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Classification Romance (H/M), AU
Length Approximately 5,000 words; 12 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
Spoilers None
Rating GS
Author's Notes I just felt that the remark about Man's Country was too good to pass up. I really couldn't see a liberated man who boasted of his unchauvinistic ways saying such a stupid thing. Then I realized we're talking about Harm here. I hope you enjoy.

I don’t know why so many fanfic writers have shown Harm to be a romantic. To my recollection, Jordan said he was and he spent $60 on flowers for Renee, but other than that, nada. He doesn’t have a romantic bone in his body. So I figured that if he were ever to ask Mac to marry him, it would have to be in the same way he has managed to NOT ask Mac to marry him, by putting his foot in his mouth.
Summary A socio-political discussion of comparative cultural prerogatives and interpersonal relations leads to goat herding. You think I’m kidding?



On the road in Afghanistan


It was hot, when it wasn't freezing. It was impossible to keep the sand out of everything from the driving winds, when it wasn't so deathly calm you couldn’t get a breath. The roads were so bumpy they could cause an abortion, where there were roads. And to top it all off, if the natives could possibly figure a way to charge for breathing the air, they would, and at five times the going rate.

Yet, the man sitting next to her had the biggest silliest smile on his face she had ever seen. "You like it here," Lieutenant Colonel Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie accused her partner Commander Harmon "Harm" Rabb, Jr.

Even as they traveled over the odorous deposits recently left by a camel crossing the road, Harm nodded, "Yeah."


"You wouldn't understand."

"Try me."

How could he explain it to her? How could he explain that for the first time in a very long time, he felt like the two of them were true partners? Again! Their banter was back and yet they were not competing, not trying to outdo the other, not trying to win.  How could he tell her how great it felt to be alone with her, where no one, like a video princess or a cocky Australian, could butt into their growing bond? And most importantly, how could he tell her that it felt so free to be able to show some affection without the fear of prying eyes?

Harm felt that Sarah was his true equal, or better, in almost everything, and it was just so great being around her. But because of the types of lives they led, it was only here, in this god-forsaken place that he really got to enjoy her company without all the pain of regrets. How could he tell her that he loved her?

"It's man's country." Oh, that was one of the stupidest things he had ever said. Maybe only that remark about Mac's relationships, or his really idiotic performance on that ferry, may it sink into the sea with Bugme on it, could match. She'd get him for that one though, he was sure of it and he kind of looked forward to it.

"Ah, and there are two of them right there."

Chagrinned at his less than adequate performance in negotiating their passage, Harm sat back and awaited with anticipation and enjoyment the riposte from his last stupid remark.

"The problem with Man's Country is that it's governed by men."

"True, but at least we understand each other, and with no misunderstandings, especially those caused by trying to figure out the female species, progress can be made."

Mac barely forced back a laugh, "Harm, you're talking about one of the most backward countries in the world."

"But at least men here have figured out how to handle their women."

"You're kidding, right?"

Was he kidding, he really didn't know.  Yet in true Rabb fashion he had to defend his stupid remark to the last. Besides, the gauntlet had been tossed and who was he not to pick it up?

"No, I’m not. Men here don’t have to think about such nonsense as, oh say, ‘Men Were From Mars and Women Are From Venus,’ or keep track of the Pissed At Men’s Shit time of the month.”

Mac rolled her eyes. “Right. Besides, here women don’t have to wait for a time of the month to be pissed at men’s shit. They can be pissed at men’s shit all month long.”

Harm turned to face her as he merrily dug himself in deeper. “Look, Mac, what I mean to say is if you and I lived here, then instead of just dreaming about forbidden fruit, I could just go to your father, uncle, or nearest male relative and say, 'I'm in love with Sarah and I want to take her as my wife. Though she’s worth more than I could ever have, I’ll give you ten goats for her’. And, before you knew it, we'd be married, you'd be barefoot and pregnant, and I'd be happily raising goats and children, not necessarily in that order. And there wouldn't be any regulations, mores, rules, laws, or what have you to come between us."

Harm hadn't realized that during his rush of male justification, of his stupid remark, the jeep had stopped and Mac was attempting to catch her breath, while staring wide eyed at him, unable to close her mouth. It was only the soft choking sounds made by her that brought his attention back to the here and now.

"Mac, are you alright?” Harm immediately moved over to her, trying to find what was causing her such distress. "Mac, Mac, speak to me."

After a few more gulps of air Mac regained some power of speech.

"Would you mind repeating what you just said”, she gasped, "Ah, just for the record."

“What did I say?"

"That thing about the goats."

Oh G-d, "Ah, did I say that out loud?" Mac slowly nodded her head.  Unable to remove his foot from his mouth, Harm realized that by some miracle he had actually said something that he wouldn't need to apologize for later. In fact, Mac was starting to smile a really beautiful smile.

"Ah, so, Mac, what do you say when we get back to the states, we, you know, do the married thing? That is, of course, if you want to?"

Maybe there was an aura, spirit, or force that compelled female compliance to male domination that stigmatized the country, because against every American cultural feminist prerogative Mac the Marine had in her, she felt herself continue to nod.

"Okay, good, we'll do that then." Harm settled back in his seat and felt his smile growing from ear to ear. This was working out better than he had ever dreamed.

"And, ah Mac."

She continued to nod.

"You know I love you."

"Uh huh."

"Ah, Mac."

"Yeah," that smile was dazzling him.

"You can start the car now. Sooner we get this mission done the sooner we can, you know, start on the children thing."

"Uh, huh." She turned back to the task of steering the Humvee along the very bumpy road.

Harm was really starting to like this place. It just made things so much simpler.

"Ah, Harm."

"Yeah Mac."

"Children yes, goats no."

"Anything you say, Mac, anything you say."


The End


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