DISCLAIMER: Most characters are not mine, but I'm using them for entertainment and not for profit. The story is my own.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The “Drinks” series of short pieces: limited to fewer than three full pages, written primarily as fragments of conversations, each featuring at least one drink. The stories are completely unrelated, unless otherwise stated and don’t fit in any particular timeline. They also may be unrelated to canon. I just try to keep the characterization true. I hope I’ve succeeded in that.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
It was just after 7 p.m. when Captain Donald Cragen walked out of his office and into the squad room of the 16th Precinct. "I'm glad you're all here. I wanted you to hear this from me before the story works its way through the grapevine. Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot and NYPD Detective Olivia Benson have been arrested."
His announcement caused a stunned silence to descend upon the room.
Perhaps because Olivia Benson was his partner, Elliot Stabler was the first to recover from the shock of the announcement and respond. "What happened?" Olivia had been at work two hours earlier, so whatever she'd done had to have been very recent.
"That political rally outside the Nigerian mission this afternoon a hundred and fifty arrests? Turns out two of them were ours."
"Olivia and Alex, fighting the power for the rights of women." Detective John Munch sounded surprised, but proud.
"I can imagine those two fightin' for the feminist sisterhood, I just can't imagine them gettin' arrested. Not that Cabot hasn't spent some time on the inside."
"That was for contempt," Elliot replied, "which is a word that we all associate with Alex when it comes to judicial stupidity. But rolling around resisting arrest with a bunch of protesters? We're not talking a night in isolation in a court house cell with her favorite court reporters bringing her cups of tea and Italian takeout. We're talking holding cells with junkies, hookers and perps who would like nothing better than to kick the crap out of the people who put them there."
"Before you people speculate any further, Benson said they were going into a restaurant on Third Avenue just as the protesters were marching past. A few broke through the barriers that had been set up and rushed the sidewalk, uniforms chased, more protesters followed and in the chaos the uniforms just rested everybody and figured they'd sort them out later."
"Wasn't Olivia carrying a weapon and her shield?"
"No and yes. But by the time somebody was willing to check her ID and spring her, Cabot was already on her way to a cell, because all she had was a driver's license and credit cards. So Olivia opted to wait for arraignment."
"She asked to be put in lock-up overnight?" Elliot was frowning.
"Alex is tough, but I'd like to think that any of you would have done the same thing in Olivia's position," Cragen replied. The detectives thought about it and recognized the truth in that. They probably wouldn't have chosen to go home and leave the ADA to fend for herself in a holding cell built for ten that probably housed at least twice as many prisoners following the mass arrests.
"'Cept, since we're not ladies, all that self-sacrifice wouldn'ta done Cabot much good." Fin felt compelled to reply. Prisoners were segregated by sex, even in temporary holding cells.
Cragen frowned at him. "Luckily, she was planning to have dinner with Olivia, not with you." He looked at the rest of his team. "Donnelly is trying to pull some strings to get the two of them arraigned promptly at 9 a.m. tomorrow and I'm trying to see if I can get them put in an isolation cell, or otherwise segregated from the rest of the crowd that was hauled in. No easy feat. I tried getting them transferred to our holding cell here, but the paperwork isn't going to be sorted out soon enough to do them any good."
"Anything we can do?" Elliot asked.
"You can be at arraignment to support Olivia and give both of them a ride home. Liz will be there to make sure the whole thing is sorted out and all records are expunged. I would go, but I have to be at 1 PP to answer questions on the Robertson law suit. John, you and Fin can cover for Benson and Stabler and go with the CSU when they execute the search warrant on Lopez."
The detectives acknowledged his orders and Cragen went back into his office.
When he'd left, the three men sat at their desks, each lost in his own thoughts. Eventually, John Munch asked, "Elliot, why did it appear to be a surprise to you that the delectable detective was dining privately with the alluring ADA this fine autumn evening?"
"Is Olivia supposed to testify in a trial that's about to start?" Fin wondered.
Elliot shrugged. "Nothing she needs to be prepped for, as far as I know. We have two flashers that were dumb enough to plead not guilty, but most of the stuff we've closed is in plea negotiations well, except for the Hinchcliffe rape-homicide that goes to trial next month."
"Yeah, that's a big one, but you were the arresting officer and I provided backup." Fin reminded him. "Olivia was still at the hospital with the second vic when the whole thing went down."
"Curiouser and curiouser," John mused.
"They're friends, John; there's no conspiracy theory." Elliot sounded exasperated. "There aren't that many women who can relate to what we see every day on the job. I can't tell you how many times Kathy has remarked that most of the people I spend my time off with are the same people I spend my time at work with. So Liv and Alex had plans to share a meal. I don't see why it's such a big deal."
"And didn't Olivia volunteer for that extradition trip with Cabot to Niagara Falls, to pick up Reynolds from the RCMP?" Fin recalled.
"Oh, yes," Munch added. "Extradition was delayed and Detective Benson ended up spending three days in the honeymoon capital of North America, as ADA Cabot battled for the release of Keith Reynolds by our Canadian brothers."
Elliot's brows drew together. "What're you guys implying?"
"I'm not implying anything, merely reviewing a set of interesting facts," Munch demurred. "Speaking of which, last Thursday, when we were all hauled out of bed to attend the crime scene at Grand Central, wasn't Olivia the last to arrive because she wasn't picking up her phone at home?"
"She said her cell battery was dead," Elliot defended.
"So, come to think of it, how did she know that she'd been called out?" Fin crossed his arms over his chest.
"And didn't she show up at about the same time as Cabot, whose phones were all in good working order when the Captain called to brief her?" Munch raised an inquiring eyebrow. "Not that we can infer much from that, since it could very well have been a coincidence."
"But when was the last time ?" Fin started.
"That we saw Cabot at a crime scene? Yeah, I know," Elliot interrupted, rubbing his hand over his face.
"Anybody else feel like having a drink?" Munch eventually asked into the ensuing silence.
"Bourbon," Elliot said with feeling.
"Who would have thought," Munch asked, as he shrugged into his jacket, "that such skilled detectives as I believe the assembled company to be, would have missed what now appears to be a classic example of Sapphic love being played out in our midst?"
"Can you please speak English until there's a good reason, like several double bourbons, why I don't know what the hell you're talking about?" Elliot joked, narrowing his blue eyes at his colleague.
"Word," Fin concurred as the three men exited the squad room.
They were halfway to Muldoon's, when Elliot asked quietly, as though talking to himself, "Liv and Alex as an item? How could we have missed that?"
"That's what I asked!" Munch objected.
"Buy the first round and I'll let you ask it again," Elliot offered.
"Maybe by the fifth round we'll have an answer," Fin speculated.
"Maybe not," Munch replied with what was almost a smile, "but by the fifth round, we'll be able to ignore some arbitrarily-imposed societal taboos and enjoy pleasurable ponderings of the esthetic possibilities of the situation."
Elliot looked at Fin. "What did he just say?"
"He said he's a pervert," Fin interpreted, "so he's payin' for the first two rounds."
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