Time was linear...more or less. Each event caused by the one before, preceding and precipitating the ones to follow. She knew this, of course. The problem was in understanding it. In seeing it that way. Because when you could see all of time and space...perceive all that was and had been and ever would be...all at the same time... Well, things got a little more complicated. Muddled. A tangle of time streams all occurring now. And straightening them all out...finding one sequence of events and following them through, to seeing and understanding how and where those were connected to all the others...or, harder still, seeing where, at any given time, she herself was in that dreadfully tangled mess...well, that, for her, was nearly impossible.


But not quite.

Especially when now was big. Really big.

She felt the moment...the exact specific moment...when they were gone. All her sisters at once. Their presences absent from her conscious as if they had never been. It was only her now. All alone.

Except, of course, she still had him.

Her precious thief. More precious now than ever. Because now he was all she had. And he was enough. Together, they could dance through all of time and space. Seeing and exploring. The universe in all it's magnificent wonder forever spread out before them.


She would catch him looking into her corners as if expecting to find something other than emptiness. And sometimes, at her controls, he'd turn around, his mouth opened as if just about ready to speak...then fall silent again. And, most horrible of all...

He never laughed.

Not anymore.

Not since they had all gone. Trapped forever...by him...in a non-existent war from which there was no escape.

But it was only as he stood at her side in his favorite place in all the universe, watching those silly little humans running about in groups before him, that she finally saw it. That she fully understood.

Her thief was lonely.

And so she tried...really, really concentrated on time and space and cause and effect...and found one stream amongst all the others. Somewhere at sometime that seemed to offer hope. She followed it back...at least, she hoped it was back...to where he needed to start...

And brought him there.