DISCLAIMER: Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf. Rizzoli & Isles belongs to Tess Gerritson, Janet Tamaro, and TNT.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I was SHOCKED to find no one had done this yet. I'm still half convinced someone else has and I'm just missing it part of the Magnetic Resistance Universe.
SPOILERS: SVU up to Season-11 (including Loss, Ghost, and beyond); R&I 1st season, especially the episode 'Kissed A Girl' and season Finale
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To raedmagdon[at]yahoo.com
What Happens In Provincetown
By Rae D. Magdon
Olivia Benson sighed. Each of her hands was firmly gripping the shoulder of an angry blonde woman, and a small crowd had gathered around them. "All right, which one of you wants to tell me how it started?"
"Excuse me? This is really none of your business," said the first blonde woman, who was sporting very expensive clothes (after sharing a closet with Alex Cabot, she could recognize Dolce and Gabbana at twenty paces) and an irritated frown. "This woman assaulted me. It was completely unprovoked-"
"Unprovoked my ass!" Serena Southerlyn shouted, causing even more of the dance floor's patrons to stop and stare. "She was making out with my girlfriend!"
"Excuse me?" the strange blonde repeated, looking at Serena with a mixture of horror and shock. "I would never- what on earth are you talking about. Jane?"
The blonde's companion stepped forward. "Let her go, please," she said, "you've got your hands full with that one "
Now, Olivia had a pretty good idea what was going on. The broad vowels of the woman's Boston accent only confirmed her suspicions. Obviously, she should have paid more attention to Munch's theories about Pod People and/or Government Cloning Research, because this woman looked exactly like
"Abbie! You promised that you weren't going to do this anymore! I can't believe I trusted you "
"Serena, cool it," Olivia said, giving the blonde's shoulder another firm squeeze and releasing the other blonde. "That's not Abbie."
"What do you mean it's not-"
"Look at her clothes."
Pausing in her tirade long enough to check, Serena was astonished to realize that the woman she had mistaken for Abbie was wearing jeans and a white tank top instead of the black, slitted skirt and v-neck that her girlfriend had donned earlier that evening. In addition, her hair rolled down her back in tight waves, and Abbie had worn hers up.
"Oh my God, I am so sorry," she said, a horrified look transforming the angry features of her face as she realized what she had done. "I thought I thought you were you look just like "
"What on God's green earth has you throwin' such a conniption, Ser? People are starin Well, fuck me blind! Lord in Heaven, call me the crazy Aunt and hide me in the basement, because I'm staring myself in the face."
The statement was so absurd that none of the four women could think of an appropriate response.
A long, astonished silence stretched between them until another voice added, "I've heard of Doppelgangers, but this is bordering on the ridiculous."
Slowly, Olivia turned towards Alex, who had accompanied Abbie to the bathroom ("it's a girl thing," she had claimed, forcing Olivia to remind her that she was most definitely also a girl). "We've entered the Twilight Zone."
"What did I miss?"
The brunette detective sighed. "She," she pointed at the blonde stranger, "was attacked by Serena for touching " what did that woman call her? Jane! "Jane here, who just happens to look a hell of a lot like Abbie."
Alex groaned. "I'm getting a headache."
"Listen," Serena interrupted, putting on her best apologetic face, "I'm really sorry about slapping you, um "
"Maura Isles. And I accept your apology. Now that you and your date have been reunited, I can see why you made the mistake. Their cranial structure is remarkably similar."
Disappointed that there was no longer going to be a catfight, the crowd began to disperse, leaving the six women to their own devices. "Please let me buy you two your next round of drinks. I feel terrible."
"You mean let me buy them their next round of drinks," Abbie interrupted. "You didn't bring your purse or your credit card."
"I didn't have a purse that matched this dress. I'll pay you back later. Besides, you use my checking account just as much as yours, so stop bitching. This is all your fault anyway for having some kind of freaky identical twin that you never told me about."
Jane smiled. "Well, I'm not gonna say no to a free beer. How about it, Maura?"
"You're a detective, too? No shit!" Jane Rizzoli exclaimed, leaning forward across the large table that they had snagged on the side of the dance floor. "This night just keeps getting more and more bizarre."
"Yep, with the NYPD. Special Victims," Olivia said after taking another drink from her bottle. "Pretty ugly stuff."
"Tell me about it. At least mine are always dead," said Jane, resting her weight on her elbows until Maura shot her a disapproving look and reminded her with a silent glare to place her hands in her lap. "We're at a club, Maur, not a five star restaurant," she complained.
Alex gave the blonde a nod of approval. "I like you," she declared. "You know how to keep your woman in line." Both of them ignored Jane's eye-roll.
"I like your Manolo Blahniks," Maura offered in return.
"Why thank you."
"I'm just glad no one was hurt too badly," Abbie said. "You sure you're all right, Maura? Serena can pack a mean punch." She winced in sympathy as several long-ago memories resurfaced. "Trust me, I speak from experience."
"Thank you for your concern, but I'm fine."
"Between you and me, Serena's lucky she got out of that one without a scratch on her," Jane told Olivia. "She's a medical examiner and she knows all the weak points of the human body."
"That's it!" Alex said triumphantly. "I've been trying to figure out why your surname sounded familiar ever since you introduced yourself," she explained, nodding her head at Maura. "Do you know a Dr. Melinda Warner?"
Maura's eyes widened in surprise. "Yes, actually, I do. Do you know her as well?"
"She's our um, Olivia's medical examiner."
"Curiouser and curiouser," Abbie quipped. "We didn't just go down the Rabbit Hole, I think we all stumbled ass-over-tits into it after smoking a couple of very strong joints."
"Please forgive my obviously inebriated girlfriend"
"I've only had one"
Olivia sighed. "Nope, that's Abbie sober."
"I promise, she can be very refined when she wants to be. She's actually a federal prosecutor."
"Federal prosecutor by day, lesbian superhero by night!" She gestured at Jane. "I even have my own stunt double!"
"My mother's never going to believe this," the Boston detective muttered. "No, scratch that I'm not going to tell her. She'll probably fly you up from DC and make you home-cooked lasagna."
Abbie laughed. "Your mother, too? Oh heavens, mine will up and faint like a proper Southern lady before getting all in your business you don't have kids, do you? Please say no, because I don't want to hear, 'but if this nice woman who looks just like you can have children, why can't you, Abigail?' I would run away from home."
"Your mother is all the way in Texas, sweetie," Serena reminded her.
"There's no escaping a Texan mother "
"Or an Italian one."
"So, we're agreed-"
"- tell them absolutely nothing."
Alex snorted. "Even though mine is deceased, I doubt any of us would want to regale our respective mothers with tales of the brawl we almost engaged in at a gay bar in Provincetown."
"I told you we shouldn't have come here," Olivia muttered. "This place is too gay."
Alex laughed. "Too gay? Olivia, you're gay. You wear a man's watch and sensible shoes. You scream dyke."
"No I don't. I'll have you know that a suspect asked me out a couple of weeks ago."
"And what did you say?"
"That I was single, but didn't mix business with work."
"You said you were single?"
"Well, I wasn't going to tell him I had a girlfriend. Then I'd never have been able to get rid of him!"
Several hours and even more alcoholic beverages later, the six women were wandering down Commercial Street in search of some food to fill their stomachs and help them sober up. Alex, who was the most sober of the six, held a map of the general area in both hands and guided the two other inebriated couples (as well as her own inebriated detective) with a firm hand. However, a sight across the street under a sign that said 'The Vault' caused her to misstep and lose her balance. Afraid of falling over, she clung to the sleeve of Olivia's jacket for support.
Olivia was a little buzzed, but still coordinated enough to keep Alex from tumbling backwards into the rest of the group. "What is it, honey? Are you okay?" she asked, looking concerned. While Abbie was a hilarious drunk and Serena's moods ranged from cheerful to depressed, Olivia was an emotional drunk. Instead of dulling her feelings, alcohol sensitized them and made her extra concerned about Alex's little stumble.
Alex's mouth opened and closed like a fish as she stared across the street, struck mute by the shocking sight.
"I think that man over there startled her," Maura chirped, pointing over at a tanned, well-muscled man wearing nothing but a leather g-string and black strips across his chest. Both nipples were pierced and he had something that looked like a spiked dog collar around his neck.
"Oh, come on, Alex. You've seen worse than that before. He's probably some harmless fluff named Barry that works as a daycare assistant or a shoe salesman when he's not er dressed like that."
"I've seen worse at work, Olivia, not during my vacation! Maybe you're right. Maybe we are too old for this."
"That's what I said," Jane Rizzoli agreed. "I told Maura we were too old to go clubbing like a bunch of baby dykes, but did she listen? Nooo she wanted an 'authentic lesbian experience' even though we started dating, what, over six months ago? And she's not even a lesbian "
"I told you, bisexuality is a natural point of reference on the Kinsey scale, a perfectly normal variation"
"Well, just don't start checking out the gluteus maximus on our friend Barry over there, Doc, or I might have to revoke your license to practice medicine."
Abbie, meanwhile, was thoroughly amused by the entire affair. "I bet he could show a man a good time," she said, reaching up a hand to wave at the leather boy and giving him a loud wolf whistle. He winked and blew her a kiss, which made Serena burst out in laughter.
"Only in Provincetown "
"You'd be surprised. We get some pretty crazy stuff up in Southie. One time, Maura and I went undercover at a lesbian bar and set up an online dating profile for me to attract a killer "
Olivia snorted. "I hate undercover work. I've been a hooker, a porn star, a woman asking a receptionist for a vaginoplasty, a crack whore, "married" to my partner Stabler, who is actually married in real life, an inmate at a women's prison, and the FBI borrowed me once and turned me in to some kind of hippy-dippy tree hugger."
Alex brushed her fingers against Olivia's hand and the brunette realized that she was rambling. "Sorry, got carried away. Tell the story about the lesbian bar. I want to hear this "
"Jeez, I am soooo drunk I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt," Abbie slurred, flopping back onto the queen-sized bed and kicking her shoes into the wall.
"That reminds me of a joke!" Jane said gleefully, sitting cross-legged on the foot of the bed and bouncing a little to test the mattress. "What's a blonde's mating call?"
Abbie sat up, holding a pillow tight to her chest. "What?"
"I'm soooo drunk! I'm soooo drunk!" Both women dissolved in giggles.
Olivia, who was leaning against the wall beside the door and trying to figure out the safest way to get to a comfortable chair, snorted with laughter. "I heard a different version. What's a blonde's mating call?"
"What?" Abbie repeated dutifully.
"Oh, I've got one. How do you keep a blonde occupied for hours?"
"How?" asked Jane.
"Scribble 'turn over' on both sides of a piece of paper."
"I have a better one! One time, a blonde cop pulled over a blonde motorist for speeding. The cop asks for ID and the girl in the car says, "I don't have any, but I've got this picture of myself you can look at," and holds up a mirror. The cop says, "damn, if I knew you were a cop, I never would have pulled you over!'"
That one made Jane and Abbie start laughing hysterically. None of them seemed to realize that their blonde lovers were all glaring at them, particularly Alex, who was the most sober. She cleared her throat loudly, catching their attention. "I've got one. What's brown, red, black, and blue?"
Olivia, Jane, and Abbie looked at each other in bleary, drunken confusion. Alex pressed her lips into a thin pink line. Stepping over to Olivia's side of the door, she gave her girlfriend's backside a sharp pinch. "A brunette that's been telling too many blonde jokes."
"Hey, ow! That hurt!"
"Come on, you big baby, I should tuck you in before you get in any more trouble."
"You're already in trouble, Jane," Maura added. "You're supposed to be a detective. You should know that the pigmentation of a woman's hair has nothing to do with her intelligence, real or perceived."
"Blondes get discriminated against all the time."
"No, Serena," Alex corrected her friend, "we get hit on all the time."
The shorter blonde shrugged at Alex. "Eh, same thing. Did Seinfeld ever put the moves on you in chambers?"
Alex snorted. "Did he ever."
"He didn't hit on me, but I slept with both of his assistants," Abbie said, sounding pleased with herself, but not pleased enough to make Serena angry. She knew that Abbie's "war stories" were mostly for show, and whenever she felt the stirrings of jealousy, she reminded herself that none of the other women had ever rated a second date, and the idea of a relationship with them was completely out of the question. In that respect, she was unique.
"I knew there was something I didn't like about that creeper," Olivia mumbled, casting another forlorn look at the chair before deciding that she was really better off against the wall. Besides, that was where Alex was, and Alex smelled good. She leaned her head against the blonde's shoulder, her eyes drifting shut.
"My knight in shining armor," Alex drawled, her tone caught somewhere in between annoyance and amusement. "All right, Olivia mine, you look like you're about to fall over and I'm tired. Bedtime." She would probably never admit it, but it was nice to see Olivia let her guard down for a change. Her lover rarely drank at all, and Alex knew that she was afraid of becoming an alcoholic like her mother. She decided to compliment her lover on her restraint the next morning, just in case her hangover conjured up bad memories from the recesses of her mind.
Abbie waggled her eyebrows. "Bedtime? Yeah right you two might as well just call it 'sex time' for accuracy's sake."
"Ha ha ha. Your manners are even more impeccable while drunk, Carmichael. Now, you and Serena need to leave. It's " the attorney glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand provided by the hotel. "Past 1:00 AM. Oh, and make sure to find Jane and Maura a cab-"
"This isn't New York City," Abbie grumbled, while Jane said "that really isn't necessary" at the same time.
"Why do we have to leave?" Serena pouted. She had already taken her shoes off and was rubbing the arches of both feet. Getting tired of massaging her own feet, she plopped them in Abbie's lap, allowing the brunette to take over.
"I told you not to borrow Alex's shoes, Ser. The heel is too high for you."
"But they're nice shoes "
"Yes, they are nice shoes, thank you, Serena and you two have to leave because this is the hotel room that I paid for. Yours is on the floor below us, if I recall."
"I hope we're not right under you or we'll never get any peace."
Maura gave Olivia an amused look. "Is this much banter a normal part of your interactions?" she asked.
Olivia shook her head. "They're being downright friendly tonight. You haven't seen anything yet."
"Now I'm intrigued. I suppose we should trade contact information."
Jane laughed. "That's her way of asking for one of your cell numbers. Maura's a little "
"Loquacious?" Alex suggested, urging Olivia over to the bed and undoing the detective's leather jacket, more for her own pleasure than because Olivia was unable to use her fingers. Despite her slightly unsteady walk, Olivia was not really that drunk, only a little buzzed.
"Here," said Abbie, tossing Jane her cell phone, which the Boston detective easily caught with her quick reflexes. "Wow, how did you catch that? Aren't you still drunk? Oh well, type your number in here, long lost twin of mine. Maybe we can hook up tomorrow for brunch or something."
Maura examined her lover, who was swaying a little and looked completely worn out, even though she had managed to catch the phone and correctly remember her own contact information. "Maybe a late lunch. I have a feeling all six of us are going to want to sleep in tomorrow."
"I'm never drinking again," Abbie groaned, staggering out of the bathroom in nothing but her underwear. Her face was noticeably pale, and Serena pulled back the covers on the left side of the bed so that Abbie could climb back in. She leaned in to give her lover a sympathetic kiss on the lips, but paused a few inches away, thinking better of it. "I brushed my teeth, and there was nothing but water in my stomach to throw up anyway Ugh." Reassured, Serena gave Abbie the kiss she had been hinting at, which the former ADA accepted gratefully.
"Don't you think you're a little old to be drinking so much?" Serena chided gently.
Abbie closed her eyes and settled her head back against the double stack of hotel pillows, wishing that they had thought to close the blinds the night before. Sunlight was streaming in through the open slats, and the brightness was bothering her even with her eyes shut. "I'm improvin' with age," she said in a husky voice, her southern accent very obvious. "I know where I was last night, who I was with, what I did, and most importantly, I know the person I woke up next to in the mornin'. That's kind of a nice feeling. Compared to some of the stuff I did in years gone by, that's downright mature behavior."
Despite the lighthearted tone with which the statement was delivered, Serena knew Abbie well enough to guess that she was being serious. "I'm glad you decided you like waking up next to me," she said, giving Abbie a second kiss on the forehead. "Do you want me to get some toast?" A hand stroked up Abbie's leg, tugging at the side of her panties. "Why on earth did you fall asleep in a thong?"
"I wore a thong so I wouldn't have panty lines, and I was too drunk and too damn tired to take it off. Strange, though, 'cuz I got the skirt off just fine."
Serena rolled her eyes. "I was the one who took your skirt off, but you kept grabbing my breasts, and then you fell asleep and snored loud enough to wake the dead."
Abbie blushed. "Did I really? I'm sorry "
That made the blonde laugh. "No. You didn't snore. I would have nudged you to make you roll onto your back. But you did grab my breasts."
"Oh, that's all right, then." The dark haired Texan's hands drifted up Serena's naked stomach, taking pleasure in the feel of bare flesh under her palms. "Like this?" she said, squeezing the two subjects of their discussion.
Serena made a soft sound of pleasure in the back of her throat. "Hmm I'm not sure. Maybe you should try again " Her lover was more than happy to comply, letting one of her thighs drift between Serena's legs as she rolled an excited nipple between the thumb and index finger of her right hand.
"There was always something different about touching you, something that wasn't there with the others," Abbie hummed in Serena's ear, grazing the sensitive shell with even white teeth, "even back when we first met I'm a fool for taking so long to realize what it was."
The only other time Abbie had ever mentioned other women while making love with Serena had been the first time. She had whispered reassurances, trying her very best to convince Serena that no one else in her past could hold a candle to her, but after that, both of them had agreed that it was better not to rub salt in old wounds and let it be. But this time, instead of drawing her attention to Abbie's past and dampening the mood, the soft reminder made Serena's heart swell with joy.
"You caught the train," Serena said, still a little dazed. She kissed the ball of Abbie's shoulder, pausing to nuzzle the soft skin of her inner wrist and pressing a kiss to each fingertip. "I love your hands "
"Mmm? What?" It was Abbie's turn to sound dazed, her mind still fuzzy.
"Because of how good they always make me feel."
Abbie grinned before sucking on one of Serena's fingers and capturing it between her teeth. When she released it, she gave her lover a roguish wink. "You know what they say. Save a horse, ride a cowgirl "
Jane was having a very confusing dream. She was on a tropical island, and clones of herself were serving her piña coladas as she lounged in a beach chair under an umbrella. Maura was curled up on a towel beside her, wearing a bikini and a floppy sun hat. She was reading an anatomy textbook, which Jane found a little redundant, since Maura already knew almost all there was to know about human anatomy. Secretly, the blonde preferred grisly horror novels, which Jane hated because they reminded her too much of the job. There was no accounting for taste, she supposed.
That was when Jane's mother replaced one of Jane's friendly clones. "Jane, you didn't call me last Friday! Did I tell you that Mrs. Grisbaum's son is getting married? I'm making tortellini and sour cream for you tonight and bringing a nice young man over for you to meet, so don't be late."
"Ma, this is my dream leave me alone!" Jane complained, glancing down at Maura for support. Unfortunately, the medical examiner was still engrossed in her textbook or, at least, she was pretending to be. "I told you that I'm dating Maura and I'm a lesbian."
"Oh well, I still expect you to give me grandchildren! All the lesbians are doing it these days "
Squeezing her eyes shut tight, she began chanting, "go away, go away, go away " under her breath. To her surprise, when she opened her eyes again, the image of her mother gradually faded away into nothingness. "Wow," she said, looking at the empty space around her with a sense of pride. "This is cool." The clones of herself were gone too (and so, unfortunately, were the piña coladas), but Maura was still beside her, nose buried in a Stephen King novel.
Maybe I'm having one of those lucid dreams, Jane thought. Of course, that gave her other ideas. "Hey, Maura," she said, looking down at her blonde lover, "take off your top." Tossing the Boston detective a seductive look through half-lowered lids, the blonde lifted two pale arms, lightly freckled from the golden sun, and reached around her torso to untie her bikini top
A persistent poking sensation at her shoulder roused Jane from her dream. "Dammit!" she grumbled, closing her eyes and burrowing deeper under the covers. "No no no "
"Jane? What on earth are you doing?" Maura's voice drew Jane out of her protective cocoon, and she opened one eye a crack to realize that she was facing the wrong direction on the bed. "You were moving around and talking in your sleep, so I decided to wake you up."
The dark-haired woman pouted. "You ruined my dream," she said, ignoring the bothersome sunlight pouring in through the open blinds and flipping over so that her head was near Maura's again.
"Was it a good dream?" the blonde medical examiner teased, pressing a teasing thigh between her lover's legs.
Jane groaned. "It was a terrible dream, but it was getting good when you woke me up. We were on a beach and you were wearing a bikini "
"That sounds like a nice dream."
"and then my mother appeared."
"And said we had to give her grandchildren"
"That's a nightmare."
"Then I asked her to go away, and she disappeared. Since I seemed to be able to control what happened, I asked you to take off your top. You woke me up before I got to see anything, though," Jane pouted.
Maura smiled, combing her fingers through disheveled dark curls and kissing Jane's chin. "Well, it's a good thing I decided not to wake you up with oral sex, then. It would have been terribly awkward with your mother being in the dream "
Jane's cheeks flushed. "Um. I'm awake now "
What is love? Baby don't hurt me
Don't hurt me no more.
What is lo-
Olivia groaned, slapping the front of her cell phone until one of the buttons silenced the annoying song. "What?" she mumbled, not realizing that she had accidentally hung up on the caller. When there was no response, she closed her eyes again and rolled over onto the empty right side of the double bed. Realizing that there was no warm body for her to hold, she began to feel around, trying to figure out what had happened to Alex.
What is love? Baby don't hurt me
Don't hurt me no more.
Olivia got to the phone quicker this time, but not soon enough. Her head was pounding and it took her a few moments to read the blurry letters on her phone's illuminated screen. 'The Old Ball and Chain'? What the hell ? Finally, she just decided to answer it.
"Olivia, pick up the goddam- oh, hi."
"Alex?" she croaked, her voice raspy from dehydration. It did, however, explain why the blonde was not in bed next to her. "Hon? S'at you?"
"Yes, it's me. Get out of bed and open the door to our hotel room. I'm locked out."
"Ungh." Too tired to remember to hang up the phone, Olivia left it on the bed and slumped towards the door, rubbing at one eye and opening the metallic handle with a click. Alex was waiting outside, already dressed and carrying coffee and a bagel. To Olivia's tired eyes, she looked like a goddess.
"She awakens! You look like the living dead. And why did you give me that godawful ringtone? I could hear it through the door. I didn't want to knock loud enough to bother the people next to us "
"Didn't," Olivia muttered, hooking a possessive arm around Alex's waist and dragging her back to bed. "C'mere." Having reclaimed her missing mate, the detective fell back onto the bed and tried to pull Alex with her. "Sleep now."
"It's almost noon, Olivia, and I'm already dressed. I'm not getting back in bed." Reaching for the phone, Alex stared down at the screen. "You have me listed under 'The Old Ball and Chain'?" she asked, sounding less than amused.
"Not me," Olivia said, burying her face in the pillow. The cup of coffee in Alex's hand, however, smelled very good, and she was beginning to wake up properly. "Prob'ly Munch."
"You should have known better than to let Munch get a hold of your cell phone," Alex said, unsympathetic. She shook the brunette's shoulder and forced the cup of coffee into her hand when she sat up. "I even got that decaf crap you like. Drink that while I get you some water and pain relievers for the headache I know you've got."
"Thanks. How did you get locked out?"
"Key card stopped working."
"Did you put it next to your cell phone?"
Alex shrugged. "Maybe. Don't remember. I guess I shouldn't have reamed out the desk clerk, then."
"Why didn't he give you a new key?"
"I guess I scared him a bit too much, because he wanted to accompany me back up the stairs to make sure it worked, and I didn't want him catching a free show."
Olivia looked down and realized that she was naked. "Oh," she said, watching Alex as she filled a tall glass of water and dug around in her purse for the tiny bottle of pills she always carried. "Eat the bagel. It will settle your stomach," she ordered, pointing imperiously at the forlorn looking bagel that sat on a white paper napkin. "I don't know why you're so picky about your cream cheese, but I put jam on it instead."
The detective suddenly realized that this was probably a little like what being married felt like. If that was true, she decided, it wasn't so bad. Obediently, she nibbled at the bagel and took the bitter tasting pills, chasing them with some water. "Sorry," she said, remembering the state she had been in the night before. Having Alex take care of her served as an unpleasant reminder of her own past. She had been in the attorney's position too many times to count.
"Olivia, you're a responsible adult and you very rarely indulge. Last night did not change my opinion of you at all. I think it's admirable that you are careful around alcohol because of your mother's past, but you are a different person than she was. You know your limits and don't test them, and I've never felt uncomfortable around you after you've been drinking, so please stop punishing yourself for a problem that doesn't even exist."
With her self-deprecating inner dialogue cut off before it could really begin, Olivia had no prepared response. Luckily, she was saved by the ringing of her cell phone, which was now playing 'Redneck Woman' at a very loud volume.
So here's to all my sisters out there
Keepin' it country
Let's all get a big HELL YEAH
From the Redneck Girls like me
Olivia hurried to answer it before Gretchen Wilson could get to another 'Hell yeah'. "Hello, is that you, Abbie? Munch changed all my contact info and ring tones, so I'm not sure "
"Well, howdy to you, too, Benson," said Abbie Carmichael. "And it's your own fault for letting him get near your phone."
"That's what Alex said," Olivia mumbled, shooting a glare at the laughing blonde standing beside the bed. She reached down to give Olivia's nipple a sharp tug, making the brunette yelp.
"Ooh, am I interrupting something? Sorry, I already got mine this morni- Ow! Serena!'
Olivia snickered. "I think both of us need to find some less-violent women."
"So, Munch changed your ring tones? What was mine?"
The detective grinned into the phone. "Redneck Woman."
"Hell yeah!" the federal prosecutor crowed. "Remind me to give that boy a big ol' hug next time I see him."
"At least it wasn't something sexually explicit."
"No, I'm past all that. My long-lost twin gave me a call this mornin' and asked if we wanted to get some brunch with her and Maura. I said I'd give you a call."
Olivia decided that brunch with Jane and Maura sounded fine, but looked up at Alex for confirmation. When the former ADA gave a nod of approval, Olivia said, "yeah, sure. Alex already ate, but I'm sure she'll come just to torment me. Ow!" The light slap to the back of Olivia's head was more surprising than painful, but earned an exclamation from her anyway.
"Tell Alex to stop hitting you and get some clothes on. We'll come pick you up in a few minutes."
"How do you know I don't have any clothes on?" Olivia asked suspiciously.
Abbie hmmed in response. "Lucky guess. Get dressed before we come up or Serena and Alex will both kick my pretty ass off the hotel roof. And you should keep my new ring tone, I like it!" Without saying goodbye, Abbie hung up, leaving Olivia scrambling off of the bed to find something to wear.
A short time later, the six women met up at a nearby restaurant. Thankfully, it was Saturday, and the breakfast buffet was open well past noon. Olivia and Jane immediately sat next to each other, which surprised Alex until she realized that there were three seats to each side, and their side happened to be facing the door so that they could keep an eye on the people entering and exiting the restaurant. Their cop rituals are so alike it's scary.
She slid in the other side of the booth opposite Olivia, allowing Maura to cozy up next to her while Abbie sat on the end. Serena took the open seat across from Abbie and next to Jane. "So, how did you and Jane meet?" Serena asked. "Was it at work?"
"Yes," said Maura, answering Serena's question. "She wasn't overly fond of me at first, and she still calls me the Queen of the Dead."
Alex snorted. "That's nothing. Olivia and her partner came up with some very creative nicknames for me during our first few weeks as colleagues. The 'Ice Princess' one was, perhaps, the most kind."
"Repressed sexual desire," Olivia said, glossing over the clashes they had experienced all those years ago. "And it didn't help that you were appointed to make sure my partner and I weren't a bunch of crazies."
"You're still sore about that Morris Commission thing? Honey, that was, what over a decade ago?"
Maura looked surprised. "You two have known each other for that long?"
Olivia grinned. "Yep."
"And how long did it take you to enter a relationship?" Remembering her manners, Maura added a hasty, "if I'm not being too intrusive by asking, of course."
By this time, Alex was grinning, too. "Of course not." She took Olivia's hand under the table, which made Serena give them a look that clearly said 'that's adorable' while Abbie pretend to choke over her glass of orange juice. "Actually, we've only been together for about a year."
"It took you that long to convince her to put up with your ass, Benson?" Jane teased. Even though neither of them was on the job, the two cops were already acting like old colleagues.
"Actually, she pursued me I didn't think I could trust her. It's kind of a long story."
Alex, ever the artist with words, decided to summarize. "A drug lord took pot shots at me because I wouldn't drop a rape case against one of his lieutenants, I had to go into Witness Protection, and when I came back to testify, I might have misled Olivia into believing that I was sleeping around in Nowhere, Wisconsin under an assumed identity." She looked appropriately repentant as she recounted the story. "Then I came back for good, didn't call her, got engaged to a man I hated, cheated on my fiancé with a scumbag at the DA's office because I hated myself, and went through a lot of therapy. After that, I decided to work with SVU again without giving Olivia any warning, and just when we were starting to treat each other civilly again, I announced to the world that I was going to the Congo to prosecute war criminals there."
"She sent me roses the next day," Olivia added with more than a hint of sarcasm.
Maura and Jane were shocked. In fact, the Boston detective's mouth was hanging open. "My God," she finally said. "And I thought our story was bad "
"Oh, I don't know, I think it was pretty entertaining." Abbie gave her an encouraging look, and she explained. "Well, a few weeks after the lesbian bar fiasco that Jane told you about last night, we were investigating-"
"I was investigating, you were just supposed to do the autopsies. But you couldn't keep from getting involved"
Maura glared at her. "We were investigating a drug-related cop shooting. A certain someone forgot to log a package of cigarettes that contained key evidence. Then, the drug runners came in and started shooting people in the station."
Olivia's eyes widened. "I read about that in the Times. That was only a few months ago, right? You were there when it went down?"
"Yes, that was it. Anyway, they were looking for the cigarette pack-"
The brunette rolled her eyes. "You were too busy in the autopsy room trying to feed that damn turtle of yours and forgot to remind me."
"I did remind you, just before you got on the elevator. And Bass is a tortoise," Maura corrected her lover in a very superior voice. "You know that. He's a Sulcata tortoise. You only say turtle to make me angry."
"Turtle, tortoise, tomato, tomahto. I still say that thing hates me."
"He likes you, Jane. He always sticks his head out of his shell to say hello when you come visit."
"Yeah, and then he glares at me with those beady little eyes Reptiles. Eugh." Secretly, Maura knew that Jane was very fond of Bass, and her professed hatred of him was an ongoing joke between them. After all, Bass had helped save Maura's life, if only indirectly.
"Okay, wait a minute," said Abbie, who was having trouble following the conversation. "So, there were people shooting at you in the station house, and you own a tortoise?"
"Yes," said Maura, as if being shot at and owning a tortoise was something that everyone did. "Jane's brother Frankie, who is also a police officer, was shot, and I had to perform emergency surgery to prevent his lungs from filling up with blood-"
"So there was a tortoise, guns, and emergency surgery?"
Deciding that Maura was taking way too long to tell the story, Jane jumped in. "The cop who was shot, his partner was dirty. When we found out, he took me as a hostage and Maura and Frankie got to an ambulance. By that time, we had contacted my partner and there was a SWAT team outside the building."
"And then Jane tried to be a hero and got herself shot. We had shared a few encounters before that, but almost losing her was the catalyst that forced me to admit my feelings for her."
Abbie whistled, clearly impressed. "Damn. Our story is downright boring compared to those two."
Serena shrugged. "Plenty of emotional drama, just not as many near-death experiences."
"I don't know about that," Abbie teased, "you almost killed me a few times. Serena was my replacement at the DA's office in New York. I met her, bedded her, and was too stupid to admit that I had a good thing going. We saw each other off and on a few times over the years, and that usually ended with me in some kind of physical pain. Then Alex decided to get off her ass and pursue Olivia, and I thought, 'what the hell. If those two crackpots can try to fix their relationship, which is way more messed up and complicated than mine and Serena's ever was, I have no excuse.' So I hopped on a train to DC and forced Alex to let me stay in the guest room until I had won the fair lady over."
The smaller blonde rolled her eyes. "You make it sound so romantic, darling."
"Hey, at least no one got shot in our love story."
Two hours later, the six women were still clustered around the same table. The waitress had already offered to deliver their check multiple times, but when Alex had taken her aside and whispered that they would compensate both her and the restaurant properly for continuing to take up space where they could be seating new customers, the waitress was more than happy to let the group stay for as long as they wanted.
Over the course of brunch, the conversation had meandered to several interesting destinations, never settling on one topic for too long. At the moment, they were in the middle of a game of 'Never Have I Ever', which had, surprisingly, been instigated by Maura. When the blonde medical examiner revealed that she had never been invited to a sleepover during her high school years (the traditions of the rich included society dos, it seemed, but not slumber parties where you painted your nails and talked about boys or girls), Abbie had insisted that they play, even without alcohol.
"I can't believe we're doing this," Olivia groaned, taking a swig of her third glass of water. The hangover she had woken up with was beginning to recede now that she was sufficiently hydrated. "At almost two in the afternoon in a restaurant, completely sober."
"It's for Maura's sake," Abbie said, nudging Olivia's shin with her foot. Unfortunately, she missed and hit Jane. The detective flinched and shot a glare at Alex, whom she thought was the culprit. Alex then kicked Abbie for getting her in trouble, and she didn't miss. "Ow! Jeez, it was an accident, both of you. No need to hurt a person. It's your turn, Olivia."
"Fine, fine. Since we're all in some branch of Law Enforcement Never Have I Ever gone on a date with a suspect in one of my investigations." Serena, Alex, and Olivia did not drink (all of them had decided to ignore the fact that their beverages were non-alcoholic), but Abbie, Maura, and Jane did. The last two looked at each other with surprise.
"You did?" Maura asked. Jane blushed.
"It was before I met you. I was young and stupid and he turned out to be guilty, too. The case almost got thrown out, and I learned my lesson."
The Irish medical examiner gave her a disapproving look. "At least I waited until the woman I asked on a date was eliminated as a suspect," she said.
It was Jane's turn to look disapproving. "A woman? Why didn't I know about this?"
"You knew you weren't the first woman I dated, Jane. Besides, you dated her, too for five minutes."
"It was one of those creeper women from the dating website?"
"She was attractive," Maura defended herself. "Her facial structure was very symmetrical and she had nice eyes. In fact, the reason I picked her was that she reminded me of you." Jane's expression softened, and then all of them looked at Abbie.
Abbie shrugged. "I hooked up with three women I prosecuted after I lost and if I didn't think they did it." That made Serena groan. "I know that groan was about the number and not the fact that I prosecuted them, but hey, I don't choose which cases I take to trial. There were a few times Branch made the call and I disagreed with it."
"Actually, it was about both. Okay, moving on, please. Never have I ever faked an orgasm."
Everyone but Olivia drank. The detective looked shocked. "Wow, really? All five of you? You're too sympathetic." A horrible thought occurred to her, and she glanced at Alex. "Not with me, right?" she whispered, a little frantically. Alex snorted.
"Of course not with you, you idiot." Leaning forward over the table, she cupped her hand around her mouth and whispered into Olivia's ear, the one farthest from Jane. "You're the only person I've been able to with reliably, and only the second person to get me there at all."
The pretty blush that covered Olivia's cheeks pleased her, but four sets of eyes staring at her from the other side of the table distracted her. "Whispering sweet nothin's in Olivia's ear, Alex?" Abbie teased, dodging another kick under the table. This time, Jane foresaw the attack and lifted her legs up in time to keep from getting in the way.
"I was just saying that when you're a lesbian forcing yourself to sleep with stubborn men, it's kind of a requirement because they just won't quit until they think you're satisfied," she lied.
"Here here," Serena muttered. "Been there, done that."
"It's not just men," Abbie said. "I have never been with a man and I've encountered the same problem once or twice."
"Okay, my turn," Maura said, looking cheerful. "Never have I ever done it at work."
Jane's jaw dropped, firstly at the sexual nature of Maura's question, and secondly at her use of slang. Normally, she would have expected her lover to say 'sexual intercourse' or 'participated in coitus' or something along those lines. Thanks to Jane's influence, Maura did not use textbook terms for sex in the bedroom, but she was still uncomfortable using such 'unprofessional' language outside of it.
"You have to drink, Jane," Maura patiently reminded her girlfriend. "It's the rules." Still stunned, Jane took a swig of her afternoon coffee, heavy on the sugar.
Abbie also drank, and so did Serena, which caused Alex to grin. "Oh, are you both thinking of the story I'm thinking about?"
Serena laughed. "Actually, we did it in the photocopy room near Branch's office. Aside from the black eye I gave Abbie afterward, it was pretty amazing."
Abbie did a mock half-bow from her seated position. "I try. Oh, and we actually DID do it in McCoy's office "
"Oh, I didn't know about that one," Alex said, looking interested.
"And the bathroom," Abbie added. Serena wrinkled her nose with distaste.
"I still say that's unsanitary "
"At least it's better than a morgue."
Jane shuddered. "Ew, no. Maura and I have NEVER done it in the morgue. That's just wrong."
"My morgue is perfectly sanitary," Maura argued. Jane gave her a long-suffering look. "But it would still be a very poor choice for such activities," she conceded.
"I may or may not have visited Olivia in the crib " Alex said evasively.
Abbie laughed. "Oh jeez And I slept in there once or twice who knows how many other people used it for that? Ew."
Alex frowned at her. "This is coming from the woman who regularly has sex in both my guest room and master bedroom."
"That's not at work, and I was talking about other people, not you. We're practically sisters by now, Cabot. I already have your cooties."
"This conversation is making me extremely uncomfortable," Olivia said. "Whose turn is next?"
"I have one," said a familiar voice that still had the power to make Alex stand at attention. "Never have I ever been in jail." Everyone froze. Olivia stopped eating her pancakes mid-chew, and Serena nearly dropped her coffee mug.
Her hand shaking slightly, Alex took a drink from Olivia's glass, deliberately using the extra time to conceal her embarrassment and replace it with a well-practiced, neutral expression. "Hello, Your Honor," she said, standing and tilting her hips to move past Maura and Abbie, who gave her a reassuring pat on the behind. Alex made a mental note to hurt Abbie later. "This is certainly unexpected."
Maura and Jane looked on in confusion as Alex stood perhaps not to greet, but to defend herself against the strange woman who had approached their table. Although not beautiful, she was impressive in a grand, powerful sort of way despite her age. "Who is that?" Maura mouthed across the table to Jane, not adding breath to her words. She knew that her detective was adept at reading lips.
Jane's shoulders shrugged. She had no idea. And so Maura decided to play investigator and look for clues. The woman was older, a few decades older than Alex, probably too old to be an ex. Their physical structure had almost no similarities, so she doubted that they were relatives, but she disliked making assumptions without conclusive DNA evidence. Human reproduction sometimes produced strange results.
Perhaps the biggest clue came when she returned her attention to Alex. The blonde woman was acting very differently. Her posture had improved, even though she carried herself well even in casual situations. This was not the same Alex who had captivated the dance floor by gyrating seductively to Apple Bottom Jeans the night before (and she had known all the words).
Ah, a colleague at work, then. Perhaps someone she had to answer to.
Jane nudged her foot under the table, obviously trying to remind her not to stare, but she continued for the sake of scientific research. A recent UCLA study had concluded that up to 93% of communication was nonverbal, and right now, Alexandra Cabot looked like she was mentally armoring herself for some kind of jousting tournament.
"-Your Honor. This is certainly unexpected."
It clicked. Maura's imagination supplied the black robes and everything made sense.
"I could say the same, Ms. Cabot. I see your habit of placing yourself in uncomfortable situations both inside and outside of the courtroom hasn't changed. And as for you, Ms. Carmichael, have you finally succeeded in cloning yourself, or is the woman on the other side of the table some kind of relative? God help the female population of Provincetown either way."
Abbie looked positively thrilled. "No such luck!" she sang, apparently feeling no need to stand up and face the infamous Lena Petrovsky on even ground. "We just met last night. That's Jane Rizzoli, Boston Homicide, and this is Dr. Maura Isles."
"I don't blame you for the confusion," Maura said. "Serena made the same mistake. Their cranial structure is remarkabl-"
"Shh, Maura!" Jane's foot nudged her calf under the table again. "Um, it's nice to meet you, ma'am," she said, getting unsteadily to her feet and pushing past Serena to shake hands. The shorter blonde lawyer was content to look on with amusement and not draw attention to herself.
"Lena Petrovsky," she said. "How refreshing to meet someone with good manners." Alex frowned. "Oh, don't look at me like that, Cabot. You have good manners when you aren't busy grandstanding or trying to find ways to twist the law without getting caught."
"Coming from you, Your Honor, that sounds almost like a complement," Alex said dryly. She suddenly realized that, since she was no longer an employee of the New York County's District Attorney's Office, she could treat Petrovsky any way she liked.
"It was. And Detective Benson, please stop glaring a hole through my head. I promise I haven't come to send Alexandra off to jail again."
"No, that was her fault," Olivia said. "I'm just shocked to see you in jeans and a sweater."
To everyone's surprise, Petrovsky laughed. "What, did you think those robes were attached or something?"
"I hope not." Abbie smirked.
"Ms. Carmichael," Petrovsky said, sounding slightly bored, "what have I told you about making sexually inappropriate comments in my courtroom?"
"This isn't your courtroom."
Petrovsky raised one eyebrow. "I happen to know your boss."
Abbie did not seem concerned. "I'll wear a short skirt."
"No, you won't. Leonard is a creeper," Serena muttered. She was not particularly fond of Abbie's boss, who seemed far too interested in both of them whenever she met Abbie for lunch or dropped off some papers she had forgotten (Abbie was a brilliant attorney with a gift for improvisation, but not particularly organized at times).
"Astute as always, Serena. But no more so than Seinfeld."
"Did you just call Seinfeld a creeper?" Alex asked disbelievingly. She had never imagined a conversation quite like this ever taking place with Petrovsky even in her worst nightmares. And Petrovsky had made several appearances in her nightmares over the years.
"Actually, I believe Jamie Ross said it first."
Abbie folded her arms proudly over her chest. "Yep. Slept with her, too."
"Oh come on, I don't even believe half the stuff you tell me anymore." Olivia rolled her eyes.
Maura shrugged. "Abbie is very attractive," she pointed out. "I believe she would not have a difficult time finding romantic partners."
"I'm going to pretend you're saying that about me since we look so much alike," Jane added.
Olivia would not be deterred. "But Ross, Abbie? You slept with a judge?"
"She's attractive, and she wasn't a judge then," Abbie protested. "Besides, she's got a husband and twins now, I'm not a homewrecker."
"No, you just like to make my life miserable."
"And here I thought that was my job," Petrovsky said. "Good for you, Ms. Carmichael. I'm glad someone has taken over bothering Alexandra in my absence."
Abbie grinned. "I knew I liked you! Pull up a chair!"
"And so the ferret jumped out of Korsak's trench coat and landed right on top of Jane's head I'm not sure which of them was more afraid, the poor ferret or Jane, because she was running around in circles and screaming for someone to get it off her."
Jane sighed, putting up with the humiliating story because she knew Maura enjoyed telling it. It was definitely not one of her proudest moments. "And, of course, the reporters who were there took a lot of pictures. Her face was on the front of the local news page the next day. I think there's even a video on youtube "
Abbie took out her iPhone. "Ooh, let me find it! What should I type in? Cop Attacked By Wild Ferret?"
Maura grinned deviously. "Go for it."
Petrovsky leaned in to look at the screen over Abbie's shoulder with unabashed interest. Serena was still laughing into the palm of her hand. Jane rolled her eyes. "Hey, Maura, maybe I should tell the story about the time you showed up to our ball game in a wetsuit."
"It wasn't a wetsuit, it was a therma-"
"It looked like a wetsuit or some kind of alien Halloween costume."
"I did hit the ball, if you remember," Maura said, sounding proud instead of embarrassed.
"You're a baseball fan, Jane?" Olivia asked. Jane nodded. "You'd get along great with our friend Casey Novak, then. Wait you're not a Yankees fan, are you?"
"Ugh, no! Red Sox all the way. What do you think I am, crazy? Anyone walking around in Yankees gear anywhere near Southie would get their face smashed in."
"That's an exaggeration, Jane. In most circumstances, I think they would only receive mild drunken harassment on game days and perhaps dirty looks on an elevator."
Alex grinned wickedly. "Olivia has a Yankees hat and shirt," she told Maura.
"Casey gave them to me!" Olivia protested as Jane started to glare at her. "You know I root for the Mets, you're just trying to cause trouble! I'm not out to shed blood over baseball, but Casey is a hardcore Yankees fan and I want to make sure she won't kill Jane if they ever run in to each other sometime in the future."
"Oh my!" They were both interrupted by a startled exclamation from Petrovsky, who was laughing at the image on Abbie's iPhone.
"You are so materialistic," Serena said, glaring at her lover. "She had to get one as soon as it came out she thinks it makes her hotter or something." Alex, who also disliked iPhones (although she was a Mac user, much to Olivia's chagrin), was nonetheless intrigued enough to take the device from Abbie so that all three of them could see.
"Damn, Jane, watch out for that tree," Abbie drawled after watching a miniature version of the detective run face first into a sturdy trunk that happened to be nearby. "Ouch I bet you looked like the dog had been keepin' you under the porch after that mess."
Maura looked confused. "Why on earth would Joe Friday be keeping you underneath a porch, Jane?"
Olivia patted her arm. "Don't worry, Maura. None of us understand Abbie most days, either."
Fortunately, Alex understood what she meant, having been a frequent 'test subject' for Abbie's colorful slang. "It's a Texan saying that means 'ugly', which I assume she was after the bruising," she clarified, still laughing at the video. "Ferret: 1. Jane: 0."
"Was the ferret all right?" Serena asked, since she couldn't see the screen.
"Was the ferret all right?" Jane repeated in a low, irritated mutter. "The damn thing was fine. Korsak rescued it before he helped me stop the bleeding."
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