by: Highlander II
(written under the name The Sentinel)
Category: apocrypha story challenge
Archive: apocrypha; all others: not w/o my permission
Spoilers: Law & Order through "Aftershock"
Summary: Response to the challenge from apocrypha's Spring 2001 edition.
The challenge: Rewrite some L&O canon.
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Wolf Films and NBC.
Feedback: Highlander II
He looked peaceful and relaxed, more so than he had earlier that day. Asleep on
the leather couch, one arm lazily tossed over his face, he looked comfortable.
She wondered how long he had been asleep. Her pager had gone off the first time
about two hours ago. She had not responded; she had known it was him and could
not bring herself to respond. The second page had come about thirty minutes
after the first. This time she called back and he had said he was on his way
back to the office, on foot, to go over some case files. Almost another hour had
passed before she even left her apartment. She arrived at the building and rode
the usual elevator to the usual floor; sometimes even the most mundane tasks
could take on a less-than-pleasant feel after dark. The hallway lights were dim
as she approached the half-closed door. True to his word, he had returned to the
She watched the shallow rise and fall of his chest as he breathed. He was so
calm. Earlier, he had not been; the execution was pulling at all of them, but he
was the only one who had actually witnessed it. He had requested to go, had
wanted her and Briscoe and Curtis to go to, but his was the only request made.
(that she accompany him, Lennie Briscoe and his partner Rey Curtis too, but they
had all declined with the feeling that putting themselves through something of
this nature would not be wise.) Of course, her decision not to go had spurned an
argument, one that Briscoe, fortunately, was not a part of, though his opinion
might have been helpful. The argument, it had lasted nearly an hour, forced a
rift between them. She was adamant; he was stubborn. She refused to be a witness
to the execution; he felt a pressing need to attend. She had waited though;
waited for him outside, to offer him a ride home. He was still angry and said he
wanted to walk. Walk? All the way back to Manhattan? Her logic finally persuaded
him to accept her offer, but she was forced, reluctantly, to drop him at his
favorite bar. Damn him and his Irish stubbornness! He wanted her to have one
drink with him. She refused, not wanting to watch him drink himself into a
stupor. From the doorway of the office, she could not determine if he was drunk
and had passed out, or if he was just asleep.
"Come on in, Claire," his sleepy voice spoke from beneath his arm.
A little startled, she thought he was asleep, she crossed the plush office.
"I didn't mean to wake you."
Gently, he waved her off; he was not upset about that.
I can go if you want." She indicated the door.
He sat up, swinging his long legs to the floor. "No. Please." He
motioned to the empty side of the couch.
Silently, she slid onto the couch, meeting his unreadable gaze with her own. She
opened her mouth to speak, but a slender finger to her lips stopped her.
"I didn't call you for a ride home. I haven't had anything to drink."
The surprise in her face amused him. "I entered the bar, stood in the
doorway for a long time before I decided to page you. You didn't return my call,
and I almost didn't page you the second time." He looked at her, then
answered the question in her eyes; she seemed a little impatient, "I called
you here to say I'm sorry for not respecting your decision. I guess I just felt
you and Briscoe and Curtis were abandoning me."
Claire shook her head. Her first thought was to ask why he felt the need to
witness the execution, but opted to avoid another argument. "No. Jack, we
weren't abandoning you. We were trying to make you understand, but you're just
so damned stubborn."
"Yeah, I know." He lowered his eyes to the floor.
"Hey. Come on, Jack." She placed a hand on his arm. "We're
friends." She saw him smile. "I saw that, Jack," she prodded,
knowing he would turn and smile at her. Waiting only a second, she was not
disappointed' a flash of white teeth arrived with the turn of his head.
"Thank you," he said.
He took her hand and pulled her back to the couch when she tried to stand.
"Hold on." She looked at him. "Are we okay?"
"Yeah, we're okay, Jack." He was waiting for a kiss, she knew it, but
could not give it, not right now. "Can we go now? I'm tired."
A short nod and he pushed himself from the couch, stretching his tired limbs. He
collected his jacket and briefcase, followed his assistant from the office,
pulling the door closed behind him.