DISCLAIMER: The characters in the story are the creation of Dick Wolf and I'm using them without permission for entertainment and not for profit. The story is my own as are any errors that may have slipped past my beta readers.
SPOILERS: Set after Alex comes out of witness protection, so there may be some spoilers for those who have not seen the show (or L&O) to that point. I've taken some literary license with Elliot's marital situation and Olivia's educational background, among other things, so fair warning to the keepers of the Canon. Oh, and this is my first L&O story, so your patience is appreciated and feedback of all kinds is welcome.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Open to Persuasion
The Airbus A320 landed with a bump, startling Olivia.
"Good morning, sleepyhead," an amused voice greeted her as reverse thrusters almost made her head snap forward on her neck.
"How long have I been out?" Olivia looked from clear blue eyes to the window of the plane, catching a glimpse of turquoise water and white sand before the plane turned toward the terminal building and revealed only gray tarmac and a rolling expanse of green field beyond a chain-link fence.
"Let's see, we took off at eight-thirty and it's one-thirty, so five hours give or take ten minutes."
Olivia looked sheepish. "I was tired."
Alex offered her a grateful smile. "I know. You've only been sleeping a few hours a night and I really appreciate "
Olivia put a hand up to her lips. "Shh. I've been clearing my desk so that I can take a proper vacation for the first time in four years. And the fact that I'm taking that vacation with the most gorgeous, intensely sensual, completely brilliant "
"Wait, I hadn't got to 'rich', yet," Olivia grinned. "Does flying first class to the Caribbean officially make me a member of the jet set?"
"It's business class."
"But only because there's no first class on this plane." She leaned closer and whispered. "Are you trying to get into my pants, Counselor?"
Alex's answer was just as softly spoken. "Detective, you haven't been fucked in almost two weeks. You'd let me do you on Cragen's desk right now if I wanted to. Taking you on holiday would definitely not be necessary if all I wanted to do was to get into your pants."
Remembering her facetious comment to Elliot about how good the sex was between her and Alex, Olivia burst out laughing and the happy sound started Alex off as well. "I can't believe he told you!" Olivia finally managed to gasp.
"Naturally, I told him he was mistaken."
"And, what, the sex is mediocre?" Olivia raised her eyebrow.
"No, I told him he was mistaken about what he'd seen."
Alex started laughing again as she tried to describe the look on Elliot's face as she'd leaned close to him and whispered. "Detective Stabler, that wasn't foreplay. That was a kiss. If you'd actually had the chance to witness foreplay between me and Olivia, and I guarantee that happened long after we left Fin's party, you would have needed a private moment or two before you could be seen in public again " Both women were still chuckling as the crew welcomed them to St.Lucia and the aircraft rolled to a stop outside the terminal building.
As soon as the doors opened, warm, humid air streamed into the cabin and mist started flowing from the ceiling as the tropical breeze mixed with the processed cabin air. They retrieved their carry-on bags and clambered down the old-fashioned aluminum stairs to the tarmac. The ground was so hot that a catering truck became a hovering mirage in the distance. "Shit, now I know why you told me to travel in shorts," Olivia remarked, feeling a film of perspiration erupt all over her body. "It's really hot here."
"Don't be a wimp. You take the subway in August."
Olivia grinned. She'd missed Alex in the frenzy of work that had been necessary in order for her to keep her promise to her lover. "Speaking of wimps, can't you walk any faster? No point in traveling at the front of the plane if you're gonna let the touristic hordes from the back rows overtake you on the way to immigration."
The customs officer took more of an interest in Olivia's suitcase than in Alex's, making Olivia roll her eyes, and then they were greeted by a man with a sign saying "CABOT/BENSON". "That's our ride. Come on," Alex said excitedly.
The man's name was André and after exchanging pleasantries with them for a few minutes and determining that they didn't need help with their luggage, he said, "This way, please, ladies. You should be there in ten to fifteen minutes."
"How close is the hotel?" Olivia knew the island was only a few hundred square miles, but Alex had insisted on secrecy about their accommodations, so she knew nothing except that they were going to St.Lucia and would have three days together before joining her cousin Brian and his family.
"It would be about a seventeen-mile drive," André replied calmly.
Olivia did a quick mental calculation and frowned. If it took five minutes to get their bags stowed, they'd be driving seventeen miles in five to ten minutes. Alex took one look at her expression and pointed through a glass door to the left of the main exit. "There's our ride," she said with a grin, indicating a white helicopter perched at the far end of the apron.
Olivia didn't like helicopters, but at least they were safer than she'd have been in a car driving at speeds in excess of a hundred miles an hour. The pilot, to whom André referred as "Flipper", a name scarcely designed to inspire confidence, greeted them in their headphones once André had stowed their luggage and buckled them in like toddlers. "Good afternoon, ladies, I'm Brett Mathurin." He pronounced it "Mah-treh" with a nasal sound at the end of the second syllable, so Olivia assumed the name was French. Great, she was about to entrust her life and that of the woman she loved to a French island-guy nicknamed Flipper. "We have excellent weather today, so I can take the scenic route if you want. I don't have another pick-up until three, so I'm all yours for up to half an hour, if you're interested in a tour."
"That would be great! You can put it on the card I used for the reservation." Olivia thought Alex's enthusiasm was in rather poor taste, given the fact that the detective had never enjoyed flying in flimsy bubbles that reminded her of overgrown mosquitoes.
From the rear seat, Olivia watched the smile spread across the pilot's face before he spoke to air traffic control and got permission to take off. Contrary to her expectations, she found herself completely enthralled as the chopper smoothly lifted off and she got a proper view of the beach she'd glimpsed at the end of the runway. The airport stretched across a flat expanse of scrubby land near the southern end of the island. South of it were a small town and a green peninsula with a lighthouse at the tip. She was fascinated by the changing colors of the water, from pale aquamarine to deep blue.
"You'll notice that the sea on the east coast is choppy and the sand is white, coral sand. That's the Atlantic side great for wind-surfing even if it tends to kick up seaweed."
They went around the southern tip of the island, where the sea appeared to be a brooding navy blue. "To your left you can just see the neighboring island of St. Vincent and as we come around the point, we'll be off the coast of the town of Vieux-Fort. You'll find most of the towns and villages have French names because of our island's history as a French colony." They banked slightly, making Olivia's empty stomach remind her why she didn't like these little machines, then they headed north. "Now you'll see that the beaches on the west side of the island have golden and sometimes black volcanic sand. You'll also notice the difference between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea "
"Wow, I should have done this the first time I visited!" Alex was craning her neck to look down at the pale blue Caribbean water that seemed no less placid than a swimming pool.
Flipper/Brett, continued to point out geographic points of interest, the dormant, "drive-in" volcano with its bubbling crater, the twin peaks of the Pitons, the tiny fishing villages nestling along the west coast of the island, the rain forest. He occasionally stopped talking to them and communicated with air traffic control, but for the most part, he spent half an hour giving them a quick orientation tour of a place he clearly loved.
He and Alex chatted about local restaurants and people they knew in common and he repeatedly drew Olivia into the conversation while subtly flirting with both women. Eventually, they headed south again and he gently set the chopper down on a helipad that protruded into the water at the base of one of the Pitons. "Welcome to Jalousie Estate Resort," he said with a smile. "Don't worry, there's actually a hotel somewhere back in the trees. It's not just the main building you can see over there. This is a World Heritage site, so all construction had to be invisible from the water."
As a hotel driver came out to get their luggage and stash it in a shuttle, Alex signed a slip, probably paying an amount that would make Olivia faint, for their personalized helicopter tour, declined the offer of a date, possibly a threesome, from the pilot and propped a pair of designer sunglasses on her nose. With her feet back on terra firma, Olivia was free to notice that Brett/Flipper was a good-looking guy, but she didn't have any compunction about letting him know the lie of the land by pulling Alex towards her and planting a kiss on her lips. Far from being bothered by the public display of affection, Alex pushed the sunglasses up into her blond hair and pulled Olivia's mouth back to hers for a deeper, more satisfying, kiss before they said their good-byes and climbed into the shuttle.
"Think he got the message?" Alex asked. "I had to do something he was undressing you with his eyes!"
Olivia threw her head back and laughed. As long as she ignored the fact that Alex would be moving to DC in six weeks, it was going to be a wonderful holiday. "Why don't we order room service for lunch and have a siesta?" She suggested.
"Siesta? This place has British, French and African history, not Spanish," Alex pretended to be confused.
"Almost two weeks, Alex," Olivia reminded her in a lazy drawl.
"Room service, it is," Alex agreed, as the shuttle pulled away from the helipad.
The setting sun was slanting through the sliding glass doors as Olivia made lazy circles with her fingertips on Alex's stomach, loving the way the amber light burnished the sweat on the former ADA's skin. Alex sighed contentedly, making the detective smile.
"Is my woman completely satisfied?" Olivia teased.
"I think you've made up for depriving me of whatever that was, for almost two weeks."
"Gosh, for an Ivy-Leaguer, you don't know very much, do you? That was "
"The best sex of my life," Alex replied, seriously, turning on her side and then climbing on top of her dark-haired detective. She pressed her lips to Olivia's throat in a soft, almost reverent, kiss.
It was Olivia's turn to sigh. She couldn't explain the emotional satisfaction she got from feeling the weight of Alex's body on top of hers. "Mine, too," she admitted quietly. "It's kind of odd, because right now, I have this tender feeling for you that makes me want to cry because it's so intense, but it's not sexual. But when we finally got rid of that room service guy, I wanted you so badly it was kind of aggressive, you know? Not gentle or friendly, or even what most people would call loving. I wanted to make you surrender and beg for it and scream my name and come for me and every other non-feminist cliché you can think of. And in an equally non-feminist way, I wanted to wrap my legs around you and have you fuck me until I couldn't even remember my own name."
Alex lifted her head so that she could meet Olivia's eyes and a slow smile spread across her face. "I think it's called Eros, Detective Benson: romantic love, but tempered with philia."
Olivia frowned. "I think I'm only going to sleep with dumb chicks from now on. I can't handle discussions about Eros and agape when I'm still twitching from my last orgasm."
They both started to giggle helplessly and Olivia took advantage of Alex's distraction to roll them both over on the king-sized so that their positions were reversed and she was lying on top of Alex. Alex stared up at the teasing brown eyes of her favorite police officer and she reached up to trail one finger over Olivia's nose to her lips. "I'm completely in love with you. More today than I was yesterday and more yesterday than ever before."
Olivia's eyes filled with tears. How am I supposed to survive without you in my life?
"Please don't let my love make you sad, Liv," Alex begged, her own eyes swimming with tears.
Your love doesn't make me sad. Your love makes me the happiest, luckiest woman in the world.
Olivia felt a desperate need to change the subject. "Sweetie? I know we promised to live in denial for at least this week, but I wanted to ask, were you disappointed by how your last two cases as an ADA went? Did you feel as though it was anti-climactic that you didn't get to try either Johnson or Blackwell?" She rolled onto her side so that she and Alex were facing each other.
Alex shook her head. "Trying Blackwell would have been a waste of time. The evidence was insurmountable it would have been like shooting fish in a barrel. I like arguing difficult cases, not cases like that. I've recently become personally ambivalent about the death penalty, but I firmly believe Gary Blackwell has forfeited his right to live in society And I don't regret accepting his guilty plea."
"And the Johnsons?" Olivia probed.
"On the day the Johnsons were sentenced, the courtroom was packed; even more packed than it had been for allocution. Dozens and dozens of people people who looked as though they worked hard for a living and probably couldn't afford to give up a day's pay to sit around a lower Manhattan courtroom but there they were. When Arnold and Maria Johnson were sentenced to fifteen consecutive sentences of eight to fifteen years, with no possibility of parole for the first five years of each sentence, I expected the room to erupt in noise. It didn't. There was a quiet murmur and a few sobs and then they just left. It was the eeriest experience I'd ever had in court, but it was possibly the most moving. And no jury foreman standing to deliver a guilty verdict could possibly have meant more to me."
"I love you, Alex."
Olivia came into the apartment, took the key out of the small pocket in her shorts and dropped it on the closest table. She stepped out of her running shoes and walked into the kitchen where she took a liter bottle of Evian out of the fridge and drank thirstily from it before turning around to hand it to Alex, who had walked in shortly after her.
"I win," Olivia grinned, as Alex finished drinking and glared at her.
"I can still take you on a relatively flat route or on a running track especially over distances of more than three miles."
"True, but what's more useful, running up the stairs to your apartment, or running around a track like a hamster on a wheel?"
"Nah, you're too sweaty."
Alex put down the bottle and advanced on Olivia, wrapping her arms around the dark-haired woman. "That's not what you said this morning "
"That was different I'd made you sweaty, this morning." She smirked, planting a lingering kiss on Alex's soft lips. "Besides, I had to do something about your PMS."
"I told you, I don't get PMS!"
Alex kissed her. "You are so mean." She slipped a hand under Olivia's top and ran her palm up the smooth, wet skin on her back. "Mm, shower with me."
"Ok, but no funny business. I promised to meet Elliot for lunch in half an hour, which means I have to leave here in ten minutes tops."
"Even if there is any funny business, you're so easy that I'll be done with you in five minutes flat."
"Are you saying I have no staying power, Miss Cabot?"
"None," Alex confirmed, happily. "Oh, and just so we're clear, that is not a complaint."
"And you, of course are a model of self-control."
"The personification of self-control," Alex corrected, her hand sliding down Olivia's back and under the waistband of the running shorts to cup her ass.
"Care to test that assertion?" Olivia's hands began to do some exploring of their own.
"What's in it for me?" Blue eyes sparkled with arousal and humor.
"If I'm wrong, I'll go with you to that tedious Warhol exhibition again. But if I'm right, I get to choose the next five DVD's we see."
"Are you threatening me with 'Claire of the Moon'?"
"Hey the sex scene is hot." Olivia said, defensively.
"But the film is awful. You new lesbians are so easily pleased..." Alex wrinkled her nose, "Anyway, it doesn't matter because we're going to Warhol. I accept the challenge Right after I get my five minutes to do you."
"It'll take more than five minutes," Olivia tried to sound confident, but Alex's other hand was tracing circles around her nipple through the detective's sports bra. Alex's hand which had been slowly caressing Olivia's ass slipped deftly over her hip to the front of the dark-haired woman's shorts, making her gasp.
Both women were breathing hard by the time Alex amended her estimate. "Or maybe it'll take less."
Half an hour later, Olivia was leaving a message for Elliot to say that she was running late, as she took the subway steps two at a time. It was another twenty minutes before she emerged from the station where she'd arranged to meet her partner. When Elliot caught sight of her he looked deliberately at his watch.
"Sorry, I got back late from my run," she lied without meeting his eyes.
"Where're we having lunch?"
"Young's. I assume you've been eating in fancy restaurants for almost three weeks now, so you're due for some greasy Chinese-style food of dubious origin."
Olivia grinned. "Gosh, you make it sound so appealing that I think I'll treat."
"Good idea. I wish I'd thought of it."
They got their food from the woman behind the counter and sat at a table that was barely big enough to hold their two trays. "So, how's your vacation going?"
"I brought you some photos. You can look at them while I eat. I'm starving. The couple that shows up in a lot of them is Alex's cousin Brian and his wife Julie. They have fraternal twins, like you and Julie's pregnant with another boy. We spent a week with them at their house in St.Lucia."
Elliot shook his head. "How the other half lives, huh?"
Olivia looked a bit uncomfortable. "Something like that," she mumbled, before tucking into her food.
Elliot flipped through the photographs. Most of them were of Alex and or Olivia in shorts or swim suits, so it wasn't a hardship to look at them. Olivia's swimsuit was white: low-riding boy shorts and a brief halter top that barely covered the essentials. In each successive photo, her skin formed a more stark contrast to the white fabric as her tan deepened. Alex, too, acquired a surprisingly deep tan that looked striking against her red bikini, bright blue eyes and blond hair. "Haven't you guys heard the warnings about skin cancer?" Elliot asked with a smile and Olivia just grinned.
There were photos of the couple on the beach, by three different pools, in an open-topped Jeep and lounging around a room with wood-paneled walls, extremely high ceilings and low-slung furniture upholstered in primary colors.
The other couple and the kids were pictured in that room as well as by one of the pools several times, so he assumed that was their home. Nice. There were group photos of Alex and Olivia, Brian and Julie and several other people, so he guessed the cousin and his wife had thrown a party during the women's visit. There were a lot of photos of his partner laughing and looking extremely happy and one of her and Alex, obviously taken at the party, where they were looking into each other's eyes. Elliot never thought of himself as particularly romantic, but the look the women shared in the photo was one filled with so much love that he felt his stomach do something funny in reaction to it.
"You look happy," Elliot said quietly and Olivia seemed to lose her appetite.
"Yes," she admitted, once again refusing to meet her partner's eyes.
"What're you gonna do, Olivia? Just let her walk out of your life?"
"I didn't make her take that job," Olivia replied stubbornly, "she chose to."
"So what? It's a great opportunity "
"And that makes it ok?" Her eyes were filled with dark anguish as they met his. "Can we not talk about this?"
Elliot's jaw clenched, but eventually he said, "fine," and they finished their meal in silence.
"So, what? You're not gonna talk to me now?" Olivia couldn't decide if she was more hurt or annoyed. She had really looked forward to seeing Elliot again. It had been years since three weeks had gone by without any contact between the two of them.
Elliot looked unhappily at her. "Dana called for you last week. Apparently, it's not the first time." The betrayal he'd felt upon taking the message from the FBI agent was apparent in his tone.
Olivia threw her napkin down on the tray. "Come on, let's walk." Elliot said nothing, but he picked up his tray and followed her.
They dropped off their trays and left the restaurant, walking in silence through the crowded midtown streets until Olivia turned into the atrium of an office complex and chose a seat on an empty bench near a fountain.
"She's been head-hunting you for the Feds?" Elliot immediately picked up the thread of the conversation.
"You know they unofficially do that every now and then. She approached Munch, too. But after I did that undercover stint and we worked through the trial prep and prosecution together, the Deputy Director has kind of " Olivia's voice trailed off.
The Deputy Director. "And you never considered it?"
Her partner looked skeptical. "More money?" She quoted the salary she'd been offered and his eyebrows went up. "Damn. I can't believe you turned it down."
"What? You want to get rid of me?" Olivia was slightly offended.
"Liv, if it was just me and Kathy no kids, schools and all the rest of it, I know I'd be tempted."
"That doesn't say much for me as your partner, does it?" Olivia now more than slightly offended and hurt.
"I didn't mean it that way."
"I'm a New Yorker," she explained. "I was born here, I went to school here and I've always worked here. I like my life and the friends I have on the job. And I'm not being conceited when I say that I'm good at what I do I make a difference. I might not have a hell of a lot of disposable income, but I'm comfortable: when I have time for a holiday, I can afford one and my home is fixed up the way I like it. And I love you."
"Ok, all that's in the reasons to stay column. What about the reasons to go? I mean, you know how I feel about you, Liv, but I can be across the Outerbridge Crossing in forty minutes and on the New Jersey Turnpike heading for DC. Between that and the recent invention called the telephone, we can still be friends. Remember how you enjoyed being on the cutting edge of technology when we worked with that software last year in Computer Crimes that helped track Internet predators? Working with the FBI budget, you'd have that kind of thing all the time, plus the bigger paycheck. So, much as I love you, I don't want to be the deciding factor in your decision to stay." He reached for her hands and waited until she met his eyes. "So, talk it through with me. What would be the benefits of going?"
"Apart from Alex?" Her voice shook. When Elliot didn't reply she sighed and admitted, "The job they want me for, it's the kind of thing that can affect kids all over the country. The Deputy Director said I'd be working with a team that's developing infrastructure to support what the database of missing and exploited children was a first step in doing. They'll be taking on things like making sure jurisdiction isn't a barrier in an investigation when the victim is a child and developing computer systems that are actually useful to local police forces - in the way profiling became a tool in identifying serial predators. They'll even be working with Federal lawmakers to close loopholes in State laws that make sex crimes harder to prosecute "
She's really interested, but she's scared, Elliot concluded. "And you never told me any of this?"
"I'm a cop, Elliot, not a desk jockey."
"And how are things going to get better for cops if we always leave it up to the professional desk jockeys to make changes?" He smiled at her. "Don't you believe in fate? Don't you see it as some kind of miracle that at the same time Alex gets an opportunity in DC, you happen to get pulled into an FBI investigation that makes the Feebs see how fucking talented you are?"
Olivia flushed under her tan. She wasn't comfortable with compliments. "NYPD is the only job I've ever known," she insisted stubbornly. "I went into the academy less than a year after I picked up my college diploma and I've put in fourteen years on the job." She wasn't telling him anything he didn't know, but he knew she needed to say it out loud. "I'm eligible for a pension in six years "
"And do you have any idea how long six years can be when you're lonely, Liv? I spent six months without the woman I love and I was a mess."
Olivia pulled her hands away from Elliot and stood up. "I need to think, she said abruptly. I need to walk."
"Ok, but call me later. And tell Alex I said 'hi'."
Olivia nodded. "Thanks, Elliot."
He squeezed her shoulder and headed back towards the 16th precinct.
It took Olivia almost two hours to get back to Alex's apartment.
"Good lunch?" Alex was sitting in the living room. There was a book open on the sofa next to her, but she hadn't appeared to be reading it when Olivia had walked in.
Olivia shrugged. "Elliot said to say hi." She walked over to Alex and stared at her for several seconds. The blond woman was comfortably dressed in navy yoga pants and a pale blue fitted t-shirt. Her long legs were propped up on the coffee table next to a sweating bottle of mineral water and she seemed to have spent the time Olivia had been away giving herself a pedicure.
"You're such a girly girl," Olivia teased, because she wanted to distract herself from the lump that formed in her throat just from looking at Alex.
"And you're such a tough detective, but I can still top you," Alex grinned.
"I have to admit to being quite impressed with your handcuff technique."
Both women suddenly seemed to feel awkward. "I um I'd better get out of these clothes. We had lunch at Young's and I smell like barbecued ribs although the ribs of which animal remains a mystery."
"With so much good Chinese food in the city, why do you people eat in that dive?"
"It's good for the immune system to ingest a certain number and variety of micro-organisms," Olivia joked as she walked toward the bedroom. When she came out she was wearing a shrunken t-shirt and her favorite battered jeans, which somehow had started to reside in Alex's apartment.
"Olivia, can we talk for a bit? I made a decision I was going to make a decision Well, it was pretty much made George suggested that there's something I'm thinking about that I should discuss with you."
Olivia frowned. Alexandra Cabot was babbling. Alexandra Cabot never babbled. "Are you ok?"
Alex looked confused. "No, no, there's nothing wrong. Well, what I mean is, I'm physically fine, if that's what you're concerned about." She seemed to be making an effort to control her babbling by being formal. It was probably some kind of lawyerly reflex. "I have been considering or, to be more precise, reconsidering, my options."
"What?" Olivia was genuinely confused.
"I'm thinking about withdrawing my acceptance of the AUSA job."
"But you haven't done it yet, right?" Olivia sounded almost panicked and she visibly paled beneath her tan.
"Are you that anxious to get rid of me?" Alex tried to sound angry, but she sounded hurt.
"You know that's not "
"Really? Because you just sounded as though the last thing you wanted me to do was tell Theodore that I'd decided to stay in New York. If all you wanted all along was to get out of this relationship, then why did you lead me to believe that ?"
"Alex, I do not want to get out of this relationship."
"Bullshit! You just about had a panic attack when I told you I was thinking about withdrawing my acceptance." Agitated, she stood up. "No wonder you never considered moving down with me! Was it all an act?"
"Will. You. Just. Shut. Up." Olivia walked over and put her hands on Alex's upper arms. Alex tried to shrug her off and walk away, but Olivia only tightened her grip. "Alex, I love you. I want to be with you for as long as you'll have me. I don't want you to withdraw your acceptance, because I'm in the middle of negotiating for a position with the FBI."
"They offered me a job with a special team that's being set up but I don't want to leave NYPD, so I'm working on a compromise."
Confident that Alex was no longer going to bolt, Olivia let her hands fall to her sides. "Dana Lewis tried to recruit me while I was on assignment with her. Then when this job came up, she got the Deputy Director to make it a formal offer. I think they cleared it with 1 PP, but typically, not with Cragen. That offer came just before we caught the Johnson case and I told him I'd think about it because I didn't want to make Star, Dana, look bad I thought I'd wait a decent amount of time and then decline. Then the case blew up, our relationship started and the offer just naturally went on the back burner."
She shrugged. "It wasn't until after you asked me to go with you that I thought about it again. I'd already decided not to take it but I'd forgotten to say so." She sighed. "I didn't want to leave New York. I wasn't sure I could be happy anywhere else. My job has pretty much been my life for a long time and my job is here."
"And now you're the best thing in my life, Alex, you know that." The words were said casually, as though with a mental shrug, but they made butterflies take flight in Alex's stomach and a reciprocal surge of love well up in her.
"So you're going to resign?"
Olivia flinched and Alex regretted the bluntness of her question. Olivia's blood ran NYPD blue and the word "resign" had emotional ramifications for her that Alex knew she could never truly understand, although she had some idea, having worked so closely with the SVU unit for so long. They were more like family to her than colleagues, even with the distance that their respective roles forced upon her in order to maintain objectivity. Thinking about it, with her relationship with Olivia now in the public domain she would have had to move on, anyway, because some defense attorney would eventually imply that Olivia would be willing to plant evidence in order to ensure a win for her lover.
"I still don't want to." Olivia met her eyes, "But if I have to choose between you and the force, I'll choose you."
Goose bumps broke out over Alex's skin and tears stung her eyes. As impossible as it would have seemed to her hours or minutes earlier, she fell a little bit deeper in love with Olivia Benson at that moment. "Is there an alternative?"
Olivia sighed. "I hope so. I was seconded to the FBI for almost six months while we worked on that domestic terrorism case. I asked them to do the same kind of thing, but for a minimum of three years. The brass might agree to it if the Bureau picks up my salary and pension contributions while I'm gone. I spent an hour with my union rep and I also told Cragen about the offer. Discussions are under way, but I might need a good lawyer to look over the contract if I get offered one."
"Liv I " Alex was once again lost for words. "I can't believe you'd do this for me."
"You were willing to give up the AUSA job for me," Olivia pointed out, stepping closer to Alex and allowing Alex to draw her into her arms.
"Will you live with me when we move to DC?" Alex couldn't think of another way to let Olivia know how committed she was to their relationship. "I've never lived with anyone before And I know we've only been seeing each other for six months, but I want to come home to you, Olivia."
Olivia pulled back, so that she could look into Alex's eyes as she answered, "I'd like that. I'd like it a lot."
They held each other tightly, silent tears flowing, each barely able to believe that there was going to be a future for their relationship.
"Will you marry me?"
"You know. Legal contract, lifetime commitment, public declaration of love, that kind of thing?"
"We can do it in Canada or in England at a country estate. With all our friends and whichever relatives we care to see in attendance."
"You are such a girly girl." Olivia chuckled, despite the emotion that made her voice tremble. "But you know my friends are cops who do not fly out to England for weekend parties, right?"
"You know your girlfriend is a Cabot who can charter private jets, right? You gave me a hard enough time with that whole heiress bullshit in St.Lucia."
"It was princess, not heiress. Heiress just implies money. You, my princess, come with a pedigree and a certificate of authenticity better than anything on eBay."
"Why do I want to marry you again?"
"Because you love me? And you know I love you? And you know that I'll spend every day of my life trying to make sure I deserve to be loved by you?"
"Is that a yes?"
There was silence for several seconds and then Olivia said softly, "Alex?"
"Wanna watch a movie?"
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