"Grandma Emma, is it true?"

"Yes, little one, it is. Do you know what ambiguity is?"

"I'm not stupid, Grandmama. I am eight years old, and I can read!"

"Of course, Little One. Forgive me my impertinence."

"So, how is this ambig… ambig… amb… what you said?"

"It is a happy day and a sad day all at the same time."

"What are you talking about, Sister?"

"Good afternoon, Robert. Thank you for coming. Mama and Papa both died last night… peacefully in their sleep."

"On the same night?"

"Yes, the same night."


"Not to me. I always believed it would be thus."

"Just because you proposed for your own parents does not mean you know everything, Emmabee. Being my eldest sister does not always make you right."

"Do not be impertinent, Mr. Master of Pemberley."

"I still never understood why you did not want it."

"I had my own priorities, Robert. We need not discuss it again. You and your brother have both done well… as have we all."

"I presume they were in their bed in the dower house?"

"Yes, they are twined together like tree roots. It is really quite sweet… as if they knew it was to happen."

"Will it be difficult to separate them?"

"Why would we do that?"

"To bury them, of course."

"That famous night when I proposed to my own parents, Mama offered Papa a bargain. She said for the rest of their lives, he had the choice of the bed she happened to be in, or his coffin."

"They kept that bargain… they got a slow start, but 35 years of sleeping in the same bed is well done."

"Yes, but do you know what Papa said?"

"No, I never heard that."

"He said he agreed to the bargain, but the coffin was provisional."


"Yes. Their spirits will be together forever, we may as well have their bodies be. They lived unconventional lives, and they materially changed the world. Let us respect that. Their bodies can lie together as well. Just make a bigger coffin."

"That is… that is…"

"Just say it, Robert."

"You are a terror, Sister. But it shall be as you say."

A/N: There you have it gang, story 16 done. I know I promised faithfully I would keep this a short story… but I lied… as usual.

This story generated quite a bit of controversy, and some very interesting discussions. I must say I loved all the reviews, the discussions and the whole process.

I had longer reviews than usual for this story. It is a sensitive topic, and some thought I did a good job of handling the seriousness of the subject with humor, while others thought it was way to flippant for the seriousness of the topic. Now that you're done, you can decide and I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The dialogue-only style is unusual. Not everybody was a fan, but I quite like it. It's probably more work to read it, but it gives you a lot of latitude to fill in the blanks the way you like. Of course, when I skip months or decades, you have to fill in more blanks than usual. I have no idea what it's like to read it, so maybe one of you authors will take up the yoke and give it a try.

There was and is some doubt as to whether an HEA can or should happen in this situation. I can say that like all human situations, there is no proper answer. Look in life and you'll see both sides. Some people forgive the unforgivable, and forge a good life out of the ashes. Contrarily, some people keep excusing the unforgivable, and make a bad life worse. This is fiction, and I am predisposed to HEAs, but I am aware that in the real world, life is more complicated and sometimes the answer isn't obvious. I tried to show a bit of the ambiguity in the story, but cannot judge if it works or not.

I have covered quite a few of the bad things that can happen in the world in my stories, and I doubt I'm all done. I don't do pure ponies and rainbows very well, so if you like that sort of thing, I hope to be back in a little while with more.

I hope you enjoyed this little story, and you can take the time to tell me what you think.