A/N: Sorry for the delay in posting, RL got in the way. Just the epilogue to go, then it's on to the follow on!


Chapter 18:

When Mary Ann awoke from a deep slumber, she did not quite know where she was. It was dark, except for the muted shaft of illumination that bathed the room in what seemed like fickle fairy light. She could feel the presence of her husband, his arm still draped around her as he slept. She was confused, not expecting to wake at all, or to find herself in a place of light. The cool darkness of her surroundings set her ill at ease.

Are we in hell, she wondered to herself, remembering a childhood description of the underworld.

Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she looked around again and she remembered. Turning quickly to face her husband, she roused him to consciousness.

"William…William, wake up."

Gilligan stirred slowly, unwilling to let go of sleep and Mary Ann shook him again.

"Huh?" he offered, still not quite awake yet.

"William, what time is it?"

Gilligan finally realized his wife was asking something of him. He sat up and looked around.

"Boy, this sure doesn't look like heaven. Do you think we went to the other place?"

Mary Ann smiled, remembering her own disorientation. "I think we survived, William. What time is it?" she asked again.

Gilligan glanced down at his watch, straining to see the hands in the muted light. "It's just after seven," he said. "Let's have a look outside."

He stood and took her hands to help her up. "William, I'm scared," she said as they walked towards the light, with her wrapped on his arm.

"So am I, Mary Ann," he replied.

The young couple walked out onto the ledge and into the light. The sun had just crested the horizon and its warmth comforted both of them. As they looked out over the island, they saw columns of smoke rising from many spots in the jungle.

"William…the asteroid…what happened to it?"

"I don't know, Mary Ann. Maybe it blew up into a million pieces."

As they stood watching over the vista, the remaining castaways emerged from the cave.

"We're still alive," said the Skipper, to no one in particular. "It's a miracle!"

The Professor surveyed the landscape below in silence. Beside him, still clinging to his arm, Ginger asked, "Roy, what happened? Why are we still here?"

"The asteroid must have disintegrated when it hit the atmosphere. That would explain the fragmentation and multiple impacts."

The Skipper called back to the Howells, who were just coming out of the cave. "Mr. Howell, grab the radio if you would."

A few seconds later, Howell rejoined the group with the radio in hand. Quickly he turned it on and tuned around for a news station.

"…had action not been taken, the asteroid, named Object X, would have devastated most of the southern coast of the Hawaiian chain. Repeating this morning's top story, in a joint military action, the United States and the Soviet Union, targeted the wayward asteroid with two nuclear tipped rockets, shattering most of its bulk into pieces no larger than an automobile. According to NASA experts, most of these pieces would have burned up in the atmosphere, and those that did survive the trip would be in the form of meteorites, no larger than a baseball."

"In a joint statement issued by the White House and the Kremlin, it was stated that, while we are separated by political boarders, and both political and ideological differences, it is a fundamental truth that we are all citizens of Earth."

"Two rockets were used in the operation, a Saturn V, launched from Cape Kennedy, and a N1, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodome. Each rocket carried one warhead and they were detonated in quick succession at an altitude of fifty thousand miles, or less than half the distance from the Earth to the Moon. With the success of this mission, NASA and the Russian Space Agency expressed interest in continuing to explore the possibility of future joint ventures in space."

"Did you hear that?" asked Gilligan. "The asteroid, they blew it up!"

"I guess the Skipper was right," said the Professor. "The United States and the Soviet Union working for the common good is a miracle."

"Maybe we will end up being friends with the Russians, instead of fighting and threatening each other."

"We may at that, Gilligan."

Grateful to have survived, the group engaged in a melee of handshakes, hugs and kisses. When the impromptu celebration ended, the Skipper led them all in a prayer of thanksgiving.

Beside her new husband, Mary Ann could not quell the tears of happiness and she latched on to his arm for support. All her dreams, everything she had hoped for she had given up for lost. And now, unexpectedly, they had been granted a second chance. She looked up at him as he wrapped a strong arm around her. His eyes too, were drenched in tears and she leaned her head on his shoulder knowing he was thinking the same thing.

...

By late afternoon, things had returned to semblance of normality and the castaways planned a huge celebration feast, to honor the engagement of the two youngest members of the group, and to celebrate the second lease on life they had all been given. The meal consisted of lobster, crab, fish, pineapples, and of course Gilligan's favorite, coconut cream pie. Tomorrow morning, the Skipper, the Professor, and Mr. Howell would work to construct a raft for the wedding ceremony.

"Afternoon weddings are just so romantic," quipped Mr. Howell. She was elated at the thought of finally getting the chance to plan the nuptials for the young couple.

The music on the radio was interrupted by another news announcement.

"Mr. Howell, turn that up please," said the Skipper.

"…and as a result of the fragmentation of the asteroid, an area containing several uncharted islands was subjected to concentrated impacts from the debris. A scientific expedition will be sent to these islands to recover as many of the asteroid fragments as possible, in an effort to better understand these celestial bodies."

"By Jove, Skipper, a scientific expedition is coming to the island," exclaimed Mr. Howell. "At last, we're going to be rescued!"

Shouts of glee emanated from around the table and this time, Mary Ann and Gilligan joined in the enthusiasm, knowing that they were going to be together now that they would be officially married tomorrow.

In the midst of the excitement, Mary Ann noticed the Professor looking at Ginger and his expression seemed to be asking a question. Her suspicions were confirmed when Ginger nodded. The Professor stood and cleared his throat.

"May I have your attention, please?"

The group suddenly became quiet. The last time the Professor asked that question, they were all in grave danger.

"Over the past week, Ginger and I have engaged in several very long conversations concerning our future." He reached down and placed his hand on Ginger's shoulder and she covered his hand with her own.

"To be honest, neither one of us expected to be alive today, never mind making plans about tomorrow. Last night, I asked her to marry me…"

The rest of his sentence was drowned out by the cheer that went up. Mary Ann jumped up from her chair and ran to Ginger. The two women embraced in joy.

"Let's have a double wedding," she said to Ginger.

"Are you sure you wouldn't mind?"

"Of course not," said Mary Ann. She could tell that the actress was thrilled by the idea.

"A double wedding, what a delightful affair," added Mrs. Howell.

...

Arms around each other, Mary Ann and Gilligan walked down what had become their beach. A cool breeze was blowing off the water adding a chill to the evening air.

"I'm going to miss our island, William."

"I'll miss it too, Mary Ann. Maybe we can hide when the boat comes for everyone else."

"Don't think that I haven't thought about it. Once we get back to the mainland, we'll have to find a place to live, find jobs. Although I have to admit, having hot running water does have some appeal."

"Yeah, a long hot shower would be nice," he added.

"You mean a long hot shower, with each other," Mary Ann said conspiratorially. She turned to draw him in for a long kiss. They stayed in each other's arms for a long time.

When the kiss ended, Gilligan asked, "We do need to decide where we are going to live. Are we staying in Hawaii, or going to live in Kansas?"

"I want to go home to visit my family," said Mary Ann. "After that, well, we'll have to discuss it. I think you could learn farming and I know you would be good with the animals, but I think sailing is in your blood. You can't do that in Kansas."

"I heard the Skipper and Mr. Howell talking about a new boat and some kind of partnership, but he said it might take a year to get everything together. Mr. and Mrs. Howell have promised to take care of us, but I think I should be the one that should be taking care of you."

"The Howells are like parents to us, William. Once we get settled, we can do something nice for them. Besides, I really want to spend some time at home. Aunt Martha and Uncle George are going to want to meet you too. Of course, Aunt Martha will try to convince us to have a huge family, the more, the merrier."

"Do you want a big family, Mary Ann?"

"Not as big as Aunt Martha would want. I love children, but I want to have time for my husband too. I want our children to know how much we love each other."

"Me too," replied Gilligan, pulling her closer. He whispered into her ear, "So, when do we start?"

"My, aren't we getting frisky. Save it for tomorrow night, my love. And I want to start our family soon, very soon."

With that, she joined her lips with his.