Abby Lincoln was lying in her bed in the Kids Next Door Tree house. She had been taken off of active duty since the fight with Father to recover from her injuries. That had been just over a week ago. Numbuh Five was feeling tip-top shape, though her voice was still a little scratchy when she spoke. One of the rare times being "The Quiet One" was useful in everyday life.

Still, she was bored out of her mind. The others had gone on a mission sent up from Moon base HQ, and Five had been left behind. The first few days she had sort of gone against orders and actually done some of the "desk work" that had been piling up, just so she could be doing something helpful. But now that was all done and she didn't know what to do.

She got out of bed and walked to her window, looking down the lane to the now empty mansion that stood there. Immediately after the battle at the courthouse, Kids Next Door operatives had taken Farrah and the Delightful Children into custody before adult authorities could sort everything out. Numbuh One had assured Numbuh Five that they weren't in any trouble and were entering the KND equivalent to the adult Witness Protection Program.

But Numbuh Five hadn't heard from any of them for the past week. She had started to worry. Being cooped up with little to do certainly hadn't helped her fears much either. She checked her mail, both at home and at the tree house, regularly, hoping for something. She walked to the debriefing room, and upon her arrival checked a small box mail for the Kids Next Door typically arrived in. To her surprise, she actually found a letter inside. She took a look and couldn't believe what she saw.

From: Abigail

To: Numbuh Five (Abby)

Mail from Abigail. Five immediately tore it open and read the letter inside, the proper looking writing confirmed it was Abigail.

Dear Abby,

I'm sorry it took so long to write to you. But we've been getting settled into our new arrangements. Your fellow Kids Next Door were amazingly adept at securing the essentials we needed. They found a good location for us to live and managed to secure some money from Father's bank accounts for us to live off of. It is a small town, and the house isn't very large. Especially when compared to Father's mansion. But it's very nice all the same. Brianna and I share a room while Cade, Ethan, and Dylan have one of their own. Mother enrolled us in a school where she managed to employ herself as a teacher.

My siblings realized very quickly that our mother was nothing like the person Father described her to be. She has been able to manage all the affairs of our home with seeming ease. She has been surprisingly patient with some of, what others may call, "quirks." She's even allowed us our toenail collection, though I believe she's a bit, I believe the phrase is, "grossed out" by it. She's still having trouble comprehending the existence of groups like the Kids Next Door and adults such as Father. She's said she wouldn't have believed any of it if she hadn't seen it for herself.

It hasn't been perfect. With Father's influence gone from us, we are not as agreeable towards each other as we always were. Arguments are somewhat frequent between us. Usually just little squabbles over nothing. I'm not proud of it, but I actually started arguing with Ethan when he took up some of my space on the couch. Mother's usually quick to stop things before they escalate too far. She usually laughs it off, telling us that we're just "learning to be ourselves." I think she means we're starting to develop our own preferences and desires, and that the arguments are just our individual desires coming into conflict. We rarely speak all at once like we once did. When we do, we positively never say the same thing.

This newfound independence has occasionally gotten us into trouble. Mother's punishments are hardly the level of Father's, but she can be a bit harsh when need be. In one case, Dylan (Numbuh Five had to remind herself that was Dome) actually put a hole in a wall after Cade dared him to see if his helmet could do just that. Dylan won the challenge, but Mother revoked his allowance (we get allowances now) until the hole was repaired. Cade's as well, since he gave Dylan the idea in the first place. She even had them assist the workers who did the repairs, claiming they should take responsibility for their actions.

In another instance, Brianna and I snuck into Mother's bedroom and tried putting on her make-up. We weren't very adept at it. I think we actually looked quite comical because when Mother walked in on us she laughed for about a full minute before finally sending us to our room. The boys still love teasing us about it. Though they usually quiet down after we ask how our wall is coming.

All and all, we really only agree on one thing nowadays. The life we have now as infinitely better than our life with our Father. And we owe it all to you and your friend, Abby.

Numbuh Five noticed, at the bottom of the letter, six signatures, all in different handwriting.

Thank you, Numbuh Five.

Abigail, Brianna, Cade, Dylan, Ethan, and Farrah

P.S. You were right before, ice cream is much better without sprinkles.

Abby noticed that "sprinkles" was written next to the word "Jimmies", which had been crossed out.

Numbuh Five then noticed, in the envelope, there was a photograph inside. It was a family portrait, of Farrah and the Delightful Children. Unlike most such portraits, the family wasn't wearing fancy dress clothes. Abby guessed that the Delightfuls had had enough of that style for a long time. Instead, all six of the people in the photo were dressed in casual looking clothes. The girls in what looked like simple sundresses while the boys wore t-shirts and jeans (though one of them, Cade, was wearing shorts).

Abby couldn't help but smile when she saw the smiles on the other kids' faces. Since the KND organization was making sure they remained, for the most part, hidden, she wasn't sure when she'd see Abigail, or any of them again. But Abby knew she could rest easy, knowing they were all okay. Father wouldn't be able to come for them again.


He had to admit... he hadn't expected this from children.

The man who was once the father of the Delightful Children from Down the Lane sat in a small chamber specially built for his imprisonment. It was mostly airtight, save for a few vents that pumped a limited amount of oxygen into the chamber. Just enough so he could breathe, but he didn't dare light his flames, since they would feed off the little oxygen in the chamber and suffocate him before he could do anything else.

Father had realized the intent of the Kids Next Door the instant he had been informed his parental rights had been revoked. He had to give them credit. It was ingenious... he had underestimated what they were capable of, and he had paid the price.

He would not do so again, however. He would find a way out of this near air-tight prison. And when he did, the Kids Next Door would regret their interference in his affairs.

Especially Abigail Lincoln... yes, she will wish she had never gotten between him and his.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: In case nobody noticed, there's a pun hidden in the names I gave Farrah and the Delightful Children in this story. Look closely at the letter's signature and think about the fact that, had I needed a name for him, I had intended to call Father "Gabriel."