Title: Sato Voce  

Rating: PG

Disclaimers: If I owned them, things would be cooking.

Author: Michmak

A continuation, of sorts, to Bridge.


Sato Voce

He realized he anticipated the sound of her voice. Amidst the cacophony of other voices in the mess hall, over and above the near-silent hum of the engines, it was her soft voice he listened for.

It might have been the gentle cadence of her speech that drew him to her – he was not a man used to gentle things. In fact, he often prided himself on his tight, take-no-prisoners demeanor; on the hardness he had honed in body and soul.

His father - sodding old bugger that he was - was directly responsible for his inner core of strength. He was hard because his father had forced him to be - with every sharp word, with every glance - Malcolm had learned that in order to survive, he had to be strong. He didn't recall his father ever speaking to anyone in a gentle tone; unlike Hoshi, whose voice was gentle even when she was upset.

She was currently sitting two tables down, giggling softly at something
Mayweather had said. He felt his lips quirk in automatic response to her obvious pleasure, before he forced his face back to neutrality. Turning precisely on his heel, his tray held stiffly in front of him, he walked to their table and tried not to notice her eyes light up when she saw him.

"Lieutenant Reed! Are you coming to join us?"

And she smiled at him even when he only nodded his head in response.

This was another thing he liked about Hoshi - she didn't seem to mind his silences. Instead, she filled them up with her words and her glances, shining her light in the empty places of his soul. She made him long for things he'd given up on long ago.

If he got used to it - got used to her - what would happen to him when she withdrew her warmth? When she decided to shine her light on someone else, and left him empty and aching again?

She had the ability to hurt him more than anyone else in his life, because she was someone he could care about and she was someone he would miss.

He wondered what would happen if he let her in completely. Would she see what he saw, when he looked in the mirror? Would she see his emptiness? Would she see his unworthiness?

Or would she see a place she could build a home? Would she see his heart beating tentatively with life, and recognize it for what it was worth?

Sometimes, he thought her small kindnesses alone would undo him - that all his shields and defenses would come undone and crumble into dust at her feet.

He realized, of course, that she could be his downfall. Where brute strength had never broken him, her soft voice would.