First "missing scene" of this series, rather than a post-ep. This one contains spoliers for Paradise Lost 4.05. It's not quite as long as I hoped, but it does have "bombshell" sort-of end. You'll see for yourself. Please review.
Disclaimer: I do not own any characters, locations or storylines from Sea Patrol. Those rights belong to Hal and Di McElroy, and the Nine Network, and I do not intend to infringe copyright laws. I am not making any profit from this story and am writing it for my enjoyment and the enjoyment of others.
Another Day in Paradise
It wasn't like any of their usual meets. The music wasn't jazz from a live band or soft rock from Mike's stereo. The food hadn't been prepared by an aspiring chef in his own home or a master chef in the galley of an Armidale patrol boat. Even their path wasn't lit by Edison and the modern world. The persistent and sure rhythm of the night set the scene. The moon shone high above and the stars brightened their way. It was different, right down to the sustenance, but there was one crucial facet that would never change—this was still a navy mission, and they were still bound by navy regulations.
The party was happening some way to the east of their location. They could hear the murmur of playful chitchat; see the embers and the smoke soar upwards from the civilisation-defining bonfire at the centre of the camp. Nevertheless, they were far away enough for them to be 'alone.' Kate had wandered first; Mike had seen this and followed. It didn't take him many strides to catch up with her, and, although he had reservations about the leaving the camp with much of his crew still there, he offered to accompany her into the wilderness.
"Ever feel the need to escape?" Kate mused aloud. Her companion stopped behind her and took in the scenery. It was breathtaking.
"Is this what you have in mind?" Mike returned, the moonlight shining handsomely on his face, keeping half of his body in the shadows. There was definitely something mysterious and wonderful about this place.
"Actually, this is exactly what I have in mind. But, unfortunately..."
Mike shifted his feet and stepped closer to her. They were now standing in full view of the moon, a foramen in the forest's canopy above providing adequate light to illuminate their every movement, touch and feeling. They were just inches away from each other, but to both it felt like yards.
"I get a bad feeling about this place, though," Kate said after moments of silence. "I'm just not sure about the people here."
"There doesn't seem to be anything suspicious about them, Kate," Mike debated. "Naive, maybe, to think that they sustain a lifestyle like this. But to each their own."
"I don't think they're naive at all. I think they know exactly what they're doing here."
"I don't know, but that body had to come from somewhere and we haven't seen any other signs of life for three days."
"Just because we didn't see it, it doesn't mean that it wasn't there. There could've been a pleasure cruise passing just over the horizon or a small boat doing a body drop long before we arrived. Swain did say that it had been there for more than a few days."
"I know. I just get a bad feeling."
Mike smiled and shook his head. "Or maybe you're just misplacing your ill feelings towards me?"
It earned him a dangerous look from his XO across from him. "Maybe I am," Kate agreed in a slightly annoyed voice. "But this place almost seems too good to be true. All I need is a reason to..."
"Escape," Mike finished for her. "You're not the only one."
Kate turned her back enough to face away from him. "The Hammersley will be fixed any moment and we'll be out of here. This place is a dream; nothing more."
Mike had no reply. He simply walked behind her and, carefully, placed his hands on her hips. She turned back, almost immediately, to brave the expression on his face. It was empty of emotion, or maybe the moonlight wasn't doing it justice, but she could not tell what he was thinking.
"But we aren't dreaming, Mike," Kate told him firmly.
He sighed and brought his hand up to her longest edges of her blonde hair. She tried to ignore his stroking, but it almost became an impossible task when he cupped the side of her face with his strong grasp. "I know," he said finally and with a heavy heart.
"Where we are doesn't change who we are," Kate continued. "And technically, we are still on duty."
His other hand was soothing her chilled arm. It was something she couldn't ignore or escape, his touch. It was there, constant and perpetual, binding her limbs like vines, caging her emotions into a tiny box and destroying her will bit by bit.
It was going in slow motion. The hand on her arm slowly came up to her face. They couldn't hear the crickets or the party anymore. They could only hear the fast beats of their hearts, thumping in unison, drowning out the rest of the world. Kate couldn't feel anything but warm breath, slow exhalations, on her cheek. She closed her eyes as he leaned in.
Bird had interrupted them. "Charge sent word that the engines have been repaired."
Mike had already taken two steps away from Kate, and she had turned away from the situation bashfully, and almost grateful that Bird had interrupted when she did. She only hoped that there would be no awkward conversation with the young gap girl later on.
"Very good, Bird," he replied. "Is everyone else still over there?"
"I'm not sure where Bomber has gone and nobody's seen 2Dads," Bird answered dutifully. "I think RO might know." She stopped talking and looked from Mike to Kate. "So... um..."
"See if you can locate Bomber and 2Dads and we'll meet you back at the party," Kate told her firmly. "Let the others know that we'll be underway in twenty minutes."
"Sure, X," she said quickly and stepped away from them so first that she almost tripped over a root.
As soon as she was out of earshot, Kate turned back to Mike. "I guess we were lucky."
"I certainly hope so. We'll talk about this when we get back to Cairns?"
Kate was biting her lip and remaining mute.
"I love you," she said simply, "and one of us has to say it. We have to find a way to make this work. We can't keep going in circles."
"We don't have a choice."
"I know that. I know that this is an impossible situation, but I needed to tell you that. Something to think about maybe." And she walked away from him.
Mike sighed and stamped his foot on the upturned root. His teeth were churning against each other as he followed her, a little way behind, back to the camp.