Summary: Beka reflects after the Andromeda's final meeting with Tyr.

Pairings: Beka/Tyr

Disclaimer: Tribune owns all rights to Andromeda.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: "Shadows Cast by a Final Salute," "Soon the Nearing Vortex," and "The World Turns All Around Her"

Setting: Season four, post-"The World Turns All Around Her"

Feedback: Please! Praise and constructive criticism welcome. Flames will be used for ambiance.

Archive: Ask first and I'll probably say yes.

Author's Note: This is one that was percolating for a while before I finally sat down and wrote it. For a short little piece, it took a while to get it sorted into the right shape.

Ebb and Flow

By B.L.A. the Mouse

Beka stepped slowly through the door. The room didn't feel like no one had been there for weeks, but she knew she was the first to broach it in that long. There was no dust accumulating on the surfaces; likewise there was no staleness to the air that she would have expected from it being closed up for so long. Andromeda's filtration system was better than that. None of them had wanted to visit his quarters after the betrayal at Enga's Redoubt, and when Rhade had suggested moving into them after the Route of Ages… It had taken only a quiet word to Harper for him to make the door stick, and whether it was lingering emotion for Tyr or a desire to antagonize the new Nietszchean, he stuck the door so thoroughly that Rhade gave up and moved into another of the senior officers' quarters.

That had been three weeks ago. Beka wasn't sure when Harper had unsealed the door again, but today she'd been unable to suppress the urge to go in and it had opened easily. Now she pressed the control to close it behind herself before moving carefully across the floor. She'd never been in Tyr's quarters before, never gone farther than the doorway, but she doubted that most of the things strewn over the floor were supposed to be there. The Gauss rifles were still mounted on the wall, the books on the shelf were still in place behind the strip of wood designed to keep them there, but a box of ammunition had fallen and scattered under the table and a drinking glass had rolled to rest by the couch.

She picked up a book that was sitting halfway between the bed and the bathroom door. She remembered seeing Tyr reading it the day before they'd been boarded. The bookmark was still between the pages, though it had almost worked free. Gently she tucked it back into place, wondering as she did if he had ever finished it, had found another copy to read wherever he had gone after he'd left them so abruptly. Or had he changed so much that he hadn't cared to read the rest?

Beka pressed her lips together at the thought of their last meeting and again began to walk. It wasn't much farther across the room to the bed; even the senior officers' quarters weren't luxuriously sized. She placed the book, far more gently than necessary, on the nightstand. It had probably fallen off of there, after all, there or the small coffee table, during one of their battles.

The bed was made. Tyr must have done it after getting up that final morning. And he had slept, or at least lain, in it the night before, with the impression of his head still in the pillow. Suddenly feeling ancient, Beka sat down on the edge of the bed and surveyed the wreck of the room with a heavy sigh before looking back down to where he had rested. Had he slept easily that night, even knowing what would happen the next day? Or had he been restless, plagued by the doubts and regrets that came with such a decision?

She hoped the latter. She hoped that he had agonized over it, had not given up on this ship of fools so easily. But then, perhaps they were fools. She certainly was, coming here like it would gain her anything when it would change nothing: not months ago, not three weeks ago, not today.

She had gotten her period that morning. It hadn't been a surprise. What had been a surprise was the sudden sharp stab of grief at the blood. Not because she wanted a child; she didn't, especially with the added baggage of it being Tyr's. The pain came from the realization, with the flow, that Tyr himself was really and truly gone. There was no chance of him, not even a part of him, ever being in the universe again, and definitely not in her own personal universe. There was no way she'd ever get to see him again, to reconcile their last encounter.

The lump rose in her throat as it had that morning, and she couldn't suppress the impulse to lie down and rest her head where his had been. She didn't even try to deny it. Instead she moved slowly to press her face to the pillow and try to catch any lingering scent.

There was a trace, just the faintest hint of him enduring. She breathed deep, letting it paradoxically calm her, until finally the lump dissipated. She turned her head to look out at the room again. Beka knew she was being irrational. But then, what about life lately had been rational? Not the Route of Ages, not this new Nietszchean roaming the halls, certainly not those moments when she couldn't quite remember what she had been doing or those she gave into impulses not quite her own. Stress, of course, but that didn't make it any easier.

One of the few things that did help were the girls' nights on the Maru. Rommie let go of some of her reserve and Trance's cheerful giggliness made an appearance again. It helped— some— to know that she had friends at her side, even when the topics ranged toward the difficult. Only a few days ago their conversation had turned to the strange in-between of the Route, and the hurt had been marginally mitigated by their presence.

She hadn't said much at the time, instead listening to the other two discussing it. Rommie might be able to view it dispassionately and Trance with her usual equanimity, but for Beka neither was yet an option. So she had sat and considered all they had to offer. It hadn't been much; sensors hadn't worked and everything, even matter itself, had been shifting faster than sand in a tide. Even Trance had only been able to offer the vaguest information, such as her assertion that sheer will could affect not just actions but the base nature of things. Their voices came back to her now, Rommie lamenting her lack of reliable data to determine anything for sure, and Trance…

"Because you wanted it." That was what she had said right after, about the Maru. And as strongly as Beka felt about her home, how did that compare to a man's life? His former friends' willingness to kill him and his own will to live? In a place where reality could be altered by a thought, what was the guarantee that death was still an irrevocable concept?

And when she considered that none of them had seen a body, had confirmed his death for themselves… Shot in the back, yes, and fallen over a precipice, presumably beyond all help in a nowhere realm, he must have died, mustn't he? But if the Tyr of their last meeting was even remotely close to the Tyr she had known before, his determination to survive, to carry on, was greater than anything else. He would have lived, no matter what the cost. All it would have taken was his own will, if he realized that, and he had known something about the Route of Ages from the start. Perhaps he had realized. Perhaps they were expending grief for no reason. Perhaps she had no reason to be here now to lay him to rest and say a final farewell, no reason to think that they would not have that eventual reckoning.

Perhaps, just perhaps, her assumption was premature and he was still in the universe, still in her universe. Whether to be glad of that or not was another question for another day. Today she would consider new maybes.

The End