Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine (wouldn't it be nice if they were?) and no infringement is intended. Feedback is always welcome!! This is my first fic so I hope you all enjoy!

JAG Headquarters

Falls Church, VA

1722 hours

"Well Colonel, you almost had me that time." Commander Harmon Rabb Jr. cast a sidelong glance at his partner. Neither of them took very well to losing a case, especially when they lost to each other. Instinctively, Harm knew losing this case would be even tougher on Mac than usual.

He spared another glance for his partner as he recalled the particulars of the recently completed case. Prior to the trial, she had seemed so sure about her case against the petty officer. Vincent Beckett had been accused of assaulting a fellow shipmate outside a bar one night. It was supposed to be an open and shut case for the prosecution. She'd even had a witness who had seen the entire thing, or at least claimed to see the entire thing. On an impulse, Harm had started poking around when this so-called witness was on the stand. He'd actually gotten the guy to admit he'd been lying the entire time.

It turned out the guy was just a friend of the plaintiff who figured he'd help his friend out. In actuality, the witness had still been inside the bar during the altercation, which blew a big hole in the plaintiff's credibility. There had really been nothing Mac could do after that little bomb had been dropped. Harm was snapped out of his reverie by Mac. "Please, don't patronize me, Commander. I just can't believe I let that idiot get on the witness stand and blow my entire case!"

"Oh, come on Mac. It wasn't that bad."

Mac gave her partner a look that let him know exactly what she thought about his last remark. On an impulse, Harm said, "Well why don't you let me make it up to you? Do you have any plans for tonight?"

"Thanks for the offer Harm, but I'm not really sure I feel like doing anything tonight. Not to mention I'd never hear the end of how the great Harmon Rabb Jr. beat me in court once again." Mac gave her partner a poke in the ribs to let him know she was only kidding with the last remark.

For not the first time in the recent past, Harm thought about how lucky he was to have Mac in his life. He couldn't believe how close he'd come to losing her with the whole Mic thing. Harm still wouldn't admit that it had been anything more than a "thing". Admitting she might have actually been in love with the stupid Australian made him sick to his stomach. After all, she really was the best thing going for him right now, she had been for a long time, although he'd probably kill himself before admitting that to anyone. Especially to her. Lost in thought, Harm didn't notice Mac staring into his eyes.

"Earth to Harm," she joked as she slowly waved her hand in front of his face. Harm shook his head slightly to clear away the few stray thoughts about his relationship with Mac. That was definitely not something he should be pondering in the hallway of the JAG office.

"Sorry, just lost in thought," he replied sheepishly.

"I could have told you that," she countered dryly. "You must be getting slow in your old age if it's taking you this long to think up a comeback." She smiled at him and he immediately smiled back with one of his patented "fly-boy" grins. 'No matter how many of those I see, I'll never get tired of them' Mac thought to herself.

"First of all, Ninja-girl, I'm not that much older than you, so I would watch what you say about getting old. And second of all, I would never boast about my amazing abilities in the courtroom." Harm proudly began to strut down the hallway, earning himself a playful slap on the shoulder.

The pair continued to laugh and talk in the hallway as Petty officer Vincent Beckett rounded the corner. Seeing the two attorneys acting so friendly made the young man terribly angry. He couldn't believe his defense attorney could be so chummy with the stupid bitch who had tried to put him in jail! 'Rabb probably didn't even care if I got sent to jail for the rest of my life!' Vinny thought to himself. 'Why would he want to upset little miss bimbo the prosecutor? Ha, he's probably even sleeping with the Colonel; she looks like she'd be easy.'

Such thoughts continued to run through his mind as a plan began to form. If only…yes, there was the man he was looking for! The guard from the courtroom was walking down the hallway towards the Petty officer. As he passed Harm and Mac, the guard saluted but didn't really slow down. Vinny rubbed his hands together in anticipation. He knew he'd only get one shot, so he had to make it good.

As the guard came abreast in the hallway, Vinny made a movement as if to salute. The guard began to return the salute and was caught off balance when Vinny lunged forward and grabbed the pistol from his hip holster.

Catching the movement out of the corner of his eye, Harm turned toward the scene a few paces down the hallway and felt time slow down. The fact that the pistol was aimed at Mac registered almost immediately. Without a second thought, Harm placed himself between his partner and his client as a single gunshot rang out in the hallway.

A sharp pain exploded into Harm's body, but he couldn't really pinpoint where it was coming from. The hallway seemed to spin as he felt himself slowly fall to his knees and slump to the ground. He felt a pressure on his chest, as though someone where sitting on it. That thought didn't seem quite right to Harm though. 'I just got shot,' he mused to himself. 'Why would someone be sitting on my chest?'

Harm felt someone take his head in gentle hands and prop it up. Instinctively, Harm knew the hands and legs that pillowed his head belonged to his partner. He forced his eyes to open, feeling an intense need to look her in the eyes.

Harm tried to raise his hand and wipe away the tears he saw beginning to flow down Mac's face. His arm didn't seem to respond though. He tried to speak, to tell her everything was going to be fine. He couldn't get the words to come out though. His mouth was suddenly very dry.

Instead, it was Mac who attempted to soothe her partner. Gently caressing his face, she whispered "It's gonna be alright, Harm. Everything is gonna be fine. Don't do this to me! I need you too much for you to go and die on me. Why in the world would you step in front of a bullet just to save me? Why do you always have to play the hero?" The tears were now streaming down Mac's face as she vainly fought for control of the situation. Harm tried again to speak, but couldn't seem to form the words.

'Why wouldn't I step in front of you Mac?' Harm thought. He tried to communicate the idea as best as he could. He needed her to understand that he'd put his own life on the line to save hers whenever necessary. He needed her to know he'd do it without a second thought and never regret it.

Lying on the ground, Harm barely noticed that things were beginning to fade out. He no longer heard the bustle in the hallway as several guards restrained the petty officer. He no longer heard the frantic shouts for an ambulance and paramedics. He no longer felt the intense pain in his chest. The only thing he was aware of was the face of his partner above him. 'She looks like an angel,' Harm thought. 'She really is beautiful.'

Eventually, however, even her face began to fade. He tried to hold on. Mac's frantic demands that he stay awake barely registered as he began to float in an inky blackness. Faint, as though she were far away, Harm heard Mac whisper, "Don't you dare leave me sailor. I need you too much. I love you too much. Please don't leave…please." Harm wasn't sure, but he thought he managed to whisper her name before he slid into the abyss.