AN: See how I'm getting better with the updating?

From the previous chapter:

Neither one of them noticed the young girl on the perched on the stairs, but she heard them, and her heart broke a little.

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"What's wrong, Flyboy?"

"Don't call me that," he said, his voice on edge.

He wasn't screaming, but there was anger in his voice. It didn't quite belong.

"Oops, I forgot, she's the only one allowed to call you that, isn't she? My bad."

She was dying. They both knew it and there was nothing they could do. She was going to die and leave an orphaned little girl.

"Don't do this Renee, please."

"You can't tell me what to do, Harm!"

"No, but I can ask you to stay. You're her mother, she deserves to be with you while she still can."

"I deserve to have a life while I still can, Harm."

She wasn't angry, but there was a certain something to the way she spoke. Almost like the words were hard for her to say.

"She's four years old, she doesn't understand that you're-"

"She doesn't need me Harm, she has you."

---

In between sobs, locked inside the bathroom, Samantha remembered.

"Flyboy," she said, rolling the word on her mouth. "Flyboy."

It was one of those memories you keep at the back of your head, under the surface, lingering.

Was that her mother? Was it true? Or was it just her imagination playing tricks on her? (She really hoped so.)

Nana Trish once told her someone had broken her dad's heart, and for the first time in her life, Samantha found herself believing it. It's not crystal clear, yet, but a lot of the pieces fit now, better than they did before. Better than she'd like them to. It's a lifetime of half-answered questions and walked-in conversations, it's a whispered name at the Roberts' house and a secret everyone knew, a lie they all told her.

She wished she hadn't heard him. She wished she'd never known. It hurt, so much.

Her world was crashing down and it wasn't fair. Her mother had loved her. She knew that better than she knew her own name. Her mother had loved her and her father loved her mother, still loved her, even after all these years. That was the truth. That was her truth.

What right did this Sarah have to come and screw up everything? She was Dad's old partner, big shit, who cared? Why was she so important that her Dad smiled more, laughed more?

The rational part of Sam's brain was telling her that even if she'd never realized it was a lie, it wouldn't have made it true, but she was too mentally exhausted to care.

---

Sam came down the stairs, her eyes were puffy and her lips were shaking. She stared at Harm, at Mac and the pain was evident in the way she held herself, arms crossed in front of her chest and slightly hunched forward, almost like she'd just been hit in the stomach.

She stared at Harm, stared at Mac (with real pure hatred in her eyes) and they knew right then they'd been heard.

"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked, and her voice was surprisingly level for a thirteen-year-old who had suddenly had her world turned upside down.

Harm has no words, he's only just let go of Mac a few minutes before and his breathing had just returned to its usual calm rhythm when Sam stepped down the stairs and into the living room.

It was a good thing looks couldn't actually kill because Mac'd be pretty much dead if they were, with the way the girl is looking at her. It was a good decision, calling a cab. Even though she wanted to support Harm, to be there for him as he answered the question, she knew it wasn't her place and she'd only do more damage by staying.

Mac stands up, and Harms felt her hand rest lightly on his shoulder before she let go and walked away. He heard his front door open and knew she was gone but he didn't see any of this. His eyes were firmly set on his daughter, looking older all of a sudden, way more grown up than she had any right to be and it was his fault. He did that to her, he couldn't hold it together and this happened, he hurt his daughter, the one person in the world he swore he'd never, ever hurt.

"I'm sorry," he said, and he could see that it didn't make a difference how sorry he was, how sorry he would ever be, he'd still broke his daughter's heart.

"You lied to me," she answered, not acknowledging his apology. "You lied to me, Dad."

All of her strong girl bravado disappears and she's just a child now, just a little kid again, albeit a broken-hearted one. Harm looks at her and for the first time in what feels like forever he sees himself in her. He sees more of himself in her blue eyes than he's ever had before, because those eyes, those were the ones that stared back at him when he looked into the mirror.

"I'm sorry," he told her, his voice catching in his throat. "I'm so sorry."

"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked again. "Why Daddy?"

She cried then, tears ran down her face and she felt like all of the tears in the world wouldn't be enough to make her feel better.

"Why?"

She threw herself into her father's arms and buried her head in his chest, remembering all those times she'd been sad a s a little girl and she'd done the exact same thing. She knew now why she didn't have similar memories of her mother.

---

Mac stood outside of Harm's house, cold and lonely and of course it started to rain as soon as she walked out. It was oddly fitting. She fought hard not to look towards the window, this scene felt too much like another one, a lifetime before.

Before, the night she left DC all those years ago, she'd wanted him to choose her. She'd understood, of course, that Renee needed him and that Harm was not the kind of man who'd leave someone who needed him. Except that she'd needed him too, back then, maybe more than she'd ever had before and it still hurt a little to know that he picked someone else.

It was different now, because this time, she didn't want him to have to make a choice. So she left, and tomorrow, she'd call him and make it crystal clear that it wasn't going to work between them, and that it was a bad idea since the beginning. Because she can give him that, at least.

[TBC...