Chapter 1

Rose Venkman walked up the steps to Weaver Hall with excitement bubbling in her stomach. She was finally going to see and work for her older brother, Peter.

The last time that she had seen Peter, she was fifteen years old; but time had marched on and she was now twenty two. It had been quite a long time, and she knew that even though Peter would recognize her, chances were that Ray and Egon wouldn't.

And that was what would make it so much fun.

She adored Ray and Egon just as much as she adored her brother. Ray was really sweet and adorable. He was basically Rose's dream guy, but nothing had ever nor would ever happen between them...no matter how much she wanted something to.

And Egon...well, getting to know Egon was a little harder because he was so quiet and standoffish, but he was a really nice guy once you did get to know him. Rose eventually came to consider Egon as something of a second brother.

Rose walked through the hallways and just arrived outside the door to the Psychology Department Laboratory. No sooner had she reached the door than she heard two people arguing.

"You volunteered, didn't you? We're paying you, aren't we?"

Hearing that voice gave her a little thrill; that voice was unmistakably Peter's.

"Yeah, but I didn't know you going to be giving me electric shocks!" That voice she didn't recognize. More than likely, it belonged to one of Peter's parapsychology students.

Electric shocks? Peter, what the hell are you doing in there?

Her curiosity was almost overwhelming but Rose knew better than to just waltz in during an experiment.

"What are you trying to prove here anyway?" the boy shouted.

Peter, however, remained perfectly calm. "I'm studying the effect of negative reinforcement on ESP ability."

So, basically he's putting this student through an electric shock treatment to see if he's psychic. Only Peter, Rose thought, rolling her eyes.

She leaned up against the wall and listened to the student freak out. "The effect? I'll tell you what the effect is! IT'S PISSING ME OFF!"

"Well, then maybe my theory is CORRECT!" Peter shouted right back. And there goes Peter's patience. Not like he had a whole lot in the first place, anyway.

"You can keep the five bucks, I've had it!"

"I will, mister!"

And then, the door flew open and the boy walked out, shutting it behind him. He turned to Rose and said with a huff, "I wouldn't listen to anything that guy says. He's a complete fraud! The girl in there should have left when I did."

Rose tried not to flip her lid, but it was hard when someone insulted her brother like that. But...there was a girl in there? Well, that cleared everything up.

"Oh, he's not a fraud. He's just an enormous flirt."

"Is that what he was doing?"

"Probably, if the girl in there is pretty."

"She is."

"Then, yes, that's what he was doing."

The boy rolled his eyes and walked off after saying goodbye to Rose. Rose started listening in again just in time to hear Peter say, "You may as well get used to that. It's the kind of resentment that your ability is going to provoke in some people."

Rose tried not to double over with laughter as she leaned up against the doorframe. However, that became very hard when the girl said, "Do you think I have it, Dr. Venkman?"

Rose bit her lip in an effort to remain silent and kept listening; her brother was absolutely incorrigible, he honestly was. Her attention was diverted by the sound of footsteps coming down the corridor and she turned to look at the source. It was man, that much was clear from the silhouette, but the hallway was dim enough that it masked his features. As he drew closer, she made out dark brown hair, kind eyes, and a oval-shaped face currently wearing an excited and cheery expression.

As soon as she saw his eyes, she knew who it was and her heart leapt in her chest joyfully. She hadn't seen him in seven years, but there was no mistaking that face. It was Raymond Stantz.

All attention that had been aimed at eavesdropping on Peter's conversation flew out the window when she recognized him. He was so invested in whatever was on his mind that he didn't notice her at first. He stopped short a few feet before the door as he spotted her. Rose could only imagine what a sight she made; from Ray's perspective, she was just some random girl standing outside his office door, trying to shove her fist into her mouth to keep from bursting out in laughter.

His eyes flickered between her and the door for a second or two before settling on her. He cocked his head and smiled. "Uh, hi...are you one of our students?"

She knew Ray wouldn't recognize her; last he'd seen of her, she was little more than a child. Rose smiled and shook her head in answer to his question.

Ray considered her for a moment before dismay flitted across his face. "Oh, no...are you one of the students that Venkman conned into the 'experiment'? You would be just his type."

Rose was really trying with all her might not to laugh and shook her head again. She swallowed her mirth and managed to speak. "No, she's in there already. The boy left just a couple of minutes ago."

"Oh," Ray said. It could have been her imagination, but it seemed like Ray's spirits lifted with her reply. His smile only returned very briefly before total confusion took its place. "Then who are you? You look familiar...have we met?"

He seemed a little impatient to get in there, so of course, Rose decided to make him guess who she was.

"Oh, think about it for a minute. It'll come to you." She smiled at him and Ray's eyes went wide.

"Rose? Rose Venkman?" Ray said, with an astounded look in his eyes.

"Hey, Ray."

"Rose! Is it really you?"

"Yeah, Ray, it's me." Ray beamed and scooped her into a bear hug. Rose blushed a little and wrapped her arms around Ray's middle.

"It's so good to see you," Ray said, still holding Rose tightly.

"It's good to see you, too, Ray. It's been too long. But, uh, as much as I love being bear hugged by you, I'm kinda running out of oxygen." Oh my god, did I really just say that? Okay, keep cool.

"Oh! Sorry." Ray released her, blushing like nobody's business. Rose smiled at him and Ray's face went from light pink to bright red. Ray cleared his throat and said, "So, what are you doing here?"

"Oh, well, Peter asked me if I wanted to come work for you guys."

"Ah...so are you...? I mean to say...uh, are you accepting the offer?" Ray stammered. Rose wondered what was up with him.

"Well, I wouldn't be here if I wasn't," she joked. "So yes, I am."

"Really? That's great!" Ray's voice went up about an octave. Rose frowned a little and said, "Are you all right, Ray?"

Ray nodded and said, "Yeah. I'm fine."

"Okay..." Rose didn't believe him for a second but didn't have much else to say on the matter. Ray's eyes lit up as he remembered something and he shuffled around excitedly. He grabbed her hand and burst through the door, pulling Rose with him.

"This is it! This is definitely it!" Ray said to Peter as he entered the room. Ray dragged Rose around with him and didn't seem to realize it. He let go of her hand when he started talking to Peter again.

"Did those UV lenses come in for the video camera? And that blank tape? I need it. The one you erased yesterday."

Peter grinned when he saw Rose and then turned to the girl. "Can you excuse me for a second?"

"Sure," she said. Peter got up and walked over to Ray. He jumped up in the air and smacked Ray over the head. "I'm right in the middle of something Ray!"

Peter looked back at the girl and said, "Uh, I need a little more time with this subject, Ray. Could you come back in an hour, hour and a half?"

Ray looked at Rose and she shrugged.

"Peter, at 1:40 PM, at the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, ten people witnessed a free floating, full torso, vaporous apparition."

Ray's voice became constricted with excitement when he described the ghost. Rose had to admit, that was pretty awesome. She was as into the paranormal as Ray, although perhaps not as dedicated to it.

"It blew books off shelves from twenty feet away and scared the socks off some poor librarian!" Rose was finding it hard not to giggle too much. Ray was just too adorable for his own good.

Peter's tone became flat and sarcastic; it was one Rose knew well. "I'm very excited, I'm very pleased. I want you to get right down there, check it out, get right back to me."

"No, no," Ray started.

"Get right back to me."

Rose gave Peter a look and said in deadly quiet voice, "Peter Venkman, you stop trying to rob the cradle and go help your friends...do you hear me?"

Peter looked annoyed and Ray smiled at Rose thankfully and said, "You're coming with us on this one. Spengler went down there, he took PKE valences. Went right off the top of the scale. Buried the needle. We're close on this one. I can feel it!"

Ray walked past Peter and Rose followed him but they stopped in the doorframe and waited for Peter.

"I can feel it. We're very, very close," Peter muttered. He sat back down next to the girl and said, "I have to go now, Jennifer, but I'd like to work with you again some more. Perhaps you could come back this evening, say at..."

"Eight o'clock?" Jennifer suggested.

"I was just about to say, eight o'clock! You are a legitimate phenomenon!" Peter said. Ray and Rose looked at each other and rolled their eyes at Peter's flirtatious behavior.

Jennifer got up and left and Peter turned to Ray and Rose with a thoroughly annoyed expression.

"Flirting with your students, Peter? Really? That's a new low, even for you. Having a dry spell, are we?" Rose quipped. Peter shot her a glare but he softened when she grinned at him. "Hi, Pete."

Peter smiled and said, "I wanna be mad at you, but damn, it's good to see you, kiddo! C'mere!"

Rose happily moved towards her brother and Peter lifted her off her feet in a massive hug.

"Oh, Rosie. Look at you," Peter said, looking at her. "You're so beautiful. You've really grown up, kid."

Rose smiled and said, "I should hope so, Peter, after seven years!"

"God, has it really been that long?"

Rose nodded and Peter said, "I can't be mad at you, Rose, but, Ray, you're a different story, my friend."

Peter didn't stop reaming Ray for interrupting his time with Jennifer the entire way to the library and Rose was about to lose it. She was out of practice with putting up with her brother's nonsense.

As they finally walked up the stairs to the New York Public Library, Peter said, "As a friend, I have to say, you've finally gone round the bend with this ghost business."

Rose was walking next to Ray with Peter on his other side.

Ray looked at Peter but said nothing, so Peter continued harassing him.

"You guys have been running your ass off meeting and greeting every schizo in the Five Burroughs who says he has a paranormal experience. What have you seen?"

"Oh, leave him alone, Peter. At least he's dedicated to something other than getting into coeds' pants!" Rose snapped. Peter looked a little offended and Ray smiled gratefully at Rose.

"Thank you, Rose. At least one Venkman is interested in our business."

They walked through the main doors of the Library and Ray turned to Peter and said, "Of course, you forget, Peter, that I was present at an undersea, unexplained, mass sponge migration."

"A what?" Rose asked. Ray nodded but didn't explain and Rose was left to wonder about this migration and what circumstances would have landed Ray underwater, observing sponges of all things.

"Oh, Ray, those sponges migrated about a foot and a half," Peter said dismissively.

Peter started sneaking up behind a man sitting on the ground while wearing headphones and investigating a table with some sort of device, which Rose guessed was the PKE meter. She smiled; Egon hadn't changed at all, then. There was no one else it could be.

Peter tapped the table with his knuckles and said in a spooky voice, "Egooonnn."

Rose rolled her eyes at Peter as Egon straightened up and Peter slammed a heavy book onto the table, making Egon jump. He took off the headphones and stood up.

"Oh, you're here."

Egon turned around and smiled slightly when he saw Rose.

"Rose! Nice to see you."

Rose smiled and hugged the much taller man. He awkwardly returned the hug and Rose released him, knowing that too much human contact made Egon uncomfortable. Egon turned to Peter who said, "Yeah, what've you got?"

"This is big, Peter. This is very big. There is definitely something here."

"Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. You remember that?"

Rose thought Peter was joking around until Egon said, "That would have worked, if you hadn't stopped me."

Rose looked at Ray with a very alarmed look on her face. Ray looked at her and just shrugged, "That's just Egon for you. A lot of stuff happened since we last saw you, Rose."

Rose shook her head with a laugh and said, "I can't leave you three alone for five minutes, can I? Well, at least working for you guys won't be dull!"

She walked off after shooting Ray another brilliant smile. Ray felt his heart skip a beat and he mentally kicked himself.

That's Venkman's little sister! She's off limits! Not to mention, a girl like her...she'd never be interested in a guy like me, Ray thought.

She really was beautiful, Ray told himself. She didn't look a thing like Venkman, which was, as far as Ray was concerned, a good thing. She had short dark hair, and ocean blue eyes, and a smile that could light up the darkest room. She wasn't very tall, but she wasn't short either. She wasn't deathly skinny like some girls...she was just perfect. And it wasn't just her outer appearance that had Ray's heart pounding.

She was extraordinarily brilliant, almost genius level. She had a great sense of humor, like Peter, but wasn't as sarcastic as her brother.

But no matter what Ray thought of her, he had to accept that she would never think of him as anything more than a friend, if even that. Ray sighed and walked along next to Rose again. He looked at her sideways and again felt his heartbeat quicken. He wanted nothing more than to take her hand again like he had outside of the lab, but he was too shy. Outside the lab, that had been completely spontaneous and out of character for him.

However, it didn't matter what Ray was or wasn't going to do, as the library administrator walked up to them.

Here we go, Ray thought.