Disclaimer: Hmmm... I own my kids (Because I made them) I own my husband, (Because the Marriage License says so) and I own a REALLY big mortgage. (Because I'm stupid and signed on the dotted line.) However I don't own Trigun. (Because if I did, I wouldn't have said mortgage.)

"blah blah" : talking

'blah blah' : thinking

"blah blah" : telepathic talking

blah blah : other misc. stuff.

A/N: April 17, 2006 Well… it's finally finished and even re-edited! Though, I'm sure there are still a couple errors. (We are talking about me, after all!) I did tweak a few of the scenes to make it flow better, too. So, if you have the time and/or were planning on re-reading the story, please let me know what you think of the differences.

Forever Mine

Forever Mine: The Epilogue

"MMMOOOMMM…" A girl's voice screamed angrily and with such vehemence that the piercing cry carried through the canopy of trees like a banshee's wail. Everything within a five ile radius stopped what it was doing, animals included, while listening intently for more hollers. They all knew there was more to come, quite a bit more, especially the two women who were bent over meticulously tending a garden.

"Oh no…" One of the two groaned, as she picked up a dark brown wicker basket full of carrots and green beans and stood erect. "What do you think they've done this time?"

"Hard telling," the other answered, straightening also with one hand instantly moving to the small of her back, while the other went to her very, very swollen belly. Then with a sigh she added, "I'm sure it was something quite rotten, though."

"I'm sure it was," the first agreed dismally, while running her free hand through her long and curly red hair. With a deep sigh, she turned her head to peer through the openings of a real wood gazebo just a few yarz away. She immediately set her aurulent gaze on their home, a metallic ship that stood ramrod straight, with half of its body buried underground. At the entrance, which was a large bay door, she saw a girl about the age of twelve with long and wavy strawberry blonde hair standing stiffly with her petite hands clenched tightly next to her blue denim clad thighs. The very next instant, the girl rushed down the incline and over the cobblestone pathway that led to the gazebo and eventually the garden.

"Mom!" she cried again, deciding to forgo the path and ran across the green grass instead. Then upon reaching the garden, she irately added, "Those heathens are at it again!"

"Rem, baby, what happened?" the redhead asked in concern as she wrapped her free arm around her daughter's shoulders.

"Those immature cretins hacked their way into my room and… and… ugh!" Rem exploded as her blue eyes, her father's eyes, glittered in anger.

"What did they do now?" the other woman asked with exasperation apparent, as she moved her hand from her stomach to wipe the sweat from her brow while brushing her raven bangs out of her eyes.

"Well… Aunt Meryl," Rem started, calming down a bit and turning her attention to the very pregnant woman. "They used the genetic remoleculizer again, only this time they created snakes! And, what's worse is that they put them in my bed!"

"SSS…Snakes?" Meryl sputtered, in complete shock before looking to Rem's mom. "McKenna?"

"What kind of snakes? Did you get bitten?" McKenna hastily asked, instantly dropping the basket and ripping off her gardening gloves so she could check her daughter for puncture wounds and signs of poisoning.

"No mom, I didn't get bitten," the strawberry blonde replied with a roll of her eyes, while her mother proceeded to push up the sleeves of her baby blue scoop-necked shirt. "They were only garter snakes, anyway." Parents always had a tendency to overreact.

"That doesn't matter," Meryl bit out with her own anger rising, while McKenna started to breathe a little easier. Then with a low growl, the petite woman telepathically yelled to the co-conspirators, "Vash Alexander and Nicholas David, you have exactly one minute to get your butts out here or I'm gonna come in there and drag you out! And believe me; you won't like that one bit!"

"Meryl, are you sure you're up to reprimanding them?" Mac asked before looking down at her friend's/patient's protruding stomach that was currently covered by a pair of beige overalls. "You really should watch your stress level. Caden could always take care of it for you," she added, lifting her gaze and meeting Meryl's.

"No, I'm fine," she replied with a sigh as she moved her hand back to her belly and started to lightly rub in a clockwise motion. "Actually, I'm kind of hoping it puts me into labor, since it seems like nothing else is working," Meryl supplied wearily as she glanced around the garden. Even bending over to weed and pick fresh vegetables for dinner three days in a row wasn't helping.

"Well… I'm sure that Vash will be able to help, just as soon as he and Knives return," McKenna supplied suggestively with a wink right before two blurs came tearing out of the ship.

An instant later, two prepubescent boys stood before them. They were twins with short hair the color of onyx that stuck up in every direction while their eyes, that glinted impishly, were a vibrant aqua. Like two peas in a pod they were, to the point that even their outfits matched, beige loose fitting cargo pants and blue denim button down shirts that were, of course, un-tucked. They were completely identical in every way except for one distinguishing feature that separated the two. Vash, the elder by a mere ten minutes, had a tiny mole under his left eye, while Nick (or Nicholas when he was in trouble) had one under his right.

"Mom, it wasn't me!" the boys simultaneously cried in their own defense prior to pointing at each other and declaring, "It was his idea!"

"I don't care whose idea it was," Meryl huffed, while crossing her arms over her chest only for them to end up lying on the top of her belly. "What ever possessed you two to do something so idiotic!" she demanded a moment later, instantly flinging her hands in the air, completely unable to believe that her own children could do something so rash without considering the consequences first. They should have her logic, after all. Then again, she did have to remember just who their father was. "The both of you should have more common sense than that!"

"But mom," Vash Jr. pleaded. "We were just trying to help!"

"Yeah mom!" Nick put in before quickly adding, "We thought the snakes would help in the garden, honest!"

"But you put them in my bed, you morons!" Rem groused, while glaring at her cousins.

"Uhhh… they were cold?" Nick threw in doubtfully, the reply sounding more like a question.

Vash instantly jabbed his brother in the side with his elbow while telepathically berating him for his 'brilliant' cover-up. "Dork, you should have made it sound more convincing!"

"Yeah, you should have made it more convincing," Meryl angrily repeated only out loud to reveal that had she intercepted the thought. Narrowing her eyes and resting her hands on her hips, she started to reprimand the youths…

"You two are lucky that your father isn't here right now and that I am unable to properly punish you…" she growled, before pausing a moment as she closed her eyes and grimaced while laying her right hand on the top her painfully tightening belly. Once the prepping pain stopped, she absently thought that she couldn't wait until that was over as she breathed out slowly. Finally opening her molten silver orbs, she immediately set them back on her sons and continued, "First, you are going to apologize to Rem! Then secondly, you are going to get the snakes and set them free. And third, you are going to clean that thomas stall of a room of yours! Then once you are done with all of that, you will come out here and weed until I say you are done. Oh and you are grounded for…"

"Oh wow! What's going on! I heard the ruckus from inside," A tall brunette called, interrupting 'the judge reciting the sentencing' after she emerged from the ship with two toddlers resting snugly on her either side of her hips. With long strides and a big smile, she immediately started toward the group "Gosh, what did they do now?" she then asked as she reached them before turning her attention to McKenna and completely changed the subject. "These little guys just woke from their nappies, so I thought I'd bring them out for some fresh air!" she chirped while McKenna reached for her rapidly growing sixth month old boys.

"Oh thank you, Milly," McKenna said with a smile, while positioning them on her hips, like Milly previously had them. Tilting her head down, she kissed the crowns of their baby-fine platinum blonde heads before absently noting, "I bet you two need your pants changed, don't you…"

"Nope, I already did it!" Milly happily supplied as she clasped her hands together in front of her chest. McKenna couldn't help but give the taller woman a grateful smile while exclaiming that she was the best. Of course, the big-girl just played the whole thing off by saying that it wasn't a big deal and that anyone could change a simple diaper. Then looking back over to her ex-partner (since they were no longer employed by Bernardelli) she said, "Gosh, Meryl, you never said what was going on!"

"And that's because you never gave me a chance to," the short-girl curtly replied, furrowing her brow. Sometimes, she really wondered about her best friend.

"Oh right! Sorry…" Milly muttered sheepishly with a small giggle escaping. Then without another thought, she asked, "So what happened?"

"Hold on and I'll tell you," Meryl responded, lifting her left hand in the air with her middle and index finger raised motioning to give her a minute. Then bringing her immediate attention back to her sons, she unwaveringly told them that they had better get a move on or else she would have Knives take care of them instead of their father once the two returned. The insinuation instantly set the twins in motion. They quickly apologized to Rem and before she could even accept the apology, they rushed off toward the ship to rustle up the stray snakes. The petite beauty simply watched the two go and once they disappeared, she sighed deeply while shaking her head. They were definitely Vash's kids, she thought before finally looking to the big-girl. "Why don't we sit in the gazebo, first and then I'll tell you, okay? I would like to get off of my feet for awhile."

"Okie dokie, Sempai!"

"Milly you really don't have to call me that, you know," she advised, taking her own gloves off as McKenna asked Rem to put both pairs away before taking the basket into the galley.

"Oh I know, Sempai!" the big-girl replied with a bright smile before explaining in detail as to why she couldn't just stop the 'nickname' as the four walked down the pathway.

Upon reaching the real wood gazebo, the three women stepped up into it while Rem started toward the ship. McKenna instantly set her boys, Cameron and Connor, down on beige and terra cotta colored woven rug in the middle of the floor before plopping down as well and reaching for the toy chest under the far bench. While the former insurance girls made themselves comfortable by sitting on one of the many pillow covered benches that lined the perimeter of the shaded octagonal structure.

"So where are Caden and little Ian, anyway?" Meryl asked, a little breathless, as she lifted her legs and turned to sit sideways on the bench. A moss green colored pillow cushioned her back as she leaned against the armrest and extended her legs along the rectangular seat.

"They'll be here shortly," Milly responded lightly while glancing back at the ship prior to supplying, "The long range scanners picked something up and Caden wanted to check it out before joining us." Looking back at her ex-partner, she smiled brightly before adding, "I bet that it's Mr. Vash and Mr. Knives."

"I hope so," Meryl sighed, while running a hand through her shoulder length raven hair.

"Me too," Mac instantly agreed, pulling blocks out of the toy box and setting them in front of her twins to keep them entertained. The boys' hazel eyes twinkled merrily as each one babbled the letter 'B' repeatedly and reached for their toys just as soon as their mother started putting them down. "They have been gone too long this time," she murmured before sighing herself. Like Meryl, and Milly for that matter, she truly disliked being apart from her mate, especially for any considerable length of time and this occasion was the longest by far.

Eight weeks ago Theodore Madsen had contacted the group by using a special video receiver that Vash had given him shortly after they located the plant ship. With the instant access to his ever growing family, the Attorney General requested the help of his 'special task force' (a.k.a. Vash, Knives, and Caden) in the hunting down and capturing of a very volatile and destructive group of bandits. So the twins, since they were already planning a trip to New Oregon for the ribbon cutting for 'the Solar Dome' anyway, decided that they would carry out the assignment, while Caden remained behind to watch over things.

Three days after the initial contact, the twins left their niche, heading south toward the group's last known whereabouts. With very little trouble and a little more (okay, so it was quite a bit more) property damage, they had the thugs apprehended within ten days and a week later, they completed their task by turning them into headquarters in New DC. Once both Marshals finished the claim forms for both the damage and their commission, Vash and Knives immediately left for New Oregon for the opening ceremonies for Doc's brilliant creation, which was scheduled a week after that.

Because Meryl was close to term, the gestation period for a Plant fetus being only twenty weeks, and for the simple fact that they missed their families, the brothers were only planning on visiting for a few days. But, unfortunately, the day before their planned departure, Vash received an urgent wire. The missive was from Lina, the young girl who had helped him during his absence after the fifth moon incident. As per 'Erik's' instructions, she had it sent to Max Simon in which she sadly informed her surrogate brother that their grandma, Sheryl, had passed away. So, without hesitation, the former outlaw and his twin (because he had little choice in the matter) decided to head to Kasted City before returning home. That was almost two weeks prior, but according to the last message, which was relayed by the Doc on his own receiver, the twins were expected home at any time.

"They have been," Meryl said, agreeing with the redhead as she moved her left hand to her cramping belly and started rubbing again. The mild contractions were really starting to annoy her. "The broom-head had better hurry or he just might miss seeing the birth of his daughter," she then mumbled, mostly to herself right before movement coming from the ship's entrance caught her eye.

It was Caden, but he wasn't alone.

Perched upon his shoulders was a little boy, about the age of six, who was squealing happily with his arms outstretched. His father held his legs securely on either side of his head, while playfully adding spring to his step making his carbon copy bounce in earnest with every movement.

"Milly, are you sure you had anything to do with him?" McKenna asked with a laugh, after noticing that the two were approaching. "I swear if you let his hair grow and put it in a pony tail, you would have a mini-Caden."

"Gosh… I hope I had something to do with him," Milly replied, while crinkling her nose over the notion. "I had him in my tummy for almost five months! And, besides, I don't know if Caden would have been able to make him without me!"

"No, I don't think that he would…" Meryl granted, laughing as well.

"What's so funny?" Caden asked upon reaching the ladies.

"Oh nothing, but you and your dominant genes!" McKenna replied as the long haired man pulled his son off of his shoulders and set him inside the gazebo. The little guy instantly rushed to the toy box to see what he could play with.

"That again, huh," he muttered with a roll of his emerald eyes as he stepped over and sat next to Milly. Wrapping his left arm around her shoulders, he pulled her close and kissed her softly on the lips as a wicked thought crossed his mind. Sitting back, he glanced toward the other ladies and wolfishly said, "Hmmm… maybe I should let her genes play the dominant roll…" Then returning his attention to his wife, he winked and suggestively added, "What do ya' think, blue-eyes? Wanna dominate me?"

"God… and I thought Vash was bad," Meryl interjected sardonically, keeping Milly from replying. Then before the conversation could get any worse with more sexual innuendoes, the petite woman quickly changed the subject. "So, what did the sensors pick up?"

"It was the ATV," Walker informed Meryl with his brow furrowed. "And when I scanned for heat signatures, there were four of them, but unfortunately, they are still too far out to contact telepathically."

"Four?" she questioned, chewing on her bottom lip. They all knew that Vash was going to ask Lina to come back with him, so, she mostly likely was one of the other passengers, but… "Who's the fourth, I wonder?"

"Well, I'm sure the third one is Lina," McKenna pointed out the obvious before wondering out loud, "Did she have a close friend or even a boyfriend, perchance?"

"I'm not sure," Meryl replied before adding, "I believe that she's nineteen or twenty, now, so I guess either is possible."

"Well, they should be in telepathic range in about a half hour, so, all we can do is wait," Caden stated right before his son came rushing up to him with an off-white baseball in hand.

"Wanna play catch, daddy?" Ian asked hopefully, his bright green eyes sparkling while holding the ball out to the Bringer of Chaos.

"Catch, huh?" he responded with a wide grin as he removed his arm from around his wife's shoulders and stood, accepting the ball. "Yeah, I think we could do that."

"Gee… can I play too, sweetie?" Milly asked her son as she stood as well.

"Okie… mommy," Ian replied before darting down the two steps and to the green grass.

With a fanciful smile gracing her ever youthful face, Meryl watched as Milly and Caden stepped out of the gazebo, hand in hand, heading toward their son. It was hard to believe that the two had been married for over four years and, even though Ian was almost three, he looked twice his age since he was a Plant. Time was really flying the petite beauty thought absently as she watched the trio tossing the ball around. It seemed like it was only yesterday when the big-girl finally decided that it was time to take things further with their final assignment, but in all actuality is was five years ago. Just two years after they arrived at the Plant ship, their home now.

Meryl remembered that day explicitly. Milly had broached the subject of her and Caden's relationship one evening after supper while washing dishes. After a few minutes of idle chatter about the brunette gunman, the taller woman finally said that she would always love her darling Nicholas, but it was time to move on. So she did. Later that night she visited Caden in his quarters and the very next day they became hers as well. Six months later, they were married back in her home town outside of December City and in front of the entire Thompson clan. It was a beautiful day in April and Milly had never looked lovelier.

The very pregnant woman's recollections instantly made her think of her own wedding day, which occurred shortly after the Thompson annual Christmas party over seven years ago. It was hastily put together and her parents weren't exactly thrilled (to say the least) that she was marrying the legendary gunman. Well, that is until they found out that Vash was a Federal Marshal and made really, really good money. Then they welcomed him with open arms. It ended up being a simple ceremony officiated by a justice of the peace with immediate family only. The entire thing lasted only ten minutes and within that time, Knives groused continually, Milly bawled, her mother sobbed, while asking for at least three grandkids and a guarantee for at least one letter a month from her daughter. Caden and McKenna simply stood by and enjoyed the show.

She remembered hearing Vash's nervous laughter on the other side of the door while he was making ill attempts at humor in order to distract everyone. That is until she entered the room on her father's arm. Upon setting his stunning eyes on her, the golden blonde's anxiousness immediately disappeared, being replaced by love and pride. By the time she reached his side, a tear slipped down his cheek as he telepathically told her that he had never seen anything as captivating as she was and that he was the luckiest man on all of Gunsmoke.

It truly was a wonderful day Meryl reminisced, while looking down to the circlet of gold and sapphires on her left ring finger. She still didn't know how he found time to buy the ring, let alone find something so exquisite, especially with all of the traveling they had done over those weeks after Cruz's demise. But he did and it was perfect…

'He's perfect,' she thought as a fanciful smile floated across her face. Being married to the Humanoid Typhoon had been amazing. He was kind, attentive, and even at times, a complete moron, but she wouldn't have wanted him any other way. And when the twins were born, five and a half years ago, Meryl had never seen him look so awed before. Again the tears were falling from his expressive eyes as he cradled his sons. She committed to memory how he simply sat next to her on the infirmary bed while staring at the little bundles in his arms before finally breathing out, 'We really made them, Meryl.' Just remembering those five words and the raw emotion in his voice when he said them still made her misty-eyed and sent tingles all throughout her body.

"Are you okay, Aunt Meryl?" Rem asked as she set a tray holding a large pitcher of lemonade, several glasses, and an old book, titled War and Peace, down on one of the tables that were built in between the bench seats, connecting them together.

"Oh… ummm… yes," Meryl replied, instantly snapping out of her thoughts as she looked up to her niece and gave her a bright smile. "I was just doing a little thinking…"

"Are you sure?" the pre-teen (at least in appearance) then asked while pouring a glass of lemonade. Handing the glass to Meryl, she added, "Is there anything that I could help you with?"

"No I'm fine, thank you. Did the boys manage to find all of the snakes?"

"I'm not su…" Rem started only to stop mid sentence as the current topics of discussion came flying out of the ship rushing toward the lilac bushes that bordered the south side of the garden. Meryl immediately contacted the two and by the time they started back to the ship, she received and relayed confirmation that the unwanted visitors were out of the bedroom. A sigh of relief escaped the strawberry blonde, before she groaned, "Oh god, I had better check my room. I'm sure those idiots completely trashed it." And with that, she turned and hurried back to the ship.

'Sweet little Rem,' Meryl thought before chuckling internally, while amending, 'though, she isn't so little anymore.' And she wasn't. With just one look, anyone could tell that she was going to be quite tall. Fortunately, like Vash Jr. and Nick, she had inherited her height from her father, while getting her fiery disposition and the desire to help others from her mother. The petite beauty was definitely glad that she didn't get Knives' attitude.

Knives hadn't changed much over the past seven years. He was still the same cynical, arrogant, and demanding Plant that thought the world revolved around him. Not to mention, he still had the notion that humans were inferior and preferred to stay away from them as much as possible. From time to time, he would even advise Vash that he had not completely decided if the breed deserved to live or not. Though, Meryl had a feeling that he would remind his twin of that fact just to irritate him.

Meryl would also have to admit that being a father suited him and he absolutely doted on Rem, even before she was born. The day that McKenna told him that he was going to be a father would go down in infamy, for it was the day that Millions Knives proved that he was more like his twin than he ever wanted to admit. After running a few tests to verify her findings, the normally reserved man actually whooped for joy. Mac was not only pregnant, but she had also completely mutated into a Plant. His theory was correct and the platinum blonde was so ecstatic that he picked up and swung her around before pulling her into a tight hug as silent tears slipped down his cheeks. And after that fateful day, he watched the redhead like a hawk, making sure that she didn't over tax herself doing even the simplest of chores. Even the subsequent tests that he ran were non-evasive.

It was rather sweet really, Meryl thought as she turned her attention to the toddlers and their mother stacking blocks up on the floor. McKenna really was good for the ex-homicidal Plant and their relationship was as strong as ever. The two never actually married, since Knives was completely against conforming to another 'human' custom. And they still bickered all of the time, but that was just par for the course. Besides, Meryl figured that they actually enjoyed their little 'spats,' especially when making up was so enjoyable.

'Make up sex is always fun,' Meryl laughed to herself right before she felt another presence enveloping her.

"Hmmm… I could go for some of that! So what do ya' say, short-girl, wanna get into a fight?"

"Vash!" she breathed happily as she looked pointedly at McKenna and saw her fanciful smile. The lady doctor was most likely having a telepathic conversation with Knives. "How far out are you?" she quickly asked after giving her complete attention to her husband.

"Actually, we just pulled up," Vash replied sheepishly.

"What! And you're just now contacting me?" Meryl groused, while slipping her legs off of the bench and trying to stand only to stop as Vash spoke again.

"Now don't get your panties into a bunch, we'll be out there just as soon as I show Lina and her husband to their quarters."

"Lina's married?" Meryl yelled out loud, as well as telepathically back to Vash, making Caden and Milly stop their game of catch with their son.

"Yup, she sure is!" Vash replied happily.

"But isn't she kinda young, Vash?" Meryl then asked as the Walker family headed back to the gazebo.

"Nah… not really," he said before adding, "Besides, wait until you meet him. I'm sure it's gonna be a big surprise! "

"Why, who is it?"

"Nope, not telling! You're just gonna have to wait until we come out, which will be in about five minutes!" Vash answered back before severing the connection.

"Oh… that broom-head!" Meryl complained as she crossed her arms over her chest/stomach, clearly irritated over his non answer. It wasn't nice making an impatient pregnant woman wait, after all!

"Gosh, are Mr. Vash and Mr. Knives are back, Meryl?" Milly asked, stepping up and into the gazebo with Ian close behind, while Caden took a couple of unsure steps toward the ship. The big-girl immediately noticed that her husband wasn't following. When she turned to look at him, she felt the strange emotions running through him. "Caden, sweetheart, what's the matter?"

"I don't know…" he whispered, as he ran an uncertain hand up through his bangs and over his head only to stop at the leather tie holding his hair at the nape of his neck. "I know this may sound strange, blue-eyes," he finally began after taking a long breath and shifting so he could gaze upon his wife. "But, I could have sworn that I felt my brother. That's impossible, though… right?"

"Not necessarily," Milly responded, while smiling brightly as McKenna stood and helped Meryl up. "Who knows, maybe he's the husband that Lina brought with her!"

"Yeah, but are the odds of that happening?" Meryl interjected just as Knives stepped out of the ship.

"Alexander," McKenna breathed her hazel eyes glistened with unshed tears as she slipped around Milly and ran toward her mate. A few moments later, she launched herself into his arms, right before Rem came running out of the ship and joined in on the hug. Once the embrace ended, the trio walked up to the gazebo so the platinum blonde could see his boys and greet the others.

After another minute, Vash emerged from the ship laughing jovially. His own boys were wiggling desperately, while trying to escape from being carried over their father's shoulders. The sight was quite entertaining and everyone's eyes were on the three until another couple, holding hands, came out of the ship a few steps behind the Federal Marshal.

The first of the two was a petite young woman with deep crimson hair that brushed just past her chin. Her luminous blue eyes were absorbing every detail of her new home as she looked about plush green landscape. Then with a bright smile, she looked up at her husband, a tall athletic looking man with cropped chestnut hair and indigo blue eyes. He smiled back down at her before turning his complete attention to the group before them. Immediately noticing the long haired man, a smile crossed his familiar face before he called out to him in greeting…

"Hey Caden…"



"I still can't believe that all of the places that Regan could have been that he ended up being the same place where you disappeared to all of those years ago," Meryl said. While rinsing her toothbrush under the faucet of their bathroom sink, the small woman glanced at her husband's reflection in the mirror as he showered.

"Oh I know," Vash agreed. His soapy hair was slicked straight up and going down the center of his head, like a Mohawk, as he peeked around the partially opened frosted glass shower door. "I was quite shocked when I saw him standing next to Lina."

"I bet," the petite woman muttered, while patting her mouth dry with a pale blue towel before setting it back on the towel rack to the left of the sink. Turning around, her direct gaze met with his before she said, "And it's really amazing that she's the one who found him. Though, it's too bad that he lost his memory after he fell into that ravine."

"Yeah… it's definitely not a fun feeling," the ex-outlaw murmured, sliding the door shut and sticking his head back under the fall of water. "He's lucky that someone as sweet as Lina found him," he added telepathically, so he didn't have to talk above the spray. "Or else who knows what would have happened to him. She did say that she found him passed out in the dunes north of town. He was in pretty bad shape… sunburned, dehydrated and it makes me wonder if he would have survived much longer if she hadn't found him."

"True," she replied as she looked to the tiled floor. It was nothing short of a miracle that Lina decided to head out in that direction, while looking for a stray thomas that escaped from its pen. That was three years ago. "Though I wonder what he did before then…" Meryl pondered to her husband, while looking back up to the shower doors and gazing upon his perfect silhouetted form through the smoky glass.

"Who knows," Vash sighed before adding, "All he said was that he wandered from town to town, while trying to figure out who he was."

"That must have been so difficult."

"It is," the showering man affirmed, while briefly reflecting on his own bout of amnesia. "And I'm glad that Knives was able to help him recover his memories."

"Yeah…" Meryl agreed as she smiled. It really was nice of Knives to willingly help Caden's brother. Though, Regan was a Plant, so, it really wasn't that far of a stretch to imagine the arrogant man helping him. But he did assist the Doc, who was definitely a human, on his solar greenhouse design. "Oh… how did the Solar Dome ribbon cutting go?" she asked a moment later. With all of the excitement from the 'Walker reunion,' she had completely forgotten to ask. "I bet Doc was grinning from ear to ear the whole time!"

"Oh he was!" Vash laughed. "Believe it or not, the whole thing went off without a hitch and he said that three more cities have purchased designs for their own! So far, that brings the total up to ten cities!"

"Wow that's great!" she exclaimed as Vash shut the water off before opening the door and stepping out. He just stood there in all his naked glory while rivulets of water trickled down his scarred but stunning body. Stifling a groan, the petite beauty instantly reached for his towel and handed it to him, before rushing out of the bathroom. It wouldn't do her any good in the last stage of pregnancy to get all worked up over seeing his nude form. She didn't feel the least bit desirable, especially since it looked like she swallowed and was carrying a whole watermelon in front of her.

"What's wrong, short-girl?" the golden blonde asked, though he already knew, while peeking out of the bathroom doorway and into their bedroom, watching as his wife crawl into bed.

"NNN…Nothing broom-head… just tired," Meryl stammered, while turning on her left side, so that her back was facing him and clutching a pillow to her stomach. Then to quickly change the subject, she mentally asked, "How's Jessica doing?"

"She's fine," he sighed, before finishing getting ready for bed. "She and Jason are still happily married and she pregnant again."

"Again? Won't this be their… what, fifth child?"

"Nope, sixth!"

Wow! They've been busy!" she laughed internally, right before she felt Vash coming closer.

"They have been," he replied with a chuckle as he crawled into bed. The very next instant, Vash pulled the pillow out of her grasp and tossed it to the floor. Wrapping his arms around his mate, he pulled her close with her bottom pressed snugly against his enthusiastic groin. His eyes darkened to a steely teal as he gently caressed her protruding stomach with his real hand and started to nibble on her ear, right next the golden earring that she was wearing. Then on the exhale of a perfectly placed breath that sent shivers down her spine, he whispered, "I'm still naked, Meryl…"

"Oh Vash…" the woman groaned, trying to suppress the weakness overcoming her, before faintly remembering that she was very pregnant and wasn't supposed to feel like such a wanton. "We… ahhh… can't…"

"Why not…" the aroused man pressed as he slipped his hand under soft blue cotton night gown and started to run his fingers along her shapely thigh.

"I'm… ahhh… pregnant, remember…" she croaked halfheartedly. She really couldn't see why it was an issue, any longer.

"Yeah… so?" He then asked before starting to name of a couple of reasons as to why they should. "I haven't seen you in almost eight weeks and I really, really missed you. Not to mention that when you do have the baby we won't be able to do it for awhile. Besides, red said that it would help you go into labor, remember," Vash pointed out, before groaning, "God… Meryl, I think you're incredibly sexy and I just can't seem to help myself…"

"Really!" she half asked, half moaned as he nudged her raven hair out of his way and pulled the strap of her nightie down her shoulder with his teeth. He then proceeded to lay open-mouthed kisses along her pulse point.

"Oh yeah…" he breathed against her neck, while slipping his hand down to her cotton panties and running his index finger just under the elastic.

"Well… how could I possibly say no then," Meryl whispered before tilting her head so their lips could share a hungry kiss…

That wasn't the end, it was only the beginning. The two had a lifetime ahead of them full of experiences ranging from the good to the bad. They had forever to share and not only with one another, but also with their ever-growing family of Plants, including brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews. It made having such a prolonged life worth living, for all of them, even if it meant they would outlive friends, parents, and in some cases, siblings. And it was significantly for more than just finding their own little niche in the world or doing it in order to create a superior breed.

It was because they found and created their own paradise…

And for those who were curious, Meryl went into labor that following morning and less than six hours later, Isabella Christina Saverem was born. Both mother and baby were healthy and fine.

The End


Simply amazing!

That is really all I can say about the emotions churning inside me at this very moment! (yes, like I said last chapter, I'm being all weepy right now!) It's truly hard to believe that after a year and a half, 63 chapters and over 295,000 words that our story has finally ended! And when I say 'our story,' I mean our story, because without all of you, the readers, this story wouldn't have been half of what it was, what it is! You were my muses, my inspiration and I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart!

I would also like to thank you, Dwellin, for taking on the task of helping this Accountant pretending to be a writer. Your betas skills are second to none and your eye for detail is top notch! (Oh and go and read her and millythompson's story, Dark Convergence… It's AMAZING!) I am truly humbled and extremely proud to call you friend! Yeah, I definitely owe you another Starbucks gift card, especially since we are tackling the beginning chapters now!

Never in a million years did I ever think that our story would inspire others, but it did and the fanart that resulted is magnificent! So, thank you very, very much, Dwellin, Darkflamangel (not to mention for your help on chapter 23), SilverMoons BlackWings, DeepRedSky, and Sempaiko! All of you have tremendous skill and your drawings make me want to pull my pencils out of retirement! (though, it has been quite awhile!)

I believe that it all, so, until next story…

Lots and lots of hugs and kisses,