MUTED

By Violet

Rated G
Disclaimer: Paramount owns Voyager (which is why there are scenes like this).
Summary: A short readyroom scene. In Muse, B'Elanna implies J/C don't have time for romance - what if she was right?

Evening.

The room, quiet. The two of them together, and not together.

Together and alone. They speak, exchange information, do what they must.

When there is no more time, or nothing left to say, he stands to leave. She nods to him, accustomed to this. They follow patterns, not of choosing, but necessity.

The pain dulled by routine, until they forget it's there.

But today, he pauses by the door, and looks back at her. She glances up in surprise; tilts her head in question.

He says nothing. He gazes at her, as if just remembering who she is, and who they once were.

There is something he wants to say to her, this woman with the tired eyes.

He says her name.

"What is it?" she asks, her voice low. Different.

The thread between them stretches thin across the room. The air is heavy with all the things he wants to say, but he can no longer remember the words. He hesitates, and they both wait, caught between something and nothing.

The moment does not last long.

"It's nothing," he says finally, and turns.

"Wait."

He doesn't move. He must not look at her, at that face he used to know.

He knows that, like him, she won't find the words. The words that would make sense of this cold place. They're gone, they slipped away silently one night, when neither of them were looking.

"Goodnight," she says, resigned. He repeats the word, and leaves.

He does not feel sadness. Neither of them have time for sadness; it is a luxury they can't afford.

They do what they must.

Alone in the room, she turns from the door. She lifts her hand to her face, but cannot remove the mask.

The room, quiet.

She does not have time to wonder how it came to this.

***

The End

Shayenne has written a companion piece to this story. Read Spark, rated PG13

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