What was easily decided during the brightness of the day turned out not to be so easy in the dark. It was natural, she supposed, with the way the mind will churn when one lies down in bed and has nothing to do but think. Carolina buried her face into her pillow, trying to deny to herself from admitting those were tears that had started to drop, unnoticed as they welled up until they left hot trails down one cheek and along the side of her nose. As inevitable as it was that she had to let go of York's memory, she still had to finish grieving, and any closure she got from seeing the place where he had lost that last battle still didn't change the fact that she had lost her chance with him. She would never get her chance with him, and that really, really hurt.
Epsilon—rather, Church—could see all of her thoughts, but he didn't interfere or comment. Actually, she saw he felt much the same way. No; no, it wasn't fair for him to keep dragging a shadow of Tex along to help him deal with things. That was something Carolina could agree with.
Tex, she thought bitterly. She didn't understand what Church had seen in her in the first place. What was it about her that could bring that kind of devotion? Everything Carolina had ever seen Tex accomplish ended in some kind of disaster, the death of someone she was close to or the failure of a plan. York had gone to help her of his own accord, but that didn't change the fact that Tex asking him to help her had led to his death.
Church seemed to shrink from her thoughts. He knew, of course, he knew Carolina hadn't liked Tex very much, but it was something altogether new to see someone he loved so much from that perspective like this. Especially since— Carolina's brow drew together slightly. What did he mean, he couldn't remember what Tex was like?
He replayed the moment for her, the moment when he had stood on top of a simulated Blue base, looked out into the sky, and said the words that changed everything for him. I forget you. For a human, that would have been some kind of figurative phrase, but Church had literally done it. In the place of the of memories of who Tex had been to him, all the little notes he had made about foods she had liked and what she sounded like when she laughed and how they had spent her birthdays, were thousands of blank files. Emptied entirely of their contents. All he had was her name, and an aching realization that once he had loved her enough to manifest her memory. And now he would never know why.
No wonder he had reacted the way he had when she had said Tex's name. Of course that wasn't actually her name, Allison was.
Allison. Church seemed to roll the name over in his mind, then reached out and probed for anything else Carolina knew that would satisfy this new need.
She rolled over to sigh and stare up at the bottom of Wash's bunk. She couldn't tell him anything useful. Tex's goals had always been different from hers and that was something she had never understood.
Now York, he had been someone truly special. She had always assumed it was more important to focus on their work, and they would be able to try a relationship later on. There had always been a chance…yes, every time they went out on a mission, there was that chance that one or the other of them wouldn't make it back. But now… Oh, she knew it didn't do any good to linger on the might-have-beens. But she still wished she'd let it happen. So many times it could have happened, and she didn't let it.
So much wasted time.
She turned over again so her pillow could swallow an aborted sob. She was supposed to be the tough one. She was supposed to be able to handle these things.
Well, Church was always supposed to be the hateful bastard, but he mentally sat down beside her and wrapped her in a comforting presence, something greater than a physical hug. She was a woman, after all. Sometimes these things needed to come out. She could trust him not to tell.
And so the one with too many memories was comforted by the one with not enough of them until she dropped off to sleep.