Real Love

AN: First of all, sorry for the wait, real life has been crazy recently. This is a continuation of Friends or Tails, Unfinished Business, Agape, Secrets and Nausea. I think this is the last in the series, but you never know, I may find some inspiration somewhere (i.e. your reviews).

APRIL 2003

0700 ZULU



Harmon Rabb sat in the hospital room staring down at the beautiful baby in his arms. He could hear his wife softly breathing as she finally got her much deserved rest. Even though it was two in the morning and he had been up for over 24 hours, he couldn't close his eyes. He couldn't take his eyes off the little bundle of blankets resting on his forearm. And he couldn't stop smiling.

There is no possible way to describe being a father he thought. He always imagined what it would be like, he had watched Bud and his other friends with children for years, but this was something completely new. From the first moment he was handed the baby, his world changed. Sarah might have thought he was overprotective during the pregnancy and of her in general, but that was nothing compared to what he was feeling now. He knew he would do anything within his power to protect this tiny child in his hands.

He knew that someday school would start and there would hopefully be college and a marriage, but while his mind raced through what would be in the future, he was trying to savor this moment for as long as possible. Letting his gaze drift back to the face of his sleeping Marine, he thought back to the day he first laid eyes on his precious miracle.



2000 ZULU




Hearing that heartbeat for the first time and seeing the first images of their baby were so overwhelming. Harm himself will admit to his eyes filling with tears of joy and awe at what he was witnessing.

Harm could feel the blood rush back to his fingers, as Mac's grip became one of excitement instead of fear. In that moment no words were needed. He had never been good with words when it came to her and she finally understood that. Sarah turned to her husband and kissed him on the cheek then turned back to the screen to look at the picture of their tiny baby.

The moment was over too soon as the doctor came back in the room to continue the examination and prepare for the amnio. After all of the tests were done, Lt. Commander Wood said that it would be a few days before the test results came back and that she would call them by the end of the week. Excited and relieved, Harm and Mac walked out to their cars hand in hand before Harm had to, reluctantly, head back to the Hill.

APRIL 2003

0727 ZULU



Sarah Rabb drifted awake to the sound of her husband humming to the wrapped blankets in his arms. She watched as his large finger traced the small face softly, trying not to wake the sleeping baby. Mac knew she should probably continue to sleep and get some rest before cries began filling the room again, but she wouldn't miss this scene for the world.

Even though she was only a few feet away, Mac's heart actually hurt when she wasn't holding the baby. This need to be near her and hold her and protect her from the world was something she never experienced before. She was very protective of Chloe and loved her immensely, but nothing could compare to what she felt now. She knew that this little baby's life depended on her. But her own life also depended on the tiny life she created with her husband.

She couldn't believe how lucky she was and how her life had finally come together. Harm had asked her to trust him, to believe in what they had together. And although she wasn't ready to admit this to him, Harm was right and she finally had her fairytale ending.

The nurse came in to take the baby back to the nursery for a bit and Harm reluctantly agreed. He didn't know that Mac was awake but when he heard a sniffle, he turned his head towards his wife. Sure enough, he was met by watery brown eyes. Coming over to sit on the edge of her bed he put his hand on her cheek catching her tears. "Hey, Marine, what's wrong?"

"The nurse...sniff...back to the nursery...sniff...I miss...sniff"

"Shhh...they just want you to get your rest. Everything is alright. Remember, ten fingers, ten toes, full head of brown hair and your lips."

"I know. I just can't...sniff...stop crying."

"Shhh...hey, remember the day we got the test results back? When we finally knew for sure that everything was ok?"

With a sniff and a shadow of a smile Mac said, "your birthday..."


OCTOBER 25, 2002

1817 ZULU



Harm had finally arrived at Mac's office, albeit 17 minutes and 38 seconds late. Today was his 39th birthday and the plan was to take a half a day and then drive up to Pennsylvania and Grandma Sarah's farm for the weekend. They both needed the rest and relaxation of the farm and were planning on breaking their big news to her this weekend. Even after the appointment earlier in the week, they were waiting until the test results came back to notify the Admiral and Bobbi Latham. And, ipso facto, the Bullpen rumor mill.

Breezing into Mac's office without knocking he didn't even notice that she was on the phone. "Sorry I'm late but there was this accident and then…" after realizing that his wife was not paying attention to him and was trying to listen to the other end of the phone call he mouthed sorry again sheepishly, closed the door and sat down in the chair in front of her desk.

At her next words, Harm's eyes widened. "Yes, Dr. Wood. Actually, my husband just got here, do you mind if I put you on speaker phone?" After getting a confirmation from the doctor, Mac pushed the button so that Harm could hear too. Having heard that it was the doctor, he stood up and came around the desk to stand beside her and grabbed her hand.

"Okay, so as I was saying, all your tests came back fine. The baby is healthy and happy and is right on target for your April due date. Now, I will ask again, just in case you changed you mind, do you want to know the sex of the baby?"

"Yes," Mac spoke up quickly. She was so relieved that tears of happiness were running down her face.

"Well, Commander and Colonel Rabb, I am happy to say that you are going to have a little girl."

Mac was speechless with joy and Harm's grin could not get any bigger. After a hasty goodbye to the doctor and hanging up Mac just sat there in shock for about two seconds until she was interrupted.

Suddenly Harm grabbed her and pulled her out of the chair. After a fierce hug, he started spinning her around the room unable to contain his joy and excitement. "We're having a girl!" he shouted oblivious to where they were standing.

Finally settling down Harm and Sarah looked up at the clearing of a very familiar throat. Both turned white and with mouths agape turned to see her current and his former CO at the door.

In all the excitement the two of them had not noticed that the Admiral, on his way across the bullpen and noticing that Harm was here, had come by Mac's office to wish him a happy birthday. Since the wedding, the Admiral had definitely let his softer side come out a bit more, especially with these two.

Having tapped on the door AJ stuck his head in at the precise moment when Harm had shouted. Not only had the Admiral heard and was now standing there in shock, but so had the entire bullpen.

"Care to repeat that, Mr. Rabb."

Mac regained her voice first as she squared her shoulders and confidently said, "Sir, the Commander and I are going to have a baby girl, sir. We just found out."

"And why didn't I know you were expecting Colonel?" giving them a hard time, just to watch them sweat a little.

"Well, Sir, we were waiting until we knew that everything was going to be all right and well Sir, I am due at the beginning of April."

At this point, Harriet, Bud and Sturgis were hovering in the doorway as well and Harriet could not contain herself any longer. She pushed past the other men and came running over to Mac.

"Oh, ma'am, sir, I am so happy for the both of you!!!" she said, engulfing them both in a huge hug.

Seeing Mac and Harm's grins take over their entire face, AJ relaxed and came over to shake Harm's hand, giving Sturgis and Bud the signal that they could congratulate the beaming couple as well.

In the midst of all the hugs and handshakes and questions Harm and Sarah made eye contact and shrugged as if saying, 'so much for that secret.'

0051 ZULU



Even with the slight delay due to their coworkers' excitement, Harm and Sarah had made it to Grandma Sarah's farm for a late dinner. Pleasant conversation and laughter filled the country kitchen adding to the warmth of the family farm.

This had always been a place of respite for Harm, a haven where he could escape to. But finally, Harm wasn't escaping anything. Today on his 39th birthday he felt a peace that was in sharp contrast to the feelings of anxiety of every other birthday. He had his Sarah and a baby on the way, something he never would have imagined having last year at this time, at a time when he and Mac were barely speaking.

Gram had noticed her grandson's serene nature and smiled to herself. Finally her baby boy was settled and happy. The couple walked into her house tonight with blinding smiles and still had not let them slip. Sarah Rabb may be older and she may wear glasses, but there is no way she could miss the knowing glances and the sheer joy radiating off of her grandson and his wife…and if she didn't know better, she could swear that…

"Gram?" Harm asked, noticing that his grandmother was off in her own world.

"Yes, dear?"

"You have a strange look on your face…did you want to share something with the group?" he chuckled, using a phrase she often used on him.

"Well, Harmon, dear, I was just wondering if you would like to share something with me," she said with a smirk on her face, giving both Harm and Mac a very pointed look.

The couple turned to each other with shocked looks on their faces and then turned back to Gram. Mac stuttered in disbelief, "how did you know?"

"Sarah, you are glowing, you haven't stopped smiling since you got here, my grandson has been extra courteous and protective of you, and, now I know you have a healthy appetite, but I have never seen anyone enjoy my meatloaf so much. Now, when am I going to be a great-grandmother?"

"ummm, April," Mac responded nervously.

Getting up as quickly as someone at her age could, she came around the table and wrapped her arms around her new granddaughter-in-law. Pulling back she looked at both of them and asked, "Well, do you know it's a girl yet or are you going to wait."

At their, again, shocked expressions, Gram just shook her head and chuckled, "well, a great-grandmother knows these things. Have you thought of names yet?"

Finally being capable of forming words again, Harm spoke up. "We actually just found out today that we are having a girl, and no, we haven't thought of names yet. Although, something tells me you have."

"Well of course, I have been waiting for you two to get together since I first heard Harm talk about the new Marine in his life."

Mac came back to the conversation and said, "well, we haven't talked about names yet, but we are open to suggestions."

"Well, I know it sounds old fashioned but I have always liked the name Therese."

"Why Therese, Gram?"

"Easy, Therese is the patron saint of pilots."

APRIL 2003

0812 ZULU



"Therese. It is a pretty name." Harm said. They had narrowed the names down to a relatively small list but they still had to officially choose one name and reveal it to anyone.

"There have been a lot of names thrown around in the past 6 months." Mac replied, the memories and her husband having finally gotten her postpartum emotions under control. "I swear your mom read us an entire chapter of a baby name book."

"Hey, at least we surprised someone! After what happened at JAG and then my grandmother, I wanted at least one person to be as surprised as I was."

"True, and I'm glad we got to tell your mom and Frank in person. Even if dropping by the house on their way home from Europe was a little…unannounced," Mac said with a grin.


OCTOBER 27, 2002

2230 ZULU



"Finally home," Harm said with a big sigh. It had been a great weekend with Gram and she had told Mac enough baby stories to run Harm out of the house. It had been the first time that Grandma Sarah and Mac had been able to spend a substantial amount of time together. Harm loved just sitting by and watching two of the most important women in his life together and laughing. Even at his expense.

It was the perfect way to spend his birthday. No big party, no big gifts, well the test results excluded. All of those things just didn't seem important anymore. With an inward chuckle he supposed that he had finally grown up and settled down. It only took until he was 39.

"Finally out of a car!" Mac said as she pushed past him and raced upstairs to the bathroom.

Harm, broken from his introspection, laughed and called after her "I'll call for pizza."

Having called the pizza place and being guaranteed a half veggie and half pepperoni pizza and a side of cheesy breadsticks in under 30 minutes, he moved into the living room and flopped down on the couch. After sitting in the car for so long, his back was feeling every bit of those years and ejections.

Laying back on the couch with his arm over his eyes he didn't see Mac reenter the room. Seeing her husband in need of a massage she came over to the couch and settled down beside him and began running her hand through his hair. Getting a grunt in reply she told him to roll over so she could give him a massage. Without even a response or opening his eyes he turned over and let her go to work on the kinks in his back.

Straddling him and sitting on his rear, Mac began to knead her husband's lower back, right where she knew that he was in the most pain. Slowly she went underneath his shirt working her way up and down his back and sides. Hearing his groan of approval she leaned down and started nuzzling his neck, working her way up to take his ear lobe in between her teeth.

Harm had been playing possum and decided that it was time to join in on the fun. Slowly turning over onto his side and allowing Mac to slide down against him he captured her lips in a searing kiss. He brought his hands up her side and when he felt silk beneath his fingers he opened his eyes quickly and broke the kiss.

Mac chuckled and answered his raised eyebrow with a quick kiss and "I told you there was still one more birthday surprise left."

"I like this surprise," he said as he resumed the kissing, rolling her underneath him.

Just then the doorbell rang. With a grunt of frustration Harm said, "that's probably the pizza guy. Keep that thought."

Mac adjusted herself and took off her short silk robe to reveal an eggplant purple baby doll nightie. After what should have been an acceptable amount of time for Harm to pay the pizza guy and wish him a good night, Mac called after her husband, "Harm, we're waiting; and your surprise is getting cold."

In response she heard a voice that she definitely wasn't expecting, "Sarah, dear, I don't think anyone could keep warm in that outfit."

Screaming, jumping up and grabbing an afghan from the back of the couch to cover herself, Mac blushed furiously as she faced her mother-in-law.

Looking around, the ever-observant Trish adds, "and who's we?"

APRIL 2003

0819 ZULU



"I could have died!" Mac said as she relived the embarrassment.

"Don't worry, I think that she completely forgot all about that once we broke the news to her."

"I think the thing that she was most surprised about was the name you suggested."


OCTOBER 27, 2002

2340 ZULU



"So have you thought of any name yet?" Trish asked, still bubbling with excitement.

"We have thrown out a couple. Gram suggested Therese, the patron saint of pilots. There have been others too. I was actually going to ask you something."

"Yes," Trish said as she encouraged her son to continue.

"Well, I mean this is not by any means our final decision, I mean we still have almost six months to think about this and change our mind a hundred times. But, I was wondering if we could use your name; either as a first name or middle name. But I don't know. We don't want to name her after Gram because, well obviously, Sarah has the same name. And we want to name her for something or someone she can be proud of. And well, after all that you have gone through for me and have become well I…"

With tears in her eyes Trish got up and hugged her son. Even Frank and Mac were furtively wiping tears. "Harmon Rabb, Sarah here must be good for you! I have never heard such a speech come out of you! Thank you very much. Your father, Frank and I are all very proud of the man you have become."

After a minute while everyone composed themselves Trish continued, "now, although I think that that is perhaps the sweetest thing you have ever offered to me, I want my granddaughter to have her own identity. Now, listen," she said as Harm started to sputter, "while a baby Trish would be cute, and I would be honored, I want you two to pick a name that will suit the special, and I'm sure stubborn and feisty, little girl that you are blessed with. If it's Patricia, then that's fine, but I want you to be sure. I named you a junior, and although it is a lasting tribute to your father, I always felt that you were in a shadow, and should have had your own name to make your way in the world."

Mac grabbed Harm's hand and gave it a squeeze as she responded, "thank you Trish. We are definitely going to continue to talk about all of this. Are there any names you want to suggest?"

"Well, I don't know, but I can say that if Harm here was a girl I would have named him Samantha."

APRIL 2003

0834 ZULU



Seeing that his wife was drifting off to sleep, Harm settled in for a nap as well, knowing that from this moment on, sleep would be a luxury he wouldn't see much of.

As Sarah drifted off to sleep the list of names began to swirl in her head. Her dreams were filled with scenes of people suggesting names and Harm and her discussing the list they kept on the refrigerator.

Although Mac had been more than welcomed by Sarah and Trish, she didn't have that mother or sister figure to really talk to about this whole pregnancy/motherhood thing. Shortly after Christmas, when Harriet had found out that she too was expecting again, Mac and Harriet went out for a day of shopping, mostly pricing some baby things that they were both looking at.



1815 ZULU



"A nice greasy food court burger, this is exactly what I have been craving," Mac said as she inhaled the value meal.

"Let me guess, Mr. Health Nut has been pushing the veggies?"

"Harriet, you have no idea. I'm surprised he didn't pack me a lunch today. Our poor little girl is going to be the only one in school with tofu in her lunchbox."

After sharing a big laugh Harriet started her customary questions. "So, Mac, have you and Harm chosen a name yet?"

"I don't know. We have two lists actually, one of names we like and one of names we hate, but the longer we don't decide the more it grows. Right now we are still taking suggestions."

"Well, what names are on the list?"

"Gram Sarah suggested Therese, Trish, although she has called almost everyday with a new cute name she heard, likes Samantha. Harm suggested Patricia after his mother. Other than that, nothing really special, just names we hear or whatever."

"Hmmm, I'm surprised that you haven't done anything to do with the Marines or the Navy."

"I don't know, there aren't very many pretty little girl names. I mean Patrick Henry and Okinawa just don't seem to be right."

"True. But what about the colors you wear? Like for the Marines you could use Jade or something. For Navy you could use Violet, which is kind of blue. Or you could always go with Marina or something like that."

"Oh, I love those names!"

"I just thought that since you both are so dedicated to the service and your country, it would be a nice way of representing both of you."

"I can't wait to tell Harm! He's going to love that idea. Thanks Harriet!"

APRIL 2003

0844 ZULU



While Mac was dreaming about colors and shopping, Harm was remembering a very special Valentine's Day.


FEBRUARY 14, 2003

2330 ZULU



Harm had chosen their favorite restaurant in town for Valentine's Day; nothing too fancy, but good food that they both loved and also close to home. Mac was now in her seventh, going on eighth month and got tired very easily. Knowing that on the Friday after a long cold week Mac wouldn't want to be out too late, he reserved his dinner and dancing in the city idea for their anniversary and called up The Wharf for reservations.

Now they were sitting there, enjoying their Shellfish Fettuccine and All Lump Crab Cakes with a side of Classic Bacon Cheeseburger with fries (no explanation of whose is whose necessary). Harm held his wife's free hand and just watched her eat. Harm had gotten her roses for the day. Tons of them. This morning she found a single red rose next to her coffee cup. At lunchtime she came back to her office to find a dozen roses, each of a different color in a beautiful vase on her desk. And tonight as she was getting ready for dinner he presented her with a bouquet of tiny rosebuds all surrounding one full bloom American Beauty rose. After many kisses and thank you's, Mac had insisted on wearing a tiny rosebud in her hair at dinner.

Now Harm sat there and couldn't take his eyes off the tiny bit of pink peeking through her auburn tresses. Roses had been such a symbol for them from the start. He couldn't smell a rose without remembering the day, just outside the Rose Garden when he first laid eyes on his wife.

Whenever he knew that his wife was having a hard day or for any special occasion, he would get her a single rose and leave it for her, no note, no card, just a rose. This had started well before they were together. He tended to back off if she was involved with someone, but it was his way of letting her know that he was there, always.

"Harm, you're staring."

"What about Rose?"

"Harm, you have given me more than my fair share of roses today. It's very sweet but I really don't need another one."

"No, I mean Rose, for a name."

"Oh. I like that."

"I just though that roses have always been our thing and…"

"Harm, I love the idea. It will definitely go towards the top of the list."

With a smile and an "okay" they continued their quiet conversation as Mac finished her meal.

APRIL 2003

1520 ZULU



Having finally woken up a few hours ago and asking the nurse to bring back their little girl, Harm and Mac were enjoying these first few quiet moments as a family. Harm sat next to Mac on the bed as she fed their daughter for the first time falling more and more in love with both of them.

After the baby had fallen back to sleep cradled against her mother, Harm broached the subject of the name, it was time to make a decision. "Mac, this little girl needs a name, preferably before people come to visit. Little Girl Rabb is going to end up on her birth certificate if we don't make a decision soon."

"I know. OK, you brought the list right?"


"Alright, let's see it." Seeing the group of names fourth from the top a broad smile came over her face. "Remember why we picked those names?"

"Of course I do, it was Christmas Eve."


DECEMBER 24, 2002

2353 ZULU



Having come home from visiting the Wall, this time with his family accompanying him, Harm lay with Mac on the couch watching the lights twinkle on their tree. The next day would be filled with the joyous chaos of family and friends, but tonight they were celebrating their first Christmas as a couple and married and with a baby on the way, with a quiet night at home.



"Want to exchange presents?"

"You don't want to wait until the morning?"

"Well, I was thinking we could exchange just one, the rest can wait until your parents and grandmother get here in the morning. But this one is special."

"I know what you mean. I have something I would rather give you in private too. OK, let's meet back here in two minutes."

Mac hurried up the stairs to the back of the closet in the nursery as Harm went outside and grabbed her gift from the glove compartment of his car.

Both coming back into the living room with big grins on their faces, Mac was bursting to give Harm his gift. Before he could even say anything she thrust it into his hands and said "Merry Christmas."

Harm, with a little chuckle, tore back the paper to reveal a square box. He could have never imagined what was inside and was overwhelmed with emotion.

Nervously, Mac started babbling about the gift. "I…I don't know if you like it…but well, this matches the MIA bracelet you wore for your father. Except this one is for good memories." Taking the bracelet from the box, Mac turned it so he could see the inside. "See, on the inside I had our wedding date inscribed. And in April I will have our little girl's birthday put on there. Any big event we can have inscribed…" Trailing off, Mac nervously wondered if Harm liked the gift.

When Harm lifted his head Mac could see tears in his eyes, right before her eyes closed, he leaned forward and pulled her towards him in a passionate kiss. Pulling back he rested his forehead against hers. Hoarsely he whispered, "Thank you. It's prefect. You have always been the only one to understand the search for my father. You and the little one are my life now…I love you."

Mac now also had tears in her eyes, a mixture of love, relief and from listening to her husband's words.

After a minute of quiet reflection Harm pulled back and put a long thin box in Mac's hands. In contrast to how he carefully tore back the paper, Mac eagerly scratched at the paper as it fell from the box in pieces. Harm chuckled as he watched his wife so excited about Christmas. Opening the box Mac found a gorgeous charm bracelet with tiny silver charms on it.

Harm took the bracelet and put it on her wrist as he took the first charm between his fingers. "This is the Marine emblem, for my beautiful jarhead. This one is a rose because of where we met. This one is a pair of wings, because you finally made this flyboy see that flying can't even compete with what I feel for you. And this one," taking a tiny tiara charm between his fingers, "is for you, Sarah, my princess."

"How did you know?"

"Know what?"


"That's what your name means right?"


"Well, you will always be a princess to me; someone to be loved and worshipped and revered. Well, until our little princess shares the title with you," he said with a smirk.

"Our little princess…" Mac said in wonder. Grabbing the baby names book she flipped to the section on meanings. Finding the right page she showed Harm.

"I know that you wanted to call our baby Sarah, but what about another name for princess?"

Looking at the list of names he started reading a few that he liked. "Amira, Sadie, Sarina…I like that idea a lot. My little Princess," he said as he rubbed his hand over Mac's baby belly.

APRIL 2003

1525 ZULU



Mac had insisted on putting the bracelet back on after she had given birth and now she looked down at it smiling.

"That was a great Christmas," Harm said, also remembering the night.

Mac's logical side took over and she created a systematic plan for this baby-naming thing. "Okay. Well, before we go down memory lane again, let's start at the top. Therese?"

"Even though Gram recommended it, I'm okay skipping that one."

"Okay. Next. Patricia Jean"

"What do you think, it's my mother's name…"

"Well, I love you mother, but I wouldn't want to call her Trish. Although, I was thinking we could call her PJ and that is really cute."

"PJ, I like that. I think it's a little too close to AJ though. We will keep that as a maybe."

"Next. Samantha? I really like the name Samantha Rose together"

"I like that name a lot. That's a finalist"

"Violet or Jade?"

"I don't really like Violet, but Jade is a good name."

"Same here. OK, the last on the list. The Princess names: Amira, Sadie and Sarina?"

"I am partial to Sadie or Sarina."

"I think Sarina is a little too close to my name. But I love Sadie."

"OK, that means, Sadie, Jade or Samantha Rose"

"What did you say?"

"Sadie, Jade or Samantha Rose"

"Sadie Jade, I like those together."

A broad smile broke out across Harm's face. Looking down at his daughter he asked, "What do you think Little One? Are you a Samantha Rose? Or a Sadie Jade?"

The baby girl opened her big blue eyes to look at her parents and they knew.

2314 ZULU



They had finally brought their little girl home this morning and said goodbye to all of the well wishing grandparents, aunts and uncles, biological or not. Mac had been able to feed her and while she was taking a shower Harm was putting her down in her bassinet. Grinning he started the airplane mobile above her head, excited that after what seemed like an eternity his little miracle was home.

Seeing her start to squirm awake he softly started singing to her making it up as he went along. "Shhh little girl. It's time to sleep now. Go off to dream land. We love you so." After some more humming and improvising, he saw her eyes flutter and stay closed. With a kiss to the forehead he said, "Goodnight my little princess."

Turning he saw his wife standing there in her pajamas ready to go to sleep, at least for a few hours. She came and stood beside him wrapping her arms around him. She looked up at him and smiled. "So, is our little Sadie Jade asleep?"

"Yup, at least until she gets hungry again."


After about of minute of just standing there and watching their daughter sleep Harm said, "So it's official, we like Sadie Jade. She's not a Samantha Rose?"

"It's official. Sadie Jade just fits her. Maybe the next one will be a Samantha Rose."

"The next one?"

"Well, yeah."

"I was going to wait a few months for you to forget about the labor before I brought up number 2."

"Trust my babe, I'll never forget about the labor. Let's get some sleep."

With that they turned towards the bed and Mac was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow. Harm lay awake for a little while watching his two girls sleep. This was love he though as he finally gave over to the Sandman himself.