DREAMS REBORN
PART TWO

By EGB Fan, Ben King, and Fritz Baugh


GBI Case File GBNY-1997-15/321
December, 1997
Ghostbusters Omnibus Timeline Year Fifteen
Janine held Egon's arm as they left the Chateau Ritz. "I hope that that was an acceptable meal?" he asked as the valet retrieved her car.

"You know it was." she answered. "Especially since there weren't any obnoxious gremlins interrupting this time..."

Egon smirked, and made a noise dangerously close to a chuckle. "I admit it was quite interesting the look on the manager's face when I produced those six year-old free meal coupons we never had the opportunity to use."

The valet arrived with the familiar yellow Volkswagen. He started to hand the key to Janine, but Egon gently intercepted it. "Would it be all right if I drive?"

Janine had to think about it for a moment...there was a strange gleam in his eye as he asked. He's up to something...hm... "Drive on, Professor" Her trust in him was unconditional.

As the car drove away from the restaurant, things were quiet. Janine took the opportunity to look out the window--it had started to lightly snow, and she was enjoying the opportunity to just watch...she normally was either making the trip in the underground subway, or of course had to keep her eyes on the road.

She realized with a start they were in Brooklyn, but not travelling toward her apartment. "This sure ain't the way back to the firehouse...Where are we going?"

"Perhaps not anywhere in particular...perhaps I'm just taking a scenic route..." he said cryptically.

"I know you too well to believe that..."

He smirked. "You are correct. I'm going to a particular destination--but I'm not telling you where. You will have to trust me."

She smirked back. "Always."

The car finally came to a stop at a section of the Jamaica Bay harbor. It was currently uninhabited, and had clearly seen better days. They walked to the railing, snow lightly crunching beneath their feet, and looked out over the Bay.

"Cold?" he asked.

"Not enough to worry about..."

"I came out here a time or two over the...intervening years. Sometimes I deluded myself into thinking it somehow made me closer to you. Other times I deluded myself into thinking it helped me let you go..."

She looked around..."Why here?"

He said nothing.

She looked around again...and it dawned on her that she had been here before...

"Just say it, Janine...you want to be just like me..." it said in a silken voice.

"Just...like..." she started to respond, robotically...

Then a new voice broke in, a familiar basso "Janine! Get away from that thing!!!"

She turned to face him. "Egon?"

"You have to listen to me!"

"No!!!" she howled, a wind rising at the bidding of the power the Fairy Godmother had given her. "Don't you get it, you Asshole!? This is all your fault!!!"

"Janine..."

"I did it all so I'd be prettier...so you'd notice me...AND YOU NEVER DID!!!" And she whacked him with another telekinetic blast

"Is this better?" she snarled, adopting the form of an Egyptian princess "Or this?" becoming an Elizabethan lady. She flew into the air, morphing into a redheaded caricature of Marilyn Monroe. "You're all alike!!!"

Egon was trying to painfully pick himself up.

"Ever since I was a little girl, they made fun of me...said I wasn't good enough for them...I fed them their teeth, but they still said it...no more! I WANT TO BE PERFECT!!!"

"You are perfect, Janine." it said. "Now there's only one thing left to do--destroy him! Destroy him and the hold he has on you, and then you will be perfect!"

Janine spread her hands, an angry red ball of force forming there.

Egon's heart was beating through his ribcage. His mind was failing him...no logical solution came to him...no logical solution...

He unstrapped his proton pack and let it drop to the ground.

"That's what I'm trying to tell you...I'm here because I'm worried about you...because I care...not because of what you look like, but because of who you are

"Give it up..." the creature gloated. "You've lost"

No logical solution.

"If you want to destroy me, Janine...I can't stop you. But before you do, I have to tell you this..." and he looked right into her eyes. "I love you..."

The creature's expression fell. No logical solution would have saved her. But one illogical truth...that the lotsabucks thought the man would never would have uttered...

"E...Egon?" Janine asked, sounding like she was coming out of a deep sleep...

She closed her eyes and nodded. "I understand...sorry, it took me a minute. It was a little better cared for and had less snow back in 1990"

"Indeed" he agreed.

"I remembered it in the middle of 1995..." she went on quietly. "It was one of the last things I remembered...it all came flooding back. The lotsabucks. What you said. The Chateau Ritz and the imps. And that night in June the Zodiac Lords ruined. I remembered us for the first time....it was right after that I moved out..."

"One more thing I did to you..." Egon shook his head.

"Egon, I wish you would quit blaming yourself for all of my mistakes." she replied. "I don't...I never did. What I said here that night was...well, I was angry and the damned bitch was still in my head..."

He stiffened. "Janine...don't you understand? It was all part of the same pattern. The way we kept torturing ourselves and each other over the years. You'd pour your heart into trying to get me to open up to you. I'd sit there like a piece of ice pretending I didn't notice. Then you'd do something rash, to either get at me or in a well-meaning attempt to get on with your life. I'd seethe and explode jealously, but you couldn't understand why. You'd have second thoughts and undo your rash effort. And I'd retreat back into logic. And the cycle repeated itself..."

She exhaled deeply, a long stream of frozen breath trailing from her mouth. "That's us...Mister Dysfunctional and Miss Codependant...it's a vicious cycle, Egon, I admit that. I've left behind the wreckage of at least one relationship that might have worked if I'd never met you. But here's the thing Egon--I did meet you. We can't pretend none of it ever happened...just like I can't pretend I don't love you. I learned that the hard way."

"I'm not asking you to..." he answered. His right hand reached into his pocket, and he pulled out a small object; a coin. "Do you recognize this?"

Her eyes went wide.

"I want you to have this...it's my lucky coin. I got it at the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows"

"I don't believe in luck"

"Keep it anyway...I've got another one at home just like it"

"You still have that?" she asked, honestly shocked.

"For some reason I could never part with it, even in the depths of my depressions over the last six years. Because..." he looked uncomfortable admitted it. "I somehow had this odd feeling...that if I disposed of it, you'd never come back to me."

"Oh Egon..." she replied, almost speechless.

"That's what you've done to me, Janine. You've taken a man who was once ruled almost totally by the logical and rational, and turned him into someone who'd find supernatural power in an inert piece of metal."

He put the coin back in his pocket. "I had to bring you to this place...that has so much meaning. Connected to an event that embodied everything that was right and what was wrong about our relationship. Because seeing you again...working with you again...and having the others come back...I had a lot of time over the last six years to think about things, and I just don't want to go back to that old status quo."

Her eyes narrowed. She wasn't totally sure she liked what he was getting at. "Meaning?"

"Meaning...Janine, we're not in the middle of a crisis. No supernatural being is influencing either one of us right now. And we're not angry at each other over anything. We have the luxury of looking at this rationally. We make a mutual decision to break that cycle of codependency and dysfunction. Logically? We acknowledge the past. Acknowledge our friendship. Even acknowledge the feeling between us." He turned away from her. "But also acknowledge that 'us' is an illogical outcome. Part as friends, and never come this way again."

She suddenly felt her legs go rubbery, and her stomach ready to return the nice dinner she'd just had. I don't believe this...after all I've done he's brushing me off AGAIN?!

"Or..."

" 'Or' what?" she could barely choke out the words, anger and sorrow starting to rise up within her.

He turned back to her, taking her hands, his face no longer solemn. He had handed her something, a small box...

"Or you marry me."

She was struck speechless, the rising anger short circuited by the words he had said and the look on his face--unguarded, open, almost pleading. Her hands were starting to tremble as she opened the box, revealing a golden ring with a sparkling diamond. "Egon, I...I..."

"I'm tired of being logical when it comes to you, Janine. I want to be human...no more denials. No more confusion. I love you, and want to spend the rest of our time together proving that."

She just stood there, tears streaming from her eyes. It was a moment she just wanted to freeze in amber, to live again and again...she'd spent the better part of fifteen years imagining this...

Egon inhaled. "If...if you say no, I would completely understand. A lot has happened to both of us...I won't deny I would be devestated, but I'd understand."

She smiled at him as she pulled off her left glove, and placed the sparkling ring on her finger. "Egon Spengler, as if there was a snowball's chance in Hell I would say no to you..." She kissed him. "Yes. A thousand times yes."

Someone who didn't know him so well might have been shocked by the uncharacteristic whoop of joy he emitted...might have been unnerved by the expression of sheer honest glee on his face..even Janine was a little surprised by being spun around in a fit of spontaneous affection.

"I shall endeavor with all my being...to make sure you do not regret this decision." was the last thing said for a while. After that, the newly betrothed simply stood there and held each other as the snow continued to fall.

Ghostbusters Central
The Next Morning
Holding out a brand new pristine jumpsuit with a fixed grin on his face, Ray was reminded of the time he got it into his head to quit the Ghostbusters and spent a brief period selling shoes instead. Of course now he didn’t have the bunny costume to help him make the sale, which was probably a good thing - it almost certainly wouldn’t make any difference to this client’s decision anyway.

“I don’t wear uniform,” Eduardo said again, for about the sixth time, his gaze, voice and posture quite unwavering.

Across the room, Peter smirked quietly to himself. Eduardo’s behaviour reminded him a great deal of the “No thanks” technique he had so recently recommended to Oscar if one day he should be offered drugs, cigarettes or alcohol he didn’t want. Just keep saying “No thanks” and eventually they’ll back off.

Roland and Garrett were in the room with them, holding the proposed new uniforms bunched up in their arms in a strange kind of attempt to bond with them and thus come around to the idea. At the moment they weren’t keen. Granted they were less reluctant than Eduardo, but not keen. Kylie, on the other hand, liked to credit herself with a little more maturity than that. She had agreed to try on the jumpsuit she had been presented with, knowing that it would be more practical in this weather anyway.

“It’s very comfortable,” Ray persisted. “At least try it on.”

“I don’t wear uniform.”

“It’s got your name on it and everything.”

“How come they only have our surnames on?” asked Roland. “This isn’t the army - don’t we want to provide a friendly service?”

“Egon was sure you’d be on our side,” Peter smiled dryly at him. Then looking at Eduardo he said, “I expected this from you, though. Why don’t you wear uniform?”

“I disapprove of the whole concept of uniform,” Eduardo returned tartly. “People who wear it think they’re better than everyone else.” Carlos Rivera. “And it creates enmity. There’d be no wars without uniforms.”

“That’s probably true,” Ray had to agree. “But… well… this is how we did it in the old days.”

“It ain’t the old days no more,” retorted Eduardo. “And this is not how we do it.”

“Oh for goodness’ sake!” It was Kylie’s voice, wafting in exasperated tones down from the floor above. “You have got to be kidding me!”

“Problem, Ky?” called out Garrett.

“Huh,” muttered Kylie, as she made her way slowly down the spiral staircase. “I think a man designed this.”

The jumpsuit she was wearing was just a little too tight, straining slightly at the bust so as to demonstrate quite accurately the shape of her breasts, the red embroidered "GRIFFIN" drawing the eye straight to them. There wasn’t much space to move around in the hip department either. Peter cut a quick glance at Eduardo, curious to see his reaction. It was pretty much what one might expect: mouth slightly open and eyes practically popping out on stalks.

Kylie didn’t seem to notice this as she went on indignantly, “I mean I’m not exactly what you might call big, am I - you’d think I could be allowed a little more room in here. Well I’m sorry but I’m not putting myself on display like this. If you want sex appeal get one of them to do it,” and she gestured towards her three male teammates.

“I think you look good,” ventured Garrett. (Eduardo was obviously thinking the same thing, but he didn’t dare say so.)

“I’m a Ghostbuster, not a model,” snapped Kylie. “It doesn’t matter how I look.”

“Ah well, too bad,” shrugged Peter. “I guess this means you won’t consider the bikini we’ve got lined up for the summer.”

“Stop imagining it and put your tongue away,” Garrett murmured to Eduardo.

“Is that supposed to be funny?” demanded Kylie, looking sharply at Peter.

“Well I wasn’t being serious,” he replied cautiously.

“You’re not in LA now, you know,” Kylie ranted on. “I think you’ll find that most of the women around here have some self-respect. If someone wants to know my name I’ll tell them myself rather than let them ogle my breasts. And until the guys answer a call topless I won’t even consider wearing this thing.”

Apparently satisfied that her point had been made, Kylie turned on her heel and headed once again for the spiral staircase. There followed an awkward silence, which Garrett soon broke with, “Well I’m not going anywhere topless in this weather.”

“Janine never took it this badly,” remarked Peter. “At least she doesn’t seem to have carried out any of those threats to sue me for sexual harassment.”

“It’s because Kylie doesn’t have a sense of humour,” explained Eduardo. “Besides which she doesn’t like being objectified, which I don’t think is unreasonable.” He was surprised to discover that he shared Kylie’s indignation. It must be because he loved her now - and he certainly didn’t like the thought of her being ogled.

“It’s only a jumpsuit,” reasoned Peter, in defensive tones.

Garrett chuckled inwardly and turned back to the TV. He'd pretty much worn the standard uniform anyway, so this really didn't matter to him much--but it was fun to watch Kylie get mad when it wasn't at him.

"Well Tom, we're here at Rockerfeller Plaza and in witness to an unusual art installation...as of yet the artist is unknown but the art appears quite flawless..." the TV was blaring on

"Diane, how many sculptures are we talking about here?"

"There must be between twenty and thirty statues in..." The voice of arts corresponded Diane Moore cut off as the camera stopped moving.

"Well, it would appear that Diane's team is experiencing some technical diffulties, we'll try return to her story in a few minutes..." Reported NY1 News Anchor Tom Ferral.

Moments later Kylie reappeared, now wearing black jeans and a sweater, and announced, “I’m going to college.”

“I’ll give you a lift,” offered Roland, making to follow her down to the garage. “I have a class anyway.”

“I’ll go too,” Garrett decided.

“Well if everyone’s going then so will I,” said Eduardo. “No need to ask if you guys’ll be ok without us.”

"Huh?" Ray asked, just a little confused. But he was saved from having to continue the conversation any further when Egon opened the firehouse door from outside and walked in. He held the door for Janine.

Ray smirked. He, Winston, and Peter hadn't said a word to him or each other when he called the night before simply saying they shouldn't expect him to return that night unless there was a "major supernatural catastrophe. Of the most apocalyptic proportion."

"Why, I thought you were taking the day off, Janine." Ray said brightly, noting Egon's somewhat rumpled clothing. At least, unlike six years ago, there wasn't a "major supernatural catastrophe" to interrupt them...

Egon adjusted his collar. "Well, there was a slight change in plans..."

Venkman slapped Egon on the back, his Cheshire grin quite obvious. "Well, I see that you followed your curfew, and passed it with seven hours to spare, too. I'm very proud of you, Professor Spengler. Here." He handed Egon a Milky Way bar. "You probably need the energy, too..."

"Actually, I feel quite invigorated. And I've had breakfast already." Which didn't stop him from starting to eat the candy.

Venkman smirked and pretended to cuff him. "Redzilla's over at her desk on her day off humming and sashaying like a cat that had eaten an entire aviary. If that doesn't say 'afterglow' I don't know what does..."

"You're up early." Egon deflected.

"Slimer monkeyed with my alarm clock again." Venkman responded. "Don't change the subject, Professor Love..."

The four younger Ghostbusters and Winston came down the stairs. "Well, about time you made it, Egon..." Winston said breezily, with a wink.

" 'Made it'?" Kylie noted.

"I'm glad everyone's here." Egon said, with a mischievous edge coming into his voice that the younger foursome couldn't remember hearing before. And their elders certainly hadn't heard often.

"You're looking quite chipper this morning, Professor." Roland said. "When I didn't see you I assumed you were already in the lab..."

Venkman snickered audibly. "Different kinds of experiments, Kid..."

Kylie froze. There was a thought starting to form in her brain...one she didn't like a whole lot...The Professor and Janine had dinner last night...and what if the reason she hadn't seen him this morning was because...he hadn't come home?!

Janine sashayed up to Egon and kissed his cheek. "Anybody notice anything different?" she said, conspicuously playing with his collar with her left hand.

"You're in a good mood? Egon's posture has slouched without the broom up his...whoa..." Venkman's eyes went wide.

"I think he just noticed." Egon deadpanned.

"Nice rock..." Winston whistled.

"Professor..." Roland began. "Does this mean..."

Egon Spengler's face contorted into the uncharacteristic wide grin. "If you are assuming that I have asked Janine to marry me and that she accepted, then your are correct."

Three men over or nearing fourty whooped and high-fived each other before taking their two old friends in a bear hug.

"I take it this meets your approval?" Egon asked.

" "Approval'?" Venkman retorted. "Other than the fact that this should've happened like ten years ago...it's about f***ing time, Spengs."

"Set a date yet?" Ray asked.

"We're looking at June..." Janine basked. "That's always been a big month for the Ghostbusters..."

Egon chuckled and cleaned his glasses. "Actually...we haven't told anyone else yet. Not even our parents. We both agreed that it would be only...proper..."

"If we told you guys first. Seeing as how you only pulled for us when even we weren't" Janine finished

"I told you before, that finishing each other's sentence thing is creepy." Venkman said with cheerful sarcasm.

"Quite a list to call..." Winston remarked, going over to the phone. "Fritz and Denise, and Kathryn at the top of the list. Uncle Cyrus and Aunt Bella and Doris and Ellis and...man, just how many relatives does Janine have, anyway?"

"Be careful, Winston. They shall be my relatives very soon." Egon noted.

"And I gotta call Aunt Lois!!! I mean, good grief, Egon, you're practically my brother which mean she's your aunt too, and..."

"And I gotta start planning the bachelor party!" Venkman said with too much excitement. "So many really good strippers I know..."

"Why do you think we haven't told him the exact date?" Janine rolled her eyes.

Eduardo, Garrett, and Roland all looked at each other, dumbstruck. Kylie went over to Egon in a daze. "Professor...congrats, y'know? You and the future Mrs. Spengler."

"Um...thank you, Kylie." Egon smiled.

"If...you'll excuse me..." Kylie said just a bit too quickly, and headed for the stairs. "I forgot to use the little girl's room..."

"Wow...just wait until our wives hear about this--they're just gonna freak!!!" Ray beamed excitedly.

"Especially Kaila..." Winston nodded. "You remember when we found out they worked together right before Janine got hired on here?"

None of the rest of them noticed the cloud cross Venkman's face. As the one who'd lobbied for this harder than any of them, he should've been soaking it in. But as a trained psychologist--and father of two--he saw a need for his presence elsewhere. He quietly headed upstairs before anyone else noticed.

Kylie escaped to the kitchen and collapsed against the sink, her knuckles blanching as she gripped the edge tightly. She never would have expected a reaction like this. It was all but inevitable that this would happen - she knew that - and yet her heart was pounding and her legs felt weak. Married. Egon was getting married. For a moment there she almost forgot whom he was getting married to. It didn’t matter; it only mattered that he was going to belong to somebody… to Janine. Kylie’s friend. Of course that mattered. She was happy for them, or at least she would be once she was over the shock to her system. She’d always known that she couldn’t have him, but now it was official.

“Hey.”

Kylie turned round sharply at the unexpected intrusion. The celebrations were still going on loudly in the next room - she didn’t even think she would be missed. But here was Peter, leaning against the doorframe with his arms crossed defensively, looking at her as though he’d just scraped her off the bottom of his shoe.

“What’s the matter with you?” he asked suspiciously.

“Oh don’t worry,” Kylie fairly spat. “They’re quite safe. Even if Janine had a bunny I wouldn’t want to boil it.”

“Sorry.” Peter’s expression softened, but he didn’t relax his posture. “It’s just that I’ve seen those two go through all kinds of hell. They’ve been hindered enough without somebody else sticking their oar in.”

“Somebody else?” questioned Kylie.

“Come on Kylie, you know the history, at least from what you’ve seen in the movies.”

“You don’t mean Louis Tully.”

“I do mean Louis Tully,” Peter confirmed, his expression darkening.

“Ha,” Kylie snorted derisively. “None of what happened was his fault. Relationships don’t break from the outside.”

“You weren’t even there.”

“Not the first time, no. But I did witness the whole bug saga. If Egon wanted me he could have had me - but he chose Janine, which I know is how it should be so you don’t need to tell me. She has a ring on her finger now. I think they’re safe.”

“I suppose you’re right,” Peter relented. “But I still don’t think Tully’s blameless.”

“Well what could he do?” reasoned Kylie. “Beg Janine to leave him and go back to Egon?”

“Well yeah,” shrugged Peter.

“Egon didn’t have to lose her in the first place,” argued Kylie. “I suppose a little guy in specs makes an easy scapegoat. But that’s not important now, is it, because they’ve moved on. Egon and Janine are getting married,” she finished, the lump in her throat suddenly choking her on the last word.

“You’re eighteen,” Peter said soothingly. “There’s plenty of time.”

“Oh I know,” Kylie nodded vigorously. “But it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m fine on my own. I just had a crush on my teacher, that’s all. He’s old enough to be my father, for crying out loud! I know it was stupid. But I guess we all get lonely sometimes.”

“Of course,” Peter said slowly, starting to panic. She looked like she was about to burst into tears.

“I lost somebody close just over a year ago,” Kylie went on. “It was Egon’s book that got me through it. It was all very reassuring - and I was lonely without her - and I’m a sucker for a bit of genius at the best of times. But that’s all it was: hero-worship. I’m not going to try and steal him away from her or anything.”

“Are you ok?” Peter asked warily.

“There’s just a lot of changes going on around here,” Kylie shrugged dismissively. “It’s hard to tell where we fit in anymore.”

“You guys are doing a really good job - better than the rest of us even, without commitments in various other parts of the country. And Egon and Janine marrying won’t really change anything around here. And - uh - sorry if I implied you were a bunny boiler.”

“Forget it.”

Peter backed slowly out of the room, leaving Kylie alone with her pain. She’d lost someone close just over a year ago… been jolted out of a crush into the harsh reality of loneliness about five minutes ago… why had she been having that conversation with him? Where, thought Peter, has that Latino kid gotten to?

Eduardo was offering his congratulations to Janine. Peter caught some of their conversation as he approached: “Won’t you be… you know… bored?”

“Bored?” Janine raised her eyebrows, looking unsure whether to be annoyed or amused. “It’s always the quiet ones, Eduardo.”

Slimer started hovering affectionately around Peter, crooning insistently in his ears no matter how vigorously he was batted away. Peter gave the ghost a hard shove with his elbow as he approached Eduardo and Janine. He then grabbed the former by the shoulder and dragged him across the room, saying slowly and deliberately, “It took me the best part of ten years to propose to my wife and my son isn’t even mine. I wasted a lot of time being miserable, same as Egon.”

“Yeah, I know,” Eduardo said blankly. “So what?”

“So get in there and avoid making the same mistakes that we did.”

One quick shove and Eduardo found that he was standing in the kitchen. Peter seemed to vanish, his voice just audible among the chatter wafting in from the next room as though he had been there all the time. The smiling conversation and Slimer’s whoops of delight signified the carefree atmosphere less than a foot away, and yet it didn’t seem to penetrate the open doorway to the kitchen.

Immediately Eduardo caught sight of Kylie. She was rinsing out a glass at the sink, her thumb squeaking against the smooth surface as she attacked a blue-black lipstick mark with a dribble of green soapy liquid. She had her back to the door, but it was easy to sense an air of sadness about her. She looked so small and vulnerable, her clothes hanging shabbily off her gaunt frame. Instinct told Eduardo to go and put his arms around her. All he wanted to do was hold her close: at that moment he didn’t want to touch her sexually or look anywhere but into her eyes. A jolt of electricity shot through his entire body as he realised for the first time that he loved her.

When Kylie turned round suddenly, Eduardo was taken by guilty surprise. There they were: the big, dark-green eyes he wanted to gaze into while he told her what he had just realised. A tight pain suddenly tugged on his heart and spread through his torso as he told himself that, even if he could find the courage to confess and say those infamous three words, she definitely would not say it back.

“What are you doing in here?” Kylie asked guardedly.

“Just needed to get away from the smug happy couple,” shrugged Eduardo. “They’re enough to make you want to throw up. What about you?”

“What about me?”

“What are you doing in here?”

Kylie watched his throat moving steadily as he talked, the quirky dark-brown goatee bobbing in and out of her line of vision. Damn - it was happening again. She felt very alone and so had started wondering what it would be like to let him touch her… run her fingers through his hair… feel his goatee brushing against her skin as he kissed her.

She mentally shook herself out of it. Kylie knew that she was only having these ridiculous, insane thoughts about him because she was no longer allowed to wonder about how she and Egon would be together. This was a different kind of fantasy, though. When she used to imagine herself alone with Egon they would talk earnestly, not touching at all. Thinking about Eduardo now, slowly moving her eyes up to meet his, she felt a strange tingling sensation behind her navel.

“I was just thinking,” she told him truthfully, ignoring the unwelcome physical reaction to his presence. “It’s about nineteen-eighty-nine.”

“No it isn’t,” argued Eduardo, understandably confused.

“No, but it should be,” explained Kylie. “The original Ghostbusters are all together. Egon and Janine are engaged and the others are married with kids. This all should have happened long ago - and we shouldn’t be here.” She leaned sideways to look past Eduardo into the next room and went on, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Roland and Garrett are having this conversation right now. I don’t feel like I belong here at all.”

“Those guys have got wives, kids and grey hair,” reasoned Eduardo. “We’ll be needed if there’s a call.”

“Does having a family really stop you doing your job?” Kylie wondered out loud.

“It doesn’t stop you, no,” answered Eduardo. “But nothing’s more important than the people you love. Venkman would get on the first plane back to LA if he thought his family needed him. They can still do it, Ky, but they can’t give it their all anymore.”

Peter was too polite to listen to their conversation, but he could see that Eduardo was still standing in the doorway. That was wrong for a start. They should be in each other’s arms by now. The atmosphere in that room must be excruciating. With a knife, Peter thought knowingly to himself. And if Torgo isn’t careful he’s gonna lose that girl to a stuck-up violinist or a nerdy little accountant.

He wandered over to Garrett and Roland and asked, “Isn’t there anything I can do to chivvy them along?”

“Relax, they’ll get there,” Garrett replied breezily, realising at once what Peter was talking about. “What’s the rush anyway?”

“If it’s meant to be it’s meant to be,” Roland added sagely. “But I still think they’re an odd match.”

“Opposites attract,” shrugged Peter, expertly ducking a sudden bout of affection from Slimer. “I just wish they’d hurry up. It’s so annoying - you just want to yell at them, ‘Kiss, you morons!’” He paused and then said, with an apologetic smile, “I’m sorry guys, it’s just déja vu getting me down. Egon and Janine pissed me off with this kind of stuff for about ten years.”

“Just a few weeks for us,” Garrett told him matter-of-factly, “before the bug guy. But remember we had Ky and Eddie doing it at the same time.”

“Wow,” remarked Peter. “This place must have been charged up higher than a jet engine.”

“Yeah,” agreed Garrett. “Pretty much.”

The Next Day
The phone began to ring and Janine, who was sat at her desk at the instant it began to ring, picked up it's receiver.

"Ghostbusters..." She greeted, but then flinched as someone on the other end of the line began to scream frantically. "Okay...okay...please stay calm madame...we'll send someone right away." Janine replied as she balanced the phone on one shoulder and began to scribble down an address on a work order. "They should be there within 30 minutes or less." She explained and hung up, then activating the alarm which drew the only Ghostbusters who had been in the building, the originals.

"This a call?" Winston asked, despite knowing what the bell was for.

"Aren't the kids around?" Peter asked, glancing around the garage in case they were lurking in the shadows.

"They should be at college studying for their exams." Egon explained as he wiped his glasses on a piece of cloth. "Which means we'll have to take their place on this call."

"Great, I've been getting the inkling to do some more ass kicking...in a ghostly sense, of course." Peter smirked as they walked over to their lockers to retrieve their uniforms.

The four Ghostbusters stood in full unform outside of a small apartment in Little Italy, three of them looking up at the four story building, the fourth was studying his PKE Meter with a definate frown on his face.

"Odd." Egon commented.

"Something wrong big guy?" Peter asked, peering over the physicist's shoulder to see if anything obvious was being displayed on the meter's screen.

"Nothing I can pinpoint...but there's an odd signal here..." Egon explained with excrutiating vagarity.

"Well, looks like whatever it is scared most people indoors," Winston commented. "This place looks like a ghost town." For the first time, Peter, Ray and Egon looked around their surroundings, not only was the place deserted, but eerily quiet.

"We'd better head inside." Ray replied as he checked his watch, they then entered the apartment building, taking the elevator to the third floor apartment which was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ackland. The Ghostbusters stepped off of the elevator and walked along until they reached the apartment they'd been told to go to. Egon knocked on the door and waited.

"What sort of spook could we be dealing with?" Winston asked.

"From the notes Janine wrote on the dispatch notice, Mrs. Ackland was 'Crying that her husband wasn't talking and that he felt dead', apparantly Mr. Ackland saw something, and that now Mrs. Ackland cannot get any sign of life from him." Egon replied as he studied the note, he frowned and knocked again. "Mrs. Ackland? It's the Ghostbusters! We're here in relation to the incident with your husband...hello?" Egon shouted through the door, knocking again.

"Maybe she went out?" Peter supposed.

"Doubtful." Ray replied.

"Yeah...I know...a person in a severe case of emotional fragility caused by a loved one being hurt will almost never leave that loved one's side until help has arrived...okay...you think we should break the door down?" Peter asked.

"Let's try to avoid any overly brutal force." Egon replied. "For now let's check the surrounding area."

Once Egon had taken the first step into the alleyway his PKE Meter began to beep loudly.

"I'm getting that strange signal again...I wonder if it's not unfair to connect it with what could have happened to Mrs. Ackland's husband." Egon pondered.

"Well...without seeing him, it's a bit of a vague theory..." Ray replied.

"Agreed." Egon replied. They walked along the alleyway for a bit before Peter wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"Yuck...I thought Tuesday was supposed to be garbage day, it's nearly noon." Peter muttered.

"Maybe the garbage guys go spooked by the...well...the whatever." Ray suggested.

"Sounds like it to me." Winston replied, shortly before being catapalted into a brick wall when Peter slammed into his shoulder. After gaining his footing and making sure neither of them were harmed, he narrowed his eyes at Peter. "Just what the hell are you playing at Peter?!"

"Sorry, boot laces came undone." Peter replied sheepishly.

"Ugh..." Winston muttered, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "For the sake of our lives Peter...could you try to double tie your shoe laces? At least you could tuck in your jumpsuit pants..."

"Look. you guys run on ahead...I won't be that long..." Peter replied, he knelt down and began to tie up his shoe laces, vaguely aware that the other three Ghostbusters had moved on around a corner. "Never heard of a killer shoelace." Peter muttered, he then stood up and began to walk in the direction that he'd been vaguely aware that his friends had vanished in, wrinkling his nose as he walked. "Guys, I hope we can tie this up quickly, this place smells like three week old Gorgonzola." Peter replied, he frowned when he didn't receive a reply. "Guys?" He asked, turning the corner...what he saw made him stop dead in his tracks.

To Be Continued

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