DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything, let alone these two. Borrowed for entertainment purposes only and returned no worse for the wear.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks, Shay, for all the corrections! ;) And for the incredible image you made to go along with this! Some people rock, but you, YOU Snowflake Obsidian! ;)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Full Blown Rose
It had been four months. Four hot, humid months since events in April had caused ADA Casey Novak to be the victim of a brutal assault. Four lousy months.
August in Manhattan was not a pleasant prospect for anyone except ice cream vendors and air conditioning salesmen. But April, when the evenings still wore a faint mantle of the winter that had just passed, had been full of promise. The city seemed brighter, friendlier...even safer. Or it had seemed that way. Detective Olivia Benson wondered if she'd ever again see the month of April as she once had. Before she'd gone to get coffee, offering to do so as a way to tenatively and subtly flirt with the sweet, smiling attorney. Before she'd returned only to find Casey lying on the floor of her office, battered and broken and bleeding.
NYPD Detective Olivia Benson had somehow managed to escort ADA Novak from her office to her apartment every single night for four long months. Some nights their partings at the front door of Casey's building were hurried and awkward as Olivia took precious--but in her mind, necessary--time away from the rigors and duties of her job to see the younger woman home. How many times could she expect Elliot, her partner, to cover for her while she took detours or a few minutes of "lost time" here and there just to assuage her sense of guilt over the attack? She'd never asked him and Elliot, true to his nature, had never blinked. He'd once told her that "you back your partner's play" and apparently that applied to what was going on with her now. She was grateful in more ways than she could count.
Some nights Olivia's partings with Casey were populated by human interaction commonly referred to as "idle conversation" and the two women would linger on the front steps for ten or fifteen minutes. Casey used the time to ask gently probing questions about Olivia's day or how she was feeling or what she had planned for the upcoming weekend. Olivia--at first--spent the majority of the time glaring at passersby, silently daring them to try anything, ardently wishing for some sort of conflict so she could have the satisfaction of stopping it. After a while, though, the detective began asking questions of her own: Casey's opinion on judge so-and-so, how the latest softball game had gone, whether or not Casey would be attending the Donnelly family annual Fourth of July picnic.
Some nights their partings were lengthy affairs held at a nearby all-night diner where they would talk about anything and everything over a slice of pie or a piece of hot fudge cake and inevitable pots of coffee. It was during these times that Casey discovered Olivia's interest in rock climbing, the origin of the scar over her right eye, and her hope, one day, to have a child of her own. It was during these partings that Olivia discovered Casey's interest in biblical archeology, that she had two brothers, both older, and that she had once wanted to be an Olympic gymnast before growing five inches in a single year just before she turned eleven. In that diner, the two women laughed at one another's foibles, offered support to one another's weaknesses, and forged a deeper friendship than either had previously known.
However, all of their evenings shared two identical traits: every night, as they said their goodbyes, Casey would ask Olivia if she'd like to come upstairs to her apartment and every night, Olivia would decline. Olivia Benson, trained investigator, failed to notice a third event common to each and every parting: a smile.
Not just any smile, no. A smile that was the difference between glancing at a dewy rosebud or gazing upon a full-blown American Beauty Red in all its glory. A smile meant solely for Olivia's eyes.
It was hot. Even at almost 10:30pm the heat of the city in August was still stifling. Olivia could feel a drop of sweat meander down her spinal column under her tank top and she frowned briefly, wishing again for the air-conditioned comfort of the diner they had left not ten minutes ago. At least there she hadn't felt like she was melting. She glanced at the young woman walking beside her, wondering how she could look so relaxed and unfazed by the heat still radiating up from the streets and down from the glass and steel skyline. In fact, Casey Novak looked utterly at peace, a smile tugging gently at her mouth even though her longer hair was damp and clinging to her face.
They stopped abruptly in front of Casey's building and the young woman turned, looking at Olivia with burnished copper eyes.
"Come upstairs with me, Olivia," she whispered.
And there it was. That smile. That unbelievable, incoherently beautiful smile at full force.
Olivia felt stunned by softness seeing that smile for the first time. She felt paralyzed by a blizzard of rose petals and cherry blossoms so sweet that she couldn't speak. Instead, she looked shyly at the ground as she reached out her hand.
The sensation of Casey Novak's long, slender fingers twining with her own, tightening confidently and tugging hopefully, was enough to make Olivia come undone. She looked up into the laughing copper eyes, a smile of her own tinting her lips. Her heartbeat was deafening. Her blood felt effervescent and light.
"Yes," she whispered back.
Later, as they sat in the center of Casey's bed, entwined and kissing languidly under a gently whirring ceiling fan, Casey suddenly laughed softly and shook her head.
"What?" asked Olivia, her eyes bright with love.
"It took you long enough, didn't it, Detective?"
Olivia lowered embarrassed chocolate brown eyes but smiled nonetheless. "I guess I just don't have much of a green thumb," she admitted, playing with the thin strap of Casey's lilac camisole.
The young woman's face quirked into an adorable facsimile of a question mark. "Green thumb?"
"Don't most gardeners know when things are about to bloom?" Olivia leaned in to kiss Casey's pale shoulder. "For some reason I can't explain, I never saw them until tonight, downstairs."
Casey shivered at the touch of Liv's hot mouth upon her skin, understanding finally why some burn victims claimed to experience a feeling of intense cold in the midst of immolation. "Never saw what?" she breathed, tipping her head back to allow Olivia more room to explore the contours and hollows of her long alabaster throat.
The older woman pulled away from her maddening kisses and cupped Casey's face gently in her hands, running her thumbs along high cheekbones flushed with desire.
"The roses, Casey," she whispered, explaining. "The roses in your eyes."
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