Forever
Part Three


June 14, 1998


Egon Spengler looked over the room, taking it all in once again. Practically everyone of any significance he'd ever known was sitting in the audience. His mother. Uncle Cyrus. Ellis and his wife.

He took note of the seat next to his mother. It had been left empty intentionally.

Janine's family: her mother Denise. Her sister Doris Irwin, Doris's husband Joshua and their son Victor. Janine's cousin Michelle Jacobs and son Alec. Aunt Bella and Grandma...They'll be my in-laws in a matter of moments...

Nearby was Janine's friend Marie Rosenfeld (along with Marie's husband and their two daughters)

Though quite elderly, having lived a good nine decades, Dr. Will Murray Hazzard was in attendance. Leader of the legendary "Crime Patrol" in the 1940's, he was also a friend of the late Dr. Frederick Melton, Egon's maternal grandfather--and had been invaluble help to the Ghostbusters on more than one occassion.

Hazzard was chatting with Ryan Harness. He'd been a classmate of Egon Spengler and Peter Venkman, before he sacrificed his academic career at Columbia for their sakes.

There were a few more faces from their years as Ghostbusters...Boris Meely, the photographer, who would be taking the official wedding photos (and, Egon remarked to himself wryly, had probably worked out a mutually lucrative disribution deal with Venkman for them).

No doubt at least one of those would feature the actors in the audience. Dan Aykroyd, who's idea to turn the exploits of the team into a big-budget movie had proven fateful, sat with fellow movie alum Ernie Hudson. All of the actors had recieved invitations (though Janine had to be talked into sending one to Ramis) though these two were the only ones to accept.

Egon saw Alice Derleth, a Professor at Miskatonic University. Irena Cortez and Shannon Phillips chatting amiably with Dana Venkman--Peter, despite having his own daughter and stepson to raise, had kept in close contact with Irena and Shannon over the years. Five year old Jessica Venkman sat sulking nearby--she had vigorously protested having to wear the frilly dress she was now adorned in, and made it clear she couldn't wait to exchange it for something more comfortable.

Winston sat with his wife Kaila. Near them, Ray Stantz, his wife, and their two year old child, a boy with Ray's wide eyes and his mother's dark hair, albeit of a shaggier variety. His name was Eric Stantz, and he was completely fascinated by all of this, even if he didn't have the slightest idea what was going on.

Eric was currently being held and doted on by his great-aunt, Lois Stantz; she'd never married or had any children of her own, and Ray, of course, had been orphaned at age age ten. You couldn't tell this woman wasn't Eric's grandmother by looking at them together.

Not too far away from them he recognized Barney Lupin. How surprised had they all been to discover that Barney had married and had a one-year old daughter named Tsukiko (though Barney preferred to call her by her middle name Marie)?

And of course his newest charges were there: Roland Jackson, Garrett Miller, Vincent Belmont, and Eduardo Rivera.

"I think it's time, Ziggy..." he heard Venkman whisper into his ear, as the music began to start...


January 1990


"Just say it, Janine...you want to be just like me..." it said in a silken voice.

"Just...like..." she started to respond, robotically...

Then a new voice broke in, a familiar basso "Janine! Get away from that thing!!"

She turned to face him. "Egon?"

"You have to listen to me!"

"No!!" she howled, a wind rising at the bidding of the power the Fairy Godmother had given her. "Don't you get it, you Asshole!? This is all your fault!!"

"Janine..."

"I did it all so I'd be prettier...so you'd notice me...AND YOU NEVER DID!!" And she whacked him with another telekinetic blast

"Is this better?" she snarled, adopting the form of an Egyptian princess "Or this?" becoming an Elizabethan lady. She flew into the air, morphing into a redheaded caricature of Marilyn Monroe. "You're all alike!!"

Egon was trying to painfully pick himself up.

"Ever since I was a little girl, they made fun of me...said I wasn't good enough for them...I fed them their teeth, but they still said it...no more! I WANT TO BE PERFECT!!"

"You are perfect, Janine." it said. "Now there's only one thing left to do--destroy him! Destroy him and the hold he has on you, and then you will be perfect!"

Janine spread her hands, an angry red ball of force forming there.

Egon's heart was beating through his ribcage. His mind was failing him...no logical solution came to him...no logical solution...

He unstrapped his proton pack and let it drop to the ground.

"That's what I'm trying to tell you...I'm here because I'm worried about you...because I care...not because of what you look like, but because of who you are

"Give it up..." the creature gloated. "You've lost"

No logical solution.

"If you want to destroy me, Janine...I can't stop you. But before you do, I have to tell you this..." and he looked right into her eyes. "I love you..."

The creature's expression fell. No logical solution would have saved her. But one illogical truth...that the lotsabucks thought the man would never have uttered...


June 14, 1998


Eduardo Rivera about swallowed his tongue as the bridesmaids filed in...one of them was Kylie Griffin, looking perhaps the most gorgeous he'd ever seen her. While Janine and Doris hadn't convinced her to completely change her gothic look for this one day, they'd succeeded in persuading her to tone it down a little...her skin showed it's natural color, and the black lipstick had stayed at home.

Combined with the events of the day before...the words he and Kylie had finally exchanged...he was beginning to wish for some very cold water to splash onto himself.

Similarly, Victor had to take a suitably wistful look at Egon's niece Jen...maybe history would mark his crush as doomed, but at that moment he thought anything could be possible.

Shirl Johnson, and old friend of the bride, completed the bridesmaid procession.

One bit of symmetry with the wedding of Peter Venkman and Dana Barrett six years before came in the identity of the ringbearer: Oscar Wallance was now ten years old, and perhaps a bit older than the norm, but everybody thought it an appropriate choice.

Beside him, as flower girl, was five and a half year old Charlene Zeddemore, the first child born to the original Ghostbusters (at least by blood).

He spared one last look at Venkman, standing beside him. A quarter century before, a dorm mix-up in Columbia's bursar's office had thrown them together...and these two men who couldn't be any more different found the most unlikely friendship of all resulted. Egon Spengler's first true friend...his brother in a way Ellis never would be.

If not for that mix-up, he never would've met Peter Venkman. Never would've met Ray Stantz, Micheal Draverhaven, and Winston Zeddemore...

Never would've met the woman he was at last about to marry.

Venkman managed to give him a quick smirk of approval and a thumbs-up as Egon's attention was riveted on Fritz Melnitz and his younger daughter.

The dress was not overly ornate--Janine had never been one for frills and lace--but but elegant and refined enough to accomplish the task of only making the woman Egon already thought of as the most beautiful in the world to look even more so.

He blinked twice. Her hair had changed--not for the first time since he'd known her, granted--but it was the specific change.

He could tell, even under the viel, that her red locks had been fluffed, and parted from left to right in what almost looked like a cresting crimson wave: the very hairstyle she'd had when they'd first met fifteen years before.

The look of awe on his face was obvious. After all these years...all changes that had been inflicted on her...she looked, to him, so very much the same as she had that day.

And there was another surprise...a curious item hanging from her neck, one that looked for all the world like some sort of midway token...

Which was what it was.

"I want you to have this...it's my lucky coin. I got it at the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows"

"I don't believe in luck"

"Keep it anyway...I've got another one at home just like it"

The twin to that coin was in his pocket. The ritual does call for "something old"... Egon smirked to himself.

Fritz Melnitz shook his hand; then the bear of a man threw decorum to the wind and gave his son-in-law-to-be a quick hug before taking his seat next to his wife.

Janine looked at the man before her...one more memory she wished she could trap and amber and keep close for the rest of her days...their days...he had always had a certain sense of style, and the tuxedo fit him well. And he'd aged quite well..though, truth to tell, she thought he actually looked younger than he had when she'd first barged back into his life a year ago...rediscovering his purpose, his friends...and, she had to admit to herself, finally being with her...had rekindled the life within him. Other than the white at the back of his hair, he looked very much as he had fifteen years before, when their long journey had started...

Though the ceremony was handled in a mostly nondenominational way, the Melnitz's rabbi, Jasper Jacobi, had been asked to officiate. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to see the joining of this man and this woman in the bonds of most sacred matrimony..."

"I know this is an occassion of much significance to many in this room, perhaps much more than most...I've known the bride since she was very small...I know the road she and the one she has chosen, and has chosen her, has been long and very winding. A road filled with confusion, denial, and reversals...a road that led into many dark days where it seemed the light of love would never shine again."

"But today, we bask in it's brilliance...marvel in the glow...after so long apart, they have found each other again. As two souls joined together must ever do: this love goes ever more brightly for the challenge that it has faced, ever more deeply--because, having survived so much difficulty, it can only be the truest."

"For this occassion, the bride and groom have composed their own vows. Janine?"

"There's an ancient story called The Ramayana...and in it is written that a 'wife alone shares the life of her husband. To a woman, neither father nor son nor mother nor friends but the husband alone is her sole refuge here in this world and in other worlds, too. Hence I shall accompany you. Life with the husband is incomparably superior to life in a palace, or an aerial mansion, or a trip to heaven. With you life will be more than heaven to me. It will not be the least hardship to me; for without you even heaven is hell.' " Perhaps she could be forgiven for exhaling in a small degree of satsifaction at that point, as she'd spent quite a few hours memorizing the verse "That's what I feel for you in a nutshell, Egon, and will till death do us part. And beyond."

"Egon?" the rabbi asked.

"I got my first degree I was twelve years old. From MIT and Columbia I learned much about physics, quantum mechanics, occult lore, and languages of dead peoples. But all of that pales to what no textbook could have ever taught me--the lessons I learned from the people in this room, lessons of trust and friendship. From one, I learned courage in the face of whatever challenge life threw at me. From another, faith that all would be as it should in the end. And from the one who has stood with me longest, to not take life so seriously. But it was you who taught me the greatest lesson of them all--the power of unconditional love. And I hope to keep having you teach me that lesson till death do us part. And beyond."

The rabbi paused for a moment. It was such a tough act to follow. "Be there any who feels that these two should not be joined, speak now or forever hold thy peace..."

Venkman couldn't help himself. He looked to the door, swearing that if Louis Tully or one of those Egon-obsessed fangirls burst through it, he would murder them bloodily.

"The rings, please?"

Oscar held up the pillow, the two rings sparkling in the light.

"These rings, precious though they may be, hold no value compared to what they symbolize--the power of true love." the rabbi continued. "What we have witnessed today, let no man or god split asunder. By the power vested in me, by the law of man and the assent of Adonai, I declare you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride, Mister Spengler..."

"Try and stop me." Egon smirked, lifting the viel; and though it was not the first kiss they'd ever shared, it was the first kiss as husband and wife...

Oscar's jaw dropped, as he looked up and realized his stepfather was in tears, in a way he hadn't seen since the day Jessica was born. And he could swear he saw Peter look to the sky and mouth the word "Finally."


"Ladies and Gentlemen, Professor and Mrs. Egon Spengler!!" Winston announced, to a standing ovation. The newlyweds gave each other an amused look as they took their seats at the head of the table.

"Now, I understand our Best Man has a brief toast prepared..." Ray smiled.

Venkman took the stage, pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, and suddenly the paper unfurled all the way down to the floor and about six feet away.

As he'd hoped, the crowd laughed, and he threw the paper to the side with a flash of his familiar Cheshire smile.

"Y'know, I remember when I was in college, my first day, in fact. It was back in 1973, and I got to my dorm to find this completely repressed nerd with a broom up his ass there...I thought he was my roomie's little brother, the dude looked like he was only fifteen...because, as I found out, he was only fifteen. And worse, he was my roomie--me, Peter Venkman, coolest guy on campus, roomed with some teenage dork prodigy. Can you imagine the embarrassment?"

The crowd was chuckling. Egon rolled his eyes.

"Not long after that, he made me waste my weekend in a drafty old fort, took me three states away to get the crap scared out of me, and accidentally burned down one of the science buildings. Then, in 1979, he nearly blew me up in an experiment gone bad--and not for the last time, either. I tell you, in the Eighties the guy couldn't go a week without getting blown up, phased into another dimension, possessed, or turned into a werechicken."

Venkman rolled his eyes. "And then when we started Ghostbusters...pshoot...we needed to hire some help and only one person showed up--a firecracker from Brooklyn with a shrill voice like an angry Bugs Bunny, and who wasn't going to let a little thing like the fact I was technically her boss get in the way of ruining my days. Like the day she actually told me to get my ass in gear on a case or she'd fire me. She'd fire me."

"What is this, a frickin' roast?!" a loud Brooklyn voice called out with mock aggravation.

"As you've just seen, Spengs has quite a handful." Venkman continued, without missing a beat. "But I remember noticing something pretty quick--the way she started to look at him like he was a blue plate special and she hadn't eaten in a year. And I really took note when we were going home from our first case. We'd caught this ugly, drippy, disgusting green blobby slimey thing in the Sedgewick Hotel..." There was another loud chuckle from the people who knew him best, and the full context of those remarks. "I said to Egon 'Don't worry. When our secretary asks, I'll be sure to tell her you're an expert at handling your wand,' and he replied 'What has that got to do with anything?' just a little too quickly..."

Dana groaned nearby, really wishing her husband hadn't related that double entendre with their five year old daughter present.

"Yeah, folks, I soon realized that my little Egon had finally found the woman he needed. I told him a long time ago...I think it was right before Chumboro House scared the crap out of me that I told him 'Finding you a girlfriend is going to be harder than I thought--she'll have to be weird enough to stand the sh...'" Then he remembered his kids and a few more were present. "'Stuff you're into, not to mention have the stubbornness of a mule and the patience of a saint to penetrate that barrier of yours'...well, and here she was."

"It wasn't easy, believe me. Fifteen years it took to get us here, but here we are, and..." he stopped, his smirking facade starting to crack. "I speak from experience, here, Buddy...after today, none of that time is gonna matter anymore. It doesn't matter how long it takes to get there, what counts is that you're together. And if anybody I know is gonna make it, it's gonna be you." He raised the glass. "To Egon and Janine Spengler. Forever."

There was hearty applause mixed with the clinking of glasses. There were many misty eyes after Venkman's toast--truth to be told, that included the bride's.

Though the ceremony had been mostly non-denominational, the newlyweds had agreed to one custom nodding to Mrs. Spengler's Jewish background--after finishing the first toast, they stomped the wine glasses into shards.

"I guess that's one way to keep the lovebirds from getting too drunk to dance for us." Venkman quipped.

"You know I'm a lousy dancer..." Egon quipped, as he was pulled to the floor.

"So am I..." Janine replied. "Maybe we'll cancel each other out."

"The same principle as multipying two negative numbers..." Egon mused, raising an eyebrow with amusement. "Worth a try."

Ray went over to the AV cabinet for the reception hall, and pulled a CD out of his pocket. After he primed it, he nodded at Winston, who nodded at Venkman.

Venkman smirked. "When it came time to pick a song for the first dance, there were a lot of really good choices out there. But with the help of my son Oscar--a musical genius--we found one that was perfect in more ways than one. Not his style, by the way, but he agreed it's the one."

Ray hit the button on the player as Venkman nodded. The tinkling tones of a piano reverberated throughout the hall.

When you say, I miss the things you do
I just want to get back close again to you
But for now, your voice is near enough
How I miss you and I miss your love
And though, all the days that pass me by so slow
All the emptiness inside me flows
All around and theres no way out
Im just thinking so much of you
There was never any doubt

I can wait forever
If you say youll be there too
I can wait forever if you will
I know its worth it all, to spend my life alone with you

"Air Supply?" Jen asked. "Not one of their famous ones, but I know I've heard it before..."

When it looked as though my life was wrong
You took my love and gave it somewhere to belong
Ill be here, when hope is out of sight
I just wish that I were next to you tonight
And though, Ill be reaching for you even though
Youll be somewhere else, my love will go
Like a bird on its way back home
I could never let you go
And I just want you to know

I can wait forever
If you say youll be there too
I can wait forever if you will
I know its worth it all, to spend my life alone with you

Where are you know?
Alone, with the thoughts we share
Keep them strong somehow,
And you know, I'll always be there...

I can wait forever
If you say youll be there too
I can wait forever if you will
I know its worth it all, to spend my life alone with you

"I sometimes think Peter knows us just a little too well... Egon whispered to his new bride. "It's perfect..."

"Not as perfect as you..." she replied, drinking in the sensation of being in his arms. Her husband.

Eduardo pulled his collar, and went up to Kylie. "I know this music is, like, totally for squares and old people, but you know...y'maybe wanna dance?"

"I dunno, Eddie. With who?" she teased him.

Eduardo rolled his eyes. "With me, I guess. I got here first, after all..."

With an exuberance he wasn't used to, but he wouldn't mind the chance, she laughed and let him lead her to the floor.

Garrett elbowed Roland. "Don't say a word to them." Roland said amiably, but firmly. More than once he'd wondered if the teasing Garrett gave them had slowed down whatever was trying to happen between Eduardo Rivera and Kylie Griffin.

"Okay...but I wanna know why nobody's asking me to dance..." Garrett retorted.

More couples took the the floor...the Melnitzes...the Irwins...the Stantzes and Zeddemores...

Victor tried to get Jen Spengler to dance with him. But she politely declined.

"Time for us to upstage everyone, Mrs. Venkman." Peter said to Dana, taking her hand as they joined the rest.

"I don't understand what that's all about." Jessica huffed. "Is dancing with some boy supposed to be fun?"

"I dunno...Dad always says we'll understand when we're older." Oscar replied.

Vincent Belmont watched silently. He wasn't completely sure it was the right decision to come...it was only adding salt to the wound of his recent breakup with Aya. And maybe it was that...maybe it was the mood of the day...but he found himself thinking ruefully less of Aya, and more of Jill...Another woman I blew it with. I wonder where she is now...

Katharine Spengler looked wistfully at her son and her daughter-in-law...memories of her own wedding playing in her head...memories of the day she held that tiny body for the first time...Katharine felt the tears welling. Her son...

"Our son has become an even greater man that I ever hoped he could be Katharine..."

She started. The voice was so clear...but when she looked around, there was noone there.

"Katharine?" this time, she saw Will Hazzard. "I know you must miss him terribly on a day like this..."

Did he hear it too? "Without a doubt..."

"I realize I'm not the husband you miss...but this old friend of your father would ask the honor of your presence in the dance..." the old man smiled, and stood up from his wheelchair.

"But...Will..I thought you were..." she gasped, surprised.

"What else are exoskeletons for, my dear?" he replied.

As she danced withWill Hazzard at her son's wedding, her thoughts were elsewhere...My son battles the dead for a living, after all... she thought to herself. Why couldn't it have been Edison? He is here...he didn't miss this day. I know it in my heart.


Unfortunately, as much as Janine Spengler might have wished otherwise, such days inevitably wind down.

"I believe it is time for us to make our exit." Egon announced. "I don't think the airlines can be persuaded to delay the departure of our honeymoon flight." As he said that, Egon wistfully remembered the Ghostbusters' custom gyrowing craft, the ECTO-4. I need to get it working again soon...

"Honeymoon? Holy crap, Unc...where you goin'?" Victor asked.

"Tahiti." Janine replied. "Our wedding present from one notably well-off Hollywood agent..."

"Even though, of course, Tahiti without Venkman is disgusting." Venkman quipped. "But it isn't the whole present..."

Dana made a show of putting her hands over Jessica's ears. "Moooom..." the youngest member of the Venkman clan protested.

"To help what should prove to be a most fascinating series of biology experiments, I'm sure..." he handed Egon a box.

"I'm afraid to open this." Janine declared.

"There are kids around anyway." Ray beamed, drawing an elbow from his wife.

"And our present from Liz was a book called 'Child Rearing the Hermetic Way'. What is this, a conspiracy?" Janine asked jovially.

"Only in the most benevolent sense of the word." Winston beamed, pulling Kaila a little closer. "You two have a lot of time to make up for."

"Er...ahem...if you'll excuse us, then..."

"Not so fast, Professor." Liz chided. "I think there's a ritual or two remaining...a bouquet to be tossed, I believe."

"You better do what the lady says, Egon." Ray smiled. "She could turn you into a frog..."

"I think I'll pass on that. Though I thought Janine would be the one throwing the bouquet..."

"Oh, God...she's giving him a sense of humor already..." Venkman quipped

Winston whistled loudly and pointed. "Single gals, over here! The moment is coming!!"

When Janine sent the bouquet sailing, it ended up being protested so vigorously it ended up bouncing away from the crowd...

And right at the feet of Kylie Griffin, who'd tried to get away from it. Oh great...the last thing Eddie needs is more encouragement...

"Okay, Dudes. Your turn..." Venkman noted.

There were a couple of wolf whistles (including Barney Lupin's naturally) when Mrs. Spengler hiked her skirt to reveal the garter.

"Whistle all you want...this one is off the market." Egon said with an uncharacteristic smirk. He removed the item with some deliberate slowness.

"A sample of later..." he told his new wife, giving her a quick kiss to the cheek.

"Fifty bucks if the guy who catches it wears it on his head!!" Barney Lupin called out loudly.

Egon gave the garter a good fling, and it ended up in the hands of none other than Victor Irwin. After a second contemplating the vague ickiness of catching something that had been on his aunt's leg a moment before, he noticed that Jen was giving him a quizzical look. Maybe this ain't a bad thing after all... he thought to himself.

Janine's yellow Volkswagen, now decorated with various traditional "Just Married" markings and cans tied to the back bumper, was waiting. There were waves, a few hugs, and another tear or two, before Egon and Janine Spengler began their newest journey together.


Epilog
The Morning of June 15, 1998
A Hotel In Tahiti

He drank in the warmth of the moment...the sense of peace...contentment of a sort he couldn't remember feeling...ever...

He felt the steady beat of her heart, and it was beautiful. Her cheek was resting against his neck, the soft roundness of her bosom pressed up against his lightly haired chest...a whiff of the perfume she'd worn the day before still lingered in the air, mixed with more natural scents...that seemed even more beautiful to him.

She opened one eye and looked up at him. "Good morning...Mister Spengler..."

"Good morning to you..." he paused, realizing he was savoring the sound of it. "...Mrs. Spengler."

She leaned forward and kissed him. "I suppose we should go outside sometime...otherwise all that money Peter spent is sort of wasted, huh?"

"Perhaps..."

She closed her eyes again, and nuzzled back up against him. "I wish I could just stay like this forever, though."

"Forever?"

"Uh huh..."

"Well...we've more than earned it." he replied, kissing her once more.

They would finally get out of the bed and enjoy the beach...

...The next morning...


Ghostbusters written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
"Ragnarok and Roll", "Janine You've Changed" written by J. Micheal Straczynski
"Robo Buster" written by Francis Moss
"The Land Unknown" written by James Van Hise
"Darkness At Noon" written by Billy Brown, Dan Angel, and Dean Stephan
"The Crawler" written by Sleve Slavkii
"As Dreams Fade" written by Ben King
"For Worse or For Better" written by Rosey Collins and Fritz Baugh
"Dreams Reborn" written by Rosey Collins, Ben King, and Fritz Baugh
"Ghostbusting 101" written by Iain Bennett, Ben King, and Fritz Baugh
"Fateful Opportunity", "Illogical Reaction", "A Bit of Family Business" "The Zodiac Imperative", "Nodus", and "Clinically Insane" written by Fritz Baugh

Janine's vows from the ancient story The Ramayan; suggested by Ghostdiva

"I Can Wait Forever" written by Graham Russell, David Foster, and Jay Graydon. It was performed by Air Supply on the soundtrack of a 1984 movie called --ahem-- Ghostbusters

Jessica Venkman created by Rosey Collins

Thanks to Jen Spengler and Vincent Belmont for allowing their characters' appearance in this story.


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