Misty stood silently, watching the reunion from a distance. Jack still had no clue she was there. April, who was awake now, had yet to notice, though she was deeply fond of her. Both were too absorbed in the dog in front of them. A dog who they had not seen in a long time. Who, for a scary few weeks, they had not known the whereabouts of.

Misty appreciated the relief they were feeling right now. The ecstasy running through them at the return of their very best friend. But at the same time, she couldn't help but see red. Her heart had ached for that man and his little girl, at how much pain they had been in without her. At how much they missed that little dog that meant so much. But through that heartache, had borne feeling. A feeling it had taken her ages to work up the courage to express. Now, she'd finally built that courage. She'd been right on the verge of telling him. And then Cookie turned up. It couldn't have been worse timing.


Misty closed her eyes and took a long, slow breath to collect herself. Jack and April had hardly moved an inch when her eyes found them again. She started toward them then, figuring they'd had a bit of time alone with the dog, to say hello again.

"Naughty Cookie!" April was saying, attempting to be serious, though with a serious case of the giggles. "You weren't supposed to play hide and seek!"

"We found you girl!" Jack said, stroking the dog's black and tan fur rhythmically, from her head to her rump, over, and over.

"So this is the famous Cookie," Misty said, kneeling down beside Jack. Slowly, she extended her hand forward for the dog to sniff. It was only when Cookie did so that Jack even noticed she was there.

"Misty?" he asked breathlessly, staring at her, open mouthed. "How did you…"

"I followed you Jack," she said calmly. "I arrived at your place not long after you."

Jack opened his mouth to say something, but April, having suddenly noticed Misty was there, jumped in first. "Misty!" she said happily, a wide smile on her face as she got up and came closer. She made to run for the red haired women, only to fall into her lap. Misty laughed at the young girl as she scrambled to sit up in her lap. "Misty's here!" said April. "Yay!"

"Yay," said Jack in an echo, quieter than the young girl. Slowly, he scooted closer before he and Misty's eyes met. They smiled at one another.

Cookie padded her way over to Jack and sat down at his feet. She stayed still a brief moment before cautiously going over to sniff Misty. "Hello," Misty said in greeting, extending her hand once more. Cookie sniffed it and gave it a quick lick. Taking that for an ok, Misty reached out further to give the dog a small pat on the neck. "Hello," she said with a soft smile. "I've heard a lot about you. Did you know that?" Misty said.

Jack watched as April climbed down from the young woman's lap, sitting down beside her and joining in patting Cookie. "You are a very special girl Cookie," Misty was saying. "You had a great deal of people very worried about you, you know." Jack couldn't help but smile as he watched them. The three people he loved most. Not including Ellen of course.

"Misty," he called to the young women.

"Yes Jack?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Would you mind staying here a minute?"

"Of course," she said, a smile on her lips.

"Thank you," he said.


Jack turned then and wandered off. Toward the same clearing near which he'd camped with April and Misty not all that long ago. Silently, he sat himself down on the log and looked up at the sky.

"Ellen," he said in a whisper, "Honey, I don't know if you can hear me, but I've come to say goodbye." Jack stared down at the ground a moment before looking up. He blinked. He could have sworn he saw… He had. Maybe. Or maybe he was seeing things. Having delusions of grandeur. But there she was. Or seemed to be, smiling her bright, beautiful smile as she walked toward him.

"Hi Jack," she said in a whisper. She sat beside him on the log and he looked into her eyes. Stared, mesmerized. She reached out, touching his arm. He could see that it was there, but he couldn't feel it. "I love you."

"I love you too, Ellen," he said in a whisper "but you've been gone so long now, honey. And I love someone else too." Ellen said nothing, simply looking at him, with that same, small, sweet smile on her lips.

"She's beautiful, honey," Jack went on, "you would have loved her. She's smart, kind, gentle… and she's wonderful with April. April loves her. So do I."

"It's ok," said Ellen softly. "I'm home, my Darling. It's time you let me go."


"Jack?" came Misty's voice. All at once, Jack jumped and Ellen disappeared. "Oh, I'm sorry," she said, her voice a little softer. "I didn't mean to startle you."

"Daddy!" April appeared then, Cookie trotting along not far behind her, "look what Misty got me!" April launched herself up and into his lap, proudly holding a tiny pink bag, decorated with a flamingo made from sequins on the front and four equally glittery, sequined letters beneath it.. Jack frowned as he squinted to see what they spelled out. There was one too short to spell April. No, Jack realised on closer inspection. Not April, but Luna.

"We thought we'd come see how you were doing." Misty said, appearing at the edge of the clearing

"Great," said Jack, his eyes bright as he looked at her. "Luna?" he asked, bouncing April on his knee, the bag tightly in her grip.

"It seems to be a tradition in my family," Misty said, sitting beside them on the log. "To give nicknames based on us. My mother was Lady Amber for her bright red hair, I'm Misty for the cloudy appearence of my eyes. I thought Luna suited April." As she spoke, Misty reached out, lightly brushing her fingers against the little girl's cheek. "Luna means moon in some languages, and on a particularly dark night, the moon lights up the world, just like April lights up your world. And now, mine."

Jack smiled. "Luna," he said, "I like it."


With what to Jack seemed like perfect timing, April jumped from his lap and went with Cookie to play in a far corner of the clearing. "Misty, there's something I need to tell you. Something I've been meaning to tell you," Jack said. There was a long silence, filled with nervous anticipation. Misty said nothing, waiting for him to continue. "Misty, I… I love you."

At his words, a few tears traced a trail down the young woman's cheek. "I do too," she said in a whisper so quiet it was barely audible. "But, I never thought you felt the same way. I thought.. I thought you were still in love with your wife."

"I am," Jack said honestly, "and I think a tiny part of me always will be. But I've realised that I need to let her go. It's something I should have done a long time ago, and I'm sorry I didn't. I'm sorry I've kept you waiting so long."

"It's ok," said Misty as she scooted closer to him. "Jack. I love you. When you love someone, the way I love you, the way you loved your wife, and the way my father loved my mother, you wait for them. For however long it takes for them to come to you. For them to love you too. You wait."

"Thank you," said Jack softly.

"and you, my Darling," she said, gently stroking his cheek, "are well worth the wait." Jack slowly leaned in, and Misty took his face in her hands, guiding his lips to hers.

"I love you, Misty McLeod," Jack whispered against her lips.

"And I you, Jack McArthur," she said, smiling against his lips as he leaned in to kiss her again.