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What Dreams May Come (Part Two)

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Story Title: What Dreams May Come (Part Two)

Type of Story: Short/Medium Fic

Genre: Drama/Some humour

Main Characters: Kane/Sutherlands

Rating: T

Any warnings: None

Spoilers: None

Summary: Sequel to Always and Forever, which tells the tale of what happened when Kane and Kirsty met as children.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story follows on what happened (in ALWAYS AND FOREVER) after childhood sweethearts five-year-old Kirsty Sutherland and seven-year-old Kane Phillips parted at Summer Bay Caravan Site where the Sutherland kids have been holidaying with their grandparents. Unknown to Kirsty, Kane has been locked in a storeroom by his older brother Scott, the reason he was unable to meet her as arranged before they returned home...

***CHAPTER 1***

"Kirsty, sweetheart!" Mary said helplessly. All she could do was give her little granddaughter another cuddle. Let her know they were there for her.

Like the Sutherland family always would be there for one another. Tears of sympathy were raining quietly down Jade's cheeks and Dani was trying to console both Kirsty and Jade while sniffling herself.

"Hey, c'mon, kids! Your Mum and Dad will think going on holiday was the worst thing that could ever have happened to you!" Bill said, trying to lighten the mood as he set down the tray of drinks.

But Kirsty was inconsolable. Great shuddering sobs racked the little girl's body. Other diners in the motorway service station stared curiously, wondering at her distress.

"But, Grandad, Kane promised..." Kirsty shook her head despairingly, hiccuping back tears.

"I know, pet," Bill said gently.

No, nobody knew. Nobody dreamed how happy Kirsty had been when she was with Kane. Nobody knew how they believed they could touch the moon and stars, how they wanted to run faster than anyone had ever run, climb higher than anyone had ever climbed. He had said he would be there on the last day of their holiday and he hadn't even waited.

Yet deep in her heart, no matter what Gran and Grandad thought, she knew he didn't take the things from the caravan and he would have been there if he could. And all she wanted, all she ever wanted, was to be once again with the boy with the bright blue eyes.

Bill and Mary exchanged a look. Kane had let them all down. Told a pack of lies about Suzy Palmer being his mother, stolen from them, broken Kirsty's heart in two. Mary squeezed Kirsty's hand, remembering Madam Zena's words.

"There is a strong warning here about the little boy. He will hurt one of your granddaughters very, very badly," the fortune teller had said, looking at the cards spread out on the little table. And then she had taken a sharp breath, looked up at Mary and would say no more.

Mary would never visit any more fortune tellers. Perhaps it was better to never know what the future held.


It was almost midnight when the bus pulled into the sleepy little town. Suzy Palmer and her small son Jamie were the only passengers to alight, most of the others having departed at busy coach stations along the way, just a few straggly, tired travellers left behind now.

Jamie was cranky, having been woken from a deep sleep, and Suzy exhaustedly struggled to carry him and her hand luggage, blinking in the light of the Welcome House hotel, the bus's designated stop. She was desperately hoping that she'd be able to manage the large suitcase and bag that the driver was taking out of the hold because, although her parents had arranged to meet her, there was no way she was going to have either of them carrying anything heavy.

"Here," said a warm, soft voice as Jamie was lifted from her arms. "I told your Mum and Dad to wait in the hotel foyer because it's a bit chilly tonight. Don't worry about phoning a cab. I've borrowed a mate's car to take you guys home."

"Adam!" It was so good to see him again. They had talked on the phone almost every day, about her parents, about Suzy cremating everything she tried to cook, about Kane and the Sutherlands, about a hundred and one different things.

Jamie's tear-stained face broke into a wide smile. "Daddy!" He cried in delight.

It wasn't the first time Jamie had called Adam Daddy and at first, as usual, Suzy blushed and apologised and at first, as usual, Adam looked embarrassed - but then, without either of them knowing how it happened, they began laughing and she found herself thinking he had lovely green twinkling eyes and he wondered if she knew just how much he'd missed her and suddenly they kissed and the kiss felt so right. Like it was always meant to be.

Suzy locked her fingers in Adam's as they walked up the steps of the hotel. She had a lot to tell him about this holiday. What Jamie had done and said, how upset she'd been about little Kane's lies and stealing. So much to talk about and so many dreams to dream together.


Scott was feeling smug when he finally unlocked the storeroom door of the burnt-out shop. Kane had to learn to cop it sweet if he ever crossed Scotty and he'd crossed him big time by refusing to set the caravan on fire and running off with the matches. Scotty was determined to teach his kid bro not to be such a sook and survive in the real world. You took before things were taken from you, attacked before you were attacked, in Scott's school of life. But Kane graduated far sooner than he expected.

All the anger that had been slow-burning inside him ever since he could remember culminated in the moment daylight flooded back into the storeroom and he saw Scott leaning confidently in the doorway, arms folded lazily, smirking because he was about to give Kane another bashing. That is, until a mini tornado charged out, headbutting him in the stomach, rocking him off balance.

"You ******* ..." Scott began. Then he looked at his kid bro in sudden admiration.

Without any of the usual sooky tears, his face blazing with fury, Kane was standing over him, panting, fist clenched, ready to take a swing at him if Scott fought back, though he had Buckley's of beating him. Jeez, maybe there was hope for him after all! He might even be some use next time Scotty and his mates pulled off a scam. He was small enough to squeeze through windows or look innocent enough if a stickybeak cop started asking awkward questions.

"Reckon your spending the arvo in here makes us quits," Scott said, hauling himself to his feet and dusting himself down. "So's how’s about we do a deal on the stuff we nicked from the van? I'll cut you in, say, a quarter of whatever we sell."

"I get half," Kane said firmly, his eyes cold.

"Done," Scott said, impressed, rapping his little brother's head in friendly fashion, though it still hurt. "Half each."

"Half each," Kane agreed.

He didn't want half. Or any. He didn’t want to take anything that had been stolen from Kirsty's Gran and Grandad or Kirsty, Jade and Dani. But he knew Scotty would double deal and refuse to hand over the cash later anyway. The important thing right now was for nobody to ever again think Kane was a pushover. He was on his own against the world.

And this aching inside him that hurt far worse than any of Dad or Scott's bashings ever could, because he ached to see again the kid with the magic smile, was part of the sookiness that had to be hidden away forever.

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***Chapter 2***

At the top of the hill, in a town on the very edge Summer Bay, the Phillips’ house was one of several built a great many years ago as the little fishing ports grew and grand houses, with iron gates that opened on to magnificent drives and large, beautiful gardens, reflected new-found wealth.

In those far-off days, only the very richest could afford one of the "Hill Houses", as they became commonly known, and young couples would often stroll there, to admire the sweeping views of the Bay, and to dream longingly of owning a Hill House themselves.

But time passes by and fortunes change.

Gates rusted, brickwork crumbled, gardens became over-run with tangled weeds. Some properties were converted into rundown flats, some were left derelict, and the population of Summerhill changed rapidly and constantly. When the Phillips family moved in, the houses had acquired a new nickname. They were the "Hell Houses", inhabited by junkies, ex-crims, hardened drinkers and the desperately poor. And the kids who grew up there.

Kane went in the way he always used to. Through the open kitchen window, hands pressed on the sill, swinging himself inside. Except now he was taller, his grip more firm, his footing more sure. Yet, strangely, the old fear rushed back immediately. Somewhere, in the scurrying of mice or cockroaches, in the smell of damp and wood chippings, in the cold, cold emptiness, he could still be that scared little kid again.

He looked around at the walls dimmed brown by time. It had been on a whim, as he drove past and saw the notice of demolition work soon to begin on the abandoned area, that he'd parked the car and made his way to his old home. He'd last been in here somewhere around the time...jeez, he didn't want to even think about it!

But it was there, something he had to face, something he was. Had been, he told himself, drawing a deep breath. He'd never hurt anyone like that again.

He remembered the confusion as he packed what little there was to take, feeling his life was spiralling out of control, fleeing to his Aunt Rose's in Yabbie Creek, and the overwhelming relief when she didn't turn him away. He had his life together now thanks to Kirsty.

The hatred of Summer Bay had been turned around and he was accepted, even liked, by the very same people who once hated him. He smiled when he thought of Kirsty. They had run away to marry, unofficially, and, despite many problems and the Sutherland's disapproval, they'd been happy enough though Kirsty yearned for a wedding day her family could share.

And now the Sutherlands had accepted Kane and it was actually going to happen she was stoked. They had each had their bucks and hens party. The champagne was on ice, the wedding cake waiting to be cut. They would exchange the same rings, wear the same outfits, but this time everyone would be at the wedding. In a church.

Kane had almost choked on his toast when she'd first mentioned the idea and Kirsty needed to pat his back for several minutes.

He stopped coughing at last. "A church, Kirst? You know I don't do churches."

"Please, Kane. For me. I never was a girly girl, and, I never told Jade or Dani, but I always, always dreamed of a big white church wedding."

He never thought he'd agree, never thought he'd ever set foot inside a church, but she'd talked him round within days. Because all she ever had to do was smile that magic smile.

This wedding, this big white church wedding, was the start of a new tomorrow, Kirsty said. And yet he was here, in a house that echoed with yesterdays, as if he could never let go of his past.


Dani had hoped the nightmares would stop after the counselling and mediation sessions, but even now, years after the event, even though months might pass by without a single bad dream, the memory would suddenly return to haunt her.

Sometimes a nightmare would mix itself in with shipwrecks or thunder or the terrible, terrible days when Kirsty and Shelley were missing somewhere in the blackness of the thunderstorm after the Mirigini disaster.

Kane Phillips, of all people, had saved their lives, but Dani never once saw him as Kirsty did, not in the nightmares. In the clear light of day she could talk with Kane, uneasily, preferably with someone else around, because they were both making a huge effort and she didn't hate him anymore. She knew something now about his horrific childhood, not everything because he never really opened up about it to anyone but Kirsty, but enough to form a bond. Kane and Dani both had a traumatic past they were desperate to overcome.

She'd been thinking about that as she went to bed the night before Kirsty and Kane's official wedding. The couple had lived together at Irene's ever since they'd eloped to marry but now Kirsty wanted the whole family to share her special day.

Jade, who'd been so touched when Kirsty said she wanted her to be bridesmaid because, to Kirsty, Jade would always be her real twin, was home for the wedding and they were sharing their old room. When Dani, yawning, sleepy from the wine they'd been sharing, had finally said she had to get some sleep they were still giggling together like schoolkids. Maybe that was why she dreamed she was a kid again.

Laughing, standing outside a blue-and-white tent advertising Madame Zena, Fortune Teller, listening to the happy, exciting sounds of the fairground, smelling hot dogs cooking, feeling the sun's warm breath on her back.

Then the dream slipped suddenly into a nightmare.

Large black clouds darkened the world and heavy raindrops fell so furiously they were bouncing back as soon as they hit the ground. And then the roaring of thunder and yellow lightning tearing apart the sky. Now Dani was lost in the storm, on a deserted coast road, and panicking because someone else was there. She tried to scream but no sound came and the familiar ice cold fear ran through every fibre of her being.

But it wasn't Kane. It couldn't be Kane because he was the small boy gazing out to sea, sitting all alone on the wooden log fence at the top of the beach, drenched and shivering in the pouring rain.

Slowly she turned and to her amazement saw Gran, Dad's Mum, who'd died when Dani was about nine or ten. She was smiling, watching someone walking slowly towards them. Grandad! He'd died too just six months later, Dani remembered everyone saying it was of a broken heart. The reason he was walking so slowly was because of little Jade, clutching his hand and "walking" a doll.

Then the dream changed abruptly again and Dani was on the beach, searching frantically for Kirsty. And then at last she saw her!

There! High, high above, walking on the treacherously slippy log fence towards Kane. They were both just kids and oblivious to the danger, Kirsty giggling, hair flying back in the wind, arms outstretched to keep her balance, Kane climbing up to help her, and below them the hard, jagged rocks and the wild, stormy grey sea...

...And Dani shouting and shouting so loud but they couldn't or wouldn't hear...

"Hey, Dan," Kirsty said anxiously, her hand on her shoulder.

"You were yelling for Kirsty." Jade sat on the other side of the bed, looking just as worried.

"And Kane too," Kirsty whispered. "Once or twice you shouted his name, but mostly you screamed for me to come back. Dani, you ARE okay about me marrying Kane, aren't you? Please, please say you're okay."

"It was just a weird dream. We were all kids, even Kane, he was somehow mixed up in it too," Dani said, sitting up, blinking back sleep, avoiding the question because she had to, and forcing a smile so they'd think everything was alright. "I dreamt Gran and Grandad had brought us here on holiday to Summer Bay. Don't know why I should dream about that holiday though! All I can remember about it is something about being in the car and the three of us playing dancing on the beach."

"I think I remember a doll and someone thinking it was a real bub!" Jade grinned.

"And after that holiday I used to have those dreams when I woke up crying. Remember, Jade? You'd come over to see if I was okay, and, Dani, you'd come in our room, and whenever one of us was upset we all always used to..."

Giggling from the wine, they high-fived each other together just like they used to when small.

"Didn't we use to yell something as well?" Dani asked. "What was it?"

"I know, I know! It was cool chicks!"

"Omigod, never!" Jade laughed.

"Dunno what you're laughing at, Jade. You always got it wrong and shouted cool chooks instead!" Kirsty grinned.

"Cool chicks. That was going to be the name of our girl band, wasn't it?" Dani smiled, amused. "Whatever happened to that dream?"

"Guess we grew up," Jade said.

"Guess so."

"Nope. Jade'll never grow up. Cool chooks! Jade, you're a dag but I loves ya!"

"Same to you, Kirst! C'mon, guys, once more..."

"Cool chicks!" they yelled, high fiving one another.

"Cool chooks!" Jade added, falling back on the pillow, with tears of laughter raining down her face.

When the twins, because they always would be the twins even though they knew now about Laura, had left, Dani drew her knees up to her chin and sat staring into the moonlight.

What if the dream had been a warning? She'd tried to get on with her life, but in the darkness the nightmares haunted her still. Perhaps they always would. And she didn't know if she could do this.

She didn't know if she could stand back and watch Kirsty marry the boy who'd hurt her so very, very much.


Kane stopped at the hidden, halfway point of the stairs, where he'd sat so often in the past trying to make himself invisible, afraid to go upstairs in case Scotty bashed him, afraid to go downstairs because Mum and Dad were punching each other and were likely to punch him too.

And so he would sit here on these rickety stairs, teeth clenched, eyes shut tight, fists blocking his ears, holding on to the picture in his mind, because it was all he had, that dream of the sea and the cry of the gulls and the waves rolling and crashing.

He shook himself and carried on, automatically skipping the creaky third from top stair, still listening out for the ghosts of his childhood. The air of abandonment was far greater beyond the stairs, years of unopened windows and tightly shut doors, the musty smell clogging his nostrils, the dust creeping into his throat.

Everything was just as the Phillips had left it. The old broken furniture, the "I" shaped crack in the boxroom door, the smeared blood stain where he'd brushed his hand against the wall running from Dad, the memory so vivid even after all these years...

"Mum, I only said why didn't ya hit Dad back anymore, that's all I said. Tell him I didn't mean it!"

"I ain't tellin' your Dad nothin', ya whinger!" She was holding the left side of her face and finding it difficult to talk because of the broken teeth, and she pushed him away, saving herself, leaving him to catch the sting of Dad's belt.

"I'll learn ya to question what I do, ya mongrel!"

The buckle had sliced into his ear and he ran in desperation, somewhere, anywhere, rattling the handle of the door.

"Oh, jeez, Scotty, open up! Scotty, you gottoo!"

"**** off! I'm not letting HIM in here when he's like that!" Scott replied, from behind the safety of the kitchen, where he'd locked himself soon as Dad flew into the drunken rage.

"Muuum! Muuuuummm, help me!"

She only glanced at him, eyes glazed drunkenly, and he made for the stairs, stumbling as he reached the landing, scraping the heel of his hand, bloodied from trying to protect himself, looking back in despair, knowing there was nowhere left to run...

The memory of those beatings could still make his blood run cold as ice.

In the dead of the night, just when he thought the past was buried forever, he would wake up screaming and Kirsty would hold him tight, whispering soothing words, rocking him gently. Once, it was not long after the mine disaster, he'd laughed ironically and said Max had called him a hero, what would he think to see him now? And Kirsty kissed him softly and said Max got it right, he was a hero, he always would be her hero and when they had kids he'd be their hero too.

They'd been talking more and more about having kids lately. Kirsty knew how much he dreamed of being a dad, of giving his own kids everything he'd missed out on. Being the dad he wished his own father could have been. For old time's sake, for the kid who never had anyone to care, he sat on the old wooden dresser in the boxroom, gazing out of the window, thinking back to the past.

The thick grime and drizzling rain blurring the view, the misty green sea and the moody blue sky merging like running paint. Some vague dream stirred, but never quite woke.

A long ago summer, a spoilt painting of the sea, a feeling something magic had briefly touched his life. The memory had flown now. Try as he might, all he could remember was a little kid called Jamie, playing in the caravan park, sitting on the beach watching ships go by...but mostly he remembered the nightmares.

He wished he could have known back then that someone would love him so much. Maybe if he had, a lot of things wouldn't have happened that did. He felt he didn't deserve to be happy after what happened with Dani but Kirsty never once stopped believing in him.

It might have been tears and not the rain that blurred the view of the sea. Because he knew if he ever lost Kirsty he would crumble and die.

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***Chapter 3***

And, after a while, after a while on that perfect day, after the friendly blue of whether or not the sea was whispering always or forever and finally agreeing it must be saying both, the two kids on the shore tired of kicking water over each other, and sank exhaustedly into the warm golden sand, soaking wet and laughing.

"I'll swim in the ocean one day!" Kirsty said, when she caught her breath again.

"I'll wave to you from my ship," Kane promised.

Kirsty was stoked. Partly because she loved the idea of Kane waving to her from his ship, partly because his face was glowing like it always did whenever he told tales of the sea.

When Bill Sutherland began calling it was time for them to go back, they were both still lost in the dreams and the sound of the sea. They could hear Kirsty's Grandad shouting and they knew Jade and Dani, who'd been playing some game of filling buckets with shells and sand, were helping Kirsty's Gran pack up, but it was as if that all happened a long way away, a very long time ago.

"When I grow up, I'll swim for Oz and get a gold medal," Kirsty said. "Though my mate Dale says I prob'ly won't," she amended, sighing.

"Jeez, Kirst, this Dale dude's a real drongo. Betcha will!"

Bill called their names more loudly and they caught hands, rising reluctantly, but to the old man's half impatience, half amusement, made no attempt to turn back.

"Will I?" Kirsty said happily, smiling because the haunted look had gone and his eyes were a sparkling blue.

It was still hurting, when he moved too suddenly or breathed too deeply, all round his ribs where Dad had punched him last night, but the sunlight was shimmering on the water and the waves were jumping and Kirsty had a magic smile. "'Course ya will! And when I grow up, I'm gonna be a captain. I'll be in charge of a huge ship and I'll take people all round the world."

"Can I go with you?"

"Sure you can! We'll go to New Zealand and China and America and..."

"But how about you start your world trip with Summer Bay Caravan Park?" Bill said good-humouredly, having given up on the shouting and deciding to bring the kids back himself. "Come on, you two! There's a storm forecast and we still need to buy our tickets for tomorrow's sightseer special ferry cruise. Your Mum's already got hers, Kane."

"My Mum...?" Kane asked cautiously. As far as he knew, his Mum was still playing a cake somewhere. He'd asked Scotty if she always played a fruitcake, in the shows he meant, he'd added when Scott looked blank, and his bro said he was a dill and no, she sometimes played a chocolate eclair, but he'd had a strong feeling Scotty was having a lend of him.

"Yup, bumped into her at the ice-cream kiosk and she says she's got hers and Jamie's, but she was okay for you to go with us," Bill said, as blissfully unaware that Suzy Palmer wasn't Kane's mother as Suzy herself was that she'd adopted Kane.

"Grandad, Kane's going to be a captain on a ship!" Kirsty announced proudly, bursting to tell someone.

"Good on yer, mate! And you never know, someone just might buy you one of those kid's captain hats from the beach shop tomorrow," Bill said, winking.

The sun began to slowly set as the little party made their way up the beach, leaving a trail of footprints in the sand. Bill and Mary Sutherland, carrying assorted belongings, Dani, dreading the thunder, casting worried glances at the sky, Jade (who'd convinced herself Abby could walk but was dragging her feet because she wanted to be carried) scolding the baby doll, Kirsty and Kane, hand in hand, sharing a whispered secret.

And all too soon memories would fade with the shifting sands, voices would be lost on the wind and the tide would wash away their footsteps.


Kirsty smiled at the little boy as she replaced the lid of the plastic beaker for him.

"Ta. Tirsty," Jamie said.

"Hey, Kirst, he nearly said your name, din'cha, mate?" Kane grinned.

Jamie eagerly reached up for the drink and managed to spill the contents of the non-spill cup by missing his lips and throwing orange juice down his chin.

"Jam-ie!" Kirsty laughed, taking a paper tissue to gently wipe his mouth.

The ship pushed further away from the land, gathering a sudden speed in its eagerness to be sailing far away and free, causing Kirsty to stumble. She made to reach for the rail, and for Jamie, to steady themselves, but Kane was there first, resting a hand firmly on Jamie's shoulder and taking Kirsty's hand, laughing as the sea spray washed over them all.

"I'm flyin'! I'm flyin'!" Jamie cried excitedly.

"We all are!" Kirsty said, squeezing Kane's hand.

"Over there, Jamie, that's Yabbie Creek," Kane said, nodding towards the distance. "And over that way, the Bay leads out to the Yabbie river, then to the ocean, to the rest of the world, to thousands of miles away..."

"You make it sound like we could get there and back in a day," Kirsty teased, the sea breeze wildly crisscrossing her hair across her face.

"Yeh, well, kids can dream," Kane said, his blue eyes sparkling.

"'Course they can," Kirsty said, smiling her magic smile.

"Tirsty! Tirsty!" Jamie shouted, anxious not to be left out, shaking the plastic beaker to regain their attention.

"Hey, mate!" Kane stooped down to place his captain's hat on Jamie's head.

"T'ant see!" Jamie announced as the hat fell down over his face. Then it suddenly occurred to him that this fact must make him invisible and he burst into laughter at the delicious thought, making Kirsty and Kane laugh too.

A passenger suddenly pointed a camera and clicked the button.

"Um...it just made such a great pic," the woman who'd taken the shot said, smiling apologetically, slightly embarrassed now by her haste. "Hope you didn't mind."

"No worries," Kane said easily.

"You better get used to having your piccy taken, Kane, like me," Kirsty whispered.

"You got tickets on yourself since you won gold swimming for Oz!" Kane whispered happily back.

But when he straightened Jamie's hat Kirsty noticed him swiftly brush a tear from the corner of his eye.

"Kane, you okay?" she asked, concerned.

He grinned. "Apples, Kirst. I got everything I ever wanted."

"Me too." Kirsty said, slipping her arm into his, as they looked towards the sun-dappled sea, dreaming of tomorrow..........


Kirsty and Kane's wedding day dawned bright and clear. The sun rose early, creeping slowly over the river, first sparkling against the rocks and bathing on the quiet sand, then shimmering the horizon and the distant ships in a misty, lazy heat, then climbing higher and higher into the sky until the day was all but perfect and Kirsty smiled happily as she chatted to Jade.

But the bedroom door burst open suddenly and Kirsty swung round from the dressing table mirror.

"Dani...?" she said uncertainly.

"You're not changed yet." Jade didn't make it sound like a question, but it was a question just the same.

"No-o. There's ages." Still wearing her dressing gown, Dani sank into the chair, hugging herself for comfort in the way she had often done when the attack first happened.

Kirsty and Jade exchanged glances and in the uneasy silence Laura's well-cultured, slightly spoilt voice floated up the stairs, finding fault with something or other, irritating Kirsty.

Both Laura and Jade were bridesmaids ( "I can't. You understand, don't you?" Dani had replied, as Kirsty had thought she would but hoped she wouldn't when she'd asked her to be a bridesmaid too) but the bride's choice of Laura had been out of duty. She didn't exactly dislike her sister, but if they hadn't discovered who they were, they would probably never have been anything more than casual acquaintances. Jade would always be her twin. They understood each other, had shared too much together for it ever to change.

It was Jade now who seemed to read her mind. The only person apart from Kane who Kirsty would choose to have standing by her at this moment, reassuringly squeezing her shoulder, because Kirsty herself could only sit numbly staring at Dani, so scared this happy day was about to crash into thousands of tiny pieces.

Dani took a deep breath. "I didn't tell you guys everything about the dream I had last night. And I have to. Because I think...I think it was a warning..."

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Ha, you think you haven't read ANY of the final scenes yet, don't you??? :wink:


Final Chapter

Well, let them panic. Sometimes you had to be where you could breathe, where the rush of waves could soothe like music and nothing could hurt anymore.

Kane leaned his hands on the log rail, looking down at the beach, taking deep breaths. How was it when they'd eloped to marry he'd been on a high yet today, his official wedding day, he'd never been so nervous in his life? Last night he'd tossed and turned and in the short time he had slept every dream had become a nightmare.

It had been a mistake to visit his old home. It was as if yesterday, like it had always known and always been waiting for him in the musty damp smell of the abandoned house, had seeped into his skin like poison. Whatever he did, wherever he turned, he could never run away from the fact he was Richie “Gus” Phillips' son. Strangers often remarked on the resemblance, looking at him in exactly the same way Dani used to look at him when he'd first returned to the Bay, and, jeez, all he ever had to do was catch his reflection in a mirror and, except for the eyes, Richie Phillips stared back at him.

The nightmares had had a new twist last night. Sometimes he was the little kid screaming as he was thrashed by his Dad, sometimes he was Richie himself curling the bike chain round his fist, and he was so scared, so very, very scared, of turning into his father and hurting Kirsty. What if it was in his blood, what would he do, how would he live, if he ever lost her? Because he'd give her up and have his heart ache for the rest of his life rather than put her through what he'd been through with Dad.

And then the sea breezes came, warm and gentle, carrying the cries of the gulls and the scent of the ocean, and the white, foamy waves swept across the river, tugging at his heart, calming him, reminding him the love he and Kirsty shared was so strong, so unbreakable, that he could never, never in a million years, never till the end of time, ever hurt her.

Gradually his breathing slowed and he began to think more clearly though he wasn't yet ready to go back. Irene was no doubt making frantic phone calls to Flynn, Jesse, Alf and the rest, casting anxious glances at the clock, counting down the precious, flying, irretrievable minutes.

But it'd be okay. Tasha would calm her. Tasha would be waiting patiently, watching the gulls dipping and spinning and gliding over Summer Bay, and understand what it was to lose a childhood


Dani gasped when she realised just how far down the ground was. But she couldn't face meeting anyone just yet and she so much needed to get away from all these wedding preparations, to clear her head for just a little while. She needed to be alone without anyone asking her questions.

When they'd first moved to Summer Bay Caravan Park, Kirsty had frequently done “The Jump”, as they called it, leaping from the upstairs window, for the sake of it, because the annex roof was just below and because she could, leaving Dani with her heart in her mouth and Jade almost crying with fear. Dani and Jade could never understand Kirsty's constant need to run or climb or play footie, and they understood it even less now they were grown up. It messed up hair, broke nails, smeared make-up. Kirsty only laughed and didn't care when they told her that.

Dani never dreamed there would come a day when she too would leave the house via The Jump, but now here she was, sitting on her bedroom window sill, on Kirsty and Kane's wedding day, dressed in old jeans, trainers and a casual summer top, dangling her legs above the roof of the annex, being stared at from the wall by a black cat who, until this unexpected interruption, had been basking peacefully in the sun.

Several minutes passed by without any more action and the cat, concluding the show must have been cancelled, was in the middle of a leisurely stretch, when Dani finally found her courage and jumped, closing her eyes and heaving a sigh of relief as her feet safely touched down on the flat roof. Now there was no going back. The window was still within her reach, but just that little bit too high to haul herself back up.

She cautiously made her way to the edge of the rannex oof, twisted her body round and gingerly lowered herself from the roof to the garden wall. Alarmed at this sudden turn of events, the cat quickly leapt off the wall it hadn't reckoned on sharing. Dani jumped down on to the soft grass and watched the animal thoughtfully. Some people believed it was lucky to have a black cat cross your path. Some people thoght it was unlucky. Well, everything had changed now. What she'd decided, what she'd told Kirsty and Jade...she had to live with that decision forever, whether it was right or wrong.


Kirsty was still crying. She never thought she'd be crying on her wedding day, but she was, like she'd never be able to stop, Dani's words had made her cry so much.

"Hey, you're ruining your make-up," Jade said gently, hugging her.

"I don't care," Kirsy sobbed into her shoulder.

"And my dress."

"Sorry. I'm so sorry." Kirsty gulped.

"It's okay. It's okay, Kirst, I'm sure we can start all over again."

"But what if we can't? Jade, what if we can't? Why did Dan have to choose today of all days to say everything she said?" said Kirsty, and cried fresh tears.


The coast road was a long, curving road, the first picturesque glimpse visitors had of Summer Bay, the image those who had left the little seaside town carried in their hearts whenever they thought nostalgically of home. Along with the Diner and the wharf, it was a popular meeting place, its curve making it easy to see people, even from a distance.

So Dani knew it was Kane as soon as she stepped on to the coast road.

He hadn't seen her. He looked too deep in thought to notice anybody, like all that mattered was the sea he was staring down into. It was strange that he should be here too. Her feet had taken her there because of a dream, because the coast road was just a few minutes away from the caravan park, where she could while away a precious half hour in peace, gathering her thoughts before anyone missed her.

Because no one would ever know how much it cost her to do what she'd done. Not even Kirsty.

Dani absently trailed her hand along the log rail, brushing off the sand, like when she was a kid and she used to pick up a twig to run along the railings, with Kirsty and Jade closely following because, in those simple days, the twins always wanted to do whatever Dani did. Once, Mum had told them that once, coming home from the large city park, the three Sutherland girls had walked, one behind the other, each running a twig the entire length of the park railings in an almost perfect sequence, making so many people smile on that gloomy Sunday afternoon.

She bit her lip and began walking towards him, curious about why he was there, reassured that there were people around and a constant swish of traffic, because in the nightmares still she feared him. She had almost reached him when a loud crash, like the thunder that had terrified her when she was small, startled her, and Kane looked up at the sudden movement.

"The Hell Houses are being demolished," he explained. "Good riddance to 'em."

Dani nodded agreement, following his gaze opposite the sea where a fog of dark grey smoke rose from the distant hill that fringed Summer Bay. "Didn't you use to live round there? In Summerhill?"

"Yeh. A long time ago." He swung round, looking anxious. "How come you're here? Is Kirsty...?"

"She's fine. I could ask you the same question."

He shrugged. " Needed to be on my own a while. Sometimes the nightmares..." Kane glanced back down at the sea as if it held all the answers.

"Yeh. I have them too."

"Dani, I didn't mean...You know if I could only change what happened...?"

"I know." She had attended enough mediation sessions with him by now to know he was sorry though nothing ever could, ever would take away the pain. "But we can't change the past, Kane, only the future. We can change what we are. And I'm not going to be a victim anymore. I can do things I never thought I ever could. You know, for the first time in my life today I even left the house through the window? Maybe that's all down to the message in the dream too."

"Funny, I always went in through the window when I was a kid!" He half smiled. "What dream? What message?"

Dani took a deep breath. She was still shaking. "I think my dream was telling me no matter how hard it is to break away from the past, sometimes we have force ourselves to let go."


Krsty and Kane decided to call their first baby Jamie. James Daniel. Jamie because Kane vaguely remembered a little kid he used to wish was his kid brother.

"Yeh, I love it," Kirsty said. "You know, it's funny, I'm almost certain I knew a Jamie too when I was a kid myself. Probably my imagination. But I love it for another reason. We have the Jay of Jade."

Daniel because Dani had given so much.


The sunlight had been dancing quietly on the walls and in the distance the waves could be heard lapping rhythmically against the shore when Dani told Kirsty and Jade of her dream.

"Summer Bay had suddenly become much, much higher above the sea but I could still see you and I knew, even through the noise of the storm, you could somehow still hear me. I was yelling for you so loud, Kirst! I was so scared you'd fall and be smashed against the rocks or be swept away by the sea and I'd never see you again. But you just kept on walking towards Kane..." Dani was trembling at the memory, the dream had been so vivid, and Jade put her arm round her shoulders.

"Dani, I'm okay. I'm okay, it was just a dream," Kirsty said emotionally, taking her sister's hands in her own.

"It seemed much more than a dream though. Everything was so vivid. Afterwards I sat there for ages thinking about it. What it all meant, why Gran and Grandad were there, why we were all kids, even why you..." she smiled tearfully at Jade "...had that doll you used to take with you everywhere."

"Abby," Jade said, smiling quietly. "Who could forget Abby? I thought she was real. I thought she was our other..." she hesitated before she added the word "twin."

"Jade, you'll always be my twin! Yeh, sure, Laura might be my twin by birth, but I didn't grow up with her, I didn't fight with her or tell her all my secrets like I did with my true twin. And, Dani, you'll always be my sister. Nothing's changed. I still care about you both so much."

Dani gulped back a sob. "Gran and Grandad really loved each other, didn't they? Sometimes when they babysat and you guys were fast asleep Gran would make my hot milk and tell me the story of how they met. It was at kindy and they hated each other at first! Till the day Grandad made Gran cry real bad when he pushed her over, and he was so sorry afterwards that he picked her some flowers and got in heaps of trouble because he’d trampled all over someone’s garden. And, Jade, you loved that doll, Abby. It would have broken your heart to lose her. Funny what people do for love."

"Dani, I never meant to hurt you." Tears were streaming down Kirsty's cheeks.

"That dream was so real. There were all those jagged rocks and the sea and the storm, and Kane...Kane, he climbed right on up there for you and grabbed your hand. And, you know, if you HAD had turned back, if you HAD listened to me..." Dani shuddered as an ice cold shiver ran through her "...you would have fallen down on to the rocks. I would have killed you, but up there, up there with Kane you were safe. And I think...I think the dream was telling me if we never let go of the past we lose everything we have today." Dani turned to her sisters. "I love you, Kirsty. And I know Kane loves you too and he'll always be there for you. I'll always be here for you too, for you and Jade. Yeh, and I guess Kane too. He's part of the family now."

Nobody could tell who was crying most. Nobody knew how the first tearful hugs quickly turned into high-fives and nobody thought for a minute of saying thankyous or loveyous, the tears simply mixed in with laughter and they shouted cool chicks and then, with tears of laugher, cool chooks. Sisters forever. It was Dani who broke away first, sniffing, wiping her eyes with the tips of her fingers.

"I better go, guys, I've a wedding to get ready for. I hear the bride will look beautiful." And she smiled at Kirsty.


They had chosen to know the sex of their baby and the nursery, the little corner room that caught the gentle sea breezes in summer and the warmth of the sun in winter, was already crammed with toys, lovingly furnished and decorated, and freshly painted blue. His favourite colour. There was still a splash of blue paint on his hand, where he'd been repainting a patch of wall that he felt wasn't quite perfect, and he so much wanted everything to be perfect, and he'd still managed to stare in disbelief, even after nine months of waiting and preparation, when Kirsty, both terrifed and happy, had announced she thought the bub was on its way.

"He has your eyes, Kane," Kirsty said.

He held his son for the very first time, unable to speak because of the lump in his throat and the rush of love overwhelming him. She stroked the baby's head, smiling at the expression on her husband's face, while he didn't dare move, terrified of breaking the spell of this tiny person staring up at him. At last his voice came, husky and faraway.

"I swear I'm gonna be the best Dad ever, Kirst. Betcha he'll be so smart, but you know what? I won't care if he's not smart, just so long's he's happy 'cos I never want him to be scared or lonely or hurt."

"Kane, I love you so much," Kirsty whispered, reaching for their son as Jamie's eyelids fluttered back into sleep.

He gently placed his forehead against his wife's. "Babe, didn't even know what the word meant till I met you. I love you and Jamie more than anything else in the whole world. Always."


The ship was rocking gently as they looked towards the sun-dappled sea, as the passenger who'd taken their photo walked away.

"You better get used to having your piccy taken, Kane - like me," Kirsty whispered.

"You got tickets on yourself since you won gold swimming for Oz!" Kane whispered happily back.

But when he straightened Jamie's captain hat Kirsty noticed him swiftly brush a tear from the corner of his eye.

"Kane, you okay?" she asked, concerned.

He grinned. "Apples, Kirst. I got everything I ever wanted."

"Me too." Kirsty said, slipping her arm into his.

And, like queen of the river, dignified and proud, drawing admiring glances from the watchers on the shore, the ship glided gracefully towards New Zealand, the first country they would visit on the world cruise.

Captain Kane Phillips grinned as his wife, giggling like a kid, rammed his captain's hat back down on his head, and he kissed her, lifting their small son on to his shoulders, as the sunlight shimmered on the green ocean where the waves rolled timelessly.

What dreams may come on those waves that kiss distant shores, first tumbling and crashing, then soaring and dancing. What beautiful dreams.


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