:collapses: It's over! It's Over!

Hmmm, maybe I should yell THEN collapse? Okay, trying that again. . .

It's over! It's Over::Collapses and peaks around: ;)

This is the FINAL chapter of Until The End Of Tiem and the LAST (YES!) STORY of the Torture Series. I will let you guys know where you can find the full story, like, Url, they will be up in my site tomorrow. :D

Thank you for sticking with it for soooo damned long. Since December, no? Whew! What troopers you are! Now, all of you wusses can read all. . . Four? Yes! Four!. .. You can read all four stories and know that the ending is shipperish and fluffy and cute and some junk like that. ;)

Thanks again, gang! You rock my world. :)


Thanks to: Bite Beccy, Molly, XBlueShadowX, froggy0319, LieutenantjgMegAustin, starryeyes10, indie , Nix707, jtbwriter, aserene, Feverish Dream, BrittanyLS, chawkchic, martini1988, BlueJay, Angee, jaggurl, froggy0319, LiseGirardi., chawkchic, smithknk, mariarita, cbw, alix33, for the feedback you guys rock!

XBlue - LOL! Yep, perfect analogy. ;) Loved it! Calix: Shhh! You're supposed to be the muse not talk all the time, dood. :P So muse her to write something else, wouldya?

PART 6 – A Glimpse Into The Future

July 2, 2006
1820 Zulu

"Buuuud, Harrieeet, is there something we don't know that you do?" Mac admonished slightly. She and Harm sat on the middle seat of the Roberts' minivan while Bud followed Frank and Trish Burnett as they traveled a little less than a block away from their home.

Bud glanced at the two of them through the rearview mirror and chuckled. "Yes, ma'am, but if I tell you, I am afraid Harm's mom will kill me."

Harm snorted. "She probably would if you crossed her Bud." He took Mac's hand and nervously looked out the window. His mother and Frank had spent nearly three weeks in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas. Trish had sworn up and down that the only reason why they spent so much time there was because they were going away for a year on Frank's yacht and she wanted to spend as much time possible with Harm and Mac. They weren't buying it though, Harm knew his mother too well and she was conspiring something.

"Ah, here we are."

Harm stepped out first, and then helped Mac out of the van. They stood on the sidewalk with Bud and Harriet staring up at a two-story house while Trish and Frank, who had parked in the driveway, walked towards the foursome. "So? What do you think?"

The house was a Victorian, two-story house painted in a blue-gray color with white accents. A thick, lush oak tree sat on the left side of the yard some of it covered a portion of the house with its shade. There was a semi-wrap around porch on the bottom level of the home and a wrap around, screened balcony on the top floor. To the left side of the grounds was a three-car garage that was connected to the home by a windowed walkway. To call the home beautiful would be an insult.

There were a few other things here and there that Harm and Mac caught on. Like the basketball net over the garage door, the rocking chairs on the porch along with several, well kept hanging plants. There was also a tree of sorts with lovely purplish-blue flowers that gave the grounds a very pleasant feel. "It's uh. . .nice?" Harm said, after a rather long moment of silence. He glanced over at Mac who shrugged, neither of them understanding what was going on. "Are you two moving? Is that what this is about?"

Frank clasped a hand on Harm's shoulder and grinned conspiringly. Actually, Trish and Frank, as well as, Bud and Harriet were all grinning conspiringly. "No, son. . .It's yours and Mac's."

"What!" Harm and Mac yelled up at the same time, trading looks of confusion before staring at the home again.

"Your folks, Harriet and I had been working on this for a while." Bud said with a chuckle, taking his wife's hand in his own. Frank and Trish had agreed for quite some time that they wanted to give Harm and Mac a real home, something that would be theirs rather than have them continue to rent a small apartment. It was Frank, during Harm's bachelor party that had spoken to Bud about helping them find a house in Virginia. Bud had mentioned a small home with large land was up for sale in their neighborhood. The going rate for the small home was insanely expensive, which is why, after months of it being on the market, it never sold.

While Harm and Mac were on their honeymoon, Trish and Frank headed to Virginia to see the home. Bud had been correct; it had been insanely expensive and just a bit too small for their taste. Then there were other things to consider, like the state of the grounds in general. The lawn, if you could call it that, seemed as if the trees had thrown up. Badly manicured orchards that were actually breaking through the foundation of the home obscured the house. To top that off, the original front porch was rotting out and the pool was so badly kept that it seemed like the perfect hiding place for the creature from the Black Lagoon.

Repairing the home would cost nearly as much as building a new one. So they knocked it down and rebuild, quickly. "We're just waiting for the floors to be finished, that should take a week . . .Oh, and the pool needs to be refilled." Trish took one of Harm's hands and one of Mac's tugging them towards the house. "But there is no reason you can't look around."

Harm pulled his hand out of his mother's and just stared at her. "Are you two nuts? This must have cost you a FORTUNE."

Trish chuckled as she turned to Frank. "You would think we were broke or something?" Taking Harm's arm, she tugged him over and hugged him. "Darling, we never really gave the two of you a wedding present . . .You and Sarah need a home."

"Trish. . . we can't . . .this is. . .this." Mac was at a lost for words. They'd already gone all out for the wedding, now this? "We can't . . .can we?" She stared at Harm with a slight look of hope. Actually, she wasn't too sure what to think. If ever there was a dream home, this was it. The place was absolutely breathtaking and icing on the cake that they were so close to their friends.

"Well, we're not taking 'no' for an answer." Frank said sternly, leaving absolutely no room for argument. "You need a home you can call your own. . . We wanted to wait until it was complete to give it to you, but I have to go away in a couple of days to the plant in Europe for the unveiling of the new Chrysler." This was the truth and Frank was dying to see the look on Harm and Mac's faces when he gave them this, belated, wedding gift.

Harm knew better than to argue with his parents, they would win at all costs. "Mom, you have to at least let us pay you back. . . Please."

"Harmon, the only payback I want is a grandchild." Trish bit her tongue the moment that statement came out. She knew of Mac's problems, both she and Harm had discussed it with her. However, four percent was four percent. It was a chance, some women didn't even have that. "I'm sorry."

"Mom, you know about Mac's condition . . . You're not helping us." He stormed off, heading down the block and back to the Roberts' home where his Corvette had been parked. It made him angry that his mother didn't quite understand the situation. Not that she was being a pest about it, but, from time to time, she would urge them to try. Harm and Mac, after having an appointment with Mac's OB, had decided that if it would happen, it would happen naturally. Neither of them wanted to become lab rats. It wasn't worth them fighting so hard to be together to let the doctor's poking and prodding destroy them.

Frowning, Trish turned to Mac. "I'm sorry I really. . ."

Mac shook her head, "It's okay, Trish. . .I know you want the best for us. . .I'll go get him." Sighing, she ran down the block and ran in front of Harm. "Harm. . .It's okay."

"No, it isn't. . I. . .We. . ." He stopped when Mac stood in front of him, hands held up against his chest to prevent him from going anywhere. "Mac. . ."

"Harm, it's OKAY. . .It's not the end of the world." When he tried to walk around her, Mac grabbed his arm stopping him. "Your mother wants the best for you and I. . .Don't you understand that?"

Harm turned and glanced down the sidewalk to where his parents stood with Bud and Harriet. "Mac, that place is. . .I mean they. . . We can't. . .She mettles too much, damnit!"

If there was one thing about Harm that irritated Mac was his inability to see that his family cared so much for him. "Why can't we?. . .Is it because it hurts your male pride that your parents bought you a house?" She didn't understand it, really. "Harm, I wish I had parents like yours . . .My father, he passed away without . . .without us ever talking again. . .Without me having a reason for him treating me like he did. . .And my mother, I don't even know if she's alive."

"Since I was a teen, I've been able to be independent, I swore I'd never ask anything of them because I'd made her life a living Hell."

"And you did need them. You needed Frank to help us get a ride in a MIG, remember?"

He shook his head, looking away from Mac in shame. Russia. Damnit, that still plagued him. He could have gotten the both of them killed. "I know, but. . .this is different. . .this is. . .Well, this is. . ."

"Parents wanting to help out their son." Frank said, standing behind Harm and Mac. He placed a hand on Harm's shoulder and turned him to look at him. "Harm, you told me once that it took you some time, but you do think of me like a father. . .So, as your father, I want to help you and Mac. . .I don't want anything in return, son, only to know that you and Mac are happy. . .that's it."

Harm glanced between Frank and Mac, sighing as he felt this charge of electricity. 'Our own home.' He'd thought about it, but was waiting for him to make Captain before they ventured down that road. "Do you really want this Mac?"

"Being in my very own home with my husband. Living so close to our best friends?. . .It's a dream come true, Harm." She took his hand, lacing her fingers through his.

Not more than a couple of seconds later, Trish and the Roberts' came up behind them as well. He glanced at his mother and wrapped his arms around her. "Okay. . .we'll take it."

July 7, 2006
1910 Zulu
Harm and Mac's Apartment

Harm walked into their apartment to find a rather romantic ambiance. There was soft music playing and the entire apartment was bathed in candlelit. To top it off, he could smell something wonderful coming from the kitchen. "Ooookay." This was utterly odd, because, when she left JAG ops that afternoon, Harm was SURE Mac was totally pissed off at him. In fact, he was half expecting to get to the door, only to find a pillow and a dog bowl for him to use to sleep in the hallway. Maybe he stepped into the twilight zone?

Thinking back, it hadn't been his fault, at all, that Mac was angry with him. He really hadn't done anything . . .but then again, maybe THAT was the problem. Not doing anything, not moving quick enough.

Earlier that day, they were having lunch in his office, blinds drawn, door closed but not locked. Maybe that was the biggest mistake? Not locking the door. It was unlike the two of them to get too close during working hours. Save for a look or two, okay. . .maybe even three. But, they behaved like good officers should. That day, well, Mac was the one being rather frisky. He didn't mind, but it made him nervous that someone, meaning the General, could walk in and see them kissing.

And that is exactly what happened, only it wasn't the General, but one Congresswoman Bobbie Latham. "Ahem." Clearing her throat she nearly grinned when the two officers broke apart. "Sorry to interrupt, but can I have a word with you on your new recruit?"

Harm glanced at Mac, squeezed her hand sympathetically, and watched as she walked away. "Congresswoman, lovely to see you." Turning she winked at Harm, waved her fingers at him and headed into her own office.

He was in heaven, feeling very much like they had just been married though it had been nearly a year. Recovering, he sobered up when Bobby reached under his suit, took out a handkerchief from his pocket and used it to dabble Mac's lipstick off of his mouth. "I thought you two fought all the time." She said, sitting on her desk in a way that was rather indecent.

Harm nodded. "We do, sometimes . . .but the making up is rather sweet. . . Uh, I mean." Shaking his head, he cleared the fog out and, that's when he noticed Bobbie was perched on his desk, looking un-amused.

"Aren't there rules against these things?" She said, waving her hand between Harm and the door. "Fraternization, isn't it?"

"No, we're not in the same chain of command, even though I have to report to the General. . .he's not my CO anymore." He smoothed his hair down in the places Mac was running her hands over, then stood up, moving away from Bobbie. "Congresswoman, why are you here?"

"Oh, so now it's Congresswoman. . .We used to be friends Harm."

"Used to, yes. . . And we still are. . .business friends." He snatched the handkerchief from her and placed it back into his jacket's pocket. "So, what is it now?" Bobbi's friendship, much like Clay's always came with a set of rules. Some he was rather unwilling to follow.

Bobbi sighed. "I am here because of your new NCIS recruit, I hear both you and Gibbs want him out, why?"

"Ah. . .Who is he to you?" He didn't bother falling for the smoke and mirrors trick. Bobbie didn't come out of the woodwork if it didn't affect her in someway. The 'new recruit' she was referring to was Lt. Commander Phillip Granger; an African American Naval officer that, like Harm, had become attached as some sort of liaison. The man was rude, brash and did not work well with others. He was constantly getting into Harm's face and needed to constantly be put back into place for disrespecting a superior officer.

Bobbi turned to him with a wicked smile, she knew Harm would figure it out, but she didn't really care. She had more pull that he. "A friend."

Harm nodded at how loaded that answer was. "The answer is no, Bobbie. . .I am not going to bend over backwards for you. . .or for anyone."

"Harm. . .Please." She got closed to him then, so close that it barely gave him time to react as she leaned in and kissed him. As luck would have it, Murphy's stupid law came into play. You guessed it, Mac caught the tail end of that, not sticking around long enough to see Bobbi pull away and Harm wipe at his mouth with disgust.

"GET OUT." He yelled at her, and then asked Gunnery Sergeant Thomas to escort the Congresswoman out of the building. Shaking his head and in need of comfort from his wife, he went to seek her out, finding her in the break room sobbing. "Mac?" No answer. "Sweetheart, what is it?"

Whipping around she held a spoon out to him, almost as if were a weapon. "Don't you sweetheart me, COMMANDER RABB!" Mac spat at him, waving the spoon in the air as if she were about to strike. "If you wanted to hang around with other women, then why did you marry me? Why did you bother?" With a huff she settled against the counter, tossing the spoon into the sink. "All you men are the same . . .you get what you want and then toss it away like. . .like!"

"Mac, what the HELL are you talking about?" But, she didn't answer him, instead she slapped him quickly, then headed out of the break room. "Hey wait!" It was actually a slight be comical how, one moment Mac was running out of the break room, the next, she was the strong, confidant Marine as she meandered her way through the bullpen to her office and then towards the elevators. Harm, for his part, did the exact same thing, until he caught up to and jumped on the elevator with her. "Will you talk to me?"

Mac stood leaning up against the wall, with her arms folded across her chest. "NO." He went to touch her, but she glared at him. "Touch me and I'll break your arm, COMMANDER."

"What did I do!" He hadn't realized she'd seen him. "Mac. . .talk to me."

The elevators dinged onto the main floor and Mac calmly walked out. "I'll see you later, Commander." She said casually, placing her cover on as she headed towards her Corvette.

Harm stood in the entrance, watching her go with a look of utter confusion. He knew she was going through those 'female troubles' as she preferred to call them. He knew she would and could get moody and hot and cold in moments, but this was ridiculous! It wasn't, unfortunately, until nearly the close of the business day when Petty Officer Benson, had taken it upon herself to let him know that Mac had seen him kissing Bobbie.

With a grimace, Harm headed towards the bedroom, placed his briefcase in the closet along with his shoes and jacket. He heard the shower running with the door wide open. Normally, that was an invitation for him to join her in the shower, today, though, he wasn't too sure she wouldn't shop his little sailor to bits. On the bed he noticed a black satin and lace dress he'd bought for her a month prior. Next to that, was a black suit of his along with a dark blue shirt, one that she said was her favorite on him.

Not too sure what game she was playing, he hoped that appeasing her would end their suffering. So, he took off his uniform, doused himself with some cologne and then slipped on the suit. He barely had a chance to look at himself in the mirror before he smelled something burning in the kitchen. Racing across the apartment, he slid into the kitchen to find that the food had not burnt, but some of the cheese off of veggie lasagna had dripped down to the oven, causing that smell. "Whew."

He held his breath for a moment and opted to stay in the kitchen rather than face Mac right off in the bedroom. Instead, he busied himself cutting through hearts of romaine to put together a Caesar salad. When he was nearly done, he felt her arms wrap around his body from behind. Her chest crushed into his back and a soft voice rang out in his ear. "I am so. . .so sorry about today. . .I didn't mean it. . .I just. . .got carried away."

Harm tensed slightly. What the hell was wrong with her? It was so unlike Mac to just, give in that easily. For a moment, he couldn't help but think about Palmer and Nicole Halloren, how they'd thrown the wool over his eyes. He shifted nervously, that couldn't happen again, could it? Turning slightly, he stopped Mac before she had a chance to kiss him. Looking her up and down he couldn't help a moan of satisfaction. She hadn't worn the dress yet, insisting on wanting it for a special occasion. Was forgiveness a special occasion? Hmmm, not to his recollection, and they had fought before. This was. . .well, confusing. "Mac, what is going on?"

There was a twinkle in her eye and a look that was undeniably Mac. She was hiding something. "You'll find out soon." She placed her hands on the lapels of the jacket, smoothening them over and then straightening his tie. "You look so handsome."

He stopped her hands from moving and stared at her. "Mac, look. . .PO Benson told me you saw Bobbi and. . .nothing happened, she kissed ME. . .I swear that I. . ." Mac's hand on his lips stopped his babbling.

Instead of saying anything, she replaced her hand with her lips, then took his hand and tugged him towards the table. "Go sit down. . .I have a surprise for you."

"Mac, this. . ."

She fused her lips to his, kissing him deeply, then retreating to the kitchen. "Sweetie, I promise, you'll love it."

Harm curiously watched her retreating form, his eyebrows raised in a deep confusion. What in the world was going on with her? 'Maybe its just hormones?' He thought and though that might have been it, there was something else. Something she was hiding. 'Yea, definitely hormones, but there's something else.' As Mac returned from the kitchen, he plastered on a smile, figuring that, for the moment, it would be best to go along with whatever she was up to. "Hmmm, smells great, Mac."

"I made it especially for you." In fact, for the last month she'd been very productive in the kitchen. Since they'd returned home from their honeymoon, she'd been quite open in learning to make different things instead of just nuking them. Harm had been quite impressed despite several disasters. There had been a few meals burnt to a crisp and one that had nearly burned down the kitchen when the oven was switched to 'broil' instead of 'off.' Course, that was HIS fault, if he hadn't been seducing Mac she might have been more cautious on which way to turn the knob.

They ate in a companionable silence. Well, companionable for Mac, Harm was still leery of her about face. He barely finished the lasagna and she was already in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on a homemade chocolate cheesecake. "This is delicious." She told him, placing the cheesecake and two small plates and spoons on the table. "I couldn't help but have a taste of the batter." She served them both a piece and sat watching as her husband tried a piece.

"Mmm. . .excellent." He said with a grin.

Mac sat, watching him without touching her dessert. Actually, during the whole meal, she'd been tempted to take all of his food away and tell her secret. No, she would wait until they were done. "Good, huh?"

Harm ate a few more spoonfuls of the cheesecake, then placed the spoon on the plate and took a gulp of water. He would get to the bottom of this, since it was obvious she wasn't going to tell him much of anything. "Mac. . .what's going on? I know you should be angry with me. . Hell, I'd have been angry too. But, there is something wrong, I know there is."

"Nothing's wrong." She said with a smile, polishing off her dessert then taking a drink of water. "I'm pregnant."

He didn't quite catch that. Typical to Harm, he was on his own tangent. "Something is wrong, you aren't acting like you. . . I mean." She knew the moment he caught on as his whole appearance and demeanor changed entirely. Not to mention, he was now choking on his dessert.

"Harm!" Mac stood, came around and whacked him on the back until he coughed up the cheesecake. "Here, drink this." She handed him the water, waiting eagerly for him to recover.

When he did, his expression was wide-eyed, confused and amazed all at once. "You're?. . . We? . . .I?"

Chuckling, she leaned against the table and nodded. "We're having a baby. . .I'm pregnant."

"Bay-bay, baby? You? Me? Baby!" He stood and immediately wrapped his arms around Mac, lifting her off the ground as he twirled them around a few times. "Oh God. . .We're having a bay-baby?" He placed her back on the ground, a hand instinctively coming to her still flat belly. "How?"

"You really don't know how?" Mac placed her hand over his and chuckled once again. "I would hope you know about the birds and the bees, sailor."

"Noooo! I mean, how far. . how far along?" Sighing happily, he sat back on his chair, pulling Mac with him so that she was sitting on his lap.

Her arms came around his neck, her head resting on his shoulder. "Two months. . .I had been feeling out of sorts, so I went to see Dr. Chen today."

"It's a miracle." He couldn't stop touching a hand to her abdomen; impatiently awaiting it's growth.

"It is. . .but, she said that there may be complications and that I need to take things very, very easy. . . She wants you and I to attend some sessions together, they'll teach us what signs to look for in case something is going wrong."

He placed a hand on her cheek, his thumb caressing Mac's face gently. "Anything. . .I'll do anything."

"I love you, Harm. . ." She tightened her grasp on him, enjoying the feeling of sharing the wonderful news with the man she loved more than life itself.

"Guess we're going to need a bigger place after all." Grinning, he turned his head up, kissing Mac deeply.

June 10, 2007
1330 Zulu
Harm and Mac's House

"Shhh, daddy's got you. . .daddy's here, Ellie." Harm stumbled into the nursery, his sleep laden mind fighting to wake up. "Shhh, we don't want to wake mommy up do we, pumpkin? Nooo course not." He lifted his daughter into his arms and the baby quickly quieted when she felt her father's radiating love and warmth. Elizabeth Rabb, Ellie for short, had Mac's face and complexion, but her father's eyes and hair. She was a beautiful baby and a very good one, that wouldn't cry too often. Trish insisted that she didn't take after Harm who was a rather fussy baby.

Expertly, Harm removed her diaper. "Woah there, big mess you made, huh?" Ellie laughed at her father, as if she did it on purpose only to torment him and wiggled around as he tried to clean her up. "I know you do that on purpose, little one, but you really need to help daddy out here. . .Mommy kept daddy up ALL NIGHT and he's rather tired." Impishly, he grinned in remembrance of their all night activities. It was the first night, since having the baby that Mac had felt up to being intimate with Harm.

After giving birth, the endometriosis had flared up again forcing Dr. Chen to administer drugs for treatment. It was killing Harm that he had spent so many months without loving his wife, but he waited, patiently, he loved her too much to hurt her. When the time was right, he fought his eagerness, slowly making love to his wife, pausing often to make sure everything was okay. And it was, just like Mac knew it would be.

When Ellie was cleaned up and wearing a fresh diaper, he lifted her into his arms, cradling her tiny body as he quietly traipsed across the hall to their bedroom. He slid into bed gently, placing Ellie between him and a sleeping Mac. There was nothing more beautiful to him than watching Mac with their child. She'd confessed to him, one night when they were alone in the hospital, that she had a fear of turning into her parents. Of willingly or not, hurting their children. Harm admonished her knowing full well, that his wife would be nothing but a perfect mother. And she was, though the stress of having a new baby did put a strain in their lives during the first couple of months. Now, they were taking it all in stride.

Happiness was almost denied as Mac entered the latter part of the second trimester. She had still been at work, taking things very easy, though not easy enough for Harm. They had attended several sessions, all of which helped them look for signs of anything going wrong. They had also adapted a good diet for Mac, allowing her to, occasionally eat junk food, but everything in moderation. The cravings were what disgusted Harm the most seeing as, one evening, she was in the mood for chocolate ice cream with pickles.

The whole office had been very helpful to the couple. Though Harm spent a good amount of time in the office, often, he had joined Gibbs and company on investigations.

Creswell, ever the family man, was frequently calling Mac into his office, making sure that everything was well with her and that she was not over doing it. He would share family stories of Cammie and had brought Mac a quick, natural remedy for nausea when she suffered a particularly bad bout of it in her third month. Bud had been giving Harm pointers in parenthood even teaching him how to properly handle diapers. Harriet, who had returned to the office part-time, had taken it upon herself to help Mac with what she called "the joys of pregnancy." So far, things had been going smooth, maybe a little TOO smooth.

It was that late morning when Mac felt an odd kind of hunger pain. "Oooh, hungry are, we, Junior?" She cooed, running circles around her belly. Since both she and Harm wanted the baby's sex to be a surprise, he'd started calling the baby 'Junior' and it had stuck. Soon everyone in the office called her belly 'Junior.' With a huff, she stood up carefully, then rounded her desk and headed out to the break room.

Harm was leaning up against the counter, nursing a cup of coffee when she walked in. "Hey, beautiful."

Smiling, she walked over to her husband, glanced around to make sure they were alone and gave him a quick kiss. "Mmm, thought I wasn't going to see you until tonight?"

Shrugging, he placed the cup on the counter and yawned. "Well, Petty Officer Thomas was found, thank God. . .The kid was driving around with a broken tail light, police nabbed him and turned him over. . .I just have a TON of paperwork. Need to wake up first though."

"Poor baby." She teased, and then turned to reach for the sugar free cookies.

"Ah, I see Junior is hungry. . ." Grinning, he placed a hand on Mac's belly running his hand gently. "Like mother like baby?"

Mac slapped his hand away, chuckling. "Will you STOP feeling me up at work? . . What will people think?" She admonished, ripping into a small box of cookies. "I might have to. . .to. . .Oh." Her hands came instinctively to her belly, but running circles didn't help this time as it had in times when 'Junior' was acting up. "Harm?"

The coffee cup in his hand crashed to the floor breaking into a zillion pieces. He stepped over to Mac, his hands also coming to her belly. "Mac?. . .What is it?"

"I don't know. . .I don't. . .OWW. . .No. . .Oh God." Tears were welling up in her eyes as an intense pain threatened to make her collapse. Harm's strong arms prevented her from falling.

Creswell who had heard the commotion, walked into the break room. "Commander, I know it's your first baby and all, but, if you keep touching your wife during working hours, I might have to ship you off to the Aleutians after all." He quipped, joking with his officers as he had done whenever he caught Harm in one of those 'fatherly' moments. "Mac?" The moment he saw the commotion was cause for concern, he headed towards them.

Harm glanced helplessly at his CO. Screw the helpful 'sessions,' when something like that hit, your first instinct was to panic. "Sir, I don't know what's going on. . .She's in a lot of pain."

Sticking his head out of the doorway, he called for the first person he saw. "Call an ambulance, quickly . . .Let them know that a senior officer on the JAG staff is having pains, she is six and a half months pregnant . . . hurry!"

Harm and Creswell moved Mac slowly out of the break room, stopping at a bench that was just outside. "I think . . .think my water broke." She yelled with fear in her eyes as she grabbed Harm's hand. "I can't lose the baby. . I can't." Five minutes later, an ambulance headed off with Mac to the closest hospital.

Doctors came in and out of Mac's room, some of them looking absolutely flustered others wouldn't even notice that Harm and Creswell were waiting outside. The hour that he spent without knowing if Mac or the baby would be all right, had been complete agony for Harm. It didn't matter who reassured him that it would be fine, until he saw Mac, he wouldn't believe anyone. In the back of his mind, he had this nagging feeling that they weren't meant to have a baby, that being together was just enough. It was, he knew it was, but to come so close and have it taken away. . .he knew it would take a toll on their relationship. What was worse, it would completely destroy Mac. To top it off, he was still haunted by memories of Harriet appearing at his doorstep in tears, after they'd lost Baby Sarah. He was sure he'd never ever seen the Roberts' in so much pain. God, was it selfish for him to want so much? Apparently, it wasn't selfish at all. The angels were smiling at them that day.

After all the available tests had been conducted, the doctors deduced that, though Mac had been leaking amniotic fluid, they had stopped any pre-labor and both baby and mother would be fine. However, there was a deep note of caution. If Mac continued to lose fluid at a high rate, the baby would have severe problems, defects that would begin with the lack of development in its lungs. If this occurred, the doctor's only recommendation would be to terminate the pregnancy. There was a counter measure, one that would require monitoring round-the-clock – Mac was to check into the Bethesda maternity ward and stay there until the baby was born.

An ambulance took her to Bethesda, setting her up in a rather nice hospital suite that even provided a bed for Harm. Mac was rarely alone, everyone from Trish to Harriet to Jen to Sturgis and even Creswell, were constantly visiting, and making sure she was never left alone. To further minimize any problems, Mac's doctor had decided that a c-section on a pre-determined date, would be best. So, on January 12, 2007, little Elizabeth Rabb came into the world. . .

"Morning." Mac gazed into her husband's eyes, smiling brightly as he noticed he'd been caught staring at her. "No matter how many times I've woken up with you watching me, I still can't get over it." She leaned in, careful of Ellie, who was lying between them, and kissed Harm deeply.

Ellie giggled, making her little baby noises to alert the adults that she wanted to be played with. Mac snuggled close to her daughter, giving her a tiny hug. "Morning, little one."

Harm smiled. "No matter how many times I've seen the two of you together, I still can't get over it." He slid closer to Mac, taking Ellie and laying her on his chest as Mac cuddled up with him. He glanced down at his daughter, who was yawning, no doubt about to fall asleep again. Chuckling, he glanced at Mac who had the same expression. "How did I get to be so lucky?"

Mac yawned, snuggling closer to him. "I don't know, I'm still pinching myself." She woke up slightly, only to raise her head and kiss her husband once again. "I love you, Harm. . .Thank you, for everything."

"No Mac, thank you for giving me. . .us, this miracle." He ran his hand over his daughter's tiny back, then leaned in and kissed Mac soundly. "I love you, Sarah. . .I love you too, Ellie." He whispered, kissing the top of his daughter's head. The three drifted off to sleep again knowing that, this time, both fate and time was on their side.

Life just didn't get any better than that.


"Until The End Of Time" Is part of Jackie's TORTURE SERIES.


"Something For The Pain"

"Fully Engaged"

"The Thin Line"

"Until The End Of Time"

Look for Jackie's new, stand-alone, story "Return To Me" in late July.