Fan Fiction - Written by Paul Austin - Book Universe

The New Me
Written by: Paul Austin

Some wonder 'Why do a story on Kimmy? I am reminded of the rationale someone gave on a Star Trek ep. for something unusual _ "Because it's never been done before."

This looks at Kimmy more in depth, and as she's not mentioned in the book series much at all, shows what her future might hold. It also shows Steph and Michelle's relationship growing ever closer, and as one book says Steph and her friends spent pretty much every day that summer at Darcy's pool, it ties squarely into the books. And, yes, what's used below is Cassie's dog's name.

Best friends D.J. Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler walked side by side from their lockers on the last day of school for seniors, several days before school ended for other students. D.J. tried to hold back her tears, as she reminisced. Kimmy, meanwhile, sang a different tune as she carried her books away for the final time.

"Come on, everyone, join in," Kimmy hollered to other students walking out that exit of Bayview High. "Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye!"


"Na na na na, na na na na..."

"Kimmy!" Quite lowly once more, D.J. said, "You're making a spectacle of yourself."

Kimmy smiled apologetically toward her best friend. "Sorry, Deej. I guess I just take things differently than you do. You with that tear in your eye, you're probably thinking of Mr. Langley's last words, too, just like I have been for the last few days."

"What, about our last test?" D.J. said as they left the building and walked toward Kimmy's car.

"Yep. 'Class,' he said, 'for some of you, this will be the last test of your formal education.' I can see why that would bring a tear to your eye, even though you're going on to college. That long, twelve years of formal education, and what does it remind you of? Growing up without a mom the last eight years, and how we cried together so much those first few weeks. Your mom was special to me, too. Then, how you learned to be a little like a mom to your sisters, especially Michelle, who was just a baby then. Probably a little to Stephanie, who was five then, too. Then how you met Steve on our class trip to Spain after ninth grade. And, how you and he matched up the night of the prom, after you'd spent the week without a date, helping Michelle recover from her horse riding accident. You've had a great life as a student. And, I've been very lucky to know you as a friend," Kimmy finished with obvious warmth in her voice.

"Thanks." D.J. smiled as Kimmy and she got in the car and buckled their seatbelts. While Kimmy adjusted her hood ornament, a pair of fuzzy spaceship-like things, D.J. considered that not one of the things Kimmy mentioned had involved schoolwork. But, that figured, really. Kimmy had not only hated to think, she'd hated to study, and relied on D.J. for everything. Once, she'd even tried to copy a paper D.J. was writing, right down to writing D.J.'s name!

D.J. reminded Kimmy, "Mr. Langley also told us that we should strive to continue learning our whole lives. And, there are always things you can learn. After all, you've gotten to do quite a few things because I encouraged you. Spain, your class presidency our sophomore year." A presidency she'd had to help Kimmy with so much that it was practically hers, too. Mr. Langley had even jokingly called her Edith Tanner a few times as the Student Council advisor, knowing the reference to first lady Edith Wilson, who'd helped a lot when President Wilson had a stroke, would be totally lost on Kimmy.

"And you know what else, Kimmy?" D.J. said as they stopped for a red light. "The way you found Steve, when you knew I didn't have a prom date and couldn't look that last week because I was so worried about Michelle; that took real initiative."

Kimmy put her foot on the gas and said, "Of course, Deej. I care a lot about you. I would have gone through all the restaurants in the phone book alphabetically if I'd had to. Luckily, I was able to track him down through the 57th restaurant I'd called." Steve had an insatiable appetite; it seemed like he was always eating.

"Actually...that was one of his favorites, too." D.J. wondered how to phrase the next comment. "Kimmy, we both know your grades were not the best."

"Of course not, Deej. I hate studying. In fact, thinking's overrated sometimes."

D.J. nodded slowly. Kimmy's parents had never put any effort into helping her; or sometimes even into thinking themselves. They probably figured Kimmy was just like them. But, D.J. had sensed there could be something more, too.

She hadn't wanted to interfere while Kimmy was a student. At first, she was too busy just dealing with Michelle till she got to be a Kindergartner, because their dad, Danny Tanner, didn't punish Michelle at all till after she was three and a half. And, he was lenient at times after that. So, D.J. had been enforcing timeouts or removing privileges, and trying to encourage Danny to finally start; he'd let their mom handle all the discipline of the younger girls when she was alive. Second, when D.J. finally started reading more about learning disorders in high school, a couple people she'd talked to said, "If Kimmy had a real problem, we would have caught it by now. Kimmy just doesn't seem bright enough to accomplish much more, and we're not going to do her any good by forcing her to take tests."

The schools' complacency was understandable. Kimmy was at least passing her courses, albeit usually with D's. And, it had been D.J.'s counselor and a teacher of hers she'd spoken to; they hadn't seen Kimmy enough to know it could be something more than just lack of effort.

They walked into an empty Tanner house. Danny was picking Michelle up at school. Stephanie might be with him, if she wasn't off with friends somewhere. Michelle had no lasting effects from the concussion she'd suffered, but Danny was always very protective, and Stephanie very excitable. A note said Uncle Jesse and Joey - their dad's brother-in-law and best friend, who had moved in to help when Pam Tanner died and who still lived in the attic and basement respectively- were already at the radio station where they hosted their show. Aunt Becky, Jesse's wife, had taken their three-year-old boys, Nicky and Alex, to the park.

The soon-to-be high school graduates sat at the kitchen table. "Kimmy, I've often wondered - what if you had something like dyslexia."

"Dyslexia? Is that the name of some punk rock band?"

"'s actually something where your mind mixes up letters when you read, and it just jumbles thoughts, so you have to learn to think differently. Like the phone book thing...Kimmy, I loved that you would go alphabetically through the phone book for me. It was great, and a very clever idea. But, you also know the two or three restaurants that Steve frequents the most, right?"

"Well, sure. Except, I didn't know how to begin otherwise."

"Kimmy, I'm obviously not an expert. I'm not saying you have dyslexia or anything else." Indeed, she'd merely mentioned it because it was the challenge she'd heard most about herself from other kids. "But, you're eighteen now, and you're free to go have yourself tested without parental consent."

Kimmy thought for a second. "Well, that would be nice. But...I'm done with school. Isn't that something first graders have tested?"

D.J. nodded slowly. "Normally, it is. Steph actually helped find it in one of Michelle's classmates when she was a Principal's Aide in fifth and Michelle was in first. It was more of a lucky guess on her part, because she'd seen some problems this kid was having, then the school psychologist took the ball and got the kid help. But, you have to admit, your parents aren't the kind to think about doing that. What was it about your Grandpa Gibbler?"

"Oh yeah, when he died, we found a bunch of Pepsi stock certificates that he'd used to line his drawers. Turned out he bought into it, then figured they were worthless because he didn't like the taste of Pepsi. He lived like a pauper, but he was a millionaire. We got some of the money back in the early '80s when he died; we're sort of like the Beverly Hillbillies. Except, we didn't strike oil, we didn't move to Beverly Hills, and we don't know anyone named Jed."

D.J. agreed. The Clampetts were a good comparison. A poor family that lived in dumps for the first few years D.J. had known them, the Gibblers still rollerbladed in their house at times, and Kimmy still would go with her father down to the city dump to shoot rats when they had "father-daughter day," according to Kimmy.

Kimmy's family had moved out of their old place after Danny and Pam had had a long talk with them about safety. Previously, they'd rented places and just let them get messed up. The Gibblers had never had any run-ins with the law, though, and had never actually owned any guns; those two things had been Danny's chief worries. After a long talk about safety, Pam had shown the Gibblers the home next door to theirs, which was then up for sale. The Gibblers had moved in almost nine years ago, early in the girls' fourth grade year. D.J. was allowed over at the Gibbers' after that, but Kimmy still wound up spending most of her time over at the Tanners.

Becoming homeowners had made the Gibblers more conscientious about maintaining their own property. The house hadn't been kept up well beforehand - a poor, elderly widow had lived there before - but when the foundation was damaged in an earthquake, they got the money to truly fix it up well from the insurance company.

The home had been a dream come true. However, they still had some of what one might call the "inner city hillbilly" flavor to them, as they hadn't ever been interested in really being involved in their childrens' education. They just saw they got to school, and that was it. Garth, Kimmy's older brother, was in a clown college somewhere. Kimmy was the youngest child.

"You don't have to live like the rest of your family, though," D.J. insisted to Kimmy.

"Well, of course I don't want to all the time. That's why I'm over here so much."

"I think Mom sensed that," D.J. agreed, ready to reminisce for a moment rather than battle too hard. "You'd ride your bike a few miles just to hang out with us many times before you moved next door. I still remember those days; even back in Kindergarten when I finally talked to you after six months. After you'd done things like wear that E.T. suit for a week after Halloween so your mom didn't have to wash clothes. But, Kimmy, I think you can do a lot better. It's not that I don't like you here. It's just that you might find something even better elsewhere."

"Well, Deej, how can I do better than you guys?"

"Kimmy, you can go to college, maybe start your own beauty salon or something. Maybe really get married to Duane, instead of that rush job you tried to do," D.J. offered.

Kimmy hummed. She did want a life. She knew that with the worst grade in school, she was still a graduate. But, she was headed nowhere. She hated the idea of summer school. She hated the idea of studying. But, maybe D.J. could find her something wonderful.

"Maybe. What did you have in mind?" she finally asked.

D.J. suggested that they go visit someone before their graduation. "I talked to my guidance counselor about the situation a few days ago. She gave me this woman's name, Dr. Hughes. We've got lots to do before graduation Thursday night, but you can at least meet her Wednesday. Then, we can go next Monday, Steph and Michelle's first week of summer vacation. Steph wants to have Michelle around her as much as possible, so I'm sure I won't have that much to worry about with her. Michelle's getting a check-up now."

Before she could say what they would do the following Monday, Becky walked in with Nicky and Alex. "Hey, Deej, I'm glad you're here. Do you know anyone who might be graduating and need a line of work? Jesse's dad's finally decided he can't wait fifteen more years to pass on the family business. So, any exterminator wannabes can feel free to apply. At least he'd be using someone in the family for a referral."

D.J. shook her head forlornly. "Sorry, Aunt Becky, I can't think of any. Steve might know someone, though. I'll ask him this evening."

"Yeah. Hey, maybe I could even try. I'd have to kill bugs, right?" Kimmy inquired.

"Well, yeah."

"Yeah, kill bugs dead," Alex declared.

"No more spiders!" Nicky stomped his food, as if to squish a spider. "No more ants!" He stomped again.

"No more fleas!" Alex stomped this time.

"Uh, boys, there's a lot more to killing bugs than just stepping on them," Becky said.

"Are you sure? Maybe I could do it after all. Ask me something about how to get rid of some varmint."

D.J. smiled. "Okay, Kimmy, what's the main reason fire ants are such a hazard."

"Well, Deej, that's simple. Fire ants are a real fire hazard. Those suckers probably get in electrical lines and cause shorts that can trigger fires or something." She looked at the others' blank faces. "Was I close?"

D.J. compassionately placed a hand on her friend's shoulder while the twins shook their heads and said "no." "Just let me tell Steve about it."

Nick Katsopolis walked into the Tanner household Wednesday morning. His face was filled with excitement as he announced to Jesse and Joey, "I have met the Natural!"

"Cool, I didn't realize Robert Redford would be in town," Joey remarked, referring to the actor who had played a superstar baseball player in the movie "The Natural."

"I don't mean that. I mean a natural when it comes to eliminating pests." At that moment, Steven Hale walked in the door. Nick put an arm on his shoulder as D.J. and Kimmy walked downstairs. "This man has a knack for finding bugs that is greater than anyone I can imagine. Just one trial run yesterday when he went out with me, and by the end of the day I was in awe."

"Well, it figures. The way he eats, he probably pictures them near his precious food, and away he goes," D.J. commented. She and Steve exchange a warm glance.

"Now, all you gotta do is marry him, D.J., and I'll be passing the business off to my grandson after all."

D.J. tried to smile graciously, but inside was a little bothered. Although, if she could just average out Nick's hurry-up mode and her dad's anxiety about her growing up at all, it would be perfect.

"Grandpa, I know you'd like things to go faster. But, Steve and I are just friends. Really good friends, but just friends right now."

Steve concurred. "She wants to get through college first. I want to make sure a future wife can help for a while till I have enough to afford to feed us. We sure can't live on bugs."

Nick groused a little, but Joey added the perfect light touch. "Yeah, after all, look at what happened to Elmer Fudd all those times he tried to catch Bugs," he quipped.

D.J. smiled sadly. Kimmy wasn't quite bad off enough to make that connection on purpose. But, while Joey knew what Nick had meant, sometimes she had to wonder about her friend.

"It could happen someday. But, not right now. Steve and I had a long talk about what we wanted, and we agreed to sort of stay really close friends while I go through school. I am getting more and more set on nursing, but I still want to explore other options." D.J. and Steve had gone together since almost three years before, then had split up after a little over eighteen months. They'd reached a plateau, where D.J. realized it was too superficial, and that it wasn't getting any closer. Since then, both had matured, and recognized that they needed to get to know each other more deeply, become close friends rather than just enjoy being with the other one because the other one was so cool to be around.

D.J. had also realized that she'd just expected things to grow too fast. Maybe her parents marrying right out of high school had had something to do with that. But, the best part was, since that senior prom a month ago, they'd had a number of deep discussions, and begun to think about more than the present. They each had courses laid out in front of them in their minds, and their life goals pretty much matched. It would take a while, but this time, she just sensed it was different. The first relationship had been like the Love Boat theme - "Love, exciting and new...." But, early indications were that this time it could be more like the Kenny Rogers' hit "Through the Years." They just had to take it nice and slow.

Kimmy had wanted to marry Duane when she couldn't get into college, though she hadn't known him for more than a few weeks. She likely hadn't considered anything about how big a decision that was. However, though her upbringing would always bring problems, with some help Kimmy could at least like to think, without it bothering her brain.

"Kimmy and I are going out for a while. Want us to pick the boys up at preschool?"

"Yeah, thanks, Deej. That'll give me more time to talk with Steve about doing the family business with my dad while Joey does the shopping and stuff," Jesse responded.

"Okay, great." With that, D.J. and Kimmy went to the psychologist's office.

As they sat in the waiting room for the first time, Kimmy continued to think about the many great times they'd had. "I'm surprised you're not trying to figure out yourself if I have something. You've always come up with clever ideas. Remember that baseball game we were playing when we were nine, and you saw a foul ball near the dugout? You knew I could never catch it, so you shouted, 'Tanner in for Gibbler at catcher' and caught it for the out."

"Yeah," D.J. said with a laugh. "Except I didn't know it was against the rules to change players while the ball was in play."

"Well, hey, you didn't get in big trouble for it or anything, they just called it a foul ball. And, your Uncle Jesse said he was proud to have someone as sneaky as you as his niece."

A brown-haired lady in her middle forties stepped out and called for Kimmy Gibbler. D.J. and Kimmy walked back, and introductions were made.

"Nice office you've got here. Whoa, I see one of your degrees is from Colgate. How did you get a degree from a toothpaste company?"

"Kimmy," D.J. said in as conversational a tone as possible, "Colgate is also the name of a university."

"It is? So, Doc, did they charge you extra if you used Crest?"

Dr. Hughes laughed politely, assuming it was a joke - well, hoping was perhaps a better word. D.J. had told her over the phone that her guidance counselor had referred her, and had proceeded to explain some things about Kimmy. "Well, they didn't really get into that," the psychologist said as they took seats in the office. "Although I was so busy adjusting to college my first few weeks, I had a dream the professors endorsed different snack foods in one part of our bookstore. One even paused in his lecture to do an advertisement."

"I've had my share of those weird dreams. The night before my SAT test, I dreamed I got everything wrong, even my name!" D.J. shared.

"Isn't it funny how the mind works. How did you do on your SAT, Kimmy? Or did you take the ACT?"

"I took the SAT. I got a 343 - hey, I hit higher than Barry Bonds did that year," she said referring to a great baseball player.

"Do you like sports?"

"Oh, sure. When it's got good looking guys. I even liked watching her boyfriend Steve wrestle; of course, high school wrestling's not like the pros. D.J. says that's choreographed. It's just like ballet, except there's no dancing, the guys are pumped up to 400 pounds on steroids, and they pretend to maul each other."

"That's an interesting way of looking at it. Your friend tells me you believe you may have dyslexia?"

"Well, she guesses that's what it is. All I know is, I never liked reading or studying, and thinking's sometimes a pain, even," Kimmy responded.

Dr. Hughes asked if they'd like to set an appointment for Kimmy to come in the following Monday, and after a few more minutes of talking, D.J. and Kimmy left.

Stephanie squirted some sun tan lotion into her hand and began vigorously rubbing it all over Michelle's arms the following Monday.

"Come on, Steph," Michelle complained. "I won't get tanned at all with that much sunscreen," she complained. Even Danny, protective as he was, didn't lather this much on her.

"Michelle, I am supposed to make sure you stay safe. It was only last week that you weren't allowed outside for recess because of your concussion," Stephanie countered.

"That's because last Friday was our last day of school," Michelle murmured. "And we already spent the weekend at the beach. Hey," she shrieked suddenly, started to giggle as Stephanie rubbed the soles of her feet. "That tickles!"

Darcy and Allie began to snicker now. "I've never heard of sunburnt soles of feet," Allie noted.

"That's right. I've also never heard of a link between concussions and increased sensitivity to the sun," Darcy added.

"Hey, they didn't know about cigarettes and lung cancer for a long time." Stephanie uttered a slight guffaw herself, then went to work on Michelle's neck and face as the younger girl squirmed slightly. "Okay, I'll admit, that last was a nutty comparison."

"It sounded like your dad."

"Yeah, he's pretty protective, Allie." He was, in fact, overprotective at times. "But, I finally understand why. We were so lucky Michelle's horse riding accident wasn't any worse. And when I rode out and saw her on that stretcher, unconscious...I was the most scared I can remember."

"Hey, come on, Steph," Michelle complained once more while squirming. "I don't need that much."

"Michelle, I love you. And, I want to help you. I'm sure your best friends, Cassie and Mandy, would feel the same way. Remember that story Cassie told you?" Stephanie looked up, realizing her friends might not have heard it. "Mandy had called Cassie in tears and went over right away. Neither was at the riding contest. Cassie thought Mandy had lost her grandmother, 'cause while Cassie was with her mom at a baby shower, Mandy was visiting her grandma in the hospital. Mandy didn't say she'd seen Michelle. So, that led to a conversation surrounded by confusion, till Cassie finally said, 'Your grandmother is eight years old?! How can that be?'" Stephanie had done an exaggerated shocked voice when quoting Cassie.

After the girls laughed together, Darcy related, "It sounds like all three are best friends now."

"It was hard, after Mandy moved here last January. At first, both were just great friends of Michelle. But now, yeah, I think they are."

Allie gazed at the sisters. Stephanie had finished and was looking lovingly at Michelle, who returned the look. "Just like a couple other girls I know."

Stephanie acknowledged this with a nod. With a lump in her throat, she uttered a low prayer of thanks that Michelle was okay. Stephanie would wander sometimes, but never as far from family as she had. The incident had brought her much closer to the Lord.

Michelle had always seen Stephanie as a great friend, or at least wanted to, even when Stephanie wasn't. This overprotectiveness, however, was getting to her. With a still loving tone, Michelle asked, "Do best friends like to bug each other like this, though?"

"Oh, best friends can be very annoying. I know, Kimmy drove me crazy, but she also bugged D.J. sometimes, too," she remarked. "But, D.J. put up with it, because she knew Kimmy needed lots of help, and probably always will. But this friend here is going to grow into a wonderful, healthy young lady. And I'm going to make sure of it." She kissed Michelle lightly on the forehead.

"I couldn't even feel that through all that sunscreen," Michelle kidded her.

"Oh, let's get in Darcy's pool," Stephanie said as she stepped into it. She sighed. She would put up with a lot more than she ever would have before, because she'd been reminded of how much she would always love Michelle. But, D.J. had to have a much tougher job dealing with their crazy next door neighbor, Kimmy Gibbler.

Meanwhile, Kimmy and D.J. had shown up at Dr. Hughes' office so Kimmy could take some tests. "You know, Deej, I just thought of something. Mr. Langley said that would be the last test of my formal education. Does that mean this is informal now."

"Well, in a way."

"I see the sections have Roman numerals on them. I'm glad I don't have to do this on a computer; I've never seen a computer with Roman numerals."

Dr. Hughes met them in the office, and spoke with Kimmy, explaining what would happen, and what she was to do. "D.J. can just wait in the waiting room then, and I'll be in and out. First, let me get a little more medical background. Do you have any allergies?"

"Well, I'm allergic to feather pillows and milk products. Growing up, the feather pillows were the hardest," she told Dr. Hughes. "Not because of my home, because of babysitting. I babysat this one kid last year, and I puffed up like a blowfish by the next morning, she had so many feathers in her room. But, at least I hid it from her that night so she couldn't take advantage of me!" she finished proudly.

"Well, you certainly have some creative talents to take care of children like that."

"Oh, sure. I was even class President in tenth grade - I campaigned with the 'Party Hardy' party. D.J. really helped me during my year as President. Although for some reason, Principal Robolard often referred to her as Edith Tanner," Kimmy said, rubbing her lip and looking rather confused.

D.J. would later explain out of Kimmy's hearing that the principal's reference was to Edith Wilson, the first lady who assisted in running things when President Wilson had been very sick with a stroke. She had done quite a bit to clear up messes and misunderstandings that Kimmy had created during Student Council meetings.

"Well, what we're going to test are your thinking patterns and things like that." After a bit more explaining, the testing began.

D.J. and Steve drove with Kimmy over to Duane's house that evening. Duane Blaine _ what a corny rhyme, Kimmy had said once _ lived with his parents in a modestly sized home. He had an older brother and younger sister, neither of whom was challenged. Duane, however, was _ in some ways _ a lot like Kimmy.

"Hi, Mrs. Blaine," D.J. said politely as the mother opened the door. She had met Duane's parents at graduation; Duane and they had been invitees of Kimmy, along with Kimmy's family.

"Hello, dears, how are you enjoying your summers so far?"

"They're checking to see if I have dyslexia," Kimmy spouted as Duane came downstairs for their double date wearing a ball cap, as he always seemed to do.

"That's...interesting." Duane had been diagnosed with a mild form of autism at a very young age. Not only did he answer "whatever" to many things _ when in public especially _ he could also recite long poems like those of Shakespeare just by looking at them once. He also had a small number of complex eccentricities.

"Hey, plumber boy," Kimmy said as they embraced. They walked out to Steve's car, and Kimmy said, "You know, I still remember the first day we met. It was Valentine's Day this year, and your ball cap blew off. It blew right to me, and you were frantic to get it back. I knew then it was a sign," Kimmy said romantically.

"Yeah, 'cause I gotta wear that cap on a certain day of the week," Duane explained, knowing Steve was likely unaware, unlike Kimmy and D.J.. "I got a different cap for each day of the week."

"And he's always wearing his ball cap - except when you take it off to quote stuff like Shakespeare to me," Kimmy remarked. "I saw you without it that time, and you were so cute." She sighed dreamily.

"Your girlfriend's crazy about you, huh?" Steve said.

"Whatever," came Duane's expected reply.

Despite Duane's mild challenge, he was actually quite knowledgeable, able to handle many different things in the plumbing business. A couple years older than Kimmy, and thus the same age as Steve, Duane was a junior partner in his dad's plumbing business.

Once they arrived at the restaurant, the couples began talking amongst themselves.

"You know, Deej, it's amazing," Kimmy said, suddenly turning to D.J. as they were shown to their seats. "I remember when you broke up with Steve, you said I seemed to have a much closer relationship with my boyfriend because we were going to Los Angeles on an adventure or something. Now, I hear you two talking, and it's so much deeper."

D.J. let Steve slide into the booth first before getting in beside him. "Kimmy, I don't think Duane really needs to hear about your past boyfriends like that."

"Oh, I'm sure he doesn't mind. Do you?" she asked as she sat.

Duane shrugged. "Whatever," he said nonchalantly.

"Hmmm." D.J. always had trouble telling how Duane felt from the tone of the "whatever," so she chose to skip that. Instead, she turned to the subject she and Steve had been discussing. "You know, Kimmy," D.J. remarked, "whoever you marry, one day you might want to have kids."

"That's right. And you'll be perfect to help me take care of them."

"Somehow, this part of the conversation isn't going the way I'd planned," D.J. muttered.

"I think what D.J. means is, it takes a lot of effort to raise kids. Michelle might be as good now as if your mom had lived, from what you were just saying, Deej. But it's taken eight years to get to that point, right?" Steve asked.

Kimmy looked oddly at Steve and said, "Yeah, now her next step must be to get you not to talk with your mouth full."

"I want him to say something sometime, though, and his mouth's always full," D.J. kidded him. The couple shared a nice chuckle.

"So, how is the plumbing business going?" Steve asked.

"Oh, okay. You know, the usual, pipes and valves and, well, whatever."

"The conversations tend to be a lot more meaningful when it's just the two of us," Kimmy related. "Otherwise, he's kind of quiet and shy. And, of course, really handsome." He thanked her.

D.J. tried to think of how to phrase the next question, then decided maybe it wasn't worth it. To get them to think really deep thoughts would be hard. Besides, it had taken her and Steve a long time to do that.

Still, she had to explain that, "Kimmy, you and Duane can both go beyond just the physical stuff and talk about long-term goals."

"How? I don't have any," Kimmy answered. "Even if we find out I have some condition like dyslexia, that still won't give me any."

"Well, think, Kimmy, if you could do anything you want..." She stopped herself. "Let's make that within reason so you don't say you'd date Brad Pitt."

Kimmy looked lovingly at Duane. "Think you'll be able to read my mind like that someday?"

"Could be."

"At least he said something different," Steve remarked as he finally put down the menu.

Kimmy did name one thing that would be fun. "I'd like to open my own beauty salon."

"There you go. Aim for that. I'm sure you could do it. However long it takes."

"Maybe you're right, Deej. You know, it's great that you've never written me off. You've always believed I could do anything I put my mind to," she said with obvious affection.

"Of course. You're a very special friend. And, if you and Duane really do see things more deeply than just how each other looks, then you should go for that, too. Maybe you'll always have a bit of that California Hillbilly in you. But, you can still have a wonderful life," D.J. said with confidence.

"Hey, guess what, Tanners _ I'm dyslexic," Kimmy announced as she and D.J. walked into the Tanner home that Wednesday afternoon. They had just returned from finding out the results of the tests.

She then turned to D.J. and asked, "Now what? I announced it, someone should have to get up in front of a camera and say 'I'm going to Disneyworld' or something."

"Yeah. I don't know whether to congratulate you or what," Stephanie said, suddenly shocked. So, some of Kimmy's dumbness hadn't been her fault, she thought to herself.

"Hey, cheer up, Blondo. I know what you're thinking. You know I forgive you for all those things you've said over the years. You were just a little kid. Besides, I got you back with quite a few myself."

"Yeah, you did, I guess," Stephanie remarked, inhaling deeply.

D.J. invited those in the living room to come out for dinner with them. "I told Kimmy it might be nice to celebrate."

Michelle looked at her oldest sister quite strangely. "We're going to celebrate Kimmy having a learning disorder." She scratched her head, turned to Danny, and said, "Something about this doesn't make sense. Does it to you, Dad?"

"Well, pumpkin, I think what she means is that they want to celebrate finding out now, so Kimmy can get some help. And, Steph, I wouldn't worry. Kimmy...brought quite a few things on herself, too."

Stephanie was noncommittal. "Maybe." She would need time to ponder the thought, especially in light of Michelle's accident. What if it had been worse, she asked herself, but not so bad as to be easily noticeable as a learning disorder. She embraced Michelle, thankful to be able to concentrate on her. "I'm so glad you're okay."

"That's the spirit, Steph," Becky said. "Concentrate on the positive, instead of worrying about the negatives of the past. I'll get the boys cleaned up, and we'll be ready to leave in about 15 minutes."

Stephanie pondered the news quite a bit till the next morning, when she and Michelle went to Darcy's pool again. The notion that Kimmy was so challenged didn't take away from her weirdness, of course. But, still, not having known or even guessed at the possible cause of some of it frustrated her.

It was the fourth day of summer vacation, and Michelle was beginning to get a little tired of only seeing Stephanie, Allie, Darcy, and - when they could make it yesterday - Cassie and Mandy. "Why can't you take me to the neighborhood pool?"

"Because," Stephanie said, counting on her fingers, "I know they have lifeguards there, but I don't know them. I trust Darcy if I'm in doing something, or if I would have to be gone one day. Second, I still feel a little concerned about you in such a big place - they said no sports for four weeks at least, and dad said none till July."

"Swimming isn't a contact sport," Michelle countered.

"What if you run into someone, though? What if your goggles slip off and you close your eyes instinctively just as you're approaching the edge of the pool," Stephanie said quickly.

Darcy laughed with Allie and said, "Face it, Michelle. You're lucky she's letting you in the pool."

Michelle sighed as Stephanie lathered her with suntan lotion. "Can't some more of my friends come over here, though? I really like to swim with them sometimes."

"You mean like Jeff?" Stephanie snickered as Michelle gave her a look. "He likes you," she whispered.

"Yeah, right! He likes seeing me crack up when he tells jokes. That's what he likes."

Stephanie knew that was how it started sometimes with boys like Jeff. But, she didn't say anything else. She could tell Michelle wouldn't buy it. She was almost a year younger than Stephanie had been when she'd like Bret, a baseball player on a rival team. So, she decided to wait. At least, to wait until her sister deserved a good tease.

She laughed as she rubbed lotion into Michelle's shoulders. She knew Michelle would laugh if Stephanie wasn't rude about it. They were becoming able to laugh at many things, even about themselves if they were alone. She could feel a real friendship building.

"I hope you don't talk about us like that if he comes over to our house tomorrow. You'll really embarrass him," Michelle warned.

"Don't worry. That stuff is only for if we're alone, or if you tease me about kissing again." She smirked. "If you do, I'll make you and Jeff sound like Uncle Jesse and Aunt Becky to my boyfriend at the time."

"Ewwwww, grossss!" Michelle said through giggles. All the girls were laughing now.

"So, why does Jeff want to come over?" Allie asked.

"He says he wants to throw a pie in Duane's face, since he's a plumber. That way, Jeff says, Duane can call himself the Pied Piper." Darcy chortled while the others merely chuckled.

"Okay, you're all gooped up," Stephanie announced. "Darcy's in charge, remember to follow her rules. I'm going in to call a friend of D.J.'s. She's watching Samantha, making sure she's okay and everything with school out for the summer." Stephanie left. The friend of D.J.'s was technically not a babysitter, but still, Stephanie liked to maintain something of a leash on Samantha now that summer was here and they weren't in school.

Samantha was a latchkey kid. The situation had begun when Samantha - then called Sam - entered Kindergarten Stephanie's fifth grade year and caused her major problems as Principal's Assistant. While the young girl had matured quite a bit, Stephanie still liked to check on things since the parents were uninvolved.

Uninvolved parents. That could have helped Kimmy so much, if her parents were more involved. She didn't like to totally blame the Gibblers, though. She could have been a lot nicer to Kimmy, too.

"Kimmy's out to lunch, breakfast, dinner, supper, everything! She's not in for a single meal, if you ask me!" Just one of many comical one-liners she'd used to describe Kimmy. True, she could blame quite a bit of it on youth - she hadn't really teased her much in the last couple years. And, Kimmy was certainly weird enough family-wise to take a little flak - and she could dish it out, too. But, still, some of Stephanie's comment has been really mean.

But, she had Samantha to think about now. Then, once she called to make sure everything was okay with her, Kimmy could enter Stephanie's thoughts once more.

Michelle, meanwhile, noticed that Darcy's attention was drawn, as was Allie's. She grinned mischievously. She didn't like that Stephanie had said no diving. Darcy had a really nice diving board. She supposed she understood the bit about wet pavement. But, nobody had been in the pool yet, anyway. She wouldn't slip if she just dove off the side.

Darcy caught her out of the corner of her eye. "Michelle," she called out as Michelle jumped in. Whistling, she called out "time out, five minutes" as Michelle's head emerged.

"Come on, Darcy, give me a break."

"Michelle, my rule is no diving off the sides. You're lucky you didn't get a break in your leg or arm."

Michelle sighed and rolled her eyes as she got out to sit down. "I'll bet you've never given Stephanie a timeout."

Allie held up a hand to signal that she wanted to talk to Michelle. She scooted a chair over to Michelle's and spoke quite calmly. "Michelle, Stephanie has never needed one. But, Darcy is fair, and I'm sure if you sister needed a timeout, she would give her one." Darcy concurred.

Stephanie came out moments later feeling a mixture of emotions. The babysitting was going well, with D.J.'s friend reporting no problems. That was excellent news. However, it also gave her time to think about Kimmy. Certainly, she hadn't teased her much more than their dad or Uncle Jesse. But, she had spent most of her time teasing about Kimmy's intelligence, while with Danny and Jesse it was more often Kimmy's weirdness or how annoying she was. Those things Kimmy could have helped. But, they'd learned that Kimmy had a learning disorder. And, Stephanie was frustrated that she hadn't thought to consider that there could be some real problem in that area.

Thus, while Stephanie would have lectured anyway, Darcy's reporting of Michelle's misdemeanor led to an even louder lecture than would have been expected. "Michelle Tanner, do you know how close you came to permanent brain damage!" she began, shaking her finger at Michelle and recalling Michelle's horse riding accident. While she hadn't come very close, a freak injury like that was always a concern at first.

Despite Darcy's and Michelle's protests, Stephanie continued to lecture about how dangerous jumping off the side could have been. Lots of thoughts were going through Stephanie's mind.

Darcy began to wonder if she was right to report Michelle's actions - even though she knew Stephanie had told her to do so. The only good thing was, by the end of it, Stephanie was tearily embracing Michelle.

"Michelle, I love you so much. And, when I think of what Kimmy went through, all the teasing, all the frustration of not being able to think, I just get so scared. And, I never want you to endanger yourself like that again. Because I don't want you to end up like that, or worse!"

Michelle felt deflated. She wanted to protest that nothing like that could have happened from one little jump. But, Stephanie's voice had an effect on her. She didn't want to see her sister scared. "I promise, Steph," she said weakly. "I'll listen to you and Darcy from now on."

"Good. I'm glad you know you have to listen to me. I just want to take care of you, so you can have a great life as a teenager and beyond, just like my friends and I do."

"Hey, Deej," Steve said as he stopped in Friday morning. "I'm off for another day of work."

D.J. grinned at the emblem on Steve's jacket that signified Katsopolis exterminating. She remembered her Uncle Jesse wearing that so much when she was little, only to see him give it up for his musical career when she was eleven. "That uniform is really you, you know that?"

"Thanks. I'm beginning to see why Kimmy likes Duane so much - I think there is something about an outfit that makes a man look better. Of course, provided that outfit isn't a prison one," he was quick to note. "There sure are a lot worse guys she could fall for, huh?"

"Yeah. She talked to me earlier this morning on the phone about all the kids who used to tease her about her brains, or lack thereof; it had to hurt, but she could really take quite a bit more than most kids."

Steve walked over to her, and looked deeply into her eyes. "She had a great role model."

"Thanks. I'm just glad Steph's taking the time with Michelle; they're at Darcy's pool with Cassie, Mandy, and Jeff today. Kimmy's going through a lot of emotions right now; Steph is, too, though because of her being younger they're more pronounced. But, I think she knows how to handle them better than Kimmy at times." D.J. recalled the incident where she just wanted to run off and get married, and wondered what else unusual Kimmy might have done or might do in the future were it not for her.

"Yeah, Steph wanted to get married because she wasn't getting enough attention, but she was only six," Steve seemed to recall hearing.

D.J. nodded. "I think Kimmy takes a lot of her cues from me. Based on how I handle things, she's learned that's the best way. Oh, she still feels like she has to go overboard sometimes, like when she got drunk at that one party we were at last year. But, generally, she does better than what a lot of people would in her shoes."

"So, did you discuss the salon idea any more with her?"

"Yeah, in fact we're going to look at beauty schools today. But, I think she'll wait a little while before deciding for sure." A car horn honked. "Well, that sounds like my grandpa. Have a great day at work."

And, as Steve walked out the door, D.J. dreamed - not only of her own future, and what it might entail in a few years with Steve as a mate, but also of what Kimmy might have to look forward to, now that she had begun to learn how to think in a way that could actually help her understand things, without the mass problems brought about by her disorder.

The girls, meanwhile, were listening to Jeff and his many one liners. "...Like, I've often wondered, is Dr. Seuss really a doctor? Does he really tell patients, 'I cannot solve this thing with pills; you must, you must, lose your tonsils.'" He soaked in the laughter, especially the delighted giggles that erupted from Michelle.

Cassie, meanwhile, continued to hold her dog, named Okay, on a leash. She'd gotten the puppy for her eighth birthday, and had been unable to think of a name. Finally, she decided since she was saying "okay" before every command, she would simply name it that.

That made things quite silly at times, especially as Jeff was telling jokes about animals. "I made this one up at a ball game. A San Francisco pitcher had a bat fly down his chimney and into his house. By the time the pitcher got it out, he'd given up four runs." Jeff laughed hard at his play on words, mixing the animal bat with the baseball kind.

"Hey, even my dog's getting a little antsy, maybe he's trying to laugh," Cassie said. "Heel, Okay."

"Cassie, you're confusing that poor dog. You're giving it a command and releasing it all within two seconds," Darcy noted. A friend of hers had told her that in training their dogs, they used the command "okay" when the dog did not need to sit, stay, etc. any longer.

Cassie fiddled with the leash as Michelle explained, "She didn't release it, she just said his name."

"Whose name, the dog's?"

"Yeah, Okay," Mandy said.

"Okaaaay, so what is it?" Allie asked.

Stephanie chuckled. "Guys, she named her dog 'Okay.'"

"I know she named her dog, Steph. But, what did she name...?" Allie suddenly remembered having this conversation about six months ago. "Wait a minute here."

Darcy began laughing hard at the same time. "Oh, boy."

"Not Oh Boy, Okay," Cassie said. "Okay," she hollered suddenly, running after the dog - it had jerked free from Cassie and scampered off.

"We heard you the first..." Stephanie said before looking up to see Cassie running after Okay, who was chasing a squirrel. Michelle, Mandy, and Jeff began running after her to help corral the dog. However, since Michelle was near the pool, Stephanie grabbed and held on to her tightly.

"Come on, Steph, she wasn't that close to the edge," Allie said as gently as she could considering the sound from Michelle squirming to get free from Stephanie and of Cassie and Mandy chasing the barking dog around the yard.

"I have to keep her safe, though!"

"What are you going to do next, Steph, put a diaper on her?" Darcy chided.

As the joking rebuke sank in to Stephanie, Becky came walking by with Nicky and Alex on their way home from the park. The twins studied the wild activity for a second.

"What are they all doing?" Nicky asked.

"I don't know, but it looks like fun." With that, Alex ran into the yard through the open gate, with Nicky following closely. They almost ran into Okay, but managed to avoid him.

The yipping dog turned around and followed them, anxious to see where they were going. While Alex ran into Cassie, who was shouting "Okay," Nicky ran past them and toward the pool. He also shouted "okay" once before Allie scooped him up, since she didn't know if he could swim.

"This is a fun game. Okay, okay!" Alex said as he got up.

Mandy held the dog up in the air. "I got him."

"Cool. Allie got me, too! Stephanie got Michelle. Now what do we do?" Nicky wanted to know.

Becky had seen that the boys were all right, so she walked over to Steph and Michelle, the latter of whom was trying to squirm way. "Steph, what are you doing?"

"She's playing the game, Mommy," Nicky explained.

Becky considered that the concept that the confusion could be a game was silly even by Jeff's standards. "I don't think they're part of that game, Nicky; if it is a game. Steph, you don't have to hold onto Michelle every second."

"But she was running near the pool, on the cement. And, I was scared of what could happen if she fell and bumped her head."

Steph let go of Michelle as Becky calmly guided her away from the action. "Steph, I know that was scary for you. But, you're sounding more protective than your dad right now. And, I've told him, sometimes you have to just let go. You had faith that she would recover, right?"

"Well, sure. We were close before, and I didn't react a whole lot, not like I could have, but still, I'd started to draft apart from her a little…," she admitted.

"Right, you went forward in church the next day, and prayed, and really dedicated yourself to being a great friend to her. But, Steph, part of being that great sister and friend is having faith she'll be all right. You have to let her make mistakes, the same way you do. If she runs near the pool or something, sure, have her sit out for a few minutes if that's the rule. But, you don't need to be so anxious you don't let her do anything."

Stephanie breathed deeply and closed her eyes. "You're right, Aunt Becky. It's just that hearing about Kimmy, I mean that was from birth, but I just kept thinking about how bad things could get if Michelle had suffered permanent damage. I wasn't too bad before learning about Kimmy....Well, except for practically bathing her in sunscreen." She snickered. "Okay, I guess I was getting carried away even before I learned about Kimmy." Though I really went wild since, she told herself.

"It's easy for you to get carried away sometimes," Becky said understandingly. "That's because you really need to know exactly what's going on. The future's scary for all of us sometimes. It's one reason why we don't bother you children with talk of mortgages and bills and stuff like that. But, part of growing up is learning to accept that everything's going to be all right. And, that no matter what happens, you'll get through it as a team. And, usually, nothing bad does happen. Look at it this way, if you had known two months ago that soon you would have a big fight with Michelle, say something dumb, and then she would get hurt in a fall from a horse, what would you have thought?"

Stephanie had to think for a minute. "Probably that I'd do anything to keep it from happening."

"Exactly. And, look what happened. It was a really hard time in your life. But, you got through, your sister's perfectly healthy again, and you've not only got a great relationship with the Lord, but a great sisterly bond that you're both determined is going to keep growing."

"Yeah. I know, I'm really lucky," Stephanie remarked, smiling at Michelle.

"Right. Just relax, Steph, and things will be all right. Just keep building that bond, and if you see something wrong, sit down and talk about it. She'll listen, she really respects you. And, if something would happen, like you get separated when you're supposed to stay together or something, just concentrate on making sure things work out all right, and have faith that they will. Because, you're not the only one working to make sure things are okay. God sure did a good job with the accident, didn't He?"

"Yeah, he did." Stephanie walked over to Michelle and apologized as the sisters embraced.

"That's the spirit. She's going to be okay."

"How can she be okay, that's Okay," Jeff teased, pointing at the dog.

"Oh, please," Cassie said, rolling her eyes. "You had the class joking about that name enough on the playground this year."

Mandy added, "The Dr. Seuss ones would have been funnier if you'd come up with more than a couple rhymes for a doctor to say."

"Hey, I don't know that much medical stuff, okay? Wait a minute, you're Mandy." He grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, I couldn't help it."

Danny greeted D.J. and Kimmy as they arrived home that afternoon. "It's such a nice day out, and since Aunt Becky had taken a vacation day anyway, I figured I'd get home a little early, too," he remarked.

Kimmy's eyes widened. "Whoa, Mr. do-the-right-thing is playing hooky? If you weren't dusting the piano I'd swear you weren't you." Danny was a compulsive neat freak.

Kimmy then held a finger to her chin. "Wait a minute, if you weren't you, who would you be?"

"Kimmy, I don't think Dad's exactly playing hooky. It's just that all of us appreciate things a little more, we don't take our time together for granted after the accident," D.J. explained.

"Right, except Joey took the boys to the petting zoo, Jesse's breaking in the new day-to-day administrator of his club, Becky's getting her hair done, and Steph's at the local community swimming pool with Michelle."

D.J. grinned. "Well, you're doing one of the things you love, Dad," she responded, though inside she wondered if he wasn't a bit too compulsive. Still, her guidance counselor had said that it was only a problem if it interfered with his daily activities, and it didn't, so she didn't worry about it. D.J. promised him that she would spend some time doing something with him as soon as she and Kimmy finished going over their discoveries.

Once up in D.J.'s room, Kimmy lounged on the love seat and said, "You know, Deej, I thought I'd enjoy being bored out of my wazoo with nothing to do. But, now that I've been a graduate for over a week, I realize there's just one problem with it. I'm bored out of my wazoo."

"That's true. I like the break, especially since for a few years there as a preteen and young teen it was all being a Mom-like figure to Michelle." She remarked that if she married, she didn't want kids till she was thirty. "I'd like some free time before I have to settle down."

"I know what you mean. That was kind of interesting, thinking about colleges and such. But, it felt weird. I mean, I'm starting to think about how I can really accomplish things in life." She grinned warmly at D.J.. "You've been a great inspiration. You're the reason I wanted to stay in school to begin with - even if I had to glue my bottom to a chair." That had been Kimmy's ill-fated "stay in school" campaign slogan when she was class president.

"Thanks, Kimmy. You really deserve for something good to happen."

"You know, Duane and I talked last night. We really do want to go further in our relationship; get beyond the physical into really deep conversations like you and Steve have been having. I guess to do that, I'll need to start reading, huh?" D.J. nodded. "Where do I begin?" The question, in fact, really involved more than just reading, but her whole life, though Kimmy did have some good beginning ideas, thanks to D.J..

"Well, what interests you?"

Kimmy thought for a second. "Besides shopping and guys? I don't know."

D.J. went over to her purse, and pulled out her library card. She handed it to Kimmy before she sat back on her bed. "Tell you what, use this till you get your own. You'll need to be reading, anyway, to practice understanding what you read." She thought for a second, mindful of the strange things Kimmy could pick up or misinterpret. "On second thought, maybe we better go together and do that the first few times."

"Cool. You know, this is a lot of fun. It's like I'm finding out I can make a whole new me."

"Why not, Steph is doing that with Michelle. Even though she was great to begin with she's insisting on becoming a lot better, as far as their relationship. You made it this far, even with all your problems. I'm sure you can make it the rest of the way."

Slightly over two years later, Michelle sat eating cake and ice cream after having watched the couple cut a very unusual cake.

"That's one of the most unique cakes I've ever seen," Jesse remarked. "I just wonder what kinds of stuff their kids will be doing when they have them."

"I know." Becky added that their kids might not have the best supervision sometimes, either; they might be able to sneak around them quite readily at times.

"Right. Steph catching the bouquet, I know that's just tradition, she won't get married right away just because of that. But, one of their kids could get married at fifteen. And, if they could..." Danny said, trying to reassure himself that it was just tradition.

Joey reminded him that the tradition included the groom marrying the bride, from what he recalled. "The groom is three years old and was blowing bubbles down the aisle just hours ago. I don't think you have to worry."

"Well, I could always take care of them," Michelle offered. She didn't know how, but she knew she wanted to work with young children someday. "I might become a nurse like D.J.. But, I might just open a day care place. Can you really do that from your house, Dad?"

He nodded. "The day care that's in the same building as your preschool is a chain, it's not privately run or anything. A home environment is much better for a child. I feel it's important to have someone who's definitely like a mom to help nurture that child."

D.J. chuckled inwardly. That was her dad, all right; his answers went on and on and on sometimes.

Kimmy and Duane walked over to the Tanner table, "Hey, Deej, thanks again for being my maid of honor. You too, Steph and Michelle. You really made some pretty brides maids."

"Thanks. Joey's girlfriend's daughter really looked cute as flower girl, didn't she?" Stephanie asked.

"Yep. Say, I've been meaning to ask you something," Kimmy said, turning to Jesse. "It's about names. I've been reading up on them."

Michelle rolled her eyes. "I hope this isn't another of those, 'Fred would make a unique name for a girl' comments." Kimmy may have become smarter, but she still had her quirkiness.

"No, not this time. I was actually thinking about last names, after I started sending out the invitations. How come every other Greek person seems to spell their -opolous with an O-S or O-U-S, instead of an I-S like yours."

"Oh, that. Well, it used to be Katsopolous with an O-U-S, but when my great-great-grandfather, Hermes, he tried to run barefoot down a mountain to warn a village there was a volcano erupting. Of course, nobody was left there 'cause there was a volcano erupting, but they decided to honor his valor anyway by changing the last name to O-L-I-S, which is the spelling you give to a city." In fact, Jesse's real given first name was Hermes, but he never used it. In fact, outside of the Tanners and Becky, nobody knew it.

Kimmy nodded slowly. "Oh, I see. For a while I thought maybe you had delusions of municipality," she joked.

"You know, it's nice to know that even though you're a lot smarter now, there's still a lot of Kimmy left in you," Stephanie remarked. "It's just that now, you make jokes out of what was stuff you actually thought."

"Exactly. The biggest difference is, now I'm not a dunce. I did really well in beauty school, I'm starting to save up some money for my own salon, and I've got a great husband. And I owe it all to you guys," she declared happily.