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The Ezra Chronicles

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Author: Athea (athea_holmes@yahoo.com)
Title: The Ezra Chronicles, part one
Fandom: Part of the SG1 series, The Claiming
Rating: G, who knew! But Gibbs and Tony are a couple so if that squicks you, then pass this on by.
Note: These snippets expand on parts of the story you don't see in the main series. Ezra as a child is just too much fun to write. I gave into temptation and started to fill in some of the missing scenes as he settles in with Gibbs and Tony.
Archived: All Ezra, WWOM, my website http://www.e-fic.com/athea/
Beta: Tinneantoo, the Magnificent
Date: 24 April 2007
********* Ezra *********

I really like feeling clean. The waterfall was fun and the water was warm and nice but the bestest thing was having Tony hold me. I felt so safe. Now we're back in the rooms that Home keeps for visitors and he gave me one of his t-shirts to wear. I sniff it and smile; it's soft and smells like him.

"Ezra, do you like grilled cheese sandwiches?" Tony asks me from the doorway where he went to answer the door.

"Yes, Sir," I sit up straight on the soft sofa and jar my ankle. I have to bite my lip 'cause it hurts.

"Don't move, munchkin. We're going to eat here tonight." He smiles and takes a tray from someone in the hall. "Goodnight, Teal'c. We'll see you in the morning."

Then he's bringing it over to the sofa and my tummy growls 'cause I'm so hungry. "It smells good, Tony."

"Yes, it does. We've also got some fruit called a gua'ange that only grows on Home. You can try some and see if you like it." He sets the tray down and hands me a plate with a sandwich cut in fourths and something else. I guess it's the fruit. It's green but looks kind of like an orange.

Tony is already eating a slice of it so I take a bite. It's good, kind of tart and sweet at the same time. I eat the whole piece and he grins at me.

"It's good, Tony."

"Excellent, Ezra, I'm glad you like it. I do, too. Now eat your sandwich while it's hot. I think there may be something good under here." He sits down beside me and points to a silver dome on the tray. "Teal'c said it's delicious so it probably is."

I nod because I'm eating my sandwich. The bread is chewy and the cheese tastes like home. Friday night at the children's home was always grilled cheese night and except for it being really greasy, I always liked it.

I'm really tired though so I can only eat half of it before having to stop. "I'm sorry, Tony. I'm full."

"That's okay, Ezra. It's been a very, very long day for all of us." He puts my plate back on the tray and lifts the dome to see what's underneath. "Oh good, cookies. Do you have room for one or should we wait until morning?"

They look really good. "Maybe I have room for one."

"Here you go. I'll have one, too." His smile is so warm, it makes me smile.

The first bite is sweet and chewy. They must have just come out of the oven. I had one like that once, a long time ago at a not-so-bad foster home. Mrs. Beene was nice but she was really, really old and when she fell, they took me back to the Home. I never had a nice one after her.

My eyes are closing while I'm chewing and I start to lean into Tony without realizing it until his arm slides around me. "Sleepy, Ezra? Do you want to sleep in the second bedroom by yourself or with Jethro and me in the main bedroom?"

I think about it. "It would be a bother wouldn't it if I slept with you?"

He drops a kiss on my hair. "Never a bother, munchkin. I'm afraid if you sleep alone and need to go to the bathroom or get a drink, you'll try to walk or hop and that could really hurt your ankle."

"You really wouldn't mind?" I have to ask.

"Nope, I think it might be best this first night. Since the girls aren't back yet, you can sleep in this t-shirt. It's a little big but it's just us guys tonight." He makes sure I've finished my cookie before lifting me up and moving towards one of the inner walls.

And part of it opens up like the hall door does to show me a kinda strange bathroom. The people that built these rooms sure did like round things. The sink is round, there's something that might be a toilet and there's two round glass booths. I wonder what they do.

"This is the toilet, Ezra. Can you take care of business while I go find an extra toothbrush?" He sets me down gently and makes sure I'm balanced on my good leg before lifting the lid on the short round thing. "When you close the lid again, it flushes. The aliens who designed it did an excellent job. Will you be okay?"

"I'm good, Tony. I'll be careful."

//I'll watch over him//

Tony smiles. "Thanks, Home. I'll be right back."

Tony's black t-shirt comes to my knees so I pull it up to pee then drop it so I can stretch to close the lid. I almost over-balance but a little breeze keeps me upright. "Thank you, Home."

//you're welcome, Ezra//

"Alright, munchkin?" Tony comes back in with a toothbrush and some towels. "I hope you don't mind Pepsodent toothpaste?"

"I 'spect it tastes like kinds I've used before." I giggle when he picks me up and hands me the red brush with a dab of paste on the soft bristles. I make sure to brush real good before Tony dips me so I can spit out. After rinsing twice, I put the toothbrush down in the cup by the faucets.

"Tony, what are the round booths?" I'm sleepy but still curious.

"Ah, they're fun. One is a shower where the water comes from above and from all sides at the same time. The other is a drying tube that's better than toweling off when you're wet. You can try them tomorrow." He wipes my face with a warm wash cloth. "There, munchkin, let's get you into bed. Your eyes are all droopy."

I nod and rest my head on his shoulder. I am kind of tired and my whole leg aches. The big room with the round bed has just a dim light on and the sheets are soft and warm when Tony puts me down on them.

"Ezra, I'm going to put a pillow under your leg so we can keep it raised. That should keep the swelling down." Tony is real gentle when he lifts up my leg and settles it down on a squishy pillow. "Sweet dreams, Ezra."

"Night," my eyes are so heavy I can't keep them open

***

A low rumble wakes me up but I stay quiet like I'm still asleep. I learned how to do that a long time ago.

"You're back. Everything okay?" Tony's voice is whisper soft above me.

"The police are taking care of the crime scene. I called Tom and got us a couple more days off. Is Ezra all right?" Mr. Gibbs voice is kind of low and grumbly but not scary.

"He's been through an awful lot today." Gentle fingers stroke my hair.

"McGee is working on getting us custody. Do you want me to sleep in the guest room?"

"You're going nowhere, Mister." Tony's voice has a smile in it. "He'll feel safer with both of us here. And I don't like sleeping away from you, you know that."

Kissing noises make me feel safe. "I don't sleep well without you either, Tony. How are you feeling? Any residual aches from whatever it was Mother did to you?"

"Haven't had the time to notice but soaking in the waterfall took care of most of the pain. I promise to tell you if anything else pops up. Love you, Jethro."

More kissing sounds then Mr. Gibbs lies down on my other side. "I love you too, Tony. And now we've got a son to raise. How did we get so lucky?"

My hair is stroked some more. "I think maybe love attracts more love, Jethro. It's a scary thought that we might have missed all of this if Jack hadn't called us on our feelings. I'm so glad he did."

"Double glad, Tony, I wouldn't miss this for the world. Ezra is just what we needed, a new life to keep us on our toes and make our family perfect." He's yawning.

"Sleep tight, Jethro. We've got another full day ahead of us tomorrow. It looks like the swelling has gone down enough for Ezra to get his cast. And heaven knows what the girls came up with to dress him." Tony's voice still has a smile in it.

Mr. Gibbs chuckles softly. "I expect he's going to look like a mini-you when they get done. Mother did something really big I need to tell you about later. You look tired, love, go to sleep now."

"Love you, Jethro."

"Love you too, Tony."

They really want me. Not just for show but for always. I think I want that, too. I feel warm and safe so I go back to sleep.

*********
Title: The Ezra Chronicles, part two
Date: May 2, 2007
*********
Dr. Ducky is real gentle when he holds my foot in his big hand. "Very good, Ezra. You've kept off of it and the swelling has gone down sufficiently for me to put your new cast on."

He looks over his glasses at me and smiles. I smile back because even though I don't like casts, I like him and he's just trying to help.

"Now comes the big decision, my lad. Blue, white, black or pink for the color of your cast?" He shows me several boxes with the colors showing on the sides.

I look up at Tony and he grins at me. "Up to you, munchkin. You're the one who'll be wearing it for six weeks. What's your favorite color?"

Wow, nobody ever asked me that before. "Um . . . blue, like the sky."

"Good choice, Ezra. Now I'll need your help and it may hurt for a moment or two." He's talking to me while dunking a roll of bandage in the bowl of warm water that Mr. Gibbs is holding. "First, I'm going to wrap this around your foot, over your ankle and up to your knee. How does that feel?"

"Warm feels good." I tell him and he smiles at me while wrapping around and around and around and around.

"Excellent." He's finished wrapping the white stuff and now he puts the blue roll in the water. "I need you to make an 'L' with your foot and leg so it heals in the right position."

I flinch a little when he moves it to where he needs it. I bite my lip and try to use my own muscles to keep it there but it hurts. Tony's hand comes down and gently holds my toes just right. I relax a little and turn my head to smile up at him.

He's smiling back and it makes my heart feel warmer than the water.

"Very good, just hold it in place while I finish," he wraps the end of the blue strip around and around and around until it's just under my knee. "And there we are. You'll need to stay still for twenty minutes for it to set. How does it feel, Ezra?"

"Okay, Dr. Ducky, thank you for taking care of me."

"You're very welcome, my lad. In two weeks, Tony and Jethro will bring you in and I'll x-ray it to make sure the bone is healing correctly. Be sure and tell one of them if it starts to hurt. It may ache while you're getting used to the cast." He's washing his hands while talking. "Jethro, if his leg swells or he tells you if feels too tight, have him lie down and raise it higher than his heart. There may be some edema because of the immobilization."

Tony must see my frown because he chuckles softly and puts his lips near my ear to whisper. "Edema means holding in water so your skin swells up. Immobilization means keeping your foot in one position so it can't move."

I whisper back. "Thank you, Tony. I like learning new words."

"Me, too." And he hugs me.

Wow, this place really is different. Or maybe it's just the people who are so nice. I hope I can stay with them until the cast comes off. Six weeks is a long time and maybe they'll want to keep me.

***

Oh boy, I have new clothes . . . lots and lots of new clothes. The ladies are back with bags and bags of stuff. I don't know what to say. They must have spent a lot of money and I don't know what to do. Anxiously, I look at Tony but he's grinning at them and doesn't seem mad at all.

"Ladies, you've outdone yourself but as you can see, Ezra has his brand new cast on so I hope some of those pants are wide enough to fit over it."

"No problem, Tony." One of the pretty blonde ladies smiles at him then at me. "I love to sew, Ezra so I'll just open up one the seams for now then sew it shut when the cast comes off. But we also got some sweats and shorts which should fit over it."

"Thanks, Terry, that'll work." Then Tony looks at the bouncy lady. "Abby, what are you grinning about?"

She holds up the silver bag she's holding. "Save this for home, okay? And please-e-e, let me be there when Gibbs opens it."

Tony chuckles and looks down at me. "Aunt Abby likes her clothes a little different than everyone else. But that's okay, isn't it, Ezra?"

I relax and smile at him then over at her. "Thank you, Aunt Abby. I'm sure I'll enjoy what you picked out."

"Ah-h-h," she says and bounces over to kiss my cheek. "I love being Aunt Abby."

Mr. Gibbs comes in just then. "Greetings, Ladies. You've outdone yourselves."

I look at him, a little worried. "It's not too much?"

His fingers rub my arm gently. "I think they bought just the right amount, Ezra. If you like them, we're keeping them." He looks back to the ladies. "Thank you for all your hard work. It saved Tony and me from having to shop and that's always a plus."

They all chuckle and leave the bags for us to look through. Then they go home to their families while Tony suggests I take a nap before trying clothes on. Curling up in the big bed, under the soft blanket, I smile to myself. I like everyone and they all seem to like me, too. I'm finally lucky.

*********
Title: The Ezra Chronicles, part three
Date: May 3, 2007
*********

I wrap my arms around Tony's neck and close my eyes when he tells me to. My ears pop funny and it's suddenly much cooler.

"We're back on Earth, Ezra." His hand rubs my back a little. "It's okay to open your eyes again. We're home."

So I do and my stomach feels a little funny. 'Home', it's something I've always wanted and I hope really hard inside that this time it's true.

"Okay there, Ezra?" Mr. Gibbs sounds kinda worried.

"Yes, Sir. My ears kinda popped." I tell him and he smiles.

"Mine did, too. I've noticed that before. How about you, Tony?" He asks.

"Maybe a little pressure but my nose tickles like I want to sneeze." His smile goes to me and Mr. Jethro. "I'm going to take Ezra upstairs so he can pick out his bedroom. You want to see if we have anything for dinner, love?"

"The freezer should have something. I'll see what looks good. Ezra, is there any food that makes you sick or you just don't like?" He asks me.

Oh-oh, what if I say the wrong thing?

"It's okay, munchkin. You can tell us and we won't be mad. I really, really hate okra." Tony crinkles his nose up and it makes me want to laugh.

"And I'm not fond of fava beans." Mr. Gibbs sighs. "They make me burp."

"Um, peanut butter makes it kinda hard for me to breathe." I admit cautiously. "The nurse at the clinic I went to between foster homes told me I was all-all-something to peanuts."

"Ah, allergic," Tony holds me a little tighter. "No peanuts for sure. Jethro, you might want to check the cooking oil in the fridge. It's vegetable oil but to be safe . . ."

"I'll check. Thanks for telling us, Ezra." He rubs a finger over my arm and smiles at me before heading to the kitchen. Over his shoulder he calls back, "I'll be up to see what we need to do for Ezra's bedroom as soon as I get something thawing."

"Okay, munchkin," Tony carries me upstairs. "Now, we've got two rooms for you to chose from. They share the second bathroom so you'll have one all to yourself. They're the same size but one has two windows while the other only has one."

We go down a long hall and I look around eagerly since I hadn't gone upstairs. There's one door on the left and two on the right. Tony carries me into the first one and I look at the bed, dresser and table with a lamp.

"Kind of plain, isn't it?" Tony smiles at me while crossing the room to open a closet door. It has grown-up clothes hanging in it. "I had to store some of mine in here since the master suite closet wasn't quite big enough for all our clothes. But if you want this room, we'll just move them. Now, here's the bathroom. You have a door into it and the other room does, too."

It's nice and clean with a tub and a shower inside of it. There's two sinks which is kinda cool. And the toilet and everything is white, including the cabinets holding the sinks. But we're not stopping, just walking through the other door and into another bedroom. It's got boxes and stuff but no bed or dresser. But my eyes go to the windows. The one on the left looks over the trees I ran through to escape here. But the one straight ahead looks over the backyard.

Tony seems to read my mind and carries me over to that window. "I like this one best. Our yard goes way back as far as you can see. There's plenty of room for a sandbox and a swing set maybe off the deck."

I look up at him in amazement. "For me?"

"Yes, Ezra, just for you." His lips brush my forehead and I have to hug him tight because I can't talk over the lump in my throat. "I think this is the room for you, munchkin. We need to clear it out, paint the walls and get you some furniture."

I swallow hard and let go a little. "I could use the bed from the other room. Furniture is eggs-pensive and I don't want to be a bother."

"Ezra, I promise we'll keep to our budget but we really want to make this room special for you. The other room is our guest room where Jack and Teal'c sleep when they visit from Home. And now we need a crib for Sebal'c, too." He's smiling. "I like shopping but we're going to have to coax Jethro into going with us."

"Oh, I think I'd better come along to keep an eye on you, Tony." Mr. Gibb's voice comes from behind us and I smile back at him.

"This is the room for Ezra." Tony turns around. "We need to clean out my boxes. Is there attic access on this floor?"

"Yeah, the ladder comes out of the hall ceiling. Come here and I'll show you." He beckons us out and there's what looks like a light switch on the wall but when he flips it up, there's a funny noise and part of the ceiling opens up. A ladder unfolds down until the bottom rests on the carpet.

"Wow!" I say softly and Tony echoes me.

"Only you would install an electric ladder, Jethro." Tony is chuckling and Mr. Gibbs pretends to frown at him. "Is there room up there for my boxes?"

"There's plenty. And if memory serves me right, it's mostly clothes and keepsakes in Ezra's bedroom."

"Yeah, pretty light stuff," Tony agrees. "How about Ezra sits down with his foot propped while I hand boxes up to you?"

"Good idea. I defrosted some stew from the freezer and it's reheating slowly on top of the stove. We've got just enough time to finish off this job." Mr. Gibbs winks at me.

I could sit on the floor but Mr. Gibbs pulls out a footstool from my new room so I can prop my foot up while Tony brings out a folding chair from the closet for me to sit on. It doesn't take any time at all for them to move the boxes and they finish up just as a ding goes off in the kitchen. It's time for supper.

And I'm going have my own room . . . my first room all to myself. Wow.

*********
Title: The Ezra Chronicles, part four
Date: May 4, 2007
*********

"Where is Mr. Gibbs, Tony?" I ask him from the table where I'm coloring. He's peeling potatoes for dinner at the sink.

"He's in the basement working on his boat." Tony smiles at me over his shoulder.

"A boat?" I wonder out loud. "You mean like a boat for the bathtub?"

He chuckles and finishes covering the potatoes with water. "It's a little bigger than a bathtub, Ezra. Let me get these cooking and I'll take you downstairs. The steps are kind of steep. I don't want you to trip or fall."

"Okay." I put my crayons back in the box. I don't like messes and neither does Tony or Mr. Gibbs. I smile at all the colors. It's the big box of 64. I didn't know there were that many crayons. And it has it's own sharpener, right in the box.

After Tony wipes his hands on the kitchen towel, he comes over and picks me up. "I'll carry you for now. I'm thinking your new crutches and the stairs are not a good combination."

I wrap my arms around his neck and he rests his cheek on my head for just a moment. That feels so good I have to hug him hard. He hugs back. I really, really like being touched in a not-hurting way.

"Okay, munchkin, here we go." He opens the basement door and starts down the stairs. "Jethro, you've got company."

I'm watching eagerly but all I can think is, "Wow!"

It's a really, really big boat. It's long and broad and part of it isn't there yet.

"Hey, guys, how's supper coming?" Mr. Gibbs has something in his hand that looks like a block. He's running it up and down the curvy part of the light wood.

"It's started. I'm thinking 30 minutes or a little more. I'm going to leave Ezra here with you to answer all his questions while I work on the salad." He sets me down on a chair near Mr. Gibbs. "I'll call down when supper is done."

Ruffling my hair, he leans over and kisses Mr. Gibbs before heading back upstairs. Mr. Gibbs is looking after him with a soft look on his face which he switches to me. "What do you think of her, Ezra?"

"Her? Why is it a she?" I ask.

"Well, it's a tradition that goes back thousands of years. Most vehicles like our boats, cars and airplanes are considered feminine. We'll have to ask Tony if he knows why. You know he calls his car, Baby?" He winks at me and I giggle.

"Does your boat have a name yet, Mr. Gibbs?"

"Not yet, it's considered bad luck to name one before launching." He sets the block thing aside and crouches by my chair. He takes his time and shows me all the parts of her and what still has to be done.

He answers all my questions and even lets me feel the side he's working on. It's smooth and silky to the touch, and he shows me the block he is using to sand the wood. He even lets me sand a little and promises I can help more when my cast is off.

When Tony calls down that dinner is ready, I can't believe it's been a half an hour. I really like learning new things, and being able to help will be really nice, too.

***

Tony lifts me into the cart at the big hardware store. Mr. Gibbs has our list, and it's a long one. First we go to the paint aisle and boy, are there a lot of colors!

"They look like rainbows, Tony," I tell him and he chuckles.

"Yes, they do, Ezra. Now, you said blue is your favorite color. Does that mean you'd like one of these blues on your walls?" He pulls some strips with different shades on them.

"Here are some with different textures." Mr. Gibbs comes from the other side of the aisle.

"I like that one." I point to a darker one, feeling brave enough to say out loud what I like. "It's kind of like the sky just after the sun goes down."

"Twilight, that's a good image. The darker color will make the room look a little smaller, Ezra. Will you mind that?"
"The room is pretty big, Tony. I think it will be more cozy if the walls aren't so far away."

"Then, Twilight it is. This lighter shade at the top would look nice on the ceiling, too." He smiles at me while Mr. Gibbs groans.

"Not the ceiling, too?" He looks so funny when he pouts.

"Afraid of a little overhead painting, Jethro?" Tony teases him.

Should I laugh or would it be making fun of Mr. Gibbs? But he winks at me so I know it's okay to smile.

"The tallest person gets to paint it then," he says while cuffing the back of Tony's head.

"Hey," Tony says before getting a thinking look on his face. "You know, we should paint the spare room, too. It's just a white box right now. If we're breaking out the brushes and rollers, we might as well do two rooms or maybe even more. I've been thinking about Ezra's bathroom, also."

"And what were you thinking about the bathroom?" Mr. Gibbs asks him.

"It doesn't have any windows so something like sunshine yellow would be cheerful with blue accents to go with Ezra's room." Tony is pulling out some more strips from the wall and one of them is golden like the beach on Home. "Then this one for the guest room. It will remind Teal'c and Jack of the warmth of their world."

He hands me the blue strip for my room and a bright yellow one for the bathroom while he and Mr. Gibbs go back and forth between a couple more. This time, they like the textured one best.

"What do you think, Ezra? Will this be a welcoming color?" Tony asks me.

I nod. "It's like one of Home's hugs."

Mr. Gibbs chuckles and ruffles my hair gently. "I couldn't have said it better myself. Let's get the paint now then move on to the next item on our list."

It's fun watching the lady mix the paint. We take her some plain white and she uses a computer to mix all kinds of different colors so it comes out like the paper strips.

"Here you go, Ezra." Tony gives me a pen and the colored paper strip. "Put a star on the ones we're getting. That way, if we need more, we'll know which ones are right."

I make the star small so we can still see the color. Mr. Gibbs slips his notebook under the strip so the paper doesn't flop around and the pen doesn't poke through when I press down.

"Good job, Ezra." Mr. Gibbs smiles at me and tucks the strip into the little flap in the front of his notebook.

Next we go down an aisle with lots of closet stuff. Mr. Gibbs explains that he's going to make sure I can reach my clothes with some low rails and shelves. Then Tony asks if they could put some poles up in the attic so our seasonal clothes will be out of the way. Mr. Gibbs nods and pulls out a pad of paper with some measurements on it.

"Do you measure everything, Jethro?" Tony shakes his head but he's smiling so I know he's just teasing.

"Yeah, I do, Tony." And he raises an eyebrow that for some reason makes Tony blush red. But they're smiling at each other so I think it must be a private joke.

Pretty soon the cart is full of cans and boxes and Mr. Gibbs even has a flat bed cart for the long parts. It's better than Christmas because some of them are for me.

"Tony, everything is so big. How will I be able to help?" I look at the cart behind me.

"Look here, munchkin." He pulls out several rollers and hands me a little one. "I think this one is just Ezra-sized. We certainly can't paint without you."

And I smile and smile. I'm not useless after all.

*********
Title: The Ezra Chronicles, part five
Date: May 5, 2007
*********

It looks really beautiful. The dark blue on the walls makes the room feel cozy and the ceiling looks just like the sky because Tony painted it a light blue then used some white paint and some rags and made clouds. Once we pick out a bed for me, I can lay there and pretend I'm sleeping outside. That's so cool.

But that was yesterday. Today we're going furniture shopping and they say I can pick out anything I like. Really . . . that's what they said. We get a cart again so I get to ride. If I walk too much, my leg swells up and the cast kind of hurts. Sometimes, Tony just carries me when it's a quick trip.

I like it when he does that. I feel safe and warm and protected.

"Okay, here we go. This afternoon we need a dresser, bed, desk and desk chair." Mr. Gibbs has another list in his hand. He likes lists a lot. "Oh, we need a crib for Sebal'c and maybe a rocker?"

"Definitely a rocker," Tony's eyes aren't really looking at me or Mr. Gibbs. "I remember . . ." His voice dies away and I wonder if he's thinking about something good or bad.

Mr. Gibbs pats his shoulder. "Every home needs a rocker. After all, when Ezra gets a little brother or sister, we'll want to be comfortable while we spend time feeding and burping."

Tony looks at him and smiles so big. "Thank you, Jethro." It looks like he's swallowing hard. Then he's looking at me again. "But even before that we need one to sit in when we read to Ezra every night."

I nod hard. "Yeah, like my new book by Dr. Seuss or the fairy tale one with the neat pictures Aunt Kate gave me."

Mr. Gibbs ruffles my hair again. "Then we better get started, munchkin. We have to sit and lie down and open drawers all over this store."

I think that's pretty cool. Most of the kids' furniture is in the back of the store next to a lot of mattresses. Mr. Gibbs talks to one of the salesmen then waves him away so we can look on our own. We find the beds first and I really like the wooden bunk beds. But I don't need two beds so I look at the singles. There are lots of them but some of them are real strange colors.

"Most of this is just particle board dressed up with veneer or low grade steel." Mr. Gibbs sounds disappointed. "And the colors are cheesy."

"The bunk beds are solid pine with a natural stain." Tony points to the tag and I bite my lip. "I like the idea of having two beds. That way, Ezra can have a friend sleep over. The matching dresser is over there."

Wow, I've never had much of a chance to make friends. Maybe now I can.

"It wouldn't be too much?" I whisper to him and he drops a kiss onto my hair.

"If you like them, they would be just right. And once the cast is off, you can even sleep in the top bunk sometimes." Tony winks at me and I smile back.

"I do like them, Tony." I look around for Mr. Gibbs and he's by the dresser, opening and shutting the drawers. "I'll never have enough clothes to fill it up."

Tony chuckles out loud. "Not to worry, munchkin. Aunt Abby and Aunt Kate will make sure you have plenty of clothes to put away. If you really like this set, then we're good to go."

Mr. Gibbs comes back. "I like it. Good construction and it will save me from building it myself."

My eyes get really big and I have to ask him. "You mean like your boat?"

"Exactly, I want you to have something solid to grow up with." He smiles at me and I smile back.

Grown-up, that's a really long ways away. "I really like them, Mr. Gibbs."

"Good, I'll get them ordered while you guys look at cribs and rocking chairs." He headed to the sales desk with his list out, already ticking off items.

He really likes lists, I think while Tony wheels me to the baby section. Everything there is white or colored except for one that was kind of hidden in the corner. It looks forlorn as if nobody could possibly want it. But Tony goes right over and runs his hands over the spindles.

"Maple." He shakes it a little and it doesn't hardly move at all, "solid construction. Jethro will like it. What do you think, Ezra? Would Jack and Teal'c think it's good enough for Sebal'c?"

"I like it and so will Mr. Gibbs. It has nice high sides so baby Seb will be safe. That means Uncle Jack and Uncle Teal'c will like it, too." I tell him truthfully. I like being able to do that without fear of saying the wrong thing.

"I think you're right, Ezra." He turns the tag over and smiles. "And it's on sale so that's even better. Let's go look for a maple rocker to go with it."

"Okay." I wave at Mr. Gibbs who's coming towards us. "We found one."

He looks it over and nods. "You guys are good. They're selling us the floor models of the bunk beds and dresser so we can get everything delivered tomorrow."

"Excellent. Ezra will get to sleep in his own bed instead of the guest room then." Tony wheels me around Mr. Gibbs. "Now, we need a maple rocker and good mattresses for the bunks. Ezra, you get to lie down for a bit. Your leg could probably use some up-time."

"It doesn't hurt, Tony." I tell him. "The cast feels a little tight though."

"Swelling, I'll bet. Testing mattresses will be just the ticket." Mr. Gibbs pats my back and his warm hand feels good.

So back we go to the mattresses and Tony lifts me out of the cart and onto the first one. It's hard work because they all feel so different. Some are called pillow tops and they're soft while others say firm. One of the firm ones feel especially good to me and Tony lies down on it, too.

"What do you think, Ezra? It feels good to me." He asks me and I nod.

"I like it. It smooches into my back just right," I tell him.

"Exactly, munchkin, I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm thinking we need to get Jethro's approval then we can order two twins for the bunk beds." He smiles and sits up to look around for Mr. Gibbs.

"Is that the one?" He's just now walking towards us with a big smile on his face. "Firm rather than soft, Tony?"

"You know me, Jethro, I like things firm if not . . . hard." Tony winks at him and Mr. Gibbs gets a little red. "You see what you think."

He gets up and Mr. Gibbs lies down in his place. He gets a kind of blissful look on his face. "Oh yeah, this feels great. Maybe we need to replace our mattress, too?"

"You read my mind. We can swap out the master mattress for the older one in the guest room. If they've got a queen size in stock with two twins, they can deliver everything at once and take the old mattress and springs away with them."

"Good plan. What do you think, Ezra? Does this fit your back okay?" He turns his head and I nod enthusiastically. "Why don't we wrap this up? I've got another place in mind where we can look for a rocker."

"Cool," Tony grins and grabs Mr. Gibbs' hand to help him off the bed. I scootch over and he picks me up. "Jethro, if you'll wheel the cart back to the sales desk, I'll take Ezra up to the front. We can sit down and wait for you to finish our order. Then I think we should call it a day. I'm tired and hungry. We've got steaks thawing in the fridge and I'm thinking barbeque tonight."

And that's what we do. It's been a long afternoon and I fall asleep on Tony's lap while we wait. I only wake up when he's settling me into my booster seat in the back seat. But I fall right back to sleep until we get home. I really like having a home.

*********
end part 5