DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything, let alone these two. Borrowed for entertainment purposes only and returned no worse for the wear.
CHALLENGE: Written as part of the 24 Hours Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
There Are Always Consequences
"Oh, hell no! Hell. No." A tall, dreadlocked hooker in a red miniskirt and a black sequined tube top rose off the utilitarian bench bolted into the side of the cell as she watched a CO bring in the latest victim. Steel bars did nothing to hide her identity and the redhead had a decidedly hang-dog look about her as she waited for the cell door to be opened. Her perfectly cut black skirt suit only added to her aura of despair.
"Hey, Dazzle," she said morosely.
"Casey Novak, what the fuck? This the third time I seen you in here this month!" Dazzle had her hands on her hips and a disapproving scowl twisted her features. "You s'posed to be on the other side of them bars, girl!"
"No shit," said the ADA but without ire. She flinched when the cell door shut behind her then trudged over to the bench and lowered herself on its end. It was hard and cold through the silk of her skirt but she barely felt the discomfort. It was nothing compared to the nauseating dread that hung over her like a burial shroud. She covered her crumpling face with her long-fingered hands and collapsed forward to rest her elbows on her knees.
"Hey, hey, hey! It can't be as bad as all that." Dazzle sat next to the attorney and ran a comforting hand across her back, making sure her black-painted acrylic nails with the Egyptian ankhs on them didn't snag the fabric of Casey's suit jacket. "This ain't death row, baby! You gonna be aiight."
"No, I'm not," came the muffled reply. "She's smart. She'll make it look like an accident. I won't be breathing for more than thirty minutes once I make bail. And even if she fucks it up and leaves evidence, who'll bother arresting a cop?" Casey chuckled ruefully. "I am so dead."
"Lord, girl! Why you think tall, dark, and smokin' hot is gonna get up witchew like that, huh? She love you, Casey! She love you like that guy who built that Taj Mahal for his dead wife!"
Casey pinned Dazzle with a flat gaze. Her usually emerald eyes were the color of dusty concrete now and as dead as blank television screens. "It's our anniversary," she explained without emotion.
The hooker blinked twice, her glittered lashes almost tinkling, so heavy with glitz were they. Then she whistled. Long and low. "She-it! Girl, you gonna have to go into Wit--"
"Don't say it!" warned a suddenly hawk-eyed ADA. "Do not say those words! I'm warning you, Dazzle!"
"Okay, okay! Don't be goin' all postal on me, honey! What you do, anyway? Mouth off to some judge again?" Casey's honesty in the courtroom was a well-known feature of her prosecutorial style, even among the detritus of the criminal community that gathered here in the community holding cell at One Police Plaza. After all, Casey had been there often enough. So often, in fact, that she was on a first name basis with four call girls, three panhandlers, two petty thieves, and a drunk in a cheap nylon coat. One day soon I'll have a great novelty Christmas song for the radio, mused Casey.
"Well, not so much 'mouthed off'..." replied the ADA cryptically. She glanced at the hooker and then averted her eyes, uncharacteristically hesitant. "I sorta...mooed at her."
Another tinkly blink. "Mooed," repeated Dazzle, her voice curiously devoid of inflection as she pondered this admission. "Like a cow? Mooed, like a fucking cow?"
Casey nodded. "Yep. Mooed."
Another moment of stunned contemplation on Dazzle's part suddenly gave way to a kernel of dark suspicion. "Oh please, Casey Novak. Please, please, please tell me you did not moo at Judge Petrovsky."
Casey's gaze was both sheepish and righteous at the same time. It was an interesting accomplishment, facially-speaking. "She was being a cow! None of my objections were being sustained, she threw out evidence that she previously allowed, and--and--and--I was mad!" she finished lamely.
"No, girl, you ain't mad. YOU CRAZY! Jesus Christ in a purple prom dress, Casey! What were you thinking?" Judge Lena Petrovsky's reputation had also preceded her, even down in this dank, forgotten cell. Casey was not the first prosecutor to be sent to cool down in the slammer by Pitiless Petrovsky. She wouldn't be the last. But it did seem as if she was hoping to be the one sent most often.
"I would think it fairly obvious by now that I wasn't thinking, Dazzle!" She fell forward again with a groan, cradling her head in her hands. "We had reservations at Blu, for God's sake! And I had a brand new, never worn, NYPD thong in my purse! With a little picture of a badge on it and everything! And that's in evidence with my personal belongings!" A sudden, nauseating thought made her sit bolt upright. "That pig, Bronson," she whispered, referring to the evidence locker officer. Her eyes narrowed dangerously. "That pig Bronson is probably pawing it right now! AUUGH!" She let her head drop back against the cinder-block wall, painted a putrid shade of Drowning Victim Blue, then began to bang her red-tressed head against it in self-recrimination.
Dazzle didn't know whether to laugh or continue with her vague offers of support. Wisely figuring she'd rather not carry her teeth out in her hands later when Paco finally showed with the bail money, she opted for solemn encouragement. "Detective Benson ain't gonna kill you, Casey," she said, trying for dismissive condescension. "I mean, it your fault, mooin' at Petrovsky on your anniversary and all, but Benson, she know how you are. She know you stubborn and outspoken and sometimes you talk--or moo--before you really think about the consequences, and she can't really be mad at you for that cuz it's probably part of the reason she fell for your ass in the first place, right? Though honestly? Only Jesus and your mama know why."
Casey stopped banging her head against the wall, opened one eye, and turned its baleful gaze upon the hooker. "You realize you aren't helping, right, Dazzle? I mean I'd hate to give you the impression that you are helping when you aren't. I'm just saying."
Before Dazzle could apologize, a slick, almost jovial voice interrupted.
"Well, hello there, Counselor," greeted Detective John Munch. "And if it isn't Ms....Sizzle? Sparkle? Fraggle?"
"Dazzle," corrected the hooker, crossing her arms and giving the detective a glare made entirely of poisonous snakes and jagged blades.
"John! What are you doing here?" Casey rushed to the bars and gripped them tightly in her hands, heedless of whatever biological refuse might be contaminating them. "God, have you seen Olivia? Is she here? Is she mad? How mad is she, John? Tell me!"
Munch raised his hands as if warding off an oncoming train. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, Counselor. I haven't actually seen the inimitable Detective Benson. Rather, I was exiting Courtroom C, where I had just dazzled--" He paused to pin the glittering hooker with a smug grin. "--the entirety of the jurisprudence system of this fair city yet again with my infallible testimony, when I bumped into one Ms. Shambala Green, whom I remembered was to be opposing counsel against you today. When I inquired of Ms. Green as to the disposition of your case, she informed me that the Honorable Judge Petrovsky had taken offense to your rapier sharp criticism of her failings and had sent you here to repent your wicked ways. Of course, I came at once."
Casey Novak would have cheerfully strangled Munch on the spot except for one tiny detail: the steel bars preventing that act. "You came here to what? To gloat? John, I will--"
"Once again, you misjudge me, Counselor," said Munch, affecting the air of one wounded by her words. "I came to offer assistance! I am at your command. Name the task." He stopped short of actually bowing, but the implication was there, just under the surface of his sugar-sweet words.
Casey crossed her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes at the older detective. "And what exactly is this going to cost me, John?"
"Ms. Novak, are you accusing me of--"
Flummoxed but still in the game, Munch grinned. "Never let it be said that you aren't a credit to your profession, Counselor," he said.
Casey sighed. "Could we get on with this, John? You are extorting me, remember? You're only wasting your own time."
"I seem to have procured some tickets to a showdown between your Yankees and my Orioles, to be played right here at Yankee Stadium. I would like you to accompany me."
Casey waited for the other shoe to drop but Munch just looked in through the bars expectantly. "And?" she prodded.
"And what, Counselor? That's all I'm asking. Though perhaps you could purchase me a hot dog and a beer. I have a feeling that I am not going to get great service as I will be wearing my well-worn Orioles cap."
Casey grinned lopsidedly. Why she found John's penchant for extorting her charming and heartwarming, she didn't know. Perhaps it was because he only seemed to ask for things she would have given gladly, like her friendship or her time. "You've got a deal, Detective," she said, making a show of capitulating. "Though in the spirit of full disclosure, I should tell you that I'll be wearing my A-Rod jersey and a Yankees cap and I will be generally loud in my criticism of umpires and opposing team members equally."
"I would expect nothing less, Counselor. Now tell me what I can do to help you out of this predicament in which you find yourself today."
As Casey leaned forward to list her needs to John, Dazzle shook her head and returned to her seat on the bench. "Casey Novak, you gots the weirdest friends in the city," she muttered to herself. "Glad they ain't mine."
Two and a half hours later, Casey Novak sat even more dejectedly on the end of the cold steel bench in the holding cell. Lena Petrovsky had been unmoved by Casey's predicament and had refused to drop the contempt charge despite Munch's herculean efforts. Paco had finally showed with Dazzle's bail money and she'd left, only to be replaced by a strung-out junkie whom Casey didn't know and who kept pretty much to herself, sitting on the floor in the corner of the room and singing the "Gilligan's Island" theme song over and over. And to top it all off, Olivia hadn't shown up yet.
She's really mad, she thought. I don't blame her. How could I be so stupid--
"Novak!" barked the CO as he unlocked the cell door. Hope washed over Casey's tall, lanky frame.
"The charges were dropped?" she asked, smiling.
"Nope. You're wanted in interrogation. Seems your description matches an APB in the system. Let's go."
"What?!" Casey couldn't believe what she was hearing. Can this day get any worse? she wondered. She quickly realized she didn't want to know.
The CO took her up two floors to Major Case's interrogation rooms and two things occurred to Casey. First, she was never going to live this down, especially if Alex Eames saw her. Or worse, was involved in the interrogation. Second, whatever this person had done, it had to be big! Major Case? Fuck me!
The guard opened another in a long line of gray doors down a particular hallway and as quickly as that, all of Casey's dread and despair and self-loathing disappeared. Because there, at the interrogation table that was now covered by a linen table cloth and take out tins from a high-end restaurant, sat Olivia Benson, smiling softly. She rose as the CO closed the door behind the ladies, grinning knowingly.
"Hey, Case," she said shyly and the redhead shook her head, suddenly not trusting the sight before her.
"But you should be angry!" she protested. "You should want to kill me!" She looked suspiciously at the steaming tins of food on the table. "Did you have them poison it?" she asked.
Olivia chuckled then walked over to fold her taller lover in her arms. Casey stiffened for half a second then melted into Olivia's warm embrace. "I'm sorry, Liv!" she said, her voice watery with unshed tears. "I--I--I wasn't thinking and before I knew it, I'd... And she'd... I'm so sorry!"
Olivia rubbed little circles on Casey's back. "John called me as soon as he left you. Told me what he was planning to do but I knew it wouldn't work. Petrovsky is nothing if not consistent. And yes, for about six minutes, I was angry. More at her than at you, but still angry. Until I remembered that if Mohammed can't go to the mountain then the mountain goes to Mohammed."
Casey pulled herself out of Olivia's arms and looked at her, smiling. "So you had Blu pack up all the food and you brought it here."
"Yep. Because I have friends in low places and I won't let Pitiless Petrovsky ruin our anniversary dinner." She paused for a minute and pinned Casey with a pointed look, one eyebrow raised over a laughing brown eye. "Some things that I was planning will have to wait, of course. Until we're no longer in public, at least."
Casey leaned forward for a lingering kiss then pulled back with a pout. "Yeah," she agreed. "Two way mirrors and wired for sound doesn't make this an ideal place for you to push me up against the wall and take me until I scream or pass out or both."
Olivia paled ever so slightly and swallowed convulsively. "You are so going to pay for that, Casey Novak," she promised in a squeaky voice. Casey leaned down and kissed her again.
"I hope so," she grinned. "Now, shall we eat?"
Olivia held Casey's chair for her then proceeded around the table to take her own seat. Casey ooohed and ahhhed over the selections Olivia had made and had a quick bite of the grilled quail with bacon and cherries before noticing the giant mug of coffee in front of her plate. She looked all over the table for creamer and frowned when she didn't find any.
"Liv, honey, is there any creamer for the coffee?" she asked.
Olivia practically smacked her forehead. "I forgot! Hold that thought." She whipped out her cell phone and dialed. "Hey, yeah," she said when it was picked up. "I forgot the cream for the coffee. Could you bring it in? Thanks."
The door opened a minute later and in shuffled a giant fuzzy cow, complete with comic pink udders and a cardboard Lena Petrovsky mask. Casey, stunned, watched mutely as the cow thunked a cow-shaped creamer down on the table then turned to leave. She was still watching the door long after the figure had passed through it.
"Moo," said Olivia. "Moo."
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