Hey everybody! Do you know what time it is?
Thomas: Adventure Time?
Hammsters: No. It's time for...drum roll please... the final chapter! Yay! I hope you all like it!
"...and down will come baby, cradle and all," the young woman sang softly to the six month old baby boy in her arms. He cooed slightly as he slept soundly, and it brought a smile to her tired face. Just then, she heard a knocking at the door. Sighing, she set her son back in his crib. "Sweet dreams Peter." Then, she slipped out his door and into the main room of the apartment. The knocking at the door persisted.
"Theodore Bryant, this is the police, open up!" came the voice of the knocker. The young woman smoothed down her hair, and then rushed to open the door.
"Yes, what is it? Is something wrong?" She asked worriedly. The three officers waiting in her hall were more than shocked to see the frazzled, frizzy-haired twenty year old standing there. As far as his records showed, Theodore lived alone.
"Ma'am, we're looking for a man by the name of Theodore Bryant. Do you know him?" The first officer, the only woman in the group, asks. The young woman nods.
"Yes, he's my husband. I'm Emma Bryant. Is something wrong?" Emma sounded genuinely concerned, and the officers shared a look; if she didn't know, it would only make their job harder.
"Would it be all right if we came in?" The first officer asks. Emma nodded and moved aside to let them in. A few minutes later, she and the female officer, Officer Ross, were seated at her kitchen table while her coworkers looked around for evidence.
"Theodore, he's not in any trouble is he?" Emma persisted. Officer Ross ran a hand through her hair.
"Mrs. Bryant, I'm sure this'll be hard to hear, but I'm afraid we have evidence that your husband has been involved in recent events that led to the deaths of three young men," Officer Ross replied sadly. Emma gasped. Just then, one of the officers nearly knocked something over, but caught it at the last second.
"Could you- could you please try to be careful? I've just put my son to bed," she said. Her voice cracked as she spoke, and it was clear that she was struggling to keep her composure. The officers nodded and Ross began again.
"When was the last time you saw your husband?" she asked. Emma swallowed hard.
"This morning, at breakfast. We wake up early every morning so that he can spend time with Peter before he goes to work. He works late at the factory downtown," she said. Ross scribbled something down in a notepad, then looked up again.
"Do you have any idea where he could be now?" Emma just shrugged at this.
"He should still be at work. His shift doesn't end till eleven." Ross scribbled down some more.
"Has Theodore been acting strange lately? Has he had any strange mood swings, or taken any violent actions towards you or your son," Ross asked. Emma shook her head vehemently.
"Oh, God no. Theodore would never lay a hand on either of us, he's too protective," she answered. Ross wrote this down as well.
"Do you have any information that could help us in catching him?" Ross asked.
"Sometimes," she said slowly, unsurely. "He talks about some warehouse near the factory. He says that sometimes he goes out there with his friends from work to work off a little steam. It never really seemed strange to me. All they ever did was drink a little and complain about their boss." Ross scratched it into her notepad, then thanked Emma and she and her fellow officers left. Once they were out the door, Emma sprang for her phone and called her husband. "Thomas?" she said when he answered. "They came for you." There was a pause and then she said, "No of course not. They won't find you, I promise." Another pause. "All right, bye. I love you." And then they both hung up.
An hour later, the door to the apartment sprang open and Thomas Stark came stumbling in, bleeding profusely from a wound in his arm. He slammed the door shut behind him with his foot and groaned, then cried, "Alexandra!" The girl who the police had known as Emma Bryant came running out of her bedroom.
"Thomas!" she cried, rushing to his side. "Oh my God, Tom what happened?" He groaned as she lightly touched the gaping hole left in his shoulder.
"I was on my way home, passed the police. I managed to get away, but I ran into Douglas and he shot me. I got home all right, but it hurts like a bitch." Alexandra's stomach twisted at the sight of his bullet wound, then ran to get the first aid kit from their kitchen.
"Sit down, I'll be right there!" In a minute, she was sitting on the couch beside him with a little white red cross case beside her. Her fingers moved quick to unbutton his shirt, then gingerly removed it and the undershirt. He grunted slightly as the fabric ran across the hole, but fought back all other sounds of complaint. Moving fast, she took out a pair of tweezers and carefully inserted the tips into his wound, gently removing the bullet from where it had embedded itself. Then she moved on with the process, disinfecting the hole, dabbing away the blood, and wrapping it tightly around his shoulder. Thomas groaned quite a few times, but bit his lip against the searing pain. It was a process that for anyone else might have taken time and training. But for Alexandra Stark, this was a processes she had repeated far too often.
In a few minutes, the white gauze covered the blood and mangled flesh, but the pain was still real for Thomas, and the discomfort and fear was still aching in Alexandra's stomach. For a moment or two, they sat there, not looking one another in the eye, not wanting to think about how they had gotten into this all-too familiar situation in the first place. Then she reached and took his undershirt off the table and tried to help him put it on.
"I've got it," he said roughly. "I can do it myself." He pried the shirt out of her frail hands. She looked away embarrassedly.
"All right then." A cry came from their son's room. "I'll take care of it," she whispered, and then vanished into Peter's room. The small boy lay there in his blankets, squirming with tears streaming down his face. Alexandra's heart plunged and she took the baby into her arms. "Hush baby, it's all right. Mommy's here, nothing's going to hurt you." He calmed down slightly at the sound of his mother's voice, but his face was still moist and pink from crying. "Oh, my poor baby." She began to gently rock him back and forth, trying to coax him into sleeping once again.
Not long after she went, Thomas tried several times to put his shirt back on, but failed. His shoulder just couldn't move enough to lift it without causing him searing pain. Giving into frustration, he instead pulled on the button-down shirt he'd worn to work, and went after his wife, not even bothering to button it.
Alexandra didn't even have to look up to know that Thomas had followed her in. His footsteps didn't make a sound, but she knew quite well he was there. There was a strange feeling of both safety and danger that came to her whenever he was near. Every instinct screamed at her to run away, but her heart knew best. He would never lay a hand on her, he'd never harm Peter. It would be the most horrible torture he could inflict on himself. The hairs on the back of her neck raised as he appeared at her side, just behind her, and out of the corner of her eye she glanced up in time to see the proud smile that lit up his face every time he saw his son.
"Can I hold him?" he asked quietly. Alexandra nodded and wordlessly passed the snoozing child to his father. The traces of a smile still pulled at the corner of Thomas's face, and it reminded her of the boy he'd been when they first met. That side was still there, hidden, if you only cared enough to find it. It was there every morning when he played with Peter, every night when he held her close to make her feel safe. She drew her eyes away from the smile briefly, glancing for only a moment at his muscled chest, the chiseled arms full of thin white scars. Then she looked up at the eyes that gazed intently at Peter.
"What are you going to do this time?" she asked lightly. "Who's Thomas Stark going to become this time? Charlie Waters? Or how about Mark Adams? You know, you still haven't tried out Simon Daniels," she teased about his habit of naming himself after friends from home. The corners of his mouth jerked up slightly.
"I've been thinking about Connor Monroe," he replied. Then they went silent again and he began rocking Peter a little.
"Where will you go?" she asked, so quietly she wasn't even sure he'd be able to hear.
"Chicago. I have connections there, I should be able to settle down quietly," he replied. The smile had now vanished from his face, and he looked off, away from his son and his wife. "Will you follow me?" he sounded firm, nonchalant, like he couldn't care either way, but Alexandra knew him too well to fall for his disguise. She heard the tightness of his voice, the sheer vulnerability. She knew how desperately he wanted for her to say yes. When she didn't answer immediately, he turned and met her eyes, his own brown ones wide with hope. She glanced down for a moment, then looked up, went up on her toes and kissed his cheek lightly. Then she nestled her head into the crook of his neck and whispered her response.
Aw, so cute! Are you guys satisfied? It took a few hundred years, but they finally got their happy ending! I'm pretty damn happy with it. I actually planned out this chapter before I planned the rest of this story, but then I decided, screw it, I'm gonna reincarnate them a few times. And so I did. And so this little ficlet was born. I really hope you all liked it , because I had so much fun writing it. Please review and tell me what you thought of this, the fifth and final chapter, or just the story overall!