Thanks to Marianne for creating the universe and letting Jen and I play in it. For more Second Generation stories visit Jen's page.

Thanks as always to the Beta Monster, TAE. For without her there would be a severe shortage of commas.

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the following characters. I just try to keep the Muse from running ramped and buying lots of jackets with long sleeves.

By Lila and Jen R

"Simon Ellison, I've told you it's time to stop finger painting. It's story time." Ms O'Brian tried once again to get her newest student to stop playing with the finger paints.

As much work as it had been to even get him to put even one finger into the paint, it was now twice as hard to get him to stop. He just kept swirling the paint around. His entire page was covered with the brownish color that resulted from mixing all the colors together.

"Simon, did you hear me?"

Simon looked up at his teacher and giggled.

Ms. O'Brian could only smile back. It was rare to see a child as happy and well adjusted as this one.

She reached out to take the paints and paper away, but he just grabbed her hands and rubbed them on the paper. It was almost as if he was trying to show her something amazing. "Simon, we really have to stop. It's story time. You don't want to keep everyone waiting, do you?" she asked as she covertly began wiping the paint off his hands.

The little boy looked over at the rest of the children, all gathered around Ms. Rachel.

They all looked at him expectantly.

He looked back down at the paper and paint, then back at the class.

Finally coming to a decision, he let Ms. O'Brian finish cleaning the paint off his hands and peel off the smock.

Freed of the messy clothing, he rushed over to the carpet and joined the other kids.

Ms. Rachel took the opportunity to grab the children's attention and began the story.

Simon listened as his teacher read about a growling bear looking for a friend. He quickly recognized the story as one that his parent's had read to him before.

He liked the way Daddy read it, better. He made it a story about a little Blair who was looking for a friend. He had to keep telling Daddy that Uncle Blair didn't go "grrrr", but he just got tickled each time he tried to make Daddy read it right.

Deciding that the way Ms. Racheal read the story wasn't as much fun as when Daddy read the story, Simon began looking around the room. His attention was soon drawn to the glass box on the other side of the room.

The glass box was filled with water and swimming in the water were several brightly colored fish. He watched as the fish swam back and forth. When they moved their tails, there was a rainbow of colors. He smiled as one of the little green shiny ones chased a golden one around the little castle. He could easily pick out each fish as it swam around, picking up a rock, or chasing each other and quietly watched the fish from the carpet until the story was done.

Ms. Rachel and Ms. O'Brian quickly separated the children into two groups. One group got to play with the toys while the other group worked on shapes and colors.

Simon was happy to find out he got to work with Ms. O'Brian on shapes and colors. "Do I get to finger paint some more?" he asked excitedly.

Ms. O'Brian couldn't refrain from chuckling. "No, Simon, finger painting is done. We're going to use crayons this time. We're going to make a little book for you to show your mommy and daddy."

Simon made quick work of the papers put in front of him. The teacher was challenged to keep him busy while she worked with the other children. A few times, when she was slow with giving him a new page to color, she turned around to find him looking in the cabinet with the finger painting supplies.

It was a relief when the two groups switched and Simon could be kept occupied with the various toys in the play area.

The relief was short lived. The newest student quickly found the musical toys and the hammering toys and any other toys that made noise. He even found ways to make a symphony of noises with the toys that weren't designed to make noise.

Ms. O'Brian would have tried to get him to stop if he wasn't so good at keeping himself occupied. It was hard enough keeping the various boys and girls from fighting or playing rough. He even had a sense of rhythm that suggested a promising future as a musician.

After both groups had done their work with shapes and colors, the teachers began the difficult task of getting the children down for naps.

As always, it was a cross between sternly commanding and patiently explaining. The hardest to get to sleep was, of course, Simon Ellison.

He didn't understand why he couldn't finger paint while the others slept.

The stern looks didn't work.

The commanding voice was ineffective.

Bribery was out of the question. The only thing that might work was finger painting, and they were afraid that once he started, it would be even harder to get him to stop.

Finally, after begging, Simon Ellison agreed to lay down on his mat.

He even tried to sleep.

Ms. O'Brian watched as he tried to get comfortable and closed his eyes, but couldn't sleep.

He'd roll over to a new position, but couldn't sleep.

Thankfully he stayed quietly on his mat and watched the fish in the aquarium.

After naptime was a trip to the library and another story.

The librarian was halfway through the story when Ms. Rachel noticed that Simon wasn't with the group. They left the class with the librarian while they went in search of the wayward boy.

The search didn't last long. He was quickly found in the classroom asleep on his mat. Knowing that he didn't sleep during naptime, they left him to his dreams.

Ms Rachel went back to the library and Ms. O'Brian took advantage of the quiet time to write some notes to the parents.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with free play time for all the boys and girls.

Simon once again entertained the class with a cacophony of noise. He'd play with one set of sounds for a while then he'd experiment and find a new set.

It wasn't long before the other teachers from neighboring classrooms were commenting on the noise and asking for it to stop. Wanting to avoid a tiring argument at the end of the day, Ms. O'Brian said he could finger paint if he'd be quiet. It was an easy deal.

He was still finger painting several hours later when the parents began arriving to take their children home.

The young boy was so focused on playing with the paint he didn't notice his father coming into the room.

Jim took a few minutes to wave hello to the teachers and sign the sign out sheet before tuning to watch Simon, smiling at the sight.

Simon, realizing he was being watched, looked up at Jim and grinned. "Daddy!" he called, not taking his hands out of the paint. He grinned happily.

"Hey, Simon. What have you got?" Jim asked as he moved to sit down next to his son.

"Finger paint, see!" He held up his paint covered hands for Jim to see.

Jim grinned at his son's excitement. "Cool."

"Wanna paint with me?"

"Mommy's waiting for us Simon. It's almost dinner time," Jim replied gently. He really wasn't keen on sticking his hands into the paint.

"Please Daddy? Just for a little bit?" Simon looked up at his father, wide eyed.

Jim could never resist that look, not that he ever tried very hard. "Okay just for a little while, though."

"Yay!" Simon exclaimed. He pushed the paper closer to Jim and then slid the paint closer, too. "Here, do it like this." He proceeded to squish the paint in his hands a few seconds before moving to spread the paint around on the paper.

Jim watched Simon as he happily played with the paint. He hesitantly reached out with one finger to touch the paint.

"No, Daddy, like this!" Simon pushed Jim's hand down into the paint, making sure it was completely covered.

Jim grimaced at first, then he realized he actually liked how the paint felt. He squished it a bit in his hand like Simon had, before spreading the paint around the paper. "Like this?"


The two Sentinels sat at the table, finger painting. Forgetting about everything else around them. They didn't notice that all the other kids were leaving or that the two teachers were watching them with amused expressions.

Blair peeked his head into the room and quickly saw what was happening. Grinning he turned to the two teachers. "Think I'll have to drag those two out of here kicking and screaming?" he asked conversationally.

"Oh, yes. We spent all day fighting with Simon about it. All he wanted to do was finger paint all day." Ms. Rachel said, smiling.

"He just loves the feel of the paper and paint. I've never seen anything like it," Ms O'Brian said with amusement.

Blair chuckled. " You should see him with Play Doh. I better get those two out of here before Megan and Aislynn start to wonder where we are,"

"Good luck," he heard Ms. Rachel say as he walked over to the table.

He smiled down at the two Sentinels, who were still totally focused on what they were doing.

"You two ready to go home?" he asked.

The two didn't notice.

Rolling his eyes, Blair reached out to tap Jim's arm.

Jim's head shot up and he blinked. "What?" he asked, confused. He slowly remembered where he was and what he was supposed to be doing.

Blair grinned. "Having fun?"

"Um . . . I was just . . . " Jim simmered.

"Hi, Uncle Blair!"

Blair struggled not to laugh at his friend and looked at Simon. "Hey, kiddo. Ready to go home?"

Simon shook his head. "Daddy and I are finger painting!"

"I see that. But it's time to go home. Your mommy and Aunt Aislynn are making dinner."

Jim, having recovered, turned to his son. "He's right, Simon, we really need to be going."

Blair suspected that Jim wasn't any happier about leaving than his son.

"Aww," Simon complained.

Blair forced himself not to laugh once again. "Come on, guys; get cleaned up and let's go."

Simon pouted a bit. "Okay, Uncle Blair." he mumbled.

"Time to go, Simon," Jim said, standing.

Simon reluctantly followed Jim to the sink where they washed their hands.

Finally, the trio was on their way out the door.

After strapping Simon into his seat, Jim got into the car. "We need to stop at the store," he said as he started the car.

"Why?" Blair asked.

Jim grinned over at his friend as his son yelled from the back seat, "Finger Paints!!!"

The End

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