[identity profile] katleept.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] smallfandomflsh
Title: An Unusual But Destined Pair
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Saved by the Bell
Character/Pairing: Slater/Jessi, OMC
Rating: PG/K+
Challenge/Prompt: [livejournal.com profile] smallfandomflsh #174: Puckish
Warning(s): Future Fic, Character Death
Word Count: 1,244
Date Written: 15 May, 2016
Summary:
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owners, not the author, and are used without permission.




Her husband's been dead for three years; yet, she still sees him every day. She sees him every time she shuts her eyes. She hears his voice in her head every time she has a hard decision to make. She sees his smiling face in the pictures she finally put back up all throughout their home, but most of all, she sees him in their child.

Her life hasn't been at all what she thought it would be. She still doesn't have that law degree, and she's working two jobs just to make ends meet. She hears the whispers at both places and whenever she goes out shopping for necessities. She hears the whispers, but she still holds her head up high.

She may not be rich. She may not have the life she thought she would, but that doesn't mean she's hurting because of the paths not taken. She's hurting, but she'd hurt the same regardless of what degree she holds or what job she takes. She hurts not because of the financial burdens in her life or because she isn't the woman she thought she would be by now. She hurts, because he's no longer with them. And yet, still, he remains.

Their friends come by to check on her from time to time. They call more often, and she's cried on Zack, Kelly, Lisa, and even Screech more times than she cares to remember. She still cries almost every night when she lays down alone in an empty and cold bed.

They try to find the words to reassure her. Zack told her today that the truth is almost out; he said that he and his team of undercover reporters almost have all the proof they need. Kelly assured her that all their hard work and tired and tried patience will finally be worth it. But they don't understand.

Nobody understands. She doesn't regret her time with Slater. She no longer regrets not getting to complete her degree as a lawyer or putting her child and her life with his father before her education. The girl she was when she first fell in love with Slater would never have made many of the decisions she has as a grown woman, but the woman she is has very few regrets. In fact, the only one that comes to mind most days is that she lost Slater so early.

The truth of his death will soon be out, but it almost doesn't matter any longer. If it wasn't for the fact of clearing his name, she would have called off the investigation long ago, but she wants his name cleared. He was a honorable soldier who died for a good cause, protecting his friends. He sacrificed his life so that his friends could continue with theirs, and that sacrifice deserves to be recognized.

Other than clearing his name, though, the investigation isn't going to change anything. It's not going to give her husband back or give her son his father back. It's not going to ease their pain, but there is something that does ease her pain. He soothes her every day while never knowing what he does.

He's looking up at her now through his big, dark eyes, and in his wide smile, she sees his father so clearly that it hurts sometimes. Yet, looking into her son's smiling face, she knows Kelly's wrong. Her life has never stopped having meaning; the decisions she's made that have brought her here are already so much more than merely worthy. This kid in front of her is everything to her, and as long as he lives, as long as he smiles like he's doing right now, there's a part of his dad still left in this world.

"Mama," A.C. Slater the Third asks, the corners of his puckish smile turning down a little with his concern. She braces herself for the question that's coming, figuring for certain that it has something to do with his father, something which she very well may not be ready to answer yet, but the question he asks makes her own smile break out. "What're dimples?"

"Smile, baby boy," she tells him, and when he does, she lovingly touches his cheeks. "These," she says, gently tracing each dimple with her fingertips, "are dimples. They show up when you smile."

He frowns again; clearly, his next question is important to him. "Doesn't everybody have them?"

"No." Jessi shakes her head, still smiling fondly. "But your daddy did."

"He did?"

"Yes. They were one of his cutest features," Jessi touches her son's dimples again as they reappear, "and they're one of yours."

"I don't mind having them then. If Daddy had them, I want them."

"Did somebody ask you about them?"

"No. Not really. But a girl at school said my dimples were cute. I thought she was being mean -- "

Jessi laughs. She can't help it. She can so clearly picture his father at his age saying the same thing. "No, sweetheart, she wasn't being mean. She likes you. Do you like her?"

"I don't know. She's a girl."

Jessi laughs again. "You'll like her one day."

"You really think so?"

She nods. "Yeah, and she'll be lucky when you do, just like I was lucky when your daddy chose to like me. We were an unusual pair."

"Really?"

"Yeah." Jessi's beaming now as she remembers those days fondly. Her eyes shine both with happiness and unshed tears. She pulls her son into a hug and onto her lap as she explains, "Your daddy was the star wrestler and football player at our school. I . . . didn't exactly fit in."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"I don't 'xactly fit in, too."

"You don't?"

"No." He pouts.

"Tell you what?" Jessi says, looking at him with a grin. "You smile more often at those girls at school, especially big smiles that show your dimples, and I promise you you'll start being liked more."

"Really?"

She nods. Her nose crinkles instinctively, and she remembers how much his father liked that particular display of affection. "Definitely. It worked for your daddy."

"Am I really that much like Daddy?" Little Slater asks, wrapping his arms around her neck.

"Oh, yeah," Jessi replies, kissing his forehead, and above his little head, she gazes into the eyes of his father in the nearest photograph hanging on the wall. They were an unusual pair all right, but there's no doubt at all in her mind that they were meant to be. Slater changed her life with his love, and although her life isn't at all what she thought it would be, in many ways, except for the fact that he's gone from her now, it's so much better.

The only real regret she has is that she lost him so young, but he left her a marvelous little boy to raise in his wake. She may not be a lawyer. She may not be changing the whole world, but shaping the world for their child, which she does do every day, is the most important thing she can now imagine ever being able to do, more important even than changing the world in the ways she once yearned to do. Kelly was definitely wrong. Her life is already full of meaning because of Slater the Third, and in her sweet son, she sees her husband every day. Her eyes lift toward Heaven from whence she knows her love is watching, and she smiles through her tears. Except for Slater's absence, everything else is perfect.

The End

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