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.
SPOILERS: "Ghost", "Turmoil", "Hardwire", "Loss".

Kamikaze Romance


Gun Therapy. NYC, Present Day

Alex Cabot swapped out her normal black frames for a pair of yellow-tinted range glasses and settled the Bose sound mufflers on her ears. She hit the switch to her left and watched rather than heard a new target slide into place. By the time the target paper settled, the toned bare arms of the ADA were raised, gun at the ready and her gaze fixed. She drew in a steadying breath and then rapidly unloaded nine bullets into the now still target. A faint wisp of smoke wafted up from the now exposed and empty chamber. Alex blew out a breath, ejected the clip and laid the gun back down on the small shelf in the booth. She flipped another switch and watched with near watery eyes as the target drew closer to her. Regret and a bit of rage peppered the target.

When she had walked into the 1-6's gun range for the first time so many years ago, she was a completely different person and it seemed to her as if it was another lifetime ago. Now, the sight of the statuesque blonde brandishing the Ruger handgun was nothing new to the other cops and even some of the other lawyers who now frequented the gun range. 9/11 had put a lot of folks on edge and Alex had been no different. However, her true impetus was the seething young man who lunged at her in court during her second year with the Special Victims Unit. The compassionate and rather enigmatic Detective Olivia Benson had steered her to this very underground shelter of sorts a day later and changed everything she thought she understood about herself and what she wanted.

The first time, with Olivia at her back, a steadying hand on her forearm, and breath on her neck she felt the rush and power of the recoil. With Olivia at her back and her words of soft encouragement in her ear, she lost her grip on not falling in love with the older woman. If she had to pinpoint a moment and a day she had fallen for the compassionate and fiery brown-eyed detective, their intimate shooting lesson would have been at the top of the list. The truth was she couldn't pinpoint an exact moment because in hindsight she couldn't remember a time when she wasn't in love with the detective. As it was, their first moment of closeness at the gun range brought to the surface the brewing feelings that had been rising in her for nearly a year and a half.

Alex blew out a shaky breath as she inserted a full clip and took aim once more. This time her shots were measured as she exhaled with each pull of the trigger. With each forceful expulsion she tried to let go of some of the anger and frustration that had covered her in recent weeks. Before she squeezed off the last two shots Olivia's vicious words came back to her: "I'm putting in a request for a new ADA."

This was unlike any argument they had ever had. For years they had verbally sparred because they both operated from positions of passion. Where Alex was often cerebral and logical about the letter of the law, Olivia was driven by her instincts and compassion for the victims. In the end all the women ever wanted was justice for the victims, even if sometimes they needed to butt heads to get there. Perhaps it was the pressure of Alex being back for good or perhaps it was what lay unspoken between them – whatever the cause, it had obviously become too much for both women.

Olivia checked the time on her watch and quick stepped it down the stairs toward the range. She had been up and down every hallway and every office where she thought the bespeckled blonde might have been and here was her last resort: the range. Even the woman wasn't here she knew she was going to have to do penance on her doorstep. It wouldn't be the first time.

Olivia ran a trembling hand through her hair and steadied herself as she pushed in the door. A volleying echo of gun shots rang out as the door swung closed. She looked over into the pit and could easily scan the shooters. She grimaced with concern when she didn't immediately see Alex, however, upon a second look she saw that the woman was standing at the Range Master's booth and signing her paperwork.

As if she sensed the older woman, Alex looked up from her bag where she deposited her locked gun in its case, and immediately found Olivia's eyes. Alex took a deep breath and turned back to the Range Master.

"Night, Kevin."

The Sergeant nodded at the counselor and offered a good night in reply.

Alex moved quickly across the pit floor and up the stairs. Olivia stood at the landing. Alex merely put her head down as if she was a bull about to charge a matador and brushed past the brunette without a word.

Olivia groaned inwardly as she hurried after the woman. By the time she hit the door Alex was all ready at the side street exit. Olivia jogged to catch the woman just as she pushed open the metal door.

"Christ, Alex! Stop please."

Everything in her told her to just keep moving. Just keep walking and don't look back. Instead, she hesitated at the top of the short stairwell and slowly turned around.

"Can I help you detective?" Blue eyes were filled with ice as she stared hard at Olivia.

"I, uh, I just needed to talk to you for a second."

Alex pursed her lips. "So talk."

Olivia inwardly groaned as she put her foot on the bottom step and looked up. Alex was very nearly scowling down at her. "You think we could go grab a cup of coffee?"

Alex rolled her eyes and stepped out onto the sidewalk just as the first cool drops of rain began to fall. "No, Olivia. I don't want coffee." She looked up at the sky and cursed under her breath. "Can we make this quick?"

Olivia ascended the stairs and stepped out into the soft rain. "I think I need to say something to you." Olivia was clearly regretful as brown eyes desperately searched Alex's eyes for some forgiveness.

"You think!" Alex scoffed. She shouldered her bag clearly ready to go.

"Fuck!" Olivia growled out. "C'mon Alex, give me a fucking break here." It came out with way more attitude than she had intended but obviously the frustration of the moment was getting to her.

"Give you a fucking break!" Alex stepped into Olivia's space until they were nearly nose to nose. Alex's cheeks were flushed with adrenaline. She quickly took a deep breath and stepped back in an attempt to calm herself. She lowered her voice to a near venomous hiss. "Fuck. You." With that she turned on her heel.

Instinctively, Olivia reached out and grabbed Alex by the elbow and spun her around. Immediately she regretted the aggressive action.

As she felt her arm jerked Alex reacted like any person who had lived in a constant state of tension for an extended period of time; she defended herself. Before she even thought about it, her free hand was moving as she was being spun. The moment she faced Olivia her hand connected with Olivia's left cheek in a resounding slap. The wet of the rain and the quiet of the evening made the sound echo.

The surprised detective stepped back and touched her face where the skin now pulsed. In shock, Alex covered her mouth with her hands as she realized what she had done. She hesitated and took a step towards the still dazed detective.

"Oh God, Liv," she breathed out the words. "I-I, I'm so sorry. So sorry."

Olivia ran her tongue along the inside of her cheek feeling for blood and found none. "It's okay. I'm fine." She avoided Alex's hesitant touch. "Really," she tried to soften her eyes, "it's fine." She grinned. "I probably deserved that."

"That doesn't make it right." Alex blinked rapidly as the rain began to pick up. She let go of a sigh. "Look Liv, I don't think I can do this right now." It was a completely honest statement.

"Then when?" Olivia was nearly whining. "Haven't we put this off long enough?"

Alex let out a pained laugh. "So now you want to talk?" She threw up her hands and then quickly wiped away a few strands of hair that had grown damp from the rain. "I've been back for six months, what does it matter now?"

Brown eyes searched the meandering traffic before looking up to find Alex's eyes. They both knew she didn't have an answer that made sense. Olivia's hand was now damp as she tucked her hair behind her ear. "So this is it? There's nothing left to do?" Her voice was weak.

The rain was picking up and Alex was grateful because she didn't know how much longer she was going to be able to stand out here and not cry. "I don't have a handbook and neither do you." She took a breath as her frustration began to rise again. "But, if you don't know what to say or do then I don't know how to help. Even though you've made it clear that I'm not what you want I 'm still here. I'm right here, right now." She stared into watery brown eyes and waited.

Olivia opened and closed her mouth in a desperate attempt to come up with what she thought were the right words. Her thoughts were jumbled and chaotic; her tongue tied. Olivia was at a loss. Alex was right and she was ill-prepared.

Alex shook her head and turned to flag down a cab. Olivia shoved her hands into the pockets of her jeans and just stood still. "I'm going to talk to Donnelly on Monday about your request."

Olivia almost didn't hear the statement as a cab pulled to the cab. Olivia moved as Alex reached for the door. "Alex, wait."

Alex rolled her eyes as she tossed her bag in the back seat and turned to face Olivia once more. "What Olivia?" she replied with exhaustion in her voice. She had one foot in the cab and one on the street.

"I took it back you know. I didn't mean it and I'm sorry that I even said it. I just-"she trailed off into a sigh. "Everything's a mess," she finally added after a breath.

Alex smirked. "I know you did." For the first time since they had stopped to talk her eyes softened as she regarded the brunette standing in the rain. She took a breath and got into the cab. "Get out of the rain Liv," she said softly just before she closed the door.

Olivia could only step back as the cab pulled away from the curb. She let her head fall back as she closed her eyes to the rain that pelted her face. If it were possible to drown in this weather she would have welcomed the pain, at least that way she would know it was still possible to feel. As it was, she was numb and the last thing she wanted to do was go home. She glanced at the street and contemplated a cab for a moment before turning on her heels and heading right towards the Subway. She passed a couple of bars and hesitated only once. Drinking was a viable option, but she knew it was pointless to drink to oblivion since was all ready in a hole of her own making. What she needed tonight was clarity and conversation. And maybe a shot of tequila. Or two. She chuckled to herself as she entered the station with her destination in mind.

Alex's words came back to her, "right here, right now." A lifetime ago she herself had pledge to always be there no matter and now, when she most needed to believe those words and enact those words she couldn't find the strength. How had they ended up here? Olivia sat down as the train lurched to life and let her mind wander for awhile. She tried to think of work, the last book she read, or even the last good burger she had, but as always her thoughts returned to Alex and those last few months they had together; those last few months when they had stopped dancing around the obvious and embraced the truth; those last few months of sweet beginnings and infinite possibilities; those last few months before the world stopped.


Apparitions. NYC, 2004

When the plane had finally touched down at JFK, Alex thought she was going to lose her lunch. As the black Suburban finally exited the Lincoln Tunnel, the former New York ADA, made Hammond stop the car so could expel the churning acid in her stomach. Beside her on the leather seat, Hammond watched with some concern but mostly understanding. A year ago when they had made this ride in the opposite direction the counselor had been shell-shocked. Now, she was anxious and exhausted and ecstatic all at the same time.

It was no secret that she was happy to be back in New York and after she threatened to do him bodily harm if he didn't let her see Olivia and Elliot, it was obvious why. For the record, she was back in New York to testify against Connors, the man who had "killed" her. Off the record, she was back to see Olivia Benson. Alex used a handkerchief to dab at the corners of her mouth and wipe the clammy perspiration from her brow. She gave Hammond a shaky smile as they started moving once again.

"Did you call?" There was an edge to her voice.

Hammond nodded. "I told you I would and I did. They are at the DA's with orders not to move until I get there."

Blue eyes flashed wide with anger. "You didn't tell them why?!"

"Easy, Alex." He held up his hands almost in defense, fully expecting the woman to attempt to hit him. "The line was far from clear and you know it. I'm going way off procedure to do this, so please, let me do my job."

Alex huffed and rolled her eyes before turning her head and looking out of the tinted windows. He was right and she knew it. Suddenly as the she watched the Manhattan skyline come into view she remembered that she was just happy to be back home – even if it was temporary. As they maneuvered the familiar streets Alex felt her heart begin to beat wildly as they drew closer to the precinct. Absentmindedly, she began biting at her pinky nail. It was a bad habit that she had begun about six months ago and now found herself doing whenever her nerves were at the breaking point.

The only thing that filled her mind was her last image of Olivia.

It was the dead of night when she had opened the door of another black SUV and stepped out to greet the flabbergasted detectives. As Alex locked eyes with the stunned brunette it took everything she had not to run into the other woman's arms. All she could do was hold onto the door frame with her good arm, the one not in a sling, to keep from falling. For a brief moment, neither woman said a thing – they didn't have to. Blue and brown eyes displayed relief and regret.

It was Olivia who spoke first with tears filling her eyes. "Your funeral's tomorrow."

At the sound of the woman's voice Alex could no longer keep her tears at bay. She mustered a smile more for Olivia than for herself. Her voice caught in her throat a bit as she spoke. She had wanted to say, "I love you." She had wanted the detective to swallow her in an embrace and promise her it would work out. She had wanted to taste the lips that she had so briefly tasted for the first time after the night of the car explosion. The night she had spent at Olivia's nestled in the detective's protective arms as they slept soundly for what would be the last time. Perhaps the only time. She had wanted so much for none of this to be happening, but as she held Olivia's gaze they both knew that their anger was futile.

Alex barely remembered saying her goodbyes to the detectives as she got back into the car and the door closed. She could fee her body going numb as the tears streamed from her eyes. Suddenly, a quick knock against the glass startled her. She pressed the button and the window opened. There was Olivia, face full of tears, fingertips resting on the half opened window. For a second she thought the woman was going to open the door, but instead she reached in and cupped Alex's cheek with her hand.

"I'll be right here." Olivia's voice was nearly hoarse. "Tell me you know that?"

Alex nodded as she held Olivia's face to her hand. "I know that."

The horn beeped as a testy Hammond was ready to go.

"Gimme' a fucking minute Hammond!" Olivia gnashed her teeth as she yelled. Her rage quickly subsided as she felt Alex's fingertips on cheek. "Right here." Finally, she leaned forward and pressed her lips against Alex's. The mix of salty tears and Alex's lip gloss nearly did her in as she felt her knees buckle from the bittersweet contact. The kiss lasted about ten seconds, but each woman attempted to make it last.

Alex eased away first as her lungs began to burn. "I know that," she whispered once more to Olivia.

Olivia nodded and stepped back as the window closed once more. She tapped the door signaling to Hammond that he could pull away. As the gravel crunched under the now moving tires, Olivia was sure her heart was being crushed. She stood completely still as she watched the black Suburban disappear into the night. It was only when she felt Elliot's hand her back that she knew she had to move again.

"Liv?" He spoke her name quietly and almost with hesitance. He wasn't sure if the woman was going to collapse or implode. He got his answer quickly, as she turned at his touch. The broken look on her face told him everything he needed to know. He stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her. Olivia didn't resist the contact, instead she relaxed against him, touched her forehead to his strong shoulder and sobbed. There would be time enough for questions tomorrow, even though he was sure he knew all the answers. Instead, he merely held his partner as she grieved and quietly promised himself that he would help her keep it together.

The soft bell broke Alex from her reverie and signaled that they had reached their destination. With Hammond to her left and two Marshalls ahead of her Alex stepped off the elevator and actually contemplated kissing the worn tile. As they headed for the ADA's office Alex took a deep breath and remembered why she was actually here.

As they opened the door, a smile came to her face as she saw a pacing Olivia Benson cross in front of Casey Novak's desk. Her hair had gotten a little longer, but she remained the same.

Perhaps it was the silence in the room on the tiny hairs standing on the back of neck that made Olivia stop her angry pacing. The cryptic phone call from Hammond had unnerved her. Was it about Alex? It had to be. Velez? Was he dead? Her mind was racing and then suddenly it stopped as she sensed a change. She looked up and there was the face she had been dreaming about non-stop for nearly a year.

Blonde hair was curtailed in a ponytail and she was obviously wearing contacts, but her eyes were still soft baby blue and as far as Olivia was concerned, she was still perfect. Olivia fell back against Casey's desk and smiled fully.

Alex met shiny brown eyes and smiled back. "Hi everyone." Even though she addressed everyone she never took her eyes off Olivia.

"How?" Olivia breathed out as she stood up. She suddenly remembered she was in Casey's office with Elliot, Casey, and the Captain. "How?" she asked once more in attempt to sound less awed.

Alex bit her lip to keep from giggling. "Connors." Brown eyes grew wide in recognition. "I, uh, don't think I can stay." She gestured towards Hammond. "But you two are on babysitting duty tonight."

Olivia fell back against the desk once more. "Good to know." Her brain was on overload.

Elliot smirked and picked up her slack. "Just tell us where to be."

Alex smiled graciously at Elliot.

"And good to have you back Cabot."

Her smile grew wider at the sound of her name. And with that she exited the door flanked by her bodyguards and the room grew silent once more. It was the obviously clueless new ADA who broke the quite.

"Uh, somebody want to tell me what's going?"

Surprising everyone, Olivia answered as she stood and shook her head as if clearing it of cobwebs. "That, Casey, was Alexandra Cabot." Olivia headed for the door.

Casey Novak furrowed her brow briefly and then opened her eyes wide as realization dawned. "Oh my. That was the Alexandra Cabot."

Elliot nodded and headed out of the door after his partner. "See ya' Cap'n."

Cragen bellowed from the door, "Tell Benson I want to see her before she leaves."

Elliot called back from the stairs, "sure thing Cap'n."

Cragen rolled his eyes as he gestured for Casey to have a seat. He and Elliot both knew there was about a snowball's chance in hell that the woman was about to do anything other than go home, pack a bag, and wait to go to the safe house.

Elliot held the door open for Olivia and wasted no time in grabbing his jacket. He didn't bother to hide his amused smirk as his partner brushed by him to enter the hotel room. Elliot chuckled silently to himself. "Be back in the morning, ladies." He closed the door himself, since it seemed the pair was locked in a rather intense staring match. "Good for them he thought." He checked his watch. If he made all the lights he could make it home before eleven. "Good for me."

Olivia let her bag slide to the ground at the foot of the bed as she watched Alex. She stood on the other side of a small table that still held the remnants of a checkers game. It was clear they were both nervous, but each woman had her reasons. There was no doubt that this was what they had both been waiting nearly a year to do, but there was also the reality of what was happening. Velez was still out there and that meant that Alex was still in danger. Olivia nibbled at her lip as she let out small sigh and removed her jacket.

Alex adjusted her glasses nervously and watched the detective as she eased out of her leather jacket. She felt a tear threaten as she thought of the last time she had seen the detective in the jacket. Alex turned and faced the closed curtains. She needed to pull herself together. Wasn't this what she had asked for? She had promised to make Hammond a Eunuch if he didn't do exactly what she asked and he had and now she was at a loss. Maybe this wasn't the right thing? It certainly wasn't fair. This was all selfish and they all knew it. She didn't have to testify, but she had wanted to come home. She had wanted to come home to Olivia.

Olivia could see that the former ADA was scared and she assumed she knew why. Being back couldn't be easy and having to face the man who shot her was definitely no walk in the park. Olivia let her have her space as she sat down on the lone Queen-sized bed in the room. She decided to lighten the mood. She glanced at the table once more. "So, were you beating up on Elliot? I can't imagine you let him beat you at checkers."Alex remained silent as she stared at the loopy pattern in the dull curtains. She sighed. Maybe this had been a mistake. Olivia scratched the back of her neck and let out her own sigh. She tried a different approach. "Alex, you going to talk to me?" She wasn't forceful in her request. "I mean, I'm happy to just watch you stand there all night, but I…" Olivia trailed off unsure of what to say next.

The sound of her name from Olivia's lips made a fresh tear roll down her cheek. Alex wiped at it angrily and refolded her arms across her chest. "Emily," she began softly.

"Huh?" Olivia was unsure of what the woman had said.

"In Wisconsin, where I left, that's my name. It's Emily."

"That seems nice." Olivia didn't know what else to say.

Alex snorted sardonically. "Emily's got this nice life and she's married to a claims adjuster who whispers Emily into my ear at night."

Olivia felt the bile rise in her throat. Of course she had a new life. She wouldn't expect anything less. They had pulled her back here. Tears were on the verge of falling and Olivia didn't try to hold them back.

Alex could hear Olivia draw in a breath of surprise. The statement was only half true. On paper she was "married" to a claims adjuster, but they were both in the same boat. They were both hiding from some other life. She turned to find Olivia sitting on the bed with fresh tear tracks glistening on her face. Alex felt her heartache.

"It's hard pretending to be someone you're not." Olivia choked out the words and then ran the palm of her hand across her face.

Now Alex was fully crying. "And it's absolute bullshit." She hugged herself and bit down on her trembling lip. "Complete bullshit. And I don't know why I said that to you. Maybe I wanted you to be angry with me."

Olivia stood and gave the woman a lopsided smile. "You think being angry with you is going to get rid of me."

Alex laughed and both of them felt the tension began to dissipate. "I guess I do know you a little better than that." She smirked with confidence.

Brown eyes twinkled as Olivia stepped towards Alex. "You know me a lot better than that." They stood a few inches about. Olivia opened her arms. "C'mere."

Alex closed the small space between them and fell into the detective's strong arms. For a few minutes they just held onto one another seemingly content just to be in each other's presence. The former ADA buried her nose in the crook of Olivia's neck and inhaled deeply. As her nostrils filled with the heady musk of spice and earth that was Olivia Benson, Alex felt a new tension rise within her. As she pulled back she met Olivia's velvety brown eyes and she saw the same desire and need that had been rising in her since the moment she reentered New York City.

Olivia didn't waste time with questions or cute quips as she looked into soft blue eyes and saw Alex's need. In the next breath they were kissing furiously and wrestling with clothing. Olivia practically clawed at the blonde's back as they attempted to make up for lost time. Olivia wrapped her arms around Alex's slim waist and lifted the woman off her feet. She moved forward until they came in contact with the wall, all the while their mouths remained locked in a delicious battle.

Suddenly hands were everywhere in a rush of energy. It was Olivia who eventually gained control by grabbing a hold of Alex's slender wrists and pinning them to the wall above her head. The action caught the blonde by surprise as they both took a moment to catch their breaths. Olivia's mahogany colored eyes held Alex to her spot as she released her wrists and placed her hands on her hips. Olivia just stood there for a moment and marveled at the woman.

She raised her right hand and with her fingertips, she teasingly traced a trail from Alex's moist lips, down the column of her neck, stopping to dip in the hollow of her throat, before blazing tingling fingertips across her collarbone, between her breasts, around her belly button until they finally came to rest on the top button her jeans.

If Olivia's plan had been to slow them down then it was a monumental failure. Her momentary pause to survey the woman before her only worked to add fuel to the fire that was all ready burning recklessly out of control. Alex had been a good girl long enough and they both knew it as the former counselor licked all ready wet lips and then grabbed the back of Olivia's neck and pulled her close.

Once again their mouths crashed together in flurry of lips, teeth, and tongues. Olivia reached down and gripped Alex's denim clad ass as they began to writhe against one another. When standing upright was no longer an option, Olivia gripped Alex's thighs and lifted the svelte woman until her long and lean legs were wrapped around her waist.

Alex anchored her long fingers in Olivia's dark hair as the detective guided them blindly towards the bed. All the while Olivia attacked the hollow of the blonde's neck with her mouth. "Jesus Christ Liv," Alex moaned out as they tumbled onto the bed. "I need you so bad." Her breath was labored as Olivia began to tug at her jeans. "Please, Liv I'm about to come out of my skin."

Olivia let out a growl of frustration and want as she wrestled with the woman's jeans. She barely had time to step out of her own jeans before Alex was wrapped around her like a second skin. She wasted no more kisses as she tore away the thin cotton material that was keeping her from her goal. She nestled her head between Alex's thighs and immediately covered her clit with her mouth.

Alex let out an ecstatic howl that the cops stationed outside the hotel probably heard. Olivia gripped her thighs tighter as she draped on long leg over shoulder to give her better access. For Alex, the sensation was so overwhelming that she clutched at the bed sheet, the comforter, the pillows and eventually the headboard in an effort to keep herself tethered to the bed.

Olivia quickly added two fingers to her oral ministrations as she felt the body beneath her grow taut with impending release. It took everything Olivia had not to fall over the edge herself as she plunged into Alex's heat. Alex's hips rose off the bed as Olivia surged into her over and over again. Her entire body pulsed with energy and she gripped the headboard tighter as she felt every nerve in body tense.

Her words came out in gasps of breath. Between the Gods, fucks, and Christs, she even managed an I love you before giving into the white hot heat that was engulfing her body. For long moments they lay together, in a maze of limbs, simply breathing. It was Alex who stirred faces, threading her fingers through Olivia's hair. She looked down and found dark chocolate eyes staring back at her. She smiled and tugged gently on the brunette's hair gesturing for her to move.

With a satisfied grin, Olivia crawled up the former counselor's body until they were eye to eye. She pressed soft butterfly kisses to the woman's nose, eyelids, cheeks and lips eliciting a soft giggle. As their bodies pressed together the y both moaned at the contact. With a quick twist of her hips Alex rolled them until she was atop the pleasantly surprised detective. For a moment she just rang her fingertips across Olivia's lips, before dipping her head to suck a full bottom lip. She closed her eyes as she tasted herself and she shuddered as a small aftershock pulsed between her legs.

"How am I going to let you go in the morning?" Alex whispered what they were both thinking.

Olivia cupped Alex's cheeks and kissed her soundly. "Who says you have to?"

"What, you want to run away with me?" She gave Olivia a lopsided grin.

Olivia paused before answering. "If you asked me to I would."

Alex laughed nervously, but saw no wavering in the detective's eyes. "You'd really walk away?"

Olivia ran her fingers up and down the blonde's back. "If it meant that we could really give this a chance to work, then of course I would." She let go of a soft sigh. "But as it is, you may leave here tomorrow and who knows when I will see you again." Olivia swallowed hard, determined not to cry again.

"Then I guess that means we have to make tonight last." She winked and stole a quick kiss.

Olivia chuckled, happy that the mood had not completely been broken. "I mean we can nap, if you want to rest." Olivia pretended to yawn, but a strong thigh pressed between her legs and she couldn't fight the languid moan that came from her throat.

"Was what that detective?" Alex licked the older woman's neck.

Olivia shivered as her eyes glazed over with want. "What was the question?" Alex let go of a breathy laugh and captured Olivia's lips in a pulse raising kiss effectively ending any conversation.

Morning was still hours away and neither of them wanted to waste what was left, knowing that tomorrow would only bring uncertainty and questions that neither of them had the answers to. For now, they lost themselves in one another and promised each other nothing but the present moment. In the morning, Eliot would give them as much privacy as he could, letting them ride in the back seat of the sedan together as Alex buried her nose in Connor's file with one hand on the folder and the other firmly ensconced in Olivia's hand. It would prove to be their final touches.


Brother from another mother. NYC, Present Day

Olivia exited the station and headed for a familiar apartment building. The rain was falling a bit harder now, but she refused to quicken her pace. Alex had been right to walk away from her earlier. Since the woman had returned to SVU Olivia had done nothing but hide. She had hidden from herself and she had hidden from Alex.

The pensive brunette folded herself up in her anger and her fears and she turned a blind eye to the silent and sometimes not so silent entreaties of the younger woman. She blamed her failed relationship with Kurt, she blamed her half-brother, and she blamed Sealview, but in truth she was to blame. She was the one who shutdown and shut the other woman out because it was easier and because she had convinced herself that it would hurt less. Instead, the last six months had been torture because she couldn't do the one thing she had promised so many years ago: to be here.

Olivia was nearly soaked by the time she reached the covered entrance. She smiled at the doorman and he waved her in with a grin. As she made her way to the apartment door she said a silent prayer. If she walked away without any answers she wasn't sure where he next options might lay.

Fin looked at his watch once more in annoyance rather than disbelief, as the light knocking on his apartment door sounded once more. With an eye roll he muted ESPN, put down the Sam Adams he was drinking on the coffee table and headed for the front door. He peered through the peep hole and smirked. He probably should have been surprised to see a rain-soaked Olivia Benson outside of his apartment, but as they had grown closer over the last few years, not much began to surprise him about the brunette.

Even though Olivia was never one to bare her soul freely, the two shared a quiet bond that was borne out of mutual respect and similar circumstances. Where Elliot's advice was often sage, brotherly, and tinted with the angst of Roman Catholicism, Fin's advice was gritty, pragmatic, and focused on self-preservation. In other words, it was often Fin as of late who was unflinchingly honest with her. The experience at Sealview and Olivia's near-rape had solidified what they both knew to be a true friendship. Maybe he was a little overprotective of her and surely, she knew she could lean on him, but they were both content and found no need to voice their obvious connection.

He opened the door and gave her a head nod by way of greeting. She walked into the apartment and immediately stripped out of her jacket and shoes before closing the door. Fin walked to the kitchen and retrieved a beer before grabbing a towel out of the linen closet. They met in the living room. He handed her the beer and the towel and then sat back down in his leather recliner.

They sat in silence for a few moments as Olivia ran the towel through her hair roughly and then took a deep swig of the cold beer.

"So what's the word, sis?" His question was not meant to prod just really to say hello.

Olivia ran the towel over her face once more and then draped it across her left shoulder before sitting down on the matching couch. She gave a half-shrug in response and grinned. "I think I fucked up." She shook her head as if disgusted with herself and took a sip of her beer.

Fin smirked. "Do you want to fix it or just console yourself?"

She shrugged and sank back into the supple leather of the couch. "I don't know if consolation is possible, so I guess fix it."

They sat silent for a moment and drank their beers. "An apology is obvious." She rolled her eyes at him and he chuckled. "A replacement?" He shook his head in disbelief and Olivia hung her head in regret as her words came back to her once more. After another moment of silence, Fin spoke. "Can I ask why?"

Olivia looked up with blood-shot brown eyes and smiled sadly. "Does because I'm an asshole suffice?" She downed the rest of her beer and stood. "Need another?" She gestured towards Fin's near empty beer. He nodded and she headed for the kitchen. Fin waited for her to get back, sensing that she needed a moment to step away, lest she continue the crying that she had obviously done before she reached his apartment.

She handed him a beer before sitting back down. "The truth is," she began as she pulled her legs up onto the couch and tucked her legs underneath her, "I thought I could handle having her back at SVU, but –" she trailed off.

"What do you mean you can't handle it?" He scoffed. "What? You can't handle seeing her? Talking to her? What's not to handle?" He sipped from his beer and added with a laugh, "you still dating that newspaper dude?"

Olivia made a gagging noise and laughed despite herself. "Yeah, um, no." They both laughed. "But that's what I mean." She fidgeted in her seat. "What was I thinking?"

"I think you were thinking, Liv. You were thinking too much. I know you've got the brooding thing down to a science, but you might need to ease back on this one and stop trying interrogate the situation."

A slight but genuine smile came to her lips as listened to Fin. "You think I'm a fool don't you?" His comeback was too easy, so instead Fin just raised an eyebrow and drank from his beer. She caught his facial expression and nodded in agreement. "Perhaps fool is a bit of an understatement."

Fin stood up and sat down on the coffee table directly in front of the brunette. It would have been easy to pile on her, but what she needed was the truth tempered by hope. "If it makes you feel better I can think of some names to call you and fool would not be at the top of the list." He waited until she made eye contact. "What is it that you want from her?" He asked. "Be honest." Brown eyes looked down to the carpet and then back up to Fin. "And don't give me some bullshit about not knowing."

She grinned sheepishly. They had been through enough for her not to lie, that's why she showed up here instead of Elliot's doorstep. Elliot would have immediately been on her side and eager to do what he thought was best for Olivia. "I guess I just thought it would be easier to start again." She shrugged a shoulder. "There's no handbook for what to do when the person you thought you were in love with comes back for good."

He looked at her skeptically. "You thought?"

She smiled. "Fine, the person you know you were painfully in love with." They laughed. "Christ, Fin, she's changed. I've changed."

"We've all changed!" He finished for her a bit dramatically. "That's only natural, Liv. And I hoped she changed. She just spent the last five years being somebody else. What, you think she doesn't love you anymore? Cause if that's the case then screw foolish, you are deaf, dumb and blind."

Olivia rubbed her forehead as if a headache was beginning to form. Fin was right. "So what do I do? Throw myself at her feet and grovel? She's the one who came back and didn't even pick up the phone. Shouldn't she do the same?" Olivia was almost petulant.

"At the risk of being insensitive and crass, grow some balls Liv." Brown eyes went wide at the implication. "I'm serious. Watching you two is like watching a baby learn to walk."

She grinned. "That bad, huh?"

"Well, I mean it's kind of painful to watch but eventually we all know you're going to get there. Unfortunately, it lacks the sexual tension of your earlier fights. I much prefer those to all this angst. Not sexy at all." He winked and she laughed.

"I guess that's what I mean. I'm so angry because it takes so much energy to pretend that she doesn't affect me."

"Then stop." He offered nothing else as he drank from his beer.

"That's your wise advice." She arched an eyebrow in challenge.

"Shit yeah!" He finished his beer and gestured for her now empty one. "You want my Dear Abby impersonation?" They fell into an easy laughter. He headed for the kitchen and quickly returned with another beer, two shot glasses, and a chilled bottle of Patron.

Olivia's eyes grew wide. "It's going to be one of those sessions, huh?" She accepted the beer and the shot glass as he sat down on the couch next to her and put down the bottles.

"You know how we do." He bumped her shoulder and then poured two shots. "I figured if we are concocting a plan than we need all matter of wisdom. And if that doesn't work then at least you'll be too drunk to remember." He handed her a shot glass. They touched glasses and tossed the cool liquid back.

They shared a conspiratorial smile. "That is some good tequila." Fin just nodded. "So, help me out here, how do I fix this?"

With a straight face he replied, "fuck if I know." It took two seconds for a sly smirk to come to Fin's lips. "I'm just messing with you, Liv." Olivia let out a sigh of relief. "Fixing this is going to take some serious finagling and perhaps the suspension of disbelief."

She groaned and eased back into the corner of the couch. "I just wish I could go back." She drank from her beer. "I wish I could have said the right thing, picked up the phone, or just tried harder to get her to go home with me that night."

Fin watched the woman and listened. "Velez," he said quietly. Olivia just nodded. "I'm not going to pretend to play that game and you shouldn't either. The thing is she's back. Right here and right now. There is no Velez, there's no Witsec, there's no outside force, babe. So what's holding you back?"

Olivia creased her brow in thought for a moment. Finally she let go of a soft chuckle. "That just leaves me." It was an honest admission.

"Bingo." He clinked his beer bottle against hers. "If you want her, you gotta' go get her. Swing from the rafters, yell from rooftops, act a fool."

"Caution to the wind." Olivia smiled. "Rip it. Roll it. Punch it." She added the quote for her own amusement. Fin looked at her in question. "Too much Nemo with the young Eli." They both laughed.

"Whatever works." He patted her knee affectionately. "But young Stabler may be on to something. There's no use in being scared or afraid of the damage. The damage is done." He saw Olivia cringe and he managed a smile of support for her. "But," he started, making sure he had her attention. "I'm willing to bet she wants to fix this as much as you do. The bad news is you hurt her feelings. The good news is she didn't immediately leave. "

Olivia groaned. "Fuck my life! I am an ass."

"Yes, you are. We've established that." He snickered and Olivia gave him the middle finger in an act of playful defiance. "But, the counselor likes your ass, which is the only reason why she's still here. And speaking of that, you need to clear this up a.s.a.p. It's going to take more than flowers and dinners and foot massages."

"Do I need to plan all that?" Her eyes were beginning to glaze over a bit.

He laughed. "You're cut off." He put his own beer down on the table. "You need to go to her and talk to her. You need to put it all out there and say what you want and what you need. Be honest, even if that means you have to go down in flames to make it clear. "

Olivia ran a hand down her face in an effort to fend off the beginnings of exhaustion. "I can do that." She looked him in the eye as she spoke confidently. "I can definitely do that."

Fin smiled back happy to see some spirit seep back into brown eyes. "Then that's all you need."

Olivia nodded in agreement and then sneezed. "Great."

"Maybe you should also go home and take a hot shower." He grabbed her beer. "You can stay if you need to, you know."

The brunette rubbed Fin's arm in thanks and stood. "Thanks for the offer, but I need to sprawl out in my bed." She sneezed once more. "And clearly take some medicine." She headed for the doorway and eased back into her shoes. "Fin, I," she started but Fin waved her off.

"Don't get all weepy woman," he said through a grin as they embraced for a quick hug. "Go home, take care of yourself, and then take care of your business."

She eased back into her slightly drier coat. "Thanks for having my back."

"I always got your back, sis, you know that."

Olivia placed a quick kiss on his cheek and headed down the hallway to the elevator. Fin watched her get on and let out a pleased sigh as he closed his front door.

The detective caught a cab instead of walking in the rain and all but worked out her plan to get back into the ADA's good graces. If she was going to convince Alex that they could indeed start again, she was going to have to be fearless. Unfortunately, the fever that was building in her body was the same fever that would eventually incapacitate her for a day and would ultimately land her in jail accused of murder with no alibi in sight, keeping her from the ADA and her best laid plans.


Paging Marty McFly

Nearly two weeks later Olivia was cleared of all charges and back on duty. Her first day back was greeted with catcalls and handclaps of support from her colleagues. With chagrin she soaked up the well wishes and then looked for the first opening to get out of the building so she could find the counselor. It would take her nearly all day to leave, but when she did her only priority was finding Alex, who had done well to avoid her. As she stepped outside the precinct for the first time in hours, she knew on instinct where she would find the woman who had proven herself unreachable through any form of technology.

Central Park had always been a safe haven for Olivia during her first few years in SVU. Sometimes she would just go and lean on the railing around the reservoir and watch the ducks and the runners. Other times she would find a bench and try to wrap her mind around the degradation she saw at work. What had once been a site of solitary meditation became a place of comfort for both women after Olivia brought her to this very spot to deal with her own inner demons during her first year at SVU.

She found the counselor sitting on a bench in the park, back to the runners jogging around the reservoir, eyes not really focused on the path ahead of her. It was nearing dusk, foot traffic was sparse as most were making their way out of the park and headed for their homes. Olivia put her hands in the pockets of her leather jacket and made her way down the incline to the lawyer's left and clearly in her line of sight. Only the nearly imperceptible lift of her eyebrow gave away that she saw the detective. A hint of a smirk pulled at the corner of the detective's mouth. It had nothing to do with cockiness, but with pride at the alert counselor. She also was privy to the handgun the woman carried, so she knew sneaking up on the woman was not even an option. Olivia finally came to a stop in front of the bench and simply stood for a moment and openly admired the ADA.

For her part, Alex did not pretend to be startled by the detective's presence. Instead she took a cleansing breath and looked up with steely blue eyes. When she saw Olivia swallow the lump in her throat she finally looked away and focused her icy stare on an imaginary spot on her tailored black slacks.

When Alex had finally stopped staring through her, Olivia rubbed a hand across the back of her neck. The ends of her freshly trimmed hair brushed against her fingers. After their last conversation/ sparring match she knew this was going to be a kamikaze mission, but it was a mission she had no choice but to take.

"I came to say thank you." It was Olivia who spoke first. Her voice was void of anger or even bravado. In fact, she seemed contrite and perhaps a bit exhausted.

Alex lifted her head and met brown eyes turned amber in the waning sun light. She nearly looked away, but she willed herself to look at this woman, willed herself not to collapse. "It was the least I could do." Her voice wavered at first but she finished strong.

Olivia took a step closer to the bench, not sure if she had permission to sit down and less sure that permission would be granted. "I wasn't thanking you for Trevor," she started. Alex arched an eyebrow in surprise. Olivia stumbled over her words, "I mean, what uh," and then stopped and took a breath. She suddenly felt like a witness before a hungry prosecution. "Let me rephrase, thank you for calling Trevor." Alex nodded in acceptance and waited for her to finish. "But really," she picked at a piece of peeling paint on the back of the bench. "Thank you for believing me." She met Alex's icy stare and prayed to see signs of thawing. No such luck. At least not yet, she hoped. "For trusting me," she added. She immediately regretted the additional words as Alex breathed deeply and looked away.

Olivia cringed on the inside. Kamikaze mission indeed. She tousled her slightly shorter hair, threw good sense and caution to the wind and sat down on the bench. While Alex did not bolt she did stiffen immediately, as if frozen. Olivia leaned forward and looked down at the ground between her feet. She rested her forearms on her thighs and touched her fingertips together.

Alex was grateful for the flock of birds that chose that moment to leave one tree for another. It gave her a moment to gather herself and it also covered what she was sure the deafening machine-gun staccato of her heartbeat. She took another cleansing breath and silently berated herself. She should have left when she had the chance, but she knew Olivia would track her down and they would have it out one way or another. The ADA had been sitting on this bench for nearly an hour contemplating what the brooding detective had angrily suggested a month ago. Perhaps, it was time to leave SVU behind. There seemed to be nothing left for her now. And now here she was with all her leather and swagger twisting the knife in deeper by showing remorse.

"You deserve the best. Asshole or not, that's Trevor." She gave a half-smile that she didn't feel and glanced at the woman out of the corner of her eye. Olivia still focused her eyes on the ground. Her shoulders moved as she emitted a small chuckle at Alex's words. "And you're welcome."

Olivia turned her head to the left a bit so she could look at Alex. They locked eyes for a moment and as usual Olivia lost all ability to think straight or form words. She blinked and chuckled quietly to herself before looking away.

"Something funny?" Alex pressed her palms into the wood of the bench and braced her arms. Her words came out with more venom than she had intended.

Olivia sat up and turned her body towards Alex, but still kept nearly a foot between them. Nervously she ran a hand through her hair. She searched hard for her words, mentally sorting and editing so that she could get it just right. For a few breaths she just met Alex's eyes and willed the woman to hear her. Whether it was imagined or not, Olivia convinced herself that she saw some of the ice behind the counselor's eyes melt. She openly admired the woman next to her. She took her time taking in the delicate features of the woman's face. The pale pink skin, the set and determined chin, all ready kissable lips made more tempting by a thin layer of gloss, sculpted brow, and of course the glacial blue eyes framed by the simplest of black frames.

Alex could feel the weight of Olivia's stare as if the woman were actually pressing against her. She could feel her lips tremble as she allowed herself to drown in the amber-brown of the detective's eyes. She gripped the bench tightly, steeling herself against the invisible force that seemed to have always tethered them together throughout the years. Now more than ever, after all that had happened, she wished she could sever that bond; she wished she could just get up and walk away.

"What do you want to say detective?" She tried to keep it formal even though they both knew it was of no use.

The seasoned detective continued to watch the woman at her side and she registered the defensive posture and noticed the barest hint of trembling. She had seen this look in many a frightened child and especially a wily perp.

"Beautiful." Olivia never broke her stare with Alex as she spoke. The word obviously flustered the ADA, as she could only open and close her mouth in response. A wide smile spread across Olivia's face and she watched as Alex stiffened her back and tried to look way.

"Absolutely. Undeniably. Beautiful."

Alex took in a breath and this time she did turn away. She focused on a pair of racing squirrels that scurried up the side of a tree. Her tears were going to betray her very soon. She bit back the want to cry and instead stuck her chin out and pursed her lips much in the same way she did when she was about to tear into a witness on the stand. She turned cool blue eyes on Olivia, opened her mouth to speak and suddenly found that her words died on her lips. The older woman had closed the small space between them and now sat with her left arm draped across the bench. She smiled rakishly. There was no mistaking the obvious desire in brown eyes

"Whether you're pissed, happy, drunk, in pain or even ecstasy," she paused to take a breath and saw a sliver of a smile tug at the corners of Alex's mouth. "Simply. Beautiful." Olivia's heart beat wildly against her ribcage.

Alex let her head tilt back as a tear escaped. Her lips fully trembled and she captured her bottom lip in between her teeth to ground herself. Olivia reached out as if to wipe away her tears and Alex held up her hand. "No." She took a deep breath, steadying herself. "You don't get to do that. You don't get to make me smile or laugh and make it all better."

The wide smile shrunk to a grin as Olivia dropped her hand to her lap. "You're right. I know it doesn't work like that." Olivia looked down at the ground and saw Alex shift in her seat. Without looking up she spoke, "if you get up and walk away you know I'll follow you." It was Alex's honest laughter that made her look up this time in a bit of surprise.

A smug grin came to the lawyer's lips as she finished laughing. She wiped at the errant tear and met Olivia's gaze. "You would wouldn't you." She watched as the brunette nodded and she looked at her openly for the first time since she had sat down. No matter what changed about them as they got older Olivia's eyes always remained the same. They could be warm sepia pools of light or sometimes chocolate or near black at the height of passion. In her eyes she could read everything she ever needed to know about the woman. It had taken her years to be able to look her in the eye and not shy away from the passion and the strength that were always constant in her eyes. The corners of her mouth raised into a half smile.

"You remember the words to that song?"

Olivia watched a myriad of emotions pass across Alex's face. She shrugged her shoulders and furrowed her brow in response.

Alex didn't wait for an answer as she spoke, "Fuck you." Her tone wasn't completely void of anger, but it was cheeky enough that Olivia only smirked as she tried to remember the words. Alex continued, "and your untouchable face." Olivia immediately smiled in recognition. "Fuck you," she breathed out the words with just a hint of an attitude to punctuate the syllables.

Olivia finished the line, "for existing in the first place." Simultaneously the women both sighed and shared a short laugh. Olivia took a chance and cupped Alex's cheek. The younger woman did not flinch as they both leaned forward and let their foreheads touch. "You gonna' go all righteous babe on me now," she joked.

Alex smiled and pressed her hand against Olivia's as they shared the same air for a moment. "My God, we are monumentally stupid." The women pulled apart to look at one another but neither moved out of the other's space.

"Stupid, counselor?"

Alex grinned. "You'd think we'd get this right by now." Olivia nodded in understanding.

"Perhaps some other lifetime," Olivia half mumbled to herself.

Alex held up her hand stopping Olivia's next words. "If you break into the Indigo Girls then I'm leaving." She was half kidding and they both knew it.

Olivia played coy. "I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about." She arched a mischievous eyebrow.

"I've seen your cd collection, detective." This time she used the title playfully.

Brown eyes rolled to the sky. "That's cause I stole half of them from you." They shared another bittersweet laugh.

Alex untangled their fingers and looked back out at thin wave of walkers and joggers. "I repeat, monumentally, inexplicably, stupid."

"Is that your academic opinion?" Olivia kept up the light tone, desperate not to lose Alex's attention.

"Oh, Liv," she said in a sigh as she looked at the woman again. "You know what I mean. We have wasted so much time it's nearly inexcusable. Four years. Four years of long looks, sleepless nights, and verbal tété-a-tétés. And for what?" She reached out and ran her thumb across Olivia's bottom lip causing them both to shiver at the contact. "For one night. One deliriously, frantic, perfect night."

Olivia pressed a whisper of a kiss to Alex's thumb as she pulled her hand away. She could see that neither of them regretted that night, but instead they longed for the promise that had yet to come to fruition. "That night got me through a lot," she quietly admitted.

Alex nodded. "Who are you telling," she quipped. She ran a hand through her hair and smiled wistfully and then sighed. "And I guess that's it." She half shrugged. "If we've made anything clear in the last few weeks it's that whatever we had is long gone." It hurt the younger woman to say it, but perhaps it was time to accept the possibility. She avoided Olivia's eyes.

Olivia took in a sharp breath. She hadn't meant to show her surprise, but there was nothing she could do to hide it. "Is that what you think?"

Blue eyes grew wide behind black frames as she met Olivia's gaze once more. "Olivia, you questioned my ethics." She blew out an exasperated breath and focused once more on the dueling squirrels. "Hell, two weeks ago you told me to find a new job." Alex was too focused on the animals to notice the expression of regret that now shown on Olivia's face. "What am I supposed to do with that? I've done everything but get on my knees and beg. But still, it's like we can't even be in the same room without you glaring at me. Do you hate me that much?" The question came out weakly, but she needed to know.

Olivia hung her head and secretly wished for a lightning bolt or boulder to fall out of the sky and crush her. That pain would have been bearable. "That's not what I'm thinking." The words were low and nearly inaudible.

Alex bent her head to hear. "What?"

Olivia raised her head and looked up to the sky briefly. No sign of lightning. "I just said that wasn't what I've been thinking. And I don't hate you. I tried that. It didn't work." She broached a glimmer of a smile.

Alex was starting to grow frustrated again. This was the dance they always did and her feet were decidedly sore. "Then what were you thinking Olivia?"

Olivia glanced at her and realized that the window of opportunity was fast closing. She slapped her thighs as she sat up straight. "That's it," she said quietly. "That's it," she said once more but a bit louder.

Alex scrunched her brow and watched the woman in confusion. "What's it? Are you answering my question?" Anger was creeping back into her voice.

"That's it." This time Olivia was near enthusiastic. She slapped her thighs again and stood. Alex sat back in complete confusion. "That's it. I've got a genius idea." A wide smile crossed her face.

Alex raised her glasses and pinched the bridge of nose in a show of annoyance. "Detective," she began sternly.

Olivia just smiled and made eye contact with Alex. "I know what to do." Her conversation with Fin came back to her.

Alex rolled her eyes and readjusted her glasses. "Liv," she warned. "I don't want to play."

Olivia reigned in her smile and took a breath. "Hear me out Alex." When the blonde only folded her arms across her chest without a word she took that as permission to start talking. "You are right about how much we've wasted. You're right about how massively stupid we've been, so let's, let's just start over." She waited a beat and got a quizzical eyebrow raise in response. "We can just start over."

Alex watched the woman for a moment to make sure a third arm wasn't going to pop out of her neck or some such other alien feature. "That's your genius idea?" Alex shook her head and smoothed out her pants in preparation to stand.

Olivia held up her hand to stop her. "So you don't think it will work?"

Alex chuckled and smiled at the obviously insane detective. "Just like that, huh?" She snapped her fingers for emphasis. "We forget all that's happened and just start over?" Sarcasm dripped from her words.

"Yes, just like that." She snapped her fingers as well and grinned wildly. "It'll be just like, you know, Dallas or Dynasty. Whichever."

Alex let out a throaty laugh. She looked into brown eyes and saw that the woman was completely serious. "So, no long apologies? No relearning each other? A reset button and all is forgiven? We just erase nearly ten years and fake like it never happened? "

Olivia stood directly in front of Alex and nodded. She knew how crazy she must have sounded, but she had promised to be honest with herself and honest with Alex. "Well, not quite ten years, maybe just six months."

Alex was quietly amused but as she regarded the standing woman, she could see that Olivia was absolutely sincere. Blue eyes met brown and Alex nervously grinned. She allowed herself to get lost in the warmth of Olivia's eyes and she almost wanted to believe the woman, but she wasn't there yet. "That's all?"

"Exactly. Think about it. The day you showed up on the courthouse steps looking like you walked up to Anna Wintour, slapped her in the face and made her dress you." Alex didn't fight the smile that the image evoked. "We hadn't seen each other in years and the first thing out of your mouth when you see me is 'hi' and I say 'hey' and we just stare until everything else goes away."

Alex now sat up straight as she allowed herself to be pulled into the woman's fantasy. It was physically impossible to turn back time, but listening to Olivia and watching the flecks of amber in her eyes as she spoke made her want to attempt to believe. "Till there's just us?"

"Just the two of us on those steps. No crime. No case. No cops. Just us -- you and I, staring into one another so that nothing else around us matters." Olivia could see that the lawyer was following her train of thought. Her words were filled with confidence and she spoke without hesitation. She continued, "And because I'm speechless I can only reach out my hand to you in the hopes that you'll grab it, because if you don't I'm sure to collapse." Olivia extended her hand to the still seated Alex as she spoke. "And finally you take my hand and I pull you to me. And then we collapse against one another because all we can do is hold on to each other because we both realize what this means."

She wanted to believe her. She wanted to go back and rewrite history and start over, but it didn't seem possible. Or was it? She found herself beginning to believe Olivia's words because she needed to. With a trembling hand Alex reached out and grasped Olivia's hand. Alex firmly gripped Olivia's hand and let herself be pulled to her feet. "And what do we realize it means?" Her words were soft and unsteady.

"That anything is possible." She drew Alex closer and wrapped both arms around the lithe woman's waist. It was ridiculously sappy and they both knew it, but in the moment it was perfectly true.

The moment she felt Olivia's arms around her Alex knew she would believe any scenario the brunette was willing to dream up for them. "And then what happens next?"

For a moment Olivia let herself get lost in the swirling tempest of Alex's eyes. "And then I press you to me close and bury my nose in your hair and feel my knees go weak because I've missed the mix of your shampoo and the light scent you wear. You nuzzle my neck and laugh because I still smell like I walked out of the earth and into a head shop."

Alex threw back her head in laughter and then leaned forward to do just as Olivia narrated. She nuzzled the strong column of her neck and breathed in the aroma of the woman. There was sandalwood and earth and rain and all that was Olivia Benson. Alex lifted her head and met brown eyes that were now molasses brown as the sunset burned the sky with orange. "And then what?" Alex no longer cared if this was all just a hopelessly romantic fantasy.

She needed to hear these words. No matter if it was possible, she wanted to believe it was.

"And then," Olivia paused as she cleared wispy strands of blonde hair away from Alex's cheeks. "Then we kiss. And we kiss and we kiss and we kiss some more." Both women found themselves closing the gap between their mouths ever so slightly.

"Until?" Alex breathed out.

"Until the sun goes down." Their lips were mere millimeters apart; they were breathing the same air.

Alex wrapped her arms around Olivia's neck effectively closing any space between their bodies. "Looks like you're going to run out of time." Alex used her index finger to curtail a shock of Olivia's hair behind an ear. "So after this time bending kiss what happens?"

Olivia licked her lips and purposefully touched the tip of her tongue to Alex's bottom lip. Both women whimpered at the contact. Olivia wiggled her eyebrows and pulled back just a bit. "Well, that's as far as I had gotten in the fantasy."

Alex just smiled and said, "beautiful." She traced Olivia's features with her fingertips. "Can I suggest that after this long overdue kiss that we venture back to my place and we divest one another of these trappings," she tugged at Olivia's leather jacket. "And we make love until our limbs give out." She watched as Olivia lost herself in the idea. "Still with me detective?" she teased. With glazed over eyes Olivia nodded. "Then we wake up tomorrow morning deliciously sore and I look deep into your eyes and tell you how sorry I am for being so scared for so long. And then I'll tell you that I'm leaving."

At those words, Olivia bristled, but Alex held her tight. Alex watched fear and hurt seep into features that were just moments ago filled with pleasurable and erotic thoughts. Still Alex held tight and calmed Olivia with a look and a caress to her cheek.

"And then I'll hold onto you tight just like I am now because you'll be scared and confused and you'll want to run, but I won't let you." She could feel Olivia begin to relax. "Once you're calm again, I'll tell you that what I mean is that I have to leave SVU. I'll explain to you how much I want you and need you and how I refuse to sacrifice my happiness for this job anymore. Maybe I'll go to Homicide, maybe someplace else, but it's time. You'll of course want to argue, but I will find some distracting way to silence you." Alex winked and got Olivia to grin. "Eventually, I'll explain to you that I'm tired of wasting the time we've been given—again. And if you feel the way I do then you'll know this makes sense. You'll know that it's too hard to stand in the same room with you and not be honest. It's too hard to have you walk in and out my office and pretend that I'm not thinking about how much I want to touch you and taste you and feel you inside me." At this Olivia tightened her grip on Alex's waist as her nostrils flared. For a moment Alex forgot where she was going with all of this as she felt Olivia's heart rate increase.

It was Olivia's turn to tease this time. "Still with me counselor?" She leaned in close till their noses touched. "And yes, I know what you mean." She pulled back just bit and moved her right hand from its perch on Alex's hip to cup a smooth cheek. "So, genius idea right?"

Alex shook her head with laughter and marveled at the woman in her arms. Could it be so simple? Everything else had been so complicated; perhaps simplicity was what they both needed. Simple. Undeniable. She held fast to darkening brown eyes and smiled. "I thought you promised to make the sun go down, detective." The title was now a caress.

Olivia now cupped the ADA's face with both hands. "Indeed I did, counselor; indeed I did." And with that they closed the small space between them fully and touched lips for a long overdue kiss. It was not the rushed or frenzied kiss of their last encounter. It was rather like kissing for the first time: a bit hesitant, exploratory, soft, and simmering. They pulled back for a moment and just allowed a comfortable silence to settle around them. They remained in the circle of each other's arms and shared another kiss that started languidly but quickly intensified as hands began to roam.

Alex had the good sense to blush as they pulled apart. "We should probably get out of the park."

Olivia arched an eyebrow in challenge. "You sure? I mean, there's all this grass." She grinned.

Alex playfully swatted the detective in the arm and reached for the older woman's hand. She tilted her head a bit as she gave the woman an obvious once-over. "Detective," she nearly purred, "my plans for you don't involve grass or midnight joggers. I've waited too long to share."

Olivia felt her face flush.

They would leave the park hand in hand and later lose themselves in one another's flesh if only to relearn what neither of them had ever really forgotten. They knew the morning would bring more questions than answers, but if this moment had taught them anything it was that they couldn't hide from one another. Much later that night the two women would lay tangled together in sheets sticky sweet with sweat and nowhere near sated, but somewhere very near content. They would stare at one another not with uncertainty in their eyes at what was to come, but with a solid promise to stay and fight for one another whatever the cost.

The End

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