Author: Laura Dugan
Feedback: Kindly, at AliasGirl@hotmail.com
Disclaimer: I don't own any of it: the show, the characters, nothing. They belong to CBS, Belasarius Productions, and its subsidiaries. I mean no infringement.
Category: Post Ep Persian Gulf, Mac/Harm Romance
Summary: Mac spirals out of control after killing Sadik. Will Harm be able to save her from herself?
Notes: I had an immediate response to Persian Gulf and the previews for the next episode. This is my interpretation of that episode. Thanks to Arica for helping, in a general sense, with this story. :) Special thanks to Dr. L - the JAG poster inspired me to get his finished!
Chapter 1 :: The Aftermath
"I'm worried about her, Harm." Admiral Chedwiggen took off his glasses and stared intently at Harm, concern etched across his face.
"I can't say that I'm not worried about her either, but I don't really know what to do. She won't talk to me." Harm rubbed his face, frustrated. "I hate it when she shuts me out."
"What about Webb?"
Harm looked up sharply, offended.
"I didn't mean that she would talk to him when she's not talking to you. I was just wondering what the situation was."
"As far as I know, he's still out in the great unknown. She hasn't heard from him in a few weeks."
"I don't think that's helping the situation."
"And we all know how miserable you are when Mac's not here."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Rabb on the offensive.
The admiral sighed. "Do me a favor, Rabb, go to her. Knock on her door until she lets you in. Or, you have a key, let yourself in. I don't mind giving her time off. She's been through a hell of a lot, but I am seriously concerned that she's going to bail. And unlike you, she won't come back."
"Thanks," Harm offered, sarcasm showing in his voice.
"Take some time, take a couple of days, get her the help she needs."
"I'll get her back," he said firmly, then added half to himself, "there is no me without her."
It was the admiral's turn to look up sharply. "What was that, Rabb?"
He stood, cap in hand, looking distracted. "Permission to be excused, Admiral?"
"Granted, Commander. Bring our Marine home." Harm nodded and headed for the door. When his hand reached the doorknob, the Admiral spoke softly and seriously. "Now may be a good time to tell her how you feel, Harm. She needs to know she's loved."
Harm turned to look at Admiral Chedwiggen, but his commander, the closest thing he had to a father, was bent over his paperwork, seemingly absorbed in whatever task he was doing. He turned back around and left.
"'Bout damn time, anyway," the admiral muttered.
"Mac! Let me in!" He paused, listening, and heard nothing. "Mac, come on!" He listened for a minute longer and still not hearing anything, pulled out the key to Mac's apartment. He slowly opened the door and looked around, struck by what he saw. By most people's standards, the apartment would be classified as "lived in." By Mac's standards, however, the apartment was a total mess. Blankets went unfolded, dishes lay strewn about, magazines and books weren't in their usual places. Something was definitely wrong.
"Mac?" Harm asked, setting down the bag of groceries he'd picked up on his way over and making his way through the apartment to the bedroom.
"Go away." Her voice was soft and distant and without a trace of strength in it. Gone was the power and the force behind it that he had heard in the CIA recordings from the night she shot Sadik. She had never faltered. Never faltered until the end when she thought they were no longer listening and she admitted she was not sorry for killing the man who had brought her so much pain.
But Harm has listened to it all, had felt the anguish she had felt, had wanted to kill Sadik with his own bare hands. But he hadn't been there and Mac had held her own. She hadn't needed him. Until now.
It took him a minute to find her. She was on the floor, leaning against her bed, facing the window. Harm walked to her and sat down against the wall, facing her. Her eyes were puffy from crying, her cheeks streaked with tears. She looked exhausted. Harm wondered the last time she had slept or had anything to eat. This wasn't the Mac he knew. The Mac he knew always held it together, held him together. Whether she realized it or not, she was his strength and he felt lost without her. She looked lost within herself.
"Mac…" he spoke softly, but she just stared off, unblinking. "Sarah…" he tried again and slowly her head turned, eyes locking with his and instantly filling with tears. He opened his arms to her and she came to him, collapsing against his chest as she sobbed. Harm fought to control his own emotions as he murmured soft words hoping to soothe Mac's tortured soul.
Mac allowed herself to lose all control, allowed Harm to comfort her, tell her everything would be okay. Allowed the blackness that had overtaken her to abate, if just for a few minutes. Soon, though, she composed herself, wiping away her tears, loosening her grip on Harm, but not letting go. Never letting go.
"Mac, you have nothing to apologize for. You've been through hell. You're allowed to break down every now and again." She was silent. "Hey, when's the last time you ate something?" She shrugged against his chest.
"Come on," he said, standing and pulling her up with him. "I'll make you something to eat." He took her hand and led her into the living room. "Lay down and rest. I'll let you know when it's done." Mac obediently lay down on the couch and closed her eyes. She was surprised how tired she felt, but realized she hadn't slept for more than four hours any night since she shot Sadik. Within a few moments, she was asleep.
Harm worked in the kitchen, chopping vegetables, cutting chicken, and boiling pasta. He figured homemade soup was a cure all for both the body and the mind. He left the soup simmering on the stove and checked on Mac. She was tossing and turning on the couch, her sleep restless.
He watched her for a moment, wondering if he should wake her or let her sleep. She grew more restless, muttering in her sleep. Harm gently touched her shoulder. "Mac? Mac, wake up, dinner's ready." Her eyes opened briefly and she blinked, then shot up, momentarily confused. She looked to Harm, breathing heavily, heart racing. "Nightmare?" he asked gently.
"Yeah," she said after catching her breath. "Same one I've been having every night since I shot Sadik."
"Want to talk about it?"
Mac turned, leaning against the back of the couch, and sighed heavily. Harm sat next to her, waiting for her to begin.
"I don't know why it bothers me so much. Sadik was an evil man. He tortured me. He tortured Clay," she paused. "He almost killed you and Gunny. He was about to murder an entire building full of innocent people. But I still feel guilty." She paused again, her voice thick. "I didn't have to kill him. He was down - he couldn't have hurt me, or anyone else. I was so angry with him. I don't think I've ever felt such rage. So I pulled the trigger and shot again.
"I don't regret killing him. He deserved to die for what he had done. But I'm tortured by what he may have known, what we may have gotten from him had we the chance to interrogate him. He was beginning to trust me. I got inside his head, Harm, and it terrified me."
"If you got inside his head, Mac, then you know what kind of person he was. You know he would never do anything to even remotely help the United States. Had he lived, he would have spent the rest of his miserable life in a jail cell funded by taxpayers like you and me. And he probably would have found a way to continue his work. You did the right thing. You did what I would have done."
Mac sighed again and Harm put his arm around her and they sat in a comfortable silence. . "I'm glad you're here, Harm."
"I always am, Mac. Always." She smiled, remembering how much they had been through over the last eight years. How many times they had faced death - either together or apart - it had always come back to them. Us.
"You hungry now? I made soup."
"Best idea I've heard in a long time."