Past Imperfect
By Donna


"Surely you don't believe that?" Mac asked, an incredulous look on
her face.

"Mac, the man's my client. It doesn't matter whether I believe him or
not, he still has the right to the best possible defense," Harm told her
as they strolled across the park. They were taking advantage of the
gorgeous spring weather to enjoy their lunch break in the park near
JAG headquarters.

"You didn't answer my question," Mac reminded him, settling her
sandwich on the paper across her lap.

"No, I didn't, did I?" Harm responded, an amused look on his face as
he carefully removed the cover from his salad bowl.

His long-time partner and friend answered with her own look.
"Which is pretty telling in itself."

"Objection, your honor. Prosecution is assuming facts not in
evidence," Harm replied in his very best courtroom voice.

"Well, if the defense would be a little more cooperative…"

"And do the prosecution's job for you, Colonel? Are you that
desperate?"

"Desperate?" Mac asked, pretending to choke on the very idea.
"Nowhere near it. Just trying to help." Her voice became thoughtful.
"You know, we might be willing to discuss a plea bargain."

"A plea bargain, huh? That would seem to indicate that you're not
quite as sure of your case as you would have me believe, Colonel."

"Nonsense, Commander. My case is airtight. I'm just looking to save
us all a little time and aggravation here," she bantered back.

"Don't worry about me," he told her with a grin, "You just concern
yourself with…" He broke off suddenly.

Mac followed his gaze to an attractive young woman strolling towards
them across the grass. She was small and thin, her blonde hair pulled
back in a ponytail that hung down past her shoulders. Her jeans were
well worn and she wore a bulky sweater in defiance of the temperate
spring day. Her walk was neither the purposeful stride of the DC
resident rushing to complete her errands, nor the excited bounce of a
tourist, awestruck by the sights and sounds of the nation's capital.
Instead, her head was down, eyes on the ground in front of her as she
methodically put one foot in front of the other.

"Friend of yours?" Mac asked with a raised eyebrow.

Her voice spurred Harm into action. He jumped to his feet, sending
his lunch flying as he hurried towards her.

"Marilyn!" he called.

She looked up at him. Coming up behind Harm, Mac saw that the
woman's eyes were a deep, rich green. She froze. There was a brief
flicker of…something…before she stepped back and lowered her eyes.

"I'm sorry. You've mistaken me for someone else," she told him in a
soft voice.

He stepped closer to her. "Marilyn, it's me…Harm."

The woman stepped back again, her hands nervously tugging on the
strap of the bag over her shoulder. She shook her head fiercely. "I'm
sorry. I'm not who you think I am and I don't know you."

Before he could respond, she spoke again.

"Please, just leave me alone…"

Giving him one final, pleading look, she turned and fled.

When Harm started after her, Mac grabbed his arm.

"Not a good idea, Harm," she told him, her head indicating the police
officer whose attention had been attracted by the encounter.

He glanced at the man, nodded to him, and watched the woman
disappear into the crowd. When she was no longer visible, he turned
and walked back to the bench to gather his things.

"Harm, who's Marilyn?" Mac asked.

He paused a moment before he answered. She could see the pain in
his eyes. "Marilyn is my sister, Mac."

Before she could probe further, he threw his garbage in a nearby
receptacle. "Isn't it time to head back to court? We wouldn't want to
be late. Admiral Morris would have our sixes."

Though there was still plenty of time, Mac knew that he wasn't ready
to talk yet and decided to give him his space on this. She hurried
along beside him, scarfing down the rest of her sandwich as she
walked. She could almost see the wheels turning in Harm's head. The
encounter in the park had certainly shaken him, and she was
determined to find out why.

Back in the courtroom, he managed to focus very well. His questions
were pointed, his cross-examinations as fierce as always. Only
someone who had known him for years, someone who knew him
almost as well as he knew himself, could detect the tiny hesitations, the
indicators that there was something else on his mind.

Both were relieved when Admiral Morris called an early recess.
Harm was out of the courtroom before Mac could even pull her files
together. By the time she returned to her office, she could see him in
his office with the phone balanced on one shoulder as he intently
studied his computer monitor. With plenty of her own work to do,
she decided to let him handle things himself…for now.

By 2000 hours, the bullpen was quiet and still. The only lights still
burning were those in the offices of Commander Harmon Rabb, Jr.
and Lt. Colonel Sarah MacKenzie. With a sigh, Mac closed the last
file folder and stood to stretch. She could see Harm still sitting at his
desk, scribbling on a notepad.

After gathering her things and securing her office, she knocked gently
on his door and pushed it open.

"Harm? Let's go grab some dinner."

He looked up at her and shook his head. "You go ahead, Mac. I'll see
you tomorrow."

"You misunderstand," Mac told him, walking across the room to
stand in front of him. "I wasn't asking if you wanted to get dinner, I
was telling you that you and I are going to go get some dinner and
talk."

"Mac,…" he started to protest as she gathered his jacket and cover
and handed him his briefcase.

"You need to get this off your chest, Harm. You'll think more clearly
if you talk about what's going on in that brain, partner."

He shook his head and smiled in surrender as he took the proffered
items.

"You win."

"Don't I always?"

"Not always," he protested as the two walked across the darkened
bullpen.


At Harm's apartment, Mac went into his bedroom to change clothes
while Harm got dinner started. She had long ago learned the value of
keeping a change of clothes in her car. Comfortably clad in jeans and
a T-shirt, she stepped down into the living area to find Harm on the
sofa looking through an old photo album. She sat down next to him
and waited. With his finger, he gently traced a face in the photo.

"Tomorrow would be her birthday," he commented softly.

After a few moments, he handed her the album, opened to a photo of
himself, Frank, Trish, and a young woman who did strongly resemble
the one in the park.

"Your sister, Marilyn?"

"Step-sister, actually. Frank was divorced when he and my mom met.
His first wife, Leslie, was…disturbed I guess you could say. He tried
to get custody of Lyn, but in those days, it pretty well always went to
the mother."

He flipped the photo album back to an earlier photo, one taken at
Frank and Trish's wedding. Harm was standing next to his mother,
his face rigid. Standing next to Frank was a young girl about five
years Harm's junior. Her blonde hair was neatly curled and her face
was glowing as she looked up at her father and his new wife.

"Unlike me, Lyn was thrilled about the marriage. I think that she
saw mom as everything she ever wanted in a family. She was always
following her around, doing anything mom asked of her and more.
She even started calling her 'Mother T'. Lyn was a sweet kid, but she
was connected to Frank, so I tried to avoid her as much as possible.
Unfortunately, she liked to follow me around."

"She spent a lot of time with her dad?" Mac asked, breaking into his
story.

"Well…sort of…we wouldn't hear from them for weeks, then we
might get a phone call in the middle of the night that she was at the
bus station. Leslie would hook up with a new guy or just get tired of
the responsibility and put her on a bus. Every time Lyn would get
settled in, her mother would show up again, apologizing and
promising her that it would never happen again."

"And Lyn went with her?"

"Yeah, she always went. She told me once that me and mom and
Frank had each other, but her mother didn't have anyone else. Lyn
felt like she had to look out for her, take care of her. She always tried
to look at it as a new adventure. She liked to hunt fossils and always
told me going with Leslie took her to new places to look."

"Is that what that little rock in your pocket is?" Mac asked when
Harm fell silent again.

"Yeah." He smiled and reached into his jeans pocket, pulling out a
handful of change and the small stone that Mac had noticed he always
seemed to have. He looked at it a moment before handing it over to
her. In the stone, there was the impression of a small flower. Even
though the flower itself had probably died thousands of years before,
it was preserved in intricate detail in the rock.

"It's beautiful," she told him, handing it back.

"She gave it to me once when I was feeling low about something…I
don't even remember what it was now…but she told me to remember
that no matter how insignificant we feel sometimes, we never know
where we might leave an impression."

"Pretty deep. So what happened to her?" Mac encouraged.

"She started to change. I know that most teens rebel, but with her, it
was like a complete turnaround. She had always wanted to be with
me and mom and Frank, and then all of a sudden, she couldn't stand
us. She was living with us by then…well, actually with mom and
Frank. I was off at the Academy by then. She had a new boyfriend
that no one but her could stand and she spent all of her time with him.
Mom started seeing bruises on her arms and neck, but when she
asked about them, Lyn would just get mad and storm off. Finally, she
moved in with the guy, and we almost never saw her. The rare
occasions that we did, she always seemed scared, but she never
wanted to talk about it."

Mac sat across the sofa watching her partner. His shoulders had
tensed up, and his hands were clenched into fists. He didn't even seem
aware of his reaction; in fact, he seemed to have even forgotten that
she was in the room, so wrapped up was he in the painful memories.

He continued. "Then one day her boyfriend, Eric, turned up as a
floater. His hands were tied behind him, and he had been shot in the
back of the head execution-style."

Mac drew in a shocked breath, and Harm turned to look at her.

"Turns out the guy was a mule for one of the local drug kingpins. He
got too high an opinion of himself and held out on his boss. The boss
man didn't take too kindly to that."

"Where was Lyn?" Mac asked, moving over closer to him to lay a
comforting hand on his shoulder.

"No one knew. None of the neighbors the police talked to had seen
her in several weeks. Finally, one of them told an officer that they had
seen Eric doing some digging in the back yard some time back. They
couldn't really recall when it was or if they had seen Lyn since then.
A forensics team was called in to dig up the back yard."

He looked over at her, his eyes shiny with unshed tears.

"They found her body, wrapped in a blanket and buried behind an
old storage shed. The autopsy showed that she had several broken
bones, including a skull fracture. That's probably what killed her.
She was there, Mac, buried in his back yard for months and no one
knew."

"I'm sorry, Harm," Mac murmured quietly, gently squeezing his
hand.

"She called me one night. Said that she just wanted to talk. I had
plans to go out with some friends that night, so I told her I was busy.
I asked her to call back the next morning."

"Did she?"

"No, she never did. I finally called a few days later. She told me not
to worry; it wasn't anything important. She had even forgotten what
she had called about."

He looked at Mac, guilt evident on his face. "If I had talked to her
that night, she might have asked me for help. I might have been able
to do something."

"Or she might not have told you anything," Mac told him.
"Remember, I speak from experience here. Maybe she just wanted to
talk, ask how you were doing, connect with you again. Maybe she did
call to ask for help, but would have lost her nerve before she could
ask. I know I did that a few times when Chris and I were together.
I'd call Uncle Matt, fully intending to ask him to come get me, then
end up talking about the weather. Or maybe she wouldn't have lost
her nerve…maybe she would have asked for help, but by the time you
got there, she might have changed her mind. That happens a lot, too.
Face it, Harm. You don't know what was going through her mind,
and you probably couldn't have saved her."

Harm turned away, not commenting on her statement.

"But you're going to keep feeling guilty anyway, aren't you?"

"Probably."

After a few minutes, she cleared her throat. "No wonder that woman
in the park today startled you. You must have thought you were
seeing a ghost."

He turned to face her fully. "That's just it, Mac. I don't think it was
a ghost, I think it was my sister Marilyn."

"But you just said that they had identified her body, Harm."

"We were told it was her, that they had identified her by old dental
records, but I talked to my mom this afternoon. She doesn't
remember the police ever asking about who her dentist was or for any
sort of identifying information."

"Maybe they asked Frank," Mac reasoned.

"No, Mac. Frank was a basket case. Mom barely left his side during
that time. If the police had asked him, she would have known."

"Maybe they found the information in some of her papers or
something."

"Maybe, but I really doubt she ever saw a doctor or dentist after she
moved out. I remember one of the few times I saw her, she had a
really bad rash on her hands from some poison oak she had gotten
into camping. I said something about seeing a doctor and she almost
panicked…said that Eric had told her that she would be fine, and he
would get really angry if he thought she doubted him."

"So are you saying that you think the police were covering up
something?" Mac asked him, confusion evident on her face. "Why
would they do that?"

"I don't know," he told her, running his fingers through his hair, "but
there are just too many unanswered questions." He got up from the
sofa and retrieved his briefcase. "I called the police department today
to ask some questions. There was no one there who remembered
anything about the case."

"How long has it been, Harm?"

"Not long enough that no one would even remember, Mac. This kind
of thing just didn't happen in that area. Besides, I asked them to fax
me some copies of the case files and this is all I got." He handed her a
slim file containing only a half a dozen sheets of paper.

"Doesn't seem like much of a file on a murder, does it?" he asked as
she flipped through it.

She thought carefully how best to word her next statement. "Harm?
Did you stop to think that maybe there weren't many notes because
they didn't consider it much of a case?" She held up a hand to
forestall his protest. "Think about it. From their perspective, it was
an open and shut case. They knew who did it, and they knew that the
person responsible was already dead. Maybe they just felt it wasn't
worth spending any more time or effort on. She wasn't their sister,
after all," she reminded him softly.

He nodded slightly, understanding her point. "I know, Mac, but it
just feels wrong. The more I think about this, the more I try to look
into it, the more questions I come up with."

She started to answer when there was a loud, demanding knock at the
door.

"Expecting someone?" Mac asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Nope. Just put on enough soup for two," he told her as he walked
over to peer out the peephole. The confused look he gave her when he
stepped back told her nothing, and she got up to stand beside him as
he opened the door.

The men standing in the hallway weren't wearing nametags, but if
they had been, those nametags would have declared 'Government
Agents' in capital letters…probably in red and underlined. They
were built like linebackers, tall and broad across the shoulders. The
dark suits and ties with white shirts could have been chosen from the
same closet. Add to that the dark glasses and the matching earpieces
both wore and Mac had to fight the urge to ask if they were on their
way to a twin convention.

"Commander Rabb? Colonel MacKenzie?" the one on the left spoke.
In perfect unison, the two flashed the badges and cards identifying
them as US Marshals. "You're to come with us."

"Where?" Harm asked, not really expecting an answer.

"Someone wants to see you."

Well, that certainly wasn't much of an answer.

"Can you tell us who wants to see us?" Mac asked.

"You'll find out when you get there," was the response she received.

She looked over at Harm, a question in her eyes. He shrugged and
passed the question back to her. He was willing to find out if she was.
She nodded.

"Okay," he told the duo, "we'll go."

He went into the kitchen to turn off the soup while Mac gathered their
jackets. The beautiful spring day had turned into a cool evening.
With their backs to the two at the door, they didn't see the amused
glance that the two men shared. The unspoken communications
between the two lawyers rivaled that of any long-term government
agents they knew.

Within a remarkably short time, Harm and Mac found themselves
ushered into a small mirrored room containing only a bare wooden
table and four matching chairs.

Mac sat on the edge of the table and watched Harm pace.

"Why," he asked her, "do I suspect the impending arrival of a major
pain in the butt?"

"Maybe because it takes one to know one," Clayton Webb
commented sarcastically as he strolled into the room.

Mac interrupted their stare-down. "How about if I run out and buy
some Preparation H while you two sit here and compare
hemorrhoids?"

"Funny, Mac," the two men chorused in unison, earning an amused
grin from Mac and annoyed stares from each other.



On the other side of the mirror, a young woman spoke to her
companion without ever taking her eyes from the Naval officer in the
other room.

"Who is she, and why did they bring her?"

"Her name is Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie. She's another JAG lawyer.
They've worked very closely together the last few years…been
through a lot together."

"They're lovers?"

Her companion paused. "I don't think so. This may sound odd, but I
think they are probably closer than that even. When he went to
Russia looking for his dad, she followed him; they've defended each
other on murder cases, share a godson, and have generally been to
hell and back for each other. Webb figured that if Rabb has any
doubts about this, MacKenzie's the best person to talk him around to
our way of thinking."

Lyn stood a few moments longer, observing the comfortable
interaction between the two, smiling when they ganged up on Webb.
A touch on her shoulder drew her attention back to the agent
standing next to her.

"Are you ready?" he asked.

"I've been ready for this for years," she smiled back as he led her
towards the other room.


"Truth isn't always a good thing, Rabb," Webb was saying.

"Not good?"

"I said 'not always' a good thing," Webb interjected.

Mac could almost see Harm slipping into his courtroom demeanor.
"The honest man has nothing to fear from the truth, Webb. It's the
lies and the deception that we should fear. It's the lies and deception
that cause pain, usually for innocent people."

"You're wrong about that, Rabb. Sometimes lies and deceptions are
the best way to protect an innocent person."

Mac suddenly looked at Webb more intently. There was a note of
sadness in his voice that she hadn't heard before. "What is it,
Clayton?"

Webb focused his attention on her. "It's about your partner here
digging into things best left buried."

"This is about Harm's sister, isn't it? It's about Marilyn Burnett?"

If Clayton Webb had been a betting man, and had there been anyone
to make this particular wager with, he would have bet that Mac would
figure it out first. He would have won that wager, as well as the next
one, the one about how Harm would react.

Harm strode over and grabbed Webb, pushing him up against the
wall.

"What do you know about Marilyn?" he asked, his voice a low growl.

"Harm, leave him alone," another voice interrupted.

All eyes turned towards the young woman, still in the same jeans and
sweater she had been wearing in the park.

Harm whispered an incredulous "Lyn?"

"Hey, Bulldog," she whispered back.

Dazedly, he walked over, stopping inches in front of her. He reached
up to touch her face, again stopping before any contact occurred. She
smiled at him and stepped forward, placing her cheek in the palm of
his hand.

"See? I'm really here, Bulldog."

Without a word, he swept her up in a bear hug, burying his face in
her hair as he started to sob. Mac grabbed Webb by the arm and
dragged him over to the one-way mirror, where the two found
something supremely interesting to look at.

Once Harm had his emotions under control again, he led Marilyn
over to the table and sat down facing her. He didn't even know where
to begin. Again, Mac came to the rescue.

With an amused lilt in her voice, she asked "Bulldog?"

Marilyn looked up at her. "When we were kids, Harm would get an
idea into his mind and absolutely refuse to let go of it, no matter how
ridiculous it might be."

"Nice to know some things never change," Mac commented as she
placed a hand on Harm's shoulder.

"Gets seriously involved in things, does he?" Lyn asked.

"'Obsessed' might be a better word to describe him," Mac told her.

"Hey!" Harm interjected. "You two want to stop talking about me
like I'm not here?"

"Oh, Harm. Sorry. I forgot you were here," his sister teased.

He glared at her momentarily before breaking into a smile. He loved
it when the important people in his life got along.

"Mac, this is my sister, Marilyn. Lyn, this is my partner, Mac."

The two shook hands and voiced the proper formalities before Mac
took the chair next to Harm. He leaned forward to touch Lyn's face
again.

"Mom and Frank will be so thrilled to see you, Lyn."

She shook her head and held up a hand to stop him before he got too
carried away with his planning.

"They can't know, Harm. No one can know."

He threw her a confused look before directing it at Webb.

"Hell, Harm. You're not even supposed to know that she's alive." He
took a deep breath and spilled the rest. "Your sister is in the Federal
Witness Protection Program. Lyn has a new name, a new social
security number, a new birthdate, and a whole new life."

His news was greeted by stunned silence. Finally, Mac looked back at
Marilyn and managed to catch her eye.

"Eric's bosses?"

The younger woman nodded. "Eric never thought I was very smart,
so he never worried about talking in front of me. One night, he got
really drunk…too drunk to even beat on me properly…and he started
telling me about some of the stuff he was involved in. He laid out the
whole supply line, starting with their suppliers in South America. He
even named some of his clients. I got really scared. I knew that if his
bosses found out how…verbal…he got when he was drunk, they
would make sure he wasn't able to spill anything…or me either. I had
also just found out that I was pregnant, and I decided I didn't want
my child growing up in that environment. That's when I contacted
the authorities. In exchange for my testimony, they would help me
start over."

"And they body they identified as yours? The one they found in your
back yard?" Mac asked her.

"There was no body. The feds sent in a team to dig up the yard, and
then just told everyone that they had found a body. Since it was
supposedly badly decomposed, no one had any reason to ask to see it,
and they were able to just create the necessary paperwork."

"You were pregnant?" Harm asked.

She smiled like the proud mother that she was. "Yeah, Harm. You've
got a niece." She looked up at Webb. When he shrugged, Lyn
reached in her bag and extracted a photo of a little girl. Harm looked
at it, smiling.

"She's the spitting image of you, Lyn. What's her name?"

"Amanda. She's awfully smart. She loves to read and draw, but she's
a major tomboy, too."

While the two siblings caught up, Mac went over to Webb and
whispered in his ear. He thought for a moment before nodding and
leading her to the door. He spoke with one of the men standing guard
and watched as he and Mac headed down the hallway.

By the time they returned, Harm had caught Lyn up on the important
events in his life, on how Frank and Trish were doing, and on
Grandma Sarah's stubborn refusal to leave the old farm in Belleville
and relocate somewhere more modern and closer to her family. Harm
found out that Lyn was happy. She was married to a man who
treated her like a queen and her daughter like a princess. She assured
him that there was nothing that he or Trish or Frank could have done
differently. Her problems during her teen years had been caused by
the same chemical imbalance that had tormented her mother. Now
that she had been diagnosed and treated, she could have a normal life.

Or at least as normal as life could be, living without a past and in
constant knowledge that there were still those out there who would
gladly end your life. The information that she had taken to the FBI
had eventually closed off a very profitable operation for a well-
connected drug lord. Though he had managed to remain free, his
operations had suffered and he was still in the rebuilding stages. He
had no idea where the information had leaked from, and she
preferred to keep it that way. As difficult as it had been to leave her
family behind, she still felt that it was the best and safest decision for
everyone.

"What's your role in this, Webb?" Harm asked the agent. "After all,
the Federal Witness Protection Program is under the Federal
Marshals, not the CIA."

"I'm not involved officially, just as a friend. Marilyn is in town to go
over some details of the investigation. After your encounter with her
this afternoon, and all the digging you've done, the Marshal's offices
got worried. Someone I know there happened to remember me
mentioning your name and called to see if I had any ideas on how to
get you to give up this quest. I thought about letting them kill you…"
he told them, the smile on his face letting them know he was
teasing…maybe…"But I told them that telling you the truth was
probably the best way to get you to keep your trap shut."

They all looked up as Mac reentered the room, carefully balancing a
tray with four plates of cake and four ice cream cups. She sat it down
on the table in front of them.

"Harm had mentioned that tomorrow is your birthday. I thought you
might like to celebrate together one last time, though if the cafeteria
here is anything like most of the government buildings I've eaten at, it
might not be much of a celebration," she explained with a smile.

Harm gratefully squeezed her hand while Lyn looked up at her with
tear-filled eyes.

"I had almost forgotten," she told them. "My birthday now is four
months later."

There was a soft knock at the door. Clayton opened it and took
something from the man outside. He walked over to the table.

"Can't have a birthday cake without a candle," he told them. He set a
small votive candleholder on the table. "I know it's not quite the right
kind of candle, but it's all we could come up with on such short
notice," he shrugged.

Lyn smiled at him. "It's perfect, Mr. Webb. Thank you. And thank
you, Mac. I think this may be my best birthday ever." Mac smiled
back at her as Webb concentrated on lighting the candle, attempting
to hide a blush.

So it was that two JAG lawyers, a special assistant to the
undersecretary who was actually CIA, and a young woman who was
legally dead sat in a bare room eating slightly stale cake and soupy ice
cream with plastic forks. All four would have said that it was one of
the best parties they had ever been to.

All too soon, though, it had to end. "I have to go, Harm."

"I know, Lyn."

Clayton Webb cleared his throat. "You understand that this meeting
has to remain between the four of us, Rabb…why you have to stop
stirring up questions about your sister's death?"

Harm nodded. "You win this round, Webb."

"No," Webb corrected, "Marilyn wins."

"Come on, Webb," Mac pulled at the agent. "Let's take this garbage
outside." Her intention was to leave Harm and his sister to say their
goodbyes alone.

Lyn put out a hand to stop her. "No, Mac. Wait." She walked over
and took Mac's hand. "I know I don't know you very well…actually,
I really don't know you at all…but I feel like I do. Harm has always
made a lot of friends. That's just the type of person he is…but there
are very few that he really lets get close to him…that he will open
himself up to. He's so used to helping others that he almost never lets
anyone else help him. From what I've seen just in the last hour or so
and from what he told me about you, you've really been a good
friend."

"That's worked both ways, Lyn," Mac assured her. "He's been there
for me as much as I have for him, maybe more."

"Not from what he's told me. Either way, I'm glad he has you. I wish
I could get to know you better, but the fact that you have my brother's
friendship and respect puts you pretty high in my opinion."

"Thank you," Mac told her, blushing. Impulsively, she reached out to
hug the younger woman.

"I expect you to watch out for him," Lyn told her.

"I'm a marine, I can probably handle that."

Lyn laughed with her, then stepped over to Harm. He leaned down
and kissed her on the forehead. "I wish…"

She put a hand over his mouth. "Don't, Harm. Wishing won't
change anything. We made the decisions that got us where we are;
now we just have to pick up and go on from there. We can't change
the past, so let's just concentrate on our futures."

He nodded, hugging her close. "You just be happy, Lyn, and take
care of yourself. Remember, if you ever need anything, anything at
all, just get in touch with me."

"She can't do that, Rabb," Webb reminded him.

"I know…but I need to say the words," Harm said sadly.

She hugged him back. "Harm? I know you can't say anything about
me to dad or to mother Trish or to your grandmother, but maybe next
time you see them, you could give them an extra hug from me?"

"Consider it done," he told her.

With a sad smile, she pulled away. "I have to go now. My flight home
leaves pretty soon."

As she and Webb started out the door, Mac walked over and threaded
her arm through Harm's, giving him an encouraging squeeze.

"Lyn!" he called out suddenly, digging in his pocket as he walked
over to her.

"Happy birthday," he told her, holding taking her hand and placing
something in it.

Clayton Webb opened his mouth to comment and Harm rushed to
assure him. "It's only a rock, Webb."

Lyn looked down at the small fossilized flower impression resting in
her palm.

"You've kept this all these years?"

He nodded. "Just remember the impression you leave behind."

She hugged him one last time before heading out the door and back to
the new life she had created for herself.

Harm stood staring into the mirror, not really seeing anything until
Mac came over and wrapped her arms around him.

"You have the answers you needed, partner?"

"I suppose I do, partner," he told her, returning her embrace.
"Thanks for being here with me, Mac."

"No problem," she reminded him, looking up to meet his eyes. "After
all, isn't that what best friends are for?"


The end.