Classification: Harm / Mac Romance, Investigation
Feedback: Always appreciated but never expected
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Disclaimer: This is for entertainment purposes only. These characters belong to CBS, Paramount and DPB.
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Author's Notes: This story takes place around seven years after Luke Pendry's death, which would place it sometime within an early Season 9 time frame. After Josh tried to hitch a ride to DC, Annie decided that Baltimore was too close to Harm. She moved back to California and got a job in another bank.
Harm and Mac, back at JAG and recovered from events in Paraguay, are taking the first steps in establishing their "new" relationship. True to form, things aren't going as smoothly as they might hope. When Harm gets a telephone call from an old friend, old emotions cause a few "bumps in the road."
I want to thank my private pilot husband for his input on this chapter
From Part 4:
Harm opened the door, and then closed it quickly as the sound of a gunshot ricocheting off of the metal beside it echoed through the room. "Get down," he ordered, as he turnedoff the room's only lamp.
Mac had already grabbed Josh and pulled him behind the desk. "Didn't take you much time to duck," Harm told her as he joined them.
"I told you. Marines don't duck," Mac replied.
"They take cover," Nick said, causing Harm and Mac to look at him in the darkness.
"Made a few friends in the Corp over the years," he explained.
Mac heard Harm moving away. "Where are you going?" she asked.
"To take a look outside," he whispered, and Mac followed him to the windows that overlooked the front and side of the hangar area. Mac peered out over the darkness, squinting. "Did you see that?" he asked.
"See what?" Mac questioned, pausing as she noticed movement near Nick's truck.
"My truck!" Nick said. "Those --" he caught the warning look in Harm's eyes and took a deep breath. "They're gonna pay for this. I've put up with them for long enough."
The sound of a second explosion seemed to echo the first, and Mac winced as Harm peered over the window ledge. "That wasn't-"
Harm slid down against the wall as he confirmed, "It's a good thing we bought that insurance on the rental."
"What are we going to do?" Josh asked, ducking as another bullet flew through the broken window into the room.
"Sounds like those boys mean business."
"Come on out, old man!" one of the boys called. "And we'll let your friends go!"
Harm stopped Nick's movement toward the door. "Where do you think you're going?"
"You heard 'em. I'm the one they want -"
"I don't believe that and neither do you, Master Chief," Mac said, and then looked at Harm. "Any ideas?"
Harm looked thoughtful. "Do you have a gun, Master Chief?" he asked.
Nick nodded toward a bookcase across the room. "In that box on the top shelf."
Harm took a deep breath, listening to the sounds of voices from below, urging the Master Chief to show himself to save his friends, saying that they were just having a little fun and he should have known that by now. After a shot, Harm rolled to his feet and retrieved the metal box before ducking back down to join the others. "It's locked," he said.
"Course it is," Nick said, pulling the keys from his overall pocket and handing them to the Commander. "Here you go."
Harm quickly unlocked the box and removed the service revolver from inside. Checking it in the dim light from the fire outside, he saw that all six chambers were full. "Any other ammo?"
"Downstairs in the office," Nick informed him, grimacing.
Harm nodded. "Okay. Mac, you and Nick get Josh down the stairs and into the hangar. I'll cover you."
"Harm," Mac said, putting a hand on his arm. "I can-"
He looked at her. "Last time we qualified with small arms, which of us was better?" he asked.
"You were," she had to admit, sighing. "But not by much."
"I'll cover the three of you," Nick said, reaching toward the gun in Harm's hand.
"Master Chief," Mac asked, pinning him with a look that had withered the resolve of Admirals and Generals, "when was the last time you even fired this weapon?"
"Um, I do a little target shooting every now and then," Nick hedged. Harm and Mac both fixed their gaze on the old man. "Okay," he finally said, sitting back with Josh. "You win."
Harm reached into the pocket of his jeans and drew out a quarter. "Call it," he told Mac.
"Heads," she said, then, as Harm flipped the coin in his hand, changed her mind. "No, tails."
Harm caught the coin on the back of his hand and grinned at her, revealing the results. "Should have stuck with your first choice, Mac," he teased.
"Be careful, flyboy," she said, leaning forward to plant a quick kiss on his cheek before motioning to Josh and Nick. "Let's move out."
Harm waited until they were all three at the door, and then opened it, taking note of the direction that the bullet that hit the building nearby had come from before bracing the door open with one foot and returning fire. "Now," he told Mac and her charges.
He fired again as the three of them went down the stairs, keeping in mind that he only had six bullets in the gun. Two down, four more to go. With another shot, Harm found himself hoping that the men below weren't aware of their advantage.
As Mac, Josh, and Nick reached the bottom stair and opened the door, Harm moved to follow them as quickly as he could, firing off another shot. He saw that Nick was holding the door open, and called out. "Get inside, Master Chief!"
But his words were too late. Another bullet flew from the darkness and Harm saw Nick double over as it struck its target. Mac pulled Nick into the hangar, and Harm fired his last two shots as he joined them.
Inside, Harm looked around for something to use as a barricade. Spying some oil barrels, he went over to them and tilted one of them on its side. "I can help," Josh offered, joining him in rolling the barrel against the door.
"That should hold them for a few minutes," Harm said, and smiled at Josh. "Thanks for the help."
"It's my fault you and the Colonel are here," Josh said. "If I hadn't run away, -"
"We'll talk about it later," Harm said, placing a hand on the boy's shoulder. "Do you know where Nick keeps the bullets for the gun?"
"They're in the bottom desk drawer," Nick replied weakly from where he was laying on the hangar floor, Mac kneeling at his side. She's found a mostly clean shop towel to press against the wound in the older man's stomach. "Back of the drawer," he added.
"I'll find them," Josh assured Harm.
"Stay down," Harm instructed. "And no lights."
"No problem," Josh said, disappearing toward the office.
Harm knelt on the other side of Nick's body, wincing as he saw how bloody the man's overalls and the rag were. "How is he?" Harm asked, although he knew the answer.
"Not good. He's already lost a lot of blood, Harm. If we don't get him to a doctor soon -" she didn't finish the sentence as Josh returned with the box of shells.
"Here you go. I looked out of the window while I was there," he told them. "They're sitting out there drinking something. Not very bright," Josh scoffed. "If it was me, I'd go up into the Chief's quarters so I could see in here." He looked up at the window that overlooked that hangar.
Harm stood and looked around, his eyes falling at last on the four-place Cessna beside them.
Seeing the direction of his gaze, Mac shook her head. "Harm, no."
He looked at her. "It's the only way, Mac," he insisted, kneeling beside her again. "We don't have a car, the phone is dead. We can fly the plane to the nearest airport, and report what's happened here."
"You and Josh go," she said. "I'll stay here with Nick."
"You said yourself that he needs to get to the hospital, Mac," Harm pointed out. "Do *you* think he can wait for Josh and me to report this and then wait for the police to arrive?"
Mac sighed, her shoulders sagging. "No. Then you and Josh take him with you. Leave me the gun. I'll-"
"You'll hold all three of them off on your own?" he asked, touching her face. "As capable as you are, Marine, it would be suicide. And Butch wouldn't be here," he pointed out; reminding her of a conversation they had had on a dusty road in Afghanistan ages ago. "Just a short hop, Sarah," he cajoled quietly. "The nearest airport's-" he glanced up at Josh. "How far away?"
"Fifteen miles," he said. "Lodi Municipal. It's a controlled field until eleven."
"Got no choice, Colonel," Nick managed to say.
"I guess you're right, Master Chief," Mac agreed, giving Harm a look that he recognized. "But if anything happens, Flyboy, it will be the *last* time I get into a plane of *any* kind with you."
"What could happen?" Harm asked giving her a grin in return. "Josh," he said, bending down and putting Nick's arm around his shoulder, "open the passenger door so we can get Nick inside, will you?"
Josh opened the door, and as Harm and Mac got the wounded man into the airplane, Nick said, "Josh . . . handheld transceiver . . . in office."
"Sure," Josh said, disappearing once more as Mac frowned at Harm.
"Why do we need a handheld transceiver?" she asked, applying pressure to Nick's wound again after she got into the back seat. "The plane has a radio," she said, glancing toward the front of the plane to verify her statement.
"It's always nice to have a back up," Harm said, taking the transceiver from Josh with a look of warning. "Let's do a quick walk around, Josh," he said, putting the radio into the front seat as he turned the key and engaged the master switch. "We'll check the lights at the end," he told Josh, who nodded.
Josh followed Harm around the airplane, holding the small flashlight that he had retrieved from inside. "It might be best, Josh, if we don't mention the alternator problem in Mac's hearing."
"I understand. We don't have to go very far," Josh said. "Maybe it won't be a problem."
"Let's hope. She's a little - nervous about flying a small planes," he said by way of explanation. He strained some fuel to check it, then opened the left side door and turned on the navigation lights and rotating beacon on the top of the vertical stabilizer. They all worked, he noted, and he turned them off as soon as he could. He nodded toward the right seat. "Get in, Josh."
He watched as Josh fastened his seat belt. "Wait until I start to open the doors, and then start the engine," he told the boy. "Once they're open, start taxiing the airplane forward. I'll get in as it passes. Think you can do it?"
Harm saw Josh swallow nervously, before a confident smile appeared on his face. "Sure. Piece of cake."
"Good boy." Harm glanced into the back seat. "How's he doing, Mac?" he asked, hoping to keep her attention focused on the Master Chief instead of being in a small airplane.
"Not good. He's unconscious."
"We'll get him some help," he promised, and then gave her a smile as he released the door without closing it fully.
"Aren't you going to turn on the lights?" Mac asked Josh through the headset she was wearing.
"Harm said we'd wait til just before we take off," he told her, his eyes on Harm as he began to slide the heavy metal door on the right to one side, then started on the left. Josh said a silent prayer, and started the engine.
Mac couldn't hear anything over the drone of the engine, but she saw muzzle flash from the darkness outside the hangar, and her eyes searched for some sign of Harm as the small airplane slowly taxied through the barely open doors. She thought she saw a flash near the airplane, but she wasn't certain, and a moment later, the left side door was pulled open to admit Harm.
She saw Josh glance at him, heard the boy said, "Harm-", but Harm shook his head sharply and grabbed the headset that hung from the yoke before him.
"Are you all right?" she asked, but he didn't respond as he put on his headset while Josh continued to taxi the airplane out toward the taxiway. "Short field take off?" she heard Josh ask, and Harm nodded.
Nick's restless movement distracted Mac, and she was forced to renew the pressure on his wound. She thought she heard the sound of something hitting the fuselage of the plane, and Mac's eyes widened. "Harm?"
"Suck it up, Marine!" he called to her. "We're committed!"
He pulled back on the yoke, and Mac felt her stomach drop as the plane left the relative safety of the ground. Once the airplane was in the air, Harm turned to Josh. "She's yours," he said, and sat back, closing his eyes for a moment.
Mac placed a hand on his shoulder. "Harm, are you okay?"
He turned his head, meeting her concerned gaze in the dim red light that Josh had turned on just before take-off, and put a hand over hers. "I'll be fine, Sarah," he assured her. "Any change?" he asked, nodding toward Nick. He was doing something in the front seat, but she was too busy checking Nick's pulse to pay close attention in the near darkness.
"Not really." She looked around. "Is it safe to turn on the navigation lights now?"
She saw Harm and Josh exchange a look before Harm leaned forward to throw the switch that would make the plane visible to others in the area. Mac sat back; at least they wouldn't collide in mid-air with another plane. She turned her head to look outside, and frowned as she saw what appeared to be fluid leaking from the right wing.
"I'd better try to raise the airport," Harm was saying to Josh, and she heard him call, "Lodi Municipal tower, Cessna 4502. Approaching from the northeast, fifteen miles out. Request landing instructions."
"Cessna 4502, this is Lodi tower. Wind is from the south at 5, right hand traffic. Three aircraft in the pattern, two on approach."
"Harm," Mac said, touching his shoulder.
"Not now, Mac," he said, shrugging off her attempt to get his attention as he spoke to the tower again.
"Lodi Tower, Cessna 4502. We have a gunshot victim on board who will need immediate medical attention."
"Cessna 4502, are you declaring an emergency?"
"Affirmative, Lodi tower. Cessna 4502 is declaring an emergency. If you could contact the Calaveras County Sheriff to tell them that a private airfield to your northwest was attacked by at least three young men with guns -"
"Will do, Cessna 4502." the controller responded crisply.
"Harm!" Mac said after another glance toward the wing.
"Lodi tower, Cessna 4502, we have four souls on board, and four hours of fuel," Harm said.
"Maybe not," Mac said, finally getting his attention.
Harm looked at Mac. "What is it, Mac?"
"There's some fluid coming off the wing," she told him, pointing.
Harm's eyes narrowed. "Damn!" he muttered, reaching forward to the fuel tank selector knob. Josh reached it before he did. "They must have hit our port fuel tank," he told Josh. "Switch to starboard tank."
"Already done, sir," Josh responded smoothly, and Harm allowed himself a smile at the young man's calm demeanor.
"We're not in any trouble, are we?" Mac asked.
"Two fuel tanks, Mac," Harm reassured her with a smile. "We'll be fine-"
At that moment, the interior light dimmed and went out.
"Damn," Harm said again as Josh turned on the flashlight and attached the red lens cover. He quickly glanced at the instruments. The radio was dark as well. "Where's that handheld transceiver, Josh?" he asked, glancing back to where Mac was now sitting stiffly in her seat, still applying pressure to Nick's wound. "You okay, Mac?" he asked.
"What's wrong, Harm?" she asked, seeing Josh unplugging and plugging cords into the intercom/radio system as he tied the hand held transceiver into it. "What didn't you tell me?"
"The plane has a - minor alternator problem," Harm had to admit, watching as Josh programmed the Lodi tower radio frequency into the unit.
Glaring at him, she repeated, "Minor?"
"Nothing Josh and I can't handle, right, buddy?" he asked the boy.
"Don't worry, Colonel Mackenzie," Josh told her as the radio crackled to life. "The Chief was big on emergency situations. The engine will keep running. We'll be fine."
"Tell me that once we're safely on the ground - in one piece," she added before sitting back again.
"Lodi tower to Cessna 4502, what is your status?" the controller was asking.
"Lodi tower, Cessna 4502. We apparently took a bullet to the right side fuel tank and are losing fuel. We've also had total electrical failure. Requesting straight in approach," Harm said.
"Lodi Tower to all aircraft in pattern: divert to other airports or hold. We have an aircraft on emergency approach. Repeat: All aircraft in Lodi Municipal airspace, the airport is currently closed until further notice. Cessna 4502, make straight in approach, runway one-eight," the controller said. "Emergency vehicles will be standing by."
"Comforting thought," Mac said, and Harm lifted an eyebrow.
"It's for the Master Chief," he reminded her.
"I see the runway," Josh said, pointing forward, and Harm looked in that direction.
"Lodi tower, Cessna 4502. Have runway in sight. Five miles to the north."
"You are cleared to land, Cessna 4502," the controller responded. "Good luck."
Another glance between Harm and Josh. "Think we can we can handle it, Mr. Pendry?" Harm asked.
"No sweat, sir," Josh said with more confidence. "The Chief had me land this thing lots of times with no lights. Guess he knew what he was doing, huh?"
"Sounds like it," Harm agreed.
Harm kept his hands on the yoke, but through her nervousness, Mac noticed that he wasn't really *doing* anything. Josh was landing the airplane. It suddenly occurred to her that Josh had been at the controls most of the short flight.
Once the craft touched down, Mac sighed. "Thank God," she said, hearing the tower again.
"Cessna 4502, take the first left to clear the active. Good job."
"Thanks," Harm said into the microphone. "Cessna 4502 clear of the active," he announced as Josh steered the airplane onto a crossover. Harm pointed out a group of flashing lights to Josh. "There, I think. Looks like an ambulance."
Josh brought the plane to a stop a few yards from the waiting ambulance and Harm leaned forward to pull the mixture and turn off the master switch before sagging back into the seat. "Help Mac with the Master Chief, Josh," he said, his voice sounding strange to Mac.
But Mac was prevented from asking him what was wrong as two paramedics approached the plane. Mac quickly vacated her seat so that they could examine Nick, and heard Josh saying, "The pilot's wounded, too."
Mac almost ran around the airplane, opening the door. With the light from the terminal, she could easily make out the white handkerchief that Harm had tied around his left leg, as well as the dark stain on it. "Harm? Why didn't you say something?"
"It's just a flesh wound, Mac," he said. "I've had worse. Help me out - I'll be fine."
"Like hell you will," Mac declared, looking through the airplane to the paramedics. "He's got a leg wound," she told them as they lifted Nick from the back seat onto a waiting stretcher.
One of the paramedics met Harm's eyes. "Can you make it to the ambulance, sir?" he asked.
"I think so."
"I'll help," Josh offered coming around to join Mac on the other side of Harm as he slowly got out of the plane.
Mac saw Harm wince, and knew that he wasn't a person who winced easily at pain. Heaven knew he'd suffered enough of it in all of the ejecting out of airplanes he'd done - not to mention those three days in Paraguay after they had crashed and he'd not told her about his possible broken ribs until they reached safety.
His only concern had been for *her* badly sprained knee and fractured left arm. "I'm really okay," he insisted now, and very nearly collapsed as his feet touched the tarmac.
"Oh, really, Flyboy?" Mac asked. "You sure about that?" She glanced at Josh to make sure he had Harm's right arm across his shoulders. "You okay, Josh?"
"I'm fine, ma'am," he answered.
"Then let's go."
Harm protested all the way to the ambulance, where the paramedics confirmed that the bullet had gone through the leg, but were also concerned about possible muscle damage and insisted that he go with them to the hospital. When Harm balked at the idea, Mac confronted him.
"Listen, Harm, even if *you* don't think that you need medical attention, Nick *does*. And the longer you argue, the longer it's going to take for him to get the help that might save his life."
"You'll call his daughter?" Harm asked. "And - Annie?"
It wasn't something Mac was looking forward to, but she nodded. "Just as soon as you're in emergency," she promised. "Now go."
She watched the ambulance pull away and sagged against the chain link fence.
"Excuse me, ma'am?"
Mac looked up to see a man wearing a uniform that identified him as a Sheriff's deputy for the county. "Yes?"
"I'll need a statement, since both of those men were shot."
"Tell you what, deputy. If you'll give my friend and me a ride to the hospital where they took those two, I'll tell you everything you want to know."
"My car's over here," the deputy told her, his eyes narrowing as he looked at Josh. "What's your name, son?"
"Josh Pendry," Josh replied, giving Mac a look that clearly said, *Here we go.*
"From Elk Grove?" the deputy asked.
"Come on, deputy," Mac said, reaching for the door handle. The last thing she needed was this hotshot deputy giving her grief about a missing child. She had to get to the hospital and make sure Harm was all right. "I promised to tell you everything, didn't I?"
Josh got into the back of the cruiser behind Mac as the deputy got into the driver's seat and started the engine. "Okay, ma'am. Might as well start with your name. And why you're with a teenager who was reported as missing by his mother two days ago."
"I'm Lt. Colonel Sarah Mackenzie, deputy. United States Marine Corps. The man with the leg wound is Commander Harmon Rabb, Jr. of the United States Navy. Josh Pendry is his godson. He came out here from Washington at Mrs. Pendry's request to try and find her son "