Nausea

AN: This continues is my series: Friends or Tails, Unfinished Business, Agape, and Secrets. A lot of you asked for more, so here it is. Sorry for the long wait. There will be at least one more story in this series, but let me know if you want me to keep going. This part is M/NC-17, fair warning.

OCTOBER 3, 2002

1645 ZULU

JAG HEADQUARTERS

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA

Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Rabb rounded the corner to her office. Shining proudly above the door was her new nameplate. She couldn't quite understand how it had taken months for the paperwork to go through and the sign to get there, but finally yesterday, it was hanging when she came into the office.

With a pleased smile she continued into her office, fresh from a victory in court. It was nice to know that every once and a while she could still beat Bud in court. Sometimes she thought that Harm and she had taught him too well.

Although he almost beat her, she was very happy to be arguing a case against Bud again. In May, that didn't seem like a possibility, but now, Bud had embraced the new challenges in his life and had moved forward, becoming even stronger than before. For a while she had felt guilty that the day of Bud's accident had been one of the best days of her life, it had inspired Harm to finally talk about his feelings. But now, seeing Bud standing tall eased the feeling she used to get in the pit of her stomach when she visited him.

So much had changed since that night in May on the carrier. She would never have dreamed that once summer could bring so many changes. A boyfriend/fiancé/husband, a house and a baby on the way were a lot to adjust to. Sometimes she still woke up in the morning not sure where she was. But feeling the strong arms of her husband around her middle and seeing their wedding pictures on her bedside table brought her back to reality, or maybe it was her dreams.

The frame on her nightstand was a double frame, one side holding a picture of their ceremony in Greece and the other from their ceremony in their backyard. Although they hadn't posed for pictures near the cave on Akrotiri, someone had caught a picture of the two of them smiling at each other, Mac's hand on Harm's cheek, after they had shared their first wedded kiss.

The second picture was a more formal picture of the two of them in their backyard gazebo that had served as the altar for their second ceremony. The sunset was fading behind them as they posed for several pictures alone and with all of their friends and family. It was a good thing they had thought to charge the digital camera that night.

Thinking of that second ceremony at their home reminded Mac of the news she had given Harm later that night. She had been spent days trying to figure out how to tell Harm that she was going to have their child. Hell, she had been dreaming and planning that moment since that promise in front of JAG Headquarters. The deal would come through about a year early, but maybe they could be working on baby number two by then.

Sitting at her desk she opened her email and saw a new message from Harm.

Hey,

I was "working very diligently", caught myself looking at this picture and needed to say hi. I ended up with a meeting for lunch but I should be home at a reasonable hour. Other than that, miss you, love you, and see you soon.

H

Attached to the email was a picture of the two of them sharing an Adirondack chair overlooking the harbor on their honeymoon. Since they had been jet setting around the world lately, they both wanted to just go away for a few days and decided to go to St. Michael's, Maryland where they stayed at the Inn at Perry Cabin. The two-hour car ride was a nice change compared to all of the long flights they had been stuck on.

Contrary to popular belief, they did leave the room every once and a while to wander around and take in the sites and shops. The quaint eastern shore town was perfect for strolling around hand in hand. Harm had even found a baby onesie with the town name on it. Although Mac was kind of leery about buying the baby something so early on, Harm had insisted they get at least one thing.

The room they had for their stay rivaled the beautiful suite they had on their wedding night in Greece. The State Room was beautifully decorated with antiques and odd treasures. It was done in rich tones creating both a comforting and a sensual atmosphere. Like they needed to be inspired in that department, Mac thought. As soon as the bellhop had been tipped Harm practically attacked her. Both of them had been far too exhausted the night before to consummate their second wedding and emotionally drained after the baby revelation. Although they hadn't had sex that night, Mac still considered it one of the most intimate nights of her life. They laid down just holding each other all night as they talked about their new future. She had cuddled up in Harm's arms as he lightly stroked her still flat stomach, not in passion but in awe. That's not to say there wasn't some heavy making out, however, that night they just didn't need to move on to the next level.

But Harm sure made up for it that afternoon at the inn. Scooping her up and throwing back the covers, he laid her down in the middle of the bed and didn't let her go for hours. The first time had been fast and furious, clothes being flung all over the room. Harm found Sarah ready and waiting and decided to skip the foreplay entering her with one quick thrust. He set a fast pace but Mac was right there with him yelling his name as her muscles clenched around him.

The second time had been more leisurely as he made sure that he had kissed and teased every last inch of her body. Mac had never felt so treasured as she did at that moment. She was in an endless haze of arousal as she felt him slowly and softly stroke her body, finding pleasure points that she didn't even know she had. He spent extra time on her tattoo, which was the Farsi word for strength. After she had sobered up all of those years ago, she had the tattoo placed on her right hip, the one that had been injured in Eddie's car accident as a reminder to find strength within herself. That same concept had gotten her through Boot Camp too, reminding her that she could get through this, even on the toughest days.

When he finally did enter her, she had been humming for so long, right at the breaking point that she begged him to speed up. But he just quieted her as he slowly moved his hips against hers. He kept her right at the brink for so long that when she finally did go over the edge she had to close her eyes against the blinding light as her body shook with such passion that she couldn't control her tremors. Harm waited until she could catch her breath before he started moving again driving them both towards orgasm this time as he exploded inside of her one more time.

Mac realized, as she came back from her memories, that she was feeling an all-too-familiar moisture between her legs. She couldn't believe that she had been lost in a sex dream for almost 30 minutes. With new resolve she took a deep breath and got back to work. Maybe she could get home at a reasonable hour too and explore some of these dreams further…

SAME TIME

HARMON RABB'S OFFICE

CAPITAL HILL

WASHINGTON, DC

Commander Harmon Rabb was easing into his role as a military and legal advisor on the Hill. Although he was really based out of Bobbi Latham's office, he had been doing special projects for a number of committees and hearings for some of her friends and colleagues.

This was his third career as a Naval Officer. Although at least this time he could still use some of his legal expertise. He did miss investigations, but from time to time he would be required to travel with his new post as Congressmen and women visited military installments. When he left flying he had to leave it altogether, easing out of trial law had proven to be a much better transition.

The only real drawback to his new position was that he lost the camaraderie of JAG. Finding a place that was not just an office and a desk to sit at, but that was also a comfortable environment with friends and memories is hard. That's what was great about life on a carrier too. You instantly bond with the flying squadron during six-month deployments and countless hours in the air, watching each other's six. But a carrier couldn't even compete with how close-knit JAG was. The memories that his office alone held were some of the best moments of his life. Well, maybe except when Brumby had taken it over for that year.

He also missed looking up and seeing Mac in the next office, her head bent over notes, deep in thought. Or looking up and hearing her laugh over something that Bud or Harriet or Sturgis said. He had always imagined finishing out his career at JAG. But he could not imagine spending a day without waking up next to that smile and laugh of his new wife. It was the right decision to leave JAG. But that didn't mean that he missed it any less.

Looking around his new office all of the familiar trappings were there: The pictures of him and Mac from their weddings that matched the ones on her nightstand, the model of a yellow biplane like Sarah, the pictures on the wall of Tomcats, the copy of the picture of his father and him on his first Tiger Cruise. Maybe someday soon he could take his son or daughter on a Tiger Cruise; although, he would be sure to screen for any terrorists beforehand. Maybe he would start with just taking him or her over to Andrews to see the F-14s.

He was so nervous about being a father. He loved kids and spending time with Josh when he and Annie had been together and later with little AJ. There was just something about being around a kid sometimes that made the world seem simpler. Even with all of the trauma surrounding the Roberts family in the past few years, little AJ had been a rock for them and they for him. As far as he was concerned it didn't matter if Bud was missing part of his leg. All that mattered to him was that his parents checked his closet for monsters and kissed his booboo if he fell. Harm was so excited to have unconditional love like that.

But he was also terrified of messing up. Maybe the Rabb curse wasn't to die or be lost while flying combat missions, maybe it was just a curse to not be around to be a father to their children. And he never had a father growing up, even if Frank tried to be one, maybe he didn't know how. He didn't know what to do if their baby ever got hurt or cried. What if they grew up hating him? Taking a deep breath he knew that he and Sarah would get through it together. She was his rock. And even if they were both scared, they were scared together. Hey, they had always made a good team; this would just be a whole new ball game.

Harmon Rabb, great aviator and litigator, never thought that he would get so emotional over being a father. The moment Sarah told him the news, a floodgate of emotion burst. His heart was filled with such love for her it actually hurt. Then there was that surge of male pride knowing that she was going to grow big with his child. His mind was coming up with all of these doubts and fears he had been pondering. But in the midst of these swirling emotions, there was also an overwhelming sense of calm that overtook him. This was it. This was his future. This was their future. This is what he was meant to do with his life. It was almost like the first time he had taken the stick of an F-14. Except this time, he still hadn't landed and knew that the soaring feeling would never go away.

That night he was in such awe of Mac and what was growing inside of her, all he wanted to do was hold her close and never let her go. She had by far trumped him in the wedding present category. A necklace, fancy hotel room, and making that substantial down payment on the house was nothing compared to the gift that she had given him. And he would do everything in his power to protect the both of them as long as he lived, even if Mac was a Marine.

That night inevitably led to thoughts of the next day. Their four days in St. Michael's were so great. They hadn't really gotten around to exploring until the second day, but it was a perfect getaway for the new couple. The dining room at the Inn was five star and the accommodations were amazing, it was hard to leave their little piece of heaven by the water.

As both a surprise for his new wife and to celebrate the new baby, Harm had planned something special for the last day. That afternoon, Harm blindfolded Mac and brought her to the spa portion of the estate. Down the hall and into a private room, Mac's eyes opened to see two massage tables set up next to each other. The surprise on her face and the love in her eyes was the only thanks he needed. And he never thought that he would enjoy a couple's massage as much as he did. While the masseuse worked out all the tension that Sarah carried in her shoulders, Harm just lay there, gazing at his wife with a look on contentment on her face. He wanted to make her feel that way for the rest of his life. And he had to admit, his own masseuse had really helped with some of his residual back pain from his punch-outs.

He watched as the masseuse's hands kneaded at her tight muscles on her tanned back. He desperately wanted to replace their hands for his, but knew that that would have to wait, there was more to his surprise.

Getting back to the room and feeling like rag dolls they were so relaxed, Harm led Mac to the tub, which was filled with bubbles and rose petals. Although the tub looked relaxing, he knew there was no way that his 6'4" frame was going to fit in there along with his wife. Although she did protest and wanted him to join her, he bowed out of the bathroom and left her to her bubbles. And probably a nap. He moved around the room, relighting the candles and calling down to the kitchen to have the prearranged dinner sent up. Having made sure everything was in order, he peeked back in on Sarah, and sure enough, there she was dozing off in the tub. For a while he just stood in the doorway and watched her sleep, happy to know that he was at least a part of the reason for the peace that had settled over her.

When the knock came at the door, he opened it to the waiter and helped him set up dinner on the table. Smelling the food, Mac had gotten out of the tub and appeared behind him in nothing but her robe and a smile. He again, like in Greece, had chosen mostly finger food for dinner so he could slowly feed her.

But when he turned to hand Mac the glass of sparkling cider, he could see from the gleam in her eye that she had other plans. She took the glass out of his hand and set it back on the table. Taking his hand in her's, she led him back to the bed where she pushed him to sit down. She stripped off her robe and stood in front of him in all her glory. He had never seen such a beautiful sight. He couldn't help himself but to put his hands on her hips and draw her to stand in between his legs.

But she had taken over this seduction and he was helpless to stop it. Having taken off his robe and boxers as well, she leaned down to kiss him senseless. When they needed oxygen she just slowly worked her way down to his neck placing open mouth kisses along his jaw. Finding his pulse point she nipped at it before she moved down to the hard planes of his chest. While doing this she slowly ran her hands down his abdomen until they were resting on his thighs, gently massaging them. With a sexy smile she looked up as Harm groaned loudly, loving the attention. With a wink she slowly began to move lower and Harm didn't know if he could stand how amazing this was. She knew he was more than ready, but she had to taste him. Her hands continued to knead his thighs in time with her mouth working over him. He knew that he wouldn't last much longer and without even a warning he quickly stood up, grabbed her and threw her back on the bed.

Mac couldn't help but to giggle when she saw his eyes burning with both desire and frustration. Coming down to lay on top of her, he snaked one hand between her legs to make sure she was as ready as he was. Tracing her folds he felt her arousal build and quickly repositioned himself between her legs. Feeling the warmth of her as he slid in he stilled at the overwhelming emotion of being inside her. When he stilled she took over the dance once again by rolling them over so she could sit on top of him. After that, all rational thought fled Harm's mind as she slid up and down on top of him. Knowing they were both close, Harm placed a hand where their bodies met. In response, Mac leaned down over him and kissed him with all she had. That is all it took for them to soar into the clouds.

Minutes later, when they had both started thinking again, Harm had made some inane comment about the food getting cold. Mac started giggling again as she snuggled against his chest and said that she wasn't moving for a good long time.

Sitting at his desk in Washington, Harm chuckled to himself thinking that they never did get to have dinner that night. But the time for musing had come to and end, he had 20 minutes to get to his next meeting and then he had promised he would be home on time tonight. After all, it was his night to cook. Hopefully he could think of something that didn't trigger Mac's morning-noon-and-night sickness.

0201 ZULU

HARMON AND SARAH RABB'S HOUSE

SOUTH ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

Mac pulled her cherry red 'vette into the driveway and saw that she was the first home. She knew that someday soon she would have to take Harm's SUV back and forth, but she was not about to give up the sports car without a fight.

Walking in the back door she threw the keys on the kitchen counter. On the way upstairs she dropped her briefcase off in the office and started taking off her jacket. The buttons were starting to pull across her chest and her middle. Just like giving up the 'vette, she knew that this day would come soon. Even though they had recently changed to the winter uniforms, which concealed a lot more, people were going to start to notice her different body shape. It looked like this weekend would be spent at the Military Surplus Store picking up maternity uniforms.

As she reached their bedroom she started chuckling to herself. After the shock of their relationship and marriage this past summer, she didn't know what everyone would do if she just walked into the Bullpen wearing a maternity blouse.

She had been lucky so far. Her morning sickness was under control, at least at work. No one noticed the box of Premiums and the six-pack of ginger ale that she stored in her bottom desk drawer. It seemed to be when she was here at home alone in the afternoons that the real nausea hit.

On her way back downstairs to the kitchen to grab another box of Premiums, she wandered past the nursery. It truly couldn't be called that yet, the only thing that marked it as a child's room was the mobile that she had used to break the news to Harm. Mac smiled thinking about the joy she saw on his face. She knew that he would be a great father and had no doubts about him.

But she could not say the same thing about herself. Harm had once told her she had great maternal instincts. That compliment, even back then, filled her with such hope. But how could he really say that? Sure, she had told him a lot about her life growing up, but he didn't live it. How could she possibly be a good mother if her own walked out on her? And even when her mother was around,

her home life hadn't been ideal. What if she was like her father? She was already an alcoholic like him, what if she hit her children? What is she made them cry themselves to sleep?

Even getting past all of the doubts of her own capabilities, what if something went wrong with the baby. Harm couldn't understand why Sarah had refused to tell anyone about the new baby. She wouldn't even let him tell his mother or Grandma Sarah.

These past few months had been like a dream. Everything seemed to finally be falling into place in her life. She had the man of her dreams, a beautiful house, things at JAG had been going well. But this nagging feeling in the pit of her stomach just wouldn't go away.

Whenever things seemed to be going right in her life, something would happen to put her reality into a tailspin. When her dad had seemed to be sober for a few months it all crashed and burned on the eve of her 15th birthday when he came home angry and drunk. The next day was when her mother left and Sarah had to learn to fend for herself. Or drown her sorrows in a bottle of vodka. Everything with Harm had seemed to be going well and all of a sudden Chris shows up. Her relationship with John had come back to complicate her life a second time during that whole ordeal. The following murder trial and the news of her affair with John had really hurt her friendship with Harm. When she and Harm had finally gotten back to normal, he had left her for flying. But nothing was as bad as when Harm came back from flying. After the near drowning on the Suribachi, she approached him on an infamous ferry ride in Sydney and her reality crashed again.

Now that she finally had Harm and their relationship was solid, she was terrified that somehow something would happen with the baby. What is she messed up somehow and lost it. She could not bear to be the one to have to tell Harm that she had lost their baby. After what had happened to Harriet and Baby Sarah, she was terrified that the same would happen to them. She was afraid to believe that she could have a happy ending. These thoughts brought on another wave of nausea and she rushed across the hall to the bathroom to lose her lunch, again.

Harm walked through the door with grocery bags for dinner when he heard his wife being sick in the bathroom. Grabbing some peppermint gum and a can of ginger ale he made his was to the bathroom to help her. Slowly opening the door Harm caught sight of her tear strained face as she wretched again into the toilet. He couldn't bear to see her in this much pain and wanted to take it all away from her. Kneeling down next to her on the floor he rubbed her back and whispered comforting things into her ear, soothing her dry heaves.

Finally feeling the sickness ease up she looked up at Harm and put a weak smile on her face, "Hey."

"Hi, Honey, I'm home," Harm said with a smirk. "Here's some ginger ale and some gum."

"I'm sorry," she said as she took the bottle from his hands.

"There's nothing to be sorry for," he said helping her up from the floor. "Hopefully this will start to get easier for you." Harm had secretly been spending his time at lunch skimming through pregnancy books, trying to learn as much as he possibly could. From what he had read, the morning sickness phase of the pregnancy should be coming to a close. But he seemed to be soothing her more and more recently. He was starting to get worried that she was stressing herself out too much and not taking care of herself.

"I hope so, too," she whispered back. Pasting a smile on her face, this one a little bit stronger she asked, "what's for dinner?"

"You and your appetite, Marine," he chuckled, amazed at her ability to eat after throwing up like that. "Right after I get changed out of this uniform, I'll start on the stir-fry. By the way, are those my sweatpants?"

"Yes, mine are getting a little tight and these were on top," she said matching his stride as she encircled his waist with her arms. "I think I better go brush my teeth before dinner."

"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea," he said making a face.

"What, Squid, you don't want a kiss?" she mocked him, puckering up her lips.

"Ummm, well, you know I love you, but, well, no, I don't."

Laughing even harder she hugged him tighter as they walked up the stairs. Somehow seeing Harm, just being able to hug him like this, made all of her fears fade into the background, at least until the next afternoon.

ONE WEEK LATER

1433 ZULU

HARMON RABB'S OFFICE

CAPITAL HILL

WASHINGTON, DC

With a big sigh, Harmon Rabb pushed away from his desk and rubbed his hand through his hair. Appropriations were going to kill him. Reading the briefs and requests alone was going to put him over the edge, not to mention meetings with all of the departments that were requesting something. Bobbi trusted him to give an honest and informed opinion on where he thought the money should go. That meant long hours at the office reading and making phone calls and less time at home.

He loved having a project to delve into; it was like being on an investigation again. Except this time he could be home every night and wake up to Mac every morning. He had to admit that he missed going away on investigations and was a little jealous when Mac would have to go down to Norfolk. But she would soon be on restricted duty once the Admiral knew she was pregnant.

Harm had wanted to tell everyone from the beginning. He couldn't believe how lucky he was, a beautiful wife and now a baby on the way. But Mac had been vehement in her opposition and he trusted her decision. At times he thought that she was just being superstitious, but then again, they both had had some metaphysical experiences in the past.

He tried not to push her on any of it, the morning sickness itself was close to putting her over the edge. There were times when she seemed to be absolutely fine, the same old Mac even, but other times she could barely keep awake. He was glad she would be going to her doctor soon, maybe they could do something to help or have some advice.

Just then, as if his thoughts had summoned it, he received a phone call from Sarah.

"Rabb," Harm answered.

"Rabb," Mac responded.

"Hey, I was just thinking about you, how are you doing?"

"Thinking about me huh? You'll have to save those thoughts for later, Flyboy," she said suggestively

"Oh, that's a promise, Marine." Harm did have to admit, when she was feeling good, she was feeling really good. And that was fine by him. "So what did you call for?"

"Well, I just got a call from Dr. Woods' office. They had to change my appointment next week from Thursday to Wednesday. And this is the big one, amnio and ultrasound."

"Wednesday?"

"Yes, Wednesday at 14:45, can you make it?" Mac asked with what Harm couldn't tell was either an anxious or an angry tone.

"Uh, yeah, I just have to come up with an excuse to move around a meeting with Bobbi."

"OK," Sarah seemed mollified.

Harm knew he was going to regret this next statement, but he had to ask. "Sarah, it would be a lot easier if I could tell her why we were going to this appointment."

"Harm…" she said with a warning tone.

"No, just hear me out. It's been 3 months at this point. Can't we at least tell our bosses? You are going to have to tell the Admiral after you get your restricted duty papers from the doctor next week. And I know Mom and Frank have been hounding me about grandkids even more now that we are married…"

"Harm, please, don't start."

"Sarah, I know you're nervous but this is getting silly."

"Silly?! You think I'm just being paranoid again don't you? I said we aren't telling anyone yet and I mean it!"

"Mac, listen, I…"

"Save it. I'll see you later," and with that she hung up the phone. Harm hung up the phone, kicking himself for bringing it up again. Maybe the Appropriations wouldn't be the death of him, but a hormonal pregnant Marine, no that was worth placing bets on.

SAME TIME

JAG HEADQUARTERS

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA

Harriet could hear Mac's angry tone of voice and the slamming of the phone followed by a frustrated growl. Against her better judgment she knocked on the Colonel's door. After a curt "Enter", she timidly pushed the door open.

"Ma'am? Is everything alright?"

With a sigh, Mac could see how nervous her friend was and tried to calm down. "I'm sorry, Harriet. Yes, everything is fine."

"Disagreement with the Commander, ma'am?"

"Remind me why we bother to get married, again, Harriet."

"No matter how frustrating Bud can be, I have learned, especially after every thing we have been through the last few years, I would rather have him right there annoying me all the time than to not have him at all."

"I'm sorry, Harriet, I didn't mean to bring up painful memories."

"Don't worry about it, ma'am. Marriage is hard. But at the end of the day, we still love them. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters."

Mac nodded in agreement, "I know. Thanks, Harriet."

"No problem, Mac, I'm always here if you need me."

"You're a good friend." With that Harriet turned to leave but was stopped when Mac started speaking again. "Oh, and Harriet, thanks for not asking what the fight was about."

With a demure smile Harriet left Mac alone to call Harm back and apologize. Getting just his voicemail, Mac left a message that she would meet him at home tonight. She knew she wasn't easy to be around. She would have to think of something to make this up to him.

0115 ZULU

HARMON AND SARAH RABB'S HOUSE

SOUTH ALAEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

Harmon Rabb pulled up to his home and took a deep breath before getting out of the car. Even though Sarah had called and left him a message, sounding a lot less upset with him, he was still leery about what he would find when he walked in the door. He loved his wife and was trying really hard to understand what she was going through, but it still didn't make it easier to face at the end of a long day.

He knew that something was bothering her beyond what she was telling him, but he was trying not to make her feel worse than she already was. Tonight he would just try to take his cue from her, try to help her any way he could.

Harm was pleasantly surprised when he opened the door to find his wife pulling vegetable lasagna out of the oven along with homemade garlic bread. Comfort food. She really was perfect.

Seeing the smile on her husband's face, Mac matched it with one of her own and made her way over to him. Wrapping her arms around his waist she gave him a quick kiss hello before pulling back to get his reaction.

However, Harm had a better idea, pulling her back towards him again he kissed her senseless taking every breath from her body, leaving her breathless and powerless to stand on her own.

"I love you, and there is nothing silly about that."

With tears coming to her eyes, she said, "I'm so sorry, Harm, sometimes I just can't seem to get a handle on my emotions."

"It's alright, Baby, I know. I shouldn't have said anything. It's my fault."

"No, it's not your fault. I'm your wife, I hate it that you are afraid to say something to me."

Feeling her try to bury her face in his chest, he knew it was time to lighten the mood. "You may be my wife, but you are also a Marine. And I learned a long time ago, it's bad for my health to mess with a Marine."

Laughing and bringing her eyes up to meet her husband's she said, "you've been trained well. Now come on, the sooner we finish dinner, the sooner you get a proper apology."

"I take it you won't want to skip dinner…"

"Not on your life, Flyboy, I'm eating for two."

"I'll get the plates," Harm said, glad that they seemed to get over this hurdle. He knew that they could get through anything as long as it was together.

THE FOLLOWING TUESDAY

1630 ZULU

JAG HEADQUARTERS

FALLS CHURCH, VIRGINIA

The Admiral had been watching the Colonel for a few weeks now. It was nice to have his Chief of Staff actually in the office for an extended period of time. The over seas assignments had slowed down for a while and it seemed that the local Force Judge Advocates could handle the bulk of the cases. Granted she had been to Norfolk and Quantico off and on, but nothing compared to last spring.

He was also glad because she seemed to be a little off recently. For someone who had perfected locking up her emotions, they seemed to be getting away from her more and more lately. And right now, he noticed that the entire office was afraid to approach her office. Her blinds were closed and the door was shut and they had been most of the morning.

Drawing upon his SEAL training, he rapped on the door seeking entrance. "Enter" came from the office and he opened the door and walked in. Coming to stand in front of her desk he got a good look at her before she realized who had entered.

She had lines on her forehead and circles under her eyes. But somehow he could tell the angry mask was concealing something. This was not an angry woman, this was a scared woman; she was just trying to gain control anyway possible.

"Colonel," he addressed her as she sprang to attention.

"Yes, Sir?"

"I have a terrified yeoman on my hands and I was wondering what you could tell me about that."

"Umm, sir?"

"Apparently there was a confrontation about his message taking skills earlier today."

"Oh, yes, Sir. Sorry, Sir. Perhaps I got a little carried away this morning."

"Is everything alright, Mac?" he asked trying a different tact.

"Fine, Sir, just have a lot going on right now. I will make sure to apologize to Tiner the next time I see him, Sir."

"No need to apologize, Colonel. I like a yeoman who knows his place. It's good for him."

"Yes, Sir."

"And, Mac, if you ever need to talk about anything, or take an afternoon off, my door is always open."

"Thank you, Sir, I will keep that in mind."

The Admiral left the office knowing that there was more than a little stress behind her current disposition. He would give her another couple days before pressing her further. He just hoped his Petty Officer could last that long.

0020 ZULU

HARMON AND SARAH RABB'S HOUSE

SOUTH ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

Mac had gotten home a little late tonight, but still beat Harm. She tried to get as much as she could done today at the office so she could take the afternoon off tomorrow for her appointment. Harm would have to get back to the office tomorrow, but she didn't feel like driving all the way back to JAG and then home again.

She continued her normal routine, going upstairs to change into some more comfortable clothes. She saw the maternity smock she had finally picked up last weekend hanging in her closet. She had decided that she would start wearing it next Monday. That would give her enough time this week to get the nerve to tell the Admiral about her news. And the deadline prevented her from chickening out. Not that she would ever admit that a Marine would chicken out about anything. That, and her expanding midsection was making it harder and harder to put off.

Her morning sickness had eased in the mornings, but she often found herself nauseous in the evenings still. As she wandered back down stairs, she couldn't help but to go into the nursery. Going into the room and touching the mobile with her fingertips, she watched as it began to spin. The more it started twisting in the air the more the knot in her stomach twisted tighter and tighter.

With the doctor's appointment tomorrow afternoon she had grown more and more anxious. What if they found something wrong? That one thought kept running through her mind and her imagination was reeling from all of the possibilities. She had purposely refused to read those "What to Expect When You Are Expecting" books that Harm was reading (even though he thought that she didn't know). She didn't want to remind herself of what could happen.

Tears were streaming down her face as she sat down in the middle of the nursery floor. The emotions were too much to contain any longer as all her doubts and fear poured out of her. She was so lost in her own world that she never heard Harm come in and call her name.

Panic seized him as he followed the sobs and finally found his wife hugging her knees and rocking back and forth in the middle of the nursery. Fearing the worst he rushed up to her and took her in his arms.

Feeling the strong arms around her, Mac was startled back from her grief to see the questioning face of her husband with fear in his eyes. Taking a few minutes to calm herself down she was trying to figure out a way to avoid telling Harm why she was crying. Finally pulling away from him and standing on shaky legs she tried to think of a joke or someway to lighten the moment but couldn't. And she also couldn't avoid the question in Harm's eyes.

"Sarah?"

"Harm, I'm fine, just tired."

"No, you're not just tired. This has been going on for too long. Talk to me, please," he begged, desperate to know what was wrong. When she still didn't answer he added, "You're scaring me."

"Harm, it's nothing."

"You're lying, it's something and I want to know what it is now. No more games. I thought we were past this dancing around crap. Clearly you don't trust me." Harm was at the end of his rope. It didn't matter if this would hurt her, she was self-destructing and he had to find a way to break through.

After no response from his wife he was seething with anger. "Fine, clearly you don't need me and you don't want me around. The new tenant doesn't move into my apartment until the end of the month, I'll go stay there tonight until I can figure something out." With that he did the hardest thing he could ever imagine. He had played his trump card. He walked out, hoping that she would come to him when she was ready.

When she heard the car back out of the driveway Mac broke down again in a sobbing heap on the nursery floor.

0338 ZULU

HARMON RABB'S APARTMENT

NORTH OF UNION STATION

WASHINGTON, DC

Harm had spent the past two hours pacing in what used to be his living room. All of the furniture was at the new house so there was nothing left to do but pace. He had never wanted to do this, but he had to think of something to snap Mac out of this cycle she was in. There was something wrong and he needed to know what it was. Finally the sound he had been straining to hear echoed through the apartment.

Mac was having a déjà vu moment as she knocked on Harm's apartment door in tears. Last time her life was in turmoil because Mic was leaving, now it was because she felt Harm slipping away from her. She had decided that she would do anything to get him back home. No matter how terrified she was, she knew there was no way of getting through this without Harm.

Harm went to the door and opened it but held himself back from going to her or even speaking. He just stood there in the middle of the empty apartment, waiting for her to start.

Taking a deep breath she finally admitted what had been eating at her for months. "I'm scared."

"Of what?"

"Everything! I'm afraid I won't know how to be a mother. I'm afraid I will do something to make our kids hate me. I'm afraid that I will fall off the wagon or hit them like my father. I'm afraid that I will get overwhelmed and walk out like my mother. And worst of all, I'm afraid that I will do something wrong and I will lose our baby like we lost Baby Sarah."

"Sarah…" he said finally going to her to take her in his arms.

"No, and as long as we are opening up the flood gates here, I am pissed as hell that you walked out on me. NEVER do that again!"

"I'm sorry, I never wanted to do that. I didn't know how to get through to you."

Calming down even more, she said, "Listen, I know I haven't been the easiest person to be around lately. I'm just so scared. I don't know how to deal with it."

"You can start by talking to me. You know, you aren't the only scared one here. I'm terrified that I won't be a good father. But I also know, that if we work together, we will figure it out. The only way this will work is if we are scared together."

"I know," she said as she finally relaxed into his embrace. "You're just going to have to remind me about that every once and a while.

After about an hour of just standing there holding each other and whispering reassurances of love and apologies, Harm finally said, "C'mon, we have a big day tomorrow, let's go home."

With that he saw the first genuine smile from her in a week as he led her out of the apartment.

1945 ZULU

DR. WOOD'S OFFICE

BETHESDA NAVAL HOSPITAL

BETHESDA, MARYLAND

Sitting nervously hand in hand in the waiting room, Mac was saying every prayer she knew in every language she could. She was so lost in her trance that Harm had to nudge her after her name was called to go see the doctor.

Having changed into a gown and having been weighed, she sat on the table with Harm next to her on a stool, waiting for the doctor to arrive. Normally the ultrasound technician would perform the sonogram, but because she was having the amnio done today too, they were told the doctor would be right with them.

A kind woman in her 50s knocked and then entered the room. "Commander and Colonel Rabb, it's good to see you again. As I have told you before today we are going to do the amnio. It will tell us if there are any abnormalities with the fetus."

Harm piped up, "Is there any reason to think there would be?"

"No, from what the Colonel has told me at her previous appointment, there doesn't seem to be any red flags. The fatigue and nausea are normal. However, due to her age, it's a normal precaution. Now, do you want to know the sex of the baby? We will be able to tell from the amnio, it might be a bit early yet on the sonogram."

This time Mac found her voice and answered, "Yes, we want to find out, if you can tell us."

"OK, then. Well, I know you two must be anxious so let's get to the sonogram."

Sarah was instructed to lay back and gel was spread on her bare stomach. While the doctor took the wand and was moving it around her small baby bump, Mac closed her eyes tightly, trying to remind herself to breathe. Harm for his part had his eyes glued to the monitor as he held one of Mac's hands in both of his, trying not to squeeze to hard.

Suddenly a sound filled the room. Hearing the heartbeat for the first time, Mac's eyes flew open and she looked to the doctor for confirmation. With a nod and a smile the doctor said, "that's your baby. Why don't I give you two a minute," leaving the room.

Harm and Mac barely noticed. Harm was busy placing kisses on her temple and Mac was squeezing his hand. Staring at the monitor, a peace came over them. For the first time since she found out that she was pregnant, the knot of nausea in Mac's stomach had finally loosened. This wasn't the end, but it definitely was a huge sigh of relief. She had everything she had ever wanted and she knew that her happily ever after was just beginning.