Another more difficult chapter, sorry it's been so long we recently hatched a bunch of chicks and long story short one of the chicks got into a fight with a cat and has been having the ruff of it. I've been a bit busy with him (or maybe her I'm still not sure), so I'm not sure when the next chapter will get out.

Either way, reviews are welcome, flames are not.

Prompts provided by daisymall13 (but I added a few)

Chapter Five ::No 16:: Children

Rick was sitting on the kitchen island sipping at his cup of coffee. Fay was ignoring Michael, while Casey was squeezing a fresh glass of orange juice from oranges picked from a tree near where he lived (actually Rick wasn't sure where the oranges came from). Billy was chasing down a very elusive Keira, who was able to catch an apple thrown out the window before she dashed off again with a smile on her face.

He was surprised at how well she could hold her liquor. Billy he knew was able to down shots of scotch like it was water. There were times when they were undercover and his cast iron stomach came in handy. Casey surprised him by holding just as much. Michael had elected to sit back with Rick, explaining a few things to him (surprisingly) about the family. Like how you should never ask their occupation, and if they gave you a name, you called them by it no matter what anyone else will tell you, not including Keira. Keira's word was law, apparently. He wasn't quite sure how that was, seeing as how there were many other family members much older than her, but he didn't question it.

Rick took another sip of his coffee, looking over his shoulder as he saw a trail of children enter the living room behind him.

The small blonde girl from yesterday rubbed at her eyes as she lead another small boy (maybe two or three) over towards where Michael was sitting. She looked up at him before butting her head against his leg, pointing vaguely to her mouth.

"Keira will be here in a-"

The small girl and boy were suddenly swooped up into Keira's nimble arms. "Ohh good morning little children, are you hungry for some cereal?"

Keira's face was flushed with excitement. Her green eyes twinkling with an inner mirth that vibrated through out her body. She was now wearing a t-shirt (the black color would have brought out the red in her hair and the green in her eyes, but the pink Energizer Bunny ruined the effect) and a belt to hold her shorts up.

Keira set the children on the table and headed over towards the fridge in the corner. "Are you awake now Tobey?"

Rick nodded, taking another sip of hot coffee as she pulled out a gallon of milk from the practically empty fridge and a box of Corn Pops from above. She set them on the counter before heading back to the cabinet for a set of bowels and spoons. Keira helped pour the cereal ad milk before she herself went over to the fruit bowel and helped herself to another apple.

"The family is leaving after they eat their breakfast," Keira said.

"Do you need us to stay and help clean?" Michael asked, his tone didn't match the words he spoke though. Rick looked up in curiosity. Michael was looking at Keira intently.

"I can clean by myself," she replied, meeting his intense gaze over another bite of apple.

"We'll stay and help," he replied, shooting a glance at Casey, before giving Billy the same one where he stood in the doorway.

"Nothing better to bond over than a bit of house cleaning," Billy chirped. He held up a pair of blue jeans, the marker that adorned his face earlier now gone. "I found my pants!"

"Oh Billy, please, not in front of the kids!" Keira scolded lightly with a smile.

Billy smiled a Friendly smile at the two children on the counter. The girl was smiling into her milk, trying to pretend that she wasn't laughing. The two year old let out a breathy laugh, holding his arms up to Billy. "I'yee, I'yee, I'yee," he repeated, mashing up Billy's name in an adorable way. Rick smiled, finishing his cup of coffee.

"Tommy boy! Good morning!" Billy replied, a Happy smile on his face as he picked up the small child. "How are you?"

"Good," the small boy tried to wrap his mouth around the words.

"And little miss Emily?"

The small girl blushed lightly, giving Billy a toothless smile. "I lost my tooth," she said softly. Rick looked at her in surprise. He was beginning to believe that she was mute… yet here she was, talking with Billy.

Billy gasped. "Congratulations! Did you stick it under your pillow?" Billy asked.

The small girl nodded vigorously. Rick stood to grab another cup of coffee, listening with only one ear as Billy conversed with Tommy and Emily. He glanced at Keira, who was smiling endearingly at Billy and the two children. Casey was looking meaningfully at Michael from behind her back. Michael shook his head subtly, taking a sip from his cup.

Rick made a mental note to talk to Billy later. In the mean time, he sat back down watching Keira and Billy interact with the two children. He wasn't fazed as more and more entered the kitchen. Rick knew that there were more than two children in the Keegan family, he was tripping all over them yesterday.

Eventually he gave up his spot for a place on the couch next to Casey and Michael, saying goodbye to Fay as she left for her home. Casey and Michael were conversing almost silently, but Rick wasn't paying attention, more intrigued as to how he could have missed the fact that Billy was born to be a family man.

Some of the children, he knew, didn't speak English very well, and yet Billy was able to make them laugh and giggle with little trouble. Below his feet, children swarmed arms raised as he tossed them in the air.

"Fusée, encore une fois s'il vous plaît!" one of the children, a small girl with brown hair and blue eyes squealed.

"Attendez votre tour, Kim," Keira replied easily, shocking Rick.

"Oui, mon cousin Keira," the small girl replied.

Rick stared at the two in wonder. He was not very familiar with French, only learning a few passing phrases in high school to talk to their foreign exchange student who ended up being a guy anyways.

"Do you want to play, Young Rick?" Billy asked, noticing his stares.

Rick shook his heads, a light blush dusting the back of his neck. "I'm not really-"

Casey kicked him off of the couch. "Play with the children Martinez, before you make one cry."

Rick stood up, disturbed at the glare that Casey sent after him.

"Casey's scared of only two things. Angry women and crying children," Keira stage whispered to him, dodging the knife that flew at her with ease. Rick paled, staring at the knife that was lodged into the wood wall behind them.

"The decibels their voices can reach can damage your hearing," he stated monotonously.

Keira ignored him and looked at Rick reassuringly. "It's ok, Tobey, they only bite when threatened. Don't do anything threatening and you'll be fine!" Keira's bubbly voice was very reminiscent of Billy.

Some of the children gave him interested looks.

"Family, this is Tobey, Tobey, this is family," Keira announced, translating into a few different languages for those who didn't understand.

"Actually that's Rick Martinez," a drowsy voice replied from the stair well. A small boy stumbled into the kitchen area, brushing black messy hair from his blue eyes. Rick was taken a back for a moment. Not only did the child know his real name, but he was an almost duplicate copy of Keira. "You really shouldn't introduce people by their nicknames Aunt Rara."

The boy butted his head against Keira's stomach sleepily. "Aww Dessy, you spoil the fun," she chuckled affectionately. "Rick, this is Desmond. Dessy this is Rick, who I and most of the family call Tobey."

Desmond looked over to him woefully. "I apologize on behalf of my Aunt for the terrible misconception she had placed before the family. I can try, but I do not think the mistake will ever be reverted."

Rick chuckled in astonishment. "I'm getting attached to the nickname, actually, but thank-you for the offer."

Desmond shrugged. "Do you have a cell phone with you?" he asked.

"Go say hello to Fay, she's been waiting patiently for you to wake up so she can say hello," Keira interrupted, pushing the boy slightly.

"The wee lad's grown!" Billy exclaimed a moment later. "I remember when he was just a little tyke. How old is he now?"

"Just turned nine the little nut ball," Keira replied with a chuckle.

Rick looked up in surprise. "Nine?" he asked, not able to help the astonished tone in his voice.

"Quick as a whip isn't he?" she replied excitedly.

Rick glanced at the young boy in the living room, who was talking politely with Michael and Fay. Casey was looking at Desmond with a cool indifference. The children from earlier now straggling away, being called by mothers and fathers and grandparents from outside.

"He looks a lot like you," Rick said, not realizing he had said the words until they were out of his mouth.

Keira's smile seemed a little forced. "I'm told that often. Desmond, does Aunt Heather know you're trying to hide a puppy?" Keira asked suddenly, changing the topic.

Desmond froze, cutting himself off in the middle of his conversation with Fay. "She says she can't sleep on my bed, but Maggie get's scared by herself," Desmond replied, a blush forcing it's way on his face.

Keira raised an eyebrow. "Maggie?" she asked. "And where did you find Maggie?"

"Oh come on, Aunt Rara, she was a runt, and Aunt Heather said that nobody wants the runts!" Desmond pleaded. "I swear I'll take care of her and I'll train her, I promise! Aunt Helga said that she didn't mind! And they say that children with dogs learn responsibility quicker and do better in school and-"

Keira interrupted him with a laugh, obviously knowing that she had lost the battle with the boy even before it had started. "You need to tell Aunt Heather, but I don't think she'd mind as long as you promise to use your manners and help pick up after her." Keira gave him a stern look. "And don't even think about dropping my name."

"Yes, ma'am. Can I bring her down for breakfast?" he asked eagerly, knowing he had won.

After her nod the young boy dashed up the stairs a large grin slipping his face in two.

"Are you sure that was a wise idea?" Michael asked. Rick was almost surprised to see a knowing smile at his lips.

Keira gave him a defeated smile, leaning against the kitchen island with her chin in her hand. "Every boy needs a dog, right?"

"He's got you wrapped around his little finger doesn't he?" Billy asked with a special "I Pity You" smile that he saved for the very special occasions that

"I'm a sucker," she sighed, smiling softly.

"I'm glad to hear you're no longer in doubt," Casey intoned from his position on the couch.

Fay had decided to make her exit, giving Keira a hug and Desmond a kiss on the top of his head. As Keira walked her out to her car, Rick looked at the puppy in Desmond's arms.

"I once had a dog. He was a shepherd mix of some sort; the vet thought he was a German shepherd lab mix. We got her from the pound," he began, crouching in front of the boy and puppy. "You should hold her like this," he said, showing the young boy how to hold the puppy better.

"Aww! Young Rick you're getting the hang of it," Billy exclaimed with a false I'm So Proud smile.

Rick scratched the back of his head, noticing that Michael was staring at him intently. "I'd go make sure that Maggie doesn't need to use the bathroom, Desmond," Michael said with a rare smile.

Desmond replied with his own grin and lead Maggie to the front door, slipping on a pair of shoes before heading outside.

Michael looked back to Rick seriously. "Children are very precious in this family, Rick, be careful with what you say, especially around Keira," he warned, replacing his stern face with a small smile just in time for Keira to walk inside.

"The family is getting ready to go, so I would say your goodbyes while you still can," she said with a smile and a twinkle in her eyes. Rick couldn't help but notice a tightness around her eyes as she said it though, and Rick wondered if the reason why they were staying to "clean up" was not as friendly as Rick was lead to believe.