Anij waited. He had told her that he had almost a year's shore leave, that he would come back and be with her. She remembered his strong arms around her as he bore her to safety from the falling rocks, the tenderness in his caresses as he touched her, kissed her. She had never before known a man like Jean Luc Picard. He had come to her people in their time of need in his wondrous starship, he had befriended and then fallen in love with her, and she with him, and then once the crisis had passed, he had been gone almost as quickly as he had arrived, leaving a permanent imprint with his name on it upon her heart.

As the days and weeks passed, and Anij returned to the habits of her simple life, the memory of his touch, his kiss, burned in her mind. She would wait for him for an eternity if necessary. After all, what was time to her? She had all the time in the world.

Anij was going about her usual business the day the shuttlecraft arrived. To Anij's primitive society, the arrival of a shuttlecraft was an exceedingly rare event. Anij's heart beat rapidly with excitement. What if it was him? It must be him! He had told her that he would come back, hadn't he?

Anij raced to where the shuttlecraft had landed. As she watched him emerge from it, her heart filled with joy. He had finally returned!

He looked straight at her. "Anij," he said softly.

"Jean Luc!" she cried with joy, rushing to embrace him.

"I missed you so much," Anij murmured, clinging to him.

"I missed you too," he replied. "I've been just counting down the days until I could see you again."

"I'm just so very happy," she told him.

"So am I." He smiled gently at her. "Well, now we have almost a year to share together in peace. What would you like to do first?"

"I've waited so long just to see you again, Jean Luc, that right now I am content just to be in your presence and to hear your voice once again. Perhaps, if you would like, we could go for a long walk and I could show you some more of my home, maybe some things you didn't get to see the last time you were here and all the fighting was going on."

"That sounds like a lovely idea." He smiled and took her hand, and they began to walk toward the lake.