Disclaimer - Paramount I've come to doubt.
It happened softly.
I was in your ready room, watching you consume what I counted as being your tenth cup of coffee while trying to read a PADD containing a status report, when it came to me.
There was no sudden revelation, no anguished thoughts - just a gentle acceptance of the truth: I wasn't in love with you anymore.
Something must have shown on my features because you asked if I was okay.
For the first time in years I was absolutely fine.
There would be no more sleepless nights caused by the memory of your smile, no more disturbing dreams evoking the image of you bending your head to one side due to your 'knots getting knots'. There would be no more hours spent staring at your neck, wondering if it felt as smooth as I remembered or if I had imagined the whole thing.
No more quick glances to surreptitiously check if you were looking at me, and the racing pulse that inevitably accompanied that if you actually were.
You looked at me oddly, a bit taken aback by my behaviour. I hadn't told you, wasn't planning on telling you, so you just wouldn't get it.
There would be nothing.
No anxious waiting if you hadn't checked in from an away mission precisely on time, no horrifying sense of dread if we lost contact with you. I'd still be concerned of course - if nothing else you're a friend - but I wouldn't feel obligated to refuse sleep until we found you, wouldn't bark at Harry to hurry up with those damn sensor readings in a tone of voice that indicated far more that friendship.
I had tried, before, to move on, but I had never really thrown myself into it, never really tried. Guilt. There would be none of that now. The spectre of you wouldn't be looming behind everything I said, did or thought.
I continue smiling.
Concerned, you say my name then reach out and touch my hand.
And it happens, softly.
Just for one moment - one moment - I had convinced myself.
As my hand covers yours and I smile for an entirely different reason, I wonder how I ever could have doubted it.
e-mail // voyager fic