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The time to do so kept ticking on, and Egon was well-aware of it. He was growing more and more nervous, and he handled his growing anxiety the only way he knew how: Working around the clock.
Janine noticed his change in behaviour. He started flirting less and retreating more into his shell, but she bit her lip and did nothing about it.
'Zero pressure', she reminded herself, Wait for him.
By morning, Egon was drained, for not even his polyphasic sleep pattern helped this time.
Two days later, it was an exhuasted, unshaven, and smelly ghostbuster Janine found in the lab, staring at his white board with glazed eyes.
"Alright, that's enough!" Janine said, firmly, dragging him away by the lapels of his labcoat.
He obeyed her orders to shower and eat, and slept like a baby that night.
When Egon returned, refreshed, to the firehouse, Janine addressed the issue, head-on.
She told him she knew he wasn't working to save the world this time, as there were "no impending dooms" on the horizon, and he was obviously putting off talking to her.
She argued that Egon used work as a coping mechanism, and an unhealthy distraction from dealing with "real life things".
Egon blushed at the accusations and contradicted her, but not without stuttering. He argued it would be surplus to voice personal problems because he was perfectly intune. He showed paper evidence of self-analysis, insisting he was well aware of the importance of keeping clear-headed for world saving ghostbusting events!
Janine agreed that that was truly good, and noble, and selfless of him, but it was completely irrelevant.
Egon mumbled he may have made a miscalculation.
Janine drew in a deep breath and told him, gently now, that they both knew this wasn't about keeping Egon's head ticking over for practical reasons; this was about trust.
Their trust.
Egon gazed at her very steadily and said nothing.
"When you're ready then," Janine said, mentally preparing for an extension to her already lengthy journey to a close relationship with Egon Spengler.
Something about that discussion had clearly sunk in though.
The man must have realised that she might not wait forever, for, later that day, when Janine returned to her desk from the bathroom, she found some items by her phone that weren't there earlier: A steaming mug of coffee, a Crunch bar, and a note saying 'I'm sorry x'.
That evening, they lay in bed together, Janine quietly reading her book, and Egon thinking deeply. She chatted, softly, about mundane things for a bit, then out of the blue, Egon told her that his constant drive to work likely stemmed from desperate attempts to win his parents' affections as a child.
Janine looked at him. Suddenly, it dawned on her that he was willing to open to her, and she put her book away at once.
Egon took a deep, calming breath, and started to talk ...

Thirty odd years ago
Ten-year-old Egon Spengler stood in the playground, watching with little frown-lines as all the other boys and girls hugged their parents who had come to take them home.
His own mother was late again. It wasn't fair!
He was forced to stand and watch, sadly, as the hugs, kisses, and praises began.
"That's a good drawing!"
"Well done!"
"I'm so proud of you!"
"I love you too,"
"You're so clever!"
One by one, all the other families got into their cars and drove off, leaving little Egon alone.
Ten minutes later, the familiar white car swung close to the curb. Mrs. Spengler didn't get out, but instead leaned over and opened the passenger door.
She didn't hug and kiss him 'hello', but instead seemed to shrink behind the wheel.
It was like she was terrified of touching him because she had been late again.
Why did she always do this? Why did she never say 'sorry' for being late? She'd barely even look him in the eye! It wasn't fair on either of them!
One day, he'd have the answers.
But, as of now, young Egon sighed a short, angry sigh and trotted over.

The End

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