First of all, I want to thank you all for your kind words, well-wishes and mostly for your patience. It means a lot to me. Please don't worry, I'm okay – well, at least on my way to it LOL
Anyway, I decided it's time to go public with the second chapter of HIWYLI. This chapter is not quite complete. There are 2 or 3 parts still missing, but we promise to finish up in the very near future. You should also know that with what is going on at the moment, I will be unable to post on a daily basis. I hope you will all understand. There will be a third chapter at some point in time. I know where I want to go with this story, and with Kathy's help, I'm sure we will be able to forge on. No promises on how soon or how fast though. Just know we are doing our best.
Now, on with the second chapter. I hope you enjoy it. Take care.
Title: Home Is Where Your Love Is – Chapter II
Author: Michaela aka Michi
Co-Author: Kathy aka SpecKay
E-mails: see Personal Profile for information
Website: see Personal Profile for information
Classification: Harm & Mac / Friendship / Romance / Humor
Spoilers: The story 'Home Is Where Your Love Is – Chapter I' and everything up to the season six episode 'Lifeline' (let's pretend that the date of the airing was the actual date for the engagement party. Airdate was May 08 2001). The rest of the JAG era never happened in this story…
Disclaimer: JAG and its characters are the property of Bellisario Productions, CBS, and Paramount.
Summary: A tragedy interferes in the lives of Harm and Mac, and it's the beginning of something they thought was long lost...
May 18, 2001
North of Union Station
The day had dawned beautiful and bright, and not just because the sun was out. Today was AJ's second birthday party, and Mac was anxious to spend time with her favorite little man. She also hoped that her favorite sailor had finished his investigation on the USS Patrick Henry and would be able to join them for AJ's big day.
She was standing in front of Harm's wardrobe deciding what to wear when the phone rang. Mac jumped in anticipation, hoping it was Harm.
"Hello, Rabb's residence," Mac answered into the phone.
"Auntie Mac, Auntie Mac, t'day 's my party. You comin', right?" Little AJ bellowed.
Mac smiled warmly at the obvious enthusiasm in her godson's voice. "Yes, sweetheart, of course. I wouldn't miss it for anything in the whole, wide world," she assured him sweetly, making herself comfortable on the bed, knowing exactly what was coming next.
"Unca Harm comin' too?"
'I sure hope so,' Mac sadly thought to herself. She missed him terribly. It was the first time they had been separated for any length of time since her mishap.
Mac took a deep breath before finally answering her godson. "Well, sweetie, Uncle Harm is working. You remember how he told you all about it the other day when we went for beltway burgers, right? But he promises to do everything he can to get home in time because he really wants to see you. Okay?"
It had happened on Monday, shortly after they had left the hospital. They'd just found a place to sit where Mac and Little AJ could eat their burgers and Harm his salad when his cell phone rang. It was the Admiral, informing Harm that he was immediately needed on the USS Patrick Henry to investigate the death of a Petty Officer, and that his flight from Andrews was leaving in less than four hours.
Even though he would be able to recertified for his annual carrier-landing quals while he was aboard the Henry couldn't cheer Harm up. As much as he loved to fly, he didn't want to leave Mac behind. She assured him that she would be fine, especially since Grams would still be in Washington for at least a few more days. After that, she was sure Harriet would help her out if necessary.
She knew it was his job and his duty to go, but deep down she had to admit that she hated that he was going. Though she would definitely miss him, the fact that he would be spending part of the time being in the air doing his quals was torturing her.
"'kay, "AJ responded sadly, bringing Mac out of her thoughts.
"Colonel?" Harriet asked into the phone, having taken it back from AJ.
"Harriet, when are you going to start calling me Mac when we are not in the office?" Mac asked laughing.
"I'm sorry, Co…. Mac. Habit, I guess," Harriet replied chuckling. "I hope AJ didn't wake you. He woke up so excited and wanted to talk to you. I tried to get him to wait a while, but he insisted."
"No… no, I was already awake. In fact, I was dressing and then I am going to drive in to the office. Harm left AJ's present there, so I thought I would run by and pick it up. I have to admit I am getting a little bored just hanging around."
"Well, don't overdo it. You are still recovering and you should give your body all the time it needs," Harriet scolded.
"Yes, Ma'am," Mac replied laughing before getting serious again. 'She sounds like Harm,' Mac thought while she said out loud, "I know, Harriet. I'll take my time at whatever I decide to do. Thanks for caring and for all you've done for me, especially for taking the time to go shopping for me. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't like I minded being in Harm's clothes… using his toiletries… sleeping in his bed..," Mac admitted, stopping midway. What followed was a short break of silence. "Good Lord, did I just say that out loud?"
"Um… hmm. You did." Harriet giggled.
"Well, let's… ah… just pretend I didn't, okay? Anyway, what I mean is, it is nice to finally be able to wear things that fit me and to finally smell like a woman again. And the sunglasses are perfect. I owe you big time."
Harriet laughed. "I can imagine. You're welcome, Ma'am, but you really don't need to thank me for anything, honestly. Nor do you owe me anything. I'm just glad I could help out. Well, I should get a move on or I am going to be late. I certainly don't want the Admiral's wrath on my head. So I'll see you at JAG in a while then."
"Will do, Harriet. Bye."
"Bye-bye, Auntie Mac," AJ was screaming in the background.
Mac laughed. "Harriet, give that adorable godson of mine a kiss from me and tell him I will see him later on today."
"I will, Mac."
"You're learning, Harriet. I'm impressed," Mac said chuckling. "Guess there's still hope."
Harriet laughed. "I'm trying. See you soon. Bye for now." With that said, the line was disconnected.
Falls Church, VA
Mac strode into the bullpen and was immediately bombarded by all her co-workers who were thrilled to see her. They all had questions for her. Some of which she could answer and some she couldn't.
If she was asked 'what happened?' one more time, she was going to totally loose it. It not only made her feel uncomfortable, it brought all the worrying back. She had tried many times over the course of the week to get more information from the police, but to no avail. All she got was 'we're still investigating' with no answers forthcoming. She couldn't help but wonder what was taking so long and if they knew what they were doing. After all, something big could be going on and they wouldn't even know it. That thought in itself made her shiver.
Harriet gave Mac a few minutes with her co-workers before deciding it was time to step in and rescue her.
"Colonel, I have collected your mail in your office for you. Would you like to take a look at it before you leave?"
"Thank you, Lieutenant. Yes, I would," Mac answered appreciatively.
Harriet quickly took her by the elbow and ushered her away from the crowd and into her office, closing the door behind them. "Phew," she whistled out.
"Oh, thank you so much, Harriet. I didn't know how to politely excuse myself. You are a life saver, as usual."
Harriet laughed. "You just looked like you desperately needed rescuing so I was only to happy to oblige."
"It feels a little strange to be around so many people again. Once Harm left, it was just Grams and me for most of the week. It was so nice to have her around. I don't know what I would have done without her."
"Oh, I think you would have managed just fine if you only had Harm around to take care of you. Helping you get your clothes on… and off," Harriet gloated with a twinkle in her eye.
"Haaarrrriiieeet!" Mac screeched, blushing a bright red. "You didn't just say that."
"What? Are you going to stand there and tell me that you would not have enjoyed every minute of it?" Harriet questioned. "Hell, I'm a married woman, but I certainly would have loved every minute of it," Harriet concluded chuckling.
"You're bad! Shame on you, Harriet Roberts," Mac quipped. "What would Bud say?"
Harriet laughed soundly. "He would probably be shocked."
They looked at each other and broke out laughing as they both pictured the totally stunned look Bud would have on his face.
Their laughter ended abruptly at a knock on her door.
"Enter!" Mac called out.
Mac, even though she was out of uniform, immediately came to attention when she saw the Admiral enter her office.
Harriet came to attention as well and quickly showed herself out. "If you'll excuse me, Ma'am, Sir."
"At ease, Colonel. Nice to see you," Admiral Chegwidden said politely.
"Thank you, Sir. It is nice to be here," Mac responded, and since her office wasn't overly bright she decided to take her sunglasses off. She was hoping by Monday she would be able to stop walking around like a member of the Blues Brothers.
"How are you feeling, Mac?" AJ asked softly, using her nickname allowing her to feel more at ease.
"I'm doing pretty well, Sir. Coming along nicely, or so I am told," Mac explained, grinning.
"Well that is good to hear, and I hope you will be able to get back to work soon. You are sorely missed around here, that's for sure."
"Thank you, Sir. I can't wait to get back, actually."
"Getting bored already?" the Admiral asked chuckling.
Mac laughed. "You have no idea, Sir."
"Just don't rush it, Mac. You don't want to do any unnecessary damage by pushing yourself. Understood, Colonel?"
Admiral Chegwidden nodded his head and for a short moment looked around the office, feeling a bit uncomfortable as he asked his next question. "Oh, by the way, what are your plans as far as your living arrangements go?"
Mac became a little unsettled at the turn in their conversation. "Well, Sir, as you know, I am currently staying with Harm as I was told I could not be alone. But I assure you that I plan on actively looking for someplace to live very, very soon."
What she didn't tell him was how hard it was going to be for her to leave Harm.
What she didn't know was that the Admiral didn't have to be told how she felt, he was neither stupid, nor blind – he already knew.
"Very well, Colonel." With that said, AJ bid his farewell and left.
Mac took a deep breath, feeling like she'd just been interrogated. She stayed in her office for a few minutes before she made her way to Harm's office to retrieve Little AJ's present. She bumped into Bud on her way over there.
"Hello, Ma'am. Harriet told me you would be here today. It is really good to see you."
"Thank you, Bud. It is really nice to be here."
"Can I help you with anything, Ma'am?"
"No, I'm fine, thanks. I am just on my way to Harm's office in search of Little AJ's birthday present. Harm left it here."
"Okay, then. We will see you later on at the party."
"Okay, Bud… see you there."
Mac walked in to Harm's office and immediately saw AJ's present on one of the chairs in the office. Mac picked it up and was about to leave, when the phone rang. Thinking maybe Harm had tracked her down, she decided to pick it up.
"Rabb's office, Lieutenant Colonel MacKenzie speaking… No, I'm sorry. Commander Rabb is out of the office. I expect him back within a few days. Can someone else help you? … Okay, I see. Why don't I take a message for the Commander and he will find it upon his return." Mac, needing something to write with, opened his desk drawer in search of something. She found a pen and proceeded to write down the message before ending the phone-call.
She had been training herself for the past couple of days to write left-handed, and even though her writing wasn't the best, it was readable. When she had finished and was satisfied that it was legible, she returned the pen to the drawer.
That is when her eyes landed on something very familiar.
It was the note Harm had written to her.
"I totally forgot about this," she murmured to herself and picked it up, starting to read it again.
There's so much I have to tell you. So much I want…'
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a second when a voice behind her made her jump.
"Colonel, didn't anyone ever tell you that it is not very polite to snoop," Lieutenant Loren Singer said accusingly.
Mac was barely able to suppress her groan. "For your information, Lieutenant, I was not snooping. Not that it is any of your business in the first place. And exactly what are you doing here?" Mac bristled.
Lieutenant Singer stammered slightly. "Ah… I heard the phone ringing and knowing the Commander wasn't here, I thought I would answer it in his absence."
She was lying through her teeth. She had been spying and Mac knew it. "Very commendable, Lieutenant. But just a piece of advice, next time just let it ring."
"Aye, aye, Ma'am," Loren responded icily and turned to leave.
"Bitch," Mac murmured, making sure that nobody could hear her. In her haste to address Lieutenant Singer, Mac had put the note in her pocket. She spent a minute debating whether or not to put it back where she found it… in the drawer, or keep it. In the end, she opted to leave it exactly where it was… in her pocket. This time she was definitely going to confront Harm about it when she saw him.
Having done everything she needed to do, she retrieved AJ's present, said her goodbyes, and left telling everyone she would see them later on.