"Well, fancy meeting you here." During the last couple weeks, it had become something of a tradition for Gaheris and Beka to wander over to hydroponics in the evening and talk, or look over Trance's plants, or just stare out the expansive window.

Tonight, Gaheris had a very specific reason in mind for going to hydroponics, but he didn't know if he could bring himself to speak it aloud. He feared Beka's indignant and angry reaction, and more than that, he just didn't know what to say.

As Tyr had noted earlier, Captain Rhade was not one for idle chitchat. He had struggled internally during his walk to hydroponics, but as soon as he entered and saw Beka leaning against the window, head resting on her hand, he decided.

He joined her at the window. "Beka, I understand that you may never fully recover from this emotionally, and perhaps this is inappropriate... perhaps I am inconsiderate in saying this..."

Beka looked up at him, eyes wide. She had been doing some thinking of her own and had come to a horrifying conclusion. Now, she could only think that her captain had come to the same opinion. And after she had been so sure that he felt something for her. "I know. I can't stop dwelling on it. I can't fault you for... for blaming me." Her voice quavered. "I blame myself, too."

Rhade inhaled sharply. "You think Charlemagne's treachery is your fault? He planned this for months, Beka. He..." Gaheris stopped himself. He wasn't here to berate Beka. "No, that's not what I wish to tell you." He let out the breath he'd been holding. "I knew it before your capture, but I'm sure you've heard the saying, 'you don't know what you have until it's gone'. It was true with Dylan and the Commonwealth, and it was true with you. I always valued you, Beka, and enjoyed your company." He reached out and held her face in his hands, caressing her with his thumbs. "But until you were taken away, I didn't realize that... that I love you and that I want to share with you everything that I am and hope that you can do the same." He dropped his hands suddenly. "I will not hold a grudge, Beka, if you decide that you cannot be in this kind of relationship... with me."

Wonder lit up her face. Wonder and elation. "Gaheris, I never knew..." She gave a shaky laugh. "You know, I really have never been one for hoisting guilt complexes on myself." Stepping closer, she held his hands in hers. "During the past several days, I've wondered if, maybe, there could be something between us, but I just thought it was wishful thinking on my part."

An unbelieving smile spread across Rhade's face. Was she saying...?

"If you think you can somehow endure the stigma of a human girlfriend--" Now she was teasing him, just a little. "I think it might be nice to see what'll happen." She pulled his hands up and lay them on her waist. Then she let go his hands and rested hers between his neck and shoulders. She was smiling a little as he tilted his face down to meet hers and she kissed Gaheris Rhade for the first time.


Note: If any of you have read my other fics, you know I'm a staunch Tyr/Beka. I saw The Unconquerable Man, though, and have been in love with Gaheris Rhade ever since. I thought Rhade was so brave for loving Beka-- and expressing it--in a universe where human/Nietzschean romantic relationships weren't favored by either side. Mary Rose wrote the first AU Gaheris Rhade fic (from The Unconquerable Man universe, I should specify), so this fic is dedicated to her! I had this idea soon after I saw the ep, but I doubt I would have developed it if I hadn't found her story. And look! it's finally a Beka pairing we have in common! ((((((Mary Rose)))))) So I tried something new, and I think I like the result very well! After this, though, I'll probably go back to Tyr/Beka for any future Andromeda fic I write. Although I do have an idea, and I can't quite decide if I want it to be Tyr/Beka or G. Rhade/Beka.