DISCLAIMER: Dick Wolf and NBC own the rights to Law and Order: SVU. I'm just burrowing the characters for entrainment. No money is being made, and no harm is intended.

The Calm Before the Storm
By Berg

It's funny...no, wait...that isn't the word that should be used. It's not funny. Ironic perhaps? No. That doesn't seem to fit either. What word would? What word describes that moment in your life when things seem to click, the moment in your life when you think to yourself, "it's my turn, my chance to make it happen." But that's when you're also hit with the sudden realization that everything you want to believe in, everything you've dreamed of can be taken away from you in a heart beat.

Cheryl Avery.

Cheryl would understand. She found her true love. She fought to keep him, to protect the special life they shared. And in the end the mirror shattered and they were both cut. Cheryl was now alone. Alone with the dream she shared. It all vanished in a heartbeat.

A click on the tic-tock.

A digital display banging away erasing a life from this world. A heart beat. One moment changed it forever.

For Olivia and Alex the same thing faced them. A moment. A heart beat. A second that they'd wonder about and wish for changed the rest of their life.

If you could go back in time and change one thing. What would it be?

Would you have said goodbye?

Would you have taken back that argument over something so small and insignificant?

Would you hold on to them a little bit longer?

Would you exchange your life for theirs?

Would you dot all the "i" and cross all the "t"?

Alex sat in the corner of the waiting of the Hospital. She and Olivia were supposed to have left already, but Olivia was running late. Alex looked down at her watch for the third time in the last 20 minutes. She couldn't wash the guilt over what had happened with Cheryl. 'Did I do this?' she wondered for the hundredth time that night.

"Hey, sorry I'm late," Olivia, said rounding the corner and finding Alex sitting in on a sofa.

"It's fine," Alex said. But there was a tone behind her voice.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing." Alex said beginning to walk out the door with Olivia following suit.

"Alex, this isn't your fault. Any blame you're feeling...you need to let it go," Olivia said getting into her car as Alex did like wise.

"I'm fine," Alex said.

"Okay," Olivia answered starting the car. Away they drove into the night. "We should grab something to eat."

'Home alone...again,' Alex thought sighing.

"What's the sigh for?"

"Nothing," Alex said. Like she was not going to have this conversation with Olivia.

"No, come on. You can tell me," Olivia said softly.

"Not everything is open for discussion Olivia," Alex said looking out the window.

"Sorry," Olivia said. She was clearly upset by Alex's reaction.

"No, I'm sorry. I...it's just been a bad day on all levels."

"I'm sorry," Olivia said reaching over and taking Alex's hand. This was it. The moment where Olivia could have said it. But she didn't. She chickened out. She chickened out again.

All she wanted was to make her friend happy.

"Look lets just enjoy the silence huh?" Alex suggested not wanting to talk anymore.

"Sometimes silence is the worst thing. I find that talking about things and getting them out there makes for a better chance or calming"

"God you just can't let it be can you?"

"Alex why are you acting like this?" Olivia felt herself begin to get upset. And from the sound of it, Alex was also.

"It's not always about you Olivia. My feelings...I...I don't think about you all the time. I don't wish I had you with me, holding me. I don't need you to carry me through every little crisis."


"Just drop it," Alex said sniffling.

"Okay," Olivia said.

Maybe she shouldn't have pushed her to talk. Maybe she wasn't ready. Olivia remember what happened the night she had gone to see Alex after her suspension for misleading the Detectives with a false search warrant. Oh God, how close she had come to telling her how much she loved her, how much she needed her more then she'd ever know.

Alex sat in silence.

'It can't be. I can't be...I mean like could my life be any more complicated?' Alex thought.

"Maybe we should just forget about dinner?" Olivia said pulling the car to the side of the road.

"What? Why?"

"You seem upset about something and quite frankly Alex I don't want to be the cause of it or the reason you continue to be upset. And clearly, I've upset you."

"Olivia look. It's not that."


Alex and Olivia both turned around slightly as the car was struck from behind. Slamming into the guardrail and then rolled over the edge of the hill.

The last coherent thought either one of the women had was the face of the other.


Blackness was all she saw. Blackness and the conscious thought of how much she ached all over. Smoke. She could smell smoke. And oh God, she felt pain...pain screaming from her head.

"Alex?" Olivia managed to get out between coughs.

There was no answer.

Olivia slowly brought her head around to Alex's face. Thank God they were both wearing seat belts. Olivia started to lean toward Alex when she heard the clanking of the metal gears and the grinding of her car on something. What though?

Olivia looked out her window and in all the darkness that surrounded them she noticed the cliff below...the cliff that seemed to be directly under her car. 'What are we on?' She wondered trying to see but without moving too much.

"Olivia," Alex mumbled opening her eyes slowly.

"Don't...don't move," Olivia said slowly reaching over and taking Alex's hand.

"What happened?" Alex asked touching her head.

"Someone hit us from behind...I...Can you reach my cell phone?"

"Yeah," Alex said grabbing the phone and handing it slowly to Olivia. Olivia dialed 9-1-1.

"Yes this is Detective Olivia Benson, Badge number 134. I've got two people in a hit and run accident off Rt 6. The car has been hit over the guardrail we're near Miller's cliff. About ten minutes east. Yes...I don't know." The pain in Olivia's chest became overwhelming but she couldn't worry about that. "Hello? Hello?"


"The phone's dead."

"What did they say?"

"They said to wait...they'd be on their way."





Alex began to cry, "I'm so sorry."

"Alex, it's okay. It's not your fault. I never should have pulled the car over," Olivia said coughing. Her chest felt so heavy.

"Is that blood?" Alex asked looking down at Olivia's hand. "You're coughing up blood?" Alex felt her panic shine through.

"No." Olivia said. She knew it was true; But Olivia panicking right now would not help their current state.

"I...are we going to make it?"

"Yeah...we'll be fine."

Alex and Olivia both screamed when they heard the metal screeching against the rail.

"Oh God Olivia," Alex said holding on to her friends hand.

"It's okay, just hold tight," Olivia said locking eyes with Alex.

"I don't want to die."

"That makes two of us," Olivia smiled and encouraged her friend as best as she could.

"I...I love you," Alex said looking down her side. The windshield in front of her was broken.

"What?" Olivia asked.

"I...I can't have something happen to us without me telling you how I feel," Alex said looking so deep into Olivia's heart she could touch it.

"Cabot...you've got great timing." Olivia mumbled, "couldn't you let this be a declaration of love after we get saved?"

"Would that be better?" Alex asked nervously. They could hear sirens in the background.

"Yeah." Olivia said trying to get a grip on what was happening. She was in a car with Alex. She might die. And this woman she was in love with just declared her own love.

"Hold on ladies," some voices called out from above.

"Okay!" Olivia called back. She looked at Alex who appeared as scared as she was. "I love you too, Alex." Olivia said.

"I thought we were waiting for that?"

"I...I just need to say it too."

"If...If I have to die Olivia." Alex said squeezing Olivia's hand, "it's you eyes I want to be looking into."

"I know. Me too," Olivia answered. From that moment on neither woman spoke. They just looked into each other's eyes.

A few hours later, they got both women out of the car. Olivia and Alex hugged till the paramedics broke them apart.

"We're okay?"

"Yeah we're okay," Olivia smiled back. She started coughing again. this time she couldn't stop.

"Jim!" One of the paramedics called out to the other, "she bleeding!"

"Olivia!" Alex screamed and reached out for her friend.

"Ms., please stand back...let us help your friend," the second paramedics said.

"Olivia," Alex said softly.

"Jesus call ahead. We've got a punctured lung here. She's losing blood."

Alex just watched in silence as the person she had just been holding moments before was not surrounded by medics and other staff. "Let's roll," she heard one say. Alex went to get into the ambulance.

"No- sorry Ms. No civilians in the."

"I don't care!" Alex climbed in.

"Ms. I'm going to ask you to please get out," the first paramedic said now agitated.

"My name is Alexander Cabot. I'm the ADA. I would suggest you not piss me off or else I'll make you regret it," Alex said sternly, "I'm not leaving her."

"Fine...let's go."

Hours later, Alex sat beside the bed of Olivia who was still asleep. Elliot had been out of town, but was on his way back in. Alex just sat there, lifeless holding on to Olivia's hand. The doctors had told her Olivia would be okay. But she still hadn't woken up yet and that worried Alex.

"Alex?" Olivia said softly.

"Hey," Alex said kissing her hand. "God what you do for attention," Alex smiled.

"How long?" Olivia asked again feeling the pain in her side.

"A couple of hours. I was so worried about you," Alex said.

"Your head?" Olivia said looking at Alex's bandages.

"Just a small cut. No stitches required," Alex smiled. "God Olivia. Thank God you're okay and awake," Alex said feeling her brave front began to dissolve as tears began washing down her face. "I was so worried."

"Shhh," Olivia said softly. "I'm okay. We're." Olivia paused. "Are we okay?"

"Definitely," Alex said softly leaning down and kissing Olivia's cheek.

"So...I didn't imagine or dream anything that happened tonight?" Olivia asked almost as though she doubted her thoughts and memories.

"Nope. All real...and all very much true. I do love you Olivia," Alex smiled touching her forehead to Olivia's.

"I love you too," Olivia smiled.


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