct possibility," she assured her daughter. "But we need to go home before Daddy gets into another fight with Knip."

Johnny felt like a fly on the wall. He had no idea who Oisin or Knip were. What kind of names were those? Maybe they had house guests or something? Though curious, he thought it would be rude to ask. "Next time you see me, call me Johnny," he told Lyneth, reaching over to tweak her little pug nose.

He got a huge grin in answer to that tweak, and one very cheeky response. "Yes, sir, Mr Burny Man."

As Fliss spluttered into laughter, waving one hand silently in goodbye, Piper rolled her eyes and gave Lyneth a gentle tug. "See you later, Johnny. Bye, Fliss."

This time Johnny couldn't help but chuckle. Though she continued to confound him, he couldn't help but like Lyneth. "Later, Pipsqueak," he countered with a grin. "Bye, Piper," he told her mother, in a much more polite tone of voice. As a matter of fact, he was just a little shy of Piper, though he wasn't sure why.

"You know," Fliss managed as she surfaced from her giggles, "you are never going to win in a conversation with her." She grinned at her father, lifting her bag onto her shoulder as she calmed down. "So how did you convince Mom to let you bring the bike, anyway?"

"Oh, I'll win one eventually," he disagreed with a smirk. "It's just a matter of time." And a little luck. "Convince Mom?" he echoed, curiously. "Uh..." He suddenly was wearing a slightly guilty, sheepish look on his face.

Comprehension dawned instantly, and Fliss let out a delighted laugh. "Oh, that's so cool," she snorted cheerfully. "Can I watch her spank you, or are you gonna make her save it for after I go to bed?"

"What she doesn't know won't hurt her, so long as a certain someone doesn't open her big mouth!" he countered. Maybe it wasn't a good thing to be bargaining with your own kid, especially one that was a teenager, but he didn't think it would hurt anything. "Besides, just because she's afraid of the bike doesn't mean you have to be."

"Oh, come on, you say that like I haven't spent the last month trying to get you to give me a ride on this thing," Fliss laughed. It was true - despite her natural terror of her own abilities, there was very little that actually frightened the newest member of the Storm family. "Let me guess ... you stopped and bought a hideously pink helmet for me to wear."

Johnny screwed up his face at the mere suggestion of a pink helmet. "Eww, no, what do you take me for? No one's wearing a pink helmet on my bike!" That would be too much like wearing a neon sign announcing she was female. He wandered over to where he'd parked his bike and tossed her a much more sensible-looking helmet with a black and white design that still looked feminine but stylish.

Fliss caught it one-handed, her expression blossoming into a very pleased grin at what she found when she took a closer look. "Awesome!" she declared, quick to settle it onto her head. She'd evidently been paying attention - she didn't need rescuing from her own hair, the way Liv always did. Hooking her other arm through the other strap of her backpack, she advanced on the bike, beaming. "So ... I'm not driving?"

He chuckled at her remark. "Don't push your luck. It's not the same as riding a bike. It's a lot bigger and heavier, and it takes a lot of practice." Sure, he made it look easy, but he'd been riding a motorcycle since he was about her age.

"Fine." She sighed teasingly, moving to swing her leg over the bike, tucking her skirt underneath her thighs. "So what happens now? Are you gonna drive like an old man, like you do with Mom on the back?"

"I don't drive like an old man," he argued, scowling a little in annoyance. He rarely got annoyed with her, and he knew she was just egging him on to try and get him to drive faster than what he deemed safe. It was no big secret that he'd been a stunt driver for a while, but ever since he'd met Liv, he'd tried to be more responsible and less reckless. He pulled his helmet on over his head and climbed onto the front of the bike.

His adopted daughter wrapped her arms around his waist, bouncing excitedly on the seat behind him. "I promise, I won't tell Mom if you actually hit the speed limit," she assured him with a giggle.

"Stop taunting me and maybe you'll get your wish." He started her up with a loud roar and twisted the handles to rev the engine, turning his head so she could hear him. "Hold on!" he ordered, though she already was.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: After School Special
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2014, 11:30:34 PM »
Giggling, Fliss tightened her grip, acutely aware of the rather impressed look on the faces of some of the people who were beginning to become her friends. They hadn't believed her when she'd told them her father was the Human Torch, and now she was riding away on a motorcycle. She had a feeling school was going to be fun on Monday.

Johnny wasn't so stupid that he didn't notice the looks they were getting. He'd been a teenager once not too long ago. "Those your friends?" he asked quietly, without actually looking over at them. He wondered if one of them was a potential boyfriend already.

"Maybe," Fliss admitted, just as quiet, and just as pointedly not looking that way. "It's only been a coupla weeks, I don't know if they actually like me or just like the idea of knowing you by proxy."

"Doesn't hurt to impress them. You get their attention, and then they can get to know you," he told her quietly. "Hang on tight," he reiterated. He was about to show them just why he had been a headlining act at the Megaplex a few years ago.

Her fingers dug into his jacket obediently, but the smile was gone from her face. She had been a liability around kids her own age for so long that even now, attending a school where almost everyone had some magical ability, she didn't feel like one of them. Talking about it had killed her buzz somewhat.

He revved the engine one more time and then took off like a bat out of hell. A safe bat out of hell, however. There were, after all, kids around. He was doing it mostly to make a little noise and impress her friends, and he waited until they were well clear of the playground and had nothing but road in front of them to really let loose. Whatever she thought of his driving ability, he had as perfect control of the bike as anyone could, well practiced and skilled enough to make it look easy.

Wrapped against his back, Fliss thrilled to the speed, however carefully Johnny was driving. It was a good way to let her minor upsets wash away, confident now in her own ability not to set fire to his bike in the rush of adrenaline that spread through her. "This is so cool!"

The bike roared its way down the road away from Harker Academy, but instead of turning toward Maple Grove and home, he went in another direction. He didn't get much of a chance to just take the bike out and ride for the sheer fun of it anymore, and he was enjoying the feeling of freedom and the rush of adrenaline that always accompanied a ride on the bike. It was a different kind of feeling than the one he got when he was flying - different but no less thrilling. He'd always been a bit of a speed junkie, though he wasn't going nearly as fast as he might have it he'd been alone. He was filled with memories while they rode, remembering all the times he'd taken Liv out on the bike when they were first dating. He thought about taking Fliss up onto the hill where he'd given Liv a rare view of the city, but he thought better of it and instead drove through town until they reached a favorite haunt where he finally pulled the bike to a halt and turned off the engine.

Plastered to his back, Fliss spent most of the journey whooping and laughing. School was school - parts of it were entertaining but most was necessary and mind-numbingly boring for the teen. This, on the other hand, was amazing, planting the seed in her mind that she wanted to get a motorcycle as soon as she was old enough to ride one. She didn't notice they weren't headed for the Grove until the bike began to slow, and they were still inside the city. Looking around curiously, she tugged her helmet off, breathless and grinning. "Dude, are we playing hookey from something?"

"No, I just thought maybe we'd talk for a while, just the two of us." He hadn't bothered to warn Liv that he was planning on stopping on the way home, but she was most likely busy with work anyway and with any luck, they'd be home before she was finished. "After you," he said, tugging his own helmet off and waiting for her to climb off the bike before he followed.

"Cool." Climbing off the bike, Fliss hesitated, swinging her new helmet back and forth on her hand as she waited to be told what to do with it. It would probably fit in her bag, but she'd rather not ram it in on top of her school stuff. "Am I in trouble or something?"

"No," he chuckled, taking the helmet from her and hanging it from the handlebars, along with his once, once he was sure the bike was secure. "Can't I take you out for ice cream without there being some ulterior motive?"

"I'm just checking," she admitted reluctantly, her smile lopsided as she tucked a straying hank of hair back behind her ear. "You and Mom are the only adults who've ever just wanted to talk to me without wanting to tell me off or send me away. I get a little jumpy sometimes, that's all."

"Relax, Fliss. It's just me." He reassured her with a warm smile, reaching over to help her tuck that stray strand behind her ear. It was no secret that he was fond of the girl who'd become their daughter. In fact, in a way, he had fallen in love with her, though that love was different than the kind he felt for Liv.

"I'm trying," she promised him. And it was true, she had relaxed a good deal over the past months. Attending school again had brought up the mother of all tantrums on the eve of her second day, but she seemed to have gotten over that. "So, uh ... ice cream?"

"Ice cream," he replied with a smile. It was no big secret that one of Johnny Storm's favorite things in life was ice cream. One might even call it a passion. It was a passion he shared with both Liv and Fliss. He offered her his arm to lead her inside the shoppe. "Ready?" he asked, though he was confident if she could get through a day of teen angst-ridden school without burning the place down, she could get through enjoying an ice cream with him.

"Ready." Fliss' slight concern was swept away by the prospect of the illicit treat as she threw her arm through Johnny's, happy to be lead along. This was, thankfully, a place Johnny frequented, and as such, they had laid in a small supply of bowls and spoons that could keep his ice cream frozen until it hit his mouth.

There were ice cream shoppes and then there were ice cream shoppes. Liv and Johnny had discovered this one fairly early on in their courtship, and they'd been coming back here time and again simply because they had the best variety of ice cream concoctions in the city, as far as Johnny could tell. The staff was so familiar with the Human Torch, they waved and greeted him when he arrived, and there was even a photo of him on the wall enjoying a banana split. It seemed he was something of a celebrity to some people. He smiled and waved back and led Fliss to the counter. "Anything you want, it's yours." Oh, Liv was going to kill him later, but he'd worry about that when the time came.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: After School Special
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2014, 11:32:46 PM »
"Anything?" The teenager giggled, knowing that Liv would kill both of them if they failed to eat the dinner she put on the table later. Prudence made her think carefully about what she wanted, rather than the sheer amount she would have liked to have devoured. "Uh ... can I have the little mint chocolate chip one?"

"You can have anything you want!" he reiterated with a grin. As for himself, he already knew what he was getting. "Mint chocolate chip for the little lady, and a hot fudge sundae for me, please," he said as he stepped up to place their order, sliding enough coins across the counter to cover both their orders.

"Little lady, my *ss," Fliss muttered, finally tugging her school tie undone and ramming the thing into a pocket of her blazer. "We should get a baby next," she said suddenly. "You know, so you and Mom can panic while I laugh like a drain whenever it cries."

He furrowed his brows at her, both at the suggestion and the colloquial phrases she seemed to be picking up from Liv. "I've never understood that saying. Laugh like a drain. Drains don't laugh. It doesn't make any sense," he said, turning to face her while they waited for their treats.

She snorted with laughter, shaking her head. "Like I can explain what it means," she giggled. "Ask Mom sometime. You know, when she's wearing all her clothes, 'cos you two get real easily distracted real fast." She grinned at him, testing the limits of her cheekiness, no doubt because of a few minutes spent in the company of a very cheeky Lyneth.

"That, young lady, is none of your business," he told her, trying to be serious, though there was the slightest hint of a smirk on his face. He wondered if he should tell her what Lucy had told him, but thought better of it. He didn't want her to start worrying they might not love her or want her anymore if they had a child of their own. "What's with the talk about babies?" he asked curiously, just as their ice creams were delivered across the counter.

She shrugged. "I'm just curious," she admitted mildly. "I kinda had fun playing with Jamie, and a couple of my classmates have little brothers and sisters. I guess maybe I'm a bit jealous of them. Not that I'm not happy, because I really am. I just can't help wondering what it's like to have a brother or sister."

He didn't dare hand her her ice cream for fear it would start melting, but waited for her to claim it for herself before taking up his own and moving to a small out of the way booth where they could talk in relative privacy. "How long have you been thinking about it? Just since we came back from New York?"

Claiming her own ice cream, she moved with him, sliding into the booth and dumping her bag onto the seat beside her. The spoon began the inevitable journey that would spend several minutes mushing up the ice cream before she began eating it. "To be honest? Since I was about eight," she admitted, shrugging once again. "I mean, I was in a foster home, but I was the only fostered kid. There were four other kids there, and they were brothers and sisters, and ... I was the odd one out."

Johnny watched with rapt attention while Fliss mushed up her ice cream, wondering if he should help it along, but deciding against it. It was her ice cream to mush up however she wanted. He looked back at her as she explained her feelings, sticking a spoon in his own ice cream, careful not to get too close so that it wouldn't melt too quickly. He frowned a little. He and Liv were both orphans, but they each had a sibling. He could only imagine her loneliness. "Well, how would you feel to have a brother or sister?"

"I don't really know," she told him honestly. "I mean, it's not like I could put it in a cupboard when I got bored or anything. I guess it's more to do with being on my own. Don't get me wrong, though, Dad - this really doesn't reflect on you or Mom, or how great you are. I'm just being mopey. I'll get over it."

It was still a little weird to hear her call him Dad, but it was weird in a good way. If anyone overheard, they might find it strange that a man in his mid-twenties had a thirteen-year-old for a daughter, but this was Rhy'Din and anything was possible. "No, Fliss... This is important," he told her. "Liv and I want you to be happy. It's really important to us that you're happy, so if there's anything that's making you unhappy, we want to know about it."

"I'm just ..." She sighed softly, looking up at him with slightly apologetic eyes. "Everything's normal, for the first time in my life. I-I don't really know how I'm supposed to be. I mean, there's this girl at school who does nothing but complain about her parents, and the others kinda join in, but I don't have anything to complain about. Does that make me even more weird than I am already?"

"No, it just means we're great parents," Johnny replied with a grin, though he wasn't sure how she'd feel about it when they had to enforce rules like curfews and bedtime and chores. So far, though, things were going pretty well, but he had no complaints. "Maybe it's just different for us,"  he continued, as a thought came to mind. "I mean, Liv and I both know what it's like to be orphans, and..." He shrugged. "Maybe we're all just more grateful for what we have than other people. Maybe we don't take it for granted as much."

"Maybe." Fliss didn't really seem to know one way or the other. She paused, shoveling some of her now gooey ice cream into her mouth. "I guess it's just been so long since I was at a school and not freaking out about setting fire to stuff that I've kind of forgotten how to be a teenager. I'm really boring, Dad."

Johnny almost forgot about his ice cream while Fliss explained herself, remembering only when she shoveled some of her own ice cream into her mouth. "Stop beating yourself up. You're not boring!" he pointed out. "You sound a lot like Liv actually," he remarked as he scooped up a spoonful of ice cream, loaded with hot fudge sauce.

"What?" She laughed at that, rolling her eyes. "C'mon, Mom's awesome. She's got a cool job, and she keeps up with you and Bella, and she's always got time for me. She's not boring at all!"

"No, she's not, but she thinks she is. She thinks Lucy is the more interesting twin. She thinks Lucy is smarter and prettier and funnier than she is, but you know what?" He leaned in, as if he was about to tell her a secret, which he was, though if Liv found out, she'd probably kill him.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: After School Special
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2014, 11:33:35 PM »
"What?" Fliss wasn't sure she believed him that Liv thought so badly of herself, but she was already feeling better. Just half an hour away from school, and her mood was lifting. Being around teenagers was apparently bad for her self-esteem.

"Promise you won't tell Liv?" he asked, wondering if he should start referring to her as Mom, since that was essentially what she was to Fliss now.

The teenager in front of him looked suspicious. "Oh gods, you're not going to tell me she feels good about herself when she dresses up like Supergirl for you, are you?"

"No!" he exclaimed, making a face. "Besides, if I was gonna ask her to dress up in a superhero costume, it would totally be Wonder Woman!"

"I don't want to know that!" Fliss squealed back at him, making a face that suggested "ewww" was the nicest thing she could possibly think of to say about this intimation.

"Or maybe Catwoman," he mused. Yeah, it would totally be Catwoman. Liv would look awesome in leather, but then Wonder Woman had her lasso. Hmm. His thoughts drifted a moment as he mulled Liv in spandex, before drifting back. What were they talking about again? Oh, yeah. He remembered. "This is just between us and is not to go any further..." he started.

And there it was. "Ewww!" Dropping her spoon into her bowl, Fliss covered her ears and screwed up her face, sticking her tongue out at her father with grinning eyes. As much as she didn't want to know about her parents' sex life, it was kind of fun making a fuss about hearing minor details.

He seemed to know what she was thinking without asking and exclaimed a little too loudly, "This isn't about sex!" He realized a little too late that a few heads were turning their way and he flashed his winning Johnny Storm grin their way. "Father daughter conversation," he explained gesturing between himself and Felicity.

Giggling, Fliss lowered her hands, resuming her slow appreciation of her ice cream as the curious eyes turned away once again. "So worth it, just to get you to say that where loads of people could hear," she teased cheerfully. "So come on, then ... what about Mom?"

"Well... When I first came to Rhy'Din, I was a confirmed bachelor. I mean, I liked being single, playing the field, having fun, but after a while..." He shrugged. "I got lonely. One night, I met this girl, only it wasn't Liv I met first. It was Lucy."

She stared at him, not entirely sure what to make of what was coming next. "You slept with Aunt Lucy?" she asked, a little squicked out, but more interested in whatever he was getting at. "What does that have to do with Mom thinking she's boring?"

"I didn't say I slept with her!" Though he had, she didn't really need to know that. That wasn't the point of his story. "Well, I was sort of dating them both at one point." Though he hadn't really known it at the time. "I had to make a choice."

"Wow. No wonder Aunt Lucy teases you so much," she giggled faintly, but kept her comments to herself as much as she could. She was genuinely interested to know what he wanted to tell her. "So what made you choose Mom?"

"Lucy was fun to be with, but I knew it was never going to get serious with her, and..." He frowned a little at the memory. "I think I annoyed her. Anyway..." He shrugged. "The point is I picked Liv because she's the one I fell in love with. She's kind and sweet and caring. She's just a good person. She really seemed to care about me, and I didn't want to lose her."

"Is it true you rescued her from a fire?" his teenaged daughter asked him curiously. "I heard from one of the guys at school that you saved her life and moved her into your apartment to keep her safe, and then, like a  year later, you got married."

"Yeah, I did, but I mean... I would have done it for anyone, but... Liv's just special. I don't know how to explain it." Everyone who met her seemed to think so, even if Liv didn't realize it herself. "I love her. There's not much I wouldn't do for her. Or for you."

"But how can she think she's boring?" Fliss persisted, truly not understanding how a woman who had done so much for her without ever expecting to be called Mom could think so badly of herself. "She's great. And you know, you love her, and I love her, and Aunt Lucy and Uncle Steve love her, too. Doesn't she get how special she is?"

"I think she's starting to," he told her scooping up another spoonful of the ice cream mess. "Maybe we should do something to show her how special we think she is," he suggested, though he had no idea what, and he was more concerned about Fliss' self esteem than Liv's. He thought it was good Fliss knew she was only human though, and that everyone felt the way she did sometimes. "The point is everyone thinks they're boring sometimes, Fliss." Except maybe himself.

"If it helps, I only think I'm boring at school," she offered quietly. "You know, because everyone else has so much to talk about, and they're all friends, and I'm just the freak who doesn't say anything and no one knows anyway."

"You have to give yourself some time, Fliss. You haven't been here that long. It takes time to meet people and get to know them. There has to be someone you're friends with."

"Well, I've got a study partner in Magic Practice," she said thoughtfully. "She's kinda cool, I guess. She gets in trouble a lot for using her power on people, though. She stopped trying to do it to me when I set fire to the light fitting."

He winced a little, though it seemed there was still hope for a friendship between them. "Why don't you ask her over for dinner sometime? It'll give you a chance to get to know her better, and I promise I won't show off!" he said with a smile.

"Really?" Fliss didn't seem all that convinced that subjecting Liv to someone who found it funny to levitate random strangers was such a good idea. "Maybe I should just give it a bit longer," she suggested. "I mean, after today, some of them might actually talk to me. Even if they just want to know about you, it's a start, right?"
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: After School Special
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2014, 11:34:22 PM »
"Whatever you wanna do, sweetheart," he told her, reaching over to touch her hand. "I'm sure you'll make lots of friends once they get to know you." Though he thought even if she made just one good friend it would be better than none. "So, tell me... Any boys catch your eye yet?" he asked with a teasing smirk as he finished up his ice cream.

The look he got for that tease was as old and as wise as any teenager could manage, suggesting that he was the child in this dynamic just for making such a comment. "No," she told him, amber eyes rolling, but was that a hint of a blush on her pale skin? It certainly looked like it, no matter how studiously she applied herself to her ice cream.

"Uh huh," he muttered dubiously. "Okay, I'll let you have your little secret, even though I told you one of mine," he told her, folding his arms on the table and watching her patiently, with just a hint of mischief in his blue eyes. He'd noticed the blush that proved her guilt.

To her credit, Fliss managed to keep her mouth shut for almost a full minute before she cracked, staring pointedly at her bowl as she scraped the last of her ice cream out of the bottom. "It's not like he's going to notice me, anyway," she muttered."

That sounded familiar again, so much like Liv, who had seemed convinced he'd prefer Lucy over her. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained," he told her quietly, though he didn't want to get her hopes up over nothing. "So, what's his name? What's he like?"

"I, uh, I don't actually know his name," she admitted awkwardly. "He's in the year above me, and, uh ... He's just really cool. You know I had a really bad first day? Well, the second day could've been just as bad if he hadn't sort of stepped in. He stopped the others from throwing my bag around, and he helped me pick everything up. I haven't spoken to him since."

Johnny frowned, more at the thought of his girl being picked on than anything else. It angered him, but it also made him a little bit sad that kids could be so cruel to each other the way they sometimes were. "It sounds like he's a nice kid," he admitted back, glad at least someone had been nice to her. "He isn't in any of your classes?"

She shook her head. "No, I just see him at lunch, and at breaks," she said awkwardly. "And he's always with his friends. Seriously, why do guys hang around in groups? They even go to the bathroom together. Can't they do anything by themselves?"

Johnny's jaw dropped at her question and he broke into laughter. "Really? Because we always say that about you. Women, I mean. Girls." Johnny could think of a lot of things he could do by himself, but some of them were not fit topics of conversation between a father and daughter. "Have you tried saying hello?"

"That's just asking to get laughed at," she assured him with all the confidence of a shy teen. Why put herself out there when she was absolutely convinced it would only end badly?

"Why would you get laughed at just for saying hello?" he asked curiously. That didn't seem right. "Anyway, if he helped you, then it doesn't sound like he's the kind of kid who'll let his friends laugh at you, and if he is, then he isn't worth being friends with." Sounded logical, but he knew it wasn't as simple as all that.

Fliss leaned back, eying him with faint amusement. "You really don't know what it's like to be shy, do you?" she asked him curiously. "Seriously, if I could, I wouldn't go to school. I mean, you and Mom were doing great home-schooling me, why did I have to go anyway?"

He frowned over at her, but he couldn't really argue. He might not know what it was like to be shy, but he'd certainly dealt with some of the same problems she had, once upon a time, and he felt a little hurt that she didn't think he'd be able to relate to her. "Why do you think?" he asked, turning the question back around on her, confident she could figure it out on her own.

"Social interaction," she said with a long-suffering sigh. Liv had patiently weathered the storm of the post-first-day tantrum to drill into Fliss exactly why she wasn't going to be allowed to quit unless something catastrophic happened. "I'm enough of a freak already, I should know how to behave in social situations, and school's the best way to learn."

"You're not any more of a freak than anyone else on Rhy'Din," he told her matter-of-factly. If she wanted to feel like a freak, she should have experienced his teenage years. "Do you think Lyneth is a freak?  Or me? Or Steve? Or half the people in Rhy'Din? The beauty of this place is that you don't have to be human to fit in, Fliss. You're no different than anyone else. You don't look any different, and you're no different on the inside. You just have an ability that they don't. That's all."

"Yeah, but I was normal this time last year," she complained, indulging in a rare bout of sullen pouting. "Then I got my period and everything started going up in flames." She didn't mean to make him feel bad, but she felt comfortable talking to Johnny, able to share with him a great deal she didn't share with anyone else, with the exception of Liv.

"Do you want to be normal again? Is that what you really want?" he asked, trying to make a point again. "Maybe what you need to do is figure out why you are the way you are. Figure out a way to put your gift to good use," he suggested, though that might be easier said than done.

"I'm still waiting for normal body parts to arrive," she pointed out, pulling a quote from a favorite film to make her point. "It isn't fair that I have to learn how to do this as well. And now I'm being whiny, and I didn't mean to be." She slumped, scowling down at her knees. "Sorry."

"You're not being whiny," he reassured her, reaching across the table for her hand. "I know it seems hard right now, but believe me, it gets easier." He wasn't sure if he was helping or just making things worse. He hadn't brought her here to make her sad, after all.

"When does it get easier?" she asked, needing to know for certain. Her hand gripped his, proving that no matter how whiny or upset she got, she needed the man she'd chosen to be her father more than she often admitted aloud.
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]

Fliss

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Re: After School Special
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2014, 11:35:35 PM »
"I don't know," he replied honestly. "It just does. It seems like it'll never end, like it will always be horrible, and then it just does." He was frowning again, as he contemplated his own teenage years. Sure, he'd embraced being what he was, but it had still made him different, made him feel like a freak, and he'd had his own problems because of it. "I hurt someone once, a long time ago, before I learned how to control the fire. I felt like a freak, too. Sometimes I still do, but I am what I am, and if I ever had the chance to be normal again, I don't think I'd want to because I've learned how to use my gift - my abilities - to help people. I know I can never change what happened. I can never take back the pain I caused, but if I can help even one person, then it's all worthwhile."

"You help people all the time," Fliss pointed out, but she understood what he was telling her. It felt good to know that she wasn't the only one who had ever gone through this. "I get it, Dad, I do. I just hate it at the same time. I'm not even a full blooded elf, and I got this fire thing. And I'm already failing Math."

"No pointy ears here and I've got it, too!" He pointed out with a smirk. "Can't help with the math problem. You'll have to ask Liv about that." He truly sucked at math and always had. Science, too. He had always excelled at P.E. though. "You can't change who you are, Fliss, and I wouldn't want you to. You're an awesome person just the way you are. You just have to give other people a little time to realize it. That's all." He gave her hand a squeeze. "Now, what do you say we get going before Livvie sends out a search party?"

She smiled shyly, touched by how much he believed in her. Maybe that was how Liv did it, she reflected. Even thinking badly of herself, she kept going, because Johnny believed in her. Fliss could do that, she thought. She'd never forgive herself if she let her new parents down. "Okay," she agreed, both to his assurances and to the suggestion that Liv might turn slightly frantic if they didn't get home soon. "Can I drive?"

"You really want to see Liv kill me, don't you?" He laughed at her suggestion as he got up from the booth, tossing an affectionate arm around her shoulders and leaning close to kiss her cheek. "You're cute, but not that cute. Ask me again when you're sixteen. Nice try, though."

"It's always worth a try," she grinned back at him, not objecting to the parental affection. It was only a matter of time with that, though - when she had friends and a reputation to maintain, Johnny was going to have to weather the embarrassment of his daughter every time he hugged her in public. "Admit it, you might have said yes."

"No, I wouldn't. For one thing, you're not dressed right for driving. Secondly, you have no experience on a motorcycle. Driving solo is hard enough, and you want to try and balance two of us. And thirdly, if something happened and you got hurt, I'd never forgive myself. So there. When you're sixteen, if you still want to learn, I'll teach you to drive, starting with a car." He didn't bother to mention that he'd been driving cars and motorcycles since he was about her age, but that was a very different story.

She sighed teasingly, but conceded the point. "I can wait two years," she assured him. "But I'm gonna hold you to it, you know. Sixteenth birthday, first driving lesson. Seventeenth, you get me a car or a bike." Giggling, knowing she was pushing her luck, Fliss unhooked her helmet from the handlebars, ramming it onto her head.

If some boyfriend didn't teach her before that. He frowned a little at that thought but said nothing of it. He had already grown attached to her and wasn't ready to let her go, but he didn't really have to worry too much about that yet. And if he and Liv did their job right, he wouldn't have to worry too much about her sensibilities. "How about a moped?" he teased as he turned to fasten her chin strap.

"You want me to ride a disability scooter for lazy people?" she countered, her opinion on mopeds made absolutely plain with just one comment. "Besides, you and Mom are cool, and you're good at teaching. I'll be safe."

"Be happy I'm not suggesting a segue," he countered. Was he teasing or serious? It was hard to tell. "I'll buy you a bike if you want, but not one with an engine. Not yet, anyway." He wasn't so sure about the teaching part, but he let the comment go. Liv was, anyway. Satisfied her helmet was on snug, he grabbed his own and tugged it over his head. "Ready to roll?"

"What? That's cheating!" Despite her protest, however, Fliss was grinning still. She truly did love spending time with Johnny and Liv, no matter what happened or didn't happen, deeply grateful for their presence in her life. Tucking her backpack onto both arms again, she nodded, her head feeling ridiculously heavy with the helmet securely in place. "Sure. Let's go and tickle Mom until she pees."

He laughed at her suggestion. "You really do want Liv to kill me, don't you?" he asked as he climbed onto the bike and started it up, waiting for her to be securely in place behind him.

Cackling with wicked intent, Fliss swung herself onto the bike behind her father, wrapping her arms around his waist. "Would I do a thing like that?"

"Yes!" he exclaimed with a chuckle. Once he felt she was securely in place, he started out onto the street, slower and more cautious this time, since there was no one to impress. Even despite his caution, the bike's engine roared, hinting at the power behind it. It could fly like a bat out of hell if he wanted it to. But then, if he really wanted to get an adrenaline rush, all he had to do was Flame On.

But even with no one to impress, it was a perfect treat for the somewhat fearless teen clinging to his back. Johnny and Liv were a perfect balance for her - a father who didn't stop her from trying new things, and a mother who always seemed to know when she needed to talk. Fliss didn't know what she had done to deserve their affection, but she didn't think she was ever going to stop being grateful for it. All she wanted was to make them proud of her, and she promised herself that someday she would manage it. Somehow.

[size=9]((I love Daddy!Johnny so much. He's really taken to this parenting thing brilliantly. And, of course, hugimungus thanks to the player for being awesome!))[/size]
[color=darkred:0db6ceb058][size=9:0db6ceb058][i:0db6ceb058][b:0db6ceb058]A spark neglected makes a mighty fire.[/b:0db6ceb058][/i:0db6ceb058][/size:0db6ceb058][/color:0db6ceb058]