Chapter Nine: The Return

William looks over into the passenger seat as he pulls into the lighthouse driveway. He smiles as his sleeping girlfriend. He turns back towards the house as he can see the lights still on and the silhouettes of his family throughout it.

"We are here," he says as he parks the car next to his parent's cars.

Willow slowly begins to open her eyes and look at him. "I'm getting de-ja-vu."

"You always did fall asleep on the way home," William says smiling.

"I did not," she says looking at him.

"You totally did, because I would have to get you up so you could drive yourself home," he says.

"If you says so, but what does that say about you," she asks as they unbuckle their seat belts.

"That my dad didn't trust me with the only family vehicle," he says as they open the doors. "Which bag is going to let you survive with Christina and Phoebe?"

"They are not that bad and the maroon one. They just have opposite sense of style and personality, much like you and Dylan," she says grabbing her black bag from her behind her seat.

"That's stretching it. You still carry that bag everywhere," he says grabbing the maroon one, spotting the old messenger back, still on her shoulder.

"Yup, still contains my laptop, backup discs, Ipod, camera, video camera, all my writing equipment, and planners. Somethings will never change," she says walking over to him.

"Well that is always a good thing," he says putting the bag on his shoulder, before leading her towards the door. "So beware but everybody is going to be coming from everywhere."

"You are kidding," she asks walking.

"Not at all, Helen's up in her studio, my dad in his office, little kids throughout, elders doing something chores or monitoring," he says leading her up the stairs.

"So not as schedule orientated as you Beardsley are used to but not as open minded as the North family," she says.

"Basically, found a nice balance of structure and flexibility," he says reaching the door and opening it.

"Meaning you may finally be able to get away with being late for curfew," she says following him in.

"Hopefully, since it sucks being grounded and having to squeeze as much time as we could during school hours," he says leading her into the main hallway.

"You were the one, who always lost track of time," she says jokingly.

"I did not, he says looking at her.

"You totally did," Christina says.

"She is like time is only a restriction, unless in music," Dylan and Phoebe say.

Just as the two finish the two four year old boys come racing in. "Willow," Aldo and Ethan shout racing over to her.

The sound of a thousand feet can be heard racing from different places in the house. The room slowly becomes filled with ages seventeen to four.

"You're back, you're back, you're back," the voices of the newest additions chant.

Phoebe whistles loudly grabbing their attention.

"Come on guys, let's let her breathe," William says as he sees his girlfriend in a giant group hug.

"Our Willow," the fourteen younger voices say, holding on tight.

"Under ten lights out in 10 minutes," Ms. Munion calls walking into the entrance way. "Oh hello Willow."

"Hi Ms. Munion," Willow says from inside the crowd.

"We don't want to go to bed," the eight say.

"I'll be here in the morning," Willow says.

"Promise," they ask.

"I promise," Willow says looking at them.

"Okay," Aldo, Ethan, Bina, Marissa, Otter, Ely, Lau and Mick say leaving the group hug and walking up the stairs.

"Our Willow," Kelly, Joni, Micheal, Henry, Jimi and Naoko says looking at the older four.

"40 minutes for you six," Ms. Munion says following the eight.

They just hold on tighter as Dylan grabs the black messenger back from her.

"Thanks, are they always like this," she asks looking at the older four.

"When Frank leaves on missions but never for more than a few week is he gone," Dylan says.

"We were waiting for college to see, if they would be like this," Christina says.

"So how does this fit into the experiment," Willow asks.

"Probably pre-college days," Phoebe and William say.

"Aww," Willow says looking at the six. "Are you guys afraid that if you let me go, I'll disappear?"

"No that the four will take up all your time," the six say.

"Ouch," the other four say.

"Does the truth hurt," the six say.

"You six do realize that if you keep squeezing her, she is not going to be able to breathe," Frank says.

"Hi Mr. Beardsley," Willow says from the crowd.

"It's Frank, Willow. Movie it guys; William, Phoebe, Dylan, and Christina will play nice," Frank says looking at them.

"Got it," the ten say as the six spread out.

"Thank you Frank," Willow says.

"Anytime, 20 minutes for 10 through 15 lights out," he say before disappearing.

"Great," the six say disappointed.

"Come on, let's go do something fun," Willow suggests.

"Stories in the lighthouse," Jimi says.

"Well than we better get moving before we have no time," Phoebe says as the six go racing off.

"Nice work," Christina says as the older four and Willow follow.

"Than we are in place to to discuss the 'I.M.B.P.I.P.' plan," Dylan says walking up the stairs.

"The what plan," Willow asks following as William and Dylan drop her bags off in the girl's room.

"The your not going to worry about plan," William says walking up the stairs.

"You're dreaming if you think that is going to happen," Phoebe says looking at him.

"Come on you five," the younger six call down.

"We are coming, no one better have lit the lamp," William calls up.

All they hear is silence.

"Oh crap," the two boys say before racing off.

"When will they learn," the three girls say. "Never."

"You six scared us half to death, do you know we thought someone could have been hurt," they hear Dylan lecture.

"They only did it because they thought it would make us come up quicker," Willow says.

"Not cool, you guys," William says wrapping his arms around her waist.

"What story," Willow asks.

Different request are shouted out as the five laugh.