A/N: I am really sorry that it has taken me so long to come back to this story. I sort of lost my inspiration for writing, period, over this summer and I'm only just starting to find that groove again. That said, this chapter marks the end of this particular story. I can't say for sure this is originally how I envisioned ending it but all things considered I think it works and leaves itself open enough that if inspiration for a sequel strikes, I can run with it.
For now, thank you all for your patience and for taking this ride with me. Enjoy!
"Pumpkin, c'mere a minute," Olivia said, reaching for the remote to mute the cartoons that Carly had been glued to since the crack of dawn. "There's something that Fitz and I need to talk to you about."
Carly glanced over her shoulder, fully prepared to protest because they were talking about cartoons here, but something in the look on her mother's face inspired cooperation. Crawling over to the floor in front of the couch where Olivia and Fitz had settled themselves, Carly sat back on her heels expectantly.
Olivia shared a look with Fitz. They'd gone over this last night, talked about how they wanted to approach this and how they might handle the spectrum of Carly's possible reactions. But now that the moment was here, Olivia could barely remember what they'd agreed to.
Fitz squeezed her shoulder and Olivia took a deep breath.
"Do you remember when I talked to you about the difference between telling the truth and telling lies?" Olivia asked.
"I told you it was important to try to tell the truth, especially to the people that you love, right?" Olivia continued. "And I also told you that sometimes, grown ups don't tell the truth if they think a lie is going to protect someone that they care about."
"Uh huh," Carly said.
It was obvious that she wasn't entirely certain where her mother was going with this recap of their previous ethics lesson.
Olivia huffed out a breath.
"Mommy told you a lie," Olivia admitted. "At the time, I thought it was the best thing for everyone but that's changed now and I want to tell you the truth."
Carly pursed her lips a little and cocked her head to one side.
"What did you lie about?" she asked.
Olivia darted another glance at Fitz, whose eyes had been focused on Carly since the conversation had started.
"I lied to you about…about…" Olivia stumbled.
"About who your father is," Fitz finished for her quietly.
He paused for a split second and then continued, struggling to keep his voice steady and his emotions in check.
"Carly, Edison Davis is not your father," he said. "I am."
Carly blinked at him and then at her mother.
"You're my daddy?" Carly queried, wanting to be sure she had understood.
"Yes," he said.
He felt Olivia's hand settle over his and squeeze it but he didn't dare look over at her, didn't think he'd be able to keep it together if he did and still far too uncertain of Carly's reaction to risk it.
"How come you didn't lived with us?" Carly wanted to know.
"Well, when you were born," Fitz began. "I was still the president. So, I had to live in the White House with Karen and Jerry's mother, Mellie. It would have been dangerous for you and your mother if people knew that you were my daughter, so we kept it a secret. And that's how come I didn't live with you all."
"And I married Edison and that's how come he did live with us," Olivia explained.
"But he doesn't live with us anymore," Carly said. "S'that mean now Fitz will live with us? And 'Ren and Jerry?"
"Would that be okay with you?" Fitz asked, rather than answer her question directly. "If it was all of us together?"
Carly nodded seriously.
"I would love that," she said.
Fitz gave her a small smile.
"I would love that too," he said.
Carly's expression switched to something a bit more uncertain.
"Can I call you Daddy now?" she asked shyly.
Fitz didn't bother to fight the tears that sprang to his eyes.
"That would make me really, really happy," he told her.
Carly's expression brightened and she grinned at him. Fitz held his arms open to her and she didn't hesitate to leap into them and throw her tiny arms around his neck.
Olivia watched the scene unfold though it was pretty blurry thanks to the tears that were spilling down her face. She'd known this moment would be…too much on so many levels but it was even more overwhelming than she could have anticipated.
When Fitz reached for her as well, she went willingly, leaning her head against his arm and savoring the feeling that the world had finally been set to rights. This was what she had wanted for so long, from the moment they'd stood toe to toe in that hallway and he'd apologized for firing her, if she was honest.
And now here they were.
Carly pulled back a little.
"Daddy?" she asked, almost testing the word out to see how it fit.
"Yeah, baby girl?" Fitz replied.
"Time for breakfast," Carly announced.
"What do you feel like having?" Olivia asked.
"My favorite," Carly said.
"Cream cheese," Olivia began.
"And grape jelly," Fitz finished. "Good choice."
They'd just started for the kitchen when Jerry came down the stairs into the foyer.
"Jerry, guess what?" Carly exclaimed bouncing over to him. "You's my brother now1"
Jerry looked over at Olivia and Fitz and then cracked a smile.
"That so?" he asked Carly. "Well you know what means, don't you?"
"What?" Carly asked, somewhat suspiciously.
"It means that as my little sister," Jerry said. "You have to do everything I tell you."
"I do not!" Carly said indignantly.
She glanced over at her parents for confirmation.
"Do I?" she asked.
Olivia and Fitz pretended to consider it.
"Nah," Olivia said.
Jerry rolled his eyes while Carly cackled gleefully.
"Some help you two are," Jerry accused.
He shook his head and draped an arm around Carly's shoulders.
"Come on kid," he said. "There's some things you should know about being a Grant…"
Olivia and Fitz stood in doorway and watched the kids move into the kitchen. Fitz had his arm around Olivia's shoulder and he pressed a kiss to the top of her head.
"Hi," he said.
"Hi," Olivia replied, sliding her arm around his waist and leaning into him.
"Marry me," Fitz murmured.
"Yeah," Olivia agreed.
She waited a half a heartbeat.
"For the record," she added. "Totally saw that coming."
Fitz smiled against her temple.
"Love you, Livvy," he said.
"Love you more," Olivia said.
"You still sure you want to do this?" Fitz asked Karen.
"Yes," Karen said firmly.
She glanced at Olivia.
"Liv, tell him," she said.
"Fitz, we agreed," Olivia reminded him. "Karen wants to do this, it's what she needs and it's what all of us need."
The verdict had come in yesterday and Luke McDaniels would be spending the next three years of his life behind bars. Now, Karen and Fitz were about to sit down with Diane Sawyer to discuss the trial and verdict but also Fitz and Olivia's engagement and Carly's paternity.
"President Grant, Miss Grant," a production assistant said. "We're ready for you on set."
Several minutes later, the two of them were seated on a sofa and Diane Sawyer greeted them with a warm smile.
"It's been a tumultuous few months for you and your family, President Grant," Sawyer said, once all the niceties were out of the way. "Your beautiful daughter, who is here with us, was assaulted. The verdict on that came in just yesterday. During the course of the trial, you released a statement admitting that you had fathered a child with another woman during the course of your marriage to Secretary of State Mellie Grant. How have you handled all those things and the resulting speculation and spotlight?"
"The only way to get through times like this is to rely on family, "Fitz said. "To give and take support from the people you love and who love you. As you rightly point out there has been a lot of turmoil and a lot of change but ultimately, I feel like we're a stronger unit because of it."
"When you refer to your family," Sawyer followed up. "You're talking about your children but also about your fiancée, Olivia Pope, am I right?"
"Olivia has been a rock star," Fitz agreed. "She's been there for me and the kids and if we've all come out the other side of this storm, it's in large part thanks to her."
"Karen, before we discuss the verdict that came in yesterday," Sawyer began. "I'd like to know what sort of adjustment it's been for you, having Olivia and your half sister Carly come into your life."
Karen took a moment to gather herself before she spoke.
"I would be lying if I said that it hadn't come as a shock in the beginning," Karen said. "It's not every day you learn that your father fell in love with someone else while he was married to your mother or that you have a little sister because of it."
She glanced over at Fitz and then back at Diane.
"It did take some getting used to," Karen said. "But not as much as you'd think. Jerry and I have both known Olivia since we were young kids in the White House and I think that over the last several months, as we've gotten to spend more time with Dad and Liv, it's just…it started to make sense. They work and it's very easy to see how good they are to each other and how good they are for each other. My dad is a happy man these days. A year ago, I don't think I could have said that."
"And your newest sibling?" Sawyer pressed.
"Carly is this ball of energy," she said. "She's so smart and constantly looking for something new to do or understand."
"So basically, a lot like you were at that age," Fitz quipped.
"I'll take your word for it, old man," Karen teased. "In all seriousness, though. It's been great having Carly around because she young enough to still have that innocence and that pure vision of the world around her. When you go through what I went through, you need that to keep things in perspective."
"Let's talk now about what happened to you," Sawyer said, her tone softening. "You testified in court that Luke McDaniels, son of Senator McDaniels, drugged you with the intention of committing sexual assault. Why do you think he did that?"
"I'm not sure that I can really understand the psychology of why Luke or anyone else really, would be driven to rape or to attempt rape," Karen said. "But in Luke's specific case, I think that having gotten away with it before, having that sense of impunity, would have been a factor."
"What was that moment like for you," Sawyer asked, turning her attention back to Fitz. "When your daughter came home and told you what had happened?"
Fitz let out a breath.
"It's every father's worst nightmare," he said. "As a parent, you want to be able to protect your children from everything that could possibly hurt them and then you have these moments where reality shows you that you can't. It's terrifying."
He took Karen's hand in his and squeezed it.
"That said, I'm just so proud of the way that Karen has handled this situation," Fitz said. "She was the one who insisted on taking the case to court, who believed in our country's institutions enough to have faith that justice would be served and yesterday's verdict proved that she was right to do that."
"What's next?" Sawyer asked.
"I go back to school," Karen said. "But with a clearer sense of what I want to accomplish. In a lot of ways the last several months has given me some insight into what I'd like to do going forward, the causes that I'd like to become active in, particularly in terms of fighting the culture of stigmatization that surrounds the victims of sexual assault. "
"And for you President Grant?" Sawyer asked.
"I'm going to focus on the work that I'm doing with the United Nations," Fitz said. "There are a couple of initiatives that we're looking to get off the ground, notably in East Sudan. And of course, there's a wedding to plan."
"Have you and Ms. Pope set a date yet?" she asked.
"Not yet," Fitz said. "But if I have my way, it will be sooner rather than later."
They exchanged a few more light-hearted comments and then the interview was over. Carly bounced over to them just as soon as Olivia set her down on her feet. She jumped up and down in front of Karen.
"You talked about me on TV," she said, delighted.
"I did," Karen said with a grin. "Maybe next time you'll be on TV so you'll have to remember to talk about me."
"Okay," Carly said. "Daddy, can we get ice cream now?"
"Sure, we can," Fitz said. "Ben and Jerry's?"
Carly nodded vigorously and the four of them and Jerry made their way out of the TV studio. Several photographers had gathered outside and they immediately went crazy when they saw Fitz carry Carly, walking side by side with Jerry and Karen who each had an arm linked through one of Olivia's.
That image of the Grant family would travel the world in less than two hours.
As they drove past the Lincoln Memorial, Olivia turned to Fitz and murmured in his ear.
"It doesn't hurt to look at her anymore," she said.
Fitz smiled, remembering the conversation they'd had so many months ago.
"I'm glad," he said.