Author's Notes: This is just a wee little chapter to wrap things up. Watch out for the twist!


When Desmond woke he was back in the cellar, down in the pitch dark. His head was throbbing and his lower back was bruised from landing hard on the stone floor. He staggered to his feet, his hands fumbling against the wall. The candle on the table had burnt itself out while he was unconscious. He lit another and squinted around the cellar. He could feel it. Something had changed.

Then he realised. Charlie's notebooks were missing. The acoustic guitar was still there, its wood and strings smashed to ruin…but Charlie's compositions were gone. Desmond felt a smile spreading over his face. He didn't have the notebooks anymore, because Charlie had the notebooks. Because Charlie was alive! He had been rescued along with the other 815 survivors!

Desmond took a calming breath. He had to make sure. He scrambled all the way up the stairs and barged into the bedroom, his hand slamming against the light switch. Penny sat upright in bed, startled and shielding her eyes. Desmond rifled the dresser draws in a flurry of impatience.

"Where is it, Pen?!" he asked, urgently.

"Des…for God sake…" she murmured, yawning and rubbing her eyes. "What are you looking for at this time of night?"

"The phone book, Penny!" he demanded. "Where is the bloody phone book?! I need to call Charlie. It's important!"

Penny lowered her hand from his face. She looked shocked and aghast at this suggestion. She shook her head in confusion.

"Darling…you can't possibly speak to Charlie..."

Desmond froze. His heart sank in his chest.

He slumped on the edge of the bed and closed his eyes. It hadn't worked. Perhaps some things had changed, but not Charlie's fate. He had no hope of changing that. Just because Charlie survived the Looking Glass mission, it doesn't mean the course correction had stopped. Death must have caught up with Charlie in some other horrific merciless way. Once again Desmond had failed to prevent it.

He began to hiss and whimper in frustration.

"Hey, hey…calm down, love…" Penny soothed.

She clambered out of bed and came to sit beside Desmond. She stroked his hair and tried her best to console him.

"Darling, please don't upset yourself…" she pleaded, still seeming confused. "Listen, I just don't think that it is appropriate for you to be ringing Charlie up when he is on his honeymoon…that's all…"

Desmond blinked and slowly raised his head. For a moment he wasn't sure that he had heard her right. Penny smiled.

"I'm sure that he's very grateful for the stag party you threw him, but I think he and Claire will be wanting a little time to themselves now. They'll be back in England on Friday. Can't it wait until then?"

Desmond shivered and tears came into his eyes. Only now they weren't tears of grief, but tears of relief and satisfaction.

"Des, what's wrong?" said Penny, cupping his face, her concern growing. "You're scaring me now. Please tell me that you haven't had one of those dreadful visions about Charlie. Sweetheart, I thought you said that your flashes had stopped completely…several months ago…"

He exhaled, feeling the tension leave his body.

"No more flashes…" he murmured. "…just bad memories."

Penny nodded and tilted her head sympathetically. She wrapped her arms around him and leaned close to kiss the tears from his cheeks. Their lips came together. Desmond clasped Penny to his chest. He would never leave her again. Suddenly their embrace was interrupted by the sound of a baby wailing in the next room. Penny broke their kiss and rolled her eyes.

"Now you've gone and done it!" she scolded him, gently. "Honestly Des! We are supposed to be taking care of Aaron for them, not traumatising the poor mite. I'll see if I can get him settled down…"

Penny rose and stepped into the hallway. At the last moment she turned and clasped the door frame, looking back at Desmond.

"Have you settled down now, my love?"

It was then that Desmond caught the glint on Penny's finger. There was a new ring on her hand. A ring with a sparkle of life. He smiled.

"Aye…I believe I have."

The End