Title: Still Life in Gray (1/1)

Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses

Rating: PG
Category: Angst, AJ/Mac

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. "i wish i asked you" belongs to Leigh Thornhill.

Spoilers: None.

Author's Notes: The poem used in this story is taken from Parole, an anthology of poems by Leigh Thornhill. I imagined this story occuring in still pictures in shades of gray--that was the inspiration for the title.



one.

if one day the weight
of grieving for you
becomes too heavy
will you mind
if i set
it down

****

She opened the door to her apartment. Sighing, she dropped her briefcase and heavy winter coat on the sofa. She walked into the kitchen and, wishing for something stronger, grabbed a bottled water from the refrigerator.

It had been one year. One year since his death. No... murder. She had to face it--face what had happened to him. What could have happened to her.

She missed him. God, how she missed him. The sound of his voice... the intensity of his eyes... the feel of him under her fingertips. She still remembered how he tasted on her lips; the softness in his eyes when she admitted how she felt about him.

The crushing sense of guilt took her breath away. She felt like the mythical Atlas, with the weight of the world on her shoulders.

She rose to prepare for bed.

****

i could rest it on
freshly washed sheets
or place it
along the banks
of the penobscot

****

She slid between the still-cold sheets and shivered. Huddling into a ball, she closed her eyes.

****

two.

when they pronounce you dead
and i must remove my hand
from yours can that be our goodbye

****

She knocked on his door. "Admiral?" she called. When she received no answer, she called again. "Admiral? Sir, are you all right?"

She turned to ask the yeoman if he was in. "He didn't say not to be disturbed, ma'am," the young woman said confusedly.

She shrugged and opened the door a crack. Poking her head through, she asked, "Admiral? Are you there?"

Her heart nearly stopped beating. "AJ!" she cried. Throwing open the door, she rushed to him. She felt for a pulse.

The woman at the desk walked into the office. "Call 911!" she demanded. The young woman dashed to her phone.

****

for the sound of coroners zipping
a body bag with you inside
will attach itself to my ear

****

"C'mon, Mac. Let's go," the man said in a soothing voice.

"No! I'm not leaving him!" she sobbed.

"Mac. There's nothing you can do. He's gone," another man said, pulling her away. The sound of a zipper sliding shut echoed in her ears. She shuddered and turned away. The first man pulled her into a comforting embrace.

****

like a shy child holding on
to the back of her daddys thighs
when strangers approach

****

"Excuse me, Colonel, but we need to ask you a few questions," a woman said gently. She nodded and wiped her face with the back of her hand.

"When did you find the Admiral?" an older man asked.

"1006," she said softly. The two agents looked at her quizzically.

"She's always been able to do that," her friend said.

"Now, what did you do next..."

****

three.

if one night i wake up
with my breath hiding
behind my heart
because my nightmares
whisper i no longer recall
your voice

****

She woke abruptly. Why tonight, of all nights? Why did she have to remember that? She shuddered, trying to catch her breath.

He had been murdered that day. The investigators had found something slipped into the coffeepot--the one that they shared each morning. She hadn't had a cup of coffee that day. She had been running late as it was, and couldn't spare the time.

She should've been poisoned with him.

She was so afraid. She was frightened that she would forget him. No one understood what she was going through. No one had ever known of their relationship--nor could they. But... she was afraid she would break down. Her memories of him were beginning to fade, and she clung to the ones that remained with all her heart.

She couldn't forget him... she just couldn't. But she didn't know what would be worse. Never remembering... or never forgetting.

****

will you speak
just a sentence
to me