Inoffensive Actions

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters (but can I borrow AJ for a while?). They belong to Belisarius Productions, Paramount, CBS, et al.

Author's notes: This fic is based on the eighth season ep "Offensive Action". It just screamed "Write me!" It starts just after that stupid comment Harm made about Mac and Farrow. Forgive me if the writing doesn't flow very well. This hasn't been betaed--therefore, all mistakes are mine.

Summary: Short fic based on events of Offensive Action--warning, major spoilers

'What is wrong with that man?' Mac screamed silently at herself. 'I know that I made a mistake getting involved with John, but did he have to throw it back in my face?' She got back to her BOQ, slammed the door, and threw herself across her bunk. She suppressed the tears that had threatened to escape from her eyes since Harm had said it.

"This, coming from the woman whose law school recommendation came from a superior officer with whom she was having a torrid affair."

'Why does he keep making such hurtful remarks? Is he really that insensitive? OK, so I know he was trying to make a point, but he could have been a bit more tactful about it.' Mac shifted so she was lying on her side, facing the wall. She took a shuddering breath. Thoughts swirled in her head, none taking root, until...

Finally realizing something, she said aloud, "What's wrong with him? What the hell is wrong with me?" A series of thoughts crowded her mind; the last one taking hold.

'Why do I let him control my emotions like this?'

'Have I been holding on to feelings that are no longer there?'

'He obviously has no romantic feelings towards me. Why do I keep waiting for something that will never happen?'

'Maybe I should take my own advice and just "let go".'

Although she knew it would take time, she would force Harmon Rabb from that place in her mind and heart; she simply could not let him hurt her again.

For the first night in a long time, Mac's dreams were not filled with images of dress whites and gold wings.

AJ stifled a groan as he shifted in his chair. Ever since Meredith had given him that "massage," his back had been stiff, and movement was uncomfortable, if not painful. If it had been anyone else, it would have been funny. "Did you hear a 'pop'?" echoed through his mind, as he shook his head minutely. 'No, but I certainly felt one!'

AJ didn't find it very amusing, although his yeoman had. 'That boy needs to learn some manners.' Tiner had found it quite difficult to stifle a grin at the sight of his CO walking so awkwardly.

He shifted again, a flash of pain contorting his features. He tried to focus on the meeting. Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Mackenzie, his Chief of Staff, was recapping the major points of the sexual harassment case that had been tried at Miramar earlier in the week. Once in a while, Commander Rabb would interrupt with a comment. From what they were telling him, he felt there was something suspicious about the case... but he wouldn't ask. Mac finished her summary.

"Very well; anything else?"

Commanders Rabb, Turner, and Manetti replied, "No, sir." Mac said, "Actually, sir, I did need to ask you something."

"Commanders, you are dismissed." When the three officers left, AJ said, "Well, Mac, what is it you wanted to ask me?"

"I wanted to take some leave, sir. Only a week. I've wrapped up most of my cases; the ones I have pending are either waiting to be settled, or are open-and-shut types."

AJ almost raised his eyebrows in disbelief. 'Damn, Mac, you want to take leave? What the hell happened out there?!' He hid his surprise, and replied, "Of course, Colonel. That would be fine. May I ask, what are you planning to do on your leave?"

Mac smiled wanly. "I'm not exactly sure yet, sir. I was thinking of visiting my uncle, but other than that, I'll probably play it by ear."

"Well, I hope that you have a nice time, whatever you do. Once you redistribute your cases, you can begin your leave. Will that be all?"

"Yes, sir."

"Dismissed, Colonel."

"Aye-aye, sir." Mac snapped to attention, turned on her heel, and walked toward the door. Before she reached for the doorknob, however, she heard a muffled groan from behind her as AJ stood. Mac turned back around. "Are you alright, Admiral?"

A flash of irritation crossed AJ's countenance. "I'm fine, Colonel. I believe something in my back popped a few days ago, but that's all." 'Why are you explaining yourself, AJ?' he said to himself.

Mac's conscience screamed, 'Don't do it, Mackenzie! Just turn around and leave... now!' She ignored it, and said, "Here, sir, let me help you with that." Mac walked up to and behind AJ, placing one hand on his back, the other arm around his waist.

Mac's actions shocked AJ into compliance. Before he had time to react, Mac pressed her hand into the small of his back until she heard the light 'pop' of something snapping into place. She focused on easing the tension in the muscles there.

Both officers felt the old, buried desire beginning to resurface. Each one's breath became quicker and shallower. Mac flushed, as she thought, 'My God, this man is magnificent... and this is through clothing!' She licked her lips as she envisioned a completely nude AJ Chegwidden. A moan threatened to escape her throat. 'Stop that. It's Admiral Chegwidden to you, Lieutenant Colonel Mackenzie.'

AJ realized he was having a slight... reaction... to Mac's touch. The slightest contact of her small, strong hand had an undeniable effect on his senses. AJ tried to ease his embarrassment and hide his hunger for her by saying, "Thank you, Colonel; my back feels much better now." Indeed, he found his range of motion was much improved as he gently drew out of Mac's embrace and turned to face her. They looked into each other's eyes, and were lost. AJ's head bent to meet Mac's upraised face. As Mac realized what was happening, her lips parted, and her tongue darted out to moisten them. 'Is he going to...? Oh, please don't let him back away this time!' Mac finally let herself recall the night of AJ's Christmas party, all those years ago. For months after that episode, Mac had dreamed about the uncompleted kiss in AJ's bedroom. She woke each night, gasping for air and aching for release. She had eventually had to block it from her mind, before she lost control.

AJ's mind went completely blank. His rational self shut down, and impulse and instinct took over. Their lips were a breath apart. AJ gazed into Mac's dark eyes, and something primeval in him surfaced. Instead of a gentle brush, this kiss was full possession. He wrapped his arms around her, crushing her to his body as his tongue plunged into her mouth, ravaging it. Mac whimpered at the sensations coursing through her. After the initial shock, she actively participated. Her tongue thrust out to meet AJ's; exploring his mouth with the same passion he did hers. Mac's arms flew up to AJ's neck, holding him there. Neither wanted to come up for air, knowing that it would end the only kiss they would ever share; but even AJ's SEAL training couldn't keep them from the simple need to breathe.

As they broke apart and looked into each other's eyes once more, the same words sprang to their lips.

"We can't do this."

Mac and AJ both laughed, easing the tension a bit. "Admiral... AJ..." Mac began. AJ looked at her, surprised and pleased to hear his name on her lips. "AJ," she asked shyly, "I know that we can't do this again, and I know that it was a mistake, but... do you regret it? Kissing me, I mean?"

AJ smiled slightly, that crooked smile that, before, had made her wonder what it would be like to kiss those lips. 'I certainly know now!'

"No... Sarah... I don't." Mac shivered both at his husky tone and the fact he had used her given name, not her nickname. "It was a mistake--one that we can't repeat--but not one that I regret."

"Thank you, AJ," Mac whispered, tracing his lips. She dropped her hand, stepped back, and assumed her military persona once more.

"Permission to be dismissed, Admiral?"

AJ smiled. "Dismissed, Colonel."

Mac turned and left, giving him a shy smile as she exited.

AJ sighed and turned to the window. "I wish it could be different, Sarah Mackenzie," he murmured softly. "I wish it could be different."

As he sat to resume working, AJ realized the pain in his back was completely gone.