Epilogue

They're in New York when Riley's cellphone pings with an incoming text. Usually he isn't into bringing it into the rink, because of flying pucks, but Greenie's and Vits' contracts are due for extension. He is in the middle of spinning around Grace's niece on the ice. Grace leans over the boards to pick up his phone.

"Who's it from?" He calls over to Grace.

There is a smile toying on the edge of her lips. "It's from Ryan."

Setting the girl back onto her feet, Riley raises his eyebrows. "Ryan."

"It looks like it's a good cause and it's for a challenge."

Riley skates over and peers over her shoulder for a glance at what the Penguin sent him. From what he remembers he and Ryan may have settled things, they still weren't on each other's "friend lists."

"Do we even want to click on that link?" Riley jokes. "I mean, it's off season. No time for team rivalries right now."

In return, Grace passes him his phone and nods. "Go for it."

So he presses the link and hits play.

Much to his surprise, Ryan isn't alone. His brother and his wife and Vits all have large buckets in front of them. It also makes Ryan the shortest person in the video, much to Riley's amusement.

"Hi, I'm Ryan Cotes."

"And I'm Vitaliy Vorobyov."

"Ethan Cotes and my wife Lauren."

"And we accept the ALS bucket challenge," Ryan says. "ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that results in paralysis and eventually death within two to five years. We'll all donate in memory of someone we all know."

"In return, I challenge Scott Hardy, Jonny Hershel, and Lorrie Cotes," Ethan offers next.

Vits nudges Ryan pointedly before Ryan speaks. "And we challenge Kyle Leweski, Riley Fortin, and Ingo Lukáč."

"You have twenty-four hours to complete this challenge," Vits wraps up.

"Ready?" Lauren grins. "One, two, three!"

The video cuts off after the four are drenched, and Riley can't help but shoot Grace a raised eyebrow.

"I'm up for it," Grace shrugs.

"Good, cause we're in the right setting for it," Riley grins. "Hope you're up for a shower."

He doesn't bother telling her that the box in his pocket might get wet. What she doesn't know won't hurt her. Plus, it would just be like Ryan Cotes to throw a wrench in his plans even after a few years. Riley won't say it, but it would be nice to know if Vits and Ryan finally got their act together. It'd be just a little sad if he gets his act together before they do – or at least this is going to be an attempt to.

Hell, if they didn't have it together after five years of Vits on the Capitals – Riley has no idea what he would do. Seriously, if he had to hear one more word from Lorrie about stupidity and trips to both Russia and Canada, he'd be about ready to bash their heads together for her. Which goes to say, Riley isn't all that impressed with how well the figure skater has trained him.

"Are we going to go grab some ice from the trainers?" Grace pops his thought bubble.

The box should be fine in his pocket right? "I'll go get it. Do you think your niece would be willing to take the video?"


The velvet box sits innocently on the bench of the locker room while Riley stares at his phone critically. No need to let the expensive case get wet with the rest of his clothes. In the meantime, he'll send this video to Leah as soon as he makes sure that it doesn't look too ridiculous. So he presses play.

"Is it rolling?" Riley watches himself call over Grace's niece.

"Mmhmm!"

"Alright. I accept the ALS ice bucket challenge. This is to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Lou Gehrig's disease. Make sure you donate to the cause at the ALS association. I'd like-"

He can't help snorting in laughter as he watches Grace on screen throw water on him before he finishes his sentence. The cascade of water atop his head caught him unaware when they were taping it, but watching it now makes it seem a lot more amusing.

"Hey, you ready to go?" The door squeaks open as Grace steps into the room.

But the doors don't give him enough time to snatch the box off the bench. Riley isn't willing to kid himself that Grace hasn't caught sight of it. The way she freezes and looks at him with wide eyes is enough of an indication.

"I – uh," Riley takes a breath. "The challenge changed things up a bit?"

This garners him a twitch of a smile and glimmering eyes. She's laughing at him now, no question about it. Then again, after five years, Riley is beyond sure this is nothing new.

"I'd give you a whole speech, about how much I love your program, the way you're like with the kids in the program, the way you skate, just you. But I know that's something I've said often and at the same time, not as much as I want to." Riley sinks to a knee. "I wish – if you would let me – to skate with you until neither of us can, light up this place more than we already have." He lets his own trembling smile stretch across his face. "Will you let me?"

The twitch turns into a genuine, beatific smile. It's brighter than the first time she let Riley gently toss her into a jump.

"You already know my answer, don't you?"

"No games right now, Grace" Riley laughs as he stands back up.

"Yes," Grace answers, eyes alight on his before she giggles softly. "Who knew we'd end up like this? I'd say I'm sorry for checking your phone and ruining whatever plans you had-"

"I'm not," Riley finishes, pressing a kiss on her forehead.

"Neither am I. Neither am I."


AN: I'm not sure if there are going to be more epilogues to come, but this has been sitting in the document for a little while. Enjoy! Don't forget to stop by Serious (As a concussion) and vote on the poll on my profile :)