Please do not take this seriously :D I just felt like something not as dark as Come Tumbling Down for the moment.

Takes place during the Life and Death episode, after the infamous dinner.

This is a response to the writer s challenge by Selanne (published by Jackie on the FB): We needed to use the quote: "Don't worry about me, Commander. I eat right and I carry protection."

Restrictions:

1) Any season except for S1, S9, S10 or NCIS.

2) Must Be A One Shot


A bag of frozen corn landed on his bruised face non too gently and he let out a little howl.

"Shut up, Rabb," was his next instruction and wisely he decided to heed it. Positioning the bag of corn on his face more carefully, he opened his one good eye and peered at the other end of the sofa, currently occupied by another man. No, not man. The scum of the earth. The worm who had crawled up from the down under. The chupacabra who leered and sneered and deserved so much more than a cut lip and a bloodied nose and torn shirt.

Mic Brumby, pressing at the moment a bag of frozen carrots to his own face, stared back with unveiled hostility.

"Admiring your handiwork, jackasses?" said Mac and elegantly slipped into an armchair opposite the couch, crossing her long shapely legs and looking at the two battered men. She was still wearing the dress she had on in the restaurant - shimmering silver with low neckline in the back. It ended just above her knees. Both Harm and Mic had a feeling as if they had been called into the principal's office and both had to squash the sudden fantasy of Sarah Mackenzie dealing out punishments which involved her being naked and wielding a ruler.

"I'm completely fine," mumbled Brumby, trying to appear valiant, his voice even more ridiculous than usual given his broken nose.

"I think you would sound more convincing if you weren't bleeding all over my carpet. Kindly keep that handkerchief over your nose."

Mic let out a snort, which only worsened his bleeding, so he decided to be quiet for the moment.

"If you feel fine then let's go for another round outside. I'll bust your balls!" Harm growled but was immediately chastised by Mac giving him a cold glare.

"So, either one of you finally ready to clear up what happened?"

Silence.

"No? No reason for all of us being escorted out of the restaurant? No reason for the video princess to throw her hands in the air and leave screaming Navy was full of insane idiots? No reason for my dinner being spoiled and cancelled? No reason for the two of you not being even able to drive yourselves? No reason for the two of you melting my perishables on your mugs right now?"

Pissed. Pissed. She was pissed. Ooooooh boy was she pissed. Harm was quickly calculating all the dangers and his traitorous brain took a vacation. He felt dumb. But when he remembered the incident, he felt just as angry as had been at the restaurant when he threw the first punch. He fixated his gaze on Mac, knowing that if he even glimpsed the annoying Australian, he would have to beat the soul out of him and there were no waiters or bouncers to intervene this time.

"He hit me first," muttered Mic. "I was defending myself."

Mac turned directly to Harm. "What is your version?"

"I hit him first," he said. "And I enjoyed every second of it."

"See?! He's a bloody psycho!" Mic protested, throwing his arm in Harm's direction, only to have it slapped away by him as if they were in kindergarten.

"And you're a bloody pervert!" Harm shot back.

"Why? Because I appreciate what you have been stumbling around blind all the time?"

"Shut it, Brumby! Just shut it!"

Both men yelped at once in pain when two frozen bags of greens smacked them. Mac was still sitting in her armchair, her eyes colder than her most recent weapon of choice.

"I want to know what happened in that restroom. And if I don't get the full story right now, I am calling the Admiral," she threatened. Harm gulped. Mic stared in disbelief. Both men shrunk into the opposite corners of the sofa again as if the other one stank.

"OK, here it is," Mic stated a minute later. "I just went to relieve myself and found this insane bloke waiting for me at the door. He told me - and you will not believe this - he told me to back off from you. He is watching me and I should be afraid. I asked why, he had no reason to give, just more sullen looks. I told him we were friends and he actually had the balls to say you didn't need any friends. I told him to go screw himself and his blonde witch. I tried to walk away. And he hit me."

"Is that what happened?" Mac asked Harm. No emotion was in her face. Possibly for the first time ever, he had no idea what she was thinking and it was freaking him out.

"Yes," he managed to say.

She closed her eyes. His admission felt like a blow straight into her chest. No man wants to be just friends with a woman who looks like you. Those had been his words not so long ago. Was it really how he saw her? Just a body to be enjoyed because it looked good?

"But I could also say no," Harm continued a few breaths later, suddenly very much aware of what was happening inside her again. "Because what he said is true. And because there is a lot he hasn't said."

"Yeah, I have covered all the main points," the Australian barked and was silenced when Mac's hand shot up in a gesture of warning.

"Harm?" she challenged him. It was clear that whatever he would say next would have a huge impact not only on the resolution of the incident but their relationship as a whole. He considered his words. He did not want to hurt her, not even by repeating words of somebody else, but in the end, he decided she needed to know the truth. He straightened up and ignored the cold rivulets of water which had begun to run from the melting bag of corn down his collar and his shirt.

"Mac... this ridiculous kangaroo kept throwing me glances and smirks all evening. From the moment I have noticed you two, there was not a moment when he wouldn't sneer and wink at me every chance he got." Harm forgot to include the fact he had pretty much watched Mac's naked back all the time, clearly irking ReneƩ, and thus was a victim of Brumby's antics. "And you don't know how he talks about you. At work. In the pub. He constantly acts as if you and him... dating... was a done deal. As if you were just waiting for him to change the sheets so you could just fall into them."

Harm had to pause for a moment, disgusted by the images in his head.

"So yeah, when he got up and went to the bathroom, I followed him. I waited for him. And I told him to back off. I told him you don't need friends - friends like him." He stressed the last part. "To which he said, among other things, that I could be content being your gay friend, but he certainly was not going to be one. And if you really needed something, it was a good fucking, since you've obviously haven't had any at least since Farrow."

Brumby opened his mouth a few times and closed it like a fish. He wanted to argue, badly. Unfortunately, there was little he could say in his defence. He wiggled uncomfortably.

"That was a locker room talk," he said finally, stammering. "I am sorry, Sarah, I guess my ego took me for a ride."

Mac was not looking at either of them. Her hands were completely still in her lap, her eyes half-lidded and focused on the carpet.

"Anything else?" she asked quietly.

"Yes," Harm said, though it pained him. But she wanted to know and he would be damned if he would let her be in the dark about what trash Brumby was. Even if she never spoke to him again, he would not let this ugly wombat pursue and plague her any more. "He suggested that you have been repeatedly sexually unsatisfied by me thanks to my vegetarianism. And then said: Don't worry about me, Commander. I eat right and I carry protection. That was when I hit him."

Seconds, minutes ticked by in silence. Brumby seemed shrunk and diminished in his corner of the couch. Harm stared at Mac, unaware that his shirt was already completely soaked and he was cold. Mac herself did not move, did not speak, did not look at either of them.

Finally, she got up and stepped closer to the sofa. She took the bag of carrots from Brumby, only to whack him it half a second later.

"Jesus Christ, Mac!" he howled. "Locker talk! Locker talk!"

"Get out," she said. "Before I forget about the carrots and grab something more solid."

Brumby literally shot up and disappeared through the door and into the night.

Harm felt his heart soar. Higher and higher. Mac now stood in front of him and though there was a storm in her eyes, there was also a thin smile on her lips. He felt his heartbeat accelerate and a stupid grin grew on his face.

"Your shirt is all wet," she said and she took the bag of corn away. She leaned over then, bringing her face close to his battered one. "I suppose you think yourself my hero now," she said softly. He could hardly breathe. "And as a hero, you should be rewarded," she whispered. He felt her light kiss over the little cut on his temple, then the slight touch travelled down his cheek and to the corner of his eye, now closed and already taking on a black hue.

SMACK!

His eyes shot open as the intense pain inflicted by a bag of half-melted corn assaulted him. He held his palm over his cheek, groaning.

"Why...?

"Because you are an idiot!" she shouted at him. "Because you and Brumby ruined the whole evening! Because I am hungry! Because if you had not set up a date with that director, we could have been at that restaurant together in the first place! And maybe we could... could have..."

"Could have what?"

"Well... spend the evening differently than you melting my corn and me hitting you with the said corn!"

She threw away the bag with disgust and sank into the armchair again, oblivious the hem of her short dress rode up dangerously high up her thighs. Harm noticed though and against all judgement felt certain parts of his anatomy react. He paled realizing there was no way he could just walk away right now without her realizing Brumby was not the only person with his mind in the proverbial gutter when it came to her.

No, Harm corrected himself in his mind. Brumby was in the gutter. His mind was in other places. Satin sheets, sandy beaches, hot showers and blue swimming pools. Cosy sofas and broad dining tables. And... and... filing cabinets, stateroom bunks, JAG elevators, the Admiral's desk...

"What are you thinking about?" she asked, eyeing him suspiciously. "You seem to be a million miles away while you better be thinking about an apology. And I can assure you a week of your cooking is not going to cut it this time."

"I'm sorry," he said, though he was not. He would punch Brumby again if he had the chance. But antagonizing her was not something he wanted to do right now. He should leave. Too bad the fit of his pants made it impossible at the moment. He tried to think of the most unsexy things imaginable but everything that he could see in his mind was her, writhing under him and pressed against the nearest hard surface. He would just have to talk to her a bit longer. Then flee when possible. He knew this would be another night when he would have to take matters into his own hands. Or rather his right hand. For now, he was desperately trying to think of any suitable topic of discussion. She was quicker though.

"You know what, Harm?" she said. "I am sick of all this bullshit. Right now I am in the middle of a case where I have a man's life in my hands. It made me realize that waiting for something you know you want is bullshit. You need to live your life, not just dance around it. So here it goes: I want you. I want us. I want a relationship. I want to fulfil our baby deal. And as far as I can see, you have two options right now: Either you tell me I need to go sleep whatever this is off, leave and we will just try to forget everything I have just said, or you will go take a shower and when you get out we are going to make love and you will not leave in the morning. Which is it to be?"

He stared at her.

She stared back.

When he finally decided she was serious, he almost blacked out. As he watched her, he slowly realized that even though it was the stress and pressure and the whole bizarre evening that made her act so forward, she was panicking inside, waiting for him to talk. She stormed the beach and now she was waiting whether she would be met with a welcoming ally or enemy fire.

He stood up, not even trying to hide the state of his lower body parts. No matter. Her eyes were fixed on his.

"Well then..." he said and cleared his throat. "Do you have any non-scented soaps?"