Imagine person A of your OTP arriving home after person B's funeral. They've held themselves together so far and, afraid of being idle in the now very empty house, decide to take a shower and go to bed. As they step out of the shower, however, they notice the steam has fogged up the mirror. Written on the glass is a mushy 'I love you' from person B, who must have scrawled it there on the morning of their death. Person A finally breaks down, sobbing on the bathroom counter as the fog - and the message - fade away
You stumble into her room.
You have been avoiding it since… well, since it happened.
Now, however, you crave to feel her presence, to smell her scent that stubbornly clings to the air, to be surrounded by her.
Her – it had increasingly become your – bed is perfectly made. The corners are sharp. The collar is exactly six inches. The pillows are arranged just as she liked them.
Nothing is out of place.
Of course nothing is out of place, you are the first one to step foot in the room in days.
You pull your hat off of your head, and set in on the dresser. That spot she had cleared just for you. She had hated when you had just tossed your stuff down.
You make your way across the room. Memories assault you as you go.
The first night you spent together, doing nothing more than falling asleep in each other's arms.
Waking up each morning for the following months with her hair in your face.
Hours spent curled up in the armchair that sits in the corner. Lost in conversations that flowed from recent artifact recoveries to current events and media to – on those rare nights where she would hold you tight and you would fight the tears as long as possible – your childhood.
You step into the bathroom. More memories.
Coming home after a long mission, and taking a shower to get rid of that mission feeling. She would sit on the sink counter and let you ramble.
Sneaking into the bathroom with a bucket of cold water that made its way over the shower door, and onto her unsuspecting head. You had paid for that.
More sensual showers. Her hands in your hair. Your bodies pressed together. Her back against the wall. Driving her higher and higher, further into pleasure.
You push the memories back, and turn the shower on.
You start to strip down, but stop, grip the counter, and stare at your reflection in the mirror.
Your face is pale; colored only by the soft makeup you had put on that morning. You turn the sink on and start to wash the makeup off, leaving dull eyes and colorless lips.
You close your eyes and hang your head forward.
Perhaps it hadn't been such a good idea to use her shower, not right after her funeral.
But you need it. You need to feel her, to sense her, to be with her.
You shake your head to clear your thoughts, continue to undress, and step into the shower.
The water runs over you, relaxing your muscles and washing the thin layer of sweat away.
You use her shampoo and body wash. The aroma you will always connect to her fills the air. It surrounds you. It encases you. You can imagine that she's still there, hiding in the steam, just waiting for you to find her.
But you soon have to leave the shower, and the illusion is broken.
There's no artifact that can bring her back.
The metronome was destroyed. Time travel can't change the past. The hours you have already spent searching for something to help have come up empty.
There is nothing you can do.
You step in front of the sink, and look up at your reflection.
Your heart breaks just one more time.
There, right there, in front of you are her words – I love you – in the steam.
You can almost see her, standing where you are, trailing her finger along the glass. Her finger steady and her eyes bright. Her hair wet and dripping from her shower. Her smile soft as she imagines your reaction.
You are sure the reaction in her mind was different from the one actually playing out.
Your body doubles over from pain. Tears finally make their way down your cheeks.
Your sobs are gross and loud and unstoppable.
They force their way out and shake your body.
Your mind keeps jumping around.
Admitting their mutual attraction. Seeing her body. Whispering sweet nothings in her ear. Listening to the muted speakers at the funeral. Holding her hand on walks through her gardens. 'I love you' written in steam.
Your sobs slowly calm, and you look back up. The tears that begin to fall this time are silent, but even more painful.
The steam has faded. The message is gone.