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ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By dfelony


When the sun starts to go down, Olivia gets up.

Alex is sleeping. Or doing a good impression. Lead-limbed on her back in the centre of the bed. She looks unraveled. Olivia relates.

She gets dressed in exactly the reverse order of how she undressed, but much, much quicker. Not that she's rushing. She just really wasn't rushing when the clothes came off.

The last few hours have been about the most unrushed of Olivia's life.

Funny. All the times she imagined how it might happen – if it ever happened – she pictured frenzy. She pictured I must have you, right now. Like in the movies. Thunderstorms and arguments that suddenly breed passionate kisses. Cut to the protagonists in a bedroom, up against a wall, tearing at each other.

But maybe they do enough arguing at work. Or maybe the weather just didn't cooperate -- not even a cloud in the sky. 72 degrees. Cooler now that dusk's arriving. Olivia didn't wear a jacket over but she might regret that now.

She's dressed. She sits on the edge of the bed. Alex has one hand outside the sheet, resting on her stomach. Olivia watches it go up and down the slightest bit with every breath.

The whole thing's been natural as breathing, up to now.

If it were Olivia's apartment, would Alex leave without waking her? No. Olivia wouldn't fall asleep. Even though she's been told more than once that she's as bad as a man in that department. She'd stay awake, aware, like she has here. How can Alex sleep at a time like this? Look at how the light is changing. Red sky at night. Turning the cream walls orange, doing something to Alex's hair -- Olivia doesn't know how to describe it. She's just a cop. But it's nice.

She puts a hand on that hand on Alex's stomach. Interlaces their fingers. If she lifted that hand to her nose she knows what scent she'd find. She doesn't. She just waits for the touch to pull Alex from her doze.

The drapes sway around the open window. Alex stirs, inhaling deeply through her nose, planting her foot and half rolling toward Olivia. Without opening her eyes: "Going home?"

Olivia can see goosebumps on Alex's leg, bared when she raised her knee.

"It's after six."

Alex completes the roll, tucking her free hand under the pillow, bringing the other and Olivia's to her chest. The angle's a bit uncomfortable for Olivia, but she bears it. It helps her ignore other sensations, further south, and other parts of Alex that she is not touching. Anymore.

"I should get up." But Alex doesn't move.


Olivia stands up again. Her hand stays in Alex's till the last possible second. But she has lots of practice denying herself the things she wants. Lots. This afternoon was a fluke.

This afternoon, Olivia caved in so many ways. But only because Alex caved first. Leaned over in the middle of a shared smile, in the middle of a Saturday afternoon in, and kissed her. Put her hand on the back of Olivia's neck. Sweet. Inviting. The usual arm's length gone -- poof. It seemed sudden but wasn't, because it was two years in the making, because it was just one of a dozen near misses. The one that didn't miss.

Alex caved first, and Olivia followed, just like she followed when Alex stayed strong. When Alex said, We can't. One defense lawyer gets wind, mentions it in court and you can never testify for me again. Their work is too important. So Olivia settled for friendship and occasional flirtation. Gave Alex what she asked for. Just like today.

"Don't forget your watch."

Olivia looks down and Alex's eyes are open. On her. Steady though heavy-lidded. There's a little smile on her lips, one Olivia has seen before. Thank you and I'm sorry. No surprise there. It's why Olivia is leaving. She knew the moment she touched her, the moment Alex was in her arms, that it would be once only. An experiment: Let's pretend you don't work with SVU. Or I don't. Let's pretend work isn't everything. What would that be like?

She puts on her watch. The metal's cold against her wrist. Fucking amazing, that's what.

"Come and lock up behind me."

She goes to find her shoes.

The End

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