Author: Michael Weyer
Title: And the Pursuit of Happiness
JAG owned by CBS.
Robin Goodfellow, Liam Danahure, Matthew Connors, Alice Fairchild, Perry Leiter, Valerie Rosthon and our mystery guest are all my own creations and belong exclusively to me.
Heads up: Harm and Mac died in that story, became Immortal and are now lovers. The two know of Watchers but are unaware that their boss, Admiral Chegwidden, is their Watcher. The two know of the Scroll but don't believe it.
For my guys: Valerie is Watcher for Matthew and Alice, she doesn't believe in the Scroll so she fudges reports to Watchers about telling her charges about it.
Got a bunch of requests as to what happens next so a short little ditty for you.......
Home of Robin Goodfellow
May 7th, 1999 - 0946 Hours PST
"Ah, another lovely day on the Hellmouth," Liam Danahure grinned as he poured himself some coffee. "Admit it, Robbie, this town does grow on you a bit."
"Maybe literally," Robin Goodfellow grinned. He was wearing a pair of light slacks with a green golf shirt, his dark hair and bangs a bit frazzled from his quick shower. He glanced over at Liam, who was dressed in his usual pair of brown pants and light shirt, his uncombed hair managing to hide his pointed ears. "Look, Liam, the guys expect us over at the gym soon, so hurry up with the breakfast."
"Temper, temper, laddie," Liam smiled. "Ye need to relax a bit, ye know, Rob? Stop trying to take on everything yerself, just sit back, relax and ye never know what might drop in."
There was a sudden flash of light and a burst of purple smoke and a figure appeared in the kitchen, startling the two Eternals. He had dark brown hair with a silver streak in front, a red goatee, a wild grin, eyes twinkling behind his horn-rimmed glasses. He was wearing a wild suit of various colors, an ugly tie, purple loafers and clutched a curved handle cane in his orange-gloved hands. "Sorry," he grinned. "Never could resist such a great cue."
"What in the name of St. Peter are YOU doing here?!" Liam yelled, staring in shock at the newcomer.
"Just had to pop in to tell you two something," the figure replied. He looked over at Robin, eyes running over him. "Nice. Being human does suit you a bit."
"Oh, don't tell me you came here just to run me down," Robin groaned.
"Nah, I can do that anytime," the stranger grinned. "Okay, to business. There's these two military guys, they work for the JAG office. Commander Harmon Rabb, Navy, and Major Sarah MacKenzie, Marines. They became Immortal just last week and are SUCH the cute couple, it's enough to make your heart dance."
"Ah," Robin smiled. "And you want me to do something with them?"
"No, actually," the man surprised him. "No, no, that's what I'm here for. I'm telling you, Arty, Ares, pretty much anyone else who's in an empowerment-bestowing mood, these two are strictly off-limits, on orders from the higher-ups."
"Okay," Robin nodded. "Why? What are------"
"Sorry," the man smiled back. "You know I can only say so much."
"Thanks," Robin muttered. "Okay, we run into them, I won't do anything."
"Figured you'd handle that," the man nodded. He twirled the cane in his hands and backed away. "Well, guess that does it."
"Ye won't stay on to eat?" Liam asked. "We could always relieve old times."
"Sorry, gotta run," the man replied. "Someone's cooking something and I've gotta go get ready to yank it out of the oven." He turned and started to walk off. "Did you ever get the feeling that you wanted to go but you still had the feeling that you wanted to stay------" His singing cut off as he vanished in another cloud of smoke.
Liam looked at his old friend and softly spoke. "Rob......Ye get the feeling we're gonna find out the hard way what that lad is up to?"
"Of course," Robin nodded. "Why should he ever change?"
"Well, he is a bit more mellow than he used to be."
"True, true. Believe me, when he got going, his mother would scream to the high heavens over his antics."
"Aye. But I'm hoping whatever it is, it stays away from us."
"You don't really believe that, do you?"
"I'm Irish. Allow us our dreams."
Church Falls, VA
2003 hours EST
Harmon Rabb had flown a jet plane in storms and into armed conflicts with explosions ringing around him. He'd endured boot camp and hazings. He'd gone head to head with higher ranking officers in court. He'd died and come back to life and was learning how to use a sword to kill if he had to.
But that was nothing compared to the challenge facing him now: How to break it to his girlfriend that he was in love with another woman.
Of course, Harm had been in love with Sarah MacKenzie for a while before Renee Peterson entered the picture. He'd been in love with Mac even when he'd been intimate with Renee. But this was different. He and Mac had been together for about a week now but this was the first opportunity he had to tell Renee about it.
He still appreciated how Mac had offered to go with him to the dinner but Harm pointed out that just learning about the two would be hurting Renee, she didn't need to see it. So, Harm was here, in a loose jacket, turtleneck shirt and slacks, sipping at his wine while waiting for Renee to finish talking.
The attractive blonde was dressed in a stylish black dress, a pearl necklace about her thin throat, her hair in a professional cut that still showed off her beauty, her smile evident as she talked about the big deal she had just made for her production company.
Renee had been sensing something since the date had started. Harm seemed a bit more distant and reserved. Of course, she should have known things would be odd when the waiter came by for orders. "Filet, medium," Harm said, handing the menu back to the waiter while looking at Renee's stunned expression.
"Excuse me?" the blond asked. "Harmon Rabb Jr has just ordered a full steak for dinner? Who are you and what have you done with my boyfriend?"
"Been changing my diet recently," Harm smiled slightly. "Sort of fell into a new way to keep the weight off."
"Oh, trust me, Renee, you do not want this method for yourself."
It had been like that through most of the meal, Renee talking on about her business, Harm occasionally mentioning his recent work. "Yeah, I heard," Renee grinned. "You and Mackenzie really hit the big time here, helping stop a plot right out of James Bond."
"Hey, it was a joint effort with a few other people," Harm replied.
"I know," Renee nodded. "Believe me, there's about a dozen studios fighting it out to get the rights for the film version of Hawkthorne's story. There's a few stumbling blocks though."
"Not even a Hollywood executive can understand a word the guy is saying." She took another sip of her wine as she looked at the man she still believed to be her boyfriend. "What's up, flyboy?" she asked. "You've been quiet all night, barely touched your food, and you've been letting me do all the talking. Come on, fess up, what's on your mind?"
Harm licked his lips. He had his opening now but he hated to take it, knowing the pain that was going to come. "Renee......something happened during that case. Something big, something important and......well, it's sort of going to impact us a lot."
"How so?" Renee asked.
"Well.......It might put a strain on our relationship. One that probably will be more than we can take."
"Oh, come on, it can't be that bad," Renee sniffed. "I mean, it's not like you're sleeping with MacKenzie or something." She chuckled and took a sip of her wine. She was still sipping it when she saw the look on Harm's face and she stopped. Frozen for an instant, she slowly lowered the glass to the table and stared at Harm. "Harm," she said softly. "You can smile at any time now."
Harm slowly looked her in the eye. "Renee......" he started and she knew right then and there. "Oh my god," she whispered. "You are."
"I am," Harm nodded. "We were in danger, we....nearly died and.......we just opened up to how much we love each other, how we always have." He moved forward to take Renee's hand but she yanked away, staring at him like he was a creature from outer space. "Renee, I'm sorry. I really am, I didn't mean to hurt you-------"
"You picked a really great way to show it," Renee said sourly. She slowly ran a hand across her face. *I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry, I'm not going to cry.* "So....." she said. "Just what has little Miss Jackboots got that I haven't got?"
"That's not fair, Renee," Harm said. "This isn't a competition. It's just.....I've loved her for a long time, Renee, since before I met you and.....It just came together like that, me and her and......I love her."
"Well, that just fills my heart up," Renee said, bitterness in her tone. "Not only are you sleeping with her now but you've been wanting to do it all the time with me. What, were you thinking of her when you were with me?"
"No," Harm said, meaning it. "I do care about you, Renee. But......not like I do with Sarah. She's part of me, Renee, she's my heart, she's my spirit-------"
"Please, spare me the soul mate crap," Renee shook her head. "God, when I find that Marine tramp------"
"That's enough," Harm said, a hard edge to his voice. "You can be mad at me, I expect it. But don't talk about Mac that way. She hasn't done anything to deserve it."
"Oh, and sleeping around on her boyfriend isn't wrong to you? Oh, wait, you're sleeping with her behind my back, so of course it wouldn't be wrong."
"Calm down, Renee-------"
"Calm down? Why? Because we're in public? I work in Hollywood, Harm, we created the idea that if you tell someone bad news in a restaurant, they won't make a big production out of it."
"Well, yes, I'd hoped-------"
"Hoped what? Hoped just because we're in public, I wouldn't make a big deal about my boyfriend FUCKING HIS PARTNER?!" Renee's shriek got the attention of several diners, who glanced at the two, Harm putting his face in his hands.
"Renee, please------" he started as she got to her feet, purse in hand.
"Forget it," she hissed. "You want to be with her, fine, go ahead, go off and have lots of little military brats together." She was so intent on her diatribe she missed the twinge of pain on Harm's face at the mention of having children. "I'm Hollywood, I can bounce back, so thank you very much for a final dinner and for wasting nearly a year on you, you miserable sack of shit." She hooked her purse under her arm and turned to go. "Oh, one last thing," she remarked as she spun around, slapping him hard on the cheek, her nails actually gouging at his face a bit. Without a word, she turned and walked off.
Harm slowly sank back to his seat, barely noticing how everyone in the restaurant was looking at him. He took another sip of his wine, a hand still held to his cheek. "Are you all right, sir?" a waiter carefully asked.
"Yeah, yeah," Harm said, feeling the cuts on his face heal but keeping his hand to his cheek until they fully vanished. "Just......just the check, please."
Outside the restaurant, Renee paused, wiping at her face, unable to fight off the tears. She called out for a cab, hoping that she wouldn't have to spend any more time in this town as she had to. As she entered the cab, she was unaware of the pair of eyes focused on her, and the smile of thought on a certain figure's face.
Sarah MacKenzie's Apartment
2037 Hours EST
As the Buzz cut through her, Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie immediately sat up from the couch, clicking off the TV. She stood, dressed in a loose shirt and jeans, her short brown hair brushed aside a bit as she walked over to the door. She tried to steel herself a bit before opening it. She knew Harm loved her and all but it still made her a bit nervous that he was out seeing his old girlfriend, light fears that he might end up with her somehow having plagued Mac all night.
She opened the door and instantly, mixed feelings came over her. From the sad droop in Harm's shoulders, she knew he had broken up with Renee and that did make her happy. But at the same time, she felt sad and even a little guilty over seeing the man she loved in obvious pain. Harm slowly stepped in, stripping off his coat with sword inside, placing both on a nearby chair.
"Hey," Mac said. "So.....I guess it didn't go well?"
"Let me put it this way," Harm sighed. "If I wasn't Immortal, I'd be needing about a dozen stitches in my cheek right now."
"Ouch," Mac winced. "Well, I told you she wouldn't take it well."
"I know, I know," Harm nodded. "But it just......it still hurt, Mac. It still hurt to see her like that."
"I know," Mac said softly, coming to him. "I'm worried about how Mic will take it when he gets back next week. I want to tell him in person and it just......I don't know if I can do it."
Harm held his lover in close, giving her a long and slow kiss. They broke it up as he brushed at her hair. "You're a strong woman, Mac. It's why I fell in love with you. You can handle it. It'll hurt, but you can handle it."
"Thanks," Mac smiled as she moved up a bit, kissing Harm on the lips fully. The two could both feel passion come over them, the overwhelming combination of love and desire that had ceased to wane since they got together. They started to move towards the bedroom, thoughts of anyone else pushed aside in their desire to be joined once more.
Home of Matthew Connors
Hastings Bay, MA
2247 Hours EST
Valerie Rosthon groaned slightly and rose from her crouching position. She was dressed in a light pair of jogging pants and jacket with a light shirt, her light brown hair brushed away from her face. She calmly reached over to place her camera into its bag, zipping it up. She put away her tape recorder and notebook and got ready to go.
It might have seemed silly to some that Valerie was still undergoing the exact same procedures for watching Matthew Connors and Alice Fairchild even after the two had discovered she was their Watcher. Indeed, many Watchers were now openly working with their Immortal assignments, in work and civilian lives.
However, Valerie considered herself a true Watcher, one dedicated to the ideals that the society had lived under for centuries. Believing the Scroll and the video of the vampire battle in L.A. were both wild forgeries created to stop the Game, Valerie was determined to try and keep to the old ways as much as she could rather than toss down the values her family had held for three generations.
Valerie still couldn't get why someone had bothered to create this crap in the first place. She could see why keeping the prize from being won was important but all that crap about demons and Gods? It just didn't sit right with Valerie, causing her to take a different path. She hated having to fudge her reports to Dawson, to tell him that she had told Matt and Alice about the Scroll and leaving out the detail that Matthew didn't believe it anymore than she did. But if the Council had gone astray from what the Watchers stood for, then Valerie had to be a bit deceitful herself.
She had just packed up and was getting ready to head back to her apartment, satisfied that Matthew and Alice had both turned in for the night so nothing important would be happening soon. She hefted her bag onto her shoulder, turned around and promptly let out a yell.
"And just where do you think you're going?" an Irish accented voice filled the air. Valerie could have sworn she had been alone only seconds ago, she hadn't heard anyone come up, the woman before her had simple been--------there.
She was about Valerie's height and her body could easily be classified as voluptuous, some very nice curves packed into a black dress that accented her already eye-catching shape. Her beautiful face was set in a look of suspicion, green eyes narrowed, her red hair in a tight bun, arms crossed in front of her (rather ample) chest. A pair of black high heels helped give her a few inches on Valerie and her long legs could attract plenty of attention.
"I asked you a question," the woman said, her accent hardening a bit as she glared at Valerie.
Valerie swallowed, recognizing the woman. Megan Maguire, the owner of the Aft-Sec, a local teen hangout. And, according to Matthew and Alice, a real, actual, live (relatively) vampire. Although the two had assured her Megan wasn't one to just go out and put the bite on anyone, Valerie still wasn't at ease being this close to the woman.
"I------I was just out for a walk," Valerie said, hoping to get past the woman quickly. She tried to move forward, but the redhead grabbed her. The strength of the grip, combined with the coldness of the flesh, was enough to smash aside any doubts Valerie had as to the truth of Megan's true nature, which just served to freak her out even more.
"Don't give me that," Megan said, glaring at the woman. "Ye've been watching this house for nearly two hours now, watching Alice and Ma-----Charles as they're inside. So, who sent you, what do you want here?"
"Look, I don't know what you're talking about," Megan said, licking her lips. "I was just out for a walk, I don't know who you-------"
Megan gripped the arm harder, Valerie wincing in pain. "I can hear yer heartbeat, feel your pulse quicken and your sweat flow faster," she whispered, her voice more dangerous. "I know yer lying. So, just spill now before we get nasty."
"I've already told you," Valerie said, wishing to hell she had a cross on her. "I'm just walking, I don't know what you're-------"
Megan sighed, or at least appeared to. "All right, ye asked for it." She stared right into Valerie's eyes, her own seeming to take on a strange tint around the edges. Valerie suddenly found herself frozen in place, her expression fading into blankness as her body started to feel limp. Megan let go of her hand and it flopped loosely to the side, Valerie staring into Megan's eyes. Her mind was awash in what felt like a fog, unable to string together coherent thoughts or ideas, a pounding filling her head like a massive heart or drumbeat.
"Who are you?" Megan's voice came crashing through the dull wave in Valerie's mind, her eyes still swallowing her up.
"Valerie Rosthon......" Valerie heard herself saying in a dull tone. She couldn't move, couldn't think, couldn't look away, couldn't do anything but stare into those brilliant eyes of the vampire.
"What are you doing here?"
"Watching.......Matthew and Alice......"
"Watcher?" Megan frowned. "I don't get what--------"
"Let her go, Megan." The vampire turned to see Matthew Connors and Alice Fairchild standing before her, swords at their sides. Matt wore a loose flag-design shirt and jeans. Alice had on a pair of sweatpants with loose sweatshirt to go with, her short brown hair in a ponytail.
"Hello, Matt," Megan smiled. "How'd you know I was here?"
"New infa-red system I installed recently," the Immortal answered her. "I see a human shape giving off no body heat, that gets my attention. Me and Alice know about Valerie, she knows about us and you, I might add. So, let her go."
Megan looked at him, then back to the hypnotized Valerie. She waved a hand before her face and Valerie blinked, shaking her head as she came back to her full waking state. "What---- What was......"
"That was the Whammy," Alice smiled lightly.
"You know, I hate to have you call it that," Megan sniffed.
"Sorry," Alice shrugged. "But it fits."
Valerie's first instinct was to slap Megan but she quickly remembered she was dealing with a vampire and thought better of it. She glanced over at Alice, shaking her head. "You actually let her do that to you?"
"Only way to remember who killed me," Alice shrugged. "Although I thought she was above using it on friends," she added, glaring at Megan.
The Irish vampire rolled her eyes. "How was I supposed to know ye knew her? Who is she, anyway? What's this Watcher thing?"
Matthew sighed and explained. "They're a society of mortals who secretly observe and record the actions of Immortals around the world. Valerie's been my Watcher for years and she handles Alice too."
"Well, thanks for dropping me the memo on it," Megan sniffed. "I get back from the old homestead in Ireland and hear you got into a bit of scrape around here, just wanted to check on you. Saw someone suspicious, didn't know if she was going for your head so excuse me for bloody caring about yer well-being."
"You care about him?" Valerie asked in disbelief. When Megan turned to look at her, she instinctively looked away for a second before turning back.
"I'm not like most of my kind, lass," Megan stated. "I don't think humans exist solely to be food to us. I was human myself, you'll do well to remember and I try to hang onto that. When I kill to feed, which isn't too often, it's from people who deserve it, trust me."
She turned to smile at Matt. "And I like the lad. It's good to know a couple of people who know what I go through."
"What?" Valerie frowned.
Megan looked back at her. "Not aging while everyone around you does. Remembering when air was air, before pollution covered it. Seeing the world change and you can't do anything about it, moving from place to place, changing identities at the drop of a hat, oh, and having to occasionally kill to survive. I know that. They know that. That gives us a bond and I wouldn't do anything to hurt that. So, sorry about the little mixup there and the mind control thing. It won't happen again, promise."
Valerie peered at her. "Look me in the eye and say that." Immediately, she turned away, a hand held up. "No, no, forget I said that, just forget it!"
Megan laughed lightly, turning back to Matthew. "I like her. Got to get back to the club, make sure they didn't go overboard with partying while I was gone. Just wanted to make sure you were all right."
"It was a bit rough," Matthew shrugged. "But it's not the first time an old friend has turned on me. I'll live with it."
"Right," Megan said in flat disbelief. "Come by later, we'll open up a bottle of the good stuff and drown our sorrows." Giving a nod to Alice, she bent her legs slightly and leapt up. Valerie's eyes went wide as she saw Megan soar into the sky, turning away, towards the main section of town, flying above them. "Holy shit," she whispered.
"I know, I know," Alice grinned. "Blew me away the first time I saw it, too."
Valerie suddenly laughed, the two Immortals staring at her. "Sorry," she shook her head. "It's just sort of funny. I actually believe I saw a woman fly off in the air more than I can believe all that stuff on the video."
"I get what you mean," Matthew nodded. "Those guys had no clue what vampires were like. That's why I don't want to mention the video. I don't want her hearing how they've embarrassed her kind yet again on film."
"She gets worse on that than Matt does with inconsistencies in war movies," Alice added.
"That is bad," Valerie muttered, Matthew glaring at her. Valerie rubbed at her head. "I can't believe I just met an actual vampire."
"Accent on the actual," Matthew grunted. "Just hope Megan never learns how bad your people showed vamps."
Megan landed in an alley behind the Aft-Sec, brushing at her dress. She felt a bit embarrassed at how she'd handled the situation but chalked it up to jet lag. It hadn't been easy finding a flight that left Ireland when it was dark and landed in Massachusetts at night and added the usual airport waiting to her mood.
She expected Rosthon's reaction, she was more than used to it after all this time. At least the first vampire she ever met was one of the less blood-thirsty kind. She didn't pray often, but she was doing it a bit now. Praying that her kind would be the only vampires any of these people ran into.
<At least my kind has souls,> Megan thought to herself as she entered her place of business. <Against the demonic ones or the Kindred or God help them, the Clan ones, I don't think even Matthew would have a chance. Just hope they never learn how bad vampires can truly be.>
Sarah MacKenize's apartment
Church Falls, VA
May 8th, 1999 - 0741 Hours EST
Mac was in heaven, it was simple as that. She withered on the bed, eyes shut, her hands clutched around her full breasts, squeezing them together as she let out a long moan. Her thighs were clamped around Harm's face, which pressed in tight into her pussy, tongue licking away hard and fast. Mac's legs rubbed his hard shoulders as he kept on going, Mac feeling herself start to give way, biting her lip as she held herself back just long enough for Harm's tongue to tickle her clit and that was all it took to make her come, her mouth emitting a long cry of pure ecstasy as she let loose on her lover.
She lay there, panting for breath, feeling the waves of her orgasm wash away, Harm licking away at her pussy for a few moments before moving back up to her, his hands brushing at her breasts. "You know......" Mac said as soon as she could get her breath back. "Eighty percent of American men won't do that."
"Eighty percent of American men are idiots," Harm observed, kissing her passionately. "Besides, why should you be the only one doing any work under the waist?"
"Flatterer," Mac grinned, memories of the night before rushing over her. She let Harm embrace her, rubbing at her back gently as they lay together. "Oh, I just want to stay here all day," Mac sighed as she held him in.
"So do I," Harm nodded. "But we do have work today? The Greenberg case?"
"Damn, you're right," Mac sighed, rubbing at her head. She looked at her lover, biting her lip. "You know.....it's not going to be as easy being on the opposing side from you on a case."
"I know," Harm agreed, brushing at his lover's hair. "But I love you and respect you too much to use our relationship to try and influence you."
"Same here," Mac nodded. "And we both respect our oaths of duty too much as well."
"Okay, let's make a pact right now," Harm nodded. "Unless we're co-counsel, there will be absolutely no discussion of any case when we're off-duty."
"Deal, counselor," Mac said, kissing him. "Of course, there is one thing to consider."
"The hotter it gets in court, the hotter we'll be at home."
"I had no idea I had such a firecracker on my hands with you," Harm grinned before sliding off the bed. "I'm going to take a quick shower before getting to my place to change into uniform."
"Want a ride?" Mac asked, sitting up, helpless to avoid admiring Harm's ass as he headed towards the bathroom.
"I think if we start to show up to work together, it's going to set off some bells with people," Harm pointed out. "I'll just take a shower, then leave it for you."
"Why waste time?" Mac grinned. "Why not just do it together?"
Harm grinned at her. "I'll warm it up for you."
"Like you need much to do that," Mac grinned as he headed in, the door shutting and the spray of water coming from inside. She smiled, rising up to brush at her hair, planning to join him when there was a knocking on her door. Frowning, Mac threw a robe over her body and walked to the door. She peered through the peephole and her eyes instantly went wide. She moved back, suddenly feeling out of breath, her mind in a whirl. She leaned against the door for a long moment, eyes closed, trying to steel herself before she opened it.
"'Ello, luv," Mic Brumby grinned, his Australian accent carrying through the doorway as he smiled at Mac. He moved in, giving her a kiss before she could even respond, moving into the apartment, his bag dropped at the side as he tried to embrace her.
He was a bit taken aback when Mac broke off, moving away and staring at him. "Mic," she whispered. "What------I wasn't......expecting you yet. I.....wish you'd called."
"And what's the fun in that," the Australian officer smiled. "I manage to get myself leave a bit early and thought I'd surprise you."
"Oh, God, I *really* wish you'd called first," Mac said, trying to force out a smile. "I'm just.......I wasn't quite.....ready, is all."
"Understood," Mic smiled. "I know you have to get ready for work and all but when I heard about that whole mess in Massachusetts, I thought you could use a little care from your boyfriend."
"I did," Mac muttered, leaving out how Mic was no longer the boyfriend. Her mind was whirling with ideas on what to do next. She wanted to try and figure out a way to warn Harm about this before he came out. She also had to try and figure out how to get Mic out of here so Harm could leave without detection.
"You okay, luv?" Mic asked, peering at her. "You look a little flushed."
"Ah, no, no, I'm fine," Mac quickly said. "Fine, really, I'm......fine. Um, look, Mic, I do have to get ready to go to work and all so maybe I could meet you a little later?"
"Yeah, I can see you're in a rush," Mic nodded. "Haven't even had time to go in and turn the shower off even---------"
The shower went off.
Mic froze, his face setting in shock as he looked back at the bathroom door. Mac closed her eyes, as if hoping that would be enough to block out what she knew was about to happen. She opened them to find Mic staring at her and she couldn't help but feel pain at the look of pain and betrayal in his eyes. "Who is that?" he said hoarsely, face set.
"Mic, please-------" Mac started.
"Who?" he repeated tightly.
"Don't hit him, Mic, please, just don't hit him," Mac begged, holding up a hand.
"Hit------" Mic's eyes went wide as a thought struck him. "Tell me it's not Rabb, Sarah. Please, tell me it's not Rabb."
Before Mac could say anything, the bathroom door opened and Harm, a towel wrapped around his waist, came out. "Mac, I waited for you, what--------" He broke off, freezing in place as he caught sight of Mic, who stared right back at him, anger growing in his eyes. Mac groaned and put a hand on her forehead.
"Oh, shit," Harm muttered. "Okay, now, Brumby, take it easy-------"
Growling, Mic moved forward, his fist rearing back. Seeing him ready to punch Harm, Mac jumped to her feet and grabbed Mic's fist, her training kicking in as she pressed hard on the nerve clusters she needed and hauled back. Mic let out a yell, his wrist going numb and him going off-balance, allowing Mac to pull him onto the couch.
Without a word, Mac turned to Harm, holding up a hand and Harm knew what she wanted. With a nod, he stepped back, letting Mac turn towards Mic. She licked her lips carefully, drawing herself up so she could speak. "Mic......"
"How long?" he broke in, his voice like ice tearing through Mac's body. She shivered, then collected herself again. "How long, Sarah?"
"Just last week," she said softly, guilt in her voice. "That's all, Mic, that's all it's been.....physically."
"Excuse me?" Mic said, glaring at Harm, wanting to punch the bastard's brains out. To his credit, Harm just returned the gaze, feeling sorry for Mic but standing behind Mac all the way.
"It.......it was on the case in Massachusetts," Mac explained. "We got into trouble, we were shot------"
"At," Harm hurriedly added, glancing at Mac. "We were shot at."
"Right, right," Mac nodded. "And, well........we just finally realized how much we mean to each other. How much we mean together."
"What about what we meant, Sarah?" Mic asked quietly. "Or did we?"
Mac closed her eyes and sighed, moving closer to Mic, kneeling a bit so she could be at eye-level to him. "Mic......I do care about you, I truly do. What we had did mean something to me, a lot but......But it's not fair to you, to just keep going through it when....." She choked before continuing. "When I'm in love with another man."
Mic looked at her, then slowly gazed at Harm. "Like him."
Mac nodded. "I'm sorry, Mic. I really am, I didn't want to hurt you and I sure as hell didn't want you to find out like this but......but I'm not going to apologize for being with him. I love him, Mic. I love him with all my heart."
"And I love her," Harm interjected. "Just as much, just as long."
Mac looked at Mic, trying to make him understand. "I do like you, Mic. Just not.....just not the way you want. I'm sorry, but that's how it is. I just love him."
Mic looked back at him, then at Mac. He slowly rose, Mac joining him as he brushed at his hair. He turned, slowly pacing around the couch, trying to contain the emotions inside him. "I suppose I shouldn't be so surprised," he said slowly, back to both of them. "I did wonder about you two when I first met you. Always so friendly, always so in synch, always so....." He coughed before continuing. "Always so right for each other. I guess, in my heart, I knew but I didn't want to admit it."
He turned back towards them, slowly taking a few steps forward, looking into the eyes of the woman he had believed was the one for him only a few minutes before. "You really love him?"
"I do," Mac nodded, biting her lip.
Mic gazed deep in her eyes and saw the truth in them. Nodding, he leaned down and kissed her gently on the cheek before looking back at her face. "Be happy, Sarah."
"I'll try," Mac said, managing a weak smile.
Mic nodded, then walked towards Harm, extending a hand. "She's a wonderful woman, mate."
"I know," Harm nodded. "And for what it's worth, before I knew she felt the same way about me as I did about her, I honestly hoped you two would be a good couple."
"Thanks," Mic nodded. "You're a lucky man, Rabb, damn lucky. Take care of her."
"I will," Harm nodded. He was just getting a good feeling about this when Mic's fist smashed into his face, knocking him back a bit. The Australian moved in and muttered into Harm's ear. "Hurt her, and I'm kicking your ass."
With that, he turned and, with a final look at Mac, picked up his bag and walked out, the door shutting hard behind him. Mac looked after where he had gone, then turned to face Harm, who was rubbing at his chin. "Are you all right?"
"Well, at least he took it better than Renee did," Harm remarked dryly. He looked over at Mac, who sat on the couch, arms crossed before her. "Are you okay?"
Mac slowly nodded. "I will be, I guess. It just hurts."
"I know, Sarah," Harm nodded, sitting next to her and lightly hugging her. "I know."
They sat there, holding each other for a few minutes, reflecting on what they had done to keep their own love going, both unaware of the pair of eyes watching them from afar.
Pearson High School
Hastings Bay, MA
1427 Hours EST
Valerie carefully scaled the small ladder, trying to keep from dropping the large stack of books she held in her hands. Carefully setting most of the pile down on the top step, she started to resort the books onto the shelves. She was wearing a professional blouse with light brown vest and brown skirt, her hair perfectly combed, the proper figure of a high school librarian.
It had been a somewhat sleepless night for Valerie, who was still reeling from her encounter with Megan. She had been trying to cope with the fact that she had been totally helpless with the other woman, a feeling she did not like at all. Valerie was a woman who preferred being in control of her life, her plans, her actions, everything possible. She didn't like that control being taken away from her, especially the way Megan did it. It was just.....wrong to her.
"Best not to daydream on a ladder, that's a great way to fall and end up in my workplace."
Valerie yelled and grabbed the top of the ladder to steady herself, books falling from her hands as she looked down at the man smiling up at her. Perry Leiter was wearing a loose shirt and jeans, a far more casual outfit than Valerie's or even some of the students here at school. His short dark hair was well-combed and he grinned a bit wider at the surprised look on Valerie's face.
"Sorry," he said in apology. "I just wanted to check out what your other job was like."
"A hell of a lot stressful than my real one," Valerie sighed, moving down the ladder and stepping onto the floor to face Perry. The local medical examiner followed her as she moved to another shelf, sliding another book onto it, his eyes focusing on the tattoo on her exposed wrist. "Doesn't that get attention?"
"This is a high school," Valerie shrugged as she put another book away. "These kids have wilder than this in more obvious places." She looked over at Perry. "Did you come here just to check me out at work or have you actually read every book in the public library and want to try this selection?"
"Well, the latter idea is tempting," Perry nodded with a smile. "But I did have an actual purpose for coming here."
"Make it quick then," Valerie shot out, finishing her stacking.
"Hey, easy, just wanted to talk," Perry said, holding up his hands. "No need to go all 'The Librarian' and suck out my soul."
Valerie stared at him in confusion.
"'Four Past Midnight,' Steven King, 1990," Perry answered.
Valerie rolled her eyes. "Sorry. Rough night. Ran into that vampire friend of Matt's."
"You did?" Perry said, his eyes wide. "Wow, you actually met a vampire?"
"Well, 'met' is a rough term," Valerie remarked flippantly. "She ambushed me, hypnotized me, pretty much violated my mind and freedom, so I wouldn't say we bonded."
"Ouch," Perry winced. "You okay?"
"Getting there," Valerie said. "Just a bit much. Whammy, bam, fly off, ma'am."
"She actually flies?"
"Look, look can we wait until later to talk about real vampires and such, when we aren't surrounded by teenagers?"
"Oh, okay," Perry nodded, lowering his voice a bit. "I just wanted to ask something about the Watchers."
Valerie rolled her eyes. "Look, I'm not going to just divulge info about my group just because you're curious as to-------"
"I want to join."
Valerie froze in shock at his words, then slowly turned towards Perry, eyes wide. "What?" she whispered.
Perry's face was more serious, gazing at her carefully. "I want in. I want to be a Watcher."
Valerie stammered, taken aback by the sudden request. Seeing her incisiveness, Perry pressed on. "Look, I already know about Immortal and the Game and all that. I'm an ME, I work in a morgue so chances are, I might run into another corpse suddenly risen up someday. I've got no criminal record, not a lot of friends I can tell this to and I'm good at keeping records. Think that will be enough for your recruiting office?"
"Um, maybe," Valerie said. She bent her head to the side, studying him closely. "But why? And be honest."
Perry looked away while answering. "What I saw last week blew away everything I've ever been taught to believe in. To me, a corpse is a corpse, death is the end, no turning back. But what I saw.......people able to rise from the dead, living forever, healing and all that shit......I need to know more about them. I do."
Valerie shook her head. "Forget about researching them medically. We just observe them, we don't try to figure out what they are or where they came from or what their purpose------"
"And I don't either," Perry reassured her. "I just need to know more, that's all. Plus, picking up another paycheck wouldn't be a bad thing either."
Valerie bit her lip in thought, mulling it over in her mind. "You might have to travel a lot," she answered. "These guys don't usually stay in one place for a long time."
"You think I *want* to stay in this town forever?"
"Good point," Valerie smiled. "Okay, okay, I'll put in a recommendation, make a call. We'll see what happens from there."
"Thanks," Perry said, truly meaning it. "This really means a lot, Valerie, thank you."
"Hey, no problem," the Watcher shrugged, picking her books back up. "I could use a little help around here anyway."
"Can I hold your books?" Perry asked.
Valerie's eyebrows raised up. "Wow. Even when I was in high school, I never heard that one."
"Well, it's not that. It's just, you've got the new Cussler book there and I wanted to check it out quick."
"You need a life, Perry."
"Hoping to get one with your help."
There was a brief silence.
"Okay, that came out differently than I meant it to."
"I should hope so."
Church Falls, VA
1822 Hours EST
Mic slowly picked up his glass, spinning the small umbrella in his drink a bit before taking it out and taking a long sip. He could feel the eyes of the bartender on him, taking note of the empty glass before Mic, ready to cut him off if he asked for another drink after this one. The bartender had been around long enough to know a man in pain when he saw it and was able to guess the reason. A man like that didn't need to drown in a bottle too much, no matter how much it hurt.
Mic just stared into his glass, not even paying attention to the rest of the bar, which was starting to fill up with the nightlife crowd. He was still trying to deal with what had happened earlier, of how he'd lost Mac. And to Rabb of all people, that was really hurting him.
It would have been easy to blame it all on Rabb but Mic knew the man could never take advantage of Sarah, no matter his feelings. What they had done, they had done together, Mac a full partner with Harm, which left Mic out in the cold. So, a drink or two to warm him up seemed like the right idea.
He was somewhat aware of a female figure sliding onto the empty stool next to him, leaning towards the bartender. "Martini, double." She sat back, running a hand through her hair and glancing around the bar. Her gaze fell on Mic and she paused, taking a moment to recognize him. "Mic? Mic Brumby?"
The Australian looked at her, his mind needing a moment to connect her face to a name. "Oh. 'Ello, Peterson, good to see you again."
"What brings you here?" Renee asked, looking him over. She was dressed more casually, just a simple pale yellow dress, which went well with her hair.
"Just needed a nice drink is all," Mic shrugged. "Been walking around town for a bit. You?"
"Ah, was just at the airport, trying to fly back to L.A.," Renee answered sourly, taking the drink from the bartender and downing it quickly. "Flight got canceled, airport hotel was booked, so I'm back here, where I definitely *don't* want to be."
Mic looked at her carefully. "You know, then?"
"Oh, yeah," Renee remarked. "Harm actually had the balls to bring me to dinner and tell me in a restaurant."
"How'd that go?" Mic asked, curious.
"Oh, slapped him hard and walked out on him," Renee answered.
"Good for you," Mic remarked, sipping at his drink. "I came in this morning to surprise Mac, he was there taking a shower."
"Yikes," Renee said in sympathy. "What'd you do?"
"Just let go," Mic shrugged. "All I could do. Although I did punch Rabb in the face."
Renee looked at him, then at the bartender. "Bartender! Get this man whatever he wants, my treat!"
"Ah, it's okay," Mic said, waving a hand. "I was going to cut myself off anyway. Don't need to throw myself into a bender just because of them."
"It's tempting," Renee said sourly. "God, I'm pissed at Harm. And even more at MacKenize." Her eyes lit up. "Say, maybe you could kill them! You're not an American citizen, what can they do?"
"A bit bloodthirsty, are we?" Mic said, raising an eyebrow.
"Sorry," Renee shrugged. "I'm just mad at them, both of them."
"Don't waste too much on that, Peterson," Mic said. "It's not a healthy attitude to hold in you."
"I guess not," Rene muttered.
"Besides, I blame Rabb more than I blame Sarah," Mic added, to Renee's eye roll.
With another sip, Renee put her glass down and looked towards Mic. "Listen, we're both avoiding the main issue here. They love each other. They always have, I didn't want to face it and I don't think you did too, but it's true. I could never have the connection to Harm that MacKenzie does. He always put her first, even breaking a date with me if she was in trouble, always ready to help her no matter what."
"Same here," Mic nodded. "Guess they were in denial for a bit but whatever happened last week blasted that away and now they're together."
"Yeah, and we're both cast aside like yesterday's trash, all alone," Renee sourly added.
"No one should be alone, Peterson," Mic sighed.
"Hey, Mic?" Renee said, looking at him. "Call me Renee, huh?"
Mic looked at her for a long moment, then at the bartender. "Any chance a table is going to open up soon?"
"Probably," the bartender shrugged.
Mic looked at Renee. "How's about a dinner, then? Might as well not brood on an empty stomach."
Renee looked at him, took another sip to finish her drink, put it down and nodded. "I'll pay."
"No, I'll pay."
"No, I'm happy to do it."
At the entrance to the bar, Harm and Mac entered, both dressed in casual clothing, looking around the crowded diner. "Yikes," Mac said. "I guess we should have gotten out a little earlier."
"Well, we had to make up for showing up late," Harm pointed out. "That whole thing this morning threw us off a bit."
"Yeah, I guess-------" Mac broke off, her eyes widening as she stared towards the bar. Harm followed her gaze and stiffened as he saw Renee and Mic moving from the bar to a table. "Shit. Let's go before they see us."
"I'm with you," Mac nodded, no more eager to run into her ex than Harm was to run into his. The two immediately headed out and to the street, turning towards the rows of parked cars. "Well, guess there's your place," Mac shrugged. "I could go for a little home-cooked meal."
"Happy to oblige," Harm smiled. "Been wanting to try cooking meat anyway." He looked back at the bar behind them, then at Mac. "They were.....sort of involved, weren't they?"
"Well, they do have common ground," Mac pointed out. "Nothing like broken hearts to bring people together."
"True," Harm nodded. He and Mac went another five steps before stopping. They looked at each other and then slowly looked towards the bar, thinking about Renee and Mic together. Their eyes met again in silent communication, broken when they shook their heads. "Naaaaah," the two Immortals decided at the thought of Renee and Mic as a couple. They turned and walked off together.
The reflecting pool in the middle of the temple resembled a split-screen. On one side were Harm and Mac walking off together. On the other, was Renee and Mic at their table, talking, the conversation moving away from Harm and Mac and to each other as the two jilted lovers began to find out new facts about their dinner partner.
The gorgeous blonde watching both sides, smiled brightly, lighting up her entire face. "Not bad," Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, stated. "Not bad at all." She laughed again. "Oh, you did well last week, buddy. But when it comes to making true love connect and last.....you can't hold a candle to me." With that, she went back to watching one couple in pure happiness and another who might very well go find healing and new love in each other. God, it was great to be a Goddess.