Falls Church, Virginia
Friday, September 12, 2003
1337 Hours (local)
"Attention on deck!" Tiner called to gain everybody's attention.
The Admiral coughed before he began. "At ease. We all know why we are having this little celebration today. We are celebrating Colonel MacKenzie's and Commander Rabb's engagement and the Colonel's recent appointment to the bench."
A round of congratulations went up in the conference room. On the table was a cake, not yet cut, with the words, "Congratulations Harm and Mac!" Bottles of soda and water had already been opened, their contents poured into clear, plastic cups.
"I remember the day I met these two, about eight years ago. The Commander here," he said, patting Harm on the back, "who was just a Lieutenant Commander, looked like he had seen a ghost when the then-Major Mackenzie offered her hand to him."
Somewhere in the room, Bud was nodding, also remembering the moment. "It later occurred to me why, as Mac looked just like a woman Harm knew that had been murdered some months before. My first words to the pair were, 'Don't get too familiar. You have to work together.'" The Admiral chuckled, along with Bud, Harm, and Mac, all of whom remembered the day well. "I think this was the only time they ever really listened to me, and it was perhaps, one time when they shouldn't have!"
This brought up a round of laughter from the group and caused Harm and Mac to blush.
"After eight long years, they finally got smart and went after what I knew from Day One they both wanted. Congratulations, Harm and Mac," the Admiral said, extending his hand to Harm, who shook it heartily. He then turned to Mac and shook her hand as well.
"Congratulations," the crowd echoed.
"And Colonel," the Admiral began again, "It has been an honor having you as a part of my staff for these last eight years and I am sad to see you go. I am, however, proud to see you move on and take this new position and I look forward to working with you again sometime," the Admiral paused. "And don't let your fiancé give you too much trouble in the courtroom."
"Thank you, Sir," Mac said, fighting to keep control of her emotions. "I think I'll be okay as long as I keep guns out of his hands."
Harm groaned. "I am never going to live that down, am I?"
His only answer was laughter.
The Admiral raised his glass of water. "Here is to Harm and Mac, two of the most stubborn people I have ever met, but also two of the best people and officers I have ever had the privilege of commanding. May they have many happy years ahead of them!"
"Here, here," the room echoed, raising their glasses as well. And with that, the party was in full swing.
Monday, September 15, 2003
1936 Hours (local)
The ceremony had been simple. Harm and Mac got married in the Arlington County courthouse by the Honorable Judge Wilson. Mac wore a simple white dress, nothing elaborate, and Harm wore his dress whites. Admiral Chegwidden was honored to give Mac away. Bud, Harriet, little AJ and their month-old son, David, Sturgis, Meredith, Harm's mom and Frank, and Harm's grandmother, were all present for the actual wedding. Harm and Mac had insisted on a small, quiet ceremony, choosing to hold it on the evening of Mac's first day in her new chain of command. They had chosen to invite only their closest friends and Harm's family, opting to have more people join them for the party afterwards.
Bud and Harriet were holding a small reception at their house for those in attendance and other JAG staff members, as well as some of the judges Mac was now working with. It was here, that while dancing, Harm and Mac finally had a chance to slow down and talk.
The song on the stereo was slow and Mac was wrapped in Harm's arms. "So," he began quietly. "Do you regret it?"
"We've only been married for an hour and 36 minutes. You haven't done anything yet to make me regret it."
"I'll take that as a good sign," Harm smiled as he leaned in for a slow, sensuous kiss.
"Keep that up and we might not ever make it home," Mac threatened against his lips.
Harm smiled as he kissed her again. "I'm sure Bud and Harriet wouldn't mind."
"See, I don't know if I can wait until we get home. I'm kind of curious as to what you're wearing under that dress. And I seem to remember the last time being pretty good." Since that one night, the two had agreed on not consummating their new relationship until they were wed. Sometimes it was tough, walking away, but the two got through it.
"Let's just see if we can make the morning after better this time," Mac told him.
"I don't think that will be a problem. I don't ever intend on leaving you again, Mac."
Mac smiled, as she pulled closer to him.
"I think that was the biggest mistake I've ever made, walking away that morning. I didn't mean to hurt you. Had I known it was going to be as bad afterwards as it was, I would have stayed. I should have stayed anyway, seeing as I didn't want to go."
"It's in the past, Harm. I don't completely understand why you did it, I'm trying, but it isn't easy. I have, however, forgiven you, and you have the rest of your life to spend making it up to me."
"I intend to," he smiled back to her. "But I have to ask you something."
"What?" Mac asked, pulling away from him and tensing slightly, looking into his eyes.
"You remember that first day back at work after the whole thing and you were yelling at me in my office?"
"Yeah. Not one of my best moments at work."
"Nor mine. But while you were yelling at me, for just a moment, you seemed sad, not hurt or angry. Why is that?"
Mac relaxed. "I caught sight of your picture of us in Afghanistan. You know, the one that we both have a copy of and have in identical frames?" Harm nodded, so Mac continued. "Anyway, I saw the picture, and for a moment, I just remembered better times between us. I felt sad for a moment, because I realized that we lost that when we crossed the line. And I was afraid we'd never get them back, because after that, I kind of gave up on you."
"I'm glad you gave me another chance."
"Well, when you sauntered into my office and proposed, you laid it all on the line. You gave me your heart and your life. I couldn't say no. I knew, deep down, that no matter what happened, I'd always love you, and if this didn't work, I might as well be dead."
"You always had my heart."
"You always had mine."
"Why did it take so long to get to this point, Mac?"
Mac smiled. "I think we just needed time to get ready. I think we needed the time and the experiences to become who we are."
"Life works in funny ways, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, it does. I mean, look, you finally made a commitment to a woman!" Mac teased, easing away from the serious discussion.
"I'm going to get you for that," he threatened.
Mac pulled away from him as the song ended, leaving him standing in the middle of the Roberts' living room. "I look forward to it," she offered as she walked over to Meredith and the Admiral.
Falls Church, Virginia
Friday, September 19, 2003
1326 Hours (local)
"You ready, Mac?" Harm asked as he knocked on the doorframe of Mac's new office. He was already in his civilian attire, his uniform hanging on a hanger in his hand.
"Yep," she answered, smiling. She placed a few more papers into a folder, closed it, slipped it into a drawer, and rose to her feet. She pulled her purse out of a drawer in the file cabinet and stepped around the desk to greet her husband. She stood on her toes and briefly touched her lips to his.
"I checked the weather before I left my office and it seems like we got a good weekend to do this."
"Indian Summer, Mac. It's been in the mid-eighties down there during the day, cooling off to the low sixties at night. The water temp has been in the mid-seventies."
Mac's smile of happiness turned into one of mischief. "I'm excited, Harm. We must remember to thank the Admirals for this." Harm and Mac were taking a long weekend on the Outer Banks for their honeymoon. They were each given a half-day's leave on Friday and the full day off on Monday. Neither one could be spared more than that at the moment, but considering how new Mac's arrival on the bench was, she greatly appreciated it. She turned and entered the bathroom and changed out of her own uniform, pulling on a pair of jeans and a light blue tank top. Finishing, she left to rejoin Harm in the hallway.
The pair walked out of the building and got into Harm's Lexus. They had packed and loaded the vehicle that morning, preparing to leave straight from work. Harm held the door open and allowed Mac to climb in ahead of him. Once Harm was seated behind the wheel, he backed the vehicle out of the spot and pulled out of the parking lot, taking a hold of Mac's hand as he went.
Sea Change - Spindrift
Outer Banks, North Carolina
1841 Hours (local)
Harm pulled the SUV into the driveway of their home for the weekend, driving it into the garage under the house. It was bigger than they needed, but Admiral Morris knew the owners and nobody was renting the house for the weekend, so they happily lent it to the newlyweds as a favor.
Mac climbed out of the vehicle and walked out into the driveway, stretching her long legs. She took a deep breath of the sea air and felt the wind move through her hair. "It's gorgeous!" she exclaimed.
"You like it?" Harm asked as he approached her, wrapping her in his embrace.
"I do. This was just above and beyond anything Admiral Morris had to do."
Harm smiled. "Yeah, it was." He was silent for a moment, enjoying the fresh air and the comfort of his wife. "You want to go up?" he asked.
Mac nodded. Harm opened the trunk of the SUV and pulled their suitcase and bags out. He left their uniforms draped over the back seat. They wouldn't need them again until Tuesday. Mac grabbed the cooler and relieved Harm of one of the bags. He led the way up the front steps and unlocked the door. He allowed Mac to enter first and they were enveloped by an open entryway, hardwood floor beneath their feet. To their right was a hallway that Mac could see led to a few bedrooms. She knew from the description of the house that the master bedroom was on the top floor. A stairwell led up just in front of her and slightly to the right, more stairs led down. To their left was a large room with a pool table and a ping-pong tabletop leaning against the wall. Peering around the corner, she could see a TV in the corner of the room.
She led the way up the stairs. They led to a small landing and doubled back on themselves. The top of the stairs let out to a narrow passageway, the right leading to the master bedroom, directly above the poolroom, and the left to the living area. Mac stepped forward and dropped the cooler, intending to take the bag into the bedroom before scoping out the rest of the house. She stepped forward and looked over the banister in front of her, looking down on to the entryway, illuminated by semi-circular window on the wall above her. She moved ahead into the bedroom and dropped her bag on the bed. Harm followed her and dropped the bag on the bed and let the suitcase fall to the floor. The bedroom was huge, complete with a king-size poster bed, two chairs, one in each corner, and a double door opening up to a private balcony. "Okay," Mac began, "I haven't even seen the whole house, but I'm in love with it already!"
Harm nodded in agreement. He grabbed Mac's hand and led her to the bathroom. "Come on! Let's explore!"
Mac gasped when she saw the bathroom. She had seen bedrooms smaller than this in apartments in D.C. The shower stall was the first thing she saw and it was about twice the size of a normal shower stall. The door was open and she could see the massaging showerhead. She and Harm would definitely have to check that out. The bathtub was lined up next to the shower stall underneath a large window. It was a Jacuzzi tub, easily large enough to contain two people. Forget the shower, it was all about the bathtub! In the far corner was the toilet. Along the other long wall, facing the shower and the tub, was a huge mirror and two sinks, tons of counter space between them. "Oh my God, Harm!" she exclaimed.
"I know," Harm said in awe, his eyes wide. "I don't know where to begin!" he said with a lusty grin.
Mac smacked him on the arm. "Typical man! Only thinking about sex!"
"It is our honeymoon," Harm said innocently, shrugging his shoulders, and giving her a thousand-watt grin.
"Later," Mac promised as she led him out of the bathroom. "We haven't seen the whole place. It'd be a shame if we started in the bathroom and never left."
Harm followed her willingly, also anxious to check out the rest of the house. Across the narrow passageway from the bedroom, were the kitchen, dining, and the living areas. One side of the kitchen was made of a bar, complete with stools, which picked up where the banister left off. The kitchen was set with all the modern appliances. The dining area was a few feet outside of the kitchen. A glass table big enough for twelve sat underneath a lighting structure made up of black-iron farm animals. And running alongside the dining area, with no clear separation between the two rooms save a table with two lamps, was the living area. There was a gas fireplace, a television, two couches, and two arm chairs. The furniture set up a half-circle, all facing the TV and the fireplace. The ceiling was high and sloped towards the outside of the house. On the far wall, was a door, leading out to a deck that wrapped around the house, with two doors also available from the dining area. Along one wall was another bar, complete with martini and margarita glasses, beer mugs, wine glasses, a blender, a sink, and a small refrigerator. And in the far corner of the living room, just past the bar, a short staircase led up to a reading nook. Four chairs were placed up there, a round table in the middle of them, and two smaller, square tables on either side of the room. A lamp stood in each of the far corners and an entertainment center was housed in the shelves that sat close to the steps. One wall of the nook opened into the living room, with a banister to prevent people from falling, and the other two sides of the room were lined with tall windows.
"This is absolutely incredible!" Mac squealed as she looked at her temporary home.
"I think the hot tub and hammock swing are probably outside," Harm concluded, also amazed with his surroundings. He and Mac just may settle here for the rest of their lives and forget about the rest of the world. He still had a hold of Mac's hand as he led her to one of the doors to the deck from the dining area. They stepped back out into the warm early-autumn air. A wooden table surrounded by chairs was in front of them under the covered portion of the deck. To their left, the deck led to the back of the house, which looked down toward the beach. And in the corner, was the hot tub. He and Mac would definitely be in that later. Stairs led down to the next level and he and Mac took these. Sure enough, a hammock swing was hanging from a few hooks in the wood. Another flight of stairs led back down to the ground and the outdoor showers (also filled with possibilities for later), putting Harm and Mac back where they started.
Standing in front of the house in the driveway again, Mac pulled Harm to her for a passionate kiss.
"What was that for?" he asked.
"'Cause I love you."
"But I had nothing to do with getting this house."
"I know, but I'm not about to kiss Admiral Morris like that!"
"I'm glad! I'd be worried about you if you did."
Mac laughed as she pulled Harm close for another kiss. "No, you're the only man I want to kiss from now on. Although, if Brad Pitt were to come strolling up the driveway…" Mac trailed off.
Harm shook his head. "Just remember, Brad Pitt isn't a pilot."
"Haven't I told you before that dress whites and gold wings are overrated?"
"Yeah," Harm agreed, still smiling. He could take the teasing well.
"They are," Mac paused, "on everybody but you," she finished, smiling right back at him.
Harm wrapped her into his arms and led her up the front steps. Just before the door, he pulled her in for another kiss, his tongue probing her mouth, her body melding itself to his.
They managed to make it to the bedroom. Barely.