|First Day of School|
|What: Lian's first day of Kindergarten! The girls stay over to see her off and excitement abounds--they've never had a first day of school. Roy manages to survive, and there may be hope for him yet. Just not on the PTA.|
It was one of those rare mornings where Roy Harper was taking the morning off. Not because Lian was sick or anything, but because it was going to be her -first- day at the Big Kid School. Yes, Lian Harper was entering kindergarten. And this being a special day, Roy was -going- to be there to see his daughter off to school.
And yes, Lian had been babbling about it all week. Picking out school supplies, getting new dresses and pants and pencils and decorative stuff, either with her father or with the Stepfords or all of them. At the least, she would be the -bestest- little princess at -her- school.
It was a chore to get her to sleep, of course, as bursting with excitement as she was, and so Roy might be just a bit too comfortable sleeping, sprawled out in his usual sleeping attire.
Some of Lian's excitement might belong to the Cuckoos. They've never been to school and it seems like such a big event. Everything is in order in the Harper household. Lunch boxes, snacks, juice boxes, pencil cases. There is more Hello Kitty in Roy's apartment than can possibly be good for him.
Sleeping over when Roy is there is a little trickier than when he's not, especially since he doesn't seem to share their philosophy about beds: why have more than one? Probably for the best, since he's all squirrelly about some things. Phoebe is sleeping with Lian, Esme and Sophie are sharing the fold-out couch. But. Not for long! They're up before anyone else.
6 AM. Waffle batter on, everything laid out, couch folded away, ironing done. And *ding* Lian's up like clockwork.
"Eeee." She comes racing out of her room to tackle the first girl she sees. "Can I wake up Daddy?"
"Let's go!" Sophie's giving in and letting the fun run free today. She chases Lian down the short hall and follows her into Roy's room.
"Daddy!" That's the only warning Roy gets before Lian launches herself at him. A moment later, someone else hits the bed.
"Time to get up, Daddy!" Two faces right in Roy's and someone's finger digging into a ticklish spot in his ribs.
Oh, beds were very simple--sleep in them, or do things in them. Making mattresses squeak -definitely- was a favorite pastime. But for some inexplicable reason, the notion of -not- sharing his bed with his daughter's babysitters was as much a self-preservation of -his- own as much theirs. Because ho-boy, the -awkward- questions Lian would ask about finding other women in his bed, he didn't want to answer. Not even if they were her -big sisters-. Only Lian got to wake him up in the morning when he was at -home-.
So discovering Lian staring at him in the face was one thing, as Roy automatically reached out to stop the tickling by hugging his daughter to him and unleashing that -dreaded- scruffy counter. Except that he could have sworn his daughter -wasn't- blonde and blue-eyed...
Yep. Scruffy Roy gets the same shriek from Sophie as it does from Lian. And the same giggling.
"Ew, scratchy. You need to shave." Same litany, too, as Sophie pushes Roy back and bounces up on her knees. "Wake up, it's Lian's first day of kindergarten," she demands.
"Come on, Daddy!" That's Lian now, leaning over Roy and patting his cheeks with both hands. She's wearing the same jammies as the girls--Hello Kitty tank top and matching shorts. "You gotta have waffles now." Everything in the right order, Daddy. Get with the program!
"Coffee's ready," Phoebe says cheerfully, blowing in with four mugs that she puts down on the bedside table so she can grab Lian and roll around with her on the end of the bed. "And chocolate milk for -someone-. I think me!"
"Meeeee!" Lian shrieks with giggles as Sophie leans over and tickles her. "My chokit milk, Fee, not you."
Blinking as it sinks in that Sophie was the one right there, Roy quickly makes sure his sheet covers him as he rubs his eyes. "Sophie...?" he asks tentatively, before it sinks in his mind that yes, the Stepfords were here this morning. And somehow, Roy didn't -quite- hate the Hello Kitty tank tops and matching shorts so much on the Stepfords. Ugh. Best to not think about it, as he immediately tackl... wait, he can't... oh hell with it, it was -his- daughter, and the others could just get out of the way if they didn't like it!
"Good morning, princess, are you ready for your first day of school?" Roy grins, adding a good bit of scruffy kisses to his daughter. The others would just have to suffer the collateral damage. That, or tie him down and shave him.
Phoebe has no qualms about letting Lian take the brunt of Roy's scruffiness when Roy scrambles over to pursue the attack. Sorry, kiddo, he's your dad. Lian squeals and bats at Roy, rather ineffectually for a girl who's already been taught to use her knees and elbows.
"Daddy, daddy, daddy, nooooo!" Because it's both itchy and hilarious when Daddy does this.
Sophie, on the other hand, has Lian's back and Roy gets a resounding smack on the backside. Didn't S.H.I.E.L.D. train him to watch his six? Really, Roy.
That Phoebe was wise enough to stay out of the way from a scruffy attack was definitely a plus in his book, but Sophie? There's just the briefest of mock -shock- as Roy freezes, in a 'you did not -just- do that', before he slowly tilts his head at Sophie. And Lian will probably recognize that look on his face as that -face which indicates it's time to -run- before Daddy pounce and tickles. And yes, tickling was the -right- response to this indignity... which is why there's just about a second between that expression and Roy's pouncing. Whatever will the brave princess do to save her adored babysitter from the terror of the TICKLE MONSTER?
You can't live with Laura without knowing that 'Imma get you' face. Sophie is already taking evasive action when Lian leaps to her defense. It's got all the gravitas of a slow-motion scene from a war film in which the clutzy farm kid throws himself on a grenade to save the squad.
"Daddy, noooo!" Lian launches herself at Roy like a cat to intercept him, wrapping around him like the original face hugger.
Lian's leap shoves Phoebe off the end of the bed but she manages to twist and get her feet under her. |"You're only encouraging him,"| Esme notes from the kitchen, laughing in the gestalt. |"I'll bring some ice water, shall I?"|
That Roy had what amounted to a koala bear wrapped around his face meant that Lian got the burden of dealing with the scruff, as her father shifted the tickling attack to her sides, at least just enough to have her loosen her grip. Just enough to slip from his face to around his neck so that he can -properly- chase after Sophie, because -nobody- gets to manhandle -his- rear with impunity! ... Well, not unless he got to manhandle things back, but he'd just let her off with a stern tickle!
With a quick 'excuse me' as he tries to move past Phoebe and Esme, Roy chases after Sophie with a clear intent of doing tickle violence!
|"Ice water,"| Esme says again, flattening herself against the wall as Sophie whips past with a shriek of laughter. Roy's downstairs neighbors are going to -hate- him.
It is not a big apartment and the girls are barely housetrained. Good thing the furniture is sturdy. Sophie goes through the kitchen, up onto the dining table, off the other side, and onto the couch. There is a path to cut her off by going around the other way, if one is paying attention to the layout and not the fact that one's chasing a scantily-clad eighteen year old who thinks this is all -hilarious-.
Hey Roy was all for good, clean fun. Good -clean- fun! Which was why he made sure to hold Lian tight during the whole chase, letting -her- get the sensation of the chase and just what her daddy -does- chasing down the bad guys!
Roy's path is designed less for hurdling and speed and more towards just reducing the paths Sophie can take towards escape, unless of course she wants to dash out towards the hallway... and if he can get ahold of her -at- the couch before she manages to escape. Since he's looking to tickle rather than grab, this might entail just a bit of struggle to get into tickling position and how Lian manages to react to being caught in between!
Sophie is perfectly willing to get caught--by Lian. She hops off the couch and lets Lian leap from Roy's arms to 'tackle' her, covering Lian's face with kisses. That leaves her open to being tickled, sure. But that's why she backs right into Roy as he tries to tickle her, bumps him toward the couch with a swing of her hip amplified by Lian's weight, then flops into his lap when the couch catches him on the back of the knees and takes him out.
"I caught you!" Lian crows. Victory!
"You did, yay." Sophie gives Lian another kiss. Roy's free to tickle her but she's already very giggly and very much right in his lap and -oof-, Phoebe crams up against one side of him and smooches his cheek.
"You forgot your coffee, Daddy," Phoebe says cheerfully.
"Cartoons before school just once." Esme flips on the TV. "I'll bring breakfast out."
That Lian shifted from trying to prevent Daddy from tickling Sophie to pouncing herself led to a slight pause as Roy tried to figure out what -this- meant. What a drastic shift in storytelling pathos! Noble friend turned traitor!
And then all other thoughts fly out, to be replaced by new ones as Sophie turns the tables on -him- and ends up planting her posterior on his lap, while Phoebe joins in the attack of senses by planting a kiss.
It's -almost- like a fuse explodes as Roy takes in the assault on his senses... and then Roy laughs, wrapping his arms around Sophie -and- Lian and pulling them into a tight enough hug to cause Lian to squeak. "Fine, you win," he laughs, ruffling Lian's hair, before grinning at Esme. "Breakfast sounds great. One cartoon, then off we go, hmmm?" ... Maybe he -should- ask Sophie to get off his lap, too... hmmm. After a few more seconds?
Never again will Roy be able to claim lack of self-restraint. About anything. Breakfast is conquered, Lian finally settles on an outfit--that process keeps Roy busy while the girls get ready to go--and Roy is banished to shave and dress before being inspected by his daughter.
"You have to look nice, Daddy. Other parents are coming," Lian says.
Yes. Other parents. It's a sign that Roy's gotten accustomed to the girls--when they walk up to the school, he doesn't think anything about having Lian's hand in his and someone else's hand in the other, the remaining two girls on the other side of Lian. It's just the way Lian likes it.
Then Roy gets a reminder of how it looks to the world when they go places together--the death glares from the mothers and the unblinking stares of the other fathers are his first clues. Right. Him looking tolerably decent in jeans and a casual shirt, Lian in an adorable red jumper, and... three identical tall, blonde teenaged girls in ankle boots, short-shorts, and cropped hoodies. PTA may be right out. Forever. ...totally worth it.