Doug walked around looking for his friend. Every hall was filled with people. They were sitting on chairs, on mattresses or pillows and even on the bare floor. The furniture in the school was moved aside to create more space.
Some halls were used to aid the wounded people. Doctors, nurses and volunteers were busy helping them as well as they could. Others provided warm blankets, dry clothes and hot drinks. The picture of a beehive came to Doug's mind, everyone seemed to be busy.
Doug wandered through all the rooms, often stopping to help someone and asking if they had seen Tony.
His admiration for these people only grew: even after all the horror this storm had caused they almost stubbornly refused to let down their spirit.
Doug was going through the halls for a second time when he found his path blocked by a little girl sitting on the floor looking up at him with big blue eyes. "Where's your mother?" Doug asked friendly. The girl did not answer, but she stretched her little arms out to him.
Immediately, Doug lifted the little girl on his arm. He started walking again, this time in search for some one who knew this kid. Doug hoped he could find the girls parents.
Tony looked around obviously this place was used as a shelter. He saw whole families, the children wrapped up in blankets trying to get some sleep while others were running around playing games until their parents tolled them to calm down. Another look and Tony thought he knew where he was: in the old town hall he and Doug had admired earlier when they were playing tourist.
Tony turned around when he heard a familiar voice call his name. It was Jelle. "Am I glad to see you, are you all right?" Jelle asked while approaching with Mieke and Gert following closely behind.
Tony did not answer, but asked instead. "Have you seen Doug?" Jelle's smile faded and he shared an uncomfortable look with Mieke.
"Doug was with you, where is he now?" Tony demanded.
"When the dike gave way, Doug tried to run to you, the last I saw, he was swept away by the waves, I fear…" Jelle hesitated to finish the sentence.
Tony shook his head when Jelle added "Most of the people who were at the harbour or at Visscher's are here at the shelter. No one has seen Doug." Jelle put his hand on Tony's shoulder. "Tony, I'm sorry, but there is a chance Doug did not make it."
Tony stepped back and shook his head vigorously. "Don't say that. I will not believe that he's dead." He spat out.
As Doug kept wandering restlessly through the halls, the little girl fell asleep in his arms. Doug had asked several people whether they knew her until finally he found someone who thought that she saw the girl's mother at the main hall in this the shelter.
Doug immediately walked to the main hall when suddenly a voice cried out: "Lisa!" the girl opened her eyes. She looked at the fast approaching woman than smiled at Doug. "That is my mama!"
Relieved Doug handed Lisa to her mother.
"Thank you mister, thank you" the woman smiled.
"Glad I could help." Doug answered.
When the woman turned away, taking Lisa with her, Doug stopped her by asking: "Miss? I am looking for my friend; he was at Vischerr's farm when…"
The woman turned back, a sympathetic smile on her face, "I am sorry, I haven't seen any one who was there, but this school is not the only place used for shelter, so don't give up hope yet,." she answered friendly and put a hand on his arm. "You brought my Lisa back and they are still bringing rescued people in. Have some faith."
Doug slowly nodded and watched the mother walk away with Lisa happily on her arm. Lisa turned her head and gave a cheerful wave which Doug managed to return. He watched Lisa and her mother disappear into another hall before turning around to resume his search for Tony. The woman was right: there were still people coming in who had spend the night on a roof, in a tree, or in one of the half destroyed houses. One of them could be his friend.
"Excuse me, I didn't mean to eavesdrop," a voice interrupted. "I heard you are looking for someone. Am I correct in assuming that your friend isn't Dutch?"
Tony nodded, almost afraid to let his hopes up.
The man smiled then continued "I just came from the elementary school, which is also used as a shelter and there is an American there who is looking for his friend."
"That must be Doug!!" Tony exclaimed turning to Jelle and Mieke. "You see? He is a life!"
The man smiled. "I'll take you there, so you can see for your self."
Mieke smiled "you go now; Doug will be as worried about you as you were about him"
Tony nodded and followed the man who brought him to the elementary school.
Doug didn't know how long he had wandered through the building. How many times had he searched all the halls? 4 times or maybe 5? He had looked at all the faces, asked many people about his friend, but no one had seen Tony after they had separated at the harbour.
Now he was standing here with his back rested against a wall, he was tired, he finally just had to rest and as much as he hated to admit it, he had to face the possibility that Tony did not make it. Slowly he slid down the wall onto the floor where he pulled up his knees and rested his head thereon.
For a while he just sat there feeling miserably but then finally exhaustion kicked in and Doug stretched down on the floor where he immediately fell asleep.
Tony thanked the man for showing him the way to the elementary school and quickly went inside. He walked through the halls, looking at all the faces, finally he saw his friend in a corner lying on the floor. Tony closed his eyes a brief moment in relief before rushing towards his friend.
Smiling, Tony lowered himself next to his friend and put a hand on his shoulder, shaking it gently.
Slowly Doug opened his eyes, he looked around, not sure where he was or what it was that had woken him up.
When he saw Tony he sat up abruptly and a wide smile carved his face.
Doug grabbed his friend's hands as if to make sure he wasn't dreaming. "Tony, you made it, I thought…"
"I'm all right Doug." Tony interrupted smiling.
General Kirk, who had been watching the screen like a hawk, now sight with relief at the sight of the two time travellers being together again.
"They're together" Ann exclaimed happily. Ray laughed and checked the console.
"Ray, do we have enough power for a transfer?" general Kirk demanded impatiently.
"Not yet, sir, but we will have enough power for a transfer in about 15 minutes."
"All right, Ann, start the count down. Let's bring them home this time." General Kirk said.
Ray and Ann shared a happy look than nodded and got to work.
For the first time in many hours, General Kirk felt like singing. Nothing could ruin his good mood now. Doug and Tony survived the storm, they were together and there was only a 10-year time gap to close, which meant, they had a good chance of getting them both home.
Doug pointed to Tony's forehead where a large cut and some bruising were visible. "I guess you've had a rough night?"
Tony shrugged "Didn't we all?"
Doug nodded. "It's been a crazy night. When the water level fell, everyone thought the danger was over, but it was just the beginning. We were on our way to the farm when…" Doug stopped and looked at Tony. "I completely forgot about Jelle and his family. Have you seen them?"
"Yes, they are at another shelter, they're all fine."
"I 'm glad to hear that"
Doug and Tony sat silently for a while, they were just happy that they both made it through this storm all right, when suddenly the world started to spin and a myriad of colours appeared before their eyes.
'Here we go again, let it be home this time...' was Tony's last thought before the strange and familiar sensation of at the same time falling and flying took over.