Title: No Greater Love

Author: Amy Lock

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Authors notes: This is it guys, the final chapter. I hope you enjoy. Just to let you know, the majority of this chapter take place right after AJBAC, so keep that in mind when you're reading this. Enjoy and please read the comments at the end of the chapter.

For as long as she lived, Eve would never forget the feel of the warm sunshine on her bare shoulders as she left the psychiatric facility that day. It was getting late into August, but the sun still blazed hot in the Montana sky as she had stared apprehensively at the car that was to take her to the bus depot. After that, she would never again be known as Jordan Secancho or even Evangeline Forester ever again. After that, her new life would begin.

She had stood, staring apprehensively for such a long time that Beth had rested a hand gently on her shoulder and leaned in to whisper in Eve's ear.

"It's called a new day," she said, smiling softly, "go and make of it what you will."

Beth's sweet words had shook Eve from her quiet reverie, and she had spun around for another hug.

"Thank you," she whispered for the umpteenth time, "thank you so much."

"My pleasure. Now go, or you're gonna miss you're ride to Washington." Beth had sent Eve a wink, then with a final hug she had gone back into the building.

As planned, Eve had boarded the bus, but not to Washington as Jordan Secancho was intended to do. Rather, she took her journey in a different direction, and headed to Alberta, Canada where she finished her last two years of university in Calgary. She had reluctantly promised Beth that she would not attempt to give Mandy's belongings back to Nick until the two years had passed, for safety reasons. But even with the extra precautions taken, Eve felt ill at ease for her entire stay in Calgary. Her grades had always been high, staying put in the 70 and 80 range, but from the very first essay she wrote, her marks soared to just slightly below perfect. At first she chalked it up to sheer luck, but as it continued and she achieved the highest average in the large university, she began to question just exactly what the doctors had done to her. It had been common knowledge at Manticore that gene therapy was used in abundance, but Eve had never dreamt that they would be using some of it on the surrogates, for fear of extra exposure. But as she continued to maintain near perfect grades with minimal effort, she realized just how much Manticore had tampered with her physically. Eventually she quit proof reading essays in an attempt to remain less conspicuous. Eve also began kick boxing which she had done previously with her training for the Pilot Bute mission. She found it to be strangely relaxing and easy, but she refused to compete, once again for fear of exposure.

With her diploma firmly in hand, Eve headed back towards the border with New Jersey on her mind. Nick had been denied so much, she refused to deny him what little she had for any longer. From New Jersey, Quebec became her home and though she fell in love with the ease and flow of two languages, the beautiful historic buildings and the home she had made, she stayed just five years before she set off again. It was an unspoken promise, one she didn't fully understand herself, but she was on the run, constantly looking over her shoulder. One day they would be together again as Nash had promised, but until that day she kept safe by staying on the move.

From Quebec she settled in Manitoba and it was there that she sat transfixed in horror, watching the news discuss what would eventually be known as "the pulse". She desperately longed for news of Nash and Eden, but with nowhere to start, she just continued on. She traveled past Saskatchewan and Alberta and settled in Vancouver. It was there that her life's road took yet another sharp and sudden turn.

It was a cold day in early March 2021, and Eve had been restless since the moment she had awoken in a sweat, her breathing ragged from the hellish nightmare that had transpired in her sleep. She spent the rest of the day in a haze and as darkness began to fall on the city, she realized that this night would be yet another of complete insomnia. As she always did when she was unable to rest her eyes, Eve put on her heavy leather jacket and a pair of thin gloves and set off to the small club that had become somewhat of a second home.

Sighing Eve stepped out of her house and immediately pulled the jacket tighter around her small shoulders to shield them from the cold. She had learned what a real winter was like while living on the praries, and when she had first moved to Vancouver it had seemed almost a tropical paradise in contrast. Still, it had it's freezing spells and the lonely wind that came in off the ocean chilled her to the depths of her soul. She stared quietly at her crunching shoes as they made their way down the familiar path to the tiny night club. She had discovered it two months earlier on a midnight walk, and was surprised at how much she enjoyed spending time there. There was always entertainment from talented and struggling young artists and they served everything from beer to wine to espresso. The workers were kind and the warmth of their smiles had drawn Eve in immediately.

As she reached her destination, Eve stamped her muddy shoes on the mat and proceeded through the door. As always, the warmth dissolved the cold chill that clung to her jacket and she turned with a grin at the sound of her name.

"Hey Eve!"

She answered back with a friendly wave, making her way to the counter where the owner was sitting. Andrew Hill was a young man, just barely into his thirties, and he ran his place with such passion and cheerfulness that his small group of workers and clients were always glad to see him. He had made it clear on a few occasions that he might be interested in Eve, but she had shook her head with a sad smile. Though it had been years, Nash's place would never be filled by any one else.

"Couldn't sleep?"

Eve sighed as she settled herself on a stool at the counter.

"Nope, not a wink."

Andrew nodded and grabbed a large mug in order to start Eve's common order of a double latte with vanilla syrup.

"You should maybe go see a doctor, or something, Eve. I mean, it can't be easy to look after twenty five screaming children with only an hours worth of sleep."

Laughing Eve shook her head, "They don't scream, Andrew. Not in school. They're a pretty well behaved class this year, actually. Besides I don't think a doctor could help me with this. I don't really have insomnia, just nightmares." Eve sighed again and ran a hand through her hair. Turning in her seat to remove her jacket she surveyed the crowd. There were the regulars; Pete and Jill, the two cops who came in whenever they had night duty in the area, Daina the actress who came whenever she had a pay cheque, the group of university students from UBC who seemed to never have classes early in the morning, and the table full of construction workers who's eyes watched Eve's every move with lustful appreciation. But apart from the normal crew, the little place was almost packed to full capacity. Close to a dozen tables were filled with college age people, most of which were male. A couple tables were filled with business women on their "girls night out", women who were only vaguely familiar to Eve, for she had only seen them there on a couple occasions. Turning back around, she noticed Andrew handing the steaming latte to her and she accepted it with a smile.

"Hey Drew? What're all these people doing here?"

Andrew let out a loud laugh and began to wipe down the counters. "I guess my place is finally booming."

Eve rolled her eyes. The business had always been good, but it could never have been described as booming.

"Okay, okay. So maybe it has more to do with the entertainment than the drinks and the atmosphere, but I can pretend, can't I?"

Her brow wrinkling slightly, Eve shot him a confused look. "The entertainment?" she asked, completely puzzled.

"Yeah, her name's Finn. Finn Delaney. I hired her a couple months ago, I'm surprised you haven't seen her yet. Guess your nightmare's usually stay away on Thursdays." He chuckled softly as she gave him a stern look. "Anyway, word's gotten around about her. She's something else, that one. I'm surprised she hasn't hit it big already. She should be playing in front of thousands of cheering fans, not at this dump."

"Well, she sure has brought in a lot of revenue for you anyway, Drew. You be nice to this one."

Andrew laughed, "I'm always nice."

Sipping her latte for a few moments, Eve thought in silence, "So she's really that good, huh?"

At Andrew's enormous nod, she glanced towards the stage, "When does she come on?"

"Any minute now. It's not really that formal of a thing, but she's usually hear between ten or eleven. Most of this crowd's been here since nine, just to make sure that they wouldn't miss it. I'm telling you, Eve, she's a spellbinder, that one. Sings like an angel, but that's not her only talent. She puts people in a trance. Once you've seen 'er, you never forget her."

Eve smiled softly, her curiosity peaked. She wanted a look at this girl that had stolen so many hearts so easily.

"Only one problem with Finn, though." Andrew rubbed the bridge of his nose, a wry smile on his face, "She's a man-eater." At Eve's laughter, Andrew's smile got bigger, "I'm serious, Eve. All these guys here, they think they've got a shot with that one. I've tried to warn them, but they're all under her spell. Not that I blame 'em, but I've seen a lot of broken hearts following her around, and somethin' tells me that she's not one who can be fooled."

Eve's brown eyes twinkled as she winked teasingly. "Shot you down cold, huh?"

"Nah, I'd never try for her. Seriously Eve, she'd tear me in two! There's just somethin' about her..."

Andrew's words were cut short by a pretty young waitress by the name of Tanya, who appeared on the small stage area.

"Well guys, you've been waiting all night, and here she is. Let's welcome back Finn Delaney."

Hoots and cat calls could be heard from various tables and even Andrew put his hands together in enthusiastic applause as the lights dimmed around the tables and the stage went dark. Eve swiveled her chair so she was facing the stage and continued to sip her latte. Out of the blackness of the room, one of the most beautiful and strangely familiar voices that Eve had ever heard sounded in a clear, crisp note.

"Lying beside you, here in the dark.
Feeling your heart beat with mine."

Eve's eyes grew wide in surprise and she put her drink back on the counter for fear that her shaking hands would drop the mug. That song...it was Mandy's song. The one that she had constantly sang, the one that she had been singing the first time Eve had ever laid eyes on her. Eve bit her lip and briefly considered going outside for some fresh air, but the lights on the stage came on and that idea was quickly dismissed. On the stage stood the most beautiful girl Eve had ever seen.

"Softly you whisper, you're so sincere,
How could our love be so blind."

Finn looked to be about twenty years of age, with long shocks of strawberry-red hair and light blond streaks. Her body curved perfectly, showing just the right amount of muscle definition and soft femininity. Her eyes were masked in full, dark lashes, and her lips which moved in time with the music were full and mischievous.

"We sailed on together, we drifted apart
Now here you are by my side."

Her thin, yet muscular legs were encased in pants of black leather, causing every man's eyes to follow each slow motion she made. Her shirt was of a filmy, pale purple, the back dipping low to reveal the soft, creamy peach of her skin.

"So now I come to you, with open arms
With nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am, with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Open Arms."

She stood, barely moving in the centre of the stage, but Andrew's earlier comments were honest to a fault. Not a single person in the place dared to move, their eyes glued to Finn, marveling in the sounds of her melodic voice. It appeared to Eve, that some even seemed afraid to breathe, and as she watched the young woman with the familiar voice and hair the same unique color as her late friend, she found herself in a similar predicament.

"Living without you, living alone
This empty house seemed so cold."

Eve's mind flashed back to that day in New Jersey, almost eighteen years ago, when she had sat holding Nick's hand, tears cascading down both their faces. She remembered the strength in his stance when she had first met him, the power that he had yielded. And she remembered how easily he had fallen when she explained the purpose of her visit. He had welcomed her into their home, a small yellow bungalow which seemed to fit Mandy perfectly, and he had brought her to the living room where she had sat beside him while he read Mandy's last words.
"Wanting to hold you, wanting you near
How much I wanted you home."

He had told her of a dream he had had, the night of her death. A dream where he had held her in his arms on a bed of white silk and had sworn his love to her one last time. When he found out that day, the only thought that kept him sane was that she knew how he felt, that he had gotten the chance to kiss her goodbye.

"But now that you've come back, turned night into day
I need you to stay."

Eve remembered the pictures hanging on the walls and mantel. Pictures of Mandy and Nick at graduation, at her sister's wedding, laughing in the park on a bright, spring day. There were pictures of Mandy, her bright blue eyes sparkling like diamonds as she held her giggling, baby niece on her knee, and another picture of Mandy with her older sister when they were just children. The resemblance's between her and Finn were uncanny, and Eve wondered with stinging eyes, if perhaps this spitting image of her lost friend, could somehow be the niece from the picture.

"So here I am, with open arms
With nothing to hide, believe what I say.
So here I am, with open arms
Hoping you'll see, what you're love means to me
Open arms."

Eve waited until the crowd had completely disappeared before Finn Delaney finally came out from the back. It seemed quite obvious to Eve that she must have been mobbed the last few times she had left right after a performance, and Eve almost felt guilty about bombarding her with questions despite her attempts to leave unnoticed. Shaking off the slight guilt, Eve said good-bye to Andrew and hurried out the door to catch up with Finn. Luckily the young girl seemed to be in no real hurry to get home, for Eve immediately noticed her only a few feet away in the dark alley.

"Excuse me?" Eve called, walking towards her. The girl's stance immediately straightened, and Eve was struck with a sudden flashback of Nash's posture when he was anticipating trouble.

"Yes?" Finn asked, turning around to look at the woman behind her. She looked to be in her early thirties, a pretty and petite woman with curls of chestnut hair and large, descriptive eyes. Finn's stance relaxed slightly.

"Hi. My name's Eve. I caught your act in there. It was amazing, it truly was. You've certainly gotten yourself a fan club, anyway. I've never seen that place so packed before."

Finn laughed softly, "So Andrew tells me. I've really never seen it any other way, though."

Eve nodded as she ran a shaky hand through her curls. "Then trust me, it was a really good crowd."

Finn smiled warmly, but remained silent, and Eve let out a soft sigh. "Look, I know you're gonna think I'm crazy or something, but...are you from New Jersey?"

At the shake of Finn's head, Eve's face fell. "Oh." she whispered sadly. "So then, your...mom...she's not from there either, then?"

Finn frowned. "No. Why?"

"I just...I knew a girl from there once. The best friend that I've ever had in my life. She...she died quite a while ago."

"I'm sorry." Finn whispered.

Eve looked up and shook her head. "No. It's...not your fault. You just remind me so much of her, that's all. She had a niece that would be about your age. I just thought that maybe..." Biting her lip Eve laughed quietly, "I guess it was just my mind being too hopeful. I dunno, maybe it was the song. The first one that you sang...she used to sing that one all the time too. Used it as a lullaby for her little girl."

"Yeah, it's one of my favorite songs. I heard it when I was younger and it just kinda stuck with me, you know?"

Eve smiled slightly, "Yeah. I know. Well...good luck and good job. Maybe I'll see you around sometime."

Eve turned to leave, but was stopped by the soft sound of Finn's voice.

"What was her name? Your friend?"

Tears stung at her brown eyes as Mandy's jubilant face flashed before her mind. Out of pure habit Eve reached to the chain that hung around her neck and took a deep breath. "Mandy." she whispered, turning back around to face the young singer. "Her name was Mandy."

Letting the chain drop back around her neck, Eve reached her hand out to shake Finn's. But as she did so, the young girls eyes widened in a look of complete shock which quickly turned to rage. Before Eve had time to wonder what she had done, she felt a sharp pain in her stomach as she flew against the wall, the wind knocked out of her. Gasping for air, Eve tried to struggle into an upright position. Her head throbbed and she placed a hand to the hurt area to reveal a large amount of sticky, red blood oozing from a cut on her temple. She heard the click of a gun, and squinting she gazed up at the pretty young woman whose face was now a mask of fury.

"Who are you?" Finn demanded, not even attempting to hide the contempt clear in her voice.

Eve wheezed as she tried to fill her lungs with enough air in order to answer. "I...told you. My name...is Eve."

"All right then, Eve. Who sent you? Why are you here?"

Coughing, Eve managed to sit up, which gave her a better view of her surroundings in case the opportunity to escape somehow arose. After looking at the gun that was pointed directly at her forehead, though, she sincerely doubted that she would be allotted such an opportunity.

"No one." Eve shook her head slowly, but quickly stopped when pain erupted from the movement. "I come here all the time when I have trouble sleeping. I saw you and wanted to talk to you because you reminded me of Mandy. That's all. I swear to you that's all."

Finn's lip curled and her eyes were deadly cold. "Really?" Leaning forward, the gun still aimed expertly at her hostage's head, she ripped the chain off of Eve's neck. "Then what is this?"

Eve stared at the necklace hanging from the young girls hand and felt anger boil within her like hot lava. It was the same piece of jewelry that she had been given when accepted into Manticore. That chain was one of only two things she had left of Eden, and there was no way she was giving that up without a fight.

"Give it back." she demanded, her voice icy and low. "It's of no use to you. You won't fetch more than a couple dollars from it."

Finn's empty laugh echoed in the dark alley. "See now, Eve, you have me all wrong. I'm not interested in how much money I can get from it, but rather how much information I can get from you. This is a very interesting symbol after all. I don't think I've ever seen another necklace with a barcode on it."

Eve's gaze shot up to Finn's in pure disbelief. It was pitch-black outside. She could barely even make out the figure in front of her silhouetted by the moon. There was no way that she could read a tiny rectangle.

"How the hell...?" Eve's eyes got wider as realization slowly dawned on her. No normal human being would be able to read the numbers and see the barcode on her chain, and yet, it was very obvious that Finn had done just that. And for some reason, she was absolutely furious with the fact that Eve owned it. She was acting as if she had stolen it. But for Finn to think that, she would have to know that the cold and empty numbers meant something, that they meant a person. Again Eve glanced up at the shadowed figure and remembered just how like Mandy the girl truly had seemed on stage. This wasn't her niece, this was her daughter.

"You're wrong," Eve whispered, her voice so quiet that even the strange girl had to strain to hear, "Your mother...she is from New Jersey."

"What are you talking about?" Finn's snarl would have scared most people into silence, but with knowledge as her shield, Eve continued.

"Pooh bear. That's what she used to call you. She'd be happy to see how beautiful you've grown. She loved you a lot...gave her life for the chance that you could be free. Gave up any hopes and dreams she had for her future so that you might be allowed some of your own."

Finn's gaze remained cold and locked on Eve's, but the hand holding the gun began to waver slightly. "I asked you a question," she demanded, her tone even more ruthless than before. "What are you talking about?"

Eve kept her own gaze unflinching on Finn. "I am talking about Mandy. Your mother."

"I don't have a mother."

Eve felt like she had been slapped across the face, but she refused to let Finn win so easily. "Yes you do. Even if they never told you about her, even if Manticore never let you know her name, you've always had a mother."

Finn's breathing became more sporadic as terror filled the angry eyes. "What do you know about Manticore?"

"Enough." Eve whispered, "Enough to know that they're pure evil. Enough to know that I gave them nine months of my life without really knowing why. And enough to know that you, Finn Delaney are the daughter of my best friend." Eve looked deeper into the young girls eyes, searching for any glimmer of understanding. "Enough to know that you are an X5. Just like" she lifted a shaking hand to point at the dangling chain, "my daughter."

The silence of the cold night air was broken only by the sound of gun hitting the dirt, it's thud multiplied by the alley walls surrounding them.
"I'm sorry."

At Finn's words, Eve let out a soft laugh which was sucked in quickly due to the cold of the ice pack that Finn dabbed on her temple. Reaching up, Eve took the ice pack out of the young girls hands and looked into her apologetic eyes.

"Finn, we've been through this about a hundred times in the last hour alone. It's okay."

Sighing Finn shook her head and collapsed into the couch beside Eve's armchair. "No it's not," she muttered dejectedly, "And can you not call me that, please? It's just a stage name. The stupidest name I've ever heard too. Call me Jondy."

Eve let out a short burst of laughter and then cringed at the pain it caused. "That's supposed to be a better name, is it?"

Jondy glared good naturally and stuck out her tongue. "Are you hungry?"

"Once again, you have asked me that way too many times in the last little while. I told you, I'm fine."

After the initial shock of Eve's choked declaration had passed, Jondy had realized in horror the damage that she had done to the poor woman. She had preceded to take her to her apartment, which was closer than Eve's, and had been fussing over her ever since.

Eve glanced up at Jondy's abnormal silence and caught the young girl looking forlornly at her hands.

"Honestly," Eve whispered comfortingly, "I've had a lot worse than a bump and scrape on the head."

Jondy looked up with a sheepish smile, "Yeah, I guess. I keep forgetting that you were at Manticore too."

Shaking her head, Eve let out a soft grunt, "Not like you were." Eve studied Jondy's face, curiously. She had almost expected her to have Mandy's clear, bright blue eyes, but she had to admit that she was glad she didn't. These eyes seemed to suit her much better. Instead of the clarity and innocence that Mandy's had portrayed, Jondy's eye color was a light and creamy green, almost the color of seafoam. There was a dark, hunter green circle around the lighter color, and the deep and misty pools reflected both the pain and hardships bared as well as the soft and sweet side of the young woman. Sighing again, Eve reached to take Jondy's hand in her own.

"What's the matter? You're being so quiet. An hour ago I couldn't shut you up."

It was true. When the two women had first reached her home, Jondy had been completely buzzing. First it was all concern for Eve, but when she realized that the older woman was only a little shaken, she had turned to bombarding her with questions of her mother and the other X5 surrogates. Eve had taken great pleasure in seeing Jondy's eyes light at the touching stories of the woman that had given her life for her. But now, there was a melancholy in the light green eyes that set Eve's heart panicking. Somehow she knew what Jondy had to say was about Eden, and from the pained look on her face, it wasn't good.

"I don't want to tell you." Jondy's whisper was soft and heartbreaking and Eve felt a lump begin to grow in her throat. "We never knew about mothers...about families. Love was too abstract and dangerous a notion to get involved with. But she...she started calling us 'brothers and sisters', she started caring for us even before we knew what that meant. She was the best friend I ever had."

Despite the tears that were beginning to form in Eve's eyes, she squeezed Jondy's hand in compassion. "But..." she prompted.

"I wanted to see her after the escape. I think Zack really started to get annoyed with me. He said it was too dangerous. He never really understood. So I let it go. I guess even after all those years, my military training was still drilled into me. He was my CO, I couldn't go against his orders. Now," she whispered, looking up, tears misting her soft eyes, "now I wish I'd have pushed a little harder. Then at least..." she broke off suddenly, choking on her tears. One hand reached up and briskly wiped the drops from her cheek. "I'm so sorry, Eve." Her grip tightened on Eve's hand and the tears fell unabashed now.

"Jondy..." Eve's voice was almost a plea as she stared at the young girl in horror.

"There was an attack. I honestly don't know what came over them, but they went back to Manticore. They were going to wipe out the genetics lab and as far as I know they did. Krit came after and told me about it. I was furious with them for not coming to get me, but they said I was too far away. And then he told me."

"He told you what?"

Jondy closed her eyes and when she opened them and spoke again, Eve felt like she had fallen off the edge of the world and there was no way to get back.

"She didn't make it."

Later on in the night, as the wind blew hard against the old apartment building, Jondy went quietly out to the living room to check on Eve. She found her sitting at the window sill staring into the dark night, a blank and empty look etched on her pretty features. Sensing that she wanted to be left alone, yet needing to somehow help, Jondy inched forward almost timidly.

"Eve," she whispered softly. Eve just continued to stare out the window and after what seemed like an eternity, Jondy turned to leave, her shoulders slumped in defeat.

"You know I had convinced myself that I would get to hold her."

Eve's words broke through the torturous silence and Jondy turned back around to face her. Although her back was still to her, Jondy could almost see the pained expression on the woman's face.

"I knew how unlikely it was that I would ever even see her again, but somehow I believed that I would. It was the only thing that kept me going." Slowly, as if each small movement launched daggers at her very soul, Eve turned her face towards Jondy. "They never even let me hold her." Closing her eyes she leaned her head against the window sill and took a shuddering breath. "And they won. Despite everything, they won."

"No." Although Jondy's voice was quiet it held a determination like no other. "They didn't win. She got a life, Eve. She got out, she got a life and she fell in love. Krit said that the two of them were connected more than anyone he'd ever seen. And he stayed with her until the end." Sighing, Jondy made her way to the windowsill and wrapped Eve's shaking body in a hug. "Go to Seattle. Find out for yourself what happened. Make sure that our story is correct."


Jondy interrupted Eve with a firm shake of her head. "If there's one thing that I've learned to count on in this life, it's to never underestimate the things that Manticore can do. For good, or for bad."

"Why Seattle?"

A small smile appeared at the corners of Jondy's mouth. "I got it from Zack in one of his...weaker moments. It's were she lived. There's a guy there, a journalist, goes by the name of Eyes Only. He's helped us out before. I know why, but he has. Try and find him. He might have the answers you're looking for."

Nodding slowly, Eve took another deep breath and rested her head against Jondy's shoulder. Her shoulders gradually stopped shaking, and her breathing became more smooth and easy. Just as Jondy was sure she had fallen asleep, though, a tiny voice proved her wrong.

"You should really think about taking a trip to New Jersey. There's a man down there who would love to meet you."

As memory after memory washed over her, Eve sat sobbing in the rain. She had been in Seattle a year, and nothing had turned up. Nothing, that was, except for an unexpected friendship. She had never intended to become as attached to Maia as she had, but as she sat in the rain, her shoulders shaking from pent-up sadness, she realized just how many of her walls the young mom had broken. Eve wasn't sure if she was ready. It had been over twenty years since she had let someone get close to her, but the fear was still brand new.


Eve's head snapped up at the familiar voice calling her name. Maia was running down the street towards her, her blonde hair dark from the rain.

"Oh Eve," she gasped, falling down beside her friend and pulling her into a hug.

"Where are the children?" Eve's voice was broken by her ragged breathing but Maia ignored that fact.

"I got the neighbor to come and look after them. I told her it was an emergency." Maia searched Eve's tear-stained face and red eyes before putting her arms around her once again. "Eve, I'm sorry." Maia's own voice cracked as she grabbed her friend's hand. "I shouldn't have pushed you. I was just worried. I wanted you to know that you can tell me anything, but I guess I didn't go about it the right way. I'll back off, I promise. You don't need to tell me anything, I won't..."

Eve took a deep, shuddering breath and looked up to meet Maia's imploring gaze. Yes, it had been a long time, but that didn't mean that she had to swear off all love and friendship. What had happened wasn't her fault, and for the first time in a long time she was beginning to realize that.

"I want to tell you." She said, her voice soft but firm.

"What?" Maia gasped, blinking quickly at Eve's quick turnabout.

"I want to tell you."

"Okay." Maia nodded slowly, but made no attempt to move.

Eve looked at her and the absurdity almost made her laugh. "Right here?"

Again Maia nodded, this time with much more conviction. "I don't want to chance you changing your mind by the time we get back to my place. Right here is fine."

Eve bit her lip as she began to recant the very story that she had forbidden herself to speak of. But as the words slipped past her mouth and Maia still stayed by her side, some of her fears slipped away. She had gone twenty years with hope as her only support, and though the odds were against a happy ending, she couldn't help but hope for one anyway. Jondy's words still rang in her head like she was there saying them. If there's one thing that I've learned to count on in this life, it's to never underestimate the things that Manticore can do." Somehow she knew that fate would not be so cruel as to steal her daughter from her twice. Though her mind argued her heart held steady: Eden was still out there. And if she was, there was nothing that could keep Eve from finding her.

Wow, well it's taken a looooong time, but I'm finally finished. I hope you guys liked it, and I need your help. I know how much all of you wanted Eve and Max to meet. That I predicted. An unsuspected thing was that you guys were so gung-ho about Nash and Eve. Seriously, I think there were as many requests to get those two back together as there were to get Eve and Max together. The bad thing is that right from the beginning I knew where this was headed, and right from the beginning, a reunion wasn't in the plans. At least not for this particular story. HOWEVER, if you guys are interested I'd always hoped to continue this. 'No Greater Love' is mainly a story of the past, and I would absolutely love to write one about the "present". More shippiness would abound in that one, between both Nash and Eve as well as Max and Logan. If you guys would like this, please write a review and tell me so. If I did do a sequel, then I would probably take a note from Roguie's books and write it before posting it. That way you guys wouldn't have to wait months for each posting. However, you would have to wait months before I posted the story. Tell me what your thoughts are on that too, if you review. If the next story does happen it'll probably be called "Not A Day Goes By", so keep an eye out for it. Until then...peace, out.