Oh god. It's been so long since I've updated that I completely forgot about my own character.
I will update very soon and keep this message up until I do, filling you in on what happens to Sophie.
My sincerest apologies.
Author's note - Wow. Two years of frenzied writing later and this story has finally come to an end.
Thank you to all my followers and reviewers. It really means so much.
I do have future plans. First of all, I may consider writing a few spin-off one shots, if anybody wants more Clicky or Kaynie or anything.
Secondly, I fully intend to gradually go through this entire story, beginning to end, and make edits, fix formatting, name chapters, etc. I am very excited about this, though it will probably take me another year. I will completely update the fic at that time, and let all of you guys know if you want to re-read a less haphazard version.
Thirdly, if you want to read more of my writing, make requests, submit fic prompts, or just chat (because you all are really lovely), feel free to follow me on tumblr. My main blog is .com and my Sherlock blog (any Sherlockians out there? If you are, I beg you to message me) is .com.
Without further ado, here is chapter forty.
2 weeks later
Reynie caught Kate's wrist as she moved to follow Sticky and Cleo inside, bearing a stack of paper plates. Her eyes widened; she turned toward him, and, gazing into her blue eyes (oh dear, that does sound terribly sappy and romantic, doesn't it? But while those like Constance may scoff, we all know better than to dismiss youthful love, and so I hope that you will bear with me here), he slipped her hand inside his own.
"Reynie?" she asked, and her tone was softer than anyone would have ever expected out of boisterous Miss Wetherall.
"Yeah," he said, voice catching slightly. "I, um..." He looked at her expectant face hopelessly. "I can't - I mean, Kate, do you think...?"
Something in her expression fell just then, and she pulled away, refusing to meet his eye.
"Wait! What's wrong?" he asked, shuffling his feet and feeling very awkward indeed. Their fingers were still intertwined, but loosely so.
"Well, go figure," she said somewhat crossly. "Reynie Muldoon, if you don't come to your senses and say whatever it is you're trying to say, then I might as well just go inside and start guarding the pies before Constance hypnotizes poor Number Two and the next thing you know they're -"
In a burst of impatience, Reynie muttered, "Oh, bother!" and, in a move both shocking and natural, kissed her.
She responded so enthusiastically that the paper plates went flying over the fence as her arms came up around his neck; he gathered her into his embrace and felt so tremendously happy that he had absolutely no idea what to do with himself besides kiss her again. After what could have been ten seconds or five days, he opened his eyes and smiled at her wonderingly.
"Are you okay?" she asked breathlessly. "I mean, is everything -"
"Everything is perfect," he said. Gently, he took her face into his hands and kissed her once more, then held her to his chest, twisting a strand of her hair between his thumb and forefinger.
"Is this - are we - Reynie!" exclaimed Kate. "We just kissed!"
"A little slow on the uptake," he teased, and she whacked him. His mouth quivered in an uncontrollable smile and he was just about to hug her again when Constance appeared at her back.
"Oh, geez," groaned Kate, trying to hide her flushed cheeks by ducking her head so it quite looked as if she had spontaneously fallen into a deep and upright slumber.
"Constance, please don't -" began Reynie, but she waved him off.
"Let me speak."
He and Kate exchanged helpless glances as the girl scrutinized them.
"You guys really do like each other a lot," she commented. "I mean seriously, your brains won't shut up about the other person." She paused, then smirked.
"Whatever you're about to say, please at least try to be minimally rude," begged Reynie.
"Well, I mean. I really only have about one thing to say about it," Constance said seriously. Her face lit up and she all but yelled, "IT'S ABOUT TIME!"
"Oh, uh..." Flummoxed, Kate looked to Reynie, who shrugged. "Thanks, I guess?"
"Honestly, it's been forever, I've actually composed a poem for this exact moment, and -"
Thankfully, Number Two came outside right then and asked Constance to please make herself useful. This was not a particularly well-received request, but the girl obliged, casting annoyed looks at Kate and Reynie as she left.
"Well, this will be interesting," said Reynie, laughing softly and kissing Kate on the cheek. "I think we can make it, though."
Kate, beaming and slightly giddy, said breezily, "Of course we are. We're Kate Wetherall and Reynie Muldoon." And that settled the matter.
"Is everything settled?" Mrs. Washington asked.
"McCracken is safely secured, and we've already begun renovating and re-outfitting their headquarters," Mr. Benedict replied. "It seems that your little society" - his eyes twinkled at the children - "somehow gained popularity, and I've received several phone calls in the past few days asking if there is some sort of induction into the group. After much deliberation, I deemed it appropriate and perhaps somewhat genius to amalgamate a support network, so a large section of the new headquarters will lend itself to meetings and such."
"I'm so proud of you," said Number Two. "All of you."
"What did you do with the button?" Sticky asked. Cleo nodded. Quickly recovering, she was now an honorary member of their little family, and spent a copious amount of time with Sticky. Constance, predictably, felt the need to voice her disapproval, saying critically, "You're going backwards. Usually you do the getting-to-know-you-part and then the fighting for your life against evil tormentors," to which Reynie gently pointed out, "I don't think that's really how any relationship has ever worked."
Backwards or not, the two of them were thick as thieves now, texting constantly (much to the annoyance of the other children) and constantly staring at each other with "heart eyes," as Constance so eloquently put it.
"We've banished the button forever," said Rhonda. "With some help from Constance and Milligan - Dave? - we've completely reprogrammed it - it's harmless now - and, as anticlimactic as it sounds, sent it to the junkyard."
"You can still call me Milligan," said Milligan reassuringly. He had his arm around Harper, and Kate smiled fondly at the two of them. They'd spent the previous evening quietly filling in the blanks for each other. It turned out that when Milligan was abducted by the Ten Men, Harper was taken into custody while they decided what to do with her. She was eventually set free, but, having had her memory partially erased, did not remember enough about Kate to search her down. Kate's mind had also been altered slightly, removing all recollection of having a mother whatsoever. It was all in the past now. The only thing that mattered was that they had found each other, in the end.
This was not the only revelation made post-McCracken. S.Q. and Constance were talking - now that he felt more comfortable around all of them, his blunders had significantly decreased and he was almost always intelligible - when he mentioned casually that they'd grown up in the same area.
"Do you remember anything from that time?" he asked.
"No, not from the library, not really," she replied.
"Are you quite sure?" He frowned. "Because I feel like..."
Constance stared blankly at the wall as her brain, rather overexerted, strained to pull up images from her early childhood. Then, suddenly, joyfully, wonderingly, she cried, "There was a boy!" She pointed animatedly at S.Q. "There was a boy, and he always went to the library, and he saw me! He saw me, and he never told, and every day he went there and found that old bookcase, you know, that I lived in, and he said hello. And then one day he was gone." She gazed at S.Q. in wonder. "That was you."
He nodded somberly, a slow smile spreading across his face. "It was."
The excitement that this elicited was a little too much for her to handle, so much so that after a solid ten minutes of jumping around and shouting, she fell sound asleep in S.Q.'s lap.
"It was me," he repeated, wrapping his arms around her small frame. "It was me."
All in all, things were pretty good. Kate had a family, and a boyfriend; Reynie had Kate; Sticky and Cleo could finally navigate the tentative beginnings of a semi-normal relationship (though fighting off evil tormentors together would always be an unusual characteristic of said relationship); Constance had a big brother sort of figure, the only one she didn't snap at; the button was gone; and the Society had become a big success. Mr. Benedict initially considered testing prospective members the same way as he had the children, but in the long run decided that a small, informal interview, and acceptance based on voluntariness, was quite sufficient.
Yes, everything was perfect, or as close as it could get, because perfection is never fully attainable, and if it was, well, this world would be dreadfully dull, and the Mysterious Benedict Society's adventures would never have even transpired. And that, my dear reader, would just be a crying shame.