DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Because I wanted to write a few fics to say goodbye to A/O.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To runawaykite[at]gmail.clom

Finding Fault
By giantessmess


Alex waited a few minutes. Nothing. A few more. Still nothing. Eventually her phone had to ring and she'd come up with something to say that would calm Olivia down. A nice dinner usually did the trick, followed by a visit up to her apartment. No, that was too condescending—she'd have to be careful not to make this worse by saying something flip like that when Olivia finally called back. It wasn't like she cancelled all the time. Honestly, she wasn't the only one who was unreliable. Just a few nights ago, Olivia had phoned her last minute and called off one of their dates because of a case.

Still no phone call. Alex picked up her cell—she was in for it this time.

It went straight to voicemail again. Great.

'Hey Olivia it's me. Did you get my last message? Look I'm sorry. I know you were looking forward to dinner, but I had something important come up. I needed to get onto it right away.'

She paused. Why did she always have to be the one to apologize?

'No, you know what. I'm not sorry. You cancel on me all the time. I'm not going to take the blame for everything.'

She let out a breath. Probably shouldn't have done that.

'Just…answer your damn phone already, Olivia.'

Was Olivia mad about something bigger? It couldn't be an anniversary she'd forgotten. It was just now six months since she'd returned from the Congo. They'd only gotten back together when she'd begged, which was just humiliating. She'd stood there like an idiot at the door of Olivia's apartment, knocking repeatedly, promising things would be different. Better. She'd stayed until Olivia finally relented.

It's not that Alex had expected Olivia to sit on a shelf waiting for her to finish her work with the International Criminal Court. But did she have to take it so personally? Olivia had her own interests, her own life, and Alex was allowed to have the same. Still, it wasn't pleasant breaking the news. Olivia's eyes had flooded with that shocked, glassy look of hers. Then she'd tightened her jaw. Outwardly, she pretended to be supportive. But later, when they were alone she had stood with her arms crossed watching Alex pack.

'The minute you have something good in your life, you decide to up and leave again.'

'It isn't about you.'

Olivia had laughed.

'Not about me? It affects me. Every decision you make affects me.'

Alex slammed the suitcase shut. It didn't make a loud enough noise.

'You know how hard it's been, Olivia. You know how helpless I've felt—even coming back set my teeth on edge. This feels right.'

'Alex, you can't bring that stuff up every time you do something that hurts me.'

'What, I should just be over it?'

'No, that's not—'

'Because that's what it sounded like. And you know what, I don't need your permission to do something meaningful with my life.'

Olivia closed her eyes and shook her head.

'You think it wasn't hard for me? Having you gone, having you hurting? And now you're leaving all over again.'

'Stop trying to change my mind by twisting everything.'

'This is childish, Alex,' Olivia said. 'So, what? Going to the Congo, that changes what Velez did to you? You go there and it fixes everything?'

Alex turned her back then. Standing up, she felt cold. Angry.

'It's only a leave of absence. Stop acting like I just killed your dog.'

Alex had paid for that later. For going silent and ignoring Olivia for the rest of her last night in New York. But she wasn't going to be steamrolled by diversionary tactics. She was going. Olivia didn't know what it was like, being stuck in one place. Being told you don't have a choice. Part of having her life back meant she could actually live it. If she wanted to leave, she was damn well empowered to do so.

Alex held the cell phone in her hand, staring at it as if it was responsible. Olivia had every right to be mad. How often had she chosen something else over Olivia? How often had Olivia been left behind, left in the dark, ignored or stranded away from her?

Olivia wasn't calling back. Alex racked her brain. Tried to count up the last few times she'd left Olivia dangling last minute. There was tonight, of course. The week before. Another day before that. She'd forgotten to call one time and just hadn't shown. That was a new low. She actually couldn't count the amount of times she'd reneged on a date over the last six months. That was bad.

The phone lit up.

No it wasn't a call, she'd just accidentally hit a button.

Maybe Olivia was paying her back—cancelling back on things in retaliation. That wasn't like her. But Olivia hadn't only done it once or twice, but quite a few times recently. Saying it was a case, or that she had to pull an all-nighter. That she was beat from work and needed to crash.

Was Olivia breaking up with her? That wasn't fair. Alex took a breath. Ok, no it was. But this way? After all the heat and intensity and chemistry between them—this ending was quiet. It was like slipping into a coma.

The phone started to ring. Alex scrambled for it, almost hanging up on the caller when she answered.



She couldn't tell from Olivia's tone of voice if she was angry. Hurt. She couldn't tell how much time she had.

'I'm sorry—God, I'm so sorry. I don't know why I keep hurting you. Look, I don't want to be like this Olivia. Please, please don't leave me.'

She could hear Olivia let out a breath, could hear her own heartbeat thudding in her ears.

'Alex, what are you talking about?' Olivia's voice sounded soft, calm. 'I was just calling to apologize. I was on a case and didn't have access to my cell. I missed dinner.'

Alex closed her eyes. She started laughing.

'Oh my God.'

'Was it alright? I didn't even call, you must have just sat there…'

'You didn't get my messages did you?'

'Alex, I'm sorry.'

Alex felt ridiculous, but still she couldn't stop smiling.

'No, I'm sorry. Olivia, I swear I can be better at this. At making time.'

'You and me both.'

Alex sighed, feeling the guilt slip away a little, but it was still there. It might always be there.

'I miss you,' she said.

'You know, I'm about to head home.' She could hear the smile in Olivia's voice. 'Feel like quiet night in? Maybe, I dunno... order in some take-out? If you're free.'

Alex didn't hesitate.

'I'm free.'

The End

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