Chapter 8: End or Beginning?
A/N: And finally the last chapter is here. This is mostly a wrap up of the story but it's also a setup for the sequel and has many clues to a second prequel that I've got in the works. I hope you all enjoyed this story. I most certainly enjoyed writing it especially knowing that I have all you kind and wonderful readers who are so very interested in my ideas.
"Monogram," Inspector Initials looked none too pleased as she walked into Monogram's office "You got lucky. Next time you decide to take matters into your own hands the British intelligence community might not let you off so easily."
The man in question shot his visitor an angry stare "You're lucky that no one got killed," he retorted "If anything had happened to that family you can bet I would have held you personally responsible."
"You're getting too emotionally involved with the lives of your agents and their covers," Initials pointed out.
"To my agents the families they live with are more than covers," Monogram retorted.
"Perhaps you should re-evaluate how OWCA does business," Initials commented "If there's one thing that can get in the way of doing your job correctly, it's feelings and attachments."
"Maybe you're the one who needs to re-evaluate how they do things?" Monogram muttered as his British counterpart turned to leave.
Moments after Inspector Initials had left Carl popped his head in "Sir…" he began hesitantly.
"What is it Carl?" Monogram asked, his tone was less than enthusiastic. It had been a long day and he was tired. It wasn't just the encounter at the Flynn-Fletcher household or the endless paperwork that came with taking the matter into his own hands to work around the NAI order. He just wanted this day to be over.
"The OWCA board wants to see you…" Carl replied, his gaze shifted from point to point in the room but never met Monogram's own world weary eyes.
Monogram sighed "Well, I knew this was going to happen," he stood up. As he passed Carl he patted him on the shoulder "Hope they didn't give you too hard of a time," he offered the younger man a weak smile.
"No sir…" Carl replied, not wanting to tell his superior and the man that he idolized just what had happened during his meeting earlier with the OWCA board.
Monogram headed for the elevator and once inside he pushed the button for the top floor. He stuck his hands deep into his pockets as the elevator took its time in reaching its destination.
Like all government organizations, secret or otherwise, OWCA's divisions were overseen by a single group of higher-ups. Major Monogram along with his peers such as Admiral Acronym answered to these board members whenever necessary. As the elevator traveled up to the top floor, Monogram wondered when the last time was that he had been summoned before the board. And then it hit him, the second dimension disaster… Had the Amnesia-Inator had a latent affect on him too? He found himself smiling a bit at the thought.
Perhaps his otherwise spotless record with the agency would sway the board in favor of leniency for this transgression. While the British intelligence community was not out for his blood, Monogram knew that it was a far different story with the OWCA board.
The elevator doors opened and Major Monogram was presented with a long hallway which led to the room where the board conducted their business. As he walked down it, he wondered what made them choose this particular architectural design. He guessed there was something appealing to the most powerful people in organizations about long dramatic corridors. He supposed they got a kick out of knowing that as the person on the way to see them walked that corridor that he was inevitably pondering his fate.
He reached the end of the hall and pushed the button for the intercom beside the heavy wooden door. "Major Monogram to see the board," he stated plainly.
"Come in," the gruff voice of General Grammar replied.
Monogram pushed open the door and was immediately confronted with the stern gazes of the entire board who sat around a large semi-circular table.
"Please Major, take a seat," Director Dictation, a woman in her mid forties, offered in a polite voice.
Monogram took the loan seat on his side of the table where he could see every member of the board and they could see him.
"I believe you know why we've called you here," Director Dictation continued.
Monogram nodded and fidgeted in the chair just slightly, attempting to get comfortable for what he foresaw to be a long meeting.
Carl was just finishing emptying the things from his desk when Major Monogram returned. Carl offered his mentor a salute as he hefted the box under one arm "How did it go sir?" he asked, knowing it couldn't have gone too well but hoping it wasn't nearly as bad as it could be.
"They'll be wanting to see Agent P tomorrow," Monogram told Carl "They didn't want to tear him away from his family tonight when he'd most likely be missed…" he trailed off and studied Carl carefully "So… you'll be working for Admiral Acronym?"
Carl nodded "Yes sir," he replied.
"Good, good," Monogram continued "Glad they didn't toss you out because of me."
"I stood up for you sir," Carl said quietly "What you did was the right thing."
"It means a lot that you think so Carl," Monogram sighed, sitting down at his desk "The board would rather I waited for the British agents to take Diana down. Never mind that she was about to massacre an entire family, never mind that the police would have shot her dead before Initials and her group could have gotten there…"
"What else did the board say…?" Carl asked tentatively.
"Agent P's host family has been a touch and go issue since the second dimension battle," Monogram leaned forward, catching his chin in the palm of one of his hands "Now it seems like the Flynn-Fletcher's are some sort of poison. Even the slightest close call in the future may give the board cause to reassign Agent P."
Carl shook his head sadly as he headed for the door "Hopefully the board will come around," he remarked, trying to bring some hope into an otherwise hopeless situation.
"You're an optimist Carl," Monogram chuckled "You'll do well in this world, but you'd do best to take that optimism somewhere else. The OWCA board doesn't change their minds lightly."
"Optimism's like jello," Carl grinned "There's always room for it."
Monogram's face burst out into a smile and he laughed "Oh, I'm gonna miss you around here Carl."
"I'll miss you too sir," Carl saluted with his free hand.
"Do the organization proud under Admiral Acronym," Monogram told him "And don't let her kill that optimism… She has that affect on people."
"I'll do my best sir," Carl said as he left "Goodbye," the sound of the door closing as Carl passed through it was so final in Monogram's mind that he couldn't help getting a little misty eyed. He knew that things would only be worse tomorrow after Agent P's meeting with the board.
Lawrence stood in his sons' bedroom, just watching them sleep. He was so relieved that everything was back to normal, well more normal, well… it wouldn't be normal again, now that Linda knew the truth about Diana but at least he wouldn't have to lie to his family anymore.
The lie had initially been to protect Ferb. Being the new boy at a new school and his father meeting and starting to date a new, strange woman, Lawrence hadn't wanted the truth of what he'd been through to haunt his son. But it had anyway; lying about it hadn't changed the past.
Lawrence bent down and kissed Ferb's forehead. Had the boy been awake, Lawrence knew he would have protested, not verbally of course but he would have wiped at his forehead vigorously and made a face.
Lawrence smiled at the thought. His son, the child who in so many ways had had to grow up so fast for his father when he was still just a toddler, had somehow reclaimed that lost childhood. And Lawrence knew that Phineas had a large part in that.
Lawrence turned to Phineas and smiled at his other boy. He was so grateful that his entire family was safe. When he closed his eyes he could still see the frightened look on Phineas's face as Diana held that knife to his throat. He bent down and kissed Phineas's forehead as well. "My two brave boys," he smiled "God forgive me for what's happened to you because of this cowardly old fool."
He thought he saw Phineas blink in the soft glow cast by the nightlight but he eventually decided that he must have imagined it. He stood there watching his sons sleep for several more minutes. He was hesitant to leave them. Candace had been in the room earlier but had left when the boys had told her it was hard to get to sleep with her there.
Linda would have been in the room with him if not for the fact that she had spent the entire evening on and off between the loo and bed. She had told him she supposed it was just nerves but Lawrence was increasingly unsure about that.
Eventually, at half passed three in the morning, he pulled himself away from his sons' bedsides and went to locate his wife. He found her in bed, awake, cuddling with his pillow. She smiled when she saw him and released the pillow so that he could use it "I was wondering when you'd come to bed," she whispered as she snuggled up tight against him "Are the boys alright? No signs of nightmares?"
"None that I can see," Lawrence replied as he wrapped his arms tightly around her "At least someone in this house will get a sound night's sleep tonight," he remarked. He knew for a fact that Candace was still awake on her laptop, distracting herself from sleep with websites and computer games.
And exhausted though Lawrence felt, he was certain that the night wouldn't yield anything close to restful results for him. Diana may have been dealt with but that didn't mean the fear that she'd inspired was gone from their lives. He could feel the slight tremble running through Linda's body when she'd snuggled up against him. It was obvious that she'd been lying there; plagued by the horrible thoughts of what might have been had the afternoon gone differently and she'd been waiting for his comforting touch.
He kissed Linda softly on the lips "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too," she murmured back, her voice heavy with sleep. It appeared that she felt assured enough by his presence to risk letting dreams take over her mind.
Lawrence smiled as he too allowed himself to close his eyes "Good night darling."
It was a little over week later and Perry was on forced sabbatical by order of the OWCA board. He had another month left of banishment before he could return to the business of fighting evil. It wasn't that he found anything particularly unsavory about having time to lounge around the house during the warm sunny days but he hadn't gone this long without any sort of contact with the agency. It was unsettling to him.
As much as he enjoyed spending time with Phineas and Ferb and watching their spectacular inventions, he missed seeing Major Monogram on a daily basis, he missed Carl, he missed wearing his fedora and flying his jetpack, heck, he even missed Doofenshmirtz and foiling his evil schemes, no matter how ridiculous they might be.
It was a lazy Monday afternoon when Candace attempted to drag her mother through the house into the backyard to see another one of Phineas and Ferb's inventions, a Life Sized Multi Level Remote Control Car Track with Ten Loop de loops, if Perry remembered correctly.
Linda was putting up more of an argument than usual "Candace, where's your father. Candace, let go of my arm! Candace! Candace, STOP!"
At the sheer volume of Linda's last command, Candace stopped short in her tracks "Dad's still at the lawyer's office down town…" she trailed off "I thought that what you were gonna tell us was gonna wait until he got back?"
"It still is," Linda managed an apologetic smile at her daughter "But now I've got some news that's gonna make the other news sound even better."
"What is it?" Phineas asked as he and Ferb walked in from the backyard.
"Oh, you're just gonna have to wait until your father gets back," Linda grinned mischievously at her boys "I wanna tell him first so that we can tell you together." Linda fairly flounced upstairs to wait for her husband.
Candace, who had by this point given up on busting Phineas and Ferb today, glanced out the back door "Hey, where'd the racetrack go?"
"Some guy with a fleet of helicopters took it away to be the star attraction at his new theme park," Phineas replied.
"That figures," Candace replied, putting a hand to her forehead.
Lawrence arrived home with a folder full of papers and an enormous grin on his face. He spotted Candace as soon as he walked in the door "Candace," he greeted cheerfully "Have you seen your mother?"
"Yeah," Candace replied "She got home about an hour before you did. She's upstairs. She said she had big news but that she wanted to talk to you about it first."
"Big news?" Lawrence raised an eyebrow "That's not the same big news I told you kids I was hoping to get this afternoon?"
"She said it was different," Candace remarked as she turned the page in the magazine she was flipping through.
Lawrence shrugged and headed upstairs. He found Linda reclining on their bed. He plopped down beside her "So I take it the doctor figured out what was making you so ill?"
Linda grinned "He sure did," she rested her head on her husband's shoulder.
"Did he give you something for your nerves?" Lawrence questioned.
"It's not my nerves," Linda chuckled "It's something else…"
Lawrence looked at his wife and dared to hope "Linda…" he breathed "Are you…?"
Linda nodded "Yep," she patted her stomach gently "Baby on board."
Lawrence kissed his wife "But I thought…"
"So did I," Linda replied.
"The chemo and all…" Lawrence couldn't help grinning.
Linda laughed and snuggled close to him "And all meaning, and me being in my forties?" she asked.
"Uh…" Lawrence cringed a little bit, not knowing how to answer that question "No, not at all."
Linda laughed again before tapping the folder in Lawrence's hand with her index finger "I see you brought something back from Mr. Jessup's office."
Lawrence smiled broadly "I most certainly did." He pulled out the first document and handed it to Linda "Being back in prison seems to have given Diana some sort of clarity, thank goodness."
Linda looked through the document. It was an official termination of Diana's parental rights, signed by Diana herself. She grinned "So I guess this means…"
Lawrence nodded as he withdrew further documents from the folder "That's exactly what it means love."
"Adoption…?" asked Phineas, looking up at his father. Phineas sat on Lawrence's lap and Ferb sat on Linda's. Candace sat between her parents on the sofa. "Didn't you guys talk about that when…?" Phineas trailed off with the painful memories of three summers ago.
"We talked about it," Linda said with a faltering smile on her face as she too remembered the events of that summer "But with everything that was happening there was never any time."
"And back then it was just about me adopting you two kids," Lawrence said, squeezing Phineas and Candace in a hug "This time it's about making everything we know in our hearts is true, legal on paper for the whole world to know."
Candace nodded "So this time, you're not doing it just because…" she trailed off. It was still a sore topic, her mother's breast cancer was a dark point in the family's past that none of them liked to remember.
"It was never just because of that," Lawrence told her. It was never just because Linda had been so ill that they feared she would die that he wanted to adopt Phineas and Candace.
"And I'm going to be adopting you too Ferb," Linda smiled, giving her green haired son a gentle squeeze.
Ferb smiled up at his mother "What about Diana?" he asked. Ferb had researched adoption on the internet extensively since that dark summer. He wanted Linda to be his mother for the world to see. He didn't want people just to call her his stepmother. He knew that Linda couldn't legally adopt him unless his biological mother surrendered her parental rights.
Linda smiled and kissed Ferb on the forehead "She's not gonna stand in my way," she told her son. Knowing that her son was more knowledgeable than most boys his age, she removed the termination of parental rights from from the folder on the coffee table and handed it to him.
Ferb's face literally lit up when the second he realized what the paper was. He wrapped his arms around his mother's neck "I love you Mom," he told her.
"I love you too, son," she smiled as she returned his embrace.
"And I love you both," Lawrence hugged Candace and Phineas tightly.
After returning her father's hug Candace turned to her mother "So what else did you have to tell us Mom?"
"Well," Linda began "As you kids know, I had an appointment with the doctor."
The three children exchanged looks. They had been worried about their mother's condition all week and had briefly thought that perhaps she was having a reoccurrence of her cancer. But they knew this wasn't the case. A heavy burden had been lifted from their hearts when Linda had come home telling them she had good news. Now all they were wondering was what it could possibly be.
"This family's gonna be getting a little bigger," Linda told them.
All three children looked at her in awe "You're…" Candace began.
"Really…?" Phineas asked.
Ferb turned in his mother's lap and reverently stroked his mother's still flat stomach with a soft smile.
"Yep," Linda smiled "Just about a month along."
Phineas, Candace and Lawrence's hands soon joined Ferb's on Linda's abdomen.
"I hope it's a girl," Candace grinned "There are too many boys in this house as it is."
The entire family burst into laughter as Perry lumbered over to the sofa to be picked up by Phineas and included in the mirth. Perry chattered happily as Phineas proclaimed that Candace was enough sister for him.
Candace gave Phineas a playful poke in the arm before declaring that she was going to call Stacy and tell her the good news. Candace left the room and headed upstairs. Linda looked out the living room windows at the setting sun and gasped, realizing the time.
"What am I gonna do about dinner?" she asked "I didn't get a chance to go grocery shopping today."
"Let's go out to eat," Lawrence said with a grin "A celebration dinner."
""That's a great idea," Linda grinned thankfully at her husband. It was nice to get a break from having to prepare dinner once in a while.
"Phineas, why don't you go tell Candace to get ready?" Lawrence smiled down at the red headed boy as Phineas slid down from his father's lap and ran to get his sister.
"It's supposed to be a bit chilly tonight," Linda remarked as Ferb stood to his feet "Go up to your room and grab a jacket, and remind your brother to get one too," she said gently.
Lawrence wrapped an arm around his wife as Ferb ran up the stairs after Phineas "I talked to Mr. Jessup about a good child psychologist for Ferb," he remarked as she snuggled up against him.
"I think it will be good for him," Linda remarked "But let's not mention it to the kids tonight. After what happened I think Phineas and Candace could benefit from some therapy too."
Lawrence rubbed his hand over Linda's stomach again "I can't believe it," he whispered in awe "We're gonna have a baby," he stopped abruptly and his expression changed "You were pregnant when Diana…"
Linda wrapped her arms around her husband's neck "She's gone now," Linda assured him "She can't hurt you or Ferb or any of us now."
"We came so close to losing everything…" he whispered, his eyes misting over a bit.
"But we didn't," Linda told him with a small smile "We're all here," she kissed him soundly on the lips.
"Uh… guys…" Candace cleared her throat.
The parents separated to see all three of their children standing before them, dressed and ready to go. Phineas and Ferb were pulling faces at the public display of affection that their parents were putting on. Linda jumped to her feet "Who's hungry?"
A chorus of "Me" coming from Candace, Phineas, Lawrence and even Ferb answered her.
"Then let's go," The family exited the house and got into the car. They'd been through a lot and they'd face a lot in their future but tonight was a night to celebrate, as a family.
A/N: Well, that's the end. Like I've said before the sequel will be entitled "Fifth Grade Belongs to Us" and the first prequel I have planned with be called "When Lawrence Met Linda" the second prequel which will deal with Linda's bout with breat cancer does not yet have a title. Once again I hope you all enjoyed this story. And if you did, I would love to hear about it in a review. Your reviews are much appreciated and make my day/night/whenever I get them.