DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is set in the world of Frank Miller's 'Sin City' graphic novels and takes some plot points from 'That Yellow Bastard.' I originally wrote a story along similar lines in another fandom before realising how great it would translate into an O/A fic. Olivia's voiceovers are in bold.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

A Dame to Die For
By Alcy



Outside the window the night is a washed out black – the moonlight rendering it less threatening somehow. I should be spending this time sleeping, recuperating, but my goddamn nightmares won't let up. I may not be spending the rest of my life behind bars physically, but my mind is sure gonna give it a good try.

I shift the slightest fraction and the wound in my side lets me know exactly how bad an idea that is. Feels as though the bounty hunter's knife sliced me clean open even though I know it's just a graze. Even so, I sit up slightly - enough to feel like I'm sitting up instead of lying down. Lying on your back without a dame on top of me isn't my idea of a good time.

Fancy getting stuck by a two bit crook. I'm mad as hell. Although I'm not sure whether I'm angry or insane.

In my boredom my mind inevitably shifts back to the fucked up excuse for a conversation with Alex Cabot - although god knows why I want to torture myself with something I would rather forget. Damn broad.

Fuck this. I'm not spending my time feeling sorry for myself. Despite the pain, I stand up, grab my jacket and head out of the hotel. I'm headed straight for Kitty's.

As I walk into the strip joint, I immediately see Carmichael standing on the other side of the bar. Despite the fact that the dive is pretty crowded, there's a space around her as though she's untouchable. She's standing with her arms folded, pretending to watch the show up on stage but I can see she's actually watching her bar. Her gaze innocuously scans every corner, every face, searching for anyone stupid enough to be thinking of causing trouble in her place.

Since she's looking for trouble, it's not surprising her gaze lands on me within a few seconds of my entering Kitty's. I stop at the bar for a glass of Jack on the rocks; my pride is definitely going to need a drink. The hand that isn't holding a drink is clenched into a fist at my side. I thread my way through the crowd to stand in front of Carmichael like a supplicant. I feel pathetic as I approach and I wish to god I didn't need any help from the woman. There's nothing wrong with Carmichael, I just don't like asking for help from anyone.

Olivia let the cacophony of the bar constant humming flow over her as she savoured the Jack. She downed it in one long, slow drag and set the empty back down on a nearby table with a thud of satisfaction. The drink gave her the extra fortification she needed to turn around and face Abbie Carmichael. The brunette was staring back at her with an unreadable expression. Her body was tensed as though preparing for a fight. Olivia was able to relax. Abbie's body language was an acknowledgement of just how dangerous she was. It was an image Olivia was content to cultivate.

Abbie's usual shadow, Elliot Stabler - the ex-cop Olivia had met the previous night, was nowhere to be seen. Instead, hovering at Abbie's shoulder was a tall, whip-thin man with glasses covering much of his lean face. He was dressed in an immaculate suit, complete with a tie. He was smirking at her as though she had something on her face.

"What are you going to do with yourself, Benson?" Abbie's blunt question drew her attention.

"Dunno," Olivia replied eloquently.

"Well, the fact that you're still hanging around says something," Abbie commented. She jerked her head towards the man standing behind her. "Benson, meet John Munch, another one of my right hand men."

"A pleasure," Olivia replied in a bored voice. She twirled her empty glass in absent circles on the bar.

"John, would you be a sweetie and get Olivia another drink?" Abbie asked. She could have singled the bartender over to them but it was a polite way of letting Munch know she wanted to talk to Olivia alone.

"I swear you're just like ex-wife number two," Munch growled. His tone however indicated that he was more than happy to do anything Abbie asked of him, even if it was something as menial as fetching a drink.

Olivia nodded her thanks and took a seat on a nearby stool. She was staring down at her hands but her attention was focused on Abbie. The brunette sat on the adjacent stool, a little too close for her liking.

Neither woman spoke for several minutes. Whereas Abbie didn't seem to think anything of it, Olivia squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. She knew the other woman was waiting for her to break the silence. It was difficult when she had to force out something she couldn't put into words. Alex could have been sitting right in front of her, and she still wouldn't be able to explain how she felt. Munch brought her another drink and then moved to a discreet distance. She took a gulp and listened to the ice clink against the side of the glass.

"I have to stay in Old Town," Olivia finally announced in a reluctant voice.

"That sounds like a decision you didn't want to make," Abbie commented before she allowed a small smile spread across her face. "Do you care about her that much?"

Olivia gained herself some time by draining the rest of her Jack. She ground an ice cube with her teeth as Abbie continued to scrutinise her. They both knew exactly who Abbie was talking about but Olivia felt the need to be cagey anyway. "Who?"

"Don't be ridiculous, Benson!" Abbie growled, clearly unimpressed by Olivia's stoic but childish behaviour. "I don't understand it and I sure as hell don't agree with her, but Alex thinks the world of you. You can walk on water as far as she's concerned – a regular saint. I'm no dyke but I'm not stupid either. The kid's in love with you, and somewhere in that stony little heart of yours, you feel something for her too."

After the initial indignant anger, the first question that came into her head was what Alex had said to lead Abbie to such a conclusion. Regardless of her own dissolute feelings for the blonde lawyer, she had sensed none of the same in return. It was sad and pathetic. "The only feelings I have for Alexandra Cabot are familial. I saved her life once – those four bullets I took will be for shit if she goes and gets herself killed because she's pissed off the wrong people."

"You saved Alex's life so she could live it the way she wanted," Abbie pointed out. "Just like everyone else here in Old Town. People like Glory Twist are a threat to good, honest people."

Olivia snorted. She picked up her empty glass and then slammed it back down on the bar. Several cubes of ice leapt out and scattered. "People like Madam Twist don't give a flying fuck about good, honest people. If you get in their way, they cut you down without a second thought!"

Abbie laughed off Olivia's warning. "No one's gonna mess with me - especially not that bitch Twist - frumpy, ugly tart that she is."

"She's a powerful woman, Carmichael," Olivia growled, angry that Abbie would brush aside the danger so flippantly. "You may rule Old Town but she thinks she's a god."

Olivia was sick of arguing. She couldn't warn people who didn't want to listen so she half-turned her back on Abbie

"So, when can you start?" Abbie asked cryptically, her head cocked in Olivia's direction.

Olivia scowled over her shoulder. "Start what?"

'Working for me," Abbie replied without a hint of sarcasm. "You wanna stay in Old Town, and I obviously need some more help considering who you think I'm up against. If she's as powerful as you say, then I need people like you –dangerous people."

Olivia snorted. Fuck yes she was dangerous but so was Glory Twist, and unlike Glory, she didn't have friends and money. She turned to look at Abbie Carmichael. Carmichael was waiting for her response. She sighed. Working for Abbie would ensure that she had allies if not friends, and possibly even a little money - enough to eventually get Alex somewhere far away. Of course, the blonde lawyer would never go willingly, but Olivia was of the opinion that it was better to ask forgiveness than permission.

She wasn't about to let Abbie know that she was grateful for the favour. A recalcitrant shrug was all the reply she gave as she got up to leave.

That was all the answer Abbie needed. "Hey Benson?"

Olivia glanced over her shoulder. "What?"

"See you tomorrow then?"

Olivia swallowed awkwardly. Her throat was already dry and she needed another drink but she was tired of sitting around on barstools. "See you in hell would be more appropriate."

Abbie smiled at Olivia's back as she called out, "You're too fucking virtuous for hell, Olivia Benson!"

Alexandra Cabot, A.D.A, was in the midst of experiencing one of those days that lasted a year. Over the course of the day she'd gone from one sort of hell to another. From a working day filled with misogynistic arseholes that cared more about the length of her skirt than the strength of her rhetoric, to a dinner with her future in-laws.

While she liked and admired Trevor immensely – and possibly even loved him on a good day – his parents were another matter entirely. Miles Langan was a retired judge of the type that would have been her worst nightmare to come up against in court. Despite being an example of everything that was wrong with the justice system in Old Town, Alex couldn't say a word against Judge Langan. It made her sick to the stomach to think about it, but he was the main reason for her appointment to the District Attorney's office. No matter how many cases she tried and how many scumbags she put behind bars, the stigma of having been 'sponsored' by Miles Langan never went away.

He was sitting on the other side of the table, leering at her like the old fool he was.

Trevor's mother, Beverley, was the very definition of mutton dressed as lamb. The clothes she wore were more suited to a twenty year old (and one with absolutely no sense of style). She had very little personality of her own and spent much of her time parroting her husband's opinions. In her lap she held her ever present Pekingese, Hannibal. The dog thought very little of Alex, feeling the need to growl every time she visited.

"So Alexandra, how are you finding life at the District Attorney's office?" Miles asked, slurping his soup loudly.

Alex scowled inwardly. Miles asked her the same question every time he saw her. She knew he was waiting for her to admit that the pressures of such a demanding job were taking their toll. Even if she had been struggling to cope, which she wasn't, Alex would never admit it to anyone – not even Trevor. "I would like to think I'm settling in well."

Miles managed a tight-lipped smile in response. "Trevor has told me as much. Although I think the whole office should be censured over that recent parole debacle."

"Parole debacle?" Alex repeated with raised eyebrows. She could already guess which parolee Miles would be referring to. A pair of shining chocolate eyes flashed unbidden into her mind.

"That Benson woman should never have been let out of prison alive let alone after serving only thirteen years. If I was still on the bench I'd have found a way to keep her inside."

Alex almost spat out her soup. She knew she should hold her tongue but every fibre in her body was screaming to say something.

"To think that there are people like that walking our streets," Beverley sniffed. Although in referring to 'our' streets she didn't mean the safe, well-maintained streets of Sacred Oaks where someone like Olivia would never be welcome anyway.

"Ms Benson served her time," Trevor pointed out politely.

"More than her time," Alex said as innocuously as possible, even though her grip on her spoon was white-knuckled.

"Come now, Alexandra," Miles waved his spoon at her as though chastising a child. "Surely you don't believe she should have been tried for anything other than attempted murder? That poor young man barely recovered the use of his legs after what she did to him."

Alex glanced across at Trevor and saw him implore her with his eyes to say nothing further. She returned her attention to her soup, scooping up several mouthfuls in quick succession.

"She was lucky not to be done for murder," Miles continued.

"She was a cop doing her job, Dad," Trevor reminded his father.

"A crooked cop dealing out her own brand of justice - the law doesn't have any place for those who take matters into their own hand. The lies that woman spouted about poor Tommy – raping and murdering young girls! The lad wouldn't hurt a fly!"

Alex slammed down her spoon on the tale, leaving a smear of red across the pristine white tablecloth. "I was there and I was willing to testify against 'poor' Tommy, snivelling little-"Alex bit her tongue as Trevor kicked her shin beneath the table.

Olivia's so-called 'defence' had declined to call upon her. They had said she was too traumatised to speak. It had been a travesty of the worst kind. Of course no-one wanted her to speak. She was Tommy Twist's only surviving victim. Alex found herself staring at the steak knife lying in front of her, imagining the satisfaction she would gain from slicing his tiny little balls off.

"You poor thing," Beverley reached out and patted her hand across the table.

At her cold, repulsive touch, Alex felt like withdrawing her hand. She suffered the woman's touch and then moved her hand back, closer to her knife.

"Don't harp on about it, woman!" Miles scolded his wife. "Seeing that monster gun down those three men has no doubt left a lasting impression on Alexandra. She doesn't need to be reminded of it. Let's talk about something else."

"Agreed," Trevor managed a weak smile. He reached out and stroked Alex's thigh beneath the table.

"I simply cannot believe they appointed that simpering idiot, Caruthers, to the bench last month. Lilly-livered hippy is what he is. What this city needs is some more men with guts, men willing to lay down real sentences."

"Like the death penalty?" Alex asked sweetly.

"Damn straight!" Miles thundered in return. "I haven't been to a good execution in months. Those criminals on death row get far too much leeway to appeal - dirty trash. Zap 'em first, ask questions later!"

Hannibal let out a yelp of agreement. Beverley scratched him behind the ears with a pleased expression.

Alex realised she was stroking her steak knife in a manner that suggested she was ready to use it on the elder Langans. As Miles Langan continued with his incessant, narrow-minded commentary on the state of the justice system, Alex folded it within her fist as though preparing to carve a non-existent hunk of meat.

For a delicious moment she played a little game of 'what would Olivia do?' Very little imagination was needed for her to hear Olivia telling the blue-nosed couple to shove their opinions up each others' arses. Following this delightful exchange in her head, it became apparent that she needed to leave the room before she was responsible for a double homicide.

"Miles, Beverley, if you will excuse me – I need to use to the bathroom," Alex managed a polite enough tone, letting the steak knife fall from her grasp as she spoke.

Without waiting for any sort of permission, Alex made her escape from the claustrophobic room and uttered an audible sigh of relief.

She took her time going through her bathroom motions – reapplying lipstick that was already perfect and checking that her hair was still sleek and smooth. Upon a more careful study of her reflection, she wrinkled her mouth with displeasure. Despite the perfection of her hair and make-up, she looked undeniably tired. Eighty hour working weeks were taking their toll. Her eyes were dull and expressionless – save for a hint of boredom. While her work was sometimes rewarding both professionally and personally, it felt as though there were far more defeats than victories. Work also couldn't fill the gaping hole in her life.

Trevor was a nice guy. He was well-respected by the city elite without compromising himself, he was intelligent to the point of almost being her equal and he was handsome in a square-jawed, chiselled manner. He was just a nice guy.

Alex had been willing to settle for this – right up until the return of a certain swarthy-skinned ex-cop. Olivia Benson wasn't nice. She was rude, arrogant, uncouth and cold. Yet despite all these failings, she could made Alex's blood pump faster with just a glance – in a way that Trevor never could. Just thinking about Olivia brought life to her otherwise dull expression.

Olivia Benson was the only person on her mind when a knock on the bathroom door brought her back to reality. Before she could say anything, the door opened and her current lover strode in purposefully. Alex saw Trevor's face in the mirror and his expression made his features appear harsher. He was obviously displeased.

"Mother sent me to inform you that the main course is ready to be served."

"And?" Alex promoted, waiting to hear what remained unsaid. He tone had indicated that he hadn't come just to let her know about dinner.

Trevor didn't reply immediately. He crossed the short distance between them until he was pressed against her back.

Alex was unnerved by the discomfort his proximity caused her. Given that Trevor was her lover, she couldn't understand why she suddenly felt so claustrophobic.

Then he put one strong arm around her narrow waist and drew her into his body. "I think you could try being a little less…abrasive around my parents," he offered in a firm voice.

Alex snorted in reply. "Why don't you say what you really mean, Trevor? You think I should keep my opinions to myself."

"I know you think Olivia Benson saved your life-"

"Olivia Benson did save my life!" Alex interrupted. She turned to face Trevor and look him in the eye instead of just his reflection. "If she hadn't been there then I would have disappeared – just like all the other kids Tommy Twist murdered!"

Trevor wrapped his other arm around her so she was snug against him. She felt like panicking, pushing him back with her fists. However she drew in a breath and forced herself to be calm.

"They never had anything on him, Alex. You were just a kid, confused, scared."

"I was still me!" Alex snapped in reply. Despite the fact that she was encased in Trevor's arms she squared her shoulders and stiffened her back. She sighed. She didn't want to get into an argument with him. The day had been bad enough already. "Trevor, just give me a few minutes. I'll be right out."

He nodded and pressed a kiss against her forehead. Once he released her and left the bathroom, Alex was able to breathe a proper sigh of relief. It barely helped. She felt just as trapped. She needed to escape the stifling environment.

A few minutes later Alex was tugging on her coat at the front door. She heard heavy footsteps behind her and turned to see Trevor emerge from the dining room.

"Alexandra?" Trevor's voice was heavy with anger. "Where the hell are you going?"

"I've called a cab. I'm going home," Alex replied abruptly.

"You're staying for dinner!" he ordered.

Alex didn't even bother to button up her coat before opening the front door. "I'm not."

"If you walk out that door there will be consequences!" Trevor threatened.

She didn't give a damn about Trevor's 'consequences.' She let him know as much by not looking back as she stepped outside and slammed the door.

The cab was already waiting for her. Rather than wait for Trevor to accost her on the pavement, she broke into a run as best she could in her heels. Behind her she could hear him already, calling for her to stop being ridiculous. Alex knew full well she was being ridiculous but it was already too late. If Trevor wanted to resume their argument at a later time, then he was free to do so.

As she slid into the cab and it pulled away from the curb, she finally looked back to see him lashing out angrily with a kick at an unsuspecting shrub. Alex settled back into the seat as she watched the tall gates of Sacred Oaks flashed by her window. Gates made deliberately imposing to keep the world out.

It was a life that should one day be hers. If she married Trevor, Alex knew that she would eventually find herself much like Beverley Langan – complete with a Pekingese on her lap – and no opinions of her own. It was the stuff of her worst nightmares.

So when the driver asked her where they were going, she only had to think a moment before replying, "Old Town. Kitty's."

If the driver thought the perfectly attired blonde woman was making an odd request, he said nothing. He nodded and planted his foot, heading for the dark sprawl that was Old Town.

Just like the cab driver, Abbie Carmichael didn't show any hint of surprise to see Alex Cabot turn up in her bar later that night. She watched the blonde approach with a weary smile on her face. She could see Alex looking around furtively and knew that she was hoping to see Olivia. It was all too disturbing and Abbie didn't have the slightest interest in playing matchmaker – especially not between Alex and the slightly psychotic ex-cop.

"Well, well, well…whatever have we done to deserve the hallowed presence of Alexandra Cabot?" Abbie asked, taking a sip of the beer in front of her.

Alex arched a pair of perfectly shaped eyebrows as she took a seat at the bar. "Can't a girl get a drink when she wants?"

"Alex, this is the last place that a girl like you would come to get a drink."

"Fuck up, Abbie," Alex tossed her hair and signalled the barkeep. She nodded towards Abbie's beer. "I'll have what she's having."

"Since when do you drink beer?" Abbie propped one arm up on the bar and studied Alex with a suspicious look on her face.

Alex shrugged. Her beer was delivered and she took a hearty swig. She did her best to keep the resulting expression of disgust from creeping too far across her face. The second and third gulps went down much easier. She was soon able to forget the disastrous dinner with Trevor's parents and relax somewhat.

As she glanced around, Alex could plainly tell that Kitty's wasn't busy. There was no strip show on the small stage and the few patrons that were there were bent low over their glasses. The one person that she had hoped to see wasn't anywhere in sight.

"You just missed her," Abbie read her thoughts.

"Missed who?" Alex asked weakly.

Abbie shook her head in disbelief. "You two are as bad as each other."

"What makes you think I'm here to see Olivia?"

"Alex, you're in Kitty's, sitting on a dirty barstool in your hand-tailored suit, drinking a cheap beer that you can't stand."

It wasn't worth protesting. Alex knew her actions were transparent. Just by walking into the bar she had practically announced that she was here to see Olivia Benson. She couldn't explain exactly what had compelled her to ask the cab driver to bring her into Old Town instead of back her comfortable house where she could safely sit down in her suit. Her last meeting with Olivia hadn't been the reunion she'd been hoping for. Perhaps she was hoping for a second chance at that meeting?

"Hey kid," Abbie said as she placed a hand on Alex's forearm. "I know how you feel about, Benson..."

"She saved my life, Abbie!" Alex replied angrily. She was angered by the implications in Abbie's tone. "I want to make sure she's looked after. There's nothing more to it."

"Are you sure there's nothing more to it? Not even a little infatuation? Like you said, she saved your life..."

"I am not infatuated with her!"

Abbie recognised the tone in Alex's voice. It was her 'don't mess with me' tone - firm, decisive and completely guarded. She saw the firm set to Alex's lips, her eyes steely behind her dark-rimmed glasses.

"That was out of line. I guess I'm just concerned..."

"You should know me better, Abbie." Alex turned to her friend. "You're looking at the lawyer who sent Judge Delaney on a one way ticket to hell without batting an eyelash. If I had a dollar for every scumbag who ever threatened me in court then I'd own my own fucking island. I don't need your concern."

Abbie nodded. "Understood."

Alex sighed. She couldn't even stay and have a civil conversation and a drink with a friend without letting the topic of that bloody ex-cop take over everything. The trip to Kitty's had been a waste of time. She slapped a ten dollar note down on the bar. "I guess I'll go home then."

She slid down from the stool and nodded a curt goodbye to Abbie.

It was Abbie's turn to sigh. The slight, uncharacteristic slump to Alex Cabot's shoulders unnerved her. The blonde had done so much for her and her people; she could at least give her a bit of good news.

"Alex?" Abbie called.

"What?" Alex didn't even bother to turn around.

"Benson's staying in town…for the time being."

Although she didn't reply - or even turn around - as she walked out of the bar, Abbie saw Alex square her shoulders confidently. She continued on her way with a flick of her perfectly placed hair.



A couple of days pass. I work for Carmichael. I don't see Alex Cabot. Not that I want to see Alex fucking Cabot. I sure as hell don't. Seeing that woman would only add more fuel to an already raging fire. When my eyes close at night, the first thing I see is her face. Then I imagine running the pads of my fingers down those perfectly accented cheeks, trailing them along her stubborn jaw line and taking hold of her chin as I draw her in close for a kiss. What happens next is the sort of stuff that low-budget x-rated movies are made of – stuff that shouldn't be associated with someone like Alex. Someone so well-mannered, classy...and so fucking straight.

It has become apparent to me, more so than ever, that I really need to get laid.

Kitty's was a strip joint. Olivia supposed that it would be easy for her to find at least one of the girls who had a leaning towards women. Hell, most of them probably did. The problem was that she couldn't break herself out of old habits. She thought prison would have stomped it out of her, but she found herself unable to bring herself to mix work and pleasure. A bouncer was supposed to look after the girls, not fuck them.

She ran her eyes over the crowd. It was a particularly busy night, probably because Lily was up on stage. The petite redhead was Kitty's most popular dancer. The things she could do with a pole defied gravity.

As she leaned against a wall near the front door, Olivia watched transfixed as Lily's body gyrated around the pole in front of her. When she studied what Lily was wearing, or rather the lack of it, she was torn between her desire to watch and the guilty feeling that she ought to turn away and concentrate on the patrons walking through the door. Lily's lithe legs were clad in a pair of black leather chaps so tight they seemed to be a part of her. Beneath them she wore black underwear. When she spun around, Olivia saw it was a g-string, revealing Lily's creamy white, perfectly formed arse. Olivia felt a hot wave pass through her body, culminating in a hot pink flush at her cheeks. From there, her eyes moved up over Lily's taut stomach and to her chest. A thin black leather bra barely covered her breasts, as she danced she trailed a finger along her small, but perfect cleavage. At that point, Olivia dragged her gaze away.

"Fuck," she whispered in exasperation.

She glanced across to the clock behind the bar and saw she still had almost an hour till she was due a break. Such rules didn't seem to bother others. One of the bartenders was making out with a guy while she poured drinks. Munch was supposed to be on the door with her but he was on the other side of the room with a busty woman sitting in his lap whispering into his ear.

The minutes ticked by slowly. Olivia didn't even bother to take her breaks. She'd just want to head out back for a cigarette when she'd made up her mind to quit.

It wasn't until Kitty's was finally winding down and the last show was about to start, that she headed to the bar for a well-deserved drink. The Jack was a great pick-me-up. When the third one slid down her throat, she felt awake once again.

"The nights are pretty long."

Olivia turned, she hadn't even noticed Munch join her at the bar. His busty piece of arse was nowhere in sight. The bartender slapped a drink down in front of him before he even requested one.

"Damn right," Olivia agreed.

Although the Jack had taken the edge off her exhaustion, she couldn't get rid of the hollow ache between her legs. Munch continued to talk to her but she was barely paying him any attention. As she offered him a nod every now and then, her eyes roamed over the audience waiting for the next stripper to come on stage, it was a mass of filthy men with a few skanks hanging on. Absolutely no one of interest.

However, Olivia's eyes continued to roam over the crowd hopefully. A minute or so later, through the crowd, she saw a flash of blonde hair and pale skin. The woman lifted her head slightly as though sensing that someone was watching her and her hair fell back from her face to reveal pleasant enough features. A small smile of appreciation crossed Olivia's face and she stood, draining the last of her fourth drink as she did.

"I'll be back in a bit," she told Munch.

"Benson, I'd stay-" Munch's words fell on deaf ears as Olivia disappeared in the crowd "-away from that one if I were you."

The crowd partly obediently as Olivia made her way forward. Even after only a couple of days working there, most knew that she worked for Abbie Carmichael. They knew well enough to give her space. She only had eyes for the blonde and did not pause to talk to anyone or to check her appearance. She was attired in an outfit she found most comfortable - boots, leather pants and white vest. She'd even made an effort to make her hair look half decent. All in all, Olivia hoped it would be a hard picture to resist. She slid into the booth next to the woman.

The blonde turned her head and there was a small smirk on her face, "I was wondering when you were going to notice me."

Olivia smiled in return, no pick up line necessary. Her eyes roamed discreetly over the woman sitting in front of her. She was pretty, no doubt about that, but Olivia immediately suppressed any thought of her not being half as beautiful as Alex Cabot.

"I hope I didn't keep you waiting," Olivia replied, hoping that she didn't have to do too much talking before they got down to what they both wanted.

She swivels around on her barstool to face me, legs parted brazenly and I waste no time in sliding forward on my own seat. My leather clad thigh slips in between hers as I trail my hand down over her waist, gentle fingertips moving over her hip and down to the hem of her short red skirt. There's no electricity as I touch the skin of her thigh but I don't care, my hand slips beneath her skirt, hungrily seeking out the warmth. Dame's not wearing anything under her skirt of course, she's already wet even before I slide my fingers against her sex. She gasps and I met her gaze with a smouldering one of my own. I don't need to whisper anything in her ear, what I want to do to her is written on my face. Somehow we make it to the bathroom and into one of the stalls. Even before the door is locked behind us I slam her back against the wall of the stall and her legs go up around my waist. With one arm beneath her arse, I'm yanking up her top with the other, revealing her heaving tits right in front of my face. She's whispering in my ear for me to fuck her and I oblige, I know she's ready before I drive my fingers upwards, palm grinding against her clit as I do so. The whole damn stall is rocking, shoddy partitions creaking in time with each of my thrusts. I pump my hips forward, surging up into her as I lose myself in the intensity of it all. Two bodies grinding against one another, I can feel the sweat building up between her breasts, the way her breath falls on my cheek and the urgent clawing of her hands on my back but I really feel none of it. I glance up at her face and her eyes are squeezed shut, lips parted in anticipation of what's to come and I feel none of that. I turn my head and I'm more interested in the fuckin' graffiti scrawled on the stall door. Her heels dig even more sharply into the small of my back and she drives her nails into my shoulders as she cums. I continue to thrust into her until she's as limp as a rag doll in my arms and her legs fall to the ground, skirt still hitched up around her waist. My breath is hoarse and fast against her throat and I'm done. There's no wry banter, I can't think of anythin' to say anymore and all of a sudden the stall feels claustrophobic as hell. I'm sandwiched in here with this dame I've just fucked, I don't even know her name and nor do I want to. Instead all I can think about is how I would feel if it was Alex's cunt my fingers were buried in right now. Goddammit, what the hell has that blonde princess done to me? I depart the stall with one last kiss planted on her neck as a kind of goodbye and make a beeline straight for the sink. I can't wash my hands enough times to satisfy myself and finally I just have to give up. I'm shaking as I rest my hands on either side of the sink and look at myself in the cracked and dirty mirror.

When Olivia found her own gaze staring back at her from the cracked and dirty mirror hanging above the basin she saw tired eyes and a less than elated expression. Just yesterday she would have worn a knowing little smirk at her conquest…now something was missing. She did not pause at the sink long enough to see the woman emerge from the stall. Instead, she strode back out into the bar to rejoin Munch. He eyed her slightly tousled hair and rather swollen lips with a look of mild disapproval as she slumped back into her seat.

"What?" Olivia growled at him.

"Nothin," Munch muttered and looked away.

Olivia glanced up to see the blonde woman emerging from the woman's bathroom, her skirt tugged back down over her arse and a rather satisfied expression on her face. While Olivia was pleased at the expression, she was less than pleased to see the woman making a beeline for her. Although she wanted to look away and feign disinterest, the sway of her hips in the dress was mesmerising. Her swaying hips stopped when she reached Olivia's side and she leaned in for another kiss. Olivia sampled her rich lips for just a while longer, thrusting slightly with her tongue.

When Olivia eventually pulled away, the smile had finally found its way onto her face – and it was a very satisfied smile. While the woman didn't hold a candle to Alex, there was something about her.

"Any plans for tonight, doll?" Olivia asked. She ran a firm hand up the woman's flank, stopping just below her breasts. With a wicked glint in her eye, she squeezed one playfully. She didn't have time to wait for a response. Seconds later, the blonde woman was yanked away from Olivia and thrown backwards into the bar. She yelped in pain.

"Muffy, what the fuck are you doing?"

Olivia turned to see who had spoken and found herself facing an angry, pug-faced man. The second thing she noticed after the immense size of his biceps, was his tattoo – a heart with 'Muffy' scrawled across it.

Muffy. I can't believe I fucked a dame called Muffy. That's more depressing than the fact that she belongs to the big lug standing in front of me.

"I do believe Muffy was trawling for greener pastures," Olivia offered with a vicious smirk. She wasn't in the mood for being nice.

"What the fuck did you say?" he demanded, strutting up to stand in front of Olivia. Despite the size of his biceps, he was so short she could look down on him.

"You heard me," Olivia jabbed her finger into his chest. "Are you not up to the job, big boy?"

Behind her, Muffy squawked again, although this time with a different sort of pain. Her boyfriend puffed out his chest and narrowed his little eyes at the woman he faced.

"You been sniffing around my woman, dyke?" he demanded.

"And then some!" Olivia replied.

He didn't need to ask any further questions - with an angry grunt he swung his meaty fist towards Olivia's face. She saw it coming a mile away and stepped back. He over-reached himself and almost stumbled forward into the bar. Clearly he'd had more than a couple of glasses of Jack himself. As he fell forward Olivia grabbed him by the back of his head and helped him down faster, right onto her knee. He howled in pain and crashed to the floor.

When he bounced back to his feet, there was blood pouring from his nose. He wisely waited before making his next move, giving himself time to collect his dazed thoughts. The next jabs that followed were powerful and controlled. Olivia ducked and weaved, quickly recognising the movements of a trained boxer. She cursed her luck. She had to fuck the dame in the bar who was seeing a wannabe heavyweight champion. It was more likely that he was a washed-up ex pro but still dangerous all the same.

She darted backwards, sending several stools and a couple of patrons flying. One particularly fast swing caught her out and landed heavily on her temple. Although it was just a glancing blow, it still knocked her to the ground. Olivia fell heavily, barely managing to get up before his fist crashed down on the spot where her head had lain a split second earlier. She recovered quickly, lashing out with a sudden kick to his head. It caught him squarely beneath the jaw.

By now the remaining patrons in Kitty's were forming an enthusiastic audience. Some even went as far as to place bets on the eventual winner. Olivia was just glad Alex wasn't around to see how low she had stooped – brawling with a thug in a strip joint. It didn't get much lower for an ex-cop.

Using her anger, she side-stepped his weak uppercut and smashed her own fist down on the side of his head.

As she moved, she felt the knife wound at her side tear open. She could feel warm blood seeping out. The fight had to be wrapped up quickly or she'd be in real trouble. Olivia picked up a nearby stool and brought it down over his back just as he was trying to lift himself to his feet. The stool smashed into several pieces with the force of the blow. He went down heavily and lay on the filthy floor groaning.

Just as she was about to lay into him once again, Olivia suddenly found a wiry strong arm around her neck. She struggled for a moment, escaping easily from the grip. Only when she spun around she found herself face to face with Munch.

"Back off, Benson!" Munch said directly into her face. "You've kicked the crap out of the fucker. It's time to let him go."

Olivia crackled her knuckles. No way in hell was she done. She was just getting started. "Why the fuck should I?"

"Because you'll find yourself without a job, and Carmichael doesn't like you all that much to begin with."

Olivia had to admit that he had a point. The feeling was pretty much mutual, but who else was going to give her a job in this town? If she lived long enough to meet with her parole officer, then it would look good for her to be holding down a job – even if it was as a bouncer in an Old Town strip club.

"Fine," Olivia growled. Just because she could see the sense in it, didn't mean that she had to like it.

She gave the fat moron one last kick for good measure. Munch grabbed her by the back of her shirt and dragged her away. With an angry grunt, Olivia turned to leave Kitty's. When she looked back over her shoulder, she saw Muffy blow her a kiss. Olivia thought better of any further dalliances and left her to console her boyfriend. She opened up her jacket slightly and saw an angry red stain spreading outwards. Olivia shrugged, she barely felt it. It certainly wasn't worth crying over.

It was an angry Olivia that stormed up the front steps of the Palace after walking all the way back rather than shell out for a cab. As soon as Olivia reached the run down hotel, she found Abbie, Elliot and several of the Ladies waiting for her. She scowled angrily, thinking that Munch had ratted her out for the mess she'd caused at Kitty's. However she noticed that Elliot was holding someone by the scruff of his neck. As she approached, Elliot threw him to the floor and delivered a firm kick in the small of his back to send him flying face first into the carpet. He then reached down and grabbed a fistful of his hair, yanking his head back so they could all get a good look at his face.

"Do you know this guy?" Abbie demanded. In one fist she held a very large and wicked looking knife.

Olivia glanced down at the face of the man Elliot held, he glared back at her defiantly. She didn't spare him more than a second. He was obviously a two bit crook of the type she would have packed off to the slammer in a heartbeat back when she was still a cop. He was nobody. She shook her head in Abbie's direction.

"Never seen him before. Why?"

"Cos he says he's got a message for you," Abbie replied.

Olivia's eyebrows raised slightly. "Well?"

The man laughed chokingly. "I've got a message for Olivia Benson."

Olivia crossed the floor in two powerful strides, kneeling down before the man. "I think we've gathered that already you piece of shit, now what's the message?"

"It's from Glory Twist."

"I guessed as much. Obviously she's not setting me up on a date with her son so what does that murdering bitch want?" Olivia felt like herself once more. She had a problem she could deal with.

"You," he replied.

Olivia snorted quietly. "Seems that's what everyone wants at the moment. The short answer is I'm not available and you can take that back to your Madam Twist with my fucking compliments."

"If you don't hand yourself over…she's declaring open war on Old Town, the cops will swarm here like flies on stink," he replied, glancing up at Abbie and Olivia with another throaty chuckle.

Abbie glanced across to Elliot and her fellow Ladies with narrow eyes. The very thought was inconceivable. Old Town was a safe haven. The Ladies didn't mess with the cops, and the cops didn't mess with the Ladies. That was the law and the uneasy truce that kept the whole place hanging together. If either side stepped over the line then all hell would break loose.

"They wouldn't dare!" one of the Ladies exclaimed, she gripped the handle of the Uzi she held with white knuckled fingers.

"And they won't, Lola," Abbie reassured her fervently.

As if on cue, Elliot slammed the man's head into the carpet and then let his hair go, wiping his hands on his jacket with a look of distaste.

I watch Elliot rise slowly to his feet, keeping his eyes on me the whole time. Behind him, Abbie does the same and I watch that wicked looking knife of hers like my life depends on it. These people aren't my friends, and the sooner I realise that the better off I'll be. I reckon they'll hand me over to Glory in a heartbeat, especially to keep the peace. Open war or handing over one tired ex-cop? It's a fucking dead cert.

Abbie continued, "They won't because Glory knows if her goons or the cops so much as put a toe onto our turf with ill intentions then we'll cut them up so bad the streets will run red with blood, and you can bet your arses it won't be Ladies blood!"

Beside her Elliot gave one sharp nod.

If I hear it right, they're gonna protect me. Maybe Alex was right and I'm short-changing these people. Even so, they're a bunch of crazy, suicidal idiots.

"Don't be stupid, they'll come in here with so much manpower you won't stand a chance," Olivia spoke the truth and everyone knew it.

By now their prisoner had dragged himself to a kneeling position, one foot forward as though he were prepared to spring to his feet. He was looking over his shoulder, up at Abbie as though he thought she might slash his throat with her knife at any moment.

"So what's your answer whore? What word should I take back to Madam Twist?" he asked, obviously impatient to be out of the Palace.

"What word?" Abbie cocked her head to one side, "'Cos I'm so fucking generous, she can have several, 'Keep the fuck out of Old Town!'"

"It's your funeral bitches!" he sneered in reply, standing all the way up with a slight stagger.

Olivia clenched her fist. "And this is from me."

In one powerful movement, she drew back her fist and let it go. It smashed into the guys jaw, dislodging teeth and sending them flying in a cloud of blood to the carpet. He fell backwards and landed in front of Abbie. The brunette seized him by the back of his jacket.

"Take this creep outside and send him on his way real nice like," she commanded Elliot and Lola. "Make sure he gets out of Old Town safe, we wouldn't want something nasty happening to him before he gets to deliver his message."

Olivia watched as the two women half-dragged the man back out the way they had come. Gradually, the rest of the Ladies filtered away until she found herself alone in the hallway with Abbie. The whore stood with one hand on her hip, a pose so maddeningly confident it made Olivia's eyes ache.

"You'll soon see that we're not who you think we are," Abbie said in Olivia's direction. She was not boasting but rather making a simple statement of fact. "Whether you like it or not, we're going out on a limb for you."

I don't reply. Call me a rude, ungrateful bitch but my time in prison has made me cynical. All this self-righteous heroism makes me sick. When will they realise that it all counts for nothing? My throat is as dry as hell and I realise I need something to drink, something that burns. I push past Abbie with the intention of going back to my room, pulling some clothes on, and getting the hell out of here.


The urgent shout caused Olivia to stop in her tracks. She spun around to see a breathless Elliot running back up the stairs into the Palace.

"I was about to tap the guy..."

"Elliot!" Abbie hissed. "I said to let him go!"

"It doesn't matter. They're going after Alex...now!" he continued.

Olivia heard everything as though it had been amplified. If they wanted Alex dead, then she stood no chance.

"Get me in a car right now!" she demanded.

"I'll drive," Elliot offered immediately.

Alex Cabot was in a foul mood as the taxi made the turn into her street. After twelve hours spent trying to scrape together enough viable evidence to prosecute a serial rapist, she finally had to admit that they had nothing that would stand up in court. A day wasted and the scumbag in question was already back out on the streets. Alex knew that no one else gave a damn.

Her mood darkened further when she saw Trevor's Range Rover parked in her driveway. After her deliberate insult of his parents she had hoped that he would snub her for a few days longer. She should have realised that Trevor wasn't the sort of guy to allow her even a minor victory. He had come to help her see the error of her ways and convince her that she ought to go grovelling to his parents with an apology.

I'll slit my own wrists before saying so much as a single sorry to that pair of contemptuous leeches. At the back of her mind was the tiny spark of hope that her actions had caused enough offence for the Langans to demand that Trevor break off their engagement. Don't be ridiculous, Alex, she thought with an angry huff as she exited the cab, You don't need anyone to end a relationship for you.

As she pushed opened her front door, Alex confirmed her suspicions that Trevor was pissed off. He was enough of a nice guy to usually bring take out with him. Instead, the interior of the house was dark and uninviting. No aroma of Chinese food greeted her. Alex sighed, she was starving. A full stomach would have helped her give him a piece of her mind.

As it was, the house was cold enough to make her feel even more miserable. She was determined to get rid of Trevor as quickly as possible. Then all she wanted was a hot bath and a glass of red wine before falling into bed alone.

"Trevor?" Alex called out as she moved through the house – still no sign of life.

There was a single light on in the kitchen. Alex immediately saw Trevor's car keys lying on the counter top. She took a few more steps, the sound of her pumps echoing in the silence. Something felt wrong.

Seconds later her intuition was confirmed when she heard a wheezing gasp from behind the counter. Alex initially froze in shock. However at the second gasp she felt compelled to dash forward. A pool of blood was the first sight she registered. Lying at the centre of that pool was the slightly twitching body of her fiancé. Alex's handbag fell from her fingers as she scrambled forward.

"Trevor!" a strangled cry tore from Alex's throat. She dropped to her knees on the hard tiles and gently rolled him over.

Alex had seen some truly shocking photographs in her time prosecuting murderers and rapists. She'd even been to a couple of crime scenes to see the blood first hand. None of that compared to seeing it right in front of her eyes and pouring from the body of someone she was close to. The vibrancy of the colour against the tiles was overwhelming.

Then she saw what had happened. Trevor's throat had been slashed. A ragged, wide gash ran almost from ear to ear. He stared at her pleadingly for just a few seconds before the remaining life drained from his body.

It was only after she'd cradled his dead body for some moments that Alex realised her own life was in danger. She didn't hear the footsteps behind her, or even smell the cigar that the man smoked. At the same moment that she became scared for her own life, she felt a hand close around her mouth. Before the scream emerged from her throat, it was cut off. Instead all she managed was a muffled cry as she was dragged to her feet.

She was spun around to come face to face with a foul, loathsome excuse for a human being. He had a red raw scar running down one side of his face and several teeth missing – obviously the product of a hard life. It was with a cruel sense of irony that Alex recognised him instantly. Charles Bean, the serial rapist she'd failed to keep behind bars.

"Hello, Miss Cabot," he said in an excited voice as he held her in front of him. "Fancy us meeting like this - although I don't see any cops or bars between us."

"They'll be coming," Alex managed to croak despite the constriction in her throat.

Bean laughed loudly. "I think not – unless you live in a dream world where cops caught be bought?"

Alex tried to remain stoic in the face of such news, but she couldn't hold back the whimper in her throat. Bean grabbed her by the hair and dragged her unceremoniously out of the kitchen.

Once upstairs, he threw her face first onto her own bed. She immediately tried to stand but his weight was on her. He turned her over and buried his foul face in her neck. With a whimper, Alex twisted and turned her head in an effort to escape.

"You'll be the prettiest woman I've ever fucked," he chuckled as he held both her hands above her head to stop her scratching at his eyes. "Probably the smartest too. How does that make you feel?"

"Sick to my stomach," Alex sobbed. "Get the fuck off me!"

"I don't think so sweetheart. I'll take my time here and then just because you're so pretty, I'll kill you real quick. You won't feel a thing," he promised, taking another brutal kiss.

Even as she pounded her fists against his chest, Alex couldn't quite believe what was happening. She had lived with danger throughout her life, but had never had to suffer actual physical violence against her. She had never felt so helpless in her life. Her own strength was negligent; she pounded and pushed but everything she tried was useless.

With one swift tug, her tore open her shirt. The buttons popped with tiny sounds. Alex heard herself screaming continuously, that was until he thumped her brutally over the side of the head. Half-dazed, she felt him push up her skirt, his thigh levering her legs apart. All that emerged from her mouth was a pathetic attempt at a sob.

He was tearing at her silk chemise when Alex suddenly felt the weight gone from her body. She opened her eyes to see her attacker being dragged backwards and off the bed by a second man just as he was in the act of undoing his belt.

"Bean, you bloody idiot!" his companion sneered. He slapped him across the side of his head with the flat of his palm and sent him sprawling to the ground. "You were supposed to take her out quickly, not fool around with her!"

"I've been sitting across the court room listening to this bitch try and put me away – wanting to pay her back, and you're going to deny me that? You British bastard."

Alex's relief was short-lived. The newcomer drew out a massive gun from within his coat and levelled it at her head.

"Goodbye, Miss Cabot," he said in his crisp accent.

All she could do was squeeze her eyes shut and wait for the bullet to smash into her brain. At least it was going to be quick. The powerful shot rang out seconds later but instead of her head, Alex heard it thud into the wall behind her.

When she opened her eyes she saw the gun being wrestled out of his hand by none other than Olivia Benson. Behind Olivia, she saw Stabler grabbing hold of the scarred man who was still dazed from being struck by his partner.

Although dazed, the man called Bean immediately fought back like an animal. He roared as he seized Elliot Stabler around the waist and drove him backwards. The pair of them crashed backwards down the stairs and were gone from sight. Alex was left in the room to watch Olivia struggle with the man with the gun.

A second and third shot rang out from the gun as they fought over it. The first slammed harmlessly into the ceiling, but the second tore into the pillow just beside Alex's arm. She screamed as a cloud of feathers erupted around her. Across the room, her terrified gaze met Olivia's for just a second.

"Alex, get down!" Olivia ordered.

There was nowhere to go other than crawl off the bed and hunker down beside it. A part of her knew she ought to duck down as far as possible, but she couldn't tear her eyes away from Olivia as the ex-cop struggled with the intruder. Alex could make him out clearly despite the only light in the room coming from the street lights outside. He was pale, thin, and his hair was bleached white. His face too was scarred, but they were all white and long-healed. Several gunshots rang out from downstairs, Alex jumped in fright.

Olivia finally managed to pry the man's fingers from the weighty piece in his hand. She had to get it away from him before his next shot found a target. With an angry grunt, she wrenched his arm backwards. The gun came free but it flew out of his fingers and crashed through a nearby window. Olivia heard it clattering across the roof – useless to both of them. Of course she hadn't even thought to bring a piece of her own. It was fitting in a way, what was a cop without a gun?

Her opponent suddenly rammed his knee up into her gut. Olivia fell backwards, the wind knocked out of her. Before he could take advantage of knocking her down, she staggered to her feet and lifted her fists in a fighting stance. Even from such a limited exchange of blows, Olivia could tell that he was one very dangerous customer – possibly even too dangerous for her to take on alone.

"The infamous Olivia Benson I presume?" he asked, cocking his head to one side. "You're not quite what I expected."

Talking was good – I she could just keep him talking until Stabler finished his dirty work downstairs. "I suppose you imagined me taller?"

"Taller, less pretty," he shrugged as he looked her up and down. "Name's Malcolm. Tell you what, you let me fetch my piece, put you out of your misery and I'll let Miss Cabot go with both her life and her dignity intact."

Olivia had to admit that she was seriously considering his offer. She didn't want to let on though. There was nothing but silence from downstairs. "How about I just kick your British arse?"

"Olivia?" Stabler's voice rang out from downstairs – perfect timing.

"Bollocks!" he sneered angrily as he faced Olivia down.

She smirked as he weighed up his options. "You wanna take both of us on?" she asked, cocking her head to one side.

"I could," he drawled lazily.

A split second later, just as Olivia heard Elliot's heavy soled boots thudding up the stairs, he spun on his heels and crashed through the already half broken window. By the time Elliot was in the room, the only evidence that he had been there was the broken glass.

"You want me to follow?" he asked, running to the window.

Olivia shook her head. "The guy's a machine, I wouldn't risk it alone – even with a piece in your hands."

She turned her attention to Alex. The blonde was right where she had left her – huddled on the far side of the bed. Her knees were drawn up to her chest and her trembling hands were holding her ripped shirt together. Olivia scrambled over the bed and dropped down beside her.

"Hey, Alex?" Olivia asked gently.

No response. The blue eyes stared straight ahead but saw nothing. Her breath came in terrified pants.


She was about to slap the blonde when she saw Alex's eyes widened with recognition.

Alex uttered a single sob before throwing her arms around Olivia's neck. "Oh god, Liv!"

As Olivia tentatively put her arms around Alex, she collapsed into a steady stream of sobbing and incoherent mumbling. At first her hands were just resting against the fabric of Alex's jacket. Then she tightened her hold, drawing the blonde against her body. She cradled her protectively - even going as far as stroking her hair until she realised that her hands were covered in blood.

Olivia looked down at her bloody paws and felt some sense of revulsion. She felt like a thug – plain and simple. Still, if that was the reason why Alex was still alive and crying in her arms then she could live with that.

I shouldn't be thinking about such things, but Alex smells like roses as I hold her in my arms. This really confirms that there's something wrong with me. The poor kid's been through hell and all I can think about is how fantastic she smells.

To Be Continued

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