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Professional Tension
By Sexual Womble


"Why can't you just do your job and get us that damn warrant?" I say a little too forcibly.

"Well I'm sorry if I can't just overturn someone's constitutional rights because, I quote, "We have a bad feeling about this guy." That is not how the system works Detective. Try getting me some damn evidence before talking to me about doing my job, ok?"

We both stalk off to respective ends of the squad room and seethe for a while.

We are pressured to be civil towards each other at work but sometimes, in the middle of a hard case, we still cannot help but scream and shout at each other in frustration. That's exactly what happened today. An hour later Alex is asking me if I want a refill while she goes to get more coffee and Elliot is looking at us both like we are crazy.

"How can you guys argue like that then just forget it?" He looks at me like I hold the secret to some great mystery. I guess to him I do. He would love to know how to just ask Kathy if she wanted fresh coffee after an argument without being shouted at some more. I think most married men would like that little pearl of wisdom. I've tried to explain to him before and he doesn't understand that I have some kind of unspoken agreement with Alex that means we can bicker and bait each other endlessly, so I just stick to;

"It's a woman thing." He nods his head, looks a little confused and lets it go.

He has noticed, probably more so than anyone else, that there is a lot of professional tension between Alex and me. It's not so much that we don't like each other it's just that the demands of our jobs always keeps us at each others throats. Usually it is about getting a warrant but we also branch out into use of excessive force, coercion and deal-making among others. The shouting helps relieve a fraction of the stress we're under.

"I wish you guys would just sleep together already." Munch never was one for subtlety. I roll my eyes, like I always do. I'm guessing Alex must be getting tired of this now. I mean, we don't go telling Elliot to have sex with Cragen every time they disagree, do we? Alex looks over to me with a playful glint in her eye and I know she's planning something to shut the guys up. She moves so she is standing behind my chair and rests her hand on my shoulders.

"The thing is guys, that I just beg and beg but Olivia just won't do it. I mean things would be so much easier around here is she would just have sex with me, wouldn't they?"

Fin, Munch and Elliot all manage to nod slowly and their mouths have remained almost closed. She massages my shoulders, which I'm quite sure is a conscious attempt to get a rise out of the boys. It works as they all lean forward a little and have their jaws well and truly dropped.

"There would be so much less tension in the air when I come by. Alas, I guess I'm just not her type." She adds a dramatic sigh for their benefit, picks up her jacket and heads out.

As she leaves I'm sure that I hear one of the guys mutter "You're everybody's type" in a dreamy voice but I can't be sure which one it is to mock them appropriately.

As soon as the door closes behind her the guys round on me.

"Is that true?"

"Why would you refuse Alex? Come on, she's Alex Cabot!"

"She's got it bad for you."

I laugh at their gullibility. Fin is still in dreamland by the look of his faraway gaze.

"She's yanking your chain guys." They don't look convinced. I place my hand on my heart and say

"I do solemnly swear that Alexandra Cabot has never begged me for sex." The way she looks I'd guess she has never had to beg for anything in her life.

"She obviously likes you though. We all know that you like her so don't try pleading the fifth. We're detectives you know. We can tell when you're lying." Fin has returned from outer space.

"We fight all the time, you saw us just today. We can't even get through a shift without arguing, you are all in fantasy land."

"You didn't even attempt to deny that you like her, that's progress right there guys." Elliot high-fives Fin when he finishes embarrassing me.

"Who does she always call when a warrant comes in?" asks Fin.

"Well, me, but that's just because I'm usually one of the leads on the case."

Elliot weighs in with "I'm your partner, she could call me instead occasionally. I told her that I thought that slimy lawyer had a crush on her and she didn't speak to me for three days. You yell at her that you're surprised she got into college, let alone graduated and passed the bar and what to you get? A cup of coffee sixty minutes later."

"That's just professional tension in the workplace. She knows how much pressure we are under."

"Apparently she just notices how much pressure you're under, Olivia. What is the first thing she says to you when she gets here, no matter how annoyed she is with us?" The guys are ganging up on me, Munch has joined in too.

"Well, she asks me how I am, but I don't see what that has to do with…"

"And who is the only one she asks if they want fresh coffee?" asks Fin

"It's not like…"

"And who did she hug after we nailed that guy in the Thompson case last week?"

"Whose desk does she ALWAYS sit on?"

"Who does she sit next to when she comes out for drinks after a case?"

I sit there a little stunned, they are reading too much into everything aren't they? Alex just went too far with her joke and their brains melted or something. She couldn't like me back could she?

"Liv, you guys fight all the time because of tension, but it sure as hell isn't professional. She's always considerate to you even when you've acted like a complete ass towards her, which, lets be honest, is a lot of the time You are the first one she thinks to call. She always wants to be near you, even if she has to sit on that uncomfortable desk of yours to do it." I'm shaking my head. "There is a perfectly good chair right there. She's been flirting with you for months. I don't think she even notices that she is doing it and you obviously don't so I guess it is up to us poor ignorant men."

Elliot looks around and nods at the guys. Fin hands me my jacket after Munch pulls me up out of my chair. They are herding me towards my locker.

"Why don't you head out Olivia? You've had a lot to take in today. It's a lovely evening for a walk perhaps. Maybe a movie?" Both Munch and Fin have their hands on my back and are less than gently guiding me towards the exit.

"It's just a shame that you don't have anyone to go with, isn't it?" Elliot looks genuinely upset to say this, but then I know he's just messing with me when he adds "Oh, since you're leaving would you drop this file over to Alex? Thanks."

I'm outside with the door swinging shut in my face before I can even get a reply to come out. What just happened in there? I'm going to make them pay for this. They can't just magically make Alex like me just because I like her and they decide to read too much into things.

"Olivia?" I turn and see the object of tonight's debate standing at the curb.

"I was bringing you a file. I thought you had gone already." I shove the file into her hand.

"Can't get a cab and there is no way I can navigate my way home on the subway in these heels."

I laugh uncomfortably and look down. There is an awkward silence.

"I'm sorry about today and the fighting, you know how it can be when you don't get a break on a case. I know you were just trying to play with the guys heads before, and believe me you did a really good job and they practically have us married off and living in the suburbs, but I was just wondering if maybe you would want to go and have a drink at the bar. You know, with me. Now or whenever." Argh I'm so idiotic when I ramble. I should have listened to my brain telling me to shut my mouth.


Ok, that idea was shot down quickly.

"Oh, ok I'm…" I'm looking everywhere but at her and trying to think of a way to exit with a little bit of dignity intact.

"What I mean to say is that my feet are killing me. How about you drive me home where I can put some actual clothes on instead of this suit and heels? Then I'll make some dinner and we can watch a movie. I'm in the mood for Hitchcock. Yes. That sounds like a much better first date than going to a cop bar. No offence but other than the SVU gang, I don't feel like anyone really wants the lawyer there. And it smells a little weird in there."

"HEY, that place is… did you just say "date"? With me? You said yes to a date with me, almost. They were actually right. Munch will never let me hear the end of this. This is just…"

I am more than a little shocked and I'm rambling again, running my hands through my hair and generally looking like a slightly unbalanced person.

"Liv, will you calm down please?" Alex lets out a small laugh as she tries to keep me still. She does just about the only thing that could stop my rambling; she leans forward and kisses me. It's only a small kiss but it does the trick. I imagine that I have a stupid lopsided grin on my face as I just stare at her.

"Right, no telling the guys I kissed you before the first date. Now which way is your car?"

I raise my arm lazily at my car on the other side on the street. I'm still grinning at her like a lovesick teenager.

"Let's go then, my place isn't too far away and the traffic looks manageable." She grabs my hand, which still hangs in the air, and interlaces our fingers as she pulls me towards the car.

Alex Cabot actually agreeing to go out with me! Who knew? Other than Fin and Munch and Elliot and…

The End

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