Title: I surrender ... I survive (Part 1)
Author: Mary Eve Parker
Feedback: always welcome ;) ms.parker(at)gmx.net
Category: AU, Harm/Renee, Babyfic, Harm/Mac? Spoilers: None Note: I put it into an alternative universe because it doesn't fit into anything else.

AJ was going to turn five in 4 months and Mac couldn't stop thinking about the arrangement, the deal, she had with Harm. To be honest with herself she was waiting for this birthday to arrive, she was waiting to work on the deal.

Not just once she had been looking at the windows of a baby shop, noticing all those cute tiny overalls, the strollers and the different types of cribs. She even had given the name thing a thought – since it was a deal, just to get a baby together, none of being in a relationship, she would name the baby Harm. Harmon Raphael McKenzie-Rabb. She would do it, not thinking about the consequences. She'd give a damn about it. Yes, Mac felt her biological clock going down. She felt it every time her menstruation came – one month less.

"Hey sailor," she said with a smile playing on her lips when she stepped into Harm's office. He looked up from a file and smiled back. "Do you want to get over the Steiner case after dinner tomorrow?" Since it was Friday and she had no plans for the weekend, she wanted to make sure that they would spend some time together. They would also need to go over the case, but since their friendship was re-establish, Brumby away and Renee gone, things have been different. Firstly they haven't been close; there had been miles in between, but now, after Webb was gone too – killed by a grenade in Chechnya – they had become closer again, slowly. Everybody she had ever cared for was gone, except for Harm. And Harm had been a friend when she needed one – the day they had been informed that Webb had been killed, he had hold her, let her cry at his shoulder - another friend of hers whom she has to stand by at the funeral. Mac wasn't sure yet if he has forgotten about the baby deal or not, but there hasn't been the right moment yet to talk about it.

"Sure whatever you want. Pizza," Harm suggested.
"Well I thought about cooking since its weekend," she replied, her eyes smiling.
"Oh ..."
"I can cook, and I even know some meatless dishes."
"Really ...?" "Sure, but if you don't want, I can also order some Chinese." He noticed the hurt look in her eyes, which had been smiling brightly before.
"No go ahead, surprise me Marine."
"Sure sailor, sure."

Mac spent the whole Saturday morning shopping for the right grocery she would need for the veggie soup and the meatless chilli. He loved chilli, especially the one grandma Sarah had cooked for him. She remembered the day when he came home from a weekend, the seat next to him full of Chilli containers from his grandma. He didn't even want to share it with her at first, but after a long talk, she was allowed to try a spoon.

In the middle of chopping onions the telephone rang. Mac quickly wiped her hands in the apron and headed for the phone.
"Mackenzie."
"Hey Mac it's me."
"Hello Jarhead what's up?"
"I am sorry but I have to cancel tonight, something got in between. Maybe tomorrow?"
"Sure," she tried to sound like normal, but it didn't work. He heard the sadness, the disappointment.
"I am really sorry Mac, but it's important."
"Okay, I didn't say anything. Just go get your stuff done. See you on Monday."
That's all she said before she put the phone down into the aisle and headed to the kitchen, threw all the vegetables into the bin, cleaned the kitchen and sat down in front of her TV. One night less with him, one possibility less to speak with him about this deal. This was him, Harmon Rabb Jr., the only man who was able to disappoint her at the moment.

It was just 2 am, she was sitting at home on a Saturday – what happened to her life? No men, little friends, nearly no hobbies. She quickly changed into shorts, sport bra and a long sleeves shirt, grabbed her running shoes, the marine sweater and went for a run.

She ran and ran and ran. She felt exhausted but she didn't stop – not yet. She kept running. The bottle of water she had taken with her was already empty; she was wet, her breathing was rigid. This woman wasn't thinking about the fact that she would have to run all the way back too. She wasn't thinking about her body, her exhaustion. At a small kiosk she bought a bottle of water, and realised where she was. Her legs hurt, her back too. She had left her cell phone at home. With the last coins she called the so familiar number of Harm. But the voice who answered it wasn't his. It wasn't male. But it sound familiar. Renee. After the third "hello" from the other side, she hung up and leaned with all her weight against the phone. Harm has cancelled because of Renee. It was important for him. Renee. Now not just her legs and back hurt, also her heart. It felt like somebody would rip it out, not taking care anymore.

Monday came faster than Mac wanted it. She hadn't finished thinking about all the new things she just realised. She realised that she would never be the number one for Rabb, never, but a baby would. He would never ever let somebody raise a baby without a father. Never.

He wasn't coming in on Monday; she didn't see him on Tuesday either. On Wednesday they were in court all day and had no time to talk privately. And then, after the too long session, he was away, too quick for her.

Renee was back – she told herself over and over again.

A week passed and another one and they were not getting closer anymore. Mac tried more than once to talk with him about a case or what to give AJ for his birthday but Harm, Harm wasn't "Harm" anymore. He had changed. He seemed to be happy, at least. But she wasn't. The fact that Renee was back was torturing her but she couldn't change it. Harm hasn't told her yet that they were together again, officially, but there were rumours. Has she lost her best friend already to this blond bimbo? Has she lost the father of her unborn child?

It has been two months now since he had cancelled the dinner. Two months of torture, of sadness, a loss of self-confidence. She wasn't feeling well. She wasn't the same powerful lawyer and marine has been all the years before. She didn't even really care about all the cases anymore. Mac was doing her job, well as always. She didn't want to be talked about behind her back. She won most of them because she knew the drill and there was no case in which was running with Harm now.

There was a knocking on her office door which got her out of her thoughts, made her realise that she hadn't even read the second paragraph of the file yet.

"Yes," she said slowly. "The staff meeting just started. The Admiral sent me to get you." "Oh sorry, I was reading this new case; I must have forgotten the time."

Harriet had sensed hat something wasn't right but this was so unusual for the Colonel!

She entered the conference room and everybody was already waiting for them.

"Sorry Admiral I've been on the phone with witness." "It's only been five minutes Colonel. Take a seat."

She sat down, next to Harm, her fingers playing with the ham of her uniform blouse. She knew that everybody wondered why exactly she was late, the one with the intern clock. But somehow, everybody seemed to be occupied with other thoughts.

"There is your new case Colonel – Eleanor Anderson claims that she has been raped by Lt. Wolff 5 months ago and that the child she is carrying is his." He handed her the file and handed out all the others, asked them about their actual cases. She was only half listening to is words, her hands still on the case file when the Admiral suddenly stopped and Harm stood up.

"Like the Admiral said, I have to make an announcement." She noticed him taking a deep breath, "I will become a dad. Renee and I will become a baby. We are 4 weeks along."

Everybody congratulated him, except Mac. When he turned around after Harried gave him a big hug, she was away. Harm had wanted to speak to her before but there was never the right moment. She seemed to be busy and not caring about him anymore. But he couldn't blame her for it. He knew that since the Saturday he had cancelled things have been different, very different.

He went home that night to Renee who had moved in with him from one day to the other but the only thing he wanted was to talk to Mac. Tell her that he was sorry to let her know that way. Renee seemed to be happy with the actual situation. She made her home at his place telling him day by day that they would need some place bigger, with a backyard. Be he wasn't ready for it yet, not ready to give in, and ready to lose his bachelor status.

When Renee was asleep, soundly like always in his big bed, he dialled Mac's number –speed dial one on his cell. He needed to talk to her. But nobody picked up. Without even thinking he put on some jeans and a sweater and drove to Georgetown. The windows were dark. No need to over think it, he took two stairs at one and knocked on her door. Nobody opened. No sound from behind. She wasn't home. Slowly he pulled his key set from his jacket and unlocked the door. Nobody was there and it didn't seem like somebody had been home all day. Jingo greeted him and after controlling her bedroom, he feed Jingo – knowing too well where everything was stored in this flat – and left again. He had hoped to find her home, to talk to her, to clear things. He needed to talk to somebody and the only person Harm could think of was Mac. She has always been the only one.

But before he left he saw her calendar open on the coffee table. "AJ's 5th Birthday" – the date of May 18 was thick red encircled. He had nearly forgotten about it in all that joy about Renee's pregnancy. Not even two months left and he needed to pick a present. Maybe this could be a good reason to talk to her, to get her talk to him!

The room was filled with soft sun; Mac heard a bird singing in front of her window. It was weekend and she had never spent such a lot of time in bed thinking. She realised that she wanted a child, that she wanted one now. She wasn't getting any younger! Being 37 years old was very near at 40, and time was running. Running fast!

Over the internet she had searched for some sperm banks. Firstly she had thought about a one night stand but this wasn't her, not anymore. She didn't want anybody inside her, at least not now. And a sperm bank seemed to be a sterile place. The whole process didn't seem to be very complicated. It seemed at least easier than to get herself to sleep with a foreigner. Somebody of the JAG crew? Of course not. She didn't want anybody to talk about her, about her decision.

At work everybody had been so happy for Harm that afternoon, every smiled and hugged him. But she couldn't. She couldn't tell him that it was great news. That it was fantastic that he would become the father of Renee's child. Not her's. She had been thankful that there were so many around and that she could slip out without making a scene. But Mac had only been able to make it to the bathroom on the second floor till hot tears were running down her cheeks. Her breathing was hard and her heart breaking further. Knowing that he was about to become a daddy made her realise that she would look for another option, for an option to give some joy back to her life again. Some things never change – he had always been able to hurt her. Not just like rain and tax, but like pain, the feeling like somebody is ripping out your heart with his hands knowing that you are still alive.

But the only thing which came up her mind in this situation was alcohol, the fact that she needs something to drink. Something hard and alcoholic. Vodka. Tequila.

The moment she arrived at home she told herself that he wasn't worth getting back to alcohol, to the feeling of being lonely and more vulnerable. He wasn't about to win!

It was May 18, a warm and sunny Friday. Harriet had invited the whole JAG family for little AJ's birthday party. Harm arrived with Renee on his arm and Mac half an hour later, Harriet realised that there was something very wrong. Mac was on the one side of the backyard, Harm and Renee on the other. No words spoken between them and Mac was avoiding Renee – it was too obvious.

The only thing they all didn't know was that Mac had done the step, signed into this sperm bank. She had been told about the risks, the consequences for her life and everything. She had been old about the fact that there is a chance to get twins, a small one. She had been ask to think about all that.

She had made her decisions a long time ago. Two days ago she got the results back. She was pregnant from an anonymous donor – from the description exactly what she wanted: tall, dark haired, brown eyes, a pilot. Mac had worked herself through two complete piles of donors before she found that one. She was pregnant, one and a half weeks. She had to take care of herself now, herself and the unborn inside her. Mac had bought her little godson the last Harry Potter movie on DVD, a new Marine sweater and the new play station game he had asked for.

"You okay Colonel," Harriet asked Mac who leant against a tree watching AJ playing in his new sandbox. "Yes, and you know that you should call me Mac, we aren't in uniform." "Sure. You look a little pale." "Oh, I have a headache since I woke up today, but that's it." "You want to take something against it?" "No thanks, just being at the fresh air will help." "Sure ... tell me if you need anything."

She had lied and it made her feel horrible, cheap – betraying a friend! But watching Harm and Renee made her sick. Renee clinched at Harm's arm. He hadn't even noticed her, not once. She played with AJ a little longer but before dinner she excused herself, telling Harriet that the headache wasn't any better and she wanted to lie down.

When she left nobody was asking why, not even when AJ jun. ran towards her, throwing his arms around her neck, placing a kiss on her cheek, thanking her for the gifts. Nobody had said goodbye to her.

But he had seen her, noticed her all afternoon. Harm had seen the way she was playing with AJ, trying not to stay near anybody. She hadn't been any talkative lately. To be exact they hadn't changed any private words since his announcement of fatherhood two months ago.

Before she left, when AJ hugged her, he saw the tears in her eyes. And Harm wanted to know why, wanted to know why she was like this. Why she was escaped every time he tried to get towards her, to talk to her.

It's been too month now and he hadn't had a chance to talk to her yet. A week ago he waited for her in her office, wanted to ask her out for dinner. But even with the file she was working on left on her desk and the coat on the hat stand - she didn't came back. Her office was cleaner than usual, not that it was dirty anytime, but everything seemed to be more sorted, little personal items left. Nothing to be exact. The one picture of them in Afghanistan which had been on her shelf for the last year; wasn't there anymore. There were no pictures anymore.

He left nearly before 11pm without having the chance to speak to her.

But she had seen him the moment she wanted to enter the office. She couldn't tell him, tell him that she was planning to leave, to leave everything behind. That she wasn't about to look back. Not that she had a new focus in her life.

"Colonel you wanted to speak to me?" Her CO asked her, sitting in his leather chair. It was a Monday like every other too.
"Yes." She handed him an envelope.
"Please would you read this?" She said and sat down. AJ Chegwidden opened the envelope and read the few out printed lines.

He put the letter down and stared at it, confused.

"Why now Mac," he asked and she heard this personal touch of him in his voice.
"Because I need to Admiral," she answered looking at her hands in her lap.
"But why Mac? There haven't been any differences between you and Commander Rabb? And you are damn good in what you are doing. So tell me the reason!"
He took a deep breath and focused on Mac's lips, noticing they were slightly trembling. She looked up, shyly.
"I am pregnant," Mac responded softly.
"But to be pregnant is no reason ... what? ... It's Rabb's?"
"No it isn't."
"Who is the father?"
"Nobody you know."
"Mac ..." "Please, no more questions."
"Give me till Friday Mac, give me the chance to arrange a couple of things."
"I ..." "You haven't told Rabb, haven't you?"
"No," she whispered.
"No party, nothing I guess. I want to leave without saying goodbye, telling them why you are leaving your 'family' behind?"
"I have set my priorities. I just can't do it anymore."
"How far along are you?"
"5 weeks."
"Nobody has told me that you are sick or anything."
"Just nobody noticed." It slipped out faster than she wanted.

Nobody had noticed her regular tours to the bathroom during the morning ours – four sometimes 5 times. Nobody had said a word. On the one hand she was happy that she had been able to go "undercover" on the other side it showed her how much everybody cared.

"So your last day at work will be Friday 30th of June, next Friday. And please Mac, talk to Harm. I am telling you this as a friend."
"And I answer as a friend Sir, I can't. I won't."
"It's all about him again?"
"Not everything is about Harmon Rabb, Sir."
"But how does it come that both of his women are pregnant then?"
"I don't know how it is about Renee but this has nothing to do with Harm," she replied slightly angry, one hand over her belly.
"So if it isn't about him, why can't you tell him?"
"He just doesn't need to know. At all it's not really any of your ..."
"It is Mac because I am your friend." He stood up and sat down in the chair next to her.
"You can't leave him like that after all you've been through together. You have been friends, you saved his six more than just once and now you want to leave him here without telling him?"

She tried to take a deep breath but the Admiral noticed that this wasn't easy for her. His normally so strong marine was shortly before breaking down. The whole façade she had built around herself so carefully during the last couple of weeks was about to break down.

"I just can't. I can't deal with him now or his pity or whatever he wants to give me. I made my decisions the day I conceived that child, no I made them before, and I want this child. I am not getting any younger and this is maybe my only chance at all. I am not 20 anymore. Everybody seems to get a life ..." And suddenly AJ noticed a tear escape her eye. His marine was crying, breaking down.
"Oh, come here, Sarah," he said, pulled her towards him, hugging her tightly against his chest. She let all guards down and cried. She hadn't cried since the day Harm had announced that he was going to be a father, since that she'd been strong but the Admiral got behind those walls and broke them down – nobody else seem to care about them.
"You didn't take this easily, the decision I mean. I know that you love your job," he softly touched her back.
"Come let's talk. That's here isn't the right place. I want to help you, even if you leave us, you are part of the JAG family – you know," he said silently, more like a father than a CO. "I come to your place, you like Chinese don't you? Well I will bring some with me." She just nodded. "And now, there is the bathroom, fresh up a little bit."

Nobody had noticed the red eyes when she came back from the Admiral's office. She quickly made her way to her office and was the rest of the day in court, with her very last case. Till the end of her JAG life she'd finish all the paper work which was left to do.

All boxes were packed at home, and AJ like she was calling him now or he had made her call him to be exact, helped her to organise the transport to New York, to the house he had found in Rhode Island for her. It wasn't big, but big enough for her and the baby. He had helped her pack things, without asking any question. He had just been a friend.

At the office everything was cleaned out by Friday night. Mac had been thankful to know that Harm was on a submarine for the next 4 days, so she wouldn't run into him. The moment the last person went home, she had packed the last items of hers into a box and left. Before she entered the elevator, she looked back, remembering all the happy times she had spend in here – all the sad ones too. Remembering the day they thought Harm would be dead, before her rehearsal dinner. The day AJ jun. was born. The day Harm had hugged her in his office before he left for the Patrick Henry. Remembering the smell, the calmness and the familiarity of it. Then she took a deep breath, closed her eyes for a very moment and stepped into the elevator. Left.

Harm came back from his investigation and called Mac's number because he needed information on Lt. Samantha Ericsson who was a former friend of Mac's, just to get the information that this number no longer exists. Harm sensed that something wasn't right. That something was absolutely wrong! He drove to her apartment – it was empty. He got anxious. Nervously sweating, he drove to the JAG headquarter, going over some red lights, and her office was empty. Nobody was here anymore; it was already 8 pm and a "normal" Monday. The office was empty, only a set of pencils left next to her empty desk. Afraid of what might have happened he ran into his office to find no note, nothing. He went to the Admiral's but nobody was there. When he got himself together, he called the Admiral.

"Chegwidden," he answered.
"Where is Colonel Mackenzie?" He heard the older man take a deep breath on the other side of the line.
"She left Harm."
"What?"
"You understood me quite well, she left."
"She can't leave like this!" Tears were streaming into Harm's eyes. "But she did."
"Where ... where is she?"
"I don't know." AJ knew it, very well indeed, but he had to swear not to tell anybody. And the last person who should know it was Harmon Rabb Jr. She didn't want him around, at least not now. Harm sank down on the floor, crying. She had left him. Left him behind.

The admiral had helped her to get a job in a lawyer's office. The owner was an old friend of his, a former Seal too, but decided to leave the army after Vietnam. When she arrived she was welcomed with open arms. They knew from day one that she was pregnant and it didn't take long, just 5 more weeks and she started to show.

Mac's only contact to her former "family" was AJ who visited her from time to time on the weekends. And Harm's email, how could she forget about those?

Today, the first day of September, she sat down at home to work a little on the PC, get some reports done; she got the message "you've got mail". Knowing at it could only be him, she slowly opened the program.

From: Harmon.Rabbjag.gov Date: August 20th
To: Ninjagirlyahoo.com
Dear Sarah, I am not sure if you read your emails, or if you still have this account. Since I never get any reports back, I will keep sending my messages to you this way. Even if you do not answer them.
I really hoped that you would attend my wedding; it was my only wish for this day. I wanted you to be there and I waited but you didn't come. I wanted you to come. I wanted you to be there. I wanted to speak to you. If you should be interested, Renee's pregnancy is going along well.
She is now 22 weeks along and everything seems to be fine. We will get a boy, that's what the ultrasound said at least. Renee wants to name him Harmon but it just doesn't feel right to me. I have this feeling that Harm isn't the right name for him. I don't know where you are Sarah but I wish you would be here.
God, I can't tell you how much I miss you, my best friend. The smell of Beltway Burgers and dead animal pizza I am not sure if I am disappointed, mad or if I am sad about the fact that you left without telling me, not leaving me a note or anything. I want to know the reason. What I did wrong!
Harriet and the rest are blaming me for it and I start to do it too. Renee hates me for it but maybe it's because of those pregnancy hormones that she is like that. I wish I could tell you everything but why write it down here if I am not even sure that you read it. Why tell you about my heart if I can't be sure that its read?
F.L., H.


She hadn't read that either. She didn't want to read any of his mails. She had left him behind and she didn't need to be remembered, to think about him. About her dreams which had been destroyed or anything other.

From: Harmon.Rabbjag.gov Date: September 1st
To: Ninjagirlyahoo.com
Dear Sarah, I have this feeling deep inside that you are reading those mails, even if you aren't replying. But it gives me the feeling that you are doing fine. Renee is now 24 weeks along but not much showing. The wedding is over and she somehow fell into this marriage couple play. I don't blame her for anything, that she is tired or so but I have a lot to do since you are away. You not being at JAG anymore keep me busy. I don't send you any wedding pictures but I thought about it but it's no good idea since you refused to come to the wedding, so you aren't interested in them either.
AJ asked a lot for you lately, he really misses you and I would lie if I say that nobody else is missing you here. I wanted to share my luck with you but you aren't interested anymore, into anything involving "your family". I thought that we were family. I thought that we are as important to you as you are to us. But, it's obvious that you think differently. I don't care where you are now. If you are not giving me your address, telephone number or any other contact possibility – I won't search.
You have chosen this way and it's not up to me to change it. But I miss my best friend. But it is a one way thing isn't it? Just because I got married, we can't be friends anymore? I still don't understand it, I just don't get it. Why did you leave? Why without saying goodbye? You made me say goodbye before I left for the Patrick Henry and you were angry with me for not telling you. I don't know what to say more, just that I want my best friend back. Everything seems so boring now; nobody teases me about dress whites and gold wings anymore.
F.L., H.

Tears were running down Mac's cheeks when she finished reading, and closed the window. That was the reason why she didn't want to get into those mails, didn't want to read them because she knew they would make her feel sad and sorry. Make her think.

But she told herself not to look back. Her hand was softly resting on the swell of her bulging belly. Two weeks ago she had been told that she was carrying twins. She wasn't sure if she should be happy or not. She didn't feel anything at the moment, except for the loss of her best friend. She tried, dearly, to feel love for the kids she was carrying. She tried to take care of herself and even got away from Beltway Burgers. She ate healthy food, worked out on her home bike every night and drank a lot of milk and orange juice.

Even work wasn't the same anymore. Everybody at the office was nice and seemed to care for her but Mac; Mac asked them to call her Sarah because Mac made her feel "home" at JAG. She did her job well, she won her cases but the passion was gone. Mac told herself that things would get better when the babies were born, everything would work out then. But somehow, she didn't believe in it at the moment. She was just 13 weeks into her pregnancy but she had changed. AJ, that's how the Admiral made her call him, came one or the other weekend with some excuse to see how she was doing.

He had noticed the difference. His Mac had been a happy person who smiled and laughed often but this was gone. This Sarah now was hard and cold, impersonal, sad and sometimes even angry. Chegwidden found out that it was no good to speak about Harm and Renee with her, that she wasn't interested in anything – that's at least how she acted. But deep inside he sensed that she was hurt by his action and that Harmon Rabb Jr. had been the reason for her to leave. Were those his babies she was carrying? He wasn't sure about it. She had closed up and not found any friends here in Rhode Island but she wasn't going out at all.

At night she was reading and started to decorate the nursery in a soft shade of yellow. She did her housework, cleaned the house neatly and worked through her case loads. She earned good money, he knew, but she didn't seem to care. Her cloths were just black, no features in them. Her skirts were getting tight around her waist and the former silk blouses had changed to dark blue and black shirts. Her pregnancy was obvious and even the early state not possible to hide anymore. She had never thought about those things before, how her body would change with pregnancy or what people would think of a pregnant woman who wasn't married or at least had a father for her babies. Nobody asked about her life, nobody was interested. The elderly lady next door invited her for dinner twice but she asked for a rain check twice, telling her that her legs were killing and she wasn't feeling well. The only problem was that this lovely elderly lady came with some chicken soup and fed Mac, did everything to make her feel better. But soon, after a couple of hours, she noticed that it had nothing to do with the young woman's health but her soul – a young, tortured soul.

This night Mac went into bed without dinner, she couldn't get a bite down. It was a Friday and she couldn't sleep till Monday morning, impossible. She really had tried to get on with life, tried to make some friends but they were all so different, so not Harriet, Bud and of course Harm. Mac was honest with herself that she had never easily made friends; she didn't blame herself, but her parents. Trust was a rare thing for her and if you are friend with somebody, there has to be trust involved!

She should have cleaned the house a little bit because AJ had been on her answering machine telling her that he would be there by noon. But she was in no mood. When she woke up in the morning she showered, creamed her body a little bit and leaned against the cold tiles of the bathroom. She felt heavy, like a bleached whale. But she knew that it was normal. Sometimes she even wished that her mum would be here with her, to talk to somebody who has been through that too. But there was no contact to her mum anymore, no telephone number, nothing.

Slowly she brushed her teeth and slipped into a dark blue pair of XXL marine sweats AJ had given her and a dark green top. When she came downstairs he was already waiting for her.
"I thought you'd come around noon," she said with a deep sigh.
"Looks like I am already here. So what do you want me to do? The nursery? Something else?" "Let's just sit here for a while okay? I just got out of bed."

She let him spend the weekend with her. It would have been a senseless act to talk him out of it. He was so fixed into taking care of her that he didn't even see that she felt uncomfortable. When they sat together in the living room on Sunday morning after breakfast, he stared at her. Mac was wearing a button down blouse and sweats.
"You know that pregnancy fits you," AJ said with a shy smile dancing over his lips.
"I guess that's a compliment," she returned half sure if he was going onto her or not.
"I don't want to make you any uncomfortable Mac but I should tell you that they are all missing you like crazy. You left in a hurry and I am allowed to answer all the questions with a I have no clue. Do you think that it is easy for me to lie to Harm all the time?"
"He asks for me," she said a little wondered.
"Yes all the time, every Monday like he sense something. Anyway, he has told me that he has written you one or the other email and that you do not reply. Why not?"
"I don't want to answer any questions of his," she snapped back.
"It's my life and I made some decisions. Something had to be done."
"And you still think that this was the right one?"
"Yes," she said softly, nearly a whisper.

Mac has always been a master in betraying herself but this time it was harder than ever before. The time went on and when she was asleep in her bed, she often thought about how it would be to have somebody to cuddle against, somebody caressing her belly, somebody ... no not just somebody, it had to be the one and only, the one her heart belonged to.

Reading his Emails didn't help at all. She had to focus on her new life, not look back all the time. She couldn't hold her tears back for a long. She needed to let go. Just walk away, without saying goodbye! She blamed herself now for not telling him anything, not writing any mail. Close the door, let my life be like it was before - unloved, lonely... She was the best in hiding, nobody has ever seen her crying except Harm, and she never showed her broken heart to anybody but him. And then she walked away, closed the door, without saying goodbye, without ever knowing ... knowing what?

Through the lonely nights she had painted the moon in different shades of blue, drawn her arms around her waist, hold herself tight. But the night was still dark, lonely and cold. She remembered the days she had sworn to herself that nothing would be able to ruin this friendship, the bond she shared with Harm. She swore that they will never part. And in the end it had been rather easy for her to leave, the only way to surrender, to survive.

In the beginning everything had seemed so easy. She had thought that she would get him out of her head soon but it wasn't possible. She had closed herself up from the world. Each day ended the same, she alone at home. And AJ's visits didn't make it better. Once or twice she was about to ask him not to come again but on the other hand he was the only friend she had left since she wasn't able to make any new ones here.

Nightmares filled her world of dreams, nightmares of Harm's death, of her being a bad mother and forgetting about her children and other things like that. She was restless, often woke up in the morning completely wet from sweating, the sheets tangled around her legs. She always had hated to sleep on her side, except for somebody to curl against but now alone it was uncomfortable but she read that pregnant women shouldn't sleep on their back because the baby(s) would press onto an important vein and this wouldn't be good for the blood circulation. Anyway, the still hated sleeping on her side with a pillow between her knees to take the pressure off her hips, a nursing bra under her nightshirt because he breasts were sore all the time. Those nightmares were filled with a love that was never meant to be, a love she was trying hard to get over with, trying hard to forget that it ever existed. She tried hard to banish every single thought on him from her head, but everything reminded her on him. The one picture she had placed over the open fire place, him and her on the ball and in the same frame was one of him and her at AJ's christening. She could see the sparkles in his eyes, magical!

The warm weather was finally finding its end it heavy rain started. Mac had never been a rain fan; she blamed it on the time she spent in Bosnia. Anyway, this coldness and wetness was even more uncomfortable for her now, being pregnant. Slowly October arrived, and she had an appointment at her GYN/OB who told her that everything would be fine if she would rest a little more, and take long walks. She countered with in the lovely way she always opposed to Harm, that it would be her life and not his, that she was sure about what she was doing and that she had a stressful job – even if this was a lie.

She had a new case to work on, and it kept her busy. It was just a divorce and nothing she would have been working on while being at JAG but she liked it, the whole new stuff. At least she was telling herself that, and got herself busy over divorce law books in the library. Three weeks later she had won that case, got quite some money. The money she got more than at JAG which was quite a bit, was put onto a saving account for later when the babies would be there. Suddenly her cellphone was ringing.

"MacKenzie," she answered.
"Mac, it's AJ."
"Hello and what can I do for you. I am in the middle of a supermarket."
"Oh I am sorry, I can call later again."
"No, tell me, picking the right yoghurt can wait a little longer."
"Okay, I'd prefer if you'd sit down but well, I can't change it."
"What is it? Something with little AJ?"
"He is fine Mac and keeps asking for you."
This hit Mac more than everything else. She wanted to hug her little godson. She even had already picked a Christmas present for him which was waiting to be wrapped.
"So...?"
"It's Harm, Mac."
"What is it with Harm?"
"He needs you."
"No, AJ we won't go back into that. He never needed me and so he won't need me now," she replied angrily.
"They brought Renee to the hospital yesterday because of complications. She fell into coma." She never liked the blond TV-bimbo but this was, she couldn't find the right word for it, horrible?
"And the baby?"
"He is still doing fine but they aren't sure for how much longer. Harm is with her and we all understand that but we are short handed and I wanted to ask you if ... it would be just for a week or two till Harm is back."
"No."
"Mac, please."
"No, you still have Bud and Sturgis and I am sure you can find somebody else. I am not coming back after everything that happened. No way."
"So maybe its time to tell me what happened Mac, you never did."
"This isn't the right time or the right place to discuss this."
"It's never been the right time or place Mac, haven't you realized that?"

Sitting at home three weeks later, her hand resting on her belly she slowly felt some movements in there and it made her cry softly that there was nobody to share this with. She hadn't been checking her emails since she read Harm's last email. Now she felt guilty for not being there for him but on the other hand, he wouldn't understand her situation, he would blame her for it. She was in no mood to get into a fight with him over it. She wanted a baby, now she was getting two.

Some colleagues want to give her a baby shower the next weekend. Mac had told them that they don't have to, but those women refused, telling her that twins are normally early and that they have to make one .... That they want to go baby cloths shopping. Everybody has been so nice at work to her even if she was distant.

The phone was ringing. She thought if she should pick up or not, slowly she made the way towards the kitchen table where she had left it.

"Mac", a familiar voice asked on the other end.
"Yes. Harriet," Mac asked in return.
"Yes it's me Ma'm. I am only calling because the Admiral asked me too. We need you over here because things happened."
"Is it Harm?"
"Well, yes and no. It's not him in person but Renee died last night after they got the baby via caesarean. He's healthy and everything but Renee died."
"I am sorry to hear that", Mac said and took a deep breath. She felt the sadness raised her throat.
"But why are you calling me. I left. I am not involved into anything anymore."
"The admiral told me that you would say so. But the problem we have here is that Harm refused to see his son. He named him, "Tristan" because of the sadness he brought. I am not sure why he did it but anyway. He hasn't picked up his son yet. The funeral will take place in two days and the admiral ... well we all hoped that you could come and talk to Harm. He has to take care of his son now."
A pregnant pause took place.
"I will not promise anything but I think about it. It is quite a way and I am really busy."
"We all know that you are busy but we really need your help down here."

Mac walked up and down the house thinking about what to do. How could Harm do this to his only son, his first born? Why didn't he name him Harmon as he probably planned? So many questions came up.

At night the admiral called himself to ask if she has made a decision yet and if he can book her a flight but she told him that if she will come, she'll come by car because she doesn't want to fly at this stage of pregnancy anymore knowing the risks. Both knew that this was a flat lie but nobody cared.

At this point she had made up her mind. She'd go down to Washington. She'd talk to Harm and leave afterwards. She knew that it's real. She knew that it was right and that she could face the coldness of his face.

End Part 1

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