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The Tale of Peter Rabbit
"You wanted to see me Sir?" Whilst Mac wasn't exactly 'nervous' about entering Admiral Chewiggen's office, there certainly seemed to be an increase in the number of last minute trips she was being sent on.
"Seabag packed Mac?"
"Warm or cold climate?"
"Temperate, Sir." 'She was a Marine, damn it, they went anywhere...though somewhere warm and sunny might be nice...'
"Not sure what Kansas is like this time of year...General Hadley is expecting you Colonel..."
"Yes Sir, what's the case?"
"Your childhood ever include Beatrix Potter?" asked Admiral Chewiggen suddenly.
"Beatrix who Sir?"
"Potter, English woman, wrote illustrated stories..."
"Yes Sir..." 'At least he isn't quoting Shakespeare'
"Read Peter Rabbit before you land...Hadley's Mr MacGregor."
"Yes Sir..." 'What the hell Sir?'
"Excuse me?" If the well dressed blonde was surprised that the Marine Colonel sitting next to her had suddenly started naming root vegetables, she concealed it rather well.
"I said that out loud..." observed Mac, taking in the clear blue eyes and black framed glasses.
"Would it help if I said parsnip?" retorted Alex Cabot dryly, impressed that the Colonel didn't seem too phased to be 'caught'.
"Probably not...those weren't being grown in the General's garden..."
"Pardon?" That was it, Alex couldn't sustain her 'professional' self through this conversation any longer.
"Colonel Sarah Mackenzie, JAG Corps...I'm investigating a case for the Marine Corps..." she explained belatedly, in the hope that it might make her seem like a slightly rational human being.
"About root vegetables?"
"So it seems..."
"I see..." Strangely, Alex did see.
"Alex Cabot, ADA for New York City...if it's any consolation, I've had a case involving clown red noses...." she offered, dimly recalling a case she'd 'caught' as a favour for Serena once, years earlier. It had turned out to be a rather unsavoury murder, but had started as a hunt for a thief with a penchant for clown red noses..
"Different..." Smiling, Mac turned her head slightly to look past Alex's body and out of the window, pleased to see it was still blue sky and sunshine high above the clouds.
"You're going to Fort Leavenworth?" guessed Alex, having a sudden urge to make small talk with this interesting brunette.
"How did you guess?"
"Because I couldn't picture them growing carrots at Wichita?" suggested Alex, thinking of the big Air Force base she'd driven past once.
"Good guess....and you?" enquired Mac politely.
"Actually, I'm also going there, at least, I'm going to visit a friend...her husband is based there..." Alex trailed off, unsure how to explain how she knew Jess, and deciding instead to fill the pregnant pause with her reason for travelling, "...she wants some friendly support when she enters her vegetables in the State Fair..."
"Umm, General Hadley's wife?" guessed Mac, suddenly having a horrible feeling.
"You know Jess?"
"She wasn't entering carrots was she?" asked Mac, rapidly shuffling papers in her lap, looking for the brief case notes she'd made so far.
"I'm not sure...wait, you're investigating stolen carrots?"
"But you're a Marine?"
"Bob's Army..." recalled Alex, not knowing much about the military, except that it was probably not normal for the Army to be calling in the Marines to investigate cases....
"Yes..." Mac was at a complete loss as to what to say. Fortunately, Alex was content to fill in the blanks and make life easy for Mac.
"Mr MacGregor wants you to catch Peter Rabbit?" guessed Alex, remembering being amused by the sight of this obviously highly decorated Marine reading 'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' during take-off.
"Yes..." This time, Mac did blush, a blush that only deepened as Alex let out a silvery peal of laughter.
"What makes him think it was a Marine?" asked Alex, when she'd finally regained her composure, although her eyes were still sparkling with mirth.
"Apparently..." Mac found another piece of paper, deciding that she could risk quoting General Hadley to a friend of his wife, "...'No Soldier would have such a low opinion of my potatoes....it must be a Marine to dig in like that...'". To Mac's amazement, the weird quotation only restarted Alex's laughter.
"Alex?" prompted Mac finally, when it was apparent the blonde wasn't going to stop laughing.
"Bob was probably entering his King Edwards....he's won a first prize in six States, and has a reputation...."
"I'm surprised he hasn't blamed the Air Force..." observed Mac, deciding that she could risk enjoying the funny side of this random conversation, at least for a few more minutes. She'd have to keep a straight face on base.
"Oh?" asked Alex, pausing in her laughing.
"Collateral damage is normally their fault....must have been cloudy," quipped Mac, recalling the long running jokes about air strikes and clouds, the observation setting off Alex again. Finally, the blonde had regained her composure, just in time for her ears to pop as they began their descent.
"What's the punishment for root vegetable related crime?"
"Depends on the offence...theft is relatively minor...depends if it's aggravated..." replied Mac automatically.
"Are you going to enter the potatoes into evidence?"
"Should I?" Mac blinked, unable to believe that she was discussing criminal evidence and procedure within the context of root vegetables and with a straight face!
"It will get you on Bob's good side..."
"Understood...." noted Mac, deciding that this case could perhaps become her weirdest yet....assuming there were actually some Marines in the State when the alleged 'assault' happened.
"Oh, and Colonel?"
"Name's Alex...I have a feeling you might need to use it..."
"Friends call me 'Mac'...." explained Mac, giving Alex's proffered hand a friendly shake.
"Mac?" Alex's eyebrows raised in surprise at the nickname, before continuing boldly,
"Who gets to call you Sarah?"
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