Lou reluctantly drew back, still holding Joe, and placed his soft lips on Joe's own. Existence reacted to their reunion. Immediately, it was as if two halves became whole once again. The sky flashed colors overhead as they stood together: day to night, night to day. They stood motionless and kissing for so long a period that they might have been mistaken for part of the landscape, as vines climbed up their legs and grass grew around them; as dirt gathered and buried even more the scattered fragments of the abbey. Only the keepers of time knew that lifetimes did indeed pass, possibly entire eras. And yet it was but a scant moment to Joe and Lou. All of it but a simple, longed-for embrace neither time nor death could contain.