DISCLAIMER: Alex and Oliva are belong to Dick Wolf. Title and premise have been blatantly stolen from Giuseppe Tornatore's "Cinema Paradiso".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Banana for the beta.

Cinema Paradiso
By imaginus75

Alex shook off the snow that had settled onto the hood of her coat as she entered the fourth video store of the evening. She had started with the store closest to her apartment but couldn't find what she was looking for. She didn't know what it was, but she was determined to find the Italian movie that she had heard so much about that she was willing to trudge through the falling snow from one video store to another just to find it.

"Cabot, you are one crazy woman," she muttered to herself as she approached the foreign film section, realizing that she had gone farther from her apartment than she had intended.

"Are you in the habit of talking to yourself at video stores, Counselor?" came a familiar voice from the other side of the movie shelf.

"Detective!" Alex replied, startled and slightly embarrassed. She was so engrossed in looking for her movie that she didn't even see the brunette standing across from her.

"What are you doing in this neck of the woods?" Olivia asked, smiling at the blush that was creeping onto Alex's cheeks.

"I was looking for a movie and I couldn't find it at the store near my place," Alex explained. "So, I went to another store, and then another, and now here."

"Little bit obsessed are we?" Olivia teased.

"A little," Alex admitted.

"So whatcha looking for? Maybe I can help," Olivia offered.

"Cinema Paradiso," Alex replied. "I've never seen it, but I heard it's a great chic flick."

"Ah," Olivia said with recognition. "I'm afraid I have bad news for you."

"It's already out, isn't it?" the blonde asked, her tone one of disappointment touched with an edge of whininess.

Olivia nodded sympathetically. Alex let out a long sigh, ready to embark on her journey to the next store when she saw a smile on the other woman's lips.

"What? I know it's pathetic, me running around all over just for a movie," Alex began defensively and then continued a little quieter. "It's the weekend and I have nothing else to do."

"Tell you what," Olivia said, her smiling growing by the second. "If you promise to make the popcorn, you can watch it with me." She held up the DVD case and gave Alex a cheshire cat grin.

"You are so on," Alex said with a grin of her own. The women proceeded to buy some microwave popcorn and pay for the movie. Luckily for Alex, who was already quite cold from her trek in the snowy January evening, Olivia's apartment was only a block away. They walked the short walk in a comfortable silence as Olivia led them upstairs. She let them in and hung up their coats as Alex quickly glanced around the apartment, taking in the warm tones of the living room.

"It's not the Hamptons... " Olivia said with a small smile.

"It's home," Alex finished for her. "It's has a very homey feel to it."

"I'll take that as a compliment," Olivia replied with a smile as she headed into the kitchen with Alex in tow. "Do you want some hot chocolate?"

"Please," the blonde replied. "Where's your popcorn bowl?"

Olivia reached into a cupboard and pulled out a big bowl. She handed it to Alex, pointed her towards the microwave and returned to making the hot chocolate. They passed the time with small talk about their culinary achievements and disasters with Olivia being the self-taught gourmet chef and Alex the take-out queen.

Once the popcorn and hot chocolate were ready, they headed into the living room and started the movie. They shared the couch with the popcorn bowl in between them, Olivia sitting with her feet up on the coffee table and Alex hugging a throw pillow. They watched the movie in comfortable silence, with little chuckles in between the crunching sound of popcorn.

As the movie progressed to Toto's teenage years, the popcorn was gone and the two women were more or less lying on the couch, each one resting on either end, their feet curled up on the couch between them.

On the screen, Toto and Alfredo were talking about Elena, the girl of Toto's dreams.

"I told you, the blue eyed ones are the most difficult," Alfredo said to the teenaged Toto.

From her end of the couch, Alex heard a snicker. She looked over at the other woman and raised an eyebrow.

"Excuse me?" she asked, pretending to be offended.

"What?" Olivia asked in return, feigning innocence.

"I heard that."

"Heard what?"

"You snickered."

"I don't snicker."

"Oh, you most certainly did snicker."

"Well, you know he's right," Olivia said, finally breaking out into a smile.

"We are not the most difficult," Alex said defensively.

"Oh yeah you are," Olivia replied. "Blue eyed ones are born heartbreakers and the most difficult to get over."

Alex let the statement sink in and slowly sat up. She sat, facing Olivia, legs folded indian style. She asked softly. "Are you speaking from personal experience?"

"Me? Nah, gotta have a heart in order to have it broken," Olivia hid behind the self-deprecating joke.

"You've got the biggest heart of anyone I've ever met," Alex said quietly, slowly looking up to meet Olivia's eyes.

'And it breaks every time I look at you,' Olivia thought as she became lost in Alex's cerulean gaze.

"It what?" Alex asked, her voice choked with a mix of confusion, disbelief and hope. She wasn't sure she had heard the other woman correctly.

"Huh?" Olivia asked, breaking out of the spell the blue eyes had on her. 'Shit, don't tell me I just said that out loud,' she thought.

"You said 'it breaks every time I look at you,'" Alex repeated. "What do you mean by that?" She could feel the butterflies begin to stir in her stomach as she tried to maintain her composure and not get ahead of herself.

'Shit, I did say it out loud,' Olivia cursed inwardly. 'Now what do I do? Well, she's not running for the door so that could be a good sign. On the other hand, she's probably confused and doesn't know what I meant but will run for the hills when she finds out.'

"Olivia?" Alex asked, breaking into Olivia's mental debate.

"Yeah?" Olivia replied with the monosyllable, stalling for time while deciding on the best response for her slip up. 'Just tell her the truth,' her mind screamed at her.

Alex simply looked at her with patience, waiting for either an explanation or a joke. She decided that if Olivia was going to brush it off with a joke, she'd drop it, for the time being. However, deep down in side, she was hoping for the former.

"I, um," Olivia began, unable to look into Alex's eyes. "I said that it breaks every time I look at you."

Alex tried to catch Olivia's eyes but they kept avoiding her. "Why?"

"Because...I have certain feelings for you and I know you don't feel the same way," Olivia revealed.

Alex swallowed hard to keep her heart from jumping out of her chest. Her always analytical mind jumped into overdrive.

"First of all, what kind of feelings are these 'certain feelings'," Alex began, "And why do you think I don't feel the same way?"

Olivia, suddenly felt claustrophobic from the intensity of Alex's watchful gaze. She stood up and walked over to the window. She ran a hand through her short hair, making some strands stand on end and wrapped her arms around herself as if to protect her heart from the impending rejection she knew was coming.

"I like you Alex," she said, looking out at the falling snow, glittering as the illumination from the streetlights revealed their paths to the ground. She turned around and leaned back against the the window frame. She looked straight into Alex's eyes. "I've liked you since the first time I met you...and lately I just can't stop thinking about you."

Alex just nodded her head as she let the revelation sink in. She felt her heart beating faster as a warmth and tingling sensation spread through her. She couldn't remember the last time she felt like that.

"And look at you," Olivia said with an honest and defeated smile. "You're smart, beautiful and sexy and probably as straight as they come. So whenever I look at you and remember that I could never be with you, my heart breaks a little each time."

Alex got up and approached the brunette. She leaned against the wall as Olivia pivoted to face her with only inches between them.

"I don't want to break your heart," the blonde said quietly, barely above a whisper.

Olivia smiled wistfully and said just as quietly, "Not much either one of us can do about that."

Alex reached out a hand and placed it on one of Olivia's arms. She felt a jolt of electricity flow through her. She swore Olivia must have felt it too from the slight muscle twitch that she saw on Olivia's arm. She began to lean towards the detective and whispered, "Oh, I'm not so sure about that."

Before Olivia could respond, Alex's lips were on hers. They were soft and the kiss was full of confidence, reassuring Olivia of her intentions. Alex pulled away to see the shocked look on Olivia's face and couldn't help but smile a bit smugly.

"I - but - you - I thought you were..." Olivia stammered.

"No, you assumed," Alex corrected her, still smiling. "And wrongly, I might add."

"Apparently so," Olivia said, smiling, having gotten over the shock of what just happened. She grew serious again and asked, "Is this for real? I mean, are you going to pinch me and tell me this was all a dream and I go back to having my heart breaking everyday?"

"No, this isn't a dream," Alex replied. "And I'd never break your heart, not if I can help it."

"Don't make promises you can't keep, Alex," Olivia said, trying to stay grounded and not let herself get swept up by her emotions. Because I don't think I can get over you very easily".

"Do you know how long I've been waiting to hear you say that you want to be with me?" Alex asked her. Olivia shook her head. "From the moment you first said hello and shook my hand. Everyday, I hope that I get to see you, and when I do, I want to reach out and touch you. My body wonders what it would feel like to be touched by you. But I was always scared. I had no idea about how you felt," Alex said, pouring out her long suppressed feelings. Then she added with a little smile, "If I had, I would've been all over you on that couch tonight."

Olivia had started smiling when Alex was confessing her feelings and now her smile grew wider and more mischievous. "Well," she said giving a little nod towards the couch. "The night is still young."

The End

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