||Action, Angst, Romance
||Approx 94,000 words,
255 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
||Through Season 9
||Credit where credit is
due. The "I don't mean to sound all grandma on you…" line is
from a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode.
This is my first JAG fanfic, even though I've been a fan of the show
since season 2 so many years ago.
||Harm and Mac are forced
to reevaluate their relationship when someone from Harm's past
comes for a visit.
Falls Church, Virginia
Thursday May 20, 2004
Commander Harmon Rabb Junior stood with his back to his office, gazing
out the window at the sunny Virginia afternoon. What he wouldn't give to
be up in Sarah right now, to feel the freedom flying always gave him.
Not to mention the adrenaline rush. Slowly he began to smile, only to be
stopped by the sound of a heavy law book dropping on his desk.
Turning around slowly he saw the scowl Lieutenant Colonel Sarah
MacKenzie was shooting in his direction. 'Fine. I'll play the game one
more time' he thought.
"Afternoon Mac. Something I can do for you?" he asked as he sat down at
"You railroaded me this morning!" she shouted angrily. "You knew that
that petty officer had a history of drug abuse and you didn't tell me."
Raising his hand to forestall anymore shouting Harm mentally set his
shoulders to calm down the angry Marine. "Look Mac, I'm sorry but if you
didn't research the witnesses enough I can't be held accountable."
"Damn it Rabb!" she started as she sat down heavily in the chair in
front of his desk. "You knew you had to disclose that kind of…WHAT!?"
Mac shouted as a light knock sounded on Harm's door.
"Excuse me Ma'am, I'm here to see the Commander if he has a moment. I
didn't mean to interrupt." A melodious voice said with the hint of Texas
Looking past Mac Harm felt the huge grin cover his face when he heard
the voice. Seeing the slender blonde woman standing in his doorway he
couldn't help but turn the grin into a smile. "Well I'll be damned! Meg
Austin, come on in!"
"If you're busy sir…"
"Nonsense Meg, come in. Lieutenant Colonel Sarah MacKenzie this is
Lieutenant Commander Meg Austin."
"As in your first partner Meg Austin?" Mac asked as she stood up from
the chair that she had been sitting in. "Pleased to meet you Commander."
"Likewise Ma'am. And whatever the Commander here might have told you
about me, it’s probably lies." Meg said as she stepped into the office.
Doing his best to sound hurt Harm stifled a laugh. "Lies, Meg? Lies? You
know I'd never lie about you. What are you doing here? I thought you
were in Pearl?" he asked as he retook his seat.
"I am sir, but I've been asked to come to DC to advise some people. So
here I am, probably for a month the way things are going. Listen, sir,
ma'am, I really didn't mean to interrupt anything. I need to go pay my
respects to the Admiral anyway. Sir, if I could make an appointment to
see you this afternoon?"
"Of course Meg…you shouldn't even ask. Come by after you've spoken with
After Meg had left Harm turned back to Mac who seemed to have lost the
fire she had come storming into his office with. Why did they always
have to be at each other's throats lately? If he was going to be
completely honest with himself he had to admit that it was getting
rather old, and so was he. He just didn't enjoy the fights the way he
did a couple years ago.
"I'm sorry Mac…really I am. I thought you knew about the Petty Officer's
past. That's why I didn't say anything. Honestly."
Seeing the frown on her face he shook his head. Just like her, she was
trying to stoke up the fires again, trying to find something wrong with
what he just said.
"So, what do you and Webb have planned for the weekend?" he asked. As
soon as the words left his mouth he knew he'd followed them with his
"Not that it's any of your business, but Clay and I are supposed to go
to a fundraiser on Saturday." Mac said frostily.
"Ohhh…raising money for spooks!" Harm joked, trying his best to take the
edge of the conversation. Why couldn't it be like it was before
"Funny Rabb. Yeah, you're a regular comedian." Mac huffed as she stood
up. "Can't you take anything seriously?" she asked as she stormed out of
Biting his tongue Harm looked down at his calendar to see what he could
move around to make some time with Meg this afternoon.
"Sir…sir. Did you see Lieutenant Commander Austin?" a breathless Bud
Roberts asked as he poked his head into Harm's office.
Smiling Harm thought back to the first time he met Bud on the Seahawk.
Bud was just like a little puppy dog with Meg the whole time they were
there. "Sure did Bud. She's just in with the Admiral and then she's
coming back this way."
"It’s good to see her again Sir. Tell her hi for me?"
"Tell her yourself Lieutenant" Meg said as she came up behind Bud.
Pulling himself up to stand at attention Bud turned around with a big
smile on his face.
"Good to see you ma'am." Bud said cheerfully.
"Permission to hug the lieutenant?" Meg asked with a smile.
"Of course ma'am" Bud said.
"It's been too long Bud. I heard you transferred here after I left. Look
at you…a full lieutenant! And what's this I hear that you have a wife
and two boys! I'll have to ask Harriet what her secret is." Meg said as
she clasped Bud in a warm hug. Harm noticed Meg's eyes go down to Bud's
prosthetic leg and then flick back up to look at Harm. He saw the
question in her eyes and mouthed the word "later". Nodding she released
Bud and took a step backwards. "Well Lieutenant, I'd best not carry on
with that or people will start to talk. I remember what it's like here."
"No ma'am, I mean, yes ma'am. It's good to see you again ma'am. Excuse
me sir…ma'am…I'm due in court in twenty minutes."
"Of course Bud. Don't play to rough with Sturgis." Harm said with a
chuckle. "Damn it Meg get in here…where's my hug?"
Laughing Meg smiled as Harm wrapped her up in a big bear hug. "Damn it
Meg…it’s been too long. I don't mean to sound all grandma on you, but
you don't call, you don't write."
"Put me down sir." Meg demanded as her feet left the ground. "Harm, if
you don't put me down I'm gonna give you a good ol' Texas ass-whoopin’."
Meg said with a laugh.
As he unfolded his arms from around Meg Harm looked out over the bullpen
and saw Mac standing there looking at him with a big frown on her face.
'Now what?' he thought. When she saw that he'd seen her Mac turned away
quickly and went into her office, slamming the door.
Turning back to Meg he couldn't help but smile. "So what's this
mysterious business that's brought you to DC? Advising you said?" he
asked as he sat on the edge of his desk.
"May I?" Meg asked nodding towards a chair. When Harm nodded she sat
down and crossed her hands on her knee. No ring Harm noticed.
"Yeah…advising. Someone heard about my weapons systems training and
thought it would be good to have a lawyer with that kind of extra
training hanging around the Pentagon. The Admiral said he thought of me
instantly. To be honest, that surprised me. I didn't think he thought
that much of me."
"He loves you Meg, we all do." Harm said with a laugh. "A whole month of
the Harm and Meg show!"
"Well I will be spending a lot of time at the Pentagon, and I imagine
they keep you pretty busy around here…when you're not landing Hercs on
carriers that is." Meg said with a smirk.
"You saw that did you? I guess everyone did." Harm said ruefully.
"It did make the top ten news moments of the year on a number of shows.
What were you thinking Harm? The CIA? I know you love to fly, but for
"It's complicated Meg…or at least I thought it was."
"Let me guess…there was a woman involved. There's always a woman
involved with the Great Rabb. Am I right?"
"Well…all right there might have been a woman involved in there
somewhere. Excuse me a moment…" Harm said with a sigh as the phone
started to ring. Saved by the bell.
"Saved by the bell," Meg muttered.
Laughing Harm picked up the phone. "Commander Rabb."
"Hey kiddo, what's up?"
"How long is it going to be for?"
"Did you ask Jen?"
"Why would I ask her for you?"
"All right…fine. I'll see you tonight."
"I love you too Mattie." He said as he hung up the phone.
"Mattie?" Meg asked with another smirk.
"It's not what you think…I guarantee it." Harm said with a chuckle. "One
Picking up his phone again he dialed an internal extension. "Petty
Officer, can I see you in my office for a moment?"
Hanging up the phone he turned back to Meg. "Really Meg, it’s not what
you think. I'll explain it to you."
"There's nothing to explain if you don't want to." Meg said but he could
tell the curiosity was eating her up.
"You wanted to see me sir?" PO Jennifer Coates asked.
"Jen, come in please. Have you met Lieutenant Commander Austin?"
"I have sir. Ma'am."
"Jen…I just got a call from Mattie. She was wondering if she could go
camping with her 'sister' this weekend. Of course it was only after I
agreed that she informed me that her 'sister' was not aware of the
"Camping Petty Officer. If you've got plans I can tell her that it'll
have to be another weekend."
"No, no plans sir. I'd love to go with her. Will you be going?"
"You know I…" Harm started to agree then glimpsed at Meg. "I'm going to
have to take a rain check, I've got some catching up to do with an old
friend. You girls go ahead and have fun. Take my car…it's more practical
"Thank you, sir. Is Mattie at home? I'll call and find out what I need
to pick up on the way home tonight." At Harm's nod Coates smiled. "If
that will be all sir?"
"Dismissed Petty Officer."
After PO Coates had left the office Meg looked up at Harm. "Now I am
"I'll tell you about it…if you agree to have dinner with me tonight."
Harm said with a grin.
"Well, I need to check into my hotel still…and then…I'm all yours. But
you better fess up Commander…there's gotta be a story here."
"What, are you a reporter now?" Harm asked with a laugh. "Stay here…I'll
be right back."
Getting up Harm stepped out of his office and walked over to Mac's
office. The door was still closed he saw as he got closer. Snapping his
fingers he turned around and walked over to the break room. Grabbing a
coffee cup he filled it and grabbed a doughnut out of the box on the
counter. Going back to Mac's office he knocked and then opened the door
before Mac had a chance to tell him to go away.
"Peace offering?" he asked holding out the coffee and doughnut. "It's
Huffing Mac looked at him coldly for a minute. Finally she showed a
small smile and nodded. "Fine. Peace it is. Are we still going to meet
at my place and go over the Gonzalez file?"
"That's what I'm here to talk to you about Mac. Listen, I was
thinking…why don't we do it at my place. I'll make supper."
"'Harm's Meatless Meatloaf'?" Mac asked archly.
Chuckling ruefully Harm shook his head. "Wasn't even thinking about it;
how about some vegetarian lasagna and California cheese toast?"
"Sounds good…I'll bring the salad."
"Great…oh and I was thinking about asking Mattie and Jennifer if they
wanted to come over for the dinner part."
"How did I know that?" Mac asked with a smile.
"All right, it's a date. How's 19:30 for you?"
"It's not a date Flyboy. We've got work to do, remember?"
"Yeah, yeah." He said with a grin as he turned around. When he got to
the door he stopped and turned around. "Oh yeah…Meg's going to be coming
over for dinner too." He said and then turned around and left her
"Great." Mac muttered to herself.
North of Union Station
Thursday May 20, 2004
Whistling to himself Harm bustled around the kitchen making sure that
everything was going to be ready. He was really looking forward to
dinner tonight…and not just because he would be alone with four
beautiful women. Although he had to admit to himself that was a definite
plus. Smiling he chuckled to himself as he checked on the cheese toast.
“Hey Harm” Mattie said as she breezed through the door. “Mac here yet?”
“Not yet. Make yourselves at home…you always do.” Harm said with a smile
as Jen followed Mattie through the door. Who would have thought Harmon
Rabb Junior would be so comfortable in a “family” role? He sure wouldn’t
“Oh god, he’s got that ‘I’m so happy’ look on his face again Jen. Maybe
we better go.” Mattie said wryly as she plopped down on the couch.
“You’re not going to leave me alone with him, are you?” Mac asked as she
walked through the still open door holding a covered bowl. “Hi Mattie,
Jen.” She said warmly, closing the door. “Harm.” She said in a cooler
‘Oh oh,’ he thought. ‘She’s into one syllable sentences.’ “Hey Mac…glad
you could make it. Thanks” he said with a smile as he took the salad
from her and placed it on the kitchen counter. “Meg just phoned…she’ll
be here in about fifteen minutes.”
“Who’s Meg?” Mattie asked curiously.
“Meg’s an old friend Mattie. She’s going to be joining us for supper.”
“An old friend eh? Do you like her?” Mattie asked with a devilish grin.
Harm saw her eyes flick over towards Mac quickly and then back onto him.
What was she up to he wondered.
“Mattie Grace…I don’t think that’s any of your business.” Harm said
indignantly. “And if you must know, Meg used to be my partner at JAG
“You still didn’t answer Mattie’s question Harm...do you like her?” Mac
asked casually. Harm looked at her closely, noticed the tightening
around her eyes.
“Yes, I like Meg, as a friend. We worked together closely for a year.
You know what kind of friendship that forms Mac. Meg and I had something
like what you and I had.” Harm said and then bit his tongue as he
thought about what he said. “Have…what you and I have Mac.”
“Ooops.” Harm heard Mattie whisper to Jen.
Ignoring Harm, Mac moved over to the couch and sat down between Jen and
Mattie. “Is something burning?” she asked archly.
“The toast! Damn it!” Harm swore as he rushed over to the stove and
pulled the cheese toast out. “It’s not too bad…just a little black
around the edges.”
Hearing giggling coming from the couch he looked over to see all three
of them looking at him, the whole lot of them trying to appear innocent.
Just then the buzzer next to his door went off. Walking over muttering
to himself he pushed the button. “Hello?”
“Harm, it’s Meg.”
“Come on up.” He said, pushing the other button to buzz the door open.
Opening the door a crack he moved back to the kitchen, doing his best to
ignore the whispers and giggles coming from the living room.
“Mattie, play nice. I haven’t seen Meg in years and I don’t need you
trying to send her away in tears.” Harm said in an attempt to appear
“Me? I always play nice Harm, you know that.” Mattie said with an
attempt at an angelic smile.
A soft knock announced Meg’s arrival before she opened the door.
“Hey Meg, come on in.” Harm said as the door opened.
“Wow…you’ve really done a lot with this place Harm.” Meg said as she
looked around. “Remember when you first bought it, what a dump it was?
I’m impressed Harm, you did good.”
“Thanks.” Harm said with a smile, proud of his work. “Meg…you’ve met Mac
and Jennifer. The other one on the right is Mattie Grace.”
Jumping up Mattie walked towards Meg with her hand stuck out in front of
her. “Hiya Meg. Good to meet you. So…you’ve known Harm a long time eh?
Any dirt you want to dish? We could always use more dirt on good ol’
Laughing Meg shook Mattie’s hand. “Hi Mattie…nice to meet you too. Yes,
I’ve known Harm a long time, but I haven’t seen him in years. And as for
dirt…there was this one time we were in Iraq. We were supposed to
represent this Marine corporal at a trial in Baghdad….” Meg said as
Mattie herded her toward the living room.
Pushing his plate away from him a little bit Harm sat back and looked
around the table. Again he was struck by the domesticated feel to the
whole thing. Smiling he looked over at Mattie trying to dig more dirt
out of Meg while Jennifer sat beside her trying to ignore what Mattie
was doing. And then he looked at Mac who had been unusually quiet all
evening. Catching her eye he gave her a little smile and a wink
motioning with his head toward Mattie. Rolling his eyes he tried to
think of a way to get Meg free from Mattie’s grasp when he caught the
question Mattie had just asked Meg.
“So you know Harm’s my guardian right?” Mattie asked Meg.
“No, actually Mattie I didn’t. Harm told me he would tell me the whole
“Well, see a few months ago I was running my own business out at the air
field where Harm keeps his plane. He needed a job and I needed a crop
duster I could trust. Things just sorta worked out. After that he
started hanging around more, trying to look after me. They were going to
send me to some foster home but then Harm asked the court if he could be
my guardian, you know look after me, make me go to school and stuff.”
“Really?” Meg asked with a glance at Harm.
“Yeah well…the court wasn’t going to let him…even after Mac came and
told them what a great father Harm would make. That’s on account of my
dad coming back and screwing everything up. He’s a drunk bastard and he
doesn’t care who he hurts…but Mac had a talk with him and the judge and
convinced them to let Harm have me. That was at Christmas. Best
Christmas gift anyone’s ever given me, right Mac?”
“You bet Mattie.” Mac said with a small smile.
“Well anyway…yeah so Harm’s my guardian…but I live down the hall with
Jennifer. She’s sorta like his other ward…he looks after her too. And we
look after him.”
“His other ward?” Meg asked incredulously.
“Well ma’am, it's not exactly like that. Commander Rabb has done a lot
to help me out…he believed in me when no one else did. He’s sort of my
guardian angel.” Jen said with a smile at Harm.
“Guardian Angel is he?” Meg asked with a chuckle.
“So…I’ve found myself with a bit of a surrogate family.” Harm added with
“Well Harm, I must say it’s not exactly what I expected, but it seems to
“Well I try. Hey Mac, what’s Webb up to tonight?” Harm asked, trying to
draw Mac into the conversation.
“He’s working on something. He said he’d call me later tonight.” Mac
“I won’t ask on what…I know the drill; spooks and their secrecy.” He
said with a wink.
“You should know, you were one for awhile.” Mac said bitterly. “Listen
Harm, I’m not really feeling that well…maybe we should just skip working
tonight…you’ve got a full house anyway. I think I’m just going to go
“You ok Mac?” Harm asked.
“Yeah…I just have a headache and I’m really tired. We can go over the
case tomorrow at work.”
“You sure? You’re going to be busy this weekend so we won’t be able to
do anything then.” Harm asked as he stood up and moved around the table
to stand beside Mac. Reaching out he started to put a hand on her
forehead but she moved her head away sharply.
“Yes I’m sure. I’ll be fine, I just need sleep. I’m a…”
“a Marine. I know, I know. Just take care of yourself, all right? You’re
my Marine and I wouldn’t want anything to happen to you.”
Stopping the process of pulling on her jacket, Mac shot Harm a glare. “I
am not your Marine Flyboy.” Mac said bitterly.
“Easy Mac, I was just saying look after yourself.”
“Whatever….bye girls.” She said as she moved to the door. “I can see
“Bye Mac,” Mattie called.
“Good night ma’am.” Jennifer said.
Smiling Meg stood up. “Good night Colonel. It was nice seeing you
again.” She said as she moved to stand closer to the door. “I’m sure
I’ll see you in the office.”
“Really?” Mac asked with her hand on the doorknob.
“You bet.” Meg said cheerfully. “The Admiral has decided that I’m to
work out of an office at HQ while I’m here. Not the most convenient, but
it is better than a broom closet at the Pentagon. I’ll see you around
the office, ok?”
“Sure thing.” Mac said with an edge to her voice.
“Let me walk you out Mac.” Harm said as he grabbed his coat and moved to
join the ladies at the door.
“That’s not necessary Commander.”
“That may be true, Colonel, but I insist. Let me walk you to your car.”
“I’ll be back in a minute girls.” Harm called over his shoulder as he
moved Mac out into the hallway.
Closing the door behind him Harm walked with Mac to the stairwell.
Silently he followed her down the stairs. After a couple flights the
silence was really starting to get to him.
“So…want to explain what that was?” Harm asked quietly as they passed
the doorway to the floor below his.
“That was a door,” Mac replied sarcastically.
“Thanks.” Harm said dryly. “You know what I mean…you were almost mute
through dinner, and then you might as well have bitten Meg’s head off
when she was trying to say good night. What’s on your mind Marine?”
“Nothing…I told you. I have a headache.”
“Mac…you’re not even that cold when you’ve been shot. I almost got
“Look, I said it was nothing. If you want I’ll apologize to the
Lieutenant Commander tomorrow.”
“Her name is Meg, Mac. And it’s not what I want…it’s what is right. You
had no place being short with Meg tonight.”
Silently they exited the stairwell on the ground floor and moved to the
simple door that led out to the street.
“I don’t like her Harm.” Mac said.
“You don’t know her Mac…how can you say that? Look…get to know her
before you make any snap judgments.”
“I’m not making any snap judgments. I’m a Marine, I’m going with my
“I don’t think it’s your gut you’re going with Marine. Just give her a
chance, all right?”
“Fine. Whatever you want Commander. Good night.”
With a sigh he watched her move across the street to her corvette. “Good
night Sarah” he said softly as she got into her car and sped off.
Opening the door to his apartment Harm walked back into the sight of
Mattie, Meg and Jennifer all doing dishes and cleaning his kitchen.
“Soooo…this is why I did it?” Harm asked with a grin as he stood
watching the three women in his kitchen.
“Did what?” Meg asked with a laugh.
“Made dinner…or took in two stray kittens.” He replied with a wink.
“Hey!” both Jen and Mattie cried indignantly.
Ducking the flying dishcloth Harm held up his hands in a sign of
surrender. “I surrender…I surrender.”
“Yeah well…I think we’re going to go back to our place.” Mattie huffed
as she flounced past Harm on her way to the door.
“We’re done the dishes anyway sir.” Jennifer said with a smile as she
followed her roommate.
“Oh Jen...I’ll leave the keys for my car with you tomorrow…I’ll see if I
can spring you from the Admiral early so you and Mattie get a head start
“What about you sir?”
“Don’t worry about me…I’ll get a ride with Bud and Harriet.”
“Not with the Colonel?” Jen asked with an impish grin.
“Get out Petty Officer.” Harm said in his best ‘I’m trying to sound
“Aye, aye sir.” Jen said with a wink closing the door softly behind her.
Laughing Harm grabbed a bottle of wine and two glasses then motioned Meg
into the living room. When he sat down he opened the bottle and poured
two glasses of the red.
“You seem happy Harm. I’m glad for you.” Meg said as she sat next to him
on the couch.
“Oh it has its moments…trust me. And Mattie doesn’t always like it when
I have to spend a lot of time on cases out of town. It’s caused its
share of friction between us. I’m glad Jen is there to help out though.”
Sipping on her wine Meg shook her head slightly. “Is this the cocky
Harmon Rabb Jr. I worked with? The one who climbed out a window late at
night in the middle of one of Saddam’s palaces?”
“The very same Meg. The very same. Just a few years older…and hopefully
Silently they sipped their wine and sat there for a few minutes.
“So what about you Meg…is there a husband and little Meg waiting in
“No…no husband…no children. I thought I was close a couple times but it
never worked out. The job.”
Harm nodded in understanding. Not everyone understood the demands the
service placed on those who sought to share the lives of those who
“I found my father.” Harm said quietly after a few more minutes of
“You did? That’s great!” Meg smiled. Noticing his sad eyes she paused.
Shrugging Harm set down his empty wineglass. “He was sent to Russia from
Vietnam…he was eventually given his freedom, but the KGB wouldn’t let
him be truly free to return home. He lived and died in a small village
in northern Russia.” Harm said.
“Oh Harm…I’m sorry.” Meg said simply.
“I’ve accepted it Meg…it took awhile, but Mac helped me through it.
She’s a good friend.”
“Really? You guys didn’t seem that friendly tonight.” Meg said with a
“Don’t get me wrong Meg…we’ve had our moments…and we’re going through
one right now…but she’s my best friend. And I hope I’m still hers…”
“But this Webb guy?”
Shrugging Harm stared off into space for a minute.
“I’ve got a brother.” He said in an attempt to change the subject
“Sergei…he’s my half brother actually…he’s Russian. A helicopter pilot
“Another Rabb pilot? I knew it was a family tradition…but wow. You guys
really take it to extremes don’t you? Rabbs flying on two continents.”
Meg said with a laugh.
“Harm…I didn’t mean to pry…but Mattie and Jen were talking and they said
some things…please don’t be mad.”
“Why would I be mad Meg?” Harm asked curiously.
“Well…we were talking about that C130 trap you made that was on the
news…I was curious about why you were flying for the CIA…really…please
don’t be mad at the girls. Promise me you won’t be Harm?”
“All right Meg, I promise…” Harm said with a sinking feeling he knew
where this was going.
“They told me Harm…about Paraguay…about you resigning your commission.
Not a lot…just that Mac was in trouble and you went down looking for
her. Why’d you do it?”
Standing up Harm moved over to the window, looking out at the spot where
Mac’s car had been parked.
“I don’t know Meg…there’s so many reasons why I did it. Because she’s a
friend and she needed me…because I knew in my gut that if I didn’t go
down there she would die…and she would have, too. Because it was the
right thing to do? Because there was nothing else for me to do but go
down there? I thought I knew Meg…but I’m not so sure anymore.”
Silently Meg stood up and moved to stand beside Harm. “Do you love her?”
she asked softly.
With a soft snort Harm shook his head slowly. “I don’t know Meg…I
thought I did…I mean I thought I knew…but things have been so weird
since we came back…she started seeing Webb after we got back and
“Just haven’t been the same?” Meg finished.
“Who’s Webb?” Meg asked.
“Oh…that’s right. You don’t know Webb. Sometimes it feels like he’s been
mixing us up in his schemes forever. Webb’s with the CIA or
State…depending on who you talk to. He’s the one who took Mac down to
Paraguay…he was with her down there and…well he wasn’t treated that well
once they were caught.”
“So they started dating after you all came back?”
Nodding in answer to her question, Harm turned back to the table and
poured himself another glass of wine. Looking back at Meg he raised his
eyebrow in a silent question.
“Why Commander, I do believe you are trying to get me drunk.” Meg said
with a wink.
Laughing Harm took that as an affirmative and poured her another glass
of wine. Taking the glass back to her at the window he thoughtfully
sipped at his own glass.
“Enough of this…so how’s Pearl treating you? And why haven’t you
“Pearl’s good…nice. Always warm, beautiful beaches and sunshine year
round. When it isn’t raining. As to me not writing…I knew you were mad
“Meg…it’s been eight years.” Harm said sounding shocked.
“I know…I know. Really Harm…I did want to write…or call. I just kept
convincing myself you didn’t want to hear from me…” Meg said.
Setting his wineglass down on the window ledge Harm reached and put both
hands on Meg’s shoulders. Turning her to face him he smiled at her
softly. “Meg…I was hurt and mad…was being the operative word. You really
did a number on me, leaving without saying goodbye. But I learned to
accept it…and I forgave you a long time ago. To be honest I never wrote
because I didn’t think you wanted to hear from me.”
Laughing through the tears that were suddenly in her eyes Meg moved
closer to Harm pulling him into a hug. “Only every day of every year
since I’ve been gone Harm.” She said softly into his chest.
Falls Church, Virginia
Friday May 21, 2004
Harm was whistling as he walked to the break room to grab a fresh cup of
coffee. Still. He’d been whistling in the shower this morning, and he’d
been whistling on the drive into work with Jen and Mattie, he’d been
whistling when he dropped Mattie off for school. And he was still
whistling. Obviously others had noticed it as well. Bud and Harriet had
both looked at him in shock more than once this morning, as had the
Admiral when he came in.
“Attention on deck!” rang out across the bullpen.
“As you were people.” Admiral AJ Chegwidden said. “We’ll be having our
staff meeting a little later than normal this morning. All senior staff
please report to the conference room in half an hour. That will be all.
Commander, in my office.”
“Aye, aye sir.” Harm said. So much for another cup of coffee. Following
the Admiral into his office Harm almost ran his senior officer down as
the Admiral suddenly stopped just inside his doorway.
“Are you whistling Commander?” the Admiral asked without turning around.
“I suppose I am sir…I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry son, just don’t do it in my office.”
The fact that the Admiral had referred to him as son both set Harm at
ease and put him on edge. So he hadn’t done something else wrong, but
apparently the Admiral was going to break his ‘don’t get involved in my
people’s personal lives’ rule again.
Sitting down at his desk the Admiral motioned Harm to take a seat in one
of the two chairs in front of the desk.
“Harm…I’ve got a couple things I need to ask you. First of all, I know
that Lieutenant Commander Austin left her posting here suddenly, coming
as a shock to you. I need to know that having her around here for awhile
won’t cause tension.”
“Sir, that was eight years ago…I’m long over the shock that I received.
In fact the Lieutenant Commander and I discussed it last night and it
will be good to have her back here for awhile sir.”
“Last night?” the Admiral asked with an arched eyebrow.
“Aye sir. Meg came over for dinner last night with Mattie, Mac and Jen…I
mean Petty Officer Coates sir.”
“Relax Harm.” The Admiral said with one of his rare chuckles. “Son, I’ve
got to ask you something else. It’s personal, and you know how much I
hate to pry into my people’s personal lives. I’ll get to the point son.
What’s going on with you and the Colonel?”
“How do you mean sir?” Harm asked.
“I can’t help but notice a certain level of…tension between the two of
you. After you returned from your brief…vacation…I thought it would
level off the way it normally does, but it doesn’t appear to be
happening this time around. Harm…I’ve had complaints from some of the
senior officers when the two of you go TAD. Their comments are not
flattering, and to tell you the truth I expect better of the two of you.
I feel I’ve given this enough time and now I want you to know that I
expect the two of you to work it out. Yesterday! Do I make myself
“Aye, aye sir you do. May I speak freely sir?” Harm asked and waited for
the inevitable nod. “Admiral…AJ…I don’t know what to do about Mac. Sir,
I thought about it a lot…I mean I’ve thought about it a lot over the
last eight years. About her and me…about how I feel about her. She says
I’m not willing to fight for her, but sir, I was willing to give
everything up for her…but she just won’t see that.”
Standing up from behind his desk Admiral Chegwidden moved around to the
front and sat down in the chair next to Harm. “Commander…Harm. Son I’ve
watched you both for eight years. I’ve watched the dance you two do;
I’ve watched the fights you’ve had. I’ve watched you hurt her, and I’ve
watched her do the same thing right back to you. I’ve watched her almost
get married to a man she didn’t love, and I’ve watched you run away to
an F-14. And yes I watched you walk away one too many times. And to be
honest with you son, I’m sick of watching all that. You thought going to
Paraguay would show her how you feel, only one more time she turned to
someone else because you waited too long. You broke up her wedding to
Mic, Harm…maybe not intentionally…but hearing about you going down that
night almost tore her apart Harm. You want my advice?”
Harm nodded silently, not wanting to interrupt his commanding officer’s
unusually long-winded speech.
“As your friend and not your commanding officer…make up your mind son.
Either fight for her, or let her go so she has a chance of being happy
with someone else. Now as your commanding officer I can not officially
give you advice on this matter, because to do so would be condoning the
fraternization of two officers within the same chain of command.
Now…with that out of the way I just want to give you a heads up. I’m
going to be sending Bud and Sturgis on assignment to Lejeune. I’m going
to be utilizing Lieutenant Commander Austin when I can to pick up some
of the slack; she assures me that she hasn’t forgotten how we run around
here. However it will mean an increased workload for both you and the
Colonel. Can I trust you both to be professional about it from now on?”
“Aye sir, you can.” Harm said.
“Good. That will be all.”
“Aye, aye sir.” Harm said as he stood up and stood to attention. Turning
around sharply he moved towards the door.
“And Harm?” the Admiral said.
“I’ve seen you fight for a lot of things son. If you really love that
girl, fight for her the same way you fought to find your father or you
fought to take custody of Miss Grace.”
“Aye, aye sir. Oh, sir. Speaking of Mattie…”
“She and Petty Officer Coates are going to be going camping this weekend
and I was wondering if it would be possible for Petty Officer Coates to
secure from her duty station early this afternoon?”
“Are you stealing my yeoman Rabb?”
“No sir, it’s just I thought…”
“We’ll see Commander.”
“Aye sir, thank you sir.” Harm said and with that he left the Admiral’s
“Jen?” He said as he moved past Petty Officer Coates’ desk.
“I heard sir…and thank you sir.”
“You’re welcome Jen…have fun this weekend. And if you want, you can
consider that an order.” Harm said with a smile.
“Aye, aye sir.” Jen said with an equally big smile.
Moving through the bull pen Harm once more started to whistle, once
again getting confused looks from more than a few people in the duty
area. Enough was enough.
“What?” he demanded.
With embarrassed looks most of the people looked back down at their
desks, resuming whatever task they were doing. All except one. One
smiling sunny face.
“Harriet? Something you want to share?”
“Well sir, it’s just been a long time since we’ve seen you this…happy.
It’s good to see again sir.” Lieutenant Harriet Sims said.
“What are you talking about Lieutenant?”
“You’re whistling sir. And you just look so happy.” Harriet said
“As you were Lieutenant.” Harm said in a exasperated tone. Shaking his
head he started back to his office.
“Harm…do you have a second?” Mac asked from the door of her office.
“Sure Mac.” Harm said, giving up on ever getting back to his office
before the staff meeting.
“Thanks.” Mac said as Harm came into her office and took a seat.
“What can I do for you?”
“It’s the Gonzalez case…” Mac started and then stopped. She glanced
around her office uncomfortably. “Harm…I’m sorry about the way I acted
last night. I had no right to act out at you like that.”
“It’s ok Mac…really.”
“I just feel bad about it…I’m sorry.”
“Apology accepted Mac. Anything else?”
“About the Gonzalez case…can we get together tonight to go over our
“Oh…I kinda made plans with Meg for tonight…but I can cancel if you want
to go over the notes.” Harm added in a hurry. Maybe the Admiral was
right…wasn’t it time they both stopped acting like teenagers and started
acting like adults?
“No, that’s fine Commander.”
And so it’s back to Commander. One minute he was good old ‘Harm’ the
next it was all formal. “You sure Mac? I can always reschedule with
Meg…we need to go over our notes, and I know you have depositions all
“Don’t put yourself out on my account Commander.”
“I’ve got an idea. How about we do a working lunch. We’ll go out for
lunch and go over our notes instead of dinner. How’s that sound?”
“If you don’t already have plans for lunch then fine.” Mac said.
“Great…maybe we can slip out early to make the most of it.” Harm said
with a smile.
“Fine. Look…we better get a move on if we’re going to be on time for the
staff meeting…it’s 0927. And thirty seconds.”
“Oh damn…the staff meeting. Right…I’ll meet you there.” Harm said as he
jumped up and rushed out of Mac’s office to run back to his to grab a
notepad and a pen.
Old Hickory Grille
Falls Church, Virginia
Harm looked up from the menu at Mac and smiled. “Ever been here before?”
Shaking her head Mac didn’t even look up from the menu. ‘Great’ he
thought ‘this is going to be a fun lunch.’ “Sturgis said the catfish is
pretty good if you’re looking for something a little different.”
“Hi, my name’s Becky. Have you two decided what you’re going to have?” a
sunny faced young blonde server came over to their table.
“Well Becky, we’re not too sure. You see my friend and I have never been
here before, and you’ve just got so many things that look good. What
would you recommend?” Harm asked with his best “Flyboy” grin.
Giggling, Becky leaned over to point out a view items on his menu.
“Well, the catfish is really tasty…and these apple butter ribs are just
tickle your belly good.”
“Well why don’t we let the lady decide first. Mac? Have you decided?”
“I’ll have the apple butter ribs with a side of fries. Can I get some
gravy with the fries please? Oh and a glass of iced tea.” Mac said,
finally looking up from her menu, if only to hand it to the server and
then she started to look at the décor, other diners, anywhere but at
“And you sir?”
“Can I get an order of fajitas please? And instead of steak, can I just
get some extra vegetables? And can I get a glass of water please? Thank
you Becky.” Harm said as he handed over his menu with another smile.
“Oh you’re welcome sir.” Becky said with a giggle.
“Great…now you’re picking up teenaged waitresses.” Mac muttered after
Becky left with their orders.
”Excuse me? What’s that all about Mac?”
“You and your ‘look at me…I’m a pilot’ routine.”
“Wow…where did that come from?”
“Never mind…let’s just get some work done.” Mac said as she pulled a
notepad out of her briefcase. Setting the pad on the table Mac looked
down at her notes. “I don’t think we know enough about the Chief Petty
Officer who commanded Gonzalez’s section…CPO West. He’s the weak link in
our defense and I think Mattoni is going to pick it apart.”
“I think you’re giving Mattoni too much credit Mac. And I don’t agree, I
don’t think the Chief is going to be our problem.”
“Don’t get cocky on me Rabb. Mattoni’s good, you know that. He’s beat
“Yeah, he’s good, but I have Ninja Girl on my side.” Harm said with a
“Don’t call me that.” Mac muttered.
“I said don’t call me that!” Mac said loudly.
Glancing around at the people seated at the tables around them Harm
smiled in apology. Turning back towards Mac the smile fell off his face.
“Look…are we having a problem here? Where did all this new hostility
come from? Damn it Mac, I told the Admiral that we could be
Sighing, Mac looked up from the notes before her. “Professional?
Fine…we’ll be professional. But please don’t call me that anymore.”
“Why not? You’ve never had a problem with me calling you that before.”
Harm asked curiously.
“It’s just that…well…it rem…just I’d prefer if you didn’t call me that
anymore? All right? Please Harm?”
Holding up his hands Harm sighed. “If that’s what you want, I won’t call
you…that… anymore. I’m sorry.” Harm said. ‘Damn it...can’t I do anything
right?’ he thought.
“Now, about the Chief Petty Officer.” Mac began again as they waited for
their food to arrive.
Falls Church, Virginia
Walking through the hall on his way back to his office from the law
library Harm saw a slender woman with short blonde hair wearing a
Lieutenant Commander’s uniform in the hall in front of him. Now there
was something to brighten his afternoon.
“Hey stranger!” he said with a smile. “We still on for tonight?”
Laughing Meg turned around and nodded to Harm. “Uh-huh. You bet.”
“Just get back from the cement bunker?” Harm asked as he fell in beside
“Yup. And don’t ask, I can’t tell you.”
“Wasn’t going to. So has the Admiral given you anything to do yet?”
“Just on my way to see what he’s got for me.” She said as they came to
the bullpen. “I’ll stop by later and we can chat then.”
“Sounds good.” Harm said with a smile. Turning towards his office he was
almost there when he was stopped once more.
“Yeah Meg?” he said turning around.
With a grin she held up one hand, with the index and pinkie fingers
extended over the rest of her fingers.
“Those better be ‘hook em horns’” he said as they both started laughing.
“Am I missing something?” Admiral Chegwidden asked from the door to his
“Ah, no sir. Just an inside joke from years ago.” Harm said trying hard
to keep from smiling.
“Well then, Commander I’m sure you have something to do for the Gonzalez
court martial. Lieutenant Commander, with me.”
“Aye, aye sir” the both said at the same time.
Turning to enter his office Harm couldn’t help but smile as he heard the
Admiral ask “Lieutenant Commander Austin, are you aware of what that
means in Europe?”
Looking up from his work Harm smiled at the sight of Meg standing in his
“Hey Meg. Come on in.” he said as he stretched his arms over his head.
“What time is it?”
“1430. Hey…you still need a ride home tonight?”
“Oh damn…I forgot to ask Bud and Harriet.” Harm said as he craned his
neck to see if he could spot Harriet.
“Don’t worry about it Harm…I’ll drive you.” Meg said as she sat down in
one of his visitor’s chairs.
“Great…thanks. I’d really hate to have to put Bud and Harriet out…it’s
not exactly on their way home.”
“No problem. Hey…what’s this I hear you’re the godfather of their son?”
“Yeah…little AJ. He’s adorable…he’s almost…” with a sigh he added
“Yeah right…spill Commander. Remember I learned how to read you over a
“Really…it’s nothing. Just thinking about something I did a long time
ago. Anyway…you’d love AJ.”
“I’m sure I would. Darn Harm…you’ve changed.” Meg said shaking her head.
“Me? No way…I’m still the same old Harm as always.”
“No…you’re not. You drive an SUV, you’ve pretty much adopted not one,
but two girls. And you get all soft at the thought of your godson. And I
didn’t get to see any of what changed you.”
“I’m not that different…” Harm said, changing tactics. “Besides…you’re
different as well.”
“Time has a way of doing that to someone. So who’s the godmother?” Meg
“Well if you’ve heard that I’m the godfather, you’ve probably been
talking to Harriet, which means she’s been showing you pictures, which
means you’ve seen the christening picture. So I’m guessing you already
know it’s Mac.”
“You caught me. I was just curious what you’d say. Which leads me to my
next question counselor. How is it that Harmon Rabb Jr. always ends up
with the pretty girls as his partners? First Kate, then me, and then
Smiling Harm shrugged his shoulders. “Just lucky I guess.”
Laughing Meg stood up. “Anyway…whenever you’re ready to go just come and
find me…I’m set up in conference room 2.”
“I’ll track you down.”
“I’ll hold you to that.” Meg said with a little smile on her lips as she
‘What’s that all about?’ he wondered.
North of Union Station
May 21, 2004
Laughing happily Harm unlocked the door to his loft and stepped back to
let Meg enter before him.
“Remember that time that you met with your ‘contact’ to get some
information and made me wait in the Humvee?”
Smiling Meg shook her head slowly. “I was so determined to see if I
could make you jealous. I even asked Uncle Ollie to act more…intimate
because I knew you were watching.” She said with a laugh.
“Well it worked.” Harm said as he set down the two grocery bags he was
“What?” Meg asked in shock. “It worked?”
“Didn’t I ever tell you that? For the longest time it was driving me
nuts. I even asked Kate if you had a boyfriend who was a spook.”
“No, you never did tell me that.” Meg said as she lightly punched Harm
in the arm.
Laughing Harm lightly pushed her towards the living room and set about
making dinner for the two of them. “Do you want anything drink?”
“Got any beer?”
“Actually I don’t, but there’s some water in the fridge if you want.”
“I suppose it’ll have to do.” Meg said with a pout.
“Let me get it.” Harm said, setting the head of lettuce he was cleaning
down. Reaching into the fridge he grabbed a bottle of water and then
lightly lobbed it in Meg’s direction.
“So listen Harm…Colonel MacKenzie came up to me today and apologized
about how she acted last night. What’s up with that?”
“Oh…she just felt bad about not being more…social last night. That’s
all.” He said with a shrug.
“I see. And did you happen to have anything to do with the sudden
apology?” Meg asked with an arched eyebrow.
“Me? Not really. We were talking and she started apologizing to me. I
swear, I didn’t put her up to it.”
“Riggght.” Meg said doubtfully. “Big brother Harm on the warpath, is
“Honestly…I didn’t say a word to her about it.” Harm said as he started
chopping up vegetables for the salad.
A few minutes passed in silence as Meg watched Harm at work in the
kitchen. “She doesn’t like me, does she?” Meg asked suddenly.
Pausing in the chopping of the lettuce, Harm looked up at Meg. He
couldn’t lie to her, but he didn’t want her and Mac at odds either. “She
doesn’t know you.” He said after a moment’s hesitation.
“Uh huh” Meg said doubtfully. “What, does she think I’m competition?”
Meg asked as she moved from the living room to the kitchen.
“It’s not like that Meg…Mac and I are just really good friends…most of
“She’s the reason you were flying for the CIA, isn’t she?” Meg asked as
she came to stand across the counter from Harm.
“Like I said, it's complicated.” Harm asked, trying to evade the topic.
“And like I said, there’s a girl involved. Colonel MacKenzie, right?”
With a sigh Harm nodded silently.
“What happened?” Meg prodded.
“It’s a long story. Let me finished the salad and the tacos and I’ll
tell you over dinner.”
“Harm.” Meg said with a warning note in her voice.
“I promise all right. I’ll tell you over dinner.”
“All right.” Meg said. Reaching across the island she rested her hand on
his shoulder for a moment before squeezing gently.
“So anyway...after that I just decided I needed some time alone for
awhile. When I did finally come back the Admiral said…let me see if I
can get this right…” Harm said, dropping his voice in an imitation of
the admiral. “’You need something that can allow you to find that
independence. Go drive a cab or wrestle alligators or something.’ So…it
looked like there was no coming back to JAG…I’d pushed the Admiral one
time too many and he wasn’t going to welcome me back with arms held
wide. That’s when I met Mattie…I started crop dusting for her in Sarah.
And that’s when the company approached me.” Harm said, unthinkingly
using the CIA’s nickname.
“So let me get this straight.” Meg said incredulously. “You resigned
your commission, went down to Paraguay without a plan, killed god knows
how many bad guys, risked death, rescued Colonel MacKenzie and Webb,
crashed a plane trying to destroy a truckload of weapons, basically
carried her out of the jungle on your back, and when you come back she
pretty much tells you it’s not good enough, you guys won’t move past
“In a word…I guess so.” Harm said with a sigh.
“That’s three words.” Meg said with a slight smile. “Is she nuts?”
”I’ve always thought so, but I’m still waiting for my mail away psych
degree.” Harm said in an attempt at humor.
“Do you love her?” Meg asked quietly.
Looking down at the top of the table Harm thought for a minute before he
answered. Did he? Of course he did, but the question was really did Mac
love him. And it appeared that he had his answer. “I guess I did…but
it's hard to love someone who doesn’t love you back.”
“If any man did that for me…” Meg started and then stopped, getting
“Hey there.” Harm said softly, reaching out and touching the faint scar
on the side of her head. “I seem to remember going off the deep end when
you got this. I thought I’d lost you when Hemlock shot you Meg.”
Reaching up she gently took his hand and held it in her own. “Yeah, but
wow. What you did for her…Harm that’s like something out of the movies.”
“And chasing and stopping an assassin who tried to kill Yeltsin isn’t?”
Harm said wryly not failing to notice that she still hadn’t let go of
his hand. Gently he squeezed her hand. “You were just as important to me
“Well…it's been eight years. We don’t really know each other any more
Meg. As you so succinctly pointed out earlier, I’ve changed.”
“I’d like a chance to fix that Harm…I’d like to get to know you again.”
Meg said hesitantly with a little smile.
Instantly Harm was thinking of Mac. Stop it he told himself angrily. She
obviously doesn’t want to be with you, she’s with Webb now. “Are you
sure Meg? People don’t exactly stick around when they get to know me.
Either they run, or they die.”
Nodding silently Meg looked deep into Harm’s eyes.
“I’m not exactly the easiest person to get along with Meg…you know that.
I’ve got more than a few rough edges, and I’m not really what you’d call
an ‘open’ guy.”
After a few moments of silence Meg asked hesitantly “Harm, I never told
you why I left, did I?”
“What are you talking about? You left because you got orders to a new
duty station.” Harm said with a confused look.
“Well…that’s not exactly true. I did get new orders…but I requested a
“Requested? Meg, why would you have requested a transfer? Was it me? I
know some of our ‘investigations’ got a little hairy…”
Holding up her free hand slightly, Meg squeezed Harm’s hand. “In a way I
guess you could say it was you Harm, but it wasn’t the investigations. I
“Scared of what Meg?” Harm asked confused.
“You…us…me. I guess you could say I was scared of myself. Harm you have
no idea what you did to me…what that smile of yours still does to me.
Damn it Harm.” Meg said, letting go of his hand and standing up
suddenly. “I never should have tried to make you jealous with Uncle
Ollie. It was a stupid little girl trick. It wasn’t professional, and it
made me realize what you were doing to me.”
“Meg…what are you saying?” Harm asked in shock, standing up to move to
Stepping away from Harm, Meg walked over to the window, looking out into
the night. “I was falling for you Harm…and there was nothing I could do
to stop it. I knew how you felt about Kate…about your career. I knew you
would never give it up for me, I mean you fought so hard to stay in the
Navy after your accident. And to be honest I’m not sure I wanted to give
mine up for you.”
“What are you saying Meg?” Harm repeated, stunned.
“I know it's been eight years Harm…and we’ve both changed. To be
completely honest I’m not surprised you have someone like Mattie in your
life…I’m just shocked there’s no woman to look over her with you…and
she’s a little older than I pictured. I know you probably don’t feel the
same way as I did…and I have to admit I’m not sure I do either anymore.
I…I just thought you should know.”
Thinking for a minute Harm wasn’t sure how to proceed. It wasn’t
everyday that someone dropped something like this on him. And for some
reason he had no idea it was coming. “I don’t know what to say Meg…I’m…I
just don’t know…”
“The prolific lawyer, Harmon Rabb, Jr., speechless? Is this true?” Meg
asked with the flash of a little smile over her shoulder.
“Don’t get me wrong Meg…it’s not the bad kind of speechless…I just
didn’t expect this. I mean I flirted with you…a lot. And I was attracted
to you right from the start…why else would I have been so eager to get
information about you out of Kate. But I had no idea you felt this way.”
“That’s why I left Harm…I didn’t want it to become something that
affected us at work. And I knew that you were the one who really shone
at headquarters. You were the Admiral’s fair haired boy.”
Snorting Harm suppressed a laugh. “You have no idea how many times I’ve
heard people call me that. And you have no idea how much aggravation I
caused the Admiral. Between the firing of a weapon in the courtroom to
me leaving JAG to hare off to Paraguay, I’m honestly surprised that the
Admiral hasn’t had me up on charges yet.”
“Yeah but Harm, that’s just one side of the story…it’s only half of what
makes you great. There’s the cases you fight and win because you know
their right…not to mention your ‘out of the courtroom’ heroics. A dirty
“You heard about that?”
Pausing for a moment Meg looked over her shoulder, deep into Harm’s
eyes. Damn she missed looking into those blue eyes. “I have a confession
Harm. I have every clipping of you in the Navy Times. I just couldn’t
let you go completely.”
“Oh Meg…” Harm said as he came and wrapped her from behind in a hug.
“Harm…I have another confession.”
“What’s that Meg?”
“I was so jealous of Krennick. I knew she wanted you…and I thought she
was going to get you.”
“Dragon lady?” Harm asked with a laugh.
“Yeah.” Meg said sadly.
“Wasn’t going to happen. She just wanted me as some sort of twisted
trophy. She even admitted that to me.”
Quietly they stood there for what seemed like hours, Harm with his arms
wrapped around her. Half afraid to break the silence Harm had to know.
“Meg…what are we going to do?”
“I don’t know Harm. I’m sorry…I just had to tell you…I was bursting
inside. I didn’t want another eight years to pass before I had another