By the Sea

By Seema

Author’s note: Happy Birthday, Gail! Missing scene from "Hail and Farewell, part II."

Disclaimer: DPB’s, not mine.


Rabb lowered his gun as he circled around the house. Beyond the lush green lawns of Manderlay, the Atlantic Ocean shimmered beneath the late afternoon sun. White-capped waves crashed gently against the strip of yellow sand and as Rabb stood at the top of the stairs leading down the beach, he could see someone sitting there, knees drawn up to chest, arms wrapped around legs. Taking a deep breath, Rabb jogged down the stairs and hurried over the sand.

"Webb, you’re looking pretty good for a dead man," Rabb said casually.

Startled, Webb looked up. "Rabb, what are you doing here?"

"Isn’t it obvious? Looking for you." Rabb squatted on the sand. "Plus, I’ve got about a dozen questions for you." And with a wry smile, Rabb said, "Which is nothing compared to what Mac has in mind for you."

Webb sighed deeply. "I don’t know how to face her."

The wind coming off the ocean was light, just cool enough to take the burn off the summer heat.

"I am surprised to see you here," Rabb said, conversationally. "You’re not the type to slink and hide when the going gets tough." He peered closer at Webb. "You never struck me as particularly contemplative either."

"You wouldn’t understand."

"Well, *try* me," Rabb said harshly. "I could really use a good explanation. After all, just a couple weeks ago, you were dead, and now, you turn up alive? Yeah," Rabb said, inhaling the tangy salt air deeply, "you’d better be able to account for yourself."

"It’s a long story."

"I’ve got time." Rabb jerked a finger back towards the house. "Want to tell me about it?"

"Not particularly." Webb glanced sideways at Rabb.

"Look, we need your help. This isn’t the time for you to sit here doing nothing. The
Hawk is after Mac. He’s already killed your assistant, Laurie-June—"

"I know." A trace of emotion underlined Webb’s response. "I got there too late. I tried—" he looked at Rabb with an expression close to despair "—but I hesitated." He shook his
head. "That’s never happened to me before."

Rabb found it hard to conjure up any sympathy for Webb. "Well, you still have a chance to get it right," he said. "The Hawk shot at Mac and Simon Tanveer earlier today."

"I know that too."

Rabb bit back his frustration. "I don’t believe this. You say you care for Mac but you’ve put her in danger," Rabb said furiously. "That’s three times now, Webb, that Mac’s come close to dying because of you."

"I know." The resignation in Webb’s voice was obvious.

Rabb stood up. "You know what," he said, "this isn’t worth it. I don’t know what’s
happened to you, Webb, but your lack of—" Rabb paused for a second "— concern is mind-boggling. Oh, that’s right, you’re with the Agency; you’re not supposed to care."

Webb continued to look straight ahead at the water; his expression didn’t change. Rabb sighed, unable to keep his frustration at bay much longer.

"Have it your way, Webb," Rabb said. "Now I’ve got to go tell Mac that you’re here, alive, and that you actually don’t care about anything—"

"Don’t you dare," Webb said. He got to his feet. "You’ve got it all wrong, Rabb." Webb inhaled sharply.

"I’m not the one you have to convince." Rabb pointed back towards the house. "Tell it to Mac. She’s the one who has been distressed over your death, she’s the one who really cares about you. I’m just here to support her."

Webb blinked. "Sarah? She’s here?"

Rabb nodded. "Yes, with Simon. They’re in the house, looking for you."

Alarm flashed in Webb’s eyes. "We’ve got to get to her." He pulled out his gun and released the safety. Rabb stared at him, stunned.

"What’s going on?" Rabb asked.

"Simon is the Hawk." Webb was already running towards the house.

"What?" Rabb screamed, but his words were lost on the wind. He easily caught up to Webb. Pausing for a second to catch their breaths at the wooden staircase leading up to the house, Webb said, "We need a plan."

"I’ll take the front door, you go in the back," Rabb said.

"That works." Webb nodded. They climbed the stairs slowly and just before parting, Webb called out, "You are wrong, Rabb. I do care. Maybe too much."

Rabb was thankful the urgency of the moment made it possible for him to ignore Webb’s comments. Pumped with adrenaline, Rabb ducked low as he passed by the windows. He paused only for a second before opening the front door and stealthily, made his way down the main hallway. He stopped when he thought he heard voices – Mac and Simon were just ahead in the kitchen. Rabb hoped Webb had gotten into position and he wondered how Mac would react to seeing Webb again. quite possibly, Mac could forgive Webb and take him back. Rabb took a deep breath and steeled himself for the disappointment that would surely follow.

~ the end

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