Thank you everyone for being such loyal readers. This story was such a journey for me as a writer, and I hope it was one for you as a reader! Any suggestions for future stories are welcome. Reviews and feedback are always welcome and much appreciated! Enjoy.

"Well I think that's everything."

For a moment, LA X airport was still, and the only thing James saw was the love in both his parents' eyes.

"So where do you go from here, Jimmy?" his father asked, eyes shining.

"Going home," James replied with certainty. "What about you two?"

"We've got another plane to catch." His father set a strong hand upon his shoulder, steadying him with his eyes. "You'll be just fine, Son."

"I know," said James with conviction; inside, his heart swelled with self-pride.

Besides him, his mother leaned forward and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "We're so proud of you sweetheart," she said, and before he could answer, she'd wrapped him tight in a loving embrace-taking his breath away. "Come and visit us when you can, okay?" she asked, seeking him imploringly with her eyes.

"Of course I will, Mom." His throat felt thick as he hugged her back.

"You've come a long way, son," said his father, nodding knowingly, watching him with his piercing brown eyes. "I've waited a long time to see my son become a man."

"Thanks." He still couldn't say "dad", but this time, he looked his father in the eyes, and saw him for what he was: a man, plain and simple...human...imperfect, as he was, but still capable of many good things.

"Don't forget to stay in touch now," his father declared (was that a mist in his eyes?).

"Okay," James agreed, trying to force a convincing smile, for the distance between them would be indeed far.

"We love you sweetheart," his mother said, eyes brimming over.

"Love you too, Mom"-He was about to say this when the announcer cut in, declaring that this was his parents' last call to board the plane.

"We'll be thinking of you," his father said, and before James could respond, his father performed a sharp salute. James, too moved to respond, could only nod his approval as both his parents, smiling at him from over their shoulders, grabbed their belongings and turned towards the gate...

...leaving James behind, watching as soon other passengers began to follow, and soon they were obscured by the crowd.

Soon, his own plane would arrive, come to take him home.

"Goodbye," said James...

...and closed his eyes.