DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my tribute to this weekend's FemSlashCon. I had certainly intended for it to be posted at the kick-off, but it just didn't happen. (It's hard to write while you're playing in the chat rooms!) Anyway, it's rather silly, but here it is. Hope you enjoy! In checking out organizations with conferences that the ladies here could be attending, I found the NCWP that I ended up using. Funny side note: on their home page, there is a welcome video for last year's convention by none other than Mariska!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To sunsetwriter[at]mindspring.com
SERIES: Part of the Holiday Shorts series.
Holiday Short FemSlashCon 2011
Olivia waited outside the main conference hall at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. She nodded silent greetings to several of the other meeting attendees as they made eye contact as they filed passed her. The first day of the conference was officially finished and participants would reconvene at seven a.m. in the morning for another round of talks and seminars.
Given the budget crunch they had all been feeling lately, Olivia had been a little surprised by the approval of her request to attend the 2011 annual leadership conference sponsored by the National Center for Women & Policing (NCWP). The captain had agreed that several of the symposia and training sessions offered at this year's meeting could be valuable and very applicable to the Special Victims Unit. The detective also guessed the fact that she didn't request lodging at the rather pricey Washington, DC hotel, because she was 'staying with a friend', might have helped in his decision. She could have also sworn that she saw a tiny smile on his face as he reviewed the conference agenda and its impressive list of speakers and course sessions.
Olivia smiled as a familiar face made its way toward her. "She did good," Abbie Carmichael said with a smile and her trademark Texas twang.
"She always does," Olivia responded.
Abbie rolled her eyes and shook her head. "And she has you wrapped around her little finger," she teased.
Olivia ignored her as she caught sight of Alex making her way toward the door. When the former ADA spied the detective waiting for her, she couldn't help but break into a wide smile.
"Good Lord," Abbie said with a snort as she watched her friends. "I'm not sure who's got it worse, you or her."
Alex was stopping to speak to various attendees who were giving their praise or asking questions about the talk she had just given on the state of legal proceedings being undertaken by the Prosecutor's Office of the International Criminal Court to protect rape victims and prosecute those responsible for the heinous crimes against women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
"So, what are you guys doing for dinner tonight?" Abbie asked as Olivia waited for Alex to join them.
"Alex has a speakers' reception to attend in about half an hour."
Abbie nodded. "What are you doing while she's there? Wanna grab a drink at the bar while you wait for her?"
"Actually, I'm going with her as her 'guest'," Olivia replied with a shy smile.
Abbie arched an eyebrow. "Sticking your toes out of the closet, are you?" she asked with a smirk.
Olivia smiled, but didn't acknowledge the attorney's sarcasm. "I would imagine that you're welcome to tag along with us. I don't think it's a ticketed event or anything."
"You want me to crash a private party at a convention full of cops?" Abbie asked with a skeptical expression.
"It's not a private party. Anyone who wants to meet the speakers can go. And besides, they're all female cops," Olivia replied.
Abbie contemplated that for an instant. "Sounds like fun," she said with a grin.
Alex, Olivia and Abbie walked down the hall toward the reception room.
"I promise I'll try to keep this as brief as possible," Alex said to the other two. "Then we can grab some dinner and go to this club you're so anxious to take us to," she added with a glance at Abbie.
Abbie smiled. "Take your time, but now that your closet door is ajar, I think you and your guest are gonna like this club."
Olivia glanced around the reception room as they entered and said with a smirk, "And I'll bet we won't be the only ones from this conference there tonight."
The three women headed straight to the bar where Alex ordered a glass of sauvignon blanc and Olivia and Abbie ordered bottled beer.
Ninety percent of the reception attendees were women, but there were a few men who were there as speakers or husbands of conference goers or speakers. A woman in a tailored pantsuit approached Alex and offered her hand in greeting.
"Ms. Cabot, I'm Jan Sigmund, Program Committee Chair. I just wanted to thank you for speaking at this year's conference and tell you what an excellent and informative talk you gave this afternoon."
"Thank you," Alex said graciously as she shook the woman's hand. "I was honored to be part of this year's program." Jan glanced at the other two women and Alex introduced them. "This is Detective Olivia Benson, Manhattan Special Victims Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Abigail Carmichael."
"I'm delighted to meet you all," Jan said as they all shook hands. "Please enjoy yourselves this evening, and I hope to see you here again next year," she added with a smile before moving away to mingle with the other guests.
A brunette, dressed in a dark suit, made her way toward Alex with a smile on her face. She was accompanied by an attractive blonde woman.
Alex smiled as the two women approached. "Agent Prentiss," she greeted the dark haired woman as they shook hands.
"Please, call me Emily. Excellent talk this afternoon. The work the ICC is involved in is certainly making some much-needed strides towards helping women. That's good to know," Emily said with a friendly smile.
"Thank you for saying that. It's a long road, but hopefully we're making a difference," Alex said in response. "I enjoyed your session on profiling this morning. That's such a fascinating field." She proceeded to introduce Olivia and Abbie to Emily and the FBI agent introduced her 'guest' to the group as Agent Jennifer Jareau.
A few minutes later, during a lull in the conversation, Abbie nudged Olivia with her elbow. She gestured with a nod toward an attractive woman in a designer dress and obviously expensive shoes who was looking curiously in their direction. "Do you know that woman over there?"
Olivia took a glance and said, "She doesn't look familiar, why?"
"She keeps staring at me," Abbie said out of the corner of her mouth.
Realizing that she had been caught staring, the woman smiled and walked toward the group.
"Well, looks like you're about to find out why," Olivia said.
"It really is uncanny," the woman said under her breath, but still loud enough for anyone to hear, as she continued to stare at Abbie. She stopped just in front of the attorney and extended her hand. "Please forgive me for my blatant staring, but you bear an absolutely uncanny resemblance to a friend and colleague of mine. I'm Dr. Maura Isles, Chief Medical Examiner for the city of Boston." Before Abbie could respond, Maura reached up with two fingers to Abbie's chin and tilted her head just a bit to examine her profile. "The facial structure and symmetry is identical." She stepped back and appraised Abbie from head to toe. "The physical stature and body proportions are the same," she said as she continued her assessment. "Although the couture is certainly improved," she added with a tilt of her head. When she realized that all eyes were now on her, she smiled and looked a bit embarrassed. "I'm sorry, but it really is amazing. You wouldn't happen to be related to the Rizzoli family from Boston would you?"
Abbie shook her head and almost laughed at the strange, but attractive woman. "No, I'm definitely a Carmichael from Fort Worth," Abbie replied, emphasizing her Texas drawl.
Maura gasped. "Even the pitch and timbre of your voice is the same as Jane's, but you have a different accent entirely."
Two more women, a redhead and a brunette, joined the group. "Dr. Maura Isles?" the redhead said to Maura.
"I'm Catherine Willows and this is Sara Sidle. We're from the Las Vegas Crime Scene Investigative Unit. I'll be serving with you on tomorrow's discussion panel on forensics and preservation of crime scene evidence."
"Oh, how nice to meet you," Maura said with a smile. Once again, introductions were made all around the group. All of the women were chatting and laughing when another two approached.
"Is this where the cool kids are gathering?" the shorter woman with dark hair asked. Her companion was tall with auburn hair and striking green eyes.
"It seems to be," Olivia said as she side-stepped to allow the two newcomers to join the group.
"Karen Sisco, U.S. Marshal's office and Sgt. Marley Novak, Miami-Dade PD," Karen said to the group. Then she turned to Alex and said, "Ms. Cabot, It's nice to see you again under much better circumstances. When I saw your name on the program, I was hoping I'd get an opportunity to say hello."
Alex smiled warmly as she remembered the kindness of Marshal Sisco during her brief stay in Miami on her journey through the witness protection program. "Thank you. It's nice to be back in my own skin."
Jan, the program chair, approached the group of women a second time. "Well, I'm always glad to see such camaraderie at one of our events. I just wanted to let you all know that the hotel bar has graciously offered a special on beer, wine and cocktails for all course attendees. Just show your name badge and you'll get your first drink free. Enjoy, ladies," she said as she made her way over to another group near the door to pass the word.
"Sorry I'm late, my loves, but I just made an amazing new friend," a woman with platinum blonde hair with pink highlights said as she approached Agents Prentiss and Jareau. Trailing along behind her was a young woman who could best be described as 'goth'. She wore all black, combat boots and had black pigtails and multiple tattoos. "But, did I just hear two of my favorite words?"
Emily smirked, "Derek Morgan?"
"No, silly, although those words do rank high on the list. Free drinks!"
Emily turned to the group, who had all quieted again to watch the newcomers. "This is Penelope Garcia, our technical analyst, and knower of all things worth knowing."
Garcia took a small bow and said, "Hello, magnificent women. This is my new friend, and possibly soul mate in a totally platonic way Abby Sciuto." Abby smiled and gave a small wave. "Abby is a forensic specialist at the NCIS headquarters right here in D.C. Can you believe we never met before?"
Emily looked amused and shook her head as she looked back and forth between the two of them. "I really can't, Garcia."
"So, free drinks. Who's in?" Garcia asked.
All the other women glanced between their respective partners and hesitated before answering.
"OK, suit yourselves. Abby and I will be in the bar if any of you care to join us." Garcia then spun around, grabbed Abby by the hand and led her from the reception room.
J.J. gave Emily a comical look. "I really thought they had broken the mold when they made Garcia, but apparently I was wrong."
The group began to disperse, with each pair declining the invitation for drinks at the hotel bar, stating that they had already made plans for the evening. Dr. Isles declined so that she could return to her room, call room service, and then do some online research. She didn't tell Abbie, but she was planning to search the anthropology literature for cases involving the incidence of identical physical traits in unrelated subjects. And she planned to call Jane just to check in, of course.
Alex, Olivia and Abbie decided that they had nibbled on enough hors d'oeurves to suffice for dinner, so they opted to change clothes and go directly to the bar that Abbie had planned to take them to.
Rosie's, named for Rosie the Riveter, was bustling with activity when they arrived.
Olivia smirked, "You just know that the owners of this place had to be thrilled when they heard a women's law enforcement conference was coming to town."
As they approached the door, they heard a loud voice.
"Sara! This is a lesbian bar."
They turned to see the two women they had just met from Las Vegas. Alex looked at Olivia. "Isn't that ?"
The three women watched as Sara gave Catherine a look. "Yeah, where did you think I was taking you?"
Catherine scoffed. "I'm not Sofia."
Sara looked shocked. "I'm well aware of that. And how did you ?"
Catherine rolled her eyes. "Oh, please."
Sara almost pouted. "Oh, come on, Catherine, we'll just have one drink and then leave. I don't want to go in alone like I'm there to pick-up somebody."
Abbie walked over to the arguing women, "Hey, Sara, right?"
Sara and Catherine looked surprised to see Abbie. "Oh, hey, yeah."
"You're welcome to hang out with us tonight, if you'd like," Abbie said and then she glanced to Catherine and smiled, as if to let her know she was off the hook.
"That'd be great," Sara said to Abbie. Then she turned to Catherine. "See you tomorrow?"
Catherine looked relieved. "Sure," she said as she opened to door to get back in the cab she had just exited. Looking at Abbie, she smiled and said, "Thanks."
Abbie smiled. "No problem."
Sara joined the trio and they all started walking toward the door. A voice from behind them said, "Well, well, imagine seeing you all here."
They turned to find Karen and Marley walking in behind them. Alex hung back to allow them to catch up. "Small world," she said to Karen with a smile.
"It gets smaller everyday," Karen replied. "It really is good to see you again, Ms. Cabot." Then she glanced toward Olivia. "And it's nice to see that you got your life back."
Alex smiled. She remembered the marshal being especially compassionate during one of the few times Alex had lost her composure during her time in witness protection. She had been holding a copy of the New York Times with a photo of Olivia escorting a suspect away from a crime scene. "Thank you. But since I'm about to buy you a drink, you have to start calling me Alex."
Karen smiled and the group entered the club together.
Olivia chuckled as she looked around the room. "Well, it looks like the gang is all here."
"No, we're missing the two agents from the BAU," Abbie said.
Olivia shook her head and nodded toward the other side of the room. "Nope, they're right over there."
Abbie laughed. "Well, I'll be damned."
Emily smiled and signaled for them to join them at the large table where she and J.J. were sitting. They all filed across the room and sat down as the waitress came to take their drink order.
"It's about time you all got here," Emily said with a smile.
Alex gave her an incredulous look. "How did you know we were coming?"
Emily smirked. "Isn't is obvious?"
Olivia returned the smirk. "She's a profiler."
Emily grinned. "And she's a good detective," Emily said with a wink at Olivia.
"So, what about the doc that was acting so strange?" Abbie challenged.
"Oh, I'm sure she went to call her friend who bears a striking resemblance to you," Emily said matter-of-factly. Abbie's eyes widened and Emily laughed. "Trust me. The way she was looking at you " J.J. nodded in agreement.
"You saw it too?" Abbie asked. J.J. continued to nod and so did several of the other women.
The waitress delivered their drinks and Olivia raised her glass. With a smile, she said, "Here's to what promises to be a very interesting conference."
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