That Brumby guy is really getting on my nerves now. He's been with us for a couple of weeks, and he has proven to be a total pain in the ass. Seriously. Sarah has been the one who picked him up from the airport, about two days before we got Gabe and Noa, and she has been away for two weeks total. But has that stopped him to ask her out to dinner? Several times, for that matter? I don't think so. Sarah is over at the hospital now, with the baby, as she has been for the past couple of days. Gabe and Noa are with her. We had hoped that everything would be okay with the baby, but unfortunately, there were some complications. Ellen called us about two days ago, telling us that the baby was born, but that something was wrong. Not terribly, but still, wrong.
Nadine fell down the stairs; they had to perform an emergency C-section on her. Considering everything she's been through, (yep, the baby is a girl, named Shireen Kyara) the baby is going pretty okay. She's a little small, and they've been paying extra attention to her for the past two days, but she seems to be doing fine.
I've been driving myself back and forth to day care and kindergarten, JAG, the hospital and home. It's exhausting. We've been busy with furnishing and renovating the house in between work and visiting the hospital and we need to be there for the kids too.
The Admiral is cutting us some slack, especially after he heard about Shireen, but I still need to do my job. Thankfully, we'll be getting some extra personnel, so my workload should decrease a bit. Sar and I are both needed at home, with the kids. Who still aren't talking, by the way. Who haven't uttered a single syllable to us in the two and a half weeks that they've been with us. It's so damn frustrating! I want the kids to say something, anything. My brain knows that I should give it some time; they've been through a lot and everything, but still… Sarah and I were talking to Gabe's teacher the other day, and even in school he hasn't said a single word. I don't know what their parents have done to them, but the next time I see Jaime Moreno, I'll personally strangle him for treating his son and daughter the way he did!
What time is it? I hope it's time to go home, because I miss all four of them terribly. The first time I saw Shireen… I can't even describe what that felt like. She's so small and precious… She has a whole lot of dark hair; inheritance of her Mexican dad and Persian mother. A pair of light eyes, but they've turned darker brown over the past days. She's perfect. There is no other word to describe her.
"Commander?" Gunny sticks his head into my office.
"Yes, Gunny?"
He looks at my empty desk. "Are you already leaving, sir?"
It's only now that I notice that I was packing up. I've put all my files into my briefcase, cleaned up some lying around papers… I even have my cover in my hand. Where the hell have you been, Hammer? "I guess so, Gunny."
Victor nods. "You okay, sir?"
I nod. "Fine, Gunny. Just thinking." I nod again, and meet his eyes. "Was there something you wanted?"
"The Admiral would like to see you in his office, sir."
The Admiral would like to see me. As long as he doesn't dump another case on me, or sends me out of town… I'm not leaving anyone behind this time. "I'll be right there."
"Yes, sir." Victor gives me one last look before he retrieves from my office.
Hammer, get your act together, right now. If the Admiral is going to find you in this dazed state… Not that he won't understand, but when at work, you need to concentrate on work. Not on a woman and three kids in a hospital.
Tiner tells me that the Admiral is expecting me, so I walk right in, only to notice Mic sitting in Sarah's chair. Okay, that's not fair. It's not Sarah's chair, it's just a chair, but Sarah normally sits in that chair. I must really hate that guy, because usually, I don't care who sits in that chair.
"At ease," the Admiral orders, and takes his glasses off when he sees I'm carrying my briefcase with me. "You have an appointment I'm not aware of, Commander?"
"Not really, sir." Right, as if he is going to buy that, Rabb. I glance at Mic.
The Admiral arches an eyebrow. "You don't have any bad news on the baby, do you?"
He's asking me that with Mic in the room? Great. I shake my head. "No, sir. As far as I know, the baby is the same as she was this morning."
Mic gives me a confused look, but I'm not going to explain anything to him. For now, he doesn't have to know what is going on.
"But you were on your way to the hospital, weren't you?" The tone of the Admiral's voice is kind and understanding. And Shireen isn't even my own kid. All I can do is nod. "Yes sir, I was." There is this knot in my stomach that I'm needed over at the hospital, and for some reason I can't shake it. As if there's something wrong with Sarah, or the kids. Or both.
"Your sixth sense kicked in again?"
The Admiral doesn't question my sixth sense when it comes to Sarah or the kids anymore. He doesn't question my sixth sense period. It's a good thing he doesn't, because I sometimes still do. "I'm afraid so, Admiral."
He nods and plays with his glasses. "Commander Brumby, I want you to take Commander Rabb's current high-profile case. Since Lt. Roberts is sitting second chair, I'm sure that he can fill you in."
"Sir, that's really not…," I start to protest, but I'm cut off.
"Commander Rabb, if your gut feeling tells you that you're needed over at the hospital with your family, then that's where you need to be. We all know what happened the last time your tried to ignore your intuition. Take tomorrow off, if that is what it takes."
Did he just order me to go over to the hospital? Over to my 'family'? Mic is shocked. Nope, he never expected me to have a family. "But, sir, we're up to our nose in case…"
"Harm, go to the hospital. JAG can run another day or two without you." He puts his glasses back on and looks at me when I still haven't moved. "Commander, do I need to call the guards to get you out of here?"
That finally shakes me. "No, sir." I snap to attention. "Thank you, Admiral."
"Keep me informed, Commander."
"Yes, sir." I swirl around on my heels and get out. There's a really big knot in my stomach now. There has to be something wrong at the hospital, and as long as I'm still here, I won't know what it is. Breaking almost every speed limit, I rush over to the hospital.
The elevator seems to take forever, so I run up the stairs to the third floor. See, my gut feeling was right. Standing in the hallway, with the Noa in her arms, and Gabe clinging to her leg, is Sarah. Talking to a dark-haired man. Even from a distance, I can see that Sarah's tensed. As in, every muscle tensed. Gabe's eyes lit up when he sees me. He lets go of Sarah's leg and comes running over to me. Sarah relaxes visibly when she sees me. I catch Gabe in my arms and hug him. "Are you okay?" I ask softly.
He nods and buries his head in my neck. We have a lot of damage repair ahead of us. The dark-haired man narrows his eyes at me, when he sees that I've picked Gabe up. With Gabe on my hip, I make my way over to where Sarah and Noa are standing. "Everything okay?"
Sarah gives my hand a quick squeeze. Yep, you're not the only one who is happy that I'm here. "Harm, this is Jaime Moreno."
Ah, this is the man I vowed to strangle with my bare hands when I got the chance. Not much of a chance with Gabe in my arms, though. I nod, but don't say anything. I stroke Noa over her head and drop my arm to Sarah's waist.
"Mr. Moreno came here to see Nadine," Sarah continues. "We accidentally bumped into him onto our way to the nursery."
Moreno grunts. "I don't know what you're doing with my kids, but I never gave permission for them to leave home."
He never gave permission? Excuse me? When you neglect your children the way you have done, Moreno, they don't need your permission. You consented the day you started to treat them the way you did. I try to keep the expression on my face as neutral as possible, but I'm literally biting my tongue.
"Well, we're not the ones who took them from there, so if you're looking for someone to complain to, call Social Services." Not the most diplomatic comment I ever made, but this guy doesn't look like he needs a diplomatic comment.
His eyes grow dark. "I already did."
"Then you know who you should talk to. If you'll excuse us, Mr. Moreno, we're busy." But Moreno isn't going to give me a break. He pulls on my arm and tries to grab Gabe out of my arms. Gabe only tightens his hold on me. I turn away from Moreno and stroke over his back. "It's okay, buddy. He's not taking you anywhere."
Moreno seems to think something else. "They are my children. And they're coming home with me." He's kidding, right? There is no way that Sarah and I are going to let Gabe and Noa go. He can pull every stunt he has up his sleeve, but it's not going to happen. Not in a million years. "Listen, Moreno." My voice has dropped an octave or two. Something that indicates that you don't want to mess with me. "I don't care who you are to them, we are taking care of them. Something you and your wife neglected to do. Which is exactly why Gabriel and Noa are no longer staying with you. So, you can give it up and leave with at least a little dignity, or you can make a scene and I'll charge you with harassment. It's up to you."
Moreno stares at me but I'm not budging an inch. I really am going to press charges if he doesn't leave soon. The kids are shaking so badly; we have to get them out of here. We have to get them out of his presence. Finally, he stands down. Much better. "Come on," I say, pushing Sarah in the direction of the family room.
"It's gonna take a whole lot more then just threats to get rid of me!" Moreno calls after us.
Did I say it was a threat? I know a couple of very capable lawyers who would be more then willing to help me with a restraining order. I don't want that guy within five miles of the kids. Period. When the door finally closes behind my back, Sarah lets her guard down, and I'm left to deal with two crying kids and one very upset woman.

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