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Forget Flowers
By D.S.

Alex shook the cup, trying to suck a little more Diet Pepsi through the straw. Nothing left. No big deal; she could hit the Coke machine down the hall in an hour or two when she needed a refill.

She was tapping away again at her keyboard when a quiet knocking revealed a beautiful brunette in her doorway. "Liv," she said happily.

"Hey." Olivia shut the door behind her and dropped her purse into one of the two client chairs.

So it was a social call. Thank goodness; Alex hadn't realized until she actually saw Olivia just how lonely she was. "You cut your hair."

Olivia raised a hand to her brow as if she had forgotten. "Oh, yeah – Saturday."

I haven't seen her in four days? "It looks great," Alex said truthfully. Liv knew that she liked it feathered, liked the feeling when she ran her fingers through it. "Who'd you get?"


Alex smirked. "'I-Just-Loooove-Cops' Tamara? Five-Minute-Scalp-Massage Tamara?"

"'Where's-Your-Cute-Blonde-Friend' Tamara," Olivia countered with a smile. She jerked a thumb toward a plush piece of furniture centered along the back wall. "Didn't waste any time decking out your new office, I see."

Alex spun her chair around to watch her lover's inspection. "Liz and Branch got new furniture yesterday," she replied. "I pulled seniority on Denny to snag Liz's sofa."

Lowering herself to the couch, Olivia sank into luxurious cushions. "Oh, yeeeah," she groaned. She ran a hand across the smooth, charcoal-colored cloth. "I can think of several uses for this baby."

"Me, too." Especially if you're going to make noises like that. "But not tonight, I'm afraid," Alex said with regret.

Olivia rose and walked behind the desk. Standing behind the attorney's chair, she gripped Alex's shoulders lightly and began massaging them. "Whatcha doin'?"

As her eyes drifted shut for a moment, Alex leaned back into her lover's stomach. "Researching what other courts have done with a constitutional issue that the Court of Appeals hasn't ruled on yet."

"What is that, some kind of database?"

"Nationwide," Alex confirmed. "We can run word searches in caselaw from any jurisdiction." For fun, she changed directories to NY-Cases. "Let's try this," she said. "'Olivia' within two of 'Benson.'" The names of two cases popped up, and Alex hit Enter.

Olivia peered at the screen over her shoulder. "Oh, my God, I remember that case," she exclaimed. "Four months in uniform. I'm looking for a place to toss my sandwich wrapper, and I run into this guy dragging a DB down the alley. What does this say about me?"

Alex skimmed the decision. "The court was just summarizing your testimony. Your perp," she looked for his name, "Schwartz, claimed there wasn't enough evidence for his conviction, but the Appellate Division said your testimony was enough." She rolled her eyes. "Duh – a cop eyewitness, every ADA's wet dream."

"Hmm . . . sounds like one of those $3.99-a-minute numbers," Olivia ventured. "'Oh, yes, Counselor, I saw the whoooole thing from my patrol car,'" she breathed. "'Ooh, your file is sooo big . . . .'"

Alex laughed. "Where's my American Express?" With Olivia's smoothly erotic voice, that was a bargain. She turned her head and drew her lover down for a quick kiss. Wrapping a palm loosely around the back of Olivia's neck, she started to move the cursor to the next case when something caught her eye. "Oh, good grief," she muttered. "This was a Charlie Phillips case."

Olivia made the appropriate gagging noise. "I didn't remember that," she said. "I just remember wondering if all ADAs were that arrogant." She slid a hand down Alex's chest. "Now I know they are."

"Don't try to distract me," Alex chided her. "This conviction probably helped Phillips get his promotion to Chief Deputy DA. Thanks to your damn sandwich wrapper, Phillips made my first year at SVU miserable."

"Ah, but just think about it," Olivia replied, her hands returning to the task of manipulating Alex's stiff shoulders. "If Phillips hadn't made you miserable, I wouldn't have felt sorry for you. If I hadn't felt sorry for you, I wouldn't have agreed to go out with you. And if I hadn't agreed to go out with you, you wouldn't be deliriously happy."

Alex briefly thought about teasing Olivia ("oh, I don't know; I could have gone out with Trevor again"), but her lover was still a little too sensitive about that subject, in spite of a dozen reassurances that Langan never was and never would be competition for the ADA's affections. Ironically, though, Alex did consider her date with the smarmy attorney one of the best nights of her life – because Olivia Benson had been unable to hide her jealous reaction, finally confirming, to Alex's relief, what she had wondered for months.

"You might be able to sell that line if you hadn't been hitting on me from day one," she replied.

A light kiss landed on blonde hair. "I don't remember it quite that way."

"OK, day two, then," the attorney amended. She clicked on the second case and scanned the text. "Olivia Benson, you didn't."

Olivia bent over for a closer view of what Alex was looking at. "Oh. Yeah." The ADA recognized her lover's 'guilty' voice.

"When was this?" Alex scrolled up to check the date.

The detective held out her hands. "Hey, we didn't have a sexy ADA to consult with at the time," she protested.

"Uh huh." Alex wasn't buying it. "Olivia, I know that in '97 you didn't think you could arrest someone for that."

After an unsuccessful search for a plausible explanation, Olivia shrugged. "Just a dumb flatfoot, I guess," she said innocently, showing no remorse. "But by the time that asswipe lawyered his way out of it, his punching-bag wife was ten states away."

Alex narrowed her eyes. "Don't ever do that to me," she warned, tapping the screen.

"Never," Olivia promised, and Alex believed it. The detective and her partner were as passionate as ever about their work, but a little less impulsive these days. Of course, they could afford to be. When those big brown eyes were aimed at her, Alex was helpless; she would find some way to pull off what they wanted.

"So how come there are only two of those?" Olivia indicated the computer screen. "A lot of our cases have been appealed."

"These are just the cases in which the court actually mentioned your name," Alex explained. "The Appellate Division doesn't usually lay out detailed facts like this in its decisions. That would be too helpful to attorneys."

She closed out the program and walked across the hall to retrieve her print job, which she deposited on one of three stacks on her desk. Olivia, meanwhile, crossed over to the couch and sat down, reclining into its depths. "So . . .," she began casually. "Any chance of . . . ?"

Her lover's vagueness earned a rueful smile from Alex. Sensitive Liv, not wanting to put any pressure on Alex to act like a real girlfriend.

Any chance of what? Of dinner? Unfortunately, not expecting the surprise visit, the ADA had already grabbed something quasi-edible across the street, reading a blue-backed motion while standing in line.

Of going out together? Not with these damned briefs breathing down her neck.

Of sex? For the tenth night in a row, no. Alex wasn't averse to a little office play (such thoughts had specifically crossed her mind when she dibbed the couch), but unfortunately she was just too distracted right now. Her mind wouldn't be completely where she wanted it to be, and Lord knew it wanted to be on top of Olivia Benson.

"I'm sorry, Liv." She hated saying those words again. "I owe you a romantic evening."

"Pfft." Olivia brushed her off. "What do I know from romantic? Don't worry about it, Alex, really. It's OK."

"No, it's not," Alex disagreed. "I told Liz this afternoon: If I don't get an assistant soon, I'm going on strike." And she had. She might have been willing to work around the clock when she first started, and she was still willing to work hard, but she wanted – needed – time for a personal life.

"Can't you give stuff to a law clerk or something?"

"I already did," the attorney sighed. "O'Neil's pissed because I loaded up both of the new 2Ls." That little argument hadn't taken long: A White Collar drip had no chance against an overworked, sexually frustrated SVU prosecutor. "I'm also planning to argue a couple of motions without written responses," Alex continued. "But these still have to be done." She laid her hand on the first stack. "This one's due tomorrow."

"Don't you have a Sandoval hearing in Fin's rape tomorrow?"

"Which is why I need to finish this tonight." Alex showed her a defense attorney's last-minute motion. "Rafe Brown wants to waive a jury."

At the name, a look of disgust crossed Olivia's face. One of SVU's more unpleasant cases: two little boys missing, their bodies pulled from a shallow grave in a park the following spring. Jurors would have the same visceral reaction, Alex knew, which was why there was no way in hell she was letting a judge try this one.

"Can he do that?" the detective asked.

"Not as far as I'm concerned," Alex replied. "State law prevents the defendant in a capital case from waiving a jury trial, but Brown's arguing that he has a right under the federal constitution."

Olivia had worked so hard on that case, following any lead she could get hold of for months after the disappearance, sharing but not believing the parents' distraught hope that the boys were still alive somewhere, until the day that a tourist pocketed $500 from a local news station for his video of a tired SVU detective kneeling in the rain, gently wiping mud from Robbie Tillman's unseeing eyes. Watching the scene that night from her bed, Alex called Olivia on impulse. Just a concerned colleague to talk to, she told herself. And talk. And talk. The following morning, they made their first date.

"We're all right on this one, Liv," Alex reassured her. "I promise. Brown's headed for death row." Changing the subject, she gestured toward the second stack. "This one's due the day after tomorrow. Gutierrez is trying to vacate his sentence."

"What?" Olivia was confused. "That was a plea bargain!"

Yep; that's just how my week is going. "Unfortunately, the PD told Gutierrez he wouldn't be deported because his children are U. S. citizens," Alex said. The detective's blank look prompted her to add, "It's an aggravated felony – clear deportation offense."

Olivia cringed. "Crap. Is that ineffective assistance of counsel?"

"Probably," Alex conceded. "But only if he can prove he would have rejected the deal even if he'd had the right information. I think Petrovsky will go with us." She pointed at the third stack on the far corner of her desk. "Weinsaft wants a change of venue. Due Friday."

"These are all my cases," Olivia noticed. "Am I getting special attention from our ADA?"

I wish. There was nothing Alex Cabot wanted more at that moment than to give special attention to her gorgeous detective. "I could say that I enjoy your mood when we win," she replied. At the brunette's smirk, she continued, "or I could say that your cases need the most help."

"Quit while you're ahead," Olivia advised her. "So, what's the next step in writing these?"

Alex picked up two inches of paper. "I read these cases, mark quotes that I might want to use" – she waggled a thin yellow highlighter between two fingers – "and then plug them into my brief." She indicated the other two piles. "After that, I read those, and those."

"OK." Olivia dragged over a chair and propped her feet up on it, then reached into her purse to draw out a thick paperback. Looking up at Alex, she patted her lap.

Alex gazed at the woman who, by all rights, should have been fed up with the attorney's neglect. Images from the past flitted through her mind, men with pasty smiles bearing roses, chocolates, jewelry. Amateurs. When it come to romance, they had nothing on Olivia Benson.

She picked up the printed cases, kicked off her shoes, and climbed onto the sofa. With a smile, she lay her head on Olivia's thigh and began to read.

The End

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