-This is the end, and I love all of you for following it through to this point. You are wonderful people, and I hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. It's one of those stories that just kills me to end, because though it was short it was wonderful, and I love you all for everything. So please, enjoy.-

~Ann~

There are no proper words to describe the exact feeling of utter pain and regret that filled me as the world around me silenced, leaving only my shouts and tear-filled hiccups. There were no proper apologies for everything that had happened, and no one left to blame for them, anyway. But in this moment, crumpling to my knees and turning Thrax on his back, looking at the shut eyes and glue-like substance clotting on his clothing, I did my best to say things that didn't matter then, things that were said too late to mean anything.

"Thrax...I'm sorry!"I cried, fists dug so tightly into his jacket that I felt my nails through the fabric, throat aching and face chilled from the tears and hiccups that poured from me, the pain in my very being so much worse than any of that. It was empty. It hurt. Because I was looking at the man who protected me, my big brother, who even when we'd fallen apart still managed to protect me with his life. Unfortunatly, very literally.

And now he was gone. And I'd never gotten the chance to say all of the things that I wanted to, that I had to. He was gone, and I'd never see him again, and he'd never know how horribly sorry that I was. So why now, so pitifully and as if no one were watching, was I begging for his forgiveness?

"I'm sorry about everything!"I cried, shaking and voice catching, "I didn't mean it, not when I said that you were lying. I didn't mean it when I said that your goals were selfish! I didn't mean it, I didn't mean it! I didn't mean any of it, I was just scared and angry and I lied okay? I'm sorry I ever said any of those things to Spryman about you...You're not a liar, Thrax, okay? Happy now? You're not a liar, you meant it when you said you'd protect me and we can still be a team. We can...we can be a..."I couldn't finish the sentence, instead dropping my head onto his chest and shaking, taking in jagged breaths into my broken body.

No, he couldn't be gone. This wasn't what I wanted, not anymore. I didn't want him to leave. I didn't want him out of my life...

"Please Thrax,"I said quietly, voice shaking, "Please...you're the best big brother in the world." Why? Why couldn't I tell him these things before? Why couldn't I look past my pain and my pride and just tell him that I was hurt so much because he meant that damn much to me? That when he left part of me was ripped out? That I couldn't, despite everything I'd said, live without him? Because he was my big brother. Not 'was', still is...

"I'm sorry...I didn't mean any of it, I promise... So please, please Thrax...don't go big brother... Please! Thrax wake the hell up! You can't do this to me again! I need you, okay?...I didn't mean it...you can't go like this...I miss you..."I whispered the end, now just sobbing and shaking in pain. Horrible, horrible pain, because as I kept talking I knew, deep down inside, that it was falling on dead ears.

I rested my head on his chest fully and whispered in a bitter tone,

"Fuck, Thrax..."

"Lemme guess, you didn't mean it?"

If this was my mind going into shock and playing jokes on me, I hoped to everything that Ozzy would stop me now. Stop me, because I could have sworn... Slowly, almost as if I were afraid that if I moved too fast it would all dissapear and would really be just my mind playing creul jokes on me, I looked up. Before I could see anything, though, a familiar hand reached down and brushed my face, removing the chill of the tears on my skin and replacing it with the unnatural heat of his palm.

"Ahh, there we go. Now my baby looks pretty again." The hand moved away, and I felt every fiber of my being freeze and a shiver run up my spine in just...shock. Because...he was there. He was right there. I could feel him, moving up absentmindedly and brushing a hand through his dreads, eyes wide and mouth dropped open as I tried to process all of it at once. But that was him. It was his face, his sly sarcastic smile, his yellow eyes, the little eyebrow-raise.

"Baby, you're shakin' like a leaf,"He mused calmly, too calmly to be dying..."Someone gotta turn up the heat?"

"Thrax!"I shouted, not caring that everyone was watching or that it would make Thrax insanely uncomftorble in front of people, I flew down and wrapped my arms so hard around his neck that I heard him make a little choking noise, not paying it attention because I didn't care, because I just needed to feel that he was there. "H-how? I thought you..."I stopped, afraid I'd start to cry again even though every fiber of my being was light and bright and jumping and so damn happy.

"Gotta let go first, Ann-girl."Thrax choked out, and I instantly sat back, helping him sit up as he reached to the side of his jacket with the white antidote clotted and now dead on the outside of his jacket, turning a sickly grey that I hadn't noticed before. I almost flinched as he brushed it off, afraid it would really end up hurting him, but he showed no signs of pain. In fact, he looked fine.

I watched as he opened the side of his jacket and reached into where I knew the inner pocket was, right where the antidote had struck... And pulled out a metal guitar pick.

"Guess you saved me in the end, Ann-girl. Makes us even."Thrax mused nonchalantly, and I reached forward almost a bit numbly, taking the pick and just...looking at it for a second. This was the guitar pick that went missing after Ozzy brought my stuff to the hospital... I looked up at Thrax for a moment, everyone waiting to see what I'd say...

"You stole my guitar pick?"

"Yeah."

"While I was dying?"

"Yeah."

"You're one sick virus." He smiled a full-toothed grin and brushed my bangs out of my face, but before he could say anything a hysteric cry came from my right, and I looked over to see Drix squeezing Ozzy so tightly that Oz was turning red, crying harder than I had been.

"It's so beautiful! I just love happy endings! Oh!"He kept wheeping into Ozzy, who was shouting at him to let him down and struggling while Maria stood by them and rolled her eyes, crossing her arms and muttering something in spanish. And I paused, looking at that trio that somehow made it this far. Together, we beat Strepfinger. We actually beat Strepfinger, who was currently being manhandles into a helicopter at the window behind us by Chief, who I hadn't even known had been here.

The wind blew my hair lightly from the helicopter, and I sighed, shaking my head at that trio of misfits. How we all made it out alive was a mystery I'd never solve, no matter how good of a detective I became.

"This is the group you're gonna roll with?"Thrax asked skeptically, and I sighed, smiling and resting against his chest, his arms wrapping around me lightly. And damn, it felt good to do this again.

"Yeah. Yeah it is." And then I paused, another realization coming to me that should have been sad, and it was...at first. But as I thought about it, it made more and more sense. I needed to learn to stand on my own in my own dream, and I couldn't ask Thrax to give up everything for it, even if that's what I had done. I couldn't put him through what I'd gone through...even if that meant leaving for a little while.

"You're not staying, are you?"I asked quietly, and while everyone was distracted, I felt him place a kiss on my head and drag his claw through my dreads.

"No, baby."He mused quietly, and I sighed. He paused a second, and then asked, "That make you sad?" I thought about it and, yeah. It made me a little sad, thinking about how much different things were gonna be now, but more than anything...

"No. I'm...excited. There's a lot ahead of us."I said happily, and after a few more seconds I moved, standing on my own and Thrax soon following. I looked from the trio to him, smiling and saying,

"If you wanna get out safe, you might wanna head out before Drix stops having a melt-down." He smirked and tilted my chin up with his claw, then winked.

"Give 'em hell, baby." He mused in his rhythmic voice, and quickly stepped back, moving silently and fast to the other window on the oppisit side of the room, me watching him the whole time, watching my big brother leave and feeling the sad twinge in my stomach become stifled by the excitement of what the future held for us. He got to the window and slashed it open, jumping onto the sill and pausing, for just a second, then looked back.

He kissed his claw, and held it out to me. I did the same with my nails.

Almost instantly, he was gone. Just a blurr of black and red, and then just an empty window and a smile on my face, wondering where we'd be the next time we met. After taking a few more moments in front of the window, I turned and spied something on the floor. And then let out a chuckle. I took a few steps forward and picked up Thrax's shades, sliding them securely into my pocket just as someone barreled into me and threw me in front of them as a shield.

"Yo! Drix! Get you big red self together!"Ozzy exclaimed, Maria now the one consoling Drix with a smile and a blush...

"Hey, Ozzy?"I said, thinking that if I'd just survived two near-death situations, then what the hell was there to lose?

"Yeah, what's up Ann girl?"Ozzy asked, and I turned to face him, looking up into that hansome face and getting that odd feeling twisting in my stomach again.

"I think I'll take you up on that date in the eye."I saw his eyes widen for a moment, and then I did something that, if Thrax had been watching, we both would have been skinned alive.

I reached up, grabbing the collar of his jacket, and pulled his face down to mine. I moved my face up and, in what felt like a jolt of electricity, pressed our lips together. A chill ran down my spine, but this time the good kind. The kind that instantly warmed and lit up my entire body, made me want more of this. And, apparently, Ozzy did too, because almost instantly he wrapped his arms around my shoulders and waist, pulling me so close to him that I had to move my arms around his neck, kissing me softly back and yet it felt like the most impactful feeling I'd ever get in my entire life.

Because I knew that this wasn't just a kiss. That somewhere deep down inside, this was gonna lead to something big.

"Ahem...well...that was...unexpected..." I felt a blush rage hot on my face as I slowly(reluctantly) pulled away from my first kiss and turned to see Drix coughing awkwardly and Maria whistling, Chief just staring drop-jawed and wide-eyed.

"Oi! Mayor's gonna be pissed!"Maria laughed, Chief just shaking his head and muttering something like 'Jones of all people' and walking away. Ozzy laughed next to me, a beautiful sound, and innocently took my hand in his, intertwining his fingers cutely, as if we were little kids and, to be honest, we kind of were on the inside. Maybe that's what gave us such a bright future.

-Epilogue-Seven Years Later-

~Ann~

"Ozzy."I urged, shaking the white-blood cell who slept shirtless in the bed in front of me, smiling at the still-warm feeling I got from seeing him sleeping so cutely, with his face a bit scrunched and arm under the pillow.

"Mph."He mummbled, and then rolled with his back to me. I rolled my eyes and sighed, placing my hands on my hips and looking down at him sternly.

"Ozzy. It's time to get up already, Chief's gonna have a fit if we're late to work again!"I scolded, knowing damn well that he was too stubborn to get up. He mummbled something incoherent again, and I sighed, running a hand down my face and checking the clock on the wall above the bedroom door, glad now that Ozzy decided to keep his apartement, yet wishing there were a window in this room so I could pull the shades and let the sun wake his sorry-ass up.

"We have one hour to get to the station, and knowing how long it takes you in the bathroom we're already late!"I tried, and when he continued to be an elementary-level child and pull the covers over his head, I couldn't help but smile and finally use a last-ditch effort. Quickly, I climbed onto the bed and, rolling him onto his back, straddled his hips.

"Ozzy! Wakey-wakey!"I shouted, and finally the full-grown man pulled the covers off his face and moved them down to below his navel, showing his blue, toned upper body that still, after all these years, made me blush like a little girl, but not nearly as much as that drop-dead adorable smile he had on as he squinted slightly in the light.

"Hey now, who is this vision of loveliness before me?"He mused cooly, and I rolled my eyes despite the smile on my face. I leaned down and he instantly wrapped his arms around me, feeling his muscles through the black tank top and nuzzling his face a bit before giving him a peck on the lips, a chill going down my spine as I smiled down at him and replied calmly,

"Your wife. Now get your ass outta bed." He threw his head back and moaned, though removing one arm and wrapping the hand around my fingers, his thumb playing with the blue-stoned, red-banned ring on my finger.

"But I don't wannna!"He whined, and I groaned tiredly.

"Osmosis Jones, get your blue-ass outta bed before I personally drag you into the station myself!"I scolded, and he pouted up at me with big, watery eyes.

"But baaaaabyyyyyy!"

"Ozzy! You're a full-grown man!"I scolded, and he nuzzled his face into the crook of my neck, shaking his head like a little kid. "Ozzy!"

"Nu-uh!"

"Osmosis!"

"Five more minutes!"

"You said that ten minutes ago!"

He continued to shake his head in my neck, and I was actually five seconds away from knocking him out and keeping good on my promise, when the bedroom door quickly opened and Drix floated in, reading a small box and asking,

"I wanted to make eggs this morning, but it appears as if you're out of- Oh dear Hector! I-I'm sorry! I'll leave, didn't mean to intrude!" He panicked, spinning around as I laughed and sat up, seeing Ozzy glaring and pouting below me.

"No Drixy, you didn't interrupt anything. Just trying to get my lazy-ass husband out of bed at the crack of noon."I spat back sarcastically behind me as I stood, hooking a thumb in my black, low-rise jeans. Drix turned back around, trying to become un-flustered and clearing his throat.

"Yes, you're out of eggs."

"We never had eggs. Make cereal."I mused tiredly, streaching and pulling my dreads into a ponytail, thankful that Maria had learned how.

"Better yet, make your girl choose an apartement faster so we can get your moochin' butt outta-" I turned around and pulled the covers all the way down, showing Ozzy's Hello-Kitty nightpants and making him freak out, jumping and falling hard out of bed as I scolded,

"Drix can stay here as long as he wants! Besides, he's moving in with Maria! That's a big step, and he needs friends to support him." Ozzy rolled onto his back and grumbled grumpily,

"You moved in with me no problem." I rolled my eyes and picked up a white shirt and familiar jacket from our nightstand, throwing them on his face and musing as I walked out with Drix,

"Believe me, there were problems!"I called back jokingly, entering the living room/kitchen area where Drix was busy preparing what now was brunch for everyone. I leaned on the counter outside the kitchen and groaned, rubbing a hand down my face again as Drix mused properly,

"Don't complain, you're the one who married him."

"I'm well aware, Drixy. And I still have no idea why."I yawned, resting my chin on my arms as my stomach growled, wishing Drix didn't take the time to measure out equal amounts of cereal for everyone.

"Because you love him."He threw back airily and nonchalantly, in a way only Drix could. I laughed and smiled softly, remembering the past seven years like it was seven days and at the same time seven centuries. There was a knock on the door, but I didn't pay it much mind, knowing it was probably Maria come to take Drix apartement hunting again. Hector, I'd been excited when Ozzy and I moved in together, but this girl was treating it like Disney World, free coffee, and a snow day all wrapped up into one.

I pushed off the counter and moved towards the door, throwing over my shoulder as I twisted the knob and opened the door,

"You got that right."

"Got what right?"

"Oh, nothing, just telling Drix how-"I cut off mid-sentence, eyes widening as I realized that that voice was definitly not Maria's. In fact, it was definitly not any voice I'd heard in seven years, and damn well not a voice I was expecting to hear for another seven, maybe. The shock struck me speechless as my head whipped towards the doorway and took in exactly what I hadn't expected to see.

"Miss me, baby?"Thrax asked, leaning against the doorframe with that smirk, those dreads, that coat, and those eyes. Miss him? Miss him?

"Thrax! What the hell are you doing here?!"But it wasn't angry, it wasn't even the least bit upset, because I'd exclaimed this while simultaniously throwing my arms around his neck and making him fall back a few steps in surprise.

"Woah! Damn, you gonna do that every time I show up, baby?"He asked, and I shook my head, still a bit shocked and elated to see him after all this time, stepping back into the apartement as he entered, too, nonchalantly shutting the door behind him. I looked at him quickly, nucleus recovering from the shock and excitement and yet still pounding faster than normal, seeing that he hadn't changed one bit.

"Seeing as how this is the first time you've dropped by in seven years, yeah."I deadpanned, and he gave a suave smile and a shrug,

"Been a busy man lately."

"Really? Haven't heard you name in the news lately."I teased back, and he was about to retort when I saw Drix out of the corner of my eye and we both turned our heads, seeing the clearly-distraght pill. I tensed, hoping that he wasn't upset because of Thrax, not when I hadn't seen him in seven long, long years... He threw up his hands and exclaimed,

"Great! There's no where near enough cereal to make FIVE equal bowls!" I relaxed, laughing and shaking my head, when Thrax asked curiously,

"Five?" I looked up at him, paused...and then my heart dropped in dread. That's right, Thrax had no clue how much had happened in seven years. And believe me, a lot had happened...a lot that I felt bad about, because it was a lot that he had missed. A lot that I'd wished I'd had him there for, that I wanted him to see and know and be with me while it happened. I wasn't going to lie, not having him there during my wedding was...odd. I mean, I'd never expected to get married before, but I always assumed that if it happened that he'd be there, and that coupled with everything else...and I wasn't exactly sure how he'd take it...

"Oh, um, yeah...see...Drix lives with us until him and Maria find a place."I tried insinuating, and Thrax's eyes narrowed dangerously and suspiciously, leaning down a bit more as a cold sweat broke out on the back of my neck, stomach in knots.

"Lives with...'us'?"He asked slowly and darkly, and I gulped, laughing nervously and shrugging, waiting but his gaze continued, just as harsh and twice and suspicious, feeling like a kid with their hand in the cookie jar. Finally, I sighed, and decided that if Thrax had to find it out, better be from me and not the shock later on.

"Yeah...well...me and Ozzy kinda...live together now..." His eyes narrowed even further, this time in almost fury and shock, leaning even closer as I nervously rubbed my arm and chuckled feebly.

"Imma let you explain that later, but by my math that only makes four. Why'd he say five?"Thrax demanded. Great, now here came the hardest part, and I suddenly wished I'd reinfourced the apartement for the utter rampage that was sure to come. Damnit, I hadn't planned on tell him him this, just kinda hoping that I could put it off until..ya know...never.

But by the look on his face now, never was just a tad bit too long.

"Um, about that...Ozzy and I have a-"

"Is breakfast ready?"

A tiny voice interrupted me, and I instantly felt my nucleus lighten and a brightness come over the room, turning around and a beaming smile finding its way onto my face, as if all the bad stuff were just blocked out by this small, innocent little girl who walked sleepily from a door in the back of the room, rubbing an eye sleepily. She wore light green pajama bottoms and a matching hoodie, with beautiful blue skin and white hair in an absolute mess, which meant it had once again fallen out of it's dreads. But the best thing about the exactly three-year-and-four-month old little girl were the small, vibrant blue eyes looking groggily up at me and giving me a new light I hadn't even imagined possible.

"Vita, did we wake you up?"I asked kindly, kneeling down and holding out my arms to the little girl, who quickly walked over and wrapped her arms around my neck. I lifted her up, supporting her butt with one arm as I held her small frame on my hip, the other arm patting her back as she rested her head on my chest and turned her face to Thrax, me facing him with a mix of excitement and trepidation.

His face was confused and nonchalant, putting on his little act...for now.

"Who are you?"Vita asked innocently, hiding shyly against my chest as I couldn't help but smile at the little thing, patting her back and happy despite the nervousness that twisted in my chest as I looked slowly from her to Thrax, facing him as I said softly and delicatly,

"This is your Uncle Thrax."

I'd noticed that Drix instantly stopped his rapid breakfast perperations, stopping and looking at the scene in front of him, Vita oblivious and giving Thrax an innocent, sleepy, curious look. But I stayed focused on his face, which no matter how hard he tried, there was nothing that prepared him for the news I'd just dropped on him. After all, he'd just learned that his little sister had a daughter.

His entire face went slack, eyes widening like saucers and jaw dropping as a look of utter shock and maybe a bit of horror, a face that would have been comical if my stomach wasn't in knots of worry, loosened only by the little angel in my arms. Thrax just continued to look in shock at the little girl, as if she were something he'd never seen before and, to be honest, he hadn't. Not like I hadn't told Vita stories about him, leaving out all the bad parts, just telling stories of her brave, strong, wonderful uncle.

And now that she was meeting him, and I looked at my older brother with my child in my arms, I hoped she saw what I always saw. Of course, Vita was Vita, and she broke the silence in a way that only she could.

"He looks like you, Mommy!"She said happily, finally breaking out of her shy hiding place and sitting up a bit, smiling brightly at Thrax. And only Vita could have un-slackened that look on his face, making Thrax actually straighten a bit and give her a slightly more curious look, eyes still a bit wide but now more curious and surprised than horrified. Vita smiled wider and said in her teensy little voice, "Hi! My name's Vita!"

There was a pause, as if Thrax were processing what exactly it was that he wanted to do, but almost instantly afterwards he did something that both surprised me and made me breathe an almost audible sigh of relief. He held out his claw and Vita's eyes went wide in wonder, and Thrax leaned down so that he was eye-level with her.

"Hey there, baby girl. Ain't you a pretty little thing?" He was smiling. And it was that smile he used to use with me, almost like I was watching a scene from our past from the outside. It was a warm, playful, smooth smile that I couldn't forget if I tried, because...because it meant that he was looking at something he loved. And that realization as I watched Vita laugh and shake the claw like a hand, and as I watched Thrax continue to smile, looking at this whole scene here, everything felt so...amazing. Amazing because he was actually happy, and that Vita liked him, and that he appeared to like her, and...and the two most important people in my life were right here with me and smiling.

"Yo, Drix, you whip up some breakfast yet?"Oh, right. There's still one teensy little problem.

I turned, Vita struggling excitedly in my arms as I set her down instinctively, watching as Ozzy's entire face lit up in a way that, despite everything, made my nucleus jump and warm up, almost as if reminding myself that I did truly love this man. He knelt down and opened his arms, exclaiming,

"Hey there, kiddo!"

"Daddy!"Vita exclaimed happily, jumping into his arms as I froze guiltily, feeling Thrax's once-again wide eyes on me. I didn't move, wondering that if I stayed still enough he might not see me, knowing that Ozzy kinda just signed his own death warrent. Well, I didn't want Vita to be there for the horrible beating her father was about to endure, so I stepped forward and plucked the little girl from Ozzy's arms, turning and setting her in the direction of her room.

As I walked with her, I said kindly and in a voice that I'd had to learn from Maria, that motherly voice I'd never gotten,

"Go on sweetie, you can play with the boys after you get dressed and eat breakfast, okay? Auntie Maria's coming over later, too, so make sure you wear that shirt she got you, the one with the orange flower on it."

"Yes Mommy."She said tiredly, turning to me before I ushered her into the door and placing a kiss on my cheek. I smiled and leaned forward, rubbing my nose on hers as she giggled in a high pitch.

"Eskimo kisses!"I joked, and she pulled away running excitedly into her room to change. And I sighed. I stood, shut her door, and took in a deep, deep breath. Then turned.

To see Thrax throttling Ozzy against the wall. I groaned, Drix floating up next to me as he set up the table next to the kitchen.

"You had to expect something like this to happen."He mused, and I scratched the back of my neck, watching as Thrax tried to murder my husband by strangulation, shouting things at him that I really hoped Vita couldn't hear. And yet, as I watched this, I still had that light, wonderful feeling bubbling up inside of me. Because, yeah, Thrax was pissed. But other than that...this was a moment that I'd been looking forward to every year since he'd left. The year that he would come back and, for that period of time that he was here, he could see that I'd kept good on my promise.

Ozzy, Drix, Maria and I were the top detective team in the Immunity for the fourth year running, taking down over seven hundred criminals in seven years, not including the major crime bosses. I was married, happily and crazily, to Ozzy. I had a beautiful daughter. And hey, I'd only almost-died like twice since he left, and in my book that was a damn good record. For the first time, my life was wonderful. My life was exactly what I wanted it to be, though not what I'd expected it to be when it all began, eight and a half years ago in Frank.

If someone had told me I'd be standing here with Thrax strangling my husband because I had a beautiful daughter with an immunity officer way back when, I'd have probably backed away from you slowly. But not now. Because now, I couldn't imagine my life as anything better.

"You'd better stop them, or Ozzy might actually die, and he's the only one who knows how to fix the TV."Drix mused, carrying over some forks as I rolled my eyes. I walked forward, and once I got to the struggling two I paused, looked at Thrax, and shouted in my most stearn motherly voice that, to be honest, even scared me a bit,

"Thrax Bacillus Anthracis!"

Thrax froze, eyes wide in a guilty-look, Ozzy still struggling to breathe, and I placed my hands on my hips.

"Put. Him. Down."I ordered measuredly, and to my surprise, he actually listened, dropping Ozzy who barely landed on his feet and wheezed noisily, me walking over to him and saying, "Your timing is terrible."

"How was I supposed to know big red viral mother was back?!"Ozzy wheezed out, hand on his throat as he tried to straighten up.

"I'd watch it, Jones, seein' as how you...you..."Thrax couldn't even seem to find the words, instead just seething and glaring daggers at Ozzy to the point where Oz actually ducked behind me and hid, peeking his eyes over my shoulders as I groaned on the inside. I stood between them and looked Thrax in the eye, his eyes straying to me for a moment as I explained, letting a small half-smile slide onto my face,

"I'd like you not murder someone in my house. Drix just cleaned the floor." Thrax paused a second, and for a second it looked like he was going to say something important, but Vita chose to reemerge at that moment and sprint in a straight line to Thrax, me almost cringing a bit as she wrapped her arms around his leg...

But Thrax once again surprised me. And this time, it wasn't just because of how he acted. It was that...it seemed so damn natural. I wondered for a moment if he was just naturally drawn to protecting a part of me, or if Vita could naturally win people over, and as I thought about it more I realized that it was probably just a little bit of both. I was also perplexed and surprised to see him act as kind as he did in front of Ozzy and Drix, as if his facad was slowly starting to mean less.

He swooped down and lifted her up, Vita screaming in laughter as he brought her to his hip and smiled suavely, saying,

"Yo baby girl, you gonna just run into people like that?"

"Yep! Momma said that so long as I'm not in a car it's okay!"She said, giggling as I placed my hands in my pockets, smiling despite myself. Thrax's face softened, a smile and a familiar face as he said,

"Vita girl, you wanna hear 'bout your momma and cars, Imma tell you why you ain't never gonna get in a car with her."

"Thrax!"I scolded quietly, but Vita's eyes lit right up and she laughed excitedly, bouncing up and down as I quickly jumped into the situation, swooping past them and snatching my daughter in one swift motion, casting Thrax a scolding glare while he just gave me an amused look, saying,

"Story time comes after breakfast."

"Oh yes!"Drix exclaimed flamboyantly as I sat Vita down, "I made a wonderful breakfast of Mito-O's and strawberries!"

"Thank you Uncle Drix!"Vita exclaimed, Drix's face softening immediatly as he sat at his own chair, me just pulling mine out when I heard a loud crash. I turned my head, seeing Ozzy laying face-first into the ground and Thrax walking up, humming calmingly as I cast him a both angry and amused look. He shrugged and mused,

"What? Fool tripped."

I shook my head, wondering if Ozzy was even going to survive this visit.

-Eight Hours Later-

I leaned on the railing, smiling out into the night as sounds of Vita playing hide-and-seek with Ozzy, Maria and Drix discussing interior decorating(I couldn't decide who was more excited about that one), and Thrax taking turns telling Vita stories between her games with Oz. At the moment, it sounded like Oz had her, and I wasn't too surprised when the door opened and shut, a familiar presence leaning on the railing next to me.

"Surprise?"I asked jokingly, and Thrax scoffed.

"The last time I saw you you still belived in cooties, baby."He mused, and I laughed, shaking my head as he retorted, "Hey, let me believe that, a'ight? I just learned that my little girl has a little girl of her own. With freaking Jones..." I nudged him with my shoulder, quiet for a moment as I contemplated everything I had to say.

"Hey, I was as surprised as you were...would have been nice to have you at the wedding, though."I mused, and suddenly Thrax brushed a claw across my face, me turning and looking up at him and seeing a sad, regretful face, something twisting in my chest, not wanting to make him like this, just...just...

"I missed a lot, didn't I baby?"He asked quietly, and I offered a sad smile.

"Hey, you had a goal to chase."I reasoned, and Thrax took the hand back, smoothing back his dreads and turning away from me, out to the city as I looked at him curiously.

"Please...like I could do it without you."

And I paused, nucleus taking a lot longer to process the words than my mind, wondering if he meant what I thought he meant...if that was the explination for not hearing about him in the news...

"Thrax...what about your goal? The medical books?"I asked, and he threw me a raised eyebrow and small, almost nonexistant little smirk.

"Hey, what's some dusty old book mean when I have to spend years away from my little girl, huh? Wasn't worth it after the first three days."He explained, and I stepped up to the railing, mind reeling, wondering if this was all some big joke that I wasn't in on. Thrax? Saying that it wasn't worth it?

"But...Thrax...wait what?"I asked, incredolous, Thrax rolling his eyes and asking,

"Yo, don't you get it Ann girl? Hector, you're the one who figured it out long before me! Took your big brother a damn good time to wrap my head 'round the fact that it don't matter what I'm doin', so long as I'm protectin' you. Only stayed away for seven damn years cuz I had ta let you make a place for yourself. Didn't know you'd go and make babies with Jones!"

"Thrax!"I exclaimed, face shooting bright red as I began to wish I'd never asked, wanting to bury myself in some sand for the next year or two...and then I thought about what he said before that. Mind churning the words...and for a moment, I felt my nucleus stop. "Wait...Thrax, what you said...do you meant that..."I paused, blinking in confusion and shock.

Thrax straightened up, looking over his shoulder to the window where the shades were drawn, where Ozzy and Drix were throwing swatches of fabric at each other in anger with Vita and Maria sitting by and watching either amused or just plain tired.

"Hey, if I leave then Jones is poor Vita's only male role model. I can't leave the kid with...that, just because you decided to go with Jones. Gotta teach the girl how to be strong."He mused, and as he talked a smile fourced its way onto my face, a bright and beautiful feeling in my chest as excitement bubbled up inside of me. Because as he spoke, the final piece fell into place, my nucleus was about to damn burst because finally, after Frank, after Strep, after dying, after every damn adventure I'd been through, this still wasn't the end.

"Yo girl,"Thrax said, pulling me from my thoughts as I looked up, us sharing a look between siblings that only we could, that only those who had been through what we had could, almost as if we were remembering everything that had happened in just a few seconds, over the past eight and a half years... "I'm proud of you, baby girl."He said, and I smiled softly, wrapping my arms around him in a tight hug that he quickly returned. I nuzzled my face into his chest, saying quietly,

"Sap." He chuckled, pulling away and placing a quick kiss on my forehead and mummbling,

"C'mon baby, let's get inside before you catch a cold." I paused, asking,

"Hey Thrax...think you can sing Vita a lullabye tonight?" He paused, hand on the door, and his face was hidden from me but I could still detect a bit of a smile on his face.

"Gotta go find a place of my own, cuz I sure as hell ain't stayin' here with you and Jones and that damn pill...but I might have the time."He mused, and opened the door, both of us walking in and Vita jumping from Maria's lap to me, pulling me down to a sitting position and crawling into my lap, Thrax sitting casually next to me as Jones snuggled up to my side, saw Thrax's glare, and placed a few inches between us. Drix settled down on the arm of the couch, Maria jumping and landing in his lap, making him blush but still smile adorably.

"Momma! Can you tell me the story about when you met daddy? Pretty please!"Vita begged, and I tousled her hair, noticing that Thrax had put it into dreads.

"Sweetie, you've heard that one a hundred times!"I reasoned, but she shook her head and pulled on my shoulder, a pleading face on that I could resist about as well as Ozzy could resist telling the story about when he took down a cist in the liver(Which, by the way, wouldn't even have been possible if I didn't save him from getting digested just moments before). I caved, hard, and sighed.

"Alright, but then it's bedtime, understand?"I asked, and she nodded ferverently. I smiled and sat back, recalling the story as if remebering nastalgic old memories, from the nose to the Zit, and looking at all of the wonderful people I'd gathered along the way sitting around me, smiling too. And it was hard that, at one point, I'd believed that my life was never meant to be anything more than killing bodies.

"Don't forget the part where I woo'ed you in your wounded state."Ozzy swooned next to me, Vita making an 'icky' noise as I laughed and rolled my eyes.

"Please, I was the one that made the soup that warmed her up, you just acted like a fool."Drix mused properly, and Ozzy popped the collar of his jacket, shrugging slyly and saying,

"Hey, it worked!"

"Momma! Keep going!"Vita begged, and I chuckled, looking down and saying,

"And then I was in these caves in the throat, and when I peeked around corner, there was this big red pill, and a goofy white blood cell." Yep. Those two that I once thought were a one-time deal turned out to be the two who completely changed my life. Gave me all of those amazing memories. Got me to this point right here. And no, this most definitly was not the end.

In fact, this was the beginning of a pretty damn exciting future.