Author's Note

I guess one could say it's a TCP, and yes, I borrowed that term. I saw it originally used in the X-Men verse, where it stands for "The Common People."

Said people ranging from unknown mutants themselves, to normal people to.. well, who knows what. I suppose the story I spied here about a Werewolf who tells about her mom would possibly fit into this category, as well.. But I'm not sure, heh.

As for the story itself, personally, I think it can be improved, but don't let that stand in the way of your enjoyment :)

It's technically a changeling story, since one of the people in it is Changeling. Bet you'll never guess
who, though..

All characters found herein are © Ashti. Yes, that includes the tourist. No, it does not include Elvis. This bit written between one o'clock in the morning and half past one on the 4th of August.

The Things She Does

"Hey dad! What do you think of these?" Gregory Harrelson, mostly addressed as Greg, looked up from where he was walking down the avenue, and frowned as he didn't spy the source of that voice walking next to him as she had been doing a moment ago.

Oh no, where was she..

He turned his head around and caught sight of his sixteen year old daughter, standing in the middle of a restaurant's terrace, holding up something that looked ridiculously similar to a salt and pepper set.

The people at the table the bright-eyed, dark-haired teenager had so effectively nicked the set from seemed less than happy with her doing so and he nearly groaned.

.. Not again..

"Jamie!" He hissed, "get your ass back here, and leave those poor people to eat in peace!"

A waiter was approaching, Greg noticed unhappily.

"And leave that salt and pepper set where it belongs!" He added hastily as Jamie did just as he asked. She paused, grinned sheepishly and put the set down before half-skipping her way to where he was standing, black hair and a blue jeans jacket streaking behind her as she did so.

He grabbed her by the arm, dragging her along somewhat roughly, muttering under his breath while ignoring the waiter's obviously too polite words to ask him to keep a closer eye on his daughter.

No sooner had they taken five steps away from the terrace, easily swallowed up by the afternoon lunchers and tourists enjoying the sunny weather, did Greg turn to Jamie.

"What do you think you're doing?" He asked, somewhat sternly, as they walked on to the parking lot where they'd parked the car. "That's the second time today!"

His daughter just beamed up at him, her eyes somewhat too adoring as she easily slid out of his firm grasp and took to hanging at his arm in a familial way.

"Did you like that one, dad?" She seemed to ignore the question, as she had, Greg noticed with some annoyance, the last time.

"Look, Jamie, I don't know what you're up to today, but I want you to stop, okay? We came here to pick something up, which we did, and now we're going home. You got it?"

Really, they hadn't been here all that long and already he could feel another hair turn grey..

"Okay!" She chirped happily at him in a way that made him near certain that she was going to forget this in a moment.

Sometimes, he thought she had the shortest attention span ever. And he thought her mother had been bad back when they'd first met..

He shook his head, both at himself and at the memories the mere thought of her mother called forth.

"Now," he said, "it's only five more minutes, I'm sure you can.."

"Hey dad! What about these, then?"

He groaned this time.

Luckily, this was just a pub, and she was at an empty table, pointing out yet another salt and pepper set.

For crying out loud, what was up with her? What, she wanted to start a collection?

"Yes!" he said, maybe a little more on edge than he had meant. "Very lovely, now let's go home."

Jamie had, by now, picked up the set and was eyeing it curiously. "You sure?" she asked, stretching the last word in a way he found particularly annoying right now.

"Yes, I'm sure. Now let's go."

"Okay!" She put the set down, he noted thankfully, before coming to his side again, liberating him from the bag he'd been carrying and humming to herself.

She seemed rather content with herself for some reason, but Greg had, some time ago, learned that while he could ask, he never got an answer.

Well, not one that he could use, anyway..

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"Happy Father's Day, dad!" Jamie's loud voice greeted him, waking him from his sleep. He stared blearily into the smiling face of his daughter, who seemed slightly too happy at his general state of sleepiness.

Or maybe he just hadn't had his coffee yet.

Almost as if on cue, a big mug of coffee was thrust into his face. He fumbled with his hands for a moment, and nearly dropped it, but then he didn't.

Because coffee went a long way to waking you up and there was just something magical about that first.. haaah.. he sighed deeply, about that first sip in the morning.

He blinked a few times, feeling more able to face the world already as he sat up straight in his bed, making a bit of room as Jamie sat herself down on it as well.

"Presents!" She said, somewhat too loudly for his morning hearing, but.. well, she was his daughter, and it was Father's Day, and he had coffee...

She grabbed the mug and set it aside, and for a moment, he was less than happy with that. He'd just been about to..

.. take the present she had put in his hands instead.

"This one's Vivianne's!" He blinked at the brown paper that stared back at him, proudly proclaiming "Happy F-Day, Dad. Mike," in his son's handwriting.

He sighed and ignored the Vivianne part. He'd learned by now that sometimes she said things that.. well, didn't compute with this reality, anyway..

Didn't make it any less confusing, maybe, but still.

He pulled the paper off, careful to leave the handwriting in one piece.

Mike didn't live with them anymore, being a college junior, and while he did send the occasional letter, the majority of the communication was conducted through the phone (in fact, Greg secretly expected a phonecall from the boy sometime during the day).

The paper gave way to a silver framed photograph, and he couldn't quite keep the smile from his face as he saw the picture in it.

He remembered that day at the beach when they (Well, Jamie in her usual flamboyance, had) accosted a tourist to take a picture of them at the pier.

It was probably a good thing Mike had been there, the proud dad thought, as he had feared the tourist would have been easily overwhelmed if no one (succesfully) restrained the enthusiastic teen.

He grinned back at himself for a moment, then laughed at the faces his children were pulling.

"Mike said he picked the best picture for ya, but I'm not sure the lighting couldn't have been better. Whaddaya think, dad?"

He looked up at his daughter, who, for a moment, seemed to be watching him seriously, hiding her face behind her hands a little as he knew her to do when she was nervous.

"It's wonderful, Jamie. Your brother's got an eye for pictures." He grinned as he and his daughter recited the next line together, "Honestly, why he didn't go into photography like he obviously wanted to, I'll never know."

The two of them laughed at that, before Jamie apparently got enough of waiting and bounced a little on her place on the bed and picked up the small, compact cardboard box next to it and handed it to him.

"Happy Hanuka!" She beamed at him, barely keeping from grinning as she waited with obvious excitement for him to open the box.

He looked the box over, which was riddled with colourful remarks in English, Dutch and Spanish and squiggles. Well, at least she was putting her coloured markers to got use, he sighed quietly to himself.

Even if he'd given her those for school...

"Well, go on! Pull the arm, what, jackpots don't wait for winners, you know!" She urged him on and he relented, turning the box around so that the opening flap was aimed at him.

"Alright, alright.." The cardboard box opened easily, and Greg was pleased to note an absence of smokebombs this year.

Of course, she usually kept those for birthdays..

He looked curiously at the paper that had been literally stuffed into the box and started carefully pulling it out, idly wondering what he might find in a tone barely loud enough for Jamie to hear and was..

.. somewhat surprised to find a salt and pepper set, really.

He blinked at it as he picked up the pepper pot, turning it around in his hands.

"Do you like them?" The dark-haired girl seemed hardly able of containing her excitement any longer as Greg continued to blink, looking between her and the salt and pepper set.

"Uh.. yeah.. sure. It's lovely, I love it!" Greg spoke with the desperate tone of someone trying not to sound rude. What on earth did he need a salt and pepper set for? Didn't they already have one?

"HAH! I knew it!" She cheered herself on, overriding anything past the affirmative she had craved, "You said you liked them, with the pink gazeebo, after all, and how could you not? It's a pink gazeebo! So I thought I'd get them for you, aren't you glad I got them for you?"

He frowned a little as he looked up at her now. 'Got them for you' was sort of a.. catch all phrase when it came to his daughter and for a moment he worried she'd taken them from a restaurant somewhere. No.. wait, these came from the pub, didn't they? What if she'd decided to "pik een terrasje"[1]?

No, no, she.. probably hadn't. Relief flooded him as he remembered the shopping day when she'd been extremely interested in salt and pepper sets.

These had been the last ones she'd pointed out to him. At the pub. She hadn't taken those.. Well.. Greg grimaced mentally, not that he'd seen..

"Heh." He grinned slightly as he rememebered. He had said he liked them, hadn't he?

Jamie was still babbling about a pink gazeebo as he leaned over and hugged her briefly. "They're great, thanks James."

The smile she threw his way at the use of his special name for her was at the same time worth all the trouble and grey hairs she had gotten him, and a promise for more. Just, not now.. He kissed her on the side of her head, pulling her close once more before letting her bounce to her feet.

That damn.. er.. darn girl never could sit still for very long..

"Great! Glad you like 'em! Figure we'd might as well get some you like now that the other ones are broken. But! Gotta go to school now, see you when I get back, ta ta.."

And with that, the whirlwind also known as Jamie Harrelson left his bedroom.

His eyes slowly widened. "What? Wait a minute.. Jamie! What do you mean the other ones are broken?!" he shouted after her, groaning as the slam of a door was his only answer.

He sighed deeply and looked at the salt and pepper set in his hands.

He shook his head and set about getting out of bed.

He really should know better than to ask..

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fin, leave your feetback at the door, please.

Comments, critisism, applause.. I thought it might be bit too long like this, so tell me what you think, and if there's something that grates on your nerves about it (aside from the fact that it's briefly Changeling ) feel free to release the tension of withholding it by hitting submit review and telling me. :)

And let me know how you feel about the (stuff in the brackets) especially where I mention the day at the pier. Is that too much? Should I have italised it, perhaps? What do
you think? Lemme know :)

Hope you enjoyed the story :D

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[1] "Pik een terrasje" from "terrasje pikken" which mostly literally translates to "stealing a terrace". Dutch expression meaning "to sit and enjoy a drink (possibly food as well) in the sun/in the shadow on a terrace." Although people can't seem to agree on whether it's patio or terrace now..