Can We Ever Get Back to Before?

Rating: T and M in later chapters

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters used in this fic

Summary: A story about pain, loss, and the evil monster that is endometriosis. Can Harm and Mac's marriage survive the pain of illness, infidelity, and perhaps death?

Special Thanks to Snugglebug for working with me on this fic and to all those who read and reviewed it. Thanks to all who e-mailed to ask where I went. I believe I have corrected the problem and hope to repost and update by the end of the weekend.

Chapter One

1100 ZULU

Mackenzie/Rabb Residence

On the outskirts of Manassas, VA

Sarah Mackenzie Rabb opened her brown eyes and looked at the clock on the bedstead. It read 5:59 am, but she knew it was all ready six am. No matter how far her husband set the time back, he couldn't set back her internal clock or their daughter's.

Mac rolled over and felt her hand brush against the smooth unwrinkled sheets. She'd forgotten Harm had gone to Mexico for three days on assignment. God she missed him, even after six years of marriage he was still very much a part of her soul. True he'd made mistakes, so had she, but they'd made it, he'd kept his promises to her. Some couples, too many couples let the strain of daily living distract them or let the mistakes made by one partner or the other get between the love they felt. Others could not deal with splitting time between work, children, and romance, but not them. Thank God, not them.

She stretched and rolled out of bed as soon as she heard the Mr. Coffee start to percolate.

She had to drop DJ and Lucy off at Harriet's by 7:30 so she could be at JAG by 8:30. Getting the two kids up and ready with Harm home to help with breakfast and dressing was rough, but doing it on her own was even tougher.

David Jonathan, DJ, was like Harm, slow to rise and always the cause of their being late to something. Lucielle Patricia, Lucy was just like Mac, internally programmed to be on time for everything, provided that she wanted to be.

Mac slowly walked to Lucy's room to find her daughter standing in the doorway, her worn out Winnie the Pooh clutched in her little hand. "Mommy, it's 06:02."

"I know, Sweetie. Why don't you put Pooh down and go to the head for while Mommy gets DJ up and let's Colleen out okay?" Mac told the child.

Mac watched out of the corner of her eye as the near five year old padded to the "green" bathroom still holding her Pooh bear.

Mac let it go and quickly went to the side door to let their large Irish Setter out into the year before she went into their two year old son David's room and woke him, "Hi, Little Boy. Time to get up and greet the morning," she said as she stroked his cheek.

"No," the toddler vehemently protested. "Night night."

"No more sleep now. Come on," Mac sighed and reached over the rail of his airplane bed to lift him out ignoring the familiar pull in her side. The toddler buried his face in his mother's neck and mumbled, "Want Daddy."

"I know, Sweets. Sunday, you'll see Daddy. Now be good and let's get ready to go to Auntie Harriet's," Mac sighed as she placed the boy on his changing table and gave him a new pull-up.

1105 ZULU

0505 CST, Mexico

Hotel Cabo Wabo

Room 45

Harmon Rabb, Jr. woke slowly that Friday morning and stretched out his long arms. It was getting harder as he was getting older, sleeping on the crappy hotel mattresses. He felt the movement next to him and out of six years of habit raised his arm to allow his partner to snuggle next to his chest before they began the daily grind. She moved next to him and laid her hand on his chest. He looked down at her and smiled. She was beautiful, even after all this time. Her soft brown hair, clear silky skin, blue eyes…blue eyes?

"Sarah?" he rasped, his voice hoarse from lack of use.

"Try again, Commander," the woman said and sat up. "And don't tell me you don't remember what happened last night."

Harm shook his head, trying to shake the tequila fog out of his brain. He knew he'd had a few too many margheritas but he didn't think he'd had that many. He remembered going to the bar in the hotel after meeting the Ambassador. He remembered ordering a house margherita on the rocks. He remembered sitting down at the bar drinking one when Annie had…oh God. He opened his eyes and looked at the woman next to him. For the first time since last night he wasn't looking into the face of his beloved wife, but into the face of neurotic ex Annie Pendry.

"Oh my God," he gasped. "Oh my God, oh my God."

"That's more like it," she sighed as she leaned over to kiss his lips.

Quickly Harm turned his head away from her mouth so that her lips landed on the inside of his ear. "Annie this was wrong, this shouldn't have happened."

"That's not what you said last night," Annie sighed. "Last night you were more than ready for this to happen."

"I wasn't myself last night. It was the tequila or Mexico or…" He thought to himself, "Six months without sex."

"Or the fact you wanted me," she whispered huskily.

"Annie…" he shook his head sadly. "What we had…I don't even know what…all I know is that Mac will be crushed if…Annie, I'm so sorry. This was a mistake; you and I have been…There's no excuse. I'm sorry."

Annie smiled a small sad smile, "I know Harm. I'm sorry too. I'm married again too. It's just seeing you after all this time brought back some really wonderful memories."

Harm reached his hand and touched her cheek, "Yeah it did," he agreed. "Now, I think we need to file this…" he motioned with his free hand to the bed. "With those other wonderful memories and leave it where it belongs. Here in Mexico."

Annie solemnly nodded and rose from the bed, making sure to give Harm a full view of her body as she did so. "I'm going to shower and get out of your hair."

"Thank you for being so great about this," Harm said. "I wish…"

"If wishes were horses, Harm," Annie sighed. "No harm done."

While Annie went to the bathroom to shower, Harm reached for the phone receiver and dialed a familiar number. He just prayed that Mac would be too busy with their rambunctious children to hear the pain in his voice.

1130 Zulu

Mackenzie Rabb Residence

On the outskirts of ManassasVA

With Lucy washed and dressed for the day and DJ cleaned up with a fresh pull up and clothing, Mac quickly made breakfast for her children. When Harm was home usually one or the other would make oatmeal or scrambled eggs or pancakes, but when it was just Mac or just Harm it was Cheerios and Rice Krispies.

Once breakfast was well on its way, Mac went to grab her shampoo and used the kitchen sink to wash her hair before putting on her uniform. Thankfully, she'd taken to pinning on her insignia and fruit salad the night before work so she didn't have to do it in the morning. Just as she was about to plug her blow dryer into the socket next to the toaster, the phone rang.

"Daddy!" Lucy exclaimed, knowing whenever Harm or Mac were away they made check in call in the morning.

Mac pushed the speaker phone button, "Hello?"

"Hey, Sweetheart," Harm tried to greet her as cheerfully as possible give the pain in his head and the guilt in his heart.

"Hi, Harm. Hi, Daddy," Came through the phone.

"Hey, Buttons," Harm greeted. "You guys being good for Mommy?"

"Yes, Sir," Lucy replied amidst DJ's, "Daddy home."

"I will be soon, Champ," Harm replied. "You take care of Mommy until I get back okay?"

"Kay!" DJ replied with an enthusiasm only a child could apply to the situation.

"Good," Harm praised. "Sarah, pick up the phone now."

"Finish your breakfast, Lucy," she instructed lifting the receiver as she began to lad the dishwasher. "How are you, Sailor? You sound funny."

"I'm fine. I had a few too many margheritas last night so I've got a bit of a headache. How are you feeling?" he asked.

"Okay, we're busy here, but physically I'm okay," Mac told him and it was true. Before her period each month she had some minor pain from her endometriosis with was more than manageable with mild painkillers. It was during her period and sadly their more intimate moments as a couple that there was real trouble with it. Harm promised he'd never leave her alone with the children during those times and he hadn't broken that promise yet.

"How's the investigation going?" she asked while wiping DJ's hands as he fussed.

"Well. There's no way I won't be home by Sunday for the barbeque," Harm told her.

"Are you sure, Flyboy? You sound off?" Mac knew when something was wrong with him. You don't have nine years together, six of them as husband and wife and not learn subtleties of behavior and tone.

"Yeah, I just miss my Ninja Girl. I love you so much," he told her honestly his voice cracking. "My arms ache at night without you in them." That was true as well.

"Me too, Honey," Mac replied. "I'll see you Sunday and I'll be here for you to hold. I love you."

1145 ZULU

545 CST, Mexico

Hotel Cabo Wabo

Rm 45

Annie heard Harm's contrite voice on the phone talking to his wife presumably. "My arms ache at night without you in them, Sarah. I hate these trips."

Silence then, "I love you, too. I'm sorry…" Another silence. "I know. Kiss the kids and take care of yourself. Bye."

"Sarah," Annie grumbled. "Always Sarah." She was always between them, even when Annie had first met them in California and ultimately she was the reason their relationship had not survived and she was in a bad marriage to a man she did not love. It was Sarah's fault that she was in this kind of pain. And from what Harm had told her last night, he was not exactly delirious with joy anymore either.

But what could she do really? This was simply the way things were. Part of her though wished Sarah Mackenzie Rabb could find out that she hadn't tamed Harmon Rabb, Jr. after all.