He had had nothing and everything. Now he had everything and nothing, though shivering as he was he thought a blanket would have been nice.

The muted wash of the waves as they broke upon the shore was comforting, but more comforting was the regular contrapuntal snoring that came from the body curled up next to him: his beloved. He leant over and lightly kissed the mussed blond hair beside him and was rewarded with a sleepy "Mmph," as the body snuggled closer.

"Are you awake?" he whispered. Only the sea replied. He smiled.

"You know," he murmured a little later, "I've been thinking about the right and wrongs. The could have beens as opposed to the what was. And no matter what happens. No matter what. Now, we have each other."

"Mmph ... go back to sleep, fool." A hand snaked up and ruffled his hair.

"I can't. I'm too happy, and ...." The hand moved down and covered his mouth. He chuckled with delight.

"Shh," his beloved's voice whispered. "I'm happy too, but sleep is important. Especially is you want to come with the rest of us."

He frowned. "Whadda ya mean 'especially if I want to come'? Of course I do! I ...."

"Then for goodness sake go to sleep!" His beloved sounded cross now, which almost brought him to tears. Instead his frown became deeper causing furrows on his youthful brow as, in a fit of pique, he shrugged off the hand.

"I thought we ...." He broke off as the warmth of the body beside him vanished and stood up. Leaning back on his elbows he watched as silhouetted against the vaguest glimmer of red from the horizon the figure began a ritualistic series of movements he'd never seen this close before. He stood too and clumsily tried to follow the moves, but the sand kept hampering him.

Now he was nervous. Time was short and it was much closer to dawn and the high tide than he'd thought.

"Will you really go?"

"Yes!" the figure chuckled rudely. "I told you, but you would believe otherwise."

"I ..." he was grabbed by the arm, pulled to his feet, and they were moving now: fast towards the sound of the surf, other silhouettes joining them from the surrounding dunes.

"... don't want ..." he managed to utter, wanting to scream.

"No longer your choice."


*        *        *


Except for a lone gull the beach was pristine and empty as the sun crept blazing over the horizon.



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