Dastun checked in on Roger and Dorothy over the next few days as much as duty permitted to make sure they were both on the mend, though he didn't know why he bothered. It was obvious from the way they kept gazing at each other they barely even knew he was there. But Norman assured Dastun all was indeed well, and Roger had begun to appear hale and hearty once more. The butler even brought Dastun down to the basement to show him that "the other patient" was better also, though it gave Dastun a shiver to get so close to the colossal black megadeus.

"Don't worry, Colonel. He likes you," Norman said, loading a brace of heat-seeking missiles into one of Big O's massive arms.

"Oh, good," Dastun murmured quietly.

But Dastun hadn't been able to find hide nor hair of the person he most wanted to see. He had news he wanted to give Angel personally, but the elusive former agent was nowhere to be found. Paradigm Corp headquarters buzzed with activity trying to make the city run as smoothly as it ever did, and Casseey Jenkins apparently kept too busy to see the likes of him.

Dastun sighed as he left Roger's mansion at the end of his day. Looking up, he could see Roger and Dorothy standing out on the balcony in the setting sun, enjoying yet another romantic embrace. Well, at least Roger was happy. It's not like Dastun ever expected to be happy himself . . . .

"They really do love each other, don't they?" a familiar female voice said behind him.

Dastun's heart lurched as he turned around and saw Angel standing there, looking up at the balcony as well. Her eyes were slightly moist, but there was something serene in her expression.

"Sure appears that way," Dastun answered.

"I'm glad," Angel whispered. "I never thought I'd hear myself saying that, but I am."

Dastun could only stare at her and struggle to find his own voice again. His throat felt tight. God, she was beautiful . . . . and her own person once more. He pulled a wad of folded papers from inside his trenchcoat pocket and handed them to her. She looked down and unfolded them with curiosity.

"Your, uh, file . . . ." Dastun stammered. "No charges. The case against Agent 340 is officially closed. You're free to do whatever you want. As long as it's legal," he added hastily.

"Free . . . ." A single tear trickled down Angel's face. "I don't think I've ever been free before. Thank you, Colonel."

Dastun rubbed the back of his neck and loosened his collar, but his throat still felt like it had a megadeus-sized lump in it. He knew he was about to make a fool of himself, but with any luck he might at least die a violent death in the line of duty before any of his men found out.

"Um, so since you're free from now on," he stuttered, "I was, ah, wondering if you'd be free this weekend to, er, go to the movies or out to dinner or something . . . . with me, I mean. Not that you have to, or anything if you don't want to . . . it's just . . . ."

Angel looked at him as if she couldn't believe what she was hearing – or rather, seeing.

"Dan Dastun, are you actually blushing?"

"Uh, probably." His face sure felt hot enough. "Okay," he sighed in defeat. "You can just go ahead and shoot me now."

She quirked an eyebrow and grinned at him.

"Nothing illegal, I thought you just said. Besides, if I did that, however would we go out this Saturday?"

Dastun's eyes bugged out for a second and his jaw dropped.

"You mean you'll do it?" he gasped. "You don't mind?"

She smiled, and Dastun crushed his hat into a large, green felt raisin in his hands.

"So where did you want to go?" she asked.

"Um," he still could hardly speak, but now he couldn't keep the stupid grin off his face either, "I thought I'd leave it up to my new Negotiator."

With a smile brighter than the setting sun, she put her arm around his shoulder and together they walked away from the mansion.

"Colonel Dastun, I have the feeling this is going to be a beautiful friendship . . . ."

WE HAVE COME TO TERMS