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Subject: Time in Between

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Date Posted: 17:36:27 04/02/08 Wed

Time in Between
Classification: Harm/Mac
Spoiler: none
Summary: This story takes place after Harm joins the CIA.

Disclaimers: The characters of JAG are the property of Donald Bellisario and Bellisarius Production, Inc. Used without permission. No copyright infringement intended. May be reproduce if unchanged, author given full credit, and no financial transaction is involved.

Feedback is greatly appreciated and welcomed.

Author's note: a real tear jerker

Part one Time of Reflection

1400 hours
27 Nov 2003
Admiral’s house

Everyone was excited to be getting together for Thanksgiving at the Admiral’s house. It wasn’t very often that the Admiral opened up his home to the Jag staff and family. They all were quite pleased to be gathering there.

Jason and Jen had arrived early at the Admiral’s request to assure that everything would be ready when everybody arrived. Jen, who was taking over for Jason, had arranged with a caterer to provide dinner for thirty guests.

The dinner consisted of a main course of turkey, mash potatoes, with a choice of Hubbard squash, turnip, pearl onions, peas, and corn for vegetables. There was a bread stuffing containing cranberries, apple, celery, and onion.

There were several different varieties of cranberry sauce for those looking for something tangy to eat to spice up the dinner.

The Admiral had an assortment of wines, beer, and soft drinks to quench the thirst of those attending. No one would go wanting.

As Jason and Jen were putting the final touches around the Admiral’s home there was a knock on the door. It was Bud and Harriet. As usual they were the first to arrive. No one had figured out why they always did.

Considering Bud would usually do something to embarrass himself, usually he or someone would spill something on him. It wasn’t long before the others began showing up to join them.

One in particular was Carolyn Imes. She had returned to headquarters shortly after it was determined that Harm would not be returning to Jag after his little exclusion to Paraguay to rescued Mac.

The Admiral wasn’t happy that Harm had resigned his commission and gone after Mac. In his mind Harm had once again disobeyed him and put his needs and wants ahead of Jag and the Navy. Harm wasn’t a team player.

Once again he had gone off half cocked without a plan, without any backup, or assistance. Harm didn’t care that the CIA and the Navy might have devised a plan of their own to rescue Webb and Mac.

He just wanted to do something now without thinking about the possible international ramifications he would be causing. Harmon Rabb Jr. was an instant gratification junkie.

The Admiral had had enough of Harm’s attitude especially since Harm had just spent six weeks in the brig for being less than honest with the NCIS investigators. He had asked Harm what Harm would do to keep Mac after he found her.

When it turned out he hadn’t done anything, the Admiral decided it was time to let Harm go. He didn’t deserve to be in the Navy anymore. After the fiasco with Brumby, the Admiral had decided he didn't want to go through that again.

Harm had become a liability, someone he couldn’t trust to use good judgment anymore. If Harm couldn’t tell the woman he love that he love her and let her go to another man, maybe he wasn’t worthy of wearing the uniform anymore.

Also arriving at the party was Sturgis with his new lady friend Varise and his father. He seemed to be happy again now that he had someone to love and love him back. She wasn’t the headache that Bobbie had been.

1700 hours

Later that afternoon Mac, Carolyn, Jen, and Harriet were sitting by the fireplace. They were talking about what had been happening at Jag over the last six months since Mac had returned from Paraguay.

Carolyn, for one, wasn’t sure what had happened. She couldn’t believe that Harm was no longer in the Navy, never mind not being at Jag. She had always believed like everyone else that Harm was a lifer.

He would be in the Navy long past his twenty, at least thirty. They all knew he was being groomed to some day take over as the JAG of the Navy. What had gone wrong? Why wasn’t he here anymore?

“Do you miss him Ma’am?” asked Harriet. It hadn’t been the same around Jag since the Commander had resigned. Things were too quiet.

“Miss who Harriet?” asked Mac, not sure who Harriet was talking about.

“You know, the Commander, Ma’am. You two were so close Ma’am.” sighed Harriet.

“Maybe at one time Harriet, maybe before Bud stepped on a landmine. I honestly thought that something might have been possible last Christmas, but everything slowly changed until we grew apart last spring.

Harm had been distant for several months. He was quiet and didn’t talk much. I didn’t understand why until the NCIS investigation. Even then he wouldn’t talk to me.” replied Mac.

“I don’t understand Sarah, why isn’t Harm here with us? He was the heart and soul of Jag. He was the Navy poster boy who could walk on water. He could do no wrong.” asked Carolyn.

“Apparently he screwed up one time too many Carolyn. Harm likes to push the envelope whether it’s flying jets or pursuing a case in the courtroom. It even began to affect his actions in the office. The Admiral had enough.

This past year was his undoing. His actions drew too much negative attention to himself. He allowed the dirty nuke to lock on him to save the fleet. It caused great embarrassment for the CIA. They had no clue to what was going on.

Then he disobeyed orders last year to return to headquarters after Bud’s mishap. He decided to stay on board ship while Bud was in surgery even though he knew only one of us could stay.

He interfered with my investigation of Lieutenant Singer’s pregnancy, which led him to being less than cooperative when her murder was being investigated by NCIS. He was almost convicted of her murder.

The Admiral began seeing him as someone he couldn’t trust anymore to do his job, that he was too much a loose cannon. He was ordered not to get involved in a CIA mission. He disregarded everyone’s wishes and got involved anyway.” answered Mac.

“The Commander resigned his commission to save your life Ma’am. He loves you.” argued Harriet.

At the sound of ‘he loves you’ Sturgis walked over to joined them. He was interested in hearing the whole story. He had his own viewpoint based on conversations he had with Harm before he left to be with the CIA.

“He told you that Harriet? Did he tell you Carolyn, Jen? What about you Sturgis? Did he tell you that he loved me?” asked Mac.

She was tired of people telling her that Harm loved her when he didn’t. Not once in seven years that they had been partners together had he ever told her that. She had been hoping that maybe he would tell her when they were together in Paraguay.

They were in bed together. She thought they were ready to make love before they were interrupted by Gunny and Webb, but they didn’t. Once again Harm became distant and surly. He lost focus and turned it elsewhere.

She wouldn’t have known Harm resigned his commission if Webb hadn’t told her. She wondered why he couldn’t tell her. She wondered why he allowed Webb to interfere with their relationship.

They all shook their head no. They couldn’t say that Harm had ever told them. All they knew was the way the Commander was whenever he was around her. He always had the look of someone in love.

“Mac, he went to Paraguay to rescue you because he loved you. He told the Admiral that. It’s why he had to resign his commission.” argued Sturgis.

“Then why didn’t he tell me Sturgis? He told me he got married. He said nothing about resigning his commission. I had to find that out from Webb. He definitely didn’t tell me he love me. I would have remembered that.” she replied. “If anything he pushed me away.”

“He told me it was you who pushed him away. He said you told him that there could never would be an us.” argued Sturgis.

“I see he only told you one side of the story, a story where he forgot about his ill manners and his vile tongue. He wasn’t the innocent victim that he pretends to be Sturgis. He was a major player.” corrected Mac.

“Do you remember what he said to you when you first stuck your nose into our relation? You know, when I came out of the elevator in the middle of your conversation?” asked Mac waiting for an answer.

Sturgis nodded his head. There was no reason to say the words. They had been very hurtful. He had been quite surprised to hear them then. That he would actually say them again was mind boggling.

“Well he repeated them to me again that night, a night I thought was going to be quite wonderful before we were interrupted. He also said I should go be with Webb.

As for saying Never, it was in reference to there Never has been an Us. That there would Never be an Us, if he couldn’t come to grips with his insipid jealousy.” answered Mac.

“Anytime a man shows interest in me his behavior becomes very childish. Instead of telling me his feelings, he becomes spiteful and he sulks. If he loved me he would fight for me.” whined Mac.

“That’s why we parted on such bad terms. He pushed me away. He doesn’t love me. And to answer your original question, Do I miss him? No Harriet I don’t. You can’t miss something you never had. He’s been gone almost a year for me Harriet.

I’ve stopped trying to figure out what he wants. I’ve stopped wondering if he will ever love me. He’s gone Harriet. He’s not coming back. Harm has moved on with his life. I have done the same.”

part two What's there to be Thankful for

1800 hours

It wasn’t long after their conversation that Jason announced that dinner was ready. Everyone grabbed a plate and helped themselves to something to eat. The Admiral asked that everyone wait until everyone had something.

He wanted everyone to join with him in giving thanks. It had been a long hard year with many heartaches. The Admiral wanted everyone to say something that they were thankful fall.

“I want to thank everyone for coming. It has been a hard year for all of us. We have lost several members of our little family, Loren Singer to a senseless murder and Commander Rabb, who resigned his commission to start a new career.” began the Admiral.

Mac coughed a few times. Yeah right she thought. Harm had the balls to be a man and do the right thing unlike the Admiral. Harm was a hero. The Admiral was a coward who didn’t fight for his people anymore.

“We almost lost Lieutenant Roberts to an act of war. I would also like to welcome two new members to our family, Commander Imes and Petty Officer Coates.” continued the Admiral.

“I’m thankful for being back here. I have always loved being in our nation’s capitol and being among old friends.” smiled Carolyn.

“I’m happy that Jen is a quick thinker and fast on her feet. Thank you Jen for saving my life so I could return to my family and Jag.” quipped Bud.

“Thank you Jen for saving Bud. I don’t know how I would have been able to go on if you hadn’t. You are a hero to little AJ and me. We will be forever grateful.” wailed Harriet.

“I would like to thank Varise for being in my life. I would also like to thank the Admiral for putting up with me as I dug my head out of my six.” added a remorseful Sturgis.

“I would like to thank the Admiral for recommending me for officer’s candidate school. He has always been very supportive of my career aspirations.” chirped Jason.

“I would like to thank Colonel MacKenzie and Commander Rabb for helping me turn my life around. It was their confidence in me and their sound advice that made it all possible. Thank for recommending me for duty here Colonel.” smiled Jen.

She loved working here. There were so many people who had been very supportive of her. There wasn’t anything she wouldn’t do for them, something she had proven while she was in Afghanistan.

It was Mac’s turn. She had hoped to avoid saying anything. Even though she was thankful for a lot, the person she was thankful to the most wasn’t here due to several factors beyond her control.

She had been glad Harm had shown up when he had. He had saved her from certain torture and maybe even death. But she wasn’t happy about how he treated her afterwards and what he had said to her.

She had thought they had moved past the hurtful behavior over the last several years, particularly after Mic left. Obviously they hadn’t. He had been a miserable S.O.B. after Webb had shown up.

She couldn’t believe that Harm had given up on her, that he could so easily throw away their relationship. But what had hurt even worse was his total avoidance of her and Jag after they returned.

She had thought that they could talk after they had settled back in and when there was cooler heads. She had called him many times to say she was sorry, but he never answered the phone, he never returned her calls.

What was she supposed to do? All this heartache because she kissed Webb goodbye before Gunny took him to a hospital. All she was doing was thanking him for saving her from being tortured before Harm arrived to rescue her.

Harm should have been happy that Webb had kept her safe. Why had he been so anal? Why couldn’t he have just loved her without being jealous of a man she had no interest in. She was brought out of her musing by Harriet.

“Ma’am, Ma’am, it’s your turn. What are you thankful for?” chirped Harriet.

“I’m thankful for being a Marine.” replied Mac.

She didn’t want to say anything else. If she said she was thankful to being alive and here at Jag, she would have to bring up why Harm wasn’t here.

How could she be thankful for being at Jag when the Admiral forced Harm to resign his commission to come after her? How could she be thankful for the Admiral’s betrayal of the Marine and Seal creed of ‘Leave No Man Behind’?

“Ma’am?” asked Harriet in confusion.

Mac glared over at the Admiral to put an end to this part of the dinner. She proceeded to begin gobbling down her dinner without answering Harriet.

“Let’s eat!” ordered the Admiral following her lead.

He wasn’t sure what was wrong with Mac, but now wasn’t the time or the place to have a conversation about it with her. He did feel her comment was directed at him. It was as if she stuck a knife into his chest.

2100 hours

It was getting late in the day. Soon people would begin leaving. The Admiral thought long and hard before deciding this would be as good a time as any to inform his staff about his future plans. He stood up to address them.

Jason, anticipating that the Admiral was going to address the group, yelled out “Admiral on Deck!”

“Thank you all for coming here today. It’s not often that I entertain, something I’ve been amiss about. I guess it’s a part of being single for so long. You rarely think of others at this time of year.

I’m from the old school, a school that believed that a CO should never get too close to his people. Everyone gathered here today are as close to a family as I’ve ever had in nearly thirty five years I’ve served in the Navy.

It is that reason that I want to announce that I will be stepping down as the JAG next May. It should give the SecNav ample time to find a replacement for me and for the rest of you time to adjust to a new JAG.” informed the Admiral.

“This will probably be one of the last times I will have an organized get together with all of you. I want to thank you all for making my time here enjoyable. I will not forget you.”

There was a murmur throughout the room as everyone gasp in surprise. Commander Rabb was gone and now the Admiral would be leaving. How were they going to get the Commander back if the Admiral left?

“But why Sir?” asked Bud.

“My time is up Lieutenant. It will be thirty six years in May. Time for this old war seal to be put out to sea.” replied the Admiral.

“What will you do Sir?” asked Harriet.

“I will be spending more time with my daughter. We will travel across America this summer visiting all the baseball ballparks. We hope to end up in Boston in October for the World Series.” replied the Admiral.

An hour later the Admiral got Mac alone to talk to her about her comment, that she was thankful to being a marine. He had been taken by surprised by her comment. He had thought she was doing quite well since her return from Paraguay.

“What’s the story Mac? What’s going on? All you have to be thankful for is being a Marine?” asked the Admiral with an edge to his voice.

“What would you have me say Admiral? Should I be thankful that you decided to let me to die? Should I be thankful that you forced Harm to resign his commission to come rescue me when you didn’t have the balls to do so yourself?

Should I be thankful that you didn’t take Harm back after he completed his mission to save me and then completed the CIA mission of destroying a hundred stinger missiles which saved thousands of potential lives?

Should I be thankful that you don’t repay the loyalty that people under your command don’t think twice about doing?

When the SecNav wanted you to resign for spitting on a high school kid, I was there for you.

When you thought about resigning after the Lindsey report, Harm and I were there to rebut all the charges.

Where were you when Harm was thrown into the brig for a murder you knew he wasn’t capable of committing? You ordered everyone to stay away from him. He felt like everyone deserted him.

Very nice behavior from you considering he has always looked up to you as a father figure.

He flaunted a lot of regulations last winter to go after you when you foolishly ejected yourself from an F-14. He was ordered back to Washington, but he stayed to find you. He would do anything for you Sir, but I can see that it isn’t mutual.

All the respect I had for you Sir is gone. I can’t respect a man who would go against his Seal training and let me die. I can’t respect a man who would force another man to resign his commission to the right thing.

I can’t respect a man who is resentful of another man for doing the right thing and not welcoming him back when he’s a hero to everyone who has ever known him.” replied Mac with tears flowing down her cheeks.

“Mac, I can explain everything. I was under a lot of pressure from the SecNav after the Lindsey report.” began the Admiral as he tried to make Mac understand.

“Not interested Sir. You’ve had six months to explain and correct the error. You haven’t. I can only assume that Harm and I aren’t that important to you or to this command if you were willing to let me die.” interrupted Mac.

Nothing the Admiral could say now could bring Harm back to her. She wondered how much of their fight in Paraguay wouldn’t have happened if Harm hadn’t been under the stress of resigning his commission.

She was certain of one thing though, she and Harm would have been able to work through what had been said if he was still at Jag. Once again she was alone without the man she love.

“Anything you say now would only be an excuse Sir. It won’t change anything. Harm is still gone. Morale at Jag is lower than low. And life just plain sucks.” finished Mac.

“I’m sorry that’s how you feel Mac. It was never my intentions .... ” the Admiral attempted to apologize.

“Sorry doesn’t keep my bed warm. Sorry doesn’t bring Harm back. Sorry doesn’t restore what I had with Harm before he was thrown into the brig. I’m leaving Sir. I have nothing more to say and you have nothing I want to hear. Good night Sir.”

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