It was quiet.
The room was pitch black but Tatiana's eyes had adjusted. Not that she used that fact for anything, she just stared, imagining a dead man.
Wishing she could think about anything else, she reached out for the bottle on the edge of the table.
She never used to mind the silence before, but now it echoed with phantom gunshots and ghostly howls of anguish.
The quiet hurt and Tatiana didn't like it.
Curt's death hurt in a different sort of way. Their friendship was short lived, with a brief but deep connection established. When Tatiana cried, it was never for the life they had lived, fighting by each other's side.
No, her tears fell for the promise of a life they could've lived.
She wept for an image of laughter and stupid toasts when they were drunk out of their minds.
Tatiana sobbed for her only real friend.
It was still quiet.
Upon seeing Barb, all wet tissues and doused flames of fervour, Tatiana had moved in with her. Maybe she'd expected too much, moving into a house with an eccentric scientist that seemed too fixed on her crush.
Still, the house echoed with nothing. It was too silent, too still.
Tatiana didn't like it.
People still visited Curt's grave. That was a comforting thought.
As she placed down her two sets of flowers, one from her, one from Barb, she thought distantly about who's they were. She stood back.
The spot was peaceful, you could hear a stream nearby and a couple of birds chirped out their sweet melodies.
Here, it was loud, colorful. How very Curt Mega it was.
It wasn't quiet. Tatiana liked it.
Surprisingly, growing closer to Barb made the silence bearable. It still deafened her, made her heart ache with foggy memories but it was okay. They were okay.
She started using nicknames and laughing again on the good days. On the bad days, it feels so much more quiet.
Tatiana didn't mind it, though, because she had a friend again.
Through the grape vine, she'd heard that Chimera had burnt. Good, she spat on their name.
The relief and happy stupor only lasted a couple hours though, as it dawned on her that that wouldn't bring her friend back.
He was still dead, she was still here.
But, so was Barb and Mrs Mega, and they pushed through it every day.
That night, it wasn't quiet, for she drank a small toast to a dead man and his murderer. It was the only thanks Owen Carvour would ever get.
There was a knock at the door and Tatiana almost slammed it shut when she saw who was in front of it. The limey bastard himself.
Except it wasn't.
No, it was a shell of a man with big dreams, dreams bigger than the one he'd had before, who spoke like he knew he didn't deserve to live, like he hated every breath he took in.
That wasn't Owen Carvour, it was just Owen. A man so torn up by grief and loneliness.
He probably hated the quiet too.
And maybe that was what made her open the door wider, made her put down her hostility. Along with a renewed hope of more.
Of course, Barb was unsure when she'd heard the news, even looking over hesitantly at Tatiana.
There was something bright in them, something new. She just needed a nudge in the right direction.
A nod, an affirmation, an unspoken agreement.
They were in. Curt was coming home.
It hadn't been quiet in months.
The pottering from Barb was enough to breathe a new sort of life into their home. Owen's addition had only brought more noise, although it came in whispered promises to man that wouldn't be dead for much longer.
There was so much but nothing at all to do, so Tatiana would sit and watch as Barb tried everything. They couldn't speed run this, no matter how much they both wanted to and she had to tell her to slow down so many times.
But never, never had Barb looked so pretty. Hope suited her, it gave her youthful glow, made her eyes sparkle in the light and fuck was she gorgeous.
It was dangerous to think like that, but Tatiana didn't care.
Seven years later and Tatiana had gotten older. Older and wiser and Curt didn't hurt as much to think about. Maybe there was a stab of pain but it was over with in a second and she was okay.
They were okay.
Besides, she didn't need to think about Curt as dead anymore because it was finished. Their hard work complete. It hadn't all been for nothing.
And yes, saying good bye to Owen was bittersweet and maybe a bit terrifying because there was an infinite amount of unknown possibilities but Tatiana had faith. Those seven years had taught her to believe.
She had faith they'd meet again, that she would see them again and this time they could live a longer life. This time they could laugh over inside jokes and make stupid drunken toasts every Saturday night and Tatiana wouldn't have to cry over something she didn't have because she would have it.
And her and Barb could meet again. This time she'd be stronger, tell Barb everything she'd wanted to tell her and more.
So, when Owen stepped through the machine and vanished and it was quiet again, Tatiana was content.
For that quiet held a promise of something more, something better.