DISCLAIMER: This is a love story about two consenting female adults. Can't handle it, don't like it, don't read it. We're just borrowing Dick Wolf's characters for fun; we aren't making any money from it.
AUTHOR' NOTE: When two writing heads get together in a round robin...
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

It's Gotta Be Love
By Katherine Quinn & Adrienne Lee


Your tongue pushes its way into my mouth. Stroking my teeth, my tongue. Assertively. Ravenously.


I wonder what has taken over you, when your hand closed roughly over my breast. I can only moan into you, and grab onto your back.


I gasp and blink and inhale you as your fingers invade me, burn deliciously inside me. Your thumb against me. Your hand taking me. Filling me. Every way possible.

You pull away from my mouth, and breath, "God, I love you," and crush my lips again.

Your hungry, burning mouth.

Your fiery insistent fingers.

I'm full of you, in my body, in my heart.

I'm arching into you. Screaming against your tongue. Raking my nails across your back, digging my fingers into your ass. Pulling you, taking you deep inside me.

I love you.

I clutch at you, hold you, squeeze you, tight. I feel your hand pushing, your heartbeat pounding into my chest.

Oh god, yes! Fuck me, fuck me!

I cry out against you, your breath filling my lungs, as you drive deeper, deeper in.

Thrusting wildly, losing control, eyes wide shut. Tears mingling with water. So full of you.

Please don't stop. Don't ever, ever stop. I scream I beg in my head as I buck against you, rock against you, throb and contract around you.



You hold me. Hold me tight against you.

God, I love you.

"Love you…"

"Love you…"

242 Warmth

Your body collapses into mine, your weigh pressing into me as your arms wrap around my shoulders. I slip my arms around your waist happily supporting your weight. Your ragged breath is music in my ears as gently I kiss your neck, letting your pulse slightly slow. Your warm body presses into mine, mixed with the streaming hot water that flows down my side

Before I know what hit me, I can feel your hands on mine. My back flies against the cold tile of the wall and your deep insistent kisses fill my mouth. I can feel myself sliding against the ice cold tile.

Damn, that's really cold tile.

My feet slip against the floor as you slide inside me. I feel my body slipping entirely too quickly.

Suddenly, I'm reminded why this isn't such a great idea.

I forgot how overrated shower sex is.

Sure, you think it's a good idea till you're in there.

Half of my body is cold, the part that sticks out of the water—your body pressing into mine is the only way I'm getting any heat at all. Water's hitting my face, and at the same time, I can barely keep myself upright.

My knees are getting weaker as your fingers slide over me.

Standing up is taking all of my concentration.

Oh god.

If you do that again, I'm going to fall over.

Oh god.

I kiss you, pushing you back, breaking your contact.

"Bed," I mumble to you.

You smile at me, your fingers slipping over me again.

You pull me out of the shower.

You run a towel down my body and still naked, drag me across the bedroom, throwing me onto the bed with more strength than I thought you could possess.

I almost think I hear you growl as you attack my body…


"Bed," you mumble, leaning against the same tiles I was just a moment ago.

"Why?" I grin, wickedly, regaining contact, my hands sliding all over you, determined to drive you out of your head.

"Tiles. Cold." you gasp, as I pull at your nipples. "Can't. Stand."

Oh all right. You're such a wuss sometimes. I relent, and drag you out of the shower. Quickly, I run a towel over you and me. Then I pull you towards your bed, leaving a trail of wet foot prints behind.

Taking full advantage of our momentum, I push you down. Immediately, I'm on you; I'm spreading your legs apart with my thighs; I'm pressing hard against you.

"Alex!" You yelp in shock while thrusting your hips forward. I silence your words, my tongue diving into your mouth, stroking, thrusting, my teeth bruising your lips. Your hands clasping me to you, your thrashing hips, your throaty whimpers, all urge me on.

Oh, wait. Hang on a second. As good as wild make up sex sounds, I think I have a better idea. Yeah, definitely better idea. A grin tugs at my lips as I slow my kissing.

Finally, I stop, and ease completely away from you.

You open your eyes slowly. "Alex?"

Instead of answering, I sit back on my heels, and smile at you.

I smile even wider as you paw feebly to try to pull me back. I grab your hands and still them against your thighs.

"What. Are you…?" With difficulty, you string words together.

Leaning over, I kiss you lightly on your chest. The way you arch against me sends my heart leaping with joy. Softly, controlling my voice, I ask you, "I promised you something, remember?"


"Where are your handcuffs?"

You slam your eyes shut against the flush of sheer arousal. Swallowing hard, your lips quivering, you reply, "Night-stand. There's a pair, in the..."

I don't wait for you to finish your sentence before reaching over and yanking the drawer open. I see the shiny metal rings, and snatch them. Using the key, I release the locks on both sides.

You watch me as I close a circle over your wrist, and pull your arm up. Obediently, you raise your other arm, as I hook the chain around the bed frame.

A few seconds later, I chuckle to the satisfying click. "Comfy?"

You test your muscles out, and nod.

I can't tell if you're just so totally aroused or if you're blushing, too. I'm pondering this, and admiring your heaving chest. Then, unexpectedly, images hit me. Images of colorful, cylindrical and other assorted shapes.

Waitaminute. What else is in the drawer? I lean forward again.

Suddenly, my intent dawns on you. A mixture of terror and embarrassment flits across your features. Now you're definitely blushing. You're holding your breath.

I smirk, and look inside. "Oh, my…"

244 The Drawer

I feel the cold clicking of steel around my wrists.

I have to surrender to you. I'm at your mercy.

I feel incredibly naked under your lustful gaze. Your kisses are insistent, pressing into my neck, and then I see you slowing.

I moan to you, "No…don't" as you pull away.

I see you looking at something. What is?

Oh shit.

The drawer.

"What do you have in there?" you ask me, your smile deviously spreading across your face.

Oh Jesus.

"Alex, please don't?" I beg you.

You look at me, and you shake your head as you stick your hand deep into the drawer. I can feel my skin flushing bright red; sheer embarrassment that is made worse by the fact that you've got me handcuffed to this bed, and I'm helpless to stop you.

Out comes your hand carrying my vibrator. I try to steel my resolve. Lots of women have those, I'm sure. For Christ's sake, I scold myself. I feel my face flush, as you smile widely.

"Mine's better," you smile, and I can feel air rushing out of my body. I didn't even realize I was holding my breath.

You stick your hand back in the drawer and pull out a book.

A book?

When did I?

Oh shit.

You smile at me, even wider this time. "The Ultimate How to Guide: Cunnilingus?"

Now I'm going to die.

"I thought you had never…" you say, looking at me questioningly.

"I said I hadn't done it, I didn't say I hadn't thought about it."

You smile even wider and kiss me hard…


I pull out the contents of your drawer and watch you with great amusement. No wonder you keep accusing me of being vanilla. You certainly are not.

"The Ultimate How to Guide: Cunnilingus"? You've got a guide for fellatio in there too? Wait, cunnilingus? "I thought you had never…" The question flies out of my mouth. I hope I don't sound as skeptical or jealous or insecure as I feel.

"I didn't say I hadn't thought about it," you defend yourself, blushing harder.


"I wanna be prepared, just in case, you know?" You say, whining a little. "And it helps me fantasize…" You look at me, pleading for my comprehension, so you don't have to continue.

I play dumb. "About what?"

"Getting in your pants, okay? Jesus!"

To your exasperated confession, I beam. "Guess you learn well from the book, Grasshopper." I tease and praise you, and kiss you, my tongue mimicking in your mouth what I'd do elsewhere.

You let out a low drawn out moan as I trace the tip of my tongue around your lips. Perhaps from arousal, or relief that I've forgotten your drawer for the moment?

I thrust in, stroking, twirling, tasting your mouth. You push against me, with growing desperation, in complete surrender. I could kiss you like this forever.

Soft keening noises hit my ears as my palms slide off from you onto the bed. I feel you humping the air wildly, trying to push yourself into me.

If you weren't cuffed to the bed, I have no doubt you'd be more aggressive. You'd be grabbing my hand, my head, guiding me to places you want me to touch. Or I might find myself flat on my back, with you doing to me what you want done to you. Instead, you're at my mercy. This is fun.

I pull away to catch my breathing. I need to pace myself.

Bending over you, I slide my body lightly along yours, letting the tips of my breasts tease goose pimples to your skin. When they hover above your face, you try to reach for them with your tongue, your mouth. I give you a little taste, not enough to make me lose control.

When your sucking becomes too hungry, I have to pull away. I slide off of you, and reach again into the drawer. Digging around blindly, I watch you watch me, watch me with interest and apprehension. Finally, my fingers close around the little box I saw earlier. Oh yeah. I grin, feral for effect.

You stare at the clips in my hand. You stare as I tug at my own hard nipples, distending them. My head thrown back, I can still feel your eyes burning my skin. Slowly, I withdraw one of the clips. Taking a deep breath, and holding it, I let the padded metal clamp around my flesh.

I feel the spark, the jolt rushing through me. I'm not sure whose moan it is I hear.

Sitting on my heels, with my knees pressing against the insides of your wide-opened legs, I watch you watch me. Watch you follow my hand down my body. Watch you fight to keep your eyes from closing, watch you tug at your cuffs, as I touch myself. As I arch back and bring myself to climax.

Holding your eyes, I smile slowly, and inhaling sharply as the clip come off into my hand, as the sting of blood rush into my flesh.

Wow. "This felt good," I find my voice. "Maybe I have been too vanilla." I tell you, my mouth now a breath away from yours.

I kiss you. Deep and slow.

My fingers close around your nipples, tugging at them, exciting them, pretty much the same way I treated my own earlier.

When I pull away from your lips, and pick up one of the clamps, you know my intent.

"Alex? I've never…" you whisper hoarsely.

"Hmm? Never what?"

"Tried it." At my raised brow, you offer, "Never got around to…"

I twist and pinch your hard flesh between my finger and thumb. You squeeze your eyes shut, and I feel the pressure of your legs trying to close.

"You like?" I ask rhetorically.

At your brief nod of approval, I release the clips onto your breasts…

246 Overloading

My body is on sensory overload. You slide the box open and find the clamps that I had long forgotten about.

I wonder what you'd think if you found out they were a gag gift; something I was supposed to laugh at and throw away. Somehow, they found their way into my drawer, out of certain sense of shyness, something I never quite got around to trying out on my own.

You rub them against your body, slowly letting them close around you, and I watch, as surprise flickers across your face, followed by a low moan.

Your fingers, slide over your body, while you force me to watch you.

Don't know you this is my fantasy?

Well, okay, maybe I'm not handcuffed to the bed, helpless to do nothing but watch you. Maybe that lends a whole new level of torture to this loving event.

I wish you were a millimeter closer, letting me slide my body against yours. I wish my hands were free, so I could help you. I wish my body was free, so I could help myself.

You're so close; yet you're so far away.

I watch as your body tenses; your fingers slow. Your face radiates your ecstasy, and you collapse against me, kissing me gently, stroking my lips with yours, the small metal clamps still sticking to your skin.

You give me a devious smile and slide them off.

"I've never.." I try to tell you, not sure what the sensation will be like. You slide them onto me gently, and smile, "You like?" I moan in response, and slightly, you slide your naked body against me, letting me sense your thigh pressing between my legs. I try to reach you and you slide away.

Oh god.

Somewhere between pain and pleasure, I need you to touch me.

You slide your fingers over my stomach, teasing me mercilessly as they trace circles closer to where I want them most, and then even worse as they slide further away.

I see you reach away from me again, this time you smile even wider as you grab the vibrator off the bed from beside me. I forgot you had found that…and I can feel the embarrassment flush over my body again.

"Now what do you use this for?" you ask, with a devious smile…

247 GAME

I didn't think a person can turn so red until now. You look so cute when you're embarrassed. Whatever happened to the brazen adventurous biggest dildo on the wall tough as nail sex crime detective?

I pick up your vibrator and pull on its attachment. "Now what do you use this for?" I ask you innocently.

You're silent, and blushing down your toes.

"If you're not going to tell me, I guess I'll have to figure it out myself." I grin, and turn the knob on to test its strength. "Oooo!" I exclaim in mock surprise, and quickly switch it off.

"So…" I lean over you, "Do you use it here?" I purse my lips, and run the tip of the vibrator against your parted mouth.

"Hmm… No? How about here?" I trace it along your neck, your throat.

"Or maybe I should use this." I rub the egg shape attachment along your shoulders. "I'll bet it feels wonderful on your muscles after a rough day at work."

I turn the knob, feeling the low hum in my palm. I smile to myself as I drag the toy down your chest, and touch and tease your nipples.

You scream when the plastic vibrates against the metal clips. I pull away, and look at you. You seem definitely more disappointed than hurt.

"Please, Alex…" you mumble, your pupils dilated with need.

"Please what?" I ask, buzzing circles around your breasts.

"Touch me?" You gasp, spreading your legs further apart, and arching towards me. "I need…"

"Tell me what you want me to do with this then." I insist.

You close your eyes and turn your head away, blushing still redder.

I remove the vibrator from your breasts, and shrug. "Okay then. I'll just have to wing it." Holding the toy at the edge of your center, I slowly run the round end of the attachment down your body.

Your moans get louder as you try to push against me.

"Hmm… I don't think this is working like it's supposed to," I say, and pull away again, eliciting another scream of frustration from you. "Let's see," I smile, pressing my body against yours as I reach over you.

"Alex?" You whisper needfully. "Baby, please?"

"Patience, Sweetie."

You lay silent in desperation as I dig around in your drawer.

"Aha! Thought so." I smile, as I open the pack of condoms.

Your chest heaves to the wet sounds of latex rolling onto the cylinder. You stare when I rip open a second packet, and drop the attachment into a separate condom.

"Let's try this another way, shall we?"

248 Closer

I'm never calling you vanilla again. Never.

You dangle the vibrator in front of me, smiling widely. You're high on your control over me. I wish I could concentrate on anything but the throbbing between my legs, and the nearly painful sensation that results from your lack of attention to my aching desire.

You sit over me, naked, your legs holding mine closed. Your grin widens as you feign shock as you turn on the vibrator and let it hit your hand.

Like you've never…

"What do you use this for?" you taunt me.

I feel my body blush.

If you only knew how many times, late at night, I closed my eyes with that sliding hard into my body, wishing it was you. How many times I felt myself crash down with the pleasant vibrations the only coherent sensation besides the way your name sounded on my lips.

I love that you make me feel like a naughty teenager caught in the act. I'd never admit it, to anyone. I'd never admit it, but that doesn't make it less true.

You look at me, a deep lustful look, as you drag my vibrator down my body. You get just close enough, close enough for me to feel the steady warm vibrations reaching deep inside me when you suddenly pull away.

You're lucky I'm cuffed to this bed.

I hear a moan escape my lips… "Please," I beg you.

You tell me something about patience.

Fuck patience.

Take me now.

You lean into the drawer again and grab some condoms.

I see you slide them over the tip of the vibrator…and then over the attachment.

You slide between my legs, close to me.

I feel you tease me gently, barely letting the vibration reach into me.

I'm so close…so…close…


You're so close, so close, I can tell.

I slide the egg shaped attachment around your center, and feel you push against me. I ease back, drunk on my control over you, and not quite ready to let go. Somewhere in the back of my head, a little voice screams "beware of payback". I ignore the warning, my sole focus is on your moans and whimpers right now. Right now, I don't gave a damn about anything but your body writhing below mine.

"Hm... I wonder..." I say out loud. Acting on my curiosity, I slip the small shape inside you. "I hope the cord doesn't come off." A shade of horror color your face and I chuckle to myself, twisting the power knob. "As long as the condom doesn't break though, we can use it to pull, so we'd be okay."

Either you're reassured, or you're too distracted by the varying vibrations. Either way, I can feel your body tensing. You're getting a little too close again. We can't have that now, can we?

"Hmm…" I engage your attention by turning off the toy.

Your eyes fly open.

I think I can hear your teeth grind against the hoarse shout from your chest. "Shhh!" I caution. "You're going to wake your neighbors, Liv."

You suck in a deep breath and narrow your eyes at me.

So glad you're cuffed to the bed! I decide, and tug at the spring-like wire, pulling the large end of the toy, testing the distance of the extension making sure the small attachment stays inside you.

Satisfied with my discovery, I shift away from straddling you, and raising myself up on a knee.

At first, your brows furrow at my movements. Then comprehension brightens your eyes with lust as I run the vibrator along the inside of my thigh.

If I had thought about this before, if I had thought about it too much, I'd be blushing, and too embarrassed to carry it through. But right now, my senses, my emotions are converged on you, on how my body affects you. I smile at you sultrily, and close my eyes, envisioning your hand holding the toy, your wrist guiding the cylinder, your fingers pushing it inside me, deep deep inside me...

I still don't know whose moan it is I hear…

Slowly, I pump the vibrator, making sure you feel every tug, every stop. "Oh, Liv, Liv," I whisper to each stroke, each thrust of my hips.

"Alex…" You whimper. "Uncuff me?"

I open my eyes and smile, shaking my head. "Why? You don't like the view?"

You're silent; the hunger in your gaze tells me enough.

"You want to be doing this instead, don't you?" I pull out completely and push back in. Rhythmically, I rock before you, my free hand all over my body, opening myself for your pleasure. "Uhh… Liv! God. Things you do to me… Liv…"

So close, I'm so close.

Inhaling deeply, gathering my will, I still my movements, and withdraw the toy, before I lose control.

You groan on my behalf.

Regaining my composure, I smile, a little shyly, a little impishly. "Oops. I almost forgot you," I say, and peel off the condom, slipping another one over the cylinder.

I pull the egg out and slide the other part in, completely in. "It's still warm. Can you feel it? Feel how hot I am for you?"

250 Release

So close, so close, and my body is throbbing.

So, fucking, close.

Another second, another moment, and I'll crash back to earth, barely breathing but entirely alive. Give me just a little more.

And then I hear the most horrible sound in the world.


If that fucking thing pulled out of the wall again, I think, as I realize that for once, it's not the electrical current at fault.

The steady vibrations are gone because you stopped them.


I strain against the handcuffs. Ripping my own hands off seems a better option than this.

I watch as you deviously tease the toy against your body. Watch as you throw your head back and moan over me.

I want to touch you, I want to do that for you. Hell, at this point, I want to do that for me. These god damn handcuffs.

Now I know why the perps complain.

I don't like being helpless; and at the same time, being at your mercy has to be the most exquisite kind of torture. I beg you to let me go; let me help both of us.

You smile at me, and lean in to kiss me. A deep passionate kiss.

I'm embarrassed at my body's immediate reaction to your closeness, the involuntary way my hips stretch to press into your thigh.

The vibrator flips back on, and I can feel it inside me, as slowly I watch you pull latex from on top of the bedside stand.

I feel you gently sliding it over me, and watch as you slip your hand around my stomach.

I watch as slowly, you slide down me, wet kisses against my body. Your lips glide onto me.

I can feel the circling of your tongue, the steady rhythm tremor of the vibrator inside me.

I feel the warm steady sensation that means orgasm is near. I feel the warm steady way your lips and tongue tease me over the edge…

251 EDGE

You're pulling on your cuffs, looking like you're about to break your wrists to get out of them. Maybe I should take pity on you.


I like how helpless you are to my whims, maybe even a little too much.

Honestly though, I'm loving the level of trust you have for me, the depth of your surrender. I'm not sure I can reciprocate that feeling; I'm not sure you'd even want me to…

Whoa, Cabot! Where did that come from?

I shake the thought from my head, and kiss you deeply, my tongue stroking your mouth, lapping up your moans and whimpers. My hands wander down your body, sliding down your chest, skipping passed the clamps, down, down to your stomach, your hips.

God, I do love you.

Gently, still kissing you, I ease my hand between us, and twist on the toy. Taking hold of the vibrating egg, slowly, I nudge and massage you, teasing you to a new level of arousal.

You stretch your hips and arch towards me, almost lifting me off the bed. Using the momentum, I raise up, and grab latex from the night-stand. Guess it's a good thing I didn't pack them, good thing I decided to leave them here…

Shutting away stray thoughts, I kiss a path down your body, pausing at your breasts. Around and around, I circle the outside, spiraling. Closer and closer, I suck and lick, until my lips hit the cold metal clip. Gradually, deliberately, I release your right nipple into my mouth.

You gasp, possibly at the sting of blood rushing to your flesh.

I don't give you much time to react. I squeeze my mouth around you, kissing, soothing.

Equally slowly, I treat your left breasts with similar loving care.

If your hands weren't bound, they'd be tangled in my hair. Your palms, your fingers would be on my head, holding me to you, keeping me there.

Scattering kissing along your torso, I move further down, down.

Draping the flavored square over you, then reaching around and resting my hands on your stomach, I close my mouth over you.

I hold you with my lips; I join in the vibration with my tongue.

I hold you, my hands steady, as you edge closer and closer, your hips thrusting exquisitely at me, straining towards me. You, wide and open before me.

I hear grunts and groans; I hear my name blasting from your lips.

I feel the flutter building and expanding inside you, and I hold you.

Hold you and catch you when you crash back to earth, when you fall…

Finally, your breathing evens.

I press up your body, depositing soothing playful kisses in your navel, up your stomach, your chest, your neck, ending with one on your lips.

"I love you," I tell you, and release you from your cuffs.

252 softly

You let my hands out of the cuffs; letting them fall from over my head as you wince at the deep red marks they've eaten into my wrists.

"I'm sorry," you murmur as you kiss the small welts.

"It was well worth it." I say, reaching for you. My heart is still racing in my chest, a warm feeling still filling my body.

It feels amazing to finally have you in my arms.

Being out of control is fantastic, but being able to press myself against you, kiss you and hold you, is sheer heaven.

"Well that's why you're supposed to use the ones that are covered."

"Yeah," I sigh, "I'm pretty sure they didn't expect me to use them quite for this reason when they issued 'em to me."

You giggle. "Probably not."

"I'm not sure I'm going to be able to look at them without blushing."

You press into my side, my shoulder, my neck, your head warm and heavy as you slide your leg over mine. "Good. I want you to think of me."

"How can I not?" I ask, which causes you to beam at me.

God, I love you.

We lie together in silence, warm and comfortable. Gently, I feel your fingers sliding up my body. Then I feel your gentle kiss on my neck. "Do you think there's something wrong with us, Liv?" you ask me.

"Huh?" I ask, totally unsure of where you're coming from.

"Do you?"

"Why would there be?" I ask you gently.

"We can't keep our hands off each other."

I feel relief bubble in my chest. "You're complaining?" I ask as I kiss you.

"No, it's just, I mean, you don't think that's all we have?"

I look deep into the swirling blue of your eyes. The warm love I feel for you fills my chest. "No, sweetheart, that's not all we have. That's great, I mean, that part of it, but it's more than that. I love you, Alex, I love you so much it hurts."

You stare into my eyes; I can almost feel you touching my soul. "Okay," you smile, kissing me gently.

God, I really love you.

253 LEAP

The last two weeks flew by. Your therapy sessions went well; you continued to share during the AA meetings, even when I was there. You seem happier, freer. You even sat through an entire movie without thinking about alcohol. I couldn't have been more proud of you.

We still can't keep our hands off of each other, but I'm getting used to the idea, or at least coping with it better.

Sometimes, I find myself watching you watch me. Other times, I catch you looking at me with the goofiest grin on your face.

Every morning, I wake up to your smile.

I know I'm going to miss that smile when we get back to the city, when we return to work, and to our own apartments.

It'd be too soon for us to move in together, wouldn't it?

Besides, do we really want to share an apartment? Paisley and stripes look awful together, and we'd drive each other crazy…

"Hey," you poke your head into the room.

Whoa! I jump to your voice. "Oh, hi." I smile, looking away from the window.

You flop down in the chair before me. "Penny for your thoughts?"

Somehow this all seems so familiar…

"Just thinking," I shrug, and lean across the space to kiss you.

After a long while, you pull away reluctantly.

"Are you ready?" I ask you the same question I've been asking myself.

"As ready as I'm gonna be," you respond. "You?"

I toss my head towards the bed. "Yeah, I think so."

You ease out of the chair, and move to the back of the room. You pick up my luggage, and sat it down on the floor. Slowly, you bend over, and run your hands across the pillows, making sure the linens are tugged in neatly. Only after all the corners are straightened, and the comforter is completely smoothed out, do you retrieve my bag.

Looking up, and meeting my eyes, you smile shyly, and explain, "Didn't want your mom to think we're slobs."

I nod, smiling gently back at you. My eyes tell you I know exactly what you were doing. I don't want to leave this place either. And I'm going to miss our little sanctuary as much as you do…

Standing before me now, you hold out your hand. "Well, shall we?"

I let you pull me to my feet.

I wrap my arms around your neck, and squeeze you. Then I close my eyes and kiss you, a desperate, fearful kind of kiss.

When I open my eyes again, I'm ready. "Let's go."

You hold onto my hand, and together, we walk out to my car…

254 Believe

"Are you okay?" You lean over and ask me. My mind is a million miles away; for the first time I can remember in a long time butterflies fill my stomach at the thought of heading into the squad room.

I look at you, my eyes still distant. "I'm nervous," I smile at you, trying to not sound as damned unsure of myself.

"It's going to be okay," you say, leaning over and squeezing my leg. "They're your friends, sweetie."

"Yeah, but, I guess a lot's changed in six weeks."

"Yes, it has." You're so diplomatic.

I wish you understood what it's going to be like marching back in there. The last time I saw these guys, I was half conscious in a hospital bed. Oh, yeah, and I had just driven your brother's car into a wall because I was loaded out of my mind.

I don't know what to expect. I've filled my requirements; the rehab, the suspension. They must know you've been gone too…but what exactly do they know about…us.

I don't like talking about these things with them.

They're guys, after all, and their greatest compliment is to consider me one of them. But now I stand out; stand out as diseased and flawed.

You park the car on the street and I know that it's time. Time for us to split up, you in the courthouse and me on the streets.

I take a deep breath as I open the door slowly.

"Liv?" you ask.

I turn to you slowly. I look at the floor.

"I wanted to give you this." I look at you for a second, and then to your hand.

The ring.

The ring you threw at me that night, six weeks ago. The one emblazoned with our initials and the simple phrase… "I believe in you."

And finally, I know you do…


The little box that has been burning a hole in my coat pocket since this morning, I now hold in my hand. Is now the right time for you? Would you be ready to accept this? Would you be willing to trust me when I tell you I believe in you?

It's only been two weeks since I doubted you, since I put you through that stupid test…

You're about to step out of the car. It's now or, well, it's now.

"Liv?" I call your name.

You still your movements, and turn slowly towards me, your hand gripping the door handle. You don't look at me.

I let go of the steering wheel, and touch your cheek. "I want to give you this," I tell you softly, holding out the velvet box.

You furrow your brows at me. When my expression remains the same mixture of hopefulness and apprehension, you look down at my hand.

Recognition crosses your features. And you smile, brightly, the kind of smile that lights up the winter sky, that warms my world.

I smile with you when you reach for the box.

Carefully, you snap open the lid, and pull the ring out. Holding the small circle with both hands, you turn it around, and brush your thumb across the inscription.

Then, without a word, you take my hand, and press the sterling band into the middle of my opened palm.

I think my heart stops for a moment. I can feel the beginning of its descent when you hold out your right hand. I look at you, my smile frozen in uncertainty.

"Well? Aren't you gonna put in on?"

"Sure!" I release the breath I didn't know I was holding, and grab your wrist, sliding the band on before you could change your mind.

"Wow. It fits nicely." You beam, twisting it around your ring finger. "Thank you." You say, leaning forward.

I close my eyes against the pedestrian traffic, and wait for your lips to touch mine. Soon, your tongue is in my mouth, stroking my tongue. Soon, your hand is on my waist and you're pressing forward, crossing the gear shift. My attempt to lean back only encourages you more.

With great reluctance, I push you away, and giggle breathlessly. "Liv!"

"Sorry." You grin. "I'm just, just so happy you believe in me."

"I do." Reaching, for you, I smile and kiss you softly on the lips. Then I pat you lightly on your cheek. "Get out of here before we're both late for work."

You push the car door open, and swing your feet out. "I'll see you tonight!" You tell me, before you shut the door.

I nod, grinning like an idiot, I'm sure. I guess it's safe to assume that we'll keep spending our nights together…

"I'll call you!" You mouth the words and motion with your hand.

From the rearview mirror, I watch you watch me pull away from the curb, watch your smile blending in with your surroundings, as I drive towards my office…

256 Welcome

"You aren't sick of each other yet?" I hear from behind me. A deep voice I immediately recognize.

"El?" I smile, turning and seeing him walking up behind me. I reach out and wrap my arms around his neck, pulling him close.

"Good to see you," he says, with a smile. "Glad to see you can still walk."

I look at him perplexed. Walk? Of course I can walk…wait…my ankle…? And then I see the look, the half smirk. Ah. How mature. Asshole.

Getting more than you, I almost snap back at him, but for once I keep my smart comment to myself. Sometimes taking the higher road's a bitch. "Yeah, I'm managing," I say back, half embarrassed and half proud of myself. I wonder how much he saw. So, I guess this is going to be common knowledge around here; something I better get used to, and quickly.

"You ready to be back here?" He asks me, saving me from the replay of our deep kiss in the car.

Quickly I look up; barely, I can see your car sliding around a corner far down the street. I take a deep breath. I stare at Elliot, while I let my thumb run over the back of the ring, its band reminds me that you were just there—the feeling of the cold metal around my finger reminds me that you'll be back.

"Yeah, I think I can handle it." I say.

"Good. We've missed you." He says, as he turns toward the station.


I want to tell him that I've been desperate to return; but I haven't been. I wish I could tell him that this is like my home, but it's not anymore. I wish that I was as happy to be back here as I should be, but I'm not.

Instead my stomach is burning, anxiety is already making my muscles ache, and I'm afraid.

"Well, partner, ready to get started?"

"Yeah," I sigh, as I feel his arm over my shoulder leading me up the steps to the precinct…

257 OUT

It's so strange walking into the office after being away for so many weeks. Sitting here, staring at my desk, I feel like it's my very first day at work. I'm not quite sure what to do.

I'm certain if I took vacations more often, like a normal person, I'd be less lost. I'd be able to pick up where I left off right away.

I wonder if you are feeling like I am right now, or if you've already jumped right in, on the streets, working a case.

Wonder how the guys are treating you. I hope your first day back won't be too stressful…

I look through my calendar, and note the upcoming hearings. Guess they hadn't reassigned all my cases. That's good, I suppose. At least I'll have something familiar, something routine to look forward to.

I should probably check with my assistant, to see if anything happened while I was gone. But I really don't look forward to that encounter, well, any encounters with anyone really. Rumors around here spreads like wild fire in a dry forest. I wonder what people are saying about me… about us.

If I'm lucky, everyone will only know that I spent my vacation with my mom, which is not exactly a lie… I can hope, can't I?

"Knock, knock."

"Come in!" I answer, looking up, and wondering who it might be. Huh. Since when does Liz Donnelly make house calls? It's always been a note on my desk, or a brisk phone call demanding that I go see her in her office right away. I smile, trying not to let my surprise show. "Hello, Liz."

"Hi Alex, how was your vacation?" She asks, closing the door behind her, and marching towards my desk. "May I?" She motions at the opposite chair.

"Sure, sure, have a seat!" I reply quickly. "What brings you by? Did anything happen while I was gone? How did the trials go, with my cases."

"Oh, they went fine." She brushes off my inquiry.

Gee, it's so nice to know you're not missed at all.

Before I can say or ask anything, Liz continues, "So, tell me, how was your vacation?"

"Fine. It was… different… since I haven't had a break for …"

"Look, Alex," she cuts me off. "Let me get to why I'm really here."

Oh shit.

"I know what it's like to have your whole life revolve around work. You set priorities and goals and you try to achieve them. For me, that means…" She stops herself. "Lets just say that even though 58% of the ADA's are women, I still feel like we're trying to make it in a man's world."

I nod in agreement, not sure where this conversation is leading. Suddenly we're bonding over our gender? The divine SVU sisterhood? No thanks…

"I know I've always been tough on you. You know I only do that because I know you're capable of meeting my expectations, right?"

I laugh lightly, and brace myself for whatever awful punch line. This has got to be some sort of a joke.

"Look, I don't usually do this, but I thought I should warn you…"

Warn me? Warn me about what?

"Arthur is going to want to talk to you."

From the look on Donnelly's face, I'm afraid to ask. I do anyway. "What about?"

"Your involvement with Det. Benson."

258 Frustration

"For the love of God," Elliot screams as my cell phone goes off for the tenth time.

"Hello," I mumble into the receiver, sticking my finger in my ear to shut out his insistent mumbling.

"Hey." Your voice calms me; immediately, I smile. "I'm working on the warrant…" you say, as you listen to me mumble something about evidence. "I miss you," you interrupt. I stare at Elliot and lower my voice. "Me too," I murmur into the phone.

"You alone?"



"Uh huh."

"He rolling his eyes?"

I giggle. "Uh huh."

"I love you." You purr.

"Me too."

"Hang on," I hear you talking to someone in the background. "I'll have that warrant for you as soon as I can, Detective."


"Yes, it'll have to wait until then."

"Okay, bye."


I slide the phone into my pocket, my head surrounded by a happy haze.

"The princess break a nail?" Elliot quips at me.

"No…she's working on our warrant." I don't care if he's pissed. I don't…

"Are you two going to be this co-dependent every day or just today?"

"Elliot…" I say, my voice a warning.

"I don't get you. You go away six weeks ago. You're strong you're independent. Now you're worse than Maureen, and frankly, you're making me sick."


"Ms. Cabot." Judge Petrovski's clerk sticks his head inside the door. "Here's your warrant."

"Great! Thank you." I get up from my desk, as he stands hesitantly by the entrance. Why is he standing out there? I wonder. Everyone usually just knocks and walks right in. I take the pieces of paper from him, and thumb through them. The words bring back another level of familiarity. Good. Excellent.

Gives me another excuse to call you again. It's legitimate this time. Maybe I'll even meet you at the precinct and we can go to the scene together. Super!

"I'll let my detectives know right away." I say absentmindedly, smiling.

"Your detectives?"

"Yes?" That how I always refer to the squad. Then I finally remember this guy's new and still green. I soften my tone, and explain, "That's how we always think about the cops we work with." When he isn't forthcoming with any response, I look up.

He's blushing! And he's got that glazed look Trevor constantly had in his eyes when Mrs. Clark with the big bazooms from across the street would visit.

What are you? Still a pubescent teenager? I almost blurt.

Oh, my god. This might not be a random crush, I suddenly realize. He's probably got images of you and me naked running around in his head right now.

I swallow. "Thanks again for walking this by," I manage, and close the door in his face.

Fuck me. Just fuck me.

Am I just paranoid? Maybe I'm just paranoid! How come this never happened before?

Oh, right, Abbie and I always tried to be discreet. We didn't suck face in a car in broad day light. We even kept our arguments confined to our apartments. We never had it out in public, like our scene at O'Malley's when you were drunk and about to pick up Disgusting Man…

Great. Just great. No wonder the DA wants to talk to me. I'm sure I'm not going to like what he has to say. Wonderful.

And do I tell you any of this?

I don't have time to deal with this right now, I decide, staring at the papers in my hand. I sigh, and pick up the phone.

"Hi, Sweetheart!" Your happy voice answers. "I love you!"

A laughter bubbles from my chest, dissipating some of the weight I feel. "Where's Elliot?"

"Getting coffee." You explain. "I've missed you. So much… I can't wait… Oh crap, he's back. Love you." You mumble.

"You, too." I sigh. This separation thing is harder than I had ever imagined. I'm not sure it ever got so bad when I was in high school.

"Thanks, El." You say, as the car door opens and shuts.

I think I hate that man.

"I have your warrant." I tell you. "Why don't I meet you at the suspect's house?"

260 Rumblings

I grab the cup of coffee from Elliot's hand and attempt to ignore his huff as he let's his body drop into the driver's seat.

I smile at him, "Alex got our warrant."

"Don't you mean pookie bear?"

"Elliot says thank you," I say ignoring him.

I smile as you tell me you want to meet us, to give it to us in person. I think you've done that maybe three times in recent memory—only in the most extreme circumstance…but to toss the apartment of a suspect already in jail? Yeah, probably not

"Sure you can meet us." I say, as Elliot fumes.

Suddenly, I feel the phone being grabbed out of my hand. "We can handle it, save your strength." Elliot snaps at you, as he closes the phone and throws it into the back seat.

"Jesus Elliot," I say, reaching over the console to grab my phone.

"Leave it, Olivia. This is out of control."

"Elliot. I don't want to have this fight with you. You don't have to like my choices but don't be an asshole about it."

"I just don't get it. You crashed a car; and suddenly the two of you are a two headed monster."

"I didn't just crash a car El. She was there for me when I needed someone."

"I would have been there too. I've picked you up off the floor more than once."

"Excuse me?" I ask you, feeling my blood boil.

"Forget it."

"No, Elliot, you've got something to say to me?" We're going to have this out, here and now.

"You just, you never let any of us know where you were; what was happening. You just up and disappear. And then you show up, six weeks later, and my first sight of you is you giving Cabot mouth to mouth in front the precinct. I mean for Christ's sake Liv, I can't remember ever seeing you touch a guy. Now you're a wonderful mix of Paris Hilton and Gertrude Stein."

"El, I love her."


Part 261

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