Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Alternative Season 9

11. Tanner All-Stars (season finale)
Written by: Doug Fowler

A/N: late in '01 or so when scripts were allowed, I wrote a possible finale. With the Chronology and all, I have a better idea of where things might go. It's a 9th season finale. I think various people would be too busy to be in every episode, even the Olsens. (Michelle would be on the traveling All-Star team from the book "My Almost Perfect Plan," which is TV Universe due to time and overscheduling problems if it was Book Universe. Another character could be absent at times as a chaperone. If they split Mary-Kate and Ashley, one of them could then be a soccer-playing friend, too.)

Caleb may be semi-canon. No scripts could have even be written yet for season 9 many months before, but I heard an arc idea - like Steve returning - had Steph liking Andrew, & another boy asking permission to court her. I have no way to verify it, but I felt Caleb, mentioned in the TV Universe part of the Chronology, was a good fit. Also, my baseball idea is here from another story; I changed & resubmitted it a year ago. Kids don't lose interests that fast, and I think they'd bring it back, like in my story "Going For the Gold."

With many stars busier, they'd probably only have gone 1 more season, with numerous episodes missing several stars (like the last year of "The Cosby Show"). While proposals and the situation with Stephanie and Caleb comes to a head earlier than in the Chronology, as is the date of Stephanie marrying and having her first child, this is how I'd do the "Full House" finale it and similar to how I envision them handling it:

Tanner All-Stars - a 9th season series finale


Jesse Katsopolis and his niece, Michelle Tanner, walked in the front door of the Tanner home, where Jesse, his wife Becky, and twin four-year-old boys Nicky and Alex lived. One of Michelle's best friends in fourth grade, Denise Frazier, ran up to her. "Michelle, they said you'd be back from your game soon!"

"Yep. It was great. We beat Orange County 4-2. I got to play a few minutes." Michelle was the worst player on it, but she was still a player on her area's traveling All-Star team for soccer.

Jesse sat his suitcase down more tiredly than Michelle had, as Becky, Nicky, and Alex ran in from the kitchen and up to him. "Yes, and let me tell you, traveling as a chaperone for an area all-star soccer team is way different than being with the band was," he finished wearily as the boys, then Becky, embraced him.

"They have a lot more energy, don't they," Becky said with a laugh.

"Not only that, I just can't imagine the band ever playing some of their songs. It's like it never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend. Somebody started singing it not knowing what it was, and now they'll keep on singing it forever just because..." After saying the last faster, he shook and slapped his head comically, and went, "No, get out of my brain!"

(Opening theme)

Danny walked downstairs, and he and Michelle hugged and kissed. "Welcome home. I heard you had a good game."

"Yep. Our next game's a home game. Then we get to play in a tournament up in Oakland, then if we win that we get to go to a regional tournament in Denver," Michelle said excitedly.

Stephanie spoke up next. "Denise was hoping you'd be home soon. Guess what she heard the day you left with the team."

"Did you get the position?!" Michelle asked excitedly.

Denise nodded happily. "Yep. I get to be a Principal's Assistant just like Steph was."

"All right!" They exchanged high fives. Michelle was thrilled for her friend. She'd started by calling Stephanie a genius after she helped her first day of Kindergarten, referring lots of other kids to Stephanie. After a few months, the principal gave Stephanie more and more duties, seeing what she could handle. Because San Francisco was such a liberal area and experimenting like that was rather common, they'd decided to make a PA position like they had in Australia and Britain; one where a girl handled discipline and comforting, allowing the principal to handle administrative stuff. "This is super. Just think, Nicky and Alex; next year when you start Kindergarten, my friend Denise will be helping out with the comfort and discipline and stuff."

"But we want you," Nicky said.

"Yeah, just like you had Stephanie," Alex added.

"Now, boys, Michelle will be able to help you. It's just that Denise will be doing that with the whole school. I bet you're excited, huh?" Jesse asked her.

"Yeah. I had to watch a tape with my mom and dad about some of the bad stuff that can go on, though, that police might have to know about," Denise said sadly, shaking her head. "Some of it was really sad."

Stephanie understood. "After the incident with Charles, when they decided to make the office permanent, I had to watch that tape with Dad, too, just so I'd be able to know what to do, or how to help, if any other problems came up like that."

"I never saw it, but I hear it caused a real nightmare," Michelle said.

"Awww, did you have a nightmare from it?" Denise asked Stephanie with compassion.

Danny interjected, "No, I'm the one who had the nightmare. It's so hard thinking about what all you kids have to face in school now, in the mid-'90s."

"Well, you have really matured from when we first met you," Becky complimented her. "I'm sure you'll do great, Denise."

Michelle looked down a little. "I influenced her as much as she influenced me." Danny lovingly stroked her hair, reassuring her. "But, I've improved a lot, too. D.J.'s made sure of it." The others agreed.

A short time later, Joey entered the kitchen, where D.J., Steve, and Kimmy were sitting and talking. "Hey, you heard Michelle's team won?" D.J. had. "Say, can you give me your opinion?" he asked them.

"Sure," Kimmy spouted. "That's an ugly shirt."

"Kimmy," D.J. scolded lightly.

"He asked for an opinion."

Joey held out his hands and spoke a little anxiously. "It's about Suzie. You remember how we met almost a year ago, when I was the entertainment at one of Michelle's friend's birthday parties?" They agreed. "Well, it's close to two years since her husband died, and we're really getting close. And, I'm actually thinking the 'm' word."

Kimmy felt D.J. and Steve looking at her. "What? I know he means marriage. Did you think I thought he meant meat loaf?"

"No, that would be me," Steve admitted.

"Anyway, do you think it's too soon? I mean, we've said 'I love you,' her kids, Justin and Wendy, understand I'm not trying to replace their father, and they both love me."

"As a father figure, or as a comedy act?" Kimmy asked.

Joey sighed. "That's just it. I could offer advice and make things fun for you kids, and except for grounding you once and a few other things, Deej, I never had to enforce limits or anything. But, real fatherhood?" He shook his head.

"Well, look at how Mr. Tanner was with Michelle, and she turned out okay," Steve said.

D.J. agreed. "Steve's right. Dad had some depression, not wanting to think of Michelle as growing up, since she was still a baby when Mom was alive. But you won't have that. You can just do it with Suzie a few times till you get the hang of things. Just work with her, and ease your way into things."

"Yeah, you're right. I guess that's what Dr. Landress kept trying to tell your dad to do with you and Michelle, huh? Till you had to force it on him by letting her swim in the kitchen. And even then he struggled for a while," Joey recalled.

Kimmy gave him a look as Jesse and Becky came downstairs. "Give me some credit, too. I'm the one who came over and helped her blow up her water wings and fill her pool."

"Yeah, you're a real superfluous helper," Jesse kidded. "You were right, Beck, it's fun to use big words like that. Which is why I don't wanna settle for the half-day program. I'm really excited that our boys are going into the all-day Kindergarten program like we had Steph and Michelle."

"Uh, honey, about that..."

"Wait. First, Jess, how did you know when to ask Becky to marry you?"

"Oh, well, the first time, I just thought it'd be a fun idea. I didn't think about the consequences. The second time, I just knew there couldn't be anyone else. And, my grandparents' Golden anniversary just made me think about how I wanted to spend the next fifty years of my life." Becky smiled happily as he put an arm around her.

"It's been such a thrill. But, you know," Becky added, "we didn't set a date right away. So, if you're wondering about Suzie, you don't have to have a date. You can wait a year. It's more of a guarantee that it will happen, at this point."

Joey grinned broadly. "You're right. We can just take our time, once I propose. Thanks." He left, as did D.J., Steve, and Kimmy.

"Yeah, that was super advice you gave the kid. Just 'cause you propose doesn't mean it has to be tomorrow," Jesse said as he and Becky drew closer.

"Yeah. Just like my advice about Kindergarten."

Jesse backed away and started pacing a bit. "Aw, come on, not that again."

"Jess, you keep pushing the all-day program, and I'm telling you it's too much. I don't think they're ready," Becky insisted.

"They gotta be ready. Come on, you finally got me to enjoy learning. Just like that 'superfluous helper' joke I pulled with Kimmy just now," Jesse pointed out.

"Oh, that's a good reason to be educated," Becky said sarcastically.

"Come on, you gotta admit it's true with Kimmy."

Becky agreed that he'd had a point. "Still, why do we have to put them in Kindergarten at all?" Jesse was somewhat aghast. "Jess, the schools here have a December second cutoff date, the boys were born less than a month before that. Back in Nebraska there's be no question that they'd be still in preschool next year."

"We're not in Nebraska. Do you see any cows?"

Just then, Nicky and Alex came in with Michelle and Denise. "Mooooo," the boys said.

"I thought I'd get some practice playing school," Denise explained, "but the boys wanted to play farm. So, we compromised."

"Oh, that reminds me, Steph's school's baseball team has practice for their playoffs tomorrow," Michelle remarked. "I'm coming home to drop my stuff off. Can you give me a rid, please? Steph's staying there."

"Yeah, sure, I'll give you a ride," Becky offered. She turned to Jesse. "See, there's another reason why it's better to wait. What if some day our boys want to play sports? They're decent size now, considering they're only four and a half, but if we wait another year they'll be able to play baseball or basketball a lot better."

The twins were reminded of sports by Becky's comment, and one of their favorites. "Football," Alex said. He and Nicky ran into Jesse, but not enough to knock him over.

"Whoa, whoa, not indoors. This isn't the Astrodome," Jesse said.

"Let's play football," Nicky insisted.

Becky gasped. "Jess, what if our boys want to play football in high school? Do you realize how big they'd have to be? We've got to hold them back a year!"

"That's okay, they don't hafta be 300 pounds. They can be receivers," Jesse said.

"What, and let some 300 pound behemoth run into them?"

"Becky, it's not the 300-pound guys that cover receivers; it's the 200 pound guys." She was still shocked. "Aw, it's okay, they don't grow that big in high school. Look, I'll just take 'em out and play with 'em now, it's a nice, leisurely Sunday afternoon, and you can worry about that later. Maybe they'll want to play baseball by then." They left.

"Well, just in case, we better stay and watch Steph's team to encourage them," Becky told Michelle, who agreed.

Once Becky, Michelle, Nicky, and Alex got to the ball diamond, they overheard Stephanie saying to Gia, "This could be a major crisis."

"Let me guess; both of you like the same boy," Michelle blurted.

Stephanie explained, "It's the pitching staff, Michelle. A major flu outbreak hit over the weekend, and now they're really shorthanded. They've got a starter for tomorrow, but if they make it to Saturday it's anyone's guess."

"Stephanie kind of likes the catcher, too. She thinks he's cute." Stephanie gave Gia a look. "Well, you said you did," Gia noted.

"Let's not get into that, okay. I'm going with Caleb, and that's that." She looked around "Where'd Michelle go?"

"Who cares; I want to know why our catcher has to wear a mask."

"Think, Gia," Stephanie insisted, "if he didn't, one foul ball and he might look very uncute."

Gia supposed that was true. "But, what I wouldn't give to be on that mound facing him. But, if you go for the catcher, I notice Bret's on the team; that boy you told me about when you pitched back in fourth grade."

"Yeah; that was cute, how I was back then. But, boy, facing the hitters now, even in Middle School, would be pretty daunting..." Just then, the coach walked up to the girls. "Hey, Coach," Stephanie said politely, trying to figure out why Michele was with him. "Did she wander into the dugout or something?"

"Hello, Miss Tanner. Your sister was telling me you used to pitch Little League. You know, if you wanted to play, we could really use you right now," he said. Stephanie's mouth flew open, as she didn't' know what to say, gawking at the coach, then Michelle.

(commercial break)

The Tanners, plus Steve, Kimmy, and Caleb, had just gotten done eating pizza in the Tanner kitchen, as Stephanie told her story. "So, there I am, blurting out a 'yes' before I knew what hit me; well, after rambling for a minute about how I used to pitch." She had to laugh. "It's just like when Michelle called me a genius that first day of Kindergarten and started telling all these other kids to come to me, too. It's no wonder they decided to experiment with that PA position then." She took a sip of pop as others said they were proud of her. "I probably won't get into many games, if any; so, I figured, why not, I'll be in the bullpen, I'll have some fun, and be able to hang out..." She gulped. When Michelle looked ready to say something, she shushed her.

It was no use. Nicky and Alex had both overheard. "She likes the catcher," Nicky said.

"Not with Caleb here," Stephanie whispered adamantly to him, feeling like she wanted to crawl under the table, oblivious to Caleb's understanding, and somewhat relieved, look.

"Oh, yeah," Alex realized. "Daddy says you can't like two at once."

"How do you choose?" Nicky asked nobody in particular.

"Well, maybe I can help," Caleb said hesitantly. "I...well, it's kind of good that I'm home schooled. I was a little afraid to approach you after what happened yesterday."

"What happened?" Joey inquired.

" know I've been thinking about the ministry for a while. Yesterday we had a missionary presentation; I can't begin to describe how it felt. It's as if every time he said the word 'go,' my heart was being stirred. know I care a lot about you. But, I've had a heart for some of the unreached peoples of the world for a while now. And, I really feel like I might be called to be a missionary."

"Wow...Caleb, that's incredible!" Stephanie said quickly. Realizing what she was saying, she quickly added, "but, what about us?"

"Maybe I'll just work in a missions office or something. There's missionaries to the Chinese community here. Or, maybe you'll want to come, too."

Jesse patted him on the shoulder. "Well, we're proud of you, man." He fingered the cross necklace he sometimes wore. "Goodness knows, Pam put a lot of effort into sharing that love and forgiveness of Christ with me. So glad the girls and I have received that salvation. I only wish she'd lived to see what I became. What the girls have become. You go out there and be the best one you can be."

"Yeah, and don't worry, Steph. It's really early. I'm sure you'll find someone with the same goals and values who's planning to stay here," D.J. said.

"Right. And, that doesn't mean we can't still be friends. And, pray about it; who knows. You said you prayed a lot after Michelle's accident," Caleb noted.

Stephanie agreed. "I really rededicated my life then. To being the right kind of person. The kind who forgives easily and loves everyone and doesn't...well, act a bit like Gia. Worrying about Michelle really woke me up."

"And, Gia's really improved, tanks to you," Becky consoled her.

"Yeah. Now I don't see a female Jesse when I think of her," Danny said.

Joey piped up, "Say, when Michelle goes for her soccer tournament, I don't have to be chaperone, do I? I kind of promised Suzie I'd babysit Saturday afternoon. She has a baby shower for a friend of hers."

"My game will be then..." Stephanie laughed. "Yeah, right. As if I'll get to pitch."

"I don't have anything the following weekend," Michelle noted.

Danny agreed. "Look, D.J. and I'll go there, Jess, you can chaperone again..."

Jesse initially refused. "Are you kiddin'? You know that 'little red wagon' song, where each verse is a little bit louder and a little bit worse? The loudest our band ever played was between verse eight and nine. Nothing's louder than a bunch of screaming kids; especially when it's mostly girls."

"Jess," Becky said, "I have an idea. I can stay with them part of the time, and we can bring Nicky and Alex along and split duties. They'll enjoy the weekend getaway." Jesse really liked the idea, till she added, "And, you can see how they'll benefit from having another year of preschool."

"Aw, come on, Becky, Kindergarten is the gateway to the future," Jesse retorted.

"And, why can't they take life a little slower? I mean, look at Caleb, he wants to be a missionary now, but he's not off to do it this minute."

"Actually," Caleb said, "I signed up for a short term mission trip in a couple months."

"Which means I guess I better set my sights on the catcher, Zack Browning." Stephanie sighed. "Yeah, I know, Dad. I really have learned a lot in this year of being with you, Caleb. About patience, about wholesomeness, about guarding my mind from the really bad stuff out there. About making sure I'm the leader with Gia. You've been the kind of boy I needed. And, when I think about boys - like Zack - it is just so I can have a nice, casual relationship, without having to have all the sensual stuff right away."

Danny agreed. "I think you've really grown a lot this year. I'm proud of you." Jesse and Joey said the same thing.

That Saturday, Joey saw Justin off. "I'm gonna ride my bike over to Trevor's," he said. "They know I'm coming."

"Okay, call if you need anything." Joey smiled at the boy, who was almost ten. "Fatherhood," he muttered.

"What's that?" four-year-old Wendy asked. She looked like she was half asleep on the living room couch. Joey had been playing baseball, and a number of other fun things, with them; actually, with the energetic play of the kids, it had turned into something like Calvinball, the game invented by the hyperactive comic strip kid where the rules were never the same twice.

"You look like you need a nap. Here," he said as he walked over, picked her up, and cradled her as he sat. He rocked gently by himself as he said, "I'm just thinking about what it means to be a father. What I'd be like, how I've helped Danny's girls - that's Michelle and her sisters." He smiled dreamily. "Jesse said he knew it would happen for me someday. I always wanted to be a kid, and just play around." Wendy looked like she was asleep. "Are you asleep?" She didn't respond. "Well, I guess it's safe to say, I'm a little scared. I'm thinking about asking your mom to marry me; in fact, I have a ring. I could do it when she gets home,'s just such a big step. Being a father is so much more than just playing house. I can't really put it into words."

He smiled sweetly at the little girl in his arms.

"Just hearing 'Daddy' someday is going to be so amazing."

Meanwhile, Danny was at the game with Steve and D.J.. "Don't get too close," he said as they kissed. "Sorry, force of habit."

"It's a real blowout, and they're only in the fourth inning. I better go to the bathroom so I can see Steph pitch if she comes in," D.J. said. She left.

"She's quite a woman," Steve remarked.

Danny got nervous for a second before agreeing. "She's...she's...a woman, isn't she?" He sighed. "I guess she is. Steve, you've heard...sometimes it's still..."

"I understand, Mr. Tanner. We've gotten so close over the last year, and sometimes I think...what if we were married, and I had kids, and something happened to her. I can't guarantee I wouldn't act the same way you did. Except, eating might be what cleaning was to you." Danny agreed. "And, I'm still working with your father-in-law so he can turn the exterminating business over to me." He looked at Danny with real surprise in his face. "Mr. Tanner. I mentioned marriage, and you didn't break out in a cold sweat."

"No, I didn't. Blanked out for a second," Danny joked. Steve looked concerned. "No, I'm just kidding. You know, I wouldn't want it to happen before D.J. graduated college. But, the two of you have such a different relationship than the first time, it's so deep now, I can tell you've really put a lot of thought into everything, you've considered how you'd deal with a lot, the pros and cons of stuff, and, well, if you were to..." He sighed. "Let's just say I wouldn't mind you calling me 'Pop' someday. Not right now."

"Don't worry, Mr. Tanner. I think after D.J. graduates will give me enough time to have some money saved up, anyway."

In the next inning, D.J. returned to her seat just as Stephanie entered. "Looks like I got back just in time. All, right, you can do it, Steph."

Stephanie smiled at her family while gazing in at the catcher. Gia was sitting with some other friends, from Students Against Driving Drunk, one of the clubs they were in. She saw the S.A.D.D. sign, and thought of her mother. She always knew she'd be proud of her. But, this was one of those times when Stephanie just wanted to accomplish so much. Indeed, as she talked to Zack, that was the only thing she could think about to keep from thinking of him. "I'd like to blow a fastball right by the hitter," she said on the mound."

"I don't think so. You're only really good pitch is the knuckleball. I mean, it's impossible to catch, it must be impossible to hit, too." Stephanie laughed, loving the sense of humor. "Of course, lots of pitches are impossible for me to hit. Except, somehow, in the last game and today...well..."

"You've done really well." Were her teeth showing too much, she wondered.

"Yeah. Where'd you learn that pitch?"

"Cousin Steve. He had a scholarship to Stanford; now he's in the majors. Got called up a few weeks ago," Stephanie remarked.

"Cool. Anyway, go get 'em."

"Yeah." She hoped she could concentrate on the game. Although, at least now, he had his mask down as he crouched behind the plate. She threw the first pitch, and the batter hit a fly ball and made an out.

Later that evening, Jesse and Becky were talking in their upstairs apartment. "Okay, boys, bath time," Becky said.

"No bath," they said as they ran off.

"See, Jess, they just want to play; that's what this age should be about."

"The afternoon's not that structured in the full day program. They even have naps if you want, though Joey and I didn't know if when Michelle went; we didn't worry about it with Steph, she was so active. And, Steph and Michelle both liked it."

"But, Steph was more than ready academically, and you guys were so new at parenting, it was easier for her after Pam died. And, when Michelle went, we had the twins coming, plus careers," Becky insisted. "She did pretty well, so Danny went for it. But, even then, some of her attitude back then was from being the youngest in her class."

"Look, I know you want to baby our boys, but they'll have each other. And, Michelle will be there, too; wait another year, and nobody will be."

"But, if we wait another year, maybe they'll be ready for the full day program."

"Look, this isn't getting us anywhere, we're arguing the same points...I'm just gonna go get 'em for their bath, and we'll worry about it later." Jesse left, frustrated.

Meanwhile, Michelle, Denise, and one of Michelle's soccer teammates, Kelli, were sitting around the living room talking with Joey, Stephanie, Justin, and Wendy. "We're glad you got to come to the game, Denise," Kelli said.

"Thanks, it was fun," Denise said.

"We'll all come to your game next week," Michelle promised Stephanie. "Justin and Wendy are spending the night since Suzie's working at the hospital tonight. She switched shifts with someone so she could go next weekend."

Danny came in. "Steph, Gia's on the phone. Sounds like she's over the flu."

"Thanks, Dad. I've been so focused on baseball, the little we've talked, I forgot to tell her about Caleb. I'll take it in my room," she told him, jogging upstairs as she finished.

As Danny went back into the kitchen, Nicky and Alex came from there into the living room, kicking a soccer ball. "No bath," they were shouting.

Behind the door, they heard Jesse saying "Yes, bath," before he came charging in.

Wendy saw the boys run right past her, and then said, "D.J.'s already got my bath ready, but... why not." She picked up the soccer ball and began running and giggling.

Joey got too caught up in the moment when Wendy picked it up; Joey started running himself. "Okay, Wendy's the running back; the bathtub is the end zone. Then when she gets it there the two of you can try to score in your bathtub end zone. Come on!"

"'The bathtub is the end zone,' that's crazy," Jesse complained as he tried to corral Nicky and Alex. "Wendy, that's not a football."

"It is, too," Kelli said decisively. "Go anywhere else in the world, it's called 'football.'"

"We're not anywhere in the world; did I say that?" Jesse asked as he ran, realizing how goofy it sounded.

Denise placed her fingers in her mouth and whistled. Seeing Nicky was running fastest and egging the others on, she grabbed him. "I got the ringleader," Denise said, carrying him to the couch. "Kelli, hold him there a second till he calms down. You," she said to Wendy, "do you want me to D.J. to come down carry you or do you want to be a big girl and go up there on your own?" She ran up with the ball, with Denise grabbing Alex then. "That's D.J.'s problem now. Hey, calm down. Now, your dad said it was bath time."

As Denise, Justin, Kelli, and Michelle helped calm things down, Joey collapsed in a chair. "Oh, great; I couldn't keep control at all, and Denise just took charge like that." He snapped his fingers.

Justin came over to him. "Don't worry, Mr. Joey. Little kids are like that sometimes."

Joey agreed. "Yeah." Out of their hearing, as Michelle went upstairs, he muttered, "I don't know if I can be a father figure if I can't get things under control as well as she could. Maybe marriage isn't for me."

Meanwhile, Michelle entered her and Stephanie's room. "We finally got the little kids in the bathtubs. You didn't say how you pitched yet." She noticed her older sister looking really glum, with her head in her hands on her bed. "What's wrong, Steph?" she asked as she sat beside her.

"It's a boyfriend problem," Stephanie explained gloomily.

"I thought you were going to go with Zack, since Caleb's not going to be here."

"That's just it. Gia figured I was still with Caleb. She got Zack's number from one of the cheerleaders. She called to congratulate him on the game, and she said they talked for over an hour." Michelle hugged Stephanie, who broke into a small grin as she returned the embrace. "Thanks. I was kind of nervous before I went into the game, but I only gave up a couple runs in two innings." The hug ended, and Stephanie remarked, "I was so worried about liking two boys at the start of the week. Now I'm afraid I don't have any."

(End Part 1 of 2)

(Beginning of part 2 of 2 - previous week would be teaser if it wasn't an hour episode))

Stephanie, Michelle, D.J., and Kimmy were eating breakfast the following morning. "Maybe you'll win the championship. That will make you feel better," Michelle encouraged Stephanie.

"Michelle, that's not the point," Stephanie said. "I mean, it would be nice, but that's not what every teenager tries for."

"That's what Kelli tries for," Michelle noted.

"That's because soccer is her passion. I only joined the baseball team because of Bret. I really liked it once I joined. And, yeah, I'm realizing how much fun it was again. But, I don't plan to try out next year. I tried hard then like I do now. But, I didn't even feel the passion Kelli feels back then," she said as Steve walked in. D.J. and Steve kissed.

"You played because of Bret? Then go with Bret," Michelle suggested.

"She makes it sound so easy," Stephanie told the older couple.

"Doesn't she, though? Although, she does have a point. Dad made sure one of the team moms was in the girls' locker room while you changed," D.J. said, "but you're at least in the dugout with a whole bunch of boys."

Kimmy agreed. "If I was in your shoes, I'd run around kissing them all to find out which one was the best," she told Stephanie.

"Michelle, your advice sounds better all the time," Stephanie told her younger sister.

That afternoon, D.J. and Steve were watching Justin and Wendy in the Tanner home. Justin told them, "Michelle and I are going to ride our bikes."

"Well be over at Jeff's if anyone needs us," Michelle said.

D.J. motioned for her to come here. "He's that class clown that kind of likes you, right?"

"Yeah; but he's real sweet, too. He mostly does that around me 'cause he likes me; he told Teddy that."

"I understand," D.J. said with a smile. "Here's some advice. Have him over for dinner so Dad can get to know him better soon, and tell him to leave the hand buzzer at home when he comes over."

"Gotcha." They left.

The twins had been playing a board game with Wendy. Now, they were getting sleepy. Wendy also yawned. "I guess with their parents gone for the afternoon, it's up to us to put them down for a nap." Joey and Suzie were spending time together. "Stay right there in the room, Wendy." Each picked up a sleepy twin. "Their door should be open."

Steve came in from the kitchena moment later, once they were done. Wendy was on the couch with her eyes closed. "Hey, Wendy, you asleep?" he whispered. No response, except for a light snore. "Ah, well. D.J. figures I'm in the kitchen, but, there's something I can't get off my mind. Her Uncle Jesse said it helped when he'd talk to Michelle, so..." He fidgeted a bit. "See, her dad and I talked about how I might marry D.J., and it felt so right. I mean, I'd like to; I even bought a ring before I came over." He exhaled loudly. "I want to in a few years. It's just so hard to know how. I mean, those words don't come easily. Even Prince Charming; we know they lived happily ever after, but you never hear how he proposed to Snow White, or Cinderella, or...boy, King Charming must have had a lot of boys. Anyway, I want to ask D.J. to marry me, and...hey, that sounded pretty natural, huh? I'm going to ask D.J. to marry me. Wow. Guess her Uncle Jesse was right. Thanks. Now, I can eat again." He said "hello" to Joey and Suzie as they entered, and went into the kitchen.

Joey and Danny were talking in Joey's room later. "Danny, it's just no use."

"Joey, you can't chicken out; you and Suzie love each other," Danny argued.

"Well...why would we have to do it now? If we wait another five, maybe ten years, till her kids are grown..."

"Joey, I hate to say it, but you sound like me," Danny said.

"That bad, huh?" Joey sighed. "Not only am I thinking about how I flubbed last night, but what if she says 'no?' I'm lucky I worked up the nerve to say 'I love you' in my own voice. I mean, that's such a huge step."

"Joey, sit down and talk with her about it. You two make a great couple. Not every proposal comes on one knee in a restaurant. When Pam and I eloped, we planned it on a whim over a milkshake at an old hamburger stand that was still around, after a high school baseball game," Danny reminded him.

Joey saw Wendy running past. "Well, Wendy's up from her nap; if she's not busy, maybe we can play together and I can build my confidence that way." He chuckled. "The way she looked, though, she probably has something fun planned already by herself. Boy, I wish I knew what Suzie'd like to plan." Danny and Joey continued to talk.

Meanwhile, Wendy found D.J. in her room. "Congratulations!" she shouted.

"On what?" D.J. asked, expecting something silly from the tot.

"He didn't tell you?"

"Who didn't tell me what?"

"He wants to marry you!"

D.J. gasped. " mean Steve?" She grinned goofily, unsure of what to say. "Are you sure? When did you hear this?"

"Today. Before I fell asleep. I was pretending to be asleep. That's when Steve said it," she said as Stephanie entered the room.

"Said what, that he likes your name because it's the same as a major fast food chain?" Stephanie quipped.

"Steph, he wants to marry me!" D.J. shouted. As they embraced, Wendy left.

Danny was the next one into the room, as Stephanie and D.J. spoke excitedly about Steve. With their excitement, he figured Steve had asked D.J.. "Hey, congratulations," he said with a tear in his eye. He embraced D.J. while fighting back tears. "I just want you to know...I'm happy for you. Just take your time planning."

"Wow, everyone knows about this but you," Stephanie commented.

"What, he hasn't asked...forget I said anything. Steph and I didn't' come back from shopping yet. Oh, there he is. Come on, Steph." Danny and Stephanie left.

Steve stood there more anxious then D.J. had ever seen him. "Deej, we've done so much together. It's incredible. We haven't had as much time as we'd like with you in college, but that's good, we've gotten to understand what it'll be like, like your mom and dad did that Christmas when you had the chicken pox, like your dad told me." He cleared his throat. "Deej, I know you want to finish college. I have to prepare, too. But, I just couldn't wait to ask you. I want to spend my life loving you." He got down on one knee, and pulled out a ring. "D.J. Tanner...will you please marry me?"

D.J. shrieked excitedly as he placed the ring on my finger. "Steve, it's beautiful! It must have cost you a fortune."

"I know, I had to cut down to four meals a day. Seriously, it took just about all my savings; I know the wedding ring will do the same after I get them built up again. But, we've got a couple years for that. For right now...let's just get started, at least."

"Oh, Steve, yes, I'll marry you!" D.J. leaped into his arms as he stood, and they embraced. "Steve, this is so incredible. I can't believe it yet." D.J. saw Joey and Suzie in the doorway. She showed them the ring, and D.J. and Joey embraced. 'Isn't this great. And, you know, the funny thing is, Steve was talking to Wendy about it because he was nervous, like Uncle Jesse used to do with Michelle. Only, she was just pretending to be asleep, so she heard every word."

"Oh, no; what if she was only pretending to be asleep the other day." He swiftly turned to Suzie and asked, "Suzie, will you marry me?"

"Why, yes, of course" Joey and Suzie hugged.

"Wow. You're getting married, too?"

Joey looked at Wendy. "You really were asleep that time, huh?" She nodded. "Suzie...I was just so worried. About being a father. I mean, I didn't feel like I was really in charge of things last night..."

"Joey, that's fine. You're just the kind of man the kids need, one who's willing to have fun and work his way into things; it's hard enough with their father having died for anyone to step in and become the man of the house. I wouldn't want anyone but you," Suzie emphasized.

"Thanks." Joey grinned. "You know, Justin said when Wendy was running around like crazy that little kids are just like that sometimes. I know he's probably helped you some with Wendy, and...I promise I won't make him do it all like Danny would D.J. at times."

"I'm sure he'd be glad to help you can see a bit more of what their dad was like, too," Suzie said softly."

Joey held her in his arms as she let out a huge sigh. "It's gonna be okay."

The next Friday afternoon, the Tanners were at a game in a minor league stadium. They were all sitting in the stands. "Wow, this game has gone fourteen innings," Danny said. He glanced at Steve. "Which means how many hot dogs for you?" he asked as Steve finished another one.

"Twelve." He shrugged. "Like I said, I'm cutting down."

Nicky looked up at Jesse. "Daddy, how long will they play?"

"Well, son, they gotta play till an inning ends with someone ahead. It won't be over till then," Jesse explained.

Alex's eyes grew wide. "So they could keep playing forever and ever?"

"That'd be cool!" Michelle and Kelli said at the same time.

"Yeah, your mom thinks so," Jesse told Nicky and Alex. "We'd be stuck here and Kindergarten would kinda take care of itself, huh? We'd teach you at the ballpark."

Becky admitted that, "Well, everyone grows up sometime."

"Yeah, even Joey. Look, Becky, I know you wanna keep 'em back, I know how my dad always pushed me so hard, if you'd rather put 'em in a pre-Kindergarten program..."

"Jess, look, I know I've been kind of worried about them growing up. But, most of their friends will be in Kindergarten. And, they're a year behind Cooper as it is." Jesse nodded. "Let's compromise, and put them in the half day Kindergarten. That's what it always was back in Nebraska, anyway. It's only little over an hour longer than preschool."

"Yeah, I can live with that." The crowd all started to cheer as they kept talking. "They gotta have time to be kids."

"Hey, we won," Gia exclaimed. "I'm gonna go over and see Stephanie." She left.

"You and her mom never got close because you knew you couldn't discipline Gia well," D.J. said. "But, thanks to Steph, she's become pretty good." Danny agreed.

Gia was on the field, with a few others following. "Hey, great game. Look, about Zack...if you like him, I'm not gonna stand in your way, okay?" She noticed that Stephanie had an amazed look on her face. "Stephanie? Did you hear me?"

"Yeah...thanks, Gia. That just adds to it," she finished, mumbling the last words.

"Adds to what?" Gia wondered out loud.

Michelle ran up to them and said, "Wow, Steph. They used almost the whole bullpen. That was an amazing game. Did we have any pitchers left?"

Stephanie shook her head. "Michelle...the only pitcher they didn't use was me. And, well, what I said about the pressure..."

"Yeah?" Gia said.

"They held me back because I had the most rested arm I could start tomorrow. In the championship game! I'm...starting tomorrow!" She looked at the huge throng of students that was still in the stands. "I don't know what going to be worse. Staring into Zack's eyes...or worrying about letting the whole school down."

(commercial break)

The next scene was in the younger girls' bedroom. D.J., Michelle, Wendy, and Justin were admiring Stephanie; she had on a light sweatshirt underneath her uniform that matched the lettering that spelled out "DiMaggio" on the front.

"Are you gonna strike 'em all out?" Michelle asked.

"I'm not that good. Although I do remember dreaming about pitching in the World Series when I was little."

"I know; I remember hearing you mumble 'It was a fastball' once."

Kimmy walked in a second. "Hey, nice uniform," Kimmy said. "Say, if Joe DiMaggio wore that, how would he know if he had his uniform on the right way?"

"Since it's named after him, maybe instead of the name, he'd have 'Mine' on the front," Justin suggested.

"Works for me," Kimmy said with a shrug. "Say, Deej, Duane and I might join you lovebirds someday. I think we're in love. Last night, he said 'whatever' to me in the most romantic way."

"Kimmy," Stephanie said with a grin, "I know I've teased you before, but I say this with all sincerity. You two are made for each other."

"Cool; thanks...Stephanie." She turned to D.J.. "It's too hard to call someone a name when they've got such a great looking golden uniform top. Well, unless they're on the other team. Anyway, I'll see you at the game." She left.

"We better go, too; Joey and our mom want to get there early. Joey got asked to broadcast the game. Good luck," Justin said. He took Wendy's hand, and they left.

Stephanie looked wistful. "Wish you were going to try to play next year?" D.J. asked.

"Maybe a little. My heart's not in it the way some kids' are. But, I'll always be one of those moms who's always there for her kids. Who goes to all the ball games, and just is always there for my kids. Like Mom wanted to be."

Danny, Jesse, and Joey had come in behind them. "She's always been there for us, looking down from Heaven," Jesse reminded them.

"Jesse's right," Danny said. "I didn't always have the faith to know that, but...well..."

"We've made it, Dad," Stephanie assured him.

"You're right. And, we'll keep on making it, won't we." Danny turned to D.J.. "Thanks for putting up with me, when I ignored so much, all I thought about was cleaning..."

"If you're like this now, Danny, how will you be at her wedding?" Joey asked.

"Dad, I'm not getting married for three years," she told him.

"Oh. Right. Well, I'll be saying that a lot till then. And, thanks for disciplining private, so it didn't embarrass her too much, Deej. Especially those couple times you told her if she didn't start to obey you might have to...well...go the back way to get to her heart." They hugged, as Stephanie put her arms around Michelle from behind her, as Michelle looked a tad embarrassed. "I'm glad you never had to. She would have been far worse without someone enforcing limits from the start. But, now she's going to be a wonderful young lady. You were tougher than we ever were with you or Steph, but...that was my fault."

"You did well, Dad. You're a great father," D.J. consoled him.

"Yeah. It's my fault for always wantin' it like when you didn't make me follow rules at all," she confessed lowly. "That's when D.J. had to make me be good. And, almost had to really hurt my feelings a couple times." Danny picked her up and hugged her.

"I wish I'd been more proactive. I know you would have been really good and stayed that way a lot sooner. I wouldn't have had to get so tough. But, you've turned out great, anyway," D.J. told her cheerfully. Michelle beamed as D.J. and she hugged. "And, you know I've always loved you."

"I know."

"You're gonna make a real swell mom, Deej," Jesse said.

"Yeah, you will." Joey saw Suzie waiting. "Oh, sorry. Guess we better go."

"We should all get ready. Come on," Danny said.

Stephanie was warming up in the bullpen. Gia came over after she was done, and talked to her from the stands. "Hey, how come you look so nervous? You're only pitching for the whole school."

"Yeah, and I'm throwing to a guy I like. Thanks a lot," Stephanie said, a little sarcastic.

"Hey, I've learned a lot about sacrifice from you. Besides, he's more your type, anyway."

"Oh, right, a lot of good that's going to do me. I can't bring myself to tell him that! Not before the biggest game of our lives!"

"You have to; for the good of the team. Otherwise, your flutterball is going to crash, just like it has been while you warmed up." Stephanie refused. Gia sighed. "Okay, I guess I'll have to bring in the secret weapon. Michelle!" Gia called.

Stephanie looked shocked. "You-you wouldn't!"

"It's for your own good, Tanner. Either you tell him, or your little sister does!"

"I'm waiting," Michelle said. "Let's get this game on the road."

"Zack, can we talk?" Zack walked up to them as Stephanie turned to Gia and Michelle. "I'm glad you two are getting along so well, unlike how Kimmy and I were. But...please don't conspire like that again."

"What is it?" Zack asked.

"Well..." Stephanie sighed. "I guess hearing it from me is better than from Michelle. Well, I've had a crush on you for a few weeks. And, I hope it doesn't break your concentration, but...maybe next week...we could do something together?"

Zack blushed. "Funny you should say that. Normally I struggle to hit my weight; Coach really just likes me for defense. But, you can tell, I've been playing way over my head. The truth is, since you joined the team, I've just felt like I'm in the zone, you know? Because, I like you, too. You really inspire me."

"So, that's why you've suddenly become Johnny Bench." He nodded. "Well, here's to one more game in that zone, huh?"

Joey was in the broadcast booth as Stephanie went out to pitch. "If Stephanie Tanner can get three more outs here, she will have pitched DiMaggio Middle School to the most improbably title. A couple weeks after a major flu outbreak, she and a couple others were brought in as an emergency measure, and now, ladies and gentlemen, she is pitching the game of her life." Joey exaggerated a bit, but not a lot; she'd given up five walks and several hits, because the hitters knew to lay off some of the knuckleballs, but she still got out of every scrape pretty well. Joey continued. "And, Zack Browning is playing the game of his; two more hits, including a home run, and a couple great defensive plays. DiMaggio leads, 5-2. Browning is sure to be MVP if they hang on to win."

Stephanie took the mound, and then took a while to gaze in awe at her surroundings. She turned in a slow circle, seeing all the sights, sounds, and smells of her final game. The young teen then toed the rubber, grinning broadly as her family cheered her on.

Two outs were sandwiched around a double. Zack came out to talk to her. "Coach probably will let you pitch to the next guy, too, so don't worry. If you fall behind, you can walk him; he's not even the tying run."

"Thanks. Although, it would be fun to try a fastball."

"Well, they're not much, but...maybe up way high, if you're way ahead in the count." He went back behind the plate.

Joey spoke from the booth. "With two strikes and one ball on the hitter, Stephanie Tanner looks for the sign, she shakes him off once, twice, now she gets the sign she wants. Here's the windup, high fastball...he swings and misses! Strike three!" Joey hollered. "Stephanie Tanner has just pitched DiMaggio to a state championship!"

The entire Tanner family and friends came pouring onto the field to congratulate her. As the crowd cheered, and fireworks from the minor league team went off in the background, the family celebrated around the mound. The theme from "The Natural played as the celebration took place.

(*Note - The audience for this finale would see the celebration, and once everyone was out on the mound, they'd hear "The Natural" theme - four chords of "Dun, da da da da da daa, Dun, da da da da da daa, Dun, da da da da da daaa duuuuunnn," with some piano notes in between each chord. Near the middle, of the third chord, Stephanie throws the ball in the air, and as the theme ends, we see it coming down into the glove of a little girl, 15 years later - the words "15 years later" would appear at the bottom of the screen*)

the ball came down into the glove of little Judy, who was about six. "All right, great catch!" Stephanie, now 29, hollered from near the picnic table in the backyard of their home. Judy ran up to her, and they hugged, as Stephanie kidded, "Are you gonna try to be the first female major leaguer?"

"Yeah, Mommy. And a ballerina, and a soccer player, and...let's see. What's Aunt D.J. again...?"

Stephanie laughed as her husband came outside. "Sounds just like me."

"Hey, Honey," her husband said, "how come your family all gets to our cookouts first?"

"Simple; they've all seen Steve eat; they don't want to wind up last," Stephanie quipped.

As she did so, 24-year-old Michelle came out carrying her toddler son, along with her husband Jeff. "Hey, Michelle; how are you and Jeff doing?" She and Michelle hugged once Michelle put the toddler down and let him toddle in the closed in yard. D.J. and Steve came out next, with several children, the oldest being ten-year-old Pam.

"Great," Michelle said. "Hey, D.J.. So, how much will Steve eat this time?"

D.J. wasn't sure. However, Pam piped up that, "My dad's still got people calling from the University of Nebraska, where we saw Nicky and Alex with the national title with the Cornhuskers."

"Yeah," D.J. said, "apparently, they wanted to know if Steve was responsible for eating out a series of crop circles near there. Kimmy and Duane send their regrets; well, sends his whatevers. They booked a cruise to Alaska." Stephanie looked strangely at her. "I know it's only March, but...well, what can I say?"

"That's Kimmy for you," Pam's younger brother said. D.J. patted him on the head.

"D.J. did talk them out of taking it in January," Steve noted. "Although kimmy noted that was her birthday."

"She hardly ever celebrated her birthday on the right day when she was growing up," Jesse said as he, Becky, Nicky, Alex, and two other children, whom they'd adopted, came out the back door next. "Why should now be any different?" Jesse asked.

"Hey, Nicky, Alex, this is the first time we've seen you since you won that title," Michelle declared.

Nicky agreed. "We didn't play that much, though."

"Just a couple plays each. We're not that good," Alex added.

"Hey, you won, that's what matters. Just like Michelle's All-Star team," becky said.

Joey, Suzie, Justin, and Wendy came out next, with an eleven-year-old boy, Robin. "Hey, Steph, Judy's learning to play baseball, huh?" Joey asked.

"Anyone can catch a baseball," Jeff joked. "What I want to know is, can she catch a ping pong ball." he threw it up in the air, and let it drop.

"Major leaguers would have trouble with that. Although, it might be good to help with hand-eye co-ordination,' Stephanie noted.

Finally, Danny came out. "Oh, boy, who do I hug first; it's always so hard to decide. And, the other side isn't even here yet," Danny noted. "Then it'll really be hard to decide.

Steve put an arm around Danny and said, "Well, Pop, you can always do like I do. Hug the one that brings the most food."

"Thanks; I'll keep that in mind. Hey, Jeff, what's with all those ping pong balls?" Danny asked.

Jeff said they were for entertainment. "I figured maybe we'd try to invent a silly new game. And, it's sure a lot less painful than if we tried with bowling balls."

"You know, honey, you were right," Danny told Michelle. "He's got all three of us guys; my love for hugging and affection, Jesse's charm, and Joey's sense of humor."

Joey agreed. "Yeah. We're just lucky Kimmy didn't get someone with your cleaning obsession, Danny, Jesse's love for Elvis, and my love for cartoons."

"You're a great guy, though, Dad," Robin said. Joey beamed.

"it seems like such a long time ago you kids were all young. Especially, since, well..." Danny hesitated.

"Mom never reached my age?' Stephanie guesed. Danny nodded. "I thought about that a little; with Judy and another little one, and thinking about adoption, I didn't have much time to think about that, but...yeah I've thought about it a bit."

"It's just like we've always said, Dad," D.J. told him, sensing his feelings, "we've made it through. It took some effort, but we did it."

"Yeah, I know. I wonder if that first birthday, when I turned thirty, was part of it; Pam was younger than me, and...well, I guess the first events are always the hardest, though."

"Hey, that's what we were there for," Jesse reminded him.

Joey concurred. "We all helped; even D.J.. Even Steph did."

"And, when I got old enough to understand, we talked about it some, too," Michelle added. "You've never been alone, Dad."

"Thanks. You're right. I guess I haven't been."

Stephanie assured him he hadn't. "Mom may not have lived to see all this, " she said, indicating the huge family which had gathered. "But, you've had a great team of all stars helping you."