Leave it in the room - right. As in don't talk about it. Or think about it. Or dream about it.

Fine. I mean it's not like breathing - you know something instinctive, something you don't need to think about but you just do because without it you can't live.

Okay, bad analogy because I can't live without her. Not leaving her then was never an option. Just like I didn't have to think about succumbing to that Za'Tarc test. There was no question - on the knowledge that she's in danger and I can save her.

Yeah. But not be with her. As in with her. Obviously we're together everyday, at work. Side by side - sharing danger, sharing space, sharing time.

It's enough.

Alright it was enough. Enough to see her smile, laugh, frown. To watch her concentrate on her work, see the absorption in the latest gadget, wait for her to figure it out... to save us. To get us out of there. Listen to her talk. To me. To the team. To whatever friendly or unfriendly community we happen upon each trip.

But now.

I never knew then what I know now.

I never guessed.

I never dared presume. Never dared dream.

I mean look at me - too old, for her; too much darkness in my past to burden her with and far too much emphasis on brute force and ignorance with someone with a brain like hers.

Why would someone like her want me. Someone who is clever and kind and beautiful. And can still retain that sense of wonder and of innocence despite all that she's seen and everything she has had to do.

But she does.

And now she knows; and I know... that we care.

I care... than doesn't even begin to describe it.

I love her.

I've always loved her.

But not enough to say so. Not enough to fight to be with her.

Oh yeah. Our careers - well hers - they're important, and I wouldn't want to harm that. But I could give up mine if it wouldn't also mean being left behind.

I know I'm selfish.

But I don't want to miss being off-world with her. I want to be there to protect her. I'd go out of my mind when she was away. I'd 'what if' myself into oblivion.

And I can't face the truth - here's the bottom line.

She cares. I know that. But that's not 'I love you'. That's not 'I can't live without you'. That's not 'I can't sleep or wake without your face before me'. It's not 'you're what keeps me going'. And I can't live with knowing that it's not that for her. That I don't mean that to her. I can't ask her for more than knowing she cares because I couldn't deal with it not being those things.

So why am I here, on her porch, in the dark, at 2am, about to knock. Hand frozen in space. Waiting.

Because I need to know the truth. The truth may kill me, but the little seed of hope knowing that she cares, won't be satisfied with the half-life I've made myself live.

And here she is.

And I can't speak. And neither can she. We just stand there and the silence lengthens.

Those blue eyes are brimming. I can't help myself, I brush away a tear.

Her hand grabs mine and suddenly all I can feel is her.

Her.

Her love.

And then we're cupping each other's faces.

I love you.

And she does

And so do I

And I can't describe the feeling.

It's like a metal band constricting my chest. I'm drowning in her eyes.

My world has stopped and shifted its axis and we're twin suns bound together.

And no force on this planet or any other is going to tear us apart.