Disclaimer: All rights belong to Wolf Films.

Author's Note: I was inspired by a Kim Possible fic, entitled "Stay," by Eienvine. The timing is in respect to the 10th anniversary of Abbie's first season finale, "Refuge" (5/26/1999).

Nota bene: See my profile regarding any proofreading issues. I'll try to do one or two, at most, until I can access a non-malfunctioning computer and re-edit accordingly. I'm still perfecting the 2nd person format, so particular apologies go on any real grammar and syntax errors.

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"Why do you stay?"

It is your mother's favorite question in the monthly phone call with her. You base your answer on his decades of experience. By accessing his expertise, you can harness the system for the sake of career ambition.

It is not quite the truth; it is not quite the lie.

You do not clarify on the scope of his depth. No other prosecutor matches you on an individual level. He actually desires to right wrongs and face the impossible.

As a price, he warns you constantly to avoid his habits and fate. You cringe at the twisted office jokes about his private life. Despite the negatives, you cannot pass up his fountain of knowledge. Your empathy of him also prevents you from doing so.

There is a reason why he pursues racists and child molesters in the same manner you hound rapists. He is what you are yearning for: a fellow hunter. Your vendetta can be unleashed with his insight.

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"Why do you stay?"

A few A.D.A.s pose the question to you in their boorish decrying of him and his wild temperament.

You veer away and shrug your shoulders. "I have to get my jollies, somehow."

It is not quite the truth; it is not quite the lie.

Prosecuting is a mind-numbing task, as per the paperwork and legalese. You are an enthusiastic workaholic, yet he propels you to new heights. Barring the occasional male P.M.S., he can be amusing, charming and even heartwarming. He never bores you, and you can never predict his next statement.

He often concurs with your position when you least demand it. Whatever the issue, the dual equality comes into play. You are not in jeopardy if he causes you to be wrong. Conversely, your being right does not threaten him and his alpha male personality.

It is an extraordinary dynamic. Conflict is a waste of time, since you are both halves of the same mind. Nevertheless, the universe is determined to have you apart. The quarrels never last and seem utterly pointless in retrospect.

The job is gratifying, because of his efforts. You welcome the irony, in that you are paid to make somebody's life miserable.

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"Why do you stay?"

Lieutenant Anita Van Buren blurts it out in an after-hours conversation with you. She centers her question on motivation.

"To me, prosecutors usually see their position as either a day job or a crusade. I know you're intense, but not intense enough to obsess. What gets you up in the morning?"

You pause for a moment. "It's a healthy mixture of it being my day job and crusade. When one overrides the other, you have no choice but to quit."

It is not quite the truth; it is not quite the lie.

There are days where you want to proclaim the vendetta to her. You never do, due to the risk of her misconstruing your intentions. If anyone on the job deserves to know, it is Anita.

Instead, you reveal yourself to him. How is he able to elicit such a reaction? He frustrates you, inflames you and pushes you to your limits. He is as reserved as you are on the inner self.

You are staring at a mirror image of yourself. His buried trauma and approach of life attract you in countless ways. You realize what he means to you: your platonic kindred spirit. Ever since your revelation at the prison, he impresses in an almost unwavering respect of you. Office gossip jeers at the notion, of which you ignore. It is a minor price to pay for his impact on you and the unburdening of your soul.

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"Why do you stay?"

A scout of the Southern District of New York asks you in bemusement. The woman is offering a major salary increase and an impressive string of titles. It is your chance to escape the insanity of the New York City criminal justice system and his shadow.

"My job has great perks. There are some things that money and prestige can't buy," you declare.

It is not quite the truth; it is not quite the lie.

You recall a previous conversation he had with D.A. Nora Lewin. You were fumbling on your office floor for your misplaced briefcase. You cursed to yourself in your eavesdropping.

"The Southern District is trying its best to lure her away, so what are you going to do?" said D.A. Lewin.

He sighed. "I don't think it's my place to stand in her way. All I can do is support her decision, whatever it is."

His tone was of resignation, a natural response to his former assistants. How many have abandoned him in one form or another? Are you going to add yourself among the rest (Claire Kincaid's death and Jamie Ross' family issues notwithstanding)?

You also recollect the darkest time in your New York career: Toni's murder. He stood against Volsky, the courts and Adam Schiff. Not once did he falter. Not once did he abandon you. Not once did he deem you as weak in your acts of crying.

In the verdict reading of the Volsky trial, you vowed to reimburse him for his deeds. Your promise of yesteryear remains in your heart. For the prosecutor in you, the Southern District is all you could want. For the person in you, nothing can compare to what he has given. Where is the fairness in forsaking him for a higher rank or a better parking space?

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"Why do you stay?"

You present the question to yourself. You ponder it throughout the late work nights and early weekday mornings. Your lovey-dovey gestures toward him in the Sarno case have you scrambled completely.

You evoke his famous retort to Sarno Sr. "We don't have much of a social life, as it is."

He is correct in that you do not have the desire to socialize. Your career and vendetta are the priorities. Your plan is to eventually quit and leave it all behind, including him.

You have no idea if it is the truth or the lie.

The fact of the matter is that he is your social life. There are the ridings on his motorcycle, your skeet shooting sessions, his Clash concerts and the occasional Texan landmark vacation. During work hours, there are the comfortable silences and coordinated banter. The camaraderie does not surprise you, though, the bonding does. You are not supposed to be best friends with your boss.

You deny job offers on multiple grounds: loyalty to him, enjoyment of your job and fear. You worry of your life being either empty or enhanced if he is not a factor. You are happy at present, because he is with you. You acknowledge it as a type of dependency, albeit non-lethal. The first step is to admit if there is a problem. If it is one, then there are worse vices and addictions to have.

The cops and the attorneys fail to grasp your relationship. They believe you are manipulating one another and/or having an affair. You chalk it to human nature and his reputation, which he has since renounced. Speaking of which, he never expresses himself in sexual overtones around you.

Whether it is awe of you or the Claire Kincaid episode, he stays inside his boundaries. If he does not, there is your image of accomplishment to consider. 'Sleeping with the boss' is beyond laughable for you. A dalliance is not worth unscrewing the two of the finest cogs in New York City's justice machine. Why jeopardize the best relationship you have with a colleague, let alone a man?

So, why are you now wondering, "Why hasn't he made a move?"

You are an attractive woman. Many often reckon you a model than a prosecutor. You have the "best legs in Manhattan," according to Detective Green. Any pretty boy is yours, if you so chose.

He is rather striking in his way, aging with absolute grace. You picture his appearance at your age and appreciate the physical appeal. You consider briefly on the age and philosophical differences, deferring to your joint compatibility. For an ex-hippie twice your age, he is remarkably in sync with you.

The craving comes and goes, which you substitute with paperwork and friendship. One day, you blush for no reason, as he stands beside you at your desk. Your plans for tomorrow have become today's.

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"Why do you stay?"

He states it quietly, as he transfers his paraphernalia into Arthur Branch's office. Branch is heading for parts unknown, resulting in his Don Quixote deputy in charge. His raising the question paralyzes you with its implications of separation.

If you do not take the position, it goes to Michael Cutter, the second coming of Machiavelli. The younger man's methods undermine what you have built over ten years. If anyone deserves the promotion, it is you. If the path is clear, then why are you hesitant?

You recognize the need for him in your life. You cherish the value of your shared time-spanning journey. Ten years ago, the two of you were intractable people consumed by hubris. Ten years later, he releases you from your vendetta and you mend him successfully from his second divorce.

His promotion is your chance to explore your newfound freedom and emotional curiosity. If you two are no longer working together, then there should be no scandal in dating each other. You are certain it will not be a clandestine liaison or a larger-than-life spectacle. Time will tell on the trial-and-error process and the potential of wedding bells.

He eyes you like the lost puppy he is. His weaknesses and failures are lost on others. Only someone who understands him is capable of refining them into true strengths and successes. You are merely returning the favor he has done for you in the past decade.

"Are you going to answer my question?" He toys with his hands, his whole body a gangly mass of nerves.

You shut the door and advance upon him. Without warning, you kiss your beloved older gentleman passionately on the lips.

You lean forward, so you can whisper in his ear. "This is the only answer I have for you, at the moment, Counselor."

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