A/N: Book "The Big Fix-up Mix-up," is TV canon (except for Stephanie's date – and it's Sweetest Day b/c Jesse & Becky were married in fall in books). It's only consistent with TV, not books. It's the only book w/Joey's room on the 2nd floor, not the basement. Also, only there does Michelle "play politics" to choose friends. In all others, including books that are clearly TVU, she's friendly with everyone. So, it's a phase mentioned as being over. Gia's better, as expected. Like in many eps, busier performers are gone. As in the Chronology, Steve gets Nick's business, but as a TV arc he'd get it faster. (Steve was signed for season 9, but D.J. wouldn't be there much, so it makes sense.)
Steph's more conservative about music in most books, a way to know one may be TVU canon; by later season 9, she'd get more conservative again, in character from earlier, as she's the leader again with Gia. Jeff first in "We'll Always Have Christmas."
Also, the way "Taking the Plunge" happened realistically is mentioned, just as "Big Shoes to Fill" shows what really happened in another 8th season episode. Denise mulls trying to be a school helper here. See 9th season finale, "Tanner All Stars," for more.
Passing the Torch
(Teaser – You've Got To Outthink Them – Gia, Denise, Nicky, Alex)
Gia Mahan, best friend of fellow eighth grader Stephanie Tanner, was trying to get Stephanie's four-year-old cousins to bed. She sighed, and turned to a really good friend of Stephanie's sister, Michelle. "Why did I get talked into babysitting this time?"
"There's a big sale at the mall next week," Denise, in fourth grade like Michelle, stated.
"I was talking to myself, but, thanks." Gia turned to the twin boys, children of Jesse and Becky Katsopolis. They had food on their shirts. "For the last time, get your pajamas on. Now, which one of you is Nicky, and which one is Alex?!"
"I'm Nicky," Nicky said.
"No, I am," Alex said with a giggle.
Gia groaned. "They keep changing it on me."
"Do you need help?" As Gia nodded, Denise said, "I guess since you boys won't co-operate, you'll both have to put Michelle's stuff on to go to bed."
"No, no girl stuff!" the boys shouted. They got the right pajamas and ran into the bedroom of the Katsopolis' attic apartment.
"Their dad always says, you just have to outthink 'em," Denise said with a grin.
Stephanie, Gia, Jeff, Teddy, Derek, Lisa, Aron, and Denise were in the Tanner living room. The children were playing video games, including ones they'd brought. Dannyw was behind them. He was father to Stephanie, Michelle, and nineteen-year-old D.J., in her first year at San Francisco State. "Sorry you missed Michelle. Her traveling team had an away game this morning," Danny explained.
Derek said, "The schedule is so perplexing." The fourth grader had a huge vocabulary.
"See," Jeff told the others, "I told you I don't come here just because I like Michelle. It's for the video games."
"Wham! Pow! Blam!" Aaron shouted.
Teddy gave him a look. "Dude, this isn't 1960s Batman."
"Could have fooled me," Lisa said. "Jeff's a joker, Aaron's a riddle, and I dream of Derek at our wedding in a tux looking like a penguin."
"Denise got it confused, too. She came over last night after supper. But, she helped when I babysat, before she went home," Gia reported.
Danny smiled. "You did well, too, Gia. I got back from dinner at the station after Jesse and Becky's date night. Jesse said you'd had a nice talk with the boys about not putting clothes in the dishwasher."
"Thanks," Gia said pensively. "It really is fun to think about others. I wonder if your uncle felt this weird before he got used to it," she asked Stephanie.
"Oh, yeah. One time soon after he moved in, he looked in the mirror with green finger paint all around his face. He said, 'Have mercy, I've become a leprechaun.' He couldn't believe he'd actually had fun," Stephanie responded.
"I really like helping people, too," Denise said.
Stephanie noted, "You've really matured in the last couple years. You're thinking about that Principal's Assistant position like I had, huh?"
"I remember," Danny noted. The doorbell rang as he spoke; he opened it as he was done speaking. "Michelle kept calling you a genius after her first day in Kindergarten, and sent others to you. You eventually helped with tutoring, comforting, even discipline. Good thing or you never would have been coming from school an hour late when you got Michelle from her Honeybee meeting, when D.J. was distracted with Steve." He opened the door. "Speak of the devil," he said as Steve, D.J.'s boyfriend, entered.
"You mean the Tasmanian Devil," Stephanie quipped, referring to how much Steve ate.
"What happened? I thought the exterminating business was going really well," Danny inquired, expecting Steve to be at work.
"It is, Mr. Tanner." Steve worked for the father of Jesse Katsopolis. Jesse, Danny's brother-in-law, had moved in, along with Danny's best friend Joey, to help raise the girls after Danny's wife, Pam, died. At first, Jesse had worked for his dad, before quitting and going into music full time. "Nick's having some chest discomfort again."
Danny looked disappointed. "Oh, no. Nick was so excited to reopen his business; especially once he took you under his wing last summer."
"I know. I guess all those problems as a kid during the war, and all that anger inside, got to him," Steve said. "He wants me to buy into the business, get some advertising to build it up myself. Then, he can just transfer it to me."
"Dad, Uncle Jesse's going to be chaperoning next week. Michelle's got a tournament further away; she'll be off school Thursday and Friday," Stephanie said before turning back to Danny. "Joey was looking for someone to do the radio show with him. Maybe Steve could do it for a few hours," she suggested.
"Hey, that's a great idea, Steph," Danny said, beaming as he turned to Steve. "You don't need an FCC license; if Joey takes a break their engineer can work the controls. It'll be just like your show for teens. It'd give the business great publicity."
"Yeah, thanks, guys. Now all I have to do is find a bank that will take my appetite as collateral. It's big enough, they should," Steve said excitedly.
Joey and Steve were on the radio Monday. Joey's girlfriend, Suzie, had just dropped off her kids Justin, nine, and Wendy, three. "Thanks for helping, Joey," Suzie said. "I had a nursing dinner to go to, they're having a special speaker. But, my sitter had to rush her mom to the hospital after she broke her ankle."
"Hey, it's no problem," Joey said. "We've got a few more minutes, and I'll take them to my house." He saw the engineer – who had an FCC license – worked the controls, while Steve was waiting to speak. "You kids sit tight; I'm sure your mom has some books for you to color, Wendy." He turned back to Suzie. "They'll be good."
"I'm sure they will." She told Joey the children had eaten supper, and about what Wendy would soon be talking about, while the children walked up to the mike.
The song stopped playing, and the engineer, Devon Lucas, spoke. "Hey, it's Devon again. Joey's with his girlfriend, and we just had the cutest visitors come in."
"This is Justin and Wendy. Say hi to the audience," Steve invited them.
"My mommy's the tooth fairy!" Wendy said in awe.
"It just gets cuter all the time, doesn't it, Devon," Steve asked. He said "yep." "I guess you saw her helping the tooth fairy last night, huh?"
"No, she's the real one!" the three-year-old insisted.
Justin explained. "Mom watched a friend's girl overnight last night. She lost a tooth, and Mom made sure she was asleep. But, she didn't know Wendy was awake."
"You just never know what you'll hear on the 'Rush Hour Renegades,' do you?" Devon asked with a toothy grin.
"Hey, we can handle it, just like Katsopolis Exterminating can handle all your unwanted pests," Steve said. "We're off for a bit while the owner recovers from some health problems again, but soon I'll be able to step right in and be the head man."
"What's a 'terminator?" Wendy asked, not verbal enough to say the whole word.
Joey was back by this time; he walked to the mike while Suzie hugged her kids "goodbye." He spoke into it using his Terminator impression. "That's a guy that goes around saying 'hasta la vista, baby' to bugs."
"Give us a call, and I'll set up an appointment to come out," Steve offered, giving the phone number. "I can handle anything but 'Terminator' impressions."
The Tanners had also eaten early. Soon before Joey and the others arrived, Danny and Becky were talking with Stephanie and Gia.
"It's getting to where I can't stand the lyrics in some songs. I don't even like 'Counting Crows' anymore," Stephanie was telling Gia.
Danny cut in. "I agree. What happened to the innocence of 'Wake Up, Little Suzie'?"
"Dad, this is my decision, please just be happy I agree with you," Stephanie said.
"Sorry; lips zipped," Danny said, pretending to zipped his lips.
Stephanie told Gia, "Even if you try not to listen, they get into your head."
"Why listen to lyrics?" Gia asked. "I try not to put anything in my brain."
"Careful; that was almost a Kimmy," Stephanie warned. She told all, "Seriously, I notice thoughts in my mind that just aren't me. I don't like a lot of the messages. All kinds of mean words, and lust, not love. So, I got rid of the music I had like that."
"Sure, that's why Jesse went with less music at the Smash Club." Danny suddenly realized he was talking. "Oh, yeah, that's right." He zipped his lips again.
"It's true, though; some of today's lyrics wouldn't be allowed, because he made it so the Smash Club was a place for the whole family," Becky added. "And, our thoughts should be on better things. Even younger girls are trying to mature way too fast."
"I thought about that, too. Joey got us those concert tickets, and wanted to take Michelle to a Daffy Duck festival, like when I was that age. Instead of a Yankee Doodle Duck, she wanted to go to a dinner theater to see 'Yankee Doodle Dandy,'" Stephanie noted.
"You told me that's why she was teasing about wanting to see the concert with D.J.," Gia said. "She must have graduated with honors from Joey's 'Comedy College.'"
Danny agreed, as Joey, Wendy, and Justin entered. "Joey got the hint; that's why he checked around for a dinner theater. That night, he told Michelle she'd have more fun than all those teens at that concert. They weren't thinking about long term, unconditional love. I'm glad you've always loved putting others first."
"Like Mommy does," Wendy announced. "She's the tooth fairy."
Danny was used to silly comments from kids, so he simply asked, "How was the show?"
"Great. Steve's nervous, but I might have given him an ad campaign." Joey sang in a voice like the song, "There's a bug that's strange, in your neighborhood. Who ya gonna call? Pestbusters!" The others chuckled, and he returned to his normal voice. "Anyway, Wendy caught Suzie slipping a dollar under a friend's pillow. I tried to explain we all need helpers, but she won't buy it," Joey explained. "Suzie and Justin have tried, too."
"I'm sure it'll be forgotten in a few days," Danny said.
"Sure," Stephanie said with confidence. "Just like that twenty the tooth fairy left under my pillow." Danny had accidentally slipped a twenty under her pillow once.
"I'm just worried all the kids who listened today will think Suzie really is the tooth fairy. And, what if a kid's family is too poor to get money from the tooth fairy; they might blame Suzie," Joey finished.
Nicky and Alex entered the living room from the kitchen. "He started it," Nicky shouted.
"No, he started it," Alex countered.
Gia noticed Alex had a piece of paper taped over his face, partly covering his eyes. "Is that the newest superhero – Paperman?"
"He didn't wanna see my face," Nicky explained. 'So, I covered his eyes."
Alex folded his arms. "You ate the last cookie."
Nicky turned to Becky. "Mommy, do I gotta be a twin?"
"If he doesn't hafta be one, I shouldn't, either," Alex complain. Becky sighed, unsure of what to say.
"Whoa, wait a minute," Gia interrupted. "You're brothers. I'm sure you can think of something nice about each other. Now, think of it and tell each other." She looked up in surprise. "Wow; that sounded mature."
"She took the words right out of my mouth," Becky said with a smile, leading them back into the kitchen as she said, "Come on, we need to talk."
"You had a good idea there," Stephanie complimented her, as Danny went to open the door. "Although, when the boys get food on their shirts, you need to avoid suggesting they put them in the dishwasher."
Gia shrugged. "So? I didn't realize how literal they could be at that age."
"Jesse was the same way; you'll learn. Hey, Denise, Jeff; come on in. Michelle's not home yet," Danny said, "Jesse stopped with her and a few other kids for a bite to eat."
Jeff handed Danny a small bag, and spoke as they entered. "I brought Michelle's homework. My mom made something I didn't like. I had a bit, but I rode my bike over to see if there was anything good to eat here."
"You could try Nicky and Alex's shirts," Justin suggested.
"Thankfully, Gia didn't miss them before turning the dishwasher on," Joey said.
Wendy shook her head. "That's silly."
Justin explained. "They just didn't know Gia was joking. They take whatever they hear literally. Just like you."
"Yeah," Joey said, "you know, just because you saw your Mommy replacing a tooth with money doesn't mean she's the tooth fairy. Anyone can do that."
"Yeah. The real tooth fairy builds houses with the teeth," Jeff said. "Unless your house is made of teeth, she's not the real one."
"But, Mommy can do anything!" Wendy proclaimed.
Gia snickered. "Wendy, I know you look up to your mommy. You idolize her at your age. But, with cooking, and cleaning, and work, she wouldn't have time."
Wendy gave her a look. "She does it while I'm sleeping."
"Let me try to explain," Stephanie said. "Look, your mom has fun playing 'tooth fairy.' But, the real tooth fairy would never have time to be a mommy. Because…" she thought for a second. "Because, if her little boy or girl got sick at night, she'd have to stay up with them, and then she wouldn't be able to get the teeth."
Wendy asked quickly, "Then why didn't the real one come?"
"She got stuck in traffic," Joey said.
Since Suzie wasn't here, Wendy turned to Justin. "Is that what happened?"
"Yeah, it is," Justin said with certainly as Becky came out with Nicky and Alex.
"Okay, the boys patched up their differences," Becky said.
"Yeah. Friends forever," Nicky said.
"Friends forever," Alex agreed. They hugged.
"Yeah. Just like you helped mine patch theirs up," Jeff said thankfully.
"I wish everyone's could be like that," Denise added.
Joey could tell Denise might need to talk about something. "Why don't you kids all go up to my room and play." Jeff, Justin, Nicky, Alex, and Wendy left.
"What's wrong?" Becky asked.
Denise remained. "Remember how I said I'd like to help like Stephanie? There's this kid I wanted to talk to you guys about."
"What's the problem?" Danny wanted to know.
"Well, the parents are having problems. I know that's why she's doing this. She's just got an attitude that so snobbish. All she's thinkin' about is who's in her clique and who isn't. It sounds like what Gia went through; maybe you could talk to her, Gia. If I wanna be a good PA, I need to get good help around me," Denise said.
Becky sat on the arm of the sofa beside Denise. "You haven't gotten the position yet, but you've got the right idea. You have to show off your talents. But, sometimes the best thing to do is just be there to let them cry on your shoulder."
Danny spoke. "Becky's right. I know you had that attitude of not wanting to listen. But, now that you're more mature, you want to help others. And, that's good. But, sometimes you can't find the right words, because there aren't any. And, there's nothing more frustrating than just trying to find the right words, or listening to someone who can't find them, and then, well, you know…" he turned to Joey. "Do you know what it's like to know someone who talks all the time?"
"I know a few people," Joey said.
Denise agreed. "I guess it's not that hard, huh? It's like how Michelle's coach has worked with the team on bein' friends and not having cliques."
"That's really important," Danny concurred as Justin came down for a snack. "Even Gia talked about that with Michelle a little. Because, she's been there. And, she knows it's best not to start. Michelle kind of got into that habit a little last month, but now she's out of it and being friends with everyone again."
Gia told Denise, "That's the kind of thing you can tell that girl, and it'll help. You do need to head off that problem. I probably would have been a lot better if someone had listened right away. Because, then I would have seen there was someone who wasn't all selfish and only thinking of themselves all the time."
"Sure. Our dad always said, the best way to feel good about yourself is to help someone else," Justin said, a hint of wistfulness in his voice; their dad had died two years earlier.
Denise nodded. "And, seeing how Stephanie handled that thing about the tooth fairy really makes me want to be like her."
"Joey would have come up with that eventually," Stephanie said modestly.
"Right. Being around me for so long has helped with stuff like that," Joey remarked. "Just like when she convinced Michelle that goat boy wouldn't get her. Surround yourself with good ideas, and it'll come."
Friday, Jeff was talking with Denise on the playground after school. "Same plan," Jeff said, "you give me Michelle's homework and I'll take it over."
Denise shook her head as she slid her backpack further onto her shoulder. "Why can't you boys just admit you like a girl?"
"Shhh, not so loud," Jeff said in a whisper. More normally, he said, "At least with my jokes, I've got an excuse to make more around her; I'm a clown anyway," he explained as the principal walked by, fretting a little.
"Is there a problem?" Denise inquired.
"Oh, we just found some ants in the kitchen, that's all," the principal said. He turned to Jeff. "And, no, Jeff, there were no uncles."
"I need some new material," Jeff said. "How about, 'What's the matter, was the store out of flies for the soup?"
Denise offered, "Michelle's sister's boyfriend does exterminating. I'm sure he'd be happy to help. I'll give you his number."
Meanwhile, at the Tanners, Joey was getting ready to leave. Suzie, Justin, and Wendy were there, with Stephanie having just gotten home from school. "Wish me luck; I'm flying solo today."
"With all your voices," Justin joked, "that should take it down to about 5,000 characters."
"True. Steve got an emergency call from the school; he's on his way there now. It'll be the first time he's done any work without Nick, although he'll help inspect it when Steve's done." He left.
Danny turned to the others. "He's really taking this seriously."
"He should; anything that threatens food, and he's right on it," Stephanie remarked.
Nicky spoke up. "Too bad your Mommy's not the tooth fairy anymore."
"That's okay. She's still the best ever," Wendy boasted.
"No, ours is," Alex remarked.
"You know, it's great to hear you kids like us, but instead of arguing who's best, it's better if you just say how great we are. Without trying to top each other," Becky said.
"Sure. You don't have to be the best to be great," Suzie said.
"And, we can all agree on some things. Everyone's best at something," Stephanie said.
Nicky agreed. "I know Joey's best with voices."
"I know that, too," Alex echoed.
"I know that, three," Wendy added.
A couple weeks later, Steve ran in to the Tanner home as the fourth grader friends of Michelle's were playing video games. "Guess what! I got the loan!"
"That's awesome," Danny said. They hugged; the kids showed varying degree of interest.
"D.J. will be so excited. She's spending time with Michelle," Stephanie explained.
"That's great you own your own business," Teddy said.
Steve held up a hand. "Well, not totally, Nick had to help and cosign on the loan. But, that hurdles over, at least." Steve took a deep breath. "I'm kind of scared, though."
Aaron looked at him expectantly. "Will there be lots of poisonous spiders, and venomous pythons?" The girls made faces as he said this.
"No, it's just Jesse was telling me how hard it was for him and Joey. But, now that you say that, I am glad we don't have poison dart frogs in the Bay Area." Steve told Danny, "We're also keeping the name."
"That's fine. Instead of 'Psestbusters,' you can use my song idea," Jeff said. He sang, to the tune of "I Can't Spell Hippopotamus," "But I just can't spell Katsopolis."
Danny guaranteed, "You'll do great. It'll be like the Smash Club. There was good will built up, even though the owner had been sick for over a year before he died."
"True. But, now I have to think about things like public relations. Do I hand out business cards? Will people get the wrong idea if I gave one to a restaurant owner?" Steve asked.
Lisa suggested, "Just don't go into one and wipe your nose on your sleeve all the time like Aaron." Aaron gave her a look.
Derek's ears perked up. "Did I perceive a car's audio stimuli?" They all got up.
"Tell D.J. to wait for me," Steve called out as they were running into the kitchen.
"Will do," Denise said as she disappeared.
"I know what it's like to be anxious," Danny said.
"Yeah; but I'm not just anxious. I'm anxious about being anxious," Steve corrected.
"Look at it this way," Stephanie said, "D.J. can be anxious with you."
Steve started walking slowly around the room. "That's just it. I don't want her worrying, with college and all the extra stuff she does to help others, already."
"Steve, that's part of the relationship. You share those things, so you can both understand and work through things and care about each other," Danny explained. "It's like when Pam and I got married. We didn't have lots of money, but w were always open and honest, and never blamed each other for anything. D.J. knows how to do the same thing."
"She always shared with you when Michelle's behavior worried her back when she was six," Stephanie said.
Steve couldn't help but chuckle. "I guess you're right. I guess what I'm most afraid of is blowing it. Nick's got so much experience. And, Jesse says Nick started out under Papouli, before he moved back to Greece after Nick got on his feet."
"I know. But, he didn't start out great. He made mistakes, and you will, too." Danny put a hand on his shoulder, and said, "But, he had the determination to work through it, and – believe it or not – he even admitted when he messed up. More often than with Jesse, anyway. Nobody's a perfect businessman."
"Sure. Just like great restaurants sometimes have staff with bad days," Stephanie said. "Just make sure you don't go to one where they try to serve your food on clothing."
Danny chuckled. "Just keep being the same warm, friendly, caring person I've always known. The world might not beat a path to your door right away. But, Nick and Jesse have both said you really seem to know what you're doing, and you really like the work. Put all that together, and I'm sure you'll do a great job. Because, since Nick can't pass it on to a son, I know you're just the kind of person he'd want to have the business."
"Thanks," Steve said as they hugged.