Valentine's Day will never be what it was.
Timeline: GS phase 15.
Summary: Valentine's Day will never be what it once was.
It occurs to her abruptly as they meet in her office to discuss their situation, and it stops her, just for a moment, but a moment is enough for him to notice.
"What is it?" Mwu asks her.
Murrue blinks herself out of the realization and offers him a half-hearted little smile. "It's nothing," she says, but he is still watching her face, and because she does not want to be less than honest with him she admits presently, "I just realized what day it is."
He pauses for a moment himself to count the days out in his head. "You're right," he says, "the fourteenth." A beat passes, and he lets out a short chuff of sardonic laughter. "Heh. I remember everyone saying this war would be long over by now."
"Nothing seems to be happening the way it's predicted." The 8th Fleet is fresh on her mind, and she closes her eyes when they start to sting.
He pats her shoulder lightly, a brief supportive gesture. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," she says, and summons that regretful little smile back onto her face when she looks up at him. "It's not the time for it," she admits, "but I was just thinking... what a shame it is that, from now on, Valentine's Day will be a day to grieve the dead, instead of a day for love."
It really isn't the time, she knows; Mwu looks at her helplessly, clearly unsure of what to say to her, and Murrue can feel her face growing warm with embarrassment. She's not certain why she mentioned it at all.
"Anyway," she says, saving him from having to answer, "we have a lot of work to do."
"Yeah." He lifts his head to look over at the map she's called up on the wall screen, but then he makes a disgruntled noise in his throat. "Look, I don't know about you, but I'm going to need some caffeine for this. Should I go and get us both some coffee before we get started?"
He looks entirely alert to her - he usually does - but she just inclines her head gratefully. "Please."
His hand is on her shoulder again, a quick squeeze. "Take it easy for a minute. I'll be right back."
She shouldn't think of such things, especially not here and now, but while he's gone it comes to Murrue's mind that, in another time and under different circumstances, they could have gone out for coffee on Valentine's Day, for the pleasure of one another's company instead of to help keep them both alert while they planned out the course of action least likely to get them and others killed.
She entertains the thought only for a moment before she puts it out of her mind. This isn't the time, and a captain can't think that way about an officer on her ship. However attractive she may find him.
Mwu has been unfailingly dependable since this all began, and Murrue is grateful for that. She has no right to wish for more.
Still, it's a shame.
Author's Note: Written as a (belated) Valentine's Day gift for Annwyd.