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WARNING: If you're of a timid disposition and quake at the idea of a character being lampooned unfairling, then walk, don't run, to the nearest exit. Actually, forget the exit, go and check out DS and Harriet's fics, they're fantastic...hell, even if you manage to trawl through this, still go and check out their work, you won't regret it.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Lunch with Casey
By ralst

Alex looked at the other attorney, whose overexcited bopping was making her feel the tiniest bit seasick. She couldn't quite understand what had set the other woman off, the interior of the courthouse wasn't exactly the most stimulating of environments, at least when empty, as it was at that moment.

Casey stood from the prosecution's table and strode towards the witness box, her hair bouncing with every step. Wagging her finger at the empty seat, she turned to share a disbelieving look with the equally absent jury.

Alex removed her glasses, blinked, wiped the lenses and slipped them back on her nose. "Casey?" Alex realised she'd been away from the rigors of litigation for a couple of years but she didn't think things had changed that much. "What are you doing?"

The redhead smiled towards the judge's seat, as if asking for permission to leave, before turning to answer the blonde, "I'm practising my cross examination."

Alex had, on many occasions, talked through her opening and closing arguments in the confines of her office; she had even prevailed upon the kindness of court security guards a time or two so she could acclimatise her witnesses to the atmosphere of the courtroom. "But I thought your calendar was free for the next two weeks?"

"It is." After Alex's miraculous resurrection Branch had decided that Casey would be the ideal person to help the blonde reacquaint herself with the demands of the DA's office. In his infinite wisdom, he had decided that the ideal way to accomplish that was to pass Casey's cases to another overworked ADA and allow her the time needed to talk Alex through the procedural rules he'd assumed she'd forgotten. "I always like to get in a little practice when I'm here alone," Casey continued, "and Mary always said there was no better way to learn the law than to practice it."

Alex had no idea who this Mary person was but she doubted her intention had been for Casey to practice winking at the jury foreperson. God, at times she wondered what had possessed her to return to New York.

"Hey," a voice called from the back of the room, and as Alex turned to see detective Olivia Benson leaning against the back row of seats she remembered exactly why she'd returned.

"Hi Liv," Casey chirped, doing a bouncy stride towards the dark-haired detective. "Are you here to see me?"

Olivia took a step back, as disconcerted as ever by the redhead's oblivious good cheer, and fearing that it would be followed at any second by an inappropriately personal question. "Not exactly," she turned her gaze towards Alex, "I was wondering if you wanted to join me for lunch?"

"We'd love to," said Casey, quickly returning to the prosecution's table to shuffle her files and give a meaningful nod towards the phantom judge. "Are you ready Alex?"

Alex turned a pleading look towards Olivia before nodding at Casey's question, somehow knowing it would take an act of God or Supreme Court decision to peel the redhead away from Olivia's side; the woman had turned into a limpet the second the detective entered the room. "Where are we going?"

Olivia opened her mouth to reply but before she could produce more than a syllable Casey had slipped her arm through Alex's and beaten her to the punch. "Olivia and I always go to Molly's," she said, before trying and failing to link her arm with Olivia's, "I'm sure Liv won't mind if we share it with you, would you Liv?"

"No," Olivia managed through gritted teeth. She'd only ever been to Molly's the once, when Casey had cornered her after a particularly trying case and fooled her into a secluded meal for two on the pretext of meeting the others for drinks.

As they made their way out of the courthouse Alex did her best to disentangle herself from Casey's hold, the other woman's swaying gait causing them to bump shoulders on every second step. She looked across Casey towards Olivia, who appeared lost in thought as she ignored the redhead's prattle regarding Branch's latest pearls of wisdom. The tiny pounding vein at her temple the only outward sign of irritation.

"I was speaking to Liz Donnelley the other day," Casey prattled on, "you remember her, Alex, she used to be, erm, something to do with SVU. Anyway, she said that with my win-loss ratio I'd make a great defence attorney. Don't you think that's sweet?"

"That sounds like Liz," Alex agreed, "she'd do anything to improve our stats," she finished under her breath.

By the time they reached the restaurant Alex was sporting the beginnings of a bruise on her right shoulder and a headache behind her eyes. It wasn't that she disliked Casey, but a little of her went a long way.

Olivia opened the door for the other women, before steering them towards a seat at the back that would give her a good view of the other patrons. Somehow, being with Alex, had made her a little paranoid about stray bullets and passing Colombians. "Do you want a drink?"

"White wine, please."

"Nothing for me," Casey declined, "I like to keep my mind sharp in case I'm called in to argue a motion."

"Oookay." Olivia ordered the drinks and began plotting how she could get rid of the redhead and have the quiet meal with Alex she'd been anticipating when she entered the courthouse. If she excused herself to the ladies room she could phone Elliot and have him contact Casey for an emergency something or other. She'd owe him big, first-born child big, but it would be worth it. "If you'll excuse me."

As Olivia stood Casey jumped up from her seat. "Wait for me." Olivia's hand tightened on the back of her seat, the wood creaking at the formidable pressure. "You know what they say about women going in pairs," Casey continued, as oblivious as ever.

Alex took a healthy gulp of her wine, motioning to the waitress to bring a second round.

Olivia had no sooner left the table than she returned, anxious to spend at least a few minutes alone with Alex. "So, how've you been?"

"What can I say? A day spent being treated like a first year law student and watching Ms Perky try major crimes in front of an imaginary judge," Alex sighed, "it's been hell."

"Poor you," Olivia placed her hand over Alex's, "is there anything I can do to help?"

Alex's smile blossomed and not even Casey's unwanted return could totally diminish its brightness.

"Did I miss something?" Casey asked, an uncertain smile on her face.

Olivia had removed her hand, but the memory of the touch left Alex feeling light-headed. "Olivia's offered to help me paint my new apartment," Alex told the other attorney, "tonight," she added for Olivia's benefit.

"Oh," Casey's voice perked up, "I'm a great painter."

Olivia looked ready to throttle the redhead. "That's great to know, Casey," Alex intervened, "I'll keep it in mind when I need to redo my living room, but unfortunately there's only enough room for two in the bedroom. You know how it is."

"Oh, sure." Before she could say anything more Casey's cell phone rang. "Novak."

Alex and Olivia watched as the perkiness drained from the redhead's body to be replaced with the bopping concentration that Alex had soon come to associate with Casey's lawyer persona.

"Do you need me to speak with him?" Casey nodded "Yes, yes, of course." Her eyes scrunched closed as she concentrated on the voice at the other end of the line. "If you really need me." A smile of delight crossed her face before being chased away by a caricature of determination. "I'll see what I can do." Closing the phone, she turned an apologetic look on her dining companions. "I'm sorry but I have to leave."

"That's okay," Olivia was quick to reassure her.

"I wouldn't leave unless it was important," Casey continued, hoping one of them would ask for details.

"I know you wouldn't," Alex agreed.

"It was Elliot," Casey tried again, "he said it was an emergency."

"An emergency?" Olivia began reaching for her cell, before a kick to her shins stilled her hand. She shot Alex a deadly look, before the other woman's rolling eyed glance towards Casey convinced her to be quiet and play along. "You'd better rush along then."

"Yes," Casey stood, her hand reaching out to squeeze Olivia's shoulder, "call me and we'll rearrange lunch for another time."

"Will do," Olivia smiled, fighting the urge to shake off the woman's touch.

The two watched as the redhead bound out of the restaurant, equal smiles of pleasure gracing their lips. "Elliot says you owe him big," Alex informed her friend, "donating a kidney big."

"It's his," Olivia said, making a mental note to jump in front of the next bullet headed Elliot's way.

Alex laced her fingers through Olivia's, their joint hands sitting proudly upon the table. "About my bedroom, how about you come round tonight and give me a hand?"

Olivia smiled. "Seeing as Elliot and Casey are going to be busy for the rest of the day, how about I come round now and give you more than just a hand?"

Alex stood. "Check please!"

The End

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