Can I Buy You Dessert?

Rating: R (sexual situation)

Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this. Not a single one. They belong to DPB, Belisarius Productions, Paramount Pictures, and CBS Television. Those lucky ducks! They have these great characters, and sometimes, I think they don't know what to do with them! I'd put them to good use, but of course, I don't own them… So I just do this for fun.

Spoilers: Anything up through "Pulse Rate," I guess.

Feedback: Always welcome and appreciated. Can be sent to


Clayton Webb's House
Alexandria, Virginia
Tuesday, December 9, 2003
2249 Hours (local)

Pulling himself out of her, he stalked angrily across the room into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. Startled, she watched his bare backside go, confused. With the slamming of the door, she jumped out of bed, and unconcerned with her nakedness, raced to the door. "Clay?" she called tentatively.

There was no answer.

"Clay, are you alright?" she tried again, her voice a little louder.

The sound of water running came from behind the closed door.

Knocking, her voice raised, panicked, she called his name again. "Clay!"

The water stopped and a moment later, he stood before her in his green, terrycloth robe.

Jumping back under his accusing gaze, Mac found herself wishing that she had grabbed the sheet, the comforter, anything, so that she wasn't standing completely exposed before him. She had never seen him look so angry. "Clay?" she asked as she took a few steps backwards.

Glaring at her, struggling to keep his calm, he asked, "Why'd you do it?"

The back of her knees hit the bed, so she sat down. Wrapping the blankets of the bed around her, she asked, "Do what?"

Rolling his eyes, he threw his hands up in the air and turned away from her, yelling, "Come on, Sarah! You're an intelligent woman! I'm sure you know what you did!" He angrily scooped her clothes off the floor and threw them at her. Not to her, but at her.

Catching her clothes, Mac pondered the latest turn in events. Even though she was a trained Marine, she couldn't help but cower at his anger. In his current state, she had no idea what he was capable of doing. Pulling her sweater over her head, she gazed up at him, meeting his angry gaze. "What are you talking about, Clay?"

Clay shook his head angrily and turned his back to her. When he spoke, his voice was softer, tinged with pain. "If you want to be with him that badly, Sarah, just go. Don't lie to me about it."

Mac got to her feet and slowly crossed the room. Reaching the robed figure in the dark, she hesitated for a moment before placing her hand on his arm. "Clay?"

When his gaze met hers, she could read the pain clearly in his eyes, along with the anger. "Rabb."

Mac sighed heavily and removed her arm. Furrowing her brow, she asked, "What about Harm?"

"If you want to be with him that badly, go to him, but don't pretend to be with him when you're with me," Clay said angrily as he turned away. "I can live with knowing that you have feelings for him. I can live with you being friends with him. But I cannot live with you calling out his name in my bed!"

Mac's mouth dropped open in shock. "I did that?" she whispered.

Clay nodded.

"I… I'm sorry, Clay. I didn't know."

He turned back to her for a moment and said, "I can understand a single mistake, Sarah, but this wasn't the first time." Turning, he walked out of the bedroom and headed downstairs.

Stunned, Mac stood where she was for a moment before pulling on her underwear and jeans, and grabbing her socks and bra to run after him. "Clay! Wait!" she called after him. Once she reached the kitchen, he tossed her keys at her, causing her to drop her bra. "Clay? Why didn't you tell me?"

"I thought you'd get past it, get over him."

"Why tonight?" Mac was in shock, not knowing that this had been going on.

Reaching for a bottle of bourbon in an overhead cabinet, Clay answered, practically yelling, "I don't know. I just didn't feel like hearing it tonight!"

Nodding, Mac leaned over and grabbed her bra off the floor. "Look, Clay, I am really sorry. I had no idea."

His eyes on fire, he asked suddenly, "Do you even want to be with me?"

"Of course I do! I-"

Cutting her off, Clay said, "I love you, Sarah. Do you get that? Do you know what it does to me to hear you call Rabb's name?"

It took Mac a moment to answer, perhaps a moment too long. "I love you, too, Clay. I never meant to hurt you. Harm, he and I are over. There is no reason for you to blow this out of proportion. Please… Clay," she pleaded.

"Just go, Sarah." He turned on his heel and left the kitchen, bottle of bourbon in hand, to go back upstairs.

Mac remained frozen in place for many long minutes, the only sound in the house her own breathing and the ticking of the grandfather clock in the living room. From Clay upstairs, there was nothing. Mac moved to the front door, pulled her socks, shoes and coat on, and shoved her bra in her coat pocket. As she left, she made sure to lock the door behind her.


JAG Headquarters
Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
1037 Hours (local)

Sighing heavily into the phone, Mac listened to his words, staring mindlessly at the papers in front of her.

"Sarah, I'm sorry I overreacted last night. I shouldn't have approached the situation like that," Clay said, truly apologetic.

"No, you shouldn't have. I'm really sorry that it even happened at all. I honestly didn't know," Mac said softly. She looked up from her desk and glanced across the bullpen. Harm was engaged in what was apparently a good conversation with Bud and Harriet. All three of them were smiling and Mac suddenly found herself more interested in them than the man on the other end of the phone.

"Sarah? Are you still there?" Clay asked.

"Huh?" Mac responded, shaking her head.

"You okay?"

"Yeah. I was… I was just looking for something for a case," she said, recovering quickly, scanning her desk and shuffling papers.

"Oh. So, do you want to go to lunch?" he asked, repeating the question he asked a moment ago, which she had apparently not heard.

Glancing back up, she saw the trio she had been watching split up and return to work. "Sure. I think that would be good. I think we need to talk."

"I'll pick you up at one."

"Okay," Mac said, her gaze connecting with Harm's for a moment. "I'll be waiting."

Smiling grimly to himself on the other end of the line, Clay said, "See you then," before hanging up.

"See you," Mac responded automatically as she pulled the phone away from her ear. Watching as Harm disappeared into his own office, Mac sighed again.


Friday's Restaurant
Arlington, Virginia
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
1343 Hours (local)

Lunch so far had consisted of small talk; both of them content to avoid the pink elephant in the middle of the room. It was Clay that brought the topic up first. "About last night, Sarah…"

Shaking her head, Mac said quickly, "Clay, don't. You were right."

Taken aback, he said, "I was?"

Nodding, Mac said, "I do need to get past it, get over Harm. And if I really want to be with him, I should go to him."

"Sarah, stop. That's not what I meant."

"I think maybe it was, Clay. Either way, it won't work. Maybe it would have. I honestly thought it was over that night we left Paraguay. The things we said to each other down there…"

"Sarah," Clay tried to interrupt.

Shaking her head, she said, "Let me finish, Clay. I never even got the chance to thank him. I didn't know how to thank him. He gave up everything for me. Everything. I wasn't ready for it. I didn't know what to do with it. It was too much, too soon. And no matter how I think about it, I know he did it for me. I can say it was for his country, or for both of us, or JAG, or to ease his own conscious for letting me walk out his door that night, and maybe it is all of those things. But I also know he did it to save me. I could see it when he found me, back at the hotel, every time he looked at me, I knew the reason."

"If Rabb couldn't say it, then he's a fool," Clay said, desperate to hold on to what he knew was slipping through his fingers.

"No, I was a fool for letting him go, for telling him it would never work between us. And I was a complete bitch for dragging you into it."

"I came willingly, Sarah," Clay pointed out. "I am the one that used your toothbrush," he said, offering her a smile.

Gracing him with a weak smile, Mac continued, "That may be, but I should have stopped you. I'm not saying we never would have worked. Maybe we would have. I don't know. There are so many variables, so many what-ifs in the equation. Maybe if Harm hated me and never spoke to me, maybe if things had gone differently down in Paraguay, maybe if Harm had stayed with the CIA, we would have worked, Clay. But it didn't work out like that. Paraguay happened, Harm came back from the CIA, and he's trying to be my friend. I can't have you both in my life."

"And Rabb wins," Clay stated, his voice weak.

"It wasn't a competition. I can't do this to myself, though. I can't do this to him. Or you. I can't say 'never' to him when there is still a possibility of 'someday.'"

Sighing, Clay leaned back in his chair, his heart heavy. "And until there is a 'never' with Rabb, I get the 'never,' huh?"

Mac nodded weakly, not knowing what else to say.

"It was fun while it lasted, Sarah. I don't think Rabb deserves you. Hell, I'm not even sure I deserve you."

Picking her purse up off the floor, Mac pulled out a few bills and laid them on the table. "For my lunch. Don't worry about taking me back. I'll call a cab," she said as she rose to her feet. Pushing her chair back under the table, she smiled weakly once more to Clay before she walked away and said, "And for the record, I'm not sure I deserve either one of you."

Clay watched her as she walked away from the table and out of his life. Sitting at the table, he paid the check and watched out the window of the restaurant to make sure she got safely in the cab to head back to Harm.


JAG Headquarters
Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
1413 Hours (local)

Harm was on the phone with Mattie when he saw the cab pull up outside the gates and drop Mac off. She was too far away for him to read her expression, but the presence of the cab indicated to him that something was up. Promising to call Mattie later that night, Harm hung up the phone as Mac entered the bullpen. He watched as she picked up her messages from Harriet and moved towards her office. Giving her a minute to get settled, he got to his feet and approached her door. Knocking on the doorframe, he waited until she looked up from her desk before he asked, "How was lunch with Clay?"

"How'd you know I was having lunch with Clay?" she asked.

"I overheard you telling Harriet as you left."

"Oh," Mac said, nodding. "Lunch was…" she pondered her choice of words for a moment, "different. But good."

Nodding, Harm said, "That's nice. Glad you enjoyed yourself." Judging by her attitude, lunch hadn't really been that good, but she obviously wasn't telling him. "I just wanted to see how you were doing," he said as he turned to go.

"It's over," she spoke from behind him.

Harm stopped in his tracks and turned around to face her. "What?"

"It's over between Clay and I," Mac stated simply as if it were an everyday occurrence.

Fighting to hide his grin, he said, "I'm sorry to hear that."

Mac tilted her head to the side and smiled, saying, "I find that hard to believe."

Seeing her smile, Harm couldn't help himself as the corners of his mouth turned up in a grin. "I really am sorry, Mac."

"I'm not," Mac shrugged. "Sometimes we just have to realize when we need to let go."

Shaking his head, still grinning, Harm turned to walk away, his whole afternoon suddenly looking brighter.

"Thanks, by the way," she said softly.

Harm glanced back over his shoulder. "For what?" he asked, genuinely confused.

"For Paraguay. I know it must have been difficult to give up everything," she acknowledged.

Grinning once more, Harm responded, "You're wrong, Mac. It was the easiest decision I ever made."

Losing her smile, Mac resolved to bite the proverbial bullet. "Harm, what I said that last night in Paraguay, I was wrong."

Turning around so that his entire body faced her, Harm asked, "About which part?"

"A lot of it," Mac admitted. "About there never being a chance for us."

"I was hoping you'd say that," Harm grinned once more. "'Cause we can always take turns being on top. It's a great way to compromise."

Smiling once more, Mac asked, "So, you think there's a chance for us?"

Nodding, Harm said, "There might be."

"Good. I'll see you later, then," she smiled sweetly.

"Later?" Harm asked.

"Yeah," Mac grinned. "Later, when I take you out for dinner to make up for all the bad things I've done to you over the last few months."

Harm chuckled. "After that, can I buy you dessert to make up for all of my mistakes?"

"I'd like that," Mac smiled.

"So would I," Harm said as he walked away, feeling so light he could fly.

In her office, Mac couldn't help but smile. This might work out after all.




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