(Or, Why Luke and Abbie Broke Up)
Takes place during "Necromancer." My take on the Abbie and Luke situation, trying to give the poor detective a little credit.
Disclaimer: I do not own Sleepy Hollow. This amazing show belongs to Fox Network and to producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The characters belong to the fantastic episode writers and actors Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie. Diet Coke belongs to the Coca Cola Company.
This fic is un-beta'd, so please, if you see any spelling or grammar mistakes, or if has done it's weird scramble and altered format, let me know and I'll go back and fix the mistakes. Thanks!
Ichabod watched Abbie set out the containers which ostensibly contained food, simultaneously glancing at her cellular telephone. (Irritating bloody things with their constant screeching, ubiquitous presence in this time. Everyone seemed to possess one and apparently knew how to use them.) The Lieutenant had been checking her device regularly, rather obsessively, in fact, for the past two hours. The last time she was so distracted and twitchy, it had been the company of Detective Luke Morales, Abbie's former beau. The detective worked not far from here. It was conceivable that Abbie had met him recently. If so, Ichabod wondered if there was an attempt at reconciliation at least on the Detective's part. Morales had not seemed to be happy with the dissolution of the romantic relationship between himself and Lieutenant Mills. (Another strange situation that Ichabod chose to not think much on: courting rituals had changed drastically, and sometimes dealing with them required thinking of the Lieutenant as a man somewhat. That way it would not seem so shocking that her reputation was not damaged by an ended courtship or her current partnership and continued accompaniment of a man not related to her without a chaperone present.)
After the third time Abbie checked her phone, Ichabod was overcome by one of his greatest characteristics: curiosity. He simply had to know, and so he asked, "May I ask you a person a question?"
She quirked an eyebrow at him and nodded. "Sure. I know enough of your history, I guess."
"Indeed," he agreed. "What I wished to know…your relationship with Detective Morales…." How to phrase this? "He is still quite protective of you…."
"You want to know about my relationship with Luke?" Abbie asked. "Didn't we close this subject with my offering to pay you never to bring it up again?"
"I am curious as to why it ended, actually," he clarified. "You seem to no longer be as fond of him as he clearly still is of you. And, as you pointed out, you know more about my personal history than I know of yours."
Abbie rolled her lips together and looked away. Her hunched shoulders and stiff posture made Ichabod wonder if he had been wrong to bring the subject up, but then she exhaled a brief sigh and shrugged. "It's not…Okay, you're right. But in order to answer, you need to know a little backstory."
Ichabod set aside the book he was perusing and leaned forward, a faint smile on his face. "I am all ears."
She pursed her lips, trying not to laugh. "Right." She shook her head. "The thing is, being a cop, I don't exactly have a lot of opportunities to meet guys. I work long, strange hours. I don't really have any female friends who might set me up with someone. And if anyone those idiots I work with tried to get me to go out with?" She shuddered theatrically. "No, thank you. So really, my choices are either other cops or the men we arrest. Not exactly the stuff of girlish fantasy."
"I imagine not."
Abbie reached for the plastic-wrapped utensils and passed him a packet of knife, fork, and spoon, accompanied by a thin, disposable napkin and little paper pouches of salt and black pepper—to him, luxury; to her, the most basic of amenities.
"The thing with Luke started around last Christmas, I guess," she continued. "We'd been friends, co-workers, for a while. I first noticed it at the holiday party, when he started flirting. At first, I figured he was just giving me a hard time because I'm a woman and I'd just make Lieutenant, and that intimidates some men, so they feel like they need to tear her down, put her back where she belongs, at least in their little minds."
As she passed him the Styrofoam box with his deli sandwich and handful of potato chips, Abbie was relieved and pleased to see a pinched-brow expression of disapproval on Crane's face. Not in her for aspiring to a higher rank, but in the men who couldn't handle the fact that a woman out-ranked them. Sometime an ally makes all the difference.
"But Luke wasn't like that. He didn't lose interest. He kept on flirting, and he was respectful about it. On Valentine's Day, he asked me out. I wasn't on duty, and I didn't have any plans, so I said yes." She pulled open her utensils with the squeak of parting cellophane in order to get at the fork to use with her side of coleslaw. "And then he asked me out the next week, and the next. We dated for about four months, when our schedules at the station allowed it—because again, crazy hours, for him and me."
"And after four months, he did not propose marriage?" Ichabod asked as he doubtfully opened his to-go dinner, while Abbie lifted the first bite of her turkey club into her mouth. "Is that why you broke off your affair with him?"
Abbie choked, trying to swallow and speak at the same time. After managing the first, she said, shaking her head, "God no! No, we didn't date long enough for us to even talk about marriage."
He raised his own Reuben sandwich to his mouth, eyeing it dubiously. "Four months courtship was not enough time to propose marriage? It is the length of a London season, and many couples became betrothed after a season in one another's company."
"In your day, maybe," Abbie said. "These days, Crane, most people date—court—for about a year before they even think about getting engaged."
Ichabod took a moment to finish chewing his first, tentative bite of the Reuben. "So long? And here I've heard several women lament that romance is dead."
Abbie shrugged. "Doesn't have much to do with romance, I'm afraid. When you've got the potential to live well into our eighties, if not over a hundred, you really want to make sure the person you marry is someone you can put up with for another fifty to seventy years." Then, muttering, added, "And even then the success rate is only fifty-fifty."
Crane obviously either didn't hear her, or was simply stuck, because he spluttered, "One hundred!? Years? People live so long now?"
Abbie smiled, snagging one of his potato chips and popping it into her mouth.
"Not everyone does," she admitted. "It's still pretty rare, but yeah. A hundred years or older. I think the record is about a hundred and ten, but don't quote me."
"Heavens," he breathed. "I can see why you deliberate so long upon your spouse now. When the likelihood of a woman dying in childbirth is high, and even if both husband and wife have good fortune and good health, living into one sixties used to be quite elderly, there was little time to waste in courting."
"Marry in haste, repent in leisure," Abbie quoted from somewhere or other.
"Perhaps, in some cases," Ichabod conceded. Then he seemed to recall that he had asked a personal question and she had once again managed to side-step. "However, we have wandered off topic. You and Detective Morales had been 'dating' for a few months?"
She scrunched her nose at him in mock-annoyance, her mouth full of coleslaw. Abbie then rolled her eyes, signaling him she needed a minute to finish chewing. Once she swallowed and took a drink, she continued.
"So it was June, and Luke and I were already having some problems, although he either didn't notice or chooses not to remember." She shook her head, fending off the question she could see on her partner's face. "Nothing big. Just stupid stuff—he had this idea of a girlfriend in his head, and she might have looked like me, but she definitely was—not—me. And I found myself just letting him have his way to shut him up when he started that wheedling, cajoling, almost whining thing he does. Which made me madder, honestly, and didn't solve anything.
"Then in June, Luke invited me to go with him to some big family party with him: not just his immediate family, I'm talking aunts, uncles, cousins, cousins' spouses and children. There had to be at least thirty people there. For someone who only has one relative to her name…." Abbie shook her head, laughing. "It was sensory over-load. But almost everyone was really nice and welcoming. And we didn't stick out, being a bi-racial couple. Hell, his mom is white and his dad's family is Puerto Rican. One of Luke's sisters is dating a guy from Japan, and I think a cousin was married to black guy, so that wasn't an issue. It was…I'd never been around that kind of thing before. A whole crowd of people, all related to one another, all loving each other, even the crazy ones. And I was so tempted, you know? It was everything I'd wanted since my dad left us."
Ichabod watched her gaze turn inward, back in time. He watched the sadness well up in her eyes like a malignant spring, the terrible, bitter water of disappointment permeating her features. And, since he truly loathed seeing her in pain, interjected, "I sense a 'however' coming."
Abbie jumped a little, coming back to herself and pushing her emotions back with the speed of long practice. She smiled a little in thanks. "Yeah, there's a 'however.' Two 'howevers,' actually. The first one was Luke's grandmother. Whenever I looked at her, she was giving me the stink-eye. At first, I just shrugged it off, tried to ignore it. She's old, maybe she was having some arthritis pain. Or we were outside, so maybe the sun was in her eyes. Whatever. But I've had people give me that look since I entered the foster care system, so I know when someone is thinking bad things about me. So I went over to her—real polite, because it was Luke's grandmother, and I did not want to open up the can of worms that would be insulting his abuela—and I asked her if something was wrong. Did I say something she thought was disrespectful? Was my shirt too low cut for her taste?"
She shook her head, her smile turning self-deprecating.
"That old woman looked me right in the eye, and she said, 'You bring the devil with you, girl. You bring him with you wherever you go. I don't want you bringing him near my nieto.'"
Both of Crane's brows rose above eyes gleaming with interest.
"She knew?" he asked. "She could sense that you had seen something supernatural?"
"I don't know for sure. Maybe. But Luke saw my face when she said it and he came over to ask what was wrong, and that was when the two 'howevers' hit me. One," she ticked it off on her fingers, "not only could I not tell him what his grandmother had said, I couldn't tell him about what happened in the woods that day. He would never believe it. He would have thought I was crazy, and how could I be in a serious relationship with someone, one that might mean getting married someday, if I had to keep that from him?"
"If you did not trust him," Ichabod inferred.
It was one of those moments Abbie hated: Crane had just hit the bulls-eye without even trying. It always took her a moment to recover, regain her equilibrium. This time, she used her sandwich as a shield and took a big bite to give herself time to rebuild the walls that let her cope with the terror and grief.
Ichabod let her have her moment, taking an experimental bite of a potato chip. After they had both chewed, he asked, "And what was the second 'however?'"
Abbie took a drink of her Diet Coke and cleared her throat. "The second one was realizing that, if I stayed with Luke, it wouldn't be for Luke. It would be so that I could belong to his family. That wasn't fair to him, and it wasn't fair to me because I deserve more than that, damnit. That's why, when I got my acceptance into the FBI training program, I jumped at it. It was exactly the fight Luke and I needed to break up. He couldn't accept that there was something out there that meant more to me than he did, that my priorities didn't necessarily mean marrying him and starting to have kids right away. And I refused to give up on something I'd worked my ass off to achieve."
She set her club sandwich back in the go-box and leaned forward. "Do yu know how many recruits under thirty they take? How many without military training? How many women?" She shook her head. "There was no way in hell I was giving up my acceptance into Quantico."
"And yet you did give it up," he pointed out.
"Yeah," Abbie snorted, sitting back in her chair and reaching for her turkey club. "For the headless embodiment of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and to save the world from the End of Days."
"And for me."
Abbie raised an eyebrow. "Don't flatter yourself."
Ichabod smirked. "I meant, to Detective Morales, it could appear that way. You would not give up your dream of becoming a federal agent for him, someone you had known for several years and had been romantically involved with. But then a stranger arrives, is suspected of murdering your mentor, who certainly sounds insane, and has a questionable past. And then you not only decline your much-prized acceptance into the Quantico training program, but take said stranger" he indicated himself with a wave of his hand, "as your new police partner and begin to act like his best chum. I can see why is so hostile toward me. I am simply better than him at everything."
His smirk turned teasing in that way that made Abbie want to both laugh and strangle him. She rolled her lips together to keep from encouraging him in any way, but she was pretty sure, by the crinkles by his eyes, that she didn't fool him in the least. Still, appearances had to be maintained.
"You know, you might want to have a doctor look at that. If your ego gets any bigger, you might need to get it removed."
He responded with a flash of teeth and a self-satisfied bite of his sandwich, making Abbie shake her head.
"Come on, chum. These books aren't going to read themselves, and we've got miles to go before the sun sets."
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