It's oooooooover. Done, finito! And for those wondering about a Part 3. . .Are you nuts! Guys, and sit down for this one, you've now read approximately 241 pages in Part 1 and 261 in part 2 for a whopping – 502 pages! Written in font size 10. That's a lot.

Oh, and to top it off, had this part ended on July 24th, it would have been a year, exactly, since part one posted. Wow, wow, wow! collapses

Anyway, thank you all for sticking with this, you've been great.

For information on this story and up and coming stories, hitch it all of the way to the bottom!

Enjoy!

Jackie

PS: Thre is a more "interesting" version to this chatper. You know - SMUT!. If you want it, just review with your e-mail or e-mail me off FFnet - radiorox(at)bellsouth(dot)net. Cool? Cool!

Part 31 – Christmas In July.

July 2, 2010
1900 Local
Mac and Harm's House
San Diego California

Harm was leaning across the center console of Mac's Corvette, his hands roaming over her body as his lips couldn't find enough places to kiss. "Mmmm." She'd been away for a week when Cresswell needed both her and Sturgis back at Falls Church. Mac had been much too busy to keep in contact with him, so he'd spent six lonely nights curled up with her pillow, breathing in the scent of her. The time apart had given him a chance to plan something that he hoped would be received well.

It had taken nearly two whole days to set up and all of his friends had helped. Even Mattie, who was planning to stay the weekend in Trish and Frank's house in order to give Harm and Mac a little privacy, melted at such a romantic notion.

"Mmmm, are we going to head inside, sailor, or you planning for us to just get it on in the car?" She said in a light, teasing voice. Her grin was infectious.

"Weeeeell. . .See, I have this surprise for you. . .and I guess I'm stalling a bit." He said cryptically, then moved away from her and stepped out of the car. Going around to the passenger's side, he held the door open for Mac.

"A surprise?" She asked and received a nod as a response. "For me?" Another nod and a shy, yet expectant look on his handsome face. "Should I be worried?"

Flyboy grin in place, Harm lifted his hand up and brought his index finger and thumb close together. "Maybe a 'lil bit. . . C'mon!" Enthusiastically, he took her by the hand and literally dragged her pass the garage door and towards the front entrance of the house. "I've been worried all day that you wouldn't like it. . .but then, I figure, there isn't a reason why you wouldn't. . ." He was babbling, still holding her hand in his as the other fished through his Khaki's pockets for the house keys. "I mean, it's a bit crazy. . .okay, totally crazy, but, it's nice and. . .you know? Just don't kill me." With that, he unlocked the door and ushered her inside the small, darkened foyer. "Ah, could you close your eyes?"

Mac had never been the 'surprise' kinda gal. She preferred things out in the open and with as much detail as possible. But the way he'd been acting was almost like a kid with a Christmas present. It was cute, adorable, and she really had no reason why not to trust him. However, she wouldn't make it easy for him. Part of the fun of their relationship had been the constant banter and teasing, "I better not walk in and find teal and bright orange wallpaper all over the living room, Rabb. That's just freakish."

"Well, some might consider it freakish." He walked behind her, moving Mac to stand in the center of the living room. "Just stand there for two secs. . .You'll know when to open your eyes." He was practically skipping towards the light switch which, when thrown, bathed the room in lights.

Christmas lights.

From the stereo a jazz version of "Silent Night" came alive. "Oh my God." When Mac opened her eyes, she was assaulted by the decorations of a holiday that, in no way, belonged in the beginning of July.

The entertainment center boasted her small holiday village complete with fake snow and the light set that lit the insides of the houses. To the side was an eight foot Christmas tree with bright colored lights and all of the decorations she'd dressed their original tree in. Below it was an assortment of gifts which were never opened and had become forgotten and stored in the office's large closet. "Oh wow." Walking towards the dinning room, she spotted a beautiful lit garland with large red bows gracing the banister of the steps.

Even the kitchen table had a dark green table cover with a burgundy runner across the top. In the center was a decoration made out of cinnamon and orange pinecones and, what had to be, a plastic poinsettia flowers. Turning back to the living room, she found a Santa Clause throw on their overstuffed arm chair and various decorative pillows with wintry scenes across the sofa. In every possible place sat some sort of Christmas decoration, both lighted and none. He'd done a wonderful job and even put out things she didn't even use when she'd been decorating. "It's. . .It's beautiful." Involuntarily, a tear slipped out, running down her cheek.

Harm pressed his hand against her cheek, the pad of his thumb wiping away the stray. "We didn't get a chance to spend Christmas together and you were making it sound so wonderful. . ." He trailed off, emotion catching in his voice. "I needed to make it up to you and it couldn't wait until December. . .So, I got the gang together and we decided to have Christmas in July." He said with a sheepish grin.

Mac crashed into his arms, her lips meeting his halfway. The force caused Harm to lose his balance and fall into the couch with her in tow. She adjusted her position, bringing her knees to either side of him, straddling his lap. Mac kissed his lips, his cheeks, his nose. Her tongue licked his chin before she nibbled on the same spot with a five o'clock shadow. "God, I love you." The words came out almost like a low purr as she settled her forehead against his. "I have a present for you. Something you're really going to like."

"I have a few for you myself. . .Everything is under the tree. The fake tree that is. Mom and Frank had it in storage. But, everything is there." He pointed in that general direction, smile widening when Mac gave him a wicked grin. "What?" His arms prevented her from falling off of his lap, as Mac leaned back slightly.

Thankfully, he didn't have a clue. She'd done a good job of hiding one of his more interesting Christmas presents. "Be right back." Mac planted a quick kiss on his lips, slid off of his lap and hurried up the stairs, stopping at the landing. "Make yourself comfortable. . .I need to get out of these clothes."

Eyebrow raised at her current about face, Harm merely conceded. "Uh, okay." There were just some things he was never going to understand about women. Five minutes passed and he was absolutely sure his Marine had fallen asleep upstairs. Not that he could blame her, the woman had looked exhausted when he picked her up at the base. "Mac?" He yelled from the bottom of the stairs only to get a warning of imminent death if he should try to come near her.

Without another word, he kicked off his sandals and busied himself in the kitchen, adorning a plate with the chocolate chip cookies he'd baked. Mattie had once teased, calling him Mr. Mom at his domestic capabilities, but he was quite pleased with himself. Some of his friends, like Jack Keeter, couldn't even microwave. Besides, women seemed to like a man that knew his way around the kitchen. Not that it mattered, at the moment, he only had one woman left to impress which, despite their years of friendship, he could still surprise with his culinary expertise.

When another five minutes passed, Harm suddenly didn't know what to do with himself. He tried straightening some of the ornaments on the tree which led to straightening the presents under it and then the skirt. "Damnit, why am I nervous?" He hadn't realized it before but an anxious feeling had been rolling around within him, growing with each passing moment. It was surreal, to say the least. Hearing the top step creak, Harm spun around finding Mac descending them. "Oh my. . ." The ability to formulate any coherent sentenced vanished uniformly.

"See something you like, sailor?" Mac purred, raising an eyebrow in question as she sexily displayed one of his 'gifts.' Carefully, she stepped the rest of the way down, using the wall to strike a sexy pose. "Hmmm, cat got your tongue?" She'd never seen him so speechless before. Then again, she'd never worn anything so risqué before in her life. Bright red, wrap around high heels with matching red, thigh high stockings was just the beginning. Harm gulped when he saw a red, velvet triangle with white fuzz held together by a string that wrapped around Mac's waist. There was no doubt in his mind that it was a g-string. The top, which barely covered her chest, was a red velvet, quarter inch sleeved jacket which tied right between the valley of her breasts. Topping the outfit off was the lopsided Santa hat and a seductive smile that was making him jollier than Santa himself could ever be. "Well, if you don't like it. . ." She began to tease only to be interrupted by one flustered Harmon Rabb, Junior.

Harm's mouth opened and closed a few times. "Jesus, Mac. . .Wow. . .I mean." He let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, then took a few steps closer. "If Mrs. Clause really looked like this, I don't think Santa would ever leave the North Pole."

"So, are you going to unwrap your present?" She feigned impatience, flicking imaginary lint off of her freshly painted red nails. Ever since she'd bought the outfit, her mind kept conjuring ways to approach him, to have a little fun. Often, the prudish side within herself would chastise some of the naughty options. Any insecure thoughts rushed right out the moment he looked at her. Harm's gaze could be described as only one thing: hungry.

Pushing herself off the wall, she slowly strutted towards him. "I'm getting cold, flyboy." Her voice hadn't lost its sexy timbre. And the way she was looking at him was turning Harm on like nobody's business.

"Hmmm." He reached out and slid a finger down the velvety material covering her arms. "Not sure where to start, Mac." Lasciviously, he eyed her up and down, a sultry smile gracing his lips. Santa surely never had it so good.

After one wild round of love making, Harm had placed a Afgahn which he lowered Mac onto. "Make love to me. ..please."

Those words never failed to stir something primal within him. Damnit, he could spend the rest of his life making love to her and never, ever tire of it, he was sure. Harm lowered himself down, capturing her mouth with his own. He kissed her slowly, lovingly, their love making joining in the rhythm.

More often than not, their unions were this way, a hot wild foray before slowing things down. Mac loved the connection that seemed to surpass body and soul. Harm just couldn't stop kissing her and he'd never considered himself to be so much into kissing until he met Mac. There were times where he'd sat in his office imagining different ways he could go about kissing her, and then imagining the different ways she'd likely kick his butt for even trying. Had he known, really known what she felt for him, nothing of the past would have happened. No Dalton, no Mic and definitely no Webb. "I love you, Mac." He said softly.

"Call me Sarah." Mac said in response, surprising him greatly. Patiently, he'd waited for this moment in time when she'd trust him completely again. Not that she didn't trust him, but the other Harm had screwed with her psyche and left an unreasonable fear that he would have given his soul to take away. Now, she was surrendering to him fully, body, heart and soul. "Please. . .Call me Sarah." She urged, glancing up with those molten chocolate eyes that never ceased to make him feel invincible.

He smiled against her lips, then whispered in her ear. "I love you, Sarah."

"I love you, Harm. . .So much." Mac's arms wrapped around his body, urging him to continue their love making until they were both spent.

July 3, 2010
1130 Local
Mac and Harm's House
San Diego, California

"Harm, would you mind turning up the air-conditioning? It's freezing in here." Mac lay across Harm who was lying on the sofa. They were clothed now, but not by much as she was only wearing an old Annapolis t-shirt and he, just sweat pants. The sexy Mrs. Clause outfit was somewhere on the floor with the afghan where they'd slept on until a slight chill roused Harm. He'd taken Mac to bed then, where they made love once more before falling to sleep.

In the morning, Harm had woken up to find Mac in the kitchen trying to prepare a meal so that they could have breakfast in bed. Forgoing the idea, they'd shared breakfast in the dinning room and then moved on to unwrapping presents.

Ever since, they'd been lying on the sofa, just enjoying the 'holiday season.' "Mac, it's 'winter.' It's supposed to be cold." He reasoned why the air-conditioning was at a chilly sixty five degrees. He wanted their Christmas to be as authentic as possible. And with that authenticity came the cold.

The moment her brow rose in annoyance, he knew he was had. "Mmm. There's just one technical problem with your deduction, Captain."

"And that is?"

She slid off of him and sat up on the sofa. "If it really were cold, we'd have the heater on."

"Touché." Alright, so she got him there! In all honesty, he hadn't thought about heating units and cold weather. His mind was on creating Christmas, period. In all his excitement, he forgot that she got cold rather easily. "Fine. . .fine, I'll kill the ambiance."

Shivering Mac brushed her hands up and down her arms. "Good, because I am not sure I can take any more ambiance without my teeth clattering."

Harm pushed himself off of the sofa and made his way around the mess on the floor. Scraps of white, green and red wrapping paper lay strewn over most of the entire living room floor. Clothing, gifts from relatives and friends, lay over the arm chair. A wooden model of an F-14 that could be used as a paper weight, sat on the coffee table along with a thick book on the history of avionics that Mac had given him. "So is that all?" He asked, as he returned from playing with the temperature control. "No more presents?"

Mac glanced up at him and chuckled. "We spent about an hour unwrapping stuff and you're asking me if there's more?" Honestly, sometimes he had a habit of acting like a little boy. It was cute, endearing really. "Actually. . ." She drew out slowly, then sat forward and pulled open a side drawer on the coffee table. "There might be something else." When he sat next to her, she handed him a small, flat box which he made quick work of opening. "It's a bit. . .well, I just hope you like them."

The gift was probably the sappiest thing she'd ever given anyone. And yet, it was original, different and something they could always have on them. From the box, Harm pulled out a set of dogtags with the black silencers wrapped around the edge, the only thing missing was the chain. He shot Mac a curious look and then paid attention to the engraving on the metal "Harmon and Sarah – Friends, Partners, Lovers, Soulmates.." Harm read and that strong armor that he'd always used to keep his emotions in check, seemed to crack open completely. At a loss for words, he turned to gaze at Mac. His voice catching in his throat when he went to speak again.

"I don't know why I thought of that. But, while you were away, I was going through a few military surplus websites and saw the dog tags. I thought it would be a nice way to make you remember that you had someone waiting at home. That you'd return to me."

"Oh, Mac." Harm pressed the palm of his hand against her cheek. "I love you." He kissed her softly, tenderly all the while searching with his free hand through the pocket of his sweats. When they broke apart, he held in his hand a red velvet box which immediately caught Mac's eye. Opening it, he exposed a simple, white gold, engagement ring with a single, clear diamond in a tear shaped cut. It's simplicity did not take away from the classy elegance and Harm was just anxious to see how it looked on her finger. "I ah. . ." He breathed out sharply, eyes remaining on the diamond as he spoke. "We've talked about changes, the one that have occurred around us and the ones that occurred within us. I'm not a fan of change, Mac, unless it involves some supersonic aircraft. It scares me when the constants in my life are jumbled and turned upside down. . .And that is exactly what you did to me the morning of January 31, 1997. You turned my world inside out. And it was a good thing because, I met my best friend, my partner and the woman that I would come to love so much. I wish I could pin point exactly when it was that I fell in love with you. All I know is that I did. I'm sorry that so many factors have kept us apart in the past. I vow now, if you accept me as your husband, to never allow anything or anyone to separate us ever again. I love you, Sarah. . .marry me?" His question was barely understandable as fear of rejection came close to the surface.

Mac brushed away the tears that were streaming down here face. She'd already had what she wanted, Harm and her were sharing a house. They already were a family. His proposal was icing on the cake and something she'd given up hope of ever receiving. Her heart fluttered when the light was caught by the diamond. Damnit, he knew her well enough to chose something simple, not the extravagance that some men needed just to mark their territory. While Harm did have a tendency to be territorial around her, he'd always understood that she could stand on her own two feet and she loved him for that. "Yes, Harm. . .Yes." Taking the ring out of its resting place, Harm heaved a sigh of relief. He carefully placed the ring at the tip of her finger and then slid it into place before kissing where the ring had rested. Mac raised his head and kissed him soundly. She was sure she never loved him more than she did at that given time.

Before their kisses and caresses could escalate, he had just one more gift for her. A gift that meant so much more than just a ring and the promise of marriage. He was giving her his life. Harm felt Mac pull away from him as he'd pushed a larger velvet box between the two of them. The familiarity of the box wasn't lost on Mac. It was the types that were used when the military gave out medals and if the look of hesitation in his eyes meant anything, Mac already knew what was inside – his wings. "No, Harm." She pushed the box towards him, shaking her head. "No."

Harm opened the box anyway, balancing it on his knee. "Mac, I know what my accident did to you. And I know what it did to me. . .I can't put you through that again, I can't. Worse yet, I won't put you through the same situation my mother was in when dad went MIA. I can't stand thinking of you with the same look of remorse that she had for so long. . .I can't and I won't do that to you." Flying was his first true love and it was the one thing he was willing to give up if it meant spending forever with Mac.

"You're not going to give up flying for me, Harm. . .I won't let you do it." She understood, quite clearly, that people had a force that drove them to succeed. For her, it had been the Marine Corps and the values that they'd asserted into her. It was clear as day that they'd saved her life and given her a purpose, a reason to live. This was the same for Harm and avionics. It had been the one constant in his life that truly held a connection between he and his father. And she wasn't going to take that way, Mac loved him too much.

"It scares you when I fly."

"Yes it does." She admitted, "But, it's something that I've learned to cope with through the years. If something is going to happen to you, it will happen. Doesn't matter if you are in a plane, a car or sitting here on this sofa. I get it. I understand the passion you feel when flying and I am not going to take that away because of any fear I may have." When he made to object, she pressed a finger to his lips. "Those men and women need the best of the best and that's you, flyboy. You have many years of flying still ahead before you have to step off of that plane indefinitely. And when the time does come, just remember that you have a Marine waiting for you at home." A sheepish grin overcame her features as she leaned in and said with a teasing voice, "A Marine that hates flying, but is willing to learn how to fly 'Sarah' if you're willing to teach her."

Harm was taken aback by her response. "You really want to learn how to fly her?"

"Yes." Mac shrugged. "Would be kinda cool to have two pilots in this house. . .Three when Mattie is around and maybe even four if AJ's love for planes ends up becoming a career for him." While they didn't have their own kids, the family around them had surely made up for it. "And whenever you need to go up in front of the review board, you have a passionate advocate on your side, Captain."

"I already went in front of the review board, Mac." He stated solemnly before breaking out in a wide grin. "I wasn't held accountable. . .If anything, I might get another DFC for shooting down one of the MIGs and protecting my wingman." Not telling her was probably a silly thing to do, but he had his reasons. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you but. . ."

"No, I understand."

"Do you?"

"Yes. It was something you needed to do on your own." She pointed out, showing him, yet again, that she really did know him quite well.

"Yes, it was and I am glad I did. For a moment my ego took a bit of a bruising and this helped me sort everything out." Taking the box with his wings, he closed it shut and then slid it up on the coffee table. "I love you, Mac."

"I love you too, Harm. I think I always have" She said truthfully, sighing happily as his mouth came down upon hers. Mac felt him lift her slightly and her arms came around his neck as she felt herself being lifted from the couch.

Harm placed her on the afghan still on the floor and then covered her body with his own as their lips met in a loving kiss.

Soulmates. The word passed through Harm's mind as he thought back on his life with Sarah MacKenzies. So many factors had stood in the way. Some of them appearing to be an immovable force that was determined to keep them apart. They'd survived death, loneliness and other lovers only to be parted and shifted away to opposite ends of the world. Yet, the connection between them never ceased to break completely.

In the end, Fate, calling like a Siren's song, brought them back to one another and taught them how to love.

THE END.

". . .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

You 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

I am here
Return to me. . ."
October Project "Return To Me"

Wow, I want to say that I will never write a story this long again, but I can't. Because, I don't know. The next one my very well be twice as long. God, I don't hope so!

Return To Me began out of two ideas for a story and one song. I'd been watching the movie Blown Away with Jeff Bridges and heard the song "Return To Me" from a band called October Project. Me, being the little music fiend that I am, had to download it. I liked the lyrics a lot and was toying with making a slide show when the idea for a story popped into my head.

Something about the lyrics made it interesting to me. I mean, there are parts of the song that are somewhat profound though the lyrics aren't overly cerebral.

So, I had the idea of a story involving Harm going off to war and having a mishap and then returning to Mac. – Return To Me – sounded simple enough. But, I've never been the type to do a simple story. Well, I do have a few simple ones, but I tend to have more idea for dramatics. Actually, now that I recall, the story involved Harm going back up in the F-14 to dogfight because of the MIGs. That idea did remain inact.

I never knew that Vukovic would be behind the mishap though, originally Harm was shot down, just because he was. Harm wasn't supposed to lose his memory but be lost in the woods somewhere with Skates. However, I'm a shipper and the idea of either Harm or Mac cajoling with others, even if it's platonic, doesn't appeal to me much. Anyway, the story was almost deleted as I was bored of what little I'd written of it a year ago.

Then, there was another dillema, I was getting rather pissed off with JAG, S10 and the lack of shiperness. Vic was introduced and I couldn't help but hate the character. The Harm and Mac relationship was in this virtual standstill and my hopes of DPB rectifying anything went down the drain after 4 Percent Solution didn't leave much of a Solution at all.

So, enraged, I had a vision of them at McMurphy's going their separate ways. The original start of the story had Harm and Mac in a huge fight and them realizing that it wasn't meant to be, period. But, as much as I wanted a huge fight, I wanted them together more. So the story became what you read – Harm and Mac finding each other after 5 years. A more grown up version of the two of them, successful at their jobs but never in their love lives.

The idea of making Harm a Private Eye had to do with the Tim Daly show 'Eye' which was canceled (Don't know why, it was rather cool!). I'd even bought a private eye book to get some ideas on how Harm would proceed with certain cases. It was fun and nice to see him in civvies. It also gave me a chance to put them in some funny and sticky situations.

All and all, it worked, even my sordid ideas seemed to work rather nicely. Thank you all for coming along for the ride.

What's next?

Two things. Well, three if you count the Fine Art Of Dating which I have some ideas for. Tee hee!

One is a story I wrote for the FOJ summer season last year. I'll have to make a few changes, but it will keep your appetite wet before I start posting the next real story which I am working on.

The working title is 'The Webbs We Tangle Ourselves In' - I'll ask again, anyone have a better title?

It's going to set our heroes back into Paraguay but with a twist – Mr. And Mrs. Williams will be Harm and Mac, not Webb and Mac. Oh, Webb will be around, but not as Mac's husband. They will get into some hairy situations. I have some ideas in my head that appeal to me greatly and have done so for the last year. Yes, this story has been in my head for a year. It keeps me up at night as, all of a sudden, I'll figure out another part of it and have to write it down. I wonder if this is what a real writer goes through. Anyway…

There are some really shipperish scenes in the earlier chapters of the Paraguay story. This is usually against my own rules, but, it was just so damned cute. And a need before things got sticky. I'm still working out the logistics on how to get them out of Paraguay and whether or not Webb should die. LOL!

So, stay tuned for that!

Thanks again gang, you rock!

Jackie.