Title: Love Is An Antidote To Instincts
Summary: What if Harm had partnered up with Mac in Paraguay instead of Webb? AKA: "The Webbs We Tangle Ourselves In." – A whole re-write of Season 9.
Alright, I don't usually go around giving away plots or putting mucho disclaimers on stories, however. . .This is to stop certain people from reading then jumping down my throat later. Not that I care, but I am tired of the whining about Harm and Mac and who's better and who gets treated worse. They are characters, they do not exist! Having said that, Harm will get tortured. It's not as detailed or graphic as one of the other stories I wrote, but, whatever. Some people need the warnings. Not elaborating more on that..
Mac will have several issues of her own. I am so not elaborating on that either.
Alright so. ..The purpose of this grand story is to exchange Webb with Harm during the Paraguayan mission. This is not just a change of character, it's a change of story. Things will happen between Harm and Mac that (THANK YOU GOD) didn't happen between Mac and Webb in their little hotel suite. Let's just say, there will be a part where that pregnancy suit gets slipped off. ;) Yes, smut! We'll get there, please hold on! Sheesh! To the gutter people and you know who you are!
Also, Sadik, won't be Sadik. Due to an inside joke between one of my buddies and I, he'll have a name change. More on that as we get there.
Anyway… here we go, enjoy!
PS: If you don't like the new title or the old title or any title, too bad… Poor V has heard me going nuts over it. Cut us some slack! ;-)Chapter 1 – When Interests Never Fade
North Of Union Station
'You're only like this when I have one foot out the door. Your interest fades when I might be in the position to return it.' The immobilizing words left Commander Harmon Rabb Junior rooted in place; his eyes lingering on the door that had been closed twenty minutes earlier. His thick fingers wrapped around the neck of the acoustic guitar he was holding, the sounds of its strings rubbing against the fret board making him cringe. It was the first sound that had reverberated in his home since Mac's words hit home. That and a guttural groan at knowing that, once again, she'd put the ball in his court and he was too scared to do a damned thing about it.
The words weren't uttered in malice and yet he couldn't possibly hurt more if he'd been belted over the head with a two-by-four.
Finally snapping out of his statue like state, he placed the guitar against the sofa and then raced across the room to grab the cordless phone. "She's insane." Actually, Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie was probably one of the sanest individuals he knew. Why she would go along with this potentially lethal mission was something he understood too perfectly. They had a duty, a service to keep the American people safe and sound. Sometimes it required that their hands get a little dirty. The bitch of it, though, was that they were just two lawyers, combat wasn't really part of the deal. Not that they hadn't ever seen combat. Flying fighter jets during Desert Storm and Desert Shield gave him more action than he really wanted. And Mac, the stories she'd told him about her time in Bosnia were truly shocking.
This mission, though, had nothing to do with JAG or the law. It was a CIA creation which meant that super-spook Clayton Webb was involved. That left a bitter taste in Harm's mouth. There had never been a case with Webb that hadn't gone awry. Too many times his ambition to be the best had nearly cost Harm and Mac's lives. What was worse, all of the missions had been sanctioned by the Secretary of the Navy – their boss. It wasn't like they could just say 'no.'
Now, things were different – Mac was going alone, Harm wouldn't be there. The thoughts of something going wrong scared the breath out of him. Not like there was anything he could do about it. When Mac set her mind to something, much like him, not even God himself could unmake their minds.
Carefully, Harm grabbed his guitar and then settled into his armchair. He'd missed her so much over the last four weeks and this was only adding to the pain in his heart. Four weeks that he'd spent locked up for a murder he didn't commit. Admiral Chegwidden, their commanding officer, had ordered his friends not to visit, to stay away in hopes that none of them would formally have to testify. He'd understood that, of course, but it still hurt. He would have given anything to see his friends, to see Mac, just once while he was in the brig.
Forcefully, he stood up and walked towards his desk where the cordless phone sat. Urges to contact. . .contact who exactly? If Mac was going, certainly the Admiral had approved and it wasn't like he could just call the man up and order him to stop Mac. "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. He was jealous when other men spoke to her. Upset when she was hurt or sick. He wanted to protect her, though he knew that she could stand on her own two feet. That strength combined with her beauty and kindness made his heart flutter.
The woman of his dreams had been with him for the past seven years and he was too afraid to give into his feelings. "Shit." He cursed, shaking his head in disgust. Those last four weeks had changed him greatly, made him see that he couldn't do this on his own anymore. That he needed someone close to him. That he needed Mac. The more he wrestled with his emotions, the more this feeling of unease overcame him. She couldn't go with Webb, he was certain it wouldn't end well. He couldn't lose her either and he had a sneaking suspicion that it was exactly what would happen.
Reaching for the cordless, he punched the power button as his other hand paged through the black Rolodex. Technically speaking, he didn't have to be back at JAG for another two weeks, the Admiral had only allowed him back early due to the growing amount of cases and the short supply of lawyers. Too bad, he thought with a wry smile. JAG would have to deal without him and Mac because, whether anyone liked it or not, he was going on that mission. He only hoped Mac wouldn't kill him as a result, her Marine temper was a force to be reckoned with.
"My interests never faded Mac and they never will." He said out loud, glancing towards a picture of the two of them, taken a year earlier during a case in Iraq. "Get ready, Marine, I'm coming. . .Butch and Sundance ride again."
Something about CIA Director Stanley Kershaw reminded Harm of Admiral Chegwidden. They both had that exuding amount of presence that could scare away a wild lion with just one look. Kershaw, though, was much cooler, his voice relaxed even when it was obvious the man was less than pleased at being dragged to Langley at midnight. "I'm aware that Colonel MacKenzie and Agent Webb are heading off on a mission to Paraguay." Harm stated without preamble, then added, almost as a consolation prize, "I want in."
The sleep laden haze Kershaw was wrapped in disappeared almost instantly. It felt like he'd suddenly sobered up after a hard night of drinking. "Excuse me? You want. . .you want in?" He was clearly shocked. Not even CIA agents wanted 'in' on anything anymore, everyone was looking out for number one, too afraid of the consequences if they screwed up, which they often did. Worse yet, Rabb couldn't know the specifications of the case. Hell, only Webb knew and he was one hundred percent sure that, while MacKenzie probably had some inkling of an idea, she didn't know everything and wouldn't spill to anyone. "Are you sure about this Commander?"
"Yes, sir." Stoically, Harm stood, almost as if he were standing at attention before the Admiral. It was the only way to truly get his point across. The serious of the situation, in his mind, would continue to grow unless he could, somehow, figure this all out before Mac and Webb's plane touched down in Paraguay.
Kershaw studied the officer curiously. "Is there a particular reason why?" Not that he had to ask, Rabb had the feigned indifference of a man in love. Spending years in the CIA had given him a unique quirk of reading people, especially when they didn't want to be read.
"To be brutally honest, sir. . .I don't trust Agent Webb around my partner." There was no love loss between him and Webb. Although the agent had proven to be useful in the past, Harm couldn't deny that everything the man touched turned to shit. "The Colonel and I have been involved in several of his escapades, none of which we'd survived unscathed. I'd sleep better at night if I was there to watch their backs."
"I really could care less how well you sleep, Commander." Nevertheless, it was an intriguing angle, especially with a mole running around Langley. Kershaw knew that not even Webb was exempt from the possibilities of being a double agent. The JAG lawyer though, that was a different story all together. "However, I do agree that Agent Webb has some. . .unorthodox methods of accomplishing his tasks." He chose to leave out that the reason Webb was in Paraguay in the first place, had to do with his slew of screw ups. Harm and Mac, he knew, had a reputation for surviving just about everything. And, from one case that they worked on with Webb in Bahrain, where they pretended to be a couple, it was clear that the pair had chemistry – something that Mac and Webb lacked, in spades. Yes, why hadn't he seen this before? Oh, that's right, Rabb had been incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit. "You know, Commander, I might have a way to appease you and accomplish the mission at the same time."
The expectant look on Harm's face nearly made him chuckle. "I'm interested."
"How about you replace Webb as Jane Williams' husband?" He served it up, almost as if on a platter.
"Jane Williams? Who's Jane. . ."
Kershaw grinned widely. "Jane and Josh Williams – Colonel MacKenzie and Agent Webb."
Harm's mouth hung open for a moment as he contemplated the gift he'd seemed to be given. Playing house with Mac? It was like a dream come true. "I ah. . .thought you'd want me to look out for them. . .not."
"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 other's 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 Raul Garcia, the dealer that he would be trading circuit boards for diamonds with."
For the first time since the conversation began, Harm slipped into a chair, slightly overwhelmed with the information that had been thrust at him. He leafed through the files and the pictures, his mind trying to wrap around the facts. "Sir, if Webb met Garcia doesn't that mean he'd be expected? Not me."
Kershaw shook his head. "We'll think of something." Standing, Kershaw came around his desk and moved to a small bar against the side wall. "Contrary to what you believe, Commander, we do cover our agents' asses, just trust me." He served up two shots of cognac and handed one to Harm. "Go home, pack some things. . .suits, Polos, conventional looking. . .get going, I need you back here soon for a quick briefing."
"What about Colonel MacKenzie and Agent Webb?" Harm's brow rose in question.
"Leave that to me." He smirked evilly. Clayton Webb wasn't going to like this change of plans, but if it kept all of their people safe, it was best for everyone. Besides, Webb didn't own him and although his family had been a staple with the CIA, the grandeur had ended with Clayton Webb, a mediocre agent who wouldn't ruin someone else's life.
An hour and a half later, Webb sat in Kershaw's office, waiting for whatever the big surprise was. "Harrison, what the hell is this about? You sent Colonel MacKenzie on without me. Do you realize how bad that looks?" Not that Mac seemed to matter, in fact, she seemed relieved not to be flying with him. "I'm supposed to be her husband and husbands don't leave their very pregnant wives to. . ."
A familiar voice made him stop in mid sentence. "Hello Clay." Whipping around, Clayton Webb saw none other than Commander Harmon Rabb Junior in a dark blue suit and grey polo shirt.
"Rabb? What the hell are you. . .no." Clay whipped back towards Kershaw, the realization of what was about to happen coming into full play. "You can't."
"Can't I?" Kershaw challenged with a look that meant business. "I'm the deputy director of the CIA, Clayton, I can pretty much do anything."
Webb's scowl only seemed to become more pronounced as he stared between both men. "You can't! This is my case!" Standing he came toe to toe with Harm whose frame towered over his own. "You're a son of a bitch, Rabb. After all of the help I've offered, this is how you repay it?" Turning back to Kershaw with anger evident in his face Webb reached into his pocket and tossed his CIA badge towards the director. "Screw you. . .You stick me in some fucking jungle and then. . ."
Kershaw took the badge and tossed it back towards Webb. "You are still on the case, Clayton. . .Just not as Colonel MacKenzie's husband. . .That position will be filled by Commander Rabb, and if you think of objecting I will make sure you never work in this town again." He was bullying Webb intentionally. Though the logical choice would be to completely replace the man, there were things that Webb knew which needed to be passed on to Rabb. "Now, you and the Commander will fly to Paraguay together. You will use that time to bring him up to speed on the case. . .Am I clear?"
As an answer Webb tossed his hands angrily up in the air. "You leave me no choice. . .I assume you will be in contact with the new cover story?"
"That is correct."
"Uh, Director Kershaw, there is one snag." Harm said suddenly with concern. "Admiral Chegwidden doesn't know I am here. In fact, I'm expected in the office tomorrow. . .ah, this morning."
The man didn't quite seem perturbed by the notion at all. "Good, then the Admiral will believe it was my idea." When neither man questioned any other aspect of this new plan, he waved them off. "Get going Gentlemen, your plane leaves in an hour and a half. . . Clayton, once you arrive, stay in contact with Edward Hardy, he'll be expecting you. Please fill him in."
Taking his bags, Harm followed Webb out of Kershaw's office and through the maze of corridors that made up the CIA headquarters. "You are an idiot, Rabb, you know that?" Webb stepped into his office, flicked on a light and made his way to a small armoire where he took out a box. Removing a keychain from his pant pocket, he slipped a key into the lock of the box which, once opened, revealed a collection of different passports and other methods of identification. He removed a passport and ID, then slipped them into his breast pocket. "You do realize that Mac will probably be pissed off at you for this?"
"Well, that's just too bad, isn't it?" Harm said, more out of defense than anything else. In all honesty, that was the only thing that he'd thought about on the drive home and then back.
Mac was going to kill him.