DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Del

Hmhmhm hm hm hm hm hmm . . .

Not again. She would have had this brief done an hour ago if that song weren't constantly spinning around in her head. Alex tried closing her eyes. OK, it was a group. When was it big?

Nothing came to mind, and she picked up the pen again.

Hm hm hm hm . . .


She was almost relieved when her phone rang. "Cabot," she answered.

"Alex, we're going over staff assignments," Liz Donnelly informed her. "You get first pick."

Damn right she did. Alex had kept up her end of the bargain, letting fade from her memory Donnelly's eye-opening rant last month about a certain inept-political-sellout-hand-wringing District Attorney who could kiss her rosy red--.

"Come down to my office to go through the secretarial list."

"I can't, Liz," Alex said. "I've got song-head."

"Oh, hell," Liz replied. "How long?"

"Since last night. I heard it on a TV show."

"What show?"

"The L Wor--uh, Mating Habits of African Condors."

"That's what you get for watching the Discovery Channel," her boss declared.

"Does this sound familiar?" Alex asked. "Hmhmhm hm hm hm hm hmm . . ."

"Hm hmm hm?"

"No, hm hm hm hmm . . . ."

"OK, yeah," Liz said. "That's . . . it's . . . . goddamn it, Alex! Now I can't get it out of my head either!"

Oops. "Gotta go, Liz."

"Damn it, Cabot, I want that title or else you'll be--"

Alex gingerly hung up the phone. Hmhm hm . . .

Maybe Olivia could help. The image brought a smile to Alex's face. Could she call the detective for something as frivolous as this? Yes, she could, Alex decided. It was interfering with her job. But first, one more try. She hummed the whole refrain.

Her door opened, and the very woman she wanted to talk to stood in the doorway. "Olivia--I Think I Love You!" she shouted.

Olivia's jaw dropped. "Alex, wow," she said.

"Finally!" Alex exclaimed. "That has been driving me crazy all day."

"I don't know what to say," Olivia continued. "We've worked together for so long, and now-"

Alex held up a finger. "Just a second," she said, dialing Donnelly's number. "Liz?" she said. "I Think I Love You."

"Oh, of course. How could I forget the Partridge Family?" Donnelly chided herself. "I had quite the crush on David Cassidy."

"David Cassidy?" Alex repeated. "Not really my type."

"Susan Dey, perhaps?" Liz asked slyly. "Although I guess you like your brunettes a little rougher . . . ."

"I don't know what you're talking about." Alex slammed down the phone and glared at it for a moment until she remembered that she had a visitor. "Sorry," she said. "What's up?"

"Nothing," Olivia said quickly.

"Oh. You didn't want anything?"

"Oh, wait, yes I did," Olivia corrected. "I was just, uh, distracted there for a minute." She held up a pair of tickets. "Wanna go to NY-Manhattan?"

NY-Manhattan? Was that basketball? Gymnastics? Who the hell cared? "I'd love to!" she replied. "When is it?"

"Tonight," Olivia said, a bit apologetically. "Sorry for the short notice. I had someone lined up, but she just fell and broke her wrist."

Alex's smile disappeared. Second choice. Great.

"It'd be fun to go with you, anyway," Olivia said. She flashed Alex one of her patented brilliant smiles, and the attorney found herself in a daze again.

God, Cabot, you're such a Benson whore. She studied Olivia for a moment. There was that eye shift again. Did it mean what Alex thought? That Olivia sometimes got caught looking at her? That she was interested in her? Or was it wishful thinking? Maybe she would find out tonight.

"Do I have time to change?" she asked.

"Sure," Olivia said casually. "Their colors are red and black," she added. "You might want to wear that red sweater of yours."

"The button up?"

"Or . . . maybe that puffy turtleneck."

The clingy one that leaves little to the imagination? Alex was pretty sure she had spied Olivia eying her breasts the last time she wore it, which was, not-entirely-coincidentally, the night the whole SVU department went out to the Mahoney's to celebrate the Bogut verdict and she sat next to said detective getting tipsy.

"I think that shade of red might be closer to the school colors," Olivia mumbled.

Detective Benson, you are a lousy liar sometimes. You want the skintight, you got it. Alex could feel her heart beginning to beat faster. Was tonight really the night?

She was surprised to see the place this full for a college game, but it was the conference championship, Olivia explained.

"I didn't know you were into NY-Manhattan," Alex said.

"Well, you know," Olivia replied vaguely. She opened the program and began to read.

Alex smiled to herself. In other words, Olivia didn't really follow them. It was just a convenient excuse to ask someone out.

That thought, in turn, led to a frown. To ask out another woman, who couldn't make it at the last minute. Or . . .? What if there was no other woman? What if Olivia had to come up with something to make it seem less like a date? She sneaked a glance at her companion, who was mumbling quietly to herself as she compared the printed lineups to the uniform numbers on the court, pressing a hand against her ear to keep out some of the noise. What if what if what if! I'm going insane, here, Olivia. Can't you feel it? "Got it memorized yet?" she asked.

"We'll see," Olivia replied with a smile. "If I start yelling at someone who's not on the court, let me know."

Like Alex would know. The attorney gave the game her best shot, though, trying to concentrate on it at least as much as the beautiful woman at her side.

"He walked before the foul!" Olivia yelled angrily. "Did you see that?" she asked Alex.

The ADA duly looked up at the replay screen, trying without success to spot the infraction that had inflamed her companion, but luckily Olivia didn't ask for any further assessment. As she had done repeatedly since the opening tipoff, Alex gradually returned her attention to the woman herself. Time really does fly when you're having fun, she realized a few minutes later when half time was announced.

"I'm heading for the restroom," Olivia said. "How about getting us some ice cream?"

"Are you going to take your coat?"

"Eh, it'll be all right," Olivia decided. They'd locked their purses in the trunk of Olivia's car, so except for the detective's leather jacket, they had nothing to steal.

The line in the women's room must have been even worse than the line at Ben & Jerry's, Alex realized as she was returned to two empty chairs. Thank goodness for aisle seats, she realized; maneuvering past a row of people with a cup of ice cream in each hand would have required a feat of balance that Alex wasn't sure she was up to.

Lowering herself carefully into her seat, she realized that the uncomfortable lump she was experiencing was one of the sleeves of Olivia's jacket. A few seconds of strategic wriggling failed to displace it, so she set an ice cream bowl on the ground and reached behind her to move the offending attire. As she shoved it out of the way, Alex noticed a small, folded piece of paper wedged into the back of her own seat.

Must have fallen out of Liv's jacket, Alex realized. There was no reason to look at it. It was probably just business. But if it's business, then maybe I should look at it. Yes, that made sense. Glancing quickly around to make sure Olivia wasn't looming over her shoulder, Alex unfolded the paper.

"I wish I could say this to you in person," it read. "You are beautiful. The most beautiful woman I've ever seen. I long to caress your soft skin, to take your mouth with mine, to hear you cry out beneath me."

Oh, my God. Alex blushed. Suddenly, she had a sickening thought. What if this was meant for the other woman?

"When I think of you, I'll always picture the contrast of luscious blonde hair resting on a passion-red sweater. Soon we'll have our chance. I swear it."

She smiled. From over her shoulder, she heard a familiar laugh, and she quickly shoved the note back into Olivia's pocket.

"Vanilla?" the detective asked as she climbed past Alex into her seat.

Not always. Alex let her gaze run down Olivia's fantastic body. Now to get this damn game over with. "Come on, get on with it!" she yelled at the nearest referee.

"Yeah," Olivia laughed. "I knew you'd get into it."

How many long-lost pals did Olivia Benson have? She waved halfheartedly at her friend, who signaled from across the nearly-empty hall that she would be just another minute.

This was the third male friend that Detective Benson had run into on their way out. Just what was she doing to earn all that adulation, Alex wondered petutantly.

No, that was petty, she realized. She just wanted to get the hell out of there and have The Talk with Olivia. Confront her with the note if she had to. Tonight would be the night, she had decided.

Meanwhile . . . she pointed toward the women's room, which was nearly halfway down the long concourse. Her legal mind had already noted the odd ratio of men's to women's rooms (at least 2 to 1) in this arena. Did they really have that many more male fans? She looked grudgingly over at Olivia's friend again. Apparently so.

Olivia nodded her understanding, and gestured that she would wait there for Alex.

As she walked down the curved hallway, Alex took advantage of the time to think about what she would say when she and Olivia were finally alone.

"I've loved you since the day I met you." Accurate, but trite.

"You're magnificent, Olivia." Accurate, but it didn't really say enough.

"I've thought about this a lot, Olivia, and-"

"I knew you'd come."

The husky male voice startled her, and her head whipped around. "What the hell?" she exclaimed. The man was tall, thick-necked -- and completely naked. She began edging away, but he matched her step for step. "Back off," she said. "Olivia!" she screamed.

The detective was there in an instant - too quickly, Alex's mind registered vaguely.

"We've got him!" Olivia shouted at - who was she talking to? The creep tried to bolt suddenly, but Olivia grabbed him by the nearest available handhold.

"Ow!" he howled.

"Shut up, Perv," she ordered, emphasizing her point in a way that caused him to cry out again. She placed two fingers against her ear. "Portal Y," she said. "You get him leaving the note?" She nodded at whatever the response was.

Two men hurried toward them, one from each direction. "Got him," Fin said, taking custody from Olivia. He shoved the suspect into a trenchcoat, after which his partner cuffed him. "I don't want that coat back," Munch said.

While Alex watched it all happen, Olivia stepped close to her. "You OK, Alex?" she asked softly.

"This was all a set up?" Alex said slowly. "You invited me to this game to--" She couldn't bring herself to say it. To believe it.

Olivia nodded. "He's been singling out blondes in section 114," she said. "He usually follows them outside, but we thought if we gave him a chance in here . . . ."

"A chance at me."

"I was here the whole time," Olivia quickly assured her.

It all came crashing down on Alex. Tonight wasn't the night. It would never be the night.

It wasn't Olivia's fault that she didn't feel the same way, Alex's left brain told her, but the sheer humiliation was overwhelming. "Fuck you," she said coldly. She turned and strode down the hall.

"Alex, wait!" Olivia called after her.

The detective finally caught up with her outside. "You weren't in any danger," she said. "I promise you."

"Whatever," Alex replied.

"I'm sorry," Olivia tried again. "We should have told you. We wanted you to act normally."

"And how was that supposed to be?"

Olivia's confused look was the last straw.

"I thought you-" Alex shook her head. "I thought this was-"

"Was . . .?" Realization seemed to sink in. ". . . a date?'

"Forget it." She turned to leave again, raising a hand to hail a cab approaching from the end of the block.

"Wait," Olivia begged. "I would love nothing better than going on a date with you, Alex. I never thought you would."

The cab went on by.

Hands gently grasped her shoulders. "Alex Cabot, will you make me the happiest woman in the City of New York by going out with me?'

She couldn't help a slight smile at the corny invitation. "Just the city?" she asked.

"Well, I have other long-term goals," Olivia whispered into her ear. She slipped her arms around the blonde's waist. "Having your arms around me would make me the happiest woman in the state."

"What about the country?" Alex played along.

"A kiss."

Alex turned around in Olivia's arms. "What would it take to make you the happiest woman in the world?"

Olivia grinned at her.


Cragen cringed at the last part of his detectives' report. "Cabot blew her stack, huh?"

"Like Mount St. Helens," Munch confirmed.

"Benson went after her," Fin said. "We didn't see `em again."

Just what they needed, a pissed off ADA. As Cragen pondered just what they would have to do to smooth this over, Benson breezed into the squad room.

"Olivia!" he called. "You fix things with Cabot?"

"Yep," she replied with a smile.

"I will light a candle for you one day," Munch said. Noticing the ever-widening grin, he said, "You're in a disgustingly good mood this morning."

"Yep," Olivia announced. "I'm the happiest woman in the world . . . ."

The End

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