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Classification Romance (H/M)
Length Approximately 9,000 words; 32 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
Spoilers Everything, and nothing at all
Rating GS
Summary Summary: Little AJ asks Santa for a very special Christmas gift.

 

Part 1 Part 2

 

 

Part 1

Roberts Residence
Thursday November 27
Thanksgiving Day
3:34 PM

 

Mac hung up her cell phone. “Dammit.”

“What’s going on?” Harm asked as he stood behind her.

“That was the Admiral, I’m going to Iraq .They need a lawyer who is a Farsi speaker, to go in with some of the troops.” Mac told him.

“When do you leave?”

“The plane leaves Andrews in two hours. I need to go home and pack,” Mac said in an unhappy tone.

Harm took one of her hands into his. “At least you got to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Do you need a ride to Andrews?”

“No thanks. I’m being picked up,” Mac said as AJ Roberts walked into the room.

“Can we play now, Auntie Mac?” AJ tugged on her skirt.

Mac kneeled down. “I can’t, Honey. I’ve got to leave.”

“Why?”AJ innocently asked.

“Work.”

AJ looked at Harm. “Are you going, too?”

“No, AJ. Just Aunt Mac,” Harm told him.

“Oh.”AJ said, dejectedly.

Mac looked down at AJ and his sad little face pulled at her heart strings. She kneeled down in front of him. “But I’m sure Uncle Harm would want to play with you.”

Harm glanced down at Mac and AJ before quickly joining them. “Yeah, AJ. I’d be more than happy to play.”

AJ pleading looked at Mac. “But you promised, Aunt Mac.”

“I know, AJ. But Uncle AJ called and I need to go,” Mac gently told the boy.

AJ took a deep breath. “You’ll come home right?”

“Of course. Now hug me before I tell your parents I have to leave,” Mac kindly ordered AJ.

AJ quickly threw himself into Mac’s arms, so quickly in fact, Harm had to steady them. “I’ll miss you, Aunt Mac.”

“I’ll miss you too, AJ,” Mac whispered in his ear. “Now remember you need to be a good boy, so Santa will bring you your gifts.”

“I know.” AJ let go of Mac.

Mac and Harm stood up at the same time Bud and Harriet walked into the room. “Is everything okay?”   Harriet asked.

“Aunt Mac has to leave,” AJ reported.

“Was that Admiral Chegwidden?” Bud asked.

Mac shook her head. “I leave for Iraq in two hours. I actually need to get going now.”

Harriet walked over and gave her friend a hug. “You be safe out there.”

“I will, Harriet.” Mac said as Harriet pulled out of the hug. Mac turned to Bud who gave her a sheepish look. “I’ll be back, Bud. So try to keep Harm in line.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Bud gave Mac a brief hug.

Harm placed his hand on Mac’s back. “I’ll walk you out.”

“Thanks.”Mac sadly smiled as they walked toward the coat-rack.

Bud, Harriet, and AJ stood by the door as they watched Harm and Mac walk towards her car.

“You’ll water my plants?” Mac asked as she stood in front of the driver's side door.

“Of course. You’ll call when you get there?” Harm answered and asked.

“I’ll e-mail when I can.”

Harm soulfully looked into her eyes. “When are you going to be home?”

“The Admiral said hopefully within the month. But we don’t know for sure.”

Harm leaned closer to her and softly kissed her lips. The kiss was short, but filled with enough in promise and emotion to make the falling November temperature feel pleasant. As he pulled back, Mac slowly opened her eyes and gave Harm a questioning look. Harm smirked. “In case I don’t get my mistletoe kiss on Christmas Eve.”

Mac returned his smirk. “And what if you do get your kiss?”

“Then that was an extra.”

Mac was about to say something but the sound of little feet running toward her caught her off guard. She looked behind Harm to see AJ running towards them at full steam. He reached them and threw himself at Mac’s legs. Mac leaned down and picked him up. “Hey.”

“I don’t want you to go,” AJ sobbed clutching Mac.

Mac’s heart broke again as she gave Harm a pleading look. “I know. But I can’t tell Uncle AJ no.”

AJ lifted his head from her shoulder. “You’ll be home by Christmas.”

“I hope so,” Mac softly whispered. “How about if you’re the first guy I kiss under the mistletoe?”

AJ giggled. “Promise?”

“Promise,” Mac said before she and the small boy shared an Eskimo kiss.

Mac handed AJ to Harm and got into her car before she could listen to the little voice in her head telling to do everything she wanted to do at that moment. AJ sat in Harm’s arms until Mac’s car reached the end of the driveway. Then, he forced Harm to let go of him and he ran towards the road.

“AJ!!”Harm, Bud, and Harriet yelled after him before Harm took off running after the child.

AJ didn’t listen, he reached the end of the driveway and waved at Mac’s car as it maneuvered down the road. “Bye, Aunt Mac!! I love you!!” AJ yelled over and over again at the disappearing car.

Harm stood next to AJ until the car was out of sight. “Come on, AJ, let's go inside.”

“No, Uncle Harm. I can still see red,” AJ stated.

Harm glanced down the road and saw nothing but black top and barren trees. “She’s gone, AJ. She’ll be home later.”

AJ waved a few move times, then he took Harm’s hand and they walked toward the house.  

 

Part 2

 

5:43 PM

 

AJ and Harm sat playing cars on the floor as Bud and Harriet cleaned up in the kitchen.“ Uncle Harm, where did Aunt Mac go again?” AJ asked

Iraq ,” Harm told the boy hoping he would understand.

“Where’s that?”

“In the Middle East .”

“Where?”

Harm chuckled to himself, knowing AJ didn’t understand. “Do you have a map?”

“I’ve got a world in my room.” AJ smiled as he stood up. Once he was standing he took Harm’s hand and pulled him up the stairs. They walked into his room which was covered with toys from his loving family and extended family. “Here.”

Harm walked over to the ball on the ground which was decorated like a globe. He kneeled on the floor and found Iraq .“Right here.”

“Where are we?” AJ asked as he looked at the small red splotch on the ball.

Harm turned the ball and pointed towards the east coast of America .“We’re right here.”

AJ took the ball from him and placed one hand on America and the other one on Iraq .“How will she get there?”

“By plane.”

AJ smiled quickly at Harm as he thought of an idea. “If Aunt Mac can get there by plane, we can get there by plane. Then, we can bring her home.”

“We can’t, AJ. I wish we could,” Harm sadly said.

AJ dropped the ball and hugged Harm. “I want Aunt Mac to come home.”

“Me too, AJ. Me too. ” Harm held the boy to him, wishing Mac wasn’t going to Iraq

 

8:45 PM

 

“You ready for bed, Sweetie?” Harriet asked as she stood in AJ’s room.

AJ shook his head and crawled into bed. “Yes, Mommy.”

Harriet pulled the covers over him and kissed his forehead. “So, do you want Dr. Seuss tonight or an adventure story?”

AJ thought for a few seconds. “Can we write my Christmas list?”

“I thought we were going to do that tomorrow?” Harriet asked knowing the Toy-R-Us catalog was sitting on the kitchen table.

AJ pleadin looked at his mother. “I only want Santa to bring me one thing.”

“What’s that?”

“Aunt Mac,” AJ stated as if that was the only possible answer to give.

“AJ…” Harriet started.

“That’s all I want, Mommy. I promise Santa if he brings me Aunt Mac I’ll be good forever.”

“I don’t think Santa has that much pull, honey,” Harriet softly said.

“I want Aunt Mac to be home, Mommy. I don’t want anything else.” AJ nearly screamed. Then, before Harriet could say anything else, he threw himself face down into his pillow and ignored his mother.

Harriet stared at AJ as Bud walked into the room. “What’s wrong?” Bud asked as he held Jimmy to his chest.

Harriet looked confused at her husband. “AJ’s just upset.”

“I want Aunt Mac,” AJ said into his pillow.

Bud exchanged a concerned look with Harriet. Harriet patted AJ on the back then kissed his head. “I think it’s best if Daddy and I just leave you be. Good night, AJ.”

“Night, Mommy. Night, Daddy. I love you.” AJ called from his pillow.

Bud, Jimmy, and Harriet left the room wondering about their oldest son.

   

Part 3

 

Tuesday December 16
JAG
9:58 AM

 

It had been almost three weeks since Mac left. AJ wasn’t the only one who was missing her. In Harm’s off hours he was a wreck. His TV was constantly on ZNN and his car radio tuned to NPR, in a chance to hit a story from her area. In these almost three weeks he had received a handful of e-mails and a scratchy message on his voice mail, but nothing he could hold in his hands.

Harm sat in his office working on case file as his computer beeped. He turned his head towards the machine and smiled as he saw an Instant Message on his screen

Daisy - Got a minute or three, Donald?

Harm’s smile grew as he thought about the idea to talk to Mac. He laughed as he thought back to the night at her apartment when Mac set up the accounts. He knew at that time he should not have let her handle the job. She handed him the paper with their screen names and he stared at her for a few minutes in confusion.

“Donald? As in the duck?” Harm questioned her.

Mac just smiled. “Yes, as in the duck.”

“Why Donald Duck?”

“He’s a sailor, and so are you.” Mac reported, trying to keep a straight face.

Harm watched her face and knew she was holding back, her lip was starting to curve up. “And Daisy?”

“We both like to shop. ”Mac told him before she started to tell him how to work the account.

Donald - You going to time me?

Daisy - Do you want me to?

Donald -You IMed me. What’s up?

Daisy - Barely me…I think it is the first time I’ve sat down since I got here.

Donald - It’s only been two weeks.

Daisy - I know. But it’s taken me that long to find half of the papers on my desk!

Donald - You should be used to a messy desk?

Daisy - Watch it, Navy, or you might find yourself in trouble when I get home.

Donald - Hey, think on the upside, at least you have a desk.

Daisy - Yeah and my own tent. Of course my desk and bed are in the same tent on what we call “Command Row. ”How is everyone?

Donald - Everyone is fine. AJ misses you like crazy. Did Harriet tell you about the letters?

Daisy - (chuckling) That he’s ask to write Santa everyday for me to come home. He’s a great kid.

Donald - Yeah, he is. When are you coming home?

Daisy - Sounds like you miss me, too.

Donald - Yeah.

Daisy - You catching my cases.

Donald - I’m not talking about work.

Harm's thoughts moved on to the sadder side as he realized how much of a difference she made to him. He wasn’t about to tell her about the half veggie and meat lovers pizza he order by accident last night.

Daisy - …. I know. I miss you, too.

Donald - So when will you be home?

Daisy - Soon I hope. I’m one of two who speak Farsi, so it might be a while.

Donald - Christmas?

Daisy - I don’t know. But can you do me a favor in case I’m not home?

Donald - You’ll be home.

Daisy - Harm…

Donald - (sigh) I know….What’s the favor?

Daisy - Could you hand out my gifts to everyone?

Donald - Sure. Where are they?

Daisy - In my closet. They are already wrapped and labeled. Thanks.

Donald - You owe me.

Daisy - Me? You owe me, Flyboy.

Donald - Ha!

Daisy - Okay, okay, let's call it even.

Donald - Deal.

Daisy - Thanks, Harm.

Donald - No problem. So, how are things?

Daisy - Quiet right now but you never know wh

----- Daisy has sighed off----

Harm stared at the computer screen.

Donald - Mac?

Harm tired again but only received the message from IM that Mac had signed off. “Probably the connection.” He muttered as he opened his e-mail.

Hey Mac,

Guess we got cut off. It happens. We have been busy here without you, in fact, I’ve got court in a few minutes. So I’ll just make this short.  Stay safe there and I’ll see you once you get home…before Christmas I hope.

-Harm

PS - AJ isn’t the only one who misses you like crazy.

Harm sent his e-mail and smiled at the picture at the corner of his desk. “You’ll be home soon.” He softly whispered to the camo-clothed Marine who stared back at him with a smile on her face. He stared at the photo as a cold rush fell over his body. He shook it off as just a sudden chill in the room.

Harm looked at his watch and quickly gathered his files and left the office for court.  

Part 4

 

1:03 PM

 

Harm and Bud walked into the bullpen as they returned from court. “Bud, I think Mac and I trained you too well.”

Bud smiled. “Colonel MacKenzie said the same thing, Sir.”

Harm chuckled but his laughter fell as he noticed the staff was watching a live update on ZNN. He and Bud slowly turned and faced the TV as Stuart Dunston filled the screens.

“This is Stuart Dunston and I’m in Iraq at a Marine compound. Three hours ago this compound was yet another one of our military camps to be attacked by yet another group of rouge Iraqis. Luckily, personnel only suffered minor injuries. The majority of the damage was located around the vehicles and some of the tents located on what the personnel stationed here call ‘Command Row’. As more details develop we will report them. Again, this is Stuart Dunston reporting to you from Iraq .”

Harriet slowly turned around and found herself staring at a very scared and nervous Harmon Rabb. Harm’s face turned stark white as his brain absorbed the words, Iraq , Marine, minor injuries, and Command Row.Harriet slowly moved towards him and touched his arm. “Sir.”

Harm blinked and stared at Harriet. He was about to excuse himself from the bullpen, but Admiral Chegwidden called from his office. “Commander Rabb, my office.”

“Yes, Sir.” Harm placed his briefcase on the desk closest to him and walked swiftly towards the Admiral’s office.

Harriet watched as Harm left the room. She looked upwards and sent a silent pray that it wasn’t Mac’s station that was attacked.

“Close the hatch and have a seat, Harm.” AJ said as Harm walked into the office.

Harm followed his orders and before he could ask a question, AJ answered it. “I’m trying to find out if it was Mac’s station.”

“Sir?”

“Don’t even ask, Harm.” AJ warned having a feeling Harm was about to get himself in some serious trouble. AJ looked patiently at his officer. “I promise as soon as I know something I’ll let you know. But I need you not to do anything stupid.”

Harm took a deep breath. “Yes, sir.”

“She’s going to be fine, son,” AJ fatherly told Harm, hoping he was right.

“I know, Sir.” Harm agreed.

“I’ll keep you updated on anything I know,” AJ restated as Harm shook his head. “Dismissed.”

Harm stood up at attention. “Yes, Sir.”

Entering his office, Harm closed his door then sat down at his desk, quickly clicking on the e-mail icon. “Please Mac, let there be a message.”

The mail opened and there was no message.

A few minutes passed before there was a soft knock at the door. “Enter.”

Harriet slowly opened the door with Harm's briefcase in her hands. “Sir, you left this in the bullpen.”

Harm tried to give her a soft smile. “Thanks, Harriet.”

“You’re welcome, Sir.” Harriet handed him the briefcase .“Sir, would you like to come over for dinner tonight?”

“Harriet, I really don’t think I would be the best company tonight.”

“Sir, please don’t make me pull the godchildren card. You know how much I hate that,” Harriet pleaded hoping it would work to get Harm to come.

Harm chuckled softly. “Can I bring anything?”

“Just yourself, Sir. Is six an alright time?”

“Perfect,” Harm stated.

Harriet smiled at him. “Thank you, Sir. AJ will be so happy to have you over tonight.”

“No problem, Harriet.” Harm said before he dismissed her from his office.

After Harriet left his office she closed the door behind herself. Harm turned to his computer and quickly typed out an e-mail to Mac.

Mac-

We just heard that another camp was hit. Please, tell me it’s not you. The Admiral’s trying to find out, so who knows how long that could take. I just need to know that you’re okay. I’m hoping we just lost a connection this morning and that it was nothing serious. Please be alright. I don’t know what I would do if you were hurt.

Love-

-Harm

He hit sent before he could change any of the words or any of the thoughts. Now he just needed to wait for a response telling him she was okay.

 

Part 5

 

Harm’s Apartment
9:34 PM

 

Harm slowly walked through his apartment, the wear of the evening etched on his face and body. He still hadn’t heard anything about or from Mac. His nerves were stretched to their limit, especially from his own thoughts about her safety.

He sighed heavily as he toed off his shoes and collapsed onto his bed. Closing his eyes he remembered how AJ Roberts opened the door to show Harm a picture of Aunt Mac that he drew. He gave it to Harm with the orders to hang it in his office. Harm smiled at the young boy as AJ continued to tell Harm that Santa was going to bring Aunt Mac home, because Santa brought things to good little boys.

They had finished dinner when Admiral Chegwidden stopped by and said he was unable to find anymore information about the camp. Since Mac’s section was on the move, they were hard to locate and the weather was not helping the situation.

Right now Harm was just semi-glad to be home where he could forget the fake smile on his face for a small boy, and where he didn’t have to hide his fear.  

 

12:03 AM

 

“Ring….ring…..ring….” the phone ordered.

Harm’s sleep-fogged mind commanded his body to wake up. He slowly reached over and picked the phone up. “'ello”he muttered into it.

{“Hey, Harm, it's me. Did I wake you?” Mac asked.}

At the sound of her voice Harm quickly sat up with relief and excitement. “Mac, thank god. Are you okay?”

{Mac gave Harm a slight laugh. “Of course I'm okay. I’m sorry about how we lost the connection earlier today.}

“I don’t care about that, Mac. You’re okay, right?”

{“Harm, I’m fine. Why wouldn't I be?”}

Harm took a deep breath knowing Mac wasn’t going to tell him. “Mac, it was all over the TV. I didn't know if you were hurt or even worse. Even the Admiral couldn't tell me anything.”

{Mac sighed. “Harm, don't worry. I'm okay; I'm fine.”}

“Are you sure?”

{“Yes, Harm, I'm sure. Do you want me to catch the next Marine I can get to tell you the same?” Mac teased, knowing she was lying to him. The burn on her arm was hurting like hell and the bruises on her body were going to take awhile to heal.}

“No, of course not. I'm just worried that's all.”

{“I know, but really, everything is okay.”}

“You promise?” Harm asked.

{“Harmon Rabb, Junior, I am ordering you to stop being so nervous right now .I’m fine. Nothing is wrong with me, except for the fact I need to give the phone to someone else.”}

Harm breathed a sigh of relief. “How about if I stop being nervous once you get home?”

{“Are you always this incorrigible?”}

“Isn’t that why you love me?” Harm joked with a laugh.

{“So you keep telling me,” Mac commented back. “I need to go. Give everyone my love, especially Little AJ.”}

“I wish we could talk longer,” Harm whined softly.

{“Me too. I miss you.”}

“I miss you,” Harm admitted. He was about to add on something else when he heard the phone click and the call was disconnected.

He set the phone back in the cradle and smiled at it. His sense of fate was restored as he spoke to Mac. As far as he knew she was fine and that was fine enough for him.

 

Part 6

 

Saturday December 20
Iraq
Location Classified

9:34 PM

 

Mac sat in her tent, which still had some mildly charred pieces to it. She was writing a report as a knock came from her door. “Enter.”

“Colonel MacKenzie,” A male voice said getting Mac’s attention.

Mac snapped her head up at the voice and quickly stood at attention. “I’m sorry, Sir. I got caught up in this report.”

Colonel Pine smiled at her. “At ease, Colonel.”

“Sir.”

“The last day of your tour with us will be the 22nd.You can hitch a ride to the Seahawk and catch a COD from there to get home,” Pine gleefully told Mac.

The smile on Mac’s face grew slowly from center to ear-to-ear. “It’s been a privilege to serve with you, Sir.”

Pine extended his hand and Mac shook it. “You too, Mac. You’re one hell of a Marine.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

He handed Mac her orders and watched her read them. His eyes fell to the fresh dressing on the burn on her arm. “I’ll be adding a little something to your file. I don’t think Bryson and Gilfront will be forgetting how you helped them out.”

Mac’s eyes moved to her bandage. “I think I won’t be forgetting either, Sir.”

“Well, have a good and safe trip back. You will be missed.” Pine concluded his stay. Mac returned to attention as he left her tent.

As soon as Pine was gone Mac let out a very soft. “Yes!!” She even partook in a few jumps for joy. She turned to quickly sign on to her computer but her excitement left her as it fell upon the melted pile of plastic and circuits.

“I could call from the Seahawk,” Mac muttered to herself as she remembered phone privileges were revoked for the camp.  

 

Wednesday, December 24
Persian Gulf
Seahawk

2:12 AM

 

“Man, this sucks,” A Lieutenant Commander complained as he poured himself a cup of coffee.

“Something wrong, Commander?” Mac asked as she sat at a table near the coffee pot.

“I was suppose to go home today, Ma’am, but my RIO got sick. Captain Ingles has since then canceled my flight,” He explained as he stood by Mac’s table.

“Couldn’t he find another RIO to fly with you?”

“Ma’am, it’s Christmas Eve…the cook volunteered to fly with me.” He groaned into his coffee mug. “I was looking forward to going home. My girlfriend gave birth to my son earlier this month.”

“Congratulations.”Mac smiled to him.

“Thanks, but the poor kid will have no idea who his daddy is if I’m not there. I promised Cathy I would be there tonight. Guess I better go call her and break the news.”

“Sorry, to hear about your bad luck,” Mac said apologetically.

He gave her a half smile. “Thanks for listening.”

Mac smirked. “But you do understand that you did not follow correct procedure, Commander.”

“Ma’am?”

“Complaining goes down the chain of command. Not up the chain of command.” Mac laughed.

He let out a nervous chuckle. “Yes, Ma’am.”

The Commander turned to leave the room when Mac called to him. “Commander, what is you name?”

“Harry Monarch, my call sign is Solo. ”Harry gave her a sincere smile.

“Merry Christmas, Solo.” Mac smiled.

“You too, Ma’am.” Harry added before leaving the room.

Mac sat there and thought for a minute about Solo and his new son. Then she thought about Little AJ and her promise. As she sat and thought there, an idea came to her head. Before she could talk herself out of the idea she quickly left the lounge and walked to the bridge.  

 

Part 7

20 minutes later

 

“You want to do what, Colonel?” Captain Ingles asked her in mild surprise.

Mac took a deep breath.   “I would like to fly RIO with Lieutenant Commander Monarch, sir.”

“Did Solo put you up to this?” Ingles asked as he crossed his arms across his chest.

“No, Sir.”

“Have you ever been in a Tomcat before?” He asked as he felt himself start to consider her suggestion.

Mac felt the knot in her stomach grow. “Once, Sir.”

“Who was flying?”

“Commander Rabb, Sir.”

He rubbed his forehead and chuckled. “You’re crazy enough to fly with Rabb?”

“I believe I am. If it helps your consideration any, I’ve flown in a MIG also, Sir.” Mac commented.

“Let me guess, with Rabb.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“How did you survive these flights, Colonel?”

“Well, Sir, after the first one I felt lighter. The second ended too abruptly.”

Ingles gave her a confused look. “Abruptly?”

Mac grimaced slightly. “We were forced to eject, Sir. It’s classified.”

“Give me a better reason, Colonel. Your COD will be here to pick you up in two days. Why can’t you wait till then?” Ingles asked as he passed the small room.

“I promised a little boy to do anything I could to be home for Christmas, Sir.”

“Who’s the little boy?” Ingles asked as he softened some more to the idea of letting the lawyer RIO a Tomcat.

Mac reached into her back pocket and pulled out a picture of her, Harm, and Little AJ. She handed him the picture. “My godson.”

Ingles looked at the picture and smiled at the sweet looking boy. Then, he focused on Harm in the picture and noticed the happy carefree look in Harm’s eyes. “What about your big boy?”

“I’m sure the Commander would be glad if I came home tonight, Sir,” Mac said with mild calmness.

Ingles shook his head and handed the picture back. “Colonel, what you’re asking is not something we go around doing in the Navy.”

“I know, Sir.”

“We just can’t hand out Tomcats to Marines who need a ride home.”

“I know, Sir, but it’s Christmas and shouldn’t Commander Monarch be allowed to spend Christmas with his newborn son.”Mac felt like she was arguing in front of a stubborn judge.

“I know it’s Christmas, Colonel. If I could I would be in that RIO seat. But I have a job to do, where as you don’t right now. You’re just here on a layover till the COD can take you home. But I do need that Tomcat taken to Andrews for an upgrade. If it’s late it will just leave me one plane down.” Ingles paused. “So Colonel, you leave me with one choice.”

“What’s that, Sir?” Mac hopefully asked.

“Make sure your godson has a merry Christmas.”

“Is that a yes, Sir?” Mac slowly asked.

“Yes, Colonel. You and Solo leave in one hour.” Ingles laughed.

Mac smiled ear to ear. “Thank you, Sir. Permission to inform Commander Monarch.”

“Permission granted, Colonel.”

Mac snapped to attention. “Aye-aye, Sir.”

“Dismissed.”Ingles ordered with a smile.

“Yes, Sir, and Merry Christmas, Sir.” Mac turned and walked to the door before Ingles called to her and she stopped.

Ingles smirked at her. “Tell Hammer if he doesn’t kiss you under the mistletoe he will be disobeying a direct order.”

“Yes, Sir.” Mac blushed before she fully exited the bridge.

Mac quickly walked down the halls to the phones where she saw Solo talking on the phone. She stopped in front of him and smiled at him.

“Can you hold on, Cathy?” Solo asked Cathy over the phone. He waited for her answer and covered the mouthpiece. “Yes, Colonel?”

“How do you feel about having a Marine play RIO for the day?” Mac asked.

“Ma’am?”

“We leave in 56 minutes, Commander.” Mac reported to the pilot.

Solo’s eyebrows reached his hairline in shock. “How did you get him to agree?”

“I’ll tell you during the flight. You just tell your girlfriend to expect you tonight,” Mac said as she walked away from Solo.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Solo said before he turned his attention back to the phone. “Cathy, honey, you’re not going to believe this. But I’m coming home….I know, this Colonel talked the Captain into it….I think it’s MacKenzie…Yeah, I know. She’s on our Christmas list this year. Love you too, bye.” Solo quickly hung up the phone and ran down the hall towards his quarters.  

Ten minutes before take-off

“Come on Harm, pick up,” Mac muttered into the phone as she impatiently tapped her foot.

{“The cellular customer you are trying to reach is unavailable at the moment.” The customer-call electronic voice told her.}

Mac hung up the phone and looked at it with an evil glint. “He’s probably in court anyway.”

“You ready, Colonel?” Solo stood in the hall with a grin on his face.

Mac glanced at the happy pilot and met his grin with one of hers. “You bet ya, Solo.”

Solo bowed like a gentleman. “Your chariot awaits, madam.”

“Why thank you, kind sir. ”Mac laughed as she walked past him towards the flight deck.  

Flight Deck

“Colonel, you sure you're up to this?” Ingles asked from the bridge as he watched the Tomcat line up for takeoff.

Mac exhaled heavily. “I’m not backing out, Sir.”

“Good.”Ingles chuckled. “Just remember my order for Hammer.”

“Yes, Sir.” Mac laughed.

A few minutes later the Tomcat roared down the small carrier and towards the sky.  

 

Part 8

 

Roberts Residence
Christmas Eve
7:34 PM

 

“Merry Christmas, Sir,” Harriet said as she opened the front door.

Harm leaned down and kissed her cheek. “Merry Christmas, Harriet.”

He walked into the house and Harriet took his jacket .“Everyone’s in the living room. We were waiting for you before we served dinner.”

Harm smiled and walked into the living room. He exchanged pleasantries with everyone as he took stock of the carefree scene. Meredith and AJ were talking with Tiner and Coates by the Christmas tree. Sturgis and Bobbie were laughing with Bud, who stood off to the side holding Jimmy. Big Bud and Mikey were walking out of the kitchen with some eggnog.

“Eggnog, Commander?” Mikey asked with a smile on his face.

“I think I’ll stick with a glass of punch.” Harm smiled at the young midshipman. Mikey excused himself and walked over to the punch bowl to get Harm a glassful.

“Where’s the Colonel?” Big Bud asked as he smiled cheerfully.

“ Iraq,” Harm said when Harriet approached the group.

Big Bud shook his head. “When will she be back?”

“After her time there is finished.” Harm looked about the room wishing he could avoid the conversation.

“The military has a hard time paying attention to the holidays.” Harriet griped.

“Where’s Little AJ?” Harm asked as he took the cup of punch from Mikey.

Mikey laughed. “He’s pouting.”

“Pouting?”Harm asked, watching Harriet gently jab her brother-in-law.

“He’s not pouting. He’s upset the Colonel isn’t here,” Harriet told him .“He refuses to come down to the party till his Auntie Mac is here.”

Big Bud laughed .“The kid’s been writing to Santa every hour nearly.”

Harm glanced at the staircase then back at Harriet .“Do you mind if I try?”

“Knock yourself out, Sir. Maybe he’ll listen to you. ”Harriet grinned.

Harm smiled before he walked up the wooden staircase. He walked down the hall to Little AJ’s room and smiled as he approached the door. He knocked softly. Harm laughed when he heard little feet run to the door and quickly open the door. He smiled as he looked down and saw AJ with a huge smile on his face.

AJ smiled, but as he looked up and saw it was Uncle Harm and not Auntie Mac, his smile left his face. “Hi.”

Harm chuckled to the small child. “That’s not much of a greeting, AJ.”

“Sorry,” AJ muttered before he hugged his uncle’s legs. “Better?”

“A little.” Harm moved down and picked AJ up. He carried the boy back into his room. “Now what is this I hear about you not wanting to come to the party?”

“Auntie Mac isn’t there.”

“No, she’s not. She had to work.”

“Does she love me?”AJ asked as his little eyes held back the tears.

Harm’s heart broke. “She loves you more than anything in the world.”

“Does she love me more then she loves you?”

Harm stared at his godson. “I think so. I talked to her a few days ago and she hates herself for not being here.”

“I just want her to be here, Uncle Harm. That’s all I asked Santa for.” AJ moved towards the window. “I’ve been watching all night. She’ll come, she promised.”

“Don’t you want to go to the party?” Harm asked as he stood by the window.

“Not until Aunt Mac gets there,” AJ reported.

Harm tried to say something but he couldn’t. He walked to the doorway of the room and left AJ alone with his wishes. The sad part for Harm was, for the last few days, he was starring at his own door wishing Mac would walk through it.

Harm reached the bottom of the stairs to see Sturgis standing there. “Any luck?”

“None.He refused to come down till Mac arrives,” Harm reported.

Sturgis chuckled. “Sounds like AJ wants Mac here almost as much as you do.”

Harm shrugged. “I think he wants her more.”  

 

Andrews Air Force Base

8:16 PM

Mac walked out of the ladies dressing room. Glad to be back in normal clothes. She passed by Solo. “Merry Christmas, Ma’am,” He called to her.

“You too, Commander.” Mac smiled.

She continued walking towards the exit as a young petty officer approached her. “Colonel MacKenzie?”

“Yes, Petty Officer?”

The young PO took a deep breath. “Santa is waiting for you, Ma'am.”

 ~~~~~~~~~~

 

“AJ.”

“Chegwidden!!” Clay screamed in shock as he stared at Mac and almost ran the car off the road.

“Roberts, Clay. Gee, calm down.” Mac corrected him.

Clay turned his attention back to the road. “I was worried about you for a minute.” He then thought about something and asked, “So, are you going to kiss Harm?”

“I’m under orders for a kiss,” Mac replied with a small, coy smile. It was a smile which Clay found very mischievous, but beautiful.

“Lucky son of a bitch.” Clay muttered under his breath and beard.

 

 

 

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