It's finally here- the post-ep for the season finale, In Too Deep. And the final chapter in this series. A big thank you to everyone who reviewed. I appreciate every bit of feedback.
The song used as the title for this story is one of my all-time favourites - Make This Go On Forever by Snow Patrol.
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.
Enjoy and please review.
Make This Go On Forever
When the Hammersley finally docked late that afternoon, an audience spanning the entire width of the wharf had amassed to welcome Mike Flynn back to life. At the forefront, stood Commander White and a number of other dignitaries from NAVCOM Cairns, with the crews of at least two other patrols present near their ships and along the outskirts of the dock. He had really wanted to make a quick getaway. Being tortured, locked in a sub and later held captive by a drug boss on his yacht had left him with plenty of time to think about the future he was going to miss out on. If for anyone in the world, and that included himself, he wanted to make it out of there alive for Kate.
"Welcome home, Commander Flynn," Maxine greeted as he disembarked. She had to battle the rising applause from the crowd as she spoke. "I trust that your crew were as happy to see you alive as I was."
"I'd certainly hope so," Mike answered loudly, also combating the indistinct chatter behind her.
"My guess is that you'd like to go home. I'd offer to drive you myself, but I think that honour should be reserved for somebody else." She looked up as Kate was walking down the gangway with the senior sailors.
"You have my recommendation for CO, Maxine," Mike told her seriously. "I want my position at NAVCOM back."
"Understood," was her only response as the other blonde officer approached. "Lieutenant, a fine piece of leadership in the face of immeasurable difficulty today. Well done."
"Thank you, ma'am," she responded courteously.
"And I think that after a day like this, all you want to do is go home and sleep," Maxine added, looking from Kate to Mike.
"You presume correctly," Kate said in the same polite tone.
"Then don't let me hold you up. We'll talk in the morning, Mike." And she stepped aside to make way for Mike and Kate to depart.
A taxi was waiting for them when they reached the street. Most of their crew had hung back to mingle with the leftover sailors from the other ships and were, Kate guessed, making plans together on how they should spend the remainder of the evening. For the short journey to Mike's home, they sat in the back of the car in relative silence. It wasn't tense or awkward as it usually was. It was the comfortable lull of a couple that knew each other's ways so in depth that there was no need for verbal communication.
Mike's hand drifted across the centre car seat and grasped hers. Her eyes shifted focus from the road signs outside to his charming, yet battered, face. A series of longing looks were exchanged and Kate held the hand she'd been given even tighter. She did not want to let go for anything. Unfortunately, physics dictated that she didn't have a choice when they arrived and he had to take his seat belt off. She handed the driver a CabCharge voucher and climbed out.
Kate found Mike's keys and opened the front door, allowing him to walk through rather chivalrously. He was, after all, crippled and exhausted from his ordeal. Following him into the kitchen, she had a rather interesting proposition to make.
"I'm thinking of having Chinese delivered. You hungry?"
He laughed lightly and his ribs panged with a slight discomfort. "Sure."
A tub of Mongolian lamb, four Dim Sims, half a dozen spring rolls and a container of fried rice later, they were relaxing on the carpeted floor of Mike's living room together. His injuries made it sore, but Mike had slipped an arm around Kate's waist and pulled her close to him. They sat there against his couch in complete silence.
He was the first to break it. "I couldn't stop thinking about you today. And I'm sorry, Kate. I'm so, so sorry."
"You don't need to apologise. I should be the one apologising. I should've taken your call last night."
Mike shook his head. "I understood why you didn't. You know, I didn't mean you when I was talking about the list of potential CO's. I added you afterwards."
"I know. Knocker told me."
"I believe in you," he told her with a smile.
Cupping his face, she ran a thumb over the length of his torn lip. Her fingers trailed up to the black eye and the cut over his left cheekbone, her touch feather-light and ultra-soft. He held her gaze for a moment before leaning in to graze her lips lightly. She returned his kiss with a more passionate embrace, taking care to avoid his many injuries. Her lips moved from his to the side of his mouth, allowing him the opportunity to breathe, and rose as she kissed along the expanse of his jaw line and settled just below the gash on his left side. His breathing shallowed as she ran her hands danced over the bruises on his chest.
"I told Maxine that I want a transfer back to NAVCOM as soon as possible," Mike said as they broke away. Kate was now leaning contently against his side. "I don't want to spend another moment away from you, and I never want to lose you again."
"You've got me, Mike. I'm not going anywhere."
She nodded and kissed his lips lightly again. "I love you," she whispered against them.
He smiled. "To answer your question, you mean more to me than anything on this Earth, least of all the ship."
Kate let herself sink into his chest. Admittedly, she was a little ashamed of her behaviour the previous week, given all that had happened. "I'm sorry for what I said last week."
"Don't be. It needed to be said and you were right. It gave me a lot to think about while I was in that sub, and the boat. And I can't forget the beating." She wanted to kiss him again, but she let him continue. "Like I said, all I could think about was you."
"How did you even come to be at Cavanaugh's hands, Mike? Investigating him alone? Didn't that strike you as slightly irresponsible?"
"It wasn't my fault," he answered with an incredulous grin. "I was accompanying Mason back to his boat—he was drunk, you see—and I stumbled out of the room to find Cavanaugh there. I tried to trick him into believing that I was Mason, but it didn't work for long."
"Alright. So long as you didn't have a death wish."
"Never," he replied with the same silly smirk. "I have too much to live for. Even if she wasn't speaking to me."
Kate shot him a dubious look before snaking her hand around his face again and pulling him closer. Her lips met his hungrily, almost reassuringly, as she decided to shed his shirt. The buttons of his whites were slipping off difficultly and she'd have ripped it off if it wasn't the uniform that he would need to grow accustom to wearing day in and day out from now on.
His fingers, similarly, were making quick work of her shirt. Hers was the first piece of clothing to be shed in their heated frenzy. Kate took her time removing Mike's shirt, sliding the material slowly and softly over the painful marks on his body, scars evident of a treacherous day. She studied them after throwing the top into a crumpled heap.
"Superficial bruising," he said in a hushed tone. "The thought that I might not see you again was far more painful."
Did he have so much spare time waiting around today that he could plan exactly what he needed to say to melt her into a pile of goo? Because that was exactly what his words did to her, and with each one, she fell more and more in love with him.
"I realised that there's something that I haven't told you often enough," he continued.
"I love you, Kate."
Her right hand instinctively reached for a folded note in her pocket—the same note that had kept her going all day. She removed it and opened it for the heavens to see.
'And I will always love you.'