JAG Fanfiction: Love, Loss & Family - 100. Fini
Well, here we are at long last. The 100th and final chapter of this epic story of mine. This is bittersweet for me. I may write some more shorter tales about this Rabb family I’ve created sometime in the future, time and inspiration permitting. I hope that you have enjoyed it and I thank all of you who have stuck it out with me and patiently waited for the end. I hope it was worth it. Please take a moment to let me know what you think! Have a blessed day!
End of August
Mattie hugged her great-grandmother before hugging each of her grandparents and then she took Nick from Mac and held him close to her, kissing his soft baby head. With a sigh she passed him back to her mom and then she picked up Chris and hugged and kissed him before setting him on his feet and doing the same to Mandy.
“Be good for Dad and Mom, Squirt,” she said to her little sister.
“I good,” Mandy nodded and kissed Mattie noisily. “You go bye-bye?”
“Yes,” Mattie told her with a smile. “I’m going to go live in Paris and go to school, but I’ll see you at Christmas.”
“Okay,” Mandy said with a big smile. “Have fun!”
Mattie chuckled at her sister and put her down before she moved to hug Mac. “I’m going to miss you Mom,” she said.
“You can call anytime,” Mac reminded her. “And if you need us we’ll be there as soon as we can get there. And don’t forget our weekly Skype calls on Sundays.”
Mattie nodded and hugged her just a little tighter before she kissed her cheek. “I love you,” she said softly.
Mac’s eyes misted and she squeezed back before pulling away and kissing her forehead. “I love you, too, Sweetie.”
“If we don’t get going it’s going to be midnight before we get to Paris,” Harm said with a teasing smile. He kissed his wife as Mattie picked up her purse and laptop case from the floor and shouldered them. “I’ll call you as soon as we arrive,” he promised.
“I’ll look forward to it,” she said. “We’ll see you in a few days.”
“Troy and his family are going to beat us to the airfield if we don’t head out,” Harm told Keeter as he and Mattie walked out the front door.
Keeter had hugged Lily once more and teasingly said, “Don’t go into labor before I get home.”
Lily gave him an exasperated look and sighed as he grinned and walked towards Harm’s SUV.
Harm, Keeter and Mattie climbed into the vehicle and waved as they pulled out of the driveway.
Mac closed the door as the taillights disappeared down the road and she rubbed noses with her youngest son and smiled at him. “What should we do until lunch time?” she asked the baby boy.
“We swim!” Mandy said with a smile.
Mac made a face. “It’s not time for your lesson yet,” she told the little girl. “How about playing on the swings and the slide?”
“Okay,” Mandy said as she ran towards the sliding glass door in the back of the house.
“I’ll come with you,” Lily said as she rubbed her rounded abdomen and sighed. “You heard your daddy; no being born before he gets home.” She smiled when she got a good kick in response.
They took the little ones outside to play for about an hour before Mac suggested a mid-morning snack to tide them over until lunchtime.
After they had eaten their snacks and Chris and Nick were down for their morning naps, Mac told Mandy that she could color or play with her toys in the family room while she sat and talked with the other adults in the house.
“What time does your flight leave tomorrow?” Mac asked her in-laws.
“We’ve scheduled departure time for 11am,” Frank told her. “We’re going to fly with Sarah to the airfield in Washington, Pennsylvania and rent a car to drive her home to Beallsville. We’ll stay a few days with her and then we’ll head home to La Jolla.”
Mac nodded and then smiled when Mandy brought her doll over and climbed up on the couch with her.
The adults were all watching her as they continued their discussion and Trish covered her mouth with her hand and stifled a laugh when she saw what Mandy was doing.
Mandy had lifted her shirt up and placed her doll face-first against her breast and then covered herself with her blanket.
“What are you doing,” Mac asked the little girl, stifling her own laugh.
“Feeding Baby,” she told her.
“Where’s her bottle?” Mac asked as she winked at the other adults.
“No bottle… she is bestfed like Nick,” she said.
Trish had pulled out her cell phone and was video-taping the whole thing as the adults all chuckled slightly at Mandy’s words.
“‘Best fed’ is exactly right, Mandy,” Lily said as she kissed the toddler’s head.
Mandy beamed up at her and then turned her attention to her baby doll once more.
“I’m going to head home and get some rest,” Lily told them all.
Mac stood and walked her to the door, giving her a big hug. “Thanks for all your help with the kids this morning, and thank you for letting Jack go with Harm to Paris. I know it couldn’t have been easy for you to let him leave this close to your due date. Call me if you need anything and I’ll be there as fast as I can.”
“Thanks, Mac,” Lily said as she waved goodbye and headed to her car.
Georgetown University Hospital
Ten days later
Jack Keeter entered the maternity waiting room and smiled widely at those who were gathered waiting to hear any news. “It’s a girl,” he exclaimed happily.
Everyone gathered around to offer their congratulations and hugs or slaps on the back.
“How is Lily,” Mac asked him. “Can we see her and the baby yet?”
“Dr. McCarthy wants her to sleep for a couple of hours before we start letting visitors in, but I can take you all down to the nursery and we can see her through the glass window,” Jack replied.
“Then let’s go,” Lily’s mother, Abigail, said with a smile. “I want to see my granddaughter!”
Jack led the group, which consisted of his parents, Lily’s parents and Harm and Mac (the godparents) to the nursery to see the new baby girl.
When they got to the nursery one of the nurses looked at him and smiled when he held his bracelet up to the window and then pointed to the baby wrapped in pink with the name ‘baby girl Keeter’ taped above her head to the plastic bassinet. She rolled the bassinet closer and moved the blanket out of the way so that everyone could get a good look at her.
“Oh, Jack, she’s beautiful,” his mother, Eliza, exclaimed as she wiped away tears.
“So give us her vitals,” Mac said. “You know; weight, length, etc…”
“She weighs five pounds six ounces and she is twenty-one inches long,” he told them all. “She was born at zero-three-twenty-four this morning and she has a very healthy set of lungs on her.”
“So what is our little angel’s name?” his father, Jacob, asked.
“Halsey Addison Wynona Keeter,” Jack said with a proud grin.
Harm raised an eyebrow at his best friend. “You named her after a Navy airfield?”
Jack put on his best ‘innocent’ look and looked at his friend. “I don’t know what you’re talking about; Halsey is a very pretty girl’s name.”
Mac laughed. “Does Lily know she’s named after a Navy airfield?”
Jack rubbed the back of his neck and looked sheepish. “I don’t think so.”
Everybody laughed at his expression and Mac shook her head in exasperation.
“I’ll tell her,” he promised. “I just want her to get used to the name, first. Besides, Addison and Wynona are after her grandmothers, so she told me I got to choose her first name.”
“Oh, Jackson, what are we ever going to do with you?” Eliza asked with a tolerant smile.
“I think she has a lovely name,” Abigail told him as she leaned up to kiss his cheek and then took her husband’s hand. “Don’t you agree Alex?”
Alex winked at Jack and nodded. “I do.” While he had initially been shocked and upset that his little girl was marrying a man that was only twelve years younger than he was, and a pilot to boot, he had to admit that Jack Keeter had made his little girl very happy and he loved her very much.
“I think we’re going to go home and get some sleep and then we’ll come back to see Lily and the baby later in the morning,” Harm said. “Mac’s parents are at the house with the kids and Nick is going to want to be fed again soon.” He clapped his old friend on the back. “We’ll see you in a few hours. Get some rest while you can; you’re gonna need it.”
Mac hugged Jack and then took Harm’s hand and walked with him out of the hospital.
As they drove towards their home in Clifton, Harm sighed happily and then shook his head. “That little girl has Jack wrapped tightly around her little finger already and she’s barely over two hours old,” he said.
“Two hours, sixteen minutes,” she said with a smile. “And you’re one to talk… both Mattie and Mandy have you just as tightly wound around their little fingers.”
Harm flashed her his best grin~ the one where the tip of his tongue poked out between his teeth and his eyes sparkled~ and nodded. “That they do.”
Mac shook her head and laughed lightly before she suddenly got a wistful look on her face. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” she sighed. “It means that they’re loved.”
Harm glanced over and saw her expression and he took her hand in his and kissed her knuckles. “Yes, they are and so is their mommy.”
Mac smiled softly at him and the rest of the trip home was made in silence.
They entered the house quietly, as AJ and Deanne were sleeping in the guest room upstairs and they didn’t want to wake anyone. Both headed up the stairs to their bedroom and they got ready for bed before Mac donned her robe and went to go check on their sleeping children.
Mandy was asleep in her princess castle toddler bed, buried in a sea of stuffed animals.
Mac smiled indulgently and shook her head as she closed the door again and moved to Chris’ room.
Chris was sprawled out in his crib and Mac sighed at the thought that he would be graduating to a toddler bed within the next week. He was climbing out of his crib on a regular basis and she and Harm were afraid he would fall and hurt himself one of these times, so they decided it was time to move him to a bed that was more his size.
Harm had found someone to custom build a toddler bed that was shaped like an old bi-plane and had it painted to look like his own plane, Sarah.
Mac shook her head in amusement and covered her son back up with his blankets before she quietly left his room and closed the door.
She entered the nursery where Nick slept and smiled when she saw her baby boy was wide awake, staring up at the mobile with different kinds of boats above his head and sucking furiously on his small fist.
“Hey there big guy,” she said softly, “are you hungry?”
Nick looked at her for a moment before returning his attention to the mobile.
Mac lowered the side of the crib and lifted him out, laying him on the changing table so she could change his diaper and then sitting in the rocking chair with him to nurse.
She lifted his hand to her lips and gently kissed it as she rocked back and forth with him.
Harm leaned against the door jamb and crossed his arms and ankles as he stood silently watching her nurse their youngest child. He had a soft, contented smile on his face that perfectly matched the one his wife wore.
“How’s he doing?” he asked after several minutes of watching them.
Mac looked up and her smile widened. “Fine,” she said. “I can’t believe he’ll be a year old in less than four months; the time seems to be going by so quickly.”
Harm nodded his agreement as he stood up straight and moved to kneel beside the rocking chair. Rubbing Nick’s head, he leaned forward and kissed it before he ran his thumb over the soft swell of Mac’s cheek and looked into her eyes.
“It’s been quite a ride the last thirteen years, huh?” he asked with a grin.
Mac returned his grin. “It has.”
“Any regrets?” he asked with a raised eyebrow.
Mac was quiet for a moment and then slowly shook her head. “No. I used to regret that we didn’t get together sooner, but then I realized that if we had we wouldn’t have the family we have now and I can’t imagine our life being any different than it is. I love you and our children and I think that everything worked out just the way it was supposed to. I think we had to go through all of the things we did to get to this point so that we would be ready to be the parents we need to be.”
Harm relaxed and nodded before he moved up and kissed her deeply. “I love you, Sarah.”
“For eternity?” she asked with a smile.
“For eternity,” he agreed with a nod. He watched silently as Mac continued to nurse Nicholas and contemplated his life over the last thirteen years. He and Sarah had learned a lot about love and loss over their lifetime, but in the last few years they had learned the most important lesson of all.
What it truly meant to be a part of a family.