DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a sequel to my first story Origins. While it's not necessary to read that to follow this, it explains how Alex and Olivia got together in the first place.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Nic

Part One

The melodic ring of Olivia's cellphone jarred her from the sound sleep she had fallen into. She breathed deep and frowned, not recognizing the scent in the room. It was a sweet smell, but nothing that you could purchase anywhere. In fact, it smelled a lot like...

Olivia's eyes opened suddenly and she blinked at the smooth ceiling. Even if she had wanted to, she couldn't control the smile that crept across her face as the recent events began to register. There hadn't been many times in the past few weeks that Olivia would wake up and not remember where she was. One of the many hazards of a newborn relationship, she supposed. Olivia always prided herself in being able to recall her recent whereabouts, but like anyone else, a momentary lapse was allowed. It wasn't very often that she and Alex actually found the time to spend the night together. When they did, it was typically Alex's apartment that served as the rendezvous point. Partially because it was easier to get to, but mostly because Olivia preferred to keep her bachelor existence to herself.

In about a week, their fledgling relationship would reach a month. As sad as it sounded, it was somewhat of an accomplishment for Olivia. One date was pretty hard to come by for the detective, so one could imagine the idea of finding someone who actually wanted to have more than a few in a row was like finding a unicorn. With wings.

But it was still new. Still in that "honeymoon phase" that many talk about in fond memory. Remarkably, there hadn't been many bumps in the road, but that probably had more to do with the fact that Alex and Olivia rarely saw each other and didn't have the time to clash outside the office. Generally, it was good, though. Olivia had never been happier and - while she wished sometimes that the predators of the world would take a break for just a weekend - everything was going fairly well.

Her phone wailed from the general direction of the floor and the smile faded. Careful not to disturb the form next to her, Olivia leaned over the edge of the bed. Loathe to relinquish the comfort of Alex's bed sheets, Olivia held her weight with one arm as the other rummaged around the small pile of clothes at the side of the bed. Narrowly avoiding a tumble off the mattress, she pushed the TALK button to cease the disturbance and lifted the phone to her ear.

"Benson," she croaked, her voice being put to use for the first time that day.

"Liv, where the hell are you?" Elliot's voice leapt into her ear. "It's six thirty. You not answering your phone for some reason?"

Olivia fell back onto her pillow and covered her eyes. "Shit, I was supposed to meet you this morning. I'm sorry, Elliot." As she listened to him gripe at her probably from his front step judging by the background noise she heard through the phone, she felt Alex stir.

"Mmm... what's wrong?" she mumbled.

"Who's that?" Elliot asked. The annoyance with his partner about forgetting their jogging date faded slightly and Olivia could picture the smirk that plastered itself across his face. "Do you have company?"

Olivia mirrored Elliot's imagined expression from the other end of the phone call as she watched Alex stretch out the sleep from her body. She pushed herself into a sitting position and leaned against the headboard. Olivia knew she could never hide anything from her partner and had instantly surrendered. "Actually," she replied finally. "I *am* the company."

"Do I know her?" he asked.

Olivia smiled, delicately moving a few strands of hair from Alex's face. "I think you might."

There was a short silence between them before: "You're not going to tell me, are you?" he said.

"Not right now," Olivia replied. She pulled the phone from her ear and ended the call. Placing the cell onto the nightstand, she settled into the pillow.

"He's going to find out eventually, you know," Alex said, sitting up next to Olivia. She moved a little closer so their bodies touched and rested her head on Olivia's shoulder. Her eyes closed, feeling slumber overtake her again.

Olivia nodded, placing a light kiss on the top of Alex's head. "I know. He's got to earn it this time."

There was a faint knock at the door and Alex was startled awake. Both women instinctually made a move, but Olivia held a hand out. "I'll get it," she said, sliding out of the bed. She pulled on a pair of jeans over her naked form and grabbed a t-shirt on the way out of the bedroom.

Squinting at the early morning sun peeking through the Roman shades, Olivia pushed her arms through the shirt and padded past the kitchen to the front door. She lifted herself slightly on her toes and looked through the peephole.

She frowned. "What the...?"

"Alex?" came a muffled question.

Olivia unlocked the deadbolt and chain before pulling the door open. The woman standing in the hallway was about a foot shorter than Olivia with dark brown hair and looked suddenly confused. She was upset, that much was obvious and seemed even further concerned when she caught sight of the detective. Wringing her hands, the woman looked at the number on the door.

"Can I help you?" Olivia asked quietly.

"I, uh..." she stammered and glanced at the door again. "I was l-looking for Alex?"

"She's inside, can I tell her who's calling?"

The woman shuffled her feet, trying to hold back tears. She looked at the floor.

Olivia looked over her shoulder briefly before reaching a hand out to the woman. "Here, come in," she said softly. The woman didn't take her hand, but walked through the door and stood in the small foyer. Olivia closed and locked the door. "Alex?" she called.

The counselor appeared from the bathroom, buttoning a light blue blouse. She flashed a smile at Olivia before having it wiped clean from her face when she spotted the smaller woman next to her. "Cathy?" she asked.

"Alex, thank God." Olivia watched Cathy break down and rush over to Alex. "I didn't know where to go..."

Alex held the woman for a moment before pulling away. "Cathy, what's wrong?" she asked.

Cathy wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "I was, uh... attacked." She glanced at Olivia, as if unsure she wanted to continue to share her story in front of a stranger.

"It's okay," Alex said. "She's a detective." She paused momentarily as she collected her thoughts. "Come on, let's sit down." Alex led Cathy to the overstuffed couch and glanced at Olivia. "Liv, can you get us some coffee?"

Olivia nodded. "Sure, no problem." Her lips tightened in a slight smile before disappearing into the kitchen.

Alex reached across the coffee table and grabbed a small box of kleenex. She handed it to her friend.

"Thanks," Cathy said, taking a few and blowing her nose. Cathy Willis was a 31 year old software developer for an up-and-coming dot com business. She was single and she and Alex spent many a night in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine. Living only a floor apart allowed an easy friendship and they regularly visited each other when they both had a free moment.

Alex's heart pained to see her friend so troubled. She shifted closer to Cathy as the tears came again and racked her body. Alex attempted to console her friend by rubbing her back, but the smaller woman pulled away sharply. "Cathy," Alex said softly. "Cathy, what happened?"

Cathy brought her legs up onto the couch, wrapping her arms around her knees. Alex took the hint to move back a few inches and looked back toward the kitchen as Olivia appeared, setting three mugs of steaming coffee onto the coffee table and keeping one for herself. The detective retreated to the arm chair next to the couch where Alex was sitting and sipped the hot liquid.

Cathy reached forward, taking a mug from the table and thanking Olivia silently. "I was taking my morning run," she started. "Just like every morning before." She sipped the coffee. "I go down a few blocks to that park, you know the one?" She looked at Alex who nodded in affirmation. "I went by the small bakery and the newsstand and the old woman with her Bichon Frisse." Cathy's voice began to waver. "Everything. was exactly the same as every day. Every other day when nothing happened."

"Cathy," Olivia started. "Did something happen in the park?"

"I told you," Cathy replied, annoyance and frustration creeping into her voice. "I was attacked."

"Do you know who attacked you?"

"I. couldn't see, he." Cathy replaced the mug of coffee and tucked her knees up against her chest again.

"Cathy, it's okay," Olivia told her. "I'm with the Special Victim's Unit, I can help you."

"I know who you are," she responded. She glanced the counselor, who sat silently on the other end of the couch. "Alex's mentioned you once or twice." Grabbing another tissue, Cathy closed her eyes, visibly composing herself. "It was early," she said. "About five or something. I was just about to leave the park when I felt someone grab me from behind. He uh. he pulled me into the bushes and." Cathy stopped, studying her lap. Alex watched the tears falling onto her friend's legs. "He told me," she continued, "to take my clothes off or. he'd kill me."

"Did anyone see you?" Olivia asked.

Cathy shook her head without looking up. "The park doesn't really get busy until five thirty or six."

"What happened then?"

"He raped me," she whispered, lifting a tissue to wipe her eyes. "Then he disappeared. left me there." Olivia sighed and ran a hand over her face.

"Did you see what he looked like?" This from Alex.

"I tried not to look," Cathy replied. "I didn't want to see. I think he had dark hair."

"Are those the same clothes you were wearing?" Olivia gestured across the coffee table.

Cathy sniffed and looked down. "These? No. I cleaned myself up before coming up here."

Olivia felt every ounce of hope to catch Cathy's attacker fly right out the window. Knowing the chances of a decent rape kit was no longer a possibility, Olivia's mind raced. "Your clothes," she said. "Do you still have the clothes?"

"Yeah," the woman replied. "At my place."

"If you don't mind, Cathy," Olivia said, already set to follow the trail, "coming down to the station so we can get a statement." When Cathy nodded, the detective continued. "I'll also need you to take me through exactly what you did and where you went this morning. And tell me where you were attacked."

Cathy looked confused when Olivia stood. She looked up. "Now?" she said.

"As soon as possible. I know it's hard, but we've got to move if we're going to catch this guy. We can't do it without you." Grabbing her jacket from the hooks by the front door, Olivia looked back at Alex, who was also stunned by the dramatic change in pace. "Eight o'clock, right?" she asked.

"Yeah," Alex replied, trying to catch up. "Call me if you need anything, okay?"

Olivia nodded as she ushered Cathy out the door. As the door closed behind them, Alex's ears began to ring. She sighed and pushed herself from the couch, gathering the mugs from the table. Things like this never got easy. So much for a lazy Saturday morning.

Part Two

Olivia opened the door to the squad room and ushered Cathy through. She noticed this caught the attention of her partner, but she didn't make eye contact, instead moving toward Munch's desk.

"John, this is Cathy," Olivia said, her voice low. She introduced the two having called ahead to let Munch know they were on their way from getting a rape kit done at the hospital.

Munch got to his feet and extended his hand. "Hi Cathy," he said. The smaller woman took a moment before she accepted the handshake.

"Can you help Cathy make her statement?" Olivia asked.

"Sure." Munch nodded at Cathy, gesturing the way to an interview room. "Come on, I'll get you some coffee."

Sighing, Olivia moved toward her desk and draped her jacket over the back of her chair. Elliot watched her every move, apparently having completely forgotten what he was working on before she had arrived. Olivia shuffled some papers around on her desk, trying her utmost to ignore the man across from her. Both him and his insufferable stare. She opened one of the pencil drawers in her desk for no reason, moving some of the pens and a chocolate bar around inside. Pushing it closed, Olivia felt her resolve snap.

"Elliot, knock it off. I'm not telling you."

He finally blinked. "Oh come on, Liv," he said. "We're partners; we're not supposed to keep things from each other."

Olivia looked at him, raising an eyebrow. "You don't share all the intimate details of your bedroom."

Elliot smirked that annoying little smirk that he did when he knew he had you in his grip. "You never ask," he replied. "I can tell you what happened last night--"

Olivia's left hand shot up into the air, signaling him to stop right where he was. "Please."

"Besides," Elliot continued. "I'm not asking you what you do; I'm just asking who she is."

"I'm not giving." Olivia watched his expression change from amused to annoyance in a manner of seconds. "Look," she said, leaning forward in her chair. "It hasn't even been a month yet. Can I have her to myself a little while more before I expose her anonymity to you?"

Elliot grinned in semi-victory. "Okay, but in two weeks, I reserve the right to continue harassing you."

"Deal," Olivia slumped back in her chair, thankful that was over.

"So who'd you bring in?"

"Cathy Willis," Olivia replied. "She lives in Al--uh..." She felt her face completely drain of colour as she stumbled over her words. "I, uh. ran into her on the way in." A bald-faced lie. That's okay. It happened.

Olivia watched the door that Munch and Cathy had disappeared behind and sighed lightly, thinking of where she could be instead of sitting at her desk. "What's the weather supposed to be like today?" she asked, her eyes shifting to the window.

Elliot lifted his head and narrowed his eyes. He looked out the window. "Eh..." he replied, looking back down at the notepad on his desk. "Dismal. That's why I'm not complaining that I have to work today." He paused, scratching something out. "'Course... I'd feel better if I had gone running--"

"My god, Elliot," Olivia said, looking at him, unamused. "I said I was sorry."

Munch appeared beside Olivia's desk, pushing his hands into his pockets. "Cathy wants to see you, Olivia," he said. Neither detective responded. Munch looked back and forth between the two partners who glared at each other in mild annoyance. "Lovers' quarrel?" he suggested.

Elliot smirked and Olivia instantly caught his wavelength. She gave him her best "shut the fuck up" glare, but he didn't seem fazed. Of course not, he saw this on a nearly daily basis.

"Olivia has a girlfriend," Elliot said, not removing his hold on his partner's gaze.

Munch lifted his eyebrows. "Reeeaally?" he said, shifting his attention to Olivia. "Who's the lucky girl?"

Olivia closed her eyes. Oh, she knew what this meant. There was a big difference between having a secret and having a secret that Munch wanted to know about. Taking in an even breath, she looked up at him. "I'm keeping her name to myself for the moment."

"Keeping her name to yourself," Munch repeated under his breath. He looked at Elliot as Olivia got to her feet. "Is she saying she has a secret?"

"I think she is," Elliot replied. He grinned as his partner rolled her eyes.

"I have work to do," she said, retreating to the interview room.

The door creaked a little as it was pushed open and Olivia winced at the sound. For some reason she felt like she could enter the tiny room undetected. It took her three times as long to close the door, as if to keep from waking someone, and made a face as it finally latched into place. She smiled at the woman sitting at the table. There was always a debate about smiling at a victim she was about to interview. Smile warmly, smile thinly, don't smile at all? It depended completely on the recipient of the gesture and in the current situation, she went with a noncommittal, somewhat comforting smile. It made no difference whatsoever.

"How are you doing?" Olivia started softly, sitting in what always felt like a century-old wooden chair.

Cathy shrugged. Her hands were clasped carefully in front of her as she looked out the one-way glass. "I'm sorry," she apologized. "I just didn't feel comfortable talking with your friend." She stared at her hands. "I hope he doesn't take it personally."

"Don't worry about it," the detective offered. She pondered the appropriateness of a joke at Munch's expense, but decided against it. "You think you're okay to do this?"

The small woman nodded. "I want to get it over with."

Olivia reached into her pocket and extracted a small notepad and pen. She clicked the pen with her thumb and looked across the table. "So you live in Alex's building?" she asked.

"Yeah," Cathy replied. Her eyes seemed to brighten slightly as her mind traveled back. "I moved in a short time after Alex did. We met." She thought for a moment. "Actually, I had forgotten my key and she happened to arrive at the same time. She invited me up to her place while I waited for the super to come with an extra key."

Olivia nodded, threading the pen through her fingers. She hadn't been expecting the story of their relationship, but found herself wanting to know. "You mentioned that you went jogging at the park on a regular basis," she said. She paused and frowned. There was a better way to do this. If she could just get Cathy to cooperate. The detective looked up. "Can I ask you a favor?"

Olivia pushed the pen through the coils of her notebook and slipped it into her pocket. "You okay?" she asked the woman next to her. They stood close together, Cathy not really wanting to be too far from anyone at the moment. Least of all standing next to the bushes she had been forced into not five hours earlier.

The detective had taken a chance and asked Cathy how she felt about returning to the scene. She had explained how helpful it would be to walk through the attack with her instead of assuming the actions the attacker had taken. Cathy had grudgingly agreed when Olivia had explained there would be a unit of officers there conducting the forensic investigation in addition to herself. It had been a slow process, each time the recounting became difficult Cathy broke down. Olivia was there, however, with an arm around the woman, reassuring her everything would be fine.

Cathy finally nodded in response to the detective's question.

"I think I've got all I need," Olivia mentioned. "I'm going to go back to the station-"

"And leave me here?" Cathy whipped around, her eyes wide and her voice rising. "You can't do that; I can't walk home by myself." She was rapidly becoming more and more agitated as she continued the sporadic plea.

"You won't have to," Olivia answered calmly. She motioned a number of feet ahead of them to a tall figure. "I called Alex to take you back to her place." Olivia appreciated the lithe figure approaching from behind the safety of her sunglasses. The counselor was dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a somewhat loose-fitting t-shirt with NYPD stitched neatly over her left breast. Olivia's eyebrow lifted, recognizing the shirt as her own and wondering just where Alex had got a hold of it.

"I figured you could stay with Alex for a couple days," Olivia added, as the blonde pulled her own sunglasses from her face.

Cathy looked at her friend with a gracious expression. "You don't mind?" she asked.

Alex smiled warmly. "Absolutely not," she replied. "Come on, I think I still have those movies you loaned me."

The smaller woman looked over at the detective, a few leftover tears threatening to fall. "Thank you," she said.

Olivia nodded with a slight smile. "No problem." She watched the two women turn and make their way out of the park, weaving between various obstacles left by the crime scene unit. She chewed her lip thoughtfully. It had been her idea to call Alex to arrange the impromptu house guest, even if it wasn't what she wanted. Olivia knew that Cathy needed someone to be with her for a while and who better than the first one to befriend her.

Sighing at the resulting loss of any hope for privacy with Alex, Olivia turned on her heel and headed for her car. There was a report that needed writing.

Part Three

Elliot yawned, pushing his arms into the light jacket he had brought to work in case it rained. His wife, Kathy, had insisted. He watched his partner fill out the standard form with more difficulty than a rookie. He'd seen her whip through them like nobody's business, so he knew something was up.

"You seeing her tonight?" he asked, partly hoping that was the cause of her distraction.

Olivia looked up at him with a smirk. "I was," she replied. "This report is taking longer than I expected."

Elliot nodded, not quite convinced but willing to let it go this time. "Well if you see her, say hi for me."

She chuckled lightly. "I will," she told him. "Night, Elliot."

He lifted a hand to wave. "Night, Liv."

Olivia sighed as the door closed. She rubbed her forehead, letting the pen drop. The squad room was nearly deserted and truth be told, she was glad. Helping people was something she did on a daily basis with no question - more than happy to lend any kind of assistance, but liked her alone time. She needed space and time to recharge.

She pushed herself up from her chair and walked over to one of the windows and leaned against the frame. It was a little past dinner time. The rush hour had come and gone. A quick glance to the heavens revealed Mother Nature's vicious intentions. The sky was a dark grey and Olivia could tell the air outside would be thick and heavy with moisture.

The trill of the detective's cell phone surprised her out of her pastoral appraisal and her hand went instinctively to her hip. She pulled it from its clip and pushed a button. "Benson," she droned.

"You look lonely."

Olivia's mouth curled into an instant smile, glancing over her shoulder. "It is kind of empty here," she agreed, looking out the window again. "Are you spying on me?"

"Actually," the calming voice of the ADA intoned, "I'm just leaning on my car and just happen to be looking in your direction."

The detective's eyes worked swiftly through each face and every movement on the ground before they fell upon Alex's form. "Is this you trying to tell me I'm late for dinner?"

"On the contrary," the counselor responded.

Olivia smiled. "Give me a minute. I just need to file this report."

"Don't bother," Alex interrupted. Olivia frowned and watched the blonde lift a medium-sized paper bag. "I come bearing gifts."

The detective hung up her phone when Alex pushed herself from her car and started toward the station doors. It was a couple of minutes before she was walking into the empty squad room.

"Wow," she said, stopping next to Olivia's desk. "I was just joking when I said you looked lonely."

Olivia picked the bag out of Alex's hand and placed it on her desk. She scanned the room quickly before wrapping an arm around the counselor and pulling her close. Olivia's lips brushed against Alex's before pressing them together. Her hand flexed against the cotton of Alex's shirt as the counselor parted her lips, her soft, yet insistent tongue pushing inside. The kiss was long and familiar. Olivia's hands found their way to Alex's waist and pulled back.

Alex's tongue swept across her bottom lip as she caught her breath. "So I should make a note to bring you dinner at work more often."

Olivia grinned. "Just something I missed this morning with all the excitement."

"Ah. yeah." Alex's eyes fell to the floor.

"How is Cathy?" Olivia asked, picking up the bag of food. The waft of Giuseppe's famed lasagna that reached her nose caused her stomach to growl. She started toward the stairs to the second level of the squad room and nodded for Alex to follow.

"She's okay," Alex replied, her hand running up the railing. The two women sat on the soft couch that was situated there and spread out the feast on the coffee table.

"She's okay by herself?" Olivia asked, licking some tomato sauce off her finger.

Alex nodded, taking the carton of fettuccini Olivia handed her. "Yeah, she's only concerned with going out on her own."

Olivia nodded and chewed a mouthful of the baked pasta. She forgot to eat more often than she'd like to admit, but once food was introduced into the general area of her neglected hunger, it was every man for himself.

"That was nice of you to do, you know," Alex broke the short silence. She popped a small piece of chicken in her mouth.

"Hmm?" the detective mumbled, looking over at her.

"Letting Cathy stay with me."

Olivia started to shake her head before swallowing her current mouthful. "I didn't 'let' her stay with you," she said, digging around the carton with the plastic fork. "It is your apartment."

"You didn't need to call me," Alex mentioned.

"It was the right thing to do," the brunette answered, staring at the food in her hands before taking another bite.

Alex smiled at the woman next to her. If there was one thing that endeared her to Olivia, it was her complete selflessness when it came to the victims she dealt with on a daily basis. Even when it came to apprehending the attackers, she was always in the fray, sometimes even sacrificing her own safety if it meant a successful collar. This was a perfect example. Alex knew very well what Olivia had given up and - to only a slightly lesser degree - herself, but treated it all as a part of the job and therefore a prerequisite.

"Elliot driving you crazy yet?" she asked quietly, a hint of amusement in her voice.

"Not since he sicced John on me," Olivia answered.

Alex chuckled, knowing full well what John could do. She picked out a piece of green pepper from her noodles and dropped it in Olivia's carton. "When are you telling them?" she asked, wiping the sauce from her fingers on a napkin.

"Honestly?" the detective questioned. She speared the pepper with another forkful of lasagna. "I don't want to."

Alex found herself confused and a little hurt. "Why not?"

Olivia felt the slight change in the atmosphere. "It's not that I'm ashamed or that I'm scared, I just." She paused. "I don't want to share." The half-eaten square of lasagna was set on the coffee table. "I just. I don't know. I wish there could be an opportunity for us just to be by ourselves for a while." Looking over, Olivia saw the counselor nod in agreement. "If I let the guys in on us, you know they'll be dragging you out for a drink here and there and before you know it, you'll find yourself sitting in Yankee Stadium with a hot dog and a beer in your hand shouting obscenities."

Alex smirked, her eyebrow raised. "You sound like you've been through this before."

Olivia let out the breath she'd been working up to. "It was the Rangers at the Garden, but everything else was pretty much the same."

The counselor laughed at the near maniacal look on her lover's face as she told the story. "Liv. and believe me when I tell you this is going to be the hardest thing I've ever had to say, but. is going to a baseball game with your squad such a bad thing?" It was Olivia's turn to chuckle. "I mean, Heaven forbid God ever finds me at a Yankees game-" Alex paused and closed her eyes, internally shuddering at the thought. "But it would be good if I was accepted into the group, wouldn't it?"

Olivia nodded resignedly. "Yeah I guess."

"Olivia." Alex waited for the detective to look at her. "I'm not going anywhere. There's no magical time limit that we've set. I mean, it hasn't even been a month yet, but." Her lips curled into a smile. "You know, I would be more than happy to turn down a sport-filled outing with The Guys if it meant having a baseball game come between us."

Olivia returned the smile. Placing a hand on the soft couch between them, she leaned forward, allowing their lips to touch briefly.

Alex pushed forward, effectively deepening the kiss. Her hand rested lightly on Olivia's thigh, fingers pressing as the detective pushed her fingers into Alex's hair. It was a weak spot that rendered her submissive nearly instantly and she remembered fondly the first time Olivia had made that discovery. Alex slid her hand along the detective's thigh, feeling the heat between her legs.

Olivia groaned softly at the presence of Alex's fingers and felt her hips shift forward involuntarily. Not to be outdone, the detective slid her free hand under the cotton t-shirt, splaying her fingers against Alex's warm skin.

The familiar trill of Olivia's cell phone drew a frustrated 'fuck' from the detective. "You have got to be kidding me." She reluctantly pulled a hand away from Alex and reached for her phone. "Benson," she sighed, her head leaning back.

Alex watched the detective lift her head again, all arousal having vanished at quickly as it had appeared. Her brown eyes shifted as she listened.

"I'll be right there," she said finally, hanging up her phone.

"What is it?" Alex asked, as if she didn't know.

"Another rape," she said, getting to her feet.

Alex looked up at Olivia, her lips still humming. "Will I see you later?"

"Maybe. I'll give you a call." She started down the stairs, but stopped after stepping down the first two and turned around. The counselor always tried her best to hide that downtrodden look whenever Olivia was called away to a crime scene, but even in the month they'd been together, the detective could spot it easily. "Alex, I'm sorry. I really appreciate you bringing dinner and everything."

Alex nodded. "That's okay," she said with a slight smile. "I think the Yankees are playing tonight." She winked.

"I'll talk to you later," Olivia told her with a smile. She stepped down a couple more stairs before turning back and pointing an accusing finger at the blonde. Alex looked a little stunned as Olivia narrowed her eyes over her extended arm. "And I want my shirt back." Finally taking the last two steps at once, Olivia looked up to see Fin just arriving. She stopped short, her shoes squeaking on the nary-polished floor. For some reason, she couldn't find any words, no reason why she was there, no hello, no nothing.

Thankfully, or unthankfully, Olivia didn't need to be the one to break the silence.

"Liv, you forgot-" Alex froze, only minutely at the top of the stairs. While she didn't continue speaking for a brief moment, she walked down the stairs, suddenly feeling like she should be dressed in a suit. "Your phone," she finished, ignoring the man at the door.

"Thanks," Olivia replied, taking the phone and sliding it onto her belt. She mentally reviewed the scene, wondering how exactly her co-worker would interpret it.

"I just came by to get you," Fin spoke finally, his eyes taking their time moving from woman to woman.

"Great then, let's go," Olivia rushed, pushing him out the door. She sent a slightly worried glance Alex's way before she and Fin made it to the street.

"Elliot sent you to spy on me, didn't he?" she accused.

"No way," Fin replied. "He just called and told me to come get you since I was closer." He opened the door to his car and got in. Olivia followed reluctantly. "Olivia." He turned to her before turning the ignition. "I don't care who you're goin' out with, you know?" With a twist of his wrist, the car roared into life. "Besides. a fine girl like Alex. I'm jealous."

"Fin," Olivia warned.

"Sorry," he chuckled, pulling out into the street. "Your secret's safe with me, just. damn."

Part 4

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