Title: I Miss My Friend

Author: Jaimi

Rating: PG-13

Category: Story, Harm Angst, Friendship, Romance, (Mac/Harm)

Spoilers: Black Jet; Enemy Below

Summary: Mac is thought dead. Harm's world is shattered and he is not dealing well. He won't talk to anyone...except his best friend.

Disclaimer: I don't own JAG, it's characters, or the song "I Miss My Friend", by Darryl Worley.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: (PLEASE READ)

A few lyrics in the song, "I Miss My Friend", have been changed. (when we made love, to: your look of love, and blue-green eyes, to: big brown eyes.) This is NOT a song fic.

I think the time difference (Eastern USA; Viginia/Maryland to Western Europe; Ireland) is about 5 hours, maybe 6. I'm just gonna say 5, so let's not be picky, it's a fictional story. Feel free to politely correct me...though I should know, I spent 3 weeks in Spain two years ago.

This story is a standalone from my others...however, you could consider the happenings of the other stories (such as The Reasons) to have happened before this, minus Captain's existence, and the fact that I left Bud's injury out of the others. Expect both a prequel and a sequel to this story.

The likelyhood of the events of the story actually happening are pretty slim, but lets roll with it for the sake of the story's purpose, okay? Please don't nit pick at the discrepancies either. In this case, I DO know they ARE there, I don't need to be told. I'm not talented enough to work through them, so you'll just have to deal with them. Any other constructive criticism IS welcome.

As a side note, I wanted this story to be a little different, so I didn't have it with Mac losing Harm and being the weeping mess. (The poor girl needs a break, and it's Harm's turn to admit he's human.) Also, the whole "one is thought dead, but it was actually a ploy by the CIA etc..." thing has been done, at least two or three times, so that's why I tried this instead. It may not work as well, as there are several more discrepancies, as I said, but I wanted something different, so uh, here you go. Enjoy!!!!!!!!

(Kudos, to everyone who actually read this and won't nit pick in the reviews about stuff that I mentioned in the above. You are officially my favourite readers!)



I Miss My Friend

By: Jaimi

Dedication:

In Memory Of:

Caitlin Ann

The most amazing of best friends, now and forever.

An angel returned to heaven.

I miss you, Sweety, but I know you're watching over us.

I love you!



Thurday August 14th, 2003

0134 ZULU

ROBERT'S RESIDENCE

ROSLYN, MARYLAND (until we find out where the new house is at)



Popping another piece of caramel corn into her mouth, Lt. Colonel Sarah MacKenzie smiled at her godson, as he used his godfather as a jungle gym. Being 6'4" made Commander Harmon Rabb Junior, a good one. Admiral AJ Chegwidden laughed as Harm got a foot in the stomach, but the younger man didn't seem to mind. He spoiled his godson rotten. It *was* his job after all.

The boy's actual parents, Lieutenants Bud and Harriet Roberts shook their heads, smiling as well. If anything should happen to them, they knew their only son would be in good hands. His godparents were dedicated, responsible and most importantly, they adored the little guy.

They were all sitting around the Roberts' living room, talking and listening to music. Mac was leaving the next day for Ireland to visit some relatives at a remote farm for a week. She would pretty much be out of contact with them the entire time. Apparently these distant cousins of hers were traditionalists, and had no phone, no power, nothing. Luckily, she would have her cell phone, just in case.

She hadn't really wanted to go, but they were from her Uncle Matt's (her mother's) side, and they'd insisted she come. They'd heard so much about her from her Uncle Matt, that they were dying to meet her.

Suddenly one of Mac's favorite songs came on, and she hummed along, singing softly for a bit before turning to her partner. "Hey Sailor, would you sing this for me at my funeral?"

Harm looked startled at the question. He hated any talk about her dying. To cover his reaction, he smiled and replied lightly. "Can't do that Marine. There's no way you're going before me. Actually, if I recall, we're going together. Remember? Butch and Sundance?"

The others raised their eyebrows.

"I don't want to know," AJ said, with a shake of his head.

Mac grinned, ignoring the looks and the admiral's comment. "That's right, and I take it we're going for burial, and *not* cremation?!"

Harm's grin got wicked. "Well, hold on, I never told you the cons of being buried... Ow-" he yelped, upon being hit with a throw pillow.

"Don't even start, Sailor. None of us wants to hear it," Mac griped.

"Hear what?" Bud asked, rubbing at the stub of his leg, where the prosthetic began.

"Never mind. My partner is sick and sadistic."

Harm just laughed, and the subject was dropped.

********************

A Week Later...

Friday August 22nd, 2003

2047 ZULU

DUBLIN AIRPORT

DUBLIN, IRELAND



Mac sighed happily. She'd had a wonderful trip. She'd felt like she had gone back in time. Writing by candlelight, pumping water from a well, riding horses everywhere...but she was glad to be going home. She missed her friends, especially Harm. She didn't know how she had gone through life without him. She had a feeling her younger days would have been a lot happier with him around.

Even though they weren't involved, she felt they were more than best friends now. He was so important to her, the most important person in her life. She loved being with him, near him, even hearing his voice. She had called him on her cell a few times during her stay to tell him everything she was doing, but since she couldn't re-charge it, she had to keep the calls to a minimum. Besides, it just wasn't the same as seeing him day after day.

As she headed for her terminal, she came across a tiny old woman, with large brown eyes, much like her own. She looked terribly upset, and a little lost. Mac couldn't stand to see anyone suffer, let alone a sweet old woman.

"Excuse me, Ma'am? Are you all right? Can I help you in any way?" Mac offered, politely.

The woman looked at her, not too hopeful. "Oh, I don't think so, Dear. Unless you can go back in time and change this ticket."

Mac frowned. "What's wrong with it?"

"More like what's wrong with me, Dear. I got my dates mixed up and scheduled my return flight to the States, Maryland to be exact, for the 29th of August, next Friday. I need it for THIS Friday, the 22nd, today. My grandson's getting married tomorrow, and I'm going to miss his wedding if I don't get home. I didn't even realize it till I got here...these old eyes of mine." She sighed. "I can't re-book. They don't have any seats free for the next week and a half. Things are booked up, with the summer ending, and kids going home."

Mac gave her a sympathetic look, and with barely a moments hesitation, she handed the woman her ticket. "Here Ma'am, take mine. I can wait an extra week. I'll take your flight home. Mine's to Washington, but I'm sure if you call when you get there, someone can arrange to pick you up. It's not that much farther."

The woman looked genuinely surprised and hopeful, but then she frowned slightly. "Oh dear, I can't do that. We don't even know each other..."

Mac smiled, sticking out her hand. "Sarah MacKenzie."

The woman returned the smile. "Jessica Landsbury." (AN: *snicker*)

"Now we now each other. Please, Ms. Landsbury-"

"Oh, call me Jessica."

"Jessica, please take this. Your grandson is only going to get married once...hopefully." Mac added, with a laugh.

Jessica laughed as well, eyes twinkling. "Oh Darling, I don't know how to thank you for this...are you sure?"

"I'm sure. You better go. The plane leaves in a few minutes. Tell your grandson congratulations, and this is my wedding gift to him."

"Oh you sweet girl, thank you so much." With surprising youthful spontaneity, the old woman gathered Mac in a hug, kissing her cheek. "I'll remember you Sarah MacKenzie. Give me a call when you get home. We'll have tea."

Mac smiled. "I'd like that."

***************

After calling JAG headquarters, and finding both the Admiral and Harm were out, Mac left a message with Lt. Lauren Singer. The nosey lieutenant had been standing by Tiner's unoccupied desk when the phone rang. She told her that she'd had to miss her flight and to apologize to the admiral for her. She'd call ASAP and let them know when the next available flight out was. Mac didn't want to tell Lauren about the old woman and her ticket for next week. She'd wait to tell the admiral when she got a hold of him.

After she clicked her cell phone off, she set it on the counter where she was purchasing a coffee. Mac wondered for a moment if she should have waited and left the message with Tiner. She shook her head. /Give the woman a little more credit, Mac. She's an ambitious, overachiever. Not an irresponsible, scatterbrain. She'll give him the message. She'd love an opportunity to suck up to the admiral. Besides, you'll be calling again later to let him know what happened and when to expect you home./ Breaking out of her thoughts, Mac headed out to hail a taxi. /Back to the farm, I go./

Mac's occupied mind forgot the tiny phone, still sitting on the counter, a moment later to be snatched up by a pick pocket.

/Too easy,/ the man thought. /Stupid American woman./ He grinned, looking at his new treasure. /I can use this for parts,/ he thought, knowing whole stolen cells were useless. He watched the oblivious Mac walk out the airport entrance. /BEAUTIFUL, but still a stupid woman,/ he thought with a grin, walking the other way, already disesembling his prize.

***************

1559 ZULU

JAG HEADQUARTERS

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA



Lt. Lauren Singer practically growled upon ending her call with little Miss Perfect, Lt. Colonel MacKenzie. Her, Rabb and Roberts were the admiral's pets. Tiner too, not to mention that bitch, Sims. She was not their messenger or their errand runner. She was a lawyer, dammit, and she finally got a case that would take her outside of this pathetic little office for more than a week. That's what she had been doing by Tiner's desk, gathering her flight information, NOT taking messages.

She was going to a carrier, and she was going to be late. The admiral wasn't back yet. She'd have to leave him a note.

Lauren smiled slightly to herself, imagining the reaming out the colonel would get for missing her flight. She'd probably be home in a day or two, but still, it was a day or two of missing duty. The colonel getting into any kind of trouble was always mildly satisfying.

Lauren snorted, as she finished writing the short note and headed into the admiral's office. Unfortunately, it was more than likely that the admiral would go soft on her, and just report it as him granting her extra leave time. She could get away with it, for how little time she ever took off.

/Must be nice being perfect,/ Singer thought bitterly, after she set the note on his desk, near the edge. She walked out of the large office, shutting the admiral's door forcefully. Tiner, who had come back from getting some coffee, gave her a questioning look. She just smiled sweetly. "I forgot the Admiral was out," she said casually, taking her leave. She didn't have to explain herself to him.

Inside the admiral's office, a tiny scrap of paper, lifted off the desk by the closing door's gust of air, came to rest, hidden under the large oak desk.

****************

2053 ZULU

JAG HEADQUARTERS

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA



Admiral AJ Chegwidden leaned back in his chair, having just returned from a rather dull lunch with the SecNav. His office was empty of any of his officers. Things were slow, and he was bored. He yawned as he watched the news, which in itself was boring. No body cared about the local adult video store going bankrupt. Good for them.

He was just about to flip it off, when a special report came on. He turned it up, and listened with growing horror.

"THIS JUST IN. AN AMERICAN AIRLINES 767 HAS CRASHED INTO THE ATLANTIC OCEAN ON IT'S WAY FROM IRELAND TO THE STATES. THE PLANE WAS FULL UP OF PEOPLE RETURNING HOME FROM SUMMER VACATION. SO FAR, IT'S BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN AN UNFORESEEN MECHANICAL FAILURE. THE PLANE LOST BOTH ENGINES WHILE GOING THROUGH AN UNEXPECTED STORM FRONT. THERE ARE NO EXPECTED SURVIVORS, AND UNLIKELY THAT THEY WILL FIND MANY REMAINS IN THE STORM TOSSED SEAS..."

He rambled on, but AJ was already buzzing Tiner. /It couldn't be.../ he thought. But he knew Mac was due home today, her plane would have left about five hours ago...from Ireland.

"Yes, Sir?" Tiner's voice came over the intercom on his desk.

"Tiner, get me the Dulles Airport, son. Or Dublin. Just get me somebody who can confirm a flight for me."

"Yes, sir," Tiner replied, asking no questions. He could sense the urgency in the older man's voice. He only called his officers, "son" or by their names when he was off duty, or deeply concerned. As the phone rang and then a voice answered, Tiner spoke. "Petty Officer Tiner calling from JAG Headquarters, I'm patching you through to our CO. One moment please..."

The admiral jumped, deep in thought, when Tiner buzzed back. "Sir, Dulles Airport for you on line one."

"Thank you, Tiner... Hello? Yes, this is Admiral Chegwidden, of the United States JAG Corps. An American Airlines flight crashed not long ago. Was it headed for you? It was. Can you tell me what flight number it was? Yes, I have family on a flight from Ireland..." AJ paled.

Flight 75. That was Mac's flight.

"Yes, yes she was. Can you tell me if she...if she uh, boarded the flight? Her name is Sarah MacKenzie, a Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps." There was a pause, and then AJ felt any remaining color drain from his face. "The ticket was received? You're sure?"

God, he was hoping against hope...maybe she missed the flight and forgot to call. He knew that was ridiculous. Mac didn't forget to call for anything. Besides, they re-confirmed. It was all in the computer, Dublin Airport had gotten her ticket.

"I understand. Thank you."

He hung up, and slumped back in his chair, burying his hands in his face. God no, no, no, no. Not Mac. She was like a daughter to him...physical attraction aside, that's what she had become. Another daughter, and a great friend. Friend. Oh god, Rabb! How the hell was he going to tell Harm that his partner, his best friend...was dead?

*****************

The bullpen was quiet, and AJ wasn't surprised. They were always glimpsing at the TV out there. Now they all turned to him, as he exited his office. They were waiting. Waiting for him tell them something. Some with hope in their eyes, begging him to tell them it wasn't her flight. Others, ones that had been in the office for years, looked at him with sad resignation. They knew. They knew him. They could probably tell by the slight slump in his shoulders, and the pain in his eyes. Their colleague, their comrade, their friend...was gone.

He swallowed, and suddenly weeping could be heard. Harriet and Carolyn. They all knew now, but he had to say it. He had to confirm. However, where the hell was Rabb? AJ sighed. He'd tell him later...privately.

"As most of you know, a 767 inbound from Ireland crashed into the Atlantic about half an hour ago. It's with deep heartache and regret, that I inform you, it was in fact Colonel MacKenzie's flight." He paused, fighting the stinging behind his eyelids. He continued. "I've called to confirm. She made the flight. As you heard, there was no possibility of survivors. I'm sorry."

It was deathly silent, minus sniffles here and there. People were in shock. Mac was well liked among the staff. She was tough, but fair, compassionate and fun. Suddenly, someone gasped. It was Imes, and she had looked up to see a pale faced Harmon Rabb Junior, standing at the edge of the bullpen. He'd just returned from his lengthy morning meeting with a client. One he had moved up so he could surprise Mac, by picking her up from the airport. Harriet had planned to do it before.

Everyone looked at him, sympathy mixed in with their own sadness. Everyone knew, despite their bickering, how close the partners were. The waited tensely for his reaction.

AJ spoke up gently, but firmly. "Commander, my office."

At first, Harm didn't move, but Navy training kicked in and he forced himself to obey. As he walked through the throng of colleagues and friends, he held his head high. He didn't want their sympathy. Mac wasn't dead. She couldn't be. She just couldn't.

**************

AJ waited till Harm shut the door, then he motioned for him to sit.

Harm didn't budge from his at attention stance. He didn't want the admiral to sit him down and to talk to him gently...understandingly. He didn't want him to tell him to take a few days off, or to hear him say that they were all there for him. That only made it real.

Dammit, five minutes ago he was planning on having a movie night with his best friend, and then, two minutes ago he had heard from his own CO's lips...his best friend was dead. He'd never see her again...

No, it couldn't be right. Maybe she missed the flight. His thoughts were at war with each other. He'd heard the admiral confirm. The admiral had called, he'd already checked, he'd already hoped...

She was on that flight, that flight that crashed. No survivors. No! Not Mac! Not his precious Sarah!

"Sir-" he began in a tight voice.

"Harm," his CO's voice was tired, strained and filled with pain.

/No!/ Harm's mind screamed. /It's not true. Stop sounding so upset, stop making it real!/

"I know what you're going to say, Son, so I'm going to nip this at the bud. I called, I confirmed, I practically begged them to be wrong. They received her ticket. She made the flight. She's gone...I'm sorry."

There was a long silence, as AJ watched the younger man's eyes as they portrayed a battling flood of emotions, and then, he saw it. What he feared upon the moment of receiving the news. He knew Rabb would do this. He closed off. It was like watching shutters close over two ocean view windows. The man's blue-green eyes took on a blank, emotionless glaze.

"Don't do this, Harm."

He received no answer. He sighed. He knew he himself was in no state to try and get through to him at this moment. It was no use. It was too soon. "Go home, Son. Go home. I'll call Chloe and O'Hara. I'll organize with them to make the funeral arrangements, including getting O'Hara out of Leavenworth for the day. He needs to be there as well. You just...call if you need anything. I'll let you know when the arrangements are made."

When Harm didn't move, AJ spoke firmly. "Dismissed."

Harm wanted to argue, to say he was fine. He didn't need to go home, but the look in the admiral's eyes stopped him. Instead he nodded, saluted, turned on his heel and left. He walked straight out the door, through the bullpen, bypassing the elevator where he may be caught by some sympathetic mourners, and went down the stairs.

Sturgis watched him go, shaking his head. He went to his window to see Harm striding out the door, jumping into his car, and pulling away. His face never changed. The hard, stone mask never lifted. That was one man in a great deal of pain. Sturgis himself, swallowed the lump in his throat. /Why Mac?/

******************

Neither Sturgis, nor the Admiral, nor anyone else, even thought about the blonde witch of a lieutenant, known as Singer. She never came to mind to inform. Everyone was too wrapped up in their own grief to consider it. The admiral being too sick of her to want to hear from her everyday, had told her, unless of mishaps, to report at the end of next week. Next Friday.

*******************

As the taxi pulled up to the old farm, Mac handed the driver a hefty trip for the near hour long drive. Looking around at the surrounding wilderness, not a hydro pole in sight, she sighed. She'd realized half way back to the farm that she'd left her cell on the counter at the coffee shop. She hadn't bothered to go back. She wasn't stupid. It was gone, and being sold for parts by now. Scavengers looking for spare attennas, covers, screens, chips...

Oh well, she'd gotten her message to Singer. She'd just have to apologize double time to the admiral when she got back. He'd surely understand about the phone at least, if not about her "missing" her flight. Hopefully they wouldn't worry when she didn't call. They knew she could take care of herself, and everything would be explained upon her return.

*******************

Tuesday August 26th, 2003

2346 ZULU

USS ENTERPRISE

INDIAN OCEAN



Lieutenant Lauren Singer sighed, blinking back tears. She had just been informed the colonel's plane had gone down the other day. She hadn't gotten specifics, like when, where or how, just that the colonel was gone, and the funeral was scheduled for Thursday. She wouldn't be there, but the admiral had said he would have a flower arrangement prepared for her. She had quietly thanked him and they ended their call. Lauren sighed. If only the colonel hadn't missed her first flight.

Lauren wasn't as cold as everyone thought she was. She had feelings, and she not only felt guilty for her thoughts of the colonel a few days earlier, she felt sad. She may be devious, and wish people transferred or dismissed to gain seniority at JAG, but she didn't wish death. Especially not on the colonel. Sure, she figured the colonel didn't really like her...most people didn't. However, the colonal had always been nice to her, except when Lauren knew she didn't deserve to have people be nice to her.

If Lauren didn't not want friends, or think that she didn't need them, she would have wanted the colonel as one. She sometimes found herself envying Lieutenant Sims, and the close relationship she had with MacKenzie. But then she always shook her head, and told herself that friends got in the way. Especially friends at the work place. She saw how much the colonel and the commander bickered...

Lauren shook her head. She was kidding herself. Everyone knew, despite their bickering, the partners were best friends. Their bickering, if anything, made their friendship more interesting. It was quite a friendship they had. She had never seen that kind of trust between two people.

Another wave of sadness hit her, and she was once again glad she had never gotten close to people. She didn't want to imagine what the commander was going through right now.

****************

0134 ZULU

HARM'S APARTMENT

NORTH OF UNION STATION



AJ looked closely at the drunken, broken man before him. Sturgis had accompanied him to Harm's, as no one had heard a thing from him since four days earlier, the day of the crash. He wasn't answering his phone, he wasn't answering their knocks...

Finally, they had asked Bud for his spare key to Mac's, so they could get her spare key to Harm's. Bud had a key to Mac's for when he used to take care of Jingo when she was gone. Mac had a key to Harm's...just because.

Only Harriet, and Chloe, who had flown in the day before, had been in her apartment since Friday. They hadn't had the heart to pack anything of hers then, but had wanted some pictures for the funeral. They had something special planned. Both had barely gotten through it, as they sifted through her things. Chloe had begun sobbing for what seemed the hundredth time since she'd learned of her big sister's death. Harriet wasn't far behind...Mac was like a big sister to her too. They'd held each other for almost an hour, just crying their hearts out.

Sighing, AJ knelt down before the younger man, the man who was like a son to him. They'd both tried talking to him....tried yelling, but he just looked back at them silently, as if seeing through them.

Finally AJ spoke again, his voice returned to calm reasoning. "I don't know what to do for you, Harm. I've got to deal with this myself, I cared about her very much too." With another sad sigh, he continued. "...But I know you were in love with her. Most men in the office were a little bit in love with her, but...I know you loved her more than your own life, more than anything. You'd give anything to have her back, but closing yourself off won't bring her back, Son. It will only hurt you more. You need your friends, and we need you. You have to pull yourself together and be at that funeral on Thursday, Son. You'll regret it if you don't. Besides, you owe it to her....you owe it to Sarah."

Harm merely nodded, saying nothing.

AJ sighed once again, sharing a look with Sturgis. At least they got that much out of him. Maybe being at the funeral would help. Maybe bring the emotions forth he needed to let loose, and therefore bring forth the healing he needed to survive this. They each offered Harm a pat on the shoulder.

"I'll pick you up at 0700 on Thursday, Buddy," Sturgis offered quietly. His heart was wrenching in pain for both his friend lost, and his friend slowly losing himself.

Harm remained slouched on his sofa, even after his friends left. He didn't feel like moving, and nothing they said really registered, really mattered. Yes, he'd be at the funeral. He'd do it for Sarah, as his last show of love and loyalty to her. However, after that...what was the point? Nothing mattered anymore. Nothing mattered without Sarah by his side. His friends could get by without him. He couldn't get by without the other half of his heart.

He had heard of people saying "they died of a broken heart." He'd never believed it to be true. Until now.

He'd go away somewhere after the funeral. Resign from the Navy, and just disappear...be alone. Be alone, so he could let that broken heart finally take him away from the pain...and the regret.

/Why didn't I tell her?/

******************

Thursday August 28th, 2003

1503 ZULU

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA



The funeral was packed, to say the least. Chloe Madison and Matthew O'Hara (an armed guard stood off to the side), stood by Harm, who had remained emotionless since the service began. He held one of Chloe's hands in his, but otherwise, comforting fell to that of Harriet and Bud, who stood behind her. Little AJ stood solemnly by his parents side. All he knew was that he wouldn't see his Aunt Mac ever again. That made him very sad. He had cried when his mom had told him, but now, he didn't understand what all was going on. So, following his father's lead, he remained quiet, and the sadness surrounding him, made it a sad kind of quiet.

The admiral stood by Mac's Uncle, Tiner on his other side. Victor stood by the Roberts' with Sturgis. Everyone else stood back a ways. Everyone else included Harm's parents, his grandmother, Mattoni, Imes and other JAG crew, Chaplain Turner, Bobbi Latham, John Farrow, Meredith Cavanaugh, Jack Keeter, Elizabeth Hawkes, Terri Coulter, Colonel Chrome and Admiral Boone. Past clients of Mac's or Mac and Harm's had come, other friends of Harm's were there in a show of support, including his past two partners, Kate Pike and Meg Austin. As well, there were many other Marine and Navy officers who knew the courageous Marine Lt. Colonel. Even the SecNav had attended.

The service in the church had moved them all. After Chaplain Turner had delivered his sermon, a video was shown. Chloe and Harriet, with Bud's technical help, had put together a picture/video film with some of Mac's favorite songs playing as it showed. As music from Jazz tunes, to country tunes, like Diamond Rio's "One More Day", and soft heart-wrenching ballads, such as Enya's "Only Time" played, picture after picture of Mac flipped through.

There were a few scarce pictures (via Matthew O'Hara) of her as a baby, a toddler, a young girl, a lanky teen (some of each, taken with her Uncle Matt), to pictures of her graduation from OCS, from Law School, her in action in Bosnia, of her first meeting Harm (via Webb and his spies). There were pictures of her in and out of the courtroom, at charities, balls, Bud and Harriet's wedding, AJ's christening, parties, dinners, her with Jingo, her with Chloe, some of her and Chloe riding. There were a lot of her with Harm, most of them with the partners smiling and laughing. Mixed in were bits of videos recorded by Harriet at many of her little get togethers with the JAG family. There were watery chuckles at the many antics performed by the partners with and without their godson.

Harm remained emotionless through it all, while many others, even those who weren't that close to them, had tears in their eyes.

Afterward, many people had stood up to speak. AJ spoke of her faithful service, her loyalty...her friendship.

Keeter actually got up and told of their time in the desert. Her determination, her intelligence, her caring. "She was one hell of a marine," he had remarked fondly, getting murmurs of agreement. "And that damn internal clock of hers." Sad laughter.

Chloe couldn't get up to speak, she was sobbing so hard. She was assured the video spoke for itself.

Harriet had forced herself up to talk about Mac being like the sister she always wanted. She spoke of how Mac had always been there to talk when she'd needed. How they shared a trust, a tight friendship, an understanding. "It isn't easy being a woman in the military. She has made all women proud, by being the best. She was a brave officer...and despite her career, what she had seen, everything in her life, she still remained human." As Harriet had finished, she had started crying, and AJ had helped her to her seat.

Slowly, Bud had ambled up, and began to speak about how she had helped him after the loss of his leg. She'd forced him to stop feeling sorry for himself. "I was so awful to her," he had recalled. "But she stood by me like the rest of my friends and forgave me. She was very forgiving, honest...tough, but compassionate. A wonderful mentor...an incredible friend."

Uncle Matt had stood tall and proud, as he spoke of his niece. Noting that she had been like a daughter to him. "She'd had a horrible childhood," he'd said. "I still wish I had done something more, sooner..." He'd sighed. Blinking back tears, he had then smiled, looking out at the somber crowd. "She'd kill me for saying this, but she was my little Princess. Tough as nails, clever, witty, feisty as hell...but she was also a sweetheart. Always giving, always caring about others. ...And she was a survivor."

Throughout it all, Harm had remained emotionless on the outside, but he'd been fighting a raging battle inside. His whole world had been turned upside down. The past week he'd had himself believing that maybe it wasn't real, and that the next thing he knew, she'd be walking through his door, pizza in one hand, old movies in the other. However, with her family and friends talking about her in past tense, it was forcing him to fight back a scream. They were making it real, he didn't want it to be real. Then Harriet had gotten up again. His eyes had met hers, and he'd known what she had been about to do. He couldn't speak. She had known he couldn't, but she'd had other plans. She had known he would regret it if he didn't do it for Mac.

Harriet had begun to speak, her eyes never leaving his. "Just before Mac left, her and her partner...her best friend...were visiting with us and our son...their godson. We were all listening to music, when a beautiful song came on..."

At this point, Harriet had had tears running down her face again, but she had continued on bravely for her friends sake. "Mac only half-jokingly asked Harm if he'd sing it at her funeral. Some of you probably know, she's been known for her, uh, psychic abilities, for seeing things. Maybe she knew something we didn't. Maybe she just had a hunch. Maybe she just wanted to know she was loved. After today, looking down on us, I know she knows just how much she was," Harriet had taken a shaky breath and once again continued.

"Anyway, Harm wasn't too impressed at the thought of...this, but I think nothing he could say...or in this case, I don't think can bring himself to say, can convey their friendship better than this song. Harm, I brought your guitar with me...please, sing that song...for Sarah."

Harm had looked at her, and she had caught a flash of pain, before the shutters snapped closed again. Then he'd stood, knowing he had to do this for his Sarah. It would be one of the last things he would do. /I can't go on without her.../ he'd thought.

As he sat down on an offered stool, he'd spoken up, his words were sincere, but his voice was lifeless, defeated.

"Mac and I weren't lovers but...we were partners, best friends..." He'd shaken his head sadly. "She was the most important person in the world to me. She always will be." Sighing he had picked up the guitar and begun to play, his smooth voice telling the story of their friendship.



I miss the look of surrender in your eyes

The way your soft brown hair would fall

I miss the power of your kiss, your look of love

But baby most of all

I miss my friend



The one my heart and soul confided in

The one I felt the safest with

The one who knew just what to say to make me laugh again

And let the light back in

I miss my friend

I miss the colors that you brought into my life

Your golden smile, those big brown eyes

I miss your gentle voice in lonely times like now

Saying it'll be alright

I miss my friend



The one my heart and soul confided in

The one I felt the safest with

The one who knew just what to say to make me laugh again

And let the light back in

I miss my friend

I miss those times

I miss those nights

I even miss our silly fights

The making up

The morning talks

And those late afternoon walks

I miss my friend



By this time, there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd. Even Admiral Boone and the SecNav were misty eyed. The entire JAG crew were openly crying, even the Admiral. This was just too much. Mac had a special place in all their hearts, and so did Harm. Seeing him so obviously broken, hurt all the more.



The one my heart and soul confided in

The one I felt the safest with

The one who knew just what to say to make me laugh again

And let the light back in

I miss my friend

I miss my friend

I miss my friend



Harm had trailed off, eyes dry, but filled with so much pain it broke the hearts of everyone present. Kaitlyn Pike and Meg Austin had shared a teary eyed look. They both knew how tough the ex-naval aviator was. No one, nor nothing, had ever caused him this much pain. Even the loss of his father.



Now they all stood here at Arlington Cemetery, the guns firing in honor of a fallen officer. Harm flinched slightly at each shot, but stood tall and proud for his Sarah, his arm raised in salute to a lost comrade. That was easier to deal with than a lost love.

Harm was startled to be approached by an officer holding the folded American flag from Mac's casket. Her Uncle Matt, by all rights should receive it.

As the empty casket (that was meant to offer closure as they had no body to bury) began to lower, sobs grew louder, and a teary eyed Matthew O'Hara explained the flag to Harm. "She loved you with all her heart, Son. She would want you to have it."

That was it. The preverbial straw that broke the camels back.

Harm broke down, sinking to his knees, and the long held back tears came. The admiral's heart broke for the thousandth time since he'd seen that damn news report. Tears slipped down his cheeks and he knelt beside the younger man, wrapping an arm around him, not bothering to speak. Nothing he could say could take the younger man's pain away.

All around them, Jason, Victor, Bud, Matthew, Sturgis...they all had tears of their own making slow tracks down their faces. Harriet and Chloe were sobbing uncontrollably. The crowd of people around them weeped at the sight, as the proud Navy Commander fell apart before them. A human being could only take so much loss and pain in their life. Harmon Rabb Junior had finally reached his limit.

As the casket came to rest, the crowd slowly began to disperse, leaving Matt, Chloe, Tiner, Bud, Harriet, little AJ, the Admiral, Victor and Sturgis alone. From a cluster of trees nearby, Clay appeared. He'd been at the back of the church during the service, and had stood back by the trees here, the whole time.

Harm was still crouched down, AJ's arm around him. When Clay approached, AJ met his eyes, and stood up, backing off to allow him to give his condolences. He knew the man cared for both Harm and Mac. He'd never doubted that the spy would be at the funeral...somewhere.

Clay, though trying to remain in control, was unable to hide his own pain and sympathy. He cared too much, dammit. "I'm sorry Harm... I've helped you before finding your family. I wish I could bring Sarah back too. I'd take her place if I could...I think every person here would in a heartbeat."

Harm was quiet for a moment, the tears still falling. When he replied, his voice was hoarse with emotion. "I can't do it Clay. I can't."

"Do what, Harm?" Clay returned, gently.

"Go on. It hurt when I lost my father, when I lost Diane...but I've never loved anyone the way I love Mac. She's my other half, dammit...I just can't..."

Clay didn't know what to say. So, he said nothing, just sat there crouched with one of the few people he could truly call a friend, offering what little comfort he could. He owed them both that much.

Meanwhile, the JAG crew had retreated back with the other mourners, leaving Harm and Clay alone. AJ had a feeling that Clay was their last hope at being able to get Harm to talk. Strangely, Harm and Mac had always had a sense of trust with the CIA agent. Maybe because he was all about secrets...he would keep theirs. Whatever it was, maybe now that trust could be put to good use.

AJ was broken out of his thoughts as the SecNav approached. "I'm sorry AJ. She was one hell of an office and lawyer, and uh, I know you were fond of her."

"We all were," AJ answered quietly.

"Is Rabb going to be okay?" the SecNav continued.

"None of us are going to be okay, Sir. But we'll go on. I only hope Harm can."

"Why do you say that?" came his reply.

Just then Keeter approached, along with Meredith and Bobbi, Farrow, Boone, Pike, Austin, Skates, Harm's parents and grandmother, as well as a few others.

AJ ignored them all, addressing the SecNav. "Were we seeing the same broken man out there? Not only has that young man had one to many heartaches in his young life, with the loss of loved ones, his chosen career, his dream, but now he's had the biggest loss of all. His soul. Dammit, Mr. Secretary, anyone who knows those two, knows they were soulmates. Whether you believe in that or not, she was a part of him. A huge part of him. His other half. Can you live with only have your heart, Sir?"

The SecNav remained quiet. He wasn't the unfeeling bastard some thought he was, and he knew AJ knew that. So, he let it go. The ex-SEAL was just frustrated, and upset. Everyone remained quiet, but they all nodded in agreement with AJ's assessment. Would Harm be able to survive this one?

Trish Burnett began sobbing once again, not just for her son's best friend, but for her son too. She didn't want to lose her, baby boy. /Oh Sarah, why did he have to lose you, of all people? Why you?/

******************

The Next Day...

Friday August 29th, 2003

2114 ZULU

DULLES AIRPORT

DULLES, WASHINGTON, D.C



Mac yawned. She'd had an early flight and a long trip. As she purchased a lemonade from a beverage stand, she decided she wouldn't bother calling her friends for a lift. Harriet had planned to pick her up last week, but due to the early hour, she hadn't wanted to call before she left Dublin to inform them of her flight and arrival time. Besides, they probably had plans, or work was busy. All the more reason to head straight there. She'd go out and hail a taxi to take her to JAG HQ. She could report to the admiral and apologize personally for the delay in her return. Also, she hoped to make up for it some, by starting to catch up with paperwork.

As she paid the lady at the vender, the woman seemed to be studying her closely. Mac raised her eyebrows at the woman. "Yes?"

The woman looked startled, speaking hesitantly. "I'm sorry, but you look familiar. I think I saw you on the news the other day...I can't remember what it was about..."

Mac frowned. "You must be mistaken. I've been in Ireland for the past two weeks."

At this the woman both brightened and paled at the same time. "That's it!" she cried. That's where I've seen you from. You were...you're supposed to be dead."

Mac looked appalled. "Excuse me?"

"I'm sorry. Aren't you a Lt. Colonel....oh what was it...Sally Mac-"

"Sarah MacKenzie."

"That's it. It is you! You-you were. I saw clips of your funeral, on the news. You were supposed to have been killed last week on that flight from Ireland, that crashed into the Atlantic."

"What?" Mac was getting a sick feeling in her stomach.

"Yes. I remember now. They showed the guns firing, and the flag being handed to this handsome Naval Commander. This real tough guy. An ex- pilot, turned JAG lawyer, they said. Your partner, I think was the comment. And then he just broke down. Fell to his knees and started crying. It was so sa-"

Mac didn't hear anymore. She was bolting away from the stand and racing across the airport.

Clayton Webb slipped through the crowd, followed closely by two fellow CIA agents, heading towards their terminal. He blinked when his grief struck mind caught a glimpse of dark brown hair, and dark tanned skin. He shook his head. He knew he cared deeply about Mac, but seeing her was just a little too crazy, even for him. As there was another break in the crowd of travelers, he caught the same glimpse, this time paler skinned and running towards the airport entrance.

His jaw almost dropped upon clearly seeing her face. /Oh my god!/ His mind screamed.

It *was* Mac.

Webb was off like a shot, racing after her. "MAC!" he hollered, dodging an old man in his wheel chair. "MAC! STOP!" His colleagues shared a confused look, then slowly began jogging after their clearly losing it superior.

Mac heard someone calling her. At first, she didn't care. She needed to get to JAG, to her friends. But wait, she knew that voice. It was the voice of a friend. She practically skidded to a stop, and whirled around. It was.

"CLAY!" she shouted back, her voice almost fearful. The look on his face confirmed. It was true. She was supposed to be dead. Her original flight had crashed, and everyone believed she was dead. /But Singer was supposed to.../ Mac's thoughts began. She screamed inwardly. /That bitch!/

She pushed the thoughts away. Clay was in front of her and she quickly found herself enveloped in a hug. "Geez, Mac. It is you. We all thought- "

"That I was dead. I just heard. Oh my god, Clay. I had no idea."

He pulled away, hands still clasping her shoulders. They both ignored his colleagues as they came up behind him. Clay looked her over, concern evident on his handsome face. "What happened Mac, where were you? Why weren't you on your flight? They got the ticket. Both AJ and I checked. We even stooped to trying your cell phone, we wanted to beleive so much that you'd missed the flight, but it was out of service. That left us, well, no other reason to beleive you were alive. We hadn't heard from you..."

Mac shook her head, a hand covering her mouth. Finally she found her voice. "Damnit. I didn't technically miss my flight, I gave it to this old lady, who needed to get home. I called JAG, talked to Lt. Singer. I told her to tell the admiral I'd missed my flight. Didn't she tell him? That little- DAMNIT!"

With a shaky, frustrated sigh, she continued. "Anyway, my cell was stolen at the airport and where I was staying, it was like an hour away from any technology. They only went into town every Friday morning. None of us heard about the crash..." she trailed off, and then looked at Clay fearfully. "That woman said she saw clips of my funeral. There was a funeral? The entire nation thinks I'm dead?"

Clay managed a weak smile. "Well, whatever parts of the nation that were watching, Mac."

"Oh my god," she gasped, paling. Clay's hold tightened on her, and he pulled her back into a hug.

"We've got to get you to JAG. We've got to get you to Harm," he said matter of factly. "Your partner is not dealing very well...he's not dealing at all."

Mac looked at him questioningly.

He shook his head. He couldn't even begin to explain Harm's emotional state to her.

"Come on, let's go."

*********************

2207 ZULU

JAG HEADQUARTER'S

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA



Inside...

JAG was a quiet, sober place. There was none of the usual chit-chat. None of the light hearted laughter. None of the all too familiar banter between the two senior attorneys. Both were absent. One would never be back...



Outside...

Webb's car skidded into a parking space next to AJ's truck. Mac was out before it came to a complete stop, and was racing toward the front doors. Clay was right behind her. As they approached the doors they opened, and two surprised corporals looked up. The surprise turned to shock as they immediately recognised their "deceased" superior.

"Ma'am! Is it...but you...I mean," one of them began.

"Yes, it's me Corporal. I-"

Before she could finish, both corporal's immediately looked accusingly at the CIA agent beside her. He rolled his eyes. "I had nothing to do with it gentlemen. Now if you'll excuse us, the colonel has some people to see and I have a broken nose to avoid."

"I'll explain later," Mac assured the young men, as her and Clay once again made their way inside. They came across no one else the rest of the way, the elevator being empty.

As the two rushed into the bullpen, a somber Harriet looked up from her paperwork. She gasped. A young ensign beside her screamed. All activity in the bullpen stopped, and then frantic shouting and yelling ensued. Mac and Clay froze. Everyone was looking at her. They heard shouts of, "Oh my gods," "Hows?" "Is this some sick joke?"

Both tried to speak over the frantic yelling, but no one would quiet down. Finally, going into full Marine mode, Mac hollered over the din.

"ATTENTION!" Everyone went silent.

"Mac?" AJ, at Tiner's urging, and the sudden noise in the bullpen had emerged from his office. He quickly turned as pale as the rest of the office.

Mac looked the admiral in the eyes. "Yes, Sir..." she replied, her tone quiet, reassuring.

"Oh my god. But...you're...you're...," he couldn't finish. His gaze suddenly switched to the agent by her side, who frowned.

Just then, Harm arrived. He had been forced into taking leave, but it didn't matter, he had come to hand in his resignation. He came in behind Webb and Mac, but he recognized her instantly. All color drained from his face. Was this some sort of sick joke? No one noticed him. They were all too focused on their not-so-dead Marine friend and comrade.

"I know, Sir. Well, I know that you think I was. Though I only found out about an hour ago. And before you try and kill Clay, he had nothing to do with it. I just got in from the airport, and heard from this lady that I was thought to be...well, you know... Then Clay saw me and came after me, and drove me straight here. Singer was supposed to tell you I missed my flight last week. I had to postpone till today."

Bud, fighting back tears of happiness, stepped forward. "Lauren never told us. We finally got around to letting her know about the crash about two days before, your um...funeral."

Mac quickly joined the rest of her colleagues in pallor, as the blood drained from her face. Whenever she heard that, it made her physically ill.

Bud winced, but continued. "She didn't know you were, or that we thought you were dead the day of the crash, because uh, she was called to a carrier that day... Anyway, she still never said anything when we called her, but maybe she thought she had told us, and that we meant your rescheduled flight or something...." he was rambling, but everyone was too shocked to care. Finally, he breathed out. "Oh, Ma'am you broke a lot of hearts. We thought you were gone. We thought we'd lost you." Tears slipped down the young man's cheeks, while Harriet openly cried. They were happy tears. Her friend wasn't dead.

Harm's own eyes filled with tears, but he fought them back and strode toward her. She turned at the sound of feet, and found herself pulled into his arms, into a crushing hug. She hugged him back and looking around at the pale, teary-eyed people around her, she bit her lip, suddenly feeling terrible.

Wrapping her arms around Harm's neck, she spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear.

"I am so sorry. I didn't...I didn't know. There was no power, no cable, not even a radio where I was. They didn't even get the paper. I didn't know, I'm sorry. I would've found a way to call if I'd known. I would have ridden five hours to get into the nearest town."

She squeezed her eyes shut, hugging Harm tighter upon feeling him shaking lightly, his face buried in her neck, a few tears making the skin there moist. "I'm so sorry," she whispered just to him.

Behind her, AJ cleared his throat, telling everyone to get back to work. "Tiner, Lieutenant Roberts...Simms, Webb, Commander Turner, Gunny, Colonel, Rabb, in my office, now."

Finally, Harm released her. She got a good look at him then. He only had light stubble, as he had shaved the morning before for her funeral, but his face was pale and there were dark circles under his red eyes. He looked terrible, but still managed to be the most handsome man she'd ever seen.

As they walked toward the admiral's office, people came up to say they were glad to see her, alive and unharmed. Some gave her a handshake, some even forgot protocol and hugged her. All of them were shocked, but visibly relieved. Mac was touched, but she felt terrible to have put her friends through any pain. She had never really thought she was that important to many people. Apparently she was wrong.

As Mac closed the door behind them, she turned to have Harriet rush into her arms. Mac herself started crying as Harriet sobbed into her shoulder. She hated causing the people she loved so much pain.

"I'm so sorry," she cried softly.

Blinking teary eyes, AJ spoke gently. "It's not your fault, Mac. We're just glad you're not...gone. You're a very special lady, who many people missed. People we need to call, but first, come here."

Harriet released her and AJ gathered her in his arms.

"You scared the hell out of us, Colonel. And don't you dare apologize for it," he added, before she could once again say she was sorry.

"Yes, sir," she replied, hugging him back.

Pulling away to allow the others to hug her, AJ made his way to his desk. He had quite a few calls to make, quite a few people to reem out. Singer included.

Meanwhile, a misty eyed Tiner, unabashedly embraced Mac. "You certainly cause a lot of tears, Ma'am."

Sturgis was next, hugging her close, and kissing her forehead. "Yes, never doubt you're loved by a lot of people."

Victor smiled, eyes showing affection for his fellow Marine. "We know one Marine can handle these people, but it's so much more fun with the two of us Ma'am." Mac gave watery laugh with the rest, hugging Victor close.

"Better believe it," she agreed.

Bud, after wiping at his eyes, pulled Mac close. Mac kissed his cheek, before giving him a tight squeeze.

"And I thought I was missing you guys, knowing I wouldn't see you for another week," she said softly.

There was small laughs, then AJ spoke up again. "Mac, I want you to take your partner home. He's had a rough week. I don't want to see either of you till Monday morning...actually no, scratch that. We almost thought we'd never see you again. Barbaque, all of you, my house, tomorrow. Agreed? Mac, don't worry about a thing. Tiner, Harriet, Gunny and I will make some calls and let people now what happened. We'll notify the airline, and the police. Get that death certificate shredded, and so on. Don't worry about anything except dealing with calls from an ecstatic Uncle and little sister."

Mac paled. "Oh my god! Uncle Matt, Chloe, are they okay?"

"No, but they will be. Go home, Colonel. That's an order."

"Aye sir."

"Oh Mac, by the way, why did you miss your flight, and on a side note, Singer is in deep for not informing me of your call. She could have saved us a lot of heartache if she'd been more responsible."

Mac looked even more apologetic than before. "Oh, I didn't really miss it, Sir. I traded tickets with this sweet old- oh god, Jessica."

"Who?"

Mac guilt escalated as it finally clicked in that the older woman who had taken her place, was dead... "The woman I gave my ticket to. Oh my god! I just realized... I was so worried about you guys..."

Understanding instantly, AJ stood, and approached her, taking her hand. "Mac, don't blame yourself. You never could have known. If you'd known, you would never have traded places, and we'd all still be grieving."

"Or I never would have gotten on the plane in the first place," she returned, with a weak smile.

AJ smiled. "Or that. Mac you can't change what happened, and we all know you'd give up your life for another without a second thought."

Mac just nodded, wordlessly. As she turned to leave, taking the arm of the eerily silent Rabb, she turned back. "Sir, could you please find out who she was. I know her name was Jessica Landsbury. She was going to her grandson's wedding in Maryland, I think she lived there too...somewhere. If you just find a number, or an address, I feel I should contact her family."

"I'll have Tiner get on it right away. Go home. Drive safely, PLEASE!"

"Yes sir... Clay?"

The CIA agent turned to look at her.

"Thank you," she said with a fond look in her eyes. She doubted she would have made it to JAG in one peice after hearing about her supposed death.

"You're welcome, Mac. I'll, uh, come by tomorrow and check on you two. To uh, you know..." Webb replied, a little uneasy at his obvious care and concern.

"I know," Mac returned with an understanding smile, which he returned.

With one last look at her family, she headed out, her partner in tow.

*****************

2359 ZULU

MAC'S APARTMENT

GEORGETOWN, VIRGINIA



Harm was silent the entire ride to her house, but his hand clasped hers tightly. He was afraid if he let go, she would disappear, and this would all be a dream.

As they entered her dark apartment, Harm, hand still holding hers, set her bags by the door, shutting it quietly. Mac finally turned to him fully, eyes questioning.

"Now Sailor, are you okay? Do you want to talk about it? I'm so sor-"

"Don't start that, Mac. I'm okay now that you're here. And there's not much to talk about. I thought you were dead. My world entire world was turned upside down. I don't wanna think, or talk. I wanna finally get some sleep, with you safe in my arms. Come on."

Wide eyed, Mac followed him to her bedroom. What did he have planned?

As they entered her room, he smiled at her almost innocent, child like look. "It's not what you think, Marine. I just wanna hold you. I'm almost afraid if I let you go, you'll vanish on me."

Mac then noticed that Harm hadn't once let her go since they left JAG. His hand was always either in hers, resting on her hip or on the small of her back. She realized then, she didn't want him to let go either.

With a silent nod, she climbed into bed after him, settling with her back against his chest. She heard him sigh, in what was a mix between relief and contentment, as he wrapped his strong arms around her. She didn't think either of them could sleep, but within moments of being spooned together, feeling like they were finally where they should be, they both fell into a deep dreamless sleep.

********************

The Next Morning...

Saturday August 30th, 2003

1236 ZULU

MAC'S APARTMENT

GEORGETOWN, VIRGINIA



Harm woke first. He opened his eyes to a precious sight. His Sarah, sleeping peacefully. Alive, safe and in his arms. He smiled tenderly, leaning down to brush a soft kiss against her forehead. Pulling back, he looked to see Mac's eyes fluttering open. Seeing him watching her, she smiled shyly.

"Hey," she said softly.

"Hey," he returned, brushing a stray lock of hair from her chocolate brown eyes.

They stared at each other a moment longer, before Harm leaned over, kissing her again, this time on the lips. Mac froze at first, then slowly, at the urging of Harm's tongue, opened her mouth to him.

His tongue slid in against hers, dueling gently, but with passion. She groaned softly at the sensations this simple act caused her. Harm himself was tempted to get carried away, to lose himself in her, but there was something she needed to know first. Something he had to tell her. He refused to put it off any longer. It was something he'd continue to tell her til the day they both died. ...If she let him.

When her hands lifted to cup his face, and slide around behind his head, he gently took them in his own. Pulling away, he carefully pinned them down, shaking his head. Instantly getting the wrong idea, hurt flashed across Mac's face, and she moved to slide away from him. Immediately understanding what she was thinking, Harm swung his leg over her, resting his arms on either side of her head, his body pinning her down into the soft mattress. She was trapped. Now she had no choice but to listen.

"Don't even think about it Marine. It's not what you think, I'm not backing away. I want to talk."

Mac smiled weakly, slightly distracted by the feel of him pressed against her. "Isn't that usual the cause of our problems?"

"Not this time, Sarah."

She shivered. She loved the way he said her given name. He had her full attention now.

"Sarah, when I heard that you were...or that is, that you were supposed to be dead. I felt my whole existence shattering into a million pieces. My heart and soul felt like they'd been ripped away, because you had..." he sighed at the painful memmory, but looking her in eyes, he continued. "I want you to know two things. One, I knew...I guess I've known for a while, but I was never more sure until that day. The other, I'd always wondered and am now certain of. The first thing, I want you to know.... I love you. A part of me always has, the whole of me always will."

Mac's eyes got wide, but he pressed a gentle finger to her lips. He wasn't finished yet.

"The second thing...I wondered over the years, in times when I was so close to losing you. That day, when I did, or thought I did, I realized...I was certain that...I can't live without you, Sarah. I can't. I "died" along with you. No kidding around, Marine...Butch and Sundance. I go, you go. I can't go through life without you. I swear, you're the reason I exist."

Mac had tears in her eyes, a few slipped down, which Harm gently brushed away.

She searched his eyes, looking for any sign that this was just nerves talking. Just fear. But the love in his eyes was so strong, the honesty. He'd never lied to her before.

Smiling weakly, she said the only thing she could think to say.

"I love you too. I never want to live without you either."

Relief flooded his features. She loved him too. That was it then. That was all he needed to know. This may be sudden, but it was right.

"Marry me, Sarah."

Mac was only partly shocked. However, she too knew it was right. They didn't know if they had time to take things slow.

/Live in the moment. That may be all you have,/ she recalled. Eddie had told her that...not long before he was killed.

Harm didn't see any uncertainty in her eyes, only wonder. Then, the most precious words he'd ever heard next to 'I love you too,' came from her lips.

"Yes, Harm. I'll marry you."



The End



BE SURE TO READ AUTHOR'S NOTE AT BEGINNING BEFORE REVIEWING, AS WELL AS BELOW! THANK YOU!

P.S. I know what you may be thinking... "wouldn't they check the woman's and Mac's passport?" I don't know for sure, but when I travelled over seas, they only checked my passport on the way to Spain, not on the way back. I had a return flight ticket as well.

Also, look for things to be explained in the sequel..whenever I get that written. Things like, what happened with Lauren? What about the old woman's family? Did Uncle Matt try to inform his cousins in Ireland about Mac's "death"? Plus, was there a Mr. Landsbury? And will Harm and Mac go through with marriage?

NOTE: I know what it's like to lose a best friend, so the one thing I REALLY don't want to hear in reviews, is that there was too much emotion in this. I know they're military, but they're still human. I'm the least likely to cry about anything of all my friends, but the day she died, I fell apart. I think Harm and the others would too. You won't understand unless you've gone through it. My heart goes out to anyone who's been there. I'm sorry for drudging up any painful memories, but I needed to do this for me too. It'll be three years this December, and I still have trouble believing she's gone.