Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this. They are owned by DPB, Belisarius Productions, Paramount Pictures, and CBS Television. I'm just borrowing them for a little fun. Please don't sue. You wouldn't get much, just some shirts, some pants, and underwear, lots and lots of underwear. Starving college student here!
Spoilers: "A Tangled Webb"
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AN: The song, "A Beautiful Mistake," is by The Ataris. It can supposedly be found on their "So Long Astoria" album, Columbia Records (2003), but it isn't on mine, for some reason.
"So I guess this is the ending or a beautiful mistake.
And if we both agree that we shouldn't be together why does it hurt so much?
I feel like I lost my closest friend.
I don't want to fall asleep alone, but do I want to wake up with you?"
He laid in the hospital bed and watched them walk out the door, his hand on the small of her back, as if he were guiding her, or protecting her. Protecting her from him, probably. He couldn't blame him, not really, after all she'd been through, been through because of him. He turned his head and stared at the pale pink of the hospital walls surrounding him. Just like that, he let her go, walk out of his life
He hadn't known how much he had cared for her until recently. He hadn't known that he had fallen in love with the beautiful Colonel until he made a choice. He had chosen to give his life for her. There had been other reasons for his willingness to die, but she had been the top one. He knew things she didn't. Oh, she was no innocent, she had information, but he had what they really wanted to know. He knew why he was dying. She didn't know the reasons behind it, as she shouldn't have, and he had to protect her for that reason. And because he loved her.
And when he had lived, he had let her go. Not that he had much say in the matter, the job still had to be done and she was capable, but it was more than that. The kiss, the one, simple, kiss they had shared, that one moment in time, had said it all. It said she cared, but it also said they could never be. The feeling, the emotions, he put into that moment weren't returned. Her kiss was not empty, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't full of the passion he felt. It was full of fear, concern, and hope.
He shouldn't have brought her along. The mission was too dangerous and he truly began to realize his feelings for her after it was too late. She had said she hadn't minded, but he believed that somewhere under her tough exterior, she had been afraid. He had been afraid, which was one reason behind his wanting her there. But he would never see the fear in her, he would never know, because he had just handed her over to another man. He had just watched them walk out the door.
Did the other man even realize what he had gained? Did he truly appreciate her beauty, her grace, her strength, her intelligence, and her pride? She was no prize, simply because she could never be owned and therefore could not be a possession, but she was invaluable. Did he know this?
Did he know how lucky he was to have her?
If there had ever been a chance for him to have won the Marine's heart, it would have been within the last few days, but he knew he hadn't. He had tried to tell her. They had been so close: close to each other and close to dying. She had stopped him before he could say what he wanted to. Perhaps it was for the best. He could hold on just to tell her what he felt, and he had. But it was still over. He knew it when she saw him, the way her eyes lit up when they alighted on the other man. But did she know that she held his heart, that it went with her when she walked out of the room with the other man? Maybe it was better that she didn't know that she had broken his heart. It would keep her from hurting and that made it worth it.
They both knew the two of them wouldn't work. It could never work. They had talked about it, sort of. Their discussion revolved around the other man. He knew that the other man held her heart, but he didn't know what to do with it. He had hoped that there was a chance for him, that maybe she wouldn't be willing to spend the rest of her life waiting for him. It had been worth a try. A smile from her, a look, a kind word from her, it was all worth it. And now she was gone, and in the end, he had always known it would be this way, but it still hurt. He had had her, for a brief moment in time, as a close friend, the closest he could ask for, but he didn't have her whole heart. He would always treasure the time with her, even though it wasn't the best time in either of their lives.
He was sleeping alone again, though for a few nights, they had been wrapped in each other's arms, seeking warmth, security, and comfort. But it was better this way, he knew. As long as she was happy, anything was worth it. And was she truly happy? By the smile on her face and the light in her eyes, he believed she was. He'd give his everything if it would make her happy. He'd even give his life. But all he had to give was his heart.
God help the man if he ever made her hurt.
Was everything he did for her, everything she went through with him, a mistake? Was it a mistake to have let her walk away with the other man while she still held his heart? No, he thought, as he sighed heavily and leaned back into the pillows, and if it was, at least she was happy. Hell, it was a beautiful mistake.