Once more, the auditorium door opened, admitting a grinning, green-robed female ferret. Trailing behind her shyly was a blue-eyed, black-furred fox cub, who was fiddling with the messy bow on his present.
Perched on Agent Kestrel's shoulders, his small thumb tucked firmly into his mouth, was the roughly one-and-a-half-year-old Artemis Crowley. In his free hand was a cloth toy apple, which he chewed on absently.
"Ah, a playpen for the little 'uns," Kestrel noted, lifting him down from her shoulders. "'Ow'd yew like that, Artie? Yew feel like playin' wiv yore liddle messmates, do yer?"
"Um, Kestrel?" Kieran said hesitantly. "I dunno if that's a good idea. He's really, really good at starting fights."
Reptilian yellow eyes widened innocently at this accusation.
"Is 'e now?" Kestrel cast a fond glance at the innocent-looking child. "Doin' 'is dear ol' dad proud, then."
Artemis simply smiled back disarmingly and offered her his drool-covered toy.
At the door to the auditorium, two more robed figures had appeared. One was tall, blue, betusked, and wearing his favorite purple robe with matching hat. He was also carrying what appeared to be a... more
"I am nice t'babes," Kestrel replied, lowering Artemis into the playpen. "'Specially this'un. I loves 'im, I do." Small black wings suddenly appeared, protruding from Artemis's back. Flapping them... more
At the mention of the word "host," all four of the Andalite's green eyes focused momentarily on Mal, the main two slightly narrowed, before the stalk eyes returned to roaming the scene freely. To his ... more
There was a quiet knock on the door followed almost immediately by the door being flung open. Two pale complected boys, the slightly bigger one wearing ripped jeans, a black t-shirt, and glasses; and ... more
"Aye, cake an' ice cream," Kestrel echoed, her voice dreamy as she wandered away to the food. Kieran almost followed her, but he changed his mind and decided to keep an eye on Artemis. It was his... more
Henry toppled with a startled cry of "Uh-oh!" Fortunately, the padded floor prevented any damage from such a short fall, and he quickly recovered, sitting up and looking around to see what happened.... more
The squishy cloth apple was hastily returned to its former position in Artemis's mouth. He glanced around uncertainly and, not seeing the missing toy, removed the apple long enough to voice his... more
Miriam had since excused herself from the conversation with Jenni and the other adults to put her gift down, and was currently alternating between helping herself to some of the food and keeping... more
Stephanie had been watching Artemis and Henry rather closely, concerned in case they started fighting after Kieran's comment, but now gave Brad a huge grin. "'lo Brad! Been watchin' the babies," she... more
"I didn't mean it like that," Kieran told them. "Artie doesn't get into fights, really. He just starts them. Yesterday he pinched Molly's Noodle dolly and put it in my pocket, and she chased me for... more
Barid held his gift out to Jenni with a wide grin on his face. "You can put that over there with the others, thanks," Jenni said with a slightly forced grin. "Isn't Eamon with you?" "Eamon be workin' ... more
"I'm sure he will, Barid," Jenni said, planning a speech to explain to the two-year-old exactly why he couldn't have it. She had really expected the Troll's partner to provide some kind of quality... more
Cali made sure that Kevin and Kyle were headed away from obvious climbing opportunities and then he slid into a seat next to the small pink haired woman eating cocktail wienies. "Hi, I'm Cali Still." ... more
Artemis had been racing Henry for the ball, fluttering his wings in an attempt to boost his speed. At the sight of Helen holding it, he skidded to a halt, looking somewhat put out at being beaten to... more
Brad mulled this over for a few moments, before nodding sagely and turning his attention to the other kids. "Daddy says 's okay to fight if you've got a good reason," he said, his expression grave by ... more
Stephanie nodded knowingly. "Grown-ups always know best. Like Mummy and Uncle William." She glanced over at the snack table. "C'mon, let's go get some food!" She took Brad's hand and Kieran's paw and ... more
Laughing, Kieran allowed himself to be led away from the playpen. He hoped Artemis didn't get into trouble while he was gone, but the food looked so good. Artemis, in the meantime, had managed to... more