A/N: Ok, Ok I know I said once a fortnight but this just happened and NEEDED to be posted. It will be once a fortnight from now on though.

As always I own nothing. Thank you to my faithful few who keep reading and reviewing. I'll keep writing this for your guys. Your feedback is always appreciated.

Breaking the Silence

'You are loved for the angel you are, you're adored like a princess from afar, I am only one poor soul who has lost his way to heaven, but I love you for the angel you are.'- For the Angel You Are, from Dracula the Musical.

"Aunty Fira can I go outside and help Papa Meda?" said Liya tugging at the woman's skirts with a pleading smile.

Fira smiled down at the small brunette, seeing Dana's familiar blue eyes shine back up at her, "Do you have your shoes on?"

Liya lifted her plain brown skirt to show Fira her simple spring slippers, adequate enough for going outside now the warm midday sun had dried the rain soaked grass. Dana's daughter had all the grace of her mother but very much her father's cheeky attitude, not that such an attitude was known in public circles but privately Kay was known fondly as the wit of the family and young Liya was beginning to show such tendencies. It was part of the reason Fira adored her time looking after the youngsters, often encouraging Dana and Kay to spend time out in the mountains together to leave her alone with them. Dana of course, like any mother, did not wish to spend much time away from her children but the demands of her children meant the rare moments when Kay could dedicate his time to them were often busy and noisy so Fira was always on hand to give the couple the time alone they needed.

Fira smiled and nodded her acquiescence, "Alright but mind you don't get under his feet and don't touch anything without asking."

Liya giggled happily as she headed for the back door, picking up the device Kay always left by the side to replace the lost key, manipulating it deftly and opening the door despite her young age. The door swung shut behind her but Fira could still hear her enthusiastic calls to her adoptive father. She smiled as she thought of the scene that would be playing outside. Kay had been right, Dana had reported, on the night of Liya's birth saying that she would be an engineer. The young Gallifreyan was keen minded and quick to learn any necessary skills that went hand in hand with building or mending things. She was currently fascinated by the out-building Meda had insisted on putting up in the garden after the cellar beneath the kitchen had flooded in the winter and the unusually wet spring had meant it was not drying out as quickly as it might despite the various wonderful gadgets Kay had brought from the city.

Both Dana and Kay had insisted that no such task was necessary seeing as the winter had not only brought the flood but also a great chill to the house that had bypassed all the Gallifreyans save for the elderly Meda, his final life and advancing years all the more apparent following the season than they had been before. Meda however had been as stubborn as always and insisted he had a duty to his wife and family to make a suitable alternative. Dana had finally given in to him, thanking him and thanking Rassilon also that she had been gifted such a caring husband who asked nothing in return of her. Liya had been a more than willing assistant to the one the twins affectionately called Papa Meda and the two worked happily outside whenever the weather permitted.

Trey however was not as easily amused and took a lot more attention to keep him from distraction, Dana's once simple front room now filled with various computer systems from the city that included lots of games for the wayward son of the house. Fira turned her attention back to the boy as she heard his triumphant yell and the musical chimes of the victory knell on the console he played on.

"Doing well I see?"

"Easy as," said Trey, picking up the Academy slang even at a young age, "I'm gonna ask Papa to bring me something harder next time."

Fira looked at the screen before her, amazed how the young boy manipulated the controls without a second thought. The game he played was designed to be given to young Time Lords in their fourth year of training, a full seven years older than Trey, to help them learn to pilot a TARDIS but Trey had it learned and conquered three years even before he could be considered for Time Lord training.

"You're too clever for your own good at times," said Fira settling back on the long couch to watch the afternoon pass by in Trey's game. She did not expect Dana and Kay back from the mountains until nightfall and even then she hadn't arranged her transport back to the Capitol until later that night so that she could pass some time with her two friends. Achea would be working late on one of the projects set him to so she would not be missed at her apartments.

Several long minutes passed by and she felt her eyelids begin to droop as warm sunlight filtered through the window and over her light robes. She propped her head on one arm and let her mind drift, various incoherent images coming to her as the mind was wont to do at the beginning of dreams. She shook her head as she felt something shake her.

"Play your game for a while longer Trey, there's a good boy."

"Aunty Fira please wake up!"

Fira opened her arms in alarm at the sound of tears in the young feminine voice that met her ears. She gasped at the sight of Liya, the girl's face streaked with tears as her chest heaved with dreadful sobs but it was her clothes that met with more concern. She was covered in mud but also in places it showed more red than brown. Fira reached out to brush the stain, finding her fingers covered in blood.

"Liya what have you done to yourself?" she cried.

"Not me," said Liya trembling, "The shed fell on Papa Meda, he got dizzy and he fell and the shed fell too."

"Oh Rassilon!" cried Fira running for the back door, glad she did not have to fumble with Kay's device where Liya had left it open. The children were hard on her heels as she made her way across the garden, the grass still slippery in her haste but she paid it no mind as she saw the collapsed wooden structure ahead of her. She knew the second she saw Meda's body beneath the devastation that the blood on Liya's clothes wasn't hers. She knelt down, wincing at the heavy boarding that lay heavily over Meda's legs and lower body. His eyes pleaded up at her, his arms pinned by the collapsed so he couldn't sign.

Using all her strength the pushed up the boarding only to freeze half way, turning back to the children, "Go back into the house," she said firmly, "Trey, Liya do as I tell you."

"But we want to help," cried Liya.

"You can help if you go inside," said Fira, "Trey, I know your Mama says not to use to communicator but do you think you can call your Papa's office and speak to Uncle Achea, tell him we need him to come here now and bring a medic because Papa Meda is sick."

Trey nodded, "I call Papa sometimes when Mama doesn't know."

"Go do it," said Fira, "And take your sister. Liya don't cry, go with Trey."

Trey took his sister's hand and tugged her back towards the house, the girl looking back over her shoulder at every opportunity until she was once again inside the house.

Once they had disappeared Fira heaved the rest of the falling boarding off Meda, tears coming unbidden to her eyes as she looked down at the blood stained black clothes he wore, tatted and torn where several large daggers of wood had broken off and penetrated his vulnerable form. She looked back to his face to see the resignation in his eyes as he too saw the damage. Fira bent further to see one of the splinters had gone right through and into the ground below, effectively pinning him to the ground.

"Meda, I've sent for Achea. He's going to come and we're going to get you out," she said, her hand brushing the short, black hair on his head, while her other took hold of his, "Now you just hold my hand and hang on because I'm going to get you out of this you understand. Achea will be here very soon I promise."

Meda nodded but his eyes remained blank, crinkling in pain at the edges now and then as his body trembled at its injuries. Fira wanted to run to the village and beg for help but she knew in her heart there was little to be done. She only could hope Achea arrived in time for her to go into the mountains and bring home the two people who most needed to be by Meda's side. She bent over the faithful man before her and pressed a kiss to his brow,

"Its going to be alright Meda, you'll see," she said, wishing she believed her own words.

XXXX

Dana brushed away the fallen leaves and century old grime from one of the walls of Castelra, marvelling at the carvings beneath. They had explored the old ruin for several hours, finding old inscriptions and spells carved into the walls that proved incontrovertibly the existence of the Time Witches at least once upon a time in the mountains of Gallifrey. Kay's amazement at the world they uncovered was almost as pleasing to Dana as the ruins themselves. Kay had dragged her away from her studies at noon for the small picnic they had brought from home, Kay laying out a large blanket to one side of the pentacle star and the both of them picking through the food that had survived their fall. Dana had returned to her exploring shortly after eating, leaving Kay stretched out on the blanket as the warm spring sun beat down on them.

Dana glanced back over to him, smiling as she saw the even rise and fall of his chest, one arm slung over his eyes as he slept. She returned her attentions to the carving she had uncovered her eyes scanning the ancient text while her mind translated, albeit slightly poorly, ancient Gallifreyan not something her father had spent much of her education on.

And born shall he be, a child of love, not convention. The tireless warrior raised from ashes to the seat of his Fathers. He shall be the Chosen Son, the mark of Gallifrey, he who shall bring peace and destruction. Guided by the Ancients, from death he shall rise.

"So many riddles," said Dana to herself thinking back over the numerous incomprehensible passages she had studied since their discovery.

"Are you still picking at the walls?" came the sleeping voice from the blanket.

Dana looked over at her partner, seeing him gazing at her through eyes half lidded in sleep and his hair tossled about his head, "I'm enjoying myself," she said waving her grimy fingers in his direction, "You know, country girl, digging about in the dirt and all that."

"I'd rather be enjoying you," said Kay extending a hand to her, "Clean that muck off your hands and come over here."

Dana wiped her hands off on her skirts before getting to her feet and walking over to him, standing over him so only her shadowed fell over him, "Am I to believe Lord Kaybanarn that you are thinking some most debauched thoughts while lying in the ancient, venerated halls of the Time Witches?"

Kay smirked up at her, "Thought these witches of yours were all about nature and what's more natural than me worshiping the body of the woman I love," he said, grabbing her hand and pulling her down to kneeling on the blanket next to him. Dana giggled and batted his hand away.

"Behave yourself!"

"Tell me you don't want me," said Kay recapturing her hand and running his thumb in a firm stroke along her palm, "Tell me you don't want me to strip you out of that dress and show you how much I love you."

Dana pouted stubbornly, "I shall not give into you sir no matter how much you plead, I wish to explore."

"So do I."

"Kay!"

"Do I not please you my love?" he said drawing her hand to his lips and running biting kisses along the delicate flesh, "Am I not all you desire?"

Dana sucked in a ragged breath as his fingers pushed up the sleeve of her dress, his lips continuing their path upwards until his tongue flicked with merciless precision against the sensitive skin of her inner elbow. Her pleasured sigh was enough encouragement for Kay and he grabbed her round the waist, flipping her down onto the blanket beneath him. Before she could protest he fused his lips to hers, any complaint soon replaced by oblivion in his arms. As he released her enough to breathe Dana, giggled up at him.

"What ever am I going to do with you old man?"

Kay's emerald eyes flashed with a familiar fire, "Oh I can think of a few things."

"Indeed," murmured Dana, "Well why don't you shut up and show me then?"

Kay glared at her playfully, "Whose is charge?"

"In the office or in the bedroom?"

"There's a difference?"

Dana neatly flipped them until it was Kay on his back, squinting up into the sunlight that haloed his lover's head.

"Oh I think there's a big difference don't you?"

To all intents and purposes Kay was certain it was a rhetorical question.

XXXX

Achea helped the medic ease Meda down into his bed, the prognosis grim and the only option was to make him more comfortable. Fira knelt by the side, gently stroking the old man's hair as he winced in pain.

"There is nothing more I can do for him," said the medic, "His wife should be sent for, if I might be of assistance…"

"No," said Fira firmly, "No I'll go, I know the terrain and where she goes when she's alone. You've done enough for us, thank you. I'll see you out."

Fira pressed a kiss to Meda's brow before ushering the medic out of the room. Liya and Trey stood silently outside, their eyes down cast.

"You can go in," said Fira softly, "But do not jump on the bed, you must be very quiet and still."

They nodded silently, before heading inside, Achea's voice greeting them as he explained as much as he could to the impressionable youngsters. Fira steered the medic to the front door, pulling on a cape and outdoor shoes before leading him out.

"Perhaps I should stay," he said, "I am not needed at my practice in the city this afternoon, I could be there to explain things."

"I do not think there is much in the need of explanation at your diagnosis," said Fira, "What you have given Meda will keep him comfortable and I will bring his wife to him. Achea will deal with the rest and you can rest assured your bill will be settled in a few days."

"The passing of a thirteenth life can be traumatic."

"All the more reason why Meda needs only his family around him rather than strangers. If you can do nothing to save him then please allow us this time as a family alone."

The medic nodded, "Keep him calm and comfortable and hurry, he may only have an hour or so at most."

Fira managed a weak smile, "You know nothing of Meda's stubbornness. He will see his wife. Thank you for all you have done."

"Its my job," said the medic softly, "And my duty Lady Firamashu. I only wish I could bring you better news."

"Every Gallifreyan must accept that though long lived we are not immortal," said Fira, "Our immortality must be in our deeds not our body. Good afternoon."

The medic nodded solemnly before heading along the main road through the village. Fira watched him go for a moment before throwing up the hood of her cape and heading towards the direction Dana had taken that morning. Her steps hurried by need and anguish.

XXXX

Dana curled tighter into Kay's arms as she lay tired and sated beside him, trailing a last finger in random patterns over the firm muscles of his chest. He pressed a kiss to her hair, smiling as he raised his own hand to take hers, caressing her long, thin fingers. Above them the sun began to tip from its crest, sitting half on top and half below the wall before them, warming them still as they lay only covered by Dana's light spring cape. Kay shifted as he felt something wet fall onto his chest, tilting Dana's face up to his to see tears in her eyes.

"What's this?"

"I wish you didn't have to go," said Dana with a weak smile, "I miss this, I miss us when you go. When I'm with you everything is so perfect but when you're gone…"

"You have the children and Meda," said Kay, "And I shan't be gone long I promise. Meda will look after you."

Dana managed a smile, "Don't know what I'd do without him," she said, "He's such good company, you must miss him not being in the Ice City with you."

"I think he's earned the right to enjoy his retirement with someone far prettier than I," said Kay rolling on his side to better look at her, "I always go away far happier knowing he's here to protect you."

A breeze rushed through the ruins, raising goosebumps on Dana's skin. She shuddered, pulling the cape tighter around her. Tears came once again to her eyes but she blinked them back. She reached out to cup Kay's cheek.

"Whose there to protect you though?" she said before she unfastened the leather necklace from around her neck, twirling the heavy black pendant between them. She reached forward and fastened it around Kay's neck.

"You can't give me this," said Kay, "Your father…"

"Will not mind," said Dana, "Like you say, I have Meda and if you have this I know that you're watched over even when I am not."

"But the blessing was for you."

Dana lay a hand over the pendant, "Then I re-bless it, here in the halls of the ancients I beg the Sisters of the Coven of White Light to watch over those I love most. To guide them when I am not near, to warm them when I cannot, to bring their hearts peace when they long for their family," she said, "I pray they keep you safe, hold you in their light even when all the world has come to darkness and I pray they help you understand this world so that you may forever be cradled by it."

"Dana?"

Dana looked up and frowned at the tears she saw threatening in her partner's eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," said Kay, "Its just what you said, it was beautiful and…Dana there's something about you in this place, something in your eyes. I've never seen you look so peaceful and I am beginning to realise just how kind fortune was that night she brought you to me in the mountains. My wild girl, there's something about the Witches in you I'm sure of it."

Dana smiled, "Don't be ridiculous," she said softly, "I just said what's in my heart, there's no enchantment here save what we create ourselves. I love you so much Kay, promise me nothing will ever part us."

"I promise," said Kay, "Because I love you too, even when you have been grubbing about in the dirt and putting our five year olds to shame."

Dana pulled him into an almost bruising kiss, wrapping her arms tightly around his powerful shoulders. They lay quiet for many minutes, content in each others arms before Dana shuddered once more.

"Its getting cold."

"You're too skinny, that's what it is," said Kay drawing the cape tighter around her, "I feel fine. Do you want to go back down? I'd like to see the kids for a few hours before we pack them off to bed and besides, it'll be a mad day tomorrow with everyone coming climbing with us. I can't wait to see their little faces when they see the city from the mountains for the first time."

"Liya will try to analyse it and Trey will want to conquer it," said Dana with a warm laugh at the thought of her infants, "You say I have a touch of the Witches, what about you? I swear you saw the future the day you proclaimed their futures, although Trey as President is a rather scary thought."

Kay laughed, "It is isn't it. Come on then you wild thing, let's get some clothes on before the sun begins to wane and get home. I'm starving."

Dana got to her feet, caring little for modesty after years of intimacy as she gathered her hastily discarded clothes, "You going to get dressed?"

"Just admiring the view, your hip has the most gorgeous curve to it, have I ever told you that?"

Dana pouted as she pretended to think, "Once or twice maybe. Get dressed old man and let's get you fed before you go running back to Chanema because I don't treat you well enough."

They both pulled on their clothes, gathering up all they had brought with them so as to leave the ruins as unspoilt as they had found them. Kay took Dana's hand as they stood in the doorway once more, the young woman looking back into the main chamber with its etched star and ancient carvings.

"We should come back here whenever we can," she said softly, "It can be our secret, somewhere special just for you and me. Its somewhere I can come too, to think of you."

"Come now witchy thing," said Kay pulling her close in a tight hug, "Don't get all melancholy. This place can be ours but I only want you thinking happy thoughts when you are here, promise me?"

Dana smiled up at him, fussing his sunlit hair, "Promise. Let's go home."

They soon found a path that seemed to lead back down the mountainside and before too long their feet met with the soft green grass of the hillside rather than the coarse red at the top of the mountain. Hand in hand they descended, taking their time to stop and admire the scenery neither of them had seen before. Turning a corner they finally found a path that took them in view of the village but Dana cocked her head, almost birdlike as something amiss hit her senses.

"You alright?" said Kay.

"I'm fine, its just…I have the strangest feeling."

"What feeling?"

"Like I don't want to go home."

Kay smirked, "Like you don't want to get the dinner on more like. Alright then, I'll strike you a bargain, I'll cook if you promise me your undivided attention once the children are asleep."

Dana laughed off her ill humour, "Let you near my kitchen, no fear Time Lord. You may have the skills of four hundred years and a TARDIS licence but you and food and heat just manage to fill me with utter dread! Come on, I just don't want to leave this beautiful afternoon, that's what it is."

Kay tucked her arm into the crook of his as they began their slow walk once more, bending at one point to pluck a delicate purple flower from where it bloomed by a fallen rock. Dana accepted the gift with a smile, tucking it into her hair that had all but come loose from her braids. Kay chuckled beside her.

"Its going to be fun explaining to everyone why we're covered in mud."

"We'll tell them how we were set upon by a gathering of Faolchu and defeated them with no more that a picnic basket and your shoe laces," said Dana.

"Shoe laces?"

"I'm inventive," said Dana, "Could do a lot with shoe laces or perhaps a scarf, a scarf would be better. A really long scarf."

"Danashan sometimes you are positively terrifying."

"Dana! Kay!"

The pair turned as they heard their names cried from above, Fira scampering down to them from the rocks above, her face flushed with exertion and her robes dusty from the rocks.

"Fira what are you doing climbing? Where are the children?" said Dana looking up in surprise at her friend.

Fira reached them and almost collapsed breathlessly if it wasn't for Kay's strong arm that came about her middle, she blinked back exhausted tears.

"I've been searching for you for hours," she said, "Dana something dreadful has happened, Meda he…there was an accident and the out building collapsed onto him. Dana he's dying, there's nothing the medics can do. I came to find you but I left home hours ago and the medic said…"

Dana didn't need to hear anymore as she took off down the mountain side, Kay and Fira hurrying in her wake. Several bemused faces turned to her as she reached the village but she paid them no heed as she hurried along the dusty old street towards the cottage, bearing herself forward even when she nearly stumbled in her haste. She crashed through the front door, her slippers echoing loudly on the flag stones in her haste.

"Meda!" she cried, "Meda!"

She looked up to see Achea ashen in the corridor before her, Liya and Trey clinging to his robes.

"Bedroom," he said, "Quickly, there's not long."

Dana rushed passed him and the children, hearing the sounds of Kay and Fira entering behind her but paying them no mind as she hurried to her father's room that Meda had taken as his own. She paused in the doorway as she saw the broken figure on the bed, his once bright eyes closed and his face pale and haggard. His breath came in ragged puffs and she could see, despite Achea's best efforts, the edges of the blood stained bandages that masked but could not heal his injuries. As if sensing a presence Meda opened his eyes and managed a weak smile, extending his hand to his wife.

Dana hurried to his side, perching on the bed as she took his offered hand, leaning down to press a kiss to his brow.

"I leave you alone for a day and you go and do this," she wept, feeling the once strong grip weak in her own, "I told you that you should have left that stupid shed of yours until you were truly well. Oh Meda!"

His eyes shone all his meaning out at her even though he made no attempt to sign his words, keeping tight hold of her hand, his gnarled old fingers all the more noticeable next to her lineless hand. Dana looked up as she heard heavy footfalls by the door, seeing the saddened expression on Kay's face as he looked upon his life long friend.

"What's all this nonsense I hear old man?" he said trying to keep his tone light but tears threatened at the edge of every word, "Up I tell you, its too nice a day to stay in bed."

Meda managed a pained smile at his old master, beckoning him over with his free hand. He pointed to the dresser beside him, tapping the drawer as Kay hesitated. The Time Lord opened it and pulled out the tatty wooden box inside. Kay handed it to Meda and he opened it shakily, releasing Dana's hand in the process. He pulled at a piece of flaky, old twine until it came free, an elegant solitaire diamond ring hanging from the end. He placed it in Kay's palm and closed his hand over it.

Your father gave to it me for safe keeping. He signed, It was your dear mother's but he did not want Chanema to have it. Do with it as you will now though.

Kay looked down at the ring in his palm and his eyes brimmed with tears at the memory of two parents lost and his only remaining connection to them fading before his eyes. He caught Meda's hand tightly.

"Fight this Meda."

Meda shook his head sadly, a faint smile on his lips.

"That's an order Medalal."

Meda pulled his hand free from Kay's, I am retired.

Kay half laughed, half cried at the response, "And as stubborn as you ever were. Meda, you have been the best friend I could ever have. I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for me," he said before turning to face the door, "Achea will you send the children in please?"

Two small, sad forms stood in the doorway, Liya clutching tightly to a small rag doll Meda had lovingly made from her from scraps of material Dana had been using to fashion their play clothes almost two years before. Kay beckoned them over.

"Come here my little ones," he said, "Don't be frightened."

Trey and Liya padded over silently pausing at the bed where they had sat in near silent vigil with Achea for most of the afternoon. Kay lifted them both up onto the bed, vacating his seat to make way for them. Meda smiled up at the two children, taking Liya's small pale hand while his other fussed Trey's dirty blond hair.

Liya's face crumpled into tears, "Papa Meda don't die," she pleaded, "We love you, whose going to do piggy back races with us when Papa is away?"

Meda's eyes filled with tears at the childish plea but he smiled all the same, conveying all the love he could to the two children he had doted on since their birth. Dana brushed harshly at the silent tears on her cheeks as she watched the scene before taking a shuddering breath to compose herself. She saw a shudder of pain pass through Meda as his breathing grew more laboured and she knew in her heart the end was nearing.

"Kiss your Papa Meda," she said softly to the children, "Tell him how much you love him."

Both the children did as they were told, leaning down to embrace Meda tightly, kissing him and whispering sweet words of affection to him. Meda winced at the tight embrace but did nothing to shake them off, relishing there tiny, life filled forms that would carry the memory of him well beyond his grave. Finally the children pulled back, tears dulling their usually sunny eyes. Dana looked up to Kay and nodded to him at his unspoken question. He helped both children down off the bed before bending over it himself once more and placing a kiss of blessing and farewell against his friend's brow.

"I shall miss you old man," he said softly, "Watch over us."

Meda nodded silently, tears finally breaking loose as he saw the tears on the face he had seen grow from youth and change with each passing regeneration. Kay turned away quickly, sniffing back tears as he took hold of the children's hands, leading them out of the room and back into the corridor.

Meda's hand found its way back into Dana's as she smiled down at him through her tears.

"I'm staying," she said softly, "I'm going to stay with you my husband."

He beckoned her down closer and she obeyed, wondering at first what was the expression that lit his face before she saw his mouth begin to move in the approximation of words. So often before had he tried to bypass the quirk of his regeneration that had left him without speech and Dana saw the same effort here.

"Don't," she said, "You know you can't. Don't tire yourself by trying so Meda. Be still."

She saw the familiar stubborn look grace his features that she had come to adore over their years of marriage. His lips continued to move but she could not make out the words he was trying to say. She startled as a half strangled noise finally echoed from the silent lips. She leant closer as the whispers began to take shape.

"Meda?"

"I…"

"Meda please, you're hurting yourself."

"Dana," he rasped, his chest heaving with effort and the word coming with little flair or precision. He fumbled once more for her hand and held it tightly, "I…love you."

Dana whimpered at the softly spoken words, tears coming fresh to her eyes and splashing down onto the craggy cheeks below. She cursed herself for never seeing it as she looked down into the deep eyes that seemed lighter for the confession though resigned to receiving no answer. She could not utter the words, in his speech he had for the moment taken hers but she stared defiantly down at him, trying as he so often did to convey her feelings through her eyes but when that failed she did the one thing she knew still remained in her power.

Closing the remaining inches between them she pressed her lips to his, feeling at first the startled response and then the joyful acceptance as she moved her lips gently over his. His grip tightened on her hand for a moment, the kiss returned with equal fervour until she felt the odd sense of only her breath coming back to her, no longer mingled with his. The grip on her hand loosened and she froze for the briefest moment, her lips still pressed to those of her husband before she pulled back with a choked sob, seeing the closed eyes and peaceful expression that would be his death mask.

She covered a sob with her hand, "Oh Meda," she cried, her shoulders shaking as she tried to repress the urge to wail out her grief, "Why did you leave me?"

She gave in to her tears, laying down against the lifeless body, clutching onto the dark clothes and blankets that covered him as she sobbed desperately. She felt a firm hand on her shoulder and looked up, seeing Kay above her. His expression barely schooled to acceptable solemnity rather than grief, his Time Lord façade slipping into place as an attempt to save himself from the pain of emotion, a skill Dana now wished she could learn. She hurried to her feet, throwing her arms around him as she wept into his shoulder, her whole body shaking with the effort.

"I have asked Achea to send to the city to everything we will need for his pyre," said Kay into her hair, "We will do what must be done here not in some heartless place in the Capitol. Here with just his family near. He will send for your father also."

"How could he leave me Kay," cried Dana not daring to raise her head from his shoulder, "Why did he have to die?"

"I'm so sorry Dana," said Kay, "I'm so sorry."

"I was so happy."

"So was he. So often he told me how happy he was to be at your side, to help you however he could."

Dana began to cry anew as she thought of his dying words, the effort he had taken to confess the unrequited love he had struggled with for years while she had played at families with his master. Kay merely held her, no knowledge of the reason for her relentless sobs other than the loss of their friend. They would all mourn for many months he knew but he was resolved that he would not let the family Meda had kept safe for so long fall apart at his passing.

XXXX

Two days passed. Meda's body was soon wrapped in the customary white linen bindings and laid out on the clean bed in his room while a fine pyre was built outside to burn his body, Kay taking it upon himself to aide Jaralen and Achea with the building rather than having someone from outside perform the job. He had sent word to Chanema of Meda's death and despite her protests had informed her that he was going to stay in the village until the funeral was over and he had ensured Meda's infants and widow were cared for. His concern grew daily for Dana as she remained quiet, unable to discuss with anyone the last moments of Meda's life. Kay had never witnessed a passing before, his mother dying in an explosion off world many years before while his father had died when he himself had been away twenty years earlier and he wondered at what might have been the horror of watching a thirteenth life fade as Dana refused to speak.

The children behaved as their youth dictated, not really understanding what had happened and becoming sullen and grouchy when little attention was paid to them following Meda's death. Fira, as always the reliable friend, had taken it upon herself to keep them entertained; her grief pushed aside to help her distraught friend. Achea was also never far from on hand, supporting Kay as Fira supported Dana knowing that despite the Time Lord's frosty façade he too was deeply hurt by the passing of a friend.

Tributes poured in from the village and from some of Kay's colleagues in the city who had known Meda and his young bride through their connections to the Prydonian Lord, all wishing the young widow their heartfelt sympathies. Dana, as tradition dictated, remained clad head to foot in black, her wedding ring now hung from a chain around her neck rather than on her finger. Daily she would fetch fresh spring blooms from the garden to adorn the mourning chamber, the rest of the bed not covered by Meda's body strewn with petals of every colour and hew. Often Kay would stand in the doorway and watch as she sat beside the body of her friend, repeating a mantra he did not know the origin of.

"I'm sorry."

As the day of the funeral dawned the family gathered beside the pyre, those of the Time Lord order clad in their robes while Dana, her children and the few villagers who had asked to attended cast a sombre group in black. Kay and Jaralen bore the body of Meda from the house and laid him on the pyre. When he was settled they picked up the twins to allow them to leave their tiny floral tributes beside their adoptive father before stepping back to enable Dana to lay her own offering atop the body, a collection of tiny white flowers, silver leaves and red grasses she had picked that morning in the mountains, all tied with a thin black ribbon. Standing on tiptoes she pressed a kiss to the swaddled forehead, tears staining her cheeks as she stepped back to her father's supportive arms. As the most senior there, and by his own request, Kay led the traditional service of remembrance, having to break off on occasion to choke back his own tears.

He spoke warmly of his affection for Meda from childhood when he had been man-servant to his father, still commanding the power of speech and taking great pains in helping the young Kaybanarn with his studies whenever his father was away serving in the Ice City council. He spoke of his shock the day Meda's twelfth life had ended and he awoke from the regeneration without speech, unable to communicate well to any of the family until the intricate sign language he and Kay used became a development between the two. Dana thought Kay might give up when he spoke of the demise of his own parents, how at both times it had been Meda and no one else who had offered him support and comfort, his one connection to the family he had lost when their pyres were cold.

Dana gave way to her tears as he began to talk of the life he had lived in the village, not knowing how true his words are as he spoke of the love between Dana and his head servant, how he had willingly granted retirement and was glad to see his long time friend finally happy. He spoke of the children's loss, stumbling as he spun the long practised lie, the thought of his children losing a father filling him with an unholy dread.

Jaralen had taken over afterwards, leading those of the village in their own blessings and rituals, Kay recognising some of the more ancient Gallifreyan rights that would have been frowned upon in the city. He longed to reach out to Dana and comfort her but his position was not one of friend to the widow but of distraught employer and friend to the deceased, any behaviours out of the ordinary too risky in case they aroused suspicion. His heart broke as he watched her cling tightly to their two small children, trying to comfort them as best she could as they struggled with their comprehension of the scene before them. He cursed death for the pain it had brought them so young.

Torches were lit to be given to each of those involved in the funeral, Kay taking one, followed by Jaralen and then shakily by Dana. As they bent to set alight to the kindling sticks at the base no one gathered noticed the carriage rolling down the road towards the small field off from the main village that served as their sacred ground. The flames licked the base of the pyre as the three participants lay their torches against the sides, the flames quickly taking hold of the dry wood. The children whimpered as the flames began to lick at the body and Dana hurried back to them, cuddling them close as the smoke rose high into the air, if belief was to be followed Meda's soul flying free with it.

Kay felt a tap on his shoulder and turned, surprise lighting his face as he saw one of his own servants from Oighearcathair behind him. The servant sketched a quick bow and motioned to the coach.

"I've come to collect you as ordered sir."

"Collect me?" said Kay, bemused, "I sent no word for a carriage to come for me."

"Sir I was ordered to come out here, the transport for Oighearcathair leaves in half an hour, we should make haste to catch it."

Kay noticed Dana's distraught face turned to him and grabbed the young man by his arm, guiding him away from the pyre, "Rassilon man can you not see I am in the middle of a funeral?" he hissed, "I sent no word to be collected and I have no intention of leaving these proceedings early, am I understood?"

The young servant balked under his master's harsh stare, "But the Lady Chanema sir, she said…"

Kay sighed, "I should have known she would have something to do with this," he said, releasing the boy's arm, feeling a lump in his throat as he realised he wore the same coachman's garb that Meda had always worn, "You may have had your orders but I will not leave, we will miss the transport and catch a later one and I will deal with Lady Chanema so you need not worry about disobeying her orders. Did you know Medalal?"

The boy nodded, "Yes sir."

"Then you may join us here if you wish," said Kay guiding him back over to the pyre. He pointed to Dana, "That young woman there is Meda's widow so mind you pay your respects as expected of you when you are taken inside."

Silence reigned as they turned back to the pyre, Kay using the distraction to take a step closer to Dana, still unable to reach out to her but knowing from the slight shift in her stance that she knew he was there and took comfort in his presence. The pyre finally took hold completely, groaning and spitting as Meda's body finally succumbed to the flames, the full light of it the signal that brought the ceremony to a close.

XXXX

Dana managed to escape from the onslaught of condolences as those in attendance at the funeral gathered in the cottage, Fira holding the fort as best she could and giving Dana a moments respite to recover her scattered wits. She flopped onto the bed in her own room, across the hall from the room in which Meda's body had lain, and threw an arm over her eyes. Several minutes passed in blissful silence until she heard the familiar booted footfalls and then the door click shut. She didn't open her eyes until she felt the bed dip under the weight of another body. Two strong arms lifted her up from the mattress and cradled her warmly as she burrowed into the deep velvet folds of familiar robes she would so often cuddle up to in her youth.

"Daddy," she murmured cuddling deeper against her father as his hand smoothed over her hair, rocking her gently.

"My baby," said Jaralen, "What you've had to endure, you poor girl."

"He told me he loved me Father," she choked, "Before he died Meda spoke and he told me that he loved me. He's lived here all these years in love with me and I…"

"I know," said Jaralen, "I often suspected his feelings for you but he wanted you to be happy more than anything Dana and I'm sure he was happy just to see you so in love with Kaybanarn. Don't let his words fill your heart with sorrow, take them as a benediction, he will always watch over you from now on."

Dana's sobs quieted against his shoulder, "I just keep thinking back, I was out enjoying myself while he was dying."

"You weren't to know."

"But I felt it Father, I knew something was wrong and I ignored it," said Dana.

Jaralen sighed, "You are over analysing too much my daughter, you weren't to know, there was nothing you could do if you were here or no. Hurting yourself like this, would that be what Meda would have wanted for you?"

Dana didn't answer as the door opened once more and Kay stepped inside. He paused as he saw Jaralen.

"I can go."

"No," said Jaralen, "No, stay. I should help Fira with the guests. You cannot stay back here too long though, you will both be missed. I will be just down the hall Dana."

Dana nodded as she released her father, pleased to see him cross the room and lay a comforting hand on Kay's arm as he passed before closing the door behind him. As soon as his footsteps began to retreat down the corridor Kay crossed the room in two strides, scooping Dana up into a crushing embrace.

"Oh Rassilon Dana I'm sorry," he said.

"For what?" she said pulling back enough to look at him, "It was hardly your fault Chanema chose to send that boy for you, vindictive witch she couldn't even let us have Meda's funeral in peace."

Kay frowned, "Not only that. The Council in Oighearcathair were due to meet two days hence but Chanema has told them I will be home by this evening and I am expected at a meeting."

"Cancel it," said Dana clinging to him, "We need you."

"I can't," he said, "I am expected and with Meda's funeral over I have no excuse to linger. My bags are already in the coach. I came to say goodbye."

"No Kay please!"

He pulled her close once more, "It cannot be helped. Will you say goodbye to the children for me, I can't risk to with so many people here, I can't even linger here long."

"Kay please don't abandon me, not now. I need you here. I'm so very frightened without Meda near."

Kay lifted her face to his, "Please do not make this any harder than it is," he begged, "Dana I would stay but I can't. You've got to be strong. I will be away for as shorter time as possible I swear."

Dana looked set to protest and then nodded her head in acceptance, "It cannot be helped. Rassilon I swear the universe is set against us."

"Sometimes things cannot go our way, we've known how hard this path is for nearly six years," said Kay pressing a kiss to her lips, "But know this, I love you and I will come home to you and if you truly need me…"

"I'll call," said Dana before pulling him down into a kiss once more, their tears mingling on their cheeks as they always did at such moments.

"I will get a message to you when I can but without Meda now our communications will be harder. With everything in the Capitol as it is I do not doubt that even my most private line from the Ice City will be bug. I will convey as much affection to you as I can in a political missive."

Dana couldn't help but smile as she thought of the long, dreary lines that made up Kay's official messages whenever he was away from the office in the Capitol.

"I'm sure you could fit one or two endearments into the budget draft."

Kay smiled down at her, "Now there's the girl I love. I want to keep smiling Dana. I know its hard but keep smiling. I don't want you staying here alone until you are feeling better. The children are back at the academy for the summer term in a week and I don't want you here alone while they're boarding, will you take a week or two with Fira and Achea before coming back here?"

Dana nodded, "I had intended to. Achea has asked me to help with some of the work while you're away," she sighed, "You should go, we're going to be missed."

"Kiss me," said Kay not letting her go. Dana did not have to be asked twice as she met his lips with her own, not knowing how long it would be until she felt them again. He pulled back and released her, her hands dropping to her sides as his hands slipped from hers and he turned to the door. Throwing one more long sorrowful look over his shoulder, the only gesture of goodbye they would allow, they had both learned long before how hard the word itself was to say. Dana allowed him a few moments after the door had closed so as not to arouse suspicion of them leaving the room together. Schooling her expression she left the room, hearing his voice ahead in the main room.

"I would ask you Lady Firamashu to pass my sincerest condolences onto your friend when she feels well again," said Kay formerly.

"I will Lord Kaybanarn," said Fira in an equally measured turn, "And may I wish you a safe journey back to Oighearcathair."

"You may Madam," said Kay, "Good afternoon."

Dana entered the room just in time to see the front door swing closed. It didn't take her long to notice her two small children sitting beside the window, both of them silent as they had learnt to be even though she knew they wanted nothing more than to run out to their father and embrace him. She crossed the room to them, Trey's arms coming about her waist as Liya took a tight hold of her hand.

Dana watched with them as the black coach with its beithioch chargers snorting and stamping as they turned to pull the coach down the dusty old road out of the village. She tightened her grip on both her children.

"We're going to be alright," she said softly so only they could hear, "You'll see, we're going to be alright."

A/N: Please review. Pretty please.