FANDOM: JAG/L&O (Mac/Abbie Carmichael)
CHALLENGE: Texas, pickles (sazmojo) and ten gallon hat (darandkerry)
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, no profit, just fun....
AUTHOR'S NOTES: kimly commented before Christmas that she thought Mac needed to go travelling...not sure how long I (or Mac come to that) can sustain this rate of adventure though....
"Thank you, no," smiled Lieutenant Colonel Sarah 'Mac' Mackenzie for the third (but it felt like the thirtieth) time, hoping that her smile still looked polite and not insincere.
"You can't stand pickles either huh?" questioned a new voice, a warm, laughing female voice that, Mac decided, had it's Texan accent softened by some East Coast accents.
"They're not my first choice at a barbeque..." admitted Mac honestly, smiling at the brunette who was now talking to her, a smile that was as genuine as it looked, which only served to show up her earlier efforts as fakes.
"You prefer the animal dead and the fries crispy?" joked Abbie Carmichael, taking a swig from her third beer and, in the process, noticing her companion's glass was empty.
"Something like that..." agreed Mac, not sure what else to say, so filling the silence with a large bite of dead animal (an excellent steak) and some crispy fries.
"Beer?" offered Abbie suddenly, having finished her own and feeling the need to be a hostess, despite it not being her party. Also, in her experience, the party was generally at its best between beers three and five. The moment should not be wasted, especially with the company….
"I'm good..." dismissed Mac, hoping that this woman wouldn't press her.
"Sorry, I meant tonic, that is what you're drinking, right? Beer is more of a euphemism for something cold and wet..." explained Abbie, cursing herself for the stupid question and then the nervous long winded explanation. The woman was in uniform for god's sake, and drinking from a glass, not a bottle - she was probably on duty....
"Yes, tonic, and another would be great, but I'll come with you..." decided Mac spontaneously, spotting another 'pickle boy' as she'd taken to calling the eager young men who were all attempting to offer her something - it was an unfortunate side effect of the uniform, getting inane questions from gun keen teenagers....
"Matt and Danny bugging you?" guessed Abbie, noticing where Mac's gaze had gone, glad of the distraction from her inner monologue about how great women in uniform were which was only serving to make her nervous. If Jack McCoy ever learnt how nervous and tongue-tied Abbie Carmichael could become when confronted with a woman she was intrigued by…it was hard to decide which revelation would bug him more, that she could get tongue-tied or that she liked women…..
"Are they the boys with the pickles?"
"Yes...and mad keen on the military since their dad bought them their first air gun..." explained Abbie, shaking her head towards the boys.
"You know the family?" asked Mac, intrigued.
"Dick Wolson's a friend of my father's. When I was at university in Austin, we'd sometimes come out here to visit...I knew those boys when they were in kindergarten..."
"Let me guess, you were ordered from Kingsville?" asked Abbie, taking the opportunity to rake her gaze over the trim Marine who was standing in the Wolsons' back garden looking completely at ease in her uniform but completely ill-at-ease with the occasion.
"How did you guess?" asked Mac, pouring herself another tonic water from the bottle on the table.
"Dick's parties are famed in Kingsville, and the Base Commander often comes....but doesn't normally bring a Marine...." Abbie left her question open, wondering if this Officer would ignore the opening or pick up the bait. At least she’d managed to be concise…
"I'm the Base JAG - I've been temporarily assigned to Kingsville from D.C." explained Mac succinctly.
"Judge Advocate General...."
"Abbie Carmichael, Assistant District Attorney for the City of New York..." Abbie accompanied her introduction with a proffered hand.
"Lieutenant Colonel Sarah Mackenzie, Chief of Staff to the JAG..." replied Mac, shaking her hand.
"Currently assigned to Kingsville..."
"Temporarily assigned..." corrected Mac gently, sipping her tonic.
"There's a difference?" asked Abbie, noting the firmness of tone despite the gentleness.
"My posting is to the JAG in D.C. I'm covering at Kingsville for a few days until the new Base JAG arrives..."
"How long have you been here?"
"Ten days...and here for another four..."
"Makes you appreciate D.C. summers, doesn't it?" joked Abbie, taking a long swig from her new beer, a swig, Mac noticed, which looked far more thirst quenching than it actually was, with the level of liquid in the bottle barely changing after the swig.
"I'm just glad I had time to pack my summer uniforms before I left..." mused Mac, shuddering at the thought of having to have arrived in Texas in her D.C. 'uniform of the day' which was still currently winter, or, in Navy terms, 'blues' not 'whites'.
"But no ten gallon hats..." mused Abbie, finally placing what was sticking out the most about the Marine.
"That's what's odd about you..." continued Abbie, forgetting her social graces as she pondered the point.
"What?" Startled, Mac found herself rooted to the spot as she tried to unravel the insult this intriguing New York Prosecutor was lobbing at her.
"Your hat...." Self conscious, Mac reached up to check her cap, which was resting in the correct place on her head, as she'd expect it to be. Whilst many outside of the military struggled the first time they tried one on to get the cap to stay in position without feeling awkward, for the experienced Colonel, it was second nature, increasing her surprise at having it commented on.
"Cap..." corrected Mac automatically, satisfied with its placement.
"Isn't a ten gallon..." Acting out of what many would regard her character to be now, when actually she was merely returning to the relaxed, slightly teasing attitudes she’d always had when at the Wolson's parties, Abbie plucked her own hat from her head and carefully dropped it onto Mac's head, resting it over the Marine Cap.
"There...now you're not the only one not wearing one..." declared Abbie triumphantly, only for her more normal rationalness to kick in, "...I've not got you in trouble have I?" she asked suddenly, confusing Mac who was deciding to ignore the new hat, preferring instead to 'go with the flow' as the Navy liked to...
"Some sort of uniform infraction?"
"Oh...technically...I am wearing my cap under the hat..." mused Mac, her eyes sparkling with amusement at the sudden change of nerve from the Texan, "...but since I'm the only Marine Officer here..."
"You're not in trouble?"
"Not unless I write myself up on a charge, no..." confirmed Mac, nevertheless removing the hat from her own head, and placing it back on Abbie's head.
"You don't want it?"
"You were the only one here not wearing one..." teased Mac, drinking some more of her tonic water.
"And now you're the odd one out...."
"I think the Marine Greens ensure that happens..." observed Mac reasonably, wondering if the Texan knew she was flirting.
"They're not so easy to swap..." concluded Abbie thoughtfully, making Mac totally certain the Texan knew she was flirting.
"No...at least..." Mac paused whilst she adjusted Abbie's hat, "...not in public..." before putting down her tonic and heading back towards the barbeque in search of more food, leaving Abbie Carmichael experiencing a new sensation...speechlessness!