DISCLAIMER: Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Merry Christmas! This has nothing to do with the season, but whatever. xD Takes place in between MR and AC. No spoilers for show, some for Magnetic Resistance. Watch out, it's in present tense. Just trying to keep the skills fresh by changing things up.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To raedmagdon[at]yahoo.com
From The Outside
By Rae D. Magdon
Abbie Carmichael wakes up with a pounding headache and sore teeth. A glance at the digital clock tells her that it is three in the morning, and the limited light in the blue-gray, early morning darkness tells her that she is in Alex's guestroom. She suspects that she had one or four Tequilas too many. Her mouth tastes unpleasantly of lime, anyway. Licking her teeth and grimacing, she stretches and adjusts one of the straps of her tank top over her shoulder. Cracking her neck, she realizes, is a very poor idea. The motion only makes her head hurt more. She feels like she has a heartbeat behind her eyes.
She hauls herself out of bed with a tired groan, grateful that the guest room is carpeted when her bare feet hit the floor. Wiggling her toes, she shuffles over to the chair where her suitcase is lying unopened. Bending down and squinting at it in the dark, she curses as she realizes that her purse, which she knew had to be somewhere around, is not with the rest of her things. Along with her identification, phone, wallet, and handgun, Abbie's purse always contains a bottle of mixed pain relievers.
She frowns, realizing in between pulses of pain that the purse was left in Alex's bedroom. Olivia offered to put Abbie's gun in her lockbox earlier in the evening, and the dark-haired prosecutor had accepted. Then Alex called out that the pizza was here, making her forget the purse as she raced Olivia to the kitchen. Later, she had been too drunk to retrieve it.
Now, she regrets the momentary memory lapse. She considers checking the kitchen for pain relievers, but decides against it. Alex is fastidious. If there are any medications in there, they are surely locked up in a lockbox. The same is probably true of the pill bottles in the bathroom. Abbie wishes, not for the first time, that her best friend were a little less anal-retentive.
A wide yawn causes a fresh lance of pain to pierce her skull. If Alex were awake, she would ask if Abbie was giving birth to Athena. She enjoys Greek mythology. Abbie would tell Alex to bite her. She enjoys pissing Alex off.
In the spirit of pissing Alex off, she decides to go find her purse. It is worth the risk of waking Alex and Olivia. Besides, she has a headache, so she has an excuse. They can't be too mean to her.
Wrapping her arms around herself to keep warm, she pads into the hall on cat's feet. The cold apartment is Olivia's doing. Apparently, even while drunk, the detective is frugal enough to turn down the thermostat. This is ironic, because Olivia always piles as many blankets on top of her as possible, claiming to be cold even in the middle of summer. Olivia hates the cold.
Cautiously, Abbie Carmichael tiptoes into the master bedroom, only opening the door wide enough for the flare of her hips to pass through. Turning sideways, she slides forward slowly, careful not to make a sound. Half in and half out of the room, she stops. Freezes. The scene before her is transfixing. The drapes are partially open, allowing moonlight to stream onto the bed, illuminating the two figures sprawled over the mattress.
Abbie swallows nervously as she stares at Alex's naked back. The sheets are wound carelessly around her knees. Her face is buried in Olivia's shoulder and half of a feather pillow. She has caught other glimpses of Alex's naked flesh over the years, watching her change her shirt after spilling her coffee, accidentally interrupting a shower, glimpsing a flash of leg when her skirt rides a little too high, but she has never seen this much.
She has, on the other hand, seen Olivia naked. Although there was no real touching involved, she had watched Olivia with an old girlfriend (per the girlfriend's request) and offered a helping hand at the end. Abbie was not particularly moved or particularly bothered by the experience, but it had a dramatic impact on Olivia, who ended the relationship and crossed threesomes off of her 'Things I Tried And Don't Want To Do Again' list.
Feeling a little like a voyeur, Abbie is not sure whether she is relieved or disappointed that Olivia's lower half is hidden beneath a comforter, although one breast is exposed to the air-conditioned room. In fact, she is surprised that the detective is not swaddled in a cocoon to conserve heat. The other breast is pressed into Alex's side. Olivia holds her close, a possessive arm wrapped around her trim waist and her other arm thrown carelessly above Alex's head.
Relieved, Abbie eventually decides. Although she has a healthy appreciation for the female form, especially the beautiful forms of her attractive friends, they are a couple now. Alex and Olivia belong to each other. It feels intrusive to think about them like that too vividly.
Still, she doesn't blame herself for taking in the view. As long as she doesn't obsess about it later... and as long as Alex never finds out, because that will be a death sentence.
She doesn't know how she knows, but something in the way they are still tangled together tells her that they fell asleep after making love. Either they were quiet or Abbie was already passed out drunk, because she does not remember hearing them. This also relieves her, although she smiles a little at an associated pleasant memory. The memory reminds her of a certain person she has avoided thinking about.
Stirring in her sleep, the blonde attorney cuddles closer to Olivia's side, pressing a sleepy kiss to her detective's throat. Fortunately, she doesn't open her eyes. Olivia does not respond except for a small twitch at the corners of her mouth. She is trying to smile, but her body is still asleep.
The federal prosecutor coos inwardly, her head tilted at an angle and her cheeks dimpling as she smiles at the couple. Neither of them is snoring, but once in a while, one lets out a sleepy sigh as the other shifts, naked skin brushing naked skin.
Dead to the world, they still manage to cling to each other, looking totally entwined and in love. Abbie cannot find it in her heart to creep further into the bedroom and risk disturbing them. Although she pesters and teases Alex all the time, she has some limits. She will not ruin this.
Abbie suddenly realizes that this is the first time over the entire span of their friendship that she has seen Alex Cabot truly, completely relaxed. She has seen Alex sleep before in hotel rooms, at her apartment, even on her desk, but even in sleep, she worries. She also knows Alex's secret shame, the retainer that she has to wear to keep from grinding her teeth at night. She is not wearing it now, and it is nowhere to be seen. That confuses Abbie, because Alex wears it religiously, despite keeping it a secret. She is too vain to accept anything less than perfect, even whiteness.
Maybe Olivia is taking such good care of Alex that she isn't stressed enough to grind her teeth anymore. That is a nice thought. Alex could do with some loosening up, and she is not the only one. Even though she is a few years older than when they first met, Abbie has also noticed that the lines of grief around Olivia's eyes and mouth are fainter. She is sure that Alex, and not some expensive cream, is behind that change.
Maybe she is a little sad that Alex has Olivia to care for her now. Her role of best friend is already changing. But for the most part, it is a good change. Good for Alex, good for Olivia, even good for her.
They're really in love. Content in-love. Complete in-love. Not infatuated or fond or lustful.
Suddenly, the Texan realizes something frightening. She wants this. She wants someone to hold her like Olivia is holding Alex. She wants someone to stand at her side like Alex stands beside Olivia. She wants someone to stay with her at night, someone that will not disappear in the morning with an awkward goodbye and sometimes not even that.
No, not just someone. Serena. She wants Serena. If only she had realized this years ago.
Maybe it took Alex and Olivia to open her eyes. Reminding herself that hindsight is 20-20, then dismissing the cliché as not-Texan-enough for her, she starts to back out of the master bedroom.
"Take good care of my girl for me, Liv," she whispers, almost afraid to put breath behind the words just in case Alex or Olivia wakes up. "And blondie, you take care of her too..."
She closes the door as softly as she can, forgetting to grab her purse and headache pills. The headache is mostly gone anyway. Nothing a glass of water won't fix. Her heart smiles.
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