A story I wrote before season 1 of "Fuller House" to explain why it's not D.J. with Steve in “Fuller House”? A pregnant dog leads to many changes, since D.J. and Steve don’t kiss.
A/N: There is officially a spinoff, “Fuller House,” and a few facts are known. I thought it’d be fun to imagine what might have happened to prevent D.J. and Steve from getting together in the Chronology and to a number of other writers on here, too. Back to the Future fans will recall that things were very different 30 years later in several instances, including one where Marty and his siblings wouldn’t have even existed. (There’s also a comical nugget for “Back to the Future” fans akin to the call to Chuck Barry.) Still, the first few weeks would be the same, so my “Putting It All Together” is referenced here. See my profile for the names of my 9th season fics, a few of those are alluded to, too.
Of course, in the BU, this incident doesn’t happen. First, one book, “How To Hide a Horse,” mentions Steve and D.J. together, as noted in “Wind Beneath My Wings.”More importantly, D.J. isn’t very distracted because Michelle’s injury isn’t nearly as bad (see Sam Series 3.25, “Just Like Family,” it’s easier to say Sam Series than RKORadio since he may have a different username). Which is alluded to as well. My BU fic “Little Things Mean A Lot” & “They Grow Up So Fast” also referenced.
In fact, the stray likely doesn’t even become a stray in the BU, as you’ll see.
I think naming an acronym for each should wait till it’s out, and there might be a few generally accepted ones. Since I wrote this, I’ve adopted netU for “Fuller House” fics and see this as well received, so this is the start of NetU, it appears, with why Steve and D.J. aren’t together after the prom.
Who Let the Dogs In?
D.J. Tanner felt so excited. Not only was she going to her prom, her best friend, Kimmy Gibbler, had located her old boyfriend, Steve. Who knew, maybe something special could be rekindled on this most romantic night.
“Relax, Deej, it’s just like before now,” Kimmy told her. “Just call me Kimmy McFly.”
“I’m sure if she could really do that, you’d rather she go back about a week, huh, Deej?” Steve Hale, D.J.’s former boyfriend and emergency prom date, said sweetly.
“You’re right about that. Or maybe eight years.” D.J. explained her reasoning. “If I’m proactive, if I don’t just react when Dad has trouble, like with disciplining Michelle those first few years, I’d be a real mother figure. Then, she would have come to me when she was worried about how Dad was pressuring her so much to win that horse jumping competition.”
“What would you have told her?” Steve asked.
D.J. was glad Steve was showing an interest in her family. But, the truth was, being two years older, Steve had almost always done that. Oh, at first he hadn’t been as interested in going to things like Michelle’s first grade play, but he’d cared about the small worries she’d had about certain things, and at least listened when she vented. In that, she saw him as a really good friend.
. It had just been awkward when the romantic part was gone.
In fact, she had to wonder – had Kimmy found him, or had Steve decided to call Kimmy and see how things were and if he should stop by? And, once he called, had Kimmy told him D.J. needed a date. That, too, was entirely possible.
“Thanks, Steve. You’ve always been willing to listen,” D.J. said with a smile as they rode to the prom in a fancy limo – D.J., Steve, Kimmy, and Kimmy’s boyfriend Duane.
Steve shrugged. “Hey, it was easy to do while my mouth was full.”
“True. Anyway, remember I told you about Steph losing her dance competition on purpose because it was the only way to get Dad to listen? I’d have told her to just walk her horse out with Elizabeth’s and do a dressage competition.”
“Where would they get the clothes to put on their horses?” Kimmy asked.
D.J. could never tell if her best friend was being serious or if she was making a joke to hide the times when she really didn’t understand something. She was glad Kimmy and Stephanie were started to get along a little better, at least – that, too, was something that would have happened years earlier had she been proactive.
“Actually, Kimmy, dressage is just showing them like with dogs. It’s just natural training, riding with them,” D.J. said as they approached the motel ballroom where the prom would take place.
“If you say so, Deej. I gave you your ticket, right, Steve?” He nodded. “Great. Duane, you got your ticket?”
“Whatever,” he said as he held out his ticket.
D.J. smiled as she pulled her ticket out of her pocket. Nothing was going to ruin this evening. As she and Steve gazed at each other, she got the sense that maybe, just maybe, the fire could be rekindled after over a year away from each other. She had never found anyone nearly as nice as Steve. She asked where he was going to school, if he was going.
“Junior college was good; I’m thinking of transferring to San Francisco State but I’d kind of like to get into a trade school, too.”
“I’m between San Francisco State and Berkeley,” D.J. spoke lowly, so as not to bother Kimmy. She knew Kimmy was worried, but she had promised they’d always be good friends. Still, after being friends since Kindergarten and best friends since they were nine, she knew it was an adjustment better discussed later.
D.J. thought she heard something whimpering as they entered the motel, but she wasn’t sure what it was. “Do you hear something?”
“Maybe we should call your Grandpa if he’s unretired again from exterminating,” Kimmy proposed. D.J. and her sisters’ Uncle Jesse had a father, Nick, who had been an exterminator for many years and had hoped to keep it in the family.
“Or, if it’s a woodchuck, Joey,” Steve quipped.
D.J. grinned. “Thanks, Steve. I should just enjoy the moment, huh.”
“Sure, let him go eat,” Kimmy said. “Duane will do something.”
“Like what?” D.J. asked out of curiosity.
“Whatever,” Duane said.
As they mingled in the foyer and discussed other things, D.J. thought back to Michelle’s accident. They planned a party for Michelle with her friends for tomorrow, but it still nagged at her that perhaps Michelle might have a few lingering issues, too, though not long-term ones, Dr. Landress had promised. Enough that perhaps a visit or two with Dr. Steiner would elp; she’d helped Stephanie when she was traumatized by the big earthquake,
“Hey, music’s starting to rev up,” an excited exchange student named James said to them, “come on in.” James was from Trinidad and had become very good friends with the young people who were laying music for the promgoers. He’d actually worked his way into having a part with the band.
“Yeah, I guess we better let you get to the buffet. Before Duane’s ‘whatever’ becomes finding that squirrel or whatever and making squirrel stew for us,” D.J. teased Steve.
“Something on your mind?”
D.J. wasn’t sure how to put it. “Well…I guess it’s Michelle. She didn’t recover her memory all at once; it was more gradual, some little things came first, feelings, things like that. Then there Steph, how she’d snuck around to find her in Kindergarten that first day and she had the same feelings earlier this week – going to her for comfort in a place full of strangers.”
Steve gently caressed her shoulder with his right hand. “Kind of bummed it wasn’t you she remembered first?”
“It’s not that; in fact Dr. Landress said that was perfectly normal, almost expected, in fact.’ D.J. related that Michelle’s bedroom also helped. She wanted to sleep in Steph’s bed right away, and we didn’t correct her. But, right before her memory came back, she went to lay in her own bed. Things were coming back slowly, and being with Steph was a big part of that.”
“Sorry, Deej, I’m a little lost. What’s the point?”
“Sorry, I guess I am, too, at least a little.” She realized she wasn’t really making a coherent point at all. She’d been ready to stay home from her prom, in fact, she was so worried. But, now she was glad she was here. “Anyway, I came by here yesterday and thought I heard something. If I’d been with it I’d have looked around. I guess because of Michelle I’m a little jumpy. But, maybe there’s a hurt animal out there.” D.J. chuckled. “Or, maybe I’m just too stressed out yet.”
“Deej, if it’ll make you feel better, let’s go out look. The night is still young.”
“Thanks, Steve.” D.J. and Steve held hands for a moment. Their lips drew closer as a few other couples entered and D.J. pondered what a kind, thoughtful young man Steve was.
Just before they kissed, however, one person dropped something. The chances of them needing to hold the door open yet to retrieve it were about fifty-fifty. Had they not done so, a long, passionate kiss would have resulted before the young couple went out to look, hserving to remind both of them of their mutual attraction. Instead…
A very pregnant dog rushed into the motel and dashed into the room with the buffet table.
“Did you see that?” D.J. asked, very shocked, as she glanced t the dog, her eyes following it through the foyer and into the next room.
“It must have been in those bushes we saw,” Steve remarked.
D.J. took Steve’s hand and led him toward the room as they heard some cmmotion coming from the buffet line.
“Wow, D.J.,” Kathy Santoni quipped, “you’re in more of a hurry than Steve to get to the buffet.
Kimmy tried to yell over the tumult. “Attention, everyone,” she shouted. The crowd quieted down. “I have this under control; I know just what to do!” At that, the crowd started shrieking; Kimmy’s reputation had preceded her, especially as class president in tenth grade, where D.J. had had to prevent some major chaos.
D.J. realized that Kimmy was referring to how she’d been there when the Gibbler dog had puppies. That would take too long to explain, though. So, she simply whistled. Steve hollered, “Hey, let D.J. speak,” and people started to calm down.
“Okay, look, now this dog is very pregnant; she could give birth any minute,” D.J. shouted. “I was there when our dog was born, so trust me. I know just what to do.”
“Is that why Kimmy said she knew?” one student asked.
Another heckled, “Of course, she’s always copied off of D.J..”
“Okay,” she told two members of the waitstaff, “move all the buffet items to the other tables; the hot plates, too.” They were already in the process of moving some things. “I need someone to go get a bunch of containers of warm water. And something soft for bedding; my guess is she wanted something warm and once she dashed in here felt this was the best place.”
D.J. finally took time to kneel down and look at the frightened German Shepherd. The screaming and shrieking had obviously disturbed it, but at the same time, it knew this was where it was probably warmest.
“It’s okay,” she whispered to it, “nobody’s going to hurt you. We’re going to make sure your puppies are all safe. I’m sure the hot food above you helped keep you warm, I’m sorry we have to take it away…” She saw Steve and several others grabbing food from the plates directly above the dog. “Of course, with Steve it didn’t matter. But, the point is, we’re going to get you some nice, comfy bedding in just a minute,” she told the dog, smiling and holding up a finger.
The dog was panting but seemed otherwise comfortable. D.J. appeared to be doing a good job of trying to soothe it. Some of the promgoers groaned as slow, soothing music was played at D.J.’s suggestion, although some people did get up and dance to it.
“Are you gonna have to cut a cord or anything?” one student asked in all seriousness as he crouched down beside her.
“No, they’ll just start coming out and…” D.J. moved aside as some scrunched up linens and pillows were brought to them. “Thanks. The mom’ll know what to do.”
Another student, a reporter, stood several feet away and snapped some pictures before pulling out a pen and paper. He stood by the makeshift deliver area and said, “We’ve got a few weeks of school yet, we can put it in a special edition of the paper we have for the prom. Can I get a quote from someone about this?”
“And please, no jokes about Kathy Santinoi,” Steve insisted. “She’s been through enough.”
“Looks like this dog’s boyfriend is as unsupportive as mine, though,” Kathy mourned.
“Hey, that’s okay, we can give away puppies as door prizes,” one student suggsted.
D.J. stood. “No, we won’t; not till probably after school lets out. Look, animal control people will be here eventually and help move them, but we’ll have to keep the mother together with her puppies for at least a few weeks,” she spoke authoritatively. “I don’t know what would have happened if Minnie’s owner hadn’t been ona business trip after having just moved out to California when Minnie had her puppies,” she told Kimmy. “I guess we could have helped him move all of them, but that would have been tricky.”
The reporter was getting very little help, except for a few more tidbits on how D.J. knew what to do. . He realized that it was all very impromptu, so the young future journalist decided to try a different tact – reminding people of the excitement.
So, with pad and pen in hand, he walked up to the nearest student. “What do you think of this momentous occasion, your glorious prom invaded by a splendid German Shepherd which is about to experience the miracle of birth?”
“Whatever,” Duane said casually.
“Well… okay, I guess I should ask a more specific question, not as many words,” he stammered. “Describe your emotions as you watch D.J. delivering these soon-to-be adorable little puppies at the prom,” he asked excitedly, trying to sell the joy of the moment.
“Whatever,” Duane repeated.
He hesitated for a moment. “Yes. You’re Kimmy Gibbler’s date, aren’t you?’ The reporter nodded slowly. “That would explain it.” He walked away slowly.
Kimmy knelt beside D.J.. “Amazing, isn’t it, Deej?”
“It is,” D.J. said with delight as they watched the dog curl up on the old linens. “I remember when Minnie had hers, it was so special. It was like the puppies weren’t there, and suddenly they were. I feel so much more mature now, five years later. It’s like I know what to do, how to help. It takes me back then, and I think: Is this what I want to do with my life?”
“What/ Have puppies?”
D.J. laughed. This was clearly a time when Kimmy was just pretending not to understand. “No, Kimmy, I mean work with animals.”
“What about Journalism?”
“Well, I like it, but… I like working with living creatures, too. And helping them. Besides, getting an animal to co-operate has to be easier. You saw what happened when Devon tried to get a quote from Duane just now,” D.J. reminded her.
Kimmy concurred. “It would be fun. Then you’d be in medical school, though.”
“Well, veterinary school. But, close. Kimmy, we’ll always be friends, though. Even if it’s hard for you to understand the stuff you’re helping to quiz me on,” D.J. assured her.
“But, Berkeley has the better school for that; at least if you’d chosen San Francisco State you’d be able to live at home more easily. You wouldn’t have to live on campus,” Kimmy pointed out.
“I still could live at home, it’s only an hour commute. Or, I could stay on campus at San Francisco State insteadof living at home; although there, expense-wise it’d really make more sense to live at home. Kimmy, nothing’s set in stone for me, although I do have to make a decision pretty soon.” She thought for a moment. “The nice thing about living at home is it would be a lot less expensive. If I move out, Steph would have to handle even more helping Michelle. But, maybe she would anyway, I think about how much more studying they say there is… see how confusing this is, Kimmy?”
Kimmy nodded grimly, and then spoke with sudden realization in her voice. “It’s as hard for you as it is for me, huh?”
“It is, Kimmy. It feels like this is the rest of my life I’m having to decide,” D.J. said with a somewhat heavy heart.
“Hey, look; the puppies are coming,” someone shouted, breaking D.J. and Kimmy out of their reverie.
“Oh, wow!” D.J. watched happily as the puppies emerged safely. As the mother started licking her puppies and cleaning them off, several people, including Devon, snapped pictures. Devon figured that, even without a lot of quotes, a picture would be worth a thousand words.
Steve knelt down beside her as loud voice began to be heard in the dance hall. “It sure is special, huh, Deej?” Steve said.
“Yeah,” D.J. said, holding his hand. “Birth is such an amazing miracle.”
D.J. considered the wonderful love God had given her. She’d prayed for Michelle to recover, and she had; or at least had mostly recovered. She remembered even years ago when Stephanie prayed for Mr. Bear’s safe return when that favorite stuffed toy from their mom, Pam, had been lost. She was so glad for that personal relationship with Jesus Christ which had come through simply admitting she was a sinner, believing Jesus Christ, God in flesh, had died for her sins and risen from the dead, and calling on Him to forgive and save her and come live in her. She didn’t always follow Him as closely as she could, just like Stephanie and Michelle, since they usually only went as part-time bus kids. But, she knew God and was in awe of the wonderful miracle that these puppies were, and how the mother knew just what to do to help them. And, with that relationship, God could help her through anything.
James was standing near them when one of the other band members approached him. “Hey, come on, people are demanding we play something upbeat right now..”
“What? How? We’ve got to have time to get our heads together here.”
“Come on, we don’t want to lose the crowd; let’s just wing it, man!”
James pursed his lips as he looked at the puppies. He knew it was true – the crowd was full of restless energy. “Okay, come on.”
D.J. and Steve soon followed, as did Kimmy and Duane. “Hey, this is really cool,’ Kimmy said.
“Yeah, it is,” D.J. agreed as she and Steve began bouncing around to the music. It was astrange yet fun little tune, she had to admit it. It wasn’t letting her and Steve really get close, but they needed this after the anxiety of the canine intruder.
James went to the pay phone immediately after the song, as the emcee came up to begin making announcements to the promgoers. He was thrilled – his ad lib had succeeded better than he might have hoped. It had inspired him to call a friend, in fact.
He finally got through as the emcee finished and people filed out of the dance hall back to the buffet room, which was within easy hearing distance of the pay phone.
“Hey,” James spoke into the pay phone. “Yeah, prom’s goin’ great. Listen, remind me later, I got a great new sound you’ve got to hear…. That’s the chorus in the background… Trust me, everyone’s singing and dancing to it, you can hear it, right?... Yeah, we’ve got to record it… Okay, great, see you.” He hung up the phone as the Bayview high school students chuckled while singing “Who let the dogs out” and going “woof, woof, woof.”
After everyone had eaten they went back to the dance floor. Finally, D.J. and Steve had a chance to dance to a nice, slow tune after a number of faster ones. “This is what prom should be,’ D.J. said as they shuffled their feet to the gentle rhythm.
“Right. Great food, and wonderful time with you.”
“I’m glad you didn’t say your girlfriend yet,” D.J. said. “But, on the other hand, I can feel it coming back.”
“We’ll always be great friends. That’s where it should start, anyway,” Steve mused aloud.
D.J. agreed. “I guess that’s why with the guys I was – I told you about nelson and Viper.” He agreed, they’d discussed quite a bit of the last year and a half over dinner. “I was attracted o them, they were sweet, but there was something missing,” she said as they drew closer.
“I felt the same way.”
After a couple minutes of dancing and getting even closer, they were about to kiss when a commotion was heard. Another student cried out, “is D.J. Tanner here, there’s a reporter from the Chronicle who wants to talk to you.”
“Business before pleasure, huh?”
D.J. agreed. Part of her wished to stay and continue the slow dancing into the next song, when they surely would have embraced and kissed for a while, but she decided to take care of this. What were the odds she would get back with Steve for good, anyway? She had just spent a lovely night with him, and would go out with him some more during the summer, but if nothing developed, she would completely understand. And, he would, too.
Five years later, Kimmy bounded into the Tanner home. “D.J.,” she called out.
D.J. bounded down the stairs. “I can’t believe it’s our fifth year class reunion already,” she declared.
“Same here, Deej. Say, I was thinking – you know how Spanish is a romance language, right?”
“yeah.” D.J. wasn’t sure where this was going, but with Kimmy, anything was possible.
“Well, I figure if things go well with this one, if we have a girl we’ll call her Ramona after the language and our romance,” Kimmy explained.
D.J. was perplexed. But, while Romance languages had nothing to do with the English term romance, she had another question. “Wouldn’t that be Romana?”
Kimmy wasn’t sure. “I always thought the name was invted by someone who got their spelling mixed up. Besides, isn’t romana a cheese?” Although I’ve heard Brie as a name, so maybe.””
“Possible, I suppose,” D.J. conceded. “But, the cheese is Romano. Anyway, I think there’s a book series….” She dropped the subject. Naming a girl after a book character would be logical, and might end up being the “official story,” but at times Kimmy was a little too strange to apply normal logic. True, this could be one of those times Kimmy was joking, but it seemed more plausible than some other things as a genuine line of thought from her best friend. Especially since Kimmy didn’t read much.
“Anyway, Deej, is Steph still planning on that career of hers?” Kimmy wondered as they walked out to her waiting car.
D.J. said she was. “I think helping Michelle so much put more pressure on her.” She reiterated that, “Michelle’s fine, she recovered fully, but between being the main big sister with me in line for a veterinary career, and then having to help Gia, it put a lot of pressure on her. It’s funny how if I don’t go this route, I have more time and Steph might not be having that career and travelling the world like she’s hoping to do.”
“Think about it, Deej – you said Michelle was at a sleepover and they were having a back to the Future marathon, right?” Kimmy asked as they buckled their seatbelts. D.J. nodded. “Well, you know it part one things would have been way different if Marty’s parents don’t kiss?”
“please, Kimmy, no theories about how I’ll end up marrying my time-traveling son,” D.J. begged her. Some of Kimmy’s ideas were quite strange.
“No, this one’s real, Deej. There’s a number of points where you and Steve culd have hit it off. If that reporter for the Chronicle isn’t delayed, you’d have had your interview right after dinner and then gone on to dance the night away with Steve. You two kiss, and the rest is history. Or, well, alternate history, in our case.”
D.J. supposed it was possible. “Or, if someone calls animal control earlier that evening or I think about it the day before,” D.J. postulated. “I’m glad they found a good home for the dog and all the puppies; I guess its previous owner had died or something?” She snapped her fingers. “Wait, she did, because Steph told her friend Allie in North Carolina about it; the one who went to school with her till her family moved in fifth grade?” Kimmy nodded. “They lived right next door, Allie said they’d have found a home for it in a heartbeat, not them since they were poor but she knew who would have.”
“Right. Which reminds me, another thought is if you’re more proactive like you talk about, Steph might be more interested in volunteering five years ago – or even Michelle. One of them might have found that stray and a friend given it a good home before,” Kimmy suggested.
D.J. agreed. “Then, Steph would clearly be much more interested in sticking around; we’d probably be closer as a family. She’d see me as being more like Mom, so we’d be closer.”
The oldest Tanner daughter breathed deeply. She didn’t want to waste time thinking about whether Steve might have taken over Jesse’s dad’s extermination business or other things. Even having Steve around to help with Gia or to watch Michelle would have taken enough pressure off Stephanie that she wouldn’t have decided to become such a world traveler after high school, with all the plans Steph had talked about.
She turned away from the window, which she realized she’d been staring out of for a moment. “You know, Kimmy, things probably would have been different. Steph probably wouldn’t be planning to be such a bon vivant; but, you know what/ Just like our Uncle Jesse, I’m sure somehow she’ll keep in contact and eventually we’ll be back together. In the meantime, she’ll still be a really good, thoughtful person who just happens to live a life of luxury and, well, you know what she’s talked about doing.”
“Sure, Deej. I know you’ve always felt close to your sisters. Even when your dad’s ignoring stuff and other things put a strain on things,” Kimmy said in a caring voice. “But, you’re right. You’ve always stuck together. And, the great thing is with modern technology, you can do that even when you’re apart.”
D.J. concurred. “Thanks, Kimmy. Even before our mom died, you’ve always been a good friend.” She still recalled how special it had been to have Kimmy around when Pam died; Kimmy hadn’t known what to do except just listen and provide a little comic relief, but that was just what D.J. needed. And, it had been what she’d needed quite a few times after that, too. “You’re right. We’ll always have that bond. Just like told you we would even when I went to college. And, we have, haven’t we?”
“We sure have,” Kimmy said appreciatively.
A/N: This was written before "Fuller House' came out, when just D.J. not being with Steve and Steph as a world traveler were known. Small changes – known to alternate history buffs as butterflies, for those who don’t know – can easily lead from here to a number of changes from stories I've written for the TVU; that is, the future of "Full House" with D.J. marrying Steve, but different than the Book Unvierse where that office in the 4th bedroom means a POD of 1985.
I'll post the story I have that goes into how they get their interests soon, but there could be other things which impact Stephanie, too; hile I figure Michelle doesn’t need much more than comforting after nightmares after a few weeks, and those even go away fast (last one 6 or so months later in “Fun-Filled Memories”), it is possible she’d need to cling to Stephanie a bit more after that first day in Kindergarten helps her remember Steph first, and that would really put more pressure on Steph. She’d gladly do it, but need to back away later once Michelle does recover. And, with Joey away performing more, it could then inspire Stephanie to pursue her dreams; and she is a very talented character.
Allie, BTW, is Steph’s friend from books who is almost surely the unnamed girl beside Steph in ‘Double Trouble” (looks much like her and would be seated next to Steph given the last name) and perhaps the Maid of Honor in the one where Steph and Harry “marry.”
As for colleges, I’ve always said San Francisco State is the more plausible place for D.J. because the Tanners wouldn’t want the ultra-liberal campus of Berkeley. D.J. had to apply to more schools than just Berkeley and Stanford, even knowing what school I wanted to go to and being early admission I applied to another college just in case. Now that I’m saying this she might have gotten on the wait list at Stanford rather than been outright rejected – yet seen it as a rejection – but because of the U. of California’s medical schools, Veterinary medicine may be a viable explanation for why she’d go to Berkeley for undergrad school, then go on to Davis for her veternary degree, which is near Sacramento; staying in the U.C. system would help a lot.
Then again, San Jose State is great, too; yes, I know these websites I’m looking at are 2015 or so and I need to think fourth dimensionally here and know about 1995, but they are, in general, going to be pretty similar. But, one thing is for certain – housing is awful in California, San Francisco area especially, and it’s perfectly logical if she chose to stay home. But, Veterinary School means she’d have to move onto some campus quickly, anyway.
So, those were all my thoughts before "Fuller House" came out. As long as it’s a good show, that’s what matters, and it is. They seemed to stay true to character, as I've noted elsewhere.
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I was a little surprised that DJ became a veterinarian. She didn't seem to interact with Comet as much as Stephanie and Michelle did. But I love Fuller House.