AN: So I'm pretty sure this is gonna get me killed by JenJen, but this is actually the Epilogue. The time has come to draw this story to its conclusion. Thanks for joining in this epic ride with us. Next up is some downtime from epic length fics so if you have a oneshot or short story request, please PM them to me. I will try almost anything. I've already written the majority of one request so that should be up by mid-week. The next multichappy is actually going to be a short story and I've been working on it for a while. I'm going to actually finish it before I start posting it so I can do a quick release like a chapter every day or two because the chapters are short. Anyway, thanks for reading and enjoy the conclusion!
MN: Like she said, thanks for coming on this journey with us. It's the reviews that make us want to keep going with a fic. Please send us some ideas/requests for some fluffy oneshots because if I leave it up to AJ, we may end up with a bunch of depressing, angst ridden things similar to Rain In London. Also, don't let her take credit for the first oneshot. I did most of the heavy lifting on it. Anyway, the reason you're all really here: On with the show!
As Spencer opened the door to the house, he was completely unprepared for the chaos he was walking into. It was actually fairly quiet as he stepped inside and closed the door, but before he'd managed to drop his keys in the dish on the sideboard, things changed.
"Henry William LaMontagne! Get down here this instant!" JJ's voice clearly conveyed her annoyance at the boy.
As his godson came thundering down the stairs, their eyes connected for a moment and Spencer shrugged at him. There was no way he was getting in the middle of this.
Henry went scrambling toward the kitchen and he deposited his bag on the floor and toed off his shoes before following, straining to hear the conversation he was about to walk in on.
"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: don't run down the stairs." JJ was right with that one. She had told him that well over a thousand times, actually.
"Yes Mom." As Spencer entered the room he could see that Henry was standing before his mother, looking appropriately contrite with his head angled down, eyes glued to his feet.
"Good. Now eat your breakfast. We have to leave in thirty minutes!" JJ's back was to Spencer and she didn't turn as she stepped back toward the counter where the makings of a packed lunch were spread out.
He crept up behind her quietly and wrapped his arms around her waist, bending to press a kiss against her cheek. She tensed for a moment before he felt some of the tension go out of her body.
"You have no idea how glad I am that you're home. I was starting to think you were going to miss it."
He shook his head. "Not for the world. I would have been home an hour ago if I hadn't gotten caught in traffic."
She turned in his arms to face him, leaning up to kiss him quickly. "Well, now that you're here, could you please go deal with your daughter? We're having a Diva morning."
He couldn't help the smile that spread on his face and he had to jump back as his wife aimed a light smack at him. "Hey! It's not my fault that she gets her 'drama queen' from her godmother! And it was your idea to have Garcia take the basement apartment." Before he could get himself in more trouble, he exited the room, heading for the stairs.
When he reached his daughter's bedroom door he paused, straightening the nameplate hanging on it before knocking lightly. "Sweetie?"
He heard the faint click of the lock being undone before the door opened marginally. He took that as an invitation and pushed it open, stepping through it. The room's ten year old occupant had retreated to her bed and was sitting atop it, a teddy bear clutched in her arms. "Hi Daddy."
"Hi." He carefully picked his way through the piles of toys and clothing, taking care not to topple her stacks of books, to sit beside her. "So do you want to tell me what's wrong, Rosie?"
The girl clutched the stuffed animal tighter, wild brown hair falling to hide her face from him as she spoke. "I don't want Henry to go to college."
Her response was completely unexpected. "Why not Princess?"
"Because when Jack went to college last year, he moved far away and now I don't get to see him very much and I don't want Henry to be far away." She snuffled and he realized she was crying.
He leaned over to scoop her up, placing her in his lap so he could tuck her hair back behind her ear. "Okay. I understand that, but Henry isn't going to California to go to college like Jack does. He's not old enough to move far away from home. He's going to college close by. He'll be home every single night for dinner."
She looked up at him, eyes brimming with tears that were no longer falling. "Promise?"
"I promise. Mommy wouldn't let Henry move away. He's only sixteen and you have to be eighteen to move away from home. It's a rule." He plucked a tissue from the box on the nightstand and used it to wipe his daughter's cheeks. "Now, what do you say you go help your mom finish packing lunches? We're going to have a picnic in the park at the college after Henry's meeting is over."
She slid from his lap, tossing the bear onto the bed beside him. "Okay, Daddy." She started to move toward the door then stopped suddenly, turning back toward him and flinging herself at him.
He narrowly managed to catch her and gave her the hug she was seeking. As quickly as she'd returned to him, she was gone. He stared after her a moment trying to figure out exactly when his baby had grown into the girl she was today.
A glance at the clock propelled him back into motion and he climbed back out of his daughter's cluttered bedroom, heading for his own. He showered and dressed quickly. He knew if he wasn't ready to go on time, JJ would have a breakdown.
By the time he got back downstairs, Henry was in the living room, cell phone in hand, texting as usual. A small cooler sat beside a picnic basket next to the couch and he was sure that the teenager was supposed to be loading both into his mother's van. "Hey, front door is that way." He flicked a finger toward the entryway.
Henry rolled his eyes and shoved his phone into his pocket. "I'm getting there."
Spencer shook his head as he continued along his path to the kitchen. He once again paused in the doorway, this time to appreciate the view of his wife's backside bent in front of the fridge as she put away the remaining items from preparing lunch.
Rosaline was placing Henry's breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and spotted him first. "Do you want breakfast, Daddy?"
He shook his head. "No , thank you. I had something to eat on the plane this morning." His eyes fell on the coffee pot on the counter, disappointed to find it empty.
JJ seemed to have read his mind as she straightened from the fridge and closed the door. She picked up a travel mug from the counter. "I made yours to go this morning, because that's what we need to do." She looked at her daughter. "Shoes please."
The girl nodded and went skipping from the room as he took his beverage from her mother. "What did you say to her? I swear, that is a completely different child than the one that went storming up the stairs five minutes before you got home."
He took a long sip of coffee. "Just a little separation anxiety. We had a heart to heart and she's fine now."
They moved together out of the room, JJ clicking off the light behind them. "I just don't get it. She talks to you, but not me. I can't get her to open up about anything and you're home for two seconds and she spills. What am I doing wrong?"
He caught her hand and pulled her to a stop. "You're not doing anything wrong, she and I just connect on a different level then you do. It's the same way Henry is more comfortable talking to you then Will or I."
She sighed. "I guess. It just feels like when her life is 'falling apart at the seams', you're the only one she'll let put it back together."
He grinned at her. "I seem to have a talent for that with the women in your family." He once again dodged a feeble attempt at a playful smack.
Henry's head appeared through the doorway from the front hall. "Are you two coming?"
JJ shoved past Spencer, heading for her son. "Yes, we just have to get our shoes on. You have everything in the car right? Cooler? Picnic basket? Portfolio? Extra copies of your entrance essay?"
As she disappeared behind the wall, her voice faded, but his grin didn't. He stood for a moment, just enjoying the life they had stitched together for a moment, until her face appeared where Henry's had just been. "Spence? You joining us?"
He nodded and stepped toward her. "You bet."
AN: That's it. Once again, thanks for reading and we look forward to seeing you all in the next one.