Redemption by AndromedaMarine

It's the only night I'll ever regret. It's the night I pushed you away. I didn't heed the irrefutable feelings in my heart. Too wrong, too – unprofessional. Too much like what I promised myself I'd never do. I've told it to others who approached me like you did. But I've never felt anything back. I regret that I told you the same thing. I made a mistake. We know that for us, feelings shouldn't be able to get in the way of our judgment, yet that's exactly what my head did: it got in the way. I never should have told you, 'no.' There may not even be a 'next' time. I saw the hurt in your eyes before you walked away. I regret what I did. Now, I would do anything to continue what you started. I would have surrendered to that kiss had my rational side not kicked in. I would have wrapped my arms around you and fallen into your embrace and warm body. But I didn't.

Now I wander the halls, searching for you. But I know where you'll be. This is the first time I have let my heart control my head. Maybe it'll do me good. Maybe it'll embarrass me. But it's the right thing. I know where you'll be. It's a warm night, I notice, as I walk onto the balcony. I can see your outline leaning against the railing, illuminated by the planet's four moons. You know that I've joined you, although you don't show it. I want to take back everything I said by you look at me and your dark, haunting eyes won't let me. "John," I start, but you shake your head and close your eyes. You seem anguished.

"No, Liz. What I don't understand is if our relationship for the past five years is strictly professional or not. I don't...understand what you're trying to tell me." Your eyes burn into mine. "You were right," you sigh, and I see my chance.

"No. I was wrong. I realized that if we leave it at this and we – I – lose you – I would lose everything I love."

You stare at me, realizing what I just said.

"I don't need you to kiss me for me to know I love you." Nervously I wait for your answer.

You are quiet for a while. "Why are you doing this, Liz? Why now? Why not six hours ago, instead of pushing me away? Why, Liz?" Your voice is full of sadness and regret, anguish and fear. Your eyes grow fierce as you step closer, towering over me. "Please, explain your reasons."

I don't want to fight with you. I'd never tell you what I did before again, even if you weren't so intimidating. And underneath all that tough skin I know there's a gentle man who loves me. I take a deep breath and stare back into your hazel orbs. "Because it took you doing that for me to listen to my heart. It took what you did for me to listen to yours." I don't want to be strong in front of you, not anymore. I've been doing that for five years, waiting for a man to stroll along and sweep me off my feet. It took me five years to realize you did that in Antarctica.

You seem to accept it because your eyes soften and tears build up. I know you're not a really emotional guy, but this – this is real. Not a figment of my imagination. If I really could hear your heart mine would be singing the same harmony. You're so close to me that all I have to do is lean forward and I'd be against you. You gather me up into your arms and we finish what I pushed away six hours ago. We begin what we put off for five years. We've been redeemed.

"I love you," you whisper in my ear, and then all I can feel is the love I've stored for you.