DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters
are property of NBC and Dick Wolf. I make no money, and I make no
claims. This is Mr. Wolf's sandbox. I just knock over his castle
for grins when he's not looking.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My deepest thanks to Naelewai and Weehawken for slogging through the drafts.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Friday, Auction Day, Dawn:
Alex was up before the sun. By 6:00 she was already in the squad room. It was eerily quiet except for some light snoring coming from the balcony that overlooked the bullpen. She tiptoed up the stairs to see if her hunch was right. Munch and Fin were nowhere around, and Elliot had apparently gone home to snuggle up to Kathy. That left Olivia on the couch. Alex quietly set her leather briefcase down and nestled into the beat up cushion of the chair across from the slumbering detective. True, they hadn't slept together, but if Alex had her way, hers would be the first face Olivia would see when she woke up this morning. She stealthily pulled out a few files and laid them open on her lap. Coulter's arraignment was on for this afternoon, and of course the sentencing in the Pellinham case was at ten. She would have to leave soon, and head down town for her early meeting with Journigan. Once all that was cleared though, she'd have the rest of the afternoon to pull strings.
Olivia stirred a little and moaned sadly. Alex wondered what tragedy was playing out in her mind. She resisted the urge to go over and put her arms around the exhausted brunette. It was going to be awkward enough explaining why she had chosen to do paperwork up here with a sleeping detective, rather than back in her office or downstairs at an empty desk. Trying to explain why she was cradling said detective in her lap, would be beyond even her rhetorical abilities. Truth was she was banking on Olivia waking before the place became too crowded. Sure enough about that time, Alex heard some stirring down stairs. Don Cragen had come in and was making coffee. She laughed a little as she heard him humming off tune. He obviously believed he was alone. He finished up with the coffee maker and went into his office closing the door behind him. Alex had been keeping an eye on Cragen, but it struck her after he shut the door, that the place was silent. She turned to find Olivia's deep brown eyes smiling sleepily at her.
"What are you doing here?" Olivia asked in a contented whisper.
Alex smiled. "Saying good morning." She whispered back covertly as she set the files on the carpet, and crossed the space to come and sit on the couch. Olivia adjusted to give her some room. She thought she might just be dreaming, but Alex's weight on the cushions proved she wasn't.
"Christ you're crazy, Counselor." Olivia commented as she took in the prosecutor's smile. Olivia thought she'd seen all the colors Alex's eyes could possess, but the brilliance of the blue this morning was new and inebriating in its childlike playfulness.
Alex reached over and ran her fingers through Olivia's loose hair. The detective caught her by the hand and placed a tender lingering kiss on the inside of the attorney's supple wrist. The brunette sighed and pressed her cheek against the warmth of Alex's racing pulse. That did it. Alex leaned in slowly and brushed her open lips lightly against Olivia's cheek. Two more innocent, timid kisses caressed Olivia's smooth skin until their lips met, hesitantly at first. But as passion persuaded them, the kiss deepened and Alex's hand slid to cradle and massage Olivia's neck. A soft moan escaped the detective, and Alex felt Olivia gently press on her back, drawing her closer. She forced herself to slow things down. Leaving a few parting kisses, the blonde leaned her forehead in to rest against Olivia's. She smiled hovering over Olivia's lips and inhaled contentedly. Alex whispered breathlessly, "Good morning, Detective," and placed a last kiss before leaning back as slowly as she had come to her.
Olivia was speechless. Her body was throbbing in ways she had forgotten it could. Alex, her Alex, was really here. Really kissing her. Holy shit what a kisser. Olivia drew in a deep, calming breath, and opened her eyes. The blonde was smiling down at her, a pleased expression on her face at the reaction she had evoked in the detective.
"Promise me I'll wake up that way every morning," Benson whispered.
Alex grinned teasingly, "Sorry, Detective. I don't make promises I can't keep."
Olivia frowned momentarily as she sat up on an elbow, arched her back in a cat like stretch and took Alex's hand in her own. She grinned at the fiery young blonde. "You mean you can do better?" Olivia teased back optimistically.
Alex felt a heat rise up her chest and neck as she tried not to let out the laugh that Olivia had elicited. She leaned in to whisper in the detective's ear, "Guess you'll just have to make it your mission to find out. Won't you?"
A squeak downstairs indicated that Cragen's door had opened and both women's eyes widened. They froze like two teenagers about to be caught drinking in the school bathroom. They waited as Cragen filled his cup, and then listened as his footsteps lead back to his office. Alex placed a slender finger to her lips as she scooted off the couch and silently picked up her files. She quietly put them in her bag and slipped off her heels. She came back to where Olivia was stretched out watching her. "Call me," she breathed into the brunette's ear, and then she gave her a quick goodbye kiss. Olivia rolled onto her stomach and caught the attorney's hand as she turned to go, but Alex knew she had to get out of there before anyone else arrived. She smiled down at Olivia, squeezed her hand in parting, and crept as quietly down the stairs as she could manage.
Don Cragen was staring down at his desk reviewing a monthly computer print out regarding the effectiveness and overall accountability rating of his department. He was engrossed in the accompanying letter from the Commissioner's office and the statistical data that was being used to once again shine a bad light on his unit. He wondered how many times he would have to slay this dragon. With out looking up he reached for his warm mug. When he leaned back to take a sip, he could have sworn he caught a glimpse of ADA Cabot's blonde locks rounding the corner, and heading down the hall away from the squad room. He looked around for any of his detectives and saw no one. So, if indeed it had been her, she surely would have spoken to him. He decided to dismiss it and took another sip of his coffee. He had bigger fish to fry.
Olivia rolled back over on the couch. God she was tired. She had only gotten a couple hours of sleep in the past two days and she knew she was riding an emotional roller coaster. Her times with Alex, while keeping her sane and happy, were almost as emotionally taxing as the job. The job. She rubbed her forehead as her mind started to wrap around the events from last night. The mother was in ICU at Bellvue, unconscious and in critical condition. The body of the little girl was down in Warner's morgue. The only victim still breathing on his own, the infant, was two-floors up from his mother in NICU. Olivia and Elliot had stayed at the crime scene until almost two a.m. for fear that their evidence would be lost to the weather. They were hell bent on collecting as much as possible because right now, all they had was evidence and very little of that. Around three, Elliot had begged off of processing and tagging back at the squad room, and suggested to Olivia she do the same. Olivia had agreed with every intention of actually leaving, but at 3:30, she was still at it. When the windows started to lighten, she realized she should try and get some rest.
Next thing she new, Alex was there, watching over her. Kissing her. She smiled. Now, that was a pleasant surprise. Olivia had admitted to herself months ago, that she had feelings for the young ADA. But Alex's messages had been so confusing that the detective felt it better to just try her damnedest to ignore them. She wasn't up for getting hurt by falling for someone she could never have. Try as she might though. She had fallen, and hard. Now, after all these months, Alex was taking the lead. At first, Olivia berated herself for not moving more quickly when she first thought the counselor might be interested in her. She had wasted precious time. But as she thought about it, it seemed as though Alex, for whatever reasons, needed time to think things through. Maybe I had to grow on her? Maybe she's never been with another woman? Maybe she doesn't date people at work? Maybe she She abandoned that line of thinking as unproductive. She wants me. Olivia rolled over, pleased with herself. What is it Cragen's group preaches? One day at a time? That'll do. That'll definitely do. Olivia hugged a throw pillow and drifted back to sleep, a very contented smile on her face.
If there was one institution more self-aggrandizing in New York than justice, it was finance. Alex knew the larger than life Greco-Roman facades were designed to evoke two emotions in those who passed through them, permanence and intimidation. When it came to money though, Alex was swayed by neither. At her approach, a security guard in a navy pinstripe suit with a subtle gray tie came and flipped the locks open for her. "This way Ms. Cabot." She flashed him a smile. That was one thing about being both an ADA and an Upper Westside eligible socialite. Her face had been in the Post, if not the Times, enough to be recognized. On top of that, she was quite certain that Journigan had anticipated her early arrival, and sent the escort. She passed through the metal detectors, and her silent bulldog of a companion popped a key into the private elevator to take her to the Securities floor.
Robert was waiting when the doors opened.
"Alex," he smiled like he was an old friend and extended his chunky hand. She took it begrudgingly as the doors closed quietly removing the stoic guard from their conversation. "It's been a while. We don't get to see enough of you around here."
"You should take that as a compliment, Robert." Alex offered. She fell into step beside him as they strode down the marbled hall.
"Really?" He seemed intrigued.
"Of course. It means two things. One, that I trust you to manage the Cabot estate and two, that you're not wanted on felony charges."
At least his laugh was sincere, although she thought she heard a hint of nervousness buried in it. He held the oversized oak door open for her as they entered his office. Deep pile maroon carpet, solid cherry furniture, gold and brass fixtures, the smell of cigars, a leather seating area with a floral Aubuson oriental rug and under the window in a corner, several decanters on a small demilune table all tried to impress her. She almost chuckled to herself when she finished her cursory sweep of the room. Christ, I've been hanging around detectives too long. Journigan motioned an offering to her of one of the leather wing back chairs, and she descended gracefully into it, as he took up his position behind his over compensating desk.
"So ADA, since I'm not under arrest, what is it that I can do for you?"
Alex produced a list of demands and handed it to the financier. Then leaned back in her chair, arms crossed waiting to hear the excuses for why he couldn't accomplish what she was asking.
Journigan put on his glasses and proceeded to scan down the document. As Alex watched him, she thought he would make an excellent addition to Petrovsky's poker night. "And this is to be done by the close of business today?" His question was flat. He knew the answer.
Alex's slight tip of her head and narrowing of her eyes were so subtle as to almost be missed, but it was enough to send the message. "You will make this happen."
Journigan inhaled, set down the paper, turned in his chair and revealed a flat screen monitor. His stubby fingers began clicking away at a discreet keyboard.
"You know, Alex," he said to the monitor, "There are a few items here that are beyond my normal scope as a trust officer. Are you certain I'm the best person to handle these requests? I mean surely you know someone who " He let his words trail off as he swiveled to face the blonde.
Alex softened just a bit as she gave the older gentleman, whom her father had entrusted her financial success to, a half smile. "Robert, it's not often that I darken your door. You know that it's very rare for me to ask anything of you or this firm. I understand you're a busy man, however, I also know that with your considerable connections and penchant for discretion, I can count on you to handle these matters with the utmost professionalism. The bottom line is, Robert, I need you. Now, either you can help me, or we can "
He held his hand up to her and grinned, "Alright. Alright, Alex." He shook his head and turned back to the keyboard. "You know, Gordon once said that if I was going to be overseeing this account for you, then I should be prepared for anything. He warned me that there was little he could deny you. Now I see why." Her father's associate turned his head to smile in her direction. "He taught you well."
She raised her chin a little and subconsciously leveled her shoulders at the mention of her father's name. "Yes," she said proudly, "He did. And since he placed his confidence in you, so shall I. Can I consider this matter concluded?"
Robert finished inputting information into the system and slid the keyboard and monitor back into their respective hiding places. He stood and nodded, "Yes Alexandra, I'll see that your instructions are followed to the letter."
She rose and smiled warmly at him. "I know that you will."
Robert ushered her out of his office and down to the lobby. As they stood in front of the now open plaza, the entrance filled with erstwhile investors and financiers, he paused to pose one last question for the commanding blonde at his side, "Alex, might I ask who "
The ADA grinned and shook her head, "No." She offered her hand instead of an answer. "Thank you again for your help. I'll be expecting your call."
He shook his head and smiled at her. "You know, normally I would say, 'if there's anything you need,' Counselor, but after today " He shrugged slightly.
She laughed. "Good bye, Robert." And stepped into the swirl of the revolving door.
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