Title: The Name Of The Game
Author: Carla Mayumi
Fandom: Law & Order SVU
Pairing: Alex/Olivia...is there really anything else? ::smirk::
Rating: R? Maybe NC-17 eventually. I never seem to come up with parameters for this stuff.
Summary: What happened after Olivia killed Eric Plummer.
Spoilers: Season 2, Episode 3: Wrath.
Disclaimer: If I owned them, you’d be seeing something completely different on TV – inferior plot-wise, but definitely hotter.
Archiving/Distribution: Ask and ye shall receive.
Feedback: Helps improve the writing; I don't have a Beta (wouldn't want to drive anyone insane) and I'm not a native English speaker (I'm Brazilian, baby!).
Dedication: To Rhiannon (my girlfriend) for being so incredibly understanding and putting up with my obsession with the character Alexandra Cabot, so expertly played by the gorgeous Stephanie March.
Author's Notes: Actually, just one: for all intents and purposes, I’m pretending “Wrath” happened near Thanksgiving, but really, I have no idea. For all the holidays we have in Brazil (and believe me, there are many), Thanksgiving is not one of them, and frankly there is too much Cabot in my mind for me to bother with research. ::sheepish grin::
The rain poured heavily against her window, but she couldn’t hear it. Olivia sat on the couch staring into nothing, in the dark, trying to sort through the many thoughts in her head. She had helped put an innocent man in jail, and because of it, four innocent people were dead. Because of her, four innocent people were dead. A thick tear rolled down her cheek. All she had cared about was that she couldn’t have more innocent blood on her hands. But in the end, it hadn’t mattered. In the end, she had murdered Eric Plummer, whose gun wasn’t even loaded. His face haunted her mind, and yet part of her was relieved he was gone. It only added to the guilt she felt.
Her own partner hadn’t believed her. Elliot Stabler had betrayed her trust by ordering a protective detail against her wishes, acting no better than the sharks from the IAB. And Alexandra Cabot, their ADA – if she had listened in the first place, if she had supported her, believed her...maybe none of it would have happened. Instead, Alex had alluded to the possibility that she had been drunk. Olivia didn’t even know why she had been so surprised at the blonde’s reaction. Alex wasn’t friends with anyone from the squad, she didn’t socialize. She had been there for over a year working with them and still seemingly only cared about her win-loss ratio. And yet, even if they weren’t friends, for some reason her betrayal hurt a lot more than Elliot’s - probably because Elliot had acted out of concern, not because he was afraid of looking bad in court.
She heard a knock on the door, but she didn’t care. Elliot could stuff his apology as far as she was concerned. Another knock and she refused to budge, still lost in her thoughts. Then her phone rang, but she still didn’t move. She knew it was him and she wasn’t in the mood to pretend she was ok and just hold it together for the sake of her partner. She was in pain. She felt raw. She heard his footsteps as he walked away from her door, finally leaving her alone, and sighed in relief. A small sob forced its way out of her, and she felt her throat constricting as she tried to keep from crying.
She didn’t know how much time had gone by when she heard another knock on the door, more hesitant this time. She tried to ignore it, but after about twenty minutes, that insistent knocking was driving her insane. “Go away,” she cried, unable to keep it inside her any longer for fear she might explode. “Leave me the fuck alone! I don’t want to see anyone!” She waited for a moment, and there was no more knocking. She hid her face in her hands as the sobs tore through her body.
About five minutes later, a shadow was projected into the living room. Olivia stood abruptly and turned to find Alexandra Cabot herself standing on the fire escape just outside her window.
Olivia wanted scream. But the ADA wasn’t moving, except for wrapping her arms around herself, trying in vain to keep warm. It was too late for that; she was soaked through her clothes and water dripped from her hair. She was shivering, but her stance and her eyes showed nothing but steely determination. There was nothing new about that.
“I’m not going anywhere, Olivia,” she said, her voice surprisingly soft even if muffled by the glass. “At least not until we talk. I will stand here all night if I must.”
Olivia had half a mind to let her do just that. She was angry and hurt. But she was also tired, and she was too kind to make even the Ice Queen herself stand in the cold rain, as much as she thought Alex deserved it. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she forced herself to walk towards her window and opened it wide enough for the blonde to slip into the relatively warm living room.
The two women stood there for a moment, gazing into each other’s eyes in silence. Alex had apparently made a stop at home; she was wearing jeans and a sweater, and Olivia had hardly seen her in anything other than her power suits before. A fleeting thought had Olivia believing that the woman before her would look good in just about anything.
Alex’s shivering brought them both back to reality, and Olivia took a step back, averting her eyes. It was obvious she had been crying, but she still didn’t like the fact that someone was there to see it. She had worked hard for some respect, and having someone see her in a moment of weakness made her feel scared, ashamed and angry.
“You need to get out of those clothes,” she stated flatly, “Come on.”
It wasn’t so much of a question, and although Alex didn’t take well to being bossed around, she decided for once not to argue. She followed Olivia further into the dark apartment, taking in the spartan decoration. It was nothing like Alex expected, the ADA realized, but somehow it fit Olivia.
The detective gave her a couple of towels and gestured towards the general direction of her bathroom, telling her to take a hot shower. “I will leave some clothes on the bed for you.”
“Thank you,” was the quiet reply.
Olivia laid some clothes on her bed and a pair of slippers on the floor, and closed the bedroom door on her way out. With a resigned sigh, she made her way to the kitchen to heat up some water for tea. She didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. She needed time off, which is exactly why she had asked Captain Donald Cragen for some vacation time she had coming. She had too much in her mind and she didn’t take well to the ADA’s intrusion, especially considering they were no more than co-workers who frequently argued due to differences in opinion.
Alex walked back out some time afterwards to find a hot cup of tea waiting for her at the coffee table, which she gratefully accepted after daintily sitting down on the couch. Olivia was sitting on the opposite end of the couch, holding a cup of her own and nowhere near making eye contact with the blonde. She didn’t want Alex to be comfortable, she wanted Alex to leave.
For her part, Alex noticed how guarded the detective was. Olivia had her legs against her chest, much like she was when Alex saw her through the window. She refused to make eye contact and she was tense enough that Alex could feel it in waves. None of it dissuaded her in the slightest. For the longest time, she seemed perfectly content sitting in the darkness and sipping tea with the sullen brunette.
“I’m not in the mood to entertain guests, Counselor.” Olivia finally broke the silence, realizing the blonde wasn’t bothered by her silence. She had emphasized the formal title, feeling the need to clarify that they were nothing but co-workers and that Alex had no right to be there.
“I am not a guest, Detective. As I recall, I wasn’t invited,” Alex replied calmly, placing the empty cup back on the coffee table before turning to face the brunette.
“All the more reason for you to leave,” Olivia said, unable to hide the slightly hostile edge to her tone.
“I’ll leave, but not before you talk to me,” the ADA countered, and Olivia realized that in spite of how aloof Alex sounded, which was normally the case, her clear blue eyes showed nothing but concern.
“And why would I talk to you?” the detective snapped in a mix of anger and frustration.
If Alex was intimidated by the outburst, she didn’t show it. She arched her eyebrows and couldn’t keep a minor level of amusement from her tone as she said, “I believe the obvious answer is because you want me out of here.” Before Olivia could voice her aggravation at the smart-ass reply, Alex raised her hand to prevent her from speaking and added softly, “I’m here because I care.”
Olivia was stumped, staring at Alex as if the ADA had grown another head. Then, she shook her head and snorted bitterly. “That’s rich, coming from you. We’re not friends and we barely tolerate each other at work. It was killing me, but I still asked you for help, and that was one reality check I’m never going to forget. So don’t sit your egotistical ass on my couch telling me you fucking care. All you care about is your win-loss ratio and how you look to those political vipers you work with.”
Alex faltered almost imperceptibly at the harsh words. Her unflappable mask slipped for the briefest of moments, and she couldn’t prevent the pain from showing in her eyes. Then, as soon as her mask slipped, it was firmly placed right back on. Olivia, however, wasn’t oblivious to the change in the blonde’s demeanor.
“I will not apologize for doing my job,” Alex finally said, a small sigh escaping her lips. “I suppose that, given your low opinion of me, my presence here only serves the purpose of your disliking me further. But being here will not put me in the good graces of the ‘political vipers’ I work with, as you have emphatically worded, nor will it affect my win-loss ratio. Since you seem to know so much about me, then tell me: what is my reason for being here, Detective? What do I have to gain?”
Olivia decided she should have known better than get into a discussion with a lawyer, especially a prosecutor as brilliant as the blonde sitting in front of her. She looked away in defeat.
“I know you’re hurt, and whether you believe it or not, I’m sorry there was nothing I could do for you,” Alex said slowly, putting an effort into what, for her, was an extremely awkward interaction. She was clearly not used to dealing with people on a more personal level. “I wasn’t questioning your abilities, Olivia. I asked how many drinks you’d had because any defense attorney would have done the same to you on the stand. They would have attempted to use it to discredit you.”
“Oh, that was what it was all about, you trying to save my credibility?” Olivia mused in a condescending tone. “If anything, you made it very clear that I had none. You’re my ADA, Alex; you’re supposed to at least trust me as a professional! You didn’t believe me. If you had, Eric Plummer would still be alive, and I...” she trailed off, shaking her head and looking away as tears escaped her eyes once again. She held her legs closer to her chest and buried her face against them, sobbing quietly.
Alex watched her for a moment, then in an uncharacteristic timid motion, brushed some of Olivia’s hair back with her fingertips. “You’re wrong, Olivia Benson,” her tone was soft, and somewhat sad. “You are my best Detective, and I have all the faith in the world in your work. I’ve never doubted you. I couldn’t take it to a judge because I need evidence to do my job, but don’t ever assume that I need more than your word to believe you.”
Whether it had been the gentleness in Alex’s touch or her words, Olivia found herself finally opening up. “It’s my fault, Alex,” she whispered brokenly, “All of it. I’m so sorry...so sorry...”
Despite her impeccable bearing, Alex found herself scooting closer to Olivia, sitting by her legs on the edge of the couch, unable to stand the sight of this strong woman crying helplessly in front of her. She placed her hand on Olivia’s back, wishing she could offer her at least some minor comfort. It pained her to see the detective like that, and that realization was strange to her.
Olivia was surprised at the awkward but delicate touch, but couldn’t resist it. For a moment, she forgot who the person sitting there was; she needed the comfort, and if Alex were willing to give it to her, she’d take it. She didn’t know if Alex had hugged her first or if she had been the one who wrapped her arms around the ADA, but she suddenly found herself in a warm embrace.
“It wasn’t your fault, Olivia,” Alex said in a soothing manner, “Eric Plummer was sick. You were not responsible for his conviction or for what he became. There were many people involved in his trial, and evidence. Blaming yourself for what happened to him is exactly what he wanted you to do. Don’t give him the satisfaction of becoming his victim.”
“Four innocent people are dead, Alex,” Olivia replied desolately.
“Yes, they are,” the ADA nodded, accepting the fact. “They were killed because you helped them when they needed the most. Will you let that keep you from helping people from now on? There was nothing you could have done. You can’t control everything. I know that right now you can’t see it that way, but you will realize it’s the truth once the pain subsides. You’ll get back on your feet.”
Olivia didn’t reply for a few minutes, just digesting everything Alex had said. Then, with a heavy sigh, she admitted, “I’m just so tired.”
“That’s understandable,” the blonde said softly, pulling back to smile at her. “Why don’t you go to bed? I’ll let myself out, but please let me use your door this time.”
Olivia couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “I’m tired, not sleepy.” Then, with a small smile, she added, “It’s late, and apparently this rain isn’t going anywhere. You can stay here.”
“Thank you for the offer, but I can’t accept it,” Alex declined politely. “You need to rest.”
“Alex, seriously,” the detective insisted, “Stay. At least so I won’t worry if my ADA ever made it to her apartment in safety.”
Alex gave her a bemused look before she finally nodded. “All right, I’ll stay. I’m sorry, I wasn’t thinking this far ahead when I left my place.”
“No, I...I’m glad you’re here,” Olivia admitted. “I guess what I’m trying to say is, I feel better. So thanks for not listening to me when I said I wanted to be alone.”
Alex chuckled, and Olivia couldn’t help but enjoy the sound. “You’re welcome,” the blonde said.
“I’ll be right back,” Olivia announced, and Alex moved away to give her room to leave.
The brunette disappeared into her bedroom, leaving the ADA to her own thoughts. She hadn’t actually anticipated any of it. She'd asked about Olivia in the squad room, and when Cragen had told her about Olivia’s request for time off, she’d wanted to make sure Olivia was ok. When she'd seen Elliot, she'd waited around, and judging by the forlorn look on his face when he'd left the building, she'd prepared herself for a bad reception. And when knocking on Olivia’s door didn’t work, she had gone around the building and happily discovered that she’d be able to reach the detective by climbing the stairs for the emergency exit. It hadn't been easy climbing it in the rain, but she’d managed to pull it off without losing any limbs. She was grateful Olivia had allowed her to come inside and let her take a shower, but she would have been true to her word otherwise all the same. No one could say Alexandra Cabot did things by halves. She snapped out of her reverie when Olivia walked back into the living room with a blanket and a pillow. She reached for them gratefully, and was taken aback when Olivia didn’t allow her to take them.
“I’ve changed the sheets for you,” she announced. “These are for me. Do you need anything?”
“Olivia, I can’t take your bed,” Alex protested, shaking her head.
“And I can’t believe you thought I’d make you sleep on the couch,” Olivia replied. “I mean, granted, I was less than happy when you first showed up, but I’m not that horrible a hostess.”
“I never meant to imply otherwise,” Alex said, flustered.
“Good. You know where the bedroom is, so make yourself at home.”
The blonde frowned at her, but decided not to argue.
Olivia smiled, a thought suddenly occurring to her. “Have you eaten?”
Alex pondered whether to lie or not, but before she could answer, Olivia beat her to it.
“I haven’t eaten today,” she said in a low tone. “Would you like some pizza, or maybe Chinese?”
“You know what?” Alex smiled at her, “I’m buying you dinner, Detective. Pick whatever you want.”
“The Assistant District Attorney is pampering me,” Olivia whistled with a smirk. “If I wasn’t so pissed at Elliot, I’d call him just to let him know that.”
A perfect blonde eyebrow shot up, and there was a twinkle of amusement in blue eyes. “You could always call John. I’m sure he’d be jealous,” Alex joked, alluding to the long stares she usually got from the detective in question.
“Are you kidding?” Olivia said in mock horror. “If Munch knew you were here, spoiling me no less, he’d start entertaining thoughts of the two of us that we would never be able to live down.”
“Well, maybe out of respect for you he would look me in the face once in a while,” Alex said wryly, but Olivia could tell she was amused.
“I am appalled by the notion that you would use me like that, Counselor,” the detective teased. “And he’s not the only one who looks at your legs.”
“No, but he’s the only one who hardly looks away from them,” Alex replied with a smirk.
“Well, can you blame him?” Olivia asked, grinning.
Alex gave her a baffled look, then arched her eyebrows and smiled at the brunette. “Why, Detective... I do believe there was a compliment in your blatantly flirtatious remark.”
Olivia blushed, clearing her throat and looking away.
Alex chuckled softly, finding the sight of a shy Detective Benson endearing, to say the least. “So have you made up your mind about dinner?”
Almost two hours later, they sat on the floor eating Chinese food, the boxes scattered all over the coffee table. They had the TV going in the background. Both women were surprised at how comfortable they were around each other considering their history, and conversation flowed easily between them. Alex was happy she had been able to lift Olivia’s mood, and in turn, Olivia was grateful for the chance to get to know a side of Alex that not many people knew existed. The blonde was quite pleasant and easy-going outside of the courtroom, and Olivia could scarcely believe she was actually having fun after a week like the one she’d had. The fact that she was having fun and laughing with Alexandra Cabot made it all the more surreal. She couldn’t help but feel that something very good had come out of the nightmare she had lived in the past week.
“So tell me, Counselor...what do you like to do for fun? Or is that an alien concept for you?” she asked with a smirk, knowing she’d get a rise out of the blonde.
Alex shot her a dirty look. “Actually,” she huffed, “I read...”
“Wow, I didn’t see THAT one coming,” Olivia snickered.
“You didn’t let me finish!” she defended herself. “I love swimming and ice skating. I also like to ride horses and when I have the time, retreat to the beach. Surprised?”
“More like shocked,” Olivia replied. “I had no idea you had even met the sunlight.” She laughed when Alex scowled at her. Then, she conceded, “Those are good hobbies.”
“I haven’t done any of those things in a while, with the exception of reading,” the ADA smiled. “Between prosecuting criminals and reasoning with insubordinate Detectives, I’m afraid there is little time left for anything else. I fear my cat might desert me in the near future.”
Olivia laughed at the gibe. “You have a cat?” she asked, surprised. “I never pegged you for the type of person who liked pets.”
Alex arched an eyebrow. “And just how did you peg me, Detective?”
“Ah...” Olivia started nervously, “I don’t...I mean, I...”
The blonde smirked. “I know people call me the ‘Ice Queen’ behind my back,” she said without any resentment. “I think it’s quite flattering, however inaccurate it may be. Obviously, I must be professional at work, but as I’m sure you can attest by now, that is not all that I am. And it’s nice to have ‘someone’ to cuddle with when I get home.”
Olivia nodded with a sheepish smile. “I’m sorry, Your Highness,” she said slyly.
“Your turn,” Alex grinned. “What do you do for fun?”
“Get into arguments with my ADA,” she started, and Alex laughed. “I go rock climbing. Sometimes I can blackmail Melinda into joining me.”
“Dr. Warner?” Alex asked, surprised.
“Yeah,” Olivia chuckled. “But between her schedule and mine, you can imagine how often that is. I used to go with Jeffries, but she transferred out and we kind of lost contact.”
“Ok, what else?” the blonde smiled.
“If I’m inspired, I cook,” the detective shrugged. “That’s pretty much it, I’m afraid. Definitely nothing fancy like riding horses or ice skating,” she said with a grin.
“Wow, I’m impressed,” Alex nodded her approval. “I can’t cook to save my life. I set fire to my stove a couple of months ago...and that’s a secret.”
Olivia laughed, patting Alex’s shoulder in mock comforting. “Your secret’s safe with me.”
“It’d better be,” was the wry remark.
The brunette got up and started to clean up. When Alex attempted to get up and help, Olivia placed her hand on the blonde’s shoulder to keep her from it. “I’ll take care of this. You were kind enough to feed me, I can hardly let you do the dishes as well.” She said it in a playful tone, but there was something tender and grateful about the way she spoke.
Alex smiled slyly up at her. “Buying dinner for a beautiful woman is a pleasure, Detective.”
“You’re a flatterer, Counselor,” Olivia replied, amused and surprised at the comment. She felt herself blushing and was glad Alex couldn’t see it as she made her way to the kitchen.
“No...merely observant,” the blonde said smoothly.
Olivia started doing the dishes after discarding all the boxes. Alex soon joined her in the kitchen, leaning against the counter, crossing her legs comfortably and appraising the detective with a smile. Olivia looked over her shoulder and smiled back.
“You want something to drink?” she asked, realizing they hadn’t drunk anything during dinner. “Check the fridge. I think I have some wine. There’s beer, but you don’t strike me as the type.”
“You keep making assumptions about me,” Alex teased.
“Well, do you drink beer?” Olivia asked matter-of-factly.
“No,” Alex admitted, “But there is no way you could have known for sure without asking me.”
Olivia scoffed. “You are such a lawyer.”
“Do you kiss people with that mouth, Detective?” was the good-humored reply.
"Wouldn't you like to find out?" the brunette asked, her eyebrows arched as she treated Alex to her patented crooked grin.
Alex smirked, but didn't say anything else. Instead, she opted to opening the fridge as instructed, and after a brief inspection she pulled out a bottle of pinot noir, complimenting the detective for her taste in wine. Olivia chuckled at the ADA’s enthusiasm over it and nodded to the cupboards to her left when Alex asked her for glasses. The blonde poured wine generously into both glasses, walked over to Olivia and held up a glass for her with a smile.
“Ah, thanks,” the brunette replied with a smile of her own.
They shared a deep gaze before drinking from their glasses. Olivia eventually placed hers on the sink, and turned to finish the dishes, enjoying the proximity of the ADA, who was leaning against the sink right next to her with a smile still gracing her lips.
After Olivia was done with the dishes, they moved back to the couch, just enjoying the wine and each other’s company in companionable silence. It wasn’t long before they drained the contents of the bottle, feeling relaxed and peaceful.
“I’m going to go brush my teeth,” Olivia announced. “I put a new brush out for you.”
“God, you’re too kind,” Alex said with a relieved sigh. “I was about to ask you for yours,” she joked.
Olivia laughed, and then said with a smirk, “I might have let you borrow it.”
Alex snorted uncharacteristically and then gave her a mock stern look as they made their way to Olivia’s bathroom. It was awkward brushing her teeth with someone else in the room with her, and she blushed when she saw the cheeky grin on the ADA’s face, quickly averting her eyes. The blonde giggled before covering her mouth and spitting the excess of toothpaste into the sink.
“Well,” Olivia said, minutes later, “Like I said, make yourself at home. I’ll be in the living room if you need anything. Goodnight, Alex.”
Alex stepped closer to her with a smile on her lips. She hesitated for a moment, but summoned the courage to lean in and place a chaste kiss on Olivia’s cheek. “Sweet dreams, Olivia. Thank you for letting me spend the night.”
Olivia’s lips parted in a pleased smile. “Any time,” she said sincerely.
Alex opened her eyes, confused as she smelled what seemed to be a very nice breakfast. It took her a moment to remember where she was, but as soon as she did, a smile crept onto her face. She sighed into the pillow, delighted with the scent of Olivia’s shampoo. She glanced at her watch on the nightstand and was surprised she had managed to sleep until nine. Fortunately, it was a Sunday, and she didn’t have any ongoing cases which would require her to go back to work. She yawned and stretched lazily, then heard a soft knock on the door. Obviously, Olivia didn’t want to wake her in case she was still asleep.
“Come in,” she said huskily, sleep making her voice deeper and raspier than usual.
Olivia’s head appeared around the bedroom door and they smiled at each other before the detective ventured further into the room. She sat down by the edge of the bed and held up a mug, patiently waiting for Alex to sit up and take it from her. “Did you sleep ok?”
Alex thanked her and took a sip of the hot coffee, closing her eyes for a moment as a pleased hum escaped her throat. “I haven’t slept like that in ages.”
“I’m glad to hear it,” the detective smiled.
“Did you suffer too much on the couch?” Alex asked with a guilty look.
Olivia chuckled, shaking her head. “I slept just fine. I’m a tough cop, remember? I can sleep anywhere. Don’t forget most of my nights are spent on the crib,” she shrugged.
Alex scrunched up her nose, clearly appalled by the notion, having been in the claustrophobic room once trying to track down Detective Tutuola. “Wouldn’t it be better if you just headed back here for some decent sleep? You’d probably be better rested.”
“You’re right,” Olivia conceded. “However, it’s a 20 minute ride from here to the precinct, and that means that I would spend 40 minutes in a cab just to come back home for a one hour nap before having to head back to work.”
“And after pulling a 72 hour shift, it’s safe to assume that if you had those extra 40 minutes you would want to spend them sleeping,” Alex nodded, taking another sip of her coffee.
“Exactly,” Olivia chuckled at the blonde’s expression. “I think I have more clothes there than I do here. God knows I can deal with the lack of sleep, but lack of showering is a whole different matter.”
The ADA chuckled. “I wholeheartedly agree.”
“I’ve made some breakfast,” the detective announced with a smile. “Would you like to eat now or would you rather stay in bed?”
“I'll eat,” Alex replied shyly. “It smells wonderful.”
Olivia smiled at her, pleased with the compliment. She took the empty mug from Alex and was about to get up when the blonde placed a delicate hand on her thigh. She gave Alex a questioning look, at which the ADA grinned and combed her fingers through Olivia’s dark hair.
“Very cute bed hair, Detective,” she said in a teasing tone.
“I didn’t want to walk in while you were sleeping,” Olivia chuckled. “I’ll go tame my hair now. You go ahead to the kitchen and eat, I’ll join you shortly.”
“In that case, let me take that,” Alex chuckled, pointing to the mug. “It might take a while.”
Alex was surprised to find eggs, bacon, pancakes, maple syrup, cookies that had just come out of the oven and natural orange juice on the table. She smiled to herself, picturing the adorable detective waking up early to fix her such a wonderful breakfast; she could easily see Olivia sneaking around very careful not to wake her up.
She popped a cookie in her mouth and moaned shamelessly at the flavor. At least, she wasn’t embarrassed until she heard the soft chuckle coming from behind her.
“That good, huh?” Olivia remarked with a shit-eating grin. “You sure know how to compliment a girl.”
Alex blushed, but smiled all the same. “These are the best cookies I have ever had.”
“Thanks, Alex,” the detective beamed at her. “I haven’t made them in such a long time. Elliot loves them.” She stopped abruptly, then looked away with a sigh.
“Olivia, what exactly has he done to upset you?” Alex asked carefully, pouring both of them some juice and sitting down across from Olivia at the table.
“He had me tailed by the feds,” Olivia said, and couldn’t keep her anger out of her tone.
“A protective detail?” the blonde inquired, wanting to clarify.
“Yeah. I had told the feds I didn’t need it, and Elliot was right there with me. But instead of trusting me, he acted like the fucking rat squad. I’ve always backed his play. If you can’t trust your partner, it’s time to get a new one. I told him as much when I found out,” she mumbled, staring at her food.
“The rat squad...IAB?”
Olivia nodded. “They’re the only ones who put cops on other cops without them knowing it,” she said bitterly. “It made me sick that he would do that to me.”
“I see,” Alex replied, biting her lower lip.
Olivia gave her a skeptical look. “Alex, I know we were never much of anything to each other before yesterday, but I’ve worked around you long enough to know when there is something you want to say.”
The ADA sighed. “While I understand why you’re mad,” she said diplomatically, “I also understand why he would do something like that. I mean, bear with me: he’s your partner. He probably knows you better than anyone else, so it’s safe to assume he knew you wouldn’t be happy about it, correct?”
Olivia nodded hesitantly, knowing that Alex was about to make a point and crush her little tantrum.
“And even if he knew how much it would cost him, he still cared about you enough that he risked losing you because keeping you alive and safe was more important than anything else,” Alex reasoned. “Maybe he should have tried harder to just convince you...although I’m not sure that would have accomplished anything,” she said in a teasing tone, earning a small smile from the other woman, “But desperate times demand desperate measures, and you can’t hold it against him that he was trying to protect you. I mean, honestly...would you not have done the same for him?”
“Ugh...I hate it when you’re right,” the detective whined.
Alex smirked at her. “I’m always right.”
Olivia laughed out loud. “Have you always been this arrogant?”
“Only ever since I was born,” the blonde snickered. “So should I expect the Incredible Duo to keep doing their jobs together or are you going to get another partner to hate me?”
Olivia smiled at her. “Nah, I’ll go easier on him...eventually. For now I’ll just let him squirm a little. He deserves it,” she replied.
“Good. Because you’re great together,” Alex smiled back. “And because it’s quite amusing watching you two interacting when things are not too hectic at work.”
They resumed their meal, moving on to other subjects, and after Alex helped Olivia clean everything up, she decided it was more than time to leave. So she put on her still humid trainers and asked Olivia for a bag to put her clothes in, telling her she would return the clothes she’d borrowed soon.
“Thank you for, well, everything,” the blonde said sheepishly.
Olivia gave her a look of disbelief. “Thank YOU for coming and making everything better,” she said with a genuine smile that pulled at the strings of Alex’s heart.
“It was my pleasure, Olivia,” the ADA replied, her smile mirroring Olivia’s.
She was taken off-guard when the detective pulled her into a hug, but after a moment of hesitation, returned it warmly. They shared another smile, gazing into each other’s eyes, then said their goodbyes and parted ways. Olivia watched her until she disappeared into the elevator before stepping back inside with an inexplicable joy in her heart.
“Olivia,” Cragen said with obvious surprise, “Not that I’m not happy to see you, but what are you doing here? You’re on vacation.”
“I feel better, Captain, and I’m ready to go back to work. I’ll take my vacation when I really need it, if it’s all the same to you,” she replied in a light tone.
He stared at her for a moment and knew she was telling the truth. “In that case, get you ass back to work.” He gestured to the general direction of her desk. “Glad to know you’re ok,” he smiled.
“Thanks, Cap,” she grinned and sauntered off towards her desk. “Hey, El,” she greeted her partner, who was sitting at his desk filling in a DD-5.
He looked up, obviously not expecting a greeting. “Morning, Liv...everything ok?”
She nodded with a small smile. “Next time, just talk to me first, ok?”
“Will do, partner,” he smiled readily. “Are you going to tell me what happened?”
Olivia knew better than to play dumb with her partner, so she opted for the truth. “Someone knocked some sense into me, that’s all.”
His curiosity was picked, but before he could voice it, a familiar greeting cut in.
“Good morning, Detectives.”
Both of them turned to find Alex standing there with an almost imperceptible smile on her face.
“Morning,” they replied in unison.
“Is Captain Cragen in?” she asked with her usual aloof demeanor.
“In his office,” Elliot stated flatly, watching as she nodded her thanks and made her way past them.
He wasn’t particularly fond of the ADA. He didn’t normally get into arguments with her like Olivia did, but he didn’t put any effort into hiding his dislike of her, and they constantly exchanged barbs.
“You could stand to be a little nicer to her, you know,” his partner said in a low, confidential tone.
“Give me one good reason, and I will,” he challenged, arching his eyebrows at her.
“She’s the one who got you out of trouble by knocking some sense into me,” Olivia shrugged.
He paused, stunned, trying to grasp at what he had just heard. He gave her a confused look, until he finally asked, “When? How?”
In hushed words, Olivia explained that Alex had shown up and that they had talked, not sharing anything that wasn’t strictly necessary. For some reason, while she wanted Elliot to give Alex a break, she also wanted to keep everything Alex had allowed her to see between the two of them. The time they spent together had felt special and she wanted to treasure it all by herself.
“Where are Munch and Fin?” Olivia finally asked, looking at the vacant desks.
“Rape-homicide,” Elliot replied. “Probably why Cabot’s here this early.”
The brunette grimaced. “Great way to start the week,” she remarked wryly, suddenly glad she had paperwork to take care of.
They spent the morning buried in documents, then headed out to the nearby deli to have lunch. Olivia ordered a salad, and Elliot chose his usual sandwich. They sat down by the window chattering about unimportant things.
“Hey, Alex,” he called out when he spotted the prosecutor looking for a table.
She seemed surprised to find them there, and even more surprised at the fact that Elliot had actually been nice to her, but was grateful as she walked over to their table. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this place so crowded,” she remarked, sitting down next to Olivia. “Thank you for letting me join you. The eerie resemblance to high school was starting to get to me.”
“What is with women and insubstantial meals?” Elliot asked, realizing that between his partner’s salad and the ADA’s grilled chicken breast they didn’t have enough calories to beat a cup of coffee.
“Well, I have to eat light because someone has to be able to catch the perps when we’re chasing them down,” Olivia replied with a smirk.
Alex stifled a chuckle, then said, “Starving keeps me alert in court.”
“No. Seriously?” he said, furrowing his eyebrows.
She arched her eyebrows, amused. “I’m serious. Which is not to say I don’t compensate at night.”
“I hear you,” Olivia grinned.
Elliot shook his head with a smirk before reaching out for Olivia’s fork to eat some of her salad while she drank some Coke. Alex watched the interaction in wonder, realizing how close they really were.
“It’s the truth, you know,” Elliot finally said, smiling at the confused look on the blonde’s face. “First day on the job, perp sees us walking towards him and takes off. Liv chases him for six blocks, jumping fences and everything, and has him cuffed before I even make it there.”
“And instead of taking a hint, El, you just keep ordering your very large sandwich,” the brunette quipped with a sarcastic smile. “I should call Kathy and tell her to put you on a diet.”
Alex chuckled lightly before daintily eating a piece of her chicken.
“So, Alex,” Elliot said casually, “Do you have any plans for Thanksgiving?”
“Not this year, I’m afraid. My mother is traveling,” she offered as a means of explanation.
“Then why don’t you come over?” he invited, surprising both women.
“Oh, I wouldn’t want to impose, Elliot, though I appreciate the invitation,” she declined politely, blushing lightly. “It’s a family holiday, after all.”
“It’ll be fun,” he insisted. “Liv and Kathy will be slaving away to feed all of us, and you, the Captain and I can watch Munch and Fin exchanging barbs.”
“Hey!” Olivia protested, tossing a crumpled napkin at him.
Alex chuckled again. “I don’t know...” she said, unsure.
“Come on, Alex,” Olivia encouraged with a grin, “I promise I’ll keep Munch away from you.”
“All right,” the blonde finally gave in. “Should I bring anything?”
“Nope, just yourself,” Elliot smiled, then his eyebrows furrowed at the familiar ringing. “Stabler,” he answered. “Hi, honey. What? Where is she? I’m on my way.” He hung up and stood with an apologetic look. “Family emergency,” he explained to placate his partner’s concerned look. “Lizzie’s sick. Will you tell the Cap for me?”
“Sure,” she replied as he hastily left. “So how’s your day so far?” she turned to her ADA.
Alex looked up from her food and shrugged. “Right now I would say it’s definitely looking up.”
Olivia’s lips parted in a wide smile. “Charmer.”
“So, what is the reason I’m suddenly in your partner’s good books?” the ADA asked with a smile of her own. “Or, at least, out of the blacklist...”
The detective chuckled. “Well, I told him you were the reason we're ok. I hope you don’t mind, I just wanted him to give you a break. I didn’t really tell him a lot, I promise.”
“I don’t mind,” she assured the brunette with a shake of the head. “I think it’s rather sweet of you. Are you sure it won’t be a problem for me to attend though? I would hate to make everyone uncomfortable.”
Olivia seemed surprised. “Alex, it will be fine,” she said softly. “Trust me.”
“You know I do,” was the quiet, heartfelt reply.
They finished their meal and chatted for a little while before they had to go back to work. Alex had two arraignments in the afternoon, and Olivia needed to take care of her paperwork and get started with Elliot’s.
“You want to grab a drink later?” the detective asked before they parted ways.
“Sure, I’ll meet you at the precinct when I’m done,” Alex smiled.
“Benson,” she answered her phone with a bored tone.
“That good, huh?” her partner’s voice came from the other end.
“Christ, El, could you be messier with your paperwork?” she scowled, then softened her tone. “How’s Lizzie? What happened?”
“High fever, probably a virus,” he said calmly. “I just have to keep an eye on her. So still nothing to do other than that bureaucratic shit?”
“Afraid not,” Olivia replied flatly. “I’m so bored I’ve spent the last hour considering poking my eye out with a pencil. How’s that?”
He laughed. “Sorry, Liv. Was Dad mad?”
“Nah, he knows better,” she grinned into the phone. “He said to tell you to be with your daughter.”
They talked for a little while longer, then hung up. Olivia turned to find her ADA standing there with a smile on her face, which she promptly returned.
“Hey, you...been there long?” she asked, visibly perking up.
“Long enough that I might request the Captain to have all sharp objects removed from your desk,” Alex smirked, perching on the edge of Olivia’s desk and casually handing her a bag with her clothes in it, washed and neatly folded.
The detective grinned, putting the bag on the floor next to her chair. “I’m suddenly no longer bored.”
An eyebrow shot up behind black-rimmed glasses. “Is that so, Detective?”
Olivia leaned back on her chair. “Yup. So are you done for the day?”
“Yes, thank God,” Alex sighed, removing her glasses to rub the bridge of her nose. “How about you?”
“I can be,” the brunette flashed her a grin. “Where do you want to go?”
“Where do you normally go?” the ADA countered.
“Maloney’s, but I don’t think you’re ready to go slumming with a bunch of cops,” Olivia replied.
“You know, I find your judgment of me mildly aggravating,” Alex frowned.
Olivia seemed genuinely contrite. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to offend you. It’s just, sometimes I can’t help but feel that we’re all so out of your league,” she admitted guiltily.
The hurt look on the ADA’s face made Olivia wish she could kick herself. “Actually, can I take a rain check?” Alex said softly, a hint of sadness and disappointment in her voice as she stood back up.
“Wait, please, don’t go,” the detective pleaded, holding Alex’s hand to keep her from leaving and unceremoniously pulling her into one of the empty interview rooms. “Alex, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you, or alienate you. I’m so sorry. It’s just...I’m just...” she struggled with words, gesturing with her free hand, “I’m so happy that I got to know more of you...I had such a wonderful time...I really like you...I want things to be special for you...I...” she babbled in a fast pace. “I’m just scared you won’t like my world,” she finally said, a nervous sigh escaping her lips. “Sorry. I’m not really used to saying what goes on in my head. And I’m also very inarticulate, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.”
“Olivia, why would you be scared? I’m here, aren’t I? Obviously, I like what I’ve seen so far,” the ADA pointed out gently. “I just wish you wouldn’t make assumptions about me.”
“I know,” the detective murmured, chastised. “I’m sorry. Forgive me?”
Alex smiled. “Yes. As long as you stop.”
Olivia seemed relieved, nodding vehemently. “Can I make it up to you by buying you dinner?” she asked, subjecting Alex to the puppy dog eyes treatment.
The blonde snorted. “Oh, all right,” she replied, amused.
“Are you feeling adventurous, Counselor?” Olivia asked with an impish smile.
Alex gave her a suspicious look. “Why?”
“Well, there’s this quiet little Ethiopian restaurant I know,” the detective grinned. “It’s a wonderful experience if you’re feeling brave.”
“Ethiopian?” Alex echoed, searching the depths of her mind for any information but finding none. “I have never had Ethiopian food,” she said, a little intimidated.
“Well, can you handle spicy food?” Olivia asked.
“Yes,” the blonde nodded, still not entirely sure that was such a good idea.
“Great! Let’s go then,” Olivia grinned, and they headed out of the precinct as soon as she put Elliot’s documents away.
When then stepped into the hole in the wall restaurant, Alex paused for a moment to take in the interior. It was beautiful in a simple, exotic way. The place was candlelit, with tiny stools around intricately woven basket tables. The aroma of spices and homemade cooking filled the air, and there were no more than five tables being served. Ethiopian music played softly in the background. It was a very relaxing atmosphere, and quite intimate it seemed, in a romantic kind of way.
“Do you like it?” Olivia asked as she made her way to a more secluded table.
“Yes, I do,” Alex replied sincerely. “It’s very...intimate.”
The detective gave her a piercing look. “Are you uncomfortable?”
“Not at all,” the blonde smiled. “We’re friends, or well on our way to becoming friends...”
They shared a smile and a long gaze which ended when they were approached by the waiter. Olivia ordered a bottle of T’ej, and once the waiter stepped away from the table, she smiled at Alex and said, “T’ej is Ethiopian honey wine. It enhances your experience, because the wine and the food complement each other.”
Alex nodded, still looking around and enjoying the quiet, soothing atmosphere.
The waiter came back with the bottle of T’ej and Olivia ordered and All Meat Combo after showing Alex the menu and getting her approval. Alex was slightly taken aback when he walked towards them with two bowls full of soapy hot water with folded towels next to them.
“It’s to wash your hands,” Olivia instructed with a smile.
Alex arched her eyebrows, impressed, and followed the detective’s lead. Once they were left alone again, Olivia served them both some wine and smiled at the ADA, who seemed to be staring at a nearby couple in shock. She turned to find the couple eating, then chuckled, shaking her head. Alex was in for a surprise. Olivia hoped she wouldn’t traumatize the blonde too much, but Alex did tell her not to make assumptions.
“Please tell me there are forks and they just want to be different,” the blonde said nervously, before finally realizing that all customers were eating with their hands.
“Nope. You eat with your hands and you share the same plate. It’s a bonding experience,” the detective explained casually. “Should I have assumed you wouldn’t enjoy this?” she teased lightly.
Alex sighed. “Olivia...” she complained mildly.
“Look, we can go, if that’s what you want,” Olivia finally said.
“Is that why you brought me here? To make me eat my words?” the ADA frowned at her.
Olivia looked amused. “Yeah. With your fingers,” she grinned, and before Alex could reply, she added, "I brought you here because I love this place, and I wanted to share it with you."
Alex seemed genuinely contrite. “I’m sorry.”
Before Olivia could say anything, the waiter came back and placed a big plate in the middle of the table. It was beautifully arranged and wonderfully aromatic.
“So...how should I do this?” the ADA asked, blushing.
Olivia was pleased her friend had decided to give the place a chance. She picked some food with her fingertips and brought it to her mouth, arching her eyebrows at the blonde as she chewed. When Alex hesitated touching the food, Olivia picked some more of it and brought it to the blonde's lips. Alex awkwardly accepted the offered food, her lips touching Olivia's fingertips, causing her to blush.
“Hmm...wow. This food is REALLY good,” she remarked wide eyed.
“I’m glad you like it,” Olivia replied contentedly.
By the end of the meal, they finished their bottle of honey wine and Alex sighed contentedly and perfectly full. Olivia smiled archly at the blonde and sucked her own fingertips clean, daring Alex to do the same. Alex was relaxed enough that she arched her eyebrows at Olivia and indulged her. Then, Olivia ordered cardamom-flavored coffee when the waiter brought them steaming wet towels to clean their hands.
“I’m so proud of you,” she smirked at the blonde.
“So are we ok?” Alex asked with a guilty smile.
“Yes,” the detective nodded.
“Good. I love this. You can buy me dinner here any time,” she grinned.
“Rather forward of you, Counselor,” Olivia teased.
“You say it like it’s a bad thing,” Alex replied slyly.
“Perish the thought,” Olivia said with a grin.
Olivia paid for the meal and they walked out into the chilly night air. She hailed a cab and they got in. Olivia told her she’d escort her, so Alex gave the driver her address. They were silent during the ride, basking in each other’s company and thinking back on the fun they had had.
Once the cab pulled in front of the impressive building in the upper east side, Alex invited Olivia to come up for a drink, which the detective promptly accepted. Olivia paid the driver in spite of Alex’s protests, and as soon as they approached the entrance, they were greeted by a doorman. Olivia had heard the rumors that the ADA was old money, but this surpassed anything she could have imagined.
They made their way to the elevator and Alex pushed the button for the 17th floor before leaning back against the wall and flashing Olivia a sweet smile. Once they reached her floor, Alex fished for her keys in her purse and led the detective towards the fancy lone door in the hall.
“Nicholas?” Alex called out in a sweet voice as soon as she opened the door.
Olivia’s eyes widened in awe as a gorgeous odd-eyed white cat strolled towards the door to greet them. Alex unceremoniously dropped her purse and briefcase on the floor and bent down to pick him up. Olivia chuckled as the cat purred happily.
“How’s my baby?” she asked affectionately, apparently not minding the fact that Olivia was watching her with unbridled curiosity and amusement. “Olivia, meet Nicholas,” she finally said.
“He’s beautiful...what breed is he?” the detective asked, tentatively reaching out to pet him and receiving some purring right back.
“Norwegian Forest,” the blonde replied. “Very playful, very smart and very loving. Perfect for the very busy life of a very lonely Assistant District Attorney,” she added with a smirk before letting him back down on the floor. “Please, come in and make yourself at home. I apologize if it’s a bit cold; Nicholas is not particularly fond of heat, so I normally leave it off.”
Alex turned on the lights and Olivia looked around at the beautiful apartment. Alex had the whole Feng Shui thing going for her, and she couldn’t help but feel more at ease in the soothing environment. Nicholas followed her towards the couch, and when she sat down, he took the spot right next to her, studying her curiously. She petted him, loving how soft the well groomed fur felt against her hand. There was no trace of shedding anywhere, she noticed. The place was impeccable, and if she weren’t sitting next to a huge cat, she would have never figured Alex had a pet. Maybe she had a maid.
“I see you’re making friends,” Alex remarked with a smile. “So what can I get you?”
“Would it be ok if we just have some tea? I think I’ve had enough to drink with that bottle of T’ej we shared,” Olivia admitted almost shyly.
“Absolutely,” Alex replied without second thought. In truth, she appreciated the fact that Olivia only drank moderately. There was nothing more unattractive to her than drunkards. That and defence attorneys. “Would jasmine be ok?”
“Sure,” the detective nodded.
A couple of minutes later, Olivia followed Alex into the kitchen. She leaned against the doorway, watching the blonde with a smile on her face. She was happy to be there, especially because she knew it was a big deal for Alex to just open her home – and herself – to someone else. She knew it because she felt the same.
Nicholas strolled into the kitchen and hopped effortlessly on a counter. Alex took notice of him, and consequently, of Olivia.
“We got lonely,” the brunette explained with a shrug and a grin.
Alex arched her eyebrows, a slow smirk spreading across her lips. “Is that so?” she asked, amused, folding her arms in front of her as she appraised the detective’s faux innocent look.
“Yup,” Olivia nodded, entering the kitchen and stopping just before invading Alex’s personal space. “So we decided to check you out.” It took Olivia a moment to realize what she’d said, and she quickly corrected herself, blushing hard, “Check on you!”
The deep guffaw filled the kitchen. “Very smooth, Detective,” she teased, a glint of mischief in her heavenly blue eyes as the other woman fidgeted in front of her. “So now I know what you meant when you said John wasn’t the only one looking at my legs.”
“No! I, that’s not what I...I mean...” Olivia stammered, gesturing wildly as if reaching for answers.
“Will you relax? I’m just kidding,” Alex chuckled, holding her hands. “God, maybe we should have something with no caffeine in it.”
The detective’s shoulders sagged. “You’re killing me, Alex,” she gave the blonde a wounded look.
The blonde gave her a mock ashamed look. “Then tell me how I can make it up to you,” she said in a smooth, charming tone, an irresistible smile on her face.
Olivia felt herself smiling back without meaning to. “You’re awful.”
Alex grinned. “I don’t see you running away,” she pointed out smugly.
Once the tea was ready, they moved back to the living room and talked for little while. Olivia realized that Alex was the one person she could sit down with and have a conversation that didn’t involve work. It was strange, considering that the ADA hardly ever left her office, but not unwelcome.
“Well, I should be going,” Olivia announced after a good couple of hours. “Thanks for joining me for dinner, and for the tea. I really enjoy your company.”
Alex smiled at her without a trace of conceit. “As I do yours. And thank you for inviting me out. We should do it more often. I had a wonderful time.”
The detective walked towards the door with Alex following right behind her. “So did I. And we definitely should do it more often. God knows I can use a break from the testosterone. All the more enjoyable if it’s with you,” she said sincerely.
Alex smiled happily. They shared a brief hug, then parted ways.
Tuesday wasn’t looking good. Olivia was hauled out of bed with a phone call from her captain at four AM. Elliot was taking care of his daughter, so she was going to meet Cragen instead. She didn’t mind working with the captain, finding it a good opportunity to learn more from the seasoned cop, but she still wished it wasn’t in the middle of the night and over the body of an elderly lady.
Her day was spent mostly out of the precinct, and Elliot had joined her after lunch, which she had skipped. As they interviewed witnesses and looked for evidence, she felt her thoughts continuously drifting to Alex. She attributed it to the excitement of a new friendship and shook it off.
Late at night, even after everyone had left the precinct, she sat at her desk studying the case, going over everything just in case she’d missed something. There was a cold mug of sludge in front of her, and she scowled as she took a sip of it. She rubbed her eyes for a moment, and before she’d realized it, she found herself dialling Alex’s number.
“Cabot,” was the clipped reply.
“Hey, Alex, it’s me,” Olivia smiled, her spirits lifting a bit.
“Olivia,” said in surprise, then taking on a concerned tone, “You sound tired. Are you still at work?”
“Yeah,” the detective replied.
“I missed you today.”
“God, I missed you too,” Olivia sighed. “I kept wondering how your day was going, but everything was so hectic I couldn’t really call.”
“My day was actually quite boring. I had no one to prosecute, so I pushed papers around,” Alex replied, and Olivia could tell she was grinning. “How’s the case coming along?”
“I’m trying to make one,” the detective shook her head to herself. “I must have missed something.”
“I find that hard to believe,” was the honest remark.
“Oh my God, did I just hear a compliment?” Olivia teased lightly, chuckling into the phone.
“Bite me,” Alex replied, but chuckled as well. “Listen, why don’t you go home? I’m sure you’ll be able to reason more accurately after you’ve rested.”
“You’re probably right,” the detective conceded, stretching her legs.
“What else is new?”
Olivia snorted. “Bye, Counselor,” she said with a smile.
“Sweet dreams, Detective,” came the reply in the same tone.
Olivia headed to her apartment and took a shower before going to bed. She was too tired to eat, and her eyes were heavy from all the reading she had done. The moment her head hit the pillow, she was out like a light.
Alex walked into the squad room early in the morning. She perched on Olivia’s desk and flashed her a grin as she placed a box of donuts and a cappuccino in front of the surprised brunette.
“Good morning, Detective,” she greeted.
“Hey! Is this all for me?” Olivia asked gleefully.
“Mm-hmm,” the ADA nodded. “You sounded very tired last night, so I thought it’d be safe to presume that you would skip dinner in favor of sleep.”
“Very good, Alex,” Olivia grinned. “You should become a Detective.”
Alex leaned in closer to her and spoke in a low tone, not wanting to be overheard, “But then, you would have to figure other ways to impress me.”
Olivia nearly spilled her cappuccino, and was rewarded with a wink. She stared at Alex, who stood up straight, wished her a good day at work, spun on her heels and left.
“How come Benson is getting goodies from the ADA?” Fin asked to no one in particular.
Munch arched his eyebrows. “Hmm...I wonder...”
Fin stared hard at his partner. “No way. Don’t even go there.”
Elliot, who had just stepped in, asked curiously, “Go where?”
Munch shot him a half smile, looking at him over his glasses. “It seems Benson has done something to get into our esteemed ADA’s good graces.”
Fin explained further, “Cabot just stopped by to feed your partner, apparently.”
“Hey, Liv,” Elliot called, and Olivia looked up to find the three detectives studying her. “What’s with the breakfast special?”
She rolled her eyes at them. “Don’t you guys have anything better to do?”
“Please,” Munch replied, “Cabot has been around for over a year and we still know her as well as we did when we first met her. Then suddenly, you two are all cozy and she’s bringing you breakfast. The least you can do is shed some light into this before our fertile imaginations overload.”
“You guys are so full of it,” Olivia complained. “She knew I worked until very late yesterday and probably felt sorry for me. End of story. Maybe she relates because she also works very hard, unlike some colleagues who just sit around finding conspiracies in everything.”
“Ouch,” Fin snickered, patting Munch on the back.
“She’s coming over for Thanksgiving, so we’re going to have our chance at getting to know her better,” Elliot announced neutrally to keep them off Olivia’s back.
They got a donut each and eventually retreated to their own desks, but didn’t fail to notice the uncharacteristically happy smile on Olivia’s face as they shifted their focus to their work with similar knowing smiles on their faces.
In the mean time, Alexandra Cabot pushed herself off the wall she was leaning against and walked towards her office with her ever present small smirk and a shake of the head. Those SVU detectives were definitely a handful, and she hoped Olivia would live up to her promise and keep her safe at Elliot’s Thanksgiving gathering. After all, she wasn’t used to being on the receiving end of the third degree.
By the afternoon, Olivia had cracked the case and given Alex someone to prosecute. The ADA had questioned the huge shit-eating grin on the detective’s face when Olivia had stopped by her office to give her the news, and they had chatted briefly before parting ways.
At night, the detectives stopped at their usual haunt to buy Olivia a drink, and Alex had surprised all of them by accepting the invitation extended to her. It was a bit awkward at first, with the cops not knowing what to make of the ADA’s presence. Then, with some effort from Olivia and Elliot, they eventually sat in a comfortable atmosphere. Alex could take on Munch’s conspiracy theories and keep up with Fin’s gibes, and felt like she was finally becoming part of the gang.
They spent about three hours talking and joking around, and after a glance at her watch, Alex decided it was time to leave. A round of booing took place, causing the blonde to chuckle.
“I’m sorry to disappoint you, Detectives,” she declared, “But while your work is done, mine is only beginning. I have court first thing in the morning.”
“I’ll join you,” Olivia said almost too quickly. “I have some sleeping to do,” she justified lamely.
“All right. I’m driving today, so I’ll give you a ride.” Alex smiled at her, then turned to the men, “I’ll make sure she gets home safe.”
They said their goodbyes and left the bar, oblivious to the exchange of looks amongst the men. They walked side by side, the chilly wind bringing them closer together on their way to Alex’s car.
“Where is your car?” Olivia chuckled as they started their second block.
“My, Detective, are you that out of shape that you can’t walk a couple of blocks?” Alex teased.
“If I say yes, will you carry me?” the detective smirked.
“Fat chance of that happening,” came the wry reply. “I’m not that strong.”
“Are you implying I’m fat?” Olivia huffed playfully.
“Absolutely not,” Alex shook her head, gently bumping her shoulder against Olivia’s. “I shouldn’t even have dignified that with an answer.”
They shared a grin and Alex nodded towards a black Mercedes SLK. She opened the passenger door and took Olivia’s hand to help her into the car with mock chivalry, smirking as she closed the door. Olivia inspected the beautiful interior, hardly believing she was going to be driven home in that car. When Alex slid in next to her, she stared at her in disbelief.
“You got a car this hot...with automatic transmission?”
Alex laughed lightly. “Well, I’m very sorry to disappoint you, but I got it as a present, and my mother doesn’t think driving manual is becoming for a lady. It was hard enough to convince her I am capable of driving as it was. In fact, I am pretty sure the main reason she gave me this was that she didn’t want me to choose a car for myself.”
Olivia whistled. “Think she’d adopt me? I’d let her choose anything.”
Alex let out a hearty laugh. “Do you honestly think you could handle her? She’s twice as bad as I would be if I were on speed.”
“In that case, I choose to live vicariously through you,” Olivia smirked.
Alex rolled her eyes playfully. “Would you like to drive?”
“Are you kidding me?” Olivia stared at her.
The blonde seemed confused. “Meaning?”
“Well, duh,” the detective said excitedly. “Oh my God, I can’t believe I am going to drive this baby.”
“Great, the car rates higher than I do,” Alex smirked, getting out of the car and walking over to the passenger side.
Olivia arched her eyebrows, seemingly waiting for the ADA to open her door. Alex scoffed, but indulged her. “Why, thank you, Ms. Cabot...” she purred in the girliest voice she could muster, batting her eyelashes at the taller woman.
“Right,” the blonde shook her head, amused.
They sat in the car for about five minutes. Olivia ran her hands along the steering wheel, studied the panel, took her sweet time.
“Should I leave you alone with the car?” Alex finally asked in a teasing tone.
A dark eyebrow shot up. “Are you entertaining dirty thoughts of me in your car, Counselor?”
A beat, and then, “If I were, it would be quite disappointing that you wouldn’t need more than just the car to fulfill your desires, Detective.”
Olivia's expression remained the same, but she couldn't form words and her silence gave away her surprise.
Alex snickered. “So, are you going to drive or are we sitting here all night? Come on, Detective. Let’s go for a spin,” she winked and buckled her seatbelt.
Olivia just nodded, still unable to believe Alexandra Cabot had just flirted with her in a completely conspicuous manner. They had flirted lightly, playfully, a few times before, but nothing anywhere near what had just been said. She started the engine, momentarily forgetting her thoughts to enjoy the purring of the engine.
Alex pushed the play button and Diana Krall filled the car with her music. Olivia had asked her where she wanted to go, but the ADA had just shrugged, so they drove around the city for almost an hour before Olivia finally pulled over in front of her place. They both got out and stood on the sidewalk.
“Do you want to come up?” the detective offered with a smile.
“I’d love to, Liv, but I really must go home and make sure I’m ready for tomorrow,” Alex said regretfully.
“Well, thanks for the ride,” Olivia nodded her understanding. “It was wonderful.”
“My pleasure. Let me know when you want to play driver,” Alex grinned.
“With that car? Any time,” she grinned right back.
Alex chuckled and turned to leave, but Olivia held her gently by the arm. At the blonde’s questioning look, Olivia looked down and stared at her boots for a moment before meeting her eyes again.
“There is not a chance that any car would rate higher than you do, Alex,” she finally said in a soft, sweet tone. “Nothing does. I’m not sure any person does, either.”
With that, she leaned in and placed a warm kiss on the blonde’s cheek, whispering a goodnight and walking into her building without waiting for an answer. Alex stood there for a good couple of minutes before she was able to make it back to her car.
Wednesday had been crazy at the precinct, and Alex had been busy in and out of court, so they didn’t see each other. Olivia made it home a little before midnight, and found a message on her answering machine.
“Hey, Liv, it’s me. I didn’t want to call your cell phone because I figured you were busy,” Alex’s deep, husky voice came through very clear. “Please give me a call when you get back, even if it’s late. I’ll be waiting. Bye.”
Olivia smiled at the sound of Alex’s voice, pressing her number on the speed dial.
“Cabot,” came the clipped answer Olivia was expecting.
“Ever tried sounding happier when answering your phone?” the detective teased.
“I’m an Assistant District Attorney. I don’t get calls from people when everything is perfect in their lives,” she replied wryly, but Olivia could tell she was smiling.
“Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have any bad news for you, Counselor,” Olivia chuckled. “You left me a message, remember?”
“I’m never disappointed to hear from you, Detective,” Alex said smoothly. “I just wanted to know if I could stop by your place tomorrow before going to Elliot’s. I don’t know where he lives.”
“That depends,” the detective drawled into the phone. “Will you let me drive?”
“I wouldn’t dream of keeping you from it,” Alex chuckled.
“All right. The guys are going around seven, but unfortunately for you, your driver has to be there earlier to help prepare everything,” Olivia said. “What do you say you come over for lunch? We’ll head to Elliot’s afterwards.”
“All right, but I’m buying it,” the blonde replied.
“Deal. But make it something light, we want to be hungry for tomorrow night,” Olivia smiled.
“Sweet dreams, Counselor,” Olivia grinned into the phone.
“If you’re in them, they will be, Detective. Goodnight.”
Olivia wasn’t sure how long she stood there holding the receiver, listening to the sound of the disconnected call.
Olivia heard the buzzer and let Alex in. She opened the door and rushed back to her bedroom. She had woken up late and had just come out of the shower. A wolf whistle had her turn to the doorway to find Alex leaning against it with a smirk on her face. The detective looked down at her black underwear and blushed, but knew it would be futile to try and hide herself with her hands.
“Very hot, Detective, but perhaps something more appropriate would be wise, considering Elliot has children,” Alex pointed out matter-of-factly. She walked further into the bedroom and noticed the mess of clothes on Olivia’s bed.
“I can’t make up my mind,” Olivia frowned.
“Well, I guess that depends on who you’re trying to impress,” the blonde said casually, sitting down at the edge of the bed and perusing the discarded articles of clothing. “Elliot is married, so I guess he’s out. John is easily impressed, therefore hardly worth the effort. Fin only dates African-American women. Don...no offense to the good Captain, but let’s not go there.”
Olivia felt a distinct feeling of panic growing inside her. Her breath hitched in her throat and her eyes darted across the room trying to find an escape route. Too late. Alex was standing right there.
“Have I forgotten anyone, Liv?” she asked, feigning innocence.
“You’re cruel, you know,” Olivia scowled at her.
“Well,” Alex replied in a regretful tone as she moved away to leave the room, letting Olivia off the hook, “It doesn’t matter anyway. You’re pretty impressive as it is, Olivia, so there’s no need for you to fuss over what to wear. I like that black sweater though. It’s pretty.”
Olivia was left alone with her choices, but immediately picked the black sweater. The ADA herself was wearing a similar sweater, only in red.
Alex was pleased when the detective came out of the bedroom dressed in the skintight sweater she had selected. She gave Olivia an appraising look, smiling brightly at her. “You look great,” she complimented.
“I would say the same to you, but then again you always do,” Olivia smiled.
“So what’s good to eat here?” the detective asked, pointing to the bags.
Alex choked on her breath and coughed several times. “Thai,” she gasped, still coughing into her hand.
Olivia smirked at the flustered ADA. “I’ll set the table. Do you need some water?”
“No,” Alex managed to say. “Thank you.”
They didn’t talk much during lunch, until Alex broke the silence to ask questions about Elliot’s kids and the history of past Thanksgivings just so she could be prepared. Olivia did her best to calm her down, but she could feel Alex was growing nervous as the time approached that they would have to leave.
“Alex, you’ll be fine,” the brunette said gently. “Besides, I’m going to be right there with you. See, I even got all pretty just for you.”
Alex felt her tension dissipate a little and a smile tugged at her lips. “I knew it.”
“That is the smuggest smile I have ever seen,” Olivia remarked with a playful roll of the eyes.
The blonde shrugged with a twinkle in her eyes. “Hey, gorgeous woman trying to impress me... It’s quite the ego boost.”
The detective beamed at her. “Well, have I prepped you enough?”
The ADA sighed. “I’m as ready as I’m going to be, so let’s go.”
“Everything will be fine. You’re going to love Kathy. She’s as intimidating as you are,” Olivia grinned, patting her back with mock condescension as they made their way out of the apartment.
Elliot lived in Queens, and Alex had been looking out the window at the houses and people passing by, taking in the neighborhood. Once they pulled over in front of his house, the blonde let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. She looked up when she felt Olivia’s hand on her thigh.
“It’s going to be just you, me and Kathy for the whole afternoon,” Olivia said, flashing her an encouraging smile. “Plenty of time for you to get acquainted.”
Alex closed her eyes, and after a huge intake of air, returned the smile. “Ok, Liv. Let’s go.”
Once they were in the house, Alex felt her nervousness subside. Kathy was a wonderful hostess, immediately making her comfortable as if they had been friends for years. Eventually, the women were all in the kitchen, busy with preparations while sipping on the wine that Alex had brought as a present. The ADA had briefly explained that she wasn’t experienced in the kitchen, leaving out the embarrassing details. Kathy had assured her it was no problem, and gave her instructions on how to help.
Later in the afternoon, Elliot returned with the kids. Aware of the terrified look on Alex’s eyes, Olivia moved to introduce her to the kids and spare her any awkwardness, her comforting smile and reassuring eyes doing wonders to soothe the ADA. Eventually, the kids retreated to their rooms upstairs to find more interesting things to do, and the adults were left alone, much for Alex’s relief.
“Here,” Olivia said gently, giving her glass a refill.
“How come I don’t get one?” Elliot smirked.
His partner shot him a glare. “Don’t push it,” she warned, but handed him a glass.
Kathy waved a spoon at him. “Good, you got your wine, now get the hell out of my kitchen.”
“See how she treats me?” he asked the ADA. “Why don’t you join me for a game of backgammon?”
“I’m helping here,” Alex replied with a shake of the head.
“Come on, Alex...are you scared I’m going to beat you?” Elliot challenged with a smirk.
Alex’s eyes narrowed. She turned to the two other women, who just nodded at her, then followed Elliot into the living room.
“It is virtually impossible for Alexandra Cabot to back down from a challenge,” Olivia explained with a grin.
“Unfortunately, he hasn’t been beaten since high school,” Kathy chuckled.
“She’s still going to play it all night if we let them,” Olivia said, amused.
“I like her,” Kathy remarked, smiling at the detective. “And hey, who knows...maybe she’s going to be the one to do it. He could use some humbling.”
The guests started to arrive and they interrupted their game to make room for everyone.
“He beat you?” Olivia asked discreetly, a small smile playing on her lips.
“Like a rug,” Alex replied, chuckling in spite of herself.
“Whose ride is THAT?” Fin asked, pointing to the SLK parked outside.
“I believe our best bet is our esteemed ADA,” Munch replied in his usual monotone, arching his eyebrows at the blonde, who blushed slightly.
She merely nodded, feeling self-conscious.
“Well, it’s hot.”
The casual way Fin made that statement had Alex let out a short, relieved sigh. She hated it when people brought up the word “slumming”, effectively alienating her, and that had happened so many times she tried to keep every little detail of her private life a secret. Fortunately, the SVU detectives seemed unconcerned with her privileged background, and she could feel herself relax once more.
The blonde was mostly quiet while the conversation went on in the living room, but she wasn’t really uncomfortable. She enjoyed watching them, and she definitely enjoyed the closeness of the beautiful detective sitting right next to her on the arm of the couch. Cragen had called to let them know he wouldn’t be able to make it, so it would be just them for the night.
Eventually, they all moved to the dining room, and regaled the ADA with tales of their careers during the course of the wonderful meal Olivia and Kathy had prepared. Olivia was mostly quiet during dinner, simply enjoying herself in the company of her friends and taking special delight in the proximity of the gorgeous blonde sitting next to her.
After dinner, Olivia was whisked away by the kids. She had made sure Alex was comfortable, and while the beautiful detective was pulled upstairs to play videogames, the ADA remained downstairs with Kathy and the other detectives, first helping Kathy clean up and then sitting down to play Texas Hold ‘Em with the men. Alex was happy to get back at Elliot, beating them at every turn. When they moved on to other games, Alex chose to sit out and join Kathy on the couch for a movie.
That’s where Olivia found them. She slid next to Alex and flashed her a smile. “Hey,” she greeted. “I hear you left the guys broken and bleeding.”
“They’ll live,” the blonde replied with a grin.
“Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to drop,” the detective said.
“We should go, then,” Alex smiled with a nod.
They said their goodbyes and left. If anyone wondered why Olivia was driving Alex’s car, it went unmentioned.
They drove around the city for a while at Alex’s request, and when Olivia pulled over in front of her building, the blonde rested a hand on her thigh to prevent her from exiting the car. She chewed on her bottom lip as if trying to come up with something to say. Olivia just kept looking at her, a little confused, but smiling gently, always glad to spend some extra time in her company.
“I was just wondering,” the ADA started nervously, “If I would be out of line to invite you to come over to my place for a sleepover. It would be nice to spend more time with you.” She let out the breath she was holding. “But I understand if you have other plans.”
“I’d love to,” the detective said sincerely. “Come on up, I just need to get some stuff.”
Alex visibly relaxed, and after they shared a small smile, they exited the car and went up to Olivia’s apartment. The blonde followed Olivia into her bedroom; she couldn’t help but feel comfortable in the familiar place. While Olivia packed, Alex sat on the bed and neatly folded all of the clothes the detective had tossed around in frustration while trying to pick her outfit earlier that day. The detective melted at the sight.
“I’m definitely keeping you around,” she grinned before disappearing into the bathroom to get the remaining things she would need.
Alex scoffed. “I’m hoping this is not solely based on my ability to fold clothes.”
“Well, you also have hot wheels,” Olivia snickered, walking back into the bedroom.
The blonde shot her a nasty look.
“Aw...” the detective purred, making her way to the scowling ADA and unceremoniously sitting down on her lap, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “You know I’m just messing with you.”
Alex melted helplessly under Olivia’s attentions. “If you think you can just charm your way out of trouble by sitting on me of all things, you have a whole different thing coming,” she said without any conviction, arms already resting comfortably around the detective’s trim waist.
Olivia grinned, placing a tender kiss on top of her head and twirling a strand of blond hair in her fingers. “I don’t know, it seems to be working pretty well.”
Alex snorted, then her lips parted in an easy smile. “Come on,” she said, patting the side of Olivia’s thigh. “I’m dying to take a nice shower and change into my sleeping attire.”
Olivia looked up, pretending to consider her situation. “I don’t know...” she said, shifting slightly before slumping into the amused blonde. “I’m pretty comfy here.”
“I’ll let you sit on me later,” the ADA chuckled.
The detective got up with a smirk. “Just remember you said that. I’m ready, so let’s go.”
“You’re impossible,” Alex said, baffled.
“But you keep me around, so what does that say about you?” Olivia smirked.
“God only knows,” Alex grinned.
The drive to the ADA’s apartment was silent, and once they were there, they were greeted by Nicholas. The cat was apparently excited to see her again.
“Considering he avoids my mother and sister like the plague, I’d say he sees something really special in you,” Alex smiled, gently petting her cat, currently nestled in Olivia’s arms.
“That’s because he’s a smart kitty, like his human,” Olivia replied happily. “I just love animals.”
“All right, do you want to take a shower first or should I?” Alex asked.
“You can,” Olivia smiled. “I’ll keep Nicholas company.”
She chuckled. “Ok. Make yourself comfortable, Liv. I’ll be out in a few. If you want to watch TV, it’s the first door to the left in the hall.”
Olivia sat down on the couch with Nicholas on her lap. After a few moments, she decided to check out the TV room. She opened the double door and felt around for the light switch. Her eyes widened and she whistled at the sight. There was a widescreen plasma TV and one hell of an entertainment center, as well as a collection of DVDs. The couch separated it from the rest of the room, where an amazing book collection covered the wall. To top it off, a grand piano sat in one corner. She noticed the walls seemed to be thicker in that room...sound-proofed, maybe? Nicholas meowed up at her, and she picked him up before making her way to the beautiful instrument. He hopped from her arms onto the piano, the snow white of his fur contrasting beautifully against the black of the piano.
Olivia looked at the sheet music and realized that Alex was even more talented than she actually let on. The thought of the blonde playing took her breath away. She caressed the keys absently, sitting down on the stool and wondering when the hell she’d become so infatuated with the younger woman. She smiled at herself; luckily, Alex seemed just as smitten with her.
“Your turn,” the blonde announced about twenty minutes later, walking into the room wearing the most adorable flannel pajamas. “I’ve cleaned out a drawer for you, so you can unpack.”
“God, you’re cute,” Olivia snickered, following her into her bedroom at the end of the hall.
Alex feigned hurt. “Not exactly what a woman likes to hear, but oh well.”
“You’re wearing pink bunny PJs,” the detective pointed out, and they shared a laugh.
“My mother gave them to me,” she admitted.
Olivia looked around at the candles adorning the nightstands and smiled. It was a dream bedroom, to say the least, fit for a princess. Definitely Alex all over. The blonde smiled, noticing her appreciation.
“Why don’t you just take what you need and I’ll unpack for you?” she offered gently.
Olivia nodded, picking out her own flannel PJs and handed her bag over to the ADA, who gestured to the door behind her.
“I put a couple of towels in there for you,” Alex smiled. “And a toothbrush. I have one at your place, so it’s only fair you have one at mine.”
Alex’s bathroom wasn’t any less impressive than the rest of her apartment. Olivia had never seen anything like it, and though she had never really been anywhere that sumptuous, she couldn’t help but feel at home, especially considering how warmly Alex acted towards her. After her shower, she quickly got dressed and went out looking for Alex. She found the blonde in the kitchen sipping on a hot cup of tea.
Alex looked up with a smile. “Tea?” she offered.
“I’ll pour, thanks,” Olivia smiled back. “This place is amazing. I could come here on vacation, it’s way better than any hotel I’ve ever been in,” she said with a chuckle. Then, with a sly grin, she added, “And the sights are something to behold.”
Alex laughed, delighted. “Very charming.”
“So...what’s with the piano?” Olivia asked curiously.
“Ah,” the ADA nodded, “My guilty pleasure. I started when I was six. All Cabots are required to learn how to play an instrument, and that is the one family ‘requirement’ I am grateful for.”
“Why didn’t you mention it in your list of things you do for fun?” the detective inquired.
“Because it is not something I do for fun,” Alex replied, her eyes twinkling with amusement. “It’s a wicked indulgence, considering the amount of time I dedicate to it that could be spent working. It’s a true passion, just as fierce and consuming as my job. Almost pleasurable enough to be illicit.”
Olivia felt a shiver run down her spine. Her throat was dry in spite of the tea she was drinking. “Will you play for me?” she asked hoarsely, then cleared her throat, blushing lightly.
Alex fixed her blue eyes on Olivia’s brown ones, her pupils dilated and incredibly alluring. The detective was flustered under that inscrutable gaze, and fidgeted slightly. “Why are you nervous, Liv?”
“I don’t know,” Olivia admitted with a helpless shrug. “You’re just so...overwhelmingly intense.”
Alex’s eyes softened. “I don’t mean to be,” she said quietly. “And I certainly don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I’m sorry if I have. How about I play for you tomorrow? It will give me time to find a song for you, and I think a night of sleep will do wonders for both of us.”
The detective was slightly disappointed, but nodded in response. “Ok.”
The blonde smiled almost sadly, as if sharing her disappointment. “Tomorrow you will have your song. I promise,” she assured Olivia, her tone gentle. “You’re not the only one who’s overwhelmed,” she disclosed in barely a whisper, as if acknowledging that particular piece of information more to herself than Olivia, and as if the detective wasn’t meant to hear it.
Lying side by side, even in Alex’s California King, hadn’t been easy, especially since in their effort not to crowd each other, they were on opposite sides of the bed. After tossing and turning for a while, the ADA sat up in frustration, looking out the window. It had started to rain, but even the sound of the raindrops falling softly against her window did little to soothe her. She glanced at Olivia, who seemed to be asleep. Careful not to wake the detective, Alex crept out of bed and out of the room, oblivious to the forlorn sigh that escaped the brunette.
The ADA went to her piano, closing the door on her way in. She needed to think. She needed a song. Her thoughts and feelings were in turmoil, all regarding the beautiful woman asleep in her bed. She wasn’t sure when Olivia had changed from being one of her coworkers into everything else; when the piercing brown eyes suddenly started eliciting a response from seemingly every cell in her body; when seeing her at work everyday just wasn't enough. With a sigh, she touched the piano keys.
In the mean time, Olivia, ever the detective, waited for a few moments before following the blonde. Alex had gone into the conservatory, and Olivia stood outside the door debating whether to go inside or not. Then, she heard the piano, and she strained her ears to listen to the music playing on the other side of the door; the isolated room muffled the sound enough that it wouldn’t disturb the neighbors, but fortunately for Olivia, she could still listen to the blonde’s velvety voice as she sang softly,
“I've seen you twice in a short time, only a week since we started... It seems to me, for every time I'm getting more open-hearted. I was an impossible case, no one ever could reach me... But I think I can see in your face, there's a lot you can teach me...”
Olivia smiled slightly at that. She never pictured Alex for an ABBA fan, although to be fair the ADA had given it a smooth jazz flair. The detective decided she liked ABBA a lot more when Alex was playing it.
“So I wanna know... What's the name of the game? Does it mean anything to you? What's the name of the game? Can you feel it the way I do? Tell me please, 'cause I have to know - I'm a bashful child, beginning to grow...”
Olivia wasn’t a fool. The lyrics were too appropriate to be casual. So that was Alex’s outlet; why she needed the piano as much as she needed her job. The detective wondered how many confessions that piano had been privy to; which songs had been played when the cases had been too rough, or even when they hadn’t. She wanted to know all of it, and more than that, she wanted to be part of it. She, too, wanted to know the name of the game.
“And you make me talk, and you make me feel... And you make me show what I'm trying to conceal... If I trust in you, would you let me down? Would you laugh at me if I said I care for you? Could you feel the same way too? I wanna know the name of the game...”
Olivia suddenly felt ashamed for standing on the other side of the door, listening to feelings Alex obviously wasn’t comfortable enough to share with her.
“I have no friends, no one to see, and I am never invited... Now I am here, talking to you - no wonder I get excited... Your smile, and the sound of your voice, and the way you see through me... Got a feeling, you give me no choice, but it means a lot to me... I was an impossible case, but I think I can see in your face that it means a lot...”
She waited until the blonde started a different melody, and slowly walked into the room. The room was dark with the exception of the pale light coming in from the window, making the little droplets of water on the window pane sparkle prettily. Alex’s fingers stilled for a moment when she noticed Olivia in the room, but the detective whispered a plea, “Please, don’t stop.”
And so Alex’s fingers were once again moving expertly, as if stroking the keys. She wordlessly scooted over a bit, giving Olivia some room to sit down next to her if the detective were so inclined. The melody was moving, and for a couple of minutes the blonde seemed perfectly content just playing. Olivia was just beginning to think Alex wouldn’t sing in front of her, when she started softly,
“I've been so many places in my life and time... I've sung a lot of songs, I've made some bad rhymes,” she smiled a little at that, then continued, “I've acted out my love in stages, with ten thousand people watching... But we're alone now, and I'm singing this song for you...”
Olivia smiled softly, finally sitting down next to her, longing for the proximity.
“I know your image of me is what I hope to be... I've treated you unkindly, but darling can't you see? There's no one more important to me... Darling, can't you please see through me? 'Cause we're alone now, and I'm singing this song for you...”
Olivia gently rested her hand on the small of the ADA’s back, careful not to get in the way of her arm, then started tracing light patterns over it absently. Alex relaxed a bit under the soothing, warm touch.
“You taught me precious secrets of the truth, withholding nothing... You came out in front and I was hiding... But now I'm so much better, and if my words don't come together...listen to the melody, 'cause my love is in there hiding...”
Olivia paused for a moment, then resumed the caress, absorbing the lyrics while trying to maintain a calm expression on her face. Alex hesitated, and stalled for a moment, just playing the piano before summoning up the courage to timidly start singing the last part.
“I love you in a place where there's no space or time... I love you, for my life, you are a friend of mine... And when my life is over, remember when we were together... We were alone, and I was singing this song for you...”
Olivia closed her eyes for a moment, and with sudden clarity, a smile crept on her lips. She took Alex’s hand, stilling it. The only audible things in the room were the raindrops on the window and their breathing...and the heartbeat, but Olivia was pretty sure that was in her own ears. Alex’s hand was trembling slightly under hers. With her free hand, Olivia reached up to touch the blonde’s cheek, slowly turning Alex’s face towards her own and bringing their lips together in a brief but incredibly sweet kiss.
She pulled away only enough to look for any signs that she’d made a mistake, but found nothing but love in clear blue eyes. Their lips met again, still tentatively, almost afraid the other would for some reason pull away. But they didn’t. They couldn’t. The kiss was delicate at first, lips engaged in a gentle exchange of caresses; it was Alex who took the plunge and slowly brought her tongue to Olivia’s lips, and then into her mouth, sliding against the detective’s tongue in a long, languid stroke. A low moan erupted from one of them, but neither would have been able to tell from whom. That’s when the kiss became more urgent, and when hands tangled in hair and arms wrapped around each other, pulling closer as well as they could under the present circumstances.
Next thing they knew, they were falling off the stool and landing with a soft ‘oof’ on the floor. They looked at each other wide-eyed, then their surprise gave way to understanding, and subsequently, hearty laughter filled the room.
“God, we’re smooth.”
“You play beautifully...and your singing is nothing short of divine,” Olivia said sincerely. “Thank you for sharing that part of you with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it.”
The blonde beamed at her. “I’m honored,” was all she could come up with, but her heartfelt tone spoke volumes more.
There was a pause, and then Olivia spoke again. “Say, if we’re gonna be lying down, would you mind if we went back to bed? It’s kinda chilly on the floor,” she pointed out almost apologetically.
A light eyebrow shot up and a sly smirk tugged at Alex’s lips. “You certainly don’t waste any time. All right. Let’s go to bed...I’ll even make sure you’re all warm,” she drawled.
Olivia grinned, stood and helped her up. “Keep talking to me like that and we’re never gonna make it to the third date...I’ll just have my wicked way with you tonight,” she purred.
“Unless you find a way to have all three of them right now, I can guarantee you that, short of your cruelly spurning my advances, we are most definitely not going to make it to the third date. And that’s a stupid rule that should be ignored by people who are in love,” Alex shrugged, then suddenly realized what she said and blushed. “I mean...I wasn’t assuming you felt that way...I meant me, not--”
“Alex,” Olivia said softly, kissing the flustered blonde to cut her off, “Read my lips: I. Am. So. In. Love. With. You.” She punctuated her declaration with sweet kisses. “Granted, you are the first woman I have felt this way about, so there’s not a lot of room for a comparison there, but the way I feel about you I have never felt about anyone in my life - men, women or anything else in between.”
Alex looked at her in amused disbelief. “You have been on the job way too long if you feel the need to be that specific,” she said with a chuckle. Then, in a tender tone, she added, “And for the record, I also feel for you more than I have ever felt for anyone else...men, women or...whoever else you’ve met that I clearly haven’t. As I believe you have pointed out before,” she said with a snicker, “I’m a lawyer. There are only so many shades of gray I can deal with in between the black and white.”
The detective chuckled. “Don’t sell yourself short. Now get your perfect ass in bed before I do it for you.”
“Perfect, huh? Flattery will get you everywhere,” Alex purred, then with a lascivious smile she added, “But your little threat sounds enticing enough that perhaps I should just be disobedient...”
Olivia arched her eyebrows and stepped right into her personal space, standing toe to toe with her, and when that happened, all playfulness ceased. She gazed deep into Alex’s eyes, and suddenly she just knew there would never be anyone else. She ran her fingers smoothly through the blond tresses and leaned in to kiss Alex again with as much love as she could muster. Once again, it became more urgent, and they fell right into bed.
Alex gazed deep into pools of chocolate and brought her hand to rest on Olivia’s cheek. Olivia was immersed in Alex’s gaze, parting her lips in anticipation, a tremulous breath escaping her. Alex lowered her eyes to Olivia’s lips so slowly that it bordered on painful, and then leaned in; she hovered for a few moments, then slid her hand down Olivia’s cheek to her neck until she had her held in place. The detective felt her eyes close when Alex’s warm breath caressed her face.
Finally, Alex claimed her lips in languid, subdued brushes. Olivia’s breath hitched as she felt her entire body come alive in response, and she rested her arms around the ADA’s shoulders, pulling her closer. When Alex’s tongue slipped inside her mouth to greet her own, Olivia moaned shamelessly, kissing back enthusiastically. Alex kissed her deeply and passionately. When they became inevitably breathless, Alex pulled away. An involuntary whimper escaped Olivia’s lips, and the detective had the good grace to blush. She stared at the gorgeous blonde lovingly.
“I have never been kissed like this before,” she whispered, pulling closer once again. “I want more...”
The ADA didn’t object, completely surrendering to the brunette’s demanding lips. She felt Olivia’s body pressing harder into hers and groaned, which elicited a moan from Olivia in turn.
With no hesitation, they were pulling at each other’s clothes, exposing and exploring more and more in between prolonged kisses. When their naked bodies met, a wave of pleasure washed through them and their hips pressed together involuntarily.
Alex’s mouth worked its way down Olivia’s neck, collarbone and breasts, leaving the detective panting and squirming under her. Alex parted Olivia’s thighs with a stroke of her hand and smiled when her hips responded. When she touched Olivia’s center, her eyes widened and she stifled a moan at how wet the brunette was for her. She slowly slid two fingers into Olivia, who threw her head back with a pleased hum. Alex felt her own insides tighten at the feel of Olivia’s walls contracting around her fingers, and slowly started exploring the detective’s core.
“Please,” Olivia hissed, “Harder.”
Alex drove her fingers as deep inside Olivia as she could, and was rewarded with a whimper. The look on Olivia’s face was almost enough to bring Alex to a climax herself. The blonde repositioned herself over Olivia, one of her thighs pushing against her hand, keeping her fingers deep inside the detective.
“Liv,” she murmured, propping herself on her left elbow to face her lover. “Olivia.”
“Y-yes?”the brunette gasped.
“I want you to open your eyes,” Alex spoke softly, but in a way that left no room for disagreement. “I want you to look at me.”
Olivia didn’t think she could, but the urgency in Alex’s deep, smooth voice was enough to make her force her eyelids to comply. When she saw those beautiful icy blue eyes gazing into her own, mystified and reverent, she was thrust over the edge, whimpering and riding out her release.
Alex smiled as if she had just witnessed the most beautiful of all miracles, and Olivia kissed her hard, not allowing her body the time to recover, rolling them both over so she had Alex pinned under her.
She poured her soul into kissing Alex, until she had the blonde breathing heavily, gasping for air. Then, she started exploring the slender body under hers with her mouth, marking her places and making sure every inch of Alex’s body within her reach knew the feel of her tongue. Alex had never experienced anything like it; Olivia seemed to be worshipping her, taking her sweet time, learning all she could about the blonde’s body and leaving Alex pleading for release.
Olivia had other plans, however, and positioned herself between the attorney’s legs and trailed wet kisses on the insides of Alex’s thighs very thoroughly. She took pleasure in the quivering against her lips. Finally, she parted Alex’s lips and gave her a long lick. The were both astonished when Alex came, staring wide eyed at each other for a moment before breaking into a fit of giggles.
She crawled her way up Alex’s body and kissed her again. This time, she pushed two digits between the blonde’s legs and started pumping them in and out very slowly. Her warm brown eyes were fixed on Alex’s half-closed blue, taking in the satisfaction and love unconcealed.
“Olivia...” she half whispered, half moaned. “I...”
She reached her second orgasm with something that resembled a long happy sigh. Olivia let her ride out her climax, and soon another, less intense, followed.
They smiled contentedly at each other, kissing tenderly and snuggling comfortably together. No words were necessary, no reassurances; they gazed deep into each other’s eyes until slowly drifting off into a peaceful slumber with identical smiles adorning their lips.
The following morning, upon waking up to each other exactly how they had fallen asleep, there were no feelings of inadequacy, no self-doubt – only a love that made perfect sense and the insight that they were finally home.