DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
SPOILERS: Minor spoilers for "Loss" and "Ghost," "Pilot" from Conviction.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SEQUEL: To Time Clarifies.

Relative Time
By atsammy


Their first date wasn't really all that special. There were no flowers or fancy restaurants where the meal cost over $200. She didn't particularly want all that though. She was content to sit at the table nursing a beer and watching Olivia and the guys. One of the things she regretted was only going out with them twice in three years. Shame that the last one ended as it did. She'd almost worked up the courage to ask Olivia to accompany her home when she'd been shot. When the car bomb went off, she'd been too prideful to change her mind and stay with her. She remembered being cold that night.

It was harder than she had thought it would be, telling Olivia that there had been no one since before she left. After her "Emily" speech during the trial, she had hated her self because she saw a tiny light in Olivia's eyes go out. How do you go about telling the woman you are falling in love with that you are a liar? She was selfish, not wanting to look like a fool back then. Arrogance would always be her downfall. But Olivia understood.

Chocolate. Chocolate and champagne, two of her obsessions, comfort foods, of a sort. That is what Olivia tasted like, she decided. Kissing Olivia was fast becoming her favorite pastime. After their first kiss (which wasn't as awkward as she'd expected), Olivia had kissed her one more time, then left. The next day, Alex went to the 1-6 for the first time since her return. She felt better going there then than she would have the first day back in the city. She didn't feel the same discomfort that she had with Branch, and she decided Olivia was the reason. She was always comfortable around Olivia. Cabots weren't supposed to need support, in any situation. She had been trained for that. But Olivia was always there when she needed it. Always trying to protect her, even when she didn't want it.

Olivia's apartment was small. Even she admitted it. And her bed was small, but it gave Alex the opportunity to curl around her. She liked doing that. Liv's body was gorgeous and strong and she liked the contrast her pale skin made with Liv's darker skin. And watching Liv move over her was amazing. When they made love, all of Liv's focus was on her, and she reveled in it. Alex enjoyed being with her, even more than she had expected. She didn't know what she expected, she'd just wanted to be with her and not have the regrets that she had had when she left. It had been a dim hope that Liv would feel anything for her.

Her six month period was almost up. Her classes for the year were done, and they'd been easy. She'd always been a good student. Those were the nights that Olivia sometimes came over, when she had work to do. She usually brought her own work with her, and they would spend an hour or two on the couch attempting to distract each other. Various games of footsies were played, some which led to some amazing, fun, couch sex. It was nice to be playful with a lover. The few "proper" relationships she'd had had never been really fun. Her first relationship with a woman in college had been so shrouded in secrecy, for both of them, that it really was just sex. The others, the men, were boring, and they only cared about societal appearances and their own pleasure. Liv was different. She didn't want to hide. And Alex refused to hide anymore.

Fighting with Liv was… interesting. Alex liked to argue and debate. Came with the job. At work, Liv was more than willing to pick a fight. At home, however, her inclination was to disappear. Leave the apartment, go for a run, shut herself off in her bedroom and wait for Alex to leave. She didn't like conflict in her personal life, she told her once. She'd had enough conflict as a child with her mother to want it with a lover. Not that they really fought all that often. And not about work. Never about work. Alex liked their arguments, not because she liked making Liv unhappy, but because it made her feel normal.

Had she ever been that young? Her first day as Bureau Chief had been a lesson in how old she really was. Ignoring the fact that, at 33, she was the youngest Bureau Chief the Manhattan DA's office had ever had. Her time in SVU tripling its conviction rate and then taking a bullet (or three) for the job had raised her to godhood in their eyes, much like Abby Carmichael had been to Narcotics when she'd replaced her. The two other senior attorneys were guys that she had known from before, and she'd been friends with Steele since their days in law school. They'd both hugged her when they first saw her and told her they were glad she'd been able to come back. It was nice to be welcomed back like that. The new attorneys on the other hand had regarded her reverently for weeks. Until Mike had been shot. She wasn't able to continue watching the press conference with Branch. When she got home that night, Liv was there, and she curled up in her arms for over an hour, sobbing. She felt safer there than she'd ever felt in protective custody. The next day she tried not to feel guilty for being alive.

The one thing that she hated about her job was that she never saw her detectives. Her ADA's didn't work with SVU at the 1-6; they got the excess cases from narco, vice, and homicide. She remembered being in their shoes, knowing that the better cases were just out of her reach. Sometimes, though, if she was waiting for Elliot to finish with Casey, Liv would wander up to her office and it was like it used to be, only better because now she didn't have to dream about kissing her.

Bringing Liv to Martha's Vineyard to meet her family had been… nerve-racking. She'd been more nervous about it than Liv, and it had been Liv who'd taken her in her arms and said that everything would be okay and that nothing her family said would change the way she felt about her. She'd made Alex smile when she said, "'Death cannot stop true love.' Do you think I'd let anything else?" Alex kissed her soundly, then taken her by the hand and led her into the house. In retrospect, the introduction had gone better than she'd expected. Her Uncle Bill had already known, making her feel dumb for not expecting the legal community grapevine to not reach the judge's chambers. His approval of Liv and their relationship went along way with the rest of her family. Though she had not expected her grandmother to take her aside that weekend and regale her with stories of the women she'd been with in the 1920's. The shock of that stayed on her face for the rest of the visit, much to Olivia's great amusement.

After awhile, Liv managed to have lunch with her a few times a month. She enjoyed those few extra hours together each month, especially as the summer months brought more crime and Liv spent more time at the station. She remembered one afternoon when Christina came running in, full of nervous energy and questions before she went to trial. She'd been doing that more and more since the case where the mother had made her daughter sick, causing the child to kill herself. When she left, Olivia stared after her, dumbfounded. When Alex asked her what was wrong, her response was, "I think I just realized what Casey was like when she first got here. She really… hasn't changed." She'd laughed at that, and been in a good mood the rest of the day.

Her first Christmas back home had been wonderful. She missed her mother, but so did Liv, so they didn't have to grieve alone. Elliott and Fin brought over a small tree and they decorated it together. Liv tried to put the lights up and got them tangled, so Alex banished her to the kitchen to make dinner. When she came back, the lights were on and flashing cheerily in the darkened room. After the holidays were over, Alex's favorite memory of that Christmas was curling up on the couch with Liv, drinking hot chocolate, watching the lights, and listening to her lover breathe. It was good to be home.

The End

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