Falls Church, Virginia
Tuesday, July 29th, 2003
1830 Hours (local)
The previous night had been restless for Mac, and after a long day, she was ready to head home. Her one consolation was that Harm and Sturgis had come in early and driven down to Norfolk to interview people for the Marshall case. She hadn't seen him all day, other than when he had been in to pick up some papers and their car. He hadn't once looked at her. Nobody had said anything about the events the previous afternoon, but it didn't make Mac feel any better. Not having Harm there did. Although, a part of her missed him, a part of her she thought had gone numb. And she silently cursed him for making her still care.
As she was walking to her car, she overheard Harm talking to Sturgis. "So you'll take the keys up?" Pause. "Thanks. I'm just really tired. Didn't sleep well, you know?" Another pause. "Well, I'll see you tomorrow." Mac tried to hurry to her car, but he caught her. "Mac!"
Mac sighed and turned around to face him.
"I called you last night and left a message. Did you get it?"
"Look, can we talk? Please?"
"I don't know that that is such a good idea, Harm."
"We need to get past this. It's already affected our work performance."
He had a point. She nodded.
"My place? Tonight?"
"Let me go home to change and I'll meet you there, okay?" Mac agreed.
Harm nodded. "I'll pick some food up on the way."
"You don't have to. I'm not hungry." Truth was, she hadn't eaten much at all since Friday.
Harm gave her a concerned look. "You, not hungry? That's a first."
"Yeah, well, it happens."
Harm smiled weakly. "I'll get something anyway. Maybe you'll be hungry later."
Mac just got into her car and said, "I'll see you in a bit."
"Yeah, okay," he said as he stepped into his own vehicle.
North of Union Station
1937 Hours (local)
Mac smelled the Chinese food as soon as she stepped into the apartment and it turned her stomach. Harm handed her a container and she sat at the bar and tried to eat it, but after three bites, she had to give up. "I can't, Harm. I'm sorry. I'm just not hungry."
"Okay," he said. "You feel all right?"
Mac shook her head sadly. "It's been a rough few days."
"Talk to me."
"Why'd you do it?"
"This is about that? Friday night?"
Mac nodded. "I woke up Saturday and you were gone. No note, you didn't call, nothing."
"I didn't think I had to call."
"So, that's all I was? A one-night stand?"
"No, Mac. That's not it at all."
"I didn't even rate high enough for a note."
"I didn't know what to write. So, I just left. And I didn't know what to say, so I didn't call. And then I got busy on Saturday."
"You keep saying that. What did you have to do? Or, who did you have to do?"
"Mac, I wouldn't do that to you," Harm reached across to touch Mac's hand, but she quickly withdrew it and got to her feet.
"I knew this was a bad idea."
"Mac, I had to get some work done on the Lexus, inspection and stuff, Saturday morning. I didn't finish that until the afternoon and Frank was in town so we went out to dinner on Saturday night. And on Sunday, I picked up the part I was waiting for to fix my dishwasher and garbage disposal so I'd quit having to mop the floor every time I ran them. That ended up taking all day. And I looked over the Marshall case and did some work on other cases."
"But you still couldn't call."
"I meant to, it just slipped my mind."
"You really know how to make a girl feel good, Harm."
"Mac, I'm sorry."
"And why did you leave? It was a Saturday. You didn't have to get up and go to work."
Harm looked over Mac's shoulder for a moment. Honesty about this didn't come easily, but he had to do it. "I was scared."
"Of what?" For the first time, Mac's face softened out of anger and into an expression of curiosity.
"Of how you'd feel when you woke up and found me in your bed. I was afraid that you'd regret the whole thing. I thought you'd hate me and feel like I took advantage of you. I would have stopped at any point if I thought you didn't want it. All you had to do was say something."
Mac shook her head as the tears started to form. She closed her eyes as she said, "I wanted it, Harm. I didn't want to take it back. I didn't regret it. Until I woke up alone. Until you didn't call me." She reopened her eyes and looked at him. "Then I realized it was a mistake."
Harm looked like she had slugged him. "I didn't mean for that to happen, Mac. I just didn't know how you'd feel. I didn't want to be there if you regretted it. I didn't regret it. It wasn't a one-night stand. It was…" Harm paused for a moment before going on, "incredible."
"Yeah, it was," Mac admitted as the tears spilled out of her eyes.
Harm reached up to wipe the tears away, but once again, she pulled back.
"This won't work," she said as she turned from him and walked to the door.
"What won't work?"
"You and I."
"Look what happens. We misunderstand each other, drag it into work, get other people involved, and hurt each other. I trust you with my life, Harm. You've saved me more times than I can count. But you've also hurt me more times than I can count. I can't take that anymore. I can't take that pain anymore. I trust you with my life, but you've broken my heart so many times that I can't trust you with my heart." She reached out to open the door.
"What about what I said yesterday?"
"I love you?" he said, as if he were unsure of it.
"Did you mean it?"
"Yeah, I did. I love you, Mac."
"I love you, too, Harm. But do you remember what I said yesterday? About how sometimes, love isn't enough?"
"I meant that. Sometimes, it isn't enough. This is one of those times. It takes trusting each other with the other's heart, too, and I can't do that." Mac saw the tears that formed in Harm's eyes. She watched them as they fell, and she knew that she had broken his heart, just as surely as he had broken hers. She gingerly wiped a few away. "I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Not as sorry as I am."
Mac opened the door and stepped into the hallway.
"Is there anything that I can do? About this? To give us another chance?" he asked.
"I don't think so. I think this is it." She turned and walked away. Harm just watched her go.
Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, July 30th, 2003
1146 Hours (local)
"Have a seat, Commander," the Admiral instructed. Harm did as ordered. "Is the Marshall case going any better?"
"Yes, Sir, it is. Commander Turner and I found a few people in Norfolk yesterday who helped shed some light on the subject. They also point to some involvement by Captain Summers, Lieutenant Marshall's CO."
The Admiral smiled.
"Along with Captain Summers, it appears that Lieutenant Commanders Jules and Dawes were also involved. All evidence points to Summers as the leader, Jules, Dawes, and Marshall just got stuck in the middle. Unfortunately, Marshall got caught and was used as a scapegoat."
"You think you can prove this in court?"
"Sturgis went back to Norfolk to gather a little more information, but I think we can do it. If we can't prove it, we can certainly indicate that an investigation is needed into Captain Summers. And I believe we can keep Marshall away from a court-martial."
"Thank you, Admiral."
"Have you spoken to the Colonel?"
Harm sighed. "She and I spoke last night."
"Have you worked through your problem?"
"I believe so, Sir. We talked about the situation and we don't see eye to eye, but she isn't angry anymore."
The Admiral nodded. "She still doesn't seem to be acting like her old self."
"I realize that, Sir, and I know that it is my fault. It may take a few days, but I believe the Colonel MacKenzie that we all know and lo-" Harm stopped himself short. "I believe she'll be okay." He was hoping she would be okay.
"I can't have you two tearing at each other's throats like Monday all the time. We are all very lucky the SecNav was not here at the time."
Harm smiled grimly. "I don't think you'll have to worry about the Colonel and I going at each other's throats again."
"Good. That'll be all."
"Aye, aye, Sir," Harm said as he rose to his feet and exited the office.