Title: All you can't leave behind

Author: Lisa

Email: lisacheerio_85@yahoo.com

Disclaimer: I do not own Stingers, etc. etc. Lyrics from U2. Title from U2, 2! Hehehe

IMPORTANT NOTE OR YOU'RE GOING TO THINK IT GETS STRANGE: I've shifted the time scale BACK. This is not set to current time. Imagine um...All the stuff we saw was actually months earlier! hehehe

~~*~~The only baggage you can bring is all that you can't leave behind~~*~~

Mac tapped her pencil on her desk. Tap, tap, tap, tap. She let her eyes drift skyward. Tap-tap-tap-tap, Tap-tap-tap-tap... She had so much work to do, and it had all seemed to congregate immediately in front of her. Files, folders, loose sheets – all dumped next to her computer and on every square inch of space, which of course, was now all gone. The phone was buried underneath five files Danni had dumped on her desk that night after leaving to go home; the products of her day's work while the rest of them had been out and about, meeting with informants, doing deals.

She sighed, letting the pencil drop from her long, slender fingers. It hit the corner of the table – the only smidgeon of wood still visible after she'd dumped her diary in front of her to look through – and bounced on an angle.

Mac cringed as the pencil hit the ground. Her eyes slid down and to the right as it fell onto its side, rolling away.

It stopped in the corner of the room, right next to the bin.

It's a sign, she thought, not able to take her eyes off the lonely pencil for some moments. It just lay there, motionless.

And for the first time in her life, Mac's mind turned on its head. She wondered what it would be like to be a pencil. She was completely serious on the point. Would it hurt? Being sharpened, or would it just be like cutting hair. Your exterior was dead, a protecting cover to you vulnerable insides...

And for the first time that day, she smiled. A pencil! She rolled her eyes, yet they soon returned to the pencil, lying next to the bin – right where it wanted to be. Sound asleep until someone picked it up the next morning.


She stood, watching her car. Mac took a step back, just watching it. The darkened sedan sat all by itself in the lot. She'd parked in the middle that morning, and everyone had surrounded her. Yet now they were gone, and her car was left the only object in miles.

Slowly she walked up to it, arms folded as her bag hung off her shoulder. All she could think of, all she could picture was her car – sitting all alone in the car park.

But – she began, a shiver crawling up her spine – what if... – she turned her head – it wasn't all alone?

Mac knew she was working herself up but sometimes, just occasionally, she couldn't help it. She reached out, letting her hand rest on the door handle, smooth and cool. Tears stung at her eyes and she pulled her hand back as if she'd received a slight shock. She hadn't, of course, but at that moment, she didn't know what was real or not.

Not any more.

She backed up from the car once again, reaching into her bag with both hands and digging out her keys. Her heart started to beat faster as she found them, pulling the large bundle out, her eyes constantly flicking to the sinister shadows of her car in front of her.

Mac's car keys fell to the cement like chains to the tiles as she turned and stood, tapping her foot as the roller door chugged up. She didn't wait until it was up fully, bending over forwards and walking quickly out, pressing the button to let it go back down on her way.

~~*~~And if the darkness is to keep us apart~~*~~

She brushed a lone tear from her cheek as she walked. She didn't know why she was being so stupid. Mac knew she shouldn't have let herself be the last one to stay back again. The time before this had shaken her enough. Had stirred everything she'd pushed back and hidden from her consciousness so successfully until now.

Mac frowned as she walked. The darkness enveloped her and the streetlights guided her, but she was walking aimlessly. Eventually she'd find her way home. She knew where to go to do that, obviously, but whether or not she could be bothered at the moment was a good question! A good question indeed!

Anger started to burn her heart as her pace quickened. No? What kind of answer was that? No, Mac, Mac I can't. She'd been so confused. He'd hardly hesitated. He just went right on to say it. He had no idea how much courage that had taken. For her to just come right out and be blunt about it. Anger soon turned to embarrassment, as it had that night, and tears welled in her eyes. She stopped in her tracks, turning behind her. There was no one there, she just, she just couldn't help re-enacting her own actions of that night. She'd stood and turned from him. He knew he'd said the wrong thing – if there could be a wrong answer to a question like that. All she'd said was 'Get out' – seemed she said that a lot lately – and her voice had been so quiet. A lump stuck in her throat but Mac swallowed, pushing it back down to where it belongs, or, where it would stay until the next time.

~~*~~And if the daylight feels like it's a long way off~~*~~

Of course he hadn't left, he hadn't 'gotten out' – he'd stood as well. Tried to explain. Mac shook her head, starting to pound the pavement once again. He'd been shocked, she knew, to see her turn to him, to see what she said with her eyes – to understand even! – and yet he did nothing! Nothing! Mac couldn't believe it. At that time, she didn't know his reasons. He wasn't game to tell her either. He left, he didn't say anything, he just left her standing there. Her greatest assumption was that he simply didn't want to be with her. She knew she'd stuffed it. At that dinner he got defensive, she should've explained then. She should've explained that she'd never meant for it to be taken as a permanent change. Sure, maybe her plans had had to have been put off for a year or two – jobs had come up – she'd gotten heavily involved in a couple of dodgy cases and she needed some time but he no longer needed to flirt the fact that he didn't want to be with her any more. Perhaps his preferences had changed since her, Mac thought. Perhaps now she was considered too tall, too skinny – she knew she was but no matter how much she ate she burnt it off straight away anyway. Stress, they kept telling her. She just kept telling them they could go and shove that up their arses. She wasn't stressed. She was in a high-pressure position that was all, and could deal.

~~*~~And if your glass heart should crack~~*~~

It was high pressure, there was no doubt about that. If it wasn't Brian it was Reg. All their cases lately went with those two – it just wasn't right. Brian was a bigot, a racist, a, well Mac would have to write a list in order to describe his many faults. On top of that, every time she saw him, she knew he looked at her differently. She knew – she knew! – that even when she wasn't around he would talk about her. It was passing around – Mac the dike – she was sure that was the word he'd be using. Or of course, she thought, he could always just raise his eyebrows suggestively. People would figure it out. People were figuring it out. And frankly, Reg was just an arsehole who managed to screw up ninety-nine percent of everything he touched, including women she knew, and she hated going near him because of it.

At least, she had thought, she could enjoy being with her friends in the job. She'd always wanted the top spot. But she didn't want it any more. Not any more. Being with her friends was a joke. Who were her friends any more? She had thought more of them before that day. So much more of them. Angie, perhaps, was the closest she could possibly get to. Oscar maybe... But NOT Peter and Danni. They hadn't done anything that day – not one little thing – to try to make things better. Danni had probably told Pete to leave it be, "she'll get over it if you give her time" – Mac hadn't thought Danni thought like that, but neither did Pete.

It infuriated her that they'd just 'popped in' to discuss it. There was no need for it to be in the morning – where everyone had had to hear as she lectured them through the door. And there was no remorse at that. They deserved every little piece of reprimand they had. It infuriated her! It pissed her off royally and nothing made her want to not be boss more than that – to see her colleagues having the fun she wished with all her might she still had.

~~*~~And for a second you turn back~~*~~

Fun. That was a nice word. Back to the good old days. Mac smirked. Good, yeah, but definitely old! She wanted him so badly. She wanted him back with her. By her side. So that he could hold her. So that he could talk to her, laugh with her, be with HER! Sometimes Mac wished she was with him, and they wouldn't have to be where she was. They could be anywhere. If it wasn't possible for him to get to her, she'd go to him. But they couldn't! She couldn't! Nobody knew but she'd tried. And it killed her that she had, yet hadn't succeeded, hadn't been gutsy enough to. And it killed her to wake up every morning, to smell the coffee just in time for the clock to tick over, the minute to change, and the smell to disappear. And – Mac stumbled, kicking her toe on the uneven pathway – and it KILLED her to know that now she was alone. For good. She was thirty-three, nearly four. There had never been anyone really special in her life, not until him. She couldn't even bring herself to think his name. There was no one special but him and he wasn't coming back, and there wouldn't be anyone special in the future. The one person who that may have been made that perfectly clear to her the other night. And that day. Oh yes, she thought, I understand perfectly!

She wanted him back so badly. The only person she had ever loved like that yet then again the only person she'd never told. It hurt her so much. To know she was no longer loved. To know that she was no longer looked after. She hadn't thought she'd needed it, wanted it, but who knew? She had. It hurt her so much.

It killed her that he was no longer there.

~~*~~Oh no, be strong – walk on~~*~~

Mac stood, shielded from the outside world by her curtains. Wrapped in a robe and toying with a glass of red, she looked across the street, music playing softly in the background. A woman stood in the house across the road, young child in her arms. They were playing, Mac could determine. She didn't manage to step back as the woman looked up. She waved – obviously in a very good mood – and held up her child's hand as well.

Mac smiled, tears rolling down her cheeks as she waved back, before stepping back quickly, setting the glass on the side table, next to the plane ticket.

~~*~~Walk on – What you got, they can't steal it~~*~~

Mac knew they didn't care. Pete and Danni. Otherwise someone would have said something. She just couldn't understand why they'd told her in the morning, knowing they were going to be working together for the whole day still. She'd had to spend an entire day with them. She'd hardly said two words to Peter, and Danni – well she was maybe an inch more sympathetic for, but she knew that was a sexist approach: takes two to tango – she'd at least attempted to make conversation with her.

But the topic had never been revisited. No matter how much she had wanted it to be.

~~*~~No they can't even feel it~~*~~

"Angie, follow me please," Mac called the next morning as she kept her eyes tracked to her office door. Angie looked up, joining her tail and following her up.

Mac stood still as she saw the pencil sticking out of the bin. How had it gotten from the floor into the bin? She thought.

"You right?" Angie asked. Mac nodded.

"Mm. Did the cleaners come this morning?"

"No." Then how did it get in the bin?!

"Anyone been in here?" She turned to face Angie as they both sat down. Ange shook her head.

"No, no one. Mac-" Mac inhaled deeply.

"I need you to keep an eye on things for a while."

"Where are you going?" Mac lowered her head, but kept her eyes level.

"Away. Just for ten days or so." Angie's mouth opened slightly.

"You're taking the holiday," she stated quietly. Mac nodded even though Angie hadn't posed a question. "The same one?"



"Angie, please don't."

"Why? Is, look what's wrong?" She smiled, shrugging.

"Nothing! I just need a break."

"But now, after yesterday."

"I've had the ticket for a couple of weeks now."

"Can I ask you a question?" Mac nodded. "Do you cry much?" Mac opened her mouth to answer but nothing came out. Angie knew the answer to that, she'd told her.

"Angie, what is it?" She shrugged.

"No, it's okay, it's just that, well, I do and I, I want to know if I- "

"If you're the only one?" Mac shook her head as Angie nodded. "You're not." Angie managed a sad smile.

"Good, thanks."

"Will you be right with this place? Get 'Peter' to help you."

"I'll manage." Angie went to leave but Mac caught her at the door, standing.

"Ange, wait!" She turned. "What you should do – take yourself to a movie once in a while. A comedy, a romantic comedy, something easy that makes you, well, smile at least. At the thought of it. Or just go for a walk. It helps...sometimes." Angie bit her bottom lips and nodded, smiling underneath.


~~*~~You're packing a suitcase for a place none of us has seen~~*~~

"So is this permanent?" Mac shook her head silently. The strength hadn't yet reached her tongue to lash back. "You can't just leave!"

"I was about to 'just leave' last time," she whispered.

"And this time it's different!" Mac took a deep breath.

"How?" Pete didn't reply. "Tell me how."

"If, how can I be sure you're coming back?"

"Is there a reason why I shouldn't?" He shook his head.

"No!" He sighed at her lack of response. "Please, you'll only hurt yourself-" Mac found her voice, even if it did crack, tears coming to her eyes.

"Oh I'll hurt myself? What, I'll get a splinter? Pete I'm already hurt!" Pete grew instantly concerned.

"What? What happened?" Mac scoffed, putting a hand to her face as she slammed the door in his face.

"What do you think?" she called, leaning her head against the frame.

~~*~~A place that has to be believed to be seen~~*~~

Mac dreamt:

You loved him.

I never told him that...

You loved him.

I never told him that...

What's say we bring in the New Year together?

They're already dead - you can't help them!

When I saw you tied up...

I'd look good behind your desk

You looked fantastic!

Rather have you on it



I liked the lift

You smell nice too

I am considerate, aren't I?

Serious as in, uh...You know, are you doing it?

I love you

I'll take that as a yes

I love you

I never told him that...

I'm not pregnant. I believe you need to have sex for that

I love you

No problem my end

This is Sarah, Sarah - Ellen

It's all right to be scared, you know

I worked with Bill. I'm very sorry.

I miss you sometimes

See? He didn't tell you everything

We made a bust. We're heroes

Where were you? Where were you?

Yeah...we used to have fun

I love you

I miss you sometimes







She woke.

~~*~~You could have flown away~~*~~

Mac stood looking out the window. Across the street, the woman was visible once again. Her neighbour, she supposed. But her husband was there also, and the baby was nowhere to be seen. They weren't looking outside though. They were watching the television. At one in the morning? She thought, still trying to shake off her dream. Probably some old movie. But even though Mac was no mother, she knew her neighbour wouldn't exactly be getting a lot of sleep and wouldn't be up at night/or in the morning so early unless it was something important.

Mac padded out to her lounge room – just for something to do. She was confused to say the least. She picked up the television guide. There was nothing on! Unless her neighbours were zealots who watched Father Paul every morning... She stared at the television. It almost seemed to glare back at her. Daring her to turn it on.

They watched each other silently before Mac leant forward, flipping the switch. It took a moment before the visual came, and Mac heard the screams before she saw the pictures.

She stopped still, watching as thousands of people were instantly obliterated.

Her phone began to ring.


"Turn on the TV." It was Eve.

"I'm watching. I, I just turned it on."

"That's my city there."


"Don't get on that plane tomorrow."

"Eve, I-"

"Please, I know I said goodbye, wished you well. You're better off here, trust me. Drive somewhere!"

~~*~~A singing bird in an open cage – who will only fly for freedom~~*~~

"You do this a lot?" Angie asked. Mac shrugged as they sat at the restaurant.


"You keep saying that."




"So you're not going?"

"I want to-"

"Then do it."

"It doesn't feel right any more. I've dealt with enough explosions to last a lifetime I think."

"Will you ever go?"

"One day, I just don't want to go by myself."

"Would it be so bad?"


"Dying. I know you miss him."

"You believe in that? Meeting up again?" Angie shrugged.

"I'd like to. I think, if you believe it then it can happen."

"I've never been a good believer, in anything really."

"What do you believe in?"

"I thought I believed I was free in my life to do anything. I'm not. I can't even get on a plane without feeling scared for Godssake! I, and I used to believe in love."

"If he'd asked, would you have married him?"

"I don't know."

"Someone asked me to marry them once."

"Yeah? Why didn't you say yes?"

"I was in love with someone else."

"Did you ever sort it out?" She shook her head.

"No." She paused. "We were worried when you didn't turn up today. We thought maybe you had gotten onto the plane."

"I was with my mum."

"In Sydney? Or..."

"Eve, yeah."

"Oh. Well, there's been a development Mac."


"Danni's going out on her third date tonight."

"With Church?"

"No!" She grinned. "This other guy. He seems, very nice."

"Well congratulations to her. The only one of us who seems to be able to have an actual relationship with someone, anyone really."

"Do you miss him then?"

"Of course I do. He's dead, Angie."

"No Mac, Peter Church. You know, that guy we work with?" Mac lowered her gaze.

"He just, he's never been able to tell me anything. And so, I stopped telling him everything...It's just how it is."

~~*~~What you got, you can't deny it. Can't sell or buy it~~*~~

Mac pulled the pillow to her chest as she watched, blowing her nose. They were at a house, someone's house. If she hadn't known better, it looked just like any usual party. But there was no party there.

"This is John Chamberlain. He's, he's 32. He has three children – Ella, Michael and Rose – and he has a silver chain that he wears around his neck. A silver chain."

She switched it off, looking over at a photo of herself and Bill. It killed her that she had no one to love her now. She felt more isolated than ever. And it wasn't just isolation in her own home any more. It was isolation in the world.

Mac wondered at what age people who were old enough to understand could feel that. If she had been fifteen, would this time have made her feel lonely? She knew that at fifteen all her friends had had boyfriends. One had even become pregnant, but had had an abortion. She had had no one. She definitely would have felt lonely. Alone. She would have wanted someone to love even then. Was that, like, a minimum age to that kind of loneliness? She wondered – was there even a minimum to that kind of loneliness? Do neglected children feel the same pangs in their heart when they call out...

Probably, she told herself inwardly.

I miss you Bill.

~~*~~And I know it aches~~*~~

Mac clicked her pen. Click-up, Click-down, Click-up, Click-down. She cast her eyes towards the ceiling. Click-up-click-down-click-up-click-down.

The door opened softly.

"Mac," he whispered. She looked back down to see Pete.

"What?" she asked coldly. "Why are you here?"

"I wanted to see you."

"Shouldn't you be seeing someone else? Maybe someone you'd like to get a quick f*** with?"

~~*~~How your heart it breaks~~*~~

"I don't do quick f***s."

"There's a shocker."

"I just, I want-"

"Oh Christ Pete! What do you want? What?"

"I, I want to talk to you!"

"You mean you're actually going to tell me something about yourself?"

"You know me."

"No, I don't Church."

"Better than you think."

"Go ahead then." He picked up a chair and dragged it over to sit beside her behind the desk.

"There was a point where I wanted to continue with Danni. She's sexy, Mac, you have to know that as well..."

~~*~~You can only take so much~~*~~


"But I didn't. I don't want her."

"Well you've got her. You're stuck with her."

"I want to be stuck with you! I want to have you!"

"If you'd told me earlier, it could've been possible."

"You wanted it too."

"Before I discovered the extent of which I ever meant anything to you- "

"You meant something to me..."

"No, I didn't. You finish with me you propose to someone else within the month."

"I would've lived to regret that, I know it now."

"And how'd you work that out?"

"You just sit, don't you? When we all go home you just sit here. You don't do any work." He leant forward. "I saw you that night. You just watched as that pencil fell-"

"You picked it up?" she asked. He nodded.

"You never would have. You got scared, Mac. You ran out, you didn't drive."

"I felt like walking."

"I, I saw you scared to get into that car Mac and I just, I wanted to speak up, offer to walk you home, and I realised I couldn't, because you weren't speaking to me."

"I'm speaking to you now."

"Yes, you are. How about you speak to me a little bit more?"

"Is that a challenge?" He shrugged.

"Can I walk you home?"

~~*~~Home – hard to know what it is if you never had one~~*~~

And so, they walked.

~~*~~Home – I can't say where it is but I know I'm going~~*~~

"Come in for a drink?"

"What do you have?"

"Beer, red?"

"Narr, I think I'll just head home."

"You'll be right?" Pete smirked.

"I should be asking you that question."

"Yeah, good."


~~*~~Home – that's where the hurt is~~*~~

Mac closed the front door behind her, swinging around to turn on the hallway light. A figure approached her.

~~*~~Stay safe tonight~~*~~


"Ellen." She smiled.

"You're late."

"I'm so sorry." He took her by the shoulders and kissed her tenderly. "Did you get my razor?" She nodded.

"Yeah, it's in my bag."

"Good." He sighed, relaxed. "Well, let's go then, eh?" Mac nodded, excited, as they started walking through the terminal. Mac didn't notice that it was empty. They just kept walking.

~~*~~And I know it aches and your heart it breaks~~*~~

Pete opened the front door at the gunshot.

~~*~~You can only fake so much. Walk on~~*~~

Mac fell:

Leave it behind

You've got to leave it behind

All that you fashion:

Take your pick

All that you make:

What are we doing Peter?

All that you build:

You're such a charmer

All that you break:

I never told him that...

All that you measure:

The future...We don't have one

All that you feel:

It's all right to be scared

All this you can leave behind:

Walk on

All that you reason:

We wouldn't be working together any more

All that you care:

I'm your daughter...I'm your daughter!

It's only time:

And now he never calls me

And I'll never fill up all I find:

You loved him

All that you sense:

You two wouldn't be breaking the cardinal rule...

All that you scheme:

Bligh's heading the task force

All you dress up:

You smell nice too

And all that you see:

You put something in my drink. Get away from me.

All you create:

I, I was lying there in that horrible gown they give you...And I couldn't...It was the best five minutes of my life...

All that you wreck:

You meant something to me!

All that you hate:

No, I didn't.

~~*~~Walk on~~*~~

"Yes," Pete whispered to her softly. "Yes, you did mean something to me, you mean everything."


"Wait Bill..." She hesitated as he turned to her. For a moment she was told to ignore it, but the feeling not to go seemed to become more urgent. "I don't think I can."

"Why not?"

"I don't want to die, and if I get on that plane, I will."



"It's okay, you're safe. The ambulance will be here soon."

"Yeah?" she choked, eyes still closed. "I don't want to get on the plane."

"You didn't, Mac, you never got on the plane."

"I would've died. I don't want to."

"No, I know..."

"But I couldn't stop walking towards it, I-"

"Shh...Just rest. You're not going to die."

~~*~~You could have flown away; a singing bird in an open cage; who will only fly – only fly for freedom~~*~~

~~*~~Walk on, walk on, stay safe tonight~~*~~

Bill turned as she walked away. She just left him. He turned back, getting on the plane by himself.

She just walked away back home.

The End.