North of Union Station
Thursday, July 17th, 2003
0724 Hours (local)
Mac stretched her body out and breathed deeply. She could smell his scent all around her, Harm's scent, and she liked it. She rolled over towards him as his arm, draped across her hip, pulled her closer. She cracked one eye open and saw his sleep-filled face on the pillow next to her. Her internal clock told her it was 0724 and that they needed to get up because they were going to be late for work as it was. And on a morning like this, in Harm's bed with his arm wrapped protectively around her, she wasn't inclined to listen to her internal clock. She'd deal with the consequences later. She closed her eye and drifted off to a light slumber.
North of Union Station
0757 Hours (local)
Mac woke up again before Harm. This time she knew they had to get up and go to work. She stretched herself out again, her feet colliding with Harm's leg under the covers. She sat up and gazed down at him. He was still asleep, his face relaxed and his hair going in every direction. Mac found the scene rather endearing.
Harm awoke to the smell of coffee. He rolled out of bed, not bothering to glance at the clock, and stumbled into the kitchen. He found Mac on her toes, pressed against the counter, straining to get two coffee mugs down. He could see the very slightest bit of white underwear peeking out from under his t-shirt as she stretched out. As she turned around and faced him, he thought she made a beautiful sight first thing in the morning, tousled hair and still-sleepy eyes.
"Plain white, Mac? I always thought you'd be more creative in your choice of underwear," he stated as the thought entered his head, letting it escape before he could contain it. Just after waking up in the morning, control was not something he had a lot of.
Mac just smiled at Harm, as if his comment on her underwear was an everyday occurrence. She poured him a cup of coffee and handed it to him before she responded. "It's July, Harm, and in case you haven't been outside for a while, it's hot. Cotton is a light and breathable fabric."
"I guess," Harm shrugged.
"My only complaint is that I'm going to have to wear them again, as we'll already be late enough for work without going to my place for clean underwear."
Harm glanced at the clock and saw that it was shortly after 0800 and they were already late. Nonetheless, he tossed his next comment over his shoulder as he headed to the bathroom to shower. "You could always go without."
Mac raised an eyebrow and took his joke in stride. "That's true, I could. There's something to be said for going commando." And right in front of his eyes, Mac quickly and gracefully removed her underwear.
Harm didn't even see the slightest bit of her nether regions, but turned to hurry towards the shower. The images he was getting in his head were very vivid and he didn't want things to slip out of control. He knew that if he acted upon the thoughts in his head, they would never make it to work. As he went, Mac tossed her underwear after him, hitting him in the head. He merely let it drop to the floor.
After Harm got out of the shower and into uniform, he handed a fresh towel and washcloth to Mac. "Your turn."
Mac accepted the proffered towel and washcloth and headed toward the shower, pausing to pick up her underwear. "Thanks."
"You going to put the dirty underwear back on?" he asked her.
Mac just smiled and walked away.
North of Union Station
0833 Hours (local)
Harm held the door open for Mac as she waked out. "Wait!" she said as he started to pull the door shut. "I forgot something."
Harm opened the door wider and allowed Mac to reenter the apartment. She ran back into his bedroom and around the corner to the bathroom. A moment later, she reappeared, her fist wrapped around something Harm couldn't see.
As they descended the stairs to retrieve their cars, he asked her, "What did you forget?"
Mac unclenched her fist and allowed Harm to see what was inside. "My underwear."
Falls Church, Virginia
0913 Hours (local)
Harm and Mac had not taken two steps into the bullpen when the Admiral bellowed, "Rabb! MacKenzie! My office! Now!"
The two officers exchanged a worried glance. They had hoped to sneak in unnoticed: so much for that idea. They headed towards the Admiral's office, their covers and briefcases still in hand. They stood at attention before their Commanding Officer.
The Admiral was standing when they entered and he stood before his two senior attorneys. He just looked from one to the other, their eyes divulging nothing. Finally, he spoke, his voice angry and his tone harsh, "What time do we start here?"
"0800 hours, Sir," both officers responded as one, still looking straight ahead.
"Knowing that, would either of you care to explain why you are both one hour and thirteen minutes late?"
For a brief moment, only slightly longer than it should have been, the Admiral's only answer was silence. Harm spoke up, "It was my fault, Sir. The Colonel and I were both working late last night and she came over for pizza after we left. She fell asleep on my couch and when I carried her to bed, I guess I forgot to set the alarm clock."
The Admiral looked at the pair and he could see they were telling the truth. He was also sure that there was more to this story, but he decided to let them off. "Don't let it happen again. If it does, neither of you will be very happy with your next duty station! Dismissed."
Both Harm and Mac executed perfect turns and left the Admiral's office. "Colonel," the Admiral called behind them.
Mac stopped and turned to face the Admiral. "Sir?"
"What happened to your internal clock?"
"I guess I forgot to set it, Sir," she offered with a weak smile.
The Admiral tried to not smile in response; he only nodded. "Carry on." As Mac left the office, the Admiral let the smile he was hiding reach his lips.
Falls Church, Virginia
1736 Hours (local)
"Okay, Bud, that's it. We're going to trial tomorrow and we've done the best we can," Mac said to the younger officer as they both stood up and stretched.
"Do you think we've got enough to get him?" Bud asked.
"I think we have. I just want to nail his ass to the wall! 'Cause if we don't get himů" Mac trailed off.
"I know, I know," Bud picked up. "You're going to hunt him down and kill him yourself."
"I've said this before, haven't I?"
"Everyday since we've gotten this case."
"I just feel bad for Sturgis. He's the one who is defending this bastard."
Bud started to pick up some of the strewn papers on the table in the library.
"Leave it, Bud. I'll get it. You go on home to Harriet."
"Are you sure, Ma'am? 'Cause I can stay and help clean up."
"Go," Mac insisted.
Bud grabbed what he needed for his briefcase and took off. "Thank you, Ma'am."
"Have a good night, Bud," she called after him.
"You, too," he returned as he stepped out of the doors.
Mac started closing books and returning them to the appropriate shelves. As she sorted through the papers to organize what they'd need for court in the morning, the door to the library opened and Harm strode in. "You going home tonight?"
"After I pack all this up, I'm going home. You?"
"Heading that way now. Anything I can do to help?" he asked.
"Nah, I think I've got it," she said as she put the lid on the box and put the last of the papers they'd need in the morning in a folder in her briefcase. Everything else just went in a separate folder that Mac was going to leave in her office.
Harm pulled the box off of the table and said, "I'll get this."
"No, it's okay, Harm. I can get it."
"So can I. Grab the rest and we'll take it to your office and leave."
Mac sighed. She hated letting him win, but she was too tired to argue such a petty point. Although she had slept well the night before, she had not slept enough. They walked down the hall to Mac's office, where they left the box and the larger folder. Mac grabbed her cover and her purse, holding on to her briefcase.
As she pulled the door shut behind her, Harm said to her quietly, "So, I've been wondering something."
"What did you do with your underwear?"
Mac laughed as she pushed the down button for the elevator. "You've been thinking about this all day, haven't you?"
"Well, no," Harm said, wearing a guilty grin, "not all day. I mean, I was asleep for a few hours this morning and the day isn't over yet, so technically, I couldn't have been thinking about it all day."
The elevator arrived and they both got in. Mac smiled, opened up her purse, and drew the pair of underwear out. "You want 'em?"
"No. You can take them home and wash them."
"That's what I intended to do," she said as she put them back in her purse.
"So you really did it? You went all day without underwear?"
"Yeah," Mac said as they hit the ground floor. "There's something to be said about going commando. It's very freeing. Like skinny-dipping. You ever been skinny-dipping?"
"Can't say I have," Harm admitted.
"Swimming naked is also a very freeing experience. The way the cool water hits your skin in areas that are normally covered by a bathing suit. That feeling is so, naughty, but natural and relaxing. It's like that, only instead of water, it's air. Something everybody should try at least once."
"Skinny-dipping or going commando?"
"Both," Mac said as they exited the front of the building. "Although, in your case, I'd wait until you aren't wearing your summer whites."
Harm shook his head. "You never cease to amaze me, Mac."
"I like to keep you on your toes," she said, echoing his words of the previous night.
"What are your plans for the rest of the night?" he asked, changing topics. The discussion of underwear, or the lack thereof, and skinny-dipping was causing his mind to go to places it shouldn't be. Not right now, at any rate.
"I am going to go home, eat dinner with my feet propped up on the coffee table while watching TV, grab a good book and take a long, hot bath, and then go to bed. You?" By this point, they had reached their cars and they were standing in the space between at the back end of the vehicles.
"I'll eat, do some work, probably read and go to bed."
"Don't party too hard, Harm."
"You either, Mac. Sleep well."
"You, too," Mac echoed. They turned to walk in separate directions and Mac quietly added, "But I won't sleep as well as I did last night."
She hadn't meant for Harm to hear her, but he did. And he responded, just as quietly, "And neither will I."
She heard him, as well.