Conversations

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Disclaimer: Don't own'em

A/N: Takes place after 'Psychic Warrior'. So, to set the scene in 100 words or less: Harm is back at JAG. He tries to hook up again with Jordan – first with the phone call that Mac walks in on, and then at his apartment – but she turns him down. Mac gets Jingo but isn't receptive to Mic's 'romantic overtures'. Harm needles Mac about Mic's behaviour towards her, and then takes it back, saying they have no chemistry.

No real angst in this story, I don't think. Actually, I don't know how I feel about this one. You tell me.

Thanks to janlaw for help with military technicalities.

There are 19 parts in total. Don't get too excited, though, some parts are really, really short. Same as always, I'll be posting one a day – barring any unforeseen happenings.

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1/19

Day One

JAG HQ
Falls Church, VA
Monday
0832 Local

Harm sighed as the elevator came to a stop. He took a deep breath before exiting the carriage and walking through the doors to JAG Ops. He still felt … out of place. It bugged him. Coming back to JAG was supposed to be like … like coming home. It seemed he'd conveniently forgotten that you could never go back home. Things invariably changed no matter how much you denied it or willed things to stay the same. Like Brumby taking over his office. And his chair in Mac's office. Even Bud was friendly with the damn Aussie upstart.

At least he wasn't being punished by the Admiral for leaving, like Mac had been. That was something. He'd just have to work a bit harder, he supposed, at finding his footing and at renewing his relationships with his coworkers. But it bugged him. He wasn't supposed to feel so out of place here at JAG. He had to continually remind himself that it had taken him awhile to find his footing on the carrier among all the young pilots full of brash and swagger. Maybe this was no different. Minus the brash and swagger - except for damn Mic who was nothing but brash and swagger. What the hell did Mac see in him. He'd tried to pin a murder on her, and she had dinner with him. He throws inappropriate innuendo at her in the office, and she smiles and laughs and strokes his ego.

Women. Harm scoffed as he entered his office. He put his briefcase down and decided to head to the break room for some coffee.

He'd never flirted with Mac in the office. Much. Well, never so inappropriately. They had an understanding, him and Mac. They were friends. They teased each other. It was all in good fun.

Brumby was just being an overbearing ass. Next thing, he'd offer to father her children…

Harm stopped in mid-thought and mid-stride, just outside the break room. No, he told himself vehemently, shaking his head. It was different between him and Mac. He remembered the look on her face when she'd walked into his office and heard him leave a message on Jordan's machine.

It was different. They both knew that.

"When will you be leaving?" Harm heard Brumby's voice coming from the break room.

"Tonight." Mac's answer followed.

Harm frowned. Where was she going? He sighed. The fact that she wasn't telling him about it first was another indicator of the distance between them. And the place in her life that asshole Brumby had filled.

"I can keep Jingo for you, if you'd like." Brumby offered.

Harm listened intently. Brumby was offering to keep Mac's new dog? How close were these two?

"Thanks, Mic, but I have it covered." She dismissed his offer.

"Alright," Brumby replied unfazed. "But if you change your mind, I did grow up on a farm."

To his surprise, Mac laughed. "I remember, Mic."

Brumby joined in on her laughter. Harm rolled his eyes. He could imagine the pathetic, eager lovesick look on Brumby's face.

"Do you need help packing?" Harm's jaw dropped at Brumby's new offer. Did the guy never let up?

"That's alright, I can manage." Mac's voice held a patient tolerance that annoyed Harm.

"How about I bring dinner by your place tonight? Before your flight. That way—"

"Mic!" She exclaimed. Harm was ready to intervene if Brumby kept badgering her.

"Alright, alright, luv. Can't blame a bloke for trying." Harm could hear the same pathetic eager lovesick smile in Brumby's voice. It made him sick.

Enough was enough. He entered the break room.

"Mac, good morning." He grinned at Mac, who responded with an equally bright smile.

"Brumby." He nodded curtly at Crocodile Dundee.

"Rabb." Brumby responded in kind, then turned to Mac, smile firmly in place. "I'll leave you to it. Have to prepare for court. I'll find you before you head out, Mac." He told her on his way out of the break room.

Mac nodded and then turned her attention to Harm.

"Morning, Harm." Her warm smile made Harm think his day might not turn out too bad, and returning to JAG might not require too difficult an adjustment.

"How's your day looking?" He asked as he searched the cupboard for a mug.

She sighed. "I got a call from my monitor. The SJA at FMF Europe was short-toured because of a family illness. His wife was just diagnosed with breast cancer, so they're being shipped state-side for her treatment. I've been ordered to go TAD to Germany until a permanent replacement can be found."

Harm turned his back to her and picked up the carafe of coffee from the heating pad, trying to hide his disappointment at the news. How was he supposed to get settled back into JAG when Mac wasn't even around? He chastised himself for being slightly selfish.

"That's terrible." He said. For two completely different reasons.

"Yeah." Mac agreed as she watched him pour his coffee. "But her prognosis is good."

He stared into his cup of coffee, and then glanced back at her. "So, you'll be gone, what, three months?"

She shrugged. "Max three, I would think. Depends on when they can find a replacement and ship him or her out."

He sighed. He'd just come back, and she was leaving. He returned the carafe to the heating pad, thinking about the last time they'd said goodbye. She'd offered to water his plants when he'd left…

"What about Jingo? This is pretty short notice. I can watch for him for you…" He tried to shake the awkwardness he felt at offering.

"Thanks," Her reply sounded genuine, so he figured she didn't detect his awkwardness. "But one of the women who volunteers at the animal shelter where they were going to put him down is a breeder. When Louise saw that I was military, she offered to take him in if I ever needed it."

"Oh." Harm hadn't expected her to turn down his offer.

"But," she eyed him tentatively. "I was going to ask you if I could list you as an emergency contact."

Harm grinned widely. She hadn't asked Brumby. He was irrationally pleased that she had chosen him. Maybe things hadn't changed all that much.

"Sure thing, Mac." He resisted the urge to hug her.

"Thanks, Harm." She returned his grin. "I have to go secure my desk, then go home and square away my apartment."

"Do you need any help? I mean turning off the taps, packing up your place, or… something." He was not being pushy. He was being a good friend. He and Mac had an understanding, after all.

"Nah, I got it covered. Thanks." She flashed him a smile over her shoulder and walked out of the break room.

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JAG HQ
Falls Church, VA
Monday
1046 Local

A knock on his door jamb made Harm look up from the files on his desk. He grinned at the sight of Mac wearing her coat, carrying her briefcase and cover in hand.

"Just came to say goodbye." Her eyes darted from his face, to his desk to the walls of his office and back.

He smiled at her uncharacteristic awkwardness, and waved her in.

He stood up as she walked around his desk.

"I'll miss you." He began, surprised at his own honesty. "I just came back and…"

"I know." She smiled up at him, looking slightly uneasy. He supposed neither of them were used to him volunteering his feelings quite so readily.

"Can I water your plants?" He teased, grinning.

She laughed, and the tension was broken.

"Take care, Sailor." She placed her free hand on his forearm.

"You too, Marine." He put his arms out for a hug. She put her briefcase and cover on his desk, and stepped into his embrace, wrapping her arms around his waist.

He tightened his hold on her briefly, before releasing her. She took a step back, offered him one last smile, picked up her things and walked out of his office. He watched her retreating form head towards the elevators.

He wondered what kind of send-off Brumby had gotten.

He stared at the files strewn on his desk. Things wouldn't be the same without her around. He was used to a JAG where she was one door down – it was the JAG he'd pictured while he was on the Patrick Henry. And he'd really been looking forward to facing off against her in court. He sighed and settled back into his chair to work.

He really was going to miss her.