A/N: Greetings, all! Here is my first AU concerning Sleepy Hollow. At least, I'm pretty sure it's my first. Anyway, it was inspired by me listening to "Beneath Your Beautiful" by Labrinth and reading "Notes" by sleepyheadfan20.
Abbie was just getting home when she saw Jenny's car sitting outside of her house. Abbie rolled her eyes as she had no interest in dealing with this right now. Whenever Abbie saw Jenny, the younger Mills sister only had one subject on her mind. Abbie just prepared herself for what was coming. She parked her SUV in her driveway and got out. She was one step from the door when it flew open and Jenny was standing there.
"You need to get out of this house!" Jenny said.
Abbie stared at her. "Hi, baby sis. Oh, yeah. I'm doing fine. Thank you." She pushed passed her sister and walked inside.
"Whatever," Jenny said. "Abbie. You need to get out of this house."
"I, literally, just walked in the door," Abbie said, putting her purse down on the table.
"From work. The only other place you go! Mom and Dad are starting to worry about you."
"Why don't they call or come by, then?"
"Because they're letting you live your life."
"And you can't do that because?" Abbie asked.
"Because you're being stupid!" Jenny said. "And I ain't about to let you sit around like this. Danny cheated on you and you're still crying over the jackass. Get over it."
"I am not crying over him anymore! I cried once!" Abbie paused. "Then we spray-painted his car and threw a brick through his window. Then I got over it."
"That was awesome," Jenny smiled. "Mom found out about that, by the way."
"What'd she say? Was she mad?"
"More mad at Dad for helping us and not telling her."
Abbie smiled. "Yeah, saw that coming."
"We're going out," Jenny declared. "It's over. It's done. We're going."
Abbie groaned and rolled her eyes. "Fine. Where are we going?"
"The Lion and the Rose. New place in town. A friend of mine who works at the museum told me about it. Me and Joe went once. It's got a… nice British pub feel to it."
"What do you know about British pubs?"
"I did go there for a semester," Jenny reminded.
"Oh, yeah," Abbie said. "Your study abroad with Joe." She raised an eyebrow.
"We actually did study, ya know."
"In between staying in the hotel rooms."
"Oh, shut up," Jenny said. "Get upstairs, change, and meet me there at 7. I'll text you the address. Wear something nice. Make yourself prettier than you already always are."
Abbie rolled her eyes but smiled at the compliment. "You know this is entrapment, right?"
"And you know I don't give a damn, right?"
Abbie gave her sister one more cold stare and headed up the stairs as Jenny headed out the door.
After getting home from work, Ichabod was organizing the bookshelf in his apartment, a relaxing practice for him. He was about to put a book on the shelf when he heard a knock at his door. He opened the door to find Abraham standing there.
Abraham looked Ichabod up and down, examining his best friend's posture and demeanor, "My God, you can skulk about when you want to."
"I'm not in the mood, Abraham," Ichabod said, walking back to his bookshelf.
"I'm aware of that," Abraham said, closing the door behind him. "How much longer will you do this to yourself?"
Ichabod started organizing books again, "I've done nothing."
"Quite right. You've done nothing. Nothing while your ex-wife has made a life for herself in Hawaii with the man she cheated on you with."
Ichabod placed a book on a shelf and took a deep breath. "I'm a bit depressed, Abraham."
"I'm aware of that," Abraham replied. "But you need to move on, Ichabod. For the past six months, you've worked and come home. Left home and gone to work. For God's sake, do something else. Anything else!"
"And what do you suggest?"
"We're going out this evening. We'll find a local pub and, by God, you will have fun!"
"We live in America, now, Abraham. They're known as 'bars'."
"Bars, pubs, I don't care what they're called! We are going!"
Ichabod stared at him, blankly. "How are we still friends?"
"Because your life is utterly empty without me," Abraham said with a wide grin.
"That's a theory we must test some day."
"Oh, Ichabod. Please, don't be so cold. Why, I'd lose my head if it wasn't for you."
"Please, shut up," Ichabod said. "Where are you forcing me to go?"
"Do I answer you or shut up?" Abraham asked. "I can't do both."
Ichabod stared at him, coldly.
Abraham chuckled, "The Lion and the Rose. I recommended it to some friends of mine and they, thoroughly, enjoyed it."
"If I must," Ichabod replied.
"Yes, you must. 7 PM tonight. I'll text you the address."
Abraham headed for the door, "I'll see you there. Be sure to make yourself presentable. Wear a jacket."
"You wear a jacket," Ichabod whispered.
Abraham closed the door behind him.
Wearing business casual attire, including a jacket, Ichabod walked into the Lion and the Rose, enjoying the atmosphere almost immediately. Abraham was right; this place did remind Ichabod of home. He didn't see Abraham yet but did see a small table in an alcove towards a far wall. Ichabod went over, sat down, ordered a Guinness, and watched the door. He received a text on his phone and saw it was from Abraham.
Apologies, my friend, the text read. Something came up.
Ichabod grimaced and replied, I will hurt you if this is a joke.
Not a joke. I'll call you later. Have a good evening.
Ichabod sighed. Same. Take care. He placed his phone down. He was trying to decide if he should just leave or attempt to enjoy a night out.
Abbie pulled up in front of the Lion and the Rose bar. It looked like a nice enough place but Abbie was really starting to wonder why she was doing this. She got out of her SUV and walked up to the door. Just as she was about to open it, her phone rang. She stepped back from the door and answered, seeing that it was Jenny.
"Hey," Abbie answered.
"Soooo, yyyeeaaahh," Jenny said, nervously.
Abbie knew that tone, immediately. "Oh, I know you're not!"
"Joe got a night off! He wants to take me to dinner!"
Abbie wanted to argue but she knew how hectic Joe's schedule tended to be. "Ugh!" she groaned. "Fine!"
"But promise me you won't go home right away!" Jenny pleaded. "Please, just stay out for, at least, an hour."
Abbie rolled her eyes. "Fine."
"Thank you. I'll call you later. Love you."
"Yeah, yeah. Love you, too." Abbie ended the call and almost immediately went back to her SUV. But she stopped and decided to honor her promise to her little sister. With a groan and throwing her head back, she turned around and went ahead inside.
Abbie sat down at the bar, having a look at most of the patrons. She noted what men were looking at her and she knew that they were looking at her, solely, based on the jeans she was wearing. She admitted that she did look good but being ogled by more than likely intoxicated men was irritating her. She kept scanning the bar until her eyes fell toward a corner alcove where she saw a man sitting alone. He wasn't a bad looking guy, by any means; dark brown hair and beard, fair skin, and pretty good posture. She couldn't help but wonder why he was alone. Despite herself, she got up and walked toward him.
Ichabod had a look around the bar and was starting to feel like he should leave. After all, he fulfilled his promise to Abraham. He went out. He would later point out to his best friend that, at no point, did he promise he would interact with anyone. Still scanning the bar, Ichabod caught sight of a stunningly beautiful woman who seemed to be looking at him. Beautiful brown skin, full lips, and eyes that could stop traffic. She was the only possible person who Ichabod could conceive talking to in the whole bar. And, unless he was going crazy, she was walking right over to him.
Perhaps this wasn't the worst idea after all. And interacting with one person wouldn't hurt.
Abbie stopped at Ichabod's table, "Hi."
"Good evening," Ichabod replied.
His voice, alone, told Abbie that this was a good idea so far. "Mind if I sit down?" she asked.
He almost didn't hear her question, due to getting lost in her eyes. "Uh," he replied, "no. Not at all. Please."
"Thank you." She sat down and extended her hand, "Abbie Mills."
"Ichabod Crane," he replied, shaking her hand.
"Pleasure to meet you."
"Oh, the pleasure is mine." They released the handshake.
"I really hope you don't mind me coming over," Abbie said.
"Oh, no, not at all," Ichabod said. "I imagine you wished to find a quiet place to sit."
Abbie was really loving his manner of speaking. "That and I didn't want to seem alone," she admitted. "A few of the guys in here…"
"Seem less than unsavory?" he asked.
"Yeah. That's the nice way to put it."
He chuckled, quietly.
"So, what brings you out this evening, Mr. Crane?" she asked.
"Simply breaking routine," he answered. "At my best friend's behest."
"I know that story. My sister made me get out of the house, too."
"She did not accompany you?" he asked.
"Her boyfriend was finally able to get the night off," she explained. "He's a paramedic and they needed some time together. I understood."
"That was very kind of you."
"Eh. I could use the break from her, anyway. She has a way of getting on my last nerves."
"Don't get me wrong, I love her to death," Abbie explained. "But she's irritating, if I let her be."
"She sounds like Abraham, my best friend. He refused to let me sit at home another night. Then promptly abandoned me via text after I arrived here."
"So, why stay?" Abbie asked.
"Because, and I'll never admit this to him," Ichabod said, "he was right. I needed to get out of my apartment for a while."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Don't be," Ichabod said. "You didn't cause any of my problems."
"Fair," Abbie said. "So. Tell me about them."
He was taken aback. "Oh, I wouldn't wish to unpack all of my troubles on you."
"I was rude enough to come invade your personal space and your time alone. The least I can do is let you get whatever's bothering you off your chest."
"It wasn't rude. Your company is very pleasant."
"That's one of the nicest compliments I've ever got," she said.
"I am honored to be the one to give it," he nodded.
She smiled. "So, why has this year been so rough?"
She was sincere, Ichabod could tell. And something about Abbie was incredibly easy to talk to. He found that he wanted to tell her.
Ichabod took a deep breath. "Well," he exhaled, "while this wasn't the hardest part, the initial stress came from my mother falling ill with pneumonia. She lives in England and I work here in America. I couldn't fly back right away as she fell sick while the semester was at its peak."
"I'm so sorry," she said, compassionately. "Is she alright?"
"Yes, thank God," he said, relieved. "It was about a month of her being in the hospital and my father nearly worrying himself sick. But they're both fine now."
"That's good to hear. Sorry they had to deal with that."
"It's fine, thank you. Fortunately, Abraham was able to make a visit or two in my stead."
"That's good. What work do you do?"
"I'm a professor of history at Sleepy Hollow Community College and I sometimes work with museums in the area on some more unknown artifacts. That particular job I acquired through Abraham."
"That's really interesting," she replied.
"I like to think so," he said.
"My sister works at a museum, too. Well, sometimes. She's more of a scavenger, hunts down old artifacts around the world for different museums, works with shipping firms. Makes a good living at it, if you can believe that."
"In this day and age, I actually do. What do you do, Ms. Mills?"
"I work with the FBI."
Ichabod paused for a few moments. "Should I watch what I say from this moment on?"
"You should, yeah." Abbie smiled.
Every time she smiled, Ichabod found himself really hoping she'd never stop.
"But, so far, you've got nothing to worry about. You're passing my tests."
"A relief, indeed."
Abbie let out a soft giggle. He really was saying all of the right things so far. And he seemed sincere. Much to her surprise, Abbie wasn't questioning his sincerity. "So, what else made this year so hard?"
Ichabod's grin faded a bit. "I, uh…" he cleared his throat, "I went through a rather bitter… rather unpleasant divorce."
Abbie's eyes widened. "Oh." She looked around, nervously. "I, uh… I'm so sorry."
"No, it's fine. As I said, you didn't cause that."
"You don't have to talk about this."
"No, no, I don't mind. It… may be good to get it off my chest to a third party."
"You haven't told anyone?" she asked.
"Aside from my parents," he replied, "just Abraham. I don't have many friends. But my parents and Abraham had enough of a reaction to fill a large family. My father threatened to sue Katrina, Abraham threatened to set her car on fire, and my mother, out right, threatened to kill her."
"From what I've seen of you so far, yeah, I can see why they acted like that."
He smiled for a second before the smile faded again. "She said that I was not ambitious enough. That my… meager employment did not match my potential."
"But you have a job," she pointed out. "You're a professor, you're working. What? Did she want you to be President while you're at it?"
"I'm a British native. I don't qualify for the Presidency."
"Give them a few years. That'll change."
He scoffed. "Not a goal within purview, regardless."
"I don't blame you," she said.
"But, honestly, I don't know what more she wanted from me. I thought it was a money-issue, hence the extra work with the museums."
"So, what did she want?"
"Whatever it was, she didn't want it with me." He sighed. "I came home one day with her bags packed, another man waiting in a truck, and her handing me divorce papers that she had already signed."
Abbie's eyes widened. "What kind of shady crap is that?"
"She said that we had come to the end of our road. That she needed to find someone better."
"Better than you?" Abbie scoffed. "Wow. What a bitch."
"I try to refrain from calling her that," Ichabod said. "I don't always succeed, mind you, but I try. That being said, I won't disagree with you calling her that."
"I'm sorry you went through all of that."
"It's fine, Ms. Mills. I'm working through it."
"'Abbie'," she said. "Please."
He nodded. "Abbie. And, for the record, 'Ichabod' is fine. Or 'Crane', if you prefer. Most find 'Ichabod' cumbersome to say."
"I'll probably flip between the two," she admitted.
"That's entirely fine," he said. "If I may ask, what brings you out this evening?"
Abbie took a deep breath and exhaled, "Well, my last relationship didn't end so well, either. It's why my sister wanted me out of the house."
"My apologies," he said.
"It's okay," she replied.
"If you wish to tell me, I don't mind at all."
She nodded. "My ex, Danny, wanted to get serious. At least, that's what he told me."
"And you did not?" he asked.
"No, I did. Just… not yet. We'd only been together for just over a year when we started talking about it. I just didn't feel ready, like we needed more time, ya know? Like we still needed to know a few things about each other before making that jump."
"Completely understood," he nodded. "You shouldn't rush into anything before you're ready. Marriage has to be a two-way street. Both have to want it, in particular if you want it to be successful."
She stared at him in wonder as he perfectly summed how she had been feeling. "Yeah," she whispered. "Exactly. Thank you."
She looked down in sorrow, "But… turns out either he wasn't serious enough about us or my answer turned him off toward me. I caught him cheating on me."
Ichabod's jaw set as he exhaled. "There was a man foolish to cheat on you?" He shook his head, "Truly, there is no hope for the male species."
"I used to think that," Abbie agreed. She gave a slight shrug, "Then I walked in here and met you."
"Me?" Ichabod asked.
Abbie nodded, "Mm-hmm. I mean, you're being kind, considerate, and sweet. And, not once, have you tried to proposition me for sex. I'd say there's some hope."
"I've spent my life to do my best to be different. Also, I have no wish to disrespect any woman like that. And, from the brief, blessed time I've spent with you, Abbie, I have no wish to disrespect you in anyway."
She stared, directly, into his eyes, getting lost in his eyes and his words. "In the few minutes I've spent with you, Ichabod, I can tell you, for sure, you're one of the good ones."
"Are you sure? It doesn't seem so these days."
"I'm positive. I tend to be a good judge of character. I called that my sister would be with her boyfriend way back when we were all in high school. They've been together since he got out of the Marines."
He smiled. "I'm very honored, Abbie. I can tell you're one of the good ones, too."
She smiled. "Thanks, Ichabod. I really hope that you don't let that crap your ex said keep you down any longer. You didn't deserve that. You're a good man."
"You just met me," he chuckled, lightly.
"And, like I said, I'm a good judge of character. I already pointed all of your good qualities and there's one more thing that I've noticed."
"And that would be?"
She looked at his drink and smiled. "You haven't touched that beer all night. And I can tell it's your first. You stayed sober through this whole conversation. A woman approaches you in a bar and you don't buy her a drink to lower her inhibitions or drink your own to lower yours. You, honestly and genuinely, wanted to have a talk with me. Like I said, good man."
He sat there, completely impressed. Borderline falling in love, if he were being honest with himself. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," Abbie replied. If she were being honest with herself, she could see this one conversation going a lot further. And it was a good vision.
"I do my best to be a good man," Ichabod said. "I know I'm not perfect. I have plenty of idiosyncrasies that would drive most insane. But I've done my best."
"That's all anyone can do," she said. "We all do our best. That makes the difference."
He gave a small shrug, "It clearly wasn't enough for Katrina."
"She was an idiot. Don't get hung up on that."
"Thank you. Your ex was incredibly foolish as well."
"Thanks." She studied him for a moment. "So, Ichabod, can I ask you something?"
"Of course," he replied.
"Would you like to go to dinner? Some place quieter?"
He gaze at her, having already decided on his answer. Still, he approached it, tentatively. "Would… would it be too forward for me to say 'yes'?"
"Only if I hadn't asked you first," she smiled.
He smiled back, "I would be delighted."
Across the street from the Lion and the Rose, Jenny, Joe, and Abraham were sitting in Joe's sedan. Joe was at the driver's seat with Jenny on the passenger's side and Abraham sitting in the backseat. They were staring at the bar when caught sight of Abbie and Ichabod leaving together.
"Yes!" Jenny said, making a triumphant fist.
"Less than an hour and they're leaving together," Abraham said with a smile. "Well done, Ichabod."
"Crap!" Joe threw his head back against the seat. He pulled out his wallet, pulled out two $10 bills, and handed each of them to Jenny and Abraham. "Can't believe it! How'd you know?"
"I know Ichabod's type," Abraham said. "A strong-willed, independent woman? Nothing attracts him more."
"And a kind hearted man who knows to treat a lady?" Jenny asked. "Boom. Right up Abbie's alley."
"I can't believe you both have been prepping them for this," Joe said.
"Prepping nothing! They just needed a push."
"What if they didn't talk to each other? What if they didn't even see each other?"
"We had back-up plans prepared in case of such an emergency," Abraham admitted.
"You two are worse than the CIA, I swear," Joe shook his head.
"Don't hate because we're good!" Jenny said.
Joe sighed. "Do you think they'll figure out you two set 'em up?"
"Yup!" Jenny and Abraham said, simultaneously.
"And she'll be mad for a few minutes," Jenny said. "But she'll get over it."
"You think Ichabod will be mad?" Joe asked Abraham.
"Allow me to gaze upon Abbie for a few minutes then I shall answer that question," Abraham smiled.
"That wasn't creepy at all, Abe," Jenny pointed out.
Jenny shrugged, conceding. "Well, we got those two out of the house and, by the grace of God, got them on a date. What do you guys wanna do now?"
"Well, I'm not sure about either of you," Abraham said, "but I could use a drink. And, oh, look." He smiled and pointed at the Lion and the Rose. "There's a bar right there."
"I'm in," Jenny said. "Joe, you're the driver."
"Fine with me," Joe said. "But, when Abbie and Ichabod find out about this, I'm ratting both of you out."
"Deal," Jenny said.
"Done," Abraham agreed. "First round is on me."
A/N: So, what did you guys think? Leave me some reviews!
Also, The Lion and the Rose is a bar in my town, that I've never been to. I don't drink. But, I've always loved the name. By the way, did anyone catch the Sherlock Holmes (2009) reference? Points to you, if you did.
Also, would anyone like a sequel to this? Some ideas for one came to my mind but I'll leave it up to you guys.
Thanks again, all! See you later!