The Fault In Ourselves

#TFIOSfanfic - my alternate ending for The Fault In our Stars.
Title is intentional, not a literary mistake.

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1. An Alternate Ending

A fairly round man with a clean-shaved face and a tufy of white hair on his otherwise bald head answered the door.  He was somewhere around fifty, with slightly sagging skin under his chin and  wrinkly skin. But his smile was kind and his blue eyes were bright.

"Mr. Van Hounten?"

Augustus stood beside me sounding nervous.

"Yes. You must be Augustus? And Hazel, what a pleasure."

He was wearing a formal suit with no tie and the first button undone. I looked down at my own clothing, feeling slightly underdressed. 

"I must say you both look- ah, you dressed like Anna." He smiled and the corners of his eyes crinkled.

"I did. May we come in?" I stumbled a little due to nerves but Gus caught me and led us into the house.

It was newly decorated and as we walked into the living area, I spotted a girl sitting at the table. At first, I thought it was Lidewij Vliegenthart, but an older lady came through from the kitched with wavy auburn hair and it made more sense that she'd be Peter Van Hounten's assistant. She was wearing a neatly fitted suit and a kind smile. The girl looked up from the table as Lidewij set down a tray of food in front of her. 

"Thank you, Lidewij."

When the girl looked up at the two of us, she smiled widely. Despite her head being bare of any hair, she was pretty. 

"You're here to speak with my father, I assume?"

I nodded mutely and Augustus stepped in. "Yes, we would very much like to hear what wise words he has to speak in person."

She nodded and Van Hounten followed us into the kitchen.

"I see you've met my daughter. She was, for want of a better word, an inspiration to me."

Both Gus and I nodded and took a seat around the table. 

"Nothing for me, thank you," Van Hounten smiled at Lidewij, "but our guests might. Hazel? Augustus?" 

Gus politely refused a beverage and I asked for water. I noticed classical music was playing somewhere in the room. A large stack of mail was on the bench beside the sink.

"Fan mail," Peter explained, "I reply whenever I am able. My daughter tends to get ill sometimes, but it's nothing like she used to have. I try not to pity her too much." He then reached for his daughter and patted her back gently. She laughed and gave us a smile.

"Well," said Van Hounten, "what would you like to know about my novel?"

 

It was truly amazing. He went on and on and told us about each of the characters in turn, telling us to save questions for the end. 

"Thank you for having us." Gus said, smiling. Van Hounten nodded and his daughter waved as we walked back down the street to our hotel.

 

"Hazel Grace?" 

"Yes?" I looked up to see Augustus grinning down at me. We had decided to postpone the trip to the Anna Frank museum til tomorrow and it was worth it, sitting here under the shade of umbrella outside a cafe. 

"I think I'm rather pleased I spent my wish on this trip."

I nodded. "Me too. Here, this is way too rich for me." I slid my chocolate cake slice towards Gus who shoveled it down at an inhuman pace.

"I'd go easy on that if I were you. You'll have a reoccurance."

Gus chuckled. "But you're not me, are you? And if you were, and I were you, I wouldn't be half as charming without my good looks and you'd probably end up breathing much better then you are no-" 

I cut him off with ahalf-hysterical "Gus, you're rambling."

He grinned his big goofy smile and I couldn't help but smile back.

"I love you,  Hazel Grace."

"Are you sure? You look like you love that cake a little more." When of course, what I was thinking was completely different. He loves me. Whatever, no big deal. But it kinda was.

"Yes, because my deep affection for you developed over a long course of time and trials can be smitten down singlehandedly by a piece of chocolate cake from Amsterdam."

I shrugged. "You never know."

He laughed. "I love you, Hazel Grace."

"And I love you, Augustus Waters."

I really do.

 

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