Disclaimer: You know the drill - 'Mutant X' and it's characters = Not Mine. Lexi and Izzy Fox-Mulwray = Mine.
Author's Note: I'd like to thank all my reviewers for their encouragement. A big thank you to Sunstar2, Feline-Feral, PeTiTeCaT, brigitta1, goldstranger, Lgbabyblu, candian-chic14, Mari, bri, loveconquers, Telempath, shalimar13, freespirit127, Amanda, hippiecountrygirl, tigereyes320, mutantjel, Cici, Shado-Fox and Feral's Revenge.
Author's Note II: For those who asked, there will be a sequel to this story, probably set when the twins are three and tentatively titled 'War of the Grandpas'. Suggestions/requests for activities will be welcome.
Words in / / = Thoughts.
"A little more to the left - Stop that's too far! A little higher . . .A little higher . . .Perfect!" Emma beamed in satisfaction.
"They've only been gone a week, Em!" Jesse objected as he pinned the 'Welcome Home' banner Emma had insisted on making to the wall. "Anyone would think that they'd be gone for a month!"
"Come on, admit it." Emma chided him. "You're looking forward to seeing them."
A grin spread across Jesse's face as he remembered what he had planned as a 'welcome home' gift for Shalimar. "I can't wait to see her face when she finds out that Lexi, Izzy and her dad have seen that tape!"
"You do realise that she is going to kill you for that."
"Hah!" Jesse scoffed. "I can take her!" Emma gave him a sceptical look. "Okay, maybe not. But it was worth it. And I got loads of great stories from Nicholas. You know," He paused thoughtfully. "I'm starting to think that we got off easy when Shal was a baby. I can't wait to embarrass her!"
Emma smiled indulgently. "I know. I just hope that you live long enough to tell your stories."
"Alright, where do you want these?" Nicholas's voice was muffled by the armload of balloons he was carrying.
At Emma's pointed look, Jesse relieved the older man, who had stayed in Sanctuary overnight so that he could be there to welcome his daughter back, of his burden and started to stick them to the wall, framing Emma's banner.
"Mommy an' Daddy tummin' home thoon! Mommy an' Daddy tummin' home thoon! Mommy an' Daddy tummin' home thoon!" Izzy was dancing around the three adults, singing happily. She stopped skipping and looked up at Jesse with a frown. "You no be vewy good, Uncie Jess." She reproved sternly, her hands on her hips. "You no ea' veg'bles ow take yo' nap. Mommy be vewy twoss wif' you. Bu' she be vewy happy you an' An' Emma tiss."
Jesse looked over at the chuckling Nicholas with a glare. "You think that this is funny?" His tone was indignant. "Do you have any idea what your daughter has put me through during this past week?"
"She wasn't even here!" Nicholas protested on behalf of his absent daughter.
"No." Jesse gave Izzy a dirty look. "She just had her lackeys do her dirty work for her."
"What do you expect me to do about it, son? I think that Shalimar's a little too old for me to put across my knee."
The sharp *POP* of a balloon exploding saved Jesse from having to reply.
A delighted giggle told him who the culprit was.
He glared at Lexi who was forming a small ball of electricity with the intention of bursting a second balloon and groaned when he saw Izzy following her sister's example.
/That's it! I'm never babysitting for these little monsters again! /
* * *
An hour later.
At the twin's insistence Jesse, under threat of having 'Mommy till you when she tum home, was ordered to take his nap after a lunch eaten under the twins' eagle eyes.
Lexi and Izzy, blissfully unaware of the fact that they were sealing their mother's doom, tucked him into his bed with stern orders to sleep, then took up position on guard outside his door to make sure that he couldn't escape.
Izzy shook her head sorrowfully, turning to her twin with a sigh. "Uncie Jess is bein' vewy bad boy."
"Ess." Lexi nodded emphatically. "I be vewy happy when Mommy tum home an' we no hab to tate tare o' him."
Lexi nodded her assent. "We neber bab'sittin' fo' him adain."
* * *
In his lab, Adam couldn't help but feel slightly guilty that he had reminded Lexi and Izzy of their babysitting duties.
It wasn't that he regretted encouraging them to torment Jesse – he would do that again in a heartbeat – but he felt a pang of guilt that Shalimar was being blamed for it.
/Maybe I should tell Jesse the truth. / A mental image of the molecular beating him to death with a massed fist pushed the noble impulse from his mind. /On second thoughts, Shal can take him. /
* * *An aeroplane, somewhere in the sky. The same time
"Uh, Shal?" Brennan gave his wife a dubious look. "Maybe you shouldn't . . ."
"Come on!" Shalimar rolled her eyes. "What's the worst that could happen?"
* * *
A few hours later.
Emma came running at Brennan's cheerful call.
"What are you doing here? You weren't supposed to get back for another two hours?"
Brennan grinned. "It's nice to see you too."
"Brennan!" Jesse followed Emma into the hall. "Welcome back, man."
"DADDY!" Two ecstatic toddlers ran forward and attached themselves to their father's legs.
"Whewe my toy?" Lexi demanded, getting straight to the point.
Brennan grinned, amused by his eldest daughter's single-mindedness. "It's in my bag, Lexi, I'll get it for you soon."
Lexi pouted in disappointment, but made no objection.
"Welcome back, son." Nicholas appeared and pulled his son in law into a hug. "Did you have a good trip?"
"Where's Shalimar?" Adam, the last to join the group, asked, a touch of anxiety in his voice."
"Mommy?" Izzy's deep brown eyes filled with tears. "Whewe Mommy? Mommy no tummin' home?"
Brennan scooped his little girl into his arms. "It's alright. Don't cry, Izzy lizard. Mommy's in the car. Airplane food." He explained, looking up at the adults. "I warned her not to eat it. She's been throwing up ever since." He turned to Adam. "Maybe you oughta check her out. You never know what kind of crap they give you."
"I'll get her." Jesse volunteered, tearing off before anyone could stop him.
"Daddy?" Izzy tugged insistently at her father's shirt. "Uncie Jess goin' to till Mommy." She confided cheerfully.
Brennan's expression was one of alarm as he looked after the molecular. "She's joking, right?" He appealed to the other adults. His face dropped when they shook their heads. "Here." He tried to hand Izzy to Emma. "I'd better go break them up."
"No." Emma shook her head decisively. "Jesse's been planning his revenge all week. I won't let you stop him."
A scream rang through Sanctuary.
"JESSE! NO! NOT THE HAIR!"
Adam and Nicholas tore off, racing to Shalimar's rescue.
Brennan looked over at Emma.
"Aren't you going to stop them?"
Emma looked at him as though he were insane. "Are you kidding me? This is the first time in more than three years that I have seen them work together. I don't want to discourage them. Besides," She smiled. "I don't want to mess with Adam and Nicholas when they mean business."
She followed the two older men, hoping to catch the end of the show.
Sighing, Brennan scooped Lexi up in his other arm.
"We'll be lucky if there are no broken bones!" He frowned at his daughters. "I can't leave you two alone, can I?"
Author's Note: Let's face it, Jesse would never be able to beat Shalimar unless she was asleep or sick.