DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
CHALLENGE: Written for the second 24 Hour Challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Seasons of Change
By Ann


Olivia stepped from the shower, her hand stopping half-way to the towel as she caught her reflection in the mirror. Squinting, she veered towards the vanity and stared at the steamy-looking woman staring back. She couldn't help but wonder why, nowadays, the only time she looked steamy was after she'd showered, and that was only because of the condensation caused from the hot water. She reached for the nearby towel and wiped the illusion from the glass.

What had happened to her? How had she become so soft? Where had her tough edge gone? And, what the hell had happened to her hair and wardrobe? Toweling dry, she turned a discerning eye on her physique. Her hard muscles were gone, replaced by soft curves, curves not at all becoming to her inner butch. Olivia frowned and began a more thorough inspection.

Turning to the side, she evaluated her profile, not at all pleased with what she saw. Her once flat abdomen was showing slight signs of a rounded belly. She grimaced and moved her gaze to her once firm breasts. Even though they were far from sagging, Olivia longed for the breasts of just a few years ago. She turned back to face the mirror, taking in the dark circles under her eyes.

Sweeping her hair back, her hand froze in mid-air, and then slowly moved back to the longer locks. Her transformation away from all things butch had begun with the change in her hairstyle. Gone was the short, easy to keep haircut, and instead, her hair grew and grew with each season. Olivia pulled the strands back tightly, desperately trying to recreate the shorter style. The image she now projected brought a smile to her face as she suddenly recalled Alex's reaction the first time the ADA set eyes on Olivia after she'd cut her hair so very short. Alex had shown her appreciation of the hairstyle in quite the imaginative way – all night long and well into the next morning.

Releasing the strands, Olivia sighed sadly and moved into the bedroom. She was already late for work and didn't have time to figure out where things had gone wrong. Heading for the closet, she stepped inside to pick out her wardrobe for the day. Her eyes swept past her new clothing and settled on the leather jacket, hanging on the far wall. The next thing she knew, she was standing in front of the soft leather, stroking the sleeves reverently. Another vision of Alex swept through her, and this one was even more pleasurable than the last.

She'd left her jacket at Alex's one evening and had stopped by the next morning to pick it up. To her surprise, Alex had answered the door, wearing the soft brown jacket, and had pulled Olivia inside the apartment as well as inside the jacket with her. The fact that Alex wasn't wearing anything else wasn't lost on Olivia. She was a detective after all.

Allowing the memory to surface, Olivia pulled the leather tightly around her. She closed her eyes and let the vision play out, but just as she was getting to the best part, her phone began to ring, shattering the beautiful images into pieces. Olivia released the jacket and headed towards the phone.

"Benson." Her tone was filled with obvious irritation.

"Olivia?" Elliot pulled the phone away from his ear. If he hadn't known better, he'd have thought the Olivia of old had finally returned. He'd really missed her, too.

"Sorry, Elliott, I'm having a bit of a bad morning." Olivia sat on the edge of the bed, fiddling with the phone cord.

Elliott was disappointed not to have his ear chewed off. "Oh, sorry to hear about that. Um, listen, I got a call this morning from Agent Hammond."

"What?" Olivia leapt from the bed as if it were on fire. "What's wrong? Is it Alex? Is she okay? What, Elliott? What is it?"

"Hey, calm down, as far as I know Alex is just fine. In fact, I hope you're sitting down."

Olivia glanced back at the bed but remained standing. "I am. Now, what's wrong?"

"It seems Alex has been back for awhile now, and get this, she's a bureau chief for a bunch of rookie ADAs. I bet she's pulling her hair out."

Olivia's hand went straight to her long locks, once again wishing for her shorter cut so that she could run her hands through more easily. "Here? Here in New York?"

"Yeah, apparently she's out of Witness Protection, but no one knows why or how."

"Here? Here in New York?" Olivia reached back for the bed.

"According to Hammond, she's been here for quite some time. I can't understand why she didn't contact us." Elliott briefly wondered if Alex had seen Olivia but hadn't recognized her.

"Where is she?"

Elliot frowned. Even at her worst, Olivia wasn't that dense. "In . . . New . . . York." He spaced out his words so that maybe this time his partner would understand.

"No! I mean, where in New York?"

"I guess in the DA's offices, or maybe, they have an adjunct building or something." Elliott shrugged; he hadn't really thought about which building Alex operated out of.

"Um, listen, Elliott, something's come up. I won't be able to come in today. Can you tell Cragen for me?"

Elliott smiled. Olivia was sounding more like Olivia. "Sure, no problem. Give Alex my best." Hanging up, Elliott strolled into the precinct with a huge smile.

Olivia never heard her partner's answer; she'd hung up the minute she'd asked Elliott to cover for her. She quickly headed for the dresser and hurriedly put on her black silky underwear and bra. Crossing the room, she stepped into the closet and moved to the back. She slid into a pair of low-riding dark pants and grabbed her powder blue shirt, loosely buttoning it as she reached for her wide belt. Her hands froze as she threaded the belt through the loops. She took just a second to gaze down at her clothing as a smile slowly began to grow. She finally had the answer.

Quickly fastening her belt, Olivia bent down to pull on her boots, and reaching back, she grabbed her leather jacket on her way out of the closet. She was almost to the door when she suddenly stopped and turned towards the phone, punching in a familiar number.

"Gaston? This is Olivia. Do you think you can work me in this morning?" Olivia smiled. "Yes, I know it's been a long time, but I'm meeting someone I haven't seen in quite awhile." She ran her hands through her long locks and grinned. "Thanks, Gaston. I better warn you though; you've definitely got your work cut out for you today."

Hanging up the phone, Olivia hurried to the door. Gaston promised she'd be the next person in his chair if she could get to the salon in fifteen minutes. Olivia ran the siren and made it in ten.

In thirty minutes or so, her butch would be completely back, and shortly thereafter, she'd thank the person responsible, up close and personal – so close, in fact, they'd be wearing the same jacket.

The End

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