Angelina and Adrian stared at the full moon. The balcony was on the 4th level and gave the most spectacular view of the gardens. It's elegance was accentuated by the moonlight. The water sparkled and the pale stone walkways and fence walls were hauntingly illuminated.

Adrian, standing close to Lina, wrapped his arms around her waist and gently pulled her close.

"I'm surprised to see how remarkably close you are to Dimitri." He noted, "When I returned, it seemed as if you and him were lifelong friends."

"How do you mean?"

"Every male needs a strong female presence. Be it in a wife, a sister, or daughter. Ever since Maria passed, he seemed lost."

"And now?"

"And now, he has the same sparkle in his eye that he did up until 4 years ago." She turned her around in his arms. He sounded grateful. He shouldn't have."If you and I truly are going to be together," she paused, regretting the way she worded that, "then he's my family now. I have two Dads." He didn't respond. He just watched her face. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say 'if '." She smirked. "I'm still getting used to having security in my life."

"What's mine is yours. You never have to worry about going without."

"No, I don't mean financial security." She shook her head, "I mean, security, as in, having you. Just having you being there for me and never letting me go." Her smirk returned. "I still don't know why you're so intense about this relationship. I got the feeling from what Dimitri said earlier that you're not usually like this."

"And why would I be? Those weren't even relationships. Minor distractions."

"I see." She bit her lip. She wanted to ask about Bree-Anne, but his father just had a stroke. Was she that evil?

"What is it?" He asked, lovingly tucking her hair behind her ear. "Do you doubt what I'm saying?" Lina denied,

"Of course not."

"Then?"

She refused to answer, forcing Adrian to let it go. Besides, he was mentally exhausted and just wanted make love to his wife. Hard. His grip on her waist had tightened without him realizing. She smiled to herself, knowing the signals that his body subconciously gave her. She knew what he wanted.

She sighed in content as his hands roamed her body, as well as his eyes. He touched every part of her except her breasts, leaving her breathless and excited. She wanted more. His large hands grasped her face and neck and left her mouth pink and puckered. He breathed in her scent with every new inch of skin he kissed, leaving her shivering involuntarily in his arms. He wasn't wearing a shirt, but she was wearing a black satin robe; part of her wardrobe picked and set aside for their bedroom on the estate. He could feel her chest through the satin, and felt himself grow harder. She grazed her nails down his back while kissing his chest, eliciting a small groan from the man. No longer able to contain his ferver like a true gentleman, he reached down between them and pulled the sash of her robe apart, letting the material fall delicately to the floor.

"I love you Lina Veidt." Lina shivered and pushed herself flush against him

….::::::….

Adrian tossed and turned.

Lina's body was illuminated by the moonlight. The thin sheen of sweat had gone by now. It had been nearly an hour since they made love. She fell asleep in minutes, but Adrian stared at the small, crystal chandelier which hung off the ceiling. Delicate strands of Bavarian crystal teardrops and prisms sparkled and danced in the wind from the open balcony. He was mesmerised, but saddened. A year ago, when he decided the course of action he needed to take to prevent nuclear annihilation, he started noticing these small details of their world.

It was as if he had missed out on the beauty of what mankind had created over the millenias, and was just opening his eyes now.

Lina stretched in her sleep and blinked awake. She loved the body heat that came from sharing a bed with Adrian. She had felt it before, whenever Jess and her fell asleep after a long night of woman-talk. But it was much different with Adrian. His body enveloped her in a protective way, that translated his love for Lina through his subconciuos. Lina smiled in her sleep. ~Wow. I am reading way too much into this. He's prolly just a cuddler.~

"Did I wake you, darling?" He murmured as he stroked her jaw. He watched her writhe awake, loving the bliss of his attention."In a way." She leaned up to kiss him. "I'm used to being held now. While I sleep, I mean." Moving her body flush against his, she whispered, "Like this."

Adrian met her lips and kissed her deeply. He manuevered their bodies so that she was sprawled across his chest as he continued loving her. Her long hair grazed his chest, while her hands gripped his shoulders for a delicate balance. He was so skilled at making her lose sense of space and time. Lina frequently forgot which way gravity was supposed to pull her. After a minute, they came apart and revelled in the feeling of hot skin touching skin, and the cool wafty breeze which invaded their sphere. Lina took advantage of this moment. His feelings were vulnerable and clearly open in his eyes.

"What aren't you telling me?"

Adrian looked away. How... could she possibly know this? He was a master of hiding his true feelings and thoughts. A skill proven to be invaluable as an industry titan.

"How can I hide anything from you?" He regretted the words as soon as they formed. Now, he was just straight-up lying. ~Am I trying to get rid of her?~ He asked himself sarcastically.

"I can tell everytime I look in your eyes. You pretend to be happy, but it's like you're hiding this terrible regret. And you haven't been sleeping. And, no matter how great of company I am... which I clearly am," she tried to smile at her joke, "your warm, loving smiles and gestures seem like they're forced now." Adrian couldn't look her in the eye.

She rose and straddled his body completely now, covering her chest and body with the thin sheet twisted around their feet.

Lina watched his face carefully; even now his emotions were controlled. His thoughts used to play across his face before, like food-colouring mixing in underwater clouds. She forced herself to speak through the curtain of sad realization that suddenly blanketed her.

"Do you regret your decision?" Adrian stopped breathing, not knowing what she was referring to. Had The Comedian already told her? He waited for her to elaborate, but Lina took his silence the wrong way. She nodded. "This was all too good to be true anyway."

Silence.

"Do you think I am a monster?"

"No. Why would I?" She smiled ruefully. "What else can you expect from life? I kind of expected this was coming to an end soon, to be perfectly honest with you." He was suddenly holding her hands to his chest for dear life. The look on his face spoke of pain so grave.

"That's what I need you to understand, Lina." He spoke urgently. "I can prevent the end, don't you see? The sacrifice will be great, but we can spend the rest of our lives together without the ticking of the Doomsday Clock." Lina shook her head, not understanding."Wait, what?"

"The fear that has gripped the world... that is not the way humanity is meant to live. We can achieve so much more; a high quality of life for every individual person on this planet."

"Adrian, what are you talking about?"

Silence.

In a split-second he realized his misstep.

"What did you mean, when you asked if I regretted my decision." He asked carefully. He measured her heartbeat and the rate of her breathing to make sure she wouldn't hide anything from him.

"I was talking about us." She was confounded. "You seem... distant, and burdened with something. I thought you were regretting us." She swallowed thickly. "Asking me to be yours so quickly."

Adrian's heart burst apart with saddness at her hasty assumption of any sort of regret for their love.

"I don't understand you Lina!" He spun her around in light speed and began pacing around the bed. "How could you ever think I don't want you? How many times do I have to remind you that you are my sole reason to exist!" He shouted. Lina stared, wide-eyed at his outburst. In a blur, he climbed onto the bed ontop of her. He grasped her forearms. "What parasite keeps infecting your thoughts, making you assume I will defect in my committment to you!" Here Adrian was, trying the last week to hold himself together, so that Lina wouldn't suspect his actions and he could keep her forever. And yet his actions were having the complete opposite effect on her. She thought he was trying to leave her? "When will this absurd notion leave you, Lina? What must I do to prove my love for you?"

Lina was terrified of his anger, yet elated that she was wrong. She wasn't losing him.

At all.

Adrian's thoughts strayed, answered his own question.

"Get dressed. I need to show you something." He gently pulled her to her feet and disappeared into the other room. She swayed a bit, trying to gain balance. Her mind played over the last few minutes. She didn't understand any of it. What was Adrian talking about?

She quickly pulled on her jeans and one of Adrian's dress shirts and sprinted to the other room where Adrian was already dressed and waiting by the door. He had a flashlight in his hand.

"Where are we going?"

"I'm going to teach you how to climb trees."

"Why?" What nonsense was this? He grinned cheekily, remembering his parent's story.

"It's a tradition in my family to prove their love."

"By climbing a tree?"

"You make it sound insane." Lina turned the flashlight on.

"I think that's just the way it sounds. Because... you know. It is."

….::::::….

Lina bit her lip as she felt a piece of bark cut into her palm. She knew Adrian had the strength of a dozen men; he was holding her effortlessly, but her fear of heights superceded her faith in him.

"Is there a reason we're doing this at night?"

"Is there any better time?"

"Yeah. During the day, when I'm not blind as a bat."

"Because that will do wonders for your fear of heights, won't it?"

~Hmph. He has a point.~ She thought, defeated. ~Wait… how does he know about that?~

"How are you proving your love for me exactly. Not that I don't believe it. Your little rant in bed was more than enough to convince me." She smirked, remembering his passion. All she had to do was remember the look he had in his eyes the next time she doubted his feelings. He had the eyes of a madman. A dashingly handsome madman.

One that she was suddenly getting the urge to kiss.

"My little rant?" He scoffed, albeit elegantly. He leaned down and pulled her face up to meet his eyes. "Do you not see that you drive my soul insane from the inside out?" He muttered. The little moonlight that filtered through the leaves reflected off her dark eyes.

"Actually, I was just thinking about that."

After a hard stare, he guided her a couple of feet higher into the branches and, finally reaching the highest steady branch, he held the flashlight to the carved initials of his parents. A tiny gasp escaped her lips as she peered at the secret this tree kept. "MDDG." She figured by the cheesy but cute heart carved around the letters that they represented the names of lovers."Maria DeCarlo and Dimitrius Giordano. This was carved some 40 years ago." He murmured.

Time was a marvelous thing.

They didn't even notice how much time had passed what with Adrian regaling Lina with the original love story of Maria and Dimitri, followed by several other memories he loved. Not until the sky turned from pitch black to light blue and orange did they remember that they were in a Willow tree, many meters above ground.

"No one except for Maria, Dimitri, and myself have knowledge of this secret. Would I have shown you if my feelings for you were inconstant?" He shone the flashlight back to the initials. "Would I have carved our initials next to theirs if you were only temporary to me?"

"Adrian..." She gasped at the 'AAAV' "I can't believe..."

"Remember how before I said that my family had this tradition?"

"Yes."

"Well, I just made it a tradition tonight." He kissed her hand tenderly and swept her silky strands of jet out of his way, allowing him to kiss her pink, pillowy lips. "I want our children to climb this tree when they fall in love. And their children."

~That is, if the radiation of an atomic blast does kill the tree first.~ She thought sadly. ~But no, Adrian will fix this. Adrian has a pla-…~

"Oh!" She exclaimed. Suddenly understanding the reason for his burden. "Were you talking about the Cold War? Is that why you've been acting this way?" She climbed onto his lap, and he kept their balance among the sturdy branches. "I'm so sorry Adrian. I can't believe I've been so blind! You have the entire world's future in your hands... of course you aren't sleeping, and that's why you're eyes always look exhausted." She kissed him deeply, shivering when she felt an arm encircle her tightly.

"I love you. And if I must, I will die saving this world from annihilation. Because saving the world means saving you."

….::::::….….::::::….….::::::….….::::::….….::::::….….::::::….….::::::….….::::::….

First of all, thanks for reading… STILL! Though I can't imagine why you would…

Oh yeah, b/c you're all hungry sex-mongers? Right? Mwhahahaha! But it's ok, I am too. : )

I was reading over the story in it's entirety and I realized, sadly, that a lot of the paragraph/page breaks were missing, which caused a lot of different parts to be weirdly jumbled together. I wonder how long it's been like that…

After a little sleuthing, I think I found a way to replace current chapters with newer, updated versions of them, without losing comments or filling your inbox with a million sudden update alerts (for those who have subscribed). Usually, anything on this website takes like 30 min to update, so I'll make the changes in my account, but I'll be asleep by the time it updates (or doesn't), so I can't double check for like a day. (It's 6:56am right now, lol). And, in my experience, this website is kinda lame at saving changes. So I'm guessing it won't really work. (Although I'm super grateful for this medium of expression.) If the paragraph/page breaks aren't there by the time you check it out, I'm sorry. I have failed. But rest assured that Chapters 10 and 11 have them and future chaps will too.

THX! LOVE YOU ALL SOMUCH! Like… More than Werther's Original toffee. Which, mind you, is delicious.

MobMotherScitah - Creepy watchdogs are creepy. I would know cuz, you know, I'm totally loaded and taken care of. Gotta deal with ma own watchdogs on a daily basis. Sigh, the life of an awesome woman... Lol. Teri Neko - Adrian is sexy. Thank you to Matthew Goode's Mom and Dad for doing it. Also, I think it was cute when she doubted his love before, but now I think it's getting kind of lame. I mean, they've known each other for what… 3 days now? When a superhero professes his undying love for you, at first, ya, be sceptical. But then… get over it, and accept that you saved an elderly man from a burning building in your past life to deserve this God of a man. Right? Jenny Joker - Aww thx ^_^! But I'll tell you a secret. My ovaries do all the writing. Seriously. When they're turned on… it's fan time. Superdani akaVioletFairchild - What can I say lady? What can I say to you except for… update your Twilight story or die. Kay, thanks! .:: grumble grumble ::. DCullen - Again my ovaries. But thanks brah! Love yous! :D VioletEmbry4ever - I'll tell you something that'll make you 'die and go to heaven' faster than the story did. Did you know Matthew Goode is Irish? Does that do anything for you guys? I watched him in Leap Year, and um, he kinda made me want to take my Irish ex back. Yikes. J'adore vous. Misty Day - Announcment! (of sorts?) Misty Day has a new story called Cold Winter Days and Warm Winter Nights! I was given the honour of beta-ing it like early July, but I kiiind of gave her an email I don't really use anymore and didn't realize until like 2 days ago. So. I'm positive she's gonna rip my thatchers off when I get the nerve to talk to her again, but alas, my thatchers (female balls) are not worth our friendship. Because they don't reproduce. If they did I could make babies by myself, and sell them! But then, where's the fun in a-sexual baby-making?… Read her story! It's kickass and way less perverted than mine! Luv you woman. WolvesKey - Thanks for being accepting of my shameful filler chapters. I feel like less of a con-artist now. By a small-margin. But at the same time, I'd like to declare that I have $10,000,000 in a bank account waiting to be deposited into yours. Please naively gimme all of your personal info so I can steal your identity, while pretending to transfer the money. (Has anyone you know ever fallen for that email, lol?) xx I RULE xx - Two updates in 1! For yous? Helen - Thanks for reading! I'll try to!