He hadn't said anything for over an hour, not since her declaration. He seemed to accept it, as he always had with an unflappable grace and elegance. She bounced her leg, channeling the charged energy into an outlet. In the small ship on their way to deep space, leaving wasn't an option.
She saw his eyes cut over her way and back and tried to still the wayward nervousness. Her outward appearance displayed none of what roiled inside, except for that leg. She'd faced battle situations with less nervous flutter. Her position as co-pilot wasn't much of one since he was at the helm. He would have made the trip on his own but for her volunteering to join him.
After a sideways glance in his direction, she jumped to her feet. He looked up at her with a raised brow in question. "I'm going to make a cup of tea. Would you like one?" Instead of replying, he merely shook his head and faced the open screen once again.
Heating water and mixing the tea took moments. Not wanting to face the silent brooding of the cockpit, she sat at the small eating nook in the galley. Her hands wrapped around the hot gav-resistance cup, she rested her forehead against its rim and closed her eyes. The impulse decision weighed heavily. What kind of life did she have waiting for her? One filled with the silent brooding of a man still questioning his actions? One laden with the unfulfilled longing she harbored?
However it will turn out, it had to be better than the half life she lived apart from him. Better to face the man daily, knowing he lived, knowing he at least cared if not loved.
When they were younger, he wasn't as guarded. Somehow she had slipped in and now lived to do so again. Those brief few days while still at the academy, they could have been any one of the couples seen. But she knew better. She knew then and always had, he held a personal agenda, and until that mission was complete, he'd never be hers. His mission failed, but succeeded at the same time.
She'd told him she wouldn't stand in his way, she'd be by his side in whatever he did, even into death. He knew how she felt as he'd always known. He accepted her love, took what she gave and went his own way. Her hands squeezed the cup too tightly and she stopped, hearing it crack. He never offered her more than his presence of the moment. But he never pushed her away. He never told her he couldn't return her affection.
Setting the cup on the table, she leaned back against the wall with a sigh. And who's fault was it that she felt the pain now? His smiles, his touches, his kisses in the night made her believe there was more than just his silence. Waking to an empty bed reminded her why she'd promise herself never again. And yet, here she was about to spend months, if not years, waking alone.
The year without him hadn't been any better. She'd spent every waking hour drown in work; her nights filled with the frustrated sighs of incomplete satisfaction. Memories only carried so much, and without the weight of his body moving over hers, the pleasure was faulted. In the end, she was left curling about a pillow.
Her tea finished, she ran the cup through the sonic wash and replaced it in the tiny cupboard. Nothing left to delay her, she entered the passageway and stopped. In her bag lay one of the few luxuries she packed, a chess set. A plan of sorts set her in motion once more, and with a renewed determination, she returned to the cockpit.
He looked away from the screen when she didn't immediately sit. Offering a tiny smile, she held the board aloft. "Want to play?" And was rewarded with a flicker of interest.
Watching him set the autopilot on, she went over her plan once again and nodded in satisfaction. Before this project ended, he would love her, or she would make him push her out of his life for good.