DISCLAIMER: The characters in the story belong to NBC Television, Dick Wolf and whoever else has a vested interest in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. No money is being made from this and no copyright infringement is intended.
THANKS: To my beta readers Phil, Mac and Jeanne. Their diligence made this a much more pleasant story for everyone to read. They picked up all the missing letters and words I dropped since Pink & Fluffy the brain cells continually outdistanced Pink & Fluffy the typing fingers. I appreciate it. :-) And to SueG who continually answered questions about New York City and the Hamptons – thanks, hon.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is a continuation of my first Law & Order: SVU fan fiction, Until the revised version. You might want to read that one first; s'up to you. It fills in the plot holes left by SVU/Conviction and will give you a little background for this one. This story will not follow cannon of either season seven (and beyond) of SVU or the short-lived season of Conviction. Considering what they did to Alex Cabot's character on that show, it's probably a good thing. The Storyteller's Cardinal Rule is in effect.
SONG NOTE: Though credit in the story is given to Alex, words and music to the first song used belong to Richard Marx – the second belongs to Josh Groban. No copyright infringement is intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Live Like You Were Dying
By D


Part 17


Chapter XXXIII

The next week passed swiftly. Olivia returned to desk duty with Huang's blessing and Alex spent the time working on the bathroom mural after asking Olivia for specific instructions to follow. She found she enjoyed the project very much, giving her a focus and an outlet that brought pleasure and a sense of accomplishment. And it allowed her a chance to think about the future as well – immediate as well as far reaching.

Alex had a number of options and she knew that. But to be very honest she was quite happy being unemployed at the moment – working on the dolphin mural and playing the piano and rediscovering New York. Alex knew herself well enough to know that would not last very long – she was too driven. Soon she would sit down and begin to seriously consider the opportunities that she had for the future – whether that was remaining at the DA's office or going into private practice or teaching or even going into politics as a judge or state representative. All possibilities and all things she and Olivia would eventually need to sit down and discuss and decide together.

But first there was a wedding and a honeymoon to enjoy and that thought made her smile.

Alex was still smiling when Olivia stepped off the elevator and into the penthouse Friday afternoon. She sat down beside her on the piano bench and Alex cradled Liv's face in her hands, memorizing everything about it before pulling Liv's lips to her own and stealing the very air Olivia was breathing with a hot, open-mouthed kiss. Only when they started to slide off the piano bench did Alex pull away slightly, and then only to lean their foreheads together.

"Hi," she whispered.

"Hi," Liv whispered back. "Um... I think I'm gonna go back out and come in more often if that's the kind of greeting I can look forward to."

"Or you could stay right here and we could pick up where we left off," Alex offered. "Your call, detective."

"I'd actually like to move this to the couch or better yet, the bedroom so we don't slide off and break something. But I think people might notice if we didn't show up for rehearsal tonight." She paused and got up off the bench, extending a hand and pulling Alex up along side her. "Oh... Liz has decided to take us all out afterwards, and she's being very secretive about it. She called the station this morning and extended the invitation to Elliot and the guys as well."

Alex's brows rose. "Sounds... intriguing."

"Well Casey and the guys seemed excited. Guess we'll know tonight."

"I guess we will." Alex glanced at the clock then back at Olivia, her brow furrowed. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you, but what are you doing home so early?"

"Cragen sent me. Said my twitching was making the whole squad nervous."

"Are you nervous about something, detective?" Alex asked, picking up her glasses and slipping them onto her face.

"No," Liv replied hastily. "But I'll be really glad when this wedding is over with and we get to settle down and just live."

"Perhaps we should get an early start on that. I'm in the mood for ice cream for lunch. Then I would like to come back here until we need to go to rehearsal. I have a song I would like you to hear."

"Something new?" Alex nodded and Liv led them both back to the elevator. "Good. What with everything that's been going on lately, you haven't been playing. I miss it."

They had gone to the creamery for ice cream, then walked hand in hand through Central Park until they reached Olivia's thinking bench. They sat side by side, leaning back and watching life flow around them. "I've spent a lot of time alone here," Olivia stated, "just thinking."

"I know," Alex confided without looking at her. "I knew if a case went awry or we had a blow up, I only had to come here to find you. I spent many hours watching you - just out of sight," pointing to an area of trees off the path, "making sure you were okay."

"Why didn't you ever let me know you were there?"

"No... this was your place. I wasn't going to come into it without an invitation... unless you were in trouble. Although I will admit there were a couple times, I nearly did."

"Well, I'm glad you're here with me now," Liv admitted. "Maybe I won't have to come here alone anymore."

"Only when you want to, Liv." Alex stood and tugged on her arm. "Come on... I want to share my music with you, then maybe we can take a nap before we have to meet everyone at the restaurant."

"I can't believe your mother rented a banquet room at the Tavern on the Green for our rehearsal."

Alex shrugged. "She said it was easier than expecting everyone to try to get to the Hamptons house at a reasonable hour on a Friday evening. I'm inclined to agree with her."

"So am I," Liv said as they entered their building. "I just never expected...."

"I know, but it's Mother's favorite and she insisted. Trust me - I am ever grateful I never had to face her in court. My win/loss record would have been atrocious. Now, would you like to sit beside me on the bench or...."

"I'd like to lean on the piano actually. I've discovered as long as the lid is down, I can see and hear perfectly there. On the bench, I'm in the way and on the couch I can't see your face. You have a very expressive countenance when you're not wearing your game face, counselor."

They crossed into the penthouse and both took a moment, as they always did, to admire the warmth and hominess they had created together for themselves. Maybe one day it would be old hat to them and they would become blasé about it; for now they would savor the newness they had in it.

Alex took a seat on the bench and Olivia leaned gracefully against the body of the piano, watching entranced as Alex limbered up her fingers by running up and down the keys before her strokes became swift and sure and changed to a haunting melody.

Then she closed her eyes and began to sing.

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up: To more than I can be.

You raise me up: To more than I can be.

"I was going to use that as part of my wedding vows tomorrow," Alex said without looking up. "But I decided it was too personal to share with anyone but you." A hand on her chin lifted her face until blue eyes met sparkling brown.

"That was incredible, Alex. Thank you for sharing that with me." Olivia reached out and took Alex's hand, gently urging her up from the piano bench. "C'mon... let me show you what you do to me," leading her to the bedroom.

They were almost late for their own rehearsal.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, but when Alex rolled over, she was alone in their big bed. She sat up slowly and looked around, spotting Olivia out on the deck. She wasn't moving, content to sit with her feet propped on the railing, a distant smile on her face. Alex slipped from the bed and wandered out to lean against the doorjamb, waiting for Liv to notice.

Almost instantly Olivia turned to her and her smile widened into a grin. She held out her hand and Alex joined her, wrapping her arms around Olivia's neck and brushing her lips over Liv's cheek before dropping into the chair beside her and swiping her coffee.


"Ah," Alex said as she swallowed a mouthful. She passed it back to Liv with a smile. "Thanks... I needed that."

Liv looked down into her nearly empty cup. "So did I," with a pout. Alex rolled her eyes and stood up.

"Come on, you big baby. I'll fix you another cup," then found her mouth being explored with a thoroughness that took every bit of coffee flavor out of Alex's mouth. "Wow," she said when Olivia pulled back. "I needed that even more. Good morning."

"Good morning, sweetheart." Liv said as they went back inside. The coffee machine produced cups a single serving at a time and Olivia insisted Alex get hers first. She chuckled when Alex moaned into her cup after the first sip. Alex just glared at her for a moment before breaking into a smile of her own.

"So I like my coffee... sue me."

"Nah... I'd rather marry you."

"You do realize we may be the only two sober, hearing members of the wedding party after last night," Alex commented drolly.

"That's okay," Olivia said as she swallowed the first satisfying sip of her second cup. "We're the only two who really need to be sober and hearing. Besides, we have some really good blackmail material that we'll be able to use for years to come." She arched an eyebrow in Alex's direction. "Do I wanna know how Liz knew where to find disco bowling in New York?"

"Olivia, *I* don't want to know how Liz knew where to find disco bowling in New York. But it was worth it to see Munch try to teach Fin how to dance disco. And we have pictures. Now come on, detective... we have a wedding to get to."

The Hamptons estate was already a beehive of activity when Alex and Olivia arrived just before lunch. They waved to Casey and Serena who were busy working with the caterer and the decorators, then entered the house. Elizabeth smiled and welcomed them into her home.

"I'm so glad you girls are here," taking one of each of their hands into both of her own. "Look at you... both glowing and so beautiful. I'm glad last night's festivities didn't do any lasting damage to either of you." She looked around conspiratorially and chuckled. "I'm not sure the same can be said for the rest of your compatriots."

"Even better, mother... we have pictures. Are we in time for lunch?"

Elizabeth nodded. "I was just going to call Casey, Serena and John in. They've been quite busy this morning, even though I assured them there was no need. I gave them a little hair of the dog – seemed to work wonders."

"I'll bet," Liv mumbled.

"Come," Elizabeth invited. "Let me call them for lunch, then we can adjourn to the dining room. Enrique should be here around three. Your clothes are in your room, Alexandra. Olivia, yours are in what were Alexander's rooms. I know," she said, holding up her hands. "I know you're not having a traditional type service. I thought I would give you the option of choosing to surprise one another instead of dressing together. Now, go to the dining room. We'll be right in."

Lunch was a mostly quiet affair. Munch, Casey and Serena were still coping with the residual fun from the previous night and Alex and Olivia were too happy to tease much and after a jibe or two, they settled down to enjoy the assortment of light foods Elizabeth had had prepared by her staff. Conversation flowed easily once their initial hunger had been sated and Casey, Munch and Serena found it helped ease away the last of their hangovers as well. Then Enrique arrived and they split up to finish making their preparations for the evening.

He went to Elizabeth first, knowing she was the hostess for the evening. Then he knocked on Alex's door. "Wow!" he commented softly as she bade him enter. "Alex, you look stunning."

"Not yet, Enrique – but soon."

"You have the look of a woman in love, Alex – content and very happy. I'm glad you found Olivia."

"I'm glad Olivia found me. Now... make me fabulous – sweep the hair up off my neck and very light make-up...." She stopped speaking when his finger covered her lips.

"Trust me, Alex... I'm a professional." Then he settled in and got to work. Alex just sat back and let him do his magic. When he was done, she kissed his cheek and thanked him. Enrique blushed and stammered and headed to Olivia's room, secretly hoping for a repeat. Lucky him – he got his wish and Liv grinned as he tripped out of her room and back towards the front of the house. Elizabeth had promised him a place to change into his own formal clothing for the wedding.

Around six, people started pouring into the estate. The wedding party was first - Elliot and Kathy arrived followed immediately by Liz Donnelly with Abbie Carmichael and Jack McCoy tagging along. The Remingtons were the first guests – easy since they were so close by, then the Branches, Don Cragen, and before long people were entering the grounds faster than Elizabeth could put names to faces.

Julia was there, as was Nita, Fin and Huang and Melinda Warner... even Lena Petrovsky had come for the nuptials. Friends and colleagues of both women showed up in support of their union the dissenters having been weeded out weeks before. Soon the backyard was filled with all manner of smartly dressed people mixing and mingling with others from walks of life other than their own and finding common ground between them.

At seven o'clock, doors opened simultaneously on either side of the second floor landing and Alex and Olivia froze for a moment, taking one another in. Though they had shopped separately for their wedding attire, they had arrived at amazingly similar outfits. Both were a cream color – silk in nature, casual pantsuit in cut. Alex had a long jacket, collarless, with a plunging neckline that just hinted at her cleavage and clung to her thin frame. Olivia had opted for the shorter vest-style top that accented her breasts and toned arms with a collared jacket on top for when the evening got cooler.

Olivia's hair was just a little wild and mussy, a look that Alex adored. Alex's on the other hand, was not up as she requested, but framing her face the way Liv preferred to see it. Enrique was a very smart man.

Neither of them wore shoes, but Alex had a pearl necklace on while Liv opted for a thin gold chain. They reached for one another, hands clasping even as their eyes roamed one another from head to foot.

"Wow," Liv whispered reverently. "Alex, you look fabulous... absolutely beautiful."

"You're gorgeous, Liv... just breathtaking."

Their lips met briefly, knowing they couldn't smear lipstick or mess up hair at this point in the day. They had an hour or so of mingling with their guests to do before the actual ceremony. Unconventional, admittedly, but with a summer sunset wedding, it met their needs to have part of the reception ahead of time.

Hand in hand they walked down the stairs and through the house until they were standing in the French doors looking out on the friends who had gathered on the back lawn for their ceremony. A cheer went up when they were spotted and they exchanged smiles and squeezed one another's hands tightly before acknowledging the hail with a wave and heading down into the melee to meet and greet their guests together.

After an hour or so, about thirty minutes before sunset, Alex and Olivia separated so they could walk the beach to join one another in front of the priest who was waiting just at the waterline. With a very few words, Elizabeth and Munch moved the congregation to the beach to watch the brief ceremony. Liz and Elliot took their places on either side of the minister and waited.

Alex came from the east and Olivia from the west and the visual was apropos to their life. Alex walked as a beacon of light in the darkness while Olivia glowed with light as she walked into the dark. When they reached each other, they clasped hands and the crowd closed in around them to watch their joining.

"Friends," the minister intoned solemnly, "we have gathered today to bear witness to the union of Alexandra and Olivia – a couple whose love has survived much simply to be. Already they understand the frailty of life and love, the loneliness of separation, the pain of death. With that knowledge, they have made the choice to embrace the happiness and fulfillment they know together and have asked all of you to share in their joy this day."

Alex and Olivia were only peripherally aware of his words. They were totally focused on one another, eyes exchanging promises they had made to each other long ago and were now, finally ready to speak aloud. The priest continued to speak. "Alexandra and Olivia have written their own vows for this occasion and it is with great pleasure that I ask them now to exchange them."

There was a momentary lull... until Elliot elbowed Olivia and she glared at him. Then she realized the reason for it and shrugged sheepishly and bit her lip before turning back to Alex. She cupped Alex's face in one hand and drew a deep breath to speak.

"When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a princess; I never thought I'd be lucky enough to fall in love with one," drawing a smile from Alex. Alex brought her free hand up to cover the hand Olivia was using to caress her face. "Alex, you have changed so much for the better in my life. Instead of gray, I see color. Instead of despair, I know hope. Instead of loneliness, I have love and understanding in my life. I promise to love you, take care of you, lend you my strength when you're tired and comfort you when you're sick. I pledge to walk beside you until death and beyond; to fight passionately with you but to never go to bed angry. I promise to always be faithful to you alone and to be a supportive and loving spouse." She pulled her hand from Alex's face and captured Alex's left hand in hers. "From the rising of the sun to the setting of the same until time is no more... with this ring, I thee wed."

Olivia lifted their joined hands to her lips and sealed her promise with a kiss on the ring she had just placed on Alex's finger. They stared for a long moment until the priest cleared his throat gently and brought their attention back to their surroundings. "Alexandra?" he prompted.

Alex cleared her throat nervously. Prosecuting criminals was much easier than baring her heart in front of so many, so she allowed her legendary focus to narrow to the brown eyes that were gazing at her filled with the same love she felt.

"You wanted to be a princess. I always wanted my very own hero, but I never expected to find one in real life - certainly not carrying a gold shield and a gun with serious brown eyes." Olivia grinned at her and looked down bashfully until Alex lifted her chin so their eyes met again. "Liv, you brought so much into my life. Before you, I only existed. You gave my life meaning and reason and taught me that caring is worth the cost. I promise to love you, take care of you, lend you my strength when you're tired and comfort you when you're sick. I pledge to walk beside you until death and beyond; to fight passionately with you but to never go to bed angry. I promise to always be faithful to you alone and to be a supportive and loving spouse." She turned and accepted Olivia's ring from Liz, then slid it onto Liv's finger. "From the rising of the sun to the setting of the same until time is no more... with this ring, I thee wed."

Alex lifted their joined hands to her lips and sealed her promise with a kiss. After another minute of silent promises, they turned back to the minister who smiled at them benevolently.

"When two people come together in love – heart to heart, body to body, soul to soul and mind to mind – they create something beautiful. I consider it a privilege to bless all these unions, and despite what bigots and nay sayers would like to believe, I don't believe God condemns love. So by the power vested in me, and in front of this vast company of family and friends, I am happy to pronounce you well and truly married to one another - to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do you part. Ladies, you may kiss your bride."

As the sun touched the horizon, they stepped closer to one another, each of them dropping one hand to the other's hip. Using their free hand to cup the other's face, they looked into one another's eyes before brushing their lips once, twice, then allowing the kiss to become passionate. It went on until the crowd around them started to whoop and cheer. Slowly the kiss wound down and they pulled apart and leaned their foreheads together.

"I love you," Olivia said softly. "Forever."

Alex smirked. "Well, that's a start detective. We can negotiate terms later. And for the record, I love you," Alex replied.

Olivia couldn't help it – she laughed and she and Alex hugged tightly. The priest held up his hands and waited for the applause to die down. "Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great privilege to present to you the new Cabot-Benson family... Mrs. Alexandra and Mrs. Olivia Cabot-Benson."

Another cheer rose and the brides, blushing and all, turned to hug Elliot and Liz before leading the crowd back to the lawn. They went straight to the cake, decorated in gold leaf and topped with a personalized topper, complete with badge, gun, briefcase and glasses of justice.

They stopped short... looking at it and exchanging smirks before turning to Munch and applauding him. He accepted the accolades from them with a bow. Then Alex and Olivia proceeded to cut the cake, feeding one another with a tender devotion most had not expected from two such volatile personalities. Then they shared a sip of champagne before walking to the dance floor hand in hand.

Alex smiled when the song started playing and rested her forehead against Olivia's. Liv had asked to be able to choose the music for their first dance together. Tim McGraw's voice washed over them and they moved around the floor in a world of their own.

"You think they'll last?" Kathy asked Elliot as Alex and Olivia slowly danced to the music.

"I think they have a better chance than most," he answered honestly. "They've been through so much just to be together. I don't think they will let anything tear them apart."

"Like we did?" Elliot shrugged and nodded, keeping his eyes on the newlyweds. "Maybe we should try again, then," Kathy stated matter-of-factly.

"Really?" Elliot said, raising his eyes to hers.

"Really," she replied, wrapping her hands around his arm and leaning her head on his shoulder. He covered her hands with his and grinned. And when the song changed, he led her out onto the dance floor and they danced.

After half an hour or so, Elliot stepped to the mic and tapped his glass. "If I could have everyone's attention – before my partner and her bride take off for... parts unknown," catching Olivia's glare before he revealed the location of their honeymoon, "I'd like to ask you all to raise your glasses in a toast." Everyone complied and Elliot turned to face Alex and Olivia. "To two women who mean so much to so many here and everything to each other – may your yesterdays be the worst of your tomorrows and may you always know the happiness that you feel together today. Cheers."

"Cheers," the assembly responded.

Alex and Liv saluted them in kind then Alex stepped up to the mic. "Thank you... all of you... for not only welcoming me back into your homes and hearts but also for sharing in this day with Olivia and me. It means a lot... to both of us to know so many people do care. Now, please – stay and enjoy our hospitality. We have a plane to catch."

She took Liv's hand and they disappeared back into the house to prepare to leave for the airport. They had a honeymoon to start.



"That was a nice send off," Olivia commented as she and Alex buckled in for take-off. "I wonder who came up with the idea for rose petals instead of birdseed."

"I don't know, but I like it – much more romantic than getting pegged with birdseed."

The plane shuddered as it rolled down the runway, and in mere moments they were airborne and headed to Italy.

When the captain issued the all clear, they unstrapped themselves and Alex moved to speak to the stewards. Then she locked the door and stalked towards Olivia like a lioness after her prey. "Now, detective...." she said, kicking off her shoes and slowly unbuttoning her long coat. "We have quite a long flight ahead of us. Any suggestions on how we can spend our time?"

Olivia rose from her seat and slid her hands over Alex's bare skin, running them up from her waist in a teasing pattern until she reached Alex's breasts. She let her thumbs torment the hardened nipples still hidden beneath lace before they moved on to trace the prominent collarbone and up to the strong, firm jaw. When she reached Alex's lips, Liv gasped when her fingers were sucked into the hot, wet cavern of Alex's mouth as Alex showed her exactly what her ideas for passing the time involved.

After a moment of this intimate seduction, Olivia's lips replaced her fingers and she pushed Alex's open jacket to the floor and opened the lace bra that stood between her and her first goal of the evening. It took her a minute to realize that while she had been focused on getting Alex naked, Alex's focus had been on achieving the same with her, and their torsos met in an explosion of skin on skin. Alex reverently traced the scar on Olivia's belly until, impatient with the teasing touch, Liv stripped off their pants and guided them back to the couch to explore one another to ecstasy.

They did so slowly and with great attention to detail, revisiting places with touches that caused them to shudder out their first orgasm as a married couple together. When they came down from the bliss of their union, they cuddled upon the couch and basked in the afterglow.

"God, I love you," Liv said as she pulled a light blanket over them, having been specifically put on the back of the couch for that purpose. "Do you think it will always be so good between us?"

"No, sweetheart," Alex answered seriously. "I think it is only going to get better. We have a lifetime to work on it. We have a lifetime to love and explore and live like we were dying."

"At least we know where we're involved it will never, *ever* be boring. I'm looking forward to that," Liv confirmed.

"So am I, Liv... so am I."

As they headed towards the dawn of a new day, Alex and Olivia settled down into a sleep no longer plagued by nightmares of the past, but dreams filled with possibilities of the future.

And on Monday morning - when Munch, Casey and Serena all walked into the precinct together sporting scarves and turtleneck sweaters - the rest were left to wonder about what other possibilities might unfold for the people who called the one-six home.

The End

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