Title: All you can't leave behind
Disclaimer: I do not own Stingers, etc. etc. Lyrics from U2. Title from U2,
IMPORTANT NOTE OR YOU'RE GOING TO THINK IT GETS STRANGE: I've shifted the
time scale BACK. This is not set to current time. Imagine um...All the
stuff we saw was actually months earlier! hehehe
~~*~~The only baggage you can bring is all that you can't leave behind~~*~~
Mac tapped her pencil on her desk. Tap, tap, tap, tap. She let her
eyes drift skyward. Tap-tap-tap-tap, Tap-tap-tap-tap... She had so much
work to do, and it had all seemed to congregate immediately in front of
her. Files, folders, loose sheets – all dumped next to her computer and on
every square inch of space, which of course, was now all gone. The phone
was buried underneath five files Danni had dumped on her desk that night
after leaving to go home; the products of her day's work while the rest of
them had been out and about, meeting with informants, doing deals.
She sighed, letting the pencil drop from her long, slender fingers.
It hit the corner of the table – the only smidgeon of wood still visible
after she'd dumped her diary in front of her to look through – and bounced
on an angle.
Mac cringed as the pencil hit the ground. Her eyes slid down and to
the right as it fell onto its side, rolling away.
It stopped in the corner of the room, right next to the bin.
It's a sign, she thought, not able to take her eyes off the lonely
pencil for some moments. It just lay there, motionless.
And for the first time in her life, Mac's mind turned on its head. She
wondered what it would be like to be a pencil. She was completely serious
on the point. Would it hurt? Being sharpened, or would it just be like
cutting hair. Your exterior was dead, a protecting cover to you vulnerable
And for the first time that day, she smiled. A pencil! She rolled her eyes,
yet they soon returned to the pencil, lying next to the bin – right where
it wanted to be. Sound asleep until someone picked it up the next morning.
She stood, watching her car. Mac took a step back, just watching it.
The darkened sedan sat all by itself in the lot. She'd parked in the middle
that morning, and everyone had surrounded her. Yet now they were gone, and
her car was left the only object in miles.
Slowly she walked up to it, arms folded as her bag hung off her
shoulder. All she could think of, all she could picture was her car –
sitting all alone in the car park.
But – she began, a shiver crawling up her spine – what if... – she
turned her head – it wasn't all alone?
Mac knew she was working herself up but sometimes, just occasionally,
she couldn't help it. She reached out, letting her hand rest on the door
handle, smooth and cool. Tears stung at her eyes and she pulled her hand
back as if she'd received a slight shock. She hadn't, of course, but at
that moment, she didn't know what was real or not.
Not any more.
She backed up from the car once again, reaching into her bag with
both hands and digging out her keys. Her heart started to beat faster as
she found them, pulling the large bundle out, her eyes constantly flicking
to the sinister shadows of her car in front of her.
Mac's car keys fell to the cement like chains to the tiles as she
turned and stood, tapping her foot as the roller door chugged up. She
didn't wait until it was up fully, bending over forwards and walking
quickly out, pressing the button to let it go back down on her way.
~~*~~And if the darkness is to keep us apart~~*~~
She brushed a lone tear from her cheek as she walked. She didn't know
why she was being so stupid. Mac knew she shouldn't have let herself be the
last one to stay back again. The time before this had shaken her enough.
Had stirred everything she'd pushed back and hidden from her consciousness
so successfully until now.
Mac frowned as she walked. The darkness enveloped her and the
streetlights guided her, but she was walking aimlessly. Eventually she'd
find her way home. She knew where to go to do that, obviously, but whether
or not she could be bothered at the moment was a good question! A good
Anger started to burn her heart as her pace quickened. No? What kind
of answer was that? No, Mac, Mac I can't. She'd been so confused. He'd
hardly hesitated. He just went right on to say it. He had no idea how much
courage that had taken. For her to just come right out and be blunt about
it. Anger soon turned to embarrassment, as it had that night, and tears
welled in her eyes. She stopped in her tracks, turning behind her. There
was no one there, she just, she just couldn't help re-enacting her own
actions of that night. She'd stood and turned from him. He knew he'd said
the wrong thing – if there could be a wrong answer to a question like that.
All she'd said was 'Get out' – seemed she said that a lot lately – and her
voice had been so quiet. A lump stuck in her throat but Mac swallowed,
pushing it back down to where it belongs, or, where it would stay until the
~~*~~And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off~~*~~
Of course he hadn't left, he hadn't 'gotten out' – he'd stood as
well. Tried to explain. Mac shook her head, starting to pound the pavement
once again. He'd been shocked, she knew, to see her turn to him, to see
what she said with her eyes – to understand even! – and yet he did nothing!
Nothing! Mac couldn't believe it. At that time, she didn't know his
reasons. He wasn't game to tell her either. He left, he didn't say
anything, he just left her standing there. Her greatest assumption was that
he simply didn't want to be with her. She knew she'd stuffed it. At that
dinner he got defensive, she should've explained then. She should've
explained that she'd never meant for it to be taken as a permanent change.
Sure, maybe her plans had had to have been put off for a year or two – jobs
had come up – she'd gotten heavily involved in a couple of dodgy cases and
she needed some time but he no longer needed to flirt the fact that he
didn't want to be with her any more. Perhaps his preferences had changed
since her, Mac thought. Perhaps now she was considered too tall, too skinny
– she knew she was but no matter how much she ate she burnt it off straight
away anyway. Stress, they kept telling her. She just kept telling them they
could go and shove that up their arses. She wasn't stressed. She was in a
high-pressure position that was all, and could deal.
~~*~~And if your glass heart should crack~~*~~
It was high pressure, there was no doubt about that. If it wasn't
Brian it was Reg. All their cases lately went with those two – it just
wasn't right. Brian was a bigot, a racist, a, well Mac would have to write
a list in order to describe his many faults. On top of that, every time she
saw him, she knew he looked at her differently. She knew – she knew! – that
even when she wasn't around he would talk about her. It was passing around
– Mac the dike – she was sure that was the word he'd be using. Or of
course, she thought, he could always just raise his eyebrows suggestively.
People would figure it out. People were figuring it out. And frankly, Reg
was just an arsehole who managed to screw up ninety-nine percent of
everything he touched, including women she knew, and she hated going near
him because of it.
At least, she had thought, she could enjoy being with her friends in
the job. She'd always wanted the top spot. But she didn't want it any more.
Not any more. Being with her friends was a joke. Who were her friends any
more? She had thought more of them before that day. So much more of them.
Angie, perhaps, was the closest she could possibly get to. Oscar maybe...
But NOT Peter and Danni. They hadn't done anything that day – not one
little thing – to try to make things better. Danni had probably told Pete
to leave it be, "she'll get over it if you give her time" – Mac hadn't
thought Danni thought like that, but neither did Pete.
It infuriated her that they'd just 'popped in' to discuss it. There
was no need for it to be in the morning – where everyone had had to hear as
she lectured them through the door. And there was no remorse at that. They
deserved every little piece of reprimand they had. It infuriated her! It
pissed her off royally and nothing made her want to not be boss more than
that – to see her colleagues having the fun she wished with all her might
she still had.
~~*~~And for a second you turn back~~*~~
Fun. That was a nice word. Back to the good old days. Mac smirked.
Good, yeah, but definitely old! She wanted him so badly. She wanted him
back with her. By her side. So that he could hold her. So that he could
talk to her, laugh with her, be with HER! Sometimes Mac wished she was with
him, and they wouldn't have to be where she was. They could be anywhere. If
it wasn't possible for him to get to her, she'd go to him. But they
couldn't! She couldn't! Nobody knew but she'd tried. And it killed her that
she had, yet hadn't succeeded, hadn't been gutsy enough to. And it killed
her to wake up every morning, to smell the coffee just in time for the
clock to tick over, the minute to change, and the smell to disappear. And –
Mac stumbled, kicking her toe on the uneven pathway – and it KILLED her to
know that now she was alone. For good. She was thirty-three, nearly four.
There had never been anyone really special in her life, not until him. She
couldn't even bring herself to think his name. There was no one special but
him and he wasn't coming back, and there wouldn't be anyone special in the
future. The one person who that may have been made that perfectly clear to
her the other night. And that day. Oh yes, she thought, I understand
She wanted him back so badly. The only person she had ever loved like
that yet then again the only person she'd never told. It hurt her so much.
To know she was no longer loved. To know that she was no longer looked
after. She hadn't thought she'd needed it, wanted it, but who knew? She
had. It hurt her so much.
It killed her that he was no longer there.
~~*~~Oh no, be strong – walk on~~*~~
Mac stood, shielded from the outside world by her curtains. Wrapped
in a robe and toying with a glass of red, she looked across the street,
music playing softly in the background. A woman stood in the house across
the road, young child in her arms. They were playing, Mac could determine.
She didn't manage to step back as the woman looked up. She waved –
obviously in a very good mood – and held up her child's hand as well.
Mac smiled, tears rolling down her cheeks as she waved back, before
stepping back quickly, setting the glass on the side table, next to the
~~*~~Walk on – What you got, they can't steal it~~*~~
Mac knew they didn't care. Pete and Danni. Otherwise someone would
have said something. She just couldn't understand why they'd told her in
the morning, knowing they were going to be working together for the whole
day still. She'd had to spend an entire day with them. She'd hardly said
two words to Peter, and Danni – well she was maybe an inch more sympathetic
for, but she knew that was a sexist approach: takes two to tango – she'd at
least attempted to make conversation with her.
But the topic had never been revisited. No matter how much she had
wanted it to be.
~~*~~No they can't even feel it~~*~~
"Angie, follow me please," Mac called the next morning as she kept
her eyes tracked to her office door. Angie looked up, joining her tail and
following her up.
Mac stood still as she saw the pencil sticking out of the bin. How
had it gotten from the floor into the bin? She thought.
"You right?" Angie asked. Mac nodded.
"Mm. Did the cleaners come this morning?"
"No." Then how did it get in the bin?!
"Anyone been in here?" She turned to face Angie as they both sat
down. Ange shook her head.
"No, no one. Mac-" Mac inhaled deeply.
"I need you to keep an eye on things for a while."
"Where are you going?" Mac lowered her head, but kept her eyes level.
"Away. Just for ten days or so." Angie's mouth opened slightly.
"You're taking the holiday," she stated quietly. Mac nodded even
though Angie hadn't posed a question. "The same one?"
"Angie, please don't."
"Why? Is, look what's wrong?" She smiled, shrugging.
"Nothing! I just need a break."
"But now, after yesterday."
"I've had the ticket for a couple of weeks now."
"Can I ask you a question?" Mac nodded. "Do you cry much?" Mac opened
her mouth to answer but nothing came out. Angie knew the answer to that,
she'd told her.
"Angie, what is it?" She shrugged.
"No, it's okay, it's just that, well, I do and I, I want to know if I-
"If you're the only one?" Mac shook her head as Angie nodded. "You're
not." Angie managed a sad smile.
"Will you be right with this place? Get 'Peter' to help you."
"I'll manage." Angie went to leave but Mac caught her at the door,
"Ange, wait!" She turned. "What you should do – take yourself to a
movie once in a while. A comedy, a romantic comedy, something easy that
makes you, well, smile at least. At the thought of it. Or just go for a
walk. It helps...sometimes." Angie bit her bottom lips and nodded, smiling
~~*~~You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has seen~~*~~
"So is this permanent?" Mac shook her head silently. The strength
hadn't yet reached her tongue to lash back. "You can't just leave!"
"I was about to 'just leave' last time," she whispered.
"And this time it's different!" Mac took a deep breath.
"How?" Pete didn't reply. "Tell me how."
"If, how can I be sure you're coming back?"
"Is there a reason why I shouldn't?" He shook his head.
"No!" He sighed at her lack of response. "Please, you'll only hurt
yourself-" Mac found her voice, even if it did crack, tears coming to her
"Oh I'll hurt myself? What, I'll get a splinter? Pete I'm already
hurt!" Pete grew instantly concerned.
"What? What happened?" Mac scoffed, putting a hand to her face as she
slammed the door in his face.
"What do you think?" she called, leaning her head against the frame.
~~*~~A place that has to be believed to be seen~~*~~
You loved him.
I never told him that...
You loved him.
I never told him that...
What's say we bring in the New Year together?
They're already dead - you can't help them!
When I saw you tied up...
I'd look good behind your desk
You looked fantastic!
Rather have you on it
I liked the lift
You smell nice too
I am considerate, aren't I?
Serious as in, uh...You know, are you doing it?
I love you
I'll take that as a yes
I love you
I never told him that...
I'm not pregnant. I believe you need to have sex for that
I love you
No problem my end
This is Sarah, Sarah - Ellen
It's all right to be scared, you know
I worked with Bill. I'm very sorry.
I miss you sometimes
See? He didn't tell you everything
We made a bust. We're heroes
Where were you? Where were you?
Yeah...we used to have fun
I love you
I miss you sometimes
~~*~~You could have flown away~~*~~
Mac stood looking out the window. Across the street, the woman was
visible once again. Her neighbour, she supposed. But her husband was there
also, and the baby was nowhere to be seen. They weren't looking outside
though. They were watching the television. At one in the morning? She
thought, still trying to shake off her dream. Probably some old movie. But
even though Mac was no mother, she knew her neighbour wouldn't exactly be
getting a lot of sleep and wouldn't be up at night/or in the morning so
early unless it was something important.
Mac padded out to her lounge room – just for something to do. She was
confused to say the least. She picked up the television guide. There was
nothing on! Unless her neighbours were zealots who watched Father Paul
every morning... She stared at the television. It almost seemed to glare
back at her. Daring her to turn it on.
They watched each other silently before Mac leant forward, flipping
the switch. It took a moment before the visual came, and Mac heard the
screams before she saw the pictures.
She stopped still, watching as thousands of people were instantly
Her phone began to ring.
"Turn on the TV." It was Eve.
"I'm watching. I, I just turned it on."
"That's my city there."
"Don't get on that plane tomorrow."
"Please, I know I said goodbye, wished you well. You're better off
here, trust me. Drive somewhere!"
~~*~~A singing bird in an open cage – who will only fly for freedom~~*~~
"You do this a lot?" Angie asked. Mac shrugged as they sat at the
"You keep saying that."
"So you're not going?"
"I want to-"
"Then do it."
"It doesn't feel right any more. I've dealt with enough explosions to
last a lifetime I think."
"Will you ever go?"
"One day, I just don't want to go by myself."
"Would it be so bad?"
"Dying. I know you miss him."
"You believe in that? Meeting up again?" Angie shrugged.
"I'd like to. I think, if you believe it then it can happen."
"I've never been a good believer, in anything really."
"What do you believe in?"
"I thought I believed I was free in my life to do anything. I'm not.
I can't even get on a plane without feeling scared for Godssake! I, and I
used to believe in love."
"If he'd asked, would you have married him?"
"I don't know."
"Someone asked me to marry them once."
"Yeah? Why didn't you say yes?"
"I was in love with someone else."
"Did you ever sort it out?" She shook her head.
"No." She paused. "We were worried when you didn't turn up today. We
thought maybe you had gotten onto the plane."
"I was with my mum."
"In Sydney? Or..."
"Oh. Well, there's been a development Mac."
"Danni's going out on her third date tonight."
"No!" She grinned. "This other guy. He seems, very nice."
"Well congratulations to her. The only one of us who seems to be able
to have an actual relationship with someone, anyone really."
"Do you miss him then?"
"Of course I do. He's dead, Angie."
"No Mac, Peter Church. You know, that guy we work with?" Mac lowered
"He just, he's never been able to tell me anything. And so, I stopped
telling him everything...It's just how it is."
~~*~~What you got, you can't deny it. Can't sell or buy it~~*~~
Mac pulled the pillow to her chest as she watched, blowing her nose.
They were at a house, someone's house. If she hadn't known better, it
looked just like any usual party. But there was no party there.
"This is John Chamberlain. He's, he's 32. He has three children –
Ella, Michael and Rose – and he has a silver chain that he wears around his
neck. A silver chain."
She switched it off, looking over at a photo of herself and Bill. It
killed her that she had no one to love her now. She felt more isolated than
ever. And it wasn't just isolation in her own home any more. It was
isolation in the world.
Mac wondered at what age people who were old enough to understand
could feel that. If she had been fifteen, would this time have made her
feel lonely? She knew that at fifteen all her friends had had boyfriends.
One had even become pregnant, but had had an abortion. She had had no one.
She definitely would have felt lonely. Alone. She would have wanted someone
to love even then. Was that, like, a minimum age to that kind of
loneliness? She wondered – was there even a minimum to that kind of
loneliness? Do neglected children feel the same pangs in their heart when
they call out...
Probably, she told herself inwardly.
I miss you Bill.
~~*~~And I know it aches~~*~~
Mac clicked her pen. Click-up, Click-down, Click-up, Click-down. She
cast her eyes towards the ceiling. Click-up-click-down-click-up-click-down.
The door opened softly.
"Mac," he whispered. She looked back down to see Pete.
"What?" she asked coldly. "Why are you here?"
"I wanted to see you."
"Shouldn't you be seeing someone else? Maybe someone you'd like to
get a quick f*** with?"
~~*~~How your heart it breaks~~*~~
"I don't do quick f***s."
"There's a shocker."
"I just, I want-"
"Oh Christ Pete! What do you want? What?"
"I, I want to talk to you!"
"You mean you're actually going to tell me something about yourself?"
"You know me."
"No, I don't Church."
"Better than you think."
"Go ahead then." He picked up a chair and dragged it over to sit
beside her behind the desk.
"There was a point where I wanted to continue with Danni. She's sexy,
Mac, you have to know that as well..."
~~*~~You can only take so much~~*~~
"But I didn't. I don't want her."
"Well you've got her. You're stuck with her."
"I want to be stuck with you! I want to have you!"
"If you'd told me earlier, it could've been possible."
"You wanted it too."
"Before I discovered the extent of which I ever meant anything to you-
"You meant something to me..."
"No, I didn't. You finish with me you propose to someone else within
"I would've lived to regret that, I know it now."
"And how'd you work that out?"
"You just sit, don't you? When we all go home you just sit here. You
don't do any work." He leant forward. "I saw you that night. You just
watched as that pencil fell-"
"You picked it up?" she asked. He nodded.
"You never would have. You got scared, Mac. You ran out, you didn't
"I felt like walking."
"I, I saw you scared to get into that car Mac and I just, I wanted to
speak up, offer to walk you home, and I realised I couldn't, because you
weren't speaking to me."
"I'm speaking to you now."
"Yes, you are. How about you speak to me a little bit more?"
"Is that a challenge?" He shrugged.
"Can I walk you home?"
~~*~~Home – hard to know what it is if you never had one~~*~~
And so, they walked.
~~*~~Home – I can't say where it is but I know I'm going~~*~~
"Come in for a drink?"
"What do you have?"
"Narr, I think I'll just head home."
"You'll be right?" Pete smirked.
"I should be asking you that question."
~~*~~Home – that's where the hurt is~~*~~
Mac closed the front door behind her, swinging around to turn on the
hallway light. A figure approached her.
~~*~~Stay safe tonight~~*~~
"Ellen." She smiled.
"I'm so sorry." He took her by the shoulders and kissed her tenderly.
"Did you get my razor?" She nodded.
"Yeah, it's in my bag."
"Good." He sighed, relaxed. "Well, let's go then, eh?" Mac nodded,
excited, as they started walking through the terminal. Mac didn't notice
that it was empty. They just kept walking.
~~*~~And I know it aches and your heart it breaks~~*~~
Pete opened the front door at the gunshot.
~~*~~You can only fake so much. Walk on~~*~~
Leave it behind
You've got to leave it behind
All that you fashion:
Take your pick
All that you make:
What are we doing Peter?
All that you build:
You're such a charmer
All that you break:
I never told him that...
All that you measure:
The future...We don't have one
All that you feel:
It's all right to be scared
All this you can leave behind:
All that you reason:
We wouldn't be working together any more
All that you care:
I'm your daughter...I'm your daughter!
It's only time:
And now he never calls me
And I'll never fill up all I find:
You loved him
All that you sense:
You two wouldn't be breaking the cardinal rule...
All that you scheme:
Bligh's heading the task force
All you dress up:
You smell nice too
And all that you see:
You put something in my drink. Get away from me.
All you create:
I, I was lying there in that horrible gown they give you...And
I couldn't...It was the best five minutes of my life...
All that you wreck:
You meant something to me!
All that you hate:
No, I didn't.
"Yes," Pete whispered to her softly. "Yes, you did mean something to
me, you mean everything."
"Wait Bill..." She hesitated as he turned to her. For a moment she
was told to ignore it, but the feeling not to go seemed to become more
urgent. "I don't think I can."
"I don't want to die, and if I get on that plane, I will."
"It's okay, you're safe. The ambulance will be here soon."
"Yeah?" she choked, eyes still closed. "I don't want to get on the
"You didn't, Mac, you never got on the plane."
"I would've died. I don't want to."
"No, I know..."
"But I couldn't stop walking towards it, I-"
"Shh...Just rest. You're not going to die."
~~*~~You could have flown away; a singing bird in an open cage; who will
only fly – only fly for freedom~~*~~
~~*~~Walk on, walk on, stay safe tonight~~*~~
Bill turned as she walked away. She just left him. He turned back,
getting on the plane by himself.
She just walked away back home.