Thanks for sticking with this, those of you that did. . .You have read 241 pages worth of a story that started - IN JULY! Hopefully, it was worth it. :) I must say, it truely did take a turn that wasn't in its card. Believe it or not, this is what writers block does to me. Sad that 80 is a writers block story.

Anyway, Part 1 of story two will start sometime next week. . .I have to finish outlining the story so that it stays its course. It will be the real reason why the story was called "Return To Me" and will have Harm and Mac in some fun predicaments, another one of Harm's cases in which he and Mac pretend to be a dysfunctional couple to solve a case involving a couple's therapist. Some ideas I ahve written up are funny. ;) Comedy is good.

Anyway, have a great weekend!


Part 30 – Fast Hands And Bullet Proof Skin

2254 Local
Somewhere Off The Coast Of San Diego

"What's out there?" Harm yelled over the sounds of the engines, then pointed out into the blackness before them.

Bob turned to him with a grin in place. "You mean besides water?"

"Yea, Bob, besides water." Mac said, rolling her eyes. According to her internal clock, they had been coasting the waves for a good ten minutes without much luck. It was almost as if the Zodiac had disappeared. "Is there somewhere that a vessel can dock?"

The fisherman knew the seas so well it was like having a chart in his head. He knew the ins the outs and a few other places that no one thought to look. There was one place, he recalled, that was perfect for docking a small boat and still remain quite a ways from the shore. "Well, yup, there is. . . There'sa decommissioned oil rig. . .Pretty big sucker too. . ." He checked his compass and made some adjustments. "When the catchin' is not so good, I go out there. There's alwaysa ton of fish arounda rig." He pointed forward to a light that was coming closer and closer. "There she be."

Oil rigs always have this 'larger than life' look about them. But, in the dead of night and without much lighting, the platform seemed more like the place for a horror movie. Ominous would have been the perfect word. Taking a spot light, Mac pointed around the pilings, managing to find the dock where the Zodiac and a speed boat were attached. "There." She yelled at Harm, pointing to the two boats, urging Bob to dock. "They'll know we're here. . .the engines are too loud."

Harm agreed. "We have no choice, Mac."

Bob maneuvered his vessel towards the other two, finding a spot that would fit the boat and enable Harm and Mac to jump off. "Erm. . .Ain't wantin' no trouble. . .but-a. . ." He walked around the center consol, moving to the bow of the boat where a 25 gallon, hull storage compartment lay under a massive cooler He moved the cooler out of the way, opened the storage hatch and pulled out two pistols and a shot gun. "As silly as it sounds, sometimes therea be pirates in these here waters. . .They'lla think you have somethin' worth stealin'. . .Ain't no one taking my vessel, ya hear."

The shot gun was passed to Harm who immediately handed it to Mac. "Thanks Bob." He also handed her one of the pistols and tucked the second into this belt. "She's a Marine Colonel." He grinned at Bob's inquisitive look. Men usually took the 'real' guns and left the 'girlie' guns to the women. "And a better shooter than me."

"You also a Marine, boy?" The older man asked, handing Harm two fanny packs that had extra ammo.

"Nope, Navy. . .I used to be a fighter pilot, then switched to the JAG Corps. . .When I resigned I switched to the Reserves. I'm flying again."

Bob nodded. "Never understood why people enlist. . .I never knewa thing cept for fishin'." He said with a smirk, then nodded up to the platform. "Better get goin'. . .I'll keep her here, docked. . .and don'ta be worryin' 'bout me. . .I know my ways around 'em savory types."

Holding the boat steady, Bob waited for Harm and Mac to jump off before steering her away from the docks and to the other side, away from danger.

From inside the platform, Manda stood, staring out through a pair of binoculars. "There was some small boat coasting around, Teddy!"

There was a small office on the outside part of the platform which was accessible. There were still a few desks and chairs, nothing too grand, but things that enabled a transaction of that nature to come to fruition. "You skipped a bill there, pal." Jarvis pointed at the suitcase. Counting money was never a fun thing in these situations. Half of the time they were dealing with people that were so high, they didn't even know their first names. It had been a long standing tradition – since their father owned the business – to never make a transaction without counting the money first. It was long, tedious and definitely dangerous, but it didn't matter. "Mandy, chill out, alright?. . .It's a big ocean and you know, for a fact, many people fish off of this rig. . .If anything, they probably think we're diving." It was logical, two boats with no one on them. . .Diving worked.

Manda rolled her eyes, sometimes her brother was just a bit TOO gullible. "Teddy, I know that in your little Utopic world everything runs nice and smooth, but how do we know they're dead."

Jarvis sighed dramatically, the whole trip over the only thing the woman was concerned about was Rabb and MacKenzie. "Sis, you are boring the shit out of me with this. . .Will ya please just shut the fuck up?. . .They can't be alive. . .And if they are, they won't be for long. . .Now keep a damned look out while I count. . .DAMNIT. . .You missed another bill." Manda was slowly starting to get on his nerves and, as of late, he was a bit more snippy about it. The woman treated him like a moron and though he knew he deserved that treatment at times, their 'business' would be nothing without him. As smart as she was, he was the one putting the game plans together, not her.

Below, Mac came to a stop in front of a metal ladder which led to the platform itself. Securing the rifle around her with its strap, she took a hold of a rung and made to hoist herself up when a hand on her arm stopped her. "Wait." Harm brought her down to him and stood just centimeters away, his eyes capturing her own. Concern was etched onto his features and for the life of him, he'd never been so worried about her since that time she was 'missing' in Aceh, Indonesia. "This is dangerous."

"We've been in worse situations." At least, to her knowledge, they had. How many harrowing experiences had they survived together? "I'll be careful." Tenderly, she placed a hand on his cheek and smiled. "And that's a promise I intend to keep." Wrapping an arm around his neck, she brought his head down and captured his lips in a quick kiss. "Let's go get them, Navy." And just like that, Sarah The Woman turned back into Mac The Marine.

Harm followed her up the ladder, quietly arriving to the top and hoisting himself up. He was still in some pain, but the adrenaline in his body was drowning out most of it. Both of them readied their weapons and Mac tucked the 45 onto the waistband of her jeans while she cradled the rifle. "Mac." He whispered, then pointed to the right. She nodded in acknowledgement and slowly made her way towards a large piece of pipe she would use for hiding. Harm crept forward, keeping himself low, but in a way that he could still keep visual contact with Mac. He took position behind an overturned crate and then motioned for her to take the next post. There was light on the platform, albeit faint, but it showed that there was life onboard. Manda and Jarvis hadn't given them the slip.

Inside the fanny pack which Bob had loaned Harm, there was a radio that he would use to contact Bob in order for the man to contact the Coast Guard who was waiting about a mile away. Once Mac was at the next point, she motioned for him to move forward. He did so and squeezed himself onto the wall of some sort of building. From his potion he could hear voices – Manda, Jarvis. . .and someone else. It was obvious, from the tones, that there was an argument of sorts. It was about money.

He motioned for Mac to join him and the two of them got down low behind a set of piping that ran adjacent to the side of the building. "It's them. . .We just need to pounce." Mac whispered, taking a deep breath. This was risky, especially if there were more people in there than she'd anticipated. "By the sound of the voices. . .I count. . .three people."

"I concur. . .You go down low, I'll aim high. . .We go in on three. . ." It was now or never, waiting only delayed something and if the ending to this adventure was good or bad they wanted it to be over with sooner than later. "Two. . .one."

They moved in tandem, Mac coming to her knees while Harm stood just to the side of her, aiming the weapon to the small group. "Freeze." She said, but even as she readied the rifle to shoot, a large, brown skinned man pointed a 9mm at Harm. Blindly, Mac took a shot, hitting the man's left shoulder just a smidgen away from the heart. She had made the shot intentionally, knowing that it would wound him but it wouldn't be severe if help came in time.

Harm lunged forward and grabbed Manda with one hand. Jarvis, on the other hand, made a break for it, managing to jump out of the back window and land on the bottom landing with a loud thud. "I'm going after him!" Mac yelled, hurling herself out of the window.

"Mac, no!" His concern for her came with quite a price for a second later Manda had pushed him into a desk and ran out the front door. "Damnit!" It was quite the conundrum. . .Go after Mac. . .or chase down Manda? "Damnit!" He chose the latter and took off, full force, out the door.

On the deck below, Mac stepped cautiously around the rusting catwalk, careful not to make herself a casualty. She'd followed Jarvis' footsteps, hoping that the echo bouncing off of the steel wasn't throwing her off. A gut instinct told her that it hadn't, but she was never certain of said instincts. It was easier to believe things she could touch and see. Keeping herself low, Mac glanced around the area. There wasn't much light, just enough to see around but not really decipher what certain things were. With a sigh, she took a few steps forward, angling the shot gun over the railing and pointing downwards incase Jarvis was there.

That was when he caught her by surprise.

A quick kick to her side made the rifle fall from her arms to the landing below. Jarvis made a movement around Mac, enabling him to pick the pistol from the back of her pants. He then punched her in the gut, winding her considerably. Though she had the wind knocked out of her, Mac was able to knock the pistol out of his hands. By the time Jarvis tried to unleash another blow, her fist connected with his midsection. He groaned in agony, bending over to protect the injured area. When he glanced up, all Jarvis wanted to see was blood. . .her blood. "You stupid bitch." From his belt, he took out a knife. Holding it loosely, he lunged forwards a few times, chuckling as Mac backed away. "Ah, not so tough now, miss Marine?" His eyes glanced between Mac and the hole in the catwalk just ten feet behind her. Backing her up until she fell through seemed like the most sensible and less problematic thing to do. She was a Marine and Jarvis wasn't planning on toying with one if he could help it.

The problem with Marines is that you could never get them to do what you want them to. For the most part, they run on their own playing field, stopping only when ordered to from the higher ups and Jarvis wasn't a higher up. Mac would be damned if he tried to back her off. She waited patiently for him to lunge again. Once he did, all of the training at Leatherneck Square kicked in. Her right hand came out, grabbing Jarvis by the wrist as she pulled him towards her. In one fluid movement, her right knee rose up, hitting him solidly in the abdomen. As he went to the ground, she brought her foot down and stomped once. The blow was enough to incapacitate him for a quite a while, but not enough to kill him. And she wanted him alive. Nothing pleased her more than knowing that this man would go to jail and spend some time as another man's wife.

The sound of a gunshot alerted her to a critical situation not too far away. Feelings rushed to her, strong, blinding. She knew Harm was in trouble. "Oh no." Jumping past the gaping hole in the catwalk, she hurried past the pipes and metal praying that Harm was alright. Her feelings, like a beacon, lead towards Harm and Manda. She could see them on the dock below. Harm was on his knees bleeding from his right shoulder and Manda was standing in front of him, holding the gun at point blank range. In the distance the distinct sound of helicopter rotors notified them of the oncoming rescue party that would soon turn into recovery if Manda got another shot out.

Harm wasn't sure exactly how the woman managed to get the drop on him. When he had chased her out, she had led him down to the docks. He had her in custody when he radioed in for backup and in just one second – one momentary lapse of judgment – he took his eyes off of her to signal Bob. That's when she struck him – his groin to be exact. It had brought him to his knees, sending his gun clattering to the ground and in the perfect angle for her to pick it up. Hoping to take her down before she had control of the weapon, Harm lunged forward and for his troubles got a bullet into his shoulder. Well, not quite inside his shoulder, it had nicked him, but it still hurt like hell.

It was a good 10 feet onto the docks from the platform Mac was standing on. "Damnit." She had nothing, no weapon to use. . . "Except." The idea was insane. If she missed Harm would be dead and she would possibly be too. But, there was no other way. "God help us." She headed backwards for a good twenty feet and then placed one foot in front of another as if she were starting a race. "This works in the movies. . .better work here." Unleashing a guttural groan, she moved into a dead sprint. Her eyes were glued to the railing in front, it wasn't too high, but she had to clear it.

Mac's right hand darted outward and with it she propelled her body over the railing and downward to the dock below. A shot went off just as her body hit something and then crashed into the water. The force took her down deep to the point that she had to fight her way back up to the surface. Still, there was no certainty that her plan had paid off. If Manda got that shot off. . .Harm could be. (. .)

A hand wrapped around her shirt collar and pulled her towards the dock. When she glanced up, she found Harm, alive, well and with a smile that made her heart do flips. "C'mon Marine." She literally collapsed onto the dock, bringing him down with her.

The cacophony of helicopter rotor and boat engines soon made their small peace hellish. Mac's head was pounding, she suspected that Harm's was as well. "Are there more?" A Lieutenant from the Coast Guard asked. From their vantage point they could see the man that Jarvis was doing business with on a Coast Guard inflatable speed boat. An unconscious Manda Patterson was being pulled out of the water by another boat.

"Yes, up there." She pointed to the level just above them. "He's alive, but unconscious."

A medic was soon on the scene, followed by Gunny and Mike. "What the hell happened?" Gunny asked with sheer amazement.

Harm stared at the pair as if they'd grown two heads. "What are you doing here?"

Mike grinned. "We followed you."

"Followed us?"

"Yup." He nodded. "See, Gunny and I figured you two would get in trouble so. . .When you didn't show at the office to return the equipment like you always do, we decided to patrol the waters."

"The call came over the radio and we figured it had to be the two of you. . .Guess we were right." Although the Marine in him hated this situation. Sending Harm and Mac out together without backup was completely ridiculous. It would be something that his partner and him would have a loooooong conversation about. "Next time, would you get some backup, huh?"

Harm chuckled. "You have my word on it." Once the medic had finished tending to the scrapes on his arm, he stood up, bringing Mac up with him. "It's over, you know?. . . I think the authorities can handle it from here."

"I know." Everything they had gone through. . .At least the ending to it all was climatic. She wrapped her arms around Harm's waist, pulling him close. "Sorry for wetting you."

He returned the hug. "All in a day's work." Pulling away from her slightly, Harm glanced at Mac with an arrogant smirk in place. "So is this part of the 'teach Harm to love' process? Search and Rescue?"

Mac couldn't help but chuckle. They did seem to do the search and rescue on a frequent basis. Hopefully that would tone down with time. "Hey, I owed you. . .You saved my six, I saved yours. . .simple as that, Sailor."

"So you were only repaying a debt?" He joked.

"Something like that." She nodded over towards Bob's boat and hopped on once it had reached the docks. Once Harm was on board, she turned to him, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "I need a vacation, preferably on a sailboat, with a sexy Sailor. . .Know any?"

Harm placed a finger on his chin, and rubbed it as he pondered. "I think I do. . .You'll love him, charming, sexy, courteous, gentlemanly. . ."

"Egotistical, pigheaded, but I wouldn't want him any other way. . ." Her lips tentatively brushed his. It wasn't the time to deepen the kiss, not with the Coast Guard, Bob, Mike and Gunny around.

Harm, of course, had other plans. He tightened his hold on her and kissed her as if his life depended on it. Mac sighed contentedly into his mouth and just surrendered to him. When he broke, for want of air, Mac saw it clearly – that look in his eyes which sometimes scared her, was gone. There was nothing left but the man that she loved, he'd returned to her. "Mission accomplished."