DISCLAIMER: Any similarities to people and events real or made up are purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction with characters borrowed from Dick Wolf. Inconsistencies with canon, if any, are intentional.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Part 1 of a triptych written in 03/10, aftermath of "P.C."; contains spoilers from Conviction and SVU episodes. Not part of my on-going Lemon Seed and Orange Tree universe at firstname.lastname@example.org
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To lexalex001[at]yahoo.com
By Adrienne Lee
"Some convincing performance, huh?"
Alex glanced at the smiling detective; there was something in his eyes she couldn't quite grasp. She returned her attention to the interrogation room. "Well, I hope it works."
"Hm." Stabler nodded to his partner. "Oh, I'm sure it will."
"It doesn't bother you, does it?"
"Bothers me? No. You guys do whatever you need to do to get the confession, as long as it's something I can use in court..."
"That's all you care about? Win your case?"
"Verdict for the People. And put guys like him away. Don't you want...?"
"Of course I do. Of course. We all want the same thing," Elliot replied. His eyes lit up to his partner's hand hovering over Ronnie Watley's crotch. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the prosecutor shifting her stance. He couldn't help but laugh when the man's demeanor changed. "Here we go," he cheered when Watley grabbed Olivia's hand and pressed. "Yeah, she got him!"
"Wonderful." Alex tapped the bridge of her spectacles and turned towards the door. "I'll go start the paperwork."
As one door shut, the other opened. He slapped his partner on her back. "Great job, Liv."
"Where did Alex go?"
"Back to her office."
"She seemed impressed by your performance."
Olivia shrugged and balled her fist against the sensation of the perp's hard on. "Just did what I had to do. We got him."
"And verdict for the People."
"Yup," she agreed, and without looking back, led the way out of the room.
"Thanks for the invitation, by the way," Alex said as she put down her glass.
"You did good in court."
"Frankly, I wasn't expecting it."
"What?" Olivia replied, unable to hide her shock. "We had him, he confessed."
"Oh, you had him." Alex smiled. "I didn't mean the verdict. I meant this." She gestured at the table between them. "Happy hour. A drink. You and me."
"What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing. Except not too long ago you wanted me out of SVU."
"I was upset. I thought you... You sold us out."
"But I didn't."
"No, you didn't," Olivia acknowledged, and added quickly in her own defense, "But I didn't go through with the application. I never would've. It was just an empty threat."
Alex picked up her drink again, and swirled the amber liquid around. She watched Olivia took a swig of her beer, and returned her whiskey to the table. "But I sold you out some other ways. It felt like I did."
From whose perspective? Olivia wanted to ask. She said instead, "You didn't come back to us."
"I couldn't. Not then. Not right away."
You didn't say goodbye either, and the hello wasn't much of one, she thought, but bit her tongue. "I wasn't accusing, I hope I didn't sound too "
Alex shook her head. "You have a right to be angry."
Was that how she felt? The detective fought her brows from furrowing. "I wasn't "
"You felt betrayed."
Betrayed? Olivia willed her eyes to meet her companion's. "I wasn't. I didn't Look, Alex, we don't need to go through this. We've been friends for so long "
"Are we still friends, Liv?"
"Of course we are. You, me, El, the whole SVU, we're all friends."
"But you and I, we used to we talked."
Olivia grinned. "Yeah, we did. I missed that, too." She swallowed. "Okay, I guess on some level I did feel betrayed, maybe," she admitted, and raised her beer. "But let's forget all that. To friendship."
The 'clink' of bottle against glass made Alex smile, but only for a brief moment. "I'm sorry I wasn't there for you, when you were, you know "
"Assaulted?" Olivia filled in for the prosecutor. "It's okay. I'm fine now. Besides, I wasn't there for you either, after you were held hostage, and when you called off your engagement. We're pretty even, I think."
The silence lulled; it quickly became awkward. Before Olivia could remedy the situation, Alex spoke, "So I heard Babs Duffy made a pass at you."
"Was that a question?" Alex replied lightly. "'Cause if it were, I can't divulge "
The teasing glint in the ADA's eyes only agitated Olivia more. "She kissed me, okay? And I pushed her away."
"That was it?"
"What else could there have been?"
"Nothing, I suppose. You were there to protect her." Alex laughed. "Sounded like you could've used some protection yourself."
"It was nothing. She was scared. Someone threatened her life."
"And she was latching onto anyone and anything," Alex replied and drew from her whiskey. "I understand perfectly. Been there, done that."
Olivia saw the flash of pain in pale blue eyes, but knew it wasn't something the ADA wanted to dwell on. So she set aside her sympathy ache, and dismissed the gnawing in her stomach. "You meant the adjuster?"
"And people before and after him."
"I needed to feel safe. And human. And alive."
"I'm sorry if what I'm saying upsets you."
"Upset?" Was that the growing feeling that was threatening to overwhelm her? Olivia added quickly, "I'm only upset because you had to go through all that, and by yourself."
"Well," Alex sighed. "Let's put the past behind us, all of it, shall we?"
"So how was it like? The kiss, I mean."
"Like?" Olivia laughed. Suddenly that seemed the most absurd question, and she had just the answer. "It was like I got hit by a wet soggy log, and I was a wet soggy log."
"No spark then?"
"God, no. Besides, I'm " Straight, she was going to add, but somehow she decided to ask instead, "Hey, Alex, do you get a gay vibe from me?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Um, actually, I asked Elliot the same thing, and, well, he thinks that just because I haven't had great luck with men "
"That you're gay?" Alex chuckled deeply. "I guess that makes me gay, too, according to Stabler's rationale."
"And you're definitely not. You were engaged."
"And I've had many relationships with men."
"Exactly," Olivia replied, searching for relief that was oddly elusive.
"That doesn't mean I don't like women."
"All girls college, remember? Everyone experimented."
"But, how come " you never mentioned it? Olivia saw the irrelevance of her questioning and cut it short; she said instead, "But you were experimenting."
"Love is love, and sex is sex, good or bad."
"So you're bisexual?"
Alex raised her brows. "I just said love is love, Liv. Why are you trying to "
"Pigeon hole you?" Olivia completed her friend's query. "No, no, I'm sorry, I guess, I guess I'm just, surprised, I guess, that's all. You know, I've known you, we've known each other, for so long."
"You just never asked."
"I guess you're right." Olivia coughed. "I never asked. It just wasn't important. And it still isn't important, I mean, it's not going to change anything, we'll still be friends."
"Well, I'd hope so." Alex's brows rose higher. "You realize you're beginning to sound homophobic."
"I am? I didn't mean to be. I'm just "
"Surprised." Alex smiled, deciding to give her companion a break. She reached over, and was pleased when the detective lifted her hand so their fingers clasped. "It's okay. I'm sorry. I was just giving you a hard time."
"So do you think ? You know vibe?"
"You know, Liv, I can't answer that."
"You can't?" Olivia blinked. "Why not?"
"I just can't." Meeting her friend's gaze, Alex explained, "I don't think about people that way, unless I'm interested in them, in more than a friendly way."
"Oh." Olivia ignored the feeling of disappointment, and reasoned, "I guess that make sense. Yeah, it does."
"Certainly does to me."
For a few seconds, Olivia laughed with her friend. Then her expression turned sober. "Can I ask you something?"
"You can ask."
"But you might not answer." Brown eyes rolled. Still she found herself grinning. "You know, we do click, you and me, it's like we never stopped being friends. I mean not that we have, not really."
"We just took a break from our friendship," Alex reassured. "Nothing's changed."
"Right. Nothing's changed."
"So what's your question?"
"You don't have to answer if you don't want to," Olivia said. "But you already knew that." She laughed. "So why did you call off your engagement?"
Alex signed and reflexively touched her empty ring finger. "Because I couldn't in good conscience marry a man, a good man, whom I cheated on, pretty much right before our engagement announcement."
"Which is also why I finally transferred."
"I cheated with my deputy. I couldn't face myself, seeing him everyday "
"He liked someone else?"
"That's beside the point."
"Was it?" Olivia wasn't too sure; she didn't know where the doubt came from anyway. "So why back to SVU? And don't give me that lateral move and you didn't have a choice because the DA assigned you bull-shit."
"I wasn't going to." Alex twisted her lips into a half-smile. "But you have to admit, your bad luck ran with ADA's, too."
The detective snorted. "No kidding."
"Anyway, SVU just felt like it feels right. Well, and as you said, we're all friends, and I could use some friends. I thought I wanted to be boss, to manage people, but, really, I much rather work with people I know, people I can respect."
"What? We don't work for you?"
"God, Liv." The prosecutor laughed her exasperation. "You are never ever going to let me live that down, are you?"
Olivia squeezed her friend's fingers. "All right, last time, I promise." She released the slender hand, and pick up her beer again. "Welcome home, Cabot."
"Home," Alex smiled her first genuine smile in forever. "I like that." She tapped the bottle with her glass. "Thank you, Liv."
"Wow." Alex tried not to fumble. "I can't believe it's so late already."
"Or early, depending on how you look at it. Here, let me get it," Olivia offered, and without waiting for a reply, grabbed the keys and unlocked the door.
"Thank you." She cleared her throat. "Thanks for walking me home."
"You're welcome. Serve and protect, remember?"
"What was that movie? With Joan Crawford and a big gun?"
"Oh my god, I'm gonna kill Elliot."
"If you don't want people to know, you shouldn't have told in the first place."
"You know, Alex?" Olivia laughed and held the door open. "I think you're drunk."
"I'm not, and it wasn't Elliot."
"The heart wants what the heart wants. Sound familiar?"
"She made a pass at me, too, you know?"
"I know. And El. She kissed him."
"So he vicariously kissed you, I'm jealous."
"That does it." Olivia took the blonde's elbow. "Come on, I'm putting you to bed."
The sudden sternness in Olivia's eyes jarred Alex back to sobriety. "Honestly, Liv, I'm not drunk." She pulled away and pirouetted without tripping. "See? I'm just happy. And relaxed. It had been hearing non stop all week, you know, and it's Friday night, rather, Saturday morning."
"Yeah, I guess," the detective replied, relieved. "It has been a rough week."
"But a good week."
"Since it's so late, why don't you stay? We'll have a slumber party, it'll be like college."
Maybe it was the teasing glint. Maybe there was something in Alex's smile. Suddenly, Olivia wanted to run. Before her legs could carry her, her mouth spoke, "Are you making a pass at me?"
"No." Alex laughed deeply and placed her hand on the door knob. "It's almost two in the morning; I'm offering to let my friend, who's nice enough to walk me home, stay the night. Because I know she's had a rough week, too. And even though she's a cop, who's supposed to serve and protect, it's probably not too safe for her to go home by herself, and "
"Okay, okay." Olivia interrupted. "I'm sorry. The Babs thing just had me edgy." And the jealousy comment, too, but she wasn't going to bring that up, no way, no how. Plus, there was something else not sitting right, that didn't sit right the whole night, probably too much alcohol and not enough food. "Okay, fine. Thanks. Besides, I've never seen your new apartment, I mean, not new-new. Hell, you know what I mean."
"So you're staying?"
"Yeah, sure," she glanced inside. "Your couch looks comfortable. I can " Her sentence died as she watched the blonde lean forward in slow motion. "Al " Her eyes closed involuntarily while her body froze, anticipating the touch of soft full lips.
Before the kiss could deepen, Alex withdrew. She smiled, watching her colleague, friend, and hopefully soon to be lover war with her emotions. "You should know by now I'm a direct person." She didn't wait for Olivia's reply. "However, I must confess."
"I have been thinking about the vibe. In fact, I've wondered for a long time."
It had to be the alcohol, Olivia was certain. Her world was turning upside down and spinning out of control. She wanted to say something, anything, to end the conflicting emotions. Instead, she found herself reaching out; and she followed when the blonde pulled her into the room.
Against the closed door, Alex breathed against the brunette's lips, "Spark?"
Olivia shook her head. "More than," she whispered, and dove into the flame.
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