Title: The Stroke of Midnight

Author: Union-Jack2.0

Disclaimer: Various American individuals and companies own the stuff from the telly series. I own nothing, I'm just messing around and enjoying myself, I'm not here to make any cash from this. If anyone wants to use elements of this fanfic or base a fanfic of their own in this AU, call me at 'oblivion727 fsmail dot net' (this applies to Tribune as well—yeah, as if they'd be interested!). Chances are I'll say 'yes', but I'd prefer if you checked first.

Rating: 'R', might as well stay out of trouble. There's no explicit sex, usual explanation for that—I find porn dull, I only write stuff I'd want to read so I don't bother with that.

Spoilers: None really

Season: Technically Season Two

Pairing: Definitely. Read on to find out who...(hey, did you really think I'd ruin things for you? G'won, get on in there and enjoy.)

Summary: AU of 'The Unconquerable Man' milieu. There's a few differences. It is almost midnight and love is in the air.

Author's Note: Usual notes of reassurance: Any character who doesn't normally do so will not be written with a British accent. Romance aplenty, no porn to be had for love nor money nor begging. Ain't happening.

Now ladies, gentles, all, list to my tale of a...


"Love. So simple a word.

So truly beautiful to know and feel.

Without love, we can only survive.

When we feel love, then we are truly alive."

—Davis Crombie from England, circa Earth Year 2004

He awoke to find the room awash with light.

His head snuggled a little deeper into the soft pillow, as his eyes drank them in.

Blinking red and blue running lights shone from ships in the distance, shuttles and fighters dancing through the inky oblivion of space. Silver slivers from the stars glittered over their uniform jackets, the buckles sparkling. His, old and well worn. An article of crimson leather, black piping and polished metal that had seen him through the moment of his fall from grace and his triumphant return. Hers, newly issued, though she deserved both it and her new rank almost the exact instant she became his first officer two years ago. She had been his guide, his light...his hope.

A star that he had learned since ending up in this time to keep an eye on twinkled, and he knew that his friend was looking down upon his achievements with pride this night. Though only a guest to Almathea, his old friend had watched him closely these last two years from beyond the boundaries of death itself, and he was deeply glad beyond words of his forgiveness.

Medals gleamed from atop the corner table. The Order of the Vedran Empress. Bestowed upon them all for their success.

For restoring the Commonwealth.

For destroying the Magog worldship.

For restoring hope to galaxies that had been bereft of so precious a thing for three hundred years.

It was the highest honour the High Guard had ever bestowed upon its officers. All of them now bore it, presented to them by none other than his own—very proud, and rightfully so if he did say so himself—descendant and genetic reincarnation, Telemachus. If truth be told, he was proud of his descendant as well; he was everything he could have possibly wished of him and knew that he would see that the Commonwealth was guided well in the years to come.

Tyr had seemed almost amused, and even confessed later that he found it ironic considering he had once believed seizing control of the Andromeda Ascendant and the remains of Drago Museveni had been the greatest accomplishment he could have possibly achieved, that he now receive the greatest of honours by a dream thought long dead. A dream that even he had come to love. A dream they had all made reality, as Rommie had commented before stepping forward and arching her smooth neck forward to receive the prestigious award.

Trance had accepted hers most graciously, tail twitching ever-so-slightly in a way he knew these days to interpret as a sign of mischievousness, that she knew something he did not. But then again, such was often the way with the perky purple girl and he did not mind in the least. Her courteousness and cheerful impromptu speech had fortunately diverted the attention of the member worlds' delegates and the newly-elected Triumvirs away from Harper's reaction to finding they were being gathered for an award and the provision of official ranks as opposed to disbanded, civilians and High Guard forced on separate ways.

He closed his eyes briefly, cheeks flushing a little in remembered embarrassment at his first sight of the engineer's gaping jaw and bulging eyes. Still, after Rommie had nudged him he'd managed to pull himself together, and even gave a little speech of his own that had gone down nicely. Technical Director Höhne had looked most touched, and Charlemagne Bolivar had gone so far as to nod his thanks to Harper for his complimentary mentions, a rare gesture indeed for a Nietzschean such as the Arch-Duke to show to one such as Harper in public, especially at an event being broadcast to hundreds of worlds and drifts.

Rev, as expected, had given a wonderful and uplifting speech beyond even what he had grown used to from him over the past two years, wishing goodwill, peace and happiness upon all those gathered, the citizens of their worlds and all the living beings in the universe. A magnificent ending to the first part of the assembly, the Reverend had left happy tears of joy in his captain's eyes. Indeed, there was not a single person present for his speech who had not been moved by it in some way.

He opened his eyes again, remembering how, tears gently streaming down his cheeks, Harper had turned to Rommie, confessed his love for her and apologised for all the times he'd been a fool or lewd or had ever said or done anything to hurt her, completely oblivious to the gathered hundreds and watching billions, and kissed her hand. How she had stared at her engineer in a mixture of shock and amazement before placing her hands upon either side of his face and warmly kissing the happily surprised human. How the pair of them had outdone all, even Charlemagne and Elssbett, upon the dance floor that night with their blissful passion and zest. He—nor anyone else for that matter—would never have suspected Harper for a minute to be such a naturally skilled ballroom dancer.

More light swept in through the window; a wondrous golden glow that warmed the bedroom. He smiled broadly, turning his head to behold the fair features of his beloved. His lips parted and he sighed with a joy that sprang from knowing that all was right with the universe. A tear crept into his eye as the light from the glowing gas giant shone into the room from behind her, shafts of light dancing about her peacefully sleeping face like an angel's halo, limning her shining platinum hair.

And indeed she was truly an angel, a guardian angel. Without her, he would have died on many occasions for sure. Even, he reflected, by his own hand. Hers was the hand that had made him put down his force lance, the weapon with which he had fallen and the weapon by which he had been determined to die, so deep was his sorrow and guilt. She had given him hope and light to his path. She had brought him truly into this new universe of darkness, and she had shown him that he could restore it to the light it had once known.

She had been right.

He had been wrong.

And he couldn't have been happier to admit to his error, especially to her.

True, she had had her own share of daemons to face and conquer. But together they had helped one another through the hard times, saving each other's lives, growing ever closer in friendship and in love. And they would stand together again against such hardships, knowing only peace when there was no adversity or danger.

She murmured faintly in her sleep, adjusting her shoulders ever-so-slightly in his embrace, still facing him, her arm still across his broad chest. His eyes swam across her peaceful form, the pale lids that snugly wrapped her deep blue orbs in the soft and warm blanket of slumber.

He reached over with his other hand, bone blades laid carefully flat as ever, as he gently brushed a stray lock of hair from over her eye. Yielding to a sudden impulse and ignoring a little piece of his subconscious scolding him that such a swift surrender must surely stem from spending too much time with Trance, he leaned his head forward ever so slightly. His lips met hers briefly and tenderly in a feather soft kiss so as not to disturb her peace.

He inhaled deeply and silently of her scent, by now so comforting to him that he felt a faint rush of euphoria. His heart felt as though it could never stop soaring ever higher to yet more dizzying heights; felt as though there had never been a time when it had not done so with his love.

He blinked.

When his eyelids closed, her own too were shut in slumber.

When his opened, his dark eyes found themselves greeted by her blue ones.

Wordlessly, for there was no need, their lips met once again. Time passed; how much neither knew nor cared. They were lost; lost in the kiss and lost in their love.

At last, they reluctantly parted, faces mere millimetres apart, staring into one another's eyes.

Time passed.

"We did it, Gaheris," she finally whispered. "We played the odds, stacked them high and we won."

Gaheris nodded, taking her hand in his own and kissed her fingertips. "Thank you, Beka. Thank you."

"For what?"

He smiled playfully, but his voice was sincerely grateful. "Hope. Love. Redemption."

Beka returned the smile, and glanced over his shoulder. "I even did it all before the stroke of midnight," she teased. Gaheris turned his head and chuckled at the sight of the ancient luminescent face of the ancient Earth alarm clock Dylan had given him when he had married Maya, noting that its patient hands had not yet reached that hour, the slender second hand a few scant ticks away from that most magical of times.

Gentle fingers snaked about his chin and cheek, guiding him back to face her again as Beka kissed him once more. Lost in the kiss, they did not hear the faint cheerful chiming of the ancient clock striking the stroke of midnight.