Disclaimer: Last night I got a phone call; I own The O.C.! Okay, it was only a dream so… no… I don't own anything, 'cept Chloe.

Author's note: Hey! It's my first The O.C. fic, and (surprise, surprise) it's a kidfic o'course. It's fluffy, it's cute, and please, that sexy review button is calling you. You know you want to, so review!

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
~Anne Howard (1935-1996)

The sunlight dipped slowly beneath the horizon, creating a setting that looked so beautiful it was almost surreal. Waves lapped gently at the beach, the foam stealing a rather pretty, light peach colored shell from a pair of small, grasping hands.

"Come back!" Chloe Atwood-Cooper commanded of the shell irritably, wading into the water as she pulled her pants up just enough so that the ocean's waves wouldn't get her already sand-covered and generally dirty—as uncle Seth called them—knickers any more tattered. "HEY! I told you—" she grasped the shell for a moment, then… "Damn!" Chloe shrieked. She supposed it was 'the grown-up thing to say', as Daddy was always saying that… but Mommy would always look at him like she had eaten spinach. And spinach was yuck-ee.

Discouraged, six-year-old Chloe walked back to shore, a frown on her face as she planted herself in the sand, folding her arms.

"Didn't get it back, Clo?" her godfather, Seth asked, sitting next to her on the oceanfront.

"Nu-uh." She replied, her ponytails flying as her head shook.

"We can always find another one," he suggested reasonably to the girl, but the look in her bright blue eyes was completely devoid of a 'yes'.

"But—" Chloe protested, beginning to sob. "Buffy was my best friend." Seth just sighed. Ever since the girl was two, she'd always go collecting seashells along the beach, and since the Atwood family did not have a dog, (much to Chloe's dismay) she kept various inanimate objects, rocks, shells, and once even a condom, as pets. And Buffy was her very first. "I wanna go home…" she finished reluctantly, not wanting to abandon Buffy, wherever she may have been.

"Me too. Your Mom's gonna flip when she finds out I had you out here past six o'clock." Chloe liked Seth. He treated her like a grown-up, which was more than she could say for most people.

She followed Seth to the pickup truck, completely abandoning her sandals on her purpose to go barefoot. She liked being barefoot almost as much as her pets… and Mommy, and Daddy, and uncle Seth, and aunt Summer and everybody. Almost.

Seth smiled at the little girl buckling her seat belt. Chloe was a byproduct of Ryan and Marissa's early recklessness, but nevertheless a blessing in their lives.

Several minutes later, Chloe arrived home to her mommy's warm hug, "You're late, baby," Mommy observed. "And… Chloe how do get so dirty so fast."

"I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are." Chloe mused, staring right into her mother's eyes, the unusually bright blue eyes mirroring her own. Mommy laughed and tousled Chloe's short, ash blonde tresses a bit.

"You." Mommy said accusingly to Seth. "Explain."

"Marissa, she lost Buffy, so we were looking for her. No success whatsoever." He replied. Marissa? Was that Mommy's nickname? Chloe had heard her mommy be called by that name often, and everybody called Daddy Ryan. It was all very confusing.

Mommy reached a degree of understanding and nodded. "Thanks a buttload, though, Seth. I owe you."

Chloe headed inside, were a peanut butter and pickle sandwich was waiting. She'd been to her friend Kari's house before, and they always ate together and prayed, which boggled Chloe's mind. Her family only prayed when aunt Summer was cooking.

As she bit into the, quote, "oddest sandwich ever", unquote, she thought about her family for a moment. Joey, that one boy in her small Kindergarten class, had said that your family had to be your brothers and sisters and mommy and daddy. Technically, Chloe didn't have any brothers or sisters… yet… but she did have a mommy and daddy. But her family wasn't just them. No, it was everybody. Everybody she knew who cared about 'Marissa' and 'Ryan' and, of course Chloe.

And, as far as Chloe Dawn Atwood-Cooper was concerned, that was her family.