Just a oneshot, based on a song I really love. This story has been trying to claw it's way onto my computer for a while now, so I've written and posted it in less than two hours so I apologise for any mistakes!

Please enjoy and review (it makes me want to keep on giving, if you know what I mean ;oP)

"Watcha doin' Grandma?" Steph asked as she wandered in through the front door to find Edna at the dining table sifting through a small pile of keepsakes.

Edna sighed and turned to look "reminiscing" she replied, a sad, yet understanding look on her face.

She'd been suffering with heart problems for the last few months, coupled with the niggling back pains she'd always seemed to have. Steph looked closely at her and noticed for the first time that the light that made Edna May Mazur the tour de force that she'd always known was starting to dim.

It was obvious she was feeling in need of a pick up.

Edna patted the chair next to her as she grinned happily, the moment of sadness quickly replaced with one of mirth. "Look at all the things I've done" she added happily as she picked up a ticket stubb for a band she'd been to see. "Oh, the lead singer Freddie Mercury, he was hot. I know he swung both ways but I'm sure if I'd have gotten my hands on his package he would never have looked at another man again." She clacked her teeth together with a dreamy look on her face and giggled as she handed the Queen ticket to her granddaughter.

"Grandma!" Steph giggled out as she sat down and slid the ticket back into the pile.

Edna picked up a pile of records 45's she'd obviously never be able to play again as Frank had ditched the turntable in favour of a CD player a few years back. She looked at the covers. "They sure knew how to write songs back then." She added as she laid three in particular out and caressed the sleeves lovingly. "Nat King Cole, Grandpa's favourite, we danced to him at our wedding...So many happy memories. Now Ole Blue eyes" she said as she picked up one of the others she'd singled out "He was a very naughty boy, but his music... timeless." She stopped at a third which she held up for Steph to see "Most people in this country will never have heard of this man, but I loved this song and for me it helped me understand why so many of our young men went off to war time and again." She handed it to Steph "If you ever get a chance to listen to this, then do. Ranger may not be able to tell you why he does what he does, but this might just help." She handed the record to her in a way that made her realise that it could just tell her something important.

Steph nodded, curious as to what the song 'The Last Farewell' was about. She put the vinyl to the side "What else you got there, Grandma?" she said as she refocused on the memories on the table.


Steph opened the door to her apartment. It was quiet except for the ticking of a clock and the whispered squeak of Rex's wheel. Stepping inside she quietly turned on the lights, put down the record and a bag of leftovers down and stripped off her outer clothing before stepping further into the room.

Joe was no longer a permanent on-off feature of her life. They'd split up a few months ago and he was now dating an art lecturer from the local college. They were taking it slow but signs were that they were building a relationship that might just work out. She was happy for him.

Ranger was in the wind and had been for a couple of weeks longer than she'd been apart from Joe. He'd not missed any of his check ins and Tank assured her he would be back soon. She always worried about him when he went off to save the world but knew he was the best at what he did. She just hoped that one day he'd decide to stop and that it would be before he got seriously hurt or even killed. She missed her friend and boss but now that she pretty much worked full time at Rangeman she hoped one day they might take things a step further, but she knew that all the time he did his special ops work he would never commit to her.

She sighed and wandered into the kitchen and grabbed a can of coke from the fridge then wandered off to find her laptop.


Tears streamed down her face as the words she'd found on spotify replayed several times over washed over her again:

There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
Tomorrow for old England she sails
Far away from your land of endless sunshine
To my land full of rainy skies and gales
And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

I've heard there's a wicked war a-blazing
And the taste of war I know so very well
Even now I see the foreign flag a-raising
Their guns on fire as we sail into hell
I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
But how bitter will be this last farewell

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

Though death and darkness gather all about me
My ship be torn apart upon the seas
I shall smell again the fragrance of these islands
And the heaving waves that brought me once to thee
And should I return home safe again to England
I shall watch the English mist roll through the dale

For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful, I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

As the haunting words of the song finished she knew what she had to do so she picked up her phone.

"Speak." The voice at the other end said blankly.

"Hi Tank, you could at least add my name in to your command." Steph replied then giggled when she heard him sigh.

"Hi Bomber, what can I do for you this evening?"

She could hear a commotion in the background and realised that he was in the middle of something.

"Sorry, Tank, should probably have sent you a text instead..."

He sighed again "What's eatin' you, Bomber?" he added, more softly. He'd grown used to her calling him just to touch base, he knew she missed his best friend. He did too, but for very different reasons he thought, as he mentally imagined the never ending paperwork stacked high on his desk. She didn't reply. "You ok?" he added a little worried "No weird presents left in your apartment I should be aware of?" he pressed.

"Sorry, Tank, it's just... you know."

"Yeah, I do. Don't worry he'll be back safe and sound any day, he called yesterday and said he was nearly done."

"Thanks for the update. If you speak to him before I do, can you ask him to give me a yell. I need to talk to him about something."

"Anything I can help with?"

"Nah, I'm good. I've just worked something out, thanks to Grandma and I need to talk to him, ok?"

"OK" he replied then hung up.

She stared at the phone for a few seconds then let out a sigh. When would her co-workers get their phone skills honed? Maybe she could offer a course, after all they'd all been training her, maybe it was her turn to make them sweat?


Three days later Steph was sitting in her cubby hole highlighting key information on a skip when her phone rang.


"That's my line, Babe." Ranger's smile filled voice replied.

"Ranger! Oh my God! It's so good to hear from you! Where are you? Are you safe and in one piece..."

"Woah, slow down! I'm fine! If this is the reaction I get every time I go away, I need to do it more often!"

She could hear his amusement so she pouted at the phone.

"Babe" he said "There's no need to pout, I didn't mean it."

Damned ESP, she thought.

"I'll be back this evening, want to catch up over dinner?"

"Yeah, what time?"

"How about 6.30. Gives me a chance to unpack and grab a shower. You sure Morelli will let you out to play?" he added carefully.

"Not a relevant question, he's seeing Marsha Bailey, an art lecturer from the college."

"Good to know" he added "See you later, get Ella to work her culinary magic, please."

Before Steph could reply the phone went dead. She stared at it for a few minutes, then got up and stomped into Tank's office.

His head was down as he furiously added notes to a document he was studying. Steph knocked on the door frame and wandered in, waiting for him to finish what he was doing and look up. When he did so she sat down.

"Just heard from Ranger, he'll be back later today."

Tank nodded, relief written on his face as he passed his eyes over the files spread around him.

"You can't have him back til tomorrow though" she added, her ESP working for once.

Tank tipped his head, waiting for her to explain.

"We're gonna catch up over dinner" she added.

Tank nodded, smiled, then gestured to the plan in front of him. Steph stood up as if to walk away.

"Tank, as I've had to get fit, learn how to use a gun with my eyes open and unpick locks, I think it's only fair I bring you guys up to speed on a far more useful skill." She said, crossing her arms and giving him a burg stare.

Tank knitted his brows in confusion. Surely there was nothing missing from their repertoire he thought...

"I'll be giving a 10 minute talk on the art of using a phone" she said smartly as she turned and left, the sound of Tank's soft chuckle following her out of the door.


Steph fobbed her way up to seven, she'd not been up there since he'd been away. She'd had no need. No crazy stalkers, no death threats and her mother had continued to supply the cakes and biscuits she so loved.

It was not as if she had any emotional ties to the man that lived there so she had no excuse to wander in and make herself at home, either. No sirree! Much as she loved him more than just platonically, he'd made her very aware that a relationship was not on the cards. She sighed as she reached his door.

So why did this feel ever so little bit like a date?

She shook her head to remove that thought, then knocked on the door.

Moments later Ranger opened the door and leant on its frame.

"Looking good, Babe." He said as he gave her a once over, taking in her new trim silhouette. Her heart hammered in her chest. This was dangerous Ranger and it looked like he wanted to play. She walked in past him, picking up a good nose full of his wonderful smell, alpha male meets GQ sex god combined with Bulgari. Yum.

Down Girl! She thought as she tried to focus on something other than how he could turn her brain to mush and her heart race in under 30 seconds.

"Yeah, well you can thank your boys for that one. I can now run for more than a minute without passing out." She replied snarkily as she went, trying to mentally put up a barrier between them.

She heard him chuckle as the door gently shut and she was trapped in his lair. Gulp... Breathe, Steph, breathe...

As Ranger passed he gently took hold of her hand, making her insides zing with the electricity that passed between them through that simple gesture, then pulled her into the kitchen.

"Ella's made something chicken-y with rice" he said as he walked over to a bottle of white wine that he'd obviously been in the process of opening, turning his side to her as he finished removing the cork. "Wine, ok?" he added as he turned and gave her a full on smile.

She returned the look then walked up behind him and began to run her fingers over his back, looking for any signs of damage through the pale blue cotton button-down shirt he was wearing. He stiffened slightly. "Relax" she said gently, stopping her exploration "Just checking for damage" she explained as she started up again.

"Wouldn't it be easier if I were naked?" he asked, turning round and giving her a feral look.

"No. I don't think so, do you?"

Ranger sighed but before he could reply she put a finger over his lips "I get it now. I really do. I know how come you can disappear off to God knows where and fight with God knows who so calmly. I know that until the time is right you won't stop doing it either. Then, and only then, will you be ready to get into a relationship. Maybe with me... or maybe with someone else." She ran a hand over his cheek and watched him close his eyes as he leaned into her touch and put his hands on her hips.

"I love you Ranger. Have done for a very long time. But I can't and won't be someone's fuck buddy ever again. I did that with Joe and we both ended up unhappy. I need more than that."

She reached up her hands and pulled his forehead towards her "You can't give up being who you are and what you do any more than I can stop eating donuts and until you get to the point in your life where you start to fear death, even just a little bit, then you won't be ready to change."

She kissed his forehead then his nose slowly, deliberately, before pulling away. "You've never expected me to change for you and I can't ask you to change for me either. You'll always be my Batman but right now you're my best friend and I can't lose that. Period."

She leant into his chest and gave him a soft hug and smiled as he wrapped his arms around her. Her heart clenched as he kissed her head, lingering in a way that hold her this was goodbye so she hugged him a bit harder then reluctantly pulled herself out of his grasp. She would leave before he could see the tears, yep that would work.

"Babe?" he said, grabbing her hands before she could bolt.

"I just finished up my contract." He added with a smile as he pulled her back into his arms and leaned in for a kiss.