Through a Glass, Darkly
Disclaimer: Hey TPTB, want my pocket lint collection for them? I can also offer a nice stack of "Calvin and Hobbes" comic collections, chocolate, and one of my duplicate copies of the Lois and Clark comic book! ;) Seriously, Harm, Mac, and the TV series JAG belong to Donald Bellisario, Belisaurius Productions, Paramount Pictures, and Columbia Broadcasting Service Entertainment.
Author's Note: This started out as a what if, and has been growing on me--what if Harm had never been captured on camera and become a full-fledged CIA agent? Then what if Sadik suddenly resurfaced, complete with a vendetta against Harm? This is also my attempt to explain AJ's inexplicable behavior. Bonus points if you can spot the show, episode, and season that I stole, um… borrowed, the title from. Spoilers up to season nine's Touchdown… with a slightly different ending for Harm. Other spoilers through season nine. My thanks to my super-secret beta reader and Ann, both of whom have assured me that the concept isn't too angsty. Knowing me, you'd better hang on anyway. ;)
Sun and Shadow
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."
--1 Corinthians 13:12
20 May 2003
Falls Church, Virginia
Admiral AJ Chegwidden stared at the letter of resignation in his hand. He had followed the SECNAV's orders, and now one of his best officers had gone haring off to South America in search of another. He wasn't sure why the SECNAV had engineered this mess, but he was sure that he probably wouldn't like the outcome.
"Admiral?" Tiner's voice came over the intercom.
"What is it, Tiner?" he said irritably.
"The SECNAV's on line one."
"I've got it," he said brusquely, and picked up the phone. "What can I do for you, sir?"
"Admiral, has Commander Rabb resigned as expected?"
"Yes, sir. I'm planning on holding his papers until he gets back. With any luck, he'll be back before his terminal leave is over; I need all of the O-5s I can get." AJ picked up Harm's resignation and looked it over.
"Admiral, you are to bring Rabb's resignation, service record, and paperwork over to my office, is that clear?"
"Yes, sir. May I ask why?"
"No, you may not, Admiral; it's need to know. Have them hand delivered over here by the close of business today. Is that clear?"
"Yes, sir." After a few pleasantries, he hung up, and called Tiner in. "Tiner, I need the Commander's service record."
"Yes, sir," came the response over the intercom. A few minutes later, he came in, carrying a large file. Tiner laid the file on his desk. "Might I know why you need the Commander's file, sir?"
"The Commander resigned, Tiner. His time with us is over, and his record needs to be closed out."
"But sir--Commander Rabb has done so much for so many people--"
AJ looked up at his earnest face and frowned. "Be that as it may, Commander Rabb *made* his decision, now it's up to him to live with it. This discussion is *closed*, Tiner."
"Yes, *sir*," Tiner said, coming to attention.
"Now, I need Commander Turner in here to watch the shop for me. Will you find him for me, please?"
"Yes, sir," he repeated.
"Dismissed." AJ put Rabb's resignation in the file, then looked up just in time to see Tiner leave his office, shooting a furtive look back at him. He sighed, he wasn't sure what the SECNAV had in mind for Harm, but it probably wasn't a good thing. If Rabb survived Paraguay, he had a feeling that his favorite officer was in for a world of hurt.
20 May 2003
Sheffield flipped through Commander Rabb's service record and smiled. "Thank you, AJ," he said.
"It's all there, resignation and everything." AJ said woodenly.
Sheffield pulled out a single sheet of paper, examined it, then ripped it in half. "You mean this?"
"What'd you do *that* for?" AJ asked.
"Mr. Rabb has just been called up," Sheffield said with a smile. "Officially, he won't be Navy anymore, unofficially, he'll be working for me via Kershaw."
"Sir, and you're telling me this *because*?"
"Because I think that he wasn't living up to his full potential as a JAG. He'll be much better off working for me; I'll send him out for some special training, then assign him to the Company air wing. From there, who knows?" Sheffield leaned back in his chair and shrugged. "He has too many talents that have been wasted working for you, AJ, and *I* intend to use them."
"With all due respect, *sir*, you'd better be careful with him, or so help me--"
"Are you *threatening* me, AJ?"
"More like promising… *sir*." AJ said stiffly. "Rabb hasn't been on the top of his game this last year because a lot of things went to hell in a handbasket. I *don't* want to see him more messed up than he already is."
"That's not your concern, anymore." Sheffield said with a tiny smile on his face.
AJ brought his fist down on the desk. "Let me straighten something out for you, Mr. Secretary. Rabb is one of *my* people, and I refuse to abandon him--there was enough of that last year. It's bad enough that Colonel Mackenzie is TAD to the CIA, and I can't officially sanction her rescue."
Sheffield smiled, reminding AJ of a snake. "You *will* cut Rabb off, AJ, or I can have your little family reassigned. Commander Turner would do well on a carrier, Lieutenant Sims can be sent to where she's officially assigned, Colonel Mackenzie can either be assigned a position as a line JAG, or I can send her permanently TAD to the CIA or the NIA, and I'm sure that Lieutenant Roberts will do well in a civilian law firm." He flashed another snake-like smile. "Tiner need not return to Headquarters after OCS."
"But that would scuttle *all* of their careers," AJ sputtered.
"Just think, AJ, is one man worth the destruction of so many lives?"
AJ looked down at his feet and sighed. He knew when he was beaten, and there didn't seem to be anything he could do to rectify the situation. "This *isn't* over, *sir*; I intend to get him back on my staff as soon as I can."
"Just keep telling yourself that, AJ, and I'm sure you'll be fine." Sheffield smiled and leaned forward on his desk. "When he comes and asks for his job back, tell him to go wrestle alligators or something. He needs to not *want* to come back to JAG."
"Yes, *sir*," AJ said stiffly, turning to leave. Worry for Harm and anger at him for placing himself in the situation raged through him in equal measures. Slowly, the anger began to take over, mingling with the worry until they became one. AJ hurried out to his car, determined to pull what strings he had to keep *his* Commander where he belonged.
23 October 2003
North of Union Station
Harm flipped another card towards his baseball cap and grimaced as it missed. This was what his life had been reduced to. It had been five and a half months since the beginning of his tenure at the Company, but he hadn't managed to get himself killed yet. More's the pity. He was to leave for another mission in the morning, and this time, perhaps he'd get lucky.
The most important person in his life had said never, so there wasn't a chance to make anything work out between them; friendship just wasn't enough anymore. Harm flipped another card at the hat and missed. He'd briefly considered suicide, but he couldn't hurt his mother, Frank, and Grandma Sarah that way, so he'd given up on the idea.
Being killed in the line of duty was another matter entirely. Suicide would waste his death, but if he died serving the greater good… Sometimes how you used your death was just as important as how you used your life.
He only had about a year and a half before he got his twenty, anyway. After that he could retire, but he wasn't sure what he'd do with his life after that. Better that he died before his employment with the Company was up. At least then, he wouldn't have to face the fact that his entire life had been a waste of effort.
Harm sighed, tossed the remainder of the deck of cards back on the table, then headed towards his bedroom, shedding clothes along the way. He had a mission in the morning, and he knew that he needed to at least *attempt* to sleep between now and then.
24 October 2003
Captain Johnson paced back and forth on the bridge, hoping that this damnfool plan of Rabb's would work. He glanced at his watch and noticed that they were fast approaching deadline before he remembered the slight… problem he had on board. "Sh*t," he muttered. "Ensign, I need you to get that news crew and escort them to the mess. They're to be held incommunicado until tomorrow afternoon, and *no* word of the identities of the pilots of the airplane are to be released, is that clear?"
Ensign Smith saluted. "Yes, sir," he said, then left.
Captain Johnson motioned to his XO. "Commander, I need you to arrange temporary quarters for our guests, and send Rabb and O'Neill up here as soon as they get off that plane."
"Yes, sir," the Commander saluted, and left to take care of the situation.
"We're almost there, Skipper," the Air Boss's voice came over the comm.
"Hurry it up, Air Boss. After Rabb lands that thing, we're gonna have to scuttle it so that the press doesn't figure out what happened tonight."
Captain Johnson watched as the last few planes were launched, just in time for Rabb to barely land the crippled airplane on his deck. A few minutes later, Rabb and O'Neill walked onto the bridge, flanked by his protocol officer. "Thank you, sir," Rabb said.
He simply nodded. "Glad you were able to land that bucket of bolts. We've got a slight problem until we can get all of you out on the COD; there are some reporters aboard, and we can't let them know what you've just done."
"Yes, sir," the two pilots said in unison.
"The way I see it, I've got two options; I can convince the CAG here to lend you a ride out of here, which I'm not inclined to do, or we can rustle up some spare uniforms and hide you in plain sight." The captain leaned back against the wall and smirked.
"You could do that, sir," Harm answered neutrally.
Captain Johnson could see him fighting the instinct to tell him that neither of them was Navy anymore, and shouldn't be wearing the uniform. "Damn straight, I can. Damn Captain's privilege."
"Aye, aye, sir," they answered.
"I see you haven't lost the instincts," he said dryly, motioning to another junior officer. "Lieutenant, find some uniforms for these two, and talk to the XO to find out if they've got a berth." He looked at Harm and Beth and grinned. "Hope you don't mind being enlisted until we can get rid of the reporters, but it can't be helped."
"Not a problem, sir," Harm answered. "Sir? We need to report in as soon as possible. Would it be possible to get a ship-to-shore call on a secure line?"
"Get down to communications, and we'll make it happen--dismissed."
"Aye, aye, sir," Harm and Beth said. They suppressed the urge to salute, and headed out the door.
Captain Johnson smiled; if Rabb was still Navy, he would've had to put him in for a commendation for that last trick. It wasn't every day that such a large bird landed on a carrier; it'd been a superior piece of flying to manage it. It was just as well that he'd resigned; the man seemed to land in trouble every time he climbed into a cockpit.
20 October 2003
Mac stared at the phone. "C'mon, Harm, *call* me," she muttered. She reached for the phone, and dialed the familiar number. She listened to it ring until the machine picked up, then set it back in its cradle.
It hadn't been so long ago that she'd told Bud that she didn't miss Harm at all, but it wasn't true. His absence was a nagging, constant ache. Oh, after some time, working without him had gotten easier, but she still found herself wanting to call him or just drop in his apartment to talk.
It was worse than the time he'd spent in the brig. At least then, she'd known he was safe. Hell, she'd even started pseudo-dating Webb, just so she could pump him for information about Harm.
She still wasn't too happy about the way Spook-boy had interrupted them in Paraguay; if he hadn't, their relationship might be in a completely different place than it was now. Mac frowned, something just didn't feel right. It was almost as if Harm was in trouble, and needed her to watch his six.
Their parting hadn't been all that great, and Harm had been downright *nasty*, but he was still her best friend, dammit, and he *needed* her. Mac reached for the phone and dialed his number again. Sooner or later, he'd *have* to answer, and then she'd know for sure that he was okay.