Love and Barstools- part 1 of a 3 part series

Author: manette- feedback to manetjt@aol.com

Rating: pg-13

Spoilers: Everything through First Casualty

Disclaimer: Jag doesn't belong to me but I hope that nice Mr. DPB will let me play with it for a while.

Summary: Harm and Mac try to get it right.



Love and Barstools

He sat on a barstool, nursing a beer, and watched her through hooded eyes. She hadn't seen him when she came in so he was free to look all he wanted. And he wanted.

She was playing pool with a couple of guys that he didn't recognize. They had come into McMurphy's together, laughing -the men hanging on her every word. Obviously smitten.

He didn't blame them nor could he object to the way every man in the place seemed to be mesmerized, pausing with their drink halfway to their mouth whenever she leaned over the table to take a shot. The black long sleeved sweater was tight and had a round neckline that was not immodest but low enough to make him sweat. Even from across the bar he could see that the black velvet jeans were snug in all the right places but when she bent over he let out a low groan. From any angle the view was glorious.

She seemed to be having fun and he knew she needed that. Life had been too serious for a long time now. That was partly his fault, and partly hers too, but placing blame didn't change anything and they were finally on friendly terms again.

He sighed thinking about how much more he wanted, but friendly was better than the way things had been.

Breathing was easier.

His doctor had warned him about residual breathing problems from the hours he spent in the ocean but he knew that his real breathing problems started when he came back from Rene's father's funeral to find her gone.

He could feel her slipping away from him and he knew that he wouldn't be able to take a deep breath until she was home. Desperate to fix things, his efforts had been clumsy and ill timed. The more he pushed, the more she pulled away.

When he thought about life without her he felt like he was drowning all over again.

Then as surely as that diver had saved him by pulling him from the ocean into the helicopter, she had saved him with a small smile and an offer of a new beginning.

He grinned as she celebrated her last shot with an uncharacteristic squeal and high fives for everyone in the vicinity. She was accepting congratulations and laughing at some remark when she spotted him across the bar. She froze momentarily, then seemed to recover herself and waved. He waved back but didn't approach her. She was enjoying herself. He wouldn't intrude.

It looked like they were leaving anyway. He watched as one of the men helped her put on her jacket, his hands lingering a little too long, then nodded as she said something and gestured toward the bar. She walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Hi." She said almost shyly.

"Hi, Mac." He smiled and turned on his bar stool to face her. "You look like you're having a good time."

She moved so that she stood between his legs and surprised him by throwing her arms around his neck. "Act like you're glad to see me," she whispered.

Not one to miss an opportunity, his hands went to her waist and his lips found her ear as he whispered back, "I am glad to see you. Why are we whispering?"

"Just play along, okay?" She pulled back and shot him a beseeching look.

He answered with a conspiratorial grin. "Okay, I'm in. What's the game?" His thumbs were resting on her hipbones and his fingers fanned out with feathery pressure on her back keeping her close.

She didn't answer his question but leaned in and brushed her lips against his and murmured, "I'm going to hate myself for this later."

Priding himself on being a team player, he kissed her back, deepening the kiss when she would have pulled away, spearing his fingers into her hair and holding her still.

He finally let her go and in a somewhat dazed voice asked, "Did we win?"

"Not yet," she said in a warning voice as she jerked her head toward the two approaching men.

"Give me a clue here, Mac. What's going on?"

"I'll explain later. Just act like.." she paused then with a wry look continued, "Just pretend I'm yours."

The words hung in the air as they stared at each other.

Finally she forced herself to turn and face her friends. "Hey Joe, Brian- I want you to meet Harm." Mac smiled at everyone while the men exchanged hellos and sized each other up. "He can give me a ride home so you guys can go on to some other clubs." She stayed between Harm's legs, one hand splayed possessively on his upper thigh. His hand had gone from her back to her stomach and as her words reverberated in his brain he staked his claim by pulling her back against him. Her rear end was snug against his groin and the effect of having her so close was unmistakable

.

The one named Joe was openly disappointed that the evening wouldn't be ending as he had hoped. "Come on, Mac. You don't want to go home yet. It's still early." He glared at Harm who he clearly blamed for ruining his plans.

Harm responded by wrapping his free arm across her collarbone and pulling her to his chest. "Yeah, Mac, it is early." He nuzzled her hair and whispered, "Still plenty of time for lots of things." When he looked back at Joe his smile was smug and dangerously territorial.

Brian sensing trouble was more diplomatic, "That's okay, Mac. It was great to see you again."

Mac smiled at him with real affection. "I'm really glad you called me Brian. E-mail me once you're settled."

"I will. Let's go, Joe." With a wave from Brian and a glare from Joe the two men left the bar.

Mac stayed between Harm's legs until she was sure they were gone, and then she turned and patted him on the cheek. "Thanks, Harm."

He narrowed his eyes as she hopped up onto the stool beside him. "What was that all about anyway?" He was still aroused from having her so close and was feeling a little grumpy now that she had moved away.

"Brian is an old friend and he was in town visiting his brother. Joe was getting a little too friendly but I didn't want to embarrass Brian. I was just trying to let Joe down easy," she said with a grin, "and you were handy."

"So you were just using me?" he groused.

"Yep" She didn't act the least bit sorry. "Besides, you enjoyed it. Admit it."

"You're awfully sure of yourself, Colonel. I'll admit that I enjoyed having the Marines beg the Navy for help."

Mac gave him a knowing smile. "Is that all you enjoyed?"

He squirmed uncomfortably. She was doing it again. Throwing out these flirtatious remarks that he would take in stride from any other woman, but this was Mac and he couldn't be casual about her. This was the point where he usually screwed things up with some cryptic comment. The last time she'd ended up with a ring from another man so he needed to choose his words carefully.

On the other hand being careful had gotten him nowhere. Maybe it was time to give her a little of her own medicine. His eyes gleamed and his bearing became slightly arrogant as he arrived at his decision. Mac was about to experience the famous Rabb charm in all its glory. He almost felt sorry for her.

"Actually, what I enjoyed the most, Mac," her name came out like a sigh as he leaned into her space, "was the soft little sound you made when I was kissing you. Thinking about that sound could keep me awake all night."

Her eyes widened and her lips parted at his unexpected remark. Intense blue- green eyes focused on her as if she were the only thing in the world that mattered. And she was. The truth of that was in his eyes for her to see.

She smiled seductively and in that moment regained the upper hand. "Take me home, Harm. I know some really good lullabies."