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Meeting the Parents - Khansolidated

Posted on 26 Apr 2017 @ 1:07am by Ensign Kelly Khan & Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Ensign Quinn Mackie

Mission: Shore Leave
Location: Khan Home, Bend, Oregon, Earth
Timeline: September 2388

Kelly stepped off the public transporter pad and nearly staggered under the weight of the bags in her hands. She had gone on a major shopping trip before the trip home and ended up buying so much chocolate and new clothes that she could barely walk without being bowed under the weight. Not that she carried everything with her, though. Some things she had ordered to be sent to Utopia Planetia to a storage locker and had made sure that everything would fit the weight allowance with what she had now.

She looked over at Quinn and gave him a bright smile and looked over his new haircut. "You're a bold man, Tiger," she said. "I really like the new look, even if you were drunk when you let me do it." She giggled and leaned over to kiss his cheeks. "Just know that I would love you even if you didn't get it cut. Are you ready to meet my Papa, Mom and siblings?"

Quinn ran his hand threw his hair for the thousand time that day. It hadn't been too long since he had it cut, in fact, he rather liked it. Still, it felt rather different, and it would take a bit for him to get used to it. "If they're anything like you and Mack, then I certainly have a lot to worry about," he joked, hoping it would alleviate any pressure she might be feeling. To tell the truth, he was scared beyond belief. He liked to get along with everyone, but these people weren't just anyone. They were the ones most important to Kelly, and it would be extremely important that he impressed them.

"Oh, I dance to the beat of an electric kazoo," Kelly assured him. "They're saner than emu on hallucinogenics and more terrifying than your average Nausicaan with a toothache in one of their front fangs." She stopped when she saw the look on his face and gave him a hip bump since her hands were full. "Seriously though, Tiger, they'll like you and be proud that I didn't end up with douchebag who doesn't treat me right. That's what they consider to be more important."

"Please tell me you haven't been down that road," Quinn pressed, using his free hand to reach for a handful of what she was carrying. He couldn't carry it all, but it wasn't right for her to have everything in her grip. "Coming home with a douchebag, that is." Knowing a bit of Kelly's past, he somehow saw that as a possibility.

"No, but I have made done some really stupid things in the past," she said as she let him carry one of the bags that weighed around twenty pounds. "But that's in the past and it wasn't related to my dating life. I didn't really start dating, dating until I was at the Academy, then I got too busy to do more than hang out most of the time or study. Still, I have met one or two douchebags who had to be sent packing. What about you?"

Quinn shook his head as he shifted the new weight in his hands. "I can't say the same. I mean, there were attractive girls in high school and the Academy, but my mind was always too tied up in a textbook or a project. I just figured I'd figure this all out when I was settled in my career. This is one case where I'm glad a plan didn't come together." He shifted the bags again. "You got enough chocolate to feed an army, Kelly."

"You mean...." Kelly's mind raced ahead of the question she started to ask and realized that she should have known, but she was so a go-getter that most people got plowed under in her headlong race. She turned to give him a kiss and smiled. "Either way, I'm glad that I'm with you. You're an amazing man and I love you. As for enough chocolate to feed an army, you've never seen me get depressed. I could drown armies in chocolate."

She paused as she saw a hover taxi and threw one arm out. " the name of love!"

Quinn nearly freaked out as the hover taxi screeched to a halt, nearly bouncing up over the sidewalk and hitting the both of them. "Are all the drivers this crazy?" he mumbled, figuring the maneuver was expertly executed when he saw the older man behind the wheel.

"Woah!" Kelly said as she jumped back and then peered at the driver through the window and gave him an address. "How soon can you get us there?" she asked him as she opened a door and started putting her bags in the back and climbed in so Quinn could have the window seat.

The driver turned around to them and shared one of the creepiest smiles Quinn had ever seen in his life. In fact, one half of Quinn wished he had a phaser to defend himself if the event the driver took them to some shady part of town. The other part of him wanted to get out of the cab right now.

"Of course," replied the driver with his crooked sneer. Before Quinn could otherwise react, the driver turned back towards the front, shifted into gear and took off into traffic.

For a moment, Kelly thought she saw stars shooting past as if they had entered warp and found herself pressed back against the seat. "Maybe I should have phrased that differently," she told Quinn as the buildings whipped past. Ahead of them in the distance were the Three Sisters mountain range and she smiled as she pointed them out. "I spent a lot of my youth in those mountains," she told him. "If we have time, we might be able to go camping."

Camping! shouted Quinn's mind. Something had been pulling on the back of his mind since he won the motherload while at Vegas and that was it! He'd lost much of his camping gear when the Black Hawk went down and his trunk was shattered and the innards went everywhere. Only a couple items, including a multi-tool his father passed down to him from his father's father, were salvageable. "I hope so," Quinn remarked. He needed to at least hit a store and replace some of his essential items.

It was a short trip before the cabbie pulled up to a house that looked like a two story cabin which was built to modern standards nestled behind some trees, a large green lawn and a short driveway. "That'll be ten credits," he said as he turned to give them his crooked sneer again.

Kelly reached to press her thumb against the grimy looking battered PADD to transfer the credits to him, adding five more credits for a tip and made a discreet motion for Quinn to get out as quickly as possible before the cab went to warp again. "Thank you so much," she said as she began to gather up her bags.

Quinn helped gather the bags, even going so far as picking up a few more she'd been carrying prior to the taxi ride in addition to the ones he'd been carrying already. Of course, just as soon as Kelly thanked the taxi driver, he took off, looking for the next fare. He looked up, enjoying the view. "Now this is a place I like," he told Kelly. "Your parents have good taste."

"Thanks," she said as she swallowed and wondered how her parents and siblings would take to him before she took his hand and went up to the door. She set one of the bags down and entered her personal code and the door opened to reveal a foyer which led into a large living room filled with comfortable looking earth-toned furniture; couches, chairs, and a coffee table which all looked to be made of the same type of wood. "Papa! Mom! I'm home!" she called out as she led him inside.

A well muscled man who stood about 6'2" tall with brown hair and brown eyes and looked as if he had spent much of his time in the sun came out and smiled from ear to ear when he saw her. "Kelly!" he exclaimed as he went over to scoop her up in a big hug. "You should have called. I would have came to pick you up. Victory! Kelly's home!" He looked over at Quinn and raised an eyebrow as he set her down. "Who's your friend?"

"It's really good to see you, Papa! This is Quinn Mackie," Kelly said after she returned the hug and was set back on the floor. "He's my boyfriend. We went to Academy together, but I didn't really meet him until we served together on the Black Hawk. Quinn, this is my Papa, Streeh Khan," she said to introduce them.

Quinn's eyes grew to an enormous size when he saw Kelly's father. He'd expected the man to be around Kelly's height, not a mammoth! "G... Good to meet you, sir," he said, setting down the bags he carried and extended a hand for shaking.

"Pleased to meet you as well, Mister Mackie," Streeh said as he returned the handshake firmly, but without trying to crush his hand.

Victory quickly made her way out the front door and lit up when she saw her daughter standing there. "Kelly! Oh, I missed you!" She said as she rushed toward her little girl and wrapped her arms around her. "Let me look at you!" Though, she didn't make any move to actually do that. "Have you been taking care of yourself? Are you eating right? Will you be staying for a while? I'm so proud of you!"

Yes, the blonde haired woman sounded a lot like an auctioneer as she spoke, barely taking a breath between sentences. She finally allowed herself to breathe as her eyes fell on Quinn. "Who do we have here?"

Kelly hugged her mom back and smiled. "I missed you, too. I have been and I'm here for about the next month until I get another assignment," she told her. "And as I just told Papa, this is my boyfriend Quinn Mackie. We met on the Black Hawk but went to the Academy at the same time. Quinn, this is my Mom, Victory Khan."

"Victory?" Quinn asked, smiling at Kelly's mother. That was certainly never a name he'd heard before, but the universe was always full of surprises. "Nice to meet you too, ma'am. Kelly's told me a lot about you all."

"I'm glad you're going to be home for a while," the tall blonde said, taking a step back to look at her daughter for a few more seconds before turning her attention to Quinn. She offered him a smile as she moved in to hug him. She was more of a hugger than a handshaker. "It's nice to meet you, Quinn, and please call me Victory. Ma'am and Mrs. Khan are far too formal."

"I'll let your brothers and sisters know you're here," Streeh said with a smile. "They're going to be very excited." He headed out of the room to do what he said.

"Don't try to steal my boyfriend, Mom," Kelly joked as she winked at Quinn. "Okay, Papa!"

Victory laughed. "It's not me you have to worry about, sweetheart. It's your grandmother."

"Grandmother?" Quinn echoed, looking at Kelly. He'd once thought she possessed some Klingon genetics, having put so much of that steak away the other day. That had certainly been disproved, but just seeing three members of her family so far told him that she came from rather excellent stock.

"Yes," Kelly said. "Zanana is a hottie for her age. She would like a nice young man like you for a snack." She delivered in such a matter-of-fact way that it was entirely possible that she had actually seen it happen in the past. "But she loves me, so I doubt she'd do it to me. Then again, I haven't seen her in a while, so she may hold a grudge."

He followed the family inside. At some point, the bags he'd carried had disappeared. Quinn was unsure if he'd set them in a place away from the door or if they were snatched from his hands when he wasn't paying attention. Either way, aside from a personal duffel, the rest of the stuff was Kelly's, so he was certain he'd see them again.

Streeh came out a moment later with fresh fruit juice for everyone. "Please, have a seat," he said. "You've both travelled a long way to get here and I won't be known for my lack of hospitality."

A little girl with red hair and the brightest blue eyes came barreling into the living room. She squealed in delight when she spotted her older her sister. "Kel! Kel!" But the little girl who couldn't be any older than three spotted Quinn and came to a screening halt in her way to her sister. Lea eyed him for a moment before she threw her arms into the air. "Up!"

Quinn chuckled, immediately reaching down to pick up the little one as he hadn't yet sat. "You must be Lea," he said, shifting her to sit on his hip.

"Yesh," the little girl said as she locked big blue eyes in him. Such sweetness. Such innocence. "You be muh boyfran now, kay?"

Victory covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. So, maybe her mother wasn't the one Kelly needed to worry about. "I'm going to get us some drinks. I'll be right back," she said, knowing if she tried to take Lea with her the little girl would have a meltdown.

Kelly giggled. "She's so adorkable!" she said, but she knew if she weren't careful that her baby sister would try to make good on her declaration. "I got some chocolate for you, Lea. Would you like to trade Quinn for chocolate from another world?"

Streeh headed after his wife laughing. "That girl...." he said something more as they rounded the corner to the kitchen, but it wasn't audible.

"No," Lea said, giving her older sister a toothy grin.

"I like this," Quinn remarked. "Somewhere in this universe, I am indeed more valuable than chocolate! Lea, I'd be happy to be your friend."

Lea lit up like a little Christmas tree and pressed a kiss to Quinn's cheek. She looked over to her older sister. "Him is more val... valbable..." Her little brows furrowed as she tried to say the big word... at least to a three year old. "Mine."

"Val-you-bull," Kelly sounded the word out as she tried not to giggle. "And yes, he is is better than chocolate," she agreed with her little sister. She reached into one of the bags she had with her and pulled out a collection of toy bobble head dolls she had found and offered them to her. "This is the famous crew of the Enterprise."

"Mine?" The little redhead asked, looking at the bobble heads with quite a bit of interest. She even went so far as to reach out to touch Captain Picard and make his head wobble, which made her giggle like crazy.

Kelly smiled. "All yours if I can have Quinn back for a little bit, sweetheart," she promised her baby sister. "Forever and ever."

Quinn had had more than enough firsts in his time spent with Kelly. Having to be subjected to a negotiation between Kelly and her half-sister was not something he'd dreamed of. All this did was make him fear what was coming with her grandmother.

"No, tanks," Lea said, wrapping her arms around Quinn's neck. "Lea gets him now."

Kelly gave Lea a look that said she'd deal with her later. "Let's go sit on the couch, Quinn," she said as she headed over to sit down and picked up a drink. "The leech will fall asleep sooner or later and you'll be free." Of course, she said leech with much affection for her little sister, but that didn't change the fact that Lea was clinging to him like a leech.

Victory walked in just in time to hear her older daughter call her younger one a leech. She set a tray of snacks on the coffee table, then moved over to try to take Lea from Quinn. "I'm sorry, Quinn. I didn't realize she was being such a bother. I'll keep her occupied so she won't bother either of you. Come on, sweetie. I can use some help in the kitchen," she said, holding her arms out.

"She's no bother," Quinn admitted. In fact, he was quite enamored with the cute kid. "So, tell me, Lea. Why is your sister Kelly so cool?"

Lea looked to Kelly, the back to Quinn. "Her fwies da big ships. Dis big!" She held her little arms as far apart as she could possibly get them, which wasn't wide at all.

"Only part time, Princess," Kelly said with a smile. "I fly it at night, but I did have command of a ship for a short time."

"She really did," Quinn confirmed to Lea. "It was a ship twice that size, too!"

Lea's eyes grew huge. "Weally?"

The front door opened and a redhead walked through the door. She was just about to set her things down when she spotted her granddaughter settled on the couch. "Kelly?" She asked, then realization hit. "Kelly!" She rushed the couch with her arms open, dropping her things right on the floor.

"Zanana!" Kelly squeaked when the redheaded woman came in. She launched from the couch as if she had warp nacelles and wrapped her arms around the older woman. "Did you get my letters? How's Big Papa? Did Zander get the gifts I sent?"

Zan wrapped her arms around Kelly with a grin. The young woman would never grow out of being hyper. "Yes, I got your letters. You grandfather is fine, and Zander did get his gifts. He loved them," she replied, spotting Quinn on the couch. "Now... who is this handsome young man holding my youngest granddaughter?"

Kelly smiled and stepped back after the hug and gave Quinn a loving smile. "This is my boyfriend, Quinn Mackie," she said. "I met him on the Black Hawk and he stole my heart, Nana. Quinn, this is my Nana, Zan Devereaux."

"Quinn Mackie, is it?" Zan asked, moving over to the young man to extend a hand in his direction. "If only I were thirty years younger, unmarried, and you weren't with my granddaughter. Well... the thirty years younger thing isn't a huge deal. I've still got it after all these years."

"It is, ma'am," he said with a smile. Quinn would always be the proper one until told otherwise. After all, seeing how friendly and loving the family was, he had to make a positive impression. It was certainly not lost on him how well the Khan family genes held up over the generations. That was certainly remarkable.

"Call me, Zan, sweetheart. Tell me a little bit about yourself," the older woman said, settling down on an over stuffed chair and crossed her long legs. "How long have you two known one another?"

Streeh entered a minute later to hear part of the conversation, a tray of finger food in his hand for them. "Something to hold you over until dinner is made," he said before he took a seat and looked at Quinn. "That's a good question," he said.

Kelly winced but reached for one of the sliced sandwich halves in order to keep from blurting out whatever bypassed her brain and filled her mouth with a big bite. She hoped that Zanana and her Papa wouldn't slow roast him, but she had faith in them and in Quinn's ability to be sweet.

Quinn wasn't sure which inquiry was best to answer first. Deciding to take a linear approach, he began, "Well, like your daughter, I just graduated from Starfleet Academy with focuses in Shipboard Operations and Systems Engineering. Before that, I grew up in middle America where the outdoors and I were best friends. I guess I just like to explore and tinker with things."

Looking over to Kelly, he reached over and placed a hand over hers. "Kelly and I met aboard the USS Black Hawk during our senior cruises. We basically hit it off and we've been nearly inseparable ever since."

"You weren't part of the Conga incident were you?" Streeh asked as he looked at Quinn with his deep brown eyes.

"Papa!" Kelly exclaimed and blushed as she took his hand. "That wasn't my fault and no, he wasn't. He was studying in a lab while I was the one being stupid."

Quinn flashed Kelly a surprise look before looking back to the family. "She's right. As part of our Engineering training, we constantly had to be working on projects and research and the like."

"Ah, yes... the Conga incident," Zan said, turning her attention to Kelly just before she looked back to Quinn. "So, to hear Kelly tell it, you were studying while that was going on. If that's the case, it seems as though you're quite career oriented. That being said... what are your plans for my granddaughter?"

Quinn blinked. He should have assumed that he would have been asked that question, though he was largely unprepared for this. "Well... uh... I... I-I-I do love Kelly. She's sweet, and wonderful, and bold. Certainly bold. We've decided to serve together as much as possible. I'm not looking to become a captain, or really have much of a five-year plan. I like what I do, and I hope to have fun doing it as much as possible, with Kelly at my side." He took a moment, and then added in a nervous tone, "Hopefully."

"Does that mean you want to marry her?" Streeh asked with an amused gleam in his eyes at the young man's nervousness despite the glare that shot from Kelly's eyes. He held up a hand to forestall her protest and gave a grin. "Not that I'm pressing you to get married, Quinn. That is, unless that was your way of asking for permission to marry her."

Was this a test? thought Quinn. He was barely twenty-one, and while he was open... well, rather excited... to spend the rest of his like with Kelly, marriage was not something he'd directly thought about. "R-R-Respectfully, sir, Mister Khan, when that time comes, I would hope to get your permission."

"Mom, honey... leave the poor thing alone. Let them enjoy the fact they're recent Starfleet graduates and enjoy being young and in love," Victory said, giving her mother and husband both a look.

"What Mom said!" Kelly said quickly as she gave Quinn's hand a squeeze so he didn't spontaneously transport without using a transporter. "We have years ahead of us."

Streeh held his hands up. "I'm sorry, Quinn," he said. "I didn't mean to make you nervous. I think you're a good balance to my daughter. "

With the possibility of a spontaneous transport averted, Quinn did his best to relax a bit. "Thank you," he said, recalling that Kelly had a habit of keeping in contact with her family. Surely they knew far more about him that he knew about them, keeping him at an unfortunate disadvantage. It was one that he could certainly live with.

"So, why don't we go about this a bit differently?" Victory suggested as she settled down on her husband's lap. She didn't want Kelly or Quinn to regret coming to see them on their shore leave, and if that meant thinking outside of the box, then that's what they were going to do. "Quinn... why don't you ask us some questions?"

Streeh took a sip of his drink and reached for one of the small sandwiches. "It's only fair," he agreed with his wife. "Ask away."

Quinn took a deep breath. He had expected to be interrogated, but to have the tables turned hadn't been on his radar. "Okay. Well. I've heard a lot about the both of you, but not what you've done for a living. How long have you been in Oregon?"

Streeh thought for a moment. "About fourteen years," he said finally. "Kelly was eight when we moved here. That's when I met her mother." He gave Victory a fond look before looking back at Quinn. "I run a small bakery making confections and have a packaged line of cake mixes as well."

"I haven't been in Oregon quite as long as Streeh has been. As a matter of fact, it was Kelly who got me back here after I visited for a couple weeks. Things didn't go quite how I hoped, so I left to go back to Boston where I'm from originally," Victory answered honestly. "As for what I do, I'm the CEO of a cruise company. We offer cruises just outside of the Earth's atmosphere." And now it was revealed that Kelly came from a family with money... or whatever the equivalent was.

"Oh?" Quinn asked Victory. "Which one is it? Sol Cruise lines? My family took a trip out to Neptune just before I graduated for High School. That was a fun ride."

Victory smiled. "That would be the one. I'll tell you what. You and your family get to enjoy it for free from now on. Just get in touch with me ahead of time."

He couldn't take her up on that offer, at least not now. He didn't want to make it seem like he was the type who took advantage of connections. Still, he politely nodded. "Well, there's certainly no question that you love your daughter, or that you have a close family. I just hope I can be half as good to your daughter as you all were. Are."

"I was a brat when Mom and Papa first started dating," Kelly admitted. "I did everything in my power to break them up and then it happened. Mom went back to Boston and then I saw how lonely Papa was. It took a lot of growing up to call her and convince her to come back, but I'm glad she did. A few years later, they were married and she adopted me as well." She gave her Mom a loving look, then reached into a bag to pull out something wrapped in silver paper to hand to Victory. She reached in again to pull out another package wrapped in gold paper to hand to her Papa. "For the two best parents someone could hope to have."

"Sweetie, you didn't have to get me anything," Victory said as she accepted the silver wrapped package to open. While she did that, she looked toward Quinn and smiled. "I don't doubt you love Kelly, and it's because of that you won't get the third degree from me."

Zan grinned. "That's what I'm here for."

Streeh accepted his and opened it as well to reveal a Kingon D'k tagh blade in a leather sheath. "This is beautiful, Kelly," he said as he took it out carefully. "Thank you."

Inside Victory's box was a M&M brownie layer cake in a box still.

Kelly beamed and pulled out a red wrapped box and handed it to her Nana. "I'm glad you like it," she said. "And something for you, Zanana," she said with a smile.

Inside Zan's box was a robe made of white Tholian Silk with gold piping and purple collar.

"Oh, honey, you know me so well," Victory said, fighting the urge to cut into her cake. Like her daughter, she had a very high appreciation for all things chocolate in nature. "Thank you, Kelly. This was very sweet of you."

Zan opened her box and pulled the robe out with a smile. "Kelly, this is beautiful. Thank you so much. Now I have something to wear when your grandfather minds me walking around the house naked."

Quinn blinked, not at all happy with the sudden image appeared in his mind.

"Zanana!" Kelly exclaimed, mortified that she would say that in front of her boyfriend. She glanced quickly at Quinn and tried to give him a reassuring grin. "She's kidding, Quinn," she said.

"Mom," Victory warned.

Zan waved a dismissive hand. For someone in their early fifties, she still had it and definitely was not ashamed of that. But, it was clear the young ones were uncomfortable. "Yes, Quinn, I was kidding, and I apologize immensely for that. Perhaps, in time, you will get used to my sense of humor, but until that day comes, I will make sure to keep it toned down for yours and Kelly's sakes."

"Thanks," Quinn remarked with a nervous chuckle. Boy, did the Khan family, much like their daughter, never cease to amaze him. "But it's all right. I can certainly see where Kelly gets her bold and zany nature."

Streeh laughed. "Are you hungry, Quinn or would you rather get settled in?" He looked at Kelly. "Your room is exactly how you left it."

Quinn, his stomach ready to growl, opened up his mouth to reply--

Kelly's eyes went wide and she bolted from the room and upstairs with a series of "Eeps, oh noes and crap's!" floating back behind her.

Quinn's gaze immediately followed Kelly as she launched up the staircase. "I think that was Warp Five right there," he remarked, even as his stomach growled. "I should probably settle in first. Get Kelly's stuff up to her room and what not." He had a feeling, nor was he planning to, stay in Kelly's room with her unless her parents suggested it. He planned to stay above reproach during this visit, even if that meant he had to sleep on the couch.

Streeh laughed before he got up and motioned for Quinn to follow him into another room. "Can I get a minute of your time, Quinn?" He asked politely. "She'll be back down in a minute, I'm sure."

"I'm going to finish up with dinner," Victory said, rising to her feet. "You aren't allergic to anything, are you, Quinn?"

So much for his nerves finally calming down. He nodded to Streeh as he rose from the couch. To Kelly's mother, he responded, "No ma'a... Victory. In fact, I eat just about anything." After that, he cautiously followed Streeh.

After Streeh led him into a backroom and gave Quinn a level look. "I'm a pretty blunt man, Quinn, but I'm also pretty easy going. I have one question for you. Are you and Kelly intimately involved and are you both taking contraceptives?"

His mouth moved a couple times, attempting to stammer, but nothing came out. Very quickly, he caught his composure and forced it to work for him. "Starfleet requires us to take contraceptives regularly, sir." Judging by the man's size, and the Klingon knife he was just given, Quinn thought it best to answer indirectly. Otherwise, a positive omission could not end well for him. Every father, especially in a family as close as Kelly's, was entitled to do what he must to protect his children.

"That answered half of my question," Streeh pointed out. "I won't bite you or stab you or skin you to make a funny hat, but if you're going to be under my roof while you're here, I do need an answer."

There would be no getting a hint of anything past this man, Quinn determined. "Yes, sir," he replied. "We have been. I'm also prepared to accept any arrangements you wish while we're here, even if that means I need to get a hotel. I have every respect for you and your family and I don't want to cause stress while I'm here."

Streeh nodded, then reached out to clap a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you for being honest with me," he said. "I can appreciate honesty and I know my daughter does, too. You seem like you have a good head on your shoulders and an idea of where you want to go in life. Welcome to the family, Quinn and feel free to sleep in the room with Kelly. I know I can trust you both to be mature adults."

Quinn smiled. "Thank you, sir. I won't let you down."

"I'm not the one you don't let down, Quinn," Streeh said. "You know who that is. Now go unpack. Dinner will be ready soon."

In the kitchen, Victory worked on getting dinner done. Pot roast with roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and strawberry shortcake for afterward. She enlisted the help of her mom to help get the table set before the redheaded woman ducked out with the promise she would see Kelly and Quinn before they had to leave once again. "Lea... go tell everyone dinner in ready, please."

"'kay!" The little girl bellowed as she ran from the kitchen, keeping to the same tone as she took off around the house. "Ish nom time!"

Quinn looked at the little one and smiled. "I think unpacking can wait a bit. Want to help me get your sister?"

"Yes!" Lea shouted as she raised her arms to him. "Lea helps lots."

"Excellent!" Quinn said, a mischievous smile on his face. "Race you upstairs to get her?" Aside from wanting to see the little girl's excitement, Quinn had no idea where he was going upstairs, and the last thing he wanted to do would be walk into a room in which he did not belong.

Lea dropped her arms and gave a delighted little squeal as she took off for the stairs. There was enough energy in her to power a starship, something her mother wished she'd be able to bottle. "Lea will beated you!" she shouted as she took off upstairs as fast as she could without hurting herself.

He laughed, following her up the stairs. "Shout as you go! I don't think she'll hear you otherwise!"

"Sissy! Sissy! Sissy!" the little red haired girl bellowed as she climbed up each step. Oh, her older sister was going to want to muzzle her, but Lea had an ace up her sleeve. She'd bite her. "Lea is comin'!" And that announcement was so loud, the neighbors three streets over would have heard it.

In her room, Kelly frantically took down the second to last poster of Joel Cherno, the vectorboard champion and was looking for a place to put it when she heard the air raid siren of her little sister. "Crap!" she muttered as she shoved it in her closet and dove for the last one. Unfortunately, it was up a bit higher than she could reach and she scrambled onto the bed and stood up to begin taking it down. The rest of the room was relatively simple; a bed, a dresser with some knick knacks on it from places she'd been, a red and yellow oriental robe on the back of the door and a full size mirror at the end of the bed.

Somehow, Quinn and Lea made it to the room at the same time, and it was just as Kelly seemed to be doing something to her ceiling. "Kelly?" he asked before Lea could loudly announce again that dinner was ready.

She spun around and lost her balance, the last poster in her hand and tumbled down onto her bed in a heap. She looked at him and Lea sheepishly and waved. "Uh....hi!" she said as she tried to shove the poster between her bed and wall.

"Hiding a childhood crush?" Quinn asked, taking every note of her action. And then, because he couldn't help it, he started to chuckle.

Lea ran into the bedroom and climbed onto the bed, which took a lot of concentration. So much, that her little tongue popped out of her mouth as she focused on her task. Once she was up, she gave a huge smile and dove for her older sister. "Sissy!"

Kelly blushed and started to say something before Lea climbed up on the bed and pounced on her. She hugged the little girl to her before she started to tickle her. "I got me a micro squirt!" she declared and motioned for Quinn to join her in the fun. Anything to get his mind off the poster he had obviously seen.

Quinn went for her feet, lighting brushing his fingertips around her ankles, a usual tickle spot for anyone. He had seen the poster, and planned to give Kelly a bit of grief for it later, playfully, of course.

Lea squealed and squirmed from the onslaught of tickles she was getting from two different directions. "Nooooo," she cried through her laughter, trying to get away from the two of them.

Kelly laughed and tickled her little sisters ribs before she pulled her shirt up enough to expose her belly, then blew a big wet raspberry on it. "That's for being cute!" she declared.

He withdrew his efforts to let them share a bit of sisterly love, but still smiled and chuckled at the two of them going at it. "Come on you two. Time to eat."

"You're right," Kelly said as she straightened Lea up and smiled. "Let's go, but're mine," she told her little sister before she helped her off the bed. "Shall we?"

"Nevah!" the little girl shouted. Lea bolted from the room and settled on the very top step before she rolled over onto her belly to slide down with a happy little squeal.

Kelly laughed and took Quinn's hand with a smile as she watched her little sister and headed after her. It was good to be home.


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