Disclaimer: I don't own Law and Order.
Author's Note: Just a short Law and Order fic to bring in for New Year's. I hope you all weren't expecting a long monologue here.
Timeline: Two years after the events of Deep Vote or simply anything past the eleventh season. I'm being more general for once.
Beta: PureSakuraMelody. Just say yourselves the trouble and crawl before her, knaves.
Happy New Year, everyone.
The plane began its descent and the wise old man felt some minor turbulence. A trivial discomfort compared to the ritual in and of itself. After working so long in Vienna with the Holocaust reparations, he had to return to his city—the greatest city on Earth, where he upheld law and order. His timing, however, was not his own via an unexpected call by his replacement second-in-command after so many years. For what true purpose was the mystery he mused on the flight. It did not matter, for Adam Schiff finally returned to New York.
The landing gear unfolded and after a slight bumpy landing, Adam got out of the plane albeit slower than usual, with the assistance of his new cane. Of all the human frailties he tried to stop during his career, not even he could avoid old age.
'I hope this trip is worth it.'
He immediately rescinded his thoughts when he saw his second Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy waiting for him by the luggage bin. Time was kind enough to him when the former D.A. last saw his top gun several years ago.
"You look like hell," Adam blurted out.
"Good to see you too," Jack jested.
"So what's so urgent? You sounded like you were dying in your telegram—'Adam, please come to New York. Stop. I have an emergency that requires your attention. Stop. Come as soon as possible. Stop.'"
"I needed something to get your attention; I know you've been busy these days."
"You ever heard of using the phone and say 'Adam, it's Jack, I want to talk, you free'?" Adam grumbled.
"The phone doesn't have much flair and I thought the mysterious urgency approach was best. Besides, I don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet as details are coming hard and fast down the pike. Not until I saw you first." The E.A.D.A. picked up his former boss' luggage.
"I am curious about that. Now that I'm here, may I ask why?"
"Not yet, after all, we have catching up to do," he replied cryptically.
"Fine, we can do it on the way to your car. It better be a car. I'm not riding in the backseat of that tricycle of yours," Adam commanded as the two walked from the terminal to the parking lot.
'Refrain from the bitch seat reference.' Jack suppressed himself from seeing Adam Schiff riding in the back of his motorcycle. "Of course. I'll make it a nice, long drive," he responded soothingly.
"Don't make it forever though—I'm an old man. I am on borrowed time you know," Adam barbed.
"Self pity doesn't suit you, Adam."
"No, it doesn't," the once D.A. gave a lop-sided grin. "But I hope you'll at least make the journey pleasant."
"I always make things pleasant," the younger man grinned.
"I don't mean you; I was hoping for our common liquid refreshment—scotch. I'm rather parched."
"Don't worry about that, boss; I brought plenty for us."
"At least you thought ahead where it counts."
Jack furnished no reply as they walked to his rented car—a mediocre caramel colored Taurus.
"So who wants to catch up first?" The E.A.D.A. shattered the silence.
"You're the one that summoned me, you ask first." Jack's former superior still commanded in the same imperative tone he had back when they worked together.
"Fine, how have you been?" He attempted to help Adam into the car.
"Stop that. I may be old, but I'm not helpless," Adam groused as he entered the car.
'That's my Adam; ornery to the end.'
Jack packed the luggage in the trunk, got in the car, and drove off.
"Check the glove compartment. To make the journey more pleasant as you asked," he jibed as Adam opened it and found a full silver flask. The curmudgeon had a sip and instantly smiled.
"I'm half tempted to quote Lionel Barrymore."
"Do it after you tell me what you've been up lately." He returned the quip as he entered the necessary exit and left the airport.
"Fine. After leaving the D.A.'s office, I went to Vienna as you know, with reparations and then I spent time in The Hague, helping in the prosecutions of the little men whose businesses helped funded the Nazis and dismantling them. I even had time to try a case now and then."
"You trying a case? Don't tell me the world has ended behind my back," Jack sniggered.
Without a beat, the ex-D.A. said before imbibing a swig: "Wouldn't be the first time."
Jack just cracked a smile as he drove into the highways to the city. "I missed you too."
"Please don't get weepy on me."
"Me? Weepy?" The assistant donned one of his traditional smirks.
"Well, there was that one time…"
"It was liability issues. You know that."
"It's all the same to me, Jack. You say tomato…"
Jack just rolled his eyes. "I get it. Beyond work, anything else?"
Adam just sighed. "No, you know me: it's all about the work."
"Always. Any…future Mrs. Schiffs you met there?"
"You know better than that," he grunted.
"You never know, right?"
"I suppose not. On the plus side, the scotch is good tonight." He obtained another sip.
"It's not often I get one of the wisest men on Earth to deign with his mortal subjects on mysterious circumstances. Obviously have to spend a pretty penny to keep him here, including good scotch," Jack chirped.
"Being a sycophant doesn't become you, Jack, or being mysterious. Where are we going?"
"Heading for my apartment. Don't worry; it will become clear soon enough."
"You're getting as cryptic as the psychiatrists we hired."
"Then I learned well," the E.A.D.A. chortled.
Adam leered at him. "Fine, since your plan seems to be stalling, how is my current replacement, Mr. Branch doing?"
"He somewhat reminds me of you. Nice fellow."
"Do you think that of his politics? I heard of his stunt with that S.O.B. Yashiro with the international press," the mature grouse griped in disapproval.
"Like I say, nice fellow."
Adam bestowed a breathless laugh. "Right. So how is Ms. Carmichael? Still trying to outdo each other with your similarity?"
"I don't think we're that similar." Jack whipped out another smirk.
"Oh please, it was like looking at a mirror."
"That obvious? Well, I didn't see it coming."
"I observed that it takes you a while to note the blatantly obvious."
"And you hired me as your E.A.D.A." The aide countered back the volley.
"I know. What was I thinking?"
"Blame the scotch."
"So I do—I have to blame on your lack of observation somewhere," Adam continued not to miss a beat.
"To answer your question, she left a year after you did, to work in the U.S. Attorney's Southern District office."
"Quite the big game."
"Indeed, that's what she wanted. I got another female assistant after her, a woman named Serena Southerlyn. She's a good A.D.A. but…"
Adam perceived his ex-associate's wistful tone. "But?"
"A little too limousine liberal for my tastes. However, she does make a nice counter to me."
"Hm. I see. For such a great assistant, you sound like someone died."
"Yeah. You didn't sound like that when we were talking about Ms. Carmichael."
Jack double blinked. "Really?"
"The lilt in your voice changed. It's quite obvious."
"For someone who has been around the block a few times," Adam jibed.
"Well, Abbie has her qualities as does Serena."
"But you don't sound so upbeat with the new girl."
"I don't? It's not deliberate. It's more…I've been having a lot of turnover since you left. Getting harder and harder to attach personally at times." The E.A.D.A. gradually succumbed to his emotions.
"Didn't you already have that with Ms. Kincaid?"
He sobered up with the question. "Yeah. I did. Although what I had with Claire isn't the same as with the others, are they?"
"As long as they're not like Diana Hawthorne." Adam mused of the A.D.A.-cum-lover of Jack's who surreptitiously rigged evidence to promote Jack to the E.A.D.A. job.
"No, they're not. It's not like preconceived notions of love or anything of substance."
"Said the man who has his hands dangerously close to the cookie jar?"
"I learned my lesson, didn't I?" Jack snapped back.
"Apparently so, as I haven't heard of any affairs, or you're just getting better at being secretive," Adam chided as he downed more of his scotch.
"Why, Adam, you hopeless romantic, you," he purred.
"Please. As long as it doesn't get in the way of business, I'd look the other way."
"Comforting to know that, if we ever work in the same office again."
"Bite your tongue. I'm getting too old for this," the ex-D.A. deadpanned as he continued to quaff the brand.
"You drink anymore like that and I'll be out twenty whole bucks. I did buy some for me, you know," Jack admonished.
"Really now? Not like you could out drink me," Adam challenged.
"I came close one night but I had all these briefs to deal with."
"It's always an excuse," the senior waved his hand dismissively. "Moving on to actual love lives, since we talked work. Do you even have one?"
"Oh, nothing much," Jack wanted to veer away from the conversation.
"Come on; don't tell me you dated all the women of the Five Burroughs."
"No, just cutting back to focus on work. Arthur is riding me a might."
"While I admire your stick-to-it-ness, you know there are times to cut back and appreciate the finer things on occasion. My late wife made that quite clear," Adam cautioned.
"I don't have finer things on hand. Guess I'm just stuck, aren't I?" the E.A.D.A bemoaned.
"Then what about missed opportunities if any?"
"Well, I don't know. That's the thing…"
"Sounds like a horrible catch coming. Here." He offered Jack the flask. The only reply was a cocked-eyed glare.
"One sip won't deaden you yet."
Jack eagerly took a sip, which quickly became a swig. "I said a sip, not the whole thing." The older killjoy swiped back the flask.
"Old habits." He returned it back to Adam.
"You almost drank it all," the elder man complained like a five year old who didn't want to relinquish his favorite toy.
"I did not," Jack replied in a child-like pitch.
"Anyway, you were saying?"
"Saying what?" He hoped the matter would be dropped.
"You're too young to be senile and too old for the scotch to affect you. Stop digressing."
"Can't fool you." The Brooklyn Bridge was now in view.
"Then out with it."
"Alright, alright. It's just lately, I have been sensing something…missing in my life. And I don't know how to replace it," Jack said, defensive as he infiltrated into the traffic stretching from the bridge.
"But you have an idea?"
"Somewhat. Lately, I've been thinking about her."
"I don't suppose it's anyone I know?"
"Well, yes and no. It's just if I thought about it; it would just remind me of how I didn't…go for it like I usually do. So I've been burying myself in work to distract myself from that." His face reddened with his thoughts.
Adam eyed him. "Why didn't you go for it? You're not exactly the shy type."
"I didn't want to approach her unless I was sure about my feelings to save me the expense of making an ass out of myself and her both personally and professionally," Jack stated firmly.
"Indeed, although she must be special for you to think so heavily."
"She is." He smiled.
"So what makes her so special? Given traffic, you'll have plenty of time to count em off." Adam nodded to the ominous New York City gridlock.
The E.A.D.A. sucked in a breath. "Well, I usually attracted myself to more volatile women but here, she isn't as explosive. Although, she will rise to the occasion. Unlike the usual opposite attraction, we rather think the same things. If anything, she just pushes the envelope further—to make me realize how damn similar we both are."
"Interesting. I hope that's not it," Adam approached in his patented calculating manner.
Jack tittered. "No. She also has her own qualities—like her stubbornness, her intensity; I had never met such an intense woman until her. I definitely caught passion in those lines."
"Could said passion be turned for the bedroom or is she sensible and doesn't apply it there?"
"Oh. Double your pleasure," Adam barbed.
"Yeah. Her intensity and passion don't override her either; her…pragmatism rather keeps her in check—a time and a place for all things. She is sensible, and she's down to earth; not like Diana, who was full of herself, or Claire with her overwhelming convictions." Jack submerged deeper and deeper into himself.
"Indeed. So she's pragmatic and grounded, which is always endearing."
"Pragmatic, grounded, and professional, I've seen her work; a real go getter," he said, with a sense of satisfaction.
"Not to the point of consuming her. We'll both need something when we're done with our jobs. She's not all business either: she wants to have fun now and then."
"Sounds too perfect," the older wet blanket mocked.
"No, she has her flaws, as part of the intensity and passion; her convictions can lead up to self righteousness."
"Another similarity to you at times."
Jack dropped his ensuing retort. "Yeah, but that's why she has grounded qualities. Complete with a body that stops traffic," he espoused a lustful grin as traffic preserved its snail pace.
"Don't say that or we'll be here forever."
"Sorry. All I can say is that she is unlike any woman I've ever seen or been with."
"You know the way you put it all like that, you sound the same as whenever you're talking about Ms. Carmichael," Adam exposed.
"I am? I meant someone else in mind." The E.A.D.A.'s visage finally appeared flush.
"It's that lilt, Jack—you can't escape from it. Nor can you escape that similarity you two kids share. When you two spoke to me, I don't know which one of you started and which one ended. Besides, you did withhold her name for a reason."
"No, I don't suppose I can escape it," he sighed.
"Well, at least you chose a good one," the past D.A. beamed with a modicum of approval.
"Apparently. Too bad I didn't see it when she was here, but it was a moot point then anyway," Jack responded, forlorn.
"I said it takes you forever to notice these things, didn't I? Are you going to attempt to make your feelings known?"
"That's jumping the gun a little isn't it?"
'It isn't like him to be cautious.' "It would be if you two were in the same office, but you're not anymore. Although for the lawyer side, you two would have to be secretive as to not compromise anything down the road."
"I know, I've thought about it." The younger man conceded the obvious.
"I'm sure you have. You obviously miss her."
"I knew I would when she first left but…it's been feeling like a gaping hole with each passing day."
"You better make your move soon, Jack. Fine young girl like that isn't going to wait forever," Adam warned.
"I know," he sighed.
"Personally, I thought it would be the other way around."
"What other way around?"
"That she would have pined for you instead. I caught that with her body language, particularly the months before I left."
Jack arched his infamous eyebrows. "Really?"
"I'm old, but not blind. I could see her gravitating towards you."
"Isn't that what an A.D.A. is supposed to do to her boss?"
"Not like this. She argued with you, pushed you, and she grounded you. I was right to hire her as Ms. Ross' replacement. Seeing her in action made me see a younger version of you. Figured it was the perfect way to have you work but keep you in your place when need be," the wise old man explained in smug delight.
"I can't argue with you there." Jack recalled his first encounter with the A.D.A. and Adam's prod about her arrest of Nicholas Waring before he himself had the chance.
"Do you know if she is with someone?"
"Actually, she is."
Adam sunk into the chair. "Damn, Jack. I need a drink and so do you." He sipped at the flask and offered it once again to Jack.
"That's alright; I don't need it."
"You sure? I think you'll need a paralyzer. Well…after we get out of the car." He inclined on the headrest.
"No, I'm fine. It was an opportunity that I let go of. Not my fault that I didn't see back then." The E.A.D.A.'s obsessions devoured him again.
"That was then and this is now. Now that I see the truth or…saw the truth I should say—I already told her my feelings two years ago." Jack's cocky smirk dusted off in full force.
"What?" Adam was in shock.
"And now I'm that someone."
"Here! Have a drink then," Adam twittered and offered the flask yet again. "I suppose now this mystery telegram was to maintain your secrecy and for me to meet her as your…she better not be just your lover or I'll make sure you never litigate in this country again," he growled in his watchdog tone.
"No, she's not, she's my…fiancée. I proposed to her three nights ago." Jack could no longer conceal his blush.
"Fiancée? I don't believe it. You, and married and/or engaged do not fit in the same sentence. Until now, apparently." Adam sounded like he was going to have a coronary.
"Yeah," Jack said, sheepishly.
"Then why the cloak and dagger crap and just rather say that you and Ms. Carmichael are engaged instead?"
"Well, the official answer is that we have a lot of planning to do before we are ready to officially announce our engagement and thus having to deal any possible employers trying to dissuade us. You know the game with prosecuting and conflicts of interest."
"Official answer? What's the unofficial answer?"
"That I missed our banter. And besides, I really wasn't sure if you'd show up if I said the truth, since you're so busy." Jack implemented a more maudlin quality to his voice.
"I'm not too busy to celebrate when one of my good friends gets engaged—especially a womanizer." The first smile Adam endowed all night.
"I'm not a womanizer anymore but anyway, I know your job is so time consuming and I…" The younger gentleman defended himself.
"It's not that time consuming and I needed the distinction. It's been lonely lately," the proud Adam Schiff refused to sound mawkish.
"Don't be; I'm not lonely now."
The two men shared a smile, "Actually, Adam, the real reason I asked you here is that…Abbie and I had talked about it and we want you to be best man."
The coronary upgraded to an aneurysm. "Best…"
"Finally, the famous Adam Schiff is at a loss for words," Jack nudged, sardonically.
"I'm really flattered. Why me though if I may ask, instead of say, Detective Briscoe?"
"Well, you're the one that encouraged me to work with her," he asserted.
"Damn irony, huh? I need a drink." Adam finished off the scotch.
"Damn irony indeed." The traffic finally cleared up and the two rode into town, soon reaching their destination of Jack's apartment. All part of the E.A.D.A.'s diabolical plan to scheme, laugh, drink, and cry the night away with the wisest man on Earth and the woman of his dreams. Jack only had one thought as three of New York's effective prosecutors were reunited once again.
'So this is what true love is. It's been a long time coming.'
Leave a review if you wish, see you in the funny papers.