Disclaimer: Not mine, don't have a conniption
Summary: He would rather love her from far away than to have their cherished memories trampled under the flag of resentment…
A/N: A follow up done in Tim's perspective. Thanks go out to Kas for the idea!
He knew how this worked. She would get upset, slam a few doors, and spend the rest of the night entrenched in her own space, giving the atmosphere time to cool. He'd been through this enough to know to allow her space, allow her the time to come back to reasoning, but something deep inside of him was telling him that this was different. Tim didn't know what it was, but it was almost an irritable feeling, gnawing at his consciousness. The fight was something different entirely; about the most mundane of things, her ability to do her job. There was no question that Calleigh Duquesne could do her job; she excelled in every notion of it, sometimes, surpassing even him. No, this had to be something deeper, but Tim couldn't put his thumb on what was boiling under the surface. Standing at the base of the stairwell, he listened intently for any sounds coming from her room, hearing only the sound of the water running in her bathroom. A small smile inched across his face knowing that she always retreated to the sanctuary of her bathroom, immersing herself in the comfort of warmth and orchids, the stresses and doubts melting away with every second. The smile faded as he hung his head, the true feeling of what was happening running deeply through him. Because of his vast knowledge of their fighting rituals, he had found himself at the end of his rope.
Finally finding the motivation to walk, he turned from the stairwell and traveled down the narrow hallway, noting the pictures that dotted her walls, most of them of her family, but a select few of them bearing their happiness- or what he thought was their happiness. Stopping to look deeper, he could see the brilliance of her smile in each photograph, it shining more than even the sun that was captured in almost all of them. But as he progressed down the line, he could see that the smile lessened from a genuine expression of happiness to something he would liken to a sense of duty. How he couldn't have seen it before was beyond him, but it was staring him right in the face now, time had ripped what he thought they had from his grip. Taking a look back towards the stairs, he glanced back at the picture and sighed heavily. There was no arguing or saving left to do.
He moved once more, going to the staircase, taking each stair two by two until coming to her door. He poised his fist above the door, bending to listen more. His heart ached at the thought of what he was about to do, but it ached more that he was putting their love on the line if he allowed it to go any further. Dropping his head, he closed his eyes, the instant memories of all of their times, good and bad, as they flashed through his mind. He was torn between going the distance once more, holding on until he couldn't any more and just letting it go. Whatever he did at that moment, it would change his life forever. He would rather love her from far away than to have their cherished memories trampled under the flag of resentment. He placed his palms flatly against the door, his forehead resting on the cool wood, the urgency to do something coursing through his veins. Yes, doing this would shatter him, possibly taking what sliver of faith in love he had with it, but for the beauty of what he had experienced to survive, he knew he was doing the right thing.
Silently, he turned away from the door and made his way back down stairs. A momentary pause at the door quickened his heart, realizing that he was doing something he never thought he could do. For the love he had for Calleigh was more than anything in his life, and the absence of her would cut deeper than he could fathom. Pain, he rationalized was temporary, regret lasted a lifetime. Sinking his hands into his pocket, he fished out the ring that housed the keys of his life, and one tiny copper one that he held in true regard. Quickly, he removed it and held the copper plated item in the palm of his hand, the feeling almost scorching his skin. His breathing became labored as he walked into the kitchen and placed the key down unceremoniously, and walked away. With his hand on the door, he took one last look around at the place that had given him so many wonderful emotions and memories and sighed heavily, shaking his head. Tonight was an ending, and a beginning, although both were seen as a means to an end. Nothing would ever be the same.
"I love you," he whispered as the door opened. He pushed through and closed it softly, walking rapidly to his bike. The air of change swirled around him, and for the first time, there was a sense of relief. Although he deeply loved Calleigh, he was releasing them both from what could've been the shackles of a relationship that was pushed too far to the limit. As he turned the ignition of the bike, a wistful smile appeared, the memory of their first date flashing before his eyes. With memories like that, his heart, although splintered would survive.