LOVE SONGS:
BELIEVE

By Fritz Baugh

Previously
Once upon a time in Romania, two teams met while investigating the same vampire lord. One team was the world-famous Ghostbusters--Dr. Ray Stantz, Dr. Egon Spengler, Winston Zeddemore, and Dr. Peter Venkman. The other team was the far-less-famous (by design) "Inquisitors" --Liz Hawthorne (the wizard Lady Enlightenment), Father Diego Portenza, Barney Lupin (the werewolf Nightclaw), and Lilly Peacecraft.

Boy (Ray) met Girl (Liz) and some sparks started to fly.

It's four years later. Boy and Girl are now planning to become Husband and Wife

Truro, Nova Scotia
December 20, 1994
The Twenty-Ninth Day of Sagittarius in the Fourth Year of the Age of Aquarius
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Twelve
"Nervous?" Liz asked.

"Extremely" Ray answered. "I mean, this is important. This is your family. If I mess this up and they hate my guts, we both gotta live with it for a long time to come..."

"You won't mess up." Liz shook her head. "Just be yourself."

"I know, I know...but man, I really envy you." Ray managed to make a slight smile. "Since my family mostly hates each other, you only have to worry about my Aunt Lois and Cousin Samantha."

"And I'm sure that's going to be just fine!" Liz pointed out. "I already talked to Aunt Lois on the phone when you told her about the engagement--she was thrilled! You always told me she could get along with just about anybody, remember?"

"Well, yeah...I know..." Ray nodded. "I guess you're right."

"Now there, get used to saying that." She teased.

Ray smiled. That and "Good Morning, Mrs. Stantz"...And Aunt Lois wasn't nearly as shocked as some other people...

Two Months Earlier
"You're WHAT?!" Peter Venkman's tinny, shocked voice called from the phone receiver.

"We're getting married, Peter." Ray responded. "Liz and I."

"Holy cow, did you get her pregnant that quick?" Venkman asked.

"No!' Ray rolled his eyes. "She asked me to marry her; I said yes, it was that simple."

"That works? Just agreeing you love each other and getting married without years of breakups and drama?" Venkman said, with mock incredulity. "Who knew?"

"I figured it was up to me to break that pattern, yeah. Though she did have to go away for three years and I didn't hear from her, so there was a little bit of drama there..."

"To be serious for a second...ow, saying that hurts...I...wow...this is awesome, Ray. So...date set yet?"

"Not yet." Ray shook his head, even though Venkman couldn't see him. "But probably during the summer, between semesters. I'm just getting started here at the U of I, so can't really take an extra time off yet. We're thinking of going to Nova Scotia during Christmas; most likely, that's where the wedding will be, too."

"Oh, well, at least it's not New Jersey." Venkman quipped.

And...
"Married, huh?" Winston Zeddemore whistled. "Congrats, Man. To you and Liz both."

"Thanks."

"I wish I'd married Kaila sooner...maybe the first time we crapped out of business, but I didn't have any money that time. It was easier in '91..."

"Well, I always figured when the time was right for two people, they'd know. And we knew."

"Yeah..." Winston paused for a second. "So is she still gonna do the wizard thing?"

"Oh yeah. I mean, I'd never dream of asking her to give it up anymore than she'd have asked me to stop being a Ghostbuster. We're not gonna be together 24/7/365, but we're both okay with that."

"Just gonna make up for lost time when you are, right?" Winston chuckled. "Glad to hear. It can be done--there are soldiers and sailors and guys who fly planes for a living who make it work, no reason you can't. You keep me informed on when the date is--I'm hopin' Kaila, Charlene, and I can be there."

And...
"I'm really happy for you Ray Janine can't come to the phone right now she stayed out late with her friend Rose and got really drunk so now she has like an enormous hangover and I hope she doesn't lose her job..."

"I...er...gotta go, Louis."

[CLICK]

And...
"You have reached the residence of Dr. Egon Spengler. I cannot take your call at this time. If you feel you must, leave a brief message after..."

[CLICK]

"I keep hoping one of these times he'll pick it up but he never does..."

Now
"Of course, as luck would have it as soon as you got off the phone with Egon's answering machine, we had a little surprise dropped on us"
Then
"Still didn't answer..." Ray shook his head.

"I'm sorry." Liz told him. "I got your mail--here's something from Bernard."

"Hey! Great! Open it!" Ray said.

Liz did, and they were confronted with a picture of Barney Lupin sitting beneath a sign saying "Trader Vic's". He was sipping a pina colada...

So was Mariko Lupin.

" 'And my hair is perfect.' Barney wrote on the back of the picture." Ray said. " 'PS from Mariko--I never told you this, Doc, but yes, I'm a furry.' "

And Back To Now
Liz shook her head and rolled her eyes. "I guess if they're happy...but it makes Bernard a bit of a cradle robber. He's older than either of us...born in 1954 if I remember right...while Mariko..."

Ray nodded. "1974, I think. She got her first degree at 17; second fastest I ever heard of."

"Lizzy!!!" a female voice called.

"Cheryl!" Liz called back. Ray saw a woman waving at them, and Liz started to wave back.

The woman came up to them, and she embraced Liz warmly. "About time."

"Yeah, well, I couldn't bring anyone else along on my broom, so we had to make due with mundane means of transport."

" 'Broom'?" Ray asked.

"You mean you haven't shown him the broom yet?" the woman teased, elbowing Liz.

Liz laughed. "Just a little joke, Ray. Cheryl, this is Dr. Ray Stantz; Ray, my sister."

"Cheryl Brushett." She shook Ray's hand. "You've been holding out on us--you didn't tell me he was a doctor."

"Actually, my PhD is in Mechanical Engineering with some side degrees in..." Ray started to point out, and then stopped. "Oh. This is another joke, right?" He grinned.

"Well, he learns fast." Cheryl chuckled.

Ray took a second to take a look at Cheryl Hawthorne Brushett. She looked a lot like Liz, though perhaps a bit heavier, but with much larger, fluffier hair.

"Been waiting long?" Cheryl asked.

"Nah. Just got off the train five minutes ago." Liz answered.

"Well, then I think it all worked out, then." Cheryl said. Ray had to admit, he was already starting to like her. "Welcome to Truro, Ray Stantz!"

"...Actually named for a town in Cornwall." Cheryl continued as she drove.

"I've been there!" Liz giggled. "Aunt Tegan took me there one week when Rein•Hagen was between terms. The Cathedral there was stunning."

"Yeah, yeah, brag about your world-spanning exploits, Lizzy." Cheryl quipped. "Cobequid wasn't as exciting, but I got by."

Ray looked out the window. "So there're lots of trains here? The station was pretty busy and that's like the fifth crossing we've gone through..."

"Yep." Cheryl nodded. "We're the 'Hub of Nova Scotia'--the Canadian National Railway has a major junction here, easy access to Halifax, Montreal, and the Cape Breton lines. My husband works at the terminal."

"Sounds like he'd have a lot to talk about with a couple of my friends." Ray chuckled. "Peter used to say he took engineering for two years before he realized it didn't have anything to do with trains; and he kinda got Winston into it for a while too..."

"Lizzy said you could be a talker." Cheryl said cheerfully. "It'll be interesting to see what Jay thinks of you..."

" 'Jay'?" Ray asked Liz

"My nephew." Liz reminded him.

"Oh yeah...Justin." Ray nodded. "I guess I'm more nervous that I thought."

"...Can't believe it!" Ten year old Justin "Jay" Brushett fumed. "She broke my Thunder Megazord!!!"

On the other end of the phone line, his friend Greg sighed. "Look, there's no way she did it on purpose, Jay."

"I know, but...it's still broken! How can the Megazord fight Lord Zedd when the Firebird can't connect!!!"

"I still can't believe half the team left. I mean, I like the new guy Adam, but Rocky seems kind of a dork after Jason."

"Yeah...but at least Kimberly's still there!"

"I'm tellin' Lori you said that!!! I bet that's why she broke it!!!"

"Don't you dare!!!" Jay cried. "And you said she didn't do it on purpose!"

"Jay!" a voice called. "Get off the phone! They're back."

"Okay, Gram!" Jay called back. "I gotta go, Greg--my Mom is getting back with my Aunt Liz and her fiance."

"Your weird aunt is getting married?" Greg said incredulously. "So who'd she find to marry her? A werewolf?"

"My aunt is not weird!" Jay replied. "And I dunno...I think Gram said he's some kinda scientist or something."

"A nerd, then?"

"In case you ain't noticed, Greg..." Jay pointed our. "We're nerds..."

"JUSTIN BRUSHETT!!!"

"I gotta go before Gram breaks out the middle name." Jay and Greg said their goodbyes, he hung up the phone, and he sauntered into the living room.

Ray felt a wistful pang as he looked at the Hawthorne house, decked out in Christmas lights. He'd always loved Christmas, despite his parents dying just before Christmas of 1970; he preferred to remember the ten Christmases before that--at least the ones he was old enough to remember--when his father shouted "ho ho ho" every morning, his mother broke out a Gaelic Christmas carol Ray couldn't help thinking sounded dirty, and his brother and sister didn't hate his guts yet.

Maybe a new Christmas memory or two would be born here.

Cheryl opened the door. "We're here!"

"Lizzy!" an older woman called, and raced to embrace her.

"Hi, Mom." Liz responded.

The older woman broke from Liz, and looked Ray over. She had silver hair, but Ray could definitely see the resemblance to her daughters.

"Mom, this is Ray."

"Ray Stantz, Mrs. Hawthorne!" Ray said brightly, extending a hand. "Nice to meet you at last!"

"You're even cuter than Lizzy made you sound!" she said, hugging him. "And none of that 'Mrs. Hawthorne' stuff--you call me Patricia. I insist!"

"Um, sure!" Ray said. "But only if that's really your name."

Patricia Fielding Hawthorne laughed deeply. He liked the sound. "I like him already, Lizzy!"

Ray had to admit, the good first impression was mutual.

"Now where's that grandson of mine?" Patricia looked around. "I called him from his room as soon as I saw Cheryl's car..."

"Probably on the phone with Greg again." Cheryl rolled her eyes. "He's been in a snit since Lori broke one of his toys."

"Your weird aunt is getting married?" Greg can be so stupid... Jay thought to himself.

He never thought his aunt was weird...but when he was eight years old he realized how everything his Mom and Gram told him about Aunt Liz didn't quite add up. Something just seemed off to him about all the excuses why she wasn't around much--why she basically dropped out of their lives for three years.

But Jay figured it out.

Aunt Liz was a spy.

I mean, it all fit into place. She couldn't talk about her work; Mom and Gram knew what she did, but not all the details because, of course, then Aunt Liz would have to kill them.

But it made sense--she spent so much time away because she was saving the world from drug cartels; evil spies; and mad geniuses, mostly because they couldn't stop boasting about their weird plans of World Domination which gave her time to escape from their death traps and kick them in the face. Then she would drive her high-price sports car to an exclusive spy club and drink shaken martinis while telling her spy friends about her latest conquest.

And she disappeared for three years? Well, clearly it's because she went undercover. Probably to stop some evil organization like Cobra or Shadowlaw. The world is saved because she spent three years away from her family!

Aunt Liz wasn't "weird"--she was freakin' awesome!!!

And now she's getting married? Yeah...to a "scientist"...right. Probably another spy. He'll have a British accent and look like Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan.

I am gonna have the coolest uncle ever

One Minute Later
To say Jay was surprised would be an understatement. Where was Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan or a young Sean Connery? Who was this slightly pudgy auburn-haired guy? He actually looked...like a scientist. I'm gonna have the lamest uncle ever.

"And this is my nephew, Jay Brushett." Aunt Liz said. "Jay, my fiancé, Dr. Ray Stantz."

"Yeah, hello..." Jay started to grumble as he shook the man's hand.

Then it hit him.

His eyes went wide.

"Nice to meet you, Jay!" Ray said, a note of nervousness appearing in his voice.

"Jay?" Cheryl asked, noticing her son's sudden reaction.

"Ray Stantz?!" Jay asked excitedly. "You're Ray Stantz, the Ghostbuster?!"

Ray looked at Liz. She shrugged.

"Well, I mean, I was. But..." Ray started to say.

"My Aunt Liz is marrying Ray Stantz?!" Jay said, now more clearly excited. "Ray Stantz is gonna be my Uncle! My Uncle Ray is a Ghostbuster!!!"

"Um..."

"This is AWESOME!!!" Jay said, now running around the room. "You were my favorite! I even have the toys!!! The only way the toys could have been any cooler were if there were Lego size ones!!!"

"You got me, Jay." Ray said. "I mean, I'm not a Ghostbuster anymore."

Jay stopped. "Why not? Did Peter kick you off the team?! That is just so not..."

"No, no...nothing like that." Ray shook his head. "We...well, I guess you could say we caught all the ghosts and went out of business."

"So what do you do now?" Jay asked.

"I teach at a university in Idaho." Ray answered. He remembered something Cheryl had said earlier. "Plus I sometimes fix toys."

Jay felt a little embarrassed. "Well, it's not a Ghostbuster toy..."

Ray laughed. "I don't discriminate."

He looked at his Mom, Gram, and Aunt. "I guess I could get you to take a look at it..."

"Wow! The Thunderzords? Awesome!" Ray said. "So what's broken?"

"The Firebird." Jay answered, picking up the indicated toy. "The dumb girl down the street broke the wing."

Ray looked it over.

"You...know about Power Rangers?" Jay asked.

"Some." Ray shrugged. "I saw some Japanese superhero shows when I worked on a case there back in '91; I recognized that Power Rangers used some footage from some of those shows for the battle scenes and monsters and robots. It reminded me a lot of the Lizardo movies I watched as a kid."

"Most grown-ups think it's stupid." Jay noted.

Ray shrugged again. "I never understood why adults feel like they have to shut out stuff they might enjoy as part of the process of 'growing up'. It just takes an open mind. I'm not the only one--you know I got Egon Spengler to watch 'Murray the Mantis'?"

Jay laughed at that thought.

"Peter works in LA, and his son Oscar is a Power Ranger fan too." Ray continued. "Has the original Megazord, the Dragonzord, and Titanus."

"The whole original Ultrazord?!" Jay said. "Man, we never could find all that stuff here!"

"There was quite a run on it, as I recall." Ray added. "I think Oscar's sister plays with them too."

"Hope she doesn't break any of it..." Jay said sourly.

"I gather Oscar's the one more likely to break them." Ray said. There was a loud snap that scared Jay, but Ray smiled. "There! I think it's working now!"

Jay took the Firebird and looked it over. "Oh wow! It works again!!!"

"So show me how the Thunder Megazord works..." Ray asked.

"Okay, well..." Jay talked excitedly. "The Red Dragon Thunderzord kinda forms the basic body, like this. So the Unicorn and the Griffin become the legs, and then the Lion becomes the arms and torso, the Firebird becomes the waist armor, and then this piece of the lion..."

" 'And I'll form the head!' " Ray interrupted.

"Huh?"

Ray chuckled. "Never mind..."

"...Okay, so then here's the sword, which when the Thunder Megazord pulls it there's always this waterfall graphic and then it julienne's Lord Zedd's monster!" Jay continued.

"That's awesome!" Ray said.

"You really think so?" Jay asked. He just wasn't used to an adult seeming interested in this. At all.

"Yeah." Ray said. "Actually...in a weird way it reminds me of when I was a Ghostbuster."

"How is that?"

"It's all about friendship and teamwork." Ray answered. "There were five of us working together...we couldn't form a giant robot, but when we worked as a team, there was no ghost, demon, or metaspectre we couldn't handle! 'Five who are One' somebody once called us."

Jay hugged Ray. "Thank you so much for fixing it, Uncle Ray!"

"You're more than welcome, Jay."

As he stood there hugging his aunt's future husband, Jay Brushett returned to his original assessment.

I am gonna have the coolest uncle ever!!!

Without love
I wouldn't believe
I couldn't believe in you
And I wouldn't believe in me

--Bernie Taupin, 1994
Questions? Comments? Go to the Ectozone Message Board
Based on Ghostbusters Created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis