I Believe In You (Ultra Marine)
by not jenny

"What are you afraid of?"

A beat. Then: "goldfish." Something like a smile spreading across her face.


It will rain. They will not care.

His hand on her forearm and his eyes pleading, begging, he will scream into the downpour. She will swipe her hair out of her face and turn to him, her hands tensed at her sides. She will lean toward him; a snake, ready to strike.

"I love you, you idiot." Hissing.

Silence. She will hear only the pounding of the rain, the thunder in her ears. He will stand completely still for a minute and a half before shaking his head.

His smile sudden and blinding. His lips hot against hers.

"I love you too," a quick peck to the tip of her nose, "in case you were wondering." She will laugh as he strokes his hand down her cheek.

It will, for once, be enough.


She will sit at the bar, staring at her tonic and lime. The silence between them deafening with Sturgis gone. They will make awkward conversation, in fits and starts, and they will both be eying the door when Harm finally gives in.

"So, are you going to tell me what's been eating at you, jarhead? Or am I going to have to beat it out of you?"

His voice will be soft, concerned, and she will sigh. Their fingers will touch.

"As if you could, squid." Her smile sad.

They will sit in silence for an hour, the ice in their drinks melting. Finally, they will turn to each other, and he will hand her her cover. His fingers will brush against hers, and they will head into the deluge.

It will rain. They will walk to her car, trying not to think.


She will bury herself under a pile of paperwork until, finally, Harriet barges in with a bag of take-out and one of her disarming smiles. The smell of chinese food filling her office.

They will gossip. Passing the cartons back and forth.

"If you don't mind me asking, ma'am, what exactly are you afraid of?"

She will take everything too personally. She will always be the first to walk away, and he will always let her. She will shield herself from the world.


He will watch her walk away. Saying nothing. They will see each other everyday. They will be fine.

Harriet will pass a fortune cookie across the desk.


She will wake up. Morning not yet peeking over the horizon and her head pounding in time with the car alarm blaring outside her window, she will roll out of bed. She will not drink an entire bottle of vodka before breakfast.

Her laces tied and her hair pulled back, she will run. Faster and harder and that's all that matters, really, pushing against the heavy August air. She will run. That's what she does.

She will take a cold shower. Dress. The traffic on the Beltway will be heavier than normal, but she will still be twenty-five minutes early. Twenty-four minutes and forty-seven seconds. Harm will be ten minutes late.

Another reason they would never work out. Number three hundred and fifty-three: time.


"Everything all right, Colonel?"

"Sir?" She will look around, at the bustle of the bullpen, and smile. She will not walk away. "Fine, sir, everything's just fine."

Another day, another dollar short. She will pour herself a cup of coffee and shut herself in her office all morning. When Sturgis suggests they work on the details of their latest case over lunch, she will nod her approval as she grabs her cover.

The restaurant will be busy. The food cold.

"What are you afraid of?"

They will hand her the flag, neatly folded. She will not cry.

His mother will grasp her hand, fingernails cutting angrily into flesh. She will stand tall, proud, stoic. His mother will sob and cling to Mac's arm. His stepfather will step aside. Overwhelmed.


This is not that story.


They will live happily ever after; maybe this is not that story, either.


She will dream of his hands on her body. Tracing the line of her hip and down her leg, and she will wake up in a sweat before he gets to the good part. Her tongue on her lower lip, she will touch herself in the dark of early morning. Her fingers melding with his in her mind, she will moan his name into her pillow.

A feather between her teeth where she bites down.

She will get out of bed at 0400. Shower, strip the bed, change the linens. Go for a run.

Lather, rinse, repeat. She will shower again, this time with hot water and lavender soap. Donning her uniform, she will drink her first coffee of the day while trying not to trip over her own feet. She will walk out the door, briefcase in hand and cover on her head. Eyes forward, shoulders back, and every bit the Marine. Her steps will never falter.


Her fingers will be tracing lines in the condensation when they sit down next to her. Sturgis will give her his smug "I know all your secrets" look, and order two drinks from the bartender.

Harm will remain silent, watching her hand circling on the bar. Blindly grabbing his glass. Coughing after the first gulp.

"What the hell is this crap?"

Sturgis will smile, "an ultra marine. I figured it would be appropriate, given the company."

"Yeah, well it tastes like-"

"Consider your words carefully, Harm. There's a lady present."

Mac will laugh, "boys, need I remind you that I'm a-"

"-marine," they will chime in. Grinning like idiots.

"And that, my friends, is my cue. I have a date with a Congresswoman tonight."

They will watch as Sturgis walks out the door. Turn to each other and sit in silence.


It will rain; they will not care.


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