-Morning Interlude-

After the doctor had departed, everyone went back to bed to get a couple hours of sleep before dawn.

Morning came quickly as it usually does when one has been awakened in the wee hours. The sun was barely above the horizon when Oliver woke and went out to check on Mattie and her calf. He got to the barn and saw Sadie standing there with Bryce. Bryce was looking cheerfully bleary-eyed.

"I'm glad they're both okay," he said, surprising himself. Before he'd gone into cryostasis all those years ago, he had never thought of people as anything more than coworkers, rivals, or useful acquaintances. The only ones he had felt anything resembling affection for had been Edison, Theora, and Jenny, and that had been a simple bud of friendship that he had never allowed to blossom for the sake of professionalism.

Now that he knew he had children, though they were all in their twenties, his heart was no longer closed off. Looking at Mattie's calf, he wondered about those things he had missed in his frozen state.

"You're very lucky," he told the cow. "You get to grow up with your little one. That'll never happen to me I'm afraid."

"You're still young," Sadie told him. "You'll find someone one day."

"Who?" Bryce asked. "Jenny? She's great. But what would the world say if a woman in her forties married what looks like a boy of seventeen? And I can't marry a girl my apparent age because I know I'm not seventeen chronologically."

"There is something I think I should warn you," Sadie said, leaning close to Bryce. With her lips near his ear she whispered. "When your heart tells you you've found the right one... you're not going to care a dingo's left ear what anyone else thinks."

Jenny joined them a few minutes later with Edison and Vanna.

Bryce's shy smile finally reached his eyes.

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