Title: Fixed Determinence
Chapter 25: Epilogue: Sweet Child O' Mine
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
A/N: 1- I can't believe this is the last chapter. Partially because I really liked writing it; partially because at one point I thought it would be another uncompleted story on —with all the others. But I'm so glad I came back and finished. I'm really proud of if and in my opinion it turned out better than what I thought it would.
2- Thank you so much for reading my story (especially if you started reading it five years ago). Thank you if you took the time to review (especially if you're one of the people who reviewed almost every update). I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
3- On the trivia question: What are the chapters named for? I apparently threw some of you off with that line Tristan had about listening to country music all summer. Now, while I did use a quote from a country song at the beginning and I had Lady Antebellum's Need You Now in mind when Rory left Tristan's apartment (It's a quarter after one/I'm all alone and I need you now), Welcome to the Jungle and November Rain are definitely not country songs (song titles was correct, though, so I'll give you that). The chapter titles are. . . Guns N' Roses songs (good job to the four of you who got it!).
Epilogue: Sweet Child O' Mine
"I'm sure you all know that spring break is just around the corner. But before we get there, we will be having a celebration of knowledge, as your syllabus indicates. I recommend that you come to class every day before then, because I'll be dropping some more knowledge on you, and it will be on the test," Tristan told the class that was seated before him. "Be sure to keep up with the reading and you'll need to be familiar with characteristics of symphonies from the Romantic period for the listening portion. Also—," he stopped when his phone rang from the breast pocket of his brown jacket. He pulled it out and looked at the caller ID.
"Excuse me, but I need to take this," he said as he answered the phone. "Hello?" He listened for a moment before he rolled his eyes and shook his head. "I told her not to go in to work today. Do you know how far apart they are?" He listened to the answer with a grim expression. "Alright, thanks man. I'll be there as soon as I can," he replied before putting the phone back into his pocket.
"Today is your lucky day. I need to leave, so we're going to have to cut class short," he told the students. No one seemed too broken up about it. "We'll continue this discussion about the test next time."
"It sounds like you're going be pretty busy, Dr. DuGrey," a male student in the back of the classroom said knowingly. "Are you going to have enough time to grade all of our tests?" he asked hopefully.
"I'll find the time. And if I need a hand, I know of a few grad assistants who can help," he answered. "Have a good weekend, everybody."
Tristan gathered his things and shoved them all into his shoulder bag. He exited the room quickly and walked out of the doors of the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music building. He went to his car in the faculty parking lot and got in. It was a pretty day out, the sun was shinning and spring would be coming soon. As Tristan drove down Michigan Avenue to the northwest quadrant, he made a quick call. By the time he hung up, he was in the parking lot of the Washington Post. He entered the building and took the elevator to the third floor. Before he went to his destination, though, he stopped in the break room and got a cup of coffee. A young man with brown hair walked in and eyed Tristan suspiciously.
"What are you doing here?"
"Visiting," Tristan answered, putting a lid on the cup.
"Are you sure that's all you're here for?"
"Yes. Is that okay?"
"I guess; as long as you're the only one in your car when you leave."
"I make no promises," Tristan replied as he walked out the door and down the hall. He entered an office and walked around the desk. He leaned up against the desk casually as he crossed his arms and looked at the brunette who was typing at her computer.
"Hey, what are you doing here?" Rory asked.
"Oh, I just thought I'd drop by. How are we doing?" he asked nicely.
"I'm great," she answered heartily and looked at the time in the corner of her computer. "But shouldn't you be teaching a class right now?"
"I was. But then I got this call from your boss. He seems worried."
"I wouldn't be concerned; I always tell Doyle he stresses out too much. If it's not one thing, it's something else."
"Well, today he seems a little stressed about you. He thinks you might need to leave," Tristan explained.
"He does? That's so weird. I can't leave, I have things to do," she said before she stopped typing. She looked away, but Tristan already saw her eyes close tightly and her knuckles turn white as she gripped the edge of her desk. Tristan looked out the window and concentrated on something outside, pretending not to notice her discomfort. Two could play this game. He glanced at his watch as she turned back.
"Still doing alright, there, Mary?"
"Yeah, I'm fine. How are you?" she asked, out of breath.
"Oh, I'm good. It's just that, you look kind of uncomfortable. And you're perspiring a little."
"I'm just . . . really into this article I'm writing."
"I see," he observed as she continued typing. "Would you like to go on a drive with me? We could go look at the Potomac, maybe swing past the National Mall—it's a nice day out, so we could throw a Frisbee around—oh, and I thought we could end at the hospital," Tristan suggested nonchalantly.
"Why would we go to the hospital?"
"I think the reason is pretty obvious."
"The doctor said I have another week."
"And what have I been saying?"
"You've been saying it would be today. But Tristan, you're not that kind of doctor," she insisted. "And just because you were born on the thirteenth of the month doesn't mean your offspring will be, too."
"Apparently it does, actually. Now come on, let me take you to the hospital."
"But I'm almost finished with my rough draft; if you just let me type the final copy, I'm sure it won't take long."
"You have to proof read it before you can type the final copy," he reminded her.
"Darn it, I knew I was forgetting something."
"I thought so. And if I let you do all that, I'm fairly certain there will be a third person in the room before you're finished. And you're right; I'm not that kind of doctor." Rory closed her eyes again suddenly and tapped her foot on the floor. She cringed as she put a hand to her protruding belly and finally exhaled. Tristan looked at his watch again and took a drink of his coffee. Rory looked at the cup as he sat it down on her desk in front of her. Actually, it was more like a glare.
"You guys have good coffee here," he commented pleasantly.
"I know," she said with gritted teeth. "I made Doyle switch to a good brand when I started here."
"You know, I think I remember you saying something about that. Would you like some?"
"I can't have any, you know that. And it's your fault."
"That may be. But you could have some, you know, if you'd just let me take you to the hospital so the doctor can take that out," he said, pointing to her stomach. "It's not like your exposing Watergate, here."
"Are you saying that what I'm writing isn't important?" she asked, offended.
"I would never say that. But there are other people here who write features for the Post. We've met them, they're very nice people. I don't think they'd mind at all if you had to leave in the middle of the day to go have a baby."
"That's not entirely true. I know why you're really here. You just want to win the office pool! I don't even know how you got to participate, you don't work here!" Tristan nodded in agreement.
"That's true. Being friends with the boss' wife has perks." He looked down at his watch again as Rory grabbed his other hand and squeezed it hard. "Okay, Rory, you've had your fun, but we need to go. Now. You're not going to be able to get the drugs if you wait much longer."
"Oh shoot, I forgot about that," Rory groaned. "Tristan?"
"Yes, Dear?" he said kindly.
"I'm afraid to stand up." Tristan's eyes got wider and he raised a brow.
"I thought I was okay, but now I'm not so sure."
"Do I need to call an ambulance?" She shook her head vigorously.
"No, that would be really embarrassing."
"Well, you're going to have to try to stand, then. And go slow," he instructed as he helped his wife out of her swivel chair. They walked out of the office and slowly made their way down the hall in the direction of the elevator. The man who'd walked in on Tristan in the break room blocked their path.
"Hey, what did I tell you?" he said accusingly to Tristan. "Rory, don't you want to wait until maybe next Tuesday? It's just a few more days."
"No, she can't," Tristan answered. "Now move."
"I tried to tell him, Justin, but he's making me go!" Rory said as they heard a splashing noise. "Uh-oh."
"Gross, what's that?" Justin asked, looking at the floor.
"That's the sound of me winning your office pool," Tristan answered.
"You know what? I think I'm going to get out of your way," Justin said, backing away.
"Tell Doyle I'm sorry!" Rory called out as Tristan escorted her into the elevator.
A few hours later, Tristan walked up the stairs to a large brick structure. He entered the government building and took out his driver's license for the security guard to see before walking through the metal detector. When he was cleared he went to the elevator and rode it to the seventh floor. He walked down the hall and entered one of the offices. Paris was seated at her desk and looked up when he walked in.
"You aren't walking funny," she observed. "I take it Rory didn't get what she wanted."
"Nope," he said with a smile as he took out his cell phone and showed her the background picture.
"Damn, I lost on a technicality. I was so close, too."
"Yup, but I was closer," he said, putting the phone back in his pocket.
"I guess this means the world hasn't seen the last of your Aryan spawn yet."
"Well I can't say for sure, but it looks like my guys will swim another day," Tristan said as he looked around the office. "Speaking of my spawn, where's the other one? You didn't forget to pick him up did you?"
"No, I didn't forget, he's in the bathroom," she answered, nodding her head in the direction of a door disguised as the wall. They heard a toilet flush just then. "Wash your hands!" Tristan yelled before walking towards the door. "I'll just go make sure he does." When he walked back out, he was carrying a small blonde boy at the waist. He stood the boy on the chair on the other side of Paris' desk and stood next to him.
"I thought about having him file, but I was afraid he'd get to G and start from the beginning again," Paris stated dryly.
"Rory made sure he learned the rest. Not that I find the other nineteen letters entirely necessary," he replied.
"Daddy!" the boy exclaimed.
"What is it, buddy?" Tristan asked, looking down at his son. The three-year-old said something quickly, Paris and Tristan both listened with knit brows as they caught a few of the words, though not enough to make any sense.
"You don't say," Paris commented. Tristan looked at her and grinned.
"Aw, come on, Paris, you know you want another one."
"One is more than enough, thanks."
"You'll see. Well, Adam, are you ready to go see Mommy?" he asked. The boy nodded. "Good, we have a surprise for you." He picked the child up again.
"Tell Rory we'll be by later," Paris said.
"Will do. Thanks for picking him up, Paris."
"No problem," she replied as the two left her office.
Rory was sitting up in the hospital bed, reading a book when Adam walked into the room, carrying a bouquet of yellow tulips. Tristan was a step behind him, with a tall cup of coffee in his hand.
"There are my boys," she greeted happily as she put the book down. Her son walked to the bed and handed her the flowers.
"Thank you, they're so pretty," she said with a smile. She eyed the cup in Tristan's hand. He handed it over silently and she smiled bigger. She smelled the cup's contents and sighed dreamily. "I love you."
"Are you talking to me or the coffee?"
"Right now it's fifty/fifty. This is starting to make up for earlier."
"The part where I made you come to the hospital? Or what you did once you got here?"
"Yes," she answered. Tristan just smiled and kissed her on the forehead before sitting down in a chair next to the bed. Rory took a sip and smiled again. "This is worth bottle feeding. I don't even care if they blame me for their bad behavior and misfortunes later in life."
"If they drive us too crazy, I know of a good military school that will straighten them right out," Tristan said as he picked Adam up and sat him on his knee. A nurse walked in then, pushing a basinet.
"The family is all here," she observed as she handed Rory the baby, who was wrapped in a blue blanket, and a bottle.
"Yup," Rory answered with a grin.
"I'll be back later to take him to the nursery," the nurse said, walking towards the door.
"Okay, thank you." Tristan picked up a piece of paper from a nearby table and read what it said.
"You had them put doctor before my name again?" he asked Rory.
"Well yeah, that's what it says on Adam's birth certificate."
"I thought that was because I'd only had my DMA for a year when he was born."
"I don't want anyone to think you had your title revoked between kids," she explained.
"What do the real doctors think about it?" he asked.
"They may or may not have rolled their eyes a little. But I don't care. You worked hard too, so they can just humor me," she said before looking down at the baby and sighing. "I can't believe it's another boy," she half-heartedly complained. "I'm really out numbered now."
"I can't believe you wouldn't let us find out beforehand—again. What year are you living in?"
"The current year—2020."
"More like 1920."
"I'm just old fashioned."
"You're not that old fashioned."
"Well, still. I had high hopes it would be a girl this time."
"I know. But what can I say? I'm very manly. May I present Exhibit A," he said, indicating his face. There was technically still about a week of winter left. Rory rolled her eyes at him. "I guess I just have a lot of Y chromosomes; and I like sharing my things with you."
"You're so generous."
"It's true, I am."
"I suppose this means there might be a next time; so you'll just have to try harder." Tristan snorted.
"I think I always put forth a valiant effort. And watch what you wish for. Look how many girls Matt had to have before he got a boy."
"Well, three, and they started out with twins, so Felicity really only had to—," Rory started before thinking back to earlier that day. "Never mind. It still counts as two people coming out of you, even if it was at the same time."
"I think she'd agree," he said before looking at the boy on his lap. "Well, kid, it's going to be just you and me at home tonight. Did you have a good day at preschool today?" The boy nodded and smiled.
"We painted," he explained.
"That sounds like fun," Rory said. "Do you want to meet your little brother?" He nodded again. Rory put the bottle on the table as Tristan got up to take the bundle from her. He sat back down and, with the baby's head in his hands; he rested his arms on his legs. Adam stood next to him and they both looked down at the newest member of the DuGrey family. Tristan turned his head to his first born.
"His name is Hayden," he quietly told Adam. "Are you going to be nice and share your toys with him?" Adam nodded shyly.
"Good. And you'll have to look out for him, too. Little brothers get into trouble sometimes." Adam leaned against his father's leg as he looked at his tiny sibling; Tristan gently stroked the baby's warm head, feeling the soft peach fuzz. They stayed like that for little while before Tristan handed the baby back to Rory. He looked around at the floral arrangements in the room. "Who are all the flowers from?"
"Two are from your family; three are from mine. And one is from the Rygalskis. They've been pouring in steadily ever since you left. You really know how to get the word out."
"Yeah, it's one of the top three things I'm best at. Everyone must have had the local florist on speed dial. I'm glad some people take my predictions seriously," Tristan teased as he took a couple pieces of candy from one of the arrangements. He handed a piece to Adam and popped the other in his mouth. "By the way, Paris said they'd be by later."
"Good. Oh, did you pick up today's paper?" Tristan picked up a copy of the Washington Post from beside his chair and laid it on the table in front of Rory.
"I got it earlier. But you should probably just put that article you were writing earlier in his baby book. I'll mark the spot you were on when your water broke." Rory made a face at Tristan as he sat down again and Adam climbed back onto his lap. Rory looked at the top of paper.
"I can't believe that it's Friday the thirteenth, just like when you were born," she commented with a shake of her head. "What do you think the odds are of that happening? One in a million?"
"They're probably a lot less. Besides, I can think of stranger things that have happened."
A/N: 4- Thanks again for reading. If you're hoping for a sequel, I'm sorry, but I just don't have plans for one. That being said, you haven't seen the last of this Tristan and Rory. There are scenes in my head of things that happened in the eight and a half years between chapters 24 and 25—things such as: When did Tristan give Rory that ring he had for so long? And then, when did they get married? And: How long did they stay in Michigan? When/Why did they move to Washington DC (you figured that out, right?)? And maybe even: What happened the day after Rory found Tristan in Detroit?
Well, there are some things still bouncing around in my head and I've found that they generally don't leave me alone until I write them. So you'll probably get more oneshots, or as I like to call them, bonus chapters (Did you find and read It's So Easy? It's up.). And I might even write a short ficlet. If I think something is too short to be oneshot material, then I'll post it on my Live Journal—along with more author's notes (mostly because I put a lot of thought into this, and don't mind sharing it now). While I like the idea of leaving the details to your imagination, my imagination already thought about it; and typed up a timeline spanning about fourteen years. No joke.
I think that is all I have to say at this time.