Author's note: This ficlet was inspired by the Harry Kim/Tal Celes makeup scene in the Voyager RP on Tumblr and also the song of the same name by Eurielle. Also includes Caesar's Palace prompts "ashamed" and "reverent" (Emotions challenge) and "music notes" (Caesar's Challenge, level one), as well as #96 from the angst/fluff prompt list on Tumblr ("Can't you stay a little longer?")
Thanks to angrywarrior69 and Caladenia for beta lookover!
"I love you."
The gently spoken words shocked Tal speechless. After everything that had happened, after the shameful way she had treated him, his feelings for her had not changed. She stared at Harry through a blur of tears, clutching tighter at his hand rather than attempting to find her voice. Between one breath and the next, he pulled her gently into his arms. His hand cupped her chin, fingers brushing away the escaping tears that continued to fall.
His kiss caressed her forehead, then temple, before he disengaged their hands and pulled her closer. Tal's head instinctively fell to his shoulder, taking the silent comfort he was offering. Her shoulders shook with the release of the remaining tears, and she was grateful for the continued silence. The warmth of Harry's arms around her was a far greater comfort than any further words could have been.
As her shudders began to fade, she realized they were no longer standing still; he had obviously instigated the slow, rocking sway, but she had unconsciously fallen into step with him. The motion calmed her further and she allowed her eyes to close, focusing on the soft vibration of his humming against her temple. The muted strains of "Celestial Rhapsody" echoed in the background. The familiar and beloved notes of her symphony washed over her and she let out a soft sigh, shifting her head on his shoulder to a more comfortable angle. He turned as well in the same moment and their lips met. Neither pulled back from the unexpected kiss for several long moments, lingering instead as they both reacquainted themselves with the sensation. When they finally separated, she found herself trembling again and it took her a long moment to realize that this time was not from emotion, but exhaustion.
"I—I have to go," she whispered.
Harry's fingers stroked a reverent caress along her cheek. "Can't you stay a little longer?"
The unspoken invitation in his question was clear, but Tal shook her head with a reluctant sigh. "I have alpha shift in the morning. And it's still hard to sleep..."
"It's all right. I understand."
"I...if you have time tomorrow, we can...talk a little more?"
"Of course." His lips touched her brow, then her nose ridges, before he trailed a fingertip across her lips. "See you tomorrow."
"Tomorrow," she murmured, leaning into his touch for a final moment before turning to leave.
Back in her quarters, Tal changed for bed and crawled under the covers with less reluctance than she had the past several nights. She closed her eyes, automatically slipping into her nightly routine of silently begging the Prophets to keep her nightmares at bay, even as the effects of her bedtime sedative stole over her. The knowledge that she had Harry's forgiveness also lightened the weight of her worries and the memory of his promises was her last thought before she drifted away into slumber.