Author: NettieC PM
This story deals with Depression. Please read Author's Notes at the beginning of the first chapter...Harm centred.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - H. Rabb - Chapters: 6 - Words: 10,035 - Reviews: 61 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 02-16-08 - Published: 02-10-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4063953
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: They are not mine…just playing.
Author's Notes: Depression is a major issue in Mental Health and our government's initiative to overcome this saw the inception of Beyond Blue (hence the title), an organisation which seeks to inform and educate us and de-stigmatise the condition. At the time I wrote this several leading sportsmen had gone public with their own difficulties with depression – clinical depression, as is highlighted in this story, as well as bipolar disorder.
If you have read any of my other stories you will know I am a HUGE fan of Harm's and this story is an attempt to reflect that depression can affect anyone, at anytime. If you are offended by this in anyway, I apologise and I ask you don't continue to read it. As always, these stories are fiction – some will like them more than others, you don't have to read things you don't like- that's the choice we have as readers
If you do suffer from depression, or any illness, I encourage you to seek assistance from your doctor, family & friends or from an organisation like Beyond Blue. There are avenues of assistance out there.
Having said all that, I'll leave you in peace to read it.
--------------------BEYOND BLUE --------------------
Chapter 1 of 6
It had been a very long few weeks for Bud. Harriet was in the seventh month of her twin pregnancy and was exhausted and grumpy as a general rule. His evenings at home were busier than his days at work and he was feeling the full effects of his maximum four hours sleep a night.
On top of this he had become increasingly concerned about Commander Harmon Rabb. Over the last month or so Harm had become quite distant, in Bud's eyes. At first Bud thought it was something he had done or said. It was unusual for the Commander to decline dinner invitations from Harriet or days out with the boys. Lately, he had done both of these on numerous occasions, often giving no reason. At one stage Bud had gone into the Commander's office and tried to talk to him, to find out why their friendship had turned frosty and to seek a resolution but it had been to no avail. He left feeling more confused and anxious than before he went in.
That was the evening he sat down with Harriet and together they tried to figure things out. For all their talk and reasoning they could not pinpoint an event that had triggered the change.
"Perhaps it's not us," Harriet said finally, leaning back wearily against the kitchen chair.
"What do you mean?" asked Bud, moving so he could massage his wife's shoulders.
"Perhaps it's Harm," she said. Bud raised his eyebrows. "Well, Counsellor, look at the evidence. In the past two months the Commander has become increasingly withdrawn, he has begun to cut himself of from those close to him, he has lost weight and he's not really been sleeping that well, has he? I mean the times I've seen him he has looked pretty tired. Wouldn't you agree?"
"Yeah I would. Do you think he's unwell?" Bud asked quietly.
"I think it's a good guess but I …" she stopped herself, not really wanting to give voice to her own thoughts.
"You what, Sweetie?" he asked, keeping the pressure of the massage firm, yet tender.
"No I won't say it," she said, a slight shake of her head.
"Go on, please," Bud urged, knowing she'd have more insight than him.
"Just remember it's only a thought," she said guardedly.
"Okay," he nodded.
"Maybe it's not physical," she said with a sigh. "I mean the Commander has had a lot happen in his personal life lately, maybe he's just feeling a little blue."
"The Commander depressed, oh Sweetie, I don't know," said Bud, the thought never previously crossing his mind.
Bud sat a while and contemplated what his wife had said and the pieces began to fit into place, maybe it was a little more than what he had first thought.
It was the end of a particularly hectic week and Bud was looking forward to the upcoming weekend. Two days of putting the final touches on the nursery and, luckily for him, his in-laws were taking AJ and Jimmy for the weekend so he wouldn't have any little people underfoot. Bud filed away the last of his completed case files and looked in delight at his empty desk. It was a long time since he had been able to see the surface; such had been the frenetic pace of recent months.
He went out into the bullpen to return some reference materials when he caught a glimpse of the Commander in his office. It was obvious the Commander was not happy and Bud was undecided as to what he should do. Ideally, he thought, he should act like a friend and walk in and offer comfort but as a colleague, a junior one at that, he thought he should keep his distance. As the object of his attention slumped into his chair Bud's mind was made up. He knocked on the door and entered without waiting to be asked.
"Commander Rabb, do you have a minute?" he asked.
"No Bud, I don't," Harm replied not even bothering to look up. Bud wasn't dissuaded by the response. He shut the door and took a seat opposite the Commander. "Bud, I mean I really don't have time to…"
"I heard you, sir, but this is important," Bud said earnestly.
"Go ahead then," Harm said, finally looking up at him.
"Sir, what's happening with you?" he said directly.
Harm looked at Bud and then looked away. "Nothing Bud," he said unconvincingly.
"With all due respect, sir, I don't believe you."
Harm added nothing further and after a few minutes Bud left none the wiser.
Bud had packed the two boys off with their grandparents and sent Harriet to bed early before settling into the study to watch his Star Trek DVDs. He had been waiting weeks to have the time to himself and was excited at the prospect of uninterrupted viewing. He opened a beer, hit play and eased himself into the recliner. The opening sequence was still playing when the doorbell rang. Quickly he got up to answer it, not wanting to disturb Harriet. It was Harm.
"Commander Rabb!" Bud said in surprise.
"Sorry to come over unannounced Bud. Am I interrupting anything?" he asked, nodding into the house.
"Just Star Trek, come on in." Bud ushered him into the house.
"If you're sure, I don't want to disturb you," Harm said quietly.
"I'm sure, come in, come in." Bud showed Harm into the study and then went to the kitchen to grab him a beer. When he returned Harm was staring out the window.
"Something out there, sir?" he asked.
"No Bud, I was just…Where's Harriet?" Harm countered.
"She's having an early night, sir," Bud explained, gesturing to the ceiling.
"Finding it tough going?" he asked.
"Yes sir but there's only two months to go," he replied.
"You're very lucky Bud."
"I know sir."
Harm took the offered beer and sat on the sofa. Bud returned to the recliner and stopped the DVD.
"Sir, anything I can do for you?" Bud said watching his friend intently.
"Call me Harm," Harm said, staring at the bottle in his hands.
"Anything I can do for you, Harm?" Bud asked.
"I need some advice, Bud." Bud was surprised; he couldn't remember the last time Harm had come to him for personal advice.
Harm took a mouthful of beer and placed the bottle on a coaster. He fiddled with a button on his jacket and then pulled off some fluff Bud couldn't see.
"Bud, do you remember the Tomlinson case?" he began slowly.
"Yeah, the Petty Officer you prosecuted for arson about two months ago. If I remember you got a conviction and he got 10-15 years," Bud recalled.
"That's the one," Harm sighed.
"Wasn't that also the one where he threatened you as they took him away?" he asked.
"Yeah, he said he was innocent, everything was my fault and if anything happened to him it would be on my head," Harm replied.
"So what happened?" Bud asked, studying Harm intently.
"He suicided last night," regret filled his voice.
"I'm sorry to hear that, Harm. Did he leave a note?" Bud asked quietly.
"Yep. It said he was innocent but life behind bars wasn't worth living and that it was my doing. He actually said he was killing himself because of me," Harm reported.
"Sir, Harm, I'm so sorry but you do know it's not your fault, don't you? You were doing your job. The evidence was there, the jury convicted him and the judge sentenced him," Bud said enthusiastically, trying to take the pain out of his friend's eyes.
"But what if he was really innocent and I am responsible for him dying?" Harm asked, something he hadn't wanted to contemplate.
"Harm, don't go there. In each case we do our best for our client, we can't afford to second guess every decision, we'd go mad," Bud said, rehashing the words Harm had shared with him when an early case of his had gone awry.
"But what if…" Harm began again.
"What if nothing. Did you act in accordance with military regulations?" Bud's voice was firm.
"Did you do the best for your client?"
"Did you have any doubts at the time?"
"Then you are not responsible. Do you hear me?"
"Yeah, I do."
Thanks to all who let me know their opinions about my stockpile of stories and future writing plans. I appreciate your comments and will take them on board. love Nettie xoxoxox