There was a party in Jericho tonight; a festival. Everyone was out and about, talking, eating and laughing. Jake stood near the food, where people lined up, getting hamburgers and hotdogs and potato chips and sodas. He watched his fellow citizens wash away the fear of the last few weeks. He saw the relief written clearly on everyone's faces.
The second civil war in the history of the United States had lasted three long and bloody years. Cheyenne and the remnants of the Allied States of America had put up a fight. Even after Jake and Hawkins had exposed the plot and shown how everything was lie; Cheyenne still had plenty of supporters. But, while things had been neck and neck for most of the time, deserting and the United States' gained ground took its toll on the Allied States, and they fell.
Now, Jericho celebrated with the rest of the now reunited country that the war had finally ended. Emily came over to Jake. "Jake," she said, "Can you take JJ for a little while? I want to get something to eat."
"Sure," Jake answered, as he took his son from his wife. The little boy was barely a year old, but he was cute as a button. "Hey, JJ," said Jake. He smiled at his son, as he balanced him on his hip. He headed over to an open table, and sat down with JJ.
Gail saw her son sit down, and came over. "Hello," she said, smiling at her son, and promptly turning her attention to her grandson. "How's my grandson?" She smiled and tickled JJ, who giggled and gurgled appreciatively.
"Where's Emily?" Gail asked.
"She's in line," Jake said. He grinned as his mother. "He's a handful."
"Just like you were," Gail said, shaking her head. "I could tell you millions of stories, Jake."
"Like the time that he broke that vase that Grandpa gave you?" came another voice.
"For one," said Gail, turning to face her youngest son. Jake grinned as his brother. Mary Bailey was right behind him, and she immediately went over to JJ and tickled him as well, smiling as he giggled and squirmed.
"Or that time that he threw that rock through the window," Eric continued, his smile growing wider as he went on.
"Yeah, yeah," said Jake. "I thought we'd agreed that it was an accident?"
"I saw you throw it, Jake, how was it an accident?" Gail said, close to laughter, Eric smirked.
Emily came back, a plate of food in hand, saving Jake from answering.
Gail said, "Oh, I'd better get back to the table and help them out." She smiled at Emily, Mary, and her sons before departing.
"What was an accident?" Emily asked.
Eric snickered. "That time when he was eight that he threw the rock in the front window. He still won't admit it wasn't an accident."
"It was!" Jake said again, laughing in spite of himself. Eric sat down across from Emily and Jake, and Mary joined him, JJ on her lap.
"He's such an adorable little boy," said Mary, almost wistfully.
"Isn't he?" came Heather's voice. She was smiling, back to her old self, cheery and full of spirit. She was holding hands with Major Beck, whom the town had eventually forgiven for his mistreatment of them, before realizing that the government he was serving was corrupt and basically evil. Beck smiled at the four of them – four of the leaders of the resistance before the war had started. Heather let go of Beck's hand to lean down to say hello to baby JJ.
"How's Jake Junior?" asked Beck.
"Technically, he's Johnston Jacob Green the third," said Jake. "But he's good."
"That's good," said Beck, nodding. His family, he discovered unfortunately, had died on the day of the bombs.
They spoke for a while, and soon Heather and Beck moved on, still holding hands.
Emily finished eating, and she, Mary, Eric, and Jake kept talking, taking turns holding JJ, enjoying the moment, for once free of fear and tension.
Mimi and Stanley ambled by soon after Heather and Beck left. Stanley was holding his daughter – born only weeks before the end of the war. Stanley and Mimi had named her Bonnie. Jake had no doubts that she would be as brave and beautiful as her namesake had been.
Mimi and Stanley sat down with the others – they moved around to make room for them – and Mimi was smiling and smiling. She took Bonnie from Stanley. Jake couldn't help noticing how happy they were together. Stanley was almost back to normal. Jake knew that he went to Bonnie's grave almost every single day to talk to her, and to tell her about how Mimi and her niece were doing.
As the party continued on, Jake saw Dale and Skylar in the crowd, Dale smiling for once, and Skylar beaming. Dale had his arm around Skylar, and they were talking to others around them. Gray Anderson passed through the crowd, looking cheerful. Bobby and Jimmy said hi, along with the rest of the Jericho Rangers.
Jake was getting hungry, he said to the others, "I'll be right back. I'm gonna get a hamburger before they all disappear."
He left, but not before kissing Emily. He made his way over to the line, where people were still waiting for their food. He couldn't have been standing in line for more than a few minutes when Hawkins came up to meet him.
"Hey Jake," he said, smiling.
"Hey, Rob," said Jake. He grinned. "How're Darcy and the kids?"
"Ah, they're good. They're over there, at a table," he said, turning and smiling at them. Jake saw them laughing, Allison not minding her brother being loud for once.
"So, how'd you like those new history books?" Hawkins bit back a laugh.
"Your name was in there, too, Hawkins. What does it say about us? That we exposed the lies of the Allied States of America, Jennings and Rall, and their betrayal and treason?"
"Yeah," said Hawkins, "that's what it said."
"So," Jake said, "How's it feel to be a part of history?"
"Better than making history," said Hawkins. "I'm glad it's finally over." He glanced around him, surveying the people around. "Look's like the whole town's here."
"Yeah, it's almost like the war never happened."