Title: Wanna Practice?
Spoilers & Summary: through the last episode before the series finale.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Wish they were. No copyright infringement intended.
North of Union Station
Harm moves through his apartment picking up a scattered magazine and generally straightens his already immaculate quarters when a knock sounds against his front door. Pulling it open without asking who it is, the tall sailor stands aside to allow Sarah MacKenzie to enter. "Right on time, as usual," he flashes his trademark grin.
Thrusting a pizza box at him, Mac commands, "Don't just stand there. Help me."
Taking the box from her hands, Harm directs her toward the kitchen area, "There's bottled water and tonic in the 'fridge. I even bought you a fresh lime."
"I'm impressed. The royal treatment."
"We're celebrating!" Harm explains.
"I'm so glad Matttie pulled through. I'm sure she'll be out of rehab before you know it." Mac assures him as she walks into the kitchen.
"She's still got a long way to go," Harm reminds her as he sets the box down on the table already arranged with plates, napkins and spices.
Grabbing a bottle of water and some tonic from the refrigerator and setting them on the counter, Mac rummages in a cabinet for a glass and then asks, "Where'd you put the cutting board?"
"Here, let me," Harm boxes her in, reaches around and opens a draw to extract the cutting board.
"Thanks," Mac responds lowering her voice due his proximity. His clean, fresh smell is intoxicating.
They stand closely together savoring the other's nearness for a fraction longer than necessary until Mac moves back toward the refrigerator. "Lime" she says simply pulling one off the molded egg station.
Rather than walking back to the table, Harm hops up on the counter to watch Mac slice her lime.
"Actually, we have two things to celebrate," Harm offers.
Not taking her eyes from the sharp knife slicing through the small fruit, Mac urges him to continue, "Two things. Do tell. . ."
"Well, " Harm begins with an uncharacteristic hesitancy in his voice.
Concerned, Mac finishes slicing the lime, squeezes a wedge into her tonic water and joins him on the counter. "Tell me."
"General Cresswell called me about an hour ago. He didn't think with Mattie being moved to rehab and all I'd be able to make it but . . . "
"But what, spit it out already," Mac urges, her excitement and nervousness growing.
"I'm being transferred."
It's like cold water is thrown in Mac's face; she pales visibly. "Transferred," she repeats numbly.
Reaching out to take her hand, Harm reassured her, "Not out of Washington, just to the Inspector General's Office and I'm getting promoted to Captain."
Mac exhales audibly and beams at her friend. "Congratulations! With every thing you've been through this is well deserved. I'm so happy for you, Harm!"
Grinning he teases, "You know I outrank you now, right?"
"Not until it's official you don't" she retorts saucily.
"I do have one problem, though," Harm adds seriously.
"What?" Mac asks releasing his hand and breaking their connection.
"I don't have anybody to pin my bars on."
"What about your mother?"
"I can't ask her to fly all the way across the country for a five minute thing," Harm dismisses that suggestion.
"It's not a 'five minute thing'. It's your career. Your life," Mac protests.
Moving almost imperceptibly closer to her Harm reveals, "I was hoping somebody a little closer wanted the job."
"Do you think they will let you have the ceremony at the rehab hospital? Mattie's not going to be well enough to come to JAG yet, is she?" Mac asks not following Harm's implication.
Rather than replying verbally, Harm cocks his head and lifts an eye brow at her. The corners of his mouth crinkle slightly as his struggles to suppress a grin. When Mac still doesn't understand he finally says, "No Mattie will not be well enough to pin on my Captain's bars." There's still an unspoken question written all over his face.
Mac pauses for a second before offering, "I . . . I could do it, if you want."
Nodding, Harm affirms, "I'd like that, Sarah."
Turning her head towards his, Mac gazes into his eyes trying to understand what she's reading there.
"You know, if you are going to do this, you have to do the whole thing," Harm states.
Now it's her turn to raise her eyebrows at him. "It's not like we haven't been through promotion and medal ceremonies together before Harm."
Harm continues, "No, for real this time, Sarah."
"I'll pin your bars on and kiss you. Just like all the other times. What's the problem?" Mac decides she's going to make him say it.
Lowering his voice and tilting his head toward her, Harm clarifies, "Not like all the other times when you kissed me on the cheek. I want this to be for real."
Mac heart is racing and she struggles to maintain her composure. "Are you saying what I think you're saying Harm?"
"A real kiss, Sarah."
"In front of the General and everybody?" Mac wants him to repeat it again. Unconsciously she licks her lips.
"Yes," Harm reaffirms.
They both hesitate. They have been moving towards one another, lips apart, ready, waiting, needing to connect but they stop millimeters apart as if time itself stopped before that last chasm is bridged.
"It's a big step," Mac babbles breaking the spell.
"It is," Harm concurs. "Maybe we should practice," he teases before closing the gap and pressing his lips softly to hers.
Shifting her body and turning more toward Harm, Mac snakes her arm around his neck, caressing his broad shoulders as the kiss deepens. Harm supports her back with his arm, reveling in the softness of her purple sweater.
When they break apart both are grinning broadly. "No, we don't need practice. We're pretty good already, Harm."
"That's where you're wrong Colonel. We need to do this over and over and over again."
Still grinning, Mac agrees, "Practice does make perfect."