Time Enough for Love by AndromedaMarine

True, they cared for each other – perhaps more than they should have, but their relationship didn't even touch the regulations his career (mostly) adhered to. The collision (or proverbial metaphor thereof) of their professional lives happened quite on accident, and for the most part wouldn't have taken place at all if not for the unfortunate death of the military commander assigned to the expedition. He didn't quite know what hit him (in relation to the friendship) when the unlikely pain of worry (pertaining to their situation at the time) attacked him with a ferocity he'd never experienced before during their first days on Atlantea.

It was the annual event of her birthday and only a few of the senior staff even knew of it – him being one of the few and the first who said anything to her every time. Very early morning on the day in question he went to her quarters and quietly entered. It had become a ritual of sorts, quietly joining each other for company, confidence and solitude. In short, they were best friends.

She was still sleeping peacefully as John slipped off his jacket and sat on the edge of the bed. It was a warm Lantean night and her arms and chest lacked a blanket. John closed his eyes as a light breeze from the balcony played across his face. She stirred and John's fingers began to ghost up and down her arm caringly. As he did the gentle act he'd rarely done or even thought of before the man felt a new feeling. In the darkness the closure of his lids created John wanted more than anything else to do the one thing he never had.

Her eyes fluttered open to see her friend at her bedside deep in thought. "John?" she asked softly, reaching up her hand to rest it on his chest.

The feeling her hand caused in his gut to him felt incredible. The simple act of recognition overwhelmed him. He opened his eyes and gazed down at her. "Hello, Elizabeth." He smiled gently, his eyes mimicking the corners of his lips. "Happy Birthday."

Elizabeth smiled back. Instead of answer her fingers curled and clung to John's shirt. She closed her eyes again and sighed. "Why are you here so early?"

"I couldn't really sleep," he said after a while. "Usually when we feel like that this is what we do." He reached out and placed a hand on Elizabeth's arm. "So I came here."

The woman smiled and her hand slowly fell, coming to rest on John's leg. "Thank you. I like our time together."

The feeling inside the colonel intensified. "How long have we been doing this?"

"I don't know. Maybe four months."

Four months and he hadn't even touched her as he was now. "If we have time for this do we have time enough for...more...meaningful things?"

"Like what?" Her eyes were still closed.

John gradually leaned down until his head was right above his friend's. She opened her eyes and stared into John's, not drawing back from him or conveying any discomfort at his proximity. "Like time enough for love." He slowly kissed Elizabeth, satisfying the feeling and desire within him.