Author: TxJAG_b aka TnJAGAz
Classification: A quiet moment between our two favorite heroes.
Spoilers: This takes place in the middle of Season 10 after "Retrial" when Mac realizes just how alone she really is….
A/N: The title says it all
Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Donald Bellisario, Belisaurius Productions, Paramount Pictures and Columbia Broadcasting Service Entertainment – this story is for non-profit entertainment of JAG fans only. No copyright infringement is
intended or implied.
Falls Church, Virginia
"So Harm," Mac had finally tamped down her feelings of jealously enough to try a good-natured dig at her partner. "A little victory celebration?" Great MacKenzie; that sure sounded petty….
Harm looked at her wondering if he really heard jealousy in her voice or was it him projecting One way to find out…. he thought "It could be," he said tentatively.
Huh, that's just great…. "Could be," she bit off, realizing, too late, she had taken the bait. She immediately chastised herself for being so transparent.
Ok, here goes…. "Sure," he drew out in a low serious voice "If you would join me for dinner, it could be." C'mon MacKenzie….
Of all the nerve…! She pushed away from the way where she had been standing. "I told you Harm, I'm not into sharing." Her brown eyes flashed anger; she spun on her heel and started to march down the hall.
Great going Rabb…. Harm inwardly cursed himself for being so obtuse. I can't let her leave like this! Instinctively his arm shot out and caught hers.
Mac froze, her body becoming taut. She turned her head back toward him, her face a mask of fury. "Get your hand off me…now." she hissed dangerously.
"Mac," Harm sought to quickly defuse the ticking time bomb in front of him. "I meant alone – with you."
"What about Ms. Montes?" She said with a hint of bitterness in her voice. "I thought you two would be doing the celebrating."
"She, um, had a previous engagement." Harm said clumsily.
So I'm runner up…. "No thanks Harm, I've got a lot of work to do." Her words were cold. She looked at his offending hand.
The Commander immediately removed it. "Wait Mac…that came out wrong…," he took a deep breath. "Truth is, I'd rather celebrate…with you."
"It…it wasn't my victory, Harm," she said dialing back her anger. "My victory was a hollow one. I'm afraid I wouldn't be very good company tonight."
"But you won your case Mac," he said pressing her.
She retreated a little, sounding depressed. "Oh yeah, I won, alright; he's leaving the service and keeping his four wives – some victory."
"What do you want?" He asked curious.
"Him hung from the nearest yardarm." She almost growled.
Harm chuckled at her comment.
She gave him a petulant look. "It's not funny Harm – this guy, despite his looks, obviously understood women. And yet, he chose to use it as a tool to create his own personal harem."
"Mac, what the man does in his personal life is his own business-"
"Well it sure is now," she said wryly, "He's out of the Navy."
This was getting them nowhere. She started to walk away again. "Look, it's getting late, I'm sure Mattie is waiting at home for you-"
"Mattie's with her father tonight," he blurted out.
She winced inwardly. Damn! I sure put my foot in that one…. She reached out and softly touched his arm, "Harm…I'm sorry…." She said gently.
His smile was forced. "Hey, it's okay, really. I just thought you'd like to celebrate our victories…but I guess I guess not." He turned to leave.
"Am I allowed to change my mind?" Now she was reaching out. She gave him an embarrassed smile.
Harm stopped. "Are you sure?" he asked warily.
She smiled wearily. "Yeah, I'm sure."
"My place at 1900?" He suggested.
"No," she saw the disappointment in his features, so she spoke quickly. "How about you come over to my place?" For some reason her heart had begun to beat faster.
He gave her a small smile. "Sure." He searched her eyes, trying to see if she truly wanted this or was it a pity party for him. "Do you want me to bring take out?"
Her smile became broader. "Yep; I'll pay for my half when you get there."
He matched her smile, shaking his head. "Okay Mac."
"Okay…." she repeated as if she couldn't believe this was happening. She looked up at him. "See you at 1900." She turned and walked slowly down the hall back to her office. Harm watched her with his arms crossed. He wondered if he would ever figure out Sarah MacKenzie.
When she got to her office door, she turned and looked back at him, offering him another soft smile. He gave one in return.
Sarah MacKenzie's Apartment
2812, The Washington
Georgetown, Washington DC
As soon as she had arrived at her apartment, Mac took off her uniform and threw on a pair of faded blue jeans and a scoop neck cream-colored t-shirt. She had just put the tea on to boil when her doorbell rang.
"Just a minute," She walked out of the kitchen absently wiping her hands on a towel as she walked over to the door. She opened it and there was Harm in a brown tweed colored blazer, blue dress shirt and khaki dress slacks. In his hands, he held two take out boxes.
"Hey," she said softly; that small smile returned.
"Hey," he responded in kind. "Dinner is here."
Her smile grew wider. "Great! Bring it on in; I've got tea brewing on the stove."
He followed her into the kitchen. She was breathtakingly beautiful this evening. She had her hair down and her soft brown curls bounced on her shoulders – the jeans and the t-shirt helped complete the package.
"Um, where do you want these?" he asked distractedly, trying hard not to look at Mac's shapely body as she busied herself in the kitchen.
"Just give them to me." As she reached out to take the boxes from him—their hands touched. Mac stopped and looked up into gorgeous blue eyes. They stared at each other stunned.
It was Harm who broke the trance. "Here you go…." he said quickly, almost shoving the boxes into her hands.
"Um, yeah…thanks." She said a little unsteadily. Now it was her turn to be distracted. She took the boxes, emptied them onto two plates, opened the door to the microwave, and set them inside.
Mac bent to close the door, set the timer, and push the start button. She turned back to Harm and noticed that his expression hadn't changed. He had been staring at her the whole time. She began to feel nervous and offered a small smile, embarrassed that she might have enticed him. She hadn't really meant to bend over in front of him, it just sort of happened.
"Harm?" she said sounded surprisingly flustered. "Is something wrong?"
That seemed to shake him from his reverie. "Um, no…no, nothing's wrong," he said as if he wasn't sure that was the case. He noticed her look of concern. He wanted to keep her from being worried about his momentary daydream of her in a sexy nightie, bending over in front of him. "Would you like me to get out the plates and utensils, set the table?" He offered lamely.
For some reason, she decided not to tease him about his trip to the ozone. She offered him an understanding but saucy smile. "Harm, the plates are in the microwave and I already set the table…why don't you go sit down in the living room…you seem distracted."
He blushed. "Sure, I'll go sit down."
As he left the kitchen, Sarah MacKenzie wondered what Navy had been thinking. The ding of the microwave interrupted her analysis.
She opened the door, grabbed the two plates of steaming food out of the microwave, and walked to the dining area.
"It's ready," she announced.
Harm put down the magazine he had been flipping through. "You want me to get the tea?"
Ever the gentleman…. "Sure, cups should be on the counter next to the pot." She called after him as he disappeared into the kitchen.
He returned momentarily with two steaming cups of tea.
She smiled at him in appreciation of his kindness as he handed her the cup.
"Thanks," she said quietly.
"You're welcome." He returned, as he settled into his chair. "Umm, looks delicious, honey," he teased.
"Why thank you sweetheart; I know it's your favorite," she teased back.
They both shared quiet laughter, and began eating.
"Coates really said that?" He asked, with raised eyebrows.
"Yep," she said smiling brightly while holding her cup of tea in front of her. "She's got a rapier wit."
"Sure wish I could have seen the look on Sturgis' face," he laughed quietly.
"Almost as good as the look on Bud's face," she grinned. "Remind me to thank her for stepping in."
"She's lucky Sturgis didn't rip her a new one…." he said taking another sip from his cup.
"Well, they did deserve it – she came to my aid, and I appreciated the help."
"Since when does a Marine need help?" he quipped, his eyes glittering mischievously.
"Since it was two against one," she countered. "I may just have to buy her lunch for that one."
He laughed softly again. Secretly, he was glad the past was not going to be dredged up during this light moment and he sure didn't want to be the one to ruin the moment.
"It's good to hear you laugh," she said suddenly, not really knowing why she had said it. "I mean…it just seems like…you haven't…in a while." Suddenly she felt very self-conscious.
He smiled reassuringly at her, letting her know he understood why she said it. "It's good to see you smiling again, too." Hearing him say that made her relax a little. "How's the-"
She immediately stiffened.
"I'm doing much better…." she said quickly, not wanting to delve too deeply into that subject again.
He sought to calm her. "Good, I'm glad," he returned tenderly. He was worried about her back pain but she didn't want to talk about it right now, he wasn't going to press her.
Mac was truly surprised that he didn't pursue the subject any further. It left her a little off balance. "Um, are you ready for dessert?" she said quickly, hoping to smooth over the awkward moment.
"Sure," he said simply. "Need any help?"
"Yeah, you can get the plates…." As she started to pick up her dish, Harm followed her cue and picked up his. She smiled at his gentleman manners, as she led him into the kitchen.
"It's coffee cake," she explained as she got it out of the refrigerator, brought it over to the counter and began cutting slices.
"With tea?" he questioned, baiting her.
"It goes with all kinds of hot beverages, funny guy," she smirked.
"Well Mac, he said grinning, "I just 'thought' since it was 'coffee' cake, maybe we should have it with 'coffee'."
She stopped cutting, a playful smile crossed her face. "Well, you'll just have to survive on tea, Navy."
It was the first time in a long while she had used a nickname for him. He smiled warmly at her. "Oh, I think I can, MacKenzie," he said in a velvety voice.
"Oh you do, do you?" she returned saucily as she handed him his plate and fork. "I'm so relieved to hear that," she said with mock disgust.
She sailed out of the room, leaving Commander Foot-In-Mouth standing there slack-jawed. It took a half a minute before his brain engaged again and he started after her. "Um Mac, wait…." he said apologetically.
He stopped when he saw her already settled on one end of the sofa, her feet tucked up under her. She smiled wickedly at him.
"Got'cha Navy." She said giggling.
He smiled wryly at her. "Ha, ha, MacKenzie; very funny."
He disappeared back into the kitchen and brought out two cups of tea, handing one to her.
As they sat on the sofa, they recounted the week's events. Harm bragged how he clobbered Sturgis in court, Mac reminded him that he nearly got himself charged with contempt for his antics; Mac stated that she couldn't believe Bud's seeming acceptance of polygamy, Harm reminded her it was probably just a tactic. They both shared the latest news they had heard about Harriet.
They sat there eating cake and drinking tea, enjoying the quiet of the moment.
Harm decided that now was as good a time as any to broach what she had mentioned earlier. "Um Mac?" he began tentatively.
"Yeah Harm," she sighed. She had laid her head back on the sofa for a moment, looking up distractedly at the ceiling.
"Back at the office you said despite his looks, he understood women." She sat up and looked at him guardedly. Still, he wanted to know her answer. "Why?"
"Well, he has a wife in every port…." she quipped evasively, starting to get up. His hand on her shoulder stilled her.
"And you said they were loyal to him…." He probed deeper, hoping to find out why she had seemed so sad when she talked about him last time.
"…so loyal that three of them were willing to divorce him so the fourth could have him," she continued, knowing that Harm would never let this rest until he knew everything. "He even had the Judge eating out of his hand at one point…."
She reached down and picked up her cup, taking a small sip. It was more to calm her nerves about this line of questioning rather than because she was thirsty. Then he asked the question she had been dreading since this conversation started.
"When you said he understood women, does that include you?" he continued to probe.
She laughed sarcastically. "He said he did."
Harm was concerned at his partner's reaction. "What did he say?"
She got up and walked over to her darkened fireplace. "He said I was angry with him because I had been hurt."
Harm sat silently for a long moment regarding her as she stood hugging herself by her dark fireplace. He got up and walked over to her.
"Was he right?" He stood close to her.
Mac bit her lower lip and sighed heavily. "The guy's like an idiot savant."
"Maac," Harm said softly as he closed the distance between them.
She looked up at him, her beautiful brown eyes filled unshed tears. "How could he know Harm? How by just looking at me did he know?"
"I don't know Mac…." he said quietly. Inside his heart ached for her, and the tears he saw in her eyes. They both had had their share of hard knocks lately. He silently hoped that he wasn't one of those for her.
Before he could reach out to reassure her, she walked back over to the sofa, flopping down hard on it. Her words came out in a rush. "His words, his tone, I felt myself feeling that this guy understood me, Harm…and I hated him for it."
She lowered her head, letting her curls cover face. She let out a harsh chuckle. "I told you I wouldn't be good company tonight."
Harm came back over to the sofa and sat down beside her and using one hand, lifted her chin until she was looking directly at him. Tears made silent trails down her pretty face.
Harm was devastated. He had done this. "I…I shouldn't have brought it up…I'm sorry, Mac."
She gave him a watery smile. "It's okay…." Mac said as she reached for his other hand rubbing it reassuringly as she sniffled.
"I wish…I just wish…I could take the pain and hurt away…." he said with a tremor in his voice.
She looked down at his hand—it was now rubbing hers—she looked back up with a gentle smile on her face.
"Thank you…." she said quietly.
They sat like that for a few moments. Harm was the first to break the silence.
"You know, I really like your hair this way, Mac." He didn't know why he said it; maybe it was to make her feel better. But something told him that wasn't the case.
Subtle curiosity and a tiny hint of doubt crossed her face.
"Yeah, really," he said firmly.
Her heart began to beat faster. "What about when we're at work…I mean due to regs…I have to wear it up…." She knew she sounded like an insecure teenager, but she had to know. It was important to her.
He knew it was. "I think it looks just fine." He replied honestly, "Very classy, if you ask me."
"Really…." She said thoughtfully, she absently took a flowing strand of her hair and twirled it. Harm watched mesmerized. How he wanted to reach out and touch it, to stroke her hair, to feel the soft supple warmth of her skin, to see her in all her glory—Harm felt himself stirring in a way he was beginning to think was long dead.
"May I?" he breathed.
She swallowed audibly and nodded. She felt her face growing warm; she longed to have him kiss her, to feel the warmth of his touch as he explored every inch of her body, she to wanted to explore every inch of Harmon Rabb, Jr. – Top Gun, lawyer, Naval Commander.
He gently took hold of the strand of hair she had been playing with – their hands touched again. This time they did not back away.
"It's so soft…." he murmured.
She smiled brightly. "Uh huh; so I guess this means you do like it." was all that she could get out.
"Yeah," he admitted sheepishly, "It's nice."
She smiled coyly. "Uh Harm?"
"Yeah Mac?" he was lost in exploring her strand of hair.
"Hold me?" God, she sounded weak and pathetic, but that's all she wanted right now, to be held by this man.
He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Was this Lieutenant Colonel MacKenzie?
"Uh, sure…." he chuckled nervously. "Yeah, sure, Mac." He welcomed her into his arms. She snuggled down onto his chest as he wrapped his arms protectively around her lithe body. He buried his face into her soft feathery hair.
Mac had to bite her tongue to keep a satisfied sigh from escaping. She hugged him tighter. "Thank you Harm…thanks for being my friend…and more."
He looked down at her. "You're welcome…." he said cautiously, "What's the 'more'?"
"You've seen me angry, sad, happy, drunk, and depressed—I honestly think you've seen me at my best and my worst." She looked up into his eyes. "And yet, you've stayed by me all this time…I…I would feel lost without you…."
With those words dancing in his head, he hugged her tighter and began unconsciously rubbing her. "You won't lose me, MacKenzie," he promised huskily.
"Sarah…" she sighed as she held onto him.
"Hmm?" he said distractedly.
"Call me Sarah, Harm." She stated plaintively, gulping again. A wave of fear was crashing against her, but she stood strong, resisting its pull. She wasn't going to run away this time.
Harm's smile broke into that grin that she adored. "Sarah, I'm with you for as long as you'll have me."
She looked shyly at him. "How about forever?"
He chuckled. She held her breath.
"Forever sounds pretty good."
She relaxed; for the first time in nine years, she felt at peace. "It does to me too." She impulsively gave him a peck on the lips, but Harm was not going to let it go at that. He gently framed her face with his hands and returned the kiss. Only his was deeper and held promises of something more. He let his hands slide to her shoulders and then lower.
This time, Sarah MacKenzie let a soft sigh escape her as she continued to hug the man she loved.