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This Crazy Thing Called Life

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Judy had just finished seeing a patient when she got the message. A Jupiter full of survivors from the twenty-fourth colonist group had requested permission to land on Alpha Centauri. Judy wanted to believe that her parents and Don might be on that ship. It had been over three years since she last saw her them, and she truly believed that she’d never see them again, but for the first time in a very long time a spark of hope grew inside her. Suddenly the room started to tilt and Judy knew she had to sit down. Her thoughts were whirling around in her head so fast she could barely make sense of them, could her parents really be here, be alive? But what if they weren’t, how would her siblings cope if they learned that they were orphans?

“Judy? Judy are you ok?” Sarah, a fellow doctor asked.

Judy has been so caught up in her thoughts she didn’t hear Sarah open the door to the exam room.

“Uh yeah I’m ok Sarah, I just received a message that a Jupiter from the twenty-fourth is landing.” She said in a shocked voice.

“Oh my god Judy, what are you still doing here, go!” Sarah practically yelled at her.

“What are you talking about I still have three more hours on shift left, I can’t just leave because a ship that may or may not contain my parents is landing.” Judy said matter of factly.

Sarah sat next to Judy and took her hands in hers, “Judy you know that me and the rest of the doctors on shift can cover for the rest of the day. “ Judy went to protest before Sarah continued, “look I get that this is scary, but whatever news that ship brings at least it will be something. I know you’ve been dying to get answers these past three years and now you’ve got your chance.”

Judy looked Sarah, she’d been Judy’s first friend when she arrived at Alpha Centauri and she knew Judy better than almost any one on this planet aside from her family. Which meant Sarah knew all of the hell Judy had been going through internally since landing, not knowing if her parents were still out there somewhere.

“What if I don’t get the answer I want?” Judy finally admitted, glancing down at her lap trying to hide the tears in her eyes.

“Then at least you’ll have an answer Jude. “
Judy knew she was right, after all this time she needed to know what happened.

“You’re right.” She said drying her tears.

“Whatever happens I’m here for you ok?” Sarah said wrapping her friend in a hug. Judy just nodded into her shoulder. After a beat Judy pulled back and stood up.

“I need to go find my siblings, they’ll have received the same message I did.”

“Understood. Don’t worry about a thing here, I let the others in the office know.”

“Thank you Sarah.” Judy said with a smile.

 

Penny was sitting at her desk trying to work through a particularly tricky bit of writers block when her phone dinged. It was a message from her districts representative explaining that a Jupiter was landing. A Jupiter from the twenty-forth. Penny couldn’t believe what she was reading. It had been so long that she assumed everyone was dead. She knew Judy assumed the same but she put on a front for Will. Will, always the optimist, never gave up believing that they were still out there. A sad smile formed on Penny’s face, today they’d finally find out if Will was right, and Penny had never hoped he was more than right now.
Suddenly it dawned on her, Will was still in class. He wouldn’t have his phone on so he wouldn’t get the message.

Penny quickly grabbed her keys and phone and dashed down the stairs into the car. She made her way to Wills school as fast as she could.

When Penny finally arrived ten minutes later she wanted to kick herself for not looking up Wills schedule before leaving the house. She had no idea what class he was in, so she made her way inside the main building hoping someone there could help her. She made her way to the main office where a lady was sitting.

“Hello, I’m looking for Will Robinson, do you know where I might find him?”

Before the woman could respond Penny heard a voice from behind her.

“Excuse me, are you Penny Robinson? I’m such a huge fan of your work. Can I get a picture” A boy asked her.

“Uh nows actually not a good time, do you happen to know what class my brother, Will, is in right now?” Penny asked hastily.

“Yeah he’s in 114.” The boy replied disappointed.

Penny had already started walking away before he finished. “Thank you, I owe you!” She called out.

Penny found room 114 pretty easily and barged in with out a second thought.

“Can I help you?” An older man Penny knew you be the professor asked her.

Penny wished she thought this through more as one hundred and eighty pairs of eyes were suddenly starring at her.

“I’m looking for my brother Will, Will Robinson?”

Penny could see Wills concerned face as he made his way down to the front of the class.

“We are in the middle of a lecture, can this wait?” The professor asked.

“No.” Penny replied bluntly.

At that point Will had joined Penny at the front of the class, “what’s going on Penny?”

“I’ll explain in the car let’s go.” Penny said grabbing his arm and practically dragging him out of the room.

Once in the car Will dared to speak, “can you please explain to me what is going on?”

“I got a message that a Jupiter with people from the twenty-fourth is landing. We are going to the landing station.” Penny stated.

Will looked at his sister incredulously, “oh my god are you serious? Are mom and dad there? Are they ok? What about Don?” Will rattled off.

“I don’t know Will. They didn’t tell us anything. I’m not sure they know themselves yet.”

Will just nodded and looked out the window. Both siblings understood the magnitude of the situation they were in. Whatever happened today both of them knew it would be a day they’d never forget.

Suddenly Penny’s phone began ringing and Will grabbed it, “Hey Judy. Yeah I’m in the car with Penny. Yeah we are on our way. We’ll meet you there.”

They sat in silence for the rest of the ride, which Penny made in record time. As soon as they parked they saw Judy waiting for them at the entrance of the building still clad in her scrubs.

Both Penny and Will rushed to embrace Judy, and the three held on to each other for dear life. Finally, they broke apart and Judy looked at both her little siblings. They had all changed so much in the three years since arriving on this planet. At 22, 19, and 15 the Robinson children were hardly children anymore, but suddenly Judy thought they looked much younger. Judy wanted nothing more to protect them, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to. Not from something like this.

“Hey you guys I want you to know whatever happens today, we can handle it, just like we always have.” Judy said.

Penny and Will both nodded in agreement, “C’mon let’s go!” Will said rushing inside.

Chapter Text

Maureen stepped off the Jupiter onto Alpha Centauri and breathed a sigh of relief. The day she had been hoping for three years was finally here, they had made it. She turned and looked at John who wore a similar expression, he smiled when they locked eyes.

“Members of the twenty-fourth colonist group, we are so happy to welcome you home!” The commander called out. “Please make your way to the left for questioning!”

“Oh this should be fun.” Don said sarcastically coming to stand next the Robinsons.

Maureen and John both just chuckled. Even after all this time Don still managed to be sarcastic as ever.

After nearly an hour of explaining everything that had happened in the almost four years since that fateful day the resolute was attacked, all three for finally free to go.

“Mr. and Mrs. Robinson, Don West,” a young officer addressed them, “if you would please follow me I have some very excited people waiting to see you.”

They were led around a corner to a small waiting area where Judy, Penny, and Will were waiting. Penny was the first to notice them, “Mom, Dad!” Penny called out.

Suddenly Maureen felt three bodies crash into hers and she tried her best to wrap her arms around her three not so little children. She could tell John had also been engulfed in the group hug they had going, and she had never been happier.

She broke apart so she could get a good look at them. They were all sobbing. Maureen couldn’t believe how old they all looked. Will was taller than John now looking almost like a full grown man. Judy and Penny both looked liked women not just teenagers anymore, though by Maureen’s calculations Penny still had two more months until she was twenty.

“I’ve missed you all so much!” Maureen cried.

“Us too.” Judy responded.

“Hey what am I chopped liver?” Don called out.

“Don!” The three Robinson children exclaimed in unison before launching themselves at him.

Don gladly hugged them back, and though he’d never admit it, a few tears might have even made their way down his face.

“Are you all ok, is anyone hurt?” Judy questioned.

“No we are all fine Jude.” John answered.

“Where have you guys been all this time, how did you get back?” Will asked.

“Well that’s a long story, how about we make our way out of this place and we’ll catch you up on the way.” John replied.

Everyone seemed to agree with that, so they made their way out to the car. Once outside Maureen paused for a moment. It was the first time in many years that she breathed fresh air, saw green grass, and blue skies.

“You ok Mom?” Penny asked.

“I’ve never been better.”

“Alright we’ll some of you will have to go with me, and the others with Judy.” Penny pronounced.

“I’ll go with Dr. Robinson.” Don answered a little too quickly causing a muffled chuckle from Penny which got her a glare from Judy.

“I’d like to see Penny drive on a real road, let’s hope she doesn’t kill us.” John said.

“Haha very funny.” Penny deadpanned.

“I guess I’ll join you.” Maureen added gesturing to John.

The last one to decide was Will and although he wanted to catch up with Don he figured Judy would need that time with him first so he decided to go with Penny.

On the drive home Penny and Will pointed out all the different things to do and see around their new home. John and Maureen were hardly paying attention though, all they could think about was the fact that they were actually here. That this was all real.

They pulled into the driveway right after Judy, and everyone was unloading when Penny turned to Will, “oh my god Will, we never told them!” Penny exclaimed.

“Told us what?” John questioned.

At that very moment Maureen looked up to see Grant Kelly opening their front door.

“Grant?” Maureen stated, mouth dropping open in pure shock.

Chapter Text

Oh my god, how could I forget to tell them? Shit, shit, shit. Judy thought to herself.

“Mom, Dad, meet Grant.” Judy said weakly.

“Well I do believe your mother and I have met before.” Grant replied with a chuckle.

“Right, haha.” Judy laughed nervously. She could feel her cheeks becoming very warm and all she wanted to do was smack herself.

Maureen was still staring at Grant unable to believe her eyes. John suddenly looked very stiff and was eyeing the man suspiciously.

“Right I don’t know what’s going on but can we make our way inside now?” Don asked oblivious to the situation.

“Yes, yes, please come in. I know you’ve all had a long and tiring journey.” Grant beckoned.

And just like that all the Robinsons seem to unfreeze from where they were standing, and began heading inside.

“Don West by the way,” Don said shaking Grants hand, “how do you know the Robinsons?”

Grant just laughed at that, “I’m um Judy’s biological father.” He said awkwardly.

Don just stared at him dumbfounded. “I thought you died twenty years ago?”

“Don!” Judy hissed.

“Whoops sorry I just... wow.” Don’t stuttered at a loss for words before sheepishly continuing inside.

Maureen was the last one to enter the house and she paused at the door where Grant was still holding it open.

“How are you here?” She asked him.

“That’s a little bit of a long story and one I think you should ask your children, they’re the ones who saved me after all.”

Maureen now had a lot more questions than answers but she new that she’d figure it out soon enough so she joined the others inside.

Once everyone was settled on the couch Judy began speaking, “I know you all have a lot of questions so I’ll try to explain as best as a I can. Penny, Will, if I forget anything feel free to chime in.”

Both of the young Robinsons nodded in understanding.

“When we went through the rift three years ago the robot didn’t take us straight to Alpha Centauri. He took us to the nearest human signal which happened to come from the Fortuna.”

3 years prior

“What is the Fortuna?” Vijay asked.

“Ah the Fortuna was a ship that everyone thought was lost almost twenty years ago. It was commanded by Grant Kelly, my father.” Judy said in disbelief.

Penny and Will both turned and looked at their older sister unable to believe what she was saying.

“Ok ummm we need to go check if there are any survivors.” Judy stated shakily already starting to get things ready.

“Vijay can you go grab my space suit, and some cables so I can anchor myself to the Jupiter?” Judy asked.

“Sure thing.” Vijay responded hurrying out of the cockpit.

“Sit down guys, I am gonna try to get us a close as possible to the Fortuna.”

“Judy wait,” Penny commanded “we have no idea what or who caused that planet to blow up in half. For all we know whatever caused that could still be here, and I for one would not like to stick around to figure it out.”

“What are you saying?” Judy asked accusingly.

“I’m saying that it’s been twenty years Judy. The odds that anyone has survived this long in the middle of space is very low.” Penny said calmly.

Judy scoffed at her sister, “that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people there still alive. I mean Jesus Penny he’s my father, I have to at least try.”

“And what happens when there’s a hoard of killer robots on that ship that murder you huh?” Penny asked angrily. “I get that you want to meet your father, but you are the captain, and you cannot put this ship filled with nearly one hundred children at risk!”

“How dare you!” Judy spat. “The robot brought us here for a reason. I will not leave until I at least check and see if anyone on that ship is still alive. You would do the same for Dad if the roles were reversed.”

“He might be your father but he is not Dad and he never will be.” Penny fired back.

“STOP!” Will yelled. “That’s enough. I agree with Penny that it’s too dangerous to put the whole ship at risk in case there’s still something dangerous out there, but Judys right we have to check, which is why I propose we send the robot.”

Judy and Penny both deflated once Will spoke. They both crossed the line and they knew it.

“I think that sounds like a great idea.” Penny commented. “And Judy I’m sorry about the whole Dad comment. That was unfair.”

“Thank you, and I’m sorry for getting so angry. You’re right I shouldn’t put myself and all of you at risk.” Judy replied.

“Robot, do you think you could go check out that ship and see if there are any humans still alive on it?” Will asked.

“Yes, Will Robinson.” The robot replied.

Just then Vijay walked back into the room carrying all of the items Judy requested.

“Change of plans, we are going to send the robot.” Penny told him.

“Ah probably a good idea. By the way Judy you might want to explain to the rest of the kids what’s going on. They’re all pretty confused.”

“Right. Got it. Will tie some cable around the robot so we can pull him back in if we need to, and make sure they’re the longest ones we have ok!”

“Already on it.” Will said hurrying to go get the longer cables.

“I’m gonna go explain what’s going on I’ll be back in a few.” Judy said.

“Hey Pen, you ok? I didn’t want to interrupt because it seemed like a Robinson kids conversation but I heard everything from out in the hall.” Vijay said somberly.

Penny wiped away the few stray tears that had finally worked their way down her face, “yeah I’m ok. It’s just that it’s always been the Robinsons ya know? I mean I knew growing up that Judy had a different dad. But she always just felt like my sister, not my half sister. And I know that’s technically what she is but since it was always just the five of us I just forgot after a while that our dad wasn’t her biological dad. And now there’s a chance that he could be alive but what is that going to do to us? What if she doesn’t want to be a Robinson anymore?”

“Penny I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, I don’t know if Judys Dad is alive or not, but what I do know is that your sister is a Robinson and she will always be one. She loves you and Will too much to ever give that up.”

“He’s right you know.” Judy said from behind them.

Penny whipped around at the sound of her sisters voice, “how long have you been there?”

“The whole time. I came back because I left my comm and I wanted to make sure Will could contact me from the garage if there was a problem. But Penny even if my father is alive and well on that ship nothing will change between you, Will, and I. You’re my sister through and through regardless of who our fathers are ok? You’re stuck with me for the rest of your life ya got that?” Judy said with a smile.

“Got it. And Judy, I love you.”

“I love you too. Come here.” Judy gestured before wrapping her sister in a tight hug.

After informing the rest of the children what was going Judy, Penny, Vijay, and Will reconvened in the cock pit to discuss the plan.

“Alright so I think the best thing would be to have Vijay and Will in the garage with the robot harnessed up. You two will be in charge of securing anyone that the robot finds on that ship. I’ve also decided to attach a comm to the robot, Will can you make sure he knows how to use it?” Judy asked

“Yeah sure.” Will responded.

“Penny can you please go to the hub and entertain the children somehow? I think a lot of them are panicking and I really need everyone to be calm if this is going to work.”

“How exactly am I supposed to do that?”

“I don’t know, maybe read your book to them, or play a game. Just make sure they all stay where they are supposed to.”

“Fine.” Penny said with a huff, clearly unhappy with her job.

Vijay and Will hurried off to grab their space suits before going to the garage.

“Look Penny I know you aren’t happy getting assigned to look after the kids but I need Will to handle the robot because he’s the only one that can, and then it came down between you and Vijay and I honestly think you’d be better at handling the children then Vijay. I’m not sure that Vijay has ever interacted with children in his entire life.” Judy laughed.

Penny snorted in response, “yeah you’re probably right. Alright I’ll go round up the little rascals. Please try not to fly us into an astroid!”

“I’ll try.” Judy called back as Penny walked away.

Down in the garage Will and Vijay were both suited up and anchored to the side of the ship along with the robot.

“Alright you remember the plan buddy? Just get inside the Fortuna and see if there are any humans alive. You have one of the comms so you can tell us what you see.” Will told the robot.

“Yes, Will Robinson.” The robot responded.

“We’ll be in range in about a minute, are you guys all set down there?” Judy asked over comm.

“Yep we are good to go here.” Vijay replied.

After a brief silence Judy came back on to tell them that they were as close as she could get safely.

“Alright opening the garage door.” Will called out.

The robot then made his way over to the door and gave Will a small wave before hoping out, floating towards the Fortuna.

Judy held her breathe as she watched the robot grab onto the side of the ship, before making his way over to the emergency hatch. His strong steel hands made quick work of the latch, and he disappeared inside. Now all they could do was wait.

After several minutes Will decided to check back in, “hey robot any signs of life.”

“No.” The robot responded curtly.

“Are there, um, any bodies?” Will asked hesitantly.

“No.”

“Wait that doesn’t make sense. There’s no bodies on that ship?” Judy chimed in.

“No.” The robot responded

“Are you sure you checked everywhere?” Judy questioned.

“Yes.”

“I don’t like this, Will bring the Robot back right now.” Judy commanded.

“I’m on it.” Will said as the robot reappeared from the hatch he had entered.

Vijay and Will reeled the robot back in without a problem and made their way up to the cockpit where Judy and Penny were waiting.

“This doesn’t make any sense. There were ten crew members on that ship. Even if they had been dead for twenty years there should’ve been some evidence of their bodies. Robot were they any holes in the ship that they could’ve been sucked out from?”

“No.”

At that very moment the radio receiver started going off with an incoming message. Judy rushed over to play it not knowing what to expect.

“SOS. This is commander Grant Kelly of The Fortuna is anyone there?”

“Yes, yes this is Captain Judy Robinson of the Jupiter two, where is your current location Commander Kelly?” Judy said trying to remain calm.

“I have twelve souls on planet G34678, its the planet in the second orbit. I will send you our exact coordinates.”

“Ok. Commander Kelly sit tight we are coming to get you.” Judy responded with a smile on her face.

“Penny, Vijay go make sure all the children are strapped in for landing. I want to get these people and leave as fast as possible.”

Chapter Text

“So after we went and got Grant and the other survivors we had the robot take us to Alpha Centauri.” Judy finished.

“So do you live here with them Grant?” Don asked curiously.

“No,” Grant chuckled, “these three can for sure take care of themselves but we sort of have a tradition of Sunday dinners. Which reminds me, how would you three be interested in a pasta dinner. I bet it’s been sometime since you’ve had a home cooked meal?”

“That sounds wonderful!” Maureen responded. Followed by a chorus of agreement from John and Don.

“Great, I’ll call Lena and tell her to pick up some more food before she comes over.” Grant replied.

“Who is Lena?” John chimed in.

“Ah sorry I should’ve explained. Lena was another astronaut on the Fortuna, and after being stuck on that alien planet for such a long time we eventually got “married”, not legally of course as it happens they don’t give out marriage licensees on alien planets. We also have two sons, twin boys Zach and Luke.” Grant said with a proud smile.

“They’re coming over too right?” Will asked excitedly.

“Yes, but don’t think just because your parents came back that I forgot about what happened last week.” Grant said pointedly. “The boys are grounded from doing science experiments for the next month after nearly blowing up the house.” Grant explained.

“You almost blew up the house?” Maureen questioned eyes nearly bugging out of her head.

“Oh yeah the three of them are satan’s trifecta when it comes to teenage boys that are too smart for their own good.” Penny responded.

Will just sheepishly bowed his head in response as Judy laughed in agreement.

“Sounds like my kinda dudes.” Don responded.

“Don do not encourage them.” Maureen warned.

Don put his hands up in defense and replied in fake seriousness, “I would never.”

Grant then excused himself to call Lena.

“I’m gonna go call Vijay, he usually comes for Sunday dinners too, but seeing as his parents came back I’m sure he’ll want to catch up with them.” Penny said.

“Are you two still dating?” Maureen asked.

“Um yeah.” Penny responded hesitantly, a blush forming on her face.

It was at that moment that Maureen finally saw the ring on Penny’s finger as she was pulling her phone out of her back pocket. Maureen couldn’t believe that she hadn’t noticed it before.

“Penny why do you have a ring on your finger?” Maureen questioned.

Penny’s face turned redder than her hair as she glanced down at her hand, “Well, I was hoping to tell you with Vijay here... but we are engaged.” Penny said nervously.

Don and John both nearly spit out the water they were both drinking. “Engaged, as in you’re getting married?” John nearly yelled.

“Yes.” Penny responded calmly knowing her dad wasn’t yelling because he was angry but just that he was surprised.

Maureen eyes suddenly filled with tears as she stood up to join her daughter.

“Let me see.” She said grabbing her daughters hand. “Oh Penny it’s beautiful!”

Penny, not usually the emotional type also had tears in her eyes. “I’m really glad you and dad will be here for the wedding, we were going to get married at the court house because it was going to be too hard to have a big wedding without our parents here but now we don’t have to.”

“Oh my gosh we can go wedding dress shopping!” Maureen said excitedly.

Penny just rolled her eyes at her moms excitement, “let’s just take it one step at a time, you haven’t even spent a night here yet mom.”

“I know, I know, you’re right. I’m just so excited for you!” Maureen said hugging Penny.

John soon stood up to join his wife and daughter. He couldn’t help but stare at Penny, all he could think about was the fact that his baby was getting married, what happened to the little girl with pigtails he once knew?

“I’m so proud of you kiddo.” John said allowing a few tears to escape before wrapping his little girl up in his arms.

“You Robinsons are killing me ya know that? I never used to cry before I met you people.” Don said sniffling as he wiped his eyes. “Congratulations Penny, but also if he ever hurts you I’ll beat the crap out of him.” Don said seriously causing Penny to chuckle.

“Don’t worry I think Judy already scared him enough.”

“Hey it’s my sworn duty as the older sister to make sure the man you marry is good enough for you.”

Penny just shook her head in fake annoyance.
“Aright now I’m actually going to call him, I’ll be back in a few.” Penny said leaving the room.

Grant returned at that exact moment and something told Maureen that he had been waiting as to not interrupt the special moment.

“Lena and the boys will be by in ten minutes with the food!”

“Awesome! Will help me set the table.” Judy said.

“Is there anything you want us to do Jude?” John asked.

“You’re fine Dad, you just travelled across the universe. Sit and relax.” Judy commanded.

“Aye aye captain.” John responded fake saluting her, causing Judy to roll her eyes at her fathers silly antics.

Lena, Zach, and Luke arrived shortly and after introductions everyone got to work making dinner. It gave Maureen the opportunity to sit back and observe everyone. She couldn’t help notice how much the twins and Judy resembled each other. She also noticed how easily all five kids got along. Even though Penny and Will weren’t biologically related to Zach and Luke they acted just like any siblings would. It made Maureen happy, she knew how much Will had always wanted a brother and now he had two.

Don had joined the kids helping get dinner ready which gave Lena and Grant the opportunity to sit across from John and Maureen to chat.

“You raised some pretty amazing children.” Grant said causing the Robinsons parents to smile.

“I’m glad all our children get along so well, Will always wanted a brother.” John commented.

“And the twins always wanted a sister.” Lena responded. “Though I don’t know how much Judy and Penny like having three younger brothers to annoy them now.” Lena said laughing.

“Strange isn’t it? It took us all so long to get here but something tells me this is exactly how things were supposed to turn out.” Grant observed.

The Robinsons nodded in agreement. They were one blended, messy family for sure but everyone was happy, healthy and most importantly together.

Chapter Text

After dinner Grant and his family left with promises of stopping by soon. Don, who was exhausted, excused himself for bed taking over the guest room. Although Maureen and John were just as much if not more tired they decided to stay up and watch a movie with their children relishing finally being able to hold them close. The five Robinsons cuddled up on the couch, Will on his moms left, Penny in the middle of her parents, and Judy on her dads right. The kids picked some new movie that had just come out which they were very excited for, but John and Maureen hardly payed attention. They both enjoyed watching their children more than the movie.

About halfway through the movie Judy looked over and noticed both of her parents fast asleep. She smiled to herself at the sight given that less than an hour before her parents insisted that they were fine to stay up. She really didn’t want to wake them, but she also knew that they were in desperate need of some proper sleep in a real bed.

“Mom, Dad” she said gently giving her father a small shake while Will did the same to their mom.

Judy regretted her choice almost immediately as both their eyes frantically shot open looking for danger.

”Whoah, it’s ok, everything is fine but you two should go to bed.”

John and Maureen nodded in understanding once they had gotten their bearings, and began making their way upstairs. The kids showed them where everything was including their rather big master bedroom.

The first thing Maureen noticed about her room was that it was untouched. A pang went through her heart at the fact that her kids had kept it in pristine condition all these years hoping one day they would come back.

“Let us know if you need anything.” Penny said rather awkwardly before saying goodnight. Will and Judy followed suite before retreating to their own rooms.

Once the door was closed Maureen turned around to find John looking around with an odd expression on his face.

“I feel like a guest in my own home.” He said quietly. “Like it’s our kids home and we are just guests here.”

Maureen knew what he meant. As much as she tried to pretend like everything was normal, none of it was. For the first time in her life she didn’t know what role to play in her kid’s lives. Judy was all grown up and working at her dream job, the only reason she hadn’t moved out yet was to take care of her younger siblings. Penny was engaged and she knew it wouldn’t be long before her and Vijay began searching for a place of their own. Which then left Will. He was still just sixteen, yet he’d already been through more than most people do in their entire lives.

“I don’t know what type of parent I’m supposed to be anymore.” Maureen admitted solemnly.

“Hey look at me.” John said coming over to cup both sides of Maureen’s face, staring into her eyes lovingly, “We just have to be there for them, in whatever way they need. They’ve been without us for three years so things are bound to be different but it doesn’t mean that they won’t still need us.”

Part of Maureen wondered if he was trying to convince himself as much as he was her but she nodded anyway. “You’re right. Let’s go to bed.”

Maureen climbed into bed and immediately settled into Johns arms just like she had for the past three years, but this time it felt different. This time she could close her eyes and sleep without the worry of waking up to impending doom.

 

The next morning Judy found that she was the first one awake, though she wasn’t surprised as Penny had never been a morning person and Will, being a teenage boy, could sleep until well after noon if he wanted to. Judy was surprised however to hear Don come down the stairs not long after her.

“What are you doing awake so early?”

“I could ask the same of you Dr. Robinson?”

“Having to work overnights means my sleep schedule is basically nonexistent so I take whatever sleep I can get.”

“How is that by the way?”

“Work? It’s good, I’m in the emergency room so every shift is different. Sometimes it’s really slow, other times I don’t get a chance to sit for twelve hours. But I like it.”

“Saving lives in every galaxy in the universe are we?”

Judy just chuckled in response, “so what was it really like all those years stuck on that Jupiter. Anything happen that I should know about?”

“Oh you know the usual, just some fighting with alien robots, a few near death experiences here and there.”

“Don I’m serious.”

Dons faced softened at her words, “I know you are but nothing worse happened than what you’ve already experienced.”

“What about my parents, did anything happen to them I should know about?” Judy asked curiously.

“Shouldn’t you be asking them that yourself?”

Judy just gave him a pointed look that said, ‘you know as well as I do that they wouldn’t tell me even if it did’.

“Ok you’re right.” Don admitted. “They had a few close calls themselves, all of us did, but none of that even came close to the pain they felt after being separated from you and your siblings. I wish I had parents that loved me like that.”

Judys eyes welled up in tears at Dons statement both for her parents sake and his. Don could see Judy was getting visibly upset so he decided to switch the subject.

“So what was it like having your biological father back?”

A strange look Don couldn’t identify washed over Judys face, “it was strange... I don’t think either of us knew how to act when I told him who I was. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so awkward if I didn’t already have a dad. There’s no rule book on how to act when the father you thought was dead for twenty years is suddenly not. I guess we kinda just got into a routine these past few years though, with Grant and his family stopping by often. It took some of the pressure off of me to act like a parent to Penny and Will. But now that you guys are back I’m more lost than ever. I don’t want my dad to think that I like Grant better or that I think of Grant as my real father because as wonderful as he’s been these last few years he didn’t raise me. But I also don’t want Grant to think I love John more.” Judy physically cringed at having to distinguish which father she was talking about. “See even just calling him John feels wrong but I don’t want to hurt Grants feelings if I don’t call him dad too.”

Don took a second to process Judys ramblings. “It might be a tricky situation for sure but if there’s one thing I’ve seen it’s that both John and Grant love you very much, and who you choose to call dad and who you don’t won’t change that. Maybe it will be awkward for a little while but just like you did before you’ll fall into a routine and it will become your new normal. And Judy if you ever need to talk about it you know you can come to me.”

“Thanks Don.” Judy said before leaning in and giving him a hug which he easily reciprocated.

What neither Don or Judy realized was that John had been standing at the top of the stairs listening to the entire conversation.