Disclaimer: Dick Wolf and NBC own "Law and Order". I don't.
A/N: Again, yay for TNT showing "L+O" reruns. Tuesday (5/17/11), they showed "Strike", which I absolutely love because it really is a well-written episode and definitely highlights the sexual tension between Mike and Connie—at least I think so. So after I watched the episode, this popped into my head. As always, it's dedicated to all my fellow M/C shippers and Mike Cutter fangirls out there. I also want to dedicate it to Alana de la Garza, Linus Roache, and Sam Waterston (because Jack had a seriously badass moment in this ep: "If I hear any more crap like that, you'll all be working traffic court for the next five years". Go Jack! Hell yeah!).
Connie felt immensely relieved to be working as an ADA again, as she picked up a file for a case and began doing some research for it on her laptop.
Jack was right—keeping secrets you had to take to your grave was part of the job. So why did she feel so rotten? Why did she feel like she was no better than the numerous sleazebag defense attorneys she'd worked against? It was probably because she'd been "one of the good guys" for so long.
Never again, she thought disdainfully. Dear City of New York—please treat Legal Aid attorneys like human beings, so I never have to represent disgusting people like Frank Dresner ever again. Thanks.
She wished so much that she could tell Jack what Dresner did—Jack wasn't just her boss. He was her mentor. But again, he was right—attorney-client privilege.
Secrets to the grave…
And for some reason, she wanted to tell Mike…
But again—attorney-client privilege. God, that rule was a pain in the ass sometimes…
Mike wasn't just her boss. He was…well, something…Her friend? Her confidante?
Connie had no idea how to define it…But that wasn't the point! The point was, despite whatever she and Mike were to each other, she couldn't tell him what she'd discovered about Frank Dresner.
And that bothered her to no end.
The door to the office was open.
Connie looked up when she heard a knock.
Mike stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame. His tie was undone, and his sleeves were rolled up.
"Hi…" he said softly.
"Hi," Connie said kindly with a smile.
"You're not mad," Mike observed.
His guard was completely down.
"Of course I'm not mad, why would I be?" Connie said warmly.
"Because I got too competitive—yet again," Mike said, sounding guilty, placing his hands in his pockets. "I'm sorry…"
"I got too competitive, too, Mike. I'm sorry, too."
"Damn," Mike said quietly, "this whole thing just…I don't even have the words..."
"Completely sucked?" Connie offered with a small smile.
"Yeah…" said Mike. "This whole ordeal completely sucked. I mean, why you? Why not somebody else? Surely Frank Dresner could've found someone else to represent him? When you Mirandize someone, you say 'If you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed to you', not 'If you can not afford an attorney, one will be taken from the prosecution and forced to represent you'…or 'If you can not afford one, we'll take Mike Cutter's partner and force her to represent you'…"
Flattered that he'd obviously hated not working with her, Connie smiled.
"Trust me, I was thinking those exact same things," she said.
"Really?" Mike asked, pleasantly surprised.
"Of course," Connie said, now hoping she wasn't blushing.
"I…I hated working against you, Connie…and not because you were kicking my ass…I just…I just think we work better together. I'd—I'd rather be your partner than your opponent, than your rival…I mean, I think we make the perfect pair…You know, of—of D.A.'s for the office. We make the perfect pair of D.A.'s for the office…" Mike muttered awkwardly, looking down at the floor.
Connie looked away from him, in case he were to look up and see her blushing at his verbal slip-up.
There came a pause.
"Anyway, I—I really do like working with you," Mike said. "I love working with you…" he amended softly. "I'm surprised I haven't scared you off yet," he said more audibly.
"I don't scare easy."
Mike smiled at her words, and she tried to ignore the fluttery feeling in the pit of her stomach.
"I wonder how long you'll have to be defense council against your will?" he then said, suddenly sounding down again.
"Actually, I will have you know that the Legal Aid strike is over," Connie said with a smile. "So it looks like we're back in action, partner."
Mike smiled again, and Connie willed herself not to blush.
"Connie, would you like to go out for drinks after work? Or to get a bite to eat, maybe?"
Connie found herself thinking that Detective Bernard was perfectly capable of buying his own beer—but she wasn't going to ditch him. It really was important to her to make up for questioning his integrity as a police officer in open court. He really was a good, honest, and honorable cop. But more importantly, he was her friend. She really did feel awful about eviscerating him on the stand. Not trying to make amends was out of the question.
"I would, but I'm actually taking Detective Bernard out for a beer—or however many beers he wants," Connie replied. "I attacked his integrity in open court, and I feel downright terrible about it. I have to make it up to him."
"I understand," said Mike, hoping he didn't sound as disappointed as he felt.
"So…rain check?" Connie suggested.
"Yeah," Mike said, his spirits lifting.
Connie paused for a moment, then said, "God I hated being such a sleazebag. I swear, I made Johnny Cochran look like Jesus."
She looked over at Mike and saw that he was smirking.
"You didn't make Cochran look like Jesus…like Buddha, maybe, but not Jesus," he teased, flirting with her.
"Oh, ha ha," Connie said, fighting back a smile.
Then, a split-second later, unable to help herself, she laughed.
She wasn't sure if she should tell Mike, but she was glad he was the one to make her stop feeling so terrible about having to be the defense council for a murderer.
But then again, perhaps her laugh was a dead giveaway.
And if that was the case, well—she was perfectly all right with it.