Strangers When We Meet
by Suz

Disclaimer - Jump that mountain.


I bumped into you today. I was on my way home from a meeting with Starfleet; you were on your way to...God knows where, actually. I still have no idea.

The first thing I noticed was that you've stopped dyeing your hair, but then so have I. Of course the grey streaks always suited you, but I'm still not sure about myself...

It was curious, seeing you again after all this time. There was the odd message here and there, but nothing with any substance to it.

As the months passed and I immersed myself in my work I thought of you less and less. Not completely forgetting. A certain way someone would smile or a particular scent - early morning dew, specifically - would trigger a memory.

Eventually though, I began to forget who you were. You weren't someone who used to give me back rubs and roses; you were simply a man I heard about from other people.

A stranger.

And I am so relieved, so utterly relieved that we're strangers. Our conversation is full of "I heard you did this" and "It's good to see you", free of the awkwardness that it could so easily have been saturated with.

When you suggest we go to a coffee shop for a drink, it seems only natural to say yes.

We talk of little of importance; reminisce rarely; laugh mostly. I had most definitely forced the memory of The Dimple out of my mind. But it's comfortable. You make bad jokes, I make bad jokes. You say nothing about my coffee obsession which has not abated over the past three years. I tease you about the coffee obsession you seem to have developed over the past three years. I've never seen you drink so much.

We decide to part company. It's getting late - without my even realising it, four hours have passed. We say our goodbyes outside the coffee shop with promises to keep in contact which are actually meant. Smiling, I extend my hand half-jokingly, not really expecting you to shake it. It just seems like the thing to do.

You do.

I'm still not entirely sure how it happened.

Your hand was comfortably shaking mine when you quickly pulled me towards you. You made no move to kiss me; you simply raised your free hand.

It was the touch of your skin on my face that did it. Your hand rested against my cheek gently and then I was murmuring your name and you were whispering mine...and suddenly I knew who you were. You were the man who allied himself with me, who took a chance to make our situation work. You were the man who asked if I would serve under you, who supported me even when I didn't know I needed it, who made bathtubs and sand paintings and could speak so eloquently about absolutely anything. You were the man who challenged me, who could make me cry, could make me smile, could make me want to scream in frustration. You are...the man who wasn't threatened by me. You always saw me exactly as I am.

Suddenly I'm the one reaching up and pulling your head down until our lips meet, and I'm really not sure which of us is smiling the most.

It's strange, you know. As I look back at that now, I'm really not sure if it was hot or cold, rainy or sunny.

I lay on the bed drowsily, contemplating several things; the curious stares and giggles that found us outside the coffee shop, the sound of you softly breathing next to me - something I haven't heard for eight years, a sound I have missed so much - and reaffirm my belief that we are meant to be here, now. Everything that happened before was just a stepping stone.

Smiling again - although I haven't been able to wipe the smirk off my face for the last two hours - I turn towards you and drape my arm over your chest. Shifting at the disturbance you snort loudly in your sleep. Turning away I bury my head in the pillow and start laughing.


e-mail // voyager fic