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By mel



"Where are you taking them?" Elliot asked the paramedics as they loaded Alex and Olivia, who were both still unconscious and bundled up and strapped to gurneys, into separate ambulances.

"Mount Sinai," the medic tending to Alex answered. "If neither of them wake up before we get there do you have their MPAs?"

Elliot rubbed a meaty palm over his face and nodded. "Yeah, I brought their emergency files with me just-in-case. I have them in the van. I'm Detective Benson's appointed MPA so just do whatever you need to do."

"They'll still need to see the paperwork once we get them to the hospital," he nodded. "How about the blonde?"

Elliot sighed. "I'll call her Uncle and have him meet us at the hospital."

Elliot stared down at the battered blonde, his heart breaking at the sight of her broken and bruised visage.

"Judge Hermann is out of town, but our Chief of Staff knows him so he was able to give us the go ahead over the phone so we're going to need to take her back for an MRI. Her initial x-rays showed a hairline fracture through her Temporal and Zygomatic bones and so I want to make sure that there isn't any intracranial bleeding."

"Just take care of her," Elliot murmured, dropping a quick kiss to the unconscious blonde's forehead before she was wheeled away.

"What can you tell me doc?" Elliot asked the small man in the white coat who just left Alex's bedside. "How is she?"

"Ms. Cabot has a concussion but should be fine in a couple of days provided she doesn't do anything too strenuous. She will experience varying degrees of vertigo for the next few hours, but it should dissipate by the end of the day. Her face will be quite tender for a while due to the fractures but the bruising should start to lessen in a couple of days. Her MRI showed no signs of intracranial bleeding which is very good. She's just going to have a major headache and quite the impressive shiner, but all things considered she's extremely lucky. We'll keep her here for twenty four hours for observation and I imagine she will be fine to go home sometime tomorrow."

"What about my partner?" Elliot asked.

"The general surgeon is in the theatre now repairing the damage to her shoulder."

"What's the prognosis for her recovery?" Elliot asked, knowing that if it was bad he'd need to be prepared to break the news to his partner.

"She'll be out of the field for a couple months for sure. The bullet hit and went cleanly through here," he lifted his own arm and pointed at the patch of flesh where the muscle of his shoulder met the hard bone of his clavicle. "A few inches down and she wouldn't be so lucky. She'll have to do quite a bit of PT to regain full use of the arm, but she should make a full and complete recovery."

"Thank God," Elliot sighed, running a meaty hand over his head. "Where is Alex now?" he asked.

"The Judge demanded she be placed in a private room so she's being moved there now," the doctor explained. "She is still unconscious, but I expect she should be waking up soon. We do have her on a morphine drip to help manage her pain, so the drugs are helping to keep her under at this point."

Elliot groaned as he imagined both women's reaction to finding themselves separated from the other. "Is there any way to get Olivia into a room by Alex?"

Elliot's eyes narrowed as he watched the doctor shift uncomfortably. "As per the Judge's orders, Ms. Cabot is on a private floor – so I don't see how that would be possible."

Elliot grimaced. "God help you all when they wake up and realize that."

The first thing Alex noticed as she once again became aware of herself and her surroundings was the dim light filtering through her eyelids. The second thing she noticed was the hushed one-sided conversation that was happening right next to her.

"They're going to be fine Kathy. … Yeah, I know. I'm just waiting for Liv to get out of surgery and then I'll go down and see her. … Yeah, Cragen, Fin and Munch were all here earlier but they had to get back to the precinct to interrogate the guy. … I know, they're both damned lucky. … I'll probably stay here for a while longer. … I don't want to leave them here alone. … I love you too Kath. I'll call you when I'm on my way home. … Yes, I'll be careful. Tell the kids I love them."

"Where's Liv?" Alex croaked. Her head was killing her and she was feeling fuzzy from what she assumed were whatever pain medications they had her on, but the only thing she cared about was Olivia.

"Alex," Elliot leaned in and took a gentle hold of the blonde's hand, doing his best to not show any emotion as he surveyed the damage to her face. Her bruising was growing predictably worse. "How you feeling sweetie?"

"Like I got coldcocked," Alex replied, grimacing as she tried to sit up. "Where's Olivia, El?"

"No, no, Alex, Doc wants you to stay down for a bit. You have a pretty good concussion."

"Feels like it too," Alex turned her head slowly to look at the man beside her. "Where's Liv?" she demanded, her voice growing stronger as her frustration mounted.

"Please, Alex, you need to rest," Elliot stroked the back of her hand softly. "Do you want to know what happened to you?"

Alex leveled her 'are you really this fucking stupid?' stare on the worried detective beside her bed. "No. I don't care about me. Where. Is. Liv?"

Elliot closed his eyes and sighed. Somehow he knew Alex would only care about Olivia, he could only hope that the ADA wouldn't rip her own IV out and go storming down to the basement to see for herself that Olivia was going to be okay. He knew for a fact that Olivia would try such a stunt. "She's in surgery. They're just finishing up repairing her shoulder now."

"I need to go see her," Alex tried again to push herself up out of bed and groaned loudly as a disorientating wave of vertigo hit her.

"Alex, you need to stay still. She's still in surgery – there's nothing you can do. Do you have an MD that I don't know about to go with your JD Counselor?"

Even doped to the moon and in possession of the world's worst headache Alexandra Cabot was a force to be reckoned with and Stabler cowered under her withering gaze.

"Sorry," he mumbled.

"She'll be okay?" Alex whispered, her voice demanding and her eyes pained and worried.

"She's going to be fine Alex," Elliot leaned in and pressed a soft kiss to the unbruised side of blonde's forehead. "Just rest and I'll let you know when she's out of surgery."

"You swear?" Alex stared him down.

"I double-triple pinky swear, cross my heart and hope to die Counselor," Elliot replied.


"My house is practically a freaking Gymboree, give me a break," he shrugged unapologetically.

"Fine," Alex closed her eyes. "That's good enough for now, I guess. Don't make me hold you in contempt Detective."

Elliot just smiled to himself as he watched the blonde ADA close her eyes and succumb to the opiate induced sleep that she'd been fighting off.

Elliot watched the orderlies settle Olivia into the empty bed by the window, struck – as he always was – by the almost fragile beauty of his partner that he only ever saw when she was sleeping. He sat with her for a moment soaking in the vitality of her presence and allowing himself a few seconds to send a quiet thanks that his prayers had been answered.

"I'm glad you're safe partner," he murmured into the silence. "I'm going to go get Alex and bring her down to see you now."

The elevator he boarded to go up to where Alex was waiting was empty, for which he was thankful. He grabbed a folded up wheelchair as he exited the elevator and pushed it purposefully down the hall toward Alex's room.

"Sir," a redheaded nurse called out to him. "Where are you going with that?"

He looked up and offered what he hoped was an apologetic smile. "I'm going to take Ms. Cabot down to see her friend."

"She's not supposed to be moved tonight," the nurse threw her pen down on her desk and angrily rounded the corner of the nurse's station.

"Look," Elliot told her. "The woman in that room is Alexandra Cabot," he noticed a flash of recognition in the nurse's eyes as he connected the dots for her. "The Alexandra Cabot. Yes, the one whose name is on the plaque outside the entry of emergency room of this hospital. Her friend was shot tonight trying to protect her and I swore to her that I would take her to see Olivia once she was out of surgery."

"She's not supposed to be moved," the nurse argued.

"Look, Nurse Ratchet, I'm taking Alex down to see Olivia. You can fight with me or you can help me, but only God will be able to save you if you refuse that woman the right to see her friend."

"I'll notify her doctor," Nurse Ratchet ground out.

"Excellent," Elliot replied as he turned to enter Alex's room.

He looked down at Alex who was still resting fitfully and felt his heart clench at the sight of her swollen purpling face. The dark bruising stood in stark contrast to the other side of her face which was still beautifully clear and flawless and he silently cursed the bastard that did this to her.

He gently ran the back of his hand over Alex's brow, hating the fact that he was going to wake her up – but knowing that he'd promised and that there would be hell to pay if she awoke to find Olivia was out of surgery and that he hadn't woken her.

"Alex, honey," he murmured, running the back of his hand down the unblemished side of her jaw.

"Huh?" the usually eloquent and loquacious attorney mumbled.

"Alex, Liv's out of surgery," he tried again.

"Liv?" Alex asked sleepily.

"Yeah, they just got her settled. She's still sleepy from the anesthetics but I can help you down to her room if you want to see her."

"I need to see her," Alex whispered and struggled futilely to sit up on her own.

"Let me help you," Elliot offered warmly, carefully slipping an arm behind the blonde's back and helping her sit up.

"Whoa," Alex breathed.


"Yeah," Alex grunted. "I'm fine. I need to see Liv."

Elliot looked around and saw Nurse Ratchet watching him as he helped Alex out of the bed, easily supporting her weight as she leaned heavily against him.

"Elliot," Alex murmured as she scanned her room for the first time. "Where is Olivia?"

"Your Uncle wanted you in a private room, so she's just down a couple floors. I'll push you in the wheelchair."

"That's bullshit," Alex growled. "I want to be by Olivia."

"Well," Elliot shrugged. "Now that you're awake you don't need him as your MPA anymore so you are free to rearrange your own accommodations as you see fit."

Alex looked up at him from the chair, one eye hidden behind swollen purpling flesh and the other shockingly clear and determined behind the spare set of frames from her bag. "You sound like you've been thinking about this for a while."

Elliot shrugged. "I knew you weren't going to want to be separated so I asked around to see what you could do about it once you were awake."

Alex offered the detective a genuine smile. "Thank you Elliot."

"It's my honor," he smiled and pulled her IV pump up next to her side. "Think you can hang onto this for the ride? We'll plug it back in once we get down to Liv's room."

"How fast can we get down there?" Alex asked as she grabbed hold of the metal stand to her pump.

Alex held tight to her IV pump as Elliot pushed her slowly down the corridor to Olivia's room. For as much as she wanted him to rush, her head injury caused her to suffer severe motion sickness and they'd had to slow to a crawl after she threw up all over Nurse Ratchet's shoes. She'd tried to apologize, but her apology was drowned out by Elliot's boisterous laughter.

"She's right in here," Elliot murmured as he turned the chair into the last room on the left.

Alex gasped as she saw the bulging bandages on Olivia's shoulder, rocked by the sight of the woman she'd always imagined to be ten feet tall and bulletproof laying under thin sheets and an even thinner blanket looking ghostly pale and … weak.

"Oh Liv," she breathed, reaching out to her friend as Elliot angled the chair so that she was parallel to the bed and looking up at the injured brunette. "God Liv I'm so sorry," she murmured as she traced her fingers over the back of Olivia's hand that was resting atop the blankets sporting a taped-up IV port and heart-rate monitor at the end of her index finger.

"It's not your fault, you know," Elliot told her.

Alex shook her head to try and clear the tears from her eyes, the unthinking movement causing her vertigo to return and she swayed in her seat.

"Take it easy Counselor," Elliot murmured as he locked the wheels of her chair into place. "You've had quite a night yourself, doc said you need to take it easy too."

"I'm fine," Alex waved him off. "I only got a bump on the head. She…," her voice trailed off as she focused on Olivia's face. "Liv …," she tried again, her words disappearing into a heart wrenching sob as the severity of the brunette's injury smothered her ability to think.

"She'll be fine Alex," Elliot squatted down in front of her. "Look at me," he demanded gently.

Alex sniffled and lifted her eyes to Elliot's. "What?"

"She'll be fine," he repeated. "It was a through-and-through, nothing major was hit – she'll be fine."

"But what if she's not?" Alex whispered, running a shaking hand through her disheveled hair anxiously as the tears that had pooled in her eyes spilled over and coursed down her cheeks. "What if she isn't and I never told her … I never told her how much I …"

"Spit it out already Counselor," Olivia husked playfully.

"Liv," Alex gasped as she looked up at the brunette over Elliot's shoulder.

"Welcome back to the world partner," Elliot turned and smiled at Olivia.

"This," Olivia tilted her head toward her bandaged shoulder. "Psht. It's nothing."

Stabler chuckled as he squeezed Alex's shoulder gently. "Told ya she'd be fine. Our Liv's a fighter Alex."

"That she is," Alex murmured, blinking rapidly to try and hold her tears at bay.

"How are you?" Olivia looked at Alex, her concern etched into her drowsy drug-addled features.

"I won't be winning any beauty pageants," Alex smiled as she motioned toward her battered face.

"You're still the most beautiful woman on the planet Lex," Olivia murmured.

Elliot heard the blonde's breath hitch in her throat and decided that now would be a good time to leave them alone for a bit. "I'm going to go check in with Liv's doctor," he excused himself. "You two okay in here?"

"We'll be fine," Olivia smiled at her partner. "Thanks buddy."

"You take care of her," he nodded toward Alex.

"I will," both women answered, both too busy staring at the other to pay attention to exactly whom Stabler had been talking to.

"How are you feeling?" Alex whispered as she carefully twined her fingers through Olivia's.

"Like I got shot," Olivia deadpanned. "I'll be fine. I'm more worried about you. How are you feeling?"

"Like I went ten rounds with a prize-fighter and lost. Badly," Alex replied. "God I was so worried about you Olivia," she murmured.

"C'mere," Olivia patted the bed beside her.

Alex stared at the wounded woman. "You honestly think now is the time to ask me to bed?"

Olivia chuckled. "While I have entertained that thought many, many, times – right now I just really want to hold you and know that you're safe. Is that okay?"

Alex bit her lip and nodded. "I'd like nothing more," she murmured.

"Be careful," Olivia warned quietly as she watched Alex get shakily to her feet. She watched the determined blonde's grip on the side bedrail tighten and felt her heart clench in fear at the thought of Alex falling and hitting her head again. "You know what, maybe this wasn't a good idea."

"Bullshit," Alex grunted as she closed her eyes to steady herself. This would be so much easier if her brain would just stop spinning inside her head. "You asked me to get in bed with you – do you really think I'm going to pass up that opportunity?"

"Why don't we wait and maybe Elliot can help you up?" Olivia offered. "I can't exactly pull you up here myself at the moment."

"I got it," Alex replied, sounding like she was trying to convince herself of the fact more than she was Olivia. "I can do this. Dammit, why does this bed have to be so high?"

Olivia chuckled. "Did I just hear Alex Cabot whine?"

"Shut-up," Alex mumbled as she slowly turned around to lean back on the bed. She slowly, ever so cautiously, scooted herself back inch by inch until she was sitting on the bed beside Olivia, her sock clad feet dangling off the side. "See," she announced smugly. "Told ya I could do it."

"My hero," Olivia quipped.

Alex looked over and the brunette and growled her displeasure. Yes, growled. "Hey, Lieutenant Sarcasm – zip it."

Olivia just laughed. "So, are you going to come down here so I can wrap my one good arm around you or not?"

Alex surveyed the small section of available bed-room and pursed her lips thoughtfully as another wave of vertigo rolled through her. "I don't think my aim is that good right now."

Elliot, who'd been watching the whole thing from the doorway ready to jump in and grab Alex if she needed it, decided to make his presence known. "How about if I help you?"

Olivia looked up at her partner and smiled. "Please?"

"I just want you to know that I'm only doing this because I really don't want to witness a repeat performance of what happened upstairs," Elliot replied.

"What happened upstairs?" Olivia asked.

"Nothing," Alex muttered as she grasped Elliot's hand tightly and allowed him to slowly lower her into the space beside Olivia.

"Alex threw up all over her nurse," Elliot grinned. "It was great!"

"I hate you," Alex groaned as she carefully adjusted herself so that her head was resting comfortably on Olivia's uninjured shoulder. "You said you wouldn't tell anyone about that Stabler," she mumbled.

"How bad is her concussion El?" Olivia murmured as she wrapped her arm protectively around Alex.

"She's awake, so it could be worse," Elliot replied. "Broke a couple bones though," he pointed at his own cheek to indicate where her injuries lay. "No internal bleeding. Doc says she'll be fine."

Olivia took a deep breath and closed her eyes to try and hold back the tears that were beginning to build. "Thank God she's so hardheaded," she mumbled.

Now it was Alex's turn to chuckle. "See, bet you never thought that all those times when we'd fight and scream at each other and you'd call me a hardheaded stubborn bitch that it was a good thing – did you?"

"Why am I not surprised that some of your fights resorted to name calling?" Elliot chuckled as he pulled an extra blanket out of the cupboard and used it to tuck Alex in. "You comfy there princess?" he asked.

"Don't call me that," Alex grumbled. "I hate that."

"What?" Elliot and Olivia asked.

"Princess. WASP. Park Avenue Princess. Ice Princess," Alex rattled off some of her less than flattering nicknames. "I don't like it. I work hard, I'm not a princess."

Olivia smiled and squeezed the blonde gently. "Yeah Elliot," she chuckled. "Play nice or you're going to go time-out."

"I'd love a time-out," Elliot smiled wistfully. "No demanding ADAs or partners yelling at me. Sounds like heaven, can I go now?"

"If I were physically able to lift my head up right now I'd give you my death stare Stabler," Alex mumbled into Olivia's shoulder. "Lucky for you I'm comfy and too dizzy to do it anyways. So, here," she held up her hand to flip him off instead.

Olivia and Elliot stared at the upturned finger for a moment in shock before they both started laughing. "Dear Lord," Elliot gasped, "I have now seen everything. I'm going to go have a chat with the nurse again and then I'm going to run home to change if you girls think you'll be okay by yourselves for a bit. I'll pop back in to see how you're doing before I gotta head over the precinct and talk to Dad."

"No problem Elliot," Olivia smiled. "Thanks for everything buddy."

"You know it wasn't a big deal," he murmured as he leaned in to press a soft kiss to her forehead. "You'd do the same for me. Feel better partner."

"Elliot?" Alex murmured.

"What do you need Counselor?"

"Tell the nurse that I'm comfy and I don't want to move."

"I can try Alex, but I don't know how well that will work," Elliot told her honestly. "I broke a lot of rules just to get you down here in the first place."

"Do you have your phone on you?" Alex mumbled.

"Yeah, why?"

"Call this number," Alex rattled off a number from memory, "and then give me the phone."

Elliot did as instructed and then carefully placed his cell phone in Alex's hand. "Here you go."

"Now let me show you how it's done," Alex grinned impishly as she lifted the phone to her ear. "Hey James, it's Alex, is Aunt Maggie there?"

Elliot looked at Olivia and mouthed, Who?

Olivia arched her brows and shook her head slightly to indicate that she hadn't a clue as to who was on the other end of the line.

"Aunt Maggie," Alex's quiet voice broke the silence. "It's Alex. I'm sorry to bother you so early in the morning but I need a favor."

Elliot and Olivia listened in as Alex explained what had happened and her current situation.

"So, long story short, could you call the Chief and have word sent to the nurses on, hold on," she tentatively turned her head to look up at Elliot, "What floor are we on?"

Elliot held up six fingers.

Alex smiled her thanks and returned her head to Olivia's shoulder. "Have word sent to the nurses on the sixth floor that I'm comfy and I'm not getting out of the bed I'm in and going back to my own room. Well, I'm kind of laying in bed with the detective who I was with last night," Alex explained. "Yes, I know it's against hospital policy for patients to share a bed – that's why I'm calling you. Because you're on the board! Pleeeeease?" Alex whined. "You're awesome Aunt Maggie. Yes, I'd love to see you later this morning. I'll be in Detective Olivia Benson's room. See you later then, thanks Aunt Maggie, I really do appreciate it," Alex finished off her conversation. "Thank you," she smiled as she handed the phone back to Elliot. "I can't see the buttons to hang up. Sorry."

"Your Aunt is on the hospital board?" Elliot asked.

"Yeah, isn't everybody's?" Alex replied as she snuggled in closer to Olivia and wrapped an arm around the brunette's waist.

Olivia awoke to the uncomfortable feeling of being watched and found herself and Alex the objects of an unfamiliar woman's studious gaze. She instinctively tightened her arm around Alex, drawing the still sleeping blonde in closer to herself – an unconscious attempt to protect the painfully vulnerable woman.

The older brunette watching over them tipped her head in greeting and smiled graciously. "While I do appreciate you trying to protect our Alex even in your wounded state, I'm not a threat, Detective Benson. I'm Margaret Cabot."

"Aunt Maggie?" Olivia whispered.

"Yes," the older woman nodded. "How's she doing?" she nodded toward Alex.

Olivia grimaced as she tried to carefully adjust herself under the blonde, her heart warming as Alex whimpered in her sleep and her arm flexed to keep their bodies fused together. "She has a concussion. Couple broken bones in her face," Olivia murmured, unconsciously pressing a soft kiss to the unknowing blonde's forehead to calm her. "She's lucky."

"So are you," Maggie murmured, noting the way Olivia's features softened when she looked at Alex. "How is your shoulder?"

"I've had worse," Olivia answered honestly. "I'm more concerned about Alex, honestly."

"Us Cabots have hard heads," Maggie smiled. "From the way she was pleading her case earlier I imagine she'll be back to bossing everybody around in no time."

Olivia chuckled softly. "I never thought I'd say this, but I can't wait for that to happen."

"I'm not bossy," Alex groaned as she turned her head so she could see her Aunt. Her left eye was completely swollen shut.

"You are," Maggie smiled at her niece, wincing inwardly at the sight of her injuries but pleased to see that Alex was finally awake – she'd been sitting in their room for over an hour watching the two women sleep. "Extremely so. But it would appear that you've managed to find somebody to put up with you despite that – so you should consider yourself quite lucky Alexandra."

"Mmm," Alex smiled and squeezed Olivia gently.

"Maybe we need to get your head examined again Alex," Olivia smiled, pleased beyond words at the blonde's response to her Aunt's comment. "You are way too agreeable."

"Not going anywhere," Alex muttered, snuggling in tighter to Olivia and resting her head on the gentle slope of the brunette's breast. "I'm comfy. You have nice pillows."

"And your morphine is making you quite amusing," Olivia chuckled.

"Just more honest and uninhibited," Alex yawned. "And sleepy."

Maggie watched her niece with an amused smile on her lips. "So, Alex, as you're extolling the virtues of Detective Benson's 'pillows', I'm assuming this means you've finally done something about your attraction to her rather than just mooning pathetically over her from a distance?"

Olivia looked between the two Cabot women and tried to hide her surprise. She knew that there was something going on between her and Alex that exceeded the boundaries of platonic friendship – but she'd had no idea that Alex was had spoken of it to others, especially her family.

"Not exactly," Alex answered softly, realizing that she A said the pillow comment out loud, and B was just embarrassingly outed by her aunt.

Maggie noticed Olivia's slightly shocked expression and realized her mistake immediately. "I'm going to run down to Madison's Deli and grab some lunch. No Cabot in their right mind - even in their drug addled, severely concussed mind - would ever consent to eating hospital food. Except for my brother who went to med school, but he's always been a little weird. What would you girls like?" she inquired, quickly thinking of a way to give her niece and the detective a few moments alone to talk through her erroneous slip. She'd just assumed from the way they were cuddling and the obvious love in Olivia's eyes whenever she looked at Alex that they were already a couple. Never mind all the stories she'd heard about the brunette from Alex.

"I'm not hungry," Alex muttered.

"Well, now I know you're not feeling well," her aunt replied. "You never stop eating. I'll just grab you your usual and you can snack on it when you're feeling better. How about you dear?" she asked Olivia.

"I'll eat whatever," Olivia smiled. "I'm not picky."

"Then I'll just get you the same as Alex," Maggie smiled warmly as she reached for her purse and stood. "I'll be back in thirty minutes or so with lunch."

"Thank you so much," Olivia replied.

"My pleasure dear," Maggie nodded as she made her way to the door. She placed one hand on the doorknob and looked back at her niece. "I'll see you girls in thirty minutes."

"Yes ma'am," Alex grumbled as she watched her aunt pull the door closed behind her as she left.

"Your aunt is quite a character," Olivia chuckled after the door clicked shut, slowly running her hand up and down Alex's side.

"That's one word for her," Alex replied, but Olivia could hear the smile in the blonde's voice.

"I like her," Olivia answered thoughtfully.

"Mmm," Alex murmured noncommittally.

"How are your pillows?" Olivia murmured as she rested her cheek against the top of Alex's head.

"I didn't mean to say that out loud," Alex grumbled as she moved her cheek back up to Olivia's shoulder. "Are you okay with me here?"

Olivia smiled and pressed a soft kiss to Alex's bruised forehead. "I asked you to come cuddle, remember?"

"Yeah," Alex sighed. "But that was before I was, well…"

"Outed?" Olivia offered with a smile.

"Yeah," Alex groaned, closing her eyes and turning her face into the brunette's shoulder. "I guess my secret's not so secret now, huh?"

"I'm glad it's not a secret anymore," Olivia confessed quietly.

"Are you?"

"Alex," Olivia murmured. "I've wanted this," she squeezed the blonde indicatively, "for quite a while."

"Really?" Alex slowly moved to prop herself up on her elbow so she could look into Olivia's eyes.

"Mmm," Olivia smiled. "Really. I wasn't kidding earlier when I told you that I'd imagined asking you to come to bed with me many times."

"I believe you said 'many, many, times'," Alex smirked, her playfulness returning with the realization that her affections were reciprocated.

"Figures that through all the morphine you'd remember that," Olivia chuckled as she squeezed the blonde affectionately.

"How many times?" Alex asked, genuinely curious as to the brunette's answer.

"How many nights has it been since you started with SVU?" Olivia answered the prosecutor's question with one of her own.

"Wow," Alex murmured. "That's a long time."

Now it was Olivia's turn to look embarrassed. "I knew I shouldn't have told you that."

Alex smiled and rested her forehead against Olivia's, her one good eye focused on the brown in front of her as she confessed quietly, "I've thought about being with you like this since the first day I met you too."

"You fantasized about having a broken face and cuddling with a gunshot victim? You are quite the masochist aren't you?" Olivia joked.

"Har har smartass," Alex chuckled.

"How's your head?" Olivia murmured, brushing the tip of her nose against Alex's.

"It's okay," Alex lied.

Olivia smiled, not believing the blonde's too-smooth response. "How dizzy are you?"

"Very," Alex murmured. "But you always have that affect on me."

"Aww, how sweet – I make you feel like you have a concussion," Olivia chuckled playfully.

"You're not funny, you know," Alex couldn't help but grin.

"I'm hilarious," Olivia grinned. "And if you don't like my jokes, make me stop."

"I can do that," Alex smiled, leaning in closer to the brunette, nuzzling Olivia's cheek with her nose. "I bet I can make you just as dizzy as I am."

"Quite a high and mighty view we have of ourselves, eh Counselor?" Olivia murmured, her tongue reflexively wetting her lips as her eyes focused on the blonde's lips.

"Mmm," Alex smiled as she closed the distance separating them. "I've wanted to do this for so long Olivia," she whispered into their shared air, her heartbeat racing as she held her position and let the anticipation of the moment build. "I've dreamed of kissing you, of feeling your lips moving against mine. Fantasized about the way your tongue would feel stroking, massaging mine, the way you would taste...," she let her description trail off as she slowly, so slowly tilted her head to the side and began to finally close the finite distance between them.

"God Alex," Olivia breathed as she felt the featherlike brush of Alex's lips against hers before the blonde playfully pulled back, the electricity from that delicate caress an implicit promise of what was to come.

They were so wrapped up in each other, so engrossed in the hypnotic spell that their confessions had woven around and between them that they failed to notice the door to the room opening until a booming voice called out, "Hey Ladies! I brought you…," Elliot's voice trailed off as he finally took in the intimate scene before him. "Sorry," he squeaked.

"Cockblock," Alex muttered and dropped her head to Olivia's shoulder, groaning softly as the movement brought on another wave of vertigo.

For as frustrated as Olivia was at the untimely interruption, she couldn't help but start laughing at Alex's outburst.

"I'm sorry," Elliot stammered. "I can come back later if you want to be alone."

"Forget it," Alex grumbled. "You officially killed the moment. Just know that I hate you right now Stabler."

"Yeah, I get that a lot," he shrugged. "I am sorry though."

Olivia gave her partner a look that he instantly recognized as her give me a couple minutes look and he quietly ducked out of the room. She waited until he was out of sight before she squeezed Alex with her good arm and murmured, "We'll finish this later sweetie. I promise."

Alex looked up at the brunette and whined pathetically, "But I want to kiss you now."

"You're adorable," Olivia smiled and kissed Alex tenderly and all too briefly as far as Alex was concerned. "There, now we'll get to the good stuff when we won't have an audience."

"You promise?"

"Double-triple pinky swear, cross my heart and hope to die," Olivia replied.

Alex looked at the smiling brunette and scowled. "You hang out with Stabler too much."

By the time Maggie Cabot returned with their lunch Elliot was already on his way back to the precinct to give a statement to Serena Southerlyn who was going to be prosecuting Alex and Olivia's attacker. He also relayed that Walker's DNA matched the DNA from the previous three victims rape kits. So, although it didn't go as planned, Alex and Olivia had done exactly what they'd hoped and stopped the rapist terrorizing the Village.

Maggie helped Alex off of Olivia's bed and back into her wheelchair so that she could eat, noting the easy comfort between her niece and the brunette as the two women shared tender glances and gentle touches as they ate. Not long after they finished their lunch the doctor who was assigned to their cases dropped in to check on them and see how everything was going. Alex passed with flying colors, the food having helped diminish some of her vertigo symptoms and she was able to actually track the penlight as he waved it up and down and side to side. He announced that her pupil was dilating appropriately and that she would be able to leave the following morning.

Olivia watched his examination of Alex and hoped that hers would go as positively so that way she could get out of the hospital soon too. She really hated hospitals. She didn't get an in the morning promise like Alex, but the doctor didn't rule out the possibility of her being discharged sometime later tomorrow afternoon. He wanted to keep an eye on the wound and make sure there wasn't any sign of infection before he took her off of the IV antibiotics.

Much to Alex's delight she was informed that she would be able to remain with Olivia; much to her displeasure, she was ordered into the empty bed beside Olivia's and instructed that if she wanted to be discharged in the morning then she needed to stay in her own bed for the remainder of the day and rest. She tried to negotiate with the man, but he just listened to her entire argument before shooting her down. Olivia could have sworn she heard him laughing softly to himself as he left muttering, "That girl is a Cabot through-and-through, old Bill must be proud of her."

"Stupid doctor," Alex grumbled petulantly after he left the room.

Her aunt just laughed. "Alex, honey, you have a serious concussion. You need to rest."

"I was resting earlier," Alex grinned playfully. "You saw me. It was the best sleep I've had in years. But I did find a loophole to his demand and I need you to help me," she arched her brows at her Aunt.

"And what loophole would that be dear?" Maggie chuckled, well accustomed to the favorite Cabot pastime of finding a way to get what they want while technically staying within the defined rules.

"He only said I have to stay in my own bed, he didn't say it had to be over here," Alex announced proudly. "Can you move my bed over next to Olivia's?"

Maggie chuckled. "And what makes you think I can do that?"

"The bed's on wheels!" Alex giggled, her most recent morphine dose hitting her system.

"It's still a two person job Alex honey," Maggie smiled indulgently.

"Then it's a good thing there's a second person here to help," a familiar friendly voice drawled from the doorway.

Alex and Olivia looked up at the owner of the voice and broke into identical smiles.

"Hey!" Alex yelled. "What are you doing here?"

"I was in town meeting with McCoy about something else and heard from Southerlyn that you two got hurt," Abbie Carmichael smiled. "Hi Maggie."

"Abbie," Maggie Cabot smiled. "You're just as beautiful as ever my dear."

"You're such a tease Maggie," Abbie grinned before turning her attention to the two women in matching hospital beds. "How are you two feeling?"

"Like I got my ass kicked," Alex answered. "Oh wait," she laughed, "I did!"

"Like I have a hole in my shoulder," Olivia quipped.

"So, no pickup basketball game tonight, huh Benson?" Abbie grinned.

"You gonna help move the bed or not Carmichael," Alex cut in.

"Depends," she drawled.

"On what?" Alex asked.

"Somebody gonna tell me why you two wanna get all up close and personal?"

"Let's just say that you can FINALLY get off my ass," Alex rolled her one good eye at her friend.

Abbie looked from Alex to one very confused Olivia Benson. "You told her?"

Alex nodded.

"Well hot damn, let's get this bed over there then!" Abbie laughed as she began walking around Alex's bed and kicking off the brakes.

"This isn't a NASCAR race Carmichael," Alex laughed at Abbie's ridiculous car sounds as she and Maggie steered Alex's bed over toward Olivia's.

"Yeah," Abbie sighed, sounding mildly disappointed. "I bet we could have an awesome race with the wheelchairs though."

Part 3

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