1. Copyright: These are NOT all my characters. Some of them are owned by someone else...who blah blah ...you know. I don't claim them, but I like to play with them. OH boy! Play...mmmm mmmm. The rest is my Copyright © 2005 All Rights Reserved. Send comments to JLNickymaster@aol.com
2. Violence: Nope
3. Sexual content: Umm smooching of course...and lesbian lip locks and lesbian dancing and lesbian food...oh wait...hmmm...ok, I'm just nuts.
4. Special thanks: to my computer who only hung up 12 times. Piece of sh...! And to my beta that actually saved our IM conversation for posterity, or something and helped me recover a couple of lost pages from the previously mentioned piece of shi..! Thanks super beta woman (strange habit but...I guess it's handy.)
5. Language: No dammit!
6. Note from the beta: She borrowed a Roberta Flack, love song for this one... blah blah. No personal gain. etc.etc. Is anyone besides me, interested in a sequel? Heh. Gottcha! Oh and ~ Yòû'rè Wêlçômë Ñîç!! £óvê ñ kïššêš, M

This is PART 9. This is the CONCLUSION to Deepest Ocean Green.

Deepest Ocean Green Part 9... Conclusion

Maiden Voyage Itinerary for Queen Victoria Cruise Ship - From Orlando's nearby port of entry Cape Canaveral, we will sail to Miami, Key West Island and across the Atlantic to Cozumel. After a quick visit to the Bahamas, we will circle back to Fort Lauderdale and then make our way to return home to Cape Canaveral.

Aunt Janice paused to ask if the three of them could retire to the sitting area. Dean followed the two women back into the room, which was dominated by the stunning portrait above the mantel. Aunt Janice continued on with her story after the three of them were seated and comfortable.

Dean listened with fascination as they leapt back into the history of the owner's of the portrait.

"Let's see here. Where was I? Oh yes, the treasure hunt. They found scroll after scroll written by a bard named Gabrielle. She told dramatic and amazing stories of her travels with a woman named Xena. Xena was, according to the tales of Gabrielle, a warrior princess and friend of Hercules, the son of the Greek God, Zeus. She was the 'chosen' by Ares, the God of War and a sworn enemy to many others that had survived, throughout her warlord days and yet still held a grudge. Some lesser Gods, Callisto and Velasca, were born merely to seek out and destroy Xena. Gabrielle spoke of Tartarus and the River of Styx along with Hades, God of the underworld and ruler of the dead."

"Gabrielle, also spent time among the Gods, where she met and befriended Aphrodite, Goddess of Love. She recounted many trials and tribulations of their lives together that were so full of historical facts, that the writings were proved to be true. Janice and Melinda spent many long nights unraveling the mystery of these two women."

"Well, needless to say, the scroll hunting had to end one day. Janice and Mel found a final message that spoke of Xena's death. Gabrielle had poured out her undying love for the warrior while holding her in her arms. During her last moments of life, Xena promised they would meet again soon, if not in this life, then the next. Gabrielle wrote of a dying request that Xena had made to the Gods, that their love would never die. Xena pledged her love to endure throughout eternity. Gabrielle promised to find her wherever they may be, this life or the next."

"The Gods complied. To this day the Gabrielle family line has been fated to meet their Xena counterpart, or as we call it their soul mate. The fated soul must join with it's other half, one person who in this life is destined to fill the void of a heart untouched by true love. The only person capable of completing and fulfilling the promise that Xena made to Gabrielle; is Xena's soul, reborn.

Dean frowned in confusion. Fated? Destined? A trusting hand claimed hers underneath the table, squeezing it reassuringly. She looked over at Chris and read her features. Chris was asking for a chance to show Dean more. Dean could not refuse.

"Why don't you let me show you something, sweetheart?" Chris asked, even as she blushed at the warm feeling that came from using the endearment. She glanced at her Aunt and the elderly woman gave a nod of encouragement and made shooing motions with her hands.

Dean and Chris stood up, Chris led them further into the house. They entered a large room off the hallway and Dean was struck silent at the contents. An enormous area with all four walls covered in portrait after portrait of people from the past.

"This is a historical collection of our familial line, painted back through the centuries. Each generation continues the pictorial if they are able."

"These are all your relatives?" Dean asked as she looked around the room at the hundreds of portraits.

"Chris pulled her into the room then turned her to the painting closest to the door.

"Every one of them is related to me."

"That's just amazi..." Dean's voice dropped off to a whisper as she gazed at the giant painting hanging on the wall. The eyes of the painted figures looked down at her, seemingly alive and amused. Uncle Bryant with Aunt Janice. She felt a chill of an eerie déjà vu rolling down her spine as she recognized both of the people from Chris' lineage. A shiver touched her when she realized she had never met one of the people from that painting in her life. But she recognized him from somewhere. Although she had never met him, she tried to think of a picture or news article she might have seen him in. Deep down, it was just something unexplainable. She knew him. Dean looked at the strikingly handsome features of a tall man, with dark black hair and beautiful blue eyes that twinkled even in the frozen state of the oiled masterpiece. His laugh lines and endearing lopsided grin were strikingly familiar. She recognized him and knew; she would have known him anywhere. It was almost frightening.

Dean moved to the next painting of a tall raven haired woman dressed in a flowing white blouse, her tan skin standing out in the portrait as she stared down, crystal blue eyes filled with love for the smaller figure beside her. A stocky woman, wearing a fedora hat with a wide brim and a saucy tilt to the front edge was grinning up at the taller woman. Her blonde hair was sticking outward from the edges of the fedora and her green eyes danced with happiness. She wore a men's style button down and a leather jacket over her blouse. The dynamics between the women was obvious, even without looking at the two hands that were clasped with matching rings affixed on their fingers.

"That is Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas." Chris said in a hushed, yet awestruck voice. Dean wrapped her arm around Chris' shoulders as she felt the strength and love pour out of that painting toward them. She could almost imagine Janice Covington, wishing them good travels and a glorious adventure. Melinda had eyes only for her partner.

Dean's eyes moved on; from painting to painting as she began to listen to Chris describe the people. Every picture held at least one familiar form. The shape of their faces, their eye color and the fairest hair of blonde characterized the similarities displayed between them and Chris.

Dean was amazed as Chris rambled off the names and facts on each of the pairs of people in each painting. A few paintings down, the people did not look as happy. The portrait held four figures standing in two pairs. A blonde man with green eyes stood on the right and his wife, a brown haired slightly larger woman was at his side. They were both frowning. To the left of the portrait stood a beautiful dark haired woman with a striking dark haired man and both of these figures were smiling. However, Dean noted what looked like strain, or fatigue in the eyes of the woman.

"That is Rachael Wallace and her husband Sir Michael. They broke the fate cycle by marrying outsiders. She died of old age and alone, her husband placed in jail for crimes that he had committed during a four-year stint as the Captain of a Galleon. He was reported to have killed and maimed many with a vicious streak that would rival Borias the warlord, Xena's husband and the father of Solan. Rachael's best friend and confidant through out her life was my cousin Shawn that green eyed fellow there." She pointed to the other couple included in the portrait. "We always supposed that her soul mate should have been cousin Shawn. Both families ended in tragedy. Shawn's wife ended up dying in childbirth two years after this painting. The child, my great cousin Gwen, is over there. Dean's eyes moved over a painting to take in a beautiful buxom young blonde that was grasping the arm of a devilishly handsome young man who once again had the bluest eyes glowing out of the portrait.

Chris continued to explain many of the other portraits, their love affairs, their happiness, their tragedies, and left Dean stunned with the overflow of fact filled proof that backed up the soul mate theory. Dean realized she either had to believe in the fate of this theory, or negate it. If she decided she couldn't honestly believe her future was fated to be this way, then she realized she was not accepting something that Chris truly believed in. A fate for the two of them, that would effect how they would live, love and exist, forever. Eventually, she was standing in the middle of the room and began shaking her head. It was an impossible belief to understand. The thought of an everlasting soul mate fated by destiny to be reborn and find their mate holding the other half of their soul. But, she paused, deep in thought. She remembered that one moment in time when she had first looked into her lover's emerald eyes.

The wind was knocked out of her as a short blonde dynamo collided into her on the deck. "Oompf" was all she could manage to say as she dropped her duffle and stepped back into a more balanced stance. Her hands had come up to hold onto the moving figure before any more damage had been done.

"Excuse me!" Chris had apologized, as her eyes looked Dean up and down, taking in the tall body standing before her. Dean watched the blonde's eyes climb upward to her face as they took stock of each other. The blonde swallowed, her eyes overly bright. She was blinking as she looked upward. Dean noted the slight sway of the smaller woman and hesitated before reaching out.

"Did I hurt you?" She asked, her voice husky from singing with the radio enroute. The blonde woman shook her head side to side and looked away for a moment. Settling back down, she took a deep breath and spoke for the first time since running directly into the woman.

"The sunlight hurt my eyes," Dean's gut instinct knew that the woman had just lied. She didn't have time to analyze anything since she was already being told to leave.

"We were not expecting guests until tomorrow. I can escort you back to the gangway if you would like."

Dean didn't mean to sound sarcastic, but she just couldn't help teasing a bit. "Then who would captain the ship if I were to leave?" she asked, politely, smiling. A beautiful rosy blush filled the pale cheeks of the blonde. It was arresting to see the rose color turn crimson when she suddenly opened her mouth and let out what Dean was sure she really wasn't meant to hear.

"You're the captain?"

Dean frowned.

"I'm s...sorry. That was...rude of me. The telegram didn't mention...a woman." The blonde tried to jump out of the hole she was digging. "In fact the telegram didn't mention either sex at all. Just.... ummm." She paused. Dean hoped she would finish her thoughts. She looked too cute; Dean was charmed by the woman and couldn't find a good reason to hold this against her.

Dean tilted her dark head to one side and arched an eyebrow. The flush only deepened on the blonde's cheeks.

"Sorry! I didn't mean to make that sound so...ummm...weird...sorry." Suddenly standing at full attention, she thrust out her hand. "Welcome aboard."

Dean looked down at the small hand and back at the younger face of the woman who was trying hard to remain calm. The turbulent, green eyes were shining brightly with unshed tears. An obvious fatigue stood visible in those eyes, the blonde's hand began to shake slightly.

Dean reached up and removed her sunglasses. Her electric blue eyes met verdant green eyes blinking at the collision. A sense of déjà vu struck them both. Dean felt her breath hitch and thought 'did the ship just move?'

Dean realized as she reminisced that her world had come together and become whole at that meeting. Regardless of the romantic nature of their future relationship, Dean had known the small figure she had met that day was going to be in her life. She smiled at the continued recollection.

She made a slow perusal of the petite woman before her. Her roaming eyes caressed the tension filled body taking in every nuance of rounded form and clinging uniform. Dean used her sapphire eyes to read the true nature of the other womans soul. She measured the petite figure from head to foot and back up again.

Taking the smaller hand still resting between Dean held it close and clasped it into the warmth between her own. Dean recalled a faint memory roaming around in her head. The emerald eyes Chris had looked at her with. She had recognized them.
"Glad to run into you, Officer...?"

"Parker. Chris Parker!" Chris managed to say, albeit with a slight waver in her voice.

Once again Dean blinked to focus on the here and now. This was the second time she had run across that déjà vu with Chris. Being the sensible person that she was, Dean realized coincidence only went so far. There was definitely something involved in the two of them meeting that short time ago. Fate or destiny, call it what ever you want, Dean realized the memory was filled with a beautiful woman who she had come to love very deeply.

Dean stopped shaking her head in confusion and realized the memory had stood out because Chris had made such an impact on her. The petite officer had filled her with thoughts and feelings and that's something no other person had ever been able to do. With a simple glance of her eyes Dean had known her heart was in trouble.

She glanced over at her lover who was standing near the piano looking up at Janice Covington and Melinda Pappas.

"It's true you know." Dean's husky voice spoke loudly in the quiet of the room. All the eyes of each figure in every portrait stared down at her for the remark. She ignored them all as she only sought out one person's attention. Those green eyes turned to look at her and once again she felt her world tilt. It was a precious gift Chris was giving and Dean wanted to make sure Chris knew it was just as important to her.

"It's true." Dean said softer. Chris looked at her quizzically. Dean held out her hand for the woman to come take. Chris began moving without being asked.

As their hands met and their eyes filled up with each other's gaze. Dean smiled.

"You are my soul mate. I wouldn't want to give my soul to anyone but you. I'm yours forever!"

Chris drew in a sharp breath and her eyes filled with tears as Dean pulled her forward and wrapped her in her strong arms. Chris trembled at the feeling of having someone enter into her heart so deeply.

She hoped the following years of their lives would be as wonderful as she had always imagined her Grandmothers life had been. Dean murmured a heartfelt 'I love you' as Chris closed her eyes and let the tears fall. She cried softly and held tight. Dean felt her own eyes water with happiness. The future was waiting and they both knew that they were going to be together.

A while later the two women returned to find their elderly host asleep in her chair, a silver edged pictured frame of an 8x10 sat on the end table next to her elbow. Her husband's smiling countenance looked outward. It seemed as if she might have been looking at it before drifting into sleeping.

Chris touched the elderly woman's shoulder and Aunt Janice woke instantly. She blinked a few times then grinned sheepishly.

"I'm afraid I'm a tad tired. Must have been the large dinner we ate." Chris leaned down and kissed Aunt Janice's cheek and then lowered herself into the nearby couch. Dean sat down next to Chris her expression still dazed by the wellspring of information she had taken in.

"What is the verdict, young one. Have you experienced the fascinating history of our clan and become caught in it's irresistible trap?" Aunt Janice chuckled as she shared the often thought of conspiracy theory of the Gabrielle familial lineage.

Dean slowly nodded her head. She began to explained that first moment when she'd met Chris. She also talked to Aunt Janice about other strange things that had just fallen into place. Aunt Janice smiled and blinked back shining tears from her lively green eyes. She welcomed Dean in to the family.

Chris had once again started a lively recount of various obscure relatives when the grandfather clock began to chime. Out of instinct, both Dean and Chris glanced at their watches. Double frowns looked over at Aunt Janice. She sat looking at them grinning.

"It's like a curfew. I expect you two are going to make your way back down here soon. I'll cook you more food and expect great and exciting stories about your travels. I have to start another painting. Dean's eyes widened, in surprise.

"You painted those portraits?"

"Aunt Janice, smiled and shook her head in denial. I only painted my mother and her partner along with a smaller portrait of Chris, but It's in another room."

Dean nodded impressed. The painting had been very lively.

"We need to go Dean. I will have preparations to make for the New Years Party tomorrow and then we will be having the guests exit the ship during checkout. It's going to be a long day.

"Midnight dance is saved for me!" Dean stated, as she stood up and held out her hand to Chris. Chris smiled and gave Dean a lovely quirked eyebrow.

"Of course, mon Capitan!"

Dean chuckled.

After saying goodnight they drove the short trip back to the parking garage and covered the car. Walking toward the docks that were a block away, they marveled at all the street life. Pedestrians and moving vehicles, along with roller skaters, bikers and people walking their pets, were still gracing the streets. They barely noticed the sky full of stars due to the streetlamps lighting the way.

Boarding the ship they were singled out by staff and informed of various tasks and events that were taking place. Dean was going onto shift in less than five hours, while Chris would be on duty at seven am.

They finished with their updates and assigned various follow up with the staff and managed to meet up again on the way to their cabins.

"Come stay with me, Chris. I want to hold you while I sleep. I'll be gone in a few hours and I need you close." Dean asked softly as they moved down the hall. Chris nodded as they passed her cabin and casually entered Dean's.

Once inside Dean took her hand and led her to the bedroom, where she untucked Chris blouse and gently removed it from her shoulders. The pants were removed and Dean found one of her own T-shirts to slide over the small woman. She wore the shirt like a dress, covering her thighs completely.

Dean shrugged off her clothes and quickly donned a tank top and boxer shorts.

The two women slid into the bed and gravitated to each other like magnets. Their naked skin slid together and their clothed body parts pressed into each other's hills and valleys. They both sighed in relief.

Within minutes the sounds of their deeper breathing was the only noise in the cabin.

Less than seven hours later, Dean was coordinating with the port authorities on the arrival of the cruise ship into the docking port of Cape Canaveral. The cruise was about to come to an end. But, not before Tanner Industries provided a huge New Year's celebration portside party to bring in the New Year properly. Dean had listened to the one-sided conversations of her 1st officer on the boat-to-shore phone system for over two hours. Chris had contacted the support team sent from Tanner's corporate office and began verifying the decoration details while the ship was still at sea. The preparations were well under way for the shore-side party at the dock long before the ship trolled into the slip and cut the engines.

The passengers were being urged to attend the gala and enjoy the last night of Tanner provided festivities. One of the highlighted selling points of booking a cruise through Tanner Industries was the additional benefit of the closing party at the dock. For every cruise the staff threw an arrival party at the dock that usually lasted a few hours. For the New Year's gala, the party would last until 1am. Prior to the cruise leaving port on day one, Chris had already arranged the catering and decorations with Tanner headquarters. She also arranged for the Spanish style decorations of paper lanterns to be strung around the area to signify the boundaries of the event. Armbands were being given to the passengers from the exiting walkway, along with additional brochures for future cruises. A small bag of party favors were available as well.

With the ship at the docking slip and staff completely busy with the exiting procedures they had to follow, Dean began her own checklist of ship duties. The primary inspection of the engine room was first. Over the next three days the ship would be inspected from top to bottom in preparation for the next cruise. Dean's task was to make sure the ship was secured and available for the next trip.

The first officer of the cruise ship Queen Victoria, stood with her clipboard full of forms with checkmarks and notes at the disembarkment walkway. The families not staying for the New Year's Party were already checking out. A subordinate came over and tapped the woman on her shoulder, as she appeared to be deeply concentrating on something. Chris looked up and smiled, slightly distracted.

"Ma'am, the captain requests you retire to get ready for the party." Chris blinked to clear her thoughts and then looked down at her watch.

"Oh my God." She barely registered the young woman who removed the clipboard from her hand, as she turned to head back to her cabin. She was going to have to hurry to be ready for the beginning party ceremonies.

Chris quickly showered. Donning another fresh uniform she made sure that she looked appropriate for standing in front of a crowd before turning to head out of her cabin.

Stepping out of the door, she was immediately aware of Dean, who was standing down the hall. They met each other half way and smiled. Dean could not keep the goofy expression off of her face as she looked down at her lover. Chris wore a beautiful smile that was full of love and promises. Dean offered her arm to the smaller woman and Chris took it. They began to walk toward the elevators to find their way to the party.

Arriving at the exit walkway ten minutes later, they followed some of the passengers down the ramp. Halfway down, the party's dockside location came into sight. Hundreds of paper lantern lights lit up the scene as a surrounding border to a well-marked area. Additional table candles and soft florescent lights brightened up a designated sitting area and the bar. A dancing area at the other end was glittering with white floating light spots from an electronic device made to resemble the older disco balls. The disco effect was magical. The passengers ahead of Dean and Chris oooh'd and ahhh'd at the pretty setting held under the darkened sky that was full of stars. The couple eventually made their way over to a stage set up with microphones and a small podium. The crowd was already over four hundred people and the music had begun an hour ago. The once empty dance floor was beginning to fill with sharply dressed couples that were dancing and laughing. Children were invited to eat and enjoy the festivities too. Many families were present, their children dressed beautifully and behaving well.

At the ending of a song Dean stepped up to the microphone and flipped the switch. Chris cut the music off with a quick wave to the DJ. The assembled crowd noticed the officers near the raised dais and settled down.

"Good evening. I just wanted to wish everyone a great New Year's Eve and hope the New Year brings you everything you wish for."

Dean turned slightly to her side and caught Chris' eyes.

"I know mine will be the best New Year, I've ever had." Dean cleared her throat, as it grew slightly hoarse and full of emotions that she had not intended on displaying. My staff and I would like to ensure that you've had the best of our Tanner Cruise line experience and this closing shindig is just one way of expressing our appreciation for your patronage. I'm Captain Dean Tanner, Happy New Year!" The crowd whistled and clapped their happiness at the remarks.

Dean cleared her throat one more time to gain the audiences attention.

"My First Officer Chris Parker, would like to regale you with some official final cruise information that will allow you to check out of the ship without any problems arising. Here she is."

Dean stepped away from the microphone podium and watched Chris move forward.

Chris welcomed everyone to the party and insisted they make full use of the catered food and drinks. The bar was running special pricing for the celebration and all tables would be provided with a complimentary bottle of champagne for every two adults. The waiters and waitresses would hand out the champagne around 11:30 -11:45pm. Chris suggested the use of the ship's babysitting facilities for the younger ones. The party would be 'adults only' after 11:00pm. The service was being offered for free for passengers of the cruise ship up until 1am.

Chris went over some of the highlights from a few of the stops during the cruise. A professional photographer has captured many of the ship's passengers performing various activities. A slide projector began to cycle through showing spontaneous shots caught during the trip. She announced that the show would continue throughout the evening over at the southern end of the dining area. Wishing good luck to everyone Chris told the audience that she hoped to welcome them back again in the future.

"Enjoy the evening, brought to you by Tanner Industries. Thank you." Chris concluded.

The two officers moved away from the dais and began to circulate throughout the party. Almost without thought the tall, dark-haired captain kneeled down and scooped up the small girl in the pink who'd taken off like a bullet, tearing away from her family and running in Dean's direction at a breakneck speed.

"Captain! Where have you been? I missed you!" Brandy exclaimed as Dean returned to her full height with the additional load of having a cute little pixie in her arms. The two of them looked like mirror images in resemblance. Brandy had the same dark hair and blue eyes. Dean grinned into the sweet face and winked. Brandy grinned and reached up to pull down one of her own eyelids when it wouldn't wink back. Dean chuckled.

"Who do you think is driving the boat honey?" Brooke asked, her voice full of amusement. She walked up to the Captain and shook her head amazed at the instant camaraderie that her daughter showed toward the imposing officer. It was amazing to see, since the young girl had always had the shyest personality.

"Steering the boat, mommy. Steering. Right Ca...ca...Captain?" Brandy asked looking back slightly worried at making a mistake. Dean was just glad that the little shyness, Brandy had showed upon their first meeting each other, was not being displayed after each word she stumbled on. Dean hugged the little heartbreaker tight and with a slightly hoarse voice from some unpredictable emotions, she expressed how proud she was of Brandy and that the correct word was 'steering'.

The two women and the girl made their way back over to the two blonde women who had gotten together on sight and were deep into a conversation. Chris was highly flushed at whatever they were talking about and Georgia was wide-eyed and grinning.

"Well don't you feel a little unease at this situation, Captain?" Brooke said in an exaggeratingly fake southern drawl. Dean looked over at the two women who had stopped talking and noticed that they were both now slightly flushed. She gave Chris a curious look and then relaxed when Chris looked back shyly, but without any alarm being displayed.

Setting the youngster down, Brandy crawled into Georgia's lap and rested against her while the grownups sat and chatted.

"We wanted to know if you guys wouldn't mind us leaving a contact number? Letting us know what's happening in your lives." Brooke asked, laying a hand over her wife's that was on the table and giving it a brief squeeze. Dean nodded her head in agreement.

"We would love to keep in touch. Right Chris?" Dean deferred, looking over to her own partner. Chris nodded and smiled that beautiful smile, she showed only rarely to others. Brooke and Georgia both blinked at the sudden transformation in the First Officer.

Dean smiled and resisted the urge to lean over and kiss the small blonde.

The four adults spoke of the cruise they had just been on from their four different perspectives. The four women laughed at each other's stories and found the warmth of their friendships had grown during the cruise. They parted company around 10:30, when Brandy was taken up toward the babysitter. Brandy had already drifted off to sleep and only mumbled 'luv you' to Dean before she left. Dean was grinning from ear to ear at the young girls words.

The two officers headed over for a drink and some food. They moved off into different groups to speak to the various passengers and generally enjoyed the evening. As the clock moved closer and closer to the midnight hour, the last year moved into history and time moved onward, readying for the countdown into a brand New Year. Dean and Chris automatically gravitated toward each other. They broke away from the groups they had been speaking with and moved next to each other. Dean looked at her watch and noted that there were only minutes left until the New Year would begin.

She held out her hand to her partner and Chris took it willingly. They both moved toward the dance floor oblivious to any stray looks, or remarks as Dean took Chris into her arms and began to dance the last song of the old year.

The DJ has chosen a slow melody that had Dean and Chris blinking rapidly to restrain their tears of happiness.

The first time, ever I saw your face
I thought the sun rose in your eyes
And the moon and the stars
Were the gifts you gave
To the dark, and the endless skies
My Love.

Dean looked down at the smaller woman and smiled at her head resting on Dean's chest. The song continued.

And the first time, ever I kissed your mouth
I felt the earth move in my hands
Like the trembling heart
Of a captive bird
That was there, at my command
My Love.

And the first time, ever I lay with you
I felt your heart so close to mine
And I knew our joy
Would fill the earth
And last, til the end of time
My Love.
And last, 'til the end of time.
My love.

Dean and Chris looked at each other and fell into their love drowning in each other's oceans.

"Happy New Year! I love you Chris Parker." Dean whispered into Chris' ear as the crowd around them counted down the last 10 seconds of the old year and burst into wild noise as the time began moving forward into the new. Dean held Chris to her tightly and thanked the Gods listening for giving her the one she wanted to be with forever.

"I love you too, Dean Tanner. I'll never let you go." Chris held tight and promised internally to any God listening that she would do everything possible to make Dean happy for the rest of their lives.

Epilogue - eleven months later.

The hissing sound of the wooden 41-foot hull slicing through the high ocean waves was heard above the pounding sound of wind, caught and battering around inside the unfurled mainsail and a smaller headsail above it. The 60 foot mast dipped and rocked with the water's rhythm as the boat moved forward. The lone figure guiding the boat, stood before a massive brass ship's wheel holding it with the tips of her long fingers. A few gentle moves of the wheel had the B & R rigging embedded through the deck responding with ease to the guidance being given at the helm.

Dark raven hair whipped in the currents of air flowing over the pointed stern of the vessel. The vibrating power of each air current failed to intimidate the controller of the boat as she ignored the whistling strength of the wind running along the deck and moving above the bulking shrouds of lateral mast supports. The boat was an extension of her power and she drove forward, living in the vital pleasure at the ability to control something riding on the uncontrollable waters.

Her eyes, hidden by the reflective lenses of the sunglasses watched the open waters before her, seeking the ever present tossing of waves from Poseidon's dominion. Her lips where parted and dry as she fought against the vicious temper of the sea God.

As if on cue, a figure emerged from beneath the hold and started making her way toward the helm. The balancing act began as a bottle and two glasses were held on to tightly and the blonde's curled hair was whipped in all directions. The bikini top showed the instant hardening of her nipples as the fresh air pressed the cloth flat. The short wrap around skirt was double tied, the cloth wrapped like a second skin against the tanned legs beneath. Sunglass covered eyes held their fascination for the Captain of the boat as the small figure walked a short length of the deck from the hatch below toward the raven-haired figure nearby.

"Thirsty?" Chris asked with a throaty whisper as she came up behind the tall figure and ran her hand down the broad shoulders to clasp the firm butt cheek. The t-shirt that covered the skin showed the bunching of the muscles above as did the tight swimmers shorts Dean wore. The flash of a brilliant white grin was the only reply as Dean quickly ensconced Chris under one of her arms and pulled her closer.

"Your voice is very raw, my love. Maybe you should try drinking some hot tea to sooth it." Dean suggested, her own voice coming out just as raspy and sensual. Chris grinned up at her lover and winked.

"I'll try not to yell when we make love, dearest. I do believe that is the source of the problem." Chris flirted, running her fingers over the strong arm holding her within.

Dean laughed and squeezed her partner tightly.

"So how does the newest Captain of Tanner Industries feel about a Spanish tour down to the Falkland Islands of South America? The new owner of the Cruise line has decided to include a tour for those parts. Since my Uncle David has decided to retire, I have decided to expand a bit and add some additional cruise tours. I would just love to have you accompanying me on the guided tour that some potential partners will be taking us on. I've heard the islands are a sight to see with the Gentoo penguins being ashore all year-round and December is one of the breeding months.

Chris looked up, her green eyes dancing with pleasure and excitement.

"I'd love to Captain!" Chris reciprocated.

Dean leaned down and kissed the tip of Chris' nose. Chris leaned back up and kissed the strong chin above. Somewhere in the middle, their lips sought each other out and they fell into a deep kiss. The dual moans that were heard were quickly swept up into the air to float behind the boat and sink into the sea. As the kiss broke a wicked grin stole over the smaller blondes features.

"Speaking of breeding?" Chris seemed to wait to continue until their eyes locked together.

The taller woman looked down at those beautiful dream filled deep ocean green eyes and saw a flicker of a flame ignite inside the beauty of her gaze. An entire conversation seemed to jump into Dean's head as she began to imagine small blonde children running and scrambling over the deck of their new 41' ocean fairing home away from the cruise line. One particular child was raven haired like herself. Dean drew in a sharp breath as she imagined the possibilities. Both women tightened their hold on the other as they stood staring at each other. The future seemed boundless as they explored each other's love. The excitement and adventure were sure to follow as long as they were together, their souls complete.


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