A fast update this time, because there won't be another until some time next week. Spoilers for 4.11, Brotherhood of the Sea. 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.


If Tomorrow Never Comes

Her bag was usually better packed than this. Tufts of material from her translucent blouse were poking out where her zipper had run aground. She nudged them back in with two fingers. Better, but it still altogether looked liked an over-sized baby elephant had been squeezed into a cream puff. She could repack, but why delay leaving the ship any longer. She got busy and lost track of time and, before she even realised it, she was one of the last sailors aboard. Looking around at the XO's cabin, she was inconveniently unsatisfied with the way she'd packed to go on shore leave in such a rush.

But there was no point delaying. She'd deal with the slight, ever so slight, mess she'd left behind another day. It was time for some R and R. There were a few last minute things to grab—her toothbrush and hairbrush from her bathroom, and something special from the top left pocket of her work uniform. Finally, she brought the hefty, unshapely weight over her shoulder as she stood and turned to leave. Trouble was there was already someone standing in her doorway.

"Why are you still here?" she asked, her feet still firmly planted in her room.

"I thought I'd wait for you," Mike said with a shrug. "And if you were spending the beginning of your shore leave doing paperwork, I guess that I, as the CO, should follow suit. Now breakfast?"

"Didn't you eat four hours ago?"

"Okay, so brunch," Mike pushed.

Kate nodded, looking at him slyly. "We need to talk."

Mike didn't answer, but stepped sideways to allow her to pass. His bag was already packed and slung over his shoulder so they walked together down the empty main corridor to the boat deck and, finally, on to the wharf.

"So what did you have in mind?" Kate questioned as they walked beside each other towards the taxi rank.

"Why don't I make you something at my place?" Mike suggested, as though his idea was so brilliant that it could earn him Nobel Prize all on its own.

But she shot him down. "Because you haven't done your groceries."

"Right," Mike said, a little abashed. "Maybe we could do our groceries?"

Kate shot him a weird look. "Sounds like fun," she replied, sarcasm overly implied. "How about that brunch?"

"Fine," he agreed, defeated. "We'll just take a taxi into the city centre then."

Their short ten-minute journey was relatively quiet. Mike poked fun at her dealings with the Charge on their last mission. She defended them. They were dropped off on the Esplanade and had to combat tourists and locals alike to find somewhere nice and reasonably uninhabited to sit, eat, and most important of all, talk.

A quaint place two blocks inland screamed to them. There were few tables to spare, but at least it was respectably civilised. Mike gentlemanly pulled Kate's chair back, earning himself another look and possibly a gold star.

"When are you due at NAVCOM for a debriefing?" Kate asked after the waitress had departed from their tableside.

"Tomorrow," Mike replied nonchalantly.

"Not concerned?"

"If I was concerned every time this happened, I'd be an emotional wreck."

His tone divulged a smile from her lips. "So your answer is chronic indifference every time Commander Marshall or Commander White used the terms 'serious repercussions'?" she questioned.

He shrugged. "Something like that. I've had no reason to be concerned thus far."

"Mr. Untouchable." Her statement was bland and lacked enthusiasm. He picked up on something else instead—concern.

"You don't need to worry about me. And I thought this was our shore leave. This is what you wanted to talk about? Work?"

"No," she responded, drawing out the syllable. "Last week?"

"You want to know why I left." It wasn't a question. He knew this was bound to arise at some point.

"Didn't you wonder how I'd feel? I wake up alone to find a note where you should be, Mike. It was strangely reminiscent of another time."

"That wasn't my intention-"

"I know-"

"It's just h-"

"Complicated."

"Yes," he agreed. "I didn't want to complicate things further."

"You're not running again?"

He looked at her squarely, eyes fixated on their counterparts, expression as serious as it got. "No."

She smiled as she took a sip of her recently-arrived coffee.

"I thought you'd much prefer the note that I wrote for this time around," he said, still looking at her.

Her smile didn't fade. She instinctively reached for her pocket, where she protectively kept it.

Their food arrived not long after and conversation turned to a pleasant chat about recent events, current affairs, their colleagues and what they might do on their shore leave. Kate had to admit that she was a little impressed as well as taken aback by Mike's insistence that they spend some time together during their short time off. They finished their small fillers quick enough and left as a large group of young tourists arrived. After a short debate, Mike paid the bill, citing that he was two pay grades above her so he could afford it, and they made their way back into a taxi.

"My place?" Mike suggested. "I may not have food but I do have alcohol."

"That doesn't sound like a good idea," Kate mused aloud.

"What? A drink?"

"I'm talking about what will come after said drink," Kate clarified with a pretentious tone.

"Just one drink and I will drive you home," Mike justified further. He knew he was playing with fire, or to quote the beautiful woman sitting beside him, 'you play with spiders, they bite.' So why did bitten feel so good?

He unlocked his front door quickly when they arrived and allowed her to enter first, closing the door behind him. She walked to his kitchen unassisted and opened his fridge door to find a lonesome, unopened bottle of red wine. Some part of her mind told her that he pre-planned this, although, she couldn't quite figure out how.

Mike procured the glasses; Kate poured the wine. And they stood there, in silence, a glass in each right hand, glancing across the small expanse at one another. Their gazes didn't dissuade. Kate was the first to put her glass down, leaving it idly on the electric stove top. She crossed the room in a short stride as Mike followed suit with his own goblet, which turned out to be quite a beneficial movement. His hands met the sides of her soft face when she brought her lips to his.

The hungry kiss, or kisses rather, lasted several minutes. His hands were wandering again, moving from her face to the back of her head and trailing right down to rest just below the small of her back. Her small fists were tightly clenching his shirt, pulling him as close to her body as she could muster. When their lips finally retreated, they remained close, their hands unmoving.

Kate's head dropped to her hands, resting heavily against his chest. She could hear his long exhalations. She moved in tandem with his breathing. His arms were around her now, stoically holding her in a motionless position.

"We shouldn't be doing this," Kate said as he breathed out deeply.

"Nobody has to know."

"Mike-"

"Shore leave... and I am going to find a replacement CO."

There was that promise again, her heavy heart whispered from the deep. "We can't."

"Nobody has to know," he repeated and kissed her again.

His touch was irresistible. Thoughts about the regulations they were breaking left her mental sphere immediately. All thoughts, in fact, had evacuated her mind. There was Mike and only him. His hands were ablaze against her bare skin as he stripped her shirt and tossed it... somewhere. Where? She didn't know. Nor did she care.

His shirt was the next to go. He hoisted her into his arms, their lips still moulded as one, and channelled her in the direction of his bedroom, she assumed. Bumps and collisions with walls and other physical objects on the way only heightened their passion. Her unquenched desire was building, burning for him.

Mike placed her down rather carelessly on his mattress and covered her tiny figure with his own. Kicking his jeans off, and excitedly stripping off her shorts, Mike pressed another deep, passion-riddled kiss to her lips. She flipped them unexpectedly and rose to sit comfortably on his lap, a grin of the cheeky kind on plastered to her lips. He ascended to meet her, his hands immediately grasping through the long strands of her blonde hair to pull her back down on him. Somewhere in the background, he heard his phone ring, but there was not a chance in the world that he was moving to answer it.

Kate was lying contently against his bare chest some hours later. Lovemaking had consumed their afternoon and left them exhausted and utterly spent between the sheets of his queen size bed. He was playfully flicking her hair as he stroked the exposed skin on her back. Smiling, she moved enough to touch her lips to his. It was soft, almost feather-light, and whilst it lacked the fiery passion of their earlier embraces, it spoke volumes more of the love they shared. Their kiss, however, did not remain short and sweet for long. He had pulled her close to his body again, his head rising off the pillow to follow her lips as he rolled her on to her back.

It was just starting to heat up when...

"Mike?"

A voice could be heard from his patio. A voice they recognised.

They toppled out of bed faster than 100m sprinters off the blocks. Kate scrambled around the room to find her underwear and shorts. Her shirt, she recalled, was somewhere in his kitchen. Or dining room. Or hallway? She didn't know.

He hadn't bothered looking for his underwear, zipping up his jeans and throwing on the first shirt from his closet. Kate ran into the kitchen to find her shirt and saw her full glass of wine, and then his. They both went into the dishwasher before she found her shirt.

The doorbell rang.

"Mike?"

"I'm coming, Maxine. Just a sec."

Kate, clothed at this point, grabbed her bag from his hands, kissed his lips lightly and made her way to the sliding door at the back. It was a good thing that she knew her way around the house.

Mike was opening the front door as she was closing back one. Unfortunately, his home, which was on a hill, did not have back steps, but just a balcony. It was short drop with a sudden stop for Kate to make. She was on the grass before they were in the kitchen.

Commander White had, like Kate, made her way unassisted into his kitchen and then searched his fridge. Mike looked out the window to see that Kate had escaped harmlessly, and, as his eyes flicked back to the other blonde woman in his life, he saw his crumpled shirt lying aimlessly on his kitchen floor. Sure that Maxine was still combing through his empty refrigerator, he grabbed it and threw it into the dishwasher with the now empty glasses of wine.

Maxine looked up just as he was closing the door. "When did you open this wine?"

"Uh, not long before you arrived," he answered, reasonably truthfully. "I was going to have a glass but I got sidetracked."

She looked at him strangely and, for a moment, he thought he'd been caught in the act, but when she shrugged nonchalantly and reached for a glass from his cupboard, he presumed that he was off the hook.

"Do you want a glass now?" she asked, her head invisible behind the cabinet door.

"Sure," he answered quickly as his eyes searched every inch of his place in view for any other sign of what had transpired there before Maxine arrived.

She poured two glasses, handing him one, and, as the air transformed from pleasant friendliness to serious hostility, Mike sensed that he was in trouble for an entirely different reason.

"Let's talk about the Rosslyn Bay."