Title: One Thing
Author: Formidable Opponent
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None.
Summary: It seems that sighing is something they both do a lot these days.
A/N: Sap sap sappity sap sap.


He opens the cupboard to find only one clean glass. He mentally sighs to himself as he grabs the glass and sets it on the counter. He knows she won't mind.

Filling the glass with freshly brewed coffee, he moves to sit at the dining-room table, across from his one guest that he never tires to see.

The glass finds its way onto the center of the table, at equal lengths from both of those who sit at the opposite ends. And as the steam rises from the black liquid, a heavy silent fills the room, save the steady pour of rain against the rooftop.

He is first to break the quiet when he pushes the coffee closer to her, urging her to take it. And she accepts the offer, thanking him softly, and wrapping her stiff fingers around the heated glass.

She looks down, avoiding his gaze, and fiddling with the warmth that begins to circle her hands. She waits for it to cool, bringing it to her lips to blow gently at the surface. And he watches her, patiently.

She calls his name suddenly, his real name, her voice interrupting his pensive stare. When she asks him carefully what he does these days, as a man without work, without responsibility, and without the weight of the country hanging down across his shoulders, he sighs.

And he answers truthfully that he does what he's always done. He builds his boats, he drinks from his bottles, and he visits those graves up on the hill.

When she asks him why he doesn't try something new, why he doesn't travel or explore or build something other than those damned boats, she stops herself. And she apologizes.

But he understands, knowing that it must seem odd that with all the extra time, he still spends it on the same old things. He says he doesn't want to change, and these things that he does, has always been good enough for him. Good enough to keep him tethered to his past, to his life, his family, and to his happiness—even if it now leaves him weary.

She wonders if this is healthy, and she asks him the same. And when he says he doesn't know, she closes her eyes, listening to the rain.

Taking a sip from the coffee, and relishing the warmth that she feels passing down her throat, she sighs. It seems that sighing is something they both do a lot these days.

He finds himself curious, though, asking rather spontaneously about her work, and about the others. Or perhaps it's to shift the focus of the conversation away from him. She says everything is fine, that paper balls are being thrown, movie references are being made, slaps are being administered, and above all else, Caf-Pows continue to be delivered.

He notes that that's good, folding his hands to rub his palms. That's good.

Yet she knows that he knows it's all been different, even just slightly since he's left.

She sees his cold hands and passes him the glass, suggesting for them to share, rather than for her to feel like a hog. She says uneasily that things don't have to change, and that they could all come visit him, and that things would be the same, more or less.

When he considers it, offering an apprehensive maybe, she smiles lightly, lacking that natural fervor apparent in everything she does.

But they both know it won't be the same, and that when years begin to pile up, things will change no matter how hard they try.

He drinks from the glass, adjusting himself, as he realizes, to say something truly fragile and earnest. And when he catches her eyes, a strange glimmer in his own, he tells her that there is, actually, one thing that will never change. One thing will always remain the same.

She's caught off guard, curious by what he means, and she asks him, reaching for his hands around the still warm glass.

He says he will always love her and that that will never change.

Finis.