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Pizza Night

 
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Kaylee Bennett
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:25 am    Post subject: Pizza Night Reply with quote

"Oh, now, you shush."

The sound of a crying baby was never a pleasant one, but usually it elicited more than a mild approbation against the sound from a parent who had been home all day. But Kaylee had always been good with children, even more so with her own. She lifted Clare out of the crib, hooking the toddler onto her hip.

"Let me guess ... we ignored our nap and now we're really, really sleepy, but Daddy isn't home yet?"

Timing was everything, and it seemed from the sound of the front door opening and the welcoming bark of the resident doberman that "Daddy" had finally arrived home from work.

"Hello, boy," Taylor greeted the dog, looking around for his wife and daughter. "Where's Kaylee at? Is she in the nursery with Clare?" he asked, as though he was expecting an answer.

Of course, the sound of his sobbing, overtired daughter wouldn't be long in reaching his ears, especially when Kaylee sighed, smiling, and opened the door to leave the room. "You're as stubborn as me, you know that, kid?" she was saying to the red-faced little girl on her hip.

Taylor was on his way up the stairs to the nursery, when he heard Clare's cry. "Uh oh. Someone's not happy," he murmured, mostly to the dog that was following at his heels. "Kay? Are you up here?" he called though that much seemed logical.

"We're here!" Kaylee called back, already moving toward the head of the stairs. On her hip, Clare was calming down, whimpering through her tears at the prospect of seeing her daddy very soon. "Your daughter is being a ratbag."

"Nonsense. She just misses her Daddy," Taylor pointed out as he arrived at the top of the stairs to meet them. He reached for their daughter to take her into his arms and give her mother a reprieve. "There, there, sweet pea. Daddy's home now," he consoled the little girl quietly, wrapping her in his embrace.

To Kaylee's amused disgust, the tears disappeared almost instantly as Clare cuddled into Taylor's arms. The toddler looked very nearly smug. Kaylee snorted, rolling her eyes. "That's just offensive."

"She just misses her Papa," Taylor said, not daring to admit that he just might be their daughter's favorite parent. But wasn't that the way things were supposed to be between little girls and their fathers? "There, now, sweet pea. You're overtired. Time for a little nap and then dinner and bathtime. Okay?" he asked, as if he was leaving the decision to a toddler.

Sniffling, Clare nodded, reaching up to hug her arms around Taylor's neck and kiss his cheek loudly. Kaylee chuckled.

"Well, I'll leave you to it," she told Taylor. "She outright refused to go down for her nap this afternoon - an hour wouldn't do her any harm."

He wasn't quite sure why Clare was cooperating for him and not for Kaylee, but who could figure toddlers out? At least, she thought she was getting her own way, when really she wasn't. He had a feeling Kaylee needed a break, and though he'd just arrived home from a long shift at work, he was more than happy to help.

"I'll be down in a bit," he promised, leaning close to give Kaylee a kiss, while Clare snuggled up in his arms.

"You'd better be," Kaylee teased him, nuzzling close for a long moment. "She's not the only one who's happy to see you home." She grinned, drawing back to give a soft click to Sam. "C'mon, you, let's go and rummage in the kitchen."

"I'm glad to be home," he replied with a soft smile of his own. He had no complaints these days, cranky toddler or not. He let Kaylee lead Sam away before making his way to the nursery to tuck their over-tired daughter in for a nap.

Clare clung to him for a moment, almost as though she was considering fighting even Daddy when it came to a nap, but tiredness is a powerful force on a toddler. She sighed heavily, letting him put her down.

He would have resorted to rocking her to sleep, if he had to, but he only wanted her to nap long enough to get rid of the crankies, not pass out for the night. "Shh," he cooed quietly, gently rubbing her back as she slowly gave up the fight.

Grumbling to herself, the little girl dragged her cuddly penguin into her arms and gave in, settling to sleep for however long her parents decided she was allowed to at this time of day.

Once he was sure she had settled down, he made his way back downstairs to give his wife a proper greeting. Even after three years, it was strange to think of Kaylee as his wife, but they had come a long way since they'd first met and shared their common nightmare.

Wrapping her arms about him in a warm hug, Kaylee leaned happily into Taylor's arms. "You know, I think today is the closest I've come to getting annoyed with her," she admitted. "But I just can't get annoyed with that cute little face, even if she is being a ratbag."

"She's just having a bad day. We all have bad days sometimes, Kay," he told her, touching a kiss to her brow as he held her close, leaning in to breathe her in. He had never taken her or their good fortune for granted, and he never would. They had fought too hard for their happiness to ever take it for granted. "Maybe she's coming down with something," he said, knowing anything as simple as a cold might make their little girl cranky.

"She's mean," Kaylee informed him in a ridiculous voice, laughing at her own characterisation of a not-quite-two-year-old. "And I love her. Just like I love you." She lifted her head to kiss him, smiling affectionately. "How was work?"

He smiled into her kiss, enjoying that simple and warm display of affection. "Work was work. A little too quiet. Hopefully, not the calm before the storm," he said. He kissed her again, smiling down at her. "I'd just about kill for a cup of coffee," he hinted. "Know where I can get one?"

"I may be able to think of something," she mused impishly. "But you have to promise not to kill anything in exchange for it. I happen to like Sam." Across the kitchen, the dog raised his head at the sound of his name and wuffed in agreement.

Taylor raised his hand, as if he was about to solemnly swear on a Bible. "I promise not to kill anything that calls this house home," he said, not quite promising to never kill anything, as they both knew sometimes someone had to take care of the darker side of things.

Kaylee tilted her head at his solemnity. "Do you need lessons in sarcasm, irony, and humor again, babe?" she asked in an impish tone. "I think I still have flash cards from Christmas ..."
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Kaylee Bennett
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He smirked. "Except ants. I do not promise not to kill ants. And flies and possibly spiders, though they don't really hurt anything," he said, purposely not answering her question.

"All spiders must die," she countered, grinning at his response as she drew back to put the coffee pot on. "I swear your humor is getting drier by the day."

"Maybe my uncle's sense of humor is finally rubbing off on me," he said, mirroring her grin as she pulled away to warm up the coffee. "And the only spiders that really deserve to die are the ones as big as Shelob. Maybe tarantulas and black widows, too, but I don't think they're native."

"No, we're going to have to disagree on that one," Kaylee insisted. "All spiders must die. And these days, I kill them. Hell, I punched one into a splat on the wall yesterday. How's that for progress?"

Taylor winced. "I hope you cleaned the guts off the wall," he said, the hint of a gleam in his eyes to let her know he was teasing. Together, they'd killed a lot scarier things than spiders, and both were hoping they'd never be called upon to do it again.

"Well, you never noticed the splat, so I guess I did," she countered, sticking her tongue out at him with a quiet laugh. "Honestly, three years and you still second-guess my cleaning." Which was fair enough - Kaylee was an amazing cook, but she didn't generally have the motivation to clean.

"I didn't marry you to be my maid, Kay," Taylor reminded her, not for the first or probably the last time, rolling his eyes a little at her silliness. "We're in this together, remember? Fifty-fifty. You cook, I do the dishes. You do the laundry, I take out the garbage."

"You change the diapers, I get the snuggles, got it." She flashed him another grin, handing over a cup of coffee just how he liked it. "How's Rufus? I figured you'd drop in at the library on your way home, if only to remind him to go home himself."

"Am I that predictable?" he asked, taking the cup from her with a small smirk and a shrug of his shoulders. "He loses track of time," he said of his uncle. "I worry about him sometimes," he admitted, the smirk fading.

She met his gaze curiously. "Why do you worry?" she asked, tilting her head as she leaned against the counter. "He's in a much better place these days."

"He's only supposed to be consulting, but sometimes he still gets lost in his work," Taylor explained. "And sometimes I worry that he still blames himself for Lei's death," he added, taking a sip of his coffee. Like them, his uncle had come a long way and had mostly made peace with the past, but Taylor knew that it still haunted them sometimes.

"He's never going to not blame himself for that in some way, baby," Kaylee told him gently. "He's always going to have what ifs running through his mind. But he has Ro, and you, and Beth, and he has Miranda."

"Yeah, I know," Taylor admitted. "I worry too much, I guess," he added with a shrug. "And I have you," he said, reaching for her hand, the coffee cup in the other, a soft smile on his face. "So, how was your day?" he asked, after a moment spent just looking at her.

"Oh, you know ... the usual." She smiled, moving to lean against his free side comfortably, her arms looped about his waist. "Clare stuff, teaching stuff, doggie stuff. I did the laundry - we have clean underpants for a week!"

"Yay for clean underpants!" Taylor cheered, grinning. Clean underpants might not seem like much to someone else, but to them, it was progress. Just getting through the day was progress, but they had come a long way in the last three years. "You going to teach STARS again this year?" he asked curiously.

"Yeah, so long as it doesn't get too inconvenient for you," she told him. Teaching, surprisingly, had come easily to Kaylee, and between STARS and her private students, she was now bringing in a reasonable income. "Vicki said something about maybe having another private student for me this year, too, but she was being annoyingly mysterious."

"Not Vicki," Taylor said, smirking again. He knew Vicki well enough to know the woman was as cheeky as they came. "Maybe she's hoping Jon will take voice lessons," he remarked, pushing off the counter to rummage around for a snack.

Kaylee snorted with laughter. "I love Jon, but the man was not made to sing," she informed her husband in amusement. "And I don't think I've ever heard Vicki sing. No, she seemed to be implying a kid, but Emily's not focused enough to handle singing lessons yet."

"Well, I'm sure you're going to find out sooner or later," Taylor replied, not quite as intrigued as Kaylee by Vicki's mysteriousness. He found a bag of potato chips in the cupboard and popped a few in his mouth. "What do you want to do for dinner?"

She eyed him for a moment, considering the question. "Cook, I thought," was her answer. "Why, are you having a craving for junk food again?"

"When am I not having a craving for junk food?" he asked, grinning as he crunched on another handful of chips. "I was thinking about barging in on Des and Piper, but I'm not sure if Little Miss Crankypants can handle it."

Kaylee chuckled. "I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind," she mused. "And Clare's not so bad. Just tired. She'd probably be happy to spend a little time with Mia, just being quiet together."

"It's decided then! Should I call and warn them or should we surprise them?" he asked, not really caring if they barged in or not. Desmond was like a brother, and they knew they were always welcome, even if their timing wasn't always the best.

"Send a text?" Kaylee suggested as a compromise. It was early enough in the evening to still be afternoon, but a little forewarning might prevent any outlandish suggestions by Lyneth for the use of the evening over there.

"Good idea! Why didn't I think of it?" Taylor teased, leaning in to give her lips a quick smooch before retrieving the phone from his pocket. They could have picked any of a number of people at Maple Grove to pop in on, but Taylor and Desmond had become friends through Rufus, and a night at their house always proved an amusing escape from the mundane.

"Because you have an amazing wife who does that kind of thinking for you?" she suggested mischievously, answering his kiss with her own before sliding away. If they were going to spend the evening at someone else's house, she needed a bag for Clare's stuff.

"You don't mind, do you?" Taylor asked, as he punched in a text to Desmond, before hitting Send. The worst thing the other couple could tell them was no, and there were times when admittedly, Taylor and Kaylee just didn't want to be alone.

She smiled, shaking her head. "No, I don't mind," she promised him. "It's good not to just stagnate at home."

"I'm not sure I'd call it stagnating, but winter will be here before you know it. We might as well enjoy the nice weather while we can," he said, using the last days of summer as an excuse to get out of the house. "Besides, I'm off tomorrow," he added as a bonus, hitting the Send button on his text.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Mmm, so you are," she murmured. "And Miranda demanded custody of Clare for the afternoon. Whatever will we do without her?" That cheeky grin was back. However she had changed in the trauma that had brought them together, Taylor had brought the brighter side of his wife back to the fore.

Taylor chuckled at his wife's hint. "I have no idea! Play checkers?" he teased in return. "Remind me to thank Miranda for her timing," he said, as his phone beeped to tell him he had an incoming text. "Pizza night!" he declared with a triumphant grin as he read Des' reply.

Kaylee laughed out loud. "And did you know they were having pizza night before you suggested going over there?" she asked with fond suspicion, knowing he was particularly attached to pizza.

"I may have heard a rumor," Taylor admitted, though he wasn't about to reveal his source. "Do you mind so much?" he asked, setting aside his phone and his coffee cup to slide his arms around her waist and pull her close.

Laughing, she let him tug her close, drumming her fingertips against his chest as she met his gaze. "I might be persuaded not to mind," she mused, "if there's ice cream as well."

"Oh, I think ice cream can be arranged," he promised, touching his forehead to hers. With Lyneth for a daughter, it was more than likely Des and Piper had ice cream in the house. "Do you love me?" he asked, already knowing the answer.

"No, I just married you for the above-average sex," she informed him in a deadpan tone, unable to keep the straight face even for the few seconds the joke needed to land. Giggling, she rose onto her toes, brushing a tender kiss to his mouth. "Of course I love you."

"As compared to what or whom?" Taylor replied, chuckling in amusement. Neither of them had been "virgins", but their past relationships hardly mattered now that they were together. "Do you love me more than ice cream?" he asked, touching his nose to hers, once she was done kissing him.

"That depends," she teased affectionately. "Does the ice cream have caramel in it?" She giggled, kissing the tip of his nose as she winked up at him.

"Caramel, hmm, it might," he said, smiling at the wink. "Shall I get Miss Grumpypants up before she thinks it's bedtime?" he asked.

"Be my guest. She's been jabbering about her daddy all day." Kaylee grinned as she eased back, returning to packing the bag to take over there with them.

"What can I say?" He shrugged. "She loves me. Just like someone else I know," he teased, as he turned to make his way back up the stairs and gently wake their daughter, hoping the news that they were going to visit her cousins would keep any crankiness at bay.

Unfortunately for Taylor's ego, as soon as they reached Des and Piper's house, Clare was all about crawling away with Amelia, abandoning her parents almost at the door. Kaylee grinned, barely even glancing down when Lyneth wrapped herself around her waist for a moment. Well, the little Fae had been named after her, in a way.

"You ready to share pizza, Lynnie?"

Lyneth considered this. "Only if you are fun," she said, looking from Kaylee to Taylor. "Are you fun?"

"Always!" Taylor promised. "My middle name is fun!" He wasn't kidding, either. If there was one thing he and Kaylee had learned from their horrific ordeal, it was how to have fun and find the joy in life.

"What's the occasion?" Des asked as he and Piper came to meet them at the door.

"Someone told him you were having pizza," Kaylee said easily, dropping Taylor in it with the kind of aplomb only a spouse can muster.

Piper laughed, gesturing for them to come in with one hand; the other was in Dylan's grasp as he waved shyly to his cousins.

"A little bird named Miranda told me," Taylor whispered conspiratorially, pressing a finger to his lips to indicate it was a secret.

Desmond laughed. "Of course, she did. I'm telling you, Pip, that woman has spies everywhere!"

"You think this is somehow a surprise to me?" Piper asked innocently, bending to lift Dylan up onto her hip. "Goodness, little man, you're so big these days!"

"Am not!" Dylan defended himself. "M'not as big as Lynnie."

"You're not old like me," Lyneth assured her little brother as Kaylee inched inside with Taylor.

Taylor reached for Kaylee's hand, his gaze moving briefly to see where Clare was, relaxing when he found her with little Amelia. He laughed at Dylan and Lyneth, feeling a sudden bubble of happiness burst up inside him.

"I see what we have to look forward to," he said of the siblings, though as far as he knew they were not yet expecting another child.

"If you're old, then what am I?" Kaylee was asking Lyneth, moving to sit on the floor with the older girl without a second thought. She'd babysat Lyneth so many times when the child was tiny, including the terrifying night when Des had been stabbed and was rescued by said child. They were old friends.

Lyneth thumped down beside her thoughtfully. "Um ... ancient."

"If she's ancient, what am I?" Desmond, who had to be at least ten years older than Kaylee, pointed out, with a smirk at his daughter's cheekiness.

"Older than dirt," Taylor supplied helpfully, mirroring Desmond's smirk.

"Sexy dirt," Piper added, leaning over to kiss Des' cheek with a grin.

Kaylee chuckled, looking back at Lyneth. "Sweetie, you're doing nothing to make friends here," she told the child.

Lyneth just grinned back at her. "What's wrong with bein' sexy dirt?"

"You're biased," Des said, with a sidelong grin at Piper as she kissed his cheek.

"Everyone under the age of 10 thinks everyone over the age of 20 is ancient," Taylor pointed out helpfully, as he joined his wife on the floor, mostly to keep an eye on the littler ones who were toddling around.

Lyneth considered him for a moment. "When are you going to plant another baby tree?" she demanded then, abandoning Kaylee to wriggle around and give Taylor her full attention. "Clare's a squirt, but she's a happy squirt."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Des chuckled at his daughter's precociousness. "I'll go order the pizza," he said, turning to do just that.

"Coward!" Taylor called after him. "Make sure you get mushrooms!" That said, he looked back at Lyneth, smiling in amusement. "You know that's kind of personal."

Piper chuckled, handing Dylan down onto the floor as she headed into the kitchen to hunt out all the necessary bits and bobs for having dinner on the floor. Taylor and Kaylee were around so often there was no call for standing on ceremony.

Lyneth grinned at Taylor. "Why's it pers'nal?" she asked searchingly. "Don't you like Kaylee's bits?"

"Has anyone ever told you you're way too curious for your own good?" Taylor asked, reaching over to tweak Lyneth's nose. He glanced over at Kaylee, wondering what her answer to Lyneth's question might be and noticing how she'd gone suddenly silent. "We haven't decided yet," he added, looking to Kaylee for confirmation. "Have we, Kay?"

"Whether or not my husband likes my bits is between him and me, squirrel," Kaylee informed the cheeky girl, one hand absently opening to take the toy truck Dylan was giving her even as she spoke. "We might have another baby, we might not. None of your business, though. Is it, midget?"

This was addressed to Dylan, who snickered. "Lynnie knows ev'rythin'," the little boy declared, clearly enamored of his big sister. She could do no wrong, as far as he was concerned.

"Tell you what ..." Taylor started, not wanting to hurt Lyneth's feeling and seeking to make a small compromise. "If and when it happens, you'll be the first to know. How's that?" he asked. So long as Miranda wasn't the first to know. Then everyone would know.

"Really, really?" Lyneth asked, eyes wide with hopeful excitement. "Not just sayin' that so I stop askin'?"

There was a gentle thump from near the couch - Amelia had just landed on her backside next to Clare, who was investigating a stuffed octopus.

Taylor scooted closer to the girls to keep an eye on them. He shrugged, a teasing grin on his face. "Dyl says you know everything, so I guess you'll have to be the first to know," he said, picking up the stuffed octopus and making it do a little dance for the girls' entertainment.

"I'm magic, I have to know everything or it doesn't work no more," Lyneth objected.

Kaylee laughed. "That isn't quite how it works, Lynnie," she pointed out, pulling the truck back and aiming it at Dylan, who was waiting with his hand open to catch it. "Ready, midget?"

"Ready!"

As the truck whizzed across the floor, Lyneth scratched her cheek thoughtfully. "So I doesn't have to know everything all the time to still be magic?"

"It's in your blood, Lynnie," Taylor tried to explain. "No one can take your magic away from you. Don't you know that?" he asked curiously as he the octopus gently bopped Amelia's nose.

"But I thought part of being magic was knowing everything everywhere all at once?" Lyneth queried, frowning. "Isn't it?"

"I guess it could be if that's one of your abilities, but don't you think it would be exhausting to know everything everywhere all at once? You wouldn't be able to think of anything else!" Taylor pointed out, assuming Lyneth was serious, though he wasn't too sure.

"I never thought of that," the little girl considered, now scratching at her neck. It was a thoughtful habit, not an itch, but one she really should be growing out of soon. "Maybe I'm not that kind of magic."

"You're an adorable kind of magic, that's the best kind," Piper interjected as she came back into the room, bending to kiss her eldest daughter's hair on the way past.

Desmond followed Piper back into the room, just in time to hear the tail end of the conversation. "What kind of magic?" he asked, propping himself on the arm of the couch.

"The kind of magic that knows everything everywhere all at once," Lyneth told her father, still frowning curiously. "Like, like when I knowed you was hurt. Isn't that the same kind of magic?"

"I don't think so," Desmond replied, uncertainly. What little he knew of magic he'd learned partly from watching Lyneth and partly from Rufus. "I think you knew I was hurt because of the bond between us, not because you know everything. Have you ever had that feeling again?"

She shook her head. "Only when Mummy had me and when Nanny was being hurt by the bad daddy," she clarified. That had been an evening to remember - the one and only outing of the formidable forces the Granger family could put together on short notice.

"So, your magic has something to do with the people you love," Taylor pointed out.

"That's part of it anyway," Desmond confirmed, though there was a lot more to Lyneth's magic than that. He had seen the Fae part of Lyneth in action, and though he trusted Kaylee and Taylor, he wasn't about to talk about that.

"You know, even ordinary humans have something like that sometimes," Kaylee commented, grunting as Dylan climbed into her lap with the next chosen toy - the never-ending knot. "Moms who know when their children need them from the other side of town before the phone rings - that sort of thing happens all the time. It might not even be part of your Fae side, Lynnie. It might be your human side."

Desmond's mouth twitched at Kaylee's suggestion. She had been babysitting the night Lyneth had opened a portal of some sort between himself and her and reached out to save him. There was a lot more to Lyneth's talent than simply knowing when someone she loved was in danger, but he was hesitant to say too much about it.

"There are humans who have telepathic abilities, but Lyneth's magic goes deeper than that," he said.

"Because I'm special," the little Fae in question said smugly.

Piper chuckled, rolling her eyes. "Yes, darling, you're very special," she agreed, in a tone that suggested to the adults that she didn't quite mean what Lyneth thought she did.

It was no secret how fond Desmond was of his daughter, even is she wasn't of his own blood. He chuckled a little at Piper's remark though, which thankfully lightened the mood. They had all seen Lyneth in full Fae form and knew just how special she was, but that wasn't what Piper meant.

"You are very special to us," Desmond clarified.

"Good." Lyneth nodded, looking around at the others. "Is Dyl special? And Mia and Clare? Adults don't count," she added to Taylor and Kaylee, just in case they took offense at being left out.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Everyone is special in their own way, Lynnie," Desmond replied, not bothering to make any distinction between the adults and the children. "And everyone has their own talents and abilities, but not everyone is magic."

"What, even Loki?" she demanded.

By the fire, the by now elderly Malamute raised his head, making a curious sound. he was mollified by Piper's hand against his back, smacking his mouth for a moment before settling down again.

"I was talking about people, but sure, why not Loki, too?" Desmond asked, waiting for someone to disagree.

"What about your fairy friends, Lyneth?" Taylor asked, from near the couch, where he was entertaining the girls with the stuffed octopus.

"Fairies are all special, 'cos they're all different and the same at the same time," Lyneth informed him, absentmindedly catching one end of the never-ending knot Dylan and Kaylee were working on and tying it into new knots before her brother tugged it back.

"Quite a lot like people, then," Piper pointed out.

"Exactly," Desmond nodded in agreement, before dropping onto the couch, distracting the girls from the octopus dance. Amelia turned to her father's feet, in an attempt to tickle his sock-covered toes.

"Huh." This seemed to perplex Lyneth for a moment, but she was easily distracted as Dylan launched himself off Kaylee's lap and on top of her, making the house ring with shrieking giggles.

Kaylee winced even as she laughed. "Good grief," she chuckled, shaking her head. "And we have that to look forward to."

Desmond caught Amelia in his arms as she lunged for her brother and sister. "Oh, no, you don't! The last time you three wrestled, you ended up with a black eye!" he scolded her gently.

Meanwhile, Clare had plopped down in her father's lap and was shoving a book in his hands. "Hmm, this looks familiar," Taylor mused, as he examined the book, which was entitled Snow Angels.

"Oh, that?" Piper grinned, lounging comfortably in the corner of the couch - the only adult not to have succumbed to the temptations of the floor just yet. "It came out last year - Mia loves it." There was the briefest pause, and she added, "Lyneth, if your Kneazle pees on your little brother again, he will be sleeping in the cage under the kitchen table tonight."

Taylor, late to answer Kaylee's question, chuckled at the children's antics, especially that of Dylan and Lyneth. "Maybe we should stop at one," he said, tossing Kaylee a conspiratorial wink, wondering what Lyneth would say to that.

The cackling bundle of brother and sister had come to a wheezing halt, threatened with being sat on by Knip, who didn't like shrieking and tended to blame Dylan for it.

"You can't stop at one, elsewise Clare'll get bored, and you can't always come over us house," Lyneth insisted, pushing herself to sit up and poke Knip.

"We could get another dog," Taylor suggested, having fun teasing Lyneth. "You just want another cousin," he said, as he flipped the pages of the book so Clare could look at the pictures.

"I like havin' cousins," Lyneth defended herself. "Yeah, but Bethany's having a baby, and Liv's having two," Kaylee pointed out, only for Piper to say along with Lyneth,

"Liv doesn't count, she's not fambly."

"She lives at Maple Grove, and as far as Humphrey is concerned, she's honorary family," Desmond pointed out. "And they have a treehouse," Taylor reminded her, perhaps the most important point to make.

Dylan perked up. "Can we have a treehouse?" he asked, tilting his head toward Des hopefully. "A house made out of a tree? A dead tree," he added hastily as Lyneth opened her mouth. "One what doesn't has a drydad in it no more."

"The tree doesn't have to be dead, Dylan," Desmond explained. "You build the house amid the tree's branches. I mean I suppose you could build one in a dead tree, but you don't have to. The trick is finding the right tree."

"I thought you wanted a cave?" Piper asked then, tilting her head curiously toward her son.

"Yeah, Dyl!" Lyneth latched on to the idea. "With all blankies and fireflies in!"

Dylan's eyes went wide. "Oooh ..."

"What about a tent?" Taylor suggested. That seemed about as close to a cave as they'd be able to get at Maple Grove, though they wouldn't be able to build a fire inside a tent.

"Or we could make you a cave under the stairs," Piper suggested gently. "With sparkly lights and cushions. It could be your special reading place."

Dylan blinked, torn between the ideas being offered to him. "Can, can we put a tent in the cave?"

Taylor shrugged, looking to Desmond for an answer, since he was the boy's father.

"Maybe, if we can find one that will fit. But if we can't, we can still make it into a cozy cave. What do you think, Lyneth?" he asked, turning the idea on their oldest.

Lyneth looked thoughtful. "I think it's Dyl's special thing," she said eventually. "And me and Mia can only go in his special place if he says we can."

Kaylee's smile was surprised, but touched. "That's a lovely thing to do for your little brother, Lynnie."

"That's an awesome thing to do," Taylor echoed.

Desmond smiled, pleased by Lyneth's generosity toward her brother, but then she was a pretty good big sister. "What do you think, Dyl?"

Dylan's eyes were already as wide as they could go, overwhelmed by this generosity. He couldn't quite manage to put together a response, instead turning and hiding his face in Lyneth's shoulder to hug her.

Piper chuckled gently. "I think it may be an early night tonight," she murmured. "Someone's overtired again."

There was a knock at the door, and Desmond moved to his feet. "Pizza's here! Just in time," he said, noticing their little boy's sudden display of emotion.

"Hey," Taylor interjected, indicating the book Clare was paging though. "Was this illustrated by the Steve Rogers? The one that lives here?" he asked, curiously.

Piper nodded, her smile growing as she took Amelia from Des' custody so he could get the door. "Yes, that Steve Rogers," she confirmed. "He's working on illustrations for my next book at the moment, I believe."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lyneth whispered ferociously to her little brother, and a moment later, both of them went pottering into the kitchen, returning after only a few minor thumps and crashes with a tray of cutlery and glasses.

"Huh, I didn't know that," Taylor mused, wincing at the sound of the thumps and crashes in the kitchen. He would have volunteered to go help, but if it wasn't worrying Piper, he didn't think it should worry him either. "What are you writing about?" he asked instead, knowing Piper was an author, but not having read any of her books.

"I'm cheating a little," she confessed with a smile. "My own Earth doesn't have fairytales, so I rewrote a few of the ones I've learned here and put them into an anthology. I am working on a refigured version of Beauty and the Beast, though."

"For publication here or there?" Taylor asked with interest. Maybe it would be something he'd like to read to Clare someday.

"I've got pizza!" Desmond called, returning with a couple of boxes which would hopefully taste as delicious as they smelled.

"Both," Piper admitted. "People don't mind rewritten fairytales here, and back on my Earth, they'll be wholly new. All right, so they may start throwing around the "creative genius" moniker again, but I tend to ignore that." She slid down onto the floor with Amelia in her lap as Des returned with food, patting the floor to invite Dylan and Lyneth to sit down as well. "Is Clare on full solids yet, or should I grab something we can mush for her?"

"She should be okay with pizza," Taylor replied, handing Clare off to Kaylee, so that he could help pass out pizza and pour drinks. "What are we having? Milk? Juice? Soda?" he asked, seeing how Lyneth and Dylan had brought glasses but nothing to fill them with.

Lyneth shrugged. "We dint know what, so we dint bring anything," she admitted. "But we didn't drop anything either!"

Dylan nodded fervently next to her.

"Maybe you should go and get the soda, then," Piper told them. "One glass each, and then water if you're still thirsty."

"I can get it," Taylor said, since he was already up. He didn't think it would be too hard to find, assuming it was in the fridge.

"Lynnie, Dylan, mushrooms or no mushrooms?" Desmond asked as he set one of the boxes on a table and opened it up.

"I don't like mushrooms," Lyneth declared, earning herself a raised brow from her mother.

"Says the little madam who had mushrooms on toast for breakfast this morning," Piper pointed out.

"I don't like mushrooms on pizza," Lyneth clarified with a grin. "Dyl does. Don't you?"

Dylan nodded. "I like all the mushies!"

The only reason Desmond was even asking was that the children tended to change their minds daily as to what they liked on their pizza. It wasn't long before everyone had a slice or two of pizza on their plate, along with a glass of soda, picnicking on Piper and Desmond's living room floor.

It was an education to watch Lyneth organising her little brother and sister's slices for them, that was for sure. Kaylee grinned around a mouthful of her own, glancing down to make sure Clare was getting on with her bite-sized bits in her lap.

"Every time we come over, one of you guys is deconstructing dinner for everyone else," she pointed out. "Is that an every day thing here?"

Desmond shrugged. "Dinner should be fun, don't you think?" he countered. It had originally been Piper and Lyneth's idea that he had just adopted when he'd become part of the family and it was an idea they all seemed fond of.

"We sit at the table on Sundays and when Gramma and Grandpa come visitin'," Lyneth volunteered, as though hoping to prove that they did do things normally every once in a while.

"An' birfdays," Dylan added around a mouthful of pizza.

Kaylee smiled. "I'm not judging!" she promised. "Just enjoying the evolution of this little family, that's all."

"Lucky for you, Loki likes pizza," Taylor remarked, as the old dog wandered over to help himself to the pieces the children had already dropped on the floor.

"If he was younger, we wouldn't let him do that," Piper admitted with a rueful smile.

It was just a fact that Loki didn't have much more time in him - he was almost eighteen years old now, a venerable old man who had somehow managed to father puppies on the Storm's dog, Bella, before his arthritis finally made itself known. She would miss him dearly when he was gone.

Desmond frowned, practically reading Piper's mind. He and Loki had become quite fond of each other, and he knew he's miss the old dog, too, when he was gone.

"Where's your cat?" Taylor asked, not really knowing the difference between a cat and a Kneazle. "Hiding in your room?"

"He's not a cat, silly, he's a Kneazle!" Lyneth giggled, tilting her head back toward the kitchen door.

As if on cue - or rather, knowing he was being spoken about - Knip padded into the living room, scanned the family eating, and made a beeline for Dylan with all the assurance of a feline who knew he could get at least some of the little boy's meat pizza when he wasn't paying attention.

"I'm sorry ... a what?" Taylor asked, uncertainly. This wasn't the first time he'd made Knip's acquaintance, but he looked like an ordinary cat to him. Desmond smirked, but remained silent, allowing Lyneth to explain.

"He's a Kneazle," the little girl said again, reaching for her glass to take a drink. "Like ... he's sort of a cat type animal, but he's really clever, and he understands what you say, and he can tell when someone is a liar."

"How can he tell that?" Taylor asked, curiously. He wasn't exactly challenging Lyneth, since he knew there were stranger things in Rhy'Din, but he was curious how a "cat" could tell someone was lying and what he'd do if he knew.

"He just does." Lyneth shrugged, returning her attention to her pizza.

"Dyl, don't leave your pizza on the plate," Piper warned, half an eye on the Kneazle in question, who turned and gave her a dirty look.

Kaylee snorted with laughter. "Well, he's definitely intelligent."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taylor's interest was piqued now, and he just had to know what happened if someone told a lie. "Did I mention that I got a promotion at work?" he asked, attempting a lie that had some possibility of being truthful.

This time, the dirty look from the Kneazle was aimed at Taylor, but more than that. Knip stood up and flicked out his tail, his brush fluffing out as he made a strange clicking sound behind his teeth.

Lyneth giggled. "No, you didn't!" she countered, one hand reaching out to stroke her pet affectionately.

"Huh, interesting," Taylor remarked, taking a bite of his pizza. "What do you need a lie-detector test for when you have a Kneazle around? Do the Rhy'Din police know?" he teased. Taylor had been in Rhy'Din long enough to know the police department was something of a sham, but he had to ask anyway.

"He didn't mean it," Lyneth told Knip, still stroking his brush back down. "You know some people don't believe you can do it sometimes. You didn't mean it, did you?" She turned a piercing look onto Taylor, daring him to upset her Kneazle any further.

Taylor smiled apologetically, more for Lyneth's sake than the Kneazle's, but he wasn't lying when he said, "No, I didn't mean it. I just never heard of a Kneazle before and wanted to see what would happen if I told a lie. Can you tell him I'm sorry?"

The little girl gave him a bemused look. "Why? You can tell him yourself."

Beside her, Knip sat down rather primly and met Taylor's gaze, like a schoolteacher expecting an apology from a rowdy pupil. Next to Taylor, Kaylee choked on her laughter, fighting not to get on the animal's bad side herself.

"Uh," Taylor murmured uncertainly. He cleared his throat, clearly feeling a little silly apologizing to a cat, though this was obviously no ordinary cat. "I'm sorry, Knip. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings," he said, though he wasn't too sure what he'd done wrong, other than test him. He picked a slice of pepperoni off his pizza and offered it to the Kneazle as a peace offering.

The apology earned him a softer look and a quiet "mrrr" in answer, but the pepperoni got Taylor the equivalent of a declaration of undying love as Knip leaped across the plates and boxes to rub his face all over Taylor's hand, wrist, and knee, purring like a storm in a tea cup.

"I think you just made a new friend," Kaylee murmured, keeping an eye on Clare as their toddler cooed in delight at being so close to the feline.

"He's a lot friendlier than Miranda's cat," Taylor said, more than a little startled to find Knip suddenly wanting to make friends. "Can Clare give him a piece?" he asked, not wanting to make the little creature sick.

Piper exchanged a glance with Des, smiling faintly. "One piece," she said, needing to keep the rules at least somewhat intact for the sake of Lyneth and Dylan. In her lap, Amelia was seriously considering a cheese covered mushroom, much to Loki's disgust.

"Go ahead, Clare," Taylor encouraged her, handing her a slice of pepperoni to hold out to Knip. "Just one piece," he added, echoing Piper.

Desmond smiled back at Piper, looking a little amused by this development.

Taking the piece in between her chubby fingers, Clare thrust it toward Knip hopefully. "Poo-pony, cat!" she declared happily, sending her mother into fits of giggles.

Knip dismissed the actual words to focus on the intention, delicately taking the meat offered to him between his sharp teeth, and climbing into Clare's lap to eat it. He didn't even seem to mind the unintentionally grabby hands on his fur.

Taylor wasn't sure how hygienic it was to have a cat and a dog in such close proximity while they were eating, but they were sitting on the floor, and neither Piper or Desmond seemed too concerned about it. "Looks like you made a new friend, Clare-bear," he told her.

"Pretty cat," Clare informed her father.

"Gently, rugrat," Kaylee warned her. "Don't pull his hair."

Instantly, the grabby hands softened, and Knip's purr came to the fore again. Across the room, feeling somewhat outdone by the cat that wasn't a cat, Loki heaved himself arthritically to his feet, and held up a paw, whining in an attempt to beg something off Des, who was closest.

Desmond frowned as he looked over at Loki and offered the old dog a bit of sausage. "It's okay, old man. We haven't forgotten about you," he assured the dog, a little sad to see the dog having difficulty getting around.

Mollified, Loki shifted about until he was sitting up but leaning against Piper's back, watching the group over her shoulder. She barely seemed to notice, so used to her dog's unthinking affection that she reached up to stroke his head without needing to consciously make the decision to do so.

Dylan blinked as he put his empty plate down. "I finished!"

"Good boy!" Desmond praised, hoping most of the pizza had gone in the boy's stomach and not on the floor or in Loki's mouth. Pizza was one meal they all seemed to agree on and had very little trouble getting the children to eat.

"Are you all full up?" Lyneth asked, beating Piper to it with a cheeky grin.

Dylan seemed to think about this for a moment. "I think I can eat ice cream," he said tentatively.

Piper grinned, tilting her head toward Des. "What do you think?"

"I think we should let our food settle for a little while first. What do you think?" he asked, turning the question back around on Piper. "We should probably clean one mess up first," he added.

"We'll do that," Kaylee offered, roping Taylor into her suggestion as well. "So long as you're okay keeping an eye on little miss crankypants here while we're tidying."

"Oh, she's not cranky," Desmond argued, with a smile at the little girl. "She hasn't pouted yet! Look how well she's getting on with Knip. That's an accomplishment in itself."

"Oh, she is cranky," Kaylee shared with a grin, somehow managing to lift both Clare and Knip over and into Des' lap for the time being. "An angel for her dad, though."

"When was she cranky?" Taylor asked, sincerely puzzled as Kaylee passed their daughter over to Des. "Be good. We'll be right back," he said, reaching over to tweak Clare's nose before moving to gather up the empty plates and glasses.

"How soon you forget the screaming that greeted you when you got home," Kaylee teased her husband fondly, helping him gather the plates and discarded pizza boxes.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Piper chuckled at their conversation, knowing a little of how that felt. Not that any of hers tried it on anymore, but they had done once, all of them.

"She wasn't screaming," Taylor argued. "She was just tired. Anyway, she's not screaming now," he pointed out with a grin as he followed her into the kitchen with an armful of dirty dishes.

"Well, no, now she's got her daddy close at hand, and a new feline friend keeping her warm for the time being," Kaylee pointed out, setting her armful of glasses on the kitchen counter before bending to stuff the pizza boxes into the recycling bin. "It's a shame we can't bring Sam over here, but he and Loki are like chalk and cheese."

"Are you sure it's Loki you're worried and not Knip?" Taylor asked, as he set the pile of dishes down near the sink and turned on the water. "Sam just wants Loki to play, that's all."

"Loki can barely move at more than a walk these days," Kaylee murmured, glancing furtively toward the living room. "It's killing Piper to see him like this. Pretty soon, she's going to have to make the decision between quality and quantity for him."

"I know," Taylor replied with a frown and a sigh. Maybe she'd get another dog, maybe even a puppy, but that dog wouldn't be Loki. "I'd probably feel the same about Sam," he said, though hopefully it would be some years before they had to face that decision.

"I can't imagine how it must feel." Kaylee sighed, leaning against the counter. "Loki's was with her through everything - getting jilted, getting pregnant, ending up in Rhy'Din, the whole shebang with Ollie, everything."

Taylor frowned, only knowing what Kaylee and Rufus had told him about Piper. "No one lives forever, Kay," he reminded her. Or at least, no one and nothing that was in any way shape or form mortal.

"I know." Kaylee smiled faintly. "I guess I'm more worried about her than the dog. But she's got Des, and the kids, now. She'll handle it."

"He's one of the family, but whenever you get a pet, you have to accept the fact that you will probably outlive them," Taylor said, tossing Kaylee a towel. "I'll wash, you dry."

"It's almost a bigger responsibility than having kids," she mused, catching the towel easily. "You expect to outlive and mourn your pets." She smiled again, shaking her head. "Look at me, all morbid. Must be tired."

"Tired?" Taylor echoed, looking puzzled. Kaylee was usually a whirlwind of energy. Why was she tired? His gaze took her in from head to toe, as if looking for some reason she might be tired. He was an EMT, after all. Not quite a doctor, but he knew enough to make a possible diagnosis. "You know, I almost told Knip that you're pregnant," he teased.

She raised a brow at him, her smile deepening. "I wonder if he can detect that, too?" she teased in return. "You never know, it would definitely be less fuss than taking a test."

Taylor paused in the middle of rinsing a dish to glare at her. "You aren't ... are you?" he asked, uncertainly. It had only been a stab in the dark, but it wasn't impossible.

Kaylee laughed gently. "It's a possibility," she admitted. "I am tired, but that could mean anything. It's not like we've been trying, or anything."

"Yeah, but ..." Taylor murmured, thoughtfully. "I thought you were using something," he confessed. It wasn't the end of the world if she was pregnant. It might be a little sooner than they'd been planning, but that was all.

"I am," she assured him. "But life finds a way, you know? If I am pregnant, that's not the end of the world. Is it?" Now she looked uncertain, her hands stilling for a moment as she met his gaze.

"No! Of course not!" he exclaimed, trying to look a little less shocked. "I just wasn't expecting it." He paused a moment as he finished rinsing that dish and set it in the strainer. "Do you really think you are?"

Looking a little relieved that he wasn't going to freak out on her, Kaylee shrugged. "I don't know," she admitted. "It hadn't even occurred to me until you mentioned it. I'm just tired - it could mean that I'm pregnant, or it could just be that I'm tired."

"Well, when was the last time you got your, you know?" he asked, not mentioning what it was he was referring to, though it seemed obvious enough.

"I'm late, but it's only a couple of days," she pointed out. "I'm not exactly predictable at the best of times." She tilted her head toward him. "Either I am or I'm not, and we're not going to discover that here and now tonight, are we? So don't worry about it."

"You don't really think Knip can tell, do you?" he asked, doubtfully, as he scrubbed another dish clean. There weren't all that many really, but it gave them a few minutes of privacy they otherwise wouldn't have had until they tucked Clare into bed.

"I have no idea," Kaylee told him in amusement. "Maybe he can. Animals have keener senses than humans, after all. But we are not asking a sort of cat, Tay. I'm not having that conversation in front of Lyneth."

"Fair enough," Taylor replied, falling silent a moment before going on. "Would you be upset if you were?" he asked curiously. Clare wasn't quite two years old yet, and they hadn't talked about the possibility of having another, but he had always assumed they'd have another child at some point.

"No." The answer came easily to Kaylee - she loved children, and the experience of becoming a mother herself had put the finishing touches to the healing that having Taylor in her life had brought with it. "I mean, it wouldn't exactly be convenient, but I can't say I'd be upset by it. What about you?"

"How could I be upset?" he said, smiling at the thought of it. "Even if you're not pregnant, I'd like us to have another child someday," he admitted, though he wasn't sure just how many he wanted in total.

"So would I." She leaned into his back, kissing his cheek affectionately. "But if I'm not, then I wouldn't mind waiting until Clare's verbal."

"That shouldn't be too much longer," Taylor admitted with a smile, both at the thought of that and at her kiss. "So, about a year maybe?" he asked.

"About that, yeah." She grinned, kissing his shoulder as she pulled back. "Think they've had a long enough gap between dinner and ice cream yet?"

"Think they might be sleeping?" he countered, mirroring her grin. It was unlikely anyone would fall asleep before the promised treat of ice cream.

"If they are, it'll be a miracle," Kaylee giggled, rolling her eyes at her husband. "This was a good idea. Thank you."

"Pizza or the dishes?" Taylor teased, finishing up the last dish and pulling the drain plug out of the sink. He knew what she meant, but couldn't help teasing her. His smiles came more easily and often since he'd married her.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She laughed, poking his back with one hand as she took the last plate from him. "You know what I mean, you big numpty," she accused fondly.

"Numpty?" he echoed, chuckling, eyes bright with amusement. "What the heck is a numpty?" He grabbed another towel to dry his hands, as she finished up with the last pate.

She made an indelicate noise. "Like I know that," was her response. "It sounded about right, that's all." She stuck her tongue out at him, turning away to set the plate in the cupboard with its fellows.

Almost as soon as she turned around, she'd find his arms around her waist, his lips nuzzled her neck. If they tarried any longer, Des and Piper might wonder what was going on in the kitchen.

Kaylee giggled again as she leaned back into him. "So the thought of maybe being pregnant gets you all stoked up, huh?" she teased, tilting her head back to look at him.

"It doesn't hurt to practice," he insisted, his lips still touching kisses to the back of her neck. It looked like if he had his way, they might be practicing later that night.

"Honing those skills, huh?" she murmured, drawing her fingers through his hair, quite happy to be nibbled and nuzzled.

A small voice interrupted them. "Why's you eatin' Kaylee's neck, Taylor?" Dylan asked from the doorway.

Taylor smirked at the sound of Dylan's voice. "Not eating, Dyl. Just kissing. You know, like your Dad kisses your Mom," he explained without explaining.

The little boy pulled a face. "Ugh," was his succinct response. "Mummy says the ice cream's in the freezer, and I can help with bowls and stuff."

Kaylee chuckled, gently easing out of Taylor's arms. "Well, go to it then, little man. You know where everything is."

"Would you like us to scoop?" Taylor asking as he reluctantly unwound himself from Kaylee. Though the little boy seemed determined, Taylor assumed he would need help.

Dylan nodded, pulling open the freezer to excavate a tub of caramel and chocolate ice cream from the depths. There was a clink on the counter, where suddenly bowls, spoons, and the scoop were in evidence in a place that had been totally clear before.

Kaylee bit her own tongue hastily. "It's always so hard not to say ... well, be grateful," she said, hoping Taylor would keep his tongue, too. Oisin was a very grumpy brownie.

Taylor arched a brow, having completely forgotten all about the grumpy brownie. After all, it wasn't like you actually saw him about doing the work all that much. Very quietly, he whispered aside to Kaylee, "Tell me why we bothered doing the dishes ... And how long as he been listening?"

She shrugged a little helplessly. "Maybe he likes watching humans do some work now and then?" she suggested. "And I have no idea ... all the time, probably. Brownies don't pass on what they hear unless they have permission, though. That's how the kids at the Storm house manage to keep secrets from their parents with Donnan rushing everywhere to tidy up after them."

"Wait ... the Storms have a house brownie, too?" Taylor asked, a little incredulously. That explained a lot. "And here, I thought Liv was Supermom," he said with a chuckle. "How did they end up with him?" he asked, waiting to see if Dylan needed help scooping.

While they were talking, Dylan had pulled a short step out from under the kitchen table, and was in the process of clambering up onto it.

"Apparently Donnan was in Imp's, and decided to go home with Fliss a couple of years ago," Kaylee told Taylor, watching the little boy struggle with the lid of the tub.

Taylor leaned over to help Dylan with the lid, so subtly the little boy probably hardly noticed. "He decided?" he echoed, trying to sort that out in his head. "Are you saying he hitchhiked a ride to Maple Grove?"

"Dropped into her bag in Imp's, no one noticed," Kaylee said in amusement. "Introduced himself to Liv when he arrived. Apparently it took a few weeks for anyone else in the house to realize he was there."

Dylan offered Taylor a grateful grin, took up the scoop, and whined when he didn't even manage to make a mark in the top of the ice cream. He sighed. "Okay," the little boy mourned. "You can do it."

"You hold the bowl while I scoop, okay?" Taylor suggested, hoping the little boy would still feel useful. "So, why'd he choose Fliss? Was there something about her that made her stand out?" he asked, curiously. He didn't think they needed a brownie to help with chores, but he was interested all the same. After all, he wasn't a Rhy'Din native, and some of what went on here still surprised him.

Dylen nodded, clamping both hands firmly around the first of the bowls as he watched the scoop go in. Kaylee chuckled, leaning her hip against the counter.

"I have no idea," she admitted. "Seems like he just took a shine to her. Johnny said she and Lucas were walking about home and the kids - I guess a brownie knows where it'll be needed and appreciated without being insulted?"

"Was this when they got the dragon?" Taylor asked, as he dropped a couple of scoops of ice cream into the first bowl. He had heard some of the stories about the various inhabitants of Maple Grove, but there was always another story or five that was knew to him.

"Far as I know, yeah." There was a rattle as Dylan pushed the first bowl away and claimed another one for Taylor. "Liv's version is that Donnan heard them talking about getting a dragon egg for Alex, and dropped it into her bag when they weren't looking." Kaylee shrugged again. "Who knows what really happened?"

"So, they came home with a dragon egg and a little bonus," Taylor deduced, scooping up more ice cream and dropping them onto the bowls almost as quickly as Dylan could produce them for him. "Might have been easier adopting a puppy," he said with a smirk, having seen first hand how big that particular dragon had grown and was still growing.

"Lir's a nice dragon," Dylan volunteered. "He does not et people, only fishies."

Kaylee smiled, gently ruffling the boy's hair. "That is very true," she agreed. "And he doesn't breathe fire or dribble everywhere anymore, either."
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Dribble?" Taylor echoed, puzzled again. He knew Lir wasn't a fire breather; that much was obvious, or half of Maple Grove might have been burned down by now. "He's a water dragon, isn't he?" he asked, unsure what that meant exactly.

Dylan nodded again, grinning. "When he was ickle, Alex says he dribbled everywhere and everything was always wet!" he declared cheerfully. "Only now he's not ickle anymore, and he doesn't do that. And he's too big to come in the house, too."

Taylor considered that a moment as he finished distributing ice cream scoops. "Just how big is he going to get?" he asked of either Dylan or Kaylee or both. How were they going to manage keeping a full-size adult dragon a pet on the grounds of Maple Grove?

"I think they only expecting him to grow a little bigger," Kaylee mused, absently catching the bowl that scudded out of Dylan's hand and sliding it back to him. "Like, the size of a cottage, that sort of thing."

"A cottage?!" Taylor echoed, with a hint of alarm. "Is that all?" he asked, though he was relieved to know that Lir was a "friendly dragon".

"Well, that's less than half the size of some of the wild ones," Kaylee pointed out. "Quite small for a dragon, really."

Dylan snickered. "He's Alex's dragon," he offered. "They talk without making noises."

"Talk?" Taylor echoed, furrowing his brows curiously. He took up two bowls, waiting for Kaylee and Dylan to do the same. "Alex understands dragon?"

Dylan nodded, then looked confused. "Well ... sort of?" he suggested. "It's not like they talking, they just ... know."

Kaylee smiled, pulling out a tray to set the bowls on - eight bowls between three people was a bit of a stretch with just hands to carry them.

"So, dragons are telepathic?" Taylor guessed, unsure if anyone else could "hear" Lir when he spoke. Either that, or Alex was; he wasn't sure which, though he had heard that the Storm children possessed some unusual abilities.

"I think it's more likely that Alex is," Kaylee pointed out. "Dyl, why don't you get the spoons for us?" There was a scraping noise as Dylan obediently pulled his step out of the way and grabbed a handful of cutlery from the counter.

"I see," Taylor remarked as Dylan fetched the spoons. It seemed he still had a lot of catching up to do with Kaylee's family and the others who called Maple Grove home.

Kaylee grinned, gently touching his cheek for a moment before taking up the tray. "There's always a lot going on in this family," she reminded him. "No one knows everything."

One would think he'd know everything, considering he was related to Miranda through Rufus, but he didn't pay as much attention to gossip as his uncle's wife did. "You certainly have an interesting family," he admitted, grinning.

"You'll never be bored, baby," she promised. "C'mon, or there might be a mutiny in there if the ice cream melts before we produce it."

"Probably led by Lyneth," Taylor added with a smirk. There were still things he didn't know or understand about her family, but he was learning. And the best thing of all was the fact that her family had welcomed him and accepted him as one of their own.

And why shouldn't they? The Grangers might be Rhy'Din natives, and among the elite, but they had a collective heart as big as the city itself. They never turned anyone away, if they could possibly help it. That was what it meant, to be a Granger of Maple Grove. And that was what it meant to be part of a family.
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