Title: Goodbye

Author: kitty72885

Rating: PG
Category: One-shot; AJ/Meredith; AJ/Mac by proxy

Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al.

Spoilers: None.

Author's Note: This is an alternate scene I wrote for the round-robin fic in progress on ajmacfic. If anyone wishes to read or has read the round-robin, this part would come after part 12. I may incorporate this scene into a full-length story in the near future; however, at present, this is a stand-alone.

AN2: All right, obviously, writing a conversation between two people who love Shakespeare like AJ and Meredith do, (and being obsessed with the Bard myself), I'm going to use some quotes.

"A plague o' both your houses!" --Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 1

"I did love you once."
"Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so." --Hamlet, Act III, Scene 1

Thursday, 28 May 2003
Georgetown University
Georgetown, Washington, DC
1800 EDT

AJ knocked on the office door, steeling himself for the conversation to come. He wasn't sure what he was going to say, but he knew that he needed to talk to Meredith if he was ever going to have anything with Mac.

"Come in," Meredith called quietly. Taking a deep breath, AJ opened the door and stepped inside.

A single lamp illuminated the room. Meredith looked up from the paper she was reading and stared at AJ in surprise. "AJ. What are you doing here?"

"I... We need to talk, Meredith."

"I thought we had said everything that needed to be said."

"No, Meredith. You said everything. I didn't have time to respond before you left my office."

"What would you like to say, AJ?" Meredith asked coolly.

AJ didn't take offense at her tone. "Well, I'd like to start with an apology. I'm sorry."

"What are you sorry for, AJ? If you don't understand that, then your apology is meaningless."

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry for not being honest with you from the beginning. I'm sorry for letting you think that we could have something when I wasn't truly in love with you. I... I'm sorry for hurting you, Meredith. Please believe me when I say I didn't mean to cause you pain."

Meredith smiled wanly, a shadow of her usual bright, happy smile. The light from her desk lamp accented the shadows under her eyes. AJ felt a pang of guilt-he hadn't only hurt Mac with his thoughtlessness.

"I believe you, AJ. I accept your apology. But I don't know when--or if--I can forgive you." AJ opened his mouth to speak, but Meredith held up a hand. "Wait. AJ, I loved you. God help me, I still do. I loved you, and you hurt me. You hurt me by misleading me into thinking that we could have a life together. You're not in love with me completely. My mind understands that, but my heart... my heart needs some time to heal." She paused for a moment. Rising from her seat, Meredith walked over to the window and stared out into the darkness.

AJ's nervousness mounted as the moments passed. Meredith smiled slightly once again. "Don't worry, AJ, I don't plan on climbing the Washington Monument and calling down 'a plague o' both your houses'. Nor do I plan on reporting you... although I probably should. Have you even talked to her?"

"What do you mean?"

Meredith snorted and turned around. "AJ, I hold a doctorate in Shakespeare. I may not be a psychologist, but I'm damn close to one. Don't tell me you can't sense the tension between you two. Whenever you're in the same room together, you can practically see the sparks. Something happened that night when you were working on the budget; don't try to tell me otherwise.

"AJ, Mac is the woman of your heart. She's the reason why you couldn't commit to me for so long--why you still can't. I know that she's forbidden to you because of the regulations. You two need to talk. Don't expect me to give you my blessing, though."

AJ nodded. He was disappointed, but not surprised. He would've been shocked if she had given them her blessing. "I am sorry, Meredith."

"I know, AJ. So am I." Meredith sat back at her desk and pulled a paper to her. The conversation was over.

AJ turned and went to the door. Before he exited, he said softly, "I did love you once."

Meredith pressed her lips together. "Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so," she whispered.

"Goodbye, Meredith." With that, he left.