đH geocities.com /jaghavenarchives/Ultracape_ReturnReceipt.html geocities.com/jaghavenarchives/Ultracape_ReturnReceipt.html delayed x ‘rÔJ ˙˙˙˙ ˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙Č ĐĐš T1 OK text/html `šĚ " T1 ˙˙˙˙ b‰.H Mon, 20 Feb 2006 02:18:55 GMT 5 Mozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98) en, * ‘rÔJ T1
Return Receipt Requested (Sequel to Last Letter From Paraguay)
By Ultracape who is just too easy.
All notifications are in Part I
North of Union Station
Immediately after “Last Letter From Paraguay”
First he noticed the wetness. Tears were streaming down his cheeks, more tears than he could ever remember shedding at any time in his life. While still gripping the letter he angrily brushed them away from his face, hitting himself hard on the nose with his fist, hard enough to hurt. “Damn it, she’s actually gotten me to punch myself out over her,” he chuckled for a moment at the absurdity. But when he gingerly touched his throbbing nose, a sharp pain stabbed through his head. “Ouch,” he screamed, “I’m too drunk for this shit,” Harm yelled to the empty loft, his pain awakening his anger at her, at the situation, at himself, just at.
Jumping to his feet in an unfocused rage Harm threw his emptied glass against the kitchen island, watching it shatter into dozens of crystalline pieces, just like his hardened heart had broken apart with her words. He could swear he felt pain where he had been numb for so long and clutched his arms across his chest as he gasped for breath, the violence and oscillation of his emotions frightening him. It was just a letter, why was it turning him into some sort of out of control wild man?
“Think crying jag, crying JAG,” he acknowledged the absurdity while his tears continued to stream from his eyes as he struggled to make some sense of his roiling feelings. “Now what the Hell does she expect me to do? Mourn her? I’ve been mourning her. I’ve been mourning her for five god damn months,” he sobbed.
Yet Mac was not dead. She had been in danger, definitely, but she had come through relatively unscathed and he had been grateful for that. He had given up everything to rescue her and now it was the same as if she were dead to him. He’d done it all for nothing except for a lousy last letter.
Tears kept welling from his eyes and he could barely see his surroundings, not that his mind was focusing on anything but his pain.
Somewhere in his liquor-fogged mind, Harm knew he was being unfairly bitter. It was obvious that Mac had only intended this letter to be sent if she had died. From subsequent actions and words, she probably didn’t even know that somehow it had been mailed.
But what did it change? Mac, his Mac, was dead and gone to him. She was with Webb. She had used that “never” word and while she might not really be dead, any chance of a relationship with her certainly was.
Disgust at himself then surfaced. She had loved him, just as much as he loved her. So how could she just throw it away like that.
“Throw what away,” he could almost swear he heard her voice in his head. No matter what he did she never seemed to understand that to him, they were in a relationship, to him she was his, patiently and loyally awaiting his decision to commit.
Slowly he regained some control over himself as he uncrumpled the letter, which was definitely getting worse for wear.
“I love you,” it said. She had loved him for a long time and yet he never knew. How could he not know? She had always been there for him, following him to Russia even to follow a pipedream that almost got them both killed several times.
And yet she had followed him there again, even while being engaged to Bugme. How could he have trusted her actions when she did nothing but confuse him. How could he commit to someone who would fall in love with anyone who said he loved her but never do anything for her out of love.
Is that why he never could say those words to her? Is that why she couldn’t trust his actions when, according to her, he had done nothing but the same thing, telling her to come to him then turning her away for the sake of a girlfriend he didn’t love, acting jealously as if she were his yet denying any feelings for her, throwing her dead boyfriends, husband and past mistakes, up to her face just to win a case, a point, some self satisfaction.
Yes, she had cried too. She told him that; cried because they would never have that child he promised her. And even in that, she guessed he was having second thoughts while he denied that to her too.
“Harmon Rabb, Jr. You are a stupid drunken cowardly ass.” He said to himself.
As his emotions gained some semblance of stability, his body worn from the turmoil of his mind, the abundance of liquor he had consumed finally kicked in and drowsiness overtook him. Harm did something he never had done before. Simply sinking to the floor, he curled in on himself and fell asleep, Mac’s letter tear stained, crumpled and clutched in his hand, pressed tightly against his heart.
North of Union Station
No matter how many times he swiped blindly at that damn ringing thing all he seemed to do was hit the floor. The floor? Suddenly awake Harm realized several things at once. He was freezing cold and aching all over. He had fallen asleep on the floor, he had a terrible hangover and while the alarm was silent, having never been set, the phone was ringing off the hook.
Given his abrupt reinstatement, and his assumed responsibilities as guardian for a teenager, that phone could not be ignored any longer.
Groaning he crawled over to the desk and grabbed at the offending handset. “Rabb,” he said sincerely attempting not to growl as he pulled himself up into the chair.
“Did I wake you, flyboy?” came an all too familiar cheery voice.
“Mac!” She was absolutely the last person he expected to hear from after the way they; or rather he had left it after his testimony in the Imes’ case.
“Yup, I woke you, sorry.” So how come she sounded so pleased with herself? “The admiral called me late last night and told me you officially applied for reinstatement and are back on board. He also said that he forgot to notify you of your new status until 2300 and ordered you to report in this morning by 0800. I told him that while I was sure you’d show up, given your recent occupation, I doubted you’d have a uniform ready so he relented. You have until 0900 so you better get busy and heat up your iron.”
Caught between gratitude, amusement and anger somehow Harm managed to combine them all into another growly type voice. “So you had to wake me up at, what time is it anyway?”
“Barely 0500 to give me time to get my iron hot? Isn’t that a little forward of you, Marine?”
He heard her chuckle, another sound he didn’t think he’d ever hear again in conversation with her.
“At your age Harm you need the extra time,” he rolled his eyes and wracked his brain for something to say. Again, she beat him to it. “Look, if you hurry, we could meet for a run and breakfast. I don’t have court until 1000 so I don’t have to be in until 0900 either. I could get you up to speed on what’s been happening. What do you say?”
Hung over as he was, a refusal almost on his lips. But then Harm suddenly realized he was still clutching the last letter she had written to him. The letter that said she loved him. The one that could easily have been her final words to him ever because she’d be dead. But she wasn’t dead. She was here, safe and sound and joking with him. Lifting his spirits even though he was fighting hard to stay mad at her.
He had a choice to make. He didn’t know if he was in any condition to make it yet, but he knew that Sarah MacKenzie alive and well, and wanting to talk to him, to be his friend, was a lot better than no Sarah MacKenzie at all.
“Okay,” he said, “but I’ve been barely making ends meet since I got canned from the Agency so you’re buying.”
“Only if you win.”
It was almost as if a light flashed on in his mind.
“How about only if I lose.”
“Winner buys breakfast Mac, what do you say. That way we both win.”
Did she sound worried or confused, maybe even shocked. It could even be all three. My god, she didn’t have a comeback. Light bulbs seemed to be going off all over the place in his mind and suddenly he felt better than he had in months. Maybe this actually would work.
“You heard me, we could both win that way. Both be on top, so to speak. Better hurry Jarhead, I’m a lot closer to the park than you are and so hungry I could even consume about 120 lbs of mean lean fighting Marine.”
Before she could answer that one, he slammed down the phone so hard he bruised his knuckles. “Damn, she did it to me again,” but this time he did laugh, even has he rubbed his sore hand.
Mac was alive and despite her last spoken words to him in that awful country, she did want a relationship with him, be it friendship, joint parenthood or whatever he could make it be. That letter, which almost could have been her last, spoke volumes to him of how she really felt.
Seventeen messages later and her reaction to Catherine Gale’s visit added to his stockpile of intel.
Webb be damned! He was not going to stand by like an idiot and let someone else steel his happiness from him. He was going to go after Sarah MacKenzie and he was going to get her. Never was only never if they both wanted to be on top. But what was it he had said to Sturgis almost a year ago? “Agree with her every once in a while, it will throw her off?”
Harmon Rabb did not have to always win, well, except maybe in court. But maybe if he lost to her in other ways, he could win her back. “Lose the battle, win the war,” he smiled, in fact he grinned. “This could work. It could definitely work Hammer.” With renewed spirits, he rushed to meet his future.
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