Title: Dead To The World – The ReWrite
Chapter Seven - Finale
Originally Written: October 2003
ReWritten: Spring 2009Disclaimers: No disrespect to JAG's cast, crew or creators. With love and thanks.Chapter SixChapter Seven - FINALE0022 ZULU – US Navy Hospital, Naples Italy
". . . Rabb, reporting as ordered, ma'am," he breathed.
Her eyes closed and she said a silent "Thank you" to God or whoever was responsible. "Rest easy, commander," she whispered back to him and kissed him lightly on the lips.0632 ZULU – US Navy Hospital, Naples Italy
Harm did not rest easy that night; he woke almost hourly; his wakefulness concerned the doctors. When he stirred back to consciousness it was only long enough to squeeze Mac's hand and look at her for a brief moment and then fall back into an uneasy rest. His heartbeat remained stable and all his vital signs were great, better than could be expected, but the doctors resisted giving him any more or any stronger sedatives to put him to under. They thought Mac was disturbing him and had suggested that she wait outside – or better yet go home and get some rest herself. But the moment she pulled her hand away from his, he woke and called her name. Mac stayed.
Mac had fallen asleep sitting in the chair with her head lying on the side of the bed. Just after dawn, Harm woke and felt her next to him. He pulled his hand slowly away from hers and stroked her cheek. She woke instantly.
"Hi," he smiled at her.
A sleepy smile crossed her face. "Hi."
"You OK?" His voice was thin and raspy and he was struggling to speak.
"Yeah," she shook her head amazed that he would be so concerned about her after barely surviving yet another gun shot wound.
"Dobbs had you – a gun – I couldn't get to you."
"You don't remember what happened?"
"A little fuzzy. Dobbs?" he tried to sit up but didn't have the strength.
"Dobbs is dead."
"Hurt you?" he croaked out.
"No. I'm fine. He shot you, before you shot him. You got to me. You saved my life - again," she reminded him.
"It will come back."
"You OK?" he asked a third time.
"I'm fine – now I'm fine. But you scared the hell out of me."
"Won't do it again," he closed his eyes and smiled.
"Yes, you will," she shook her head and fought to keep her eyes dry. "How are you feeling?"
"Out of it. Pain in my chest," he tried to lift his other hand to where the wound was, but it was attached to several IVs. What happened?"
"You nearly died."
"You ordered me not to," he stated softly.
'He remembers that.' she thought. An odd expression crossed her face. The conversation she had with him in the night couldn't have been real. It was just in her mind, right? She was sure of it. Even when he woke and said something about reporting as ordered, she was not sure if that was what he really said, or if it had anything to do with the conversation she had in her head.
"I did – I ordered you not to," her voice cracked.
"Is this how it is going to be from now on?" he smiled weakly. "You giving me orders?"
The doctor came in. "Good morning commander, colonel. You are looking a lot better than you did several hours ago."
"Colonel, we are going to need the room." Mac nodded. "Go home and get some rest – the hard part is over."
She looked at Harm and he nodded.
"We are going to give him a very strong sedative – should put a rhino down for a week - that ought to give you a good eight hours, colonel."
"Go home Mac – well not home home – just -."
"I understand." She reluctantly let go of his hand and then was at a loss if she was supposed to kiss him goodbye or not, particularly with the doctor standing right there. In the end she just touched his cheek, took a long look at him and left.
He watched her go and did not turn his attention back to the doctor until she was well out of sight.
"She never left your side, commander."
"The only reason I am still here," Harm smiled up at the doctor. "I guess you helped, too."
0859 ZULU - US Naval Base - Naples Italy – Harm's Quarters
Mac turned on the shower as hot as her skin could stand it. She was totally wrecked. Every muscle in her body was screaming out, she still felt Harm's blood on her, she still felt his hand firmly clenched in her own. She stripped down out of the scrubs and stepped into the steaming water and let it pour down on top of her. Now the tears came. The tears she had been holding back for hours that felt like days. They rained down her face and mixed with the shower – all would be washed away. Then the worst thing that could have happened happened. Mac started to think; to think and question.
So much had happened in the last sixty-one hours – since he picked her up for the embassy reception – the entire gamut of her emotions had been tried, tested and stretched to the limit. Was it possible for them to snap back? Or had they been stretched beyond their usefulness? Nothing felt normal or safe to her. She was in a foreign country, out of her element (hospitals were not Mac's forte) and all alone. The admiral was there, but in the end he was her commanding officer not a friend. She could not discuss with him the emotions she was dealing with; she could barely acknowledge them to herself.
Harm was too weak to allow him to see her uncertainty. As she thought back on the last several hours/days all they really had done was admit that they loved each other and had an incredible night of intimacy like she had never known. Why did she feel like the ground had been taken out from under her; rather the bridge had been burned behind her? She believed that there was nothing to fall back on and the future was too uncertain. She wasn't making it up – he said as much and she felt as much. She felt more alone than she had in years. The only thing she could ever count on Harm for – really count on him for – was to be there for her in a crisis. And he was again and again it nearly cost him his life. Harm and Mac were always best in crisis mode. But they could not live in crisis; could they live without it? After the past few intense days – where were they? What was she to him? He to her? Were they friends? Colleagues? Lovers? Partners? How much had changed? How much had stayed the same? How much was gained? And how much was lost? How was she supposed to feel about any of it? How did she want to feel about any of it? What had Harm felt about it before? And now after waking up from another near death experience, what was he thinking? All she had were questions; questions with no clear answers.
The scalding steam drew the stress from every pore and opened the seals on the thoughts in her head. She started to process them, to organize them, to rank them as to their importance to her and her life. They had talked some, but said really nothing. She kept going back to their night together. The more she thought of him and the feelings that were created that night, the more she was confused. Now all his words, his statements in frustration, anger, fear and love were tied up in the physical sensations of that experience coupled with sweet protestations of love. When she closed her eyes and let her mind drift she could feel him move over her, under her, next to her. She felt his desire deep with in her. She felt her own desire over power her logic and reason (something Mac was not too familiar with). The passion, the joy, the sheer physical pleasure was caught up in her head as his words spun in and around:
The water from the shower was turning cool. It would be cold in moments and she had yet to pick up the soap. Reality again took hold of her. She left the shower steam cleaned and crawled into bed – his bed. She shouldn't have gone back there, but there was nowhere else she wanted to be. She could smell him. She could smell them. There was nothing to do but wait. She checked to be sure that the ringer on the phone was turned up and that her cell phone was on, charging and right next to her ear. Harm was still not out of the woods and the only thing she knew for sure was that she needed to be there for him. Sleep took her – soft, sweet, safe sleep. She did not dream. She did not toss or turn and woke six hours later not refreshed but revitalized - enough. She got up, showered again, dressed and went down to the hospital.1632 ZULU – US Navy Hospital, Naples Italy
Harm was still asleep when she got there. The admiral was talking to the doctor.
"Sir, is the commander alright?"
"Everything appears to be progressing better than anticipated. There is still some concern of infection, but the doctors are very positive."
"Colonel, I need to ask you to do me a favor."
The admiral was a little tentative. "Please, this is not an order, but --."
"What is it sir?"
"I need to assign you TAD to Naples until Commander Rabb's replacement has been secured."
"Commander Jackson will be brought up on charges, as well as Admiral Shenandoah."
"You are probably unaware, 'conduct unbecoming' and anything else I can find to throw at them."
"I don't understand, sir."
"It has been brought to my attention that each has allowed themself to be put in a position to be black mailed – rather coerced by Adriana Marlanette. They have been sent home to Washington and pending review and an article 32 – they will not be back. With Commander Rabb in the hospital that leaves me without a JAG in this office. It will only be until Rabb's replacement has been secured."
"Absolutely sir." Mac knew immediately that Harm's replacement could have been found in six hours. The admiral was trying to be nice. He was giving her a way to stay in Italy – close to Harm - and feel useful at the same time. "As you see fit."
The nurse came to tell them Harm was awake. Mac allowed the admiral to see him first. She knew that she would be staying longer. While Mac was waiting Trish Burnett, Harm's mother arrived. She looked tired, frustrated and crazed.
"Colonel MacKenzie – where is my son?" she asked bruskly.
Mac nodded to Harm's room. "He is on the road to recovery, ma'am."
"I would like see that for myself."
"The admiral is in with him now. He should be out in a moment."
"Good, that will give us a moment to speak."
"How do you feel about my son?" she asked frankly.
"It is a direct question, colonel. How do you feel about my son?"
"Harm is very important to me." Mac was a little off balance.
"As he is to me."
"So you will also understand that I don't like getting phone calls telling me that my son AGAIN has put his life on the line and narrowly escaped death."
"You can also understand my frustration at the number of times his life has been put in danger because of you."
Mac was completely taken aback.
"Which is why I ask the question 'how do you feel about my son.'" Mac nodded. "If he is going to lose his life for you, I would like to know that it is not in vain."
"Mrs. Burnett I understand how upsetting -."
"Drop the mock formality Mac, we may not know each other very well, but we do know enough about each other."
"If you are not in love with my son, I would request that you tell him that straight out and walk away. Pure and simple. Walk away. You have been nothing but trouble since the day you walked into his life. Walk away, Mac."
"Ma'am," Mac was about to defend herself.
"Just think about it," she turned and strode into Harm's room; just as the admiral was walking out.
Mac waited out of sight for several hours until Mrs. Burnett left. She slipped into Harm's room. It was well after visiting hours. She thought he was sleeping so she stayed back.
"Sarah?" he called to her.
"I'm here," she said softly.
"Where have you been?" he waved her over.
"I thought I would let you visit with your mother."
"She didn't mean what she said to you," he shook his head.
"She told you?"
"My mother is nothing if not direct," he defended her. "Yes, she told me. She was just upset and took it out on you."
"There is some merit to her argument." Mac stated.
"I see nothing that will hold up in court."
Mac's eyes told him that there might be.
"Do you want to?" he asked. Mac did not respond. "Do you want to walk away?"
She turned away for a moment. Turning back to him, her eyes were full of tears. "No," she hated appearing weak in his eyes.
"Hey, come here," he reached his hand out to her. She took it and came close to him. He pulled her down to him and let her cry into his chest.
After a few moments she wiped the tears away. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to do that."
"Your secret is safe with me," he soothed. Harm touched her face.
"This is all so confusing. There are times when I feel I have no right to be here."
"You do – you have every right. I spoke to my mother. She will back off."
"It is not just her, Harm," she took a deep breath. "She is right. You put your life in danger for me – a lot."
"Don't flatter yourself – I thrive on danger," he smiled trying to lighten her mood.
"Well, you got to stop that. You are scaring the hell out of everyone."
"Yes, me included."
He took her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly. "I'm sorry I scared you."
"Yeah, well, I am getting used to worrying about you. After five years I am getting pretty good at it and I am fairly sure the worst is still yet to come."
"So I suppose that means you won't consider re-upping for a few more years?"
She wasn't quite sure what he was asking her. She wasn't about to put words in his mouth and she didn't want to press him. "I still have time left on this tour. Let's see how it goes."
"It would put you in line for a nice promotion," he teased.
Now Mac was totally confused. Did he just ask her to marry him? Or to go steady? Or was he just saying nothing hoping that she would take it as something. – typical Harm. She didn't know how to respond, and luckily she didn't have to. She was saved by the nurse.
"I'm sorry colonel, you will need to leave. Visiting hours are over."
"She is no visitor," Harm explained. "She is the best medicine a man like me could ask for.'
"It's Ok, Harm. I'll be right outside."
"You are not going back to your quarters?" he asked.
"Slept all day. I'll be right outside the door."
She slowly released her hand from his and stepped outside the door. Trish Burnett was waiting for her.
"Sarah, let me buy you a cup of coffee," she smiled. "We need to talk – woman to woman."
"Please, drop the ma'am. Call me Trish."
Mac nodded. She had no intention of calling her 'Trish.'
Several hours later the doctor found Mac sitting outside Harm's door.
"Colonel?" she looked up. "He will be sleeping all night, you should go home yourself."
"I'm fine," she smiled weakly.
"Look, I am not supposed to do this, but if you promise not to tell any one, come on." The doctor opened the door to Harm's room and let Mac precede him. He checked Harm's vitals and nodded to her and left.
Mac stood for hours in the shadows watching him sleep. It was in those hours that she made her decision about what she had to do. It was her second conversation with Trish that convinced her to make a very difficult decision. But it would have to wait until he was out of the hospital. Mac was never very good at waiting, but soon it would be over.TWO WEEKS LATER - 1016 ZULU – US Navy Hospital, Naples Italy
Harm was up and around and they would be releasing him in a couple of days. It was still unclear where he would report to work. As much as he wanted to go back to Washington, it would mean that they shouldn't see each other. There was some talk about going back to the Seahawk. The new JAG in Naples would we arriving that afternoon and with a normal transfer period (two days), Mac would be on her way back to Washington. Harm and Mac had talked around a lot of their issues – Harm's natural desire to avoid dealing with anything personal head on was still very prominent, but Mac did not push anything. The days were waning and soon something was going to have to be discussed and agreed upon or they were in danger of letting everything they gained this time slip away.
Harm and Mac were going over some cases that she was working on. She had been kept very busy over the last few weeks. There was a quick knock on his door and then a woman – larger than life woman – burst in.
"STANLEY!" She called out.
"STELLA!" He echoed back.
The woman – Stella – was in a flight suit, a commander on the Seahawk. She was tall and blonde with piercing blue eyes – she was absolutely mesmerizing to watch.
"Get up, you lazy good-for-nothing goldbricker – we got jets to fly, bad guys to catch."
"I'm there, Stella-baby," he laughed.
She made her way to Harm and pulled his face to hers and kissed him smack on the lips. The kiss was returned. Mac was blown away by their reaction to each other.
"How the hell are you, Stella?" he continued.
"Lonely. Need my wing man," she finally noticed Mac. "Sorry dearie, was I interrupting?" she looked down at all the papers and then back at Rabb. "You still trying to pretend that you're a lawyer?"
"Colonel Sarah MacKenzie this is Commander Melanie "Stella" Kowalski. Stella and I were on the Seahawk together."
"Best damn pilot in the Navy – male or female." Stella announced.
"Hey!" Harm played. "Flew circles around you, sweet cheeks."
Mac gathered her files together. "I'll let you two visit," she said.
Harm was about to protest, when Stella jumped in. "Thanks, colonel. Stanley and I have a little catching up and planning to do. We got to bust you out of here. Heard you were coming back to the Seahawk."
"Has not been confirmed."
Mac smiled a smile at Harm that he could not interpret. Was she mad? Annoyed? Jealous? Amused? Resolved? "I'll leave you two to it," she left.
Harm watched the door close.
"Oh, son . . . you got it bad." Stella declared. "Looks like I got here just in time."
"So is she the one? The one you ran from?"
"Not running this time."
"No, this time you are gonna put your neck out there on the chopping block of your own free will. Sucker."
"Come on, Stell," he shook his head. "You know what it's like."
"Yeah, I do. And you get over it."
"What if I don't want to get over it?"
"Well," she looked back at the closed door. "She is quite a looker."
"She is a lot more than that."
"For you to know, Stan. Just remember, flying is in your blood and your first love. Anyone who is in your life will always take a back seat to that," she laughed. "For some women that is just not acceptable."
Harm nodded. Mac was probably one of those women.1743 ZULU – US Navy Hospital, Naples Italy
Mac came back at the end of her day. She was acting very - normal. They exchanged a few pleasantries and then Harm launched in.
"What did you think of Stella?"
"She is something else."
"She's great," he stated a little too gregariously. "A great pilot too."
"So she says." Mac realized that Harm was baiting her so she played along. "You two seem to have a lot in common."
"She and I were in sync from the first moment we met. When we fly together we don't need to talk – we know each other's moves that well."
"It is important in a partner to know how the other thinks."
"Very important," Harm agreed wondering where Mac was going.
"She is very attractive."
"Extremely attractive – stunning some say."
"Striking blue eyes."
"Piercing – she looks right through you."
"Your children would be beautiful," Mac announced.
"Good genes," Harm only barely missed a beat.
"They would all be little pilots."
He smiled. "One problem."
"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." Mac apologized. "What's the problem?"
"I am not in love with her."
"Well, I am sure that will come in time," she remained stoic.
"Maybe – but probably not."
"Gave my heart to someone else. Nothing left for poor Stella."
"Not sure I would use 'poor' and 'Stella' in the same sentence."
"Don't you want to know who I gave my heart to?" he grabbed her hand and tried to pull her onto his lap.
"Don't," she stopped him. "We need to talk. I am leaving tomorrow – early AM," she blurted out.
"What?" he let go of her hand.
"The new commander has been brought up to speed and the admiral has ordered me back to Washington. You will be leaving the hospital in a day or so and headed out to your new duty station. Time for me to go."
"Mac? I thought you would stay a couple of days – at least -"
"No reason to put it off," she was being very standoffish.
"I can think of one to two."
"We knew this day would come."
"Not tomorrow, I didn't."
"Well, it is."
He was annoyed that she didn't seem disappointed. "You seem happy to be going."
"I'm not, not really."
"I suppose I am happy that now we have to actually say something."
"Mac," he sat up. "If you wanted to talk – had something to say - you didn't need to wait until you had twelve hours left."
"I was enjoying our time," she defended.
"So – what do we do?" she asked.
"You know I have been offered the Seahawk – and not just as JAG."
"Yes. And I know how much it means to you to be in a place where you can fly."
"Flying has always been my first choice – but to get to do both - ."
"It is an opportunity that would be hard to pass up," she actually sounded like she understood.
"The admiral has offered me a position at JAG HQ, buy working together might be complicated."
"It always was."
"They might transfer one of the other of us anyway."
"True," she agreed. "But it is a career move for you. So the complications can be worked out and if eventually it comes time for one of us to transfer … well I suppose we shouldn't put the cart too much before the horse."
Harm was getting a little frustrated. Mac was not making any demands or giving any instructions to him. "What do you want Mac?"
"I want what I have always wanted – a chance."
"A chance for what?"
"A chance to make it work between us," she stated.
"That means you want me to come back to JAG," he said triumphantly.
"I didn't say that," she got up and moved to the other side of the room. "Harm you are who you are – first and foremost you're a pilot. I understand that. Really I do. I would not ask you to give it up for anything and particularly not for me."
"My flying scares the hell out of you."
"Yes it does. But you don't need a plane to push the envelope – you have been shot twice in the last five months because of me."
"Not your fault," he corrected.
"Hell, you are probably safer flying."
Harm figured out where the attitude was coming from. "You have been talking to my mother again."
"Your mother has a unique perspective." Mac did not admit that she and Trish had spoken. "She lost a husband and lives in fear of losing a son, but she would never ask you not to fly or be anything less than you are."
He studied her for a moment. "You will not sit at home terrified that the phone will ring or there will be a knock on the door from two uniformed officers with a telegram."
"Harm, please. I trust you. If there is anyway you can make it home you will."
"You sound very rational – even for you."
"Why wouldn't I be? Would you ask me to give up anything about myself?"
"No," he took a deep breath. "But you were pretty impressed with Brumby sacrifice."
"And look where that go me?" She sighed. "I want you - no I need you to be who you are – not some tamed version of that," she paused. "Yes, it would be much easier to have a relationship if we were in the same 100 miles. Yes, it would be easier knowing that you were taking a briefcase to work rather than an F-14, but I can live with that," she took a breath. "You could very easily say that I needed to transfer to the Med. Would I do it? I would rather not."
"Point taken," he took her hand. "What would that mean for us?"
"It would mean that we would have a lot of e-mails to read and a very large phone bill and probably some pretty heated weekend leaves," she smiled.
"Absence does make the heart grow fonder," he pulled her to him and she did not resist this time. "As we have already proven."
She kissed him lightly on the lips.
"Do you want to know what I want?" he continued.
"I want more time."
"Yeah, me too."
"Take me home."
"Take me home – come on. Let's check out of this place and go home."
"Is that a good idea?"
"It is either that or we need to figure out how to lock that door," he kissed her.
0659 ZULU - US Naval Base - Naples Italy - Guest Officer's Quarters
Mac pulled herself from Harm's embrace. Her cab would be there in twenty minutes.
"So soon?" his sleepy voice called to her.
"I'm afraid so."
"Sarah, we are going to be OK," he was reassuring himself as much as her.
"Yeah," her voice was full of sadness. She tried to check it, but she couldn't.
"This is only temporary."
"Sure it is," she had dressed and finished packing. She was ready to go.
He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply. When he drew back to look in her eyes he lost his power of speech. He wanted to tell her that he loved her; that they would be together soon, that she should not worry about him – but all of that was already reflected back. They kissed again and the cab horn beeped. Silently Mac got up and left without looking back.
THREE WEEKS LATER
Time was passing as it always did for Mac. It seemed that everything fell back into place after she returned from Italy with the exception that Harm now called her often and emailed her several times a day. Because of the time change and their odd duty hours they spoke rarely and their e-mails were more newsy than personal. But Mac filled her time with her triathlon training, work and friends. Mac was even making a better effort with Kate to be a friend. Mac still felt very lonely.
For Harm – life could not have been better. He was more than the JAG on the Seahawk; he was a back up pilot and flew several missions a week. And he was in love and had a 'girl back home' waiting for him. How romantic. It was the best of all possible worlds for him. At least that is how his e-mails home and phone calls sounded. He might have been over compensating a little.
Harm and Mac had made plans to see each other the following weekend. They were going to meet in Greece, but the plans fell through one morning. She was given a murder case and he was bumped up when another pilot broke his leg. It was neither one's fault, but both were very disappointed.
"I'm sorry," he said.
"Yeah, me too."
"We'll try again in a couple of weeks."
"Mac, Sarah – I miss you."
"I miss you too."
"It won't always be like this." Words that had become his mantra.
"I know." She was tired of hearing them.
Mac felt it all slipping away and knew there was not a thing she could do about it. This was how it was going to be – maybe not forever, but for the foreseeable future. Could their relationship survive? Mac was thinking that the odds were against it.
SIX WEEKS LATER
"WOMEN!" Harm slammed into the pilot's locker room and tossed something into his open locker.
The only person in the room was Stella. "Gotta problem there sailor?" she laughed.
"She is pissed at me," he stated. "I can't believe it … but she is pissed at me."
"What do you want?" she laughed at him again. "How many weekends have you canceled on her?"
"It isn't always me, you know."
"Yeah … well … you didn't need to this time," Stella stated. "This one is on your head."
"We have a mission …"
"That you VOLUNTEERED FOR," Stella reminded him. "You didn't need to."
"Yes I do."
"It is a baby sitting mission for the VP … you trying to gain points with the higher ups?" she laughed. "For that you should go back to Washington."
He slammed his locker shut. "I can't believe she is pissed at me," he stated again.
A few other pilots came in and were immediate involved in the conversation.
"Crashed and burned, eh Hammer?" one of them jibbed.
"Gonna need some fancy move to pull out of this mess, Rabby?" the other jabbed. "Hope you got it in you, OLD MAN."
Harm was about to defend himself with the boys when Stella interrupted him.
Something occurred to her. "This was the weekend you were going to ask her to marry you, wasn't it?"
Harm nodded, shrugged and otherwise made gestures like 'what difference does it make now?'
"OH brother … tell me you didn't tell her that on the phone," Stella stated.
Harm looked at the other guys. Clearly he had. "What?"
"Bad move, Harm."
"Really bad … hope it's not fatal."
They walked out.
Harm looked back at Stella. "Why would it be fatal?"
"Women don't want consolation prizes Harm."
"How is that a consolation prize?"
She laughed. "Say you propose, say you even get married … as long as you are on this ship … NOTHING has changed. The whole engagement/marriage thing is a consolation prize." She clapped him on the back. "You are just giving her something that costs you NOTHING so you can slept better at night," she clapped him again. "You really are a sucker, Rabb. Better get your priorities straight or you are going to lose everything."
SIX DAYS LATER
2218 EST - MacKenzie Residence, Georgetown, VA
The last conversation they had was not very good. She was testy and irritable – not over anything specific, just generally she was not interested in playing the loving supportive girlfriend sitting back home waiting for her man to return from war. He made some comment – that she barely registered – about asking her to marry him, and she blew it off. When he started to press her about her mood, and her lack of response to his statement, she snapped at him and apologized but the conversation did not end on a nice note. She did e-mail him to apologize, and got a very nice response, but they had not spoken again.
That was days ago. He had said he was going on a mission and would be out of touch for a while. She was worried, but did not let it scare her. She was making plans to keep her career and life moving forward, even though her personal life was still on hold. JAG was becoming unbearable. Too many people knew her business. She requested and was granted a transfer to Quantico. She had not told Harm about it yet, but it really would not make much difference to him. What is a hundred miles more or less?
She had just gotten back from a fifteen-mile run and was sorting through some files that she needed to return to JAG when a knock came on her door. A fear seized her. She looked through the peephole and there was a uniformed man standing there with his back to the door.
"Oh dear God, no," she said before she opened the door.
The man turned. Mac's heart jolted up to her throat. It was Harm. She had not realized how afraid she was until that moment when she saw him standing before her. She folded into his open arms. He buried his face in her neck. They held on for a long time. Finally he mumbled something inaudible into her hair.
"What?" she asked.
"I can see that. How long?"
"No," he pulled back to look at her. "I am home – for good."
"I don't understand."
"If you'll have me – I want to come home," he smiled "- to you."
"I don't -," she wasn't refusing him. She just was confused. Less than five minutes prior she was thinking about how to keep her life moving forward without Harm in it on a daily basis and now he was standing there saying he was home for good.
"It took me a little while," he explained. "I have my priorities straight now. I want you. I want us. I want our life together," he was sincere. "Will you have me?"
"It won't be easy – but nothing ever worth having is. Will you at least give me a chance … give us a chance?"
"I'm not -."
"All I am asking for is a chance."
"Mac I want to be in love and together – not thousands of miles apart. I want to share the closet with you. To wake up in the morning with your body wrapped around mine. To be distracted all day by thoughts of being alone with you. To go away on romantic weekends. And to have boring Saturday nights at home working on a case. I want Christmas, New Years and Fourth of July – hell I want all the holidays and the days and nights between. I want to pick out wallpaper and fight over the toilet seat."
She was tearing up.
"And if we are very lucky we will get the 2.5, the dog and the picket fence," he took her hand. "I want it all."
She was speechless.
"Please Mac," he knelt down in front of her. "Give me a chance … give us a chance. Will you have me? Will you marry me?"
He pulled her down to him and they kissed.
There we leave them to figure out a future and a life for themselves. I am sure you will all join with me in wishing them good luck, Godspeed and much happiness in their life ahead. God knows the road will be rocky, but if any two people deserve a little happiness – if only for a little while – it is Harm and Mac.
Thank you all for re-reading along with me. I am not sure this version has as much impact as the last version because it interrupt the ridiculousness that was Mac and Brumby and too it completely off the Paraguay trail – a good thing I think, but in the end more natural for their getting together and less … well less JAG LIKE.
Thank you to all the readers and the reader/reviewers for your support.