WELCOME TO PART 1 OF MY NANOWRIMO STORY \o/!
I don't think you understand how proud of myself I am over this nanowrimo story. I FINISHED THIS THING IN 11 DAYS. ELEVEN. DAYS. 52K. IN ELEVEN DAYS. GO HARD OR GO HOME, BAYBEH.
So, basics? Yeah.
Riker and Jeff are 36. Lasey is 10. Ryan is 8. Jude and Leon are 17. All other ages don't really matter, but some are mentioned. Like the ages of Riker's nieces and nephews. Or Darren and Dalton. Passing.
ANYWAY, ENJOY?! HOPEFULLY. MORE NOTES AT LE BOTTOM
"Daddy! Where's my book? I need to put it in my backpack!" Lasey called down the stairs. Riker sighed and looked around the living room while trying to wrangle his eight year old son into his pajama top.
"I don't know, Lase. Check under your blankets!" Riker replied as he heard Jeff snort from the kitchen while Ryan huffed out a stubborn breath. "Don't huff at me, Ryan. If you would behave, this process would be over."
"But it's hot, Daddy," Ryan complained as he went limp in Riker's arms. Riker smiled and rolled his eyes as he slipped Ryan's arms into the t-shirt.
"We'll put the fan on in your room, okay?" Riker asked as he picked Ryan up and pressed a kiss to Ryan's cheek. Ryan hummed in response and yawned as he rested his head on Riker's shoulder.
"All ready for bed, bud?" Jeff asked as he walked over to Riker and Ryan and placed a light kiss on Ryan's forehead.
"Mhm," Ryan hummed in response as Lasey jumped down the stairs, book in hand.
"My book was in my blankets," she giggled as she skipped over towards her backpack and tucked the book into the front pocket.
"You need to stop losing things in your blankets, miss," Jeff told her. Lasey just made a face at Jeff and then skipped back up the stairs.
"C'mon! Bed time!" Lasey chirped as she reached the top of the stairs and looked back at her dads. Jeff smiled and rolled his eyes as he bound up the stairs and immediately pulled Lasey into a tight hug, causing the ten year old to release a high pitched giggle. "Papa! Stop!"
"What? You don't like hugs now?" Jeff asked with a small chuckle as he stood up and then nudged Lasey towards her room.
"No. I want to climb into bed and sleep!" Lasey replied before she turned with a flourish and walked towards her room. Riker raised one eyebrow at Jeff as he reached the top of the stairs and ruffled Jeff's hair.
"That's all you, babe," Riker told Jeff, who smiled and nodded in agreement.
"And that one is all you," Jeff retorted as he gestured towards Ryan who was already asleep in Riker's arms.
"Guilty," Riker chuckled in agreement as he went into Ryan's room to carefully place Ryan onto the bed before tucking him in.
"Daddy!" Lasey called out.
"Coming! Sheesh," Riker breathed as he flicked the light off in Ryan's room and went over to Lasey's.
"Night, Daddy. I love you" Lasey hummed as she settled beneath her blankets and scrunched up her nose.
"Love you too, bugaboo," Riker replied as he leaned down to kiss her forehead.
"Night, Papa. I love you," Lasey added as she looked over at Jeff, who smiled and leaned down to kiss her forehead as well.
"Love you too, Lase case," Jeff told her as he brushed her bangs out of her face. "We'll see you in the morning."
"Mhm," Lasey hummed in agreement as Riker and Jeff left her room and closed the door.
"And now it's quiet. What shall we do?" Jeff asked as he turned to Riker and placed his hands on his hips.
"Obviously catch up on TV we can't watch with the kids around," Riker chuckled in response before he went back downstairs. Jeff released a small giggle and followed, easily brushing past Riker in order to collapse onto the couch first and grab the remote. "You're such a little shit."
"You'd think you would know that after knowing me for thirty-three years," Jeff replied offhandedly.
"It's good to remind you sometimes," Riker said as he dropped to the couch and lay down in order to place his head in Jeff's lap. Jeff simply hummed in agreement and thread his fingers through Riker's hair.
"It's so lovely that you like to keep me level-headed. We both know all the fame still goes to my head," Jeff commented. Riker snorted with laughter then and rolled his eyes.
"Speaking of which, Jackson wants all of us to do some weird reunion slash life update thing or something. I'm not sure if I want the kids on camera," Riker said.
"We'll figure it out," Jeff replied as he gave Riker a small smile. Then, they both sighed as they heard Riker's phone start to ring.
"Why would someone call when we are having down time? Terrible person," Riker grumbled as he hauled himself off of the couch and into the kitchen where he had left his cell phone. His eyebrows knit together as he saw who it was.
"Who is it?" Jeff asked.
"Addie," Riker replied before he picked up. "Hello?"
"Riker?" Addie's immediately asked, her voice sounded slightly panicked. "Riker, oh my god. I haven't seen her in hours and she said she was going to Leon's but I called his parents and they haven't seen her either and Leon is at home…"
"Whoa, Addie. Calm down. Deep breaths and start from the beginning," Riker said as he walked back into the living room to see Jeff staring at him with a confused expression. Riker heard Addie take a deep breath and Kaiden's voice in the background.
"I don't know where Jude is," Addie sobbed out.
"What? When was the last time you saw her?" Riker asked. Jeff's eyes widened then as he seemed to understand and he immediately began to bite at his fingernails.
"Um, I don't know? She got home from school at normal time and then left an hour or so later. I haven't seen her since," Addie told him. "She won't answer her phone. I'm worried."
"Has Leon tried to call her?" Riker asked as he began to pace.
"Yeah. He called me back a few minutes ago saying she wouldn't answer him either," Addie cried. "I was hoping she would be with you and Jeff."
"She's not here," Riker huffed out.
"I got that now," Addie coughed. "I'm just so worried."
"I know. It's okay. I'm sure she will show up soon," Riker told Addie as he bit at his bottom lip.
"Call me if she shows up there, okay?" Addie asked through a sob.
"Yes, I will," Riker replied.
"Promise?" Addie asked.
"Yes, Adds, I will let you know if Jude shows up here," Riker breathed out as he looked over at Jeff, who was curled up on the couch and biting at his nails.
"Thank you so much," Addie replied as she sniffed, Kaiden's voice soothing her in the background.
"Love you," Riker told her.
"Love you too," Addie replied quietly before she hung up. Riker sighed then as he and Jeff exchanged a nervous glance. A small knock on the door sounded then and Riker's brows furrowed as he walked over to answer it.
He opened the door and his eyes widened as he took in Jude. She was staring back at him with tear stained cheeks and red-rimmed eyes.
"Daddy," she choked out as she collapsed against Riker's chest. Riker wrapped Jude up and exchanged another glance with Jeff, both of them realizing they were in for something big.
"Alright, c'mon, inside the house," Riker murmured as he ushered the seventeen year old through the door and into the living room as Jeff scurried over to close the front door and lock it. Jude allowed Riker to move her across the floor, immediately curling tightly into his side once they sat down. Riker smoothed her hair down and pressed his lips to her forehead lightly as she cried. Jude was disheveled, wearing one of Riker's old soccer jerseys over shorts with her hair in a messy bun.
"Daddy, I-I messed up," Jude coughed out as she clutched onto his shirt.
"Sh, it's okay," Riker told her as he heard Jeff murmuring to Addie on the phone. Jude shook her head into Riker's shoulder and pressed her face even more into his shoulder.
"Hey, baby girl. Your mom knows you're here now, okay?" Jeff asked as he walked over to the couch and kneeled down in front of the couch to place a hand gently on Jude's knee.
"Sh-she's not g-gonna come get m-me, right?" Jude asked.
"No. She said it's okay for you to stay since you're done with school," Jeff told her. Jude let out a huge breath then and relaxed more into Riker's side. Riker kissed her forehead again and wrapped his arms tightly around her shoulders.
"You wanna talk about it?" Riker asked. Jude shook her head into his shoulder, her grip on his shirt tightening. "Alright. We'll talk about it when you're ready, okay?"
"Mhm," Jude coughed out.
"You wanna go get some sleep? You look like you need it," Jeff said as he reached forward to tuck Jude's hair behind her ear. Jude simply nodded in response and slowly uncurled herself from Riker's side. Riker gave her a small smile and kissed her forehead again before he got up and pulled her up from the couch. Jude followed Riker easily with Jeff trailing behind them to turn the lights off.
"You want to sleep in your room or in our room?" Riker asked.
"Mine," Jude replied quietly.
"Okay, baby girl. You know where to find us if you need us," Riker told her as he pulled her in for one last hug. Jude nodded into his chest and hugged him back.
"We love you," Jeff whispered as he pulled Jude in for a hug as well.
"Love you too," Jude murmured before quietly going into the room that was hers and closing the door quietly. Riker and Jeff exchanged a wide-eyed glance then before they went to their own bedroom.
"That made me nervous," Riker breathed out as soon as Jeff shut the door.
"Mhm. She only tends to call you Daddy when she is super upset about something," Jeff replied as Samoa greeted them with a chirrup as she got up to stretch.
"I know. Hence the reason I'm nervous. Also the fact that she left home earlier without telling Addie, Kaiden, or Katie," Riker said as he pulled off his shirt and threw it into the hamper. Jeff hummed in agreement and tossed Riker's sleep shorts at him. Riker caught them easily and changed into the sleep shorts once he threw his dirty shorts into the hamper.
"It's not like her to do that…especially since she didn't tell Leon either, or go to Leon's," Jeff added as he changed as well. Riker huffed out a sigh as he dropped onto their bed and ran a hand through his hair. Jeff climbed onto the bed as well and grabbed onto Riker's wrists and ran his thumbs over Riker's skin. "Calm down. I'm sure everything will turn out fine. Don't stress so much. It's not good for you."
"I know," Riker breathed out as Jeff absentmindedly traced the scars over Riker's wrists. "But, who knew you could stress over a kid so much when they're not even biologically yours."
"Jude is still legally your daughter, no matter what her genes say. You are her father and have every right to be worried about her," Jeff replied as he twined his fingers through Riker's and pulled their hands up to kiss Riker's knuckles. Riker heaved out a sigh and then lay down, pulling Jeff with him. Jeff followed easily and allowed Riker to curl into his chest.
"I hope she's okay and tells us what's wrong soon," Riker whispered as Jeff pulled the blankets over their bodies.
"She will tell us. Just let her do it on her own," Jeff hummed as he ran his fingers through Riker's hair. "But, in the mean time, we just have to support her in whatever way she needs."
"Mmh," Riker agreed as he took a deep breath and placed his ear over Jeff's heart in order to listen to the comforting beat.
"And I want you to not stress yourself too much about what is going on before she tells us. Can you do that for me?" Jeff asked as he looked down at Riker with one eyebrow raised. Riker looked up at Jeff with a small smile on his face.
"I will try my hardest," Riker replied.
"That's all I ask," Jeff chuckled as he kissed Riker's forehead.
"Mmh. I love you," Riker hummed out.
"I love you too," Jeff yawned as they settled against each other and slowly fell into unconsciousness, both hoping that the next day would bring brighter moods.
Riker woke up the next morning to Jeff swatting at his ass. Riker grumbled and rolled over, pulling his pillow over his head. Jeff snorted with laughter and pinched Riker's side.
"Rike, you're thirty-six. Stop hiding behind your pillow," Jeff told him. "You also have to get up and get the munchkins to school."
"Ugh. Why can't they be done with school like Jude?" Riker grumbled as he tossed his pillow across the bed and peeked up at Jeff.
"Because she's graduating in a week and they will be done in two. Stop your complaining. The kids are already downstairs and eating breakfast," Jeff said. Riker huffed out a sigh and rolled out of bed.
"Papa! Can I have more cereal?" Lasey called up the stairs. Jeff rolled his eyes and left the room while Riker chuckled and walked into the bathroom to brush his teeth.
"No, you cannot!" Jeff replied.
"Why not?" Lasey asked.
"'Cause you get hyper," Ryan commented easily before putting another spoonful of his own cereal in his mouth.
"Do not," Lasey countered.
"You totally do and we don't need to deal with that right now and neither does your teacher," Jeff replied as Riker walked into the kitchen.
"Daddy, you're supposed to get dressed in your room, not while walking into the kitchen," Lasey sniped with a smirk.
"And you know you're supposed to keep your sass level down before eight in the morning," Riker countered as he grabbed a cup of coffee. Lasey scrunched up her nose and giggled then.
"Alrighty. You kids be good at school today. I'll see you when I get home," Jeff said as he kissed Lasey and Ryan's foreheads in turn.
"Bye, Papa," the kids chorused while Riker pressed a kiss to Jeff's cheek. Jeff waved in response and grabbed his keys on his way out the door.
"Daddy, do I have to go to school?" Lasey asked as she walked over to the dishwasher to place her spoon and bowl in it.
"Yes, you do," Riker told her. "You wanna be smart and go to middle school, don't you?"
"Nah. I just want to sleep and read books. I already know how to read," Lasey replied as she walked over to stand in front of Riker so he could braid her hair.
"If you don't go to school you'll get stupid," Ryan giggled as he kicked his feet back and forth.
"You're stupid, stink butt," Lasey retorted as she made a face at her younger brother.
"You're the stink butt. You fart every morning," Ryan said with another giggle as he went to put his bowl and spoon in the dishwasher as well.
"You fart in the mornings too," Lasey shot back.
"You both fart constantly in this house, so shut up," Riker told them as he tied Lasey's hair back. "Now, go get your shoes on and I will be back down in a second."
"Okay, Daddy!" Lasey and Ryan chirped as they ran into the front hall. Riker just smiled and rolled his eyes before heading upstairs to check on Jude. Once he reached her door, he knocked lightly and listened.
"Hm?" he heard Jude hum. He smiled and slowly opened the door to poke his head inside.
"I'm about to head out to bring the munchkins to school. You wanna come?" Riker asked. Jude blinked blearily at Riker and then rubbed at her eyes.
"Can we get McDonald's on the way home?" Jude asked in response. Riker smiled slightly at her and nodded.
"Yeah. We can get McDonald's," Riker told her. Jude released a small hum and crawled out of bed then, still rubbing at her eyes. "G'head and wash up a bit. We'll be waiting downstairs."
"Mkay," Jude yawned as she walked to the bathroom.
"Daddy, we leaving now?" Lasey asked as he walked into the foyer to pull his own shoes on.
"In a minute. We're waiting for Jude," Riker told her.
"Jude is here?" Ryan asked, eyebrows knitting together.
"Mhm. She came by last night after you guys went to sleep," Riker replied, reaching out to ruffle Ryan's hair.
"How come?" Lasey asked.
"We don't know yet. I'm gonna talk to her today though while you guys are at school," Riker told her.
"Without Papa?" Ryan asked.
"Mhm. Sometimes Jude likes to talk to me first," Riker hummed.
"Okay," Ryan said as Jude walked up to them.
"You look like you need lots of hugs," Lasey immediately commented, quickly walking up to Jude and wrapping her arms around the teen. Jude smiled slightly and hugged Lasey back.
"Thanks, Lase," Jude breathed out. "Now, c'mon. You and Ry gotta get to school."
"Gross," Ryan chirped even as he skipped out the door. Riker smiled and rolled his eyes as he ushered Lasey out the door.
"Someday you guys will appreciate how easy elementary school is. Treasure it while you can," Jude told them.
"Yeah, but I won't want to go to school then either. You're lucky because you're done with school," Lasey replied as they wall climbed into the car.
"Just for the summer. After summer I'm going back to school," Jude told her.
"School forever," Ryan breathed. Riker laughed then and shook his head.
"School isn't forever, bud," Riker added.
"But Papa teaches at a school and you teach at a dance school," Ryan emphasized.
"Yeah, but we chose those occupations. We didn't have to become teachers. We could have continued being professional actors," Riker replied.
"Like the show you did when you were Judey's age?" Lasey asked.
"Mhm. Papa and I did stuff like that through high school and college. We stopped when we had you guys though," Riker said.
"Why?" Ryan asked, eyebrows pulling together. Riker smiled and looked at Ryan through the rearview mirror.
"Because we wanted to get married and have kids," Riker replied. "And sometimes family is more important than work, and fame can be hard to deal with. You guys see the people who still follow us around."
"Yeah. They take pictures," Lasey giggled. "They think they're sneaky."
"Mhm. And then they sell those pictures and they end up on the internet," Jude told them. "Being famous isn't a very private life. Daddy and Jeff have been getting followed for as long as I've known them. I've even seen stuff from when Mom and I came into their lives and we got followed."
"Mhm," Riker hummed in agreement.
"Weren't you a baby though?" Lasey asked.
"I was. I don't remember it, but I've seen some of the pictures and things from back then," Jude replied with a small smile.
"Weird," Ryan breathed.
"Mhm. Now, time to get out and go to school. Love you, munchkins," Riker said as he pulled up to the curb outside their school.
"Love you, Daddy!" Ryan and Lasey chirped as they both grabbed their backpacks and scrambled out of the car. The teacher on drop-off duty smiled and shook their head at the two kids before ushering them towards the school building.
"McDonald's?" Riker asked then as he glanced over towards Jude. She simply nodded, tucking some of her hair behind her ear.
"McDonald's," she agreed. "Drive-thru though? I wanna go home."
"Of course," Riker told her as he reached out to smooth her hair down quickly. Jude released a huge sigh then and settled down inter her seat more, head propped against the window. Riker eyed her again but kept on driving. They were both quiet the rest of the way home, aside from Riker ordering their food at McDonald's.
Once they walked into the house, Jude collapsed onto the couch with her food and pulled her knees up to her chest. Riker sat down next to her and allowed her to curl into his side. He kissed her temple and smoothed her hair down before they both started to eat in silence. Riker took their trash once they were done and Jude curled into herself even more, pulling the blanket off the back of the couch to wrap around her shoulders.
"Ready to talk?" Riker asked as he sat back down. Jude sighed heavily and leaned back into his side.
"I guess," she breathed.
"Do you want Leon here?" Riker asked as he tucked her into his side.
"No. Not yet," she replied as she pulled at a few loose threads on the soccer jersey she was wearing.
"Mkay," Riker breathed. Jude released another sigh and closed her eyes, as if preparing herself.
"Will you promise not to tell Mom and Kaiden?" Jude suddenly asked.
"If you really don't want me to," Riker said.
"I don't. Not yet," Jude replied.
"Then I won't, I promise," Riker assured her. "Jeff, though?"
"I'll tell him later," Jude told him before she heaved another sigh. "I just don't wanna tell Mom yet. She'll be so angry."
"I'm sure whatever it is she will understand," Riker said as he gently ran his fingers through her hair. Jude shook her head.
"No. She's gonna be mad. I was really stupid," Jude breathed out, voice wavering.
"We were all stupid at your age, Judey Bear," Riker told her.
"No. Daddy, I was so stupid," Jude cried. "We were both stupid and now we're gonna struggle with it for the rest of our lives."
"Hey, calm down, it will be okay. I promise to be there for you no matter what, okay?" Riker asked as he hugged Jude tightly as she cried.
"Daddy, I'm pregnant," Jude sobbed out then. Riker froze for a second, but then shifted slightly in order to cup Jude's face in his hands.
"Hey. Hey, look at me," Riker crooned, rubbing his thumbs lightly over her cheeks. Jude raised her eyes then, her green eyes reflecting Riker's blue-grey ones. Her eyes were rimmed with red and tears were slowly leaking out. "It's going to be okay. We will make sure of that, okay?"
"Okay," Jude sniffed as she crawled into his lap.
"Did you go to a doctor yet to be sure?" Riker asked. Jude sniffed again and shook her head into his chest.
"No. I don't want Mom to know yet," Jude whispered.
"Okay, well, first things first, we're gonna talk to Leon," Riker started. Jude took a deep breath and nodded slowly. "Then, we are going to talk with Jeff tonight before we make you an appointment. I promise we won't let Addie know until you're ready. I will go to your appointments with you as long as you want, okay?"
"Okay," Jude sniffed as she rubbed at her nose.
"You wanna call Leon to see if he can talk right now?" Riker asked. Jude simply sniffed again and nodded before she got up to go grab her phone from upstairs. Riker released a heavy sigh then and ran his hands over his face before grabbing his own phone to shoot Jeff a text.
"Leon? Yeah, I'm fine. I'm at Daddy's house right now…yeah. Can you come over? Okay, I will see you in a few, love you," Jude murmured into the phone as she walked back into the room. Riker looked over at her and raised his arm as an invitation. Jude gave him a small smile and accepted, easily curling back into his side.
"Wanna watch some TV until Leon gets here?" Riker asked. Jude nodded in response and pulled the blanket back around her shoulders as Riker turned on the television. They both fell silent after that with Riker handing the remote to Jude so she could choose what to watch. Soon enough, the doorbell rang and Jude heaved out a sigh before getting up.
"You want me to go upstairs or are you gonna go upstairs?" Riker asked as he looked up at her.
"I'll go upstairs with him," Jude said quietly before walking towards the door.
"Hey, Mr. Castellan," Leon chirped with a wave as they walked by.
"Hey, Leon," Riker replied as he watched them walk up the stairs. Once they were gone, Riker turned his attention back to the TV. Though, a few minutes later his phone started to go off.
"Rike?" Jeff immediately asked once Riker picked up. "What's going on?"
"Nothing I'm gonna tell you over the phone, dip-wad" Riker snorted in response as he smiled to himself. Jeff scoffed over the line and Riker could practically hear Jeff roll his eyes.
"Remind me again why I married you," Jeff added.
"Because you loooove me," Riker sang in response. Jeff giggled then and then huffed out a sigh.
"So, is Jude okay?" Jeff asked seriously.
"Yeah. I got out of her what's going on. She's up in her room right now talking to Leon," Riker replied.
"Mmh," Jeff hummed. "And Addie?"
"We're not telling Addie yet. She said she doesn't want to tell Addie or Kaiden yet. We'll talk more about it later once you're filled in," Riker said.
"Okay. You should probably call Adds though to let her know that Jude is okay. We know how she freaks over her baby," Jeff breathed out.
"With just cause," Riker replied. Jeff hummed in agreement and then made a small noise as someone called out for him.
"I gotta go. I'll see you when I get home. I love you," Jeff chirped.
"Love you too," Riker said before they hung up. Riker snuck up the stairs then and crept closer towards Jude's room. He heard the two teens talking in hushed tones and went back down the stairs to the living room to call Addie.
"Riker? Is Jude okay? Is she still with you?" Addie immediately asked as she picked up the phone.
"Yes, Jude is still here and she is fine," Riker assured her. "She is talking with Leon right now."
"Oh, okay," Addie breathed out. "Did she say when she is gonna come home?"
"I think she is actually planning on staying here for a bit. I don't know for how long. I think she just needs a little time right now," Riker told Addie, who released a shaky breath.
"Okay," Addie stuttered out. "You're sure she's fine, though?"
"Yes. I am positive she is fine. You think I would sound as calm as I am if she weren't?" Riker asked in response.
"You have a point," Addie agreed. "I just want to be sure. You know how I worry."
"Yes, I do. Now take a few deep breaths and calm down because I know you have a class coming into the studio in fifteen minutes," Riker chuckled.
"Alright. Okay. I can do that," Addie huffed out. "Keep me updated, okay?"
"Okay," Riker replied simply.
"Thank you," Addie breathed before she hung up. Riker shook his head slightly then and tossed his phone onto the couch next to him before turning his attention back to the TV again.
"Snack!" Lasey exclaimed as she burst through the front door. Ryan giggled and skipped after his sister, tossing his backpack onto the floor by the front door.
"Voices down. Jude and Leon are sleeping, you tiny heathen," Riker scolded as he picked up Ryan's backpack and placed it on its hook. Lasey made a face at Riker in response before skipping into the kitchen and going straight to the refrigerator.
"Daddy, can I have waffles and nutella?" Ryan asked as he stared up at Riker with wide eyes.
"Sure thing, Ry," Riker replied as he scooped up the eight year old and placed him on the counter. Ryan giggled happily and kicked his feet back and forth.
"I want a leftover chicken cutlet," Lasey commented as she searched the shelves of the refrigerator.
"Second shelf, hon," Riker told her as he pulled the waffles out of the freezer. Lasey let out a triumphant cry then and hugged Riker's leg.
"Thank you, Daddy!" she added as she grabbed the chicken and then went over to the cabinets to get a plate.
"You're welcome," Riker replied as he placed two waffles into the toaster oven for Ryan.
"Daddy, is Judey gonna stay with us for a while?" Ryan asked curiously.
"I think so," Riker said as he turned to face his son.
"How come she doesn't go home to Addie?" Ryan asked with furrowed brows.
"She thinks that Addie and Kaiden are gonna be mad at her for what happened and I think she wants to have some time away from Addie right now," Riker told Ryan.
"Why would Addie and Kaiden be mad? What happened?" Lasey asked as she grabbed a fork and then clambered onto one of the bar stools at the counter.
"You'll find out what's going on soon enough," Riker replied as the toaster went off. Ryan giggled happily and clambered across the counter to sit on a bar stool as well. "Shoes off the counter."
"Yes, Daddy," Ryan chirped as he settled into his seat and waited patiently for Riker to spread the nutella on the waffles.
"Is Papa gonna be late today?" Lasey asked. "Last time he was late he gave some kid detention."
"Yes, he did. But I don't think he's going to be home late today," Riker replied as Samoa walked into the kitchen and meowed loudly, wanting to be fed. Riker smiled and shook his head as he walked over to feed the cat. She purred loudly at him as he set her bowl down and rubbed against his leg happily before starting to eat.
"Happy cat," Lasey commented with a giggle.
"Mhm. Samoa is a happy cat, isn't she?" Riker asked in response.
"Yes," Lasey and Ryan chirped.
"Afternoon, Mr. Castellan and co," Leon yawned as he walked into the kitchen.
"Hi, Leon," Lasey giggled happily. Leon smiled at her and ruffled her hair.
"Judey still sleeping?" Ryan asked with his head tilted to the side.
"Mhm," Leon hummed in response as he got a glass of water.
"And we are going to let her continue to sleep," Riker said as he gave his kids a stern look. Lasey immediately let out a huge sigh and went back to her food. Leon snorted with laughter and shook his head slightly.
"But it's Friday, Daddy. We wanna play!" Ryan squeaked.
"Yes, well, you can play without Jude today. Papa and I have to talk with her about stuff," Riker replied, causing Leon to eye him warily. Riker smiled and shook his head before he clapped Leon on the shoulder. "Calm down. It takes two, and we're not telling Addie yet."
"Yeah. She said that she didn't want to," Leon commented with a small shrug. Riker nodded in agreement and shrugged one shoulder.
"She's my daughter and I'm gonna respect her wishes as long as they're reasonable," Riker added.
"You're a liar," Lasey commented easily as she slid off of the stool to put her plate and fork in the dishwasher. "You don't respect my wishes."
"Because your wishes are to live in a castle and own an entire stable of horses," Riker told her. Lasey raised one eyebrow at Riker and placed her hands on her hips.
"That's not unreasonable. I know you and Papa have a lot of money," Lasey retorted.
"Yeah, and that money is going towards yours and Ryan's college funds," Riker countered. Lasey scoffed and rolled her eyes before strutting out of the kitchen, nose in the air. Ryan shook his head at his older sister and then turned back to his waffles.
"She and Papa are too sassy," Ryan breathed out.
"I agree with you, buddy," Riker chuckled as Leon snorted out a laugh.
"Lasey, get your shoes off the couch," Jeff's voice suddenly scolded.
"Honestly, Lasey! Every day?" Riker asked as he stuck his head out of the kitchen to glare at his daughter who was moodily kicking her shoes off of her feet.
"Hey, Rike," Jeff breathed with a small smile as he walked up to Riker.
"Hey, Jeff," Riker replied as he smiled as well and kissed Jeff lightly. "Jude is still sleeping right now but we'll talk to her once she's awake and ready."
"Mkay," Jeff hummed as he walked into the kitchen and grabbed a glass of water. "You doin' all right, Leon?"
"Yeah. You?" Leon asked in response.
"Eh, it's Friday and school is almost out. Your brother was being a pain in my ass today," Jeff replied. "I would have given him detention but I didn't feel like staying late."
"That's why you never give detentions," Riker snorted as he helped Ryan off of the stool so Ryan could run off into the living room with Lasey.
"Got me there," Jeff chuckled in agreement. Riker just smiled and rolled his eyes as he flicked Jeff's ear.
"God, I've been around you guys my entire life and you're still sickening," Jude breathed as she walked into the kitchen. Her hair was a mess and she was still wearing Riker's old jersey, but she didn't look as pale as she had earlier. Leon immediately pulled her into his chest and kissed her forehead, causing her to release a relieved sigh.
"You know what, everyone trained you from a young age to think we were sickening. It's not your actual thought. It is your conditioning," Jeff retorted as he pointed at her. Jude smiled slightly then and rolled her eyes.
"If that's what helps you sleep at night," she added, pulling a chuckle from Leon and Riker.
"I sleep very well at night, thank you," Jeff hissed out. Jude made a face then and Riker pinched Jeff's side.
"What have I told you about making innuendoes in front of the children?" Riker asked. Jeff rolled his eyes at Riker and dipped his fingers in his water to flick them at Riker.
"She's seventeen, not seven," Jeff added.
"Doesn't change the fact that I don't want to hear it," Jude grumbled as she burrowed closer into Leon's chest.
"Yeah, well, there is something I want to hear," Jeff told her as he quirked an eyebrow at her. Jude sighed heavily and glanced into the living room to make sure Lasey and Ryan wouldn't hear.
"I'm pregnant," Jude whispered, face guarded in case Jeff reacted badly. Jeff glanced between Jude and Leon and then smiled widely.
"Aw! But that will be such a cute baby!" Jeff exclaimed quietly. Jude and Leon's eyes immediately widened and Riker swat at Jeff's arm.
"Jeffry, contain yourself. We don't even know what they want to do yet!" Riker hissed.
"Oh, please. This is Jude. We both know she isn't gonna give this baby up," Jeff retorted with an eye roll before he looked over at Jude and Leon. "Am I correct?"
"Uh…yeah," Jude breathed out. Jeff smiled smugly then and pinched Riker's arm. Riker yelped and slapped Jeff's arm in response. "Oh my god, you guys are thirty-six."
"So what?" Riker asked with a smile. "There's no fun in mentally getting old."
"Definitely not," Jeff agreed. "So, what's the plan here, Judey Bear?"
"Well, I don't want to tell Mom just yet. I want to wait until I'm done with my first trimester, just in case," Jude breathed out.
"Okay. If that's what you want," Riker told her.
"Really?" Jude asked, looking over at Riker with tears in her green eyes again. Riker smiled at her and nodded.
"Really, bugaboo. I understand why you'd wanna do that," Riker replied. Jude released a small sob then and launched herself into Riker's arms.
"I love you, Daddy," she coughed. "I'm happy you adopted me."
"I love you too, and I'm happy as well," Riker assured her in a whisper as he hugged her tightly. Jeff smiled at the two of them and reached over to smooth down some stray hairs on the top of Jude's head. "Now, why don't you and Leon go chill out while Jeff and I arrange a doctor appointment, okay?"
"Okay," Jude breathed out, rubbing tears away from her face and shuffling back over to Leon, who smiled and kissed her forehead before they retreated back upstairs. Once they were gone, Jeff released an excited giggle and slapped Riker's ass playfully.
"You're gonna be a grandpa," Jeff giggled. Riker snorted and pulled Jeff into his side to ruffle Jeff's hair.
"Shut up," Riker added. "Now c'mon. Let's go make Jude an appointment."
"Okay, grandpa," Jeff replied before he took off up the stairs. Riker laughed and followed Jeff upstairs and into the bedroom where he tackled Jeff to the bed as Jeff giggled.
"Daddy, Judey is sick, I think," Ryan chirped as he jumped down the stairs a few days later. Riker turned and looked at Ryan with furrowed brows.
"What?" Riker asked.
"It sounded like Jude was throwing up," Ryan replied simply as he waddled over to pick Samoa up.
"Yeah. She's definitely sick," Lasey commented as she walked into the living room wearing only her underwear. Riker sighed heavily as he eyed his daughter.
"Lasey Allison, go put on some clothes. You're ten, it is not acceptable to walk around in your underwear," Riker told her as he headed towards the stairs.
"You're boring," Lasey grumbled as she bolted up the stairs ahead of him.
"And I don't want to see my daughter half naked!" Riker called after her as she slammed her door closed. He heard Jude let out a groan from the bathroom then and he walked towards the noise. "You doin' okay in here?"
"No. I don't want to leave this immediate area," Jude groaned as Riker nudged the door open and leaned against the doorframe.
"Want some marshmallows and ginger ale?" Riker asked. Jude looked up at him then, one eyebrow raised.
"What?" she asked in response.
"Marshmallows and ginger ale. They help to settle your stomach, and therefore nausea," Riker replied. Jude gave him a skeptical look and he shrugged. "Worked for Artie when she was pregnant with Lasey."
"Do I have to leave to bathroom to get them?" Jude asked then. Riker chuckled and shook his head.
"No. I'll be right back," he replied before heading back downstairs.
"Judey gonna be okay?" Ryan asked, peering up at Riker.
"Mhm. She just doesn't feel so great right now," Riker told Ryan as he got marshmallows and ginger ale out of the cabinets. Ryan eyed Riker curiously, head tilted to the side.
"That's gonna help Judey?" Ryan asked curiously.
"Mhm. They help sick tummies," Riker said as he poured the ginger ale into a cup.
"Oh," Ryan hummed before going back into the living room and changing the channel on the television.
"Daddy, when is Papa gonna be home? I'm hungry," Lasey commented as she jumped down the stairs again, this time wearing an oversized shirt.
"Soon. The people at the pizza place have to make the pizza before Papa can bring it home," Riker told her as he headed back up the stairs. He found Jude in the same position he'd left her in. She lifted her head as he walked in and shifted slightly in order to lean back against the bath tub.
"They shouldn't call it morning sickness. It's deceiving," Jude grumbled as she accepted the glass of ginger ale and took a tentative sip.
"Hey, it should only last a month or two," Riker told her as he smoothed her hair down. Jude heaved out a sigh and took another sip of the ginger ale.
"I'd rather it not happen at all," Jude added. Riker chuckled and knelt down to kiss her forehead.
"C'mon. Why don't you come downstairs? I know for a fact Jeff went to stock up on crackers as well in preparation for your eventual morning sickness," Riker told her. Jude groaned but then allowed Riker to help her up from the floor.
"Can I wear one of your hoodies?" Jude asked as she leaned into his chest.
"Mhm," Riker hummed as he kissed her forehead before going into his and Jeff's room to retrieve one of his old soccer hoodies. Jude accepted it happily and pulled it on, leaving the hood draped over her head. Riker chuckled and easily lifted her onto his back to carry her downstairs.
"You gonna be okay, Jude?" Ryan asked as Riker set Jude down on the couch.
"Mhm. Just not feeling so great," Jude replied as she ruffled Ryan's hair. Ryan hummed happily then and curled into her side. She smiled down at him and leaned down to kiss the top of his head.
"Pizza has arrived!" Jeff suddenly exclaimed as he burst through the front door.
"Pizza!" Lasey exclaimed happily as she jumped off of the couch to go meet Jeff in the kitchen. Riker chuckled and rolled his eyes as he followed after her.
"You get crackers like you planned?" Riker asked before he kissed Jeff's cheek.
"Yes, sir. Why?" Jeff asked in response.
"Apparently morning sickness has already hit our dear Jude," Riker whispered in response with a raised eyebrow. Jeff's eyebrows shot up and he glanced out into the living room at Jude where she was curled up on the couch with Ryan.
"Oo, we're gonna have to have a talk with her later once the munchkins are asleep," Jeff hissed.
"Mhm," Riker hummed in agreement as he kissed Jeff's cheek again and accepted the plates from Lasey to put pizza on.
"Ry, you want your pizza cut up?" Jeff called out.
"Yes, please!" Ryan replied.
"Boring!" Lasey chirped as she skipped into the living room with her own slice of pizza.
"Lasey, don't make fun of your brother," Riker told her. "And eat over the coffee table. You're a mess."
"Yes, Daddy," Lasey huffed out as she plopped onto the floor in front of the coffee table.
"You too, Ryan. Sit on the floor with your sister," Jeff said as he cut up a slice of pizza for the eight year old.
"Mkay," Ryan giggled before he slid to the floor.
"You want a slice, Jude?" Riker asked. Jude shook her head and pulled her knees up into the hoodie.
"No thanks. Just the crackers," she added. Riker saluted her and grabbed a sleeve of crackers to bring to Jude before he grabbed his own slice of pizza and headed into the living room. He sat down next to Jude and let her curl into his side, which had become habit over the past few days. "Thanks, Daddy."
"No problem, baby girl," he whispered before kissing her forehead.
"We're gonna have a talk later, okay?" Jeff asked as he sat down as well. Jude's eyes immediately widened and Jeff chuckled. "You're not in trouble, I swear."
"Oh, okay," Jude breathed out as she settled back into Riker's side. Jeff snorted out another laugh and turned on the TV so they could watch the previous night's episode of the show Dylan was currently on. Lasey and Ryan both hummed happily to themselves as they ate their pizza. Riker chuckled and nudged each kid in turn with his toes. Lasey made a stubborn noise and swat at his foot. Ryan let out an annoyed noise as Lasey bumped into him, but did nothing else. Jeff smiled and shook his head as he watched them and Jude let out a small giggle. After that, though, they fell into silence as they watched the show.
"Alright, kiddies! Wash up time!" Jeff exclaimed once they finished with the dishes.
"First!" Lasey squeaked as she bolted up the stairs.
"You're a cheater!" Ryan squawked as he chased after Lasey, who was laughing loudly. Jude smiled and shook her head as she watched the proceedings.
"What?" Riker asked.
"I've never met kids who got so excited over bath time," Jude laughed in response. Riker smiled and shrugged.
"We just knew how to get them excited about it when they were little and it has carried on," Riker replied.
"Hey! No injuring each other!" Jeff exclaimed from upstairs.
"She cheated!" Ryan exclaimed petulantly.
"I'm older!" Lasey countered.
"So does that mean I should bathe first?" Jeff asked.
"You and Daddy have your own bathroom, don't be silly," Lasey giggled.
"So, does that mean Jude should bathe first?" Riker asked as he and Jude reached the top of the landing to see Jeff, Lasey, and Ryan standing outside the bathroom.
"Yeah, I mean, I am older than you guys," Jude giggled.
"You shower in the mornings, though," Ryan countered with a stubborn expression. Jude hummed and tapped her chin.
"This is true," Jude added.
"Yeah. So now it is my turn!" Lasey cackled as she jumped into the bathroom and slammed the door shut. Ryan turned and pouted at the bathroom door, eyebrows knit together slightly. Riker chuckled and scooped the eight year old up easily and blew a kiss against Ryan's cheek.
"You wanna make Lasey mad and take a bath in Papa's and my bathroom?" Riker asked. Ryan's eyes immediately lit up and he nodded excitedly.
"Yeah!" Ryan added happily.
"Alright, go ahead," Riker laughed as he placed Ryan down on his feet and nudged Ryan forward. Ryan giggled excitedly and ran off towards Riker and Jeff's room. Jeff snorted and shook his head.
"Careful, Ry!" Jeff called out.
"Yep!" Ryan replied before they heard him close the bathroom door. Riker and Jeff both shook their heads before turning to look at Jude. Her eyes immediately widened and she shrank away from them.
"Hey, we already said you're not in trouble. We just want to talk to you," Riker assured her as he nudged her along to her room. She released a deep breath then and crawled onto the bed.
"What?" she asked as she settled down, hands picking at the sleeves on the hoodie.
"We wanted to know how far along you think you are," Jeff said as he sat down on the bed next to Riker.
"Oh, um, about a month, I think," Jude replied nervously. Riker snorted and Jeff gave Jude a skeptical look.
"That's a load of shit, Jude Stacy," Jeff told her.
"What? Why?" Jude asked, eyes wide as she stared between the two of them.
"Jude, morning sickness starts during the second month, not the first," Riker told her. Jude's eyes widened again and her breath stuttered out.
"B-but I had a period last month!" she practically cried. Riker sighed and pulled her into his lap.
"You should know that can happen," Riker crooned at her as she took deep breaths.
"Yeah, I know. I just didn't think about it, y'know?" she breathed. Riker hummed and kissed the top of her head as Jeff reached out to take one of her hands into his.
"It will be okay. We promise," Jeff told her. Jude just nodded into Riker's chest.
"I trust you," she added.
"Good," Riker said. "Plus, your appointment is in a few days, so we can make sure then."
"Mkay," Jude breathed out.
"Is Leon coming with us when we go?" Riker asked. Jude shook her head then and heaved out a sigh.
"He's going with his parents to pick up his grandparents for graduation," Jude added. Riker hummed and rocked her slightly.
"It will be okay. Everything will be fine. You can text him throughout the day," Riker told her. She simply nodded and released another sigh.
"Do you think Darren would want to come?" Jude huffed out. Riker and Jeff exchanged a glance then, eyebrows raised.
"I'm sure if you told him, he would," Jeff assured her. Jude nodded simply then and clutched at Riker's shirt.
"Yeah. I'm sure he wouldn't mind the break from all the wedding insanity that is going on right now," Riker said. Jude groaned then and buried her face further into Riker's chest.
"I'm gonna have to get a different dress for the wedding now," she moaned, causing Riker and Jeff to snort with laughter.
"You don't even have a dress for the wedding yet, stop moaning," Riker told her.
"I'm gonna get fat! I will moan all I want!" Jude complained. Riker and Jeff both snorted with laughter again and Riker kissed the top of Jude's head.
"I'm clean!" Lasey suddenly squealed as she ran by the doorway wearing absolutely nothing.
"Lasey Allison Castellan! What have I told you about running through the house naked?" Jeff screeched as he jumped off of Jude's bed in order to chase Lasey down as she giggled and ran through the hallway.
"You do it!" Lasey countered.
"Do not!" Jeff replied. "I keep it contained to the bedroom!"
"Gross," Jude grumbled as she scrunched up her nose. Riker laughed and squeezed her shoulders.
"You're not allowed to act disgusted about sex," Riker told her.
"I can when it deals with my adoptive father and his husband," Jude retorted. Riker shrugged one shoulder and released a small hum.
"It's not always sex. He doesn't like to wear clothes to sleep in the summer," Riker added. Jude smiled slightly and rolled her eyes.
"A lot of people don't," she added as she pulled herself out of Riker's arms. "And on that note, I think I am about to go vomit again."
"I'll get you more crackers and ginger ale," Riker commented as he walked out of the room. Jude simply gave him a thumbs-up and walked into the bathroom, hand pressed to her mouth. Lasey ran by then, arms in the air as she screamed happily. Riker smiled and shook his head as he jumped out of the way since Jeff was right behind her.
"Clothes, Lasey Allison!" Riker called out as he headed down the stairs.
"Never!" Lasey screeched in response.
"What am I getting myself into?" Jude called out a few seconds later.
"Everything wonderful in the world!" Riker replied as he grabbed a new ginger ale and the sleeve of crackers Jude had been eating earlier.
"Debatable!" Jeff countered as they all heard a screech as Jeff caught Lasey.
"Don't worry. Jeff's just bitter about Lasey liking to be naked," Riker chuckled as he walked into the bathroom. "It really will be worth it."
"Yeah, I know," Jude hummed in response as she watched Ryan giggle and skip by the bathroom towards his room clad only in his Spiderman underwear. Riker smiled fondly at his son and then jumped up to catch the eight year old, leaving Jude to watch the happenings with a fond smile on her face.
"Ah! Darren!" Riker exclaimed the next day as the twenty-one year old jumped onto his back. Darren giggled gleefully and hugged Riker tightly around the neck.
"How's it going, big brother?" Darren asked.
"Terrible now that you're here. My day was so peaceful. The munchkins off at school and Jude minding her own business," Riker replied. Darren snorted and slid off of Riker's back in order to give him a proper hug.
"And Jeffry?" Darren asked.
"At work. I somehow managed to get this entire week off and it has been lovely," Riker replied.
"For you. What if I wanted the house to myself?" Jude asked as she walked into the kitchen wearing one of Riker's old jerseys and munching on a cracker.
"Sucks to be you, huh?" Riker asked in response as he reached out to ruffle her damp hair. Jude simply hummed and grabbed a glass to pour ginger ale into. "You're gonna drink all the ginger ale we just bought."
"Too bad. I'm your daughter. I can drink whatever I want in this house…except for alcohol," Jude said.
"Except for alcohol," Riker agreed as he leaned over to kiss her forehead.
"Hey, how come you're not at normal home, anyway?" Darren asked as he jumped up to sit on the counter. "Addie's been freaking out."
"Which she shouldn't be. I've told her that I'm fine. I'd just rather be here right now," Jude replied as she sat down on one of the barstools next to where Darren was sitting on the counter. Darren released a hum and shrugged.
"Does all of this have anything to do with why I was summoned here today?" Darren asked. "Not that I mind. Dalton is currently freaking out over flower arrangements with Courtney and Shelby."
"You're the one that agreed to a big wedding," Riker snorted as Darren rolled his eyes.
"The things I do for love," Darren breathed out before looking back at Jude. "So, out with it. It is obviously related since you got all quiet and thoughtful."
"Yeah, just, I don't want you to tell Mom or Kaiden," Jude replied. Darren looked at Riker then with one eyebrow quirked.
"I agreed to it. I understand her reasoning," Riker said with a shrug.
"Then I promise not to tell Addie or Kaiden," Darren assured Jude with a nod. She gave him a small smile and then took a deep breath.
"I'm pregnant," she told him. Darren flinched back a bit and his eyes widened.
"What? Since when?" Darren gasped. Riker rolled his eyes and slapped Darren upside the head.
"Since she got pregnant, ass-wipe," Riker said. Darren made a face and swatted at Riker as he stuck his tongue out. Riker chuckled and shoved Darren's face to the side lightly.
"You're saying this like you're okay with it," Darren said.
"Because I am. She and Leon are taking responsibility. Jeff and I have had talks with them," Riker replied as he walked up behind Jude and began to French braid her hair. She turned her head slightly and smiled back at him. He smiled back and kissed her forehead.
"So if Jeff, Leon, and Riker are the only ones to know, how come you're telling me?" Darren asked, one eyebrow quirked at Jude.
"I was wondering if you would come to my appointment with us since Leon can't," Jude replied in a small voice, eyes pleading. Darren sighed and leaned over to kiss her forehead.
"Of course, Judey Bear," Darren breathed. "Plus, it will get me away from the wedding insanity for a day."
"Told you," Riker snorted as Jude smiled. Darren narrowed his eyes at them and scrunched up his nose.
"Are you implying I am not enjoying planning my wedding?" he asked.
"Yes," they both replied.
"Oh, okay. Because you're totally right," Darren snorted. "Courtney and Shelby swooped in and made things insane and took Ton along with them."
"That's what they do best," Riker commented as he tied the end of Jude's braid. Darren shrugged and nodded.
"It's going to be terrifying once they have kids," Darren added.
"Last I checked, Shelby doesn't want kids," Riker said.
"Mhm," Jude hummed.
"She goes back and forth," Darren told them. "I think it will depend on who she ends up with. When she was with Amelia she didn't want kids. She and Liz have talked about it though."
"Oh god," Riker groaned. Darren nodded in agreement while Jude smiled.
"Talk about a kid that would be insane," Jude giggled. Riker hummed in agreement and sat down on the barstool next to Jude.
"That kid would just run amok all the time," Riker said.
"That it would," Darren agreed. "It would probably be worse than Lasey."
"Oh god. Lasey. She was running around the house naked last night," Riker groaned as Jude giggled hysterically.
"She still hasn't grown out of that?" Darren asked.
"Jeff hasn't grown out of it either. He keeps it contained to the bedroom though," Riker replied.
"Again, ew," Jude complained as Darren snorted with laughter.
"Be glad you don't remember when Jeff didn't keep it contained to the bedroom," Darren told her. "I have seen Jeff naked more times than I care to count…and Riker, I don't even want to hear it. I see that look on your face."
"Gross!" Jude complained loudly as Riker chuckled to himself. Darren shook his head and rolled his eyes.
"You'd think that your drive would calm down after nearly twenty years, but it clearly hasn't," Darren huffed out. Riker smirked and shook his head as Jude made gagging sounds.
"Like you and Dalton will be much better. We should just be glad you grew out of the exhibitionism," Riker commented.
"Double ew," Jude groaned. "You're gonna make me puke, and I've had enough of that within the past twenty-four hours to last me a lifetime."
"If you're anything like Addie, it's gonna get worse before it gets better, hon," Riker told her. Jude groaned loudly and placed her head on the counter. Riker chuckled and rubbed her back while Darren shook his head.
"Should've thought about that before you had unprotected sex," Darren told her.
"It's not even that! We did use a condom and apparently it broke because that's my life!" Jude wailed without even lifting her head from the counter. Riker just continued to rub her back while Darren heaved out a sigh.
"Shit luck, munchkin," Darren told her. "But at least it will be a super rewarding outcome, yeah?"
"Yeah," Jude breathed out a few seconds later as she lifted her head slightly. "I mean, I always knew I wanted kids, I just didn't expect it to be when I was so young."
"It will work out fine," Riker assured her. "You've got plenty of back-up."
"Plenty of back-up containing people who are loaded with money," Darren added.
"Including yourself, Broadway boy," Riker snorted. Darren made a face and flicked Riker in the nose.
"You still have more money than I do and have more fame," Darren countered. Riker shrugged in response and Jude snorted.
"By far one of the more ridiculous arguments I have heard between members of the Castellan family," she added.
"What can I say? We're ridiculous people," Darren replied with a smile.
"Definitely," Riker agreed as he chuckled.
"Yeah, but you keep it interesting," Jude told them.
"Hell yeah," Darren laughed as he slid off of the counter.
"Inside, you little buggers!" Artemis' voice exclaimed from the doorway.
"Outside!" Ryan squeaked back even as they heard him dropping his backpack to the floor and kicking his shoes off.
"Put your shoes out of the way and hang your backpack up, you tiny menace!" Riker called out.
"You're a menace!" Ryan retorted as Lasey giggled hysterically and came sliding into the kitchen.
"Uncle Darren!"she squealed, immediately running over to him and jumping at him.
"Whoa, slow down there, killer. You're getting too big to do that," Darren grunted. Lasey just giggled and shook her head.
"Dear goodness, Lase. What did you do to your hair today?" Riker asked as his noticed his daughter's hair in disarray. Lasey looked over at Riker with wide eyes and shrugged.
"She and Sally were being silly with hats at recess," Ryan chirped as he skipped into the kitchen and went straight over to Darren for a hug.
"And while waiting to get picked up," Artemis snorted as she walked into the kitchen as well and ruffled Riker's hair. "Oh, hey, Judey moody."
"Hello," Jude sighed as Artemis kissed the top of her head.
"Dar, escaping the wedding madness?" Artemis asked, shifting slightly to avoid Lasey and Ryan as they ran out of the kitchen.
"Definitely," Darren chuckled in response. Artemis smiled and reached out to pat Darren's knee.
"Watching the insanity makes me happy that Jay and I decided to never get married," Artemis sighed as she sat down on the barstool on Jude's free side.
"Yeah, but you compromised and allowed him to knock you up even though you said you never wanted to be pregnant again," Riker snorted.
"I will have you know that my little Caron is a million times calmer than either of your children," Artemis told him as she ran a hand over her protruding stomach.
"Still. Never pegged you as someone to get pregnant at thirty-seven," Darren commented.
"Never pegged you as someone to run away from your own wedding planning," Artemis countered as Jude and Riker snorted. "Also, you totally still smell like sex from whenever you and Dalt did it last."
"Disgusting," Jude breathed.
"Oh, Jude. Shut up. We all know you're not a virgin," Artemis commented with a wave of her hand. Darren and Riker exchanged a glance then, both of them smirking. Jude just groaned and placed her head back on the counter. Riker chuckled and rubbed her back as they kept an ear out for Ryan and Lasey. Artemis noticed the glance between Riker and Darren though and smiled. "Wait, so did you finally tell people you're pregnant?"
"What?" Jude screeched, sitting up quickly and then clutching at her head.
"Oh please. I'm pregnant myself. I notice these things," Artemis scoffed.
"Yeah, well, hush about it. We're not telling Addie until she's done with her first trimester. She's only told me, Jeff, and Darren," Riker told Artemis.
"Oh. Oops," Artemis giggled as Darren rolled his eyes.
"You're actually the worst," Darren added as he hopped off of the counter to get a drink.
"Dar, wanna grab me a ginger ale, please?" Jude asked. Darren hummed his response and grabbed a can to slide across the counter towards her. Riker smiled and kissed Jude's temple.
"You want to go bundle up in the couch nest again?" Riker asked. Jude shook her head and leaned into his side.
"Not yet," she added before taking a sip of the ginger ale. Artemis tutted and shook her head.
"Not having fun with this, huh?" Artemis asked. Jude shook her head.
"It hit me hard yesterday," Jude breathed. Artemis smiled and reached out to pat Jude's cheek.
"It sucks now, but it is worth it in the end," Artemis told her as she smiled fondly at Lasey and Ryan who ran past the kitchen brandishing foam swords at each other.
"Don't break anything or the dragon will come out!" Riker called after the kids.
"The dragon is stinky!" Lasey replied.
"The dragon also sets your bed time!" Riker retorted. He heard Ryan and Lasey falter for a second.
"Point taken!" Lasey added a few seconds later. Riker just smirked and nodded to himself once.
"I will never understand how you get your children to listen to you so well. They're heathens when they're with me and Jay," Artemis breathed.
"They respect him more than they respect you," Darren said. "I mean, they know you're they're mom, but you're not really their parent…as in they don't see you as a rule enforcer. They're the same way when they stay with Ton and me."
"Yeah, and they think Jeff and I don't find out about it and pout for nearly a day when they get in trouble," Riker snorted.
"And again, I am wondering what Leon and I are getting ourselves into," Jude breathed. Artemis smiled and pulled Jude to her side in order to kiss her temple.
"Don't worry. Even when kids act like tiny devils, they are still one of the best things that can ever happen to your life," Artemis told her.
"Very true. Plus, whatever your kid throws at you will be karma for all the times you were a tiny menace while we all took care of you in college," Riker added. Jude smiled then and scrunched up her nose.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she added.
"Mhm. The time I came back after leaving you in the tub for two minutes to find you covered in poop says enough," Riker told her. Artemis immediately began to giggle and a horrified expression washed over Darren's face.
"I have no recollection of this, therefore it did not happen," Jude sniffed.
"Mhm, sure. Unfortunately for you, I have pictures somewhere," Riker replied.
"Oh, I am so going to need to see those later," Addie giggled.
"Those are something I never need to see," Darren grumbled as he shook his head.
"Oh, just wait until you have kids, Dar. Kids like to play with poop if you leave them alone. Also never leave the older child alone when the younger one needs a diaper change. They both will end up covered in shit," Riker advised.
"Duly noted," Darren replied, expression still disgusted. Jude just sighed and shook her head.
"I don't even know how to take care of an infant," she breathed out.
"Hey, don't worry. You've got plenty of people around who do and will help you," Artemis told Jude as she hugged Jude's shoulder tightly. "You're not gonna be alone in this, we promise. Consider yourself lucky. I'm sure once you tell Addie she will tell you the same."
"Mhm. Adds had quite the tough time with you, my dear," Riker said. "She still says you're the best thing to happen to her though, so remember that."
"I will," Jude hummed out as she settled against Artemis' chest. Then, they all heard a crash and Riker sighed before dragging himself off of the stool he was sitting on.
"The dragon is coming!" he screamed.
"No! It's okay! Everything is fine!" Lasey exclaimed in a high-pitched voice.
"I doubt that!" Riker replied as they heard Ryan start to whimper. Riker just sighed and headed towards where they heard the crash while Darren and Artemis smiled and Jude watched Riker warily. Artemis noticed and kissed Jude's forehead again.
"Stop worrying so much. Everything will be okay," Artemis breathed. Jude just took a deep breath and nodded once as she burrowed closer to Artemis while Darren reached out to push her bangs back, a reassuring smile on his face.
"Daddy, why are we going to Martie's today?" Lasey asked as she kicked her feet against the front of her seat while Ryan hummed next to her.
"It's just for a few hours because Jude and I have to go somewhere with Uncle Darren," Riker told her as he looked back at her through the rearview mirror.
"Oh," Lasey chirped. "Is Jay gonna be there too?"
"Probably. He and Artie do live together," Riker chuckled.
"I like Jay. He is nice," Ryan commented. Jude giggled then and quirked an eyebrow at Ryan.
"Ry, baby, you like everyone," Jude added. Ryan made a face then, nose scrunched up.
"Not everyone. There's that mean girl in my class that tries to make fun of me for having two daddies even though I also have Martie," Ryan retorted.
"That girl needs better parents," Lasey scoffed as she rolled her eyes.
"Hey, being mean to someone who is mean to you doesn't fix the problem," Riker told them as he turned onto Artemis' block.
"I know, Daddy. I'm not mean to her. Lasey gets snippy at recess sometimes, though," Ryan said.
"No one picks on my little brother or my daddies and gets away with it," Lasey sniffed as she crossed her arms over her chest. Riker smiled at her and shook his head.
"Just don't get in trouble," Riker said.
"Daddy, please," Lasey scoffed as she rolled her eyes. "We both know I know how to not get caught."
"This is true," Riker agreed as Ryan giggled. "I should know as I'm the one who taught you."
"Exactly," Lasey said with a smug sniff as Jude smiled and shook her head.
"Alright, munchkins. Enjoy your time with Artie and be good for her, okay? Remember she's about to have a baby," Riker told them as he pulled out front of Artemis' house to see her sitting on the front porch.
"Yes, Daddy!" Ryan and Lasey chirped before clambering out of the car and running up to greet Artemis, who smiled and waved at Riker and Jude, who waved back.
"Did Darren respond that we need to pick him up?" Riker asked as he pulled away from the curb.
"Mhm. He said Dalton and Shelby stole the car for the day so he is stuck at Miri's house at the moment," Jude chirped.
"Ugh. Now we have to dodge Mom," Riker grumbled as he turned onto the highway. Jude smirked then and rolled her eyes.
"She's your mom, you should know how to deal with her by now," Jude giggled.
"Yeah, well, she likes to smother me randomly. Even Drew can't stop her. She just misses having kids in the house. We all grew up," Riker huffed. "I'm honestly surprised she and Drew haven't adopted or fostered any kids. They both have empty nest syndrome."
"Yeah, but Shay, Tanner, and Wes stay with them constantly because they're bums," Jude countered.
"Valid point," Riker agreed with a small shrug. "And right now they've got Darren and Dalton."
"Mhm. Not to mention the kids that are brought around the house on a regular basis," Jude hummed. Riker shrugged again as he took the exit towards Miri's house.
"True. But Mom misses having little kids around constantly. Why do you think we adopted Darren?" Riker asked. Jude snorted then and rolled her eyes as she pulled her hair over her shoulder to braid it.
"I dunno. I wasn't even alive then," Jude added.
"Sass check, miss," Riker chuckled as he reached over to flick her ear. "Now do me a favor and text Darren that we will be there in two minutes."
"Aye, aye, Pops," Jude replied as she pulled her phone out. Riker smiled and rolled his eyes.
"Hey," Darren huffed out as he jumped into the back seat a few minutes later. "You're gonna have some explaining to do to Mom later because she looked very offended when she saw your car."
"She can deal. She is a grown woman," Riker replied as he drove off towards where the doctor's office was.
"Yeah, try telling that to her," Darren snorted as he buckled his seatbelt.
"I know. She's so needy sometimes," Riker breathed out.
"Says the one who has depression problems," Jude commented.
"Hey now, that doesn't mean I'm needy," Riker retorted.
"True. He is so not needy when it comes to that stuff. Jeff is the needy one," Darren said.
"Thank you! Jeff totally denies it!" Riker exclaimed as he reached one hand back for a high-five. Darren smiled and rolled his eyes even as he gave his older brother a high-five. Jude rolled her eyes.
"I swear, you're still a child," she told him.
"That mentality helps me keep my children entertained," Riker said with a shrug.
"Point," Darren conceded with a small shrug. Jude shook her head slightly and crossed her legs on the seat. "Hey now, keep those legs closed. Open legs is what got you in this mess."
"Darren Jonah Castellan!" Jude hissed, reaching back to slap Darren on the head even as Darren cackled to himself.
"You're no one to talk, Dar. As I recall, I caught you with your legs open more than enough times," Riker said offhandedly.
"We both know that's a dirty lie because I was not the one with my legs open," Darren replied smugly with one eyebrow quirked. Jude made a gagging noise then while Riker snorted.
"You've got me there," Riker added. "It's not like it's a secret that Dalton is the most bottom to ever bottom."
"Oh my god," Jude groaned as Darren giggled to himself. "I don't want to hear these things."
"Jude, you've walked in on Darren and Dalton," Riker deadpanned.
"And it was terrible!" Jude screeched. "I wish brain bleach was an actual thing!"
"Don't we all," Darren sighed wistfully as Riker parked.
"I hate this family," Jude groaned as she threw open her door and toppled out of the car.
"That's a dirty lie, baby girl," Riker laughed as he caught up to her and pulled her into his side. Jude relaxed into his grip and sighed.
"Yeah, I know," she breathed as Riker kissed the top of her head.
"Yeah, if you didn't love us so much we wouldn't be here with you right now," Darren chirped as he caught up to them as well. Jude smiled to herself then and grabbed onto Darren's hand as they walked through the door.
"You go sit with Dar. I'll check you in," Riker said as he kissed the top of Jude's head. She just nodded and allowed Darren to lead her off. Riker smiled and rolled his eyes as he walked up to the receptionist.
"Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in," the woman giggled as she spotted him.
"Hey, Jackie," Riker chuckled.
"I thought Artemis wasn't due back anymore," Jackie commented with a raised eyebrow.
"She's not. If you looked at the schedule, you'd know I'm not here for Artemis," Riker replied with a smirk.
"Oh?" Jackie asked, one eyebrow raised as she looked down at the schedule for today. Both eyebrows rose then and she looked back up at Riker. "Well, that's surprising."
"Eh. She and the boyfriend are taking responsibility," Riker hummed with a shrug.
"And Addie isn't here?" Jackie asked.
"Addie doesn't know," Riker commented. "She told me first. Wants to wait until she's through the first trimester to tell Adds."
"Mmh. Well, good luck to her," Jackie said as she checked Jude off the list and leaned back to call to one of the nurses.
"I'm sure she appreciates it," Riker chuckled as he tapped his fingers against the counter. Jackie just hummed and nodded in agreement before Riker walked off to join Darren and Jude.
"Darren, stop," Jude complained, hands clapped over her ears.
"Dar, stop telling her about your sex life," Riker said as he sat down on Jude's free side.
"Worst older brother ever," Darren chuckled as he settled back into his chair. Riker snorted and reached over to cuff Darren on the back of the head. Darren smiled and rolled his eyes while Jude rolled her eyes.
"And I thought I was coming here with adults," she breathed.
"Hey, I am barely an adult. Don't throw that adult label on me yet, I'm not ready," Darren complained.
"Dar, you're getting married in three months. You're an adult," Riker snorted.
"Ssssh, Dalton doesn't know I'm not really an adult yet, he just thinks I am," Darren whispered.
"You make a crap-ton of money on Broadway and are getting married. You're an adult," Jude scoffed as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"Hey, kids can be on Broadway as well!" Darren exclaimed defensively.
"Kids on Broadway don't get the money straight into their bank accounts," Riker countered. Darren made a face at them then and slumped down into the chair petulantly. Riker laughed and shook his head as they heard a nurse call out Jude's name. Jude looked up with wide, panicked eyes. Riker gave her a reassuring smile and held a hand out to her as he got up. She slipped her hand into his and allowed him to pull her up while Darren popped out of his chair and followed them. The nurse smiled brightly at them and looked between them.
"Your father and partner?" she asked.
"Yes, and no. Darren's technically my uncle," Jude replied as she gestured towards Darren, who smiled brightly.
"Ah, okay," the nurse said as she led them back to a room. "Why don't you get settled and someone will be in to take care of you in a minute."
"Thank you," Riker, Jude, and Darren chimed in unison. The nurse smiled at them again before retreating. Jude immediately let out a deep breath and climbed up onto the chair she needed to be on.
"Wait, they're not gonna stick one of those wand things up her vag, are they?" Darren suddenly asked, eyes wide.
"Oh my god," Jude groaned, covering her face with her hands while Riker laughed loudly.
"No, they're not," Riker assured Darren. "And it's not like you would have to look down there, geez. It's like you're afraid of female anatomy."
"I am. It's weird. I don't understand it," Darren hissed out.
"You and ninety-nine percent of the male population," Jude commented as she picked at her nails. Riker stilled her hands and then pat her knee.
"I also don't need to be able to understand it," Darren added.
"This is true. It's still good to understand it in case you ever need the knowledge," Riker said.
"When would I need the knowledge of female genitalia?" Darren asked.
"One, you'd be surprised the amount of my friends I told about female genitalia. Two, if you have a surrogate, it is honestly helpful to understand what is going on," Riker replied. Jude huffed out a breath then and leaned back on her palms.
"Ah! Miss Chase! I heard Riker was bringing someone in!" a woman exclaimed as she walked into the room and kicked the door shut behind her.
"Hey, Mara," Riker greeted. Mara smiled easily at him and collapsed into the seat next to the chair Jude was on.
"Alright, Miss Chase, you're how old again?" Mara asked as she smiled up at Jude, who swallowed audibly.
"Uh, seventeen. I'll be eighteen in September," Jude replied as she reached out to grab tightly onto Riker's hand.
"And how far along?" Mara asked.
"I'm not sure…" Jude replied.
"At least two months. Morning sickness hit her hard last week," Riker tacked on. "She said she had a period last month though."
"Riker," Jude hissed.
"Hey now, I'm just giving her the facts," Riker replied with a shrug as Darren made a face.
"Well, periods while pregnant can happen, but at least they stopped so you found out sooner rather than later," Mara commented. "Now, let's get a sonogram set up and then after that we can figure out just how far along you are, okay?"
"Okay," Jude agreed in a small voice.
"Shirt up!" Mara chirped, gesturing towards Jude. Jude complied, laying back against the chair and lifting her shirt up. Mara smiled and then warmed the gel slightly before smearing it across Jude's abdomen. Jude squeezed Riker's hand and he squeezed her hand back reassuringly. Darren scooted closer as well and placed a hand lightly on top of Jude's head. Mara smiled at them and turned to flick on the screen before grabbing the wand to place on Jude's abdomen. Mara huffed out a breath as she began moving the wand around.
Jude's breath stuttered out and she closed her eyes. Riker swiped his thumb over her hand and squeezed her fingers again.
"Oh! There's your baby! And his or her heartbeat!" Mara suddenly squeaked. Jude's eyes flew open and her eyes immediately went to the screen, along with Riker and Darren's. "Would you like to hear the heartbeat as well?"
"Y-yeah," Jude huffed out. Mara smiled widely and reached carefully over to flick another switch before a quick heartbeat began to pour from the machine. Jude bit at her lip then to keep it from quivering while Darren cooed and rested his cheek against the top of her head. Riker just sat frozen, staring at the screen and listening to the heartbeat. Jude's fingers squeezed around his once again and he squeezed back.
"I-I'm gonna be a grandpa," he suddenly breathed as tears welled up in his eyes. Darren eyed Riker then with one raised eyebrow. Jude just coughed out a small laugh and nodded in agreement, her eyes still glued to the screen.
"I'm gonna be a mom," she cried as she pulled her hand out of Darren's to wipe tears away from her eyes. Darren chuckled and kissed the top of her head.
"And you're gonna be amazing," he whispered to her. She laughed over another sob and wiped more tears away. Riker turned then and pulled her into a tight hug as they both cried happily.
"I take it you guys want copies of the sonogram?" Mara asked, eyeing Riker and Jude.
"You even have to ask?" Darren snorted in response while Riker and Jude simply nodded. "I can't even imagine how Leon is gonna react. That kid is a giant sap."
"Oh my god, Leon," Jude sobbed out, throwing her hands into the air.
"Whoa, calm down. You can send him a picture later," Riker told her as he wiped tears off of his own cheeks.
"He's gonna get so emotional! He started crying when I told him I was pregnant!" Jude exclaimed. "He's gonna be so upset he didn't hear the heartbeat!"
"Jude, there will be more appointments where Leon will not be with his parents," Riker assured her as she sobbed. Mara just smiled and shook her head as she printed out the sonogram pictures. Darren just snorted and leaned back as he watched Jude freak out.
"But he didn't get to hear it the first time!" Jude sobbed loudly.
"Oh my god," Darren coughed out over a laugh.
"Honey, would you like me to set it up again and you can record it?" Mara asked as she eyed Jude, who stared back with wide eyes.
"You would do that?" Jude sniffed.
"Of course, sweetie," Mara cooed as she walked back over to them.
"That would be wonderful," Jude coughed out as she wiped at her cheeks and then grabbed her phone. Mara just smiled and pat Jude's knee as she brought the sonogram back up on the screen. Jude's eyes immediately started to mist over again as the sound of the heartbeat filled their ears and she recorded a short video for Leon. "I can't believe this baby is real. I have a baby inside me."
"Yes, you do. And by the fact that we could hear the heartbeat, you are at least two and a half months along. I can do more test before you leave to make sure," Mara said.
"Oh, okay," Jude huffed out. Riker smiled and pat Jude's knee reassuringly.
"All that changes is how soon you're going to tell Addie," Riker added. Jude heaved a sigh and brushed more tears off of her cheeks.
"I know," she added as she placed her phone carefully in her lap.
"You're gonna have a baby belly at the wedding," Darren suddenly giggled. Jude pursed her lips and reached over to slap Darren, who released a yelp.
"That's what you get, you butt-face," Jude replied stubbornly. Darren just smirked and shrugged as he leaned over to kiss Jude's cheek.
"It's gonna be a cute baby belly, okay?" Darren asked. Jude made a stubborn noise and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Hey, stretch those arms out so I can get a blood sample, please," Mara said as she held out a hand. Jude sighed and obeyed, placing her wrist lightly in Mara's hand. Mara smiled at her and then quickly took a sample of her blood before leaving the room.
"So, did you send the video to Leon yet?" Riker asked as he leaned back in his chair.
"Mhm," Jude hummed in response as she picked up her phone to check it. "It seems as if he has responded with a keyboard smash and a picture of his freaking out face."
"Wow, don't sound too fond or anything," Darren chuckled. Jude flicked Darren off and then turned to her phone to respond to Leon.
"I'm allowed to be fond. I've been with him for nearly three years," Jude countered as she set her phone back in her lap. "And, honestly, have you seen yourself and Dalton? You guys are worse than Riker and Jeff."
"Hey now!" Riker exclaimed defensively, earning deadpan stares from both Darren and Jude.
"Shut up. We all know you and Jeff are ridiculously vomit inducing," Darren said. Riker made a face at them, nose scrunched up.
"I will continue to refute that until I die," Riker added.
"Yeah, I'm sure you will," Jude huffed out as she sat up and pulled her shirt down. Riker chuckled and reached out to poke her side lightly. Jude smiled back at him and reached out to pinch his cheek. "You're the cutest dad to ever exist."
"Aw, thanks," Riker laughed as he got up to hug Jude and kiss the top of her head.
"Welcome," Jude replied as she hugged him back. Then, Mara walked back into the room with a chart in her hand.
"Well, everything seems to be going well! You're healthy and the baby is healthy, but we should get you started on some prenatal vitamins and things," Mara commented as she grabbed the envelope of sonogram pictures to hand to Jude.
"Mkay," Jude sighed, giving Mara a small smile. Mara smiled back in response and then went over to the counter to start filling things out.
"I'm sure Riker will keep me updated on you, but I'm sure we will see you back here soon," Mara said as she handed Jude a slip of paper. Jude just smiled and nodded in agreement as she carefully slid off of the chair. Riker kissed the top of her head then before turning to Mara.
"Thanks, Mara. Always a pleasure working with you," Riker chuckled as he shook her hand.
"It's always a pleasure to have someone from your clan around here. You guys are always so bright and sunny!" Mara replied with a flourish.
"It's because everyone in the clan is on happy drugs when it comes to children," Darren scoffed as he rolled his eyes.
"Hey, you just wait until it's your kid, you little bugger. Then you'll understand," Riker countered as he pointed at Darren who simply rolled his eyes again.
"Agreed," Jude breathed out as she smiled and placed a hand lightly on top of her abdomen. Both Riker and Darren smiled at her then and each kissed the top of her head before they walked back out of the clinic and to the car.
"Daddy, is it okay if Leon stays the night tonight?" Jude asked as she leaned forward slightly between the front seats.
"Yes. Now sit back in your seat," Riker told her as he reached over to shove against her forehead lightly while Jeff snorted with laughter. Jude just smiled and rolled her eyes as she obeyed.
"Why are we going to Addie's house?" Ryan asked as he played with the arms on his Koda blanket.
"Because Jude graduated today and there's a party for that," Jeff replied as he looked at Ryan in the rearview mirror.
"Oh," Ryan breathed out as Lasey giggled.
"I'm excited to see Uncle Jason," Lasey added as she kicked her feet.
"Oh yeah?" Riker asked.
"Yeah," Lasey replied.
"Good. Because I think he's excited to see you too," Riker told her. Lasey smiled widely then before burrowing into Jude's side while Jude smiled down at her.
"So, what's the plan here, Jude?" Jeff asked as he turned to look at her. Jude heaved out a sigh and slumped down in her seat.
"I think I'm gonna tell Mom and Kaiden today. That way she can't yell at me and she won't attack Leon because he won't be there," Jude replied.
"Sounds like a solid plan," Riker hummed as he turned onto Addie's street. Jude simply hummed in response as she ran her fingers through Lasey's hair.
"What do you gotta tell Addie?" Ryan asked as he blinked up at Jude.
"I'll tell you tomorrow, bugaboo," Jude replied as she leaned down to kiss the top of Ryan's head.
"Mkay!" Ryan chirped as he hugged his blanket to his chest.
"Hey, Koda stays in the car, okay?" Jeff asked. Ryan pouted at Jeff, bottom lip jutting out. "Stop it with your face. Koda stays in the car."
"I don't like you," Ryan replied stubbornly.
"I don't exist to be liked by my children," Jeff huffed back in response as Riker parked along the curb out front of Addie and Kaiden's house.
"Alright. Out of the car before someone starts crying," Riker said.
"It would be Ryan," Lasey pointed out as she flung herself out of the car.
"Hey!" Ryan protested as he struggled to unbuckle his seatbelt and clamber out of the car at the same time. Jude giggled and unbuckled Ryan's seatbelt, causing him to practically fall out of the car.
"Careful there, little buddy," Riker chuckled as he caught the eight year old and picked him up. Ryan giggled nervously and buried his face in Riker's shoulder.
"I think we're lucky that Ryan inherited Artie's size," Jeff snorted as Riker locked the car doors.
"Agreed," Jude laughed as she ruffled Ryan's hair.
"I don't think it would matter. Our children like to be held," Riker commented as they all followed Lasey up the walkway.
"No. I'm too old for that now," Lasey countered as she stuck her nose into the air.
"Yeah, says the one who spent an hour clinging to my back yesterday while I vacuumed," Jeff snorted.
"The vacuum was a monster," Lasey whispered out with wide eyes. Ryan giggled happily then and wiggled in Riker's arms.
"Hey, chill it," Riker chastised as he rang the doorbell.
"I got it!" they all heard Katie squeak as she ran towards the door. "Judey!"
"Hey, Katie-bug," Jude said with a smile as she knelt down to hug her sister.
"I've missed you, Judey. And Mommy's been cleaning…a lot," Katie said, lowering her voice to a whisper at the end.
"Hey, let them in the house," Kaiden chuckled as he walked up to them and ushered them into the house. "Everyone else is already in the backyard."
"Uncle Jason?" Lasey immediately asked, eyes wide and excited.
"Yes, he is out there," Kaiden told her with a chuckle. Lasey let out an excited squeal and immediately took off through the house.
"Uncle Jason!" she called out.
"Careful running through the house, you demon!" Jeff called out. "I say that like she actually listens to me."
"Yeah, we all know she doesn't," Kaiden chuckled before he turned to Jude with his hands on his hips. Jude smiled innocently while Kaiden eyed her. "Next time at least let me know you're running off to Riker's house."
"Yeah, okay," Jude breathed out before Kaiden pulled her into a tight hug and kissed the top of her head.
"I even promise not to tell your mom if you don't want me to," Kaiden told her. Jude simply nodded into his chest before they released each other. "Alright, now everyone out to the backyard."
"Don't tell me what to do," Riker hissed as he walked past his cousin. Kaiden snorted and cuffed the back of Riker's head.
"You be nice to my husband," Jeff commented airily as he walked passed Riker and Kaiden, easily accepting Ryan into his arms as Ryan reached for him.
"I will do what I want. He is my baby cousin," Kaiden retorted as Jude rolled her eyes at them.
"Yeah, but he is my husband and I am responsible for his wellbeing!" Jeff called over his shoulder.
"It's like you're still teenagers or something," Jude scoffed as she headed off towards the backyard.
"He likes to think so," Riker called after Jude, who simply smiled and rolled her eyes.
"So, Jude is okay, right?" Kaiden asked as soon as Jude was out of range.
"Yeah. She's fine. She's just got stuff going on. She said she will tell you guys later today," Riker replied.
"And is she going to stay here after that?" Kaiden asked, one eyebrow raised. Riker snorted and shook his head.
"She fully plans on coming back to my house. She already asked if Leon is allowed to stay over tonight," Riker said as he clapped his cousin on the shoulder.
"Mkay. As long as we know where she is," Kaiden breathed out before they headed towards the backyard.
"Riker!" Jason immediately boomed, raising his free arm towards his nephew. "I knew you had to be here somewhere!"
"Speaking my daughter is currently sitting on your hip, I'd hope so," Riker chuckled as he allowed his uncle to pull him into a one armed hug. Lasey giggled and reached out to pat the top of Riker's head.
"That and your husband appeared with Ryan on his hip," Jason said as he released Riker.
"Yeah. That's another give-away," Riker agreed as he reached out to grab Darren around the neck. Darren let out a small yelp, but then slumped into Riker's side.
"Hey, big brother," Darren added.
"Hey, baby brother," Riker replied as he ruffled Darren's hair. "Where's your partner in crime?"
"Talking with Jeffry. I heard squeals and quickly walked in the other direction," Darren told him.
"Aw, running away from wedding excitement?" Jason asked with a smirk. Darren huffed out a sigh and rolled his eyes.
"Yes," he added. "I've heard enough about color schemes and flower arrangements to last a lifetime."
"That's what you get for agreeing to a big wedding," Riker chuckled.
"Yeah, I know," Darren breathed. "It's worth it to make Ton happy though."
"Aw, what a sap," Lasey giggled as she reached out to poke Darren's nose. Darren scrunched up his nose and then pretended the bite at Lasey's finger, causing her to let out a giggled yelp.
"You've trained your children well, Riker," Darren commented as he pulled out from beneath Riker's arm and straightened up.
"It's payback for when everyone else trained you, Dalton, Shelby, and Courtney to call Jeff and me sickening all the time," Riker said airily. Darren shrugged and nodded once.
"I can understand that," Darren added as Jason chuckled.
"You and Jeff were pretty sickening that summer you did that musical," Jason told Riker, who immediately made a face at his uncle.
"Shut up," Riker hissed out as Lasey giggled and reached out towards Riker. He smiled and pulled her into her arms.
"You and Papa are still super gross sometimes, Daddy," she told him matter-of-factly.
"You're entitled to think that as our child," Riker scoffed as he rolled his eyes.
"Well, yeah. But you're also gross," Lasey giggled. Riker just snorted and blew a kiss against her cheek.
"Stop ragging on me and Papa and go play with your cousins," Riker said as he placed Lasey on her feet and swatted at her butt. She let out a small yelp before she giggled and ran off, screaming for Emily and Ethan.
"She's a special one," Darren breathed out.
"To put it lightly," Riker agreed as Jason laughed and clapped Riker on the shoulder.
"You did well with your kids, Rike," Jason told him. Riker smiled and rolled his eyes.
"That seems to be the general consensus," Riker agreed.
"Daddy, am I allowed to have one soda today?" Jude chirped as she popped up at Riker's side. Riker looked down at her with one eyebrow quirked. She smiled innocently up at him and blinked. Riker chuckled and kissed her forehead.
"You can have one and only one," Riker told her.
"Yes! I have been craving Sprite!" Jude exclaimed before running off. Darren chuckled as he watched her go, shaking his head. Jason just watched her with one quirked eyebrow before turning his expression to Riker.
"Don't worry about it, Uncle Jason. All will be revealed within the next week," Riker told him as he reached out to place a hand on his uncle's shoulder.
"Mhm, okay," Jason hummed out in response, expression still skeptical. Riker simply smiled widely before darting off away from his uncle.
"Biker boy!" Alyssa exclaimed as she walked up to Riker with Arthur on her hip.
"Hey, Lyss," Riker chuckled as she pulled him down into a one armed hug.
"Uncle Rikey!" Arthur cried out, throwing his arms into the air.
"Hey, buddy," Riker chuckled as he allowed the two year old to throw himself into Riker's arms.
"I misseded you," Arthur chirped as he hugged Riker around the neck.
"Aw, I've missed you too," Riker replied as he kissed Arthur's cheek. Alyssa smiled and rolled her eyes as she placed her hands on her hips.
"So, I've heard you've had an extra child in your house the past few weeks," Alyssa commented casually, one eyebrow quirked.
"Hey, she's my kid too," Riker said as he shifted Arthur on his hip.
"You know what I mean. She is usually here," Alyssa hissed. Riker smiled innocently at his older sister.
"Yes, I know. She wants some time away," Riker said as Arthur hummed to himself and played with Riker's hair.
"Any particular reason?" Alyssa asked.
"Yes. But it is not my place to say. I'm sure you will find out soon enough," Riker told her.
"Mmh. You questioning about Jude?" Jeff asked as he popped up at Riker's shoulder and kissed Riker's cheek. Arthur released an excited squeal and launched himself at Jeff, who chuckled and easily placed the toddler on his hip.
"That I was," Alyssa huffed out. "Everyone is very confused and Addie is in a tizzy."
"Yeah, well she can deal with it. Jude is safe and fine and I've told Adds that multiple times," Riker said.
"Mhm," Jeff hummed in agreement as he smiled at Arthur, who was patting his hands lightly against Jeff's mouth. "Plus, we both know Addie is about to have the freak out of her life and Jude doesn't need to be around that."
"Point," Riker agreed. Alyssa looked between them, expression skeptical.
"So this is something Jude told you guys before Addie?" Alyssa asked.
"Yep," Riker and Jeff chirped in unison.
"She knew we would be more understanding," Riker added as he glanced over towards where Jude was sitting on a swing and laughing with Logan.
"That's because when it comes to Jude Addie has a stick up her rear," Alyssa snorted with an eye roll.
"Not without just cause. The first year of Jude's life was not easy on either of them," Riker said as he easily caught Katie as she ran up to him.
"Rikey, Judey said she needs you," Katie giggled as she snuggled into his chest.
"Mkay. Let's go see what she needs," Riker said as he tickled Katie's side. Katie just giggled and buried her face in his neck as he walked towards where Jude was still sitting with Logan, though looking a bit greener than she had a few minutes prior. Riker set Katie down then and nudged her towards everyone else. "G'head and find Daddy."
"Kay!" Katie chirped as she skipped off.
"Hey, sweetie. Need some of those ginger candies?" Riker asked as he walked up to Jude and knelt in front of her. Jude huffed out a breath and nodded in response. Logan just sat silently next to Jude and rubbed her back. Riker smiled to himself and pulled one of the candies out of his pocket to hand to Jude, who accepted it gratefully.
"Thanks," Jude sighed out a few minutes later. Riker smiled and kissed her forehead.
"No problem," Riker replied before he allowed Logan to giggle and launch herself at him.
"Hey, Uncle Rike," Logan added.
"Hey, you bugger," Riker chuckled as he hugged his niece tightly.
"You're a bugger," Logan replied as she scrunched up her nose and pinched Riker's side.
"I'm older than you, therefore you are the bugger," Riker told her.
"Your logic is faulty because you're an old man," Logan retorted.
"And your logic sucks because you're not even twenty," Riker countered.
"You're wrong because you're an old man, just like Dad," Logan replied.
"Hey, your dad is seven years older than I am. I'm not nearly as old as him yet," Riker said.
"You're still old," Jude told him with a smile. Riker rolled his eyes and reached out to flick her nose.
"No one asked you, miss," Riker added.
"Too bad," Jude said with a shrug. Logan smiled and rolled her eyes at both of them.
"Incoming, Uncle Rike. My siblings are coming for you," Logan added as she stepped away from Riker.
"What?" he asked just seconds before three bodies tackled into his and pulled him to the ground.
"Uncle Riker!" Josh, Emily, and Ethan all chorused. Riker groaned and laid his head down on the ground.
"You're all terrible," Riker grumbled.
"You're a liar," Emily giggled in response.
"No. I know for a fact that you're all terrible children. I talk to your parents," Riker said.
"Mom and Dad are liars too," Josh told him.
"I doubt it," Riker huffed out as he shoved them off of himself and sat up. "Like, what issue do you have with greeting me like normal people? No, you've got to run at me and pull me to the ground. What if I had an injured leg?"
"It would be injured because you're old," Logan hissed at him.
"No, it would be injured because I am a dance instructor," Riker replied.
"Point," Jude hummed with a small nod.
"Dancing is lame," Ethan told him.
"You're lame," Riker said as he pulled Ethan into a headlock. "Like, your entire existence is lame."
"Rude," Ethan grumbled.
"That's what you get for insulting my profession, you butt," Riker chuckled as he released the thirteen year old. Ethan just made a face at Riker as he sat back on his butt.
"You just think dancing is lame because you suck at it," Emily stated matter-of-factly.
"That's true. He does suck at dancing," Logan agreed as she sat back down on the swing next to Jude.
"Mhm. It is like watching a pelican try to walk gracefully," Josh laughed.
"I hate you all," Ethan grumbled as he shoved up from the ground and walked off, immediately making his way towards Maya.
"Wimp!" Emily exclaimed as she jumped up to chase after her twin. Riker smiled and shook his head as he watched them. Josh laughed and took off after them as well, catching up to both of them easily and causing them to squeal.
"Cousins!" Lasey screamed as she popped up out of nowhere and flung herself onto Josh's back. Josh let out a small yell and stumbled, causing all of them to fall to the ground. Lasey cackled manically then and ran off quickly, hair trailing behind her.
"Waaaaaait!" Ryan squeaked as he ran by as well, trying to catch up to Lasey. Riker, Logan, and Jude watched the proceedings with wide eyes before starting to laugh.
"Your kids are special ones," Jude breathed.
"Your siblings," Riker retorted with a small smile.
"Not by blood," Jude countered with her own smile.
"Like that matters," Logan snorted as she dug her heels into the ground lightly to move the swing she was sitting on. "They're still your siblings."
"True. I wouldn't give them up for the world either," Jude breathed.
"Me either," Riker agreed as he watched Lasey and Ryan chase each other around Miri and Drew's feet before Tanner scooped them both up. "Those kids are some of the best things that have ever happened to me."
"You're such a sap, Uncle Riker," Logan laughed as she nudged his arm with her shoe.
"Hey, shut up. You'll understand when you have your own kids someday," Riker told her. Logan snorted and rolled her eyes.
"I'd have to be in a relationship first," Logan added, causing Jude to snort with laughter. "Because, y'know, I'd rather not be the next Virgin Mary. I don't think I could handle the responsibility of giving birth to the modern day Jesus."
"True. That would be a lot of responsibility," Jude giggled.
"You guys have a point," Riker agreed with a small shrug. "But all kids are a big responsibility. And on that note, I am going to take care of mine because it seems as if Ryan has scraped his knee somehow."
"Super Dad to the rescue!" Logan crowed. Riker just chuckled and flipped his niece off over his shoulder, Logan and Jude's laughter following behind him.
"Daddy, everyone else is gone," Jude whispered frantically as she looked around the backyard. Riker placed his free hand reassuringly on the top of Jude's head and kissed her forehead.
"Yes, I know. Let me help Jeff get Ryan and Lasey into the car and then I will come with you," Riker told her. Jude just let out a shaky breath and nodded. Riker kissed her forehead once more before heading out to the car where Jeff was buckling a sleeping Lasey into the middle seat of the car.
"Gimme Ry. Go be with Jude," Jeff said as he easily pulled Ryan into his arms. Ryan made a small, stubborn noise, but didn't wake up. Riker just smiled and kissed Jeff's cheek quickly before sprinting back up to the house. Jude immediately appeared at his side and he wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
"It's gonna be okay, I promise," he whispered into her hair as they walked towards the living room. As soon as they entered the room, Addie's eyes went to them, expression worried and curious. Kaiden smiled reassuringly at Jude, hand placed lightly on Addie's knee.
"So, what has been going on?" Addie asked as she stared at her daughter. Jude took a deep breath as she sifted her weight, still tucked into Riker's side. Riker squeezed Jude's shoulders tightly and she released her breath before lifting her eyes to look at Addie.
"Mom, I-I'm pregnant," Jude stuttered out. Addie immediately froze, eyes wide. Kaiden looked at Jude and bit at his bottom lip, as if he was trying not to smile.
"Excuse me?" Addie hissed a few seconds later. Jude's eyes widened in panic and Riker tucked her closer into his side. "You are seventeen, Jude!"
"I know how old I am!" Jude replied defiantly. "That was one of my first thoughts when I found out!"
"You're too young for this!" Addie told her.
"You don't get to decide that for me!" Jude retorted, tears starting to stream down her face.
"I'm your mother, of course I get to decide!" Addie hissed.
"No you don't!" Jude fought. "You don't get to decide what I do with my life!"
"I do when you're under eighteen," Addie retorted.
"Addie…" Riker tried.
"Shut up, Riker!" Addie barked, eyes furious as she looked over at him. "You've been hiding this from me too, obviously! This is not what I wanted to happen when you became her father!"
"Addison," Riker hissed out angrily as Jude began to cry loudly before running out the door to the car. Addie tried to go after Jude, but Kaiden caught her easily.
"Addie, calm down," Kaiden growled at her.
"Don't tell me what to do!" Addie screeched.
"You're going to wake Katie up," Kaiden said. "So you need to calm down."
"Do you even understand how your reaction is affecting Jude right now?" Riker asked. "Why do you think she wanted to tell Jeff and me first?"
"I don't care right now. She needs to get her ass back into this house right now," Addie hissed out as she stared at Riker angrily.
"No, what she needs right now is her boyfriend and to be away from her mother who really needs to decide if she is going to support her daughter when her daughter needs her most," Riker retorted.
"I know what she needs," Addie growled at Riker as she glared at him. Riker glared right back at her, crossing his arms over his chest defensively.
"I don't think you do right now," Riker told her. "She was honestly getting excited. Leon is so goddamn excited to be a father and has already been talking about getting multiple jobs this summer and putting off college for a year to make more money. Jude already has two job interviews set up for next week. Two. She and Leon are taking responsibility because they want this baby. Maybe you should think about that before you let your rage really take over."
Addie and Riker stared each other down then, both of them breathing heavily. Addie made a stubborn noise then and stalked off towards the stairs. Kaiden let her go, deflating a little. Riker watched her leave before relaxing his stance. Kaiden walked over to Riker then and clapped a hand against Riker's shoulder.
"Let Jude know that I am happy for her and Leon…and you're doing well with this teenager parenting," Kaiden breathed. Riker just nodded at Kaiden once before leaving the house and walking to the car, hands shaking in anger. Jeff looked up from where he had his arms wrapped around a sobbing Jude and gave Riker a questioning look.
"You're driving," Riker said simply, handing Jeff the keys before pulling Jude into a fierce hug. She coughed out a sob into his chest, her arms curled up and trapped between their chests.
"You okay?" Jeff whispered as he eyed Riker. Riker simply shook his head and smoothed Jude's hair down.
"I'm about ready to throw a brick," Riker added. "But right now we need to get home. Jude, let Leon know we'll be at our house in fifteen minutes."
"Mkay," Jude hiccupped as they climbed into the car. Jeff immediately started the car and pulled away from the curb before grabbing onto Riker's hand and rubbing his thumb over Riker's skin. Riker relaxed a little at the contact and pinched the bridge of his nose with his free hand.
"I don't understand how she could have been so rash," Riker breathed out. "Even Kaiden is happy. She's the only one who's pissed."
"Kai-Kaiden's happy?" Jude sniffed out.
"Mhm. He told me before I left," Riker assured Jude as he looked back at her. A tiny smile appeared on her face as she wiped a few tears away.
"He will probably talk Addie down, then," Jeff commented as he continued to run his thumb along Riker's skin.
"Hopefully," Riker breathed out before they all fell silent for the rest of the ride home, the silence only broken by Jude sniffing every once in a while.
They all saw Leon waiting on the porch as they pulled into the driveway, and Jude immediately toppled out of the car once it was parked. Leon pulled her into a tight hug and began to murmur into her ear. Riker and Jeff each climbed out of the car and Jeff gave Riker a skeptical look.
"You okay?" Jeff asked, tilting his head to the side slightly. Riker heaved out a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose again.
"Just annoyed. Like, really annoyed," Riker replied. Jeff released a hum and reached into the car to pull Lasey out of it. Riker did the same with Ryan before hip-checking the door to close it.
"C'mon, inside," Jeff crooned as he nudged Leon and Jude through the door. They both followed easily and Riker kicked the door shut behind them before locking it.
"G'head up to bed. We'll talk in the morning if you want," Riker said as he kissed Jude's forehead. She simply nodded and then grabbed onto Leon's hand to lead him upstairs. Riker and Jeff exchanged a glance once Jude was out of sight and sighed before heading up the stairs as well.
"Papa?" Lasey asked groggily as Jeff turned on the light in his and Riker's room.
"Yes, sweetie?" Jeff asked as Samoa chirruped in greeting and stretched.
"We sleep with you and Daddy tonight?" Lasey asked as she rubbed tiredly at her eyes.
"Yes, sweat pea. You just gotta get changed quick, okay?" Jeff asked in response. Lasey yawned and nodded before wiggling out of Jeff's arms and immediately toddling over to the dresser where they kept their old high school shirts. Lasey pulled one out and changed quickly before grabbing another to hand to Riker.
"Thanks, baby girl," Riker told her as he kissed her forehead.
"Mmh," Lasey hummed in response as she crawled onto the bed and curled up beneath the covers. Jeff smiled at her and changed as well before climbing into bed beside Lasey. Riker smiled as well as he carefully changed Ryan as to not wake the eight year old. Once he was done, he changed and then climbed into bed as well, arranging Ryan between himself and Lasey.
"Night, Daddy. Night, Papa. Love you," Lasey yawned as she and Ryan cuddled together.
"Night, Lase. Love you too," they both replied as Jeff flicked the light off.
SO, you literally have no idea how long I was sitting on this idea before I decided I could use it for a NaNoWriMo, and I am so damn happy I did...even if it meant putting Midnight Swallows on hiatus...again (oops?)
ANYWAY, I actually absolutely LOVE and ADORE writing Ryan and Lasey. They are my favorite kids to write sometimes because HELLO SASS AND ADORABLE.
I also love writing the dynamic between Riker and Jude. It is kind-of lovely. ALSO, ON THAT NOTE, HAHA. Riker totally adopted Jude about a year after he and Addie finished college...? I mentioned it briefly (like super duper briefly) in the Disney "short" story I wrote. I really wanted to build on the dynamic of that. Like, in my head Jude only called Riker "Daddy" when she is super upset, but then all of this happened and it turned into a norm unless she was annoyed with him and then she would be all "OMG RIKER"
Also, Artemis' pregnancy and Darren/Dalton wedding being thrown in was just something I felt like adding in. With Artie I was just like "why not" and then with Darren and Dalton I was like "they are 21 and darren proposed at 19, theyve been engaged for 3 years and neither of them are in college anymore, I think it it time they get married"
Don't worry, the wedding has a section in a later part. I've just gotta get there in editing/reading through (for the second time) and sectioning things off. I wasn't about to just dump a 52k monster on you in one go. Chapters, people. Chapters.
ANYWAY, enjoy and if you have any other questions, just let me know :D!