Rhade was brooding in his office. Beka was back, only to leave again, he was sure. There was no way he could hold her. They'd fixed the Maru so there was nothing else holding her here. She'd take off again without as much as a good-bye. As a matter of fact, the two of them had barely spoken at all since she'd been rescued. Well he supposed that this personal upheaval was a small price to pay for the safety and freedom of the universe.

Beka had been a real hero in the battle. He was proud of her. If he'd had it to do over again he knew he'd do everything just exactly as he had. This did not make him any happier.

hr
Beka was in her quarters debating with herself. She and Rhade had hardly spoken at all since the Maru had been found and repaired. And they had to. She knew that. She just wasn't sure what she was going to say. She still had a lot of intense feelings about everything that had happened. To make matters worse, they were mixed feelings as well. But there was no chance to really vent them since he was spending all his time in either his office or his quarters. It looked like if they were ever to get anywhere it would have to be up to her to do it. Beka would have to force the issue. Typical. Wasn't it always the woman who wound up having to? Neitzschean men and human men weren't so different after all.

Beka had decided to go for it. She was now on her way to do it. Holo-Rommie popped up. "Beka, are you sure you want to do this now?"

"No. But it's got to be done. Things between us have to be settled once and for all."

"Does this mean you'll be leaving again?" There was a sad tone to her voice.

'I honestly don't know. I guess it'll depend on what happens between Gaheris and me"

"I see. I just have to tell you that I don't want you to leave; I'll miss you if you do."

"I'd miss you too, Andromeda. I'd miss everybody. I—well—let's just play it by ear and see what happens between us."

She had now reached his office and knocked. "Gaheris, it's me. We have to talk." The door opened. She stepped inside. Rhade briefly looked up at her and then down at his desk again.

"Look at me," she demanded. "I said we have to talk."

"No. What is there to talk about? You're leaving and that's all there is to it. Nothing is left to say."

"There's a lot left to say, damn it. And we're both going to say it. Starting with why the hell you locked me up in the first place."

"You know why."

"No. I really don't. And I'd really like to hear what you have to say on the subject. So talk."

He glared up at her. "Fine. You want to know why. I'll tell you why. I did it because I loved you, damn it. I couldn't stand to see you throwing away everything that we had because of stubborn pride. I couldn't stand to let you run away from the best thing that ever happened to either one of us. So I took matters into my own hands. I had to stop you somehow and this was the best way I could think of to do it. Obviously it didn't work; I clearly didn't mean as much to you as you do to me. I think you'd just better go now."

"I don't think so. You say you locked me up to keep me because if you let me out I'd leave, right?"

"Yes and I was right. You're going. So go now."

"I'm not done asking questions. Answer them and I might go. So if that was the reason, why then did you let me out at all?"

'That's obvious."

"It's really not."

"Damn it, Beka, you're going to make me say it aren't you? Fine. I'll give you your pound of flesh. But when I answer, then will you leave? It was the battle against the Magog World Ship. We needed you to help defeat it because you are the best. That fact was more important than us or what I wanted. We had to save civilization by any means necessary. Nothing else, not even us, was more important than that. So even though I knew I'd lose you because of it, I had to do what I had to do. I'm Nietzschean. It's my way. It's in my genes. Now that I've answered all your questions, can you finally leave now?"

Instead Beka sat down. "I can't."

"Why not?"

"Because I still love you too, damn it!" She didn't sound too thrilled about it.

He stared at her in shock. "So what does this mean?"

"It means I can't just leave again. You were right about that. Wrong in your methods though. I think I might just have come back to you in time on my own. Why couldn't you just trust that?"

'You just said why. You only think you would have come back. You weren't sure. I couldn't take that chance. Nietzscheans don't gamble. I loved you too much to gamble on that. Except it turns out that I was forced to anyway. What irony." He took a breath. "But … you're staying?"

"Yeah, I'm staying. I must be crazy."

A small, satisfied smirk tugged at one corner of his mouth. "That means I won. And that means that we can –maybe –work this out?"

"Yes, it's possible. Not going to be easy of course."

"No. Nothing worth having is ever easy." He bolted out of his chair and planted a big kiss on her. "You'll never know how happy I am that you just said that."

"I think I have a clue." She said before returning his kiss.

The End.