Blue eyes scanned the countertop warily. Leaving no nook or cranny unlooked at. Pinky crept out from behind the cage, barely able to smother a giggle before shushing himself. He couldn't ruin it! Tiptoeing past the bookshelf, he peered through several pages to and even climbed to the tippy-top of the shelf. But alas, nothing. Humming to himself thoughtfully, Pinky tapped his chin and glanced upward. Oh, his brain was hurting now. His gaze roved over several beakers and test tubes. Aha! He crouched down on all fours, wiggling his tail in the air, and sproinged.

From her hiding place behind the VCR, Cici giggled as she watched her parent fail at finding her. Hide and seek was his favorite game, but he wasn't very good at it. She'd have to go easier on him next time. Ducking down behind it again, she fluffed up the pink ribbon tied around her neck, Pinky's latest present to her, and waited to be found. She'd give him five more minutes before changing hiding spots.

Brie noticed her as soon as she climbed onto the countertop. Kid really needed to learn how to tuck in her tail, but she didn't say anything. It was much more entertaining to watch Pinky try and find her. She sent him a wave. "Hey, Pinky. Playing a game?"

"Hi, sister dear!" Pinky smiled, upside down now to see if a different perspective would help, legs wobbling in the air. "It's Hide and Seek! Narf! Guess which part I'm doing!"

She tilted her head to the side, smile widening. Pinky never failed to cause that particular reaction. "A stealth ninja like you? Definitely seeking," she teased, knowing he wouldn't get it.

"Hoorah!" He cheered, right before tumbling over. Shaking his head, he stood up and brushed off his fur. "You got it right! I'm trying to seek Cici." He paused to laugh at how similar the two words sounded. "But she's a very good hider."

"Four month old's - they're brilliant." She moved closer to the VCR, leaning against it mainly to see if he'd notice her tail jutting out. It was like having two four month old's. It was great. "I think you can find her, Pinky. It's almost eight, anyway. Brainiac should be coming around to drag you away soon."

Cici sighed as she heard Auntie Brie's voice come closer. Oh, no fair. She was giving him hints! Not that he'd pick up on them though. Her mommy-daddy wasn't the brightest crayon in the box, at least that's what Brain said.

"Oh, she is brilliant!" Pinky clapped, following Brie to the VCR. "She learned her times tables today! Though, I don't know why Brain wanted her to learn how to tell time with a table... we have clocks for that." He shrugged it off, used to all the strange smarty things. "Oh, I hope I can find her soon, sister dear! I don't want to not say goodnight before we go. Goodnights are very important!"

Brie giggled, as used to his nonsense as he was the smarty things. "I think Cici knows how important they are if she managed to learn her times tables in one whole day. And it's a math thing, kitsel, not a telling-time thing."

Pinky liked Brie's silly-willy words almost as much as Brain's biggly-wiggly ones. Almost. Tail wagging, he laughed in understanding. "Oh, well, that makes sense then 'cause I had no idea what they were doing! Troz." It was chance really, he just happened to glance down and saw it. "Egad, sister dear! Our VCR has grown a tail!" He knew it hadn't, but he was delighted to hear the little girl mouse behind it giggle. "Now, how did it do that?"

"Pinky!" Cici poked her head out. "It's me!"

He gasped, hands flying to his cheeks. "You're the VCR?"

Brie laughed, hugging her middle. "Oh, gosh, Pinky, you're the coolest mom ever." She reached out and gave his side a pat since he tended to inspire that reaction from her, but ended up leaving her hand on his arm when she heard the typical throat-clear. There was the typical clench of her gut and the rush of pleasure at having her brother nearby, but that was brushed aside in favor of a scowl and a cocky tilt of her head. "Brainiac's here to spoil the fun."

His eye twitched and he tried very hard not to walk over and remove her hand from the other mouse. He also refused to acknowledge the fact that it was jealousy which gave him the urge in the first place. He wouldn't be jealous of his own sister over her interactions with his friend. "You know I hate that."

"Brain!" Pinky and Cici both chirped, the little mouse running over as the taller one gave him a hug. "I found her, Brain! And I didn't even need to ask her to come out this time!" He said proudly.

"Congratulations," he monotoned, pushing out of the hug. "Now stop that." He looked down at the girl and sighed, reaching out to straighten the bow around her neck. She still had the optimal adorableness awarded to children. "Did you enjoy your game?"

"Yes, it didn't take long at all." She nodded, she wouldn't ruin it for Pinky by saying how her aunt had helped in a way. But now that Brain was here, it only meant one thing, like Brie said. Time to take over the world. Hands clasped in front of her, Cici smiled sweetly, preparing to ask the same question she did every night. "Can I come too this time? Please, daddy?"

His heart fluttered as it did everytime she addressed him by the title, but Brain had already made up his mind. He'd learned very quickly that he'd cave unless he made up his mind beforehand. Besides, they were taking over an airport and that was no place for a child. "Not tonight." But he brushed his fingers over her ear affectionately before he could stop himself, immediately clasped his hands behind his back afterwards. "Perhaps tomorrow if you behave yourself during lessons. Now come, Pinky. We're already behind schedule."

It had been a long shot, but she still tried. She sighed and looked up at Pinky, raising her arms to him. He scooped her up immediately and twirled her around. "Where are we going, Brain?" he asked, spinning her right into Brie's arms.

"The airport, Pinky." A gleam came into his eyes that they were all familiar with. "The president's going to be landing in a few short hours, which is why we need to hurry." He turned his gaze to the two girls, frowning. "You two should behave yourselves. No reorganizing my things again, either. You know I hate that."

"Sure thing, nudnik."

"I know what that means," he snapped and felt the familiar bubble of curiosity. He didn't know why his sister would know Yiddish when she didn't seem to practice the religion the language was associated with. But, as always, he didn't ask. "Come, Pinky." He turned on his heel and started off.

"'Kay!" Pinky nodded, but turned back to Brie and Cici, bending down to give his daughter a kiss on the forehead. "Goodnight, Cici! Goodnight, sister dear!"

Cici patted him on the head, softly, not like Brain tended to even though she knew it meant the same thing essentially. "Bye, Pinky. Take care of Brain."

With a laugh, he saluted her, then spun away to follow his cagemate.

Brie sighed, her bravado dying with her brother's departure. She gave the kid a nuzzle. "You're awfully lucky, bubeleh. You get to have plenty of fun with your parents every day." She couldn't exactly remember ever having fun with hers. "C'mon. Let's go watch them sing the parts of the brain again."

"Okay," Cici readily agreed, but something struck her as funny about what her aunt said. "Didn't you get to play with your parents when you were little, Auntie Brie?"

"My parents were... different. I don't know how much your daddy remembers about them, but you can ask him sometime. I haven't seen them in a long time anyway." She set Cici on her feet, straightening the bow as Brain had done since all the spinning had tilted it. "I like the bow, by the way. Another gift from Pinky?"

Twisting her lips in a pensive look she'd picked up from Brain, she let it go at that. She could tell Brie didn't want to talk about it, but at the same time she was curious. Why wouldn't Brain remember their parents? She'd ask Pinky later. So instead, she smiled and fluffed up her bow as well, quite proud of it. "Yeah! He said it's my birth-month-day." He liked to celebrate and since a year was an awfully long time, he celebrated her birthday every month. Except he didn't know how long months were and didn't really know the exact date either. "Brain told him that it's next week though, it made him sad for a little bit, but then Brain said he could still give it to me." She giggled, well aware of her parents' dynamic.

Amused, Brie held out her hand. The girl had gotten too big for her to carry all the way down to the basement, her stature on par with her brother's. "Even Brainiac knows that there's nothing better than an early birthday present."

Cici took hold of her hand, grinning. "Yeah, but he also knows Pinky's just going to get me another one anyway."

"Bubbee, by the time you're all grown up you're going to have as fancy a closet as he does." Giving the small hand a squeeze, she started down the open drawers, watching her niece to make sure she didn't slip. But her climbing was getting better and better, so they both made it to the floor without incident and it was off to the basement where Brie had been secretly living.

Hooray! Cici and Brie!

This is StarShineDC and mine's first collab of our OC-verse. My story "Can We Keep Her?" and her story "Sister Dear" take place before (and during/after in the case of "Sister Dear") where Cici and Brie are introduced.

And can I just say that I love Pinky as a parent? xD He's so much fun! And he's such a good mummy! And Brain is an adorable, reluctant father lol. We had a lot of fun with this. Hope you do too!

Cerebral Cortex "Cici" (c) skimmingsurfaces

Brie (c) StarShineDC