Disclaimer: I own nothing.

AN: I got this idea while reading the HMA nominees for best Kevin story. Of course, this story is nowhere near as good as any of those.

How To Make A Sister

Tom fidgeted beside his wife, beads of sweat forming on his brow as he stared at the three small boys sitting in a row on the couch.

"And so," he gasped, tugging at his collar, "we want you to know that we love you all equally. A-and that our love won't change. I mean, it'll get bigger but --"

Sandy rolled her eyes. "What daddy is trying to say, is that in a few months mommy's going to have another baby."

Nick glanced from one parent to the other then nodded approvingly and went back to his newest Lego set.

Joe shrugged and turned the TV back on.

Kevin raised his hand.

"You don't have to raise your hand, sweetie," Sandy said, coming to sit beside him. Joe scooted to the end to make room, never taking his eyes off the Power Rangers. "What do you want to say?"

"Is it a question about how much we love you?" Tom asked hurriedly. "Because you know--"

Sandy shot him a look that very clearly reminded him that if any of their boys were likely to understand the concept of a parent's love not diminishing just because a new baby came along, it was Kevin.

"No," Kevin said, pushing his tiny fingers beneath his legs and rocking slightly on the cushions. "I wanted to know if it's a sister."

Tom smiled at Sandy, then ruffled Kevin's curly hair. "We won't know for a few weeks."

"And even then we can't be sure until the baby comes," Sandy added, not wanting anyone throwing a tantrum just because a doctor misread a sonogram.

"Oh," Kevin said, his eyes losing focus as he considered this.

"But," Tom said, taking his son's shoulder in a manly father-son sort of way, "even if it is a girl, that'll be okay. I know you're used to your brothers, but girls can be fun too."

Kevin's head shot up and Tom barreled on.

"I promise, kid-o, you'll love the baby no matter if it's a brother or a sister."

Tom and Sandy left then and Joe leapt up, doing a flying kick off the couch as the giant monster on the screen disappeared in a burst of light. Kevin just frowned.

"But I want a sister."

Kevin rested his chin on the edge of the table, staring dully into the blue and purple centerpiece. Occasionally his parents, and even his brothers, would try to get him to stop looking like he was at a funeral, but he wouldn't budge. Every time someone his parents knew came over to the table it was the same thing.

"Oh, Sandy! Look at you! You're positively glowing!"

"Thanks, Person!"

"Do you know what it is yet?"

"A boy."

"Oh! Another boy! You must be so excited!"

Excited? How could anyone be excited? Oh sure, Kevin was happy there was gonna be a new baby, but he'd specifically asked Santa and the Easter Bunny and the Great Pumpkin and the turkey the president pardoned last Thanksgiving to give him a sister!

He speared a piece of broccoli with his fork and awkwardly ate it while his chin stayed planted on the table.

"Kevin," his mother said, "eat right."

Kevin wasn't sure what that meant. He was chewing at least twenty-seven times before swallowing and he wasn't doing it with his mouth open like Joe was likely to do. What was he doing wrong?

"Oh, Sandy!"

Kevin rolled his eyes. Yet another person to go on and on about the new brother.

"Cheryl!" Sandy said, easing up from her seat. That was new. The only time she'd moved since the boring church part was for her hourly bathroom break twenty minutes ago.

He tried to see whoever it was his mother was talking to, but they were hidden by the centerpiece and he was still too mopey to move.

"I feel horrible," Sandy said. "This is your big day and people are treating it like a baby shower."

"Oh, please!" the mysterious Cheryl said. "I'm actually glad. I was worried I'd spend the whole day feeling self-conscious. Knowing that half the people here are just waiting for the chance to talk to you is a relief."

Sandy chuckled. "Well, I'm happy to be of service." Kevin saw his dad help her back into her seat and assumed Cheryl had left.

"And who do we have here?"

He jumped, turning around to see Cheryl leaning down to talk in his ear.

Tom laughed. "Finally! I never thought he'd move from that spot."

Kevin wasn't paying attention. Cheryl was the woman in the white dress. The one who they'd all stood up for and who they'd all listened to while she talked about how much she loved his Uncle Roy. She was a bride and this was her wedding -- the wedding Nick had told him he was ruining by moping. Kevin gulped.

Cheryl smiled, then cocked her head as she looked across the table at his parents. "Can I steal this handsome young man from my new sister?"

"Of course," Sandy said.

Cheryl held out her gloved hand. "Can I have this dance?" she asked Kevin.

He was so dumbfounded he couldn't think to do anything else but go with her.

They danced one slow dance and almost before it ended a fast song started up and Kevin started imitating moves he'd seen on TV. Cheryl laughed and they danced a silly dance together before Uncle Roy came out and asked if he could cut in.

Kevin nodded yes and began to hurry away before remembering what Cheryl had said. He came back and tugged on Cheryl's skirt. She pulled slightly away from Roy and they both smiled down at him.

"What's up, Kev?" Roy asked. "You're not looking to steal her back, are you?"

Kevin shook his head. "What did you mean when you said 'new sister'?"

Cheryl and Roy frowned, exchanging a confused look before Cheryl's face cleared with an, "Oh!" She laughed lightly. "Because I married your mom's brother, that makes me her sister-in-law."

"So, when a boy marries a girl, she becomes his brothers and sisters' sister?"

There was a short pause before Roy nodded an emphatic, "Yes."

Kevin stood on the rim of the sandbox, leaning back and letting the chain link fence stop his fall. He scanned the playground for his brothers.

Nick was playing soccer with a bunch of guys from his class. That wouldn't work.

Kevin checked the black top for Joe. His brother had been playing on the field a lot less since he started second grade. When their mom had mentioned that Joe's clothes were coming home cleaner than usual, Joe had squirmed and muttered something before racing off to his room. Kevin didn't really care what had made his brother change, he was just happy he didn't have to share the back seat of the car with someone covered in mud.

There was Joe! He was climbing up the jungle gym, yelling at someone. When he reached the top he threw slow motion punches at Carl Shuster until Carl fake-fell onto the slide and went down face first. Kevin glanced around for a playground attendant, breathing a sigh of relief when he saw the closest one was busy talking to some fifth graders and hadn't seen Carl go down the wrong way. That was an immediate detention for anyone involved.

Kevin looked back to Joe and saw him striking a heroic pose before lifting a blonde girl from the floor of the jungle gym. She hugged him gratefully and kissed his cheek before heading down the slide herself. Joe stared after her a moment before wiping his cheek and spitting over the railing.

A shrill whistle rang out and Kevin winced as the playground attendant called Joe down. While Joe was walked off to the principal's office Kevin made his way over to the jungle gym.

"Carl?" he asked.

Carl looked up from the hole he was digging in the sand, then hopped to his feet when he recognized Kevin.

"What's up?" Carl asked and Kevin hoped he wouldn't start doing that clumsy robot thing.

"Who's she?" Kevin asked, pointing at the blonde girl. She had moved on to the swings and was talking to another girl, calling across when they swung by each other.

"Stella? Why do you wanna know about Stella?"

"Because. Is she Joe's friend?"

Carl smiled big. A moment later the smile was gone and he was looking around as if someone would be listening in. He leaned close to Kevin and whispered, "She's Joe's friend," with a nod.

"Why are you whispering?" Kevin asked, his voice just as low.

"Because," Carl said normally, backing away, "when Drew said that Joe and Stella were friends last week, Joe punched him."

Kevin's eyes widened and he remembered the day when they'd gone home without Joe, only to find him at home, helping their mom clean every inch of the house.

"But they're friends?" Kevin pressed. "I mean, she kissed him."

"Oh yeah," Carl said, returning to his hole, "they're friends. He's always Superman and she's always Lois Lane."

Kevin smiled. This was going perfectly. "Good," he said. "Carl?"

Carl looked up from his hole.

"Never mind," Kevin said and hurried towards the swings. He dodged under two swingers and ran around to the far end where Stella was swinging. "Stella?" he called as she went past.

"Yeah?" she asked, coming back down.

He waited until she came forward again before asking, "You like Joe?"

Stella's sparkly pink sneakers dug into the sand and she stumbled backward, falling into the seat with a thump that shook the chains. "What?" she asked, eyes wide.

"You're friends with Joe?"

"Oh. Yeah." She hooked her arms around the chains, pumping her legs only the tiniest bit. "Who are you?"

"I'm Kevin. I'm his brother."

"Oh. He got in trouble."

"I know. I wanted to talk to you. Do you like animals?"

Stella shrugged. "Yeah. I like dolphins."

"Me too! Do you like ducks or bunnies or platypuses?"

"I guess. Except -- well, my brother's rabbit peed on my new dress last Easter. So I guess I like bunnies, just not when they're peeing."

Kevin nodded. It was a good reason. He didn't have much experience with girls, but he knew he wasn't likely to get any better than a girl who liked animals. "Okay, thanks." He walked away and Stella, after a moment of confusion, returned to swinging.

When Kevin got home he marched up to the dining room table and sat down, waiting patiently until his parents noticed him.

"Something wrong, Kevin?" Sandy asked, easing into a chair. Tom brought over a plate of cookies and three glasses of milk before taking a seat.

"How do you get married?" Kevin asked.

Tom spit out his milk and went to get a napkin.

"Why do you want to know?" Sandy asked, smiling.

Kevin reached for a cookie. "I just do," he said, not meeting their eyes.

"Oooookay," Tom said.

"You have to be a grown up," Sandy said.

"Oh." Kevin frowned, nibbling his cookie. "Really? You have to?"

"Yes," Tom said emphatically.

"Is there someone you want to tell us about, Kevin?" Sandy asked. "Did you meet someone new at school today?"

Kevin shrugged. "Oh, just Stella." He grabbed another cookie. "I'm gonna go play with Nick."

Stella and Tom exchanged horrified looks behind his back. Kevin just trudged up the stairs. If he wanted Stella for a sister, he was gonna have to make sure Joe still loved her when they were old.

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