"Who knew perfect could be so simple?" Izzy sighs as she lies back on the picnic rug, the autumn sun gently warming us. She places her head on my thigh and I reach down to stroke my fingers through her hair, keeping my eyes on Jimmy and Sasha playing with a ball on the grass in front of us.

"Hmm, feels like there's a lot of perfect in my life right now."

She looks up at me and smiles. "Yep, there's another piece," I say, leaning down and kissing her lips softly.

"You're getting soppy in your old age," she teases.

"Hey! Who are you calling old?" I demand, unable to stop a smile forcing its way out of my offended pretense. "Besides, I was always like this, I've just never had an outlet for it before."

"Aside from your princess," she says, gesturing towards Sasha. I grin.

"Well obviously."

Izzy teases me just as hard as Kate always has done over my infatuation with my baby girl.

"I feel so bad for that girl when she wants to start dating," she says.

I laugh.

"Don't be ridiculous."

She raises an eyebrow at me.

"You're not going to be an over-protective nightmare?" she asks.

"No, don't be ridiculous, as in she's not going to date. Ever."

Izzy snorts.

"Yeah, right! Good luck with that!"

"Hey, they'll have to get past Jimmy too. I'm telling you, it's never going to happen."

She turns her head to watch the two children playing, smiles and sighs happily.

"Yeah, he kind of adores her. She's obviously got some pretty wicked male-targeted voo-doo skills. I really don't think you're going to stand much of a chance with the whole dating thing."

"Okay, can we drop it now? You're scaring me."

"You're scared because you know how teenage boys think," she challenges with a smirk.

"No, I'm scared because I know just how bad teenage girls can be." I cock an eyebrow at her. Where once she'd have taken it as a jibe, she narrows her eyes at me in faux anger, unable to stop one side of her mouth curling up into a smile as she tries to fight the mirth. We've been practicing de-sensitizing ourselves to our past, and slowly but surely, it's working.

I grin.

"I love you."

"I love you too."

I'm leaning in to kiss her when two small bodies crash into us and we fall into a giggling mass.

"And I love you, and I love you," I tell Sasha and Jimmy, grabbing them both and planting big sloppy kisses on each of their faces. They both squeal as Izzy sits up and we hug around them, trapping them between our bodies.

We're happy in our time being twenty-two and carefree, but we're infinitely happier when we're being twenty-two and sitting comfortably in the roles we've carved for ourselves.

Parent, guardian, care-giver, nurturer, protector.

Boyfriend, girlfriend, lover.



~ The End ~

A/N ~ So we reached the end *tear*. I started writing this story having not been able to get a single word down for seven months, despite my best efforts. This was always intended as a vessel for getting myself writing again, and in that sense it's been a huge success for me personally. I'm aware some people feel there are things that remain unexplained, but the motives for everything included in the story are all in here if you look.

To all those who have lasted until the end, enjoyed the story, talked to me about it on FB, reviewed it, pimped it out, thank you! I love you all 3

Special thanks to SparrowNotes24 and Chocaholic123 for their support, encouragement and reining in of some of my more controversial ideas ;)

There is an outtake on here, listed as a separate story (She Outtakes) under my other stories. The second part to the chapter already posted up, will follow soon.