Just how did Jack and Claire meet for the first time?



The Beginning
By Clare Bautista


October 1993 - afternoon

Jack McCoy hung up the phone. He sighed irritably. Why Diana Hawthorne couldn't get over him, he had no clue. Whether or not she was doing this out of spite because or because she still loved him, he didn't care. They were over, he wished she could get that through her head.
Just then his phone buzzed again. He picked it up. "McCoy."
He listened for a moment and then, "Hello, Sally." Inwardly, he groaned. 'Great, another ex!' Out loud he said, "What can I do for you, Counselor?"
Thankfully however, Sally Bell, was all business. He just hoped that, with how the day was going, his next call wouldn't be from his ex-wife. He had a hard time concentrating on what Sally was saying. Something about the Parker case which he had been prosecuting.
"Deal? You want to plea?" Jack said incredulously over the phone. "The man followed her home and then murdered her in cold blood and you want a deal? I don't think so, Sally. Just tell your client to be thankful that there's no death penalty in the state of New York."
He paused, listening to Sally argue with him. He sighed. "Sally, no deal. This is a slam-dunk. There's absolutely no chance of acquittal here. See you in court." And before Sally could reply again, he hung up.
He looked at the clock. Almost 1 P.M. Lunch time. He should have lunch. He had a motion hearing with Judge Newfield at 2:00 P.M. for another case. The way this case was going and the fact that it was Arthur Gold defending the scumbag, he knew he had to. He was going to need all his energy. Knowing Arthur Gold, he was going to cite every case in Westlaw and all other cases not even used yet, to get his client not to give a DNA sample and get all the evidence that the police had found thrown out.
He grabbed his jacket and prepared to leave. But as soon as he had done so, his phone buzzed again. He groaned audibly and picked up the phone in momentary defeat.




"You called for me?" Claire Kincaid inquired as she entered Ben Stone's office.
"Yes, Ms. Kincaid." Ben replied, and he gestured for her to have a seat.
Claire sat down and then looked at him inquiringly. Ben looked at her for a moment and then chuckled softly. "Don't look so worried, Claire. I just wanted to ask you how things are going for you in this office?"
Claire remained puzzled as she replied, "Fine. Thank you for asking. There is a lot of work. And it is challenging, but that's exactly what I'm here for."
"Good. I wanted to make sure. I want all my assistants to be up to speed."
Claire nodded. "I am."
Ben smiled and said, "Well, I believe you have an arraignment to prepare for..."




Claire sighed as she waited for the elevator. She was tired. But it was a nice kind of tired. Once again, another criminal had been caught by New York's finest. She had just come from the 2-7 where a suspect in the murder of a deli owner had just been brought in and arrested. She would have some other good news to report to Ben Stone aside from the one that she already had - that Schreiber had remanded Vasquez to Riker's pending trial.
The elevator finally came and she got on it. The doors were closing when she heard a voice say loudly from the outside, "Hold the elevator please, hold it!"
Claire quickly pushed the open doors button as an arm snaked in between the closing doors. The doors stopped closing and the man was able to get in. He looked at Claire and said, "Thank you."
Claire just smiled and nodded her acknowledgement.
Jack McCoy pressed the button for the tenth floor and then looked at the young woman beside him. She was pretty. A little on the skinny side. But she had, at least from the short glance he was able to give her, amazing eyes. A little too young for him perhaps. Hmmm.... She smelled good. What was that perfume? He saw her glancing at him and he smiled rakishly at her. 'Who is she," he wondered. Probably an ADA or a clerk.
Claire Kincaid looked at the man standing next to her. Cute, definitely cute. And from the way he smiled at her when she glanced at him, she knew that he knew he was cute. She wondered who he was. Having been with the DA's office only for a month she didn't really know everyone yet. She glanced at the man again. He was really handsome. His hair was starting to gray some. But it was still thick and the kind of hair that she would love to run her fingers through. She smiled to herself, thinking how silly her thoughts were.
Finally, the elevator doors opened on the 9th and Claire started to get off. She nodded to the man with her in goodbye. The man grinned at her and said, "Bye."
Jack smiled as the elevator door close. She was really pretty. He made a mental note to inquire around as to who she was as he got off the tenth floor.




January 1994

Jack McCoy was strapping his briefcase onto his motorcycle when he heard the sound of someone deactivating his or her car alarm. He looked up and saw it was that girl from the elevator. He had run into her a few times again --- in the rotunda of the courthouse and coming out of arraignment court --- but he was always too much in a rush to find out who she was. One time, he had seen her with Ben Stone. He wasn't sure if this was Ben's new assistant, but if she was, he was one lucky bastard, he had thought. He kept making a mental note every time he saw her to check on her, but with his caseload, he either kept forgetting or putting it off.
The girl passed by him in her car as he got on his bike and started it. He looked at her direction, but she didn't see him. As he began to drive away, he smiled to himself remembering her amazing eyes.




"Get us both a glass of Scotch, will you?" District Attorney Adam Schiff asked Jack when he entered his office.
"Sure. What are we drinking to?" Jack replied as he went to where Adam's decanter of Scotch sat.
Jack poured them the Scotch and handed one glass to Adam. Adam raised his glass to him and said, "To a good day's work, Jack. To get a conviction on the Lowell case despite the fact that the case was all circumstantial, despite Judge Pongracic excluding almost all the evidence, that's definitely a good day's work."
Jack and Adam toasted. After he swallowed his drink, Jack smiled. "Thanks, Adam. It's my job."
"And you're good at it. That's how it should be."
"I know."
Adam chuckled. "I'm sure you do." He took another sip of his Scotch.
Jack looked at Adam and then spoke up. "Adam, there's something I've been meaning to ask you."
Adam glanced at him and asked, "Well, what is it?"
"It's this girl I've been seeing around the office."
"Girl, what girl?" Adam returned. "Don't tell me you're trying to get rid of another good prosecutor in this office by breaking her heart?"
Jack laughed and a twinkle came to his dark eyes. "No, of course not Adam. Why in the world would I do that? When did I ever do that?"
"Oh, cut the crap. When haven't you is the better question."
"Cut me some slack here. Is this a new tactic of yours to keep your prosecutors grounded? Praise them then insult them?"
Adam smirked. "Well, who is this girl? What makes you think I would know her?"
"I don't know if you do. But what makes me think that you --- at the very least --- know of her, is the fact that I've seen her with Ben Stone at least once."
"Ah. Ben Stone. What would this girl look like?"
"Young. Thin. Dark hair on the short side. Nice eyes." Jack described.
An expression of recognition came over Adam's face and Jack saw it. He took another drink of his Scotch and smiled. "So, you do know her."
Adam nodded. "Yes, I know her. And it's good she isn't your assistant. From the way this conversation is going, I have a feeling that's a good thing."
"Come on, Adam. How do you know that?"
"Because I know you."
Jack chuckled. "Yes, you do."
Adam smirked, but remained silent. Obviously, Jack was going have to drag it out of him.
After what seemed like a long time without any response from Adam, Jack finally asked, "Well, so who is she?"
"I suppose it wouldn't hurt to tell you." Adam told him.
Jack leaned forward expectantly.
Adam made a snorting sound before finally, replying, "Claire Kincaid."
Jack's face broke into a grin. "Finally, a name!" Jack exclaimed.
Adam grunted again as Jack continued with his questions. "So what does she do here?"
"She's Ben Stone's second chair."
"I see. So she is an ADA."
"Yes, she was Judge Thayer's clerk before she joined our office a few months ago."
"Thayer. Tough judge. She must be good."
"She hasn't been here long enough for me to say."
"But you don't hire any fools." Jack supplied.
"Right. And Ben Stone doesn't tolerate them, either."
"Boy scout Ben. Of course."
Adam smirked. "Compared to you, you mean."
Jack laughed as Adam finished his drink. Adam got up then and started to put his coat on. "Well, Mrs. Schiff will have my head if I'm not home soon."
Jack nodded in understanding and got up, too while finishing his drink in one gulp. Adam looked at Jack disapprovingly. Jack saw the disapproval on his face and tried to placate Adam by replying lightly, "No sense letting good Scotch go to waste."
Adam gave him a look and just said, "Huh."
The two men began to walk out of the office. In the hallway, Adam spoke up once more. "Well, good work, Jack. You do damn well but most especially when you don't have the time to break your assistant's heart."
"But Adam, I don't have a female assistant right now." Jack said.
"Exactly."
Jack chuckled as Adam turned around and walked toward the elevators.




June 1994 - morning

Claire was walking with another ADA, Jenna Ling, in the rotunda when she spotted Jack McCoy. After their initial run-in and several others after that in the ensuing months, she had asked another ADA, James Waters who he was. James had told her that he was Jack McCoy and like Ben, he was an EADA.
Claire got Jenna's attention and asked her, "Hey Jenna, that's Jack McCoy over there right?" She pointed to a man walking rapidly down the stairs.
Jenna followed Claire's pointed finger and then turned back to her with a sly smile, "Yes, why?"
"Nothing. I just seem to keep running into him. We've never actually spoken, though. I wouldn't even know who he is if James hadn't told me."
Jenna looked towards the stairs again and saw Jack as he walked out the exit of Hogan Place. Turning back to Claire, she remarked, "He is cute, isn't he?" Jenna studied Claire's expression carefully.
"Yeah, if you like older men." Claire told her friend.
"And we know you do." Jenna replied, glancing at her meaningfully.
Claire shot her a hurt look; disturbed that Jenna had once again managed to reference her disastrous short-lived affair with Judge Joel Thayer. "That's not funny, Jenna."
Jenna saw the hurt in her friend's eyes and instantly regretted her words. "I'm sorry, Claire. That was a stupid thing to say."
Claire relaxed then and gave a short chuckle. "It's okay, Jenna. It's in the past."
"Thanks." Jenna looked relieved. "Well, back to Jack McCoy. I'm amazed nobody has given you all the dirty details on him yet?" A mischievous twinkle came into Jenna's eyes.
"No....but please feel free not to keep me in suspense here, tell me what you know." Claire said, curiosity evident in her voice.
Jenna grinned in amusement. "There's only one thing you need to know about Jack McCoy."
"And what's that?"
"That he's slept with all the female assistants he's ever had."
"Really?" Claire looked half-intrigued and half-appalled.
"Really." Jenna stopped walking then, making Claire stop as well. She faced her friend, the smile on her face gone. "Look, Claire, Jack McCoy is a good EADA but he is not good with women in or out of the office. You've never spoken to him, right?"
"Right." Claire confirmed.
"Well, if I were you, I'd make sure it stays that way."




July 6, 1994 - night

"You're resigning?" Claire was incredulous. She was in Ben Stone's office. He had told her that he had just submitted his letter of resignation to Adam Schiff, effective immediately. Claire couldn't make it sink in. Ben Stone? Resigning? Never in a million years. Ben loved his job.
"No, Claire. I have resigned." He paused a moment before he continued. "I got a witness killed because of my stubbornness and my desire to fulfill the duties of my job to the letter. I don't need a job with those kinds of consequences.
Claire was silent, taking this all in and slowly nodded. "I understand."
Ben finished his Scotch and then stood up, gathering his things. He picked up his briefcase and then went up to Claire. He held out his hand. Claire shook it as he told her, "Good luck, Claire. I think you'll go far in this office."
"Thank you, Ben. I learned a great deal from you. Good luck to you, too."
Ben smiled sadly and let go of her hand. "Bye, Claire."
"Bye, Ben."
Then, without so much as a backward glance, Ben Stone walked out on his old life.




July 27, 1994 - afternoon

"Come in." Adam called out.
Jack McCoy walked into Adam's office and sat down on his leather couch. "Adam."
"Jack, what can I do for you?"
"I want you to assign Claire Kincaid to me. I want her as my assistant now that Ben's resigned."
"Jack, didn't we have a conversation not too long ago that you're not to contribute anymore to the resignation pool at this office? I just had one of my best EADAs resign, I don't want a very promising ADA resign so soon after because of you."
"Give me some credit here, Adam. I'm not asking you to assign her to me because I want to make her no. 4."
"You're not?"
"No, I'm asking you to assign her to me, because she's good. I need a capable assistant like that. As you know beautiful or not, I have no use for an incompetent second chair."
Adam eyed him skeptically. Jack stared right back. Then Adam said, "Go get us a Scotch."
Jack obeyed and poured them two drinks. He handed one to Adam and sat down again, waiting for him to speak.
"I'll talk to Ms. Kincaid."
Jack smiled and took a drink from his glass.
"On two conditions." Adam told him.
The smile left Jack's face as he asked warily, "What conditions?"
"One that you keep your pants on..." Adam said, sternly.
"And?" Jack began to smile again.
"And two, that you'll never pull on me what Ben Stone pulled. If you ever want to leave this office, I want you to do it the right way. With prior notice. Understood?"
Jack was grinning ear to ear now. "Understood."
"I'm not laughing Jack, I'm serious. If I hear one whimper about acts of impropriety from you and Miss Kincaid, your resignation will be on my desk before you can say uncle."
Jack's grin faded. He took a sip from his Scotch and then looking directly at the older man replied, "You have my word, Adam."
Adam looked at him and finally nodded.




July 28, 1994 - morning

"Please sit down, Miss Kincaid." Adam told Claire.
"Thank you." Claire sat down and waited for Mr. Schiff to speak again.
"Miss Kincaid, I'm aware that since Mr. Stone resigned you have been left to fend for yourself. But all that is about to change."
Adam paused and Claire waited for him to continue.
"Do you know Jack McCoy?"
Claire nodded slowly. "I know of him. He's an EADA like Ben was.
"Yes, he's one of the best. "
"Pardon me, Mr. Schiff, but what does Jack McCoy have to do with me?" Claire questioned.
"He's requested you to be his assistant and I've agreed. Beginning tomorrow Ms. Kincaid, you'll be reporting to him. His office in this floor."
"He requested me?"
"Yes, he did. Any problems with that?" Adam looked at Claire intently.
Claire swallowed and smiled bravely as the things Jenna told her began to echo in her brain. "No, no problem."
"Good. I suggest that you move your things here before the day ends. My secretary will show you where you'll be stationed after you leave here."
Claire nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Schiff."
"All right, Ms. Kincaid. You did a good job with Ben. I hope you continue with that same quality of work with Jack McCoy."
"I intend to, Mr. Schiff."
"Very well. That's all, Miss Kincaid. Good luck.
"Thank you." Claire said, getting up.
"My secretary will show you your new work station now."
Claire nodded and walked out the office, leaving Adam looking at her from behind.




July 30, 1994 - morning

Claire took a deep breath as she stood outside Jack McCoy's office. This was it. She released her breath and then knocked on the door. "Yeah?" Jack McCoy's voice rang out from inside.
She opened the door and saw Jack bending over toward his cabinets, rummaging through them as she walked in. Jack glanced up. Their eyes met. She really did have such beautiful eyes. Hazel. She had beautiful hazel eyes. Mentally he told himself to stop and remember his promise to Adam. And so he simply said, "Claire Kincaid."
Claire smiled and replied, "Jack McCoy."

end


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