Mike walked alone on the each beside the Pad, letting his mind wander. And -- as it did with ever important event -- it wandered to his absent wife.
She had wanted a June wedding, but money had been a problem. Still, she'd had her heart set on one, so they'd eloped.
They'd had three completely fantastic years together. Her pregnancy had almost killed her, and then he'd been tempted to be unfaithful -- but they'd weathered the storms and come out stronger.
She was a fantastic mother, a wonderful lover, and everything else he could ever have wanted. Their third anniversary -- now that they'd had money, thanks to the TV show -- they had renewed their vows,and she had had her lavish June wedding.
But two months later, their lives irrevocably changed. Powers, sterility -- oh, how they had cried over the fact that Chris would be an only child -- battles and adventures.
And then -- suddenly -- he was alone. Still married, but now a dimension away. Now, he was a studio musician/songwriter/superhero -- and she was a queen, ruling a land where he was forbidden to go. he didn't even know where it was.
But, Roma had assured him repeatedly that, when the time was correct, Mike and Phyllis would be reunited.
Before they died.
He still held onto that. His vigil had lasted for nearly 22 years now.
And still, he waited. faithful to her, knowing his wait would end.
He looked out over the ocean. "Happy 25th anniversary, darlin'. Forever and always -- I love you."
He shot some fireworks over the water, then lowered himself to his knees and prayed once more for his lonely vigil to come to an end.
He would pray it every day for eight more years -- and then his long, agonising wait would come to an end at last.
As 1993 clicked over into 1994, the friends and family gathered at the Tork mansion -- which had been the Cartwright mansion until Valerie married Peter -- cheered as mike sent fireworks into the sky. Couples kissed as the strains of "Auld Lang Syne" rang out.
Mike came inside to find seven-foot-tall Davy balancing a three-foot-tall cake with a huge "25" on it.
"SURPRISE!" the assembled throng whooped.
Peter's eyes flicked to Mike. You knew?
Mike shook his head, eyes wide. Then they narrowed as little things that made no sense at the time suddenly slotted into the puzzle of this party.
Peter chuckled and turned back to the party, putting his arm around Valerie's shoulders. "Twenty-five years --- and I don't regret a moment of it!"
"Then you are blessed, indeed!" Ronnie Farnsworth teased and the crowd laughed. Ronnie stepped forward, his wings out and spread --- with a curious teen studying them --- and raised his glass in a taloned hand. "To the Torks --- who made it to 25 years despite me!"
Laughter rang out, and Peter and Valerie joined it, recognising the tease for what it was.
"John," Valerie ordered, "leave Ronnie's wings alone."
"I don't mind," Ronnie chuckled. "Boy's curious." He led John away. "So, you like birds?"
"I like wings," they heard John counter. "I'm gonna fly someday!"
"John Sheppard," Peter chuckled "He of the one-track mind!"
"Boy knows his mind," Mike grinned. "Take him flying later."
"I intend to." Then Peter turned his attention back to his surroundings. "Say," he grinned. "What say we cut the cake?"
Valerie smirked at him. "I say that you shove it in my face, and you will be sleeping in one of the guest rooms for a month!"
"Yes, ma'am," Peter laughed and they went to cut the cake together.
Micky and Mel were the party animals of the Monkees, so they were expecting a surprise party like they'd given Peter and Valerie during the New Year's party.
They were both startled when the New Year's party broke up and the kids living with the Torks were sent to bed without a word of acknowledgment of their anniversary.
"Micky? Mel?" Peter called. "Can we see you two for a second?" When they came over, Peter was smiling. "Last year, you threw us a huge 25th anniversary party -- in your celebration style. So this year, we decided to celebrate yours -- in our style."
Mike brought out a modest cake, and Davy handed Micky and Mel an envelope apiece.
Mel opened hers and gasped. "Two tickets for a four-week cruise!"
Micky gawked at the gift, then opened his own envelope and looked at the others with wide eyes. "Guys, this is too much."
"Keith and John are expecting you at Heathrow in the morning," Mike said. "I'll drive you to the airport, since that's too far for you to fly on your own."
"So go pack," Davy grinned. "We'll take care of your pack." 'The pack' was the Dolenz's term for the sleepover kids they cared for.
Micky still just gawked. "But --- twenty-five days in England?"
"Happy Anniversary," the others chorused.
Company was the last thing Davy expected. He was only a few steps down the walkway when it registered that he was no longer alone.
"What are you doing here?" he gasped incredulously.
June Jones crossed her arms and fixed him with an 'I-can't-believe-you' look.
"No," Davy said. "I'm serious! What are you doing here?"
"You honestly don't think I'm gonna let you do this alone?"
"Everyone else is."
"I'm certain they are," June nodded. "Because you pulled the 'I'm fine, I don't need you to worry about me' card."
Davy's sheepish expression told the truth of the tale.
"I thought so. I was married to you for the better part of a decade, and as I recall, that never worked on me."
"No," Davy admitted. "It never did. But we're not married now – so why are you here?"
June smiled. "Davy, you can be so silly sometimes. We never stopped being friends. And you really don't need to be alone today." She took his hand, lacing their fingers together. "I'll sit on the bench, but I won't leave you."
Davy kissed her cheek. "All right. If you're sure."
Without another word, they walked down the path together. True to her word, June released his hand and sat down on the stone bench.
Davy walked onto the grass and lowered himself to his knees. His fingertips brushed the cool stone and he whispered.
"Hullo, Bess. Happy anniversary. Today we would have been married 25 years, if Mara hadn't---" He broke off, tears stealing his voice.
A few moments later, once he had control again, he told Bess of their lives. How they were all doing fine. How he missed her every day.
June listened, marveling at Davy's strength. His grief hadn't destroyed him – though at times, they had all feared it might.
She had known from the beginning of their relationship that she would be sharing Davy with Bess's absent presence. And she had never minded. Rumours to the contrary, that had not been what caused their divorce. They had simply developed separate lives to the point where they were better off as friends than married.
In her own way, June had grown to love Bess as well.
June came over and embraced Davy as he was saying how much he loved Bess and promising that he would return to talk to her.
He stood and embraced June in return, then they walked out of the graveyard together.
June kissed him on the cheek. "Come on, anniversary boy. Let me spring for dinner."
His tired smile was full of love and gratitude. "Thanks, June."
She got him into her car and paused, looking back over the graveyard. "Happy anniversary to you as well, Bess."
And she felt a gentle breeze caress her cheek – like a pair of lips brushing her cheekbone.
And she wondered.
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