This is it. This is the end. And unbelievably I find myself getting a little choked up about it. I know I can always write more and title it something else but… I don't know. It's weird how real the characters become to you after awhile, you know? And how attached you become to imaginary readers who you think are actually reading your story. Anyway, I should warn you readers (if you do exist) that this is very melodramatic and sappy but I what can I say? I'm quite pleased I decided to really finish this off. It's written in a slightly different style since I span nearly twenty-five years at once. Thank you a gazillion times to all of you who reviewed. I never would have had the confidence otherwise.

I don't own the X-Men, I'm just obsessed with them. As I am with coffee, cartoons, and really long pointless stories… Like the time I… Nevermind. Also I don't make any claims as to the existence of an afterlife and I hope I don't offend anyone with my irreverent ways.

Recap: Bobby and Mel agreed to get married, now jump ahead to a few years later…

It was three thirty in the morning, a time when most people were sound asleep. Of course not everyone is eight months pregnant, Melanie thought wryly, placing her hands delicately on her protruding stomach. The baby was kicking and moving making sleep all but impossible. Taking in Mel's eyes, which were lined in dark shadow, her slightly pinched looking mouth, and her frequent sighs, it was clear that this wasn't the first sleepless night she'd had. Mel placed her hands on the small of her back and stepped down the stairs to the kitchen. Warm milk in hand but no longer desired, she sighed for the millionth time, and went into the living room. On the mantel was a small wedding photo of her and Bobby. Nearly two years. Had it really been that long? It felt like only yesterday…

The day had dawned clear and golden - a perfect opening for the first day of spring. The wedding had taken place outdoors on the Xavier grounds in front of a select few. The then current X-Men had been there, with Hank as best man and Sara, unbelievably, as sole bridesmaid. Mel smiled softly on remembrance of that particular conversation. " You're getting married, why? What a stupid idea! It's phoney, it's cliché, it's so… sickening", Sara had said upon finding out.

" I know but still… I guess its proof you've really fallen if you're willing to do something so potentially embarrassing in front of witnesses."

" Huh, maybe. So who's all going?"

" Just the X-Men, the professor, and Bobby's parents. Oh, and Warren Worthington the third and Betsy Braddock", Mel said.

" Angel", Sara said reverently. Then snapped out of it. " Aren't there, like, supposed to be… I don't know the words, other people up there with you and Bobby?"

" Well Hank is going to be best man. And there's the priest to run the ceremony."

" What about a best woman? Aren't you supposed to have someone?"

" Traditionally. Bridesmaids they're called. But I didn't have anyone to ask", Mel shrugged. It didn't matter to her.

" What the hell is the matter with me?" Sara yelled, eyes flashing.

" I would have asked but it would mean wearing a dress and standing up in front of everyone. I didn't think you'd be interested."

" I'm not. It sounds horrible. But I like you and fuck anyone who thinks I don't belong there", Sara said. Melanie impulsively hugged the rather shocked Sara, bones and all.

" Thank you", Mel said.

" Okay. Whatever, I gotta go", said Sara, flustered but beaming.

The wedding had gone surprisingly smoothly. No uninvited guests had showed up - no super villains or Mel's mother. Bobby had been emphatic that Mel did not owe her mother an invite. Of course, she'd had to meet his parents but his father had been rather subdued – surrounded as he was by mutants. His mother had started crying the moment she'd arrived and hadn't stopped until long after they'd left for their honeymoon. In between blubbering's she'd state how happy she was, how beautiful Mel was, how handsome Bobby looked, how nice the day was, and how many grandchildren she wanted. Apparently all problems had been forgotten once the marriage had been announced. Melanie had worn a simple dress of ivory silk, and her hair had been a mass of dark brown curls. Bobby had looked devastatingly handsome in his tuxedo (AN: almost as good as Tuxedo Mask J). The two had been so wrapped up in each other though that Melanie could not remember much more about the wedding. Words had been said, vows made, love professed, flowers thrown… Melanie sighed. It had been perfect.

Melanie put the photo down and continued her slow walk around the room. The wedding had been nearly two years ago. They'd waited a year before having children, much to her mother-in-law's horror, and now she was impatiently awaiting the birth of their first child. Since she'd conceived she hadn't been able to use her powers very well, Hank said it was a common side-affect for pregnant superheroes, and she had been surprised to discover how much she relied upon them. Unused to carrying things all the time she'd been the Klutz-Queen for the first few months and even now was especially careful when she carried her coffee. Which was decaf of course (AN: oh the horror! I'm sorry I can't go on. J). It had been easier to take when Bobby was around but he'd been gone the last month on a mission, yet another thing she couldn't do anymore, and everyday she worried that he wouldn't come back.

Which is stupid, she reminded herself. Missions took as long as they took and no amount of wishing would bring him back before he was ready. Besides she was a liberated woman and more then capable of having a child on her own… wasn't she?

A few weeks later Bobby complied with Mel's wishful thinking.

" Bobby? Bobby? Bobby!" Rogue said loudly, trying to gain her teammate's attention.

" Huh, what?" Bobby said distractedly. They were on board a ship that was headed for home after more then two months spent in the field. Surely he could be forgiven for drifting off a little?

" You ain't been payin' attention", she said.

" Be compassionate, Rogue. No doubt he is in nervous anticipation, as we all are, as to the state of his wife. We could radio on ahead for details to put your mind at ease?"

" No, no. It's late and, besides, I'd rather surprise her. The last time I came home announced she was waiting with a list of chores she needed done" he joked. Was he really so transparent that Ororo, by far the most reserved of his team, knew what he was thinking? Of course he was almost always thinking of Melanie so it was a safe guess to make. Was she well, was she worried? Did she miss him as much as he missed her? Bobby twirled the ring on his finger; a habit he'd gotten into whenever he was nervous. Or happy. Or bored.

The plane landed and the rest of Bobby's team headed to their apartments in the mansion. Bobby sighed, dreading the extra two-minute walk to his home, which always seemed longer when he was feeling lazy. The small two-story house had been a gift from the professor and was located on the edge of Xavier's estate. Bobby whistled softly as he walked over the grounds. The moonlight was so bright that it looked almost like day. His home came into view and he unconsciously hastened his pace. No lights shone in any of the windows. Mel must be asleep.

Slipping quietly into the house he took a quick look around to affirm that everything was the same. Somewhere along the way Mel must have decorated it but it had been such a natural process that he'd never felt ill at ease. The whole house was like an expanded version of her old room. White, warm, inviting, and covered with books, paintings, and all the other things they loved to do. More then a few of Bobby's own paintings hung on the wall. He took the stairs two at a time and strode into their bedroom. Empty. Puzzled he turned around and noticed that the door to the baby room he'd been fixing up was partially open. The scene that met his eyes as he eased open the door nearly brought him to his knees.

Mel was rocking softly back and forth in the rocking chair, the moonlight from the window bathing her in a soft white glow. In her arms she was holding a tiny bundle that moved every now and then as it fed. Mel knew that Bobby was there; she'd heard him before he'd even opened the front door now that her powers were back in full force, but she let him look on. It was a rare occasion indeed when Bobby was speechless. The baby was finished and Mel lifted her head and met Bobby's eyes.

" Hey, look your daddy's home", she whispered.

" You… you had the baby", he managed to get out. He took one step into the room but felt incapable of more. He was enthralled and more then a little scared. He was a father. Him. The idea was so bizarre but also… perfect.

" Nah, I decided I didn't like the whole labour thing so I picked up this kid on a doorstep somewhere", Mel said, her face completely serious but her eyes twinkling. She continued in a softer voice, " don't you want to meet your daughter? She doesn't bite – no teeth".

Bobby's face broke into a smile and he approached tentatively.

" So it's a girl?"

" Uh huh", she said, pulling back the blanket so he could see her better. The baby did not like the fact that the rocking had stopped and started crying. " Here, why don't you take her?"

Bobby could hardly refuse but as he took the tiny body he worried that he would harm her in some way.

" I feel like I'm going to drop her", he admitted as the transfer was completed.

" You should have seen the nervous wreak I was last week. I guess some things are just instinctive though", she said, as Bobby held his child with all the assurance of a seasoned parent. She was hairless, Bobby noticed but she had his blue eyes. The baby instantly stopped crying and began to nod off in his arms. " Looks like we got ourselves a daddy's girl", Mel whispered. Together the new parents placed the baby in her crib and tiptoed out of the room. Although Bobby wanted to stay, Mel assured him that his presence would be required every hour on the hour for the next little while.

" She's really beautiful? Are you sure she's mine?" Bobby asked in wonder.

" Jerk".

" Never thought I'd miss that name so much", he said, sweeping Mel into his arms and kissing her soundly. " You know something? This is a lot easier without your stomach in the way."

" I concur. Now I would love to talk to you about your mission and I would love to welcome you home as in the days of old but Bobby, I am positively exhausted. Will you forgive me if I go to bed?"

" Hmm love of my life, mother of my child, wants to take a nap? I suppose I can allow that", Bobby said.

" Gee, you're all heart", Mel said sarcastically. Before she could move however Bobby had picked her up. He took her to their bedroom and put her on the bed. As he tucked her in he brushed her forehead with his lips but she was already asleep. Bobby spent the next two hours wandering from Mel's bedside to the baby's and back again, since he couldn't get enough of either.

Mel was nursing again when Bobby woke up the next morning. He also had been exhausted due to his mission and the shock of coming home and finding a baby. Still he was ashamed that he'd been so little help.

" Hey beautiful", he said, coming into the baby room.

" Talking to me or the baby?"

" You. The baby's name is Adorable", he said.

" Actually that brings up an important question. What are we going to name her?"

" I assume by your tone that you've already got a name in mind?" Bobby teased. Mel's face coloured because Bobby was right in his deductions.

" I was thinking of Helen. Helen Enid Drake to be precise", she said.

" Helen Enid Drake", Bobby pondered. He wasn't so keen on the name Enid but he knew it held significance for Mel and he did like the name Helen. " I like it. But don't think you've fooled me. You were dying to slip in an illusion to Greek Mythology."

" Guilty. Just be glad I didn't call her Medea or Calypso or something."

Bobby took Helen into his arms when she started fussing and Helen settled down. Mel watched father and daughter with a blissful smile on her face. It was one of those moments that she knew she'd remember forever.

" So this is the face that will launch a thousand ships? I can see it, I mean, she looks like me", Bobby said grinning.

" Do you have no shame?"

" No. Jealous?"

Melanie rolled her eyes and went to make breakfast. Baby or no, Bobby was still a goof ball. Thank God.

The years went by quickly for the young family. Helen soon became the darling and the peril of the X-Men mansion. At three she was already convinced she was in control of everything that mattered. She was definitely beautiful with platinum blonde hair, which was something of a mystery to her brown-haired parents, and big blue eyes. Besides gaining many of Bobby's features she also had taken on the role of mischievous brat and earned herself the nickname Hellion. As often as she was scolded however she continued to be a source of unstoppable energy and playfulness. At five she was horrified to learn she would have to go to school but came home after the first day with a smile on her face. She was well liked and envied in her class and although she was too young to demonstrate any mutant abilities she still wanted everyone to know that she was mutant born and proud of it. Helen once stated she felt sorry for her classmates because they were normal (Bobby and Mel had decided it was important she attend a regular school in Salem for a little while at least) and begged her mother for her powers.

" Helen, you know that's not how it works. Yes, you have strong genetic potential but we don't know how it will manifest itself and most likely it won't happen until your much older."

" But I want them now. It's not fair. Their mine", Helen whined. It seemed no matter how she wheedled, nobody would give her what she most wanted. Melanie rolled her eyes gently; thinking to herself that this was one problem regular parents didn't have to deal with.

" You know when I was your age, I did get my powers and they made me very large and ugly and nobody wanted to be my friend", Mel said to her precocious daughter. Helen's eyes went wide. She'd never thought of the problems connected with being a mutant. She only looked at her parents and all the cool things they could do.

" Really? Nobody liked you? What about your mommy?"

Mel sat down on the porch and Helen squirmed her way on to her lap. Melanie wrapped her arms around her child.

" Not even my mommy. That's why you only have one grandma, not two", Mel said. Helen wrapped her still chubby hands around her mother's neck. She loved her mother more then anything. "But now I have my own family, you and daddy, and the new baby that's coming."

Helen sat back a little and touched her mother's stomach. She'd been told of the new baby and where it came from but she still had trouble visualizing it.

" When's it going to be here?"

" Seven more months. Have you decided if you want a brother or a sister?"

" You mean I get to choose?"

Mel laughed softly and tickled her daughter. " No, I guess you don't."

" Then what's the point?" Helen said, trying to roll her eyes as she mother did periodically. Usually when she asked her fifth or sixth question…

" And what are you two chuckleheads laughing about?"

" Your haircut", Mel said succinctly.

" Your nose", Helen said as soon as she came up with something.

" Everyone's against me", Bobby said before picking his daughter up and lifting her to his shoulders. Helen and Mel just laughed.

A few months later, Bobby and Melanie were again out on the lawn, this time trying to coax their daughter off the roof. Helen had decided that her power was to fly. And how could she know if her power worked unless she jumped off the roof?

" Helen Enid Drake. You cannot fly, and even if you could there are better ways of learning", yelled Bobby already forming a slide to take him up to the roof.

" I'm nearly six! What if I miss my peak?"

" Miss her peak?" Bobby asked Mel in confusion.

" Got me. She must have picked it up at the mansion. I told you superheroes are not always the best role models", Mel said. " Helen, how about I get Ororo to give you a few flight lessons in the Danger Room? She can tell you if you have any talent", Mel yelled to her daughter. Mel knew how much Helen loved to compete and prove herself. Plus the Danger Room was the ultimate in fun when your five and don't have to worry about training.

" Really?"

" Really. Now let your father come get you". Bobby picked up his wayward daughter and felt his heart rate go back to normal.

" Never do that again young lady, understand?"

" But daddy", Helen whined. More often then not she could get her father to do whatever she wanted.

" No buts, Helen." Bobby said in a tone that brooked no argument. When Helen was safely on the ground and immersed in a cartoon show, Bobby allowed himself to smile. If his parents could see him now.

That night Melanie tossed and turned in her sleep as much as her swollen stomach would allow. True she wasn't as large as most pregnant women were at this stage thanks to her extra large skin. Apparently her body didn't feel the need to provide any more space then what was already available. This bit of knowledge was of small comfort now as she decided sleep was impossible.

" Baby acting up?" said a sleepy Bobby. He placed his hands on her stomach but felt nothing moving.

" No. This one isn't a kicker, thank God. But I do feel this one in a way I never felt Helen. It's almost telepathic", she said.

" Could be the baby's future ability", said Bobby. Like Helen, the unborn baby had been tested by Hank and it was determined that there was definite mutant genetic potential. Not really surprising when both parents are mutants.

" I suppose. You know something? I'm tired of being pregnant, how would you like to take over for the next month and a half?"

" Would if I could", Bobby said yawning.

" Liar. Nobody would volunteer for this", she said.

" You did", Bobby said and kissed her, hoping she would go to asleep.

" You tricked me. Made yourself irresistible, seduced me in the bedroom, and made me take leave of my senses", she said.

" Want me to do it again?" He asked kissing the side of her neck before pulling her against him tightly. She turned her head so she could kiss him soundly before pulling away and settling back into bed on her side.

" There is no way you are ever getting close to me again", she said, almost seriously considering how uncomfortable she felt. Seeing Bobby's face go from teasing to distraught however she was quick to add, " or at least until the baby is born."

" How many more weeks is that? Just out of curiosity of course."

" Of course", she said smiling into the darkness. Did he know how bad a liar he was?

Bobby and Melanie welcomed their new son into the world one and a half months later. Helen was not very impressed with her first look at her new brother.

" He's kind of ugly, huh?"

" I don't know. I think he has a certain charm." Melanie said amused.

" So what's his name?"

" We haven't decided yet", Bobby said.

" Call him Benjamin."

" Why Benjamin?"

" Because that's his name", Helen said patiently. Parents could be so thick sometimes.

Bobby and Mel exchanged a look and Mel shrugged.

" Actually I like it", she said.

" Benjamin Charles Drake it is then. Thank you Helen", Bobby said. Those first few days back home with Benjamin were hard ones. He cried all the time, keeping everyone awake until one night when Mel slapped her head for not realizing it sooner.

" It's his ears! I cried all the time when I was little until I got older and could dampen the noise a little."

They tested Mel's theory out in the morning and Hank confirmed their suspicions. They removed all noise making mobiles and devices from his room, put up heavy soundproofing walls, and were careful to always keep their voices low. As soon as the alterations were made Benjamin stopped crying.

" Look's like this one's a mama's boy. He's got your hearing, your eyes, your hair, and your disposition. Plus he always wants to be with you".

" Jealous Bobby?"

" That my son would rather be with you? Nah, who can blame him?"

" In that case, I was thinking Bobby. I no longer hate all of mankind for the evils of childbirth, I no longer hate you for inflicting such torture on me, I no longer have a beach ball for a stomach, and Benjamin usually sleeps through the night", Mel said enticingly, as she looped her arms around his neck. Bobby kissed her softly and then more enthusiastically. Soon they were having difficulty navigating the stairs to their room.

" What are you doing?" asked a not so innocent voice. Mel looked over Bobby's shoulder at her daughter. Bobby just let his head fall against Mel's body in disbelief.

" When does she go back to school?" Bobby murmured. Mel shook with laughter but pushed Bobby away. They would have to wait until later.

" Do you have your lunches?" Melanie asked her children, now aged eleven and five. Helen rolled her eyes while Benjamin just nodded sensibly. " Helen look after your brother. It's only his first day."

" I know. Come on Ben, hurry up or we'll miss the bus", Helen said snappishly. Ben followed his sister on command. Some siblings might have felt threatened by Helen's tyrannical leanings but Ben was so easy-going it was almost laughable. With his curly dark brown hair, amazingly large brown eyes, and his air of being far wiser then his five years, Ben looked nothing like his vivacious sister but it was still a toss up as to who held the most sway over their parents. At the doorway, Ben suddenly turned around and ran back in to his mother. Benjamin looked at Melanie with a wistfulness that seemed very out of place.

" What's the matter, Benny?"

" Nothing. I just wanted to say goodbye. I love you mom", Ben said and went to hug her. Melanie hugged her son but questioned Bobby with her eyes. Where had this outpouring come from? It was especially unusual from the calm and secure Benjamin.

" I love you too. Now hurry up or Helen might explode", Mel said. Benjamin left the room eagerly, just in case he was in time to see this 'explosion'.

" It's so quiet", Mel said when the kids had left.

" I know. It's almost spooky", Bobby said, then grinned. " Do you know what this means? We have the house to ourselves. Now hurry up, I figure we have five good hours before they come back."

" What? You must be joking. Look at all that has to be done around here", Mel said, laughing at Bobby's impulsive manner.

" To hell with it. Come here you", he said. When she got close enough he picked her up and carried her to their bedroom where he dropped her on the bed and then locked their door 'just in case'.

" Do you realize it will be our thirteenth anniversary this spring?"

" Do you realize you're talking instead of tearing my clothes off? Don't tell me the passion has died in our twelfth year."

" Perish the thought. I just can't believe we've been married so long and yet the minute the kids are gone this is all you can think of", she said, deliberately making Bobby do all the work. Of course she could just absorb all the clothes off of them but where would be the fun in that?

" Buttons. Damn, hell-ass buttons. From now on you are forbidden to where buttons", Bobby said as he struggled.

" Calm down. You said we have five hours? Well then you'd better set a steadier pace if you plan on lasting that long, old man", she teased.

" Old? Me? I'll show you old", he said, ripping off the last two buttons that refused to come undone for him.

Strange though it was, Bobby and Melanie were as close as they had ever been. Twelve years had not quenched the fire of passion that flowed between them. They still caught each other every now and then passing meaningful looks. Anniversaries invariably meant a week spent in an exotic locale although they had yet to see beyond the hotel walls in all these places. They still hungrily sought each other in the night when they felt the desire to be wanted and loved. Whatever it was that fuelled their relationship they had never run low on supply. Being superheroes helped of course (although Mel had cut down on her missions drastically and Bobby went on less then usual since the children) because they were in top condition and always up for more… exercise.

" Why are you still so beautiful?" Bobby said, lazily pulling on a twist of her hair.

" Umm, because your eyesight is failing?"

" Moron", Bobby said, snuggling into the warmth of her body, unwilling to let the moment go just yet despite the fact that the kids were due home any moment. Melanie smoothed down his wayward hair and sighed. If she could pick her own form of heaven it would be this. She never felt as whole as she did when Bobby was by her side. She loved her children, felt a peculiar bond still to Ben, but Bobby owned her heart and soul. Somehow she knew that no matter what happened she would be forever linked to him and that the bond they shared was stronger then marriage, stronger then friendship, stronger then love. It was made of something intangible but impossible to break.

" I love you Bobby. I really and truly do", she whispered.

" Thanks, I'm fond of you also. Now we'd better get up before…"

" Mom, Dad, we're home. What's for dinner?"

"… The kids get home" Bobby said resigned.

Downstairs Mel made supper and the family settled down for a relatively normal spaghetti dinner.

" Helen don't play with your food", Mel admonished.

" Dad is", Helen complained.

" Bobby, quit playing with your spaghetti and eat it", Mel said.

" Tattle-tale", Bobby said quietly.

" Bobby!" Melanie said threateningly. Couldn't they ever do anything normal?

" Mom, can we go shopping tonight? Everyone in my class had these new shoes that were just to die for and I felt soooo left out. You know how hard it is for them already to accept me, because I'm a mutant, and not having these shoes…"

" Hmm, she's playing the 'poor little mutant' bit again. It must be serious if she's using the heavy artillery", Bobby said.

Both parents knew that Helen was far too eager to tell people of her mutant status. Not only did she like to frighten people but also she was often itching for an excuse to fight. Despite the relative dangers in admitting to mutantcy, Helen remained cavalier in her attitude thanks to the knowledge that the X-Men were half a block away if things got out of hand. Bobby and Mel had tried to warn her that perhaps her brother might not like being picked on but Helen had merely narrowed her eyes and sworn to beat the living daylights out of anyone who touched Ben. She was the only one allowed to threaten her brother in any way. In fact she was even more vigilant now that Ben was going to school with her. His skin had begun to loosen in a familiar way and although it galled Helen that Ben was getting his powers before her, she was still on his side when it came to bullies. Ben himself wasn't concerned about his powers. As yet he hadn't absorbed anything and nobody was sure if he ever would. Maybe his powers lay along a slightly different route.

" Helen, I will take you to the mall. But not because of your arguments but because you do need new shoes", Mel said.

At the mall, Helen seemed to go into overdrive. Mel was amazed. When had her eleven-year-old daughter gotten so fashion conscious? Helen eyed clothes with instant like and dislike attitudes and chose shoes that wouldn't clash with her coat. It was getting late and Mel was feeling tired after her afternoon with Bobby. Not that she'd be adverse to the same routine tomorrow… Mel blushed. Even at thirty-five she was still shocked sometimes by her thoughts. It's a good thing neither of my children is classified as telepathic. That would certainly lead to some difficult conversations. They left the mall and Mel decided to stop for gas. The station where she pulled up was brightly lit and there was another car idling at the curb. Thinking nothing of it she filled the car and went in to pay, Helen at her heels. There was no one at the counter and Melanie stood there getting more and more annoyed. Suddenly a man dressed in black and carrying a gun came barrelling out of the back room. He wasn't watching where he was going and tripped over Helen who was studying the magazines. Angrily he turned the gun on Helen when Melanie, heart in her throat as she stood helpless a few feet away on the opposite side, yelled in a desperate, pleading voice,

" Stop! Please!"

To Helen everything seemed to happen in slow motion as though the Fates wanted her to remember every gut-wrenching moment. The robber spun around, shocked at the intrusion of a grown-up, somehow who might actually hinder his escape. Before he'd even locked eyes with Melanie he was firing. Helen swore she could actually see the bullets exit the gun and travel through the air before making a grotesque pattern across her mother's forehead. There was no warning, no time to prepare. Mel was only two steps away from having the situation in hand when the bullets hit her skull. Her absorption powers were too slow, stopping the danger only when the damage had been done. Mel didn't experience her life flashing before her eyes, there was no pause in time for her; she was simply living one moment and dead the next.

Helen screamed even as the lifeless body slipped to the ground. She couldn't stop screaming in fact. Just desperate cry after desperate cry, tearing out of her throat. Everything around her shattered into tiny bits of glass that ground into her skin.

" Shut-up!" yelled the robber; turning to face the little girl whose pain was so great he thought his head would split because of it. The last thing the thief felt was a thousand needles of pain lancing through him as he was electrocuted. All around Helen sparks of electricity jumped off her body, scorching the glossy magazines, the walls, and anything at all. It was an expression of her rage as the lights above her flickered and exploded, sending down a rain of sparks that might have been beautiful had things not been so terribly, terribly, wrong.

Helen's mind blotted out whatever happened next. Someone must have come in and called the police. Someone must have uncovered where Helen lived and who the victims on the floor were. The only think that haunted Helen was the sight of three bullets in her mother's head; marring the perfect life she would never have again.

Bobby was at home, looking after Benjamin. They'd been watching pro-wrestling on the television (something neither were supposed to do since it got them all riled up) and that had led them to mock wrestling themselves. The game was only won when Bobby began to tickle his son. Benjamin had to admit defeat when he was laughing too hard to even breathe. In the midst of this though, Benjamin suddenly stopped laughing and stood stock-still. He cocked his head to the side as though listening to something. After a full minute Bobby asked,

" Do you hear something?" Bobby asked, knowing his son's hearing was far better then his.

" No. I don't hear anything any more", Ben said, almost cryptically. He seemed upset over this news all though he himself didn't know what to make of it. Just that something was felt to be missing all of a sudden. Bobby and Ben sat sedately and watched the rest of their program. Bobby was putting Ben to bed when the phone rang.

" Hello?"

" Bobby?" A tremulous voice on the other end questioned.

" Ororo? What is it, what's wrong?"

" Oh Bobby", said Ororo, close to tears, " Come quickly to the mansion. Bring Ben. Something awful has happened".

Shocked Bobby put down the phone, bundled up Ben in a jacket, and slid them to the mansion. There was a squad car outside the mansion doors. With a sinking feeling, Bobby clutched his son's hand tightly, and entered.

Instantly he was crushed in a hug by Rogue who had tears in her green eyes. Jean, more or less composed came and took Ben from him. She settled the anxious looking Ben on her lap as she took a seat on the couch next to Helen. Bobby looked around frantically. What was going on here? What was Helen doing here?

" Bobby, this is detective Watson and detective Cejetska. Bobby… they found Melanie at a gas station. She was shot, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry", Scott said.

" What are you talking about? She was shot? Where is she?" Bobby said, panic making his voice rise. They couldn't mean what they were saying, this was some sick, sick, joke, right?

Hank came up to him and put a hand on his arm. " Bobby she was shot three times in the head by a thief who came after Helen. The bullets were too fast for her powers. She's dead." Hank knew he was being blunt but there was no good way of telling your best-friend that your wife of twelve years, a woman who has endured hundreds of near death missions, the mother of your children, the other half of your soul, has been killed in a senseless matter in a non-descript gas station.

Bobby's knees buckled and he sank down in a convenient chair. He looked at his son who was crying softly in Jean's arms. He looked at his daughter who sat ramrod straight on the floor, eyes staring straight - unreachable. Bobby turned his attention on the police officers that were professional enough not to over step their bounds and seek to console.

" The man who shot her", Bobby said, surprised when his voice came out relatively steady.

" We found him dead at the scene. Preliminary reports say he was electrocuted. Unfortunately, whatever happened also knocked out the light and the security systems so we don't know exactly what happened. Only what your daughter has been able to tell us."

" Which is?" Bobby said blandly. He didn't even know why he was still asking these questions. What could it possibly matter now? Except that he didn't really believe she was gone yet. When he did that it would all be over.

" That it's all her fault. I'm sorry but that's all she said. We realize this is probably a shock for you, although it must help that you're all used to this…"

" Used to this? Because we're all just mutants this can't affect us that much? Is that what you're saying? Everyday we risk our lives to save the lives of those around us. She put her life on the line so that nobody would be robbed of the greatest gift we have and you have the audacity to stand there and say it won't hurt us that bad? We more then anyone know how precious life is, how fragile, and how short. As a consequence we must suffer daily the pangs of loss. So don't you dare tell me how I should feel now that my wife has died", Bobby stormed. His words fell like hammers on the anvils of his mind; banging in the truth with every hit until the last word. The last word reverberated in his brain, damaging it with the harsh edges of the truth.

" I simply meant that you obviously have a strong support system to deal with a death. I meant no offence. We do feel strongly for your loss.

" That makes it all better", Bobby said bitterly.

" Officers, is there anything else you need from us?" Scott asked.

" No. We'll be in touch though. Sorry to be the bearers of such news."

Scott led the police away while the assembled X-Men remained in the front room dazed. Benjamin had stopped crying. He'd known before any of them that his mother had gone, although at the time he hadn't recognized it, but he didn't feel like he'd truly lost her. She's around still, somewhere, Ben thought. It wasn't so much a conscious thought, as it was an unconscious knowledge.

Helen was numb. It was all her fault. Her fault that they'd been out shopping at all, her fault that her mother had startled the robber, and her fault that she hadn't realized her powers until it was too late. If she'd only worked harder, if she'd only trained herself then she could have saved her mother. Her mother with the beautiful hair so unlike her own. Her mother who would never again hold her in her arms, who wouldn't be there to love her anymore, and who wouldn't read to her at night anymore and kiss her when she thought she'd fallen asleep. No, her perfect mother had three perfect holes in her head. And it was all her fault. There would be no more games, no more trivial things. Helen was never going to be unprepared again. All her fault.

Bobby felt the world around him begin to press closer as he slowly drew himself into a ball. One by one he shut off his senses wanting to live entirely in his head because outside everything hurt. In his head there were just two feelings. A deep, horrible, black despair and a raging, turning, red rage. Bobby started laughing as the tears ran down his face. He laughed and he laughed until he felt someone shake him.

" Stop it, your hurting yourself!" yelled Hank. Bobby realized he'd been pounding his against the wall.

" But don't you see? I'm in her painting. And I can't tell her about it because she's dead. Isn't that the funniest thing you've ever heard?" Bobby said. Hank didn't answer him. Nobody answered him so he raged, " it's funny. It's horribly, horribly, funny. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do? Make jokes so that nothing hurts. But it still hurts. Why?" Bobby asked pitifully.

There were no answers for the X-Men that night. Nothing to ease the sorrow or soften the pain. They had lost friends before, teammates who had died in the course of action or who had simply passed on but there was no set cure for their emotions. Only time could heal and even that had it limits. For love, trust, and faith are everlasting but time lasts only as long as our bodies. And when love is lost, the soul is saddened even after time has eased the hurts of the body.

Condolences arrived from the few people whose lives Melanie had touched but the funeral was small. Bobby stood in attendance, not really knowing how he came to be there. Part way through he left – too angry to let the soothing words of the priest flow over him. It should be raining, Booby thought and cursed whoever was in charge of the weather. She always liked the rain. He stood on a grassy knoll that overlooked the mansion and farther off their house. His house now he supposed. How does she expect me to go on without her?

He tripped on a stone and took his anger out on the object. He ripped the stone from the earth and hurled it with all his strength into the sky. How could she have left me? I didn't get to say goodbye. And why, that last time we were together did I answer her I love you so glibly? Not that it would have mattered; he never would have been capable of letting go. Somehow he'd just always thought they would grow old together. And now he was alone and half a man.

" Bobby? I just thought I'd let you know that we're all here for you, when you're ready to talk. I know something of what you're going through", said Scott, recalling the losses of his love. " Would you like us to look after Ben and Helen? They're shook-up…"

" Shook up? What the hell is the matter with you? They're fucked up and there's nothing you or I can do about it. Just leave us alone, they're my kids", Bobby said flipping out. Then he instantly lost interest in his surroundings and started mumbling, " they're like little pieces of her, cutting me even as I hold them".

Bobby walked hand in hand with his children. Helen's hand was as cool as his while Ben's hand lay limp in Bobby's grasp. Ben kept looking over his shoulder, his attention elsewhere.

" I don't want to go to school in town anymore. I want to be taught here", Helen said succinctly.

" Okay", said Bobby. How could he deny her now?

" And I'm going to practice my powers", she said.

" Okay. Tell Scott", Bobby said. He didn't even ask what she was talking about.

That night Bobby sat on the end of his bed. The whole room was covered in sheets of ice. The bed, the dresser, the floor, the ceiling – he didn't want anything of hers to remain unchanged. He wanted everything to know she was gone. How long he sat there he didn't know but when he looked up he saw his son standing in the doorway. Ben had the same expression of compassion and faith that was so compelling in Melanie. Indeed, Bobby looked at the brown eyes and for a moment was overwhelmed by how hauntingly familiar they were. He felt tears in his eyes and slammed his fist against the wall in a vain attempt to have physical pain overcome the mental anguish.

" Daddy? Where's mommy?" Ben asked innocently. Bobby looked up angrily. Why did he have to be reminded? Besides, Ben was to old and to smart to have forgotten so quickly.

" You know", Bobby said tersely. Sure it was his son, and he should offer him comfort, but he looked so much like her. It was too hard.

" That's what I thought. But I saw her. She said I was supposed to take away your anger", Ben said clearly.

" What are you talking about Ben? You had a dream. Go back to bed please", Bobby said, as calmly as he could.

" I can help Daddy", Ben said. He stepped across the icy floor gingerly, his childish awkwardness at odds with his mature 'old soul' personality. Ben leaned against his father and placed his hands on either side of Bobby's head. Ben closed his eyes and then, unbelievably, Bobby felt some of his anger melt away. It was nobody's fault and Mel hadn't wanted to leave him. With the anger gone the grief swamped over him but it felt cleaner somehow, less dangerous. He felt his child's hands fall away.

" What did you do?" Bobby whispered.

" I took away the pain, like mommy told me to", Ben said. Ben cocked his head to the side and appraised his father. " I could take away the sadness too but then I'd take away the memories too. And mommy said I wasn't supposed to do that."

" What do you mean 'mommy said'?"

" I can see her, sometimes. She'd still here. Looking after us. She's not the same though. And I don't always know where she is, like before. But she told me the anger was dangerous. So it's gone now. Mommy says that's my gift – I take away feelings and give them too. Can I give you something?" Bobby nodded, dumbfounded. Ben put his hand on his father's hand and Bobby felt an influx of love enter his system. " That's what mommy gave me, just before she left again. I'm going to give the rest to Helen. That's okay right?"

" Yes, Ben. It's a good idea", Ben began moving away when Bobby picked him up and hugged him. " Ben, I'm sad now but it doesn't mean I love you any less. Do you understand?"

" I understand."

Ben left and Bobby sank to the frozen floor in a heap and cradled his head in his hands. He looked up into the empty room and said out loud, " I'll look after them. I promise you".

Order, life, normalcy, returned to the lives of the X-Men piece by piece. Bobby awoke every day feeling wonderfully then he would look at the other side of the bed and heaviness would settle over his heart. Despite the pain he felt everyday Bobby persevered. He took enormous pleasure in watching his children grow and noticed how many of the X-Men took his children under their wings as a way of not forgetting Mel. Helen changed almost overnight. She studied hard and trained harder. Her electric powers grew in strength and accuracy but still she pushed herself. She worked her body to the point of exhaustion, nutrition became her religion, and anything that could help her be a better fighter was attacked with determination if not enthusiasm. Sometimes it made Bobby want to laugh when Helen did something so quintessentially Scott, who was her idol. Actually Helen enjoyed spending time with both Scott and Jean because they were so concrete and real. And because when she was with them she liked to pretend that they were her parents so that she didn't have to be reminded that her mother was dead.

Ben did not return to public school either. His skin grew to enormous lengths and Bobby was afraid he would be teased mercilessly if he were to attend. Besides Ben was showing a marked intelligence. At ten he blew up a part of the labs while working on an experiment. At twelve he was correcting Hank's math on the white board. While Helen desired to be an X-Man with all her heart, Ben wanted to work for the X-Men by applying his brain. He and Hank were thick as thieves in the labs, working hard with little regard for anything else. Ben still retained his calming and easy-going nature however and was well liked. He had more then a few fellow mutant team-mates sighing after him as he wandered the halls thinking through a problem, glasses askew, hair rumbled and in need of a cut. Helen called him an overgrown lost puppy. Helen herself was perhaps a little feared if not adored. With her long silver-blonde hair and athletic physique she could make the coldest of men drool but she seemed oblivious to all the attention. Strangely enough, the two had bonded to each other more then anyone else. Perhaps due to their shared loss.

" Hello Hank, have you seen my brother?" Helen asked one day, coming into the labs.

Before Hank could respond, Ben came out from one of the rooms. " Hey sis, what's up?"

" Ahh, there's the birthday boy. Don't you think Hank that a boy on his eighteenth birthday ought to make some attempt to celebrate it, even if it's only with his dull and serious sister?"

" It's your birthday? Oh, but of course it is. I'm getting more scatterbrained with every passing day I think." Twenty years ago this would have been a joke. Now it was something of a truth. Although Hank looked good for his fifty-nine years, there was still more then a few grey hairs in the once vibrant blue coat and his glasses, formerly a way of protecting his eyes from strain, were now necessary if he wanted to read what was written around the labs.

" Your not dull and serious Helen", Ben said, then rethought that. " Well maybe you are a little. You should come watch cartons with me and dad Saturday mornings."

" You guys still do that? I though that after mom…" Helen didn't need to finish the sentence since everyone knew. But Helen remembered the Saturday mornings when they'd been kids, how the whole family had gathered around the television and her mother had made pancakes and stuff that you could eat in front of the TV. She still recalled with fondness that one day when her and Ben had slept in and they'd come down to find their parents already watching, regardless if there were any kids around or not.

" But I suppose you're too good for that now that you're the leader of the X-Men silver team. That's quite an accomplishment for a twenty-six year old woman."

" Twenty-six? When did I get so old? I've changed my mind. No more birthday parties for anyone."

" No more parties? I can't believe a daughter of mine just said that", Bobby said, coming into the room. At fifty-one, Bobby showed the usual wear and tear of a superhero: the scars, the lined face, and weathered skin. But he was still in good physical shape, and still liked to participate on missions – the more dangerous the better as of late.

" Bobby, my old friend. What brings you here? Come to return the money you owe me?" Hank said, mind sharp enough to remember their running gag.

" Hank, one of these days I am going to sit you down and clearly demonstrate how it is that the money is owed to me. And I'll be sure to speak loudly so that you'll be able to hear me."

" And I'll be sure to refute the evidence using small, uncomplicated words, so that you'll be sure to comprehend."

Bobby and Hank smiled as Helen and Ben shared a look that clearly said 'they're crazy'.

" Actually I came because that pain in my side is back again", Bobby said.

" Well let's take a look. Ben, are the test results for your father back yet?"

" I'm not sure. I'll go check."

" No you won't. You are going out with me today even it kills you", Helen said, in a voice that brooked no argument.

" It probably will kill me; I know how you drive", Ben teased his sister.

" Some gratitude, jerk", Helen said as the two left the labs.

" Alone at last. Everything ready for Ben's surprise party?" Hank asked.

" Yep, not that I had to do much. What is with girls and organizing parties? And when did my son, and I'm using a direct quote, become such a 'hottie'?"

" The younger generation, go figure. Now Bobby about your test results"; Hank said softly. Bobby didn't need to here the rest of Hank's speech to know that it was bad news.

" I have it, don't I?"

" Yes, it's stage three of the legacy virus. And as you know we have had success curing only the first couple of stages. Still you are remarkably healthy for your age and with treatment there's a chance…" Hank trailed off as Bobby shook his head.

" I'm tired Hank and I hurt. If things were different, I'd take you up on the offer but not now."

" If that's your decision then I suppose there's nothing for me to say. We'll keep regular check-ups to see how you're progressing. About Ben", Hank said worried.

" I'll tell him. Knowing him he probably already knows what I have and how I've decided to handle it. Helen's another matter. I guess though she'll have to find out at the same time as Ben."

Bobby told his kids a few weeks later that he had contracted the Legacy Virus and that it was the stage where there was little anyone could do to stop the virus from killing him. Helen took it on stride, refusing to let it enter into her head – complete denial. Ben just nodded. He had indeed known what his father would choose.

As the months progressed Bobby got weaker until he was confined to a bed in the med labs where Hank watched over him as he shuffled through his daily routine. Bobby had many visitors, mostly from the younger students who thought he was a cut up, but also from his old teammates, many of who had retired and left the mansion. Jean and Scott had finally gotten some retirement time and were seen less and less regularly around the mansion. They had decided long ago to give up on having any more children since whenever they did something seemed to go disastrously wrong. The others had fared differently but overall things had gone well. Ororo had found love, Rogue and Remy found each other, Logan had found peace. The X-Men's roster was filled with twelve new (well new to Bobby anyway) students. Helen and Ben however were the only ones born and raised in the mansion. Sometimes they joked that they were the only proof that mutants could be born in captivity. Sara came to visit Bobby once, taking a break from her position as team leader of the red team. At forty-four she was considering a permanent vacation. Kids these days – thought they knew everything.

" Interesting place they're keeping you, Ice", Sara said. She may have matured, she may have been educated, but she was still blunt to the point of rudeness.

" What brings you here?"

" I'm not sure exactly", Sara shrugged. " You were close to Mel so I guess that means you're not all bad."

" Gee, thanks", Bobby said. Nobody but Sara mentioned Mel's name around him if they could avoid it. He discovered that he missed hearing it.

" I guess that sounded rather sharp. I didn't mean it that way. It's funny but lately I've been thinking a lot about her. I actually miss her."

" So do I", said Bobby. He continued to think about Mel long after Sara had left. It was strange but sometimes he thought he could feel her or hear one of her sighs. Every now and then he would look into Ben's eyes and see someone else's. They'd been married for over twelve years and she'd been dead for just as many but sometimes the grief was as fresh and new as though she'd died yesterday. He missed her. He missed her smiles, her eyes, and the way she truly saw who he was. He missed how her hand felt against his face and how she moulded into him when they slept. And he was tired of waking up everyday and fighting off the sadness. He was tired of fighting to hold on to his life, which only served to keep them apart.

" Hank, are you there?" Bobby asked, his eyes having lost the ability to see.

" Yeah, I'm here. And so are Helen and Ben."

" Oh, how was school today Ben?" Ben looked at his father with compassion, wondering how to remind him that he no longer went to school. It was hard to watch his father, who was so very dynamic and alive, fade away so completely.

" Oh daddy, why do you have to leave me to?" Helen said, her control slipping somewhat. Only in front of family did she ever appear vulnerable.

" I'm not leaving. Just going on ahead. Because I miss her you see", Bobby said.

" How can he say that? Don't we need him?" Helen asked her brother, the hurt visible in her eyes.

" No, we don't. Not anymore. Doesn't it seem wonderful to you that he could have found love strong that he fears not death. Sometimes I envy that. But deny him that right? I could never. You have to let go Helen. We have each other and now they'll have each other."

" How can you be so sure she's waiting for him?"

Ben then felt a presence he had thought long since gone. Dimly he remembered how when he was little he had always felt tied to this mother and suddenly there was that feeling again, tugging at his spirit. He looked around calmly and then… she was there. Not solid, or strong, or even clear. But she was there and she whispered to him across the room in a voice that reminded him of so much he'd thought forgotten.

" She's here", Ben said, eyes still focussed elsewhere.

" What do you mean?"

" Mom, I can see her. She's standing over Dad, her hands on his arm."

Everyone looked, even Bobby with his blind eyes.

" Is she really here?" Bobby asked.

" No, I don't think so", Hank said, wondering what Ben was up to.

" She is, like that night in my bedroom after she died when she told me to take away your anger. Do you remember that Dad?"

" Yes", Bobby said. Bobby concentrated, trying to feel Mel's presence. Why couldn't he feel her?

" What are you both talking about? What the hell is going on?" Helen screamed, tears coursing her face.

The spectre Melanie approached her daughter. She'd been allowed so few moments to watch over her family. Melanie couldn't believe how beautiful her daughter had become and how confident. But she saw a coldness there she didn't like. In Ben she saw a lanky six foot four individual whose loose skin had disappeared almost entirely to cover his large frame. There was wisdom in his eyes but also playfulness. It was strange to know that while she studied Ben, he was also looking at her. He had probably forgotten somewhat what she looked like. That saddened Mel but as usual it was Bobby that drew the most attention. He was the reason she was here after all. The bond that was formed between them so many years ago had never been broken. She could never move far away for always she was drawn back to his side. Mel didn't know what awaited them when they were no longer attached to the earth but in many ways she didn't care. Even immortality can be lonely. Mel began to speak again, waiting for Ben to tell the other's her words.

" She says that before I was a born a bond was created between me and her. Absorption took place where I got a piece of her and she got a piece of me. That's why I can see and hear her."

" But why not me? Why can't I see her?" Helen asked desperately.

" She doesn't know. Just that the bond exists just so that we could have this moment."

" I should go then", said Hank. " This is a family matter."

" She says for you to stay. That you are family. And she says to say thank you for not disowning me when I blew up the lab", Ben said.

" Your welcome", Hank said to the air. The scientist in him didn't no what to make of the current circumstances.

Mel stood next to her daughter and tried to brush a wayward strand of hair from her face. " Helen", she said, and Ben interpreted. " I love you. I am very, very, proud of all that you've accomplished and by how strong you are. But I know that you're unhappy and I know it's because you try not to feel. I did the same thing when I was your age and I know that it doesn't work. Find some expression for your pain and know that I am always near you. And Helen, believe me when I say it was not your fault. I don't regret that day and I certainly don't blame you. Love me as I love you but it's time for you to move on. Live life fully, my daughter".

Helen broke down and started crying. Hank came over to offer her his support while the strong woman let the child inside her weep. Melanie wanted to comfort Helen but time was running short. " Benjamin. You and I have always been able to connect. I worried always that you would grow up to be just like me but you have avoided all those same pit-falls. You are your sister's strength but don't forget to lean on her too. Strength comes in giving support not taking. I'm sorry I wasn't there to watch you grow up, but I will always be here in spirit. Even if from now on it's harder to hear me. I love you my son".

" Good-bye mom. I'll miss you. Take good care of dad", Ben said, one tear falling down his cheek. It was one thing to know your mother loves you and another to be told it.

" I will. Best say your good-byes now. Bobby's more in my world then in yours."

The monitor next to Bobby began to beep alarmingly. Hank reached out and shut it off. There was no need to tell them that the end was near.

" I love you Dad, I'm sorry if I wasn't as appreciative of you as I should have been. But don't worry, I'll take your place by the TV Saturday mornings."

" Good-bye Helen", Bobby said dreamily. He wasn't sad anymore. Somewhere in the blackness, she was waiting. So that meant this wasn't good-bye so much as 'I'll see you'.

" See you later Dad. I'll miss you", Ben said sadly. This would hurt more tomorrow he decided, today he wanted to remember how peaceful his father looked. Bobby didn't answer, just nodded his head briefly. He squeezed Hank's hand softly as his eyelids fluttered for the last time.

Bobby didn't hear the wails of sorrow that marked his passing. He wasn't there to see the many people who came to his funeral. So many people he had touched, so many he had helped at one time or another. He could never have guessed how his death would shock the very foundations of the X-Men society. But even in their tears people were laughing, remembering how Bobby would always seek to lighten the mood with a joke or a trick. In many ways his funeral was a festive occasion as people remembered funny stories and laughed and danced. It was the way Bobby would have wanted people to eulogize him. Through laughter.

All was darkness, just a void of nothing, and then a voice sounded far off.

" Bobby?"

Bobby struggled to remember how to move, how to listen. A tiny pinprick of light shone before him and he felt himself being pulled towards it. " Bobby, where are you?" The voice repeated itself. He knew that voice – it was her voice. For the first time since her death he felt capable of saying her name out loud.

" Mel? Is that you?"

" Yeah, it's me. Quit being a jerk and get over here", Mel said, voice cracking with emotion. It had been so long, she'd been waiting – always worried that he might have forgotten her. She'd seen it happen to others waiting like her in the void for their true love.

Bobby moved faster and then he saw her. She was twenty-two again, wearing jeans and a T-shirt, her face lit up by a smile that he had thought he'd never see again. Bobby ran a hand through his hair wondering what she thought of his grey hair. His hand fell away as he realized his hand was no longer wrinkled. He was young again also.

" Quite the bonus, huh? We go back to whatever age makes us happiest. I guess when I met you was the best time of my life."

Bobby was getting closer and closer soon he was able to make out the features of her face and then the reflection of his own in her eyes.

" Am I, like, allowed to kiss you here or… to hell with it, I'll do it anyways."

There lips met hungrily, the need to be together now more important then air. She felt the same, she smelled the same; it was she and she was his again. Hands entwined he pulled away from her. He wanted to look at her again.

" Damn but I missed you", Mel said, laughing. Things had worked out in the end, she was whole, and could now wander the earth and sky without the constraints of time or need or want. Before she'd existed with a strong sense of longing but she was freed from that now.

" You just said 'damn'. Isn't that a tad irreverent?"

" You said 'hell' before", Mel teased, and Bobby realized he had. Some habits were simply hard to break. " But I don't think it matters. We're whole now, and we make our own rules as to happiness, more or less anyways. I was thinking of spending a while getting to know you in the biblical sense again, then maybe performing a few hauntings. We could really freak people out in the Disneyland haunted house now, don't you think?"

" Oh man, this is going to be so cool. Speaking of cool, do my powers work here?"

" Yes Bobby", Mel said patiently. Hadn't he heard her proposition?

" Good", Bobby said, and grabbed Mel around the waist. " Let's go sliding. I never really got the chance to take you on a really long slide, when we were alive."

Together they raced along through the night sky going nowhere and everywhere at once. It was poetic, it was stunning, it was… boring after the first year or so. That was when Bobby finally stopped (AN: time moves differently here – kind of like the Marvel universe J) and took his partner in his arms and kissed her for all she was worth. They would remain together eternally, frequently causing trouble, as two immature people with an eternity of time to spend are likely to do, but always linked, always in love. Nothing on earth could describe what it was these two shared but you could feel it.

As Ben did one day while walking through the halls with his sister.

" Did you hear that?" he asked Helen.

" What?"

" It sounded like someone said 'jerk' while another voice responded with 'moron'. But they were laughing, like it was somehow a good thing", Ben shook his head confused.

" It's probably nothing", Helen said unconvincingly.

" Yeah", Ben said, when they were both startled by two voices who, giggling at the thought of haunting their own children with cryptic but insightful words, said,

" It's actually everything".

THE END

The end? Say it ain't so! What will I do with myself now? Oh yeah, study. L Please review if you liked it or if you didn't. And since someone asked, sure you can use Mel in your story, any one can. I would like to be notified though so that I can read it. To be honest when the request was made I nearly fell out of my chair, thinking that someone wanted to use an idea of mine? Trust me it's weird.

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