Rating: T-M as always just in case.
Disclaimer: You know the drill.
A/N: Responses are at end of the chapter. Sorry for the typos! Much love to all! (Violence to one!)


Chapter 9 – Right Now We Got To Keep The Faith

September 14th, 2015, Monday

"Hey…" Joan said quietly when Grace lazily opened her eyes and waited for them to adjust.

"Hey," Grace's voice came out barely above a whisper as she arched her back slightly to stretch. She felt like a train had run over her skull. Her right eye was sore, from getting pistol whipped by Ryan she knew. She could feel the soreness in her left hand from the dislocated thumb they'd relocated back into place. Now there was an ace bandage wrapped around her wrist, mostly immobilizing her thumb to limit its range of motion. Grace could also feel the IV line that was in the back of her right hand as well; It was one of the things she hated most about hospitals.

She took a deep breath and opened her eyes again, looking at Joan. Joan sat in a chair that was pulled close to Grace's bed. She sat on the edge of the chair and Grace ad been pretty sure when she was first coming to that Joan had been holding her hand. Before she'd opened her eyes, she'd been positive that it wasn't Luke's hand holding hers but as the cobwebs fought to clear, she couldn't figure out whose it was. Joan looked at her lap now, nervously.

Grace studied Joan's disheveled appearance for a few minutes. Joan did look much better then she had been, now that Gabe was safe; but she still had bloodshot eyes with dark bags under them, she looked anxious and was wringing her hands together and her chin wavered. Grace knew that chin waver.

"I just woke up, Girardi…" Grace mumbled, trying to conceal a smirk, "it's too soon for me to process the water works…"

Joan offered a snort and a small amount of chortling. "It's been a long time since I got that name…" She said.

Grace offered up half a smirk, "That's because you didn't hear me a few days ago…you were too busy preparing to castrate Collier," She lolled her head to the side so her left cheek was resting against her shoulder.

Joan nodded slowly. "I was a little…um…"

"Desperate?" Grace supplied. Joan nodded.

"Listen, Grace-,"

"Oh no you don't…" Grace held her left hand up. "Still too early."

Joan nodded, looking at her hands again.

"How's Gabe?" Grace changed the subject.

"He's okay. They're going to keep him over night, just to be sure," Joan replied. Grace nodded. Joan looked at her lap and then looked back at Grace.

"It's my dad isn't it?" Grace asked meekly. She wasn't sure if she could handle the answer after the past couple of months really.

Joan nodded. "They're keeping him in a medical coma," She cleared her throat. "His brain activity is good, and they think he'll recover, b-but they have to keep him sedated and unconscious…to try and give his body time to heal itself uninterrupted."

Grace nodded, closing her eyes to take this answer in; she had been expecting Joan to tell her that her father was dead. The guilt at choosing to go for Gabe instead of keeping vigil with her father had been eating away at her since he'd gotten shot.

"And your dad?" Grace finally asked.

Joan pursed her lips together and took a deep breath, "He came out a little lucky…" She said. "He's got some rehabilitation to go through and he'll be out of work for a while…but he's been awake…and alert. He's been asking about Gabe, you and your dad and Ryan a lot."

"Is Ryan still…" Grace looked alarmed.

"He's handcuffed, arms and feet, to his bed," Joan spoke quickly. "I inspected personally. He's on a ventilator. But he's coherent and pissed off," Joan cleared her throat. "They're taking him in as soon as he's well enough."

"They should've let him die…" Grace muttered, taking a deep breath and regretting the words immediately; you're not supposed to wish death on anyone, even the spawn of Satan.

"Oh please, no need to convince me of that either," Joan confessed. Grace looked at her and saw the same guilty look on Joan's face that Grace was pretty sure was on her own.

"Where's the geek?" Grace asked, trying unsuccessfully to mask that she was in desperate need of being near Luke and not just curious as to his whereabouts. Joan saw right through this and Grace knew it; she just didn't care.

"He went to pick…something up," Joan nodded.

Grace gave Joan an odd look but shrugged. "What are you doing in here anyway?" She asked. Joan looked at her. "You should be with Gabe."

"Adam and my mom are in with him," Joan spoke up. "I…didn't want you to wake up alone, you know while Luke was gone," She cleared her throat, waiting for Grace's onslaught.

Grace offered a half smile. "Well, you've done your duty. I'm awake now and squared away. Go," She shooed Joan out. "Smother him like always," She called as Joan cast one last glance at Grace on her way out.


Grace sighed as she relaxed back against the pillows propped behind her head and shoulders. She used her left hand to rub some of the tension out of her forehead before lolling her head back and forth a few times, trying to get comfortable. She opened her eyes when she heard the door to her room click open.

"Hey, see, I told you mommy would be awake," Luke smiled to Lara as she giggled happily and nodded, reaching her chubby little hand out and flexing her fingers for Grace.

Grace was startled for a second, but she quickly recovered and opened her arms out as Luke crossed the room. He leaned down and carefully dropped Lara into Grace's arms.

"Oh, hey bug," Grace planted a well-placed kiss on Lara's cheek just before Lara hugged her tightly. Grace hadn't liked the idea of using nicknames and baby talk with the kids, but she had given up after everyone refused to oxide by her rule; and besides, Bug had been Lara's first word, why not use it against her for life?

Content that she was now in her mom's arms, Lara promptly stuff her thumb in her mouth and put her head on Grace's shoulder. Grace wasted no time in combing her hand through Lara's soft hair and along he toddler's back. She looked at Luke.

"They wouldn't let me bring any child under a year in," Luke explained before Grace could ask. "She's with Lilly," He assured. Grace gave a nod of acceptance but continued to stare at him. "What?" Luke asked when he noticed her gaze.

Grace shook her head, "Nothing," she turned her attention back to Lara. "I need you to go into my phonebook when you get home. And uh, look for Becky's number. She called, after Gabe was on the news. I have a lot to do for her case…and I want to make sure she's okay, her husband-," Grace stopped when Luke put his hand on her arm.

"I already talked to her," He replied. Grace looked at him quizzically. Luke averted his eyes and spoke. "She ran into me in the lobby," He cleared his throat.

Grace narrowed her eyes suspiciously at Luke, "She's here at the hospital?" Grace asked. Luke cleared his throat and nodded, looking up from his lap and turning his attention to stare at Lara intently. Grace tried to read his expression, and then it hit her. "What happened?"

"Grace, look," Luke inhaled a deep breath and stood, "I'll go check on them again and let her know that as soon as you're well enough-,"

Grace sat up and grabbed Luke's arm before he could step out of her reach, careful not to jostle Lara too much.

"Luke, what did he do to them?" Grace demanded; she had a pretty good idea that it at least involved violence.

Luke turned his gaze down to Lara again. He slowly sat down, biting at the corner of his lip. "Her…husband attacked them," Luke cleared his throat, "Her oldest son, stepped in when he tried to drown the younger one…in, in the tub…" Luke's gaze remained fixed on Lara; he was trying to figure out what could posses a man to attack his own child. He finally relinquished his line of sight to Grace's eyes. She was staring at him and he knew what it meant; she wanted to know what the damage was.

Luke drew a deep breath and looked at Grace solemnly. "The older son…uh, Derek…He uh, he didn't make it," Luke looked down at his daughter again, reaching out this time to graze his hand down Lara's back as she slumbered. "The father, uhm, he bashed Derek's head repeatedly…on the toilet seat. And uhm, Becky, she was unconscious during most of it…she came to and found her husband holding the uhm…Dylan's head under again…Derek was already dead…" Luke watched Grace for her reaction. Grace's eyes had widened but she was listening intently, for the full rundown. "They said she beat him with a plunger until he followed her into their bedroom and she shot him, when he came after her."

Grace nodded, breathing a shaky breath. "And Dylan?" She asked.

"They sad he'll be okay. They're keeping him for observation. The police are waiting to get Becky's statement," Luke replied.

"I need you to go down there right now," Grace spoke up, "Tell her to make sure she doesn't speak to anyone about what happened until I'm there, got it?"

Luke nodded. "Okay," he said.

"Go, go now, please," Grace insisted. Luke gave a last lingering look before rising to his feet and heading out of the room.


January 3rd, 2016, Sunday

"We're back!" Grace called out as she entered the front door of her house. Becky was close behind her with Dylan in her arms, resting on her hip. Grace put her things down and Becky and Dylan shed their jackets.

"Mama!" Lara cried happily, darting out from the living room with her arms open wide, trailing only a stuffed puppy in her hand by its ear. She giggled happily as Grace crouched to pick her up.

"Come here you," Grace said as she stood back up with Lara. "Where's daddy?" She asked. Lara reached her empty hand out and pointed a sticky finger towards the kitchen. Grace nodded and gave a wave of her head for Becky and Dylan to follow. "Hey, what did I say about jumping in the living room?" She asked before passing the living room, where Caleb, Katie and Gabe were busy using the couch to play King of the Hill. All three of them looked up at Grace sheepishly.

"Never play king of the hill on the couch unless the cushions and pillows are on the floor and the table's out of the way…" The all droned mechanically.

Grace smiled as they started to arrange the cushions and pillows accordingly. "I thought so," She said as she entered the kitchen. "Hey, who said all of you could come eat my food?" Grace asked upon entering the kitchen to find Helen, Will, Luke, Joan, Lilly and Adam spread out sporadically, all of them engaged in a specific task that would hurry dinner along.

"Hey, we're working for our grub," Joan piped up.

"I'm peeling snap peas, yo," Adam said from the counter where he and Lily were both removing peas from their pods into a strainer.

"Wow, and you're only how old there Rain Man?" Grace retorted.

"Ha…Ha," Adam sarcastically replied.

"Everyone, you remember, Becky? Becky, you remember everyone right?" Grace asked, casting a glance over her shoulder. Despite it being cloudy and the sun being just about down, Becky still wore her moderately dark sunglasses to mask her damaged eye; she knew it made people uncomfortable.

"Hello," Becky nodded with a nervous smile.

"Hi!" Dylan said happily, wiggling to the floor from Becky's grasp.

"And Dylan," Grace said. Everyone greeted Beck and Dylan easily and he ran to join Adam and Lily.

"I take it the case went well?" Luke asked as he closed the oven after shooing Damage away so he wouldn't burn himself.

"She's cleared of all charges," Grace announced.

"Congratulations, Becky," Helen spoke up. Becky gave a grateful nod. She hadn't spoke much since Derek had died. Ryan and Becky's cases were coinciding in different courtrooms. Grace had only had to have Becky's case recessed so she could testify for a few hours during Ryan's.

"We listened to Ryan's verdict on the way back home," Grace said as she sat Lara on the edge of the island counter and stood in front of her to make sure she didn't fall. "1500 years without the possibility of parole sounds good."

"And you know, because he broke out before he's going to be isolated now under 24 hour surveillance," Joan exchanged a satisfied glance with Grace as Grace grabbed a piece of bread and started to tear pieces off for herself and for Lara.

"Where're the rest of the offspring?" Grace asked, inquiring for Brynn, Mac, and Justin.

"Napping upstairs," Kevin said as he wheeled into the room. "At least they were like an hour ago when Joan checked on 'em."

"Right, I'm on it," Grace moved and let Luke take her place in front of Lara.

"I can go check if you want," Luke said to her, stealing a kiss to the side of her head while everyone was occupied, chatting and preparing food.

Grace shook her head. "I need to change out of these clothes anyhow," She offered a smirk and a wink as she stepped from Luke's side and headed for the steps after giving Lara's tummy a little tickle on her way.


After changing into some old, trusty cargo khakis and a long john shirt with a t-shirt over it, Grace slid her feet into some worn in sneaker slip-ons-made by well paid adults, not sweatshop children-and headed for Brynn's room. By the time she walked in, Mac and Justin were awake and Brynn was just stirring.

"Hey my future rebel minions," Grace grinned, knowing if the others heard her she would have gotten rebuked for her comments. "Who's ready for some dinner?" She asked as she crossed to Brynn's crib and picked her up, as she was just about awake. Justin and Mac each rubbed their eyes as they stood up from the folded bedspread they'd been sleeping on. Grace crouched down and scooped Mac to her other hip with her free arm, since Justin would be able to walk down the steps by himself, and heading back downstairs.


After dinner Kevin and Lily went home, since Caleb and Katie both had homework to finish before Monday. Helen and Will had decided to call it a night as well along with Becky and Dylan. A hour of so later, Gabe and Mac were both asleep so Joan and Adam decided to pack it in and they headed home; to the house around the corner that they'd acquired just before Thanksgiving. They headed out the back door and crossed the backyard where they'd taken down the ugly picket fence and shared the two backyards and into their home.

Luke brought the girls up to their rooms and tucked them in. He walked back down the steps and was about to ask Grace what she wanted to do when he noticed her slouched in their cushy chaise lounge in the living room. Her head was resting on her palm a she leaned on the armrest. Luke smiled to him before managing to climb in next to her on the oversize chair. Grace stirred slightly and rolled to her side to rest against him.

"Being forced to live in a room by yourself and getting free food everyday isn't a horrible enough punishment for him," Grace murmured. She felt Luke nod in agreement and then continued. "And he already got out once-,"

"That's not going to happen again," Luke said firmly. "Especially without the use of his legs."

Grace considered this for a moment before letting herself relax a little bit against Luke. "Yeah…" She replied, not knowing what else to say.

"How's your dad?" Luke questioned through a yawn.

"They think he'll be strong enough to return home in about two weeks, but he'll still have to rehabilitation appointments," She replied. "Any news on Anneliese?" Anneliese had been missing since Gabe's kidnapping.

Luke paused a moment. "You know the body they found in the backwoods near her mother's house a couple of days ago?"

Grace lifted her head and looked at Luke. "Was it her?"

Luke nodded solemnly. "Matching dentals and DNA…"

Grace slowly put her head back down on Luke's chest. Luke ran his hand along her back. After a minute or two he felt warm wet drops on his shirt. "I'm sorry…" He told her.

Grace shook her head, "I'm a horrible person, brain," She said after a beat.

"What? Why?" Luke was confused.

Grace sniffled. "I'm glad it was her…and not Gabe…or Caleb…or the girls…or…any of ours…"

"You're not a horrible person…" Luke argued, "I thought the same thing when I heard."

"Sometimes it seems that way," Grace said quietly.

"Yeah…I know," Luke replied with a kiss on Grace's forehead. "But that's the thing of it, something may seem a certain way…but the reality is the opposite."

"What kind of Wheaties did you ingest while growing up?" Grace asked. Her head bobbed when Luke chuckled.

"What?" He asked.

"How else could you have such words of wisdom but from the back of a cereal box?" Grace mused, "or maybe a fortune cookie…"

"My brother would've been on a Wheaties box," Luke replied.

"What?" It was Grace's turn to ask.

"If it wasn't or the accident," Luke continued. "He would've been on a Wheaties box for being I don't know a pitcher for the Yankees or something."

"He seems pretty happy coaching Caleb," Grace shrugged. "Maybe some plans were meant to be derailed."

"Yeah, but that drastically?" Luke turned his gaze down to see that Grace was looking up at him.

"Do think I ever outright plotted my future to be married to you with kids in a suburban house-or to be a lawyer?" Grace quipped.

Luke gave a sideways nod of his head, "Touché,"

"Some plans are meant to be derailed and then tossed onto another track-for the train's own good…" Grace confirmed.

"Who's the fortune cookie now?" Luke smiled as he chuckled with Grace before leaning in to kiss her.


Epilogue

Time passed quickly, in Grace's opinion.

By the end of the year, Kevin had successfully graduated to walking. It was only short distances like through the house, or around the office and he was assisted with a walker but by God did it feel good to be his actual height; to be face to face with Lily when she wasn't sitting in his lap or lying next to him. He was able to situate himself into a squatting position for an hour-long catching session with Caleb. He could lift Katie up over his head so she could pick apples from the tree in their back yard. He could feel it when Justin came toddling up and wrapped his arms, which were just long enough, around the upper part of his legs because he wanted to go wherever Kevin was going. To say Kevin was ecstatic was the understatement of the century.

While Kevin had made big strides, later that same year, Lily and Kevin had the rug swept out from under them when Lily found out that she was pregnant again; She lost the baby just over three months in. It took her awhile to recover from the shock of finding out she was pregnant and then the sudden loss.

In other Will made a full and fast recovery from his injuries, despite coming out of it with a few more extra gray hairs and went back to the force. Likewise, the Rabbi had finally finished his recovery and despite being a little slower and stiffer than usual, he resumed services, much to his congregation's relief. Helen, along with the help of Adam, had published the first of what would be a series of children's book with spectacular illustrations.

Adam shipped his art on a regular basis back to New York where, after a slight dip in interest and sales, his normal buyers picked back up, continue his success and the gallery's success. Joan decided she was going to work part-time so she could stay home wit the kids more often and get more done. She even spent time helping Lily out at the daycare center after she'd lost the baby.

Luke continued to work, after he opened up his own lab and ran a scholarship contest yearly for local high school students. He was currently working on an environmentally safe car that was more then just a hybrid, inspired by Grace's many rants throughout high school and collage. Grace had gotten the Maryland branch of the law firm up and running. She stayed on as a pro bono lawyer for needy clients who couldn't afford attorneys. She also kept as light a work load as possible, in order to spend as much time at home as possible.

Although it seemed like everything had turned out perfect, there were still many bumps along the road. It wasn't always easy, and there were always disagreements and squabbles; but that didn't mean that it wasn't worth it. At least, in Grace's mind it was well worth it, after all she had fought tooth and nail-sometimes literally-to get where she was in life. Sometimes you just had to keep the faith long enough to get through the night.


A/N: Aaaaaannnnd there you have it. Yeah I know it wasn't as long as usual. Shoot me. And yeah it got a little happy and sappy but can you blame me? I did a lot of torturing didn't I?

Chapter title is from "Keep The Faith" by Bon Jovi.

P.S. – Everyone keeps talking like I'm not going to write another story. Let me say, I am going to write another story. As for a sequel to this story…well let's just say it may be in the cards.

Help me out: I need you to leave me some good male and female character name suggestions in your reviews! As you can tell I like unique names for the most part so give me something original! Thanks in advance!

Responses: Em'sPride – Ha-ha very funny. I picked up the sarcasm. Thanks dude. Thanks on the combining of different elements; I was a little worried I was jumping a bit too much. I'm humbled by your review, thank you. Thanks again, much love!

Butterfly Dancing – Thank you very much. I'm glad I evoked so many emotions from you! I know the password part was random, but those kinds of thoughts hit you when intense stuff is happening around you. I tried to write Joan's reaction based on what I thought mine would be, and then used words I thought she might use. A-ha! Grace did save Gabe! I totally gave that away in the chapter before though! Gabe is cute and innocent too. How bad was the ending? Thanks again, much love!

Sayxanything – Yes, over so soon. I wrote it a little faster than I was planning, but you know what they say about all good things. This…may or may not be the last story…I'm leaning toward writing another one. We'll see. Glad I helped the addiction. Hey, I can't help it with the cliffhangers; you know you love them too! I…am going to start another story that doesn't have to do with this. There's already a prologue done but I don't know if it will be a series, probably a short couple chapter story or so. Thanks again, much love!

Tiffany – I told you I wasn't mocking you! Thanks, specially, for putting up with my stubbornness, yo. Update your next chapter slow poke. Remind me to give you the quote info when you read this, dude. Wikipedia does rock. No I'm not ending this fast to work on the other story. Shhhh. That's not a fanfic, it's an original. Love the turmoil. You can still talk back and forth to me! Duh! Good work on the reviewers! Thanks again, much love!

K-Wolf – Dude, thanks, yo. No, Ryan's not dead as you found out. I'm happy Gabe's back too. Don't get too depressed dude. Hate you back dude! Sorry, I took long. Took me awhile to end it. I have a new story brewing already. The Prologue's already done in fact. Thanks again. Violence to you!

EBFR – Yep, it's over. Seriously. I'm sad too. I'm glad you had a great time though! I'm thinking maybe a sequel to this one. If not, then other stories. Thanks for your support dude! Thanks again, much love!

Sam – Welcome for the warning. Thanks about the chapter. I promise not to stop writing G/L fics until I'm good and ready. Wonderland Band or Sugarland? Sugarland is an excellent band. That is freaky though! Thanks for your support dude! Thanks again, much love!

Carol – I'm glad Gabe being okay made you happy. Worry not, Grace is safe…for now. I'm glad you loved the story! Thanks for the support! Thanks again, much love!

Coveredinrain16 – Thanks! I'm humbled! No prob on the up to date stuff, read at your leisure, yo! I'm glad you loved 6-8 lol. Gabe's interactions are some of my favorites! Grace grew the most for these stories, but that was kind of the point too. I'm truly humbled by the CBS comment, truly. Thanks for the kudos! Stop apologizing! Humbled again my friend. I'm sad to see it go too, but it's time, for now. As I said before I love long reviews so keep them coming in the future! I loved having Joan beat up Collier by the way! I'm mean. Thanks for all of your support, I appreciate it! Thanks again, much love!

Hezziebob182 – No need for apologies! Sorry bout the schoolwork and stuff! Thanks! Worry not, Grace is safe…for now. I couldn't kill Gabe…it was too hard. I almost tried. I didn't kill Ryan…I did injure him well though! I'm sad too! Sequel is possible. Thanks again, much love!

Magentabear – I'm happy Gabe is okay too. I just couldn't hurt him. I was worried people wouldn't like it jumpy, but it was surprising how much everyone did! I'm glad! Thanks for all the support however long or short! Thanks again, much love!

A resounding thank you and I love you guys to all my readers and reviewers who help keep me going! (Except KW, in your case, hate you and violence to you!). I hope you'll stick with me for my next story, which is unrelated to this storyline, and also keep an eye out for a sequel to this one sometimes in the near future. Much love (and violence if you're KW) to you all! Don't forget to give me male or female character names in your reviews! Later, for now.