God, am I exhausted. After we decided that we were going to take care of the kids, we helped Ellen clean up, and spent some time with the others before we went to the mall to spent tons of money on new outfits and diapers and everything. We got them toys; apparently the first ones they got. Arriving at the Toys 'R Us, Gabriel's and Noa's eyes got wide.
Harm took Gabriel by his hand and I took Noa in her new buggy to look at the girls' stuff. Noa was absolutely excited when we got to the dolls department. And I swear; I haven't seen so many toys in my entire life. My heart broke into a million little pieces every time I thought about what those two kids missed out for the first years of their lives. Something simple as something to play with. Clothes that actually fit and kept them warm. When Harm and Gabriel came back, Harm was carrying one single box. When I frowned, he held it up so that I could see. It was a stuffed Elmo. From Sesame Street. That was the one toy Gabriel had picked out. Harm must've seen the questioning look in my eyes because he shrugged.
And now I'm crying. I'm crying over a stupid toy. Standing in the doorway to my guest bedroom, looking at the kids, and waiting for Harm to come back, I'm crying over all the things those two little angels never had. Things I have missed out on as well, and because of that, also things I want to give them. I feel Harm's presence even before he's come into the apartment. I can always feel Harm's presence; it's this little thing tucked away in the back of my heart. And now, before he sticks the key in the lock, I know he is outside my door.
By the time we were done shopping, the kids were so tired and fussy that we took them to my place, fed them and put them to bed. After dinner Harm cleaned up, helped me clean up Gabriel and Noa and told me he was going to get some fresh clothes from his place so he could stay over. I, of course, objected, telling him that I could handle two kids in the morning. It's not that I don't like the prospect of Harm staying the night, but I'm a Marine, I've handled combat situations and all, I should be able to handle two kids. But I like the fact that Harm is going to stay over anyway. I don't turn around when he enters. I'm still watching the kids. Harm puts his bag by the door, drops his jacket on the chair and moves closer to me. "You okay?"
My head moves up and down, but I know Harm knows something is going on anyway. That's just the way Harm is. He's got the same thing about me as I have about him. Some kind of sense. I sniff and wipe a lost tear of my cheek. "They didn't deserve this, Harm. They didn't deserve to be treated the way they did."
Harm silently wraps his arms around me. "No Sarah, they didn't. And because they didn't, we're going to try and make things right for them again."
"We are?" I ask.
"Well, we're going to do our best and try. But we're going to have to start slowly. Little things at the time. They've been ripped from their…family if that's what you want to call it, and my guess is that they don't really trust adults."
No, not really anyway. I had guessed that. I lean back in his embrace. "Come on Marine, I'll draw you a bubble bath. And after that we're gonna get a good night sleep."
He closes the bedroom door and leads me to mine. I sit on my bed while Harm goes into the bathroom to draw me a bubble bath. With my favorite scent: rosemary. I already know that. Such a simple thing; Harm knows rosemary is my favorite scent. Chris didn't know that, John didn't know that, Dalton didn't know that… Just Harm.
A moment later he comes out of the bathroom and softly caresses my head. "Bath is ready. I'm in the living room if you need me, all right?"
I look up to him and smile. "Thank you," I whisper.
He nods and softly closes the door behind him on his way out. Considerate, as always. When I step into my bath, it's exactly the temperature I want it to be. Closing my eyes, I let the day's event pass through and I relax. Harm and I are going to help these kids. I'm not sure yet how we are going to, but we are. Taking little steps a time.

It's in the middle of the night that I wake up. Gabriel. Throwing the covers off, I run to the other room and turn on the lights. Another nightmare. Quickly I gather him in my arms and start to rock him back and forth.
It started after two days. I don't know what started it, but for some reason he started to have nightmares. And dragged Noa into it with him. I just know she'll wake up in a minute, sobbing uncontrollably and shaking. Where is Harm?
Just as I am about to call for him, Harm walks into the room over to Noa's bed and picks her up in his arms. We've found out that as soon she hears Harm's voice, she won't start to scream like Gabriel. At least, that is what has worked for now.
Gabriel has woken up now and is crying, burying his head in my chest. "It's all right, Gabe," I whisper, rubbing his back. "It's all right. You're gonna be just fine…"
They've been with us for almost a week now, and we're slowly starting to gain their trust. Not that they've started to talk yet, but they seem pretty much comfortable when Harm and I are around. Harm and I had taken the week off to get the kids a little used to us. To go do normal family things like going to the park, shopping, playing board games and stuff.
We've been to their old school, which we've found out, is on the other side of town, and asked Ellen if it was okay to transfer them to a school closer to HQ's. Because Harm and I are their temporary guardians, it was. After the weekend they'll be going to school and kindergarten and we'll probably slip into a normal pattern.
The Admiral wasn't happy when he found out what Harm and I had done and that we both wanted the week off. His two senior staff members moving into the same apartment to take care of kids that aren't even their own. But when we explained that we couldn't stand by and watch those two kids get kicked around, he just looked at us. "You and your sense of justice," he mumbled. "Fine, take the week off. Do what you have to do".
Gabriel is slowly settling back in to go to sleep. One last caress over his head, one last kiss and Harm and I walk back to our bedroom, crawling under the covers as soon as we can. "I hope this is the only time they'll wake up tonight," Harm mumbles.
I softly chuckle. "What are the odds?"
"Don't remind me. And with the baby coming, we will be up more than once a night." He turns his head to me.
I look at him. "We'll take turns, all right? Go back to sleep Harm, we have to go back to work in the morning."
He grunts, goes to lie on his side and turns off the lights. "Night, Mac."
"Night, Harm." There is no question where I will wake up tomorrow morning. Wrapped up in his arms. That is the last thought I have before I fall asleep again.

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