DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is pretty much pure fluff. But I figured Alex and Olivia could use a little lightening up now and then!
SPOILERS: Loss in this world Ghost never happened.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Alexandra Cabot was in shock. She had just received the news that the threat on her life had been eliminated. Cesar Velez was killed ten days ago in a massive drug bust that had been in the works for the past year. She was free to return to her former life if that was her desire. Almost as shocking to Alex, was that this news had been delivered, not by U.S. Marshals or even the DEA, but by Detective Olivia Benson. Alex was still not sure how Olivia got to be the bearer of good news, but she was happier to see her old friend than she ever imagined she would be.
When she first spied Olivia through the peep-hole of her front door, she really thought she was losing her mind. A second look confirmed that it was indeed the beautiful detective that had inhabited Alex's dreams and fantasy life for a lot longer than just her time in witness protection. Alex wondered as she opened the door, how the detective would react if her former ADA greeted her with a big wet kiss. As it happened, she opened the door so fast, Olivia actually jumped. The look in her eyes as she saw Alex for the first time in two years, made Alex wonder if she should go for the kiss. Instead, she opted for the safer, but somewhat awkward hug.
Now, seated on barstools at her kitchen counter, sipping iced tea, Alex listened intently as Olivia recounted the recent turn of events that led to this day. She watched the detective's animated eyes and heard the emotion in her voice as she talked. Alex wondered to herself if she could finally summon the courage to tell Olivia exactly how she felt about her.
A knock at the side door interrupted their conversation. Alex looked apologetically at Olivia and went to answer the door.
"Agnes, hi. Come in," Alex greeted the older woman at the door.
"No, no, dear. I see that you have company. I just wanted to check on Ben. Is he feeling better? I didn't ring the bell because I didn't want to disturb him."
Ben? Olivia had been here for almost half an hour and Alex hadn't mentioned anyone named Ben.
"Oh, he's much better," Alex said with a smile. "In fact, he's out back right now basking in the sun."
And now she says he's in the back yard? Wow, Benson! Some detective you are! Those looks that Alex has been giving you are just because she's glad to see an old friend, nothing more.
Olivia shifted uncomfortably. The movement drew Alex's attention back to the detective. "Olivia, this is my neighbor, Agnes Holloway." She turned back to the older woman. "Olivia's an old friend who's in town for a visit."
Agnes directed a warm smile at Olivia. "Good to meet you, dear. I don't want to interrupt, so I'll just be on my way. So glad your big guy is feeling better, Em. I'll see you both later." She waved as she turned and left.
Alex closed the door and turned back toward Olivia with a smile. "She's been sort of a surrogate mother, I guess. Always checking up and such."
"That's good." Another shift. "So Ben?"
Alex nodded. "Would you like to meet him?"
Olivia forced a smile. "Love to."
Alex walked through the kitchen and opened the back door. "Ben? Come meet Olivia."
Olivia braced herself to meet the man who was apparently living with Alex. Were they married? Alex stepped aside and a large German shepherd bounded up the steps and into the kitchen. His ears went forward when he spied Olivia and he stopped in his tracks, staring intently at the newcomer. Olivia waited for the man to follow, but Alex closed the door. It was then that Olivia noticed the bandage on the dog's front leg. 'I just wanted to check on Ben.' The dog had an injury. Ben was a dog? Ben was a dog! Ben was a very large dog staring intently as if contemplating the best plan of attack!
Alex almost smiled at the multitude of expressions that crossed Olivia's face. The forced smile, then dread, then surprise, then realization, and then, when the uncertainty began to look a little like fear, Alex spoke. "It's OK, Ben. She's one of the good guys." Her voice was soothing and melodic, almost like baby-talk. On hearing it, the dog quickly lowered his ears back and lolled his tongue out. He slowly made his way over to Olivia and sniffed her leg.
"He's friendly, he's just protective." Olivia realized Alex was now speaking to her and she wondered if her mannerisms changed as much as the dog's had. She reached a hand out to allow the dog to sniff. After an approving sniff, she lowered herself down to a squatting position and ruffled the coarse fur behind the dog's right ear. He raised his head as if to say, "Don't stop," and slurped his tongue out a couple of times while appraising Olivia with his big brown eyes.
"Protective is good," Olivia said as she added the other hand to scratch behind the opposite ear. Ben sat and made it clear that he would sit there as long as Olivia continued to scratch. "He's beautiful." He's a dog! "What happened to his leg?"
"He cut himself on the back fence trying to chase a cat a few days ago. Three stitches earned him the sympathy of the neighborhood. Agnes even brought him home-made doggie treats."
"Wow. I never knew there was a recipe. You're a lucky dog." Olivia continued to scratch and Ben continued to adore the attention Olivia was giving him. He raised his head, encouraging the detective to scratch beneath his neck.
Alex watched as Olivia lavished attention on him and decided that Ben was indeed a lucky dog. She cocked her head and smiled. "I think you've made a fast friend. He's usually a little more wary of strangers than this. Should I get a towel for the drool?"
Olivia smiled. "He knows a friend when he sees one, dontcha big fella?" As if answering, the big dog slurped his tongue at Olivia's chin. "One look into those big brown eyes and who could resist?"
"Yeah. I know." Alex considered telling Olivia that was one thing that earned him his name, but opted against it right then.
As if picking up on her thought waves, Olivia said, "Ben, huh?" Much to the big dog's delight, she continued stroking his fur. He shifted his front paws and let out a sound of satisfaction somewhere between a grunt and a moan. Olivia chuckled. "I think Gentle Ben is more like it."
Now Alex was the one to shuffle her feet slightly and take a deep breath. "Benson," she said quietly.
Olivia glanced toward Alex as she smiled at the dog's continuing adoration. "What?"
"Benson," Alex repeated a little louder.
"What, Alex?" She wondered why the former ADA had resorted to calling her by her last name again.
"That's his name. Benson. I call him Ben for short."
Olivia dropped one knee to the floor as if she needed support. She continued to pet the dog, but her gaze refocused on Alex. "You named your dog after me?" She seemed amazed by the possibility.
Alex smiled sheepishly and shrugged without an explanation.
Olivia looked back at the dog. "Well, I guess I'm flattered then." She leaned a little closer to him and spoke quietly into one ear. "Thanks for not being a poodle."
Alex laughed. "Poodles are so not my type."
Olivia cocked an eyebrow. "So, tell me Benson's story." Much to the dog's dismay she stood up to face Alex again, who gestured that they sit. Ben laid down between their feet facing the two women.
"Well, when I got settled here, the Marshal's suggested that I get a dog, preferably a large one, for protection as well as companionship. I liked the idea of rescuing a dog that needed a home, so I went to the animal shelter. Ben had been there a couple of weeks, and since no one had answered any of the ads listed in lost and found, they had just put him up for adoption. He was well behaved and looked like he needed a friend as much as I did. The rest, as they say, is history."
"So what made you name him Benson?"
Alex shifted in her chair. "Well, German shepherds are often police dogs, and he was strong and stubborn, but he made me feel safe like you did." She paused for a moment. "And I looked in those big brown eyes, and, well, the name just seemed to fit." She looked down at the dog, rather than making eye contact with Olivia.
Olivia felt a lump forming in her throat. "How did I make you feel safe? I couldn't even stop you from getting shot."
Alex looked at Olivia and saw the guilt on her face. "Olivia." She reached over and grasped the detective's hand. "Liv, you saved my life." When Olivia looked puzzled, Alex continued. "The doctors said you putting pressure on the wound probably kept me from bleeding to death. And I could hear you. I knew you were there with me in the ambulance, and it made me feel safe to know that."
"I wanted to stay with you in the hospital, but they made me leave. And then Well, I guess we know what happened next." Olivia shuddered slightly. "Let's not talk about that now."
Alex nodded and let go of Olivia's hand. The detective looked down at the dog, still lying between their feet. "Elliot was there too. You could have named him Stabler."
Alex shook her head. "No, with those brown eyes, it had to be Benson." The dog perked up on hearing his name. "Besides, he sleeps at the foot of my bed. It would just be weird to say, 'C'mon, Stabler, let's go to bed.'"
Olivia laughed. "And it's not weird to say, 'C'mon, Benson, let's go to bed?'" Ben whimpered on hearing his name a second time. Olivia looked down and laughed and then looked back at Alex when she realized that the former ADA had not responded.
Alex looked back at Olivia and took a deep breath. "Actually it doesn't seem weird to me at all." She almost smiled as she noticed Olivia's eyes widen slightly. "I'm just gonna throw caution to the wind here, Olivia. I've dreamed of saying that so many times, I've lost count. But in my dreams, I wasn't saying it to a dog, but to you." She paused for a moment, but Olivia was still speechless. "And if I've just ruined our friendship, I'm sorry, but I just can't go on any longer without telling you how I feel about you. I-" Alex halted abruptly and ran a hand through her hair. "God, I don't even know where to begin." She looked at Olivia, who still hadn't responded, and saw a slow smile spreading across her face. A few seconds later, she was smiling at Alex with a full toothy grin. This seemed to fluster Alex. "I'm glad you find this so amusing."
"Alex, I'm not-"
Alex interrupted. "I finally work up the courage to tell you this and this is not going at all like I-"
While Alex was speaking, Olivia reached over and grabbed the front of her shirt, pulling the former ADA off the barstool toward her. Their lips met, a bit awkwardly at first, but soon they were in the throes of a passionate kiss. Alex found herself standing between the detective's legs, their upper bodies pressed together. Olivia's hands were still grasping the front of Alex's shirt, while Alex's had snaked around Olivia in a warm embrace. When they broke the kiss, Olivia let go of Alex's shirt, smoothing the fabric where she had bunched it together in her grasp. She smirked at Alex's expression. "Sometimes actions speak louder than words, Counselor."
Alex gave Olivia a smirk of her own. "Well, maybe you should do that again, just so I know I heard you correctly." Olivia wrapped her arms around Alex and kissed her again. This time, a little more tenderly, but no less passionately.
When they broke the second time, foreheads pressed together, Alex breathed a shaky sigh. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that."
Olivia smiled. "I think I might."
The big dog, displaced from his position by Olivia pulling Alex to her, was now sitting beside them. He gave a little grunt and nudged Alex's leg with his nose. She pulled back slightly from Olivia and laughed as she looked down at Ben. He had raised the paw of his injured leg as if hoping that would turn the attention back to him. "I think he's jealous."
"Sorry, big guy, it's her turn now," Olivia said.
"Are you going to scratch behind my ears?" Alex questioned playfully.
"Are you going to lick my chin?" The twinkle in Olivia's eyes was one that Alex had never seen before, but certainly hoped to again.
"I just might," was Alex's reply as she leaned in for another kiss.
FADE TO BLACK
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