DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is my first attempt at L&O: SVU f/f fanfiction, so please be gentle with me. Actually, this is my first attempt at L&O fanfic period, as I am a self-proclaimed, blissfully-obsessed Trekker. But I just could not resist the subtext between Olivia and Alex at the end of the episode "Fallacy," first aired on 4-18-03. Written 4-19-03, and revised 4-13-08. Thanks to Woodstock for her impressive and extremely helpful beta, and to Brenda, my Mighty Editor Goddess, for her, well, for her everything!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: The end of "Fallacy."

Third Time
By DianeB


Detective Olivia Benson sat on a bench in the wide, marbled corridor, a few feet from the courtroom she'd just left. Sighing heavily, she leaned back and closed her eyes. Cheryl Avery. What a rotten, unjust case. Christ, just one among many.

Sitting up, Olivia opened her eyes and looked around, realizing she was nearly alone in the hallway and it was getting dark outside. She didn't remember saying goodbye to anyone. When the hell did Elliot leave? Munch and Fin hadn't been to the courthouse the entire day, but she was usually pretty good at noticing when her partner left.

Then again, Elliot Stabler was equally good at stealth departure, especially when he knew a case had been particularly rough on her. He always seemed to know when it was best to leave quietly and let her handle her demons in her own way. Besides, he had a wife and kids waiting.

She couldn't quite say she was sorry he'd left without saying goodbye, though there were times – like now – when she missed having the opportunity to at least say goodnight to him. In truth, if anyone had pressed her further, she would have admitted some envy over her partner's having someone to go home to.

Envy or not, she knew she couldn't really blame him on this day. She'd barely said two words since she'd left the courtroom. Shaking off unproductive thoughts of jealousy, she rose from the bench and switched gears. Who might still be around at this hour? She looked down the corridor and suddenly knew exactly who might still be around.

Olivia approached the old, windowed door with purpose and did not hesitate to open it without knocking. She leaned in and smiled, her hand still on the doorknob.

"Hey, I'm headin' out. You wanna grab a drink?"

ADA Alexandra Cabot looked up, obviously surprised not only at the invitation, but at the person extending it. "Thank you! But, you know, I'm just not in the mood."

Olivia walked further into the room. "Well, neither am I," she agreed, "but I don't feel much like goin' home."

Alex changed the subject, but not really. "Do you think I pushed Cheryl too hard?"

"You did your job."

"Then why do I feel so lousy?"

Olivia moved over and let herself drop into the chair in front of Alex's desk. "Because you look at Cheryl and you can't imagine what it's like to feel that your own body is a mistake."

Alex blinked and nodded, but before she could make any sort of verbal response, Olivia's cell rang.

"Benson." Olivia paused a second, listening. "We'll be right there." She snapped the phone closed and looked at Alex.

"What's up?"

"I gotta go to Bellevue," she answered, pushing out of the chair. "You should come with me."

Alex didn't hesitate.

Olivia barreled through the hospital's swinging doors and flashed her badge at the first nurse she saw.

"Special Victims Unit. You called about a rape victim?"

"They're taking him up to surgery now," the nurse said, pointing behind the two women.

A gurney rolled passed them, carrying the unconscious form of Cheryl Avery.

Both Olivia and Alex watched as the bed moved on. Olivia turned to the nurse. "What happened?"

The nurse walked around behind them and started toward the gurney, not bothering to hide her disdain. "Cheryl Avery was gang-raped at Rikers."

Olivia shook her head. A rotten, unjust case, indeed. Morton Berger, that scum, was going to have a fucking field day with this.

Watching the gurney disappear down the hallway, Olivia didn't know what to feel, and she had no idea what might be going through Alex Cabot's head. But she didn't have to wait long to find out, and what Alex finally said was not what Olivia was expecting. Still standing with her back to the detective, the ADA spoke. "Is that invitation still open, Detective?"

For a moment, Olivia was perplexed, and then realized what Alex was asking. The drink. She had asked her to go for a drink - about a thousand years ago. "Well, yeah. Where to?"

Alex turned to her, eyes shining, her voice thready. "How about your place?"

Olivia wasn't sure how they made it to her car without speaking, but they had. Now that they were on their way, she again didn't know what to feel or what to say. And, again, Alex broke the silence, her voice stronger now.

"I'm sorry, Olivia. We can go to O'Malley's. I'm not sure what I was thinking in the hospital. An exposed moment of vulnerability, I guess. It's been a hard couple of days."

"Yeah, it has. Wanna talk about it?"

"No, I really don't." But Alex didn't stop talking, so Olivia just drove the car. "Christ, that poor woman. I told her Morty Berger was giving her bad advice and that she should accept the offer I'd put on the table. Did you know Morty hadn't even told her about the deal? And look where that got her when she did accept it!" There was an edge of hysteria to the ADA's voice.

Keeping her eyes carefully on the road, Olivia reached out and placed her hand on Alex's arm. "Hey, listen, would you quit? It's not your fault. Like I said, you did your job. Hell, you did more than just your job for Cheryl. Put it behind you. There's nothing more either of us can do about it now."

Alex took a deep breath. "Except read about it in the papers."

There was nothing to say to that, so Olivia switched topics. "O'Malley's sucks this time of night. Way too many cops. Let's go to my place like you originally suggested. I've had a bottle of wine in my cupboard for a couple of months now. I think it's time to drink it."

Alex made a gakking sound, obviously relieved at having something else to talk about. "You've had a bottle of wine for a couple of months?"

"Hey, gimmie a break, wine snob!" Olivia said, in mock affront, whipping her eyes to Alex and quickly back to the road. "I don't get much company, okay?"

"Well," Alex said after a brief pause, as if she had been thinking of what she was going to say, "I'm happy to be your company tonight. Is the wine white or red?"

Olivia could hear the smile in Alex's voice and was oddly pleased that she had provoked such a positive response. "Actually, I think it's a plain old white zinfandel, a common brand." She adopted a teasing tone. "Will that suffice, Assistant District Attorney Cabot?"

Alex immediately responded in kind. "Why, yes, I believe it will, Detective Benson."

The remainder of the ride passed in a silence much more pleasant than what had gone before.

Though Olivia busied herself in the kitchen, opening the wine and fixing a plate of cheese, crackers and apple slices, she was hyper-aware of Alex in the next room. She knew there would always be tension between she and Alex, due to the nature of their work, but tonight the tension felt very different. It was exciting but unsettling, and Olivia didn't much care for it. Maybe they should have gone to O'Malley's, but it was certainly too late now.

She entered the living room to see Alex running her hand along the back of the couch and stopped to observe her. The woman was fair and small-boned, but was by no means fragile. Olivia knew Alex could shred witnesses without batting an eyelash and had learned early never to let the woman's appearance fool her. Realizing she was staring, Olivia came back to herself and cleared her throat softly to announce her presence. Alex turned to her. "This is much classier than O'Malley's."

"Thanks." Olivia put the wine, the tray of food, and some napkins on the low coffee table beside the glasses already there. "I got a great deal because no one wanted an apartment without air conditioning, wall-to-wall carpeting, or a garbage disposal and dishwasher. Me? I'm happy this way. The rooms are huge, the ceilings are high, and I love all the exposed wood."

Alex's gaze traveled around the neutral walls. "Did you paint?"

"Nah. It was freshly painted before I moved in, and it matches everything, so I let it go. I didn't let them repaint the woodwork, though. I stripped and stained that myself."

Alex nodded, walked around to the wine and began decanting it into the glasses. When they were full, she picked them both up and held one out to Olivia.

"Well, the color suits you, and I don't mean to say you're beige. I just mean it fits. And the woodwork is beautiful." She raised her glass. "Salute."

Olivia quirked her eyebrow and smiled. "Salute? Maria Gianfordi's influence?"

"Yes, thank God. So, drink."

Maria Gianfordi was a small, dark, very intense police officer from Homicide, who could sometimes direct her intensity towards very amusing storytelling. When she got going about her Italian grandmother at parties, the word "Salute" followed every raised glass, no matter what you were drinking, or even if you were drinking at all. It was a very effective way to relieve stress.

Olivia took a drink and sat, directing her gaze to Alex. She patted the couch cushion beside her. "C'mon, sit. Eat, or the wine'll go right to your head. I know it will mine." She made a sandwich out of two crackers and a slice of cheese and bit it neatly in half, putting the remaining half on a napkin. Alex sat down and reached for a slice of apple, picking up a napkin on the way.

The two women remained this way for quite some time, sipping wine and occasionally taking a bite or two of food, without a word passing between them. It did not take long for the bottle to empty.

Olivia found herself surprised by her thoughts. On one hand, it seemed obvious that Alex was content with her company this evening, but on the other, Olivia couldn't quite get past the fact that it was Alex who suggested they come here in the first place, which also suggested something more than mere "company." Just a moment of "exposed vulnerability." Olivia shivered.

Alex, who had been leaning back against the couch, must have seen the shiver out of the corner of her eye, because she turned her head to look directly at Olivia. "Cold?"


And then they spoke each other's names at the same time, and the room suddenly became charged with sexual tension thick enough to cut with a knife.

In the leaden quiet that followed, Olivia was the first to find her equilibrium. She tsk-ed, shook her head and smiled. Alex prompted her to talk with a wave of her hand. What came out was not what she had been thinking, thank God. "How's the wine?"

Alex smiled. "The wine's fine."

"Good." Olivia pushed out her end of the coffee table and scooted forward into the space, elbows on her thighs. She looked down at the floor. "Alex?"

Alex drained her glass, set it down, and turned to face Olivia. "Yes?"

Olivia kept her eyes on the floor, struggling to put her thoughts together. Alex Cabot was not any more of a lesbian than she was. Was she? So what was the deal here? Wait, wait, the wine was starting to make her head fuzzy. Damn, she should have eaten more. She would never be having these thoughts otherwise. Christ Almighty, Benson, you haven't been laid in months and now you're suddenly concerned because you're attracted to a woman? And not just a woman, either, but this woman. This woman you've been attracted to for quite some time. She tried to blame it on the wine again, and even the Avery case, but she knew it wasn't either of those things. It was Alex herself. She gave her head a mental shake. Okay, okay, quit stallin'. She looked up.

"Earlier, you said the reason you suggested coming here was because of a moment of 'exposed vulnerability.' What did you mean by that?"

"Actually, I've been wondering all evening about something you said. How I look at Cheryl and I can't imagine what it's like to feel that my own body is a mistake. You were right. I can't imagine it. I've always been extremely happy with my body."

Olivia noticed Alex had deftly avoided her question. She also noticed the wine was about to loosen her tongue a little too much, but she couldn't stop herself. She didn't want to spend the whole night playing a strange version of twenty questions. She shifted closer to the blonde woman.

"I'm very happy with your body, too."

Alex had the good grace not to laugh at the ridiculous but obvious come-on and stated in a mock Southern accent, "Why, Detective Benson, I do believe you're drunk."

Olivia was now barely an inch from Alex's face, and she feigned an injured tone. "Aw, I think drunk is too strong a word in this case, ADA Cabot."

And even after all that, the kiss Olivia gave Alex was hesitant, almost childlike in its innocence, and lasted only long enough for their lips to meet in a delicate exchange of pressure.

But the second kiss was not so childlike, as Alex suddenly took the lead, and before it was even finished, Olivia felt a warming ache between her legs the likes of which she didn't think she had ever quite felt before. She pulled back abruptly and leaned back against the couch to catch her breath.

"Good Lord, Alex," she gasped, "where'd you learn to kiss like that?"

Alex, obviously in better control than Olivia, curled her legs beneath her, resettling herself on the couch, an odd smile on her face. "I think we can blame most of that on the wine, but to answer your question, Ronnie Johnson taught me to kiss like that when I was a junior in college."

"Ronnie Johnson?"

"Well, I guess I should say Veronica Johnson."

"Ah, well, that makes all the difference in the world."

Alex made a noise of agreement and then silence prevailed again until the ADA broke it once more, this time saying nearly the very thing Olivia had been thinking a few moments earlier. Shit, Veronica Johnson must have had some influence over the young Alexandra Cabot. I mean, I've seen that look plenty of times in court when's she's about to nail the bad guy, but I don't think I've ever heard quite that tone of voice before.

"So. Enough of this." Alex uncurled her legs, in obvious preparation to stand, "I'd like to see your bedroom now."

It never once occurred to Olivia that it was not Veronica Johnson who held influence over Alex Cabot.

In Olivia's darkened bedroom, Alex Cabot unbuttoned her blouse and gratefully accepted the offered hanger.

"Can't have that nice silk ruined by a night on the ground." Olivia's voice held no malice but was not without an awkward lilt.

"Are you nervous, Detective?"

Olivia watched as Alex gracefully stepped out of her skirt and draped it over the back of the overstuffed chair beside the bed.

Shrugging out of her jacket, she said, "I think you should maybe call me Olivia when we're undressing in my bedroom, don't you think?"

Alex laughed. "You're right, Olivia. So? My question?"

Olivia hung her jacket in the closet and threw her pants and panties in a heap on the closet floor. "No, not really. Excited, and a little buzzed," she winked to emphasize their earlier joke, "but I'm not nervous. But I wish," she chuckled, slipping out of her shirt and bra and dropping them to join the pants, "there was a less-utilitarian way to get through this part."

Alex laughed again. "I guess we could all just walk around naked, or maybe rip each other's clothes off like they do in the romance novels, but I don't think I could afford that for very long."

Grinning, Olivia turned from the closet and nearly sailed out of her newly-exposed skin. While she had been talking, Alex had stepped up behind her. Now she tilted her head up and Olivia did not need any more of an invitation than that. Bodies pressed together, the kiss was brief but passionate, and the warming ache in Olivia increased twofold. Her knees went a little weak.

"Oh my God, Alex. Can we lie down, please, before I fall down?"

They lay down facing each other on the bed, but it was quickly clear that Alex had an activity of another sort in mind.

Olivia watched as Alex picked up a pillow, put it next to Olivia's thighs and lay her head on it. This put Alex's mouth at a very interesting juncture, and it didn't take a genius to figure out where she should put her mouth. Without hesitation, Olivia leaned forward and kissed the damp, blonde triangle of curls, pleased when she heard a surprised gasp.

"Oh! Olivia! Don't. . .don't you lie to me. You've done this before, haven't you?"

"No." She purred into the warm flesh, parting her lips and placing the tip of her tongue tentatively between the slick folds of Alex's labia, again pleased when this time Alex's entire body jerked, accompanied by a higher-pitched gasp.

Then it was Olivia's turn to gasp, her attention spiraling down to the ache between her legs, currently being ratcheted up several notches by an obviously experienced mouth. Holy Mother of God, I've had men go down on me before, but this, this is not how it felt. This is like. . .she's like. . .uhhh. . . She became lost in the sensations, but her cop mind kept trying desperately to outthink her body.

Which soon proved impossible.

Olivia raised her knee and placed her foot flat on the bed behind her leg, not realizing that she had instinctively given Alex better access. She had one brief coherent thought when Alex raised her own knee in similar fashion, and she knew what she was supposed to be doing, but by this time she was too far gone to attempt it.

Familiar tingling along the backs of her thighs heralded an orgasm that had been waiting inside Olivia Benson for too long. She gripped the sheets, stiffened, and moaned, "Oh, God, yes," and quaked into one moment of sublime oblivion.

It could have been years later that Olivia returned to herself. She was flat on her back, staring up at the ceiling, with no recollection of the passage of time. Had she passed out? Oh, wouldn't that be clever? She could stomach horrible crime scenes without so much as a dizzy spell, but one little climax left her unsure of her own name. But she knew the name of the warm body beside her.


Alex was propped up on one elbow, smiling at her from the bottom of the bed. "Why, hello, Detective Benson. How's the weather in Cancun?"

"God, I'm sorry. Is this embarrassing or what? I don't usually. . .well. . .I mean. . .I just don't usually!" She stuttered to a halt, equal parts frustration and amusement coloring her voice.

"Olivia, for heaven's sake, it's all right! Personally, I thought it was sweet." Alex placed a warm hand on Olivia's thigh and waited a beat. "Shall we try again?"

Olivia didn't waste another breath apologizing for her inability to stay conscious. Instead, she shifted onto her side and reached with more certainty for the triangle of blonde curls. "Yeah, Counselor," she said with a throaty chuckle, "I think we should."

The second time it was Alex who cried out.

The third time, however, was quite the charm for both of them.

The End

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