A/N: OMG. It's the end. I can't believe it's the end! Like…. whoa. Anyways, I have to thank everyone who has been reading/reviewing Unexpected Song. I honestly am so grateful to all of you for the overwhelming support – this has been my most popular story so far on FP, and that makes me so incredibly happy. 3 But enough sappiness from me. Now let's have some final bits of sappiness from Lucas and Jae! Check the end for responses :D
And PS. Some of you might think the ending is a little far-fetched… and it probably is. But whatever. The chapter is also abnormally short, but hopefully it wraps things up well.
"Now, don't be nervous, Teddy. You've practiced this piece a thousand times and it's going to be fine. You remember everything, don't you? Just don't freeze up. If you make any mistakes – which you won't, of course – just keep going. Right?"
"Lucas, I think you're the one who's nervous," Jae said with a grin.
"What makes you say that?"
"You're babbling," Teddy pointed out.
The three of them stood together in the lobby of the concert hall where the J.T. Patterson Music Academy was holding its end of the year recital. It would only be a few more minutes before Teddy went backstage to wait with the other children, and Lucas and Jae took their seats in the auditorium to wait for his big moment.
Lucas could barely believe that it had been only a month since they had gotten back – at times he still felt he must have been dreaming it all. Things were so wonderful now, and although he didn't like to throw around the word 'perfect', it seemed to be the only way he could describe his life. It seemed that he loved Jae more every day, and they spent as much time together as they could. Even when he had problems they all seemed miniscule when he got home from work to be with Teddy and Jae.
Jae, for his part, could not have been happier either. He'd gotten a new job at a different school almost right away, and he'd settled into his new routine nicely. He loved the people and the kids – and another bonus was the blessed absence of Clark as his boss. He was still worried about the situation with Cecilia, but then again, Lucas didn't seem to be, which helped him to stay calm about it. He knew that whatever happened nothing would break them apart now.
And as for Teddy… he had been going around the house feeling smug and self-satisfied ever since Lucas and Jae had gotten back together. He knew he was directly responsible for it, and was now considering that maybe he would make a good relationship counsellor one day. But more than that, he was just overjoyed that the one person he loved most was so happy – and with somebody that he himself had grown very fond of.
As Lucas finished picking the last bit of fluff off of Teddy's suit, a calm female voice announced over the loudspeaker that the children were all needed backstage.
Lucas jumped what felt like three feet into the air – the voice had startled him. He drew in a deep breath and patted his nephew on the head. "Okay, Teddy. Just do your best. Don't be scared."
"I'm not scared. It's going to be fine." He gave Lucas a thumbs-up as he disappeared into the pack of students heading for the stage door.
Once he had gone, Lucas breathed a little sigh and wrung his hands anxiously. "I'm just nervous for him, Jae," he said. "I want everything to go well."
Jae threw his head back, giving that little laugh that had so entranced him when they'd first met. "He's going to do great," he said, touching his arm affectionately. "It's cute that you're so worried."
See, there he goes again. Everything he says to me makes me blush. As soon as the thought had run through his head, he felt the tips of his ears start to go pink. "I have to worry. It's what parents do… even makeshift parents."
"Luke, you're not a 'makeshift' parent," Jae said seriously. "Teddy adores you. He thinks of you as a father – maybe not a replacement for his dad, but something really close to it. Don't you realize that?"
Lucas shrugged. He liked to think that Teddy was happy living with him, but sometimes he wasn't so sure. It was so like Jae to put everything into perspective. "I guess so. I try my best, and that's all I can do."
Jae smiled, leaned in and kissed his cheek. "You do a great job."
At that moment they were interrupted by another loudspeaker announcement, saying that the parents and visitors should make their way into the auditorium. Lucas shot Jae a nervous look as they filed inside.
The hall was a vast room with high ceilings, and everything was decorated in an inoffensive palette of blacks and greys, with some silver accenting. It was a very common community-centre look, and the fact that it was not overly fancy helped Lucas to calm down a little. He hoped that Teddy's nerves were not quite as jangled as his were. As they made their way into their seats, Lucas shot a look back over his shoulder towards the door – and there, framed by the glow of the light from the lobby, stood Cecilia. In her typical fashion, she wore a hat much like something out of the Queen of England's closet, accompanied by a fur stole and black evening dress.
"Jae!" He hissed, poking him in the side. "Look!"
His head whipped around and Jae immediately took on a tense expression. "Oh…"
"She must have gotten last-minute tickets or something." God, why can't something just go right for a change? What did I ever do to deserve this? He heaved a sigh and put on a false smile. "Well, it's all right. We won't have to talk to her if she sits way at the back and we're sitting up here."
Jae leaned his head against Lucas' shoulder. "Poor baby," he whispered. "You can't get a break from her, can you?"
Despite the cold feeling that had pulsed through him moments before, Lucas suddenly felt warm all over. He rested his hand on Jae's knee as the curtains were pulled apart for the first performer.
As the children played through their pieces, Lucas found it a struggle to keep from nodding off. They're not boring, he rationalized, they're just… not interesting. Periodically Jae would poke him and whisper excitedly that this was one of his old students, and then Lucas would try harder to pay attention, but mostly he spied on other members of the audience or gave his eyes a little rest. He was only there to see Teddy, and therefore saw no reason to pay attention to any of the other kids. And after what seemed like an eternity, the master of ceremonies finally emerged to announce him as the next performer.
Lucas sat up straighter in his seat, pursing his lips expectantly. After a moment Teddy emerged out on stage, looking very much older than his nine years, walking with purpose and determination. The spotlight shone harshly down on him but he did not seem to wither under its glare. In fact, he appeared to be basking in the attention, waving and smiling to the crowd. Even when he approached the piano, its size did not seem daunting to him in the least. He simply climbed up onto the stool and allowed his fingers to hover over the keys for a brief second before commencing. The song was a brief, simple, beginners' tune, but it was music to Lucas' ears. He realized that Teddy had actually been practicing and trying hard, and that for all the fuss he put up about hating it, he was really doing his best. He felt that maybe this was one of those defining moments that parents' books often talk about – the time when a father realizes their child is growing into a responsible, mature young man.
Jae's voice broke into his thoughts as the piece faded into silence. He spoke softly and with a trace of amusement in his voice. "Lucas, are you okay?"
"Shut up," Lucas replied. He reached for the bag under his seat and fished out a crumpled tissue.
At the end of the recital, Lucas and Jae met up with Teddy in the lobby. He was still smiling, obviously proud of his success. Lucas greeted him with a hug, still embarrassed at his uncharacteristic display of emotion, but not really wanting to contain it.
"Way to go, Teddy!" he enthused, patting his back. "That was awesome. You should be really proud of yourself."
Teddy's face lit up into a kind of unabashed grin that Lucas had not seen in a very long time. "I know," he said, obviously trying to sound wise.
Lucas scooped Teddy up into his arms and hugged him. This was a child he had basically given up everything for, and he had made his life so much more complete than he ever thought it could be. He put his mouth close to Teddy's ear, and whispered three words he rarely ever uttered in the boy's direction. For some reason it had just never seemed right before.
"I love you," he told his nephew. This is the sappiest moment of my life, he thought to himself. And I kind of like it. I better watch myself before this gets out of hand.
He was expecting to hear a snide remark in response but got only a satisfied sigh. "Yeah. I love you too, Uncle Luke." There was a moment's pause before he spoke again. "But if you tell anyone I said that, I'll kill you."
Jae stood slightly back, watching them with a huge grin on his face. When Lucas noticed him he motioned for him to come closer, wrapping one arm around his waist. Only after he had done this did he see Cecilia strutting across the lobby towards them, holding a little clutch purse and approaching Teddy with open arms.
When she reached the little boy she scooped him up into a tight embrace. "Oh, darling," she cooed, "You were so wonderful! You're growing into such a cultured young man."
Teddy winced a little bit as she pinched his cheeks and hugged him. After a moment more of gushing, Cecilia straightened up and addressed Jae.
"So, I've heard from a few people that you're Teddy's old teacher," she announced. "And Lucas' boyfriend, too, I take it."
Lucas felt a little bit ill as Jae nodded and shook her hand. But after a moment he realized there was something very… off about the way she was acting. Although she seemed stiff and judgemental like usual, her lips were not pursed in anger, nor were her hands clenched around anything. She seemed almost relaxed, which was unheard of, but he couldn't deny what he saw.
"Teddy tried really hard in his lessons," Jae was saying. "We're all very proud of him."
"Oh, so am I." She smiled warmly at him. Lucas felt as though he must have been in the Twilight Zone.
Then, as though he had been struck suddenly by lightening, he realized what was going on. Jae had been able to bring something into Cecilia's life that was very precious to her. She had always wanted her grandson to learn music, to appreciate and love it the way she had in her youth. And Jae had facilitated that. That's why she doesn't hate him. She knows he's done something really special. She's not freaking out anymore because now she knows who Jae is and she loves him for this. God, am I dreaming, or are things maybe going to be all right this time?
He felt like crying all over again as the old woman's words faded in and out of his fuzzy brain. It was obvious that Jae had put two and two together as well – he couldn't contain his smile as he continued to trade pleasantries with Cecilia.
After a few minutes the old woman left with a flourish, the gown swirling around her stiletto heels and the scent of heady perfume lingering in the air. It hung like a cloud around Jae, Lucas and Teddy, who stood there staring at each other for a long time, not knowing exactly what to say.
"Well," Teddy articulated, breaking the silence. He spoke as though he were reciting History facts. "I guess everything turned out for the best."
There was another brief pause, and then Jae's smile got the better of Lucas. He pulled him close, holding onto him for dear life, and embracing Teddy with the other arm. For once in his life the little boy didn't seem too opposed to the idea of being hugged.
"I love you. I love both of you more than the whole world put together," Lucas whispered. He supposed that if he had to actually walk anywhere at that moment his legs would have buckled beneath him. His universe had just come together in the most mind-alteringly perfect way. He felt Jae smile against his ear and shivered at the gentle touch. He doubted that anything else would ever make his heart so peaceful, so joyful, ever again. And as they stood together in the middle of the clearing lobby, he became aware of the gentle music playing on the loudspeaker…
I have never felt like this
For once I'm lost for words
Your smile has really thrown me
This is not like me at all
I never thought I'd know
The kind of love you've shown me
Now, no matter where I am
No matter what I do
I see your face appearing
Like an unexpected song
An unexpected song
That only we are hearing.
A/N: Okay, yes, cheesy as hell. But what can you do. Now for our last reviews! cries I'm going to miss this story...
Cheyenne: bites back I hope you liked this one too!
Drazuki: Aw, thank you so much. That really means a lot to me, because I like to think this story is pretty original compared to other slash fiction I've seen on FP. I'm glad other people think so too.
K.T. Wood: Exams suck, don't they? I hope everything went well, and I hope you liked this chapter too!
Lami: They need to be together, this story wouldn't have been able to continue on being sappy if they didn't! Thanks for reviewing.
Naomi Shemer: I'm glad you think they're cute – I try
Ree: I UPDATED, LOOK!!! LOOK!! :D And as for Teddy. Ahahah. He's is in a class all his own, LOL.
r.mai: Haha, he's so devious. I'm glad you liked it, and I hope this one was good as well.
SatisfyAnEmptyInside: Ahh, it's you, one of my new favourite writers!! spaz Well anyway, this update wasn't exactly fast, but at least I made one. Hehe.
Slim: Eee, I take SO LONG writing each one. But now it's over, and I'm really going to miss it! YOU BETTER UPDATE, YOU. 3
Starlite Nightfall: Ooh, they do need to die. But Cecilia, not so much anymore. :P Glad you liked it so much!
Theron Laganas: OMG 100 REVIEWS! This is sooooo sooooo exciting. Wow! Haha. Anyway, I'm glad you like the story so much. :)