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05 May 2012 @ 09:23 pm
Thanksgiving IV/Want  
Title/Prompt: Thanksgiving IV/Want
Author: mkrobinson
Rating: PG-13
Words: 2943
Table:http://babysitters100.livejournal.com/53582.html#cutid1
Summary: Dawn leaned against her, reaching her hand to touch her abdomen as the baby kicked. “You said I could always come home if California wasn't what I wanted it to be.”

That was true. She had said that. She'd just never expected Stoneybrook to win out over Palo City.

“And you want to come home?”
Warnings: None really.
Notes: This is the final part of the Thanksgiving Series. Certain elements were intended to be a callback to Farewell Dawn, so spoilers for that if you haven't read it.


Dawn

I told Mom I wanted to come home.
I was honest with her.
She said I could.
I want to, so badly.
I can't wait until I really can.

***

“Are they gone?” Mary Anne asked him, emerging from the downstairs bathroom. “I was a bit afraid of Dad's tirade.”


Jeff nodded, staring out the window. “He wasn't yelling at you. He's mad at Granny and Pop Pop.”


“I know.”


“He an' Dawn went upstairs to check on Mom, I think,” he continued, turning to face her. “You okay? You've been crying.”


“I told you,” she replied in a whisper. “They upset me when they started to yell.”


Jeff stared, and he crossed the room to his sister, half wanting to hug her.


“They weren't yellin' at you,” he reminded her. “They're mad at Mom and Richard, not at you. You shouldn't be crying about it.”


“I know,” she answered. “I'm gonna go see Mom.”


He stared at her – specifically at her tear-stained face – and he knew he had to stop her. He sighed.


“Come on, Mary Anne,” he said, gesturing to the table, still laden with food. “Richard would probably be happier with us if we did some of the clean up.”


It was a sacrifice – after all, Jeff was not a fan of cleaning, and his stepfather had a rather pedantic organization system – but a needed one. The last thing he wanted was more irritating crying going on.


“You'll help me?”


“Yeah. Then we'll see Mom.”


“Do you think she's okay?” Her voice was so soft it was nearly a whisper, and he actually felt bad for inwardly mocking her sensitivity at every turn. He sighed.


“Yeah. Your dad's taking real good care of her.” He touched her on the shoulder. “You think that if he thought there was a chance of something being wrong with her or the baby he wouldn't be driving her to the hospital right now himself?”


She nodded, and he heard her snort. “He'd probably interrupt the Johanssens' dinner and make Dr. Johanssen do a house call – despite her not being an obstetrician.”


“See?” Jeff said, trying not to laugh. “Your dad worries so much about mom that it's totally ridiculous, but the fact that he isn't worrying now should make you feel better.” He stopped putting the food in the fridge to look at her. “Your dad was awesome, by the way. He freaked at Granny and Pop Pop the second Mom looked upset. When she and Dawn started to cry he kicked 'em out. No one's ever done that.”


“He hates them,” she admitted slowly. “Like really hates them. You really think he's awesome?”


“Yeah,” Jeff said, simply, and she gave him a bear hug. “He defended my mom – our mom – ” he hastily amended “ – against her parents.”


“They were the ones who scared me,” he heard her whisper.


“They scare everyone. Don't worry about that.” He replied, because it was true. “It's what they do.”


Normally, Jeff would have cracked a joke to relieve some of the tension, but even he couldn't.


“I'm not a baby?”


“Nah.”


She released him, smiling up at him.


Mary Anne was still ridiculously short. He was twelve and he was taller than her.


“Thanks, Jeff. Can we go see Mom now?”


“Yeah.”


Mary Anne grinned at him and he followed her upstairs. He just hoped that Dawn had stopped crying and that his mom wouldn't start crying and that Mary Anne wouldn't burst into tears. He was starting to suspect that goal was too much to hope for.


Much to his relief, Mary Anne didn't become a gusher, Dawn was flipping through a gardening catalog (he didn't want to know), and their mom was being completely disgusting and cuddling with Richard, but at least that was better than tears.


“We put the food away,” he announced, causing his middle sister to blush and his mother to stare at him and then at his stepfather in confusion – or more aptly shock. “Why are you looking at me like that, Mom?”


“Richie,” she murmured, “you were that worried about me?”


Richard nodded. “Of course, Shar. You were upset. The food didn't matter.”


Still, the fact that he'd relaxed slightly due to the announcement meant he hadn't forgotten about it completely.


“I love you, too, Richie. Thanks.”


“You're welcome, Shar.”


Jeff perched on the edge of their bed, a bit annoyed that neither Dawn nor Mary Anne had moved for him.


“Are Granny and Pop Pop still here?” Dawn asked, and he shook his head.


“They aren't?” His mother chimed in. “You and Mary Anne got them to leave?”


“Nah,” he answered. “Richard did.”


“You did, Richie?”


He cleared his throat. “I may have – ”


“Mom, it was awesome. Richard told 'em off. After you and Dawn went upstairs he flipped at 'em. Then he told 'em to get out of your house and they actually left.” He turned to his stepfather, a bit incredulous that he hadn't told his mother what had happened. “It was cool.”


“Richie, you did that?”


“I did,” he confirmed, looking fairly embarrassed.


“Thank you,” she said, having the nerve to kiss him in front of the three of them.


Dawn kicked Jeff as he started to play gag, and he glared at her.


“Be. Nice.”


***


“Olivia,” Sharon heard her son announce the next morning over breakfast.


“Hmm,” she replied, a questioning tone in her voice. “Is she your girlfriend?”


“That's the name I picked,” he replied. “You know, for the baby?”


Richard put down his newspaper and he shot her a confused look. “Our baby?”


Jeff nodded.


“Yes,” she replied, sitting down beside her husband. “I told the kids they could help name her. Olivia is a pretty name, Jeffy.”


She gave her Richie a kiss on the cheek, leaning in to whisper in his ear. “You don't mind, do you, honey? They asked, and I wanted them to feel included...”


He reached out to rub her abdomen, the slight smile that graced his face growing as he felt their baby kick.


“Olivia is a nice name, Jeff,” he said. “What do your sisters think?”


Jeff shrugged at the question, eating a pancake. “Dunno. I wanted to make sure you and Mom were okay with the name first.”


She looked at Richard, nodding slightly at him, and he nodded back.


“We like it, honey,” she said, grinning at him.


“Cool! Can I tell Mary Anne and Dawn?”


Sharon eyed the clock. “It's only 9,” she answered. “Eat your pancakes, honey. When they wake up you can tell them.”


Jeff shot her a disappointed look, but he dug in anyways.


She started to eat, noticing how Richie's hand stayed on her abdomen the whole time, no matter how much their baby girl kicked. And she sure kicked a lot.


“Thank you,” she whispered, not exactly sure what she was thanking him for. “For making me pancakes and for yelling at my parents last night,” she settled on, beaming widely.


“Oh, Shar,” he murmured. “You're welcome. You don't have to thank me, though.”


“Yes I do,” she insisted. “You defended me. And you made me chocolate chip pancakes.”


She couldn't help it if her arguments weren't the best at nine in the morning when her medication hadn't kicked in.


Her son snorted and she rolled her eyes. “You're eating them too.”


“Of course I am,” he replied. “What else would I eat, the honey wheat puffs? Thank you for making the pancakes, Richard. They taste good.”


“You're welcome, Jeff.”


“Can I have the sports section? Please?”


“Sure,” he replied, sliding it across the table.


“Thanks.”


Sharon beamed, happy that they were getting along.


“Merow?”


She looked over to see that Mary Anne (who had not been meowing, that was Tigger) and Dawn had woken up and joined them in the dining room. She smiled at them. Mary Anne walked into the kitchen to feed the cat and Dawn stood there, looking half awake. Jeff made no effort to greet his sisters.


“Did you sleep well? Richie's made pancakes and bacon.”


Dawn stared at her, a look of vague disgust on her face, and then – much to Sharon's surprise – she shrugged.


“Okay, Mom,” she said, quietly. “In the kitchen?”


“Yes. On the stove and in the microwave, honey.”


She had to admit that she was officially confused. Something was bothering her eldest, whether it was school or something else, because there was no way that Dawn actually wanted to eat bacon. She could buy her wanting to eat the chocolate chip pancakes, she could buy her eating meat, but somehow she couldn't believe she'd completely abandoned her hatred of processed meat products. Reluctantly moving her husband's hand from her abdomen – their little bean definitely did not approve – she stood and walked into the kitchen, finding both her daughters getting their breakfasts. Tigger was mowing down his kibble.


“Dawnie,” she asked, hand on the freezer door, “do you want me to make you soysages? I bought them special for you.”


She got a slight nod in response, and she smiled at her. “Will you keep me company out here while I make 'em?”


Another nod, and she started cooking the food, kissing Mary Anne on the cheek as she passed her on her way to the dining room.


“What's wrong, sweetie?” Sharon asked, crossing the room to her. She gave her a tight squeeze – well, as tight as she could manage in her condition – hoping to snap her out of her funk.


“Can I come home?”


“What?”


Dawn leaned against her, reaching her hand to touch her abdomen as the baby kicked. “You said I could always come home if California wasn't what I wanted it to be.”


That was true. She had said that. She'd just never expected Stoneybrook to win out over Palo City.


“And you want to come home?”


“Yeah,” she whispered, pressing herself closer to her. “I want to come home and I want to stay home.”


“Dawnie...”


“I'll finish out the year in Palo,” she added. “And come home on vacations and stuff.”


She sighed. “Fine. And if you really want to come home, I can talk to your father and arrange for you to move back over Christmas break.”


“Thanks, Mom.”


“You're welcome, honey,” she replied, kissing the top of her head. “Can you let go?”


“I'm hurting you?” Dawn pulled away as if she was on fire, and she shook her head.


“I have to check the food, that's all.”


“Okay,” she replied with a smile. “She seems happy. She was kicking a lot for me.”


“You're her biggest sis,” Sharon replied, smiling widely. “I think your brother wants to talk to you.”


Indeed, Jeff was waiting in the doorway.


“Dawnnn...” he whined. “I gotta question to ask you. Mary Anne already said yes.”


She desperately hoped he was referring to the name he had for the baby and not some inane practical joke. She pushed Dawn lightly in the direction of him, busying herself at the stove.


“Do you like the name?” She heard him ask. “Richard said he thought the baby responded to it – I guess she was kicking a lot after I suggested it.”


“You came up with it?”


“Yeah,” he replied. “I wanted to pick a name they'd like.”


“Okay, I like it. I think it's cute.”


She was surprised Jeff didn't object to his name being called cute.


She was even more surprised when he came over and hugged her, though she'd tried to hide it.


“Hi, Mom,” he said, quietly. “Hey, Olivia.”


She moved his hand to a different spot on her abdomen, where the baby was kicking.


“I think she likes it,” she told him.


***


“Mom said I can come home,” Dawn told Mary Anne later that night, as she watched her sister knit a baby blanket.


“I told you she would,” she replied, smiling. “She's only ever wanted you and Jeff to be happy.”


Dawn sighed. “I know.”


“You okay?” Mary Anne asked her. “What's wrong?”


“I feel guilty,” she admitted. “I haven't been happy in California for awhile, but I'll miss Dad and Carol and Gracie and Jeff.”


“You know it doesn't have to be permanent, Dawn,” she said softly. “If you aren't happy here, Mom will send you back.”


“I know.”


“I hope you'll be happy here,” she added softly, and Dawn smiled at her. She wasn't
surprised.


“Me too, sis.”


“Do you like these colors?” Her sister asked her, holding the unfinished blanket out to her.


“Yeah,” she replied, touching the soft material. “It's for Livvy, right?”


Her sister nodded, beaming widely. “Yeah. I'm making a bunch of stuff for her.”


“It's pretty,” she replied, handing it back to her. “And so soft. Perfect for a baby. She'll love anything you make her.”


She could tell that her sister was uncertain. “I mean it. She'll love it. So will Mom and your dad.”


That got a smile. “I know.”


“Mom's okay, right?”


“Yeah. How was her appointment, anyways?”


Dawn smiled widely, thinking back to her mother's doctor's appointment. About how excited they'd (especially Richard, she had to admit) been to see the baby, how active her littlest sister had been, how the news that her mom and sister were fine had relaxed her stepfather immensely, and about how excited she'd been to get her own copy of the ultrasound photograph.


“Kinda fun,” she replied. “Like seeing our sister was cool – she kicked the whole time. I think Mom's doctor was bugging her.”


Mary Anne giggled. “She's just a little show off.”


She had to agree. “Mom said that she knows that Jeff and I are here and that's why she's all active, because she's showing off for her other sister and her brother.”


“Maybe she wants to play soccer like Jeff,” Mary Anne suggested. “She certainly kicks hard enough.”


“Don't put ideas in his head. He'd be totally into it.”


“That would make Mom and Dad happy,” she said. “I think.”


“I'm sure my dad and Carol would love to have Mom and Richard having their own version of the time Jeff insisted on taking Gracie to a Galaxy game. At six months old. Especially since Mom found it hysterical when I told her how badly it went.”


She smirked. Mary Anne shook her head.


“Probably not,” she admitted. “Where are they, anyways?”


“Mom told Jeff she'd take him and the Pike boys to the movies. I think Richard went along for back up.”


“Mom needs back up for that,” Mary Anne said, shuddering. “I can't believe she agreed to that. Can she even tell the triplets apart?”


Dawn thought, then she shook her head. “I don't think so.” She burst into laughter. “I really don't think she can.”


“Poor Mom. Hopefully they don't figure that out.”


“I think that your dad's there to make sure they don't do anything stupid.”


Dawn still worried about her mom, but she knew Richard would always take care of her. He'd been doing so since they'd first moved from California, after all.


“You miss her, don't you?”


“I miss all of you.”


“I know.”


“But, yeah,” she answered. “I miss her a lot.”


She let Mary Anne hug her, sighing loudly.


“She misses you too, sis. I know she does.”


“I hate this.”


“I know.”


“I miss you guys so much,” Dawn admitted in a choked whisper. “That's why I want to come
back.”


“You're going to.”


“I know,” she whispered, sniffling. “Sometimes I wish I hadn't left. I don't think I would have if it hadn't been for Mrs. Winslow being sick.”


“I know.”


“Palo is such a mess. I hate it.”


“I know you do.”


“But I feel bad for hating it because my dad and my stepmother and brother and sister live there,” she continued. “It isn't enough.”


“I know.”


“I don't know what I'm going to do,” she admitted.


“I think that's okay.”


“You do?”


“Yeah,” Mary Anne said, squeezing her tightly. “I do.”


“Okay,” she murmured.


“You don't have to decide now, anyways. Let's just enjoy thanksgiving break?”


“Okay,” she whispered.


“Want to watch TV?”


“Okay,” she answered. “Let's watch a Christmas special.”


Dawn settled in beside her sister, letting the television distract her from her thoughts. It was only Thanksgiving, after all.

She could worry when she got back to California.