CHAPTER 1

Mike ambled casually into the Santini Air hangar, only seeing Dominic Santini. "Where is everybody? It looks like everybody disappeared and left you all the work."

"Caitlin and chance are in the back. Saint John is honeymooning with-"

"He what?!" Mike interrupted abruptly. "I didn't even know he was getting married!"

"He's not really," String assured him as he joined them. "He's just having dinner over there. Dom, here, is just so sure they'll be getting married any ay now."

"I thought you and Cait would get together and that worked out," Dom pointed out. "Just glad I didn't bet on how long it would take you," he mumbled.

"I didn't say he would or wouldn't get back together with Ellie, but I wouldn't expect anything immediately. Her husband did just get killed not too long ago, and that takes a long time to get over."

'And you know the loss all too well,' Dominic silently added. 'You know all too well. Thank God Caitlin seemed to poses the same uncanny ability for survival as he did.'

"So what brings you here?" Dominic asked Mike, bringing things back to business before they got too personal.

"I just wanted to see how Saint John was doing and offer any extra help you might need in repairing Airwolf."

"We already requested new parts, but it'll be tomorrow morning before they show up. I guess just come by tomorrow."

"When do you want me?" Rivers inquired.

"Oh, say about four am," String suggested.

Mike grew wide eyed. "You mean pm, right?"

"I meant in the morning."

"That's a little early don't you think? I'm not exactly a morning person."

"He's kiddin'," Dom laughed, "or else he better be; otherwise he is going to be the only one there."

String allowed a wry grin to spread across his face. "Even I'm not that bad. I wouldn't be there until about eight, but it does take me an hour to get there from the cabin."

"Better, but how about something later in the afternoon," Mike tried.

"We can all meet at the Lair by about noon," Dominic compromised.

\A/

The next morning dawned crisp and cool, a light mist rising from the lake. Caitlin poured herself a cup of coffee and sat out on the front porch to watch the morning sunrise. Chance hadn't seemed to inherit their early morning routine. Surprisingly enough, she'd even beat String up this morning. She sat alone, gathering the lap quilt around herself to ward off the chilly morning breeze. 'It sure is cold for September,' she mused.

Quiet footsteps from inside warned her String was now awake, but they seemed to drag a little this morning, he was still tired.

He came out to join her, not even having bothered pulling on a sweater or pouring himself a warm cup of coffee.

"Cold?" she asked.

He shook his head, farther mussing his already messy brown hair that stood on end.

"You're late for you," she remarked. "Missed the sunrise."

"Yeah," he replied groggily. "I don't know why I am so tired today," he said, stifling a yawn.

She offered over her large mug. "Have some. You look like you could use it."

He took the mug appreciatively, taking long warm swigs. "Thanks," he mumbled.

Caitlin left the quilt around his bare shoulders despite his proclaiming not to be cold, and went inside to work on fixing breakfast. She started with Chance's when she heard him stirring upstairs. After finishing his breakfast and getting the rest started, she climbed the stairs to the loft to get him.

After getting Chance started on his breakfast, Cait slipped back outside to tell String that his breakfast was almost finished, but she found him dozing against the railing.

"String," she said, waking him gently, " your breakfast is ready."

He blinked sleepily several times then nodded. "I'll be right in."

At this rate, she figured she'd be out there waking him again in about five minutes, but, true to his word, he managed to gather himself and stumble inside for breakfast.

He slowly ate his way through the stack of pancakes, hardly avoiding falling asleep face first in them.

"You should radio the hangar and tell Dom you won't be in today," Caitlin suggested.

"No. I have to go to work. Gonna work on the Lady," he murmured, catching himself before he nodded off again.

"Not like that you're not," Caitlin stated firmly.

"Have to," he returned defiantly.

"At least stay and sleep until then," Cait tried to persuade him, "then we can both be happy."

"Fine," he gave in, too tired to argue any farther.

She was pleased that he was being reasonable, but that also worried her. He gave in too easily' he must be awfully tired or coming down with something.

Taking Chance with her, Caitlin reluctantly started out the door.

"I don't see why you can't leave Chance here," String complained. "It would leave you free to do more at the hangar, and he wouldn't be that hard for me to watch."

"Because he isn't that hard for me to watch either, and you're supposed to be sleeping. I'll have Dom pick you up on his way out to the Valley," she stated matter of factly.

"It's the opposite direction. I should just come up to the hangar with you now and save him the extra trip."

"You're sleeping," she reminded him, secretly glad to see some of his stubbornness returning. "I'll see you later, love you." She kissed him goodbye and walked out the front door with Chance in tow.