Summary: Leverage Consulting & Associates, Jr., continued. The take-down of another bully and a serious discussion about personal hygiene and unicorns. "Sticky Little Fingers" verse. Takes place after "The Most Important Role," "Always an Uncle, Never a Dad," "The Leverage Family Business," "Son of a Gun!" "S.O.S.," "Rebel with a Cause," and "Boys' Day Out."
This is the last story in this collection. It has been a really great journey (okay, it was me huffing and puffing along and then you read and fed me fuel in the form of reviews to keep going), and I loved it! Thank you! So...see you next year? 24! *falls down ded* *yes it's 'ded' Nate and Eliot*
Other AN-y type stuff at the bottom.
Frankie sits down at the lunch table next to Michael and heaves a sigh almost as big as he is.
Michael glances at the downcast first-grader. "What's up, F-bomb?" He has started calling the kid that, much to his father's amusement and Aunt Sophie's disapproval, because of the way Frankie bounces all around the place and very nearly explodesif he gets too excited.
This kid here, though, he's in no way wound up, not at all.
Frankie sighs again and mumbles something.
"What?" Michael exchanges a confused look with Irene.
"He said, Fred Masters took his lunch," Carrie, who inherited her mother's thief hearing, interprets, and bites into her peanut butter, M&Ms, and potato chip sandwich.
Michael and Irene look at each other again, and a silent communication goes between them.
"Which one's Fred Masters?" Michael asks innocently.
"That guy over there," Irene points. "Sixth grader," she adds grimly.
Michael turns around for a good look at the bully. Hm. He memorizes his face and clothes for later.
Irene opens her jewel-studded lunchbox (Michael had been shocked, really, truly shocked, when he found out that the rhinestones on the box are in fact real jewels, instead of plastic or glass fakes. Then he thinks, it must have been a gift from Aunt Parker. It's zany enough to be) and removes her own foie gras and grilled goat cheese sandwich. She pulls out one half from the clear zip-lock bag.
"Here, Frankie, you can have some of mine," she says and holds it out.
Frankie stands up on the bench so he can take a good look at the proffered sandwich. He sniffs at it, and makes a face. "That's the duck liver stuff, right? That's nasty, Reney. Your mom makes funny lunches."
Irene sighs, a controlled, put-upon sigh. "Fine," she says, "Don't say I didn't offer. You can starve for all I care." She takes a dainty bite of her duck-liver sandwich with a satisfied smile.
Frankie sits back down and pouts.
"Are you hungry, Frankie?' Carrie asks with her mouth full.
The boy nods and directs a plaintive look at his big sister's quickly-disappearing sandwich.
"Mmmmm," says Carrie.
Michael hands over half of his sandwich, a respectable roast beef between two slices of toasted rye. "Here, Frankie. You can have this."
Frankie pounces on the sandwich. "Uncle Eliot food!" he shouts, and, perfectly content again, proceeds to demolish it. "Fangks, Mikey." His heels rat-a-tat happily against the bench's metal leg.
Michael shakes his head and chuckles lightly. F-bomb. With narrowed eyes, he follows Fred Masters as he stomps around the playground.
"Hey, Frankie," he says, and puts a baggie of celery sticks on the table between them, "Eat some of these, too."
Frankie stops chewing and looks at his cousin with a "what the hell?" expression. He chews again and swallows. "They're veggies," he says.
"Yeah," Michael agrees, "Celery is a vegetable. Eat." He takes one piece out of the bag and chomps on it. The rest, he plops down in front of Frankie. "Celery, Frankie."
"I gave you my sandwich. That means you have to eat the celery that comes with it," Michael explains firmly.
Frankie pouts. "My mom never makes us eat veggies," he whines.
"My mom did," Michael replies after a brief thin-lipped moment. "So does my dad. They're good for you. Eat."
Frankie looks in horror at the pale green sticks in the bag. "Ireeeeeeeeene," he whines, "I don't wannaaaaaaa."
Irene rolls her eyes. She reaches over and takes the bag. "We'll all eat one," she says in her most reasonable voice. She pulls one piece out and passes it on to Carrie, who shakes her head and shoos her away.
"I have my own food," she says, scooting away from the dreaded vegetable.
"Whatever," Michael says, and stands up. "I'm going to the bathroom."
A minute ago, Fred Masters had ploughed his way to the boys' restroom, and a stream of small boys holding their pants up had filed out the door. Some of them were crying.
Irene watches Michael walk nonchalantly into the bathroom. A short while later, a blotchy-faced Fred Masters scampers out, clutching at his pants to keep them up. The younger boys who had been so recently harassed by Fred giggle and point, and pretty soon, half of the playground is staring and laughing at the boy who cannot get his pants to stay up. Michael walks out of the restroom. No one looks at him.
Except for Irene.
"Did you wash your hands?" she asks when Michael sits down.
"No," Michael says sarcastically, "I peed and didn't wash my hands after." He takes the remaining stick of celery and bites into it. Irene makes a face at him.
Frankie snorts. "I do that sometimes!" he says brightly and shoves a cookie into his mouth, oblivious to the three disgusted stares thrown his way. Michael unobtrusively spits the mouthful of chewed-up celery back into the bag.
"Ew, Frankie," Carrie says, "That's unhygienical. That's like, a germ pool of unhygienicalness."
"Is that my cookie?" Irene asks suspiciously, looking at her cousin. "Frankie, you stole my cookie!"
"You mean this cookie?" Michael asks, taking a bite out of a double chocolate chip cookie. "Mmmmm, my dad makes the best cookies ever."
"Hey!" Irene exclaims, "That's mine!"
"What?" Michael says with his blue eyes wide open in as innocent a look as he can manage, "Frankie ate mine."
"Ugh," Irene huffs, and crosses her arms. "I hate you."
Michael grins and pops the last of the chocolaty baked goodness into his mouth. "Mmmmm."
The bell rings.
Irene humphs and flounces away.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The parents take turns picking the children up from school. It's Eliot's turn today.
Michael sits in the back of his dad's car, squished up against the two Hardison kids. Frankie is almost vibrating in his lap, while Carrie smirks at him with a knowing expression. Irene sits in the front passenger seat. She always, always gets shotgun.
"So how was school?" Eliot asks, maneuvering out of the school parking lot. That's a talent in and of itself, driving around angry moms and braking for kids who don't look left and right.
"Michael ate my cookie," Irene fumes, and glares at the older boy in the back.
"Michael?" Eliot asks and glances in the rearview mirror in surprise.
"Frankie ate mine," the boy replies with a shrug.
"But you said you were gonna share your lunch with me," Frankie pouts.
"Only because you didn't have one," Michael says. "Besides, I gave you the sandwich and the celery. I only had one cookie."
"It was yummy," Frankie nods.
"What?" Eliot shakes his head, trying to figure it all out. "Why didn't you have a lunch, Frankie? Didn't your mom give you one? What about Carrie?"
"We both had lunches, but someone took Frankie's, so Michael kicked the guy's butt and gave Frankie half his lunch," Carrie reports, without looking up from the phone in her hand.
Eliot's mind jumps on certain phrases in that sentence, like "someone took Frankie's" and "Michael kicked the guy's butt" and "gave Frankie half his lunch." Okay, so basically, the entire sentence.
"I didn't kick his butt," Michael retorts, "There was no butt-kicking involved."
Carrie snorts. "That was funny, though, whatever you did. Fred running around with his pants down. That was funny."
This, apparently, is something all four kids agree on. Eliot, on the other hand, rubs his forehead and groans. Pulling some kid's pants down. That's worse than a wedgie. At least there was no (as Michael put it) "butt-kicking" involved.
"So why did Michael eat Irene's cookie again?" he asks, just to untangle things.
That starts a fight about cookie rights and who gave whom what, and then it somehow turns into an argument about hand-washing and hygiene.
"Hey," he shouts to be heard above the commotion, "there's no fighting in the car. Stop pulling Irene's hair, Carrie. Irene, no fingernails."
"How about in the war room, Dad?" Michael smirks, cocky kid. "Can we fight in the war room?"
Eliot grins, and puts his hand back for a quick high-five. "Alright! Strangelove! You've seen it?"
"I thought the title was cool," Michael says, but really, his mom had loved old movies, and he'd watched it with her.
"I don't get it," Frankie whispers to Carrie, who shrugs.
"It's from a movie," Irene says snootily, "Don't you two know anything?"
Eliot nips the new argument in the bud. "Who wants ice cream?"
"Me!" "Ooh, me, me, me!" "I want ice cream!" "Can mine have unicorn sprinkles on top?"
"Uh, what? You mean rainbow sprinkles?"
"No, unicorn sprinkles." Carrie sighs when Uncle Eliot still doesn't get it. "Unicorns ride on silver moonbeams and shoot rainbows out of their ass," she explains. "Dean said so."
"One, who the heck is Dean, and two, why is he cussing around you?" the bewildered Eliot asks, prompting two "Uncle Eliot!" groans.
"It's from a TV show, Uncle Eliot," Irene says, as if explaining things to a five-year-old. Seriously.
Michael's eyes meet Eliot's in the rearview mirror. They shrug.
"I still want unicorn sprinkles."
"Why do you want something a horse with a horn pooped out of its a- "
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Dr. Strangelove had this awesome line in it: "There's no fighting in the war room!"
Supernatural: "Unicorns ride on silver moonbeams and shoot rainbows out of their ass." Oh, Dean, how I love thy quirky lines.
AN: This is it, folks! The end...Okay, I'll probably end up writing more of these verses, since I have some ideas in my head that I want to try out, but for now, a break. Actually, I have a couple of stories that I wrote for this collection that didn't get posted. One is the story I mentioned a couple of chapters back about Down Syndrome. I'm still not satisfied with that one, so I want to add/edit it before I post it (which I will). I also have a Close to Home crossover that I wrote as a back-up, just in case I didn't make my self-set deadlines. That, I will post where it really belongs, in the Leverage/Close to Home category.
Edit 9/20/12: I have posted the Close to Home story in the Leverage/Close to Home section of this site. It has the imaginative title of "The Close to Home Job." I have also started posting a new story in the Grace verse (need to think of a new title for that, any ideas?) in the Rescue 77 (yes, I had them add a new category!)/Leverage section. That one is called "Coffee Break."
Wow, thanks for sticking with me this far. Honorable mentions: Ultrawoman, Sci F.I. Warper, Illucida, Harm Marie, Mary B. Wolf, whovian42, Jada Ryl, Jesco123, um, who did I miss? Anyway, everyone who reviewed? You rock! You are the icing on my cake, the flames on my 23 candles, the helium in my balloons...I'm gonna stop now.
Anon review replies:
GoHead19: Thank you! Like I said, this is the end of this collection, but I will probably end up writing more of each series.
drjones: Aw, thanks! Hm, sounds like more "Two Wolves" verse is in order. *sigh* Have to get working on that then. Ack! Was that a story request? With a deadline? Huh? Do you even know that this site doesn't have a Rescue 77 category? Where would I post it? I guess in the general Leverage category, huh? Okay. It probably won't be done on time, but keep an eye out, okay? I'll try to write something.
WhiskeySkye (from Chapter 17): *squeeful* Thank you so much! *blushes* Really. That is the kind of reaction I go for when I post something like this. Thanks. Citation and incident reports? Do you work for the government? Cool. See, I can write fanfic, but I can't write serious real-world things. *sigh*
That's it, right? Did I miss anyone? If I did, please accept this general "Thank you!" And I need to get the rest of your wonderful reviews answered. :D