A JAG '24'

Chapter 1

Disclaimers: I do not own of the JAG characters. I don't own any product or label mentioned for the purposes of telling this story. I don't own the rights to the Fox series, '24.' Any similarities to situations or persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

Spoilers: Any thing up to and through out Season Nine. This story is 'loosely' based on the events portrayed on 'Persian Gulf' and may also pull in the events of 'Take It Like a Man.' Events will not happen in the same sequence as they did on the show. The episode 'Webb of Lies' will also be referred to.

A/N: Yes, I'm writing another Season 9 fanfic. Greetings from Season 9 shipper hell. This is a Harm and Mac fanfic, trust me.

A/N: This is not a crossover fanfic. I will only use the hour to hour format…because I thought it might be fun. (Smile)

A/N: Many thanks to Karen for her excellent beta reading and input.

Rating K+

The following takes place between the hours of

10 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Mac walked swiftly down the hallway of the 5th floor of the National Naval Medical Center. As she thought about what had happened earlier that day, she clenched her fists and quickened the pace of her steps as they echoed down the quiet hallway. She felt an urgency she could not explain. She had no idea what she would say to Harm once she got there. She just knew that she wouldn't sleep tonight until she saw him and knew that he was alright.

As she approached the nurse's station in the darkened hallway, a corpsman spoke to her.

"Can I help you, ma'am?"

"Yes, Petty Officer, I would like the room number for Commander Harmon Rabb Jr."

The young man hesitated so Mac removed her ID from her purse and handed it to the petty officer.

"The Commander is my partner at JAG. Since he won't be at headquarters for a while, I have some loose ends to tie up before I take over his case work in the morning."

Mac lied, but at this point she didn't care. Speaking with Sturgis earlier that day hadn't helped ease her mind, she had to see Harm for herself. She wasn't a family member, they had barely been friends lately, but she had to come. The look in his eyes when he told her, 'I can't hear you…I can't hear anything,' had haunted her all evening.

The corpsman looked at the ID, seemingly confident that what the colonel said was true.

"Thank you ma'am. He's in 504."

"Thank you petty officer." Mac passed the desk, and walked toward Harm's room just a few doors down from where they stood.

Harm's door was slightly ajar. She pushed it open and entered the room. The light just above his bed was on, but he appeared to be asleep. The head of the bed was slightly elevated and his head was turned away from her slightly, but she could still see his handsome features in profile. His body looked strong and powerful, even in repose. He rested one of his hands on his chest and the other at his side. The bed looked so small beneath him, it was barely long enough to accommodate his legs.

Mac sat down on a chair at his bedside and tried to reassure herself that this was the Harm she had always known. The one person who had always seemed so invincible to her. His survival after his crash in the Atlantic had only served to reinforce that idea. That was another reason that today had been so difficult. When she had first heard him call out in pain when his car battery exploded, she hadn't even been sure it was Harm. He had been so off balance and she saw a vulnerability she had never seen before. In all the time she had known him Mac had rarely ever seen him take an involuntary step. Now to see him like this had shaken her in a way she never expected.

It was Sadiq, and she knew it. There would be a reckoning for all he had done, to her, to Webb and now to Harm. She looked at him as he slept on, still unable to give a name to what she felt for him. What was this 'thing' that bound her to him? She knew all they would ever have was friendship, but to call it just friendship would never explain it all.

Mac stood, reached for the overhead light, and turned it off. She had left the door open, which allowed the light from the hall to illuminate the room. She looked at him to be sure she hadn't disturbed him and he turned his head, rolling slightly toward her. Mac had to resist the impulse to run from the room. What would she say? 'Oh, Hi Harm…I just came up here to watch you sleep.' She felt pathetic, what was she doing here?

Harm spoke in a voice slurred with slumber, 'Mattie…you're going to school…' He frowned in his sleep, apparently reasserting his parental authority in his sleep.

Mac sighed inwardly in relief, giving him an indulgent smile as she eased down into the reclining chair at his bedside. She would leave in a moment. For whatever reason, the rise and fall of his chest along with his deep and restful breathing seemed to calm her. Continuing to tell herself that she would stay a few minutes more, then go back home, she sat back in the recliner. She focused on his white t shirt stretched across his broad chest; the light from the hall seemed to illuminate its whiteness. She sat back in the chair for a moment, able to relax, perhaps for the first time all evening.

At that same time outside the building…

Clayton Webb and Director Kershaw sat in a government issue sedan with a view of the entrance to the hospital. They had observed Mac enter the building. Both men had known the incident at JAG headquarters was no random event, or the result of a disgruntled seaman unhappy with the results of an article 32. They had known Sadiq was in the States for sometime, they had only been waiting for him to surface, and now he had.

"You haven't contacted the Colonel have you Webb?"

"Of course not." He gave the director a side long glance; did he think he was an amateur? "She has been told that I'm out of the country and its need to know."

"I have to say, you were right about the Colonel coming here." The director frowned. "A bit puzzling though, aren't you 'seeing' her these days?"

"That's right."

"Then why would she be visiting Rabb this late at night?"

"She has this connection to him, she has for a long time but they aren't involved, they never have been." The last part of his statement was spoken with a bit of irritation.

Kershaw continued to listen… but said nothing.

"They have never been more than friends…partners." Webb was reassuring himself now.

Kershaw looked at him wondering why he felt the need to explain, but decided to change the subject. He could care less; he just wanted to stop Sadiq from purchasing anything with the diamonds that Kershaw believed he was in possession of. He wanted him off the streets and into 'Club Gitmo' as soon as humanly possible. Van Duyn was dead; he had been tortured to death. The Company had believed since his disappearance that he turned rogue, and in Kershaw's mind, the way he died had all the earmarks of his involvement with Sadiq Fahd.

On the grounds of National Naval Medical Center at the main gate…

Sadiq Fahd sat on the passenger's side of the large truck labeled 'MARVA Medical Refuse Disposal,' as the Marine guard waved the driver in. Sadiq had changed his identity and began the night shift as Manuel Garcia, a temporary worker for MARVA, a company that contracted with the federal government. A well placed associate of his had not shown up for work that day, so this associate saw to it that Sadiq replaced him. The company was contracted to all of the military hospitals and clinics along the east coasts of Virginia and Maryland.

Manuel was a quiet and unassuming man to his bosses and coworkers. He raised no suspicions in anyone, his workers visa made his presence here legal; there was no need to worry.

At least there was no need for Sadiq Fahd to worry.

The following takes place between the hours of

11pm and 12 am.

After Mac sat back further in the recliner beside Harm's hospital bed, she laid her head back. She was still watching Harm's chest rise and fall when her vision began to blur and she fell immediately asleep. She had been sleeping for nearly an hour, when Harm slowly began to wake, though he still could barely hear a sound.

Harm was vaguely aware of someone in the room, but as he came fully awake he was startled when he saw Mac's sleeping form in the chair next to his bed. She had come to see him after all. Jen and Sturgis had come earlier that day. Harm had hoped Mac might visit after work that evening. Jen was kind enough to go home and bring Mattie back with her to the hospital so that she could visit him. Mattie needed to be reassured that things would go on as they had up until now. She was not going to lose him as she had her mother. Mattie wasn't the only one who was worrying about him, it seemed. Harm knew he would be fine in another day or so, though the temporary loss of his hearing was disconcerting, to say the least. It was nice to know that Mac still cared enough about him to be here.

It reminded him of another time, years ago, when she felt that she needed to watch over him. Webb had been in the middle of that convoluted web of lies too. He wasn't quite sure, back then, how to take her insistence that she be allowed to stay with him. It turned out that it was no flirtation; she was dead serious; she intended to protect him with her life. Mac had lost so many people in her life at that point; she would not allow anything to happen to him. She had been his 'ninja girl' from that night on. Maybe Paraguay and Webb hadn't broken their connection completely. He hoped not. Mattie had filled a void in his life, and in helping him open his heart, allowed him to see that Mac was there. She had been for a long time. He would settle for the friendship they once had, if that was all they could ever be. He had missed it more than he could ever say.

At that same moment….

Sadiq/Manuel made his way to the elevators leading to the second floor. He had received his floor assignments and tasks to be completed by the end of shift at 6 am. He was accompanied by his co worker who could not have been more than 18 years old. The youth wore a headset and whatever he was listening to could be heard plainly in the quiet elevator. Sadiq looked at him in disgust, though his face revealed only a placid, almost meek expression. He returned Sadiq's look and taunting him, the young man lifted his fist as though he would hit him; Sadiq did not flinch, but turned his head away from his laughing tormentor. Knowing that the death of this degenerate would cause him to abort his mission, he did not retaliate.

"What's wrong with you Man U el? Ain't you a fighter?" The arrogant young man smirked at him, speaking too loudly due to the 'noise', he was listening to.

Sadiq stood quietly, seething inside but focusing on his goal. He shook his head.

The elevator opened on the second floor and both men exited, with Sadiq pushing a large lidded receptacle that would be emptied after he finished each floor. Sadiq's young coworker sauntered down the hall toward an open waiting area. He sat down on one of the couches and stretched, raising his arms above his head.

"I'm taking a break Man U el, I don't give a damn what you do."

Sadiq turned away from him and walked toward his first stop on floor number two, pushing his wheeled container in front of him. This lazy young man would only serve his purposes, he could move about their assigned areas without suspicion. The quiet, unassuming Manuel collected all the sharps containers from each nurse's station and the sealed containers, stored away by the housekeeping staff, ready for disposal. When he finished his work on the second floor, he proceeded to the elevators. He looked down the hallway at the young man now reclining on the couch.

"Don't you say nothin' to no one about where I am. You hear me?" He looked at Sadiq menacingly.

Sadiq again meekly acquiesced and entered the elevators, pulling his full receptacle behind him. They had been assigned floors one through six, which he now knew he would be working alone. He would be quiet and courteous, even friendly if the situation required… until he found the Commander. He would finish what he had begun that morning.

The following takes place between the hours of

1 a.m. and 2 a.m.

Harm lay on his back still watching Mac as she slept. He wondered how long she had been here; he had dropped off to sleep sometime after 2100.It looked as though Mac was still having trouble sleeping. If the truth were told, he had been the same…since Paraguay. Studying her features, he noticed how thin she had become. Her features had always been delicate, even though she was the strongest woman he knew. Now, as she slept, they seemed sharper and more fragile. He would love to have been able to take her hand in his, nothing more. Just to touch her, connect with her and bridge the terrible gulf that had been between them all these months.

Harm heard the corpsman walking down the hallway and he closed his eyes, just in time for Mac to hear the corpsman and wake.

The corpsman walked to the other side of Harms bed and turned on the light above his bed causing them both to squint at the bright light.

"I'm sorry sir; I have to take your vitals." The corpsman showed the blood pressure cuff to Harm in case he hadn't understood then began to place it around his arm.

Mac's eyes had adjusted to the light just as Harm looked over at her. Mac only said, "Hey."

Harm answered her, too loudly, "Hey, nice time for a visit, Mac."

"Shhh" Mac put her finger to her lips.

He grinned sheepishly. He was still talking too loud, though he had been able to hear the corpsman, but barely. "I'm still too loud." It was more of a statement than a question.

Mac nodded unable to keep from chuckling at him. "Wait." Mac reached for the eraser board that lay on the tray table that Sturgis and Jen had brought when they visited earlier.

Mac wrote that she had come to get some information on a case she was handling for him in the morning. Harm frowned but then caught the look in Mac's eye, then answered, again, too loudly. "Oh."

The corpsman had finished up and was walking toward the door. He thought that the Commander and the Colonel must be involved; this couldn't be about a case, at 0130 in the morning. They hadn't fooled him, but they were superior officers. He only reminded them, respectfully, that it was long after visiting hours.

"Thank you Petty Officer, I'll be leaving shortly." She looked at the younger man over her shoulder.

"Yes ma'am"

Harm quietly watched their exchange and after the corpsman left he motioned for Mac to hand him the eraser board. He wrote. "What's up?" and handed the board back to her.

Mac wiped away what he had written. What would she say? The truth, she decided. She had to make sure he was alright, that she had a bad feeling…a premonition. He had teased her about that earlier. She wrote "I had to be sure you were okay."

He wrote, "I'm fine, back to normal in a couple of days or so."

Mac nodded, and looked at him directly. She couldn't shake the feeling of unease. When she thought of leaving him she couldn't, not yet. Something was not right, though she couldn't quite put her finger on it.

Harm erased the board and wrote. "Premonitions again?"

Mac nodded and reached for the board. He handed it to her and she wrote, "I need to stay for awhile. Okay?"

Mac handed the board back to Harm and he wrote, "Okay, at least go get a cup of coffee."

She smiled at him, relieved that he didn't fight her on this; she took off her overcoat, and laid it on the back of the recliner. She started to walk toward the door and then stopped a few steps away from it, unable to make herself go further. She looked back at Harm and said

"No… I can't."

Harm saw the determined look in her eyes. He knew that look, it was pointless to try and change her mind. After what happened this morning, he wouldn't doubt her premonitions again, not when it came to him.

Mac walked back to the chair beside his bed. Harm wrote again on his board.

"Not much to do. Too bad I don't have anything for you strip down."

He gave her a sly grin, reminding her of their conversation long ago, when she had offered to 'strip down' his weapon, when she stood her first 'watch' over him. Harm had been taken aback until Mac clarified the situation.

She didn't bother with writing a response. Standing quickly she yanked the cord for the light over the bed, plunging the room into near darkness, except for the light in the hallway. The message was that the conversation was over. She sat down in the darkness folding her arms across her chest. It was quiet for just a moment, then Harm tried to whisper, unsuccessfully.

"Where's your sense of humor, Mac?"

Mac reached over and nudged his arm and said, "Knock it off." She knew he couldn't hear her but he got the point. He was quiet and the look in his eyes went from mischief to gratitude. She held his gaze for a moment and then leaned back a bit in the recliner and closed her eyes. This was getting too intense; she needed to step back a bit.

Harm watched her for along time. He eventually drifted back to sleep, enjoying the closeness of the moment. It wasn't as much as he wanted, but their relationship had been nearly nonexistent in the past 6 months. Anything was better than the cold uncomfortable silence that would spring up between them without warning. He needed this time with her, and if it made Mac feel better that it was only about watching over him, so be it.

At that same moment…

Sadiq/Manuel had just entered the elevator with two petty officers. One of whom worked on the 5th floor. He stepped quietly inside, pulling the large receptacle in behind him. The corpsmen were talking barely aware of him and he quietly listened.

"Man, the surgical deck is full, are you busy on the medical deck?"

"It's not bad; we've got a 3 man crew. No really serious patients, though I've got a commander with a girlfriend who doesn't want to go home."

"Make her leave, the commander should know better."

"It's a little more complicated, she's a Marine, a lieutenant colonel and a JAG attorney"

"Oh." The first man answered him waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

"They really aren't doing anything, the door is open. I think she's just a bit paranoid. I understand he was hurt when his battery exploded in his car, this morning."

"Whatever, if I were you I'd get her out of there, if the Chief gets wind of this she'll have your ass."

"I'll get the colonel out of there before she comes in at change of shift."

The elevator opened on the ground floor and the two petty officers headed for the coffee shop for the rest of their break. Sadiq exited the elevator and walked toward the rear of the building to drop off the refuse from the 3rd floor and pick up his receptacle for the 4th floor.

He smiled, knowing the petty officer had inadvertently told him what floor Rabb was on, the number of staff on the floor and that Sarah Mackenzie was with him.

It was just a matter of time now.

TBC