Title: FOREVER AND ALWAYS, Part Two: The Most Powerful Magic
Author: Macbee
Email:  wcpiga@aol.com
Rating:  NC17 for sexual content
Disclaimer: The characters of Matthew Gideon, Sarah Chambers, John Sheridan and Galen belong to Warner Brothers, Babylon 5 Productions and Time Warner Entertainment. By using them in this story I in no way intend to infringe on those rights.   
My thanks to Antoinette Brenion for her editing, input and encouragement.
[ ] Donates private thought.

The Most Powerful Magic

Captain Matthew Gideon leaned back in a chair in his quarters, his feet propped on his desk. He folded his arms before speaking. "You and Katherine, huh?"

Galen nodded. "We thought you should know. Does this create a problem?"

"Well, I don't know Galen," Gideon rubbed his chin with his left hand.  "There is that rule about fraternization between crew members."

"Surely, you're not serious."

Gideon looked very stern for a moment, then smiled. "Just joking Galen."

Galen's expression did not change. "I see nothing at all funny about it."

"Come on Galen, lighten up. It was just a joke. You're not technically a crew member so there's no problem. Besides, everyone on the ship knows about you and Katherine."

"Tell me you are joking again." Galen's brow furrowed with concern.

"Sorry, no joke, this time, Galen. They've all been talking about it for weeks." Gideon tried hard to hide his amusement over Galen's acceptance of this little bit of news, but it was no use.

"Good lord!" Galen walked back and forth in front of the captain.  Finally stopping to look into Gideon's face he said,  "You think this is funny, don't you, Matthew?"

"I'm sorry, Galen. It's not the idea of you and Katherine. I think that's great. It just the thought of the great technomage falling in love like the rest of  us poor humans."

"Well, go ahead, have your little laugh."

Galen turned abruptly and left the captain's quarters. Gideon chuckled.  It was the first time he had seen his friend flustered.                                                                      

"He says everyone on board knows. Has known for weeks."

"Galen," Katherine tried to keep up with his pacing but finally sat down. He had stormed through the door of her quarters ten minutes earlier and had not been still since. "Galen, please stop. I can't talk to you if you're going to keep walking back and forth in front of me.   It's making me dizzy!"

The technomage stopped suddenly and faced her. "Well?"

"It's really not that bad, Galen. They would have figured it out sooner or later. Besides, does it really matter if they know that we love each other?"

"No, of course not. I don't care if they know. I just can't stand they way they stare and smile every time we happen to be in the same place at the same time. You'd think they would have something better to do. Work for instance."

He walked over to the port hole and looked out at the darkness.

"Galen." Katherine said softly.

He didn't reply.

"Galen." She repeated.

He  looked at her over his right shoulder as a tiny, almost imperceptible smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

"Come sit down." Katherine patted a spot on the sofa. With a sigh he  moved to sit beside her.

"It's that infernal smiling,  Katherine.  Everyone I meet smiles at me.  They never did that before. Why now?"

"They probably would have smiled at you before if you'd given them the chance. You can sometimes be very intimidating, you know."

"Me?  Intimidating?"

"I'm afraid so. Everyone is just being courteous, Galen.  Smiling.  Saying hello. Have a nice day."

"To people they don't really know?"

Katherine nodded affirmatively.  "You'll get used to it  If not, just ignore it."

"That wouldn't be too courteous, now would it?" He smiled this time, and Katherine reached up to caress  his cheek.

She stood up. "Why don't you come with me to the gym?"

"The gym? I think not." He stood and moved toward the door.

"Well, at least walk with me." She knew he couldn't resist her request.

Galen stopped at the door, bowing chivalrously."After you,  my dear."                                                                     

The passageway to the gym seemed more crowded than usual, and the looks from the crewmen they met did not escape Katherine, as she knew they did not Galen. She returned their smiles while Galen simply stared ahead.

As they approached  the gym, an ensign came quickly through the door and straight into Galen. Face to face with the technomage, and totally speechless for a split second, he finally found his voice. "Sorry. I should have been watching where I was going."

Galen suddenly smiled. "No problem. How are you? Have a nice day."

"Th...thank you." the young man stuttered. "You, too."

As the harried ensign hurried down the passageway, Katherine could not contain her laughter.                                                                      

The next couple of  days were filled with hustle and bustle on board the Excalibur, as the crew prepared for a visit from the ambassador of Lydor. The ship would be in orbit around his planet in 24 hours, and the ship's interior had been polished for inspection.  Katherine and Sarah, along with the medtech crew,  had sick bay looking ship-shape.

"Well, Katherine," Dr. Sarah Chambers stood, her hands on her hips, looking at the neatly stacked supplies and immaculate counters, "I think we'll pass inspection. Don't you?"

"I think President Sheridan, himself, would give us a thumbs-up."

"I say we take the evening off.  How about it?" Dr. Chambers closed a counter drawer that was slightly ajar.

"You'll get no argument from me, " Katherine replied.

"OK, I'm on call tonight.  See you in the morning."

"Good night, Sarah." Katherine turned to take one last look around.  She was straightening an instrument tray that seemed a little off center when she suddenly smiled. "Hello, Galen."

Galen walked up behind her and encircled her with his arms. She raised her hands to cover his. "I think I'm in need of your services, doctor,"  he whispered in her right ear.

"You think so?" She leaned her head against his.

"Yes, I do."

"What seems to be the problem? A headache or a case of space sickness perhaps?

"No," he sighed. "Much worse than that I'm afraid."

Katherine raised her right hand to Galen's forehead. "No fever."

Galen took her right hand in his and kissed her fingers.  "I assure you that I am suffering greatly, doctor."

She loosened her  hand again, and pressed the side of his neck  with her index and third fingers. "Pulse is a little quick.  What exactly are your symptoms?" Katherine relaxed, leaning her body against his.

"Symptoms?  Let me see.  A sort of emptiness................" He took her right  hand and, turning her to face him, placed it over his heart..."Here."

"Hmmmmmm." she said, trying to sound very serious.

"And an awful  pain...................." He moved her hand down further, pressing it against his stomach....."Here."

"Oh my," she said. "That does sound bad."

"But, worst of all," he said as he lifted her hand and pressed her fingers against his lips, "A terrible hunger here."

"Well,  I think I might possibly have a  cure for that."

"And what would that be?" He asked as she slipped her arms around his neck.

"We'll start with one of these," she brushed his lips with hers in a quick kiss.

"What if that doesn't work?" His face was close, his brilliant blue eyes  looking directly into hers.

"Then we might try this." She kissed him again,  her mouth lingering a bit longer on his.

"And, what if that doesn't work?" His eyes gleamed devilishly, and she smiled.

"Then I guess, as a last resort, we'll have to try this." She raised her hands and brought his face down in a passionate kiss. Moving her body against his, she nibbled on his lower lip, then bent to kiss his neck just below his ear. "Is this helping?" she murmured against his skin.

"No, doctor, I'm afraid my symptoms are getting much worse."

Katherine pulled back to look at him. "Oh, this is more serious than I thought. I think I may have to  prescribe bed rest."

"Oh, I like that prescription." He said, taking her hand to lead her from sick bay.  Unfortunately, just as they reached the door,  it opened, and Capt. Matthew Gideon stood on the other side.

"Katherine," he nodded in her direction. "Galen, I thought I might find you here. I need your help with a few last minute details before the ambassador arrives tomorrow."

"Now, Matthew? Can't it wait?"

"I'm afraid not, Galen."  He looked past the mage to Katherine. " Sorry if I'm interrupting your evening."

"So am I." Galen looked briefly at Katherine, then preceded the captain through the door.

Katherine, left alone and somewhat breathless, let out a long and heavy sigh.                                                                    

After eating dinner, alone, in the dining room, Katherine returned to her quarters, undressed and pulled a book down from the tiny shelf over her desk.   She tried reading, but after a few minutes, she stopped. I can't get interested in this. The clock on her desk showed 11 p.m. [ Maybe some music will help.]  She thumbed through the music disks on the floor near one end of the sofa.  [Mozart.  Chopin. Elvis, thanks dad. Mood music. Opera. Darn!]   She started to close the disk case, but reached in and pulled out the last disk.  She laughed. [Romantic Interludes. Just what I need!]  She dropped the disk into the console and went into the bedroom. Stretching out across the bed, she closed her eyes and eventually fell asleep.

Katherine was dreaming about home. Earth. Then, she slowly began to wake, coming through the layers of sleep to open her eyes. Galen was silhouetted against the light coming from the sitting area. She smiled dreamily and raised her arms, summoning him to her bed.   With a few steps, he disengaged himself from his coat and  was sitting on the bed, leaning down to kiss  her.  

Slipping his arms under her back, he sat up, bringing her with him as his mouth continued to take possession of hers. It took only a second to loosen the ties on Katherine's shoulders, and her gown fell to her waist. He continued to hold her with one arm as his other hand moved over her body. A body that had become so familiar to him during the last few weeks.  Still, it pleased and excited him to feel her skin, so soft and warm beneath his touch.

Katherine lingered for a moment, savoring the feel of him, then she began to undo the buttons to his shirt and quickly removed it. Galen shifted his weight and lifted her onto his lap,  pulling her close, his hands on her back, pressing her to him. She  leaned her head back as his lips trailed firey kisses from her neck to her shoulders. A small moan escaped her, and her hands grasped his shoulders, pulling him down with her. A few quick movements sent the rest of Galen's clothes and Katherine's gown past the foot of the bed to the floor.  Then he was inside    her. Wanting her. Needing her. Loving her.

In the sitting room, the disk began to play again. Romantic Interludes.  But the couple, intertwined on the bed did not notice. They made their own music.  Gentle and sweet, but with an undercurrent of consuming passion.

The ambassador's visit went well. Katherine, in her dress uniform, joined the other officers on the bridge to welcome him aboard. After a few moments of introductions and, thankfully, short speeches, the ambassador's health minister joined Dr. Chambers and Katherine for a tour of sick bay. He was very interested in human  medicine and in particular any progress on the Drahk plague. Katherine watched him as Sarah answered his many questions. He was tall, probably considered handsome on his own planet, and he was green.  Light green. No hair, but he had the most beautiful amber eyes. He spoke some English but relied heavily on a translator, who, from the looks of him, was part human. Katherine spoke little, but nodded and smiled when it was called for.

The afternoon went quickly, and when the minister excused himself to rejoin the ambassador, Katherine headed for her quarters to freshen up before dinner. It was to be formal and most likely boring, but she thought it would be fun, too. She especially relished the fact that Galen would be accompanying her. Their first "official" public appearance.

Katherine did not realize how tired she was until she removed her jacket and lay it across the foot of the bed.  Using good posture, and constantly smiling for several hours, was more fatiguing than she remembered.  A quick touch-up with lipstick and she'd be ready. In front of the mirror, she turned her head from side to side to make sure that her hair was still up and in  place. No  strays falling over her ears or neck.

While she was retrieving her jacket from the bedroom, the door chime sounded.  [That can't be Galen. I was supposed to meet him in the dining room. Besides, I don't "feel" him.] Putting the jacket down on the desk,  she walked toward the door. "Come in."  She was very surprised to see that it was Galen.

He walked into the room quickly with no greeting. After looking around the room as though searching for something, he turned to speak. "I need your help, Katherine. You must come with me."

"What is it Galen? Is something wrong? Has something happened?" She started toward him.

"We don't have time to talk now. I'll explain later." He took her hand and headed for the door. She barely had time to grab the jacket.

Galen kept up a fast pace, practically dragging her along as they made their way to the lower landing deck. When she saw Galen's ship, she started toward it, but he pulled her quickly in the other direction.  "We'll use a shuttle craft."

"What? Where are we going?" Katherine struggled to keep up with him.  When she attempted to stop, he grabbed her tightly by the wrist and kept walking.

"Galen, you're hurting me!" She tried to pull free, but it was no use.  As she stumbled up the ramp to the shuttle, she remembered that she had not felt Galen's presence at her door. Fear began to creep into the back of her mind as the door to the shuttle closed.

Katherine finally managed to free her arm from Galen's grasp and ran to the shuttle door, but before she could lower it, she was caught from behind.  Still trying to free herself, she was dragged forward, and unceremoniously dumped in a seat in front of  the instrument console.

"Who are you?" She stood up and screamed,  rubbing her wrist as it began to show signs of bruising.

"Shut up! And sit down!!  Make one more sound or movement, and I'll kill you now!!"

Katherine sat down, and as she did, the body in front of her lost all  trace of Galen as it transformed into someone she did not know.  [Oh god! A shape shifter! But, who is he?  What does he want with me? Wait, what did he say 'I'll kill you now'? Now.  He intends to kill me, and I don't even know who he is."]

The shuttle lifted from its platform and moved through the bay opening, into the darkness of space.                                                                      

Galen, waiting outside the dining room, felt a growing uneasiness.  Moments earlier he had sensed fear, but for some reason he wasn't able to clearly perceive why or from whom it came. He leaned back against the bulkhead and looked once more down the passageway, hoping to see Katherine walking toward him. [Where is she?  It isn't like her to be late].  He could stand the waiting no longer and headed toward Katherine's quarters.

When she did not open the door, he let himself inside. It was quiet and dark and empty.. A sense of forboding began to penetrate and replace the uncertainness he had felt before. He turned to leave. [She could be at my ship. Perhaps she's ill.]  He took one step toward the door, then froze. An unvited vision  formed in the recesses of his mind, becoming clearer with each heart beat. It was Katherine, struggling  with...............him!  Then he heard an unfamiliar voice, not out loud, but in his head. "If you do   not come, I will kill her."                                                                      

Katherine assumed from the shortness of the flight that they had landed on Lydor. But, as she decended the ramp, her arm held tightly by her captor, all she saw were trees and bushes and more trees and bushes. As the shape shifter dragged her along behind him through the dense undergrowth, the shrubs caught and tangled around her legs,  and small tree limbs hit her in  the face and scratched her unprotected arms. [If only I had my jacket. Ouch! ] A thorny vine hit her shoulder and ripped through the tender flesh.

Katherine was too tired to think, let alone figure out how far they had walked. She was in pain and thirsty and frightened by the unknown, when they finally stopped at the mouth of a cave. She looked up into the sky one last time, not knowing if she would ever see it again.                                                                      

Galen sat at the controls of his ship. His eyes closed. Concentrating.  Willing another vision of Katherine.  [Darkness. A fire. A cave.  Somewhere below.]  His ship left the Excalibur, unnoticed.                                                                     

"I'm thirsty," Katherine looked up into  dark and emotionless eyes.  A silver bottle was thrust before her, and when she tested it she found that it was water. She drank deeply. "Do you have a name? Or am I not supposed to know?"

"Dagan, my name is Dagan."  He took the bottle from her and drank.

"Why am I here? What do you want from me?" She tried to sound brave,  but knew that she didn't.

"I want nothing from you."

"Then why am I here? What do you................?" Katherine's heart skipped a beat. "You want Galen."

"Yes, I want the mage."

"No." Katherine suddenly lost all fear for her own life, as the paralyzing thought of any sort of  harm coming to Galen filled her mind and heart.

"Why? Why do you want him? And, why take me? I'm nothing to him." She hoped that she lied better than she faked bravery.

Dagan laughed. "I know what you are to the technomage. He will surrender his life for yours if need be."     


Galen left his ship and boarded the shuttle a few yards away. He immediately felt Katherine's lingering presence, then he saw her jacket on the floor. He picked it up, and for a second,  held it close, then  placed it  on the instrument panel and walked from the shuttle into the woods.                                                                      

Katherine sat, leaning against the cave wall. Aching and scared. Her hands tied. Her mind worked feverishly, trying to think of a way to free herself. A way to save Galen. Finally, overcome with fatigue, she leaned her head against the cold stone and slept.                                                                     

She awoke with a start. She did not see Dagan but knew  he was near.  Then she felt it. Galen's presence.  She assumed that even though Dagan had the ability to shift shape, he most likely would not be attuned to her thoughts or to her psychic bond with Galen. Perhaps the element of surprise would be in their favor.

It was only moments before she saw Galen, standing in the shadows cast by the fire. She did not move, did not show any recognition of his being there. But, she could see his eyes, piercing through the dimness to bring her comfort and lessen her fear. He made no move toward her but disappeared into the darkness.

Her heart beat pounded in her ears, and she was sure that it must be echoing off the walls of the cave. Galen once again moved from the shadows, much closer this time. He spoke very softly. "Where is he?"

"I don't know" Katherine whispered.

Galen took a step toward her, but was brought up short by the sudden appearance of  Dagan.  "Here I am! I've been waiting for you."  Before Galen could  move, Dagan was beside Katherine.  He pulled her roughly to her feet, pushed her in front of him, and reached around with his right hand to place a weapon to her temple.

Galen stood silently for a moment. "What do you want?"

Dragan laughed. "What do you offer?"

Galen eyes moved to Katherine. "Let her go first."

"No. As long as I have her I know you will give me what I want."

Galen shifted his gaze back to Dagan. "And what would that be?"

"Your power." Dagan waited with anticipation for Galen's reaction but saw none.

"That's not possible." Galen said calmly.

With no warning  Dagan pointed the weapon at the mage and fired, grazing his right shoulder. Then he laughed. "Hurts, doesn't it?"

Galen said nothing. But, Katherine knew that he felt the pain. She began to struggle, but Galen's voice stopped her. "Katherine, no!"

"Good advice, Galen. " Dagan gripped Katherine hard, taking pleasure in inflicting even minor pain. "Now, where was I? Oh , yes. The pain. Well, imagine that pain multiplied three, maybe four times in your little friend, here. A shot to her arm. Both her legs, maybe.  And, you forced to stand there and watch."

"I will do as you ask, but transferring my power will be a dangerous process."

"But worth is, eh?"

Galen thoughts were racing. He had no intention of transferring his powers even if he could, but he had to buy time. Enough time to get Katherine out of danger.

"May I ask what you intend to do with this power?"

Dagan laughed. "Rule this planet. Rule the universe. Maybe I'll even be you for a while and see what I can find on the Excalibur. Lots of women there."  

Galen watched as Dagan shifted into the mirror image of himself.  [A shape shifter. This may be the way out.] "Very impressive."

"Fooled the doctor here, didn't it honey?" He nuzzled Katherine's ear with his nose. "Too bad I had to concentrate on business. We could have had some fun."  He chuckled as Katherine squirmed beneath his touch.

Galen fought to retain his composure. "How long can you hold a shape?"

"As long as I want. Two, maybe three days. Maybe more."

"And" Galen inquired "You can change at will?"

"When I want, as often as I want." Dagan's boasting seemed to lower his defenses a bit. And, Katherine was sure she heard Galen telling her to wait until he told her to move, then elbow Dagan in the stomach and fall to the ground.

"Can you change your sex as well?"

"You mean become a female? Sure, I can." Dagan smiled.

"Show me. Would you? I find this very interesting." Galen slowly moved his right hand behind his back without Dagan noticing.

"No! Let's get started with the power transfer."

"As you say." Galen smiled. "I guess shape shifting isn't as easy as it looks."

"Everything is easy for me." .

As Dagan began to shift, Galen made his move. "Now Katherine!"

Without hesitation, Katherine elbowed Dagan as hard as she could. As she fell to the ground, she saw Galen's hand raised,  a blue ball of light leave it, moving in Dagan's direction. She heard the weapon fire. Then silence.  

Katherine lay in the dirt, afraid to look around. Afraid that Dagan would be standing there over Galen's crumpled body. Strong hands grasped her shoulders and tuned her into a sitting position. She looked up and through her tears saw Galen's face.

"Katherine," he pulled her into his arms, holding her in a fast embrace.  "Don't cry. You're safe."

Her hands clutched at his coat desparately, and she  said though her sobs "Are you hurt?"

"No, my love, I'm not. " He pushed her from him to look into her face.  Tears flowed from her eyes,  leaving trails on her dirty cheeks.  He had not seen her cry before, and it touched him greatly. He bent to kiss her eyes lids and said,  "Dry your tears, and let's go home."

Galen untied her hands and  helped Katherine to her feet. "Dagan?" she asked.

"He seems to have cooled off." Galen said as he moved so that Katherine could see past him.

There stood Dagan. Well, it was partly Dagan and partly someone else.  A female someone else. Encased in ice.  Katherine walked over and tapped on the block.  Solid.  "Is he dead?"

"No, he's in cryogenic suspension. He'll be all right after he thaws. A headache perhaps, or at the very least a case of the sniffles, but he'll live. We'll notify the Lydorian authorities when we get back to the ship, and they can deal with him."

Katherine was silent for a moment. "He could have killed you."

"But he didn't." Galen took her  in his arms, and she clung to him, her face buried in his chest.  "Can you walk?"

"I think so." She reluctantly  released her hold  and stood back to face him.

He touched the cut on her left shoulder, and she grimaced. Removing his coat, and placing it around her shoulders, Galen led Katherine from the cave.

Outside, she looked up into the sky and said a silent prayer of thanks.

"Ouch!" Katherine flinched as Sarah Chambers applied antiseptic to the cuts and scrapes on her arms, neck and face.  "That stings!"

Sarah looked over her shoulder at Galen who, having had his wound tended, leaned against the counter next to the door. "They say that doctors make the worst patients."

"The noisiest ones at least." Galen smiled.

The doors to sick bay opened and Matthew Gideon walked in. "Well, they got your man. Or woman.  Seems he escaped from prison on his own plantet and has been roaming the galaxy, pulling one con after another. He must have seen you somewhere, Galen. On one of your mysterious trips maybe. We still don't know how he knew about Katherine or how he go on board the Excalibur, but we're working on it. He could have arrived with the ambassador's party. Anyway, they gave him medication to prevent his shifting for a while, so I guess he'll be shaping himself into a prison uniform for the next few years."

"Really, Matthew." the mage groanded.

"You didn't like my joke, Galen? Gee, I thought it was a pretty good one."  Gideon smiled. He looked at Katherine and Sarah. "I guess it's just that technomage lack of  humor. They don't know how to laugh."  He walked over to Katherine. "You OK?"

"Yes, thanks to Galen."

"He's a good friend to have, when you need one." Gideon smiled at Galen,  who nodded in return.

"Well, I'm on my way to the dining room for what they laughingly refer to as a cup of coffee. Care to join me,  Sarah?"

The captain and Dr. Chambers left sick bay.

Galen moved to stand in front of Katherine. "Come on. I know what you need."


When Katherine stepped from the shower, Galen was there to wrap her in her old pink bathrobe. Putting his arm around her, he lead her into the bedroom.  When she sat on the side of the bed, he sat beside her and tuned her to face him. He gently lowered the robe from her shoulders, then reached into his shirt and took out a small vial.

"What's that?" Katherine looked at the vial curiously.

"Magic" he replied as he  poured a bit of liquid into his palm and raised his hand to her shoulder. He began to tenderly spread the liquid over her wounds.

As she felt the warmth from the liquid soothe her pain, Katherine sighed.  "Oh, that feels wonderful."

He smoothed the elixir on her neck and on the scratches on her face.  "Better?"

"Much." She looked into his eyes, and he saw a hunger building in her.

"You should rest first." He kissed her forehead.

Katherine shook her head negatively. "After."

He sighed. Galen knew that he was unable to deny her what she wanted.  All of his power was useless when she looked at him like that.  So, he kissed her.  A kiss that told her how much he loved her and how little his life would mean to him if  she were not a part of it.

He stood to remove his clothes. "Are you sure you don't want to rest?"

"I want you."

"Then you shall have me."                                                                     

Galen sat on the side of the bed and helped Katherine remove her robe.  He took her face in his hands.  "What have you done to me, Katherine? What sorcery do you practice that gives you such power over all I think and do?"

As she circled his neck to draw him to her for a kiss she said "Love."

"The most powerful magic of all" he said against her lips.

"Love me, Galen."

And he did. With every caress, every kiss, he loved her. His hands, moving over her body,  testified to that love. Kisses, sweet and deep, affirmed it.  From deep within his body and soul it sprang forth, speaking to her with words, soft and gentle. It flowed through her, to the innermost parts of her being. Not only did their bodies join, but their hearts and minds, their thoughts, the blood coursing through their veins.

Katherine moved beneath the weight of Galen's body, drawing him in and making him part of her. For one  moment, her body dissolved into his, moving together toward an affirmation of what they could, and would, be forever more. Together. United. One. When she could wait no longer, she breathed his name and pushed her body upward, taking him with her to heights that only love can reach.


Afterward, she lay in his arms, drowsy and satisfied, his hand moving slowly up and down her back.


"Yes, my love."

"Nothing. I just wanted to hear your name."

"Someday you may tire of it."


"Never is a long time."

"Never.......ever...........forever." Katherine raised her head to look into his eyes. She could now tell what he was thinking, when she looked into those eyes.

Galen did not speak, but he did not need to. Katherine smiled, lowered her head to his chest and slept.  He lay for a few moments feeling the rise and fall of her chest against his, the beating of her heart.  Then he closed his eyes. In the moments before sleep overcame him,  in that misty world between waking and dreaming, he whispered. "Forever."

**end part two**