This is the sequel to 'Buried Secrets' and will make little sense unless you've read that one. Both were written some time back (pre 'Second Sight'), which is why certain things that we now know about Mac's mother are ignored.

Buried Secrets II: Digging for Truth
By Donna

Harm readjusted his position in the chair. It was a very comfortable chair, almost too comfortable. He kept nodding off.

Tonight, though, he needed to stay awake.

Tonight, he was standing guard over his partner and best friend.

He looked across at her sleeping peacefully on the couch. He smiled at the picture before him. She looked so sweet and trusting. How could anyone hurt her in the ways that she had been hurt?

As he watched, a frown creased her forehead and he quickly moved to her side. She started to struggle slightly as her nightmare came again. Instinctively, he reached out and took her hand in his. With his other hand, he started rubbing her back lightly. When she tensed slightly, he started singing softly to her. It was a song he remembered faintly from his childhood. He wondered if anyone had ever sung little Sarah a lullaby.

After a few minutes, she relaxed and snuggled back into her blanket, still clutching his hand. He smiled and rearranged the blanket around her and then shifted his own position to where he was leaning sideways against the couch looking towards her face. He leaned his head against the cushion, enjoying the warm feel of her hand nestled in his and the trust it indicated.


The next thing he was aware of was the morning sunlight streaming across his face.

He turned over and realized that he was lying on the floor next to Mac's couch, her blanket now over him and a pillow under his head. He could hear her talking softly in the background and smell the aroma of coffee brewing nearby. He sat up slowly.

'You are getting entirely too old to be sleeping on the floor, Rabb,' he thought to himself with a shake of his head.

He looked around to locate his partner. She was stalking the floor, scribbling notes furiously on a legal pad as she spoke into the phone. Her wet hair and fresh clothing testified that she had already had her morning shower and the notepad was already half full, so he figured she had been up for a while. He had hoped that she would sleep late today, but apparently her internal clock wouldn't allow that.

From all appearances, though, what sleep she had gotten had completely revitalized her. Her voice was strong and no nonsense, but without the sharp edge it had taken on of late and her face, when she looked towards him was relaxed and excited. He sighed with relief at the spark in her eyes.

She tucked the phone under her chin to speak to him.

"Sleeping late this morning, Rabb?"

"It's only..." He looked over at the clock. "Eight o'clock."

"Eight oh four. The day's half gone, you sluggard."

He smiled back at her and got up to head towards the kitchen.

"I hope there's coffee in there and that's not just some new perfume you're wearing to get a poor man's hopes up."

"Coffee's in the pot, milk's in the 'fridge...it's real Marine coffee, so you'll probably have to dilute it."

Harm laughed and gave her arm a quick squeeze as he walked past.

"Welcome back, Mac."

She put her hand on his before he could withdraw it and looked up into his eyes.

"Thanks, Harm, for listening and for ...everything."

"You know I'm always here for you. If there's anything I can do to help you with this, let me know."

She nodded, then returned her attention to the phone as the person on the other end returned.

"Yes, I know it's Saturday, but I still really need those records immediately."

Harm patted her arm again and resumed his trip to the kitchen.


Monday morning, the two stood at attention in the Admiral's office.

"At ease," the Admiral said, without even looking up.

"What have you two been up to over the weekend?"

Harm and Mac exchanged a puzzled look before Harm answered for both of them.

"Sir?"

"I got a call this morning from a Detective Wyatt with the police department in some little town in California. He wanted to thank me for the help I was sending on his case."

He finally looked up at the two officers standing in front of him.

"Now, I had no idea what he was talking about and couldn't find any record of any case we were involved in out in that area, so of course I immediately thought of the two of you."

"I can explain, Sir," Harm started to say.

"You'd better, Commander, and it had better be good."

Mac interrupted.

"Actually, Sir, I should probably explain, since I'm the one that talked to him."

"All right, Major, you explain."

"First of all, I didn't really tell him that JAG was involved, I just mentioned that I worked here."

"And let him assume..." the Admiral asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes, Sir, I suppose so."

She heaved a sigh and Harm started to pick up her story. A quick warning look from her convinced him to keep his mouth shut.

Admiral Chegwidden noticed the sigh and the look that passed between the two officers and knew that this was something important.

"Major, Commander, why don't you both have a seat and tell me what's going on here."


When she had finished, the Admiral sat back in his seat, stunned by what he had just heard. He knew that Mac's childhood had been pretty bad, but this was the first time he had ever heard her speak of it. The look on her face showed how hard it had been for her to share something so very personal. He thought for a moment about the best way to handle this.

"Well, since the body was discovered on what was once military property, it seems that we do have some obligation to assist with the investigation, especially as you have information that may be relevant to the case. Let me make a few phone calls, but I seriously doubt anyone will fight us for jurisdiction on this one. Can you be prepared to head out there this afternoon?"

"Yes, sir."

"Very well. You're both dismissed."

They rose and snapped to attention.

As they left, Mac turned back to look at him.

"Thank you, Sir."

"Good luck, Major. I hope you find your answers."


"It's nice to finally get some help from the military on this," Detective Wyatt told them. "I've asked them three times and have always been told that they couldn't be sure that this would be under their jurisdiction. The body was found on one of their old bases! Of course it's their jurisdiction!"

Harm tried to soothe the man. "Well, Detective, like everyone else, we're short staffed and I think that their concern has been over whether it would be the best use of resources to work on an old case that may or may not have involved military personnel. There were plenty of civilians that had access to the base as well, and since it closed, anyone could get in and out without too much trouble."

"In other words, she's not that important to them."

Harm felt Mac stiffen next to him.

The police officer continued. "But I do understand. I'm just a little frustrated because a twenty-year old murder case isn't real easy for me either. I just thought they might have more resources than I do."

"So, you've been able to determine a time of death?"

"As much as possible, after this long. Our coroner says that she had probably been there about twenty years. The cause of death was a blow to the head. He said she most likely struck a solid object."

"Like a wall," Mac interjected softly.

"Like a wall," Wyatt agreed.

"Anything else?" Harm asked.

"Not really. Female, most likely in her late twenties or very early thirties, evidence of repeated abuse. From all appearances, she was your classic victim of domestic violence. Many times, women in relationships like this have been completely cut off from their families and friends, so that no one might notice if she had disappeared."

He shrugged sadly.

"We may never know the truth."

Harm looked over to where Mac sat stiffly in her chair. She looked over at him, a frightened little girl look crossing her face before quickly disappearing again.

Not quickly enough, though.

"Do you know something about Kelly?" the detective asked, his posture suddenly alert, his eyes fastened on the two across his desk.

"Kelly?"

"We don't believe in 'Jane Doe' around here. Too impersonal. I repeat: do you know something?"

Harm looked at Mac; Mac looked down at the file in her lap.

"Maybe."

She took a deep breath and looked quickly to Harm, then to the Detective.

"My Dad was a marine also. We lived on this base for a couple of years back when I was a kid. We were here when my mother disappeared."

Wyatt frowned at her.

"Why wasn't this reported?"

"At the time, my father told me that she had walked out. I know that she had planned to leave. We had even packed our bags, but he came back before we left."

Harm got up and walked over to stand behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders in an offer of silent support.

She paused a moment to draw strength.

"My father was prone to violent outbursts. When he caught us, they got into a screaming match in the living room. I got in the way and got thrown up against a wall for it. I blacked out and when I came to, Dad said that Mom had gone ahead and left without me. I never even thought to doubt him until I saw the story about this in the newspaper."

Wyatt smiled at her sympathetically. "Of course not. We don't expect our parents to lie to us."

She smiled a 'thank you' to him and handed him the slim manila file she had been holding.

"This has copies of her medical records, dental records, and some other information that the military keeps on dependents. I know there's not a whole lot there, but my dad wasn't much for doctors."

"Most abusers aren't."

He regretted the words when he saw her look away in embarrassment.

He stood up. "I'll get these files down to our forensics department. Fortunately, things are pretty quiet around here right now, so I'll ask them to rush this through. We should have a pretty good idea whether or not it's her in the next day or two."


Mac spent most of the next two days either out running or pacing the floors.

"I don't know why it's so hard to wait. I've waited almost twenty years to know what happened, another couple of days shouldn't matter."

Harm watched her from the chair in his hotel room. He had long since given up trying to get her to relax.

"I think it's so hard because it has been so long. You're not even sure if you really want to know."

"Of course I want to know. Why wouldn't I want to know?"

He stood in her path, forcing her to meet his gaze.

"Because you probably have some old childhood fantasy about her coming back into your life and setting everything right with a wave of her magic wand."

She snorted. "All of my childhood fantasies died years ago."

She looked away a moment and then looked back up at him.

"How did you know?" she asked softly.

His reply was simple and telling.

"Dad."

At that instant, the phone rang and Mac dove to answer it.

"Detective Wyatt...yes...yes...of course...we'll be right there."

She hung up and looked over at Harm.

"They have the results?"

She nodded. "I guess this is it."

She looked down at her sweats. "I should probably change first."

"Meet in the lobby in five minutes?"

She flashed him a nervous grin.

"You can be ready in five minutes? I'll believe it when I see it."

"You'd better get out of here, or you're going to see a whole lot more than you bargained for, Mac," he countered, starting to undress.

Mac beat a hasty retreat.

"Don't threaten me like that."


Less than an hour later, the two sat waiting in the Detective's office. Wyatt's secretary had told them that he would be with them momentarily. Mac paced the small office while Harm did his best to stay out of her way.

"Where is he? He said he needed to talk to me."

The door opened.

"Sorry to have kept you waiting," Wyatt commented as he walked around the desk to take his seat.

"No problem," Harm told him. "We weren't waiting very long."

"Seventeen minutes, twenty three seconds," Mac muttered under her breath.

Wyatt looked at her, then down at his watch, then over at Harm.

Harm shrugged.

"She won't tell me."

He looked down at the file on his desk and then back up at Mac.

"It's her, isn't it?"

"Actually, Major, it isn't."

Mac was taken aback. "Are you sure?"

He nodded. "The dental charts were quite clearly different. These are definitely two different women."

He looked at her. "That's good news, isn't it?"

She smiled slightly, not really sure herself. "I suppose it is, except that it still leaves Kelly without an identity."

'And you without a mother,' Harm thought to himself.

"Not exactly," Wyatt informed them. "In his detailed comparison, the coroner noticed some dental work that Kelly had had done. He mentioned it to one of his friends who just happens to have been the dentist in this town for the last fifty years. He did some digging through his files and came up with an identification for us."

He handed Harm a file.

"Her name was Carolyn Foster. Her husband was a delivery driver for the company that had the base produce contract. We talked to her doctor. Her medical file isn't very thick either, but there were several matches for Kelly's most severe injuries. When we arrested her husband, he didn't even bother to deny anything. He was angry that she was still interfering with his life after all these years."

He shook his head, completely unable to understand the man.

Harm handed him back the file with a deep sigh of his own.

Mac started to stand. "Well, I guess we should be getting out of your way now."

The Detective cleared his throat.

"There's something else you should know."

They both looked at him curiously.

He picked up the phone and pressed the intercom button.

"Send him in, please."

Harm and Mac turned as the door opened to admit another man. He was tall and solid, the heavy gray streaks in his thick hair the only evidence of his age. He nodded to them before walking around to stand next to Wyatt.

"This is Agent Michael Cooper with the FBI. Agent Cooper, Major Sarah MacKenzie and Lt. Commander Harmon Rabb."

"What does the FBI have to do with this woman's murder?"

Wyatt and Cooper looked at each other before Wyatt proceeded.

"My first step in trying to establish a link between Kelly and your mother was to run the fingerprints you gave me through the national computer. I figured that if she had been fingerprinted in the last twenty years, then she couldn't possibly be our victim. There wasn't anything recent, but my check did turn up a match in an old FBI file."

Agent Cooper picked up the story. "The fingerprints were a match for someone we had been wanting to question in a case from about thirty years ago."

"What kind of case?" Mac asked.

"A kidnapping."

He opened a file he carried, though the details of the case were burned in his mind. He kept his gaze locked on Mac's as he continued.

"On May 10th, 1968, a three day old baby girl was kidnapped from a hospital in San Francisco, California. The only clue we had to work with was a set of fingerprints on the incubator the girl was taken from. We were never able to get a match on those prints...until now."

He noted the shocked look on her face.

"Why would my mother kidnap a baby? I was born a couple of days after that. Maybe that's why she was in the hospital. Maybe she was checking out the facilities, thinking about having her baby there. Lots of women do that, you know."

"The baby was not in an area where visitors would have been allowed."

"Besides," Mac continued, intent on her own reasoning, "What would she have done with this baby if she did take it? She was just about to have her own."

"There's more," Cooper continued. "When the news went out about the baby's disappearance, we had a witness come forward. A woman who lived in one of the shelters near there told us that a woman had approached her the day before to ask her about buying her baby. This woman told her that she had lied to her boyfriend that she was pregnant so that he would marry her before he shipped out for basic training. He was coming home in a few days for the baby's birth and she needed a baby to show him. We had the witness sit down with one of our sketch artists to come up with a composite of the suspect."

He took a sheet of paper from his folder and laid it on the desk next to a photo of Mac's mother.

Mac refused to even look at the two, but Harm did. The resemblance was uncanny.

"She was pregnant with me," Mac repeated forcefully.

"Unlikely," Wyatt interjected. "Your mother's medical file doesn't reflect any treatment associated with pregnancy or childbirth."

"Then it's obviously incomplete! My mother would never have done what you're suggesting!" By now, Mac was on her feet leaning across the desk, her voice quiet, but intense as she glared at the two law enforcement officers.

Harm stood and put a hand on her shoulder.

"Mac..."

She jerked away and turned her anger on him.

"Don't try to calm me down, Harm! They're wrong about this! She would not have taken some one else's child! Why would she? She was about to have her own!"

"Mac, she lied to your father about being pregnant."

"Why would she have done that?"

"She wanted him to marry her, I guess."

"Why? It's not like he was any prize catch."

"I don't know, Mac. I didn't know your mother."

"You're right. You didn't. And neither did they. She wasn't the kind of person who would do something like that. She was always warning me to be careful...not to let someone grab me or anything like that..."

She was looking into his eyes now, pleading with him to agree with her, to tell the detectives that it simply wasn't possible.

"Everyone even said how much I looked like her..."

"Mac, people see what they want to see. I've had more than a few people tell me how much I look like Frank!"

He watched her internal struggle.

"It's just not possible. They're wrong."

"Okay, then let's prove it." He looked over at Cooper. "Surely there's a way of determining if she really is this kidnapped girl."

Cooper nodded. "Both parents are still alive so it won't be a problem to do a DNA comparison."

All three men watched as Mac struggled with her thoughts. Her head was full of confusion.

'It's bad enough to think that my mom left me with an abusive father, but the idea that she had snatched a helpless infant from someone else...
From someone who would have loved and protected me?
From someone who was still searching for me after all this time?
NO...someone who is searching for their child...but it's not me!
I'm not that baby girl, I'm Sarah MacKenzie and I'm strong.
I don't belong to their family...I don't need a family...I don't need anyone...'

She faltered as she looked up into the eyes of her partner and best friend. He smiled down at her and squeezed her hand. She had to admit to herself that even if she didn't really NEED them, certain people were certainly nice to have around.

"You need to know, Mac, and so do these people."

She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders, her decision made.

"All right. I'll do it."

Harm smiled and nodded.

After some discussion, Agent Cooper picked up the phone and made the arrangements to have the DNA testing done at the FBI labs in Washington.


A few days later, Harm noticed the small bandage on the inside of her arm.

"Had the test done, huh?"

She looked down at her arm.

"Yeah. They said that the results would probably take a couple of weeks."

"Did you talk to Matt about all this?"

Even though she had never mentioned it, Harm knew that one of her biggest concerns was about hurting her Uncle's feelings.

She nodded. "He's the one that really convinced me that I should go through with it. Believe it or not, I seriously considered skipping out."

She looked up to gage his reaction.

He nodded slowly. "That's understandable." He grinned suddenly. "Most Marines prefer spilling someone else's blood to shedding their own."

"I will admit, sometimes I'm strongly tempted to shed some blood around here."

They grinned at each other.

She got serious again. "He said that I had to know the truth, for everyone's sake. It wouldn't matter to him whether we are blood relatives or not. We're tied together by something much stronger and that nothing will ever change that. He even told me that he had had some questions when his sister told him about me. The timing of her pregnancy seemed just a little too convenient since she and her boyfriend had been having problems. He told me that my..." She paused a moment before continuing. "My mom had some pretty unsavory friends.... the type of friends who might be willing and able to forge documents like a birth certificate."

She suddenly smiled again. "He also told me I should probably look into retaining you as my attorney, just in case I've been living under an assumed name for the last thirty years."

He smiled back, not bothering to wonder why her smiles always made him feel so good. "Let's see...your enlistment wouldn't be legal, your law degree, any legal documents you've signed..."

She interrupted.

"My marriage, my murder trial, my article 32 hearing...hey, maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing after all. "

A strange look crossed her face and she got quiet again.

Harm felt the mood shift and walked over to stand next to her at the window.

"What are you thinking?"

She paused a moment before speaking, her eyes never leaving the tree outside her office window.

"It would be horrible for them, though. How would you feel to find out that your daughter had done the things that I've done?"

"What? That she had become a decorated officer in the United States Marine Corps, had earned her law degree and become a hellion in the courtroom all in addition to being a bright, relatively attractive though mysteriously tattooed, sometimes funny member of the human race."

"Harm, you know what I mean." She turned to look at him. "I've made some major mistakes in my life. I'm sure that when these people have thought about their daughter, she hasn't been anything like me."

Harm looked her straight in the eye. "Yes, you've made some mistakes. Who hasn't? But you have also got a lot in your life to be proud of. You've come a long way considering what you started with. If anyone...parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or cousins...has a problem with who you are then it's their problem. Personally, I would be as proud to have you as family as I am to have you as a friend."

She searched his eyes, finding only truth. She smiled at him. "Thanks, partner. Let's just hope they feel the same way."

Suddenly, her eyes went wide.

"What's wrong?"

"Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins...do you really think I might have that much family?"

Harm couldn't resist teasing her. "Yeah...you've probably got one of those huge families that has to rent the local gymnasium for their get togethers."

He had to laugh at the panicked expression on her face.


The next day, Harm knocked on the door of Agent Cooper's office. The agent rose to shake his hand.

"Commander Rabb. If you're here about your friend's test results, they're not back yet. It'll probably be another week or so."

"I know. I was just wondering what you can tell me about this family."

Cooper motioned Harm into the chair across his desk.

"Absolutely nothing. Case records are confidential. Why do you ask?"

Harm thought a moment, staring at his hands before responding.

"I don't know how much you know about my partner..."

He paused, letting the question hang.

"I probably know more about her than even you do, Commander. When Detective Wyatt gave me the details about the case you were working on with him, I dug up everything I could find on Major Sarah MacKenzie."

"Then you know that she has had some problems in her past. She's concerned that if it turns out that she really is this girl her family won't want anything to do with her because of it."

Cooper sighed and leaned back in his chair.

"First off, there's no doubt in my mind that she's our missing girl. The first photo I saw of her convinced me of that."

"Strong family resemblance?" Harm asked.

"Very. Secondly, I know these people pretty well. This was one of the first cases that I was assigned to when I became an agent. My wife and I had just had our first child...a little girl. She was born on the same day as this one," he said, tapping the case file sitting on the corner of his desk.

"As I've watched my Cherie grow up, I can't help thinking about this case and how these people have been cheated out of that with their daughter. Even though there hasn't really been anything to report, I've made an effort to stay in touch with them, just so they'd know that they hadn't been forgotten. These are really good people, Commander. They've gotten very active in missing persons groups, do volunteer work in shelters and prisons and the like. They have this mindset that helping others helps to heal the hurt. They're a very loving, accepting family and would be thrilled to have her back even if she was turning tricks on the streets of New York City. It's the not knowing that drives you nuts."

He waited a moment for that to sink in.

"Furthermore, I'm sure you've noticed that your friend is a remarkable young lady. She's made some mistakes, shown some poor judgement from time to time, but overall, she has really done well. She came out of a pretty horrific situation and, with a little help from her uncle, turned herself into very special person."

The agent took note of the smile lighting up his companion's face.

"Yeah, I've kind of noticed that."

"I really think that her family will be very proud of her...and you can tell her I said so," Cooper grinned back.

"Thanks. You've helped to put my mind at ease." Harm rose to leave and the agent followed him to the door.

"Glad to help."

Harm stopped. "You said that you had done a lot of research on her..."

Cooper nodded.

"Did you turn up anything about a tattoo?"

The agent laughed loudly.

"Oh, boy, did I ever!"

"I don't suppose..."

"Sorry, Commander. Classified information."


A week later, Harm and Mac were leaving the morning meeting when PO Tiner approached.

"Major, there's a gentleman waiting for you in your office. An Agent Cooper with the FBI."

She froze for a moment before responding.

"Thank you, Tiner."

After he left, she looked up at Harm.

"Surely he doesn't have the test results already? He said it would be a couple of weeks before they were ready."

Harm shrugged. "Maybe they were slow and were able to push them through faster than they thought they would be able to."

"I don't know if I'm ready for this yet."

"Mac, you've been going nuts these last few days. You've been telling me that it doesn't matter what happens, you just want to know."

"And you believed that?"

He smiled and patted her on the shoulder.

"Yeah, I believed that. That's one of the things we have in common, Partner. We prefer to deal with the truth, no matter how bad it might be, than to wonder."

She nodded and took a deep breath.

"Guess it's time to find out how bad it really is."

He squeezed her shoulder.

"Everything will be fine, Mac. Agent Cooper said that these are good people."

"Thanks, Harm."

She walked to her office door and stood there a moment before entering.

Harm went to his own office and put his files down. He wavered for a moment, trying to gauge Mac's feelings.

Would she prefer her privacy for this or would she want someone with her?

Surely, if she wanted him there, she would have asked him.

No she wouldn't have.

He quickly went over and poked his head in her door.

"Harm," Mac hoped the relief wasn't evident on her face. She really didn't want to face this alone, but he had already done so much for her she hated to ask.

"I know this isn't any of my business, but I'd really like to be here...if that's okay with everyone."

Cooper just smiled. He had figured that the Commander would be at his partner's side when he broke the news.

"I guess you should be," Mac told him. "After all, you've been involved in this from the beginning. You deserve to know what's going on."

Mac took a seat in her chair and looked across the desk at the Agent.

Harm positioned himself where he could see her face.

Cooper cleared his throat and smiled at both of them.

"The results are positive. You are definitely the same girl who was kidnapped from the hospital in San Francisco."

Without a word, Mac turned her chair so that she could look out the office window.

Her mind was awhirl with conflicting emotions.

Relief at finally knowing the truth.

Anger at her mother for what she had done.

And fear.

Fear of the unknown. Cooper had assured her that the family would not hold her past against her, that they would accept her, regardless of what she had done. She knew it was possible, but in her experience, people like that were rare.

A hand on her shoulder drew her back.

Of course, she already had a couple of people like that in her life.

She nodded at Harm, letting him know that she was all right and looked over at the Agent.

"Okay. What's next?"

Cooper leaned forward and lay the file on her desk.

"That's entirely up to you, Major MacKenzie."

"Have you told them yet?"

He nodded. "They live in the DC area. I went by their house on my way here. I told them that we had positively identified you and that you were alive and well. That's all. I told them that since you are a legal adult, I couldn't release any more information about you without your permission. They are very anxious to meet you, but they understand that this is probably a shock to you and they want you to take the time you need to deal with it. They said that I could give you any information you want about them and then you can get in touch with them when you're ready."

She Mac nodded and reached over to take the file. She hated the way her hand shook, but no one commented.

"They also wanted me to tell you that they love you, no matter what, and that you have been in their thoughts and prayers every day of your life."

Mac couldn't stop the tear that rolled down her face.

She touched the thick file on the desk in front of her. She was almost afraid to open it. Instead, she looked back to the man across the desk.

"Tell me about them."

"James is retired now. He was a Navy SEAL, served overseas during Vietnam. He says he saw more than he ever wanted to see over there, so after his discharge, he went to school, got his CPA. He worked at several different firms there in San Francisco before being transferred to an office here in DC in the early eighties. Anna was his childhood sweetheart. They got married right out of high school, right before he went into the service. She spent her time raising kids and writing mystery novels. Did a pretty good job at both. They both do a lot of work with The Missing Persons Clearinghouse...they're heavily involved with their support network for the families that have been left behind. They also help out with an intervention program for troubled teens...a sort of a mentor program. He's involved with the athletic programs, she teaches a creative writing workshop. They're doing a lot of good with these kids."

Mac thought about her own troubled teen years and about how much a program like that could have helped her. She also thought about all the journals and notebooks she had filled up over the years with her writings. Being the daughter of a writer could account for that.

"What about brothers or sisters?"

He nodded.

"You were one of six kids. You have an older brother, Jason, an older sister, Elizabeth, a younger brother, Timothy, and a younger sister named Grace."

He paused, chewing his lip for a moment.

"That's only four...you said there were six of us..."

It was obviously hard for him to go on.

"You had another sister, but she was murdered a few years ago. Her name was Diane, and she was your twin."

Cooper had expected a reaction, but nothing like the one he got.

Mac froze, her face going white, while Harm had to find a chair and sit before his legs collapsed.

"Diane...Schonke?" she asked, her voice barely a whisper and her eyes locked on his face.

He nodded, puzzled by their reaction.

"Yeah...Diane and Denise Shonke. You were identical twins."

Mac looked over at Harm, his eyes still glazed as he tried to process this new information.

Cooper looked over at him and the pieces fell into place.

"Her murder was finally solved a year or so ago by an old friend, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy. That was you, wasn't it, Rabb?"

Harm finally blinked his eyes and looked over at the agent, then at Mac.

They both shivered slightly at the realization.

"Yes, that was me...with a helping hand from my partner."

They continued to stare at each other, almost as if they were alone.

"You helped bring your sister's killer to justice."

"Harm...when you showed me that picture...the letters...I felt...something..."

She struggled to find the words.

"A connection," he supplied gently.

"A connection...a presence...a sense of foreboding...I just put it down to the weather and to what happened later...do you think..."

He shrugged. "There have been thousands of studies about it, but they still can't explain the connections that sometimes happen between identical twins, even if they're separated at birth."

Cooper felt himself shiver as he interrupted.

"I know that Diane used to have some pretty odd mood swings. Her parents say she would start crying silently or get really quiet and go off to her room. When they'd ask her what was wrong, she'd just say 'Denise is hurting'. A psychologist told them that it was just her way of seeking attention, but they always thought there was more to it than that."

The room was silent as all three contemplated what was happening.

Finally, Mac spoke softly.

"Agent Cooper, can you set up a meeting for me with my parents?"

He nodded, unable to trust his own voice.

"Tell them I'd like to meet them at Diane's grave."


While he made the arrangements, Mac and Harm went to speak to the Admiral. He was stunned by the story and quickly approved Mac's request for some time off.

"Take as much time as you need, Major. Things are pretty slow around here right now anyway."

He looked expectantly at Harm.

"Did you have a request to make also, Mr. Rabb?"

Harm looked at him in surprise.

"Actually, Sir, I do."

Chegwidden had to suppress a grin.

'Do I know my people or what?!'

He raised his eyebrows, waiting.

Harm looked quickly at Mac, then back to the Admiral.

"If it's not a problem, Sir, I'd like to request some time off also, to accompany the Major. If that's alright with you, Mac."

He glanced over to see her nod quickly.

"As you said, Sir, it's pretty slow around here right now and we're all kind of tripping over each other trying to find things to keep busy. I'm sure you wouldn't mind having us out of your hair for a few days..."

He stopped suddenly, his gaze moving to the Admiral's bare scalp.

"And besides," he continued quickly, "I already know the Schonke's and my being there might help to make things a little smoother for all of them."

He sputtered to a stop again.

Chegwidden ran his hand over his head.

"Smoother, huh?"

He waited for a moment, wondering just how red Rabb's face could get before he exploded...or how long Mac could bottle up her laughter before she exploded.

"Permission granted. But keep your cell phone on you so that we can reach you immediately should the need arise."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

"You're both dismissed."

They snapped to attention and turned to leave.

"Major, could I speak with you a moment in private?"

Throwing her a questioning look, Harm exited, closing the door softly behind him.

Mac stood at attention as the Admiral came around his desk.

"At ease, Mac. Have a seat."

He sat down facing her.

"How are you doing with this? I can't tell you I know how you feel...I can't even imagine how you feel right now..."

"Somewhat shell shocked, sir."

"Understandable. In the matter of a couple of weeks, your life has been turned completely upside down. Your most basic knowledge of who you are has turned out to be a lie."

She chewed her lip a moment, staring past him.

"My parents...the MacKenzies...may not have been the greatest of families, but they were my family. I knew where I came from, how I started out, and now all of that doesn't matter anymore. I have to start over again with a whole new set of people; people who have a completely different picture of me in their mind. I have to see the disappointment in their eyes when I tell them the truth about myself."

"Mac, listen to me." He waited until her eyes met his.

"This doesn't change anything about who you are or where you came from. You are still the same person you were before, the person you made of yourself. Whether the raw materials for that person came from the MacKenzies or from the Schonkes, you still took it and made it into you. You've come a long way, Major. I know that from your service record, but also just from the time I've had the privilege of being your commanding officer. Now, you're passing that strength on to kids like Chloe. I think your parents will be very proud of you."

"That's what Harm and Agent Cooper said, too."

"Well, I can tell you something that Harm can't. After Marcella and I divorced, I didn't get to see nearly as much of Francesca as I would have liked to have. She's made a whole lot of decisions that I don't understand and some that I wouldn't necessarily approve, but nothing ever has or ever could change the fact that I love her with all my heart and would willingly give my life for her. I'd be willing to bet your parents will be the same."

They sat in silence until the phone on the Admiral's desk buzzed.

"Sir," Tiner's voice called, "You have a call on line one. It's the SecNav."

"Put him through, Tiner."

He sighed and looked at Mac.

"Have to take that one."

She nodded and they both stood.

"Thank you, Sir."

"You're welcome, Major. They'll be as lucky to have you as we are here at JAG."

She smiled weakly as she headed for the door.

"I hope they feel the same way."

"So do I, Mac...so do I," he answered softly to the closed door.


Needless to say, the Schonkes were quite eager to meet with their long missing child, so it had been no problem for Agent Cooper to set up the meeting for early the next morning. When Harm arrived at her apartment building, she was already outside, pacing the sidewalk.

"Do you want to stop somewhere and get something to eat?" he asked as she slipped into the passenger seat.

She shook her head quickly.

"Please, don't even mention food to me. I doubt there'd even be room for it with all the butterflies already in my stomach."

Harm started to make a flip remark about her unusual lack of appetite, but a quick glance at her pale face and compressed lips convinced him to hold his tongue. Instead, he reached over and took her hand, squeezing it gently.

No words were spoken, but she understood his message and squeezed back.

The drive to the cemetery was far too short, from Mac's point of view. When they arrived, she just sat there, staring out the front window as she clutched the bag she had brought with her.

"I don't know if I can do this, Harm."

"You don't have to if you don't want to. Just give the word and we'll keep on driving. If we go too far, I may have to borrow some gas money, but it's entirely up to you."

She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the seat.

"You know these people, Harm. What are they really like?"

He turned to look at her.

"They are really good people, Mac. There's a long line of military people on both sides of the family, mostly Navy, a few Marines, so you'll fit right in."

He saw her smile slightly.

"From what Diane told me, her dad was pretty strict, but there was a lot of love in their household. Expectations were always clearly laid out, as were the consequences of breaking the rules. Once, she ran out of gas because she had neglected to fill the tank after she had used the family car the day before. Her dad made her spend a Saturday taking the engine apart to see what happens when you run the tank dry. Then, she had to fix it and put it back together again. Of course, he helped her, but she said she certainly learned to watch the gas gauge."

Mac nodded.

"My dad...Joe...would have just smacked me."

Harm waited while she pulled herself together. Finally, she looked over at him.

"Let's go."

In the early morning hours, the cemetery was still and quiet. Side by side, Harm and Mac strolled among the markers, stopping occasionally to read the inscriptions. Finally, they reached their destination, a simple gray stone bearing Diane's name and rank, the dates, and a single rose.

Mac spoke softly.

"Harm, I don't know whether I've told you how much I appreciate what you've done for me."

"I haven't done anything."

"Yes, you have. You've been here. With the exception of Uncle Matt, no one has ever even done that much for me. Even if this meeting with my family is a wash, this experience has shown me what a wonderful friend you are."

He put his arm around her and gave her a quick hug.

"You've made it easy. Oh, by the way...I talked to my Mom last night. She wanted me to tell you that if this thing with the Schonkes doesn't work out, she and Frank will be more than happy to adopt you. Of course, that would mean..."

"I'd have you for a brother! Thanks, but no thanks."

She laughed and Harm joined in.

Their laughter carried across the quiet grounds to a trio heading towards them. At the sound, the woman stopped suddenly and grasped her husband's hand. He looked down at her with a knowing smile and swallowed a lump in his own throat. Agent Cooper touched her on the shoulder and she took his hand in her other. After a moment, she took a deep breath and nodded.

Harm's laugh died away and Mac noticed him looking at a spot behind her.

His blue eyes met her brown ones as he took her hands in his and a soft smile settled on his face.

"Ready, Marine?"

She basked in his gaze and his touch for another instant before taking a deep breath of her own. As she nodded, she pulled her hands from his.

Harm understood. She needed to do this on her own.

And she would.

But he would be right there watching her six.

James and Anna Schonke and Agent Cooper walked up to the two JAG officers.
Cooper made the introductions.

"James, Anna, I believe you already know Commander Rabb?"

Harm didn't feel insulted that they never even looked in his direction. Neither one of them could take their eyes off of his partner.

"And this," he indicated Mac, "Is Major Sarah MacKenzie of the United States Marine Corps. She's also an attorney with the JAG office."

Mac carefully studied the two people who had provided her genes. There was no doubt who she took after. James had the dark eyes, hair and complexion associated with those of Middle Eastern heritage. Her build, though, was from her mother. Anna stood tall and slender, her clear blue eyes fastened on the young woman before her. The morning sunlight picked up the highlights in her honey blonde hair.

It was obvious that the Schonkes wanted nothing more than to take her in their arms but settled for handshakes.

Mac studied the two people standing before her, trying to sort out the millions of emotions whirling through her.

There was a moment of awkward silence before James laughed softly.

Everyone turned to look at him.

"You've certainly changed."

"You think so?" Mac asked, her nervous smile matching his.

He looked at her closely before responding.

"Yup. You're just a little bit taller and I think you've got more hair now than you did the last time I saw you."

"I don't know about the hair," Anna said. "She was born with a head full of hair."

She pulled a framed photo out of her purse.

"This is the only picture we had," she told Mac as she handed it over.

The photo was taken in a hospital room. It showed a tired but very happy Anna sitting on the bed holding a tiny baby in one arm. Next to her, James cuddled another pink bundle. Both girls sported masses of dark hair, and the one in their father's arms was obviously screaming.

"I've got Diane, your...James is holding you."

"Figures," Harm muttered softly.

James told her, "In those days, they wouldn't let other kids into the hospital rooms, so we took that picture so that your older brother and sister could see you."

"That would be Jason and Elizabeth, right?" Mac asked, looking up from the photo.

"Right. Liza was so excited about finally getting to be a big sister, especially since she was getting two little sisters at one time. Jason was a little disappointed that you were both girls, but I think he was excited, too. Of course, they did get a brother and another sister later on. I called all of them to tell them that you had been found and they're all looking forward to meeting you. Your Aunt Nora was ready to run out and rent a gymnasium so we could have a big party."

She didn't notice the smile that crossed Harm's face, but she did catch the look of panic on Mac's.

"Don't worry, though. I told her that this was a bit of a shock for everyone and that we are going to take it slow. Maybe in the next few days, you'll want to meet the other kids, then the rest of the relatives can come later. From what Mike told us, you're not used to a large family and we can be a bit overwhelming so we thought that would be best."

Realizing that she was babbling, Anna stopped and shook her head.

"Sorry."

"Please, tell me about them."

Anna moved to a nearby bench.

"You may all be used to standing for hours at a time, but I'm not."

She took a seat and took some photos out of her purse. She handed the first one to Mac, who looked into a serious but handsome face.

Brown hair, brown eyes, and olive complexion. A definite resemblance.

"Jason is our oldest. He had been the classic, annoying but overprotective big brother since the day Liza was born, but he got even more overprotective of her and Diane after...well, after what happened to you. He decided to follow the family tradition...joined the Navy right out of high school. He can't tell us too much about what he does, just that he's 'intelligence'. I imagine you know more about what that means than I do. I probably don't really want to know. He's stationed in Germany right now. He's got a lovely wife, Janice, and two little boys, Aaron, who's almost 6 years old and Jeffery, who just turned 4."

She was given another photo. This time, the man looked much less serious and much happier. He had an arm around a blonde woman and each of them was balancing a blond little boy on one hip.

The next photo showed a woman with the same dark hair, but sparkling blue eyes.

"That's Elizabeth. Everyone calls her Liza. She was born a couple of years after Jason. She served in the Peace Corps for a couple of years before going to college and getting her degree in archeology. I think she watched too many 'Indiana Jones' movies, but she loves it. She teaches out in California now, but is hoping to head to South America for a dig in another year or so to help with the excavation of an old Mayan temple down there. She says that the past serves to remind us of just how far we haven't come."

Mac glanced at both of the Schonkes as she reached out for the next picture. They were both glowing with pride at the achievements of their children.

A young man in camouflage sat astride a motorcycle grinning at the photographer.

"That's Timmy..."

She interrupted herself.

"Tim...He broke ranks by joining the Army, but it has certainly done wonders for him. He ran off with his girlfriend right out of high school. She turned out to be pretty heavily in the drug scene and they both got involved with a pretty rough crowd in New York. About two years later, James found him sitting on the front steps one Saturday morning. He said that he was trying to get up his courage to face us and ask to come home. His girlfriend had given birth to their son a few days earlier. He had been born addicted to cocaine and only lived for twelve hours."

The pain became too much and Anna had to stop.

James put his arm around her and picked up the story.

"That really shook him up, but when his girlfriend just shrugged and headed off to another party, it really woke him up. We spent the summer building that bike...he had gotten it for nothing from a neighbor. We talked about everything under the sun, but it sure shocked the hell out of me when he came home one night and told us that he had enlisted in the Army. Said that he thought the discipline would be good for him but the thought of joining the Navy made him seasick!"

Anna smiled up at her husband's mock indignation.

"And you spent the next month bragging to your buddies about your son who marched to the beat of his own drum."

James smiled. "Yeah, I guess I did."

He handed Mac the next photo.

"That's our Gracie."

Grace obviously took after her mother. Her hair was lighter as was her skin tone, and she had the same blue eyes as Liza.

"She came along unexpectedly about 10 years after Tim. She was a terror from day one. She knew exactly what she wanted and she knew exactly how to go about getting it. I think she pretty well had us all wrapped around her little finger. She was a little spoiled, but basically a good kid. She got excellent grades and was popular and active in school. Then when Diane was killed, she did a complete turn around. She idolized Diane, was planning on following her into the Navy. She was devastated. She withdrew from everyone, started skipping school, drinking, running around with a bad crowd. She ended up pregnant. Three days after her sixteenth birthday, she was in the hospital giving birth to her daughter. We hoped that the baby would help her to calm down, but after a couple of weeks, she took off again, leaving DeeDee behind."

"Diana Denise," Anna supplied.

"We didn't hear from her for about a year. Then we got a call from Liza that Gracie had turned up on her doorstep asking for help. She realized that she had a problem and wanted to start over. She's gotten her GED and is taking some college courses now and working full time at the youth crisis center. She has an apartment not too far from us and she comes over every day to spend time with DeeDee. She's dating a very nice young man, a lieutenant in the Navy. She was scared to death to tell him about her past problems, but he's been very understanding."

The next photo showed mischievous little girl of about two.

"That's DeeDee. She's smart as a whip and keeps us on the go round the clock."

"She looks just like Diane did at that age," Anna whispered softly.

"Just like you probably did."

A heavy silence descended.

Mac kneeled in front of Diane's tombstone.

"What was she like?"

"Like a spring breeze," her father answered.

Mac looked at him with a question in her eyes.

"She was quiet, and gentle, but always on the go, always thinking, wondering about some of the oddest things. She liked puzzles of every kind. When I went on business trips, I never wondered what to buy for her. It became a challenge for me to find the most difficult ones to bring home for her. She couldn't have been more than about 7 or so when I caught her downstairs at three o'clock in the morning. She said that she couldn't sleep until she finished some Chinese box puzzle that her uncle had gotten for her. She had that Rubik's cube thing figured out in a couple of hours. She wasn't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. She was human, she had her moods...but they tended to pass quickly."

"She could just walk through a room and make it feel brighter, but there was always something in her eyes...something sad...like she was missing something..."

"Or someone," Anna added.

"She used to talk about you sometimes. We could be in the middle of dinner or a family celebration or something and she would suddenly go quiet and get up and walk out. Even when she was little, before we explained to her about you, she would sometimes just withdraw. She said she hurt, inside."

There was a feeling in the air, almost like electricity, as James continued.

"The night of her high school graduation, we had a big party at the house for her and some of her friends. Everything was going wonderfully, she was laughing and talking, then all of a sudden, she went pale and froze. She dropped her glass and went running out the front door. I found her outside, curled up in the passenger seat of the car, tears pouring down her face. She was trembling so badly I had to carry her upstairs to her bedroom. She just kept whispering over and over 'He's dead...' It was a couple of weeks before she was really herself again. In fact, there were a couple of days there when we were ready to take her to the emergency room because she seemed so sick...trembling and sweating...I wondered if someone had spiked the punch and she was having a reaction to some kind of drug."

Mac turned to find him looking at her.

"I was in a car accident that night...a really bad one. My friend and I had been partying, following the booze. The road curved, we didn't. I don't know how I survived, but as we waited for the paramedics, I watched Eddie die."

Anna gasped in horror.

Mac continued.

"I was in the hospital for about a week. My Uncle Matt checked me out and took me out to the desert to dry out. I had the DT's pretty bad for a day or so."

"And she felt it."

"I know."

Mac looked at Diane's stone, running her fingers across the date. Reaching a decision, she reached in her bag and pulled out a cloth-covered book and a single white rose.

She laid the rose on the grave and handed the book to Anna.

"Open it to the bag with the rose petals in it."

Anna did so, and then looked up at her.

"Would you please read it?"

Anna cleared her throat and began to read.

"If someone had asked me a week ago if I believed in ghosts, I probably would have laughed in their face. Now, I'm not so sure.

Five days ago, at 4:34 in the morning, I woke up suddenly in the most excruciating pain that I have ever experienced. It took all my energy to crawl into the bathroom. I don't think I've thrown up so much I stopped drinking. My roommate found me in the floor, trembling with cold but covered in sweat. I was crying so hard, I couldn't have told her what was wrong even if I knew. She wanted to take me to the ER, but I convinced her to help me back to bed. The sharp pain had dulled, now I just felt raw and empty, as if some part of me had been torn away. I spent the whole weekend curled up in bed, either sleeping or crying.

I had never felt so alone...not even when Mom left or Eddie died or when Chris was sent away to prison. I felt alone, and I don't know why.

I don't know how I got through work...I guess I went to work...everything kind of runs together...I felt like I was looking at everything through a curtain. I think I told them that I was coming down with something.

I only wish I knew what.

I even wondered if I might be having a nervous breakdown.

Until this afternoon.

I was walking, trying to clear my head, I guess, when I suddenly found myself in a garden cemetery behind an old church. For the first time in almost a week, I felt peace. I sat down and closed my eyes, just breathing in the restful atmosphere of the place. As I sat there, the peace just flowed through me. The pain, the feeling of loss was still there, but the peace made it manageable.

I felt a hand on my shoulder...I know I did...but when I opened my eyes, I was still alone. On the bench next to me, a fresh white rose lay. As I picked it up, I swear I heard a laugh. It sounded just like mine, and I joined in."

Anna looked up, her eyes wide.

"This is dated the week Diane died."

No one spoke. No one could speak, and they wouldn't have known what to say if they could have.

Anna closed the book and kneeled down next to Mac, gently taking her hand.

"Denise...Sarah...Major...I have no idea what to even call you!"

Mac smiled. "My friends call me Mac."

"Mac." Anna smiled.

"Mac, tell us about yourself."

She took a deep breath and looked up at Harm. He nodded encouragement.

"It's alright, Mac."

Agent Cooper added a smile.

"Spill it, Marine."

And she did.

With her eyes glued to her sister's tombstone, Sarah MacKenzie spilled her life story: the beatings, the psychological and emotional abuse, the escape of alcohol, her marriage to Chris, the support that she had found in her Uncle Matt and in the Corps, her relationship with Farrow, law school, JAG, Dalton, Chris's return and subsequent murder...even her article 32 hearing and the Admiral's mast. In a military family, she could imagine no worse offense. She couldn't even bear to look up, knowing the hurt and disappointment she would see in their eyes.

Finally, a hand reached over and gently lifted her chin. Heedless of the tears on his own face, her father was gently wiping her cheek, drying his little girl's tears.

Their faces and their hands gripping hers said all the things that they couldn't find the words for.

Mac searched, but she could find no trace of anger or disappointment.

All she could see was pain for what she had gone through, and joy at finally having found her and love.

"I am so sorry you had to face that, sweetheart."

That simple sentence broke through the walls and Mac's tears began to fall in earnest as she finally allowed herself into the waiting arms of her parents.

In silent agreement, Agent Michael Cooper and Lt. Commander Harmon Rabb, Jr. decided to check out the other side of the cemetery, leaving the new family their privacy.

It was a close contest as to which had the bigger smile on his face

"I know it's been a long time coming, but I sure do love a happy ending to a case."
Harm nodded in agreement.

"And the happiest part is, this isn't the end."

***********************************************************************

The end.