I sat by Vanessa, holding her hand softly as she shook. She was nervous, and so was I. When I was at at new parents' house, getting to know each other as a family, Zacky called with exciting news. Matt had shown large signs of improvement and released him early. Him and Val were currently on their way home from his institution in Palm Springs, "What if they don't think it's me?" Vanessa asked nervously and I smiled.

"I'm sure once they see you, they'll know," I assured her and she gave out a shaky breath.

Zack had informed us when we arrived that Matt and Val were only thirty minutes away. They would arrive any minute now, as Gena ran around the house making sure everything was perfect. The house was chaos as everyone chatted about the exciting news they've heard. Not only that they've found Vanessa Sanders, but Avery Haner as well.

When the waiting couldn't come any longer, the front door opened and I heard Val's boots tap on the tile, along with a pair of heavy sneakers, "Guys? We're here!" She called and Vanessa started to cry silently. She squeezed my hand tightly, it hurt but I didn't mind. She buried her face in my shoulder.

"In here," Zacky and Gena got up to greet Matt and Val. As soon as they walked in, Matt's eyes were on me. I was hoping he wouldn't say anything in front of Vanessa.

"Van," He sighed and set his bag down.

"Matt, it's alright. You and Val should sit down," I told him and he nodded. When they did, they noticed the girl, about the same size as me, leaning into my shoulder. Her face was hidden to them, and they sent curious looks.

"You guys heard about Jesse and Av-" Zacky caught himself, "Van's conflict down in San Diego."

"We did. Are you alright, Sweetie?" Val asked and I nodded.

"When I went to pick up Van, I also picked up someone Van had found down there."

I nudged Vanessa to look up, but she gripped my hand tighter. I sighed and pulled her into a hug. This was the first time she would see her parents since she was five, and I knew this would be hard for her. As much as she wanted to see them, I knew she was worried about their reaction.

"Hello, I'm Val," Val smiled sweetly and set her hand on Vanessa's shoulder to comfort her, "You don't need to be shy." I felt Vanessa nod into my shoulder and I grinned.

"Matt," I smiled at him, "Val," I took in a deep breath, "This is Vanessa."

With that, Vanessa looked up and her eyes met with her mother's. It was magical seeing the two together. Their brown eyes were exactly alike, just like mine and my mother's. We all had the same eyes. Vanessa let out a big smile at the sight of Val in front of her. Everyone else smiled at the sight of her dimples, a mirrored image of Matt's, "Oh God," Val whispered before she pulled Vanessa away from me and to her.

All you could hear was the sobs that erupted from Val's mouth as she cried happily for her daughter to be in her arms. Vanessa was gripping her shirt tightly, as if she didn't want to ever let go. Val didn't speak, she just cried as she held her fifteen year old daughter. It had been a long time since she had felt like this, I guess.

Reluctantly, Val pulled away, "Let me look at you, Beautiful," She smiled and brushed a hair out of Vanessa's face, "Just as I had imagined," She whispered and Vanessa broke into a grin.

At this moment Vanessa finally looked away from Val and everyone turned to see Matt, standing up in shock. His aviators were still perched upon his nose so you couldn't see much emotion from him. He stood like a rock before he opened his mouth, "Vanessa," He whispered.

At this moment, she started to cry. Vanessa leaped from Val's lap and ran for Matt. He immediately took her into his arms, lifting her up off the ground and spun her as if she were a child, "Daddy!" She sobbed into his shoulder. Matt buried his face in his daughter's neck as he held her. Finally he looked up and took off his glasses and everyone saw his tears.

"My baby," He said softly before kissing her cheek and pulling her into a hug again, "I thought I'd never see the day."

"I missed you, Daddy."

"I missed you too, Baby. I missed you too."

Moments later the room had calmed down. The girls all had tissues, dabbing the corner of their eyes, careful not to let their make-up run. I sat contently with Michelle and Brian- Mom and Dad. I felt exhausted from all of the emotion stirring the room. I yawned and put my head against Dad's shoulder, "Van?" Matt asked and I looked up at him, sitting across the room with Vanessa.

"I'm sorry for everything I put you through. I know I must have stressed you out- and I should have left you alone," He apologized and I smiled.

"You missed your daughter, Matt. I can't really blame you."

He smiled at this, "You aren't think of leaving with Jesse again are you? We'd love for you to stay in Huntington."

"Well, I can't really leave if I tried," I chuckled, "Family has to stick together."

"What are you talking about, Van?" He asked and I put my hand up to stop him.

"Please," I paused and look up at my parents before turning back to him, "Call me Avery."

Matt and Val's eyes widened and they looked from me, to Mom, back to me, to Dad, back to me, then to each other. I laughed at this and they turned to look at me, "Avery!?" They exclaimed and I nodded.

"That's why you looked so familiar!" Matt exclaimed and I nodded.

"I wasn't your daughter, but I guess this makes you Uncle Matt," I grinned and he laughed.

"You have Michelle's eyes and Brian's face," Val complimented.

There was a thick silence for a long time and I sighed. Dad looked at me sadly, but I didn't turn to face him. I knew what question was coming next, "So are you going to stay with your parents or with Jesse?"

I felt Dad's grip on around my arms tighten and I smiled, "I haven't talked to Jesse about the details- but I plan on staying with Mom and Dad."

"Are you sure, Sweetie?" Mom asked and I smiled at her.

"I'm sure, Mom."

Everyone cooed at our moment and Gena stood up, "This causes for a celebration!" She exclaimed, "Zacky, start the barbecue and I'm going to bake."

Everyone laughed at Gena's sudden outburst, but Zacky didn't object- laughing as he headed out to the backyard. Leana got up to help Gena in the kitchen as Jimmy headed outside to help Zacky. Johnny and Lacey volunteered to head out and get ice and booze, which left just us in the living room.

The Haners and Sanders sat across from each other, not sure of what to say next. They really didn't need anything else besides what they had. Matt and Val had their daughter with them. I had my parents with me. We were happily perfect.

That was until there was a knock at the door, "I'll get it," I offered and got up. I knew who it would be, and I braced myself for this moment. My suspicions were correct when I opened the door to reveal a disheveled looking Jesse.

"I've been looking every where for you," He stated with almost no emotion.

"Zacky told me he let you know where I was," I informed him.

"I drove to Brian's house and when you weren't there I panicked," He paused, "I thought you left me." At this point I realized that Jesse was crying.

"Why are you crying?" I asked and he stepped inside.

"I can't take this, Van. You've been gone for only a few hours and I'm already a wreck," He took my hands in his.

"Jess, you knew this was coming. Wither it was now or when I was old enough to move out. You knew."

"It didn't have to come. You would have never had to move out, and you knew that. You knew we would be together forever. Don't make excuses," He said with a pained look in his eyes.

"I love you, Jesse. I really do- but this is my family."

"But you're my family, Van."

"Call me Avery," I said, and this caused him to scowl.

"You made be this new Avery, but you'll always be my Van."

"Jesse, can we talk about this later. We're going to have a barbecue right now, and I want to spend time with Mom and Dad."

Jesse reluctantly nodded before leaning down to my height and kissing me lovingly on the lips, "Avery?" A voice asked and I turned to look at Dad in the hallway.

"Sorry, Dad," I whispered and he sighed.

"I suspected it."

"Jesse was just leaving," I motioned for Jesse to leave.

"I just need to know one thing, Brian," Jesse stepped forward and I mentally slapped myself.

"And what's that?" Dad crossed his arms defensively over his chest. Jesse took in a deep breath before meeting Dad's eyes.

"I already know you'll take good care of her. I'm not going to give you some talk and how you better always be there for her and shit, because I know you will, "Jesse paused, "I guess what I'm trying to say is that I need to know if there's a place in her life for me."

"I like you a lot, Kid. I do. You've kept my baby-girl safe all these years, and I thank you for that. I'm not too excited about you and her together, but I can't really stop it can I?" He asked and Jesse shrugged, "You need to promise me that you'll always treat her like your family still, and no different no matter if her name is Van or Avery. You have to promise to take care of her when I'm not around. Now that Avery is our family, this means we're family. You need to promise you'll look after everyone else too. We stick together, Jesse, and you're welcome to that if you want to be in Avery's life."

"I'll always be apart of her life," Jesse said softly.

"Then do you promise? Say you promise," Brian urged and Jesse nodded.

"I promise."
♠ ♠ ♠
language: serbian


it feels so surreal to have this chapter posted. you guys have no idea of the hell i went through for this chapter.

first, i got writer's block.

second, when i finally came out of it and decided what to write- my computer got a virus keeping me from using the internet.

third, i went away for vacation and whatnot.

fourth, upon returning from my trip i realized my computer recieved another virus of the same sort and i was not allowed to use the internet until the virus was gone.

fifth, the only way to get the virus out was to completely reboot my computer- thus losing all of my music from my itunes (because lord knows i never bought one damn thing from itunes. thank you limewire.) most of my pictures, music i wrote, and sheets of music that i was learning.

sixth, when my computer was finally cleaned out and back running i got WRITER'S BLOCK again! sheesh!

so now everything is up and i'm back to writing. so here are my plans for when this story is over.

first off, my story which a few of you have read, The Kids Are Alright will probably be deleted. I have perfect ideas for the story, but the writing style isn't coming out how i plan. if i can't get the right words on the paper by next week, it will be deleted. i really don't want to delete it, but it's pointless to have it up when i'm not going to update it ever again.
next, my one-shot A Simple Salute is in the process of becoming a full-length story. It will not only involve all of avenged, but i'll matt baker will have a big part in it (because he's just too damn cute). so that's in the works as we speak.
also, i've been dabbling in original fiction, so i might come out with a full length original in the future, but i'm not sure.
until then, i have entered a few contests for original fiction. one story for a post secret contest, the other based on the show if you really knew me.

keep an eye out for those and i'll update soon.