Robotech Macross: What If...?: "On My Way to You"
Part 7

Day 5 through Day 13

Over a week passed and although Lisa had not yet regained consciousness, her condition had steadily improved.
Repairs on the bridge were completed, thanks in part to the 24/7 repair work schedule carried out so dilegently and efficiently by the work crews.
Vanessa was released from the hospital and Claudia would soon be released and Kim was at the hospital during the day hours in order to go through her physical therapy.
Admiral Hayes and Rick had taken turns staying with Lisa throughout the days and both men grew to know each other better and respect each other.
Not only that, but Rick had learned a lot about Lisa from Admiral Hayes and day by day Rick found himself intrigued and eager to get to know Lisa better. He went to see her everyday and unknown to him, Lisa could hear and understand every word he said to her.
Admiral Hayes also had many heart-to-heart talks with the unconscious, but all-hearing Lisa, and would re-tell stories of when Lisa was younger and when they would get along well. Admiral Hayes made it a point to apologize to Lisa everday and beg her to give him a chance to be part of her life. Also unknown to Admiral Hayes, Lisa heard every conversation of his as well.

Day 14

Rick sipped at his coffee absently. He had woken up early and was unable to go back to sleep so he got dressed for duty and made himself a pot of coffee and parked himself in front of his computer and stared at the photos of Lisa that adorned his desktop wallpaper/background.
He sighed and wondered if Lisa would ever wake up. The last two weeks had been a roller-coaster ride, and if there was one single good thing to come out of it, it was that he had learned so much and realized how much more maturing he needed to do.
He learned that he was a very selfish and blind person and that he should learn to not think about himself so much and stay wrapped up in his own problems, because that was the root cause of his blindness.
After many truth-telling talks with Roy, and even one or two with Claudia, Rick was finally able to realize and admit that he had deep feelings for Lisa that were not born out of guilt for nearly causing her death, but rather from the feelings that had started growing ever since he first met her.
What he also learned over the past week and a half, since Admiral Hayes arrived, was he had actually found himself falling for the side of Lisa that he didn't know and was only brought to light by the stories Admiral Hayes told him. Coupled with the feelings he already had for the side of Lisa he had already gotten to know, he had a hard time trying to deny that he was falling in love with her and that his thoughts, once consumed by mostly Minmei, were now thoroughly and solely of Lisa.

You don't remember me, but I remember you.
I lie awake and try so hard not to think of you.
But who can decide what they dream?
And dream I do...

I believe in you.
I'll give up everything just to find you.
I have to be with you, to live, to breathe...
You're taking over me.

Have you forgotten all I know and all we have.
You saw me mourning my love for you and touched my hand.
I knew you loved me then.

Repeat chorus

I look in the mirror and see your face, if I look deep enough.
So many things inside that are just like
You are taking over...

Rick put his head down on his desk, his thoughts consumed by images of Lisa, and no matter how hard he tried he couldn't get them to leave his mind. 'Is this what it's like to be in love? Real love?' he wondered to himself, as he lifted his head and stared at her pictures.

* * * * * * *

"It's good to see you up and about again Claudia," said Admiral Hayes warmly as he helped Claudia sit down in the chair next to Lisa's bed.
"You know me Admiral, they can't keep a good woman down," replied Claudia.
Hayes chuckled and left the room so Claudia could spend some time alone with Lisa. After about half an hour, Hayes returned to the room and asked Claudia, "Can I ask you about...Lieutenant Hunter?"
Claudia expected the question and was surprised it hadn't come sooner. "I'll do my best to be helpful, what did you want to ask about?"
"Well...I didn't want to ask him directly, I mean, not to scare him or make him think I was putting any type of pressure on him...I was just curious, considering the way he talks about Lisa and the situations he's described between him and Lisa, I was just there something between them? Something maybe that either one or the other doesn't realize or is willing to admit?" asked Hayes.
Claudia and Roy had been observing and discussing Rick these past couple weeks as well and the things he said and did more than likely confirmed Hayes' hypothesis.
Claudia wanted to word things correctly, just incase Lisa was able to hear everything going on, "Well Nick, I don't know if you know but Rick has been involved with the star Minmei."
"Yes, I know, he's told me about her, several times," replied Hayes.
Claudia frowned, "He tells everyone about his problems with Minmei."
"So I've noticed," remarked Hayes, "but I'm thinking that maybe he's starting to have his doubts about her now. He's mentioned it to me at least twice."
Claudia arched her eyebrows in surprise, "Oh really? He's mentioned the same thing to Roy too."
"Well, I'll come right out and say it, I think Rick and Lisa would make a good couple. Now, you know me, I didn't push too many men Lisa's way because I knew she'd reject them and get mad at me for trying to set her up with someone, especially after Riber died, but I really really like this Rick Hunter. He has some more maturing to do, and he is a bit younger than Lisa, but I think he has a good heart and is capable of taking good care of her and making her happy," ended Hayes as he looked at Lisa.
Claudia smiled, "I'll tell you a little secret Nick, you're not the only one who thinks exactly the same thing. There are many people who feel the way you do, that Rick and Lisa are a perfect couple. I think the only thing standing in their way is Rick's fascination with Minmei. But don't worry, Roy's been working on that, just give him some time."
Hayes nodded then looked at Lisa again and said quietly, "I just want her to be happy Claudia."
Claudia gave Hayes an understanding look and replied, "I know you do."

* * * * * * *

"Lord Dolza, what are your orders," said Breetai as Dolza's image appeared on screen.
"I take it Exedore is still visiting those micronians?" said Dolza as his eyes scanned Breetai's bridge.
"He is, and he managed to speak to the Minister of Defense as well," remarked Breetai as he folded his arms to his chest.
"Minister of Defense? On the SDF-1?" asked Dolza.
"Yes, sir," replied Breetai.
"Interesting, but of no importance, they all shall be destroyed anyways. Breetai, the fleet and I will be arriving shortly, to take care of these vermin once and for all!"
"Sir?!" exclaimed Breetai.
"Yes, that is right, we've decided it's time to get this over with. I have ordered Azonia to release Khyron. The fleet will arrive shortly, do not do anything until we get there, Dolza out."
Breetai whirled around and shouted, "Quick, get me Exedore!"

* * * * * * *

Wells burst into Lisa's room and said, "Nick, Captain Gloval needs you right away. Something about the entire Zentraedi fleet arriving." As Wells finished his sentence, the Red Alert signals and sirens went on. Hayes got up out of his seat immediately, speaking into Lisa's ear, "I'll be back as soon as I can, don't be afraid." Then he and Wells left the room.

"Lord Breetai, are you certain?" asked Hayes, arms folded.
"Yes Minister, I am certain. When Dolza says he is coming, he means it," answered Breetai.

"Admiral, priority one incoming for you sir," said Sammie.
Hayes nodded and excused himself to go to another room to listen to the secured transmission.
"Hayes, what is going on up there?! We need you back here this instant!" shouted Councilman Blaine.
"Where is Edwards," retorted Hayes.
"Here sir," replied the steely-eyed Edwards.
"TR, get the Grand Cannon ready, Operation Maximum Impact," said Hayes somberly.
"Sir? Maximum Impact?" said Edwards with disbelief.
"I'm afraid so TR," replied Hayes.
"Hayes! What the hell is going on, get down here now!" shouted Councilman Blaine again.
"I'll try to make it down there as soon as possible,' said Hayes.
"Sirs! Large defold activity detected near Venus!" Hayes heard someone shout in the council chamber.
Hayes left the comm room and ran back to the SDF-1, Blaine and other council members shouting for him to come back.

"It's happening...they're coming, all of them, there's so many of them, just like Lisa and her group reported when they escaped," said Gloval in a daze.
Everyone on the bridge stared out the viewport and saw the flashes of defolding ships, everywhere, lighting up every corner of the space before them. Doomsday had come.

"Henry, I need to get down to the surface as soon as possible," said Hayes as he turned to face Gloval.
"I don't know if that's possible Nick, we'll be needing everything up here," replied Gloval.
"Then give me something I can pilot myself, I have to get down there," said Hayes.
Gloval sighed, he knew there was no way Hayes could make it down to the surface on his own. "Alright, I'll have Hunter fly you down, give us an hour to prepare."
"Fine. That will give me a chance to say goodbye to Lisa before I leave," said Hayes as he hurried out the door.

Hayes rushed to his quarters to pack a small suitcase and then changed into his flightsuit before heading over to the hospital. He dumped the suitcase down on the floor and remained standing as he took hold of Lisa's hand.
"Lisa, I have to go back to Earth now. It appears you were right about the size of that Zentraedi fleet... I have to get back to Earth as soon as possible to help supervise our defenses and the Grand Cannon, but after this is all over with, I promise, I'll come back as soon as I can," said Hayes as he stared at his daughter's sleeping face.

'What? Back to Earth? Dolza is here? No! It can't be! We have no chance to defeat Dolza! No! I can't lose you now father! Dammit, move Lisa move! Speak, do something, stop him!' shouted Lisa to herself, trying with all her might to do something to give her father an indication she was aware of his presence.

Admiral Hayes bent down to kiss Lisa on the forehead and froze when he thought he felt the tickle of eye lashes under his chin. He looked down slowly and saw that Lisa was trying to open her eyes.
"Come on honey! You can do it! Open them up, open them Lisa!" shouted Hayes, his heart pounding.
Hayes waited for a few seconds but they felt like an eternity and finally Lisa managed to open her eyes. Hayes started to smother her cheeks with kisses and she could feel his tears on her face.
"Thank God! Thank God! My little girl has woken up!" exclaimed Hayes as he stared at Lisa through tear-filled eyes.
Hayes tried to calm himself and said, "Lisa, now, honey, if you can understand me, blink twice."
Lisa immediately blinked twice and Hayes was beside himself with elation but tried to keep calm as he continued the questions.
"Ok Lisa, now, if you know who I am, blink twice."
Lisa blinked twice again.
'At least she still knows who I am...' thought Hayes with relief.
"Lisa, if you can understand everything I'm saying clearly, blink twice."
Lisa blinked again and Hayes could only stare at her in amazement.
"Lisa, if you can move, blink twice for yes, and once for 'no.'"
Lisa blinked only once and the wind was taken out of Hayes' sails momentarily.
"Ok, if you can see, blink twice for yes, and once for 'no.'"
Lisa blinked twice and Hayes was more than relieved.
All of a sudden, there was a bright flash of light from the window and both Hayes and Lisa shifted their eyes away from each other and over to the flash. They saw a huge cluster of bright lights twinkling, indicating a very large enemy group had defolded. Hayes, in his joy at seeing his daughter re-awaken, had momentarily forgotten about the predicament outside and now had to force himself to tell Lisa he had to leave.
"Lisa dear, I'm so sorry. I have to get down there, they need me, but I promise I'll come back as soon as I can," said Hayes confidently.
Hayes bent over to kiss Lisa's forehead again and this time, not only did he feel the tickle of her eyelashes, but he also heard a feeble, "No."
Hayes looked down at Lisa and asked, "What did you say honey?"
Hayes could see the fear and pleading in his daughter's eyes and it appeared she used every bit of her depleted reserve of strength to say, "Don't go...stay."
Hayes swallowed the lump in his throat and said quietly, "I can't honey. The whole world is depending on me, I have to go down there."
"No!" said Lisa again, sounding a little bit stronger this time. Suddenly the cardiac monitor started signalling an elevated heartrate and in a few seconds Dr. Wells rushed into the room and nearly fell over when he saw Lisa looking at him.
"Nick?!" was all Wells could say.
Hayes quickly walked over to Wells and said in a hushed voice, "She just woke up a few minutes ago! She can hear and see, but she can't move. She understands everything we say and she knows who I am. I think she is starting to get upset because I told her I had to leave... she made it through Jake! She made it through!"
Wells, despite being elated for himself and his friend, looked at Lisa's cardiac monitor and replied quietly, "Isn't there any way you can stay? If she gets too upset because of you leaving she's liable to go into cardiac arrest."
"Jake, don't you think I would stay here if I could, but I can't. Jake, I'm Minister of Defense for the entire planet, I have to go down there," replied Hayes.
"I know, I know. Listen, get going and I'll think of something to tell Lisa. Maybe I'll tell her you were needed on the bridge. I'd rather have her hate me for lying to her than to see her go into cardiac arrest," said Wells with resignation.
Hayes nodded and said, "Let me spare you from that," then he patted Wells on the shoulder an walked back to Lisa's bed.
"Lisa honey, Captain Gloval needs me up on the bridge right now. Please try and calm down and I promise I'll be back as soon as the battle is over," said Hayes, smiling.
Lisa looked confused as her eyes darted from her father to Dr. Wells to the view outside the window.
Hoping to ease his daughter's distress, Hayes said, "There will be a lot of prep work to do before the battle, and it might be awhile before we can come and visit you again, but when we get back we'll all have a big celebration alright? All your friends will be there, including Rick. In fact, before I head to the bridge, I'm going to call Rick and tell him the news. You can bet that he'll run right over here."
At the utterances of Rick's name, Lisa's state of confusion seemed to lessen a bit and she managed to say, "Rick?"
Hayes smiled and nodded his head, "Why don't I call him now, and better yet, why don't we let you tell him the good news, hang on a second."
Hayes took out his cellphone and stepped outside Lisa's door and called Rick.
"Admiral sir, what can I do for you? Are you ready to depart?" asked Rick.
"Not quite yet Lieutenant, now, I have someone who wants to speak to you, but make sure you do NOT, under any circumstances, make it known that we are going back to Earth? Do you understand Rick? Under NO circumstances are you to mention it," reiterated Hayes.
"Yes sir, you have my word sir, who is it that wishes to speak to me?" asked Rick, a bit confused.
"Hang on a moment Rick," said Hayes as he walked back into Lisa's room and towards her bed.
"Hello? Admiral??" said Rick again, wondering who was suppose to be on the other line.
"Rick?" said a weak voice.
The voice was weak but Rick knew that voice so well. His heart started to pound and he actually felt very dizzy and his legs felt as if they were cemented to the floor.
"Lisa?" he asked with a shaky voice, praying that it was really her and that it wasn't some kind of joke.
Roy entered the locker room and saw the pale look on Rick's face as he held the phone to his ear. "Rick, what is it?" asked Roy, fearing the worst.
"Rick," said Lisa again, this time a little bit stronger.
Rick would've fallen flat on his back were it not for the lockers behind him. He bumped into them, causing a loud noise. His arm seemed to go limp and the cellphone fell out of his hand and onto the ground. He mumbled Lisa's name and then took off running.
"What the...?! Rick! Wait!" shouted Roy as he picked up the cellphone and took off chasing after Rick, not bothering to check who was on the other end of the phone.
Hayes, holding the phone to his daughter's ear, wondered what was going on. Lisa was able to read the question in his eyes and she replied, weakly still, "He's coming."
Hayes let a smile curl on his lips as he said matter-of-factly, "Yes, I knew he would. He's a good man Lisa."
Lisa tried to smile and managed a tiny one. She had heard the two men converse hours on end while they were visiting her and she already knew that they got along well.

Rick had the taxi driver speed to the hospital and once inside, Rick nearly collilded with a few patients, doctors, and nurses, but he finally managed to make it to the ICU in one piece. As he hurried over to Lisa's room he saw Jean and Doctor Wells standing outside Lisa's room. When they saw him they both smiled broadly and Jean opened the door for Rick, saying teasingly, "What took you so long?"
Rick entered the room cautiously and saw Admiral Hayes get up from his seat. The smile on his face even bigger than the ones on Jean's and Wells' faces.
Hayes looked at Lisa then at Rick and announced, "Well then, I shall leave you two alone and will be waiting outside," then he kissed Lisa on the cheek and smoothed the hair over her left ear and turned to leave but Lisa managed to say, "Wait."
Hayes bent down so Lisa didn't have to exert too much strength to speak at a higher volume and he heard her say, "Thank you"
Hayes thought he would start crying his eyes out on the spot but he manged to clear his throat and smiled as he said, "No need to thank me dear. Everything I do, I do because I love you."
A tear rolled down Lisa's cheek and she nodded her head, "I know, dad."
Hayes cleared his throat again and nodded, then hurriedly left the room.
Once outside, he let the tears come and just at that moment, Roy had walked up to Lisa's room. He froze when the saw Hayes and expected to hear the worst news.
"Admiral? Nick?? What is it? Don't tell me it's bad news..." said Roy, the trepidation evident in his voice.
Hayes wiped his eyes and smiled at Roy then shook him by the shoulders, "No, it's not bad news Roy, it's good news! The best news! Lisa woke up."
Roy looked through the window and saw Rick standing near Lisa's bed.
"It's true Roy, you had better hurry up and go tell Claudia," said Jean with a smile.
Roy's mouth was open but he couldn't speak for several seconds, then he broke into a smile and turned around and headed out of the ICU to go tell Claudia the good news.

All Rick could do was stare at Lisa. He could not believe his eyes. He never thought he would see Lisa's emerald gaze ever again.
Lisa waited patiently. She knew that Rick needed some time to get over the shock. She also secretly hoped that he would be truthful about his feelings for her. She had heard him utter many truthful thoughts while she had been 'asleep' but she wondered if he would suddenly get cold feet and hide his feelings now that she was awake. The several times Rick had mentioned that he thought it was over between him and Minmei had fueled Lisa's hope that she and Rick could finally become closer, but she didn't want to get her hopes up just to have them dashed, so she remained cautiously skeptical.
Rick finally realized that Lisa was waiting for him to say something and he finally sat down in the chair and, to Lisa's surprise, took her hand and held it gently. She used all her strength to grasp Rick's hand. The gesture helped Rick release all his emotions and he put his head against the bedrail and began to sob.
He had spent day after day, hour after hour, waiting, hoping, and praying for this moment and now that it was finally upon him, he was overwhelmed.

After Rick had calmed down, he lifted his head and his eyes met Lisa's. She smiled at him and Rick felt himself breaking into a smile as well.
"I've missed you," Rick said softly and sincerely.
Lisa smiled, still to weak to put together very long sentences.
Rick smiled back and was about to continue when they heard the overhead page for Rick to call the bridge.

"You say an emergency meeting in 10 minutes? What? Minmei there too? What for?" queried Rick as he spoke to Gloval's aide on the other end of the phone.
The moment Lisa heard the name Minmei, she started to worry, and as a result, her heartrate increased slightly, causing the cardiac monitor to beep. Rick, alarmed at the noise, quickly said to the person on the other end of the line, "I'll be there as soon as I can," then hung up and looked at Lisa with a worried look.
"Minmei, why?" Lisa said, with disappointment in her eyes.
Rick's heart pounded, he knew why Lisa reacted to Minmei that way. Though they didn't say it explicitely, Roy and Claudia implied that Lisa had feelings for him but hid them because of his involvment with Minmei and the notion that Lisa thought she couldn't compete against Miss Macross for his affections. Rick knew that he was going to have to make up his mind sooner or later about which woman he wanted to be with and, through a long, difficult, and sometimes, very painful soul-searching, he realized that he had been pursuing the wrong woman, Minmei, all along, at the expense of the woman who truly cared about him, Lisa.
The notion of he and Lisa becoming a couple scared him more often then not, but he felt that he should just try and take one day at a time and give it a shot.
Rick looked down at the ground then back up at Lisa and said quietly, "Don't worry about Minmei. The important thing is that you are awake now and that we help you get back on your feet as quick as possible. I don't know what or how much you heard while you were unconscious, but I want to tell you that I'm sorry for everything, for me being such an a--hole and getting you nearly killed, for everything I've ever done to upset you and I promise I'll make it up to you."
Lisa looked away from Rick for a moment then looked back at him and said, "Don't..."
Rick could see she was having difficulty talking so he moved closer to her as she finished weakly but somewhat angrily, "Don't do it just because of your guilty conscious."
"I'm not," replied Rick.
Lisa looked at him and Rick could see the skepticism in her eyes.
Rick ran a hand through his thick, wavy hair and then said, "You don't believe me... I guess I can't really blame you."
Lisa turned away from him and said, "Go, they'll be waiting for you at the meeting, especially Minmei."
Rick stood up and stared down at Lisa for a few moments then bent down and kissed her gently. When he stood back up he said quietly, "I did that because I wanted to, not because of a guilty conscious."
Lisa was confused, did she really believe him?
Rick turned to go and Lisa managed to call out his name loud enough so he could hear as he neared the door. Rick walked back over to Lisa and waited for her to speak.
"Rick...please watch out for my father. You're taking him down to Alaska aren't you?" said Lisa weakly.
Rick was told not to mention the trip and he stuttered and stammered some kind of explanation but Lisa saved him from having to explain, "He doesn't fool me, I always know when he's lying. Please, watch out for him."
Rick nodded and remained tightlipped as he turned to go but Lisa called out his name and he waited to see what she had to say this time.
The last sentences had seemed to zap all of Lisa's energy so Rick had to put his ear very close to Lisa to hear what she was trying to say.
"Turn your head," he heard her say in a raspy voice.
Rick obliged and when he turned his head he found himself nose to nose with Lisa. They locked eyes for a few seconds then Lisa managed to tilt her head and kiss Rick. After they broke, Lisa said with a stronger voice, "You better go now."
Rick nodded and walked to the door, turned back and looked at Lisa one more time, then left.
Lisa sighed and closed her eyes. 'Was I wrong to do that? At least, if he is going to go back to Minmei, at least I got my chance to kiss him one more time...' mused Lisa sadly.

* * * * * * *

[ Authors note: What happens next as far as the battle preparations go...just insert most of what happened in Robotech episode 28, "Force of Arms" here. Exedore and Breetai agree to help Gloval, Minmei will be used to scare the rest of the Zentraedi fleet with her hideous singing (although I did like "We Will Win", but Yellow Dancer's version, not Minmei's LOL!). Some adjustments made are: Rick does NOT tell Minmei how he feels about her as he did in the original Robotech episode. However, here in the story, he doesn't talk to her to tell her he wants to break up with her completely either. So things are still up in the air between him and Minmei before he flies Admiral Hayes down to Alaska Base. On the way down to Alaska Base, Rick is caught in many dogfights and there is a delay in even getting to the window to re-enter earth. The Zentraedi fleet fires on earth and Hayes watches the destruction from Rick's VT. He tries to re-establish communications with Alaska Base but it is of no use. One of the provisions for Operation Maximum Impact, was to get off a shot from the Grand Cannon, even if it was badly damaged, so Hayes waits impatiently for some sign that the Cannon is still operable and this is where the story continues... ]

* * * * * * *

"I'm sorry sir, I still can't establish communications with Alaska Base, and now...I can't seem to pickup the bridge," said Rick as he fiddled with the various comm channel switches.
Hayes wasn't paying attention to Rick, instead he was staring at the spot on the globe that was suppose to be Alaska Base. He saw a glow that he knew only too well and shouted, "Lieutenant take us to the farside of the planet ASAP! They're going to fire the Grand Cannon!"
Rick didn't think to ask Hayes any questions and hit his afterburners and headed in the direction Hayes had told him. In a matter of a few minutes, just as Rick and Hayes got out of the line of fire, they saw the electromagnetic plume that was the result of the Grand Cannon and watched as groups of enemy ships evaporated.
Hayes shook his fist, "Yes! It did work, just like it should. Come on TR, fire that puppy up again!"
Rick and Admiral Hayes waited and waited. Hayes, suprisingly skilled at using VT controls, had the external camera zoom in as much as he could. He saw that the glow from Alaska Base was gone, indicating the Grand Cannon was offline.
A group of battlepods started heading in Rick's direction and he spent the next hour battling them, Admiral Hayes acting as his weapons officer. After they were nearly clear of the enemy, Rick heard a loud noise and picked up strange and strong activity on his radar, and in another half minute they were blinded by a bright light that belonged to the battlecruiser that was defolding right on top of them.

* * * * * * *

Lisa had asked to be patched into the bridge so she could watch the battle but Doctor Wells felt it would be too taxing for her so Lisa had to resign herself to looking out the window to try and figure out what was going on. She managed to stay awake for an hour but fell asleep soon afterwards. When she woke up again, thankful that she could actually 'wake up' as opposed to her immobile state she had been in for so long, she could sense someone sitting beside her and quickly tried to focus her eyes, something she found difficult, but not impossible to do.
"Well well well, look who finally decided to wake up," chided Claudia.
Lisa could not help but smile as she looked at her best friend's smiling face.
"How are you?" asked Lisa, still weak.
"I'm not too bad actually, perhaps I should get minorly injured every once in awhile, Roy waits on me hand and foot, twenty-four hours a day, I think I could get used to that," said Claudia with a mischievious grin.
Lisa smiled again, she had wanted to laugh but found she couldn't, her chest still felt tight and sometimes it was hard labor to breathe.
"Speaking of waiting on hand and foot," said Claudia as she cocked her head to the side, "did you know that your father and Rick have been practically living here in the ICU?"
"I know. I was out of it, but after my father arrived, I was able to hear what was going on," replied Lisa.
Claudia's eyes widened, "Oh really? Do they know you heard everything they said?"
Lisa shook her head ever so slightly, "No, I don't think so. I haven't told them yet."
Claudia grew thoughtful then asked, "So, does that mean you heard that little conversation that Roy and I had with Rick?"
"Yes," replied Lisa.
"Honey, I'm sorry, I hope you aren't mad at us for telling Rick too much, but honey, can you honestly tell me that you would've told Rick how you felt about him anytime soon?" asked Claudia with a guilty expression on her face.
"It's alright, you didn't really tell him everything, you hinted, and that was good enough. I just hope he got the hint," said Lisa as she labored to catch her breath.
"Lisa, honey listen, why don't you let me do all the talking for now, you just rest up and save your strength," said Claudia, shifting into her motherly mode.
Lisa nodded slightly and added, "One question though, how are they doing out there? My father, Rick."
Claudia patted Lisa's hand, "No word yet honey, but you know, the Grand Cannon just fired not too long ago. From the looks of things it wiped out several battlegroups, which is good because we need all the help we can get."
"I'd rather be up on the bridge right now," said Lisa.
Claudia sat back and folded her arms, "Honey, you and me both. I feel like such a lame duck unable to work. They have Sammie working at your station right now and they wheeled Vanessa back up there too, they really needed her at Radar. Kim begged and cried to be let up onto the bridge and threatened to crawl up there if no one would take her, so after listening to her whine for an hour, Gloval finally let her go up there."
Lisa smiled, then sighed.
"I know honey, I wish I were up there too. We'll get back into action soon enough," added Claudia.
"Rick kissed me," said Lisa with half a smile.
"He did? Well, I'm going to have to run that one by Roy when he gets back and ask him what he makes of it," replied Claudia, not sounding all too surprised.
"He said he wasn't doing it because of a guilty conscious. And before he left, I kissed him back," said Lisa.
"Aha, no wonder why you're short of breath," poked Claudia.
Lisa smirked and Claudia continued her teasing, "So, does the doctor know about this? If he found out he might ban Rick from the room for causing your heart rate to go up."
Lisa felt the laugh coming but ended up coughing and Claudia quickly backed down, "Oh dear, I should calm down with the jokes for now, until you're stronger. Honey you better get some rest. I don't expect the boys to back for some time so why don't you rest up and when they get back you'll have plenty of energy to spend on them."
Claudia nodded and patted Lisa's hand again and said, "I think I'll get some rest too, so I can be plenty rested when my flyboy comes back." Claudia winked then settled back in her reclinable wheelchair and closed her eyes.
She didn't mention it to Lisa, but the earth was nearly totally destroyed. The fact weighed heavy upon her heart and her mind and she wanted to talk to someone about it, but Lisa was going through enough turmoil as it was and so Claudia decided to just wait it out and talk to Roy when he returned.

* * * * * * *

"Where the hell are we? What happened?" mumbled Admiral Hayes as he slowly came to.
Rick, who had recovered quicker than Hayes, look around and saw that they were on solid ground, in gerwalk mode, and all around them, a barren wasteland.
Rick could hear Hayes fiddling with the navigation screen and in a minute he heard Hayes say, "No, it can't be! This is Alaska Base!"
Rick, shocked as if he had been struck by lightening, quickly got the damaged VT into a hover and scoured the surface of what used to be Alaska Base.
"I'm going to try and establish some kind of contact," said Hayes quickly, already trying to find a good communication signal to snag on to.
After 20 minutes of flying and unsuccessfully trying to reach anyone by radio, they gave up and decided to head towards the West Coast when they saw a shadow cast over them. They looked up and saw the SDF-1 descending from the sky, melted and twisted in various places, but remarkably still flightworthy.
"Sammie, this is Admiral Hayes, can you hear me?"
"Admiral! Are you with Rick? Uh...I mean, Lieutenant Hunter? Wait, I got your signal now. You two scared us! We thought we lost you! What is your status," replied a relieved Sammie.
"We are still flight capable, but not for very long, we're also very low on fuel too. I think we have enough to make it back though, so don't bother sending any rescue teams over for us," replied Rick.
"Yes, sir," answered Sammie, then she preceded to give them landing instructions.

After 8 more hours of mop-up operations, as well as extinguishing other various battles that raged after Dolza's defeat, and trying to establish some kind of make-shift centralized command structure, Rick and Admiral Hayes ran into each other as they were making their way through the ICU waiting room.
Rick saluted, "Admiral, sir."
Hayes returned the salute and then shook Rick's hand, saying almost humorously, "Well Rick, it seems you have a penchant for saving Hayes' don't you?"
Rick shrugged and offered a weak smile, "I guess it seems that way doesn't it?"
"I want to thank you for saving my life out there today. We were in some pretty tight jams but thanks to your flying expertise we made it through," replied Hayes.
Rick didn't feel very much like a hero. Making sure Lisa's father was unharmed was the least he could do for Lisa, moreover, it was the least he could do for Admiral Hayes. Over the past week and a half, Rick had found that although he had a disdain for high authority in general, he really liked Admiral Hayes. Maybe it was because, through all the stories Hayes told Rick about his younger days, Rick thought Hayes reminded him of himself a bit... a little bit brash and fiercely loyal to the men he commanded and not one to back down when he thought an order was wrong. And although Hayes was more of an adminstrator now, Rick could still see Hayes had not lost the character he had when was younger, and though he had made some rulings that seemed suspect and harsh, Rick learned that it was because Hayes' arm had been twisted by the rest of the Council. Resigning had not been an option for Hayes at that time, the Earth needed him as the Minister of Defense and he were to step-down, Armageddon might have come sooner than it had.
Trying turn the praise away from himself, Rick said, "You were here first, you can go ahead and see Lisa, take your time, I think I'll go get something to eat then come back later."
Hayes raised an eyebrow at Rick and replied, "Are you sure? I appreciate the gesture but I would think she'd want to see you first."
Rick shrugged and Hayes continued, "Judging from the way you two kissed, that was my assumption."
Rick's jaw dropped open and he stared at the Admiral with wide eyes. Hayes decided to have some fun watching Rick squirm so he continued in a monotone, "You kissed my daughter, twice. Just after she woke up from a two-week coma. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"
"I...I...Admiral...sir! I just...I..." stammered Rick.
Hayes gave him a stern glare and then burst out laughing.
"It's alright my boy," said Hayes as he patted Rick on the shoulder.
Rick, his jaw still hanging open, stared at the Admiral, completely confused.
Hayes folded his arms and pushed Rick towards the door of the entrance to the ICU, "Go on, go ahead, I'm sure Lisa has been worrying about us, you."
Rick slowly shuffled forward, mouth still open, unable to utter any sort of reply.
Hayes laughed to himself as he watched Rick shuffle away, "Not the smartest I suppose, but that's not important I guess. Just as long as he makes Lisa happy and can take care of her then that's all that matters," he mused.

It was near midnight, but the nurses had received the O-K to let Lisa have a couple of visitors, and Rick managed to slip into her room without objection.
Rick quietly walked over to the bed and looked down to see a sleeping Lisa.
Lisa was starting to doze off, she had been trying to watch the news reports throughout the evening and was extremely tired, but she sensed someone next to her and managed to open her eyes. The light was very dim and because her senses were not at their maximum capability yet, she couldn't focus her eyes enough to make out it was that was standing next to her.
Rick saw Lisa's eyes open and said quietly, "Hello there Sleeping Beauty."
'Am I hallucinating?' wondered Lisa.
"Rick?" asked Lisa aloud, her voice sounding tired, but much clearer than when Rick had last spoken to her.
"Hi," said Rick gently as he sat down on the chair next to Lisa's bed. "I didn't wake you did I?"
"No, I was just dozing off. I've been trying to stay awake because I was hoping someone would come and see me and let me know how things were going," replied Lisa.
Secretly, Lisa was overjoyed to see Rick and know that he made it through the battle but she still was wary about the whole situation and didn't want to let her guard down.
Rick exhaled a long sigh and said somberly, "It's pretty bad out there. We, and your father especially, will have a very difficult job ahead of us."
"My father's alright?" asked Lisa, her heart starting to beat a little bit faster. She had heard a rumor that Alaska Base had been destroyed and didn't know if her father had been there at the time of it's destruction.
"There's no way I'd allow anything to happen to him, Lisa. And, I guess our guardian angels were watching over us out there. We were delayed several times and didn't make it to Alaska Base until after it was destroyed. If that isn't Divine Intervention, then I don't know what is," said Rick with a hint of wonderment.
Lisa mulled it over for a moment then smiled at Rick, "Thank you, Rick. I don't know what I would've done if I lost my father, especially now, when it seems that he and I can come to some sort of reconcilliation."
Rick shook his head, "Don't need to thank me. I'm glad to see that you and your father are getting along, you know, I really like your father. I guess, in some ways, he reminds me of my own father."
Lisa was a bit surprised and tried to compare the two men, her knowledge of Pops Hunter coming from the numerous stories Rick had told her about him.
"I guess so...a little bit anyways. I was really angry at my father, but after all the talks he had at my bedside this past week, now I understand why he's made some of the decisions he has," replied Lisa, still thinking things over in her head.
Rick furrowed his eyebrows and asked, "What? Wait a minute, you were comatose weren't you? How did you hear what your father was saying?"
'Ooops,' thought Lisa. 'Well, I'd have to tell them sooner or later...'
"Well," began Lisa, "I don't know exactly when it was, but I assume it was just shortly after my father arrived, I could hear everything that everyone was saying."
Lisa saw a trace of fear in Rick's baby blue eyes and her heart sank. 'Now he's probably going to try and rescind everything he told me while he thought I was unconscious. He'll go back to Minmei and I'll be alone again...'
"So...then...did you hear all the things I've said to you over the past week?" asked Rick, his expression, surprisingly unreadable.
"Yes, I did," said Lisa quietly.
Rick got up and walked to the window and Lisa desperately tried to keep her tears from falling but she failed. In a shaky voice she said, "You don't have to explain, Rick. I know that you just said all that to try and keep me alive and get me to wake up, and I thank you for that. So if you're struggling over whether you should go back to Minmei or not, go. Don't hesitate because of me, because of a guilty conscious...especially because of a guilty conscious. Neither one of us will be happy if our relationship is based on obligation or guilt."
Rick walked back over to Lisa's bedside and bent down a bit so that he was eye-level with her and she saw a kind of determination in his eyes and waited to hear what he had say.
"Lisa, everything I've said to you, over the past two weeks...everything...I meant every word of everything I said. Nothing was a lie. When I told you how I really felt about you, it wasn't a lie. It wasn't said out of guilt..." Rick drew an uneven breath saw a tear roll down Lisa's cheek. He closed his eyes and took another uneven breath then continued. "I know, given our history, you probably don't believe me, and I don't blame you. If...if your feelings for me are the same as mines are for you, then please, let me know. But if you don't want me, then let me know that too, and I'll leave you alone."
'Do it now Lisa, you have to tell him...'
"Come closer, Rick," said Lisa quietly. Rick complied and bent closer to Lisa, then Lisa strained her neck a bit and kissed Rick until the cardiac monitor started beeping. Lisa rested back on her pillow and smiled at Rick.
Rick, dazed momentarily, let a smirk form across his face as he finally managed to say, "I take that to mean your feelings are similar..."
Lisa answered with a smirk of her own and said, "Quite possibly."
Rick returned to the chair and then held Lisa's hand, "You know, your dad saw us kissing just before I left for battle. At first I thought he was going to chew me out, because when he confronted me about it he was so serious, but then he started laughing. He really had me going for awhile there."
Lisa's eyes registered some surprise and she said, "He didn't get mad? Hmm...and he played a little trick on you... from what I have heard over the past week or so, between you two, I can honestly say that he likes you. And that's not an easy thing to do, to impress my father like that. He's very protective of me and I don't know how many dates of mine he scared away."
Confused, Rick asked, "But why does he like me, of all people. I'm sure he hangs around with many important, powerful, and rich people, and I'm sure there's been a number of suitors for you. I'm nobody, no money, no power, I'm just a military pilot."
"Rick, it doesn't matter if you're rich or powerful. Those things never impressed me nor my father. The most important thing is that you're a good person, brave, and full of integrity. doesn't hurt to have a strange knack for always coming to my rescue," Lisa finished with a grin.
Rick laughed and then shrugged his shoulders, "I can't promise you a mansion or diamonds, but what I can promise is that I'll lay down my life to protect you, and...I love you."
Lisa was smiling through her tears and took a few seconds to compose herself before she said, "I love you too, Rick."
Rick squeezed Lisa's hand and there was nothing more that needed to be said. The two, newly found in their love for each other, knew that it was a new journey they were undertaking, and though there might be trials and tribulations ahead, both of them felt they were up to the challenge.

Rick departed, giving her another kiss and informing her that he would be back first thing in the morning. The door barely closed only to open again and this time the visitor was Admiral Hayes. Lisa smiled at him as he approached her and it delighted her father immensely.
Lisa smiled at her father as he sat down next to her, causing him to reply quietly, "I can't remember the last time you ever smiled at me so must be years..."
Lisa knew what he meant; their constant arguments with each other seemed as if they would never cease and the rift between them was painful for them both. Now, there was a second chance at reconcilliation, and Lisa was going to make sure she didn't let it pass her by.
"I can't remember either...father, I'm so glad you're alright," said Lisa as she looked at her father with an unreadable look.
Hayes gave her a strong, but careful hug and he whispered in her ear, "Lisa, do you believe in second chances?"
"I do, I believe," replied Lisa earnestly.
"I do too dear, and I think we've been given one today," said Hayes as he tiredly sat down.
"Dad...I'm sorry, for everything...I let my stubborness and anger come between us for so long and I know now that whatever decisions you've made in the past were not to try and control me, but to look out for me and protect me. I do appreciate that father, I really do, but please, try and remember, I'm not a little girl anymore, and I can take care of myself...most of the time," ended Lisa, half crying and half smiling.
Hayes patted Lisa's hand, "I know honey, I know. It's just, sometimes it's just so hard to stand back and let you learn life's lessons on your own."
Lisa nodded, "I know dad, but that's the only way I'll learn, on my own."
"I know, I know. But remember, if you ever need any help, I'm always here," replied Hayes earnestly.
Lisa smiled and said, "So...starting from today on...could we start all over again, get to know each other again, be close like we were, so many years ago..."
"I...I would like that...very much Lisa, very much..." said Hayes, his voice saturated with emotion.
Lisa waited for herself and her father to regain their respective composures and then asked with a tiny hint of uncertainty, "About you like him?"
Hayes smiled broadly, expecting that question sooner or later and he already had formulated his answer a long time ago, "Lisa...if you and Rick ever happen to end up getting married, would make me the happiest man on earth. I think he's a good man Lisa. He may have some more maturing to do and he might not be too bright when it comes to certain things, but the most important qualities I would hope for any husband of yours to possess are already there. He's honest, sensitive, caring, brave, full of integrity, and he'll defend your life till his dying breath. And, I think you two make such a handsome couple. Ah yes, I can see it grandchildren will be absolutely perfect!"
Lisa chuckled and replied with a fake annoyed, "Daaaad!" the way she used to do when she was younger.
"I mean it Lisa, I think he is an excellent man," said Hayes seriously.
Lisa didn't reply but was very thrilled with her father's approval of Rick. She then turned her thoughts to the descimated earth and wondered what kind of future she and the rest of mankind would have.
"Dad, what about the global situation. What is going to happen?" asked Lisa.
Hayes exhaled loudly and answered, "I don't know Lisa. We will just have to take each day one at a time. I don't know how much I will be involved with the government reconstruction, because I am already taking flack for not being on Earth when Dolza attacked."
Lisa became instantly worried and asked, "They aren't going to court-martial you are they? You didn't know Dolza was coming, it was a surprise attack."
"I don't know dear, we'll have to see how things play out, but the UEG is completely wiped out, and I am the only one left with the experience and knowledge that can help put it back together, or, whatever united government the survivors decide on. But...if they don't want me and at least don't court-martial me, I think I will just go home to New York, if our home is still there, and retire. Or stay here and act as an advisor to Gloval or something."
Lisa looked out the window, watching as damaged mecha rolled by on flatbed trucks, and mused, "I can't wait to get back on my feet so I can get back to work. There's going to be so much to do."
"Now Lisa, you should-" Hayes realized his paternal tone and stopped himself mid-sentence. He smiled at Lisa and said, "Yes dear, we'll help you get back on your feet as soon as we can, because I'm sure Henry will really need your expertise."
Lisa smiled at her father then grew teary-eyed as she said, "Dad...I'm so glad you're here with me now. No matter how I acted in the past or what I said, I love you, I really do."
Hayes nodded, too emotional to speak. He leaned over and kissed his daughter on the cheek then waited for a while before replying, "We all have a long road ahead of us, but as long as you're still in my life, I know I can make it through anything. And I want to make up for all the time together that we lost and I'll do anything to make sure that happens because you are the most important thing in my life, Lisa. I love you so much, and even though I might not say it that often, please know that I do love you more than my own life."
"I know...daddy."
"Lisa, whatever you do, wherever you decide to go, know that you have my support completely," replied Hayes.
Lisa smiled and uttered, "Never be caught waiting on the wind..." remembering an old favorite line of advice her father always used to give her, "the same goes for you dad, where you go, whatever you decide to do, I'm behind you."
Hayes chuckled, remembering the times he would tell Lisa that saying when she was younger. He shook his head then held onto Lisa's hand and thought about all his fears for the upcoming task of rebuilding ahead of them, but then Lisa squeezed his hand and his fears dissipated. He smiled at his daughter again and said confidently, "That's right dear, Hayes' are never caught waiting on the wind."


In the middle of the meadow I sit staring at my kite
A ball of string and a paper dream that I could not make fly
Then daddy pulled it to the sky, behind him as he ran
And said, 'Girl, don't be caught waiting on the wind.'

The time comes when a young girl wants to leave the nest and fly
I stood there sad and proud and smiled through tears and said good bye
I gave you roots, I gave you wings, and girl, I understand
An eagle can't sit waiting on the wind

If you rise for every challenge, if you run to catch this dream
That star that you keep reaching for, is closer than it seems
Heaven and earth reward all those who try and try again
And will not be caught waiting on the wind...

Whatever strength you find in me I thank my father for
His wisdom, faith, and courage, set me on a steady course
And when my sails are empty, their words lift me up again
And I will not be caught waiting on the wind...

If you rise for every challenge if you run to catch this dream
That star that you keep reaching for, is closer than it seems
Storms of life my force you to change courses now and then

But never be caught waiting on the wind

Never be caught waiting

Never be caught

waiting on the wind.....


song credits:
1) Evanescence - "Taking Over Me"
2) Pam Tillis and Mel Tillis - "Waiting on the Wind"

Yes yes, I know, this probably fizzled out at the end and you were probably expecting a huge chapter, but I needed to hurry and finish this story up NOW, because like I said in the note in my other chapter, I am going to be very busy and will not have time to make this an extremely long story, it was way longer than I expected in the first place :)

Oh my, how unoriginal of me, I did a modification of the ending of DYRL, but hey, it's really hard to avoid a scene like that anyways.

I decided to let Admiral Hayes be the one present when Lisa awoke because I felt he deserved it more than Rick. The way I figured it, the damaged relationship between Lisa and her father was more serious than her problems with Rick and I felt more sympathy for Admiral Hayes than I do Rick (as I'm sure several others feel the same way :) ). I really like Admiral Hayes, why? I don't know, I just do, and wish I could've spent more time writing about him, perhaps in another story sometime, when I get some free time, next year maybe... :)

If anyone would like to add or re-write this story then by all means do so. Please post them under your own accounts. I originally was thinking of starting a user-submission thread which I would moderate/edit but that was rendered completely impossible by the new project I was given at work (the details being made more clear over the weekend now makes me wonder if I'll even have time to READ stories, let alone write them :( ) Again, and to Gemstone in particular, my sincerest apologies for not being able to carry out my plan for a user-submission thread.

I'm still not giving up my cheerleading call, which is: PEOPLE PLEASE WRITE MORE RICK-LISA AND HIKARU-MISA (there really is a huge lacking of THOSE) STORIES!!! :)