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


A promise? What kind of promise? You can be so confusing at times. And I can be so literal, I know…


Love you?

My brain finally catches up to my hearing. "You want me to promise to love you?"

"Yes? Yes."

"Let me get this straight," I choose my words slowly. "This ring is a symbol of my promise to you, to love you..."

"For the rest of my life, yes."

"That's it?"

"Yes, that's it." You grin happily. Then you stop smiling, and furrow your brows. "Should there be anything more?"

"What about me? My life? Who's going to love me?"

"I am, of course!"

"For the rest of your life?"

"Yes?" You look at me puzzled. "Of course, Alex."

"All right…" I try to wrap my mind around this concept. The outcome is the same, but your way of getting here… Hmm…

"It there something wrong?" You ask nervously, wringing your hands and tapping your foot.

I rest a hand on your knee to stop the movement. "I just, well, usually, at least I think usually, when people give other people rings, and ask them to spend the rest of their life with them, they're making the promise."

"I am, I am. I do. I am."

"But you just said… You want me to promise you…"

"I did, I still do," you provide quickly, sounding just a little exasperated. "I want us to promise each other. To love each other for the rest of our lives!"

"I see." Hm. A promise is a promise. Like I said before, the outcome is the same. Why does it sound so strange?

"Well?" You twitch. "Will you? Promise me to love me forever and ever?"

'Til death do us part? Suddenly, the literal mind disappear, leaving the nervous wreck. I stare at you, at the box, at you, at my finger, imagining the ring on my finger, imagining you putting the ring on my finger, watching you watch me stare back and forth at you and the ring and my hand.

"Alex?" You whisper, your voice quivering.

"Um. Yeah, sure. Here!" I shove the box back in your palm, and close my eyes, and take a deep breath. Then another. Then I look at you again, my heart, my head back on the same page, and I smile. "Yes, Liv. I promise."

522 Asking

Why do you have to power to confuse me?

Why are you so literal? So entirely forced to see things as black and white. Because you're a lawyer? Because you're so well trained to see those lines?

What seemed to be simple, asking you to love me, promising to love you turns into a semantic argument.

You shove the ring back into my hand and I'm sure I know your answer. You don't want anything to do with commitment, don't want me to promise anything to you, to live one day at a time, so to speak, something you so objected to now being your one plan of attack.

You look at me, taking a deep breath and say "Yes Liv, I promise."

I was so convinced you were going to reject me, I'm not ready for what I'm hearing, "It's okay, Alex, you don't have to."

You take my chin into your hands, "I want to, love you, and I want you to love me."

"I do." I say, smiling at you gently.

"No, forever."

I kiss you gently, your lips barely touching mine, our fingers intertwining.

"So…" you say breaking the kiss and pulling back.


"Are you going to let me wear it?"

I almost ask you what you're talking about, until I feel the ring box in my hand. Nervously, I fumble in opening it. I wonder if you see my hand shaking as I take it out of its delicate velvet home.

I slip it gently onto your finger, watching your smile grow as it fits over your knuckle and contrasts against your skin. The diamonds sparkle in the gentle light from the room, and see the shine in your eyes that meets the sheer brilliance of the stone.

"It's beautiful," You say.

"So are you," I say, smiling.

You kiss me again, gently. You giggle, and say, "I have something for you too…well, not like this," you say, fingering the ring around your finger, "but, come see?"

523 TOYS

I remember the box in the bedroom, the one sitting in the middle of our bed, with all the toys, and I wonder if I'm as nervous as you were when you put the ring on my finger.

God. I can't believe I'm, I, uh, I have your ring on my finger! I feel like I should call my mom, or Trevor, or something. Well, definitely my mom.

"It's beautiful," I say again, partly to buy time, I think. But it is beautiful. And it's from you. And we're... Just what are we now?

"But not as beautiful as you," you whisper, smiling.

I kiss you, briefly, gently. Then I tell you about my present for you. "Come see?" I ask, and pull you out of the couch, and lead you to the bedroom by the hand..

"What did you get me?"

"You'll see." I giggle nervously, happily, twisting the ring around my finger. It feels so… different, yet it feels… right? Yeah. I stop in front of the bed, and kiss you again.

"So, what's this?" You tug on the bow.

"Go ahead. Open it."

"Is it a puppy? It's a big box." You ask, smiling, furrowing your brows at the prospect. You're not hiding a puppy in there are you?"

"No, it's not a puppy. Better than a puppy, I hope. Just open it."

Like a little kid on Christmas morning, you pull at the ribbon and at the knot I made with the sheet. A sign of recognition flitter and settle on your face when you see the box. "Alex? Isn't this?"

"Well, yes and no."

"You're giving me sex toys from Trevor?"

"Sort of."

"From your brother."

"It's not like they're used!" I try to defend my choice. "Besides, I went through them."

"What do you mean, Alex?"

"Just open it."

You lift the lid up for a fraction of a second, and let it drop. "Okay, I saw."

"Don't you want to try them? I'll let you try them on me first, if you like."

524 Shy

I stare into the pile, stare into the pile of toys strewn out on our bed. "Why," I ask you gently.

You blush a beautiful pink and smile at me. "I want to…try these things…with you."

"But. Do you think I'm boring?" I ask.

"No, no, no, it's not that Liv. But variety…"

"Is the spice of life," I finish for you.

"Yeah." You say, taking my hand. "Is it okay, if we play with some of this stuff?" You say pushing your hands into mine.

"I'm kind of…"

"Nervous?" You supply with a shy smile.

"Yeah," I admit to you, turning red.

"You don't have to be nervous," You smile at me.

I don't know why I'm nervous. I'm not shy about sex. Not shy about what we do together. So what the hell makes me so scared of this…what makes me scared of you right now?

Why does looking at this? Looking at these with you bother me?

When some of the stuff on this bed I've already used? I mean, not on this bed. Not with you. Not with…

Oh Jesus, you know what I mean.

I don't know why…

Ever since that night, the one you had me balanced above you.

From the moment I became aware of your eyes on my body, the love written there. From the moment those looks flooded me with self awareness, and made me shy.

"I can try." I say slowly.

"That's okay Liv…I mean, I don't expect you to strap this on and fuck me senseless." You say picking up a fake dick off the bed.



You take the pink toy from my fingers and look at it, weighing it in your palm. Meanwhile, you run your other palm down your chin. "Hmmm…" You press your lips together, seemingly deep in thought.

What are you thinking?

What are you planning?

Suddenly, I feel a deep urge to giggle. A nervous giggle.



"Um. What are you doing?" I ask you, a little hesitantly. All right, extremely hesitantly.

"Thinking? Maybe you're right."

"About what?"

"A little spice is good," you respond, looking down at the pile of toys, and rifling through it. "What's that saying? Couples who play together, stay together. Don't you agree?"


"Doesn't this thing come with a harness?"

"It's in there, somewhere, I think." Are you planning what I think you're planning? I mask my nervous giggle with yet another question. "Why?"

"You said you'd let me try them, on you." You raise your head, and meet my uncertain gaze. "Didn't you?" Gone were the blush, the shy smile. Instead, your eyes are dark, and your growing smile is almost feral.

Suddenly, I feel naked, and on display. "I, uh…"

"Have you changed your mind?" You ask, tossing the toy back onto the bed, and taking a large step towards me.

I will my feet to stay put. "No… I guess not."

"Good." You cover my mouth with yours and thrust your tongue through my lips. Your hands slide under my shirt.

When you pull away, I whimper, and arch towards you, my body buzzing, my head dizzy from your kiss. God, I want, I need…

"Help me find the harness?" You whisper hotly, your teeth grazing my neck, no doubt marking me again. Not that I care…

I open my eyes, and silently ask you 'why'.

"I wanna fuck you senseless."

My breath hitches as my body dilates in anticipation...

526 Teasing

I want to…I can't believe I want to…

I slide my hands under your shirt, capturing your lips in a kiss. I see eagerness in your eyes when I ask you if you meant what you said. I hear it in your voice, the slight moan in our tangled kiss. Your hands wrap around me, holding me close to you. Pulling me into your body and making my body come alive.

"Help me find the harness?" I whisper into your ear.

You nearly push me over, trying to find it in the jumble of toys on the bed. I laugh at your eagerness and my nervousness. You scramble through the pieces, knocking them onto the floor one by one as you grab the black straps and hold them out to me.

"It's glittery." I say, staring at the black plastic that holds an empty O-ring.

"That's because…" You start. I know you're going to tell me that it's because Trevor bought it for us, because he was obnoxious.

"I know…" I say, smiling at you, turning a bright red.

"What?" You ask me quickly, turning around.

"Nothing," I say back. "So are you going to help me?"

"Help you do what?" You ask me skeptically.

I stick the dangling straps out in front of me. "Figure this out."

"You're smart, you can…"

"Come on, play together stay together?"

You sigh and sit on the bed in front of me. You slide my jeans down over my hips and kiss my stomach above the band of my underwear, which you gently pull down.

You push on the back of my calf gently and I lift my leg for you, watching as you slide the black strap over it, and follow your directions as you slide it up my legs.

I laugh nervously as you attach the dick gently, snapping buttons in place and pulling on straps.

You blush, and then kiss the tip of the toy. I stare down my body, at you, at me. I push you back, feeling wild, kissing you hard as I let the shaft of the toy press against you. Your moan rings in my ears as I tease you with kisses.


God. Just the way you kiss me is enough to make me breathless. The way you press your tongue into my mouth, like you're trying to suck air out of my lungs. The almost savage way your lips and teeth press against my lips…

And the way you touch me. How you pull my shirt over my head, and mold my breasts into your hands. The owning way you hold me to you…

Suddenly, quite unexpectedly, I come face to face with the wild Liv. And I'm not sure if I should swoon, or freeze in apprehension.

Are you trying to prove a point? That I'm yours? I wonder before you make your next moves.

The way you pushed me into the bed, onto my back. The way you press down against me. How you tease me with the rocking motion of your hips. How you take my hands and pull them over my head… They make me breathless.

And I'm breathless when you reach for the fuzzy ties I left near the pillow, in my moment of haste to try to find the harness. I'm more than breathless when you pull the buckle tight around my left wrist.

"Liv? What are you… doing?" I ask, my voice a strangled whisper.

I mean, I know what you're doing, what you're about to do. I should protest, I want to protest, but I don't.

"Playing." You smile, as you rock your hips sharply against me, pressing the toy against me, forcing my legs to open wider.

"But, but…"

"Why, do you want me to stop, Alex? 'Cuz if you do, I will."

I swallow, loudly, a whimper being my only coherent response.

You finish tying me to the bed, and you smile at your handy-work, while I test the degree of my confinements carefully, timidly.

I can't believe I let you tie me to a bed. Our bed.

Looking up into your dark eyes, I whisper, "I love you." Feeling the need to remind myself.

"I love you, too, Alex," you respond gently. The depth of emotions in your eyes when you said those words, they reassure me, they make me want to give you my surrender.

Considering you already have my heart, my body. Considering we just promised to love each other for the rest of our lives… My surrender really isn't that big a deal, is it?

I take a deep breath, and close my eyes…

528 Safe

I watch you close your eyes, watch you bite down on your lip. I smile at you, my hips rocking gently, letting you feel the strength there. I am holding myself up on my elbows, kissing lines on your neck, while your body writhes under me. You're so beautiful, so sexy, so mine. I want to show you I love you, make you scream my name, make you want me as badly as I want you right this moment.

With yours hands restrained, kept away, I'm free to explore you the way I know drives you crazy. I smile into your eyes, placing gentle kisses on your lips. When I pull my head back, you bring your head off the pillow to keep the contact.

I indulge you only in small kisses, sucking your neck, gently kissing your earlobes, while I listen to you moan and feel you trying harder and harder to press yourself into me. I keep my hips away from you,

I kiss you gently, and you moan. "We need something…" I murmur.

"Huh?" You ask, vaguely aware of me talking.

"We need a safe word." I say, the cop in me taking over my arousal. I don't want to hurt you, I've learned enough to play these games safely.

"Strawberries." You say quickly.

"So if you say it, I'll stop, okay?"

"Fine, fine, come on baby, stick it in me."

"Classy," I say kissing you gently.

You stretch against your restraints, pulling on them. Whimpering my name, whimpering for me to make love to you. How can I resist this?

This isn't supposed to be such a turn on…is it?

I can feel my own arousal growing, feel the warmth pooling between my own legs.

I slide my body in line with yours and slide the gentle tip of the toy against you, and let it carefully slip inside you. I feel your hips rock hard against me, as I gently push my hips against you.

Your body responds immediately as we make a slow and gentle rhythm, your kisses are desperate. I slide against you, into you.

Hear you moan my name. I slide my fingers between us, gently stroking your swelling clit as I pump into you. You're helpless, having given yourself to me, you rely on me for your pleasure. If I stop, you stop.

God, I love you.


Inside, you feel so good inside. All right, it's not really you, but it's guided by your hips, controlled by your control.

God, the way you kiss me, touch me, rock against me. It feels so good.

"Alex." I hear you call my name. "Open your eyes," you half order, half request. "Look at me."

I suck in a shallow breath, and force my eyelids open. And I see you, staring down at me, your brows furrowed with concentration, your eyes dark with passion.

I pull on my bindings, wanting to bring my hands to your face, wanting to pull you down so I could kiss you. "Please, Liv."

"Please what?" You whisper, your voice thick.

"Kiss me."

You bend forward, and touch me lightly on my lips, sliding your tongue briefly into my mouth. Then you pull away.

Nooooo! I slam my eyes shut and scream in my head. Or did I actually scream out loud? All I hear is your light chuckle. Then I feel your hands sliding down my body, feel your weight lifting. You grab my hips, and thrust in firmly, gently.

"God, Liv." I hear myself moan, my legs bending, and wrapping around your waist, pulling you to me, as your hand slips between us, the pad of your thumb coming down on my clit, pushing me further into delirium.

"Look at me… Look at me, Alex."

Again, I open my eyes, to see you.

To see you looking down at me, just in time to watch you sweep your eyes down my body, your smug crooked smile on your face.

Suddenly, I feel owned. Exposed.


"Yes, Alex?" You breathe, while deepening your touch, your thrusts. A sheen of excitement building on your skin as you watch the toy slide in and out of me, watch our hips crash together.

"Come back?" I need to feel your weight on me, need your body to cover my nakedness. I arch into you; I pull at the leather restraints. "Please?"

"Mmm?" You acknowledge my request, your thumb pressing circles around and around, your hips pumping steadily, in and out of my pounding sex.

How should I ask, what should I say… "Kiss me?"

You look up at me, and into my eyes, my soul.

Then, without a word, you pull out. Completely.

Nooo… My scream, if I did scream out loud, is quickly muffled by your lips on me, your tongue sliding against mine, mimicking your earlier thrusting. Deep, sensual, thrilling pushing, forcing me further into abandonment.

Vaguely, just barely, I'm aware of my hips bucking, desperately trying to regain the contact while you ravish my mouth.

Please? I beg in my head, unwilling to break the connection. My body ready to burst out of itself from the emptiness.

Fuck me. Give it to me. Fuck me, fuck me… I try to convey my voiceless needs, arching, humping into you. Like a bitch in heat, the comment flits across my brain. I should be embarrassed, but I'm not. I don't care. If I weren't bound, I'd reach between us, and put it back inside me.

I'd wrap myself, my arms, my legs around you, and let you fuck me senseless…

530 Delirious

I pull out of you and secretly delight at the moan that fills the air around me. It speaks so much, or do I just know you well enough to know what the subtleties of what your moans mean? It means that you want me, that you want me never to stop. But it speaks other things, your trust, your need, your love for me.

How did I get so lucky again?

I kiss you deeply and watch as you strain against the restraints holding your hands above your head. Your eyes flicker closed, and then open again. The heat from your cold blue eyes is more communication that you need me, that you want me, that you love me. They plead with me to give you what you want, to fill you up

and fulfill your need. To complete this act, and my promises to you.

I feel you straining against me, your hips making desperate movements to pull me closer to you. I feel your legs wrapping around my hips, your movements getting more and more desperate. You hold me close to you and I gently let my body give you the pressure you want, but only for a second.

Slowly, I push myself back from you. I slide off of you, and you protest. I smile at you reassuringly. I'm not going to leave you, just readjust.

I pull the snaps off of the harness freeing the dick, and I slide myself gently between your legs. I can see your arousal, your eyes open wide, watching me with intent focus. I love you eyes on me, watching me love you. It makes this feel like so much more.

I slowly slide my tongue over you, listening contentedly as you yelp in pleasure. I push the tip of the toy against you, and slowly push it inside, hearing your approval thick in your voice.

At the same time, I give your swollen center a gentle kiss, letting my tongue start small circles.

Your moans get louder, filling my ears. You start murmuring my name in the same steady rhythm that my tongue flicks over you and the toy slides into you.

Your back arches and you hold your breath.

I know how close you are, how much you rely on me. Your arms are pulling on the restraints, your body tensing ready for release.

I quickly slide the toy out and let my fingers replace it so I can feel your orgasm.

Your body contracts around my fingers, your back arches and my name dies on your lips as you pant for air. I gently rub over you, making your release last. I kiss you one last time, before I slide gently up your body, my trail of kisses leading me to the fullness of your mouth.

"My hands," you whisper, pulling on your restraints. I let you go and you smile at me deviously. "It's your turn," you whisper, taking my hands and pulling them over my head.


In the dark of the night, with my head pillowed against your breast, our body our legs entwined, I trace little hearts across your stomach.

You chuckle, and press your lips to my head. "I love you, too, Alex Cabot."

"So," I stop the doodling, and pick up your wrist, rubbing my thumb along the fading welt. "How are your wrists?"

"Better." You mutter, your voice carrying your blush. "Not as bad as the department issued handcuffs."

Resting your hand on my waist, I snuggle deeper into you. "Did you enjoy yourself?"

"Mmhmmm. I did."

"I'm glad."

"If you want to try the other toys…"

I lean up and kiss you, softly, tenderly. "I do. But not tonight."

You laugh. The light amused laugh that makes my heart rejoice. "Did I say anything about tonight?"

Blushing, I defend myself. "Just a preemptive strike."

We remain silent for a while, and I listen to the strong, steady rhythm of your heartbeat. And I can feel your breathing get progressively shallow. You're falling asleep.


You shake your head, chasing away sleep. "Yes, Alex?"

"Do you think we'll always be like this?"

"I hope so."

"Forever, or at least until the day we die?"


"Me too." I shift to place a soft kiss on your breast. Resettling, still deeper into your embrace, I lift my hand, and twist the metal band around my finger. "Thank you for the ring."

"Well, thank you for being mine."

Yours. Hm. I think I like the sound of that. It's okay to be one half of a whole, right? Don't some people spend most of their lives trying to belong? Meanwhile, I've found you. And we still have our whole life ahead of us. "So…"

"Yes, Sweetheart?"

"Do you think we should tell people? For instance, my mom?"

532 Commitment

I feel my eyes closing, gently and softly as you snuggle against me, the warmth of your body and the feel of your breath warm against my neck provides the gentle lull towards sleep. I hear you whisper my name, and tell me you'll love me forever.

I nod in agreement, mumbling my yeses and affirmations to you, happily content, smiling as the happiness seethes from your voice.

I can feel you twirling the ring I got you against my naked stomach, and I smile.

You're wearing my ring.

You are wearing my ring.

"Should well tell people? Like my mom?" You ask me gently.

I smile. "I'm pretty sure your mom knows sweetheart," I mumble, kissing the top of your head. "After all, we did live with her for six weeks."

"No, I mean, I know she knows that silly, but that we're…" Your voice fades off into nothingness.

"We're what?" I ask you.

"More serious."

"Do you want to get married?" I ask you gently.

"We can't, Liv. It's not legal."

"I know, but they do other stuff, commitments. And it's legal other places."

"But our lives are here."


"If we're married, shouldn't it be here?"

"It's just semantics, sweetie."

"You're talking to a lawyer."

"Trust me, I know," I say with a smile.

"What does that mean?"

"It means that I look forward to never winning an argument for the rest of my life."

You laugh a light laugh. "It's good for you," you giggle as you kiss me lightly on the neck.


Monday comes too soon, like always. All right, maybe not always, just since we started being together, and when you and I both have the weekend off.

We go through our morning routine like clock work. I hop into the shower while you fix us fruity vitamins laden shakes for breakfast. While you're in the shower, I check my email to make sure there aren't any urgent messages from the DA's office or last minute changes to my schedule. Our goodbye kiss at the door gets hot and heavy, and we have our little quickie for the road. Now that the weather's nicer, we take my car, and you drop me off before heading on to the station.

We only have one deviation to our routine this morning: we stop by Chinatown, to get pastries for the squad, and for my mid-morning snack.

All right, maybe two deviations… This morning, I'm wearing your ring.

I wonder if people will notice, and if they'll say anything or ask any questions.

I mean, people know we're together, they know we live together. Why should this make such a big difference? Somehow it does though. Somehow I feel different.

Did you feel the same way when I gave you the other ring, and you started wearing it?

Oh my god, I have to get you your ring, too!

Why didn't I just take the plunge on Saturday. I certainly thought about it. It would have been, as you'd say, 'cool', if we had exchanged rings.

Oh well, too late now. Maybe I can start shopping for one during lunch. Right now, I have arraignments. It wouldn't help my cases any if I were late for Petrovski. I can just hear her in my head, "Ms. Cabot, do you have so little regard for me and my courtroom? Time might not be money to you, but it doesn't grow on trees either." Yaddy, yaddy yadda.

"Ms. Cabot," Judge Petrovski calls from her bench just as I'm packing up.

"Yes, Judge?"

"Approach the bench, please," she orders, with a serious expression on her face.

Oh god, what have I done now. Taking a deep breath, I walk up to the suddenly large and looming wooden rampart. "Look, Judge Petrovski, I…"

"Let's see your hand, Ms. Cabot."


"Let's see your hand," she repeats again, sourly. So I do as I'm told. "The other hand."

Okay… I switch the stack of folders from my left to my right hand. Just what the… Then I see the smirk tugging at her lips.

"Just what I thought." She smiles. "Who's the lucky fella, Alex? Don't tell me it's that defense attorney."

Oh, fuck. Not everyone knows about us. "I, uh, Judge…"

At that moment, I hear your voice from behind, "Good, you're still here, Alex. We need a warrant for the Bullock case. I'm sorry, Judge Petrovski, it looks like court's already adjourned. I hope I didn't interrupt…"

"No, Det. Benson, I was just admiring Ms. Cabot's ring, and wondering who the lucky fella is."

534 Fire

"And wondering who the lucky fellow was…" rings in my ears.

After all, I'm the lucky fellow.

You stare at me with panic flicking through your eyes. It's not like I'm going to walk up to you and stick my hand in your shirt, but hey, it's an idea. I wonder what you'll say, wonder what you'll do, as I flashback to this morning, kissing you goodbye at the door, your hands roaming up and down my body as the innocent kiss becomes a promise for more later.

As a matter of fact, I could have called you for this warrant, saved myself the trip, but I jumped at the chance to see you. See your smile, your love.

I missed you. Missed you more today than other days.

Is it because we've talked about the future? About how we want to be one?

I look at you and then back at her, waiting for your response to her questions. I smile gently, "It's very pretty," I say and you smile at me knowingly.

"It is, isn't it."

"So," the haggard old witch asks, "Who is it?"

"Well," You start slowly, diplomatically. "Honestly, Judge, it's not a fellow. It's, she's, a wonderful woman."

I feel myself blushing behind you. Suddenly my shoes look really interesting.

"Oh." Is the sallow response. "I didn't realize you were like that."

"Like what?" You ask, anger rising in your voice. Anger that I pray you're going to remember to keep in check.

"You know," she says, quickly averting her eyes from your outstretched hand.

"A lesbian?" You ask pointedly.

"Yes." She says.

"Is that a problem?" You ask her.

Jesus. She looks angry and I can sense the fire that must be shooting from your eyes just by the way you're tensing your shoulders.

I feel myself holding my breath…trying desperately to back away from both of you. I should have called…


"Ms. Cabot," she warns.

"You know what? Judge? This," I turn around, and pull you forward. "This. Is the. Lucky. Fella." I make sure she hears every word.

She looks at you, aghast. "Detective, I didn't know you're…"

That just pushes me over the edge. No one, no one has the right to judge you like that. "So," I cut Petrovski off, and demand. "Should I even bother asking you for a warrant for the Bullock case? Or are you going to dismiss all our cases now that you know about us. Huh? Can you stand having lesbians appearing before you? Are we still in the Dark Ages where women are chattel of men?"

"Sweetie…" I hear you whisper next to me, I feel you tugging on my arm.

But the look on Petrovski's face… How dare her!! "Did you not learn from the yellow stars? Should I start wearing a pink triangle to remind you?"

"Ms. Cabot!" Her voice booms, the gavel making an even louder noise. "I will not have you insult me in my courtroom."

Suddenly we're surrounded by a hushed silence.

"Insult? I wasn't the one…"

"Young lady."

"I'm a grown woman, Judge Petrovski. The last time I checked the Constitution, I still have the freedom to…"

"You're the last person to talk to me about the Constitution, Ms. Cabot," she reminds me. "If it's up to you, we'll only have the freedom of speech."

Maybe it's my guilt talking, maybe it's my anger. I know I should stop, and rein in my anger. "We don't have that if it's up to you, Judge. Look at how your gavel's poising to strike."

"That's it." She sits up, and turns to you. "I'm holding you in contempt."

"For what, Judge?" For insulting a judge in her courtroom, you idiot, I hear Donnelly's voice respond in my head. Fuck me.

"Detective, since you're here. You can do the honors."

"Judge Petrovski," you splutter.

"Next!" She calls.

Just fuck me…

536 Conflict of Interest

"Let's go!" I demand as I grab you by the arm, leading you away, before you can say anything else to make this whole thing worse.

"I can't believe that bigoted…" You mumble under your breath.

"Alex," I say, pulling you a little faster out of the back door of the courtroom.

"It's just a fine." You spat at me, grabbing your briefcase, and pulling me after you out the door. I put my hand on your shoulder. I whisper, "I have to cuff you, sweetie."

"Fine." You hand me your papers and put your hands behind your back.

"I can, in front, if you want."

You take a deep breath and put your hands together in front of you.

"She doesn't even have a case. Court wasn't in session."

"You suggested she was a Nazi Alex."

"I had every right, did you see the way she was talking to me? About us? You should be just as pissed as I am."

"Alex, sweetie," I plead with you. "It's okay, it's really okay."

"It's not okay, Olivia. That woman, she's…she's a bigot."

"Alex, she was just surprised." I mumble. I punch the button on the elevator, down into the holding cells.

"But Liv, she was judging us. Judging our lives."

"She's a judge?" I point out to you and you sigh.

"You don't even care. She was so…condescending."

"Why do you care what she thinks?"

"I love you, and I'm not embarrassed of that."

"That's fine too, and I love you, sweetie, but you have to expect some people aren't going to be happy for us."

"It's not fair," you pout.

"Of course it's not sweetie. But I promise to spring you as soon as I can."

"You better," You say, as I lead you down the hall, into the basement cells, holding my breath the whole way.


"How many more times do we have to do this, Alexandra?"

I snap my head up to face the piercing stern eyes of my supervisor. She looks so menacing on the other side of the bars. "Liz…"

"Did I hear right? You called Petrovski a Nazi?"

"No," I feel justified and necessary to defend myself. "I merely reminded her what the Nazis did to her people."

"In her courtroom."

"She judged us. She judged me for who I love."

"Did she really? Or did you jump to conclusions? Besides, she's a judge."

"I can't believe I'm hearing this. Did you talk to Liv or something?" I fume. "The last time I check, it's illegal in New York to discriminate based on a person's sexual orientation."

"You yelled at a judge in her courtroom. And insulted her."

"I didn't insult…"

She waves her hand.

I sigh. "Now what? What's the fine. She's not going to keep me in here, is she, 'cause if she is, I'd…"

"There you go again," Donnelly warns and waits for my contrition.

I sag my shoulders and hug myself tighter.

"Lucky for you, Petrovski's going to let it go."

She really has no other choices, I want to say. But somehow I manage to keep my silence.

"Even if you don't care about your career, Alexandra, could you learn to control your temper, for the sake of my sanity?"

"Don't worry, Liz, I'm not going to say anything else to Petrovski…"

"I don't want to see you walking into her courtroom wearing a pink triangle either."

Damn! "Fine. Now, can I get out of here?"

"You should know, I'm very tempted to just leave you here," she responds. Nevertheless, the guard comes over and unlocks the door to my cell.

"I'm sorry, Liz," I apologize. That's what she wants, isn't it?

"So let's see that ring." She asks, all smiles, as soon as we're out of the holding area.

Almost reluctantly, I hold out my hand. Her praises and well meaning wishes for our happiness somehow sound empty, even though I know she's being perfectly sincere.

Why can't everyone accept us? Why can't they just be happy for us?

I hate this. I really, really hate this…

538 Acceptance

Elliot is staring at me as I walk into the station. God news travels fast. Don't you people have lives; I want to scream, as suddenly, I feel more eyes on me.

"Hey," he says slowly, "everything okay?"

"Yeah, why?" I say, my voice full of challenge.

"We heard you had to…arrest Alex."

"Yeah." I say, not wanting to elaborate.

"We heard."

I know what he's trying to say, all the gory details have already been discussed and talked about ad infinitum, I have no doubt. Including the finer details of me leading you away in handcuffs, still muttering swear words under you breath.

"So you…" he says too slowly.

I give him a death glare, letting him know I'm not in the mood to goof around. He looks around us and pulls at my arm, sliding us off into the corner.

"You gave her a ring?"

"Yeah," I say, feeling my face turning crimson.


"I don't know," I say shrugging.

"Is it like…an engagement ring?" He asks, trying to understand

"Sort of," I say.

He stops. I wait for his reaction, holding my breath. If I had known that tiny ring would bring me this much conflict.

"I'm so happy for you," he says, grabbing me into his arms.

"El?" I say, smooched against his chest.

"This is fantastic! You, you two are going to be so happy."

"Did you go insane while I was gone?"

"Liv, look how happy you are. You stopped drinking, you smile all the time, you're in love, and it's…it's been good for you."

"Thanks," I say back, squeezing him quickly. "Now can you let go of me?"


"So, let's see the ring!" Serena yells as she swings open my door.

"How did you…" I had just gotten back to my office. In fact, my bag is still hanging from my shoulder.

"We work with a bunch of rumor spreading locusts, remember?" She grins, and plops herself on my desk. "I hear you called Petrovski a dried up puss…"

"Serena!" I cut her off. "I, I did… you didn't… oh god. What the fuck…"

"I made that up, Cabot." She rolls her eyes at my indignation. "Although I'm sure the thought crossed your mind many times."

"Yeah, whatever." I throw my bag into the drawer, and slam the files down.

"Take it you didn't get to play bad cop easy perp while you're in jail? No conjugal visits?"


"Gee, lighten up, will you? Come on, let's see that ring." She insists, pulling at my sleeve.

I take my hand out of my pocket, and hold it out.

"Wow. It's gorgeous. She's got good tastes. What am I saying, she obviously does. Right? Both in falling for you, and the other."

"Serena Southerlyn…" I warn, blushing furiously.

She winks. "So are you guys, like, engaged now?"

"I guess. Maybe?"

"What do you mean, 'maybe'? Either you are, or you aren't. Judging by this though, I'd say you've found your ''til death do you part' person."

"I suppose." My face splits into a smile. "We did promise to love each other, for the rest of our lives."

"God, Cabot, you're hopeless. I'm happy for you though. Just make sure you don't toss the bouquet my way."

"We're not… I don't think we're going to actually get married."

"Why? Don't you want to? Doesn't she?"

"I, I don't know. We haven't crossed that bridge yet," I lie through my teeth. At least we haven't really reached a conclusion. Right?

"Yeah, but what do you want?"

I sigh. "I don't know. I really don't know." I do know, however, I'm not ready to deal with the likes of Petrovski… or Elliot. I'm sure he's the next in line to crawl down my throat.

"Oh my god! Have you told your family?"

"No? Why?"

"Can I be there when you tell your aunt?"

Oh god, my born again aunt. Fuck me.

540 Fuses

"Come on," Elliot says, begging me to call you so that he can proffer his continued congratulations on us. This is so strange. He is totally different.

We haven't talked about him, not for awhile. But his sighs have gotten less and less, his commentary focusing on whether or not I had a great night the night before. I blush knowing it's his way of being supportive, of saying he's okay with it. I'm not sure why he has changed.

"This isn't a pretty side of you," I mumble, while he continues to congratulate me.

"I'm excited for you, I thought you'd be happy." He says, looking hurt.

"I just don't get it." I say with apprehension


"A few months ago you were ready to rip the cell phone out of my hand and break her legs, now you want to call her up and tell her you're happy?"

"I got over it," he shrugs.


"It was, it was just that, well, you were right."

"What did you just say?" I ask him incredulously.

"You were right."

"Ha. That's a first."

"Hey." He says full of warning. "I just realized, how happy you've been. Everyone's noticed. And well, you were never like that before.

"I wasn't unhappy."

"You weren't usually conscious."

"Okay, Elliot, enough. I get it, okay? I was a horrible person, can you stop reminding me now?" I can feel my irritation rising at the reminders of being a drunk. I try to forget, try to push it out of my mind when I can, but he won't drop it. Won't stop telling me how far I've come and in a way, reminding me how much I have to lose.

"Liv, that's not what I meant," he says chasing me.

"I don't care, El. Just drop it okay."

"Fine." He says, stalking off to his desk.

"Fine." I say, stalking off to mine.

Part 541

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