Title: Maybe

Author: Shannon/Raindrops on Roses

Rating: PG-13
Category: Romance (AJ/Mac)

Spoilers: No direct spoilers; indirect spoilers for Hail and Farewell.

Disclaimer: These characters belong to DPB, CBS, Paramount, et al. No copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Note: This fic is dedicated to Ava. Thank you for years of wonderful AJ/Mac romance.

Maybe it will happen like this.

Maybe they'll meet up at the Roberts' during a party. He will be surrounded by people who haven't seen him for months. She will be in the corner, resting her eyes. She will look up, and see him watching her through the crowd.

Maybe she will smile, and he will extricate himself from whichever conversation is being held. He will sit beside her, and they will listen to the children scream for attention. They will share a fond smile, and spend a few minutes in an oasis of darkness and silence.

Maybe they will maneuver the seating arrangement at dinner so as to sit beside each other. They will speak in low tones about nothing important. No one will notice their hands brushing under the table.

Maybe she will go home alone.

Maybe she will notice him at a restaurant. She will almost not recognize him without his uniform. He will be eating alone, but she will hesitate to interrupt his dinner.

Maybe the waiter will seat her in the same section as his. He won't notice her so nearby. She will study him, admiring the strong lines of his shoulders, the play of light and shadow across his face. He will be so lost in his thoughts that she won't bother him that evening.

Maybe she will ignore the stirring in the pit of her stomach.

Maybe she will take forced medical leave. She will escape for the weekend, heading toward the coast and the endless ocean. She will inhale the salt air and wriggle her toes in the sand. She will ignore the chill until the sun becomes too low to warm the air.

Maybe he will be there at the same time. He will find her on the beach, arms wrapped around her chest, shivering with the cold. He will ask her what is wrong, and when she looks at him, there will be tears in her eyes.

Maybe he will give her his jacket. When she begins to sniffle, he will take her hand. He will be surprised when he feels her trembling.

Maybe they will watch the tide pull against the shore and the sun lighten the sky.

Maybe she will show up on his doorstep one night. He will invite her inside, and she will stand in the middle of his living room, lost and confused. She will take a seat when invited and accept the hot coffee he hands her, even though the heat is oppressive.

Maybe she will begin talking without being prompted. She will talk about endless flirtation and angst; about dead lovers and not-so-dead ones. She will rage about the unfairness of the universe, and the devastation of her corner of it.

Maybe his heart will constrict for this woman and all of the pain she's been through. She will break his favorite coffee mug. He won't care.

Maybe she will spend the night on his couch.

Maybe they will end up in her bed. She will shake her head when he asks if he needs to use protection. Her face will be inscrutable, but her hands will clench. He will touch her cheek gently and apologize. She will smile and reciprocate.

Maybe he will strip her slowly and push her down onto the pillows. She will sigh as he kisses her thoroughly, and giggle when his hands skim over ticklish areas. Her hands will clench again when his tongue slides against her most sensitive area. He will stop, and she will reassure him that she is all right.

Maybe they will make love quietly, not because they don't want to disturb the neighbors, but because no words are necessary. Her back will arch with her climax, and he will press his lips against the hollow of her throat.

Maybe he will lie beside her as their hearts slow. Her hand will rest on his chest, holding him close. Her brown eyes will hold him captive, and her contented smile will warm him more than the blanket that they share.

Maybe he will watch over her as she sleeps.