Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Television Universe

Best Friends Forever
Written by: Doug Fowler

D.J. ponders college, including a comical family trip to New England with Kimmy, & times she's helped Kimmy before & how she might help her afterward. Prequel to Some Things Will Never Change, references RKORadio's "The New Me" with his permission

A/N: Here, we see D.J.'s college choice; it's a prequel to TV and books in my stories, except for a few comments on Michelle which make it TVU, since she's more proactive & like a mom in books & Michelle's better behaved (also, the accident isn't bad in books, see RKORadio's "Just Like Family.") I've had time for a bit more, but I don't know when I will after this. I might have more here or another Peanuts one to follow "You're A Friend, Charlie Brown," but if I do it could be months.

We know D.J. lives at home in books. As noted, she's there in books that are clearly only TV canon, too, and it's more logical anyway, as I show in my 9th season ideas. Not only that, but she saves on room and board, and even in the better economy of the mid-1990s San Francisco costs were still sky high, way too high for a kid out of high school. (Plus, I know plenty of loving families where even if the kids stay many weekends at college, they don't move out.) The Tanners are more selfless, D.J. more giving (even if she shows frustration in the TVU at times), and San Francisco State a great media school- and very large, with tens of thousands of students - that is clearly where Danny (and thus Joey) went since Danny would have been with Pam and the campus is so close for their reunion in season 3.

"The First Day of School" is where we learn D.J. first talked to Kimmy 6 months into Kindergarten (Yes, she could have said that to comfort Stephanie, but the key is they weren't best friends right away.) D.J. said to have played in Yankee Doodle in "The Play's the Thing," and it figures Kimmy would try. Jesse mentioned summer school when Kimmy almost marries Duane, but for reasons stated it wouldn't work, so community college would be what she'd need, but it's plausible Jesse doesn't think of that. "The Trouble With Danny" is where we learn they used to live in a place till they trashed it, five years at the most; home ownership could easily explain them being more responsible. At least three classes in each grade is canon from "Spellbound," numerous others have at least two and three can be implied.

"Table for four, please," D.J. Tanner requested politely.

"And food for twelve," her best friend, Kimmy Gibbler, spouted. Catching D.J.'s curious look, she told her, "I just wanted to warn them with Steve here."

D.J. chuckled as the hostess led them to a table. "I'm sure Steve's reputation precedes him," she said of her boyfriend, whom she was back with now after her prom a few weeks earlier. They were on a double date with D.J.'s dumb and weird best friend Kimmy and Kimmy's boyfriend, Duane Blaine, who usually only said "whatever."

"Yeah, and his reputation probably has a couple meals, too," Kimmy quipped.

D.J. agreed, and hoped that Kimmy had her mind off of her concerns. However, only a few days before graduation, they were definitely on Kimmy's mind. Kimmy was a little quieter than her normal weird self as the four studied their menus. D.J. figured Kimmy was a little worried, but she also knew that Kimmy might want to discuss it alone.

Finally, Kimmy asked, "So, Deej, you're still sure of your college choice?"

"Yep. Thanks for not spilling the beans," D.J. spoke warmly.

"Hey, I couldn't help it. I keep thinking you're going to change your mind and leave for some really fancy school where they hide their buildings and you have to find them," Kimmy spouted.

"Kimmy, I keep trying to explain...Ivy League buildings aren't covered with ivy so they can be disguised as bushes," D.J. spoke patiently.

Steve said San Francisco State was still a very good school. "They've got tons of volunteer programs, they super in journalism, they have a radio and a TV program. The only thing they're missing is a food network. But, D.J.'ll take care of that," he said as he put an arm around her.

"I can't make promises like that," D.J. said, stifling a chuckle. "But, I can promise that we'll always be friends. Even if I'd gotten into Stanford." She spoke, reminiscing, once they'd ordered appetizers. "I didn't talk to you till what, six months into our Kindergarten year, and we became great friends. Just because I might be busier some days doesn't mean we won't have time together."

As Kimmy and D.J. recalled that day, they filled the guys in.

Little Donna Jo Tanner - known as D.J. - waved excitedly to her dad, Danny Tanner, as he dropped her off. The half day of Kindergarten didn't seem nearly as long as it had in the beginning of the year - indeed, her younger sisters would be in a full-day program that was offered then, mostly because their mother, Pam, had died by that time.

For now, she enjoyed the beginning of reading - which she had picked up quickly and become very good at - and other skills. One of which was making friends. Still, she hadn't made a lot right away; she still had an imaginary duck as a friend on occasion, which was normal for that age.

Such play meant it didn't seem too odd when she saw a girl in her class wearing an E.T. costume; except for two things. It was the second straight day she'd worn it, and it was early April, not Halloween.

This piqued her curiosity, and she did more than just idly chat with the uniquely dressed girl. "Hi, I'm D.J. Tanner. That's a nice outfit."

"You like it? My mommy says I can wear normal clothes again once she does the laundry," Kimmy said.

"Is your washing machine broken?"

"No, she's just lazy this week," Kimmy blurted. "I'm Kimmy Gibbler. I come from the poor section." D.J. knew that meant a lower income area; until Grandpa Gibbler died and left them a large sum of money -from stock certificates he'd lined his drawers with, wrongly thinking they were worthless - the Gibblers would live someplace and trash it in five years or less, then move. "Where do you live?" Kimmy asked.

"Girard Avenue." She thought a minute. "Maybe you can come over and play."

"You were the first kid who treated me like a normal person," Kimmy said. "The other kids laughed at me because I was slow or just weird."

D.J. nodded. "Sure. I've always loved hanging out with you. I could tell you needed a friend. And, it was fun when you would be a little weird, because then I got to enjoy doing it, too. Even before we became best friends a few years later."

"Yeah. But, you've had to help me with so much. Remember that school play in first grade? When you played Yankee Doodle?" Kimmy asked.

"Well, what you did was understandable for your age," D.J. alibied.

"What did she do? Flub her lines?" Steve asked. He could tell D.J. was uncomfortable as she made a face. "Oh boy; it must have been bad."

"Let's just say a major flubbed line would have been preferable," D.J. began.

D.J. was so excited to play "Yankee Doodle." She would march out and sing "Yankee Doodle Came to Town" like she was a real professional actress! She always wanted to be the best! And now, as she peeked around the corner with a huge grin, she could see her parents proudly waiting for her, her dad with that seemingly ubiquitous video camera.

Now, Kimmy was on, of course. She was playing Martha Washington. She'd originally been considered for the part of Betsy Ross, but Kimmy had complained that she couldn't sew. Instead, the boy who played "George Washington and a few others interacted for a while, then they left as she came on stage.

D.J. was worried; Kimmy looked a little anxious. In fact, she seemed to be freezing. Should she try to whisper Kimmy's lines to her? She'd been told by the teacher that they might be audible back there, so they were supposed to be quiet; she didn't know if that meant whispers were also audible or not. Still...oh, good, Kimmy was looking her way. Now, she could just mouth her lines to her!

"Hey, Deej; what's my line again?" Kimmy shouted for all to hear. D.J. tried to mouth her lines to her, but Kimmy said, "Come on, Deej. I can't lip sync like you." D.J. was told later one of the helpers would whisper to another, "Lip sync - now there's an idea."

D.J. tried to rescue the scene herself, but as usual for that age, thought she had to correct the problem first. "Kimmy, it's lip read!" she whispered, forgetting her uncertainty. "Read my lips."

"Oh," Kimmy turned to the audience. "Read my lips." She turned back to see D.J. holding her head in her hands. "I thought that's what you wanted me to say."

"Psst, stay in character," the teacher-coordinator whispered tensely.

"Oh, right. Hey, Yankee." D.J. sighed heavily. "Okay, then; hey, Doodle!" She could tell that wasn't working. "Well, what do I call you?"

"Never mind," D.J. whispered. Since the teacher had whispered, now she knew it was okay. "You're proud to be married to him." She hoped that would jog Kimmy's memory.

Kimmy turned to "George Washington" and spoke. Unfortunately, it didn't jog her memory that much. "I'm so proud. My husband is the father of a country." She paused a moment, then instead of turning back to D.J., Kimmy tried to ad lib, and blurted, "I'm sure he's too busy to sit around in his underwear and watch TV."

To his credit, the boy only giggled a little as he tried to keep his composure. "Yeah. We've got a lot of work to do. As Ben said, we've got a republic if we can keep it." He hoped, like D.J., that - if Kimmy couldn't remember her lines - she would at least try to segue way into Abraham Lincoln.

However, Kimmy wasn't paying attention now; she was too far into her own train of thought, which was a dog she and her brother Garth had brought home recently. So, Kimmy used "keep it" as a segue way instead, and said, "If you're like my dad, we can keep it as long as it's potty trained."

Thankfully, as the crowd erupted in laughter, the boy playing George Washington led Kimmy off the stage; he could tell she was not into her lines, and she didn't have many anyway. "I hope American is potty trained," he said as he guided her, he remembered his dad talking about the old Burns and Allen show, and how George Burns would sign off with "Say good night, Gracie," with his wife saying "Good night, Gracie." Before she left, he added, "Say good night, Martha."

"Good night, Martha," Kimmy replied. Once the laughter died down, the play resumed normally.

The guys' eyes bulged. "Wow; how embarrassing," Steve said.

"They've always laughed at me," Kimmy said. "Except for close friends like you, I just learned that was the best way to deal with people in school. But, now? I'm so slow on stuff, turtles on crutches can pass me by."

D.J. consoled her. "That's why I've always encouraged you to join clubs and things. You haven't wanted to do much besides what I've been in, like Students Against Driving Drunk and the school paper, but you've done those. And, you were class president."

"Oh, sure. While the boy who played my husband in that first grade play went on to become head of the Drama Club in high school, I was 'Her Incompetency' as president." Kimmy groused that, "Everyone knew you were the only one who kept me from being impeached. I was just a puppet for the Party Hearty Party anyway."

"Actually, thanks to D.J.'s help, we didn't get to do a lot of the stuff we wanted." Steve caught D.J.'s look. "I mean, thanks to you. Otherwise, we'd have made a laughingstock of everything and tried to turn the school into one big party. And, I'm glad now you stopped us."

"Whatever," Kimmy said dismissively.

Duane finally spoke. "That's my line, Honey."

"Oh, yeah. I still can't remember my lines," Kimmy complained. "And to think I actually thought I could get into college."

"Well, they're not all Ivy League schools," D.J. said. "And, I just wanted to visit there since we were on vacation in New England, anyway. Your parents paid, as they always do, and wWe had fun otherwise."

"Do I want to know what happened when Kimmy tried to visit Harvard?" Steve asked. D.J. hesitated as their orders came.

"You may as well. Although, even more funw as that Plymouth Plantation place; they party like it's 1629!" Kimmy joked.

"That's because they were acting like it was the real historical place," D.J. reminded her.

"Yeah," Kimmy surmised, "I guess my trying to talk Wrestlemania or Elvis was kind of crazy. But, that's where I say, I wanted to get laughs. But, I can't do that in real life like in school. Although, at least they wouldn't talk about putting me in the stockade in real life," Kimmy noted before they went on to discuss Kimmy's time at Harvard.

Joey had taken Michelle to a childrens' museum; Danny's brother -in-law, Jesse, jesse's wife Becky, and their boys Nicky and Alex had gone elsewhere on vacation.

This left Danny and D.J. to explore Harvard. Stephanie had come along mostly to enjoy dreaming with D.J., but also because she had a feeling Kimmy would do something weird, and she wanted to see it.

After they parked, they soon came upon a group of students all playing chess in the center of the campus. Kimmy saw all the chess boards set up, and the people playing, and turned to D.J. while spouting, "I don't believe it, Deej. We've entered a world where everyone is a geek! This is even stranger than that Pilgrim world we just visited.

"Kimmy, that's just a tradition here; and it's not like every student is playing chess. Some might play backgammon," Danny began to ramble, "or maybe some other fancy strategy game. Anyway, let's find the registration office; we wouldn't want to breakt heir concentration."

"I think they're concentrating pretty hard as it is if they ignored Kimmy's comment," Stephanie replied.

"Either that, or they've turned to stone." Kimmy poked one, who flinched and looked at her. "He moves; he's alive!"

D.J. smiled and apologized as they walked away. They went into the admissions office, which was opened for prospective students. "Hi, I'm D.J. Tanner," she introduced herself. She said where they were from, and added, "We're here on vacation. I'm probably staying in California; I've loved Stanford since I can remember, and it's near home. But, I wanted to take a look around while we're here."

The person at the desk looked at Stephanie. "Oh, I'm a not quite ready to apply," Stephanie said, trying to seem a bit older; she knew she was getting close to D.J.'s size, so she might pass for a young high school girl. "Kimmy senior year is this year, though," she added. She could tell the staff person was going to ask Kimmy anyway, and figured something funny might come.

"Are you considering matriculating at Harvard?" the clerk asked.

"Is that what you do to numbers in algebra when you turn them into letters? I never could understand that stuff." Kimmy had known it was a big word, and, to her credit, took a guess.

", actually, it means to attend and study someplace," she was told. "But, I appreciate your attempt."

"Oh. In that case, I'll go wherever D.J. goes. Provided I get in," Kimmy added. "Can I ask a question?" She was told she could. "Do you have any normal people here? I mean, like guys who would pay attention to me, and not their chess boards?"

"We have many diverse activities," the clerk promised. "Playing chess in the center of campus is just one of the great traditions of Harvard. There are many opportunities for socializing "

"Some public schools have chess clubs, too," Stephanie noted. "Even our little sister Michelle's grade school does; she's at the childrens' museum with our dad's best friend."

The clerk tried to continue the small talk about chess clubs for younger children, but Kimmy interrupted and put her foot further into her mouth. "Cool. Say, Deej, if you went here, I could just hang out, and maybe some rich guy will marry me." She thought a moment. "Of course, it would be nice to find one I could understand."

"Michelle doesn't know what she's missing," Stephanie said with a laugh.

"Well, here's a brochure for each of you," the clerk said politely, handing one to D.J. and Kimmy and telling them they could look around, along with suggesting some highlights.

Danny spoke after a few minutes of looking around. "The buildings here are really pretty with all that ivy covering them. It must take a lot of work to keep it all looking this neat."

The ivy covered brick really was very impressive. However, it drew another comment from Kimmy. She asked a student who was walking by, "Are you trying to hide the buildings or something? If so, you need to do a better job. Anyone can tell that's not a bush."

Danny was stunned. "Kimmy, that's the look around here. That's why it's called the Ivy League; lots of buildings are like that."

"I'd hate to think of how you'd decorate it," Stepahnie said, gazing up and down Kimmy's loud, garish outfit.

"You know, Mr. T., you should retire and be a groundskeeper here," Kimmy told Danny. "It would be fun to go to Ivy League school. So, how much...?" She looked at the brochure. "Whoa. So, that's what it costs to go to a place where they try to hide their buildings."

Back in the present, Kimmy said, "Well, it makes sense."

"I'm not going to ask what makes sense," Steve said. "I guess I shouldn't with my mouth full anyway, huh?"

"No, but look, Kimmy," D.J. pointed out, "I know it's going to be hard, but you only applied to Stanford anyway. Maybe you'd have a chance at beauty school, for instance."

Kimmy shook her head. "I know what your sister's trying to do to help Gia. She'll have Gia in all sorts of programs. But, Gia's got a chance to be something. What do I have? I can't even keep a job. I applied to Stanford just to see if it could be done; I couldn't even get into a community college." she knew that Gia would have it easier, despite Gia's parents' messy divorce that had caused Gia to think her life was going nowhere for a while. Stephanie had gotten Gia a lot of help, though, much of it with her own encouragement.

" know, Kimmy, I remember when Mom was still living, when we were early in fourth grade, she offered to tutor you." D.J. said very lowly, "That never worked out, of course. Sometimes I wonder...if she'd lived just to the beginning of fifth grade, when they put us in separate classes ..."

She didn't know what to say. In a way, D.J. wondered if it would have mattered. She'd tried to push Kimmy to like learning. But, Kimmy hadn't seen a need for it until the friends were split up in fifth grade, in an experiment to separate the top learners from the lower, with those having clear needs in third class. Kimmy had been just good enough to be labeled as one who just didn't apply herself. And, that point had been borne out, it seemed, when D. J. pushed Kimmy to succeed just enough so they could be together again in sixth, when the experiment ended and the classes were put back together once more.

So, maybe Pam's presence wouldn't have helped a lot. Still, D.J. wondered, if there was a problem, could her mom have caught it?

"Yeah, I know. Your family jokes around with me because they know I enjoy it in a way. But, your mom was like you. She was willing to help. I just didn't want to admit I needed it," Kimmy muttered.

"I remember Mom wondering if you could be tested for a learning disability. I know we've talked about this before," D.J. hedged.

"That's what you do for little kids so they can get help, though. I've been through school. It's not like I can go back and start over with first grade." Kimmy shook her head, unsure of what else to say. It did sound interesting, the way D.J. described it, but still, "And, what if I find out I don't? I get tested for nothing, and I feel even dumber."

D.J. admitted that this was a problem. "You would have had to get your parents' permission to get tested then, though. You're eighteen now, you can do it on your own and apply to schools afterward. Then, you can say, 'Look, I accomplished all this even with some real problems.' And, if you learn you don't have one, you can still apply," D.J. said with certainty.

Steve offered another thought. "Maybe you've got something, but you're smart enough to be placed out of remedial courses. Horshack did in one episode of 'Welcome Back, Kotter' - but he decided he wanted to be back with his friends."

D.J. thanked him. "Steve has a point; maybe if you'd been tested, you'd have been placed in a remedial program and only tested out later, so we'd have missed out on being great friends and doing all we've done together."

Kimmy, however, missed the point entirely. "Are you saying I'm a Sweathog?" she asked with some indignation.

"That's not a bad thing; D.J.'s Uncle Jesse would have made a good Sweathog," Steve noted.

"Poor attitude toward learning, a little tough but more eccentric - especially with his love of Elvis - I never looked at it that way, Steve, but you're right. He would have made a good Sweathog," D.J. considered.

Kimmy was thinking of herself, but didn't mind. "I guess it wouldn't be so bad. After all, John Travlota's still hot!"

Back at the Tanner home, Gia and Stephanie watched Michelle and the twins. Gia was glad to be getting to know Michelle, while Stephanie greatly enjoyed being the big sister she now felt she always always should have been. Gia anxiously followed Stephanie's lead, wanting more and more to be just like Stephanie, knowingwhat her own decisions had led to many times, such as her joyriding and poor attitude.

Once the others were in bed, Gia and Stephanie sat in front of the TV with a video. Before putting it in the VCR,Stephanie asked Gia, "Did you ever think of being a teacher?"

"I don't know. Tonight was kind of fun." Gia appeared unsure what to think. "I never thought much about my future. Before I met you, part of me didn't care. Your dad and Joey don't know what it's like to live through a really rough divorce."

"I guess not," Stephanie admitted lowly, remembering what Gia had said about her family struggles. "Aunt Becky says lots of kids our age don't think about the future. But, I think you'd make a great teacher or nanny. You're learning how to care about kids. And, you might be able to reach some kids that I couldn't."

"Maybe. Although I still think you could reach anyone, Tanner," Gia spouted. "You've probably got your future all planned."

Stephanie laughed. "I wish! Dad's okay with your mom, but I get the feeling they're at their high water mark." Gia agreed. "Uncle Jesse still hasn't found someone to run the Smash Club's day to day stuff. Joey and Michelle's teacher aren't really close since she's still got Michelle in her class, and they likely won't be. The only ones who seem to know what they're doing are D.J. and Steve. And, even D.J. isn't totally sure. She still has her acceptance in at three different colleges."

"Well, what would you like to do? You seem like you'd enjoy teaching, too," Gia remarked, as considered Stephanie's positive traits.

"Teaching dance would be fun, I guess. What I really want is a great husband who's not demanding, who lets me run the household, then five or six kids someday, and something to do on the side to take a break from being the great mom our mother was. And, I guess teaching dance could be that side thing," Stephanie mused

D.J. burst through the door. "Steph, I made a decision," she proclaimed, beaming as she zoomed in, with Steve, Kimmy, and Duane trailing. "Is Dad home yet?"

"Cool," Michelle said from the top of the stairs. She put a hand over her mouth.

"Come down here, you," D.J. said light-heartedly. She didn't mind Michelle sneaking around like this - it was entirely safe, just like Stephanie or she would have done, and came from a girl who was starting to be very good. She was even losing that last bit of bad attitude, thanks to that scare with the accident and her decision to become more like D.J. and less like Jesse. Stephanei said he'd be there any minute.

After they talked for a few minutes, Danny and Joey returned from their dates. D.J. motioned for everyone to sit, and then stood in front of all of them as Michelle climbed into Danny's lap.

"As you know, I was torn between several schools since Stanford rejected me. I figured Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky wouldn't be back from their 'date night,' but I had to tell you. I reached a decision. I actually reached it a couple weeks ago." D.J. licked her lips. "I know you've said I might change majors, and it's true. Having to help Michelle, plus the volunteer experience, brief as it was, have made me think. Maybe journalism's not my thing. There's a lot of attack journalism. I don't want to feel trapped into tearing people down. I want a profession where I can help people."

"You'll be great at whatever you do."

"Thanks, Dad. Anyway, you've always been so great at not pushing me to go where you went to college." D.J. put a hand on his shoulder, and said, "Maybe this will be a lesson to you. Guys, I'm going to San Francisco State."

"All right!" several people shouted at once.

"Will you still live here?"

"For the first year anyway, Michelle. It's an urban school, so quite a few students live at home. I know you and Steph will behave, but Uncle Jesse's right. I want to save for my own place, and not worry about the cost of on-campus housing. Plus, Kimmy and I discussed some things, too," D.J. said, trying to decide how to broach he subject.

"She said I probably couldn't get my grades up enough," Kimmy elaborated.

D.J. nodded slowly. Steve had attended a great community college that had helped him get into a California college. However, Kimmy's prospects were grim. D.J. had had to break it to her that evening; community colleges she'd applied to had already rejected her. No amount of schooling was going to help her paltry grades. Summer school was for people who were still in the school system, but Kimmy would graduate, though barely. Of course, Uncle Jesse had suggested it because as a former high school dropout, that was all he knew.

"Kimmy, I know you may not want to discuss this in front of everyone..." D.J. knew that if Michelle's behavior was embarrassing for her to have brought up, then this would really be embarrassing to Kimmy.

"That's okay, Deej. They all know I'm dumb," Kimmy said with a hint of sadness and disappointment.

D.J. felt it, too. To think, she had pondered silently for a while that day, in their more innocent days they'd thought they could be Congresswomen. D.J. lowered her head slightly and said, "Well, we talked about getting Kimmy tested to see if she has some kind of problem. I mean, maybe, if we found something..."

Still it was hard to figure out what that might be, although there were a few possibilities. Yes, Kimmy could read and write, but there were different types of problems, some more severe. D.J. wondered if her copying so much was because she could copy words, but forming them in her mind was a lot harder. D.J. looked at the others, hoping they'd try and encourage her.

"Deej, let's face it. It's too late for that," Kimmy declared. "What would it matter? Even if I wanted to get into the clown school Garth went to, I couldn't. I don't like walking around with a wild outfit."

Stephanie looked up and down at the bright, flashy swirls in no real pattern on Kimmy's blouse, and the pants that were a glow in the dark orange, matching several of the swirls. "You're such a Puritan when it comes to clothing," she said sarcastically.

"Well, the clothes aren't bad. I just don't want to wear a weird wig and makeup." She turned to me and said, "If I was in first grade, it would make sense."

Stephanie smiled proudly as Gia walked over to Kimmy.

"Look, I know you don't think you have much hope. But, everyone's got a reason to be here." Gia tried to think of some of the things Steph had said to her. "If you had learned you had something back then, maybe you wouldn't have even become friends with D.J.. And, you're starting a new part of your life now. Think of it as Kindergarten for adults."

"She's right, you know. It can be lots of fun, if you don't get sand in your shorts when you play in the sandbox," Joey said.

As the others gave him weird looks, Gia continued. "You'd get tested now because you're ready to look for jobs. Stephanie says you've blown a lot of chances. But, you still have some."

Kimmy thought for a second, then finally agreed. What did she have to lose?

Gia smirked at Stephanie, recalling that Stephanie had said many of the same things to her at different times as far as making choices and having a future. "Go ahead, Tanner, you want to say it. You taught me everything I know."

"I think we all figured that, Gia. You couldn't have said that a year ago," Danny said proudly.

Michelle agreed, looking up tiredly. "When can I have a friend like Gia to help?"

"I'm sure you'll meet one. D.J. and Steph will both be around to guide you. But, I'm sure you'll be the same great friend and encouragement they are," Danny finished.

He was right; Michelle had matured a lot. And, D.J. worries about her were exaggerated a bit. At her worst she was still good compared to some kids, and she had times when she was very well behaved when younger. It just took her a while to become an outstanding role model, since D.J. wasn't proactive from the start.

A couple years later, the Tanners' ears were still ringing from the blowing of a large air horn near them.

"I should have known Kimmy's family would be the type to bring an air horn to a graduation," Jesse remarked, shaking his head as they waited for Kimmy to come out the door. "What's scary is they weren't the only ones."

"You know you would have, too, Jess. And considering the fact you never boasted about I, maybe that was one clue you had actually dropped out and had to go back for our GED," Becky speculated.

Jesse admitted, "Actually, I did try to take one to Pam's graduation. Dad stopped me, though. Can you believe he actually frisked me? What, did he think I was trying to hide something?" Jesse complained.

"Jess, you just said you were hiding an air horn," Danny reminded him.

"Yeah, but he didn't have to catch me." Jesse shook his head. "Aw, it's just as well. Here comes Kimmy now." Jesse grabbed the air horn from Garth and blew it. "I always wanted to do that," he said, referring to the annoying noise.

"Hola, Tanneritos," Kimmy said excitedly. "Well, here I am; I can finally say I'm a beautician. Now, if someone would just hire me."

"I'm sure there's plenty of salons in malls around this area," D.J. said. "Besides, you can use your newspaper experience to show how good you'll be at talking and listening to customers."

Kimmy's eyes brightened. "Oh, yeah. Some customers really like to gossip." She and D.J. spoke lowly as the rest of the family walked back to their cars. "Thanks for believing in me, Deej. I know most of my problems came from not wanting to think, even though they did find a bit of something. I was reading, slowly, in first grade. But, it was hard, so I didn't put much effort into it. My parents never encouraged me to have an interest in learning, and I needed that."

"Well, we got you some help, anyway. It probably did help you get in there," D.J. admitted.

Kimmy agreed. "Still, it seems like I've wasted so much time. It feels good to accomplish something. I didn't even have to be laughed at. Although, I still enjoy that. I guess I laughed with everyone more than I realized when they did that. In a way, you might have even helped teach me to do that.." She smiled wistfully. "After all, you were the one who convinced me Joey would have ad libbed like that on purpose to get laughs in that first grade play."

D.J. agreed. "Plus, like when we joked about you copying my work. You knew how to make it just different enough nobody would think you were copying. Although, to be funny, you'd write everything, including my name."

"Right." Kimmy looked fondly at her diploma, as D.J. drove back to the Tanner home. "It looks pretty good. It's not a B.C. like yours will be. Wait - that's a comic strip."

Once back at the Tanner home, Nicky and Alex were practicing trying to read. "Let's start at the very beginning," Danny was saying. He then joked, "a very good place to start."

"When you sing you begin with ABC, when you read you begin with do re mi,' Kimmy sang. She thought for a second, as D.J. tried to figure out how to let her down gently. "Is that how it goes?" she pondered aloud. Then, a second later, she said, "Of course. Because the musical notes go A through G."

Stephanie joked, "Now we know where her problems started." Then, more seriously, she asked, "I hope you don't mind little quips like that. I know you say you enjoyed it, but I still feel bad about the really bad teasing, anyway."

"Actually, I'm glad for them. I still feel like someone cares if, you know, they make little jokes. I know which it is if I try to think; I still don't always like to. I hope I can still get a job. All those failures will still be on my resume," Kimmy said sadly.

D.J. put a hand on her shoulder. She still felt kind of bad for her best friend. While Kimmy knew she was going to Heaven, because she'd trusted Christ as Savior and He'd forgiven her for all her sins, life on earth could be quite frustrating for someone like her, even with a personal relationship with Him helping.

Still, D.J. consoled, "You'll find an opening somewhere. I still remember when Mom died, how you were there for me. You were so good at listening. When I think about it, most of the jobs you'd taken didn't involve people skills like that."

"that's true. I guess I will find something out there, even if it isn't as glamorous or as noteworthy as you with your future degree," Kimmy remarked.

"it doesn't have to be. You're a good friend, and always will be," D.J. said. "And, good friends are important."

"Maybe we could give you a title," Michelle suggested.

"That's a good idea, Michelle. Something that sounds fancy, but part of it's from somewhere where they wouldn't know about it," D.J. said as she pondered.

Stephanie snapped her fingers. "You could be a Medieval Engineer. Like a really smart person, but from the Middle Ages, so how smart they are kind of balances out."

"Hey, I like that idea," Kimmy said, her eyes brightening. "I can be just as good an engineer as some knight in shining armor would back in the Middle Ages. Think I could put that on my resume, Deej? It explains how I do things sometimes."

"I'd...just tell clients that. That's more the kind of thing you bring up in conversation," D.J. said.

"If you say so." Kimmy thought about it. "You're probably right, Deej. They' might think I'm a time travelling engineer otherwise."

D.J. chuckled. "There's that, yes, But, more importantly, you'll wind up getting a job because you're good with people, you can laugh with, and when they're going through hard tiems, you really do know how to listen and be a good friend," she predicted correctly. "That's why I've always valued having you as a friend, after all."

"Thanks, Deej. You're a special friend, too," Kimmy said.

"Yep. And, no matter what happens, we'll be best friends forever," D.J. promised.