Fear The Dawn: Epilogue

It's so nice that we can finally talk in the evenings, Pretty Flower.”
I'm happy too, it's much less lonely on the ship now. Thanks for helping set this up, Snickerbug.”
Karma rolled his eyes. “Uh oh, I think Karma is starting to get annoyed by our pet names, hehe”.
Karma raised his paw and Line gave him the quill. “It is definitely a bit obnoxious”, he wrote. Line and Banshee laughed. Banshee raised her paw and took the quill back.

It was an absurd process, they all sat around a table and took turns writing in Banshee's little book, but at least they could communicate now. The common room was looking much better now, too, they had all pitched in to help repair it. Things had finally started to settle down again.
It's okay Line, you can call me Banshee when Karma's around.”
It feels a little strange, but okay, Banshee it is. Is that better, Karma?”
He took the quill again. “No it isn't”, he wrote, thinking for a moment. “That was a cruel name that a heartless person used to mock you. If we're all going to talk together, you need a new name.”
He glanced up from the book to look at her. Even in the still air of the common room, her wispy white fur billowed around her like a fluffy cloud. She blinked when she saw he was looking at her, and there somehow seemed to be something familiar about those big blue eyes that he couldn't quite place.
He thought for a moment more, then scribbled something down and passed the book to the others. “How about 'Angel'?”
I like it, it's pretty”, Line wrote.
She closed her eyes, as though she was deep in thought. “It has a nice ring to it. Thank you”.

They talked for a while afterwards, but there was something else eating away at Karma. He eventually raised his paw to take the quill.
Angel, can you go with Line tonight? There's something I need to do.”
They both looked at him.
Don't worry, it's not something bad. I'll be all right.”
Where are you going?”, Line wrote.
To settle some unfinished business”.
You're always so mysterious”, he complained.
It's okay, Snickerbug, let him do his thing, we'll have fun.”
Line nuzzled up to her. “I'm already looking forward to it, Pretty Flower”.
Karma resisted the urge to tell them to hurry up and go. When they were finally loaded up on to Line's ship and sailing away out of sight, he went down to check on the signals. He was feeling quite anxious now, but he was still eventually able to hear them.
The ship was not far away, as he had anticipated. He had secretly been monitoring it for a little while, but he still didn't feel anywhere near ready for it. It took all of his willpower to turn his ship in that direction, then he resigned himself to his favourite perch to keep himself from turning back.
Would she still be waiting for him after all this time? Or would she have moved on, forgotten about him, found someone else? He didn't know what to think, he wasn't even sure what exactly he was hoping for. He just knew he had to go back and see her again.

The ship gradually came into view. He peered at it through his spyglass, almost hoping it would be the wrong ship and he would be off the hook, but his calculations had been right, as he knew they would be. It was Lay's ship, all right. Lace would be on board, somewhere. He lowered his spyglass and tried to figure out what he was going to say to her.

It seemed to take forever, but he finally pulled up alongside her ship. His first hope was quickly dashed, she wasn't waiting up on deck for him tonight. He considered turning around and leaving right then, but several people on deck had already spotted him anyway. There was nothing to be done for it but to swallow his pride and go over there to look for her. Very conscious of the eyes watching him from the other deck, he gathered up the board he had laid out and placed it over the gap between the ships. The passengers of the other ship gave him a wide berth as he came across. He glanced at them. How many of them knew why he was here? Did they all know what had happened between himself and Lace? If they did, they made no mention of it, nor did they make any move to get her, they just stood there, eyeing him suspiciously, as though he had come from another world.
Just standing there wasn't getting him anywhere, he made to approach one of them. To her credit, she didn't back away, she just sized him up very carefully.
Karma took a deep breath. “I'm looking for Lace”, he said.
I think she's in her cabin”, the woman responded, avoiding his gaze.
Could you fetch her?”. He had no idea where her cabin might be, and hunting through the ship for her was more than he could take.
She might be with someone”, she replied. That cut into him like a knife, but even if she had found someone else he still felt that he needed to speak to her, at least to apologize for his actions.
Please”, he responded weakly.
I'll check”, the woman said, turning and disappearing from view. The others stayed right where they were, clearly eager to see what might happen, and that made the waiting all the more intolerable. He had to shut his eyes to keep himself from scowling at them. Finally he heard footsteps on the deck again and he opened his eyes. There she was, the tall, slender, black-furred and blue-eyed woman that he had come to see, and even though he feared the upcoming conversation he was greatly relieved to see her again. She waved the others away so they could speak privately, and Karma tried to recall what he had decided to say to her.
I'm so relieved to see you again, Lace”, he said.
You made me wait a long time”.
I know. I'm very sorry. I should have come back sooner.”
She seemed to soften a bit when he said that. “Were you able to find your friend?”
Yes”, he replied. “There were some... complications... but everything is all right now. Thank you for all of your help, I couldn't have done it without you.”
I'm happy everything worked out. I was worried when you didn't come back.”
I'm sorry”.
They stood there in silence for a while. “I should go”, Karma said, eventually.
Did you only come here to tell me what had happened?”, she asked.
I don't think I had any right to expect anything else.”
Did you only come here to tell me what had happened?”, she repeated.
Of course not”, he said. “I came back to be with you.”
Then why haven't you put your paws around me yet?”
He scooped he up in his arms and held her tight. She squeezed him back.
I don't know what to say anymore”, he admitted.
Then don't say anything”, she said, kissing him.

They retreated to the privacy of his ship afterwards. Together they watched the waves and talked for a while, he told her about what had happened while they had been apart, and she comforted him and offered her support. Eventually their talk turned to how they had longed for one another, and after a few kisses under the light of the stars he led her back to his cabin where they finally came together again. The actual act of it did not take long, but Lace pinned him down for a long time afterwards, giving him all the kisses and cuddles he had missed while they had been separated. He would have been content to just remain there until the morning came, but she wanted to see the stars up on deck, and he knew she needed to be getting back home, as well. She smiled slyly when he said that, but he took little notice of it.
When he got up on deck, his jaw nearly hit the floor. Lay's ship was completely gone, they were the only ship on the ocean for as far as the eye could see.
What happened to your ship?” he asked, bewildered.
They must have left”, she replied nonchalantly. “I guess you're stuck with me for a while.”
He didn't know whether she had planned it or if this was Lay's doing, but either way he didn't tell her that he could simply have tracked Lay's ship using the signals.
Welcome aboard, Lace”, he said, wondering how he was going to explain this to Line and Angel, though perhaps if they were sharing an intimate evening as well they might understand. “Shall we head back to my cabin, then?”
I like the breeze out here”, she said, wrapping her paws around his neck, “but you have the right idea of it”. She lifted her leg and helped him position himself, and they watched the sun come up as they made love.

Even after the morning came, he could still feel her arms wrapped tightly around him. He opened his eyes and found he could barely speak.
Lace... you're breathtaking.”
She truly was. She was draped elegantly in a deep blue dress that perfectly matched the colour of her eyes and hugged her curves like a glove. Her long black hair was wrapped up into a neat bun, and a string of white-coloured balls shone brilliantly against her dark skin.
Thanks”, she said, blushing a bit. “You're looking pretty dapper yourself, Karma.”
He was dressed almost entirely in white, save for a black collar, shoes, and tie. He didn't think it suited him at all, but perhaps she knew better than he did. He finally peeled his eyes off of her to see where they were. It was fairly dark, there was some soft music playing, and all around them there were other well-dressed couples tied up in a tight embrace.
It's just like the night when we met”, he said.
I'm glad you still remember”, she smiled. “Shall we dance?”
It's terribly hard to move around dressed like this”, he said, stepping on her feet again.
She laughed and touched her forehead to his. “You'll get used to it eventually.”
I'll do my best”, he said, referring to both the dance and to her. “I love you, Lace.”
I love you too.”


The next morning, Line and Angel were snuggled up on the couch in Line's cabin, getting to know each other better.
And then I said 'well, I don't know how your house fell down, I'm just the gardener'”.
She laughed and snuggled up to him. “You're too funny, Snickerbug”.
I've got lots more like that”, he wrote, “there was this one time where I was-”
She looked up to him to see why he had stopped writing, but there had been a knock on the door.
Just a moment, Pretty Flower”, he wrote, “It sounds like Karma is back already.”
He gently disentangled himself from her and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, then got up to check who was at the door.

It wasn't Karma. It was an orange-furred man he had never met before.
Pardon the intrusion”, the man said, “but do you have a minute to talk?”
I suppose”, Line said, waving back to Angel to let her know it was okay as they stepped out of the cabin. “What can I do for you?”
First, let me introduce myself”, he said, extending his paw. “My name is Corsair, I'm the captain of that ship over there”. He pointed to the other ship looming nearby and cleared his throat. Line shook his paw, still completely in the dark about why this man had come.
This may seem a bit sudden”, he said, “but I've heard from a friend that you can remember the details of your life in the other world. Please, I need to know all about it.”

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