A/N: Oh, will you look at that? Another one-shot from me! I wrote this last night before bed as I could not sleep until it had left me. I, for one, was thoroughly pleased with the ending. It made my heart happy- because, well, what else is love but recognition?
This won't be everything you're hoping for from a post-ep- but, it's all I have.
Emily knows how to ask all the right questions.
When she gets his answer out of him, she doesn't ask why. Truth is, he could enumerate the reasons and never run out of things to say- he could never run out of things he loves about Gillian Foster. Emily knows this; Emily loves her too in many of the same ways and for many of the same reasons.
No. Instead, she asks: what are you waiting for?
The tenor of the question- the root of it- is important. Just like he does, Emily knows that Gillian loves him, too- she loves him back in a thousand tiny little ways and more big ones every single day. Both he and Gillian suffer—have been suffering, breaking and flourishing in silence for years now- carrying their love for one another around with them like the most beautiful of burdens. The moment one of them offers the burden to the other, life as they know it ceases. It becomes their life, a joint occupation and decision. It becomes another thing in the list of everything they share- bringing the tally of things they share with each other up to, well, just about everything, actually.
So, Emily stares at him- and Emily asks the sixty four thousand dollar question-
And he tells her he doesn't have an answer. And because she is Emily and because she is lovely, she doesn't press him for one- she doesn't draw it out of him because being as she is his daughter, she already knows, at length, all of his favorite answers:
To be good enough.
The right moment.
But most of all, there is the answer he doesn't say-the one that sticks in his mouth and coats his tongue with the thickness of apprehension and fear-the one that sits in his pocket, the same place it's been for years now, as though his tongue were a precipice and the word was carefully balanced halfway between action and inaction. He thinks things could change the way he wants them to if he can finally say it just once- if he can just get past the voiceless alveolar stop-if he can say it out loud, even if it's just to Emily-