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 21: Pandora's Box

Alex glanced at the digital display on the bedside clock and sighed, disappointed she had only been asleep for a few hours. She moved her eyes slowly around the room, allowing them to adjust to the darkness before glancing down at the body, draped across her own.

They had made love in the shower until there was no hot water left and then spent a leisurely amount of time toweling each other dry which had, inevitably, led to more passionate exploration. The tomato soup Alex had left cooking slowly on the stove was more of a pureed mixture by the time they made their way to the kitchen, both settling for sandwiches with ice cold milk instead.

The conversation had been light and loving, teasing and playful as both women forgot the outside world and all its' uncontrollable madness and focused on each other. Alex had wanted to ask Olivia about Sealview, but didn't want to press her, accepting that Olivia would tell her when she was ready.

Alex ran her left hand delicately along the naked body wrapped around her own and closed her eyes, determined to live in this moment and not think about Deborah Lawson or her husband and definitely not about Dean Porter or their fast approaching trip to Washington.

She smiled as she remembered Olivia's thoughtfulness as they had crawled, exhausted into bed, Olivia insisting she lay on her back so she wouldn't hurt her scraped knees. She swallowed the lump in her throat and opened her eyes, blinking away a few stray tears. Her mind was full of anger towards Lowell Harris and his demented ex wife, the photographs of Olivia's battered body and face fresh in her mind and impossible to forget. She felt more tears flowing and didn't want to disturb Olivia's much needed slumber, especially after the emotional day she had endured. She carefully moved Olivia off her body and slid out of bed, snagging her silk robe from the back of the chair in front of the dresser as she passed.

She padded silently on bare feet out of the room and down the hallway, choosing to keep the lights off as she settled into the corner of the large white sofa. She leaned forward and cradled her face in her hands, weeping silently. Her mind raced over the events of the past two weeks and how lucky they both were to be with each other. Alex knew Olivia had dealt with the events of Sealview, knew she had processed whatever had happened to her, but her mind kept wondering how different it would all be if they weren't together. She doubted Olivia would ever have confided in her about the events that transpired at Sealview or the hurt she had suffered, mentally and physically and felt an enormous blanket of guilt settle uncomfortably around her shoulders.

Olivia watched from the doorway as Alex wept into her hands and felt her heart break at the sight. She moved slowly across the room until she stood beside the sofa, not wanting to startle Alex. She plucked at the sleeves of the sweater she had donned and waited until the younger woman looked up at her with watery eyes.

Olivia smiled and sat down, turning towards her with open arms. Alex moved into the embrace and sagged against her. Olivia ran her fingers through messy, blonde hair and held her gently as she smoothed her other hand across the silk back in soothing circles.

After a few minutes, Alex pulled back to look into Olivia's face in the darkened living room, "I'm sorry," she whispered.

Olivia frowned, "For what?" she said, shaking her head slightly.

"Waking you up, you need to rest," Alex answered, smiling weakly.

Olivia smiled, "I woke up the second you slid out of bed, I figured you were going for a glass of water or something…I gave you five minutes before coming to look for you," she replied.

Alex sighed and shook her head before leaning forward and brushing their mouths together, tightening her hold on the dark haired woman as she deepened the needy kiss.

Olivia pulled back and cupped Alex's face, placing a feather light kiss on her parted lips, "I love you Lex…you can tell me anything," she whispered.

Alex nodded, "I know," she answered.

"Please tell me," Olivia encouraged.

They settled against the back of the sofa with Alex cradled in Olivia's arms in the lifting darkness. Olivia waited patiently for Alex to speak as she continued to stroke the blonde woman's side lovingly.

Alex sighed, "I woke up and started thinking about everything that's happened to us over the past two weeks…I couldn't stop wondering what this would all be like if we weren't together," she admitted quietly.

"But we are," Olivia confirmed.

Alex tangled her hand in the fabric of Olivia's sweater, "But what if we weren't?," she paused, unsure if she should continue. She tightened her hold and sighed, "I wouldn't know anything about what happened to you at Sealview," she whispered.

Olivia leaned down and kissed the blond crown resting against her chest, "Probably not," she confessed quietly.

Alex lifted her head and looked up at her, "I wish I had been there for you Liv, I wish I had prosecuted him, I wish I could have held you…I wish I hadn't given up on you and ran off to the mountains, " she admitted, swallowing the lump in her throat.

"Sealview has nothing to do with you. You couldn't have stopped what happened, that wasn't your fault…I would have gone undercover even if you had come back and found me," she replied, realizing Alex was still blaming herself.

Alex held her gaze, "I know…I know we've talked about guilt and blame and moved on…but, I love you so much and can't stand the thought of someone hurting you…I look at you and I can't believe we're finally together," she whispered.

Olivia smiled, "Well, we are…hopefully forever," she said, her voice cracking.

Alex leaned up and kissed her, "Definitely," she replied with a tone of finality.

Olivia searched the beautiful face looking up at her, "Sealview is in the past, it's easier for me to keep looking forward and not dwell on what might have been…we've talked about the night you were shot, but you've not really talked about Witsec and I haven't pushed…Alex, I know things have been difficult for you too and…" she hesitated, remembering the conversation with Jon at the cabin, "…whatever happened to you…I want you to know, I'll always be here for you," she said in a hushed tone laced with warmth.

Alex swallowed and bobbed her head slowly, "I know," she answered, losing herself in sad memories for a moment, "Why don't I make some tea? It's almost 4am and we don't have to be anywhere tomorrow."

Olivia nodded, "I'd like that," she answered.

They sat beside each other at the kitchen table, sipping slowly from their cups of sweet tea. The air between them heavy with anticipation as they each waited for the other to start. Olivia played with the handle of her cup and mulled over what she wanted to say until a hand covered her own, halting her fidgeting fingers.

"We can just go back to bed, talk about this later…I don't want you to feel uncomfortable sweetie," Alex said quietly.

Olivia shifted and held the slender hand gently in her own and shook her head, "You could never make me feel uncomfortable," she replied.

Alex smiled, "I hope not, but if you don't feel like talking, then don't…I just want you to know that I'm never going to judge you or make assumptions, okay?" she asked, nodding her head.

Olivia smiled, "Sixteen days ago, I could only dream about sitting half naked in your kitchen at this time of the morning…when you were in Witsec, I used to lie in bed and think what it would be like to be with you, like this…in love and loved by you…those memories pale in comparison to the reality…you've made me so happy, for the first time in my life…I'm really happy, you're the most amazing woman I've ever met Alex and despite all this madness in our lives, I think we had to go our separate ways to reach this point, together…on the same path," she said, searching Alex's face for comprehension.

Alex nodded, "I know what you mean, it doesn't make the distance any easier though…I wish I had been there for you when you were at Sealview," she replied, intertwining their fingers.

Olivia smiled, "I'm not sure that would have made any difference…I didn't talk to anyone about it, you spoke with Kurt...he told you I never discussed it, I couldn't," she said, shrugging her shoulders and dipping her head.

"I would have understood if you didn't want to talk about it, I would have wanted to be in your life, be someone you could sit in silence with and take comfort from, without feeling pressured into talking about it," Alex said quietly, lowering her head to catch Olivia's eyes.

Olivia met her blue gaze and nodded, "I told you on the roof why I had to go undercover, I want to tell you what happened…with Harris," she said slowly, lifting her head.

Alex smiled and nodded, "Take your time," she advised, squeezing the fingers twined with her own.

Olivia sighed, "There was a tuberculosis outbreak at the prison, we were waiting in the mess for our vaccination shots…" she swallowed and shifted in the chair before continuing, "…I was asked to accompany one of the officers, Matthew Parker and I refused. Before we knew it, they had sent in back up, wearing riot gear," she said.

"Just because you wouldn't go with him?" Alex asked, shaking her head.

Olivia nodded, "Yeah, all the women were forcefully restrained," she added, her eyes shifting away from Alex's as she remembered the force with which Matthew Parker had thrown her face down on to the table.

"Was Harris there?"

Olivia blinked, "Harris? Not then, he was watching through the control room window…once everyone was subdued he came over and asked Parker who had started the disruption, he told him it was me...then Harris told me I was going to the 'hole'," she said, swallowing nervously.

"You can stop anytime you want to Liv, okay?" Alex said quietly, squeezing her fingers again tenderly.

Olivia nodded, "I just need some water," she replied, shifting in the chair.

Alex placed a comforting hand gently on her bare thigh, "I'll get it," she said smiling as she rose from the chair and moved towards the fridge. She returned a few minutes later with two, tall glasses of water.

Olivia snorted lightly and accepted a glass from the outstretched hand, shaking her head at the slices of lime floating on top. She took a long drink before placing the glass in front of her, resting her arms on the table.

"What?" Alex asked.

Olivia shook her head again, looking at the carefully sliced lime floating in the water, "Nothing, I just love that everything you touch, you make your own," she said.

"I certainly do," Alex replied, stroking Olivia's bare thigh knowingly.

Olivia dipped her head and smiled before shifting her thoughts back to Sealview, she was pleased when Alex reached for her hand again and squeezed it supportively. She turned and looked into Alex's open face, "Harris led me in the opposite direction of the 'hole', he took me to a basement…there was a mattress on the floor," she faltered, "he um…he um…"

"You don't have to do this Liv, not if it's going to upset you," Alex reminded her, scooting closer in her chair. She released Olivia's hand and slid her arm loosely around the dark haired woman's shoulders, moving her free hand to hold Olivia's once more, creating a complete physical connection with her lover.

Olivia shook her head and returned her gaze to the glass on the table, "I was so scared...I'd never felt terror before…I was sweating and panicking…screaming for help…pleading with him to let me go…I was so scared Alex," she choked out quietly.

Alex leaned in closer and kissed her head, "I love you Liv, you're the bravest person I know…I love you," she repeated softly into the dark hair.

Olivia took comfort from the gentle hold and blew out a cleansing breath, "I was handcuffed, behind my back…he threw me face down on the mattress then pulled me up and kissed me, telling me I must like it 'rough'…I begged him to stop and screamed for help…he said no-one could hear me…he threw me down again and took off his belt," she stopped, lifting the glass of water and taking a long pull of the refreshing liquid.

Alex was desperately holding on to her emotions as she pictured the scene Olivia was vividly painting with her words. She moved her arm lower and rubbed Olivia's back gently, using her touch to keep her lover grounded and connected to the present.

Olivia placed the glass on the table and began stroking the back of Alex's hand with her thumb, "He pulled me up again and pushed me face first into a wall…I was screaming for help the whole time…nobody could hear me…he removed one of the cuffs and I turned, hitting him in the face with my forearm, he fell to the mattress and I ran, looking for somewhere to hide," she paused, taking another sip of the cool water to steady herself, "He found me and…hit me in the stomach and the back of my legs with his baton…I ran to a door and banged for help, screaming…he hit me so hard across my face that it knocked me to my knees…he cuffed me to the bars on the door…he um…"

"It's okay Liv, you can stop," Alex said, blinking back the wetness gathering in her eyes as she remembered the bruising on Olivia's face from the photographs. Her mind was reeling at the scene Olivia was describing, cold fear tingled through her veins at the prospect of what was still to come.

Olivia swallowed as a single tear trickled slowly down her cheek, she shook her head, "He unzipped his pants and pulled out his penis…he warned me if I bit him…I would be 'dead'…he shoved it towards my mouth as he gripped my head in his hands…"

Alex gasped uncontrollably as she choked on a sob, causing Olivia to shift in her seat and wrap her arms around her. She held Alex's trembling body as the blonde fought for control, "It's okay Lex…Fin came in and stopped him," she said, fighting back her own tears at the painful memories.

Alex pulled back and stared at her, searching her face, "I'm so sorry that happened to you," she choked out.

Olivia nodded her head and swallowed, "Me too," she whispered, feeling fresh tears spill down her cheeks.

Alex stood up, bringing Olivia with her and wiped the tears from her lover's face tenderly, "You said before that you talked to someone, I'm glad you did…I don't know if I would have," she said quietly, feeling her love for the older woman surge throughout her body.

Olivia nodded, "I had to…I did one to one counseling for over a year and attended group therapy sessions…it helped me realize a lot of things and accept that it wasn't my fault…it took a long time for me to admit I needed help though. In the end, I knew I had to talk about it or I couldn't do my job," she confessed, cupping Alex's face gently with her hands.

Alex licked her dry lower lip and swallowed, "I'm glad talking about it helped you, thank you for telling me…I love you Liv and I will always be here to listen, whenever you want to talk, okay?"

Olivia bobbed her head, "Okay," she answered, pulling Alex closer. They held each other for several, long moments absorbing everything that had been said.

Alex played over the conversation, realizing how close Olivia had come to being raped and seriously injured, she could picture the dark haired woman, with all her law enforcement training and experience, fighting for survival and screaming for help yet nobody coming to her aid. She shuddered as she thought of Harris throwing her on to the mattress and cuffing her to steel bars, thrusting his penis towards her bruised face. She thought of Fin and his impeccable timing and wished he had cracked Harris over the skull. She wanted him dead for what he had done to her Olivia.

Olivia felt Alex shudder and held her tighter, allowing their love to envelop them and protect her from unwanted thoughts and images. She thought of the basement and Harris and felt relieved she had been able to tell Alex the sordid story without losing her resolve completely. Her counselor had been right, her loved ones wouldn't be judgmental, they would be caring and supportive. She realized how much progress she had truly made over the past two years and felt an enormous burden being lifted from her shoulders. She had sought help after an incident during an investigation with Fin, where she had held her gun to a marine's head. Fin had been supportive and encouraged her to seek help and face up to her PTSD. She closed her eyes and cleared her mind of the past before pulling her head back to look at the woman she adored.

"Now you know," Olivia said softly, losing herself in birght, blue eyes.

Alex nodded, "Now I know," she replied, smoothing loose strands of hair away from Olivia's forehead.

Olivia stifled a yawn and smiled as Alex did the same, "C'mon, let's get some sleep," she said, tugging Alex out of the kitchen.

Alex smiled as she obediently trailed behind Olivia, she still had questions about Sealview and Harris, his trial and the aftermath, but was conscious of how much Olivia had shared for one night and how emotionally drained she must be.

As they entered the bedroom, Alex excused herself to the bathroom. She splashed cold water on her face and stared at her reflection in the mirror and sighed, 'I need to tell her,' she thought. She closed her eyes and leaned heavily on the counter.

Arms slipped around her waist and a head settled on her shoulder, peering at her in the mirror, "You okay?" Olivia asked.

Alex smiled warmly at tired brown eyes, studying her in the mirror, "I am now," she whispered, the significance of her words lost on the dark haired woman behind her.


Chapter 22: Time Out

"9 down…intoxicating," Alex said, pointing with her left hand.

Olivia read the cryptic clue again and moved the pen from her parted lips to the folded section on the New York Times and wrote in the empty boxes. She tilted her head and met the waiting mouth, "I never knew crossword puzzles could be so…stimulating," she husked as their lips parted.

Alex smiled as she scanned the clues again, "I complete this every day at the office, it's addictively relaxing," she replied, pointing to another clue, "12 across and 4 down…GGSE…scrambled eggs," she said victoriously, accepting her reward again with eager lips.

Olivia kissed her teasingly, swiping her tongue across the parted lips and dipping inside for a fleeting few seconds. She pulled back once more and grinned, "Even I got that one," she said smiling.

Alex clucked her tongue, "Then you need to improve your timing sweetheart," she teased, running her left hand leisurely along Olivia's bare leg, allowing her fingers to trail underneath the loose running shorts her lover was wearing.

Olivia shifted on the couch and turned on her side, facing Alex, "You of all people, know I have impeccable timing," she said seductively.

Alex leaned forward and kissed the base of Olivia's throat, her left hand reaching for the newspaper and tossing it behind her as she rolled on top of Olivia.

Olivia feigned pain and groaned loudly at the firm body now resting on top of her own, their legs intertwining in a familiar tangle. She tossed the pen in the direction of the table and ran both hands over Alex's shorts and t-shirt clad body. She cupped the beautiful blonde woman's buttocks and kneaded them rhythmically as Alex began to slowly grind into her.

Alex lowered her head and captured Olivia's mouth, kissing her slowly and deliberately stoking the fires that had been burning since they had returned from their late morning run.

They had slept until after 9am, both women waking at the same time and reveling in the feeling of togetherness. They had lay quietly, remembering the early morning conversation and kissing each other tenderly, seeking assurance that they were both okay. Olivia was relieved she had told Alex about Sealview, she might not have told her everything, but it was a huge start and they both took comfort in the trust and love they shared.

With no plans for the day and Deborah Lawson safely tucked away in Federal custody, they considered their activity options. Olivia had received a playful smack for suggesting staying where they were and 'making love until sunset'. Alex had melted at the way Olivia kissed her knees, telling her it was 'magic medicine,' before kissing every freckle and childhood scar her lips could find. When Olivia's mouth captured a swollen nipple, Alex had laughed as Olivia told her it was time for her medicine. Alex had returned their newly discovered healing process with fervor, having more scars and scrapes to tend. The bullet Olivia had taken at the hands of David Brennan was healing smoothly and had only left two thin, angry marks that would soon fade to white.

After an hour of hedonistic bliss, Alex had suggested a run and a late breakfast at a nearby bakery. Olivia had protected until she had seen the pale blue running shorts Alex was planning on wearing along with the matching t-shirt and readily agreed.

They had ran Alex's usual three mile route and stopped for coffee and muffins, enjoying the ambience in the little Italian bakery Alex favored. Elliot had called Olivia as they ambled along the sidewalk, updating her on Deborah Lawson and informing her that there was no need for either of them to come anywhere near the precinct.

Once back at he apartment, Alex had retrieved a pen from her study and opened the newspaper she had bought to the crossword section, folding the page carefully. Olivia had shook her head and moved to the couch, kicking off her sneakers and making herself comfortable. Alex had lay beside her, handing her the pen as she tucked herself into the dark haired woman's side.

Olivia smiled as she reflected on their easy morning together which had ended with them here, naked on the couch.

"What are you grinning at?" Alex asked as she moved her mouth from the valley between Olivia's breasts and hovered over the parted lips.

Olivia ran her hands lazily across the firm flesh underneath her fingers, eliciting a moan from the blonde in her arms, "There's nothing wrong with my timing," she answered, slipping a hand between their heated bodies and smiling as the mouth above her own fell open, gasping with pleasure.

"Liv," Alex panted into the open mouth as her breathing hitched again at the knowing touch from sure fingers.

Olivia eagerly swallowed the next gasp and the moans that soon followed.

"We've wasted the day," Alex announced as she entered the living room and looked down at her lover, relaxing on the couch.

Olivia smiled up at her, "No, we haven't. We're just used to days filled with high octane drama, that we don't know how to live a normal life…think of this as a time out," she replied, realizing the truth of her teasing response.

Alex sat on the arm of the couch, placing a hand on the back of the dark head, "We should really pack for DC, we could swing by your apartment and pick up anything you need," she said as her fingers played in the shoulder length brown hair.

Olivia felt her scalp tingle at the familiar touch, "Or we could stay here," she replied, patting the seat next to her suggestively.

Alex snorted, "You're insatiable," she said, shaking her head.

"Only for you," Olivia answered honestly, placing a hand on Alex's denim clad leg.

Alex gazed at her, hoping the intensity of her feelings never faded. She swallowed, "I love you," she said quietly.

"And I adore you"

They looked at each other for a few moments, savoring their love, wishing every day could be as uncomplicated as this one. Olivia's mind turned to Dean Porter and she felt her stomach drop at the thought of the upcoming trial.

Alex sensed the change immediately and tugged lightly on a few loose strands, "Hey, you okay?"

Olivia blinked slowly and nodded, "Yeah, just thinking about Porter," she admitted.

"Don't, he can't hurt us now," Alex said quietly.

Olivia shrugged, "I know, it just seems so surreal. He used to be a good, honest agent…what makes someone do what he did?" she asked, searching the bright blue eyes above her.

Alex leaned down, "I guess we'll find out soon enough," she answered, kissing Olivia tenderly.


"Abbie, it's Liv," Olivia said into her cellphone, frowning at the muffled sounds coming over the line. There was a pause and some rustling before Abbie spoke again.

"What's up?" Abbie asked bluntly, her voice slightly out of breath.

Olivia frowned again, "You okay?" she asked, shifting slightly on the chair she was sitting on.

Abbie sighed, "Yeah…I was in the middle of a…debriefing," she replied huskily, clearing her throat.

Olivia shrugged, "We're heading to DC tomorrow, thought we'd go up a day early and get ready for the main event," she said, smiling over at Alex as she entered the bedroom carrying a pile of clean laundry.

"There's no need, you're not the first witness on the call list…you can stay in Manhattan for another day or two," Abbie answered.

Olivia heard more rustling from the other end of the phone, "I know, but we want to get settled and take in the sights…" her voice trailed off as Alex removed her sweater and swapped it for one of her own, freshly laundered, black fitted shirts.

"Your call Liv, you got the hotel details?"

Olivia watched as Alex carefully buttoned her shirt and nodded absently into the phone, "Yeah…we decided to make our own plans…is Suzy heading to Washington?" she asked, referring to the waitress from Sam's Diner.

Abbie snorted, "She sure is, she put a bullet in Porter…they oughtta give her a medal," she drawled.

"Is she at the same hotel we were booked into?" Olivia asked, remembering how she had assured Suzy they would look after her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get the memo telling me I now worked the front desk at the Hilton," Abbie drolled.

Olivia sighed, "Abbie…" she warned.

"Yes, Calamity Jane is booked into the same hotel that you were…where are you and blondie staying now?" Abbie asked.

Olivia smiled as Alex approached her, "Sorry cowboy, need to know basis only," she quipped before hanging up and placing her phone on the dresser table.

Alex straddled her thighs and draped her arms loosely over her shoulders, "We'll make sure Suzy is well taken care of," she said.

Olivia placed her hands on trim hips, holding her in place, "I know," she replied, straining up for a kiss.

Alex pulled back after an unhurried round of oral exploration, "I've got all my clothes ready, what about yours?" she asked.

Olivia nodded, "Yeah, almost…feel like a quick trip to my place so I can pick up a few things?"

Olivia felt strangely detached from her surroundings as they walked down the hallway to her apartment and turned to Alex, "This feels weird," she said.

"What does?"

Olivia brought out her keys from her pocket and smiled, "Being here, I don't feel like I live here anymore," she answered.

Alex stopped in front of the door and turned to the shorter woman, "Maybe once we get back from DC, we could talk about livi-"

Olivia cut her off as she instinctively reached for her weapon, which she instantly remembered was locked in the closet safe, back at Alex's apartment. She pushed Alex away from the door, "I heard something…wait here," she instructed quietly.

"Not a chance," Alex replied defiantly.

Olivia inserted her key into the lock and turned it slowly, "Stay behind me," she whispered.

Alex nodded as she retrieved her cellphone, fingers poised to dial 911.

Olivia pushed the door open slowly and looked cautiously into her apartment, she took a careful step inside and glanced to her left. The kitchen area was clear, but she could see pizza boxes open on the counter. She eased in further, the lamp beside the couch was lit, revealing a sea of strewn clothing. She stopped beside the couch as she heard movement coming from behind the closed bedroom door.

Alex leaned in closely behind her, "Should I call 911?" she whispered almost inaudibly.

Olivia looked at the clothing on the couch and shook her head, "Fire department would be more use," she replied quietly.

Alex frowned and looked ar the closed door, hearing more movement and what sounded like muffled laughter. Olivia turned to her, "Dial Abbie's number," she said quietly, guiding Alex towards the kitchen counter, where she lifted a piece of lukewarm pepperoni pizza.

Alex shook her head, "Abbie's in there?" she asked incredulously, indicating over her shoulder with her thumb.

Olivia nodded as she took a bite from the pizza slice and chewed slowly, "I'd bet her snakeskin boots on it," she finally said after a few seconds, pointing at the boots on the floor beside the table. She sat on one of the kitchen stools and pulled Alex closer, turning her around to face the bedroom door.

Alex stood between Olivia's parted legs and glanced behind her, "What now?" she asked, opening her mouth and taking a bite from the offered piece of pizza.

"Paybacks can be such fun," Olivia said smiling, taking another bite.

Alex grinned, "She'll kill us," she whispered, her shoulders shaking with silent laughter.

"She'll have to catch us first, door's unlocked remember?" Olivia said, wrapping her arms loosely around Alex's middle.

Alex nodded as she turned to face the closed bedroom door and dialed Abbie's number.

The polyphonic strains of the seventies western tv show, 'Bonanza,' echoed loudly around the quiet living room.

Within seconds, a tall, tanned and very naked Texan burst into the living room, frantically searching for her cellphone amongst the discarded pile of clothing, scattered all over the couch.

Abbie stopped dead and her mouth flew open as she spotted the two smiling figures at the kitchen counter.

Alex held her cellphone up and waved it teasingly at the naked woman as Olivia buried her face into her back, trying to muffle her rising laughter.

Abbie bent down and retrieved her shirt and slipped it on, fastening the bottom few buttons quickly. She approached the counter, slowly shaking her head, "What are you doing here?" she whispered, looking anxiously over her shoulder towards the open bedroom door.

Olivia lifted her head, "Um, I live here, remember?" she answered sarcastically, casting her eyes appreciatively over Abbie's tall frame.

"Keep your eyes on your blonde," Abbie drolled, pulling her shirt down.

Alex snorted, "You wish," she quipped as she cast a sideways glance at Olivia.

"Seems we've interrupted your…debriefing, was it?" Olivia said, fighting to contain her laughter.

Abbie smiled in defeat, "Okay, we're even…now, please go," she pleaded in a low husky tone.

Olivia was about to answer when a voice floated into the living room, followed closely by a familiar figure.

Abbie looked at the instantaneous, slack jawed and wide eyed expressions gracing both women's faces and groaned loudly before slowly turning round and meeting the startled gaze of her naked lover.


Chapter 23: Reunion

Olivia and Alex stared at the naked woman, trying valiantly to keep their eyes on her scarlet face, which was almost the same color as her hair. Alex was the first to speak, "You dyed your hair," she commented casually.

"Nah, I just let the blonde grow out, I prefer the au naturel look," Casey Novak replied, instantly regretting her choice of words as both women glanced down at her neatly trimmed patch of pubic hair.

Olivia smiled, "So we see," she observed, receiving a gentle dig in her ribs.

"So, what brings you here?" Alex asked, trying to ignore the glares from Abbie.

Casey bent down and picked up her coat from the floor, holding it against her naked body, "Would you mind if I put some clothes on first?" she asked.

Olivia snorted, "We don't…but, she might," she quipped, tilting her head towards the dark haired woman.

Abbie turned to Olivia, "Funny Benson, at least I don't glow like a lightning bug," she retorted, smiling wickedly, exposing perfect white teeth and dimples.

Olivia dipped her head behind Alex's back once more, "I'm not the one breaking into my friend's apartment to have sex with my girlfriend," she mumbled.

"No, you prefer the ladies room at the precinct," Abbie fired back, settling her hands on her hips.

Olivia lifted her head, "Hey, that was one time!"

Alex held up her hands and pointed at Abbie, "You," she warned, "Stop standing like that, I don't need to know you've had a Brazilian," she said as she shifted her hand past the dark haired woman and pointed at Casey, "And you," she looked at the pink tinged skin on display, "Put some clothes on…as much as it's a surprise to see you Casey, I'd rather talk to you without seeing the evidence of the expensive dental work Ms Carmichael's clearly had, in order to leave such an indelible impression on your fair skin," she finished.

Abbie smiled apologetically as she looked over at Casey, watching the already blushing woman turn an even darker shade of pink. She rolled her eyes as Casey turned, exposing her naked back to the occupants of the room, revealing perfect teeth marks, outlined on each pale buttock.

"Since when did you start branding?" Olivia snorted as she looked at the marks on Casey's ass.

Abbie bobbed her dark head, "When I picked that particular young fruit from the bountiful tree and knew she'd be mine," she replied, grinning as she headed towards the bedroom.

Alex waited until the door was closed and turned in Olivia's arms, "Oh.My.God….Abbie and Casey? I did not see that one coming," she said slowly, studying the bewildered expression on Olivia's face.

"Me neither, I didn't think Casey was her type," Olivia replied, smiling up at her as she adjusted her hold.

Alex leaned down and kissed Olivia's smiling lips, "And what exactly is her type?" she asked, smoothing the hair away from Olivia's face with both hands and gazing into dark brown orbs.

Olivia shrugged, "Who cares, as long as they're happy," she answered smiling.

Alex kissed her again, holding her head firmly in place, exploring her mouth thoroughly with an inquisitive tongue. A few heated minutes later, Olivia shifted on the stool and cupped the denim clad ass tightly, moaning into Alex's mouth as she felt her chest heave.

"Never figured you for a moaner, Liv"

Alex pulled back slowly and turned her head, meeting Casey's smiling face at the other side of the kitchen counter. Olivia also shifted her head, "Good to see you too Casey," she said smiling.

"You too, Abbie tells me this…" she indicated with her hand between the two women, "…is new?" she asked as she casually reached into the cupboard for a glass and filled it with water.

Olivia watched her, shaking her head, "Just how long have you two been holed up in my apartment?"

"Only since this afternoon," Abbie announced as she moved towards the couch and began lifting the discarded clothing.

Olivia turned to look at her, "How did you get in without a key?" she asked, watching Abbie create a clothes pile on the chair next to the couch.

"My badge is the only key I'll ever need," she drawled. She looked at the raised eyebrows, waiting for an acceptable answer and shrugged her shoulders, "Security. I told him I was looking after your place while you were out of town, I got the spare set," she supplied.

Alex frowned, "Why not just go to your hotel?" she asked.

"Feds are on either side of her room, we're trying to keep a low profile," Casey answered.

Olivia glanced at Abbie, "Still a screamer?" she smirked, ducking behind Alex as a rolled up sweater flew through the air towards her.

Alex shook her head as she caught the woolen missile easily with one hand, "Can you two behave, just for five minutes," she asked wearily.

Olivia leaned her head on Alex's shoulder and pouted, "Sorry sweetie, she started it," she added, smiling sweetly at the dark haired woman.

"And I'm finishing it…we haven't seen Casey for, how long?" Alex replied, looking over at the red head.

Casey shrugged, "I've not seen you since you came back for Connors' trial and I've not seen Liv since Chester Lake cost me my license…it's been a while, " she answered calmly.

Abbie moved to the kitchen area and stepped in behind Casey, placing a comforting arm around her shoulders, "If you hadn't been disbarred, we'd never have met," she added, kissing her cheek gently.

Casey smiled at her, "I know," she replied quietly, lifting a hand and trailing a finger over the dimpled chin.

Olivia deliberately cleared her throat, receiving a bemused look from her girlfriend, she shrugged her shoulders in response, "What?"

Alex smiled, "Nothing," she said, shifting her hand to cover Olivia's mouth as she spoke to Abbie and Casey, "How about some wine and a catch up?" she asked.

Abbie nodded, "We'll have to go out, the well's dry in here," she replied, smiling as Olivia struggled in vain to break Alex's hold and speak.

Alex held her hand in place, "Fine, we'll go out then, bar's just around the corner," she said smiling as Olivia's teasing tongue, tickled the palm of her hand.

The bar was fairly busy, but they had secured a booth in the back away from the bustling crowd waiting to be served. Alex and Olivia sat opposite Abbie and Casey with drinks and a plate of chips on the table in front of them. Casey decided to speak first, thankful the bar didn't play loud music as she leaned on the table and looked at the two women.

"Why don't I get rid of the elephant in the room first?" she asked, feeling Abbie's hand settle on top of her thigh underneath the table.

Olivia nodded, "Sure," she replied, remembering how Abbie had used that same expression a few days ago in her apartment.

Alex reached for her glass and took a slow sip, her eyes widening slightly as she felt Olivia's hand stroke the inside of her thigh. She swallowed the sweet wine and shifted in her seat, moving closer to her girlfriend as she waited for Casey to speak.

"After the censure hearing when I got disbarred for 'violating due process', I felt like a total failure," Casey started.

Abbie placed her free hand over one of Casey's resting on the table, "Which you're not," she stated firmly.

Casey smiled at her, "Which I'm not," she agreed, "But I did wonder what to do with myself. I went on vacation and did a lot of thinking…anyway, when I got back, an old friend from college had heard what had happened and left a message on my answering machine telling me about an opening at Georgetown University, teaching first year Law," she paused, taking a drink from her tall glass.

"So you're a teacher?" Olivia asked.

Casey nodded as she sat the glass back down on the table, "Yeah, it's great and it seems my reputation preceded me. The Dean was really keen for me to start, I did a three month teaching course and I've been there for over a year now," she replied smiling proudly.

Alex smiled over at her, "Good to know you're 71% success rate has stood you in good stead Casey, good for you," Alex said, raising her glass and clinking it with Casey's.

Casey smiled, "Yeah, they even have a softball team," she added.

Olivia shook her head, "What is it with you and softball?" she teased.

Abbie looked at Olivia, "It's not her fault you're lousy at sports," she volleyed back smugly.

Olivia feigned hurt, but smiled, "To each their own," she stated, lifting her drink and taking a satisfying swallow as she moved the hand on Alex's thigh in slow circles.

Alex shifted on the seat, reflexively moving towards the teasing fingers and looked at Abbie, "So, how did you two meet?" she asked, trying to ignore the arousing touch.

Abbie shifted her eyes from Casey to the blonde opposite her and smiled, "About nine months ago, I had to go talk to a witness, a student at the campus…I was totally lost and wandering aimlessly up and down the halls when I spotted Casey through a window," she said, stroking her hand further up the red head's leg.

Casey smiled as she felt the heat rise in her cheeks and looked over at the attentive couple, noticing a similar blush creeping up Alex's neck.

"Go on," Olivia encouraged, catching the curious look in Casey's eyes.

Abbie took a quick sip of her drink before continuing, "I knocked on the window and got her attention," she added.

"Which was easy, there aren't many tall, dark haired Goddesses knocking on windows in that campus," Casey added, grinning openly.

Abbie shook her head, "Anyway," she said, rolling her eyes at her lover, "I asked her for directions and she showed me the way," she supplied.

"Literally," Casey snorted.

Alex watched the interaction between the two women and felt her heart swell as she thought of her own Goddess and the wandering hand, teasing her. She smiled at Abbie, "Did you two know each other from the DA's office?" she asked, watching as both heads bobbed in confirmation.

Abbie squeezed Casey's hand, "We met a few times during the blonde years," she said, smiling as Casey gave her a playful nudge.

Casey shook her head, "Hey, I was trying a different look…speaking of which," she paused and looked at Olivia, "What's with the girly hair?" she asked.

Olivia frowned, "What's wrong with my hair?" she asked in a wounded tone, glancing at Alex.

Alex lifted a hand and ran it gently through the shoulder length strands, scratching her scalp playfully. She could swear she almost heard Olivia purr in response as she leaned in and kissed her, "I love your hair," she said quietly as they parted.

Olivia released her hold on the thigh and slid her arm around Alex's waist, drawing her nearer as she felt hot breath caress her face. She smiled uncontrollably as she drowned in the glittering blue depths.

"There's a bathroom over there, if you two need a moment," Abbie drawled.

Olivia ignored the dig and leaned forward, returning the tender kiss before moving her lips up to a delicate ear, "I love hearing your breathing hitch when I trail my hair slowly down your beautiful body," she whispered, her breath blowing against blonde hair gently as her hand slid discretely underneath the black shirt.

Alex felt her cheeks flush as Olivia's words conjured up memories of many such pleasurable occasions. She closed her eyes and swallowed, "Liv…behave," she pleaded quietly, feeling the cool fingers scorch her heated skin.

Casey watched open mouthed as Olivia whispered unheard words into Alex's ear and leaned into Abbie, without shifting her gaze from the women across the table, "Wow…you told me how hot they were for each other and I didn't believe you…but, seriously…wow…" she trailed off, swallowing at the sudden dryness in her throat.

Abbie nodded her head absently, "They should have their own pay-per-view," she added, gripping Casey's thigh tightly as she blew out a shaky breath.

"In your dreams," Alex snorted, opening her eyes and looking over at the watching women. She reluctantly eased away from Olivia and cleared her throat before taking a calming drink from her glass of wine.

Olivia removed her hand, but held it loosely around Alex's waist. She smiled over at Abbie and Casey as she reached for her own glass and held it aloft, "To old friends and new loves," she said warmly, squeezing Alex gently.


Chapter 24: Towards Zero

"That was a fun night," Alex said, stretching lazily as she shifted and slid out of bed. She moved to the window and opened the shades, allowing the bright morning sun to spill into the room.

Olivia covered a yawn with the back of her hand and nodded in agreement, "Yeah, I never would have paired Abbie with Casey though…" she trailed off, stifling another yawn.

Alex stopped at the bathroom door and turned, "Actually…I was referring to our, fun night," she said teasingly, her eyes glancing over at the object on the bedside table.

Olivia blushed instantly and groaned, covering her eyes with her arm, ignoring the soft laughter that trailed off into the bathroom.

A few minutes later Alex returned, looking refreshed and fully wakened. Olivia watched her approach the bed and smiled as she sat down beside her.

"I'm glad they're got each other, they seem really happy," Alex said, leaning down and kissing Olivia's forehead.

Olivia smiled, "Yeah, I can understand why Casey cut everyone off and moved away, after what she went through, a fresh start must have seemed like her only option," she answered.

Alex blinked slowly as she absorbed Olivia's words and felt herself transported back to the mountains and the lake.

Olivia studied Alex's face, realizing she had drifted off, lost in her thoughts and judging by the sorrowful look now gracing her features, they weren't good ones. She lifted a hand and touched Alex's naked back lightly, "Hey," she said, rubbing it gently.

Alex shook her head and blinked a few times, "Sorry, what?"

"Where d'you go?"

Alex sighed, "Nowhere, I'm right here," she answered, leaning down and kissing her on the lips.

Olivia was unconvinced, but didn't want to press the issue and scooted over on the bed, encouraging Alex to lie down beside her. Alex stretched out and curled herself around Olivia, her hand stroking the brunette's stomach in lazy circles.

"Do you and Abbie always act like that?" Alex asked absently.

Olivia turned her head to look at her, "Like what?" she asked, her arm running lightly up and down Alex's back.

"A pair of jealous five year olds"

Olivia chuckled, "Pretty much," she replied.

Alex shook her head and kissed the bare skin underneath her lips, "I love this…I love you," she said wistfully.

Olivia smiled, "Me too, I can't wait for Porter's trial to be over," she added.

Alex groaned, "Ugh, can we keep Porter out of our bedroom please, he gives me the creeps…and I have a bad feeling about him," she said as she rolled on to her back and stared at the ceiling. Within seconds her view was obscured by a concerned face and large, searching eyes.

"What can Dean Porter possibly do to us?" Olivia asked as she hovered over Alex's body.

Alex ignored the ominous bell that tolled in her mind and smiled, "Nothing," she replied, reaching up and pushing the curtain of dark strands away from Olivia's face.

"Exactly," Olivia agreed as she brought their mouths together, smiling into the kiss as she tasted the toothpaste Alex had recently used. After a few loving kisses, she pulled back and rolled on to her side, pulling Alex with her. They lay side by side, kissing and stroking each other tenderly. Alex lost herself in the moment and the woman she loved, deliberately blocking Dean Porter and her troubled past out.

The stacks of books and papers strategically placed around the desk looked like turrets on a medieval castle, obscuring the figure who sat on the wooden chair behind them. The room was empty, save for the sole occupant scratching the pen rapidly over the thick notepad, wrist moving jerkily with each stroke.

The library was small, but adequately equipped and specially deigned for people like Dean Porter. People on remand, defending themselves in a Federal prosecution. He glanced up at the windows of the observation deck and noted the two guards watching him, he casually cast his eyes around the room, under the guise of rolling his tired neck and looked at the four surveillance cameras in each corner of the room. The clock on the wall reminding him he had spent another full day in this room, he smiled as he returned his gaze to the notepad, 'Fools', he mused.

He covered the employee file sitting on his left , behind a mound of books, with one hand and traced the small, cover photograph discretely with the tip of his index finger, 'Soon Olivia…soon.'

Olivia zipped the garment bag and checked the large hold all on the bed once more. They didn't expect to be in DC long, especially if Porter had no witnesses on his call list and she knew first hand how speedily Abbie could question a witness in order to extract the relevant information and make her point to a jury. She retrieved her cellphone from her pocket and sat down on the bed as she dialed the dark haired attorney's number.


Olivia smiled, "I hope you remembered to change the sheets," she advised lightly.

"You're assuming we only used your bed, Benson" Abbie replied.

Olivia screwed up her face, "Eugh, I do not want to know," she said in an exasperated tone.

"What can I do for you?" she asked bluntly.

Olivia snorted, "Am I keeping you from something or should I say someone?" she asked.

"Very funny…actually, we're waiting for our flight…circus starts tomorrow, I've heard Porter's been in the prison library every day since his incarceration…brushing up on his law skills…did you know he studied law at Yale for two years before switching majors to psychology, getting his Masters in Behavioral Science?"

Olivia closed her eyes and sighed audibly over the line, "Figures he would have studied law, why can't we just catch the bad guy, put him on trial and lock him up…no hassles, just once," she whined.

"Where's the fun in that? I can't wait to see his face when I call each witness to the stand, he's not gonna know what's hit him," she drawled.

Olivia smiled into the phone, "Who's your first witness?"

Abbie mumbled something unintelligible to someone before answering, "Sorry, just getting ready to board...Sean Connors, he met with Porter first thing that morning, I want to make it clear from the outset that Porter's plan was pre-meditated. Opening arguments are at 9am tomorrow morning, we both know how tight and concise mine will be, it's anyone's guess how he's going to play it though," she said.

Olivia processed this new information, trying to ignore the nagging feeling in her gut.

"Liv, I won't let you down, either of you," Abbie said quietly, her voice cutting through Olivia's troubled thoughts.

Olivia sighed again, "I know," she replied.

"I've gotta go, Casey's glaring at me," she said regretfully, wishing she could say more to allay her friend's evident fears.

Olivia swallowed, "Okay, see you tomorrow….and Abbie?"


Olivia sat up on the bed, "Thanks," she said sincerely.

"Anytime," she replied and hung up.

Olivia sat her cellphone on the bed next to her and brushed the hair away from her face, tucking it behind her right ear. She wondered what Porter was planning and what he would say during his opening argument. She was thankful it was a closed court with no public gallery, only court officials and the jury present. She wished for a speedy trial and knew if anyone could grant that, it was Abbie Carmichael, or the blonde woman hovering silently at the bedroom door.

Alex moved into the bedroom, "What's wrong?" she asked, moving towards the bed and sitting beside her.

Olivia followed her movements and shook her head, "Porter studied law for two years before switching majors to psychology, Behavioral Science to be exact," she answered, repeating Abbie's earlier words.

Alex snorted, "Two years of law school isn't going to make any difference against the insurmountable evidence against him Liv, it's rock solid. The testimonies from decorated police officers, tactical team agents and this lawyer are like the dream team of prosecuting witnesses," she said smiling. She nodded her head, "Knowing Abbie she'll probably put Sean Connors up first…he's her shakiest witness and Porter's best hope. Connors will tell of the meeting between them. Porter will retaliate, citing his length of service and up til now, distinguished career, in a feeble attempt to cloud the truth and influence the jury. Abbie will work her way through the events of that day, chronologically trying to build a clear picture of the pre-meditation involved," she paused and placed her arm around Olivia, "Then she'll call Porter to the stand and destroy him, let's not forget his shrine to you that Munch and Fin found at his house either," she said quietly, leaning in closer to the dark haired woman.

Rationally Olivia knew Alex was right and decided to focus on the facts rather than the fiction that Porter would probably create. She tilted her head, "I forgot how smart a lawyer you are," she said, kissing her cheek.

Alex smiled, "Yes I am," she stated.

Olivia laughed, "And cocky"

"That too," she agreed, bobbing her head.

Olivia kissed her smiling mouth, "And sexy as Hell," she said, easing Alex on to her back.

"If you say so," she answered, wrapping her arms around Olivia.

Olivia trailed a hand down Alex's side and hooked it underneath her thigh, lifting her leg slightly and leaning into her, "Definitely," she confirmed as Alex curled her raised leg around Olivia's ass, holding her firmly in place.

Dean Porter sat calmly in his cell, notepad beside him on the single bunk that occupied the room and smiled as he weaved the silver pen skillfully between his fingers.

He focused on the pen and the loophole of the law that stated, 'if a defendant was representing themselves and the proceedings were imminent, then they was entitled to writing materials at all times, even in the confinement of their cells.'

He looked at the silver pen in his hand and smiled again, nobody had queried his request to use his own, especially when he had stated he needed all the luck he could get. He looked up at the small security camera in the corner of his cell before returning his eyes to the notepad beside him. He read his opening argument statement again and made a few amendments before leafing through the pages until he found what he was looking for.

He smiled as he skimmed over the notes he had taken during the brief telephone conversation with the admitting officer at the, Fort Memorial Hospital in Jackson County, Wisconsin, regarding the admittance of a young woman named, Emily.


Chapter 25: Uniformity

The Presidential Suite at the Washington Hilton was spacious and grand, with panoramic views of the urban jungle that lay beyond the seven acres of land upon which the hotel stood. DuPont Circle was nearby, but the bustling traffic looked more like a procession of slow moving ants to Olivia as she pressed her forehead against the cool, one way glass. Hands slid across her back and settled around her waist as a blonde head appeared and rested on her right shoulder, Alex's smile reflected in the floor to ceiling window.

"Great view," Alex said, looking at the late afternoon skyline.

Olivia nodded absently as her eyes continued to watch the world passing silently by.

Alex kissed her cheek and stepped away, moving across the spacious lounge and heading into the bedroom. She unzipped her garment bag and began hanging her clothes in the walk in, mirrored closet before unzipping Olivia's, intent on doing the same with hers. Her hands stopped as she saw the first item of clothing in the protective bag.

Olivia's dress uniform looked powerful and commanding, even without the stoic figure in the next room wearing it. Alex had never seen Olivia in her uniform and hadn't expected it to affect her so deeply. She carefully traced the buttons on the jacket and the various medals pinned above the left breast pocket before hanging it carefully in the closet. She then lifted out the dress pants and hung them next to the jacket, followed by the black shirt. She looked in the bottom of the bag and saw the flat hat and black tie and carefully placed them on the top shelf.

She returned to the garment bag and lifted out a gray suit and several shirts, mostly black and hung them a respectable distance away from the uniform. She was about to unpack their hold alls when Olivia appeared and smiled at her.

"You didn't have to do that," she said, taking a seat at the nearby vanity.

Alex moved to the bed and began lifting various items of clothing from her bag, "I wanted to," she replied as she carried the bundle into the closet and segregated them neatly in various drawers.

Olivia watched her girlfriend move diligently back and forth until all the items were neatly tucked away. Alex even buffed the tops of Olivia's dress shoes with the sleeve of her sweater, receiving a questioning look from the brunette in the corner. She stored their bags in the bottom of the closet and moved back into the bedroom, closing the sliding door behind her.

"All done," Alex said, satisfied with her efforts.

Olivia stood up and eased towards her, stopping in front of the blonde and wrapping her arms around her, "Thank you," she said, kissing her gently.

Alex sank into the embrace and sighed, "You're very welcome," she replied.

Olivia tilted her head, "We need to talk about something," she said quietly.

Alex felt her heart stop as a thousand thoughts flew through her mind, "Okay," she answered, trying to keep her tone neutral.

Olivia smiled as she brought a hand up and stroked blonde hair lovingly, "This is too much," she said quietly, after a long, comfortably silent moment.

Alex frowned, "What do you mean?" she asked, uneasiness coloring her tone.

"The private helicopter ride to Washington, the car waiting for us at Dulles and this, the Presidential Suite at the Hilton," she replied, in a hushed tone.

Alex nodded her head, "I just wanted to take care of us," she answered shyly.

Olivia kissed her softly on the lips, "And you do," she whispered before rolling her eyes, "I don't even want to know how much this suite is costing you a night," she added smiling.

Alex beamed back at her, "If it keeps me with you and away from prying eyes, then it's the right price to pay," she declared.

"Should I even ask?"

Alex shook her head, "Probably best not to," she deadpanned, stealing a quick kiss as she pulled out of the embrace and headed towards the writing desk.

Olivia watched Alex curiously as she lifted a leaflet and hid it behind her back before sauntering back over to her, a mischievous twinkle in her cerulean eyes, "I thought we could take in the sights tomorrow," Alex suggested eagerly.

Olivia shrugged, "Sounds good, take our minds off the circus that starts in the morning…where ever you want to go is fine with me," she replied, wondering what Alex was up to.

Alex grinned, "Good, because this is the first place I want to go…I want to do some… research," she said cryptically, bringing her hand into view and holding the leaflet in front of Olivia's face.

Olivia groaned loudly as she read the front cover for the Smithsonian National Zoo, "Please tell me this has nothing to with fireflies or lightning bugs," she whined.

Alex snorted as she lowered the leaflet, "I'd be lying if I said no," she replied, laughing at the expression on Olivia's face.

Olivia sighed, "Just don't tell Abbie," she groused.

Alex shook her head and crossed her heart with a slender finger. She studied Olivia's face and smiled, "Wha are you thinking about?"


"Why?" Alex asked.

Olivia swallowed, "I can't imagine my life without you," she said softly.

Alex smiled, "Me neither," she answered, closing the gap between them and cupping Olivia's face gently between her hands, "We'll be home before we know it and Porter will be on Death Row," she said quietly.

Olivia nodded, "I hope so"

Alex bobbed her head, giving her a smile of reassurance and then remembered the garment bag, "Why have you brought your uniform?" Alex asked, lowering her hands and slipping them around Olivia's waist.

"Abbie's idea, she wants the relevant witnesses to wear their dress uniforms as a constant reminder to the jury that the testimony they'll be hearing, is from experienced and decorated law officials," she said.

Alex nodded in agreement, "Great strategy, also reminds Porter that it's not civilians on the stand…two years of law school, or not," she added.

"Yeah, I hope it still fits, I haven't worn it for a while"

Alex shifted her hands, pressing them against Olivia's taut frame before easing back and gazing into dark eyes, "Trust me, it's going to fit," she whispered, grinning knowingly.

Abbie sat in the study of the Brownstone she shared with her 'room mate' and read over her notes for the first day of Porter's trial. She checked her witness list and their order of appearance before placing her pen down on the cluttered surface. She lifted Porter's FBI file and opened the folder, skimming over the notes within.

Casey leaned against the door and folded her arms before gently clearing her throat.

Abbie looked up and smiled, removing her glasses, "Hey," she said warmly.

Casey pushed off the wooden frame and moved towards the large oak desk, not stopping until she was standing beside the oversized leather chair. Abbie reached out and pulled her into her lap, eliciting a startled yelp of surprise from the red headed woman.

"Dinner's ready," Casey said, looping an arm around Abbie for support as her other hand pushed dark, unruly locks away from her girlfriend's face.

Abbie smiled, her dimples deep and inviting, "Sorry, did you shout already?" she asked, realizing how engrossed she had been in her paperwork since they had arrived home a few hours ago.

Casey nodded, "It's okay, I know how much this trial means to you," she replied.

Abbie lifted a hand from Casey's hip and cupped the back of her head, drawing her in for a tender kiss. Casey returned the kiss and pulled back slightly, "Dinner's getting cold," she reminded her quietly.

"We could skip it and go straight for dessert," she rasped out in a throaty drawl as she leaned in for another kiss.

Casey's hand moved, holding Abbie at bay, "Nuh uh cowboy, opening arguments in the morning," she scolded lightly.

Abbie growled, "Please tell me you're joking," she said, furrowing her brow pensively.

"You're the one that likes to abstain the night before a new trial and I quote, 'Gets my juices going and puts the fire in my belly'," she mimicked in a deep Southern accent.

Abbie laughed at Casey's efforts and smiled, "This is different..besides…I know something else that gets my juices going," she said, waggling her dark brows suggestively.

Casey shook her head and rolled her eyes, "Yes, this is different…this one's personal and it doesn't get any more personal than Liv and Alex," she replied seriously.

Abbie sighed, "I'll nail him Case…I'll make sure he gets the needle for what he's done...I'll even stick him with it myself," she stated firmly.

The younger woman leaned forward and kissed her thoroughly before reluctantly pulling away, "I know you will…you're Hang 'em higher Carmichael," she said smiling as she released her hold and slid off her lap, "Come on…if you eat your dinner, I might let you have a little over the sweater action for dessert," she smirked, holding out her hand.

Part 26

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