Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Melina Universe

01 * Fly Away Home
Written by: Doug Fowler

Why was Jesse - thousands of miles away in America - named godparent of Melina in "Greek Week"? That's a person who helps with a child's spiritual upbringing, especially if something happens to the parents. He'd never seen her before and wouldn't again. Why was Melina not very clingy even though she was far away from her parents? The Chronology (at the sites "Tanner Central" and "How Rude") explains about Papouli and Gina caring for the girl. I suspect this was a plot hole used as a contingency plan for when Mary-Kate and Ashley got older to separate the twins, and have one play Michelle, the other Melina. It makes perfect sense; they just chose to keep them together.

This story assumes they also have Nicky & Alex. Others have speculated about Jesse & Becky having a girl instead, and the writers introduced N&A before ever planning to split the twins. It is part of what would be the first episode in season 6 had they split Mary-Kate and Ashley; other parts of the episode would be the same, as in any future stories. Some, of course, is filled in to make it a more complete story, they would likely just imply D.J. doing more in this case, anyway, though maybe not in later episodes. More short bits of the Melina Universe (MU) may come if I have time.

So, instead of starting with Come Fly With Me in season 6, you'd have...

Jesse Katsopolis happily picked up the phone, unaware of how his life was about to change. "Talk to me."

The words he heard on the other end shocked him. "What?! Oh, no, that's terrible. Becky! Oh man, that's so sad. Becky!" he called again from the kitchen. "And you say I'm...that is, Becky and I...we're now..." After listening for another second, he shouted, "Becky!" again, even though she was right there.

She held her hands to her ears and spoke normally. "What is it, Jess?"

"Hold on, okay?" He turned to her and said, "You remember Melina, how she came with Papouli and he said my cousin named me godparent, even though there was no chance we'd ever see her again?" She nodded. "Well, I'm gonna be fulfilling my duties after all."

Becky was dumbfounded. "What?!"

"Just get everyone else in here, okay?" She left, and the others came in as Jesse spoke. "Listen, do you want us to come...okay, right, but it'll be like an international adoption type of thing? Right, okay. We'll wait for you, Papouli. Take good care of her." He hung up gingerly as the others gathered around him. "Becky...guys...well, let me start at the beginning. See, my cousin's wife left him and their daughter, Melina, and since he had so little money, he got into this harebrained scheme that his brother Stavros cooked up, and he lost all of it. That's why Melina was living with Papouli and Gina when she came that first time. Well..." He sighed heavily. "Melina's dad, my cousin, was so mad goin' over to see Stavos to talk about it, his car swerved out of control, and he crashed. Gina had a heart attack and died when she heard. And now, about five months later, he had another stroke because of the severity of the injuries, and he died." Everyone began hugging him as he stood. "I'm okay...I'm okay. Guys, Papouli and Melina are flying out today, he's catching a connecting flight and coming in tomorrow, about the same time as D.J.'s flight gets in." Danny Tanner's oldest girl, D.J., fifteen, was returning from a class trip to Spain. Jesse and Joey had moved into help Danny raise his three girls when Danny's wife died. Then, Jesse married, and now he and Becky had twin boys, Nicky and Alex.

Michelle whispered sadly, "She can have my room, Uncle Jesse."

"Our room, Michelle," Stephanie corrected gently as Danny picked Michelle up and hugged her. "And yeah, she can stay with us, but it'll be crowded."

Joey held up his hands. "Now, wait a minute, girls, I'm an adult here."

"How come we never noticed," Jesse managed to crack.

The professional comedian, a child at heart, continued unabated. "It's going to be easier for me to sacrifice. I'll move my stuff downstairs with the recording equipment, it'll be crowded, but that way Steph can have her old room, and Michelle and Melina can share a room."

"I don't know, though, she's just lost her dad...wasn't he dating a nurse or something?" Becky inquired.

"Yeah, it was a home health care nurse who was taking care of Gina before her heart attack. Things were going well there, they might have gotten married if it wasn't for the accident."

Becky said. "She's going to need her new Mommy and Daddy real close at night; I think we should make room in the nursery."

"She's gonna need all of us, Becky," Danny said. "Still, I think as crowded as it is in that nursery, it might be best to move her in with Nicky and Alex for a few weeks, till things settle down. We need to let her make the choice, though."

"That's right, we...wait a minute, how come I never got the choice of who to move in with?" Stephanie asked suddenly.

"Well, we figured D.J. could help you a lot. She wasn't nearly as dedicated as she might have been, but she was there for you."

"Too bad. You could have roomed with me instead," Michelle remarked.

"Right, and let you try to keep me awake all night," Stephanie said.

"The only reason I'd have been awake was 'cause you snore."

"I do not."

"Do too."

Joey pointed out that he wanted to try to call a woman he'd met. "I was going to ask your help, Jess, but you'll probably be busy."

"Well, maybe we can take a few minutes, when we get to the airport, before the plane comes in," Jesse assured him. "Probably be good to get my mind off of this."

As they prepared to leave the next day, Michelle asked, "I really wanted to get some presents. Why haven't I thought about what D.J. brought me since yesterday?"

"I know how you feel," Stephanie said. "I'd like to give whatever she has for me to Melina, too. In fact, except for Mr. Bear, I'd kind of like to give her most of my toys; I'm outgrowing them anyway, and she needs that stuff."

"Can I have some if she doesn't want them?"

Danny sat on the couch with them. "Girls, I appreciate how you're thinking of your new cousin. Well, your old cousin, but a more distant cousin who is now a first cousin."

"What number was she before?" Michelle asked.

"I don't know. But, the important part is, we need to give her love, and attention, and time. Lots of time. She's going to have a lot of crying to do, a lot of adjusting to a new place to live, things like that."

"I can help in school, Dad, remember how I helped Michelle last year, and then I became sort of a principal's aide at times?"

"I know, Steph, I'm proud of you. And, we'll make sure she's in your class, Michelle."

"Daddy?" Danny looked at Michelle. "Why can't we go get her?"

"Well, because it's a long way to Greece, sweetheart. Papouli was caring for her, so Papouli's bringing her because it'll make her feel better about coming to America."

"Will Papouli stay here, too?"

"For a little bit, yes. He's her temporary guardian according to Greek law, so while we have the lawyer get her transferred to Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky, which is how the will says, legally it's easiest if he's here with her."

"What does that mean?"

Danny realized that hadn't really been on the girl's level, so he said, "Well...I guess it means we'll really be crowded here for a while."

"Can she talk English."

"Yes, thankfully. You met her, remember?"

Michelle hummed. "No."

"Well, she was here with Papouli last time, remember?"

Michelle again shook her head and said "no."

"Michelle, she had a face that looked just like yours; you kept thinking it was so freaky," Stephanie reminded her, knowing that would jog her memory from the time Michelle was only three.

It did. "Now I remember. Does she still look like me?"

"Pretty close. Papouli and Gina lived in the U.S. with Grandpa Nick for a bit, till he got out of school, so they know English, and always taught Melina English, too. So, she's really good at it."

"She's probably better than Kimmy, then."

"Comet might be better than Kimmy sometimes," Stephanie cracked. Comet was their dog, Kimmy their annoying neighbor and D.J.'s best friend.

At the airport, Kimmy greeted Danny, while Stephanie and Michelle went in search of Melina. They asked at a number of terminals, including one with a group of children flying to New Zealand. However, the children hadn't seen her, so the girls left and continued looking.

Papouli had to use the restroom as he disembarked with Melina. He saw D.J. and Steve kissing, and recognized D.J.. "Excuse me? Would you please watch my little girl, I need to use the men's restroom, and I would rather she not see in there."

D.J. was too intent on kissing Steve goodbye as Kimmy annoyed the other adults, so she didn't notice who Papouli was, especially since she never expected him to be there in the airport. "Mmmm, yeah, keep her out here away from the graffiti." She lowered one hand, which Melina took, and continued kissing Steve.

Once Papouli left, Melina sniffled, wiped a tear away, then looked up at the person whose hand she was holding. She knew Papouli had said that at this stop, she would meet her new mom and dad. She expected them to be there to meet her. Papouli had known this person. So, she asked a heartbreaking question that made sense to her.

Tugging at D.J.'s outfit, she asked, "Are you my mother?"

"Huh?!" D.J. looked down at her. "Sorry, I'm not your mommy."

"I want my mommy," Melina whined.

"Where is your mommy?"

Steve interrupted. "Some old guy dropped her here; it sounded like they'd just gotten off the plane."

D.J. pitied the sad girl. "I'm sorry, I don't know where your mother is." She went back to hugging Steve, and said, "I'm going to miss you."

"We'll see each other a lot once we get back to our homes."

"I know, but it won't be the same. We had so much fun."

"Can you find my mommy?" Melina continued to ask.

"Isn't that sweet?" D.J. asked, still not looking long at Melina.

"Yeah." Steve suddenly had an idea. "Hey, you know, I wonder if she's one of those girls you see on those fundraising things, where they're in an orphanage, and they come here to be adopted."

"I bet you're right, Steve." D.J. studied the sad, piercing eyes. "I wish I could help her so badly."

"Me too, Deej."

Suddenly, Danny came into view. However, he didn't notice Melina, because as protective as he was, his mind was on the fact D.J. and a boy were wrapped up in each other's arms, with Melina holding D.J.'s pantleg with one hand.

As D.J. introduced Steve, Joey came up to them and impersonated the Godfather - of movie fame - while welcoming Steve to the family. "Jesse and Becky went looking for..."

"Melina!" Stephanie ran up to her, picked her up, and embraced her. "Oh, Melina, I'm so happy to see you!"

Melina smiled at the excited girl who had just welcomed her so warmly. This must be her, she told herself, though she looked very young. "Are you my mother?" she asked, though after a moment she realized the girl was likely too young.

"Sorry, kid, I'm just a cousin."

"She asked me if I was her mother, too," D.J. said, a look of recognition slowly dawning on her.

Kimmy turned her head in her normal, confused way. She, too, had no idea who Melina was. "You know, Deej, this is like that childrens' book where a baby bird asks a bunch of different animals if they're its mother."

"Who's the mother?" Steve asked Stephanie.

"I don't know if the book ever said who the little bird's mother was," Kimmy interrupted, trying to recall.

"Is she going to start asking animals?!" Michelle asked incredulously.

"Kimmy would, if she doesn't know a mother bird was the bird's mother," Stephanie remarked.

"Hey, don't spoil the ending for me, I never got that far," Kimmy scolded. Stephanie rolled her eyes.

"Wait a minute...she looks familiar..." D.J. surmised, suddenly realizing who it was.

"That 'cause she looks like me," Michelle noted.

D.J. was still confused, never expecting Melina to be there. "What's she doing here?"

Danny explained the situation as Jesse and Becky ran up to her; Becky picked her up and embraced her.

"How about that, Deej. You get to help her after all," Steve said happily. Noticing a bit of shock, he said, "Well, that's what you wanted, right?"

"Yeah. Yeah, it is." D.J. walked around, stunned. "Look...guys, I know I should have prepared you for Steve. I guess I just haven't been very dedicated to family, and now I see how it must have felt. I mean, I brought someone new home, and you had someone permanent all ready for me."

"Well, it only happened a couple days ago," Danny said.

Papouli finally reappeared. "Ah, good, you are all here. When you get to be my age, you go from being able to read a newspaper in the bathroom to an entire phone book."

Later that night, Michelle and Stephanie were talking with Melina between them in a group hug on Stephanie's bed, and sharing memories. D.J. entered with several packages. "Hey, how's our newest cousin?"

"Fine. If that's for us, just give it to her. I can't believe what all she's been through," Stephanie said, lovingly stroking Melina's hair.

"I know." D.J. sat at the foot of Stephanie's bed and held Melina in her lap. "You know, when mom died, I confess I never really thought about how much you guys would need me. I mean, I've done my share, maybe more than that, with staying home with you Michelle, when the others had the chicken pox, then taking you to your Honeybee slumber party, Steph."

"Hey, yeah, Melina. You gotta come to our next Honeybee club meeting," Michelle said suddenly.

"And, of course, there's disciplining you when Dad won't, Michelle. So you wouldn't be totally out of control all the time," D.J. finished. "But, that was just reacting, to someone with a need. When you asked if I was your mother, though, really made me think."

"Deej, wait, we're your sisters," Stephanie protested. "And you already have a new boyfriend."

D.J. smiled assuringly. "Guys, I'm always going to love you just the same. In fact, I intend to start being proactive, and more mature, with you two, as well as with Melina. And, you can help me with Melina."

Stephanie asked, "What does that mean?"

"Well, it means I'm going to try to play a much more active role as a mother figure. It's going to be tricky; Kimmy wants to run for class president this year," D.J. said.

Michelle asked, "Can she do that?"

"No, but she'll try, anyway. I'll be pulled in a lot of different directions. But, I promise, from now on, I will always consider your feelings, and not try to push you away, Steph. And, I'm sorry for the times I've done that in the past. Like my diary, Steph, I know it's because it's been like a forbidden fruit that you want to read it."

"So, you'll let me read it?!" Stephanie said excitedly.

"No, but I will try to take time - with Steve at my side - to talk about school and what kinds of things go on. Because there's some things you'll face next year in middle school that you need to know about."

Michelle asked "What about me," as Melina curled up and began to snore.

"Well," D.J. said more quietly, "I'm going to watch you and keep track of you much more closely. Dr. Landress said before I left that you still see me as the one who is in charge when you get way out of control. I want to watch you more closely because I want you to turn into the kind of girl who will not take advantage of things to get your own way. And, I know you would if I didn't watch you."

Michelle snapped her fingers. "Aw, nuts."

"And as for Melina, you'll be my helpers with her. She just needs lots of hugs, and lots of reassurance that we'll always be there for her, and lots of love. Hi, guys," she finished as Jesse and Becky walked into the room. Becky picked Melina up, and they carried her upstairs. D.J. invited Stephanie and Michelle to sit with her; they did. "So you see, guys, I won't be giving her any more attention than I give you. In fact, you're going to help me - and help Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky - with her. Because, I know you can really do a great job."

They hugged her. "Thanks, Deej. You're the best," Stephanie said.

D.J. got up and pulled out her gifts for her sisters from Spain. "And, you're not going to make me feel guilty I didn't get Melina anything from Spain. These are for you, and we'll go to the mall tomorrow and pick some stuff out; Papouli brought a whole bunch of stuff from Greece, too." The girls happily opened their gifts.