A/N: This is, in many ways, the story that birthed a series. This was the story I originally had in mind when I asked Sasha1600 to borrow Leigh and Kate McGee, thus giving birth to the series of stories that have come since. It is also the first multi-chaptered story in the series.
Warning: This story contains corporal punishment of a minor. Don't like; Don't read.
"Get a move on, Leigh. We're late." McGee called up the stairs to his daughter.
"I'm not going," Leigh countered, clearly mutinous.
"Oh, yes, you are," McGee called back, simultaneously trying to tie his tie and rush Leigh's twin sister Kate through breakfast. Abby had left a few days ago to attend a forensics conference in Tennessee, where she was to present a paper. He didn't begrudge her the time, really he didn't. He, of all people, knew how hard she worked and how lonely her job often was, but at the moment, running late and more than a little frazzled, he desperately wished she were here to help.
Katie finally finished her cereal, and he sent her upstairs with instructions to find her shoes and book bag and to tell her sister to get down here. Just as Katie mounted the stairs, Leigh appeared at the top of them still wearing her pajamas.
"I thought I told you to get dressed," Tim said, feeling his patience shredding rapidly.
"I can't," Leigh replied. "I don't have any clean uniform pants."
"What do you mean you don't have any pants?" Tim asked.
"I. Don't. Have. Any. Pants," she repeated, speaking exaggeratedly slowly, clearly exasperated.
Tim took a deep breath and let it out slowly, rubbing a hand over the bridge of his nose. He did not need this attitude this morning. He and his team had spent the better part of a week following the trail of a particularly nasty hacker, and now the director was breathing down his neck about late performance reviews. "Just put on the ones you had on last night."
"I can't," Leigh said again. "I spilled spaghetti sauce on them last night, remember?"
Tim groaned inwardly. He did indeed remember. What else could go wrong this morning? No. Scratch That. He didn't want to know. "Why didn't you tell me last night that you didn't have any more pants?"
Leigh shrugged. "Didn't know last night."
"So just re-wear another pair," Tim said.
Leigh looked utterly horrified. "Daddy," she said in a shrill tone known only to preteen girls. "I am NOT wearing dirty pants to school."
This from the child who would cheerfully and willingly wear jeans until they stood up on their own from the accumulated dirt unless they forced her to wash them, Tim thought. "Are you sure you don't have any clean pants? You're sure you looked everywhere."
"I'm sure," Leigh drawled.
Even so, Tim headed up to his daughters' room to check himself. He didn't think Leigh would flat out lie to him, but in her current mood, he wouldn't put it past her to try a little subterfuge either. He searched quickly through Leigh's closet and dresser, but he too came up empty. For a moment, he deeply regretted that they had decided to enroll the girls in a Catholic school. True, Abby's experience in Catholic school had been far better than his own in public school, and for the most part, the school was more secular than religious, but it still required traditional uniforms, and at the moment, painfully aware of every passing moment, he hated it passionately.
He turned slowly, racking his brain for an answer, and saw Katie sitting on her bed, packing her book bag and watching him curiously. The solution hit him with the force and bluntness of a headslap. He was an idiot. His daughters were twins—identical twins. They could easily wear each other's clothes.
"Wear a pair of Katie's," he said to Leigh. This drew a squawk of protest from both his daughters.
"No way!" Leigh yelped. "Kate only wears skirts, and I am not wearing a skirt!"
"Daddy," Kate protested. "She'll ruin it."
Leigh whirled around, clearly offended. "I will not!"
"Will too," Katie insisted.
"Will Not!" Leigh shot back.
"Will Too!" Katie countered, just as loudly and vehemently as her sister.
"Enough," Tim broke in sternly. When both girls fell silent, he pulled a clean skirt from Kate's closet and thrust it at Leigh. "Get dressed."
"Daddy…" Katie began, but a warning "Caitlyn" from her father stopped her in mid-protest. She sighed resignedly before gathering up her book bag and heading downstairs.
Leigh, however, was not so easily mollified. She slapped the skirt away and stomped her feet. "No! I'm not wearing any stupid skirt! I won't, and you can't make me!"
The tirade broke off abruptly when Tim reached out and swatted her bottom sharply. "That's enough, Leigh Anne," he snapped. "You are going to school, and that's final. Now get dressed!" With that, he turned and left his daughter alone to dress.
Leigh glared mutinously at the offending grey, blue and burgundy plaid skirt, still lying crumpled on the floor where she had thrown it, and rubbing at the now stinging spot on her backside. Grudgingly, she picked up the skirt and began to change. Daddy rarely punished them, and for him to spank, even just a swat, was even more unusual. It was enough to convince her she had to get dressed and go to school, but she didn't have to like it.