TITLE: Tabula Rasa
TIMELINE: starts with the taxi stand in Paraguay
DISCLAIMER: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc of the TV show JAG are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this fic. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. All other characters and plots belong to me.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm taking advantage of artistic freedom in regards to moving the Imes crisis a little further into the future. After 18 months of this fic sitting unfinished on my disk, I've finally found the drive to complete and post it. Yay! :D
Thanks to byrhthelm for his proof-reading.
SUMMARY: Starting with Paraguay, things go in a different direction than in canon. Having resigned from the Navy Harm decides against crawling back to US for his old job and instead decides to start afresh somewhere new.
"Things are never gonna work out between us."
"Because we both want to be on top and that's physically and emotionally impossible."
The last piece of the puzzle unfolded... Mac never really knew him, because if she had, she wouldn't have said something as stupid as that. She did what she always had done, projecting her motives and personality onto others, never entertaining the idea that not everyone was like her.
Why had it taken him so long to realize this? His failure to realise that simple act not only hurt himself, but seduced him into hurting so many other, innocent women along the way.
With that knowledge came peace, resignation to the inevitable and determination to make the best of the hand he'd been dealt.
"You're right." Harm said softly, quiet sadness shining from his eyes "We would never work, but not because of us both wanting to be on top. I never wanted a power-struggle, I just wanted to be with you. If you couldn't understand that, it's because I guess you were too busy trying to be on top."
Mac stared at him speechless, in disbelief he was actually saying this. But he wasn't done yet and the finality in his voice chilled her to the bone.
"I loved you once, Mac. I even told you at your engagement party, no matter how much I despised myself for doing that while you were wearing another man's ring." he paused, letting out a deep breath "But now... I don't know the person you turned into these past few years anymore and I can't honestly say I like who you've become."
"Now, wait a minute! You have no right to say that! It's you who needs growing up, not me! You're the one always haring off on some quest or pursuing your latest obssession, while I have to clean up your messes! And, just when did you tell me you loved me at the party?" Mac returned hotly, having regained her composure.
Gently shaking his head Harm dismissed her protests, too tired to fight anymore "You were right when you said the Navy was all I had, I just didn't know it... I thought I had more. I thought we had more. But I was wrong and now... you were right again: now I have nothing."
Looking away from Mac's shocked expression and back over his shoulder, at the path to a new life, he turned to let his eyes rest on her again and, with a finality that shocked her to the core, said calmly.
"I'd wish you happiness, but unfortunately I know you'd just push it away if it found you. What I will say is this: keep your head down around lover-boy because the next time you're strapped to a table, about to be tortured after getting involved in another of his ops, there may not be anyone around to save your six. So long, Marine."
With that Harmon Rabb Jr. turned around and walked out of Mac's life, ignoring her furious calls as the crowd swallowed him.
Short first chapter because it just happened this way. The others are longer.
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