Back in Japan at Kozumi's everyone noticed that the two had changed. At dinner one night G.B. asked the one question no one was expecting. "So Albert, Francoise, when are you getting hitched?" Everyone at the table froze. Fran dropped her fork and stared at the Brit. There was an unfamiliar emotion in her emerald eyes.
"Well, we haven't thought about anything like that," she admitted quietly.
"We weren't thinking in that direction," Albert added.
Fran stood up, "I'll be excusing myself now." She left the table quietly, but not before Albert caught the tortured gleam in her eyes.
Gilmore sighed. He knew his cyborgs weren't perfect, but he thought that they had better manners than that. Albert looked at his British friend and sighed disappointedly. He rose from his own seat and followed Francoise up the stairs.
He knocked on her door, "Fran, can I come in?" He asked. She didn't answer. He slowly tried the knob, if she didn't want to talk it would be locked. It turned without resistance and he opened the door. He stepped inside quietly shutting the door behind him. He locked it, not wanting any eavesdroppers to interrupt.
Fran was outside on the balcony, her curtains blown in by the sea breeze. She was standing perfectly still her hands clamped around the railing. Her shoulders were slumped and she was staring down at the ocean.
"Fran?" Albert questioned in a soft voice, he didn't think he could startle her. She had heard him knock on the door, could hear him step towards her. "What's wrong? Is it what I said?" He asked. They'd never discussed marriage. Albert didn't think it would work in a life like theirs.
She turned her head to him, the tears gleaming in the silvery moon light. She shook her head, his words had hurt her, but it was not Albert who had upset her. It wasn't even G.B. The old wound of what Black Ghost had done to her still throbbed with raw anger and sadness.
"It isn't any of you," she whispered. She turned back to the ocean. He joined her on the balcony and stared at the ocean with her.
"Than what is it?" He asked gently. She opened her mouth and choked on a sob her hands shaking. Fresh tears ran down her cheeks.
Albert turned to face her his hands reaching for her shoulders. He pulled her close hugging her. She put her head against his shoulder, her hands against his chest, and sobbed for a few moments. "Sh, just take a deep breath. Tell me what's wrong, I promise I'll listen." He whispered comfortingly.
Fran pulled back from him and shuddered. He pulled her back inside her room setting her gently on her bed and closing the glass door. Sitting next to her he gave her an encouraging smile.
"I just, I just feel that I've not had any control over my life," she began sadly. "So many of my dreams were stolen by Black Ghost, I've had to give up so many wants and desires," she took in a shuddering breath. Albert stayed quiet sensing that she still had more to say. "None of my dreams have come true, and after Joe died the last one I held onto almost died with him. And then, and then I fell for you. And just a little bit of my dream came back," she murmured.
"Oh Frannie," Albert replied. He understood now.
"I always hoped that Joe would fulfill that dream, but he never even told me if he liked me," she looked at Albert. "And after all that, you showed me that I could still have love, that I could still love, and that my dream wasn't so silly after all. But when G.B. asked that question, I had my doubts." She looked at him.
"Tell me what your dream is," Albert encouraged.
"My dream was to get married, nothing fancy, just to actually find that someone, and to know that I was always theirs." She looked away the tears falling onto her lap.
Albert looked at her hard, he was stricken by the pain she felt. He understood it, hadn't Hilda been taken from him before they were destined to wed?
He sat in silence for a few minutes, scrounging up the courage to say what he needed to. Funny that he could walk into a battle without hesitation, but the words he wanted to say were caught behind his throat. He took a sharp intake of breath startling Fran. "Then don't give up your dream," he whispered as she turned questioningly towards him.
"What?" She asked as though he were speaking gibberish.
"Why should you give up that dream? Why does Black Ghost have to take everything from us? He's gone now. I think you and I can have some happiness." He was smiling at her now his hands moving to her face to wipe away her tears.
"Oh Albert." She exclaimed wrapping her arms around his neck. "You mean it?"
"It's a promise," he replied holding her tightly. "We'll go out and get you a ring tomorrow, anywhere you want to go."
"Thank you Albert," she pulled back so she could kiss him. Her lips merged with his. For a split second he was caught off guard before he returned the passion. His hand found her cheek and caressed her tear streaked skin. Thin warm fingers trailed through his hair.
A gasp escaped from Fran as she pulled her lips away just enough to breath. Albert sighed before retrieving her lips with his own. They continued, heat and passion radiating from their lips. Fran's fingers began to grasp his scalp with a fervor he had never seen from her. Albert found his own hand at the base of her neck holding her close.
A knock at the door interrupted them just as Fran was leaning back onto the bed. They both pulled away suddenly as Gilmore's voice reached their ears. "Are you two ok?" He asked, genuinely concerned for the two. He'd taken a sort of paternal role and affection for all of his cyborgs.
The two looked at each other, breathing heavy, red faced, and surprised and thrilled by their own passion. "We're just fine." They replied in unison.