Disclaimer: not mine

Author's Note: I guess this is kinda a continuation of the episode "Hard Time". Trying to make up for the lack of H/M interaction and well, as the summary suggests, to get rid of Webb. This is how I would've liked the episode to end (or something along these lines) even though I know it wouldn't happen. Hope you enjoy.

Summary: A little down time at Benzinger's between friends ends up with a very unhappy spook...

"Down Time"

by e-dog

2316 Zulu

Benzinger's Bar

Falls Church, Virginia

Harm walked in and removed his cover. Mattie and Jen had decided to go to a movie, so he was by himself for the night. Nothing like watching a little baseball and sipping on a few beers. He wasn't a fan of baseball, but he had nothing better to do. He took a seat at the bar.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in," came a very familiar voice.

"Mac?" he turned his head and looked confused. "What are you doing here?"

"I could ask you the same thing," she countered, playing with her glass.

"Well, I asked first," he said slowly, eyeing the glass with some concern in his eyes.

"It's tonic water," she informed him and she nearly laughed at the relief that washed over his face. "Gee, it's nice to know you have faith in me..."

"What?" he laughed nervously. "I didn't think that was alcohol...or anything..."

"Sure you didn't," she smiled and took another sip.

He smiled with her and then noticed how quickly her smile faded. He decided it was best to give her space. Maybe she wasn't having a good day. He ordered tonic water as well and remained on his stool...two stools down from her. He would occasionally glance over to her and then turn away quickly when she looked up.

She let out a little sigh and said, "Do you want to sit next to me, Harm?"

"Huh?" he turned to look at her, feigning ignorance.

"I'm not diseased, Harm," she laughed. "You can sit next to me..."

"I thought you wanted your space," he said and the moment he said them, the words became all to familiar. A remembrance of a night they shared in Afghanistan entered his subconscious. Mac gave him a knowing smile for it seemed she was remembering that night too.

He rose from his spot and sat down next to her. There was some more silence so he said, "What brings you here tonight?"

"Just needed to get out," she responded slowly, sipping her tonic gingerly. "Had a few rough days..."

"Oh, yeah, I heard about that," Harm chuckled. "For someone who has impeccable timing, you must of went out of your way to miss a plane flight twice!"

"You enjoy making fun of me," she laughed with him and gave him a wry stare.

"I'm not making fun of you," he grinned. "It's just the situation was funny."

"It was everything but funny, Harm," she sighed, looking back on it. She quickly changed the subject, "What about your case? How did that go?"

"It was pretty clean cut," Harm shrugged, not wanting to get into details. "Nothing special."

"Really?" Mac rose an eyebrow. "Nothing strange or unusual about an HIV case?"

"Nothing," he smiled and turned to completely face her. "I don't want to talk about cases...how have things been going with you?"

Her face seemed to drain of it's color, either out of shock he asked the question or maybe he hit a nerve. And if he had to bet money on it, that nerve was probably Clayton Webb.

He quickly stumbled over his words and stammered, "I mean, I was just asking about you, not Clay..."

"No, no," she laughed a little. "I know...sorry. It's just..."

"Just what?" he asked cautiously.

"It's just, things in my life haven't been going that great," she admitted to him, while literally draining the rest of her glass. She sounded annoyed.

"Oh," he said meekly, not sure what to say next. He suddenly got an idea of what could be bugging her and bravely asked, "Was Clay supposed to be here tonight...?"

"Yeah," she said quietly and then pushed her glass aside. She turned to give him a small smile and said, "But right now, things are looking up."

Harm released the breath he was holding and smiled wide, "Well, that's good..."

Mac returned the smile, "I'm glad you showed up."

"Me too," Harm said, locking eyes with her, then he caught the sight of a pool table over her shoulder.

She followed his stare and asked, "You wanna play, don't you?"

"Only if you want to," he quickly said, even though the eagerness in his voice rang through clearly. She thought it over, thinking since Clay wasn't here, why not?

"I'll play," she said getting up and walking away. "Only if you're prepared to lose."

"I am not going to lose," he followed her to the back.

"Wanna bet?" she asked, giving him a challenging stare and grabbing a pool cue off the rack.

"Since when do you bet?" he shot at her, getting a cue of his own.

"Since I know I'm going to win," she smiled and playfully jabbed him with the cue.

"Ouch," he said, pretending to be hurt by the cue and her statement. "You're that sure my pool playing skills are that bad?"

"I've seen you play, Harm," she laughed, maybe louder than she intended. "Not a pretty sight..."

"We'll see," he stared her down, while attempting to rack the balls.


Clay stood in the doorway, flowers in hand. The excuse he had come up with for being late, now completely forgotten. The sight of the two of them in the back; laughing and joking. It made his stomach churn. At first, anger had overtaken him. He thought that maybe Harm had found out they were coming here and he decided to crash.

Then reality hit him. Harm would never do that and she was having a good time...and he didn't have the guts to go in there and break them up. So he decided to do something he was very capable of doing. He slipped out the door undetected and disappeared into the shadows...

The flowers that were intended for Mac, now making their home in the trash can outside...

The End