A.N: I believe I have been working on this story here for about, a year now, and it truly has been a labor of love. It all started with the song, "Anywhere But Here" by SafetySuit and just snowballed from there. I mean you could even technically, call it a prologue into my Clannad family chapter story I'm writing, which will eventually be posted.

So, this is basically Tomoya's thoughts throughout After Story episode 22, Small Palms. From when they reunite on the hill, all the way until the end of the episode.

-The part that is bolded and italicized, is a quote from the episode, and so that's why in it's in quotations. The rest are just song lyrics. And seriously, if you haven't heard this song yet, YOU NEED TO! Specially, if you're a Clannad fan! It seriously explains everything about After Story and TXN's relationship. Seriously, go now to YouTube and look it up, and then come back and read this. : )

-Anywhere But Here by SafteySuit

And I truly do hope you, ENJOY!

I didn't say a word as Nagisa passed me by, I just let her walk right out of my life. I figured she was better off without me. Besides, if we'd never met, dated, eventually married and had a baby together, I'd never have to deal with such tragic heartache.

I would rather wish Nagisa live a long life without me, where she was alive and well- and probably off with someone better than me -than live without her . . . . .

. . . . . I never gave Tomoya a glance or even a smile as I passed him by, keeping my eyes downcast as I shuffled along. This was his decision, his battle with his inner demons.

I continued walking, wondering if my beloved would call out to me. If he chose me, decided to choose me above all of his doubt and fears, then we would both be teleported back through time. Back to the life we should have been living for the past five years.

Is this the end of the moment or just a beautiful unfolding
of a love that will never be?

I gasped in shock and my head snapped up. What . . .? How could I . . .? Was I really considering . . .? My heart wrenched in my chest as I turned around, appalled that I would let such an angel of a person willingly walk out of my life. I now understood that I needed Nagisa, like water to a flower, it was impossible for me to survive without her. (1)

"NAGISA!" I shouted, using all the strength of my lungs to call out to her.

She didn't turn around; she didn't even seem to hear me. Nagisa. I dropped my briefcase and sprinted to my love, wrapping her up in a ferociously tight hug, wishing to never let her go. "Nagisa! I'm right here, don't leave me!" I cried desperately.

"If you'd like, shall I take you to the place in this town where wishes come true?"

"My long journey has finally come to an end."

Moments later, after being on the hill with Nagisa, I found himself kneeling at her side, holding tightly to her hand, as our newborn daughter cried.

Gasping slightly, I realized I'd been sent back to the moment when my life had turned into a living hell, to the moment Nagisa had died, just after giving birth to Ushio.

No! I thought, I can't go through this again!

"Nagisa?" I called out timidly as flashes of her dead body ran through my mind from the previous unfortunate turn of events. Dread dropped down into my gut as I noted her still and unresponsive form. Tears welled up as I continued to whimper her name pitifully, clutching on to her small hand for all it was worth.

But, to my astonishment, Nagisa's eyes opened and she smiled warmly up at me. "Tomoya," she breathed.

"Nagisa . . .!" I exclaimed breathlessly, eyes wide in shock and disbelief. How was this possible? What happened when we were together on the hill?

"What's wrong Tomoya? You look upset," she asked tiredly.

Shock, disbelief and amazement ran through me all at once and although I couldn't fathom how this was in any way possible, I needed to know just one thing. "We're really . . . we're really together now, right?" I had to be sure; needed to confirm that this wasn't just some lovely hallucination or a wishful daydream.

"Of course we are, we'll always be together," Nagisa replied with a light smile, "Just like we promised over and over again. I'm not going anywhere," she reminded me softly.

"That's right, just like we said," I sighed with relief. My eyes wandered down to her hand as I held it tenderly in both of mine, gazing at it with love and affection. I quickly realized that I didn't really care about what had happened on the hill. Right now, I was just happy, in a state of completely joyful bliss. Nothing could be better than getting to hold Nagisa's hand again.

"Okazaki," Yagi, the midwife, gained my attention. "You don't need to worry about the health of the baby or the mother," she told me. Then, she looked to Nagisa, "Good job, congratulations," she smiled.

Even more relief flooded through my heart, We're all . . . we're all okay . . . I smiled. But, before I had time to let that thought sink in, Akio promptly gave me his own congratulations and then Sanae called out to me, "Tomoya? How would you like to give little Ushio her first bath?"

Oh, right . . . Ushio. I was caught off guard, "Uh . . . sure."

Yagi handed Ushio over to me with a warm smile and then she stood up to fetch the bath. Suddenly, everything else fell away as I focused solely on the baby in my arms. Ushio, I smiled tenderly down at her. She was still crying as her little arms flailed about, and her face was red and angry, streaked with tears and blood. Right now, in all honesty, she kind of looked like a dirty shriveled little monkey, but I thought she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and my heart was instantly wrapped around her finger in mere seconds. I cuddled her close to my chest, despite her squirming, and called her name, hoping my voice would somehow be able to calm her. "Ushio," I said. But she continued to cry, completely oblivious to me.

Once Yagi had the bath ready, she placed it in front of me. "Now, we're going to lower her in nice and slow, just so she can get used to it. There you go, like that. Support her head with your right hand and cover her ears so she doesn't get any water in them." I had my right hand supporting Ushio's head, my thumbs plugging her ears, and the other hand on her bottom, as I gently lowered her into the warm bath water. It lapped at my wrists as I held Ushio upper half above it, taking careful precaution not to let any of the water enter her mouth or nose.

"That's right, nice and slow," Yagi appraised me, and then she took a soft gauze sponge and tried to hand it to me, but I was a little afraid to let Ushio go. After all, wouldn't she have a better chance of not drowning if I had both hands holding her up?

Seeing my apprehension, Yagi said, "Don't worry, Okazaki, you're other hand will support her well enough and the buoyancy in the water will help too. She'll be fine," she assured me with a gentle smile. "She'll float right on top."

Still a little worried, but assured enough, I took the sponge from her hand and Yagi nodded at me to go ahead. I was kind of surprised to see Ushio floating in the bath, just like Yagi said she would. My right hand truly did support her just fine, as I was able to keep her head and chest above water, but I didn't really have much time to dwell on this as Yagi continued to give off instructions. "Now don't dip her head in just yet, you need to wipe her down with gauze first." I did as told and wiped Ushio down, careful to avoid getting anything in her eyes and ears, and also making sure I was getting everything off. There was blood and mucus and who knows what else coating her entire body.

"There you go," Yagi said, encouraging me as I continued to wash her, at least I was doing something right. "Daddy's getting you all clean," she gushed over Ushio, "Aren't you a good girl?"

Once we were done and Ushio was dried off, I finally swaddled her in a soft warm blanket, and cradled her close to my chest as Nagisa praised me on a job well done.

"Look at that, as healthy as can be!" Sanae said, smiling proudly from beside me.

"When she gets bigger, I hope she's as strong as she is now," Nagisa hoped.

With a sudden flare of resolve, I assured her, "She will be, she'll have a strong body and a strong mind too, don't worry." For some reason, I just knew, without a doubt, that Ushio would be all of those things and so much more.

"Kay," Nagisa nodded, and with a small sigh turned her head. Then suddenly, something out the sliding glass door caught her eye. "Hey, Tomoya." she called out, "Look outside, open the curtain, it's so pretty."

All of us were caught off guard by her sudden change of subject and as I got up to check it out, I asked, "What? You mean the snow?"

But as soon as I opened the curtain, I realized that it wasn't snow. "No, wait, this is . . ." The sky was filled with thousands of floating light orbs, as I quickly recognized. Twinkling balls of light were spread out all throughout the town, highlighted by the bright rising sun. (2)

I gazed out the door in awe and a little confusion, and once I'd had my fill, turned back around with a lopsided smile. Nagisa smiled back at me and then said she wanted to see Ushio. I was more than happy to comply and so I sat down, putting her down on Nagisa's futon, placing Ushio right beside her.

Nagisa turned over on her side, still too tired to sit up, and gazed over at Ushio in wonder.

She smiled widely, "Oh, she's beautiful!"

"Yeah," I agreed as I positioned myself more comfortably, stretching out next to her futon with a crooked arm propping up my head.

I watched as her smile grow even bigger and she drew Ushio closer to her, putting an arm around her and hugging her briefly to her chest. She kissed the top of her head. "I love you, Ushio . . ." she whispered softly. She then put her hand on Ushio's stomach as she pulled back. I smiled tenderly and placed my hand over Nagisa's.

We locked eyes, and in that moment, I realized that my life probably couldn't get much better than this. I had my girls' back, my life; both of them were alive, well and happy.

Nagisa was smiling, practically glowing with a joyful, motherly sort of light. And Ushio, my dear sweet little girl, was resting quietly beneath my hand, perfectly content where she was.

"Let's sing to Ushio, okay Tomoya?"

"Yeah, sure," I drew my hand back.

She started off, tapping the beat softly with her hand over Ushio's stomach, "Dango, dango, dango, dango, dango, dango family . . ."

We sang the next line together, Ushio squirming slightly as she gave off a wide yawn. Yeah, I don't think it can get any better than this. This is more than I could have ever dreamed of.

Or maybe be

everything that I never thought could happen
or ever come to pass

1. So, the Illusionary World falls to ruin, then Tomoya and Nagisa are on the hill, and somehow Tomoya is brought back to his senses. Then finally, they're sent back through time so they can live out their lives together in happiness.

Well all that's fine and dandy, but I want to know how Tomoya is hit over the head with a V8 and decides to choose Nagisa. I mean, he suddenly comes back to himself and remembers something. Pause on his face, when he gasps and looks up. He now knows something he didn't know or realize before.

And I think I now know what that something is! At least this is my theory- So remember how Ushio and the Junk Doll were trying to get back to their own world, and then in the beginning of episode 22, the Doll is like, "We need to get back, I don't want to let her fall asleep like this." Well, I think the Doll's thoughts, feelings, wishes- or something of that caliber -reaches Tomoya and touches him, and then he remembers that he needs to get back. Like, get back home. I totally think that that's what it must be. I mean, while I don't think he knew exactly what was going to happen if he chose her, like how it would rewrite his entire future, but he just knows that he needs Nagisa.

Hmmm, anyone agree? Or have your own theory? Along with thoughts on the story overall? : )

2. Alright, look at Nagisa's face when she's looking out the door. She totally knows what all the light orbs are for and why they're there. She even goes on to explain when discussing it with Tomoya, "When I look at how things have turned out for you and me, I feel like the town might've brought us together, it might have made this miracle happen . . . I think it still loves the people who live in this town and wants to make them happy . . ." and yada-yada-yada. Bottom line is, the town granted Tomoya's wish and Nagisa is aware of that.

It makes sense because of her contract with the town, so I think she would know a little of what's going on. Like, how she spoke with Tomoya on the hill, she knew everything that had happened to her and how hard it was on him and I also think she knew what was going to happen if Tomoya chose to meet her. Like I said, it all ties in with her contract with the town.