That Christmas was everything they had wished the previous Christmas to be. Yes, Mike, El, and Hopper barely had any sleep (mostly because they were too afraid to close their eyes and miss a moment with each other), but coffee was enough to solve that problem. Because first thing on Christmas morning, they needed to show everyone that El had made it back. She had returned.

There had been no plans that day other than for each of the party to be with their families. El's disappearance had done something strange to them. They were still friends, because nothing would ever be able to fully take that away from them. But they smiled a little less. They joked a little less. They spent more time alone and more time thinking about things had changed and how they would never be the same.

Mike made the phone call. He called every member of the party, one by one, to tell them that he needed to see them, and he needed to see them right away. They had all responded with the expected concern. Most of them seemed to think he was deeply struggling with the anniversary of the disappearance. He wanted to just tell them on the phone, but that didn't feel right to him.

None of them argued, even though he knew that some of them might have a hard time excusing themselves from their family Christmas celebration. The fact that they all agreed so readily was proof of the strength of their bond and friendship.

They all agreed to meet at Mike's house, as soon as they could. Mike had tried to explain the situation to his mother, but that had been a strange conversation. She had been utterly furious about the theft of her vehicle, and only slightly mollified when told that Hopper had been aware of the entire situation. Mrs. Wheeler had been confused—El was back? Who had found her? Mike didn't know how to explain, and Hopper had needed to do most of the talking. In the end, he explained everything without explaining anything. But all his years of administrative doublespeak had trained him in the mystical art of BS. Even if his behavior over the past year had not exactly earned him the goodwill of most of the people in the town.

Now, Hopper, El, and Mike were waiting for everyone to show up. Mike assumed Mrs. Byers was going to be there, as well. Hopper had made that call, and even though Mike hadn't been able to hear most of the conversation, he had heard the tone, and he had heard the tears. Seeing Hopper cry like that was strange, but Mike wasn't surprised. Watching Hopper, one of the strongest people Mike knew, fall apart like that over the last year had been so hard to watch. The only reason Mike could imagine how hard it had been for the chief was because it had been equally hard for Mike.

It wasn't long before they were all there. No one could believe what they were seeing. The reaction was universal. Mrs. Byers was in tears, hugging El and Hopper in turns, so emotional that she could barely speak. Will was ecstatic, having never really given up on her. He knew that you could survive anything, if you just wanted it bad enough. And if you had people who still believed in you. Lucas and Dustin were shocked, but immensely proud. Their best friend had kicked the ass of an elder god. Max was beaming, because she had known, deep down, that if anyone was tough enough to take on the end of the world like that, it was her best friend.

El tried to explain what had happened, but the truth was that she didn't think it was a good idea for them to know too much. Oh, she told them the broad strokes. She told them what things had looked like. But there was a substantial difference between what things looked like, and how things actually were. Some things were not meant to be known, and El was beginning to see that her time spent behind the curtain of reality was something she would need to carry by herself throughout the rest of her life.

She thought of the things that she had seen, of the things that she had learned. It wasn't over yet. Sure, it might be over for now. But there was a whole universe out there, an entire reality that had seen her handle the Watcher. The Watcher was not the only one of its kind. And she didn't know what the others would do. There was a chance, of course, that they would do nothing. That they would be content to exist in their own realities, leaving hers to itself. Maybe they had seen what she had done to the Watcher and would know better than to try something.

But there was no way for her to know. There was no way to make the thoughts and plans of extradimensional gods make any kind of sense. Even though she had seen what was very likely the future, and talked to herself and Mike, she didn't think that anything was guaranteed. It was so easy for something to change in the blink of an eye—a whole year could go by without you ever even noticing.

She tried not to think about what it must have been like for her friends. For Hopper. She had to keep telling herself that it wasn't her fault, that she had done what she needed to do and that in the end, it had all been worth it. But she couldn't shake the sight of seeing him in the doorway of his house, looking alone and exhausted. The past year for him must have been just as hard as her odyssey into the unknown. She knew that it would be a long time before Hopper was okay again. Maybe that was alright. Because it would be a long time before she was okay again, too.

"So what happens next?" asked Max, and that was the question that was on everyone's mind.

El wished that she knew the answer to that. There was no guide to this and she didn't know what would happen. Maybe nothing would happen. Maybe they would have to go through it all again and again, until she died, was consumed, or there were no longer any entities left.

She shook her head. "I don't know," she said. "But I don't think that it's coming back." And that was all that she could say with any certainty.

Mike was looking at her with such pure joy that El felt like her heart would burst. She wished that she could tell him what she had seen—that there was a future where they stayed together, and that she had seen it. But... what if she told him, and that made sure the future never happened? She didn't want to risk that and so no matter how hard it was, she knew that she needed to make sure she kept those moments to herself.

Lucas was still shaking his head in disbelief. "I can't believe that you went up against a god," he said. "I mean, I can believe that you won. Because you're El. But still... you know how crazy this is?"

El smiled. "Yes, Lucas, I know how crazy it is."

Lucas kept shaking his head. "Good, because it is crazy. This is going to make an amazing story one day."

Hopper raised an eyebrow. His voice was still a little hoarse from all the crying he had been doing (not in front of anyone else, of course). "Except she's never going to tell anyone about this because we don't want her getting any attention that she doesn't need."

While the sentence was true, it also had a sobering effect on the group. They could all imagine what it would be like if another government agency caught wind of El's encounters. It would likely start the entire cycle over again.

"So let's make a promise," said Mike. "We never talk about this again with anyone who doesn't already know. We can't risk it. Who knows what they would do if they found out? If the Russians found out?"

Hopper nodded his approval. "And maybe one day, all you kids can leave this place behind."


Christmas happened that year, and it was the most joyous celebration that anyone could remember. The last year had been so difficult on all of them, and El's return felt like the lifting of a monumental weight. Even people who had no idea what the truth of the story was were celebrating. The town felt lighter—like a darkness had been hanging over them and was now lifted. To some degree, that was true. The Watcher's influence was gone, most likely forever.

To others, the return of El marked the end of an era. The end of the strange disappearances that had plagued the town, seemingly out of nowhere. It was like a return to normalcy, the way things should have been all along.

Mike was happy to spend time with his family, but what he really wanted was some alone time with El. Just to sit and talk. He couldn't stop watching her and he had to keep reminding himself that this wasn't a dream, that she really was back and she wouldn't be going anywhere. Maybe she would be able to stay for good.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, most of the celebration had ended and people started to disperse. Mike and El bundled up the best they good, and stepped outside to sit on the front lawn. There was no snow this year. It didn't feel like last year did. It didn't feel like a storybook anymore. It felt more like real life.

"What's happened?" asked El, as they sat down on the ornate bench that Mr. Wheeler had put out one weekend on their lawn.

Mike looked at her, confused by the question. "What do you mean?"

"Over the last year. What did I miss?"

Mike was at a loss. How was he supposed to answer that question? There was so much...

"Well, Hopper and Mrs. Byers are still together. Good thing, too. I don't know how he would have handled it without her. Lucas, Max, and Dustin... well, they're the same as always. I mean, we've all been worried. We talked about you a lot at first—about what we thought you were doing. But things were hard, you know? Eventually we stopped talking about it because we were all just said. I never stopped believing that you were out there, though. I knew it was unlikely... but I'd seen you survive so much. I didn't think that something like an elder god was going to take you down. You're way tougher than that."

El smiled. Mike always knew what to say, even when he had no idea what he was supposed to say. "What else?" she asked.

Mike looked thoughtful. "Steve... he started taking classes at the community college. I think he really changed, you know? Dustin and him still hang out all the time. And I think that's really good for both of them. Oh, and since the Byers moved back here and live in Hawkins again, Jonathan and Nancy are still together. And I think that was really good for her too."

El nodded, smiling. It seemed that in her absence, the world had kept spinning. She supposed that shouldn't have surprised her, but it still felt strange. A whole year? She hadn't even had time to fully take in how she had changed. It wasn't possible, and yet it had clearly happened. She wondered if there was something she had forgotten. Could it be that she had experienced an entire year and forgotten it all?

No, that couldn't have happened. It must just have been the effect of the other dimension. Right?

The more she thought about it, the more her head hurt. And it wasn't like she was ever going to be able to get an definitive answer from someone.

"Were you... okay?" El asked. It was the thing she had worried about the most, aside from Hopper's well-being.

Mike looked at the ground. "It was hard. But I guess... I was okay. I wish you would have told me, El."

She looked at him and felt a wave of guilt. Maybe she should have told. But she knew that if she had...

"You would have convinced me not to go," she said sadly. "I had to. You know that, right?"

Mike nodded. "I knew why you did it. I just wish... a year is a long time, El."

"I'm sorry," she said, feeling guiltier than ever.

Mike shook his head then. "You don't have to apologize to me. Never apologize for doing what you have to do. Not to me and not to anyone else. I never blamed you for anything. I was sad, and I missed you every day. But I knew that you were out there, doing whatever it was that you needed to do. And, yeah, I knew that there was a chance you wouldn't make it back. But that was the risk we all took, every time we went up against this stuff. The demogorgon. The Mind Flayer. The Russians. Any of it—we all knew what might happen. And we were all willing to make that sacrifice. I'm not trying to make you feel bad. I just want to be honest with you."

El leaned her head on Mike's shoulder and sighed. It wasn't a frustrated sigh or a sad sigh. It was a relieved, relaxed sigh. It felt like it had been ages since she had been able to sit down and just breathe. Maybe it had been.

"Do you think that it's really all over?" asked El.

Mike looked up the sky. "I don't know," he said, after a moment. "Is there really any way to know? It might be over for today. It might be over for all next year. It might be over for decades. But it could come back one day too, right?"

El knew he was right. It had been just what she had been thinking. "And if it does," she said, "I'll be there to stop it."

"We'll be there," said Mike. "All of us. You won't have to face anything alone. Even if we can't go with you, we'll be here for you, no matter what."

"Promise?" asked El, even though she already knew what the answer was going to be.

"Promise," said Mike with a smile. "You can always count on me."

Missing a year of her life was a frightening thought, but the more she considered it, the more she saw ways to see it a good sign. Before escaping the lab, she had never even had a life. Over a decade had gone by where she had barely even been a person. If she would have missed a year during that time, she probably wouldn't have even noticed. But now that she had an actual life, a year was a massive gap for her. She supposed that she could be grateful for the fact that she even had a reason to miss all of that time.

El pulled herself closer to Mike and allowed herself to relax. It was Christmas. There was no need to be thinking about these kinds of things right now. Maybe there wouldn't be any need to think about them ever again.


And then, things seemed to fall into a new kind of normal. It was strange—for as long as El could remember, even in the calmest moments of her life, there had always been something happening. Either it was in the background or it was looming on the horizon, but it was always there. Now, there was nothing. They were still on break for holidays, and she knew that returning to school would bring its own set of challenges. But they were challenges that she could look forward to without having to fear them. They were challenges that everyone her age faced.

In a way, it felt like she had never left. Sometimes things felt the same way they did before she had gone on her odyssey. It was only when she looked in the mirror or saw her friends' faces that she remembered how much they had changed.

Hopper had his work cut out for him when it came to explaining her return. In the end, it came down to lies, the same way it always did. The press, as usual, tried to hound him for details, but he presented the story the same way, every time. A private detective, who Hopper refused to name to protect the individual's privacy, had followed several leads and located El before everyone else. No arrests were made because the leads had run cold. There were plenty of questions, because the situation seemed sketchy to everyone, but no one could prove anything that Hopper was saying false.

No matter what happened, Hopper made sure that none of that blew back on El. She didn't need any more stress in her life, and he refused to let those parasites get after her. Eventually, they would lose interest, but for now, he had his work cut out for him.

El was grateful for the peace and quiet. All she wanted to do was spend time with Mike and her friends. Which was exactly what she was doing on the day they made the promise. They were at the gorge, all sitting in a circle, listening to El tell her story.

El had gone into a little more detail as to what had happened when the adults weren't there. Yeah, she trusted and loved Hopper and Mrs. Byers, but they weren't part of the party. Neither was Steve or Nancy or Jonathan. There were some things she only wanted to tell her closest friends.

The party was staring at her, eyes wide. They, like her, only had the barest comprehension of what she had seen. It was all so otherworldly. "So you think that it might happen again?" asked Dustin, eventually.

El shrugged. "I don't know. I don't think the Watcher will ever come back. I don't think it can, after that. But I do know that there are other entities out there."

"Are they evil?" asked Lucas. "Are they going to try the same thing?"

"I don't think that good and evil mean anything to them," said El slowly. "Not in the same way that those words mean things to us. They don't think like we do. They might not even think at all."

"What do we do if it happens again?" asked Will. "If the Watcher does come back or if more of them appear?"

Mike looked up and addressed the whole party. "We'll have to stop it. It might not happen this year. Or next year. It might not happen for a decade or more. But there's no one else here that knows how to deal with these things. And if it happens again... we have to stop it."

The party looked around at each other, all of them nodding in agreement.

"We have to swear," said Mike. "No matter where we are, or who we've become. We have to come back so that we can finish what we started."

"What are we all going to do against a group of gods?" asked Lucas. "I mean, realistically? I don't mind coming back, but what good will we do?"

El smiled. "None of this would have happened without all of you. We're all the party. It's not just me."

Dustin stood up. "Well, I'm with you. No matter what the rest of these mouth-breathers say or do, I'm with you. How could I not be?"

One by one, the rest of the party stood up. Lucas was the last to do so, but he didn't really hesitate. None of them did. Not only did they owe their lives to her, they all considered her one of their best friends. And they would never let her down, no matter how much time had passed.

They all put their hands into the circle. "We'll come back," said Mike. "No matter what. If it starts again, if the portals open up, we will come back. And we'll make sure that it's gone for good."

Dustin looked around. "Should we like... make a blood pact now or something?"

Max gave Dustin a disgusted look. "What? Are you out of your mind? Why would I want your gross blood on me?"

Dustin shrugged and looked offended. "A simple no would have been enough, thank you very much."

The party stood there in the circle, under the sun, on the edge of the gorge, and they felt something strange happening. It wasn't anything tangible, nor was it anything malicious. It was something that happened to everyone, something that must happen to all of us. It was inevitable.

They felt themselves growing up.

To El, it was the most frightening thing she could think of. She had even less experience in the world than the rest of the party did, and she didn't know if she was ready for all the changes that were coming in the future. As the party let their hands fall, she gripped Mike's. Whatever was coming, they would face it together. Even if it was something as horrifying as the end of high school and the beginning of adulthood.

Somehow, they would weather the storm. Growing old would be the most difficult challenge they had faced together, but it was one that she could look forward to. Whatever the future brought them, they would face it together.


Hopper felt like he could breathe for the first time in a year. He had never expected to feel this level of relief again in his life, and it had been practically killing him. Every day had broken down into the horrid routine that ended in the same way: no news about El. It had crushed him, even though he knew better than to expect anything other than that.

There were no experts on this. The real experts on this were the kids, Joyce, and himself. And they didn't know anything other than what El had told them. It had been over. The only hope was that El was going to reappear, but with every day that passed, that hope had grown smaller and smaller. Until it was gone entirely.

Hopper was certain that without Joyce, he never would have made it. It was the same cycle of grief that had almost claimed him when Sara had died. Joyce hadn't been able to pull him out of it, but she had been able to keep him above water. Yeah, he had been drinking way too much. Maybe taking a few too many pills. But he was alive. And in the end, that was all that had mattered.

When El had appeared on his doorstep, he had thought that it was a hallucination. There was no reason for her to be there, a year after she had disappeared. That was why, for the first few seconds after he saw her, he hadn't reacted, because he had expected her to vanish at any moment.

Ironically, Mike was the one who had made it all real to him. There was no way that kid would have been in a hallucination. He was just a constant reminder of what Hopper had lost, and even though it wasn't Wheeler's fault, Hopper couldn't help but resent the kid a little.

And then it had clicked. This was her. It was really her. His girl was back. His daughter was safe. Hopper wasn't able to do anything than stand there and cry, letting a year's worth of emotions come pouring out of him.

So now, Hopper was making himself a drink. But there wasn't a drop of alcohol in it. He was making coffee, and he was even making it decaf, because it was getting a little late. Joyce would have been proud of him. Joyce would be proud of him when she made it here later, since she was on her way. Hopper knew just how much she had worried about him for the past year. The truth was that he couldn't blame her. As much as he didn't want to admit it, there had been some damn good reasons to be worried about him. The clarity that El's reappearance had brought him had showed him all the mistakes that he had made in the time she was gone. He was ashamed and he hoped that El never learned the truth of how far he had gone.

There was a knock on his door, and it brought a smile to his face. He knew who it was without having to open the door. The knock was the same every time, and lately, it only came as an announcement that the person on the other side was about to come in. Sure enough, just the briefest of moments later, and the door opened.

"Hop? It's me," called Joyce from the front door.

Hopper finished pouring his coffee and stepped into the hallway to see Joyce.

"Hey," he said, taking a sip.

She looked at him with disapproval. "Coffee? Really? At this time?"

Hopper raised his mug to her. "It's decaf. And it's better than anything else that I might be drinking at this time of night. Anyway, what are you, my mother?"

Joyce shook her head as she approached him to give him a kiss on the cheek. "You could be drinking water."

Hopper grimaced. "Do I really strike you as someone that boring?"

"No, but you strike me as someone who could stand to be more hydrated."

Hopper rolled his eyes as they walked together to the living and sat down on his couch together. Despite it being yet another long day in a career that seemed full of them, Hopper felt energized. He felt like his life was changing for the better.

"Is El home?" Joyce asked.

Hopper shook his head. "Nah. She's out with her friends. And Wheeler."

"And you just let her go?" Joyce asked teasingly.

Hopper shrugged. "She's old enough to make her own decisions."

Joyce looked a little surprised. "What brought about this sudden change?"

Hopper had to think a little to answer that one, because it did seem sudden. The answer was obvious though, even if it was hard to admit. "You know what it was? I made a mistake. I should have listened to you from the start. And then I got trapped on the other side and I started thinking about what was really important. And then El vanished. And I realized that I should have done so many things differently. Maybe it shows that I'm weak, since she had to reappear for me to realize these things. But at least I did realize them. At least I changed."

"I don't think you're weak," said Joyce. "I think you're human."

"Isn't that just another way to say weak?" asked Hopper with a grin. "It's okay. I know who I am. At least I have that much."

"So what comes next?" asked Joyce. "For you? And for El?"

Hopper looked thoughtful. "I don't know. Maybe that's the most exciting part about this all. There's a future there, for both of us. She's so smart. She's going to finish high school and I think she's going to go to college. I have no idea for what, but I know she's going to do something amazing."

"And you're just going to let her grow up and go to college?" teased Joyce. "That seems like a stretch to me."

Hopper grinned. "Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. I'm telling you, I learned. I'm not saying that it's going to be easy, but I'll work on it. She deserves it."

"She really did save the world," said Joyce with a sigh of wonder. "Can you believe it? Did you ever think that you were going to see your daughter do something like that?"

Hopper smiled wistfully. "No," he said, and there were many emotions in his voice. "No, I didn't. Not for a very long time."

Joyce covered her mouth with her hand. "Oh! Hop, I'm sorry, I forgot—"

Hopper cut her off before she could say anything else. "It's okay, Joyce. You're right. After Sara, I never gave myself the change to even hope for something like this. I just didn't allow myself to even think about it. And look what happened once I made room in my miserable life for it. I've got El. I've got you. I have the rest of those damn kids. And I feel something I never thought I would feel again: happy."

Joyce looked at Hopper, and her eyes were shining. He wasn't sure if they were shining with tears or with happiness. Maybe it was both. "I love you, Hop," she said.

Hopper felt his heart come to an abrupt stop and his stomach do a flip. He hadn't felt that feeling a very, very long time. He couldn't recall with certainty when was the last time he had felt that. It wasn't fear. It was something far stranger to him.

"I love you too," he said, and he found that he truly meant it. Imagine that? Jim Hopper, the eternally alone, in love with someone.

He put his arm around her then, and the two of them just sat there in silence. It was a comfortable sort of silence. There was nothing else that needed to be said. Their journey had been long and strange, and Hopper knew that this was only the beginning. No matter what happened, they would face it together.

"Here's to the future," he said, lifting his mug of coffee. "Here's to whatever comes next."


It was New Year's Eve, and Hopper was throwing a party for El and her friends. It had come as a huge surprise to her that he would be willing to do such a thing, since he really didn't seem like the type to enjoy a New Year's celebration. He had acted like he was offended by her surprise, but then he had laughed and explained himself.

"It really is a new start," he said. "Why shouldn't we celebrate?"

And then he had hugged her tightly. El understood perfectly after that.

Mike had been shocked too. "Hopper is inviting me over to spend New Year's Eve at your house?" he had asked in disbelief.

El had giggled. "Well, yeah, but he's inviting the whole party too."

"That's a relief," Mike had said. "I was beginning to think he didn't hate me."

It was a joke, of course. Hopper didn't hate Mike. Honestly, Hopper had probably never hated Mike. He had hated what Mike had represented. He hated the thought of El growing up and changing. But he had learned, and now he was able to look at Mike with a little more kindness. Only a little, but still. It was something.

The party was going great, from El's perspective. Hopper looked a little stressed out—this was the most people that had been in his house in a very long time... maybe forever. But he was handling it well, El thought. Even when she leaned in to give Mike a kiss, Hopper's face only got a little red.

El was happier than she could ever remember being. All of her friends were here, Hopper was smiling and in a good mood, Mrs. Byers was in her element. There was nothing else she could ask for. She could think of no better way to ring in the New Year.

"Any resolutions for next year?" Mike asked with a smile.

El made a show of being thoughtful. "Hmmm..." she said. "I have to think about that one."

"C'mon," Mike said. "It can't be that hard! What do you want to improve in your life for next year?"

"Well," said El. "I think I have an idea." She grinned mischievously.

"Spill!" demanded Mike.

"I'd like to not go missing this year," said El, laughing. "I think that would be a pretty good goal for myself."

Mike smiled, but it was a little bit of a pained smile. "That's not very funny," he said.

"Then how come you're smiling?" asked El, poking him.

"It's a little funny," said Mike.

The two of them were sitting down on Hopper's couch, while the party occurred around them. Dustin was telling some crazy story about science camp and how much fun it had been to see Suzie again and how in love they were. Everyone else was a little skeptical about it, but they were happy to hear his story and to see how thrilled their friend was.

"Want to step outside for a minute?" Mike asked El.

El glanced at Hopper, who was currently involved in a conversation with Joyce. El nodded, and the two of them sneakily got off the couch, slipped into their coats, and left the front door and the rest of the party before anyone noticed.

Outside, the night was chilly, but it was far from unbearable. The moon was huge and shone down on the two of them, like a nighttime sun.

They sat down on the front step and looked up at the moon. Mike reached out and took El's hand, and she felt her heart skip a beat.

"It's been a crazy couple of years, huh?" asked Mike.

El nodded. "That's an understatement."

"You think we're going to have a couple of years away from the craziness now?" Mike asked.

El wished that was the case, but she knew better than to assume anything like that would ever happen in her life. "Who knows?" she said.

Mike sighed. "Yeah. Who knows."

He was silent for a moment, long enough for El to prompt him. "Why did you want to come out here?" she asked him.

"Because I wanted to talk to you," Mike said. "Away from everyone else. I wanted to talk about us. I wanted to talk about how I feel about you."

El smiled encouragingly at Mike.

"I love you," said Mike. "I know I've told you that before. I've told you that a lot. And we've talked about that a lot in the past. But I don't think I ever really knew what it meant. We both didn't. I might not know what it means right now, honestly. Maybe it'll take years to figure out what that means. All I know is that it's true. That I do love you and that I don't care how long it takes, I want to spend all that time with you. I want you to be able to live the life you deserve. And I want to be able to live that life with you."

El felt tears in her eyes, but they weren't tears of sadness. Her heart was so full it felt like her chest might burst.

"I know we're young," said Mike. "And no one thinks we know what we're talking about, but we've seen more things than most people will see in their entire lives. I hope we get to see even more. And I hope we get to see them together."

The tears were running down El's face now, and there was nothing she could do to stop them.

"Yes," she said, when she finally gained the ability to speak. "I want that too. I love you, Mike."

She leaned in and kissed him before he had the chance to react. There was a lot in that kiss. There were years of frustration and pain; there were mountains of sadness. There was all their accumulated loneliness and loss.

There was the promise of the future.

Neither of them knew what they were going to face. It would be hard—growing up, becoming adults. Finding a future for themselves. They would face challenges that they had never imagined. They would see things that they could have hardly dreamed of.

And they would do it together.

As the moon climbed higher in the sky, and the clock ticked closer to the New Year, the couple sat and held each other. Whatever happened, they knew there was one thing they would never lose:

Each other.

The End

(Author's Note: Thank you to everyone who came along on this crazy journey with me. When I started writing this, I never thought that it would grow into something of this scope. Nor did I imagine this many people would be reading it. But here we are, at the end. One day, there might be more to this story... after all, there are a lot of other entities out there beyond the Watcher. But if that story is ever told, it's still far away at the moment. I enjoyed every moment I spent with these characters, and I hope you did too. Thank you for reading and for reviewing, and make sure to follow my author page if you want to know if I ever return to this story. If anyone is interested in working with me or has any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to PM me.)