Written for the Out of Your Comfort Zone Challenge, because I never write Next-gen.
Prompts: Disaster, significance, and "How could you do this to me?" (the last was used purely as inspiration and not in the actual fic).
And from Prepare to be Unstuck, "Maybe this world is another planet's hell," by Aldous Huxley. This line inspired Vic's first line and therefore the whole fic.
In But an Instant
"Do you ever think maybe our lives are somebody else's hell? Like, doesn't there have to be something better?"
Her words break the familiar depressing silence. They're sitting at the little table in the kitchen, eating takeout again because Teddy came home late and Vic can't cook. Silence has been predominant, as it always seems to be lately.
"What are you saying, Vic?"
"When did it all fall apart, Teddy? When did our perfect lives become late nights at work and silent dinners of takeout and nothing more?"
He inspects her face, trying to discern the deep thoughts producing her words. "We're okay, aren't we? I've got my job, you've got yours. That's how life is."
"Is it, Ted? Is this all there is?"
"Is this not enough for you?"
She sighs. "It's not that… I just… feel like there should be something more to life than awkward silences. It didn't used to be like this."
"It can't always be a whirlwind romance like it starts, Vic. Expecting it to be exciting and flash-fire the whole time is unrealistic. But that doesn't mean the love has stopped." He rethinks his words briefly. "Well, it doesn't mean I've stopped loving you, anyway."
She understands the unspoken significance of his implication, but she can't find it in herself to refute it.
"I know that. I know that it can't always be like it starts. But I don't think it has to be like this, either." She sighs again.
"Where did I go wrong, Vic? What can I do to fix this?"
"I don't think that's it. I don't think we can just change something and everything will be all better."
"So then what, Vic? Are you saying this is over?"
Her blue eyes are wide as she looks up at him. "Is that what you think, Teddy?"
"What? Wait, no! I didn't-"
"That seems a little extreme." Her voice is slightly disapproving.
"But I guess if that's what you think." She stands up. "I can come back for my stuff while you're at work tomorrow."
She whirls off to the closet and grabs a jacket.
But by the time Teddy is out of his chair and out the door after her, she's already gone.
"What the bloody hell just happened?" Teddy asks the cold winter air outside their flat. Unsurprisingly, he gets no answer.
Where did this come from? he wonders. How could I not know?
He wonders how everything fell to pieces so quickly, with no perceivable warning. He wonders how one dinner was so much of a disaster.
And then he wonders the ultimate question. What now?