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.
"Tough break today."
ADA Alex Cabot looked up from the yellow legal pad on which most of what she'd written had been crossed out and her eyes met the sympathetic gaze of Detective Olivia Benson. How does she do that? With one quiet phrase and one look from those wide brown eyes, Olivia managed to calm much of the agitation that two glasses of single malt had not even touched.
"She protected him," Alex said flatly.
"She protected herself. Accepting that he'd raped that little girl would mean facing the fact that he's probably raped both of her daughters."
"She sacrificed justice for Tina, so she wouldn't have to admit her own failings as a parent?"
Olivia didn't reply, treating the question as rhetorical, even though Alex had held out a faint, illogical hope for a denial. Impotent anger once again burned in the ADA's chest. "May I buy you a drink, Detective? I'm running a tab."
Olivia sat down, not on the opposite side of the semi-circular banquette, but on the end closest to Alex, so that there was less than a foot of fake leather between them. Alex knew she'd done it so that they could speak privately, but it pleased her anyway.
"What're you having?" Olivia, gestured towards the lowball glass that sat in front of Alex.
"What I always have when I have my ass handed to me in court," Alex said with a bitter smile, "Scotch. Today it's Balvenie."
"You might still pull this one off. You have until Monday to come up with a compelling close."
Alex shot her a skeptical look. "With the pressure of knowing that if I win it will be harder for Cassandra to deny the abuse of her own children and if I lose they could be put at further risk."
"Alex, that is not your responsibility. If Pratt would rather endanger her children than take a good long look at her own past decisions, that is her choice and she is the only one responsible for it. It's completely unfair that she used the power she had today to undo all the hard work you've done to prepare the case against Parrish "
"We," Alex interrupted quietly. "All the hard work we've done." Olivia's generosity made Alex acutely aware of her own self-pity. She wanted to say something to acknowledge that, but the waitress chose that moment to come over and take their drink orders. After she'd left, Alex decided to change the subject. "How did you know I was here?"
Olivia smiled. "I figured it out. You needed to think, but you didn't want to be around cops or lawyers, so that eliminated most of the bars around Hogan Place. You wanted to be able to walk home, anyway, and clear your head after you'd had a few drinks, because although the thought of getting drunk and forgetting about work is appealing, the thought of losing control in such an unhealthy way is not. So I figured you'd find a bar you were familiar with, where the tables were big enough for your legal pad and the location was just the right distance from your apartment." She shrugged. "I'm a detective, remember?"
"Liz told you where I was, didn't she?"
Olivia's smile widened and, for just a few seconds, Alex forgot what the conversation was about. "Ok, Liz told me. But I might have figured it out just as I said "
"Except I've never been here before, although I've walked past it a number of times."
"But the rest of my reasoned deduction was flawless, wasn't it?" She pretended to fish for a compliment.
"Can it really be a deduction if you know the result beforehand?"
"Of course it can," she huffed. "I set out to deduce motive."
Alex hid a smile and appeared to consider Olivia's assertion for a few seconds. "So when you found out where I was, you set out to determine my motive for being here?"
"I had to. I needed to decide whether it would be wise to intrude."
"You're not intruding." Alex couldn't think of another soul of which that statement would have been true, given her current frame of mind. "But what's your motive, Detective?"
"I thought you might need a friend."
"How can a friend help?" She sounded genuinely curious.
"I had to weigh that question seriously, since I'm definitely a cop and therefore in a category of people you are deliberately trying to avoid."
"If all your previous assumptions are correct "
"And aren't they?" Olivia raised an eyebrow and looked straight into the ADA's eyes.
"Disconcertingly so," Alex admitted.
"As I was saying, I decided that you needed a friend to tell you to put away the legal pad, find something you enjoy doing and put the case completely out of your mind for one full day, then review the transcripts of your greatest hits days one three and four, in my opinion - which will then inspire you to write that ass-kicking summation you were probably planning until Trevor began his cross of Cassandra Pratt this afternoon."
"But the jury will have all weekend to think about what she said."
"And you'll have all of Sunday to pick it apart and present the eviscerated carcass to them when you close. And that's the final impression they'll take to the jury room."
"You've got an unusual way with words, detective." The merest hint of Alex's predatory smile curved the corners of her mouth. Olivia was so good for her. "So, while weighing options, did you come up with ways that I might distract myself and completely forget about work?" Her eyelids lowered and her gaze drifted down to focus on Olivia's lips. She no longer had the energy or the inclination to hide the attraction she felt.
"Don't forget the need to lose control in a healthy way," Olivia reminded her with a small smile of acknowledgement, the slight change in the timbre of her voice betraying her body's reaction to Alex's flirtation.
"I haven't forgotten."
The waitress returned briefly to serve their drinks and Olivia lifted her glass, sipping her drink before asking, "So, counselor, what do you like to do for fun when you're not working?"
"Listen to music. Go to the opera. Go to the symphony. Read non-fiction."
"Anything less cerebral?"
"I run in Central Park and I watch Nickelodeon and Comedy Central," Alex blurted out.
"What're we talking here? The Daily Show with John Stewart, or SpongeBob SquarePants."
Alex flushed. "Both. I sometimes suffer from insomnia." And then, to avoid Olivia's teasing gaze, she added. "I need the ladies' room."
Unfortunately, Olivia didn't move quickly enough and Alex's coordination was not what it had been before the Scotch and the proximity of Olivia. Their legs tangled and the detective put her hand up to steady her companion just as Alex put a hand against the back of Olivia's seat to stop herself from falling against the detective. Alex ended up almost straddling Olivia with her hair falling over the detective's face. Mortified, Alex waited for the detective to slide out of the booth before standing up and saying, "Sorry."
"I'm not," Olivia replied softly.
"You probably have women falling at your feet all the time, though, don't you?" Alex tried to lighten the almost unbearable tension, but she didn't move away from Olivia. They were standing beside the booth with their bodies almost touching.
"Is that what that was? Because, if so, I want a second chance to react. And this time I won't just be politely getting out of your way, Alex."
"You've known all along," Alex accused. You've known that I want you.
"I've only known my side of it."
"Did you really come here just to offer me friendship?"
"Yes." You looked so lost and upset when you left court that I felt an irrational need to comfort you. "But that doesn't mean that I can't also offer to help you lose control in a healthy way and forget about work for a while."
Instead of answering, Alex gently caressed Olivia's cheek with her fingertips before leaning forward so that their lips met in a kiss so soft it felt as though it might not have happened.
Olivia responded by lifting a hand to cup the back of Alex's head, slipping her fingers along the ADA's scalp as she returned the kiss, only this time there was nothing soft about it. Alex met Olivia's mouth hungrily, parting her lips to deepen the kiss even further and whimpering when the detective's tongue began a deliberate, teasing exploration, tasting the Scotch that Alex had been drinking and the craving they had both been denying for years. Neither cared that they were standing in a restaurant and that people had started to stare.
When the kiss ended, Alex asked, "Would you like to go home with me?"
Olivia inhaled sharply. Are you sure? The question was gone before she'd asked it. Of course Alex was sure. They both were. Instead she asked, "To watch SpongeBob SquarePants?"
"Maybe later," Alex replied, before kissing Olivia again. "Much, much later," she murmured against the detective's lips.
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