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WEBSITE: http://www.asstr.org/~John_OConnor/

By John O'Connor

"Okay, Jack, that's all I can give you." Doctor Elizabeth Olivet picked up her overcoat, grabbed her briefcase and headed for the door.

Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy stood up behind his desk, "Thanks Liz. Of course I'll let you know when we need you on the stand." He fingered the written version of the report she had just given him. "May even get her to plead."

"That'd be nice. Save us poor taxpayers some money."

"Wanna grab a bite?"

"Sorry Jack. Prior engagement."

"Story of my life," McCoy chuckled. "Give her my love."

"Will do."

With that, Elizabeth Olivet left the DA's office and headed for the nearest subway.

An hour later, she let herself into her modest apartment on the Upper West Side. As she looked through the mail, she called out, "I'm home!"

"Hello, Doctor. How was your day?" Sandra Jenkins asked.

"Passable. How was she today?"

"Kinda down. I tried to distract her but..."

"Yeah, I know. Thanks Sandy."

"Unless you need me..." Sandy said as she picked her coat off the coat rack.

"No. Thank you," Liz said.

The day nurse nodded and said, "Good night, Doctor."

"G'night," Elizabeth replied offhandedly. Her thoughts were already down the hall. Her body soon followed.

"Hey! How're you?" she asked brightly.

"Hi," came Clair Kincaid's half-hearted reply.

"I hear you had a bad day, sweetie. Wanna tell me about it?"

Clair lay in the bed listlessly. A drunk driver several years before had put her in a coma. She fought her way out of the coma to discover she was completely paralyzed from the waist down and suffered partial paralysis from her neck down. Further surgery and follow-up therapy helped her regain near full motor control of her upper body as well as some feeling below her waist.

She was a fighter though. She had a fire in her belly that wouldn't let her give up...on anything. It was part of what made her one of the best assistant district attorneys in New York. And Elizabeth's presence at her bedside and through her therapy made her new fight worthwhile.

But there were just some days when it seemed like there was no point to fighting. To constantly struggle to perform even the simplest tasks. To let the fire die out.

Today was one of those days.

"Oka-ay," Elizabeth said. She sat on the edge of the bed and took Clair's hand in hers, "I'll bore you with my day. How's that?" Getting no reply other than a soft squeeze on her hand, Liz proceeded to tell Clair about the case she was assisting on.

"So, Jack is going to try to get this girl to plead. I agree with him that this case will be hard to prove to a jury. A girl who swears the man she killed was a vampire. And with a stake no less."

Clair has started to perk up as Liz talked. She even struggled to sit up a little more with Liz's help. "So, this Buffy wannabe... Is she nuts? Or is she very clever?"

"Personally, I think the latter. The problem is proving it to a jury."

"I've seen Jack pull bigger rabbits out of his hat," Clair stated.

"And we've seen him lose too," Liz countered. "Hey! What do you want for dinner? I could whip something up or we could order Chinese?"

"I'm not hungry," Clair looked at the wall.

Liz reached over and stroked her dark hair, "Clair, honey, I know this is a bad time for you but we'll get through this. We always do."

"Wanna get up for a while?" She pulled Clair's wheelchair over by the bed.

"I guess. And I'd rather have Thai."

Liz smiled. That was more like it.

It took a few moments but soon Clair was seated in her custom wheelchair. She glanced over as if to ensure the absence of the colostomy bag. But the fact that she could hardly even go to the bathroom by herself was often the most irritating and painful reminder of all she had lost.

She rolled herself after Liz into the living room. Parking herself next to Liz's recliner, she listened as Liz ordered delivery. With small nods, she agreed to most of Liz's order.

Hanging up, the psychiatrist said, "Lee said at least an hour. Must be a busy night." Clair nodded. "So what do you want to watch? Movies? TV?"

Smiling slyly, Clair replied, "'Buffy' is on..."

With a laughing groan, Liz turned on the big screen TV and settled down next to Clair. Taking the younger woman's hand, she held it gently. She glanced over and was rewarded with a small smile.

As the show progressed, Clair said, "I kinda lost interest in this series at this point."

"What? The college shows? I think that's when the show got interesting. Willow coming out of the closet, Buffy growing into quite the young lady..."

"Trying to get me jealous?" Clair joked.

Liz chuckled. "No, what I hated was the secret government operation. And Riley is such a weinie. Buffy should've kept Cordelia around."

"Aw, Riley's not so bad."

"Yeah, well, potatoes/potahtoes..."

They sat in silence for a while as the action unfolded on the big screen television. As 'Buffy' ended, the channel was changed and they found themselves watching 'Stargate SG-1' on SciFi.

"That doctor? The cute brunette? Reminds me of one of my therapists."

"Yeah, I thought you said all your therapists were nasty...you know..." Liz laughed.

Clair laughed, delighting Liz, "I said they were nasty fucks."

The younger woman chuckled again when Liz blushed at her language. Then she added, "Well, she was relentless but she was cute too."

"Now, who's tryin' to get who jealous?"

Before Clair could answer, the doorbell rang and they settled down to eat. They shared orders of chicken satay, pad thai, ginger chicken and spring rolls. And, as usual, there would be enough leftover for Liz to take some to work for her lunch the next day.

"You know," Liz said around a mouthful of noodles, pointing at the TV. "I kinda like that blonde."

Clair shook her head, "Not me. Don't get me wrong, she's very cute but I've always preferred brunettes."

Liz looked at her love, set down her chopsticks and held the woman's hand gently. "I love you."

"I love you too."

After they finished, Liz took the remainder into the kitchen after asking the usual, "Sure you're done?"

As she put the leftovers into small containers, she considered what to do with her woman. It was past time they discussed the future.

"Hey, can we talk?"

Clair looked over at Liz quickly as she stepped into the living room, "I don't like the sound of that." Liz looked puzzled. "That's what I told Jen the night we broke up, just before the Bar Exam."

Liz looked surprised. "Oh! I didn't realize... I don't mean that..."

Clair smiled gently, "You know, for such a brilliant head-doctor, you can be so...easily rattled.

"What did you want to talk about?"

Sitting in thought for a moment, Liz realized that she often was treading on eggshells when it came to dealing with Clair. Maybe that was part of the problem with the younger woman's bouts of depression. Maybe she was just afraid to do her job when it came to the woman she loved.

"I'm worried about you. You...seem to get depressed more easily lately. I know it's close to the anniversary of your...accident but..."

"Liz, if you're worried about me doing something stupid, don't."

"No, it's not that. I just think that... Well, you sitting here day after day with no one but that stupid box and Sandy to keep you company...it's not good. And Sandy's only here for part of the afternoon two days a week now."

Clair held her hands clasped in her lap as she stared at the muted television, "So? What can we do? You have a magic wand or pixie dust that'll help me walk again?"

Liz heard the bitterness in the other's voice. She wasn't going to be distracted by that. But maybe she could use it. "No. Don't be stupid."

The look on Clair's face cut right into Liz's heart but she went on this time. "I'm sorry. I know you're not stupid but when you get this way..."

"What way?" Clair's voice was angry.

"Lying around in bed all day feeling sorry for yourself. It's not good for you. Or me. I..."

"Well? What else can I do?"

"Be a lawyer. There's no law that says you can't perform your job from a wheelchair."

"No! No way in hell!"

"Why not?"

"Look at me. Look at how everyone treats me now. It'll be the same in court. Probably worse."

"What do you... Oh! But if you're good enough, that shouldn't matter."

"It does. It'll always color any decision I could win. I'll never be sure if I won a case on the merits of my arguments or if the judge and jury just felt sorry for the crip in the chair."

"What about doing something that doesn't involve court appearances?"

"Liz, I love the law. I loved being in court. Especially before I met you, it was usually the sole reason I got up in the morning. What else could I do?"

Liz felt a pang of pity mixed with anger at the self-pity she heard in Clair's voice. Her reaction showed in the tone of her response. "There's research... teaching..."

"Research? Then I'd be back to clerking again... I don't want to be a law clerk again."

"And teaching? What's wrong with that?"

"Where? No one has offered me anything."


Clair froze, her face showed her shock and surprise. Liz never swore.

"Wh...what do you mean?"

"I mean, who takes the trash to the garbage chute? I saw the letter from Columbia. And it wasn't some alumni form letter begging for money."

"That was last term... I wasn't ready."

Liz sat forward. "Not then. Are you ready now?"

"I...I don't know. I don't think so."

"Clair, honey, you can't sit around here wallowing in self-pity. It's not healthy. And it's not you. It's not the woman I fell head over heels for."

"Liz, I can't... I'm...I'm scared..." Clair's voice was almost that of a frightened child.

"I know hon. I am too. But I'm more scared of losing you to these depressions. One day you won't come back and the only way out will be..." Liz shook her head violently, "No! I will not let that happen! Not to you!"

She turned to Clair, her eyes awash in tears, "I'm at fault here. I enabled you to sit and do nothing for too long. I was afraid to push you. I was afraid you'd... I screwed up. I forgot the most important aspect of loving someone. I can't coddle you any longer. Not without risking losing you. And I don't want to lose you. Ever."

Tears were flowing down her cheeks now. She chanced a look at Clair, expecting to see anger or resentment. The other woman's tears were the last thing she expected.

Liz dropped to her knees next to Clair's chair and held the smaller woman tightly. "I love you. I want you to be here for a long time."

"I...I love you t...too," Clair sobbed. "I'm so...I'm so sorry that I put you..."

Liz shook her head, "You didn't do anything. I did."

"No. I just sat here feeling sorry for myself..."

Any further words were stifled as Liz kissed Clair. A soft, tender, loving kiss.

Their lips lingered together until Clair prodded Liz' with her tongue. The kiss deepened.

With a wicked gleam in her eye, Clair purred into Liz' ear, "Take me to bed, Doctor. I need some of your special treatment."

"Are you sure?" Liz asked, looking into her love's eyes.

"Yes." A simple word but the depth of feeling Clair infused it with caused Liz' heart to leap in her chest.

Ignoring the chair, Liz scooped up the younger brunette in her arms and carried her into their bedroom, sharing kisses along the way.

Clair was able to easily remove her top but waited for Liz to help with her pants and undies. In her haste to get to her woman, Liz practically tore her designer blouse.

In moments, the two were wrapped in a passionate embrace, their mouths feasting on the other tasting Thai food mixed with each other's woman.

Soon, Liz worked her way down Clair's body and was rewarded with the attorney's cries of passion-filled climax.

Late into the night, they lay together whispering to each other as they cuddled and caressed. Liz loved the feel of Clair's naked flesh against hers and made a point to savor every moment when they did make love.

"So...you gonna think about it?"

Jill glared at her lover in the dark. "Columbia?" she whispered angrily.

Liz almost dropped the subject but pressed on. "Yes. You are a great orator. You could do a marvelous job in a classroom. And you have the real world experience to back up your lessons."

Clair didn't say anything, just lay there in Liz's arms. 'At least she's not pulling away,' Liz thought.

Time to try a different tack. "You know, it'd be a shame to deprive all those kids of your knowledge and experience. Who knows? You might be what they need to avoid being the sleazeball lawyers everyone jokes about."

Clair still said nothing and Liz thought for a moment. Then she said, "And those cute, little coeds... Ooo, I'll bet they'll be all over a sweet young thing like you..."

Clair had to laugh at that. "Coeds? You're crazy!?!"

Liz nodded, "Yeah, crazy nuts about you..."

She leaned into Clair and they shared a long, loving kiss. Neither one tasted Thai anymore, just the woman each loved.

Liz knocked on the bathroom door, "Hey, someone else might wanna use that room too!"

"Just a minute," came through the door.

Finally, after another couple of minutes, the door opened and Clair wheeled herself out. She was wearing a navy pantsuit with a light blue blouse. Her makeup was minimal but tastefully and masterfully applied. Her dark hair was perfect and gleamed in the morning light.

Liz paused, speechless.

"How do I look? Is something wrong?" Clair asked quickly, the worry evident in her voice.

Liz shook her head, "No. Nothing's wrong at all. You look...amazing."


Liz nodded, "Yeah. You look like the woman who turned my head in that courtroom five years ago. If it weren't for... I'd have you in bed so fast..."

Clair laughed, it was getting easier to laugh every day now. "Well, we'll just have to see how those coeds react..."

Liz laughed, "Okay, let's get you to school..."

After today, Liz would just drop Clair off in front of the law school but today was special. She had made sure her calendar was clear so she could spend the day in her woman's classroom.

Clair had insisted she didn't need the moral support but, after all these years, Liz knew she did want it and Liz was happy to help.

She sat in the back where Clair could see her if she needed to. Clair wheeled herself in a few moments after the last student sat down in the lecture hall.

With a quick look up at Liz, who blew her a kiss with a wave, Clair said, "Hello class. My name is Clair Kincaid. For several years I was an assistant district attorney here in Manhattan..."

Liz sat back, happy to see her love with that missing fire in her belly. This was the woman she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. A long happy life.

And she was going to do just that.

The End

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