||Action, Angst, Romance
||Approx 54,000 words,
145 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
||Through Season 9
||This started out as a
what if, and has been growing on me--what if Harm had never been
captured on camera and become a full-fledged CIA agent? Then
what if Sadik suddenly resurfaced, complete with a vendetta
against Harm? This is also my attempt to explain AJ's
inexplicable behavior. Bonus points if you can spot the show,
episode, and season that I stole, um… borrowed, the title from.
Spoilers up to season nine's Touchdown… with a slightly
different ending for Harm. Other spoilers through season nine.
My thanks to my super-secret beta reader and Ann, both of whom
have assured me that the concept isn't too angsty. Knowing me,
you'd better hang on anyway. ;)
Sun and Shadow
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I
know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
--1 Corinthians 13:12
20 May 2003
Falls Church, Virginia
Admiral AJ Chegwidden stared at the letter of resignation in his hand.
He had followed the SecNav's orders, and now one of his best officers
had gone haring off to South America in search of another. He wasn't
sure why the SecNav had engineered this mess, but he was sure that he
probably wouldn't like the outcome.
"Admiral?" Tiner's voice came over the intercom.
"What is it, Tiner?" he said irritably.
"The SecNav's on line one."
"I've got it," he said brusquely, and picked up the phone. "What can I
do for you, sir?"
"Admiral, has Commander Rabb resigned as expected?"
"Yes, sir. I'm planning on holding his papers until he gets back. With
any luck, he'll be back before his terminal leave is over; I need all of
the O-5s I can get." AJ picked up Harm's resignation and looked it over.
"Admiral, you are to bring Rabb's resignation, service record, and
paperwork over to my office, is that clear?"
"Yes, sir. May I ask why?"
"No, you may not, Admiral; it's need to know. Have them hand delivered
over here by the close of business today. Is that clear?"
"Yes, sir." After a few pleasantries, he hung up, and called Tiner in. "Tiner,
I need the Commander's service record."
"Yes, sir," came the response over the intercom. A few minutes later, he
came in, carrying a large file. Tiner laid the file on his desk. "Might
I know why you need the Commander's file, sir?"
"The Commander resigned, Tiner. His time with us is over, and his record
needs to be closed out."
"But sir--Commander Rabb has done so much for so many people--"
AJ looked up at his earnest face and frowned. "Be that as it may,
Commander Rabb *made* his decision, now it's up to him to live with it.
This discussion is *closed*, Tiner."
"Yes, *sir*," Tiner said, coming to attention.
"Now, I need Commander Turner in here to watch the shop for me. Will you
find him for me, please?"
"Yes, sir," he repeated.
"Dismissed." AJ put Rabb's resignation in the file, then looked up just
in time to see Tiner leave his office, shooting a furtive look back at
him. He sighed, he wasn't sure what the SecNav had in mind for Harm, but
it probably wasn't a good thing. If Rabb survived Paraguay, he had a
feeling that his favorite officer was in for a world of hurt.
20 May 2003
Sheffield flipped through Commander Rabb's service record and smiled.
"Thank you, AJ," he said.
"It's all there, resignation and everything." AJ said woodenly.
Sheffield pulled out a single sheet of paper, examined it, then ripped
it in half. "You mean this?"
"What'd you do *that* for?" AJ asked.
"Mr. Rabb has just been called up," Sheffield said with a smile.
"Officially, he won't be Navy anymore, unofficially, he'll be working
for me via Kershaw."
"Sir, and you're telling me this *because*?"
"Because I think that he wasn't living up to his full potential as a
JAG. He'll be much better off working for me; I'll send him out for some
special training, then assign him to the Company Air Wing. From there,
who knows?" Sheffield leaned back in his chair and shrugged. "He has too
many talents that have been wasted working for you, AJ, and *I* intend
to use them."
"With all due respect, *sir*, you'd better be careful with him, or so
"Are you *threatening* me, AJ?"
"More like promising… *sir*." AJ said stiffly. "Rabb hasn't been on the
top of his game this last year because a lot of things went to hell in a
hand basket. I *don't* want to see him more messed up than he already
"That's not your concern, anymore." Sheffield said with a tiny smile on
AJ brought his fist down on the desk. "Let me straighten something out
for you, Mr. Secretary. Rabb is one of *my* people, and I refuse to
abandon him--there was enough of that last year. It's bad enough that
Colonel Mackenzie is TAD to the CIA, and I can't officially sanction her
Sheffield smiled, reminding AJ of a snake. "You *will* cut Rabb off, AJ,
or I can have your little family reassigned. Commander Turner would do
well on a carrier, Lieutenant Sims can be sent to where she's officially
assigned, Colonel Mackenzie can either be assigned a position as a line
JAG, or I can send her permanently TAD to the CIA or the NSA, and I'm
sure that Lieutenant Roberts will do well in a civilian law firm." He
flashed another snake-like smile. "Tiner need not return to Headquarters
"But that would scuttle *all* of their careers," AJ sputtered.
"Just think, AJ, is one man worth the destruction of so many lives?"
AJ looked down at his feet and sighed. He knew when he was beaten, and
there didn't seem to be anything he could do to rectify the situation.
"This *isn't* over, *sir*; I intend to get him back on my staff as soon
as I can."
"Just keep telling yourself that, AJ, and I'm sure you'll be fine."
Sheffield smiled and leaned forward on his desk. "When he comes and asks
for his job back, tell him to go wrestle alligators or something. He
needs to not *want* to come back to JAG."
"Yes, *sir*," AJ said stiffly, turning to leave. Worry for Harm and
anger at him for placing himself in this situation raged through him in
equal measures. Slowly, the anger began to take over, mingling with the
worry until they became one. AJ hurried out to his car, determined to
pull what strings he had to keep *his* Commander where he belonged.
23 October 2003
North of Union Station
Harm flipped another card towards his baseball cap and grimaced as it
missed. This was what his life had been reduced to. It had been five and
a half months since the beginning of his tenure at the Company, but he
hadn't managed to get himself killed yet. More's the pity. He was to
leave for another mission in the morning, and this time, perhaps he'd
The most important person in his life had said never, so there wasn't a
chance to make anything work out between them; friendship just wasn't
enough anymore. Harm flipped another card at the hat and missed. He'd
briefly considered suicide, but he couldn't hurt his mother, Frank, and
Grandma Sarah that way, so he'd given up on the idea.
Being killed in the line of duty was another matter entirely. Suicide
would waste his death, but if he died serving the greater good…
Sometimes how you used your death was just as important as how you used
He only had about a year and a half before he got his twenty, anyway.
After that he could retire, but he wasn't sure what he'd do with his
life after that. Better that he died before his employment with the
Company was up. At least then, he wouldn't have to face the fact that
his entire life had been a waste of effort.
Harm sighed, tossed the remainder of the deck of cards back on the
table, then headed towards his bedroom, shedding clothes along the way.
He had a mission in the morning, and he knew that he needed to at least
*attempt* to sleep between now and then.
24 October 2003
Captain Johnson paced back and forth on the bridge, hoping that this
damned fool plan of Rabb's would work. He glanced at his watch and
noticed that they were fast approaching deadline before he remembered
the slight… problem he had on board. "Sh*t," he muttered. "Ensign, I
need you to get that news crew and escort them to the mess. They're to
be held incommunicado until tomorrow afternoon, and *no* word of the
identities of the pilots of the airplane are to be released, is that
Ensign Smith saluted. "Yes, sir," he said, then left.
Captain Johnson motioned to his XO. “Commander, I need you to arrange
temporary quarters for our guests, and send Rabb and O'Neill up here as
soon as they get off that plane.”
“Yes, sir,” the Commander saluted, and left to take care of the
“We're almost there, Skipper,” the Air Boss's voice came over the comm.
“Hurry it up, Air Boss. After Rabb lands that thing, we're gonna have to
scuttle it so that the press doesn't figure out what happened tonight.”
Captain Johnson watched as the last few planes were launched, just in
time for Rabb to barely land the crippled airplane on his deck. A few
minutes later, Rabb and O'Neill walked onto the bridge, flanked by his
protocol officer. “Thank you, sir,” Rabb said.
He simply nodded. “Glad you were able to land that bucket of bolts.
We've got a slight problem until we can get all of you out on the COD;
there are some reporters aboard, and we can't let them know what you've
“Yes, sir,” the two pilots said in unison.
“The way I see it, I've got two options; I can convince the CAG here to
lend you a ride out of here, which I'm not inclined to do, or we can
rustle up some spare uniforms and hide you in plain sight.” The captain
leaned back against the wall and smirked.
“You could do that, sir,” Harm answered neutrally.
Captain Johnson could see him fighting the instinct to tell him that
neither of them was Navy anymore, and shouldn't be wearing the uniform.
“Damn straight, I can. Damn Captain's privilege.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” they answered.
“I see you haven't lost the instincts,” he said dryly, motioning to
another junior officer. “Lieutenant, find some uniforms for these two,
and talk to the XO to find out if they've got a berth.” He looked at
Harm and Beth and grinned. “Hope you don't mind being enlisted until we
can get rid of the reporters, but it can't be helped.”
“Not a problem, sir,” Harm answered. “Sir? We need to report in as soon
as possible. Would it be possible to get a ship-to-shore call on a
“Get down to communications, and we'll make it happen--dismissed.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” Harm and Beth said. They suppressed the urge to salute,
and headed out the door.
Captain Johnson smiled; if Rabb was still Navy, he would've had to put
him in for a commendation for that last trick. It wasn't every day that
such a large bird landed on a carrier; it'd been a superior piece of
flying to manage it. It was just as well that he'd resigned; the man
seemed to land in trouble every time he climbed into a cockpit.
20 October 2003
Mac stared at the phone. “C'mon, Harm, *call* me,” she muttered. She
reached for the phone, and dialed the familiar number. She listened to
it ring until the machine picked up, then set it back in its cradle.
It hadn't been so long ago that she'd told Bud that she didn't miss Harm
at all, but it wasn't true. His absence was a nagging, constant ache.
Oh, after some time, working without him had gotten easier, but she
still found herself wanting to call him or just drop in at his apartment
It was worse than the time he'd spent in the brig. At least then, she'd
known he was safe. Hell, she'd even started pseudo-dating Webb, just so
she could pump him for information about Harm.
She still wasn't too happy about the way Spook-boy had interrupted them
in Paraguay; if he hadn't, their relationship might be in a completely
different place than it was now. Mac frowned, something just didn't feel
right. It was almost as if Harm was in trouble, and needed her to watch
Their parting hadn't been all that great, and Harm had been downright
*nasty*, but he was still her best friend, damn it, and he *needed* her.
Mac reached for the phone and dialed his number again. Sooner or later,
he'd *have* to answer, and then she'd know for sure that he was okay.
Into The Woods
“In vino veritas.”
--In wine, truth.
26 October 2003
North of Union Station
Harm leaned back against the couch and rubbed his eyes. They'd managed
to escape the reporters, so his CIA position was safe... until he
managed to end his career serving his country. That, he thought, was
only a matter of time. He was tired because he hadn't slept in over 48
hours. They'd kept him busy acting like an enlisted man, complete with
scut work, and he'd been short on sleep before that.
Harm reached for his guitar, then changed his mind, got up, and wandered
towards the fridge. He opened the door and stared at the almost
non-existent contents. A yellow box of baking soda, a month old carton
of Chinese take-out, bottles of water, a clear plastic container that
was full of a blue, fuzzy substance, and some brown, slimy carrots were
all that greeted him. It looked like a great night for take-out, that
is, if he even bothered to eat.
Harm shut the door, and rifled through the cabinets until he found an
unopened box of crackers. It was faster than take out, and it meant that
he could go to bed sooner. Maybe this time, he wouldn't wake up. There
was always that hope. He walked back into the living room, flopped onto
the couch, and opened his box of saltines. It wasn't much, but eating
right wasn't high on his list of priorities. What did it matter when he
could get killed on his next mission?
He pulled out a package of the crackers, but just as he was about to
open the white plastic, he heard a knock on the door. Harm shrugged,
tossed the crackers on the coffee table, and got up to answer the door.
He unlocked it, and pulled it open. “Hey Beth,” he said, his voice dull
Beth half-smiled and held up a twelve pack of beer. “I come bearing
gifts,” she said. “Harm, I know it's a lot to ask, but my place is being
fumigated, and I was wondering if I could crash on your couch tonight.”
Harm opened the door wider and motioned her inside. “Sure... but you can
have the bed; I'll take the couch.”
Beth walked inside and set the beer on the table. “No way,” she began.
“I'm *not* kicking you out of your bed.”
Harm looked like he was going to argue, then shrugged, giving up. It
just wasn't worth fighting over. “So what's the beer for?” he asked
before he flopped down in his favorite chair.
Beth grinned. “Well, it's been a rough couple of days, and I could use a
drink.” She tore open the cardboard, pulled out two cans, and handed him
one. “I figured that you probably could, too, and I didn't want to come
empty-handed, so here I am.”
“But why a twelve pack?” Harm asked, then popped the top on his can and
took a long swallow.
Beth shrugged. “I'm not trying to get you drunk and seduce you, if
that's what you think, sailor.”
Harm winced at the nickname, then rolled his eyes. “I'm not a sailor
anymore, Beth,” he reminded her. “And you'd *never* try and seduce me,
because I'm not your type.”
Beth grinned. “What? Tall, dark, and handsome not good enough?”
Harm drank another long swallow of beer. “I know you've got the same
taste as I do in women,” he pointed out dryly.
Beth got serious and smiled. “Yeah. You've just seemed so down lately
that I wanted to help. We haven't exactly been sitting around knitting,
Harm started to drink more beer, grimaced as he noticed it was empty,
and set the empty can down on the table. “I know. We've been... busy
Beth tossed him another can and leaned back on the couch. “You've been
even busier than I have. When was the last time you had a whole weekend
Harm shrugged, opened the can, and took another swallow. The cold liquid
felt good going down his throat, and he had some good company to drink
with. “I'm not sure... maybe before I left JAG.” He shrugged before
continuing. “It's not like I've really got anybody to spend down time
Beth looked at him, startled. “What about Colonel Mackenzie? The two of
you seemed... close.”
Harm just shrugged and nodded at the blinking light of the answering
machine. “Those are probably from her. Mac's got her own life, and I'm
not included in it.”
“But weren't the two of you best friends?”
“That was when I was at JAG,” he reminded her. Harm tipped the can up
for another healthy swallow. It occurred to him that he was drinking far
too fast, but he didn't really care. “Now that I don't work there, I
just don't have much in common with her or any of my former friends
“I find that hard to believe, Harm.”
“It's true enough.” Harm got up and grabbed his guitar from the stand
before walking back over and plopping down in the chair. He cradled the
instrument against him, stroked the smooth wood, then began to fiddle
with the tuning pegs so that he wouldn't have to look at his partner.
“Got anything to eat?” Beth asked, abruptly changing the subject.
He rolled his eyes at her, and nodded at the box of saltines on the
table. “Help yourself, I find that I'm not hungry anymore.” Harm chugged
the rest of his beer, and began to play simple chords, hoping to be able
to ignore Beth long enough to keep from saying things that he'd rather
not have out.
Instead of reaching for the crackers, Beth grabbed the phone and started
to dial. “Hello, yes, I'd like to order a vegetarian pizza.”
Harm blocked out his partner's voice, reached for another beer, put down
the guitar, and got up to check his messages. He pushed the button and
frowned as Mac's voice came on. What she'd said to him in Paraguay still
hurt, and the Admiral's words afterwards had only increased the agony.
Between the two of them, they'd essentially managed to kill him. All
that was left was to bury the remains... and the Company was good for
Harm's frown deepened as the Admiral's voice came on. “Harm? If you're
home, pick up, son. We're all worried about you. You've got the number.”
He hit the delete button and erased all the messages. Why wouldn't they
let him bury himself in peace? He sat back down, popped open the can,
and took another drink. Maybe if he was lucky, he could drink enough to
blur his raw edges. Maybe he could... forget.
Beth hung up the phone, then resettled herself on the couch with one leg
underneath her. “Okay, Harm, what's the matter?” she asked. “I haven't
seen you really smile in *months*, and I'd be a lousy partner if I
Harm shook his head and drank some more beer. “Nothing,” he murmured.
“At least nothing you can help with.”
25 October 2003
Falls Church, VA
Mac shuffled through yet another case file. Since the discovery of
Caroline Imes's record falsifications, they'd been extremely busy going
through her case files. It didn't help that her court martial made them
even more short-handed, either. There simply weren't enough lawyers at
headquarters to handle all of the pending cases at the moment.
If only the Admiral had let Harm come back! At least then, they'd have
someone else to help with the backlog. She'd heard Coates begging the
Admiral to reconsider, and had finally advised the girl to stop before
she scuttled her own career. Mac looked up when Bud knocked on her door.
“What can I help you with, Bud?” she asked.
“Do you have the Jackson case file, ma'am?” he asked, walking in. “I'm
to review that one, and I can't find it. I thought that some of those
cases might've gotten mixed up.”
Mac sifted through the stack of files on her desk and pulled it out.
“Here you go, Bud,” she said with a smile.
“Thank you, Colonel,” he said, then headed out the door.
“Bud--” her voice stopped him in his tracks.
“Have you heard from Harm lately?”
“Yes, ma'am. Harriet called to say that we got a package from him in the
mail this morning. It was a present for the baby... Harriet said that it
had a nice card with it.”
Mac leaned forward. “Did it say how he's doing?” she asked as she played
with her Marine Corps ring.
“No, ma'am,” Bud answered. “It just said congratulations about Jimmy,
and it had a really cute stuffed plane in it.” He grinned. “I think
Harriet had a talk with him about how train sets aren't appropriate for
“Thank you, Bud,” she said quietly.
“I know you said that you didn't miss him, ma'am, but you really do,
“He's been my best friend for eight years,” she said, smiling crookedly.
“What do you think?”
“Just what I thought, Colonel,” Bud said. “I'll tell him to call you the
next time he calls to talk to little AJ.”
“He does that?” Mac asked. “I didn't think that he was keeping in touch
with any of us.”
“Yes, he does, ma'am. But he doesn't talk to Harriet or me, just AJ. He
says that just because he's away doesn't mean that his godson doesn't
need to speak to him every once in a while.”
“No problem, Colonel.” Bud left, carrying the thick file with him.
Mac tried to concentrate on her file again, but the words swam before
her eyes. She *had* said never in Paraguay because it was right. It
wasn't like he had tried to fight for a relationship with her. However,
she still wanted to be his best friend, and the feeling kept coming that
he needed her. Somehow, she'd make things work out, there had to be a
26 October 2003
North of Union Station
Beth threw her napkin in the pizza box and looked at Harm. He'd only
eaten half a slice of pizza, and he looked to be dropping some weight.
“Harm,” she said, “finish your pizza.”
“Huh?” He looked at her, then at the pizza in his hand and ate it. Harm
reached for another slice and ate it slowly, washing it down with more
Beth got up, walked behind him, and began to rub his shoulders. “What
happened to get you to work for our mutual employer, Harm?” she asked
Harm finished the last of his fourth beer, rubbed his eyes, and looked
at her. “Webb FUBAR'd another mission,” he said finally. “Only this
time, he almost got Mac killed.”
Beth started stroking his hair as if he were a small child. “What
happened after that?” she said as she tried to encourage him to tell her
everything. She had figured that between his exhaustion and the alcohol,
she could get him to talk about it, and perhaps find a way to help him.
He was her partner, and that made it her responsibility to keep him
“The Admiral wouldn't let me go, so I had to resign to go save her.”
Harm's eyes started to close in remembered pain. “I *couldn't* let her
die, because I hadn't told her, and I *can't* lose her, too.”
“Tell her what?”
“As long as she's alive,” he whispered, not hearing, “I can probably be
“What did you need to tell her, Harm?” Beth prodded.
His eyes started to close as the alcohol caught up to him. “That I love
her,” came the answer as his eyes drifted shut.
Beth started to smile. She'd figured that he'd been in love with his JAG
partner, but it was nice to hear confirmation. “What happened?” she
“She said *never*,” he mumbled. “Doesn't love me 'cause I'm not good
enough. Never good enough. Don't deserve it, I guess.”
“That's not true,” she said gently.
“Yes, 'tis. Ev'rybody I love leaves 'cause I'm not good enough,” he
whispered, his eyes sagging shut. “Dad left, Mom married Frank... Diane
left... Sarah doesn't care, so she lef' too.” He trailed off as his head
slowly came to rest on the back of the chair.
Beth caressed his hair gently, suddenly feeling very protective of him.
Her mouth tightened as she thought of the Colonel. She almost wished she
could deck the woman for that. How could she have been so insensitive?
She sighed and reached down to tug gently on Harm's arm. “C'mon, Harm,
let's get you to bed to sleep it off.”
Harm got up and followed her as she tugged on his arm to guide him. He
seemed more than half-asleep as she got him upstairs and sitting on his
bed. Beth untied his shoes and pulled both them and socks off. As if on
autopilot, he pulled off his t-shirt and jeans before collapsing
completely. She pulled blankets over him and kissed him on the cheek.
“For what it's worth, Harm, *I* care what happens to you because you're
my partner and my friend.”
Beth walked out of his bedroom and into the living room to start picking
up. She glanced back over her shoulder and smiled. “I don't envy the
hangover you'll have in the morning,” she murmured, then she finished
her self-appointed task. She made up her bed on the couch, turned off
the lights, and lay down. She wasn't sure how she could help, but
something had to be done before he managed to get himself killed and
she'd figure out a way to fix things.
Dark and Deep
"We always have a choice
Or at least I think we do
We can always use our voice
I thought this to be true
"We can live in fear
Extend ourselves to love
We can fall below
Or lift ourselves above
"Fear can stop you lovin’
Love can stop your fear
Fear can stop you lovin’
But it’s not always that clear"
-- Morcheeba, “Fear and Love”
27 October 2003
North of Union Station
Harm rolled over and groaned. His head hurt, his mouth tasted like the
inside of a dirty sock, and he *really* had to go. He threw back the
covers, climbed out of bed, and shuffled to the bathroom. He emptied his
bladder with a sigh of relief, washed out his mouth, and rummaged in the
medicine cabinet for some Tylenol (tm).
Harm found the medication, swallowed a couple, and headed back to bed.
He fell asleep quickly, only to be woken up a few hours later by racket
coming from the direction of his kitchen. He grabbed his robe, threw it
on, stumbled out into the living room, and into the kitchen. "Beth?" he
said groggily, "what are you doing here?"
Beth turned, pulled some milk and eggs out of the fridge, and deposited
the items on the counter. "You said I could stay on your couch because
my apartment is being fumigated, remember?"
Harm yawned and rubbed his hand over his face. "Oh, yeah, right. You
came over with beer last night."
"Uh huh." Beth broke an egg in the pan and gestured towards the table.
"Sit down, and I'll have breakfast ready in a few; then you can go back
to bed." She picked up a spatula and pointed it at him. "You, my friend,
are in dire need of more sleep."
Harm shuffled over to the table and sat down. Part of him wanted to
argue, but it felt damn good to have somebody take care of him for once.
He rested his head on one hand and watched her cook. "So why are you
cooking?" he asked finally.
"You've lost weight, Harm," Beth said softly. "My guess is that you
haven't been eating, and *somebody* needs to make sure that you do." She
stirred the contents of the pan for a moment before she turned towards
him. "I've no wish to break in a new partner for a while, so it's up to
me to make sure that you're okay."
Harm drew circles on the table with one finger. "I *am* okay," he
"Suuure," Beth said. She pulled the pan off the stove, dumped the
contents on a plate, added toast, then walked over and placed it in
front of him. "That's why you're so miserable that you haven't been
taking care of yourself." She grabbed a glass out of the cupboard,
opened a new carton of orange juice, filled the glass, and put it next
to the plate. "Eat," she ordered.
Harm poked the pile of scrambled eggs on his plate and frowned before he
took a bite. "I haven't been hungry lately," he admitted hesitantly.
"Why is that?" she asked.
"Paraguay," he admitted with a grimace. "I realized that Mac was
*right*. I've got nothing…"
"No, she wasn't," Beth insisted. "Mac is an idiot. If I were straight,
and a guy like you did what you did for her, I sure as hell wouldn't
treat him that badly." She patted him on the shoulder. "You've got me,
Harm, and I'm no fair weather friend to desert you when you get into
trouble; I swear I won't."
"She never really did--until I ended up in the brig for something I
didn't do. I wonder... if I'd ended up in Leavenworth, would she have
come then?" Harm laughed humorlessly. "I guess we'll never know, because
it seems like I'm destined to stay alone, and I'm damned tired of it!
Why do I *always* have to be the lone hero? Can't I ever be allowed to
have what I want the most?"
Beth leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. "No, you're not *destined*
for that. Remember how I said that if you called her, you'd know if it
Wordlessly, Harm nodded.
"I could be wrong," she offered. "It seems to me that she was pretty on
edge in Paraguay; maybe she didn't really mean it. You *are* entitled to
be happy, perhaps you just need to reach for it. Talk to her, Harm, make
her listen to how *you* feel."
Harm took a deep breath and nodded. "I'll think about it. Maybe after
our next mission." He glanced at the clock. "Speaking of which, don't we
need to get going?"
Beth shook her head, and headed over to the stove to cook her own
breakfast. "I talked to the boss this morning, and we've got a few days
off. You're *not* allowed to sub for anyone, either, because you need
sleep. Now eat your breakfast and go back to *bed*."
Harm sighed and picked up his fork. "Yes, Mommy."
Beth rolled her eyes and grinned mischievously. "Well, kiddo, it's a
dirty job, but *somebody* has to do it."
Harm grabbed a towel off the back of a chair, balled it up, and threw it
at her. Beth caught the towel and stuck her tongue out at him. He
chuckled, shook his head, and started to eat. Maybe things weren't as
bad as he had thought. No matter what the JAG crew thought of him, he
still had *one* friend in his corner, and it was a good feeling to know
that *somebody* still cared.
15 November 2003
AJ Chedwiggen's office
Falls Church, VA
AJ picked up a file and winced as he heard shouting coming from the
bullpen... again. In the eight months that Rabb had been gone, he'd
heard more fighting and more strife in his offices than ever before. He
grimaced and realized once more how *good* the Commander had been for
the morale at Headquarters. The hole he left due to the SecNav's orders
just couldn't be filled. He'd found replacements for Singer and Imes,
but he didn't have anyone who could fit into Harm's shoes.
Part of him didn't want to because replacing Harm would be admitting
defeat. He *needed* the other half of his best team back; Mac wasn't
happy without him around and she was making everyone aware of that fact.
As time passed, the likelihood of getting him back faded. After so long,
it was unlikely that he could pry Rabb away from the Company and have a
AJ had worked enough covert ops with them to know that working long term
with agencies like the CIA could easily steal parts of a man's soul. He
hadn't found anything he could do about that, but there might be
something he could do to fix Rabb's personal life. He pushed the
intercom button. “Coates, I need Colonel Mackenzie.”
“Yes, sir, I'll go get her.”
AJ leaned back in his leather chair, and sighed. It had to work. When
Mac had come back, she'd acted as if nothing untoward had happened, and
treated Rabb's sacrifice as if it meant nothing. *Somebody* had to talk
some sense into her, had to make her see what she'd done to the man
who'd given up absolutely everything he had left for her. Since nobody
else was stepping up to do it, he guessed it was up to him.
AJ looked up as Mac walked in and came to attention in front of his
desk. “Colonel Mackenzie, reporting as ordered, sir.”
“At ease, Colonel. Take a seat.”
“What is it you needed to see me about, sir?” she asked.
“First of all, Mac, I'm not talking to you as your CO, but I *will*
order you to stay put until I've finished if I have to.” AJ leaned
forward and clasped his hands together.
“Have you heard from Harm lately, Mac?”
“No, sir.” Mac said, looking subdued.
“Considering what I've heard about Paraguay, I'm not surprised,” AJ
Mac's head snapped up and she glared at him. “What *have* you heard,
“I got an email from Gunny after all of you got back that filled me in
on just about everything,” AJ folded his arms over his chest and looked
at Mac. He knew his people, and she was reacting exactly as he thought
“He didn't *have* to come after us,” she muttered. “Gunny could've
rescued us all by himself.”
AJ shook his head. “You don't know, do you, Mac? Gunny was waiting for
Harm to show up; Webb had told him that he should be waiting for him as
Mac's eyes widened. “You mean they were going to just *leave* us there?”
AJ shrugged. “That's the Company for you; you screw up, you die. Mac,
I'm not even going to go into the number of men Harm had to kill, some
with his bare hands even, but have you *really* thought about what he
did?” AJ sighed and started fiddling with a pen from his desk. “I asked
him what he'd give up to keep you, and he's proven that. My question for
you is what are *you* willing to give up to get him back?”
Mac sputtered as if she didn't know what to say.
“I've been his CO and friend for longer than I've known you, and he has
problems saying what he feels. *Think* about what you know about him
Mac. You two have been best friends for eight *years*.”
“On and off,” she muttered.
“*Everyone* he's ever said those words to that you want so much has
either died or left him, so he doesn't say them.” He swiveled his chair
around to face her more fully. “He's already proven that he loves you,
Mac; what in hell more could you want?”
“The words?” Mac whispered.
“The words you want will come eventually, Mac, but you have to let him
in and let him know how *you* feel.” AJ looked at her earnestly. “Have
you ever come out and told him how you feel? Have you ever said, 'I love
Mac twisted her hands in her lap, a blush rising in her cheeks. “Sort
of... well, no. I think he thought I was propositioning him for a one
night stand or something.”
AJ leveled a glare at her. “Mac, *fix* this. Go camp out on his doorstep
until he shows up or something, but get your act together! He's not in
my chain of command anymore, so when the two of you get married, there
won't be those problems.”
“Don't you mean, 'if', sir?”
“No, Colonel, I mean *when*. I've rarely seen what the two of you have,
and if both of you ever get your heads out of your sixes, I'll expect a
wedding invitation. Harm did it, so now we're just waiting on you.”
“Are you *sure*, sir?”
“He wouldn't have gone to Paraguay and thrown his career away for anyone
else, Mac. Now, go try and talk to him, *that's* an order.”
Mac stood and snapped to attention. “Yes, *sir*.”
“Dismissed.” AJ watched as Mac left his office, then sighed. He hoped it
wasn't too late; those two needed each other. He dismissed his officers'
love lives from his mind and reached for some paperwork. He had things
to take care of.
Before I Sleep
"All warfare is based on deception. We cannot enter into alliances until
we are acquainted with the designs of our neighbors."
--Sun Tzu, “The Art of War” (fl. 400-320 BC)
3 November 2003
"Harm, Beth, I've got an assignment for both of you." Blaisdell teed off
and glanced over at the aviators.
"What is it, sir?" Harm asked.
"Sadik has resurfaced," Blaisdell said.
"I knew he was still out there," Harm muttered. Beth put her hand on his
"For the record, we didn't expect it to be this fast; it's only been six
months since Paraguay, after all."
Harm nodded. "So our mission is to stop him?"
"In a way. Your report said that he never saw your face; is this
"As far as I know, sir," Harm responded as he stuffed his hands into his
"Good. The two of you are to infiltrate his organization. You're in this
because you're one of the few that can recognize him; Webb isn't up to
this kind of work yet."
"Do we know where, sir?" Beth asked. "Usually, the two of us are just
"You have approximately four hours to get packed before your plane
leaves." Blaisdell turned to face them, his face serious. "This may be a
long term assignment. Sadik must be stopped--we've received word that
he's planning on blowing up several major universities that have high
concentrations of exchange students here in the US. Webb and *his* new
partner will be by with the tickets and give you everything we have
before you leave for the airport."
"Yes, sir," the duo answered, then turned to leave. They walked to the
car and got inside without saying a word. Only when they had started to
drive back to Harm's place, did Beth venture to speak.
"I still don't get why they tapped me," she grumbled.
Harm smiled for the first time in what felt like forever. "Because
you're my partner--we now go together like peanut butter and jelly."
Beth made a face. "I never liked that kind of sandwich. Couldn't it be
something cooler, like Superman and Lois Lane? Batman and Robin? Hell,
Bert and Ernie?"
Harm laughed. "Well, Lois was in love with Superman, I've already been
partnered with Robin, and we both know how *that* worked out… I guess
Bert and Ernie are possibilities, but are you *sure* you want to be a
Beth rolled her eyes. "Good point. Hmm... perhaps the Lone Ranger and
Tonto? I'll have to think about it."
"How about Peter Parker and Mary Jane?" Harm suggested with a smirk.
"They got married," Beth said, then punched him lightly on the arm.
"Hey! That's not fair. I'm driving here," Harm said indignantly. "How
about the Cisko Kid and Pancho or the Green Hornet and Kato?"
"I think I like the Green Hornet and Kato," Beth said thoughtfully.
"As long as I get to be the Green Hornet," Harm teased. "I'm older than
you, so it's only fair."
Beth stuck her tongue out at him. "Fine. Now, what was that about Webb
having a *partner* now?"
Harm shrugged. "Maybe they got sick of FUBAR'd assignments and assigned
some poor sap to keep him out of trouble."
"Webb needs to go back to spook school," she muttered. "You're probably
right. I've heard rumors of a new guy that's on loan from the NSA..."
"I suppose it's possible." Harm turned on the radio, and the two sat in
silence, contemplating the new assignment that had the possibility of
easily going south if they didn't hurry. There were too many easy
targets that could kill not only thousands of students but had the
possibility of taking cities with them as well.
30 October 2003
Deputy Director Kershaw smiled at his guest as they waited for Webb. He
didn't know the man personally, but his record was excellent. Perhaps he
could get Webb to actually listen for once, since he'd been a
contemporary of Neville Webb.
Kershaw looked up as Webb entered. "Director, you wanted to see me?"
Kershaw motioned to the other chair in front of his desk. "Have a seat,
Webb sat down, shot a puzzled look at the unidentified man, then turned
towards Kershaw. "What is this about?" he asked.
"Agent Webb, this is your new partner, Agent Jack Olsen from the NSA."
Webb glanced at the older man next to him, then glared at Kershaw.
"Partner? I don't work with *partners*; I work *alone*!"
"You work with a partner, or you fly a desk," Kershaw said with a wave
of his hand. "Jack Olsen *is* your partner, whether you like it or not."
He stood up and walked around the desk. "I'll leave the two of you
together to work things out; I have to go check on a project."
"I don't need a partner," Webb insisted.
"Nice to know you think that, kid. If it weren't for who your old man
was, you'd have ended up behind a desk or as a star on the Company's
wall a long time ago." Jack leaned back in his chair and put his feet on
the director's desk. "I don't work with partners, but I agreed, because
I owe your dad. Neville and I worked together more than once, and he
saved my life."
Webb got up and started to pace, dismissing Jack's words with a flap of
his wrist. "I don't need you," he said.
Jack smiled indulgently and ran a hand through his graying dark hair.
"Well, kid, I've been working for the NSA since you were in diapers, and
you've got more FUBAR'd missions than I do to your credit. I've never
had to have JAG officers pull me out of tight spots, and you make a
habit out of it." He stood and stretched out to his full height.
"I'm not a kid," Webb said, irritated.
"Yes, you are," Jack smiled, his brown eyes twinkling with mischief. "My
son isn't that much younger than you are."
Webb rolled his eyes and moved away from the man. "I've been involved in
several successful missions," he began.
"In which you almost managed to get all of your allies killed, and the
Company refuses to give you backing unless you've got a baby-sitter."
Jack smiled charmingly, stood up, and leaned against the deputy
director's desk. "That's *me*, kid. Now you can accept your role as
junior partner who's got a lot to learn, or you can choose to ride a
desk, or we can send you back to training with the recruits. It's your
Webb stuck his hands in his pockets. "I guess you're my partner," he
"Well then, *you*, boy, have a lot to learn. Your first lesson is that
whatever I say goes; you follow *my* orders."
"Yes, sir," Webb said stiffly.
"Now, if you'll come with me, the first thing we need to do is look over
your latest case to see where you went wrong." Jack picked up a file
from the desk and started flipping through it. "The way I see it, your
planning was only half-cocked, nobody knew exactly what the hell was
going on, and you just didn't blend in well enough." He put the file
down on the pile, picked it up, and started walking.
Webb groaned inwardly and followed, wondering what he'd ever done to
Kershaw to get super-spy as his babysitter. It was humiliating enough to
be babysat like a screw-up, but having Jack Olsen do it was even worse.
He'd only read about some of the man's cases, but Olsen was worse than
Rabb; most of the time, he could do no wrong on the job. At this rate,
he'd never get his old position back.
16 November 2003
North of Union Station
Mac knocked on the door, waited, and then started pounding on it. When
no one answered, she fished out her keys, unlocked the door, and slipped
inside. "Harm?" she called.
No one answered. Mac looked around the apartment, taking in its
unlived-in look. It looked as if it had been unoccupied for quite some
time. There was a fine layer of dust covering things, as if the owner
hadn't been around to clean. The answering machine light was blinking,
probably with all the messages she'd left in the past few weeks.
Mac walked into Harm's bedroom and checked the closet. Damn. His sea bag
was gone, and heaven only knew when he'd come back. She walked back into
the living room and smiled when she saw a blank legal pad on the desk.
There was one thing that she could do to let him know that she still
Mac walked over and sat down in the desk chair before grabbing the legal
pad and a pen. She took a deep breath and started to write what she
thought might be the most important document of her life.
"Dear Harm," she wrote.
"I've recently received a Chegwidden wake-up call, and I've discovered a
few things that we need to talk about. The first thing I need to say is
that I'm sorry. Yeah, I know you never thought you'd hear that from me,
because I've said that apologies are signs of weakness, but it needed to
be said. I'm sorry I didn't realize how thoroughly concussed you were
after the plane crash in Paraguay, and I'm sorry I said *never*.
"Flyboy, the Admiral made me realize that I've never exactly said how I
feel about you, and I've never made what I want clear. I've never really
said this and meant it before, so I'm not too good at it, but here we
go. I love you. I want my best friend back, and I want us to reach for
something more, something better. And as for what I want, well, I want
us to make good on our deal. Before that, I'd like to marry you, so I
can tell all the blonde bimbos of the world to keep their mitts off of
you because you're mine.
"Yes, I know it's possessive of me, but I'm hoping that you still love
me enough to want to stake a claim of your own. Sailor, come back to me.
I'd camp out on your doorstep if I thought it would help. It wasn't
until after you stopped talking to me and the rest of the JAG crew that
I realized how much I need you in my life. I love you, Harm. I miss you.
Mac thought about it for a few minutes, then signed the note with, "your
Sarah." He rarely used her first name unless he was completely serious
about something, and by using it now, perhaps he'd realize how much she
meant what she was writing.
Mac ripped the page from the legal pad, folded it, wrote his name on it,
and laid it in plain sight on the desk. "Hurry home, Harm," she murmured
to the empty apartment.
In her hurry to leave, Mac jostled the desk, knocking over a tall stack
of bills. Not noticing, she left, locking the door behind her. The bills
fell on top of her note, completely obscuring the yellow paper.