Saturday August 14, 2004
For the better part of the afternoon Harm had been dragged along from
one store to another as Mattie, Jen and Mac shopped up a storm. Mac had
suggested the Georgetown Mall when Mattie and Jen had invited her to go
shopping with them, and the girls had readily agreed. He would never
admit it to them, but Harm was actually having a good time. He couldn't
help but smile when he saw the three of them gushing over shoes,
outfits, everything that caught their eyes. Watching them shop brought
back his conversation with Mac when she'd told him what she wanted in
life. A good career, a good man and lots of comfortable shoes. Smiling
to himself Harm stepped up and wrapped his arms around Mac and Mattie.
Could this be a glimpse into what it would be like to have a wife and
"So girls. Have you maxed out my credit card yet?" he asked with a
"Not yet." Mattie said with a smile.
Placing a kiss on top of Mattie's head Harm gave her a little push
towards the smiling Jennifer. "Why don't you two go try on some more
shoes or something. I was once told a woman can never have too many
"What are you and Mac going to do?" Mattie asked with an impudent grin.
"None of your business. Now shoo." Harm said with a mock frown.
As Jen and Mattie moved on to the next store arm in arm Mac grabbed
Harm's arm. "What's up?" she asked.
Shrugging, Harm smiled at her and said "Just thought that we can talk. I
was curious about something." Gently he guided her over to a bench with
a hand on the small of her back. "We're being followed." He whispered.
"Where?" Mac asked just as quietly.
"Two o'clock…over by the fountain. Cheap suit…bad haircut."
"Got him. Do you recognize him?"
"No. Are the girls safe?"
"They're in the shoe store. Guess they took you at your word." Mac said
with a smile.
"So speaking of shoes…how's your quest for comfortable shoes going?"
Harm asked quietly.
"Not bad. That's not the part of the dream I'm having problems with."
Mac said bitterly.
"Well maybe we can talk about that later. I mean, if you're having
problems at work…"
"Very funny Flyboy."
"I thought so." He said with a grin. "Is our friend still there?"
"Wait one…yeah there he is. He's on the other side of the fountain now.
How long has he been following us?"
"Spotted him about an hour ago. I wanted to make sure it was us he was
following before I said anything. Looks like he wants to keep us in
sight, but doesn't want to stay in one place. Next time he goes to shift
nudge me. Stay here…I'm going to try and get around him and then we'll
find out what he wants."
"You sure?" Mac asked, the concern evident in her voice.
"You think I can't handle it Marine?" Harm asked with a smile.
"I know you can Harm, just be careful ok?"
"You know me Mac."
"That's what I'm worried about…he's moving, go."
Harm didn't bother answering Mac, just got up off the bench and merged
with the crowd. There wasn't much he could do about his height, but he
did his best. With his head down and sticking to the crowd he looked up
through the people to see if he could spot his tail. There he was,
standing in front of the computer store trying to look like he was
window shopping, but he was spending too much time looking back towards
the bench that he and Mac had been sitting on. As he walked by the man
Harm 'accidentally' bumped into him.
"Sorry about that." Harm said with a smile and then grabbed the man's
arm in a tight grip. "I wouldn't recommend sticking your hand in your
pocket. It would be very rude, and I don't like rude people. Let’s go
for a walk."
Pulling the man towards a service corridor Harm glanced over his
shoulder and saw Mac moving quickly towards him and the man. When they
were in the corridor Harm shoved the man up against the wall and started
patting him down.
"So…you seem like a smart guy. Why are you following my friends and me?"
"What are you talking about?" the man replied.
"Oh? You mean you haven't been following me and my friends? Just happen
to be there every time I look for the last hour? What do we have here?"
Harm asked as he found a .38 in the man's belt.
"How's it going Harm?" Mac asked as she came up to them.
Pulling the gun from the hiding spot Harm handed it to Mac. "Cover him."
"Listen, you don't want to do this." The man said as Mac casually
pointed the gun at him, careful that the odd passer-by wouldn't see it.
"Oh I think I do." Mac said quietly.
Harm finally pulled out the man's wallet.
"Let’s see who you are shall? Your taste is a little tacky for the
spooks I know…and there you have it. Private dick." Harm said holding up
the man's wallet with his detective's license exposed. "I'm going to ask
this one more time and then I'm going to let my friend here scratch her
trigger finger. You know what women are like…she hasn't qualified on a
.38 in awhile and she's been thinking about that a lot. Why are you
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Wrong answer. Mac?"
"No, no wait. OK I'll tell you what I know." The man said in a hurry at
the grin on Mac's face.
"Talk." Harm said in a cold level voice.
"I work for a detective agency…but only the boss knows who hires us. He
hands out the case with as much information as we need and nothing more.
I just got a couple photos and some addresses where I could look for you
and some instructions to photograph you two. I swear, I don't know
"Who would want us followed?" Harm asked.
"Harm…think about all the people who have a grudge against you or me or
both of us for whatever reason. That's a pretty big list."
"How many of them would want pictures of us? How many would go through a
detective agency. Give him back his weapon."
Mac emptied the rounds out of the six chambers and then handed the gun
back. "You should be careful. Someone can get hurt with one of those."
She said as she dumped the bullets into the man's suit jacket pocket.
Harm pushed the guy up against the wall again and reached into his
jacket to pull out a digital camera. "Thanks. Now scram."
"What's the name of the detective agency?" Mac asked as the guy walked
quickly back out into the mall.
"Bleaker Street Detective Agency. Would be a waste of time though." Harm
said holding up the wallet. He knew what she was thinking when she asked
"Why do you say that?"
"I have a feeling I know who hired these clowns. Come on, let’s gather
the girls up."
"What's going on Harm?" Mac asked, stopping him with a hand on his arm.
"Nothing. Trust me Mac. Now…can we go get our daughters and go home?"
"Our daughters?" Mac asked with a smile.
"Mac…you're as much their mother as I am their father. You spend as much
time as I do with Mattie…maybe more. And you and Jen answer all those
questions I'm not fit to." He said with a grin.
"I like the sound of that." Mac said as she wrapped her arm around his
waist and rested her head on his shoulder. "Now who do you think hired
"I'll tell you later; I want to make sure I'm right before I say
anything. It doesn't happen often, but I may be wrong." Harm said with a
smile to hide the anger he felt inside. He hoped he was wrong, otherwise
he would be forced to wonder why Krennick was using a civilian detective
agency to follow him and Mac.
"Oh I forgot to tell you, Harriet called and invited us over for an
early dinner. I told her that we'd be there." Mac nervously said as they
walked back out into the main mall area.
"When did she call?" Harm asked.
"While we were looking at shoes and you were thinking about flying." Mac
said with a smirk.
"Ah. I guess we're going to Harriet and Bud's then. Did you tell them
the girls were with us?"
"She said she'd have a few choice words for you if we didn't bring
them." Mac said with a smile.
An hour later the four of them were pulling up to the Roberts house.
Before they could make it to the door Harriet had it opened and was
standing there with Jimmy in her arms. "Commander, Colonel…come on in."
"Harriet, please, call us by our names." Harm said with a smile.
"Of course Harm." Harriet said with a smile and a wink. Sometimes Harm
thought she insisted on using their ranks in order to annoy then.
Laughing Harm gave her a hug before passing into the house.
"Harm!" Bud called when he saw Harm come past Harriet. "Can I get you a
"I'll have a water if it’s not too much trouble Bud. Thanks." Harm said
shaking Bud's hand.
"I would like one too please Bud." Mac said as she came up next to Harm.
Behind Mac Harriet ushered the girls in and took them into the living
room to show off Jimmy.
"UNCLE HARM!" AJ called out as he came barreling out of the kitchen and
wrapped his arms around Harm's legs. Harm smiled when he saw AJ still
wearing the hat he sent back for him.
"Hey buddy. Whatcha doing?"
"Playin’ wit uncle Sturgy. Wanna play with us?"
"Sturgis is here? Starting to looking like a JAG barbeque here." Harm
said with a smile.
"Harriet invited him over as well sir." Bud said with a nervous smile.
Now what could cause Bud to be nervous Harm wondered.
"Let’s go Uncle Harm." AJ said tugging on Harm's pant leg.
"Don't you want to say hi to Auntie Mac?" Harm asked.
"Yeah!" AJ said and then ran off to follow the sound of voices to the
Walking out to the deck Harm saw Sturgis sitting on a deck chair with a
beer in hand. "Hey buddy." Harm said as sat next to his old friend.
"Hey bro…how's it going?"
"What's up?" Sturgis said sitting forward in his chair. He knew Harm
long enough to know when something was bothering him.
"I took the girls and Mac shopping in Georgetown this morning…and some
guy was following us."
"Find out who he was?"
"Yeah. Some private dick."
Sturgis raised an eyebrow but didn't say a word. Bud and all the girls
came wandering out of the house with drinks. Mac came over put a hand on
Harm's shoulder and handed a frosted glass of water. Smiling up at her
in thanks Harm sipped at the chilled water.
"So…someone schedule a barbeque and not tell me?" Harm asked with a
"Something like that." Mac said with a smile. Harm looked over at Mattie
to see her holding Jimmy in her arms with Jen standing beside her
"Actually buddy…we wanted to talk to you about something." Sturgis said
slowly. He was obviously being cautious in what he said.
Harm had a sinking feeling he knew where this was going. "Go on." He
"Sir…we're worried about you." Bud said cautiously. "About what's going
on in the office."
"With Captain Krennick sir." Harriet added.
"With Captain Krennick." Harm said with a sigh. "Listen, I appreciate
the concern, but Krennick is my problem."
"With all due respect sir, I don't think we agree." Jen added. "She's
still interrogating all of the female staff to see if they have ever
been interested in you."
With a sigh Harm ran his hand through his hair. Why did Krennick have to
come back after so many years, and not seem to have changed at all? "How
bad is it?"
"Bad sir." Jen said sadly. "I'm not sure if you've noticed, but morale
is not exactly high since the Admiral left."
Holding up his hand Harm stood up and stepped out in front of where his
friends had all gathered. "Guys…please. Understand that I appreciate
your concern…and worry. But what are you hoping to do?"
"Harm…you know my feelings on the matter. Krennick is sexually harassing
you, and you should make a formal complaint." Mac said seriously.
"It’s not that easy Mac…and before you get mad at me again, please hear
me out." Harm said stepping up and taking Mac's hand in his. When she
nodded he continued. "It’s not that I wish to offer myself up as a
sacrifice on the altar of the Navy."
Smiling sadly Mac raised her eyebrow. "Really?"
"Really. It is a complicated issue to consider…harassment charges are a
very serious thing, and they can impact officers’ careers on both
"Harm, I witnessed her actions." Mac said incredulously.
"And I've heard some of the things she's said to you sir." Jen said
quickly on the heels of Mac's statement.
"Commander, I too have witnessed some of her actions." Bud said standing
up. Harriet smiled up at her husband.
"It’s not that simple." Harm said quickly. "Not to mention that by this
very gathering we are all treading the line of mutiny." He added
At his words every last one of his friends from work looked
"And I won't allow you to do that. I admit something needs to be done
about Krennick, but I will be the one to do it. Guys, I am touched that
you were all worried enough about this to talk to me…but I won't expose
any of you to danger."
"Are you sure Harm?" Mac asked quietly.
"I know you all only want to help, but let me handle it my way. I
promise I will handle it."
All around they were all nodding. Everyone went back to chatting with
each other, trying to return to a semblance of normalcy. After a few
minutes Mac stepped up to where Harm was chatting with Bud and asked him
to go for a walk. Nodding he followed her to the bench in the garden and
sat beside her.
"Harm…I'm sorry about what I said the other day about you wanting to be
"It’s ok Mac…I've thought about it and I can see where you were coming
"I think there's something you're not seeing though." Mac added.
"Harm…maybe you don't think it’s so bad because you're used to what
Krennick is doing on some level."
"How do you mean?" Harm asked not sure he knew where Mac was going with
"I've known you about nine years Harm, and I've seen a lot of women
throw themselves at you. You're a good looking man, and as much as I
hate to admit it because of the impact it’s going to have on your ego,
when you put yourself into a set of dress whites, most women would be
hard pressed to contain themselves."
"You don't seem to have any difficulties containing yourself around
me." Harm said with a hint of bitterness.
"Don't be so sure. I just have Marine discipline." Mac said with a
frown. "My point is you've developed a bit of a blind eye to this.
You've become used to women hitting on you…it’s hard not to when you get
exposed to it as much as you do."
"So you're saying…" Harm said and then paused for her to continue.
"I don't think you see what Krennick is doing as seriously as we do."
Mac said softly.
Harm reached down and took Mac's hand as he considered her words. Could
she be right? Had he developed a blind eye? He was no stranger to women
hitting on him…it happened a fair amount of the time. Sadly, there was
really only one woman who he wanted to 'throw herself' at him…and she
seemed to be immune to his charms. Most of the time.
Squeezing her hand lightly he looked down at her serious brown eyes.
"Mac…can we agree to this…you and I leave for the Henry tomorrow
morning. I guessing we'll be in the Gulf a week at the most…when we come
back I will take care of everything."
"You'll raise charges against her for sexual harassment?" Mac asked
"I will take care of everything. Trust me."
"Do you promise?" Mac asked with a sigh. He hadn't said he would press
"I promise." Harm said with a reassuring smile. Absently he reached into
his pocket and fingered the digital camera he had taken off the private
detective. If he was right Krennick had the detectives following him and
Mac, and she would only use a civilian agency for one reason. Blackmail.
But he couldn't prove anything yet; he just had his suspicions.
"Mac…I'm going to see if Bud and Sturgis are up to helping with
something. Can you take the girls home when you're ready, and I'll meet
you guys at the apartment?"
"What are you going to do?" Mac asked suspiciously.
"Go see a detective." Harm said cryptically.
KLM Royal Dutch Airline Flight 652
En route to Al Dammam
Sunday August 15
Harm tossed the magazine he'd been trying to read into the pouch on the
back of the seat in front of him. Turning to his right he looked at the
woman sitting next to him. He'd let her have the window seat; no matter
how much he loved looking out at the clouds, he loved looking at her
more. However she hadn't spoken to him in…almost two hours he thought as
he looked at his watch.
"It’s been one hour and forty seven minutes." The woman beside him said
quietly. Well that was something, at least she'd said something.
"You ready to talk to me?" Harm asked softly.
Biting her lip Mac looked over at him and he could tell she was trying
to find reasons to stay angry with him. For almost nine years Mac had
been his friend, his partner. For the better part of that he'd been
fighting a losing battle against himself about how he felt about her.
What started as a wary friendship had blossomed into a close and
personal friendship…he'd allowed her to see things he tried to keep from
everyone else…she'd seen him at his worst, and she'd seen him at his
best. And he liked to think that she'd allowed him to see into her soul
the way she'd never let anyone else. He was finally able to admit to
himself that he loved her…hell he'd admitted it to himself the year
before…but things had never allowed him to explore that admission. And
now more than ever he was afraid to let himself go around her…he'd just
found out that his superior officer Captain Allison Krennick had hired
private detectives to follow him and Mac looking for evidence they were
more than just friends and partners. He couldn't allow himself to
jeopardize everything Mac had strived for in her life. This thought
brought him back to the angry Marine sitting next to him. After they'd
boarded the flight to Saudi Arabia he'd finally told her what he'd found
out at the detective agency.
"I can't believe you waited to tell me." Mac said bitterly.
"Mac…I knew you'd be upset about it, and I didn't want you going off
half-cocked." Harm said trying to be reasonable. He knew why she was
angry, but the last thing he needed was his partner in the brig for
assaulting a superior officer. "What good would you be to me locked in
the brig for assault?"
"What are you talking about?" Mac said with a sigh.
"Oh come on. You can't tell me that you didn't want to go teach Krennick
some patented Marine hand-to-hand techniques. I saw the look in your
eyes. I just figured it'd be safer if you couldn't leave for awhile
after I told you." Harm said with a shrug, trying to keep the situation
light and casual. The flight attendants had already admonished them when
Mac started yelling at him when he did tell her that the guy at the
detective agency had confirmed an A. Krennick had hired him.
"Well…maybe just a few." Mac said with what Harm could only describe as
a vicious grin. "You have to admit it would be well deserved. That woman
has gone too far!"
"I agree with you completely Mac…and I told you I would handle it." Harm
said gently reminding her of the discussion that had taken place the day
"That was before you told me that bitch was trying to dig up dirt on
us." Mac said viciously.
With a sigh Harm put his hand on Mac's knee. "Mac…as much as I would
like to watch while you pummeled her into…something…that's not going to
solve the issue."
"Harm, she can ruin our careers!"
"No she can't Mac…think about it for a minute. Number one, we haven't
actually done anything that she can use to ruin our careers." Harm said
thinking about how much he regretted that at times. He'd come to the
realization the summer before that she meant more than his career, and
had been willing to throw it all away for her. Too bad she didn't feel
the same way. "And number two, if she was going to use it against us she
would not be using a civilian detective agency, you know that."
"You've got a point." Mac admitted. "But what the hell is she thinking?"
"She's probably just trying to get some insurance in case you follow
through on your threat to reveal her…indiscretions. If she was serious
about trying to prove we've gone over the line she'd be using NCIS or
someone from JAG."
With a sigh Mac nodded slowly. "I suppose you're right Harm."
"I know I am." Harm said with his biggest grin. He knew it annoyed her
when he did that.
Rolling her eyes Mac threw up her hands. "All right. I'm not mad at you
"Good. I like winning."
"Tell me again what happened when you boys went to that detective
agency." Mac prompted.
With a sigh Harm launched into another recounting of how he, Sturgis and
Bud had gone to the Bleaker Street Detective Agency the previous
afternoon to see if they could find out who exactly had hired them to
tail Harm and Mac. At first the head detective had been uncooperative;
refusing to even admit that one of his detectives had been following
them. Once Harm tossed the detective's wallet onto the desk the man had
become a little more forthcoming. It hadn't hurt when Bud started
quoting statute and law regarding illegal surveillance of private
citizens, as well as those regarding treason. When Bud had pulled out
that big gun the man had almost bolted. Bud went on calmly to explain
how the surveillance of two senior military officers by an unknown
agency could be considered as a lead to terrorism. Harm had almost
started laughing at that…but he had to admit Bud was doing a good job of
playing bad cop; hell he looked so happy and down to earth most of the
time you couldn't help but believe him. Half an hour later they had all
the information they needed including the files the detective had
started on the case. After ensuring all the photos were erased from the
memory card Harm had returned the detective's digital camera…he wasn't a
thief after all.
"So what are we going to do?" Mac asked when Harm finished his account
of the events.
"We are going to do nothing, I told you that. I'm going to handle it
when we get back. I think it’s time Allison and I had a little chat."
Harm said with a frown. He knew Mac could handle herself in any number
of situations…lord knew he'd seen her in action enough times. But he was
not going to expose her to something that could come back to ruin her
"Harm…" Mac said with a warning tone.
"Mac…please let me handle it? I promise, as soon as we get back I'm
going to make sure it never happens again."
"If you don't…" Mac said slowly.
"Trust me." Harm said with a grin.
Muttering to herself Mac threw Harm one of her 'Don't piss me off' looks
and then glanced out the window to see if she could see the ocean.
"So…what do you think should be our plan of action when we get out to
the Henry?" Harm asked in an attempt to change the subject.
"Mr. I always have a plan is asking for my input?" Mac said
sarcastically. He knew she wasn't thrilled with his 'John Wayne I'll
Handle it Myself' take on the Krennick situation, but he also knew she'd
get over her anger eventually. As much as he knew it annoyed her, he
just couldn't help trying to protect her. He always would, no matter how
much she told him he didn't have to; he couldn't do anything else.
"Yes, I'm asking for your input. We're partners right?" Harm said
"Well I think we should talk to the Hawkeye crews…maybe one of them will
remember something. We should also talk to the flight crews…if anyone
tampered with the Hawkeye before Riley took off for that mission they
might have seen something. Oh, and we should talk to the machinists in
the shop where they found his body." Mac said after a long pause.
"That's what I'm thinking." Harm agreed. "I'll also talk to the Skipper
and some of the 'cat pilots as well. Somebody had to see something. We
both know that no matter how big the carrier, there's people
"Speaking of interviews, any luck getting a hold of Meg? We should
probably talk to her again."
"I left a couple messages at the number that Bud dug up for me, but I
haven't heard back from her yet." Harm said with a shrug. He smiled when
he saw Mac try unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn.
"Mac, I'm sorry for boring you with case details. Why don't you try and
sleep for awhile? We won't be landing for a few hours at least. We can
talk about it more later."
"I'm sorry…Jen and Mattie kept me up later than I expected last night."
Mac said apologetically. She'd taken Mattie and Jen home after dinner at
Bud and Harriet's and then had spent some time indulging in girl-talk
with his daughter and her roommate. He'd gone over to remind her they
had an early flight and had been chased out for his efforts.
Taking Mac's hand in his he gave it a gentle squeeze and smiled at her.
"Mac…never apologize for spending time with Mattie. You have no idea how
much I love it when you spend time with her. She needs a few good female
role models in her life, and I can't think of two better than you and
Smiling at Harm's words Mac nodded slowly. "Well maybe I am a little
tired and should take that nap."
"Good idea." Harm said as she put her seat back and closed her eyes. He
noticed she hadn't let go of his hand, and he wasn't going to break the
contact if he didn't have to.
"Good night Sarah." Harm said softly after a couple minutes. "Sweet
He wasn't really expecting her to reply but he couldn't help but smile
when she tried to mumble a reply.
For two and a half hours Harm had been going over the information he had
on his laptop pertinent to the case and was still just as confused as he
had been when the murder first happened. Other than the blown cover
angle, Harm couldn't figure out why anyone would kill Riley. From the
few times he'd spent any time with him, Harm knew Riley was a nice
guy…funny, cocky like any other pilot, but a good guy. Feeling a gentle
squeeze of his hand he looked over to Mac expecting to see her waking
up, but instead her eyes were still firmly closed, and she still seemed
to be sound asleep. As he watched a smile grew on her face and he was
almost sure she was having some fun at his expense, but then she licked
her lips and started to mumble something. He strained to hear what she
was saying, interested to find out what she would be saying in a dream
that made her smile like that. Interestingly the only word he could make
out clearly was his name. Well, any dream that made her smile like that
while saying his name couldn't be anything but good. Chuckling Harm
turned to go back to the case file just as the soft bell toned to alert
passengers to an announcement.
"We are making our final approach to Al Dammam and will be landing in
approximately twenty minutes. Please ensure that your seats are in their
proper upright position and your tray tables are stowed. Thank you for
flying KLM Airlines."
Giving Mac's hand a gentle squeeze Harm leaned over and whispered in her
ear "Hey there sleepy head. Wake up."
With a soft intake of breath Mac blinked her eyes a few times and looked
up at him. Smiling when she saw him she said "Hey honey. What's going
Biting his tongue to keep from saying anything that could be taken the
wrong way Harm simply said "The Captain has announced final
approach…we're going to land in Al Dammaam soon."
"Al Dammaam?" Mac asked with confusion evident on her face. Slowly a
slow blush that rose to her cheeks replaced the confusion. Quickly she
released his hand, hit the button and raised her seat back up straight
and then looked out the window at the approaching airport. "Harm…" she
"Did I…say anything in my sleep?"
Pushing down his first impulse to have some fun at Mac's expense he just
shook his head. "Not really…you mumbled a bit, but no…didn't really say
anything. Why do you ask?" He'd noticed recently that he was a bit more
willing to forego baiting Mac than he had been in the past. Sometimes he
did it to keep her on her toes, but he didn't really have it in him to
fight her day and night. Maybe it was that raising Mattie was doing more
than its share of tiring him out, or maybe he was getting soft.
"Ah…just the dream I was having."
"Bad dream?" Harm asked curiously. The smile on her face while she was
dreaming didn't scream nightmare to him.
"Ah…no…not a bad dream. Just…a dream. I've actually been having it a lot
lately." Mac said evasively. Well now he thought. What he wouldn't give
to find out what was in her 'just a dream'. "We're landing?" Mac asked.
Nodding Harm slid his laptop into the carrying case and placed it back
in the overhead baggage compartment.
An hour later they had claimed their baggage from the check and were
making their way to the arrival lounge. Someone from the carrier was
supposed to meet them and get them to the COD. Both of them were
traveling in civilian clothes in order to avoid attention and Harm was
guessing whoever was meeting them would be out of uniform as well so he
was assuming he'd need to look for a placard with their names on it.
Instead he saw the slender woman with the brown ponytail almost right
away. A big smile broke out on his face as he moved towards her.
"Skates! What are you doing here? Don't tell me that they've assigned
you to greeting new arrivals." Harm said happily.
"No sir…ooph." Skates said as Harm caught her up in a big hug. "Damn it
CAG, put me down."
"Not your CAG anymore Skates." Harm said putting her down with a smile.
"You'll always be my CAG Hammer." Skates said. Looking over Harm's
shoulder she smiled when she saw Mac. "Colonel MacKenzie. Good to see
"Is it Skates? The last time we saw each other I was trying to prove you
shot down a civilian aircraft."
"Ma'am, with all due respect, if the CAG doesn't hold it against you, I
won't either." Skates said with a smile and a shrug. "Besides, we all
know you're good people ma'am. You were just doing your job."
"Thank you for that Skates." Mac said gratefully.
"Well ma'am, the CAG sees something special in you, and we figure he
can't be wrong about this." Skates said with a wink.
"Skates!" Harm said scandalized.
"Really?" Mac asked intrigued.
"Yes ma'am. You should have seen how he stared at that picture of you
and him he kept in his locker…not to mention the picture of you he keeps
in his flight suit." Skates said ignoring Harm's protest.
"Damn it Lieutenant Commander!" Harm said, resorting to using her rank
to show she'd stepped over the line.
"Sorry sir." Skates said, but she didn't sound sorry.
"In his flight suit?" Mac asked Skates.
"Well ma'am…maybe we should talk about this later." Skates said with a
look at Harm.
"I don't think you should talk about it at all Lieutenant Commander."
"I'm sure you do sir. We should get going though, the COD is waiting and
the Skipper wants to talk to you." Skates said with a nod towards the
doors out of the lounge.
Two and a half hours later the COD trapped on the deck of the Patrick
Henry and the three of them left the aircraft to cross the deck to enter
the superstructure. Pulling off the white vest and helmet they had worn
on the trip out Harm looked around and smiled.
"You miss it?" Mac asked quietly as she handed her vest and goggles to
the crewman collecting them.
"Sometimes; some of it." Harm said with a shrug.
"Sometimes we miss you too sir." Skates said with a smile.
"Only when Keeter's showing his crankiness I bet." Harm said with a
smile at Mac.
"Excuse me sir, the Captain would like you to join him on the bridge." A
young ensign said coming to attention.
"Thank you Ensign." Harm said with a crisp nod. "Guess we have a date on
As they were making their way to the bridge Harm felt Mac put her hand
on his shoulder.
"What was Skates talking about?"
With a sigh Harm stopped and turn to face Mac. "Mac…you and I have a lot
to talk about, and I guess you could say this is part of that
"So you're saying we're going to talk about it later, like usual." Mac
said with a sigh.
"Mac…I know we've said we would talk about things later a lot in our
time. Trust me when I say that everything I've ever said I've kicked
myself for not saying, and I'm planning on saying everything, we just
need to hold on until we get home. Please?"
"What else can I do Harm? Make you tell me here?"
"You could…but I was thinking somewhere a little more private. It’s
going to take awhile for us to say everything." Harm said with a smile.
"Remember what I told you when we first met?"
"Uhh…that your name was Mac?"
"Very funny. I told you that you had a very nice smile and I was sure it
normally got you wanted. I'll wait until we get back." Mac said with a
smile and a sigh.
"Thank you Sarah." Harm said gently. Giving her arm a squeeze he and Mac
started making their way back towards the bridge. When they arrived at
the hatch they saw Skates waiting for them.
"Thought you got lost Hammer."
"Now why would you think that?"
"Might have something to do with your advancing years sir…but I wouldn't
presume to say that."
"Well that's good Skates. Thank heavens for small favors. Open the
"Aye, aye Commander."
"JAG on the bridge" the Marine guard called when they entered the
"Welcome back Commander, Lieutenant Colonel." Captain Ingles said coming
over to join them.
"Thank you Skipper." Harm said with a salute
"Just couldn't stay away, could you Hammer?"
"Just back for a visit sir." Harm said.
"What can I do for you?" Ingles asked curiously.
"Could we speak privately sir?" Harm asked.
Nodding crisply the Captain gestured towards the hatch.
"Aye, aye sir." Harm said.
"Now then…what can we do for you Commander? Lieutenant Colonel?" the
Captain asked once they were in his office.
"We've been asked to reopen the Riley murder investigation sir." Mac
said in her all business tone.
"NCIS and our JAG talked to everyone on board…they went over this
carrier with fine toothed combs and didn't find anything."
"Yes sir." Harm said respectfully. "However sir, the SecNav felt that
the Lieutenant Colonel and I could perhaps discover something previously
"And you thought the crew would look upon your questions differently
because they know you." Captain Ingles said with an arched eyebrow.
"I always said you were a smart man Skipper." Harm said with a smile.
"You damn better have Commander." Captain Ingles said with a smile.
"Fine. I'll have you both given berths and assign an office for your
use. How long will you be with us?"
"No more than a week Skipper." Harm guessed.
"Get it done. And damn it, find out what happened. I don't like
unexplained killings on my ship."
"Aye, aye Skipper." Harm said with a salute. "Come on Mac, we have us a
murderer to find."
USS Patrick Henry
Monday August 16, 2004
"Lieutenant Reed, what was the reason you were given for the early
return of your aircraft from its mission on June 6th of this year?" Mac
asked the young Lieutenant, the radar operator on the Hawkeye that was
tasked to fly high cover for Harm on that ill-fated mission.
"Lieutenant Commander Riley said we had a mechanical problem ma'am.
Raptor 1 ordered us to return to base."
"What was the nature of the mechanical problem Lieutenant?"
"Ah…to be truthful ma'am, I'm not too sure. Ghost…Lieutenant Commander
Riley ma'am…he said we were losing power to one of the engines. We tried
to trace the problem but couldn't see anything wrong. Ghost was worried
we weren't going to be able to make it back…it's a good thing Raptor 1
ordered us back ma'am."
"Isn't it true however Lieutenant that when you returned the flight
crews failed to find anything wrong with the aircraft?"
"Ah, yes ma'am. Can't rightly explain it. They went over everything and
said it was all fine. If I may ask ma'am, we were asked all these
questions already by NCIS and our JAG."
"And the question Lieutenant?"
"Well, respectfully ma'am, why are you asking us again?"
"We're hoping someone might remember something they forgot before."
Shaking his head the young Lieutenant looked truly sorry. "I'm sorry
ma'am…all I remember is what I said before. Ghost told us we had a
problem, we came back. Next thing we heard Raptor 1 had gone down in a
dogfight and a SAR team was dispatched as soon as we could."
"'As soon as we could' Lieutenant? I thought the SAR team was dispatched
"Well, it was as fast as we could safely ma'am. The area was hot, so it
was recommended we wait until we could get a read on how hot exactly."
"How much of a wait are we talking Lieutenant?" Mac asked with a rough
edge to her voice. Harm pushed himself off the wall he was leaning
against to step up and put a hand on her shoulder.
"It’s ok Mac." He whispered in her ear. Nodding at the Lieutenant Harm
said, "You can go son. Thanks."
"Hammer…I'm sorry we left you out there like that. I don't know what we
could have done if we stuck around, but maybe we could have done
something…directed them to you if nothing else." Lieutenant Reed said in
a tone that pulled at Harm's heart. The kids really did feel bad about
his going down.
"It’s ok Keeper. Send Lieutenant Baker in when you see her."
"Aye, aye sir." Keeper said as he came to attention and then turned
smartly to leave the office.
After he left Harm sat down next to Mac and put his hand on top of hers
where it rested on the table. "Mac…we're going to find something…we just
have to keep digging. But don't be hard on the kids for being kids."
"Harm…they disobeyed orders…they left you out there…" Mac said in a soft
"No Mac…I ordered them back. As operational lead, my orders carried. If
I issued those orders because of bad information, then we look for the
source of bad information. Right now that's Riley, but he had to have a
reason to lie. We just need to find it."
"You're right Harm…damn I'm saying that a lot."
Smiling Harm gave her hand a gentle squeeze before removing his from on
top of it. "It’s ok Mac…I've been saying that to you for almost eight
A knock at the hatch prevented Mac from saying anything to his statement
and Harm stood up and called out "Enter."
A willowy blonde woman with Lieutenant bars on her flight suit entered
and came to attention. "Lieutenant Baker reporting as ordered."
"Have a seat Lieutenant."
"Thank you CA..sir." Baker said with a slight smile in apology.
"It’s ok Baker. Lieutenant Colonel MacKenzie is going to ask you some
questions. Just answer them as honestly as you can and we'll have you
out of here in time for mess."
"Aye, aye sir."
Harm wearily rubbed his eyes. They'd been interviewing crew for almost
nine hours now and from where he sat they were no closer to finding an
answer as to why Riley had been murdered. Mac was making notes about the
interview in his laptop to be sent back to the office when the instant
messenger icon started flashing.
"Probably Bud." Harm said as he wandered over to see who it was.
"Austin" Mac said as she saw who was sending the message. "I'll give you
"You don't need to Mac…really. She probably just wants to know what I
wanted when I called her. Stay…you can ask her any questions that pop
into your head."
"You don't want me asking her what I want to know." Mac said in a barely
audible mutter. Harm wasn't too sure he'd heard her right, but let it
Austin: Got your messages. What's up?
Flyboy: Need to talk to you about Riley
Austin: Heard you were looking into that again. What do you need?
Flyboy: Could he have been killed by the subject of your invest?
Austin: Maybe…we…I think that the subject was onboard at the time
Flyboy: Who was he?
Austin: Can't tell you here. Where are you?
Flyboy: On the Henry. Mac and I came out to poke around again and see
what we could fine.
Austin: Say hi for me.
Flyboy: She's right here.
Austin: Hi LC MacKenzie.
Flyboy: <- Mac Call me Mac Meg.
Austin: All right Mac. ;) This is getting a little long.
Flyboy: Tell me about it. Can we talk when we get back?
Austin: Leave a message when you get back and I'll call you. I hear
you're working with Krennick again
Flyboy: Don't remind me.
Austin: She still bad?
Austin: Maybe I can help
Flyboy: Maybe…we'll talk. Hey…did you really tell her what she said you
did when we were in Hong Kong?
Flyboy: Regret telling or regret feeling?
Austin: Telling. Made me feel like I was like her.
Flyboy. Never. Anyway…call you when we get back. Later.
Austin: Take care you two.
After he logged off the instant messenger he looked over at Mac to see
her looking at him intensely. "What?" he asked.
"Nothing…none of my business." Mac said with a slight blush.
"You want to know what she told Krennick when I was captured." Harm
"A little…what do you mean captured?"
"I got kidnapped by the Chinese when I went to Hong Kong to advice on a
position paper State was preparing. Naval law and all that."
"I didn't know that." Mac said shocked.
"It’s not something I like to remember. They kept me pretty drugged up…I
thought I was talking to my father a lot of the time."
"Oh." Mac said softly at Harm's admission.
"As for what Meg said…sorry you'll have to ask her." Harm shrugged. He
wasn't going to tell the woman he loved another woman admitted to
wanting to sleep with him. Besides which he didn't have anyone but
Krennick's word on the story. He wasn't going to trust what Krennick
said enough to get Mac mad at him and risk pushing her away when he
wanted to bring her closer.
Three days later they had interviewed all the flight crews, the Hawkeye
crews, the Air Boss and his team, the Skipper, the fighter pilots and
everyone else they could think of. So far the only lead they could come
up with was two pilots who remembered seeing Riley talking with someone
who fit the description of the CIA spook who was there to debrief Harm
when Webb went missing. The Skipper said the spook said his name was
Rivers when he came on board. Agent Rivers. Not a lot, but it was
"I can check with some of my agency contacts about Rivers…see what we
can learn there." Mac said hesitantly.
"Thanks. If he was talking to Riley, Riley may have talked to Meg. When
I meet her when we get back I'll see what she knows. At least we're not
going to leave tomorrow empty handed." Harm said as he stood up and
started to do a short pacing behind Mac. "Why would Riley be talking to
"That's the question, isn't it Harm?"
"Could Riley be double dipping?"
"What do you mean?"
"Working for NI and CIA at the same time?"
"That's a little far fetched, don't you think?"
"I don't know Mac…this whole thing seems a little far fetched." Harm
said as he came to a stop in his pacing right behind Mac. Reaching over
her shoulder he started pulling up information on his laptop. It was
only after the files started opening that he felt Mac's breath on his
face and realized his face was right next to hers. Feeling the blush
rising in his face Harm stood up quickly. He didn't want someone to walk
in on them and provide the image of them being improper in their conduct
with each other; especially with Krennick looking for blackmail
material. "I'm sorry Mac."
So quickly did Harm step back that he didn't see the momentary flash of
sadness in Mac's eyes or hear the sigh that escaped her lips. "So you
think Riley was really working for the Company?"
"I don't know." Harm admitted, deciding it was best to ignore the whole
moment that had just happened. As hard as that was, he wasn't going to
give anyone anything that could hurt Mac. "Maybe. Meg might know
something when I talk to her."
A knock at the hatch prevented Mac from saying anything in response. The
knock was followed by the hatch opening to reveal the ensign who had met
them when they first came aboard.
"A ship to shore call from a Commander Turner for you Commander."
"Thank you Ensign." Harm said with a nod. When the young officer was
gone he said to Mac "I wonder what Sturgis wants?"
"Only one way to find out." Mac said with a smile.
Nodding Harm left to make his way to the communications room.
"Can I help you sir?" One of the petty officers on duty asked when he
entered the room.
"Commander Rabb. I was told I have a ship to shore?"
Checking a clipboard the Petty Officer nodded and gestured towards one
of the phones. "You can take it over there sir."
"Thanks." Harm said and then picked up the phone. "Rabb."
"Harm, it’s Sturgis. How are things going out there?"
"Not that great. We've got a few new leads, but we've also got more
questions than we came out with."
"Well it’s something at least."
"I suppose. You called all this way just to find out how we were making
out on the investigation?"
"Not just that. Just thought you'd like to know that your friend knows
that you know about the detectives."
"They found out yesterday…and they weren't happy about it."
"Any plans made?"
"Don't think so Harm. Just watch your six." Sturgis said seriously.
Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday August 18, 2004
Harm tossed his briefcase down on one of his extra chairs and set his
cover on top of his filing cabinet. Sinking into his chair he looked
over the case files that had piled up in his in basket while he was on
the Henry. Not too bad all things considered. Turning on his computer
Harm fired up his email program to see what had piled up in that inbox.
Most of the messages were internal office mail, announcements and the
like. One message however caught his attention.
I'll be coming by your office when you're back.
Well considering he'd seen Mac last night he would assume the message
was from Meg, which was good news. He had questions about Riley and
Rivers that Meg might be able to answer. Plus it would be good to see
her as well. A polite knock at his door caused Harm to look up and smile
when he saw Jen standing in his doorway.
"Welcome back sir, it’s good to have you back."
"It’s good to be home Jen. Was Mattie any trouble while I was away?"
"I can neither confirm nor deny that sir on the grounds that to do so
would implicate myself in her mischief."
"Really." Harm said with a raised eyebrow. He still was floored
sometimes at how well the two girls got on. Ten years difference in age
didn't seem to be a factor in their friendship; they really did act like
sisters instead of friends.
"Indeed sir. Did you have any luck out on the Patrick Henry sir?"
"Some, Petty Officer, not a lot, but some."
"Good to hear sir. She wants to see you and the Colonel right away sir."
"She does, does she? Tell the Captain the Colonel and I will be right
there, will you Jen?"
"Aye, aye sir." Jen said with a bright smile as she came to attention.
Turning crisply she walked back to the front office.
Getting up and grabbing his notes from the investigation Harm went over
to Mac's office and knocked on the door.
"Morning Marine. Care to join me?"
"Where are we going?" Mac asked as she looked up at Harm. He noticed
right away that her smile was forced…now what did he do?
"The Captain has summoned us to her domain."
"Well then we must not keep her waiting." Mac said with a sigh.
The two of them made their way over to the front office and were
informed by Jen that they could go right in.
When they had come to attention in front of Krennick's desk she made
them wait while she flipped through some files on her desk. Finally she
looked up and said "Commander, Colonel. Have a seat."
"Thank you ma'am." Harm said politely. He wasn't going to be the one to
get this meeting off to a bad start.
"How did the investigation go out there?"
"Not too badly ma'am. We've got a few more leads than we did when we
went out there; unfortunately we also have some more questions."
"We know that Lieutenant Commander Riley was seen meeting with a man
named Rivers. Commander Rabb has identified the man as the CIA agent who
debriefed him after his mission on the fifth of June." Mac said in a
crisp business-like tone.
"And this is important?"
"We think it is ma'am. Rivers disappeared around the time Riley was
killed, and no one has seen him since. I'm hoping to get some more
information from Riley's partner when I speak to her today. Colonel
MacKenzie is also going to use her contacts at the CIA to try and get
some information." Harm said.
"We've confirmed that there was nothing wrong with the Hawkeye when it
returned to the carrier on the sixth of June. Apparently Riley faked a
mechanical problem and got me to order him to return to the carrier."
"How would he know you would do that?"
"SOP ma'am. If an aircraft can't complete the mission profile it is to
return to base so as not to jeopardize itself or others involved with
the mission." Harm said matter-of-factly.
"I see. So where does this leave us?"
"Ma'am, I'm beginning to think that Rivers might be our man. I recommend
we wait until we've checked out our sources here to see if we can find
out more before we decide where to go with this."
"Very good Commander. Give me a written report by 1200. The SecNav is
very interested to find out where you are with this, and I want…us…to
look good for him."
"Yes ma'am." Harm said simply. "If that will be all?"
"Actually there is something else." Krennick said. Ah here it is Harm
thought. He'd been wondering when she would bring it up. Squaring his
shoulders he waited for her to continue. "I want to discuss your
relationship with each other."
"What about it ma'am?"
"I don't think I will be sending the two of you on any more
"Respectfully Captain, may I ask why?" Harm inquired.
"Why not?" Mac asked simply.
"Because Colonel, I don't think it would project the proper image."
Krennick said through clenched teeth.
"And why would that be ma'am?" Harm asked resisting the urge to put a
hand on Mac's knee to calm her down.
"I think it would be better if we discussed this in private Commander.
Say over dinner tonight?"
"Well that depends on if the Colonel is available for dinner Captain."
"I wasn't inviting her Commander." Krennick said with an arched eyebrow.
Harm realized that he'd played into her hands. "Do the two of you have
anything you wish to tell me?"
"About what ma'am?" Harm asked warily.
"About your relationship with each other." Krennick said with a little
"There is nothing to say ma'am. The Lieutenant Colonel and I are
partners and friends. Working together for as long as we have has
allowed us to develop a close and friendship and bond."
"Are you romantically involved?"
"No ma'am." Harm said harshly. He saw Mac stiffen up at his words and
fought his urge to look at her and ask her what was wrong.
"Colonel? Do you have anything you wish to add?"
"Apparently not ma'am." Mac said sharply.
"Very well. Colonel you are dismissed."
Mac silently stood up and left the room. Harm watched her leave and then
turned back to Krennick.
"What are you playing at Allison?" Harm asked when Mac was gone.
"Oh, we're on a first name basis are we Harm?" Krennick asked with an
arched eyebrow. "I'll make it easy on you Harm. I'll look the other way
while you do whatever it is you want to do with her, but in return I get
what I want."
"And what is that Allison?"
"Why Harm, I thought you would have figured that out years ago. I want
"Why? Because I'm the one who got away? The only one to say no?"
"Admittedly that is part of it. But you're still the rising star of JAG,
and I find you very sexy Commander." Krennick said as she got up and
walked around her desk to sit on the edge and put her hand on Harm's
"And if I say no?"
"Then I'm afraid that I'm going to have to start an investigation into
the nature of your relationship with Lieutenant Colonel MacKenzie. Since
I got here I've noticed some very disturbing things about you two that I
can not in good conscience ignore."
Harm couldn't help but laugh, and he laughed harder yet at the look in
Krennick's eyes. Standing up he patted her on the shoulder and started
to walk towards the door. Stopping with it half open he turned around to
look at her. "Allison. You and I both know that you're not going to do
"Are you threatening me Commander?"
"Not at all Captain. But you and I both know that you wouldn't have
approached a civilian detective agency if you intended to pursue this in
earnest. You would have used a JAG from outside the office…or hell even
Sturgis or Bud. But you know as well as I that they wouldn't find
"You'd be surprised Commander Rabb."
"No ma'am I wouldn't."
"Think of your career Harm."
Harm laughed again at this. "Allison, I resigned my commission once
already. My career isn't the most important thing in my life anymore. On
the other hand, you will not ruin the Colonel's career. I won't allow
that, and you and I both know that I can call your own career into
question any time I want."
With that Harm walked out of her office and shut the door firmly.
Turning around he saw Jennifer standing behind her desk with eyes as
wide as saucers. Winking at her Harm walked out into the bullpen feeling
very good about how he had handled that. As he was crossing to his
office Harriet stood up from her desk and placed herself in Harm's way.
(A/N I really hate putting these in the middle of things, they break up
the flow but I just have to say…no pun intended!)
"Commander…what did you say to the Colonel?"
"What do you mean Harriet? I didn't say anything to her."
"Well maybe that's the problem sir. Maybe you should say something to
her sir. Isn't there something you want to say?"
"Harriet." Harm said in a warning tone of voice. "I don't think we
should discuss that right now, do you?"
"Uhh no sir."
"Now tell me why you think I said or didn't say something to Mac?"
"Because of the way she stormed into her office and then two minutes
later stormed out again. She only gets that mad at you sir." Harriet
"Do you know where she went?"
"Did she go home?"
"No sir, her purse and cover are in her office."
"Thanks Harriet." Harm said with a hand on Harriet's shoulder.
He finally found Mac in the law library, the last place in the building
he looked for her.
"Mac." He said quietly.
She ignored him and continued to stare out of the window she was
standing in front of.
"Mac…sweetie, what is it?" Harm asked coming up to her and putting a
hand on her arm.
Pulling her arm away from him Mac whirled and stared at him like he'd
grown another head. "'Mac…sweetie'? Where the hell do you get off
calling me that Commander?"
"What do you mean Mac?"
"You know Commander; I think the problem is you don't even know what you
want. One minute it seems like you want me…you're calling Mattie 'our'
daughter…you talk about us, and then next you're all professional and
you get embarrassed at being near me."
"What are you talking about Mac?"
"Nothing apparently. So when is the Captain going to start the inquiry?"
"She's not. I talked to her and explained how things are between us."
"Oh you told her that we're 'just friends'? So now she can feel free to
pursue you some more?"
"Mac, I told her we're friends, which we are. Anything beyond that is
none of her damn business."
"Is there anything beyond that Harm? Really, is there? Because a week
ago it seemed like you were opening up to me, that we were getting
close, finally getting close and then you turned it off again. All of a
sudden it’s all business with you Harmon Rabb. And I don't want you to
do something you don't want. Maybe I should just request a transfer…that
way we can all have what we want."
"What makes you think that's what I want Mac?"
"No Mac, I don't want you to leave. And I don't want to leave. And for
god's sake I don't want Krennick."
"What do you want Harm? And be careful how you answer."
Harm looked at her incredulously. She was asking him this in the middle
of the JAG law library.
Taking a deep breath he shrugged his shoulders. "Well Mac, this isn't
where I pictured us having this talk, but if you want to have it now…"
he started and then was interrupted by a knock at the door behind them.
Turning to the door Harm saw Meg standing in the doorway. "Sorry to
interrupt." Meg said.
"Nothing was going to happen Lieutenant Commander, don't worry. You
didn't interrupt anything." Mac said bitterly and then walked out of the
With a sigh Harm dropped into a seat and gestured Meg to the do the
"I see you still have such an easy time opening up to those close to you
Harm." Meg said as she sat down. "Why don't you just tell her? Everyone
can see you love her. Even I can and I haven't seen you in how many
years? You never looked at me like that."
"Oh yes I did Meg, trust me. You just never saw it."
"Are you telling me you loved me sir?"
"Maybe not quite Meg, but it might have become that. It’s taken Mac and
me eight years to get to this point…"
"How long until you loved her?"
"Then tell her that sir."
"I don't know if I can Meg…I think I've screwed up too many times. I
held my tongue too many times when I shouldn't have. If you've got a few
days I'll tell you about them."
"That's in the past sir, this is the now. She's still here, all you need
to do is find the words."
"Meg, with all that Mac and I have been through…"
"Harm…with all due respect shut up and listen to what I'm saying. You
and Mac have years of history, true. You've learned a lot about each
other in those years, you've hurt each other, and you've helped each
other. Bud was telling me about how she followed you to Russia when she
knew you for what? A matter of months? Harm you grow from those
experiences, but you don't hold onto them. You use them to grow more
experiences. If you hold onto what happened in the past and try to live
in the then you never get a chance to explore the now. Where do you want
to be Commander? In the past or in the now?"
"In the now Meg. When the hell did you get so smart?"
"Always was sir. I just figured you liked dumb blondes and played to
that." Meg said with a wink.
"Very funny Lieutenant Commander. Now…tell me you didn't just come here
to play my relationship counselor."
"Well as fun as that is sir, I actually came to give you this." Meg said
handing Harm a thick yellow envelope that she'd put on the table.
"What is it?"
"A signed affidavit with my testimony as to then Commander Allison
Krennick's misconduct and sexual harassment of then Lieutenant Commander
Harmon Rabb Jr. while she was the Admiral's aide. There are a few other
people around the office who have envelopes like this one if you need
them Harm. You've got some good friends here…they're willing to put
their careers on the line to protect you."
Taking the envelope Harm stared at it thoughtfully. He hoped he'd never
need to use it, but having it made him feel more comfortable. "Thank you
Meg. You have no idea what this means to me."
"I think I do sir. Like I said, you have some good friends willing to
put themselves on the line for you, and I hope you count me one of
them." Meg said sadly.
"Always Meg. You will always be my friend."
"Well if I can't have more, then I will always cherish that sir." Meg
said with a sad smile. "She's a good woman Harm…you shouldn't let her
"Well I don't mean to. I just need to figure out how I'm gonna keep that
from happening. Meg while you're here I need to ask you…do you know
anything about a man named Rivers?"
"I do Harm…but the most important thing for you to know is that he's
here in DC, and he's looking for you."
North of Union Station
Thursday August 18, 2004
Harm knocked on the door to Jen and Mattie’s apartment insistently. He
only had to wait a moment before Jen opened the door and peered out
“Jen. I need to speak to you about something.”
Motioning Jen out into the hallway Harm led her down towards his own
apartment. “Jen, I need you to stay home with Mattie today. I’m calling
her school to tell them she won’t be coming in. I’m having a Marine
guard sent over to spend the day as well.”
“Sir?” Jen asked confused. “What about the Captain sir?”
“I’ll take care of Krennick. Lock the door today and don’t let anyone in
unless it’s Mac or me.”
“What’s going on sir?”
Harm looked at the young woman before him closely. In a short time she
had come to mean a lot to him as the sister to his soon to be adopted
daughter. “Jen, someone is looking for me and I’m afraid he may try to
hurt those I care about. I want to keep you and Mattie safe.”
“Yes sir.” Jen said simply letting her training take over. An officer
had given her an order and she would follow it.
Smiling at Jen’s crisp tone Harm put a hand on her shoulder. “You’re one
of those people I care about Jen. I’ll call you guys today and let you
know what’s going on if I can.”
The sound of feet on the stairs caused Harm to move in front of Jen as
he moved towards the sounds. As he got to the door to Jen and Mattie’s
apartment Mac and a Marine guard exited the stairwell. Sighing Harm
smiled slightly at Mac.
“What’s going on Harm?” Mac asked curiously.
“In a minute Mac. Corporal, you will stay at this door and guard the
people inside. Do not let anyone in unless they are accompanied by the
Colonel here or myself. Is that understood?”
“Yes sir.” The young Marine said as he snapped a salute and then took up
position outside the door.”
Taking Mac’s arm he nodded to Jen and took Mac inside his apartment.
“Mac…I couldn’t find you yesterday…you were doing a good job at avoiding
Mac blushed and looked down at her feet. “I’m sorry Harm…I shouldn’t
have done that.”
“It’s ok Mac. Anyway…Meg told me yesterday that Rivers is in DC, and
he’s looking for me. I just wanted to make sure Mattie and Jen were
safe. I don’t want to take the chance that Rivers will strike out at me
like Palmer did through the people I care about. Mac…if I could I would
stick you in there with Jen and Mattie behind that guard, but I know how
you’d react to that.” Harm said with a smile.
“I’d kick your six Flyboy.” Mac said fiercely.
“That’s my Marine.” Harm said fondly.
“So what’s the plan?” Mac asked uncomfortably.
“I’m going to give Rivers what he wants.”
“Excuse me?” Mac asked incredulously.
“I’m going to put myself in a position to draw Rivers out. If he’s
looking for me, I’ll let him find me.”
“Harm…” Mac said warningly. “You know better than that…”
“Mac…I don’t know why he’s looking for me. All I know is he is. He has
the answers we need about Riley…for all we know he was the last man to
see Riley alive.”
“Harm why don’t you let NI or the CIA handle this?”
“Because it’s me he’s looking for Mac.”
“I’m going with you then.” Mac said as Harm walked over to the cupboard
he kept his lockbox in.
Shaking his head Harm looked at Mac. “No.”
“Mac, we’re not going to fight about this too. I know you’ll stand with
me if I asked you to, but I still need to know what the CIA knows. I
need you to use your contacts to find something out.”
Harm could see the struggle in her features as she looked at him while
he pulled out his handgun and ammunition. “Please Mac?” he asked
“Fine, but I will be coming to where you are when I’m done.”
“I would expect nothing different Mac.” Harm said wearily.
“I’ll get over to Langley now then.” Mac said.
“I’ll let Krennick know you’re unavoidably detained as well.”
Nodding Mac started to walk away and then turned and quickly threw her
arms around Harm. “Stay safe Harm…I don’t want to lose you.”
“You too Marine.” Harm whispered into her hair.
As soon as Mac was gone Harm picked up his phone and dialed Krennick’s
cell number. After six rings she finally picked up. “Krennick.” She said
“It’s Rabb ma’am.”
“What are you doing on my phone at this hour Rabb?”
“Ma’am I’m going to be late getting into the office today, I’m following
a lead in the Riley murder. Lieutenant Colonel MacKenzie has gone out to
Langley and will also be out the of the office.”
“Is that a fact Rabb.”
“Yes ma’am it is. I also require the services of Petty Officer Coates
“What do you need her for?”
“I believe that there may be a danger to those near me and have ordered
her to stay home with my daughter ma’am.”
“Am I running a baby sitting service Commander?”
“Are you sure about this Commander?”
“Yes ma’am. I have had one of the Marine guards brought over to watch
over them ma’am.”
“Making awfully free with my staff aren’t you Commander?”
“Respectfully ma’am, I would move heaven and earth to protect those
“I believe you would Commander. Very well, report to me when you have
something to report.”
“Aye, aye ma’am.” Harm said and then hung up his phone. Now to decide
where he was going to do this. He wanted to do it away from the
apartment just to be sure he kept Mattie and Jen out of it, somewhere
with lots of people, but not too many. Too many people can contain
surprises that he didn’t see until too late. A slow smile came across
his face as he found the place he wanted. The Washington Museum was
having an exhibition of the history of aviation. He was planning on
taking Mattie and Jen on the weekend, but he could give himself a
Grabbing his jacket out of the closet Harm walked out into the hallway
and returned the guard’s salute when he passed by and took the stairs
down to the street. Getting into his SUV Harm turned the ignition and
started the engine.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to the museum exhibition of aviation.” A
quite voice said from behind him. As Harm reached for where he had his
gun tucked into his waistband the man continued. “Tsk, tsk Commander.
Let’s have it.”
Looking in the mirror Harm saw Rivers sitting in the backseat. With a
sigh he slowly pulled his gun out and handed it to Rivers.
“Let’s go to the Museum Commander…wouldn’t want you to miss your tour.”
Can’t really argue with a man with a gun Harm figured. Besides if he
could get out of the SUV he’d have a little more in the way of options.
Mac wouldn’t be back from Langley for a couple hours at least, so he was
on his own. With a sigh Harm put the SUV in gear and started driving.
“So…where’s your investigation led you Commander?”
“Into my car with a mad man?”
“Close. I’m not mad though.”
“Why’d you kill Riley?”
“We’ll talk about that in time Commander.”
Silently Harm drove through the early morning streets downtown.
“Relax Rabb…I’m not here to hurt you.”
“Really. Like you didn’t hurt Riley.”
“I told you, I’ll tell you all about Riley when we get to the museum.”
“Why the museum?”
“Same reason you wanted to go there first. Lots of people. I don’t
expect you to give me a ride home later Rabb.”
“Well that’s good to know.” Harm said sarcastically.
Ten minutes later Harm pulled up outside the Washington Museum and got
out of his car slowly. The fact that Rivers had not made an aggressive
move against him so far had him confused. The black hearts that Harm had
encountered in the past made no qualms about who they were. Palmer was
about as bad as they came and Harm knew right from the outset that
Palmer wished him ill.
“Well, shall we go see what the museum has to offer in the way of
history of Aviation?” Rivers asked as he came up beside Harm.
“Why not?” Harm answered with a bitter twist to his lips.
“Oh chin up Commander. Isn’t that what you military types always say?
A few minutes later Harm and Rivers were inside the museum walking
through pictures and displays of aircraft and aviation wonders
throughout the years. When they came across a mock up of an F-4 from the
Vietnam War they stopped to look at it
“What carrier did your father fly off of again?” Rivers asked.
“The Tico.” Harm said shortly.
“I’ve heard you remind a lot of people of him, and not just physically.
Word is you’re an even better pilot than he was. Pity you had to give it
up to become a lawyer. You miss it?”
“We’re here to talk about you, not me.” Harm said.
“Give and take Commander, give and take. I’m interested by you…a crack
pilot who becomes a lawyer, to go back to flying, to go back to
lawyering, to go back to flying and then returns to being a lawyer. Did
I miss any of your flip flops?”
“No…I think you got them all in there.” Harm said. “Yes, I do miss it
sometimes. But there are more important things to me than flying.”
“Yes…I heard you are working on adopting a girl…Mathilda is it?”
“She’d rip out your spleen if you called her that…but yes, that’s her
name.” Harm said with a smile. He could just picture Mattie tearing into
“I’m not the man you’re looking for Commander.” Rivers said quietly.
“You didn’t kill Riley?”
“Oh…I did that sadly…but not for the reasons you think.”
“And what is it I think?”
“That I killed him because he learned something, or found me doing
something, or because I’m an evil traitor…something along those lines.
Am I right?”
“To tell you the truth we don’t know why you did it, but we have reports
you were the last man to see him alive.”
“Riley’s partner didn’t tell you why they were there?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Harm said in an effort to
“Oh come now Commander. I know you and Ms. Austin used to be partners,
and I believe that you are still friends. Surely she told you why she
was there undercover.” Rivers said disbelievingly.
“Actually she didn’t.” Harm confessed. “She refused to tell me even when
Riley was dead.”
“Interesting. She’s more strong willed than we thought. Our analysts
thought she had told you for sure. We figured you would have charmed it
out of her.”
Smiling Harm shook his head before he remembered who he was speaking to.
“No such luck. Meg’s a strong willed woman.”
“Interesting. Well then…I guess I’ll start at the beginning. Are you
listening Commander? Because I won’t repeat anything I tell you here
“I’m listening.” Harm said levelly. While Rivers was talking Harm was
looking around for something he could turn into a weapon.
“Six months ago we began to suspect someone was selling information to
the highest bidder.”
“What sort of information? Cookie recipes?”
“Very funny Rabb. Webb told me you had a sense of humor, but he also
told me you were an intelligent man. Just listen or this conversation is
at an end.”
“No, he wasn’t selling recipes. He was selling troops movements, times
of aerial patrols, times of ground patrols and the like. Surely you had
to notice that all of a sudden the Iraqi rebels were scoring some pretty
heavy victories all of a sudden.”
Harm just nodded as he thought back to the news casts that he had been
watching for the past few months.
“We were trying to figure it out when we found out that your Naval
Intelligence had stumbled upon the same conclusions that we had…that it
was someone deployed with the Navy who was involved with this.”
“How did you guys figure that out?”
“We have our sources Commander…it’s need to know.”
“God, you did know Webb didn’t you?”
“I did, and he was a good man. A disturbed man since Paraguay, but a
good man. Now, we found out that Naval Intelligence was sending a team
out to investigate the claims and see if they could track down the
“Riley and Meg.”
“Correct. What Naval Intelligence didn’t know was that our information
pointed to one of those two as being the leak. Imagine our shock when we
found out that someone had screwed up and sent the leak to hunt
“How do I know any of this is true?”
“You’re going to have to trust me Commander. Come on, let’s move for a
bit, people are going to start looking at us funny if we stand here
looking at this F-4 much longer.” Rivers said and then led Harm off
towards a Space Shuttle display.
“How do I know you aren’t the leak?” Harm asked suspiciously.
“As I said, you’ll just have to trust me for now Commander.”
“That’s easy for you to say.”
“We’d noticed a few large purchases made by Riley over the last couple
months. Nothing to extravagant…he was a smart man. But larger than
normal all the same. Webb and Keeter were hoping to use Riley’s status
as a pilot to trap him into showing himself, but unfortunately Keeter
was injured and you were brought in. We knew we could trust you, but we
didn’t know how far. Your…animosity for Webb is well known. And
admittedly he does deserve some of it. He did have a habit of tossing
you and Colonel MacKenzie into danger only to have you two pull him out
by the short hairs.”
“That’s putting it mildly.” Harm said quietly. He didn’t like to speak
ill of the dead, but the truth was the truth.
“We were shocked when we found out that Riley had arranged to not only
give up patrol times and coordinates but your location when you went
down. Apparently the Iraqis are looking for pilot prisoners for some
reason we are unsure of. I came across him as he was relaying your
“Awfully convenient.” Harm said suspiciously.
“Look…you want to know why I killed Riley? Because he attacked me. It
was self defense, you have my word on that Commander.”
“All right, say he did attack you, say he was the leak. Why would you
just disappear like that?”
“We weren’t sure if Austin was in on his plans or not…I couldn’t risk
exposing my knowledge.”
Just then Harm’s cell phone rang and he flipped it open to see Mac on
the call display.
“Go ahead Commander, take it.”
Hang pushed the send button on his phone. “Rabb.”
“Harm it’s me. I’ve got some information about Rivers…apparently he was
trying to find the source of a leak that was giving information to the
“He’s right here with me. So you’re telling me he’s on the level?”
“It looks that way…I can’t get much information from my contacts, but
they gave me that. Harm…they think the leak is Meg.”
“It wasn’t Meg, Mac. It was Riley. He attacked Rivers when he was found
”Where are you?”
“The Aviation exhibition at the Museum.”
“I’m on my way.”
When Harm put his phone back in his pocket Rivers looked at him
“So it looks like you’re on the level. Go on.”
“Not much more to say; I took these from his computer before I left the
Henry.” Rivers said holding out two CDs. “Information about his contact
and the information he was selling. Those are copies of course…we have
the originals. I hope you’ll use those to put an end to the
Harm took the CDs and slid them into his pocket. “No one is going to
hear about this investigation, are they?” Harm asked wearily. He’d had
too much contact with the CIA to think this would go anywhere.
“Probably not. The Director assured me he would have it taken care of.
But I thought you’d like to know all the same. Now if you’ll excuse me
Commander, I think this interview is at an end.” Rivers said and with a
slight nod he walked off into a passing tour crowd.
Harm walked slowly out of the Museum with his mind turning over all this
new information. He needed to go somewhere and think about what he’d
learned…to digest it. Unlocking his SUV he got in to find his handgun on
the floor of the front seat. With a little shake of his head he picked
it up and put it in his pocket and started the car.
Friday August 18, 2004
North of Union Station
Harm killed the ignition to his SUV and slowly exited the vehicle. He
couldn’t remember a time in the recent past when he was so thoroughly
mentally exhausted; not even when he was flying quick switch hops off
the Henry. The conversation he’d had with Rivers that day, and the
sudden revelation of his story had shocked Harm to the core. He’d never
been so wrong about a case before, never so blind. As Harm walked up to
his building a long dark government sedan pulled up against the curb
next to him. The driver got out and stood at attention holding the rear
“Commander Rabb, the Secretary would appreciate a moment of your time.”
the uniformed Petty Officer said.
“Not much of a choice is there, Petty Officer?” Harm said walking around
the car and sliding in. “Mr. Secretary.” He added when he saw Sheffield
sitting inside the car.
“Commander. So good to see you again.”
“Is it sir?”
“I’ve always liked you Rabb. However I got a call today from Director
Kershaw about a JAG investigation that was getting close to one of his
agents he needed to protect. Would you know anything about this
“I assume you’re referring to Rivers sir.”
“What has your investigation revealed?”
“Sir…I’m not sure that I can reveal that.”
“Commander…need I remind you who I am?”
“Not at all sir. I merely cannot tell you anything because I’ve come
across new information I need to digest in order to form my opinion of
the investigation sir.”
“What is this information Commander?”
Harm hesitated before he answered. He knew that this was the man who
reported to the president, but he himself wasn’t sure about the
information. “Rivers apparently killed Riley in self defense sir, not
“Why would it be self defense?”
“Apparently Rivers had been sent to investigate the same thing as Riley
and Austin; the only difference was that Rivers’ information pointed to
Riley as the subject of their investigation.” Harm said quietly. He
noticed the utter lack of shock in the Secretary’s eyes. “You knew sir!”
“I just found out this evening Commander. I think you should discontinue
your investigation Commander.”
“Are you ordering me to back off of a murder investigation sir?”
“I am Commander. You now know it is not a murder that you are
investigating, there is no murder investigation. Let it drop Commander.”
“Aye, aye sir.” Harm said hesitantly.
“Excellent!” the SecNav said pleasantly slapping his hands against his
knees. “Now then…it appears you have been a very naughty boy Commander.”
“Captain Krennick has requested an investigation into your relationship
with Colonel MacKenzie,” the Secretary said. Seeing Harm’s imminent
protest he held up his hand. “Commander, let me ask you. Have you ever
acted improperly with the Colonel?”
“No sir.” Harm said with steel in his voice.
“I know that Commander. AJ and I have had many a late night conversation
about you and the Colonel. We both knew how you felt about each other,
and it was, I admit, somewhat entertaining to see you both dance around
each other in an effort to deny your feelings.”
“Then why the investigation?” Harm asked confused.
“I didn’t say I was going to act on the Captain’s request. In fact, she
will no longer be the interim JAG as of Monday morning. Admiral Burke
has been voted in as our new JAG. I think Captain Krennick would do well
to oversee JAG operations in…Alaska I think.”
“Let me ask you something Commander. Is it true that you have signed
testimonies that Krennick has been sexually harassing you?”
Harm hesitated before answering. As it was he still wasn’t willing to
ruin another officer’s career. Finally he nodded shortly. “I do sir.”
“I will send a courier to your office on Monday to collect the
“Sir?” Harm asked, confused by the Secretary’s order.
“Captain Krennick has been…improper in the past. I’ve heard many rumors
about Captain Krennick. I will be speaking with her on Monday about
this…and if she does not take care to control her behavior then I would
be forced to take your testimonies and convene a board of inquiry.
Captain Krennick is no longer a concern to you Commander, and your honor
remains intact, and many, many young officers do not have to worry about
her treating them like a piece of meat.”
“I…thank you Secretary.” Harm said shocked.
“Do you love the Colonel, Commander?”
Harm was shocked at the Secretary’s question. “Sir, respectfully I don’t
see how this is any of your concern.”
“Commander, everything relating to my people is my concern.” Secretary
Sheffield said with a small smile. Holding up his hand he continued.
“Commander, I do not mean to pry…I just wondered if you would be able to
consider a possible solution to your…problem with the Colonel.”
“What sort of solution sir?” Harm asked warily. “I won’t do anything to
hurt the Colonel.”
Holding up his hand the Secretary smiled. “Nothing so drastic Commander.
It is just that Naval Intelligence finds themselves short an operative
who is a qualified pilot. Interested?”
“Are you asking me to transfer to Naval Intelligence sir?”
“Commander, I could consider it a great favor if you would…consider…the
Harm sighed. When the Secretary of the Navy asked someone to consider
something Admirals jumped. “Sir…”
“Harm…I may call you Harm?”
“Of course sir.” Harm answered. He wasn’t about to say no to the
Secretary of the Navy.
“Harm…I’m going to be blunt with you. When the JAG selection board next
sits you will be my candidate. It is a shame I wasn’t able to suggest
you this time around, but I can’t have a Commander issuing orders to
Captains and Admirals. Admiral Burke has assured me he would give me
five years as JAG, and then we’ll see about his retirement. I am of the
opinion that a tour with Naval Intelligence would allow you an insight
into another facet of the investigative procedure. You’ve more than
proven you have what it takes Commander, you can be the best operative
Naval Intelligence has.”
“Sir…” Harm began but the Secretary held up his hand again.
“Harm…I can promise you that you will be stationed here in Washington
for the whole time you’re with Naval Intelligence. Obviously you will be
in the field at times, but you will be working out of the Pentagon. You
will be reporting directly to Admiral Denis, and you will be getting an
early promotion to Captain.”
Harm was floored at this last statement. He still had another year to
get his four before he was up for Captain. “Thank you sir. But why?”
“I have plans for you Harm, and I can’t have you questioned by every
Captain in the fleet. You need to be free to do what needs to be done,
and the rank of Captain will ensure that you can do this. As to why I’m
asking you to transfer? Let me just say this Commander. You will remain
in Washington; you will be able to see all your friends from JAG; and
you will be able to act on certain feelings you have for a Marine lawyer
you and I know. AJ’s last request was that I work out a way for you and
MacKenzie to be together…this works out for both of us.”
Harm was floored. He knew he should be wary of a favor offered by the
Secretary of the Navy, but if it let him be with Mac he was willing to
take his chances. Swallowing hard he just nodded to the Secretary. “I’ll
do it sir. And thank you sir.”
Sheffield held out his hand and Harm took it in his own for a firm
handshake. “You report to the Pentagon on Tuesday. Take Monday to clear
out your office and explain things to your friends Commander. Admiral
Burke knows this is going to happen so you shouldn’t have any problems
Harm was barely listening to Sheffield as he thought about his
relationship with Mac. He’d finally admitted to himself that he loved
her…now he needed to admit it to her. Suddenly he had an idea…something
that he had dreamed of many times. “Mr. Secretary…I hesitate to ask you
for another favor.”
“Ask away Commander. I have a feeling you’re going to be repaying them
back in full.”
Hesitantly Harm looked at his feet. “What would it take to get into the
Rose Garden sir?”
“The White Houses’ Rose Garden Commander?”
Harm bit his lip before answering. “That is where the Colonel and I met
sir. I think it would be a good place to…well let’s just say I’d think
it would be a good place for me to admit to the Colonel how I feel sir.”
“Let me check something Commander.” Sheffield said with a smile. Pulling
his cell phone from his jacket pocket he hit a speed dial number and
then waited. “Bailey, it’s Charles. How are you?”
“Good, good. Would I be able to speak to him for a minute?” Sheffield
“Thanks Bailey. Listen…why don’t you and Linda come by for dinner this
weekend? Emily will love to see you. Good. Thanks again Bailey.”
After a moment Sheffield continued. “Good evening sir.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Sir…I have a Commander in the Navy with a special request sir…”
“Commander Rabb sir.”
“Yes sir, that’s him.”
“He would like to gain access for himself and another to the Rose
“Tomorrow? I’m sure that will be good for him sir. Thank you sir.”
Sheffield said and then hit the disconnect button.
“The President has allow you access tomorrow afternoon at two
Harm was shocked to his core. He had just been granted access to the
White Houses’ Rose Garden. “Thank you sir.”
“Good luck son.”
“Thank you sir.”
“I’ll see you in my office at 1100 Tuesday Commander.”
“Aye, aye sir. Thank you again.” Harm said and then exited the
Secretary’s sedan. With a new spring in his step he took the stairs up
to his apartment two at a time whistling an unnamed song. He had to make
plans…had to get Mac to come with him tomorrow.
Saturday August 19, 2004
Harm got out of his SUV and walked around the back to pull out his
guitar and two dozen roses. He’d never done anything like this before,
but somehow he felt Mac would appreciate it. He’d called her that
morning to make sure she’d be home when he got here…he’d told her he
needed to discuss the Rivers investigation. Walking up to the sidewalk
Harm set down his guitar and began to spread the roses on the ground
around him. Pulling out his cell phone he pushed the number 1 speed dial
and waited for Mac to answer.
“Hey Harm…you on your way over?”
“Something like that. Mac…go out onto your balcony?”
“Why?” Mac asked suspiciously.
“Mac…do you trust me?”
“You know I do Harm.”
“Then please go out on your balcony.” Harm asked patiently.
As he watched the door to Mac’s apartment opened and he saw her walk out
onto her balcony. Hanging up the phone he looked up at her with a smile.
“Harm?” Mac called down from where she looked down on him. “What are you
Without an answer Harm took up his guitar and started to play. For
twenty minutes he ignored Mac’s questions as he sang every romantic song
he could think of. He did his best to ignore the crowd that his singing
was gathering as well and finally played the final chord and set his
guitar down. Looking up at Mac he held up his hand and smiled.
“Come with me Mac. I have something I want to show you.”
“Harm?” Mac asked quietly enough that he couldn’t actually hear her…just
see his name on her lips.
“Trust me Sarah.”
Nodding Mac disappeared back into her apartment and was soon standing
beside him. “What are you doing Harm?” she asked quietly.
“Trust me Sarah.”
“I do Harm, but…”
Holding his finger up to her lips he silenced her question and took her
hand to lead her to his SUV.
Forty minutes later they pulled up to the public gate at the White
House. Rolling down his window Harm smiled at the gate guard and said
“Commander Rabb and Colonel MacKenzie.”
“Thank you sir. Someone will meet you in the west parking lot.”
Nodding Harm rolled up his window and slowly drove his SUV down the
street onto the White House grounds until he got to the west parking
lot. Exiting the vehicle he walked around to Mac’s door and opened it
for her. Taking her hand to help her out he smiled reassuringly to her
and didn’t let go of her hand.
“Commander Rabb?” a polite voice said.
Turning towards the voice Harm smiled at the dark-suited man who stood
“My name is Agent Burrows. He asked me to show you the way.”
“Thank you Agent Burrows.” Harm said with a smile as he gently pulled
Mac’s hand to get her to follow him and Agent Burrows.
“What are we doing here Harm? Did you rack up another medal I didn’t
“Not exactly Sarah.”
“Then what are we doing here?”
“I thought it was a nice day…and I thought you’d like to join me here.
Patience Colonel.” Harm said with a smile.
After a few minutes their guide stopped and looked at them seriously.
“Here we go Commander. I will await you here.”
“Thank you Agent Burrows.” Harm said gratefully.
With a smile at Mac Harm led her through the low gate that took them
into the Rose Garden.
“The Rose Garden Harm? What’s going on?” Mac asked suspiciously.
“I just thought I’d go for a walk today and hoped you’d want to join
“Harmon Rabb…you’re up to something.”
“That I am. But you’re going to have to be patient a little longer.
We’re almost there.” Harm said with a wink. Taking her hand again he led
her deeper into the garden until they came to a stone bench and marble
fountain. Gently guiding Mac to the seat Harm thrust his hands into his
pockets and turned to face her. Slowly he went down on one knee.
“Harm?” Mac asked quietly.
“Sarah.” Harm said quietly fighting the moisture he felt in his eyes.
Slowly he pulled out a worn ring from his pocket.
“Harm? What are you doing?”
“Something I should have done a long, long time ago Sarah. I’ve loved
you for as long as I can remember Sarah…and I’ve fought it in the name
of our careers. I can’t fight it any longer…I’ve had to live without
you, and I can’t do it again.” Harm said quietly holding up the ring. “I
know it’s not much Sarah…it’s a little battered but you have my heart
and my love. I should have told you this so many years ago. What I’m
trying to say…”
“Yes.” Mac said quietly with tears in her eyes.
“You’ll marry me?”
“Yes!” Mac cried and then jumped up to throw her arms around Harm.
A gentle cough caused both to turn around.
“Mr. President!” Harm said in shock.
“Commander, Colonel. I’m glad you two have finally decided to do this.”
“Sir?” Harm asked confused.
“Secretary Sheffield has told me why you wanted to use the Garden today
Commander. He also filled me in on the…interesting…past you two share.”
“Congratulations you two.” The First Lady said from beside her husband.
“Thank you ma’am.” Mac said with a radiant smile.
“Excuse us…we didn’t mean to intrude…we were just taking a walk and
thought we’d come by and congratulate you.” The President said shaking
Harm’s hand while the First Lady gave Mac a hug.
“Thank you sir. You don’t know what this means to us.” Harm said as he
put an arm around Mac’s waist. Smiling they watch the President and his
wife walk down the path and into the deeper Garden with their silent
shadows following behind.
As they stood there holding each other Harm felt Mac stiffen up next to
him. “Harm…what about the regulations? What are we going to do?”
Turning her to face him Harm smiled down at her. “It’s ok Sarah…it’s all
worked out. I’m changing my designator…”
Pushing herself away from him Mac’s eyes flashed as she said “Harm! How
is this a solution?”
Putting his hands on each side of her face Harm quieted her with a kiss.
“I’m not going back to flying, not exactly.”
“The SecNav has ‘requested’ that I transfer to Naval Intelligence.” Harm
“He thought I’d do well at it…and it would allow me to do this.” Harm
said as he pulled Mac in for another deep kiss.
“But what about…”
“It’s all worked out Sarah. I’ll be working out of the Pentagon and the
Secretary promised I would stay working out of Washington when I wasn’t
in the field. He knows how important everyone at JAG is to me.” Harm
said. He didn’t think it would be the right time to tell her that the
Secretary wanted him to be JAG one day. “Oh yeah. And you won’t have to
deal with Krennick anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“There’s a new JAG starting on Monday…Admiral Burke. Krennick is going
to be overseeing JAG ops in…I think the Secretary said Alaska.” Harm
said with a smile as Mac laughed.
Remembering he still held the ring in his hand Harm gently took Mac’s
left hand in his and slid the ring onto her finger. “It’s so beautiful.”
“It’s the ring my dad gave my mom, and his dad gave his mom. And one day
we’ll give it to our child to give to his wife.”
“Our child.” Mac whispered with tears once more welling up in her eyes.
“You didn’t forget did you?”
“Forget what?” Mac asked with a mischievous smile.
“The anniversary we have this year; AJ is five sweetie. And that means
that you and I…” Harm finished with a wink.
Mac laughed and threw her arms around him once more as she whispered
fiercely in his ear “Then we should get started, don’t you think
Laughing Harm pulled her against him tighter and kissed her
As they walked out of the Rose Garden hand in hand Mac looked up at him.
“Why did you finally decide to ask?”
“Because I’ve wanted to for years…and besides a Lieutenant Commander, a
Captain, an Admiral and the Secretary of the Navy ordered me to make you
an honest woman. Can’t really say no to that if I wanted to.” He said
with a laugh. Stopping he gently turned her chin so she was looking up
at him with those beautiful eyes he was now free to loose himself in.
“Sarah…you are my world, my everything. We have wasted too much time
trying to live in the past…to have what we once had. I meant what I said
when I said I should have done this years ago. I love what we had
Sarah…but I want to build something new, something special with you by
my side. We have a lot of time to make up, and I don’t want to waste
another minute of it.”
Placing a quick kiss on her lips Harm wrapped his arm around his
fiancée’s waist and led her out of the Rose Garden so that they could
plan the rest of their lives with each other.
A/N Due to an overwhelming desire to see Krennick get hers I've decided
to add an epilogue in which everyone can delight.
Falls Church, Virginia
Monday August 22, 2004
Captain Allison Krennick walked into JAG ops with a spring in her step.
If she couldn't have Harmon Rabb to herself, she'd ruin the hussy who
stood in her way. Friday she'd submitted a request to SecNav to start an
investigation into Rabb and MacKenzie's relationship. As far as she
could actually tell there was nothing going on there, but there was
probably enough to censure them…at the very least she'd be able to
transfer one of them out. And it would be MacKenzie because she hadn't
given up on getting Rabb to give in to her.
As Krennick walked into the front office area she looked at her
annoyingly chipper yeoman with a frown. "Coates…get the SecNav's office
on the phone. The JAG selection committee sat last week and I want to
make it official today."
"Ma'am…" Coates began.
Krennick just kept walking to her office and said "Just do it Coates…or
do I need to find you a new duty station as well?"
"No ma'am." Coates offered with a shrug.
Shaking her head Krennick opened the door to her office and walked in
only to come to a stop when she saw an Admiral sitting behind her desk.
"Sir?" she asked in confusion.
At her words another man stood up from one of the leather chairs in
front of the desk and turned towards her. "Captain…do come in."
Secretary Sheffield said.
"Mr. Secretary…what are you doing here?" Krennick asked in shock.
With a raised eyebrow the Secretary turned to look at the Admiral and
then turned back to Krennick. "Why Captain, I've come to introduce my
new Judge Advocate General to his officers. Admiral Burke, may I present
Captain Allison Krennick. Allison has been acting as interim JAG while
the selection committee sat."
At this Krennick's mouth opened and closed a few times.
"Captain, are you feeling all right? Perhaps you should have a seat."
Admiral Burke said with a note of concern in his voice.
"Admiral." Coates' voice over the intercom.
"Yes Petty Officer?" Admiral Burke said kindly.
"Captain Krennick requested me to get the Secretary's office on the
phone." Coates said dispassionately.
"Thank you Petty Officer." The Admiral said with a raised eyebrow.
"I…ah…" Krennick said as she blinked owlishly.
"It’s all right Captain." The Secretary said. "I needed to discuss
something else with you today."
"Sir?" Krennick asked with a knot of fear forming in her stomach.
"I received a most unusual request in my office on Friday. Something to
do with Rabb and MacKenzie?"
"Ah…yes sir. I have reason to believe that their relationship outside
the office and in is…shall we say…improper?"
"Really." The Secretary said. Stroking his chin he looked at Krennick
carefully. "Do tell me Captain, how is Captain Rabb's relationship with
his fiancée improper?"
"Captain? Fiancée?" Krennick asked incredulously.
"Indeed. I have it on the authority of the President himself that
Captain Rabb and Colonel MacKenzie spent the afternoon in the Rose
Garden on Saturday. He was quite thrilled that two of his finest
officers had decided to become engaged."
All through Krennick and the Secretary's discussion Admiral Burke had
remained silent. Finally he turned towards the Secretary. "Secretary
Sheffield, is this spurious investigation request the sort of thing I
can come to expect from this officer?"
"But Mr. Secretary…the regulations…the chain of command…" Krennick said
on the heels of the Admiral's question.
"Are no longer a consideration Captain. I have need of Captain Rabb in
other capacities for now. And Admiral…sadly I am unable to answer your
question. The Captain must be the one to answer it. Captain…in your new
posting will you be doing a job this shoddy?"
"New posting?" Krennick asked in a shocked tone of voice.
"Yes Captain, a new posting. Admiral…is there not an opening heading up
the Naval Legal Services Office in Anchorage?"
"I believe there is Mr. Secretary." The Admiral said simply.
"Well then it’s settled. Captain…I'm sure the Admiral can have your
transfer orders cut today."
"But sir…" Krennick said quickly.
"Captain…do you question my orders?" Secretary Sheffield said quietly.
"No sir." Krennick said in defeat.
"Dismissed." Admiral Burke said.
As Krennick stood up and came to attention the Secretary held up a
finger. "And Captain."
"Sir?" Krennick said in a cracked voice.
"I have taken custody of certain documents. Scuttlebutt has you being
the one acting in a manner unbecoming."
"Captain, you will be closely watched in your new posting. If I hear
even a whisper of impropriety then you shall be recalled to Washington
and it will not be for a cozy informal discussion such as this one."
Sheffield said in a voice forged in steel.
"Sir, I protest!" Krennick said sharply.
"Protest all you want Captain. You have two choices; one, you can go to
Alaska and continue with your rank and position, or two, we can start an
investigation into the allegations of misconduct on your part. What is
your choice?" Sheffield asked.
For a moment Krennick's eyes flashed with anger and then she lowered her
head. "Alaska sir." she said, defeated.