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Subject: Last Dance

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Date Posted: 14:17:37 03/27/08 Thu

Last Dance
pairing: Harm and Mac
Spoiler: Surface Warfare
Summary: Anything can happen when a Marine wears a little red dress.
Disclaimer: JAG is property of Belisarius productions, no copyright
infringement intended.

Good feedback is good for one’s soul and everyone’s happiness.

part 1

Aboard Flight 238
United Airlines
Flight from Puerto Rico
to Washington DC

The Admiral stood up to stretch his legs. He had just spent two hours going over a report with Lieutenant Roberts who was now typing it up. He walked to the front of the plane hoping to get a strong marine grade cup of coffee even though what he really wanted was a stiff drink.

It had been a long and trying couple of days. It had all begun when the brother of one of his Jag officers was involved in a mishap. It had ended when he had to get personally involved.

He couldn't believe that two senior officers, one a marine colonel and the other a naval captain, would get into a turf war over how his people would conduct a mishap investigation. He couldn't understand why neither one of them would cooperate with his representatives.

He spent an hour reaming out their sixes about their disrespect to him and his office. He had to explain to them in clear and no uncertain terms that when he sent someone from his office, they were in fact him, a two star admiral not some junior grade officer.

He couldn't believe that they had tried to argue with him about that point and tried to convince him, which one of them was right. They hadn't understood that they were both wrong and that he wasn't there to listen to either one of them.

He left them with the impression that their careers were finish. There wouldn't be anymore promotions for them. If they were lucky they wouldn't be booted out of the military and lose their pensions.

In a way it had felt so good. He had been stressed out about the speech he was going to be giving tonight. For a few hours his mind was distracted from that problem. Fresh air from an ocean spray will do that for you.

He got a cup of coffee from one of the stewardess, a tall blond, good looking woman of say early forties named Gloria. She decided to walk along with him back to his seat. He was easy to talk to and looked pretty snazzy in his whites.

They happened to see Harm and Mac sleeping together in their seats. Her head was resting on his chest and an arm around his waist. There was a blanket resting over the two of them.

Gloria smiled at the sight of the handsome couple. They were perfect in every way. The Admiral was less than pleased. Though it wasn't exactly against the regulations, it was frown upon.

"Are they with you Sir?" asked Gloria smiling. She wondered what the Admiral as thinking. She had heard stories of public display of emotions in the military.

"I'm afraid so my dear. We're coming back from saving the world from environmental terrorist once again." sighed the Admiral wearily. He hoped to get a nap before they landed.

"Really Sir? They make such a lovely couple. I've flown with them many times before. How long have they been together?" she asked curiously.

"They're not together. They are dating other people. They only work together." the Admiral replied wondering what was wrong with them. They obviously loved each other, why weren't they together.

"That can't be true Sir, they always fall asleep together on long trips like they are now. Only two people in love sleep together like they do." she argued.

"I don't know what to tell you my dear, but one thing I do know is, they will never admit to being in love with each other." answered the Admiral as he made his way back to his seat. It appeared that the Lieutenant was finished with his work.

An hour later the plane was landing. Harm woke up first to find Mac sleeping with her head on his chest. He realized to himself that tonight would be the night. Tonight he would have something very special for his marine.

"Hey marine, it's time to wake up. The plane just landed and the Admiral will be heading this way." smiled Harm as Mac lifted her head off Harm's chest. She was a little embarrassed.

"Were you comfortable?" Harm asked his marine.

"Soft bellied squids make nice pillows." she replied with a sweet smile.

She really didn't want this conversation to continue. She nudged him to get up so that she could get her things. She wanted to be off the plane before the Admiral saw them.

Fifteen minutes later they were all heading out of the airport together. There was a car there to pick them up courtesy of Gunny to drop them off at home and later it would pick them up. It would take them to the Surface Warfare Ball being held that night at the Fairwinds Hotel.

The Admiral told them another car had picked up Sidney, Renee, and Harriet. They would meet them there at the ball. He hadn't known precisely when they would be returning to DC. He saw no reason for them to be late just because they were waiting for him.

Mac was the first one to be dropped off. The Admiral thought she might need a little more time to get ready. Yeah she was a marine, but she was also a beautiful woman who liked to look her best. He saw no reason why she should have to be rushed.

Harm was the next person to be dropped off. Rabb could be slow on a good day, might as well give him the extra time he would need. It might increase the odds that the Admiral wouldn't arrive late.

"Sir, if you don't mind, I'll take responsibility of picking up the Colonel. It's on my way to the hotel. It'll cut a half-hour off your trip. It should give you more time to arrive at the Ball on time Sir." Harm informed the Admiral.

"Is the Colonel aware of your plans Commander?" asked the Admiral.

"Yes Sir, I told her I would pick her up and take her to the Surface Warfare Ball. She agreed that it would make things easier for you if you didn't have to pick us up." replied Harm.

"Very well Commander, don't be late, I don't want to make any excuses for you." conceded the Admiral.

Fairwinds Hotel
1900 hours

Without the need to pick up Harm and Mac the Admiral made good time. He was in and out of his house in twenty minutes. Roberts was punctual and waiting outside when the Admiral's car arrived to pick him up.

Bud handed the speech he had written to the Admiral as he entered the car. Bud was pretty please with himself. It wasn't very often a lowly lieutenant was chosen to write an important speech for an admiral. It was definitely a gold star moment as Harriet liked to say.

The Admiral scanned the document before commenting "Good job Lieutenant, this is a load off my mind."

Twenty minutes later they arrived at the Fairwinds Hotel, the site of this year's Surface Warfare Ball. The Admiral saw Sidney, Renee, Harriet, and Mic waiting for them in the lobby.

The Admiral felt like whistling when he saw Sydney, the woman he loved, standing there looking so beautiful. He resisted the temptation though, instead he gave her a kiss on the cheek in greeting.

"You look beautiful Doc." greeted the Admiral.

"What are you doing here Brumby? Does the Colonel know you're coming?" bellowed the Admiral forcefully hoping that he put the fear of god in Mic as he shook his hand.

"I'm here to surprise Sarah Sir." replied Brumby.

"You think that's wise Brumby, that is, to surprise a marine?" asked the Admiral fearing what he would hear next. The last man to surprise Mac ended up dead.

"I miss her Sir. I need to be here with her. I reserved my commission to be here with her." mumbled Brumby. "Where is Sarah? I don't see her anywhere."

"Oh boy." sighed the Admiral. He hated to break the man's spirit especially since he traveled so many miles to see her, but there wasn't any easy way to tell him.

"She's coming to the Surface Warfare Ball with Commander Rabb. Her apartment is on the way to the hotel. You know how late he can be sometimes. He offered to pick her up so I wouldn't be late on this special night." explained the Admiral.

He could see that both Brumby and Renee were more than a little upset with the news that Rabb and MacKenzie were coming here together. They both were jealous of Rabb and MacKenzie's relationship. They also were very possessive people who didn't like to share.

The Admiral led the party of six into the ballroom reserved for the event. They found the table reserved for them. Admiral Tom Boone, Commander Jack Keeter, Commander Caitlin Pike, and Commander Meg Austin were sitting there.

The Admiral was a little surprised to see this combination of people together. They weren't exactly buddies, nor did they know each other very well. He also knew Tom wasn't fond of women in the navy, especially those from Jag. They had crucified his six a few times.

Keeter had probably flown with Tom Boone at some point in his bizarre career. He was a friend of Rabb. Tom was Rabb's godfather. Maybe they were friends.

"Who's this blimey dingo AJ? I don't know if there's a place reserved for dingoes." smiled Tom. He liked being an instigator.

"He's the former Commander Mic Brumby. He worked for me for a short time last year at Jag as part of a foreign exchanged program. I'm sure there's room for him. I'm sure you remember Lieutenant Roberts and his wife Lieutenant Roberts and his wife Lieutenant Sims." the Admiral began the introduction.

"The infamous Lieutenant and his wife huh? Mr. Roberts, you didn't tell me you were married. I thought I had instructed you better than that." smirked Tom.

"This lovely young lady is Renee Petersen, she's a friend of Commander Rabb. And this lovely lady is my date, Dr. Sidney Walden." grinned the Admiral.

"Please to meet you both, you both look very lovely tonight. Well I guess the dingo can sit over in one of those two seats with Ms Petersen. These two seats are reserved for MacKenzie and Rabb." smiled Tom mischievously.

"But Sir, I traveled ten thousands miles to be with my fiancee tonight." whined Brumby.

"Quit your whining Brumby, just be lucky we're allowing you sit with us tonight. Besides, if she was your fiancee, then why is she coming here with Rabb tonight?" smirked the Admiral.

Mac's apartment
1900 hours

Mac preened herself in front of her bedroom mirror. She wanted to make sure everything was perfect tonight. It wasn't very often in the last year that she had the opportunity to dress up nicely and go out with Harm.

It had been a monthly occasion back in the day when they spent a lot more time together working. Even when they were dating other people they still found the time to go out for a night of dining and dancing, but when Harm left to fly everything changed.

They hadn't found a way to get back the closeness and friendship they once shared. She really didn't know why. Harm was just different when he returned from the fleet. He seemed less sure of himself.

She had tried to fix things with him in Australia, but all it seemed to do was make things worse. Though she had to admit, Harm was beginning to return to his old self last month. He had won a big case that seemed impossible to win.

He began to get the cocky attitude that only a fighter pilot possessed, he was teasing her whenever he had the chance, and they were beginning to resume the old bantering they used to do.

She looked into the mirror once again. She went through a mental checklist. Earrings that Harm gave her before he left to fly. The Rolex watch that Dalton had given her.

True Harm hadn't liked Dalton, but this watch was too beautiful to wear everyday. But on special occasions like tonight it was the perfect accessory. There also was the charm bracelet Harm had given her after their first flying experience.

Each time they completed an adventure together Harm had given her a charm to remind her of those special times; flying in a F-14, their trip to Russia, the Watertown to name a few.

She was glad to know Harm would be late. It was a bad habit he had, but on nights like tonight it gave her extra time to get ready. Yeah, she was a marine. She could shower and get ready as quickly as the next marine, but on nights like tonight she was still a woman.

She was still a woman who wanted to look her very best for the man she loved. She checked her makeup. It looked pretty good. Her hair had come out better than she expected as she admired the soft curls in her hair.

Ah ..... ! The red dress hugged her body like a glove. It always amazed her how full and rounded her body was with all the curves. Whenever she worked out with Harm she always felt so small, almost like a stick figure next to him, but then again he made everyone look small.

He was a giant among men. Even his career seemed to be larger than life at times. She couldn't wait to see him in his dress whites. She had never really been impress with them until she met Harm.

She heard the doorbell ring. It must be Harm. He's a little early. She slipped on her matching red shoes with four-inch heels. How often did she have that luxury? Both Dalton and Mic were much shorter than Harm.

If she wore these shoes when she went out with them she would tower over them, not particularly a great idea when dealing with their humongous egos. She looked down at her hand and saw the ring. Better take this thing off.

All it would do is make him self-conscious and become more reserve. It would make him back away, something she didn't want to happen tonight.

She smoothed out her dress and picked up she matching wrap and purse. She went to open the door hoping that she would blow Harm's mind.

"Hello Harm, won't you come in." greeted Mac.

Harm stood there unable to move or say anything. Mac smiled realizing that she had made the impression she had hoped for. She moved out of the way as Harm began to move.

"Hi, you look beautiful Sarah." Harm managed to get out.

Now it was Mac's turn to go numb. He had called her Sarah, her given name. It wasn't very often that he did, he only called her Sarah when he wanted her undivided attention. Her heart began to race and her breathing became shallow.

"Thank you Harm, you look pretty nice too." replied Mac as she blushed deeply. She handed her wrap to Harm so he could drape it across her shoulders.

1930 hours
Fairwinds Hotel

As Harm and Mac entered the banquet hall arm in arm, they were greeted with what seemed like a thousand flash bulbs going off. It was nearly blinding. They were quite surprise by all the photographers' interest in them.

"Why are they taking pictures of us Harm? We're not that important." asked Mac.

"Speak for yourself marine." laughed Harm. "Really, I think they just wanted to take a picture of the most beautiful woman here Sarah."

Mac blush at that comment. Surely he was just trying to make her feel good, but he called he Sarah .... again. It had to be more than that she thought.

"Thank you Harm, even if it's not true. Where are you going Harm? Our table is supposed to be over here on the right side of the hall." asked Mac.

"If we go to our table now we will have to deal with the Admiral, Bud and Harriet. We won't be able to get away." replied Harm.

"Yeah, right Harm, you mean you'll have to deal with Renee. You'll have to answer her insipid questions that you don't like to deal with." argued Mac.

"Maybe, but I also would like to see some old friends who may be here tonight. Some may even know you." smiled Harm.

"Are you trying to show your friends that you know a woman who isn't a blond bimbo?" asked Mac with a coy smile.

"Despite your fascination with blond women Mac, most of the women I've dated have had brown hair with a redhead thrown in now and again. Renee is the first blond I've dated since .... " teased Harm.

"Since Jordan." Mac filled in the woman's name.

"Sorry I forgot about Jordan. I only dated her because I was angry with you. It was at least ten years before Jordan that I dated a blond woman. Besides Renee isn't a real blond, she dyes it." replied Harm solemnly.

"Okay, if you want to make the rounds before we sit down, it's okay with me. They don't serve dinner for another forty five minutes." smiled Mac in resignation.

She wondered why they had to visit friends now. Why it couldn't he wait until after dinner? They were supposed to be eating dinner with Jack Keeter, his best friend and two Jag officers he had worked with before she arrived in Washington, a Meg Austin and Caitlin Pike.

They made their way around the banquet hall stopping at a few tables along the way. At some of the table there were pilots that Harm had flown with before, back in the day when he was the king of the greenie board.

Mac was kind of surprise at the affection that former aviators shared with each other. She had always thought of them as adolescent teenagers who never grew up. They belong to a special fraternity that espoused commitment only to one's shipmates and no other.

She was surprise to see that many of them had wives and children as old as Chloe. She began to wonder what was wrong with her flyboy. She wondered why he couldn't commit to a loving and fulfilling relationship like so many of them had.

Of course she knew one of the reasons, his father. Not so much that he had been missing for thirty years, but that he left behind a wife and small son like his friend Luke Pendry.

Still, he had gone eight years before he was stationed on a carrier again flying tomcats. There wasn't any reason to believe he would ever fly again. So why then hadn't he found a woman and settled down?

They also came across some tables that some of his former Naval Academy mates were sitting. If she hadn't seen it she wouldn't have thought it possible, there appeared to be an even stronger bond between them than with the aviators.

They were so happy to see Harm. Somehow it appeared to her that he was their leader. They made special introductions to their wives and told some unbelievable stories, stories that she normally wouldn't have believed to be true except she had heard some of them before from Jack.

She was surprised that many of them gave her hugs as well believing that she had died. Harm had to explain to them that she wasn't Diane and that Diane was indeed dead. That changed the mood for everyone who was present.

That was until he introduced her as Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie, US Marine Corp. That lightened the mood for everyone as everyone laughed realizing that Harm had fallen in combat to a marine.

A concept she really didn't understand because she and Harm weren't together and had never been together. And in fact Harm had never made any attempt to change that fact.

She realized by the power of observation that many of the women were watching the closeness that she and Harm shared. It seemed that Harm was either holding her hand or had a hand on the small of her back. She saw the sighs of wistfulness they had for having Harm by her side.

As they continued to make their way around the room they caught up with some of the Captains and CAGs they had met over the years while doing their investigations. Many of them thank them for taking a positive view when dealing with mishaps.

They thought that they handled the investigations in the proper light. They looked to see what had happen, what went wrong, and how to make sure it didn't happen again instead of immediately trying to place blame on someone.

She had to laugh when many of them made a special effort to point out he had finally thrown away his vision of flying for having a vision by his side. They had all wondered why he had taken so long to be with her.

She wondered why though he didn't said anything to the contrary. She wondered why he didn't say they weren't together and that they were just friends. Wasn't that their shared response for the past four years?

She was interested by the fascination of a few photographers who seemed to be following them around. It seemed like they took a picture of everyone who either shook their hand or gave them a hug. Why?

They stopped at Senator Bobby Laythem's table to say hello. They talk for a few minutes to see what was happening on the hill before moving on. She almost burst out laughing when Bobby gave her a look of finally you got him.

She began to wonder if she was the only one in the room who had been left out of the loop. She wondered if they all knew something that she didn't know and it had something to do with Harm. She began to wonder what he was up to.

Finally they made their way to their table. Mac was stunned to see Mic standing there with his usual punch-drunk look on his face. What the hell was he doing here? He was going to ruin her perfect night.

Ever since she had arrived thirty minutes ago she had felt like Harm's girl. She had been on his arm most of the time. Everyone thought they were together. Now wasn't the time for Mic Brumby and one of his fantasies to screw things up for her.

Fairwinds Hotel
2000 hours

Mic stood up when he saw Mac walking over towards the table. He was so happy to see her. It had been a few months since he had seen her last and he missed her. After all she was his fiancee or so he believed.

Mac on the other hand wasn't as please to see Mic. She was looking forward to a nice evening with Harm and their friends. There would be a nice dinner, pleasant conversation with friends, and a night of dancing with Harm, one of her favorite activities.

She didn't know that Mic was going to be here tonight. He hadn't said anything to her about it. If there was one thing she didn't like, it was surprises, especially if they involved embarrassing her.

How does one get out of a situation without causing a major scene? Deniability had been Harm's mantra for years when he was caught flatfooted about something. One could always claim that they had other plans.

"Colonel, you have a surprise guest here tonight. Mic Brumby has reserved his commission to be here with you tonight." smiled the Admiral.

"Hello Luv." began Mic as leaned in to give her a kiss.

Unfortunately for Mic, Mac didn't like public displays of affection particularly in front of her CO. She quickly evaded Mic's move and moved closer to Harm.

"What are you doing here Mic? I wasn't expecting you. In fact I haven't heard from you for several weeks." replied Mac with a little attitude.

"I wanted to surprise you Luv. I had some things to work out before I could come here to be with you." whined Mic in a tone that hit a nerve.

"I don't like surprises Mic. I've made other plans for tonight. I'm here with Harm. There are some old friends we plan on socializing with tonight. I'm sure you'll have a good time without me to entertain you Mic, you know everyone here at the table." smiled Mac as she walked over to her chair with Harm.

"But Sarah!" whined Mic.

"Let it go Brumby, it's not prudent to fight with a marine when she's dress to kill." ordered the Admiral as he chuckled to himself.

It wasn't long before dinner was being served and everyone was busy eating. There were many conversations going on at the table. None seemed important to Mac. The only concern she had was not having one with Mic.

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