Jara fanfic, cause I'm bored :D I know it's a bit transcripty, but that's just how I roll. Don't forget that Jerome HAS changed over the course of the season. That's why he seems a little more emotionally in tune.

"Is that what I think it is?" Mara asked gently. Jerome held the tiny purple gem between his fingers, looking at it with just a touch of nostalgia. He hated himself for missing the hearing. 'Leave it to Rufus to mess everything up,' he thought angrily. Now his father would probably never get out of jail. Jerome knew that Poppy would be left to give the speech. Jerome remembered Poppy's 7th grade recital. Just thinking about the event increased his self-deprecation.

With a frown on his face, Jerome nodded.

"So that's where you've been this whole time?" Mara said, with a touch of amusement. Jerome grappled for an answer. "Why didn't you just tell me?"

"I didn't want you to worry," he replied quickly, "and I didn't want to put you in danger." Jerome knew Mara all too well, and she would surely have tried to come with him if he told her. The very thought of Rufus getting his hands on Mara made Jerome shudder inwardly. If Rufus had even known about her, he never would have forgiven himself.

Mara looked at him with a concerned look in her eye. Then, her gaze shifted to a point above his shoulder, and a tiny smile spread across her face. 'Great, now she's laughing at me,' Jerome thought. He looked at her with an eyebrow raised, and then turned around.

Jerome froze.

Every pore and nerve and fiber of his being was assaulted with shock. He couldn't even comprehend what he was seeing. His jaw dropped open and his eyes went wide.

'!' was the only thing that registered in his mind. The impossibility of the sight before him obscured everything else in the room. This was the only thing that mattered.

Poppy stood in front of him, dressed in her usual dress and flowery overcoat. A yellow handbag was slung over her shoulder. A huge smile was spread across her face.

But that wasn't even the best part. For, behind Poppy, there was a man dressed in a suit and tie, with tears sparkling in his eyes, and a smile on his face.

That man was John Clarke.

"Dad," Jerome barely managed. Tears filled his eyes, but his little family only smiled all the more.

"We did it," Poppy said, bursting with excitement. She rushed towards Jerome and threw her arms around him, ignoring his shock.

Jerome rocked back, and then everything finally clicked.

His dad was free. Free.

All Jerome's grudges and feelings of hate towards John Clarke vanished down the drain. That didn't matter anymore. His dad was free, and they could finally be a family again.

Jerome wrapped his arms around Poppy, exhaling shakily, a smile spreading across his face. He put a hand on her head, pulling her close. Jerome could barely see, but he didn't care. He could feel Poppy shaking as a tiny sob escaped her throat. The tears quietly streamed down his face as he pressed his lips to Poppy's forehead, comforting her.

He pulled away from his sister and rushed to his dad. Without a moment's hesitation, they embraced. Jerome knew then that everything would be all right. His father was back, and okay. A tiny sob escaped his mouth.

They pulled apart. "I am sorry," Jerome said quickly, fighting to keep his voice in control. "I wanted to-"

John cut him off, saying, "Hey, none of that matters now." He was fighting just as hard to stay in control as Jerome was, and a huge smile spread across his face again.

A choked laugh burst from Jerome, and the next thing he knew, Poppy was there. Jerome opened his embrace and admitted her. The Clarkes hugged each other tightly, crying, not caring who saw and never wanting to let go.

The Clarke family was whole again.

After a few glorious seconds, Jerome pulled away, grinning hugely. He ran a hand through his hair and touched Poppy's cheek. "Give me a moment, okay?" he asked.

Jerome turned around, leaving Poppy and John. He walked towards Mara, becoming deadly serious. "Mara," he whispered, taking her hands. He was still shaky from his little reunion, and his voice quivered. "Will you please, please, please, go out with me?"

A huge grin danced across Mara's face as she replied, "Yes."

Jerome sighed in relief. 'Everything is perfect,' he thought, and almost started crying again. He leaned forward, and kissed her.

Everything else vanished. The only thing that mattered was this amazing girl he held in his arms. Without her, he never would have gone to visit his dad. Without her, Poppy would still be clueless.

Without her, his family would not be as it was now.

A thousand words of thanks went into that kiss. Jerome made sure she knew them all.