Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Book & Television Universe

Missing Her
Written by: Doug Fowler

Cant he question of who would be guardian of the girls if Danny died really be an itneresting story? You bet. First season story: This story takes place just after Thanksgiving in the first season. It is partly from a discussion RKORadio and I had about what would happen if Danny died, and just who would be the guardian. He also deserves credit for helping with other ideas to flesh out this story. He promises one day he'll have one of his own on; soon provided University studies don't crowd his schedule too much. Enjoy, and please, if you have children, don't put off making a decision like this. Oh, you might want a tissue or two handy.

Five-year-old Stephanie Tanner looked at the paper on her dad's desk. "Will," she said out loud. "Gee, Daddy's got a paper with the same name as my one classmate." Stephanie was in Kindergarten at Frasier Street Elementary School.

She held up the paper as her dad walked into the room with her lunch box. "Daddy, what's this?"

"Oh, that's my will." Her dad, Danny Tanner, looked up for a second, then sat at the desk and beckoned Stephanie to sit on his lap, knowing she'd wonder what a will was. She did. "Honey, when Mommy died a few months ago, she had a piece of paper that said I was to have all the stuff she owned. And, I had one saying she got everything I had. But now, I have to make a new one. I don't plan to die for a loooong time," he assured her. Stephanie felt very relieved. "But, I need to have one, just in case. And, I have to make a very tough decision with this will." "

What's that, Daddy?" Stephanie asked.

"Well, of course, since Mommy died, I'm raising you girls. But, I have to decide if I were to die young, who would take care of you girls."

"How about Mr. Rogers? I like his neighborhood."

"Well, I was thinking you'd prefer to stay in your own home." Danny said with a smile. He knew the concept wasn't totally real to her; hence the comment about Mr. Rogers' neighborhood. She doesn't want to think about losing me now as a possibility, he pondered.

"That's easy, then. Uncle Jesse and Joey can do it," Stephanie said. Since her dad had told her he wasn't planning on dying, she wasn't that worried. Besides, the answer seemed obvious. Her dad's brother-in-law, which was Pam's younger brother Jesse, and Danny's best friend Joey had moved in to help Danny raise his girls, five-year-old Stephanie, ten-year-old D.J., and one-year-old Michelle.

Danny chuckled warmly. Since they were helping Danny, he figured they replaced Pam in Stephanie's mind. But, it wasn't that simple. While he wouldn't get into the issues of who took care of the property - his mom up in Washington state and Jesse's parents here in San Francisco would be the best handlers of his finances until the girls were able - one person or a man and woman would be the technical guardian.

He tried to explain this on Stephanie's level. "Well, honey, remember how I had to sign papers in case you got sick or hurt at school, for the doctors?" She nodded. "Well, I have to choose one person, or a man and woman, to make choices like that. And, that's a tough decision. It could be your grandparents, it could be Uncle Jesse, or it could be Joey. But, don't worry, I'm determined this will will have a name on it by this afternoon, so the lawyer can type it up." He kissed her on the forehead. "Any questions?"

She hummed. "I don't think so." It was rather confusing in her mind, and she needed time to settle what exactly was happening before she could really know for sure what else to ask.

"Okay, it's about time for school. Tell your sister to hurry up, we're running a little late." Danny smiled wistfully as Stephanie ran upstairs, then glanced at the paper. He wondered what Pam, would have done.

Stephanie skipped merrily into her classroom. She was excited to see so many happy faces. The fun of school usually helped her keep her mind off missing her mother. She had only died a half year ago.

One familiar face, however, wasn't there - the quiet girl who always seemed to hang around Stephanie. "Mrs. Payton, where's Allie?" she asked after raising her hand.

"Her mom called, she's sick today."

"Oh, no," Stephanie moaned. Allie was lots of fun to have around, because she'd been far more nervous than Stephanie about Kindergarten. She was starting to break out of her shyness, but Allie still liked to hang around Stephanie a lot. Stephanie was so used to Kindergarten that she was talking up a storm by now, as she did at home. So, Allie never really had to say much when with Stephanie.

"Well, all your other friends are here. And, you'll appreciate having her around all the more when she gets back," Mrs. Payton offered with a smile, hoping to encourage Stephanie.

Stephanie hoped her teacher was right. However, not having her friend there made her think a while as the class gathered for snack time. Who would she eat with?

Will walked up to her table and sat next to her. She thought of her dad's paper. "Hey, my daddy had a paper on his desk with your name on it."

"Maybe it was named after him," spoke Harry, a boy with Japanese parents, seated on the other side of Stephanie. "I'm named after my great uncle. I learned that over Thanksgiving."

"Could be. But, why would it be named after him?" she asked, pointing to Will. Will asked what the paper said, and Stephanie explained. "It says who gets Daddy's stuff and who takes care of us if he dies."

"My mommy and daddy are taking care of a baby like that," Abby explained as she opened her milk. "They say we're a foster family."

"But, your name's not Foster," Stephanie said.

"That just means we take care of strangers' kids," Abby explained.

Stephanie became more worried as the boys at the table spoke. "Why is it called that?" Will asked.

"Maybe the first guy to do it was named Foster," Harry suggested.

"Oh, no, and we don't even know anyone named Foster," Stephanie mourned.

"Maybe it doesn't mean that. I'll ask the teacher." Will got up to ask the teacher.

"Maybe not." Stephanie slumped in her seat. "I hope Daddy figures out what to do."

Meanwhile, back at the Tanner residence, Danny was ready to go in to work at his sports reporting job. Before he left for the TV station, he helped Jesse take care of Michelle. While Jesse got out the baby food, Danny set Michelle up in her high chair and placed her bib on her. He also spoke about his impending decision.

"Hey, man, that's great you're getting that will done now. You remember Papouli? His brother died a few years ago, at age eighty. He hadn't had his will redone in almost sixty years." Jesse closed the refrigerator door. "Papouli was shocked to learn he was now supposed to raise his fifty-eight-year-old nephew."

"I know. I could hardly even look at any of our paperwork at first. I just dumped everything from our desk into a huge bag, then I took a great big bag down and plopped it on the attorney's desk. Then I had to go back when I realized I'd given him the laundry by mistake." He opened the jar Jesse handed him, and started to feed Michelle. "But, you know, Jess, speaking of raising kids, when I think about how you helped pull us all together that week, and how you've helped since you moved in here, I've got to say, you are one special guy. I'd feel very comfortable with you raising my girls. I'm really proud of you." He noticed Jesse's odd look. "Sorry, it's just the dad in me coming out."

"Oh, no, it's not that, man," Jesse said, referring to how Danny said he was proud of him. "It's just...I love helping out here, but there's so much else I want to do with my life before I settle down. I mean, I've been happy these past four months, but we're talking seventeen years with Michelle here."

"Don't worry, she'll be feeding herself by then," Danny joked. Sensing that hadn't helped Jesse, he said, "Hey, look, if you don't want to be the guardian, that's fine. I understand. You're twenty-four, Joey and I are thirty. It's just that now that the two of you are more mature, I think one of you two should be the guardian. Sure, your dad and mom are only in their middle forties, but I just think I'd like someone younger and an environment where the couple isn't arguing so much. I love them, man, you know that. I was just thinking one of you two would be best, and you could both stay here. But, if you don't..."

At that moment, Joey came in the door making airplane noises. First, he sounded like an engine, and spread his arms while running through the living room. "What in the world..." Jesse said as he opened the kitchen door. He found Joey buzzing through making noises like a plane dive bombing something. Danny gave Joey a very stunned look. Michelle placed her fingers in her mouth while giving Joey a look that seemed to cry out, "This is nuts."

"Hey, as long as you're gonna make airplane sounds, go help Danny feed Michelle," Jesse commanded.

Joey stopped suddenly, then stood in the middle of the kitchen and announced excitedly: "I can fly, I can fly!"

"Have mercy, now I know this clown's off his rocker. He really thinks he's Peter Pan," Jesse declared.

Joey laughed as he walked over to Jesse. "That's a good one, Jesse. I'll have to remember it for my next comedy act. Seriously, I got all my hours logged in after a couple years, and now I am certified to fly any single engine or twin engine plane. Cessnas, crop dusters, you name it. This is something I've always longed to do, soar into the air like an eagle. Whooosh!" he said, making a swooping motion with his hand. "Doesn't that excite you?"

"All I know is two things. One, I am never getting in a plane with you," Jesse said, pointing at Joey. He then walked toward Danny and said, "Two, where do I sign that paper that makes me guardian if you die?"

"Jess, I thought you were implying you didn't want the job."

"That was before this nut came in here making airplane noises all through the house. Look, I don't mind having Joey here to help while I make a living. But, as far as making decisions for the girls' health, he'll try to make appointments to see Dr. Seuss if they get sick."

"Oh, come on, Jess, you know Joey's more responsible than that."

"Yeah? How many parents to you know who sleep in Scooby-Doo pajamas?"

Danny kissed Michelle goodbye and said "I love you," then walked over to the other men. "Look, I've got to get back to the station. I promised Stephanie to have a decision by this afternoon, and technically dinnertime is still afternoon. So, work this out amongst yourselves, because I would like to know what to say so I can drop this will off at the lawyer's tomorrow morning."

Meanwhile, discussion in Kindergarten had turned to Thanksgiving dinners as lunchtime neared. Stephanie was in an all-day Kindergarten program, and normally she could handle that very well. She could already read, after all, for one thing.

However, as talk turned from how D.J. had tried to pull the meal together to what so many moms had done, Stephanie began to feel a little lonely. It wasn't bad at first. But, a couple other times, she'd just been able to start rambling to Allie about what her mom used to do. Allie was so nice and quiet. Stephanie figured she just listened well, like her "best friend," a stuffed bear Pam had given her named Mr. Bear. And, the experience with Stephanie was helping to make Allie into a very good listener. However, good listener or just really shy, Allie was helpful at times like this. And, she wasn't here.

As Stephanie sat thinking, she kept getting sadder and sadder. Without anyone to really talk to, she soon began whimpering.

Mrs. Payton noticed quickly. She knew children grieved differently than adults; it was more likely they would just start grieving at what to adults seemed random times. Though she figured she knew what the problem was, she went over to Stephanie and asked tenderly, "What's wrong, Stephanie?"

"I miss my Mommy," she sobbed. Though she tried to wipe away tears, they came faster than the tissues most Kindergartners had could stop them.

Mrs. Payton smiled warmly while sighing inwardly. She was glad so many of Stephanie's friends gathered around her. They all knew that Stephanie's mother had died in a tragic accident from Mrs. Payton and others telling them. But, like them, the teacher wanted to help, but couldn't. Sometimes, it was impossible to know what to say. At those times, it was often better to just be like Allie, and listen. But, sometimes, the child dissolved into tears like this.

Mrs. Payton suddenly had an idea. She rose quickly and wrote a note on a scrap of paper. She handed it to one of the children, and gave him directions to the cafeteria.

D.J. Tanner was standing in line with her best friend, Kimmy Gibbler. "At least we get to eat together," she said to Kimmy. She still wished they were back in the same classroom, too.

Suddenly, she noticed a Kindergarten student looking around in awe. He was one of those who was only there for half a day. And, he was very impressed. "You eat here?" he said to D.J..

"Well, sort of," Kimmy interjected. "In the same way that they call this food.'"

"Can I help you?" D.J. asked the child.

"I'm s'posed to find a teacher and have her get D.J. Tanner." He handed her the note.

D.J. sighed and looked downcast. She walked over to a cafeteria worker, and handed her the note. The child followed D.J. like a puppy dog. "I need to go to Mrs. Payton's class. My little sister needs me."

"Certainly, D.J.," the worker said.

Once D.J. reached the classroom, she ran to Stephanie. Stephanie was being comforted by the teacher and a couple students, but was obviously crying rather hard. "It's okay, Steph. I'm right here," she said. D.J. instantly hugged her, and offered to take her out in the hall to sit for a few minutes. She tried hard not to become emotional herself inside the classroom.

Once they were outside, D.J. sat on the floor and cuddled with Stephanie. She said, "I came from lunch as soon as I heard. I know, it's so hard sometimes." Stephanie simply curled up in D.J.'s lap and allowed her sister to hold her.

Stephanie's tears finally stopped for the most part as she felt her sister's warm embrace. She sniffled a few times, then looked up at D.J. with a tear-stained face and tearfully said, "I'm sorry you're missing your lunch."

"That's okay," D.J. said mournfully. "We're both missing something far more important."

Jesse and Joey had just put Michelle down for a nap. Then, they returned to what they'd been doing for quite a while; staring at Danny's will like it was a blank sheet of paper and they were struggling students with writers' block.

Jesse finally looked up and spoke after several moments of silence. "If something happens now...without folks get the girls, right?

"Yeah." Joey felt the awkward silence, too.

Jesse squirmed, putting his head on his head then removing it again. He finally rose. "Aw man, this is crazy. Every time I look at that, I think about how much I miss my big sister." He leaned against the wall by the front door. "You're feeling the same thing, aren't you? You haven't told a joke in twenty minutes."

"Yeah, Jess, I am," he said lowly.

Stephanie and D.J. bounced in the front door at that moment. The girls instantly noticed something was wrong. "Uncle Jesse?" D.J. said. It was very unusual to see the normally macho Jesse look teary.

"He's okay. We just have to figure this paper out," Joey said absently, looking at the will.

"Yeah. I'm just missing your mom big time right now," Jesse explained, fighting back a tear.

"If you need a lap, D.J. has one, Uncle Jesse," Stephanie encouraged him. While her sadness was now over, she revealed that she'd really been hurting for a while. D.J., however, had helped make it better.

As Jesse said "thanks," Joey revealed, "We still don't know which one of us should..."

"...Well, you see, girls, you dad has to...well..."

"He needs one of us..."

Stephanie beamed. "He's making a will and needs one of you to be guardian." Thanks tot he talk with her dad she knew that much.

After the men recovered from a moment of shock, Jesse said, "Yeah...thanks, Steph."

"So, which one of you is it going to be?" D.J. asked.

"You mean they don't know yet? Daddy said he'd know by this afternoon!"

"Technically, Steph, we have till midnight," Joey pointed out.

"Steph, this is a very difficult decision," D.J. reminded her. "I'm sure he asked Uncle Jesse and Joey and they are just struggling...because they're thinking about Mom." D.J. sniffled once, and blinked back a tear. She knew if she let herself cry, Stephanie would start agin, and pretty soon the entire living room would dissolve in tears.

Jesse had tried hard to pull things together with the family after the accident. He admitted that it was hard, then said, "Look, we all need to think together on this. So, if you girls have any ideas, we'd like to hear em."

"But, you two will both be here, right...Oh yeah, Daddy said you would," Stephanie suddenly realized, her worried tone disappearing. "He said one of you just had to sign papers and make decisions."

"That's right, Joey can live here. I just don't want this guy to have you girls making appointments with Dr. Seuss thinking he's a pediatrician."

Come on, Jess, I wouldn't do that. I know Danny reads that to Michelle all the time. D.J. and Stephanie do, too; I'm sure they'd be more than happy to help me. Wouldn't you, girls," Joey asked.

As they nodded, Stephanie admitted, "Besides, you both needed lots of help when it came to changing Michelle's diaper at first." Both men had embarrassment written on their faces.

"If you think diapers were bad, imagine trying to discipline her. We haven't reached that point yet, we're just now teaching her to 'freeze.' But we will someday," D.J. reminded them.

Jesse and Joey became unnerved quickly. After taking a second to recover, Jesse said, "Oh, thanks for scaring us, Deej."

"Yeah, I haven't been scared out of the wazoo like that in a long time," Joey declared. That was a part of their responsibility that he hadn't thought about very much.

D.J. smiled the comforting smile of one making a promise not knowing how huge a promise it really was. "Well, don't worry, I had enough experience growing up with Mom, and how she handled Steph when she was little. I could handle Michelle - and Steph, in some ways - if I had to."

"Well, thanks, Deej...that's good to know," Jesse said lowly and humbly. "My folks never never hit, but they yelled a lot, and my dad can really get angry and scream a lot. I want to avoid anything like that."

"Yeah, same here. My parents got divorced real early in my life. I'd want to make sure I had a very loving relationship with a wonderul, kind, and loving woman before they could be the mom."

Jesse looked askance at him. "Joseph...I'm impressed. That was a very responsible thing you just said."

"Well, sure. I mean, no way Fred could raise Pebbles without Wilma, but he wouldn't have done her any good just going from cave to cave trying to find women."

"You go through a lot of caves, don't you, Uncle Jesse?" Stephanie asked quite honestly.

Jesse opened his mouth, his face a touch red from embarrassment. D.J. snickered. "She's got you there, Uncle Jesse."

"Look...that's true, Steph. But, if I were to be guardian, I would be much more mature about that. I would find a great woman, settle down, and have a family." Jesse looked upward and mumbled, "I can't believe I just said that."

"Who sounds responsible now?" Joey asked. It wasn't normally like him to make wisecracks, but he could. And, the issue of a stable life for the girls was important to him.

"Oh yeah. Well, at least I don't show every woman I meet my impression of Daffy Duck."

D.J. and Stephanie snickered. Stephanie turned to her sister and said, "Their arguments are a lot funnier than Grandma and Grandpa's."

The comment shocked Jesse back into reality. He would rather have the girls raised in this home than his parents'. They were wonderful, and the girls liked them a lot. But, they were older, and there was actually more bickering there - a lot more than would be here. In addition, they might be harsher on the girls than he and Joey would be. He didn't think they needed that. They certainly didn't need his dad's excessive hollering, which he could do at times; they needed someone who would talk nicely with them while laying down the law if need be.

"Look, Joey, I really care about my nieces. They mean more to me than anything in the world right now."

"Same here, Jess. That's why we're here," Joey said with a shrug.

"I know, Joey. Look." He put a hand on Joey's shoulder. "Man, it's great to be funny sometimes. But, you've got to be serious, too. I mean, if one of them kids breaks a window you can't just start copying and pretending you're remodeling the house."

"Oh, come on, Jess, I wouldn't do anything that crazy. I can be serious if I have to be. Look, if I'd gone to the airport saying I wanted to be Peter Pan they never would have let me near a plane. But, I truly wanted to fly, I showed I had the knowledge to pass the tests and get my hours in, and now I could do something there, maybe get more hours in and become an instructor even, in addition to comedy."

"Okay, but I'm still never getting in a plane with you. But, there's another thing. I got my dad's business to fall back on, along with my music. What do you have?" Jesse asked.

"Well, I have a teaching certificate. I also majored in Communication Studies in college where I went with Danny. So, I can go into business somewhere. Plus, comedy is good for a lot of things. Advertising, for instance, or anything in radio or TV." He imitated Popeye and said, "And now a word from our sponsor. Hey, wait a minute. I'm doing the ad, too. Whoa! Ah, heh, heh heh," he said, finishing with Popeye's famous laugh. "I have lots of things to fall back on; I know it's hard for comedy to work."

Jesse nodded slowly. He couldn't believe it, but the idea was appealing to him more and more. "And till you found a good wife and mother, I'd be here to take of them, anyway," he mumbled.

"Well, sure, Jess. We're a team now."

Jesse sighed. He liked having freedom. But, he also recognized the responsibility of caring for his nieces. It was a daunting proposition, though, one which he would need Joey's help with, anyway, even if he were doing it.

If Joey were the legal guardian, though, he wouldn't have to worry as much. He would still have input, and the first few years he might well be in the same role Pam had been. He would be able to help his parents look after the money, too. And, when he needed freedom, he supposed he could count on Joey to find someone as a sitter or, later, as a wife so he could move out and be on the road witht he band or something. Even if that woman was looked for because she had many of the qualities of Wilma Flintstone.

Jesse walked up to the will, and handed it to Joey. "Here, Joey. Give it to Danny. Tell him we all agree. Your name needs to be on here."

Danny arrived home through the back door, only to see supper warming but no people. "Anybody home?"

"In here, Dad," D.J. hollered. Danny walked into the living room, and saw the others huddled together, with D.J. holding Michelle. They were seated in front of a home video with wistful looks on their faces.

"Am I interrupting something?" Danny whispered. He picked Stephanie up, sat on the couch, and placed her in his lap. "Hey, honey." The girls finally turned and hugged and kissed him.

"We're watching Steph's fifth birthday now," D.J. said. "We kept picking more and more out with Mom in them after we got home from school." She pointed to the stacks on the coffee table.

After they sat watching for a couple minutes, Joey whispered to Danny, "We all talked about it. We agreed I'm to be the guardian."

"Okay," Danny said absently. "I'll run by the attorney's first thing tomorrow morning." He could understand why it was hard to talk. Thoughts of Pam and sent everyone to the video file, and this normally happy, noisy group had become somber as they thought of the second tragedy that would have to happen for the decision made today to have to be put into action.

Stephanie had been thinking about it, too. But, as she turned and said, "Daddy," she could find no words. She wasn't really sure what she wanted to say. Finally, she just hugged him and said, slightly teary, "I love you."

"I love you too, hon," he said, as the group huddled closer together in a warm, loving, embrace.