Disclaimer:  The characters and situations of the TV program "Space" Above and Beyond" are the creations of Glen Morgan and James Wong, Fox Broadcasting and Hard Eight Productions, and have been used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

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Beyond Forever



"Vanessa...wake up, Sweetheart. Vanessa..."

Groaning loudly, Lieutenant Vanessa Damphousse opened her eyes. Through her blurred vision, she could make out the worried face of Paul Wang hovering over her. She tried to sit up, but he put a gentle hand on her shoulder to keep her down.

"Take it easy," he murmured. "You've been through a lot."

Vanessa looked around her, surprised that she was in the medical bay. "What happened? The last thing I remember..." She paused. "Dammit...I can't remember anything."

"You and Shane went down over Anvil. You got knocked out and she stayed with you. It took four days, but the SAR team finally found you two."

"How's Shane?"

"Doing well. She was conscious when they found her, but she was hallucinating. She stayed awake for the whole time you were down there, guarding you."

Vanessa smiled, thinking of her valiant friend. "I'm lucky she was there."

Paul smiled, but even through her grogginess Vanessa could see that it was bittersweet. He brushed a lock of hair from her forehead, his fingers trembling. Vanessa looked up at him, a sudden thought occuring to her. She frowned and stared at him, knowing that something wasn't quite right.

"Paul...I have this feeling..."

"Shhh..." he soothed. "Just rest, 'Phousse."

She nodded, but didn't take her eyes off his face. "You look pretty unscathed," she remarked.

He blinked and smiled, a glint of unholy humor in his eyes. "Well, right now I am."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"You don't remember a thing, do you?"

"Obviously not, Paul."

Wang sighed and sat down on the bed next to her. He took her hand in his. "I'm here to say good-bye, Vanessa."

"You're leaving the Corps?" she gasped. "You can't...We need you here..."

He leaned in close, his lips brushing her ear as he whispered, "Not just the Corps. I died."

She let out a strangled sound that could have either been a laugh or a cry. In either case, she stared at him in disbelief.

"This isn't funny, Paul. Don't joke about that."

"I'm dead serious." He looked thoughtful. "No pun intended, of course. Don't you remember? I got blown up by those Chig bastards."

Vanessa racked her memory, her brow furrowed. He waited patiently, all the while clutching her hand tightly. Finally, her brown eyes, filled with tears, met his. He took her into his arms and she rested her cheek against his, winding her arms around his neck.

"Oh, Paul...not yet."

"Can't fight this one," he said matter-of-factly.

"I don't want to go on without you. We have so many things to talk about still, so many things to do."

"I know. I wish it didn't have to be like this." He cupped her face in his hands, wiping away her tears on her cheeks with his thumbs. "I love you."

She smiled tenderly. "I love you, too."

He kissed her, a soft touch of the lips that she knew she would never forget. It was nothing like the kiss they shared after their brief R&R on the Bacchus. It was a kiss that spoke of forever...and beyond.

And she thought her heart would break in two when he let her go.

"I'll see you again, Vanessa," he said, getting up. "I promise you that. I'll watch over you."

She grabbed his hand. "You'll be my guardian angel."

He winked rakishly. "Just remember that when you're in the shower."

She grinned and tugged him back to her, hugging him for the last time. Her grin faded, only to be replaced by an expression that conveyed so much sadness that it was just as well that he didn't see it.

"I'll miss you so much," she said hoarsely.

"I'll always be right here," he said, putting a hand over her heart. "In the meantime, I'll wait for you in the other side. It's not so bad over there. Kinda bright, but you get used to it." He kissed her and then stepped back. "Go back to sleep, Sweetheart."

"Good-bye, Paul," she said, laying back as she felt a wave of exhaustion overcome her.

"Good-bye, Vanessa."

She closed her eyes and then he was gone.


"Vanessa, I'll get you a bar of chocolate--rich, creamy Swiss chocolate--if you open your eyes. Come on, you can do it. I've heard of oversleeping, but this is pushing it."

Groaning loudly, Vanessa opened her eyes. Through her blurred vision, she could make out the worried face of Shane Vansen hovering over her. She tried to sit up, but Shane put a gentle hand on her shoulder to keep her down. Nathan stood next to Shane, a relieved expression on his face.

"We were getting worried there, 'Phousse," he said. "You started crying and moaning...I didn't know what the hell was going on."

A little disoriented, Vanessa looked around her. "Where's Paul?"

Nathan and Shane exchanged a glance. Clearing her throat, Shane took Vanessa's hand in hers.

"He's gone, Vanessa," she said gently. "I'm sorry."

They were expecting the floodgates to open or maybe even an outburst of anger, but not the serene smile that appeared on Vanessa's face.

"He's not gone, Shane," she said confidently, her eyes focusing on something that they couldn't see. "He's right here with me."


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