Set after "Jagathon".

Title: Have to Have

Author: Vera Steine

Summary: Mac decides to use the words of someone else to make Harm understand how she feels.

Disclaimer: I don't own them and I never will. Mac and Harm belong to Donald Bellisario. The songs belong to Trisha Yearwood and their respective authors. This story is for entertainment purposes only.

Rating: G

Spoilers: Measure of Men, Lifeline, Adrift (little)

Author's notes: Thanks to Loki for supporting me in any and all of my writing, even though she isn't into the JAG. This story just hit me in the middle of a Trisha Yearwood song. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Please don't archive without permission.


Monday

0314 ZULU
Mac's apartment
Georgetown, Virginia

Sarah MacKenzie sat up. There it was again. She couldn't believe it. This was incredible. Every night now she ran into it, while each time she tried to avoid it. That annoying song.

She had switched radio stations every time she heard it, but still it came back. And the lyrics were so appropriate.

She couldn't resist listening to it all the same. It made her think of the one thing she was missing in her life. It so perfectly described how she felt, it was almost funny. And the song had a nice beat to it, too, not one of those awful sad songs that made you cry, this one just came straight to the heart of the matter. Without any fuss.

And then it hit her. She couldn't point out why it was this song that had made her understand, but suddenly she was sure of what she had to do. And her own words came back to her:

"I'm so sick and tired of this dance."

She had said that herself, way back when on the USS Guadalcanal, and she had meant it. But neither of them had ever done anything with it. It was now or never, Mac realized, and the only way she ever had a chance, was to make it just as clear to the person who was the subject of all her musings, and for a long time now, her dreams as well.

She went up to her desk, and got a sheet of paper. If she wasn't going to do this, she knew, she was never going to get what she wanted. So she had decided to go ahead. Taking a deep breath, she put her pen to paper.

Tuesday

0013 ZULU
North of Union Station
Washington, DC

Harmon Rabb, Jr. opened the door to his loft, and set his briefcase aside. He picked up the mail from the doormat and sorted through it on his way to the answering machine. He pressed the button to listen to his messages, only to get a disappointing "You have no messages." He put all the bills on a big stack near his computer, and reminded himself again to pay them before he started getting reminder notices.

The rest of the stack contained a letter from his mother, one from the USS Patrick Henry he expected of coming from Skates, and a simple brown padded envelope that was about an inch thick. He looks at it suspiciously before noticing Mac's handwriting on it. That made him inspect it closely. Why would Mac be sending him anything? They saw each other today at work, why didn't she give anything she might want to give him then? He got his letter opener from the table and slid the envelope open. Inside were a smaller white envelope, and a cassette tape.

Harm frowned. Slowly he slid open the white envelope. Inside of that was a small sheet of paper, written full in Mac's beautiful writing.

"Dear Harm,

Last night a lot of things became clear to me. I hope that I can make them clear to you as well. Harm, I'm taking a big step, the final one, because if this isn't going to work out there's no hope for us. Please, listen to the tape. It woke me up and made me realize we've been going around in circles way too long. Let me know what you think.

Love, Mac."

Harm retrieved his cassette player from his desk drawer and inserted the tape. Instead of the soft, slow melody he was expecting, he found himself listening to a very catchy song.

Well, I got a steady job that pays enough
A pretty good car that don't break down much
I got a two-tone hound off wagging its tale
Ed McMahon promising a million in the mail
Ought to be enough to see me through
But it don't mean nothing if I ain't got you

I got every eight-track Elvis ever made
Crank it up loud and dance the night away
I got a Chardonnay chilling in the fridge-a -dare
A dozen ways of telling you how I care
Just out the window there's a lover's moon
But it don't mean nothing if I ain't got you

If I ain't got you
Baby, it's all in vain
If I ain't got you
Well, it's like a honeymoon without champagne
A shiny set of rails without a train

Well, I got a little dream about the rest of my life
Find a good man and be the perfect wife
Start a little family, watch it grow
Visit on Sunday's after we get old
Make enough love to last a whole life through
But it don't mean nothing if I ain't got you

If I ain't got you
Baby, it's all in vain
If I ain't got you
Well, it's like a honeymoon without champagne
A shiny set of rails without a train

I got a wide enough heart with room for two
But it don't mean nothing if I ain't got you
No, it don't mean nothing if I ain't got you

Wednesday

2347 ZULU
Mac's apartment
Georgetown, Virginia

Mac arrived home in a depressed state. All day she had been waiting for Harm to let her know that he got her letter, and what he thought of it. But instead, nothing had happened. They went about their work as usual, and Mac found her mood dropping by the minute as the day progressed. Now she took a long look around her apartment. She looked from her bedroom to her television, trying to decide which one was the best to spend the night with. While she was still deciding, Jingo came out of her bedroom. Mac absentmindedly scratched Jingo's head, but was woken out of her reverie by a knock on the door.

When she opened the door, she was immediately accosted by a young kid who pushed an envelope and a clipboard under her nose.

"Fed-Ex delivery, ma'am. Please sign here."

Mac automatically put her signature on the indicated spot and took the envelope.

"Thank you, ma'am. Goodnight."

As the door closed again, Mac looked at the envelope in surprise. The writing was familiar. She knew exactly who had sent her this envelope. She opened it and found, not unpredictably, a sheet of white paper and a cassette tape.

"Dear Mac,

Thank you for the song. Last night a lot of things became very clear to me, too. I hope that I can make them clear to you as well. Please, listen to the tape.

Love, Harm."

Mac went to her stereo and inserted the cassette. She heard the last few tones of the song she had sent to Harm before a new song started. One that took her completely by surprise.

I've never seen two people in my life more determined to ignore the obvious
Better stop thinking
Let our hearts start doing the talking
You'd have to be stone, deaf, dumb and blind not to see what's going on with us
So let's jump in and get over our fear of falling

Cause what we got here is a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
More than three words and a diamond ring
It can open up the heavens, make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

We started out strangers on a two way street
Neither one of us looking to fall in love
But we don't need us a map to know we're headed that direction
Well it's out of our hands and over our heads
It's something that's bigger than both of us
Turning back now is completely out of the question

Cause what we got here is a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
More than three words and a diamond ring
It can open up the heaven, make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

Stronger than the force of a driving wind
Hotter than a forest fire
There never has been and there never will be
Nothing like the power of you and me

It's a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
More than three words and a diamond ring
It can open up the heaven, make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

It's a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
It's a powerful thing
More than three words and a diamond ring
It can open up the heaven, make the angels sing
Our love, baby, is a powerful thing

Mac had not expected this. What was Harm trying to tell her? That he cared, or that he didn't take her seriously? They weren't in a relationship, and if he had felt this all these years, why did she have to take the first step? She went to her desk again and started to write a note.

Thursday

0024 ZULU
North of Union Station
Washington, DC

Harm came home and instantly picked up the mail. He shoved his briefcase aside and quickly sorted through the stack. It was devoid of brown envelopes. Next he went to the answering machine. It had a light blinking. He anxiously pressed the button. "You have one message."

Harm held his breath.

"Hi darling, how are you? Give me a call when you get in, we haven't spoken for so long. Love from me and Frank."

Harm smiled when he heard his mother's voice, but still he felt disappointed. Just when he accepted the fact that Mac hadn't answered his letter, there was a knock on the door.

"Who is it?" he shouted, secretly hoping it was Mac.

"Fed-Ex delivery."

Harm instantly dove for the door and pulled it open.

"Where do I sign?"

The young teenager looked at him oddly before giving him the clipboard. Harm signed.

"Thank you, sir," the kid said and handed him the package.

"Thank you," Harm said, and turned away from the door while closing it, scanning the package for any sign of its contents.

Once again, and not surprisingly, it contained a tape and a small, white envelope.

"Dear Harm,

Thank you for the letter and the song. I'm not sure you understood completely what I meant. Therefore I think you should listen to the tape again. We need to figure this out.

Love, Mac."

Harm frowned at the letter. Did she think he wasn't serious? He inserted the tape into his cassette player, and pressed play. It started with the first song, followed by the one he had sent Mac, and then a new song started.

You make me promises that you don't keep
Tears are expensive and words are cheap
You tell me one thing and do something else
And even though I know that all to well
I keep forgiving
I keep forgetting
I keep expecting you to change

You say you will
You say you will
You say you will
But you never do

Love doesn't come with any guarantees
It's give and take a little world as to keep
So I give you every little thing you choose
You give me back a stack of IOU's

There seems to be a pattern here
Yeah, how can I tell if you're sincere?

You say you will
You say you will
Every time
You say you will
But you never do

I keep forgiving
I keep forgetting
I keep expecting you to change

You say you will
You say you will
Every time
You say you will
But you never do

You say you will
You say you will
You make it sound so sweet
You say you will
But you never do

Harm stared at the tape player, appalled. She really thought he wasn't serious. Yes, said a small voice in the back of his mind, but have you ever given her reason to believe you were? Unconsciously, he shivered. If he went back through the years, he could see that Mac had reason to believe he didn't care for her. At least not the way she cared for him, if the letters, and mostly the songs, were any indication. How could he tell her he would make it up to her, if only she gave him a chance?

Friday

2337 ZULU
Mac's apartment
Georgetown, Virginia

The Fed-Ex package had arrived early, almost at the same time Mac had gotten home. The same teenage kid had looked at her oddly when she had anxiously scribbled her signature on the clipboard and taken the envelope from him.

Now she sat on the couch, staring at it lying on the table. She was afraid to open it, afraid to read and hear his reply and find out her suspicions had been right all along, that maybe he didn't love her as much as she loved him. She was afraid that her hastily written, almost angry reply had scared him off.

But Jingo took the envelope between his teeth and brought it over to her. He laid it down on her lap. Mac finally reached out and slowly opened it.

The contents were no surprise anymore.

She inserted the tape in the stereo's cassette player, and rewound it. While it played from the beginning, she read the single sheet.

"Dear Mac,

Thank you for clarifying a few things for me."

After that first line, her heart sank. She had gambled and had lost.

"I understand what you are trying to tell me, but I'm afraid of not being able to show you that. I hope that through this song, with the words of someone else, you'll understand what I'm trying to tell you. So, Mac, please listen to the tape one more time.

Love, Harm."

I don't fall in love so easy
I don't even know how it feels
I don't fall in love so easy
I don't even know if it's real

Too strong don't mean it's for long
Too deep don't mean it's for keeps
And fast doesn't last
I don't fall in love so easy,
But I'm falling in love with you

I don't give my heart to just anyone
I don't even know how to do it
I don't give my hand to just any man
I don't wanna out myself through it
I don't want what I don't want
I can't feel what I don't feel
It's sad but it's true

I don't fall in love so easy,
But I'm falling in love with you

I used to pray someday to change
But I found a way to stay the same
Until you came

I don't fall in love so easy,
I don't even know where to start
I don't fall in love so easy,
I don't understand my own heart
It's so hard to drop my guard
I don't know how to just let go
What else can I do?

I don't fall in love so easy
But I'm falling in love with you
I'm falling in love with you
Yeah, I'm falling in love with you

By the time the song ended, Mac had started to cry. Especially the last few lines had hit her hard. If Harm was sincere with this, then she didn't know what in the world they were waiting for. Mac had a sudden longing to see him, but she didn't dare to go, she was too afraid to be rejected again by him, that she stayed where she was. Instead she went to her stereo to record another song.

Saturday

1503 ZULU
North of Union Station
Washington, DC

Harm had just come in from his morning run, when he saw the Fed-Ex truck park in front of his building. Today it was different teenage kid who made the delivery, but he looked just as oddly at him when Harm pulled the door open before the kid had even got a chance to knock.

He tore open the package, desperately wanting to know Mac's reply.

There was no note.

Just the cassette sat inside the envelope.

Harm instantly pulled out his tape recorder, which he had laying on hand these days, and put the cassette in.

He took a deep breath and pressed play.

The tape started halfway in his song.

I used to pray someday to change
But I found a way to stay the same
Until you came

I don't fall in love so easy,
I don't even know where to start
I don't fall in love so easy,
I don't understand my own heart
It's so hard to drop my guard
I don't know how to just let go
What else can I do?

I don't fall in love so easy
But I'm falling in love with you
I'm falling in love with you
Yeah, I'm falling in love with you

Then it went on to a new song, and Harm began to breathe again. Maybe there was hope yet that he had gotten through to her.

When I see you, I'm drawn to you
There's a certain look in your eyes
It's hard to say no to this feeling
No matter how hard I try
Catch me if I'm falling to you
Catch me if I'm breaking away

Oh, I'm looking at paradise
Oh, I'm looking at paradise
Here comes temptation
Tempting me with you
Here comes temptation
Tempted to get close to you
Here comes temptation
Tempting me with you

If you were to know my secret
I wouldn't feel so shy
Sometimes I think you can see it
It's something I can't hide
All you have to do is touch me
And my resistance would melt away

Oh, I'm looking at paradise
Oh, I'm looking at paradise
Here comes temptation
Tempting me with you
Here comes temptation
Tempted to get close to you
Here comes temptation
Tempting me with you

I'll have to wait
Till my chance comes by
I know that you will be mine

Here comes temptation
Tempting me with you
Here comes temptation
Tempted to get close to you
Here comes temptation…

Sunday

1947 ZULU
Mac's apartment
Georgetown, Virginia

Mac looked at the envelope. She opened it and found only a cassette inside. Was Harm returning it to her? Had she made a mistake? Slowly she walked to her stereo, turned it on and inserted the tape.

Not quite sure what's going on
But all day through and all night long
I've been thinkin' about you
I've been thinkin' about you
The look in your eyes when you smile that way
The sound of your vice saying my name
I've been thinkin' about you
Just keep thinkin' about you

This single-minded fascination I've got
Do you call it love?
If you don't, then what?
All I know is I don't know what you've done
This train of thought ain't about to jump the track that it's on

In the back of my mind is a secret place
But the whole world knows by the smile on my face
That I've been thinkin' about you
Can't stop thinkin' about you

This single-minded fascination I've got
Do you call it love?
If you don't, then what?
All I know is I don't know what you've done
This train of thought ain't about to jump the track that it's on

I know it's crazy, calling you this late
And the only thing I wanted to say is
I've been thinkin' about you
Yeah, just keep thinkin' about you
Oh, I can't stop thinkin' about you
Oh, I'm always thinkin' about you
And I do love thinkin' about you

Slowly, a big smile began to spread across Mac's face. She reached out and picked up the phone. Speed-dial number 1. How long had that been, since she re-programmed her phone because they always seemed to be calling each other? How long had it been since she could pick up the phone, and call him without wondering if someone else was going to pick up? She remembered the times she had most wanted to call him, when he had left to go flying. That had also been the time she couldn't just pick up the phone and call him. But now she could. She slowly stretched out on her couch, with Jingo next to her, and pressed the two buttons.

Sunday

Same time
North of Union Station
Washington, DC

The phone rang. Harm jumped up and answered it.

"Hello?"

"Hey, flyboy," Mac said on the other end. "I've been thinking about you, too."

"Mac, whatever you do, don't move," Harm said urgently.

Mac sat up. "What?"

"Don't go anywhere. Come hell or high water, but I'm coming over. Don't move."

"Harm, are you allright?"

"I'm fine. But I don't want to see us waste another chance. Will you just wait till I get there, Mac?"

"I'll be here," she simply said.

Sunday

2023 ZULU
Mac's apartment
Georgetown, Virginia

Harm knocked on the door, and instantly it opened. Mac was smiling broadly at him.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi," he answered.

"Come on in."

He stepped inside, and realized how much more often she had come to his apartment than he had been here. He looked around, and absently patted Jingo's head, who had come around to inspect the visitor.

"Harm," Mac said.

He turned around and she gave him a nervous smile. "What are you looking at?" she asked him shyly.

"I just realized how little I saw of this place." He walked over to her, and almost as if she was afraid of him, she stepped back.

"Uh, do you want a drink?"

"No, thanks. Mac-"

She looked at him, her eyes suddenly intense with fear. At once he knew what she was afraid of.

"Mac," he repeated, "I'm not going anywhere. I-"

"Harm, tell me what happened this week. Did anything change between us?" She turned those intense eyes on him, and he knew he couldn't escape her scrutiny. He didn't want to anymore.

"Mac-" He stopped and shook his head. "No. Sarah, I love you. And I've been trying to tell you that since your first letter reached me. But this, in tradition of our lives, has been a week full of misunderstandings."

She stared at him incredulously for two seconds. Then she stepped up to him. "I love you, too. I didn't think you'd ever be the first to say it. God, Harm, why did it take us so long?"

Harm pulled her into his arms and kissed the top of her head. "Because, Mac, there have been complications. And there always will be. But we've only now seen that we can overcome them."

Mac leaned into his embrace and tried to wipe the tears away that had started to form in her eyes. Harm reached out and wiped them away with his thumb.

"I love it when you do that," Mac said, "You make me feel so safe."

Harm leaned over and kissed her. "I'll always be there for you, Ninja Girl. Always, from now on."

Mac kissed him back, and began to laugh.

"What?"

"I always dreamed of this day. I thought it wasn't going to come anymore. But now I have it all. A good career -"

"- a good man, and lots of comfortable shoes," Harm finished.

The End