Collateral Damage

Background: Liz and Jack are prosecuting a high-profile case. She's first chair. He's second...ENJOY!

"This is your last warning."

Elizabeth Donnelly gave Judge Williams a contemptuous glare. "Your honor, I'm merely trying to establish-"

"I already ruled this line of questioning inadmissible. Move along, young lady."

Jack McCoy did a double take. Even seated across the room, he could see Liz's face flush with anger. "Your honor," Donnelly began, her voice deathly calm. "The people are entitled to explore-"

"I don't think you heard me," Williams repeated condescendingly. "Change your angle or sit down."

Liz narrowed her eyes. "Your honor, you're making it impossible for the people to meet their burden of proof. If you'd just allow us to-"

"Mrs. Donnelly, you're testing my patience. Sit down."

"I'm not finished-" she objected, hands instinctively finding her hips.

"Yes, you are." He pointed his gavel at her. "You're in contempt. Five hundred dollars."

"No, I won't-"

Judge Williams raised his eyebrows. "Excuse me?"

"Your honor," Liz's voice was getting higher as she became more indignant. "The people have a right to present their case without judicial interference. It would be imprudent for you to-"

"That's it. Bailiff, take Mrs. Donnelly to a holding cell. I won't be preached to in my own courtroom."

Liz's mouth was slightly ajar. "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Jack leapt to his feet, trying to salvage any credibility they had left. "Your honor, I apologize for my colleague. She is speaking out of frustration. I'm sure everyone here wants a fair and impartial trial-"

"Take him too." Williams nodded toward McCoy.

"What?" Jack blurted out, eyes widening. "Your honor-" The bailiff approached Liz and had taken hold of her arm like an unruly child. She jerked out of his hold and said something in a low whisper that Jack was sure couldn't be repeated in civilized company. A second bailiff approached him and grabbed his forearm. Jack was dazed by the entire experience but managed to grab his briefcase before he was escorted out. Liz was behind him, continuing to argue vehemently with the bailiff.

"I'm sorry about this, Mr. McCoy," one of the court officers said as he pulled out his keys to open the cell. "Orders are orders."

Jack managed a smile. "Don't worry about it." He stepped inside the cell and took a seat on the hard concrete bench, watching with some measure of amusement as Liz was steered inside. The loud slam of the door made them both flinch.

"This is outrageous." Liz began pacing the small cell like a caged animal. "Williams crossed the line. I want him censured or thrown off the bench. That sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot deserves a kick in the-"

"Liz, just stop." He rubbed his temple. "We're going to be here for awhile and you're making my head hurt."

"Well, I'm sorry if my sense of personal outrage is getting your panties in a twist." She leaned against the bars and crossed her arms. "I'd offer you an Asprin but I'm afraid I'm confined to a cell at the moment."

"Damn it, Liz. Knock off the sanctimonious crap. This is all your fault." The minute the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to take them back.

She smiled a cold and unsettling smile. "I'd be very careful about what you say to me. We're stuck together until someone decides we're worth rescuing and until that blessed moment arrives, you're going to be my bitch. Understand?"

Jack laughed despite himself. "Technically, Liz, I outrank you."

"That's just semantics." She finally allowed a small smile as she lowered herself onto the concrete bench beside him.

The both sat in comfortable silence for a few minutes until Jack turned to her and asked, "All this because Judge Williams called you 'young lady'?"

Liz grinned. "You bet your ass."

A/N: J'adore reviews.