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To The End Of Love
 
 

Dance me to your beauty
with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic
till I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch
and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love

A week after the end of the War

It hit Fireball like, well, a fireball while they stood on the balcony watching the swirling multitude below on the ballroom floor.  He really did love April.  Loved her more than he had ever thought possible.  Loved everything about her.  Loved the way the wind blowing from the opened window played with her long hair.  Loved the way half reflected lights shadowed her face.  Loved that she was babbling on about a project about which he could barely understand two words in twenty.  Loved that she had seen him at his worse.  Loved that he had seen her at her worse.  Loved that no matter what they had been at their best together.  Loved her.

And it scared him witless.

"Fireball?"

The sound of April's voice cut through his tumbling thoughts, startling him into jumping slightly.

"Fireball, are you all right?"

Concern, caring, affection perhaps, flowed through her voice as she lay her hand on his arm.

"Yeah, April, I'm...I'm fine," Fireball couldn't bring himself to look fully at her face; what if her face belied what her voice seemed to be screaming at him?

"Could've fooled me, Fireball," he didn't need to see her warm smile to know it was there.

They stood there in silence, watching the dance below.

"April?"

"Yes, Fireball?'

"I..." He turned to look at her straight on, his stomach knotting in fear, "April, I love you."

She didn't need to say a word.  The light in her eyes told him all he needed to know.

~~~~~@ *@~~~~~

Let me see your beauty
when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving
like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only
know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love

Seven months after the War

"April, it can't be that bad," Fireball cajoled through the locked door, "it was the only way they could be sure that all that gunk from the lab was washed off.  Come on, let me see."

"No!"

"Please?"

"NO!"

"April, be reasonable.  You can't stay in the bathroom until your hair grows back.

"Oh yes, I can!"

"You'll starve."

"So I'll starve," April shot back angrily.

"You know I won't laugh."

"Yes, you will."

"No, I won't.  I promise, I won't."

"You promise?"

"Cross my heart."

Fireball stepped back as he heard the the lock of their bathroom door disengage.  April emerged dressed in her robe, a towel wrapped around her head.  Her blue eyes blazed stubbornly.

"You promise you won't laugh?"

"April!" Fireball rolled his eyes, "Yes, I promise I won't laugh."

Her hands reached up.  She paused, making sure his eyes were looking directly into hers.  She twitched the towel from her head.

Fireball tried admirably.  His face froze then twisted a full minute before.. he laughed.

April turned to flee back into the bathroom, but Fireball had grabbed her arm and was pulling her into a hug.

"Oh April," He breathed as he kissed the top of her shaven bald head, "I'm sorry.  It was a shock."

"A shock?  How do you think I feel?" April sniffled as she buried her face in his chest.

"It will grow back, Love," Fireball reassured her as he started to kiss his way down to her shoulders, "and you know what?  I get to see even more of your beautiful neck.  You have a gorgeous neck," he whispered conspiratorially before he nuzzled her robe so that it dropped from her shoulders.

"Fireball..."

~~~~~@*@~~~~~

Dance me to the wedding now
Dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and
Dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love
We're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love

A Year after the War

It had taken some doing to organize the wedding.  Finding the place to hold it was the easy  part; the stark beauty of the desert surrounding Cavalry Command Headquarters was subtly enhanced with gentle and simple arrangements of flowers in pale pink, blue, and yellow.

Finding a Catholic priest who would also perform the Buddhist wedding ceremony had been slightly more difficult.  But after a few weeks of fretting, Commander Eagle serendipitously met a genial priest who was representing a settlement on Planet Durango at a New Frontier Planetary Council.

The guest list was another headache.  How did one seat a King next to a Cowboy?

Another difficult task  fell on Fireball's shoulders.  Who to ask to be best man?  If he asked Colt, he risked hurting Saber Rider's feelings.  If he asked Saber, he ran the same risk with Colt.  He would have asked Commander Eagle, but for the most obvious of reasons that would just not work.  In the end he requested that General Whitehawk act as his best man.

So, after all the various problems and puzzles of arranging a wedding had been solved (and numerous threats of an elopement subverted,) in early July, just before sunset, April Eagle married Hikari Shinji.

~~~~~@ *@~~~~~

Dance me to the children
who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains
that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now
though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love

Two and a Half Years after the War

"Geez, April, it's just another race.  Why're you getting so upset?" Fireball asked in confusion to his wife's tearful tirade.

"Because you crashed in the last race!"

Fireball nodded, "Yes, and I've crashed in races before that one," he went on the defensive, "are you saying I'm losing my edge?"

April could have hit him, "No!  But what if something happened to you?  What if your safety harness breaks?  What if the Red Fury gets pinned under a pile-up?  On fire?"  her voiced cracked,  "What if you couldn't get out?"

"That's not gonna happen, April," Fireball reasoned as he reached out to touch her, but she pulled back.

"It could"

Fireball was at a loss of what to say.  He stood there his opening and closing his mouth. Finally her just shook his head, and offered lamely, "well, worse comes to worse, and I don't see why you'd need it, you'd have the policy settlement..."

"I don't want the damn insurance money, Hikari!  I want you!  I need you!  We need you!" April howled, almost attacking her husband in her fury.   Her fists beat against him, as nearly wordless howls escaped her.  Catching her wrists, Fireball waited as April calmed down to a sobbing exhaustion, "I just don't want to lose you," she gasped as she collapsed against him.

Carrying her to their bed, he cradled her as if she were the most precious thing in the universe to him. And if Fireball had been confused before, now he was doubly so now.  All he could do was hold April close and murmur soft, loving nonsense to her.

"Wait a sec," Fireball said almost to himself, " 'We need you'?"

That got through to April.  She pushed herself away from him and sat up.  She tried to unsuccessfully to wipe away her remaining tears.  She tried to smile.

"I wanted to tell you a little bit more romantically, but," her fragile smile grew stronger, "but you're going to a father, Fireball."

There was nothing for him to say.  He pulled her back down to him, kissing her,  crying and smiling himself.

~~~~~@*@~~~~~

Dance me to your beauty
with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic
till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand
Touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love

Seven years after the War

"Give Charles a hug for me will ya'?"

"Always.  You be careful, Fireball," April warned over the vid-com, "he's counting on you to bring him back another 'gold car'"

Fireball laughed, "Tell him that if I have anything to say about it, I'll be bringing home him some of the race track!"

"I'm sure he'll love that," April grinned wryly, "But it has to be able to fit in his room."

He laughed again, "well,  I have to get back to the pit now.  The race is gonna start soon.  Wish  we could talk longer."

"Me too, but I have got to get through these reports before the project meeting tomorrow," April yawned,  and softly added, "be safe, Hikari, I love you."

Fireball grinned, and gave her a salute to acknowledge her 'order,' "Bye, Hon.  I love you too."  Then he severed the connection.  He walked away from the vid-com whistling.

The End
~~~~~~~~~~
Disclaimer and Notes: Dance Me To The End Of Love  was written by  Leonard Cohen.  Saber Rider and The Star Sheriffs is copyrighted to WEP.  In other words, I'm using these characters and lyrics without permission, not for profit, but with a great deal of affection.

Yes, I did use the name from Bismarck as Fireball's 'real name.'   So sue me, I like the sound of  it. ;-)