True Love Never Was Easy
Part Three
Naked Toes

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AN: There is a line in here that I got and paraphrased from Poe’s song, “Hey Pretty,” the radio version. I thought it fit the situation. The song can be found on the newer versions of her Haunted album.


Mac's Apartment
Washington, D.C.
Friday, July 25th, 2003
2104 Hours (local)

A week later, following the conclusion of the Hoskins court-martial, which Mac won, much to everyone's relief, as they weren't quite sure of how serious she was about hunting him down and killing him herself, Mac decided she needed some pampering. She had left work early after the sentencing, come home and taken a long, hot bubble bath with a good book. The Admiral had given her and Harm a new case today, and she intended on looking at it, but she was more concerned about relaxing at the moment, and her toes. It was Friday and the case could wait until tomorrow, if necessary.

Mac was focused on the task in front of her. No matter how flexible and in shape she was, painting her toenails was not an easy and comfortable task. She glided the little brush over her toes and watched the blue color leave a trail. She went over the area again, darkening it, creating an even coat. Shifting the position of the brush on her nail, she began a new stripe, going over it a second time. She finished one nail and moved on to the next, starting the process over. Just as she was finishing the last toe on her first foot, there was a knock on her door.

"Damn it!" she cursed loudly. "You couldn't wait until I was done! No, you have to get me in the middle when I still have tissue between my toes!" She rose carefully off her bed and walked on her heels to the door. She looked out the peephole and her anger receded instantly at the sight of Harm standing on the other side. "Harm," she said as she opened the door. "What are you doing here?"

He stepped in as she backed up. "I was free tonight and I have things I need to do this weekend, so I thought we could talk about the new case."

"Sure," Mac agreed. "I was going to take a look at it, but I'm kind of in the middle of something."

"Well, we could go over it Sunday, I guess," Harm suggested, before he noticed that Mac was looking down at her toes.

"Nah," she smiled as she looked up at him. "Just let me finish my other foot."

For the first time, Harm noticed Mac's state of dress. She was wearing a pair of black pajama pants and a white tank top that left just a strip of her stomach below her bellybutton exposed. She was, he could tell by the lack of straps, not wearing a bra. "Sure," he agreed.

Mac smiled and shut the door behind him, relocking it. "It'll only take a few minutes. And it's quick drying, so even that won't take too long," Mac tossed over her shoulder as she walked on her heels back to the bedroom. After removing his shoes, Harm was close behind. Mac sat back down on the bed and set her toes up in front of her again. Harm took a seat across from her on the bed and tossed the folder he had been carrying on the far corner.

"Why are you painting them?"

"I don't like naked toes."

"You, who will go a whole day at work without underwear, don't like naked toes?" Harm laughed.

Mac just smiled and said, "Underwear and nail polish are two different things. Going without nail polish is boring. Going without underwear is naughty."

Harm raised an eyebrow.

"There are things about me that you don't know, Harm."

Harm just let the comment go, knowing they were entering dangerous territory. After a moment he asked, "Blue, Mac? I didn't think that was your color."

"I just like to be different every once in a while. Nobody sees them, but me, really, so I tend to go with whatever color I feel like."

"Well, I'm looking at them right now."

"Smart ass."


Mac stopped her painting, looked up and glared at Harm. He met her gaze for a moment before he asked his next question. He knew she could throw him out faster than he could say he was kidding, but he said it anyway. "But blue, Mac? Isn't that kind of a NAVY color?" he asked, placing extra emphasis on the word navy.

Mac intensified her glare at him before she broke into a smile. "Nobody has to know. Like I said, nobody sees them."

"I have."

"But you won't say anything."

"How do you know that?" Harm asked innocently, meeting her gaze and smiling as well.

"'Cause if you did, I'd tell people you wear Marine Corps sweat pants at night."

"But I don't."

"Nobody knows that," Mac smiled smugly.

Harm nodded. "Point taken, Counselor." Mac broke the gaze and continued painting her nails. He looked down to watch her and noticed a tiny scar on the middle toe of her right foot. "How'd you get that?" he asked.

Mac followed Harm's gaze down to the scar. "When I was about sixteen, a group of us would go out, get trashed, break into swimming pools and swim. Looking back, it wasn't a smart thing to do, swimming drunk with a bunch of other drunk people. Anyway, one night, we had been drinking, broke into a hotel swimming pool, swam, and continued drinking. The cops showed up and chased us out. We just started running, I dropped my beer bottle, and a chunk of glass cut me. Never got stitches for it, but I probably should have," Mac concluded, her voice sounding sad.

Harm hadn't meant to drag up her past like that and depress her. So, to try and perk her up a little bit, he asked, "Were you skinny-dipping?" He meant it as a joke.

"Not that time. But other times…" she trailed off and looked up at him, a smile gracing her beautiful features.

"So that's how you know what skinny-dipping feels like," Harm stated.

"Who says I haven't done it since then?" Mac asked innocently, giving Harm a trouble-making smile.

"I learn something new about you every day, Mac." Mac went back to painting her toes. "You ever get caught skinny-dipping?"

Mac shook her head. "I don't remember. It all kind of blends together back then, but…" she paused, unsure of how to continue, or even if she wanted Harm to know. She decided to go for it, because if you can't tell your best friend something like this, who can you tell? "Since then, I've always been careful about where and when I do it. Besides, sometimes, half the fun is getting caught. All depends on who catches you."

Harm smiled and shook his head. Deep down at heart, this Marine was still had a bad girl streak. "I don't suppose you'd want someone like the Admiral or the SecNav to catch you, would you?"

Mac laughed. "No. I try to avoid swimming naked in their pools."

"The SecNav has a pool?" Harm asked.

"Hell if I know," Mac said, still laughing.

Harm let out a chuckle himself before going on. "What about me?"

"What about you what?" Mac asked. A wisp of hair that had been tucked behind an ear slipped out, blocking her vision of the final toe. She blew at it, trying to get it out of her way.

Harm reached out and moved the strands of hair, gently tucking the piece behind her ear again. "What if I caught you swimming naked?"

Mac thought about that for a moment as she finished the last nail. She knew where she would like that scenario to go. "Well," she began as she closed up the bottle of nail polish. Harm had pushed the envelope this far, so she couldn't back out now. "Things would happen if you showed up," she finished as she put the bottle of color on the bedside table, avoiding his eyes. She just couldn't quite voice her thoughts.

"What things?" Harm asked. He knew what he wanted, but he wasn't entirely sure about Mac.

"Things," Mac said as she swallowed hard, looking down at her toes, inspecting them.

"What things?" Harm asked again as he raised Mac's chin so she looked him in the eyes.

Mac looked at him. If he wanted to play like this, she could go along. "I think I wouldn't be the only one to end up naked." She left her comment open, seeing if Harm would back off.

He didn't. "And why is that?"

"Because," Mac began. She never got to finish, as Harm, who had been leaning progressively closer, suddenly eased her knees apart and sent his lips crashing down on hers. His hand had still been under her chin, but it found its way to the back of her neck, gently pulling her closer. Mac leaned her weight upon her hands, which were supporting her on the mattress, as she was leaning forward over her toes. As the kiss heated up, Harm's tongue asked for entrance into her mouth, and she allowed it. It circled her own tongue, dancing with it, exploring her mouth.

After a moment that was all too brief, Harm pulled back and asked, "Is that why?"

"Something like it," Mac responded dreamily, trying to catch her breath. It was a good thing she wasn't standing, because her knees had turned to jelly.

Harm pulled her close for another kiss, his hand gripping the back of Mac's head, his fingers tangling in her hair. Mac's elbows were going the way of her knees and her back was screaming for release. Not wanting to break the kiss, Mac stretched her legs out around Harm, leaned back, and pulled Harm with her. He came willingly.

Once positioned on top of Mac, he knew that she had no objections. His hand had released the back of her head as she had pulled him down, and he now let it and its mate feel the curves of her body. Mac's hands wrapped around him and felt the strong muscles of his back. His lips traveled down to Mac's throat and he trailed kisses down her collarbone. Mac let out a little moan of pleasure. Harm's hands went from traveling over her clothes to slipping up under the tank top. As he lifted it, he shifted again and began kissing her abdomen, as Mac's hands caressed his shoulders and her fingers occasionally ran through his hair. As he lifted her shirt and kissed, he discovered another one of Mac's secrets.

Through her bellybutton, was a bar, the top of it housing a pink stone and the bottom was adorned with a flower, the petals made up of tiny diamond-like stones and the center was another pink stone.

Harm paused in his kissing to study it. "I didn't know you had your bellybutton pierced."

"I got it last fall. Chloe dared me."

"So you did it?"

"Let's just say she twisted my rubber arm. She wants to get her bellybutton done, but she has to wait until she is eighteen."

"And the Corps doesn't mind?" he asked as he bent low and began kissing around the piercing.

"The Corps doesn't know. I always wear a uniform."

"Unless you're skinny-dipping."

"The Corps doesn't know about that, either. Someday, you and I will have to go," she said, unable to finish her thought, her pitch rising in intensity as he pinched one of her already hard nipples. She pulled at the fabric of his shirt, pulling it up to his shoulders, intent on feeling the bare skin beneath it. She rolled him over so that she was on top, his long legs knocking the forgotten folder on the floor, its contents spilling across the carpet. Harm lifted himself up as Mac pulled the shirt over his head.

Before the air had a chance to reach his skin, Mac's lips were already on it, spreading feather light kisses across his chest, her fingers running through the hair that was present. Harm groaned and shifted himself, pressing his arousal into her crotch. His hands skimmed across the surface of her back, pulling her shirt up. She pulled her upper body up as Harm worked to remove the tank top, freeing her breasts. He reached up, tentatively, as if he might break them, to gently touch them. His fingers stroked the nipples as his hands moved down to cup them. As he became more confident of their reality, his movements became stronger, exciting Mac more. She leaned low over him again, once again fusing her lips to his.

Mac released his lips and began kissing her way down his chest to his well-muscled abs. A trail of hair just below his bellybutton pointed to where she wanted to go as it went under the waistband of his jeans. Her tongue followed the trail down achingly slow as her fingers fumbled with the button on his jeans. If she had looked, she could have seen the clear outline of his arousal, but her eyes were focused on his face and the pleasure she could see there. She got the button undone and proceeded to work on the zipper. It was the longest unzipping of Harm's life.

When the great amount of pressure by his jeans had been relieved, Mac gently reached for the organ, still hidden from her sight by his boxers. When she touched it, Harm let out a gasp and shivered. She looked up and made eye contact with him. It was the break Harm had been looking for. He pulled her up, rolled them over again, and pinned her underneath him. He kissed her on the lips while one hand snaked its way down into her pajama pants. His fingers traveled over the smooth material of her underwear, which wasn't cotton today, and he could feel the heat emanating from her. As he passed over her, Mac let out another moan and dug her nails into the skin on Harm's back. The painful pleasure only excited Harm further. He didn't know how much longer he could keep this up without just ripping her clothes off and going for it.

Harm once again kissed his way down her throat and paused at her breasts. He sent his mouth to a nipple, one hand to the other nipple, and his other hand was still stroking Mac lightly over her underwear. She arched up to meet him, her little groans urging him onward. After lavishing attention on her breasts for a minute, he removed his hand from her pants and continued kissing his way downward. As he reached her pajama pants, he gently lowered them as Mac rose off the bed. After removing her pants, he removed his jeans, taking his socks with them, leaving the pair clad only in their underwear.

Harm started at her feet and removed the tissue from between her toes, and kissed his way up her long legs, alternating sides, no pattern to his movements. His hands ran along ahead of his lips, skimming her thighs, moving upwards towards the center of her desire. His hands moved around her core, coming close, but not touching it. Mac's hands gripped the sheets. She was melting inside and she wanted Harm to take her, to be inside of her. "Please, Harm," she begged, her voice a whisper.

"Please what?" he asked huskily as he kissed his way around the edges of her pink and purple string bikini underwear.

"Touch me," she demanded.

Harm smiled. He wanted nothing more than to do exactly that. He planted a kiss in the center of her underwear, feeling the dampness of her juices beneath his lips and getting just a taste of her. A taste wasn't enough; he wanted more. Mac thrust her hips into him, raising herself off the bed as he hooked his fingers around the strings on the sides of her panties and dragged them down, exposing all of her to him. As he pulled the material off, he gazed down at her, drinking her in with his eyes.

Her face was flushed and her hair was fanned out behind her. Her chocolate brown eyes had melted into great pools of desire that he was drowning in. Her lips were swollen from their passionate kisses and Harm was tempted to kiss her even more. The cinnamon-colored nipples on her breasts were peaked and standing at attention. If Harm had had another mouth, one would be on her lips and the other would have been suckling a nipple. Her abdomen was well toned and the pink gemstones added a little bit of flair. The dark curls that hid her center from him were glistening and well manicured into a perfect little triangle. Her legs, like her abdomen, were also well toned and had been smooth. Even her feet were well maintained, although the last few nails she had done appeared a little smudged. "Beautiful, Mac. You are absolutely gorgeous."

Mac offered him a shy smile before her demeanor quickly changed. She crooked a finger to him and said in voice Harm had never heard, "Come here."

He did as she ordered and quickly found himself underneath her again. She bent low and kissed him, her hands stroking his abdomen, causing his muscles to clench and unclench. As she moved lower, so did her hands. She slid his Navy-issue white boxers down, carefully navigating it over his erection, and pulled them off. She too, took a moment to look at him.

Harm's eyes were normally seawater green, but in his desire, they were a much clearer shade of green. The smile on his face was one Mac had never seen before, one that he must have kept reserved for only the bedroom. It was a good thing, too, because it made every muscle in Mac's body go weak. His face, too, was flushed. Mac had always been an arm, shoulder, and chest woman, and Harm's were well sculpted and she wanted to feel them around her, wanted to feel the safety and security she felt he could provide. His abdomen was also toned, right down into his legs. His manhood was something he should have been proud of as well. Mac had met men who were not proportional, but Harm was, and on a guy that was six foot four inches, that said a lot. Altogether, Harm was, in her mind, damn near perfect. And, more importantly, Harm was there and clearly wanted to be there, with her.

Mac's smile turned mischievous as she bent low and wrapped one hand around his erection. Harm bucked forward into it. Mac's lips joined her hand around the organ while her other hand squeezed one of his thighs. As she trailed her hand closer to his balls, he thought he might come just based on what Mac had started. Mac moved her mouth and the hand gripping his erection, sometimes together, sometimes in opposing directions, while her free hand toyed with his balls. "Jeez, Mac…" he moaned. She sucked at the tiny drop of juice that had already surfaced. Harm was fighting the explosion within him, trying desperately to not orgasm. A few moments of Mac's sweet torture was all he could take before he pulled her off and once again, pinned her underneath him.

It was her turn to take some pleasure. He slid one finger into her folds, finding her slick and ready. As he moved down her body, licking and kissing the whole way, his one finger found her clit. She gasped when he hit it. He bent low and sent his tongue to circling her clit and gently slid one finger up into her.

"Oh my God, Harm," she called as he withdrew his finger. One hand was gripping the sheets, the other was once again digging into his shoulder. He slid his finger back into her while he tasted her juices. He had never met a woman who had tasted so good. He played with her for a few minutes, relishing in the pleasurable noises she was emitting. He stopped his ministrations for a moment, unsure of whether to finish her like she was or take it all the way home. When Mac hauled him up and kissed his lips harshly, tasting herself, he knew it was time.

Slowly, cautiously, he slid himself into her, letting her adjust to his size, not knowing how long it had been for her, but suspecting it had been just as long for her as it had been for him since he had last danced like this. Once he was all the way in, he waited a minute, letting her set the pace. When she bucked her hips against him, he pulled back out most of the way before he slid back in, still very slowly. Mac met his thrust and he repeated the action. She leaned up to kiss him again and urged him to go faster. He happily obliged by gradually picking up the pace. Mac met his every movement. Neither was aware of the animalistic sounds they were making as their lips met and their eyes held.

Harm could feel himself approaching his peak and he wanted to make sure he took Mac with him. He slid one hand down between their bodies and once again found her clit. It didn't take much more to push Mac over the edge and Harm's fingers on her clit were all she needed. She felt the spring that had been tightening inside her release as she came, calling his name. Her body quaked around Harm, and after a few more thrusts, he too, fell over that edge with her, her name leaving his lips as he tumbled.

For several minutes, both Harm and Mac laid together, limbs intertwined, still joined together. Harm breathed heavily into Mac's hair, which now smelled of a mixture of her shampoo and her sweat. Mac stared at the ceiling, trying to calm her rapidly beating heart.

Harm broke the silence by saying, "Is that what would happen if I found you skinny-dipping?"

"Yeah," Mac responded. "That's kind of what I was thinking."

Harm rolled himself off of her, pulled her close, and brought the covers up around them. Neither one knew what else they could say, so they said nothing. Instead, they dozed off, and for the second time in as many weeks, they slept in each other's arms.

Mac stirred at one point and rolled out of bed. Harm awakened and watched her walk out of the room, noticing the tattoo low on the center of her back, low enough and small enough to be covered by a bikini. Mac returned to bed after turning out the lights in the rest of the apartment, having given up on looking over the new case for the night.

"An angel?" Harm asked as Mac slid back under the covers.

"The famous tattoo."

"I always thought you were kidding."

"Nope," Mac smiled as she turned herself away from him. Her back was to him, but his arms were wrapped around her front side. Mac nuzzled her head into the pillow, the back of it against Harm's chest, before she gave him the explanation. "After growing up with my dad, my mom leaving, my marriage to Chris, the accident that killed Eddie, drying out with my uncle, and boot camp for the Corps, after surviving all of that, I felt like I needed something to mark it all. So, I got the tattoo as way of both celebrating and reminding myself where I came from."

"But why the angel?"

"To remind myself that I always have somebody looking over me."

Harm reached his fingers down and gently stroked the tattoo. He wanted to tell her that she would always have him to look after her, but he just couldn't say the words. And as Mac drifted back off to sleep, the sudden realization of what had just occurred hit him. And along with it, was fear.



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