Written by Kari
Based on some situations originated by James Cameron.

In her dream, Rose DeWitt Bukater relived that dreadful moment again and again. Jackís sturdy arms were locked around her desperately. He seemed so calm and self-assured, but when she glanced at him, the fear in his eyes was unmistakable.

The great hull of the Titanic was disappearing fast beneath them, and would soon pull them down on top of it into the blackness of the water. But Jack was there, and for a moment, he met her eyes. "Weíre going to make it, Rose!" he told her with all the conviction of his being. "Trust me."

"I trust you!" she yelled above the noise of the swiftly submerging ship. And there was no doubt in her heart. She trusted him.

The water was now mere feet below them, and Rose could feel the stinging spray on her face. Beneath the surface of the blackness, she could hear the massive Titanic groaning with a last effort as the sea swallowed it.

Almost there...the dread filled her heart, but Jack was there. She felt him squeeze her hand harder. And on Jackís mark, she sucked in a large gulp of air.

And suddenly, the iciness enveloped her whole, shocking her body, and the Titanic was no longer supporting her. She felt Jackís strong grip on her hand in the dark coldness--her only source of comfort--and she concentrated on that. She held on tightly as she flailed her legs, kicking for the surface as Jack had told her to do...but the problem was, she didnít know which way the surface was!

She felt Jack pull her closer to him as he latched onto her lifebelt.

But suddenly, he was gone! She couldnít feel him! She groped desperately in the darkness for him, but the ocean had swallowed him. Unexpectedly, her head broke free of the darkness. Instinctively, she gasped for air, all the time searching the surface desperately for her lost love.

"Jack!" she screamed again and again, but her voice was lost in a sea of thousands upon thousands of voices. So many people. So many like herself...but she did not see Jackís face among any of them.

She didnít know how much time had passed when she came across a drifting wardrobe door. Exhausted and numbed from the cold and grief, she climbed on top.

After all that had happened, Jack had been ripped from her arms and sucked into the darkness forever.

*****

Rose awoke with a start, but the coldness of the dream followed her, leaving her chilled to the bone. She shivered, pulling her sweat-soaked sheets tightly around her body.

"There, there," the nurse soothed her gently, handing her a cool glass of water. Like a lightning bolt, reality hit her. She was in the makeshift infirmary aboard the Cunard Liner Carpathia, mere days after the sinking.

She had suffered severe hypothermia while in the water, and when they brought her aboard Carpathia she had been disoriented and delirious. She had not even been able to give them her name. In fact, she had not even been able to speak in intelligible words or phrases.

The nurses had determined that she was suffering from shock as well as hypothermia, and maybe even amnesia. But Rose remembered everything. The memories came back to her in a rush--Titanic, her suicide attempt, meeting Jack, falling in love with Jack, the iceberg, losing Jack...

She forced that thought away as the nurse took the glass out of her trembling hands. "Youíre going to be fine, Miss DeWitt Bukater, youíll see."

Rose stopped dead, staring at the nurse in horror. "What did you just call me?"

The nurse looked at her, a confused expression plastering on her kindly face. "Miss DeWitt Bukater. That is your name, isnít it?"

Rose could do nothing but stare at this woman as she tried to remember the confusion of the past couple of days, but it was all such a blur. Had she revealed her own identity in her delirium?

"A rich gentleman named Caledon Hockley identified you. He said that youíre his fiancee, and your mother--"

"No!" Rose exclaimed, sitting up as dread filled the pit of her stomach. Jack was dead...and Cal had found her. "No, heís not my fiance. The man that I was to marry is dead."

Rose ignored the womanís confused expression as she bolted from bed--

And nearly collapsed at the door. Someone was there to break her fall. Someone was holding her, bringing her back to bed, and for a moment Rose thought that it was Jack. "Jack!" she exclaimed, opening her eyes, only to find herself looking into the conflicted eyes of Cal Hockley.

She recoiled in horror, clinging to the bed rail.

"Hello, sweetpea," he said tiredly. And the tone of his voice--was it possible to be angry, relieved, and irritated all at once? But thatís how Cal seemed.

"Jack is dead, sweetpea," Cal said gently, but Rose could hear the faint trace of triumph in his voice.

"Well, isnít that convenient for you," she snapped irritably.

Cal actually looked stung by the comment, but he recovered almost immediately. He reached out in an attempt to smooth her hair, but she instinctively pulled away from him. Rose glanced desperately at the nurse who stood silently nearby, unsure of what to make of their exchange.

Around her, the sick and dying filled other beds lined up randomly along the walls. There were even some on cots and pallets on the floor. By the way Cal glanced around uncomfortably, Rose knew that he felt out of place here among the sick and the poor. "Please, Rose, let us care for you in our suite. Your mother has been so worried--"

"Iím not going anywhere with you," she told him forcefully, confidently. "Ever!"

Cal glanced around, clearly embarrassed that she had raised her voice to him in public, and angry that he could not take her forcefully without causing a scene. "Rose," he said in an obvious effort to keep his voice down, "you know youíre in no position to argue. You can barely stand."

Rose took a deep breath, standing up carefully. There. She just had to make slow movements. Reaching down, she grabbed the blanket, wrapping it around her shoulders. "Cal, can we please go somewhere to talk quietly?"

He hesitantly complied, leading her out of the infirmary section of the ship and out onto the nearest deck. She stumbled several times and Cal tried to help her walk, but she refused to let him touch her. Outside, they leaned against the railing. It was past sunset, and the stars were just visible in the late afternoon sky, and the early moon reflected its light beautifully off the surface of the water.

On any other night, Rose would have found the sight beautiful. But how could she now? The water was a great black beast, and it had swallowed Jack into its depths. And it had tried to take her, too.

A chilling breeze swept across the waters, sending chills up her spine as she was suddenly reminded of the bitter cold that those waters possessed. She pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders.

"Doesnít this remind you of our time in Venice the night I asked you to marry me?" Cal commented, breaking the silence.

She looked at him strangely, not sure whether she should be angry that he should mention something like that after all he had done to her and Jack, or whether she should feel sorry for him for hanging on to his illusions. "Cal," she said gently, "things are different now. I donít love you anymore."

These last words stunned him into silence--something that didnít happen to Cal Hockley very often. "Rose, I do love you--"

"Cal, our marriage was arranged for financial purposes, nothing more. To become richer. Before we became engaged, I was enamored of you. I thought you rich, powerful, and handsome...and we had some good times. I thought I was happy. I thought it was what I wanted."

He opened up his mouth as if to say something, but she continued before he could get a word out.

"But soon after the engagement, I realized that it wasnít what I wanted. Itís what everyone else wanted of me--you, my mother, and your father--everyone. Everyone but me. But I had somehow convinced myself that it was for my own good. Cal, after the engagement, you changed. During our courtship you were polite and courteous, but when we became engaged you became protective and smothering and dominant. I slowly realized that all you cared about was owning me."

"Rose, thatís not true. I told you I love you." His voice was so desperate, almost pleading. It had been a long time since she had heard him sound so sincere.

"Maybe you somehow convinced yourself that you love me, Cal. But dominance is not love. Owning me is not loving me. Maybe you sincerely believe that you love me, but I donít think you could ever understand the nature of love."

"And I suppose you do?" he asked, his voice becoming angry. "You have a fling with some filthy gutter rat"--he practically spat the word out-- "and suddenly, you understand the nature of love? He had nothing to offer you, Rose. I have everything."

Rose shook her head sadly. He still didnít get it. "Not everything," she said softly, her eyes once again focusing on the water ahead of her. "There are some things that all the money in the world could never buy. Jack showed me this. He came along in my darkest hour and he showed me how to love, and how to live..." Roseís face became dark as the next thought occurred to her. "And you tried to have him killed."

The words hung in the air, the silence between them palpable.

Calís face became dark. "You were the one who betrayed me, Rose. And yet, here I am, willing to take you back, and Jack is dead, no matter that it was not my doing."

This time Rose was the one to become angry. "Youíre such a pompous ass, Cal. You think you know everything about life, but you canít comprehend a thing. Youíre so focused on your world and your money that youíre too blind to notice anything else. That night that I slipped and nearly fell over the ship--I didnít slip. I tried to jump. But Jack convinced me that living would be worth it. He understood things that you never could, Cal. That is why he was a better man than youíll ever be. Thatís why I fell in love with him."

She took a deep breath, noticing the tears in the corners of his eyes. Caledon Hockley, crying! Rose would never have thought it possible.

Yet she could have no sympathy for him. Not after what heíd done to Jack, and done to her. He hadnít tears enough. "Good-bye, Cal," she said softly. "I hope that you find the right woman to marry. In this society, Iím sure it wonít be too difficult. Tell Mother...tell her I love her. Tell her Iím sorry that I canít be there to tell her that myself. Weíre just too different. She would never understand Rose Dawson."

Without another word, Rose Dawson was gone, leaving Caledon with his form silhouetted against the moonlight. He did not follow her.

The Carpathia docked the next day, and as it did so, she made sure that her name in the survival list read Rose Dawson.

Rose DeWitt Bukater died on the Titanic.

In New York City, Rose found a home in a strict boarding house near Central Park, where she went walking daily to watch the young families. For months, Rose cried herself to sleep every night. She desperately avoided any and all male attention. One particular night while going through her only belongings, Rose was surprised to find The Heart of the Ocean in the pocket of the coat Cal had given her. She had cried that night, thinking that she finally had a real link to Jack.

In the first week after docking, Rose had pawned her engagement ring. She had considered tossing it over the railing of the Carpathia, but thought better of it.

After moving into the boarding house, Rose had found work as a waitress to pay her rent. She had never actually done any sort of real work in her life, but Rose discovered that she rather enjoyed it. Some of the waitresses even talked to her about the new playhouses needing actors and actresses. This intrigued Rose--sheíd always secretly wanted to be an actress. She remembered telling that to Jack on the Titanic.

And so after being introduced to the owner of one particular playhouse, it wasnít long before Rose had her first supporting role.

So this is how it came to be that, five months after the sinking, Rose Dawson sat in the dressing room after her first performance in the opening play. She was absolutely exhilarated. She had given her best performance, and how the audience had cheered! It had been a success! She had not felt this alive since...well, since Jack.

Jack. Not a day went by that she did not think about her doomed lover. "Like the tragic lovers in a play," she whispered to her image in the mirror as she pulled the pins out of her red curls, letting her hair bounce free.

"Nice performance, kiddo," Emily--the actual star of the play--told her as she patted her on the shoulder. "Before you know it, youíll have all my parts."

Emily smiled good-naturedly as she left the small dressing room, leaving Rose alone with her thoughts. She liked Emily. In many ways, she reminded Rose of Molly Brown.

She sighed. There it was. Something was constantly reminding her of Titanic. And Titanic reminded her of Jack.

"These are for the star, miss."

Startled by the broken silence, Rose looked up into the mirror to see a man behind her, his face partially hidden by an armful of red roses.

"Emily just left," she snapped, surprised by the manís rude and inappropriate entrance.

"Actually, these are for Miss Rose Dawson."

Rose froze in place, her shoulders becoming abruptly rigid. His voice...so much like...no, it couldnít be. He was dead.

Slowly the man came forward and laid the roses down next to her on the dresser, but Rose didnít dare look up out of fear that it wouldnít be so; fear that sheíd wake up and realize that this was a dream and that--

"Rose." His voice was so tender, so loving. And his hand was on her shoulder now. Slowly, she looked up.

And the tear-filled blue eyes that gazed down at her with so much affection were unmistakable. She thought her heart was going to explode. Suddenly, his hand was on her cheek, and she was standing up, her own eyes filling with tears, as she saw nothing but him. She could speak no words because her vocal cords would not respond.

Before she even realized what had happened, she was in Jackís arms, and he was holding her tighter than heíd ever held her before, and he was saying her name over and over, and it was the sweetest sound sheíd ever heard in her life. She was dimly aware of the sobbing that escaped her chest, but she hardly noticed. Jack was in her arms. Her Jack. Safe and alive.

They stood together like that, holding one another and crying, for what seemed like a sweet eternity. Finally, Jack pulled back, and when he did, she realized he was now grinning ear to ear.

At the sight--the beautiful sight--Rose burst into laughter--that pure, heartfelt sort of laughter. She thought her heart would explode from the feeling of bliss that poured through her heart at that moment. They hugged again tightly, but they were laughing this time.

Rose pulled back slightly to run her hands through his blond hair, before resting them on his cheeks. She gazed hard into his eyes as if still trying to decide if he was real. He did the same, kissing her red tresses softly and breathing in the scent of her hair, her skin. He kissed her soft lips tenderly, loving the taste of her.

His Rose. His beautiful Rose.

"Jack," Rose finally said. The name felt so good on her tongue. "Jack, I thought you were dead--"

"I thought you were dead, too," he told her. "I couldnít find you on the Carpathia and your name wasnít on the survivor list."

"I was sick in the infirmary almost until we arrived in New York, and there was no record of you listed anywhere. I searched the ship when I could finally walk without falling over. No one I talked to had seen you. Jack, Iím so sorry. I should have looked harder. But after we were pulled apart under the water, I was sure that you were..."

"Shh," he assured her, holding her trembling body in his arms once again. He never wanted to let her go. "Itís not your fault, Rose. It doesnít matter now. Weíre together now."

"So how did you know I was here?" she asked, curiosity getting the better of her.

He shrugged, a sly grin playing on his lips. "I heard of this play and was interested in seeing it. Then I heard of an actress named Rose Dawson. My logical mind told me it was a coincidence. I mean, there have to be hundreds of Rose Dawsons in New York alone, right? Well, I followed a hunch and cross-referenced it with the Titanic survivor list. And sure enough--there was a single Rose Dawson listed. And incidentally, there was no Rose Dawson listed on the original passenger list."

Rose smiled, shaking her head. "Why, Mr. Dawson, arenít you the clever one?"

He smiled back at her. "Not too clever. Donít know why I didnít think of it before. I must say, though, Miss Dawson, that Iím very flattered. And touched."

Rose blushed visibly. "Jack, letís get out of here. Weíll stay up all night talking at my place."

Jack looked at her with a mock-pout. "After five months of not seeing each other? Thatís what you want to do all night? Talk?"

This time Rose turned beet red as she remembered what they had done in the back of the Renault on the Titanic. "Well, we might be able to find the time for other...mmhmm...activities," she told him teasingly as she took his hand, leading him out of the theater.

By the time they left, it was pitch black outside, with only a few street lamps to guide their way. But Jack was with her. She felt safe with him by her side.

"Jack, when we get inside, youíre going to have to be very quiet. My landlady is very strict, and if she finds you here weíll both be out on the street."

Jack shrugged nonchalantly. "Makes it more exciting, donít you think?"

Rose punched him in the shoulder, laughing at him at the same time. She shook her head as she wrapped her arm around his waist, his solid form and warmth once again reminding her that he was real. "What am I going to do with you, Jack Dawson?"

He grinned down at her, rubbing her shoulders at the same time. "I can think of a few things, Rose Dawson," he teased, once again making her blush.

As a moment of silence passed, they found themselves enamored of each other, unable to keep their eyes off one another. They traded smiles that dazzled their hearts, and they did not want to stop touching each other.

"Jack, tomorrow letís go to Central Park. Thatís where I go sometimes, and I want to share it with you."

"But of course," he said, flashing one of his dazzling smiles as his blue eyes reflected the moonlight. "I wish to draw you in a sea of flowers, ma belle mademoiselle."

"Weíre here," Rose whispered as they stopped by the door of an ancient brick building that had the look of an old orphanage about it. Together, they stepped up the concrete stairs and Rose pulled open the double doors, peering in cautiously. Ahead, across a long room, she could see the stairs that led to the second floor. But no one was in the long living room. Rose strained her ears, but she could hear no movement or voices--even from the kitchen.

"All clear," she whispered, taking his hand and pulling him in behind her. Together, they made their way quietly towards the staircase, Jackís gaze bouncing around the room in curiosity. The room held practical furniture and a single fireplace--nothing too extraordinary.

Finally they were at the base of the stairs and climbing steadily up. Several times, the boards creaked nosily in the old house, and Rose would stop dead in her tracks, fearful that someone would emerge at the top or the foot of the stairs. But they arrived at the top without incident, and they made it safely down the hall and into Roseís room.

"Shhew," Jack whispered when they made it inside safely. Looking around, Jack wanted to study her room, but all he could do when she stepped to him and into his arms was collapse on her narrow bed. It was suddenly a heart-wrenching feeling, to hold Rose again. He felt the tears coming, but he pushed them back. He was with Rose now--there was no need to cry anymore.

"Ya know," he whispered, pulling back to trace her jaw and lips with his finger, "I hadnít cried since my parents died in the fire. But after I lost you...a day didnít go by that I didnít cry for you."

Roseís heart was broken. She couldnít bear the thought of him being in so much pain over her. "Oh, Jack," she whispered, pulling him into her arms, holding him so tight she thought they might meld into one. "I cried for you, too. I missed you so much."

"Rose, I love you," he said, pulling back to look into her eyes. "I love you so much. I wanted to tell you that every day the past five months. I hated myself for not telling you while I had the chance."

"And I love you, Jack," she whispered, letting the honesty of the moment ring in the air as she studied his eyes. "I never want you out of my sight again. Letís get married tomorrow. In the park. I know a priest who would gladly do it."

And there it was--the moment of truth. She could see the pure joy and love in his eyes. But there was hesitation--concern for her. "Rose, are you sure thatís what you want so soon after..."

"Shh," she said, holding a finger up to his lips. "Thatís taken care of. I donít think weíll have to worry about Cal bothering us. And yes, itís what I want. I want you, Jack Dawson. Forever."

And when their lips met in a passionate, longing kiss, there was no more need for words. Their bodies and hearts spoke for them. As their clothing disappeared and skin mingled with skin, they knew that there would be hard times. But they realized that they could get through anything.

Because fate had brought them together for the second time.

The End.

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