DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Here's a quick little ditty in honor of National Coming Out Day. Spoilers for the episode Fallacy
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To sunsetwriter[at]mindspring.com
SERIES: Part of the Holiday Shorts series.
Holiday Short National Coming Out Day
Benson and Cabot quickly claimed the recently vacated table in the busy coffee shop just down the block from the courthouse. An unexpected recess found them with an hour to kill as they waited for witness testimony to continue.
They were sipping latte's and chatting about nothing in particular when a young woman hesitantly approached the table.
Olivia looked puzzled for a moment. "Yes?"
"I don't know if you remember me I'm Allison. I met you last week at the group thing my brother goes to."
Recognition set in as Olivia smiled warmly. "Yes, of course, nice to see you again Allison."
The girl hesitated for a moment and then said, "I'm glad I ran into you because I wanted to talk you without my brother hearing me the other night, but " The girl glanced quickly at Alex and then back at Olivia.
"It's OK, this is my friend Alex," Olivia said, her concern for Allison's brother taking priority over any fear of Alex hearing the conversation. "Is your brother OK?"
"Oh, yeah, he's fine. I just wanted to say thanks for helping him. I knew he would be embarrassed if he heard me talking about him, but he's like a different person since he's been going to your group meetings. I was really afraid he was going to do something really stupid, but now He still gets teased but it doesn't seem to bother him like it used to. He said the night you came out to them changed his life."
Olivia's eyes darted to Alex for an instant, just in time to see a slight look of surprise cross her face, but she seemed to be intently listening to the young woman standing beside the table. The detective turned her attention back to Allison, but her mind began reeling with ways to explain the situation to Alex.
Allison continued. "He said you showed him that gay people are 'normal' people who have jobs and friends and are just like other people, only they're gay." She smiled. "That's why he asked me to go with him to his group meeting he wanted me to see first-hand how cool you are. I think you're his hero. Or is it heroine?"
Olivia smiled. "How about I just be his friend?"
Allison returned the smile. "That works too. Anyway, thanks." She offered a small wave as she walked away from the table.
Olivia took a deep breath and looked at Alex. "Well, this is awkward," she said, hoping for the best.
Alex tilted her head as she seemed to study Olivia for a moment. "It doesn't have to be," she replied.
Olivia took another breath and began her explanation. "The Cheryl Avery case really got to me. I couldn't stand the thought of kids going through what Cheryl went through her whole life. Being disowned by her family, and being the constant target of teasing and bullying, just for trying to be who she is. So, I took some mentoring classes and started volunteering at the Manhattan Gay and Lesbian center. I lead a support group that meets every other week for high school kids who are gay or questioning and don't have anyone else to talk to."
Alex was impressed, especially when she remembered the Avery case and the guilt she felt for simply doing her job. She had wished there was something she could do to help Cheryl, and here Olivia was, at least trying to prevent another person from suffering Cheryl's fate. "I think Allison's brother is very lucky to have found you, Olivia," Alex said softly.
"But you probably think it's hypocritical of me to tell these kids that it's OK to be who you are, when I haven't exactly been truthful with who I really am."
Alex shook her head. "Not really. I know how hard it is to be one of a few women in a male dominated profession and that just adds another layer. People can be very judgmental." She hesitated. "I just hope you don't think I'm one of them."
"No, I don't think that at all." She shrugged. "I guess it just never came up." Then she chuckled and shook her head. "Ironically, today is National Coming Out Day. Surprise."
Alex gave a small laugh. "If I'm completely honest, I can't say it's really such a surprise."
Olivia's eyebrows shot upward. "Really?"
Alex shrugged. "I have wondered on occasion, but like you said, it never really came up."
"Wondered? Like when?"
"I guess it does stem back to the Avery case. You just seemed, I don't know, more comfortable with Cheryl than others did. You were definitely more supportive to her than her own family and she seemed to relate to you too. I remember actually being glad that she had you to care about her."
Olivia huffed. "A lot of good it did."
"Well, in a weird sort of way, Allison's brother has Cheryl to thank for leading you to him, so maybe it did do some good."
Olivia smiled. "Thanks. So I hope I'm safe in assuming that this little revelation won't change our relationship," she said as she picked up her coffee cup.
"Well, again if I'm being completely honest, I think it does."
Olivia stopped mid-sip. She quickly swallowed and looked questioningly at Alex. "Oh. Well "
Alex smiled. "It makes me admire you even more than I already do."
"Oh," Olivia said again, this time smiling and trying not to blush.
"Which could be a problem, because I already admire you quite a bit." Olivia was a little puzzled by the almost flirtatious tone that Alex had taken. "And now that I know we play for the same team, who knows what could happen?"
Olivia blinked. "Pardon?"
"Like you said, today is National Coming Out Day. Surprise." Alex smiled as she took a sip of her coffee and waited for that to sink in.
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