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[Fiction] An Errand of the Heart


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This is insane.

Through all of the preparation for this little jaunt, those words whispered through Timeslip's mind.

They'll know the second you arrive.

Those words also haunted the starscape nova, and not for any small reason. Ever since Jager's sudden disappearing act months before, Timeslip realized that the novas back in what had been her world would know where she was... and be waiting for her to make a run back. I can only hope that they aren't looking for me to do anything this foolish, she thought to herself as she neared the night-shrouded gardens of the Hideyoshi estate.

Long's analogue lived here... but weeks of careful research and surveillance indicated that she would be away on this night, off doing whatever it was that she did for the government of Nippon. Still, she didn't quite dare to actually set foot on the wooden deck behind the house - a deck that seemed so familiar that tears began to flow down Timeslip's cheeks. It never gets any easier, does it?

The Mistress of Time - unparalleled on this world, and nearly so in the one she was about to visit - checked her small cargo carefully, one last time. The three packages, each lovingly wrapped in dyed Incan cotton cloth and neatly labelled with kanji characters, were safely secured in place. For the hundredth time, she wondered if she were doing the right thing - not just for her own safety, but for the peace of mind of Long and the twins; it might be best, she had tried to argue with herself, if they just think of me as gone forever. It was an argument that she lost yet again.

There was no way to look ahead, to see if the path would be clear. For all she knew, Long and Jager could be sharing a beer not three feet from where she would show up. With a hard swallow, she choked back the fear... and reaching into the very heart of the cosmos itself, into that endless deep river of time, she picked without fail the thread of her home, and stepped across.

There was seemingly no change for the barest of moments... until she felt the immediate and nearby resonnance that could only be the pulse of M-R nodes. Without hesitation, she quickly lay the three parcels on the wooden deck... and then, even as she felt the tell-tale 'ping' of someone actively seeking out the newcomer, she dived back into that void between worlds, leaving three small presents and a few soft tears behind her.

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He'd been careful, knowing full well his promise to give her space. He didn't know if she knew he'd been the one to take Jager home, but now she'd know he could do so. He'd never approached her directly, but he refused to forsake Yokiko. He would make what effort he could to be here for her at times. He set down the parcels he'd wrapped with such great care. Christmas was a western holiday, but one even as a child he and his family had celebrated. One was addressed to Timeslip, by both her names. Another was a gift for Saori, his wayward little sister. There was another for each of them from Misato and Benkei, They had not forgotten their aunt and adopted mother. The final gift was for little Yokiko.

Saori's present is a welcome to come back home with a means of contacting his alternate self., and a necklace that belonged to their father. The Necklace was a small Golden dragon with saphire eyes. Timeslip's gift is her restored wedding dress. The fire had ravaged it, but Long had used his own power to livingly restore it to it's orginal state. I wasn't exactly fitting, but buying it and wearing it had brought Timeslip such joy once, it belonged to her. Perhaps one day Yokiko would wear it for her wedding. The present for Yokikois pendant of a tiger's head of nearly white platinum with obsidian striping with true blue sapphire eyes. The Face had a kind look to it, and it would be easy to see it was based on her father.

The children had also sent their gifts with him. The children's present for Timeslip are pictures of them using their powers, and growing as young novas. Also Included was a signed pair of promises, one that they'll come visit if they're allowed (countersigned by Long), and a promise to not forget her and the lessons she taught them. For Saori they'd painted a beautiful picture of a golden dragon resting with a white tiger and its cubs... With the Dragon easily regarded as being accepted by the cubs and the Tiger.

He knew they'd be found, that each of them would be inspected. "She might not like this act, but you are all part of my family, and I will always regard you as such. No barrier can sever the ties of blood." He thought about Timeslip, "or the fact that I will always love you." He gently brushed Yokiko's face with the back of one of his massive hands. She reflexively grasped one of his fingers but let go quickly. "One day Daughter, we will meet for real, until then know that I love you, that I'll always love you."

He vanished from the room and reappeared back in Tokyo. From there he returns back to Prime, and sits alone in the gardens. He sat and thought about Timeslip, the love and joy they'd had together, The birth of Yokiko and their final separation. Having regained his composure he returned to the house by way of the back porch. It was then he noticed the very distinct odor of his ex-wife. She'd come while he was gone, and it seemed that the two mind who'd shared every secret had continued to think alike even now, as there were gifts for Misato, Benkei and himself.

He scanned them and approved of the gifts. Misato would love the Incan Doll, with it's masterful beadwork and real hair, and Benkei would get a real kick out of the folded steel knife. "I'll give him a sword when he earns it, but for now a knife will do." He actually opened the one addressed to himself, and smiled at the book. "A history of another world, it should make for an interesting read." he noticed the bookmark and smiled even as a tear fell from his icy blue eyes. "You have the most beautiful red hair Angela, It was something I'd hoped Yokiko would inherit." The smell of the hair would be a reminder of the past, now consigned to memory.

"We'll all keep our promises."

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