By the time they reached the ground floor of Dana's apartment building Louis had thrown up twice, Dana had to be carried several flights, and Ray had vowed over and over to make jet packs feasible.

Egon had to admit that the idea of powered flight was at least theoretically possible, merely improbable to do safely. It bore more research though, especially in a situation in which elevators were not available for easy transportation.

Regardless, they had, against all odds, reached the ground floor. Marshmallow had flooded the street, leaving them a bank of stickiness four feet deep to wade through. Egon was mildly concerned about the packs being capable of operation with the goop clogging the reactors and made a mental note to check them each for potentially hazardous leaks.

Light from the risen sun streamed through broken windows, casting patterns on the mess like monochromatic stained glass on dirty snow. Still, it was surprisingly good to be on firm ground and out of the unnatural dark.

They exited to the crowd chanting their name, screaming in joy and quite possibly hysteria from the events of the past few hours.

Egon had to admit, he felt a touch hysterical himself. Death was not something he considered a concern; it happened, it would eventually happen, and it was just another inevitable physical truth. He felt little need to concern himself with such an abstract concept as his own existential cessation when there was far more important work to be done.

He had, quite simply, just never cared that much one way or another.

He waved to the crowd distractedly, giving them a forced smile when Raymond jabbed him in the ribs. Someone called his name off to the left and he turned just in time to see Janine punch a cop in the eye, break through the police line, and come barreling at him.

His smile this time was honest and he caught her in his arms even though she nearly knocked him backwards. He noticed she had thrown on a coat and a head scarf before coming, very sensible that woman. He regretted not having had her foresight, marshmallow would undoubtedly be difficult to remove from hair.

Caught in the moment, he shouted out the first thing that came to mind over the din of the crowd, a rarity for him. "You should marry me!"

She smiled, her eyes crinkling at the corner as she touched his face. "Yeah, sure, why not?"

"You should know that you are marrying into a distinguished family."

"What?" She looked genuinely confused.

He glanced down at their interlinked hands. "I mean to imply that you will be taken care of, regardless of happenstance."

Ray ducked his head in the front seat, crouching over the wheel and obviously trying not to listen in.

"Who says I want taken care of?" She narrowed her eyes at him fractionally.

He paused. It had not really occurred to him that she wouldn't know what family he was from. In Ohio the Spenglers were well known as a pharmaceutical dynasty. In New York it was likely she had never heard of them. He had become accustomed to the opposite sex being more interested in his family's wealth than in him in particular and it struck him that this woman was more honest than any woman he had ever dated before.

How curious.

The courthouse was fairly empty when they went the following day, signed their papers with Raymond as witness, and left. He sat in the back seat of the converted ambulance with her on the way back to the firehouse to resume the extensive clean up process. Janine, after his diatribe on taking care of her, had insisted on retaining her last name.

It had still been a good lunch break, all things considered.


"Yeah?" She stomped past him into the kitchen, flinging her purse down onto the couch as she passed.

He watched her go without commentary on her behavior. Beyond his view he could hear pots and pans being moved around in what he supposed was anger.

"It has come to my attention that you may or may not be involved in a dalliance with Louis Tully." It did not surprise him, he hadn't spent the night in their apartment for well over two months and, though they saw each other in passing at work, it simply did not seem to be enough for her. She had her needs, and he only meant to address the issue if it could be addressed.

"Oh?" Sounds other than her voice ceased.

He waited for her to continue.

"What are you going to do about it anyway?" She sounded strangely sad.

"That much is up to you." Did she think him angry? He really had little right to be angry, but he couldn't help but be insulted by her alternative choice.

"Great. God. Do you even give a shit?" She then appeared in the doorway, as fearsome and terrible as Gozer himself. "I mean you can't even pretend to be surprised at all. Or jealous. Or angry."

"I find myself a bit perturbed, yes." It was an understatement, but he felt it unnecessary to give her more fuel for the fire.

"God Egon, he was actually interested in me for crissakes..." She continued as though he had said nothing and looked sad again, slumping against the door frame.

"If I am not fulfilling my duties adequately, I apologise, but there were quite a few more immediate concerns that had to be dealt with."

"More immediate than your wife."

"Yes." There was no sense in lying, and this was the one woman who did not expect him to lie to her.

"You're such an asshole," she choked, disappearing into the kitchen.

Egon blinked after her. He was the asshole? Of course, he had not escaped that definition, the word had been given to him more times than once, but this was the only time at which he felt he not only was not the one deserving of it but that it actually affected him. How odd that by a single word from her he could feel so strangely.

"I'm an asshole?" he queried, invading the kitchen so he could see her. She was bent to her elbows over the sink, her back shaking.

"You're an insufferable prick. That better for ya?" She ran her hands through her hair and he noted that she must have just been ill.

"You aren't well. Perhaps you should lie down and we can speak more about this tomorrow."

"I'm pregnant, you jerk, and you haven't noticed in three months." Her shoulders shook and she wouldn't even look at him.

"Oh." He cast around the room, trying to digest the information. Then, as before, he said the first thing that came to mind.

"I'm an asshole."