(Caroline and Richard go back to the future)

Fiction rated: T

General/Romance/Alternate Universe

Author's notes: references to key events in seasons 1-4 made. This is a continuation of the season 4 finale

Word count:

Plot summary: aided by Charlie, Caroline and Richard each go back in time, to the past, then to the future- ala Back to the Future style- to catch a glimpse of what was to be and of what the world has in store for each of them in their future lives, thus accumulating in the pair coming together as a couple

It has been six months since the day Richard turned up at Caroline's wedding- unannounced, uninvited and out of the blue. Since then, events took an interesting turn- not for the better, but also it wasn't for the worse either. Caroline eventually married Randy but during that time, as inseparable as they were, the relationship itself got to a stage where it wasn't going anywhere. In fact, it was 4 months ago that Randy called time on their marriage. Richard's marriage to Julia lasted barely 2 months in contrast. Caroline was at first shocked by his admission, but as she coped without him, realised that perhaps it just wasn't to be. To further compound the misery, she found out that Randy had died in a car accident, in a head-on collision. His death made Caroline an emotional wreck, as she spent weeks on end weeping and feeling alone at home with just Salty for company. After some encouraging words of support from her best friends Annie and Del, she knew that she couldn't carry on living like this for the duration of her life; something had to give, well she had to make a lot of sacrifices but for Caroline, she felt it was in the best interests of everyone that she'd let everyone know that it just hasn't worked out at all- not just in her personal life, but professionally, for the first time as well.

She made it known on several occasions how she has never liked working in that office and so it became a surprise to her when she learnt that GMD entertainment had ran into problems of its own- and not of Caroline and Richard's making. The company then severed ties with Caroline and as a result, she worked in her apartment, again. For Caroline, as much as this decision came out of the blue, she was relieved to realise that she no longer had to relinquish her creative rights to a group of people she had to answer to, especially as Caroline in the City was her own comic creation and her own concept that she dreamt up. Caroline regained full control of her brand- the strip, the merchandising rights she had got back- much to her pleasure. She had to reacquaint herself again with her old routine and plus Del and Annie helped her unpack all of her office supplies at her apartment, and all without the help of her assistant, Richard. But for Caroline, she knew that in regards with her and Richard, there was no going back. She couldn't bring herself falling for him again, after what had happened in the airport. And whilst Caroline has moved on, relationship-wise, the same couldn't be said of Richard.

Though over the months, Richard's attitude towards fatherhood had changed him for the better: his bond with Stefano has improved over time, his outlook became much less dark and pessimistic. His work had more depth, more meaning and substance and because of this, he received lots of offers to paint, especially from abroad. He wasn't as annoyed and bitter as he was; although he is still bitter that Randy got to Caroline and was able to marry her before him. It still dawned on him though that Caroline was missing in all of this- his heart was aching to hold her and yet despite his separation from Caroline, he hadn't set eyes on another woman since- just so he could concentrate on his career as an artist and in being a father to his son. Julia was history to him, but for Richard, Caroline was always in his heart. Even when she got married to Randy, his feelings for her didn't go away; in fact, it got more and more stronger and deeper, envisaging that he'd had a slight chance and that perhaps Caroline's feelings for him would reciprocate yet again. The very fact she isn't there with Richard and Stefano was driving him crazy and with envy too.

He cursed himself for those words he uttered to Caroline that still haunt him to this day…. When she asked him whether he meant what he said when he told her he didn't want anymore children, he said: 'I don't. Now that I have one I am going to take care of it'. Unknowlingly to him, he is unaware of Randy's death. He'd spend the nights, in his room all on his own in his bed, with Stefano sleeping peacefully in his crib. Richard would often dream or fantasise about Caroline. His visions were all the range: some were happy; they would echo moments of good memories where in which he and Caroline were best friends; some were sad, like Caroline departing at the airport and of Randy making physical contact with her, and one where he turns up at Caroline's funeral years later; and some were explicit and these felt almost surreal to him- he'd have sex dreams about Caroline, envisaging himself with her, making passionate love to her in her bed- both naked, kissing each other hungrily and wildly.

These visions had illustrated his love for Caroline and for a while, he felt good and he'd have a wicked smile on his face, afterwards. Richard kissed his son goodnight and then drifted off to sleep, For tomorrow, he decides to head back to Caroline's apartment to tell her how he really feels about her and that what he said about not wanting children with her, was a huge mistake on his part. Caroline was off to bed as well; the events of the last few days, and weeks was taking a toll on her. She was exhausted and needed a long nap. She was unsure of what the future holds for her, but neither was she being too negative for her own good. Caroline's best friends, Del and Annie were already on good terms together- much to our surprise that they slept together and fell for one another, and even got married… could the same be said for Caroline and Richard, yet again?