Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Alternative Season 9

6. We'll Always Have Christmas
Written by: Doug Fowler

A/N: I've said season 9 episodes would often lack Jesse, D.J., Kimmy, and even Michelle. Candace Cameron is perfect to play Pam in the flashback, if her hair's changed. D.J. and Kimmy are absent in the present scenes. Jesse is only present for a very touching part at the end, and they could have had him in several and just shot a bunch of scenes all at once, like this. As noted before, "Some Things Will Never Change," my season 9 opener, wouldn't have to have Jesse. "Going for the Gold" also edited now.

Jeff from books and Michelle would be friends in the TV Universe, & marry eventually, he's in one of the other classes. (3 for each grade.) I updated a bit of my finale, "Tanner All-Stars" to show Danny having met Jeff. This is how I'd introduce Jeff to viewers. (The incident from "My Fourth Grade Mess" likely happens in a similar way, but not with Michelle being copied off.) Suzie's kids introduced in "Sam Place, New Faces." The Chronology mentions the routine as 5th, but it could be here, too, and makes for a good subplot. Sorry, goofed something up but finally figured how to get it back from where I sent it (an '07 posting when this was written in '09.)

We'll Always Have Christmas

(Teaser - On Top of Spaghetti)

Stephanie Tanner, nearly fourteen, was tucking her four-year-old cousins into bed in her Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky's attic apartment. Jesse and her dad's best friend, comedian Joey Gladstone, had moved in to help raise Stephanie, D.J. - now nineteen - and Michelle - ten - when their mom died nine years ago. Jesse had later married Becky and moved to the attic; Joey now lived on the second floor.

As Stephanie looked for a book to read, she heard a hauntingly familiar song, one the boys had learned in preschool. "On top of spaghetti," the twins, Nicky and Alex, sang, "all covered with cheese..."

Stephanie began to get misty-eyed, especially because it was near Christmas, and had to sit on one of the beds.

"Is our singing that bad?" Nicky asked

Stephanie chuckled. "No. It's just my mom, your Aunt Pam, would sing that at bedtime."

"Does the song make you sad?" Alex asked, knowing Pam had died in a tragic accident.

"Well, actually, it's one of the few clear memories I have of her. So, it's kind of happy," she mused, "even though I think about how I miss her."

Nicky had an idea. "If we sing together maybe you'll feel better, 'cause you remember her."

Stephanie beamed, considering how proud Jesse and Becky would be of his helpful idea. "You've got a point." She sat on a chair between the beds, and all three began to sing. "On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese...."

The next day, Michelle walked into the Tanner home with a brown haired boy named Jeff Farrington, who was in a different 4th grade class at Fraser St. Elementary. Her dad Danny Tanner, Joey, and Joey's casual girlfriend Suzie were in the living room with Suzie's children, who were playing - Justin, nine, and Wendy, three.

"Dad, this is the boy I was telling you about in one of the other classes, Jeff," Michelle spouted excitedly.

Danny rose and quickly went over to Jeff before Michelle finished, let alone before she introduced the others. "I hope you don't want him under the Christmas tree. Hi." They shook hands, with Jeff looking embarrassed as Danny continued. "Nice to meet you. Just so you know, my girls aren't allowed to date till they're thirty."

Jeff smirked, unable to resist cracking a joke. "Thirty? We'll be married by then." Danny looked stunned as Jeff and Michelle laughed and ran upstairs to play, their minds on the comedy routine they would be practicing. They'd planned to do "Who's On First" for a talent show next month. Though it was a baseball skit, Jeff suggested this was the perfect time to do it, as doing baseball in January made it even funnier.

Suzie tried to console Danny. "He didn't necessarily mean to each other."

Just then, Danny's thoughts were interrupted by a knock. He opened it and spoke very enthusiastically to Teddy, one of her best friends, as he walked in. "Teddy, come on in," Danny said. "It's great to see a boy that doesn't want to marry my daughter yet."

"Hey, I keep telling him, he won't lose a daughter if D.J. and Steve ever get married. He'll be gaining leftovers," Joey joked, referring to how much Steve ate.

"Michelle's upstairs with Jeff," Danny said. Before Teddy could leave, though, Danny held up a hand. "Wait. Come here, so I can ask questions and not embarrass her," he said, trying not to repeat mistakes he'd made with Stephanie and D.J..

Teddy obediently walked over and sat next to Danny. This made him even happier it hadn't worked out the time he and Michelle had tried to be boyfriend and girlfriend two years earlier. "He's a good baseball player, he likes telling jokes."

"My kind of kid," Joey said.

"Michelle told me that. I want to know, well..."

"They're not boyfriend and girlfriend."

Danny breathed a sigh of relief. "That's good. How about things like courtesy, respect?"

"Pretty good, Mr. Tanner. They've played on the playground a lot. But, lately they've just stood around and talked more."

"About what?" Teddy gave him a tired look, and Danny realized he was likely embarrassing Michelle anyway. But, he couldn't help it, he was extremely protective. "Never mind. Is he ever in trouble?"

"He's a class clown, but no worse than Joey. He got caught cheating in math once ," Teddy said, trying to recall what he'd been told. "He was worried about his parents divorcing. He 'fessed up when questioned. He felt real bad, and only ever did it that once. And, his parents are getting back together now." Indeed, that was the only real trouble Jeff had been in - except for being lectured over the years about a few jokes that had gone only a little too far. Jeff was a very nice kid. "Can I go now?"

"Well...okay," Danny said finally, convinced that Jeff wouldn't be a problem.

"Thanks, Mr. Tanner." Teddy ran upstairs, yelling as he did. "Good plan, Michelle, your sisters were right. He asked me about Jeff." Danny chuckled and shook his head. He knew he wouldn't have gotten anything more from Michelle.

"I better get going, Suzie; Jesse's waiting for me at the station." He touched her shoulder tenderly. "I know from Danny's girls, holidays are rough. Even though last Christmas was the first after your husband died. But, it'll be okay."

"Thanks," she said simply, as Joey left.

Meanwhile, Michelle and Stephanie's room had become a rehearsal studio. Becky, Stephanie, Gia, Teddy, Nicky and Alex were listening to the fifth graders perform.

"Who is on first," Jeff said insistently.

"That's what I'm asking you, Who's on first? Right?" Michelle wondered.

"Got it," Jeff said excitedly. "Then, you switch bases, and I tell you What's the name of the man on second base."

"So, when is he gonna tell her?" Gia said to nobody in particular.

"That's just it, I am telling her," Jeff tried to explain.

"So, I never actually ask the third baseman's name?" Michelle asked tiredly.

"That's the way they did it," Jeff said, sensing something, but unsure of what it was. "'I Don't Know' automatically makes us both say 'third base' after a while."

"Jeff, you do such funny stuff on the playground, maybe you should change it a bit," Michelle said.

"Well..." Jeff wasn't exactly sure what to make of Michelle's comment.

Thankfully, Becky had also noticed. "Michelle, you don't exactly sound excited," she noted. "A few days ago you were all gung ho about it."

"I know." Michelle tried to think of how to put this, and finally spouted, "I don't like that it makes me sound like Kimmy or Gia." She didn't want to come off as being really dumb, even if it was just acting.

"Hey, I resemble that remark," Gia stated.

"Well...would you rather be Bud Abbott?" Jeff said with some hesitation. "I wouldn't mind being the one who can't get the names straight."

Michelle grinned at Jeff. She had been worried about hurting his feelings, unsure of how he would take it. She liked him, after all. "You would sound that goofy for me?"

"Sure. I don't mind people laughing at me; I've had 'em doing that for years. Besides..." The highly confident voice of the previous sentence gave way to a low, shy voice, complete with a hint of a blush. "I kinda like you." Michelle grinned broadly. "And, I already decided not to have the guys quite so upset; not just for the little kids, but, well, I know you don't like that." There was one point, for instance, where Costello said, "I'll break your arm if you say 'Who's on first,' and he didn't want that in there.

"You got a real keeper there, Michelle." Becky turned to the twins next and said, "See that, boys? When you start liking girls, make sure you always consider their feelings."

"Yeah; Jeff seems like a really nice boy," Stephanie said.

"But, he still hasn't told her the name of the first baseman."

"Who," Stephanie told Gia simply.

"Jeff, of course."

The following afternoon, Joey and Suzie were on the couch with Justin and Wendy. The twins played on the floor, as Danny, Stephanie, Jeff and Michelle entered, discussing the "Who's on first" script Jeff had; they had just finished eating Christmas cookies. Danny said, "D.J. and Kimmy won't be back from delivering food baskets till after supper."

"It still doesn't seem like Christmas," Justin muttered, as Suzie comforted him.

"Of course not," Nicky said.

"It's only Christmas Eve," Alex added.

"Hey, I know how you feel," Joey confessed. "It's always a little harder around this time because of Pam being gone."

"Jeff's so glad his parents are back together," Michelle said as they sat on the floor in front of the couch, next to the boys and their trucks.

"That was a really great gift. Didn't you tell us about one Christmas early in your marriage when you were gone, Dad?" Stephanie asked, thinking that the story could help.

Danny beamed. "You're right, Steph. I had to take a camera to cover a bowl game where I worked while I was in college. We had enough for an apartment, but only with extra money to make ends meet." As he sat, Nicky and Alex crawled into his lap. He smiled wistfully, considering how wonderful their lives had been. "This brings back lots of memories. It shows that you can have a great Christmas even without everyone there. She had a lot more to handle than I expected." As he began, their minds quickly flashed back to the Christmas, 1978.

Pam looked like D.J., but w/longer hair & a perm. She was carrying a very sleepy D.J., who was about twenty-two months old, speaking sadly, wishing she could take away her discomfort. "Oh, poor D.J., what a time to get chicken pox, huh?"

The phone rang. She sat on an older, Salvation Army couch. At their ages, and with Danny in college, this was all they could afford for right now. She picked up the receiver while cradling D.J..

"Hello?" She brightened tremendously upon hearing Danny's voice. "Oh, Danny, I'm so glad you called!...Yes, our poor little girl looks like a connect the dots book. I'm doing all I can to keep her comfortable. I think she's starting to be able to give away a few smiles.... Oh, honey, I know, I miss you, too....Now, don't go blubbering all over the phone, it'll be okay. We can have Christmas anytime....I know you and Wendy both had the chicken pox, but my parents are around, and Wendy's here to help; she's such a dear. Till I spent lots of time with her I hadn't realized how much she loves animals!...Yes, Dear, I promise, by the time you come back home tomorrow afternoon, I'll have a great big hug for you, and you'll still have plenty of mess to clean, too ....Okay, have a good time. I'll tell your little tennis ball head you said 'hello.'...I love you too."

As she hung up, Wendy entered from the kitchen. "How's D.J.?" asked the teenager, Danny's younger sister.

"Feeling better. I'm getting some smiles out of her. But, she could use a nap." Wendy took D.J. and walked toward the stairs. "Thanks again for taking time to help. I only let those watch D.J. who I know have had chicken pox. And, Jesse especially is fibbing about having had it."

"He's probably acting macho, saying he fought the pock marks off," Wendy quipped.

"Actually, Joey's saying that. What Jesse thinks was chicken pox was an allergic reaction to wool," Pam explained. Joey had had the measles, though his dad, a strict military man, had claimed they were chicken pox later, which confused things.

Wendy spoke, half to Pam, half to D.J., as Pam went to get the door. "I kind of still have a crush on Joey, but that's why I like monkeys. They aren't afraid to admit they're wild beasts. Unlike guys, monkeys have a reason for the wild noises, the tree climbing, the banana smell," she teased as she took D.J. in to rub lotion on her and get her down for a nap. She closed the door behind her as Pam giggled.

Pam opened the door to see Jesse. The fifteen-year-old, a sophomore in high school, had long hair and a leather jacket, with a t-shirt underneath. "Jesse! Merry Christmas!" She and the fifteen-year-old embraced. "So, what brings you here?"

Jesse picked up a bag of books, and handed them to her as he walked inside. "Here's something for D.J. to color in while she recovers from chicken pox. Although I still say I've had 'em."

"Well, I happen to know what's right for my girl. I'm older, after all."

"Yeah, well, I'm younger."

"I'm smarter."

"I'm..." He glared and pointed at Pam as she put down the bag. "Not falling for that!"

"So, why do you want her to color all over your books, you doodle in them enough anyway to make your notes illegible," Pam said.

"Simple. I decided to give myself a Christmas present. I'm dropping out of school," Jesse answered.

(Commercial break)

Pam was shocked. "But, Jesse, you can't, you're just a sophomore. Besides, you can't even drive yet."

"So? I'll be able to when I'm sixteen. In the meantime, I just hop on that old motorbike I've been trying to piece together, and see the world." He flung his leather jacket onto a chair. "And, there's nothing you can do to talk me out of it."

"Okay," Pam said with a knowing smile.

Jesse knew something was fishy about her look. "What, that's it? You're just gonna let me? Is this some kind of trick?"

"I'm sure Dad and Mom yelled enough this morning when you told them," Pam said, getting her thoughts together as to how to approach this. She seemed able to sense what D.J. was doing before she did it, but with Jesse it was sometimes more difficult.

"Actually, they think I'm stayin' in till the end of the year. Which maybe I should, there is this one cute girl...I'll spend time with her, then I can go."

"And do what? Play music all day?"

Jesse shrugged. It sounded good to him. "Hey, musicians get paid. I'll find somewhere to play. In the meantime I'll be free."

"You got that right, Mister. You'll be working for free quite a bit," Pam cracked. More seriously, she started, "You can't just..." Joey, twenty, walked in the door, which Pam finally shut. "Joey, say he can't drop out of school!"

"He can't drop out of school!" After the comical echo, he asked, "Who can't?"

Jesse shook his head as Joey's childish gag. "I don't believe this guy, he thinks life is a joke."

"No, life is a cereal. You know." He did the voices of the children in the ad as Pam giggled. "Let's get Mikey. Yeah. He won't eat it, he hates everything. He likes it, hey Mikey!" He then shifted to an early version of the puppet he would later use, Mr. Woodchuck - the voice was a little lower than what he would eventually come up with for the puppet. "Yeah, he especially hates...wood. I...wood eat a whole forest." Back in his regular voice, he asked if Pam liked the wood jokes. "I was thinking a woodpecker or a woodchuck might be good for some wood puns someday."

Pam agreed. "Doesn't he do great voices, Jesse?"

"I wish he'd stick to his own. Guy acts like he should be in 2nd grade, not college," Jesse complained.

"And you want him to be smarter than you?"

"No, come on, Pam, I got my whole life ahead of me. I can always go back someday," Jesse said, flailing an arm.

Joey could tell Pam was having problems with Jesse, and tried to get her mind off of him. "So, how are things otherwise?"

"The baby's not doing too well."

"Chicken pox is really bad, huh?" Joey said sadly.

"No, D.J.'s getting better," Pam assured him, "I'm talking about Jesse."

"Aw, Pam, gimme a break?" Jesse whined.

"Good baby, Jess. See, you can do voices," Joey said sincerely.

"Would you like some cheese with that whine, Jesse?" Pam teased. Realizing she needed to stop teasing and get serious - it was obvious her blunt jokes didn't help - she went back to her original plan. "Jesse, there are plenty of things you can do with music that you can't do if you don't finish high school."

"Name one!"

"Okay, disc jockey, your dream job. You could start a club like the Smash Club. And, you like motorcycles, you could open a garage," Pam finished, counting on her fingers.

"That's more than one." Jesse walked around for a second, while thinking, then turned back to Pam and held out a hand. "Look, if I'm a success in music I can always land a job based on name recognition if it deals with music. I think I could run my own garage from scratch, too, or get enough money to find people to run a club."

"What about the skills to know how? Or what if you need a jingle for your club. Say Joey wants you to do an ad for him, what would you write?" Pam asked. She wanted to get Jesse to realize songwriting was like other things, more difficult when under pressure.

Jesse tried to think seriously about Joey - which was hard to do. Still, he wanted to prove Pam wrong, so he thought seriously about him for a moment. "Well, probably start out with a song about being a child at heart, then talk about how he's really adorable because the rest of him is like a little kid, too. And, just as immature as one."

"Now, that's not true," Joey said, taking exception to the notion he only did childish things. "I'm not only getting a degree in a coule years, I'm taking flying lessons."

Jesse was shocked. "Have mercy! I'm gonna have to look up all the time to make sure nothing's falling at me from the sky." Ignoring Pam's giggles, he turned to Joey and said, "Remind me never to get in a plane with you."

"And what about the extermination business?" Pam wanted to know.

"Well, that's Dad's; he'd let me apprentice with him."

"Okay. And what about your future after that, if you don't like it?" Jesse shrugged like he didn't care. Pam knew she had to play tough now. She was done trying to reason nicely. "Joey, can we be alone?" Joey caught the tone, and went into the other bedroom. Once he was gone, Pam spouted, "Jesse Katsopolis, you listen to me. I will always love you; I would have loved you even if you'd dropped out in first grade."

"Man, now you tell me; I didn't think you could do that," Jesse said in frustration..

"Jesse, that's not the point." With her hands on her hips, Pam explained, "You would have missed so many good things. Like the time I taught you to dance in one night for a school function. That's not the only night I've stayed up with you, either. Or the times I've helped you understand school assignments."

"Yeah; you've always been there for me," Jesse said thankfully.

"You could miss out on so many things if you drop out now. Please, Jesse?"

Jesse shook his head, pretending not to hear, as Pam walked to the kitchen. "Pam, come on. you're happy here, you're always braggin' on D.J. for something, and I've accepted that. I got upset when you and Danny eloped, but now..." Jesse sees Pam with a carrot in her hand. His eyes got wide. "No," he said, beginning to back up.

"Don't make me use this carrot!" Pam scolded.

"Not in the nose, please!"

"Jesse, I'm not joking. You're going back to school. Or I will find a way to make you walk around with carrots sticking out your nose, and everyone will call you 'Walrus Katsopolis.' I'd rather have Hermes than Walrus." Hermes was Jesse's given name, one he hated and so never used.

"Pam..." He sighed. "Okay, okay. Maybe I was a little hasty." She let him get up, and put the carrot on the table. "I guess I should, huh? You've always been there for me. I rebel against you just as bad as I do Mom and Pop, huh?"

"You can say that again."

"It's just so hard." Jesse hated to let his feelings be known to anyone; Pam was one person he was comfortable showing them to, and even then, it was difficult to talk about his feelings. Once he moved in to help raise Danny's kids, he would find himself bonding a lot with Michelle, because somehow, he was able to express himself even more, and talk about more things, with her. For now, Jesse explained his frustration to Pam. "I mean, none of this stuff's gonna matter, is it? All those brains going on to college or somethin', yeah, I can see why they put up with it."

"Jesse, Danny and I could have eloped well before the end of the school year, and I could have dropped out. But, you know why I didn't?"

"So you could bug me with that 'good example' stuff?"

"No," she said, slightly frustrated, her face looking much like Becky's might have if she was tring to get Jesse to see a point. He had to admit there were a few little things about Becky that just reminded him so much of Pam. "I did it because it's an accomplishment. Just like raising children; when D.J. learns some new skill, I realize I was a part of that. It's something that years from now, even if it's the only thing you finish, you can say you got through it. You toughed it out. You don't have anyone in mind to marry do you?"

"Me, settle down and have a family?" he asked, the concept seeming impossible to him.

"Exactly. You could struggle through life and never get a record deal. You might have an accident with one of your stunts and be paralyzed, so you can't ride again. But no matter what happens, if you finish school, you'll be able to say you accomplished something. And, the Jesse I know never backed down from a challenge," Pam finished. She then began to get a sad, puppy dog look on her face.

"Aw, man, the look too?" He knew he was defeated now. All that Pam had said made so much sense. And, then there was that face. "Okay, okay. I promise, I'll stay in school." Though he didn't like to admit it, he was grateful; he knew Pam was right. She'd said lots of things that the reactionary Jesse had never considered. "Thanks, Sis. I don't know what I'd do without you."

Back in the present, Becky put an arm around Jesse, as they'd come in near the end ot if. He lovingly looked up at her. She could tell he was choked up.

Finally, Jesse said, "Yeah, Pam was really somethin'."

"So, did you finish school?" Jeff inquired.

"Well, that's the thing, Jeff," Jesse explained. "I listened for a bit. But, my senior year, I had one required class, one I hated. I'd formed a new band with some cool gigs. We played the Smash Club, so, I figured I'd arrived. I'd had an accomplishment, so I dropped out. But, just like bein' here, goin' back and finishing, I got a sense of accomplishment like I never imagined. Pam always did know best. Man, it's been almost nine years and I'm still missin' her like it was yesterday," he said, trying hard not to show emotion, and failing. That story, especially told during Christmas, always choked him up a little.

"I know you hid it from us; did she ever know you dropped out?" Becky asked.

"She had a way about her. I'm sure she knew," Jesse said. And, he wasn't just saying that because he wanted to think it - he really did suspect that she knew. "It's just by that time, she had to be real tough to make sure I didn't do anything really dangerous. You should have heard her after my ride on that rooftop." He knew Pam probably saw through his feigned sickness the week of his gradation, and still remembered her look when he told her he'd ridden his motorcycle to the school to pick up his diploma, then had it stolen off the seat when he went in for hair care supplies. And, of course, he'd made up stories to Danny later about having actually been there.

"Daddy, Auntie Pam put carrots up your nose?" Nicky said in a surprised voice.

"You bet. At first, it was just in fun; I colored her hair red, white, and blue in return once," Jesse explained. "But, after a while I was so wild, it became a real threat. Growing up I always thought the 'carrot and stick' approach meant if you didn't stick to your word you got carrots up your nose."

"You must have been pretty wild, huh?" Justin asked. Jesse agreed.

"It was hard on Pam without me there. But, the point is, she was able to be a big help to Jesse, and get D.J. through the chicken pox, even without me there," Danny explained. "It was still special. Just like these Christmases have always been for us. It's been rough, but we've made it through."

"That's right. And, we're going to have a great Christmas," Suzie told her kids.

A while later, Michelle and Jeff were doing their routine.

"The batter hits a line drive to third. Who gets it? I don't know! He throws to What, What throws to Who, triple play!" Jeff spoke rapidly, more frustrated with each word.

Michelle spoke enthusiastically. "Right."

"Next batter hits a deep fly to left. Why? I don't know, he's on third, and I don't care!"

"What's that?"

"I said I don't care!" They were doing a simpler version, without the intense anger and frustration Cosello showed at times. Jeff didn't want to sound mean, especially since he was doing that part now.

"Oh, that's our shortstop!" Michelle finished triumphantly. Everyone laughed and applauded as the phone rang. Joey answered, hanging up later as the others talked.

"That was great," Stephanie encouraged them.

"So, wait a minute; we never hear a right fielder's name," Gia noticed.

"That's just it," Michelle elaborated, "he needs the names so he can know them when he plays right field."

"Oh, okay," Gia responded. "So, He is the right fielder."

"Right, I am," Jeff told her.

"You just said He was. Who is I?"

Jeff couldn't resist kidding her. "Who are you? You're Gia."

"Jeff, your mom called, they're ready to eat supper," Joey interrupted.

"Okay, thanks," Jeff said as he stepped away from the fireplace where they had been performing. He looked back at Michelle for a moment, as both grinned. "Glad we can do this together. Well...Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you, too," Michelle said warmly.

"I'll take him home," Jesse offered, anxious to get away from thinking about Pam. He and Jeff donned their jackets. "That's great how you let Michelle do the part she wanted."

Jeff thanked him, and noticed Jesse was a little wistful. "Thinking about your sister?"

"Huh? Aw, I'm okay. I mean, I know she's watching from up there," Jesse said, trying to shrug off his feelings.

"Michelle says it was really hard for her dad. That's something we've talked about on the playground. I had to act like the man of the house a little when my parents had problems. Just like D.J. supported him."

Jesse tried to sound macho as they walked onto the porch. "Yeah, well, we got through it. I put Pam through a lot. She tried her hardest. Took me so long to learn she was right. But, I knew I could count on her support no matter what. But, yeah, I've got a great family now. And we make it through."

Jesse paused until Jeff was out of range, nearly to Jesse's car. He then looked up toward the sky, with a small tear in his eye, and said, "Merry Christmas, Pam. And, thanks."