Title: Cold Light Of Day

Chapter One

By: LizD

Spoilers: Mid-Season 8

Notes: This is the sequel to Better Never, Than Bad story (by request from a couple of reviewers – I got inspired). s/b humorous with lots of sexual situations (mature readers only). I was aiming for funny but I think I only hit droll. You tell me.

Written: Summer 2006

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

The cold light of day filtered through the windows as Mac woke. There was a little blue jay tapping on the window as if to wake her. Her first thought: My windows face west … the sun rises in the east … so how could the dawn …? Then she heard it. The shower. Who was in the shower? She opened her eyes wider. It was not her bed. It was not her bedroom. It probably wasn't her shower. So where---. She sat bolt up in bed ... HIS bed. Harm's bed.

"Oh shit," were the first words out of her mouth. Then panic sent in.

What in the HELL were they thinking? She remembered EXACTLY what happened – in minute detail – but what were they thinking?

Atonement. Reparation. Redemption.

The first time sucked so bad they needed a second chance to make amends … to set the record straight … to redeem themselves – as it were.

Yes, it was redemptive sex – that was all. They still hadn't declared love of any kind. It wasn't like they were going to finally try a "relationship" (whatever that meant). They just needed to prove something to themselves and to each other. They had to prove that they could be GOOD … good together … to save face. They had to – justifiably - in order to save the working relationship. It was impossible to imagine the caustic, rude and back-biting remarks (as evidenced by that scene with Turner and his client the day before) that would go on if they had left each other with the impression that the first time was as good as it got. But it didn't mean anything more than that.

The second time did what it was supposed to do. Amends and atonement were made. Egos were redeemed.

If Harm were any other man, Mac would definitely have wanted to see him again. But he wasn't and she was – like it or not. She was going to see him again - DAILY. Worse than SEE him, she had to work with him. How ironic the very thing that was to save their working relationship might just as easily kill it. Harm had always been impossible before – snarky, petty, jealous, haughty, arrogant, superior all in that I-know-you way. He was beyond intolerable the day prior. What possible hope did she have now that he had … not to put too fine a point on it … that he had seen her naked - twice?

He did a hell of a lot more than SEE, she reminded herself. But I did too.

That thought was new. She had just as much new information about him as he had about her. He wouldn't use what he knew in fear that she would use what she knew. It was a stalemate. Maybe it was a good thing – this first and second time – maybe they could get past everything else and drop all the pettiness and the fight for the top. Maybe all of that was due to the fact that they never did it and now that they had it would fade away. It was an itch that was seven years waiting to get scratched and since it had been, they could start focusing on what was really important.

Or did we just make matters worse? She asked herself. She shook it away.

The important questions now were: Did they need to talk about it? How would they keep it a secret from co-workers? Would it be written all over their faces? What did it mean to their "friendship", which had been tenuous at best recently? How would they work together? Could everything go back to the way it was before? Should it? In the end all that mattered was that they had their careers to think about and one night – well two nights of sex – good, bad or indifferent … for the record, it was good, better than good … it was great … it was actually better than great … but not great enough to throw away nearly 20 years of hard work.

Harm had to agree, she thought. He wouldn't out us. She took it for granted that it would not happen again. It was not going to become a habit or a regular thing. Then it occurred to her, He might think that. Why wouldn't he? She looked toward the shower – she panicked.

She got up, dressed and tried to think rationally, tried to think what he was thinking. Fact: He was in the shower. Fact: He got up without waking her … to shower. That meant he didn't expect there to be morning sex (the first man she slept with that didn't want morning sex – usually the best part). She tried not to take that as an insult.

Back to the shower. He was showering to … to get ready for work. It was 0538; he didn't need to be there until 0900 and he normally took a run in the AM – not that she would KNOW what his NORMAL routine was in the morning and definitely not the morning after a night of great sex.

She winced. She needed to stop thinking about the quality and deal with the fact. A fleeting thought crossed her mind: Did he think it was great? She shook it off.

Back to the shower: He was … showering … cleaning … washing to … to … to … wash her off? Wash IT off. Ridding him self of … whatever … just ridding him self. He was getting back to normal. Again she tried not to take THAT as an insult. She chose to take it as a sign that he felt the same way she did. They both needed to forget that it ever happened and move on. 'Good, they finally agreed on something.' It was a one-time (two-time) event … never to happen again. She needed to get out of there. She needed to avoid the uncomfortable morning-after discussion. She had her hand on the door.

"Mac?" his voice stopped her. "Where are you going?"

She couldn't read the tone. Was he angry, amused or just plain confused? 'Oh God,' she thought, 'what do I say?'

"Mac?" he asked again.

"I need to go," she stated simply. "You need to get ready for work." The fact that he was still dripping from the shower AND the towel was hung a little too lowly on his hips did not escape her notice. She now had a much better appreciation for his hips … hips and lips … lips and his hips. She looked away. "And so do I … need to get ready for work."

He stepped toward her. "Are you ok?" he asked. What he was really asking was not clear.

"Fine," she stated glancing at him. "Everything is fine … was fine … is fine. I'm fine," she looked away. "I need to go."

"FINE?" he asked almost as if he had been slapped.

"I need to go."

"Fine!" he gruffed. "Everything was FINE?" It was damn near Olympic GOLD … and she says FINE?

"Yes … I'm sorry … I have a 0800 that I can't be late for," she reached for the door but felt she needed to say something. "Thanks," she said.

"Thanks?" he was aghast.

"Thanks for … thank you … I mean …" she was tripping over every word. "I had a nice time," she couldn't believe she said that and there was no way to recover. She slipped from the room and bolted down the stairs.

X X X X X X X X

"Fine?" Harm repeated. "Nice?" he echoed. "Nice? Fine?" His ire was up. "She had a 'nice time'," he laughed. "Everything is fine," he stated again. "Four times in one night … six for you, lady!" He stated loudly to the empty room, "I defy anyone … anyone my age to do that – with a bad back too boot," he snorted. "Fine," he threw his hands in the air. "She is un-pleaseable … I knew it."

He needed a run. He was going to skip his run that morning in lieu of making her breakfast in bed (which he needed to go out and shop for) and the customary after-breakfast sex (usually the best part) but that was moot given the 'nice' and 'fine' developments and her rapid departure as if the house were on fire. "Fine," he stated as he pulled on his sneakers. "Fine ... great … no, not great … FINE … NICE," he was disgusted.

X X X X X X X X

They didn't see each other until an afternoon briefing with the Admiral; she was late. It was just the two of them and the Admiral in his office. Harm was already there when she entered. He and the Admiral had clearly been in private conversation. They were jovial and smiling. BOYS! They both shut up when she entered and shared a look. She never felt more naked, more exposed in her life. She hoped she wasn't blushing. He told him was the thought she forced away.

"Thank you for joining us," the admiral said.

Was that a glint in his eye? Was he looking at her differently? She tried to ignore it.

"Lt. Rocko Meyers …You're to defend. Rabb here will prosecute."

"Yes sir."

"Lt. Meyers is accused of appearing in this," he handed her a DVD on the cover where three scantily clad women (in a version of sailor uniforms) and a man. She had to assume it was Lt. Rocko Meyers. It can be granted that he was – shall we say – out of uniform as well. The title on the DVD was "Making Waves".

Mac looked back up at the admiral.

"It's pornography, Colonel," he stated as if that were news. "If it will offend you I can assign Turner or Roberts."

"No Sir," she defended herself not wanting any special treatment for being female. "I'm fine sir."

Harm snorted at her use of FINE.

"Commander?" the admiral asked.

"It would be FINE with me if the colonel would rather prosecute," he stated.

"That is very nice of you, commander," the admiral stated.

Harm snorted again hoping the admiral wouldn't see.

"The assignments stay as they are," he announced. "Dismissed."

X X X X X X X X

"Commander," she caught him before he got on the elevator.

"Colonel," he drawled back at her.

"What did you say to the admiral?"

The elevator arrived and Harm got in. "Everything is FINE, Colonel."

She stopped the elevator from closing. "Harm?"

"We had a NICE chat … you're sorry you missed it … got my ass handed to me … seems Turner didn't feel that everything was FINE between us and wanted to file a grievance."

"Turner?" she looked over her shoulder.

Harm grabbed her hand from the elevator door and it sent a bolt through the both of them. She snapped her attention back and pulled her hand away quickly. "Everything is FINE now, Colonel," he gave her a wry smile. "Have a NICE day."

The doors closed. "This is worse – way worse," she mumbled to herself. Rabb with a bruised ego was way worse. She needed to clarify a few things without causing any more damage.

X X X X X X X X

"Have you had a chance to review the evidence?" Harm demanded from her doorway just before the close of day.

"I have," she sat up in her chair.

"Fine, let's make a deal," he stretched his shoulders out still working out the kinks in his back.

"No deal commander."

"Oh?"

"No …my client is innocent."

"Innocent?" he asked. "No one is innocent."

"He is NOT GUILTY," she corrected. "At least not of making that … video."

"And you are basing this on …"

"The evidence."

Harm smirked. "So you watched the video."

"I saw enough."

"Enough?" he grinned. "Pick up any pointers?"

"Have you?"

"Have I what? Seen the video or picked up any pointers?"

"Either … both."

"Right!" He stepped into her office and lowered his voice. "I'll study it like a primer for next time."

She shook her head implying there would be no next time. "Based on that video it is IMPOSSIBLE that my client was the man filmed."

"So what are you thinking … stud double?"

"Very funny," she smirked. "From what I saw, and what I know … it was not my client."

"What you KNOW? So from your YEARS of experience you KNOW – without a doubt - that no man … no Naval Officer … could possibly satisfy three women at the same time – or one woman six times."

She steeled her spine. "That is a pretty big leap in logic there commander – and kind of a sad commentary on your entire gender – at least the men of the Navy."

"You would have no problem believing it about Marines however."

"The content of the video is unimportant."

"Unimportant? … Have you actually had experience with what satisfies women … any woman … you for example … you're a woman?"

"My past experiences – good or bad – have no bearing in this case."

"Answer the question, Colonel."

"I am not on trial here commander."

"Answer the question," he demanded.

"I have," she reluctantly gave up the intel.

"Have what? Been satisfied? Or has it always been NICE and FINE for you?" he pushed harder. "Would you know SATISFACTION if it came up and bit you in the ---."

"Facts not in evidence AS YET." She tried to get back to the case. "I have facts that are not in evidence as yet … about -."

"What more will it take, colonel?" he pressed pretty much ignoring what she was saying and the case. "Would you know what 'evidence' is when you see it … feel it … taste it?"

"Rabb!" she cut him off.

He looked away and took a deep breath before he lodged he second assault. "I suppose he too is a NICE guy and you had a FINE discussion with him," he goaded. "Or was it more than a discussion?"

"You're embarrassing yourself, Harm," she stated.

"Who is to know … you taking an ad out in the Navy times?"

"Drop it Harm."

"Not until I get what I am looking for."

"Absolution? Atonement? Redemption?" she smiled. "Or do you just want your ego stroked?"

"How about the truth," he narrowed his eyes. "And a little unfettered honesty. We both know --"

"Truth? Honesty?" she cut him off again. "The honest truth is that this case will be thrown out before a membership board is empanelled," she was serious.

"You know this how?"

"The evidence," she repeated.

"We are back to that, are we?"

She was no longer amused by his little tirade. "I know that Lt. Rocko Myers was not the man in that video."

"His … his … TALENT didn't look the same on film? I suppose you did a line up. Maybe a reenactment."

"No."

"And you can tell one from another … I mean all men don't look a like when it comes to –"

"Harm!"

"Men are all alike, right? Fine … Nice!"

"Spiteful is not a good color on you – never has been." She shook her head. "And so unnecessary," she was really annoyed but there was a part of her that felt she deserved it for skating out on him that morning.

"Unnecessary?"

She took pity on him and told him what she had. "The man in the video was circumcised, Lt Meyers was not."

Harm was stumped. "Testimony, hearsay or …"

"I have a doctor's note," she explained quickly.

"You actually watched the video?" Harm accused as if that would help him win points.

"Enough to know what I needed to know."

The wind was completely taken out of his sails as pertains the case and she had given him nothing about the other thing. He was done. "I'll make the necessary recommendation to the convening authority."

"Thank you."

There was nothing left for Harm to say. "Fine," he turned to leave.

"Great," she corrected.

He turned back to her to see if she meant something else.

She nodded.

"Great?" he asked.

She nodded with a very slight smile on her face. "Great."

He grinned and mumbled under his breath, "NICE" in that way that boys do.

"Great," she corrected again.

"Great, huh?"

"Yes," she leaned back in her chair and put her hand to her throat. It was a defensive action; she had no idea what it was doing to him. "Too bad."

"Too bad?" he was concentrating on her neck and wishing she would just undo the top button.

"Never again," she said with a tinge of sadness.

He looked back up at her eyes. "No?"

"No," she dropped her hand. "So we are agreed."

"Agreed," he reluctantly said. He had been thinking about ways to improve since that morning, but apparently he didn't need them. He was 'great.'

"Good," she stated.

"Great?" he asked her again.

"Really great," she corrected.

He was redeemed and his ego was stroked. He smiled and shrugged. "Too bad," he turned and left with a little more spring to his step.

"Yeah," she said after he left. She looked down on her desk to where the "Making Waves" DVD was. She picked it up and dropped it in to her briefcase and closed it quickly. "Too bad."