Thank you to everyone who read or reviewed the last chapter. Thank you to everybody who has left kudos or added the story to your alerts. Now, the end is really here. This is the final chapter of the truth about love.
Anyway, I would just like to take a moment to thank everybody who has worked on the story with me and all of you that have hung on for the last two years through everything including a movie that completely altered the plot. It's been an insane ride and I loved every single moment of it.
Chapter 27: Happy-ish Ever After part two
It has been a very long four days in Jim's personal opinion. Lots of briefings, several of which are with his sort of step mom. Kayah keeps trying to get him to call Winona, but he isn't ready yet. Maybe by Thanksgiving Jim will be ready for a real heart-to-heart, but not right now. There's too much going on at the moment to deal with his Winona issues.
Seriously he hates when major incidents like this happen. Jim will have paperwork for months to come. Although, not enough to keep him from teaching command classes at the Academy.
The other thing of major importance was getting their house together. Amanda and the kids have temporarily moved into Chris's apartment. Amanda said this is so she can take care of him on the road to recovery. Jim thinks otherwise considering Chris only has one guest room which means the girls are sharing and Amanda is obviously sleeping in his bed. When Amanda moves into her much bigger townhouse, Jim knows that Chris is coming with her. The giant engagement ring is testimony to that.
This probably just means that his mother-in-law will speed up her timetable for finding their new house before the wedding especially if they try to pull off a Christmas or Valentine's Day wedding. They are still talking dates, but Jim is sure they will have something soon. Jim was personally hoping for Valentine's Day because maybe by that point Jim hoped that Spock would be perfectly okay with his mom getting remarried. Spock is okay-ish with the relationship right now, but not completely ready for the wedding just yet. He can take the two holding hands in front of him which is progress.
However, Spock definitely does not share the enthusiasm of his baby sisters who are having too much fun planning this wedding. They already have files filled with wedding stuff and ideas. Color swatches are everywhere. He sees a future in wedding planning for baby T'Pay. Even Spock smirked a little when his mom was ambushed to pick a color scheme, in a very Spock way.
Getting David's room together was easy now that they had control of the townhouse again. David took over T'Pay's bedroom. They kept the room purple, but the Disney princesses are gone. However they kept the Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel posters. The dollhouse has been relegated to the play room/guest room and most of the Barbie doll stuff was gone. Although David still had a few that used to belong to Rebecca. Neither Spock nor Jim had the heart to get rid of her dolls and just gave them to David who loved playing with them especially a certain blonde one that looks like Carol in her blue Starfleet uniform. Besides David should have something of his Aunt Becky.
So now that David was mostly settled, they were meeting with Alexis again to hopefully get everything squared away with the custody situation. Alexander Marcus was dead, but the courts may decide that anyone else would be better than a same-sex interspecies couple where one party has a history of mental illness and the other party has a history of being a punching bag for one of the most notorious criminals in the history of the Federation along with his own colorful criminal record.
Of course, now that Frank was locked up, Jim is certain the courts are going to see some of his childhood arrests in a completely different light. Actually, the fact that half of the Riverside Police Department has been arrested in the last four days due to corruption and being part of Frank's network was doing that anyway. Let's just say that most of Jim's teenage arrests are now being called into question and there's a really good chance that they're going to all be expunged before Christmas, if not Thanksgiving.
"Things are better now that Marcus is gone. No emergency custody hearings for one thing, but as a side effect the courts are still going to have to determine if you and Spock are the best fit for David." Alexis explain to the couple.
"What does that involved?" Spock asked.
"You still have a social worker and I'm sure David will need to see a court appointed psychologist. His grandfather arranged for his mom to be murdered. That's going to cause all sorts of problems."
"We are aware of the social worker. However, we have already made arrangements for David to meet with Dr. Alayna Suarez so the court appointed psychologists is superfluous." Spock explained.
"The courts will still want David to see somebody not on your payroll. Somebody impartial." Jim snickered to himself. Maybe David's social worker would be different than the ones Jim encountered as a child.
"Actually our new social worker Daisy called to introduce herself. I'm sure she will be stopping by any moment. From the first phone call at least, she seemed like a decent human being." She appeared to be a whole a lot nicer than most of the social workers Jim met as a child.
"I'm not surprised about that at all." Alexis sighed. "I know you're both worried, but you guys are in good shape. The house is clean, the fridge is filled with healthy food, David has lots of toys and the only marks on him were caused by his now very dead grandfather. Even the problem spots like your mental health history and Jim's questionable past are less likely to be problematic now. All of Jim's arrestors are now being called into question due to the Riverside PD corruption scandal and even Spock's therapist gives a glowing evaluation. "Alexis tried to reassure the couple.
"They could still bring up other pieces of dirty laundry like how David came to be in the first place." Jim got a glare for mentioning that.
"That may not be as big of a problem now thanks to operation discredit Marcus. A lot of the facts involved in what happened including the fact that you were drugged are no longer classified." Actually they were still classified, it was just that they've been dumped on the Internet (Honestly, Jim has no idea how that happened).
"Look, right now the worst thing you have to deal with is trying to get David's teddy bear away from him."
"That's going to take a miracle." Jim mumbled under his breath.
"Did you try switching it out for a replica?" The lawyer asked.
"Yes. He came to our room to retrieve the original before we were able to wash it." David then proceeded to crawl into their bed. Thankfully they've gotten in the habit of sleeping fully dressed. Jim will not risk traumatizing the child if he walked in on the couple after an enthusiastic round of "fun grown-up playtime". Although Jim is just happy that they've had some time recently for grown-up playtime.
"If that's the worst thing you're dealing with, then you'll be fine." Alexis actually laughed at that.
"He has nightmares." Which is the other reason why they're going to sleep fully dressed. It's a lot easier to run to David's room if Jim is at least wearing boxer shorts.
"That's what the therapist is for."
"I have nightmares." Jim confessed reluctantly. "We both still do about him being taken away from us."
"Understandable with what happened, but Alexander Marcus is dead. Carol has no other living relatives that will be suitable to raise an almost three-year-old, at least not for a couple of years. At worst, the courts may decide that Amanda and your soon to be stepfather may be better temporarily, but the mere fact that neither of you blew a hole through Alexander Marcus' head really works in your favor."
Jim felt it best not to mention that only occurred because Jane Jackson took care of that for him, but he knew better than to say that out loud. Jim will be forever indebted to the woman who just did everything she could to keep David safe and then turned around and not only took out the man who kidnapped him, but also the man who triggered David's premature birth. It's a shame she paid with her life.
"From the way you worded your earlier statement it appears that Carol does have other living relatives."
"Carol has a cousin, Kristen Klucking, formally Klucking-Marcus, who is barely passed the Federation drinking age. She dropped the Marcus part of her last name when uncle dearest shipped her off to a British boarding school and never bothered to call her again. She is now a first-year student at Starfleet Academy at the London campus. Honestly, I didn't even know she existed until she contacted me to see if she could come to the funeral." Alexis explained.
They would be planning a funeral for Carol, Rebecca, and Christine. Carol was obvious because it was their responsibility. No one else was left except for apparently a not quite three-year-old and a first-year cadet. In the case of Rebecca, the majority of her family was either light years away on various diplomatic assignments or still on Betazoid. Only Rebecca's great-grandfather was planet side. He was also 102.
Christine's family was equally out of the way, but the big difference was Rebecca's family would probably be there if they could. Christine did not have the same luxury. The only decent relative she had was killed 3 ½ years ago in the battle of Vulcan.
"That's not my call. Spock is in charge of the guest list for this." Jim said turning to his husband.
"She should be allowed to mourn." Spock said after a moment. "David should also be given the opportunity to meet any family he has left.
"I will let her know." Alexis said solemnly.
"I will keep you posted with how things are going. Now if you guys excuse me, I have an 11:30 conference call with an asshole lawyer from Georgia." With that Spock and Jim vacated her office. Although Jim had this feeling that the asshole lawyer from Georgia was probably responsible for Bones being so sad all the time.
"My relationship with Carol Marcus was complicated. Though I knew her for a time, I can say that I never truly understood her. I never really knew her except the version of her that she wanted me to see. However I do know one thing. Carol Marcus loved her son… our son." Spock corrected himself from the podium set up for him in the usual place on Starfleet grounds were Starfleet funerals take place.
"She would do anything for David. She did do anything to protect him. I choose to remember that love and the fact that she left me with her most prized possession. I endeavor to protect David with the veracity that Carol did in life and to show him that he will always be loved." With that the officiator handed Carol's flag to Spock and Nyota took his place at the podium.
"Christine Chapel was my best friend. Unfortunately at the time of her death, we were fighting. It seems so silly now…" Nyota continued to speak about Christine, about the silliness of the fight and her sacrifice to protect David, the fact that she was defiant to the end. The whole thing made Chris very uneasy.
Chris hated funerals. He always has. He's been to way too many in his Starfleet career. He always felt the worst funeral he ever went to was the one for Nhi, his number one. However, the funeral for her niece was equally heartbreaking despite the heartfelt eulogy being delivered. So young. Too young. She gave her life protecting the young boy in his arms. He will never forget that.
Of course the fact they were burying the two moms of that same child made this worse. Spock's earlier eulogy still had Chris bleary-eyed and that was after her very young cousin Kristen shared a story about Carol protecting her from Alexander Marcus when the teenager told her guardian that she was a lesbian and he reacted badly. God, that man was a bastard.
Of course they weren't really burying anyone, just spreading ashes and even that won't happen here. This was mostly a memorial service. Tomorrow the ashes would be spread over the San Francisco Bay in a less formal event. But it didn't matter. This was still a goodbye on the lawns of Starfleet as is the tradition for fallen comrades.
Dr. Margarita suggested that David be here. She felt the child needed a chance to say goodbye. However, Chris didn't want the child to be overwhelmed, meeting his unknown cousin was enough, which was why Chris was staying towards the back of the group with David still perched on his lap.
Yes, he was still in the chair. His body was slowly coming back. Chris actually took 20 steps yesterday in physical therapy. However, it may still be a miracle if he will be able to dance by the Valentine's Day wedding day. Chris is still deciding if that date is too soon or not soon enough. He just hopes that they have a house by that point because although he loves his apartment, it's way too small for four people for any significant period of time.
Chris would like to blame the fact he was preoccupied with Nyota breaking down the moment she was presented with Christine's flag for not recognizing the woman completely dressed in black with her head covered who was sitting next to him. Actually, it wasn't until David pulled out of his arms to go to the stranger that Chris realized who was sitting beside him.
"Dr. JJ." David screamed before being shushed by the woman.
"No one's supposed to know I'm here." She whispered. Thankfully nobody else saw her, too focused on the Federation's first ambassador to Betazoid eulogizing his great-granddaughter.
"You're supposed to be dead." Chris whispered to the woman.
"I know that. I should've died nearly 300 years ago that yet I'm still here." Jane quipped.
"I'm not surprised. How did you survive this time?" Chris really wanted to know that.
"I'm sure you know that Pavel Chekov is also Section 31." She mentioned casually.
"I do now." Chris is now well aware that despite being in charge of a secret organization with in Starfleet there is so much he doesn't know about what's going on. He's sure that Lume's fingerprints were all over this particular mission. It makes sense. If Jane Jackson is gone, people will stop looking for her and it would be a lot harder to question the official story.
"I was beamed out the second I dropped the ring and then hidden away until we reached Earth." He wasn't sure how much of that story he believed, but considering no one else on Enterprise including Spock mentioned anything else about her possible survival, it seems probable.
"Where it was decided that you are better off dead." Chris said it as a statement not a question.
"Something like that. But I needed to be here to say goodbye." She said passing David back to him. "I considered wearing white, but I needed to be inconspicuous. Unfortunately the little one recognized me." She said pointing to David.
"Thankfully they're too preoccupied with the service to pay attention." Also almost all the seats anywhere near them were empty.
"For the moment." Jane replied.
"What will you do now?"
"I'm not sure. I think I need to go somewhere where Jane Jaya can get lost in the crowd and blend into the scenery. Maybe somewhere where they need doctorates, but not genetic engineers. Maybe a colony somewhere. I don't know, but I'll figure it out." She said getting up from the seat beside him.
"But I may come back for the wedding." With that she was gone.
"I can't believe we're taking our barely 3-year-old to therapy." Spock heard his husband say from the floor of the child friendly doctor's office as they waited for Dr. Suarez to arrive. Jim was playing with brightly colored blocks because in Spock's opinion, Jim needed to make up for an inadequate childhood whenever possible.
On the other hand, David was preoccupied with the dollhouse and his Starfleet Barbie doll. They were able to get David to eventually give up the bear so they could clean it. However, now he is carrying the Starfleet officer Barbie doll that once belonged to Rebecca everywhere. Jim likes the doll because she has a phaser that lights up. Spock finds it ironic that her Starfleet uniform actually covers more than the actual uniform.
"It is necessary. Especially if we want him to be well-adjusted enough for daycare. At present he will not be without either of us for more time than it takes to use the facilities unless he is asleep." And even then 82.3% of the time they will discover that David somehow managed to crawl in their bed by morning. This was the main reason why Jim no longer slept nude with Spock even though the extra heat made him somewhat uncomfortable.
"Do we really have to put him in daycare?" James does not like daycare because he was teased a lot as a child during his time there due to having a deceased father. It is logical that he believed David will suffer similar ridicule.
"We will both be teaching at the Academy next semester. The only alternative would be to start him in preschool, but…" Spock stops speaking then because the preschool subject was somewhat contentious. The only preschool that can handle a precocious three-year-old of David's intellect with adequate security happened to be where Winona Kirk/Whitney River worked. Spock knows his husband well enough to know that Jim has not quite forgiven her for her decision to fake her death to protect both herself and her unborn child.
"Winona is the only preschool teacher in the greater San Francisco area that can deal with him. Which makes me worried for the daycare prospects as well. But I'm not sure if I'm ready to deal with her every day after school and parent teacher conferences.
"You will need to deal with it eventually." Spock reminded his husband. Winona and Christopher were still friends.
"Not today. Let's focus on David's issues." James said just as a woman in her late 50s open the door. Spock did not know what to make of her "We're all Ms. Marvel" T-shirt.
"I dressed like this because it makes my little darlings more at ease with me. I'm Dr. Suarez." She extended her hand to James, but thankfully knew the proper greeting to offer Spock.
"My wife and I studied on Vulcan when we were first married. So I'm familiar with the customs. It's part of the reason why Margarita recommended me. Actually, she was one of Margarita's instructors at the Academy."
"So your wife is Starfleet?" James asked in an attempt to make conversation.
"She was a Starfleet therapist actually. She died on a mission a couple years ago." Dr. Suarez said with a sad smile.
"I'm sorry for your loss." James said sincerely.
"It's okay. I've dealt with it and I'm here to help you guys with things." She said before turning to David.
"My name is Alayna. What's yours?"
"David." He answered quickly before returning his attentions to the dollhouse.
"Can I play with you?" Dr. Suarez asked. David just shrugged. For a moment Spock wondered how this would be beneficial.
"What is your Barbie's name?"
"Mommy Carol." At those words Spock looked down at the Barbie and realized the resemblance to Carol for the first time. David even cut the doll's hair, with safety scissors he wasn't even supposed to have access to, to match the length of Carol's hair. This explains why David's affections have transferred to the doll in recent days.
"Tell me more about mommy Carol." Surprisingly enough David responded. Spock felt for the first time that maybe Dr. Suarez would be beneficial.
Nyota really wished she was still in space instead of dealing with funerals, hearings, and boxing up Christine Chapel's meager possessions. That last part was worse than testifying about her almost rape, but just barely. She cried a lot when Leonard told her what happened weeks ago in that Vulcan hospital room. He wanted to wait until she got back to Enterprise to break the news, but Gaila's slip changed that. It didn't matter, as soon as she returned to the ship, she ran to Christine's room only to find it completely empty. Honestly she stayed in there crying until the ship made it to Earth.
They scattered Christine's ashes over San Francisco Bay four weeks ago after the official memorial service at Starfleet. She wished Gaila could have been there, but she was too busy dealing with the fallout from Marcus's attempt to take over the Vulcan government. Her cover as the intended of a Council member was coming in handy (although Nyota is not 100% sure it's actually a cover anymore because there was something going on there). Three additional officials from the Council have been arrested in the last month.
However, she had Spock and Jim to hold on to her as the ashes were spread. She was not alone, so that was a good thing.
The day after the spreading of the ashes she was testifying about everything to a grand jury. A few days after, she was going through Christine's things figuring out what to take and what to give the charity. She cried a lot. Nyota was still angry with herself because they left things so messy between the two. Her other self warned her about this, but she believed that warning only applied to Leonard. She was so wrong.
But she can't be completely upset about that because things are going well with Leonard. Good enough that they're going to be sharing an apartment when they returned to San Francisco in January and her semester of advanced Captain training begins. She was keeping her field promotion. A part of her is upset about leaving Enterprise, another part of her was excited about getting her own ship. She was the youngest female Captain in Starfleet history. Not bad at all.
Right now she and Leonard were together in the woods of Georgia at some cabin belonging to some distant cousin of Leonard's that was allowing them to use it. Margarita felt she could use some time away from Starfleet in San Francisco to deal with everything and she was essentially ordered to take a vacation. Considering everything she was dealing with including a sick father, a dead friend, killing 19 people (despite it being a life or death situation, it still bothered her), and almost being raped, she agreed with the psychologist. Weeks of good 100% consensual sex and just resting helped get her head back where it needed to be, especially if she was going to be getting her own ship.
So they're not exactly spending Thanksgiving with Jo Jo, but she has successfully managed to cook, not replicate, a turkey by herself. It's a little crispy, but that's why warm chicken stock was created.
"You know we could just have turkey burgers or something like that. We are going to be eating turkey for the next three days." Leonard said as he brought the gigantic bird to the table. Unfortunately the store she went to did not have a single bird under 7 kg, so they really would be eating turkey for days. But they were going to be in Georgia at least another week so that was fine.
"This is our first Thanksgiving in years where we are not eating something straight out of the replicator; therefore we eat real macaroni and real turkey and will enjoy ourselves. Tomorrow we will burn off all the calories going to real brick-and-mortar stores to buy actual furniture for our actual apartment." At least they would go to brick-and-mortar stores that have locations in San Francisco that would ship their once they got back.
"We could just rent the furniture." Leonard suggested as he went back to get the macaroni and cheese. Leonard had side dish duty which was good because at least she knew one dish was edible.
"No I told you we were going to have a real relationship. Renting furniture is just so temporary." Besides it wasn't like she was going to end up doing a five-year mission. They would be doing short missions which meant it would be a good ideal for her to set up something permanent and she liked the idea of setting up something permanent with Leonard.
"So buying a couch together shows commitment?" He asked flippantly.
"By my standards. Actually having sex with the same person on two different days is a commitment."
"I'm so happy I met that standard." Leonard said just as they heard a knock at the door.
"I really hope that's not your crazy neighbor bringing more pie." Nyota sighed as she reluctantly got up from the table.
"It was good pie."
"She stayed here for four hours talking about her ingrown toenails as soon as she found out you were a doctor."
"Welcome to the south, darling." The person knocked again and she started walking to the front door faster. It was not in fact their crazy neighbor, but rather Alexis with a very special guest. As soon as she opened the door, Jo Jo ran right past her to her father. Leonard was on the verge of tears as he enveloped her in a hug.
"You actually came through." Nyota said excitedly. She knew Alexis was a miracle worker, but this was still a surprise to her
"It took a while because honestly, that woman made Alexander Marcus seem like a good person and her team of lawyers were real assholes." Alexis told her in French so that Jo Jo would not hear them speaking bad about her mother.
"But you worked it out." She also replied in French.
"Of course I worked it out. I'm not a kidnapper. At least I managed to work things out for Thanksgiving. You have to drop her off Monday. Then I'll see if I can work on something more permanent." Alexis smiled at her.
"Thank you." Nyota told her trying not to shed happy tears.
"You're welcome. Just remember that you have to stop by the house for Christmas. Your dad wants to see you." A year ago she would have said no. Three months ago she would have said no. But if the Christine situation taught her anything, it was that she couldn't hold a grudge anymore. She needed to let go of the past before it suffocated her.
"We'll be there."
"That's all I ask." Alexis said getting ready to leave.
"You can stay if you want. I made way too much food." She said pointing to the way too big bird. Maybe she should have went with the turkey loaf instead.
"She made a whole turkey even though it was just going to be the two of us?" Alexis raised an eyebrow at her.
"And he made macaroni and cheese, collard greens, potatoes, green beans, and cauliflower. There is plenty of food. There's even enough for you to bring some to Ivy if we have any Tupperware containers that can survive the transporter or are you taking the shuttle back to San Francisco?" Nyota asked.
"Don't forget my pumpkin pie." Leonard called out from the back.
"I love your pumpkin pie." Jo Jo said excitedly.
"Well I do have to eat and the next shuttle for San Francisco doesn't leave for at least four more hours." Alexis said as she walked in and closed the door behind her. Even though they ended up burning the Crescent rolls, it turned out to be a great Thanksgiving.
Jim seriously wondered what he was doing sitting in his vintage red convertible (gift from Spock) outside of his mom's house. Now Jim remembered, his favorite baby sister-in-law all was very unhappy that Georgia could not spend Thanksgiving with the family even though David's brand-new cousin Kristen did. It's not Jim's fault that he instantly found a kindred spirit in Kristen and David needed to be exposed to some normal family members. (Okay Jim completely adores Kristen because she was the one who leaked certain files that made her uncle look like the bastard he truly was. Jim may have a new apprentice now that Nyota is moving on to Captain things.)
Thankfully the four-year-old did not realize it was Jim's fault that Georgia was not there which is why he was spending the day traditionally dedicated to half-price PADD to trying to fix things with his mom. Also, after two disastrous instances with daycare, Jim has come to the conclusion that his mom was probably the only preschool teacher/childcare provider in San Francisco who would be willing to take a three-year-old in the middle of the school year. David hasn't done very well with daycare. Actually Jim and Spock managed to be called in four times in six days. Not a good sign. Even though child welfare services are good with David being with him and Spock at the moment, another call about daycare disaster behavior may change that. So basically Winona Kirk is their only hope right now.
Jim knew she was there because Georgia and her other mom were off with Amanda and the girls for a day filled with shopping and probably wedding planning. Winona opted out because she deals with enough screaming children on a daily basis to not want to deal with them on Black Friday as they scream at their parents to buy them replicator phasers. However, Spock was not as lucky. He was currently being dragged around by his little sisters.
So Jim may have been so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he did not see Winona until he heard a knock at his car door. It's been a long couple weeks filled with hearings and teaching prep. Seriously, why are they making Jim teach at the Academy? Every single person in his class was going to be older than him except for Nyota.
"Are you actually planning to come in?" Winona asked startling him.
"I was thinking about it." Jim said nonchalantly once he regained his composure.
"Well in that case can I come in?" Jim just nods his head yes. "This is a nice car." Winona said after several moments of silence.
"It was a wedding present from Spock, although this is the first time that I've really gotten to use it." They were in space within a couple of weeks after the destruction of Vulcan. They were back on planet for a few weeks due to the volcano incident hearings, but Jim didn't exactly have time to enjoy the car because they were too busy being railroaded by Starfleet.
"T'Pay said that you're going to be here for a while."
"That's true. At least till June." It could be longer. Jim wasn't entirely sure if he and Spock wanted David to be raised in space. It was something they were still discussing. "What else did she tell you?" Jim was curious because the baby Vulcan had a big mouth.
"That she's having lots of fun playing with her baby nephew."
"Did she show you the pictures of her and Georgia covering him with Amanda's makeup?" So Jim may have been avoiding his baby sister, but his son has not and maybe all the nice things he has been saying about Georgia has made Jim a little more willing to at least talk to Winona.
"Yes. I'm pretty sure Sam did the same thing to you." She smiled for a moment before she became extremely sad. Jim understood that look.
"We still need to figure out what we're going to do with the body." Jim finally said acknowledging the Sam shaped elephant in the room.
"I figured you just had him cremated. Nobody knew how to contact me after they found the body." They were planning the other three funerals. Jim considered adding a fourth person but it didn't seem fair. He didn't want to take Sam's away from Winona.
"I had other more pressing things to do and planning three funerals was bad enough." Jim said as an excuse.
"We should spread his ashes in space. He always wanted to live on a different planet someday." Winona said wistfully.
"I will find someplace nice."
"I'm sorry. I should have never brought that bastard into our lives." Winona doesn't even look at him as she speaks.
"You didn't know it was going to turn out like this." With Sam being dead. However, Jim had the decency to not say that out loud.
"I'm still sorry. I know I'm never going to be able to make up for what happened. I really wish things were different." Jim did too. He wished he didn't want her for the last eight years, but what was the point of being so angry now.
"Well at least Georgia will have a good childhood." And after a month, Jim can actually say that out loud without any real bitterness.
"Excluding your father, I think I have better taste in women than men." Winona joked.
"Even if she turned out to be a secret agent."
"Still better than Frank. She's never tried to kill me." Winona said in all seriousness. Statements like that make him really glad for Spock.
"There is that." Jim just shrugged.
"So does this mean we're talking to each other?" Winona asked after a bit.
"Means that you can come to Christmas and I won't run the other way." Jim said only half joking.
"And how would you feel about David joining your preschool class the moment he turns three?"
"Oh please just lie about his birthday and let him start a little bit early. He's already reading."
"Only a little bit." Okay David can read Green Eggs and Ham by himself, but that's a beginner's book.
"And by the time he's old enough to go to kindergarten he'll be doing algebra."
"Probably," Jim conceded.
"I know you're jealous of your sister." Seriously why does this woman still know Jim all too well?
"Because you finally left the bastard for good for her." He answered honestly.
"I was hoping you would have grown out of the sibling jealousy by now. I know you don't believe me, but I did it for you to keep you guys safe."
"I'm starting to believe you." Jim admitted reluctantly. "However, it may take me a little bit longer to completely accept that."
"The only truth you need to accept is that I love you. Maybe sometimes I did the wrong thing. I made a lot of bad choices. I have 1,000,001 regrets, but I never regretted you." That's when he hugged her. Maybe he wasn't completely ready to forgive her today, but he will eventually because despite everything he really does love her. In the end, love is the only thing that matters.
I considered doing a wedding epilogue, but too many of my stories end with weddings so I'm going to do an entire sequel instead. On A3O you can put this series on alert. Give me a couple of months because there is some MCU stuff I want to work on but be prepared for fluff and a wedding. Maybe more than one who knows?
Bonus question: For those of you who read my other stories, I included two Easter eggs in this chapter. What or rather who were they?
Note: In many municipalities in the US children who are gifted or have certain disabilities are allowed to start preschool as soon as they turn three. This happened with one of my nieces even though her birthday was in the middle of January. (And the fact that she's graduating high school this year makes me feel old, even though I'm just barely thirtyish.) The downside is you have to stay in preschool until you hit the normal kindergarten age. In my niece's case, this meant two and half years of preschool. This is what's happening with David.