DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: for my fellow musicians, yes, I know Miles used a stemless Harmon mute on Kind of Blue, but I was forced to indulge in a little artistic license here – otherwise the metaphor becomes altogether too bizarre…
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Sum of Contradictions: 10. Miles
By beurre blanc


"Alex, it's me." Olivia listened to the expanding silence. "Alex?"

"Go away, Detective. I'm busy." Busy sitting on her couch with a glass of red wine, listening to Miles Davis, and staring into space… A month of deliberately ignoring the issue had taken its toll on Alex. True, she had never been more incisive in court, nor more effective. Nor had she ever been given a wider berth by her co-workers.

She knew exactly what she had been doing. Alex knew that by deliberately ignoring the colossal mistake of almost kissing Olivia she was merely sublimating her humiliation. She was channelling the excess emotional energy that burst forth every time she thought of Olivia into professional perfectionism. She also knew that it wasn't working. Today was an excellent example of that – a very public spat generated by an intensely private issue. Until now she'd actually kept her emotions in check, but today their professional disagreement had spilled over into the personal domain, and in the end Cragen had intervened.

Ultimately, what really hurt Alex was her perceived fall in Olivia's estimation – that she had rendered herself utterly and irretrievably foolish in Olivia's eyes. And, of course, the fact that she'd been so inexcusably wrong.

Alex took another sip of the wine, not really tasting it now. She wasn't drunk yet, but was thinking of giving it a damned good shot.

The high, atmospheric sound of a muted trumpet supported by a gentle, insistent rhythm, enveloped Alex, penetrating her thoughts. Miles had seen her through many a significant moment in her life, and she found herself contemplating the quality of horn's sound. "Straight mute?" she wondered, shaking her head at the pathetic double entendre. Have another drink, Cabot.

"Alex, buzz me in. Please."

Her ingrained sense of propriety would no longer be ignored. Alex pressed the buzzer then went to the door to greet Olivia, opening it immediately she heard the tap of her knuckles.

Olivia stood on the threshold, hands in pockets. "You're right. We need to talk about this."

Alex gave Olivia an arctic stare, then stepped aside and motioned inwards.

The ADA returned to her couch, picked up her glass, and looked pointedly at Olivia. She said nothing. Olivia walked to the window and stared down at the street for a moment, then she turned to face Alex, still weighing her choice of words.

"Alex, I'm sorry."

"Really, Detective. What for?" Alex cringed inwardly at the saccharine delivery. Clearly she was going to handle this far worse than any of their other professional interactions over the past month. The wine, and Miles, had seen to that.

Olivia studied her, gently sucking her bottom lip between her teeth.

"Look, Alex, we work together. We're a team – a great team, and the whole squad has never been as effective as we have since you were assigned to SVU. I – I value our friendship, Alex, and I'd like to mend it." Her delivery was so gently persuasive she almost believed it herself.

Alex stood, and walked slowly over to Olivia, measuring her response.

She stood face to face with Olivia, and gave a slow serious nod. "Consider it mended." Her words were quiet, polite, appropriate. And utterly at odds with the venom in her eyes.

Olivia felt a brief surge of reciprocal anger, replaced by an immense, barely controllable rush of desire. She steeled herself again to call a halt.

"I am sorry that… things did not end well the other night." Her tone was deliberate, and the confession seemed to cost her. "I – we – both had a wonderful time, and I let us get caught up in the – euphoria of it. It was-," she looked wistful for a moment, "- a really special evening."

Alex, whose pride had been fractured by her own belief that she had made a gross error, could only hear a reiteration of rejection from Olivia. She could not see that, for Olivia, the war between her desire and her responsibility was rapidly being lost, and far from Alex being wrong about their attraction, she was in serious danger of succumbing to all the same instincts she'd rightly suppressed the last time.

"Your point, Detective?"

"Jesus, Alex! What do you want from me?" Olivia's emotions finally spilled over. "An apology? You've got it. Professionalism? Fine, that too. But please Alex-," Olivia paused, knowing she was on the verge of admitting too much.

Alex tried desperately to wrap her vulnerability up in a cloak of professional detachment – and failed. "I'd like you to leave now, Detective."

In the end, it was not Alex's words which rent Olivia's conviction, it was the brief flash of soul-deep longing and regret which preceded them.

Olivia abandoned all pretense.

As she stepped towards the lawyer, Olivia caught Alex's wrists, lifting them and pushing, shifting Alex backwards until she felt the wall at the blonde's back. She held still, now staring unreservedly into Alex's eyes, and felt each layer of defense peel away, exposing her emotional core. Alex, I'm in your hands now

Alex was pinned, not physically – Olivia's hands had already released their grip – but by the emotional force in Olivia's eyes. There was a pleading, reckless intensity to the gaze, one which Alex felt mirrored in her own soul. She needed to kiss Olivia, the longing was primal, irresistible. Even now, as each recognized the other's naked desire, Olivia's advance was exquisitely slow, and gentle. She was silently offering Alex her chance to pull out, to move away, to stop this before it went any further.

For Alex, though, this couldn't be held in check any longer – it couldn't go far enough.

The first delicate, hesitant touch of Olivia's lips to hers was a sensation like nothing Alex had ever experienced before. She may have wondered at the tingling, the sparks she felt previously when Olivia touched her hand, or met her gaze, but this was of an altogether greater magnitude. She felt the softness, the gentle yielding of Olivia's mouth, and as she finally fell into the kiss she experienced a moment of supreme clarity: so this is how it should feel.

The End

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