She strides confidently ahead of him, through the doors and into the room. With heavy steps and meaningful sighs, she makes her way up the stairs and plants herself against the console. He follows her, watching her and waiting for her silence to break as he knows it will. He stares at her then, all serious and careful, but she gives in. She grins widely at him and waves her scarf in front of his face, laughing audibly to herself. She has not changed history and she knows it, but she wants to be remembered and has made her mark on everything.
And on everyone.
He takes her happiness as an invitation and flips levers this way and that, typing on keypads and pressing buttons. She hurries to the other side and does the same, no longer laughing, but watching him instead. They cease their movements when the room jolts and sends them sprawling. Her long coat billows out as she tumbles, making even her moment of clumsiness seem to be full of grace.
He watches as she gets up and walks towards him, her expression now unreadable and her smile gone. With a single swift movement, she unwraps the scarf from her neck and before he can react, she throws it playfully around his neck and pulls him close. In spite of everything she's seen and done, in spite of everything that's happened, she can still smile. He realises to himself that she is the strongest woman he knows.
She snakes her arms up the thick fabric of her scarf and around his neck, hugging him close to her. He is consumed with the feel of her close to him, her fingers clutching his back, the smell of her hair, the sound of her breathing. Red curls tumble down her back and he is lost in her. She is remarkable; completely mad and oh-so wonderful with so much life ahead of her. Oh, the places they'll see and the times they'll have.
He pretends they have forever.
He realises to himself that he's forgotten how quiet the room really is when he's on his own. There were always so many mornings of quiet, ones where he would sit and think to himself, or rewire controls. There was no question that soon enough his reverie would be broken by her bounding eagerly down the staircase, ready for another day of seeing the universe. There were some mornings were she would slunk down the stairs in a terrible mood and glare at him. All it would take was a look and she would laugh; that loud, ringing sound he had grown so accustomed to. Of course, he did enjoy those early mornings and late nights of silence and being on his own.
Because there would always be a silence - a comfortable silence. A safe silence. Something he took for granted.
He forgets the next morning.
He hums to himself as he waits for her to come down the stairs. He toys with levers and buttons around the room as he waits, and finally settles for sitting in one of the jumpseats. He watches where she will appear, the seconds ticking by. He wonders what's taking her so long. He wonders what kind of mood she'll be in when he sees her. But he has no qualms with waiting for her, because he knows she's alright. She always is.
He does not once look at his watch as he sits.
She does not come.
He thinks of her. She is his one constant, the only thing that keeps him sane when he is at his breaking point. The man with so much to gain and yet, so much to lose. He is there for her when she needs him, but he has learned from experience to keep a safe distance. It hurts less that way. It makes everything so much easier.
But then again, he thinks, things will never be simple for the two of them.
He sees it one morning, when he's looking at the wiring under the console. His eyes flicker to the side for a split second and he spies it from across the room. His downfall, lying inconspicuously on the floor as though it had always been there.
He normal whirring of the room around him seems to disappear completely. Everything itself seems to stop, and the familiar pounding of total silence fills his ears. All he can hear is his own broken breathing and the faint sound of hearts beating.
Her red scarf lies underneath the staircase.
It takes him all the strength he can muster to pick it out from its hiding place. He holds it in his hands, and he remembers it all. The red wool in his hands tells him stories of all the planets in the universe and all the stars in the inky black night. It reminds him of laughter and smiles, and of tears and sadness. It holds so much of the both of them.
She'd worn it so often before, back when she would smile. She would light up the room with that sparkle in her eyes and the sound of her laugh. She wore it when she was happy and thing were simple. She wore it before he ruined her.
He holds it close and he realises that it still smells like her. It carries the scent of her hair and the perfume she wore. He continues to hold it to his face, and he feels a single tear slide into the scarf.
He does not know for how long it's laid there in a heap in the shadows, but part of him is glad he has something to properly remember her by.
And the other part wants to never see it again.
He's done this before. If there is one thing that he will always remember, for the rest of his existence, it is that this always happens. He grows attached and just as soon as anyone enters his life, they are ripped from him. He is always expected to move on and continue, but it aches with a dull pain that is very real. Every time, it leaves another scar. He is expected to be alone, but he never is.
He wonders why this time hurts the most.
He was the raggedy man and she was the girl who waited, two parts of space and time that should never have touched. Their hearts collided, both scared and alone, and they fixed each other. They made each other better, each the final piece of each other's puzzles. And he turned right around and ruined her life. He abandoned her, lied to her, and kept her for himself.
He knows that he truly was, and continues to be, the most selfish being in the universe. He took a woman that was, in every way possible, no longer his to take. And what good did it do either of them?
Their hearts did collide all of those years before, and they healed together. Three hearts beat as one, because they truly understood each other in a way nobody else could. There would always be a part of her with him, and a part of him that left with her.
He tells himself to go back to her, take her with him and to never let her go again. But he knows that he can't - there was no other choice. He will never be the one to stand over her body and know that her fate could have been prevented; he won't let it happen. He saved her. And in a way, he saved himself too.
He's held on to her for decades, centuries, even, and yet it has not aged a day. The vibrant shade of red has not faded in the slightest, and the scent of it remains as strong as it had been the second he first found it.
He hangs his head and he realises he is afraid. He knows how close he is to his death, and he knows he will have to go to it willingly. He knows that history will change. And the mere thought of being alone as he goes to it now terrifies him. Him, the one who had so often wished for death before, now running from it because he can't do it alone. He is afraid to go on without her, his glorious one.
She has left her mark.
A/N: The God Complex RUINED me, let's leave it at that. I cried for an hour after it aired.