Title: Missed Chances
Fandom: In Plain Sight
Characters: Mary/Marshall
Category: Angst, Character Death
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for-profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Summary: Some things are better left unsaid, or are they? What happens when you lose your chance?
Note: I know that most don't like to read CD's, I don't like to read them either, but I seem to enjoy writing them. But I ask that you give it a chance because it may not be what you think...

XXXX

Three words. Eight letters. People say them everyday, some without even thinking. They say it not under duress, but of their own free will. They say what the mean, and mean what they say. Three words with so much meaning behind them. Three simple words. I love you. Why couldn't I say them until it was too late?

XX

"Unto Almighty God we commend the soul of our brother departed..."

As the preacher reads from the bible my mind flashes back three years ago to that abandoned diner in the desert. Even with all his babbling about exotic animals I knew what he was trying to tell me and I knew that he was struggling with the decision, so I gave him an out. Gave him the perfect exit strategy to back himself out of the corner that he had almost backed himself into. I did it because I was scared to hear the truth. Knowing it and hearing it are two completely different things, and hearing it made it real. So instead, I told him again that he'd better not die.

"...and we commit his body to the ground..."

I had another chance later that night. I handed him the keys to Horst's cuffs, looked into his eyes and told him they were for incase I didn't make it back. When our fingers brushed with the passing of the keys, I almost said it. Our eyes locked and for the briefest second I began to lean towards him as if to kiss him. To say goodbye. As soon as I realized what I was doing I stopped and offered him a smile instead.

"...earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust..."

The next time that I could have told him was when he came charging down those basement steps and threw his arms around me. I never felt so safe as I did then, knowing that he was there to catch me when I fell. After the long hours first at the hospital, and then at the office giving my statement, I was raw and emotional. I talked myself out of telling him then, convinced myself that if I told him then, he would just write it off as me being thankful that he found me.

The preacher finishes his eulogy and sprinkles a handful or fresh dirt over the grave site.

Almost a year went by before I lost another chance. The day started off like any other, we did our usual back and forth bickering and ended up spilling Stan's coffee on him again. We argued about whose witness to check in on at the end of the day and as usual he gave in to me without too much of an argument. After a quick check in with my witness we jumped onto Interstate 15 to check in on his witness across town. He tossed me the keys to his truck and playfully warned me not to drive it like I stole it. I gave him my usual response of an eye roll and a sarcastic 'whatever.' as I adjusted the seat. Traffic was unusually light that evening and neither one of us saw it coming. The driver was in the westbound lane when he crossed over. He hit side of the truck sending us careening out of control. The sickening crunch of metal and glass shattering resounded as we hit the car next to us before we went into a roll. I couldn't tell you how many times we flipped over, but I can tell you that when we finally stopped the silence was deafening. I couldn't hear numerous horns honking, the radio playing, or the windshield wipers scraping against the glass. Joe Nichols singing about tequila would haunt me in my dreams for weeks to come and I didn't figure out why until he told me. The only thing that I was aware of is that I could hear my shallow breathing. Only my shallow breathing, his chest was still. We were hanging upside down and it took me awhile to manage to get free of my seatbelt. My shoulder was dislocated but I didn't feel any pain, I just knew that I had to get to him.

His heartbeat was slow and I wanted to do nothing more than drag his ass out of the truck, yelling at him, telling him that he couldn't die, but I couldn't. Even without him as my own personal Encyclopedia Brown, I knew that I couldn't move him. The danger of further injury was too great. I continued his CPR as the fire department cut us out of the truck, until the EMT's literally had to tear me off of him as they prepared to shock his heart back into beating. He was dead, actually dead for just over two minutes, and I still couldn't bring myself to say it.

I don't flinch as the rifles fire into the sky, nor do I acknowledge the long line of people that slowly file past me, placing flowers on the coffin. Stan is lingering in the distance, pretending as if he isn't watching me. I wait until I am alone to approach. With my eyes shut I let out a deep sigh as I place my hand against the smooth mahogany coffin. Slowly I open my eyes, I don't think I have any more tears in me to cry. Gently I place a single yellow rose upon the closed lid. At first I feel angry. With him for leaving me, and then with myself for not being truthful. When it hits me that I am standing here, at my best friends gravesite I fight back a sob. A tear falls down my face and splashes against the glossy wood.

"God Marshall, I love you," I whisper.

XXX

I wake up desperately clenching the tear-soaked pillow. It takes a minute for my sleep-fogged brain to realize that it was a nightmare. Marshall didn't die; he was across town sleeping soundly.

XXX

I pound my fists against his front door, growing more aggravated by the passing second. Finally I hear the lock turn over and his sleepy face appears in the doorway.

"What's wrong?" He looks at me through bleary eyes, airplane jammies slung low on his hips.

"I, uh..." I trail off quickly losing my nerve.

"You want to come in?" He offers, opening the door further.

I nod, stepping into his warm hall. He closed the door behind me and runs his fingers through his hair, causing it to spike in many different directions.

"What's wrong?" He asks again, his voice tinged with concern. My showing up unannounced at his house in the middle of the night is not unheard of, but my silence is.

I feel a hot tear streak down my cheek as the nightmare again washes over me.

"You were dead," I tell him.

He looks at me as if I might have gone crazy. It's not an unfounded concern.

"You were dead and I didn't tell you until it was too late."

"Mar?" His gentle voice soothes my frayed nerves.

I launch myself at him like every girl does in those lame chick flicks that I make fun of. I can hear his heart beating in his chest, his lungs filling with oxygen, reassuring me that he is here, real and alive.

"Tell me what Mar?"

I have the fabric of his t-shirt balled tightly in my hands. I cannot lose another chance.

"ThatIloveyou," I mumble into his chest.

"What?" He places his hands on my forearms, straightening my posture so that I am looking directly at him.

I take a deep breath and a sense of clarity suddenly washes over me. "I love you," I say confidently.

His eyes crinkle up as he smiles at me, tilting his head allowing our lips to meet. "I love you too," He tells me as we part.

Three words. Eight letters. I love you just might be the one thing that is not better left unsaid.

~Finito!~