Epilogue

McPhee had come to accept the reality of the museum's liveliness at night, and little by little, he got himself on good terms with some of the exhibits. Larry found himself a new ally in his guardianship of the exhibits at night, if only for the few hours of the late show.

At the end of her shift one night, Tally walked into the apartment and flopped onto the couch. There was a crinkle of paper, and she sat up and checked under the cushions, finding a small package wrapped in birthday-themed wrapping paper. She brought the package into the light and unwrapped it gently.

The wrapping paper concealed a photograph of her, barely a month old, wrapped in Cecil's arms while he sat on the central bench in the Diorama Room. She ran her thumb across the surface of the photo and clutched it to her chest, tears streaming down her face.

After a long moment, she turned the photo around and read the back. 'Cecil and Tally, Jan 18, 1991. Gus was sober enough to take two of this one. We all knew Johanna would burn what she found.'

"Thanks, Cecil," Tally whispered.

Cecil watched from the window, pleased that Tally had finally found her favorite photo. He watched her reaction with a smile on his lips. "You're welcome, Tally-baby," he whispered, though he was certain she'd never hear her.