Disclaimer: Santa Claus didn't come through. I didn't find the ownership papers of 'Mutant X' under the Christmas tree, so the show and its characters do not belong to me. I own Alexis and Isabelle Fox-Mulwray.
Author's Note: This story is set a little over a year and a half after the events of 'Santa?'. And, for those who requested it, it will include a Jesse/Emma pairing in later chapters.
Author's Note II: At the time of this story, Alexis and Isabelle are aged two years and seven months.
Author's Note III: I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed 'Santa?'. As always, your encouragement means a lot to me.
Thanks to brigitta1, bri, canadian-chic14, loveconquers, Telempath, Sunstar2, Shado-Fox, goldstranger, lornein, bs fan, Cecilia, hippiecountrygirl, Mari, rena, mutantjel.
Shalimar hummed under her breath as she folded the last of the tops she had selected and packed it neatly in her suitcase.
The trip to Hawaii had been a wonderful idea, although when Adam had presented them with the tickets and hotel reservation, his gift for their third anniversary, she and Brennan had been reluctant to leave their daughters behind. Adam had refused to listen to any refusals, telling them that they needed some time alone and assuring them that the twins would be well cared for and almost ordering them to leave Sanctuary.
They were due to leave for the airport in just under two hours and Shalimar was putting the last touches to her packing.
"What you doing, Mommy?"
She looked up to see her younger daughter, dressed in a pink and white candy striped shirt and a blue denim dress, her long blond hair pulled back in a scrunchie, standing in the doorway.
"Mommy's packing, Izzy." She said, keeping her tone as light as possible. "She and Daddy are going away for a little while."
Isabelle's deep brown eyes filled with tears. "Mommy and Daddy going bye-bye?" Her lower lip trembled.
"Ssh, don't cry, Izzy." Shalimar pleaded, scooping the toddler into her arms and concentrating her energies on trying to soothe her child. "Mommy and Daddy will be back before you know it. And we'll bring you toys." She added coaxingly.
"No wan' toy!" Isabelle pouted. "Wan' Mommy and Daddy!"
"Izzy, sweetheart, you and Lexi are going to be staying here while we're gone. You'll have Grandpa and Uncle Jesse and Aunt Emma to play with. Won't that be nice?"
Shalimar sighed. Despite her usual gentle demeanor, her daughter possessed a will of iron.
"Mommy has a special secret to tell you, Izzy lizard." She said temptingly, trying to sound as intriguing as possible. "And a special job for you to do while she and Daddy are away. Would you like to hear?"
Isabelle nodded, mildly interested.
Shalimar whispered a few sentences into her daughter's ear and felt a surge of relief coursing through her when Isabelle's tears ceased to flow.
The little girl was far from happy about the situation, but at least she was willing to accept it.
"Do you want to help me pack?" Shalimar asked gently, setting her daughter on her feet.
Isabelle nodded and quickly absorbed herself in the task of helping her mother stuff the suitcase with many items as the laws of physics allowed.
"Remember, Shal, we're only going for a week." Brennan teased, coming into their bedroom with Alexis perched on his shoulders. "There's no need for you to bring the kitchen sink!"
"I knew that I'd forgotten something." Shalimar quipped sarcastically, motioning Isabelle to sit on the suitcase while she tried to shut it.
"Mommy and Daddy going bye-bye." Isabelle informed her twin solemnly, wanting to share her grief at this outrage.
Brennan and Shalimar held their breaths, waiting for Lexi to commence a lament but she remained surprisingly cheerful.
"Down, Daddy!" Alexis commanded imperiously. As soon as he set her on her feet, she trotted out of the room, returning presently with the bunny shaped backpack that Emma had bought her for her second birthday.
"What's that for, Lexi?" Brennan asked, confused.
"Me tummin'." She calmly informed him. "Pack." She waited patiently for him to do her bidding. Her face fell when he made no move to comply. "Me an' Izzy tummin'?" Her voice had lost its confidence.
"I'm afraid not, Lexi." Brennan told her gently. "You'll be staying with Grandpa and Aunt Emma and Uncle Jesse. But we'll bring you back a toy."
For the first time, the prospect of a new toy failed to tempt Alexis, who refused to be bought off so cheaply.
"No wan' toy!" She stamped her small sneakered foot for emphasis. "Wan' to tum'!"
"You can't." Brennan told her firmly. "This is special 'Mommy and Daddy' time."
"Lexi wan' to tum'!"
Brennan and Shalimar exchanged an 'uh-oh' look.
Referring to herself in the third person was always a danger sign with their older daughter, an indication that what the team had termed a 'Lexi Super Tantrum' was fast approaching. Sparks of electricity flew from the little girl's fingertips and her eyes turned golden yellow as she prepared to throw the mother of all temper tantrums.
"Lexi, honey," Shalimar caught her daughter's hand in hers and knelt down in front of her, pulling Isabelle towards her with her free hand. She hugged both girls to her, arresting the 'Lexi Super Tantrum' before it could begin. She waited until Alexis had calmed down before continuing to speak, in a calm, reasonable tone. "You and Izzy have to stay because I have a very important job that I need you to do for me."
"What?" The prospect of a new activity was enough to distract Lexi, at least temporarily.
"I need you to. . ." Shalimar looked around the room for inspiration. She caught her husband's eye but Brennan just shrugged, unable to come up with anything. Her gaze fell on a framed photograph of herself and Jesse, taken when they were in their late teens, sitting on a shelf. "I need you to take care of your Uncle Jesse for me."
Brennan tried to hide his astonishment. That was the last thing that he had expected her to come up with.
"Grandpa's going to be in the lab a lot of the time," Ignoring her husband's bemused expression; Shalimar soldiered on with her story. "And Aunt Emma will be going out. Someone will have to keep an eye on Uncle Jesse, make sure that he stays out of trouble, eats his lunch. . ."
"Take nap?" Alexis supplemented.
"Of course." Shalimar was relieved to see that she was interested. "You girls will have your work cut out for you. What do you say? Will you babysit Uncle Jesse?"
The twins exchanged a brief conversation before solemnly nodding their assent.
"We will, Mommy." They chorused, smiling proudly at the thought of their new responsibility.
"That's my girls." Shalimar kissed both of their heads. "Why don't you run along and play while we finish getting ready. And don't forget to take good care of Uncle Jesse."
"We won't." Alexis promised, pulling her twin out of the room after her, cheered up by the prospect of their new task.
Brennan waited until the girls had left the room before giving his wife a quizzical look.
"It was the first thing that I could think of!" Shalimar defended herself.
He gave her a mock stern look. "You do realize that those two are going to put poor Jesse through Hell, don't you?" He reproved her. "You really are pure evil!" His tone was one of admiration.
Shalimar smiled in satisfaction. "I know."
Next Chapter: The twins get to work. I'll update as soon as I can. In the meantime, please review.
More Reviews = Faster Update.