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.
Alex was pleased with herself. The night had gone off with out a hitch. She'd been hoping that Olivia would forgive her the game she had played, and the compassionate detective had done so. She would owe Journigan. He had masterfully taken care of everything she asked. Now, the rest was up to her. She sighed. Once again, having Olivia Benson close made everything feel right in her world. She casually looked around, closed her eyes and listened, felt the warmth of the woman next to her, and resisted the urge to put her head on her shoulder. She could stay here, in this moment forever. But the night was young, and would only get better. She smiled at her plans. Olivia would just have to tolerate her romantic scheming for a few more hours.
As the curtain glided to the stage floor and the lights slowly came up, Olivia turned to her. The detective's eyes were warm pools of tenderness. Alex smiled softly and Olivia smiled back. No words passed between them to break the spell. The counselor hadn't been sure if Olivia would enjoy this, but the expression on her face said that she too was having a wonderful time. It was a lover's language. It was theirs. Alex leaned over placing her elbow on the armrest that had kept them apart all evening. She was mere inches from Olivia's lips. Her azure eyes surveyed her date's face, tracing and remembering every laugh line. She so wanted to kiss her, but that would have to wait. "This is only the beginning." She whispered as she backed away, leaving Olivia subconsciously leaning in after her, uncontrollably drawn toward her blonde companion.
Alex finally stood and Olivia got her first full look at her. The velvet halter plunged to a deep V-neck and on down into a sheath of midnight blue taffeta. When Alex turned to look over the balcony, Olivia rose and gently placed a hand on the inviting expanse of back revealed by the low cut of the Counselor's gown. She felt Alex draw in a deep breath. As she exhaled, the blonde turned to her. Alex leaned in and kissed Olivia's cheek as she brushed by her. She took the detective's hand into hers, and playfully started walking backwards. She dipped her head, and got a mischievous look in her flirty blue eyes. "Come with me." She said in a low, enticing voice.
Olivia started to go with her, but as Alex placed her hand on the doorknob, the detective pulled her back. In the dimly lit shadows of their now private box, Olivia kissed her. Her hands glided down Alex's taffeta waist and settled on her hips, gently pulling their bodies together. The blonde leaned in and deepened their kiss as she crossed her wrists behind Olivia's neck and ran her fingers through short brown hair. Alex, who had been taken by surprise, came up for air first. Slowly her eyes opened as she caught her breath. "That wasn't fair."
"Who said you get to make all the rules tonight?"
Alex thought for a moment. She contemplated playing the, "I paid for this card," but then decided just as quickly against it. "All right, Detective. Here's the only deal I'll lay on the table. I get the next hour or so," she leaned over and nibbled Olivia's ear, "And you can have the rest of the night."
Olivia's eyes fluttered in response to the touch of Alex's lips, and she had to swallow just to respond. "For that, Counselor, I'll plead out."
Alex stepped back and smiled smugly. "Good. I like winning. Shall we then?"
Olivia shook her head at her companion.
"Nothing. I've just never seen you like this."
Alex turned to the door, but looked back over her shoulder flirtatiously as she responded. "I've never felt this way before, Detective." She turned the knob. "So I guess that makes two of us."
Olivia smiled and followed her out into the corridor. The usher from earlier met them down the hallway with their coats.
"Ladies," she said as she graciously helped them. "Ms. Cabot, your ride is waiting exactly as you requested."
"Thank you, Kari. You've been very helpful tonight."
"My pleasure." She escorted them back the way she had taken Olivia earlier.
They reached the relatively cleared lobby, and Alex pulled Kari aside for a moment. The counselor nodded and laughed as she shook the younger woman's hand and, Olivia presumed, deftly slid her the tip she so clearly deserved. Alex patted her hand in departure and walked away saying, "Good night," casually over her shoulder.
The blonde winked as she strode back over to her date. "Now, where were we?"
If Olivia had marveled at Alex's commanding presence in the courtroom, this woman was making her head spin. Confident, charming, playful, and sexy, just being in her presence made it hard for Olivia to keep her thoughts clear. "I don't know. We're on your clock."
Alex threaded her arm through Olivia's. "That's right. We are, so I need to get you out of here."
They stepped out into the New York night. Light flurries drifted down from the solid sky above and landed on their shoulders and hair. Olivia was confused. The driver and limo from earlier were no where to be found. She turned and gave a puzzled look to Alex who only grinned as she pulled on her black leather gloves. Alex took a few steps away from the brunette toward the curb, and nodded with her head, "C'mon Olivia. Let's go for a ride."
Comprehension settled on the detective like the snow on her shoulders, and she sighed. Who knew that the ADA was such a hopeless romantic? Olivia smiled and walked up beside her as the coachman opened the carriage door. "Christ, Cabot."
She beamed. "Just get in."
Alex settled in beside her as the coachman removed the stool, took up his position on the driver's bench and smacked the horses' flanks with the reins. They pulled out and continued up Seventh towards Central Park.
Olivia took a deep breath. "Alex "
"Shh Don't say anything. Not a word." She reached across Olivia and pulled out a thick blanket. She unfolded it and spread it across their laps as they passed under the tree line. Then she reached for another and placed it around the brunette's shoulders. Olivia tugged at it, and pulled it closed around them encircling them in warmth.
Alex sighed, snuggled up close, and leaned her head onto Olivia's strong shoulder. "That's better."
Olivia slid her arm around the blonde. Despite the softly falling snow all around them, the detective was amazingly warm and happy. Alex was nestled beside her, eyes closed, a contented smile on her face. Olivia felt whole, for the first time in a very long time. There was nothing missing. Even if the rest of the night went horribly wrong, this simple moment would last her a lifetime. She had never in a million years pictured herself on a carriage ride through Central Park on a snowy December eve. It was almost too perfect for her to believe. It didn't belong in her world. Then she realized she wasn't in her world. Alex was in control, and if this was how it felt to let Alex have control of her, she would willingly surrender again and again.
As they trotted past Wollman Rink, the sounds of laughter stirred the counselor from her reverie. Alex reached down to the floorboard and produced a thermos. She arched an eyebrow at the detective and unscrewed the cap. "Hold this." She poured as mint scented steam rose from the hot chocolate. "We'll have to share. There's only one cup."
Olivia chuckled. "I don't mind."
Olivia sipped the creamy liquid. "What is that? Peppermint Schnapps?"
Alex smiled. "I had a hard time choosing between that and the butterscotch."
"I like the mint."
Alex grinned. "So do I." She took the cup Olivia offered her, and sipped at it, never letting her gaze leave Olivia's.
The brunette pulled her close again, and Alex snuggled up to her side. They traded off the cup until it was empty. Olivia poured this time as they traveled past the boathouse and the backside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Alex noticed Olivia's eyes trail respectfully down the museum as they passed. "What is it?"
Olivia took a deep breath, and gave the blonde's shoulder a squeeze. "When I was a teenager, and I had to get out of the house for a while because of mom, I used to hide out there. Wandering for hours through the ancient collections of Rome and Asia. But, I loved the medieval pieces the most. I would sit," she shrugged slightly, "sometimes for hours, dreaming up stories for the knights in shining armor. Or planning how I would become some great archeologist, and travel all over finding impressive treasures that would change the world." A brief look of regret filled her eyes.
Alex reached over, and gently turned Olivia to face her. She looked slightly up into soulful pools of mahogany. "You've changed my world, Detective." The counselor's warm hand pulled Olivia down to her and full, open lips met with passion and need. Alex took in the taste of chocolate and peppermint and Olivia. Her mouth was warm and inviting.
Olivia's hand traveled tenderly down Alex's back, dipping to the delicate curve of the blonde's spine just below the dress line. She didn't know if it was the alcohol or Alex, or both, but she felt her body starting to throb with heat.
Alex left lingering kisses on her lips, and then down Olivia's neck until she once again had her head on the detective's shoulder. She sighed contentedly as her hand absentmindedly stroked Olivia's thigh.
Christ can't this thing go any faster? Olivia sipped at the hot chocolate to try and distract her thoughts. They rounded the great lawn and headed south toward the Shakespeare garden. At this pace, it would be at least another twenty minutes before they would be near 73rd street. Her pulse slowed as she did the calculating, and she calmly stopped Alex's hand with her own. The ADA smiled knowingly, and nuzzled into the warmth of Olivia's neck.
"Okay, you've got to distract me."
Alex murmured teasingly.
"Alex," she shrugged her shoulder nudging the blonde head resting there, "You know that's not helping."
Alex sighed, "Okay, what do you want me to do?"
"Talk to me. Tell me something from your childhood."
"I used to dream that someone who believed in knights in shining armor would one day come and save me from the boring existence that was my life."
She raised her head to look the detective in the eye. "You think I'm kidding?"
"I think you're so full of yourself right now that "
"I'm serious. When I was in the 8th grade, and we learned about King Arthur and the knights. I became obsessed with Lancelot."
"Not Arthur? The principled king?"
"Are you joking? I was thirteen. I wanted Lancelot. Dashing and passionate. Willing to die for the chivalric code he believed in. He was bold, fiery and dangerous. He gave up everything to be with the woman he loved. How could you not want him?" She hugged her detective. "Or want to be him?"
"You wanted to be Lancelot?"
"When I was around Elizabeth Breckenridge I did."
Olivia chuckled at that. It was a teenage fantasy she understood all to well; a dream that seemed to be following her into her adult life, and right up to this very moment. She closed her eyes and suddenly she was sixteen again, dreaming of saving the day, and earning the undying love of a beautiful woman. She felt Alex snuggle back down beside her, so she held the blonde close. At last it made sense to her. Why she felt so complete with Alex. It was a childhood dream she had finally made good on. As a police officer, she had "saved the day" for years now, but it wasn't until she met Alex, until tonight even, that the rest had come true.
As if knowing her thoughts, Alex whispered lazily into her ear. "So Olivia, are you my knight of the old code? Will you defend my honor, and cherish me above all others?"
She closed her eyes, "If that's what you want."
Alex smiled up at her. "You know. It was tradition for a knight to wear a token of promise, right?"
Olivia nodded. "Of course."
"Well, will you wear it?"
Olivia's eyes grew wide. The necklace. She had completely forgotten about it. She reached into her purse and produced the box. "Alex, you shouldn't have spent "
Alex placed a gloved finger over Olivia's lips. "I'm a grown woman, Detective. I do as I please." Then she realized that maybe Olivia was taking it too seriously, and it was overwhelming her. After all, even though they had known each other for years, this still technically was a first date. "I just wanted you have it, but I'll understand if you don't want "
"No, I, I love it. It's stunning and I love the thought behind it even more. Of course I'll wear it." She opened the box. "Besides, with out it, and the insane woman who gave it to me, I'd be hopelessly lost."
Alex smiled and nuzzled back down into her arms. "Thank you fairy god mother."
"Okay, now you're just being silly."
"Can I help it if you make me believe in fairytales, Olivia? I mean look at this. Just look around you. Look at us. It's like a dream. Well, for me at least."
She kissed the top of the counselor's head. "For me too, Alex. For me too."
"Then don't knock the fairy god mother." She nudged Olivia's ribs with her elbow. "I couldn't bare it if she stole my knight away before we'd ever gotten back to the castle."
Olivia exhaled softly. "Neither could I."
And with that, the carriage turned the corner on to West 73rd.
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