Harm hated that he was so defensive with her. After six months, all he could think about was that the last time he'd seen her, she'd been sitting beside Webb's bed, giggling at something he was whispering into her ear, both of them never even noticing when he left the room and closed the door behind him.
For six months, all he'd thought about was her final word on that sidewalk in Cuidad del Este: Never. "It's never going to work out between us."
So why had she called him seventeen - *seventeen* - times, if it wasn't over? Had she really thought that he could just turn everything off and forget? That he wouldn't be upset about losing everything he'd known for the previous 20 years? She certainly hadn't been concerned enough to come and see him that evening. The only one who had come by was Sturgis - and then only to complain.
And now she had the nerve to ask him to help her on a case. So Carolyn Imes hadn't passed the bar, and JAG was snowed under - wasn't that too bad? Maybe if the Admiral hadn't been such a hard ass and processed his resignation -
"Harm, are you listening to me?" Mac questioned.
"Yeah. You want my help in going over the cases that I argued against Carolyn. Sure. Why not? Got nothing better to do at the moment." He got up from the sofa and went to get himself another beer - but stopped with his hand on the brown glass and reached for a bottle of water instead. He had to fly tomorrow morning. Getting drunk tonight wasn't recommended.
His eyes fell on the single key sitting on his bar beside his key ring - the key that had been there for six months. What had Beth said? That once he'd talked to her, he'd know if it was over?
Coming to a decision, Harm picked up his keys and carried them back over to the sofa with him. "You want something to drink?" he asked, almost as an afterthought.
"No thank you. I'm -"
"Meeting Webb," he guessed, and she nodded, indicating the stack of files on the table between them.
"Here are the files that I need you to look over."
"I'll give them a look through," he replied. "I - think I have something that belongs to you that I need to return."
She frowned, clearly with no clue as to what he was talking about. "What?"
Setting the bottle of water onto the table, he started fidgeting with his keys, finding the one to her apartment. "You asked why I didn't return the calls. Seventeen, wasn't it?"
"Yes," Mac confirmed, watching his hands and the keys.
"Some of them I didn't know were from you. There was no one there," he said.
"I wasn't sure what to say."
"I had to start over again, Mac," he said. "Figured that cutting all of the ties to the old life would make it easier to do that." He sighed, staring at the key, telling himself that it was time. That all he had to do was slip it off of the ring and hand it back to her . . .
Harm looked up and their eyes met, and he found himself grateful for the sound of a knock on the door. Mac rose to her feet, almost as if she realized that she needed to go before it was too late. Before he did something irrevocable.
He followed her to the door and opened it, surprised to see Catherine standing there. "I'll be in touch," Mac told him, slipping past Catherine with barely any acknowledgement of the other woman to make her escape
"Yeah," Harm agreed, greeting Catherine and letting her inside as he realized that he still had his keys in his hand, Mac's ready to remove. Slowly, he placed them onto the counter, silently saying a prayer of thanks that he hadn't gone through with it.
Because, God help him, he still wasn't ready for it to be over.