DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for 3.18 Guilt.

The Sum of Contradictions: 18. Hovering
By beurre blanc


They woke as they had fallen asleep – limbs entwined, face to face, sharing the one pillow. Olivia had moved into the kiss before she'd even been fully awake, emerging as she was from an erotic dream, which blended into the reality of returning Alex's waking embrace. She pulled slowly back and smiled as she realized the symmetry, how their actions mirrored their last few moments before sleep.

"Mmmm. Hungry?" she whispered, and she felt - rather than saw - Alex's answering nod, before losing herself in another gentle kiss.

This time Alex pulled back, and sat up, stretching. "Any idea what time it is?" She turned back, and looked down at Olivia's body - firm breasts, trim waist, shoulders and thighs kept toned by regular climbing and jogging, skin golden in the soft lamplight. As her eyes traced the curves her fingertips already knew intimately, she felt her heart constrict, and her breath catch. She ran a manicured fingernail slowly around the curve of one breast, sweeping up onto the dark brown nipple and watching in fascination as the skin tightened in response. From there her gaze swept downwards to Olivia's navel, and she ran her nails down the skin of her lower belly to comb them through dark curls.

The detective lay still, watching Alex study her, the hint of a satisfied smile playing on her lips as she willed time to stop, so that she might be caught forever in this perfect moment.

The sudden rumble of the lawyer's empty stomach caught them both off-guard, and elicited an uncharacteristic giggle from Olivia, and a throaty chuckle from Alex. "I think that's a sign."

Olivia sat up and put her arm loosely around the blonde's shoulders, before offering a slow kiss which ended with Alex running a fingernail right down Olivia's spine. She shivered, and moaned with pleasure. "Do that again."

"Nuh uh – not until you've fed me."

"Not above ordering me around in my own apartment, I see."

"Let's just call it an… inducement."

"ADA Cabot, did I just hear you offer a bribe to a sworn Officer of the New York Police Department?"

"Well, I'd prefer to regard it as a… request for assistance."

"How so?"

"Olivia, I know you love me, but if I don't eat soon there may not be anything left to love!"

"I knew you were doing it, you know," declared the lawyer around a mouthful of pasta.

"Doing what?" The twinkle in Olivia's eyes belied her angelic expression. Not to mention the suggestive way with which she rubbed her big toe along the sole of Alex's bare foot.

"Don't play innocent with me, Detective."

"Why, would you rather play something else?"

"Your Honor, I'd like permission to treat this witness as hostile."

Olivia merely smiled, eyes locked with Alex's. You can treat me any way you like, Counselor. She didn't need to say it.

Alex blushed. "Don't change the subject. I knew exactly what you were doing…" She finished her last mouthful and set the bowl on the coffee table. "From the moment you left my office that night you have been charming your way back in."

"What makes you say that?"

"Let me count the ways…" Alex made a show of counting her fingers. "Coffee, massage, flowers – they were just beautiful, by the way. Serena is determined to find out who my secret Valentine is. I think she has already started compiling a list of likely candidates."

"Think I'll make the top ten?"



"I want to thank you for the last week. Watching the case against Barnett fall apart around me…" and my career with it, "well, it has been one of the most difficult things I've been through."

"I'm not sure how I helped."

"By being there." Alex looked up to ensure she held Olivia's gaze. "By being you."

"Sweetheart, watching you this last week has been so… hard. Seeing you having to cope with the tragedy of Sam Cavanaugh, and the callous harridan that is Judge Lena Petrovsky, and knowing I couldn't betray anything more than professional concern without betraying your trust as well…"

Alex shook her head, and smiled. "Callous harridan?"

Olivia shrugged. "Would you prefer something more earthy, like 'heartless bitch'?"

Alex's expression became somber again as she studied her thumbnail. Olivia waited until Alex looked up. "You remember what happened in the squad room the other night…" Alex colored, embarrassed by the memory, "when I yelled at you, and Elliot sprang to your defence and threw it straight back in my face," Make him a good witness, "and then Cragen weighed in to defend Elliot…" Alex sighed. "I just – lost it."

"Alex, sweetie, we all understood."

"No, Olivia, that's just it. The only one who really understood was you." She paused, letting her words sink in. "You were the only one who didn't hit back, Liv. You were the only one with enough insight to know I needed to vent my frustration,-" she took a deep breath, "not be challenged or dictated to. If you hadn't been sitting there, calmly anchoring me…" then we probably wouldn't be having this conversation. "Without even a hint to the guys, you sat there supporting me, and I knew that, no matter what you thought of my reasons for keeping us apart, you respected them. It's a big part of my justification for turning up on your doorstep unannounced this evening."

Alex took Olivia's hand, running her thumb gently across the knuckles as she thought for a moment. She raised the detective's hand briefly to her lips, before saying, "Liv, you have a remarkable gift for… hovering."

A troubled expression passed fleetingly across Olivia's face. My mother taught me to be invisible.

"What is it, Liv? What are you thinking?"

"It's nothing."

"It's not nothing." She contemplated Olivia's wary expression. "Sweetheart, I've become rather – sensitive - to your reactions now. I can't help it. And I know it isn't nothing."

There's just so much you don't know about me. "Another time, perhaps." Recovering further, Olivia crawled towards Alex where she sat on the rug, leaning back against the couch, not stopping until her hands were either side of the lawyer's body, and their lips were separated by millimeters only. "Dessert?" she breathed.

The End

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