Unconditional Surrender II2
Author: NancyEddy (JAGficLady)
Feedback Contact: etxjaglady @ flash.net (without the spaces)
Rating: Just about anyone, I think
Pairing: Harm/Mac
Classification: Angst, Romance
Spoilers: My stories can contain spoilers of any episode already aired in the US
Disclaimer: I don't own them. If I did, the ending would have been *very* different.
Archiving: Usual drill. Archived at myjagfanfic @ Yahoogroups; and various other lists; http://jagficlady.com/ Anywhere else, please ask I like to know where my stories end up.
A/N: Okay, this is an attempt to 'rewrite' Season 9 in a way that will make it more palatable. I wrote this because someone on one of the lists asked about a sequel, and I decided to try my hand at another shipper fic. Hope it's okay. And yeah, I know that Webb doesn't come off too well in this, but this isn't about him.
Summary: Takes place a few weeks after "Unconditional Surrender", which I recommend reading before reading this one, since it sets the stage for what happens here. Harm is still working for the CIA, Mac is still at JAG, and her worry about Harm makes her act much as she did during the actual episodes.
"Do you miss him, ma'am?" Bud asked Mac as they sat in a conference room, going over Harm's old cases, something that they did every time that a JAG attorney left the service for whatever reason.
*Every moment of every day*, she thought to herself, but out loud, she replied, "Of course I do, Bud." It had been a month since Harm had come to her apartment to say goodbye before leaving on his first mission - and had kissed her, telling her that he wanted a relationship with her, on her terms.
"I wonder if he misses us? I mean, he's out there doing important work - flying who knows where, doing who knows what?"
"We do important work, too, Bud," she reminded him.
"I know that, ma'am," Bud said quickly. "But -" he indicated the papers and files sitting before them, "this is still *legal weenie* work."
There was a message waiting for her when she returned to her office - but not from Harm. This one was from Clayton Webb, asking her to dinner on Friday night. It wasn't the first time that he'd done so, and she had always found an excuse not to accept. While she knew that he was still infatuated with her, she didn't want to lead him on after the things that she and Harm had said to each other.

But she hadn't heard a word from Harm since that night. No telephone calls, no letters. She could accept that he was probably working and might not be able to call, but she still worried about him. Would she be notified if something had gone wrong? Or would his death simply be swept under the rug, the way it no doubt would have been had she and Clay died in Paraguay?

Taking a deep breath, Mac picked up the telephone and dialed the number for Langley, thinking that she would call Clay and ask him to get some information for her. Maybe he'd heard something - but instead of asking for Clay's office, she heard herself asking for Catherine Gale.

"Catherine Gale's office," a young woman answered.
"This is Lt. Col. Sarah Mackenzie the Navy JAG office," Mac identified herself. "Is Ms. Gale in?"

"Let me see, ma'am." The line broke for a moment, and then a more familiar voice came on.
"Hello, Colonel. What can I do for you?"
"I know this is going to sound strange, but - have you - heard from Harm?"
"You know that I can't tell you -"
"I just need to know that he's all right," Mac told her. "He told me before he left that he'd call me -"

"I haven't seen or spoken to him since we went to see Clayton Webb in the hospital, the day that Harm took the job."
"You haven't? I thought you and he -" Mac knew she was fishing, but needed to know where she stood. The last thing she wanted to do was come between Harm and another girlfriend.
"Can we meet for lunch, Colonel?" Catherine asked.
"Yes. I think we need to talk." Catherine gave her the name and address of a restaurant. "I'll be there at noon."
Mac saw the blond CIA attorney the moment she entered the restaurant, and moved to join her, carrying her cover. "Have a seat," Catherine said. "I'm glad you came, Colonel."

"It's Mac. And I had to eat anyway."
They ordered, and then Catherine sat back, looking at Mac. "I think you have the wrong idea about my friendship with Harm, Mac."
"Oh? He mentioned something about a - marriage when we were in Paraguay -"
Catherine smiled. "That was totally unplanned - and it wasn't a 'real' marriage," she said. "My mother has a heart problem, and we thought she was dying. Harm had called me and finally tracked me down here, trying to get information about the mission that you and Clayton Webb were on. He insisted that he needed to get in touch with you to tell you something important. While we were talking, I got a call from the hospital, saying that my mother had taken a turn for the worse. I couldn't find my car keys and was upset, so Harm offered to drive me over."
"That sounds like Harm," Mac said with a smile. "Willing to do anything to help."
"He went above and beyond, believe me." She was smiling as she recalled what had happened and relayed it to Mac. "When we arrived, my mother mistook Harm for my fiancé that she'd never met. She started pressing about when we were going to be married, saying that she wished she would be around to see it - and everything just began to spiral out of control. Before either of us knew it, we were agreeing to be married that night, there in her room. Harm wasn't sure about doing it, but my brother insisted that we had to do whatever necessary to make Mother happy. So Harm called Lt. Roberts, and he came to the hospital, pretending to be a chaplain. At first, I thought he had done it to make me beholden to him, so that I would give him the information he wanted. But after, he started to leave without mentioning it again."
"Again, that sounds like Harm."
"I figured that out. So, I gave Harm Director Kershaw's private number to get the information he wanted. If I'd known he was going to resign his commission and go rushing off to Paraguay, I might not have done it."
"I'm glad he did," Mac said. "If he hadn't, Clay and I would both be dead."
Catherine nodded. "I read Webb's report on the incident." She fell silent for a moment as the waiter brought their food. After he was gone, she said, "I can't say that I wouldn't have minded getting closer to Harm, but I could see by the way that he was so desperate to find you that I wouldn't have had a chance."
"What about your fiancé?" Mac asked.
Catherine smiled. "He never existed," she admitted. "I told my mother that I was seeing someone and that it was getting serious during one of my visits, and she jumped on it. There *was* someone that I had hoped would become more, but things didn't work out. You know how it is, working with someone that you're involved with. It's never a good idea. Maybe it's a good thing that Harm left the Navy. Now you and he don't have that problem, do you?"
"No," Mac agreed, just realizing that fact herself. "I guess we don't. Of course, he has to come home before we can do anything about it."
"I'm sure he will," Catherine said in a firm tone. "From what I gather, he usually lands on his feet. He'll call when he can."

"Then you haven't heard anything about any - problem?"
There was the slightest bit of hesitation. "No."
"Would you tell me if you had?"
Catherine smiled. "You know the drill, Mac."

Mac saw the flashing light on her answering machine when she closed the apartment door, and it was all she could do not to drop her purse and files on the floor and rush over to check it out. Instead, she carefully placed the files onto her coffee table before moving over to the machine, pressing the button as she removed her jacket.
"Hi, Sarah, it's Webb. I tried to call the office earlier and you were out. I left a message - anyway, call me, okay? I thought maybe we could have dinner this week. I miss talking to you. Bye."
Mac sat down on the sofa, deflated. She knew that Harm's job didn't always provide time for him to call - but surely he had had a free moment. She had dropped by his loft a couple of times, picking up his mail, taking it inside and watering his plants. At least he had plants to water this time.

Once, she'd even slept in his bed, making her feel closer to him. But it wasn't enough. Lately, she'd been having bad dreams, dreams in which Harm was hurt and calling out for her, trying to find her.

Picking up the phone, Mac dialed Clay's number, waiting for him to answer. "Hi, Clay," she said, hating that she was so desperate that she would consider doing this.
"Sarah! You got my message?"
"Yes. I was busy at work, and didn't have a chance to call until now. How are you doing?"

"I'm better after hearing your voice. Almost ready to go off desk duty."

"Should you? I mean, after what happened -"

"I'm glad you're concerned about me."
"Of course I am. You nearly died and it was my fault."
"How about dinner tomorrow night?" he asked.
Taking a deep breath, Mac made her decision. "Okay."
"I'll pick you up at six."

"I'll be ready."

She hung up, already regretting saying she'd go out with him. Stringing him along just to get information about Harm was wrong - and she owed Clay a lot. They had only been captured because of her insistence on going after Gunny when he'd been captured. If she hadn't done that, then Clay wouldn't have been tortured within an inch of his life - and Harm wouldn't have had to resign his commission to rescue them and be who knew where at this moment.
Her lunch with Catherine Gale had brought things into focus, and Mac had realized that the other woman had been right: the one stumbling block to a relationship was gone. He wasn't in the Navy, so neither of them would have to give anything up. But could she live with Harm flying for the CIA? She had hated him flying Tomcats - her heart had been in her throat every time he'd gone up.
And she knew it was wrong - she knew how much he loved flying. But she knew how much he loved being a lawyer, too. Surely there was *something* he could do here that would keep him in DC and working for the government. Something that wouldn't take him away on dangerous missions all the time.
Who was she kidding? As long as Harm was happy, that was what mattered. If he was happy, she'd be happy. Taking a bottle of water out of the fridge, she opened it and went toward the bedroom to take a shower and change before finding something to eat and do some work on her current cases.
"You look wonderful, Sarah," Clay said when she opened the door for him on Friday evening. She'd been hoping that Harm would have called or come home to give her a reason to cancel, but neither of those things had happened.
So here she was, letting Clay help her put on a coat over her dress. "Thank you."
When he leaned closer, as if to kiss her, Mac moved in the other direction, pretending to look for her purse, deftly side-stepping his attempt. "What time are our reservations?"
"Six thirty," he told her, glancing at his watch as she spoke.
"Then we'd better go, hadn't we?"
"The place isn't that far away," he replied, but followed her out of the door.
"I was beginning to think that you were avoiding me," he said as they headed downstairs to his car.
"I've been busy," she said. That wasn't a lie. Without Harm, all of them were having to work more cases.
"Too busy to pick up a phone?"
"Are we going to argue or go to dinner?" she asked as they stood beside the sports car.
Clay unlocked the door and opened it for her, waiting for her to get inside before closing it and coming around to get behind the steering wheel.
The drive to the restaurant was quiet, and even after they ordered their meals, neither said much. "What's going on, Sarah?" he asked at last.
"Going on?"
He looked around and then pulled silver flask out of his pocket, pouring some of the golden contents into the half full glass of water in front of him.
"Clay -" This was another reason why she'd kept putting off seeing him. Since their return from Paraguay, he had started drinking Conya. He took a drink, closing his eyes as if savoring the taste. "You shouldn't be -"
"Don't, Sarah." He took another drink. "Now, you didn't answer my question."
"Are you sure you're ready to go back into the field, Clay?" she asked, wanting to distract him for a little longer.
"Worried about me?"
"We're friends. Of course I'm worried."
He reached over and took her hand. "Just friends, Sarah? I thought maybe we were past that. After all, I nearly died trying to keep Saddiq from torturing you. Gave us time before Harm came riding in to the rescue."
"Just in time," she reminded him, not taking her hand out of his. "Speaking of Harm, Clay, have you heard anything about how he's doing?"
"Is he okay?"
Clay almost sneered. "Harm?" he snorted softly. "Harm always comes out on top, Sarah. Harm the hero." He lifted his glass. "To the hero."
"He *is* a hero, Clay," Mac whispered, ignoring the slight shaking of Clay's hand as he held the glass, a holdover from the nerve damage caused by the torture he'd endured. "He saved *both* of our lives."
"Believe me, I know. I can't forget it. Even though I'd like to."
"Have you heard anything?"
Clay's eyes found her, and the silence stretched out until Mac was ready to scream. "Maybe," he said at last. "But it will cost you." His fingers tightened slightly on hers before moving to caress the skin beneath them.
"Cost me? And what's the price?"
"You. I want you. I told you that back there in Saddiq's compound, after they tortured me the first time. That hasn't changed."
"Clay - I can't -"
"Not even to get information about your hero, the great Harmon Rabb, Jr?" he questioned, taking another drink as the waitress arrived with their order. Sitting back, he waited for the woman to finish and leave the table. "Think about it. How much is finding out about what he's doing and where he is worth to you?" he continued, pouring more Conya into his glass.
With that, he began to eat his meal, turning the conversation to less fraught avenues, such as discussing how things were going at JAG.
He didn't mention it again until they were in front of her apartment building, with Mac having driven the car back, since Clay had consumed most of the flask.

He reached over and took her hand. "Have you made your decision, Sarah?" he asked, leaning forward. "I'll tell you anything you want to know if you'll give me what *I* want."
Mac fought against the taste of liquor on his breath as he gave her a long, sloppy kiss. Knowing how much Conya he'd consumed, Mac was pretty sure that he would pass out before she had to make good on what he wanted from her, so she smiled at him, cupping his cheek in her palm.
"If you don't mind getting what you want knowing that it's just so that I can find out where Harm is, I'll do it," she said. "Because I love Harm, Clay."
"You're just grateful to him," Clay insisted. "He saved your life and you just think you love him. I saved your life, too, if you'll remember. Kept them from getting to you before he got there. Almost died, too. Where's your gratitude to me?" He kissed her again, then reached for the keys before opening his door, pausing only to grab an unopened bottle of Conya from behind the seat.
Mac had no choice but to follow through. She had to find out where Harm was and if he was safe. She couldn't go through another night having those bad dreams.
In the elevator, Clay kissed her again, pressing her back against the side of the elevator, his free hand stroking the bare skin of her leg beneath the hem of her dress. "I want you so much, Sarah," he whispered into her ear. "You won't regret this. I promise. I just want a chance to show you how much I want you - how much I -"
The elevator stopped and the door opened - with Mac still pushed against the wall by Clay's body. "Come on, Clay, let's go to my apartment -" She looked up and saw a familiar shadow move away from the wall beside her door. He was unshaven and his hair was longer, but he was alive. And here.
His eyes flickered to Clay, who was just now realizing that they weren't alone, which caused him to redouble his attention to Mac. Without a word, Harm turned and disappeared through the doorway into the stairwell.
"Harm," Mac called out, struggling to free herself from Clay.

"Let him go, Sarah," he said. "He's not worthy of you. Not man enough to fight for you -"

"That's not who he is, Clay," Mac said, becoming angry. Harm had never been the kind of man who would step in between her and someone else. She'd seen it with Dalton, and with Mic.

She knew that she could force Clay to leave her alone, but she didn't want to hurt him anymore than she had to. So she used the age old defense that a woman had against a man - she lifted her knee sharply into his groin.

Clay groaned and fell back against the other side of the elevator, dropping the bottle from his hand as he did so. The bottle shattered, its contents spilling out onto the carpeted floor. "Damn!" he muttered, his hand cradling the damaged part of his anatomy.
The door started to close, but Mac put a hand out to stop it, telling Clay, "Don't call me again, Clay."

"You owe me!" he called after her as the door closed behind her.

Mac ran down the hallway to the stairs, and took them down to the lobby, then onto the street, where she was just in time to see the tail lights of Harm's Vette disappearing into the darkness.

Opening her purse, Mac found her own keys and went to her car, getting into it and bringing the engine to life.

She took the stairs up to the top floor of the converted warehouse, knocking on the metal door of Harm's apartment. "Harm, I know you're in there. Please let me in so that I can explain -"
The door opened, and he stood there, looking tired and defeated. "You don't owe me any explanations, Mac."
"I think I do," she said. "Unless the things we said before you left were lies -"
"No," he said. "At least, the things that *I* said weren't," he told her. She heard the lingering disappointment at having found her in an apparently compromising position with Clay, and winced.
"Can I come in?"
"Look, I'm tired, and -" he broke off mid sentence and stepped back. "I'm sorry I didn't call," he began, dropping onto the sofa. "But I've been working almost non stop for the last month -"
Mac removed her coat and sat down in the chair, knowing that they needed to get this cleared up before they moved forward. Their relationship had been one step forward and two steps back for too long. It was time to take a giant step forward. "What you saw tonight -"
"Hey, I understand, Mac," he said, rising from the sofa to go to the fridge. She watched him take a beer out, then put it back to get a bottle of water instead. "You and Clay went through a lot together down there. It's understandable that you and he -"
"The only reason I was with him was to get information about you," she told him as he moved to sit down again, this time on the edge of the sofa. He gave her a look that said he wasn't convinced. "Harm, I know that you've been through a lot this last month, but it hasn't been a picnic for me, either; waiting, wondering if you were okay, hoping every time that the phone rang it would be your voice on the other end, letting me know that the nightmares I've been having were just that, nightmares."
He looked at her then. "Nightmares?"

"Yes. I kept seeing you somewhere - in pain, calling for me, but I couldn't find you. I'd wake up and couldn't get back to sleep. So I called Catherine Gale, hoping that she could give me some information to ease my mind. But she couldn't - or wouldn't. So when Clay called, asking me to dinner, I thought maybe I could charm him into giving up something."
The look on his face was a mixture of anger and disbelief. "I guess it was working."

"Harm, he was drunk. He's been drinking Conya all evening. When I told him what I wanted, he said he'd give it to me, if I would give him something in return."

"And what did he want? Or do I have to ask?"

"He wanted me."

"Would you have gone through with it?" he asked. "Slept with him to find out where I was?"

"I would have done anything to find out that you were safe," she finally answered in a soft voice. "Whatever it took. Because of what we said to each other - I guess I understand a little of what you went through when *I* was down there."
"Webb's a jerk," Harm declared. "Almost makes me regret saving his sorry ass." He sighed. "I'm sorry, Mac," he apologized again. "I knew you'd be worried, but I didn't realize you would be having nightmares. I know how that goes. Nightmares are the reason that I went to see Catherine Gale before I went to Paraguay."
"You never told me that."
"I haven't had the chance, have I? And we both know that I'm not good at opening up. Did she tell you what happened?"

"The 'wedding'? Yes, she did." Mac sat forward. "Are we okay now, Harm?"

He held out his hand, and she put hers into it. "I think so. I can't promise that the next time I go on a mission that things will be different, you know that."

"I know. But I'll handle it. As long as I know you'll come back if you can."

Harm rose to his feet and pulled her up as well, drawing her into his arms for a kiss. "I always do, don't I?"

"Yes," she agreed, enjoying being held in his arms.
"I did mean what I said, Mac. I love you."

"And I meant what I said. I love you, too." Another, longer kiss.

"I guess I have you to thank for picking up my mail and watering the plants?"

She smiled, looking up at him. "Yes. I felt closer to you here - I even - slept in your bed one night," she confided. "I hope you don't mind."
"Mind?" He gave her that grin that she loved so much. "I hope it won't be the last time you sleep there."
"But next time, I hope I won't be alone," she said, sliding her hands from his neck down over his upper arms - only to stop when he tensed. "Harm? What's wrong?" She felt something under the fabric of his shirt - and began to worry again.
"Nothing," he said. "Just a - flesh wound." Mac's fingers were working at the buttons of his shirt, needing to see the wound, to be reassured that he wasn't minimizing the injury to keep her from worrying. Harm finally shrugged out of the shirt to reveal a white bandage wrapped around his left bicep. "We were evacuating some refugees and someone got off a lucky shot," he explained. "It went through - and was clean. But they wanted me to take some time off until it heals and so I could get some rest."
"So you're home for awhile, then?"

"Probably a week. Maybe a little longer if I'm lucky."

"You are the luckiest man I've ever known, Harmon Rabb," she told him, putting her arms around him again, enjoying the feel of his bare skin, the way that the hair on his chest tickled her cheek. "I *knew* something was wrong."

"It's not serious," he insisted. "Just - hurts when someone or something brushes against it."

"Did they give you something for the pain?" she asked.

"I have some pills," he admitted. "But I don't want to take them."

She could tell that he was exhausted, and pulled him toward the steps that led into his bedroom. "Come on."


"You need to be in bed. How long since you've slept?"

"I've gotten a few hours here and there -"

"I'm talking about full night's sleep, fly boy," she said, gently pushing him to sit on the bed.

"I don't remember."

"Well, you're going to get a full night's sleep tonight," she informed him, pulling off his shoes and socks. Standing, she placed her hands on his chest and pushed again. "Lay down."

"Mmm," he sighed, pulling her with him. "Yes, Mom."

She started to stand up again, but he kept a hold on her. "Harm -"

"Don't go," he asked, tightening his right arm around her.

"I'm not going anywhere, except to lock the door and turn out the lights." He slowly let her go.

"Don't be long," he murmured, his eyes closed.

Mac left the bedroom, turning the locks on the doors and turning the lights off. Moving back to the bedroom, she went into the bathroom, removing her dress, stripping down to the silk teddy she'd worn under the dress. Returning to the bedroom, she put the dress over the back of a chair, then carefully got into the bed beside Harm. His deep, even breathing told her that he was already asleep. So she turned onto her right side as well, and snuggled up against him, relishing the feel of his heartbeat under his skin.

He was home, and safe. And he'd said the words again. "I love you." And she'd said them back. She closed her eyes and smiled as she drifted off to sleep as well, content and feeling that all was right in her world at last.

It wasn't perfect - Harm was still working for the CIA and would be incommunicado when he was on a mission - but it was a start.

The End?

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