DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf. Keith belongs to my beta but she let me borrow him for this story.
AUTHOR'S NTOE: In the fanfic world, there are some really good stories and, well, then there are mine. With any luck, the fanfic police will send a fanfic detective resembling Olivia Benson to investigate my heinous writing crimes and a fanfic ADA resembling Casey Novak will prosecute me into submission. Ooh, frisk me, frisk me. <.g.> <.ahem.> Anywho…these are my latest crimes. You have been warned. <.g.> As I said in the disclaimer to the first story…it really wasn't my idea to write a series. However, that's what ya gots. And on the plus side it keeps somebody off my case about a certain other 473 page project. This is story number two. This one picks up the night of the events of Mistake (story 1-reading it first will help, honest - things will make more sense) and carries on to the next day. Enjoy. So I see you are still with me. Cool. Anyone need a bathroom break? Go now. The rest of us will just wait here. Go on. Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala Back? Excellent. Take your seat and hold on tight. The trip is about to begin…it starts after the title header.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

(story 2 in the Miscommunication Series aka It Sucks To Be You Series)



Benson/Novak Residence

October 14, Saturday Evening-late

The heavy, shuffling footsteps echoed down the empty hallway - their cadence reminiscent of a condemned man going to the gallows... or in this case, a woman. Well, except for the squish. Olivia walked reluctantly toward the apartment. She stopped and looked at the door.

"Apartment 3A, that's me," she muttered to herself. She took a deep breath and sighed. For a split second she considered leaving again. Dammit, I'm cold, I'm dripping wet and I live here. She raised her hand to knock and then stopped and lowered it again. Okay, do I knock or just go in? Suck it up Benson. Casey is in there and for better or worse, you need to be in there. Liz said she would take care of everything in the morning. All I have to do is survive the night. Of course, easy for her to say, she is waaaaaaaaay across town. Besides, I didn't do anything wrong, I don't think. Did I?

She lightly leaned her forehead on the door. Is that music? Oh, sonovabitch... she's listening to heavy metal. She only listens to that before she does summations in death penalty cases. I'm screwed. Liv swallowed hard.

Olivia stood back up straight and pulled her keys out of her pocket. She listened as the deadbolt opened with a quiet snick. Then she switched keys to open the knob lock. She heard that one click open as well. It's now or never. Taking another deep breath, she turned the knob and pushed on the door. Only to have it slam back in her face when it reached the end of the slide chain. She sighed and pushed the door open a crack.

"Casey?" She yelled above the music. "Can you come open the door, please? The chain is on."

Casey padded to the slightly opened door and looked out into the hallway. Liv smiled sweetly at her. The attorney smiled back. Then she shut the door and relocked the deadbolt and the knob lock.

"CASEY!" Liv shouted and banged on the door. "C'mon, let me in."

The music increased in volume.

The neighbor's door opened and a petite gray head poked out. "Livvy?"

Olivia leaned her forehead back on the door and answered, "I'm sorry, Mrs. O'Connor. I didn't mean to be so loud."

"Are you locked out, Livvy? Do I need to call Mr. Thomas, the manager?"

"No, no, Mrs. O. I'm not locked out." She held out the keys and dangled them. "Casey is in there. She has the chain bolt on." Olivia sniffled and then sneezed. "Dammit, Casey." she mumbled.

"Livvy? Are you okay?" the neighbor asked, noticing that Benson hadn't moved from leaning on the apartment door. Mrs. O'Connor stepped quietly closer to the Detective and put her hand on Benson's back. "Did you have a fight with your cutie?"

"No... yes... maybe... I didn't... I think... I'm not sure...." Olivia stuttered out and then turned toward the woman.

"Oh my... you have a black eye! Did Casey do that to you? She HIT you? And don't you tell me it was accidental, love. I know you and what you do."

"No, no." Olivia put her hand up to her eye. "Casey would never. Never. She loves me." Liv glanced back at the door for a second, then back to the neighbor. She added in a very low tone, "I hope." She shivered. "Elliot did this."

"What!?! Your partner - that nice, good looking hunk... he did this?"

"Yes, I mean no. This was an accident at work yesterday. We chased a perp and while Elliot was trying to handcuff him, I got hit with a flying elbow." Olivia sniffled again. "It's okay, honest."

"Oh Livvy, you are gonna catch pneumonia standing out here." Mrs. O'Connor looked at the puddle forming at their feet. "She won't let you in, huh?"

Olivia shook her head no.

"What exactly did you do, anyway? C'mon, you can tell me."

Both she and the neighbor could hear the music get even louder inside the apartment.

"She kinda got hit with both barrels today."

Mrs. O'Connor's eyebrow rose in question.

"Alex and Abbie, you remember them, right? They stomped on her nerves. I mean she knew I had a history with both of them but it kinda became real today. They were ragging her bad."

"Past history?"

"Oh yeah. And it'll stay that way... past." Olivia sneezed a couple of times in succession.

"Okay, sweetie, dial your apartment and give me your phone."

"Mrs. O, it will be okay. She'll calm down and let me...."

"Humor the Mom in me, okay?" she said with a no nonsense tone and an arched eyebrow.

Olivia reached into her blazer pocket and pulled out her cell phone. She dialed the apartment and handed the phone over. Mrs. O' Connor waited for Casey to pick up. A tirade assaulted her immediately and she held the phone out from her ear. "Wow!" she mouthed at Liv. Then her green eyes began twinkling as she got ready to pounce once Casey had to take a breath.

"Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" she said and gave Liv a wink.

Liv snickered in spite of the situation. She sneezed again.

"No, this is not Liv, it's Evie. Look, your sweetie is out here dripping wet and she is going to catch her death." She paused and listened. "You don't mean that. C'mon, Casey. Hon, you can still be mad at her in your apartment once she dries off. Good girl."

Mrs. O'Connor hung up and handed the phone back to Olivia. She then reached up and touched Liv's cheek with the back of her hand. "You're so hot," she said, just as Casey swung open the door.

"AARRGGHH!" Casey said exasperatedly. "Not another one." She turned her back and walked further into the apartment, leaving the door open.

Liv shrugged her shoulders and kissed the gray-headed woman on the top of the head. "Thank you, Mrs. O. Wish me luck."

"It will all work out, dear. You'll see. She's a keeper." Mrs. O'Connor made her way back to her apartment. She stopped in the doorway. "Please ask your cutie to turn the music down or change it to something a little nicer. Some of us need our beauty sleep, y'know?" Mrs. O waggled her fingers at Olivia.

Olivia waved goodnight. She squared her shoulders and made her way into her apartment. After turning around, for a moment, to relock the door, she was about to step further into the apartment when a very pissed off ADA made her presence known.

"Here." Casey threw a couple of towels at Liv.

Olivia caught but juggled the towels. "Casey? I...."

Casey held up her hand stopping her. "Not now. Just get dried off and out of those wet clothes. I don't need you to get sick. Your sweats are in the bathroom." Casey turned and went to the kitchen.

Olivia went and took a hot shower and changed. She hung her clothing in the bathroom to dry and made her way back into the living room and over to the kitchen. She noticed the music had been turned off.

"There is water up for hot tea," Casey said as she brushed past her on the way to the bedroom.

She turned to follow Casey, "Thank you. Casey, I...." her explanation was stopped as she was hit with a flying pillow followed by a blanket which draped itself over her head. She removed the blanket in time to see and hear the bedroom door slam.

The kettle whistled and she hurried to the kitchen to shut off the stove. She deposited her blanket and pillow on the couch along the way. She fixed her tea and picked up her mug. Making her way back to the living room, she thought about everything she and Liz discussed at dinner.

"I sure hope you know what you are doing, Liz." Olivia set her tea on the low table. She fluffed the pillow and settled in for the night.


Benson/Novak Residence

October 15, Sunday Morning 9:15am

Casey quietly opened the bedroom door and peered out. The apartment was quiet. Too quiet. It was after nine and, by habit, Olivia should have been up and moving. Casey squinted in concentration, her gaze taking in the entire view. A scowl was still present on her face.

Following her nose to the kitchen, she found a full pot of fresh coffee. Casey took her mug off the counter and poured herself a cup. She peered out the kitchen window, lost in thought. Savoring the taste, she didn't hear the detective come up behind her. Liv leaned in from behind and pecked Casey on the cheek. In the surprise Casey spewed coffee all over the counter and sink.

"Good morning sunshine!"

Casey turned, glared and bared her teeth.

"Did you just growl at me?" Liv shook her head in amazement. "I see someone got up on the wrong side of the bed. Let me just clean up that little mess, okay?"

Liv got a dishtowel out of the drawer and proceeded to do just that. Casey took one step to the right and just stood and stared.

"All done. Oh, honey, I know you found the coffee and there are some fresh chocolate croissants and mini muffins in the bag over there. I stopped by Antonio's this morning. I know how much you love those croissants. I had to fight off two little old ladies. Feisty little suckers too. One of them hit me with a French loaf. But there is nothing too good for you. Oh yeah, stay right there." Liv moved off to the living room and returned quickly. "These are for you." She handed her a bouquet of wild flowers.

Casey looked down at the flowers in her hand and then back up to Liv's smiling face.

Liv continued, "It's a beautiful day outside. No sign of the rain from last night. I think we should go to the park and take advantage of this. Doesn't that sound nice? We can stop at our favorite diner on the way ba...."

During Liv's spiel, Casey turned around and set her mug on the counter. She looked down at the flowers in her hand once again. Mentally considering her options, she quickly made up her mind. She turned and whacked Liv on the shoulder with them.

"Enough, Detective!"

Liv winced at the use of her title and stopped talking.

"I have not heard so much suckage since the Hoover was brand new."

"Casey, honey, I know you're mad but I'm really...."

Just then Casey's cell phone rang. Casey put her hand up to silence Liv and went to answer it.

"Novak." She paused as the caller identified herself. "YOU! YOU! You are the last person I want to hear from right now. Well actually, you are one of the last three people I want to hear from right now."

"Novak," the caller cut her off. "I am only going to say this once. Listen carefully. The time is now nine thirty-two. I will pick you up outside your apartment building in twenty-eight minutes. Get dressed and be there."

"If you are suggesting - I am not going anywhere with you."

"Dress casually and you have about twenty-seven minutes now."

"Liz, I am not going out. Olivia and I have some talking to do." She looked over at Liv who innocently looked away.

"You need to hear what I have to say first."

"No, I don't."

"Novak, you are wasting time. You now have twenty-six minutes and you know that I will come up to your apartment and drag you out, dressed or not."

"I won't let you in."

"Liv will."

Casey's eyes narrowed. "You call her 'Liv' now?" Olivia cringed and looked at the floor.

"Get dressed and get downstairs." The call disconnected.

Casey looked over at Liv. "That was your date from last night. Apparently I am being summoned, although for what I have no clue." Casey turned to go into the bedroom to get dressed.

"Casey," Liv called out to the retreating ADA, "while you're out, how about I cook us a nice dinner, okay? We can eat, we can drink, we can talk, yes?"

Casey poked her head back out the door as she brushed her hair. "You're cooking? I thought you loved me!"

Liv's eyebrow rose into her hairline. "I can cook."

Casey crossed her arms over her chest and stared at her.

"I can learn."

Casey began tapping her foot.

"I can... ummm... try?" Liv said weakly.

Casey rolled her eyes. "Liv, we have forty seven different take out menus on the kitchen counter and ten different restaurants on speed dial. Unless we make breakfast, the pots wouldn't know what to do after 10am. You'll put them into shock.

"I can do this, Case. Have a little faith."

"And a few Pepcid," Casey mumbled as she walked into the bedroom to get dressed.

"I heard that."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday Morning 9:55am

Olivia watched the door close behind Casey. She slapped her hands together and then wrung them a couple of times.

"Okay, Liv, you can do this. Now, where do we start?" She snapped her fingers. "I know...." Making her way to the living room, she perused the book shelves. "Maybe Casey brought some cookbooks when she moved in."

"Let's see - Hurricane Watch, Tropical Storm, Eye of the Storm...." Liv's forehead creased in puzzlement as her eyes scanned the shelves. "Geez, Case, got a thing for weather? And tropical weather at that. Weird."

Olivia kept looking. Her eyes widened as she found a book. "Hmmmmm... Hot and Steamy by Deanna Pinck. Well, that sounds like a cookbook."

Liv opened the book to skim through it. Her eyes rounded as she read a random passage. She slammed the book closed. Then opened it again. Then closed it. She shook her head. "Oh Casey, Casey, Casey - we have got to talk about your choice of literature. You've been holding out on me." Olivia chuckled as she went to return the book to the shelf. Changing her mind, she turned and put it down on the coffee table but not before taking another peek at the contents.

Looking over the shelves again, she realized that there were no books that were going to help her. Liv flopped down on the couch in dismay.

"Okay, now what, genius? Think... think...." Liv sat with her head propped up on her hand. "I got it." She reached for the phone and dialed.

"Hey, El."

"Well, if it isn't my horndog partner. We got a case?"

"Shut up. And no, we don't."

"Well, then... to what do I owe this pleasure?" He paused. "I'm not going to let you date any of my daughters." He laughed.

"Very funny, Stabler. But you're too late. If you remember correctly, a couple of years ago, I used to take Mo out every other Saturday."

"You were teaching her how to ice skate."

"You hope so, doncha?"

"You suck, y'know?"

"Casey was just saying that very thing a little while ago."

"TMI, Liv, T-M-I."

Liv laughed. "Elliot, honest, I don't want to date your daughters. I want to talk to your wife. Is Kathy home?"

"I'm not going to let you date my wife either."

"I don't want to date your wife...."

"Good. Hey, waitaminute - what's wrong with my wife?"

"Nothing is wrong with your wife. I mean, I guess nothing is wrong with your wife. Well, maybe one thing."

"Oh, and what would that be, oh expert of women?"

"She's apparently mentally unstable. She agreed to marry you... and she slept with you at least three times - although the twins look suspiciously like Munch." Liv gibed.

"Very funny, Benson. What do you need Kath for?"

"I was hoping she could help me with some fool-proof recipes. I promised to cook dinner for Casey to help make up for the past couple of days."

"You can't cook."

"I know that Sherlock; that's why I wanted to talk to Kathy. Can I speak with her, please?"

"She isn't here. She took the kids to visit her Mom in Jersey. She won't be back until late."

"Crap." Liv frowned. "Uh, El? I don't suppose...."

"Liv, you know I don't cook. I can grill but that's it."

Olivia sighed. "Okay, I guess I'll just have to figure something else out."

There was a bit of silence as they both contemplated the problem.

"Hey, partner, why don't you try the Food Network? They run cooking shows all day. Maybe you can get some ideas from them."

"Oooh El, I could kiss ya." Liv said happily.

"No offense, but I have no desire to tangle with your better half. Keep those lips to yourself."

Olivia chuckled. "How about I just bring in some bagels and coffee on Monday for you?"

"Just for me? None for Munch and Fin?"

"Uh huh, just for my number one partner."

"Uh, you aren't going to bake them yourself are you?"

"Hell no."

"Deal. Good Luck, Liv."

"Thanks El."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday Morning 10am

Liv walked back into the living room with a cup of coffee in one hand and a small dish of mini muffins in the other. She carefully set them on the end table then toed off her sneakers and flopped onto the couch. Her socked feet up went up on the coffee table.

Olivia grabbed a muffin and popped it into her mouth then picked up the remote and turned on the TV. "Food Network? Where is the Food Network?" She said as she flipped through the channels. "Professionals. I'm bound to be able to pick up some pointers from them."

"Here we go. Oh look - it's that guy. What's his name again?" She tapped her chin with the remote. "Bobby Flea…Flow…Flip…Flop…Flay. Yeah, Flay." She put the remote down and popped another muffin. "Abbie would tell you she loved his restaurant, if she could remember dining there." Olivia silently chuckled, thinking back to her first time there. Who knew Abbie couldn't hold her tequila. She holds other liquor better than anyone else I know. But man, give her tequila and she toasts right up. You can practically hear the braincells dying off. She popped another muffin and chewed. I'll never forget ol' Booby making the rounds among the tables doing his PR thing and his hitting on her. Talk about lame lines. She laughed so much she snorted guacamole out her nose. Green on the red dress was festive... too bad it was Easter time. She took a sip of coffee. "You'd think I would learn, but nooooooooooo. I had to take Alex there one time too. What was I thinking?"

She reached for her cup of coffee and took a sip and put it back on the end table. She sighed when she noticed she was out of muffins. "I mean, it would have been nice if she mentioned she was allergic to cilantro," she said aloud, then waved her arm out. "The man puts it in everything. Hell, I bet he puts it into his corn flakes along with sliced jalapenos instead of bananas." Olivia paused for a second. "Alex was one big hive by the end of the night. Of course, it was kinda fun helping her scratch her itches." Liv looked around quickly. "Boy, am I glad Casey didn't just hear that." She snickered.

Olivia turned her attention to the TV. "I wonder what we are cooking today. Ooh, chicken. Casey loves chicken." Liv smiled. "So, Bobby - are you a breast man or a leg man?" Olivia watched for a few minutes. "Hey, that must be his wife." She stared. "Definitely a leg man. Good taste there, Bobby-boy." Liv tilted her head to one side. "She kinda looks like Alex, if you squint real hard."

Olivia watched as Bobby put together a meal of blackened chicken. Y'know, I should have thought ahead to write down the instructions. But dammit... I'm a Detective; I'm paid to remember details. Olivia stood and headed into the kitchen in search of a notepad. Now let me get a shopping list together and I'll call the local grocer and have them bring it. "I mean how hard can this really be?"


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday Morning 10:40 am

Olivia walked back from the kitchen with a pen and paper in hand. "Okay..." she tapped the pen on her chin, "what was it I needed?" Liv began to write. "I need... well, chicken. Bobby-boy used chicken breast but Casey likes dark meat, so I'll just get a whole cut-up chicken. That should be okay too. I mean chicken is chicken. Ummm... what else? Spices. He had lots of pepper. Black and white. Wonder what difference that makes? It will all end up blackened anyway." She mentally shrugged. "Oh and red pepper and uhhhhhh... thyme and oregano, yeah that was it. And onion powder. Who knew you could powder onions? How do you powder onions? I guess you just chop them up real tiny. What was that other thing? I know it started with a 'p' – uh... puh... parsley? No, that wasn't it." Liv racked her brain. "Paprika." She smiled. "Hah, mind like a steel trap." She added a few more things to her list. "I might as well have them send over something for me to eat for lunch too." Liv reached for the phone.

"Hi, Mr. Edwards; it's Olivia Benson. I'm fine sir, how are you? Good. Good. I need to order some groceries. Do you think you can have Denny deliver them?" She waited for the reply. "Oh, he's not around? What? Oh, Keith is helping out today?" She rolled her eyes and muttered, "Great." She listened a bit longer. "He's home for the week? That's nice," she replied with what she hoped was a sincere tone. "Paroled early? Just kidding." She pinched the bridge of her nose. "How's he doing in college?" A pause. "Pre-Med? Really? Wow." I would have guessed underwater basket weaving was more his speed, but go figure. She listened to Mr. Edwards drone on. Note to self - find out what hospital he is doing his residency in and stay away from it. "That's great Mr. Edwards. Yeah, let me give you a list of what I need...."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday Morning 11:15 am

"Coming." Liv called out to the doorbell. She padded across the floor from the direction of the kitchen. The doorbell rang a few more times in rapid succession. "I said I was coming," she growled as she yanked open the door.

"Just what I always wanted to hear you scream to me." Keith winked at her.

The grocer's son was casually leaning on the doorframe with his hands in his pockets. A bag was lying at his feet.

"Hellll-ooo, Detective." he said, then added smugly, "Did ya miss me?"

"Hellll-ooo, you pain in the ass." She replied in the same tone. "Were you gone somewhere?"

"Oh, that hurts." He put his hand over his heart and pouted. "And here I was hoping for a welcome home kiss."

"How much?" Liv asked as she picked up the bag and headed for the kitchen.

"Oh, I'll give you the kiss for free."

"The groceries?" she replied testily, ignoring his last statement. She turned her back to him and walked into the kitchen.

"$47.50 but I'm sure we can work out a deal if you are short on cash." He pushed himself off the doorframe and started to saunter into the apartment.

"Uh, uh, uh...." she called out without turning around and pointed back to the door. "Back outside, you and stop staring at my ass. I do have a gun and handcuffs, y'know?" She mentally slapped herself.

"Ooh baby, you do want to play... cool." He started back in again, glancing around. "Is Ms. Casey here? We could all play."

"Hold it right there, mister. I should tell Casey you said that. She'll kick your ass." She stopped rummaging through the bag. "Where is my chicken?"

"We didn't have any."

"How am I supposed to make blackened chicken without the chicken?"

"Waitaminute - you're cooking?" Keith began to laugh hysterically.

"What's so funny?"

"Detective, we have been delivering your groceries for years now. You don't cook. You open cans and reheat, you order out, you microwave occasionally, if the stars all line up correctly, but you never cook. Not that it would bother me much; you wouldn't have to cook for me." He raked her with his eyes. "Hell, we won't need a place with a kitchen at all." He blew a kiss at her.

"Ooooh, boy germs." She mocked wiping her face. "You do realize that I know forty-seven different ways to kill you without leaving evidence. And I have lots of friends in the legal system." She walked toward the door.

"Beat me, hurt me, make me write bad checks." He grinned at her. "Ya wanna practice frisking on me?"

"Y'know, Keith you are incorrigible." She shook her head and laughed.

"I knew I would eventually grow on you."

"Just like a fungus," she replied, flatly. Liv pulled money out of her pocket and counted it out for him. "I really do need that chicken. Can you go to another market and find me one? Please?" She held up another bill and waved it back and forth.

"For you, gorgeous... anything." He took the bill. "Be back in a flash." He turned to leave then turned back around. He reached for her hand and kissed it. "Try not to miss me too much." He waved to her as he walked down her hallway backwards.

"Careful, look out for the...." she mumbled. She turned and shut the apartment door. Liv chuckled when she heard the crash and the curse. "... potted plant."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 12:15 pm


Liv walked out of the kitchen drying her hands on a towel. She reached for the phone. "Benson," she answered. "Keith? Where are you?" She paced around the room. "What are you doing out there? Did you get my chicken?" She paused to listen. "It's outside my door? Why didn't you ring the bell?" Liv walked with the phone to the apartment door. She opened the door; a noise drew her attention downward. "Sonovabitch, I'm going to kill you," she growled into the phone. She ran to the window facing the street and threw it open. "You little... what in the hell am I supposed to do with a live chicken?" She yelled to the street.

"I went to the oriental market up the street," he yelled back up. He held his hands out in surrender. "I told them what you needed. They took my money and brought me that out. It was what they had. They refused to give me... you... your money back. Umm... can't you shoot it?"

"Keith, it's a live chicken. I can't cook a live chicken. I can't kill a live, *innocent* chicken. I can however kill a delivery boy who has stepped on my last nerve. Find me another damned chicken now!" She slammed the window shut and blew her bangs off her forehead in frustration. She walked back to her front door and picked up the cage.

"Bawk, bawk, bawk."

"Oh, shut up."

Olivia carried the cage into her kitchen and set it on the counter. She peered into the cage. "Y'know, you are one ugly bird." Liv put her finger up to the bars and quickly pulled it back when the chicken pecked at her.


"HEY!" She glared at the bird. "I'm sure to another chicken... uhh... rooster you aren't ugly at all but to me... well, you just aren't my type at all. I prefer my chickens coated and deep fried."




Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 12:25 pm

"Melinda? It's me, Olivia."

"Hey, do we have a case? Where do I need to meet you?"

"No, no case. I just have a couple of questions for you."

"I'll do my best. What do you need to know?"

"How can I painlessly kill a chicken?" Liv said quickly then paused and bit her lip.

"Excuse me, Detective? I don't think I heard you right."

"How can I painlessly kill a chicken?"

"This is about Casey, isn't it? I heard what happened yesterday. Are you trying to kill Casey?"

"No, no," Liv objected. "I'm not trying to kill Casey. I'm trying to cook her dinner."

"You? Cooking? You ARE trying to kill Casey." Melinda replied sarcastically.

"Not funny, Dr. Warner."

"Is Casey there? Let me talk to her. I'll give her some remedies for food poisoning."

"C'mon, not you too," Liv whined. "I have been razzed about this all day from everybody. Besides... Casey isn't here. She's out with Liz Donnelly."

"Wow, you do have an open relationship. I heard about your date with the good Judge last night and today she is out with her."

"I did not go out on a date with Judge Donnelly; we just had dinner. And how did you hear about that anyway?"

"You've heard of telegraphs and telephones? Well, nothing moves information faster than Tele-Fin."

Liv rolled her eyes and shook her head. "So can you help me kill a chicken or not?" Liv listened while Melinda described the procedure. She felt herself going a little green and swallowed hard.

"Oh, that's gross. I don't think I can do that." Liv added in a panicky voice, "Wait, chickens don't have rabies do they? It already pecked me once and drew blood. I'm not going to die from some weird chicken disease, am I?"

"Only if you eat your own cooking."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 12:45 pm

"Look at her - how can she cook in that blouse?" Liv turned from her seat on the couch and looked at the cage sitting on the end table. "I mean really... she's barely being held in there." She gestured to her chest, then went back to eating her sandwich.

Olivia was comfortably sitting on her couch with her socked feet up on the coffee table. A plate with a sandwich and chips sat in her lap. She pulled off a piece of the bread's crust and threw it in the cage. The chicken grabbed it.

"Y'know, if you had breasts like hers, you'd be the most popular chicken in the Colonel's henhouse. And, hell, if I had breasts like that, I'd never have to run after perps anymore. I'd just flash'm and they stop and stare. Elliot would cuff'm and TADA... or would that be TATAs... case closed." Olivia chuckled at her own joke.

"Bawk, Bawk, Bawk, Bawk."

"Ooh, you liked that joke?" Liv shifted so her attention was on the cage. She continued to eat her sandwich.

"Hey, it's a good thing I didn't ask the grocer to send over my usual deli lunch order - egg salad."


"I love chicken salad too."


"A bit sensitive, are we?" she picked up the remote and muted the sound. "You wanna hear a 'non-I'm gonna eat you' joke?"


"Why did the chicken cross the road?"

"Ba-bawk, ba, ba, ba, ba, bawk."

"Oh, you heard that one already. Okay, how about this one - why did the chicken cross the playground?"


"To get to the other slide." Olivia snorted a short laugh. The chicken just stared at her, then tilted her head and stared some more.

"Tough crowd." Olivia thought for a minute. "I have another one - why did the elephant cross the road?" She raised an eyebrow in challenge. "Give up?"


"It was the chicken's day off."

"Bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk."

"Everyone's a critic. I'll have you know these came from the amazing Dickie Stabler. That boy has a joke for everybody and everything." Then she pointed at the chicken, "You make a lousy straight bird."

Olivia had just taken another big bite of her sandwich when there was a knock at the door. She hurriedly choked it down, picked up a napkin and called out over her shoulder, "Come in; it's open."

"Geez, Detective, it could have been any pervert walking in the door."

"Oh look," she paused and addressed the chicken, "Look, it's a personal pervert named Keith and he better have a cousin of yours in that bag."

"Very funny." He grinned slyly. "But then again, I wouldn't mind being your own personal pervert." Keith waggled his eyebrows. "Seriously though, I mean really, Ms Benson. You're a cop; you don't just let strangers walk into your apartment."

"Aw, give yourself a break Keith; you're no stranger than most."


"Oh, you liked that, did ya, Om...?" She stopped short, then continued after she turned her body half around to give her attention to Keith. "Plus, you did knock. That was kind of a big giveaway. Do you have my replacement chicken in that bag?"

"Yeah." Keith walked over to the kitchen counter and set the bag down. He then turned back to Benson still sitting on the couch. "It's a whole cut-up chicken."


"Sorry," he glanced at the chicken. "What am I saying? I'm talking to a chicken." He ran his hand over his eyes. "Is there anything else I can get you, Detective?" His eyes lit up in amusement. "Do you want me to dispose of this bird for you?"



"I'm sure I can find someone who isn't adverse to butchering it and turning it into...." He glanced quickly at the TV and the female Italian chef. He got an evil glint in his eyes as he leaned in toward the cage and stared at the bird. Then he finished his thought, "... cacciatore."

"Bawk, bawk, bawk, bawk."

"Oh, leave Om... the chicken alone. I'm going to donate it to a classroom where it can live out its little chicken life in safety."

"That's the second time you stopped yourself. Did you name this chicken?" Keith tapped his foot and waited for a reply.

Olivia blushed.

"You did; you did name the chicken. How could you get attached to something you've only had a few hours?"

"I never had a pet?" She supplied sheepishly and shrugged. "Plus, she... Omelet... likes my jokes."

"Omelet?" Keith burst out laughing. When he calmed down he asked, "Jokes?"

"Watch." She tapped her chin as she thought for a minute. "I got it. Hey Omelet, what do you get when you cross a pitbull and a chicken?"


"Just a pitbull."



Keith just dissolved into laughter.


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 1:00 pm

"Hey, you're watching the Food Network."

"Yeah, so?"

"Do you really think you can learn to cook like a chef in a couple of hours?

"No; I only need to learn to cook a single dinner in a couple of hours, thank you very much."

Keith turned to the silent TV. "Oh, Rachael Ray is on. Can I watch with you? She's kinda cute in an 'older woman' sorta way." He jumped over the back of the couch and landed with thump.

Liv turned and stared at him. "Get your sneakers off the coffee table."

He immediately kicked his shoes off and put his feet back up and settled comfortably in.

Olivia settled herself back against the couch and sighed in resignation. "Everyone is older than you, boy. What does that make me?" She turned sideways to look at him.

He turned as well. "Look deep into my eyes – deeper... deeper. You are my love slave." Keith said in a hopeful hypnotic monotone.

Liv grabbed his cheeks and squeezed them together. "Look into my eyes – deeper... deeper. You are delusional."

"Eh," he shrugged his shoulders and turned his attention back to the TV. "It was worth a shot."

They both laughed.

"Hey, got any snacks?"

"You should know; you brought them earlier. Go fix yourself something."

Keith scrambled off the couch and into the kitchen. He opened the fridge. "Hey, can I have a beer?"

"NO!" Liv replied. "But you can bring me one and help yourself to a soda."

"But I'm old enough," he whined.

"Yeah, in dog years." She laughed.

"Okay, now I know what you are - you're a spoil sport." He handed her the beer bottle.

"Yup, that's me." She said as she twisted off the cap.

Keith went back to the kitchen and fixed himself a sandwich and grabbed a can of Coke.

"Bring the...." Liv was cut off by the landing of Keith's body, as he jumped over the back of the couch again. He handed her the bag of chips and grinned at her. She just shook her head. "Y'know, you are like an annoying little brother... one I never wanted."

"OW!" He put his hand over his heart in mock pain, then he reached for the remote. He was too late. Olivia swiped it off the couch before he could get it.

"Uh uh... my TV, my remote." She hit the mute button and turned the sound back up.

They both watched in rapt fascination as Rachael Ray began to cook.

"Is she always so... so... perky?" Liv asked.

"Oh yeah; just wait until we get to the Rayisms." Keith mumbled around a mouthful of sandwich. He reached for the bag of chips only to have Liv pull them away. She played keep away with the bag for a few seconds before she relented and let him have some.


"Yep, things like 'Sammies' instead of sandwiches, 'Stoup' instead of stew or soup and then there is 'Yum-o' which you can guess what that is."

She turned back to the TV to hear Rachael talk about adding some 'EVOO'. She looked over at Keith. "Okay, I get that 'EVOO' stands for extra virgin olive oil but what exactly is extra virgin?"

"That would be the girls I dated in high school." He replied with a smirk.

He couldn't help spitting a mouthful of Coke when the slap to the back of his head hit.


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 2 pm

"Okay, she is just too damn perky for anyone's good, y'know?" Liv muted the TV and put the remote down. She picked up her beer bottle and took a sip.

"Yeah, but she is the hot thing this year."

"Well, I did learn something about putting together a meal in thirty minutes. Maybe if I ever get the urge again, I'll dig up a recipe or two from her." Liv looked over at Keith.

"Nahhhhhhhhhhhhh," they both said together, grinning.

"Do you really want to inflict that insanity on Casey a second time?"

Olivia feigned a slap to his head and he ducked out of the way.

Keith's attention turned back to the TV. "Oooh, the Iron Chef is on next. Can I stay and watch with you?"

"What is an Iron Chef?" Liv asked, puzzled.

"It's this really weird cooking show from Japan. Kinda like half game show and half cooking show and all weird show."

Olivia groans. "Game show... that's what started this mess," she said in a mumble.


"Nothing. Yeah, sure - you've already made yourself at home," she waved her hand absently at his socked feet up on the coffee table.

They both turned to the TV as Liv hit the mute button again and restored the sound.

"What is he wearing? Ohmigod, and look at his hair."

"Shhhh, I bet you had hair like that when you were a teen. Waaaaaaaaay back before I was born." He laughed.

"You keep it up and you won't see your next birthday," Liv replied. She turned back to the TV. "He just bit into a pepper. Is he nuts? Yuck."

"You haven't seen anything yet. He's going to introduce the secret ingredient and then the two chefs have to make different dishes with it." He turned to Olivia. "Some of the ingredients are really weird."

They watched some more.

She bumped Keith's shoulder. "Uh, Keith, the show is in Japanese."

"Boy, can't slip anything by you, Detective."

She feigned a slap to his head and when he ducked she pinched his arm.

"Owwwww. Police brutality, police brutality!" He jokingly screamed and grabbed his arm.

She just shook her head at his antics, then turned back to the TV. "Is that a purple chicken?"

He squinted at the screen. "Yeah, it looks like it."

"It still has its head and feet and feathers on it."

"But at least it's dead."


"Sorry, Omelet." He slapped his forehead, "What am I saying? Now you have me talking to your bird." He bumped her back.

"Ooh, they are not going to...." Olivia jumped up. "Don't look Omelet!" She stood in front of the cage and held her arms out blocking any view. She backed up a little too much and was promptly pecked on the ass.

"YOW!" She rubbed her butt. Then threw her arms back out to the side.

"Geez, what is your problem? It's not like you aren't going to cook her cousin later, y'know."

"Her cousin is cellophane wrapped and doesn't look like it was just breathing a few minutes ago." Liv glared at the screen. "Ewwwwwwwwwwww, they just cut off its head." She grimaced. "Yuck, look, they are fighting over the feet." She pointed to the screen. "Oh, that is so gross." She stared incredulously, "Did he just hit him with a frying pan?" She turned to her couch companion.

"Uh huh," Keith turned to her, "it's like a delicacy to them." He paused. "The feet, not the whacking with a frying pan part." Keith laughed. Noticing her watch, he said, "Hey, nice timepiece. Kinda big doncha think?"

Still standing in front of the cage, Liv offered up her arm so Keith could get a better look. "It goes with the BIG gun and the BIG badge." She smirked and waggled her eyebrows at him. "Women find it sexy."

He rolled his eyes. "Uh huh, size isn't everything y'know?"

She patted him gently on the cheek and smiled at him. "You keep believing that, buddy." Convinced the actual carnage was now over, she plopped back down on the couch and turned her attention to the train wreck of a TV show.


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 3:20 pm

Keith handed Olivia the last washed dish. She quickly dried it and put it away. Closing the cabinet door, she remarked, "I still can't believe that show. I don't know what was worse - what they cooked or the fact people actually ate that stuff." She shuddered. "Good lord, chicken feet soup? Blech."

Keith laughed. "And don't forget the chicken ice cream." He rolled his eyes. "Yum."

"And plated every so elegantly with the beak for presentation." She held a faux microphone spoon up to the Keith. "How do rate that dish, sir?"

"Well," he pretended to ponder it a moment. "I give the dish Twenty for originality, Twenty for presentation and a minus Forty for taste. For a grand total of WTF were you thinking Zero."

Keith and Liv both laughed. She handed him the dish towel.

"Well, Detective, I should be going." He wiped his wet hands on the towel and set it on the counter. "It's been fun." Keith went into the living room and sat on the couch. He grabbed his discarded shoes and put them on. Calling back over his shoulder, "Hey, what time are you supposed to start cooking?"

Liv looked at the clock. Her eyes opened in surprise at how late it was in the afternoon. "I need to call Liz and see what time she is bringing Casey home."

Keith wandered back into the kitchen as Olivia was dialing her cell phone. She held up her other hand to Keith in a 'hang on' gesture. "It's ringing. C'mon, c'mon, answer your phone. Geez, I hope everything is okay."

Olivia could hear muffled voices in the background, she was sure one was Casey's. It sounded like a struggle. When she realized what had occurred, she thrust the phone at Keith. "Here," she said in a hushed tone, "get the Judge back on the phone."

Keith, surprised at being dragged into the fray, responded in a whine, "But Detective Ben...." He was interrupted.

"Hello," Keith squeaked out, then coughed and purposely lowered his voice. He recognized Casey's voice immediately and knew Casey had heard some part of the exclamation to Liv. "This is Detective Ben... ummmm...." He looked frantically around the apartment. His eyes landed on the cage. "This is Detective Ben... uhhh... Bird, Ma'am. I am trying to locate...." He paused and looked at Liv in question. She mouthed the name. "I'm trying to locate a Judge Donnelly."

"Detective Bird, Ma'am." He corrected Casey. "My Mom was very proud of me getting that gold shield." He grinned at Liv and listened to Casey's reply. Keith cut her off. "Detective Olivia Benson?" He inquired with an innocent tone.

Olivia began to worry.

"I know her. She's totally a babe. A tall, hot, brunette with a gorgeous set of...."

Olivia smacked Keith on the back of the head.

"Ow, uhhhhhhhhh... sorry." He rubbed the back of his head. "Can I please speak to the Judge now? Thank you, ma'am." Keith handed the phone back to Olivia.

"Judge? I know Casey is probably listening trying to figure out what's going on. I was just wondering if your idea is working." She smiled when she heard Liz's reply. "Good. And what time can I expect Casey home?"

Another pause. "Thanks Liz; I owe you." Olivia began to mentally try to set up a time table. "What? Ooh, that sounded all official." She laughed. "Ben Bird," Liv supplied to the Judge. "Okay, bye."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 4:15 pm

Olivia picked up the knife and looked at her reflection in it. She held it to her face and breathed on it. Then she wiped it with the dishtowel she was carrying. Liv checked once more to make sure the water spot was gone and the silverware was nice and shiny, then she placed it back on the small table. The detective took a step back and admired her handiwork.

The bistro table that normally sat unadorned and collecting junk mail in the corner of their small apartment kitchen had been transformed. She moved the table out of the kitchen and into a small open space between the kitchen and the living room. She had gone next door to Evie's and borrowed a pale green linen tablecloth and napkins. Rooting around in the kitchen had turned up an unpacked box that contained a small service of fine china. She silently blessed Casey's heart for bringing them with her when she moved in. Her own mother had left her the antique silverware that now graced the table as well as the silver candlesticks. Another run to Evie's supplied her with the tapers for them.

Olivia twitched the end of the tablecloth a bit and smoothed out a non-existent wrinkle. Finally satisfied with the table, she turned to survey the rest of the apartment. She had vacuumed and dusted. Then placed all the other candles she could scrounge up strategically around the room. She looked over at Omelet's cage that she had moved near the window to the fire escape and the bird was quiet and seemed almost amused just watching the pigeons. "Those are your cousin city chickens." Olivia laughed.

Olivia snapped her fingers as a random thought appeared and walked back to the kitchen. She dug frantically through a kitchen drawer until she found the item she was looking for. The disposable lighter was carefully placed on the table. Satisfied that this was the best it could be, she turned to the kitchen.

"Okay, Liv, time to get started," she said aloud and began to search through the lower cabinets in a quest to find the cooking utensils she would be needing. "I still have a feeling I should have written this stuff down, but it's too late now. Owwww!" Liv dropped the pot in her hand and rubbed the top of her head where she had bumped it on the lip of the cabinet as she stood up.

She carefully reached back down and grabbed the others out of the cabinet. Both pots were placed on the back burners of the stove and a good sized frying pan on the front. "I think this frying pan is non-stick, cool. I can't have the chicken...."


"Sorry," she called over her shoulder and then finished, "... stuck everywhere." Olivia thought about what came next. "All righty - I need sugar water in the one pot and water-water in the other." Olivia carried first one and then the other over to the tap. "Oh wait, I have to measure the water." She tapped her chin. "I wonder if we even have one of those measuring thingies?" She grabbed a coffee cup. "That's okay, I have a coffee cup and a cup is a cup, right?"

She filled the coffee cup up twice for the one pot and once for the other. She set both pot back on the stove and set the gas burner to a low flame. "Okay, I need a cup of sugar too." Another cabinet search revealed an unopened bag of sugar.

The detective set the bag on the counter. Olivia looked at the glued flaps on the bag and grabbed the sides tightly, then she pulled. The flaps were not quite as glued as she first thought and the bag flew apart scattering fine white grains all over her countertop and floor.

"Dammit!" she exclaimed. "I just cleaned this floor." She scooped as much of the sugar off the counter as she could into the coffee cup. Happy that she did actually have enough, she added it to the one pot of simmering water.

When she turned back to begin cleanup, the slick sugar on the floor caused her feet to slide out from under her and she fell with a thud.

"Owwww!" Olivia just lay on the floor for a minute. "At least I didn't hit my head this time." She pushed herself up, using the counter to help, and stood leaning against it. She rubbed her butt where it had made contact with the floor.

"Damn, that hurt. I wonder if Casey would kiss it and make it better?" She paused and snorted. "Oh, yeah - ask the woman who's mad at you to kiss your boo-boo. 'Casey honey, I fell and hurt myself; will you kiss it and make it better? Where is the hurt? My ass. So you gonna kiss it or what?'" Olivia shook her head. "I'd end up hurting in lots more places after that."

Liv gingerly made her way to the pantry closet where she kept the broom and began to clean up the floor. Once the mess was swept up, she grabbed a kitchen knife and started her food preparations.


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 5:30 pm

Olivia watched as the other firefighters shuffled out the door. "Hey Lieu, we'll be in the truck," one called out over his shoulder.

"Be right down, Chip."

"Thanks Rach; I'm glad you were one of the responders." Liv watched as the kneeling firefighter unplugged and then wound the cord around the huge exhaust fan.

"No worries, Olivia," Rachel stood up and stretched a bit. She shut the window by the fire escape. "It was just very strange taking the alarm at the station and hearing my own address. Then to find out that Mrs.O was the one calling it in. Even if I wasn't on call, nothing would have kept me away."

"Well, I'm still glad it was you. I owe you one."

"Nah, it's just my job, Ma'am," she said in her best monotone and touched the brim of her helmet. She grinned when Liv smiled. "You finally proved a myth I always wondered about though."


"That it really is possible for someone to burn water."

"I did not burn water." Olivia paused then mumbled, "I burned chicken."

"And a perfectly good pan." Rachel walked over to the kitchen sink and withdrew the frying pan. The pan was a melted mess. "Wait until Sam hears about this." She laughed and set the pan back in the sink.

"About that... ummm...."

Rachel tilted her head and looked at Olivia. "You don't want me to tell anyone, right? You don't want to look bad to the honey."

"Something like that." Olivia paced back and forth a bit. "I have already embarrassed myself and Casey is not exactly my biggest fan at the moment. So yeah, could we just keep this to ourselves?"

"Well, it's not like Casey and Sam run into each other often. Unless you have something you would like to share."

"No, I don't think we'll be needing Sam's services anytime soon. The need for a pediatrician is not something I foresee in our near future."

"Gotcha, okay... I won't share."

"Thanks bud - I owe ya." She clasped Rachel on the shoulder. "How about I call you next week and we see if we can't all go out for a night on the town... my treat? How's that sound?"

"It's been ages since we've all gone out. Cool."

"Okay, well, check your schedules and we'll figure out the best night. I know Casey and Sam shouldn't have schedule problems; we would just need to work around our 'on call' schedules. If I need to, I'll call in a favor from one of the guys and get them to cover for me."

"I should be good for the last part of the week." She paused and thought for a second more. "Oh, but we can't go out Friday night. Sam is hooked on that new police show."

Olivia looked puzzled. "Which one?"

"The Ladies Homicide League. My better half is completely gone over the lead detective in that show. She's kinda tall, brunette, dark brown eyes, killer dimples...."

Liv interrupted, "Well, duh, who wouldn't be?" She buffed her nails on her shirt.

"Oh, I see you and modesty have never met." Rachel grinned and slapped Liv on the arm.

Olivia laughed. 'I'm just kidding. Personally...." she lowered her voice, "I think the blond ADA is hot."

"You think *all* ADAs are hot."



Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 5:45 pm

Rachel set the fan down in the hallway and pulled the apartment door closed. She picked it back up and turned to leave, only to slam into a body when she turned around. "Oh, excuse me," she said, not moving away from the door.

"My fault. A little early for trick or treat, isn't it?" motioning to her FDNY gear.

"I dunno, Detective Munch – you going for the Elwood Blues look?"

Munch smirked. "Touche," he conceded. "Wait... how'd you know who I am?"

"Olivia's a friend and neighbor. I've heard stories about all the guys down at the one-six."

"Oh really? That could be fascinating conversation. However, it will need to wait until a later time. Now if you'll excuse me...."

Rachel backed up, staying between him and the door and bumping it with the fan. "Something I can help you with, detective?"

"You could move before I have to go all NYPD on you." Rachel would have responded, but the door started opening behind her before she could speak.

"I'm coming, Rach, what did you forget?" Olivia pulled the door open a crack and stopped. "Uhhh, John, what brings you here?"

"I have a book that Casey wanted to borrow; we discussed it the other night at dinner." He handed her the book. John rocked back and forth on his heels as he tried to look around Olivia and Rachel to see inside the apartment.

"UFOs, JFK and Elvis by Richard Belzer," Olivia read the book jacket aloud. "Well, I suppose that about says it all." Liv shook her head. Just then Rachel's radio blared.

"Hey Lieu, we've got another call. You coming down or what?"

Rachel exchanged a look with Olivia. Liv nodded. Rachel reached for the switch and responded. "On my way." She sighed and moved out of Munch's way. "Take care, Olivia. Let me know about next week."

John made a move to step inside the door but was blocked by Olivia. "Something else I can do for you, John?"

"No." He paused but Benson merely crossed her arms and waited. "Look, I heard the call on the scanner. That big truck being here wouldn't have anything to do with all that smoke I saw pouring out your window; would it? Everything okay in there?"

Liv sighed in resignation, then hit herself in the forehead with the book. She stepped aside motioning Munch to come in. "I don't know why I thought I would be able to get through this whole day without it turning around and biting me on the ass. It's not like it's been a stellar day so far anyway. Hell, my whole damn week has sucked – this had just been the topper." Olivia stepped toward the kitchen and pointed John to the table. "Have a seat. Can I get you a beer?"

"Sure." Munch removed his hat and hung it on the back of the chair. He sat down and ran his hand on the tablecloth. "Beautiful table. So where is my favorite argumentative attorney?"

"Casey is out with Liz Donnelly," she pointed her finger at him. "Don't say it. They are NOT on a date. And let me just squash the latest rumor while I'm at it. I was NOT on a date with Liz last night either."

He held his hands up in surrender and Olivia handed him his bottle of beer. "You know about the dinner fiasco a couple of nights ago?" She began to pace around. She took a sip of beer.

"I was there."

"And the game show fiasco yesterday."

"Hard to miss standing there watching it play out."

"Then there was the dinner thing with Liz last night."

"I wasn't invited, but I eagerly await the details." He grinned and leaned back, crossing his arms in a listening pose.

Olivia ignored the invitation. "In your dreams, Munch. Anyway, Casey was really pissed with me, so Liz and I worked out a plan to get Casey out of the apartment today. She took Casey, Alex and Abbie out to 'bond'. That is supposed to give me enough time to set up a romantic dinner for two – you know... do something special for Casey to show her what she means to me."

"Are you sure that was your wisest course of action?"

"I'm not sure of anything at the moment. This idea has been a disaster so far. It seemed so simple to start with; I watched a few cooking shows and decided to cook blackened chicken and rice with some nice steamed veggies. But things just aren't working." She walked over to the sink and lifted the pan out. "I ruined the chicken."

"And the pan," his eyebrows raised at its melted condition and the chicken that was burned into it.

"Yeah." She dropped the pan back in the sink. "But things just haven't been going well since I hatched this idea. I cut my finger chopping onions." She showed him her bandaged finger.

He shook his head in disbelief.

"Wait... it gets better. I also made the stupid mistake of touching my eye while I was in the middle of chopping peppers."

John winced in sympathy.

"Oh boy, that stung. But I really should have just taken it as a bad omen when the first thing I did was hit my head on the cabinet just digging the pots out." She bent her head forward to show him the bump. "And let's not even get into the sugar spill and the subsequent bruise on my ass." Her eyes took on an evil glint. "Hey, John - how about kissing my boo-boos and making them all better?" She pointed to her butt.

Munch looked over his glasses at her. "It would be hazardous to my health to even think about putting these lips on you. And if you were to say one word to Casey about me literally kissing your ass... my pathetic life, as Fin refers to it, would surely be over." He paused. "Did you ever consider that you might be the victim of a kitchen conspiracy? That your kitchen may be possessed?"

Olivia snorted. "Too bad it's not possessed by Julia Child. Hell, I'd settle for Chef Boyardee at this point."

"Can I make a suggestion?" Liv shrugged. "Next time, try something simple – allow me to recommend flowers, a night out or a romantic weekend."

"Speaking from experience?"

"Yeah... it took years before I risked cooking for a woman."

"You cook?"

"I didn't get this body subsisting on nothing but greasy bar food and doughnuts y'know." He struck a body builder pose.

"No, I guess not. So where did you get it? And why didn't you give it back?" Liv smiled, though it didn't reach her eyes.

"Funny," he deadpanned. "Divorced four times – one time bar owner, remember? It was survival."

She sighed and dropped into the chair across from him. "Well, if you can make something out of this mess, you're a better man than I am."

Munch bit his lip to keep from making the obvious retort in the face of Olivia's obvious distress.

"You show me yours and I'll show you mine." He stood up and removed his coat and picked up his hat. He headed for the living room to set them on the couch.

"Wait, what's the catch?"

"No catch."

"Aw c'mon, there is always a catch with you."

"You wound me. Do you think so little of me and my altruistic motives?" John stopped and stared.

"Sorry, I shouldn't look a gift... Munch... in the mouth."

John took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He put them back on and took another look. "I take that back. There is a catch."

"Here it comes."

"The catch is you need to answer one important question first." He turned back to face the detective while he continued unbuttoning his cuffs and rolling up his sleeves. "Tell me, Detective Benson - why do you have a live chicken in your living room staring at me like I'm dinner?"


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 7:20 pm

Munch sat on the open window sill to the fire escape and looked down on the world. He wondered just how things could go so wrong. Olivia had disappeared into her bedroom. He was sure she was crying but it was hard to tell since the country music was cranked up so loud. He tried talking to her through the door but all that got him was an adjustment in the radio's volume. She wasn't listening to anything he had to say. He pinched his lips together as he contemplated his next move. A yellow cab screeched to a halt in front of the building. The back passenger door swung open wide and one female passenger fell out onto the sidewalk. His eyebrows rose.

Two other female passengers got out as well. The reddish blonde haired woman stepped carefully around the blonde who was on her knees on the sidewalk. The brunette who staggered out next did as well. It was apparent they had been drinking and were feeling very little pain.

"Thanks for seeing me home, guys, but I told you it wasn't necessary," Casey said to the others.

Abbie bent down and grabbed Alex's arm. She managed to pull her to her feet. Alex shrugged off the help as soon as she was standing. She wobbled a bit when she smacked her hands together to dust them off. "Yesh, well neidder wash pushing me oudda door."

"Oh fashe it, Caaaabot - you were gonna fall out 'nyway. I done nothin' but pickin' you up allllllll night."

"Shuddup, Car <hic> michael. Pickin' up drunk womens a shpec...shpec... habit for you?"

"Well, I'll just be heading in." Casey ignored their bickering. "Liv and I have a lot to talk about. Please, both of you, go home and go to bed." Casey turned toward the building.

"Hey Novak, flib the lights when you gets up there, 'kay?" Abbie called out to Casey's back.

When she got to the door, Casey just gave a little wave of acknowledgement and goodnight. Abbie then leaned over and whispered in Alex's ear, "See Caaaabot - even Novak wans us ta go ta bed."

"She dinnn say togedder <hic> horn dog," Alex replied and elbowed Abbie back a step.

"Shpoil shport." Abbie waggled her eyebrows. "Hey, whisch winda is Benshon's?"

Alex looked up and stumbled back into Abbie's body. Abbie grabbed Alex to steady her.

"Whoa, Caaaabot."

Alex counted off the floors and pointed to a window. "Hersh ish the one with the guy 'nit."

Abbie looked up to where she was pointing. "Hey! Whatcha doin' in 'Livia'sh winda?"

"Well, if it isn't our esteemed Bureau Chief and my favorite Fed." Munch called down.

"I'n not shteamed," Alex yelled back up. "I'n toasted." She giggled.

"Yep, she'sh tree sheets," Abbie added cheerfully.

"An' a bedshpread." Alex just about keeled over with laughter at her own joke. Abbie tightened her hold and pulled her back into her body. She leaned back on the cab to steady them both.

"Hey, waidaminute... that shounded like Munch." Alex turned to look at Abbie's face. Abbie just nodded.

"Munchie? Munchie? Ish that you up there inna winda?" Alex yelled up.

"Very good, Counselors."

"Hey Munchie, when didja gedda twin brother?"

"I don't have a twin."

"Then who'sh the guy sittin' nexz to you? Two Munchies." Alex didn't wait for an answer; she turned to Abbie but didn't lower her voice. "Hey that 'mindsh me - can we shtop for shome food? I'n <hic> hungry."

Munch shook his head in amusement. "You both really are intoxicated." After hearing that last comment he muttered to himself, "and more apparently."

"Ummmmmm... ya think?" Abbie replied with a smirk and a shrug. "Guess that'sh why he'sh a de... tec... tive."

"Whatcha doin' up there, Joooohnnnnn?"

"Just watching the world go by, Ms Cabot. What are you doing down there?"

"I'n hollin' Abbie up." Alex ground back into Abbie's body a little more.

"That'sh not alllll yer doin', darlin'," Abbie mumbled.

"Don't you think you girls should be getting home? It's late and morning will be here before you know it." Then he said to himself, "And boy is it going to suck to be you two tomorrow."


"Duty will call, my dear Ms Cabot - you will need to go to work to direct your little minions, to mold their minds. I doubt your condition will make the day a pleasant one for you..." and then he added in a low tone, "... or them." He continued in a normal voice, "Counselor Carmichael has the luxury of sleeping in since she is on vacation."

"Oh. I wanna be on vaaaacation too. Why cannn I be on vacaaaation? You al'ays gedda do the fun stuff," Alex whined and pouted. She went to put her hands on her hips but found Abbie's already there. She smiled inwardly just a little and covered the Texan's hands with her own.

"The nexz time you gedda vacaaaaation, you can come to DC. I'll show you the shights. Iffen yer a reeeeally good liddle lawyer, I'll even let you shtay at Casa de... Casa de... Casa de... my place."

"Really?" Alex half turned to look at Abbie's face.

Abbie nodded.

"Cooool. Where'll you be?" She grabbed Abbie's cheeks and smushed them together. Alex laughed. "Only kiddin'; lubs ya." She let go and patted one cheek before she turned her attention back to John.

Abbie looked at her dumbfounded, then a crooked grin lit up her face.

"Ladies?" John called down again. "I really do think you need to go home now. Get some rest and make sure you drink lots of water before you go to sleep. Have aspirins handy too. Trust me."

"Okay, Johnnnnie." Abbie straightened up and turned to open the taxi door. She helped Alex in and started to get in herself. "Hey Munch?"


"Whyja wearin' a lime green bathrobe?" She shrugged. "It'sh really not yer color. Nighty night." Abbie stumbled back into the cab without waiting for an answer.

John shook his head and silently chuckled. I could ask you why you were apparently only wearing one shoe. A foot tapping and a low 'ahem' turned his attention back into the apartment.

"Yes John, what are you doing here... wearing a lime green bathrobe? MY lime green bathrobe to be precise." Casey asked. She stood ramrod straight with her hands on her hips. "And no pants."

He opened his mouth to answer but Casey waved one finger in warning at Munch. "And the words 'I am a cross-dresser and I love your fashion style' better be the first words out of your mouth. Because if I hear 'it's not what it looks like' so help me I am going to shoot you with your own gun."

He opened and then closed his mouth with an audible snick.

"Where is Liv?"

"She's in the bedroom." He answered quietly. He pointed to the closed door down the hall.

She noticed the country music playing at a loud volume but pushed it to the back of her mind for a moment. Casey looked around and saw his shoulder holster hanging on the back of the dining room chair. She started for it.

"Casey... wait."

Casey stopped and turned to John. Munch got off the window sill and headed toward Casey. He kept one eye on his gun holster.

"It really isn't what it looks like. You know I think of Liv as my little sis. I was just helping out here. Can we please sit down and I'll explain and then you can go see Liv? Please Casey? It's important."


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 7:30 pm

"Can you please sit down, preferably far away from my gun, and just give me a few minutes to explain?"

"Munch, where are your pants?" Casey stood with her hands on her hips.

"Liv set my pants on fire."


"Don't worry - she put the fire out."

"Gimme that gun." She moved toward the holster but Munch beat her to it.

"Literally Counselor, literally."

"That's what I am afraid of...."

"Casey, please." John held the gun behind his back. "Please sit and let me explain.

Casey then took conscious notice of the beautifully set table. She ran her hand along the tablecloth. "Did Liv do this?"

"Yes, she wanted everything to be special for you." John relaxed just a bit and pulled out the other chair and sat down.

Casey looked up and down at Munch. "John, do you mind?" She gestured to his lap.

Munch adjusted the robe to close the gap. "Better?"

"Yes, though I can honestly say the question of 'Munch - boxers or briefs?' never entered my conscious mind before. Ever." She paused for a second. "Now, Mr. Hot Pants, would you like to explain what the hell is going on around here?"

John took a deep breath and shook his head. "While she was moving a pan around on the stove the towel she was using to protect her hand caught fire. She panicked and threw it at me. Reflexively, I caught it. I guess the chemical in the dry cleaning solution caught fire and my pants started smoldering. Liv then grabbed the sink sprayer and put the fire out. My pants were only singed by the fire but ended up drenched by the fireman... ummm... person."

"Oh. My god. Poor Liv." She looked longingly down the hallway at the closed bedroom doors.

"Poor Liv?" Munch echoed in disbelief. "She set fire to me. Hello? Munch Flambé here." He waved his hand in front of her eyes.

"I'm sorry; you're right. Are you okay, John?"

He nodded. "My pants are probably ruined but no irreplaceable harm done." He adjusted the robe again.

"What happened here today, John?"

"From what Olivia told me, you went out with the honorable Judge Donnelly today, correct?"

"Yes, Liz wanted to get all the ADAs together. We made jerks of ourselves yesterday and she thought a bonding session would help to insure it didn't happen again. We apparently embarrassed her rather badly in addition to embarrassing ourselves."

"Getting all of you highly intoxicated was apparently part of the plan?"

Casey looked at him quizzically.

"I was speaking to your cohorts when you came in, remember? It was obvious that they were highly intoxicated. You, on the other hand, don't look too worse for the wear."

"Thanks." Casey tilted her head and contemplated if that was a compliment or not. "I think."

"What I meant was that you are not stuttering, staggering or stumbling like the other two. By the way, where is the good Judge?"

"We left her at our last stop on the bonding tour." Casey shrugged, looking sheepish. "We ran into an old friend of hers and she wanted to stay and... ummmm... get... uhhh... reacquainted."

"Is that all you are going to say?"

"Yeah, pretty much. The rest of the story you will have to get from the other participants."

"With my luck, none of the other participants in your day of debauchery are going to remember the details."

"Sorry, John but I still have to try cases in Judge Donnelly's courtrooms."

"Point taken." John agreed.

"Now, are you going to tell me what has been going on here while I was out?"

"I joined this tragedy in the making a couple of hours ago. Now Casey, don't get upset...."

Casey interrupted, "It can't be good if you start with a warning not to get upset." Her tone of voice rose with each successive word. "It's a little late for that." She got up and paced a few steps. "I come home to a perfectly romantic dinner setting to find my girlfriend locked in the bedroom listening to depressing country music. She most likely is or was crying. Her co-worker is sitting in my window in my bathrobe because my girlfriend set his pants on fire. The kitchen window is missing its curtains which I am guessing were damaged in the incident…"

"Actually, their damage preceded my arrival."

"What? What happened, John?" Then she added, "Please." She sat back at the table.

"I arrived here a little before six o'clock. I was bringing by that book we talked about at dinner the other night. Incredible read, but I digress. I was driving along listening to the scanner, which is much better than that 'rap crap' my partner prefers...." He cut in, "Don't tell Fin I said that." After Casey agreed with a nod and a continue gesture, he began to speak again. "My scanner caught a fire call. The address sounded eerily familiar. I arrived here just as the fire company was leaving."

Casey rubbed her eyes in disbelief. "Poor Olivia."

"Yes, anyway, the one fireperson is apparently a friend of yours...."


John nodded.

"She lives in the building."

"She's quite the little protective bulldog. She was trying to get me to leave Liv alone when your partner must have heard us in the hallway and opened the door."


"From what Olivia told me, she was attempting to cook you dinner and had a few mishaps. The biggest mishap is what called the FDNY to the apartment."

John got up and walked over to the garbage can. He reached in a removed the burnt pan. "This is the culprit for the major mishap." He showed it to Casey.

Casey shook her head in disbelief. "I joked this morning that the pots wouldn't know what to do after ten o'clock. I guess I was right." She laughed mirthlessly. "Is Liv okay?"

"She was fine. Just upset. She got the pan into the sink with no major damage, the pan and the curtains not withstanding, but she did no more damage to herself."

"More damage?" Casey was panicked. "I thought you said she was okay?"

"Casey, Casey, she's fine. The previous damage is not anything to worry about."

"John?" Casey said with much annoyance.

"During her attempt at cooking she managed to hit her head on the top of the cabinet...."

"Oh Olivia."

"... cut her finger...."

"My poor Liv."

"... and slip on some spilled sugar."

"Oh no, Livvy."

"Then we had the fire incident and you know how that turned out."

"Oh my poor baby."

Casey got up to head to the bedroom. Munch grabbed her arm.

"Casey... wait," he pleaded. "Let's not make the humiliation complete."

They turned and retreated back to the table to sit. "You have an idea, I take it?"

"Look, I finished dinner. It's not exactly what Olivia had first planned but it does use everything she had gotten for your dinner." John got up and walked to the kitchen. "There's a chicken cordon bleu pasta casserole in the oven on warm. You have some steamed veggies in the pot. There is rice pudding for desert sitting on the counter."

"Ugh, I hate rice pudding." She grimaced.

"No, Casey, you LOVE rice pudding." He raised an eyebrow.

"Right, I love rice pudding... today."

"Thank you, Counselor." He smiled. "Let me get out of here and then you can make your grand entrance. I don't think she heard any of this since she has the music on so loud. Remember, she cooked it all and I was never here." He leaned in conspiratorially. "I was never here." He winked at her.

John went around gathering his hat, his holster and his jacket and then started for the door. He halted at Casey's voice.


"Yeah, Casey."

She walked over, stood on tiptoe and kissed him on the cheek. "You're a good guy, John."

Munch blushed and dipped his head.

"Thank you for doing this for Liv and for us."

He smiled and turned for the door.

"Oh, one more thing."

He stopped again.

"You might want to put your pants on. Not that the robe isn't flattering to those legs but still...." Casey smiled.


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 7:50 pm

Casey gave the room the once over and made sure that she had removed all traces of her earlier arrival. She also made sure that there were no lingering traces of Munch that she would have to acknowledge. She dimmed the lights, grabbed her purse and walked back to the front door. She opened it quietly and slammed it loudly.

"Liv honey, I'm home." She yelled into the apartment. Not getting any reaction, she flipped on the lights then she continued calling out as she walked further in. "Liv? Where are you, sweetie?" She smiled again when she saw the elaborately decorated table.

Making her way toward the bedroom, she spoke through the door. "Liv, I'm home." She paused. "And something smells great. Are you going to come out here and join me or do I get to eat it all myself? I'm starving."

Casey heard the radio click off and the dull silence that followed. She silently counted off the time it would take for Olivia to cross the room to the doorway. She heard a sniffle on the other side of the door and then the door opened.

"Hi, Sweetie." Casey leaned in and kissed Olivia. It was obvious that Liv had been crying. "Mmmm, something smells really great." She kissed Liv again. "And the food does too." She pinched Olivia's butt. This got a slight but puzzled smile out of Liv. Casey looped their arms together and walked them toward the kitchen.

Olivia was surprised. It really did smell good in there. The mess had also been cleaned up and all traces of the earlier mayhem seemed to have been eliminated.

Casey unhooked their arms so she could hang up her jacket and purse on the coat stand by the door. "Olivia, that table is stunning. I can't believe you did all that for me."

Liv ducked her head shyly but still hadn't said a word.

Casey came back to the table. She used one finger to raise Liv's head up, then ran her hands down Liv's arms. She clasped their hands together. "I am so sorry, Olivia. I was such a bitch to you and you did all this for me." She laid her head on Liv's shoulder.


Casey leaned back a bit so she could look in her eyes.

"I love you."

"I love you too, honey."

They kissed once again. When they broke for air, Casey broke out in a grin.

"Now feed me, woman - I'm starving."

Olivia looked nervously at the kitchen. "Ummmm, okay." She moved off to the stove.

"What did you cook? It smells wonderful."

Liv ran her hand nervously over the back of her neck. "Uhhh, it's a surprise?"

She turned back to the stove and opened the oven door.

"Cool. I love surprises." The whisper came in a hot breath right near her ear.

Olivia gulped.

"And I love you, too." Casey nipped her ear and then backed off and leaned on the opposite counter.

Liv got out the hot mitts and carefully removed the casserole from the oven. She set it on the stovetop so she could remove the foil covering the top. Okay Benson, stall for a little time. We need to figure out what this is. "Casey, could you get one of those hot thingies and put it on the table? This dish is really hot."

"Sure." Casey opened up one of the kitchen drawers and pulled out a trivet. She walked it to the table.

Olivia uncovered the dish and looked at it. Hmmm. Pasta. Looks like chicken. It's creamy. Oh and I think that's ham. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, savoring the aroma. I owe you big, John Munch.

Olivia picked up the casserole dish and moved it to the table. She headed back to the kitchen. Let's see what's in the pot. "Casey, there's wine in the fridge. Could you get it out?"

"You bet." Casey replied. She pushed herself back off from the counter where she had returned to lean. She retrieved the wine. "Would you like me to pour us some?"

"That would be great. I just want to dish up the other... ummm... dish."

Olivia opened the pot to find a perfectly prepared mix of steamed vegetables.


"Did you say something, Liv?" Casey returned to the kitchen.

"I'm just surprised that this pot had veggies in it. I mean that the veggies turned out so surprisingly well."

Casey peered over Liv's shoulder. "They look wonderful."

"Let me get them in a bowl and we can eat."

"Sounds wonderful." Casey couldn't help the little smirk that crept onto her face. "Hey, Liv, what's in the other pot?"

"What other pot?"

"The one on the countertop, silly."

Liv looked. Oh crap. I have no clue. Stall, Benson. "Ummmmm...."

Casey beat her over to the pot and lifted the lid. "Ohh...." she sniffed appreciatively. "Cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins. Wow. You made rice pudding for dessert."

"I did? Yeah, I guess I did." Olivia turned away from Casey, a completely flabbergasted look followed by a grimace appeared on her face. I hate rice pudding. She turned back to Casey. "Yum, huh?"

"Yum doesn't begin to cover it. You shouldn't have. Really. I mean you shouldn't have taken all that time to make a dessert too. We could have just eaten some ice cream or something." God, I hate rice pudding.


Benson/Novak Residence

Sunday 8:45 pm

After being overruled in her offer to do the dishes solo, Liv graciously accepted Casey's help in clearing the table and washing the dishes. Never argue with an attorney.

"Geez, Liv, I'm stuffed," Casey said and she patted her belly. "That was incredible. I don't think I ever had chicken cordon bleu pasta before. My compliments to the chef." She kissed Liv on the cheek.

Olivia finished washing the last dish and handed it to Casey to dry. She shut the water off and turned to accept the towel Casey was holding. While Casey put the dish on the counter with the others, Liv dried her hands.

"Me either." Olivia stammered then corrected. "I mean, I never made it before; it was an experiment."

"Well, it was wonderful." Casey beamed. "How about we go retire to the living room and just sit for awhile?" Casey held out her hand.

Liv took it. They walked a few steps and Olivia stopped. "What about dessert?" She pointed over her shoulder at the kitchen.

"Oh, I don't think I could eat another bite right now. Maybe in a little while we can share a little bowl. How's that sound?" Please say yes; then I'd only have to eat a couple of bites.

"Yes... I mean that sounds just fine," Liv replied quickly, "since we are both so full." I love this woman.

"Great." Casey did an internal happy dance. I love this woman.

Casey waited for Olivia to sit down. She stepped around Liv's legs and gingerly sat in Liv's lap. Olivia smiled as Casey leaned her head on her shoulder. Casey kissed her ear and then kissed her way down Liv's neck.

Olivia tilted her head to give Casey more access. "What did you do today?" Olivia asked and she pulled Casey into a tight hug.

"AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" Casey screamed and jumped up.


To be continued in MISCHIEF

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