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Title: Why We Said Goodbye
Author: AmyToo (sentinelgyrl@yahoo.com)
Disclaimer: I don't own JAG or its characters. No money was made off of this story. Please don't sue me.
Classification: PG
Category: Harm/Mac shipper
Summary: Has Harm lost Mac forever to Mic Brumby?
Spoilers for To Russia With Love, Gypsy Eyes, and Boomerang. Neither Lifeline nor Adrift happened in this story.

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And I remember how you held me the night my father died
I didn't have to tell you
I just broke down and cried
You're sewn into the fabric, the pieces of my life
And I just can't remember why we said goodbye

Why We Said Goodbye
By Tim McGraw
From his new album
Set This Circus Down

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His breath caught in his throat at the sight of her entering the church on the arm of Admiral Chegwidden. Mac, no that was wrong! Sarah looked like something out of a storybook fairy tale, the kind where all a person's dreams came true.

For a moment, Harm forgot that there were other people in the church, forgot that they were in the presence of all their friends and family, forgot that she was marrying someone else.

The reality of the situation hit him hard when she passed him and the Admiral released her hand into that of the man she was marrying.

Mic Brumby. . .

After a soft, "You take care of her, son, or I will personally kick your six!" AJ Chegwidden returned to his seat as the chaplain began the ceremony.

"Dearly beloved. . ." he began and Harm found that he couldn't concentrate on the chaplain's words about the sacredness of the institution of marriage.

" . . .If there is anyone here in this company who knows why these two should not be joined in the bonds of holy matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace. . ."

Harm squirmed in his seat causing all eyes to lock on him, including that of the bride and groom. The chaplain paused when he saw Harm's movement and he waited for him to speak.

But instead of speaking, Harm appeared to be chagrinned at interrupting the ceremony. With a pained nod of his head, he nodded to the chaplain to continue.

"Michael and Sarah have written their own vows and would to exchange them now in the presence of God and this
company. . ."

//Well, this is it, Rabb. You've lost Mac forever after this. You should have spoken up. //

Renee laid a hand on his arm. "Are you all right?"

//No, I'm not all right. I am about to lose my dearest friend in the entire world to an arrogant, undeserving jackass! //

"Harm?"

"Yeah, I'm fine, Renee," he replied, turning his attention back to the ceremony.

". . .As Michael and Sarah have made solemn vows to one another and have exchanged rings with one another in the presence of God and this company of witnesses, I now pronounce them man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Harm felt sick to his stomach as he watched Mic lightly touch his lips to Mac's own. The kiss lasted for a few seconds before the newlyweds turned to face the church full of people.

"Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Michael James Brumby!" the chaplain said.

The congregations stood to its feet to applaud the newlyweds as they exited the church, laughing as they walked together hand in hand down the aisle. As she passed Harm, Mac's eyes met his and she saw the sadness there, causing her happiness to temporarily leave.

//You had your chance, Harm. This could be us leaving the church now but you pushed me away. // Mac thought as they passed him.

"Sarah?" Mic's concerned voice cut through her thoughts. "Love, are you all right?"

Mac smiled at her husband, "Yes, I'm all right."

"Are you sure, love?" And when she nodded an answer he replied, "Let's get ready for the reception then."

The reception was to be held on the church's grounds, as its family center was large enough to accommodate all the wedding guests.

As he emerged from the church a few moments later, Harm replaced his cover, completing the handsome sight of his dress whites. As they got in the waiting line to congratulate the couple, Renee placed her hand in the nook of his arm.

"They make a lovely couple, don't they?" she said quietly.

Harm's eyes fell on Mac. "Yeah, they do." He hated to say the words but Mac. . .Sarah was no longer available to him. She was a married woman. She was now married to Mic Brumby.

Matonni and his wife were in line just in front of Harm and Renee to congratulate the happy couple, with them was the Admiral and Dr. Walden, followed by Bud and Harriet all behind them.

Harm felt his throat go dry as he saw Mac laughing at something that was said to her by Mic. When they neared them, Mic extended his hand to Harm in a gesture of a new peace between them.

"No hard feelings, Harm?" he asked, a smile on his face. To Harm that smiled was anything but friendly as it said, "I've won! I've made her mine and there's nothing you can do about it mate."

Harm forced a smile back. "No hard feelings, Mic, not as long as you take care of her."

"Done, sir. I always take care of Sarah. You have my word on that," Mic replied.

"That's all I ask," Harm said.

Mac watched the exchange nervously, not realizing she had hardly breathed until Harm smiled genuinely at her husband. Harm released Mic's hand, moving on to talk to Mac as Renee behind him struck up a lively conversation with Mic.

"Congratulations, Mac," Harm said, finding the words hard to say. They hugged as Mac spoke quietly to him.

"Aren't you happy for me, sailor?" she asked.

Harm fought to keep his voice steady as he replied. "Of course I am, Marine." //I love you, Sarah. I always will. // He pulled back and looked to Mic. "May I have your permission to kiss the bride?"

//One last time. // He added silently to himself.

"Of course," Mic replied.

Harm lightly kissed Mac's lips, willing himself to never forget what it felt like to kiss her, no matter how briefly and bittersweet. As he pulled back and looked at Mac, he saw the tears in her eyes. He quickly broke eye contact with her to reach for Renee's hand and after another muttered expression of congratulations, they left the line.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
They moved around the building, talking to various members of the JAG staff and other friends until finally the DJ arrived to play the music for the dancing that would pass the next few hours.

"Would the bride and groom please take the floor for their first dance together as husband and wife?" the DJ said.

Harm absentmindedly sipped at some of the punch, which seemed to have been spike by someone. It was a thoughtless, immature thing to do, as Mac was a former alcoholic.

//Probably some of Mic's friends spiked the punch.// he thought, //Because I know none of the people at JAG would do such a thing, for fear of the Admiral tearing their sixes to shreds!//

Despite the fact he knew the punch was spiked, he kept drinking it as it was doing an effective job of numbing the pain he was feeling. He watched Mac as she danced with the Admiral now, laughing at something he had said to her.

//I should have been the groom. I should have been the one out there for the first dance. But no, I let my fear of ruining our relationship get in my way of acting on my feelings for her. I let the regs be the excuse I gave when she asked me to let it go in Sydney.

Rabb, you are a coward!//

He jumped when Renee laid a hand in his arm. "Hey, sailor, would you like to dance?" She smiled sweetly at him.

"Not right now, Renee. I wanted to ask Mac to dance with me," Harm replied.

Renee's eyes went wide. "Harmon Rabb, you've been drinking!" She was shocked. "What HAVE you been drinking here that has alcohol in it? I thought Mac was-"

He handed her the punch. "It's this. Someone spiked it."

"Who the heck would spike the punch when they know Mac had a problem?" she asked.

"I don't know," Harm replied, his eyes falling on Mac again. She had taken a break from dancing and was standing near the refreshments with Mic as he made her a glass of the spiked beverage.

Without saying a word, Harm left Renee where they have been sitting and crossed the distance to the refreshment table, snatching the punch out of Mac's hand before she could drink any of it.

"Harm-"

"Rabb, what IS your problem?" Mic asked, the smile vanishing from his face.

"Someone spiked the punch," Harm replied, his voice betraying the fact that he'd been partaking of quite a bit of the stuff.

Mac stared at him. "You are drunk."

"I'm just a little tipsy, but I am not drunk, Sarah," Harm replied, not realizing he'd used her name before it was too late.

"I would appreciate it if you did not refer to my wife in the familiar, Rabb, especially when you are drunk," Mic said. He was clearly getting ticked off with Harm.

Harm glared at him. "Excuse me, but I'll known her a lot longer than you have."

"But she is my wife!"

Mac saw where this was going and she didn't like it. She tried to intervene but her voice was drowned out as they very nearly came to blows with one another as all eyes fell on them.

"Attention on deck!" an angry voice bellowed.

Harm immediately recognized the angry voice of his CO and snapped to attention even as Mic just stared at the approaching AJ. As he stopped before them, AJ found himself wishing he had his office available to properly straighten things out.

Thankfully the crowd went back to an embarrassed chatter as he arrived at the spot right in front of them. He glared at Mic but decided not to bite into the man right at that moment.

"Would you excuse us, please?" AJ asked, motioning to Harm to walk a few paces away from the table and the rest of the wedding guests. After they stopped, Harm made an attempt to speak but fell silent as the Admiral gave him one of his angriest glares.

"Commander Rabb, what in heaven's name do you mean making an--" AJ paused as he spotted little AJ nearby with his parents, "A jackass out of yourself in front of all these people, of which not all are JAG or even Navy personnel? Also let us not forget that your are ruining this very special day for two of your closest friends by your behavior? What has come over you?"

"I don't know, sir," Harm replied.

"Well whatever is eating you either shake it or I suggest you leave before you ruin this day and further disgrace your uniform. Am I understood, Commander Rabb?" AJ finished.

"Yes, sir!"

Instead of ending the conversation with his usual gruff, 'That'll be all, commander!' the Admiral began to walk off, leaving his officer alone. He took five steps away from Harm before he turned again to talk to him, moving close to him.

"Harm, what is bothering you?" AJ asked, softening his tone even as he lowered it. "I've not seen you come this close to decking Brumby since you two came to blows in Australia."

Harm looked over to where Bud was now dancing with the bride and Harriet with the groom. He shook his head. "This day can't get any worse, sir, because I've lost her forever and to top it all off, I lost her to a man whom I cannot stand."

AJ nodded, not too surprised at the revelation Harm had just given him, and suddenly understanding why Harm was acting the way he was. He was obviously hurt and grieving over the loss but the Admiral also knew that if Harm didn't start treating Mic with the respect (it was hard saying that, even to himself) he deserved as Mac's husband, than he'd lose his friendship with Sarah.

"Harm, what I am about to say is offered as a friend as well as your CO. Mac is married now, she has another man in her life and he is going to take up the majority of her time as well as her thoughts. Now, I also realize that you two have a friendship that goes beyond the work you do at JAG and I am sure that you don't want to lose her friendship, am I right?"

Harm sighed. "No, sir, I don't want to lose her friendship. Not ever."

"All right then. Might I suggest that you start by giving Mr. Brumby the respect he should be afforded by apologizing to him ASAP. I would also apologize to Mac and let her know that you'll always be her friend but now you understand that you are not her best friend, that Mic has that place in her life," AJ said.

Harm nodded. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

Just then the current dance ended and the newlyweds made their way towards the refreshment table again. That's when Harm decided to walk over to them to talk. . .

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
"What do you want?" Mic asked, anger apparent in his voice.

Harm walked up to them, holding his hands spread out in a gesture of peace. "I want to apologize for my behavior a few minutes ago. Mic, I am I sorry for the way I acted towards you." He offered his hand to the Aussie. "Friends?"

Mic hesitated and then took it. "Friends."

Harm looked at Mac. "Mac, I am so sorry for what just happened. Will you forgive me?"

Her eyes had been an angry storm up until he apologized. "I forgive you, Harm."

"Thank you. Now, if it's all right with your husband, I would be honored if I could have a dance with the bride."

Mac didn't hesitate even as Mic nodded his consent. "When you return, we'll cut the cake love."

For the first verse of the new song, Harm and Mac just listened to the words as they danced. Harm's eyes never leaving her face even as her eyes wondered all over the gathering. And for the first verse of the song, they just listened. . .

I remember Sunday mornings walking on the beach
And that place we'd stop for breakfast with the old read vinyl seats
The hours of the tide chart
The way the sunlight danced upon your face
That antique roller coaster you just had to ride
I remember how you laughed at the terror in my eyes
The color and the detail
Just like it was yesterday

And when the chorus came, that's when it became painful for them both. . .

And I remember how you held me the night my father died
I didn't have to tell you
I just broke down and cried
You're sewn into the fabric, the pieces of my life
And I just can't remember why we said goodbye

"This song brings back so many memories, doesn't it?" Harm said, unable to stop the words from leaving his mouth. "Remember Russia? I never told you what it meant to me that you were there for me after I found out about my father."

"Harm, that was a lifetime ago," Mac said gently.

He nodded. "I know. It's only been a few short years since I heard for certain that he'd never come home, but it seems it was a lifetime ago. And I've done somethings since that day that I've regretted."

//Like letting the regs get in my way and my hurting you by leaving to fly and my not telling you how much I really do love you on that ferry in Sydney. //

I just had to call you,
I had to hear your voice
And tell you I still love you

"Harm, I-"

"Mac, can you just listen to me for a second?" he asked gently and she nodded. "I just wanted to tell you that I am always going to care about you as one of the closest friends I have," He paused as Mac's eyes finally met his. "Now I realize that things won't be the same anymore as you've got a new best friend, your husband and that's the way it should be. But I just wanted to let you know, Mac, I'm here if you ever need a friend to call on and that I do love you . . .as a friend. Always."

There were tears in Mac's eyes as she smiled at him. "Harm, thank you. I think your friendship is the best wedding present you can give me. Well, that and knowing that you're happy for me. Are you?"

It took every bit of strength he had to speak the words but Harm did speak them. "Yeah, Mac, I am happy for you."

There must have been a reason, but I can't remember now
I know if I could hold you we could work it out
You're sewn into the fabric, the pieces of my life
And girl let's give it one more try
Cause I just can't remember why we said goodbye

Their dance ended and Harm walked Mac back over to where Mic stood with Renee watching them. He released her hand so that she could join her husband.

The next hour was occupied with the cutting of the wedding cake, Mac throwing her bouquet (which Renee wound up catching), and finally the throwing of the garter (which Tiner, not Harm, caught-- to the PO's embarrassment).

After all this and after they changed into more casual clothes, the bride and groom left for their honeymoon underneath a shower of birdseed and bubbles.

And Harmon Rabb had to learn to truly let go that day as he watched the woman he would always love leave with another man to start a new life he knew could have been his own with her.

//Goodbye, Mac. I love you.//

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Epilogue:
0700
Harm's Apartment
A dream. . .

It was a dream! Harm woke up that morning to discover that he had dreamed about the entire wedding and reception! Thank God!

But today was still Mac's wedding day, a day he had dreaded ever since she and Mic had set the date. He knew he would attend but there would be something different about today than what he had seen in his dream the night before. . .

Four hours to the wedding. . .

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
1100
At the Church

Everything happened the way it happened in his dream from Mac looking absolutely stunning to the Admiral's soft, "You take care of her, son, or I will personally kick your six!"

The only thing that differed this time was that Harm was listening to the chaplain's words, listening for the only chance he'd have to keep from losing Mac forever.

" . . .If there is anyone here in this company who knows why these two should not be joined in the bonds of holy matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace. . ."

The chaplain was about to resume the ceremony when he saw a Navy officer in dress whites stand up to make a proclamation.

"Yes?" he asked.

Mac's eyes fell on Harm as he spoke. . .

"Sarah, please don't go through with this," he said.

"Why shouldn't I?"

"Because I love you. . ."

Wedding bells did not ring that day. . .

The End