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Title: Ripping Reports
Pairing: Tessa/Steve
Summary: Some paper is all it takes.
Rating: G
Word Count: 704 words
Disclaimer: Not my sandbox, only playing with the shiny toys that reside within... I promise to leave them there after I'm finished.



The dark cloud that followed Steve from the meeting with Thorne and a couple of the brass continued all the way home. Muttering how stupid bureaucrats can be, he closed the car door, a little more forcefully than he intended and stomped up the driveway. He practically rammed the key home to open the front door.

Angry didn't come close to his mood. He could think of a half dozen other adjectives that sounded a lot better as long as they were preceded with a few choice swear words.

Closing the door behind him, he dropped his laptop bag, not caring where it landed and stomped towards the kitchen ready to down his aggravation with a Jack Daniel's or three.

As he entered the dining room, he heard the sound of paper ripping coming from the kitchen, followed soon after by the unrestrained giggles of a baby. His baby. His daughter.

Another piece of paper met its demise, falling to the floor with other torn pieces. More joyous laughter greeted his ears, when he heard his daughter laughing again, his foul mood disappeared in a flash. He rounded the corner but stopped short of disturbing them.

On the kitchen floor, Tessa sat cross legged in front of their daughter, Natalie, who was sitting up, happily waving her hands all around, clapping them together and slapping them down onto her chubby thighs, a big grin on her face. Natalie smiled and he could see her two bottom teeth peeking out of pink gums.

Steve's heart swelled with pride and love, both for Natalie and for Tessa. She was a brilliant mum and Natalie was the perfect kid. This was heaven. He continued to watch on in silence not wishing to disturb them.

"Your turn, Natalie." Tessa cooed as she passed Natalie a small piece of paper, hanging onto one end as the baby grabbed the other and they both pulled.

Rip!

Natalie giggled so much at the sound of paper tearing that she nearly toppled over. Tessa quickly caught her and righted her back up into a sitting position. Natalie chuckled loudly again, thinking this was still all part of the game, her smile broad, and her delight obvious.

"Have some more." Tessa along with her, thinking who needs expensive Fisher Price toys when the simple act of tearing up some paper could bring such obvious joy and fun.

But this time as Natalie tore the paper, her chortles were louder and uninhibited that she tumbled over again, this time onto her belly. Her delight continued, giggling and sniggering away continually. Her laughter continued as she righted herself back up into a sitting position.

Again, Tessa held out a scrunched up piece of paper and she chuckled along with her daughter when she brought it close to her. "She knows what's coming." Steve said. Tessa had heard Steve come in and had felt him watching them.

Natalie grabbed the corner of the paper and tore it up. Laughter erupted again. Her smile so wide and her eyes were filled with tears of laughter.

Tessa looked over her shoulder and smiled at her husband. "Come here." She patted the tiles next to her.

"Hey, Tess." Steve quickly sat down, kissing her tenderly.

"Hi," Tessa replied between warm loving kisses.

Natalie giggled and squirmed again as she picked up another half piece of paper between her chubby fingers.

"Having fun?" Steve reached over and picked up Natalie, cuddling her while placing loud raspberries to her cheek and was rewarded with joyous laughter.

"Yeah." Tessa replied as she grinned at Steve placing raspberries to their daughters cheeks.

Steve bounced Natalie on his knee as he picked up one of the torn bits of paper. He wanted to play the game with his two girls but then recognised some of the words. They were his hard written words.

Tessa snickered as Steve's expression changed. She pointed to the pile of torn papers between them. "Yes, that was the draft of your last submitted report."

Natalie seized the paper from her fathers fingers and tore it, and again she cackled loudly, followed by Tessa and then Steve.

His family's happiness was far more important to him than any report draft.