It had been a tiny thing, just a small shell ornament, but Garth was in tears and the boys were baffled. Even Koriand'r seemed out of her depths, but Donna pushed past them all.
"I have you, Garth. I'm still here." She raised her head long enough to make them clear a path, and she guided her long-time friend out of the middle of them, back up to the living quarters, to her room.
"Does it ever stop hurting?" Garth asked, and Donna knew her instincts were correct. He was grieving Tula, and she honestly ached for him.
"Not really. You can be going along and think you're fine, then something crops up, and you're right there again," she told him, guiding him to lay against her on the bed. He went with the gentle pull, his brow against her throat. He shook a bit longer, her hands stroking down his shoulders with a firm pressure even his dense skin could register, before finally quieting.
"Would you ever risk falling in love again?"
Donna smiled and looked down when he tipped his face up to her. "I fall in love every day, Garth. A little bit deeper with the family I chose, the family that saved me when everything else fell apart."
Garth gave a small smile at that, then started to laugh in that way of relief after tears. When he stopped, it was to raise up a bit and kiss her lightly in gratitude.
She kissed him back, a silent offer to help him remember that life continued… and he accepted.