Title: What does it mean?

Author: Jackie

Summary: During the episode "Tribunal" Mac notices the flowers and candles on Harm's dining room table.

Ever wonder what type of conversation Harm and Mac would have had if she'd mentioned the flowers, candles and music in his apartment? Did that scene not SCREAM "date" to you guys?! They should have stayed under the table and kissed senselessly for days – amongst other things… Anyway, I was bored, here's a take.



"Don't be gentle, be good." I utter that statement and Harm pins me with a look that states he caught my innuendo. Not that I intended it as one, it just sort of came out. After spending so many years as his close friend, I think that Harm's bad habits are starting to rub off on me. Maybe it's a good thing.

Harm has the opportunity to shoot me a witty comeback but I doubt he'd say anything. Our relationship has grown too problematic, too complicated for us to settle into that comfortable banter that we used to enjoy. I start to move up to my chair, giving him a chance to back out on any retort. If I would have breathed, I may have missed it. He must have worked up the nerve before speaking. "You have no clue how just good I am, Sarah."

The tone was like fire and velvet rolled into one. It had such an intimate touch about it and I'd be hard pressed to find that it was his bedroom voice. Damn. The moment I believe I am over him, that our friendship is truly what matters and that these other feelings I have are nothing more than an out of control schoolgirl crush, "Oh yeah? And how would one find out how good you are."

Shit. Please tell me I didn't just blurt that out in a tone that matched his own. Harm is now staring at me, his mouth slightly agape. He's still on the floor, fighting to recover from the blow I've just landed. He tried to stand up and, in the process, whacks his head against the bottom of his glass table. "Oww!"

And just like that, the little bit of magic that had brought us into its web is gone. It always seems to happen this way, doesn't it? We live from moment to moment, surviving with innuendos and barely-there touches. We? Hell, who am I kidding? If he really wanted me in that fashion he'd have done something about it. Sometimes I think of Harm as an adolescent – wanting something just because someone else has it. Then, just when it becomes available, it's not as interesting anymore and becomes nothing but a toy to occasionally play with.

I think the only kicks he gets out of me are in the courtroom when our legendary sparring matches come to life. It excites me too and maybe I am just a little perverse for enjoying it as much as I do. It's either that or nothing at all. "You okay?" I ask, watching as he rubs the spot on his head.

"Fine." He grinds out, irritated and settles back in his seat. With a rough sigh, he reaches for the pitcher of water at the same time that I do and our hands touch. For a brief, tiny little moment I feel a spark which only results in silence.

Clearing my throat, I settle more comfortably into the chair and spear a lettuce leaf with my fork. "Did you make the dressing?" I ask, choosing one of the two most universally safe topics to discuss during awkward silences – food or weather. Harm and I talk about food a lot and awkward silences have been treated with the suggestion of recipes. Julia Child would be pleased.

"Uh yeah, just a simple vinaigrette, nothing to write home about." He smiles and puts a little more salad on his plate. "Okay, so I'm first chair." The smile turns smug and I find that wall erected back up again, solidly in place. Not that I thought much was going to happen but, I confess, for a moment there, when we were both nursing our foreheads, I really thought he'd kiss me. Which leads me to make one mental note: if ever in close proximity with Harm's head again, grab him by the ears and kiss him senseless before he backs away. Yeah, right! "Like I'd ever have the guts to do that." I snort out and immediately wish I hadn't. Crap! Did I say that out loud?

Harm's staring me as if I've grown a second head. His brows raise up in amusement. "Ah, never have the guts to what, Mac? Be first chair? Shit, the day you can't litigate, please hand over the mill-rinde."

I attempt a fake chuckle that comes out more like a dry heave which I stifle with a swig of water. I proceed on munching through my salad when something strikes me as,"Interesting."

"What is?" He glanced towards me trying to figure out what has captivated my attention and has to realize I am staring at candles and flowers.

How come I didn't notice it when I walked in? The low lighting, flowers, candles and sultry music playing in the background. I turn to Harm with a look of bewilderment. Has he finally decided to make a move and why hadn't I noticed it? Had I become so complacent to his moods that I just gave up?

Well, I am noticing it now. "The candles and flowers." I wave a hand over the table and bite my lower lip as if the declaration cost me something. "The soft music."

"Oh." He says then wipes the corner of his mouth with a napkin. He grins slightly and shrugs. "Not like it's the first time."

I want to object and offer countless of dinners when there's been nothing between us but a box of pizza and dozens of scattered files. However, he's right and my memory bank shuffles back about a week after the JAG-A-THON when Harm invited me to dinner as a peace offering.

There were no files then, no rushing and not a mention of our duties. It was just Harm and I with a comfort and ease that reminded me of the good old days with one slight complication – I wanted to ravage him more than ever. The candles and the flowers were there too and so was the same sultry music. He was setting the scene, making me comfortable. I dare say that Harm was courting me and I hadn't caught on. Love is a blind bastard sometimes. "You're right. . .It's not the first time. . .What does it mean?" I have my belief, my want of what I need it to mean, but what's his take on the situation.

Harm's eyes narrow and stares at me hard for a moment as if minding a child that kept making the same mistakes. Then, his look softens and he sighs gently. His tongue sticks out and he licks his lips to wet them all the wild lighting me up like a box of fireworks. Christ, what this man does to me is illegal somewhere, I am sure.

"What do you think it means, Mac?" And there's that bedroom voice again, low, velvety, sultry and sweet all in one. As usual, I hang on to my Marine stoicism for support. If the Marines can mount and place a flag on Suribachi, this Marine sure as hell can mount one Harmon Rabb. Hell, maybe I can raise his flag too.

"Dear Lord." I say out loud and immediately reach for the water as I chastise my inappropriate thoughts. I feel my skin flush and sure as hell know that my cheeks probably have an abnormally rosy glow. A low chuckle ripples the newfound silence and I find Harm staring at me with a victorious smile. "So this has all been a ploy to woo me?"

As usual, he flusters for an answer. "I ah. . .well. . .I wouldn't use the word 'woo.' But ah, y-you wanted to. . .go back to the beginning. . .And, back then, you know? Before I left to fly? I think that you and I. . ." He trails off and sighs deeply. Closing his eyes, he leans back slightly. "I can't do this anymore." He decides as he stands up and comes to my side. He reaches a hand down to me and his lips curl into a sweet smile. "Dance with me?"

Wordlessly, I offer my hand and let him lead me to the center of the room, just a few feet away from the kitchen island. At first we position ourselves properly, the way too military officers would dance at a gala. One of his hand is in mine and the other right above my waist. Seconds later, as he realizes that we are alone, in his apartment, Harm bravely lowers my hand to his chest and pulls me so close I can feel his breath on my skin.

I can pretend that this does nothing to me but if he's allowing his walls to come down, maybe I should to. Raising the hand on his shoulder, I place it on his face, cupping his cheek. With my index finger, I trace the outline of his jaw and then lower my hand back to his shoulder again. Harm's eyes have turned to a deep aquamarine a shade I'd only seen once, on the Admirals porch when we were teetering dangerously close to the edge.

The hardness of his body makes me gasp as Harm pulls me closer. My breathing is shallow as is his own when he lowers his head to mine. Our lips touch for the briefest of moments in what would be our first real kiss. Harm pulls back enough for me to see the wanting in his eyes which I hope matches my own. He lowers his head to mine once more and this time we really kiss.

It's slow, sultry and I can honestly say I've never been properly kissed before. Harm wraps his arms around me, holding me tightly as the kiss depends. I feel a whimper at the back of my throat which escapes when we break only to take a breath of air. And then, we're kissing again, hungrily, passionately, threatening to burst like two super novas. I feel his arms ease me up and soon he's carrying me across the apartment and towards the bedroom.

No mixed signals. No complications, just something that is right and should have happened long ago. As Harm settles me on the edge of the bed, I notice something glowing out of the corner of my eye.

A candle.

And not just one, but three on each nightstand with a small vase with flowers. I turn my attention back to Harm who's fumbling with the tab of my pants. "You knew?" I accuse turning to spy at the dancing flames.

"I hoped." He responded and then kissed me again.

"I love you." I declare as his kisses sneak their way towards my collar bone.

We're entirely too clothed and as my hands help him out of the tight black shirt, I hear him respond with words that bind my soul to him for life. "I love you too, Sarah."