Date Night or Chapter 5

AN: Never thought I would get another chapter up so quickly, but here you go. Let me know if I should continue from here or not. And I hope you all like where Harm decided to take Mac.

Mac's POV

As I sit here tying my laces, I look around in disbelief.

I never let myself truly imagine what a date with Harmon Rabb Jr. would be like. It was always some pipe dream; a fantasy that I would pull out on those cold and lonely nights. The few times I would let my mind imagine that some embassy ball or night out at the movies was a date of sorts, it only made the ache in my chest hurt all the more when it wasn't true. Especially if that realization came crashing down on my head when Harm started flirting with someone else.

It is during those crowd situations that the depth of our relationship is most evident. We work well together in a crowd. We are always conscious of where the other person is in the room. Even when in a conversation with someone else, I know where Harm is. It's like this dance, we are never too far apart from each other, but then again we were never too close either. Maintaining that proper distance that is acceptable for "just friends."

That phrase seems to haunt me, especially tonight. "Just friends" seems to be both a blessing and a curse. But are we just friends? Whether or not it is a date is yet to be determined, but it isn't the same as all of the other functions we have attended together either. While we still have not bridged that gap or broken through each others personal space just yet, this night feels different.

That personal space bubble has always been the elephant in the room for us. Only on special occasions have we breached that barrier. Being trapped on a mountain, saying goodbye, and facing an unwanted marriage, have been our only catalysts so far. I have always been afraid that the only time we would allow ourselves the comfort of each other's touch would be when facing catastrophe. And I definitely don't want to face serious injury or separation on a regular basis just to be comforted by Harm.

However, we have gotten better about breaking through the personal space bubble when it comes to the less physical things. We aren't great at it, but in the years we have known each other, we have become better with sharing some of the most intimate things about ourselves. I can say with confidence that I know more about Harm's past and feelings than most do. Granted what I may know is limited, but it is still more than Renee, Jordan or Annie ever knew. And he knows more about me than most as well. Big scary admissions, such as alcoholism and my relationships with my parents, came easier when I was faced with telling Harm than any other person in my life. Except for a short, 'my father died' and 'my mother left when I was a kid', Mic never got a further explanation when asking where he should send invitations.

Harm knows me, not just Mac and not just Sarah, but me. He is probably one of two people who understands me so well. The only other, Uncle Matt, is the person who helped me create Mac, the strong Marine who is in control of her life. I can safely say that the man tying his laces next to me is my best friend. No one else in my life has filled the role he has.

If it weren't for the fact that Harm is my best friend, I would be sure that this is a date. Although he is always the gentleman, he is treating me more like Sarah tonight, opening car doors and speaking in that more subtle hushed intimate tone that he only uses with me. He isn't outright flirting, but he has tried a few jokes, even though I can tell he is too nervous to tell them right. I get the feeling that he is just doing it to see me smile and that in itself fills my heart.

That's one of the things I treasure most about Harm. He can tell when I need something to help me smile. Although I have battled and overcome many of the demons of my past, some days it's harder than others to see the silver lining. When Harm recognizes me in one of these moods, a quick joke or some other diversionary tactic puts a smile on my face and shakes me free. There are some days that I curse Harm's ability to dodge a situation, answering some of the most important questions I have asked him in vague roundabout ways, but it is one of the things that make me love him too.

Suddenly my Marine defense kicks in when I feel someone touch my back and I stiffen. It only takes a second for me to relax as I realize it is the man I trust most in this world. Harm is soothingly rubbing my back and calling my name. I look up, shocked that I have spent 5 minutes tying my shoes, and am greeted by warm concerned eyes.

"Mac? Is this ok? We can leave if you want, I just thought that this might be fun…" Oh, poor Harm, he is so worried and nervous.

I flash him a smile of reassurance and straighten up. Regrettably he stops rubbing circles on my back and takes his hand away. Not wanting to lose the contact and fearing that he may never try to break the bubble again, it's my turn to reach out.

Putting my hand on top of his in his lap, I chuckle a little, more so to hide the nerves, and venture, "Harm. This is perfect. Thank you of thinking of it. Relax." And with that I am rewarded with his award-winning smile. Still locking eyes with him, I see my best friend and know that even though this may get awkward and we are both nervous and unsure, we will survive this. We have been to hell and back together, surely we can endure a date!

Somehow, without explaining my revelation to him, he too seems to gain confidence and with a wink he stands up and extends his hand to me. "Alright, MacKenzie, ladies first, let's see what you've got."

"Oh, Harmon, you haven't seen anything yet," I flirt back and with a big smile I pick up my green marbled bowling ball. After a few seconds of preparation and 3 steps up to the line I let the ball loose and watch as it curves perfectly into a strike. Now, although I have no idea how I just did that and am surprised myself, I turn around with a coy smile and see Harm staring agog. Sauntering, and yes I admit that I saunter, over to him I lean up and give him a quick peck on the cheek and whisper in his ear, "beat that, Flyboy."

I see Harm shake his head, trying to rid his mind of what is probably a thought that I would throw a red light at. Well, a thought that I would have thrown a red light at in the past. But now, as his date, and hopefully more in the future, I welcome the flicker of passion I see in his eyes.

I giggle at his predicament and shake my head myself. Yes, I also admit that I, the Marine Lieutenant Colonel giggle. As I watch him pick up his fittingly blue bowling ball and line up for his own strike, I watch his cute six and have a few red light thoughts of my own. Who needs nervous, this dating Harm thing is going to be more fun than I thought.