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Hi, and welcome to my first sequel. I'll be your flight attendant for this evening. Plese keep your arms and legs inside the website at all times. XD

This is the sequel to one of my more recent stories, "Taking The Money." If you've read TTM, skip this paragraph. If not, here's the rundown: Anya and Dimitri's 14-year-old daughter Tasha had a dream about what would have happened if Dimitri had accepted the Dowager's reward and Anya decided to take the crown. (Actually, you really could've gotten that from the story. Oh, well. :P)

Now, after hearing his big sister's tale, 9-year-old Mikhail (Mikey) is about to find out something even bigger. So what's the big "what-if" this time? Well, if you don't already know, you'll just have to read to find out. X) Enjoy.

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"No way. That's what would have happened?"

Mikhail slapped his spoon down into his food for the fiftieth time and gave his fourteen-year-old sister a disbelieving stare.

"I guess," Tasha replied, reaching for the bread---fresh from the bakery, of course, because neither of their parents had any cooking skills whatsoever. Their mother was all right with the stove now and then, but to put their father in a room with food and appliances was like asking for an explosion. "That's just how the dream went, anyway."

"But mom wouldn't have said yes to that guy---would you, mom?"

Anya gave her nine-year-old a look, and followed it with a sly glance at her husband. "Eh, you never know."

Dimitri glared right back at her. "I'm sorry, was that supposed to make me jealous?"

"That depends---is it working?"

"This entire conversation is about something that never happened. I don't think that applies."

"Then no."

Outwardly, Dimitri dropped the subject, satisfied. Mentally, he made a note to get back at her later.

Mikey was oblivious. "But what about everything that happened on the bridge?" Ah, the famous Bridge story. A bedtime favorite since both the kids had been too young to talk. "Wouldn't that have changed their minds?"

"I don't know, okay?" Tasha said. "It was just a dream---I couldn't help what happened. All I know is, we were talking about what would've happened if mom took the crown and daddy took the reward, and I had a dream about it. The end. Can I eat now?" She stuck her tongue out at her little brother, and Dimitri was trying desperately not to laugh.

Mikey helped himself to Tasha's piece of bread as payback. "I still think it would have gone different. In fact, I bet I can think of a better 'what if' than you."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah...like...." Mikey thought a second, and then the light bulb went on. He smiled triumphantly. "What if there was no seige at all? Yeah! Like what if mom just kept living at the palace and papa kept working there?"

Tasha had no comeback for him this time. She looked to her parents. It was a good question.

Anya kept focused on her plate. "All yours, hon."

Gee, thanks. Dimitri had a look on his face that seemed to tell his children they wouldn't exist. "Well.... If that were the case, then I would still be---"

"Right where you are," Anya interrupted. "I picked you. Nothing could have changed that." She stared at him in a way that emphasized her meaning.

"Oh yeah? Come on, Anya. Your mother would never have allowed that to...well, for us to be...I mean me...." He sighed. "Think about it!"

"It would've been more difficult," she conceded.

"Public scandal's more like it."

"But I stand by what I said. You were always important to me."

"I can see the headline now," Dimitri carried on. "'Servant Boy Banished From Country: Tsarina Still Laughing.'"

Anya rolled her eyes. She knew he must've taken in what she said, because if he'd still had a problem he'd still be acting serious. Which he wasn't. "All right, you guys, quit rewriting history and go wash up. You're done."

"Yesss!" Mikey jumped out of his chair and raced for the staircase, thinking about his new theory the whole way, and nothing else. It was his turn to see the story for himself.

You can't plan what you dream about, he thought, but a nudge in the right direction can't hurt.

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No seige? No problem. Just a little unlikely, maybe, that he'd have the same thing happen, I know, but come on. This is fiction, not rocket science. Haven't you ever found that the last thing you think about at night is the first thing you dream about? Works occaisonally. Anyway, I have to say I love this "dream" angle---you can change the past, and anything goes. ;D You know how I love reviews!

Here we go again....

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