Any and all file content is done for laughs and is not meant to be realistic at all.

I don't own JAG, but if I did I would have had Mac get pregnant by Harm in Season 8, as they had been secretly married for 6 months.

The All Nighter


Rated Mild

Harm loosened his tie, rolled the cuffs of his dress shirt, and plopped down on his couch. Taking a deep breath he eyed the mile-high stack of folders on his coffee table, mentally preparing for a night of tedium. He glanced over at his temporary companion. "I'm sorry I don't have more in the way of entertainment here. My life is pretty much about work."

Terrance Minnerly frowned. "Just about work?"

Work. And trying not to think about the one that got away. "Yeah, pathetic isn't it."

Minnerly shrugged. "Nah, just short sighted. Work is in the now, but it doesn't last forever."

He snorted. "Tell me about it. Anyway," he gestured aimlessly around the room. "I have books. Magazines. You know..."

"I'll make due Commander."

Harm gave him a small grateful smile and turned back to the files. He'd scarcely gotten through the first page when a familiar tingle had him looking toward the door. The knock came a second later.

He wanted to ignore her. Didn't want to get into how his heart hammered, his palms sweat, when she was around. Didn't want to deal with any of it on top of the menial mundane tasks he was obligated to spend his whole night completing. He neglected to clue his mouth in to the turmoil in his mind, and before he knew it he heard his own voice calling, "It's open!"

He heard her struggling to balance whatever was in her hands, even as her smiling face peeked in through the door. "Hey," she said, and walked in holding a bag in one hand and carrier full of what could only be described as three enormous cauldrons that had the name Starbucks printed in silver on the sides, in the other.

For a moment amusement outweighed discomfort as he watched her sidle in, stop, steady, and maneuver around to the kitchen without losing her grip on the kegs of caffeine she'd hauled in. She was nearly to the counter when she stumbled, only then did he see that she was wearing her slippers. *The* slippers. He remembered like it'd been yesterday, buying them for her when they'd done their first all nighter together. He'd meant them as a joke, but she'd received them so well, he never followed through. Now she was wearing them again. After everything...Something inside him defrosted. He just couldn't help it. She'd worn the damn slippers.

Quickly he stepped to her, taking the bag from her hand, allowing her to use it to steady the barrels of hot liquid she was still holding.

She huffed out a breath when they were sitting safely on the counter. Harm set the bag beside them and let out a low whistle. "What'd you hijack a coffee tanker?"

"Yes I did. I'm here to beg sanctuary before they catch me and lock me up."

He couldn't help but laugh.

She shrugged. "We have a lot to do, I figured we'd need it."

He raised an eyebrow. "We?"

"You came to me and said you were overwhelmed, remember? I thought I could lend a hand."

Folded his arms over his chest. "I thought you weren't allowed to help me."

A glint came to her eye, "I won't tell if you won't."

Before Harm could respond his guest stepped up. "You didn't tell me you had a lady Commander. And a good looking woman at that." He offered his hand. "Terrance Minnerly."

Mac gave him her best grin. "Sarah Mackenzie. It's a pleasure to meet you." She turned to the contents on the counter and pulled a smaller carrier with only slightly smaller cups resting on it, from the bag. "We have three coffees, three hot chocolates, and various assorted pastries." Harm recognized her standard offerings when faced with an all nighter. "Would you like something Mr. Minnerly?" She lifted a particularly moist looking cheese cake filled croissant from the bag. "They're fresh."

His eyes glowed as he took it from her outstretched hand. "You're an angel." He turned to Harm. "She's smart too. How is it you're not married to this creature?"

The question gave both of them pause, but Mac recovered quicker. "It's as complicated as this," she paused her eyes settling on Harm, "he never asked," she said lightly.

Dumbstruck Harm stared at her. Her face showed genuine sadness with a glaze of very real amusement. She looked away before he could come up with any semblance of a coherent retort, picked out a coffee and handed it to him. "This one's for you," she said softly.

He studied her, didn't know what to say. Somewhere in his mind her registered himself giving her a quiet "Thank you."

She rubbed her hands together. Preparing. "So, how far have you gotten?"

"I've barely cracked the first file. Off to a slow start."

"I'm afraid that's my fault," Minnerly said. "I've been taking up the Commander's time."

Harm waved a hand. "Don't worry about it. I'm glad you're here, gave me someone to talk to."

Minnerly nodded in acknowledgement, chose a few magazines from the end table and, claiming exhaustion, excused himself to the other room.

Mac watched him go, then turned to Harm. "I'm glad he's here with you."

Harm tucked his lips. "Yeah, I just couldn't leave him to the dogs."

"No you couldn't." She looked him in the eye, noted the green, the gray, looked brighter than usual. "You're a good man Harm."

"So are you. I mean uh... you're not a man but you're...good." He stopped while he was behind. The sincerity in her voice touched something deep inside him. Something he wasn't quite ready to let out of it's cage. He dropped his gaze almost shyly, gestured toward the mountain of files. "I uh...was working on this one when you showed up."

She dropped down on the floor next to the coffee table, criss crossed her legs, and grabbed the next file down. "I'll take this one then."

He gave her a small smile. "Thanks Mac."

She reached out, just enough to lightly touch his wrist. "Anytime."

Something changed, every so briefly, in his eyes. Something warm and green, and not all together safe. She fought to keep it light.

"Okay, so what do we have here?" She took a swig of her coffee, balanced the enormous mug on her knee in a way that both baffled and impressed Harm, and opened the file.

He watched as she read the first page and noted with amusement the incredulity that slid onto her face. He liked seeing it there. Liked seeing that crinkle she got above her nose when her mind what screaming 'what the Hell?!' He was still sorting out her actual presence in his living room. Couldn't iron out all the kinks in his mind, but there she was, and that, like everything else was just the way things were. He might as well roll with it. He smiled to himself. It almost felt...normal to be with her, work with her like that, again. He opened his file again, and shook his head. "Yeah, they really have me doing some important work here Mac." He picked up a Danish, took half of it in a single bite. Without looking up from her file, Mac picked up a napkin and handed it to him. "Thanks," he said, and almost forgot how to swallow as her fingers brushed his hand.

Mac shifted, pretended to be unfazed. "What have you got there? It can't be any worse than this one."

Harm sat up tall, crinkled his brow into a 'regal' frown, his voice dropping to an 'official' sounding tone. "The case of the money and the Muffy."

Mac gasped, sputtered in an attempt to keep her coffee from flying from her lips. "Excuse me?"

Harm, barely able to keep his composure, regrouped maintaining his posture and tone. "Petty officer Lula Redlips - I kid you not, that's her name - is requesting that her will be revised, and everything she owns be left to her standard Poodle. Muffy Redlips." His mouth quivered, as he tried to hold in the laughter. "A picture of Muffy is..." Snicker "...enclosed."

Mac set her coffee to the side and leaned over to have a look. She couldn't hold back the laughter. "Harm, that dog is pink."

He grinned. "I know. She actually has a pink poodle. How did this person get accepted into the Navy?"

"Hey, she couldn't be rejected on the basis of her pink poodle anymore than I could be on account of these slippers." She leant back jutting her pink furry pig shaped footwear into the air.

"I love those slippers!" He said, reached out, squeezed the plastic nose and listened to it "oink" back at him.

"I know you do. I didn't forget you know. We can't have an all nighter without the all nighter slippers."

"And what if I tell your fellow Marines about your all nighter slippers, Colonel?"

She chucked her balled up napkin at him. "Then I'll just have to show them those Betty Boop Boxers your modeled for me last year."

"You wouldn't dare! I've got a reputation to protect!"

Her eyes flashed. "Oh but I would, Commander. Not only do I have the actual shorts in question, I have digital photos in my work and home computers with explicit instructions to distribute them to all the local media and dating services if anything should happen to me."

He laughed, watched her wink at him, and wondered where that woman had been for the better part of two years. He'd missed her. He'd missed being the man who brought out this side of her.

"Well then, Colonel. It looks like we've got to stay partners. We have too much dirt on each other."

"Yes." She said slowly. Held his eyes. "We've got to stay partners."

The silence that followed seemed to paint every word they'd said in glowing bold colors. When it became too much, Harm turned back to the task at hand.

"Well Mackenzie, I told you mine, now you tell me yours."

Mac gulped down a mouthful of coffee to moisten her mouth. Sat tall. Cleared her throat. "The case of Lenny and the Lawn mowing tattoo."

Harm laughed. "What the hell is a lawn mowing tattoo?"

"Apparently Seaman Lenny Liverworst..."

"That's not his name!"

She tipped the file, pointed to the name, let him read along. "Seaman Lenny Liverworst tied on a few too many at the local pub, and being not only a moron, but a betting man, excuse me – a betting BOY, lost his shirt and his dignity. When in lieu of payment of the debt it was agreed that he would get the tattoo of the debtee's choice." She paused, slowly turned over the enclosed photo. "There's a" Snicker. "...a uh, photo."

She held it up for Harm to see. His eyes grew big. "Oh my...!" The rest of his sentence was drowned in a guffaw. "Of all of the...Who came up with that?"

Mac set the picture back in the file, studied the shot of the young man's shaved head bearing the tattoo of a stubbly little cartoon man pushing a tooting lawn mower around his hair line as if the hair has been disposed of in that fashion. "I don't know who came up with it, but they get a ten for imagination."

Harm ran a hand through his hair. "Is this for real? This is what they give me?" His eyes met hers. His mouth quirked. "Of course you have a tattoo that you refuse to show me or tell me what it is. Am I now to assume that it might look something like this?"

Her brow creased in incredulity. "No way! I don't think I've ever been THAT drunk!"

"It is pretty bad! Although, I'm not sure it compares to leaving your life savings to a pink poodle."

Her eyes sparkled with challenge. "I don't know. I'm going to need a side by side comparison."

He picked up the picture of Muffy and set it beside the shot of the cartoon tattoo. Their eyes volleyed between the pictures, and each other. Back and forth until the laughter grew too large to contain, and they collapsed under the weight of it. They laughed until their sides hurt. Until they forgot how long it had been since happiness and cheer had surrounded them. It burst forth coating everything around them like a thick beautiful blanket of fresh snow. Covering their stresses, their worries, their pain, bitterness, scars. Leaving the air fresh and cool, their hearts protected and pure, and un-trodden upon.

It drew them together in a comfort and peace they hadn't known for far too long.

Harm was the first to recover. He retrieved the picture of Muffy the pink poodle heiress, and began the paperwork to complete Petty Officer Redlips' request.

Mac did the same. Conceding that the cases were both equally ridiculous. She kept her eyes on the file in front of her. Crossing T's, dotting I's. "You really want to see my tattoo?"

Every thought he had came to a screeching halt. Complete with the jolt of the brakes and the scent of burnt rubber. His pen clattered to the floor. He stilled, watching her for a moment. She was still staring at the file in front of her, but color had risen high in her cheeks.

She looked bashful, nervous, adorable.

"Yes," He said simply.

She nodded. Remained where she was. Just for one moment longer. Then slowly stood up. "I've shared too much with you, not to share this too."

He was touched. And because he was touched he struggled to remain casual. "Every now and then I catch you being nice to me."

She gave him a genuine smile. "Well there's more where that came from." He cocked his head to the side, clearly not expecting that reply. She fixed him with a look of pure honesty. "I mean it Harm. There's more where that came from, and I don't want you to forget it. Sometimes I'm an ass to you and there's more where that came from too I'm sure. I just hope that when we're old and gray, and everything we've ever said, done, been to each other is weighed that the nice outweighs the moments of pure JackAss."

She'd thrown him off his stride. So far off he wasn't sure which way was up. All he could see was her. "Same goes. You're not...not the only Jack Ass...But...Same goes."

She didn't need him to elaborate. Their connection was strong and fully intact. No interpreter needed. She gave him a nod of thanks, and moved to stand in front of him. "I know I don't have to tell you to keep this to yourself. There are only a few people who know where this is, and why I have it." Her eyes fixed on his. Held them in rapt attention. "Webb is not one of those people."

She said nothing more. The look of relief in his eyes warmed her to the bone. She spared a glance up to Harm's bedroom, and found Terrance Minnerly sound asleep. Satisfied that her privacy would be intact, she took Harm by the hand and pulled until he stood in front of her. Slowly she unzipped her USMC hooded sweatshirt, and unbuttoned the shirt beneath. She hesitated only briefly on the front clasp of her bra, before she opened it and revealed her right breast.

Moved by her trust in him, Harm focused on what she was truly revealing. On the right side of her breast was circular tattoo, with a rose and vines winding around it. He leaned in, studying it closely. Too focused to realize that if he'd licked his lips, his tongue would have skimmed her nipple. Upon further examination he realized that it was a coin. With a triangle design in the center. He read the words aloud. "To thine own self be true."

"It's the recovery coin for AA." She explained when she saw that he couldn't quite place it.

Recognition showed on his face. "It's for strength."


"And the rose winding around it?"

"The rose was added much later."

"What's that for?"

Her eyes swam. "For my weakness?"

He frown in confusion.

She took a deep shuddering breath. "I met you in a rose garden."

His eyes flew to hers. Looked deep. "I make you feel weak?"

"Oh yes. In the knees. In the heart. Scary. So damned scary sometimes."

He leant down. Ever so gently tracing the vines of the rose with the tip of his finger. Her skin quivered. Nipple puckered.

"Same goes," He whispered.

And she almost wept at the awe in his voice. The wind whirled around them in a mix of heat and healing and understanding and love. So much love. Love that had been circling so long that it was a sigh of relief when it finally knew where to land.

Slowly he lowered his head, and laid a barely there kiss over the tattoo. And she was weak again, in the knees, in the heart.

With a respect that bordered on reverence he reclasped her bra and covered her back up. And then she was in his arms. Somehow she knew, she'd never be anywhere else. Never again.

"We should get back to work," She said.

"Yes we should." He released her. Gave her a smile that she'd only seen a handful of times, and only for her.

Together they sat, choosing another cauldron of coffee from the carrier, and sorted through files that seemed to grow exponentially ridiculous. Neither of them noticed or cared.

Hours later Terrance Minnerly, found them in the light of the rising sun entwined together on the floor next to the table. He didn't wake them. Simply smiled, draped a blanket over their sleeping bodies, and stepped out to get some fresh air.

End of scene. Good? Bad? Liver Mousse? Let me know.