They sat together, outside, watching as the sunlight played against the red and orange leaves of the darkly-barked trees, and the creek trickled down the mildly-stepped valley where they'd made their home. They had some warm, spiced soft apple cider, a favorite of his. She moved closer to him, closing her eyes to better hear the sounds of the still forest.
"I like this one," she said. And they were silent for a few moments, until a thought recurred to her. "Are you sure that it wasn't hard to allow time to pass while also creating situational permanence? I'm not up on the latest quantemporal physics, but it seems like you'd have to work at cross-purposes to yourself to get it going."
"I didn't say that creating the time bubble wasn't hard," he answered. "It certainly wasn't the hardest part, though."
"So which was the hardest part?" she asked him when he'd stopped.
He took a sip of his cider, and thought aloud. "Well, let's see. Reverse time travel wasn't invented until the war, so I had to survive until then. It took several iterations to win the war, though, and I had to make sure that I saw it through without paradox. Then there was that whole psychotemporal issue - I basically wound up stuck in a fractal version of Channelwood for eternity, and had to think my way out of that. Then, of course, we had to develop pre-point reverse time travel, to be able to bubble any moment from before Earth was devastated by the war."
"And where was I during all this?" she asked.
"You know, I'm not sure, it's been so long. You were probably dead or something. Or was I dead? Well, whichever it was, it got fixed. But yeah, I'd say that the hardest part was avoiding paradoxes during the war."
"Not the Channelwood part?"
"Nah, that was easy: I had eternity, after all."