Catacombs of the Heart
Part Twenty



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Catacombs
Washington, D.C.
Sunday, November 16, 2003
0046 Hours (local)

Harm and Mac had not spoken anymore than they had to since the argument Thursday afternoon. Mac was glad to be out on the mission because it gave her something else to focus on, something besides her dealings with Harm. At least at the club, they were looking for someone now. They didn't know if it was the right guy, but if he showed up, he was definitely worth checking out.

Mac saw him as soon as he came down the stairs. She nudged Jen, who was seated next to her, and nodded her head in the direction of the guy. It was the same one who had approached Mac the week before. He walked into the room, scouting the area, craning his head one way and then another.

Jen slid out of her seat and began wandering through the crowd. She made sure to catch Harm and Denise's eye before moving on. The pair was sitting in chairs near the dance floor, having a conversation. Jen had no idea what they were talking about nor did she care. She leaned back against a wall and surveyed the crowd. She was standing by herself, hoping he would take notice and approach her. He had gone for Mac when she was alone the previous week, so Jen was hoping the same thing would work.

She had been standing for a while when he finally approached her. Looking her body up and down, he asked, "You want to dance?"

Jen smiled sweetly and said, "Sure." She followed him out on the dance floor and started dancing. He kept moving closer to her and she wanted to back off. She understood what Mac had meant; he was a creepy guy. She just didn't get a good vibe from him. After the first two songs, she noticed Michelle over by Mac. She had spotted Michelle earlier dancing with June, her girlfriend, and was puzzled by her presence around Mac.

A girl with long, dark brown hair and pale skin, standing only about 5'3", approached Mac. "Excuse me," she said, "is your name by any chance Mackenzie?"

Mac nodded.

"You're friends with Jen, right?" she asked, gesturing over to where Jen was dancing with their suspect.

Mac nodded.

"Jen's a sweet girl. I've seen you guys here and I just thought you should know that the guy she's dancing with is a complete asshole. He's dangerous. I don't think she should be with him at all. I'd say something to her, but I don't know her that well andů" the girl trailed off.

Mac nodded. "Jen will be okay. She can handle herself. She's dealt with some assholes before," Mac said, more concerned now for Jen than she had been, but she couldn't let that on to the girl.

The girl nodded, "I'd just keep an eye on her, that's all."

"I'll do that. Thanks for the tip," Mac said, smiling.

"You're welcome," the girl said and turned back to rejoin her partner.

Mac caught Harm's eye and nodded toward Jen and the suspect. They would definitely be watching this one.

After the third song, Jen wanted a break, so she looked towards her partner and said, "You want to go sit?"

He nodded and led her off to a table, not far from where Mac was sitting, but they were now behind her, out of her line of sight. Harm and Denise got up and started dancing, moving to the side of the dance floor closest to the stairs so at least one of them could keep an eye on the situation. "Do you want a drink?" the guy asked Jen.

"Sure," Jen agreed, "just a tonic water, please."

"Nothing else?"

"I don't like to drink alcohol. It gives me bad headaches," she explained.

He nodded and took off to the bar. When he returned a moment later, he handed Jen a cup and took a swig of his own cup, which was filled with beer. As she took a sip, she noticed the taste of vodka. Determined not to drink much, because of the alcohol and who knows what else he put in the drink, she put the cup down on the table. "So," he began, "what's your name?"

"Jen. Yours?"

"Alan."

"I like that name. It's a strong name," Jen said with a smile as she took a sip of her drink.

He smiled. He wasn't bad looking, which probably made him even creepier. "I haven't seen you here before. I saw you last week, though. You were dancing with someone else."

"I work up at Patuxent River," she said, dropping the information. "I have friends and family down here, so I like to come and visit when I can."

"Patuxent River? Isn't there a naval base up there?"

Jen nodded, still smiling, letting out a small laugh, "Yeah, actually, that's where I work."

"Are you in the Navy?" he asked, looking genuinely interested.

Jen nodded as she took another small sip. She was always pretty good at holding her own when it came to drinking, but if he slipped something else in her drink, she wasn't looking forward to ingesting it. However, save alcohol, none of his other victims had any other drugs in their systems. Still, she wasn't about to take her chances, so small sips were best, and hopefully he wouldn't catch on. "I am."

Alan took a swallow from his own drink. "My dad was in the Navy."

Picking up on the use of the past tense, Jen asked, "Did he retire?"

"No," he said, shaking his head. "He was killed." When he looked back up at Jen, there was a flash of anger and hatred in his eyes.

"Oh, I'm sorry," Jen said softly. "What happened?"

"It was ruled a suicide, but my dad wouldn't do that. Somebody pushed him over the edge of the carrier he was on."

"And they didn't investigate it?"

He shook his head. "Nope."

"How long has it been?"

"About eight months."

"Jeez, that really sucks," Jen said sympathetically.

He looked at Jen intently for a moment. "To be honest, I've hated the Navy ever since."

"Well, I hope you don't hate everybody in the Navy just for that," she said.

He smiled slightly and shook his head. "Nah, not beautiful women like you."

Jen smiled. "Good to know, Alan." She still didn't have enough to get him on charges. It wasn't enough to hate the Navy, there was no crime in that. "Do you meet many people from the Navy?" she asked casually.

"Not here. Every few months someone will wander in here on leave. Not too many repeats."

"Repeats?"

"Most of them don't come back. Knowing that you're Navy, I'm surprised you did."

"I live kind of close. I don't need to wait until I get leave. Plus, I had fun last week, so I thought I'd come back."

Alan nodded. "I think you're the first one I've seen here more than once."

Jen smiled. "I guess I should be flattered that you noticed."

"You should be. You are a beautiful woman, Jen." He reached across the table and took hold of her hand.

Jen shivered at the contact. She didn't like this and she wanted it to be over with.

"You want to go dance some more?" he asked.

"Give me a minute," she said, smiling, as she took another sip of her drink.

He watched her closely, taking a swig of his beer.

"What do you do?" Jen asked, anything to keep him talking.

"I work in construction."

"Really?" Jen was surprised. He didn't look strong enough to work in construction.

"Yeah, I got into it after high school. It pays well, even if the hours are tough. And I get to be outside." He stopped and looked at Jen, who took another sip of her drink. "Do you get to work outside up at the naval base?"

"Sometimes," Jen answered. "When they let me."

"Don't you ever get annoyed by taking orders from others?" he asked.

"No," Jen answered. "Most of the people I work with are great. We are more than just coworkers. We're friends, too," she said happily.

"Friends?"

"Yeah," Jen nodded. "We'll have Christmas parties, birthday parties for kids, engagement parties when someone is getting married, things like that," she said casually as she sipped her drink.

He shook his head, "But they could leave at any time! Don't you resent the Navy for that?" he asked. He was getting angry.

"No. It is a part of our job. It's something we all accepted when we got into the Navy. It is a price we pay to serve our country. We go where we are needed. Just because we go in different directions, it doesn't mean we aren't friends. We can still stay in touch."

Alan sighed angrily. "I don't get it! You all seem so content with what you have, but you can't see what they take away! They took away my father!"

Jen shook her head softly, "Sometimes bad things happen."

Alan stood up, "Enough of this! Let's dance," he insisted, grabbing Jen's arm and pulling her to her feet.

Jen followed him out on to the dance floor. She was glad to be back in Mac's line of sight. She hadn't liked being behind her. And here, she could also be seen by Harm and Denise. For the first time since they had begun this mission, Jen was nervous. She hadn't liked his anger towards the Navy and she hadn't liked the way he pulled her into dancing again. Not to mention the alcohol in her drink. Alan led them to the far side of the dance floor, near the dark corner where the murders had taken place.

Jen danced with him for a song, two songs, and he didn't say a word. He backed her up, pressing her against the wall. He leaned against her, speaking into her ear, "Let's get out of here."

"I don't think so," Jen said, shaking her head.

"Come on. You know you want it."

"No," Jen said firmly.

He pressed against her. "You're just saying that. They must teach all of you women to say that in the Navy. You can still have fun," he said as his lips found her throat.

"I mean no," Jen said again, firmly. She didn't see what happened next because it happened so fast.

Harm yanked Alan off her. "The woman said no."

Mac was on the other side of him and pulled his arms behind him, struggling to get something out of his hands. She let out a yelp, but got what she was after.

Denise pulled a pair of handcuffs out of the back part of the waist of Harm's pants. Her dresses and skirts had never allowed for her to carry them, but as long as she wasn't far from Harm, she had access to them. And if she wasn't close by, Harm could use them to neutralize the threat. She snapped them onto his wrists, completely pulling him away from Jen.

Harm looked at Jen and asked, "You okay?"

She nodded, smiling weakly. "Thanks." She turned to Mac, who was gripping her wrist, face grimacing in pain. Blood was seeping out over her fingers. "You okay?"

Mac nodded. "Let's get him out of here."

Denise recited his rights, charging him with attempted rape, for the moment. The recording of the conversation and the knife in his hands was enough to get him for the time being. The rest would follow. They wanted to get him out of there. Alan was led out of the club between Harm and Denise. Mac followed, clutching her wrist and Jen followed behind her. People had noticed that something was going on and stepped back to watch the procession.

Outside, they met Pete and he helped them to hold Alan. Pete had already called back up and they would be there within two minutes. Sirens could already be heard around the corner, probably from a nearby squad car getting called in. Mac dropped the knife she had pulled from Alan's grasp into an evidence bag.

Harm looked at Mac and said, "Let me see it."

She pulled her hand off from her wrist and Harm blanched. Alan had managed to get a good swipe off on Mac, slicing her down the inside of her right wrist. Harm reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief and wrapped it around her wrist, pulling it tight. "Hold it on there," he instructed, as if she needed it.

"Thanks," she said softly.

"You'll need stitches for that."

"I know," Mac said, smiling weakly. "You know you are going to have to tell people the story, let them know you were there, just so they don't think I was trying to kill myself."

"At least you haven't lost your sense of humor," Harm responded, smiling as well, throwing his arm over her shoulders and pulling her close. "Nice job, Marine."

"You didn't do so bad yourself, Sailor."

They both turned to look at Alan, who was struggling to get out of Denise and Pete's grasp. "You can't do this!" he yelled.

"We just did," Denise replied.

"I want a lawyer!"

They all laughed at this. Denise responded to him, "You're looking at two of them."

This shut Alan up. As a squad car rolled up, he seemed to realize that this was all real. Not only had he been caught, but he had been caught by two police officers and two lawyers.

Jen was standing off to the side, by herself. Mac ducked out of Harm's half-embrace and went over to her. "You okay?"

"Glad it's over. He was really scaring me."

"You did great, Jen. And we were all there. We weren't about to let anything happen."

"I know. I was just afraid that something would. And you got hurt," Jen pointed out.

"This?" Mac asked, holding up her wrist. "A few stitches and I'll be fine. I just want to make sure that you're okay."

"I'll be fine. I'm a little shaken up, but I'll be fine."

"I'm proud of you, Jen. We all are."

The new officers on the scene took hold of Alan and led him off to the squad car, securing him in the back. The group watched him, glad to be rid of him.

"Thanks. I'm just glad we got him."

"We all are," Mac agreed.

"What happened?" Jen asked. "It all happened so fast."

"We saw him lead you over to the corner, so Harm and Denise moved to dance nearby. I moved out onto the dance floor by myself, on the other side of Harm and Denise, keeping an eye on you. I saw it, and apparently Harm saw it, but Alan pulled out a knife, started bringing it up to your throat. And then Harm was on him and I grabbed his arms, and we got him."

"He wanted me to go with him. I kept saying no. Harm must have heard this, because he knew what he had been saying. And I keep thinking, what would have happened if you guys hadn't been there? Did they all say no? Is that why he killed them?"

"We'll probably never know that," Mac concluded. "But he'll never have the opportunity to do it again."

Jen nodded and Mac reached out to embrace her in a hug. Harm and Denise approached them. Denise spoke, "You guys will have to come down some time next week and help us close out the file. We'll have to give formal statements, fill out some paperwork, and all of that."

Harm asked, "Can we somehow find out what he says during interrogation?"

Denise nodded. "I believe that can be arranged. It will probably take a few days to get everything set up, get his lawyers in, bring up a full list of charges, but I'll see what I can do."

"Good," Harm nodded.

"I'm going to go with them, take him down to the station. Mac," she said, turning to her, "I'll be by and get my car some time in the near future, but I don't have anything at your place, so I won't disturb you."

Mac nodded.

Denise offered her hand to Jen, "Jen, it has been great working with you. You did an awesome job. Thanks for your assistance."

Jen shook her hand and smiled. "You're welcome."

Denise looked down at her feet before she spoke again. "You guys make a great team, all three of you. I'm sorry for the way some things turned out," she said, looking back and forth between Harm and Mac, "and some of the problems I may have caused, but we got our mission done and I appreciate your working with us."

Harm and Mac nodded.

"I'll call you. Mac, go get your wrist looked at. If you wait a couple minutes, we can get a police escort for you."

Mac smiled, "Not necessary. I'll go, but I don't need the escort."

Denise nodded and turned away, climbing into the front passenger seat of the squad car.

Harm turned to Mac, "You need a ride?"

Mac shook her head, "Not if Jen will drive me?" she questioned.

"Of course! I've always wanted to drive your car," Jen responded with a grin.

"Uh oh," Harm said, raising his eyebrows. "You're in trouble now."

Mac smiled. "Can't blame her."

"Are you sure you don't need anything?" Harm offered again.

"Go home. Get some sleep. Jen and I, we'll be okay."

Harm nodded. "I'll just walk you to your car."

"Always the gentleman," Mac said, rolling her eyes.

The three of them headed around to the front of the club and walked three blocks to Mac's car. Mac handed her keys over to Jen and they climbed into the car.

"Call me tomorrow," Harm said, "just to let me know you're all right."

Mac nodded. "'Night, Harm."

"'Night, Mac, Jen," Harm said as he moved away from the car. He watched for a moment, until Jen got the car moving and drove it off.

In the car, Mac said to Jen, "How about this? You take me to the hospital, I get my stitches, we go back to my place, crash, call the Admiral in the morning and beg off for Monday, and spend the rest of the day being goofy, which basically means that you laugh your ass off at me on painkillers."

"Does it hurt that bad?" Jen asked.

"Nah. But you know doctors, they always like to send you home with painkillers."

Jen smiled, "Then tomorrow sounds like a plan."

"Good," Mac laughed.

********

21/21

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