five_steps_back: (Second Genesis: Jax)
Nikki ([personal profile] five_steps_back) wrote in [community profile] rainbowfic2012-03-13 10:50 pm

Earth, Tyrian Purple, Chalk White, and Carnation Pink with Eraser, Interactive Art, and Others

Name: Kat and Nikki
Colors: Earth 10. charity for Kat; and Tyrian Purple 5. winged messenger, Chalk White 10. "For the children, they mark, and the children, they know/The place where the sidewalk ends.", Carnation Pink 5. Animals can talk. No, really. [She won't stop believing in magic.] for Nikki
Styles and Supplies: Eraser (Joy and Chloe AU), Interactive Art, Collage, Mosaic, Pastels (Nikki's gen card; G3: hope; Kat's first gen+romance card; I5: pets), Paint by-Numbers (Kelly's), Seed Beads (Joy and Maya for Kat), Chalk (Friend in Need)
Rating: G
Word Count: 3,964
Story: Second Genesis and In the Heart; the title of this piece is 'New Beginnings.'
Summary:Jax and Noah take in a house guest.
Notes and Warnings: None! Enjoy. <3

Jax glanced at the clock on the wall, and wondered again if he should start making an early supper. Usually at this time of day, he would have been with Noah, helping him get the day's work done, but they had company coming today and he had to make sure the house was clean and one of the guest rooms was ready. The farm was still small enough that Noah could handle the work by himself for a day, and they could catch up on what didn't get done. Noah would make sure to at least take care of anything important.

He was almost finished cleaning the kitchen, so dirtying it up again for supper of course seemed like the logical thing to do. It was a four hour drive from the city, and a four hour drive back. He didn't know if Maya would want anything to eat just yet, but Chloe and Joy would probably be hungry. With that in mind, he wandered to the pantry to see what ideas came to him, and wondered if he should make up Chloe and Joy's room too. It was a four hour drive back; they might prefer to stay the night.

He was halfway into prepping supper when the dogs started barking. He wiped his hands on a dish towel and walked out onto the porch, where the dogs stood at the top of the steps. Bailey was barking loud and fast, hopping and dancing around the top step, while Boomer just stood and howled at the lights coming down the driveway.

"Hush, Bailey," Jax said, at the same he heard Noah yell, from somewhere on the other side of the barn, "Shut up, Boomer!"

Both of the dogs lay down and stayed quiet. Bailey nearly followed Jax when he walked off the porch, but Boomer kept him back. He could hear Bailey whining when Chloe's car pulled up to the house and turned off, but a glance over his shoulder told him the beagle was staying where he was s'posed to be.

He was nearly to the car when the driver's door opened. "Hi, Starshine," Chloe said, before she was even out of the car. She sounded happy, but tired. He guessed from the drive.

"H'lo, Miss," he answered, kissing her on the cheek when he was close enough. "You need any help with the bags?"

"No, I think we're good," Joy said, getting out of the passenger's side. She smiled and blew him a kiss. "How're you doing, cupcake? You look well."

"Fresh air and lotsa sunshine keeps me that way," he answered and walked around to the other side of the car to press a kiss against Miss Joy's cheek as well. "I was just startin' supper if y'all want to come in and sit a spell. I got the guest room made up, but I didn't know if I should be makin' y'alls too, Miss."

He glanced into what he could see of the back seat, before he lowered his voice. "She doin' okay?" He knew it was rude to ask 'bout people, 'specially when Maya was right there, but he didn't want to make the first move and do somethin' wrong, either.

She kissed his cheek back, then glanced over the hood of the car and said, hesitantly, "Actually, I was going to stay a while, if you guys don't mind? Help get Maya settled." She looked at the girl huddled in the back of the car, and lowered her own voice. "She's not too good, Jax. I want to stay with her for a while."

"'Course you can." He didn't know why she even asked. Jax brushed a kiss over Joy's forehead, before he leaned over to peek into the back seat, wide-eyed and concerned. She was sweet looking; it broke his heart a little bit.

"I'm makin' chicken and dumplin's for supper, if you feel up to eatin'," he drawled. "If you wanna lie down instead, we got one of the guest bedrooms made up nice for you too."

The girl looked up at him with wide eyes, then bit her lip and looked at Joy.

"It's okay," Joy said, reassuringly. "This is Jax. Remember, I told you about him?" She slung her arm around Jax's shoulders and hugged him. "He makes wonderful cupcakes."

Maya scooted to the edge of the seat and swung her legs out, but didn't get out. "I like cupcakes," she ventured.

"You like chocolate ones, miss?" he asked. "I can make chocolate strawberry ones for dessert."

"They're the best cupcakes ever," Chloe put in as she walked around the car and wrapped her arms around Joy's waist.

"Don't go telling her that now, Miss. You got no way of knowing that's true."

"But they are!" Chloe softly argued. "He's just being humble, Maya. He does that a lot."

"He's wonderful that way," Joy teased him.

He felt heat rise in his face. "Honestly, you two," he muttered, before he gave Maya a comforting smile and offered her a hand to help her out of the car. "You can call me Jackson. My husband does. He can show you 'round tomorrow, if you want. We got all kinda baby animals 'round now, since its spring and all."

She brightened a little at that, and tentatively took his hand, easing off the seat and straightening up in what was left of the sunlight. "I like baby animals," she said, shyly, and a shadow of sorrow passed the back of her eyes. "I like babies."

Jax squeezed her hand. "Baby goats are 'specially cute. Just had two of 'em born yesterday." He grinned when Chloe squeaked in delight. "I can get Noah to bring 'em up to the house for a bit, if you'd like."

Maya smiled, but still wouldn't look him in the eyes. "Yes, please," she said, still very shy. "I've never seen one up close before."

"They're real sweet." He let go of her hand long enough to get his cell phone from his pocket and send Noah a text. "Come on, we can worry 'bout the bags later. I'm sure y'all want to sit and stretch after bein' cooped up in the car for so long."

"That does sound good," Joy agreed. She took Maya's hand in place of Jax and wrapped an arm around her shoulders before they walked towards the porch.

The dogs stared at Maya, both of them giving her and Joy sad eyes, but not jumping or whining for attention. They were good dogs, he thought, which was lucky. Boomer listened to Noah from day one, being a bloodhound, but Jax was never sure with Bailey. He listened most days, but he was a beagle. He was stubborn.

"Thank you for letting us - Maya - stay," Chloe told him as she took her arm and they walked inside.

"You know it's not a problem," he answered and brushed his lips over her forehead. "She seems sweet."

"She is."

He turned on a few more lights when they entered the house, hoping he had tidied up enough. The kitchen and living room opened up into each other, and the added light and people made it look more cheerful.

"Your room is upstairs," he told Maya, gesturing towards the stairs in the living room. "It's the second door on the right, if you wanna go see it. Tell me if you need anythin'; more pillows, blankets, anythin'."

"Okay," she said, and went slowly up the stairs, feet dragging on the steps.

"She's not feeling too good," Joy said, quietly, as soon as they were sure Maya was out of earshot. "She gets sick sometimes, and she says she's still cramping. I brought a lot of Advil. Thank you for this, Jax."

"It's nothing to thank me for," he said again as he got the tea kettle out of the cabinet over the stove. "I'll make her some tea. Do you think she could eat some banana cake? Dessert before supper never hurt anybody."

It wasn't a minute before he had the water set to boil and a few slices of chocolate chip banana cake - he had made one the day before, so there was plenty left over - served up and on the table.

Of course that was when Noah came in with the kids. Noah had one in each arm, since they were only a day old and as tiny as puppies, but they were obviously anxious to get down. One of them bleated impatiently and butted it's head against Noah's arm, who only looked at it in bemusement.

Chloe made the sound she always did when she saw something small and adorable - honestly, Jax couldn't describe it. It was something between a quiet shriek and "Awwww." Joy just went with, "Awwww."

"Shoulda known you wanted me to bring 'em up here for a reason," Noah snorted. He knelt to let the kids jump out of his arms and onto the floor to inspect their immediate surroundings.

Judging from the displeased sounds they made, they weren't that impressed.

Noah stepped over them to walk over to Jax and press a kiss against his cheek. "You know they can't stay up here for long, or their mama's gonna get pissed," he said in greeting.

"I know," he answered, returning Noah's kiss, just as Chloe got up and tiptoed around the kids.

She hurried into the living room and called up the stairs, "Maya, there are baby goats down here, and they are adorable."

A minute later Maya came back down the stairs, moving so quietly Jax almost didn't hear her. She had changed into jeans, though she still wore the same bright blue shirt that Jax was pretty sure she'd borrowed from Chloe. She padded into the kitchen and stood by Joy's shoulder, looking down at the goats.

"They're so cute!" she breathed, and looked up at Jax. "May I pet them too? Will they mind?"

"They shouldn't, as long as you sit down and let 'em come to you," he told her.

"You can try pettin' 'em if they climb into your lap," Noah added as he opened the refrigerator and looked inside. "But they can't see up too well, so don't pet 'em on top of their head. They like the side of the neck. And watch out for the back teeth if they suck on your fingers."

"Maya, this is Noah," Jax introduced his husband.

"Joy calls him 'Biceps'," Chloe said as she knelt and slowly stretched a hand towards one of the baby goats. It sniffed the tips of her fingers for a moment before bleating and dancing away.

"I prefer Noah," he muttered. Jax could see that the back of his neck was red from where he was standing.

"Hello," Maya murmured, and promptly dropped onto the floor, crossing her legs so she had a reasonable lap. She reached out, rubbing her fingers together, and made a clicking noise at the nearest baby goat, the sort of noise one might use to call a cat. The goat, intrigued, took a couple of steps forward, and eventually allowed her to scratch around its neck. The whole time, she wore a look of glowing delight.

"He's so soft," she whispered. "I didn't know they were so soft."

"They don't start getting' ugly 'til they get older," Noah put in.

Jax frowned. "They don't get ugly. They just get older."

"The one on your daddy's farm back in Georgia was ugly. And mean."

"He was just cranky," he explained as he washed his hands. He needed to get back to making supper if he wanted any of them to eat on time.

"Yeah. 'Cause he was a goat."

Noah only got an exasperated look at that and he heard both Chloe and Joy giggling.

"Well, this one is adorable," Chloe put in. She was sitting on the floor too, with her legs tucked under her. The other kid was letting her pet it, but it was making a game out of it, dancing away from Chloe's hand every few moments but staying in reach. "Joy, can we get one?"

"They don't stay little forever, Miss," Jax reminded her. "'Sides, Winnie's too jealous for you to get a baby goat."

"But they're so cute," she answered, before she started softly baby-talking at the goat that was still dancing around her.

"I sliced you off a piece of cake," he changed the subject, and nodded toward one of the unclaimed plates. Chloe didn't seem to notice. "There's one for you too, Maya, if you want it. Also got some tea makin'."

"Okay," she said absently, stroking the baby goat, who had decided to climb into her lap. "I like goats, I think. This one's really sweet, anyway. What's his name?"

"Hooray, Jax cake," Joy said, and damn near snatched a plate off the table. "There is nothing like it in the world, sweetie. You will think you've had a religious experience."

Maya looked up from the goat, startled. "What? Really?"

"Really really," Joy said. "If there's a heaven, Jax has a spot as a pastry chef."

He felt himself blush. "We all got a spot there if we want it, Miss," he chided her lightly. "I doubt mine is any more special than anyone else's."

"I have faith in you to manage it," Joy said, teasingly, and reached over to tweak Jax's nose, gently.

Noah only snorted at that. He kissed Jax on the cheek again before he grabbed a plate and sat down next to Joy. "You know you can't compliment him 'bout nothin'," he told her. "Makes makin' him feel special damn hard."

He ignored that as the tea kettle started whistling. He hurried over to take it off the heat and opened a cabinet full of a variety of loose teas. "You got a preference, miss?" he asked, twisting around to look at Maya.

"Green tea, please," Maya said absently. The little goat was exploring her shirt now, huffing gently at the folds of fabric and giving the hem an experimental chew. She giggled, and eased the shirt out of his teeth. "No, sweetie, that's not good for you."

When he had the best green tea they had steeping, and made sure the back burner was turned off, he went back to making supper. It was lucky there was already cooked chicken and chicken broth in the fridge, and he had all the vegetables he wanted chopped. He only had to let simmer while he made dumplings and biscuits, standing at the island so he could watch the conversation.

"They're probably getting' hungry," Noah said, putting his plate down and standing. "And knowin' their Mama, she's gonna be pissed at me. Don't eat my cake," he said to Joy, who only gave him innocent eyes. "Yeah, yeah. I seen that look before."

Chloe pouted when he Noah picked the one she playing with up. "Can't you bottle feed them?"

"Mama's milk is better." He looked at Maya, and Jax could tell he was hesitant to just pick up her goat. "I need to be takin' 'em back now. You can see 'em again tomorrow, if you'd like."

"Sheesh," Joy said, and ate another bite of cake. "Why you gotta be like that, Noah. Why you gotta hold something I've only done five or six times against me."

He ignored her, and went on looking down at Maya, who was nodding. "Okay," she said. She bent down and kissed the top of the baby goat's head, then hesitated. "Could I... could I help you take them back?"

"'Course," Noah answered. "Their mama won't let you in the pen, but you could carry that one back if he'll let you."

She kissed the baby goat's head again, then gathered it in her arms and carefully stood up. It bleated a little when she jostled it, but otherwise seemed content to be held. Maya beamed. "I think he likes me."

"That's good," Noah grinned. He glanced at Jax almost questioningly, before he looked back at Noah. "Y'wanna name him?"

She jerked her head up, startling another bleat from the baby goat. "Really? You really mean that?"

"We ain't thought of names for 'em yet," Jax said as he slid biscuits into the oven. After setting a timer, he finished cutting the dumplings and started dropping them into the pot. "Might be easier to name the one Noah's got if you help us with yours."

"He's so sweet," Maya said, carefully shifting her arms to cuddle him closer. "What about Sugar?"

"Sugar sounds fine to me," Noah answered, and glanced at Jax again. "This one can be Spice?" he suggested, shifting the other kid. It bleated and butted against him again.

Jax smiled. "I like Spice."

"It fits your farm," Chloe said, brushing the front of her dress off when she stood. "Sugar and Spice, and everything nice." She sat next to Joy, picking up Noah's plate and taking a bite of his cake.

"Hey! What'd I say?"

"You told Joy not to eat your cake. You didn't say anything about me."

"Yeah," Joy said, leaned over, and stole a bite of Noah's cake too.

"Hey," he said, bending a mock glare on them. "I specifically said..."

"It's Chloe's cake now," Joy said. "And nobody but me gets to eat Chloe's cake."

Maya giggled.

Jax and Chloe joined in with her when the back of Noah's neck reddened. "Come on," he said to Maya as he grabbed a flashlight off a table by the door. "We leave now, we'll be back for supper."

"Okay," Maya said, brightly, and followed him, cradling the goat carefully against her chest.

"I think she's gonna be fine," Jax said after the door shut behind them.

"I think so, too," Joy said, and went back to eating her own cake now that Noah was out of the room. "I mean, I'm still worried about her, but I'll probably always be worried about her." She sighed, and looked down at the table, setting her fork down as if she'd lost her appetite. "She was so scared, Jax."

It only took him a second to have a few cups of tea poured, and he kissed Joy on the top of her head when he set two of them down in front of Joy and Chloe. "She's not scared now, from what I can tell. She's got you to thank for that, from what Miss Chloe tells me."

Joy shrugged one shoulder, and curled her hands around the mug. "It wasn't like there was anything else I could have done. And I'd been wanting to quit for ages. Poor kid." She sighed, then smiled at him. "But now she's got us, and she's got you guys. I think she's gonna be okay."

"We'll make sure of it," Chloe reassured Joy and kissed her lightly.

"Y'all are welcome to stay as long as it takes. She's a sweet girl." He took a sip of tea and smiled. "'Sides, she ain't even seen the piglets yet."

Chloe made that noise again.

He and Joy shared a grin. "Speakin' of piglets. Miss, if y'all are gonna be stayin' a bit, why'd you leave Winnie in the city?" he asked.

"Oh," Chloe laughed. "Chastity heard we were coming to visit you and begged me to let her dogsit. I guess she thought we were visiting for the weekend or something. Piper said she would drive her up here in a few days."

"I don't think Winnie would get along with the big animals too well," Joy added dryly, taking a sip of her tea. "She's a bit teeny for that."

"It'll be easy to keep her away from the big animals," Chloe said, sticking her tongue out at Joy in retaliation. "I'll just leave her inside if I want to go near the barn. You know she stays on my heels otherwise."

"Long as you make sure she's in the house," Jax warned her, draining his cup so he could get up to finish supper. "We don't need her getting' stepped on by somethin' big, or even somethin' small. 'Bout everythin' is bigger than she is."

He was just sliding biscuits out of the oven when Noah and Maya walked back into the kitchen.

"...seriously, all around them?" Maya was saying, as she came through the door. "That is so cool! Can they like, walk backwards or something? 'Cause that would also be really cool."

"Goats can do all sorts of stuff, if you can train 'em," Noah answered, in a gruff but fond way.

Jax flipped the biscuits into a basket, and left the skillet in the sink. "Y'all wash up before getting something to eat," he said to both of them as he grabbed bowls out of the cupboard. "Supper's ready, when you want it."

Chloe was the first in line. "Oooh, Jax biscuits."

"You'll like these," Joy told Maya, and slipped an arm around her shoulders when the girl came to stand by her. "Jax makes them with buttermilk or something like that and they are just amazingly delicious."

"Cool," Maya said, hugging Joy back. She smiled up at Jax. "Joy says you're a really good baker."

"I try my best," he answered, grinning bashfully. "I'm makin' muffins for breakfast tomorrow, if you wanna help."

"You make everythin' for breakfast on Sunday," Noah said. He kissed Jackson lightly on the lips when he walked past him to wash his hands at the sink.

"He does," Chloe told Maya, ladling chicken and dumplings into a bowl. "Muffins and pancakes and eggs and bacon and grits and everything."

"It's only proper Sunday breakfast." Jax set silverware around the table, pursing his lips as he glanced between the four person table and the five people in the kitchen. "And it leaves plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week."

Noah solved the problem after he got his plate and grabbed a beer out of the fridge. He hopped up to sit on the counter before he started eating, without saying grace first. Jackson guessed he would allow that this once. It'd been a while since Noah had to run the farm by himself for a day, and they'd grown a lot since then. It made sense that he was hungry.

Speaking of.

"Maya, did you want to say grace before we eat?"

Maya started, and looked down at her plate, suddenly. "We don't... we didn't, at... where I grew up. I don't know." She glanced shyly at him. "If you want.

"S'easy," he said, smiling at her. "Doesn't have to be pretty or well thought out. Just say what you're thankful for."

"Okay," she said, and looked down at her plate for a moment long enough that he wondered if she was going to say anything at all. Then, very suddenly she began.

"I'm thankful for Joy," she said, making Joy blush and look down at her lap. "I'm thankful for Miss Chloe. I'm thankful for Mr. Noah and you, Mr. Jax, for taking me in." She looked up, and smiled at them. "And I'm thankful for baby goats."

Jax beamed at her.

"Amen," Noah answered, reddening when Jax beamed at him too.

He turned back to the table in time to catch Chloe lean into Joy to whisper something into her ear. Whatever she said made Joy blush pinker, but Chloe only gave him big, blue, innocent eyes when he silently tried to scold her.

He did have some rules at his table. No hanky-panky (unless it was just him and Noah, and they didn't have and weren't expecting company) was one of them.

"We're thankful to have you here, Maya," Jax told her. "I think the farm is gonna like you."