Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Alternative Universe

Nice And Easy Does It
Written by: Doug Fowler

If Nicky & Alex were a year older, as some think, it'd change things in the show. Jesse & Becky engaged in "Luck Be a Lady" & other differences shown in scenes throughout. Biggest may be for Joey - especially his love interest. Sequel to Try, Try Again.

A/N: Jesse lies about the twins' ages in "Be True To Your Pre-School" - it makes sense with what else he lies about in that ep., but they're clearly born November of season 5 (1991). Still, talk on a few boards over the years showed some see Nicky and Alex as a year older (like their performers), mostly from season 6 (though fans who forget they're only 14 months when they mess up Jesse's laptop also forget his laxness at times).

If the twins were born a year earlier, numerous episodes would change. Not only would Cindy and Vicki enter at the same time, and other big changes come, but Jesse and Becky would almost surely marry a year earlier, with their beliefs (especially Becky's).

But, that made me think, it's plausible if Joey's further advanced professionally, so he's preparing more and not at the slot machine in "Luck Be A Lady." Then, the others catch them earlier and could talk Jesse and Becky into just getting engaged. So, this is a "Try, Try Again" sequel; that fic of mine is the most obvious Point of Departure.

Chapter One - A Great Couple and A Man's Dream

"Okay, girls, while Joey gets ready for his big...oh, sorry," Danny Tanner said as he plowed right into his brother-in-law, Jesse Katsopolis and Jesse's girlfriend Rebecca Donaldson, who was Danny's co-host on a local TV show. "Boy, Becky, wait till I tell everyone on the show who I ran into this weekend," Danny said with a goofy grin outside their motel rooms.

"You wouldn't really use that old joke on the air, would you?" Jesse asked evenly, hoping to avoid the subject of why they were in a hurry.

"He would," D.J. and Stephanie Tanner, Danny's twelve- and seven-year-old girls, said at the same time. Jesse lived with them and helped raise Dannny's three girls, D.J., Stephanie, and two-year-old Michelle, since Danny's wife, Pam, died in a car accident. So did comedian Joey Gladstone, Danny's best friend. They'd done so for almost two years. Danny was carrying Michelle, prepared to take her for a swimming lesson.

"Don't worry, Jess, I had a goat try to eat my notes once live in Omaha before I moved out here; I can handle anything," Becky said. The couple smiled at each other. "Wherever I go, I'll have interesting things to deal with; that's the fun of doing a show live."

"What do you mean wherever you go, you're stayin' here. I mean, if we're gonna get married..." Jesse spouted.

"Are you two getting married?" Stephanie shouted excitedly.

"Wow, so you'll be our Aunt Becky!" D.J. proclaimed.

Becky gave a shy smile. "I was kind of hoping we could surprise you."

"Yeah, I mean, we could just have a party when we get back to San Francisco," Jesse said. They were in Lake Tahoe on vacation. "Although I don't know about where Becky wants to go. I mean, I got a job here, Becky."

Becky turned toward him. "Well, I don't either, Jess; I might want to stay here. But, even if I don't, a larger market would be better for your music career, right?"

"Well, yeah, if the band's willing to pull up stakes, too," Jesse considered.

Danny put a hand on Jesse's shoulder. "Jess, I'm not saying you can't. But, do you remember when Pam and I eloped?"

Jesse reminisced fondly. "Yeah. I was so mad I beat you up. As much as I couldn't stand Pam pressuring me to be good at times, I really valued her bein' there for me." He still missed Pam quite a bit, though he didn't let on very much. 'I still remember Dad sayin' when he got that call from you two the next morning, after the prom, he swore Pam were gonna tell him you'd proposed, and she'd said 'yes.'"

"That would have been the smart thing," Danny admitted. "Even though we'd been best friends almost since the day we met in school a few years earlier."

Becky could afford to giggle now; she didn't face the pressure of having to leave someone at an altar. Now, it was just a funny thought they'd had. Though Jesse was miffed that they hadn't been able to go through with it, Becky felt relieved. "This was pretty silly huh?" She looked at Jesse. "We didn't really want to elope."

"We didn't?"

"I think what you need to do, Jess, is plan this out. Pam and I knew we were right for each other. You haven't had as long as we had; we'd known each other several years, you've known each other around six months, and we were really close from the start, unlike the two of you," Danny pointed out.

Jesse sighed. "Okay, this's always tougher this way."

"Well, we could marry someday," Becky promised him. "But, Danny's right. Instead of that all or nothing attitude, why don't we discuss things like mature adults?"

"Because I want to marry you," Jesse proclaimed as he began prancing. "That's what a man does when he loves a woman so much he can't believe it, and she makes him feel different than any woman he's ever been with. He goes and says, 'I want to spend my whole life loving you." He stopped suddenly. "Man, I oughta write that down. That could be the start of a cool song."

"Or a proposal," Becky offered modestly. While the thrill of the moment was gone and she realized marriage right now would be a mistake, she was certainly still willing to say "yes" if Jesse proposed. His words really thrilled her.

Jesse hastily walked back toward Becky. "Becky...what I just said is true. It doesn't always come out right when I let things get in the way instead of blurting it out...but you see why I like goin' on the spur of the moment? I mean, you loved that just now, right?"

Danny turned toward the others as Jesse and Becky talked. "I hope you girls are taking notes. Someday this will be one of you with a boy. I hope you don't go too fast." He began to wipe his face with a handkerchief. "I get sweaty just thinking about it."

As Danny and the girls talked, Jesse and Becky ironed things out. "So, you don't mind if I ask you now? I mean, it's still spur of the moment," Jesse said.

"It is. But it's not 'Let's do this right away.' It's, 'Let's take our time and see how this could work.'"

Jesse was disappointed. However, he still had a chance at Becky. It just meant he'd have to mature. It had been easy when he moved in to help Danny. He knew his nieces needed him. This would be harder, but he knew he could try.

"Okay. Then take what I said before about how much I love you," Jesse said as he got down on a knee, "and add this. Rebecca Donaldson, will you please marry me?"

"It's still a tentative yes. But...yes," Becky said with a broad grin. She hoped Jesse would slow down and start to think of her more, rather than thinking of his desires. However, he had a good career - he was an advertising executive with Joey in addition to being a musician; they worked out of the Tanner home. He was nice, and from all she could tell, he'd been growing better ever since he moved in to help raise his nieces, which showed her something in itself. It might take a while, but as they kissed, she knew he could very well be the one.

Jesse and Becky's engagement meant they saw each other more and more that summer. Joey travelled to do a few comedy shows, partly from Phyllis Diller's recommendation, as she'd learned of how Joey had hoped to perform for a talent scout who was only there to see her so people she knew who owned the club could drum up more business. Those couple shows led to a few others. With Joey gone at times, Becky helped at the Tanners quite a bit with the girls, and Jesse even took them to the stables so he and Becky could be together while Becky rode with D.J..

A few weeks after school began, Jesse and Becky were gazing lovingly at the large stray dog, Minnie, and her newly born puppies, who were all on his bed. They were sitting on a cot the Tanners had moved into his room - which used to be Stephanie's, and still had the pink bunnies. "Why'd she have to pick my bed?" Jesse whined slightly. He looked at Becky. "And, please, I know it's hard to help it with you growing up in the country, but no more jokes about the bunnies."

"Come on, Jess, I'm just teasing," Becky promised. She didn't lecture about how he took his macho attitude too far sometimes, though; she knew he was just being silly this time. In fact, as Jesse had told her, it was sort of like how he'd be with pam at times when she urged him to try to do something with the girls when she was alive.

"Yeah, I know. But, this is a guy's room." He stared at the bunnies. "With a...few little compromises. I can't wait till that guy gets back from his long business trip in South Korea so he can get these dogs. This room is for watching the Three Stooges, not nature films about baby animals."

Becky smiled warmly at him. "Well, you do mighty well at handling young humans. The way you helped Michelle get used to her big girl bed, and then how you handled Steph when she was teasing that boy - you really have what it takes to be a good family man."

"Yeah, I guess I sort of do," Jesse said, not wanting to give up too much of his macho attitude, yet also glad that Becky appreciated him and was urging him to try. He couldn't believe how much of Pam he saw in her at times.

"You know, if it wasn't for us being so close over the summer, we probably wouldn't have talked things out near as much as we did. We might have had an even bigger blow-up about horseback riding or something else," Becky noted.

Jesse felt a little more relieved now. "Yeah; I'm glad we don't feel like we have to do stuff just because the other one does. Except now, I have to share my room with a walking, talking nature film for a few weeks. Except it doesn't talk, it barks."

Becky chuckled. "You handle the inconvenience very well. You're willing to take time for others; you even come out to see me ride horses."

"Yeah. Of course, Joey being gone a little more helps." Joey burst into the room impersonating the Tasmanian Devil. "Speak of the devil,"

"Good one, Jess. Hey, guess where I'm going?"

"Crazy. Wait, you can't go there, you're a permanent resident already," Jesse cracked.

Ignoring the taunt, Joey said, "It's so amazing, I was just looking through my old tapes and Danny and found a video from college. I promised myself I'd be on Johnny Carson in ten years, and now here I am."

Jesse looked around. "This is the Tonight Show? Funny, I always pictured the stage to be a lot bigger." He gazed at the dogs. "And not swarming with ankle biters."

"Well, actually, what happened was, Phyllis Diller had recommended me a while back if they ever needed an emergency guest, so I'm flying there tomorrow! And, you can all come with me!"

"No, I'm not flying on a plane with all these dogs!"

"We took care of that," Danny said as he stepped into the doorway. "Steph's friend Allie's dad's been laid off for a month or so; he'll probably get called back to work soon, but in the meantime they could use the money. So, they're house-sitting for a few days, since the puppies need time to grow."(1)

"Well, all that hard work has paid off, man. Congratulations," Jesse said. "But, I still think you're nuts," he was sure to add.

"Thanks. I called the ad agency; they said they'd give us the day off," Joey said.

The trip was fantastic. Jesse couldn't get anyone on the Tonight Show to take his demo tape, but Joey wowed the crowd with his material, including his Wizard of Oz routine. The taping was a little long for the younger two, so they came for Joey's part only and were swimming with Becky the rest of the time.

Joey sat in the motel lobby thinking the next morning. Michelle walked up to him. "You were funny," she said.

"Thanks. Just one problem. I never had any goals after that." He thought a moment as Michelle climbed into his lap. "I don't want to give up comedy. But, when you're in your early twenties, ten years is often enough to plan ahead; unless it's someone like your dad who had everything planned out." And that, joey considered, might be why he still struggled over Pam's death.

"You're still funny."

"You're right, Michelle, I'm still funny. "But, I made it to the mountaintop. It's like, where to I go from here?"

"We're on a mountain?"

Joey chuckled. "That's just a saying. It means I made it to the top of my profession. Where do I go from here?"

"Home. Duh-huh," the nearly three-year-old said.

"True. I guess now, I can relax. I won't feel as much pressure. I've got a good career with Jesse. But, that doesn't mean I'll stop comedy. I'd keep going another sixty years even if I hadn't made this milestone, though. Because, you know what? It's something I love. And the best part about real love is, it's forever," Joey remarked as they hugged.

"Yeah, that's right, man," Jesse said, putting an arm around Becky.

Danny told Joey someone was on the phone for him. "I just want to warn you, it's someone you probably wouldn't expect."

"We wanted him to come but it was too short a notice," Stephanie said.

"Dad said you and your dad didn't get along well, but trust me, he said he loved watching the show when he saw it last night," D.J. said.

Joey was stunned, not sure of who it could be - he never imagined it would be his dad, with whom he'd had a falling out years earlier when he was still a child, after his parents divorced. However, it was. They had quite a long talk on the phone, and talked a few more times before his father's death over a year later.(2)

Jesse and Becky continued to discuss the joy of marriage - which Jesse was more sure about after one last kiss, this from a woman he'd hung out with a lot with his previous band. He was committed for sure - though Becky thought he should be committed for being crazy when he rode his motorcycle on the roof of a building. Then, there would be that whole skydiving the day of his wedding bit a few months later.

Jesse and Becky were sitting at a table in the Tanner kitchen before Christmas. D.J. walked by and Jesse stopped her. "Hey, Deej, I heard your first babysitting went pretty well. Well, at least pretty well if you watch a kid like me."

"Yeah. I'm just glad Dad was able to help. It sounds like Steph did well getting Michelle to bed, too."

"You girls do great with her," Becky complimented D.J. as she sat.

"Thanks. She looked ready to go after those cake samples like the Cookie Monster last month, but she didn't; she's pretty good now. I just hope Dad starts to put her in timeout himself soon; my guidance counselor and Dr. Landress both say the longer we wait, the harder it'll be, especially if he waits till that stage around four when they start testing more anyway," D.J. said. Becky told her to hang in there, as it would happen sometime. "You're probably right. I hear you guys are still stuck on Nebraska versus Graceland for the wedding."

Jesse nodded as Kimmy Gibbler, the Tanners' annoying next door neighbor and D.J.'s best friend, came in the door. "Speaking of disasters,' Jesse said.

"Hey, Deej; I hear your dad was babysitting here, too with those poker freaks." She looked at Jesse. "You call me annoying, but at least I'd never turn into a chimney like that one guy."

"That's good to hear. I guess I'm just always unlucky in cards; I just lost out on Christmas in Graceland 'cause I didn't think my three could beat her two. Now I'm afraid my luck and my charm are both shot."

"Oh, don't worry, Jess, I would never risk having my wedding in Graceland no matter how good of a chance I thought I had of winning," Becky said emphatically.

"You guys are just like Dad sometimes; you don't see the obvious solution," D.J. said.

Kimmy agreed. "That's right; meet each other halfway. Have it in a cornfield somewhere in the middle of Montana." Jesse and Becky gawked at her.

"Kimmy, that would be Missouri," D.J. said gently.

"Hey, at least I had a state this time." Kimmy turned to the couple. "One time I tried to name a state beginning with 'M' and I said Mongolia.".

"See, Becky," Jesse noted, "you said you couldn't think of one thing you'd like about Graceland, there it is. They'd speak English, unlike some places Kimmy might send us."

D.J. couldn't help but laugh. "I mean you can have the wedding here in San Francisco. Why travel for a wedding? You've got everything you need. Becky, I'm sure your family can come; there probably isn't a whole lot to do in a farming community if you both still want it in February. And nobody'll have to travel from here."

"Okay, thanks, Deej. You got a point. All our friends are here, you guys are here." Jesse admitted that Graceland could be a honeymoon spot instead.

Becky chuckled. "Maybe someday; but isn't the south Pacific really more romantic?"

"Yeah, Elvis made a movie in Hawaii, so why not."

"Or maybe that cornfield in Missouri. Guess that won't work, huh?" Kimmy said, responding to the stares. They all said it wouldn't.

The wedding took place Valentine's Day, 1990, since the kids had off school for a week in February as an experiment for Presidents' Day. Jesse and Becky planned to move out, as while Michelle missed him it wasn't quite as bad as with a year more of parental bonding with him.(3)

However, something convinced them a few days after they moved out to move back and save on the huge Bay Area rent so they could afford to buy a place sooner.

Stephanie Tanner had just finished packing in her room. She couldn't believe what she'd done. She knew it would be a while before Joey or her dad came home...unless Uncle Jesse came over to do some work with Joey...

She hugged and kissed Michelle and D.J., wondering if she could stay there. She definitely wanted to say goodbye - and her new Aunt Becky was so nice. But, Uncle Jesse would probably tell on her.

She was dropped off at their apartment and announced to Aunt Becky, "I'm moving to Mexico. Unless you think I could stay here."

"Steph, what are you talkin' about?" Jesse asked. He'd come back from shopping for them by then, and was preparing to go over to the Tanners while Becky was at a business dinner. "What's this about Mexico?"

"Jess, let me handle this, okay?" Becky said softly to him.

Jesse got down to Stephanie's level. "Steph, if there's something on your mind, I wanna help. Now, if you feel comfortable talkin to Aunt Becky, that's fine. But, know I'm always here for you too, kid."

"Well ..." Soon, she was able to explain, "I got in Joey's car...and next thing I know, I'm in the kitchen." Jesse convinced her it was best not to run from problem but to admit it.

Later that evening, D.J. and Stephanie were talking in Stephanie's room. "I know you've got tons of chores to make up for this. But, it's going to be okay,' D.J. promised.

"I know. I still can't believe Dad could forgive me,' Stephanie mourned.

"Well, that's what's special about real love. It's unconditional. That means no matter what, we love you. And like Dad said, there is could you or anyone in our family could ever do to make us love you any less." D.J. admitted that, "There are times when you really bug me." They chuckled, as she considered that - if Aunt Becky hadn't been there as often to help them try to get along earlier, they might have really had a big fight one time. But, even when you bug me, I still love you."

"Yeah. I guess Aunt Becky's right; we just like to bug each other sometimes."

"I'm not perfect, either. I probably bug people just as much with some of the things I do, like Becky said that one time," D.J. said, referring to the time she hadn't wanted to attend Stephanie's school Halloween party. She knew Becky had been right - D.J. had wanted to stay with Stephanie just a couple months earlier, and with Steph not having a mother, it was possible she felt a little lonely. That was soon after they'd discussed Stephanie's Honeybee Slumber Party next fall, and how D.J. would go with her if nobody else could; though Becky probably would since she had been a Honeybee.(4)

"It's okay, I still love you," Stephanie returned. "I guess Dad won't be making everyone do spring cleaning this year; I'll be doing all of it."

"Well, I don't know about that. I think Dad will find a way to punish with chores as well as being grounded and stuff that really works well. He's really nice. And, this reminds me of how Mom would take us to church, where we go on the bus sometimes yet, and we'd learn about God's forgiveness,' D.J. said, as something in her heart urged her to keep going further, even though she didn't usually think about such faith.

Stephanie recalled. "I remember when I prayed asking Him to find Mr. Bear."

"Me, too. The important part isn't that we're in church, though. It's that we have that same loving relationship. And, we get that by just trusting in what Christ did for us when he took the punishment for our sins on the cross, when He died and rose again. It's just calling on Him to save you by faith."

Stephanie nodded slowly. "Sin always sounded like something so awful. But, boy, if I ever sinned, today was it!"

D.J. agreed silently. "You can call on Jesus to save you right now; would you like to?"

"You bet!" Stephanie prayed and trusted Jesus to save her from her sins and get her to Heaven, as well as to come into her heart and help her here on earth. While she wouldn't always follow Him, He would always be there to help when she called on Him.

"Thanks, Deej; I feel better now," Stephanie said as Jesse and Becky stepped into the doorway. "Hey, it's late; what are you two doing here?"

"We just wanted to make sure you were okay. And tell you we'll be here a lot more now,' Becky promised.

Jesse concurred. "What happened today, it helped us realize, we've got an important role in you girls' lives. It'll save on rent - which is awful in this area - till we can afford a real home. And, well, you can room with D.J. a while longer."

Danny explained as he stepped into the room. "They're taking the attic, which means Jesse's stuff goes to the basement, so Joey's going to move in here."(5)

"You'll get used to it, Deej. Maybe in a few months, we can talk you're your dad into letting you room with Michelle and be the big sister in the room," Becky suggested.

Stephanie gave her a look, as if to ask whether that would really be a good idea. "I guess I'd feel more grown up, though; like when I took the bunnies down last week and we were looking for something more grown up." Michelle would keep one in a frame as a souvenir, and so would Jesse and Becky. Joey, of course, didn't want them.

A few months later, Joey had just returned from another comedy routine, and was helping Danny and the others with a telethon. He was excited to be more popular, but as he told Danny, "I spoke too soon thinking I was at the top just because I made the Tonight Show. It's not like I'm getting a lot of offers. That help from Phyllis Diller just happened to get me a few. It might have been another decade before I made it otherwise.(6) Still, I like it this way. I'm really needed here. Especially with Becky's..."

Becky blurted, "Ice cream." Jesse and the others gave her odd looks as Jesse and his band prepared to perform. Once they left, she whispered, "I hinted at it, but Jesse doesn't take those well." D.J. suggested that Becky request a song. She'd long since gotten over Becky not being sure if she believed her when a boy splashed beer on her. "Good idea, thanks," Becky said as she ran up on stage. "Excuse me, can I request a song."

"Well, Becky, we've already got a full play list," Jesse said. When Becky reminded him the telethon was 24 hours, he said, "Okay, we can play 'stump the band' or something."

"Play, 'She's Having My Baby,'" Becky told him.

"Come on, Becky, we know that one; if you wanna stump us, tell us to play something like 'She's Having A Hot Dog," Jesse spouted.

"Jess, I'm not trying to stump the band, I'm trying to tell you I'm having a baby," Becky insisted before recalling she was on live.

Jesse turned back to the band for a second. "Wow, did you hear that guys, she's...what! You' mean we're having...?" Becky nodded excitedly.

The others laughed and pondered the new addition to the Tanner home which would come late that year. They knew it would mean lots more fun times.

(1) Puppies could never have been separated from their mother before 4 weeks, and had obviously grown since the birth, hence the month-long business trip the owner was on; he'd either moved from Ohio or bought Minnie there. The episode "Star Search" had to take place over at least 2 weeks. Puppies could be always upstairs- we never see the upstairs in that ep., and the final part isn't even at the Tanners'. Credit the writers for a perfect episode to embed within that space where the puppies are growing. Allie, of course, is the book friend who, as a "best friend since Kindergarten," would have moved, likely before season 6 as Steph only then gets to know the Jennifers. See "Young Talent Night" for how she'd fit in if she doesn't move in the TVU.

(2) I think they'd call his dad for the Tonight Show just as they did for when Joey was in Vegas the next year. They didn't for Star Search because it was a longer program and not as prestigious as Johnny Carson or Vegas. As to whether he'd come to see the act instead, Joey's performance on the Tonight Show wouldn't be as long as the one in Vegas, and with all the other parts of the Tonight Show taping he'd have had to sit through, it is more plausible he'd just watch at home. I mention his death - which I believe explains why he's never mentioned again -in my fic "Parties and Showers," but it could be any time after "Viva Las Joey."

(3) Whether Danny tells Michelle isn't important. He might have - Danny hasn't just started to punish her at this point so he wouldn't be so worried about the change (see my "Too Much Change"), It's just as likely, though, that D.J. or even Becky tells her.

(4) It's uncertain if Becky being there more often would impact "Divorce Court" but it could. Since they probably learn Becky was a Honeybee earlier, and discuss the future party, I think it's likely that such discussion leads to D.J. considering Becky's input as noted here, too, but it's admittedly a change that's not set in stone, it's just author's preference. Still, they're not close enough to have the events in the Book version, where they wouldn't fight, as in my "Kid Sisters Plus Boys Equals Silliness."

(5) Joey's room *was* the garage and could be expanded to fit the recording stuff like in books, where the 4th bedroom had an office in it. This tries to show the TVU with Nicky and Alex born a year early, so since they did it this way in our TVU, they would here, too. Still, they could move back when Jesse loses his job in "I.Q. Man" instead. (That's why they'd move back after the fall wedding in books, even with Jesse always in the attic and D.J. the mother figure.)

(6) Which I figure he does in our timeline; book and TV universes. See my "Going Out On Top.

Chapter Two of Two - Two Births and Two Girlfriends

"What a time to find out I'm havin' twins," Jesse muttered. "Well, okay, I guess that's not physically possible, but you know what I mean."

Becky put an arm around him as the young couple, married half a year, snuggled on the couch in their attic apartment. "Is something else wrong?"

"Well...I didn't want to bother you with it, Becky, but...well, the company's asked me to do this ad, and I tried to get 'em to let Joey do it, but the client wants me. I mean really wants me. As in, 'If Becky found out she'd go ballistic on her." When Becky protested that she would never "go ballistic" Jesse said, "Honey, trust me, I've watched your hormones since you've been pregnant."

When Becky heard of the woman who had hired the ad agency Jesse and Joey worked for to do the I.Q. Man ads, she tried to sound polite and dignified. "Well," she said softly with a smile, "I might be a little upset...mad...ready to claw her eyes out..."(1)

"See, just what I mean." When Becky protested, Jesse said, "Look, for the babies' sakes, okay? They sense your moods, they don't need you goin' after someone. Look, if they keep acting like that, Joey and me'll quit like professionals. Except, after that we won't be professions," he noted.

"Then can I go after her?" Becky teased. "Seriously, I know you'll be faithful. Just like when you told me about your old prom date who might come to your high school reunion.(2) And, you know, one of D.J.'s first lessons in one class is learning about starting your own business; maybe the two of you can run your own company."

Jesse smiled gratefully. "You know just how I'm thinking. That's just one of the great things about you, Beck," he said as they kissed. "It'll cost lots of money to start. But, I'm sure we'll manage. Of course, what do we do on Career Day in a couple days?"

Becky suggested that they tell the class about ethics and standing up for what you believe in. "Not every 'Career Day' lesson has to be 'This is what I do in my job and what I had to learn to do it.' Kids in D.J.'s class are starting to learn life's a lot more complex, and part of that is figuring out what you believe and knowing when to stand on principles and when you have to compromise. And, I think in a diplomatic way, you can explain to the class why this was a principle you had to stand on; it'll be a great lesson."

"Yeah, I guess. Although, can we not use principle? Kimmy'll think it's the other kind and try to stand on her school principal," Jesse joked.

The weeks leading up to Nicky and Alex's births were complicated by the fact Danny still hadn't enforced any negative consequences with Michelle - he hadn't even removed any privileges from her or given her chores, both of which were considered punishment in their house. He certainly hadn't put her in timeout. Becky helped D.J. some, but D.J. told her that her counselor at school and Dr. Landress had both said if it got this bad, she should force Danny to step in by not putting her to bed or anything.

This plan worked, and Danny finally realized he needed to take charge.(3)

At Michelle's fourth birthday, though, D.J. still worried. As they spoke in Jesse and Becky's room, D.J. was stunned more, however, to learn Becky was having labor pains.

"Now? But...well, you've helped otherwise when Dad wasn't enforcing things. And, I'm worried she's still pushing things. It almost seemed like she was ready to dive into the sweets at your baby shower," the young teen noted, glad that had come before she was distracted by other things and she could stop Michelle.

Becky consoled her. "Don't worry; no child at her age would be that out of control."

"Maybe you're right." Becky reminded D.J. Michelle obeyed well when D.J. put her foot down - which wasn't often, so D.J. wouldn't be constantly battling. "Thanks, Aunt Becky. I guess if you guys go, and Dad goes to support Uncle Jesse, I'll just have to take more of a role with Joey in running the party."(4)

Danny, meanwhile, had just finished icing a cake. "Joey, are the decorations ready?"

"Everything's ready, your countingness," Joey teased.

"Joey, just because I like to be very thorough doesn't mean I have to be the Count for Michelle's Sesame Street party. By the way, there are 52 plastic cups and 47 plates; I was hoping to have the same number of each."

"See, that's why I say, you and this Cindy are made for each other; you are such a neat freak, and she works at a dry cleaners," Joey insisted.

Danny shook his head. "Joey, it's a tough call. I like her, but this Vicki Larson just got hired while Becky's on maternity leave. I do hate to lose someone like Cindy. I mean we could both be a positive influence on her boy, Rusty; she says he could use it." Danny sighed, clearly struggling with the decision. "And, she is a dry cleaner."

"Are you saying I should ask Cindy out?"

"I don't know. If you go with Vicki I'll still see her every weekday on the show. And yet, if you go with Cindy, I'll imagine her when I fold laundry." Danny patted him on the shoulder. "Look, you haven't met either, and when I see them next to each other, I might realize I'm more attracted to one. Tell you what. We'll double date Friday; I'll just tell Vicki we're going as friends and see how it works out. If you two don't get along, and Vicki and I don't seem right for each other, I'll choose Cindy. But, whatever happens, you're my best friend. I won't interfere with your pick."

"Thanks, Danny." Joey turned to D.J. and Kimmy - who had gone up to see D.J. - come back downstairs "Have you seen Jesse and Becky?"

Kimmy nodded. ""Better eat that cake fast or you'll have two more mouths to feed." D.J. told them about Becky's labor pains.

"Oh boy. Okay...look, send Michelle in here." She was upstairs playing with Stephanie. "I'll tell her the plan, while you help them get down to their car."

D.J. thought all would be well. However, that wasn't the case. After D.J. and Kimmy helped Becky down with her suitcase, D.J. entered the kitchen to find Michelle gobbling up her cake, while crawling through it, and Danny just gently trying to urge her to stop; Michelle insisted, "It's my birthday" and kept gobbling.

The little girl quickly froze upon hearing D.J.'s loud voice. She looked anxiously at her as Kimmy entered, Stephanie came down the back steps, and D.J. explained. "Dad wouldn't even pull her away; he says he let her do it for at least half a minute!"

"Hey, chill out, Deej; maybe your dad was afraid to get his hand near her mouth."

"Kimmy..." D.J. was at a loss for words for a moment, and then finally said, "Okay, that almost made sense."

"Closest you'll ever come," Stephanie quipped toward Kimmy.

"Look, Joey, entertain the kids while I give her a bath, if they get here beforehand," Danny said. "Oh, wait, I have to go be with Jesse."

"Don't worry, Dad; I'll give her a bath. And a very serious talk about learning to control yourself, young lady," D.J. said as Becky entered. Kimmy caught D.J.'s look and left.

Danny put a hand on her shoulder. "Remember what you said when I came up to lecture Steph after she put the car in the kitchen? Go easy on her; she's just a little kid."

"Because I could tell Steph was very distressed and remorseful. Michelle needs to learn that not having self-control has serious consequences."

Becky admitted softly once she heard. "She has a point; it was only a month ago you started putting her in the corner or any other consequences as punishment."

Danny sighed. "I guess I still see you as my princess, Michelle. But, usually I'll enforce rules. This is just one time, well, I guess I feel better leaving it up to D.J.."

"Don't worry, Dad. I'll be just like Mom would have been," D.J. pledged. Stephanie promised to go up and help, reminding Danny she could tell when enough was enough when it came to a lecture. D.J. did handle it just as their mom would have. Later, she devised some rules that would help Michelle learn to behave, so she didn't become too much like the wild and unruly Jesse later. Michelle did settle down a lot after that.

Danny and Joey had that double date Friday; Jesse and Joey were glad they'd gone a week earlier to film their nature footage for their ad company, as Jesse was really busy now. Danny finally made the decision as he and Vicki surprised each other with a kiss, despite the fact he really thought he'd choose Cindy. That was just as well, though, as he realized he really liked Vicki.

Joey brought Cindy over the following weekend, when her boy Rusty played a number of practical jokes. He liked Cindy, but even after Danny and he talked with Rusty about the problem, Joey wasn't sure he was right for Cindy. Maybe with Rusty feeling so bad about the divorce yet, it was better if they were just friends.

A few weeks later, Danny was thrilled to host the Tanner Family Fun Barbeque. He knew Vicki was a nice woman, and good with the girls. Joey could bring Cindy, too, and Cindy could bring her boy - who would hopefully not pull any more pranks.

What they got was not what was expected. And Rusty - who had earlier tried to sabotage the relationship with his pranks - was really stunned!

"Oh, that's so sweet...oh, hi, Becky," Cindy said as Rebecca came downstairs with the twins in a double bassinette.

"Well, you certainly look happy."

"I am..." She studied the prank letter, given to Michelle by Rusty for Michelle to give to D.J., supposedly from the paperboy. Rusty told Michelle to give it to "her sister," though, and the first one she saw was Stephanie. Stephanie - thinking it was from Rusty - was grossed out, and hid it in Joey's laundry, which he'd handed to Cindy saying there was something special in it for her, not knowing about the letter. "Men find it hard to communicate sometimes, don't they?"

"Tell me about it," Becky said.

Cindy explained about the note she thought was from Joey. "He's been making all these cartoon voices, and I think being around here has helped Rusty a lot, don't get me wrong. But, before I saw this note, I just wondered how serious he was."

Becky read it and was impressed. "Wow. I wouldn't have imagined this from him, either. He's pretty goofy sometimes, but he is a great guy. It could just be a crush yet, but maybe he does feel like he's found that special someone."

"So when he talks like Popeye and does that laugh, you think he really likes me?"

"Could be." Becky smiled again at the note. "Maybe that's his way of showing he needs someone to accept him. And that note is how he shares his true feelings."

Cindy thanked her, and walked up to Joey outside. Rusty happened to be nearby, and the boy, about eleven, gawked like mad as she spoke. "Joey, I just want to say I understand."

"You understand what?"

"About us. You're so sweet. And probably so shy. From what you said about your parents' divorce, and how strict your dad was, I can see you've got so much love hidden by those cartoons. If you have to express yourself like a cartoon character for a while and just express your true feelings some other way, that's fine. You're a special guy." She embraced him, and they kissed.

Wow, Joey thought, she loves it when I have her do my laundry!

"Maybe taking it slow is what's best for now, anyway, till Rusty gets used to it. But, in time, if things work out, I think Rusty would love to call you 'Dad' someday."

Rusty's mouth hung open for several moments once his mom said that, as Joey and Cindy shared a very long, passionate kiss. My mom likes guys who talk like cartoon characters? Talk about freaky, he pondered.

Michelle looked at how wide open his mouth was. "Are you trying to be a birdhouse?"

"No, I just...I gotta learn to do impressions," Rusty said.

"You do a very good birdhouse," she said.

Finally noticing the note in his mother's hand, Rusty spouted, "Mom. Uh...Mom? I, uh, I wrote that note. I mean, for did you...?" Seeing they were still kissing, he turned to Michelle. "You did give the note to your sister, right?"

"I gave it to Stephanie." Michelle looked at the couple now. "How do they breathe?"

"Mom?" Cindy finally looked and saw his very confused face. He knew his mom might be mad - but it was a lot better, to him, than having her think Joey was that crazy about her! "I, uh...asked Michelle to give that note to D.J. from the paperboy; I wrote it."

Joey spoke first. "Well, what your mom said about me is right. I know it hurt when your dad walked out on your mom like he did. I promise we're taking it nice and slow." He gazed into Cindy's eyes. "You probably have to talk to him now, huh?"

"I certainly do. But...well, read it." She showed it to Joey, who was impressed. "Does it sound like how you feel?"

"Yeah, I guess." Man, Jesse should turn that into a love song. "Maybe I do need to feel accepted; that's why I love it here. And, you're a wonderful woman. I'd love to get married. I always wanted a son who loved jokes; but, I want to do this the right way; not rush into things."(5) Cindy said she was glad. "Good. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I hope Jesse doesn't mind me trying another voice. 'Have mercy,'" Joey said as they kissed again.

Jesse jokingly held his chest. "Oh, Joey, that was a horrible impression. At least your cartoon characters sound like themselves," he scolded him.

Joey and Cindy saw each other as Rusty played for Danny's baseball team. Things might have slowed down between Danny and her, but Joey - anxious to help Rusty with the finer points of comedy - was less busy and more able to devote his time to them, and also more confident from having done the Tonight Show and also that letter. Joey did things with them off and on for a few years. Rusty, thankfully, didn't pull many more pranks, but became more like Joey - of course, that meant he did pull a few.

Meanwhile, Danny and Vicki grew closer. Vicki got a job hosting a news show in Los Angeles at the end of the school year, so she could be closer, since nothing was open yet in Chicago, and yet she'd still be in a major market; she could fly to the Bay Area in an hour, or drive there in five or six.

At the start of the school year in the fall, as Michelle started Kindergarten, Danny was anxious but finally proposed to Vicki.

However, while they got engaged, they could tell it wasn't as great as it had been. It wasn't a horribly long distance relationship, but it was some. When Vicki took a job in Chicago, Danny realized it wasn't meant to be, and they broke up.

Joey continued to see Cindy at times, though, as he enjoyed the idea of having a son who he could teach how to pull jokes the right way. For instance when the younger girls needed to be kept busy while D.J. was coming back from Spain, Joey and Rusty led them on a comical scavenger hunt through the airport.(6)

It would be just one of many interesting happenings in the next few years of the Tanners' lives. Danny was lonely enough he decided to accept nomination as the Bay Area's Bachelor of the Month that year. He received the award in November, advertising hiself as a great family man who would be perfect for the holidays.

In February, he finally took a break from being Bachelor of the Month, and all the calls he got. "Too bad Cindy and Rusty couldn't come with us to Disneyworld," Danny he and the others in the family prepared to split up to do things on their vacation.

"Well, I have to admit it's good to get away; I'm kind of nervous, really," Joey said. "I mean, you proposed to Vicki a little less than a year after knowing each other, and then she was gone what, four, five months later?"

Danny understood. "Joey, you and Cindy are different. She has her roots here. The only one who's going to be going places is Rusty, if he ever becomes the grand comedian he wants to be?

Joey admitted that was true. "I've given him someone to look up to; something that might have been harder to do with you."

"Joey, I've gone lots of places. Like we'll be able to go all around the world with Epcot Center and all that, right, girls?" When Michelle complained she had only one ride she really wanted to ride, Danny said, "Come on, we'll talk about it on the way." As they left, Danny said, "I've got just one thing in mind, that is to be the best father I can be. All those dates were nice, but there is nothing better than spending time with you. Besides, I kept the numbers of the best prospects."

Joey and Jesse were setting up for their radio show on Jesse and Becky's anniversary. "It's a special Sunday morning drive time one for churchgoers; would Cindy be listening to you propose then?" Jesse asked.

"Maybe, I don't know. It's funny how February 14 falls on a Sunday this year. Maybe I'll jump up on stage at your graduation if I can get them to come in a couple months." Jesse gave him a look. "Okay, too much like Rusty would do."

"Well, at least the kid's toned down. I'm glad you've never came out and told him rules are meant to be broken like I did Michelle; she takes advantage of that now and of Danny promising fewer rules after that dinosaur. I just know I'm gonna hear when we get back and D.J. has her check-up Dr. Landress is gonna say we're botching it and D.J.'s becoming the authority figure again." When Joey asked how he knew, Jesse said, "'Cause D.J. told Becky her guidance counselor said the same thing at school."

"She does a good job with her." Jesse had to agree. "I know she mentioned being her leader for three weeks at camp this summer. I wonder how much it would cost to open a comedy camp. I mean I have a little extra money now."

Jesse wondered why anyone would want to attend a comedy camp, but said nothing.

Meanwhile, Michelle had been selected to be "Princess for a Day." The promotion, the idea of someone who hadn't thought of the problem of sibling rivalry, would cause Stephanie to be it for the next day, too, as it became a "family promotion."(7)

Still, Michelle did offered to share her parade with Stephanie in the end. It was not before riding the same ride with Danny many times in a row while the other girls went off and did their own thing, with Danny unable to think of how to say "no."

Eventually, as Jesse feared, D.J. took charge, and Michelle wound up doing a lot of spring cleaning as they helped her work on her attitude.(8)

The whole family had ridden with Joey, Cindy, and Rusty to Jesse's graduation; Joey was so excited. He was finally considering popping the question to Cindy - only he didn't know how. He had frozen. Jesse, however, was glad - he had been scared that Joey would do what he'd said about running up on stage. He'd just been joking, but Jesse could never tell when he was being serious, it seemed.

The day finally came, though, when Joey felt forced to. The head of the PTA, Mrs. Caruthers, was crazy about him, and he didn't like it. He quickly called Cindy and asked her to come over; he had a special surprise for her.

"What is it...mmmmm," Cindy said as the two engaged in a warm kiss. "Joey, you didn't call Rusty and I over just to kiss me."

"No, I want to show my true affection for you," Joey said.

Mrs. Carthers pinched him, aggravating him. "Isn't he cute?" she asked. "He's mine."

"I am not," Joey declared. "Cindy, there's something I've been meaning to ask you..."

Mrs. Carthers wouldn't take "no" for an answer. As Joey got down on one knee and proposed, she said, "Hey, never mind her. I want you, Joey Gladstoooooh!" She leaped up and began hopping. "Hey, someone just gave me a hot foot!"

"Rusty!" Cindy cried. The boy had lit a string a tiny distance away from her shoe.

Danny, too, was upset as he quickly poured water on it, putting it out. However, he also too pensive, as he sometimes got. "Rusty, fire is very dangerous. We don't give hot foots. Or hot feet. But, it was just one foot. So..."

"I'll handle this, Danny. Because Rusty knows that it is wrong!" Rusty explained that he'd heard how crazy Mrs. Caruthers could get, and he'd never do that to anyone else. "Still, young man, we do not do that. And Mr. Tanner's right; you could have caused a fire. I'm afraid I am going to have to have you work off some serious penalties."

"Cindy, wait; before you go...I've been trying to say this...I really do want to marry you. Will you please marry me?" He was stunned; that had been easy!

Rusty smiled. "You know, Mom, how we talked; I think I'd be ready."

Cindy blinked, still overwhelmed a little with the idea. "Wow. Joey, you're a great guy. I...well, yes. Not right now, but...yes."

"Oh, of course; you have to deal with him first." Joey smiled faintly. "I know what you mean, though. We don't have to set a date or anything. I'm just glad I got that out of the way. For right now, I'll help you talk to him," Joey offered.

"Thanks. That would be very appropriate. Because, I know you've talked about what are and aren't proper jokes," she said, glaring at Rusty with the final words.

A couple months later, Stephanie and her new friend, Gia, were talking at Jesse's new club, the "Smash Club," which he'd just reopened as a club for all ages, with good, wholesome family entertainment and where new bands could try out. "Your uncle seems really nice. Has he always been into music like this?"

"He has; he and his old band, the Rippers, broke up recently, but they're playing here once more just a few times to draw people."(9) Stephanie noticed Joey and Cindy, and that Gia was looking at Rusty with a broad grin. "Uh, Gia..."

"Tanner, I finally gave in on that other boy, but nothing you say can stop me now. Unless you didn't mean it when you wanted to be my friend." Gia marched over to Rusty.

"Hi." Rusty got up and instantly squirted her with the flower in his lapel.

Stephanie shot her an apologetic "I tried to warn you" look. Gia glared back and declared, "He's still cute."

Jesse walked up to Stephanie. "I'm proud of you for trying to help her. Take it from someone who's been there, though - this is one lesson it's good for her to learn the hard way so she thinks twice about other stuff."

Stephanie didn't like having to let her friend learn "the hard way,' but admitted, "At least we've got an edge when it comes to getting her to stop smoking. Though I'll still feel sorry for her if Rusty gives her an exploding cigar."

Jesse chuckled. "Thankfully, I think he's past that. I never thought I'd say this, but Joey's been a help to him. And, the way Rusty's biological dad ran off with someone, Cindy became determined enough to get Mrs. Caruthers replaced so she wouldn't pursue Joey - now Teddy's mom's head of the PTA. Joey never would have pushed for someone to be removed like that, but I think she'll do a good job. Hard to believe my kids are getting as old as they are; they could be in Kindergarten in two years, if we don't decide to hold 'em back since they won't be five till November." December 2 was the cutoff date.

"I know. You've come a long way, too. I still remember the struggle you had putting Nicky and Alex in timeout for the first time when they were a little older than two, while I restored that stuff on your laptop; although you're lucky they weren't a year younger. You're not always vigilant sometimes," Stephanie said.

Jesse agreed. "Yeah; I'd have left them alone when they just turned one and nothing would work; at that age they're like Godzilla messing up everything and you can only hope to slow 'em down." They laughed. We thought about starting them in preschool before they were three, just a couple hours three days a week, but I'm glad we're waiting till they turned three and doing it this month, like Danny did with Michele. Becky's right; they need time to be kids. They grow up too fast. It'll be fun to see what Rusty does. Of course, he and Gia could really make a crazy team, if she's that much like I was."

The following September, Stephanie approached Aunt Becky. "Becky, what would you do if someone you knew was doing something wrong, but not really wrong?"

"Well, it depends," Becky said. "Who is it? And can they learn a lesson from it now and not get hurt, so they don't do something worse later?"

"I hadn't thought of it like that, Aunt Becky. It's Gia. See, I was going to this party she was having even though there'd be no adults there, but Rusty just told me it's a make-out party. Gia didn't tell me that. Now I don't feel that comfortable about it, so I won't go, but I don't know about Rusty. I mean, I don't want him and know. He's not a big prankster, but maybe a little, and with Gia flunking twice, they're the same age

"So, in one way, she can feel like she's going with a more mature boy since he's in ninth grace," Becky surmised. "Except, he isn't that mature yet.".

Stephanie agreed. "Maybe I'll pretend to catch what Dad has."

"Steph, why are you afraid to just say 'I don't want to go' to your friend? Friends don't have to do everything together. If she leaves you because you won't do one thing with her, is she really a friend?" Becky asked pointedly. Stephanie said she felt sorry for her. "Okay. But, it sounds like this is one area where you can show maturity. Besides, I get the feeling Gia hid what kind it was from you because she knew you wouldn't go."

Stephanie said Becky might be right. "I know we don't have to do everything together to be friends. But, I feel sometimes like she needs someone to be with her, not just someone to say, 'I'll be there to listen when you fail.' It's so confusing." Stephanie admitted she, too, enjoyed living on the edge a little, but not as much as Gia. "She needs someone, like me, though. You think Rusty's attitude was bad? His parents' divorce was nothing like Gia's. She heard all kinds of bitterness for years in her family."

"Well, oddly enough, maybe you should suggest that Rusty and Gia talk about deeper things. That's what D.J. and Steve failed to do," Becky said.

Stephanie agreed. "Thanks, Aunt Becky. I'll tell her that."

Gia couldn't talk long; the next time Stephanie saw Gia was Monday at school.

"Well, Tanner, you were right! My mom came home and I'm grounded for a month. And that no good Rusty..." She fumed. "I wanted to do more than kiss, so he said to ppucker up and asked me to close my eyes. Then he stuffed a goldfish in my mouth! A live goldfish!" Stephanie chuckled slightly. "It's not funny!'

"It's better than the exploding cigar." Gia glared. "I'm sorry; you're right. We agreed on Michelle and the twins singing like Barney if you ever lit up again anyway. So, you broke up?" Gia nodded. "Gia, I know you don't like hearing this, but he went through a painful divorce, too. If you two just talk about your feelings you might learn you have a lot in common. He'd respect you more, and not play pranks like that."

Gia blinked back a tear. "Tanner...I don't know if I can. You remember the things I've told you. I haven't told you nearly everything. I'm afraid; afraid of getting hurt. I want a fairy tale, something for me. Like, I thought maybe someday we could get my mom and your dad together. But, putting others before myself, or opening up, it's so hard yet."

"But, Gia, it's something you have to learn to do,' Stephanie said with great feeling. "You can't go through life only caring about yourself or your own feelings. Remember how happy you were when you started to be nicer to your mom?"

Gia raised an eyebrow. "Are you saying to give Rusty another chance?"

"The way he is with pranks - and he's much, much better than the first few weeks - is like you are with...well, lots of things," Stephanie said regretfully.

"You know, Tanner, as much as I hate it sometimes, that's one thing I like about you. You'll never lie to me. You tell it like it is; even if it hurts."

"Really?" Stephanie was stunned; she thought she had to start agreeing with her friend and go a little her way to compensate for pushing Gia so much to improve.

"Yeah. I like that we can do stuff together. That's why I was afraid to tell you what kind of party it was. I had a feeling you'd say 'no.' I guess Rusty was willing, he has that much going for him. But, if he didn't want to go beyond kissing, I just wish he'd have told me to my face. Not had a goldfish do it for him."

"I'll talk to him about that. Let's put this thing about your mom and my dad aside; he had dates calling him for a couple months a year and a half ago. He still has some prospects. He didn't want them all at once, so he kept numbers and has called some back."(10)

Gia relented. "Your dad would try to control me, anyway. You let me do what I want. I'm glad. I guess I'm learning," Gia said, to which Stephanie agreed.

That Christmas, Joey and Cindy were snuggling on the couch in the Tanners' living room. "You know, sometimes it's still amazing - we'll be married this time next year."

"Rusty's really grown to like you. He says he can't wait to have a kid brother or sister, too," Cindy reported. She was a couple years older than Joey, but still within the range where she considered that they could.

"I think he'd do a good job. The one person he never pulled a prank on was Michelle; of course, she grabbed that thing with the ink on it anyway, even though he said it wasn't for her, but that just taught him to be careful around little kids. And, he always has been with her and Nicky and Alex."

"I like how you've pointed that out, and used that to encourage him to be considerate of everyone," Cindy said. "I tried to, also, but he needed a good male role model."

Rusty came up to them and asked to speak to Joey alone. Cindy left. "Hey; it won't be too many more months, huh?"

"Right. Just make sure you give us the actual rings as ring bearer," Joey kidded him. Rusty said he would. "Nicky and Alex will be cute blowing bubbles down the aisle. Although Michelle says she feels a little old to be flower girl."

"Don't worry, I convinced her. I told her she's got a good enough arm now, she can reach all the way across the aisle with the flower petals," Rusty remarked.

"Well, that might be a bit much but, we'll talk. You and I did a good job helping Michelle pick a Christmas present out for Danny."

Rusty agreed. "I thought about what you said; I think I'll call him Uncle Danny. Since you're Uncle Joey to Nicky and Alex." Joey said that made sense. "Gia was allowed to talk to me on the phone finally, after that joyriding thing, though she's still grounded another month. So, we talked a few minutes."

"Thinking about getting back with her?"

"That's what I wanted to talk about. She seems so immature at times yet.I feel funny saying that, but like with that make out party. I was okay with kissing her, but when she wanted to do more than kiss, I didn't know what to say. Thankfully, she had a fish. Otherwise, I don't know what I would have stuck in her mouth."

Joey agreed. "To be honest, I thought the goldfish was perfect." Rusty said he knew he was grounded because he shouldn't have been there, anyway. "You're learning. We can all get a little crazy; like I planned Michelle's class trip before I realized it was the day of the Super Bowl. I'm not much into football, but still, I might try to talk your mom into leading the class while we catch the game."

"And do the most important part - make fun of all the sportscaster clichés," Rusty said. He said Gia and he had things in common, but he was starting to see how hard it had been dealing with him. "Gia just can't seem to think ahead. You knew you were going to be on the Tonight Show and everything, from that tape you showed me."

"Sure; it takes hard work, but it also takes perseverance. I had to be ready, if that break hadn't come, to continue another fifty years even if I didn't reach that goal," Joey said.

"Sure." Rusty began to sing "You've Gotta have heart" in a voice that sounded very much like Goofy. "How was that?"

"That was super," Joey said proudly.

"Thanks. Dad...I guess I better get used to calling you that...what do you think would have happened if I hadn't written hat love note?"

Joey wasn't sure. "Since I was on the Tonight Show and all that I probably was more confident anyway with women. Would your mom have waited while I said 'I love you' only in my cartoon voices? I don't know. I just know I would have found someone who appreciates comedy, and who had at least one kid who needed a good, loving, and caring influence in their life. I 'm glad it was you and your mom." They hugged.

Gia and Stephanie were mingling in a banquet hall that summer. "I'm so glad your family invited me to the wedding Steph," Gia said. "I'm so glad Michelle's feel better after her horse riding accident. These last few weeks, you've really helped me learn how to put others first. Although, I still wish I'd caught that bouquet, since Rusty caught the garter."

Stephanie turned toward her. "Well, after Rusty shouted, 'Look, a dinosaur' as it was in the air, nothing would have tricked the other single females." Gia said she had a point. "I'm just glad you're willing to be more considerate and thoughtful. It's fun, isn't it?"

"Yeah. Your family has taught me stuff I never thought possible." Gia couldn't help but chuckle. "You know what's weird. I mentioned before about wanting a fairy tale ending, like having a sister like you. Well, I might be having one even if they never got together."

Stephanie was stunned for a moment. "You mean you and Rusty?"

Gia shot her a look. "Are you kidding? He's still Prince Goofy more than he is Prince Charming. I'm talking about your whole family. That unconditional love you talk about."

"That's what I've tried to tell you, Gia; it's so much deeper than that physical stuff. Our feelings change, our bodies grow older, but real love is where you don't mind that."

Joey and Cindy were coming back from a dance. Cindy agreed. "The real definition of love is, you care about the other person as a person. Not just to satisfy yourself.' She didn't want to bring up the idea that her first husband had that problem of only wanting what was best for him; that was why he'd left when they got older. What mattered was, she had a guy in Joey who she knew cared about her as a person.

"Of course, you should expect another person to change some at times; like I wouldn't a fake spider down Cindy's back while we danced. Right, Rusty?"

Rusty pulled a fake spider out of his pocket and gave it to Joey. "How did you know?"

"Believe me, I've pulled them all," Joey said before he, Cindy, and Rusty went back to the main table and D.J. and Steve walked up to Steph and the others.

"That bit of weirdness aside," Stephanie said, "I've grown, too. I know how to forgive - even if I did show Gia all those embarrassing pictures of you when you were bugging me," she said to Michelle as she put an arm around her, "and I love helping others."

"I know. Now you'll finally have your old room back, too," Michelle said.

"Actually, I want to room with you more, till I'm sure you're okay since your accident," Stephanie said. Michelle looked tiredly at her. "Yeah, I get excited yet about that. But, looka t it this way; if you have a scary dream about it you won't have to run across the hall to find me," she pointed out.

Gia spouted, "Face it, Michelle, your sister was determined enough to push a lot harder till I started to settle down; you know she'll be determined to make sure you're okay."

"I guess you're right. You've done a great job teaching Gia," Michelle said.

"I still struggle sometimes; and I don't know if I ever see myself with Rusty again. But, I was telling Steph, I can believe now that unconditional love is possible. I've seen it with you guys; even if Steph said I shouldn't do something for my own good." She looked slightly downcast. "And, you forgave me the times I went and did that stuff anyway."

"Sure; just like God's forgiveness," D.J. said, "like that car in the kitchen Steph told you. He wants us to avoid the ultimate consequence." Stephanie added how He was also there once someone did trust Him, like when she prayed for Mr. Bear's safe return. "Right. But, even when there are consequences, we still care. Maybe Rusty playing too many jokes means you never go out again."

Gia was stunned. "But, he's still so cute..." She realized what she was doing, and joined the Tanner sisters in chuckling. "I guess I still struggle with knowing what's best."

"You do. But no matter what, we'll always try to help,' Stephanie said.

(1) This is what she told Stephanie ("Crushed") she'd do if a woman tried to steal Jesse from her. As to why this episode is here, remember episodes don't have to take place when they air - a "Barney Miller" Bicentennial (7/4/1976) episode first aired in November of '75! "Crimes and Michelle's Misdemeanor," episode 4-2, has to be in mid-October with the leaves on the ground, but this has to be right after school starts so others can air after it but before that one. Yes, the teaser to 4-2 involves changing the room, but since the teaser is unconnected to the episode so can be any time before; even weeks. It's different for teasers specifically connected by a scene ("Viva Las Joey") or an activity connected to it ("Silence Is Not Golden").

(2) Sure, Jesse didn't graduate, but the reunion committee can invite him if he has friends on it. As for how he faked his graduation, and that last day, see my "I Finally Did It, Sis." Some classes go out of their way to invite people who graduated a year ahead or behind if they were close friends with many in that class. Jesse keeps up appearances this way, too. He could take a guest (Becky, who would go in this timeline) so he could be a guest himself if he had to be, but it's more likely he has friends on the committee.

(3) Meaning it's like our TVU - Michelle looks to see if the coast is clear as it is. It's a sign in "Crimes and Michelle's Misdemenor,", along with her raking leaves right away when D.J. tells her, that she can't be too far out of control because it would be far worse and seen far earlier, as noted in my "D.J.'s Fourth of July Thanksgiving," "Who's In Charge Here," and others.

(4) I note in "Go Fish" and others that they had the party in the "real Tanner Universe." Like the episode that was a dream ("We Are Family") your "TV pen pal," if you will, who tells the story likes to make jokes instead of saying what realistically happened. They wouldn't know when Becky's labor would end, it can be over a day at times, so they'd never have all gone to the hospital at once. Joey took the girls when the party was over and after the births. Here, of course, there is the complication of this timeline's version of Michelle crawling on the table for half a minute eating the samples. Steph's later comment builds on her being able to sense others' feelings really well in "Just Say No Way," when she knew what different tears meant and also how she knew when D.J. was lying or not to her. As for the talk later, it's the "Tale of Two Princesses" from "Pushing the Limits," etc., with the events from that fic of mine a few days after this as Michelle would try to take advantage of the distraction since she's younger.

(5) I didn't plan it at first, but it seemed possible, the laundry's quite early in "Secret Admirer." Vicki and Cinday can be recurring like Beck was in season 2. Rusty would get better - any pranks like Joey's - and he wouldn't always pull them. After all, he didn't in the baseball one. It makes a lot of sense for Joey, like how I pair him with a widow with kids in other fics. ("Same Place, New Faces," etc.) More importantly, this just shows the fun of having characters take off in ways you don't plan. I've had that happen in a couple of my online-published books, too; my profile says where you can find them.

(6) Becky's also not taking the babies to visit Aunt Ida, so she could watch the girls, too. As for that scavenger hunt, the situations would be a little different, but I did something like that fic already in "How To Entertain Yourself In An Airport," another instance where they don't get on the plane. And, actually, not only wouldn't they in the Book Universe, even in our TV Universe, for the Chronology it was nearly voted that incident didn't happen in the realistic Tanner Universe, just as with a few mothers I've mentioned.

(7) In the "real Tanner universe" it has a cause unrelated to a TV show. A failed publicity promotion by someone is very plausible; they happen in real life.

(8) See my fic "Grand Confusion Auto" for details.

(9) Not exactly a year earlier since he doesn't own the Smash Club till now, but the main complaint was he was spending too much time with the family, so it'd still be earlier. When he gets so busy with the club right away is a logical time.

(10) Given the number he had before Vicki in our TV Universe, this is quite likely; he had over one a day for two weeks by the number he gave.