Return to Duty
Spoilers: My stories can contain spoilers of any episode
already aired in the US
Disclaimer: I don't own them. If I did, the ending would
have been *very* different.
Archiving: Usual drill. Archived at myjagfanfic @ Yahoogroups;
and various other lists; http://jagficlady.com/
Anywhere else, please ask I like to know where my stories end
A/N: This is a continuation of my "JAG: San Diego"
series, now the JAG2: Return to Duty series. If you don't like
Harm/Jen fics, don't read this. If you read it and then send
me emails about how horrible it is, your email will be posted
on my Village Idiots board.
Summary: Harm and Jen return to DC and Harm becomes acting JAG.
0800 Hours Local
Falls Church, VA
"I, Harmon Rabb, Jr., do solemnly swear that I will support
and defend the Constitution of the United States against all
enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and
allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will
well and faithfully discharge the duties of Captain in the United
States Navy. So help me God."
"Congratulations, Captain Rabb," SecNav said when Harm
finished taking the oath as they shook hands. He hadn't been
sworn in before his retirement, so SecNav had insisted that they
take care of it on Saturday afternoon after Harm and Jen's arrival
in DC. He had even come to Bud and Harriet's house, where they
were having dinner. "I believe Jennifer will do the honors?"
he suggested, stepping back slightly, a smile on his face.
Jen stood on tiptoe and Harm bent slightly so that she could
give him a kiss on the cheek.
"Now, I've disrupted your evening long enough," Ed
Sheffield declared. "So I'll leave you to get on with your
dinner. If you need anything, Captain, you know where to reach
"Yes, sir," Harm assured the man.
Sheffield said his goodbyes to Bud and Harriet before leaving
the house. "Well, Captain, it's official," Jen said,
touching the captain's bars on his shoulder boards. When he'd
been informed about the SecNav's plans, he had reluctantly agreed
to wear a summer uniform to dinner even though he was technically
"Those bars look good on you, Harm," Harriet said as
she and Bud returned from seeing the Secretary out.
"Thank you, Harriet."
"Why don't we go finish dinner?" Bud suggested.
"Good idea," Harm agreed. "And then you and I
need to talk, Bud. I need to be ready to hit the ground running
on Monday morning."
"Why don't you and Bud go to the office tomorrow?"
Harriet suggested, leading the way toward the dining room, where
little AJ and Jimmy were almost finished with their dinner.
"Jen and I were going over to get the house ready for the
arrival of our things tomorrow," Harm reminded her.
"I can go with her," Harriet offered.
"That's a good idea," Jen agreed.
"Are you sure you wouldn't mind?" Harm asked. "I
don't want to impose, Harriet - having to get the kids out and
"They'll enjoy the outing," Harriet told him, waving
away his concerns.
"Finished, Mommy," AJ announced, wiping his face with
"Okay. Why don't you take your brother upstairs and help
him get ready for bed?"
"'Kay," AJ said. "Com'on, Jimmy."
"I'm really looking forward to you and Jen living just down
the street," Harriet said.
"There's not much you can do over there tomorrow, Harm,"
Jen told him. "It's mostly just deciding what should go
where and how much we need to buy that we don't have."
"Just remember that I'll be bringing home a Captain's pay,
not an Admiral's," Harm warned with a teasing grin.
"All in good time, sir," Bud observed.
"I don't know about that, Bud," Harm said, shaking
his head. "Let's just take this as it comes, okay?"
"I know how that goes," Bud admitted. "Every day
that I get to wear the uniform is a blessing. Especially since
it's not likely that I'll get another promotion without Admiral
Chegwidden in my corner."
"You can't know that for sure, Bud," Harm replied.
"You've got time yet."
Falls Church, VA
Even in civvies, it felt strange for Harm to step off of the
elevator and into the JAG bullpen. It was a place that he had
never thought to be again. And it was even more unnerving to
enter what had been - up until Friday afternoon - General Creswell's
office, and know that it was now his office - even if it was
Glancing around, Harm said, "Creswell removed everything,
"Yesterday," Bud confirmed. "I overheard him tell
Lt. Colonel Gage that he was coming in to gather all of his personal
"Lt. Col. Gage?" Harm questioned.
Bud grimaced. "He's the senior JAG on staff, sir. Lt. Colonel
Daniel Gage. He served with Gen. Creswell in Iraq. After you
and Col. Mackenzie left, he had the Colonel transferred here.
I don't think he was pleased with the General's decision to retire."
"So he's not going to welcome me with open arms, I take
it?" Harm questioned.
Another grimace. "Probably not, sir."
"Well, if he can't handle it, he can transfer to another
duty station. Now, fill me in on the current caseload and the
rest of the staff."
After leaving Bud back at his house, Harm drove down the street
to the house where he and Jen were going to be living during
their stay in the area. The owner had agreed to an open ended
lease - with an option to buy later if Harm made the decision
to remain in the Navy and was able to remain in DC.
Entering the house, he paused. "Jen?"
"In here," she said from the living room.
He found her sitting on the raised hearth before the dark fireplace.
"Harriet said that you wanted to stay here," he told
her, sitting down as well and pulling her to his side. "Are
She nodded. "Yeah. I just - wanted to get a feel for the
place. How was your day?"
"Not too bad. Bud and I got a lot accomplished, I think.
We posted a notice for a staff meeting first thing tomorrow."
"You weren't kidding about hitting the ground running, were
"I can't afford not to. Everyone is going to be expecting
me to fall flat on my face because I've been gone for almost
"If that were true, then SecNav and the President wouldn't
have called you back, honey," Jen told him, turning so that
she was facing him. "You're going to be perfect."
"You mean I'm not already?" he teased, resting his
forehead against hers.
"Well, if we're talking you and me, yes, you are."
"Hmm. Sounds interesting." He gave her a kiss. "Our
things will be here tomorrow morning," he reminded her.
"I know. And the lights will be turned on, too. Harriet's
going to bring the kids over and we'll get as much done as we
"Don't over do. I can do some of it when I get off duty
"We'll be fine," she said. "There's not really
much, since this place is furnished - Harriet said that she can
talk the movers into helping a little - but I won't over-do,"
she promised, sliding her arms around his neck. "Why don't
we go back to the hotel?" she said. "We can call Mattie
"What about dinner?" he asked.
"We can order room service."
Harm grinned. "Have I ever mentioned that I like the way
you think, Mrs. Rabb?"
"Once or twice," she replied, smiling back at him.
0600 Hours Local
Falls Church, VA
Harm entered the bullpen just as the night time civilian cleaning
crew was packing up and leaving. A couple of them recognized
him from before his 'retirement' and said how glad they were
to see him back at JAG. Once they left, Harm continued toward
his office, only to stop when he heard the elevator announce
its arrival. He paused, watching as a Marine Lt. Colonel pushed
through the glass doors into the bullpen.
"Good morning, Col. Gage," Harm said evenly.
Gage froze in place, going to attention. "Captain."
"As you were, Colonel," Harm said. Gage relaxed slightly.
"I didn't expect to find you here, sir -"
"You don't think that Squids understand the value of getting
a head start on the day?" Harm questioned.
"No, sir, I mean - I'm sure they do, sir."
"Are you going to have a problem with serving under my temporary
command, Colonel?" Harm asked, wanting to get everything
into the open.
"Not at all, Captain," Gage replied. "I've served
under Navy COs before and survived."
Seeing the glint of humor in the man's blue eyes, Harm relaxed
as well. "Well, hopefully you won't have to put up with
me for too long."
"I doubt that SecNav will replace Gen. Creswell with another
Marine, sir, so whoever replaces you will be Navy as well. I
might as well get used to it." He hesitated a moment. "The
General spoke very highly of you, Captain."
The statement genuinely surprised Harm. "He did?"
"Yes, sir. He said that he believed you made the wrong choice
in deciding to take an early out and was glad that you'd found
a way to come back where you belong."
"You - sound surprised, sir," Gage noted.
Harm grimaced. "I guess I am, a little."
"Believe me, sir, the General wasn't the only one who sang
your praises around here. I've heard a lot of stories about your
time as a JAG attorney -"
"Don't believe everything you hear, Gage."
"Even the story about you having fired a weapon in the courtroom""
Harm chuckled, shaking his head. "I am *never* going to
live that down, I suppose. At least it caused a change in procedure
- all weapons to be used as evidence are to be unloaded and cleared
of all ammunition. I honestly thought the HLK was empty. If I'd
known that it wasn't, I wouldn't have done what I did."
"Cmdr. Roberts said that you looked as surprised as anyone
when it happened," Gage confirmed. "Since we're here
alone, sir, I *do* have something that I need to discuss with
you - out of earshot of the rest of the staff."
Harm looked behind him to see a couple of enlisted personnel
arriving. "Why don't we take it to my office?" he suggested,
leading the way into the side door of the room. Indicating one
of the chairs before the desk, he said, "Okay, what's going
"It involves the case of Corporal Gene Matthews, sir,"
Gage began. "He's been charged with-"
"With murdering his commanding officer and seriously wounding
the man's wife," Harm continued, "who also happened
to be the parents of Cpl. Matthews' underage girlfriend."
"Yes, sir," Gage confirmed, obviously surprised that
Harm knew about the case.
"Cmdr. Roberts and I came in yesterday so that I could look
over the current case load," Harm explained. "You're
detailed as Cpl. Matthews' defense counsel, isn't that correct?"
"Yes, sir. But that's the problem. He's requested specific
"Who has he requested?"
"Lt. Col. Sarah Mackenzie, sir," Gage replied slowly.
Harm hoped that his surprise wasn't obvious. "Why?"
"He said that she defended a friend of his a few years ago,
and won. I - took the liberty of calling Col. Mackenzie over
the weekend, and she agreed to defend him - but only if you give
the 'all clear', I believe were her words."
Harm ignored the tightening between his shoulder blades. "Cpl.
Matthews has the right to the counsel of his choice," he
noted. "Tell the Colonel to expect orders and be en route
to DC on the first available transport."
Gage went to attention before leaving the office through the
main door, revealing that Harm's yeoman - Sgt. David Bates -
was now at his desk. The young man approached the now open doorway.
"Excuse me, sir -?"
"Can I get you some coffee -?"
"Not at the moment, Bates. I'd like you to make sure that
the coffee is set up in the conference room, though."
"Yes, sir." Bates hesitated.
"Something else, Sergeant?"
"Just - I wanted to tell you that I've enjoyed my time in
this office, sir, and that I hope the Captain would take that
into account if he decides to replace me -"
"Replace you?" Harm questioned. "Is there some
reason why I would want to replace you?"
"I just - I know that when a new CO comes on board, he likes
to bring people in that he knows -"
"I'm only temporary, Sergeant," Harm reminded the younger
man. "I don't think I'll be making any major changes while
I'm here. We'll let whoever takes over as the new JAG do that,
"Until then, just continue to do your job and we'll get
"Will that be all, Captain?"
"For now, yes."
Harm went to the window of the office, looking out over the parking
lot. How the hell was he going to tell Jen that Mac was coming
back to DC as well?
There were a few familiar faces in the bullpen as Harm made his
way to the conference room for the staff meeting, most of them
smiled and greeted him with a "Welcome back, sir".
The newer personal, many of them Marines, seemed to be watching
him, as if waiting for an axe to fall. He was sure that they
were all thinking the same thing that Sgt. Bates had.
Taking a deep breath, he stopped near the glass doors. "May
I have your attention?" Everyone in the office snapped to
at his words. "At ease. I know some of you were surprised
by Gen. Creswell's decision to retire - and by my being placed
in temporary command. If any of you want to transfer out, make
the request and I'll approve it, no questions asked. But before
you do, I hope that you'll give me a chance, and that you'll
remember that I'm only temporary until a new JAG takes over.
Until then, do your jobs as you've been doing them, and know
that if you have any problems, my door is open. As you were."
He waited a moment, and then turned to continue on to the conference
room, where his senior officers were waiting.
There were fewer faces that he knew here. After he and Mac had
left, Creswell had transferred several of the old staff out to
either San Diego to work with Mac or elsewhere, bringing in 'new
blood' as Bud had referred to them. All capable, well trained
JAG attorneys - many with some experience in combat at some point
in their careers.
Other than Bud and Lt. Jason Tiner, who had returned to JAG as
a newly minted attorney soon after Harm had 'retired', there
was no one else who had been here before Harm's departure. Gage
spoke as soon as Harm entered the room.
"Attention! Captain on deck!"
Harm waved his hand. "As you were, people." Sitting
down in the chair at the head of the long table, he noted that
Sgt. Bates had placed the necessary files there ahead of him,
probably when he'd put the coffee on. "Before we start,
I want to remind you all that I'm only here temporarily, so I
won't be making any major personnel changes. I know that some
of you probably transferred into this office because of Gen.
Creswell, and if you would rather not continue to do so, I'll
approve a transfer request without any questions. But, as I said,
this is only temporary, so I hope you'll give me a chance and
hang in there. If you have any questions or problems, my door
is open." None of the faces around the table gave the impression
that they would take him up on the offer of a transfer, so Harm
took a deep breath and opened the first folder, to reveal the
list of current cases and the officers assigned to handle them,
along with a page of new cases that needed to be handed out.
"Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's get down to
business, shall we? Lt. Cmdr. Hayes," he looked at the young
woman sitting across from Gage, "What's the status of the
"Petty Officer Colman's attorney has informed me that he
wants to go directly to court martial, sir," Lisa Hayes
informed him, glancing in Bud's direction.
"Is the Petty Officer aware of his rights in this matter,
Cmdr. Roberts?" he asked Bud.
"Yes, sir. But he says that he wants this out of the way
as quickly as possible, so he'll stipulate to the charges and
expects to prove himself innocent at court martial so that he
can get back to his duty station."
"Very well. Now, about the Matthews case - I believe that
you're detailed as prosecutor, Cmdr. Roberts?"
"Yes, sir. With Lt. Tiner sitting second chair."
"Col. Gage will be second chair to the corporal's requested
"Requested attorney, sir?" Bud questioned.
"Cpl. Matthews has requested that Lt. Colonel Mackenzie
represent him, Commander." He saw the widening of both Bud
and Tiner's eyes at the news.
"Col. Mackenzie, sir?"
"Yes. She'll be arriving tomorrow morning on TAD to this
office for the duration of the court-martial." Closing that
file, Harm moved to the next . . .
Harm wasn't surprised when Bud knocked on his door a few minutes
after the meeting ended. "Come in, Roberts," he said,
aware that Sgt. Bates was within earshot.
"Permission to speak freely, Captain?" Bud requested
once he'd gone to an at ease posture.
"It's about Col. Mackenzie coming back here, sir - are you
sure that's a good idea?"
"She's a good lawyer, Bud. Whatever else she might or might
not have done doesn't matter. Would you rather Cpl. Matthews
not be given the counsel he wants?"
"Of course not, sir, it's just -" he lowered his voice.
"Considering your - previous relationship -"
"Which is in the past," Harm finished. "I'm happily
married to Jen, now, Bud. Mac knows that."
"If you say so, sir. I just - I consider you both to be
friends, and I've never liked being caught between you."
"You won't be. Just do your job, Commander."
Bud still didn't look convinced, but nodded. "Yes, sir."
Falls Church, VA
Harm entered the house, and put his briefcase onto the table
beside the door - which had been moved from across the entry
hall. Smiling, he called out, "Jen?" as she came from
the kitchen to give him a kiss. "Something smells good,"
he told her, sniffing the air.
"Eggplant Parmesan," she informed him. "With a
salad and garlic toast."
"Mmm." He pulled back to remove his jacket and loosen
"Rough day?" she asked, taking the jacket and tie from
"Busy," he corrected.
"I'll just take these upstairs," she said, "and
join you in the kitchen. Dinner's almost ready."
"That can wait," he said, taking the jacket and placing
it over the newel post of the stairway, draping the tie across
it. "I need to tell you something -"
Jen looked up at him. "It can't wait until after dinner?"
"I don't think so. Let's go into the living room."
Jen sat down beside him on the sofa, looking concerned. "You're
starting to worry me, Harm. What - nothing's happened to Mattie,
"No. I haven't talked to her today - There's no way to say
this - There's a case that we're handling, and the Marine Corporal
accused of murder has requested specific counsel."
"Specific counsel," Jen repeated. "Who has he
requested?" she asked, and Harm could tell that she already
knew the answer.
"Mac," he confirmed. "She'll be here tomorrow."
"He has a right to ask for whoever he wants as counsel,"
she pointed out. "And Mac's a good attorney, isn't she?"
"Yes," he agreed. "You're okay with this?"
"Of course I am. Is there some reason why I shouldn't be
okay with it?"
"No, but -"
"Harm, she's a JAG attorney, who's here to do a job. If
you're worried that I would be bothered by her being in Washington,
don't be." She smiled. "After all, she has the job,
but I have you."
"For always," he told her, taking her hand in his before
he leaned forward to kiss her.
After dinner, Harm disappeared into the study while Jen cleaned
up the kitchen. It was nearly nine when she entered the study
to watch him signing yet another paper. "Having fun?"
she asked, a teasing grin on her face.
"I always heard the Admiral talk about the mountain of paperwork
that a JAG needed to do every day, but I'd forgotten just how
much of that was true," Harm replied. "Daily case reports,
reports on new cases, signing off on just ended cases, deciding
who is going to catch which case, it never ends."
"And it's only your first day," she said, coming around
to put her hands on his shoulders, gently massaging the tense
muscles under her fingers.
"I'm not complaining," he said, sitting back and enjoying
her ministrations. "I'm almost finished, I think. Just a
few more files to go." When he felt her long hair tickling
his ear and her lips against the side of his neck, he turned
the chair and pulled her into his lap. "You're a distraction,
Jen made a move as if to get up. "In that case -"
"I wasn't complaining about that, either," he said,
refusing to let her go. "Just stating a fact. A little distraction
now and then keeps the work from becoming a drudge. I don't want
to turn into a growling old salt like Adm. Chegwidden,"
he told her as he slid his hand up her long, bare legs to slip
under the hem of the "US NAVY" t-shirt she was wearing.
Finding nothing under the fabric, his eyebrows rose. "Why,
Petty Officer, you're definitely out of uniform."
"So I am, Captain," Jen replied in a sultry tone as
she put her hands around his neck, "What are you going to
do about it?" Her eyes met his until his large hand closed
over her right breast before moving to the other. "Oooh,"
she sighed, wiggling her bottom against him.
His hand moved back down, tangling in the hair between her legs
as he lowered his head to gently suckle the visible tips of her
breasts through the cotton shirt. Lifting his head again, he
watched her face as his fingers delved into the wet folds of
flesh, massaging her with a knowing touch. "You want it,
"Yes," she whispered, reaching down to remove the shirt,
leaving her sitting there naked to his gaze.
Harm leaned forward to capture her lips with his as her hands
moved down to push away the running shorts he'd changed into
after dinner, freeing his hardness to her long fingers. "Hmmm,"
Harm murmured against her lips.
Jen moved away so that she could straddle him, her legs over
the arms of the chair, bracing herself on his shoulders with
her hands before slowly lowering herself onto him. "That
feels so good," she told him.
Harm placed his hands on her waist, and then lowered his head
to her nipples, capturing each one in turn, running his tongue
around the buds, making them even harder than before. His hands
were so large against her that without moving them from her waist,
he could place his thumbs on her love button and rub it as she
A moment later, her body began to shake, and she cried out his
name, arching her back away from him. The tightening of her body
caused Harm's to react, and he filled her with everything he
had in him.
Jen collapsed against him, her head resting on his shoulder.
"I love you," she said.
Harm ran his fingers through her long hair, smoothing it away
from her face, trying to catch his breath. "I love you.
He felt her lips curve into a smile. "For what?"
"The sweet distraction," was his reply, framing her
face with his hands before kissing her again. "Why don't
we call Mattie and then go to bed?" he suggested.
"I thought you had more work to do?" Jen reminded him,
looking at the files on the desk.
"Only a couple. I can finish them early tomorrow morning.
Right now, I want to talk to Mattie, and then spend the next
hour or so making slow, passionate love to my wife." He
really needed to finish those files, but he felt there was a
need to reassure Jen that he was exactly where he wanted to be,
considering that Mac was going to be back in Washington tomorrow.
She had denied being worried about that event, but Harm had seen
the tiny, quickly hidden glimmer of concern when he'd given her
Grabbing his cell from the desk, he opened it, only to have Jen
try to move away. "Where are you going?"
"To get my t-shirt," she told him.
"Why? I kind of like having you sitting here in my lap without
"But I can't talk to Mattie-"
"Why not?" he wanted to know, keeping Jen in his lap
as he finished dialing Mattie's cell number. He saw Jen's expression
change as Mattie answered.
"Hi, Harm!" she said.
"Hi, Mattie. How is it going?"
"Okay. I made a 100 on my History test," she told him.
"How was your first day back at JAG?"
"Busy," he said. "Getting used to the new faces
and settling in." His eyes narrowed slightly as Jen's fingers
worked their way underneath his t shirt to tweak his male nipples.
"Uh-" His mind shut down for a moment when Jen leaned
forward and placed a light, moist kiss against his other ear
before capturing the lobe between her teeth. "Uh -"
"Harm, are you okay?" Mattie asked, concerned by his
lack of communication.
"Yeah," he told her, sliding an arm around Jen's waist
to keep her from moving against him, mouthing 'behave' in her
direction, only to have her smile. "Just a little tired,
I guess. Are you behaving?"
"Of course I am," she insisted. "It's only been
a couple of days," she reminded him. "How's Jen doing?"
"Jen's doing -" her slightly longer than regulation
nails scraped lightly across his neck, and Harm swallowed heavily
before continuing. "Fine. She's just fine. Getting the house
in order - do you want to talk to her?"
Harm held out the phone. "Your turn," he said, hoping
that she understood the full meaning of his words.
Jen straightened and took the phone from him. "Hi, Mattie!"
"Jen, is Harm okay? He didn't sound like himself."
Harm released Jen's waist and brought his hands down to where
they were still joined while burying his face against the soft,
fragrant skin between her breasts. "He's fine, Mattie,"
Jen reassured the girl. "Just a little -" she opened
her mouth in a silent gasp as Harm's fingers found her center,
"tired, like he said. We're going to have an early night,
"That sounds like a good idea."
While he wasn't quite ready yet, Harm knew that Jen was - and
he knew exactly to get her there. He maintained the pressure
with is fingers, sliding them along her slick folds while showering
her breasts with kisses, leaving a trail with his tongue as he
Still, Jen had enough presence of mind to pretend to yawn. "I'm
sorry, Mattie, I guess I'm a little tired, too. We'll talk to
you tomorrow, okay?"
"Sure. Give Harm a big kiss for me, okay?"
"I will," Jen promised. "Love you."
"Love you both," Mattie replied, and Jen closed the
phone, letting it fall to the floor unnoticed as Harm gently
bit down on one of her nipples, sending a signal to the rest
of her body that caused her to begin shaking again and to cry
When she collapsed onto his chest again, Harm stroked her hair
and whispered into her ear. "That's it, honey. I caught
you. I love you."
"You weren't playing fair," Jen accused in a small
voice a moment later.
"Never said I would," he told her. "Just remember
what they say about paybacks, honey."
"We owe Mattie another call. I'm sure she thought something
was seriously wrong with you."
"We'll call her again tomorrow like you said. Right now,"
he helped her off of his lap and then stood as well before scooping
her up into his arms, "we're going to bed."
- To Part 2
- Back Home Harm/Jen E-Mail