The Roads We Take (The Admiral's Wedding)

Rating: NC-17 (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: Up through “A Merry Little Christmas.” Specifically, “Lawyers, Guns, and Money,” “Pulse Rate,” and “A Merry Little Christmas.” Slight references to “Exculpatory Evidence,” “Pas de Deux,” and “Back in the Saddle.”

Feedback: Always welcome and appreciated. Can be sent to


Naval Academy Chapel
U.S. Naval Academy
Annapolis, Maryland
Friday, May 14, 2004
1644 Hours (local)

"Congratulations, Meredith, Admiral," Mac spoke, a smile on her face, as she first enveloped Meredith in a hug and then shook her commanding officer's hand.

Pulling his hand back, the Admiral pulled Mac into a hug, "Thank you, Mac." He couldn't hide the smile on his face or the joy dancing in his eyes.

Turning to Meredith, Mac said, "It was a beautiful ceremony."

Smiling warmly, Meredith turned up to her new husband and nodded. "Thank you. And thank you for coming. It means a lot to us."

Mac laughed lightly, "If I hadn't come, I think the Admiral would have transferred me to Iceland," Mac teased.

The Admiral laughed as he spoke, "Iceland would have been too kind," he teased back.

Turning her head to the side for a moment, Mac caught sight of a few other people waiting to greet the happy couple. "Well, congratulations, again. I know that both of you will be happy." Nodding slightly, Mac stepped away to allow Bud and Harriet to say a few words. Stepping away from the celebration for a few minutes, Mac looked around at the scenery surrounding the joyous occasion. It was a beautiful spring day. The weather was warm, not the sticky heat that can occasionally occur in mid-May, there was a gentle breeze, the sun was shining, and there was a hint of fresh flowers in the air. All in all, a perfect day for a wedding.

Sighing, Mac glanced back over her shoulder at the celebrating crowd. She was happy for both the Admiral and Meredith. They were an interesting couple, but despite their quirks, they worked. They made each other happy, and a happy Admiral made a happy crew at JAG. All the happiness was enough to make Mac sick. Turning away from the scene, Mac took a few steps forward. She couldn't help the resentment she felt towards nearly everybody back there celebrating. They were all so damn happy! Every last one of them had something, or someone, that made them happy. Mac didn't want to take that away from any of them, but she wondered where her happiness was. Where did hers go? Why couldn't she be smiling and laughing with the rest of them without feeling like she was living a lie? She knew the answer, but it was too late to fix it now.

She jumped when she heard his voice ask behind her, "Where's Webb?"

Mac turned herself around to face the man whose face haunted the best of her dreams. "Classified. Where's Mattie?"

"Talking with Jen and Harriet about girl things."

Nodding, Mac looked away from Harm, away from the crowd, and up into the vast expanse of the bright blue sky. "Great day for a wedding," she spoke absently.

Harm looked up to follow Mac's gaze. "Yeah, it is. And they're both happy," he smiled.

Mac turned her body away from Harm once more. "They are. It's nice to see the Admiral so happy."

"I guess your matchmaking plan worked better than both mine and Sturgis's," he spoke to her back.

"I didn't plan that. I don't think you can plan a love like theirs."

Harm was silent for a few seconds before he spoke, pondering Mac's choice of words and wondering if she was referring to the Admiral and Meredith, or the two of them. "I never would have expected the two of them to work, but she's good for him."

Mac nodded, saying nothing, and took a few steps away from Harm, away from all of the happy people. If it were up to her, she would leave now, skip the reception and go home. She hated feeling like this, feeling like she was on the outside looking in at something of which she would never be a part.

"Or were you not referring to the Admiral and Meredith?" Harm asked, his voice further away than it had been.

Continuing her walk, unaware of her own motion, Mac responded, "I don't know." There was a lot that she felt like she didn't know anymore.

Harm watched her go, her pale pink dress swaying gently as she moved. She had been Meredith's Maid of Honor and he had been the Admiral's Best Man, although it had taken some convincing for him to agree to it. There was something off about her; she wasn't herself. If he was honest with himself, she hadn't been herself for months. Not since Christmas. "Hey, Mac," Harm called, jogging to catch up to her.

Mac continued walking, but turned her head back to glance at him, blinded by the sunlight reflecting off the gold wings on the chest of his uniform. The wedding had been an interesting mix of a traditional Navy wedding and a traditional non-military wedding. The groomsmen had all been dressed in official uniforms and the bridesmaids were all in dresses Meredith had picked out. The guests of the couple were an interesting mix of both military personnel and civilians. When Harm caught up to her, Mac turned forward again.

"You want to go for a walk?" he asked.

"Not really," she answered, her voice hollow, as she continued walking.

"Is everything all right?" Harm asked, genuinely concerned.

Mac nodded. She wished he would back off and leave her to herself, but she didn't want to tell him to go. Some part of her was desperate for any time that she could spend beside this man.

They walked for a few minutes in silence, the air between them heavy with unspoken words. It was Harm that broke the silence. "It's Webb, isn't it?"

"Are you ever going to call him Clay?" Mac asked, her voice steady, but lacking emotion.

"When did you start calling him Clay? It used to be Webb."

"Things changed, Harm."

"That much is obvious," Harm responded, unable to keep a hint of bitterness out of his voice. Glancing back over his shoulder at the celebration disappearing from his sight behind him, he asked, "You don't intend to go back, do you?"

"Back to what?" Mac asked.

"The party."

"I didn't intend to leave it in the first place," Mac stated simply.

"Talk to me, Mac. What's going on?"

Shaking her head, Mac said, "Nothing."

"You haven't been yourself lately. I'm just concerned," Harm insisted.

Mac laughed lightly, her voice sad, "I'm still me, Harm. I'm stuck with myself for the rest of my life."

Harm grabbed her arm and forced her to stop walking. "Mac, what is going on?"

Mac met his gaze for a moment, drowning herself in his seawater-green depths. "It isn't Clay, Harm, so you can drop that thought." Pulling her arm out of his grasp, she continued walking. "If it's anybody, it's me."

Harm watched her move forward for a moment before he went after her. "What do you mean?" Not liking what she was saying, he was desperate to keep her talking.

"I'm happy for them, for the Admiral and Meredith. You, too. I'm glad you were able to get custody of Mattie. You've been good for her. She is a great kid and she is good for you. She makes you happy," Mac said, shrugging her shoulders.

"Are you happy?" Harm asked, his brow furrowed.

Mac was quiet for a few steps as she thought about Harm's question. "Most of the time."

"Only most of the time?"

Nodding, Mac expanded on her answer. "This wedding has… kind of… depressed me."


"I've just been thinking of all the things that could have been, all the roads not taken. If I had done things differently, how would things have changed."

"Mic?" Harm asked tentatively.

Mac laughed loudly. "No. Mic was a mistake. Other things."

Harm nodded. Sometimes, he wondered the same things. Having Mattie in his life had improved it immeasurably. She was an intelligent girl, caused her fair share of trouble, but the joy she gave him was priceless. Her smile and her laughter when he got home from work in the evenings were often infectious, melting away the troubles of the day. Her enthusiasm for learning to fly was allowing him to fall in love with flying all over again. The two of them had taken on the project of building a bedroom for her into his loft, shrinking the size of his living room, but the cost was well worth the gain. They had also spent time together as they installed a door to Harm's room and remodeled the frosted glass that had been a wall. He would never regret fighting to take custody of her. No, the things he most often found himself regretting were things with Mac, the things they had never said and the things they had never done.

They walked on in silence. A gentle breeze ruffled the leaves on the trees overhead, swirling a bit of Mac's hair around her face.

"Do you think those untaken roads would have been better?" Harm asked after a while.

"Maybe. Or maybe it was inevitable that we ended up here, like this," Mac answered, her voice sad, her eyes focusing on the blades of grass that were passing beneath her feet, tiny forces always seen, but often overlooked.

Harm pondered her words for a minute before he spoke. "I'm not so sure. I think there were a lot of points where we could have changed things. We had a lot of chances to change the road we are on. But…" Harm trailed for a moment, needing to say what was on his mind but unsure of how Mac would interpret it, "I think you shut the door on all those roads a year ago."

Shaking her head sadly, Mac responded, her voice nearly a whisper, "Shutting the door was not my intent."

Stopping in his tracks, Harm asked, "Then what was your intent?"

Mac continued a few more steps before she stopped. Standing still, looking forward, it took Mac a moment to answer. "I wanted you to see that I was tired of the dance. I meant to change the rhythm, not stop it completely."

Harm watched her for a moment, carefully observing her body language. Though her shoulders were slumped and her head turned downward toward the ground, all indicating sadness, her back was straight, still showing her pride and strength. When her shoulders slumped a bit further, he answered. "I'm not sure the dance is over, Mac."

Mac shook her head, still not turning around to face him. "It ended, Harm. You have your life now and I have mine. We have to live with the choices we've made."

From behind, Harm watched as she shifted her shoulders, her hands moving in front of her in some manner he could not see. "I've never known you to admit defeat, Mac. There is always time to make new choices." Turning, he moved away from her, back towards the party. The group would be ready to head to the restaurant for the reception soon and he wanted to get back to Mattie before she had enough time to cause some trouble by telling stories about the two of them. His footsteps were not quiet as he went.

Mac heard him go and was grateful to be left alone, alone with her thoughts and her tears. Clay was a good man and most of the time he made her happy. If asked if she loved him, Mac would answer in the affirmative, though she didn't know if she would ever be able to marry him. She had walked down that path once before with Mic and she wasn't sure she was ready to cover that territory again. Mac also knew that if it were up to her, though, she would have a place in the small family that Harm and Mattie had become. That was where she wanted to be.

Wiping her tears with the back of her hand, Mac slowly turned back to the chapel, back to the life she had made for herself.


Mac's Apartment
Washington, D.C.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
0127 Hours (local)

Mac sipped the tea from the steaming mug in her hands. Clay had returned from his mission a few hours ago and come immediately to her, apologizing for being too late to make the Admiral's wedding. Knowing he had tried to make it and that occasionally things happened in his line of work, Mac had forgiven him, kissing him and welcoming him inside with open arms. In her bed, she had given him the welcoming she knew he was looking for, gazing up into his brown eyes as the sweat beaded on his forehead and he pounded into her. She tried to banish the thoughts of Harm from her mind, tried to wish him away, tried to not think about what it would be like to be looking into his seawater-green eyes and feel his seed filling her up, but she had failed. His name was on her tongue, his face in her mind, and he was in her heart.

Lying awake in bed after Clay fell asleep, Mac had pondered her options. As she tossed and turned, Clay had shifted in his sleep, the tone of his snoring forever remaining constant. Growing tired of the monotonous sound and knowing sleep was beyond her reach, Mac had risen, pulled on some pajamas, and prepared a cup of orange ginger mint tea to sooth her nerves. On the couch, she found herself gazing at the invitation to the Admiral's wedding on the coffee table. Alone once more with her thoughts, she thought about Harm's parting words to her. They had not been able to speak more at the reception, but their eyes had met and their gazes held. Harm's toast had been heart-felt and brought out emotions in all present, Mac included. As Harm had closed and taken a seat, he stole a glance at Mac, giving her a smile.

Smiling to herself in the dim light of the room, Mac knew Harm was right. There was always time to make new choices. Maybe it was time that she made some choices of her own, time to stop letting things happen to her and go after what she really wanted. Moving into the kitchen, she deposited her half-full cup of tea on the counter and went back into the bedroom. Clay was still snoring. Grabbing a pair of socks, Mac pulled them on, pulled her shoes on and grabbed a lightweight jacket. Glancing once more at the man that occupied her bed, but would never occupy her heart, Mac headed out into the dark night, confident of the road she was taking.


Harm's Apartment
North of Union Station
Washington, D.C.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
0201 Hours (local)

He was dreaming of her again. The moonlight and the candlelight were dancing across her skin, the colors a strange mix of orange and white. The curve of her neck, the expanse of her thigh, the fullness of her breast, her skin was soft and smooth, her hair tickling his chest were all so enticing. She fit nicely into his arms, her warmth reaching to his soul. Moaning, he could feel her surrounding him, feel himself drowning in her. He didn't want to get up and answer the knocking on his door. The knocking was persistent, getting louder. The louder the knocking became, the colder Harm felt. It was with a start that he came into full awareness, realizing the only thing about his dream that was true was the knocking on the door.

Climbing quickly, but not gracefully, out of bed, Harm pulled on his bathrobe and headed out to answer the door, hoping Mattie had not been awakened. After returning from the wedding and the reception, she had spent two hours on the phone, catching up on what she had missed at school that day. She had been exhausted when she had gone to bed after midnight. Glancing out the peephole, Harm was surprised to see the woman about whom he'd been dreaming. "Mac!" he said as he opened the door.

Meeting his gaze for only a second, Mac looked quickly down at her feet. Suddenly, she wasn't so sure that she was doing the right thing. "I should go," she said quietly.

"Wait," Harm said quickly. "Why'd you come?"

Standing in his doorway, Mac looked up to meet his gaze again as she said, "I thought about what you said today."

Harm stepped back to allow her entrance. "Which part of what I said?" he asked as he shut the door quietly behind her.

"About how there is always time to make new choices."

Harm smiled softly to her. "The future isn't written, Mac. It is ours to make of it what we will."

Cocking her head, Mac regarded him for a moment before saying, "You've changed, Harm."

Glancing towards Mattie's room, he said, "It's all because of her. She made me change."

"I meant it earlier," Mac began, also glancing towards Mattie's room, "when I said she was good for you."

"I'd like to think it goes both ways," Harm said as he moved across the room and leaned on one elbow on the bar. The front of his bathrobe gaped open slightly, allowing Mac to see a bit of chest hair. "I don't think I ever really thanked you for what you did to help me gain custody."

Remembering the previous Christmas, Mac turned away, suddenly questioning her decision. New choices could always be made, but it was no longer about only her and Harm. Mattie had to be taken into account, and even if Mac wanted this, Harm may no longer feel the same way.

"Thank you," he said firmly. "It meant a lot to me. Not just talking to her father as one…" he trailed off.

"You can say it," Mac said, turning around to face him, a weak smile on her lips. "I am an alcoholic. I just don't care to have it brought up in court."

"I crossed the line that day," he said, looking away, shaking his head. "I shouldn't have brought up your problems in front of the court like that."

Mac nodded, forgiving him.

"I don't just appreciate you talking to Mattie's dad like you did, but I also appreciate your words to the court." As he finished, he looked up to meet her eyes, his eyes filled with sincerity.

"It wasn't easy," she admitted, breaking the intense gaze, "and I thought long and hard before I did it. When you left my apartment a few days before and told me that getting Mattie was too important for me to screw up, I had to take a step back and look at things. That whole conversation should never have gone like it did. You came to me to ask for something serious and I turned it into an opportunity to pick a fight. Your last words hurt, the whole conversation hurt. But I could see how much getting Mattie meant to you, and how… unsure you were to even approach me in the first place. I guess the whole thing got me thinking and that day in court, I felt like I owed you something."

Harm's eyes clouded as he asked, "Was it nothing more than a few lines to try and give me something because you 'owed me?'"

Seeing the confusion and pain in his eyes, Mac shook her head as she answered quietly, "No. It wasn't easy for me to come in and say what I said. Not because I was lying, but because I was telling the truth. I knew you would make an excellent father, that you would go to the ends of the earth for her. And I also meant what I said about always hoping that my own kids would one day have a father like you."

Harm nodded, knowing how hard it was for Mac to be this honest and open, especially with him. "Thank you."

Looking down at her feet, Mac felt as if she was about three feet tall. "Clay is a good man, Harm."

Shifting his weight from one foot to the other, Harm said, "I have no doubt that he is, Mac. I think he's a better pick than some of your other choices. I at least liked Webb."

"At one point…" she trailed off, completing his thought, smiling weakly.

"Yeah, well," Harm began, looking down at his feet. "Something changed when he dragged you off to Paraguay. I couldn't understand why he would willingly put you into danger like that."

"He trusted me and knew I wouldn't be afraid to do what he needed me to do," Mac said, reciting the words that Clay had said to her repeatedly whenever the subject of Paraguay came up.

"But if he really loves you, I don't think that was any way for him to show it."

"Maybe not," she agreed, shrugging her shoulders, turning on her heel to begin pacing. "It did show a certain level of trust and comfort."

"In a demented way," Harm interrupted.

Pausing in her pacing, Mac glared at him. "And I was certainly able to see the lengths to which he would go in order to protect me."

"He wouldn't have had to go to such lengths if he hadn't dragged you with him," Harm pointed out, fully expecting another icy glare.

"True. But I could have said no," Mac reminded him.

"The Marine in you wouldn't have said no," Harm stated calmly. "It's one of the things that makes you so…" he trailed off.

"Makes me what?" she questioned, an eyebrow raised.

"It makes you, you." There was so much more he wanted to say to that, but even though Mac had come to him this time, he was still unsure of how she would take it, or even if he could get the words out without tripping over them.

Mac smiled, her eyes twinkling. There was so much left unsaid, but she could read it in his eyes. "We've talked about marriage," she said to him, waiting to see his reaction.

Harm managed to control the outburst that was his initial reaction. Instead, he asked, "You and Webb?" his voice a little higher than it had been, slightly panicked.

Mac nodded. They had talked about it, though Mac had been vague in her answers and Clay hadn't broached the subject again. There was a lot she was unsure of, but she did know that right now she knew she could not marry Clayton Webb. The future was another story, and a lot of it hinged on the outcome of tonight.

Swallowing, Harm asked, "Did he ask you to marry him?" He was almost afraid to hear the answer, but he was more afraid of not knowing.

"Not outright," she admitted. "But he did say he would like to in the future."

"And what did you say?" he asked, his heart in his throat.

"The truth." Mac resumed her pacing and sighed heavily before she went on. "I told him that right now, I couldn't. I wasn't ready. I'm not sure about the future."

Turning, shifting his position, Harm asked, "Why is that?" The heart that was now residing in his throat instead of his chest was racing.

"Clay never asked. He knew why," she said. Her pacing ceased and she gazed at him pointedly.

"Why?" he asked, meeting her gaze.

Mac looked down at her feet before she started pacing again. "The first night we were in Paraguay last year, Clay asked me about kids. I said that the right man was needed to have kids. He implied that I had the right man. You."

"I guess he changed his mind at some point between then and now, since he's the one that has you," Harm said sadly.

Shaking her head, Mac stopped her pacing a few feet in front of him. His back was now to the bar, though it was still supporting him, and his arms were folded across his chest. "Clay knew what he was getting into."

"Which was…?"

"A woman who has had one fucked up life," she said seriously. "Men have mistreated me since I was a kid, I've battled my own demons, one failed marriage in which I eventually killed my husband, another failed almost-marriage… Clay knew all of this." Pausing for a moment, Mac broke the eye contact they had been sustaining by looking over his shoulder. "I want somebody who can state his intentions, but I can't even state my own. I am so afraid of putting my heart out there. I'm terrified of getting it handed back to me on a silver platter, shattered into a million pieces." Once again, her gaze met Harm's. "I am so afraid of letting go, of giving in, and going after what I really want." By now, her deep brown eyes were filled with tears that were threatening to escape and run down her cheeks.

Taking a step closer to her, Harm said, "I won't break your heart and hand it back to you, Mac."

A few tears escaped as Mac maintained the gaze. "Promise?"

Nodding, he said, "I promise."

"This new road I want to take, Harm, is with you," she said. All of the meaning behind her words was visible in her eyes.

Harm held out his hand to her. "I would like to take that road, too."

Glancing down, Mac saw the extended hand and grabbed hold. "Are you ready to let go?"

"I let go of everything I had a year ago. I've been floating and just waiting for you to toss me a line," he said, a small smile playing on his lips.

Mac pulled him to her and hugged him close. "The line has been tossed and I think I fell in with it."

Wrapping his arms around her, he said, "Good thing I'm here to catch you."

Mac moved her head and gazed up at him, smiling. "Lucky me."

Harm gazed at her for a moment before he moved down to kiss her. Capturing her lips, he kissed them gently, trying to memorize the feel of the soft skin beneath his own lips.

Responding in kind, Mac returned the gentle kiss, savoring the moment.

After a moment, Harm pulled back and asked, "What about Clay?"

"As good as gone," Mac said.

Looking down at her, he asked, "Promise?"

Mac nodded as she met his gaze. "Promise."

This time, when Harm claimed her lips, there was nothing gentle about it. Tracing the seam of her lips with his tongue, it only took a moment for her to respond and open her mouth to him. Their tongues tangling with each other, they both moaned with pleasure. Pulling her closer, pressing his body to hers, Harm let her feel his excitement.

Breaking the kiss, Mac looked up at him, her eyes questioning.

"What do you want, Mac?" Harm asked.

Swallowing, she whispered, "You."

Shaking his head, Harm said, "What was that? I didn't catch it."

"You," she said, her voice firmer and louder.

Harm smiled and dipped his head in for another kiss. When they broke, he said, "What do you say we move this to the bedroom?"

Nodding, Mac smiled up at him, and said, "I'd like that. But…" she trailed, thinking of Clay still in her bed at home.

"You promised me that he is as good as gone. I'm taking you at your word and tonight, like this, it will be a one time only thing. Because, Mac, I don't want you to leave."

Mac broke the gaze, her smile slipping away. "If I left now," she spoke, her voice a whisper, "I'm not sure I'd have the courage to come back."

Harm picked up her hand and led her towards the bedroom. "Then stay until you know that you'll come back. You aren't only trusting me with your heart, but I'm trusting you with mine. That's what love is."

Stopping in his doorway at the top of the small flight of stairs, she asked, "Is that what this is? Love?"

Harm gave her his trademark "Flyboy" smile as he answered, "It is."

For a moment, he was afraid she would leave, until she smiled and said, "I needed that. Even if I left now, I'd come back. But I'd much rather stay."

Tugging her forward by her hand, he pulled her into the bedroom. After shutting the door behind them, he pulled her into his embrace and kissed her passionately. Her hands pulled his head closer as he pulled her waist towards him, pressing her into his arousal. Groaning into her mouth, he allowed his hands to travel further south, caressing the rear end he had been watching stride across the courtroom for years.

Moving her hands away from his neck, Mac reached down and untied the belt that had been keeping the bathrobe closed. Running her hands back up his now bare chest, she slipped the robe off his shoulders and allowed it to fall to the floor.

Harm reached up to pull the zipper down on her lightweight jacket. When he got to the pajama shirt underneath, he stopped and laughed.

"What?" Mac asked innocently.

"You came over here in your pajamas."

Looking down, Mac smiled as she looked back up and met his gaze. "Sure did."

Shaking his head, he pulled the jacket from her shoulders and said, "I guess I'll have to remedy that and get you out of them."

Still grinning, Mac reached down and pulled the small tank top off over her head, exposing her bare breasts to him. "Let me help you." She slipped her shoes off while Harm stared at her in awe.

As Mac stood before him, nearly naked, something snapped in Harm. He wanted her more than he had ever wanted another woman before in his life. Pulling her roughly towards him, he kissed her lips harshly as he pushed her down on the bed. Lying on top of her, he reached down, struggling to pull the pajama pants off of her, his erection digging into her thigh.

Lifting her hips, Mac helped him ease the pants off of her. Once she was free, her hands quickly moved to relieve Harm of his boxer shorts. When there was nothing left between them, Mac rolled so that she was on top, straddling him. There was so much that she wanted to do to him, so many places she wanted to touch, to explore, to taste. Tonight was not about exploration, but rather, about giving in and letting go. Hovering above his arousal, Mac knew she had made the right choice. Here with Harm was where she wanted to be.

Harm kept his gaze on the woman above him, letting her take control. He wanted to take things both fast and slow, savor every moment, but he was desperate to be inside her. As she teased him, brushing herself up and down his length, he reached up and tenderly ran his fingers over one of her nipples.

Mac moaned in response. With Harm, she was more excited, anticipating what she knew was coming, than she had ever been with Clay. Of course, she and Clay hadn't had almost nine years of foreplay, either. Banishing the thought of the other man from her mind, Mac smiled at the man beneath her, slowly lowering herself onto him.

As Harm slipped into her warmth, he couldn't help but to groan. It had been so long since he had been with a woman. There was one night with Catherine Gale, one night where she had tried to take his mind off of Mac's situation, and he had given in to the distraction, hating himself as he did it. Now, the woman he was with was the one he wanted and he was not going to allow anything to ever take her away from him again.

Feeling Harm as he entered, Mac knew this was it. There would be no one else in her life after this. Leaning forward, Mac claimed his lips with hers, slipping her tongue into his mouth.

Wrapping his arms around her, holding her close to him, Harm thrust up into her. He could feel her rocking her body forward as he moved, both of them quickening the pace.

Squeezing her muscles around him, Mac pulled herself up, giving Harm access to her breasts. Lightly moving her fingers across his chest, she danced her fingertips around his nipples.

Reaching up, Harm took advantage of Mac's position and held onto one of her breasts, feeling it move as Mac rocked her body. Circling his thumb around the nipple, he felt the peak harden even more with his ministrations.

Moaning, Mac called his name as she tossed her head back.

Harm couldn't take much more. He was close to the edge. Grabbing her hips, he held onto her, guiding her movements and the pace as he continued to thrust.

Reaching down with one hand, Mac's fingers slipped in her own juices and she stroked her clit, smiling as she met Harm's gaze.

Seeing her take action was more than enough for Harm. Pulling her down low again, he kissed her fiercely as he exploded inside of her. A few seconds later, he felt her tumble over the edge, her muscles contracting around him, milking him for every drop. Calling her name, he held her close, feeling her heart beat against his chest where his own heart was racing.

Pulling up, Mac continued to sit astride Harm, smiling. His green eyes were sparkling and he, too, was smiling. For a moment, all they could do was stay silent and gaze at each other, content. Finally, Harm shifted beneath her and Mac rolled off him, choosing to lie by his side.

Harm propped his head up on one elbow and gazed down at Mac. Brushing a few strands of hair off her face, he said, "You're beautiful."

Mac met his gaze and said, "Thank you."

Shaking his head, Harm said, "Thank you, Mac. Thank you for giving us another chance, for deciding that 'never' wasn't how it had to be."

"I suppose I was caught up in the moment when I said that. I didn't really mean it like it sounded."

"I know that now," Harm said.

Looking away, Mac said, "I wish tonight didn't have to end."

"Why's that?"

Sighing, she responded, "I have to go home to Clay tomorrow. He doesn't deserve what I've done to him, the way I've treated him in the last year and led him on, when I knew you were the one I wanted to be with."

"You said it yourself, Mac. Webb knew what he was getting into. He is a pretty good guy and I don't think he'll take it as bad as you think he will."

"Maybe," Mac said hopefully. "But he loves me, Harm. There is no way I can deny that. And losing someone you love hurts, whether you were expecting it or not."

Harm pulled his head off his elbow and sank into his pillow. "I'm not saying he won't be hurt because of you. I just think he'll accept it and walk away."

Snuggling her head down into her pillow, Mac whispered, "I never should have started going down that road. It just looked easier."

"A few more thorns along this one, I'll admit," Harm said. "I'd like to say they are all behind us, but I know they aren't. But where there are thorns, there are roses. If we try, Mac, I think we can clear the path."

Reaching across the narrow space between them, Mac placed her hand on his heart. "Be careful with my heart, Harm. It's been broken before."

"My life depends on it," he said, reaching up to hold her hand, squeezing it gently, "you've got my heart in the palm of your hands."

Closing her eyes, she asked, "Think the Admiral and Meredith are happy?"

"Yeah," he nodded, closing his eyes as well. "It was a great wedding."

"It was a great day," Mac added.

"My favorite part was the ending," Harm whispered.

"Mine, too."

Content, they fell asleep, hands joined, their hearts filled with the love of the other, beating in synchrony.


Mac's Apartment
Washington, D.C.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
0341 Hours (local)

Rolling over in the bed, expecting to feel a warm body, he felt only cold sheets. Waking more fully, he knew he was alone in the bed and had been for quite some time. Calling Mac's name, Clay was met with only silence. After climbing out of bed, he pulled on his boxer shorts and a t-shirt and left the bedroom to search for her. In the kitchen, he found her still half-full cup of tea, long cold. Wandering back into the living room, he spotted the wedding invitation on the coffee table. Picking it up, he fingered the gold lettering. He really wanted to be there today for her, but his ride home had been delayed. As he read the words on the light-cream colored piece of parchment, he knew where she had gone.

Placing the invitation back on the table, he moved slowly back to the bedroom. After shoving all of the items that had found a way to her apartment in the last year into a bag, he moved slowly through the apartment, memorizing every detail, wanting to hold on to it forever. In the kitchen one last time, he pulled the key off his key ring and placed it on a note that simply read, "Good-bye, Sarah." As he left the apartment, pulling the door shut behind him for a final time, he knew he was doing the right thing. She was never meant for him, his lifestyle didn't match hers, but he had been content to pretend. Sometimes, pretending was as close as one got to achieving one's dreams.




AN2: It's not that I don't like Webb. I do. I just don't think he is right for Mac (that role is taken by Harm). I think Webb is the weak corner of this triangle, and as such, he is bound to get hurt. I keep making up these scenarios that ultimately hurt him as Mac goes to Harm, but I think there is no way to avoid it. It's the least I can do to allow Webb to walk away with his dignity.

AN3: I was inspired by "A Merry Little Christmas" and the idea of the Admiral's wedding (which I believe is set to take place on or around the 200th episode). Weddings (and big episodes like 100 and 200) being what they are, I can't help but to be optimistic about what may occur when the Admiral ties the knot. So, there was also a little speculation in this about one of the possibilities for the future.

AN4: In case anybody is interested, the song stuck in my head at the end of the final scene with Harm and Mac was Dashboard Confessional, "Hands Down." However, this was not designed as a songfic, and as such, I wasn't about to twist it around and make it one. The song just happened to be stuck in my head.


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