DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Inheritance

A Different Kind of Pain
By lysachan


Olivia Benson was panting heavily as she stepped through the door into a local bar. Her skilled eyes observed the people sitting in their booths, and it didn't take her long to seek out the person she was there to meet. She made her way to the booth and sat down. Alex Cabot smiled at her across the table, sipping her wine.

"Sorry, I'm late. I talked with Huang a little longer than I'd planned," Olivia explained, trying to steady her pulse. Alex tilted her head slightly to a side, the little motion posing an unvoiced question. "So I ran," the detective continued, wiping sweat off her forehead.

"Obviously," Alex chuckled.

Olivia ordered herself a glass of beer and then turned back to the blonde. Private meetings between the two women had become more and more regular during the past few months, and now drinks after work was almost an everyday occurrence. The detective raised the glass to her lips and took a sip, well aware of the blue eyes closely studying her.

The atmosphere was always easy and relaxed between the two women, which very much surprised Olivia. Their lives were so different, they came from two completely different worlds, and yet they had so much in common it was almost scary. Olivia had always been a private person, but with Alex she was able to open up every now and then. In a way it was frightening, but she would've lied if she said it didn't feel good to have someone to talk to. The company of Alex Cabot was something she truly treasured.

Of course there was that one tiny, tiny detail that kept bugging Olivia: the detective knew she was painfully attracted to the blonde ADA, and she'd already known it long before the drinks-after-work-ritual begun. On one hand it was rather frustrating for her to have such feelings for a co-worker and a friend, but, strangely enough, it felt too good to just spend time with Alex. It was enough, for now anyway.

And besides, her past still haunted Olivia. Their latest case had caused all those mixed feelings to surface again, and she felt more insecure than she remembered feeling for a long time. She didn't want to risk becoming like her father, and the best way to avoid that was to forget relationships and dating all together.

However, the passionate speech Alex had given in court earlier that day had made her think. She'd wanted to believe everything the ADA said, but there was still that little voice in her head, telling her it was all about the genes.

"Your closing argument was good today," Olivia said casually, eyes fixed on the beer glass on the table.

"Thank you." Alex seemed genuinely pleased for the compliment. "Well, I did work my ass off for it. It's pretty easy to blow the whole thing at that point, and it was made rather clear that losing wasn't an option."

"Yeah. Important case," Olivia smiled politely, absent-mindedly playing with her jacket sleeve. She glanced at Alex and decided to bite the bullet. "Did you mean it?"

"Mean what?" Alex asked, the glasses-of-sex she wore making her look hotter than ever. Olivia's mouth was suddenly dry and she had to drink from her beer again before speaking.

"Did you really mean what you said to the jury, or was it just something you knew they would believe?" Olivia asked, suddenly uncertain if she actually wanted to hear the answer.

"You seriously think I'm that shallow? I'm deeply hurt," Alex said, an amused expression on her face. Olivia snorted.

"Okay, I could've worded it more clearly," she scratched the back of her head, hoping Alex would change the subject and forget the whole thing.

Fat chance of that happening.

"Why are you asking?" The blonde narrowed her eyes slightly, obviously trying to decipher the embarrassed look on Olivia's face.

"I was just curious," the brunette shrugged, desperately wanting to drop the issue. "I...er, know someone who has a similar background, so I was just wondering."

"Hmmh." Alex leaned back on her seat. It felt like the ADA saw right through Olivia, which was quite unnerving. "I don't think the genes had anything to do with what happened to Darrel Guan. Deep down it's all about the upbringing and choices we make in life."

"You really think it's that simple?" Olivia shook her head, finding it hard to believe it was all down to personal choices.

"Yes." Alex's voice sounded convinced. "What does your friend think?"

"I- I think she's still afraid that one day she'll simply snap and become like her father." Olivia couldn't look Alex in the eyes.

"Oh, please! You don't actually believe that, do you?" Alex asked, raising her eyebrows. Oh, crap, Olivia thought.

"To be honest, I don't know," she finally said. Talking about this particular subject matter was starting to feel rather uncomfortable. More than anything she wanted to tell Alex the whole story, but once again her own insecurities were in the way. Alex pitying her was the last thing she wanted.

"You're close with her, aren't you?" the blonde asked gently, the empathic tone in her voice causing Olivia mentally to melt into a puddle. Alex Cabot didn't have a clue what kind of a power she had over the detective.

"You could say so," Olivia said quietly, feverishly pondering whether to tell the other woman everything or not. She'd find it out sooner or later though, one way or another. "It's my mother," she finally blurted, regretting it the moment the words were out of her mouth.

"Oh?" Alex raised her eyebrows. Oh, what the hell. There was no turning back anymore.

"I mean... My mother, she was raped." How did she always manage to get herself into situations like this? Olivia turned her eyes away from the blonde, mentally kicking herself for being so damn bigmouthed. "She got pregnant, and that's why I'm here." Great. Refusing to look at Alex, Olivia grabbed her beer and emptied what was left of it at one gulp.

When Alex didn't say anything, Olivia gave in and glanced up at the woman sitting across from her. What she expected to see, was a look of pity and disgust on Alex's face. But there was none of that; Alex looked at her affectionately, even lovingly. Olivia could feel her pulse beginning to race.

"I can't believe you didn't tell me this before Olivia. Though, I'm glad you finally decided to do so." The look of utter disbelief on Olivia's face made Alex chuckle, amused. "Did you really think I'd disown you or something?"

"Or something." The brunette was still staring at Alex, eyes wide open. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off her shoulders.

"Liv, I thought you knew me better than that." The blonde shook her head, but the understanding tone in her voice was still present. "But that actually brings me to a matter I've been meaning to talk to you about."

"And what's that?" Olivia eyed her companion suspiciously, in her mind counting the numerous ways she'd actually want to get to know Alex better.

"Ahem, when are you going to ask me out?" Olivia was sure she'd spontaneously combust. "I mean, I think we get along pretty well, and I feel like there's something between us. So, I'd really like to get to know you better. If you want, of course." Suddenly the detective realized that Alex was actually nervous. The ADA was fiddling with her wine glass and refusing to make eye-contact. Olivia found it extremely cute. To stop Alex from fidgeting, she laid a hand on top of the blonde's, stroking it gently with her thumb.

"Alexandra Cabot, would you like to go out with me?" she grinned, watching the nervousness in the other woman slowly dissolve.

"Oh, thank God," Alex muttered and released a breath she'd been holding.

"I take that as a yes," Olivia murmured, amazed by the sudden change in their relationship. "I'm pretty certain I'm still gonna dwell in my own self-pity every now and then though. Sure you're up to that?" she continued.

"I don't scare that easily detective. And you of all people should know that," Alex smiled, their hands still entwined together.

"I'm glad." Olivia said, and meant it with all her heart.

The End

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