Author: Steph. (Don't worry, I emailed her to ask her her permission to put this fic on the site and she accepted).

"Dan is here! Dan is here at the hospital by my fault!" thought Zoe, pacing hallways in wait of news concerning the health of her friend. Why she had had to urge him to go up on stage with this guy who fascinated everybody with exotic animals. Dan had refused, but she had pushed him and now, here is the result -- Dan was at the emergency for a bite of snake -- even if the serum had been administered to him in time -- he still had to stay in observation.

Lord, why had she always need to be so impulsive? The problem is because it was stronger than her: she had to pull the others in her joy of living. She felt tears falling on her and if ever--

And it is at this moment when a door opened and a man in blouse moved up to her that Zoe felt the beating of her heart accelerating, but she was incapable to move, she was not able to get up to go to meet the doctor, she was petrified, even if her pulse had to be near 110… "Mrs. Busiek?" The doctor interrogated her slowly. Zoe raised on the man some wet eyes and answered him in a hoarse voice of sobs. "Yes, it's me…"

"The state of Mr. Lennox is stable at the moment. The serum was injected in time, but we would again like to keep him in observation for the night."

"Does it mean that he is going to be fine?" asked Zoe one ounce of hope in her voice. "Yes, he is going to be fine. Don't worry. He will just have to rest during some days, but after that, he will be just fine." Zoe was not able to contain her enjoyment and jumped literally at the man which had just announced her that his partner and friend would be alright. It was the best news of the day. "Can I go see him, doctor?" She asked anxious.

"Yes, but he may still be sleeping, but you can go see him with no fear. It is the second door at the end of the corridor after the double doors from where I arrived." He informed her friendly. She went to the double doors, a smile on her lips, but the eyes were always wet. Zoe began to become really aware of what would have been really happened if the anti-poison had not been injected to him in time. And say that she had almost stopped the man from doing it on this cruise ship.

This man had then explained to her that if he did not administer the anti-poison, Dan would die. This simple thought made Zoe tremble… What would she do without him? How would she have reacted if the worst had occurred? Zoe realized that she would have become crazy. She was incapable to imagine her life without him. Marcos was super kind with her, but something was missing. It is then that she realized that Marcos was only a simple recollection of a past.

It was as if she saw herself in a mirror but the image faded quite slowly, not to be more than a mirage. She had arrived at the moment in front of the door in Dan's room, her heart suddenly pounded and she took a deep breath before opening slowly the door. Zoe peeked through the door and smiled before entering the room without a noise. He was laying down on the bed with a drip in the left arm. His eyes were closed and he seemed peaceful.

She moved slowly on the chair which was next to the bed. Zoe swung around and moved closer to the chair some more to the bed; before sitting down, new tears pricked her eyes, images of the event did not stop passing and going back and forth in her head: Dan who didn't want to go on stage and her pushing him as to say "Go, don't act like a child!"

A tear cleared itself a road along the cheek and she put a hand on the bed without paying really attention and a few seconds later, Zoe felt the hand of Dan settling easy on hers.

Zoe Busiek quivered slightly and turned the head. "Hey, I was so afraid, Dan." Dan smiled at her kindly. He had to say it to her, he had been in and out because of the serum and of the oxygen mask, but not enough to be able to think anymore but all he could think about was her.

He had to say to it to her -- to say what he really felt about her. What had occurred some hours ago could have ended tragically and he would not have any more chance to tell her his feelings and he didn't want to think about it even if she didn't feel the same thing for him; she must know the truth. "Everything is fine, Zoe…" he said in a hoarse voice. "No, everything is not fine, Dan. If I was not so stupid, this kind of thing would not happen!" She said with a tone of bitterness in her voice.

"Zoe, stop blaming yourself, it's not your fault, this would have happened to anybody." He pointed out on her. "I would have made more insisting also…" He said sweetly. "Dan, if you had…" Her voice broke, incapable to finish her sentence. "Oh, Zoe…" he whispered. Zoe got up and sat down on the edge of the bed of her business partner, but began quite slowly to represent more than that. But that, she was well careful not to say it to him because at the moment, he had to rest.

"You know, Zoe, you don't have to stay. I'm fine and the children need you," he said.

"Don't worry about that, Mr. Lennox, the kids are under good guard," she answered in a sweet smile. Zoe had hardly finished her sentence that the door of the room opened slowly on Taylor, Cliff and Hannah. "We can come in?" Asked slowly the girl. Dan smiles throwing a blow of furtive eye to Zoe and by whispering, "Under good guard, huh?" A smile was outlined on his lips. "Of course," Dan said in a tired voice. Taylor waited nevertheless for the permission of her aunt to enter.

Zoe looked at Dan in his eyes to ask him if he was certain but she read it that it is what he really wanted. She made then a sign to her sixteen-year-old niece and smiles. Taylor, Cliff and Hannah entered slowly the hospital room in single file. Zoe looked at her nieces and nephew by smiling. They were not really possible these three, but she was so proud of them. Furthermore, they brought so much to her.

"But tell me, you weren't supposed to be with Justin's grandmother?" She asked them with a look wrongly angry. It is little Hannah who spoke in first by slowly balancing a foot on the other and by looking at her aunt in a timid way. "It's me who wanted to see how Mr. Lennox was, aunt Zoe."

"Yes and us too!" did the other two in heart. "What could I possibly say after that!" Zoe laughs. One second later, Hannah was close to Dan and climb on the bed to sit down near him. Hannah adored Dan and it was mutual. The first time Zoe saw Dan, she didn't think he could get away like he did with her nephew and her nieces and they all seemed to accept him in the family. Better than Marcos Morales, she thought.

"Did they try to make her understand something in a devious way?" thought the young woman. With these three, nothing was impossible. "How are you, Mr. Lennox?" asked Taylor. "I'm fine, Taylor, but you can get rid of the Mr. Lennox and tell me "you" you know."

Hannah had put her little head under the chin of Dan and he wrapped her around with a protector arm; it took only five minutes for the little girl to close her eyes. She felt secure in his arms. They all melt with this image. Zoe looked at Taylor and the little girl moved up to her and lift slowly Hannah. "I think it's time to put her into bed," she whispered. "You coming with us, aunt Zoe?"

"No, I will come home later. I love you so much!" she said as they were making their way to the door. "Us too," they said and they left.

Once the kids gone, Dan looked at Zoe who took again her place in the chair. She again fixed the door until Dan slowly began. "Zoe, there's something I need to tell you…" Hearing these words, Zoe paid again attention to him. "Yeah?" she said in a kind voice. Dan hesitated a fraction of a second nevertheless, and he took a deep breath before going on. "Zoe, there's something very important I need to tell you. When this snake bite me, I was scared. Very scared of not being able to tell you… what I really feel for you… I love you, Zoe." His voice was just a whisper this time.

Zoe was not sure of what she heard, so she looked at him in his eyes cause she knew that in his eyes, she would find the answer she was looking for. Zoe always knew practically what Dan thought about her and even when he didn't say the truth for a reason or another, she knew it because the truth lied there in his eyes -- his eyes were the mirror to his soul. "Me too," Zoe whispered, getting up and moving closer to the bed to put her lips close to his. Then, to smile and ask, "And now?"

"It's the beginning of a new story," whispered Dan back.