And the final act! Thanks for hanging in there, guys. At the bottom are previews for the next story and info on it. :-) It will start posting in September. Probably just after Labor day.
Familiar and unfamiliar voices. Sounds of running water; of rain drops on a tin roof. Sounds of laughter. It was all spliced into the soundtrack that was playing in his aching head. As Harm came to, he could feel an intense pain behind his eyes. Swallowing, he could feel a sharp pain to his larynx, something he'd felt before when Corpsman Hodge tried to strangle him during that strange situation inside the Watertown. A coppery taste which assaulted his taste buds made him gag. When he tried to move his arms, he found them to be bound behind his back, wrapped around some sort of pillar.
As he finally managed to pull his eyes open he realized he was alone, that the voices were coming from outside, somewhere. He sighed deeply. Maybe the would forget about him? Maybe the delay gave Mac a chance to contact Cresswell. The General knew his whereabouts and would, no doubt, contact the authorities. "Mac, I'm sorry." He thought in remorse for putting her through all of this. Mattie came to his mind as well as he was sure that this would be another blow that she didn't need. Clenching his jaw, he heard the voices coming closer to him.
They were going to kill him and he knew it. He only hoped it would be quick.
"Hello, Captain." Colonel Barrette stood in front of him with a sick expression on his face. This man truly liked the barbarism of it all. He was into the blood, the gore and the money he was pocketing from each match. Taking a puff, he blew cigar smoke into Harm's face and chuckled as the Naval officer tried to cough. With his unoccupied hand, he punched Harm solidly in the gut, causing an involuntary motion to try and shield his body from the blows. "Don't bother. . .Those ties won't let you go anywhere." With a sigh, the Colonel took another puff of the cigar as he stood watching Harm. "So you're a JAG, huh? Apparently you aren't very good at your work, Captain."
"Screw . . you." Harm managed to whisper out as he tried to lift his head up.
Greene and Sutton, who were standing behind Barrette shared a chuckle at the man's obstinacy. "I'll have to thank Petty Officer Zadora for informing us on who you really are. . .I must say, you had me fooled. . .I don't like being the fool, Captain." He paced slowly for one moment, then stopped in front of Harm with a thoughtful expression. "I have something that might interest you." Barrette raised up Harm's cellphone, opened it and cycled through the information. "Sarah MacKenzie." At that, Harm's head shot up, eyes wide and frightened stared at the phone Barrette was holding. "She was the last person you spoke to." All of Mac's information was there, numbers, e-mail and even the address. Barrette shoved the phone into Harm's face and grinned. "Is she your girl? . . .Maybe, when we're through here, we should pay her a visit, what do you think boys?"
"Oh yea." Sutton said with a malevolent laugh and then took a swing at Harm, hitting him on his already raw cheek. "Is she fun, Captain?"
"She's a Marine and will likely turn you three into nothing more than a grease stain." Harm chuckled and for his efforts received another hard punch.
Sutton walked around, behind Harm and worked on untying him. "We have a little plan for you, Captain. . . I think you're going to love it." He practically dragged Harm through the warehouse and towards the fighting room where the only men gathered were the ones that had followed Harm out of the warehouse. They were standing in a circle and right in the middle, was Ensign Lane.
"What is this?" Harm said as he attempted to stand by himself. His legs were shaky and the only reason he was standing straight was because Sutton and Greene were holding him up. "What's going on?"
Greene stepped into the circle and motioned for Ensign Lane to come closer. "It's our final battle of the night. . . Ensign Lane versus Captain Rabb. ."
Lane, who seemed to be just as bad off as Harm shook his head. "I will not fight him."
"If you value your life, you will." The men chuckled at Sutton's words then began clapping their hands rhythmically, chanting for the battle to begin.
Harm stood in front of Lane who was staring back with a look of sorrow. "I'm sorry, Captain." The man swung at Harm, who was suddenly let go of. He fell forward, out of Lane's punch and stumbled on the ground. Lane tried again as Harm rolled to the side, out of the way. He wasn't willing to hit the younger man. He wasn't going to let them win. Slowly, he came to his feet, hunched over with his fists in the air, in hopes of blocking any advances.
When Lane took another swing, Harm fell backwards onto one of the men that made the circle. He received a punch to the back from one of the men. With the wind knocked out of him, he barely had time to react as Lane swept his legs from under him. "Argh!" He fell to the ground, face first and tried to curl into fetal position in hopes of protecting vital body parts from an assault. Lane was pulled away by the others and Harm felt someone hovering over. Out of curiosity, he peaked upwards.
"Say goodbye, Captain." The Colonel wound up, preparing to give Harm a deadly blow to the face, when a loud sound from behind the double doors stopped him short. "What the?" Spinning around, he came face to face with SOUTHCOM MPs.
"Hands up and back away from that man!" One of them yelled at Barrette, aiming the rifle directly towards the man's back. "Turn around slowly." As Barrette turned the men were surprised who it was they caught in the act. "Colonel Barrette? You're under arrest, sir."
On the ground, Harm breathed a sigh of relief as he felt a hand on his back and a soothing voice telling him everything would be fine. "Captain? It's Corpsman Gonzalez, sir. . .You're going to be alright. . .You're going to be alright." The Corpsman, quickly worked on administering something for the pain. Happily, Harm sunk into drug induced oblivion.
Coral Gables, Florida
It had barely been an hour since the plane touched down, but she couldn't do anything else but rush to his side. As Mac entered Harm's hospital room, her already somber face fell just a little bit more. He seemed so small resting against the white sheets in the pastel pink room. Moving in closer, she saw the marks, the bruises and the thin IV tube running into his right arm.
Even biting her lower lip couldn't suppress an audible gasp as she saw his condition. "What have they done to you?" She whispered, tentatively reaching out to brush a hand over one of his own. It startled her slightly to feel his hand moving beneath hers. With a few flutters, his eyes opened slightly.
For the life of him, Harm couldn't tell where he was. The only thing he knew was that he was comfortable and in the presence of someone he cared deeply for. "Mac?"
"Yea, it's me." She said softly, then raised his hand up to kiss his knuckles.
"I've died and gone to Heaven." He breathed out as he willed his eyes to open a bit more.
With her other hand, Mac gently pressed her palm to his cheek, brushing a thumb over his lip. A single tear slipped as she felt the anger welt up. How could anyone do this to him? "Are you okay?"
"I am now. . ." Feeling slightly more awake, he pulled her close, urging her to join him on the small bed. "Mac."
"What are you doing?"
"Come here." He tried again, but she relented against it.
Easily removing her hand from his grip, she moved back slightly, shaking her head at his insistence. "I'll hurt you."
"No. You won't." This time, she didn't resist and allowed for him to pull her closer. Somehow, he managed to adjust them so that she was laying partially on him, partially on the mattress. "God, I've missed you." Harm's lips found hers and they kissed as if it had been years since they'd been apart. He poured his soul into hers, unwilling to let her go ever again if possible.
"I've missed you too." Mac managed to breathe out when they parted for a brief moment. Her fingers traced his facial features as they stared at each other with a sense of wonder. How exactly had they gone so long without being like this?
As the weight of the whole situation came back to him, Harm had trouble holding her eyes with his own. He'd said things, things that he knew hurt her and that was unacceptable. "What I said over the phone. . .I'm sorry."
"I don't care about that. . .all I care about is that you are alright."
"You should care. . ." He looked away in shame, remembering that he'd nearly lost himself in the Underground. He could have very well lost her as well.
Carefully, she turned her head back and pierced him with a look that spoke volumes. Mac wasn't angry, not anymore. She was just relived he was alright. "I forgive you." Happily, she rested her head against his pillow as one of her hands rested over his heart. It was so good to feel that steady thump beneath his skin, to know he was alive. "Creswell told me about the investigation. . .I understand why you didn't tell me where you were."
"It wasn't just an order, Mac. . .I knew I couldn't operate if I had you here. . .And if something went wrong, they would have come after you. It wasn't safe in Miami and. . .wait. . .am I still in Miami?"
"And you're here?"
"Yeeees." Mac said with a slight chuckle, then relented as he winced from her movements. "Sorry."
Harm raised himself up slightly, his attempt at trying to gauge where he was, making him tired. With a groan he sunk back down, careful of his IV and the arm he had draped over his fiancé. "How?"
"Cresswell. He arranged to get me down here." Cringing, she thought back to the flight from hell. "There were no immediate flights so I was on a C-130 with twenty barely legal, undersexed Marines." She met his bewildered look with a cringe and they both laughed it off.
Despite the change in him that was brought on by Mac's presence, he couldn't help but thing about The Underground and the piece of him that stayed behind. "There was something so exhilarating about the fights. . .Part of me liked it." With a clenched jaw he closed his eyes. It was easy to admit things and just as easier to ignore them, but he chose the first option. "I think part of it had to do with you. . .I've missed you so much it was starting to hurt. . .I think it left something in me wide open."
"I know that feeling. . . emptiness. . .I don't want to feel the pain of not being with you."
"Are you afraid of me hurting you?" He asked after sometime, his face contorting slightly. No matter what changed between them, they still had old habits. And those were the toughest ones to break.
"Sometimes. . . And it's not that I don't trust you. . .but we don't exactly have the best track record. . .I won't recover if we go separate ways." She admitted in a soft voice.
"I wouldn't either. . ." As he leaned in to kiss her, the clearing of someone's voice brought their attention to the door where Cresswell stood with a smile.
"Captain, Colonel, glad to see the both of you." He grinned slightly as the two shared a look that said they'd gotten caught. "Since you'll be remaining at the hospital for a day or two, I decided to come down here to finish up the investigation. . .You'll be glad to hear that Colonel Barrette and his boys are behind bars at the moment. The pictures from your cellphone are being analyzed as we speak. . .You did a good job, Captain."
"Thank you, sir."
Cresswell held his grin in place as he turned to leave. "Well, carry on you two."
Harm and Mac shared a good natured laugh. "Was that the same Cresswell who, a year ago, you believed would separate us?" He raised a brow at her, marveling in the way Mac suddenly had a pink tint to her cheeks.
Mac remembered that conversation too well. "Me? Did I really say that?" At his nod, she smiled at him and snuggled in closer, careful of his injuries. "Nah, the General's really a softy when it comes to matters of the heart."
"Uh huh, I'll be sure to tell him that next time I see him." Turning slightly, he kissed the top of Mac's head and just enjoyed having her in his arms again. "I'm glad you're here. . . Really, Mac. . .I've missed you so much."
"Care to show me how much?" She ran a hand down his chest, stopping at his abdomen.
"Hey, I am injured." Harm playfully slapped her hand away, then pulled it back over his heart where it formerly was.
Raising her head up to meet his gaze, a seductive grin spread across her mouth. "Not your lips." With that, he leaned forward and captured her lips with his own.
Thanks to everyone who's kept up with this story. It was a pleasure to write it and a pleasure to participate in FOJ's Summer Season last year.
Now… To the good part. ;-)
The next story on my docket is one called (Still debating a name change, but the working name is) "The Webbs We've Tangled Ourselves In." Where Harmikins replaces Spookboy on the Paraguay debacle.
There were be MANY changes to the original script, it won't be Harm just taking over Webb's place. There will be an adventure of sorts for Harm and Mac as they try to make it out of Paraguay alive. Sadik Fahd's name will change due to an inside joke between a friend of mine and I. And I am considering redeeming AJ Chegwidden while we are at it. No alligator wrestling this time and he and Mer will stay together. Webb WILL be around just not with Mac, at all… Hell no.
So without further adieu, here's some "previews."
- - - - - - - - -
"Damnit. . .Damnit, Mac why now?" Harm had been fruitlessly in love with Mac for so long, he could barely remember the first time he noticed that his feelings weren't friendly in nature.
- - - - - - - -
"You and the Colonel have known each other for several years, Commander. You've been partnered together. You've surely been adversaries in the courtroom. As far as I am concerned, that's a relationship that works. You know each others strength and weaknesses, something that Agent Webb would never know." Opening a drawer, he reached inside and took out a folder which he slid across the desk to Harm. "Here are the details on the case, the files you will need. Agent Webb has already made contacts with a Raul Garcia, the dealer that he would be trading circuit boards for diamonds with."
- - - - - - -
But, a baby between them would be cherished, loved and Harm would be such a perfect father. That was something, wasn't it? Actually, it was more than something, it was enough. "If he even wants to have a baby with you anymore, Mac." She voiced her thoughts sadly, not wanting to remember that he'd all but hidden the Singer investigation and the paternity of her baby. While she couldn't fathom that Harm had been intimate with Singer, she had to admit, he had acted guilty.
- - - - - - -
Webb reached for his two bags and placed them at his feet as they waited for Harm's to circle around once more. "Pay attention, will you? And before you start making accusations, remember, if anything happens to Mac it's your fault not mine."
- - - - - -
Falling asleep had never been Mac's intention, but the lack their of and a rather exhausting flight and having to wear the stupid pregnancy suit had, inevitably sent her into a slumber. It was a rustle at the door and a jostling of the door handle that woke her. Momentarily unaware that she was not in her apartment, Mac automatically reached for the side arm she kept hidden in a side drawer of the coffee table
- - - - -
"Can you, at least, explain how you got here?"
Raising his head, Harm stared pointedly at her. Not sleeping in the plane or the night before, combined with the sleepless month he'd spent in the brig was starting to take it's toll. "By plane."
- - - - -
"I mean it, Mac. . .You're gorgeous." His voice had taken a husky tone, his body responding in ways that he'd never encountered before. This was all automatic, as if something had finally snapped inside of him and all he could do was feel. His arms encircled her waist, hands laying gently on the full belly. If he didn't apply much pressure, his mind would believe that this was real, that she was carrying their child. Harm felt Mac's body leaning against him now, their eyes meeting each other's gaze through the mirror.
- - - -
"Also, don't forget that if it wasn't for that Declaration of Independence case with Sarah's uncle, neither of you would have met. I single handedly brought you two together." He let that statement flow as if it were complete common knowledge. As if he half expected them to praise thanks for his meager existence.
"You're making that sound like you were playing matchmaker, Webb." If Mac were going to give thanks for meeting Harm, she'd have to start with her uncle, not some CIA – no – undersecretary to whoever he was with back then.
- - - -
"I don't like to play games." Garcia stood up, eyeing the two suspiciously. "Just be happy that we're in public where it would not be wise for me to shoot the both of you." He made to push passed Harm, who's frame towered a good head over his own.
- - -
"Looks like your bodyguard has no interest in keeping you alive." In Garcia's hand was a gleaming, silver 45 mm pistol which was pointed directly towards Mac's head. "So tell me, why should I let you live?"
Shots rang out before Alvaro could finish what he'd been saying. Automatically, Harm's body came over Mac's pushing her down into the seat, covering her from the shower of broken glass. The car skidded to a stop nearly careening off of the road. A tree stopped it's forward motion.
- - -
Former Gunnery Sear gent, now CIA-Spook, Victor Galindez, was not normally a worrier. He'd seen enough in his lifetime to know how to handle himself, something that he did relatively well. Yet, the man sitting across from him, in a seemingly friendly posture, holding a bottle of Flor de Caña, was an enigma. Such had been the men he'd encountered in Afghanistan. He managed to crack a few and retrieve necessary information, but this time, he knew he was on the losing end. "I need to head back to Raul Garcia. Preferably with his drugs."
- - -
For some reason, the last thing Mac remembered before blacking out was her comment to Harm about his being ready when she had one foot out the door. Morbidly, she wondered, if he'd care for her even in death.
- - -
The table, which was nothing more than several stacked wooden blocks with a thick sheet of plywood nailed to the top, had some crude form of foot and arm straps made out of what appeared to be leather belts. To the side was a small wooden table with several car batteries lined side to side. Three of which had jumper cables attached. Several pieces of old, rusted steel wool lay scattered beneath the table. Harm felt a shove against his back as he was thrust into the room. "Please don't do this."
- - - - - -
. "Oh yes, we know your real name now." Mac's consideration of remaining defiant was quickly erased when he produced a wallet sized picture of herself and Harm during the USMC/USN Gala earlier that year. It had occurred before the Singer mess and was the first time that they'd all gone out as a group. Harm had been her unofficial 'date' and the two of them had made up excuses as to why they were alone.
- - - - -
. "You have. . .no idea. . .how bad this . . is. . .No idea what th-they did. . .to me. . .I can't. . .I can't do this. . .I can't. . .I won't. . .hear them. . .do that to you. . . Please, just. . .try to escape."
"Harm, I won't leave you."
- - - -