Disclaimer: Never, never, never.

Author's Note: I figured with the 5th anniversary Abbie blues, thought I'd write something cute, using an anecdote from Angie Harmon's newborn days on L/O. May Angie strike me down if I am wrong here. That and I'm doing it for someone who needs to the pick-me-up. Besides, I haven't written anything about the pairing for a month, egad.

Dedication: Moonbeamdancer, for her pick-me-up of doom.

Beta: She's busy, you know the rest.

Timeline: prior to "DWB".

Ready Go!


"I knew Special Narcotics had a lot of paperwork, but I didn't know Homicide had this much," the Texan A.D.A. Abbie Carmichael groused as the paperwork piled on and on in her office.

"It's the byproduct of the death penalty, I'm afraid," her superior, E.A.D.A. Jack McCoy, rejoined whilst he jotted his signature on various forms.

"Right." A machete could carve into the tension — the young woman was still at odds with her new chief.

"Be thankful you haven't encountered it yet," he presaged. Since the subject came up, the senior prosecutor was most curious on his subordinate's stance on the death penalty. He swore he would have a coronary if one of his assistants agreed with him on the issue.

"Actually, beyond this, I'd be just fine with it," she stated as she completed another document.

There went the man's heart. "Really?"

"Yeah, where I come from, if someone has done a crime so heinous, I believe they should forfeit their own life," she affirmed with an understated conviction.

"You certainly have your speech down pat. Texas justice at its finest, right?" he quipped.

"Yeah, well, it works, Jack. It's why there isn't as much crime down there, courtesy of our Huntsville facilities."

"Actually, I agree with you. If nothing else, the death penalty makes a lovely plea negotiation tactic."

"You definitely sound like a man who has used it a few times."


"For the sake of my cramped hand, I hope more people will say it more often." She massaged her aching left hand.

"Or, cut the middleman and stop performing crimes?" He concluded her line of thought.

"Or, you could wait until Texas is the next Antarctica while you're waiting for that to happen. And, by the way, we do get snow on rare occasions down there, you know," the female gibed.

"Good to know and don't worry, Ms. Carmichael. I've thought the same thing myself many times over and it isn't about the snow."

She glowered at his formal usage of her surname. "Yeah. If I were up to it, I might ask if we can break and give my hand a chance to regroup. If I were up to it."

"Weakling. Sure." He ceased his task as well.

"Don't worry; I can do paperwork just as fine as the next A.D.A. But, even a break wouldn't hurt now and then," she sneered.

"Welcome to the big leagues," he returned the gesture.

"You could give me something besides platitudes."

"I could do a lot of things, Ms. Carmichael."

"You can stop calling me that for starters; it makes me sound like a schoolmarm."

He assessed his options: bicker endlessly, request another A.D.A., or salvage a working relationship with this firebrand of a woman. He admired her potential and possible entertainment value — vis-à-vis her palm slap at One Police Plaza — however, the jagged edges first had to be ironed out. The time is set, he thought.

"Okay, fine. Why don't we break and go outside?"

"Go outside?" She blinked in bewilderment.

"We've earned a lunch break and besides, it would be good to clear the air. Get your coat."

Abbie sustained her puzzlement as she fetched for her trench coat.


Central Park was miraculously in bloom whilst the prosecutors strolled about the grounds and the blustery weather.

"It's oddly beautiful, isn't it? Be perfect if you didn't need your coat." Jack clutched the collar of his trademark emerald jacket.

"Yeah, it is. I have a sarcastic comment about it, but I'll keep my mouth shut." His companion lowered her head in shame.

"What is it?"

"It's just a New York joke I've made in my time being here."

"I've heard them all — I've been a prosecutor here for almost 25 years. The irony is I wasn't born in New York."

Abbie eyed him cautiously. "Yeah? Where you from?"

"Chicago. So, I do know what a fish out of water you are."

"I think I'm holding up alright," she retorted warily.

"Yeah? Let's test that. Let's get you a soft pretzel." The E.A.D.A. and his associate explored the park for a pretzel vendor.

"Two, please," he ordered after finally approaching one. The twosome resumed their meandering path after paying the vendor.

"I hear these are the best in all of Manhattan," he commented before he chomped his down.

"I've put off eating soft pretzels," she tentatively gnawed on hers. "I always wondered what's so great about…mmph, mmph," she garbled as she further masticated her pretzel.

"I never thought you could shut a person up that way."

"Mmph! Mmph!" The hotheaded lady would have stomped her feet down in response if she weren't engaged swallowing her morsel. Unfortunately, she then gradually choked herself.

"Oh, God." He rushed behind her and executed the Heimlich maneuver. After three takes, she ultimately regurgitated the offending lump of dough.

"'Oh, God' is right," she spat out while her breathing raced. She then detected his lingering arms around her body.

"You can let go of me now." Her countenance was flushed with embarrassment.

He matched hers. "Right, sorry. It's been a long time since I did that."

"'Best in Manhattan', huh? It was like dough and cement put together." The poor woman cleared her throat.

"Yeah, and again, don't worry; it happened to me when I first bit into one."

"Don't tell me you choked to death, too?"

Now it was his turn to lower his head in shame. "What would you like me to tell you?"

"Then, you can have this." She tendered him her pretzel.

"No, thanks. It already choked one A.D.A.," he gibed as he discarded hers into a nearby trash bin.

"Not that I mind the excursion, but I hope we're here for a reason, besides your attempting to kill me. You'll have to be more creative." Abbie folded her arms.

"Yeah, we are. Look, I have three options here: I keep fighting with you, I get a new A.D.A. or we try to be friends. I know you're trying — as you did when you bizarrely slapped my hand at the courthouse — which is why I'm doing this. It's my way to separate the wheat from the chaff of my incoming assistants. It's a tradition," Jack sighed.

"By having them choke to death?" she posed as she kneaded her neck.

"No. It's to see if they can have fun with themselves and not take everything so seriously. I know you care about the job, but I need someone that won't be consumed by it and — in my show of candor — keep me grounded. I care about the job, too." His eyes pored over into hers.

"I get that you get 'consumed' a lot?"

He recalled Jamie halting his plans to commit legal murder on a drunk driver, Dressler. "Not always, but I will need a good head guiding me and themselves as the occasion arises."

The words undulated within her. "You always this candid?"

"If I think they're worth it, yes."

"Well, then, as juvenile as this sounds…as long as you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you? Deal?" She extended her hand out.

He rotated it and slapped it, as she did in their initial case. "Deal. So, what was your joke?"

"Oh." Her face shifted to a slight garnet hue. "I was just admiring the famous Central Park as I see the bird singing, the tree in bloom, and the people are holding their hands…up."

"Maybe you should do comedy instead of being a prosecutor," he chuckled innocently.

"I've thought about it," she flippantly grinned.

"Well, I think we've done this tradition nicely. Ready to go back to the office?" He pointed to the direction of One Police Plaza.

"Ready as I'm going to be. I'd race you but you'd lose, anyway," she challenged in a childlike manner.

"You're quite the special woman, aren't you?"

"I try."

"Well, keep it up, then…, Abbie."

A faint beam graced her face as they promenaded back from whence they came.


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