DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is the third part of the story arc that started with Déjà vu, followed by The Cabot Cabin. To understand this one, I strongly recommend reading those two.
THANKS: To all of you for reading this ongoing series and supporting it the way you have, I really appreciate it. To the faithful followers on my Yahoo Group, vivalab – you guys rock!
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Trial & Retribution
By VivalaB


Chapter 16: Hidden Agenda

Cragen watched through his open door as the two women entered the squad room, he placed his hand over the phone receiver and shouted to them, "Alex, Liv, in here," before moving his hand and speaking to Fin again, "Hold on a sec, Liv and Alex are just coming," he said as he hit the loudspeaker button and placed the handset in the cradle.

Olivia and Alex entered the Captain's office and looked at him questioningly, he motioned with his head instinctively to the phone, "Go ahead Fin," as he buried his hands in his trouser pockets.

"Hey Liv, Alex…we're at her house in Westchester. I gotta be honest Liv, her Benson shrine makes Porter's look like kiddie craft," Fin said, his voice echoing around the quiet room.

Olivia frowned, "What d'you find?" she asked, throwing her leather coat onto the visitor's chair and gripping the back with both hands as she leaned forward, staring hard at the phone on the desk.

"You got a whole room to yourself in here, we're talking pictures of you taken over the last two years, there must be a thousand of them," Fin replied.

Olivia felt a wave uneasiness wash over her, "How d'you know they're from as far back as two years?" she asked as her stomach tightened with anticipation.

"Your hair and…" he paused, hesitation in his tone, "…your boyfriends," he answered, lowering his voice as he said the last part.

Alex stood silently with her arms folded, her head tilted to one side as she absorbed the information Fin was relaying. She noticed Olivia's back stiffen and automatically unfolded her arms and reached a hand out. She rubbed Olivia's lower back in a soothing, connecting motion, wanting Olivia to feel the physicality of her presence.

Olivia welcomed the calming touch on her back and thought about the dates she'd been on over the last two years, there hadn't been many. She lifted her head, "Are there any of me with Kurt Moss?" she asked, as a thought struck her.

The line went silent and movement could be heard as Fin moved around the study, glancing over the pictures that covered the walls. They were broken down into sections with type written headings above each set of photographs. He moved to the 'Dates' section and scanned the images for the face of the New York Ledger's editor.

Seconds ticked by and Olivia's anxiety was threatening to surface, she focused on the hand on her back and the cast iron grip she held on the chair.

Fin's voice cut through the air, "No, none with Moss…there's you leaving your apartment and going into restaurants with…" he paused to count the different number of men on the wall, "…three different guys," he finished.

Olivia felt the hand on her back still, only for a split second, before resuming the comforting motion. She swallowed, "What else is there?" she asked nervously.

There was a pause at the other end of the line, "Gimme a sec, I'll get Munch to take some pictures and send them to you," he said, shouting instructions to his partner. His voice came back over the line, "Liv, she's got diaries of all your movements…from Harris' trial until…" he paused as he leafed through the large journal in his hand, "…yesterday, when you and Alex left the court house, late in the evening," he said.

Olivia looked up at Cragen, "What the Hell does she want?" she asked, shaking her head.

Cragen adjusted his stance, blew out a sigh and looked knowingly into brown eyes.

Olivia was about to respond when the phone in her pocket chimed. Alex removed her hand and inched closer, watching as Olivia retrieved the device from her pocket.

Olivia opened the new picture message and peered at the screen. Her eyes took in the sea of images covering the walls, all of them of her, all of them taken covertly and without her knowledge. She turned to Alex before showing Cragen the image.

"Fin, have one of the techs take as many pictures as possible and email them over, put a rush on it," Cragen ordered.

Fin could be heard asking one of the forensic techs to capture the details in the room before turning his attention back to the listener's over the phone, "That's not all we found Cap," he said, his tone sounding ominous.

Three heads turned their attention away from the cellphone in Olivia's hand to the voice emanating from the desk.

"What else?" Cragen asked, glancing at the women in front of him.

"She's got enough c-4 to blow us all to the moon," Fin replied, watching as the bomb squad carefully moved the ten small sticks of plastic explosives, that Munch had discovered in the desk drawer, into a safety carrier.

Alex reflexively covered her mouth, shock clearly marking her features. Olivia resisted the urge to put an arm around her, conscious of Cragen's presence and opted to place a hand lightly on her arm instead.

Fin's voice cut through the charged silence once more, "She's circled tomorrow's date in her journal too," he said.

Cragen's mind rushed to the woman in the interrogation room, "There's only one way we're going to find out what she was planning," he said, looking directly at Olivia.

Olivia nodded, understanding what she needed to do.

Alex sat beside Olivia on the couch in the lounge, overlooking the squad room. She listened carefully as Olivia turned the pages of the thick file in her hand, explaining the details of the abuse she'd uncovered at Sealview. Olivia recounted the attack on Ashley Tyler and the murder of her mother, Risa. When Olivia turned the page, revealing her own battered image, Alex gasped loudly and stared at the photograph in shock.

"It's not as bad as it looked," Olivia said quietly, studying her own image and the bruising covering her face.

Alex reached out and removed the picture, looking at Olivia's face. Her eyes were drawn to the haunted look in her eyes, "My God Liv, what did he do to you?" she asked quietly, tracing a finger over the purple bruising.

Olivia swallowed, "The bruises faded fast," she answered, trying to reassure the concerned blonde.

Alex replaced the photo in the file, she turned and lifted her hand, cupping Olivia's cheek gently, "I'm not talking about your face," she said softly, stroking the skin underneath her fingertips, that had once been bruised and looked lovingly into large, brown eyes.

Olivia swallowed again, "I know," she whispered, dipping her eyes from Alex's intense gaze.

Alex leaned forward and removed her hand, replacing it with her lips. She placed several delicate kisses over the area before moving her mouth to Olivia's and pressing their lips together tenderly. After a few seconds she pulled back and smiled, "When you're ready, okay?" she said, nodding her head in understanding.

Olivia brought their mouths together once more, establishing a firmer contact, "Thanks," she said quietly as they parted.

"Always," Alex replied as she gazed at the remarkable woman beside her.

Olivia cast her eyes back to the file and turned the page, revealing more pictures of herself. There were various images displaying bruising on her upper arms, her wrists and back, she heard Alex blow out a shaky breath and turned the page. The cut and bruised face of Captain Lowell Harris stared venomously at them.

Alex placed an arm around her, resting her head on Olivia's shoulder, "You kicked his ass," she snorted, straining her neck and placing a kiss on her jaw.

Olivia turned her head, "Yeah, Fin wanted to kill him," she said, remembering how he had held her hand in the aftermath and confessed how easy it would be to 'crack him over the skull', with his baton and explain it away as defense.

Alex stared at the man in the picture, "I wish he had," she whispered, swallowing the emotion rising in her throat.

Olivia closed the file deliberately and pulled her head away, causing Alex to lift her own from her shoulder. She looked at the dark haired brunette in puzzlement, "What?" she asked, her arm remaining draped protectively around her.

"I used to lie in bed at night and wish he had too, but I know justice prevailed and he got what he deserved. If you dwell on the, what if's, it just messes with your mind," she said tersely, remembering countless sleepless nights wondering why she hadn't done more.

Alex nodded her head, "Okay," she replied, sensing Olivia's need to focus on the present. "What about the wife? Obviously she's been getting regular updates about your movements outside of work, but why and from whom?" she asked.

Olivia shook her head, "I have no idea, I told you about Kurt at the cabin…we broke up about a month after I got out of Sealview…we didn't really see much of each other…I didn't want to be around anyone…" she paused awkwardly, "…but, we talked a lot over the phone and had coffee a few times during the trial," she added.

Realization flashed through Alex's eyes, "If she's been following you since the trial, then why aren't there any pictures of you and Kurt?," she asked.

Olivia nodded, "Exactly, McLean said he was only hired to get pictures of us kissing. How did she know we were together? How did she know we were upstate? How did she know when and where we'd be coming back to the city?" she asked, as a multitude of questions rattled through her brain.

Alex shook her head, "She's the only one with the answers Liv…let me talk to her," she said.

Olivia shook her head and reached for Alex's hand, "No…I'll do it," she said, squeezing it gently.

Elliot stared coldly at the woman across the table from him, "Your husband is a rapist and a murderer, if you didn't believe that yourself, then why d'you divorce him so soon after the trial?" he asked.

Deborah Lawson turned her head away, "The company I worked for…" she paused.

"Klaust and Bonn," Elliot supplied.

She turned her head and nodded, "Yes…they're a high profile stock brokerage firm, specializing in commodities. My role, as business broker, was to represent the company whether it involved buying or selling and secure new clients," she paused, glancing at the table and the photograph lying in the centre, "My husband's trial was not as private an affair as I had hoped. I was advised to cut all ties with Lowell if I wanted to succeed within the firm," she stated flatly.

"So the divorce was what….a business deal?" Elliot asked, studying her face.

She met his eyes, "I love my husband, detective. I know he isn't capable of the things they accused him of," she replied sincerely.

Elliot raised his eyebrows, "Lady, that is one serious case of denial. I saw first hand what your husband did," he said, thinking of Olivia's physical and emotional state after she returned from Sealview.

"Benson asked for it!" Deborah spat out, "She taunted him, begged him to take her down to the basement. He told me everything that happened…your precious Olivia lied about everything Elliot," she ranted, her eyes narrowing in disgust.

The interrogation room door burst open, " You forgot to mention the part where he handcuffed me to steel bars and sexually assaulted me," Olivia stated abruptly, glaring at the seated woman.


Chapter 17: The Box

Deborah Lawson's eyes widened perceptibly at the sight of Olivia entering the room, every cell in her body instantly oozing hatred for the dark haired woman closing the door. She closed her eyes, trying to regain her outward composure and heard Olivia pull out a chair.

Olivia handed Elliot one of the files in her hand, placing the other on the desk and motioning to Deborah discretely with her head.

Elliot gave a slight nod before opening the file and scanning the photographs and information. He looked at the pictures of Deborah's study, every wall covered in Olivia's image in various settings; at the grocery store, at the laundry mat, going to and from work, going on dates and going to the gym. He frowned as he read the details of the c-4 discovery and felt his gut tighten as he wondered what the woman's intentions had been with the explosives.

Olivia silently observed the woman, her mind racing at the possible motives Deborah Lawson had for stalking her. She watched as the woman lifted her head and opened her eyes, brilliant blue locking instantly on her own, "Why the c-4 Debbie?" she asked coolly.

"It's Deborah," she replied coldly, placing her hands neatly on top of one another, repeating the now familiar control gesture.

Olivia smiled, "That's quite a collection you've got in Westchester, I wish I'd known you were so interested in my personal life, I would have given you my schedule…though, I see you found your own way of keeping up with my movements," she said sweetly. Olivia was determined to mask her abhorrence for this woman, at least while she was in the same room as her.

Deborah smirked, "Don't flatter yourself Olivia," she said, her eyes boring into the face of the brunette.

"It's Detective Benson," Olivia replied, nodding her head.

Elliot continued to read through the file and recognized two of the men Olivia was pictured with, he'd seen them pick her up at the precinct after work and knew there hadn't been a second date. He listened to his partner taunting Deborah and inwardly wished she'd remained outside. They'd never really talked about Sealview, she'd always changed the subject or brushed him off. He respected her enough to know if she wanted to tell him, she would. His lifted his head as he heard Olivia's voice tighten.

"Detective Benson," Deborah started, in a sneering tone, "You've got everyone fooled, your colleagues, your boss, the jury who convicted an innoc-"

Olivia cut her off as she opened the file she had placed on the desk, turning the pages quickly and noisily until she reached the image of Ashley Tyler's battered and bruised features, she removed the picture and held it aloft, "Who was she trying to fool when your husband, dragged her into the bushes and beat her before repeatedly raping her?" she said, nodding her head and lifting out another one. She held the grim photograph of Ashley's mother, Risa, hanging from a noose made from her own trousers in front of her convicted killer's wife. Olivia stared past the picture at the woman glaring at her, "What about her mother? He strangled her and hung her by her own clothing, faking her suicide," she said bitterly.

Deborah shook her head, "He wasn't the only one, others were convicted…he was part of your spiteful witch hunt, because he wasn't interested in you!" she spat.

Olivia smiled, "Five other guards were convicted of rape and sexual assault, all at the behest of your husband. Harris instigated and organized everything, he was using and abusing women, every…single…day in Sealview and when he came home…he raped you too," Olivia finished quietly in a knowing tone.

Deborah slid the chair backwards and stood up, moving towards the caged window.

Elliot was on his feet instantly and moved in behind her, leaning close, "Touch a nerve there Debs? I asked you what it was like being married to a rapist and a murderer...I don't remember you giving me an answer," he said quietly, glancing over his shoulder at his partner.

The curly haired woman looked out the window at the darkened streets of Manhattan below and sighed, "Lowell was the first man I ever made love to, where I'm from, a woman stands by her husband detective…til death us do part," she replied absently, lost in her own reverie.

"Or until he's convicted of murder and rape," Olivia added flatly.

Deborah turned round and glared past Elliot's imposing frame at the seated detective, "Enjoy your moment while it lasts," she said cryptically.

Olivia's face remained expressionless as she watched the woman at the window, "What happens tomorrow?" she asked, closing the file in front of her.

Alex watched motionless through the window as Deborah Lawson stood up and stepped away from the table. Alex moved her eyes to Olivia and wondered what she was thinking, she was executing remarkable control so far, given the strenuous circumstances.

"Huang's on his way," Cragen announced as he entered the observation area. He looked through the window and nodded with his head towards the occupants in the room, "Anything?" he asked, without turning.

Alex shrugged, "Nothing we didn't already know," she replied, disappointment clearly marking her tone.

Cragen watched as Elliot adjusted his stance, blocking Lawson's view of Olivia, "Early days counselor, they'll get it, they always do," he said confidently.

Alex nodded, "I know Don, at the very least we can bring Federal charges against her under the new anti-terrorism legislation, that alone merits preventive detention," she replied.

Cragen turned to her, "Detention without trial?" he asked.

"Why not? Keeps Liv safe until DC at least, let the Feds deal with Lawson," she answered coldly, her eyes never leaving the glass.

Fin scanned the journal while his partner drove. He shifted the angle of the small flashlight in his hand, allowing him to read the entries more clearly. He shook his head at a list the woman had made titled, 'ingredients', which did in fact contain the key components to making your own, home made explosives. He shared his findings with his partner who groaned in response.

"At least we know Liv's in good hands," Munch replied, knowing his partner knew what he meant.

Fin nodded, "Yeah they're good together. Liv deserves to be happy, she's seen enough shit," he said, turning the page of the large diary.

"So has Alex," Munch reminded him as he glanced at his partner. He looked at the book in Fin's hands and thought about Sealview, he had asked Fin about the prison after he and Olivia had returned, but his partner had always refused to talk about it. He decided to try again, given their current investigation, "What did you see in Sealview?" he asked cautiously.

"Enough." Fin replied abruptly as his eyes quickly scanned the pages. He frowned as he recognized a name, "I'll be damned," he said as he dropped the flashlight and pulled out his cellphone.

Olivia waited for the woman to answer and was about to repeat the question when her cellphone rang, she pulled it from her pocket and checked the caller display. She casually rose from the table and moved towards the corner of the room, standing between the mirror and the wall.

"Yeah?" she asked in greeting, listening as Fin relayed the findings from the latest journal entries and a brief summary of other relevant information. At the mention of a familiar name, she turned round and faced the two figures standing at the window. She listened for another few minutes, keeping her responses minimal and vague before ending the call. She made no move to return to the table, choosing instead to lean against the wall and fold her arms.

Deborah studied Olivia's face trying to read her expression as she stepped around Elliot and moved back to her chair with Elliot following closely behind her.

Once they were both seated, Olivia took a step forward, "What's your relationship with Kurt Moss?" she asked Deborah pointedly.

Deborah's lips parted involuntarily at his name, she lifted her eyes and returned Olivia's penetrating gaze, "He's the man that's going to destroy your career," she replied in an even tone.

"Really? How's he gonna do that?" Olivia retorted as she stopped beside the table and unfolded her arms.

Deborah smiled, "By printing the pictures I'll be giving him, exposing you for what you are..you filthy, lying dyke," she spat out.

Olivia smiled, "That's quite a mouth you have there, you seem to be forgetting one thing…" she paused as she reached across the table and picked up the photograph of her and Alex kissing, "…you're not going anywhere," she said quietly, shaking her head.

Cragen hung up his cellphone and met the expectant gaze of the blonde ADA, "It seems our woman has been meeting with Kurt Moss regularly over the past year," he said, turning as he heard movement behind him.

George Huang entered the observation area and looked between both anxious faces, "What can I do?" he asked in his signature, mild mannered tone.

Cragen pointed to the glass, "You can tell me if she's a nut or not, for starters," he replied, tapping gently on the window.

George stood in front of Alex, placing a comforting hand on top of her folded arms, "Are you okay? That must have been quite an ordeal with Agent Porter," he asked softly.

Alex nodded, looking at Olivia as she exited the interrogation room, "I was in safe hands," she said, smiling as her eyes connected with her lover.

George studied her face and smiled knowingly, he turned as the door closed and nodded in greeting towards Elliot and Olivia. He motioned with his head to the window, "Can someone give me some background?" he asked.

Cragen spoke first, "Doc, why don't you and Elliot come to the office and I'll bring you both up to speed," he said.

"What about Moss?" Olivia asked.

Cragen looked at her, "Munch and Fin are already on their way over to the Ledger," he replied.

"Please Cap, I want to talk to him, it might just be a coincidence," Olivia said, trying desperately to believe her own words. She knew how Kurt's investigative mind worked and how he felt about the NYPD, "Moss trusts me, he won't say anything to Munch or Fin, not if there's a story in it…" she paused and dipped her head, "…but, he'll talk to me," she said, lifting her eyes and meeting his gaze.

Cragen looked at her for a few seconds, "Okay. Use caution though, don't tip our hand about Deranged Debs in there," he said motioning with his head to the woman behind the window, "I'd hate to give the press a freebie."


Chapter 18: Old Flames

Olivia and Alex exited the cab outside the opulent building that housed the New York Ledger and more importantly, Kurt Moss. Alex knew Olivia had dated Kurt for six months a couple of years ago, Olivia had shared that with her up at the cabin the previous week. The revelation that she had been dating him during her undercover assignment at Sealview however, came as more of a surprise.

Olivia watched as Fin and Munch walked towards them and smiled in greeting.

"Ladies," Munch said cordially, tipping his felt hat chivalrously in the cool night air.

Fin rolled his eyes at his partner, "How d'you wanna play it Liv?" he asked, motioning with his head towards the entrance.

Olivia nodded, "Why don't you wait in the all night coffee shop downstairs and we'll go talk to Kurt," she suggested.

Alex was pleased she had said, 'we', having feared Olivia's silence in the taxi ride over indicated she was planning on talking to the editor alone.

Fin nodded, "Sounds good, if you need anything…" he trailed off, noticing the look directed towards him from the brunette.

"Yeah, I'll call you," Olivia confirmed, eager to get inside and find out what her ex boyfriend's connection to the ex wife of the man who sexually assaulted her was.

Alex thrust her hands into the pockets of the borrowed leather coat as the wind picked up, "Shall we?" she asked, taking a step towards the entrance.

Three heads nodded and moved in the direction of the lobby.

Cragen and Elliot stood outside the interrogation room, both with hands deep in their pockets and both with eyes unmoving on the scene through the glass.

George Huang had been talking with Deborah Lawson for almost thirty minutes, the woman was the epitome of calm and politeness. She had no issues answering the questions and freely volunteered information about her life with Lowell Harris. When George had mentioned Olivia's name, however, she had perceptibly flinched and blinked slowly each time.

"We need to know what she was planning to do with the c-4," Elliot said, sighing in frustration.

Cragen nodded, "He's working up to it, d'you see her reaction each time he says Olivia's name?" he asked.

"Yeah, I don't like it. What's Moss involved with her for, he must know what Harris did to Liv, right?" he asked, shifting his eyes to look at Cragen.

Cragen sighed and cast his eyes down to his left and peered at the time on the watch peeking out of his pocket, "We'll soon find out," he replied as he lifted his eyes back to the window.

The elevator ride was quiet, both women stood beside each other at the back of the empty car, watching the numbers flash as they ascended past each floor.

"Would you rather speak with him alone?" Alex finally asked the question that had been trying to escape for the last five minutes.

Olivia shifted slightly to look at her and frowned, "Would you rather I spoke with him alone?" she replied.

Alex shrugged, "I don't want you to feel awkward," she admitted.

"Why would I feel awkward, he's an ex boyfriend who knew I was in love with you, he's the one that's gonna feel awkward when I walk in with you, wearing my favorite coat no less," she answered smiling.

Alex appreciated the levity for what it was and felt the rising tension recede as she stepped closer to Olivia, "Who are you kidding," she said, tugging on the black velvet blazer Olivia wore, "You have an endless supply of jackets," she teased, smoothing her hand down the soft fabric.

Olivia snorted, "I keep at least three complete changes of clothing at work, I learned the hard way as a rookie detective after I spent an uncomfortable day in wet cotton," she said, shaking her head at the soggy memory.

"Pity it wasn't silk," Alex replied quietly.

Olivia shook her head, not understanding, as Alex dipped her head in a familiar gesture.

"See through," she whispered before tenderly kissing the parted lips.

Olivia was about to deepen the kiss when a chiming echoed throughout the car, announcing their arrival on Kurt's floor.

Kurt Moss sat with his chair swiveled towards the Manhattan skyline, sipping slowly from a glass of ten year old, malt whisky. He had received the call announcing Olivia's arrival a few minutes ago and his mind raced at the reasons for her visit. He hadn't spoken to her in a while, they had slowly drifted apart and he knew he couldn't compete with the legendary, Alexandra Cabot. He clutched the glass in his hand a little tighter and felt the crystal jabbing into his palm. He turned in his chair at the soft knock against his office door frame.

"Olivia," he said warmly as he rose to his feet and stepped around his desk to greet her.

Olivia entered the office with Alex closely behind her and stopped in the centre of the room. She waited until Alex was beside her before acknowledging he had spoken, "Kurt," she replied coolly.

He frowned as he tried to read her expression, the hostility in her tone unmistakable. He looked to the tall blonde beside her and held out his hand, "Kurt Moss," he said, introducing himself.

Alex shook his hand and smiled, "Alex Cabot," she replied, nodding her head.

"Yes, I know all about you Miss Cabot," he said, forcing a smile on his face. He caught the feral look that flashed through Olivia's dark eyes and shook his head apologetically, "I'm sorry, what I meant tot say was that Olivia's told me a lot about you," he clarified, motioning to the two chairs at his desk, "Please sit, can I get either of you something to drink?" he asked cordially, deliberately brushing past Olivia as he moved behind his desk and settled into his chair once more.

The move did not go unnoticed by Alex who followed his movements with an icy glare.

"No thanks," Olivia said, while Alex shook her head negatively in response.

Kurt lifted the glass of malt and took another sip, "What can I do for you at this late hour?" he asked quietly, rolling the glass in his hand.

Olivia leaned forward in the chair, resting her elbows on top of her thighs and clasping her hands together, "What's your relationship with Deborah Harris?" she asked him directly, deliberately using the woman's married name.

Kurt looked down at his glass before placing it carefully on his desk, "She's a source," he replied, meeting her eyes.

"She's the wife of a convicted killer and rapist, what information can she possibly have, that's of interest to the Ledger?" she asked, indicating the large newspaper sign behind him on his right.

Kurt sighed, "After Lowell Harris was convicted, his wife approached this paper with exclusive information about more corruption at other prisons that Harris has worked at," he replied.

Alex frowned and shook her head, "Harris was convicted over eighteen months ago for his crimes, what newspaper takes almost two years to publish an alleged exclusive?" she asked skeptically.

"Alleged?" he said, his eyebrows shooting into his hairline, "Your reputation precedes you Miss Cabot," he retorted, pursing his thin lips together tightly.

Olivia looked at the man she had once been intimate with, a man she had shared her secrets with and realized there was a reason she'd never told him personally about the events at Sealview, never having understood that until now. She watched his reaction to Alex's question and wondered if anything he had ever old her had been the truth, "What sort of information has she given you?" she asked.

He shifted his eyes to Olivia, "So far, we've published three stories about two other correctional facilities and their corrupt judicial figures, all based on her initial information," he answered.

"But nothing that will land the Ledger the Pulitzer," Alex added, not believing a word the editor was saying.

He moved his eyes to the blonde, "Not yet. She's been hinting at something big since we first met, always refused to give me any details, saying the time wasn't right...I've got a meeting scheduled with her tomorrow, she called earlier today and said she was ready to show me everything," he said, looking between the two women.

"What time did she call you?" Olivia asked.

Kurt frowned, "Just after 5pm, why?" he asked, confusion marking his features.

"We'll just be a few minutes, just need to check something," Olivia replied as she rose from the chair, motioning for Alex to follow.

Kurt watched as they walked down the hallway until they disappeared from view, he reached into the bottom drawer and retrieved the bottle of Malt, pouring himself another two fingers of the amber liquid before reaching for his phone.


Chapter 19: Disclosure

Olivia ended the call and slipped the cellphone into her pocket. She turned and met the expectant gaze of the blonde leaning against the bathroom wall.

"Anything?" Alex asked hopefully.

Olivia moved towards her, "Not much, Huang's still in with her. Elliot's going to run a check on Kurt's alleged prison corruption stories, be a few minutes," she replied.

"Do you believe him?"

Olivia shrugged her shoulders and shook her head, "Two weeks ago, I wouldn't have believed Dean Porter would be so unhinged that he would plot to kill you," she answered quietly.

Alex stepped closer, placing both hands gently on Olivia's velvet clad shoulders, "Two weeks ago I wouldn't have believed I'd be here with you," she said affectionately.

"In the bathroom of the New York Ledger?" Olivia asked, tilting her head.

Alex moved a hand to stroke Olivia's cheek, "With the love of my life," she answered simply.

Olivia felt her heart stop and looked lovingly into bright, blue eyes, "Me neither, but we are," she said smiling, savoring the tender caress against her cheek.

Alex dipped her head and kissed her lips, feeling the skin warm beneath her fingers. She moved her hands to cradle Olivia's neck and deepened their connection, feeling Olivia's hands slip inside the leather coat and slide around her back, easing her forward. Alex felt Olivia's tongue tangle with her own in an unhurried exploration of sensation, she moaned as her mind remembered the pleasure that tongue had brought her over the past two weeks and felt a familiar ache between her legs. She pulled back, placing a final, delicate kiss on the parted lips and closed her eyes, resting her forehead against Olivia's, sighing contentedly.

Olivia released one of her hands and brought it up to smooth away blonde hair, "What?" she asked gently, stroking the long silky strands soothingly.

Alex opened her eyes and moved her head back, looking into dark, dilated orbs, "I love you so much," she whispered.

Olivia smiled, "I love you too, have I told you how much I really wanna go home?" she asked, trying not to whine.

Alex nodded, considering her next words carefully, "Once or twice…I know this is difficult for you…would you do something for me?"

"Always," Olivia replied instantly, leaning forward and kissing her soundly.

Alex smiled into the sweet kiss and lifted a hand to brush the hair from Olivia's face as they parted, "I need some sugar," she said smiling.

Olivia snorted, pulling her close, "What is it with you and bathrooms?" she teased, kissing her again.

Alex laughed, swatting her playfully on the ass as she pulled away, "Not that kind of sugar, I need some caffeine, would you mind?" she asked, giving Olivia her best smile.

Olivia nodded, "Sure, Kurt's going nowhere. I'm waiting for El to call me back anyway," she said, tugging Alex towards the door.

"Actually, would you mind going? I need to…you know," she replied, tilting her head towards the stalls.

Olivia shook her head, "What? Go talk to my ex boyfriend while I'm downstairs?" she asked knowingly.

Alex bit her lip, "That obvious?" she asked, screwing up her face.

"Just a bit," she answered, indicating how much with her index finger and thumb.

Alex sighed, "Sorry," she said honestly.

Olivia smiled, "It's not a bad idea, I'll go down and get us something to drink, fill the guys in and talk to El."

Alex nodded, "And I'll go talk to your ex," she added, waggling her eyebrows.

Kurt listened to the answering machine message again before slamming the handset into the cradle. He looked at the drink in his hand and felt his stomach threaten to rebel. He placed it as far away from his hand as the confines of the desk would allow. He looked up as he caught movement in the hallway, watching trough the clear walls of his office as the solitary figure of Alex Cabot approached.

"Where's Liv?" he asked as she entered the office.

Alex lowered herself into the visitors chair, "Getting coffee," she replied, shifting to cross her legs, swiftly changing her mind as she remembered her damaged knees.

"You don't like me, do you?" he asked.

Alex schooled her features, impressed at his bluntness, "I don't know you," she replied.

He studied the woman seated before him, oozing polite indifference and nodded, "I would never hurt her," he said, meeting and holding her gaze.

"Then what's the story with Deborah?"

Kurt sighed, "Everything I said was true, she has given us some good information that has led to conditions being improved in two correctional facilities and enhanced our reputation as serious investigative journalists looking to expose the truth," he said, glancing at the glass at the corner of his desk.

Alex nodded, "What about her big story, why are you so interested in it? She's been dangling it in front of you for almost two years, surely you must have some inkling as to what she's about to expose?" she asked coolly.

"No. Every time I've asked her, she's refused to discuss any details, claiming she was gathering evidence from her own sources. Given the reliable information she's given us for the previous three stories, I have no reason to doubt her credibility," he replied calmly.

Alex shook her head in disbelief, "Her credibility? You trust the information given to you by the woman whose husband sexually assaulted your then girlfriend?" she asked incredulously.

"Would you have asked me that if I hadn't been dating Olivia?"

Alex nodded affirmatively in response and studied him as he pursed his lips again. She watched as he reached for the scotch and took a sip, swallowing audibly.

He looked at the swirling amber liquid as he rolled the glass in his hand, "I have no idea what she was going to show me. She's hinted that she's been following someone and that it would expose the cover up that convicted her husband. She's told me why she divorced him and of her loyalty to him…my interests in her are…more than professional," he said, sighing heavily.

Alex instantly thought he was about to disclose a romantic relationship with Deborah Lawson and shook her head in bewilderment, "You…and Deborah Lawson?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Olivia stepped into the coffee shop, across the lobby of the Ledger, instantly spotting Munch and Fin seated at a window booth. She moved to the counter and ordered a cup of tea.

Two pairs of expectant eyes followed her as she slid into the booth, choosing to sit next to Fin and not disturb the seat Munch had allocated for his prized felt trilby.

"Where's Cabot?" Munch asked.

Olivia dipped the teabag into her polystyrene cup, "Talking with Moss," she replied, pouring a healthy amount of white sugar into her drink.

"Alone?" Fin asked, turning in his seat sideways to look at her.

Olivia nodded, "Yeah, I'm waiting for Elliot to call me back," she replied, lifting the cup and taking a sip of the sweet, boiling liquid.

Munch looked across the table and met the curious gaze of his partner before addressing Olivia, "Doesn't that make you even a little uncomfortable, leaving them alone together?" he asked, shaking his head.

"No, Kurt's not a threat," she answered, playing with the tag hanging form the teabag on the side of her cup.

Fin snorted, "But Cabot is…leaving your girl alone with your ex, that's just asking for trouble," he said knowingly, clearly speaking from experience.

"Are you about to share some sordid story from your debauched past, my friend?" Munch asked hopefully.

"You wish," Fin retorted

Olivia contemplated what Fin was saying and realized how surreal her situation really was, "She's up there as an ADA looking for some answers, not my girlfriend looking to score points against my ex boyfriend," she said, knowing that was true.

Munch shrugged his shoulders, "I wish I could agree, but every time I get married the new Mrs Munch can't wait to meet the old one…it's never pretty," he said, shaking his head.

Fin laughed, "Who you kidding? You love watching them fighting over your bony ass," he said, watching as his partner feigned outrage.

Olivia snorted with laughter as she retrieved the ringing cellphone form her pocket.

Kurt shook his head, "Oh my God..no," he responded instantly, realizing Alex was asking if he was romantically involved with Lowell Harris' ex wife.

Alex felt a small wave of relief wash over her, the idea of her girlfriend's ex boyfriend romantically involved with the ex wife of the man convicted of sexually assaulting her, was almost too much to comprehend. She nodded, "You need to tell me exactly what's going on with you and Deborah, for your own sake," she advised sternly.

"I don't respond well to threats Miss Cabot," he replied, regaining his composure.

Alex eased herself out of the chair and looked at him, "Fine. Deborah Lawson is currently facing federal charges, I'll be sure to advise the appropriate authorities of your involvement with her and your lack of co-operation with local law enforcement officials," she said, turning and heading for the open door.

"Wait," he said sharply.

Alex stopped at the door and turned, raising a single eyebrow in question.

"Deborah Harris, Lawson…whatever, approached me not long after her husband's trial. She was convinced he had been framed. I know what you're going to say and I agree, he is a cold blooded murdering bastard that was lucky to have escaped the death penalty. Deborah will never accept that, for all the meetings I've had with her, I can tell she's obsessed with proving his innocence. She asked for my help exposing the corruption involved with his cover up in exchange for information about other facilities Harris has worked at," he said, raising the glass to his lips once more.

"Go on," Alex prompted as she moved back to the chair and resumed her seated position.

Kurt swallowed, "Has Olivia told you about Sealview?" he asked.

Alex fielded the loaded curve ball with ease, "That's not relevant here," she answered calmly.

"But it is…you were right, we were dating while she was undercover at Sealview. I had no idea she was in there until she got out. You have to understand, we didn't talk about work when we were together, she…she wanted something entirely separate from what she did all day and when I saw her…after Sealview and asked her what happened…she never told me, not once," he paused, taking another sip.

Alex absorbed this information, instantly recalling the conversation she and Olivia had shared on the roof of the 16h precinct a couple of hours ago. She watched as Kurt drained the last of the scotch from the glass.

He sat the empty glass on the desk, "I finally heard what happened to her…when she testified against him in court…and by then we weren't together anymore. I loved her, would have done anything for her, but she wouldn't let me in and gradually pulled away," he said, blinking slowly at the sad memories.

Alex empathized with him, understanding the pain he must have felt, desperate to help Olivia, but being rebuffed at every turn. She leaned forward in the chair, "She considers you a great friend Kurt," she said quietly.

He looked at her doubtfully.

"She told me about you, how you were the only one she trusted, the only one she shared her true feelings with," she said.

Kurt nodded, "About you?"

"Amongst other things…Olivia never told her partner about her feelings for me, I always assumed there were no secrets between them," she divulged, sensing a change in their conversation.

Kurt nodded in agreement, "She never told Elliot about me either, IAB did," he said smiling weakly.

Alex frowned, "IAB?"

"They were working a case, about a month after she got out of Sealview…a football player, anyway…she accidently outed him…we printed it and IAB suspended her. Elliot stormed in here, asking for my help clearing her name…she walked in on us having a heated discussion," he said.

Alex shook her head, "Olivia gave you the story?" she asked in confusion.

"No, she was accused of doing so though. I signed an affidavit confirming she hadn't given me the information and she was cleared. That was how Elliot found out we were dating, all those months together and she never told him," he replied.

Alex clasped her hands together in front of her, "She's very adept at compartmentalizing, I think that's why she's so good at her job and dealing with the horrors she sees every day," she supplied.

Kurt sighed, "I saw how bruised she was after Sealview, I saw the pain in her eyes…she didn't sleep and if she did, it was with a light on. I watched her withdraw and I tried so hard…" he paused as he felt the emotion rising in his throat, he blew out a calming breath, "I used Deborah to cling on to the past, she's always been polite and appeared genuinely eager to right wrongs of injustice, I thought I could find out what Lowell Harris was really like, to understand what Olivia went through," he finished.

Alex dropped her gaze and looked at the phone on his desk, "Who did you call when we left?" she asked, noticing the curling cord hanging over the side that hadn't been visible before.

Kurt's eyes instinctively moved to the phone, "Deborah, to find out what was going on. Whatever she's doing, I have no idea what she's up to," he answered honestly.

Alex studied the editor's face, noticing the dark circles and the weariness in his small eyes and the tremble in his hand, "She's been following Olivia since the trial, she's hired at least one investigator to capture photographic evidence that Olivia and I are in a relationship. Her home was searched a few hours ago revealing a room covered with at least a thousand pictures covertly taken of Olivia…she's also kept journals for almost two years outlining Olivia's movements," she paused for a second, studying his shocked expression before adding, "They also found home made c-4 plastic explosives," she finished.

Kurt's mouth fell open, "My God…I had no idea, she never mentioned Olivia…well, she did once, after the trial, the first time we met…she asked if I thought Olivia volunteered for undercover work…I never really paid it much attention…" he said, trailing off as he pondered the consequences of his actions. He looked at Alex, "Did she say why?" he asked.

Alex nodded, "According to Deborah…you're going to help her destroy Olivia," she replied flatly.

Kurt slammed his fist on the desk, startling Alex, "I would never hurt Olivia…if I thought for one second Deborah was plotting something like this I would have gone to the police…to Olivia," he spat angrily.

Alex studied his reaction and nodded her head, "She's never discussed anything with you that seemed odd or unrelated to the information she had previously provided?" she asked.

He shook his head, "No…I have no idea why she's doing what she's doing, " he said, processing the new information. He frowned, "She thinks Olivia is responsible for her husband's incarceration?" he asked as the pieces of the puzzle slid into place.

Alex nodded, "Apparently, we have no idea what she was planning with the c-4. Why does she think you would publish pictures of Olivia that could potentially harm her credibility and career?" she asked, omitting the potential damage to her own political aspirations with an uncontrolled public outing.

Kurt bowed his head, "In the beginning I may have given her the impression that Olivia was not one of my favorite members of law enforcement," he admitted shamefully, without meeting her gaze. He looked down a the drawer and reached to open it.

"Does that help?" Alex asked.

He looked up and followed her eyes as they rested on the empty crystal glass, "We all have our crutches to see us through the day…It blurs the edges," he replied, closing the drawer.

Alex softened her gaze and smiled at him, "Olivia really does care about you, I think you should talk to her once this is all over," she said quietly.

"And start where? I listened to her pour her heart out over you, how she felt about you and I didn't even feel angry…I just felt lucky to be a part of her life and honored she trusted me enough to tell me…" he paused and searched her eyes, "…even if Deborah had given me pictures of you and Olivia, did you really think I would print them?" he asked, holding her gaze.

Alex shook her head, "No and neither does she," she confirmed.


Chapter 20: Home

The Editor's office at the Ledger was quiet as two seated figures sat in contemplative silence, processing everything that had been said between them.

Alex jumped as the cellphone in her coat pocket shrilled loudly and retrieved it quickly, "Cabot," she said in greeting, casually shifting her gaze to the floor at her feet.

"How's it going?" Olivia asked.

Alex nodded absently, "Good," she replied cryptically, trying to keep the callers identity private.

"Is he a good guy or a bad guy? 'Cos Munch and Fin wanna go home. Elliot called, Lawson's got no other agenda, she really was just a woman scorned, out for revenge," Olivia said.

Alex nodded again, "At least that's something. What about the c-4? Has she said what that was for?"

Olivia paused, "If Kurt refused to publish her story and the pictures…she was going to use him to get to us and …blow us up…after she'd confronted us," she said quietly.

Alex gasped and lifted her eyes to meet Kurt's curious gaze, "I think you should come up," she said.

Alex noticed Kurt's eyes shift to something behind her and turned, instinctively knowing who he was looking at. She smiled at the brunette walking along the hallway and ended the call, placing the phone back in her pocket.

Olivia entered, carrying a polystyrene cup which she held out for Alex, "Sorry I took so long, I went to Brazil for fresh beans," she said with mock seriousness, handing over the hot drink.

Alex smiled, savoring the brief contact as their fingers brushed against each other, "Thanks," she said as she accepted the cup.

Kurt watched their interaction, suddenly feeling awkward and rose from his chair, "I'll be back in a minute, I'll look out the articles that we printed based on Deborah's information," he said, not meeting Olivia's eyes.

Olivia watched as he ambled down the hallway, she turned to Alex, "Is he okay?" she asked with genuine concern.

Alex reached for her hand, "He had no idea she was plotting your downfall, it would appear his interest in her was rather more personal," she said as Olivia lowered herself into the seat next to her.

Olivia's eyes widened as her eyebrows shot into her hairline and her mouth fell open in surprise.

"No, not like that," Alex said, shaking her head.

Olivia nodded, "So what's his story then?" she asked, blowing out a sigh of relief.

Kurt lifted the large, print issue pieces of newsprint from the table and headed back to his office. As he rounded the corner, he noticed Alex was gone.

"Where's Miss Cabot?" he asked, placing the large sheets on his desk.

Olivia smiled, "Downstairs, she said she thought we should talk," she replied.

He nodded and looked down at her, "She's very astute," he commented.

Olivia stood up and moved in front of him, she searched his tired eyes for a few seconds before reaching out a hand and cupping his face, "I never meant to hurt you," she said quietly, shaking her head to enforce her words.

He nodded, "I know," he replied softly.

Olivia shook her head, "I'm sorry I pulled away. After Sealview I know I was…difficult to be around, but I couldn't go back there, I couldn't think about it, let alone talk about it with someone I cared about," she admitted sadly.

He sighed and smiled, "But you have talked about it now," he stated.

She nodded, "It took a long time to accept that I wasn't responsible and it wasn't my fault, but I can't live in the past…" she paused and leaned in closer, "…and neither should you," she whispered.

He bobbed his head and looked at her for a long moment, "You and Alex…you're really together?" he finally asked.

Olivia beamed instantly, "Yeah," she said, unable to shield the happiness radiating from her eyes.

He reached out and held her close, "Then don't hide yourself from her, she's going nowhere," he said in a hushed tone.

Olivia swallowed as she hugged him back, "I won't," she answered, her voice barely above a whisper.

After a comforting moment Kurt pulled back and released her, feeling settled for the first time in months. He nodded his head, "Care to fill me in on the latest news?" he asked, subtly shifting the path of their emotional conversation.

Olivia stepped back and told him the latest developments. After a few minutes she shrugged her shoulders, "Nothing more we can do, she'll be moved into federal custody in the morning," she said.

Kurt was sitting on the edge of his desk, listening intently and shaking his head in disbelief, "I had no idea she was hunting you down in some deranged revenge attack Liv, if I had…I would have told you," he said, once she was finished.

"I know," she replied.

Kurt looked at his watch, "It's late, you'd better not keep her waiting any longer," he commented lightly, referring to the feisty blonde.

"Thanks Kurt, maybe we can catch up once I get back from DC?" she asked hopefully, shaking her head.

Kurt pondered the question and nodded, "I'd like that," he answered, smiling.

After a few seconds of searching each other's faces, Olivia motioned with her head to the door, "I gotta go."

He nodded, watching as she turned and headed for the door, "Liv?"

"Yeah?" she said, looking over her shoulder.

He smiled, "Promise me an exclusive after the Porter trial?"

She shook her head and snorted, "Not a chance," she replied, returning his smile as she turned and walked away.

Alex looked up as the familiar figure entered the coffee shop and smiled at her in greeting, "You okay?" she asked.

Olivia nodded, "Yeah, where's Munch and Fin?" she asked, concerned Alex had been left on her own.

Alex shook her head, "It's almost midnight, I was scared Munch would turn into a creature of the undead, so I sent them home. Cragen called while you were upstairs and said everyone was calling it a day," she answered.

Olivia smiled, "Munch already is a creature of the undead…c'mon," she said, holding out her hand and sighing, "We're going home," she said.

Alex reached for her hand, allowing herself to be pulled form the seat, "You know technically, it's my home," she said lightly, smiling at her.

Olivia leaned in and kissed her on the cheek, "Wherever I am with you is home," she whispered, hearing the sudden hitch in Alex's breathing at her words.

"Are you hungry?" Alex asked as she opened the door to the apartment.

Olivia yawned as she followed the blonde, closing the door behind her, "Not really, considering we haven't eaten anything since lunch, I'm surprised my stomach hasn't rebelled," she said as her stomach grumbled, right on cue.

Alex turned and smiled, placing her hand over Olivia's toned stomach, "Time to feed the beast," she quipped.

Olivia waggled her eyebrows as she pinned Alex against the wall, "You read my mind," she breathed out seductively, leaning in and capturing the parted lips as she pushed at the leather coat.

Alex wrapped her arms around her, holding her tightly and melting in to her touch. She blindly reached up and pushed the velvet blazer off Olivia's shoulders, reaching for the buttons on her fitted shirt. She felt Olivia tugging at her jeans and thrust her hips towards her eager hands. Their lips parted as Olivia pushed the jeans down the slender legs until she remembered Alex's damaged knees and stopped.

"What?" Alex panted, pushing the shirt down Olivia's arms.

Olivia smiled, "I was almost thrown from a roof and you fell over some trash, I don't know about you, but I could really use a shower," she answered, finding it hard to believe all that happened to them over the past thirteen hours.

Alex sighed, "Yeah, why don't you shower first and I'll put some soup on…something light before bed," she said, pulling her jeans back up.

Olivia nodded, retrieving her fallen clothing from the floor. She kissed Alex tenderly, "Can we have tomato?" she asked as their lips parted.

Alex smiled in response before they moved down the hallway, parting at the entrance to the living room.

Alex placed the pot of fresh tomato soup on the hob and turned the heat down low. She moved from the kitchen to the living room where she kicked off her sneakers before heading down the hallway.

She entered her bedroom and stopped.

Her eyes were immediately drawn to the patiently waiting, naked brunette, leaning casually against the bathroom door with her arms folded.

Olivia smiled as she pushed off the door and moved slowly towards her.

Alex's eyes soaked in the visual delights of her approaching lover, "Are we saving water again?" she asked lightly as Olivia removed her sweater.

"Something like that," Olivia replied, wrapping her arms around the blonde and unclasping her bra. She dropped slowly to her knees and carefully removed the denim, mindful of the plaster covered knees and lifted each foot gently to remove her socks. She reached up and eased Alex's underwear down her long, lean legs, enjoying the view from her vantage point.

Alex blew out a shaky breath as Olivia kissed her way slowly up her body, paying particular attention to her damaged knees. When Olivia's lips kissed the valley between her breasts she could stand it no more and wrapped her arms around the brunette, pressing their bodies together. After several searing kisses they parted and moved towards the bathroom door where Alex brought them to a stop, reaching out to switch off the bedroom light.

"What d'you do that for?" Olivia asked.

Alex grinned and pushed her playfully through the open door, "Who needs lights when I've got you…my little firefly," she teased, closing the door behind her.

Part 21

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