Author's Note: My "stylistic" take on the impending and hovering "I love you" in the S3 finale.


I love you.

One sentence of three monosyllabic words and only eight letters; missing another single syllable comprised of three letters.


He loves her. It is him who said it the first time, him who says it when their hands brush as he gives her coffee. He says it when she studies the murder board, her eyes intent, her arms crossed, and her bottom lip squeezed between two rows of straight, white teeth.

He says it when she is haunted, his way of hoping to expel her demons. He says it when her scar aches, and he says it when her musical laugh resonates in his chest and fills his own damaged heart.

He says it when he does not think she remembers, and says it when he thinks she does.

But he never says it aloud, never repeats the sentence with his voice; not after that first time.


It is strong, a bit overwhelming at times, his love for her. It is a bullet that entered his chest, as it did in hers. Like her scar, his own chest aches, the probing of his fingers never able to dull the pain. Sometimes it feels likes the bullet is still ricocheting in the cavity around his heart, others like it is tearing through his skin, burning the cardiac muscle and splintering his bone all over again, all for the first time.

The impact, whether the flutter of his heart like the bounce of the bullet off bone, or the intense blow, the sever tearing of skin, muscle, tendon, lung—it scalds. Sometimes he wonders if he can keep going, continue being around her, keep brushing his arm, his hand, with hers, keep breathing.

The love is everything he has, and sometimes something he absolutely struggles to grasp onto.

The love, it is constant. He is never confused—he knows who he loves—but it confuses him. It makes him unsure of how to act, unsure of what to say from time to time.

But it is his. He knows it, owns it, and he wants to share it. To share it with her.


Her. He loves her. She knows it, hides it, but wants to share it. To share it with him.

It aches. The impact of his love for her, the pain of keeping her love for him to herself, is so insufferable.

It hits her sometimes out of the blue, like a burning bullet from an unseen sniper riffle, a heavy pressure on her abdomen from a set of hands forcing her alive, but taking the air from her lungs at the same time. Her scar, a blemish, the pucker over her heart, burns when she thinks of the love, when she wants to speak but cannot form the words, or find the air to fill her lungs.

It overwhelms her sometimes, his love, her secret. It is constantly there, has become a fact of life, something she has finally, after much resistance and denial, accepted as a heavy presence in her heart.

The feeling of being loved so fervently, and of loving so deeply, frightens her, makes her feel like a young girl in her teens experiencing the sensation for the first time. Everything has the ability to make her a bundle of nerves, a floundering mess. She strives for control, and often remains composed, but under the skin she feels like she is struggling to stay afloat, to keep her heart beating and her lungs expanding.

And it is everything.

It is there, hanging in the electric air, buzzing in the undercurrent—I love you, I love you, I love you—when their hands brush over coffee cups.

It is there when they are side by side, propped against her desk as they study the murder board at all hours of the day or night. It is there when her hands twitch at her side and she wraps her arms around herself to stop from reaching out.

It is there, on the bubble of her lips, the brink of her tongue, when she catches the empty dullness in his eyes. But it is also there when he laughs—she says it in her own.

She wants to say it when she hints that she remembers, but she wants to scream it when he does not think she does. Sometimes she tells him, but never verbally. An undercurrent of want, of physical and emotional desire, makes her body tremble, her teeth squeeze her lips, but she never says anything, never actually tells him.

But she does, love him. She loves him. She loves him—