Playing With Fire: AJ/Mac
1) Bird York -- Wicked Little High
You're a wrong turn
A big fat No
You're the fifth drink before a long drive home
You're the thing to avoid
The bars to my cage
You're all I think about everyday
You've got that thing
That my wildest dreams are made of
You set my world on fire
Mac groaned and put her head down on the desk. 'This is ridiculous! I'm too old to be lusting after my CO. This is not junior high, and he's not the good-looking new math teacher!'
2) Alanis Morissette -- Uninvited
Like anyone would be
I am flattered by your fascination with me
Like any hot-blooded woman
I have simply wanted an object to crave
But you, you're not allowed
An unfortunate slight
'Well, let's see, Sir! First of all, I can't be around you without picturing you naked... and not because I'm afraid of public speaking. I've often wondered if the spot on your neck... you know, right under your ear... does it make you shiver when someone kisses you there? Oh, and in the meeting? I was arguing with myself. See... the part of me that melts when you walk by was kicking my rational self for touching you this morning. The reasoning was if I was going to touch you, why not go for it and touch your ass? So that's what I'm thinking... what do you suggest I do about it?'
3) Garbage -- Sex is Not the Enemy
I won't feel guilty
No matter what they're telling me
I won't feel dirty and buy into their misery
I won't be shamed 'cause I believe that love is free
It fuels the heart and sex is not my enemy
"I'm sorry, Mac. I took your advice. I took some time to think about... this... feeling between us. You were right--I hadn't thought it out completely, and I wanted to look at it from all angles."
Mac started moving towards the door. "And you decided against it. Nice of you to let me know... sir. Now, if you'll excuse me, it's late..." Mac's words broke off as AJ grabbed her wrist, stopping her. Looking down at their joined flesh, both remembered what happened the last time he held her wrist that way.
Letting go, AJ said softly, "No, Mac. You're wrong. I DO want you. It just took me this long to figure out that the consequences... don't matter as much as they should."
4) Suzanne Vega -- Caramel
It won't do
To stir a deep desire
To fan a hidden fire
That can never burn true
AJ started to chuckle, low in his throat. The sound was making Mac think things she shouldn't. The last time she'd heard that was against her stomach, when he discovered she was ticklish. It was seductive and devilish at the same time. Promising things... wonderful things. 'Things I have no right to!' She shook herself sternly.
"Why are you laughing?"
"I just got the image of you stark naked except for socks. Because, Mac..."
"If you were sleeping with me on a regular basis... that's all you'd be allowed to wear."
5) The Beatles -- Strawberry Fields Forever
Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn't matter much to me
Let me take you down, cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields forever
Walking over, Mac surveyed the table. "Strawberries?" she asked.
Pulling her back into his arms, AJ laughed. "You're a smart woman... didn't you know there was a theme to this evening?"
"What's the theme... strawberry fields forever?" she teased breathlessly.
6) Fiona Apple -- Slow Like Honey
You moved like honey in my dream last night
Yeah, some old fires were burning
You came near to me and you endeared to me
But you couldn't quite discern me
Fixing himself a cup, he opened the door to the balcony. Looking at the sunrise, he remembered the way her eyes flew open as he entered her. He watched a smile spread across her face as she realized who she was with. And the loving! It was slow... so slow that at some times the only movements were her inner walls stroking him. Mac was a lovely sight, rising above him, rolling her hips, her eyes heavy-lidded with passion.
7) Greenwheel -- Breathe
And I can't ask for things to be still again
No I can't ask for you
To offer the world through your eyes
Longing for home again
Is a feeling I buried in you
Growing serious again, she said, "AJ... I told you before I'll always be your friend. Never doubt that. And if you think about it, and still want me to be your lover..." She took a deep breath. The last thing she wanted to sound was desperate, but the thought of never touching him again made her ache. "Then until either one of us finds a home... I'll be with you."
8) Barenaked Ladies -- Lovers in a Dangerous Time
When you're lovers in a dangerous time
Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime
Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
You gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight
"Duty sucks," he said, his voice soft and devoid of feeling. Draining his wine, he poured another glass. He thought about never talking to her again, other than about JAG business. If he were any sort of man, he'd transfer out. Save them both the heartache of seeing each other every day, and knowing they'd been more than officer and subordinate. Knowing they'd been good friends and lovers. He thought about never seeing her again. Feeling nauseated, he put down his wine. He felt an ache begin in his chest, and tears formed in his eyes at that thought... never seeing her... never talking to her... never touching her.
9) Norah Jones -- I've Got to See You Again
Lines on your face don't bother me
Down in my chair when you dance over me
I can't help myself
I've got to see you again
He stopped Mac before she could get out. "Mac... please let me pay for everything tonight." Mac looked puzzled, and he continued. "This is a date, as far as I'm concerned... and I want to pay. If you want food or drink or a souvenir or anything... I'll take care of it. The only reason I want you to lay down money is if there is someone else there and you think it wouldn't be appropriate. Okay?" Mac nodded. He stroked her hand where it lay on the console. "God... I want to kiss you so badly right now."
Mac blushed and said, "I'd let you. I'll let you do anything you want to me."
10) Switchfoot -- On Fire
And you're on fire
When he's near you
You're on fire when he speaks
You're on fire burning out these mysteries
She was so intent on her exploration, she didn't notice he'd awakened. He lay still watching her. He felt so much love for her, and it made him ache not to tell her. He watched as her fingers moved closer to his hand, her face intent on watching the hair of his forearms curl around her fingers. She moved down to his fingers and stroked them one by one, then looked up at his face. Expecting to see him still asleep, she felt that melting sensation again as her gaze met his.
11) Bob Dylan -- You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
I've seen love go by my door
It's never been this close before
Never been so easy or so slow
Been shooting in the dark too long
When something's not right it's wrong
You're gonna make me lonesome when you go
He was amazed at the sadness he felt, but his conviction didn't waver. 'I always knew this is where I'd end up. I accepted the risks. It's been a wonderful... gift... that I've had her this long. But I'm not going to give her the commitment... the family... she's always indicated she wanted in her future. It's time she found someone who will,' he thought. He drained his wine glass and went inside to lock up for the night.
It never crossed his mind that Mac might have deeper feelings for him. In his fear of losing her, the only option he could see was to let her go and continue to cherish her friendship.
12) Faith Hill -- Stronger
So cry for me baby, and I'll cry for you
And we'll both break down and we'll both break through
We'll find our way and we'll face the truth
We both will be stronger
And we'll lie down in our loneliness
And wake up with our sad regrets
Even if we don't know it yet
We both will be stronger
"AJ... are we all right?" she asked, hearing the flat, colorless quality of his voice. He'd never sounded like that before.
He looked at her, his face expressionless for a moment, before smiling at her. His voice was soft and very determined when he said, "I don't know, Mac. We started out because of our attraction to each other. We mean so much more to each other now, so I hope we'll be all right once we take that out of the equation. But... I promise you, I'm going to work hard to make damned sure we are."
13) The Eagles -- Desperado
Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh, freedom, well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking through this world all alone
She looked at AJ and spoke earnestly. "I know you care for her. I see it in every move you make... and the ones you don't allow yourself to. I saw your eyes when you greeted them tonight. AJ... you're grieving for her. I know that because I saw that same expression for many years... in my own eyes. I don't pretend to know military regulations... and I'm not assuming I know everything about your lives that may be keeping you two from reaching out to each other. But I know a man who cares deeply when I see him."
14) Train -- Drops of Jupiter
Tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet
Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day
And head back to the Milky Way
And tell me, did Venus blow your mind
Was it everything you wanted to find
And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there
AJ looked at her, and saw that she was saddened by what he'd done, but she didn't seem to need any more information. Sighing a bit in relief, he asked again, "Why aren't you with Joe?"
Mac stood also and fiddled with the candlesticks on the mantle. "Joe and I aren't together anymore. It was a mistake."
"What was a mistake?" he asked, coming to stand a few feet away from her.
Mac smiled bitterly and said shortly, "All of it." Sighing, she continued, "Joe's a wonderful man. Had I been in a right frame of mind when we started seeing each other... well... he could have been very... special to me."
Mac turned to face him, debating on what to tell him, but finally spoke the truth. "I couldn't get you out of my mind."
15) The Police -- King of Pain
I have stood here before in the pouring rain
With the world turning circles running 'round my brain
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end this reign
But it's my destiny to be the king of pain
He rose up and stood beside the bed, looking down at the peaceful face of the woman he loved. In his mind's eye, he saw her writhing beneath another man, begging him not to stop, calling out his name, and offering her body to him. He felt a sob rise up into his throat, and clamped his lips together, his face becoming rock-hard. He looked at her again, saw her smile in her sleep and wondered if it was of Joe or him she was dreaming of.
"You lied to me," he said, his voice quiet and cracking with pain. Bending, he picked up his clothes and left the bedroom, closing the door softly behind him.
16) Idina Menzel -- Straw Into Gold
So I'll light a candle and begin to
Write, turn to my work as refuge
Though my womb is a rush hour taxi
Ride, but I will try
To metamorphose pain along my plight
But I'll despise each word I write
So I am clinging to the
Edge like some soap-opera star
With her ten second fade
As the light cascades
Do you love me anymore?
She hadn't gone to the running trails today. At this moment, she didn't think she ever would again, and she doubted very seriously that AJ... the Admiral... was waiting on her anyway. She sighed, thinking how hard it was going to be, not having him in her life. She loved him, and no matter how much she wanted to, she couldn't just turn that feeling off.
She started gathering up her things for the staff meeting. She was dreading it and hoped they could keep their personal feelings out of their jobs. If not, then both of their careers would be shot... and right now... that was all she had.
17) Eva Cassidy -- Autumn Leaves
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all, my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
Going into the bedroom, she looked at the bed. She'd finally slept in it last night. She'd changed the sheets and the bedspread, unable to sleep surrounded by the scent of AJ and their loving. The only thing she hadn't changed was his pillowcase, and she'd finally fallen asleep, clutching it. She changed into her nightclothes, and pulled back the covers. Crawling in, she sighed tiredly and rolled over. Grabbing AJ's pillow, she buried her head in it and cried. She missed him... and wanted him to be here with her so badly.
18) A Perfect Circle -- Passive
Wake up and face me
Don't play dead 'cause maybe
Someday I'll walk away and say
You disappoint me
Maybe you're better off this way
"Ah, yes... some more than others, though... wouldn't you say? Or do you have plans to see them while on leave?" AJ said bitingly.
"Why, yes, sir... I do have plans to see them. They are my friends. Surely you don't have any objections to that?" Mac said, wondering what bug crawled up his ass now.
"No... no... not at all. Although I'd think Ms. Whitmore might find it objectionable if she knew you and her boyfriend were holding hands this afternoon." AJ's voice had risen steadily until he was almost shouting at her.
Mac narrowed her eyes at him, and making a decision, went to the door of his office. "Running away, Colonel... nothing to say?"
Mac slammed his office door and locked it, even though she knew they were the only ones left on this floor. "No... you arrogant son of a bitch... I'm not running away. And... if you are going to accuse me of what I think you are... do not address me as Colonel. It's your jealousy speaking, AJ... so call me Mac... or Sarah... hell... call me puddintang for all I care..." Mac leaned her hands on his desk and got up in his face, her voice low, controlled and subzero, "But... do... not... call... me by my rank... when this is obviously personal!"
19) Jeff Buckley -- Hallelujah
Well, maybe there's a god above
But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
It's not a cry that you hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken hallelujah
AJ watched as she left his office, and stood for a moment in shock. Only when he heard the elevator bell did he move. Running through the bullpen, he saw the elevator doors close on Mac. He stood by the elevator a moment and debated on taking the stairs to get to her, but remembered where they were. Deciding to wait until they weren't on military grounds, he went into her office, instead. He stood, looking at the clean surfaces and smelling the lingering scent of her perfume, before sinking into her chair.
"I am such an idiot!" he sighed, trying to wrap his mind around all that had taken place in such a short amount of time. "I am so screwed," he said, realizing that he probably lost any chance he had of getting her back.
20) Natalie Merchant -- My Skin
I'm the slow dying flower
In the frost killing hour
Sweet turning sour and untouchable
Do you remember the way that you touched me before
All the trembling sweetness I loved and adored
Your face-saving promises whispered like prayers
I don't need them
She truly thought he'd come after her, if nothing else to accuse her of lying again. But he hadn't. And knowing he'd let her walk out after hearing the truth made her realize how much damage they'd done to their relationship. 'He didn't even try to tell me he was sorry!' she thought, setting her glass down, and reaching for a decorative couch pillow. Hugging it across her chest in a position that had become very familiar the past few weeks, she pressed her face into it and let the tears finally fall.
21) Mari Wilson -- Cry Me a River
Now you say you're lonely
You cried the long night through
Well, you can cry me a river
Cry me a river
I cried a river over you
"Get serious, AJ," she snorted. "You know we can't be near each other and not end up naked and against anything that'll hold our weight! If nothing else was accomplished tonight... we certainly figured that out! So... you need to either talk with me on the phone, or go home."
"What if my home is right here... with you?" he asked softly, revealing more than he'd ever planned to.
Mac closed her eyes, and her breath caught on a sob that AJ heard and ached over. "Then you might want to check the foundation of your home, AJ. Because from where I stand... it's cracked and crumbling in too many places to fix."
22) Fiona Apple -- The Child is Gone
'Cause I suddenly feel like a different person
From the roots of my soul come a gentle coercion
And I ran my hand o'er a strange inversion
A vacancy that just did not belong
The child is gone
After a long while, Mac felt her tears slowing, and her breathing return to almost normal. It was growing dark outside, but neither of them moved to turn on any lights. Knowing he would wait, not saying anything until she was ready, she spoke. "How did you find me?"
AJ ached, hearing the hoarseness of her voice, and leaned down to hand her the now warm soda. While she sipped, he told her briefly of looking for her last night and this morning, and finally calling Karen for help. Mac closed her eyes and tears started flowing again, hearing he'd been looking for her last night. She'd needed him so badly, and if she'd stayed home, he'd have been there for her.
"Mac... what happened? Were you in an accident?"
Mac took a deep breath, and said, "No." Deciding there was no other way, she said gently but bluntly, "I had a miscarriage." She saw his eyes widen with shock and said, "I was eight weeks pregnant... or I would be... today."
23) Sarah McLachlan -- Angel
In the arms of the angel
Fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you feel
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here
"AJ?" she said softly, getting up and coming into the sitting room area. She blinked a bit at the light, and saw him sitting there with his elbows on his knees, his hands clenched together, and tears in his eyes.
Wordlessly, she crossed over to him and sank down in front of him. At first, she held his hands, but soon had moved between his legs and wrapped her arms around him. AJ laid his head on hers and finally let the tears he'd been holding back fall. Mac held on to him as tightly as she could, and felt him sitting back against the cushions, pulling her with him. He buried his face into her neck and fought for control, and after many minutes, finally won.
Even after he'd calmed down, he continued to hold Mac tightly. Mac stroked his shoulders and kissed his temple and murmured comforting nonsense to him. After a few more minutes, he lifted his head and kissed her gently. Mac raised her mouth from his and stroked his cheeks, wiping at the moisture that was still there, and felt her heart constrict painfully.
He took her hand and pressed a kiss into her palm and said softly, "Thank you, Mac... for coming out." He took a deep breath. "I needed you."
24) Brandy -- Almost Doesn't Count
I can't keep on lovin' you one foot outside the door
I hear a funny hesitation of a heart that's never really sure
Can't keep on tryin' if you're lookin' for more
And all that I could give you
Ain't what you came here for
"Mac... what are you doing?" he asked on her second pass through the living room. Her final comments, regarding his intentions, had angered him, but he wasn't going to continue this argument. Something was bound to get said that would cause irreparable damage.
"I'm looking for my bag. I know I brought it in from the car," Mac muttered, stopping and looking around thoughtfully.
"It's on the front porch. We never brought it in."
Mac looked at him sadly, remembering the way they'd made love just hours ago, so happy to see each other that they hadn't even brought her bag in. Her mouth crooked up in a sardonic smile as she walked to the front door. She opened the door and saw her bag sitting just outside the door. "Kind of like our situation, isn't it?"
"My bag. You invite me into your life, but apparently I'm supposed to be happy on the porch. I'm not actually allowed to come in the house and get comfortable."
25) Coldplay -- Speed of Sound
How long before I get in
Before it starts, before I begin
How long before you decide
Before I know what it feels like
"You're talking in circles, Mac. Just lay it out for me," he said, not wanting to lose her actual point in all the rambling.
"Fine," Mac said shortly. "I am still not going to lie anymore, but I will agree to wait until you are ready to tell everyone. On two conditions."
"I thought the standard was one condition," he said, momentarily weakened by the relief coursing through him at her words.
Mac ignored him and went on. "Condition number one. If you do not tell me a concrete, this will not be changed ever again, date by midnight tonight, then I... and I ALONE... will get to choose."
26) Idina Menzel -- Follow If You Lead
Will I lose a friend
Striving to contend?
Will I destroy this trust
When I want the best for us?
Should I hold your hand
No matter what you plan?
For every hour you need
I will follow if you lead
Taking a deep breath, she looked at Karen, who'd been silent but watchful. "I asked you both over here today with an ulterior motive. I need your help, but it's more than that." Mac looked down at her glass briefly before setting it on the table. Her voice was soft, and her eyes pleading as they swung between the two women. "I love you both, and I wanted... needed to have you both here today... to tell you some things."
27) Stevie Nicks and Don Henley -- Leather and Lace
Lovers forever...face to face
My city or mountains
Stay with me stay
I need you to love me
I need you today
Give to me your leather
Take from me my lace
She felt the soft chuckle against her cheek as Don Henley sang, "Sometimes I'm a strong man, sometimes cold and scared, and sometimes I cry." And she smiled against the smooth fabric of his jacket, but she didn't raise her face. She knew he violently opposed that description of him, even though he knew it was accurate. The song was winding down when he leaned close to her ear, his voice a whisper as he repeated a lyric, "Could you ever love a man like me?"
She felt her heart stutter. Finally looking at him, she saw the soft intensity of his eyes and asked thickly, "Are you trying to tell me something?"
28) Joe Cocker -- Dangerous Mood
Look out, baby
I'm in a dangerous mood
I had to steal a little time, baby
So I could spend it all on you
"Don't worry. I'll take care of it for you... with my teeth." He bared them at her in a smile, but some of his still turbulent emotions shone through his playful attitude, giving it an almost sinister twist.
His smile turned gentle again, and the next song came on making him laugh. It was another of his, a tune called 'Dangerous Mood' sung by BB King and Joe Cocker. "I guess this song could describe what's going on in me now, Mac--at least the title, anyway."
"Feeling dangerous?" she asked, stroking his neck above the collar of his shirt.
29) Coldplay -- Careful Where You Stand
I feel safe, when I am with you
I feel warm, when you want me to
I am cured when you are around
Finally, he touched the ring, quietly saying the words he'd practiced so long, "I told you once this stone reminded me of the way my heart feels when I'm with you. You've held my heart in your hand for a long time, Sarah. Would you be willing to wear it there for the rest of your life? Would you marry me?"
Mac's throat closed at the tenderness in his voice. Her voice was a whisper he had to strain to hear. "Yes." She pressed their hands against her heart. "I'll marry you."
30) Idina Menzel -- Minuet
So many things going through my mind
Sometimes it gets scary
But when you're by my side
The world may be chaotic
And the skies may explode
But we'll be okay
Baby--this much I, this much I know
They danced silently, their bodies pressed close. She knew the words by heart. You couldn't live with AJ and not develop an appreciation for this type of music, and she was overwhelmed by the depth of love she saw in his eyes as the song wound down. "I found a dream that I could speak to. A dream that I could call my own. I found a thrill to press my cheek to. A thrill that I have never known."
AJ leaned close, whispering the next words against Mac's cheek, "You smile. You smile and then the spell was cast, and here we are in heaven, for you are mine at last." He kissed her sweetly, murmuring, "I love you, Sarah." Mac missed the glint in his eye as he said, "Remember that."
Bonus Track: Faith Hill -- You're Still Here
How could you be so far away
When you're still here
When I need you you're not hard to find
You're still here
I can see you in my baby's eyes
And I laugh and cry
You're still here
Walking to the mantle, Mac reached to put the picture back, but lowered her arm to look at it closely one more time. She traced his mouth again, stroked his cheek, and gazed at their clasped hands where their rings shown brilliantly. Looking at her own hand, she smiled at the ring he'd given her thirty-one years ago. The opal still glowed like an ember, and the diamonds sparkled as brightly as his eyes had when he asked her to marry him.
Sighing, she placed the frame gently above the fireplace, looking now at the whole picture. They had been blessed to be surrounded by so much love. Her lips smiled, but her mind was once again on the first time AJ had touched her in his office and the last time he'd told her he loved her, just minutes before he passed away. She felt a wave of longing crash over her and swayed slightly on suddenly weak legs. Swallowing the sob that threatened, she whispered, "Oh, AJ, I miss you so much." Touching the picture one last time, she turned, walking toward the laughter and the family they'd made together.