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Dear Diary II
By LauraBF

Disclaimer:  If you think they belong to me, you’re sadly mistaken.  I borrowed them, hugged them, squeezed them, called them George, then gave them back like a good girl. Seriously, Harm, Mac, and the TV series JAG belong to Donald P. Bellisario, Belisaurius Productions, Paramount Pictures, and Columbia Broadcasting Service Entertainment

Author’s Note: Mattie needed somebody to talk to, and people asked for a sequel, so I’m taking a study break… Spoilers up to season ten's  A Whole New Ballgame.

~*~*~*~

2100 LOCAL
30 OCTOBER 2004
MATTIE AND JEN’S APARTMENT
NORTH OF UNION STATION
WASHINGTON DC

Mattie settled on her bed and leaned back against the headboard.  Jen’s questions kept running through her head, and she wasn’t sure how to answer them.  What *would* happen if she decided to live with her dad again?  What if he fell off the wagon?  She bit her lip and reached for her diary.  She’d left it on the nightstand the night before and she felt the need to vent.

"Dear Diary,

"Man, that still sounds cheesy!  I sound like some little middle-school kid.  "Dear Diary, I went and played with Annie today." Bleech.  But this is the only place where I can really let go.  I mean, I can't talk to dad or Harm about this because they're involved, and I don't think I can really talk to Jen about it, either.  I love my dad.  Really, I do.  Just for a while there, my anger drowned out that fact.  Hell, I don't know what to do.

"I love spending time with Dad, and I definitely love sleeping in my own bed in my old house, but then there's Harm.  I love him, too.  And if I leave, Harm'll be alone again.  Even I can see that he's a lot happier since he got me.  It may look weird from the outside, but I think we need each other.  Harm is just as much my dad as Dad is; maybe even more.

"For all I know, Dad will leave again if things get rough.  Harm might not be able to be here 24/7, but he's always around when I need him.  I know he loves me, even if he does have trouble saying it.    I love Dad, but can I really trust him?  I don't know.  I do know that I can trust Harm.  He'd never intentionally hurt me, and he'd sure as Hell never leave me behind.  If he got transferred, he'd fight tooth and nail to take me with him.

"Frankly, the relatives that Dad left me with are scary people.  That's why I left; I had somewhere to run to, after all.  They wanted a babysitter for their monsters, and I didn't like the way Uncle Pete, my Aunt Furla's husband, looked at me.  I don't particularly like being eyed like I'm the last piece of chocolate cake on a plate.  Especially since it was my uncle doing it.  Talk about creepy.  I tried to tell Aunt Furla, but she wasn't listening.  Running home sounded like a great idea to me.  Since Harm found me there, I guess I was right.

"I'm glad he rescued me.  Harm does that, you know.  He's a real hero; a whole bunch of people would be dead if it weren't for him.  I know; I looked him up on the internet.   He's my hero and I'd like to say he's my dad, but I already *have* a dad!  Just what in the world am I supposed to do here?  If I go back to living with my dad, I'm betraying Harm.  But if I live with Harm, I'm betraying Dad!  I mean, I'm fifteen; that's old enough to say who I want to live with.

"I wish I had somebody to give me some advice.  I wish I could go find Harm and get him to hold me.  A hug from him always makes me feel better.  I love him, you know.  I'm afraid that if I go and live with Dad, I'll have a Harm-shaped hole in my heart.  He was the dad that he didn't have to be.  I'm also not sure that Dad can *be* my dad on a 24/7 basis.  He's cool when we go out, but he was never all that good at homework and stuff.  Harm is.

"Harm helps me with my homework and even explains some of the math.  I need that.  Dad never could do it.  Heck, I don't like the rules that Harm has given me sometimes, but at least he's consistent about it.  Dad never was.  Mom was always the one to take care of that stuff.  I mean, Harm's even still looking for a house for us.  I don't want to go back to fending for myself.  I'm afraid that it might happen if I went back to Blacksburg with Dad.  I have a life here now and I'm not sure I want to leave it.

"I guess in a way, I'm lucky.  Some kids don't have a father, and I've got two that love me.  But how can I choose between them?  How can I choose between the hero who rescued me and the Daddy that I remember?"

Mattie looked us as she heard a knock on the door. "Come in," she called.

 "Bedtime, Mats," Harm said, as he walked in. "You've got practice tomorrow."

Mattie scrubbed at the tearstains that she knew were on her face, closed the journal, and put it away.  "Hey Harm," she said softly.

Harm came over and tugged one long curl.  "You okay, kiddo?" he asked.  

"Harm," Mattie began in a small voice, "can I have a hug?"    

Harm simply sat down beside her and opened his arms.  She climbed into them and rubbed her face on his shirt.  It felt safe there.  It was almost better than when her dad had held her when she was little; unlike her real father, Harm wouldn't disappear on her.  She remembered her dad disappearing for days at a time when he was on a bender.  

Mattie closed her eyes as she felt him drop a kiss into her hair.  Harm meant safety and love and peace.  Going with her dad was to risk uncertainty.  She knew that Harm would try and protect her no matter what; she had no doubts that when she became a Navy pilot, he'd have words with the CAG and her RIO about keeping her safe.

"Harm," she said uncertainly.  "You know that I'll always love you, right?  You know that I think of you as my old man…"

She felt Harm's arms tighten around her.  "Of course I do.  You're my little girl, Mats.  I'll always see you as that, and it'll never change."

"Are you sure?" she asked softly.  "What if the judge sends me back?"    

"You're not getting rid of me easily, kiddo.  If the judge sends you back or if you decide to go live with your dad, I'll still do my best to be part of your life." His arms tightened around her until she could barely breathe.  "I did my best to get the two of you talking again because it was the right thing to do--not because I want to get rid of you."

"I know," Mattie whispered.  "I'm scared.  I don't know what I want or what to do about this mess; I've been happy here."  She interrupted herself by yawning; it had been a long day and she'd been up since six.

"I'll always be here for you, Mattie, no matter what happens or what you decide.  I promise and I never break a promise."  Harm started rubbing her back gently, just like her mom used to when she was little and couldn't sleep.

Mattie's eyes started to drift shut.  She fought it, wanting to stay up and talk to Harm more, but surrounded by feelings of safety and love, she couldn't help but finally give in to the two-ton weights on her eyelids.  Harm laid her back against the pillow, stood up, and pulled the blankets over her prone form.  In a way, it was probably a good thing that she hadn't bothered to make the bed that morning.  He tucked the blankets securely around her and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.  "'Night, Mattie," he whispered, then left the room, shutting the door behind him.

End.

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