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Ian moved stiffly when Jorah called him over and stifled a groan as he went. Even though his wounds had been tended, and Atlantians healed quickly, it wasn't quick enough. He was relieved when his father pulled a small medical device out of his pocket, a Healer.

"Mako left this for you, Son. Let us return you to your former health."

Ian pulled his shirt off revealing the scars that Devon had left him along with the bullet wounds. He glanced at Sonora. Concern over his injuries clouded her eyes, but he was happy to see an appreciation of his physique was there as well. Ian scoffed at himself, amused at his thought as a time like this. But it didn't stop him from swelling his chest a bit larger.

Jorah started at Ian's left shoulder and moved the Healer across his skin. Some areas took longer but Ian could feel the relief as each wound disappeared, he hadn't realized how bad Devon had left him until those deep injuries disappeared. The gasps of the humans made him chuckle as well as the hand Sonora held over her gaping mouth. When he was as good as new, Sonora came to inspect the work the Healer had done.

She ran a finger down a bicep where a bullet hole had been just moments ago, then down his chest. The largest scar was now gone. Sonora looked up at him. "They are completely healed?"

Ian rolled his shoulders. "Good as I've ever been."

Sonora's eyes lit up. "I'm so happy! I was so worried." She pulled Ian toward her and wrapped her arms around him.

Her happiness, and her touch, warmed him. He kissed the top of Sonora's head and took a minute to bask in it before moving to the task at hand. Ian put his hands on Sonora's arms and pulled her away, then leaned forward to catch her gaze.

"I have to go my way and you yours for just a little while longer, my Intended. This pains me, but after this, you will be by my side at all times."

"At all times? I hope I have a few private moments," Sonora said with a wry tone.

"Not many."

"Oh my."

Ian frowned. "This is not the time for joking."

"I wasn't joking."

"Sunny, please! We can discuss this another time."

"Yes, of course." She attempted to appear contrite. "You know I'm anxious for our life together to begin."

Reassured, Ian nodded, and he ran his thumbs over her soft skin. "You must be careful. These sick people can be unpredictable and aggressive. If someone says they need help, get an authority."

"Ian, I'm not a child. I know how to be careful."

"Promise me. Do you feel my concern?" Ian opened his feelings to her. Her eyes widened as his warm love and concern flooded her.

Sonora rubbed her heart, then moved her hands to hold his face. "I promise. Don't worry. Everything will be fine."

Ian quickly kissed her soft, pink lips, then her smooth forehead. He pulled her back into her arms for a moment, then just as quickly he let her go and turned and walked away. He stopped at the door and turned back to gaze at her.

In her summer shirt and shorts, her long blonde hair free and flowing down her back, she would have seemed to have few cares in the world. But that wasn't the case. Sonora stared back at him, her wide sparkling blue eyes flooded with tears, her hands twisting together. She worried as much as him.

Ian again pushed his emotions to her, this time his reassurance and his love, always his love. We will be together soon, my beloved.

Sonora nodded and smiled, then quickly wiped away a tear that had spilled over. Ian turned and strode out the door before his will to leave failed him.


A short time later, Ian, Nick, and the two guards took the trail to the top of the great Spire Cliff. They now stood at its edge looking over the dark, stirring ocean. The storm was coming.

Ian looked at Nick, a question on his face. "Why here?"

"This huge, old rock pointed to the thin spot in time."

Ian scanned the rock, for the first time noticing the ocean-facing side came to a point. "By coincidence or by design?"

Nick shook his head. "We have no idea. There is more we do not know than we do know. We are shooting in the dark here." At Ian's stare, Nick raised his hands. "But it's out there, and it's been tested. Sort of. I guess I'll be the final test."

"You will not fail. We will get you out there."

"No, Ian. I'll go with the two guards, that will be enough. You need to be on that beach to get Sonora and her family out of here."

Ian looked from Nick to the two brawny guards. The two men were capable of getting Nick where he needed to go, either on top of the water or below it. When he looked at the guards, they nodded in unison. He returned their nod.

Ian put his hand on Nick's shoulder. "There is something you need to know. Mako says the cure you hold, it will not stop this first wave of sickness, this AgFlu. It is already infecting so many people. Even if you succeed, most will die from it. There is a secondary infection. That is what the vials will cure. If the secondary infection is not stopped, every human, great and small, will be wiped off the face of the earth."

Nick stepped back, surprise covering his face. "I thought this was to save everyone?"

"We never had the means or the time to do that."

"But Dr. Smith-Harnett--"

Ian shook his head. "He is wrong. Mako and my father know more about this then everyone, the science and the stories. They say it will not save everyone."

Nick hung his head. "Then why am I doing this?"

"Because the ones that do live will build a new world for humankind, hopefully, a better one."

"And me? What if I fail—fail at all of it?"

Ian smiled. "You won't. But if you find yourself lost, make your way to this beach. We will watch for you. Nick, you will always be a friend of the Atlantian people."

Nick nodded and clasped Ian's shoulder. "I hope to see you again, my friend." He picked up his backpack from where it sat on the ground and slung it over his shoulder. "It is time for me to go." He tipped his head toward the massive cloud bank darkening the sky.

Ian stood on top of Spire Cliff and watched the seemingly small boat enter the choppy sea waters below him. Whatever it took, the guards would succeed in their mission. Nick would make to the spot he needed, and he would succeed at his. Ian had to believe that.


A/N: Thanks for reading and all your votes and comments! I read them all even if I don't get to comment back. :) Things are still a little crazy here. Those that are reading Sanctuary 2, I'm sorry for the delay in chapters. It won't be too much longer. Please, hit the star if you liked the chapter. :)

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