Sight, Falling and Resonant Echo

By Leyenn

RATING: G

PAIRING: Susan/Talia

CATEGORY: Challenge drabble for LastBestHope. 250 words. Each.

SUMMARY: A secret discovered.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing here is mine, as usual. I do this purely out of love and respect for the series and the characters, and I wouldn't even *want* to write it for money. No, seriously.

ARCHIVE: Want, take, tell.

Sight

He turns a corner that isn't supposed to be there, and takes the corridor everyone forgets. He's filling out a little, he's noticed it this week, so he's missing the tube. Trudging along, dodging one of those things half-finished sticking out of the wall. He's not sure what it is. He's not really sure what the finished stuff behind these walls is, either.

He's not seen her riding the tube for a few weeks now. He had it down - oh-six-thirty, start the day, oh-six-thirty-two, in front of the doors, oh-six-three-three he's standing at the back and mostly alone, and somewhere along the line she'd be there.

Now, somewhere along the line, he's gotten found out. He shouldn't have been surprised. Just like he shouldn't be surprised to turn the next corner, dive back into the rush hour, see her standing there -

See her standing there, outside another door. Glimpse her straightening a glove through a gap in the crowd. Watch the door open; watch her turn.

Smile.

Say something, he's not sure what, he doesn't care. Get an answer he can't read from behind long hair and a face turned away.

Watch other eyes watch her, following close, walking away. See the way a hand touches, there - the small of her back, on smooth fabric, where his gaze always rests. A laugh; he imagines another smile, turned on another face he used to think was only covering hate. Walking away.

The tube doors are on his left.

Falling

She drank herself to sleep that night, and woke up crying with one hand on an empty pillow. Her fingers dug in like feeling the touch of flesh, dead but still walking.

She went walking to get some air, because then she could pretend yesterday again, and she didn't have to think of an empty life waiting behind and in front of her. If only she didn't have to know it, too.

She wakes up standing in the corridor - it's early morning because she's seen the shift change, but she's somehow lost track of the hours. Not even sure where she is. She follows the blue stripe until it fades to green, then grey, and then it's gone and she remembers through the headache that this must be Brown Sector.

I could try Brown Sector... She could; she thinks it just for a minute. People fall through the cracks every day, she could be no different. They wouldn't need to find her. It could be Talia's idea.

Even as she knows she won't, she's finding a bar; a table. A drink. The stuff last night was better, but it still burns so she doesn't complain. When she remembers she didn't bring her credit, she threatens to close them down and leaves. There are crowds, but she can't lose herself even though she tries. That's already done.

She can't be there - should be there, can't be there - but she knows when the ship is gone. It's cold inside.

Resonant Echo

'Marcus,' she said, and then he walked away because he couldn't bear to hear the rest.

He asked around, but no one could tell him why. Garibaldi looked sympathy at him but said nothing. Sheridan said nothing and kept it that way. Delenn he couldn't ask.

So he's looking now, mainly because the office has no door, so it isn't private. She's very tidy, he noticed that before.

It's on the desk that he finds it, face down, taking the light on its edge all-but-hidden under papers and a half-read book. He shouldn't: he does. She never needs to know. The frame is warm and worn in his hands, a little chink at one corner where maybe she threw it once. The woman in it is pale and golden, quiet, smiling. The life in these grey eyes is the reflection of a love he longs for.

This is when she should turn the corner and find him and he should have to explain, and then she would explain, but it isn't. No one comes and so he stays holding it, and the more he holds it the more he sees. He doesn't need to read the paper tucked under the silver lip behind, chafing under his fingers. Minutes have gone: he isn't even looking at the picture any more.

She drowns him out of the world he wants, and he slips away unnoticed with a hazy dream of one day, finding one glorious note to silence echoes framed in silver.

******

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