I've been debating posting this story. I've been writing off and on for the past six months and posting it on another board, but with the direction the show has taken lately I wasn't sure there would still be any interest with the general LV audience for a Danny/Mary story. It starts around the first of the year and goes AU from there. It was just my take on the way things might have gone. It's unfinished, but is up to 37 chapters since somewhere along the way it took a few detours that I did not originally intend for it to include. I'm not sure how much longer it will be, but I hope to get it finished in the next month or so. I'm going to post the first few chapters and see if I get any feedback. If no one seems interested then I won't bother posting the rest. It's just too time consuming to post if no one is going to be reading it. So if you would like me to keep going then please let me know. I've gotten some really good response in the past to my stories over here so I'd love to hear everyone's opinions.

-1-

"Mary, did you approve private use of Bella Petto for Mr. Cates?" Danny hurried to catch up with the hotel manager as she quickly made her way across the casino floor.

"Yes, what's the problem?" Mary responded in a clipped tone, still heading briskly towards her office.

"You really should run something like that by me or Ed…," Danny tried not to sound patronizing, but failed miserably.

"Why? I have the authority to do that, Danny," Mary's tone was irritated and she finally stopped to look at him.

"I know, but…"

"But what?" she snapped, her hands firmly on her hips. "Is there a problem with the guy?"

"Well, no, but…"

"Then why are we even having this conversation? I've got to go."

Danny stood there stunned as he watched her disappear down the hallway towards the executive offices. How had it come to this between them? Since Mary had left Jake Danny had been trying to give her some space—trying to let her find herself again, but finding herself seemed to involve pushing him as far away as possible. Every once in awhile she would let her guard down and he would get a glimpse of the old Mary--the girl he grew up with; the woman he loved, but even those times had disappeared since that fateful night two weeks ago.

"You know, in the beginning this new Mary thing was kind of fun," Sam's voice startled Danny out of his thoughts. "She'd finally gotten a back bone, but lately she's just turned into a bitch. I thought maybe that little vacation she took would help, but it seems to have just made things worse,"

"Well, maybe something happened," Delinda chimed in as she joined her friends. Not caring to hear another girlfriend analysis of Mary's behavior, Danny turned to head back to the security room.

"Maybe whoever she was supposed to spend the week with didn't show up," Danny stopped short at Delinda's words. Mary had told all of them she was going on the vacation by herself. Was it possible Delinda and Sam knew something he didn't? He tried to be nonchalant as he turned back towards the girls to hear the rest of their conversation.

"I know we thought she was meeting someone, but I talked to my friend Skipper in Vail...," Sam started to say.

"You have a friend named Skipper?" Delinda interrupted.

"Do you want to hear this or not?"

"Sorry."

"So, according to Skipper all of Mary's reservations were for one. She spent the whole trip alone--ate dinner by herself, went shopping by herself, skiing by herself—which, by the way, he says she's pretty good."

Danny smiled as he remembered their senior class trip to Whistler. Mary had been terrified at first, but he'd given her one lesson and she'd been skiing circles around him by the end of the week.

"Hmmm, so she really did go on this trip by herself. Well, that's enough to put anyone in a bad mood," Delinda responded.

"No kidding," Sam laughed as they both headed in different directions, leaving Danny standing once again by himself.

He knew it was selfish, but he was relieved that there didn't seem to be someone else in Mary's life. He also hated that he now knew for sure what had sent his fragile relationship with Mary into a tailspin. It was something that he'd hoped would start them on the track to reconciliation, but instead it had caused what little was left of their friendship to crash and burn.

Two weeks earlier…

"Thanks for digging this stuff out for me, Danny. When we cleared out your dad's place I didn't think I'd be needing any of this anytime soon," Mary said as she sifted through the box marked "Ski Stuff".

"It's no problem," Danny responded as he handed her a beer. "Are you ready for your trip?"

"I think so. Sam's got a friend at the resort up there and he's pretty much planned my whole week for me. It should be nice to get away and not have to worry about anyone but me for awhile."

"You deserve it, Mare," Danny responded quietly.

The awkward silence that followed was broken by Mary's gasp. "Omigod. Do you remember this?" she asked as she held up a brown and yellow scarf that was about six feet long and varying widths.

"Hey, I've been looking for this," Danny said as he snatched it from her hand and wound it around his neck.

"You have to be joking? I can't believe you kept that thing."

"Of course I kept it. You made it for me," Danny said as he fingered the frayed tassels.

"Not one of my greatest accomplishments," Mary said.

"Don't mock the scarf, Mary. This kept me very warm when we were in Canada."

"If I remember correctly you only wore it because your Dad made you. You said it was the ugliest thing you'd ever seen."

"That's just what I wanted everyone else to think so they wouldn't try to swipe it."

Mary's eyes sparkled as she threw her head back and laughed and Danny thought it was the most beautiful sound he'd ever heard. He realized in that instant how much he'd missed her and he couldn't stop himself. He leaned forward and captured her lips in a soft, but passionate kiss. When he finally pulled back he cringed at the stunned look on Mary's face. He realized that maybe he'd overstepped, but the moment had been so perfect that he couldn't resist.

After a few moments Mary still stared at him silently, but he couldn't bring himself to apologize. Before he could open his mouth to beg her to speak she turned the tables on him. Suddenly, Mary was kissing him. She held his head in place as she devoured his mouth with her own. Danny wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer as they both struggled to stand. Their hands desperately roamed each other's bodies and they stumbled down the hall, collapsing on Danny's bed in a tangle of arms and legs.

When Danny woke the next morning to the first rays of sun streaming through the window he was alone. Mary was gone and they had yet to speak about what had happened that night—in fact, other than a few stilted conversations and work-related arguments they hadn't spoken much at all.

Danny hated how awkward things had become. He'd always counted on Mary to fix whatever problems they were having in their relationship, but it seemed that if they were going to work through this Danny was going to have to make the first move.