eep!
Dinah Lance blondecanary
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Rooms 211 and 312, a little later Saturday morning
Lena had followed all the other kids who'd headed toward the castle, and found out it was a dorm for a school. Which didn't get her back home or explain what was happening, but seemed kind of safe, anyway. She went over to read the bulletin board, 'cause those told you what was happening and where you were, and look! Daddy's name! And Mom's!

Daddy's room was on the second floor, so that's where Lena went first, and knocked on his door.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK!



Priestly was just putting the finishing touches on his mohawk of the day -- it still took him slightly longer than usual with his healing wrist -- so his eyes were fixed on the mirror when he leaned over to open the door.

"Yeah, 'sup?"

"Daddy!" Lena threw herself at him, arms open and giggling with relief. "There was a purple spinny thing, then I was at the park, then I was here! Hi hi!"

Priestly froze. There was a small person throwing herself at him. And calling him "Daddy."

"Uh. Wow. Hi?"

"Hi!" Lena beamed up at him, then paused. "Your hair's a different color than it was this morning, Daddy. I liked the orange and green."

Priestly gaped more. His brain might be melting. "Oh. Yeah, that's a good combo, too."

Who was this girl? And why was she calling him "Daddy"?!

"It is, but this is nice," Lena reassured him real fast. Daddy was sensitive about his hair sometimes. She peered up at him, thinking he looked a little funny. "Daddy, where are we? And why are you and Mommy in different rooms here?"


"Um." Really, he was impressed with himself for getting that much out at a time. "Arrrre you sure you've got the right guy?

"Daddeeeeee." Now he was just being silly. "You're Daddy and I'm Lena and I'm seven and you're umpty-not-telling and you work at the sub shop in Santa Cruz with Trucker who is awesome, and yes I'm suuuuure." She rolled her eyes at him, and shook her head. "You're not fooling me!"

"Lena?" He was pretty sure he'd know if he'd had a kid. Really pretty sure. It took longer than this for it to happen and she was seven, apparently, and "Okay, humor me, what does Mommy do while your dad is working for Trucker?"

"She works as a private eye when she's not doing," Lena's voice descended to a whisper, "You know. Superhero stuff." Maybe Daddy was testing that she wasn't a supervillain? "I'm me, Daddy, really! Lena Priestly! Nobody else!"

Lena Priestly.

Whose mom was a superhero.

"Um."

He needed more information.

"And what's your mom's name?"

Genius!

Big sigh. "Dinah Priestly! And it used to be Dinah Lance and it says that on the big board downstairs where I got your room number. She's in 312. Why isn't she in here with you?" Lena's lip started to wibble a little. "What's going on?"

Oh crap, she was going to cry. Priestly quickly dropped down into a crouch in front of her. "Hey, hey, none of that. You know about Di -- your mom's job, so you know things can get kinda spooky sometimes, right?"

Please, please, please let this be an easy answer.

"Uh-hunh," Lena nodded, taking a deep breath and trying to be a Big Girl. Nothing to be scared of. Daddy was right here. And Mommy was here... somewhere.

Priestly nodded, trying to work everything out in his head even as he reassured . . . the girl who was apparently his daughter. "Okay. So. I think something like that must've happened. Because, uh. I'm seventeen. And your mom and I are just really, really good friends and we're in high school and so you're . . . from some future world or something?"

Man, that sounded better in his head.

"Oooooooooooo." Lena bounced up and down, incipient meltdown forgotten. "Like in Return to the Past! You're in high school! But I don't have a Delorean, Daddy, where're we gonna get one?" She opened her eyes wider. "We should find mommy! She'll know!" Also, Mommy and Daddy just went together, in Lena's head. Having them apart was Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

Dinah was going to have a fit. Priestly wasn't entirely sure whether or not he was going to have one, too, yet. "Okay. But first . . . we gotta make absolutely sure you've got the right daddy, okay? I mean, it sounds like you do, but just in case. What's something you know that only me or your mom would know?"

"Daddy." Lena gave him a Look, then giggled, and leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "I know your secret name. For reals. Really!"

Well. He supposed his daughter would have to find it out eventually, right?

"Okay," Priestly whispered back. "And what's the secret name?"

"Boaz!" Lena whispered, then collapsed into giggles on him. "Told you!"

Priestly closed his eyes.

Yep, this was his daughter.

"Alright, I believe you. Let's go find your mom."

"Yaaaaay!" Lena slid her fingers in his, and tugged on his hand, grinning at him. "C'mon, Daddy!"

God she was cute. And had her mother written all over her.

This was weird.

"I'm coming, I'm coming."

Lena grinned up at Daddy, who now that she knew what was going on, did look younger than he had this morning. "Your beard got bigger too," she told him as they went down the hall to 312. "And I think maybe you got another tattoo?"

She knocked on the door, then waited.

Dinah had just left Gawain at the door to Arthur's room for a minute, going back for her camera to capture the moment, and she grinned when she saw Priestly and a little blonde girl at her door. "So. Somebody found you too?"

Priestly was rubbing at his goatee and trying not to think about where he might want to get another tattoo -- really, he had to start spacing those out more -- when Dinah answered her door.

". . . Too?"

Right. Because when something went weird in his life here, it usually went weird in everyone else's, too.

"A little boy found me. Gawain. Claims I'm his Mom." Dinah stuck her hands in her pockets, and grinned. "You'll never guess who the dad is." She smiled at the little blonde girl, who looked kind of confused. "And who's your mom, hon?"

Priestly looked down and to the side before squeezing Lena's hand. He looked at Dinah meaningfully and cleared his throat.

C'mon, now, Lena looked, like, just like Dinah. Surely she could see it.

"Mommy," Lena said extra-special-patiently. "You're way smart, you can guess this one!"

Dinah's jaw dropped, and she stared from the little--very blonde, she had to admit-- girl, to Priestly. "Seriously?!"


Priestly raised an eyebrow. "She knows you're a superhero. Apparently named Dinah Priestly."

Dinah continued to stare, then blinked at the little girl. "Um. Uh. Hoo boy. Hi?" She waved helplessly. "I don't even know your name...."

Lena shook her head at both her parents. "Helena Zoharet Priestly. Lena. I'm seven and Daddy explained about the time travel." She frowned. "You have another kid?" She looked up at Daddy. "Hunh? I don't have any brothers or sisters!"

Zoharet.

Awesome.

Priestly blinked when she mentioned brothers or sisters. "Uh. Well. . . ." He gave Dinah a hopeless look. "Like I said, your mom and I are just good friends, here. . . ."

"And I'm not dating the guy who's the daddy of the boy I found in the park," Dinah said, turning red. "Um. We're kind of friends? Mostly he teaches me fencing." Yeah, Priestly would be able to guess who that was. "So I think it's, um." She flailed a moment, looking at Priestly for help. "Magic maybes? Could-be-kids?"

Which would mean she and Priestly would have... okay then! Not goin' there, especially if he got busy with Claudia last night, like he'd been planning. Because that way lay only more blushing and possibly incoherency.

"It, uh." Priestly thought furiously. "It sure as he -- heck doesn't mean that the other me and Dinah don't love each other and you very much."

He felt kinda like a tool. But what else was he supposed to say to his suddenly appearing daughter from the future?

"Hunh." Lena's brow furrowed, then she shrugged, smiling. "'Kay. But how do I get home? And where do I stay?" She looked from Mommy to Daddy, confused. They should be in the same room, but they weren't, so... where did that put her?

"I think, from stuff Mr. Rogers said-- Remember that, Priestly? During class?-- that you'll go home in a couple days," Dinah said rapidly, reaching out to smooth Lena's hair back automatically. "You can stay with me, or, um. Your dad. Either way is okay. Swear." She blinked at Priestly, then muttered, "At least she's not a sack of flour?"

"Definitely not a sack of flour." Priestly shrugged a little helplessly. "You can stay with me. That way you don't have to worry about your half-brother from another dimension."

"He's a little... yeah, that's probably a good idea," Dinah had to agree. "You can meet him later, maybe. But this way you won't have to share." Unless more kids showed up. Eeep. Dinah looked at Priestly, and tried to smile. "But I want to hear all about stuff where you're from at dinner, okay? That sound good to you?"

"Yaaaay!" Lena bounced and squeezed Priestly's hand. "Cool. Daddy? Can we go get a pop now? And see everything here?"

Priestly couldn't help but grin at her enthusiasm. "That sounds like a great plan."



[preplayed with the lovely lovemykilt.]

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