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In which Billy and his cloned spawn move into their new home with the help of Annette.


Billy and his kids had stayed with Ami for a few months, while he searched for a place to live. The laptop he'd bought in Fandom connected him to the web in his own dimension so he was able to search from Ami's, and soon enough, he found just what he was looking for.

A remote lighthouse, recently bought by a local historical society was looking for a qualified caretaker, and tour guide, once it was up to snuff.  His part time jobs in college of working construction and such qualified him for the first part, and his degrees in Anthropology and Archeology would help him in keeping the lighthouse enthusiasts happy. He'd sent in an inquiry about the job, and soon enough, had it.

He made his goodbyes to Ami, thanking her for about the 40th time for putting them up, and took his children to his version of America.  Where he'd contacted some old friends.  Most of whom were busy with other things, but promised they'd come help as soon as they could. And sadly he still had to go through channels to reach his mother.  They were both getting sick of that, and he heard she was petitioning to do away with that in terms of each other, the risks be damned. For now though, only Annette had been able to heed the call to help move.

The sun was setting when he stopped the pickup outside the lighthouse and keeper's dwelling, both already in good shape from the efforts of the historians. "Well, here we are."

Annette peered through the truck's windshield, looking up at the lighthouse. "Billy, you are going to live here? Cause... wow."

"That's the place." Billy smiled.  The house was a two story, three bedroom place, built in the Victorian style.  The light itself was a short walk from the house, a tower over looking the cliff, where it once shone it's beacon to wary sailors.

"Ana, we're here." he stopped the truck and looked back to where Tommy was still snoozing in his car seat, bundled up in the Autumn air, and Ana was curled up with a large stuffed otter.

She grumbled at being woken up.  "I liked Japan." she told him, for about the tenth time.

"It's amazing, Billy," Annette replied, wondering what it would be like to live here. She wondered if the mother to Billy's kids was going to be living here or involved at all in their lives. Best not to ask; none of her business unless he offered. She looked in the backseat at the sleeping Tommy and smiled softly. "Want me to carry him inside, Billy?"

"Sure thanks." Billy agreed.  He had a feeling he was going to have his hands full with the still sulking Ana.  Sure enough, he wound up carrying her up to the front porch. She pretended not to, but he could see that she was looking around with grudging interest.

"I'm told there's still some work left to do on it, but some of my other friends said they'd be by to help out." he said.

"Mommy too?"

"Yes.  In fact that reminds me, I have to contact her tomorrow."

He shifted Ana into one arm, sensing that she wasn't ready to be put down yet, and toed the welcome mat aside to find the key.  "Hmm, we'll need a better hiding place for that."

Getting out of the truck, Annette opened the smaller cab door and leaned over to unhook Tommy's car seat. Smiling, she lifted him into her arms and felt his head curl in against her neck. He was still sleeping so she walked slowly and carefully, holding him against her.

"It is really something, Billy. And you know, I can always stay longer to help out if you like." She caught Ana looking up at her and Annette winked at the little girl, grinning. Billy's kids really were great. "When is, you know...when is their mom supposed to come over?" Annette certainly didn't want to impose.

"You're welcome to stay with us as long as you want." Billy smiled, and was glad that she was getting along with his kids so well.  Not that he'd had much doubt.  But they'd only met her a few days ago.

"Mommy's coming soon." Ana nodded resolutely.  "She has to...something."

"Distract," Billy offered.

"Yes, istrak the bad men." Ana explained.  "Cause we're secret."

Annette returned Billy's smile, thinking that she just might take him up on that offer; she didn't mind helping do what she could to make things more comfortable for him and his children. She knew some about Billy's dad, from what he told her long ago and she couldn't help but think that this was related. He didn't go into a lot of detail with her and now was certainly not the time to ask, not when his little girl was awake and listening.

Annette smiled down at Ana. "Being secret is always fun to play, sweetheart."

"Well," Billy said.  "It's not entirely playing.  But it's a long story.  Maybe once we get these two to bed." He unlocked the front door, and let it swing open, as he found the light switch.  The porch light illuminated the truck, and the front yard. "I'm told this place has already been partially furnished, with all the modern amenities."

Annette had made light of the *playing* part for the sake of Ana. She knew there was more to it and that it was pretty serious. "All right, Billy," she said and waited for him to open the door. "That is good; you shouldn't have much to do. But I think for now the kids need to be laid down. I think Tommy might be drooling on my shoulder." He wasn't; Annette was just teasing a bit to try and lighten the mood of secret things and bad men.

"Oh, his drool blanket is in the truck." Billy grinned.  "But you're right."

There was a room on the second floor for the children, with a crib, but for now, he set them up in the master bedroom, making a mini bed out of the blankets and pillows for Tommy, and Ana slept beside him with a comforter and her stuffed otter for a pillow.

"I bought her that otter at Stuff for Sale when she and Tommy showed up that one weekend." Billy remembered, smiling.

Annette carefully laid Tommy down, wrapping blankets up around him and making sure he was comfortable. Feeling impulsive, she kissed his brow then did the same to Ana, whispering a good night before she stepped out of the master bedroom, commenting softly to Billy, "She must cherish it, Billy."

"Night Miss Annie." Ana murmured sleepily.  Billy placed a baby monitor on the bedside table.

"Call if you need anything." Billy told her, and stroked her hair before getting up to leave.

"Leave the door open." Ana asked suddenly.  "Um, so Tommy doesn't get scared."

"Okay Ana." Billy smiled. "She's barely let go of it since I gave it to her." he answered Annette.  "I've got some stuff in one of the bags in the truck, care for some coffee?"

"Coffee sounds great, Billy. I'll help you with the bags," she said quietly, walking with him back through the house towards the front door. "Can I ask you a personal question?"

"Sure." he said, heading for the truck.  "What's on your mind?" The back of the truck had a few bags of things Billy'd had in storage.  Having foreknowledge of possible future children, he'd stocked up on things like, clothes. He'd stopped for food on the way here, and planned to start a list tomorrow of things they still needed.

"I was just wondering about their mother," she said, helping him grab some bags from the truck. "How come she is not here with you now? And... are you even married? I mean, I know it's really none of my business but I'm here as a friend, you know that, so I can't help but be curious."

Billy chuckled.  "It's a bit more complicated than that.  You see Tommy and Anastasia are clones.  Created with mine, and they're mother's DNA.  Well in Ana's case it's more complicated even.  But that's the gist of it.  They're mother's name is also Anastasia, and is already married.  She'll join us soon, but we had to split up after we got the kids out of the lab."

"You're right, it is complicated sounding, Billy," Annette said, frowning slightly. "Why would you have clones anyway I mean instead of having children the normal way." She might have been blushing just a tad when she asked that.

"Wasn't my idea.  Or their mother's.  My father's insane.  He made Tommy to replace me as an heir to his 'throne'.  One of his rivals was a clone himself, and made Ana, as a wife for when she grew up."

Annette gave him a buhh look. "I just don't get this clone stuff. It's weird, Billy. Not part of the world I live in."

"Hey it's weird here too.  Most of the world wouldn't believe it's happened.  Which is just as well."  He hadn't even told her the best part about Ana or the man who'd commissioned her.  That they weren't even clones of just one person. "But they're my kids.  No question about that."

She looked over at him. "How... how do you know, for sure? I mean... how does this cloning process work exactly?"

"Oh Lord." Billy shook his head despairingly.  "I don't know the science of it.  But, well I know they're my kids because I found out about them, well this time around, because their mother, Anastasia discovered the project and got all the information.”

He started making the coffee.  "But I told her to be on the lookout for it, because of when they showed up in Fandom that time.  Hell I looked for this lighthouse because that's where Ana told me we lived.  And I kind of liked the idea."

He sighed and leaned against the kitchen counter.  "My life has never been simple Annette, so I guess it makes sense that my kids would be weird.  I already know what Tommy is going to look like when he's five, and that's what I looked like when I went weetiny.  Ana has this tone in her voice sometimes, she sounds like her mother, and she looks like her sometimes.  But when we first came for her, when we got her out of the stasis tube she was being held in, she opened her eyes, and I knew.   She was my daughter."

Annette leaned against the counter, watching him with the coffee. He seemed a little distressed maybe, or not so much distressed as wistful in a way. The whole process of cloning was tiring for her brain to wrap around so she just went along with what Billy said without paying attention to the particulars. If he knew they were his kids then they were his kids. She shouldn't question it.

"So what happens now? Or tomorrow rather? And the day after that?"

"Well, financially we'll be fine.  I've got money stocked away, and I'll be getting money just for living here and keeping it in repair.  I might start doing tours for people too, but I'd have to make sure the kids stayed out of sight for that."

That's when his shoulders slumped.  "I honestly have no idea what to do about school, or, anything like that.  I don't know if my father's going to come look for them or not, so I don't know how to keep them safe.  Their mother should be here in a few days.  Hopefully my mother will be able to come too, and maybe between us we can figure something out."

He heard a slight noise from the monitor and he looked at it sharply, but it turned out to be Ana snoring softly.

"How old are they again?" Annette asked. Because she wasn't sure, but she knew that school wasn't a consideration right yet for Tommy, but Ana? She wasn't sure on their ages. "You... Billy, what exactly is it your father wants?"

"Ana's about five years old.  My father, wants to rule the world.  When I went to Fandom I was in witness protection, because I'd helped stop him a few times."

"Billy, Ana might benefit from being put in a private school. They are very strict on their policies and the children that attend. You might want to consider it," Annette ventured carefully. "As far as Tommy goes..." She shrugged. "If his mother can't be a constant part of your life, and their's, then I would consider hiring a nanny."

He nodded thoughtfully.  "That's a good idea."

"Psst, Daddy," Ana's quiet voice piped up from the monitor.  "I have to go bafroom."

Annette smiled. "Go ahead and go take care of her. I'll just pour myself a cup of coffee and... I don't know. Show myself around a bit."

"Thanks.   I'll be back down later."

The next day...

Billy's cell phone began to ring, and he wanted to know how in the hell "Ever the Same" had become his ring tone.

Ana grumbled and burrowed deeper under the covers, and Tommy awoke, deciding to play the "Guess why I'm crying" game.  That made Ana grumpy because they were sharing a bed.

Outside, the sun had risen an hour or so ago, and there was a low mist on the ground as the air warmed.

"Welcome to fatherhood." Billy muttered wiping sleep from his eye.

Annette was sacked out in a guest room, snoring, mouth hanging open and everything. The door was slightly ajar and there weren't any noises yet loud enough to wake her up.

Billy scooped up his son, and quickly deduced why he was crying.  "Oh, oh goody.  Ana how can you try to sleep with this smell next to you?"

"Grmf." Ana grumbled, her head buried under her otter.

"Okay but don't sleep all morning, there's breakfast and exploring and that was your mother on the phone, she should be here by noon."

"Mommy?!" Ana shrieked delightedly, sitting up.  Billy couldn't help but wonder how it was she was connecting with them both so easily.  Had that somehow been part of what she'd been learning in that lab?

Waking up, Annette shrugged into her robe and shuffled into the kitchen still half-asleep. She got the coffee going and sort of stared at the pot while it made it.

"Your mother's bringing more stuff for you guys." Billy was saying as he led his daughter, with her shoes untied into the kitchen.  The clothes she was wearing had been bought in Japan, and reflected that style, and her hair was drawn back in a simple, slightly off center ponytail. She'd refused to let him brush her hair for her.  Tommy was freshly changed as well, and hungry, though he wasn't crying just yet.

"Morning Annette."

"Hi miss Annie." Ana waved.  "Whatcha making?"

"Coffee, sweetie," she said, turning when she heard the troupe wander in. She smiled at the children, surprised almost that Billy knew so much about how to take care of them. She was impressed. "Good morning, Billy," she said and reached over to mess with Tommy's hair. "I would cook for you all but my skills since school haven't changed I'm afraid. I've learned to make coffee but that is as far as it goes."

"Can I have some?" Ana asked, having heard of this coffee before, and was curious.

"I doubt you'd like it." Billy told her.  "But you can try a little bit.  You're too young to drink much of it I'm afraid." He'd had a few months with his kids by now so he'd adapted a bit.  At that point however, Tommy was tired of waiting.  "Oh no," Billy said, only a hint of panic in his voice.  "Hang on Tommy breakfast is coming, keep your diaper on."

Ana dashed out of the room, and soon returned dragging (it was too heavy for her to carry) Tommy's baby bag.  "Here's his things." she huffed.

Still feeling a bit frazzled, Billy turned to Annette.  "Oh, in the next few days, it might get somewhat crowded around here.  And, no less complicated I'm afraid."

Feeling more in control than Billy seemed to be at this point, Annette quickly fixed Ana a half cup of coffee and added more milk to it than was necessary. "There, a little grown up," she winked at the little girl and noticed Tommy was having a bit of a fit.

"Billy, let me take him from you," Annette reached over for him and said, "You get his breakfast fixed and I'll get him changed, okay? Then we can discuss why it is going to get somewhat crowded around here."

Smiling, she talked to Tommy while she walked away with his bag, having taken it from Ana, and it was only a few short minutes later that she returned, Tommy fresh and clean situated on her hip.

"He's hungry, Billy. I hope you have something ready like, right now."

The preparation of Tommy's breakfast was one thing that Billy was rather practiced in already.  "I do in fact." he smiled, holding up a bottle.  "You seem to know what you're doing."

Ana meanwhile had tried the coffee, and was looking at the mug speculatively.  "I don't get it." she finally said.  "I think I pefer apple juice."

She shrugged with a grin. "Not too hard to change a little one." It was hard but Annette wasn't going to complain. She got the diaper on and that is all that mattered. He smelled like powder. Lots of powder. Taking the bottle from Billy, she handed it to Tommy who instantly popped it into his mouth. "That's because coffee is for grown ups," she said to Ana. "And you know what? Apple juice is much better for you anyway."

Billy and Ana both grinned, looking briefly, just like each other.  Except for the age, and gender and eye patch. In short order, Billy had prepared breakfast for the people with teeth.  Ana however, was rather used to Japanese breakfast.  She scrunched down with her eyes level to the plate, and poked experimentally at the scrambled eggs.  She was at least holding the fork the right way.

Billy covered his mouth so she couldn't see him smirk.  "Is something wrong?" he asked.

"Are you sure this is edible?" she asked him mildly.

Annette took a big bite of her eggs while still holding Tommy. "Mmmm, they are very edible, Ana. Your daddy is an excellent cook. And you know what else? If you don't eat them then you will go through most of your day being hungry until lunchtime. He made them for you so  make him happy, okay?" She smiled and then added, "After breakfast, how about a nice bubble bath?"

Ana tried the eggs.  "Oooh, these are good."

"There's ketchup if you want it." Billy offered.

"Ew." her face screwed up.  "Ketchup on eggs?"

"Apparently that's not a genetic taste."  He saw that she was having trouble with the knife, and showed her how to cut her sausage.

"What's a bubble bath?" Ana then asked Annette.

Tommy meanwhile, was loving the stuff in the bottle.  The stuff in the bottle was the bestest evar.

Annette giggled. "I agree with you Ana, ketchup is icky on eggs." She looked down at Tommy who was sucking away then she grinned over at Billy. "A bubble bath is a bath with bubbles in it sweetheart. Lots and lots of bubbles."

"Oh that sounds wonderful!" Annette bounced excitedly.  "Can I have a bubble bath daddy?"

"Of course." Billy grinned.  "I don't know if we have actual Bubble Bath Soap, but we can improvise with soap I bet."

Tommy finished his bottle, and his tummy felt too full.  Like it needed to release some air or something.  He didn't like this feeling (as he was far too young to enjoy the sound of a burp) so he started to fuss slightly.

"I can take care of that if you want to give Ana a bubble bath." Billy suggested.  Ana meanwhile had finished her food, and was trying to stop Tommy from crying by making faces at him.

"Sounds like a plan," Annette said and handed over the fussy Tommy, because really, she had no clue there.

Taking Ana by the hand, she began to lead her away towards the bathroom. "Guess what? I brought bubble bath and you can use mine if you want so you can have lots of bubbles. Sound like fun?" She smiled wide at the little girl and once reaching the bathroom, started the water running in a temperature that would suit Ana perfectly. Then she added the bubbles. "Mmm, lavender! Come on sweetie, hop in!"

Billy took Tommy in hand, and did one of the things he'd gotten experienced at, burping his son.  He'd taken the precaution of putting a dish towel over his shoulder as well, because it was rare that only air came up when the little one let fly. Sure enough, with a *blurp* he made his father proud.  "Drank too fast eh?  That's a habit you'll not soon break my boy."

Meanwhile Ana watched, fascinated as the tub filled with bubbles.  "Is there even water in there?" she giggled, as she took off yesterday's clothes.  She dipped her toe experimentally into the water, then with a happy smile, slid into the tub.

"Oooh," she scooped up a handful of bubbles and blew on them to scatter them.  "Oh this is so neat.  Thank you Miss Anet."

After her bath, Ana was wrapped in a fluffy bathrobe that was way too big for her, and was on the couch attempting to read a Dr. Seuss book to her brother.  He seemed to be listening, and not caring that she made up half of it when she didn't know one of the words.

Billy left the back door cracked, and instructions for Ana to call if she needed help.

"Go bond with Miss Annie." Ana shooed him out.  "But don't splore without me or you'll be sorry."

Annette had showered and dressed after she had seen to Ana, and now she was sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee from a hot mug. She knew Billy wanted to talk to her, so she waited for him to settle his children, her mood content.

Billy joined her at the table.  "Okay so, I told you it might get kinda crazy...er around here soon right?"

Annette smiled. "That you did."

"Okay, let's see how to explain this.  Their mother is on the way.  Both of us have had a few years of expecting this so we've had time to get used to it.  Their mom's...very rarely on the right side of the law.  But I trust her.  Particularly with the kids."

"And... what is she going to think about me being here, Billy? I mean I don't want to upset her especially is rarely on the right side of the law."

"She might have some questions for you but the fact that I trust you, I expect will be enough for her.  The real difficulties might arise when some of my other friends show up.  They're not particularly fond of each other."

"Should I be prepared to lie about anything?" Annette asked him. "And when are these friends supposed to be coming?"

"I think they'll be here tomorrow, with, hopefully, my mom.  And no, don't worry about lying about anything.  I can't think of anything you'd need to lie about anyway.  I just wanted you to know ahead of time."

"Okay," Annette said though she was slightly worried. "Am I going to get asked why I am here?"

Billy pondered that.  "I'd, think the answer would be obvious, but maybe.  They know I have friends who're helping me.  And, if things get too intense, or weird, and you need to bail, I'll understand."

"Oh no, I'm not going to bail. Just mainly I was wondering what I might be faced with, especially if your friends aren't too fond of each other. I'd hate to get in the way."

"I think once everyone knows you're a friend of mine from High School, they'll be fine.  And I've already made everyone promise not to get into any fights while they're here."

Annette laughed. "That's good, Billy, cause I would hate to have to break anyone's nose." What? She could kick butt, totally.

"What did you take combat training after Fandom?" he grinned.  At that moment, the sound of a car engine could be heard outside.  "Ah, and here's-"

"Mommy!" Ana squealed, waking Tommy, who made slight unhappy noises at being disturbed.

Billy scooped up the boy and did his best to calm him, while Ana dashed out the front door, where a nondescript car had stopped next to the pick up.

From the driver's seat, a woman with raven black hair emerged.  She wore wire frame glasses, and clothes that were obviously fresh from a catalog of fashionable outdoorsy stock.

She smiled at Ana, looking only slightly less bewildered than the last time Billy had seen her.

Annette laughed, "Not exactly--" but yeah, the car, the shouting of 'mommy' totally had her closing her mouth and sitting up straighter. She was nervous for some reason. And she was staying put in her chair for right now.

Outside, Ana curtsied.  "Hello Mother." she said, like a proper lady.  Which totally amazed both parents.

"Where did you learn to curtsy?" Billy asked.

"Uhm, I don't know."

"It makes sense." Baroness said.  "Given Serpentor's plans..."

"You think etiquette was part of the subliminal learning?  Huh."

Anastasia was still a little weirded out by this whole thing, but when she picked Ana up, she held her close.  "I'll be wanting some time holding the boy too." she warned him.  "You've had several months with them.  She never did that with you?"

"The formal stuff?  No.  Maybe she just knew I wasn't a formal kind of guy."

"It didn't seem propate." Ana nodded.  She abandoned decorum for a moment and hugged her mother tightly and kissed her cheek.  "Missed you Mommy."

"And I missed you.  Where were you?"

"Japan." Ana answered before Billy could.  "I learned how to use chopsticks."

"We stayed with a friend of mine from Fandom." Billy said.  "And speaking of which, another friend of mine helped me move in.  She's been getting along great with Ana."

"Oh?"  By this time they'd reached the front door, and Billy held the door for the girls.  Anastasia, the Baroness had only a teensy bit of jealousy in her tone.  But that changed to teasing protectiveness when she asked.  "How good a friend is she William?"

Annette heard the last part and her cheeks turned pink. Enough so that when the woman would look at her, she would see the blush plainly. It's the question, totally, but Annette's eyes found Billy's and she wondered what he was going to say to his children's mother.

Billy blushed too, and Anastasia raised one eyebrow.  "Not THAT kind of friend." he insisted.  Baroness didn't seem all that convinced, particularly when she saw Annette.  She was quite pretty, and frankly she looked like she'd be a much better choice than some of the other girls William had been with.

Aloud she merely said.  "Hello there Miss."

"Ah, Anastasia, this is Annette.  Annette, this is Anastasia."

Annette stood up and moved towards her, extending her hand politely. "Pleasure to meet you, Anastasia." She glanced quickly over at Billy before looking back at the woman in front of her.

Anastasia lowered her daughter to the floor, and shook Annette's hand.  "Likewise my Dear." she eyed Annette appraisingly.  "How did you two meet?"

Annette recognized the woman's assessment of her and she wasn't sure what to make of it. Regardless, she smiled and replied, "High school."

As Billy had suspected, most of Anastasia's guardedness dropped with the knowledge that Annette had no affiliation with Cobra, or G.I.Joe. She still carried herself with an aristocratic air though, and when she took Tommy from Billy so she could coo over him, it wasn't so much a request. "Well I'm pleased to see that William has kept in touch with his friends from Fandom." she said.  "Has he explained our circumstances?"

The aristocratic air was something Annette was used to but she didn't have to like it. For some reason it bothered her coming from this woman. "More or less, yes."

The Baroness held Tommy with practiced ease, stroking his tiny head.  In her presence, Ana seemed to have adopted a more reserved manner, though clearly happy to have her mommy close at hand.

"Have you eaten yet?" Billy asked.  "I think there's some food left from breakfast."

"That would be lovely thank you.  And tea if you have it."  She turned back to Annette, smiling as if she were at some formal reception.  "I suppose your days in Fandom prepared you for some of life's...eccentricities?"

"Of course," she said easily, smiling at Tommy then noticing Ana's reserved manner. "One doesn't leave Fandom without experience of the eccentric kind."

"So I've heard." Anastasia chuckled.  Billy soon came with a decidedly non-fancy breakfast, scrambled eggs, sausage, toast, and tea.  Baroness didn't bat an eye. "Did that make any of this," she indicated herself, and her children.  "Easier to accept?  William seemed much more at home with the idea when we rescued them than I felt."

Ana looked briefly unhappy, but her mother quickly reassured her, reaching out to touch her head.  "I was only surprised Darling, pleasantly."

Annette looked from Billy to Anastasia and she felt slightly out of place. It was a weird situation all around.

When she had finished eating, The Baroness made a suggestion.  "Why don't we all go exploring?  Have you gotten a chance to look around yet?" she asked Annette.

"No ma'am, I haven't," she answered politely. "I think I would like that, thank you."

Ana bounced excitedly in her seat, but when her mother smirked at her, she held herself calmly, like a proper lady.  And again, a perplexed look came over the Baroness' face.  "Are you sure you're only five?"

"Uhm...yes?" Ana was confused by the question.  "Why?"

"I'll tell you later." she decided.  "Do you have a jacket?"

"Yes." Billy and Ana answered simultaneously.  "We might not have been able to do a big shopping spree, but we have the essentials."  Billy finished slightly defensively, as if he were speaking to his own mother.

This... just did not seem right to Annette. She didn't like Ana being smirked at and Billy's tone to the woman was a tad defensive. Annette couldn't help but feel like the third wheel.

"I'll just grab a sweater real quick." Thankful to take a moment to herself, she rushed to the guest room she'd  been given and grabbed her sweater, putting it on before she joined the family once more, though she did tend to steer towards Billy instead of Anastasia.

"She seems a little nervous." Anastasia said as she helped Ana on with her shoes, while Annette was gone.

"Well it's a lot to take in.  Even for me."

"Even so," Baroness smiled, as she rose, and took Ana's hand.  "I'm very proud of you William.  Annette is good with the children?"

"Miss Annie's wonderful." Ana insisted, making her mother smirk once more.

"That's good enough for me then.  At some point we should discuss living situations, but that can wait."

When Annette returned, Anastasia smiled at her.  "Ready my Dear?"

With her sweater wrapped around her shoulders, she nodded and smiled at Anastasia. "I'm ready."

The rest of the day was spent discovering the house and it's grounds. There was a decent sized work shed/garage, an exterior door to the cellar, and the the lighthouse itself. Billy cautioned Ana never to go in there unless he said it was okay. The stairs seemed in decent shape but he was told no one had gone in there for a few years so he wanted to make sure.

The house and tower sat on a sturdy cliff overlooking the water, giving a breathtaking view. The surrounding trees were starting to turn color, and though she said little, Anastasia could not think of many better places for her little ones to spend half their time.

She herself spent most of her time paying attention to the children, admonishing her daughter to be careful of edge and also checking to make sure Annette was being safe.

To both Ana, and Billy's amusement, she cautioned Billy as well. There was a trail through the trees that led down to a small, idyllic beach at the bottom of the cliff.

“How on Earth did you find this place?” she asked Billy.

The next day, the others arrived. Scarlett and Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow and Jinx, and Billy's mother, and little sister. His sister (who had just started her freshman year at Fandom) glomped him, and coaxed her new niece out from where she was hiding behind Anastasia.

There were some tense moments, as Billy had predicted. But his stern insistence that everyone get along while they were guests in his home helped smooth things over. And even Anastasia's stern demeanor broke completely when Ana imitated the the stance exactly.

Billy's mother not only fawned over her grandchildren, she recruited the Baroness into an illconcieved scheme to get Billy and Annette together. It didn't work, but it helped the two women bond.

Billy's sister, Scarlett and Jinx plied Annette with stories of Fandom, while the “menfolk” got to work moving stuff in, and inspecting the premises for dangers, and things that needed to be fixed.

All in all, it was quite a whirlwind month, and Ana was heartbroken when everyone had to leave, having to actually be pried away from “Miss Annie”. But with promises to visit, and the upcoming expedition to her other home, where she'd live with Mommy and Mr. Destro and their children, she recovered.

And they filled about five photo albums too.

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