Episode add-on/ending for 9x8, Punk.


Jack was starting to think he'd never figure out Abbie Carmichael.

She just made no damn sense. Bull-headed, stubborn, grumpy. Gorgeous - Adam had some awful sense of humor, sending him all the most attractive female ADA's - but thorny. Brilliant, but he didn't always like the way she used that fiercely intelligent brain.

As she started cross, he had a fleeting moment of Maybe this wasn't a good idea.

He was starting to catch on to her style, though. She started very evenly, with straightforward questions; use a calm voice to get the defendant worked up. It was effective, and she was good at it. Simonelli was responding exactly the way Abbie knew she would. Jack sat back in his chair. Might as well get comfortable to watch the carnage.

Abbie kept going. He knew this look, the step forward, the focus in her voice. She was circling for the kill.

Alice Simonelli finally snapped.

"Have you ever been raped, Miss Carmichael?"

He was expecting her to press on.

She didn't.

She glanced up at the judge, like she wasn't sure what to do, and Jack sat up. Something was wrong.

Because the one thing he'd never seen her do, till now, was flinch.

When Abbie finally spoke again, her voice cracked. "So now you blame yourself."

When she took her seat again, she didn't speak to him, didn't look at him. But her posture was off. She was breathing quick and shallow.

After dismissal, she didn't wait for him. She picked up her briefcase and walked straight out the door. He thought he saw her disappear into the ladies' room.

Just one of many places, today, where he wasn't following.


It was three days later, after he'd seen her fold in on herself, sit back, and be silent, that he finally spoke up. He'd almost said something, the day before, after watching some shadow of Abbie in Adam's office, a shadow who looked totally defeated even though there was no opponent standing there.

Instead, he offered her a ride back from the prison. He was a direct person, but he decided to test the waters first.

"You go ahead. I'll call a cab. I need to decompress."

He normally wouldn't worry about her, but there was something in the way she yanked off her visitor's badge, a brittleness that had infused her entire presence since that moment back in the courtroom when one sentence had completely shut her down.

And as much as Abbie Carmichael drove him up a wall sometimes, he knew, with some inexplicable certainty, that there was something here that would change everything.

"You want to talk about it?"

She looked up, and he hastily backpedaled. "Or not. Whatever you feel comfortable with."

Abbie walked away, silent, and he thought, Well, if she's not going to -

She turned back.

Tucked her hair behind her ear, which surprised him. Not a regular motion for her. It was a nervous trait. Abbie didn't do nervous.

"I was a freshman. He was a third-year law student. We were on a date."

No.

"I never told anyone. I blamed myself." Her voice was tight, her eyes glittering hard. "But not anymore."

She stalked out the door, leaving Jack staring.

He'd figured it was something personal. Some backstory. Some near-miss, or maybe a friend's misfortune, that taught her some complicated lesson.

He would never have thought it was so horribly simple.


With two cups of fresh, hot coffee in his hands, he wasn't really surprised to find Abbie in her office early the next morning, engrossed in reading one of the hundred files on her desk. He hovered in the doorway for a moment. She was pulled together, wearing a pristine suit, as always, but judging from the shadows under her eyes, she'd gotten about as much sleep as he had.

"Morning."

She looked up, startled, and Jack saw the hesitation in her eyes. So unlike her usual self. The last time he'd seen her, she was walking away, fighting back tears.

"Good morning." The same cracked voice from that day in court.

There was a long, empty pause, and he knew he needed to end it. There were a lot of things he wished he knew how to say. How he wasn't disappointed. How he respected her. How this terrible secret put her in a whole new light: Abbie was more than just a hard-assed beauty with an attitude problem. She'd lived it. She wasn't a heartless, disconnected machine; she was more connected to the victims than he'd realized.

He was sorry - stupidly, uselessly sorry - that it ever happened to her.

He wanted to tell her so many things.

"Here."

He handed her the coffee cup. There was a brief moment in which she just looked at it, blank, before slowly reaching for it. He held his breath. Coffee's doing the talking for me, Miss Carmichael.

Her fingers brushed against his, sending warmth through him that had nothing to do with coffee, and slowly, thankfully, a small smile crossed her lips. She met his eyes for the first time in too long.

"Thanks."

"I'm meeting with Adam now. See you in my office in 20? We can go through next week's caseload."

"Sure."

He turned to go, his shoulder brushing the doorframe.

"Jack?"

He turned back.

"Thank you."

He nodded, fingers tightening around his own coffee. I think we're going to be fine, Abbie.

"See you in 20, Miss Carmichael."