So I know I said that there'd be one final chapter from Bear's perspective ... but my imagination was dead slow and I'd already written most of the epilogue, so I elected to get it over and done with.
In other words, this is the last chapter.
So I'd like to give a massive thankyou to everyone who has followed and supported this fanfic. Everytime a little notification for a new review crossed my screen, it made me glow. It's been a long ride and I'm so glad that so many people have enjoyed.
In the future there may be a few side-fics in this AU, so stay tuned!
Disclaimer: I do not own the Medoran Chronicles.
She had his eyes, Jordan Sparker noticed, as the pudgy pink fingers of his newborn daughter curled around his index finger.
He still couldn't entirely believe that this precious, impossibly tiny bundle lying in his arms was his very own daughter. Sure, he'd seen a lot of newborn babies before, especially in the last few years, but he'd never imagined that one day he'd have a child of his own.
But happiness had blossomed again for him, opening up like a tender and fragile flower, returning like a migrating animal after a particularly brutal winter. It had taken him a few years for the wounds from D.C.'s death to turn to scars, for him to tuck her away in his heart and open it up again for something new, somebody new.
There had been a lot of somebodies, a lot of frustration, and multiple times he feared he'd never have somebody the way that Alex had Kaiden or Bear had Declan. He had feared that his other half had been the one who had fallen to her death in the Battle of Meya, and for a while, that had been the case.
But then he had met April, a girl with healer's hands and no small amount of compassion. Even then it had taken him a while to accept her, to open up to her, to give her the love that he had known he wanted to give her. She'd been the first woman who he had looked her in the eye and told her exactly who the names over his heart belonged to. She'd been the first woman who he had gone after himself, instead of playing the game when she came to him. She'd been the first woman who Jordan had been able to say those three words to, without the immediate sting of betrayal or a slice of terror.
He'd asked her to marry him two years ago. He hadn't regretted it once.
"She's so beautiful," Jordan said to his wife, who was propped up in the hospital bed he was seated beside. April grinned at him, her hazel eyes bright with joy despite the weariness lining them. "I'm so proud of you."
She reached out, the light catching her wedding ring, as she ran an affectionate arm over his shoulders and the nape of his neck. "I'm proud of us." Despite having just experienced her first childbirth and almost sixteen hours of labour, she was still radiant. Her rich chocolatey skin was practically leeching her happiness, her curly black hair framed her face perfectly, and she couldn't seem to stop smiling.
Jordan smiled at her, and was just about to lean in and kiss her, when a light knock sounded on the door. A moment later, somebody's face peered in through the panel of distorted glass that was set in the door. He recognised it immediately. "Yeah, come in, mate. You're the godfather after all."
The door slid quietly open, and in stepped Bear, still in his lab slacks, closely followed by Alex, who was also still in her work gear. They both looked a little worse for wear - after all, they'd been at the hospital ever since April had first gone into labour, but they were both grinning at Jordan, who returned their ecstasy with ease.
"She's beautiful," cooed Alex as her eyes took in the sight of the newborn in Jordan's arms, dropping quietly beside him and wordlessly admiring the baby.
"That she is," beamed Jordan.
"Congrats, mate," said Bear, as Alex moved up to embrace April and offer her own congratulations. He stood beside Jordan, and for a moment, both men stared wordlessly down into the tiny baby's face. She blinked lazily up at them, her huge blue eyes staring back at them.
The four sat in companionable silence for a few moments, all quietly watching the daughter, until Bear finally spoke again.
"Have you picked a name for her?"
Jordan shared a quiet grin with his wife. She smiled back at him encouragingly - at first, he'd been apprehensive of asking this of her, but April had readily accepted it. Just like she always had, whenever it came to D.C. and the place in his heart she'd always have.
"Yes." Jordan held his daughter's gaze tenderly for a long moment before raising his gaze back to the two people standing before them.
It had taken many months following Aven's defeat and D.C.'s death for them to grow together again. To learn to completely trust, to once again reveal their secrets, to give each other the strength they all so desperately needed. Even then, years had passed before each of them had finally found peace with the ghosts of their past.
And by then, life had fallen into place.
Alex had been the first to marry, then Bear, both to the same boys who had been their rock in the darkest days of their teen years. Jordan met April not long after Evie was first accepted into Akarnae academy. The funerals of Gammy and Alex's abuela had gone and went, and were now looked back on with dear memories instead of tears.
"Take your time, why don't you?"
Jordan grinned at Alex's ever present sarcasm. "Her name's Lucy. Lucy Dominica Sparker."
"Lucy?" came Bear's quizzical tone.
"I like it," Alex said immediately. "Better than Barnold."
"I'm not saying it's bad - it's actually quite a nice name. I just wasn't expecting Jordan to name his firstborn that." Bear arched his eyebrows.
From behind him, April spoke up, her matter-of-fact tone answering Bear's question without an ounce of doubt.
"It's Lucy, as in Delucia."
Alex released a breathy sound of realisation, as Bear slowly nodded his acceptance. Jordan smiled nervously, still apprehensive of their reactions.
"It's perfect, mate."
And Jordan smiled - smiled because of his daughter, smiled because of his wife, smiled because of his friends, the people who had stood by his side for so long. D.C. would always be a precious piece of his heart, would always be somebody dear to him, but the memory of her was no longer one that cost him such pain.
But for now, and for as long as he lived, he would hold the people dearest to him close, and never again let them go.
*plays the ending credits*