Title: Better Never Than Bad

Chapter One

By: LizD

Spoilers: Sometime before the ruination of Harm (prior to mid-season 7)

Notes: There is a lot of innuendo in this little piece of fluff. Not sure how much of this would make it past the censors. On the other hand – who knows? Pike's comment to Rabb about 'standing her up against the wall' of their hotel room made it, and even made it to USA. So who knows? At any rate, this is supposed to be FUNNY (sad that I feel I need to explain that out the outset – I think that says more about me than you, my gentle readers). I am just having a little fun at Harm and Mac's expense. It was not meant to be a slam on the creators, producers, writers or actors of this show. Just some good clean fun. I hope you enjoy it.

Written: September 2003

Disclaimers: No disrespect to JAG's cast, crew or creators. With love and thanks.

Chapter One

What a face! What a puss! Did he eat at bad pickle? A lemon? Did he just realize that his TOFU hotdog was not so much Tofu as it was … beef?

And look at her.

Embarrassed. Uncomfortable. Poised to leap. Angry for sure … that tail – if she had a tail - slapping so hard on the bed ---

THE BED??

THE BED!

O M G! They did it!

They actually did IT.

The big IT!

OMG … How long had the two of them thought about it, anticipated it, avoided it, longed for it?

The look on their faces would say that it was TOO LONG.

And not a little too long … a lot too long … over long … well past long enough.

Sometimes when people wait too long for something, they forget why it was they were waiting for it.

WOW!

They did it!

And we missed it.

Mac got up and went to the bathroom.

Harm's face washed with dread. How was he going to get though the next few minutes much less night, day, week, month? How long would he have to pay for this?

Was it really that bad?

It was.

It was awful. Really awful. Stiff and restrained and unsatisfying. Arms and legs and noses that were never in the right place – not to mention … well let's not mention the unmentionables. It was worse than trying to carry a dozen broomsticks on a bus, and about as enjoyable. No, no, it was impossible. Mediocre would have been a huge step up.

Did she think so too?

He looked to the bathroom.

Probably.

In the bathroom, Mac was confused. How could it have been so wretched? They were both a little out of practice but it was supposed to be like riding a bicycle. Each was a passionate person - in their own right - and had done the BIG IT before with far better results.

Well, Mac could not speak for him, but she had to believe that THAT was not his SOP; it certainly wasn't for her.

So it must have been them – the two of them. Nothing worked right, nothing felt like it should; there was absolutely nothing sensual about the whole damn experience from beginning to end.

Take that back, Mac.

The kiss wasn't bad. Which kiss? The first one, the only one that mattered.

THAT kiss was a hell of a lot more than earth shattering.

It was … it was … well … well it was … it was a K I S S – electric, combustible, seismic.

In the end, not unlike the kiss the iceberg gave the Titanic.

So they were SUNK. What a waste after all those years of anticipation.

Whoa … Major let down.

Now the question was: how to get out? They both had to know that it bad … embarrassingly bad.

Although surely not the end of the world.

It could not have been not the first time sex was unsatisfying … unproductive … detrimental … for either of them.

But who was responsible?

Didn't matter.

What made it so bad … well other than the whole physical aspect?

There were no declarations of love or sweet talk or even passionate whispers shared in the dark. No spilling of 'at long last' history. Neither one over committed. Neither one gave up too much. In fact neither one said anything at all.

Wonder if that is why it SUCKED SO BAD?

Mac decided the direct approach was the best. She would look him in the eye and LIE.

She came back out into the bedroom. He was on the bed where she left him but he had pulled on his shorts.

"I hate do to this," she stated as she gathered her clothes making sure not to look in his general direction. "I have to go. I need to be at Quantico at 0600."

"Oh, yeah – of course," he saw through her act quickly and joined right in – selfishly.

The fact of the matter was that they were working on a case together, if she needed to be at Quantico, he needed to be at Quantico even though NO ONE they needed to see was going to be there at 0600.

"Should I go with you?" he pained the question.

"NO," she blurted out snapping back up from under the bed – she was looking for her shoe. If she could have left without looking like Cinderella running from the ball, she would have. Damn the shoe. "No, don't be silly. You have that other thing to do."

"Right. Oh yeah. Of course," he stumbled out. What other thing? He had nothing to do and she didn't need to be in Quantico. He got up and pulled his T-shirt back on. "Well, Ok, then. I'll catch up with you tomorrow afternoon. We can compare notes."

NOTES! OH God, was she supposed to prepare notes about this train wreck – oh, right, about the case. "Right," she found her shoe and was as dressed as she was going to get.

He walked her to the door. "Can I take you to dinner tomorrow night?"

WHAT! What the hell was he saying? He was only being polite.

"Um – yeah – I mean no. I have plans tomorrow night."

sigh of relief.

"Ok – well then another time."

"Sure."

They gave an awkward semi Great Aunt Grace hug and a painfully dry kiss on the cheek. Mac escaped. It would be hard to know who was more grateful that they were out of the other's presence.

How could that happen? Who would have guessed it would be so -- so - horrendous? Certainly not Harm. And Mac? No. They were both passionate people with common interests. They seemed like a good match: good looking, above average intelligence, good hygiene, they had all their teeth and they were attracted to each other. Seemingly they should have been well suited – 'seemingly' being the operative word.

On the other hand – they were adults and you can never tell if any two adults are going to be compatible. These two were pretty set in their ways with a lot of individual and joint baggage. They knew that if they stayed friends – close, intimate (but not that intimate) friends, that something like that could happen – WOULD happen, and SHOULD have happened before – the incident not the result. The potential for disaster was one thing that had kept them apart (though neither would have expected that kind of disaster). There are rules about this kind of this. Rules to prevent this type of aftermath and fall out.

They knew the rules.

Rule Number One: "Never sleep with your best friend – hell, never sleep with any FRIEND."

That was the first rule in life that any good parent should teach a child when it comes to sex – probably more important than condoms (or at least a close second).

Rule Number Two: "Never sleep with a co-worker."

Dipping your pen in the company inkwell never turns out well.

Rule Number Three: … number 3 … hmmm … It is something about not sleeping with a coworker who is your best friend – but I can't think of it at the moment.

Those rules were in place for a reason.

Yet they did it any way. They succumbed to the pressure. Pressure from within and from without. Did the pressure itself impact the quality of the event or did it just make it inevitable? Regardless … this time … this fiasco --- took the inevitable off the table … and not in a good way.

So what was the penalty going to be; the penalty for one night, one moment of weakness in seven years of amazing restraint? Was it penalty enough that a hard won friendship was just shot to hell? Or was there something more that needed to be levied? A pound of flesh? Years at hard labor? A letter of punitive reprimand? Reduction in rank and loss of pay?

More than just the direct repercussions - how were they going to get past it?

It would have been hard enough to recover if it were good. If it were great …how would these two have gotten any work done? But be things as they were (BAD), could they really go back to being friends without the binding factor of USTs? Further --- armed with the kind of intimate information about the other they discovered during that debacle any future dealings they had would be tainted, painted and otherwise washed with this intell. Snide remarks and off hand comments would now take on a whole new meaning. He could not look at her the same way, nor she him. How could they work in the same office or on same case without causing WWIII?

The best thing either of them could do would be to sweep it under the rug and forget about it.

HA – what are the odds?