"You didn't have to tell him," George replied, quickening his pace considerably.
"Couldn't help it, son," John answered, matching George's stride.
They all fell into step together, sandwiched in side by side as if to ward off the "Time disharmony."
As they walked, John and Ringo alternately took turns filling Paul in on what had happened and the whole confusing Might-Have-Been spiel, with George interrupting to clarify things.
Paul didn't seem to have much a problem with any of it. He took it in a lot easier than the others had. John, George, and Ringo didn't think they should mention his impending death.
John was walking next to Paul and realizing he still had Paul by the arm, let him go. Instantly, Paul stumbled and reached blindly for John's hand.
"What's wrong with you?" John said, stabilizing Paul. "Are you on something?"
"I---don't---know," Paul answered confusedly, grabbing John's elbow. "I can't think straight. I can't see very well. Don't let go---I'm sure to run into something."
John took Paul by the shoulders and looked him squarely in the eye. Paul didn't seem to notice. His eyes were still blurred-looking and out-of-focus. John sighed, but linked his arm in Paul's, not liking the picture that came into his mind of his friend walking into the middle of a street with a huge truck headed his way...
"What's wrong with Paul, John?" George asked softly as they began to walk again.
John shook his head, getting rid of the thought as well as answering the question.
After the 'threat' of Paul's double calling in reinforcements lightened, they began to take in their surroundings. Just like home, yet somehow different. It was summer here and at home, winter was just fading into spring. Passersby just nodded as they passed them.
There was, in short, barely anyone on the streets. George asked someone for the time and they found that it was seven o' clock on a Saturday morning. The city hadn't completely woken up yet.
"Be a lot harder for us if they had," George muttered under his breath.
They kept on walking and except for the few comments on what they saw, they were silent.
George broke it, irritated.
"Where are we going, anyway?" he demanded.
John shrugged, Paul tried hard to focus on him, and Ringo laughed in his face.
"My dear faithful one, do not worry yourself." Ringo smiled. "I just have this feeling in me bones that we'll know where we're going when we see what we're going to. So hold on a bit, mate."
George reddened a little, mostly at being dubbed "the faithful one." So, he had faith. So what? He believed what he believed and that was that.
They were passing an alleyway and Ringo abruptly turned and walked into it, climbing up a fire escape attached to one building. They followed.
George had been expecting something rather dramatic, but the room into which they entered was anything but that. The room's floor was comprised of smooth dark brown wooden planks and a single wooden chair sat out of place at a bare wooden table. The only source of light in the room was the small window, farthest away from them, streaked and covered in grime.
Without a word, John took Paul's shoulder with one hand, still holding Paul's hand with the other. He guided Paul to the chair and let him sit, which Paul did in complete silence but with a smile for thanks. He relaxed himself and his shoulders slumped forward, his head drooping until his chin was an inch or so above his chest.
As soon as John moved away from Paul, two small balls of yellow light appeared within the dark room. They hovered midway between the table and ceiling and would suddenly move from one place to another, leaving a sparkling trail in their wake. One of them hovered above Paul's bent head for a moment, with something of the feeling of a mother giving her child one last loving look before she turns out the light.
"Look," John whispered to Ringo, who had been studying the floor. George stood transfixed.
The balls suddenly drew away from each other and circled up and down, weaving their twinkling trails in and out as they moved in those two separate places.
They grew almost too bright to look at and John shielded his eyes, Ringo scrunching up his own, as they stood almost chest-to-chest and were bathed in now blue light.
The light faded, leaving two tall softly glowing figures, "draped in trailing white"---trailing white robes of softness that fell in graceful folds about their slim bodies and covered their sandal-ed feet up to their toes.
One of the figures, to the standing Beatles' right, was a woman with long, flowing, golden hair that seemed to gleam with its own light. Her eyes were a gentle, sparkling, deep turquoise and her skin was a fine pink-ivory with high cheekbones tinged with a pearly rose. She stood before them with heavenly grace. Her outward manner seemed to suggest that she had a strong love for them, a close friend's love.
The other figure was a man with smooth skin lightly tanned. His hair was a rippling black with hints of purple. It was somewhat in crew-cut style, but there was such an abundance of it that it was a little longer. His eyes were a clear amber, frank and serious, yet kind. His hands were clasped in front of him and they were beautiful hands, long and slender.
The woman extended her slender arms out to them in welcome and said,
His voice became soft and his manner reverent.
**How are you? How was your rest?** the woman asked.
"Fine, thank you."
The woman seemed to glide on ice as she crossed the floor to them. She shook George's hand and left him speechless, kissed Ringo's head and then stopped at John.
**Hello, John,** she said softly and touched his face with one soft hand. **You are feeling better, are you not?**
Her touch sent a refreshing coolness through his body and John did feel better.
"Yes," he answered, looking up to meet her eyes (she must have been about 6'4).
Pools of deep blueness looked back at him.
**Such sadness I see in your eyes!** she said, her voice tender. **Such pain! Oh, John...It will get better. Life has something special for you yet. And you have the love of your friends and family always. Never forget that.**
She stooped and kissed his cheek and he felt an incredible sweetness in her kiss. He'd only felt that a few times before---from his mother and in Cynthia's first innocent kisses.
The beautiful angel from moved from him and stood quietly by Paul, who still could not see. She put a fine white hand on his bent head and played with his hair. The other Beatles saw Paul's tortured figure relax completely and his head leaned against her hand. His eyes were closed in peaceful slumber. John had not seen Paul so innocent and peaceful in his sleep since...He shook his head and concentrated his attention on the male angel, who had cleared his throat and was about to speak.
"You said we had to do things in the times we were in to fulfill our mission," George interrupted before the angel even began.
**Yes. That is what I am going to talk to you about,** the man said. **You are all in this time primarily for you to rest in a comfortable environment and to get over the shock of seeing your doubles. You have a task to do for this time, but not right now.**
**You were all mentally agitated,** the woman angel said, stroking the sleeping Paul's hair. **We thought it best if you just rested here. The double that you met was just to get you prepared for what you'll be seeing later on. Seeing your doubles won't be too much of a shock if you've been prepared a bit beforehand. As to what task you need to do, we're going to send you back a year through the Timepool---back to the time Bob Dylan offered you guys pot.** She smiled. **All you have to do is make it so that the Might-Have-Beens accept the pot. When they do, they'll cease to exist, for they will have become YOU. Right now, they are not you and can cause screw-ups in Real Time even if they don't do anything.**
**We can't tell you what to do to make the Might-Have-Beens accept---you have to figure that out for yourself. It won't be very hard, though. We're sending you back into your past---you won't see your doubles as they didn't exist until they decided not to take pot. If you don't agree to take it, the Might-Have-Beens will be born right before your very eyes.**
"Okay," John said, thinking to himself that this was going to be rather easy. "But what about Paul?"
**He relapsed,** the female angel replied quietly. **And when you travel through the Timepool in a weakened state, it messes you up for a bit when you get to another time. That is why he can't see. Sometimes he will be healthy and be able to go in---but there are always unpleasant side effects if you Travel unfit for it. You must always rest up before you Travel.**
"How long will he need to rest?" Ringo asked.
**Just for a few more minutes for right now. I'll help him get through the Pool with you healthy.**
She bent and whispered in his ear and he awoke immediately. The male angel helped him stand and then moved to stand by John.
The woman placed one hand on Paul's heart and closed his eyes with her other hand and then laid it against his cheek. She closed her eyes as well and then they were both outlined by and aura of bluish-white light. Paul's posture straightened and his natural colour came back into his face. The light faded and then she kissed his lips and when she drew away, his hands in hers, he opened his eyes.
"Thank you," they heard him say softly. "I'm all right now. And it's a pleasure to meet you."
**The pleasure is mine, love. And you are very welcome.** She gave his hands a squeeze before she let go. Waving her hands and humming, swirling sparkles filled the room and were concentrated in a spot in front of her. The man hummed in harmony and moved his hands and the Timepool in all its splendor, was open before them.
But it was different this time. It wasn't blue. It was a swirling, blurred mass of all colours---it was a beautiful and joyful rainbow-coloured mix.
**It's different because you're going into your own past,** the male angel explained. **When you see the Might-Have-Beens, it's blue.**
Reassured, The Beatles looked into the Pool. Paul flashed a happy smile at them all and went in.
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, etc.: Lissa Michelle Supler/Strawberry Sunshine This is copyrighted work and may not reproduced by any means without permision from the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail. If you want to link to this, please ask first and I will link to you.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? (Compliments?) Mail me!