A/N: Bet you all thought that I'd put this on the shelf for good, huh? I found this the other day, and went "Huh. I should finish that." Trouble is, I have very little recollection of where I was going to go with this. The reason I never finished this in the first place was because I had several different ideas for where to take this, but I could never decide on which one....so I'm going to have to pick up from scratch, I think. Hope you all enjoy this.


The stunned silence that filled the room was deafening. Tony just stared at his wife, his mouth hanging open dumbly. "C-Christine?" he finally choked out, taking a hesitant step towards her. She stood up, bringing her gloved hand from her neck to examine the fresh blood tainting her fingers; the wound had never healed once she had entered the sleeping state, and now it was beginning to bleed fresh.

"What's going on?" she asked softly, eyes full of childlike confusion as she slowly stepped towards him. His own eyes started brimming with tears; all of a sudden, this was the Christine he knew. This was the Christine who was confidant and sure when she knew her situation, but could immediately turn into a frightened little girl who needed his protection once things got out of hand. It had been so long since she had needed him, he'd almost forgotten what it was like.

"Christine! You're alive!" He was nearly laughing, now, though the tears streamed down his cheeks, and in a moment he had her in his arms, his face buried in her dark red hair. It was too good to be true. Holding her again had to be some kind of dream...but even if it was a dream, he was thankful that he was having it. Even his dreams had given up on her long ago.

"Of course I'm alive, Tony, what are you talking about? What is this place?" she asked, looking around as she pulled away from him slightly.

"You mean you don't remember? You...don't you remember anything that's happened?" he asked, keeping his hands on her arms; he was unable to let go of her, even for a moment. She shook her head slowly.

"The last thing I remember was Virginia....oh, my god." Her expression had suddenly turned to one of horror, and she backed away, slipping out of Tony's grasp. "My god, what have I done?"

"Christine, she's all right. Virginia's all right," he reassured softly, reaching out to touch her shoulder. "You...you didn't know what you were doing, Christine. It wasn't your fault," he added. "Then you ran away...and....don't you remember anything that happened after that? About the nine kingdoms?" She turned away again, moving to sit on the slab where she had been lying a moment before.

"A woman....an old woman, Tony...spoke to me through the trees..." she began, then covered her face in her hands. "She was different, Tony, she wasn't like the others..."

He felt a sharp pain in his heart, one of mixed sympathy and guilt; for fourteen years, he had been kicking himself for not getting her the help she needed. "Others?" he asked quietly, moving to sit beside her. Truth be told, he wasn't sure he wanted to hear about the others, but he had to ask.

"The other voices, Tony...she wasn't like them. She was...she was sweet, and she wanted to help me..." she explained, looking up at him with tear-filled green eyes. He felt his heart twisting again as he realized, for the first time, that the voices she had told him about were just as real to her as Virginia was to him. Of course she hadn't been the least bit suspicious of a woman talking to her from some trees; in her world, that sort of thing probably happened all the time.

"I'm so sorry," he choked out in a whisper, cupping her cheek with one shaking hand. "Christine, I...I'm so sorry. I....I didn't help you...."

She smiled at him gently, as if to say that it was all right, and placed her hand atop his. "You look different," she said after a thoughtful moment.

"Well, it's been fourteen years," he replied, not even stopping to think before he spoke. Her look immediately changed from loving to shocked.

"What? What on Earth are you talking about?" she asked, frowning. There was a short pause as he tried to find words to tell her, but she continued, "Tony, you never did tell me where we are."

"Christine..." he began, then trailed off with a sigh. "It's a really long story...."


A/N2: To be continued! Hopefully in less than two years, this time. Just wanted to go ahead and post this chapter to let people know I'm still alive, and stuff like that.