Chapter 24 - Epilogue
December 24, 2069
Vietnam War Memorial
"Sometimes, I don't know why I keep coming." Harm pulled the glove off of his right hand and pressed his fingers to the cool marble before him.
Ever since leaving Washington in the spring of 2005, his trips to the Wall had been few and far between. It was just too much of a hassle to book flights and return home – wherever that was – in order to celebrate Christmas. Eventually, he decided on making trips every five years and had stuck to that routine until Mac reminded him that the centenial of Harmon Rabb Senior's disappearance would be that year.
"Because he's a part of you." Mac suggested and took her husband's other hand, threading her fingers through his. "He's the link to where your life started."
"All it does is bring up bad memories of my past." He lamented, wondering why he needed to torture himself this way. Christmas was about spending time with his family, not dredging up a past that was extremely burried. His family deserved any peace that they got. Things just seemed to go haywire ever since they'd left. . .
In 2005, Seth had decided to pull him and Mac out of Washington and the military. His thoughts of using a special serum that Pery had created that would force Harm to age fell to the wayside when members of The Order had cropped up again. This time, their forces were better organized and their new leader, Grant Channing, a former member of the Britsh Secret Service, had found a new method of desctruction. While torturing a rogue vampire Channing had realized the potentials of creating his own rogue army.
When he tried to persuade high ranking leaders that funded The Order, he was mocked and made to look like a fool. But there was one man, a US Senator who had the funding and the desire. The man's daughter had been attacked by a vampire and died as a result of blood loss. He had funded The Order so that justice would be served and, in the end, found nothing but sick indivisuals who only wanted to torture the creatures. With Channing, he found a man with a vision to eredicate the whole race.
Rumors of such a plan began bombarding The Collective in 2002 but the concept seemed ludicrious. Rogues were much too blood thirsty to forge any alliance with a mortal, and yet that was exactly the ocurrence. It forced the urgency for more Enforcers and the Cheateu was used as the training grounds with Harm and Gabriel leading the charge.
The war had been bloody and, at one point, Mac had been caught in the cross hairs. Channing had used The Order's past files to find that information had been documented by Harm, Mac and several other members. Catching her proved to be a difficult feat so he simply ordered a rogue to hunt her down. She had been attacked in Paris, left bleeding and with the horrible thoughts of what her death would surely do to Harm.
She had survived due to the kindness of a good samaritan and the mind control trickery that Seth had armed her with. However, a drug that the samaritan, a nurse, had injected her with had caused a comatose of sorts. It had taken her nearly a week to return to the Chateau and she almost arrived too late. Their connection assured Harm that she was alive, but with the drug in her system he was unable to find her. It took her several more days, with the help of Seth, to calm his rage.
Two weeks after that, the war had ended with only six casualities to The Collective. Most of the rogues had been killed and Channing was being held prisoner in order to extract information. Not wanting to make a mistake again, Seth ordered Channing killed once he gave up priceless information.
During the winter of 2004, before the war had started, Seth had finally managed to face his lifemate. The woman - now named Elizabeth Stanwood - had grieved the loss of her sick husband, who had passed a year prior, and was ready to begin life again. It was a chance meeting, Seth happened to be in London on business when he bumped into her. The touch was mystical and he could feel a pull that was irresistible and tempting. "I was wondering when you would come back for me." She remembered him and many parts of their life together.
While some memories were hazy, Elizabeth Standwood knew that she was someone else and that the life that had been given to her was not her own. She'd loved her husband and cared for him up until his death but seeing Seth across the room, some years back, had triggered odd dreams that kept her up at night. Somehow, she knew that she had a family somewhere else with a man that she loved more than life itself. All she had to do was be patient.
Elizabeth, or Ellie as she liked to be called, never really pieced together the parts of the past. It had been far too long. But, she embraced her new life and found a kindred spirit with Mac. The two helped eachother out as they made their full transmission from the mortal to the immortal world. Seth and Ellie were married four months later and opted to travel the world for several years before settling down at the Chateau.
Bud and Harriet remained at JAG Headquarters for a year after Harm and Mac left. In July of 2006 a promotion sent the Roberts' clan to San Diego where Bud became Chief Of Staff under Commander Meg Austin. His success in the courtroom and investigative procedures during one landmark case had skyrocketed his career.
Harm and Mac had kept in touch with the Roberts up until 2010 when AJ Roberts became curious as to why neither his godfather or godmother seemed to age. Harm had been holding off breaking ties with the Roberts until something monumental occurred. AJ's questions had been it. Up until that point, Bud and Harriet were under the impression that Harm had retired when his 20 years were up and that Mac's new billet had sent her to the US Embassy in France.
It was a charade that they couldn't continue any longer. Harm sat down with Bud and Harriet and explained to them what he and Mac were. As expected, Bud was thrilled and Harriet was bewildered that such beings could exist. Perhaps the happiest person was Mac who was glad to have her friends back in her life without secrets between them. Her happiness was short-lived, however, no more than three minutes later Harm blanked their existence from their minds. He then proceeded to do the same with the children, leaving only a small memory of a Commander and a Colonel that Bud once worked with. He pushed into their minds that they were never to search for them at any cost.
That night, Harm watched Mac cry herself to sleep, mourning the loss of two of the best friends she'd ever had. Having lived so many lives, Harm knew that this was the better method. He just couldn't live through a friend's death again and preferred to just erase himself fully out of Bud and Harriet's lives. It would be best for them, safer. To make sure that they would always be cared for, he anonymously created a trust fund for all four of the Roberts' kids. To insure that neither he nor Mac could be found, Harm, once again, changed his family name; this time from Rabb to Raber.
Several years later, Bud J. Roberts was selected as Judge Advocate General. After his commission, Harriet officially retired from the NAVY and set to work on foundations that benefited the families of military service members.
Along with Harm and Mac, AJ Chegwidden left the Navy in 2005 and moved to Italy in order to help Francesca raise her daughter. During his time there, he reconciled with his ex-wife, Marcella and, though the two never re-married, they lived a long and fruitful life together until his death at the age of 91 years old.
Like Harm and Mac, Sturgis was forced to leave the Navy and even the submariner life that he loved so much. During the battle against The Order, his gifts of healing were needed in order to patch up their troops and send them back in to battle. The healers were working in partners, an idea that Seth had in so that each one had someone to watch their backs. For Sturgis, his partner wound up being his lifemate – an African-American woman named Nadia. She was stunning and absolutely complimented him in ways no one ever could. While he had enjoyed Congresswoman Bobbi Latham's company – they each knew they were not meant to be together. It was all for the moment and that moment was long gone. Once the battle was over, Sturgis and Nadia settled into Toronto where she could work as an artist and he as a social worker.
Sighing deeply, Harm looked up at the skies and the light snow that began falling. "Not all memories are bad." He said softly, recalling that his more memorable life had been lived in that very city. Harm had found the truth about his great grandson, learned to fly a supersonic jet and met the love of his life in that very city. Now that they'd returned, all Harm needed to do was create new memories. That began with stopping his trips to The Wall – after one hundred years, it was time to let go.
"Daddy, I'm cold, can we go yet?" Harm felt a tug at his black trenchcoat and looked down to find Abigail, their 4 year old daughter standing next to him. "Mommy said you'd make hot choccie." Her brown eyes lit up at the prospect of the sugary drink and Harm couldn't help but chuckle. The girl was a miniature version of Mac right down to her love of junk food cuisine – a habit that Mac hadn't been able to shake.
He picked up his daughter and stood next to Mac, still in awe of the magic of their relationship. Their attraction for one another hadn't dwindled. They still couldn't keep their hands off eachother. "Abby says that I have to make her 'choccie'? I assume that means that we'd need to stop and get a box of donuts too, right?"
Mac grinned, the man knew her too well. "Yup and I want the ones with colored sprinkles on top."
Abigail's conception had been much of a surprise. Neither Mac nor Harm had given much thought to children, they were too busy enjoying eachother and the world travel that they engaged in when the battle with The Order had finished. When they least expected it, Mac began to feel pains – something that Immortals didn't feel unless they were injured. She was taken to an Immortal hospital in Alaska and discovered that she was two months pregnant.
Like every Immortal woman before her, Mac spent nearly most of her pregnancy in bed rest. The virus in their blood had a habit of kicking into overdrive during pregnancy and it was common to miscarry. She never complained although Harm could tell that lying around was driving her crazy. He'd been excellent with her; attentive, sensitive and scared to death at facing the loss of another child – a fear that he'd kept to himself in order not to frighten Mac. Then, the night of November 1st, 2065, Abigail Raber was born in Northern Alaska.
The little girl was a spitting image of Mac and Harm was already dreading her teenage years. As the time went by, Abigail would start to show more and more of her vampire traits and, eventually, stop aging as a result. Until then, things were almost the same as raising a mortal child. Schooling was always done at home and most immortal parents allowed their children to attend mortal high school, usually a boarding school, in order for the fledglings to understand mortals better. By that time, the children knew enough about their parents that family secrets were not discussed.
"Colored sprinkles it is. You okay with that, kiddo?" Harm asked his daughter who wrapped her little arms around his neck and squeezed tightly. "I love you, daddy!" He heard her say into the crook of his neck, the sounds of such words filling him with more happiness than he should be allowed. "Love you too, sweetie."
Arm in arm, Harm and Mac walked out of the memorial with their daughter and to their new life in Washington. It would likely be just as interesting as their first lives here. Especially considering that both Harm and Mac were working as agents for NCIS.