WARNING: season five spoilers through Unfaithful (kind of)
NOTES: I am completely convinced that this conversation had to have happened in canon.
In the fleeting moments and the pauses for breath, changes happen. The sharp shock of novelty, and the strange, suffocating feeling of too much growth all at once fade into a place of quiet familiarity between the shadows in the corner of the bedroom at midnight. Their relationship is like the creeping advancement of the tide, at once rushing forward and leaping back until the shore has vanished, and fear is buried under a calming roar.
"D'you ever think about getting married again?" Chase asks one night, when they are lying in the heavy stillness of not-quite-dawn, the bed dappled golden by the streetlight outside Cameron's apartment.
She draws a slow breath, sitting up a little on one elbow so that she can see his face. "To you, you mean?"
"I mean—in general," he answers quickly, then sighs, one hand toying with the edge of her pillowcase. "Yes. To me."
"Are you asking me to marry you?" Cameron keeps her voice slow and even, the hoarseness of near-sleep masking the plethora of emotions accompanying her question. A year ago, this conversation would have filled her with anxious uncertainty, and it does now, too, though the reasons seem deceptively different.
"No." Chase swallows audibly, and the darkness isn't quite deep enough to hide the lines of tension in his face. It's an expression of near-agony, and one Cameron has come to know as the look which accompanies thoughts of great meaning. "Not—right now."
A moment of silence passes, during which the air feels suddenly too thin. She finds herself swallowing an odd sense of disappointment, which has taken her utterly by surprise. "So that was a hypothetical, then?"
"Yes," says Chase. "Or—a test, maybe." He fumbles for her hand under the covers, and his is shaking when she finally clasps it.
"That's not really the kind of question you get a trial run with," Cameron points out gently, still unable to sort out the reeling mess of her emotions long enough to choose a single one to trust.
"Why not?" Chase sits up, the covers rustling like hushed emphasis. "I mean—maybe more people ought to give it one. Save a lot of heartache."
She doesn't answer, instead looking at their entwined fingers and trying to see through the ghosts of her past into their future. It's a difficult view, but it's getting clearer every day, every second that she forgets why she ought to be cautious still.
"You haven't answered my first question. It's just—I know that it still scares you," Chase continues when the pause has stretched into tension again. "And I don't want that to ruin—us. But I think about it, and I think I'd like to marry you someday. If you're not ready yet, that's okay. But I don't want to make the mistake of asking you too soon."
Cameron looks into his eyes in the dark for a very long time, at once sure of her answer and at a loss for words.
"Ask me again soon," she says at last. "Without the hypothetical."