Title: Home Is Where Your Love Is

Author's Name: Michaela aka Michi

E-mails: see Personal Profile for information

Website: see Personal Profile for information

Rating: IM15

Classification: Harm & Mac / Friendship / Romance / Humor

Spoilers: Everything up to the season six episode 'Lifeline' (and let's pretend that the date of the airing was the actual date for the engagement party. Airdate was May 08 2001). The rest of the JAG era never happened in this story…

Disclaimer: JAG and its characters are the property of Bellisario Productions, CBS, and Paramount.

SummaryA tragedy interferes in the lives of Harm and Mac, and it's the beginning of something they thought was long lost...

Beta-read: Big thanks to my beta reader cbw and Kathy for their help. You girls are amazing!!! Any mistakes left are mine.

A/N:This is the first chapter of my newest JAG series. After writing 'Till Death Does Us Part' I promised myself to never ever do something like that again. But then I started to write this story and it somehow got out of control LOL. Therefore, I decided to go for it… again… and write another multi-chapter-story sigh I love torturing myself LOLOL.

Anyway, this means that this chapter is just the beginning and won't answer all the questions right away. Hope you don't mind :-)


Friday

May 11, 2001

JAG Headquarters

Falls Church, VA

4:43 PM

"Hey," Harm softly said as he stood patiently in the doorway of Mac's office.

She was so pre-occupied with the papers and law books, which were spread out all over her desk that she hadn't realized he was standing there. He just stood there, intently watching her in admiration and enjoying the view before he spoke. In the past, she would have known he was there long before he had ever spoken. In the past, their relationship was such that she always knew when he was near. Only now that he made his presence known did she react and look up from her work.

"Hey yourself."

"By chance, do you have a minute or two for me, or are you too busy right now?" he asked, pointing at the huge pile of files in front of her. "Looks like a hurricane blew through here, leaving you with all the debris."

"Yeah, and it was called Admiral Chegwidden," she replied and they both laughed. Mac shyly smiled at him, putting down her pen before pointing to one of her visitor chairs. "Anyway, for you I always have time. Come on in," she said gently and waved him in before threading her fingers together in front of her as she leaned against her desk. "What can I do for you?"

"Thanks," Harm replied with a little smile of his own as he took a seat on Mac's visitor chair with a sigh. "Umm… there's a little problem I have," he started to explain, trying to find the right words.

Mac began to worry immediately upon hearing the nervousness in his voice. She tried to read the look in his eyes, but to no avail. She was anxious and started to pace around her office, needing to know what was going on. He seemed out of sorts. "What's wrong, Harm? Are you okay?"

Harm immediately gave her a boyish looking grin and nodded when he heard the worry in her voice. "Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry, Mac," he reassured her while running his hand through his hair. "I just have a little scheduling problem after finding out that court will go a bit longer today than actually planned."

Mac looked at him with a raised eyebrow and frowned. "What kind of scheduling problem? Is it something I can help out with?"

"Yes... No… I'm not sure," Harm started to stammer.

Mac chuckled and shook her head in amusement. "Now that covers it."

"Yeah, sorry," Harm apologized with a chuckle of his own, getting up from the chair. "You know what, never mind. I bet you already have plans with Mic and probably wanted to leave soon," he said, slowly making his way to the door. "Just forget I asked, okay? It was a stupid idea anyway."

Mac couldn't help but wonder why asking a favor of her was so hard for him. It never used to be.

Feeling a bit foolish and wondering what on earth had possessed him, he was quickly making his way out of her office.

"Harm, wait," Mac called, moving closer to him as he turned around to look back at her. "Yes, I was planning on leaving soon, but I could easily change that. And no, I don't have any plans with Mic…. He's actually…," she started to explain quietly, but suddenly stopped and broke their eye-contact.

Harm could feel that something wasn't quite right here. "Mac? What's wrong? He's what?"

She shook her head. "He's out of town," she simply said, unable to say more. 'It shouldn't be like this,' she thought and felt a wave of sadness crushing her heart. 'It shouldn't be like this at all.' She had always been able to tell him everything. 'How had things changed so drastically?' she wondered.

Harm knew there was more behind her words, but he also sensed that she felt uncomfortable to talk with him about her fiancé, and was sure that their little tête-à-tête on the Admiral's porch at her engagement party two days ago was the reason for it. This knowledge made him sad. 'It shouldn't be like this. It shouldn't be like this at all.'

He gave her a smile and nodded, letting it go for now.

Mac shook off the gloomy feeling and looked back up into Harm's eyes. "Anyway, whatever I can help you with, I'm free. So, what's this scheduling problem of yours about?"

Harm took a deep breath and once more let his hand run through his hair. "It's about my grandmother."

"She's okay, isn't she?" Mac promptly asked as the feeling of worry came back again.

"Yes, she's doing just fine. She's actually on her way to Washington as we speak and that's where my problem lies."

"Okay. I'm glad to hear that. I was worried there for a minute." Mac exhaled the breath she didn't know she was holding and felt relief that Harm's grandmother was doing okay. That's when the light dawned. "I think I understand. You were planning on getting her from the airport but you won't be able to go due to the change in court. Am I correct?"

"Yup, you are. I actually think that Commander Helfman and Lieutenant Singer somehow found out about my plans and had fun plotting against me," Harm told her with a snicker.

Mac joined him in his laughter and as soon as they calmed down, she placed her hand on his arm squeezing it softly. However, as soon as she realized what she was doing, she quickly pulled her hand away as if it had been scorched. Harm was very aware of her actions, and wondered what was making her so ill at ease around him all of a sudden.

Her eyes detected movement out in the bullpen and saw that Lieutenant Singer was coming suspiciously closer to them.

Mac cleared her throat. "Do you want me to pick your Grandma up from the airport?"

"Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to ask you about," Harm quietly admitted, letting his eyes follow the lieutenant while she walked pass them. Her curiosity about what was going on between the Colonel and the Commander was quite obvious in the way she tried to discreetly walk past them. Then he turned his attention back to Mac. "But like I said, it was a stupid idea. Besides, I don't have the right to ask you for a favor like this anyway. Just forget I asked, Mac."

"No, I won't forget you asked, and I told you that I want to help if I can," Mac tenderly responded and gave him another little smile. She momentarily wondered why he hadn't asked Renee, but figured that the video princess was otherwise engaged. "When does she arrive?"

"At six fifteen. Gate seven."

"Good, that shouldn't be a problem then. Even with the traffic at this time of day I should make it in time," Mac concluded after checking the human clock of hers. "But there's still a little problem to think about," she continued and slightly touched her chin with her forefinger, thinking about a solution for it.

"That would be how to recognize each other in the 'No Pain, No Gain' also known as Dulles Airport, since you don't know each other?" Harm queried jokingly.

"Nah, I think we can handle these 'rules of engagement'. I'll just have her paged. No, the problem is that my car is in the body shop and I took a cab to work this morning."

Harm laughed and shook his head. "Somehow I doubt my grandmother would have liked sitting in a corvette anyway. Not to mention getting in and out of it," Harm told her with a wink. "You can take my SUV and I'll grab a cab later."

Mac nodded her head and smiled. "That would work. Okay, then I'll pick her up."

Before Harm could respond, there was a knock and both looked to the doorway of Mac's office. "I'm sorry, Sir, Ma'am. Commander, it's time to get back," Lieutenant Roberts said as Lieutenant Singer was already making her way back to the courtroom.

Harm looked at Bud and gave him a nod. "I'm coming, Bud," he told the young lieutenant and then looked back at Mac. "Can you get the car keys from my office? They're in the lower drawer of my desk," Harm explained to her and slowly walked away from her to follow Bud to the elevator.

"Sure. No problem."

"Thanks, Mac. I owe you one. Hey, why don't you join my grandmother and me for dinner tonight? I could bring you home afterwards," Harm said as he stood at the doorway of the bullpen.

Mac smiled and nodded. "I would love to. I'll see you later and good luck in court."

"Thanks, but I don't need luck, Colonel. It's just a question of knowledge," he countered jokingly, trying to sound cocky while giving her one of his best flyboy grins punctuating his confidence.

Mac just laughed and shook her head. "Yeah, just keep telling yourself that, Commander. 'till later," she said while making her way to Harm's office.

"See ya, Marine," Harm replied softly before quickly making his way to Bud, who was already standing in the waiting elevator.

Both had the same thoughts on their minds while going separate ways, hoping that one day they could get back a part of their banter and the friendship that once was the main stay of their relationship. Ever since Mic and Renee had appeared in their lives, their camaraderie lowly disappeared, replaced by tension and awkwardness.

Both were saddened and frustrated about it, but they just couldn't come up with a way to overcome it and get back on track.

Mac sighed, walked into Harm's office, opened the lower drawer of his desk, and found his car keys immediately.She took them out and while closing the drawer, her eyes were drawn to something else.

She knew she should just close the drawer again and get out of Harm's office, but her curiosity got the better of her. This simple, white piece of paper with her name, a date and one and a half sentences on it caught her interest and she just couldn't walk away.

"What, Harm?" She sadly asked out loud after reading the one sentence over and over again, her answer being the dead silence of the room.

With a last look at the letter she closed the drawer before leaving his office. Then she walked painstakingly back into her own, packed up her briefcase before turning off the lights to leave the office for the weekend, wondering what these few words were about. Words he'd written on the day of her engagement party, words written before or after their fateful encounter. Oh Harm….

'Dear Sarah,

There's so much I have to tell you. So much I want…'