Epilogue: Forever United
It was a warm September evening. The masked vigilante wrapped one gloved hand around the auburn-haired woman's head as their kiss deepened, turning more intense—
And then the Cape was unceremoniously yanked away from her from behind. A fist connected with his jaw.
"THAT'S MY SISTER, YOU ASSHOLE!" Trip Faraday shrieked, as his brother's fingers reached up to inspect the damage. Any misimpression he'd had that Pete and Elaine felt only sibling-like affection for each other was long-gone.
"Hey!" Elaine Kirchner put her hands on her hips. "What the hell do you think you're doing? You are not my father, Trip."
"So if he was intervening, would you listen to him?" the Secretary of Prisons asked.
"You know what? No, I wouldn't let him tell me who I could or couldn't date, either. I am not a child anymore. I am the mayor of this goddamn city and I don't need my big brother to protect my virtue!"
"You don't understand!" Trip felt like he was going mad. Elaine couldn't possibly know what she was getting herself into. He turned to his brother. "You—how dare you? What would," he caught himself before saying 'Dad' because if Elaine didn't know Pete's identity, he shouldn't give it away. No, screw it; he doesn't get to hide that secret from her at this point. "What would Dad say if he saw you now?"
"From what I heard, I don't really think Dad's one to talk," Pete countered. "Give us a moment, honey?" he asked his beloved, before steering his older brother a short distance away.
"Trip," he finally said, "I know what I'm doing. Would you calm down a second and listen to me? I'm going to ask her to marry me."
Trip opened his mouth to say something, but Pete never knew what it was, because one of Scales' idiotic brats chose that precise moment to make a ruckus.
"Hold that thought for later," the Cape instructed the older man before dashing off.
Utopia, some unspecified century in the future
"That's not how it happened, the first time around, in this dimension," H.G. Wells pointed out. He was visiting Tempus in prison,* again. "Vince Faraday and Peter Fleming weren't supposed to get together. And then you came up with that plan to switch them with their counterparts from another dimension. So really, you're to thank for their descendants, though I'm sure that wasn't part of your plan."
"Not in the least, Herb. I suppose you're going to conclude from that that no matter what evil comes up with, no matter how much meddling you do with the course of history, true love will always prevail, or something else as equally nauseating. Might I point out that if you hadn't screwed up when you were supposed to ensure that neither of them remembered the incident, the past would have remained unchanged? What happened to worrying about changing the course of history?"
Wells considered this for a moment.
"It's really more of a concern about ruining history than about changing it," he decided.
"Oh, well if we're allowed to fix history, then the first thing I'm going to do the next time I get ahold of your time machine is kill Vince Faraday."
"I'm sorry you feel that way," the author stood up from the table. "I was going to give you this, but now…"
"Herb! What did you bring me?" Tempus' eyes lit up, as he tried to make out the slim package in the elder's hands. Reluctantly, Wells handed it over. "Is this..?"
"A videogame," Wells confirmed. "The most violent I could find; I was rather hoping that if the game kept you occupied, you might not spend all your time plotting ways to escape and steal a time machine."
"Not steal, Herb, borrow," Tempus corrected. When Wells didn't look convinced, Tempus went on. "You know, Herb, something's bothering me. Your time machine runs on pure 24 karat gold. However did you acquire the fuel for it in the first place?"
"That sounds like an insinuation that I didn't earn that gold. If you're going to insult my writing now, I'm leaving."
"Oh, I didn't mean anything by it, Herb. I'm a big fan of your book, 'The Time Machine.'"
"Is that so?" Wells looked skeptical.
"Of course it is! I rooted for the Morlocks," the villain smirked.
"That's what you took away from that novel?" the writer asked, disappointed, but not really surprised.
"They weren't fans of your idea of Utopia, either. Can't say I blame them. Everything's been downhill since the Second Amendment was repealed.**
"Thank you, for the videogame," he added.
"You're welcome," the time traveler cleared his throat. "I should go, I should get back—"
"To your wife, yes," Tempus finished, "unless you're between wives now? No? I should make her acquaintance on one of these trips, thank her for letting me borrow you."
"I'll thank you to stay away from my family, Tempus," Wells warned, trying to sound as intimidating as possible and merely earning a chuckle from his nemesis. "What, may I ask, is so amusing?"
"I bet that Faraday said the same thing to Fleming. I should've known—couldn't find one world with the Cape without Chess, they were so linked. They weren't just like soul mates, they were soul mates," he groaned.
"Promise me something, Herb: Promise you will never write fluff."
*Yes, "Utopia" still has prisons, thanks to Tempus. And yes, Wells says "dimension" when he means "universe."
**From Tempus' description of Utopia: "A place so boring you'd blow your brains out, but there are no guns."
Author's Note: Well, after more than a year, the fic has finally drawn to a close. This epilogue also brings to a close the BIOTP series. I do not mean that other writers aren't allowed to continue playing in the 'verse, merely that I consider myself finished with it.
Not that I'm finished writing. If you want more Pence, go check out my current crossover: "Black Bird; Green Arrow."
Chapter title from Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You."
Thank you to those who reviewed! And one last time, thanks to those who added the story to your list of alerts/favorites!