DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Del


"You've got to be kidding!" Olivia's exclamation echoed down the hallway.

"I wish I were." The ADA seemed no happier.

"Can't you at least try?"

"Try what, Detective?" Alex replied. "Asking for a warrant with a completely inadequate evidentiary basis? A warrant that would be laughed out of the Appellate Division? Is that what I'm supposed to try?"

"You're supposed to try backing your detectives, Miss Cab-"

"All right, that's enough!" A third voice joined the exchange, and an irritated Elizabeth Donnelly stepped between the two women. "Is it absolutely necessary to show the entire courthouse just how dysfunctional the Special Victims Unit is?"

"She's-" "They're-" Detective and attorney began to speak at the same time, then stopped to glare at each other.

"That cinches it," Donnelly declared.

"Cinches what?" Olivia asked.

Alex closed her eyes. "Oh, Liz, no."

"Last week, Branch and Police Commissioner Evans were at lunch-"

"A three-martini lunch," Alex said.

"-and they came up with an idea to improve relations between the two offices."

"A stupid idea."

"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Donnelly said.

"I'm quoting you."

"That's beside the point."

Impatiently, Olivia waved a hand in front of their faces. "Excuse me? Stupid idea?"

"Dr. Simon Merryvale, a noted psychiatrist-"

"Friend of Branch," Alex muttered out of the side of her mouth.

"-and Dr. Phillip Lawry-"

"Friend of Evans."

"-operate a well-known-"


"-program for resolving dysfunctional relationships," Donnelly explained.

"We don't have a relationship," Alex and Olivia said simultaneously.

"Branch and Evans decided we should send some of our more problematic personnel as a test project," Donnelly continued. "For some reason, they both suggested SVU."

"Liz, I really think another unit would be more appropriate," Alex said. "We've only been working together a few months."

"Better to catch it early."

"With all due respect, this sounds like b.s.," Olivia said. "We never had a problem at SVU until . . . ." She let the sentence fade.

Alex spun around. "Until what, Detective? Until you got an ADA who actually cared about technicalities?"

"There's a difference between caring and obsessing," Olivia retorted.

"And how would you know? You don't do either."

"Oh, for Christ's sake!" Donnelly exploded. "What is with you two? You sound like my second husband and I."

"Right before the divorce?" Olivia said, narrowing her eyes at Alex.

"Right before the sex."

That silenced both women, and Liz whipped out her cell phone.

"You wish," Alex finally mumbled.

"No, you wish," Olivia countered.

"Arthur?" Liz spoke into her phone. "Bring on the babysitters."

"Are you trying for a new land speed record?"

"Oh, sorry," Olivia tossed over her shoulder. "Must be hard to walk in those FMs."

"FMs?" Alex shouted after her. "These are $300-a-pair Montels."

Turning slightly, Olivia eyed the attorney's legs. "You say potato . . . ."

"Maybe I should buy a pair of racing shoes before we leave, if we're in such a hurry," Alex said.

"We're not leaving."

"We're not?"

Olivia shook her head as they rounded the corner into the squad room. "The captain has to sign off on this, and there is no way in hell that he--"

"Benson, what are you doing here?" Cragen bellowed from his office. "You're supposed to be on your way to the Poconos."

"But, Cap-"

"No buts." He waved her away. "Get going, and don't come back until you two learn to play nice."

Olivia glanced over at the passenger seat again. "Am I being too subtle?" she asked.

"Depends on what you're trying to convey." Alex continued to peruse the medical examiner's report.

"That I'm bored over here? That a little conversation might be nice?"


Olivia stared at her.

"You're not being too subtle." Alex turned another page.

Two silent hours later, the car pulled into the parking lot in front of a refurbished colonial mansion. Olivia popped the trunk, strode around to the back, lifted Alex's large suitcase out of the trunk, grabbed her smaller satchel from beneath it, and, just as the attorney was reaching for it, dropped Alex's suitcase back in.

"Thanks," Alex said.

"Oh, did you want that suitcase?" Olivia asked. "Guess you were being too subtle."

"You're so adolescent."

"And you're so stuck up-"

"Ladies!" a short bearded man greeted them. "Welcome to Rendezvous Retreat."

"`Rendezvous'?" Olivia repeated. "What is this, a one-hour motel?"

His laugh annoyed them both. "You must be Detective Benson," he said.

"How do you know?"

"I received profiles on you from your superiors," he replied. "Very enlightening."

"Did they enlighten you as to how big a pile of crap we both think this is?" Olivia asked. "I'm waiting for a call from my union rep, Pal, and when it comes, I'm out of here."

"Hendricks here will get your bags," Lawry continued as if she hadn't spoken. "I'll show you to your room, and then we can-"

"Wait." Alex grabbed his arm. "Did you say room?"

At his nod, Olivia grabbed his other arm. "That's a mistake. We need separate rooms."

"That would prevent achievement of our immediate goals," he said.

"No, that would prevent infliction of bodily harm," Olivia argued.

Again he chuckled. "Quite amusing, Detective."

"Look, Whatever-Your-Name-Is-"

"Dr. Lawry." He extended a hand, which Olivia ignored.

"I'm serious here."

"I'm delighted to hear it," he said. "It is important for the participants to take the process seriously."

"Oh, my God," Alex groaned. "This is a nightmare."

Olivia nodded. "For once we agree."

"Detective Benson?"

"Detective Benson?"

"I heard you the first time, Doc," Olivia finally replied.

"Excellent. It's time to get in touch with our feelings." Lawry held up a piece of chalk. "Please remember that everything said here is confidential. Now, give us an adjective that you believe describes Miss Cabot."

"I'm not doing this," Olivia said, crossing her arms. "I'm exercising my right to remain silent."

"I didn't think you knew that one," Alex said.


Lawry carefully wrote the word in the 'Alex' column.

"Insensitive," Alex interjected.

"All right." Lawry added it to the 'Olivia' side of the board.







Fifteen minutes later, Lawry squeezed tiny lettering into the last open space on the blackboard.

"She thinks she can just aim those unbelievable blue eyes at you and you'll do whatever she says," Olivia said. "What's that called?"

"I'm not certain." Lawry reached for a dictionary on his bookshelf.

"She thinks people will be overwhelmed by that raw sensuality of hers and just say, `Sure, whatever you want,'" Alex said. "What's the word for that?"

Lawry leafed quickly through the book, then tossed it over his shoulder. "Enough description," he said. "Let's move on to role playing. Detective Benson, place yourself in Miss Cabot's shoes for a moment. Perhaps one scenario might be-"

Olivia waved him off. "I don't need any help." She raised her voice. "`Gosh, Detective-'"

"I don't sound like that," Alex complained.

"`-other than a videotape of the defendant committing the murder and the victim's deathbed ID, do you have anything I can use for a warrant?'"

Alex shot to her feet. "`Gee, Alex, why can't we get a warrant?'" she imitated. "`We have no leads and no evidence, but we don't like this guy.'"

"Do you know how hard our job is?" Olivia edged closer to her.

"Yes," Alex replied, taking a step of her own. "Do you know how hard mine is?" Step.

"Yes." Step.

The two women stood, breathing heavily, inches apart. Suddenly, they threw their arms around each other and kissed passionately.

"Oh, God," Alex uttered, clawing at Olivia's shirt.

"Ladies . . . ."

They fell back onto the desk, both women moaning and gasping.

"Ahem . . . ."

As Olivia's hand eased under the attorney's skirt, Alex's teeth sank into her neck. "Ohh, yes," Olivia cried out. She brought her other hand to the front of Alex's blouse, and buttons shot out wildly.

"Ow!" Lawry held a palm across his eye. "Pardon me, Ladies . . . ."

Olivia raised her lips from the silky lace of a bra. "Don't move," she whispered. She climbed off of Alex, grabbed Lawry by the collar, hustled him from the room, and locked the door behind him. Slowly she approached the woman waiting for her. "Time to get in touch with our feelings," she said.



"What do you think, Alex? Is it enough?"

All occupants of the squad room fell silent as the ADA considered Benson's request. "I wish we had a link between the brother and Wilson, but I know you've worked hard on this," she replied. "I'll run it by Judge Seligman. If he says no, we can try again later."

The room heaved a collective sigh of relief.

"I don't want you to risk your reputation, Alex," Olivia said. "Let us talk to some more neighbors and try to find a tie for you."

"Are you sure?" Alex asked. "Because I really don't mind."

"Give us until tomorrow morning. We'll see what we can turn up."

"Why don't you update me on your progress later tonight?" Alex said.

"I'd love to."

The women smiled at each other.

Standing beside the coffee machine, Cragen shook his head in disbelief. "Amazing," he said. "Those guys ought to win the Nobel peace prize."

Elliot nodded, sipping from his mug.

"You think I should send Munch and Fin up there?"

"Nah," Elliot said. "Too touchy feely. Must be a chick thing . . . ."

The End

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