Summary: The long-awaited sequel to Tori's and Halo's random silliness. Title still says it all, and please bear in mind, we're still just having fun. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I wish we could say differently this second time around, but even though we've now been a part of National Treasure, we still own nothing. Except ourselves, of course.
Authors' A/N: Okay, okay, you caught us. We lied. But now, see, here you've really, truly, finally reached The End!
Epilogue to the Epilogue
(Because we can't forget Tori)
Haley and Phil were married that same year on September the twenty-second – the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins' shared birthday. It was an intentional coincidence, of course. The ceremony and reception alike had been beautiful and simple, followed by a two week honeymoon for the couple in the British Virgin Islands. Magnificent.
The girls had taken their significant others on another road trip back to the Midwest, just to show them where they had once "lived" in a last-ditch effort to verify the truth of their fantastic tale. The two men had both appeared slightly more convinced, but Phil still begged them not to tell Ian.
And now, just over a month since the wedding, it was Halloween, and the newlyweds were off somewhere with Ian and Company for a drink. Tori, still being only twenty and a half, was not old enough to accompany them, but that didn't bother her. She probably wouldn't have wanted to go anyway.
Phil and Haley had chosen to reside in the home the two young ladies already occupied. The house was just so big, it made little sense for Tori to live there all by herself. And once again, she didn't mind. It was a little weird, admittedly, but it was still preferable to living in this veritable mansion all alone.
As she'd told Riley just last night, "Even though I'm not living by myself, it still gets kind of lonely sometimes."
And so here she was, at home baking cookies and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween afternoon. As always, she was listening to her iPod while she baked, using the length of the songs as a makeshift timer for her delicious confections.
But then, suddenly, whose voice should she hear over the earphones than Riley Poole's himself.
Tori grinned, amused, but kept baking. This certainly was a surprise – a little Halloween gift, perhaps? Then why in the world did he sound so nervous?
The techie's voice continued, "There's, uh, something I've been wanting to tell you. I mean, ask you. Tell you and ask you, but…oh, never mind. You'll see."
The stammering young man drew a deep breath. "Here we go: in Elvish, with Haley's help, of course."
And thus began a most confusing audible journey. Tori listened, utterly bewildered, as Riley continued to say one line in a variety of bizarre languages. After Elvish, there was Klingon, Binary, Morse Code, German, really bad French, Japanese, Abu Dhabi, and Pig Latin. But not until he arrived at "Backwards," did she finally begin to understand.
"Tori, I hate you. Will you divorce me?"
After one last moment of horrible confusion, the light dawned, and tears started welling up in her eyes, obstructing her view of the cookies she was trying to place on a cooling rack.
Dear Riley then moved on to new territory, most of which she could finally comprehend. He spoke in exaggerated Shakespearean English, butchered a singing of "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?", and said those fateful words while upside down and with this shirt inside out.
As he progressed, Tori's trembling hands drew out her iPod, only for her to behold with wonder that the song art on her screen matched whatever genre her beloved techie was speaking in. At last, Riley's romantic rant came to an end, and the final picture that appeared on her screen was one of him down on one knee with a small ring box in his hand.
"Tori, I love you more than life itself – even more than my laptop! Will you marry me?"
The tears were really coming down now, her shoulders shaking, and just as she was wondering what to do next, the doorbell rang. Tori sniffled, hastily blowing her nose and wiping her eyes before grabbing her bowl of candy and hurrying to the door.
A lad in a very convincing Joker's mask awaited her, but he seemed awfully tall for your typical trick-or-treater. Tori waited for him to say "Trick or Treat!", but instead, the figure slowly reached up to remove his mask.
It was Riley Poole.
In less than a heartbeat, Tori dropped the bowl of candy all over the ground and threw herself into Riley's arms.
The techie grunted a little at the force of the sudden impact, seeming a bit surprised himself by her enthused greeting.
"So, can I take that as a 'yes'?"
"Yes, yes, yes! Riley, of course I'll marry you!"
Riley's face seemed to melt into a perfect smile then, and Tori thought he looked happier than she'd ever seen him – even more than when they found the stairs beneath Trinity Church.
"Great! Then you'll need this."
He removed a ring box from his pocket, opened it up for her inspection, and slowly slid it on her finger. Tori, as you might imagine, cried right through the entire thing.
"Riley, that was so clever! But when did you do it?"
"Last night, when you were over at my place. See, I played Remember the Titans 'cause I know you've seen it so many times it puts you right to sleep. Then, after you'd dozed off, I 'borrowed' your iPod, put on the tracks, and returned it to your bag without you ever noticing. The whole plan worked like a charm."
They hugged again, sharing a deep kiss this time, but were quite rudely interrupted.
"Um, did we miss something? Again?"
The couple jerked apart and turned their heads as one to see Phil and Haley grinning madly at them.
"Well?" Haley pressed expectantly.
Tori was beaming. "Oh, Halo, guess what?! Riley proposed, and we're engaged!"
"Yes!" The older wrapped up her friend in a tight hug. "I knew it would happen, I just knew it! Just wait until Ben hears about it. I told him all along it would work out." She then moved on to embrace Riley.
"Well, Riley, despite the rocky beginnings of our relationship, I guess this means that you're about to become my adopted, long-lost brother-in-law. And you both know what that means – I'll have to start calling him 'Riley-kins'!"
The techie groaned and threw a pitiable glance over at Phil. "You know, you're lucky she hasn't come up with many good nicknames for you yet."
The older man nodded. "I know."
"So what's the plan, then?" Haley inquired eagerly.
"Well," Tori mused thoughtfully, "I would like to be married on December twenty-ninth, since that's the same day my grandmother got married. And I know it's only two months away, which isn't a long time to plan a wedding, but we can do it. I don't need anything real fancy, anyhow."
"Are you guys going to stay here, too, or move into Riley's?"
"Riley's, definitely!" the young bride-to-be answered for both of them. She knew how much he loved that apartment, and she'd already come to think of it as her second home, too.
He truly did seem to appreciate her decision. "Awesome, T! So, it looks like you two lovebirds will end up having this big place all to yourselves, huh?"
"Well, actually," Phil began, "we were just going to talk to Tori about that."
Tori cocked her head inquisitively. "About what?"
Haley exchanged glances, and grins, with Phil. "It turns out you guys have practically perfect timing. You know, we were just out tonight with the guys, and they've all got their own personal business to attend to over the next month or so. But after that…well, they've really got nothing set in stone. So, it all started as more of a joke, but the more we talked about it, the more we realized it might actually be a good idea. "
"What might be a good idea?"
Haley's smile turned rather brittle. "If they all moved in with us."
Riley's jaw nearly hit the ground. "Who?!"
"Ian, Shaw, and Powell," supplied Phil.
"No Viktor?" Tori questioned.
"He has to go back to Russia in a couple weeks, and we're not sure when or even if he'll be coming back to the States," Haley explained.
"When would they be moving in?"
"In the middle of December," answered Phil. "There's more than enough room, but we needed to make sure it was all right with you, Tori, before making anything official. But now it looks like you'll be moving out only a couple weeks after they move in. Could you handle that?"
Tori grinned. She could already tell Riley didn't like the idea, but what the heck. "Of course, I could! I can live with anyone for a couple of weeks, plus I'm sure it'll fly by. But, Haley, are you sure you won't mind having all of them here, and you the only girl?"
"Oh, I'm absolutely fine with it! It'll be just like old times, only now there's enough rooms for everyone to have their own. Besides, they probably won't all be here all the time. Ian, at least, has several other residences around the world. So as long as we can still get a cleaning service in here once or twice a week, there shouldn't be any problems."
Tori laughed aloud, knowing firsthand what a neat-freak her best friend could be. "Yeah, good luck with that, Halo! It'll be fun, though I still think I'll be ready to move out after two weeks in the same house with Shaw."
Everyone laughed at that, until their laughter was abruptly interrupted by a sharp beeping noise coming from inside the house. It was the smoke alarm, and Tori's eyes widened in horror when she saw tiny tendrils of smoke escaping through the kitchen window.
"T, were you cooking something?"
"Oh, crap," the brunette sighed. There went her cookies! "So…anyone else up for pizza?"
Until next time…