Title: Return To Me
Summary: Harm and Mac went to separate ends of the world and never stayed in touch. Four years later, when Harm returns to the States, he and Mac find that you can't fool destiny. That friendship is the road that leads to the heart.
Disclaimer: If they were mine, the series finale would have been two hours long and featured a nice, lengthy love scene. ;)
AN: I began this story, I believe, around November. I'd been disliking the lack of improvement with the Harm and Mac relationship and was really ready for them just to go their separate ways. But, I think fate would have brought them to each other again, even if they wished it for it to be the other way around.
When information poured in about the series finale, I added my own ideas, used DPB's original ending to split them up and decided that they needed to reunite in the future and start, back at the beginning. The irony of this story is that, way before we knew about the finale, I had them in McMurphy's and Mac was still going to San Diego. Funny how things work. – Yes, this is a shipper story, but it will start off with them learning to be friends again. The fireworks will come, I promise. :)Plenty of kudos and hugs to Witchy V for her FAHBULUS betaing skills. :D Your $1,000,00.99 is in the mail.
. .You rise like a wave in the ocean
And you fall gently back to the sea
Now I want to know how to hold you
Return to me
shine like the moon over water
And you darken the sky when you leave
Now I want to know how to keep you
Return to me
Turn to me
Everything I tell you has been spoken
And everything I say was said before
But everything I feel is for the first time
And everything I feel, I feel for you
I am here
calling the wind
I am here calling your name
I am here calling you back
Return to me
I know what it means to be lonely
And I know what it means to be free
Now I want to know how to love you
Return to me
I am here calling the wind
I am here calling your name
I am here calling you back
Return to me
Return to me. . ."
October Project "Return To Me"
Part 1 – Caught In The Sun
"How could I be sure
If it's you that I've been looking for?
What would it take for me to be comfortable with you?
With me, you're the chosen one
What if I missed you
You got Caught In The Sun?
What if I did something never to be undone?" – Course Of Nature – "Caught In The Sun"
San Diego, California
He knew her. Uniform or not, Harmon Rabb could spot Sarah MacKenzie in a heartbeat. Not even four years apart could keep his connection with her at bay though he'd tried so hard. They hadn't stayed in contact at all; a painful choice made by both of them when they realized things between them would never, ever work out. It was something that she pointed out no more than two years prior; something that he began to believe in as well. When the push and shove of their relationship once again went no where, Harm chose to walk away, leaving things unresolved despite his desire to be with her and her obvious attraction to him.. . .
"We're going to miss you, sir." Bud stood stoically, trying his damnest not to let emotion slip for the sake of his wife who was already in tears. Both Harm and Mac were leaving to 'better positions' but it still was difficult for everyone around them. He was happy for them, ecstatic, but it still bothered him to know that both of his mentors and best friends would no longer be there. Such. The military life, but no matter how much they try to prepare you, when moments such as these arise you find you aren't prepared much at all.
Harriet enveloped Harm in a tight hug. "Sir. . .Harm, the kids are going to miss you, so much."
"I'll miss them too Harriet, but don't worry, I'll visit when I can. . Maybe I'll head over for Thanksgiving?" He offered, smiling brightly, his own emotions veiled for his sake. He would allow himself to break down later, in private. "Sturgis." He shook his friend's hand but kept his bitter comments to himself. Like his relationship with Mac, the one between Harm and Sturgis had taken a turn for the worst. What had happened to them? Harm knew he harbored some ill feelings and maybe a little bit of resentment for his oldest friend not cutting him a bit of slack. But, when he went after Harm and, effectively called him a murderer without trying to find a different view, all ties were severed. Such good friends at one point and now, they were parting like acquaintances. "I'm sorry things. . .Well, I don't know what happened, but I'm sorry."
"Still trading lies, Harm?" There was a stern tone in his former friends words and tightness in his hand which made them both realize that this friendship was terminated, now and forever. And it was a mutual agreement.
Turning to Creswell, Harm extended his hand as well. "Sir, it's been a pleasure serving under you, I am disappointed we didn't get to know each other better."
It was a disappointment for the General as well, but he never did play well with squids. It would have been interesting, to say the least, to see what the two could come up with should they have had the chance to work together. "Give 'em hell, Commander." He patted the younger man on the back and stepped away, as everyone had done.
Coates was a mess, her personal angel was leaving and since she'd accepted to go with Mac, it would be doubtful that they'd ever see each other again.. "Sir, thank you, for everything."
"No, Jen, thank you." He hugged her tightly. She was more than a friend or a co-worker or a subordinate, she was like a daughter and he would always love and care for her as such.
One by one, all of his friends went back to their conversations, to their lives, until he was left alone with one Sarah MacKenzie. "You weren't going to sneak away without saying goodbye, were you?"
Harm grinned at her, though their playful nature had returned, the last couple of years had been strained between them. It wasn't right and it wasn't fair, but, sometime after Christmas he resigned to the fact that she was right about one thing. They would 'never' connect. So why bother holding on to hope? "Nah, just saving the best for last."
Mac leaned forward and hugged him tightly, it was the closest contact they'd had in years. She'd forgotten how good it felt to be in his arms. How right it was, yet, how wrong. Then again, maybe it wasn't wrong? "Good luck, sailor."
"You too, Marine." He released her from him, put on his coat and headed out of McMurphy's. Reaching outside, he took a deep breath and looked up at the neon sign that was the bar's logo. There were so many memories that he only wished he'd kept some sort of journal to revisit each and everyone of them. Harm swallowed back the lump at his throat, why wasn't it this difficult when he left for flying? Perhaps it was because he was going home then, to a carrier, a life that was taken away against his will. But, this time, there was no 'home' to go to, just a foreign land where he'd be forced to start over again for the umpteenth time. "Never look back, Harm. . .Never look back." He said to himself as he walked slowly towards his Corvette.
"Harm! Wait!" Turning around he saw her running out of the door and to him. Mac's body crushed into his and they kissed passionately and painfully. When they broke apart, he saw the tears in her eyes, the ones he'd tasted when they kissed. "Why Harm? Why couldn't we work things out between us?" Her voice hitched with a raw emotion he was sure he'd never seen from her.
He didn't want to admit it, but it was true, "Because you were right when you told me we'd never work out. . .Both of us want to be on top." He choked over his own words as he said it. "We're just not meant to be, Sarah."
"But, I'm in love with you." She said, as if the words could make all the difference in the world. Mac was desperate, so desperate to right things between them. They couldn't end like this, as if they were just acquaintances. But, she knew things should have been different. Unfortunately, she was too late and his mind was set.
Her admission almost broke him down completely, almost. "We're not supposed to be together." He said, as sternly as possible, knowing that every word, every syllable chipped off a piece of him. Not like it mattered, he knew he wouldn't see her anymore after this and then, maybe, he could start to fully heal.. "I don't love you." He lied, bent down and kissed her like he was already missing her. When they broken apart, he slipped a warm metal object into her hand and smiled. "I'll never forget you, Mac. . .Never."
"Please, don't go." Mac was breaking completely; she knew the moment that he disappeared that her heart will never be mended again. "You love me, I know you do. . .Stay with me, tonight . . .Please." It wasn't physical intimacy that she was looking for, thou she'd hoped that would happen as well. No, Sarah MacKenzie was hoping that just a few more hours would gain them all of the time they'd lost in their dance.
But, he shook his head. God knows Harm would have sold his soul in order to be her lover, but he was sure spending the night so close to her would be the end of him. "I can't, Mac. . .I can't say goodbye to you that way. . It wouldn't be fair to either of us." With all of the resolve in the world, he turned and headed to his car, ignoring the woman who was pleading with him to stay just a little longer. Out of the passenger's side window, he saw her body shaking from the sobs. Raising his hand he saluted her, then revved the engine up.
Mac had her arms wrapped around her body, shielding her from the cold in her heart. He was leaving, for good, she'd never see him again. As Harm drove away he kept her in the rearview mirror. "Never look back, Harm. . .Never look back." And that was it. Game Over. They both swore they'd never seek each other out again. – Never. . .
San Diego, California
From his spot at the outdoor café, he watched Mac walk across the street, shake hands with a tall, male Naval officer, who ushered her into a restaurant right across from where he was seated.
With a long defeated sigh, Harm stood, placed some money on the table, and decided it was best to get away. "Damnit." He cursed softly. Four years and Sarah MacKenzie still turned him inside out. Even without her being in his life, she was affecting his relationships with women. Two years prior, he'd had a six-month-long stint with a lovely Irish woman, Susan O'Connor. She was a civilian who'd been his opposition in a government vs. US Navy Case. Susan was charming, intriguing and contrary to popular belief in his taste in women, she was NOT a blond, but a brunette, just like Mac. But, maybe she was a little too much like Mac. Susan was a little taller than Mac, but had those gorgeous brown eyes that he found himself drawn to. She was tough, fierce in the courtroom, but could just as quickly turn soft and womanly. After blowing thru two other relationships, both with US service women (not in his chain of command), he'd sworn himself off to women. He wasn't looking for love, wasn't looking to settle down, but Harmon Rabb wanted some sort of companion to cure his loneliness. He found that companion in Susan.
The two had many things in common; she too had lost her father at a young age when a cancer was improperly diagnosed. As Harm, she resented her step-father and found herself leaving home almost as soon as she became 'legal.' Susan had a passion for law and would do anything to fight for truth and justice. They had started dating almost immediately and nearly as immediately, she, somehow had moved into his place. Harm should have gone with his gut feelings that there was something odd about that, but he was too lonely to care. Being so far away from home had made him slightly dependent on people, maybe a little too dependent.
Then, about three months into the relationship, the problems began. It started off with their sex life, she'd kept nursing the idea that he wasn't letting go. Susan realized one little detail about her and Harm's intimate encounters: he never opened his eyes. Not once; not ever. It was as if he wasn't there with her. Then, one night, out of the blue he said it, with a husky voice in the throes of passion. "Sarah." Susan ignored it the first time and even the second; he was quite a catch and if she had to pretend to be another woman whilst in his bed, she would. A week later, when he'd refused to be intimate with her for some reason or another, she'd tried her own methods of seduction in the form of a little pill she slipped into his ale while they spent a not-so-romantic night at a local pub.
But, it didn't have the desired effect, or rather; it did, just not in ways she was hoping. He spent that night going on and on and on about the woman he had lost, his best friend who he'd been in love with for so long he couldn't remember when he fell. His words exactly. Susan felt betrayed, hurt, angry, but no one could have guessed that she was so mentally screwed up that she would start stalking Harm. They had parted, severed completely though she begged him to seek some sort of couple's counseling. He'd had enough of her prying into his life, what's worse, one of his co-workers had spotted Susan putting the pills into his drink. When he confronted her about it, Susan didn't deny it and confessed that it was in hopes of getting some fun back into her sex life. That night, he threw her out of the apartment. Days of the sweet, boy scout, Harmon Rabb were over.
That's when the stalking began. The calls at three am, the faxes and letters. The flowers - she would send him flowers every day. The worst, however, was when he was having a very platonic business dinner with a female coworker, Captain Joan Starling. Susan had caught sight of the two and in a fit of jealousy, attacked Joan, sending the Captain to the ICU. He'd been wounded too and as a result, Susan O'Connor was locked up. He hadn't heard from her since.
Sighing, Harm made to get up, it was quite obvious he shouldn't bother with Mac. Still, something stopped him and then he saw her step outside, this time without the Naval officer. Curiously, he watched her cross the street and walk towards the café. Her long, toned legs carrying her across the pavement with that ever strong Marine look. He wanted to turn and run away, but something compelled him to stay and act cool. Sliding back into his seat, Harm slipped on his pair of sunglasses and comfortably positioned himself in the chair. He watched her from behind the glasses, his body growing tense as she came closer. It was becoming difficult for him to breathe normally. 'C'mon, Hammer, deep breath in, and out. . .calm down, it's just Mac.' Yea, right, Mac had never ever been 'just Mac.' Finally, as she was about to pass by, Harm cleared his throat and spoke up. "Funny meeting you here, stranger." He stood up in front of her and gingerly took of his sunglasses. Mac's gaze traveled from his toes to his head before they settled on his face. "Hi, Mac."
Mac looked as if she'd seen a ghost. "Harm?" Taking a step back, she took a good look at him. Sexy was the first word that came to mind. He was dressed in black jeans and a blue, tight fitting shirt. His hair was still short, but spiked in the way she personally liked it. It had been four years and if anything, Harm looked even more attractive than before. Damnit, she'd gotten over Harmon Rabb Junior that night he just left her outside of McMurphy's, they'd gone their separate ways. "It really is you." She cursed herself for sounding so flighty, but, in all honesty, she couldn't help herself. She wasn't prepared.
The way they said goodbye, wasn't quite anything like she'd have pictured. Then again, she never really thought they'd have to say goodbye. It seemed wrong, somehow, after so many years. Then again, after the last few years before their departure, they'd hardly been friends. So it came to pass that the only times she would hear about Harm would be when Mac would call and speak to Bud or Harriet who would mention that Harm had called to check up on his godsons. Those calls, too, had ceased altogether. To say that she took their separation hard, would be an understatement. On the outside, she would swear up and down that she didn't miss him and fooled herself like she did during his stint with the CIA. She even started dating again, but never let anyone come too close. But, during the holidays, she would feel this nagging pain in her chest, right over her heart. It would join this whole feeling of emptiness, like part of her life had been taken away. Each year she felt that pain less and was truly convinced it would, eventually go away. And now, when she made herself believe, once again, that she was over him, he was there, looking as good as ever. Life was cruel and unrelenting.
Despite himself, Harm pulled her into a fierce hug. He'd missed her so much during the years, there were times when he'd been tempted him to call and see how she was doing. Those times would be tossed aside as his mind popped up scenarios of Mac with CIA asshole, Clayton Webb. She didn't wrap her own arms around him opting to remain impassive at his gallant display of affection. He noticed and tensely stepped away. "Sorry." The glare in her eyes made him regret his impulse. Woman or not, Mac was a Marine, one that would, no doubt, kick his six back to London. "What's it been? Four years?" Stupid question, he knew how long it had been and he knew she did too.
'Four years, three months, six days, two hours and fifty minutes.' She said to herself, swallowing hard, trying to find her voice again. "Something like that. . . You're looking good." Mac kept that last comment tightly wrapped in a monotone knowing she couldn't show emotion.
"So are you." Looking around, Harm opted for a smile and pointed at the chair across from him. "You have time to join me?"
Something inside her wanted to hate him. She wanted to smack him for pretending they still knew each other, that time didn't pass, that they hadn't separated for so long. That he hadn't broken her heart and she his so many times. He told her that he didn't love her and she'd taken that to heart. Now, he was there with all his charm baiting her into joining him. 'I really should just slap him and head off as quickly as possible.' She though to herself and sighed in indecision. Relenting against her anger, she conceded and plastered on a fake smile. "Sure. . ." She slid into the chair across from him, opting not to take the one he'd pushed out for her, and sat comfortably. They both sat silently for a moment. She figured that if he wanted to pretend to be friends, she could do that. Besides, wasn't that what they were doing since he came back from the CIA? Pretending? "What are you doing in California? I thought you were stationed in London?"
Harm was surprised to have her ask. In all reality, he figured she would know that he wasn't in London anymore. Then again, it wasn't all that viable seeing as he hadn't bothered to check on her either. Yes, it was a total separation, almost like a messy divorce. "I was, but now I live here." He said, purposely leaving off any details in order to see just how much she wanted to know about him.
She crossed and uncrossed her legs and reached out to take a napkin which she used to dab some sweat from her face. "So are you still in the Navy or did you decide to play spook again?" Mac didn't even bother checking the disdain in her voice.
Harm chuckled it off, this was actually starting to be just a wee bit amusing. "No more spook-play, but I did start a PI office with Gunny."
"Gunny?" Okay, so that got her attention. He was a PI now?
"Yes, Gunny as in Victor Galindez. . ." He took a swig of whatever was left of his coffee and smiled. "We stumbled onto it. . . I assume you are still a JAG?"
"I am." She answered flatly.
That pleased him, though he didn't know why, it was probably because, even though things were so strange between them, he still wanted to know she was doing well. "Who's down here with you?"
"Mayfield and Graves. . . Sturgis left HQ two years ago when he married Varese. . .Bud and Harriet ended up being sent here too, so he's my chief of staff. . .I'm heading up the office over here." She grimaced, shaking her head slowly. "Vic's here too, I mean, Vuckovic. . .he's been here for a little under four months. . .General's idea."
"Ah, I bet you're just loving that." His voice was a bit too irritated at the mention of the younger officer. Harm never really despised him, but he never really liked him either. The fact that he was down in San Diego, working under Mac and that she was calling him 'Vic', just gave him the willies.
Mac looked at him once again, studying him and thanking that, she too, was wearing sunglasses. With a huff, she stood up. "Look, this was nice and all, but I have to get going."
Harm nodded and stood as well. "Yea, me too. . ." Without a handshake or some sort of friendly method of departure, Mac walked passed him. "Maybe I'll see you around?"
'Maybe he'll see me around?' Mac thought as she spun on her heel to face him. That was going to be the last straw of this charade. She didn't want him to be part of her life anymore. "And what makes you think I want to see you around?"
"I know you're angry. . .I was angry with you for a while too, Mac."
She laughed without emotion and just as quickly got that angered look on her face that would frighten most people. "You were angry with me?"
"Mac, outside of McMurphy's, a lot of things were said." He never quite understood why it had all happened the way it had. Why, after so many years did she try again and just give into him. To say that he didn't want her was a complete lie and that night, when he lay in bed she was all he thought about. "I mean. . ."
"Save it." Much like she was reprimanding a subordinate, she zeroed in on him. "It's in the past and that's where it's going to stay. . .Let it go if you haven't yet." She relented slightly, then turned to leave. "Goodbye, Harm. . . have a good life." As her heels clicked rhythmically on the pavement, she willed herself not to fall over. At one point she wanted this, to see him again, to right the wrongs. And now, she was just angry, bitter, hating him. But was she really?
Harm watched her walk away, his shoulders slumping. Damnit, he was a fool who was unsure why God seemed to like twisting and turning his life when it came to Sarah MacKenzie. Then again, there was a reason for things happening as they did. If he met her here, maybe he would meet her again? That night at McMurphy's wasn't the end of the road for them, he knew it. No, it wasn't the end of the road, but two people taking two very long detours only to end up at the same place, together.
TO BE CONTINUED. . .
Jackie's Scenes to tease you with ;) – Future "Return To Me" Scenes
-"Steady, Marine!" She had been fine on the drive over, well, actually, she hadn't. The drive over had managed to, somewhat, calm her shaky nerves and whirlwind thoughts. But, the moment Vuckovic had mentioned Harm, she'd lost it. "Damnit, this isn't happening. . .This isn't real. I didn't SEE him today. . ."
-"The Colonel seems awfully out of sorts today, doesn't she?" Bud pointed out to his wife, as they spied Mac who was in the living room playing with the twins – Alex and Amy. "Yesterday she was chewing everyone's head off."
- His gaze trailed down to where they sat down, about five tables away from them. Was Mac there on a date with the other man? Maybe, but why did he care? They were basically like acquaintances, not friends. No, friendship would take some time to be repaired and rebuilt. Still, some basic part of him was still jealous, he'd always be jealous.
- Former Gunnery Sergeant Victor Galindez sat behind he wheel of the 'company car' a black Crown Victoria, with no discernable markings on it of any kind. Then again, when you worked as a Private Investigator, the last thing you wanted to do was advertise while on the job.
- He knew why he couldn't sleep, hell, it was the same reason why he often had sleepless nights back in London and DC. "No, you're not going to think about her." But, it was too late, his mind was already one step ahead.
- What amused him the most was that the cocky Lieutenant was standing ramrod straight at attention. Harm came in dangerously close to the younger man, his taller frame overshadowing and foreboding. "Whatever you think of her, remember she is a senior officer and as such, is to be respected. . .Spreading little rumors around is probably the reason why you haven't been promoted yet. . .I never want to hear anything negative from you about the Colonel or any of the other officers in his office, do I make myself clear?" So many years and still he felt the need to play savior and saint to his former partner.
-"So that's what this was about?" Mac waved a hand between them with a note of distaste. At his confused stare, she cared to elaborate. "You running into me? You wanting to have 'lunch'? All you wanted was information, right?"
-Harm grinned up her. "Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of the desert. Though I am not too sure you can call that hot bunking."
- His eyes opened and locked onto her own, there were no words, no hesitation. He wanted her to feel and so she was doing that. Mac's hand ran over his cheek and down over his chest.. her breath hitched when she saw this look in his eyes that had never been there before. So this is what she did to him. This is what he was trying to hide for all of those years? Somehow they'd moved so close together that she could feel his breath on her skin. God, this was going to be her undoing. And was that really a bad thing? He was here, living in the same city. There were no regs, no COs, nothing stopping them but themselves. But, damnit why hadn't he kissed her yet?