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 - Groundhog Day
By sunsetwriter


Olivia sat on her favorite barstool at the end of her favorite bar. This was the place she most often found herself whenever she needed to escape from her life for a short while. Hardly any other cops frequented the place, which was exactly what Olivia liked about it. Charlie, the bartender, knew her favorite beer and always had an ice cold one in front of her as soon as she sat down. Charlie also knew to refuse the offers to buy her drinks from lonely guys on the prowl. They had a deal that Olivia would tip him an extra buck for every offer he fended off for her.

The guy two stools down from her was getting more obnoxious with every drink and Olivia was hoping that Charlie cut him off soon so he would just go away. He had tried to buy Olivia a drink when she first sat down and she politely refused. He then tried to chat and Olivia showed no interest, so he finally got the message and left her alone.

"Well, hellooo there." The drunk man was looking toward the opposite end of the bar. He flagged his hand at Charlie. "Hey, Chuck. Can I call you Chuck? How 'bout sending blondie down there a drinkie for me, wouldya?"

Charlie glanced down the bar at the woman and then back at the man. "No offense, buddy, but she looks a little out of your league to me." Olivia suppressed a smile and looked toward the woman, but Charlie was blocking her view. Olivia couldn't help but wonder if the woman had the same deal with the bartender that she did.

The man wasn't giving up. "Nah! Buy 'em a few drinks and you'd be surprised at how attractive I am."

"Yeah, I would," Charlie deadpanned. "What are you buying?"

"Whatever she's drinkin'!"

Charlie moved away to prepare the drink and Olivia looked toward the woman again. She was shocked to see the familiar profile of Alexandra Cabot sipping a martini. Charlie approached her with a fresh drink as Olivia watched the exchange. The bartender gestured toward the drunk man as he offered the drink to Alex. She shook her head and never even looked in the man's direction. Olivia could lip read 'No thank you' as she refused the drink.

Charlie came back and set the martini in front of the man. "She said thanks, but no thanks. You're 0 for 2 tonight, buddy."

The drunk looked at Olivia and muttered, "0 for 3."

Charlie tried not to smile. "Maybe you'd do better down at Babes?" Olivia recognized the name of a strip club. The man scoffed, belched, threw some money on the bar and left.

"Do you really want to send him to a strip club?" she asked Charlie as he wiped down the bar where the man had sloshed his drink as he dislodged himself from the barstool.

"No worries. They smell alcohol on him already, they won't even let him in the door." Charlie smiled as he picked up the cash and the untouched martini.

"Hold on. Add another olive and send it back to her." After their heated argument this morning, the least Olivia could do, was buy the woman a drink.

Charlie tilted his head and his smile slowly widened. "Well, that explains a lot."

Olivia rolled her eyes. "Don't get too excited there, 'Chuck'. I know her. We work together." She started to tell him that Alex was out of her league too, but she thought better of it.

"Likely story." Charlie added the olive and made his way back to Alex. He removed her now empty glass and set the new one in front of her. Irritation evident on her face, Alex was opening her mouth to refuse the drink, when Charlie held up his hand and turned enough that Olivia could hear him say, "From the lady at the end of the bar." Alex's mouth snapped shut and she jerked her head in the direction Charlie was gesturing.

Olivia smiled, picked up her bottle, and tipped it toward a very surprised Alex Cabot. As recognition dawned on Alex's face, she smiled, thanked the bartender, picked up the drink and returned Olivia's toast. Charlie stepped between them to wait on another patron and when he moved, Alex was gone.

A few moments later, a familiar voice sounded behind Olivia. "Thanks for the drink, Detective."

Olivia turned to face the ADA, martini in hand. "You're welcome." She turned the barstool for Alex to be seated. "Care to join me?" Alex sat down and placed her drink on the bar. Olivia gave her a sideways glance and said, "For a minute there, I thought I scared you away."

"On the contrary. I was intrigued. Especially after our… exchange this morning." Olivia gave a small nod and took a sip of her beer. "Of course, I just put myself in a position that you could dump this drink on my head if you wanted to."

"I know that you were just doing your job, Alex. And I hope you know that I'm just doing mine, or at least trying to." Olivia smiled and her eyes twinkled a bit. "But, you should probably be glad that drink wasn't within reach this morning."

Alex smiled as she nodded. "So this is a peace offering, then?"

Olivia smirked. "The groundhog predicted the frosty weather was over this morning, so it seemed an appropriate gesture." She tilted her head and looked at the ADA. "I'm sure we'll have differing opinions again, probably sooner than later, but I'm not too proud to acknowledge when I've overstepped my bounds. I hope you know it wasn't personal. I just have a strong gut feeling about this one."

"Olivia, I understand, but-"

"I know. We need the evidence to back it up. And we'll get it. We just need you to hold off on the plea deal for a couple more days. If we don't come up with something solid, then plead him out. You're right, three to five is better than nothing."

Alex saw the determination in the detective's eyes. She slowly nodded, amazed at herself when she realized that she was about to completely reverse her earlier decision, just because the beautiful detective asked her to. "I'm sure I can find a way to stall for a couple of days."

The detective breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you." Olivia paused as a smile began to appear. "I was really afraid you were going to make me dump that drink on you…"

Alex smiled. "I can see the headline now: SVU Detective and ADA in Barroom Brawl."

Olivia scoffed. "More like: Detective Takes Down ADA in Barroom Brawl."

Alex raised an eyebrow. "Don't underestimate me, Detective."

Olivia fixed her eyes on the attorney's, but any response she was considering was interrupted by Charlie's appearance. "Well, well, this definitely explains a lot." The bartender smiled at Olivia. "Can I get you ladies anything?"

They both declined the offer and Charlie winked at Olivia as he turned away. Alex gave Olivia a puzzled look. "What was that all about?"

"I have a deal with him to refuse drink offers for me. His tip goes up with every offer he fends off for me. But now he thinks he just figured out why I don't want men buying me drinks." When Alex didn't immediately catch on, Olivia clarified her comment. "In his eyes, I just picked you up."

Blue eyes widened for a moment and then Alex began to chuckle. "So it would seem. I guess we just moved from the headline to the gossip page."

Olivia laughed. "What? Detective and ADA Spotted Sharing a Drink?"

"I was thinking more along the lines of Detective and ADA Caught in Compromising Position," Alex said with a smirk.

The detective was surprised, but amused. "Since when is sharing a drink considered a compromising position?"

Alex smiled. "You underestimate me again, Detective." She paused briefly and then continued with a gleam in her eye. "The night is still young."

"Awfully confident in your abilities, aren't you, Counselor?" Olivia asked with a head tilt and a smirk of her own.

"You said yourself that cold weather was over," Alex replied.

"No, I said the groundhog predicted it," Olivia clarified.

Alex shrugged. "Well, I'd say things are starting to heat up quite nicely," she said with a smile as she finished off her martini.

Olivia looked at Alex for a moment and then downed the rest of her beer. She waved to the bartender and motioned to their empty drinks. "Hey, Charlie, another round?"

He moved down the bar, opened Olivia another beer, and made Alex a fresh martini. "So, ladies, what are we celebrating tonight?" Charlie asked as he placed the drinks in front of them.

Olivia cut her eyes to Alex and smiled. "That the groundhog did not see his shadow."

Charlie nodded. "That means it's gonna warm up, right?"

"Yep," Olivia responded, still looking at Alex, who smiled in return. "It already has."

The End

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