|Pacing The Unknown Routes Of Destiny
Author: Zoja PM
My idea of Harm and Mac's life after series finale.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - H. Rabb & S. MacKenzie - Chapters: 16 - Words: 42,985 - Reviews: 61 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 43 - Updated: 05-15-13 - Published: 03-19-11 - id: 6837093
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I haven't got a lot to say. Just thanks to byrhthelm, for correcting the chapter. Thanks for those, who have waited. It seems that the reason of the long delay was my e-mail. Sorry.
Going in to the office after a sleepless night was horrible, but it wasn't as if I had any choice. The workload waiting for me didn't care that I had been tossing and turning in bed all night, now feeling the cold and pulling the quilt right up to my shoulders and then kicking it down to lie at my feet because I was too hot. But the most irritating part of the whole was the moon, the light of which shone directly into my face, and the final straw was that it was my own fault. Losing patience with my sleeplessness I had yanked so hard on the cords controlling the blinds that the slats had jammed open.
In my preoccupation I only realized that I was about to share my space with another person when we collided and I heard the sound of files cascading onto the floor, with Major Johnson's "I'm sorry, Ma'am", close on its heels. Major Johnson, however, was supposed to be on the family leave she had requested and I had authorized. But on checking, there she was, definitely a Marine uniform and definitely Major Johnson's face.
I was immediately struck with how tired she looked. She was pale, and her eyes which seemed to be blank and lifeless were surrounded by dark circles.
"Is everything okay, Major?" I asked her, as she knelt retrieving the scattered files.
"Yes, Ma'am." She answered flatly.
"Then what are you doing here? I gave you a week's leave!" I raised my eyebrows.
"I know, Ma'am," she sighed despondently, "but I've decided to cut it short; I feel I'm needed more here."
I was about to ask her why she felt like that, but decided not to. Her behavior was defensive, and she gave every indication of not wanting to share. Forcing her to do so, invading her privacy, was, as far as I was concerned, not an option. Not unless and until it affected her work.
When I arrived at San Diego I felt very excited, too excited even to feel tired from the journey. I knew that I would be going to see Harm and Jen more often, and even Mac, who I had actually started to get along with. And then I was taken to my room which I saw that I was going to have to share with someone else. It kind of spoiled my mood, so when I lay down on the hospital bed I started to wonder, what kind of person my "roommate" was going to be. If she was going to be anything like the people I had met in the previous place, then my overriding concern would be how soon I could be discharged from hospital.
And then she was here, rolling into the room in a wheelchair. I saw a short and slender Hispanic girl; her long, straight hair was completely black, as were her eyes. She looked at me without enthusiasm, but rode up closer.
"I'm Ynez" she said, extending her hand to me.
I took her hand, "Mattie", I introduced myself.
Ynez nodded her head in acknowledgement and hauled herself onto her bed.
"You're not surprised I'm here..?" I asked, slightly surprised at her lack of reaction.
She shrugged, "No, I'm not. They told me I was going to have company. You came from the east coast, didn't you?"
"I did. All the people I have are here, so I convinced them to let me be transferred closer to them."
"And they agreed?" There was surprise, some confusion and maybe a touch of envy in her voice "Wow, if my parents would choose a hospital somewhere else for me, it would be only because they thought it's better and would never agree for me to be transferred anywhere.."
"Oh, I wasn't sent there. I was living there, just as Harm was, and he came here because of his work."
"You call your father by his name?" She looked at me even more confused, and I shook my head.
"He's not my father… He's my guardian. It's a long story…" I said, wishing that she wasn't so very curious; I didn't want to tell my life history to someone I had just met, but on the other hand, I also didn't want to be impolite.
"But still, he came here for his job, leaving you there…
"He didn't really have a choice. He's in the Navy, so he can't refuse his orders if he doesn't want to quit. He actually convinced his CO to find him this billet in San Diego, because he was supposed to go to London…"
After my defense of Harm, she didn't say anything else, and I assumed she had understood the situation. I didn't want to be a poor, left behind girl, who needed other to feel sorry for her, because that just wasn't me. I took my headphones out of my bag, as the silence began, wondering whether Harm was going to come today. I knew he was planning to visit me during his lunch break, as I should have arrived earlier than I did, and he couldn't take the day off. I sighed and put the music on.
During my lunch break I went to the ground floor, where I was going to meet Rebecca Parker and talk with her about sharing the apartment. The restaurant was almost empty, there were just few people none of whom fitted the description of herself she had given to me. I sat in the corner, in the place I always took when coming here for lunch and ordered myself a chicken salad. It was brought to me quickly, and I looked at my watch. She was already ten minutes late, and I wasn't going to wait for her, as I needed to be back at my station on time.
And then I noticed the young, blonde woman coming into the restaurant. She looked like she had run all the way here, and she immediately came in my direction.
"Jennifer Coates?" she asked, and I nodded. She took a place opposite me "I'm really sorry for being late, my bus was early and I had to walk here." She smiled apologetically. "Is there any military unit close?" she asked, and then I saw that she was looking at Lieutenant Cooper and Lieutenant Martin who were eating their lunch here too.
"There is a legal office on the upper floors." I answered, finishing my lunch. "I work there, that's why I asked you to meet here."
"I understand. Maybe first, I'll explain why I insisted on this meeting to be so quickly... I go to the university here, and workin a small restaurant in the evenings, I can't afford to live in the hotel and study at the same time… So I really need to find myself a place, and sharing it with somebody else is even better, as the rent would be divided…"
We talked a bit, or I should say that she talked and I listened, occasionally giving a non-verbal signal, or a murmur to let her know that I was listening to her. I received a definite impression during our meeting that Rebecca was very talkative, but at the same time very open and kind. And even if she was endlessly talkative, it wasn't tiring as it sometimes could be; she had the gift of being able to focus her companion's attention on her words. She admitted that she would probably spend mostly nights at the apartment, only during the weekends and her days off longer.
I didn't know just how quickly time had passed, but I suddenly realized that I needed to return to work, so I proposed that we meet at the apartment, so she could see it and having made arrangements to meet, I returned to the office. Rebecca seemed to be nice, and even after this short while spent with her it was not so shocking to see her rushing things so much.
I was always very happy to have Christian at home. After finishing the service academy and receiving our orders we didn't see each other very often, but even that circumstance didn't have that big influence on what was between us. And thanks to the separation we took more enjoyment out of the time we did spend together. It was almost like an extended or renewed honeymoon, and because our time together was so short and so precious we rarely wasted any of it in fighting. Actually, the only big fight we had was about Crystal, or, more precisely, about me finding out about the pregnancy. We had felt that at the beginning of our respective careers we weren't in the best place to be parents, and we'd agreed to wait until we were cut better orders and were more settled, but it all just happened. And after a short, but hard time as we adjusted to our new circumstances, neither of us wanted or could even imagine that life could be any different.
But now it was far worse than just not talking to each other. Maybe I just got used to being away from him for a long time, which was a good thing during fights, and now it was harder to spend time with him. It seemed that he made a scene every time I said anything to him, as if in every word I said he found the suggestion that he was useless and couldn't do anything – something that never even crossed my mind. I understood that the whole situation with losing his sight was very difficult for him, and I really wanted to give him support, but he just wasn't letting me do it. He kept pushing me away all the time, and it was making the whole situation even more difficult for me. But my situation and feelings paled into insignificance compared to something I was really mad at him about, and that was that he treated Crystal in the same way as me. She was clever and understood that he couldn't see and was suffering, but she didn't – couldn't - understand why he was like this for her. And I knew it was much more horrible situation for her than for the both of us.
I saw it in her, when I was picking her up from her school. It was impossible for her not to notice the tension between me and Christian, and I saw that she was much sadder and more silent than I have ever remembered her be. She wasn't happy; normally she ran to me, delighted that she was going home, but these days when I went to collect her, she just looked up, gathered up her things and almost dragged her feet as she walked towards me.
When we arrived home she went straight to the kitchen. I noticed the pot standing on the cupboard, and I knew that Nancy had to be here. And then I noticed how silent the house was – Christian spent most of his time listening to the news, so the silence was a sure indicator that he was out, and of course Nancy was there because she came to take him to his therapist.
"When is daddy going to be home?" Crystal asked me, as she took her seat by the table.
"After about an hour, why do you ask?" I put the pot on the cooker to reheat the meal.
"Just to know…" she shrugged, and sighed.
Crystal sat in silence for a while before she asked, "Is he going to be my daddy like before?" I looked at her warily, not quite sure what was coming next.
"I know it's my daddy… He's just… He isn't like he was… When daddy was home he always played with me, listened to me… Now he doesn't want to spend time with me…" I saw a tear trickle down her face.
I came to her, lifted her, took her seat and sat her on my knees. She immediately put her arms around my neck and cuddled me. Seeing her in this state make me wonder if all of this wasn't worse than I thought. I really didn't want to make Christian a scene, but I couldn't let Crystal feel like this anymore.
Harm parked the car in front of the hospital, where Mattie was now a new patient. She had arrived here earlier today and we were both curious as to her reactions and what she might say to us. We were both unhappy that we hadn't been able to visit her during our lunch break, but it was better to be here late, than not at all. We entered the building, and thanks to Mattie's text message, we found her room without any problems, but on arriving at her room we saw that Mattie wasn't there, just some other girl, whom Mattie hadn't mentioned in her message.
"Military officers…" We noticed she was looking at us very carefully, and I just couldn't stop myself from thinking, that her look was a bit strange "Mattie should be back soon, they took her for some tests. I guess she didn't tell you she has company? And don't ask me how I know that, the surprised way you looked at me gave you away!"
We heard the door open and turned to see a nurse pushing Mattie's wheelchair into the room. The teenager immediately grinned as she saw me and Harm.
"Hey!" she spread her arms and Harm bent down to her, hugging her tightly. The nurse smiled and left and I repeated Harm's actions before Mattie rolled to her bed where Harm helped her in to it, ignoring her complaints that she can do it by herself. I noticed that as Harm was helping Mattie that the other girl did exactly the opposite, she got herself out of bed and into the wheelchair without difficulty and left the room without any word.
"That's Ynez… I think I can live with her… She's strange, seems to always be skeptical and bored, but at least she reads good books and has no problem with me borrowing them" I smiled at the comment, and I looked at the table which was standing next to Mattie's neighbour's bed. She had two small stacks of books there.
"That's good. And how are other things?"
We spent almost an hour there with Mattie, most of which time she spent talking about the people she'd met today and the journey. It seemed that she definitely liked to be in California, and felt better here. The only thing she complained about was the weather because she couldn't just go out, lie in the deck chair and sunbathe, or swim in the ocean.
I knew that Harm had been a bit worried about moving Mattie here, even as he agreed to the move, but now I could see that he had seen that it was a good thing. It seemed unbelievable and I had never expected it to happen, but Mattie seemed to be back to her cheerful self. The smiling teenager Harm had always told me about. And the only thing that has changed was the place she was in. It was definitely a good idea, and all of the efforts that had to be made to achieve this result were worth it, even if only to improve Mattie's outlook on life, which in turn, would be such an important step in her recovery.
When Christian returned home with his sister, I saw Crystal head straight to her room. It nearly broke my heart - I knew that she was using her room as a retreat, choosing to spend most of her time there, pretending that if she couldn't see him it wouldn't hurt so much when Christian completely ignored her when she tried to tell him how her day at school had been. Nancy saw her too, then looked at Christian, and then finally at me. I saw the worried question in her eyes, and I just nodded. I heard her sigh, and then went away.
"Can we talk?" I asked, when I joined Christian in the living room, and he shrugged. At least he gave me a sign that he was listening to me. "Christian, I know that the situation is hard for you, and you can't just accept what happened, but for me and Crystal you're still the same person you were…"
"You're going to give me a lecture how nothing has changed? Nancy was faster!" He said, and I crossed my arms on my chest.
"No, I'm not going to give you a damn' lecture! I just wanted to tell you that the way you treat me and Crystal is not making it any easier for us! And as much as I understand why you do it, Crystal doesn't! I think she feels rejected, and I thought that maybe you should know about it!"
"And what do you expect me to do? Take her out and play with her? Or maybe watch her newest drawings? Or maybe read her a book?" he asked, and moved his head, so he was now facing me, even if he couldn't see me standing there, over him. "So please, let me enlighten you, I can't do it!"
"Now you're going to talk to me like I'm an idiot?" I asked, my anger increasing with his every word, "Well, I'm not! And you ought to know our daughter isn't either! She's cleverer than you think! Your sister explained everything to her and she doesn't expect you to do everything you did with her before. If you paid attention to what she was doing here, you would notice that she just talks to you! Even when she was telling you about the picture she had drawn, she described it to you! Is it really too much to ask that you just listen to her?"
"And what is it going to change? You heard the doctor; chances that I'll ever get my sight back are very low! I will never be able to do anything I did with her before! Besides listening what she says to me, I'm not able to do anything with her! Have you ever thought about it? What kind of father am I going to be for her?"
"Can you just stop talking about yourself like all you are able to do is just sit and do nothing? You're not the only blind person in the world! They lead normal lives; do everything that seeing people do! Can't you just stop complaining about what happened to you? Nothing is going to be possible for you to do if you're not going to try to learn it! And I don't see you trying to do it! You just sit here and tell me how forlorn you are!"
He opened his mouth to say something to me, but he closed it and stood up. I saw anger in his moves, as he reached for his cane, and not even bothering to use it, left the room, hitting the small table on his way.
"What are you doing, Christian?" I asked, and when he didn't answer I came after him. I noticed him putting on his shoes, and opening the door. "Christian!"
"I'm going out!" he just shouted, stepped through the doorway and tried to shut the door, but I held it open, stopping him from slamming it in my face.
"Of course, you're going out! As always, you just want to run away, because you don't have more arguments or because somebody told you the truth and you don't like it! Maybe it's time to grow up and understand that running away is not going to ease your problems!"
"Maybe it's time for you to understand that just because you're a damn' lawyer and are better at discussions and in finding arguments than I am, doesn't mean that you are always right! Didn't you ever think that there might be other reasons why I never argue with you? Because one thing I learnt during all those years I have known you, is that there is no point in arguing with you, as you will never admit that you are wrong, you will just keep finding reasons why all you say and think is right!"
I watched him disappear in the distance, and closed the door. I leaned my head on it, feeling tears coming to my eyes. I sank down and sat on the floor and didn't even try to stop myself from crying. I knew I'd just crossed the line, said too much. I knew it was going to happen one day, but I still felt horrible, even if it was the only way to make Christian analyze his behavior and what he was doing to other people.
I felt small hands on my arms and looked up. I saw Crystal, with her face wet from tears, and I took her into my arms. Only then did I realize that she had heard everything, and I felt even worse.
"Don't cry, Sweetheart, everything is going to be okay…" I said, and I had to admit that I didn't sound convincing. I just hugged her more tightly, caressing her hair and hoping that my words were going to be true.