Yup, we're totally back at JAG. Although the
Admiral tries to be easy on us, he does have to give us something. And boy, are we back. Ellen called yesterday, saying that Judge
Elfman wanted to see us one more time so we could sign the papers that will
make us Gabe, Noa and Shireen's official parents. They've tried to track Nadine
down, but they haven't found her. Not that it matters, but still…
Sometimes I'm still afraid that Gabe will be affected by all this later in his life. He's doing great now, and I have the feeling that it will stay that way for a whole while, but sometimes… Shaking my head, I focus on my next case again.
"Enter!" I call upon hearing the knock on my door.
Mandy sticks her head into my office. "Hey Mac, how you doing in here?"
I lean back in my chair and smile. "Pretty good, actually."
"Right." Mandy rolls her eyes and plumps down in one of the other chairs. "Of course. What was that? Your second win this past ten days?"
Mandy makes a face. "And she mentions that like it's no big deal." She smiles and sits up in her chair. "So, what did I hear? You and Harm leaving JAG?"
She's switched subjects and I let her. Taking another sip, I nod. "Yeah. Harm's going to teach at Annapolis and I'm going to NCIS." That's what we decided on after deliberating for days. It wasn't an easy decision (anyone seriously thought that it would be? I mean, this is Harm and me we're talking about, after all), but this way, we both get to stay in the country. No more unexpected traveling, no more leaving the kids for an undefined period of time…
"You'll be missed," Mandy says.
"We'll miss you too." I smile. "But this is the best decision for the kids. For our family."
That was the last time I'm going to explain why Harm and I made this decision. Bud and Harriet guessed it after all that happened, the Admiral knew, and I think that both Mandy and Casper knew too. Mic got sent back to Australia a little while ago, so life is finally back to normal. Sort of. "Of course it is." Mandy rises out of her seat. "Is there anything I can do for you?"
Looking over my desk, I shake my head. "No, thanks, Mandy. I got it covered."
"Holler if you change your mind." With that, she closes my office door behind her, and leaves me alone with my thoughts.
Once again, our lives are about to change. Not as major as they changed when we got three kids and married in about five months… This is just a change of job. I can see Harm teaching military law and ethics at Annapolis. He's going to do a great job. And I'm going to switch to NCIS… It's a welcome challenge. It's going to allow us to have some sort of normal family life. Strictly regular hours from Monday to Friday. Perfect.
When we told Frank and Trish that we were going to do this, she was surprised at first. Thought that one of us was going to resign. Although that eventually might happen, for now we love being in the military and as long as we can combine it with our family life, we're going to stay in. Harm is giving us his wings, though.
That was his decision. I didn't have anything to do with it. Well, I didn't push him to make that kind of decision. Really, didn't. When we were talking about the other billets the other day, he suddenly brought it up.
"Now we're talking about switching
jobs…" Harm puts some papers back on the table and stirs in his coffee.
Looks up to me. "I'm not going to do my quals."
I stare at him. "What?"
"You heard me, Sarah."
Oh, I heard him all right. Just not sure whether or not I understood him. "You're not going to do your quals? Why not?"
He shrugs. "I'm giving up my wings. The changes that I'll be mobilized the next time we get involved in a war… It's too big a risk, Sarah. I don't want to give our kids the same childhood I had."
I swallow hard and eye him. He's too cool, too collected about this thing. He lived for his wings. That was what he wanted to do ever since… since I don't know when. Probably since he saw his father is his flight suit for the first time. It's what he was born to do. It's part of who he is…
"But… flying is…" I run a hand through my hair, trying to collect my thoughts. Look at him. Frown. "Flying is part of who you are, Harm. It's what you were born to do. Every time we arrive at some carrier oversees, and you get the chance to go up in a Tomcat, that amazingly broad grin appears on your face… You love it up there…"
Harm reaches for my hand and squeezes it. "Not as much as I love all of you. Sure, I love flying, and it will always be part of me, but I can always take 'Sarah' up if I want to fly. I want to be here to tell Gabe to be a gentleman on his first date, I want to be for their graduations, I want to be here for their first dates, for the first time they fall in love… I want to walk all my daughters down the aisle, Sarah. And when we're old and gray, I want to sit on our porch and hold your hand, laugh at our great-grandchildren…" Smiling he wipes a lost tear of my cheek. "I want to share the rest of my life with you, Sarah. I want to see all of our kids grow up. As much as I want to fly, I want to be here for all of you. If that means that I have to give up my wings, so be it."
I let my breath escape. "Are you sure about that, Harm?" I whisper. "Because I don't want you to give this up because you feel obliged to do so. You're giving up everything you've worked so hard for."
He shuts me up by placing a finger over my lips. "It's a small loss to everything I gain with it, honey. A really small loss."
Locking eyes with him, I read his eyes. Knowing my husband as I do, he sometimes says one thing and thinks another. But I can't read any regret in them. As much as I try to see it, I can't. He doesn't regret this. He is going to give up his wings.
Again, I swallow. Take a deep breath. "Okay. If you've made up your mind, which you obviously have, I'm not protesting. Your wings, your decision."
I get a full blown Flyboy-grin from him. "I just want to be here for the rest of our lives together, gorgeous."
To be completely honest with you, so do I.
It's going to be weird, though. Him not having any sort of flight status. But he's right. It will always be part of him. He just won't do it for a living anymore. On one hand, I'm relieved.
Because that means he's going to see all of our kids grow up…