DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
SERIES/SEQUEL: Part of the 'Out in the Open' tryptych.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Out in the Open
A Fish in the Bucket
By Adrienne Lee
Outside of Alex's new office, Olivia stared at the name on the door. How many times had she passed the corridor and wondered about going in? She couldn't remember. Finally, she took a deep breath, pulled herself together and knocked.
"Come in." A firm voice called.
With a saunter that contradicted her fear, the detective entered, and closed the door.
Leaning back in her chair, the Juvenile Division bureau chief just stared, clearly not expecting a visit from the woman before her. "Well, if it isn't the great Detective Benson. To what do I owe this " The blonde began.
"Look, Alex " The detective interrupted.
Alex raised her brow and waited for Olivia to speak.
The detective opened her mouth then shut it, then pressed her lips together, as if searching for words. Finally, she furrowed her brow and opened her mouth again. "Are you seeing anyone?" She blurted, intending to be upfront.
"Excuse me?" Alex snarled.
"What am I? A replacement of a replacement? Or a rebound of a rebound? Which is it, Olivia?" Alex fired. "Should I dye my hair red, then back to blonde? Will that please you? Should my eyes stay blue? You'll have to let me know, since I didn't get a good look at her eyes when we talked."
"You were never the replacement for anyone," the detective explained, bravely stepping closer to the desk, towards the woman who held her heart.
"So Casey told me."
"What?" Olivia asked in disbelief. "She told you?"
"I'm curious, Olivia, did you make the poor woman wear blue contacts when you fucked her senseless?"
"Don't be ridiculous!"
"Ridiculous?" The blonde stood up, backed herself against the window, and crossed her arms. "I'll tell you what's ridiculous, Olivia. I was ridiculous."
"Why would you say that, Alex?"
"I had to make up a man, a stupid claims adjustor, to try to make you jealous."
"A fucking claims adjuster, Olivia? And you fucking believed me."
"Alex " She thought about walking around the desk, but the icy glare stopped her cold.
"You never questioned it once. In fact, you were even magnanimously understanding. Why? Did it make you feel better for fucking her?"
"But I How'd you "
"How did I know, Olivia? I would have to be blind, deaf and stupid not to see it in your faces. And you, you might as well have "GUILTY" stamped on your forehead."
"I I'm sorry, Alex." There was nothing else she could say.
"Is that what you said to her?"
The detective stood mutely.
"And that's supposed to erase all the pain and humiliation."
"Maybe this was a bad idea; I shouldn't have bothered you. I should leave," Olivia sighed, her feet refusing to move.
"Fine. Run away."
"I'm sorry, Alex. I'm sorry for everything I've ever done to hurt you. I'm sorry for being weak," Olivia sank into the visitor's chair, and pleaded her case. "When you left, I didn't know what to do. I've never felt that much pain in my life, not even when my mother died. I felt like my soul had been ripped from my body. I realized how much I loved you and I got scared. I didn't know if you were ever coming back, and I felt like I had to hold on to something so I wouldn't fall apart."
"And I'm supposed to feel good about that? You used Casey."
"I'm not proud of that. And I don't expect you to understand." She looked up, and opened her hands. "You knew how to love. You grew up in a loving home. You didn't have an alcoholic mother."
"So, because the woman who decided to give you life was flawed, you could blame her for all your miseries and shortcomings? You're almost forty years old, Olivia. Don't you think it's time for you to stop blaming your poor dead alcoholic mother, and accept responsibility for your actions?"
"I do accept responsibility for my actions. I'm a good cop "
The blonde interrupted and sighed tiredly, "Yes, yes, and you're going to hide behind your job."
"Just exactly what do you want from me, Alex?" Olivia demanded and stood.
"I think I should be the one asking that question. You came to my office. So what is it you want?" When Olivia didn't reply right away, Alex chided, "It has been what, almost a month since I left the last message. Is that it? Did you miss my voice?"
"I'm still in love with you, Alex. I've always been, and I'll never stop loving you." The detective paused. When the expected rebuke didn't come, she voiced her wish. "I'd like to have what we had again. "
The use of her nickname gave her hope. This time she crossed the barrier of the desk, and extended her arms. "You don't have to decide right now. I know I have a lot to prove, but maybe we could at least be friends "
"Yes." The detective smiled cautiously as the blonde uncrossed her arms. "You said you could use one. So let me be the friend you need "
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