Author's Note: I've been writing fics for about two years, so it's about time I wrote a Christmas themed one.
Beta: Yep, busy, busy.
Timeline: The Christmas of Season 9
Alcohol and slipshod dancing permeated the D.A.'s office while Mariah Carey's song "All I Want for Christmas Is You" blared on. The only possible conclusion: it was the annual Christmas party. As Manhattan's finest prosecutors gyrated and imbibed their cares away, D.A. Schiff and his top aides, Jack McCoy and Abbie Carmichael, gaped at the bacchanal.
"Christmas parties. All I get for Christmas is a day off and an ulcer," Adam sniped.
"You're not going to say 'Bah Humbug', are you, sir?" Abbie posed in her usual mordant stride.
"I'm just staying out of this," Jack declared.
"Serves me right to hold the party the Friday before," their superior groused. A courier then unexpectedly materialized with a motion, proffered it to Jack, and slinked back into the shadows.
"It's a motion to quash our subpoena on the Batson case — it's a curtilage issue. They never give up, do they?" The E.A.D.A. perused the document
"That's why they're paid the big bucks. And while our defenders of the criminal justice systems are busy trying to out-drink each other, should I dare ask if anyone will actually do their job and take care of this?" Adam implied curtly.
"I'll do it. I think I've had my fill of watching the debauchery of my distinguished co-workers." The female A.D.A. nabbed the sheet and promenaded to her office. The two elders eyed each other.
"I don't see you up and volunteering like that," Adam gibingly commented.
"I was going to; she just beat me to it." The younger man defended.
"Sure you were."
Jack rolled his eyes and trailed his assistant. He tentatively knocked on her door and allowed himself in. He noted the exposure of her peach blouse to the light, and in turn slipped off his ashen jacket to exhibit his own azure dress shirt.
"Yeah?" she acknowledged whilst she skimmed one of her law tomes.
"Hey. You need any help?"
"That's okay. I need the work to clear my head, anyway." She massaged her temples. "Besides, if you want to go out and mingle, I wouldn't want you to feel guilty."
"I'd like to think my office party days are over. And you do look like you have something on your mind." He lobbed his jacket on one of her chairs.
"Not really." She denied as she scribbled notations on a legal pad.
"Alright. I thought you could at least use the company. You're going to need the Sivana decision on expectations of privacy in public places. I'll get it." He headed for her mantelpiece styled cabinet.
"That's a bit obscure," she scoffed.
"Hey, obscure works," he shrugged.
"I see what you're trying to do, Jack."
"Is it working?"
"You tell me."
"You haven't completely shot me down yet, so I must be doing something right," he affirmed wryly.
She gritted her teeth for she realized he was correct. "Okay, fine, maybe you're right. Satisfied?"
"As far as I'm concerned, being here is not much of a choice, is it?"
A slight crimson hue adorned her face. "Well, I will admit that I'm flattered you'd rather be with me than to join them and their abuse of alcohol."
"And they're not even breaking out the good stuff," he bemoaned while he rummaged onward.
"Don't cry me a river, Jack."
"Are you usually so full of Christmas cheer?" He at last bit back. "I wonder what you'll be like next year in the Christmas before the millennium."
Abbie coasted her head downward in ignominy. "Maybe the world will end by then — if you believe in all that Y2K bunk."
"Maybe," he uttered noncommittally.
"Alright, I'm sorry." Her tone was authentic. "It's something I have to work out myself."
"Fair enough. Would you like to talk about something else to pass the time? Oh, I meant to ask what you are doing for Christmas. Here it is." He whipped out the desired hardback and furnished it to her.
"What are you doing for Christmas?" She parroted as she flipped through the volume and carried on with her annotations.
"That's not going to work on me, Abbie."
"It was worth a shot? Well, actually, I don't know." The woman elucidated in uncertainty.
"You don't?" Jack blurted in disbelief.
"It's a long story and I don't feel like talking about it."
"I got time." He braced against an adjacent chair.
"You never give up, do you?" she rejoined.
"Wouldn't be much of a prosecutor if I did. I'm not going to force the issue, but one: I'd like to think we've gotten past this. Two: it's a better way to make the time pass than to join our 'distinguished co-workers.'" His blurred eyes nodded to the window, displaying a conga line of intoxicated A.D.A.s.
She ceased her browsing and gazed into him. "Point well taken. I suppose I should take to my own lesson and talk to someone about it — it might as well be you."
"Gee, I hate when you get maudlin on me," he cracked.
"Again, sorry. Um, well, I guess I could hop on a plane to Dallas to see my parents, but I don't know as I don't have anything to show for it."
"What do you mean?"
"To put it bluntly, the bottom line is that my mother wants me to settle down and be with a man. Contrary to what people think of me, I don't mind that at all, Jack, but I'm just not ready yet," Abbie remarked with sincere cadence.
"I can appreciate that."
"You act like you do. I have much to do with the job, and then figure out the rest."
"Well, juggling a personal life and a professional life isn't easy. I often had to choose one or the other. And, as you can probably tell for yourself, I chose the latter." The senior's voice had a degree of caution.
"You don't sound like you made the right choice," the lady observed.
"There are days in which I don't know. But you're not me and you definitely sound like you have an idea what you want."
"Actually, I'm not so sure. Before I went to New York, my mother wanted me to marry this doctor. He could have offered me anything I wanted, but it made me feel hollow. I have this feeling if I go back, that void will return. Hm. I never told anyone that before." She concluded her monologue in bewilderment.
"Well, we're all slowing down, Abbie. So, back to my original question: what are you doing for the holidays?"
"Would burying my head in work sound in any way pathetic?"
"No, because that's my shtick," he sighed. "I didn't think I was going to make the offer, but do you want to spend the holiday with me? I don't think anybody should be alone on Christmas," Jack tenderly solicited as he plunked himself on the chair.
"Spend it with my boss? Isn't that a little…?"
"I admit it's out there, but you sound like you could use the company. I like you, Abbie, I do, and I want to finally bridge this gap between us. I know we've gotten closer as of late, especially in light of the Simonelli case, however, there are still some residual issues to mete out first. And…."
She was internally taken aback. "Yeah?"
"I could use the company myself." He reddened.
"You? I thought you'd have your black book or your family to sate you."
"Well, I have a daughter who I barely speak to anymore. I was going to try to spend the holidays with her, but I have a full plate ahead of me. Kinda like you with your mother."
"Since I shared about mine, what's with yours?" Abbie probed.
"Shoe's on the other foot, right?" He couldn't resist the opportunity to smirk.
"Would you expect anything else from me?"
"Well, long story short: she had a hard time accepting the fact I've moved on from her mother. I love my ex-wife and all, but I had to move on. And anyone I want to introduce her to, she'd take offense. It's a mess." The gentleman enlightened with a loaded heart.
"Great. My mother wants me with a suitor and your daughter can't handle them. Maybe we should get them together."
"Or, I could go down to Texas as your boyfriend and put the fear of God into your mother," Jack cackled.
"Or, I could go with you as your girlfriend and have your daughter wet herself."
The duo shared an extensive guffaw. "Be a nice way to have your cake and eat it, too, eh, Abbie?"
"Oh, yeah, I can only imagine the flavor," she lightheartedly quipped.
"With so many layers, right?" From his peripheral vision, he spotted two alluring young women fiddling with the apex of the doorframe.
"What the? I got it." He hiked to the entrance, opened the door, and both ladies tipped forward to kiss the man square on the cheeks.
"Look up, Jack; it's mistletoe. You know what to do with mistletoe, don't you? We had to wait until you got out of 'Hang Em Higher' Carmichael's office first," the youthful one of the pair avowed in an inebriated state. A befuddled Jack craned his head upward and detected artificial mistletoe taped above.
A seething Abbie stormed to the scene and glared at the twosome. "Look, if you want to play your drunken games, kindly leave me and my office out of it."
"Hey, we only did it because Jack is in your office so much. He had to come out of hiding, eventually," the other one chimed in.
"In the spirit of the holiday, I'm going to drop this. But I suggest you get going, before I give you both a headache more potent than anything you'd possibly get from your hangovers." The E.A.D.A. cantankerously threatened.
"Geez, Jack, learn to lighten up. You've been around her too long." The juvenile one pointed accusatory at the Texan.
"I'm sure you have plenty of eligible bachelors on this floor. Go bother them and leave us alone," he snapped whilst he snatched up the mistletoe and appropriately slammed the door.
"He's so repressed," the two of a kind promulgated simultaneously before they stumbled down the corridor, hunting for further prey.
"Unbelievable." Abbie bobbled her head in disapproval while he flung the offending plastic flora on her desk.
"I wish I can apologize for them," he lamented wistfully.
"Don't. It's not your fault they want to be buzzed schoolgirls."
"I don't mind mistletoe, but I think it should be done with a little thing called permission," he sneered.
"Careful, Jack — you're sounding like me now," she teasingly chided.
"Bite your tongue," he snorted ruefully.
"I'd rather have you bite off their lips."
They reoccupied their seating. "In time. So, anyway, Abbie, I again ask: do you want to spend Christmas with me? Like I said, I'm not forcing it."
She gauged her options. "Well, it's not like you're doing it out of pity for me. You're not, are you?"
"No, I'm not. I don't make the offer willy-nilly, you know." Jack maintained a sliver of hope that she would accept.
"What would we do?"
"Talk, eat a meal or go out for one, and just be two ordinary people — nothing to do with work."
The firebrand mulled on their time together, their unique chemistry, and the rarity of such an amiable proposal. In addition, his earlier reference of the Simonelli case was not lost on her. She sensed that he was going out on a limb.
Her eyes softened. "Okay. My place or yours?"
"Whatever you're comfortable with. And, I promise no mistletoe." He chucked the mock vegetation into her trash bin.
"I appreciate that, Jack. I have to ask you this: if I wanted you to, would you really do what you said about going to Dallas with me and pretend to be my boyfriend for my mother?" she inquired furtively.
With a profound exhale, he replied, "If the issue is still dangling next Christmas and if your mother won't have a coronary over it, I'd…consider it. I wouldn't do it for just anybody, you know." The leading prosecutor could play the roundabout game as well.
"As long the same would happen with your daughter, I think I could return the favor."
"Fine, Abbie. It's a non date," he beamed.
She returned the gesture. "A non date it is. And, I should have finished this a while ago." She indicated at the note pad.
"It's Christmas; I don't think Adam will mind, anyway. Give me what you got and I'll B.S. the rest to him." He extended his hand out.
Jack secured the papers underneath his arm. "It's your Christmas present from me. Besides, he wanted me to help you." He winked at her as he exited the room.
Abbie contemplated in silent mediation. After a few moments, she traipsed to the waste receptacle and seized the mistletoe. "Who knows what next Christmas will bring? I may need this after all," she murmured to herself before she sealed the ersatz plant away in her desk drawer.
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