Chapter 10 - Hope Assured and No Regrets

"So it is agreed then. When the time comes, we will test your theory." Da'an was saying to Balvak, who had been explaining his ideas about the core energy crisis to the Taelon. As Lili had hoped, Da'an's reaction to the proposed project had been positive, and now arrangements had been made.

Da'an sat silent for a moment, studying Lili's face in contemplation. She remembered seeing that expression on his face somewhere in the past. It was familiar to her, yet an image from a life long gone. She tried to remember when she had seen him use that particular expression. Then it came to her, like a dream floating back to the edges of her consciousness. The last time she had seen him look at her that way was when they had spent those alarming few hours alone in the forest, dependant on each other for survival. He had gazed at her curiously, as though seeing something in her that she herself didn't. He was looking at her in the same way, now.

After a moment of contemplation, Lili suddenly understood. Regrets had no place here. The bond of friendship between them had existed since the very beginning, and despite all that they had been through it existed still, transcending the time and space that had parted them for so long. Lili smiled at him, feeling complete for the first time since she had left Earth. He smiled back at her, relishing in the closeness of the moment that was passing between them. Slowly she moved her arm towards his, extending her fingers so that they could lightly brush his up-turned palm.

"Lili…" Balvak called her name, breaking the reverie. She turned to meet Balvak's gaze, her arm not moving an inch. "Lili, I understand how important this moment is to you, but we cannot stay much longer. We cannot risk the Jaridian authorities being alerted to our absence."

As much as she hated to admit it, she knew he was right. As much as she wanted to stay here, with Da'an, her family and her life were all back in Jaridia. She was ready to return. Da'an, it seemed, understood the importance of this final moment and took hold of her hand before she could take it away. He gave a gentle squeeze before letting her go.

"You will always be in my thoughts." He told her, softly. Unable to find the words to tell him all that she felt she squeezed his hand in return, before letting go. Satisfied that she'd had her one last time with her Taelon friend, she turned and allowed Balvak to lead her back to the shuttle.

It was dusk when Lili finally entered the home she shared with Vorjak, Jaridia's moons hanging low in a sky dappled with colour. She found that Vorjak had been waiting for her, his eyes blazing as his gaze took all of her in. Knowing her purpose at last, she walked toward him without a moment's hesitation and kissed him with a passion she hadn't felt since the consummation of their marriage. Yes, it is good to be home was her final fleeting thought as she lost herself in her beloved husband's embrace…

The End