Disclaimer: JAG. Not mine.
Author's Note: Don't ask where I got this idea. Small spoilers through Hail and Farewell.
Summary: Harm, uh, disappears?
"America's Favorite Reading Room"
Falls Church, Virginia
Harm made a face as the last of the cold liquid trickled down his throat. He gagged. The coffee was pretty bad when it was warm. The coffee was even worse when it got cold. He pushed his mug aside and gathered up the last of the work he had for the day. A couple of signatures and a few files to file and he was home free.
Harm glanced up and smiled, "Hey, Mac. What's up?"
"You are coming tonight, right?" she asked him, somewhat preoccupied with Harriet asking her about something. Harriet was in civilian attire and seemed extra bubbly today.
"Uh, what's tonight?" Harm said, getting up and walking over to them. Harm caught Harriet's worried stare and he quickly caught on it had something to do with her. He fumbled over incoherent words, trying to figure out where he was going to be tonight. Then Mac saved him.
"Don't worry, Harriet," she smiled. "We'll both be there."
"Oh, good," Harriet smiled, all worry washed away.
Once Harriet was gone, Mac smacked Harm's arm. He rubbed the spot and said, "What did I forget this time?"
Mac rolled her eyes. As if Harriet's big announcement about having twins a few months ago wasn't the biggest clue. "Bud is holding a dinner for her. He invited all of us to come, remember?"
"Right," Harm smiled sheepishly. "I knew that."
"So, I don't need to call you an hour ahead of time to make sure you'll show up?" Mac inquired.
"I'll be there, Mac," Harm laughed. "I'll just have to see if Mattie can come along. I can't remember if this is one of the nights she is visiting her father."
"Okay, see you there, Harm," Mac called to him as she walked off. Harm sighed and looked at the files in his hands. So much for a night to himself, but he hadn't spent time with his co-workers outside the office since the Admiral's farewell dinner. And even that was very formal. It would be good to have a relaxing dinner at the Roberts...
The Robert's Residence
The food was excellent, just like always. Little AJ and Jimmy were getting along, which made the whole dinner a much more pleasant experience. Bud and Harriet were relieved that AJ was finally coming around to accepting his little brother. The company was small, consisting of himself, Mac, Sturgis and Jenn. The Admiral wanted to come, but had already informed Harriet of his plans to see his daughter. He was now enjoying the Italian countryside and spending time with her. Harm had dropped Mattie off at her dad's and then he drove Jenn to the Roberts. All and all, it was a good evening.
They sat around the table after finishing up and Harm suddenly began to feel a little...queasy to say the least. He stood up and nearly bumped into Mac as he made his way into the hallway.
"Hey, you okay?" she asked, noticing his pale face.
"Uh, yeah, just going to the head," he informed her and then quickly passed her. Mac just shrugged and rejoined the rest at the table.
Harm found the bathroom and relieved himself. After he splashed his face with some water and washed his hands, he spied a little green book sitting on a shelf. He dried his hands and picked it up. The title read, The Bathroom Trivia Book. Nuggets of Knowledge for America's Favorite Reading Room.
He furrowed his brow and opened it up. He nearly laughed as he saw a bunch of random trivia facts listed on the pages of the book. He leaned against the sink and read one of the random facts to himself, "Before 1814, U.S. Congressional Representatives were paid six dollars per diem. And that was only when Congress was in session."
Harm mulled that little fact over and flipped a few more pages. He read another fact, "Jim Thorpe won the pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics. The fifth place finisher was U.S. General George S. Patton."
"No way," Harm read the sentence again. He laughed lightly. The General George S. Patton? A man regarded as arguably one of the best field commanders of any war was in the Olympics? Amazing. Harm flipped the pages again and stopped at another fact.
"The average American drinks three and a half cups of coffee a day."
"Ha!" Harm laughed again. "I can attest to that!"
Harm put the lid down on the toilet and sat down, becoming engulfed in the little green trivia book.
Mac and the others laughed as Little AJ made some joke about frogs. Harriet explained it was AJ's new favorite animal and they were having trouble keeping AJ from bringing them into the house. Mac glanced up and noticed the chair in front of her was still empty. Harm never came back. She excused herself for a moment and walked around the house, but there was no sign of Harm anywhere.
She put her hands on her hips and sighed, "Harm, where are you?"
Sturgis walked up and asked, "Hey, have you seen Harm?"
"I was just looking for him," Mac smiled, even though a little worry came through in her voice.
"I'm sure he's around here somewhere," Sturgis said, trying not to sound worried himself. He had seen Harm disappear after dinner, but that was nearly half an hour ago!
"New Mexico is the only state with two official languages: English and Spanish."
"Lightning is the cause of most forest fires."
"Napoleon's body lies in Paris today, but when he died in 1821 at St. Helena, he was buried underneath a tombstone which read, "Here lies.." No name was engraved."
"Insects can shiver."
Harm released another chuckle at the last piece of trivia. Who in the world would ever need to know that insects can shiver? Harm stood up, realizing he was getting to the end of the book. He was slightly disappointed that his new quest for knowledge was almost over. The last fact was really long and he decided, what the hell. He had been here this long, might as well finish.
"What's Up Doc?... 15 % of Americans claim they've never had a headache...Less than 50 % catch a cold during the course of a year...One-third of Americans have high blood pressure...The average person gets sick 2.19 times a year and is bedridden for 6 days...The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 15 % of the folks who visit the doctor think they're sick but are really suffering from hypochondria..."
Harm shook his head at that last snippet and sighed, "Hypochondria? Boy, that's depressing..."
There was a sudden rap on the door that scared the living daylights out of him. He stumbled backwards, tripping over the toilet. He starting heading for the floor and his free hand grabbed for anything he could. He grabbed the toilet paper.
He pulled a long string of the paper down with him and crashed to the floor. He let out a yelp of pain and rolled over, wrapping some of the paper around himself. As he tried to get up, he naturally got tangled up in it.
"Harm?" Mac called, curiously and knocked again. "Are you...still in there?"
Harm remained quiet, trying to untangle himself, but he was making a bunch of noise anyway. Once he was firmly on his feet he said, "Yeah, I'm in here...still."
"What did you do? Fall in?" Mac laughed and tried the handle. "It's been nearly an hour!"
"No, Mac! Don't open the door!" Harm called and the handle stopped turning. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that she had ceased trying to get in and he continued to pull toilet paper off himself. After that was done, he decided he needed to get things back to the way they were. He lifted the lid back off the toilet and then proceeded to put the book back on the shelf...only to let the book slip out of his hands and fall right into the toilet bowl!
"Oh damn it!" Harm yelled, as he knelt down and fished the book out of the water.
"Harm?" Mac called again, this time she was not amused. She was worried. "Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine!" he said back, looking for something to dry the book with.
Harm cringed. Now Sturgis was the next person in line, wondering why the hell he had been in the bathroom for an hour! He picked up some toilet paper and balled it up. He tried using it to dry off the book and his hand, but the paper was too thin and kept tearing and ripping. Most of it ended up sticking to his wet hand.
"Oh for the love of God," Harm muttered.
Mac and Sturgis stared curiously at each other, wondering what the hell was going on in there. Little AJ bounded up next to them and asked, "Where's Uncle Harm?"
"He's in the bathroom," Mac sighed.
"Oh, okay," AJ said and before they could stop him, he ran up to the door and opened it. "Uncle Harm!"
"Ah!" Harm yelled and jumped back.
By now, Bud, Harriet and Jenn had come up joining Mac and Sturgis and all of them stared into the bathroom with jaws dropped. Harm was holding a wet book. He was wrapped in toilet paper and more lay at his feet. His khaki's had water stains on them and his face looked petrified. Mac did her best not to burst out laughing.
Sturgis rose his eyebrows and laughed nervously, "Please tell me there's a logical explanation for this."
"I was...reading?" Harm tried and continued to receive very amused looks from his friends. Little AJ just looked up giving an innocent smile.
After everything was cleaned up and Harm apologized a thousand times for dropping Harriet's book in the toilet, he and Jenn stood at the door ready to go home. Harm smiled sheepishly again and said, "I'm really sorry about the book, Harriet."
"It's okay, sir!" Harriet chuckled. "It wasn't that bad. We'll just let it air dry and see how it goes. Besides, I'm just glad AJ didn't open the door while you were still...going."
"Heh, good thing," Harm laughed, still embarrassed.
"Did we learn a lesson tonight, Harm?" Mac teased, still having trouble wiping that grin off her face.
"Well, actually, I did," Harm nodded and everyone waited for an answer. Harm just smiled and said, "Every day, Americans flush 6.8 gallons of water down their toilets. Now if you ask me, that's a waste of water!"