DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SERIES: Part of the Holiday Shorts series.
Holiday Short - MLK Day
The detective and the ADA sat across the scarred table from each other. An empty pitcher and two half-empty glasses were all that was left of the happy hour brew they had shared. Ironically, there was nothing happy about their reason for meeting at the dimly lit bar.
They were drowning their sorrows after watching newly discovered video evidence in their latest sexual assault case. They were glad to have the evidence, and it certainly meant an airtight case for the prosecution, but seeing the damage that the dregs of humanity were capable of inflicting, took its toll on the squad and the ADA.
The waitress came by to collect the empty pitcher. "Can I get you ladies another pitcher?"
Olivia looked at Alex, who shook her head. "I'm not sure we can go another pitcher. How about just another glass each?" the detective asked.
"Coming up," the waitress said as she took the pitcher and left.
Alex raised an eyebrow. "You know, Monday may be a holiday, but today is only Thursday, and I do have court tomorrow."
"I know." Olivia nodded and displayed her trademark smirk. "I also know that you don't have to be there until ten. Besides, one more is not gonna render you incoherent."
"Says you. I haven't put away this much beer since college. However, it seems that one effect it always had on me hasn't changed. Will you excuse me for a moment?" Alex stood up and held on to the edge of the table as the alcohol head rush hit her. "Make that two effects - I'm not sure I could pass a field sobriety test right now." Olivia smiled as she watched the ADA regain her equilibrium and make her way to the ladies room.
When Alex returned from the restroom, she sat down and looked at the detective's face. "You look tired, Liv. Are you sure you want to have another?"
"Yeah. Don't feel like you have to stay. I'm just not ready to go home yet. Some days being alone helps, but days like today, seeing what we saw, I feel like I need be around people. I guess it's a need to restore my faith in humanity." Olivia took a sip of her beer. She wanted to tell Alex that the real reason she wanted to stay was because she found her to be incredibly attractive, even though she didn't think she would ever stand a chance with her. She had no reason to think Alex was anything but straight, and even if she weren't, Olivia was certain she was out of her league. But it was fun to dream.
Alex studied the dark-eyed detective who sat across from her and wondered what was going through her mind at the moment. Her expression was pensive, and just a little vulnerable. And it wasn't often the detective revealed a vulnerable side. "In that case, I'm flattered that you invited me to join you. And to be honest, I'm grateful for the company tonight also," Alex admitted as she raised her glass to Olivia and then took a sip. Normally, she probably wouldn't have been quite so open, but the alcohol had lowered her inhibitions just a bit, so she admitted her thoughts to the detective. "I really admire you, Olivia."
The detective's eyebrows skyrocketed. "Why?"
Alex shrugged. "I'm amazed that you can see what you see everyday and still be normal."
Olivia scoffed. "I'm far from 'normal', Counselor. And you see everything I see."
Alex shook her head. "No, by the time they get to me, the wounds are scarred over, literally and figuratively. You see them when they're raw and bleeding." She paused. "I'm not sure I could do that."
Olivia shrugged. "Somebody has to." Olivia looked at Alex and felt like the blue eyes were really seeing her for the first time, not just as a hardened detective, but as a human being capable of feelings and emotions that were better left unspoken when it came to the job. The feeling made her shift in her chair, and she rolled her empty glass between her palms to give her hands something to do. She was thankful when the waitress showed up with their fresh drinks to break Alex's gaze.
The tension now broken somewhat, Alex shook her head as she looked at the full glass that had just been placed in front of her. "I can't believe I let you talk me into another beer."
Olivia shrugged again, glad she was no longer the focus of Alex's attention. She could only imagine what it must be like to be cross-examined by the ADA on the witness stand. She decided she needed to lighten the mood a bit, before she had enough beer in her to lead her to reveal something better left in her mind. "You scored impressively higher than you should have on my unofficial field sobriety test. You walked an almost straight line to the bathroom." She grinned at Alex's surprised look. "You said you couldn't pass, so I was watching." She left out the fact that she was also checking out her ass in that very form-flattering skirt she was wearing.
Alex rolled her eyes. "I'll just tell Judge Preston tomorrow that it's your fault when I show up for court with a terrible hangover."
Olivia smiled. "You know that'll just give her a reason to bang that gavel of hers extra hard."
Alex grimaced. "At least it's not Petrovsky. She still hasn't gotten over the last time I pissed her off."
Olivia chuckled. "Yeah, what is it with you two?"
Alex shook her head. "I think she just hates me."
"I think it's just the opposite. I think she really admires you, so she holds you to a higher standard."
Alex scoffed. "Oh, please. What's to admire? She thinks I trampled all over the Constitution during the Cavanaugh case." Olivia was surprised that Alex mentioned the case that earned her a month's suspension and the true ire of the Judge.
Olivia gave her a sheepish look. "Well, Alex, you kinda did. But you did it for the right reason."
The last comment surprised Alex. She was really seeing the detective in a whole new light. "So you really think the end justifies the means?" The ADA held up her hand. "Wait, don't answer that. This conversation is getting way too deep and way too serious for the amount of alcohol I have consumed."
"We'll save that discussion for another time then." Olivia had always wanted to ask Alex about her motivations during that case, but was afraid to bring up the subject.
Alex nodded. "So is this what you usually do to try and forget the really bad cases? Drown your sorrows?"
Olivia shrugged. "Sometimes. Other times I run or work out."
"No wild nights out or pick-up bars for you, huh?"
Olivia chuckled. "Not really my scene. I'd love to say I go home and have mind-blowing sex, but that would require a willing partner to have it with. What about you?"
The ADA stared for a beat as if trying to decide how to respond. "Assuming that wasn't an invitation, I'm without a willing partner at the moment also."
Stunned, Olivia stopped mid-sip, her glass just inches from her lips. She thought back to what she just said and her eyes widened. "Uh, what I meant was-" Then she saw the corners of Alex's mouth turning up in a smile and a gleam in her eyes. Olivia's own eyes narrowed. Was Alex actually flirting with her? Two could play that game. "Why would you assume it wasn't an invitation?"
Alex shrugged innocently. "I've really had no reason to ever think you were attracted to me."
Olivia continued to stare. While she had readily admitted to herself that she was attracted to Alex, she had never really contemplated what she would do in this situation. Hell, she had never dreamed she would be in this situation. She opted for the legal tactic of answering a question with a question. "And why wouldn't I be?"
"The better question is why would you be?"
Olivia shook her head and laughed. She should have known better than to try and beat Alex at her own game. "God, you're such a lawyer."
"Is that good or bad?"
"Depends on how you look at it."
"Let's go with the good."
"OK. I told you before that I thought Petrovsky admired you."
Alex looked a little surprised. "Wait, do you mean professionally or personally?"
"Both. First, the professional." Olivia used her fingers to tick off characteristics as she named them. "You're smart, you exude confidence in the court room, you're compassionate, thorough, did I say smart?"
Alex was shocked that Olivia was so quick to compliment her. "Wow. You make me sound like the poster child for the latest issue of Law Review."
"I'm not done yet. Here comes the personal." She started over with the fingers. "You're a sharp dresser, very classy, not to mention beautiful, and those glasses " Olivia realized that she was coming dangerously close to crossing a line she may not be able to uncross.
"What about them?" The look on Alex's face was a mixture of curiosity and something almost daring Olivia to continue.
The detective knew she should stop while she was ahead, but the beer buzz had definitely loosened her tongue. "Well, they can be just plain sexy."
Alex's chin dropped. "OK, now I think you've had too much too drink because I could have sworn you just called my glasses sexy."
Olivia shrugged. "I just call 'em like I see 'em." She picked up her beer and took a sip, trying to be nonchalant. She was giving Alex a chance to laugh it off if she wanted to.
The attorney stared at Olivia for a moment and then her eyes took on a look that the detective couldn't quite decipher. She started to speak and then hesitated before beginning again. "We're not really talking about Petrovsky anymore are we?"
"I do think she admires the professional qualities I listed, but I guess I can't really speak for her opinion on the glasses," Olivia responded with another small shrug. "My opinion though, is that the glasses are a definite asset."
Alex cocked her head and seemed to have made a decision. "Really? The glasses? And I always thought they made me look like a librarian." She wasn't backing down. In fact, she seemed to be almost baiting Olivia to continue the conversation.
Olivia shook her head. "Oh no. Nothing about those glasses makes you look like a librarian. Admittedly, glasses make some people look rather studious. But others just look intelligent. And intelligence can be very sexy." She lowered her voice with the last sentence and looked directly at Alex.
The attorney shifted in her chair and reached into her purse. When she withdrew her hand, her long fingers were clutching her glasses. She slowly unfolded the dark frames and put them on. "So tell me, Detective, do I look intelligent?"
The question was asked in a sultry voice and removed all doubt as to whether Alex was flirting with the detective. Olivia nodded and looked directly into Alex's bespectacled eyes. "You look incredibly intelligent."
"All because of the glasses?"
"Well, not all because of the glasses "
Alex smiled. "So what about the old saying, 'Boys don't make passes at girls who wear glasses'?"
Olivia shrugged. "Boys may not, but girls certainly do. At least in my experience "
"And you've had a lot of experience?"
"I've had my share."
A smirk began to form on Alex's face. "So, I guess the glasses do for me what that leather jacket does for you "
A fleeting look of surprise crossed Olivia's face. "Makes me look intelligent?"
Alex smiled. "Incredibly."
Olivia returned the smile. "I never knew you were into leather."
"And I never knew you had a thing for glasses."
"Well, I guess we've both learned something tonight."
"So what do we do with this newfound knowledge, Detective?"
Olivia smiled. "I'd say we revisit the conversation about willing partners and see where it takes us."
Alex returned the smile. "We do have a long, holiday weekend coming up "
Olivia picked up her glass and offered a toast. "No disrespect to Dr. King, but I have a dream "
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