Valentine's Day 1990
University of Texas
Abbie sat on her twin bed in her dorm, crying hysterically. All her friends were out on dates that Valentine's Day; she hadn't wanted to be near another boy since the rape. She kept recalling the look of pure hatred in his eyes. She kept remembering the words he had whispered to her, not words of encouragement and love, but words of hatred and violence. It was those words that had made her feel worthless. She had wanted to do this ever since that incident occurred, but hadn't had the strength to even dare try it, until now. A gun or knife would be impossible to use; besides, it might not work. She had considered jumping, but thought of what that would do to her looks. Her mother had always insisted on having a perfect daughter. Maybe if Mom hadn't pushed so hard, Abbie could have told her family what had happened. As it was, she couldn't tell anyone. She had finally decided on pills, which were lying in her hand at that moment. Little tiny, blue pills, that would take her pain away and ease her suffering. Life had been perfect until the night it happened. Now it was endless pain and agony. She had no one, not even her parents, to turn to. An angel appeared in the room. He was tall, with dark brown eyes, and gray hair. He was the most handsome man Abbie had ever seen.
"Why are you doing this?" the angel asked.
"I want to die, it hurts so much, there's no one I can talk to about it."
"Abbie, I can't imagine how great the pain must be now, but you have to keep living. God has a plan for your life; He doesn't want you to end it now. You can talk to Him. He will ease your pain if you let him. I promise you, there is a reason He wants you to live."
Valentine's Day 1996
New York City bar
Jack McCoy sat looking into his scotch. He had lost count on his fifth shot and was drinking to forget the pain of the day. He wanted to forget that at that time, one year ago, Claire Kincaid had been alive. God, how he still missed her. It ached every time he looked at their daughter, every time he saw Jamie Ross in her office, and especially on nights like tonight, when he was lonely and melancholy. Everyone at the two-seven and 1 Hogan Place had plans for that night, from Anita Van Buren to Lennie Briscoe to Adam and Rachel. He was alone, with no one to even share his pain with. Maybe if he had encouraged her to quit before the execution, instead of being so damn selfish, she would still be alive. He should have died, not her. Claire was never supposed to have died. Maybe he could remedy the situation. He caught a cab home and took out his dad's old service revolver. Jack laughed at the irony of the situation, using his dad's gun to do this, but he pointed it at his head. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, an angel appeared in the corner of the room. She was tall, with long, brown hair, soft chocolate eyes, and was so pretty.
"Why are you doing this, Jack?" the angel asked.
"I should've died instead of her, it's my fault she's dead. I want to be with her, I'm tired of being alone."
"Jack, you won't always be alone. God has a plan for your life, He wants you to live to fulfill it."
"Okay, wait. One, I don't believe that much in God anymore. Two, why can't someone else do it? Jamie Ross can do it, she's a new hotshot prosecutor."
"Jack, God believes in you. Jamie can't do it, Meggie can't do it, even Adam can't do it. Only you, John James McCoy, can fulfill this plan."
Jack shook his head and put down the gun as the angel disappeared.
Valentine's Day 1999
1 Hogan Place
Abbie and Jack stood up from where they had been working on cases and Abbie smiled at him.
"Jack, do you mind coming over? I'm not really in the mood to be alone tonight."
He smiled at her, liking the fact that she could and would usually tell him anything and everything she was thinking. She had been moody that day, but so had he. Valentine's Day was always so hard on him since Claire's death. He liked spending time with Abbie, talking about cases, Meggie, her home in Texas, even Claire at times. Sometimes, they didn't talk at all, just listened to the silence, each knowing that the other was there if they needed a friend to lean on. Sometimes, Jack thought about what it would be like to be involved with Abbie. He had never thought that about anyone since Claire's death. People always assumed because of his affairs with some of his assistants, that he slept with all of them, but there were a lot more he stayed away from. Abbie was different, she had a spark, a fire inside her. At the same time, Jack knew that there was a lot of things wrong in Abbie's life. She wasn't the perfect, stubborn, prosecutor with a heart of steel that most people thought she was. There was a softer side to her, but she pushed most people, especially most men, away before they got a chance to see it.
He smiled. "No, I don't mind. It would be kinda nice, I don't really feel like being alone either."
"Just let me have time to get home and get changed, I'll see you in fifteen."
"Deal," he smiled again as they walked to the elevator together.
Adam, hiding and watching from his window, smiled at his two prosecutors. He liked them both, liked the way Abbie brought some life to the office, to Jack. Adam had never seen anyone fight with Jack like Abbie did, except the old man himself.
"So...I figured you would have had a date tonight. You don't go out much." Jack stated, matter of fact.
"And you do?" Abbie smiled.
"Well, I just...I..."
"How'd you know?"
"Psychic." She smiled again.
"What about you? You didn't say anything."
"It's just hard. You, Briscoe, Adam, y'all are all different, I don't feel trapped with you, but most men..."
"Sorry, shoulda known."
"It's okay. It's nice having guy friends again, especially ones I can trust. Not that Adam's a friend exactly, but he's pretty close, and you and Lennie are nice. I liked Mike, you remember, the guy Lennie, you, and I ate lunch with the other day?"
"My future son-in-law?" Jack scrunched up his nose.
"Jack, would you think I was crazy if I told you something?"
"Abbie, I promise, I won't think you're crazy."
She looked at him for a moment and then began to tell him about the rape, the suicide attempt, and the angel. Jack just sat there stunned. "I've been trying to figure out for nine years what that angel meant. At first, I thought if I prosecuted enough bad guys, that maybe my bad guy wouldn't be hiding around every corner and I would be fullfilling 'the plan' that way, but I've been thinking about that angel and I know that it might sound crazy, but he looked so much like you."
"Abbie, you're not crazy. Or if you are, I've got the same mental defect. After Claire...after she died, I went through about the same thing. I knew that it wasn't work, my first thoughts were that Adam or Jamie could handle it, the angel told me that they couldn't. I just could never figure out what was going on. I never told anyone, they would have thought it was just stress or missing Claire or something, but... You wanna hear something even more strange than this? My angel looked just like you."
"So what do you think we need to do?" Abbie asked, wiping the tears slowly falling from her eyes.
Jack leaned over and kissed her, first slowly and easily, then moved over closer to her as she switched off the light.