DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are
property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE based on a short story by Lafcadio Hearn.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Spring Lover and the Autumn Lover
Falling in love is like blooming, expanding into a riotous burst of color and lovely shape. The world feels younger, as it must have been before explorers made it small. Touches and words carry delightfully mysterious meanings.
Alex's touch, Olivia finds, is fresh and soft, and her words are even softer. She leaves Olivia to decipher a slight nod of the head, a quick upturn of the lip, a sly eyebrow. "Lunch" means more than lunch, and dinner is an entire essay unto itself.
Sometimes they argue. Sometimes Olivia has to grab her sneakers and run what feels like the length and breadth of Manhattan before her temper has exhausted itself. Upon returning, she often finds that Alex has written five or six very fine closing arguments and summations.
Sometimes apologizing is enough; sometimes they have to re-map their entire relationship before either is satisfied. Olivia prefers the "I'm sorry" approach, while Alex leans towards full-fledged debate and rebuttal. Olivia adores her for it, most of the time.
Their relationship is splendid, grown full and heavy with patient tenderness. Their passion matches the city's turn from warm to unseasonably hot as summer steadily encroaches spring's boundaries. A cop Olivia once knew said that she hated summer, because the heat made everyone ready to shoot first.
To Olivia, the heat is like a heady aroma, best in the evenings as it lingers sweetly in the air. She savors the prickling along her back as her sweat cools and her shirt stops clinging like saran wrap. Alex always complains when she has to peel the clothing from Olivia's body instead of getting to slide it away in the semi-dark. "So undignified," she says primly, right before Olivia sets her on edge with hands, pushes her over with teeth and tongue.
Alex gets drenched one day when a few kids on Olivia's block pop a fire hydrant, the first one of the season to celebrate the coming holidays. Alex is just getting out of her car when the hydrant goes. From her window, Olivia laughs so hard that she falls off the windowsill, but is gentle when Alex comes to her door blowing hair out of her face and walking funny because she has water in her pumps. She strips Alex of her linen suit (silk is too delicate in heat like this) and puts her in cool cotton clothes. They eat salad and have a cold beer each in the evening and spend the entire summer being ridiculously infatuated with each other.
In the squad room, Munch makes vomiting motions behind Alex's back, and Olivia smirks at him, leaving Alex puzzled in a good-natured sort of way.
The city is slowly pulling back into itself, as if the summer heat made it expand, sealing off cracks in the sidewalk. The concrete outside of Alex's apartment is cracking, Olivia notes as she arrives for a long, slow weekend. They are maturing together, and as the first true autumn winds scrape leaves against Alex's bedroom window, Olivia finds herself unexpectedly contemplating next spring. She lies awake with Alex's body half-spread across hers and is pleasantly surprised (and a little disgusted, in an amused way) that her girlfriend's breathing is the only thing that can lull her into sleep.
When she wakes, the light in the room is caught halfway between summer's dying golden glow and winter's pale blue intensity. Murky, Olivia decides, and falls asleep again.
If spring is the promise of birth, fall is the death of promise.
Alex has disappeared and Olivia has nothing to do but dig in for the foreseeable future. They are well and truly entrenched in the cold season now; the city is grey more often than not and the outright scowls of summer have become misplaced grudges and harbored resentment. Olivia can't decide if she wants to work through her misery or sleep through it.
She spends Thanksgiving at Elliot's. The kids manage to bring her out of her funk for a while, and she reminds herself that Elliot lost his friend too. When they get the call that three dead hookers have turned up in Alphabet City, trussed up like turkeyshilarious, grumbles Munch over the phoneOlivia slips away from the family gathering with Elliot promising to cover for her next time.
At the scene, Olivia stares at the dangling bodies. She snaps on a pair of gloves and lets CSU guide her into the darkening alley.
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