The Meeting

by Suz

Disclaimer - characters are Paramounts.



Warning. I was in a really foul mood when I started this. But it's not depressing. I think.


He's friendly. Friendlier than I expect and perhaps friendlier than I feel I have a right to expect. Not that I owe him anything personally - we've never met. But I know you. At least...I felt I did some of the time. I knew how much he meant to you. I promised to myself, to you and even to him despite the distance that I would keep you happy; I would somehow stop you from getting depressed.

I'm pretty sure I didn't entirely succeed.

He's known you much longer than I have from the little you've told me over the years - almost your whole life. I hardly have the right to presume to take over one of his tasks. But I tried, even if I did fail.

I also know it's presumptious of me to think I can even try to make you happy; as if it's some typical male dominant role. You're anything but a typical female, and I'd like to think that I'm more than a typical male. Yet sometimes...most of the time with protective side gets the best of me.

He introduces me to his wife who reminds me of you in many ways. Not in looks; more in the personality. She has dark brown hair and is of medium build, but her eyes often seem to have the same personality as yours. That must sound bizarre - assigning a personality to the eyes, but it's always how I felt. Your eyes have always been so expressive, conveying more than your face ever does. There's so much you've been able to hide from your features, but not from your eyes. It's almost as if they're independant.

Hers are like yours in that respect. She'll tell me something - a comment, a joke - with a completely straight face, but her eyes seem to have a smile all their own. And he falls for it every time. How can he not see it? He always believes she's being utterly serious. Or maybe he's pretending as well. How can I claim to know her? I barely know either of them.

We make small talk that's surprisingly comfortable. He asks me what I'm doing now, yet I have the feeling that both of them know what I've been up to. Not that you'd tell, but I get the impression that they've done some research of their own and that they're just biding their time for something.

Eventually I grow weary of comments about the war with the Dominion, it's all I talk about at work. They must sense it, because as I'm about to ask why he had invited me here, she suddenly stands up and asks me if I want anything to eat or drink.

I don't really have much time to form an answer before a bowl of mushroom soup is practically shoved under my nose. How the hell do they move so fast? And how do they know I like mushroom soup? Could be a coincidence but I doubt it...

My eyes move from the bowl to look up at the woman who is still holding it with one hand, waiting for me to take it. There's that personality in her eyes again. Glancing over at Mark, his face is carefully held to stop any emotion showing - a habit he picked up from you? Whatever the case, it doesn't last as long as yours do. He can't help but smile as I take the bowl from Rachel and she moves over to him with her own smile in place. A private smile for lovers.

I look away.

I pick up the spoon and sip at the soup, blowing occasionally to help it cool. It's something I haven't had for a long time, as if I couldn't allow myself a luxury.

They sit opposite from me, observing, and I try not to feel self-conscious. After three minutes of just watching me eat, I decide something has to be done. Placing the spoon in the bowl and placing the bowl on the table, I look directly at them. "Why did you invite me here?"

Neither of them seem surprised - in fact they seem almost giddy. Like children. This was not how I pictured them.

Standing together, they walk towards a door that leads to a room I haven't seen. Realising I'm supposed to follow, I walk and stand next to them. Rachel touches my forearm, before smiling gently and almost drifting away. I barely frown before Mark grabs my attention by pressing the entry button to the room. The door swishes open.

You're there.

I almost stop breathing.

You're tucked up, in what has to be an uncomfortable position, on a beige couch in some kind of study. I continue to look at you, trying to comprehend why you came *here*. He didn't invite you, or if he did it was your decision to stay.

"Why?" I ask.

I'm still looking at you but I know he shrugs. "I know Kathryn."

I nod my thanks and walk into the room. I can sense his smile as the door closes.

Walking slowly on the carpeted floor, I sit gently next to you, trying to create as small a dent in the couch as possible. You look so tired. I've been trying to find you for so long. You can't have been here for more than a few days - I sent messages to them querying if they knew your whereabouts.

I want to wake you. I want your eyelids to open and I want to see your eyes. But I have to let you sleep. I can't rob you of that.

Leaning fully against the back of the couch, I rub my eyes and think of the times I saw your smile.


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