Set near the end of Lucy's Kindergarten year. Stella/Lucy bonding time.
For piper maru duchovny because she suggested a 'Lucy' fic.
Stella's phone rang and she picked it up and looked at the display. Recognizing the number as one from the crime lab, she momentarily thought about not answering. This was the first day she's had off in nearly three weeks, and she was looking forward to some Stella-time. The phone trilled a few more times, and the cop instinct took over.
"Stella, it's Lindsay."
If Lindsay was on the line, chances were she wasn't being called into work. "Hey, kiddo. What's up?"
Lindsay smiled. They'd known each other nearly a decade, and Stella still occasionally called her 'kiddo.' She felt like she was twelve. "Uh, I know it's your day off, but I need to ask a huge favor."
"Can you pick up Lucy from school? Danny and I are up to our necks in evidence, and I can't reach either of Lucy's sitters."
Floored by Lindsay's request, Stella somehow found herself saying 'yes.' She'd spent a lot of time around Lucy, but there had always been another adult present. She had no clue what to do in the one-on-one time with the mini-Messer.
Lindsay quickly gave her the directions to the school and the release time. "You're on the list of people who can pick her up, so there shouldn't be a problem. Danny and I will swing by and pick her up on our way home. Thanks, Stell. I owe you!"
They disconnected the call, and Stella stared at her phone wondering what she'd agreed to. A small part of her wished she'd been called into work.
Stella heard the bell ring, and moments later, the quiet halls erupted into squeals and peals of laughter. This was the students' favorite time of day. Stella looked at all the kids rushing past her, eyes searching for the 5-year old who was the perfect combination of Danny and Lindsay. Finally, she saw Lucy, trailing behind most of the children, seemingly in her own little world. Light brown pigtails--one slightly higher than the other, no doubt from a tough day on the playground--swung back and forth as Lucy meandered down the hall. Stella watched the little girl and silently berated herself for her earlier thoughts on entertaining Lucy. Everything would fall into place, and they would be okay.
A moment later Lucy recognized Stella and made a beeline for her. Being smaller than most of the other kids, she zigzagged between them and eventually launched herself into Stella's awaiting arms.
"Aunt Stella!" Lucy squealed with delight.
"Hey, baby girl!" Stella replied, returning Lucy's squeeze, though with less force.
"Uh-uh!" Lucy declared as she pulled back and kicked her feet, ready to be put back down. "Only Daddy calls me that."
"Oh, really?" Stella asked playfully.
"Yep!" Lucy told her, pigtails bouncing wildly.
"Well, then what am I supposed to call you?"
Lucy scrunched up her face and her tongue peeked between her lips as she thought. "Mostly people call me 'Lucy' or 'Luce,' but you can call me…'Katie!'"
"Yeah, 'cause I like that name. Don't you like it, Aunt Stella?"
"Yes, it's a very pretty name. But why don't I call you, 'Lucy Goosey?!'" Stella punctuated the exchange by tickling Lucy's ribcage.
Lucy squealed again. "You're silly, Aunt Stella! Say it again!"
"Lucy Goosey," Stella repeated, again with the tickling. "What do you say we get out of here?"
"Yeah," Lucy agreed, face red from laughing and trying to get away from the 'tickle fingers.'
"What do you usually do after school?" Stella asked as she took Lucy's hand and began walking toward the door.
"Um…get ice cream."
"Mommy, Daddy, and your sitters let you get ice cream?" Stella asked, already knowing the answer.
"Yes…" It came out more like a question.
"Lucy Goosey, are you telling a lie?"
Lucy stopped walking and looked up at Stella, big crocodile tears threatening to fall from her eyes. She slowly nodded her head. "Uh-huh. I'm sorry, Aunt Stella. I won't lie ever again." A single tear slid down her cheek and she sighed heavily. "I just really like ice cream."
Stella's heart broke for the mini-Messer, and she squatted down until they were eye-level with each other.
"Tell you what," Stella said as she wiped the wetness from Lucy's face, "we'll get some ice cream, but only because this is a special occasion."
"'Cause you don't usually pick me up from school?"
Stella smiled. "Exactly."
Lucy grinned then and wiped the remaining tears from her eyes with the backs of her hands. "Aunt Stella?"
"I love you," Lucy said as she wrapped her arms around Stella's neck and buried her face in Stella's hair.
Stella had always heard there was nothing like the love of a child, but until that moment, she'd never witnessed it. Tears of her own threatened to fall, and she hugged Lucy tighter. "I love you, too, kiddo."
Thanks for reading!