DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: With the revelations about Elliot's home live in Season Six, this piece is now definitely AU. Everything up to Loss is fair game for possible spoilers, but Loss never happened in my little world.
WARNING: This story deals with the subject of rape and child abuse.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By kimly

Part Three

Olivia woke to wet heat bathing her neck and a gentle scratching across her abdomen. "Mmmm… if you're trying to convince me to give up my morning run in favor of other activities, move that hand of yours a little further south." She felt Alex smile into her neck but the hand repositioned itself over her heart. Guess that's a no.

Olivia's disappointment was short lived as Alex initiated a languid kiss. Well, that's not too bad…

They explored familiar territory thoroughly and slowly before Alex pulled away. She smoothed a lock of hair from Olivia's forehead. "I was actually hoping to talk to you," she said, seeming apprehensive.

Olivia wrapped her arms tighter around the blonde. "Since when do we need to schedule conversation?" Her tone was light, trying to get her girlfriend to smile. It was much too early for the serious look Alex was sporting.

Alex continued to play with Olivia's hair. "Never," she answered but the smile on her lips didn't quite reach her eyes. She took a deep breath. "While I was speaking with Kathy last night, something came up and I want to talk to you about it before your partner blind-sides you with it." She traced random patterns across Olivia's chest with a finger, connecting the few scattered freckles.

"Hey… what's so serious it's got you tied in knots?" She ran her hand over the tightness settling across Alex's shoulders. Running through and quickly discarding several options, Olivia could only think of one thing that would cause Alex so much stress. Oh, my God! "Sweetheart, have you changed your mind about having kids?" Olivia surprised herself by not feeling nearly as panicky as she thought she would.

"What?" Alex stopped her soft tracing, shocked at her girlfriend's assumption.

Olivia plunged ahead, wanting to reassure her lover that they could talk about anything. "Hey…" She continued to massage Alex's back. "You know I've never had any desire to have them myself, but being a parent to one of yours, well… I was hoping for a little more time alone with you, and I still don't think with both of us in our present positions it's really conducive to a stable home life, but we can figure that…"

Alex stopped her mid-ramble with another kiss. When she pulled away she was smiling broadly and this time her eyes matched her lips. "You're wonderful. You know that, Liv?"

"Well, I do have my moments…" She wants to have a kid… I can do this…

"That you do." She kissed Olivia again just because she could. "Thank you for wanting to make me happy, but I haven't changed my mind. I have no desire to make us moms, yet." Alex added that last thought on a whim. Although she had no immediate longing to become a parent, she knew herself well enough to realize her attitude might change in three or four years.

Thank god, I am not ready for parenthood. Relieved beyond measure, Olivia dragged her down snuggly against her chest, slipping her hands underneath Alex's top, mapping the contours of her back. Another kiss stole both their breaths. Olivia rolled them over, pushed up Alex's night shirt and trailed a steady stream of kisses and nips down her sternum and ribs in a direct path to warmer places.

Before Olivia could completely inch Alex's pants down with her chin, the blonde wound one hand into her hair and tipped up her chin with the other. Alex shook her head and Olivia crawled back up her body. "Olivia…" she started, wanting to actually get to her actual topic, but was sidetracked. "Oooooo…" She indulged herself in the sensuous feeling of her earlobe being nibbled and licked.

As Olivia's lips and tongue stimulated her ear and neck, she snuck her hand under the waistband of Alex's pants and into her panties. Just shy of her final destination, Alex stopped her southerly motion with a tight grip to her wrist.

"Please, Liv, not today."

Olivia moved her hand to rest on Alex's abdomen. "We'll talk after, I promise," she whined. She went back to sucking on Alex's neck, her hand moving up to massage a breast.

Alex removed the hand from her chest and gently pushed Olivia away. "It's not just about the talking. You know I have my period…"

"And you know I don't care," Olivia interrupted, moving her hand lower.

Alex stopped Olivia again. "I know you don't. And most times I don't either, I just don't feel like dealing with the mess this morning. And really want to ask you something while I have your undivided attention."

Olivia rolled completely off Alex and propped herself on her side, one hand playing with the blonde hair and the other tugging her lover's body tight against her own. She managed to look contrite, sexy and frustrated all at the same time. "I just can't seem to get enough of you lately." She kissed Alex's shoulder before snuggling into her neck. "Please don't be pissed with me for wanting to love you."

Alex picked up Olivia's hand and kissed the palm before holding it over her heart. "Never." God, I hope you still feel like this is five or ten years. "Have you ever made love in a foreign country?"

"Umm, no…" Huh? She lifted herself up to look into Alex's face.

"Would you want to?" Alex looked so hopeful, Olivia would have agreed even if she didn't find the idea utterly endearing.

"Let me get this straight… just you and me?"

Alex nodded.

"Some old city to explore…"

Another nod.

"And we'd get to make love without a call from Elliot or Cragen at the most inopportune moments?"

"Guaranteed." Alex smiled and leaned in for another slow kiss.

Olivia pulled away first. "We'd get to make love in a different city every day?"

Alex laughed. "One tract mind…" She tapped Olivia on the nose. "I actually thought we'd fly into Rome, spend a few days there, maybe drive down to Pompeii, before heading up to Tuscany. Couple days in Florence, Siena, maybe some small village…"

"Alex, I'll go anywhere with you, even if we don't get to christen every bed we stay in."

"Can we go next fall? During the harvest?"

"Whenever you want." Olivia kissed the woman beneath her before looking over at their alarm clock. "Have just enough time for a leisurely shower. Care to join me?" She raised her eyebrows in a hopeful look. "No mess in the shower," she prodded, climbing out of bed.

"Works for me," Alex said, following her stripping lover. "You've got me wound too damn tight to go to work like this."

Olivia was looking over the stripped remains of Peter Young's car when Elliot arrived beside her.

"What've we got?" he asked, taking a slow stroll around the vehicle.

"Not sure yet. Siper went to pull her report off the printer, but she was smiling like a madman, so we might get lucky." Spotting the tech returning, she yelled out, "We need good news, Judy. Tell me this perp was an armature."

"He wasn't careful, that's for sure. Her hair and several mixed fluid samples were found in the back seat." Siper put the report on a workbench and picked up a baggy with the hair samples and several capped swabs, showing them to the detectives.

"With the condition of the car, are you going to be able to prove evidence of the vic came before the strip job?" Elliot asked, peering into the back seat.

Siper bumped Elliot out of the way to open the back door. "I think so. The hairs were stuck in the nap of the fabric, like her head was rubbing back and forth on the seat. Planted hairs just lie across the nap."

"What about the fluid sample?" Olivia questioned, sorting through the photographs of the original hair positions.

"Part of the sample matches the girl. We were able to isolate one other DNA signature. Male." Sticking the printed report into an envelop, Siper handed the pouch to Olivia. "It's a good sample. You get me something to match it to and we'll have something. You'll also want to make note of this." She passed a small clear baggy to Elliot.

"A credit card receipt," Elliot read.

"To the Philadelphia Zoo," Siper confirmed.

"Amateur is too nice for this idiot. Moron is more like it," Olivia quipped.

"Yup, he's shot himself in the foot, that's for sure," Elliot concurred. "Now, we just have to find him."

"Stabler!" The Captain called out seeing his detective shrugging into his coat. "Where are you two goin' now?"

"Times Square," Elliot answered succinctly grabbing Olivia coat for her as she was still on the phone arranging for a couple patrols to beat them to their destination. "We got a hit on Young's card. Restaurant on 43rd."

Olivia took the black leather jacket from her partner, swinging it over her shoulder and pulling it up her arm. "Four cars will be patrolling the area within the next three minutes. Let's get outta here."

"Good Luck!" Cragen yelled to the retreating backs of his detectives.


"Alex, it's Don."

"What can I do for you, Captain?" Alex finished the sentence she was writing then gave her full attention to the phone call, twirling her pen between her fingers.

"Your girl got the bad guy there, Councilor. Fin and Munch are rounding up the street vendors who gave the original descriptions for an ID."

Alex smiled at the thought of Olivia cornering the guy; her arms straining in a choke hold or flexing while slapping on the cuffs. She shook her head to clear her little daydream. "This the Wilton case? Came together awful fast," Alex mused. "Olivia and Elliot weren't even sure they were tracking the right guy last night."

"Alicia was in that car they found yesterday. CSU can prove it." Cragen paused, trying to figure out how to say the rest. "Alex, Olivia got a little banged up making the arrest. But she's gonna be fine." He added quickly at the end.

The smile left over from the fantasy quickly left Alex's face and the pen hit the desk as her fingers went to rub her eyes. Not again… "Where is she?"

"Elliot's taking her to Roosevelt. Looks like a dislocated shoulder." Cragen told her simply.

Alex took in a deep breath. Okay… "How long until you'll be ready for the line-up?"

"You've got time. Young's also been transported to the hospital. We're dead in the water until he's released."

Alex quickly prioritized what needed to happen next. "Okay, Don, thanks for the call." Disconnecting Cragen, Alex released the button and immediately dialed another number. It was answered on the second ring. "You busy? SVU…" Alex began, then stopped. "…I could use a hand." She listened to the reply. "I'll have the file ready for when you get here. Thanks, Serena."

Alex stood outside the curtain, amused at the argument happening on the other side.


"They're breasts… you've seen breasts before… we all have 'em. Just…"

"I… um…" he stuttered, hands stuffed deep in his pants pockets, looking anywhere but at his partner.

"Fer Christ's sake, Elliot, I'm not asking you to fondle me, just help me into this damn shirt!" She held the top to a pair of scrubs in her good hand and shook it at him for emphasis. "You've seen me topless tons of times after we work out."

"Not totally…" He produced what was left of her bra from the pile of clothes the nurses cut off her.

Alex figured he'd suffered enough and pushed aside the curtain to entered the small area. "Elliot?" she said, placing a hand on his shoulder, causing him to turn towards her. "Why don't you get us some coffee while I help Olivia change."

"Sure! Coffee?" He smiled at Alex. "Be back in a bit." He kissed her on the cheek, mouthed 'thank you' and left the area.

"Terrorizing your partner, I see," Alex quipped, setting her handbag on the lone chair and moving to the bed.

"I don't see what the big deal is. Partners are supposed to help each other." Olivia complained. "He wouldn't have argued with Munch."

Alex stepped into the 'V' of her girlfriend's legs, threading the fingers of her right hand through the hair at the base of Olivia's neck, while the other sifted through the hair at her forehead. "Elliot and John didn't suffer mutual crushes when they first started working together." She reminded Olivia, looking deeply into the eyes in front of her before planting a gentle kiss on close lips. "You're giving me grays, Liv. What happened?" She stepped back as Olivia handed her the sea-green top.

"A couple of unis spotted Young in Bryant Park. They were pushing him west towards 6th. Two more cut off his path south." As she explained, she pulled off the back opening hospital gown and tossed it on the foot of the bed.

Alex gently threaded the injured arm into its sleeve before putting the top all the way on. "So where does the dislocated shoulder come in?"

Olivia picked at the material, settling it comfortable around herself. "When Young saw us coming towards him from the north, he knew he was cornered. He broke for the subway." She climbed back on the edge of the bed, pulling Alex in front of her again. "I out sprinted Elliot and caught him at the top of the stairs and pushed him up against the wall."

Alex figured this was where it got complicated. She snuggled into Olivia's good arm.

"I had 'em by the collar and had kicked his legs apart, telling him he was under arrest. Elliot and the unis were just behind me, I think. I could hear footfalls and yelling. I was leaning into him, bent over to pat down his legs, when he threw himself backward and sideways. He went over my back but I didn't release his collar…"

"And you both ended up down the stairs," Alex finished.

"Yeah," Olivia confirmed. "I felt the damn thing pop about half way down. I'm relegated to a desk for ten days," she finished, sounding disgusted.

Alex sighed. Before she could respond, Elliot returned.

"Knock, knock…" He stuck his head through the curtain, only a little disappointed to see his partner sporting the scrubs top. "Fat-free half and half and splenda, for you." He handed a cup to Alex after she stepped away from her girlfriend. "Chamomile with honey for the invalid." He handed a second cut to Olivia who took the cup and drank deeply after glaring at her partner.

"Real cream, real sugar for me."

They all drank in silence for a minute.

"So, if the good guys looks like this," Alex gestured towards the bed. "What state is the bad guy in?"

Elliot settled back against the wall. "Compound fracture of the left ulna. He's waiting for an OR to open up to pin it back together. A uni is with him."

"Has he been Mirandized?"

"He never lost consciousness. I read 'im his rights before the EMTs showed," Elliot explained.

Alex pitched her empty cup into the small bedside garbage can, crossed back to the chair and rifled through her purse, grabbing her cell phone. Turning her back to the detectives, she punched a series of numbers, waiting for an answer – right hand reaching across her stomach to hold her left elbow.

"Hey, it's me. I need paperwork on Peter Young." She paused and before she could ask, Elliot handed her a slip of paper with his address. "Of 1534 East 18th Street, apartment 4D." She listened. "Add transportation of a minor across state lines in commission of a felony, plus corrupting the morals of a minor." She listened again and nodded. "That's good, but you've got assault on a police officer too. Who's on rotation? I want an arraignment judge here before Mr. Young goes into surgery. Oh, and can you notify his defense attorney?" She cocked her head at the voice coming through the receiver. "Thanks, Serena, I owe you one. We'll be waiting."

Alex ended the call and turned back towards the detectives to find them both grinning from ear to ear.

"Kickin' ass and takin' names. Is she always this… forceful?" Elliot teased his partner.

Alex waited with a raised eyebrow for Olivia's response.

Olivia held out her hand for Alex to take, pulling her into her side. "Pretty much," she answered looking into her girlfriend's eyes. "Lucky me."

"Good answer, Detective." Alex kissed her lightly, then changed her tone but not moving out of the curl of Olivia's arm. "We've got an hour, maybe two before Serena gets here with a judge."

"You guys don't need me," Elliot announced, a little self depreciatively. "I'm gonna head back to the house and clean up some paperwork. Liv, see ya tomorrow. Try not to do any more damage to yourself between now and then."

Olivia gave him a 'who me' grin. "No guarantees, Elliot, no guarantees," she said, holding Alex tight.

One hour and thirty-seven minutes after Serena received Alex's call, she was striding down a sterile hospital hallway in search of an ADA and a couple of detectives. A check at the nurses' station yielded the supposed location of her party. Game room? What are three adults doing in a game room?

Turning the corner, Serena stood in front of a set of open double doors not quite believing her eyes. Olivia sat against the arm of a couch, a small boy no more than three, tucked into her side not hampered by the sling. The pair watched the activity on the carpet in front of them. The amazing thing for Serena was seeing Alex Cabot lying on her stomach on the floor – in a three hundred dollar Anne Kline pants suit – amongst four smaller bodies.

The group was intently at work coloring on a giant imprinted drop cloth. By the looks of things, it was going to be a piece of modern art; one boy was busy tinting the sun pink. It seemed to oddly contrast with the blue and purple trees and the green clouds. For her part, Alex was filling in a portion of grass a most interesting shade of fuchsia.

Olivia looked up from watching Ramon fiddle with her watch to see Serena studying the activity on the floor. "C'mon in, Councilor. I think there might be a crayon with your name on it." She shifted, trying to alleviate the dull throbbing in her wounded appendage.

Serena strode into the room, depositing her coat and briefcase on a kid sized table. A small hand tugged at the hem of her skirt. "Here." The little girl thrust a crayon at the ADA. "You can be orange."

Serena smiled down on the tike accepting the crayon and allowing herself to be led to the mat. "Okay, what should I color orange?" she asked as she settled herself on the floor, careful to smooth her skirt over her knees.

"What do you think, Katherine? How about the birds?" Alex asked the little girl while smiling at Serena.

"Sure! That could be cool!"

"Birds it is then," Serena commented leaning over the canvass, filling in between the black lines.

After several minutes of silence except for the scratching of the crayons, Alex figured she at least had to ask about work. "So, do we get a judge sometime this afternoon?"

"Yeah, Seligman said he'd swing by on his way home. He's on rotation." Serena shifted to reach another outline. "He'll ring my cell when he gets to the hospital. I also contacted the PD who drew Mr. Young. They're probably together now."

Alex rolled to her side and slid to put her back against the couch by Olivia's leg. "Good, good." She looked over her shoulder. Olivia was quiet but alert, little Ramon asleep against her side.

"Liv, why don't you head home. You could take some more pain medication, maybe grab a hot bath."

"I don't know." She answered Alex before turning her attention to the kids who stopped coloring and were watching the adults. "What'dya think, guys? Should I go take a nap?"

A chorus of "No!!" answered her question.

Olivia looked back at her girlfriend. "I'd really rather go home with you, whenever you're done," she stated, wanting Alex's company or the kids; just not wanting to be alone. She didn't think too hard on the possible reasons why. It wasn't often she felt clingy or needy but this was one of those times. Alex, she was sure, would indulge her, and the kids simply enjoyed the attention.

Alex sighed. I guess it's back to work… She watched the kids who went back to their coloring, annoyed she couldn't continue with them. She and Serena got to their feet, smoothing the creases from their garments. She looked down at Olivia. "No wrestling." She gave her partner a significant look and a grin. "Hopefully this'll be quick."

Serena grabbed her briefcase and the attorneys went over to a quiet corner on the opposite side of the room. They settled side by side at a grown up table, Serena pulling out a file and handing it to Alex who thumbed through it. The verbiage was a little different than what Alex would have used but it was concise and thorough.

"Nice work, Ser." Alex nodded as she read the last page. After finishing, she took off her glasses, dangling them between her fingers by an ear piece. "And thanks for taking care of this for me. I really appreciate being able to stay with Olivia and not having to run back to the office."

"Hey, no problem. I wanted to get involved with SVU, this was the perfect opportunity," Serena answered.

Alex shook her head. "This was less about bringing you on board and more about…"

Before Alex could finish, Serena interrupted her, squeezing her arm. "Yeah, I figured, but that's what friends are for. Besides, gave me the perfect excuse to ditch another infuriating meeting with McCoy and Branch. I swear, I'm not going to make it much longer as Jack's assistant."

She is so cute with kids. Alex brought her attention back to Serena. "What's going on? I thought you liked being an ADA?" Concern colored her tone.

It was Serena's turn to sigh. "I do. I love the law… but, I disagree more and more with how and even why homicides are prosecuted out of that office. And the two of them tend to treat me more like a paralegal than a lawyer. It's just so damn frustrating."

"You going to ask for a transfer?"

Before Serena could answer, her cell went off. She flipped it open. "Southerlyn." A pause. "Pre-op on three. We'll meet you there." She closed the phone and slipped it back into her briefcase, returning the file to its place too. "Seligman's in the garage. We've gotta go."

Olivia and the kids waved to the pair as they left the game room. A chorus of 'good lucks' following them down the hall.

"I can't believe you're so calm," Serena commented from the dinning room area as she laid out the flatware. "A brutality charge could kill her career. You know that," she ranted further.

Alex checked the chicken in the oven before adding another ladle of stock to the risotto she was stirring on the stove top. "If the charge had any merit I'd be concerned. But Elliot and couple of unis saw the brutality." Alex's tone on the last word conveyed all she thought about the trumped up charge. "Randolph wont have a leg to stand on. I'll get the fives tomorrow, go down to Seligman's court and have it vacated. It's not worth your indignation, Ser."

Serena planted herself on a stool by the counter, absently picked vegetables out of the salad bowl and crunching them. "You haven't even told her."

Alex sighed. "Trying to talk to her tonight would get me nowhere; codeine tends to make her a little scattered." She pulled the pot of risotto off the burner and began folding in fresh Spinach to wilt.

Serena still looked skeptical. "Okay… okay… you're the one sleeping with her. I'd guess you'd know."

"Yes I do. On both accounts," Alex added with a smirk. "Go see if she's up for dinner with us, if you would," Alex asked before handing Serena the salad bowl. "Drop this off on your way."

"Sure thing, boss." Serena set the bowl on the table before wandering into the living room. Olivia was asleep on the couch, half turned on her side, the back of the couch supporting her injured shoulder.

Serena moved Olivia's badge and sidearm further down the coffee table and took a seat across from her friend. She was beginning to be able to see a marked difference between Olivia the Cop and Olivia the Human the more she time she spent around the brunette, the image she was seeing now was different again. Not frail by any means, just extremely tranquil. Guess those pills really do put her out. Serena lost tract of how long she sat there watching the detective sleep. A hand on her shoulder startled her back into the present.

"I thought you were getting her for dinner," Alex asked, grabbing a throw from the chair and tossing it over Olivia. She ran the back of her fingers across Olivia's forehead pleased not to find a fever.

"Sorry, I…" Serena stuttered, not exactly sure what she was doing or why.

"She gives off a different vibe like that doesn't she?" Alex knew how most people saw Olivia. Until she trusted enough to relax her guard, all she portrayed was the tough yet compassionate cop. Exposing her drugged out on Codeine self was proof Olivia accepted Serena into a very select circle of friends. "Let's just let her sleep. She has problems keeping anything down when taking that stuff anyway."

The pair returned to the table.

"Do I even know her," Serena asked more to herself than out loud.

Alex answered her anyway. "You do. She likes you; trusts you," she explained as they began to fix their plates. "If she didn't, she would have closed herself off in our bedroom. She can't or wont let herself look weak in front of just anyone."

They began eating, Serena making a few happy sounds at the wonderful tastes of Alex's meal. "Damn, this is good. Beats Chang's takeout by a mile." She sampled more of the risotto before returning to the chicken and their original topic. "But doesn't that get tiring or confusing for her? For you?"

Alex poured more water into their goblets. "With what she sees every day, it's a way for her to let go of the violence when she's off the clock. To keep her mind from constantly replaying the depravity she sees on duty once she's home."

Serena nodded, moving on to the salad.

"Besides, it's not like she has multiple personalities. You're just starting to see her at home and relaxed, drugs notwithstanding." Alex finished off her chicken and wiped her lips on her cloth napkin before replacing it in her lap. "You've seen her at work or at a bar, the movies. She changes no more than I do between the courtroom and here."

"I guess you're right. We all have that 'professional' tone or demeanor that we like to chuck at the end of the day." Serena leaned back with a contented sigh. "Thanks for dinner. Been awhile since I've had a home cooked meal."

Alex shook off the praise. "Anytime, And it's not like you don't know how to cook."

"Yeah… true enough, but I hate cooking for just me. Too much mess for one person." Serena grabbed her plate and Alex's and headed into the kitchen.

Alex followed her hands full of silverware and glasses. "No problem. Liv and I will come over next week. You can cook for all three of us."

Olivia rolled over to her side planning to get out of bed. "Son of a bitch," she groaned, forgetting her dislocated shoulder. The pills had done their job; knocked her silly but allowed her – she glanced over at the alarm clock – over twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep. Must have been interrupted at some point. Don't remember getting off the couch or changing.

She expected the apartment to be silent, figuring Alex headed out to work at her normal hour. Yet a soft clinking of dishes could be heard from the other side of the apartment. Guess I warranted a babysitter.

Olivia swung her legs over the side of the bed and wandered over to the settee and rifled through yesterday's clothes looking for the sling the hospital insisted on sending her home with. Not finding it, she clutched her arm across her stomach and headed for the kitchen. Three steps into the hall she ran into Alex heading back her way laden with a mug in each hand and the Times under her arm.

"Hey, you're up," Alex stated the obvious. "I was bringing you coffee." She waved Olivia back towards the bedroom.

Olivia didn't argue, just turned around and did as Alex instructed. She slid herself under the comforter, sitting up against the headboard. "Bloomberg declare a citywide holiday?"

Alex set one mug on her nightstand and handed the other across the bed. "Nah, don't have court till this afternoon. Figured I'd play hooky with you this morning. Gotta problem with that detective?" She dropped the paper on her pillow and detoured into the bathroom.

"Nice surprise, actually," Olivia admitted, sipping from her mug. "When I saw the time I figured Cragen was gonna chew my ass for being late. But something tells me you took care of that for me." She ducked her head allowing Alex to adjust the sling she grabbed from the vanity.

"Yeah, I did." She climbed over her girlfriend, lifted her good arm and snuggled into Olivia's side. "Don said to take the whole day but I told him you'd be in after lunch." Alex relieved Olivia of her mug and took a swallow before returning it.

Olivia frowned, looking at the lower level of her coffee cup.

"Sharing is a virtue." Alex explained, tangling her fingers with Olivia's immobile ones.

"As long as I'm the one sharing," Olivia quipped, feigning annoyance. It was impossible to pull off while rubbing her cheek against Alex's forehead and playing with the hair at the nape of her neck.

Alex freed her hand and reached up to cup her girlfriend's face. "You love it…" She kissed Olivia slowly, thoroughly, intently; completely distracting her from the pilfered coffee, the disruption to their morning routine, even the throbbing of her shoulder.

Who needs pills?

Olivia walked through the doors to the bullpen fully expecting it to be bustling with activity. Aside from a couple of clerks distributing files, Munch was the lone detective in the area. "Ya scare everyone away, John?" She shrugged her good arm out of her leather jacket then slipped it over her immobile shoulder.

"Captain got called to some 'to do' at One PP. That was after your good partner and mine got assigned a homicide with quasi-sexual overtones."

"Quasi-sexual? You inventing new terms now?" She tried to find a comfortable position to complete the paperwork from the Wilton case. Damn, bed was a hell of a lot more comfortable.

"Not me, my good woman. Seems one of the unis couldn't decide if a riding crop was just a riding crop or a fun new party toy." Munch went back to reviewing the lab reports on the City College case.

Olivia shifted again, turning her chair sideways in relation to her desk, so she wouldn't whack her arm every time she tried to write. Two hours later she handed off her reports to a department typist, making sure everything was in order for Alex's eventual prosecution of Peter Young.

She strolled over to the coffee maker and set a fresh pot to drip. She leaned a hip against the table. "Wanna fresh set of eyes on your City College case?" she asked Munch.

"Can't hurt." He handed over their stack of interview notes and copies of the threats themselves. "Maybe the case needs a female viewpoint. Would you ask Cabot when you get home?"

"Keep it up John, and you can wear the strapless cocktail dress on the next undercover assignment." Olivia stuck the file under her arm and fixed herself a cup of newly brewed coffee. "I'm heading up to the couch." Maybe then this damn shoulder will stop throbbing.

Olivia wandered back downstairs after reading through the file and draining the last of her mug. She removed all the posts concerning the Wilton case from the white board and begun constructing a new matrix for their active case. Scrawling the four names across the top of the board, she then placed personal facts or descriptions beneath each: age, sex, income level, address, current relationship status.

Munch came around his desk and joined Olivia starring at the board. "You have above average penmanship, but what else does this tell us?"

Olivia tapped the back of marker against her lip. "Well… it confirms the only thing they have in common is they're all gay." She paced, holding her arm tight against her body. "There's gotta be something other than their sexuality tying them together," she mumbled to herself. "But what?"

The detectives were still staring at the board when Serena walked in. "Good evening, Detectives. What do you have here?" She took up Alex's usual spot leaning against Olivia's desk and joined the pair studying the matrix. "Interesting sample selection. What are you trying to prove?"

"Sample? Of what? These are the vics in a harassment case," Olivia answered, sitting forward in her chair.

"Oh, it just looks like a sampling frame used in jury selection." She got up and pointed at sections of the list. "Only typical responses or feelings would be matched with physical or socio-economic indicators."

"They're feeling scared, Councilor, hence our involvement," Munch commented.

Olivia got up and crossed to the board. "You're both right… I think. John's right in we, the cops, don't care how they're feeling but what if someone else did?" She pointed at Serena and nodded.

Munch went back to his case notes. "Delivery methods were never consistent: email, letter, scrawled on a door. Method changed by vic and tone of threats."

"One was a student, right?" Olivia asked.

"Yeah," Munch confirmed.

"And he reported at least two other gay students in his dorm block?"

"Lesbian on floor three, another guy on eight," Munch read from his notes. "Both out to other students and the faculty."

"So if the perp's got a hard on for gays, why not target all the gays in the dorm? Why go after a 60 year old prof., a 30 year old administrative assistant, and a 24 year old TA – living all over the city. Hell, the admin. comes in from Jersey." Olivia continued.

"So the perp isn't efficient in his harassment… What does that give us?" Munch asked.

"For a change you aren't thinking large enough or convoluted enough." Olivia began pacing again, excited at the possibility of a new line of investigation. "Call the college, see if they've had this problem in the past…"

"They haven't. We already asked," Munch interrupted.

"Not just against gays." Serena picked up Olivia's train of thought. ""Any group: race, religion, pay scale."

"On it." Munch nodded and turned back to his desk to place the call.

"Well, Councilor, now that you've helped us out, what can we do for you?" Olivia asked arm forgotten in the chase for a suspect.

"I'm playing messenger. Alex got called into a meeting…"

"And she's gonna be late…" Olivia finished for her. "Trying to cook with this," She wiggled her fingers of her casted arm. "…is going to be impossible. So, you wanna join me in waiting for my delinquent girlfriend? Grab a chair and a pen Councilor, we're gonna need some information."

Olivia was hunched over her desk, phone stuck to her ear, calmly explaining her desired information – for the fourth time. The furrow between her eyes and the constant tapping of her foot, the only signs of her annoyance.

Across from her, Serena made a note on a legal pad before shifting the folder to her 'done' pile and grabbing another from her 'to do' stack. The click of heels on linoleum caused her to look at her watch while tucking some hair behind her ear. Damn, so much for getting there before Alex.

Serena rose from her chair barely earning a glance from the still arguing Detective. She met Alex just inside the bullpen doors. "I know, I know. But we came up with a new theory of the College Stalking case and wanted to get some inquiries in motion before the weekend."

"She use the 'greater good' speech to get you to cave?" Alex asked, dropping her briefcase next to Olivia's desk. She glared at the detective's back until Olivia turned around.

Taking one look at Alex's expression, Olivia interrupted her counterpart on the other end of the line. "Look, my ADA faxed a formal request over an hour ago. We are giving you ample time to get together the files. If you'd have stopped arguing with me and just pulled the information, you could have gone home at a decent hour. If I don't have the stuff on my desk by 9am Monday morning, my Captain and the DA's office will be speaking to your supervisors about the lack of cooperation in this matter." Olivia was quiet for a moment before hanging up the phone. "Nice doing business with you," she mumbled. Turning to Alex, she continued, "By the scowl, I'm assuming you're less than thrilled I'm still here."

"Good assumption, Detective. Although why I'm surprised is beyond me." Alex brushed the bangs out of Olivia's eyes. "So, how much pain are you in?" Stubborn as a mule.

"Actually not much. Look, Serena said we were to meet you either at home or at Ecco's but I'm worthless in the kitchen, and just sitting and drinking waiting for you…" she trailed off. "This was much more productive and Serena got to see a little of how we operate – she had the insight to this new line of questioning we've been investigating."

"Olivia, take a breath," Alex said simply. She could see her Detective wasn't feeling too badly, the work evidently giving her mind something to focus on other than the dull ache in her shoulder. Alex gave her head a little shake.

While the pair spent several minute in a bizarre battle of wills Serena straightened out Elliot's desk; piling the files back on Olivia's and placing her notes on the top of the stack. "Well, since you're here, I'm going to head home."

"What? I thought we were doing dinner?" Olivia shot a confused look at Alex and got to her feet.

"We were, but you guys don't need me honing in on your Friday night." Serena slipped into her coat. "Alex, I'll catch up with you next week. Olivia, call Monday if those files don't arrive. I'll sic Jack on them." She didn't feel like a front row seat at a private argument.

Alex blocked Serena's path. "You're not honing in on anything." She laid a restraining hand on Serena's arm. "We're not fighting and I'm not all that upset to find you both here waiting."

"Besides," Olivia added coming up on her side. "We'll just kidnap you. It'd be so much simpler if you'd just agree to come along willingly."

Serena turned to Alex who had moved to her other side. "Is this kidnapping thing some kind of fetish? She seems to do it often."

"Any excuse to use the cuffs," Olivia quipped, moving them all towards the door. "Do you have your heart set on Italian?"

Serena shook her head. "I'm easy."

Alex was about to reply but Serena cut her off. "Not a word out of you." Alex swallowed her comment behind a knowing grin.

"I was thinking Dylan's. I'm in the mood for more red meat than the body can handle," Olivia explained, helping guide Serena down the hall.

"I could do beef," Alex agreed. "How about you, Ser?"

"Sure, never let it be said I was uncooperative. I'd hate to be put in cuffs."

Olivia leaned back and caught Alex glancing at her. "Ya don't know what you're missing, blondie."

Serena shot Alex an outraged look to which Alex just innocently shrugged.

"You can't possibly be serious?" Alex asked incredulously. "They would be committing multiple felonies in multiple states. The jail time could stretch into the hundreds of years. Why would anyone take such a risk in the name of science?"

The trio was ensconced in a quiet corner of an upscale wine bar; Olivia's concession to the night since she picked the restaurant they had dined at earlier. Serena had suggested the establishment when no one wanted to call it a night after their meal. Alex readily agreed, looking forward to sharing a glass of wine with someone who actually enjoyed talking about its nuances. Olivia tended to divide wines into two simple types: those she liked and those she couldn't be paid to drink.

Alex and Serena were indulging in an imported Riesling, figuring the sweet dessert wine would be a perfect way to complement the heavy meal. They spent a good twenty minutes dissecting the distinctions present in their selection as neither woman often made time for such a simple pleasure.

Olivia listened with half an ear, content to sip at her tumbler of outrageously priced scotch that Alex had ordered for her while she had made a pit stop on the way to their table. The subtle oaky flavor combined with the deep, rich smell of peat and the translucent amber color were a joy for all her senses. She transferred the glass to her immobile side in order to twine the fingers of her free hand with Alex's, giving it a squeeze of thanks.

Olivia shifted position and rejoined the conversation at Alex's exclamation, not realizing the conversation had turned to an active case. "Science works just as well as any other explanation at this point," Olivia stated. "We've seen doctors experimenting on underage girls in order to further human cloning research."

"I remember…" Alex still looked unconvinced.

"I think we may be onto something here," Serena interjected. "While Olivia was arguing with the Bureau, I made a couple of calls. Old friends in Boston and Providence report eerily similar patterns out of BU, Wentworth, and Bryant. It'll be interesting to see what the Feds have and if all this actually ties together."

"The thing that cinches it for me, is that no one has ever gotten hurt. Never even threatened by a real person; only through covert means: letters, emails, phone calls. If someone was really out at attack gays, someone would have been physically assaulted by now," Olivia concluded. "But it's just all academic 'til Monday, so no sense stewing over it. What's on your plate for the weekend, Serena?"

"Hold it. No changing the subject," Alex interjected, not wanting to let the work discussion die. "I need to know more about…"

"Honey, you have to let it go." Olivia kissed Alex's knuckles to take any sting out of the chastisement. "I am sitting in a very foo foo bar, drinking pricey booze with two beautiful blondes. No more work."

Serena shifted to her other hip and recrossed her legs, a smirk turning the corners of her lips. Talk about a reason justifying human cloning… my very own Olivia Benson…

"Fine. Fine. You're right. No more work." Alex leaned further into Olivia causing the detective to snake her arm behind Alex, pulling her in close. "You were going to say about your weekend, before I got sidetracked into unacceptable discussion areas…"

Olivia rewarded her with a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you."

Serena chuckled at her friends' interaction. "Family dinner on Sunday is the major commitment. And I'll probably go into the office for a few hours tomorrow to prep for the DiAmica trial next month. Jack doesn't want junior to walk again on some 'damn civil liberties crap'. I swear he's channeling Branch these days."

"You sound more excited about overtime tomorrow than dinner Sunday," Olivia noted. "Everything okay?"

"Eh," Serena made a dismissive sound before finishing the last of her wine and depositing the glass on a side table. "Since I will be arriving stag, yet again, conversation will consist of why I haven't found a nice young man yet, segueing into yes, I'm still gay and that isn't going to change, with a spattering of I like being a prosecutor, no I don't want to work for daddy's accounting firm."

As Serena was filling them in on her family dynamics, Olivia caught the waiter's eye and signaled for two more wines to be brought over then resettled her arm around Alex.

"I'm sorry, Ser. I really thought they'd have come around by now," Alex sympathized. "You came out what? Fifteen years ago?"

"Eighteen, but who's counting." She accepted a new glass of wine from the attentive waiter. "Thank you." Then turning to Olivia, thanked her, too.

"You planning on escorting two tipsy women home tonight," Alex asked, letting her fingers trace random patters on the inside of Olivia's knee, trading her empty glass for a full one.

"You becoming a lightweight? Something tells me it takes more than two to incapacitate Serena." Nodding at the woman across from them. "Hey, take Munch with you Sunday. Bet you get at least a six month reprieve from the pestering."

Alex tried to choke back a laugh. "Oh, God. That vein on the side of your dad's neck would practically rupture."

"And mom would get that pinched look as propriety warred with an unlady-like outburst." Serena couldn't help but smile at the thought. "My siblings would laugh for a week. Might be worth it."

"Think Serena would date a cop?" Olivia asked as Alex deftly slipped the top button of her girlfriend's jeans loose and tugged the fitted button down shirt from the waistband.

"Looking to replace me, Detective?" Alex quipped lightly. She had the sling draped over her arm and was pealing back the sides of Olivia's shirt.

"You know better."

Alex stepped closer to Olivia, wrapping her arms around her and releasing the bra clasp. "A ménage à trois then? Getting daring in your old age." Alex had effectively stripped Olivia to the waist. She ran her hands lightly over the dislocated shoulder. "Damn, you're tight. Sit down and I'll get the cream the hospital provided."

"Well, I do have a thing for blondes," Olivia answered, tucking one leg under herself as she settled on the edge of their bed.

"Yes you do." Alex agreed, arriving back in the bedroom wearing Olivia's discarded shirt. She knelt behind Olivia and gently applied the analgesic. "And you'd finally get a natural blonde."

Olivia twisted around. "Nice shirt." She ran a teasing finger down Alex's sternum. She leaned in and kissed Alex making a leisurely exploration with her lips. "And I like my bottled blonde just fine."

Adjusting herself back against the headboard, Alex encouraged Olivia to settle between her legs.

"And how would you know Serena's a natural blonde? Hmmm?" before she could respond.

Alex made a surprised sound deep in the back of her throat yet quickly recovered her wits and responded eagerly. "I love the way you kiss," Alex commented when they broke for breath.

"Totally my pleasure." Olivia swiveled presenting her back again to Alex. "Now, no dodging; you never mentioned you and Serena were lovers." Thought we had this conversation long ago.

Alex stopped her rubbing and molded herself to Olivia's back, planting small kissed behind a convenient ear. "Relax, and stop rehashing ever conversation we've ever had about our exes."

The nibbling continued and Olivia sighed. "How… never mind, you're right about what I was thinking. But I'm not jealous, just a bit curious. How do you know… forget it. It's not important." Olivia shook her head and scooted herself backward towards the head of the bed at Alex's urging, fitting herself against her girlfriend.

Alex chuckled and hugged Olivia. "We went to high school and college together, even roomed together for a few years. Tiny dorm rooms, shared bathrooms. Plus, Serena is about the most unselfconscious person I know." Alex's fingers drew lazy patterns across Olivia's stomach.

"Mmmmmm…" Olivia murmured.

They laid quietly together. Olivia twined her fingers with Alex's, bringing their joined hands to her lips and kissing the knuckles. She still didn't speak but Alex noticed a grin beginning to form across Olivia's lips.

"What is that smile for?"

"Just picturing you and her together. You guys would look beautiful together."

Alex was shocked silent for a moment. "I was just kidding about the threesome, Liv."

"I know, love." Olivia turned to make eye contact. "I like Serena, but I have no desire to invite her into our bed." She slipped open the button holding Alex's shirt closed.

To Be Continued

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