Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
1738 Hours (local)
“Colonel,” the Admiral called as he stood in her doorway.
“Sir!” Mac replied quickly, jumping to her feet.
“As you were,” the Admiral said with a grin.
Mac sat back down gratefully, stifling a yawn.
“What are you still doing here?” he asked softly.
“Making up hours, Sir. I have two days plus a few hours from this morning to make up.”
“There will be other days, Colonel. You are no good to us if you are dead on your feet, as you appear to be.”
Mac smiled weakly. It was true; she was exhausted. Even though she had slept on the plane and in the car while Harriet drove to JAG, it wasn’t a very restful sleep. Sleeping on planes and in cars never was the best place to sleep. Not to mention that she hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks, not since Harm’s accident. “I just wanted to get a head start, Admiral.”
“Go home. That’s an order,” he said.
Mac nodded. “Sir?”
The Admiral raised his eyebrows. “Colonel?”
“Thank you, for everything.”
“Have you heard from them today?” he asked, concern evident in his voice.
“Yes, Sir. He’s awake more every day, and they hope to run some simple tests to check for brain damage at the end of the week.”
“Good,” the Admiral said, nodding. “Glad to hear it.” Glancing over his shoulder, he called, “Lieutenant.”
“Sir?” Harriet said, stepping up to his side.
“Are you ready to head home for the day?”
“I was just finishing up.”
The Admiral nodded, turned to Mac, and spoke, “The Lieutenant has agreed to take you home,” he smiled.
“If you don’t mind stopping by the daycare center to pick the boys up first, Ma’am,” Harriet added with a smile.
“Not at all, Lieutenant.”
The Admiral stepped away, saying, “Have a good evening, Colonel, Lieutenant.”
“You, too, Sir,” Harriet called after him.
Mac looked around at the papers and books on her desk. “Let me just straighten up and I’ll be set, Harriet.”
Harriet nodded. “I just have to fax this out and I’ll be ready to leave. I’ll come back when I’m done, Ma’am,” Harriet responded with a smile.
Mac nodded, yawning again.
Harriet turned and left as Mac continued cleaning up.
On the trip to the daycare center, Mac filled Harriet in on the latest news about Harm. Now that he was conscious again, cards were circulating around the office, being signed, and flowers had been ordered. Mac was planning on getting a card and sending it to him, just to let him know she was thinking of him, but she wanted to be more than semi-conscious when she did it.
After picking up the boys, Harriet pulled up to the drive-thru window at a Beltway Burgers on her way into the city.
“Harriet, what are you doing?” Mac asked.
“Getting you some dinner, Ma’am. I know you love this stuff, and I normally wouldn’t recommend eating it, but I think you could use the comfort food. Plus, it’s quick and easy. You can eat it and go to bed.”
Mac laughed lightly. “Thanks.” She leaned over and pulled a few bills out of her purse and handed them to Harriet.
Harriet shook her head. “It’s taken care of,” she smiled. “All you have to do is tell me what you want. And eat it, of course.”
Mac gave Harriet her order as she put the bills away. After getting the food, she turned to Harriet and said, “The Admiral put you up to this, didn’t he?”
Harriet giggled. “Yes, Ma’am. He ordered me to take you home and feed you. He even gave me the money so I could stop on the way.”
Mac sighed and shook her head. Sometimes, the Admiral felt more like a father than a CO. This was definitely one of those times, and she was grateful for it.
“He also told me to tell you that at home, all you were to do was get some sleep. Don’t clean up, do laundry, or any work, just go to bed.”
“He doesn’t have to worry about that,” Mac said, yawning yet again.
From the back seat, AJ spoke, “Don’t we get any food, mommy?”
“Mommy’s going to make you dinner at home, sweetie,” Harriet responded, smiling, glancing up in the rear view mirror to check on her boys. “I know you are hungry and we’re running late, so how about something yummy like macaroni and cheese?”
“Yeah!” AJ cheered from the backseat.
“That was easy,” Mac commented.
“Oh, there will be some green beans with that, but the mac and cheese makes him happy. And Jimmy is easy.”
“I don’t know how you do it, Harriet,” Mac said sadly. “You have it all. And even if I had it, I don’t think I could handle it as well as you do.”
“Sometimes, I wonder how I do it all myself. It isn’t always easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And someday, Ma’am, you’ll figure it all out.”
Looking down at her lap, Mac smiled sadly. “I keep hoping, but my life keeps getting turned upside-down. It’s nothing like I thought it would be five years ago.”
“Is that good or bad?”
“Some of both, I guess.”
“If you don’t mind my asking, Ma’am, where did you see yourself five years ago?”
Glancing over her shoulder at AJ in the backseat, Mac laughed lightly. “Honestly? Everything I have in my career, it’s what I wanted five years ago. It’s my personal life that isn’t matching.” She sighed heavily and was quiet for a moment and when she spoke, the words came out in a rush. “I thought by now I would at least be pregnant with Harm’s child.”
Harriet’s jaw dropped and hit the steering wheel. “Ma’am?”
Mac just nodded, not trusting her voice.
“I…” Harriet began. “Why…” she tried again. “What about Mic?” she finally blurted out.
“He wasn’t really in the picture at the time,” Mac said quietly. “The day AJ was born, Harm and I made a deal that if in five years neither one of us was in a relationship, we’d have a kid.”
And how did you expect that to work?” Harriet was shocked to learn about this deal, but at the same time, she wanted to know more.
“We hadn’t worked out the technicalities. I don’t think either one of us really believed it would ever happen.”
“And why is that?”
Mac snorted. “You know what the last few years have been like between Harm and I.”
“I obviously don’t know everything,” Harriet responded firmly. “Nor should I,” she quickly added.
“I guess that day, I thought if I ever ended up with Harm, it would be a natural thing, like you and Bud, or the Admiral and Meredith. It would just happen. It wouldn’t be part of a deal. And if I wasn’t with Harm, I would have found my one by then.”
"AJ just celebrated his fifth birthday,” Harriet said quietly.
“Don’t I know it. That’s the day Harm’s mom called me.”
Harriet gasped. “I hadn’t realized that!”
“It’s not like we were talking anyway. I didn’t even know where he was stationed.”
“You didn’t know?” Harriet was incredulous. She hadn’t known things had gotten that bad between the pair.
“He didn’t tell me when he left.”
“And you didn’t ask?”
“He didn’t want me to know. I was willing to respect that.”
“He was coming back,” Harriet stated calmly.
Mac couldn’t stop herself from asking, “When?”
“The third of May, I believe.”
Mac turned to gaze out the window at the still cars surrounding them, blinking back the tears that were threatening to fall. She hated rush-hour traffic. It didn’t matter whether you were trying to get into the city or out of it, you got stuck in traffic, much like how she often felt stuck in relationship-limbo with Harm. “The third,” she whispered. What would have happened if he hadn’t been injured? How would things have been different? She blinked back the tears, thinking of the possibilities. She kept hoping that this was all a bad dream and she would wake up and none of this would have happened. She wished she could start over, starting the previous autumn. That’s when things seemed to take a huge nosedive.
“I didn’t mean to upset you, Ma’am,” Harriet said quietly, glancing over at Mac.
“It’s okay, Harriet. It happens a lot these days.”
Both women were content to sit in silence the rest of the way to Mac’s apartment. Once Mac was inside, she ate as much of her burger as she could stomach, took a quick shower, threw on a lightweight nightgown, and crawled into bed to sleep. As sad as she was, sleep came quickly, her body giving out in its exhausted state.
Friday, April 30, 2004
2103 Hours (local)
Mac quickly picked up the phone as it rang. “MacKenzie.”
“Mac, it’s Trish.”
“Trish! Is Harm okay?” Mac asked quickly. Trish had called earlier to tell her that they were running some tests on Harm to check for the extent of brain damage.
Trish laughed lightly. “Harm is… lucky.”
“How did the tests turn out?”
“Considering what he went through, how bad off he was, he is doing incredibly well. He is having some motor control difficulties. He can walk, though not far, he’s still too weak, but he appears to have lost some control of fine motor movements. Dr. Samson believes that this is due to damage to the cerebellum. He’s hoping that Harm will regain at least some motor control. After talking with him, the amnesia appears to stretch back a few months, but he is able to remember things since he’s awakened, which is a good sign.”
“So…” Mac trailed off, “he’s okay?”
“He’s better than okay. He is being hailed as a medical miracle, at least by the staff here.”
Mac sat down on her couch, trying to digest everything Trish was telling her. “He’ll be okay?”
“He will. There may be some permanent damage. He may not ever be able to control all of his fine motor movements and he may not ever be able to account for his lost time, but he should be able to live a normal life.”
“The loss of his fine motor control, what does this mean?” Mac wanted to know exactly what Harm was unable to do.
“He is having trouble moving his hands precisely where he wants them to go, stopping the movements once they get started. His handwriting is very… illegible. If he doesn’t improve, he will never be able to drive, much less fly again. Even if he improves, it’s doubtful that he will ever fly again, and driving is uncertain.”
“That’s horrible,” Mac said, saddened by the news. She knew how much flying meant to Harm, and knew that he was probably heartbroken by the news.
“He’s very lucky, Mac. Most people wouldn’t have survived, much less make some form of recovery.”
“I know, I just…” Mac couldn’t find the words. She knew she should be happy just because Harm was alive, and she was, but she didn’t know what this would mean for him, what this would do to him, or do to them.
“Hey,” Trish spoke in a soothing tone, “it’s okay. He’ll be okay. He’s going to make it. It could be a lot worse.”
“I know,” Mac sniffed. “I know. I’m glad he’s going to be okay. I know he’ll make it through this.”
On the other end of the line, Trish was nodding, smiling. “Hold on, there’s someone here who wants to talk to you,” she said, unable to completely keep the excitement from her voice.
A moment later, Harm’s voice was in Mac’s ear. “Hey, Mac.”
“Harm!” she squealed.
“Wish I could get that kind of greeting all the time.”
Mac laughed lightly, hearing the smile in his voice. “You just may get it yet. How’s your throat?”
"Sore. Feels like I’ve got some kind of horrible cold, but it’s doing better.”
“I can tell.”
“Are you okay?”
“Better than I was. You?” Hearing is voice was exactly what she needed, just knowing he was there, alive. It brightened her day, and his voice sounded happy, easing her mind.
“As long as you’re okay, I’ll be fine. I miss you,” Harm said.
“I miss you. I’ll come back out as soon as I can.”
Harm coughed into the phone. “Sorry. I have to go.”
“Get some rest, Harm.”
“You, too, Mac.”
Trish was back on the phone a moment later. “He woke up as I was getting ready to step out and call you, and he was about to die just to talk to you. We begged the hospital staff and they let us make the long-distance call.”
“I think it’s just what I needed. Thank you.”
There was a moment of silence between the women. Finally, Trish spoke, “I’ll call you tomorrow. Get some sleep.”
“I’ve got to work tomorrow, try to make up some of hours I missed while I was gone. But thanks for calling and letting me know how he is doing.”
“You’re welcome,” Trish said as she hung up the phone. She turned and looked at her son with a smile on her face. Harm squeezed her hand and returned her smile.
As Mac hung up the phone, she sighed and leaned back into the cushions of her couch. Hearing Harm’s voice had been great, but she wanted to see him. More than anything, she wanted be by his side.
Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
2210 Hours (local)
Mac sighed heavily as she leaned back in the worn leather chair in the conference room. Rubbing briefly at her eyes, Mac found herself wishing for another time, a time when she and Harm would stay late and work in the conference room together. The silence of the building wasn’t as deafening when he was around, and he would be more than willing to listen while she bounced ideas off him, and she would do the same for him. They would order pizza, or Chinese food, or some other takeout, and take a break from their work, sharing a few smiles and laughs.
She and Trish exchanged phone calls at least once a day, sometimes more often. Harm was still in the hospital, but they were expecting to release him within a few days. She had spoken to him briefly, only once, since her return home. Trish was usually the one to call because Mac was always afraid of disturbing Harm. When calling, Trish had to step out of the hospital to use her cell phone to call long-distance, since the hospital wouldn’t allow her to use their phone for the call. They had made an exception once, but that was it.
More than anything, Mac really wanted him to come home. She wanted him back at JAG, in the conference room, offering to order some dinner for them while they worked. Pinching the bridge of her nose, Mac leaned forward again and turned back to her scribbled notes once more.
San Diego, California
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
1918 Hours (local)
Harm sighed and turned his head to gaze out the window. The damn light wasn’t on yet, but it would be soon. He had asked the nurses about being moved into a different room so he could get away from the bright streetlight just outside his window, but they informed him that they couldn’t move him. His mom and Frank had just left to go get dinner. They would be back, but for the moment, he was alone.
He was trying to not feel sorry for himself, but in his moments of solitude, it was easier said than done. Wondering if he would ever get back to normal, Harm turned away from the window and sank his head back into the pillow. Glancing up at the television, he wanted to turn it on, even if there was nothing interesting airing, just so he could forget where he was and why he was there. He knew he wouldn’t reach out for the remote, though. He was unwilling to put himself through the inevitable frustration as his hand moved in every direction except the one he wanted it to. His hands used to be his lifeline, controlling the massive plane he piloted at mind-numbing speeds, writing the words and signing the forms that would deliver punishment or save a career. Now, though, they were his enemy.
Harm wanted to get out of the hospital, out of San Diego, back to JAG, and back to Mac. He wanted his life back, but he didn’t know if he would ever get it. Closing his eyes, Harm swallowed back the tears of pity that threatened, and tried to think of happier thoughts, of better days, and a time when he could recognize his life.