Several days passed with little headway made. Anna and Marcus had become increasingly tight lipped, even around Lisa, attempting to mask their discontent over Joshua's disappearance. The only time she'd seen Ryan and his baby, he'd not even acknowledged her existence.

Mother's continued dismissal allowed Lisa to spend time on Earth. Joshua was recovering quickly and, with the help of Father Jack, he'd set up a makeshift lab in the basement. The priest, who was staying at the house with Joshua and shrugging off Agent Evans's inquiries about being missed at the church, attempted to help but shied away from the various chemical analyses.

Tyler often came by after school, but since the big reveal, he'd drawn back from her. It was understandable. He had to reconcile things in his own mind before he could be truly comfortable around her again.

Agent Evans would arrive in the evening and they would share a meal. Lisa confided in Joshua that this was fast becoming her favorite part of the day, getting to know their allies - their friends.

Joshua had smiled at her when she told him this and she felt the urge to do something to make him smile again. Soon.

Even odd Mr. Hobbes appeared occasionally, grunting that he was just there for the food and the planning. He tended to just glare a lot and make sarcastic quips about Father Jack and Agent Evans that caused Tyler to choke on his soda.

From the look on Father Jack's face, Lisa assumed the comments had been made in very poor taste and had simply been too culturally specific for her or Joshua to understand.

"One more comment like that," Agent Evans was saying, blunt butter knife jabbing in Hobbes's direction, "And I'll be taking suggestions for creative punishments."

Clearly believing her to be teasing (or simply not caring), Hobbes said, "Gonna butter my muffin, Luv?"

Erica snorted and looked around the table with a raised brow. "Suggestions?"

Lisa was at a loss, but Joshua set his utensils down, wiped his mouth and said, "Well, I've never skinned a human before, but I'm sure I could work something out."

For a moment, everyone froze in wide eyed silence, then Lisa caught the glint in her friend's eye, saw the quirk at the corner of his mouth.

"Oh!" she exclaimed, letting out a huff of a laugh and swatting his arm gently. "Very funny, Joshua!"

The skin around his eyes crinkled a bit as his smile widened and he inclined his head, clearly pleased that she'd understood that he was attempting to be funny.

Humor was not their strong suit, as they had discovered when Tyler had sat them down to watch 'the funniest show ever.' The teenager had laughed, giggled and snorted his way through several episodes of the half hour program while Joshua and Lisa had simply stared at the crude animations of vulgar children, one of whom appeared to have the ability to rise from the dead. At the end of a two hour marathon, Tyler had sighed and decided they must not 'get it.'

But they were trying. Joshua had found he enjoyed Jon Stewart's satiric take on current events and Lisa had taken a liking to Stephen Colbert.

This was the first time one of them had tried to make a joke though and the reactions were…mixed. Hobbes looked angry, but that appeared to be his default expression. Tyler was clearly unnerved, but Father Jack and Agent Evans cracked small smiles.

"I'm not sure it's come to that yet," the FBI agent said, starting to chuckle slightly. "But I'll keep that offer in mind. Just in case."

Hobbes made a disgruntled noise and hunkered back down over his meat loaf and smashed potatoes, shoveling overly laden fork full's into his mouth at an impressive pace, though he was unable to match Tyler in speed and sheer volume of consumption.

That seemed to be a skill unique to young human males.

Then again…she glanced over at Joshua, who had resumed working on his own meal. Oddly, he seemed particularly fond of the potatoes. Of course, she'd found herself quite liking the raspberry torte from the night before, so she wasn't one to judge.

TBC….