DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story references a few episodes across all 11 seasons particularly 'Loss',' Ghost', 'Infiltrated' and 'Fault'. Time lines are based on show air dates. There is no mention of L&O:Trial by Jury as in my world, Alex never went there. This is the first part in an ongoing trilogy.
THANKS: To everyone on my Yahoo Group, vivalab, for their support - you guys rock!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Déjà Vu
By VivalaB


Chapter 19: End Game

Porter kept his eyes locked on the figure outside, without moving his head he spoke to his expectant audience. "Olivia, we need to leave right now. Get Suzy over here so I can settle the bill."

Olivia had watched his reaction to the message and his face as it flashed in recognition as he looked out the window. She heard him speak to her but didn't move.

Porter moved his eyes to connect with hers, "Please Olivia, we have to get out of here," he implored.

"Why? That your Boss? Who's got you rattled Porter? What did the text sa-"

Porter silenced her with an intense look and said, "Olivia, if we don't get out of here right now, innocent people are going to get hurt. Please, you have to trust me..... please Liv," he pleaded.

Alex sat up straighter at the use of the shortened name, 'Liv?' she repeated. With a single word Dean Porter confirmed her suspicions that the FBI agent and the NYPD Detective did indeed have a personal history. 'I hate him even more,' she thought and glared across the table at him.

Olivia was surprised. He'd never called her that before, not once. She was about to look out the window to see what he was looking at when his voice stopped her, "Don't look, it'll just give him a bigger thrill knowing you know he's out there," he said calmly.

"Who?" she asked desperately.

"Sean Connors."

Alex sucked in a shocked breath and reached for Olivia's hand under the table. She held it tightly trying to regain her focus. Stalling Porter in the diner had seemed like a good idea, now they were trapped with apparently only one way out.

Olivia felt the rage course through her tired and battered body, "You prick, you fucking prick. You were taking us to him the whole fucking time," she spat venomously at him, wary of her rising voice within earshot of the surrounding patrons.

He was about to answer her when his phone on the table vibrated again, a call this time. He answered on the second vibrating ring, "What are you doing?" he cryptically demanded.

"Aww c'mon now Agent P is that any way to greet yer old pal?" Sean Connors replied.

"What are you doing? We had an agreement," Porter said angrily.

"You're late, you shouldn't have pulled off the road Agent P. Lucky for you we're in the middle of nowhere, 'twas easy finding you. You're supping in the only diner for 20 miles." Connors taunted.

"What now?" Porter asked as Olivia's eyes bored into his.

"I think it's time you paid your bill and came out, I'll give you a lift...all of you," he said firmly.

Porter closed his eyes as he replied, "5 minutes," and hung up. He waved Suzy over himself and asked for their bill. He paid her and left a generous tip as he watched her handing Olivia a white rectangular box.

Suzy was smiling at both women, unaware that their returned smiles were fake and they were desperately trying to think of a way out of this mess. As she left the table Olivia looked over at Porter, "Well?" she asked.

He sighed, " Connors' is waiting for us out front, we go out and he'll take us where we're going," he paused before continuing, "if we don't go outside, he'll come in here guns blazing, not caring who he takes down. Trust me, I know this man, he'll do it without a second thought," he finished.

Olivia was stunned at the revelation that Connors' was outside and realized that it had been him calling Porter earlier in the car. "Why would you do this? If Connors' has something on you, we can work it out whatever it is, please Dean. Think about what you're doing, " she reasoned.

Alex recognized Olivia's tone, she'd heard it countless times when Olivia was falsely befriending a suspect in the interrogation room at the precinct. She was in a league of her own when it came to gaining someone's trust. Alex looked at Porter, her hopes fell as she realized he wasn't buying into the offer.

The phone vibrated again, a text this time.

'tick tock tick tock'

Olivia swiftly reached into her pocket and retrieved her cellphone, turning to Alex and keeping her back to the window she frantically typed a message to Elliot, 'Connors at diner. Going with him. Where r u? Tracking?'

The response was instantaneous, '10 mins out'

Porter stood up and motioned for them to follow suit. Reluctantly they both slid out from the booth, Olivia placed her right hand with the pistol in her jacket pocket, finger on the trigger. Alex followed closely behind her and touched her elbow. Olivia turned to look at her asking a question with her eyes.

"I'm fine, honest," Alex said, doing her best to make it sound believable.

Olivia stepped towards the counter, away from Porter, "When we get to the door I want you to run into the kitchen. There must be a back door, find it and wait for Elliot, " she instructed quickly.

"No. I'm not letting you go out there and be killed, you can't ask me to do that Liv," she whispered.

"Please Alex, this is the only way. Elliot and a Tact Team are less than 10mins away, please," she repeated.

"What if Connors comes in here shooting? Innocent people will get hurt and I'm supposed to what? Sneak out the back door?" she was angry now. "Remember what you first said to me in my office when this all began?" she paused and softened her tone, "Where you go, I go. Works both ways Liv," she said and moved away from the counter towards an impatient Porter.

Olivia took a deep breath and moved in front of her, without turning she instructed, "Stay behind me." She remembered the Kevlar Vest Alex had left in the back seat and felt her heart sink.

Connors leaned against the SUV casually smoking a cigarette. He watched the trio exit the diner. He moved his free hand to the weapon tucked into the back of his jeans, brought it out and released the safety. He would love to put a bullet in each of them but that wasn't the plan. He needed to get them back, alive. If he didn't he'd be as well putting a bullet in his own head rather than face his angr-

The distinctive sound of approaching helicopter blades broke the silence of the parking lot and Sean Connors' line of thought.

Connors looked up at the rapidly approaching chopper as its high beam searchlight scanned the ground. He saw ropes appear over the side and four dark figures descend at speed to the ground. He looked at the three advancing figures who were also staring at the new arrivals. He ran behind the hood of the SUV, raised his gun and fired at everyone, spraying bullets everywhere.

Olivia pushed Alex behind her, propelling her towards the diner's door, "GO!" she yelled.

Alex ran into the diner and shouted to the bewildered watching patrons and staff, "Everybody get behind the counter, NOW!"

The words had barely left her lips as everyone bolted from their booths and headed for cover. She watched them scatter and run into the bathrooms, duck behind the counter and barrel through the kitchen door.

Suzy was the only person left. She was standing open mouthed at the window, engrossed in the drama unfolding outside.

The sound of a window shattering shook the waitress into motion. She dropped to her hands and knees and crawled over to Alex who was crouched behind the entrance's metal door frame.

Alex watched her approach and shouted at her to go behind the counter but Suzy ignored her.

"This that boring conference Olivia was talking about?" she asked dryly.

Alex nodded her head, "Something like that," she replied keeping her eyes glued to Olivia and Porter as they crouched separately behind two parked cars.

The Tact Team had taken up positions to Connors' left and were pinned. Connors appeared to have come prepared with extra rounds for his weapon. The chopper had pulled back as Connors had started firing at its undercarriage.

Suzy pulled the sleeve of Alex's FBI windbreaker, "I'll be right back, I got something you're gonna wanna see," she said and crawled speedily towards the kitchen door.

Olivia had 3 bullets left.

She looked over at Porter, she wasn't sure if it was paranoia or not but she was sure she hadn't heard him fire his gun. He was holding it in the firing position but she was positive he hadn't squeezed off a single round. They were separated by the walk way leading to the diner's entrance, Connors was only a short distance in front of them. She wondered why people don't just give up when they know there's no way out.

Her phone vibrated, she pulled it from her pocket, "Elliot?"

"Four on the ground, trying to flank him from his left. Alex okay?" he asked urgently, shouting above the noise of the engine.

"She's inside. What about Porter? I don't think he's taken a shot."

"Wing him, " he advised.

"What if I'm wrong El?"

"Then you only winged him, we'll call it friendly fire. After the BS this guy's told us, if I had the shot I'd take it myself Liv," he shouted and she knew he meant it.

Olivia released the call and looked over at Dean Porter, 3 bullets and she was going to use one to immobilize him.

He looked over at her, sensing her eyes on him. He saw her look down at the pistol in her hand, then back to him. Instinct told him what she was going to do. He shouted above the intermittent gunfire at her, weapon raised, "Don't do this Olivia, you don't know what you're doing!"

She pointed her Jetfire straight at him, "Put your weapon down!"

"I can't!" he roared back and shifted his aim towards her. "Olivia, call somebody and have them stand down!"

Olivia was stunned, 'Stand down?' She shook her head, "I will shoot you, if you don't drop your Goddamn gun!" she barked in frustration.

She saw the movement of his hand as he readjusted his aim, she was about to squeeze the trigger when Porter fell to the ground. She saw the gun skid across the concrete and watched as he reflexively reached for his bleeding right shoulder. He'd been shot from behind, she spun her head backwards.

Suzy, their waitress was crouched down beside Alex, smoking rifle in her hands.

Olivia stared in disbelief before diving over to Porter and retrieving his fallen weapon. He was lying on his side, clutching his arm in agony. He glared at her, "You idiot, we need him alive!" he spat out.

Olivia checked his wound, "As much as I wanted to, and I had a green light to do it, I didn't shoot you," she clarified.

Alex turned to Suzy, "Nice shot."

Suzy returned the smile, "Interceptor mult-shot rifle, 10 round magazine, pin point precision," she stated calmly.

Alex just looked at her. She had been shocked when Suzy had returned with the rifle, offering no explanation as they had watched Olivia and Porter face off. Alex had watched Olivia answer her phone and knew it was Elliot. The look on Olivia's face also told her she was going to do something she didn't want to. The movement of Porter readjusting his aim confirmed Alex's fears that Porter was about to shoot Olivia. When Suzy had asked her what she could do she had simply said, "Take him down," and Suzy did.

Alex continued to watch Olivia with Porter. Connors was still firing randomly at shadows. The chopper had landed in a nearby field.

Connors felt trapped and was panicking wildly at his poor prospects. He shouted loudly across the darkened parking lot, "I'VE GOT A BOMB. IT'S IN THE CAR AND I'LL DETONATE IT. I'LL BLOW US ALL UP. I SWEAR TO GOD I'LL DO IT" he screamed.

Olivia looked at Porter, "Has he? Would he?"

Porter just looked at her, "I don't know, I know if he goes back without Alex he's a dead man. He probably isn't bluffing, he'd rather die than go back empty handed," he said shaking his head.

Olivia was growing more confused by the minute, "Who was he supposed to take Alex to?" she asked urgently.

Porter grimaced as he moved to sit up and rest his back against the wheel. He noticed the barrel of Suzy's rifle follow his movements carefully. He blew out a frustrated breath before saying a name that made the hairs at the back of Olivia's neck stand on end.

"His brother.....Liam Connors"


Chapter 20: Revelations

"You're lying," Olivia said with forced calmness.

Agent Dean Porter leaned heavily against the front wheel well and used his left hand to cradle his useless right arm in his lap. He shook his head as he answered her, "Liam Connors escaped from a maximum security facility three weeks ago. His escape has been kept off the grid because of potential international embarrassment and undue panic," he said flatly.

Olivia had followed Connors extradition with morbid interest and remembered that he had been transferred to Portlaoise Prison in Ireland, a Supermax facility and one of the most secure in Europe. The prison was patrolled 24 hours a day by the Irish Defense Forces. She had looked up the history of the prison and had noted several attempts had been made to escape in the past but only a handful had been successful. Escaped prisoners had either been caught or killed. She studied Porter's face, he was a man she once respected, even admired, but who now sat before her a complete stranger.

A million questions touched her lips. The man a few parked cars away firing a weapon and threatening to blow them up reminded her that this wasn't the time to ask them all. She needed to make a decision. She looked to the diner's entrance and caught Alex's eyes, she held her gaze long enough for Alex to realize she was searching for something. Alex tilted her head in question, Olivia smiled back at her. She moved her head back to face Porter.

"Four years ago I woulda trusted you, no questions asked. Three years ago, I started asking questions...now... I want you to answer one of mine," she said, waiting for his response.

He looked at her and nodded.

She broke eye contact briefly to look at his weapon that she had retrieved and now held in her left hand. She had removed the clip and confirmed her fears, he hadn't fired a single shot. She brought her gaze back to his face and asked, "Would you have taken us to Liam Connors?"

Elliot Stabler moved stealthily along the drainage ditch that ran parallel to the deserted road.

The helicopter sat in the adjacent field, pilot at the controls and co-pilot standing guard protectively, weapon drawn. Bursts of gunfire were clearly audible from the parking lot. He could hear the four members of the Tact Team talking to each other via the earpiece he was now wearing. They were trying to surround Connors but he was shooting wildly at anything that moved.

Elliot exited the ditch, kept his body crouched low and ran for the cover of a parked car. He eased his head above the trunk carefully, checking Connors' position. He edged along the back of the vehicle to the next one and moved until he was behind the hood. He was only three cars away from Connors.

He scanned the area in front of the diner, where he'd last seen Olivia and Porter from his vantage point in the chopper. Nothing. He whipped out his cellphone and dialed his partner's number.

Olivia sat staring at Porter, trying to read the expression on his face, waiting for his answer.

The vibrating in her pocket momentarily startled her, she wanted to ignore it but knew it was Elliot. She placed Porter's retrieved weapon in her pocket and reached for her phone.


"I'm on the ground behind Connors, you okay?" he asked in a hushed tone.

"Yeah. Connors claims to have a bomb but I think he's bluffing. D'you see anything like that in his file? Cos all I saw was targeted kills," she asked, staring at Porter.

"Nah, this guy don't whack for free. Not every Irishman's a bomb expert, even with his ties to the IRA... I'm gonna get closer and take the shot. Porter giving you any trouble?"

"Porter says he was supposed to take me and Alex to his brother somewhere along this route," she replied.

"Another brother? Jesus, I'm beginning to have concerns about my own brood," he deadpanned.

"Liam." Olivia clarified.

"Liam Connors! Holy Shit Liv! Here? And Porter's helping him? That sonofabitch. I'm gonna take this prick down and get some anwe-"

Olivia cut him off, "Porter swears he's not dirty and that he can explain everything," she said, eyes boring into the agent's.

"D'you believe him?"

"I don't know what to believe anymore," she said truthfully and blinked slowly, deliberately blocking out Porter's image.

"Then we'll play it safe, I'll take down Sean here and maybe we can get some real answers," he said and hung up.

Olivia replaced the phone in her pocket and raised her pistol, "I'm still waiting for that answer...let me make it easier for you to understand, Did you know you were taking us to Liam Connors?"

Porter lowered his head and nodded slowly.

The unexpected force of the blow that smashed into his face caused him to fall sideways and he landed heavily on the ground with an, "Ooft."

Olivia ignored the blast of pain exploding through the bones in her left hand, it took all her self control not to shake it reflexively in an effort to relieve the stinging. She would be damned if she let him see her hurting.

From the diner's doorway Alex gasped and instantly moved to her feet, intent on going to Olivia, but the hand that gripped her arm halted her movement. She turned to Suzy, her eyes wide with panic, the waitress loosened her grip and gently rubbed her arm.

"Honey, whatever just happened between those two," she pointed at Olivia and Porter with the barrel of the rifle in her free hand, "I think it's safe to say Olivia's got it under control," she said and smiled reassuringly.

Alex smiled back at the older blonde, knowing she was right. "That had to hurt," she commented, referring to Olivia's hand.

"Shoot, forger her hand. He'll be lucky if she didn't break his jaw. Ooo-ee, that was a beauty. I knew she was a feisty one, saw it in that swagger as soon as she waltzed in here," she replied, admiration dripping from every word.

Alex shook her head and chuckled, "She's quite a woman," she said as she turned her head to study the topic of their conversation.

"If I were 10 years younger...." Suzy trailed off.

Alex whipped her head round and stared open mouthed at Suzy, clearly shocked.

Suzy lifted her hand and suppressed a throaty laugh, "Relax honey, I know I'm not her type," she said smiling.

"How do you know?"

Suzy patted her hand, "Cos I think she prefers her blondes taller, with blue eyes and legs to die for," she said to the startled ADA.

Alex blushed and smiled. Realization hit her and she opened her mouth to ask Suzy something but the waitress anticipated the question and cut her off.

"D'you think lady lovin' only happens in the City? Boondocks moves with the times, used to be your cousin you fooled around with in the barn. Now it's your neighbor's wife while he's out ploughing a field," she said and winked, causing Alex's face to flush harder at her revelation.

Eliot crept down to another car, the Tact Team had gained some ground and had a clear visual on Connors. Elliot listened as Luker asked if anyone had a clear shot, Elliot was the first to respond.

"This is Stabler, I have a wing shot. We need him alive. Copy?" he asked.

"Stabler, this is Luker. Take the shot, repeat take the shot. Team, move in and secure once suspect is down. Copy?" the agent responded.

Elliot listened as the other three members of the assault team acknowledged the request. He raised his weapon and aimed it at Connors' back. He wished he had his laser scope attachment for his gun, if ever there was a shot that needed to be accurate, this was it. He breathed in slowly and readjusted his aim, he moved it slightly higher and to his right. He expelled the breath slowly and squeezed the trigger.

Connors howled, a combination of pain and surprise. The impact of the bullet forcing his body forward, into the side of the car he was shielding behind and he slumped to the ground.

Elliot raced over and kicked his weapon away. The four Tact Team agents arrived seconds behind Elliot and forced Connors flat on his stomach as they secured his hands behind his back with plastic handcuffs. Connors screamed as the plastic wire was tightened.

Elliot turned to Luker, "We need to talk to him, he has information we need. Can your guys secure the diner?" he asked. Elliot knew there was nowhere else to go and if Liam Connors was somewhere along this route, he wanted to know where. He also wanted a private word with Dean Porter.

Luker nodded his head, "5 minutes, we'll move him to the diner once we've checked his car for explosive devices."

Olivia dragged Porter to his feet and instructed him not to move. She turned and motioned to Alex.

Alex bolted from the entrance and sprinted towards her. Once she reached the detective she resisted the urge to throw her arms around her, choosing instead to place a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

Olivia smiled affectionately at her, "Porter has some talking to do, d'you think Suzy the sharpshooter could make us some coffee?" she asked smiling.

Alex beamed back at her, "For you, she'd do anything," she answered cryptically and hurried off.

Porter's voice distracted her, "Why didn't you tell her about Liam?" he asked.

Olivia turned and watched Alex laughing at something with Suzy, "Because she's been through enough and I didn't see the point in telling her something that might not even be true," she answered as she shifted her gaze to look at him, "But you're going to tell me the whole story....from the beginning."

Porter nodded his head in agreement. She looked up and saw Elliot approaching. He rounded the car and pulled her into a bone crushing hug, staring intensely at Porter over her shoulder. He saw the damage to the agents upper arm then noticed his bleeding cheek bone and purpling swollen eye.

"You okay?" he asked Olivia, ignoring Porter.

She nodded within the embrace.

"D'you do that?" he said quietly, referring to Porter's battered face.

She nodded again.

"That's my girl," he said in a whisper and squeezed her tighter.

Behind Elliot's back and out of sight from Porter, Olivia carefully flexed her left hand and winced at the pain, 'He's lucky I didn't use my right,' she thought and pulled out of the embrace.

Elliot headed back to Connors and his armed guards as Olivia escorted Porter to the diner, bracing herself for the story he was about to tell.


Chapter 21: Honesty is Policy

It took 15 minutes to clear the diner of all the occupants, staff included. The Manager had been reluctant at first until Suzy volunteered to stay and lock up once 'this particular circus had rolled out of town'. She had also promised to stay in the kitchen. She was currently leaning at the end of the counter nearest the kitchen door, deep in conversation with one of the Tact agents who was busy examining her multi-shot rifle appreciatively.

Olivia and Porter were ironically seated at the same booth as before only the third occupant wasn't a beautiful, tall blonde. Elliot sat beside Olivia, they watched Porter apply medical wipes to his bleeding shoulder, grudgingly provided by Alex. Olivia had taken Alex aside and asked her to wait in the kitchen with Suzy. She had refused, naturally. Olivia explained if this went to trial and they were called as witnesses, the ADA's testimony would be the most damning of all but only if she remained impartial to the police interrogation of their suspect, Porter. Alex had considered arguing with Olivia, if it was back at the precinct she would already be toe to toe in a heated discussion with the brunette detective, but this wasn't the precinct. This was some random family diner in the middle of hicks-ville USA and she relented.

Connors was sitting in the back seat of Porter's SUV. An armed agent either side of the cuffed captive. He was trying to see in the diner but every time he moved the agent on his left moved to block his view. After several failed attempts, he gave up.

"I hate to rush you fella's, you're doing a grand job an' all but if I don't talk to my brother soon, he'll come looking for me and he's not as understanding a fellow as me," he said cockily.

Nobody acknowledged him.

They had stripped him of his possessions and had given them to Luker and Stabler, including his cellphone. His car had also been searched but had contained no clues as to where he had come from and they hadn't found any explosive devices either.

He had been bluffing.

Suzy opened the kitchen door and spotted Alex sitting on a nearby stool, she was deep in thought. Suzy coughed to make her presence known so as not to startle the younger blonde, she eased up beside her and placed an arm round her comfortingly.

"I want to know what's going on out there, I feel helpless sitting in here," Alex said dejectedly.

Suzy sighed, "I know honey, but there's a reason she asked you to wait in here. You know she's trying to protect you from that piece of garbage," she said referring to Porter, not Connors.

Alex smiled at her, knowing she was right. As they had watched the scene unfold in the darkened parking lot, Alex had told Suzy the whole sordid story. She had laughed out loud when Suzy informed her she was glad she had told her the truth after she'd shot Porter. Alex had been confused until Suzy clarified it by telling her, "despite winning the County shooting championship, four years in a row, my eyesight isn't what it used to be, especially when it comes to shootin' varmin."

Suzy squeezed her shoulder, shaking her from her reverie, "How'd you like to help me cook some gingerbread?" she said cheerily.

Alex smiled, "Why not, our last box got lost in the parking lot," she said, remembering the white box being kicked across the concrete by fleeing patrons.

Suzy beamed, "Atta girl. Now...first ingredient," she said and moved to the refrigerator and retrieved a bottle.

Alex did a double take as she noticed the label, "Oh my God, you're secret ingredient is white wine," she said incredulously and laughed.

Suzy shook her head, "What? Hell no, that's for drinking while we're making 'em," she paused and reached for two soda glasses, "Cook's secret supply, keeps him going on the 14 hour shift, ssshh, don't tell him, " she said conspiratorially.

Alex only laughed harder.

There would be no good cop, bad coop routine this time. This would be a straight forward question and answer session, Olivia decided. Se looked at Porter as he buttoned his shirt back up, having temporarily patched up his own wounds. He had a toned physique with well defined muscles in his arms. Once upon a time she had entertained the idea of a romantic relationship with Porter. Looking at him now, she was glad she hadn't. She took in his swollen eye, the numbness and tightness in her left hand was worth it, his face looked sore. 'Good,' she thought.

Porter took a sip of water from the glass in front of him and addressed Olivia, "We were supposed to be there 2 hours ago, if Sean doesn't contact Liam soon this is going to blow up in your face, " he stated.

Elliot shook his head in disbelief, "Our faces? Listen pal, you're the one that's going down for this. Why d'you meet Sean at Riverside park?" he asked, Stabler style, straight to the point.

Porter continued to address the brunette seated across from him, refusing to acknowledge Stabler's presence, "Sean Connors has been providing intel on the Mexicans and the Afghans, he's been double crossing them and feeding information from both parties to us. This morning he called me to arrange an emergency meet. When I got there, he told me he had a job, some family business to take care of and would be in touch. I told him that wasn't going to happen."

Olivia held his eyes but remained silent.

"Nah, that ain't gonna fly Porter. So what, it was a coincidence you called Brennan?" he said frowning.

"Sean didn't tell me wha-, who the job was. I only pieced that together after Cragen called me. When he told me about the threat to Alex, that Sean Connors was the hired gun," he paused, "I knew this was the job he he was doing for his brother," he replied.

"How could you possibly know he was doing this for Liam, you didn't even know he was in this Country," Olivia asked.

Porter leaned for wad, closer to her, "He only has two brothers and one of them is a Priest, in Ireland. What other family business could it have been? He was making good money playing the Mexicans and the Afghans, enjoying his status as an FBI informant but he dropped them the instant some 'family business' came up. Don't you get it? Are you too blinded by the obvious," he said, running a hand through his hair in frustration.

Both detectives were quiet as they absorbed the information.

"Why did Cragen call you?" Olivia finally asked.

"Cragen told me there was a situation involving you, thought I should be aware of it," he answered and smiled at her.

Olivia shook her head, "Don't flatter yourself, I know the Captain better than you, he was probably looking for any port in a storm and was trying to get information out of you," she sneered, "which we did."

Elliot cut in, "The photograph of Sean at the Mexican border, you sent it to us knowing he wouldn't show face until Alex was caught. You sent us that so we wouldn't look for anyone else."

"You're wrong Stabler, Brennan was supposed to get Cabot from the building and put her in an SUV outside, Sean Connors was waiting for her. He was going to drive her upstate and deliver her to his big brother."

"How do you know that, how do you even know Liam Connors is 30 miles up the road. Sean could have been playing you, same way you're playing him," Olivia observed.

"Does that matter? I know Liam Connors is less than thirty minutes away, why can't you just believe me!" he snapped in Olivia's direction.

Olivia was struggling to stay calm, "Why did you call Brennan, when did you call Brennan?" she demanded, tone rising.

Porter breathed heavily through his nose, "Once Cragen told me what was happening, I tapped into video surveillance of the buildi-"

Elliot cut him off, "Sonofabitch, You cut the feed from the building?" he asked as realization dawned.

"I had to. I signed out the SUV, " he pointed out the window, "I raced to the DA's building, I was going to go in and get Cabot and you out," he motioned to Olivia, "I couldn't risk being caught on tape, it would have blown my chance at finding Liam if Sean found out I was playing him." He said and reached for Olivia's hand.

Olivia pulled her hands out of reach and shook her head for what felt like the tenth time that might, "Why. Did. You. Call. Brennan?" she said loudly, enunciating every word.

Porter looked at her, "I was tracking comms between the first team and the Command Post. Sean once bragged to me he had people everywhere. I rang a friend at the Bureau and called in a favor, he found out that David Brennan grew up in the same small town in Ireland as Connors. I knew it was too big a coincidence. I called him to confront him and offer him a deal. He said no, Sean was paying him good money, that he was going 'freelance' and joining up with the brothers."

Elliot turned to his partner, "Can you believe this guy? How much bullshit we heard over the years Liv?" he turned back to Porter, "You take the biscuit pal, you're in a league of your own with a story like that," Elliot said, not believing a word Porter had said.

Porter shrugged, "It's the truth Stabler. Brennan told me he was handing Cabot off to Sean in an unmarked SUV that was waiting outside. Tact Team had the building covered, there was no way I could get in so I waited across the street from where the SUV was parked. When Sean drove off I knew something was wrong, I followed him but he didn't go far. I watched him and another figure ambush the protective detail's convoy. When the ambulance stopped and the shooting started I watched, when Connors shot his partner, I saw a chance to get him and his brother. So, I called him pretended I'd heard it on the radio and asked if he needed any help. He told me to pick you both up and meet him 30 miles north of here at a cabin in the woods," he stopped to take a long sip of water and let his words sink in.

Olivia was the first to speak, "So, you just called Sean Connors up out of the blue and said, 'hey, need a hand kidnapping a detective and an ADA?', Give us some credit," she said sarcastically.

Porter put the glass back on the table but said nothing.

Elliot took up the slack, "What was your plan when you got them to Liam? You're flying solo, you got no back up and you only got one weapon with two spare clips. You're full of shit Porter. You know it and we know it."

Olivia ran through the events of the last 8 hours. Reluctantly, everything Porter said made sense. Despite her better judgment, she believed him. She didn't know if it was the tiredness, the ache in her side, the dull pain in her head or the adrenalin but she actually believed him.

"What were you going to do?" she asked.

"I was going to use Sean as leverage, tell Liam that his brother had ratted him out to the Feds then I was going to put a bullet in him," Porter said calmly.

Elliot looked at him, "You should have called it in, should have let us know what you were doing, we coulda worked this together and saved all of this," he said, waving his arms in a sweeping motion.

Porter saw that they were beginning to believe his story, "I ignored my SAC and I stayed off the air because there really is another leak in Goldie's unit," he said.

"Who?" they asked at the same time.

"I don't know," he said worriedly.

Olivia stood up, "I'm going to go check on Alex, you going to talk to Connors?" she said to Elliot.

"Yeah." He looked over to agent Luker, standing at the counter, "Hey Luker, can you sit with Porter while I go talk to our little leprechaun?" he said.

The agent nodded affirmatively.

Porter stood up but Elliot's iron grip on his wounded shoulder 'encouraged' him to sit back down. He looked at him, rage blazing in his eyes, "We're wasting time, we can still salvage this." he said.

Elliot waited until Olivia had reached the end of the counter and was out of earshot, "You think I'm gonna let you take her and Cabot into some cosy cabin in the woods with an escaped killer? You're an even bigger prick than I thought you were," he said shaply.

Without looking up Porter replied, "We can use Sean to get to Liam, he'll deal. I know he will, he's desperate and he doesn't want to die."

Elliot ignored him, as he passed Luker he whispered loudly, "He moves, shoot to kill."

Olivia paused at he kitchen door, took a deep cleansing breath and forced a smile on her face. As she entered the cooking area a wonderful aroma of fragrant baking assaulted her tired senses. She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes, savoring the sweet smell. When she opened her eyes, Suzy was standing in front of her.

"Jesus, Suzy. You scared the crap outta me," she rushed out.

Suzy smiled, "From what I hear it takes more than a waitress armed with a dish rag to scare you, Detective," she sad affectionately.

Olivia nodded, "Alex filled you in," she said, knowing the answer.

"And then some, she's a keeper by the way, great in the kitchen," she said and winked.

Olivia was momentarily stunned, "Speaking of which, where is she?" she said, refusing to panic. Liam Connors couldn't get to them in here, could he?

Suzy saw the emotion cross Olivia's face and patted her arm comfortingly, "Relax honey, she's in the back getting changed. I gave her some of young Lucy's clothes to put on."

At Olivia's confused look she clarified, "Lucy works after school, three nights a week. She works weekends too but goes out afterward so she always keeps a change of clothes in her locker. Wouldn't be surprised if that girl doesn't have half her closet in there," she explained. She looked Olivia up and down, "I bet she's got a shirt in there that'll fit you. Why don't you go see, I'll make sure you don't get disturbed," she said, propelling Olivia to a small door in the back of the room.

As Olivia walked away, Suzy watched and smiled to herself, 'Damn that swagger of hers,' and opened the oven to check on the gingerbread.

Olivia entered the small changing room quietly, not wanting to frighten Alex. Lockers lined two of the walls, a long bench sat against the far wall and a doorway to her left led to another room. Olivia heard running water and moved towards the open door.

She opened her mouth to announce her presence but was struck dumb at the sight that met her tired eyes. She knew she should look away, turn her back, avert her gaze at the very least but she couldn't tear her eyes from the expanse of smooth, creamy, flesh on display before her.

Alex was standing in front of a sink counter clad only in her underwear. Olivia heard water running and looked to her left, a small stone shower stall with an old fashioned privacy door lay open, apparently waiting for Alex.

The detective took in the expanse of skin before her. Long, lean and seemingly endless legs were well toned from years of jogging, her back was strong and straight and her ass was taut and inviting encased beneath a small slip of silk.

As an oblivious Alex reached her hands around to unhook her bra, Olivia's face flushed and her stomach tightened in anticipation. Before her brain could stop her mouth it was blurting out, "Wait!"

The noise startled Alex, she had been lost in her thoughts and hadn't noticed Olivia enter the wash room. She spun automatically at the sound.

They both ignored the bra as it fell soundlessly to the floor.

They stood staring into each others eyes, both sets wide with surprise.

'Must not look down, must not look down, must not look down', Olivia's brain repeated over and over again, wiling her disobeying eyes to heed the urgent warning. Her eyes shifted to Alex's mouth which was smiling and she began the mantra again in earnest.

"Liv...You do realize you're saying that out loud," Alex said quietly.

Olivia felt her face burn with embarrassment and arousal, she quickly turned her back to Alex stuttering out an apology as she spun.

Alex retrieved the fallen material from the floor and placed it on the counter. She couldn't wipe the smile off her face at Olivia's reaction to her almost nakedness. Alex had never been shy, sorority girls never were and she contemplated teasing the detective further. She was comfortable with her body and enjoyed the boost her ego just received and wanted more. 'Later', she thought, She moved instead to the enclosed shower, closing the swing door behind her. She removed her silk panties and sat them on the small shelf out of the water's spray.

"You can turn round now Liv, " she announced, her voice echoing in the confines of the small shower stall.

Olivia turned round and rubbed her hands over her face trying to wash away the flushed heat. It wasn't working.

"Come over here and tell me what that bastard had to say for himself," Alex shouted.

Olivia stood on the other side of the shower wall, not trusting herself to face her directly. She began to recount the interview to Alex, deliberately omitting any mention of Liam Connors. She had meant what she had said to Porter, 'Alex didn't need to know, not yet'.

When the blonde asked her to come closer, saying she couldn't hear her. Olivia stepped slowly round the corner, eyes closed.

When she came into view, Alex smiled at the detective's apparent shyness and reached a hand over the wooden door to touch her face.

"Liv, sweetie. It's okay, I don't mind you looking at me. I could have turned round too," she confessed softly, stroking the heated skin under her finger tips.

Olivia opened her eyes and leaned into the touch, relishing the contact. She looked down at the door separating them. Due to Alex's height, it only covered from her knees to her collarbone. Olivia gulped audibly, "I know we have a lot to talk about, I know we've hurt each other in the past and need to start again but Alex," she reached up and moved the hand on her cheek to her lips and placed an open mouthed kiss on her palm, "I want nothing more than to take you to dinner, drown in your eyes in the candlelight and romance you, be with you, make love with you but God," she blew out a shaky breath trying to steady her soaring arousal, "What I wouldn't give to get in that shower with you right now. Liam Connors be damned."

"Sean," Alex corrected.

At Olivia's silence and tensing body, Alex knew there had been no mistake.

'Liam Connors'. She was about to ask Olivia what she was talking about when the brunette stepped away from her and removed the windbreaker. Alex watched transfixed as she unbuttoned her shirt, not sure what she was doing. She had been enthralled at the scene the detective had just set, had been enflamed with undeniable want at the thought of being with her, in every way. Now she was confused at the distance Olivia had suddenly put between them.

"Liv, what are you doing?"

"Olivia didn't meet her eyes, "I'm just going to check my side and then put a fresh shirt on, Suzy said there was one in here that would fit," she said distantly.

Alex looked at her, fumbling with the gauze and recognized what Olivia was doing, 'Cop mode', she thought. Remove the emotion, don't let it cloud your judgment.

"Olivia, what has Liam Connors got to do with this? He's in Ireland," she said, adopting the familiar tone she reserved for court.

Olivia stopped all motion and looked at her, "He's here. Porter was going to take us to him," she said quietly.

"You missed that part out of your interrogation summation detective, " Alex commented snidely.

"I don't want you to get hurt, I didn't tell you because I'll take care of it, I'll take care of you. We don't even know if Porter is telling the truth!" she shouted in frustration.

"I'm a big girl detective or didn't you get a good enough look," she sneered, it was below the belt and they both knew it. "I can take care of myself. God knows I've had to do it often enough," she snapped, referring to her time in Witness Protection. "I don't need you hiding things from me, you can't wrap me in a bubble and hope I don't find out. I'm not the weak woman you clearly think I am," she finished, anger evident in her voice.

Olivia pushed off the counter she was leaning on and stormed over to the shower stall, "Goddammit Alex, what about me?! The night you died and disappeared I died too, can't you see that? That's why I went undercover for the Feds, I wanted to be anyone but me. I never thought I'd see you again," she choked out, desperately trying to contain her rising emotions, "and now, Liam Connors may be 30 miles up ahead waiting for you and I am not losing you aga-"

Alex flung open the stall door, grabbed her by the shirt collar and crushed their mouths together in a ferocious clash of teeth and tongues. Olivia pushed her into the back of the stall away from the spray of water and reached blindly behind her to turn the water off. Alex frantically pulled the shirt down her arms, her need rising. Olivia moved her hands to Alex's gloriously naked backside and ground their bodies together, swallowing the moan Alex let slip. She tore her mouth away, breathing hard and leaned back slightly to look into her eyes. Alex's lips were parted and she was panting, her lips glistened. Olivia lowered her mouth and lapped the water droplets at her throat, sucking gently. As she trailed a hot tongue along a delicate damp neck Alex raised a hand to her back and with a quick flick of her wrist, the bra was undone. She lowered the material down Olivia's arms and let it sink to the sodden floor.

Olivia stopped suckling on a sensitive spot underneath her ear and raised her head to look hungrily at Alex.

"Surprised?" panted Alex.

"Impressed." Olivia replied and pressed their mouths together wildly once more.

The feel of their naked breasts sliding against each other for the first time was indescribable and both women moaned into each others mouths wantonly.

A voice floated into the wash room, halting all movement, "I hope you're decent, there's a blue eyed hunk of muscle out here wants a word with you both," Suzy shouted loudly.

They both blew out a frustrated breath and smiled at the same time as they deliberately raked their eyes over each others body.

"This isn't how I imagined this would happen," Olivia said as she looked adoringly at Alex.

"You've thought about it?" Alex said smugly.

Olivia grinned, "And you haven't?" she teased, daring her to deny it.

"Finish this at the Cabot Cabin?"

"Finish this at the Cabot Cabin," Olivia agreed as she placed a final soft, wet kiss on the swollen lips before her.

"Tease," Alex whispered as Olivia exited the stall. She lifted a towel from the counter beside the sink and held it open for her.

Alex smiled and wrapped the towel around her body as Olivia lifted another one and began drying herself.

Suzy stepped into the wash room a few minutes later, she looked at their flushed faces and damp hair and chuckled as she handed over two sets of clothing, "You forgot to lift these, when you were in here getting... washed, " she said knowingly, looking at Olivia's damp trousers and laughing out loud.

Olivia grinned at the waitress as she turned and left the room. She looked over at Alex, "Can we keep her? I wanna take her home with us," she said and pouted as Alex threw her towel at her.

Part 22

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