FROM THIS MOMENT

From the files of Dr. Fritz V. Baugh, GBWC CEO

Warning to Readers: If you want lots of Ghostbusting action, stop now. If you thought Ghostbusters: Forever was overindulgent in sentiment, also stop now. There will even be several flashbacks, though it won't be as heavy with those as "Forever". You have been warned. Thanks.

And I swear, this being the third Ghostbusters wedding I've written, I'm running out of material :P

Indianapolis International Airport
Friday, September 1, 2006
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty-Four
The passengers practically ran from the DC-10 that had just docked at Gate 4.

"Sheesh..." Andy Harness joked as he sauntered down the walkway. "They act like they just saw a ghost..."

"Er...but Andy, they did" Kyle Stevens pointed out.

Jeremy Hicks and his girlfriend came next. "They really should be thanking us--she put on a better show than the in-flight movie. Who really needs to see Lizardo and Fusion Panther Versus Gigalon again anyway?"

Taking up the rear of the procession was the ghost that was currently answering to the name Rachel Leavenworth, and Rose Prevost. "I know I made that dare, but I was just joking..." Rose said, rolling her eyes.

"That was the coolest thing I ever did in my afterlife!" Rachel said giddily. "Car surfing on an airplane! That rocked!!!"

"Yeah, and if Dick Cheney had sent the Air Force to shoot us down, that really would've been awesome..." Andy rolled his eyes.

"Wouldn't have hurt me any." Rachel retorted.

"I knew we should've made you ride in a ghost trap..."

Rachel looked hurt.

"So who we looking for again?" Kyle asked Rose.

"There he is..." Rose pointed. "Al!"

Rose had met the tall, bearded man with thinning hair two years before. Al was Fritz's younger brother (though most people thought he looked older) and was playing a Game Boy as he waited for them. "Hey, Rose. So this is the whole crew, huh?"

Rose made a round of introductions. Al shook all their hands in turn.

"And whatever Fritz told you about me isn't true." Andy said.

"He told me you loved to terrorize Wal-Marts" Al replied

"Oh. Okay, well then that's true..."

"Pleasure to finally meet you in person." Kyle said. "Fritz spoke well of you...

"Then he's a liar." Al replied

"And so does Chad, who talked with you a lot on all the gaming sites." Kyle continued

"Gaming sites? Is that what he claimed?" Al chuckled.

"Er...anyway, where is the Groom to Be?" Jeremy asked.

"Another gate--the plane from New York arrived right before you did..." Al answered.

Are you sure this is all right?

If it wasn't, the Big Guy would let us know. Trust me on this. Relax, you're the one who got to do the intervention a while back...think of this as following through on that assignment.

"This is Sandy Gleason at Indianapolis International Airport, where the plane carrying the world famous Ghostbusters has just arrived."

The throng held at bay by security was mostly composed of teenage girls and one middle age man in a Ghostbuster t-shirt. The man in the t-shirt said "Yay." when the reporter indicated them.

"The reason for the visit is the scheduled Sunday wedding of two Ghostbuster employees, Indianapolis's own Fritz Bog and Chelsea Aberdeen..."

Fritz rolled his eyes, well used to having his name mispronounced. He was in the waiting area with Kevin Kemarly (of the Onarga Ghostbusters) and Brian Walker, formerly of ECTO Canada. "I suspect it's not the actual Ghostbusters the crowd is here to see..." Kevin nudged Fritz.

"Helloooo, people of Indianapolis!" Peter Venkman came out of the plane first. "And so many lovely girls here today. It's good to see that we're still loved after all these years!"

The guy in the t-shirt said "Yaay!" louder.

Venkman's teenage stepson Oscar stepped out behind his mother.

The teenage girls started to go wild.

"I didn't know you had this many fans this far away, even though you haven't cut a pro album yet..." Dana asked Oscar incredulously.

"The wonders of the internet, Mom." Oscar replied.

Venkman took a second to look shocked, and maybe just a tad hurt.

A loud belch heralded the arrival of Bo Holbrook. His girlfriend Jen Spengler was beside him, amazed at her capacity to still be embarrassed by him after all these years.

"I just had a horrified realization..." Fritz said to Brian.

"Oh?"

"This would be just the right weekend for Gozer to try Round Three or something, isn't it?"

"You're thinking too hard, Fritz." Kevin chuckled. "The Extreme team is still in New York, and with all the Reservists you have your turf is covered."

While Venkman was schmoozing with the reporters, and Oscar signing a few autographs, other members of the delegation slipped out of the plane more quietly. Egon and Janine Spengler. Winston and Kaila Zeddemore. Ray and Liz Stantz.

Fritz finally saw the person he was most anticipating. "Leon!"

Leon Hogan embraced him like the old friend he was. Fritz had met Leon's older brother Nick over twenty years ago; when Nick was murdered years later, Fritz kept in contact with Leon and his mother. Fritz had even lived with them for a time; in 2003 they had solved Nick's murder together and in 2004 Leon Hogan became a member of the Ghostbusters West Coast for a few months.

Fritz did a double take when he realized who Leon was standing with. "Holy grife...you guys made it after all?"

"Well, it's funny how that worked out, Mate..." Ben King replied with a smirk. "Dr. Venkman just happened to schedule a GBI conference we were invited to for last week. And since we were in the country anyway..." Fritz had started communicating with the oldest member of Ghostbusters UK online shortly after joining GBI, and they'd finally met face to face two years before, during the Gozer crisis.

"Er...Rosey, you all right?" Fritz asked.

"Oh...just jet lag, I suppose..." Rosey Collins replied, shaking his hand warmly.

"Jet lag? Yeah right...she's just flustered by Oscar..." Bo guffawed.

"What? No. Shut up. Die. Fall off a bridge. Something!" Rosey sputtered in response.

Coming off the plane last, as though he felt uncomfortable with the crowd inside and outside the plane, was Vincent Belmont, his wife Jill right beside him.

"I am making it to your wedding." Vincent smirked as he shook Fritz's hand.

"As soon as I invent my time machine, I'll go back and attend yours." Fritz replied.

"Oh would you stop that, Vincent..." Jill chided teasingly.

"Fritters!!!" the familiar voice of Andy Harness called out. "I haven't seen you in, gosh, days!!!"

Andy, Al, and the rest of the West Coast group came up to the rest. The crowd scattered, some of the teenage girls screaming and fleeing.

"What is up with this town?" Rachel asked. "I thought you said this place was friendly..."

"They do have a somewhat...stereotypical Midwestern mistrust of people who are...different..."

"It's my hairstyle, isn't it? Too edgy..." Rachel deadpanned.

"And this is the infamous Rachel Leavenworth..." Vincent mused.

Ray perked up, causing Liz to lead him away from the group. "This way, Ray..."

"But I just wanted to say hello to her..."

"We need to get our baggage, Ray..."

Venkman and Winston chuckled. "What?" Dana finally asked.

"Private joke." Winston said simply.

"Fritz? You okay?" Leon asked. "We didn't miss anyone did we?"

Fritz sighed. "Jim and Scotty won't be here until tomorrow so Scotty doesn't miss school, so..." he shook his head. "I guess not."

Sandy Gleason, a little flustered herself at seeing a real live (pardon the phrase) ghost, composed herself and finished her report. "And, er, that was the scene from Indianapolis International Airport. Back to you, Chip."

The guy in the t-shirt was still there. "Yaaaay!!!"

Oh Man...you think he knows we're here?

Dude, if the ghost chick and the wizard didn't figure out we were here, there's no way anyone else did.

Not even Leon?

Nope. I figure Fritz was lookin' for someone that didn't show up.

There's someone in GBI who's NOT here?

Doesn't seem possible, does it?

GBI all being here? Or the wedding?

Little of both, my friend.

True. What a strange story this has been...

You were there for a part of it. Maybe the most important part of it, actually. I've been watching him for a long time...I'd heard rumors about what the Big Guy had in store for him, and you might understand why I'd be interested in seeing how all that was gonna work out.

I saw it all start. The day Boy met Girl...

September 3, 2001
Indianapolis, Indiana
Chelsea Aberdeen had a good talent for reading people--and that talent was now telling the twenty-three year old college graduate that her new boss was probably a moron.

"Glad we got you here, Chelsea. Our last HR manager quit, and we got one of the Checkout Supervisors doin' the job, but corporate really prefers a college educated person they can make salaried doin' that job..." Jeb Crockett smiled just a little too broadly. She also figured that she had to watch out for this one--men like him, on the verge of middle age, liked to flaunt their power and take their minds off of their departing youth by trying to make young women like her status notches on their bedposts. "On top of that, the place is a mess from the remodellin'..."

Several people in red smocks passed by. Crockett took her over to the Service Desk. "You'll need to get with Angela..." he looked at the large black man at the desk. "Corey, where's Angela?"

"She's at lunch, Jeb. Should be back at 2." Corey replied, trying not to let on that he was finding it really annoying that the Boss was bothering him while he had customers and the phone was ringing off the hook. "Thank you for calling Big K-mart, Corey speaking, how may I direct your call?"

"This is Corey Jones, my Upfront Manager." Crockett explained. "Corey, this is Chelsea, our new HR Manager." Not wishing to disturb him further, Chelsea simply waved. Corey waved back. Her instincts were telling her that this guy probably was the one doing most of the real work in this store.

Corey had just finished directing a call, and was dealing with a German lady complaining about her refund when the phone started ringing again.

"I got this one, Corey..." another voice broke in from behind Chelsea. "Excuse me, Miss..." the voice also said, grabbing the ringing phone from behind and just to the side of her. "Thank you for calling Big K-Mart, Fritz speaking, how may I direct your call?"

He was a thin man with glasses and unkempt reddish-brown hair, wearing a red shirt and a necktie with Mickey Mouse on it. It was the first man in the store she'd seen wearing a tie--not even the Manager wore one.

"If you haven't recieved a phone call, or the carbon of the rain check in the mail, then the futon hasn't come into stock yet...Yes, Ma'am, I realize that, but at the store level we have no control over what they send us...Sorry I couldn't be of more help, Ma'am. Please have a nice day."

The phone kept ringing and he had similar conversations three more times. He finally was able to put down the phone. "How much longer till Angela gets back from lunch?" he asked Corey with a smirk.

Corey chuckled. "Just another half hour..."

"Thanks for helpin, Doc..." Crockett said. "Fritz, this is our new HR manager, Chelsea Aberdeen. Chelsea, this is Fritz--he works in our Cash Office..."

"Pleasure to meet you..." she smiled. "Why did he call you 'Doc'?"

Fritz rolled his eyes. "It's a long story. The short version is that I do have a PhD in physics, but I got a bad reputation in academic circles. It's really quite boring..."

Corey interrupted. "Fritz, the cashier on ten needs change..."

"I'm on it." Fritz nodded. "Nice to meet you too, Chelsea..."

She watched him walk briskly to the checkouts, a strange thought or two already rolling in her head. Geoff was wanting to study physics...Oh, I did not just think that...Chelsea, you just met the man. For all you know he's been married for ten years...

But she did, after all, have a good talent for reading people. And damn if her first impression wasn't telling her that this Doctor slumming in retail wasn't at least worth watching as closely as he'd let her...

Well, it could've been worse. It wasn't like some movie Meet Cute

Barf, no. Just two coworkers being introduced. 'Course it didn't take long at all for the Girl to start askin questions...

She felt guilty about it, even though it was her job to keep up on the staff of the store. Maybe it was because she knew there was more than just professional curiosity at work...

Personell File
Clock Number: 0080
Name: Baugh, Fritz V.
DOB: 05-13-71

1971? He sure doesn't look thirty...

Sex: M
Marital Status: S
Dependants: 0

Well...okay, he's single. No dependants. Okay, girl, now calm down...just because he isn't married doesn't mean he isn't involved...

Problem is, sometimes when you ask questions, you get answers you don't like. And the Girl got a very unpleasant one: Boy sorta already had a Different Girl.

Sorta

"Bernice...Roderick?" Chelsea asked, trying to fight off the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach.

Jean Heck, the Office Manager, nodded. "It's tragic, really--he got the hots for her right before Christmas last year. Asked her out, and she turned him down."

"You're kidding!" Chelsea answered, and immediately regretted it. She realized she said that just a little too quickly and...passionately.

"Why, Miss Aberdeen, I do believe you've taken a shine to Fritz yourself, haven't you?"

Chelsea wanted to scream, or run. "Does it matter?" she finally said with a sigh.

"Well, I...well, hello, Bernice..." Jean indicated the woman who'd just entered the lounge.

Bernice Roderick had messy blonde hair and was wearing purple leggings a size or two too small. She grunted something that sounded like "Hey"...as she went over to the snack machine. When it ate her money and didn't give her the chips she'd selected, she hit it a couple of times. "This machine is on drugs..."

"You've met Chelsea, the new HR right?" Jean said. "She was just telling me how she wanted to cover Dr. Fritz with peanut butter and make him her personal sandwich."

Chelsea about fell out of her chair.

Bernice laughed. "Yeah right. I keep telling you, Jean, he's too boring for me. So stop telling stupid jokes like that."

"I'm...er...allergic to peanut butter..." Chelsea countered weakly. Bernice laughed again. Chelsea decided that Bernice's snorting laugh would get on her nerves very quickly. Strike that, it already had.

Bernice excused herself, still chuckling, to go buy chips up front.

"I'd say you have one thing on your side, Chelsea. I think Fritz is likely to wake up a lot sooner than she will." Jean noted, slurping her coffee.

Harsh. Hard for me to imagine him with someone else. I mean, when I first met them they weren't...you know, "together" yet, but we all knew it was a matter of time.

These things always seem inevitable in hindsight, don't they? But not when you're right there in it. I mean, she had just met this guy--there was no rational reason she should be this upset to find out a guy she just met already had a sorta girlfriend.

But one thing love ain't, and that's rational...

Tuesday, October 30, 2001
She really had to do this. Had to get this out of her system.

When the word had reached her, she wanted to throw things. "Scuttlebutt is Bernice finally agreed to go out with the Doc. They're going Sunday night..."

I can't be doing this to myself...if it's what he really wants it's what he really wants...I can't let myself be depressed about it...

When she finally tracked him down Tuesday morning (they'd had Monday off) she froze. He looked tired, and for probably the first time she'd seen him, he wasn't wearing a tie. Oh God...she really was lying about not liking him. They spent the last day and a half making like the Discovery Channel and she completely wore him out...

He was running off some reports on the printer, and sighed as he rubbed his eyes.

"I take it you had an interesting weekend, Doctor?" she finally said.

He looked up at her, just a bit startled to realize she was there. "Um...er, just running the PLCs, Chelsea...I'll be done in a moment or two..."

It shocked her how badly she just wanted to slug him. Inflict the pain that was creeping into her on him just a bit.

"To answer your query...I had an awful time. If this about the rumors that I'd finally persuaded Bernice to go out with me, you're correct. We went to the Olive Garden but they had a waiting list and she didn't want to wait. We went the Mexican restaurant next door, and everything seemed to be going well, especially when she shared her coffee cake with me. Then we went to see Thirteen Ghosts and I thought we had a great time. The movie was very loud, and the story was predictable, but the effects were quite well done. We were laughing and joking right up until I got her home."

Oh God here it comes...

"At which time she fled out of my car like I was one of the murderous spirits in the film. When I called her afterwards, she screamed that she didn't like me and we weren't doing that again...I..." he stopped himself. "Grife, I had told myself that I wasn't going to mention any of that to anyone..."

Chelsea had the last reaction she ever expected. If you'd asked her a day ago "So what if Doc Fritz blew it and Bernice never wanted to see him again?" she'd've replied "Good". But now...she felt awful. She was suddenly mad at Bernice Roderick more than anything else. How dare that heartless bitch do that to him?!

"I...I won't tell anyone else." Chelsea managed to finally say. "And I'm sorry--I haven't been here long, but I've heard how much you...well, like her."

He didn't say anything.

She couldn't find anything else to say--she left, muttering something about "I'll get the payroll summary later..."


Bernice was fighting with the candy machine again when she realized she wasn't alone in the room. She turned around to see the new HR Manager staring at her with contempt in her eyes. "What?" Bernice asked.

"You are the stupidest f***ing human being on the face of the Earth." Chelsea replied, simply, with very little obvious emotion.

"If this is about that mad Doctor I had an awful time." Bernice countered. "He fell asleep during the movie..."

"Whatever..." Chelsea replied dismissively, going into the bathroom. Lying bitch...you're just trying to make yourself look less insane...

Bernice shrugged, and went back to fighting with the candy machine, the matter easily put out of her mind. As always.

Wow. I know I felt the vibe a couple of times, whenever this Bernice person came up...which didn't happen all that often. Heh...like you said, love isn't always rational. How you could be jealous of someone, want them to get away from the one you care about, yet at the same time be mad at them when they actually do it because it hurts the person you're jealous over in the first place

But then again, that's also the first sign that maybe what you're feeling is a little more than just intrigue or a hormone burn. She was mad that he was hurt, and that was what was foremost--the fact that, in the long term, it might be a good thing for her, wasn't what she was thinking about.

So is this when, like Jean said, he began to wake up?

Just a little. But the Boy had been fond of the Other Girl for a while...and wasn't exactly in a rush to go putting his heart on the line again. So the Girl was content to wait.

And then, finally, her patience paid off...and the story reaches the parts you're already familiar with...

April 3, 2003
"And standby for your chances to win tickets to Dance of the Skeletons, the newest hit in the making from Disney! Brought to you by WDIP and Channel 22, your UBN station..."

She noticed Fritz look at the phone with interest.

"Going to win those tickets?" Chelsea asked playfully.

"I never win anything in those contests..." Fritz replied.

They were in the lunch room. It had been over a year since Bernice Roderick had blown him off...he didn't seem to talk to or about her nearly as much, but there wasn't much to lead Chelsea to believe he was really looking to move past her yet either. Which, truth to tell, really irritated her.

At least dumb old Jeb Crockett had moved on; the store's current manager, Chris Lund, actually knew what he was doing. He even...gasp...helped out when the front checkouts were backed up.

"Isn't this movie a cartoon?" Chelsea asked. "I thought you only liked cartoons created in Japan..."

"For the most part. This one's actually loosely based on one of the original Silly Symphonies back in the 1930's..." Fritz answered. "And you haven't seen my collection of Donald Duck comics, have you?"

She laughed. The vision of this powerfully intelligent scientist buried in a Donald Duck comic was funny...and, truth to tell, to her at least, extremely endearing. "Is that some kind of line, Doctor?"

After the commercials advertising Frosty Cakes and Krazy's hamburgers ended, the DJ came back on. "And in just a few minutes I'll be looking for the thirteenth caller. Not yet, impatient people...but soon!"

"I could let you use my phone..." Chelsea offered, holding out her cel phone. "Maybe it'll bring you luck."

Fritz laughed. "I highly doubt that...you'd have to be a leprechaun to counteract my bad luck..."

"Sorry--I have Scottish ancestory, not Irish." she laughed back, sticking her tongue out at him.

"It's that time, fun fans--we're now taking the thirteenth caller. All expenses paid trip to sunny Anaheim, California for the April 18th premiere of Dance of the Skeletons..."

"Do it!" Chelsea prompted.

"If this works, I swear I'll take you with me..." Fritz said as he dialed the numbers.

Chelsea's heart skipped a beat. Was he joking? Probably...but what if he wasn't? There wasn't really any chance he was going to win...but maybe this was an opening...

She saw Fritz's face freeze. After a few seconds, he reached over and turned down the radio.

"Fritz?"

"Apparently, I am the thirteenth caller." he said, apparently completely shocked. "To borrow a phrase, it appears we're going to Disneyland..."

Fritz and Chelsea went to Anaheim, and when the Ravisher interrupted the premiere to murder the director, they were in the theatre. Along with a few other guys who didn't run and hide--including Peter Venkman.

Fritz became one of the founding members of the Ghostbusters West Coast, a member--and eventually Co-Captain--of the North Team. Chelsea became their Client Administrator.

Believe me, Dr. Venkman told more than one joke comparing them to another introverted physicist and secretary of his aquaintance.

And it didn't take another eight years for the Boy to finally wake up the rest of the way...

December 31, 2003
"I really should head back to the warehouse..." Fritz said, tugging his collar. "Joey has the North Team on duty tomorrow..."

"Yeah, I know..." Chelsea nodded as she opened the lock on her apartment. "It was the arrangement he worked out with Kyle to have Christmas off. But c'mon..." she turned and winked at him. It didn't escape her notice the note of reluctance in his voice as he talked about leaving. "New Years only happens once a year."

"What if you follow multiple calendars?" he replied, grinning sheepishly for a second, then followed her into the apartment.

"Nice place..." he admitted.

"I got a good deal on it--a friend of my Dad owns the property. It'd just opened up right before I moved to LA." She sat next to him on the couch. "I was lucky--I realize there are plenty of women in the world who'd jump at the chance to be the only woman living with twelve men, but they tend to get the reputation they deserve if they do..."

She turned on Dick Clark, though quickly pushed the Mute button when M.C. Wink and the 2Crew Run DOA Humpers started chanting their hit "It's New Years, Bitch."

"Thank you." Fritz nodded, chuckling. "It has been quite an adjustment, hasn't it? A year ago we were retail drones..."

"Last New Year's I had to work..." Chelsea rolled her eyes with amusement.

"Ironically enough, I had it off."

"Are you happy out here, Fritz?" Chelsea asked, leaning in closer. "We left a lot of people behind...your whole family...my Mom...Corey and all our K-Mart friends..." She looked away for a second. "Bernice."

Fritz shook his head. "I haven't given her much thought at all."

"It helped me that I had family out here...I hadn't seen Dad since I graduated college. I think he's a little mad that I didn't spend New Years with them, though..."

Fritz chuckled. "Why not?"

"You'd already asked." she replied simply, with a smile.

He looked away as she walked to the kitchen, shucking her shoes in the process. When she returned, she had a bottle of Diet Coke. "It's all I have--I don't keep alcohol around, and it's the only thing that's fizzy..."

"Not a problem." he shook head. After a few minutes, where there was no sound except carbonated soda being sipped. "And truth to tell, I think the last seven months have been the best for me since..." he shook his head. "I'm not even sure when. I was twelve when the original Ghostbusters started up--I remember hearing about them on the radio when I was getting beaten up at summer camp."

She laughed, she couldn't help it. Fritz couldn't help but smile--the sound was delightful to him.

"I'm not kidding--there was this malformed anthropoid named Toby who had a chip on his shoulder against 'Yankees'...I tried to explain that I was from Indiana, but I don't think his three active brain cells had enough power to process the difference."

She laughed again.

"Being a Ghostbuster has been a dream I didn't even realize I had coming true." Fritz continued. "There have definitely been bad moments--the harrowing night that started it all. Being chased by zombies. That horror with the Hain Witch in New York. But..." he paused. "For the first time in my life, I feel like...I found where I belong."

"I understand completely..." she said, leaning in close again. "I didn't exactly set out to become the next Janine Spengler either, but..."

"But what?"

"When Dr. Venkman offered me the job...well, to be honest, he said I could be a full-time Ghostbuster if I wanted, but I knew that probably wouldn't be the best idea." she shook her head. "My education and gifts were better served in the home office. I think my scores on the shooting range prove that..." she smirked.

"I don't exactly frighten the ghosts with my sharpshooting either." Fritz replied.

"But I realized something else: it was where I belonged too." her breath was warm on his cheek. "And I had to know"

"Know what?" Fritz asked, his throat suddenly becoming dry.

"Something that I could only learn if we got the hell away from K-Mart and Bernice Roderick..."

"Which is?"

"What would you really think if I did this?" she finished breathily, and kissed him.

For a scant second, he was confused...then a jolt went through his body, a full realization of where he was, who he was with...the intoxicating scent of Spectral Seduction Number 5...the soft roundness of her breasts pushed against his chest...his hypercharged senses feeling her desire...

"I love you." she said after a moment, pulling off his glasses. "I think I realized it from the moment I met you...you were smart, and witty, and sweet...and now..." she tentatively fiddled with his tie. "And now you're an honest-to-God hero. And now you're here, we're alone..."

"I..." he cupped her face in his hands. "I was so stupid for not seeing it earlier. And I'm sorry. How you felt. And...and how I felt. When I realized back in June I wasn't missing her anymore. When I realized in September who I really was missing. You gave up your old life for me...and I didn't feel like I was worth that. But I want to be...because..." his eyes were starting to mist. "Because I love you too..."

She sobbed. She couldn't help it. This time he kissed her, pulling her closer.

She pulled his Mickey Mouse tie off, and flung it behind the television. "If you don't stop me, I'm going to f*** your brains out..." she breathed huskily.

He laughed, and kissed her again, gently moving her to a position below him. "I warn you...I'm told I have a lot of brains..."

January 1, 2004
She opened one eye--the clock read 7:30. In a morning that was technically winter in the Northern Hemisphere (even though it didn't feel much like it in Los Angeles) light was only slightly intruding from the outside. She smirked at the little teddy bear wearing a football jersey still sitting, somehow, on the headboard. Voyeuristic little guy...Got quite a show, didn't you?

She didn't want to move. She felt like every muscle was aching...in a good way.

Then she felt a pang of guilt...it had been so long...eight years...eight years since Geoff...was she betraying his memory in some way? Or wouldn't he be happy that she was finally getting on with her life?

She realized the man with whom her love had just become quite requitted was already awake, and was buttoning his shirt with great reluctance. She couldn't help but smirk--his body language practically screamed "I'd rather stay here than go to work..."

"...hey..." she finally grunted.

He turned and smiled fondly. "I told you I have to work today." He sat down on the bed next to her, tracing the shapes of her shoulder blades on her bare back. "You haven't seen my tie, by any chance?"

"...uh-uh..."

"It'll turn up later, I guess." he leaned in and kissed her. "Besides, I think I have a new idea or two on the Ravisher case. It came to me just as I woke up."

"...i'm wore out and you're hyper? this isn't fair..." she joked.

"I'll call later today--and see you tomorow if not sooner."

"...sure you don't want to jump in the shower with me first?"

He shook his head. "If I do that I'll never leave..."

"...nothing on me but hot, soapy water..."

He laughed. "Stop it!"

She watched him leave and sighed. I have a right to my own happiness...and he's what makes me happy. This is gonna be the best year yet.

...

...

Except it wasn't going to be that easy. A five hundred year old curse nearly saw to that.

September 27, 2004
Chelsea Aberdeen's heart literally skipped a beat. It was a voice she knew well...a voice that she still heard in her dreams...

Is it another dream?

She turned and saw him, leaning against the entryway to the cave. Fritz Baugh, the man she loved with all of her heart. The man she'd resigned herself to never seeing again. Her heart sang with glee...with hope. An electric surge went through her weakened body, as two months of denied passion screamed for release.

But just as suddenly...horror. He looked like a gentle breeze would knock him over...his skin was pale, his hair a dirty mess. A growth of stubble she'd never seen on him before. And an unfamiliar Ghostbuster flight suit. Black, like a shroud...


He'd heard noises...a shout that gripped his heart with both dread and joy.

The burst of speed had taken most of what he had left...but there she was, being manhandled by some naked woman made of water, spouting some twisted spin on the story Vincent had told him only the day before.

Chelsea Aberdeen, the woman he loved with all of his heart. The woman who'd disappeared without a trace. He had finally found her...he wanted to run to her, embrace her, and shower her with two months of denied passion.

But first he had to get her out of here. Away from this madwoman who had drug her into this...who had turned her into a dirty, pale, stringy-haired shadow of her true self. The madwoman who was still plotting a most dismal fate for the woman he'd come across a continent to find.

When their eyes finally met...they each saw the other's pain. The same dark, hollow look. He saw her terror. She saw his confusion and hurt. But they also saw the same love starting to shine back...

She started to cry. "Fritz...I..."

He gasped a few times before answering. "I understand. I know the whole story..."

Lucindra gloated, feeling her moment of release at hand. "If the first child is a daughter, and she bears the name Aberdeen, the curse will be laid upon any man whom she truly loves with her heart and her body. Some perish by unfortunate circumstance--the types of accidents that claimed the two most recent victims. Others share the fate of the first...a wasting illness that appears with no warning, no sign. Sometimes a minor sprain, the kind of wound that should by no right become fatal...become the ground from which the disease spreads, infecting and destroying more and more tissue until..."

Fritz looked down, revelation gripping him. The sprain to his left leg, suffered during the Ashram incident...now a puddle of foul smelling blood and puss leaking from his left boot.

Chelsea noticed this too, and inhaled in horror.

"I see it now...thou art the one she is doing this to save..." Lucindra said. "The curse is upon thee, Ghostbuster. A pity...the curse works by proximity. If thee had stayed in thine City of Angels, thou wouldst not have been afflicted."

"oh no oh no oh no..." Chelsea sobbed.

By this time, the churning and bubbling of the water in the caverns was strong enough that they became aware of it.

"Dagon approaches....the transmogrification must take place." she looked at Fritz. "For thee, grandson of Williams, I offer you one last chance. The curse will be broken when the transmogrification circle is activated, but I doubt thou wilt last that long. Turn and leave. Renounce thine affections for this doomed child, and I will renounce my curse upon thee. Leave her to her dismal fate, and thou wilt live."

Chelsea looked at him, the tears flowing freely now. Do it... her mind screamed, her voice too weak and paralyzed by fear to speak. Forget about me...save yourself...

Fritz Baugh inhaled deeply, and stood upright. He looked at Lucindra, eyes shining with defiance. "Your choice is no choice at all." His right hand pulled the thrower off of his proton pack. "Because without her, my life isn't worth living."

He fired, the beam striking the shocked water woman, knocking her back.

He pressed forward, driving the shrieking woman back, leaving bloody left footprints behind him.

...But it wasn't enough. His knees buckled, he tumbled to the floor, and the beam shut off...his eyeglasses clattered to the floor, the left lens shattering...

Chelsea shouted his name, and ran to where he fell, no longer heeding any of the danger to herself.

" 'Without her my life isn't worth living'..." Lucindra said, as she shook off the effects of the beam, her distorted form returning to normal. "Fergus said the same thing..." Her face contorted in fury. "Be sure to tell him that as soon as thou gets to Hell, Ghostbuster..."

"...i'm sorry..." Chelsea heard Fritz's voice rasp.

She shouted his name twice more, but if he could even hear her, he was too weak to indicate it.

Then she saw it: the blinking light on his particle thrower. She knew what the light meant.

She inhaled.

"Save him. Now."

"Thou art in no position to make demands..."

Chelsea looked at her, fury in her eyes. "You said if I did what you wanted, you'd lift your damn curse. Do right now, and I'll do what you need me to do. Save him, lift your f***ing curse, and I'll take you place as Dagon's consort. If he dies, the deal's off."

"Thou hast already pledged to that, stupid wench..." Lucindra retorted, moving closer. "What canst thou possibly do to revoke that pledge now?"

"This." Chelsea answered. She pulled open the safety panel on the thrower, and jabbed the red button.

A play of sparks played around the nozzle of the thrower for a second, and the cyclotron on Fritz's proton pack begin to emit a new, more ominous whine...

"If you don't cancel your curse, this proton pack is going to explode." Chelsea informed her tormentor. "Maybe it won't be enough to seriously hurt you, or your demon master...but it'll be more than enough to blow me to particles."

Lucindra suddenly looked nervous. "Thou wouldn't..."

Chelsea glared. "Fritz is going to die anyway, right? This way, I die with him...we die together...and you can go be Dagon's plaything for another five hundred years..."

Lucindra turned to the increasingly agitated water behind her.

Lucindra looked back at Chelsea, for the first time, her face showing panic. "I assent!!!" she shouted, and gestured.

There was a play of light. Maybe it was just illusion, but Chelsea could swear that just a little bit of color came back into Fritz's pale cheeks, and his labored breathing became just a tad easier.

"It is done. The curse is lifted, and will trouble him, and all in thine family no more."

Chelsea exhaled, and powered down the thrower. The whine faded away.

"I don't..." the words caught in her throat. "I don't know if you can even hear me any more, Fritz. I did this to save you. I love working with you, I love being with you, I love watching all that anime with you. I..." the tears started to flow freely again. "I would've loved to have married you...loved to have had your children...loved to have spent every day of the rest of our lives together..."

She kissed him one last time. A long, deep kiss, a kiss to try and fit a lifetime of love into one all-too-short moment. "I love you...and I always will..."

"He is emerging..." Lucindra shouted. "It must be now..."

Chelsea stood up, her gaze now clear and firm. She turned to face Lucindra and the growing frothing turmoil that would define her life in a matter of moments...

...Behind her, a tear rolled down Fritz's cheek...

Chelsea Aberdeen said one last silent prayer as she stepped forward, and reached to undo the simple sleeveless robe that was her only garment...

"DOWN, WOMAN!!!" an angry voice shouted from behind her.

Instinctively, she obeyed the shout...

There was the familiar sizzle of a charged particle beam.

Chelsea looked up, and for the second time that day, she could barely believe what she was seeing. She had never met Bo Holbrook, the leader of Ghostbusters Nightsquad, but knew his face and reputation well enough to recognize him on sight.

"This...cannot be..." Lucindra shouted, even though there was an enormous hole where her face should be. "More Ghostbusters?!" Lucindra sneered, throwing a shimmering energy blast at Bo.

Two more proton beams slammed into Lucindra.

Bo and Chelsea looked up to see Vincent Belmont, Jen Spengler, and behind them her Aunt Dorothy

"When you're a Ghostbuster, you're never alone, Bitch!!!" Bo growled, firing once more.

"I was so close...so close...five hundred years...I can't..." Lucindra howled.

The circle in the water lit up, holding her fast. She screamed as the tentacles seized her. In seconds she wasn't even capable of that, as one of the tentacles forced itself into her mouth.

AH...MY LOVELY LUCINDRA...I KNEW YOU'D COME BACK TO ME...

Bo regretted watching as long as he did. It was like something out of one of those tentacle hentai videos Venkman kept sending him from Ray Stantz's email box. Thankfully, the Deepest One and his Consor quickly vanished beneath the waters, and the froth subsided to normal.

"Eat it, C***" Bo snarled, holstering his thrower.

"The...energy is gone.." Vincent said, shocked. "As quickly as it came, it's gone..."

"Friiiitz!!!" Chelsea called, staggering to reach him.

The rest in the room rushed to their fallen comrade as well.

"Fritzy? C'mon...say something." Bo pleaded. "Some ascerbic comment with ten-dollar words only Vincent or Jen will get..."

Jen visibly recoiled as she saw the pool of blood and puss that had accumulated around his left boot.

Chelsea was crying once more. "She said she'd lifted the curse...he's not supposed to..."

"There's no supernatural energy in the room anymore." Vincent shook his head.

"THEN WHY IS HE STILL DYING?!" Chelsea shrieked, panic beginning to claim her.

Were that it were different, but some things come at a price. It just about literally took a guardian angel to fix this mess, didn't it?

Sometimes that's what it takes...

September 27, 2004
The smell of the antiseptics irritated their noses as the four of them entered the post-op area. The sight before them brought Mary Baugh and Chelsea Aberdeen to another round of tears.

Tubes were sticking out of his nose. Numerous IVs were leading to his arms. Monitor pads were taped to his chest.

And there was a large tube from a device set on the stretcher, making a soft suction noise...leading to where, until this morning, the man's left foot had been. But the bandaging around the leg ended six inches below the knee. After that, there was nothing to bandage.

Al patted his brother's shoulder. "Mom's here, Fritz. I'm here. Dad and the Twins couldn't make it yet...work and all...but..." Something caught in his throat. "Damn, it just isn't right seeing you like this...

"My boy...my baby boy..." Mary sobbed, caressing his face.

Chelsea pushed a reddish brown hair out of his face. "This is all my fault...I never...I..."

"Honey..." Pauline started to say.

"It's true." Chelsea shook her head, surprised in a way she still had tears left. It seemed like all she'd been doing for the last few days was crying. "I put him in this mess."

Al looked up at her. He didn't know her as well as his brother did--obviously--but he'd worked with her for a time himself, at the same place Fritz met her. "I don't think that's fair."

"I didn't know that falling in love with him would doom him." Chelsea continued; if she heard Al at all she didn't show it. "I didn't know about the curse. When I found out I tried to save him...tried to keep him away so he wouln't end up like this. Instead...he threw his life away for me!"

"He loves you, Chelsea." His mother finally spoke up. "If he didn't he never would've done what he did. Noone blames you for what happened...and neither would he."

"That's not how it feels, Mrs. Baugh." Chelsea shook her head. "It feels like I did everything to prevent this...and I failed....I failed..."

Her left hand was loosely holding his right. She gasped when it closed around her thumb, like it was afraid to let go.

"His eyes!" Mary exclaimed. "I saw them flutter!!!"

Al darted off to find a nurse or a doctor.

They were beside themselves when those blue eyes opened, and squinted to take in what they were seeing. "...i must have died..." he croaked weakly. "....because i can swear there are angels standing around me..."

His mother hugged him first. Chelsea was still crying...but the first smile in two months was on her face.

I really shouldn't let that choke me up, still...I mean, technically I can't cry anymore...

Go on ahead. I've been here a lot longer than you, and I haven't left my humanity behind either. I mean, I guess if we had, we wouldn't be having this conversation, would we?

Noone else could make his choice for him--but you made sure he made the right one. You're a big part of why they're all getting together.

December 31, 2005
"I swear, if the 2Crew comes on again this year I may hurl..." Fritz grunted amiably at the TV.

Chelsea chuckled, and sat down beside him, setting some pretzels and Diet Pepsis on the table. "We did remember to get Jeremy a birthday present this year, right?"

Fritz nodded. "He's got the same problem my Grandma and my niece have--Nikki was born a week before Christmas, Grandma on Christmas itself. So they never got the presents they were due...and half the time everyone forgot."

"At least we didn't forget like we did the first year. Of course...we were kinda distracted, weren't we?" Chelsea gave him a sly smirk.

Fritz was clearly there to stay for a little bit--his prosthetic leg was off and standing nearby.

The countdown reached zero, and the ball of light in New York lit up "2006". Fritz Baugh and Chelsea Aberdeen shared a drink, then began to kiss hungrily.

Until Chelsea stopped, and pulled away.

"And here I thought we were about to reenact two years ago..." Fritz joked, confused.

"We really couldn't last year, could we?" Chelsea nodded. "You were still on Doctor's Orders then..."

"What's wrong?' he asked.

"I can't help myself...I've been doing a lot of thinking lately..." she replied. "You know that if we were still back at the K-Mart I'd be getting five years in September?"

He nodded.

"I just...so many anniversaries were right there in a row." she continued "September 27...then my birthday. Grife, I'm twenty eight now...I remember when that seemed old..."

"Chelsea...I know the last year hasn't been easy on you." Fritz looked down. "I had a long recovery...the surgery...the wound...getting the prosthetic and walking again. But I had a good reason to get through that--you."

"I know..." she smiled, eyes closed. She'd moved beyond blaming herself for his disability. Mostly.

She inhaled, and tackled him. She held him as tightly as she felt she could. She looked into his deep blue eyes and finally said what she'd been burning to say for at least the last month. "Marry me."

He blinked. "I thought tradition dictated the man ask the woman..."

"We haven't exactly had a traditional relationship, have we?"

"It's...a big step." he said.

"I know." she nodded. "But I don't think, after everything we've been through, all we've had together...I don't think I've ever been surer of anything in my life."

"Niether have I." he replied. "I will certainly marry you, on one condition..."

There were tears in her eyes. "Condition?"

"You still let me buy you an engagement ring..." His eyes were beginning to mist now too.

She laughed, and kissed him. “Now I believe you said something about reenacting two years ago...”

Our work is almost done.

Just one more big day...

The one they've been waiting for all their lives

Ghostbusters Central West
Los Angeles, California
Sunday, September 3, 2006
"Can you see it now?" the voice of Ray Stantz came through the speakers.

A crystal clear image of an empty chapel appeared, Ray's bearded face coming into view a second later.

Dr. Robert John Griffiths, charter member of the Ghostbusters West Coast, and current Reservist, nodded instinctively even though the video was only one way. "Quite clear, Doctor Stantz."

Ray laughed. "Now how many time have I told you kids to go ahead and call me Ray?"

"Sorry...Ray..." Robert chuckled.

Also sitting in the meeting room were the other Reservists that had been asked to attend GBCentral West in the absence of most of the active team. Dr. Jennifer Thompson, a parapsychologist recommended by Dr. Venkman. Zach LaVoy, who had moved back to Chicago but had volunteered for this assignment. And as acting leader, the GBWC's long-time Mobile Agent, Will Ketcham.

The team engineer, Otter Masterson, was sitting there too. Like all of the other full time members of the team, he'd been invited, but declined going because he didn't trust airplanes. "Since I helped invent'em, I know too much about 'em to trust the blasted things..." He was currently trying to see how long he could stare at Jennifer's chest before she noticed.

"I can't believe this is finally happening..." Jennifer said. "Sure took long enough..."

"Eh...marriage isn't all that big a deal..." Will shrugged.

"Well of course you don't think so--you didn't even marry Jess when you had a kid..." Robert joked.

"Different people, different needs." Will laughed. "If only Rivera and Griffin hadn't tied the knot last week--they were my best example to make people leave me alone about that..."

Ray had to laugh. "Trust me...compared to some relationships I've seen over the years, this is practically a shotgun wedding. Hang in there...I think they're about to start..."

They found this out for certain when a new voice said "So what's this?"

"The, er, closed circuit feed to L.A...so the guys there can watch..."

"I'll give'em something to watch!!! Hello L.A.!!!"

And then Ray Stantz's face was completely replaced by a giant butt.

Jennifer made a disgusted noise and Zach nearly choked on a potato chip

Will and Robert looked at each other and rolled their eyes. "Holbrook..." they said in unison.

Indianapolis, Indiana
"I swear, Dawgs..." Mike Chad whistled. "If Gozer really did show up right now, the world would be f***ed..." Chad and Peter Kong, both charter GBWC members and current Reservists, were chatting with three of their old colleages.

"I know..." Jeremy agreed. "It's kind of funny how Fritz and Chelsea started off talking about just a quiet little ceremony, and when everybody found out about it and wanted to be here that kind of became a pipe dream..."

"I'm not even sure I know all these people." Peter shook his head. "Like that guy over there? He in GBI?"

"I don't think so...if I remember right he's one of Fritz's buddies from his academic days. A geneologist from Virginia or something like that..." Jeff answered.

Jeremy turned to Kyle. "You...holding up okay, Kyle?"

Kyle looked at him for a few seconds, apparently at a loss for words. He'd grown his hair longer and grown a beard over the last few months, but at least today they were neatly trimmed. "Why does everybody keep asking me that?"

Jeremy hesitated. "Well...we know going to a wedding has got to be hard after..."

Kyle shook his head. "I told Fritz already, if I was going to have a problem I wouldn't be here. Chelsea and Fritz are my friends, and I just simply do not want to miss this. I miss Gen, I always will, but that doesn't mean I can't be happy for them!"

Gen Brown was Kyle's girlfriend of over two years; four months ago, she was cruelly murdered by the vampire Master Orus.

They had all noticed the changes in him--the formerly upbeat doctor had aquired a bit of a melancholy edge. The beard and shaggy hair were part of the change that had Kyle's friends concerned.

I wish there was something I could have done to help Doctor Stevens...he's one of the last people to deserve something like that...

I wish I could say I knew for sure things will get better for him...but I can't. I just don't know. A lot of it is up to him--and whatever happens, he's gonna need a lot of support from his friends

"Er...perhaps we should take our seats?" Jeremy said cheerfully.

"Great idea." a new voice broke in behind the five Ghostbusters.

They all turned and looked, their faces showing mutual recognition and shock.

"I take it this means I'm not late?" the newcomer asked.

"Holy crap..." Jeremy stuttered. "Fritz said he never heard back and wasn't even sure you got the message..."

"We should've known better..." Jeff rolled his eyes. "Just like you to pull this prank..."

"Looks like someone else gets to be Mister Clutch today..." Chad high-fived.

Kyle chuckled. "So should we arrange a standing ovation for you?"

"Please, no applause..."

Inevitably, perhaps, her thoughts turned to Geoff...

The fall of 1992, she was fourteen (almost fifteen)...fresh from the traumas of her parents' divorce and her move, with her mother, to a nowhere place called Avon, Indiana. Due to the wierd way the teacher in her ninth grade math class (actually teaching the Geometry that was normally a tenth grade course) arranged his seating chart, she ended up sitting next to a boy named Geoffrey Sheppard.

He was shy. Sweet. Very bright.

It wasn't until high school that he finally worked up the nerve to ask her out, but when he did they became almost inseperable. He had dreams of being a great scientist.

Deep down she knew all along that it was highly improbable that their story would have a happy, fairytale ending...but she never expected the horror movie it turned into.

Prom night 1996. A freak car accident. Her first love, a young man who had barely begun his life...dead.

Worse...years later, the horror show expanded...until it nearly claimed the man she fell in love with when the earlier wound had finally scabbed over enough to even think about loving again...

What would it have been like, Geoff? Is it wrong for me to even ask that? We were just children...but that doesn't mean it never would have worked. I know my life would be so different...would I have ever ended up at K-mart and then Ghostbusters? The thought of never meeting Fritz is so painful, yet...

If I had, and was still with you, would I have stayed? Or would it have led to even more pain than any of us deserve?

I'm sorry...for all my unwitting part in what happened to you. I will mourn you for the rest of my life...but I hope, wherever you are, you understand. I love Fritz just as much as I loved you...it's not the same, but he brings me just as much happiness...

"It's about time, Sweetheart..." Pauline Aberdeen told her daughter, adjusting her veil.

"I'm ready." Chelsea replied, giving her Mom one last hug. I've been ready for five years... Pauline gave her ex-husband a quick and meaningful hug before leaving to take her seat.

Jim Aberdeen had to rub his eyes, which were starting to mist over. "It just doesn't seem possible...it seems like only yesterday you were that freckle-faced ten year old playing with Strawberry Shortcake dolls..."

Chelsea laughed. "Now don't make me cry, Dad, or I'll have to redo my mascara..."

Jim laughed and hugged her. "My baby girl...and now look at you. A beautiful woman who's about to get married. I...I know I didn't always do right by you after your Mom and I split up...and I'm sorry. I love you, and I'm sorry I don't say that enough..."

She stayed in her father's embrace for a moment...remembering those strong arms holding her when she was younger...

The music started, and she took Jim Aberdeen's arm.

Perhaps inevitably, his thoughts turned to Ann...

Ann Fishburne had been the girl he'd been set next too in eighth grade Social Studies...then, even more teasingly, ninth grade Biology. They had dated sporadically in high school, but lost track of each other after graduation--until, as fate would have it, they met again at college.

Then something happened to her. She changed. The only way he could describe it was...it was like she was haunted. She dropped out of college not long after that, and she basically disappeared save for one tantalizing account from a friend of a friend that said she'd married.

Even more amazingly...he now knew the truth she didn't about that wierd night in 1991. When he found the old Ghostbusters New York case file called "The Zodiac Imperative"...the date, the description of "Lady Libra"...it all, suddenly, fit together.

And perhaps just as inevitably, his thoughts turned to Bernice.

I would've walked through fire for you not all that long ago...but I can't make you do more than you were willing to do, and you were unwilling to let yourself go enough to see if we could have really had something. But it doesn't matter now, Bernice...you have what you wanted. I'm out of your life. And I have what I wanted...someone who would love me without having a complex about it.

"Heh. You look like a blue penguin..." Andy Harness joked.

Fritz adjusted his tie. "You know, I got about three people right here I could substitute as Best Man at a moment's notice."

He wasn't totally kidding. His brother Al, his K-mart friend Corey Jones, and Vincent were all very close by. Truth to tell, Andy had gotten the nod mostly because he'd asked first.

"We're ready to start, Doctor Baugh..." one of the ushers indicated. Fritz nodded.

"Now don't trip or anything, Bro..." Al joked, giving him a quick hug.

Fritz laughed. "I've had the prosthetic for a year and a half now--I think I have the hang of it."

"I'll say--last time I saw you you were still in that wheelchair..."

Fritz just about did fall over when he turned to see the newcomer. "Grife on a pony! You did make it!!!"

Standing there was Dr. Joey Williams, founding CEO and Chairman Emiritus of the Ghostbusters West Coast. After forming the company and leading it for over a year, he resigned from active duty and passed the leadership role on to Fritz.

Fritz had tried to contact him about attending the wedding--but never heard back.

"You asshole..." Fritz embraced him. "This is just like you to keep us guessing..."

"I'm glad to see you too..." Joey retorted, then sighed. "And this means Miss America is off the market. Unless I move quick..."

"I would counterrecommend it, Doctor Williams." Vincent deadpanned. "Frog green is not a good color to go with that suit."

Joey made an exaggerated gulp of facetious fear. "Yessir, Mister Potter, Sir..."

"I really am glad you made it, Joey." Fritz finally said a little more sincerely. "It really makes this day...complete. Well, as complete as it could be without..."

"Without what?" Corey asked.

"Without John and Nick here..."

If only you knew, Doc, if only you knew...

Heh heh. Hey, listen...sounds like it's starting...

Fritz took one last look at his family as the strains of the wedding march started. His parents, Evan and Mary--Mom looked about ready to break out crying again. His ninety year old grandmother, looking increasingly frail, but as Fritz kept saying only half jokingly, She's probably still got a sharper mind than I do. His brothers--Al, Cliff, Curt.

Chelsea's family was a smaller section--mother Pauline and stepmom Clara. And her Aunt Dorothy, ironically enough: Jim and Chelsea had made good their word to Dorothy to forgive her for her role in the Lucindra affair if Fritz survived; their feelings were a little more mixed about the shocking revelation that, after he'd served a year in Toad Island prison, Arvis and Dorothy had started dating.

The ringbearer and flower girl were an unlikely combination--Chelsea's ten year old half-brother Scotty and Fritz's four year old niece Nikki (Curt's daughter).

And then Fritz had to roll his eyes. Amongst the family, friends, and comrades in suits and dresses, Bo Holbrook was lounging in his flight suit and a bright orange jacket.

Janine Spengler poked her husband and whispered. "I just hope they're okay even though they're rushing into this..." Egon smirked and rolled his eyes fondly in response.

"Hey, Senator, you think we'd get thrown out if I catcalled when the bride came in?" Joey whispered to Ron Daniels.

"Yes. And I'd help them do it." Ron whispered back.

When Chelsea Aberdeen finally entered on her father's arm, Joey did manage to restrain himself. Her dress was simple, but elegant...

...And clipped to her hairband was a cartoon mushroom from the Super Mario Brothers video games.

Rose, Jen Spengler, and Chelsea's college friend Suzy Pierce followed behind, the bridesmaids of the occassion.

Jim Aberdeen gave Fritz a firm handshake before stepping aside, to allow bride and groom to stand together before the altar.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..."

Bo yawned and felt like counting the seconds until it was over with. I hate this part...

"...And if there is any man who sees cause that this man and this woman should not be joined, speak now or forever hold your peace."

Corey couldn't help but glance at the door. Last chance Bernice... he joked to himself.

"Do you, Chelsea Denise Aberdeen, take this man to be thy lawfully wedded husband? To love, honor, and cherish, for better or for worse, in sickeness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

"I do..."

"Do you Fritz Victor Baugh, take this woman to be thy lawfully wedded wife? to love, honor, and cherish, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, as long as you both shall live?"

"I do."

The rings were exchanged.

"Then by the power vested in me, I do hereby declare you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride..."

And he did...

The room erupted into applause.

"Well, it's not for me so it's okay..." Joey joked.

"Now this is the part I like... Bo grumbled contentedly as he swigged down another glass of wine.

"Four kids?!" Jeremy asked incredulously.

"That's what Nick said." Leon shrugged. "Assuming he got the right information..."

Jeremy took a sip of his champagne. "Sounds like the ol' warehouse is gonna look like a daycare center before too long..." His girlfriend elbowed him gently in the ribs for that remark.

"...And it turns out I'm on some sort of Wal-Mart watch list." Andy was finishing up. The crowd was laughing heartily, especially the K-Mart workers past and present. "All over the country! So the manager threw us out after we caught their ghost...I tell you, the ingratitude."

A few more toasts were made. Ron Daniels told everyone he had four years to live down attending a Democrat's wedding before his next Senatorial race.

"If our Senators in California weren't so good, Ron, I'd try to run myself..." Fritz shouted at him. Ron feigned horror at the thought.

Joey rambled about the day he met Fritz and Chelsea, and how he flirted with her at the Anaheim theatre. "It was so cute how jealous he was, even though they weren't together then...'Hello? I hate to be in the way of the mating ritual, but do you mind?' he snapped at me all angry. But then I said 'as a gentleman, or a reasonable facsimile, I shall let the charming young lady decide' And she sure did--passing up all the fame and glory she could have had with me proves she really does love the guy. I just can't complain." There was a lot of laughter.

"I'm sure all your current girlfriends are pleased to hear that" the new Mrs. Baugh quipped.

Finally, Vincent and Ben practically dragged Fritz to the front to say a few words himself.

He looked at the crowd and finally the words came. "I look around here and I see just about everyone either one of us cares about. Our families, the friends we made both before and after joining Ghostbusters International. But I can't help think about the friends who couldn't be here...two in particular, Leon's brother Nick Hogan...and Ghostbuster John Lipsyte."

The crowd was quiet.

"Two years ago...I nearly killed myself trying to save this wonderful woman I just married from a fate worse than death--a fate she was ready to bring upon herself...to save me from dying." He shook his head. "I failed...Vincent, Bo, and Jen had to save us both in turn. And I was lying in a hospital bed clinging to life by the slimmest of threads."

Chelsea nodded, eyes closed.

"I was ready to give up...I thought I had failed completely, and she was gone...so what did I have to live for? That's when..." He took his glasses off, and rubbed his eyes. "I never told anyone this before, not my friends, not my Mom, not even Chelsea...but in the middle of that, I saw John."

The room was the proverbial pin-drop quiet.

"Four years ago I probably would have said it was a vision brought on by misfiring neurons and/or morphine, but in the line of work I'm in life after death is a pretty proven concept. He was there..."

"John told me she was safe. That the others had arrived in time. And he said..." he inhaled before continuing.

"Man, have you really thought about what this all means? Anybody can say they'd die for each other....you two were actually ready to do it. You just about did. You two not only talked the talk, you nearly walked the walk...er, excuse the phrase. "

"That's love, my friend, the kind of love that not too many people ever find."

"And that's when I knew I had to go back. Maybe John is watching us now, even...if so, thank you, my friend. Thank you from both of us."

Chelsea hugged him hard, tears in her eyes. The room gave them a standing ovation.

You're more than welcome, Doc...
"Okay...now's the part where we force people to dance!!!" Andy Harness shouted out.

"I could refuse on the grounds of disability..." Fritz protested.

"Ain't gonna work today, Fritters."

"But I was a lousy dancer even before..."

Chelsea put her index finger on his mouth, signalling him to be quiet, and pulled him to the floor as the music started.

From this moment life has begun
From this moment you are the one
Right beside you is where I belong
From this moment on

From this moment I have been blessed
I live only for your happiness
And for your love I'd give my last breath
From this moment on

I give my hand to you with all my heart
Can't wait to live my life with you can't wait to start
You and I will never be apart
My dreams came true because of you

From this moment as long as I live
I will love you, I promise you this
There is nothing I wouldn't give
From this moment on

You're the reason I believe in love
And you're the answer to my prayers from up above
All we need is just the two of us
My dreams came true because of you

From this moment as long as I live
I will love you, I promise you this
There is nothing I wouldn't give
From this moment
I will love you as long as I live
From this moment on

"Shania Twain?" Bo sputtered. "Oh dear God kill me now..."

Pauline glared at him. "The bride is very fond of this song, Mister Holbrook."

More couples--those who were able, anyway--took to the floor. Well, except for Bo, who pretty much thought dancing "is for fags".

"What?" Chad asked guiltily.

"Just making sure you don't put something in the punch..." Kyle replied.

"I promise, Kyle, I'm not spiking the punch!" I'm just distracting you so that Joey can...

"Now before you newlyweds go, I have a little surprise for you..." Venkman said, handing Chelsea a box.

"Don't open that here. Trust me on this." Janine told them.

"Okay...single girls, line up!!!" Chelsea called out. After they moved into position, she let the bouquet fly...

Rachel snatched it out of thin air.

"Can ghosts even get married?" Ben asked Vincent quietly, with humor (and a couple of drinks) in his voice.

"Gabe had better hope not," Vincent chuckled, leaning over for a moment to kiss Jill on the cheek, "otherwise, Annette would be facing down Leavenworth ectoplasm to ectoplasm for the bouquet."

"Don't put too much credence in that old superstition." Janine rolled her eyes, laughing. "Kylie caught it at mine and it took her eight years to finally marry Eduardo..."

The garter went next, fluttering straight to Joey Williams' shoulder. He quickly plucked it off and slapped it into Corey's hands.

The sky exploded into fireworks. Vincent gestured, running the show like a conductor leading an orchestra.

With a dramatic gesture, the sky lit up in bright red sparkling letters Congratulations, Fritz and Chelsea

"He really does think he's Gandalf" Bo chuckled. "This is so Lord of the Rings..."

Amongst the cheering and clapping, Vincent seemed to be in a hurry to reach the newlyweds.

"Vincent?" Chelsea asked, a little concerned.

"I think you two should get moving, preferably as soon as possible...we'll take care of the rest."

"Why the rush?" Fritz asked, eyebrow cocked.

"We'll...be hearing from the city" Vincent explained, a little perplexed. "I made a small error when I made the batch; that last enchanted firework won't dissipate until sunrise."

Bo guffawed "Good job, Mr. Wizard."

Venkman shrugged his shoulders "Well, let's at least save the booze..." he remarked calmly.

There was a round of laughter as the newlyweds said their goodbyes and were shuffled into the car taking them to the airport and a Florida honeymoon. With waves, goodbyes, and the sound of one last belch from Bo ringing in their ears, Fritz and Chelsea Baugh were on their way to the next phase of their lives.

So what's next, Nick? If what you were told is right, it's not gonna be just the two of them for very long...

The Big Guy's got a great sense of timing, John, don't worry about it...

With their history, I'd keep a close eye on New Years...

Epilog
January 1, 2007
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twenty Five
Chelsea Denise Aberdeen Baugh gently came out of a deep, satisfying sleep...

Her husband (how she still enjoyed being able to call him that...) was still in a deep slumber. She looked at him in the dim light, looking so at peace...

Did I imagine it?

It was an odd feeling...not tangible, but something...a flutter, deep in her abdomen. Something warm.

It's not a rational thought, I know...but nevertheless...Mom said she had a weird feeling on Valentine's Day 1977 and then lo and behold, in October...

She smiled. The thought filled her with such happiness...

Maybe there's no way of knowing something like this the moment it happens...maybe it's just because it's New Years and it would be just too perfect...maybe I really am just imagining things...

She settled her naked body in closer to her husband's naked body.

But what if I'm not?

The thought lulled her back into peaceful sleep...

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