Title:: White Flag

Author:: Lokaia

Rating:: PG-13 for swearing

Summary:: Awwwwww. *smacks herself*

Disclaimer:: See Chapter One


What do I do?

It's the scariest thing I've ever experienced--being unsure of what to do to fix something. I mean, I've had things I didn't know how to fix before. I just always knew beforehand it would break, so I wasn't really worried about it.

I didn't know this could break.

I didn't know I didn't *want* this to break.

So I can stand at my station and watch him at helm and be as obvious as I want about it, because he's not looking my way and everyone else has already gotten the gist of what happened. But no matter how long I look at him, I still don't know what to do. Believe me.

But I know there has to be some sort of conspiracy going on when Commander Goddard assigns us both Command Post duty at the same time. It's a small ship and an even smaller crew. There's no *way* he'd do it on accident.

So I can stand at my station and watch him at helm and be as obvious as I want about it, because we're the only ones in the room. But he still hasn't looked back at me.

I'm sorry I said it.

Whatever it was that really got to him, I'm sorry I said it. If I knew what it was, I'd take it back, but I don't know. All that I said was true. At least, in my eyes it was.

He hadn't meant it. We'd been doing... I don't know--stuff, each other, whatever--for nearly six months. We'd talked by ourselves before. I'd told him things I wouldn't consider telling other people, and he had said I was the first to know some things about him.

But he was lying, right?

I wasn't. I told him about Uranusian culture and how stupid it is and how ridiculous I feel celebrating holidays that celebrate the dead (or more accurately, *envy* them) and fighting with other people to take the blame because you're required to *know* it's your fault...

He hadn't meant it. But if *I* said it... right now... to him... would I mean it?

I let out a breath and Harlan twitches like he was going to turn around before he checked himself. And I'm disappointed.

Oh, *look*. *More* new emotions.

Well, that's just great. So now it's not just "What do I do?" it's "Do I lo"...

I can't even *think* it, how am I supposed to say it?

*Should* I say it?

I think it's true--I don't know, though, so I'm probably wrong and I'll realize it as soon as I tell him. That'd be great. *Great*.

"I don't hate you."

I could smack myself. *Internal* thoughts, Bova, *internal*. But at least he's turned around. At least he's looking at me.

His eyebrows are knotted in confusion. "Of course you don't."

I shake my head for a couple of reasons--to clear my head, to get my hair out of my face, and pretty much just for effect. "No, I mean... I don't *hate* you."

He smiles then. Not his big, goofy, egotistical smile, but a real one. "Are you apologizing?"

I frown. "Well... I don't know. Maybe. I don't think I was wrong," I say quickly. "But... well, maybe I was out of line. A couple of times."

Harlan takes a hesitant step forward. When I don't protest, he comes closer, leaning against my console. "Yeah, well... I was, too. Sorry I swore at you."


He laughs a little at that. I hate how he thinks apathy is funny.

"So... when you say you don't *hate* me...." He meets my eyes and another new emotion sneaks up on me and says "BOO!". Pity. He seems afraid of my answer. Like it'll change his life. Maybe it will.

It'll sure as hell change mine.

"I..." I have no idea if I can actually get this out. "I...uh..." Thinking that's a 'no' right now. "I don't hate you." His expression drops, disappointed I guess and I quickly say, "No, I mean I *really* don't hate you! *Really*."

He meets my eyes again. "Really?" I nod and his smile, his real smile, is back. "You can't say it, can you?"

"*Please* don't make me." It's not a plea or a request, I'm glaring at him and he's grinning.

"I won't. You don't have to say it. I know what you mean." He looks at me for a moment longer then moves to stand in front of me, pulling me into his arms.

And before I can stop myself, a side of me I'd very much like to murder, sighs contentedly. My head is rubbing into the fabric of his jacket, my arms around his waist.

Traitor. My whole body is a traitor.

He's laughing softly, at my reactions or just because I won't say it. I'm not sure. But he's doing it and he decides that's just not cute enough. So he kisses the top of my head.

Cute, sappy, bastard.

I didn't know what to do, but I guess I did it.

So I can stand at my station and watch him at helm and be as obvious as I want about it, because he's mine. And until further notice, I'm his.

This is me. I surrender. Like General Anselmo in that battle where he finally just threw up his hands and yelled, "What's the point? We're not going to win anyway!"

Or maybe not exactly like that. I'm surrendering, yeah. But I still win.

Go me.