Chapter Eighty: Lights Will Guide You Home
Nathan looked down at Haley, smiled and linked hands with her before they walked into the hall to greet Nina, Eve, Kade and Heli who had just arrived home.
"Mommy?" said Nina in surprise. Kade ran to his mother and she caught him easily. Her daughters followed at a walk, sensing what their brother could not. Heli hung back.
"Are we going to your house now?" asked Eve cautiously.
"Nope," said Nathan, answering ahead of his wife. He ran his finger over the gold band on her ring finger.
"I'm going to move back in here," said Haley decidedly.
"Really?" asked Nina. Haley smiled at her daughter.
Haley glanced up at Nathan and smiled, and he wrapped his arm around her waist to pull her in closer.
"Yeah. Forever," he answered.
Nathan smiled and shook his head slightly, now able to look back on how much misery that time of their lives had held with a smile.
He grinned at Haley as she ran out of the kitchen toward him, and he caught her around the waist and spun her around in the air. She giggled in surprise, and wrapped her arms around his neck when he let her down.
"What was that for?" she asked in surprise.
"What, I can't just be happy to see my wife?" he asked. She smiled and fingered the two rings on her finger: the simple gold band he'd given her at the time of their wedding nearly ten years previously, and the diamond one above it he'd given her after they'd gotten back together.
"We got no time for that. People are arriving soon," she said admonishingly.
"We'll make time," he said smoothly, leaning down to kiss her. She pulled away only when the doorbell rang.
"Damnit," she cursed slightly, but repairing her smile when Brooke and Lucas came through the door, surrounded by their six kids. She smiled slightly to herself when she saw Marina's new Juicy sweater-clearly she and Brooke had been shopping together again.
Brooke looped her arm through Haley's as Connor ran off to find Kade, and Marina, Hayden and Devon went to seek out Eve and Nina.
"You're all flushed. You two are shameless," She said happily, unable to even mock them with her former vigor.
"What can I say? She can't resist me," shrugged Nathan, putting his hand on Haley's waist to bring her back in to him. Lucas and Brooke laughed appreciatively as Haley pressed her forehead into Nathan's arm, blushing profusely.
Jake and Ryan entered, each carrying a twin and followed by Jamie. Nathan smiled. For a time they'd taken his own position as the worry couple, but they'd pulled through.
Haley squealed and took Liam out of Jake's arms, throwing him in the air before catching him and beginning to make faces at him. Ryan carefully set Clari down on the ground and watched fondly as she found her big sister and followed her to find their cousins.
"Eve? You in there?"
Eve Scott looked up and grinned when Heli leaned into her bedroom.
"Heli! You're back!" she cried happily, running to throw her arms around her nanny.
"Yeah I'm back. How's it going, kid?" she asked.
"Good. Neen and I are trying to get Mom to have another baby, but she's not going for it. And I had a solo in the Christmas concert. And I'm going to stay up alll night tonight," she said.
"That's great. I'm sorry I couldn't be there," she said, knowing how much Eve loved to sing.
"That's okay. How was the honeymoon?" she asked carefully. Eve led Heli back to her bed, and they both sat down on it.
"Pretty good. Asher's with the boys," said Heli. Eve nodded, suddenly looking serious.
"I miss you. I wish you could still live here," she said truthfully.
"You've got your Mom now though," said Heli encouragingly. Eve smiled.
"Yeah. It makes Daddy really happy. You know I used to think, if Mommy and Daddy didn't get back together, that I wanted him to marry you?" said Eve.
Heli stared down at her, surprised by how much she'd missed her, as well. She slung an arm around her shoulder and squeezed lightly.
"Yeah. Me too, a little bit," she admitted.
Hours later, the children had all predictably fallen asleep. Asher and Heli Jackson had gone back to their own home to ring in the New Year in their own way, and Deb Lee had left early to go home to her own family.
And the six of them were waiting.
"We should turn on the TV. Watch the ball drop," said Haley. She was sitting on the living room floor, between Nathan's legs. She glanced at the television mounted on the wall, but didn't move.
"Dick Clark is annoying," said Brooke contemptuously. Lucas laughed at his wife, who poked him hard in his side with her index finger.
"I'm tired. And too old for New Years," complained Ryan. She nestled further into Jake's arm, and he squeezed her shoulders.
"You're the youngest here, babe," he reminded her. She smiled slightly at the thought.
"So are my kids. Wake me," she requested, sliding her eyes closed. Jake ran a hand through her long blonde hair and kissed her forehead.
"Asher and Heli were ridiculously adorable tonight," commented Brooke. Haley leaned over her shoulder to meet Nathan's eyes. It was hard to believe she'd ever though to have a rival in her.
"It's been an interesting year," said Haley softly. Her eyes found the clock on the wall: twenty more seconds.
"They all are," agreed Nathan.
"This one had its perks," said Lucas, smiling.
"I'm kind of glad it's over. I don't think I could handle more babies being born... or weddings. Or..." said Jake, faltering. Haley knew he meant deaths, they all did, but she said nothing.
"Well we all know I'm done. And we don't know anyone who isn't married anymore," said Brooke comfortingly.
"Next one will probably be Devon's," said Lucas.
"He does have a girlfriend now. Penny something," said Brooke, laughing.
"So I don't have to worry about any drama right now?" asked Jake teasingly.
"What, you believe that?" This time it was Nathan who spoke-Nathan, who was now wise enough to know that once started, their loves would now never stop.
"I do. I think we're about to embark on a golden age," said Haley happily. She leaned backwards to kiss her husband, not bothering to wait for the New Year, knowing they were above superstition now.
"If anyone deserves it, it's us," he agreed.
Author's note: So that's a wrap, folks. Thanks for reading and reviewing the almost 200 chapters I have written. It's been quite a ride.
In case you're wondering about a sequel, I'm just going to have to declare an "I really have no idea." Because I don't. I'd once planned to, but I think I've pretty much done this to death.
Thanks for the support. Thanks for loving my AU couple. Thanks for putting up with me keeping Nathan and Haley apart for a whole story and for my vaguely cliffhangerish endings. I get that this is another. Sorry. Couldn't decide how much anguish I would let my Jyan suffer through.
I'm rambling, aren't I? It's hard to let go.
Well there is one more thing. Might as well shamelessly promote myself here, right? I'm writing a Grey's Anatomy story, Playing Make Believe and I would love it it you were to check it out.
Bye for now!