DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything! Everything Law & Order related belongs to Dick Wolf and the title is taken from a song by Damien Rice and thus affiliated with Heffa Records. See? I honestly own nothing lol
SPOILERS: Uhhmmm spoilers from Season 6's episode "Ghost" or at least anything I remember correctly about that episode.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Casey never wanted to work in the Special Victims Unit.
In fact, when District Attorney Branch had approached her about filling the position as ADA in the Special Victims Unit, she had vehemently declined.
White collar crimes were easy. Fraud, embezzlement, in essence, it was usually rich men doing stupid things and Casey could handle that.
Sex crimes, though? Those were the real horrors of the world, the rapes, the homicides, the molestations, the gray areas with complicated/sometimes no motives, the things Casey wanted nothing to do with. But Branch had insisted and she had finally caved in and taken the position.
It was shaky at first. She didn't have vast knowledge about how to prosecute crimes like the ones she found on her desk every morning but she got the hang of it, got less and less rattled by some of the more sordid cases and even formed friendships with most of the people in the SVU.
Somehow though, she couldn't shake the feeling that she was and would always be the replacement.
Casey never wanted to meet her.
Yes, she had heard all about her and yes, she'll admit that she had even grown to admire her from everything she had heard, but never ever had she wanted to meet her. In fact, if she's completely honest, she was eerily content with the fact that she would never meet hercould never meet herbecause Alexandra Cabot was dead.
Well, at least until she wasn't
To Casey Novak, the clinking of metallic wheels and the heavy press of metal against metal signify closure.
Once her case folder is neatly secured between the metal drawers of her filing cabinet, the case is officially closed and hopefullyand it's a huge hopefullyit'll stay that way and she won't be plagued by small details, and what ifs, and could have, should have, would haves of an inadequately carried out case.
With this particular case though,despite the complete and utter success of itshe's under no false pretenses that it's actually over and this notion has absolutely nothing to do with the defendant. As dangerous as Liam Connors is, Casey is sure his verdict (guilty on four charges, two of murder in the second degree, one of attempted murder in the second degree and one of attempted murder in the first degree) will keep him in prison for the rest of his life. Besides, she has tried cases with defendants that are so much more violent and so much more sadistic than Liam Connors that Liam Connors really isn't even the point of interest in this case.
The real point of interest in this case, the real reason why this case will be the talk of the precinct for the next week or so has a lot less to do with Liam Connors and a lot more to do with the victim of his attempted murder in the first degree charge.
Yes, the same Alexandra Cabot who was dead
Well, at last until she wasn't
Casey was honestly pulling at straws when she had Detective Benson and Detective Stabler arrest Connors for the murder of Alex Cabot. She knew that Connors was a flight risk in the truest sense of the words and if they let him go they would never get him back so she did/said whatever she had to to get him locked right back up. In fact, it wasn't even pulling at straws, it was grasping for dear life. Considering the serious lack of evidence for that charge, Casey was positive Kressler would have wormed his client right out of the charge before he was even handcuffed. It was sheer luck that Judge Preston and Alex happened to have been friends and sheer something akin to absurdity that the murder in the first degree charge morphed into attempted murder in the first degree bringing along with it evidence in the form of a key witness who was none other than Alexandra Cabot.
Casey's not exactly sure what to call the feeling that washed over her when Alexandra Cabot entered her office, too unruffled and pretty and perfect to be fresh from "death," although she's pretty sure the feeling can be described as an odd combination of surprise, awe, and something else that made her stomach feel as if it were being uprooted to take flight.
Alex's sudden mysterious reappearance from the Witness Protection Program and her rousing performance on the witness' stand, as surprising as both were, can only be rivaled by her quick and sudden departure back into the Witness Protection Program.
That quick departure is what makes Casey think she's going insane when she looks up and through the window of the bar down the street from her apartment and sees a head of blonde that she can almost swear belongs to Alex Cabot.
Casey's not entirely sure (her not being sure seems to be some kind of trend today) what makes her so determined to be one hundred percent sure that it really is Alex, but her conformation comes in the form she probably least wants it to come in.
Alex seems to turn around at the exact moment Casey enters the bar and for a split second Casey's glad that it's really dark in here to the point where she's pretty sure Alex won't recognize her. She's wrong though, very wrong, because Alex's face almost too expressive for a good prosecutor, Casey thinksquickly morphs to convey a mixture of confusion and surprise.
"Casey!" Her tone effortlessly conveys the same mix of emotions.
"Alex," Casey smiles and tries to make it look as natural as possible like she hadn't been planning to just see if the shadowy figure was indeed Alex and then leave once her suspicions were affirmed. That plan, obviously flawed since it hadn't encompassed what on Earth she'd do if Alex actually spotted her, is practically impossible now.
The barstool next to Alex is unoccupied and presumably has been so for the majority of the night considering the fact that there are very few people in here. There's a couple sitting in a corner booth in the back, the bartendera young brunette probably in her mid twenties, a young guyalso presumably in his twentieswho looks so drunk he's practically passed out already, Alex, and now Casey who warily dusts off the empty barstool before taking a seat next to SVU's former ADA before commencing plan B: strike up hopefully not awkward conversation.
"You know, they were expecting you back at the precinct."
Alex nods, her expression changing yet again,way too expressive for a good prosecutor, Casey internally amendsinto a saddened smile.
"I know," Alex admits. "I'm not really great with goodbyes," she says softly, her voice breaking just enough for Casey to catch it and really wish she had started this conversation more along of the lines of 'Hi Alex, how are you?' "Especially not for the second time," Alex shrugs and adds, obviously in an attempt to lighten the mood. She's playing with the rim of her shot glass, like she's nervous although Casey can't possibly figure out why she would be.
"But now that Connor's is locked up, can't they just, you know, let you out?" Casey asks curiously. Of all the aspects of law, of all the branches of law enforcement, the WPP is probably the one she understands least. She understands the need to protect witnesses of course, but giving a person a new identity? Asking a person to just forget the life they've lead, the people they've associated with, asking a person to essentially become a new being? Well that, that's just absurd.
"Formality," Alex answers. "You never know what can happen," Casey can practically hear the air quotes around the words although she's not exactly sure who Alex is quoting. "I've convinced Hammond to at least let me say my goodbye to New York this time though,"
"You miss New York?" It must be the disbelief etched in Casey's tone that makes Alex laugh, low and easyshe's different now than she was in the precinct earlier, Casey notes, much less poised, much more friendly and although Casey's not sure whether it's the alcohol (because Alex isn't drinking something girly and fruity like Casey expects she would) or the un-work related environment that's causing the change but like this, it's not hard to see Alex in that angelic light everyone talks about her in.
"That's the thing about New York." Alex says. "You never think you'll miss it but it just kind of gets into your veins you know? And you can't get it out."
Casey nods understandingly although honestly, she doesn't get it at all. She can't fathom ever missing obnoxious taxi drivers who honk their horns at one AM, or being shoved and pushed like some kind of ping pong ball while trying to catch the subway.
"God, where are my manners?" Alex says suddenly. "Let me buy you a drink,"
"I shouldn't," Casey quickly declines, realizing too late how suspicious it'd seem her walking into a bar and not wanting anything to drink.
Luckily, it doesn't seem like Alex is questioning that logic, in fact, she's smiling, a soft smile that makes the corner of her eyes crinkle lightlyyep, it's really not that hard at all to see her in that angelic light at all.
"Let me guess," Alex says and her smile only widens. "Penalty phase tomorrow?"
Casey nods, unable to rein in her own smile before it surfaces; as of late, she finds that she generally equates herself with people on the law enforcement spectrum of law, so it's kinda nice to have someone who understands her.
"One drink? At least a coffee or something? It's freezing outside," Alex offers and there's that persistence Casey has heard about.
It truly is freezing outside, a New York winter at its finest, and Casey still wants to decline, but Alex is giving her a look that's all jutting bottom lip and pointed blue eyes and Casey finds herself wondering how Alex could ever lose a case with that look in her arsenal.
"Ok," she relents. "A hot chocolate,"
Alex smiles brightly and waves the bartender over, ordering a hot chocolate and a refill of whatever she's having.
"I still can't believe Agent Hammond let you out of his sight for one minute," Casey says conversationally as the bartender retreats to make their drinks.
"Well, I'm very persuasive,"
Casey can't help but chuckle at that one.
"So I've heard," she admits. "Although, you're a lot nicer than I ever presumed you'd be,"
Alex raises an eyebrow.
"Don't get me wrong," Casey quickly amends. "Everyone one in the precinct adores you, especially Liv and El, they haven't had one bad thing to say about you, but I'll admit I've done some research and some of your legal tactics made you seem like " she trails off, not exactly sure how to put it.
"A bitch?" Alex offers up.
"Well Yeah, kind of," Casey says. "I mean, have you ever tried a case without requesting remand?" she jokes.
Alex laughs again, and Casey doesn't want to call it predictabilityif there is anything she's learned about Alexandra Cabot in their very short hours of acquaintanceship it's that Alexandra Cabot is anything but predictablebut she finds that she anticipated this bout of laughter.
"But surely you can understand why I've done some of the things I've done," Alex says seriously. "Some people just don't belong on the streets,"
Casey nods her agreement as the bartender returns with their drinks. Since she's worked for SVU, she's done some things she never thought she'd ever do too.
"You know, I wondered who'd they'd get to replace me at SVU," Alex says after a moment. "I'm glad that my shoes have been filled completely and fully," She smiles, softer this time, genuine. "You tried an amazing case today, counselor."
Casey is pleasantly surprised by the compliment and that surprise expresses itself in a flush that spreads from her cheeks to her chest.
"Well," she drops her shoulders and lowers her head in a rare display of coyness. "The case would have been absolutely nothing without our star witness,"
"Antonio was the star witness, I I just " she trails off.
"Thought like a prosecutor?" Casey offers.
"Yeah, a combination of that and me being scared to death," She intends for it to sound witty but Casey can hear the truth behind the words, after all, of all the words Casey has heard associated with Alexandra Cabot, modest is not one of them.
"Well, you were amazing nonetheless. If you could rattle him that much from the witness' stand then I would love to have seen you in action,"
She takes a sip of her hot chocolate. She's kinda glad she ordered it now; she didn't quite realize just how cold she was until she feels the warmth of the hot drink spread throughout her body.
"So, how are you holding up at SVU?" Alex asks.
"Well, I can't say it's getting easier but I am getting used to it." Casey admits.
"Elliot and Olivia giving you trouble?" Alex asks with a teasing smile.
"I think I've finally accepted that they're never truly gonna play by the books."
"Good." Alex reaches out, places her hand on Casey's knee in a way that Casey's sure is supposed to be friendly, but it makes Casey limbs twitch imperceptiblyshe hopesin a way that's not exactly friendly. "That's the first step to coping at SVU,"
"What's the second step?" Casey asks, taking a sip of her hot chocolate in a way that she thinks, hopes looks casual, like the fact that Alex's hand is on her kneeOh God, now it's on her thighhasn't completely shattered the little bit of poise Casey had coming into this conversation.
Alex grins, squeezes a little and leans forward faintly before saying:
"You don't wanna know."
Casey can't tell if she's being sarcastic or being serious, but she quickly realizes she doesn't really care if she's being serious or not because she's smiling again and Casey really can't help but smile too.
And later, when she finally leaves the barway, way later than she ever intended, with a blood alcohol level way, way higher than she ever intended-- she realizes that not only could she have done the stupidest thing ever by giving Alex her number (Of course Alex is not going to call her, she's going back into WPP and considering her state of intoxication (way over the legal limit) she'll probably wake up with a faint, if existent, memory that their conversation ever happened), but also that Alex's hand had rarely left her thigh for the remainder of the night.
Casey never wanted to like her.
When she had given Alex her number, she really didn't think that Alex would actually call.
She is, however, pleasantly surprised almost a month later when she answers a call that registers on her caller ID as "withheld" and recognizes Alex's voicealbeit hesitant, almost nervousright away.
"Hi uhmm Casey?"
"Yeah Hey," She's even more surprised to find herself smiling at the fact that Alex actually called her. "So where'd they stash you this time?"
She hears a sound that is unmistakably a small sigh of relief and she's not sure whether it has to do with what Alex is about to say or if she's relieved that she called Casey and actually got Casey...
"New York actually,"
"Hamptons," Alex elaborates.
"Working as a secretary for a divorce attorney who, everyday, marvels at my quick grasp on legal terminology."
Casey can practically see blue eyes rolling as Alex speaks of her new employer and Casey can't help but chuckle at that image.
"Sounds like fun," she says sarcastically.
"You could call it that," Alex says, with, Casey imagines, another eye roll. "But, hey, I didn't call to carp about my new boss I actually called to see " she hesitates for a moment. "Uhmm, if you wanted to maybe get some coffee or lunch or something with me sometimes since I'm staying in New York?"
Casey's so stunned by the proposition that for a moment, she forgets to answer; she catches herself though, quickly at that, and murmurs a she wouldn't quite call it emphatic"yes."
"Great," If it's possible to hear a smile, Casey's sure it's in this instant because Alex sounds indisputably happy that Casey accepted her proposal. As surprised as Casey is by that notion, what surprises her even more is that by the time she hangs up with Alex, she has already been on the phone with her for over three hours and even when she puts her phone on charge and grabs her clothes to go shower and get ready for bed, she still has a grin on her face that she just can't seem to shake.
Casey never wanted to love her.
Because really, falling in love with her predecessor? How cheesily cliché But dammit, Casey just can't help it because all of a sudden, Alexandra Cabot in her black thin rimmed glasses is the cutest thing Casey has ever seenand she's seen baby koalas at the Central Park Zoo.
"You waited," Casey tugs off her jacket, snow sprinkled and icy from a particularly brutal New York December. This is the fifth time she's worked late and came home to find that Alex has let herself in, not that she minds because when it doesn't happen she usually finds herself taking a two hour drive to the Hamptons to see Alex anyway.
Alex shrugs. She neatly folds the New York Times she had been reading and takes her glasses offshe'll not remember where she put them when it's time for her to leave, Casey presumes.
"I figured you'd be here eventually,"
Casey nods, shedding her blazer too.
"Tough case?" Alex asks.
"Double rape and homicide,"
Alex's lips purse in a silent ouch.
"It gets worse." Casey continues. "We got a confession but it's not admissible in court because the defense claims it was coerced."
Alex practically winces at that news.
"Finn," Casey declares.
"I love Judge Cohen,"
"And I'm sure he loves you. Me, however? Not so much!"
"One." Alex's face brightens, but Casey shakes her head signaling more impending bad news. "A guy saw him dump one of the bodies but refuses to testify because where he was when he saw the crime apparently violates his parole."
"Grant him transactional immunity from prosecution."
"Tried. He's so damn adamant about his dislike for the legal system that he still won't testify. We're holding him in contempt hoping he'll break but it doesn't seem like he will. I just don't want to let the bastard go, you know? And the only deal his lawyer will take is two counts of sexual misconduct."
Alex and Casey seem to roll their eyes at that at the exact same time.
Casey sinks down into her sofa, flailing her arms in a gesture meant to convey hopelessness.
"That bastard deserves to rot in jail for the rest of his life," she mutters. Its cases like this that make her wonder why she ever wanted to become a lawyer in the first place.
"Hey," She finds Alex hovering over her seconds later. "Don't beat yourself up about it," Alex says, punctuating her words with a reassuring squeeze of Casey's shoulders. "It's early in the case. New evidence may turn up, new witnesses, anything really. "
"You'd beat yourself up about it," Casey says matter-of-factly.
"I would," Alex agrees. "But look," she points to a perfect strand of blonde hair. "Gray hair! This is why you should heed my warning."
Casey can't help but laugh at that, loud, genuine laughter, because really, it'd be foolish to think that a hair on Alexandra Cabot's head is anything but blonde and bouncy and perfect.
"Please!" Casey snorts through her fit of laughter. "Alex, everything about you is perfect," She had hoped that the laughter would mask the reverence behind her words but they sound longingworshipful evento her own ears and quite clearly to Alex's too because Alex is looking at her strangely, like she's confused, but not quite, it's more like something in her mind has clicked, has been confirmed and
Casey's not sure what makes her do itGod, that seems to be a trend as of latenot knowing why she's doing the things she's doingespecially with Alexmaybe it's the way Alex's blue eyes seem darker from such close range, more intimate, like they are drawing her in. Or maybe it's the way Alex's hand in those few seconds seemed to have taken up permanent residence on her shoulder. Or maybe it's just because Casey is going insane, plain and simple. Whatever it is, she presses forward anyway, and kisses Alex.
It's a quick kiss, chaste and unhurried, but enough to unravel Casey completely. She wonders how it's possible to have not known she wanted this so badly in the last few months during which her relationship with Alexandra Cabot progressed from nonexistent to this, although Casey's not exactly sure what this is.
It's good! Damn good! That much Casey knows, because they're kissing againthis time by way of Alexandra Cabot, because Alex leaned in first and this timeAlex's fault againit's anything but chaste. Alex's lips are soft, exquisite, her mouth smooth, tasting of strong coffee, strawberry lip gloss, and something cool and minty. It's an interesting mixture that in Casey's mind and she'd laugh at this revelation if her lips weren't currently enjoyably occupiedequates to the law, or everything that had attracted her to studying law in the first place.
She hasn't kissed a girl since college, although in high school it was a common occurrence and then it had waned off in college to infrequent flings, and in law school she was mostly busy with her studies to even date anyone, well, until Charlie and then there was nobody, male or female after Charlie, and now Now there's all this pent up energy and Alex whose lips are almost impossibly soft and whose hands are hastily un-tucking Casey's blouse from her skirt and who, as far as Casey knows, is technically straight, although she's definitely not acting like it right now.
"This is going a little fast," Casey practically tears her lips away from Alex's lips to murmur, because somehow, Alex has positioned herself so she's kneeling on the couch between Casey's legs, giving her a height advantage that Casey would deem highly unfair if it weren't so damn sexy.
"It is," Alex agrees, although she doesn't stop touching (her palms are cool, inching tenderly up Casey's sides) and Casey's fully aware of the fact that sheor at very least, her bodydoesn't want Alex to stop touching her.
Alex is looking down at her through half lidded eyes (they're darker, much darker, a cloudy shade of steel blue), her lips parted, glistening and kiss swollen, fascinating to the point where Casey has to reach out and touch them, to trace the plump flesh with the tips of her fingers until Alex's eyes are fluttering shut at the fleeting sensation.
Casey knows it's pretty illogical to need to touch someone, but this is what this feels like. This is where things can get messy, when the lines between need and want blur. It's a primal feeling, want, one that she sees every day at work escalate to the point of destruction but nothing about this feels destructive. It feels strangely familiar, like that rush she feels when she knows the defense has just screwed up to the point of no return, like that odd joy that overcomes her when she hears a jury find a defendent guilty... Kissing Alexandra Cabot feels strangly like justice and Casey likes it. A lot! Too much to stop.
"But," She murmurs headily, dragging her fingers down the delicate column of Alex's throat until she's tracing the anything but modest cut of a neckline. "We both have the right to a speedy trial Or something,"
"Or something," Alex agrees with an amused smirk before connecting their lips again, and thatAlex's lips against hersthat's something Casey really wants.
Casey never wanted to put her in any sort of danger.
Of all her intentions or rather non-intentions, that is probably the highest up there and it takes a case that hits a little too close to home (Casey damn near dropped her coffee this morning when she heard a lawyer from homicide talking about his latest case, people vs. Johnson, murder in the first degree of a woman who had been in the WPP for three years before Johnson, a close friend of the very man she helped put away for life, killed her, four shots, chest, chest, chest, head) for Casey to realize that maybe Alex being in New York, maybe this thing they have between them is a curse rather than a blessing.
"Do you think it's safe to keep coming here?"
Alex closes the door behind her, her eyebrows raised as she rids herself of her coat, hanging it neatly over a chair back.
"Hi to you too," she finally says when it's obvious Casey is not going to withdraw her frantic greeting.
"Alex," Casey's tone is stern, definite because, yes, they are having this conversation even if Alex doesn't want to have it.
"Casey," Alex emulates her tone.
"Alex, I'm serious. I " Casey averts her eyes. "I don't know what I would-- I couldn't live with myself if-"
"Casey," Alex effectively cuts her off. "I have a law degree that's going to waste. Sometimes I don't even remember the "name" I go by this time. I haven't contacted any of my family in years. I hate to say it, but sometimes I wonder if maybe it would have been better off if I had died. I can't do it anymore Casey," Her voice is raw and heavy with emotion. "I like our arrangement, I like that you know who I really am, I like that you like me for who I really am," she takes Casey's hands in her own, flips them over so it's palm against palmwhich, to Casey, is oddly intimate. "I like you Casey," Alex continues. "I'm not going to give this up." Her tone is resolute, prosecutor type resolute, but her demeanor is the complete opposite. She's placid, gentle in the way she holds Casey's gaze, in the way she traces the lines of Casey's palm, especially in the way she leans forward and kisses Casey's temple. "Ever," she adds with a soft smile.
"Ever huh?" It's the first actual verbal confirmation Casey's gotten that Alex is actually in this for the long run. Granted, Casey is pretty sure that Alex has spent more time at her apartment than she has at her own in the past couple of months, and while their relationship is sexual (and God, is it good), there are other things, little things, like the way Alex takes it upon herself to be Casey's personal alarm clock on the nights she sleeps over by lacing her shoulders and chest with small butterfly kisses or how she'll sense when Casey has just been handed a particularly tough, personal or gruesome case and will set a bubble bath and light candles and make Casey talk about the little details bothering her so she doesn't bottle them all up that make it obvious no verbal confirmation is needed but it is nice to have one anyway.
"Well for as long as you'll have me," Alex says, smiling.
"Forever," Casey murmurs, returning Alex's smile. "We could get married and become like a corporate power couple,"
Alex makes an appreciative little murmur in the back of her throat which is succeeded by a chuckle.
"There's something you're forgetting," she says, playing with a strand of mahogany tinted red hair; Casey's hair coloring habits seem to be getting progressively lighter every day to the point where Alex is anticipating them both being blondes soon.
"It's not legal,"
"Yeah " Casey sighs. "Forgot about that," she says lightly. "We could move to Massachusetts " she suggests. "Or, I'm sure New York will be sure to follow in Massachusetts's footsteps, after all New York is a hip state,"
"That'll take at least a couple of years,"
"Yeah," Casey agrees. "That's why sometimes I wish I had gotten into politics instead,"
"Because law isn't political enough for you?"
"Oh, law is plenty political but at least politicians can change things. They matter."
"You don't think what you do matters?" Alex asks, genuinely curious because there are sometimes she thinks she knows what Casey is thinking and some of those times, she's hilariously off base.
"Honestly? Sometimes, no." Casey admits. "I mean, today one rapist goes away for 15 to life, and tomorrow there's another one sitting in his place in the court room and the next day there will be a murderer and the next day another one. Wasn't there ever a time where you just wondered if any of it was worth it?"
"Yea, of course, I wondered it. But then I thought about justice for the victims and all the potential victims that are spared because these criminals are locked up and thought, of course it's worth it. It's worth every last bit of it, the all-nighters in law school, the restless nights after particularly horrific cases, the disreputable warrants, the paper cuts, even being shot. It's worth it all,"
"You really loved your job," It's not a question, it's a merely an observation, one that Casey has observed before but not to this extent.
"I did," Alex affirms. "You do too," Her tone is certain and Casey wants to protest because this job isn't something she wanted let alone loves, but she doesn't protest, doesn't say anything at all in fact and maybe that's telling enough, maybe Alex is right.
Casey never wanted anyone to find out.
She should have known that was impossible though considering the fact that she works with a bunch of detectives.
The lazy circles Alex is tracing on Casey's bicep stop momentarily but resume before Casey can even miss the caress.
"Well," Casey can feel the vibrations of Alex's speech from where her head is resting on Alex's chest. "She's a great detective," Alex's voice is softer at this time of night; that was one of the first things Casey noted about Alex; she could turn off prosecutor and turn on lover like a flip of a switch.
"She followed me here last night," Casey explains. Out of "concern," as Olivia had explained to her, because she kept coming into work late (because the Easthampton is too damn far) with her clothes rumpled (because, well, she really doesn't need to explain why that is) and sometimes she looked really tired (once again, no explanation needed) and Olivia was really worried that she was working too hard, or having some problems that she was refusing to tell them about.
Casey can feel Alex's chest almost rattle. It takes her a quick moment to realize that Alex is laughing.
"I'll take it you're not mad."
"For?" Alex asks.
"I don't know. At me for being careless and not realizing I was being followed for over eighty miles? At Liv for invading my privacy and following me for over eighty miles?"
"Well it was a dead giveaway you wearing my shirt to work,"
Casey rolls her eyes although it's quite ineffective because she knows Alex can't see her eyes.
"Yeah. Well I doubted Liv would remember that it was yours,"
"If there's one thing I know about Olivia Benson, it's that she forgets nothing," Alex says as she shifts for comfort, the mattress dipping delicately beneath shifting weight. There is a moment of silence marked by soft breathing before Alex speaks again. "I'm actually really glad to know she's looking out for you. Makes me rest easier at night," she admits.
Casey scoffs lightly which only entices more laughter from Alex which would make Casey scoff again except she doesn't exactly like cycles and thus won't start one.
"How'd Liv react?" Alex finally asks.
Casey purses her lips together, propping up so she can turn to face Alex, so she can get this right.
She crosses her arms over her chest, doing her best Olivia Benson impersonation as she quotes Liv's earlier words, "Well, you play softball and I figured if you two met you'd either really like each other or really hate each other so," Casey shrugs, rolling her eyes with a faintly amused smirk on her lips as she settles back into her earlier position, head resting snugly on Alex's chest.
It takes a mere second before Alex is laughing again, hearty, genuine laughter that makes her chest rattle.
"Well, that's Olivia for you,"
Casey nods her head in agreement.
Casey never wanted to become talk of the precinct.
It's just something she never wanted to be. She just wanted to get subpoenas and warrants and try cases and not have everybody in the 16th precinct stare at her like she's grown another head, kinda like they're doing now.
"Liv," she manages to corner the veteran detective in one of the precinct's hallways. "Did you have to tell everybody?"
"Hey," Olivia raises her hands in surrender although she smilessmirks is a more appropriate word like she's still amused at the prospect of Casey and Alex hooking up. "I only told Elliot," she admits.
Before Casey can even begin to wonder who the hell it is that's telling everyone thenor if it's just that obviousCaptain Donald Cragen appears at his doorway.
"Counselor, can I have a word with you in my office?"
It's apparent that thisCragen asking to see Casey in his officeis a rare occurrence by the way Olivia's eyebrows shoot up even before Casey's do.
"Yes Captain?" Casey asks as Cragen motions for her to sit.
Cragen's expression is stern, more so than usual, and Casey finds herself wondering what on Earth she's done to be chastised by Cragen instead of Donnelly.
"She's a good woman,"
Cragen must mistake Casey's surprise for confusion because he clarifies although no clarification is needed.
"I know Captain,"
"Then we're understood counselor," He stand up, opens the door for her and it takes a few moments to process it, but Casey realizes that he's smiling, Captain Donald Cragen is smiling, widely at that, as he ushers her out of his officer and says, "I trust you to treat her as such, Casey,"
Casey's shocked to the point of speechlessness and as she makes her way back to her own office, she can't help but press her fingertips to her forehead, not because she thinks she's going insanealthough she very well could bebut because she's pretty sure she just got a damn huge stamp of approval.
Casey never wanted to become that kind of lesbian.
As in, the type that hosted dinner parties and such, and one glance at Alex affirms that she too, is not into this type of thing.
"It's just the guys and Liv," Casey says, feeling the need to somehow justify this little impromptu dinner party because, after all, it kind of is her fault that they know and it's even more of her fault that they're coming here, thus it's her fault that Alex is doing that thing where she twirls her glasses between her fingersit's a cute nervous habit but a nervous habit no less.
"I know. It's just," Alex averts her eyes, "Sometimes I expect them to hate me."
"I mean, I go into WPP, come back for one day, go back into WPP, end up in New York, break like every WPP rule there is, and don't contact them I wouldn't blame them if they hated me,"
"Alex," Casey takes Alex's hands in her own. "You were put through hell. They get that," There's not an ounce of uncertainness in her voice because Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler are among some of the nicest, most trust worthy people she knows, and sure, sometimes their hostile work environment gets the best of them but never ever have they taken for granted the trauma of a victim, and Casey's sure that goes double for someone they know on such a personal level.
"I know I just"
The doorbell rings and blue eyes immediately follow the sound.
"Alex, if you don't want to "
"No " Alex interjects, gently unclasping her hands from Casey's. "I'll get it,"
Alex takes a deep, consoling breath before pulling the door open, revealing Olivia looking menacingly cop like.
"Alex," Oliva's gaze is soft, but no less appraising. "How are you?"
Alex knows Olivia well enough to know that's not a standard greeting, it's not a 'how was your day', or a 'how are you feeling'; it's concern, it's an 'are you sure about this', a 'do you think what you're doing is for the best', and most importantly, it's an 'are you happy.' It's just like Olivia to evade all the small talk and get right into the information she wants to hear.
Stepping aside, Alex lets the detective inside the apartment.
"Honestly," Alex says. "I haven't been this happy in a while," She divulges.
Olivia stares at her for a moment, eyebrows knitted and gaze deep, like she's trying to find the truth before she nods, satisfied.
"So, this is the Cavak residence," she says, surveying the apartment. She's never actually been inside Casey's apartment before but she finds that she can tell what's Casey and what's a direct result of the inclusion of Alex into her life but then again, there are some places, a lot of places actually, where the lines blur. The sports memorabilia, like the baseball sitting atop the cabinet, that's definitely Casey's and the Melitta extra strong Brazilian coffee sitting on the kitchen island, that's definitely Alex's, but the two fitted black blazers, one hanging over the sofa and one draped across the small living room coffee table, well, Olivia's sure Casey and Alex can't even tell whose is whose and the same goes for the silver rollerball black ink pens sitting side by side on the small cherry wood desk in the corner of the living room and for most of the books stacked on the matching cherry wood bookshelf.
"I thought we agreed on Nobot,"
Olivia turns to see Elliot at the doorway, bottle of red wine in hand and a grin gracing his lips. This is Elliot after work.
"You timing me, partner?"
Elliot shrugs, grinning sheepishly.
"Maybe," he answers jokingly. "Alex, you look great,"
"Thank you; so do you El." Alex beams. "How are the wife and kids?"
Elliot nods his head like he's surveying the question.
"They're good" He finally answers.
"Good." Alex smiles. "When am I going to have to ask you that question huh Liv?" she teases.
"I think the real question is when am I gonna have to ask you that question?" Olivia counters. "Speaking of which," her eyes scan the open vicinity. "Where is Casey?"
"Right here." Casey appears at a doorway. "Disposing of the evidence otherwise known as take out boxes," she jokes, brandishing a take-out box.
"Chinese. Yum," Elliot says.
"I figured we may as well just take it to the living room," Casey says. "I'll take it Finn and John aren't coming?
"I think Finn is still trying to wrap his head around it and Munch is waiting until he can come up with some "who wears the pants" type jokes until he comes over," Olivia admits.
"George really wanted to come though, but he got called away on special FBI business," Elliot adds, moving to help Casey bring the take out boxes into the living room. "I'm still kind of shocked myself," He admits, waiting for Casey to clear the coffee table before putting the boxes down.
Olivia has to suppress a grin as she watches Casey examine the blazer she picks up off of the coffee table before frowning and depositing it next to the other blazer on the couch.
"I mean, Alex, I expected," Elliot continues. "But you, Casey?" He shakes his head.
"Well, I never said I was a good Catholic," Casey jokes. "But wait, there's absolutely nothing about Alex that screams lady lover, what made you think she has a homosexual bone in her body?"
Elliot glances at Alex and shrugs noncommittally.
"I don't know," he says.
Casey risks a glance over at Alex, who is paying way to much attention to the box of food she's opening and Casey recognizes that look right away; she sees it every day on the faces of defendants, it's guilt, plain and simples.
Curiosity getting the better of her, she presses on.
"Well, there's gotta be something. The hair? The clothes? Does she have a dyke-ish command of the court room?"
Olivia and Elliot seem to raise an eyebrow at the exact same, an air of amusement communicating between them.
Casey looks at the blonde, eyebrow arched impossibly high as she questions:
"On what grounds?"
"Calls for conclusion, calls for speculation, leading, compound question Take your pick," Alex says.
Casey nods, a smirk gracing her lips. If Alex was going to play it like that, well, two could play that game.
"Allow me rephrase the question," she turns back to Elliot. "Detective Stabler," Elliot glances at Olivia in a way that clearly reads uh oh. "Have you ever had substantial evidence to conclude that Alexandra Cabot, currently acting on her own behalf, is anything but heterosexual?"
"Substantial evidence? No, not quite," Elliot answers, looking to Olivia for a bailout, but Olivia doesn't so much as look at him, she just concentrates on her food, an amused smirk tugging on her lips.
"So when you said you had "expected" bouts of homosexual behavior from Ms. Cabot, what evidence were you basing that on?"
"Not on evidence, on instinct."
"Instinct?" Casey nods. "A gaydar, if you will?"
"Yes. I supposed you could call it that."
"Detective Stabler, it's fair to say that you've been a detective for a long while now, correct?"
"Objection!" Casey looks to Alex, brow knitted. "Relevance?" Alex asks expectantly.
"I'm testing the witness's credibility," Casey argues.
Alex nods. It's a plausible argument, and since there's a lack of a judge, she sees no harm in letting Casey continue.
"Correct, Detective Stabler?"
"Yes," Elliot replies.
"And your case closure rate, it well exceeds that of the average NYPD detective, isn't that right?"
"So some would say you're a really good detective then?"
"I suppose so,"
"And your detective work? Does that rely heavily on instinct?"
"Yes, it does,"
"So you'd say your instinct is usually pretty accurate then?"
"Withdrawn. Nothing further,"
"Detective Stabler, you're a married man, right?" Alex asks, the small smile tugging at her lips letting Casey know instantly that this is the Alexandra Cabot all the paperwork depicts; this is Alexandra Cabot: bends every rule that's even the slightest bit pliable; this is the Alexandra Cabot that Casey has been desperate to coax out for a while now.
As endlessly sexy as this side of Alex is, Casey won't let that knock her off of her game.
"Detective Stabler, you're a married man, right?" Alex asks, the small smile tugging at her lips letting Casey know instantly that this is the Alexandra Cabot all the paperwork depicts; this is Alexandra Cabot: bends every rule that's even the slightest bit pliable; this is the Alexandra Cabot that Casey has been desperate to coax out for a while now.
As endlessly sexy as this side of Alex is, Casey won't let that knock her off of her game.
"I'm testing the witness's credibility," She parrots back Casey's earlier words.
Casey purses her lips, detecting exactly where Alex is going with this argument.
"Answer the question Detective Stabler." Alex demands.
"Yes," Elliot answers, looking over to Olivia who is downright grinning. It's no wonder she finds this so amusing, after all, he's usually the one being badgered on the stand by their own ADAs.
"So you're a completely heterosexual man Detective Stabler?
"Thus, you're not exactly well-informed about the gay community, are you?"
"Not personally knowledgeable exactly but--"
"So it's fair to say that your gaydar is completely irrelevant then?"
"Withdrawn," Alex's smile is challenging, almost patronizing, but Casey can't deny she find it extremely sexy, but not enough to drop this. There's something they're not telling her and she's going to find it out one way or another. "The defense rests,"
"No, no, no!" Olivia shakes her head. "I take the fifth," she says immediately.
"There's nothing self-incriminating abo," Casey trails off mid sentence, realization settling in. She looks from Olivia to Alex and then back again. "NO!" She shakes her head in disbelief. She needs no more of a confirmation, it's apparent in their expressions. "I'm going to pretend I didn't just find that out "
"Yeah, I think I will too," Elliot jokes. "But the past is the past. What about that girl I've seen you with a lot lately Liv?" He's been meaning to ask about her for a while now, and what better time to bring it up than with two lawyers (who have already badgered him) in the room.
Olivia's fork stops in mid trajectory to her lips.
"What girl?" she feigns confusion. She can see Alex's smirk in her peripheral vision and it's unnerving.
"Who is she Liv?" Alex pipes in.
"I don't know what you're talking about,"
"Is she a detective?" Alex presses on.
Olivia doesn't answer.
"A lawyer?" Casey pipes in to ask.
Olivia doesn't answer but her demeanor is enough of a confirmation.
"Another ADA?" Alex guesses.
"You'd be the first to find out." Olivia says. "I'm sure you ADAs have some kind of secret society where you like to rant about us cop folk,"
"Yeah," Casey jokes. "There's a secret ADA association that gets together every weekend. We're planning global take over. Oh, and it's all headed by Abbie Carmichael,"
"You see, that I can believe," Olivia says.
"You're avoiding the question," Alex observes.
Elliot's pager goes off, cutting Olivia off mid sentence. Her pager is beeping too less than a second after.
"Sorry to have to cut this short," Elliot says, scanning over the number. "Cragen. We probably have a lead on the Marcus case,"
Casey nods her understanding.
"You gonna be keeping her busy for the next few days?" Alex asks jokingly, nodding her head toward Casey.
"Don't worry. She'll be all yours for the unraveling afterwards,"
That, both Alex and Casey can look forward to.
Casey doesn't always get what she wants.
Sometimes she loses cases, sometimes she doesn't get enough evidence to produce a warrant she needs, sometimes she gets too much milk in her coffee, and sometimes Alexandra Cabot can be endlessly distracting
Casey sees the many pages of her latest case folder scatter and then the tanned flipside of her folder before she actually sees the hand that closes it.
"Opps!" Alex's voice is wholly unapologetic.
Alex is sitting on the edge of Casey's desk, legs crossed, sheathing just enough flesh to be considered decent but just barely.
"DNA, confession and the victim's testimony You have this case won already."
"You peaked at my case file?"
"I was curious " Alex admits. "But, enough of this," she shifts the folder aside so a good portion of Casey's desk is free. "We're celebrating!"
"Celebrating the case I'm going to lose because you won't let me review it?" Casey asks.
"No," Alex deadpans. "Celebrating " she throws the folded paper down on the desk. "This."
Casey scans over the small article, her eyes widening when she gets the gist of it.
"Connors extradited to Ireland Wait, wasn't Valez killed a few months back?
Alex nods, an amused smirk tugging on her lips.
"You've been reviewing my case?"
"I was curious " Casey quotes with a grin. "But why didn't you tell me about this sooner?" She asks, realizing that its yesterday's paper.
"Well, I figured I'd give you at least a day to review your case,"
"So this really means ?" Casey trails off, almost too afraid to ask, too afraid to get her hopes up.
"Yes. I mean, as far as we know, there's no one else out to get me."
"You've spoken to Hammond?" Casey says in disbelief.
"Yes, I have a job offer lined up already,"
"DA's office in Manhattan,"
"So " Casey grins, only just noticing the bottle of champagne and one glass in Alex's hands. "Celebrating?"
"Yea," Alex smiles, easily uncorking the bottle and pouring the bubbling liquid into the glass. She places the bottle on the desk (but not before putting a coaster down because Alex is meticulous like that and had admired that cherry wood the moment she had laid her eyes on it). She twirls the thin stem of the glass between her fingers, shaking the contents minimallyalmost coquettishly, Casey thinksuntil she finally brings the glass to her lips, slowly, knowingly because she knows she's got Casey hooked now; Casey's intently watching her every move. She takes a small sip, placing the glass carefully on the desk before leaning overand nothing about that's decentso close that Casey can feel the soft exhalation of breath, even smell the soft scent of champagne on her breath as she confirms in a low sultry hum (that lets Casey know instantly that the champagne is only a small fraction of the celebration): "Celebrating."
Casey doesn't always get what she wants but sometimes, she gets even better.
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