DISCLAIMER: All main, recognized characters belong to Dick Wolf, NBC and Universal.
SPOILERS: Post Loss, Lowdown, pre Ghost. This one's for Angie.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
PAIRING: Olivia Benson/Melinda Warner.
Scents And Sensibility
Olivia Benson positioned herself quietly in the back of the lecture hall, observing the woman who stood before a group of individuals attending this course. The people were riveted and attentive, as was the detective, and she was not sure whether it was the subject matter, the hypnotically honeyed voice of the instructor or the sensual, eye-catching appeal of the medical examiner who had been corralled into teaching a course or two at this Criminal Justice convention. Parting her lips slightly, resting her tongue against the right corner of her mouth, Olivia firmly believed it was a combination of all three. In the middle of a sentence, Melinda Warner casually looked toward the door, spotting the remarkably striking Detective Benson, and acknowledged her with barely a nod. But it was the trace of familiarity in the instructor's smile that perhaps no one but Olivia noticed that said so much more than words ever could.
Taking a seat in the last row, resting her chin on her hand, Olivia listened as M. E. Warner continued with the topic she had been selected to pass on her wisdom and knowledge of, "Scent The Forgotten Evidence." Checking her watch, Olivia had her own assignment at this convention to deal with. In twenty minutes, she was scheduled to man a booth on SVU operations in the main area of the convention center. That's why she was there or so her colleagues thought.
Melinda had already covered the fact that scent was the evidence most investigators just don't think about or outright forget about at a crime scene because it is not visible, nor is it easily detectable by humans, if it is distinguishable at all. However, in some cases, scent can be compelling and, might be the only available evidence, indicating how individuals involved with the crime scene moved around, and also set apart one person's scent from all the others. Where there is a crime scene, there is a scent.
The medical examiner went on to explain that scents can be preserved from fire and arson scenes, can be freeze-dried for long periods of time and can be extracted from water, fingerprints and other surfaces. Even the residual scent left in the air in a building after a crime has been committed can be affixed to a scent pad and used as evidence.
Olivia grinned, shaking her head at the reaction of the occupants of the classroom. They were transfixed by the subject matter and by the woman teaching it. She couldn't blame them.
Hearing the slide of the key card in the reader and the click of the unlocking door, Melinda relaxed and smiled. Even if she hadn't given Olivia the extra room key, she would have known it was the intensely beautiful detective by the hint of the Hawaiian ginger perfume that entered the room with her.
Seconds after she heard the door close, she felt a pair of arms slide around her waist from behind, pulling her into a warm embrace. Leaning her head back on Olivia's shoulder, Melinda revealed a little bare area on her neck between her collar and her earring, an invitation Olivia could not resist.
"Mmmm " Melinda intoned, closing her eyes while Olivia lightly sunk her teeth into an extra sensitive area of the medical examiner's soft skin. "You always know right where to go to get the most for your bite."
"You make me sound like a vampire," Olivia sighed contentedly, as she planted kisses from Melinda's shoulder to her earlobe.
"Just don't behave like a vampire and leave any marks I'm still getting suspicious looks from the last time."
Olivia stopped mid-nibble and slowly released Melinda, stepping backward. "Wow," she said, quietly, "It only took two minutes this time before you mentioned him." She resignedly pulled off her blazer, tossing it on the second queen size bed. She moved across the room to the mini bar and removed two champagne splits. "Good thing he trusts you, huh?"
The lovely but usually too practical medical examiner dropped her arms to her side, annoyed at herself for unintentionally bringing her husband into what had promised to be an extremely inviting evening with the delectable detective. Olivia was well aware of Melinda's husband, Dr. Warner did not need to rub her nose in it.
Turning to face the woman she had been having a secret, torrid affair with for the past several months, Melinda extended her hand toward Olivia, her long, slender fingers gently wrapping around the detective's forearm, pulling her close. "I'm sorry, Liv," she apologized, sincerely. Touching her forehead to Olivia's, Melinda smiled, wryly. "It's just that I want to continue seeing you, being with you and I can't do that if I return home from our cherished rendezvous a marked woman."
Olivia nodded in comprehension, breaking into a slight grin. "I uh I'll keep that in mind," she countered, softly, pressing a tender kiss to Melinda's lips.
Responding passionately to Olivia's gesture, Dr. Warner's hands cupped her lover's face, savoring the thrill she felt every time the she and the detective began this ballet. The butterflies in her stomach quickly evolved into bald eagles with fully expanded wings. Nobody could raise Melinda Warner's temperature like Olivia Benson. Just by thinking about the excitement, the unmatched bliss spending the entire night with this woman was going to bring her, the medical examiner nearly passed out from want.
Setting the small, unopened bottles of champagne down on the bedside nightstand, Olivia's hands found their way under Melinda Warner's blouse. The M.E. moaned into Olivia's mouth when she felt the warmth of the detective's touch on her smooth, toned skin. She thought at least they were going to grab dinner somewhere first and then return to the room but obviously Olivia had other things on her menu. Fine by me, Melinda thought while she still had the capacity to think, before her all her blood rushed south from her brain, a romp in the sack with Olivia Benson was worth giving up just about anything for. Just about.
She tried not to think about her husband during these hot and heavy lovemaking sessions with Olivia and usually that could be accomplished due to the fact that the detective could make her forget her own name when they were in bed together. Olivia Benson did things with Melinda that her husband wouldn't dream of doing, could make her body react in ways she never thought humanly possible. Olivia was the first and only woman that Melinda had ever been intimate with and she doubted she would ever venture into an affair with another woman or man again. Olivia ruined her for that. She couldn't imagine anyone being able to give her body the unattainable pleasure that Olivia did.
As the two women lay back on the bed, still connected at the lips, Olivia and Melinda explored each other's mouths slowly, thoroughly. What the medical examiner treasured most about her physical encounters with the detective was that it was not just about the sex and nothing about their sessions were ever routine. Every intimate occasion with Olivia always held the excitement of the first time. They concentrated a lot of their time on kissing, an event that always seem to take on a life of it's own. Olivia could bring her to the brink of orgasm just by the way she touched her lips and tongue to Melinda's mouth, face and throat. Making love with Olivia Benson was the most erotic thing she had ever experienced and she wasn't about to give that up any time soon.
The medical examiner assigned to handle the SVU cases that suffered a tragically fatal turn had always had a good working rapport with the strong, usually unflappable detective. As a trained observer, she watched Olivia Benson react to some of the most horrific crime scenes a person was required to deal with. But the day she insisted on personally doing an HIV test on Olivia was the day things changed between them.
Melinda instinctively knew that the fiercely private detective was, at the very least bisexual. There were more rumors about Olivia with female lovers than male. It didn't make a difference to the M.E. Melinda was not a judgmental person and all that mattered to her was that the detective was a consummate professional, extremely knowledgeable about her line of work and persevered, regardless of the circumstances. And, although she and Olivia had interacted too many times to count, on too many cases to remember, the case of Jeffrey York, a gay Brooklyn D.A., who had been murdered by a colleague, who was also his lover, was the turning point in the relationship between Melinda and Olivia.
It had been discovered, during the investigation into York's death, that he had been HIV positive. That news struck Olivia Benson like a Louisville Slugger to the gut and Melinda could not only see the deflation of the normally strong resolve Olivia rarely seemed to lose, she saw, first hand, a vulnerability in the tough detective that captured her heart. Olivia had admitted to sleeping with York and, even though they used protection, the concern of possible transmission of HIV was overwhelming. Knowing this was not an issue for public consumption and should not be included in Olivia's jacket, Melinda offered to privately test the detective and keep the issue just between them. She had never seen Olivia Benson so exposed before the test nor so relieved after the results came back negative. Later that evening, just by chance, they shared a table and a couple of drinks at Chauncy's, allowing Melinda to get to know a softer, more human side of the detective.
The M.E.'s life changed dramatically that night, discovering feelings she never knew she had. She refused to acknowledge that the stimulating emotions the alluring detective awakened in her were even remotely sexual. That was not possible. But the more she denied it, the stronger the feelings became. Melinda suddenly found any and every excuse she could come up with to be near Detective Benson. After several months of what she had always considered harmless flirting, the M.E. could no longer refute the sensations the detective stirred up within her and Olivia told her after their first time together, that the unrequited lust had been broadcast all over her face and in her body language whenever they happened to be in close proximity. Olivia advised Melinda that the M.E. had a scent all her own that confirmed what Olivia had begin to suspect were more than platonically professional feelings for her it was called 'arousal.'
However, regardless of how euphoric the first time they made love had been, both women parted ways overcome with the same guilt. Melinda was married. And straight. And a co-worker. The next time they had a chance to be alone together, the two women had met with the intention of apologizing to the other, to promise it would never happen again, chalk it up to a learning experience and walk away friends. Two hours of hot and sweaty sex later, they both realized what slaves they were to their body's desires. Even calling each other 'fuck buddies' didn't come close to encompassing the relationship the two women were now involved in. Melinda would have never betrayed her wedding vows and risked her marriage on something so simply physical. This was much more, but exactly what, she couldn't define.
Olivia held Melinda against her, cradling her exquisitely naked body with her left arm, alternately kissing her and looking into her eyes, watching her expression while Olivia's right hand and fingers worked feverishly at bringing the beautiful medical examiner to a climax. Deliberately and methodically, Olivia maintained a comfortable rhythm until Melinda indicated that more pressure or an increased pace was needed. Olivia had learned to read Melinda's signals well and what might be imperceptible to a less dedicated or less sensitive partner (like, maybe, her husband?), was easily apparent to the insightful detective. Seeing the flush, the light sheen of perspiration and Melinda's hand snaking down to cover Olivia's, the detective knew her lover was close.
Rarely vocal when she peaked, Olivia had to alert on the other, more obvious signals Melinda sent out such as the increased breathing pattern, the closed eyes and parted lips, the low but barely audible moaning that escaped from deep within her, the arching back, the pulsating thrust of her hips down on Olivia's hand and the muscles clamping tightly around Olivia's masterful fingers. A sudden intake of breath, holding it in her lungs until they were filled to capacity, Melinda quivered in ecstasy as waves and waves of pent up pleasure crested over her. Expelling the air before she passed out, Melinda rode out the orgasm to its last promising flutter. Before she had time to bask in the moment or even recover, Olivia brought her back again for a repeat performance.
Melinda Warner snuggled into Olivia Benson when they were done satisfying each other. She had learned quit a bit from the sex savvy detective, things she certainly could not bring home to or practice on her husband but pointers, nonetheless, that contributed to a much more fulfilling coupling with Olivia. Melinda gave her lover and extra squeeze, prompting Olivia to cuddle closer, if that was even possible.
Kissing the M.E. gently on the forehead, Olivia's body was still calming down from the unrestrained passion she had given to and received from Melinda.
"I love this."
"Mmm. Me, too."
This was the only time they fell into a routine. Neither would be comfortable articulating anything else at that point, both afraid of saying too much. Or not enough. Olivia knew that no matter how good the sex was, no matter how much better she may have treated the M.E., Melinda would never leave her husband. It was not an option when they entered into this affair and it was still not an option. That was made very clear from the beginning, and Olivia had told her that it wasn't a problem, that she could handle it. Olivia had gone into this with her eyes wide open, feeling this was just the type of diversion she needed.
Being a loner wasn't just a random tag her co-workers gave her, it was an accurate description of her life. Olivia was married to her job, dedicated into making sure that anything and everything she did received her full attention. Working in the Special Victims Unit was not something that could be shut down at the end of the shift like, say, her computer. It was an almost unbearable division of law enforcement that required singular and exceptional commitment to the victims and their families. Olivia had yet to meet anyone, other than members of her own unit, who could understand her devotion to the job, which resulted in more brief flings than actual relationships.
The only person she thought there might be a chance of changing that with was Alex Cabot. The stunning blonde ADA was as dedicated, if not as obsessed with, all aspects of the process surrounding bringing to justice the perpetrators of these horrific sex crimes. Their budding romance, however, never got beyond a few dates and some scorching make out sessions before Alex was shot and taken away for safeguarding by the federal government's Witness Protection Program.
Olivia vowed, after that, she would not get involved with anyone again. If it survived the first and second date, her hopes got too high and the failure was too cruel. She would continue to engage in hit and run encounters to satisfy her own needs and everybody else be damned. Which is why Melinda Warner had been a pleasant, if not complicated surprise.
Except now Olivia's feelings for this woman seemed to be growing deeper and more confusing. If she didn't know any better, she would think she was actually falling in love with her. And that was not only emotionally dangerous territory, it would be hazardous to her health and Melinda's if they were found out. Olivia wondered if she were somehow becoming addicted to these little trysts with Melinda Warner.
Following an idyllic nap, Olivia quietly removed herself from Melinda's sleeping embrace and headed for the shower. Once under the steaming spray, she stretched the sex out of her muscles and let the hot water run over her for a while before soaping up. After rinsing out her shampoo, she pressed her hair back flat against her head, pushing the excess water out of it. She began chuckling to herself, wondering what Elliot would think of what just might be considered her 'scandalous' liaison with Dr. Melinda Warner. She speculated if he already suspected since he was the SVU detective who was originally scheduled to be the Manhattan representative of the Special Victims Unit during this seminar and Olivia talked him out of it, giving up her weekend off to go instead. This was not the first time she had bartered with Elliot Stabler for an assignment that would pair her off in some manner with Melinda. She thought she was being discreet but with Elliot, it was hard to tell, it seemed so easy for him to read her mind at times.
Stepping out of the shower, Olivia walked right into an open, waiting bath towel, held out for her by a smiling Melinda Warner. Wrapping her lover into the terrycloth material, Melinda kissed her almost chastely. "Hi."
"Hi yourself. Sleep well?" Olivia inquired, drying herself off.
"Absolutely. Although I wished you had awakened me I would have preferred to take a shower with you. We can sleep later," she winked at Olivia.
"We should eat, too," Olivia volunteered, then chose to ignore the salacious little snicker she heard behind her as Melinda started her shower.
"Why don't you order us a pizza or something from room service?" the medical examiner shouted over the running water. "I'd much rather stay here and spend more concentrated time together than go out."
"That certainly works for me. Are you sure?" Olivia asked. Receiving an affirmative response from the M.E., the detective walked out of the bathroom toward the hotel restaurant menu that was on the desk by the television. "I don't think so," Olivia mumbled to herself after seeing the prices of the appetizers. Tossing the laminated booklet back on the desk, she pulled the drawer open, finding a local phone book and turning to the yellow page section marked 'Pizza.'
Monday morning, Olivia strolled into the squad room in a wonderful mood but exhausted. Powering up her terminal, she then directed herself toward the pot of coffee, which was fresh and piping hot. Pouring herself a cup, she turned around and was surprised to come face to face with Elliot, making her stop abruptly, which caused some of the steaming beverage to spill over onto his shoes.
"Elliot! Jesus! What's wrong with you, standing behind me like that?"
Her partner did not seem fazed in the least by the spillage or that he so obviously startled Olivia. He just stood there with a shit eating grin on his face. "Mornin' Sunshine," he smiled.
Stepping around him, Olivia set what was left of her cup of coffee on her desk, sitting in front of her monitor. Sensing a presence she looked up to find Elliot now hovering over her, next to her chair. "What?!"
"How was the convention?"
"It was fine. Why are you smiling like a snake oil salesman?"
"Liv, you sly dog. I figured out why you were so hot to go instead of me."
"What are you talking about?" Olivia returned her attention to her computer screen, hoping she wouldn't sound guilty of whatever he was going to accuse her of.
"I figured it out. You're having an affair."
If she had been drinking her coffee, it would have been spit out all over her monitor and keyboard. She took a deep breath and smiled sarcastically, looking up at him, patiently. "Elliot I'm not married, I don't have affairs."
"You do when you're having sex with someone who's married." His voice was almost sing-song and she suddenly wanted to slap that smile right off his face.
"You need to get laid, my friend, and get laid soon so that you can stop these vivid fantasies you keep having. Last week you're swearing to God you saw Casey pole dancing at a titty bar and now you think I'm having an affair." She shook her head. "You really need to get a life, El." She was hoping he'd drop it right there but no such luck.
"Heh heh, deflect me all you want but it all adds up now."
"You and Melinda " Elliot began, as Olivia stared straight ahead, hoping she didn't look as caught as she felt. As she turned to face her partner, she then realized he wasn't naming the M.E. as the other party in the rumored affair, he was acknowledging Dr. Warner's presence in the bull pen. "Hi, Doc," he finished. "You're here early."
"I needed to drop off some essential paperwork to Don. Is he here yet?"
"No but he should be in pretty soon. Did you need to talk to him or can one of us pass this on to him?" Elliot offered.
"Sure." She handed the folder over to Elliot who held onto it, not moving away from Olivia's desk, something both women observed in silence. "Well, I need to get back. Thanks, Elliot." As Detective Stabler turned to toss the file on his desk, Melinda winked at Olivia, who could not stop the blush from crawling up her cheeks. "Olivia," Warner nodded and left the squad room.
"So back to the affair " Elliot started.
"I'm actually curious to know who you think my phantom paramour is," she asked, taking a sip of coffee.
"It's obvious. It's Will Tashjian from Queens CSU," Elliot stated proudly, shoving his hands in his pockets, sticking his chest out just a little, thinking he was so clever for having exposed Olivia's sordid little secret.
Olivia didn't spit her coffee out but she did choke at mention of Tashjian's name. Elliot couldn't be serious. Will Tashjian looked like an extremely out of focus Ralph Malph from "Happy Days," and talked like Elmer Fudd. She couldn't help but laugh. "Elliot Will Tashjian? Did somebody drop you on your head? Will's wife won't even have an affair with him. Do you actually think I would risk my career by sleeping with " she was going to say 'a married co-worker' but thought better of it. She decided to let Elliot draw his own conclusion as to how she would have finished that statement. "What would ever possess you to think Will Tashjian holds my attention much less my interest?"
Somewhat deflated, Elliot studied her. "Well, I did think it was a little out there for you but I know how compassionate you can be and you have been pretty lonely, I just thought "
"But, Elliot Will Tashjian? Trust me, I'm not that compassionate and I'll never be that lonely. I didn't even know Will was there this weekend, that's how tuned in to him I am."
"Huh. I don't get it. I ran into him last night at the deli and he barely spoke to me, seemed very embarrassed and when I finally was able to ask him what was going on, he said, 'ask your partner' so I questioned him a little further and he backed away and mumbled something about an affair. I just figured with his behavior you know, he really isn't your type "
"Elliot, he isn't anybody's type his own hand won't even have sex with him."
"Oh, man, that's just wrong. So who ya fucking, Liv?"
She was about to tell him it was none of his business when a casually dressed young man sauntered into the squad room. "Detective Olivia Benson?" he asked.
"Yeah, right here," she turned around, grateful for the reprieve.
He handed her an envelope. "Have a nice day," he told her, spinning on his heel and exiting.
Opening the envelope, Olivia extracted the papers. Her face went ashen and suddenly she couldn't speak.
"What? What is it?" her partner inquired, alarmed. Before she could respond, Elliot had snatched the papers out of her hand to read what they said. Grabbing them back, Olivia yanked her jacket off the back of the chair and raced out of the building. But not before Elliot had read the most astonishing part. Olivia was being named as a respondent in a divorce suit. "I'll be damned," he incredulously muttered to himself, "it's Melinda Warner. She's been sleeping with Melinda Warner."
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