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.

Proximity Control
By Cymberlea

Part 3

Alex did indeed come down with something. By Sunday afternoon, she was in full on flu stage. Stuck on the couch with nothing but bad television, law books and the Times crossword puzzle to keep her mind occupied, her thoughts returned again and again to Friday night and the ridiculous nature of her actions. Those actions had weakened her immune system, and had landed her ass on the couch. She believed she deserved it. Stupid. That was the one word that kept coming back to her fevered and tired mind. How could you have been that stupid? She threw her head back in exasperation, and flopped the double folded newspaper on to the coffee table for what felt like the twentieth time that day. But now it was followed by a brief chuckle. She could hear Olivia in her mind telling her, "Christ Cabot, you're not God," and then laughing at the blonde whose arrogance apparently extended to the belief she was immune to the flu. She shook her head and wondered out loud, "Why does she even bother with me?"

Alex tossed the beige and black plaid Pendleton wool blanket over the back of the couch, got up to stretch, and to pour some more chai spice tea in her cup. As she padded back across the hard wood floor to return to the relative comfort of her couch, she stopped to glance out the window at the snow coming down once more, and inhale the clove-tinged aroma from her warm mug. It put her in a wistful mood, and her thoughts drifted back to her childhood. She missed the comfort of having someone to look after her when she felt this way. Her mother had always cradled her in her arms and read stories to her, brought her chicken noodle soup, or tea with honey to drink. She breathed in the tea she now carried and imagined arms around her, but they were not her mother's. The muffled ring of the phone pulled her back from her daydream, and she fished around the cushions for the cordless handset.

"Cabot," she said with a hint of hope in her voice.

"Hey Alex. Got your message," The ADA sighed a little in disappointment at the sound of her clerk's greeting, "You poor thing. How are you feeling?"

"Tired and achy, Katie, but I'll live to fight another day."

Katie sniffed a chuckle, "Well look, I'll have a runner bring you those case files you requested and let Liz know that she'll need to have someone file for continuances on the Burns and Pellinham cases. That was all you had working for tomorrow and Tuesday, right? I mean Coulter's nowhere near arraignment yet, is it?"

"Nope. Evidence is still coming in from forensics and SVU."

"Okay, in that case, don't worry about a thing. We've got it covered here until you get back, and I'm sure Benson and Stabler will keep you posted on developments with Coulter. Do you still want to be the petitioner for warrants on that case, or should I tell them to go through Liz?"

Alex mulled it over in her mind for a moment, "Nope, Seligman's on rotation. So, I'll keep it for now." The ADA knew it really wasn't about the judge. She just wanted the contact with Elliot, and his dauntless partner.

Katie laughed, "I understand. If Petrovsky were on, I wouldn't want to argue with her in your condition either. Hell, I wouldn't even tangle with the 'dragon lady' on a good day. All right, Alex, well, I'm gonna let you go. You'll have those files by ten tomorrow. I promise."

"Thanks, Kat. I really appreciate it."

"No problem. You take care and get some rest. You'll have everything you need before you know it. See ya," and she hung up before Alex could comment.

Not everything. She thought as she hung up and tossed the handset on the couch. She settled back down into the nest she had made, took the meds the doctor had prescribed for her, and picked up the Times again. It was going to be a long and lonely night.

Fin was sipping a hot cup of coffee and starring at the work-up board on the Levinson/Coulter case when Olivia arrived early. She, too, had been restless and had not slept well. She told herself she was obsessing over the case, but it wasn't Karen Coulter's body that had been occupying her dreams since Friday night.

"Something just ain't right here yet," Fin announced. Olivia filled her green mug and joined him. "I'm buggin' on the rape. We know Dawn Coulter didn't rape her daughter, and with both prints on the murder weapon, I'm leanin' toward the Uncle for the rape AND the murder."

"Don't lean too hard," called a familiar, but tired voice from behind the board. A trench-coated M. E. Warner came in waving a manila folder, "You might fall on your ass."

"You're up early for a Monday Doc," Fin gave the tawny Medical Examiner a more than cursory once over, and Olivia couldn't help but wonder if she wasn't the "hottie" that Fin had gone to meet Friday night.

"Not early for a Monday detective," she reprimanded, smacking him on the arm with the folder, "Late for a Sunday." The two detectives followed her over to Olivia's desk. "I got the rape kit back on Karen Coulter. Here's Levinson's DNA," she said as she laid out the photo stat copies, "Here's our perp's. Notice that 12 out of the 24 strand markers are in tact and match, but not all." She shook her head, "Levinson's not our guy."

"We're looking for a family member." Olivia processed the information and moved around to her partner's desk. Elliot had been keeping the paperwork. She flipped through the file and found what she was looking for. She tore off a piece of tape and added a new 8x10 to the work-up board. "Todd Levinson," she tapped the photo with a slender finger, "Ed's teenage son and Karen Coulter's cousin."

"But you and Elliot interrogated him," Fin mused.

"Yeah, and we shifted away from him when Dawn Coulter gave up her brother." The look on her face registered her disappointment in herself. "So Todd Levinson raped Karen Coulter." Olivia thought it over. "Why was Dawn so willing to pin it on her brother?" She bit her lower lip as she stewed on that one.

Fin piggy-backed on her thought, "You know, Levinson was saying something about that 'little fucker' when we picked him up. Munch and I just figured he was talking about the vic."

"I would put money on your new player, detectives, based on what we've got here, but I'm done for now," Warner collected her papers and handed them to Olivia. "I don't think there's much more Karen can tell us. You're going to have to fill in the blanks from here. Good luck guys."

Fin fell into step with the Examiner and escorted her to the door. Olivia felt a pang of jealousy as she heard the two of them share a laugh before Warner took off down the hall for home. When Fin returned, he had Elliot in tow.

"The son, huh?" He took a bite of his Krispy Kreme, "How the hell did we miss that?"

"Someone wanted us to," Olivia added. "We're going to need a warrant for his arrest." She had her cell out and was already dialing.

"ADA Cabot's office," Katie answered on the second ring.

"Hey… Katie?" the young woman's voice caught Olivia off guard and she quickly checked the speed dial on her phone to make sure she'd dialed directly into Alex's office, "It's Olivia. Is Alex in?"

"Nope, she's home with the flu. Won't be back 'til Wednesday. But she's still in the game. Said for you guys to call her if you needed warrants in the Coulter case."

"Is there anyone else? Is Liz in?" Olivia didn't relish the idea of dealing directly with Bureau Chief Donelly this early in the morning, but her protective nature didn't really want to disturb Alex if she wasn't well or awake.

"Liz isn't in yet. Between you and me, I wouldn't go behind Alex's back. If she wants you to call, you better call. You know how she gets if she feels like she's being circumvented."

Olivia had to chuckle at that. She did know how temperamental or was it insecure and mildly territorial the ADA was. "Okay, I'll try her home. Thanks, Kat."

"Sure, and Olivia will you tell her that the messenger's running really late with the snow. She should have the files some time after two."

"Yea, no problem. I'll let her know. Bye Kat."

Elliot jotted down some notes in the Coulter file, and started to put the coat he had just taken off back on. "No go?"

"That was Katie. Alex is out sick. I'm supposed to try her at home." She was dialing as she spoke and then walked over to fill a 'to-go' cup of coffee.

Olivia heard a deep intake of breath and then, "Cabot," the voice on the other end was raspy and sleep-filled and Olivia paused just a hair longer than she should have before responding. She couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to wake up next to the blonde. She wanted to say something personal, but this was business. "Hello?" Alex's slightly frustrated voice brought her back.

"Sorry 'bout that, Alex. Elliot was distracting me," she hoped that would cover it, "It's Olivia. I really hate to do this now, but we need a warrant for Todd Levinson's arrest."

At the sound of Olivia's voice, Alex propped her self up on her elbows, and tried to shake the sleepy haze off. The detective needed her, and no matter how she felt or what the hour, she would come through for Olivia with whatever she required. "We have causal?" she asked, wiping sleep from her eyes.

"Yeah, Warner just laid some DNA on us that proves it's not Levinson, but a male relative. That leaves his son Todd as our prime suspect now for the rape. That should be enough, right?"

"Sounds good to me. I'll call Seligman. Are you headed there now?"

"As soon as you say 'go.'"

"Well, Seligman won't like the wake up, but he won't challenge me on the DNA. It'll be issued by the time you arrest him," she yawned and said softly, "Go get the bad guys, Liv."

Olivia couldn't help but smile at the way her nickname sounded coming from a sleepy ADA Cabot, "Will do, kiddo. You get some rest," she started to hang up, "Oh, Katie said to let you know the files won't be there 'til after two this afternoon. Got it? After two."

"I got it. Now hang up and let me do what little I can of my job," she said playfully.

"Call me back if something doesn't click."

Alex pretended to be annoyed, "I will…"

"Or if you want anything." The last line was rushed, but sincere.

That brought a warm smile to the counselor's face, "Good bye, Detective." Alex teased as she rolled her eyes to herself and hung up the phone. It was far too easy to think of things she wanted from Olivia Benson.

Part 4

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