Memories! Ch. 01

byKatherine English 2©

Disclaimer: JAG is the property of Donald Belisario, CBS, and Paramount. All other characters are mine and fictional

* * * * *

0200 HOURS
Bethesda Naval Hospital

At first there was only silence.

Then, gradually, the soft muffle of voices. The muted rasp of something being moved from one place to another across a hardened surface...the minute peeps of a mechanical monitor in the far, far distance.

She opened her eyes. The white glare of the hospital room assaulted her iris', causing her to shield her eyes from the onslaught...the smells...strange...unpleasant...harsh.

"She's coming around. Somebody...get the doctor."

She turned her head, following the voice in an effort to visually locate its source.

Pain...she closed her eyes once again and tried to regroup.

Mac? Mac...don't fade on me here. Come on...stay with me."

Once more she forced her eyelids apart, this time slowly....and with caution.

Dimly, as though through a mist, the room began to take shape and materialize into something tangible.

The voice...whose? Again she attempted to turn her head.

There, beside her sat a tall man, handsome, dark haired. His eyes appeared tired, and the threat of a faintly formed beard darkened the firm line of his strong jaw.

"Mac...come on...stay with me." he whispered, a little more urgently than before.

Gradually, and with pale reluctance the room began to solidify and fill her field of vision. It WAS a hospital room.

Why was she here? Why did her head hurt so terribly? ...and who was this man who gently stroked her palm, summoning her back into the realms of consciousness?

2347 HOURS - Two days before JAG Headquarters Falls Church, Virginia

There had been a terrible accident.

Mac had left the office late on Friday, 2347 HOURS, if her internal clock was correct, and it always was. The Johannson trial had been more of a challenge than she had anticipated. The meager evidence she had been able to divine had been both weak and circumstantial, and Harm's cross-examinations had all but nullified each point in her prosecution, one by one.

It was almost midnight when Mac turned the key in the ignition and headed her crimson Corvette toward the Beltway. It had been unseasonably cold that day, and a chill night breeze had caused the dampness of the day to solidify and freeze on the roadway before her. More than once, Mac felt the need to regain control as her car skewed from its intended path, the victim of "black ice".

Then it happened.

A panel truck, disabled by the same brutal conditions, had spun out in the darkness, and now obstructed the highway directly in her lane. Mac slammed on her brake pedal, pumping frantically, steering in the direction of the skid, but it was too late.

The world began to take on an ethereal quality as her 'vette slammed into the side of the truck. The halogen lights before her began to spin slowly within her line of vision, as though a part of some terrible ballet for her alone. A voice (hers?) screaming into the frozen stillness of the night. Shattered glass. The heavy grind of metal against metal. A chill breeze against her face. Then darkness.

0200 Hours Bethesda Naval Hospital Present Day

Silently, she looked at the man who grasped her hand. His relief was evident, the furrowed lines between his brows a tense statement of emotion.

He tried to laugh, but his voice caught in his throat. "Mac. You gave us a scare there. It's good to have you back among the living." He'd meant it in jest, but his own words appeared to set him aback. He grew silent again, his face contorted, and briefly turned away.

"Wh..What happened? Why am I here?" Concerned, Harm looked deeply into her eyes. "You had an accident, Mac. Don't you remember? You hit some ice and went plowing into the side of a truck" He paused. "Your airbag kept you from going through the windshield...saved your life, but your Corvette was totaled.

"My head...hurts." Haltingly, she raised her free hand, an IV tube trailing in its wake, and gently touched the bandages that swathed her head.

She looked at her companion...alarmed...confused.

"It's okay, Mac. You had a few minor scalp lacerations...took a few stitches, but its going to be fine. I'd be surprised if the doc. didn't take the bandages off today. He took a cleansing breath, as though to assure himself, once more, that she really was "fine".

She looked again at the stand, which held the IV bag, and the monitors, which echoed the beat of her heart. "WH...Why?" she stammered softly, gesturing again with her free hand.

"You had a concussion, Mac. It was pretty bad. You've been 'out' for a few days. We didn't know...we weren't sure if...but it's okay now." he repeated, more to himself than to the woman lying prone before him.

"B...But" she began again.

"What is it? Let me get closer. I can hardly hear you." "But," she whispered once more. "Who are you." The sleepless days he had spent at her bedside took their toll, as Harm settled heavily into his chair.

"Who am I? It's me, Harm. Come on...you've got to remember me. Mac?" The lines between his brows deepened drastically.

Silently, he released her hand. "Just lay still, Mac. The doctor's coming. He'll help me...you make sense out of all this."

0230 HOURS Bethesda Naval Hospital

Harm, the Admiral, Bud and Harriet waited in the hallway while Dr. Reynolds examined his newly awakened patient. The minutes seemed like hours as they nervously paced the hall, occasionally colliding with each other in their state of distracted animation.


Finally, the doctor entered the corridor, a mask of concern muted by his professional facade. "I wish Col. MacKenzie had family in the area. You say there's no one available?"

"No." Harm reconfirmed. "No one." Mac's Uncle Matt was the only true family she had, but his current incarceration made him of little use to her now.

"I'll take responsibility for her, doctor." It was the Admiral, taking charge in his usual unflappable manner. "Just tell me what's needed. You have a very special lady in your care here. Whatever she needs...she's going to get."

"Well, medically speaking, there seems to be very little residual damage. I believe she's recovering nicely. However, her mental facility is another matter altogether."

The Admiral paused. "Exactly what are we dealing with here, son? What's wrong with Sar...Col. Mackenzie?"

"Well, she seems to have suffered a selective degree of amnesia. Determining how extensive or how permanent this condition is could take some time. In the meanwhile, she shouldn't be alone. She should have someone with her at all times...someone she knew well...someone who can prompt her memory and recognize any emotional shifts to which she might succumb.

"Doctor," Harm began, "the Col. lives alone in Georgetown."

"Is there anyone who can stay with her, or with whom she can stay until her memory returns...or until she learns to compensate for its loss?"

Harm raised his head and began to speak. "Doctor, I..."

The Admiral interrupted. "The Col. will be recuperating at my home, doctor. When will she be ready to leave?"

0800 HOURS JAG Headquarters Falls Church, Virginia

The titter of office gossip grew silent and died an ugly death as Admiral A.J. Chegwidden and Col. MacKenzie stepped out of the elevator and into the bullpen at JAG.

Scathingly, the Admiral turned his head and took in the collection of "hens" that had collected around the water cooler. "Is there anything you'd like to discuss?"

"No, Sir. Not at all, Sir!"

"Good. Then unless you'd like to come into my office and address me directly, I suggest you find a better use of your time. Am I understood?"

"Aye, aye Sir!"

The gathering immediately dispersed. A.J. smiled. It was nice being THE JAG.

"Admiral," Mac began, "are you sure that my staying in your guestroom isn't going to cause a problem?"

"Mac, if I didn't already know that you don't remember me, it would have been very easy to guess. No. Your being my guest will not cause problems. If my reputation hasn't preceded me, then my authority will." He gave her a reassuring grin. I don't HAVE problems, I GIVE them!" His tone softened, his dark eyes gentle and supportive. "Don't worry, Mac. You're going to be fine, and so am I."

1000 Hours Colonel MacKenzie's Office JAG Headquarters

It had only been a day since Mac had been released from her hospital stay. The Admiral and Harm had both returned to her apartment with her to pack her personal belongings for her recuperation at A.J.'s home in the rustic countryside near McLean, Virginia. Mac, in keeping with the stubborn "jarhead" attitude she had maintained prior to the accident, had steadfastly rejected any offer of assistance, and delighted them all with this brief, if irritating, glimpse of their old friend.

A.J.'s home was a three-bedroom cabin on a country road, deep in the Virginia woodlands. Surrounded by National forests, the property offered a peace and solitude rare in today's world, the perfect place for Mac, or anyone, to recuperate.

Mac and A.J. had found their first night alone awkward, at best. A.J. had cooked "pasta prima vera", his speciality, and the two had settled down before a roaring blaze while A.J. attempted to answer a few of the many questions Mac had about her lost life and livlihood.

Against the Admiral's better judgement, Mac had insisted on returning to the office with him the next morning. Now, after staring blankly at the alien setting in which she found herself, she wondered if she had been wise in doing so.

Her office held no memories for her, a fact which saddened her immensely. The faces around her, while solicitous, were unknown. She felt as though her life had just begun a mere three days ago, and she felt the vacuum of her current existence oppressive.

By the end of her first day, Mac was more than happy to return to the sanctuary of her surrogate home in the woods. A.J. had picked up a bag of "Beltway burgers" to lighten her obviously traumatized spirits.

"Could I start a fire in the fireplace?" she asked her host.

"That would be nice." The idea appealed to him as well. "But, let me do it, you're my guest, after all."

"No. It shouldn't be that way. If I'm going to stay here, you have to let me pull my weight. I'm feeling useless enough right now, at least let me handle the few things I can still remember how to do, Admiral"

Colonel, if we're going to be sharing living quarters, I think that entitles you to call me A.J., at least when we're at home. I'm not running a barracks here, you know." he joked.

"Then you should call me Sarah." she said simply, not knowing that the Admiral had secretly called her that in his heart for many years.

Mac walked over to the large fieldstone fireplace and dropped to her knees. Facing the still darkened aperture, she crumpled a small wad of newspaper and inserted it within the already laid kindling. Then, lighting an elongated, wooden match, she leaned slightly and began to blow on the embers she had created.

A.J.'s reaction was visceral. The shape of her body, silhouetted by the flames, evoked a response that he knew was totally inappropriate. She was a beautiful woman, of that there was no question. He considered himself a fortunate man to have shared the favors of many beautiful and intelligent women in his life. But this was different.

Mac was a subordinate...an officer under his command. Her recuperation period at his home could itself be misconstrued. If not for his rank and reputation, the question of impropriety would already have arisen.

And what about her? Would the old Colonel MacKenzie have welcomed his advances? Possibly...he would never know. There had been times when he'd fantasized about a liaison with the alluring young JAG lawyer before him, but he'd kept his fantasies to himself. To take advantage of her in her current state of mind, would be an unspeakable breach of discipline, and "discipline" and "order" were the words by which he'd lived. To change now, at this point in his life and career, was unthinkable.

Silently he sat on the sofa savoring his meal and the delicate bouquet of the wine in his glass as he watched Sarah, her derriere bobbing gently as she coaxed the flames to life. "Oh, hell." he thought. "What have I gotten myself into?"

Finally, satisfied with the blaze she'd kindled, Sarah removed herself to the kitchen to retrieve her dinner from its paper sack. She returned a few moments later, burger in hand, delicately sipping the last of the wine from her glass. "Sarah!" yelped A.J., disconcertedly. "Please tell me you didn't drink that!"

"Oh! I'm sorry! Were you saving it? I didn't realize..."

"No...no, it's not that. You're welcome to anything in the house. But...it never occurred to me that you wouldn't remember that you don't drink...that you're...sensitive...to alcohol.

Sarah began to giggle. "Well, maybe it's just as well. This is the most relaxed I've felt in days. I needed something to relieve the stress."

A.J. felt the situation slipping out of control. "Sarah," he began. I think I'd better call it a night. I'm getting up early tomorrow to go running. You used to run, would like to join me?"

"That sounds like a plan to me." she chirped, gaily. But you don't have to run NOW, do you. Can't you stay a little while and keep me company?"

Sarah sank onto the sofa beside him, her eyes warm and inviting. Every atom in his being demanded that he stay, but the admiral in him knew it was wrong.

"I ...can't." he offered weakly. I need to get to b... I need to get some sleep if I'm going to be up early tomorrow. You should do the same."

Sarah looked deeply, sensuously into his eyes. "If you insist." she smiled. "I'm yours to command, Admiral." Then, unbuttoning her blouse as she walked, Sarah crossed the floor toward the guest bedroom.

0530 HOURS A.J.'s Home McLean, Virginia

Morning came all too early for Mac. Her head ached, and her mouth tasted like sour grapes. But the worst of it was facing the Admiral after so blatant an invitation the night before.

It was 5:30 A.M., and the chill of early morning was doing wonders to clear her head. Silently, the two runners sped gracefully through the trees, on a trail seldom seen and very rarely used. Finally, the burden becoming too much for her, Mac pulled alongside A.J., and began to address the issue between them.

"A.J., I want to apologize about last night. The way I acted...I was way out of line. Here you've done so much for me, and I repay you by making you uncomfortable in your own home. It's inexcusable. I feel terrible for putting you in that position. At the time, it just felt right...I'm sorry."

Mac's abject contrition made him feel guilty. If only she knew that the feeling was mutual...but that could never be. "Don't worry about it, Sarah. I should have realized that you wouldn't remember about the wine. It was my fault. I'm suppose to be helping you...I dropped the ball."

Mac stopped and looked into his eyes. He was an honorable man, of that she was sure, but there was more to their relationship, something he wasn't telling her. Had they been lovers? The thought made her blush, and sent a warm hormonal rush through her body.

The Admiral returned her gaze, reacting to the intimate connection her saw in her eyes. Sarah was incredible. She was the most intelligent, beautiful, sensitive and probably...passionate woman he had ever known. He felt his body losing its battle for control, and decided it was time to resume the run.

Tired and sweat drenched, they returned to the cabin. "The shower's in my bedroom, but there's a tub in the guest bath, he indicated. Mac nodded and headed toward her room. A.J., tired and thirsty, made his way to the kitchen, mixed some frozen juice, and put on a pot of coffee. He placed butter and a package of frozen muffins on the counter beside the microwave, then pulled off his sweatshirt as he headed for the shower in his room.

Shedding his sweat pants and running shoes as he went, A.J. reached for the doorknob to the small master bath. To his surprise, the door began to open independently.

Startled, Sarah stood before him, a towel barely disguising the curve of her breasts, her hair redolent with the smell of strawberries.

"A.J.! I thought you were going to use the tub! I guess I got my signals mixed."

A.J. felt his body respond. It would be hard to miss the signals he was sending now, he thought.

Sarah swallowed hard. Her eyes took in the trim figure of her commanding officer. His clothes hid a lot, she thought as she scanned his firm runner's torso and muscled thighs. The bulge in his boxers all but took her breath away.

"Sarah...I'm sorry." he began to stammer, his words becoming garbled at the sight of her voluptuous form. The moment took on a life of its own, and he lowered his gaze to take in the visual feast before him.

"I..I don't know what to say." he responded, the passion evident in his voice.

Sarah, acknowledging the intense attraction she was experiencing, looked relieved. The feeling was mutual... the hunger in his eyes matched her own.

Gently, she raised her hand and stroked his face. "Then don't say anything..." she offered, her finger lightly tracing his lower lip.

Silently, A.J. lowered his head and placed a kiss upon her full and waiting lips. Breathlessly, Sarah responded and pressed her body closer to his, feeling his maleness grow increasingly between them, seeking access beneath the folds of her towel.

"Sarah...I shouldn't be doing this. I'm taking advantage of you...it isn't right."

"But it isn't wrong...it can't be, not when it feels like the whole world's just coming together. If this never happened before, then it should have. I can't believe feelings like this just materialized out of nothing."

He lifted his head, and searched her eyes for the truth. It was there, and he knew she was right. Fate had given them one last chance, and they would be fools not to take advantage of it.

Silently, he lifted her in his arms and carried her to the bed. There, in the dim light of morning, he removed her towel and gazed passionately at her body, still warm and dewy from her shower, beckoning for the touch of his hand.

Removing the last of his clothing he lay down beside her, claiming her breasts with his mouth, first one and then the other. She felt a silken cord begin to curl and tighten within her as he savored her nipple, drawing it between his lips, suckling its rigid contours. His fingers scouted the intimate terrain of her body, delicately memorizing the gentle swell of her rib cage as they traveled downward to traverse the downy plains of her abdomen.

He had the touch of experience, and she was a novice in his arms. To her mind, this moment was a first, and he was the only man to ever delve into the moist, intimate recesses of her newly awakened sexuality.

His hand searched the apex at the juncture her thighs. Sarah gasped as his thumb began to gently massage the delicate nub, which lay hidden among the damp curls between her legs. Maintaining contact, he thrust a finger into her very core, diving maddeningly into the moist depths of her inner being... advancing... retreating... then invading once again. His lips were everywhere, his hands eliciting responses she never knew existed as they lay siege, over and over, to her most secret and intimate of places.


She felt a tight, breathlessness begin to rise from her toes and claim her very soul. Her spine began to arch, her body pleading for release. Her last remnant of control fled on the wings of passion, and she heard a primitive cry (hers?) pierce the stillness of the room.

"More...oh please...more." she pleaded.

Beyond reason, A.J. positioned himself between her trembling thighs. "Are you sure, Sarah? Is this what you really want?" he whispered hoarsely, knowing full well that he himself was beyond recall, that it was his body, and not his mind that was now in control.

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