Disclaimer: All rights belong to Wolf Films.

Author's Note: This story was originally an exclusive with the Same Side of the Law Livejournal community in 2009. It was practice romantic banter with a dash of real-time Seasons 18-19 inspiration. Fun times, were they not?

Timeline: Post-"Illegal."

Two people were cuddling on a level New York City rooftop. One was a lanky, older gentleman, and the other was a slender, young lady. They were on lawn chairs, eyeing the cloudy sky above.

He played with strands of her long, black hair. "Some place for our night off, huh?"

She laid her head onto his upper torso. "I've no complaints."

"You're too good for me, you know that, Abbie?" He kissed her forehead.

"You usually don't dole out the compliments until later in the proceedings."

"That's because I want a change of pace. I want to mark tonight as the start of a new Jack McCoy."

She stroked his pointed chin. "Stronger, better, faster."

"I haven't been that, lately. I don't know how Adam did it for so many years."

"It's not easy being the clown when you have to run the circus, Jack."

He chuckled quietly. "Oh, that's cute."

"You're lucky I didn't say it when you first got promoted." She poked her index finger at his breast.

"You're right. Thanks to Josh's trial, I know it by heart. That's the price one pays for tilting at so many windmills." His nostrils flared.

"All you can do is to learn from the refresher. If it will comfort you, I admit that I do find your tilting at windmills to be occasionally romantic. Otherwise, I wouldn't have married you."

"My blushes."

Abbie pecked him on the cheek. "At least, you're getting the hang of the new D.A. gig. I know you can do it, even if the job is out of character for you."

He beamed slightly. "I do love a challenge. Thanks for agreeing to our rooftop date, by the way."

"I understand, as you're still in transition. As I said before, I would have felt out of place in a fancy hotel."

"You and me, both. Remember when how we drove to last month's Bar Association dinner on the Yamaha bike?" Jack wagged his bushy eyebrows.

"I was driving the bike, and you were in your tux. Everyone's eyeballs were exploding." They laughed together.

"Thank God for your sense of humor, Abbie."

"Those stuffed shirts had it coming, anyway."

"They did. If we keep doing it, it will become predictable. If we don't, we'll be conforming to their standards."

"Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

He sighed. "Besides, the governor has been telling me privately to knock such behavior off. There's nothing that says I shouldn't listen to him."

She knitted her forehead. "You better be careful, Jack. There's something going on with Shalvoy, and I hope he doesn't drag you down."

"I'm not worried about him, not until I have genuine cause for concern."

"I know; it's my instincts."

He scratched at his temple. "Duly noted. Your instincts have been top-notch, so far."

Abbie smirked. "'So far' being the operative term."

"They've been better than my recent ones. Why didn't I see it coming with Josh?"

She sat upward, staring at him. "Because I know you're an optimist at heart, despite your job description. It is why you always take it so personally whenever you get let down by anyone."

He veered away. "I never had to worry about this problem before."

"It's because you're no longer the maverick prosecutor. There are new responsibilities, like your job and your family — you are now reliant on other people." She waved her right hand about.

"The voice of experience."

"I had similar feelings when we were first engaged. I never acted on them, as I knew they would fade in time. When I first moved to New York, I never imagined I'd be married, ten years later. Hell, I never thought I'd ever get married, period." She caressed her silver wedding band.

"Oh, Abbie." Jack arose to embrace her.

"I pick a fine time to become Ophelia, while you're doing your best Hamlet impression."

"A match made in heaven."

She extricated from him. "Just be grateful you have progressed enough to properly deal with these life changes. Would you have been this way, ten years ago?"


"That's why I married you. Now, I want to view the stars, assuming the city's skyline lets me."

They resumed their original positions, his fingertips on the collar of her grey sweater. "I love you, Abbie."

She nuzzled her face against his five-o'clock shadow. "I love you, too, Jack."

As always, reviews are welcome.