He Wondered

So beautiful, he thought with a touch of sadness.

He lay there watching her from across the small bed as she sat up scrolling through some bit of information on the PADD in her hands. Her brunette hair tied back in a ponytail, loose strands flitting about in the weak breeze created by the room's environmental systems.

Does she still love me? he wondered. He knew consciously that she did, in her own way at least, but he struggled sometimes to see it. Despite his many failings and shortcomings, she stayed by him. He thought he'd shown her how he felt, how much he appreciated and cared for her, but lately his heart seemed less full than it had when they'd first started seeing each other so many months ago. He found himself often wondering, did she even feel love as he did? Or was he simply an overly romantic fool born to the wrong age?

He wanted to kiss her, to wrap his arms around her and never let go. He hesitated. She was busy, and he couldn't bear being pushed away right now. He rolled away, flexing his sore shoulder where machine and man were nearly indistinguishable as he did so. "Good night," he offered lightly.

"Good night," she replied with a hint of playfulness, her eyes never leaving the screen in front of her.

He closed his eyes and drifted into a troubled but thankfully dreamless sleep.

His eyes slid open groggily. Pulling himself to a sitting position, he glanced at the chrono as he rubbed at a throbbing temple. It was time.

He stood, stretching with far more pops and cracks than a body his age should be capable of. He pulled himself into a pair of trousers and self-consciously threw a light undershirt over his ruined torso before turning back to her.

She was already dressed. She was lightly packing up the last few bits of her things into a small overnight bag she often used.

He walked over and held out his arms. She glided lightly into his embrace, returning it with a small squeeze. He bent down slightly, lowering his face to hers. She looked up, answering with a light peck against his lips. He found himself wondering how long it had been since she'd touched him without prompting.

"I love you," he said as she pulled away.

"I love you too," she answered as she turned towards the door. She passed through the entryway, turning back towards him with a light smile. "See you soon," she called as she passed behind the corner. The door to his quarters slid shut, leaving him alone with his thoughts.

He forced a smile as she vanished, swallowing past the lump in his throat and blinking away phantom tears. He dropped heavily on the edge of the bed, his head hung heavily in his hands as he wondered.