Egon wiped his eyes.
Janine was part-way through the tissue box; she was very moved Egon had trusted her with something so painful. From the pink patches on his cheeks, he had clearly opened some old wounds.
She thanked him and kissed him multiple times on the cheek.
Later, after the light had been turned off, Janine found she couldn't sleep. She was thinking about her new boyfriend in a way she hadn't quite before. She had known, for a long time, that everyone who knew Egon saw him as this constant hero, unphased by nothing. They had labelled him 'The Brain of the Ghostbusters', and expected him to have all the answers.
He'd risen as a natural leader back when he, Peter and Ray were paranormal investigators, and the others had always turned to Egon with the same question: 'What do you think?'
Janine realised she was frowning the way Egon did when thinking deeply, for she now marvelled on a deeper level at what he could do.
The monsters he fought! The fears he faced! The weight he had on his shoulders!
It was literally the weight of the world, and he had proven capable of baring it, all thanks to his brilliance and perserverence.
But it was more than that: He had sacrificed everything!
His social life, his love life, holidays, procastination. He never asked for reward or gratitude.
How many people were that selfless, that smart, that wise, and that brave? He wasn't a distant, unfeeling, oblivious kill-joy! He was a warm, compassionate, thoughtful, and reflective person. No thanks to his folks! How dare they deprive him of their affections!
Janine decided she'd give them a piece of her mind one day. Their son had grown into a man with a heart of gold. The city should build a statue of him!
She stared at his profile in the dark with reverence. He was so amazing ... He was so -
"Are you awake?" she whispered.
"Yeah. 'Can't sleep," he mumbled.
She swooped and kissed him on the lips.
"Mnhne?" he mumbled in surprise. She rolled on top of him, and he quickly submitted.
About forty five minutes later, they lay there together, hot, clammy, panting, and tangled in each other's arms.
He kissed her deeply, mumbling against her lips, "That was the most ... incredible ... mindless thing ... I've ever done in my life,"
"Me too," she whispered.
After they had detangled and cooled down, the two lay facing each other and holding hands. Egon couldn't stop smiling at her as she stroked his face.
"Why didn't we get together years ago?" she murmured.
There was a short silence as Egon's brain struggled to get above the pink mist of happiness and into the blue sky of clear thought.
"I believe I was saving the world at the time," he said, slowly.
"That old chestnut," Janine grinned.
But Egon's smile slowly faded.
"Except, that wasn't the only reason," he said, more solemnly.
A shadow passed across Egon's face.
"Something happened to me," he said, tensely, "After we defeated Gozer,"
Janine blinked. "Gozer?" she asked, amazed. "But ... Egon, that was years ago!"
Egon nodded once.
"Egon, what did he do?"
"He got revenge," Egon said, darkly.
"After we crossed the streams, we trapped him in another dimension. Gozer bided his time, waiting to punish us in return, and, eventually, his sister, Tiamat, found him. Gozer pursuaded Tiamat to punish me by stealing memories ... Everyone's memories ... yours included ... of very particular events,"
Janine could tell he was trying to give her a hint with his emphasis and pauses, but she didn't want to work it out. She wanted him to tell her.
"Tiamat did as Gozer asked," Egon continued, "She stole everyone's memories of those events, except mine. She said it was the price I paid for defeating a god. It was to be my punishment alone, as it was I whom suggested crossing the streams. I tried to fight Tiamat to save the memories, but she fled back to her dimension, and there was nothing I could do.
I was a broken man, but I knew I couldn't afford to wallow. I knew now there were other creatures out there: Other gods, demons, and worse, that would attack Earth, and Ghostbusters had to stop them. My revenge on Tiamat would have to wait. I told myself every day "Patience and persistance, and you will triumph in time." I poured my every waking thought into work,"
Janine had forgotten to blink.
"What were those memories of, Egon?" she asked, slowly.
"An alternative time line. You and me ... We were ... " Egon's mouth was dry now.
Janine's eyes grew.
"I watched from the side-lines as you forgot all about me. About us. Only to date Louis, and Roger ... and it tore at every bit of me. But I couldn't face trying to get back together with you, not after what had been done. I was terrified of being hurt again,"
Janine hugged him tightly.
"But you won," she told him, fervently, "You got me back, and I love you so much,"
He hugged her back just as tightly, crushing his face into her shoulder.
"I love you too," he murmured.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Egon said, nervously.
"Yes. I want to meet them," Janine replied, solemnly.
They were parked outside Egon's parents' house. Egon gripped Ecto-1's steering wheel.
"This is hard for me," he said, sadly.
She stroked the back of his hand, sympathetically. "I know sweetie, but I wouldn't have suggested we do this if I didn't think it was important,"
It took Egon half a minute of slow-breathing before he worked up the courage to get out the car, and approach the front door.
"Oh god! The paint is the exact same shade of grey!" Egon muttered.
"Nothing," Egon said, gulping as he rang the bell.
He watched through the distorted glass pane as the vague, watery outline of his mother swam into focus.
She opened the door slowly, as though she expected an attack.
"Hello?" she quavered, thin as ever.
"Hello, Mrs. Spengler!" Janine said, brightly, trying to make a good impression.
But she stopped speaking as she noticed Egon had gone still.
"Mom?" he said, "Are you alright?"
She was staring at him mutely, her lips quivering. The penny dropped.
Egon's eyes widened. Something bad had happened.
"Mom?" he repeated, more urgently.
She put her hands to her mouth.
Without warning, she threw her arms around him.
Egon went rigid with shock, and it was all he could to hug her back.
Then, the spell was broken as Mrs. Spengler went into a non-stop monologue of cooing over her son.
Janine did her best not to laugh. It was an amusing sight! This tall, gangling scientist half-suffocated by a tiny old lady. Janine was only a few inches over five foot herself, but Mrs. Spengler was shorter.
After she had prised the two apart, Janine led the little lady back indoors arm in arm, and Mrs. Spengler chatted, enthusiastically, at Janine as she got them all tea and biscuits. It was mostly questions, on who Janine was and what she did for a living, and how wonderful she was involved with the same job as her wonderful boy, and goodness me wasn't he lucky to have such a pretty girlfriend!
While Mrs. Spengler's back was turned as she fetched them cakes, Janine mouthed at him an astonished 'Why's she so different?!'
He returned with an exaggrated, 'I don't know!'
Mrs. Spengler went on to find out as much as possible about Janine, all about her hobbies, where she lived, what she liked about her job, and (most cunningly) what did she hope for in her future.
He was mystified why his mother was being uncharacteristically bubbly. Sure, she had missed him as he hadn't visited in a long time, and she was obviously excited he had a girlfriend, but something was going on here.
"Well, you certainly sound a lovely lady," Mrs. Spengler said, smiling, "I look forward to the grandkids,"
Egon nearly fell off his chair, and now Janine really did laugh.
Mrs. Spengler giggled and tapped Egon's knee.
"Just teasing dear ... maybe," she added, with a cheeky smirk.
Janine decided, tactfully, not to pursue the subject.
"Where is Mr. Spengler? I must meet him too," she said, beaming.
Mrs. Spengler's smile melted, and cupped her drink a little closer. Even as her eyes welled, she did her best to keep a brave face.
"He's ..." She looked at Egon.
"Your father's in his room. You should see him," she added, pointedly.
Egon's heart sank. He had been right. Something bad had happened.
Now his mother's behaviour made sense. He knew it! He knew it!
He gave Janine a nervous look before letting go of her hand and leaving the living room.
He took as long as he possibly could to climb the stairs.
Egon crept across the landing towards his parents' bedroom doorway, and hesitated on the threshold.
It was so weird how years of hunting and catching ghosts had become the norm for him, but, dealing with ... He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, took a deep breath, and peeped in.