Bobby was sat on the doorstep of the Mercer house, the door open behind him, jiggling a baby on each knee.
Bobby looked up to see...Jack, standing there in his black jeans and boots, his torn T-shirt and leather bands. His hair stood up on end and there was a gentle smile on his young face. He looked exactly like he did every time Bobby thought about him.
"Jack." Bobby was not surprised – he had been half expecting this since seeing his mother all those months ago while they fixed the house.
Jack's smile grew into a grin. "Look at you being all domestic."
"Shut up, you fairy," Bobby said. "You should be here, not me."
"Yeah," Jack looked sadly at the two babies currently drooling over him. "I should."
"Why didn't you tell me about Dee?" asked Bobby. It was the one thing he still did not really understand.
Jack leant against the wall. "Tell my big brother, the Michigan Mauler, that I was head over heels for a bartender? Yeah, you wouldn't have kicked my ass."
"That was before I met her. She's something, Jack."
"Yeah, I know. I knew the minute I met her."
"But you left her," said Bobby.
"To go to Mom's funeral. I never expected that I wouldn't go back." Jack looked at his children. "I never thought I'd have kids let alone die before they were born. They're beautiful."
"Yeah. I try to remember that at two in the morning when they start to cry," Bobby said wryly.
"Wish I could be there for that," Jack said thickly.
Bobby looked up to see a tear trickle down his brother's face. "She loves you, you know."
Jack nodded. "I wouldn't have left if I had known this was how it was going to turn out. Mom wouldn't have minded I don't think – she told me she'd kill me if I let Lydia go. I guess it happened anyway.
"Guess Mom was still getting it right," Bobby said, looking at baby Evelyn.
"Of course I was. Don't I always?"
Bobby's head shot up to see his mother standing next to Jack who smiled at her. She returned his smile before kneeling in front of Bobby to look closer at the twins.
"Oh, they're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Of course, so were Daniela and Amelia," she hurried on.
"Nice save, Mom," Bobby smiled. Evelyn smiled and waved a hand. "You want to meet them?" He hoisted the babies up a little higher. "Ma, Jack, meet Jack Junior and Evelyn. Jay Jay, Evie, meet your Grandma and your Dad."
"You named them after us?" Evelyn asked, welling up.
"Lydia did," Bobby told them, smiling at all four of them.
"So, Bobby, you sticking around this time?" Evelyn asked him the same question she had the last time she had visited him. This time, she knew he would give the right answer.
Bobby looked down at the children in his arms, "definitely, Ma."
Evelyn smiled, "oh, Bobby."
"Hey, Bobby? Look after my babies?" Jack asked seriously.
"You know I will," Bobby nodded.
"And Dee, look after her, too. Tell her...tell her I love her." Jack smiled wistfully. "We really could have been something."
"I know that, Jack. She knows it, too. She loves you."
Jack swallowed and nodded. "I guess we'll be seeing you, Bobby."
Bobby watched as Jack put his arm around Evelyn as they went to leave. "Hey, Bobby?" Jack turned back to his oldest brother. "What happened to me? Dying? It wasn't your fault. I lost my temper and went out there unarmed. This one's on me, you got that?"
"I got that, fairy." And that painful doubt that had plagued Bobby since Jack died eased and finally dissipated. He smiled at the deceased members of his family. "Be seeing you, Jack. Bye, Mom."
Bobby looked down to smile at the twins and when he looked up his mother and brother were gone.
"Hey, Bobby," Lydia came up behind him with two bottles of formula in her hands, "who are you talking to?"
"No one, Dee," Bobby said.
Lydia did not look convinced but exchanged a baby for a bottle. She sat down on the step below Bobby as they fed the twins.
The Volvo rolled up and Jerry's family got out.
"Hey, guys," Lydia said, "you made it!"
"You said you wanted to have dinner with all of us," Camille said.
"I still can't believe you want to celebrate the babies turning a month old. Who does that?" Bobby shook his head.
Lydia thumped him on the arm, "I do, okay? My babies, my rules, shut your mouth."
Tony walked up from the living room, "Angel and Sofia are arguing about place mats and it's getting physical. Can someone else separate them please?"
"Give them a moment," Bobby said. "They'll go upstairs to make up in a minute."
Tony looked behind him to see Sofia dragging Angel up the stairs. "You Mercers really are something to get used to."
Jerry smiled, "we're worth the effort."
"Believe us or we'll kill you," Bobby said.
"Bobby, are you developing a sense of humour?" Lydia asked sarcastically incredulous, "a really bad one, but a sense of humour none the less."
Bobby shrugged. "You told me to try to be happy."
Lydia shook her head, "you're impossible."
They continued to snap happily back and forth trying to gain the upper hand until Angel and Sofia came back downstairs and they were able to eat.
Around the table, the eleven of them sat and enjoy a truly Mercer dinner – lots of food and merry arguing until baby Evie, sitting on Lydia's lap, grabbed a handful of mash potato and threw it at Bobby. Bobby looked up when the mash potato slid from his forehead onto his lap. The others tried desperately not to laugh but failed miserably when Daniela burst out in manic giggles.
"You guys all suck," Bobby decided, wiping off his face with his napkin.
"We're family, Bobby, we're meant to laugh at you," Jerry told him.
"I should have stayed in Chicago," Bobby said.
"But then you wouldn't have all this," Sofia said, jiggling Jay Jay on her knee.
Bobby looked around the table at the people now in his life. This or Chicago?
This. Definitely this.
You didn't think I'd let it end without seeing Jack again, did you? Short, I know, but it is the epilogue after all!
Review, please! Especially as this is the end! Huh! My first ever fan fiction is finished! Okay, so it's the THIRD to BE finished, but it was still the first one I ever started!