"Breathing Lessons" and timelines

Ryan K. Michaels

Staff member
I recently finished reading and bringing GentleReader's outstanding story, "Breathing Lessons", fully onboard this website. With some very minor adjustments (relating only to dates and times), I found that it fits perfectly into the Primary Timeline and complies with the Original Series... barring one brief but significant exception: its epilogue.

So, after much consideration about where "Breathing Lessons" belongs, I have taken the following unprecedented action...

Rather than allow a rather sprawling, otherwise completely OS-compliant story (which brilliantly fills the vast chasm between ATFWMW and AWWAV) to be cast by just its few final sentences into the realm of "Albert's Alternate Timelines", I have separated the epilogue into its own, separate page within the "Breathing Lessons" forum and labeled it "Breathing Lessons: The Alternate Timeline Epilogue." I thought briefly about pulling the epilogue out entirely and listing it as its own Dream Sequence or Alternate Timeline episode, but it just seemed wrong to distance the author's original intent so far from the overall story.

The only continuity issues this raises are now with a handful of EU stories, most of which already conflict with each other (concerning Rita and other, less significant details). Since these stories are all Original Series-compliant, however, they all belong in the Primary Timeline, and it's up to the reader to decide how he/she regards each one.

Long story slightly shorter (or not, if you prefer), I highly recommend giving "Breathing Lessons" a read at your earliest convenience. Ending (sans epilogue) just three days before AWWAV, it adds so much needed joy, depth, and poignancy to the story of David, Maddie, and Baby Hayes.
I just finished reading this. It's great, but the happiness in this story makes the sadness in AWWAV even sadder. I'm so glad the epilogue is there so I can continue living in a happy fantasy with David and Maddie instead of the sad reality. I do really love this story though.
That "Breathing Lessons" without the epilogue makes AWWAV even sadder is a testament to how successful it is. AWWAV should be sadder.

Having said that, however... I am just as glad as you are that the epilogue is there as an option.