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SPOILERS: Loss and Ghost

Afraid of the Dark, Afraid of the Doorbell
By Choatemonkey


Alex Cabot was scared, and Alex Cabot was never scared. When she was little and afraid of the dark, that had been one thing. Eventually, she'd learned that the dark was nothing to fear. Now, however, she was 35 years old and scared of the doorbell, which was another thing entirely.

Ever since "the accident," as she'd come to call her shooting, Alexandra Cabot had been terrified of the doorbell, the sounds of fireworks and cars backfiring, and of slow-moving cars passing her while she went for her daily run.

For once, it seemed that there really was something to fear. She saw the outline of the gun through the window as the doorbell kept ringing, and she knew that this was it. She never should have returned to New York for the Conners' trial and, oh god, it couldn't end like this. Not for her.

She wished Olivia was there. Olivia would protect her. She'd kept her from dying the last time. (If Olivia hadn't covered her when she heard the shots, she might be dead. Her shoulder wounds, at least, were superficial. Lots of blood, but no real damage.) She was screaming, at least, she thought she was, and she could barely watch as someone (Velez? Did it matter?) shot through the lock.

"Alex?" She heard someone shouting her name and felt shaking. Were they having an earthquake? It wouldn't be that unusual-after Altoona they'd moved her to a house only eight miles from the San Andreas fault. Would the shaking stop whoever was shooting? The shouting wouldn't stop. She realized that she had closed her eyes and forced them open, only to see - Olivia. Olivia, safe and warm and beautiful, hovering above her.

"Baby, you were having that dream again," Olivia whispered, brushing strands of Alex's sweat-soaked blond hair out of her eyes.

Alex groaned and fell back against the sheets. "The one where I was shot?"

Olivia nodded as she lightly kissed Alex's forehead. "Yeah, that one."

They sat in silence for a while, waiting for Alex's breathing and pulse to slow. She watched the sun begin to rise over the park and their bedroom began to lighten. She could see the photo on the dresser from the softball game in 2003. The mirror they'd found in a SoHo antique shop reflected the painting above their bed - two women, dancing with limbs entwined. The memories they'd collected in four years, since the Cavanaugh case, when they'd finally succumbed to their mutual attraction, served to reassure Alex that, as always, the dream was just a dream. She reached up and touched her shoulder - unmarred by the dream's scars.

The alarm rang, and Olivia stood, stretching. "Come on, Al. You've gotta get ready! Big day, and all."

Olivia was right. It was a big day. It was her first day as bureau chief, a position she had finally been offered after she had convinced Branch that her successor, Casey Novak, was finally ready to be first chair for SVU.

As she looked at the imposing front of the courthouse, Alex Cabot was scared. But unlike in her dream, Olivia would be waiting for her when she got home. Really, there was nothing to fear.

The End

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