DISCLAIMER: Characters mine? No. Story mine? Yes!

STORY: One-shot! Alternative Universe, set after the Episode "Time Lost". What might have happened if Venger had succeeded in changing the Earth's past.


INSPIRATION: Grateful thanks to Rana Kane and J.

In Memoriam.

Eighteen days later, time wears away the facts, yet Venger still feels the same. Unendurable to endure, the anger and frustration does not stop; the crystal's work is done and they are gone.

Only he can remember them; though doubtless the old man might have sensed something wrong, but it makes no difference now; the time for that has come and gone. Shadow Demon, the Orcs, the other minions all know nothing. And with each passing day, his memory grows dimmer and it gets harder to evoke their images.

The tall, golden-haired Ranger, their leader. Dark skinned and vibrant, the Acrobat. The Barbarian, young, but potent. The underused Magician, now unable to fulfil his potential. The pale, arrogant Cavalier. The Thief…

…the beautiful red-haired Thief; one with such a kind, true heart. He would have liked to keep her. And as time passed, he would have liked to corrupt her, to see the pure light within her soul turned to darkness. Only she would have provided a suitable challenge.

It would have taken many years.

He had tilted her chin and looked into her eyes, only seconds from her destruction. The purity that burned in the depths of green was almost compelling enough for him to stop what he had started.

But he didn't.

They were gone, as he'd desired. But he has the time to recall their images as he sits and stares at the huge Dragon skull pinned to the wall. It was there to remind him, not just of the Dragon's death, but of what he'd failed to do. And it also served to help him remember, for he could look at it and let the waves of regret wash present circumstances away.

Why should he regret the demise of his Young Enemies? But demise is not what it is. Three years of fighting were gone in an instant They are gone, totally, utterly from the fabric of space and time, all except for a fragment in his memory. To think back to that day only causes more regret, not only for them, but for the fickle pride he'd had and the vagaries of Time.

The huge Skull, always visible through the bars, reminds him what he could never do, and he rarely takes his eyes from it as he waits for the noise from the door to disturb him.

So soon? Was time again so soon?

The door swings open. The Orc comes in, saying the words he's grown to loath, and waits impatiently as Venger struggles to stand, the chains seem heavier each day as he gets weaker each time his punishment is dealt out.

Finally, the Orcs waits no longer and wrenches him upright, then out into the dark dungeon.

So soon? Was it time again so soon? Time; what have I done to Time, to deserve this?

Time passes; decades, centuries, millennia.

Through the pain and humiliation he clings to their faces, forcing himself to remember. The Skull wears and crumbles to worn pieces on the ground. And each day their memory degrades, until all he has left is a vision of sea-green eyes to sustain him, and counteract the words "Lord Kelek is ready for his entertainment."

This is all he has.

Pain; but no more regrets.

The End.