Author's note: Coda to "JAG: San Diego"; spoilers for the episode abound.
Disclaimer: CBS, DBP, not SPG.
The music was pounding in Mac's ears as she excused herself from the table. She was aware Vukovic was staring at her, and she had to admit, the shameless attention *was* flattering. Mac made her way to a quiet spot beneath a tree and sat down on the bench. She hit the speed dial on her cell phone and within seconds, Harm picked up; he'd been obviously waiting for her.
"Hi," she said. "I'm sorry I couldn't talk to you earlier. We were just getting ready to sit down for dinner."
"It's all right, I understand."
Mac frowned. She could hear a strain of emotion underlying Harm's voice. "What's the matter?"
Mac clutched the cell phone tighter. "What?"
"There's been an accident." Harm sounded mechanical, as if he were trying to distance himself from what he was saying. Mac got to her feet.
"Tell me," Mac said.
"The plane she was in, it collided with another plane on the runaway."
"Oh God." Mac took a deep breath and put her hand on the back of the bench for support. She closed her eyes. "How is she?"
"What does that mean?"
"I'm not sure she's going to make it."
Mac put her hand to her heart. It had been nearly two months since she'd last seen Mattie; they'd gone clothes shopping together. It seemed incredible to her now that a bright, vibrant girl -- one who was *so* alive -- was on the brink of death. "When did this happen?" Mac asked when she finally found her voice.
"Four days ago."
"Why didn't you call me sooner?" Mac desperately wished the music would stop. She covered her left ear with the palm of her hand and leaned forward, towards the bushes. "Harm, you should have called me."
"I knew you were busy, with the conference, the case--"
"That doesn't matter! How is Mattie's father?"
Harm paused before answering. "He's drunk."
Mac shook her head. "Unbelievable."
"Mac, there's a chance, there's a chance, uh, that Mattie won't make it and that we'll have to take her off the respirator."
Mac turned her attention back to the table where she'd enjoyed good company and dinner just a few minutes earlier. She saw Vukovic and Graves had gotten up and were dancing to the band. Mayfield and Cresswell were watching them. Guilt stabbed at Mac and she felt awful for having not taken Harm's phone call earlier, for *not* putting more importance on the stress she'd heard in his tone.
"Who is going to make that decision, Harm?" she asked now. "About what to do, if you have to take her off life support?"
"I don't think, uh, I don't think her dad is in any condition--"
"Right," Mac said. "Is Bud there with you? Sturgis?"
"No, um, they offered to come but--"
"You said no." Mac shook her head. "Well, you can't say no that easily to me." She glanced at her watch. "It's just after eight here. I'm pretty sure there's a flight that leaves San Diego around eleven. I can be in DC by dawn and meet you at the hospital."
"Harm, you need me." Mac's tone was firm and decisive. She gripped the phone tighter. In that moment, the restaurant fell away. There was no music, no bright light, no dancing, no nothing.
"Yes," Harm said finally. "I do. I have."
Mac nodded slowly, even though Harm couldn't see her. "I'm on my way," she said quietly. "I'll see you soon." She clicked off the phone and then took a deep breath before heading back to the table to take her leave of the others.
~ the end
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