This is a short introduction to a story I am writing at the request of my friend GibbsFan, who loves Jag and who was a great help with the background for these characters. I hope it's ok :)
"Oh thank God!" Harm said as a tired looking Mattie walked tentatively into the room. Even the usually calm Jen looked frazzled. A fourteen year old girl wandering the streets on her own...Anything could have happened.
"I guess I should have called." she said quietly.
"That would have been a start..." Harm said. "But coming home when you were supposed to would have been even better."
"Oh well.." she said with an edge to her voice as she walked straight past them towards her room.
"This is not ok with me Mattie." Harm said with his eyes widening as she completely ignored him and shut the door in his face.
"Guess it's gonna have to be!" she shouted loudly through the door.
Harm ran a hand through his hair in frustration. Jen winced. She didn't really know what to do. Should she stay out of it? Give him some space to handle it on his own. Help?
"Maybe you should give her some space Sir." Jen said. Harm looked unsure.
"We don't even know where she was...what she was doing …..who she was with."
"Friends!" she called out through the door.
Hmmm. Well she could hear through the door...so they better not discuss it right here. He pointed to the front door and Jen followed him outside.
"Sir..." Jen suggested. "What about if we let her sleep on it...?"
"Hmmm. No." he said. "I was worried sick."
"I know Sir and I was worried too." Jen said. "But...if you don't mind me saying so...this has been an adjustment for Mattie...she used to doing her own thing."
"I don't mind you sayin Jen...and I know all that, but when she was on her own before it wasn't in the city, and she shouldn't have even been alone there either. Now, thankfully...she isn't alone, I'm responsible for her and the biggest adjustment she has to worry about is the attitude one that she has coming if she doesn't knock off it off." Jen baulked a little. It was clear that Harm wasn't going to back down here.
"Ok...what are you gonna do? Break down the door Sir?" Harm was back to looking slightly unsure again.
"No...no...that won't be necessary." he said striding back into the room.
"Mattie open that door!"
"No!" she shouted. "I need to sleep...I have school."
"Ok then. But this isn't finished." Harm said. Inside Mattie rolled her eyes. "You're grounded. Come straight home after school tomorrow and then we'll talk." Silence."Mattie?"
As she closed the door behind Harm Jen smiled. He might be a lawyer but he'd never butted heads with a stubborn teenage girl before.
The next day at school, Mattie met with the friends she had met the day before. They definitely weren't the kind of kids that Harm would approve of but they liked her and accepted her for now that was better than anything. Harm wouldn't understand how important it was to fit in...to have people to have lunch with and to to hang with at school. Being in an airport hanger running a business on your own wasn't half as lonely and scary as sitting at a lunch table by yourself in a crowded cafeteria.
"Gym first period." Max said with a blink of his black mascara covered eyelashes.
"Ditch?" Amy asked with a twirl of her purple hair. Mattie took the cigarette she passed her and took a drag.
"Fine by me." she said with a grin. So the motley looking group ducked out through the bustle of kids and headed for the local park where they could hide amongst the trees until the coast was clear enough to move to somewhere else.
Harm answered his phone to the school office.
"Ok...I'll get right on to that and I'll get back to you." he said.
"Problems?" Mac asked.
"Ah...you could say that...a few teething problems with Mattie is all."
"She didn't get home last night until late...no phone call...now she's ditched school. She was seen there earlier and then she never made it to her first class." Mac tried not to smile.
"She's testing you...seeing what you're made of...what are you made of Harm?"
"Stuff." he said trying to look a lot stronger than he felt. "I'm made of stern stuff don't worry about me."
"Good." she said with a grin.
"I already grounded her." he said proudly.
"Oh good..." she said biting her lip.
"I told her to come straight home from school."
"Harm?...she didn't go to school."
"I can't save the world in five minutes." he said with a frown.