I still can't believe he's dead. Or that he lied to me about where he was going and that he had Laurie June send those gifts to make me think that *he* was sending them. But none of it matters now. He's gone. One more person in my life who left me behind.
They all leave. My mother, Eddie, Chris, John, Dalton, Mic. And now Clay.
Hell, even AJ's gone - or will be soon. Of course, nothing ever happened between us - but only because he was strong enough to avoid ruining his life by getting involved with Typhoid Sarah. If it had been up to me, I would have made yet another mistake that night. Seems like everyone whose life I touch ends up dead or wishing they were. Even though I hated hearing him say it at the time, and it hurt me, I think Harm was right.
The only man that *I've* ever left was my Dad. And that was only to beat him to the punch. And in the end, even *he* left me behind.
I always thought my mother left because of my dad - but now I know that even if she'd taken me with her, she would have left me behind somewhere - just like she did Ruggles. Maybe it's a good thing I never had any children. How can I be sure that I wouldn't abandon them the way she did me?
Chris was my escape from my dad. He said all the right things, made me believe that he loved me and that he'd take care of me forever and ever. Only he wound up in prison for selling drugs, leaving me alone again.
Then there was Eddie. My best friend, my drinking buddy. He was best man at mine and Chris' wedding. He was there for me after Chris went to prison. For a while, I thought Eddie was the only one who would stick with me no matter what.
Until the night I held him in my arms and watched him die. Thank God that Uncle Matt was there for me, helping me to see what I was doing to myself and giving me a purpose in life: being a Marine. But ultimately even he left me, although not by his own choice.
John Farrow was a wonderful man. A wonderful officer. And I should never have gotten involved with him. Technically, we weren't breaking the rules, but it was borderline and came back to bite us both later. I'm not sure I would have gone to him about Chris if we hadn't been involved. I know that John's career was already over by then. He was just finishing out his time for his thirty years. But he ended up with his head on the chopping block with mine for something he hadn't even done. I don't *think* he regrets knowing me or anything he's done for me, but I wouldn't blame him if he did.
Then there was Dalton. That entire relationship was a huge mistake. Leaving JAG was a mistake, falling for Dalton's smooth charm was a mistake. He didn't want me for my skills as an attorney - I knew that. But I didn't break off the relationship until he showed his true colors. Then I lied to him as he lay dying. I told him that I loved him. But even as I said it, I knew that I didn't mean it. Whatever it was that I felt for Dalton Lowne, it hadn't been love. The guilt for that lie still haunts me to this day.
I lied to Mic, too. And to myself, trying to convince myself that I loved him enough to marry him, to spend the rest of my life with him. I pushed aside my concerns that he was manipulative and that he convinced me to do things his way by making me feel guilty for his having given everything up to come to be with me. It was nice, having someone who would do that for me. Someone who loved me that much. I took his ring for the wrong reasons - and agreed to marry him because I was afraid he was going to leave if I didn't. My guilt about the kiss Harm and I shared that night on the Admiral's porch kept me from ending the engagement. And then Harm had gone missing. Even then, I wasn't the one to end it. Mic had. As usual, Harm had been right. If I needed Harm there at the wedding, then maybe I shouldn't have been marrying Mic. I never intended to hurt Mic. I'm not sure that I blame him for walking away from me.
And now Clay was gone as well. Drowned in the Straits of Malacca. I told him that I loved him, too - it was the last thing I said to him before he left. But had I really meant it? Had that been yet another lie in a long line of them? Were we together only because of the things that we went through in Paraguay? Was it just my gratitude for his having been tortured to protect me that kept me with him?
No. It was more than that. If he'd been able to give up being an agent, been able to *be* here for me when I needed him, maybe we might have had a chance. But Clay could no more give up being who he was than I could stop being a Marine - or Harm could stop flying. I know he told me that he'd be in touch to keep me from worrying, but right now, that's cold comfort. I would have preferred honesty over lies. I wouldn't be able to trust him not to lie about other things if he lied about that - even if he felt it was for the right reasons.
But he's gone. They're all gone. They all leave.
Except for one man. Except for Harm.
Grabbing my car keys, I realize that's where I need to be right now. Not sitting here in my apartment, crying over all of the things I've lost. I need to be with Harm.
Yeah, I know he hasn't always been there when I've needed him. Like that time when Chris showed up and Harm was with Bobbi Latham. Or when he asked me to come to him after Mic left and Renee was there when I arrived. To be honest, I didn't tell him what I wanted to see him that first time. If I had, I'm sure he would have been there for me. He was there that next morning when I called, and came right away. And it wouldn't have been the Harm I know so well if he'd walked out on Renee at that point. It wasn't really his being with Renee that sent me to the Guadalcanal. It was the questions from well meaning friends who couldn't understand how much their sympathy and questions hurt.
But more often than not, Harm's been there. He was there when it really counted. Just as I've covered his six on countless occasions. We're a good team. I forget that sometimes. It gets lost in all of the quips and banter that borders on hurtful because we're trying to cover up how we really feel. I asked him once, in Sydney, how long we were going to wait - and he didn't have an answer. Maybe that's why I took Mic's ring. To get back at Harm, to let him know that if he wasn't ready to declare his feelings, someone else was.
It didn't work. But Harm still came to save me in Paraguay. When he opened that door and shot those men, I don't think I'd ever been happier to see him in my life. But things just went downhill after that. I couldn't seem to stop saying things that hurt him and he replied in kind. I knew I had Clay - that I owed it to him to take care of him, to find a way to repay him for the things he'd done. And he'd said the right words. Words that I needed - and wanted to hear.
I wonder now if the words are really all that important. Harm's been different lately. More open. More like the friend he used to be before we got lost from each other. It's probably Mattie's influence. From what I've seen, he's really good with her. But Harm's always had a way with children. Little AJ loves him. During those six months when Harm was gone, Bud was always talking about how much Little AJ missed his godfather.
I'd always suspected that Harm would be a wonderful father. That thought causes me to grip the steering wheel more firmly as I remember my doctor's appointment. If the doctor was right - No. I'm not going to borrow trouble. And the last thing I need at the moment is for Harm to find out about that. I pull my car into a parking space in front of his building and get out. Climbing the stairs, I knock on his door, hoping that he's here and that he's not too busy to give aid and comfort.
Suddenly the door opens, and he's there, just as I hoped he'd be.
I take a deep breath, and tell him, "Webb's dead," and when I see the look on his face as he takes me into his arms to comfort me, I know he's here for me.
Just like always.
If he was smart, he'd run for the hills, as fast and as far as he can. But he won't.
Because he's Harm.