APOCRYPHA:
THE TIES THAT BIND

By Ghostdiva

It was a rainy day in New York. It was almost one in the afternoon and the sun had still not made its appearance for the day. It was so wet, in fact, that the cats in the alley had even had enough since to take shelter, so why was a person standing out in the rain in front of Ghostbusters' headquarters.
"Knock" "Knock" "Knock" The man stood at the front doors of Ghostbusters' headquarters, ignoring the closed until 2:00 sign hanging there, knocking on the door and trying to avoid the ominous rain.

"Hey, anybody home?" The soaking wet man shouted as he beat on the door again.

Inside Ray was making his way to the basement when he heard the knock at the door.

"Just a minute." Ray made his way to the door also ignoring the fact that they were closed for the afternoon, and without hesitation he opened the door and was surprised to see the rain soaked form of Peter's father before him. He gave him the once over taking note of the two rather large suitcases by Charlie's side.

"Charlie. Hi, come on in, Peter didn't tell me you were coming into town."

"Yeah, well, I kinda forgot to tell him, how you been."

"Peter will be so glad to see you. I've been good, we all have, and business is good too."

"Glad to hear it Ray my boy."

"Peter's upstairs why don't you go on up to see him while I get you a towel." Ray grabbed Charlie's suitcase and headed up. "Where are you planning on staying?"

"Well, I actually was hoping that I could crash here for a few days, that is if Peter will let me, did you say that he was upstairs?"

Ray, deciding to overlook the topic of Peter's dad at the firehouse, simply answered with a "yea I think so," and headed for the bunk room were he was sure to be out of the way.

Charlie started up the stairs and asked Ray as he left, "Why are you guys closed anyway?"

"Well, Janine had a doctor's appointment and Peter said that with her and Egon both gone there wasn't much point in opening today, I really think Peter just wanted a day off though." As he was talking he stopped on the second floor landing and confirming that Peter was still lying on the couch, called out, "Hey Pete you've got company," and continued up the stairs.

"Who is it," Peter asked as he sat up, it was obvious by the sound of his voice that he had been asleep.

"It's me Son, come and give your dear old dad a hug."

"Dad?" Peter jumped up from the couch at this and walked over to his father. "What are you doing here, and why are you all wet?" Peter asked as he lifted his hand from his dad's shoulder.

"Well, I was in Jersey?working and I happened to think to myself, how can I come this close to where my son is and not stop by to see him, so here I am."

"Well as lovely as that may sound, why are you really here, are you running from the cops, do you need money? no, let me guess, you've gotten our name mixed up in another one of your scams, right. Well let me tell you as much as I'd hate to disrupt the scam you have going, I'm gonna have to tell you to stop, I simply can't take the risk on this business right now."

"Son, I'm hurt. I am on vacation. I could have gone to the Caribbean to spoil myself, but instead I came here, see. I even brought my clothes, ask Ray. No scams, Scouts honor."

"Pop you were never a scout."

"Then you'll just have to trust me."

"Yeah and we both know how well that usually goes."

"Hey, I'd love to argue with you but do you think I could change out of these clothes first, I'm freezing."

"Sure, go ahead; you know were the bathroom is."

Charlie walked out to the stairs and up towards the bunk room. Peter stood watching him go, wondering what his father was up to and hoping that it wouldn't make it into the papers.

Several minutes later a dry Charlie Venkman came back into the living area of headquarters, where his son was back to watching TV.

"Didn't I ever tell you that too much TV can rot your brain?"

Before Peter could answer, Winston walked into the room.

"Hey, Mr. Venkman, it's good to see you. How long are you here for?"

"Well, that's up to Peter, as a mater of fact. That's what I came down here to talk to him for."

"Okay what have I got to do with how long you're staying in New York?"

"Well, I didn't exactly make any hotel reservations on the off chance that you boys would let me camp out here for a while."

"How long is a while, Pop?"

Charlie wrapped an arm around his son's shoulders and spread wide the all too familiar Venkman smile and let the charm fly, after all he did need this to work.

"I'm glad you asked. You see the thing is I want to get a job here, a real one, right here in New York, and I just need to save some money until I can afford to settle somewhere else. I've decided to come clean, no more scams."

"What's the matter pop you run out of money?"

"Well, not really, it's more like I ran out of good ideas. I started re-running some of my old ones and it just didn't work so I decided to call it quits."

After this revelation both Winston and Peter were wearing shocked expressions on there faces. But Peter took a good look at his father and for the first time in a long while he actually believed him.

"Alright, as long as you're really not gonna pull any scams, you can stay; but the minute I smell something fishy, you're out. I love you Pop, but we do not need any bad publicity right now, got it?"

"Yeah sure, clam down. I am serious." Relief washed over Charlie and he decided to make good of his invitation and do whatever his son thought he should to get on track.

"Good, welcome."

At this point Winston sensed that Peter really was okay with this and walked up to Charlie and gave him a firm handshake.

"It's good to have you here Charlie, always nice to have another chef in the kitchen."

"You got it Winston, as a matter of fact, I'll make dinner tonight."

With that Charlie walked to the kitchen and began to excavate the refrigerator for food.

"Hey you boys don't have any food; we're going to have to make a trip to the store."

Trying to keep a positive spin on things, Peter turned to Winston and said, "How about it Winston, you up for a grocery run?"

"Yeah, we should all go, we'll need all three buggies." Winston said and they all headed for the downstairs garage. As Peter, Winston and Charlie were downstairs trying to make up a grocery list, Egon Spengler was helping his pregnant wife out of a taxi cab parked at the entrance of headquarters.

"Janine, I really think that it would be wise to heed the doctor's advice and go on maternity leave early."

"First of all," Janine began as she rolled her eyes and walked, with a slight waddle, towards the door, "that was not my real doctor, my real doctor is out of town and she said that I didn't need to go on leave as long as I take it slow. So I really don't want to discuss it anymore. Second of all the girl wasn't even a real doctor, she was a student."

Now in the firehouse they made their way over to Janine's desk, ignoring the audience, as Egon continued, "I know Dr. Greer said that, but it was more than three weeks ago when you last saw her, it may have been true then but I have to agree with the doctor we saw today and insist that you at least find yourself some part time help. Your sister said that she could come down on the weekends and I'm sure my mom could come down a few days a week and?"

Before Egon could finish his sentence, Janine interrupted him, " Oh no, just a minute, even if I did agree to part time help, there is absolutely no way that I would get our family members involved. All I would ever hear from my sister is how she didn't have to have any help when she was pregnant with Victor because her husband made enough money to support her so that `working never even crossed my mind,' Ha! If you think that for even one minute that I want to spend the next twenty years on that discussion then you are wrong. And I don't say that very often."

"Well, what about someone else?"

At this comment the couple turned, and for the first time seemed to notice the presence of the three other people.

"What are you getting at Peter, do you mean to tell me that you, mister cheapskate himself, would be willing to hire some one, pay them money, to help me do a job that I was perfectly capable of doing by myself just a few months ago. Why I don't believe it."

Janine was sitting by this time and everyone had gathered around her desk. She was unsuccessfully trying to cross her arms across her chest in order to look intimidating but she failed utterly because she couldn't do it with out propping her arms on her belly.

"Ah, Janine, you know me too well, I wouldn't dream of spending one dime of my hard earned money making you comfortable, but that wasn't my point. You said you didn't want your families involved, but what about mine? You see, my dear old dad here, "Peter paused to dramatically wrap an arm around his father's shoulder, "he wants to hang up the con man act and has come to me seeking help in finding a real job. So you see this is great. Pop can work here and save me money until you have the baby and that way he can work on getting a really good permanent job."

Seeing the expression on everyone's face Charlie decided that he had better voice something on the matter.

"Son, are you sure that this is a good idea?"

"Yes Peter, do you think that's really that best solution." Egon asked looking Peter in the eye. Egon had become decidedly protective of Janine since she announced that she was pregnant and he never had been really trusting of Peter's father.

"Well, all I know is that my dad needs a job until he can get back on his feet and Janine needs help until she can get back on hers, so yeah I think this is a good solution."

Egon let out an inaudible sigh and turned his attention away from his friend and back to his wife. "What do think Janine, will you cut back your hours if Charlie helps out with your duties?"

"As long as it will get you to stop making a big deal about it, I couldn't care less."

"Good," Peter said, "then it's settled; now if you'll excuse us we were just on our way to the grocery store when you guys came in."

With that Winston, Charlie, and Peter got in ecto and left.

Later that day, Peter went to go and drag Egon out of the lab for dinner. Without knocking Peter entered and walked right up behind the physicist without being noticed.

"Hey Big Daddy, what are you working on?"

"Peter, please don't call me that it's very?odd."

"Hey, if the shoe fits?, what are you working on?" Upon closer inspection Peter saw that there was only a blinking cursor on the computer screen in front of his friend. "Or should I say what's bugging you?"

Egon looked up at Peter and gave him an expressionless but altogether depressed expression.

"I wish you hadn't suggested that your father help Janine with her job."

"Now look here Spengs, I already told you that he wants to earn some cash and that I think he actually came here for help. I think he really means it this time, and besides, I've already told Janine not to let him get into anything, or even so much as make a phone call if it seems like it could be a scam. I think it will all work out this time, I mean he learned his lesson, don't you think?"

" No, I don't," With the quick response Egon got out of his seat and began to pace the lab, a habit he had developed in recent years, starting with the day before he proposed to Janine. "And your father, although a concern, isn't really the problem. You missed the first part of the conversation between Janine and me earlier today. While at the doctor's office, Janine wasn't able to see her regular physician, and the temporary replacement was only a third year resident. It seems that there has been a change, for the worse in Janine's blood pressure levels, and the resident suggested that going on an early maternity leave and resting more than usual would be the better option for spending of the remainder of her pregnancy."

Egon paused here, worry evident on his face as he removed his glasses and began to polish them on a spare cloth lying nearby.

"Needless to say that Janine wasn't at all receptive of the new physician. She told the young women that her regular doctor had said that she and the baby were in perfect health at her last visit and, well, let's just say that she isn't ready to accept the reality of what seems to be turning into a difficult third trimester. So we argued all the way back here and she, as you already heard, refuses to stop working until she is able to see her regular obstetrician again. That is why I wish you had discussed this with us before making the decision, but I suppose it will be alright, if the condition is still present when she returns in two weeks for her next check up, then I'm sure she will be put on bed rest, in the meantime, we should all keep an eye on her."

"Geez, Egon, I had no idea. I'll talk to pop, let him know to help keep an eye out for trouble, how for the worse are we talking though, I mean is there anything that I can do, should we carry her around on a pillow for the next twelve weeks?"

Egon had stopped pacing after his speech and he and Peter were now standing by the door to the lab. Egon could tell that Peter was as worried as he was, even though Peter and Janine spent most of there time arguing with one another.

"I really don't think it is that serious yet, I'm sure the doctor is only intending to be cautious at this point, but she did mention that without rest it was unlikely that her blood pressure would get any lower, which could be dangerous for both her and the baby, but I suppose it is ultimately Janine's decision as to how this should be handled."

Just as Egon and Peter finished there conversation, there was a slight knock at the lab door and Ray came barreling through.

"Hey guys, dinner's getting cold, what's taking so long?"

"Well, Egon here was just enlightening me to all the joys that go with having a pregnant wife, and I am sure you will get the recap later, so let's not keep dinner waiting."

Charlie had been working with Janine for a little over two weeks and things seemed to be going well as an uncharacteristically exuberant Janine Spengler walked into the kitchen of Ghostbusters headquarters.

"Good morning everyone; what a lovely morning. What's for breakfast?"

"Well good morning Mrs. Spengler, how would you like your eggs cooked this morning?" Charlie asked as he served his last round of scrambled eggs onto a plate and handed them to Ray.

"I think I'll skip the eggs, all I want is cereal and milk, if there is any." With that Janine opened the refrigerator and began skimming through the contents.

"Janine you seem to be having a good day, what gives?"

"Well, I don't know, I haven't felt very well in a while, but since Charlie's been here the last two weeks I just feel like some of the pressure has been lifted from me."

"I sure am glad to hear that, for once Egon was wrong and I was right." Peter said this as he made his way down the stairs, to everyone's surprise.

"I can assure you Peter I am as shocked as you are, and if everyone will excuse us, Ray and I have some work to do in the lab. When Winston gets back from the DMV please ask him to meet us up there."

"Hey, am I not allowed in on the party?"

Just as Peter was about to begin his pseudo ranting the telephone rang. "Guess that's my cue to get to work." Janine then went over to the closest phone and began to take notes from the caller on the other end of the line.

"Yes thank you sir, they'll be there right away."

"Hey Peter, you guys have an emergency upstate will you go and let the others know, you'll have to leave as soon as Winston gets back."

"Alright guys I think that's everything, ready to move out?" Peter was standing next to Ecto-1 waiting on the others to join him

"Okay, Janine, you know the drill, take messages, lock up early, we should be back around midnight."

"Don't worry about things here, Janine and I will hold down the fort." Charlie was coming down the stairs followed by Egon and Ray, who were carrying the last armload of equipment that they intended to take with them. "You boys be careful, and we will see you in the morning."

"Yeah, you guys better be careful, especially you Egon." Janine had Egon pinned under her watch as she said this; until she was sure he got the hint.

"As always Janine, I'll do my best. Call if you need us." With that last comment, the Ghostbusters piled into Ecto-1 and exited the firehouse. "Well, Miss Janine what are we going to do today?"

"I don't know, honestly I'm glad they are leaving, I've been putting on a front all morning, I feel awful; but the paperwork is caught up so if you wouldn't mind just watching the phones and scheduling appointments, I think I am going to go upstairs for a nap."

"Sure, Janine if that's what you want, but are you sure you're okay. I mean it's not any of my business, but maybe you should take the way you feel more seriously under the circumstances, I mean when Peter's mother?" Charlie was interrupted by the ringing of the telephone and Janine picked it up and began to talk.

"Hey Doris, listen I'm glad you called, Egon and I are not going to be able to make it to dinner tonight, the guys got a call up state and won't be back `til late tonight?Well, I don't know let me ask."

" Hey Charlie, my sister wants to know if you would like to go to her house for dinner with me tonight, you see she has already defrosted and baked and everything, and says it would be less trouble if I just came anyway, but I can't fit behind the wheel of my car anymore."

"You know Janine, I think I will take you up on this. It's been a while since I have been invited over to someone's house for dinner."

"Great." "Hey, Doris, Charlie said he would love to and we will see you at eight. Love you too, bye."

"Thanks so much Charlie, maybe it is good that you're here for a while; you could teach your son the right way to treat a lady. Now if you'll excuse me I am going upstairs for that nap know."

Tap, Tap, Tap Janine rolled over to the sound of a light tapping on the outside of the bunkroom door, and winced in pain. "Come on in, the door's opened."

"Hey, Janine, I'm sorry to wake you but it's five o'clock, and I didn't know if you needed time to get ready to go to your sister's or not."

"No, don't feel bad, it's perfectly fine, actually I'm glad you came up here, I need help getting up!" "Janine are you still sure that you want to go, I mean you have been asleep all afternoon and you seem more swollen now than you did this morning, are you sure you feel okay?"

Janine really didn't feel like being bombarded about her health at the moment and let Charlie know it in no uncertain terms. "You know something Mr. Venkman, I was wrong this morning, you are just like your jerk of a son, I am a grown woman, and I can take care of myself, and my sister doesn't like to be kept waiting so let's go, I will have to go by my apartment to shower and change; that will freshen me up. Come on."

Charlie just shook his head and followed Janine out to her car.

Once in the Spengler's apartment Janine went to take a shower and Charlie wondered his way down the hall and eventually came up to the opened door of the nursery.

"You know I am always amazed at how deserted a place looks when we get to it, I mean there is no one here, and Mr. Shaw left as soon as he could after we got here."

"I know what you mean Winston, but class fours are tricky, and fast, so in a way I'm glad no one is here."

"I for one, think its great, it just makes things easier to have folks already evacuated, I mean I'm hungry, the sooner we can catch this bad boy the sooner we can go to the nearest fast food joint and then high tale it back to the city, I feel my powers draining out here among the trees and fresh air. What do you say Egon, can we get this thing wrapped up at a decent hour."

"Peter you know that busts are unpredictable. However, I am only detecting one class four, but going by what Mr. Shaw had to say it may be hard to pin down."

"Great I love a challenge, we should get the ectoscopes so we can see in the dark, test the walkie-talkies and split up."

"Leave it to Ray to decide it will be great to split up and ramble around in the woods at night."

"Yeah not to mention the class four waiting out there ready to jump out and say boo."

Ray decided to ignore Peter and Winston's comment as he finished his equipment check, "Well everything seems to be working so you and Egon go left and Winston and I will go right."

"Egon we've been out here for twenty minutes, are you sure big and ugly is still around."

"I'm still picking it up on the PKE meter..." At that moment Egon and Peter turned around at the sudden sound of proton beams slashing through the air. After a ten minute light show Peter's walkie talkie came to life.

"Hey Pete, come in, Pete we got it!" Ray was on the communicator a second after the firing stopped announcing triumph.

"Yeah, Ray we saw the light show, meet you guys back at the Ecto, over."

"Roger that Peter."

"Now that that's out of the way how does Janine like that nursery we decked out?"

Charlie stood in the door of the Spengler nursery and for the first time in a long time began to think back to when Peter was a baby. `Boy, I wish I could have given Peter a nursery like this, Margaret would have loved it. Of course if I had wised up half as much as Egon has I could have, but no sense in dwelling on that now, I mean I did try to correct my mistakes with the second one, but sometimes you just don't get second chances.'

Janine stepped into her bedroom and got dressed to go over to her sister's house. She was thinking of how miserable she felt as she sat down on the end of the bed to attempt to put her shoes on; `Am I going to have to get help with this too, geez this is getting ridiculous. I just don't understand why I feel like this, my heart is absolutely pounding. I think I'm going to have to go to see my doctor tomorrow'. Janine finally got her shoes on and walked into the hallway.

"It's beautiful isn't it? Egon planned it out all by himself; he wanted it to be a surprise."

Charlie turned around to give a response but was caught off guard when he saw Janine. "Janine I know you don't want me asking but are you sure you feel alright, I think you are more swollen than you were earlier, and I know that isn't normal, how do you feel?"

"Well I don't feel great, but I'm sure it's nothing; if I still feel this way in the morning, I'm going to go and see my doctor."

"Wait a minute, you still didn't tell me how you feel."

"I feel tired and swollen and like my heart is about to beat out of my chest, that's how I feel, now can we please go, my sister is expecting us to be there at eight."

Charlie couldn't help but think about what Janine had told him on their way out to her car, she didn't look well, and something about that list of symptoms kept nagging in the back of his mind as if he had heard it before. About half-way through Brooklyn, Janine reached over and turned the air conditioning on in her car.

"Warm?'

"Yeah, it just hit me all of a sudden."

"Do you still feel like your heart is pounding?"

"Yeah I do."

Then it hit him, this conversation was almost exactly the same conversation that he had had with his wife twenty-eight years ago.

"Okay Janine, I can't just let this slide, I am taking you to the hospital now, which one does your doctor work at?"

"Charlie this is really not necessary?"

"No I am doing this, I promised Peter that I would look out for you and I am finished letting him down. Now tell me which hospital you want to go to."

They way Charlie demanded that she go somewhere to be seen about made Janine worry, and with the way she felt, she decided that she had no choice but to comply. "East Brooklyn Memorial, you'll have to turn around."

"Glad to have you on my side, Janine." It took almost an hour to get back over to the other side of Brooklyn with traffic being like it was. Janine was seemingly getting worse by the minute, she was now fanning herself while in an air conditioned car.

"Janine, just try to relax, we'll be there soon." To tell the truth Charlie only said that because he was nervous, Janine didn't look nervous, she looked like she was in pain.

"Janine are you having contractions?"

"No I'm just hot and achy."

Charlie couldn't believe what he was saying, this conversation was eerily familiar. Only the last time this happened his daughter had died and he was left with an almost irreparable marriage.

"Look as soon as we get there I want you to find a phone and call Egon in Ecto. They probably won't let you in there with me anyway. Hopefully someone will be near Ecto and hear the phone ring."

"I really am glad that this was a quick bust, and that there was a KFC nearby."

"I bet you're glad that Mr. Shaw was able to whip out that check really quick too."

"Winston, you know me too well, look its only 7:00 I bet we can get back in time to see the Late Show."

Just then the phone in Ecto-1 began to ring. Peter, who was in the passenger seat, reached out to get it. "Hello Ghostbusters, Hey Pop. Wait what? What happened to Janine?"

Once Egon heard this outburst he reached over the seat and took the phone from Peter. "Mr. Venkman, what is it you were saying about Janine."

"Egon, Janine's in trouble, something's wrong with her and the baby, we just got to the hospital and they took her back and that's all I now, they won't tell me anything because I'm not related."

"Which hospital is it Charlie?"

"East Brooklyn Memorial, we were leaving from your place, going to her sister's when she?"

Egon was too concerned to listen to the rest of Charlie's explanation and cut him off. "Charlie, listen, we're on the way; we should be able to reach Brooklyn in about two and a half hours. Try to find out what you can and keep us posted. Oh and Charlie if you do get to see Janine before we get there tell her?tell her that I love her."

With that Egon ended the phone conversation and motioned for Peter to hang the phone up. "Winston you'll have to head for Brooklyn, something's wrong with Janine and the baby and Charlie took her to East Brooklyn Memorial."

Ecto-1 made its way to Brooklyn in record time, sirens and lights blaring. Once they arrived at the hospital Winston dropped Egon off at the entrance while he parked the vehicle.

Egon made his way up to the third floor where Charlie had told him Janine had been taken. Egon reached the floor and went directly to the nurses' station trying to find out what had happened to his wife.

"Yes, Dr. Spengler, your wife is in room 323, but you can't go in there right now, the doctor is with her. She is stable at the moment though, and the doctor will fill you in when she comes out."

At that time Charlie came out of the waiting room from around the corner and spotted Egon. "Hey, Egon. I'm glad you finally made it, they wouldn't tell me anything, and they wouldn't let me see her, did they tell you anything?"

"Only that she is `stable' and that her doctor is in there with her now."

Just then Dr. Greer walked up to the nurses' station, the nurse told her something just out of Egon and Charlie's earshot and nodded in their general direction. "Dr. Spengler, I have just come from examining Janine, her condition when she arrived was quite serious. Her blood pressure was dangerously high for a pregnant woman. Fortunately, she got here before she had a stroke or went into labor. We've put her on IV medication to stabilize her. She'll have to stay here for at least a week, but I think we'll be able to keep her out of danger. You know, most women wait until there are serious complications to come in when there's a problem. Whoever had the insight to bring her in certainly did the right thing. Quick thinking probably saved the life of your baby."

Egon stole a glance in the direction of Charlie when the doctor said this silently thanking the powers that be that Charlie had been there to get Janine to the hospital. "When can I go and see her?"

"Whenever you are ready. However all other visitors will have to wait until visiting hours tomorrow."

"Thank you doctor." Egon dismissed himself from the doctor and went to the waiting area where his friends had gone to wait when they came in and saw that Egon was talking to the doctor. When they saw him approach, they all stood and moved as one toward him to hear what he had to say.

"The doctor says that Janine and the baby will be fine. She will have to stay here for at least a week. I have permission to stay, but no one else is allowed to see her until visiting hours tomorrow."

With nothing for the others to do at the hospital, they wished Janine well and prepared to leave for the night. Then everyone said their goodbyes, and left, or so Egon thought. After making sure Janine was as comfortable as possible Egon decided to take a walk to clear his mind. `I believe I will walk down the stairs; no one takes the stairs anymore, so it should prove a quiet sanctuary.' Charlie Venkman had not left the hospital. He had a lot on his mind and decided that he would go and get a cup of coffee in the cafeteria downstairs and was waiting for an elevator that was going down.

Out of all the different things Charlie had done in his life that should cause him regret, there was only one memory that kept him from being completely at peace.

Charlie had spent his entire adult life running scams. When he met and married Margaret he still could not resist his inner urge to make a quick buck. It wasn't until Margaret announced that she was expecting their second child that Charlie had considered turning away from his life cons. When Margaret had taken ill, and the baby had been born too prematurely to live, Charlie had mourned his daughter's death in the only way that had seemed to make since to him at the time, by pretending that it had never happened. He had blocked the tragic memory of his daughter's death and returned to the life of a con man.

Indeed, until Peter's request to help keep an eye on Janine three weeks ago, Charlie had not really given any attention to any pregnant women since the experience of so many years ago. There was no doubt that Charlie was shaken by what happened to Janine, but he was very thankful that he was there to help.

Charlie's walk down memory lane was interrupted when the man standing beside him spoke, "I'm sorry Sir but the elevator is broken, you'll have to take the stairs."

Charlie turned around, still slightly distracted, and saw that the man who spoke to him was apparently the night janitor. "Oh alright, thanks." With that Charlie walked toward the stair case around the corner. Charlie had almost decided to bypass the probably stale cafeteria coffee and head back to headquarters when he turned one of the corners of the stairwell and saw the shadows of a man sitting at the base of the next set of steps. As he approached the figure began to take shape and become more familiar.

"Dr. Spengler is that you?"

Egon snapped his head up and looked in the direction of the voice that had called his name. "Charlie. I had no idea any of you were still here."

"Yeah, Just me. I thought I would take some time to collect my thoughts, I guess you'd say. Are Janine and the baby still alright?"

"They are for the moment, the doctor said that she will most likely stay here until her condition stabilizes and then put on bed rest at home, she also mentioned inducing labor before the due date for added safety." Egon paused dropping his shoulders and then pulled his glasses off and began massaging the bridge of his nose with his free hand.

"Charlie I know that we have not always gotten along, but I want to thank you for what you did today. It seems that I have invariably ignored every sign that something could be wrong with Janine's pregnancy, I don't know why I did, it should have been absolutely obvious, and I missed it. It really makes me question my abilities to be a parent. If I can't protect my child in the womb?"

Egon's last statement was cut off by Charlie, "Egon, I want you to listen to me and listen well, this is not something you should hold yourself responsible for. You are one of the best men I know. I know that you didn't have the best father in the world and that you worry some ghost is going to seek vengeance on you by harming your child, but you can't live your life worrying about every little thing. I respect you and your decisions, and you will probably surpass me greatly in the fields of fatherhood, which I regrettably admit is not hard to do, but you have to hear me say this; don't blame yourself for this, I know it isn't easy but please."

"Well I appreciate your concern Mr. Venkman, but something like this isn't easy to shake off. If you had not been there to insist that Janine come to the hospital, well I hate to think what may have happened."

"Oh, believe me I know, in fact that's what I was just thinking about before I came down here. Now Peter doesn't know this, but once upon a time he was not an only child?"

"Not an only child? What do you mean Mr. Venkman?" Charlie grabbed Egon shoulders and stood up saying, "Egon come down to the cafeteria with me, we'll get some coffee and I'll tell you all about it."

A cup of coffee and a wealth of knowledge later Charlie and Egon sat in silence as a little old man pushed a mop past their table.

"Mr. Venkman, I am very sorry for the loss of your daughter, and I can see why you and Margaret decided to keep something like that from your other child, but don't you think that you should tell Peter. He is a grown man who has seen and experienced many things; I think he should know."

"You know Egon, it was just one of those things that there never seemed to be a right time to bring up, but you are right he should know. I'll tell him, but I want you, his best friend, to be there when I do. I don't think I have been there for him enough to be able to help him deal with this, but you have."

"Well I appreciate that Mr. Venkman, we can both tell him later."

Charlie stood and gathered up the empty sugar packets off of the table and threw them away. "Are you going to stay here all night Egon?"

"Yes, Janine needs me. Are you going back to headquarters?"

"Yes, I'll take a taxi; do you want me to have Peter bring you some clothes?"

"No, I called Doris and asked her to bring some things from our apartment, just remind everyone that visiting hours begin at ten, if you will Mr. Venkman."

"Sure thing." Charlie turned and began to walk away when he turned around, and with the first smile he had given all night said to Egon, "Oh, and Egon, call me Charlie."

"Yes, of course, goodnight Charlie."

It was once again raining the day Charlie and Egon told Peter about the sister he never got to know. Peter had asked to be left alone to process the new information, but now Peter was ready to talk about it and went up to find Egon in his lab.

"Egon are you busy?"

Egon looked up from his research and saw Peter standing in the doorway. "No Peter, I was just doing some preliminary research."

Egon knew that Peter had come in to talk about his past; his sister and his life growing up, it was the going to be the type of conversation that they had had before, usually in the middle of the night over hot cocoa, and he was prepared to be just as good of a listener now as he was in the past. That's why Egon was completely surprised by what Peter said next.

"Egon how's Janine doing?"

"How is Janine doing? She's doing fine Peter, just as she was yesterday. She'll be on bed rest for the next five weeks and then they will induce labor. But you already know that."

"Yeah I know that, I just want to make a point. I have spent my whole life with no idea that my mother had had a stillborn baby. I have also lived my life never knowing what it was like to have a father who didn't spend all of his time lying to everyone, but now I know what those things are like and it's all because my dad learned from his mistakes. It's a lot to take in, but I have always believed that everything happens for a reason, and I can't help but think that if my sister hadn't died then your baby might of. So I have decided to let the past be the past and to be satisfied with the way things have worked out so far."

"I'm glad that you have made you peace with the situation Peter, and I know that your father has been difficult in the past, but I hope he continues along his current track. I feel indebted to him and I feel that all of us can continue to bond together if we try. My child will be missing a grandfather but I believe that your father could provide a suitable replacement if you wouldn't mind."

Peter and Egon were now sitting on the old couch that was kept in the lab.

"Egon, I think that is a great idea. Hell, we're all family here, we're too bound together not to be. Our experiences tie us together, and nothing can ever change that."

"I glad you said that Peter, because this family has chores, and it's your turn to take out the trash." Egon smirked and stood as he said this then made his way to the door, glad that Peter and Charlie's relationship was still in tact.

"Oh sure throw my heartfelt sentiment right back at me, twist my words? you can be so much like a brother sometimes it's scary." Peter was now standing next to the lab door and Egon fully intending to avoid garbage duty like the plague. Egon's only response was a muffled "And how" as they made there way down stairs.

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Based on Ghostbusters Created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis