- Unconditional Surrender II2
Contact: etxjaglady @ flash.net (without the spaces)
Rating: Just about anyone, I think
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.
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.
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
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'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
- "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, 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
- "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?"
Mac agreed, just realizing that fact herself. "I guess we
don't. Of course, he has to come home before we can do anything
- "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
- "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
- 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
- "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
- The drive to the
restaurant was quiet, and even after they ordered their meals,
neither said much. "What's going on, Sarah?" he asked
- "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
- "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.
- "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
- "Just in
time," she reminded him, not taking her hand out of his.
"Speaking of Harm, Clay, have you heard anything about how
- "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."
me, I know. I can't forget it. Even though I'd like to."
- "Have you
- 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
- "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
- "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
- 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
- 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
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
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 -"
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
- "Can I come
- "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
"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
"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."