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 41: Pinnacle

The holding cell was relatively quiet given the early hour as Dean Porter allowed the silence to wash over him, bathing him in his own thoughts of what was to come. His mind wandered over the past five days and the speed at which the trial had progressed to reach this point, the pinnacle.

He moved his head slowly from left to right, then backwards and forwards before rotating it gently and loosening the tired muscles in his neck. Sleep had eluded him the previous night, unable to calm his racing mind at the prospect of what lay ahead. He inhaled deeply through his nose and exhaled slowly through his mouth, repeating the cleansing motion several times before finally opening his eyes.

"Is that you asking the man downstairs to keep you an extra hot seat?"

Porter's expression remained neutral as he shifted his gaze and locked eyes with Abbie Carmichael, "Badgering the defendant, Miss Carmichael?" he paused, tilting his head, "You must have concerns about Cabot's testimony, to merit such an impromptu visit," he added smoothly.

Abbie shook her head slightly, "Not at all," she replied coolly, keeping her tone even. She stepped closer to the bars, "You're representing yourself, hardly badgering…besides, I came down to collect some paperwork," she said, shrugging her shoulders dismissively.

Porter snorted, "No matter Carmichael, whatever you think is going to happen, I give you my word…it won't," he replied cryptically.

Abbie furrowed her brow, "You know Porter, that sounded suspiciously like you threatening a Federal prosecutor," she drawled, holding out her left hand and revealing the digital voice recorder hidden in her palm, "You're too late, whatever stunt you think you can pull, it's too late," she stated, switching off the device and turning at the sound of her name being called.

Porter looked to his left and saw the approaching guard.

"Here's the paperwork you requested Miss Carmichael," the portly man said, handing over a thin folder.

Abbie smiled at him, "Thanks Matt," she replied before turning back to Porter, "See you in a few," she said, casting a critical eye up and down his solid frame.

"What?" he asked testily, resisting the urge to clench his fists under the unwanted scrutiny of the dark haired woman.

Abbie shook her head, "Nothing," she said as she turned and walked away, "Just wondering how much sodium pentathol they'll need to use, you're a big boy," she threw out over her shoulder.

Porter glared at her retreating form and gritted his teeth, "Not nearly as much as your blonde friend," he spat out quietly under his breath.

"Remember, focus on Abbie and the jury, ignore him," Olivia said quietly into Alex's ear.

Alex pulled her head back and loosened the hold she had around Olivia's leather clad waist, "I know the drill, Liv," she replied smiling.

Olivia blew out a shaky breath, "I know you do…probably better than anyone, but it's a different view from the other side of the witness box," she added, reaching up and smoothing blonde hair away from the dark frames.

Alex smiled, "It's nearly over"

Olivia nodded, "Nearly…remember he'll try and rattle you about…" she trailed off, raising her eyebrows, reluctant to mention the hospital admission.

Alex bobbed her head, "Wisconsin, I know," she replied, releasing a deep sigh.

Olivia leaned forward and kissed her, allowing their mouths to slide slowly together in a gentle show of affection, "I love you," she said quietly as she eased away.

"I know," Alex replied, laughing softly at the exaggerated eye roll, her response induced, "I love you too," she whispered, stealing another kiss.

Olivia smiled, "Come on, before the Cowboy finds us in here," she replied, reaching for Alex's hand and leading her out of the ladies room.

Porter shifted anxiously in his seat, having spent the last two hours listening to the eloquently delivered testimony of Alex Cabot. He sat with his head propped up on his left hand watching her as his right rolled the silver pen between his fingers. He had made no objections, hoping to hasten Carmichael's questioning by remaining silent, until it was his turn to cross examine the blonde haired ADA.

He studied Alex's cool façade, wondering if she was nervous as he'd noticed her glance in his direction a few times during her testimony. He closed his eyes briefly and pictured the lay out of the courtroom in his mind once more, confident in the assumptions he had made over the past five days, having studied the behavior of the guards and the members of the jury. He knew today would be his day and opened his eyes as Alex described his actions at the diner.

He studied the figure seated n the witness box and admired her professional attire, admitting to himself she looked every part the young prosecutor in her dark pant suit and immaculate white blouse. An image of Olivia crept into his thoughts and he stared at the blonde woman, forcing images of the two of them together, out of his mind. He turned his thoughts to Olivia and shifted his gaze to the table in front of him, wondering if she was outside waiting, he hoped so, for everyone in the room's sake.

"She'll be fine Liv, you need to calm down," Elliot said into the phone.

Olivia ran an anxious hand through her hair, "It's been over two hours El, I've just got a bad feeling," she replied, biting her bottom lip.

"Liv, he made us both feel uncomfortable on the stand, he's clutching at straws and trying to spook everyone…if there's one thing I know, Alex Cabot does not spook easily"

Olivia sighed, knowing her girlfriend did get spooked, she just schooled her emotions better than most, "All I'm saying is, I'd feel better if I had my weapon," she said quietly as a couple passed her in the hallway.

Elliot understood his partner's concerns and instinctively touched the service revolver at his hip, "I know, but you've told me there's three armed guards inside and outside the courtroom…think about it Liv, what's he gonna do?" he asked logically.

Olivia shifted her head and nodded at the guard outside the courtroom door, "You're right, maybe I should go get some air, what can happen in ten minutes right?"

"Exactly, just take a breather and think ahead a few hours when this will all be over for both of you," he added.

Olivia nodded absently, "Thanks El, talk to you later," she replied, ending the call and placing the cellphone back in her pocket.

"I stood behind Detective Benson while Agent Porter pointed the gun at her chest, demanding that she move so that he could shoot me," Alex replied calmly, glancing at the jury.

Abbie nodded her head, "Detective Benson testified that Agent Porter confessed he was planning to take you to a cabin thirty miles away and shoot y-"

"Objection…calls for conclusion," Porter said as he rose to his feet.

Judge Ross looked down at him, "You're still with us Mr Porter, thought we'd lost you…Miss Carmichael hasn't even asked a question yet, there's nothing to object to," she replied, indicating for Abbie to continue.

Porter slowly sat back down and turned his attention to Alex, his objection had been a token gesture, providing him with an opportunity to survey the guard behind her.

Abbie glanced at Porter before continuing, "At this cabin, Agent Porter alleged that Liam Connors would be present, correct?"

Abbie took a step closer, "And he also alleged that Liam's brother, Sean, was behind the attempt on your life…is that also correct?" she asked knowingly.

Alex nodded, "Yes"

Abbie folded her arms loosely in front of her chest, "Did Agent Porter confess his intentions to murder you as part of a deranged plot to win the affection of Detective Benson?"

Alex turned her head and looked directly into Porter's hooded eyes, expecting him to voice his objection, when he remained silent she shifted her gaze back to Abbie, "Yes, he confessed he would kill me and comfort Detective Benson, his end goal being to win her affection," she replied.

Abbie nodded her head, "Thank you Miss Cabot, no more questions," she said, looking up at the judge.

Jamie looked at her watch, "Thirty minute recess," she announced as she banged the gavel.

Olivia stood in front of the hallway window, looking out at the streets below, feeling more at ease after her short walk. She turned her head as the doors behind her opened and returned the smile cast in her direction.

"You okay?" Alex asked, studying her features closely as she stopped in front of her.

Olivia reached for her hand, "I am now, how did it go?" she asked, intertwining their fingers together.

Alex nodded, "Okay, he was very quiet…too quiet, only made one objection over the whole three hours…there were a few easy wins for him, but he didn't seem interested…Abbie was framing her question and he objected, she hadn't even asked it yet…I think he's lost it Liv," she replied, shaking her head.

Olivia smiled, "I doubt it, he's probably up to something," she said, looking over Alex's shoulder as Abbie approached.

"Lunch? We've only got thirty minutes," Abbie suggested, smiling at them both.

Olivia nodded, "Sure, are you finished questioning Alex?" she asked, following Abbie down the hallway.

"Yeah, I'm done with blondie, it's Porter's turn after recess," she replied.

Olivia felt the knot in her stomach tighten and squeezed Alex's hand gently.

Porter sat in the holding cell with his back to the door as he looked at the notepad and pen sitting on the bench in front of him. He skimmed over the notes under Alex Cabot's name and nodded his head slowly as he finished eating his sandwich. He wiped his hand on his trouser leg and glanced over his shoulder before reaching for the pen and removing the lid before discretely unscrewing the silver body and lifting out the ink barrel. He placed both parts of the pen on the notepad and opened the top of the ink cartridge, carefully extracting the two inch, thin hypodermic needle connected to a slim vial of pink liquid before slipping the discarded cartridge into his pocket.

He placed the needle inside the bottom part of the pen and screwed the two parts back together, placing it carefully on the notepad just as a guard appeared and announced recess was over.

Porter turned and smiled in acknowledgment as he eased to his feet, eager to get back to the courtroom and the moment he had been waiting for since this trial began.

The cafeteria of the Federal building was busy, nearly all the tables were occupied due to the lunch time rush hour. The trio of women sat at the back of the room, away from the bustle and noise of the serving counters and cash register.

"Just think Cabot, another couple of hours and you're free of Dean Porter forever," Abbie said around the straw she was sucking her soda from.

Alex nodded as she chewed the food in her mouth slowly and glanced at the subdued face beside her. She nudged Olivia under the table and smiled as dark brown orbs turned in her direction, "You're quiet, you okay?" she asked, placing her hand on Olivia's thigh and giving the toned muscle a playful squeeze.

"Yeah, just wish it was 3pm already and we could get out of here," she replied, smiling as she placed her hand over the one on her leg and patted it gently.

Alex smiled, "Me too, but it's a small price to pay to put Dean Porter behind us, once and for all," she said, turning Olivia's hand over and lacing their fingers together.

Olivia beamed back at her, hoping she was right.

Porter eased out of his chair and buttoned his jacket as he moved slowly towards Alex. He kept his eyes locked on hers as he approached and smiled as he stopped in front of the witness box. He caught sight of the guard behind her readjusting his position and inwardly smiled, 'Amateurs,' He thought to himself. He blinked slowly, "Miss Cabot, your assumptions of my participation in Sean Connors' attempt on your life are based solely on the suppositions of your lover are they not?"

Abbie shot out of her seat like a Sputnik rocket and threw out her hand, "Objection your Honor…badgering the witness," she said angrily, glaring at Porter's back.

Jamie looked down at Porter and beckoned him closer with a commanding curl of her finger, "Mr Porter, I've warned you several times during this trial about your lack of respect for witnesses…it stops now, do you understand?" she asked sternly.

Porter visibly clenched his jaw, "Yes…your Honor," he growled out.

Jamie felt the hairs at the back of her neck stand on end at the cold stare directed at her and instantly reached to her pocket for the panic button, finding comfort in its proximity.

Porter tore his eyes away from the judge and turned to Alex, "Your conclusions about me and my involvement derive from the conversations you've had with Detective Benson, is that correct, Miss Cabot?" he asked.

"No, they're based on evidence I witnessed first hand that I've already given sworn testimony on," Alex replied, realizing she had been right when she assumed Porter hadn't been paying attention earlier.

Porter nodded his head, "I'm a threat to you aren't I?"

Alex shook her head at Abbie, indicating not to object as she waned to answer, "Not at all," she replied coolly.

Porter smiled at her, "Why were you admitted as Emily Carrington to a hospital in Wisconsin for an overdose?" he asked, placing his hand on the wooden railing.

"Objection...relevance?" Abbie shouted, barely able to hide the rage in her tone.

Jamie glared at Porter, "That was your last chance Mr Porter, you're in contempt and will be removed to the cells until tomorrow morning," she declared angrily. She turned to the guard by the door that led to the holding cells, "Please remove Mr Porter from the courtroom," she instructed.

Olivia stood in front of the vending machine looking at the different flavors of soda on offer before inserting a dollar bill and making her selection, smiling as she retrieved the can of Sprite.

She headed back up the stairs towards the courtroom and glanced at her watch. Alex had only been gone for thirty minutes, but it somehow felt much longer. She turned her attention to the drink in her hand and smiled again, knowing she had only selected the flavor because it was Alex's favorite. As she reached the top of the stairs she heard frantic movement below her and looked over the stone balcony and froze.

A dozen armed officer's were at the base of the marble steps, racing towards her.

Olivia threw the can on the floor as instinct took over and set off running in the direction of the courtroom.


Chapter 42: Siege

The guard moved quickly towards Porter and placed a restraining hand on his left arm, pulling him towards the door.

"No!" Porter exclaimed angrily, glaring at the short haired woman looking down at him. He stood firm and stared up at her, "Don't think I didn't see the way you looked at Olivia, I know what's going on here!" he shouted.

Jamie shifted her head and nodded towards the guard behind her, "Mr Porter, the only thing going on here is your continued disruption of my courtroom and these proceedings…once you've calmed down and can think rationally, we'll try this again," she said with finality, feeling her mouth dry up at the naked hatred reflected in his eyes.

Porter shook his head as the guard from behind the witness box approached him with his hand hovering over his holstered weapon. He allowed himself to be pulled towards the door that led to the holding cells before turning and looking back towards the judge and Alex Cabot, "I'm sorry it had to end like this."

Alex glanced across at Abbie and saw her own frown mirrored in the dark haired woman's features. Her stomach dropped as she instinctively knew something bad was about to happen, she shifted her attention to Porter and watched him reach into his pocket, "Jamie," she said in a hushed tone laced with apprehension, hoping the experienced judge had the panic button in her pocket.

In a blurry of motion, Porter removed the hypodermic needle from his pocket, turned and plunged it into the guard's neck, releasing a small amount of the pink liquid. He pushed the guard away and removed his weapon, instantly turning and firing two shots into the fast approaching officer before shifting his aim and squeezing off another round towards the rear of the courtroom.

The guard beside him fell heavily to the floor, clutching his throat with both hands before going deathly still.

The door behind him burst open, he turned and fired before kicking the door closed. His eyes flew to the one behind the witness box and pointed to the court official on Jamie's right, "Lock the doors, don't pretend you don't have the keys…or I'll shoot you, understand?" he ordered.

The older man nodded and frantically reached into his pocket and retrieved the set of keys before racing around and securing all three doors. He stopped in front of Porter and handed him the keys, his hands visibly shaking with fear.

Porter became aware of the screams and muffled hysteria emanating from the jury, he pointed his weapon at them as he moved towards the slain guard on the floor and retrieved his gun. He placed the needle carefully in his pocket and aimed both weapons towards the jury, "If you want to live…SHUT UP!" he barked, indicating for the stenographer and court official to move over beside the jurors.

Alex felt surprisingly calm as she watched Dean Porter slay four innocent men, she discretely looked over at Abbie and then up at the judge before addressing Porter, "What do you want?" she asked coolly.

Porter turned to her and smiled, "I think you know, Alex," he replied, motioning for her to step down from the witness box.

Olivia's heart thumped wildly in her chest as she raced towards the courtroom doors where four officers paced anxiously as they talked animatedly into their radios.

"What happened?" she panted out to no-one in particular, trying to regain control of her breathing as at least a dozen armed officers ran past her.

One of the guards pushed her away, "I'm sorry Ma'am, you're going to have to leave," he ordered politely.

"I'm Detective Olivia Benson, I'm involved in the trial in this courtroom, what's going on?" she asked urgently, showing him her shield.

The man looked at her, "Judge Ross pressed her panic button, shots were fired, but we can't get a visual on the inside of the room and none of the officers are responding to their radios," he replied.

"Who's in charge?" she asked, wondering how many shots had been fired as she pushed aside the unwanted images that flashed before her eyes.

He pointed at the fast approaching man wearing a dark uniform and white hat, "Captain Taylor," he answered.

Olivia ran over to meet the approaching man, "Captain Taylor, I'm Detective Benson, 16th precinct out of Manhattan…the defendant inside is being prosecuted on Federal charges, he's an FBI agent, the witness is ADA Alexandra Cabot, a woman he planned to murder three weeks ago," she rushed out, showing him her shield before clipping it back on to her belt as they moved along the corridor.

The harried man stopped and looked at her, "Detective, I've no idea what's going on in there, give me a minute and I'll come back to you," he said, nodding his head in assurance.

Olivia ran her hand through her hair and watched as he spoke with his men. She pulled out her cellphone and dialed Elliot's number, pacing impatiently as she waited for him to answer, "Porter's done something, I don't know what, but shots were fired," she said hurriedly into the phone, watching as Taylor corralled his large group of men.

"Whoa, slow down Liv…is anybody hurt?" he asked.

Olivia stared at the huddle of uniforms, "I don't know yet, nobody knows what's happening…the judge hit her panic button and there's armed guards everywhere," she replied anxiously.

"As hard as this is gonna sound Liv, you need to let them do their job..I'll tell the Captain, see if he can find anything out, okay?" he said, waving urgently to Cragen through his open office door.

Olivia saw Captain Taylor remove his hat and run his hand through his short dark hair, instantly recognizing the gesture for what it was, "When we were in the DA's building with Connors trying to kill us, did you sit back and wait to find out what was happening?" she asked, knowing the answer.

Elliot remembered his need to be involved and sighed, "Just be careful, okay? I'll be in touch soon, keep me posted…and Liv?"


He swallowed nervously, "She'll be okay," he said quietly, throwing up a silent prayer to anyone listening.

"It's not just her I'm worried about…for his sake, they better all be okay," she replied, ending the call and placing the phone in her pocket, searching the face of the Captain as he moved quickly towards her, "What's happening?" she asked.

Captain Jeff Taylor shook his dark head, "We don't know, my guess is Porter has acquired at least one fire arm and is holding everyone hostage…you're the one who spoke to the judge about stepping up security, aren't you?" he asked.

Olivia studied the man, who looked to be in his early fifties with his large, green eyes drilling into her, she wondered if he was about to assign the blame to her, if any of his officers were hurt and sighed dejectedly, "Yes, yes I did," she replied, holding his gaze.

"Good call Benson," he said, nodding his head.

Olivia looked towards the courtroom, "What are you going to do?" she asked, pushing aside more unwanted images of what lay behind the closed doors.

He followed Olivia's gaze and blew out a frustrated breath, "There's nothing we can do, the doors are locked and we're waiting on the SWAT team…we need to see what's happening in there first," he replied.

Alex stared at Porter icily, "I'll come down if you let everyone else go," she stated flatly.

Porter laughed as he pointed both guns in her direction, enjoying the collective gasp elicited by the members of the jury, "You're not really in a position to make demands, are you Alex?" he taunted.

"Well, if you did all this for my benefit, it's a fair assumption that you want to kill me, not these innocent people," she replied, sweeping her hand in the direction of the jury as she glared at him, "Let them go and you can have me," she added.

Abbie shook her head furiously, "Are you out of your blonde fucking mind Cabot?" she blurted uncontrollably.

Porter trained a gun on both women and looked between them, "Maybe you should keep her company," he suggested.

Abbie shrugged her shoulders, "Suits me, I'd hate to be in your shoes when they burst through those doors with tear gas and laser sights trained on your sorry ass," she replied, nodding her head knowingly.

Porter was about to respond when the radio of the fallen guard at the rear of the courtroom crackled into life again. He had already switched off the other two and motioned with his weapon for Abbie to retrieve this one, "Bring me the radio," he paused and adjusted his aim, leveling the gun at her head, "Don't try anything Carmichael, leave his gun exactly where it is or I'll shoot you in the back of the head," he warned.

Abbie glared at him, catching the slight nod of blonde hair, encouraging her to do as he requested.

Alex watched as her friend moved slowly towards the guard on the floor and retrieved his radio before returning and handing it to Porter.

"My hands are a little full right now," he said smugly, motioning with a gun towards the prosecution table.

Abbie placed the radio on the table and looked at him, listening to the coded discussion being conducted over the airwaves, "Anything else?" she asked sarcastically, glaring at him.

The force of the blow took her by surprise as she struggled to maintain her balance, reaching a hand out and using the table for support. She reached up and felt a trickle of blood cascade down her cheek, "You prick," she spat out.

Porter sneered at her, "I've been wanting to do that all week," he replied smiling.

Alex stood up in the witness box, "Let everyone go Porter," she said calmly, waiting for his eyes to meet her own.

Porter reluctantly shifted his gaze from Abbie and looked over at Alex, "You always get what…and who…you want Alex…well..not this time," he said, aiming the gun directly at Abbie's forehead, "Either you come down here by the time I count to three or there's going to be a new vacancy for a Federal prosecutor," he ordered through gritted teeth.

Alex's cool façade threatened to crack as she glanced up at Jamie and saw the ashen look that covered her face.


Abbie turned to Alex, "Suzy was right, she should have put a bullet between his eyes," she growled out.


The dark haired woman stared defiantly at Porter, refusing to drop her gaze.

"Three," he said, moving his finger to the trigger.

Olivia listened as Taylor deployed his men to all the access doors of the courtroom, she turned away and closed her eyes visualizing the layout in her mind, shaking her head as she realized the three doors were the only way in or out. A hand landed on her shoulder causing her eyes to snap open.

"Sorry," Captain Taylor said, smiling apologetically into her startled brown eyes.

Olivia dragged an anxious hand through her hair, "What's the SWAT team's twenty?" she asked.

He rubbed his jaw, "Five minutes, I've spoken with their Team Leader, they're planning a flash bang, I need you to tell me who's in that courtroom," he said.

She shook her head vigorously, "They can't do that, there's too many civilians, he's probably disarmed all three of your men which means he has three weapons, nobody knows how many shots he's fired…he could have at least twenty rounds….Captain, he wants to kill Alex Cabot, anyone else is incidental to him, you have to trust me on this," she pleaded, searching his green eyes for understanding.

He rubbed his jaw again, "What are you thinking?"

"Give me a radio," she replied.

Alex held up her hands, "WAIT!"

Porter eased his finger off the trigger and turned to the witness box, smiling in victory.


He spun round instantly, expecting to see Olivia standing behind him and glanced down at the radio on the table as his name was called again.

"I know you can hear me Porter," Olivia's voice said, echoing around the tense room.

He placed a gun on the table and lifted the radio, pushing the button to talk, "Your girlfriend's dead O-l-i-v-i-a," he said triumphantly, pointing the gun in his other hand directly at Alex.

"You're lying…I just wanted to warn you that in about four minutes the SWAT team's going to burst in there and shoot you in the head," she replied coolly.

Porter clicked the button angrily, "Then all these deaths will be on your hands," he snarled angrily.

"Let them go…let them all go and I'll come in, that's what this is all about, isn't it?"

He looked over at the terror filled faces of the fourteen people in the jury area before casting his eyes towards Alex and the judge as he considered the offer, "I'll keep the judge and the Texan…the rest can go," he replied into the radio after a long, tense moment.


Chapter 43: Sacrifice

Olivia stood impatiently outside the main entrance to the courtroom, talking with Taylor and Lieutenant Edwards, the SWAT Team Leader. He had arrived on scene and immediately objected to Olivia's proposal until she called in a favor and had him speak to Tom Goldie. After a brief telephone conversation with the TACT Team Leader he had turned to her and informed her he would 'kit' her out in readiness for what lay behind the doors.

She checked her watch again and stared at the radio in her hand, waiting for Porter to make contact as she listened to Edwards explain what she needed to do once inside.

Taylor glanced at the dark haired detective anxiously, "You don't have to do this Benson," he reminded her, having spent a futile few minutes trying to talk her out of it.

Olivia smiled up at him, "He's doing this because of me, I have to go in there…I have to be the one to end this," she answered, nodding her head slowly.

Taylor placed a comforting hand on her shoulder and squeezed it gently, "He's doing it because he's got nothing left to lose…you do," he said quietly.

Olivia held his gaze, "Captain…if I don't go in there…" she paused, swallowing the rising emotion, "…then I've already lost everything," she replied solemnly.

Porter used Abbie, Alex and Jamie to herd the fourteen hostages to the jury entrance and warned the trio of women not to try anything, emphasizing his point by training both guns on the restless mass of bodies.

He lifted the radio, "Olivia?"

"Go ahead," she replied instantly.

Porter nodded towards Jamie, "Open the door, don't try anything," he warned before speaking to Olivia again, "They're coming out, if anyone tries anything…I'll start shooting and you know who'll be first in my line of fire," he advised coldly, smiling over at Alex.

"You have my word," Olivia answered.

Abbie and Alex ushered the men and women through the door quickly before Jamie reluctantly locked it again. He motioned for Alex and Abbie to return to the jury area and instructed them to take alternate seats in the front row.

"Your turn," Porter ordered into the radio.

Olivia stood outside the main entrance and took a deep breath, nodding her head at Edwards. She reached up and adjusted the discrete receiver in her ear and checked the small, cordless mic, hidden beneath her watch strap one last time.

The lock clicked loudly and the door opened slowly, revealing Jamie's worried face. Olivia smiled reassuringly at her as she cautiously entered the room with her hands in the air. As she passed by Jamie, hands reached in and grabbed the judge, pulling her roughly through the open door and closing it quickly.

"NO!" Porter yelled, firing towards the back of the courtroom angrily.

Alex watched in horror as Olivia's body propelled heavily backwards into the wooden door with an ominous thud. She leapt from her seat, intent on going to Olivia, but Abbie's restraining grip held her in place.

"Let me go," she pleaded, her eyes never moving form the back of the courtroom.

Abbie gripped her arm and held her down as Porter turned to them, pointing both guns in their direction.

"Do.Not.Move." he ordered as he side stepped towards Olivia's lifeless body. He locked the door and looked down at the crumpled heap and shook his head, "Really Olivia, was that your plan, play dead?" he asked disdainfully.

Alex tore her eyes from Porter and looked at Abbie questioningly, her eyes glistening with unshed tears as she mouthed, "What?" to her friend. Before Abbie could answer, they heard a groan from the back of the room and watched as Olivia rose shakily to her feet.

The fearless detective rubbed her leather clad chest as she dragged her other hand through her hair. She looked down at her favorite coat, shaking her head at the easily identifiable bullet holes, "You're aim's a little off, you nearly got my heart," she deadpanned, opening the coat and revealing the Kevlar vest with matching holes, side by side, just beside her heart.

Alex blinked slowly as she breathed a sigh of relief and smiled over at Abbie, "How did you know?" she whispered.

"You ever seen that coat buttoned?" she replied quietly.

Alex considered the question for a few seconds before shaking her head and smiling.

"Me neither," she said in a hushed tone.

Jamie Ross sat on the bench outside the courtroom with Edwards and Taylor standing in front of her. She drank slowly from a plastic cup of water, wishing it were something stronger to settle her nerves. She looked up at Edwards, "She's definitely alright?" she asked.

Edwards nodded his head, "Kevlar took the force, she'll be bruised and sore, but from what I hear she's a tough one…spent a whole day with an open bullet wound in her side a few weeks ago," he said, his voice filled with admiration for the dark haired detective.

Jamie smiled, "Yep, that's her alright…what's the plan?"

Edwards face grew serious, "She's going to try and maneuver him to the holding cells door, once he's in front of it and all three women are out of the direct line of sight, my men will enter and take him down," he replied confidently.

Jamie nodded her head before shifting her gaze to Taylor, "I'm sorry your men were killed," she said sincerely.

Taylor shook his head, "Not as sorry as he's going to be," he promised.

Olivia removed her leather coat and placed it on the nearest bench before removing the Kevlar vest. She held her arms out as Porter frisked her for weapons and clenched her jaw as he ran his hand, higher than necessary, up the inside of leg.

He smiled up at her as his hand gripped her inner thigh, "Sorry," he lied.

"That's okay, a prick like you needs to take it when he can," she growled out, wincing slightly as he tightened his hold.

He pointed the gun directly to her chest, "You would have given it to me, if it wasn't for her," he spat out.

"Which one?" she asked, smiling as his eyes widened with shock.

He glanced behind him and over to the two women, "You're nothing but a fucking cock tease," he said angrily.

"I'm not really one for labels," she replied smoothly.

He rose to his full height and looked menacingly down at her, grabbing her arm and shoving her in front of him, "Move," he ordered, guiding her around the fallen guard on the floor as he reached down and retrieved the man's weapon, placing it in his left jacket pocket.

Olivia smiled over at the watching women as he instructed her to sit in the witness box and place her hands on her head.

Porter sat on top of the prosecution table, one gun in in his hand and the other beside him, next to the discarded radio. He stared at Olivia for a long time before asking, "Is the judge one of yours too?"

Olivia shook her head, "A friend?" she replied innocently.

He glared at her, "A dyke," he retorted impatiently.

"I'm not a dyke and neither are those two," she said, motioning with her head towards the transfixed faces watching her, "We're free spirits," she added, hoping to push his buttons, consciously aware that Alex and Abbie were currently in the SWAT team's proposed line of fire.

Porter closed his eyes and dipped his head, trying to maintain his composure. He lifted his head and looked over at Alex and Abbie, "One of you can go," he announced unexpectedly.

Both women looked at each other in surprise and frowned.

"Which one?" Olivia asked skeptically.

Porter lifted his head and stared at her, "The one you want to live," he answered simply.

Edwards and Taylor stood by the monitor listening to the conversation inside the courtroom. Edwards turned to Taylor and nodded his head, "This could be our chance, she gets one out, that only leaves the two of them with him," he said.

"And his three guns and hypodermic needle," Jamie added, looking between both men.

Taylor looked at her, "Any ideas what's in the needle?" he asked, shaking his head.

Jamie nodded, "It's a dark pink color…the only time I've ever seen anything immobilize and kill someone within seconds is at State executions, they use it to administer lethal injections..." she paused as realization dawned, "…Oh my God, I think he's got Sodium Pentathol," she said, lifting a hand to her mouth.

Porter looked at the clock on the wall, "Tick, tock Olivia, who do you want to live?"

She shook her head, "Let them both go, if you want to kill me, then just do it, but let them both go…please," she begged, trying to reason with him.

"You should go," Abbie whispered to Alex.

Alex stared at her and shook her head defiantly.

Porter looked over at the two women, "If one of you doesn't move over to that door," he paused, indicating the jury entrance, "I'll shoot you both in the head…one of you…move!" he barked impatiently.

Alex nodded at Abbie and smiled, "Get out of here Cowboy," she whispered.

Abbie stared at her for a few long seconds before reluctantly rising from her chair, she squeezed Alex's arm as she passed in front of her and nodded apologetically towards Olivia. She stood in front of the door and turned, waiting for Porter.

He approached her slowly, smiling smugly at Olivia as he moved past the witness box, tucking one of the guns into his waistband as he reached into his right jacket pocket.

Alex's eyes widened with terror as she saw the flash of pink.


Chapter 44: high Octane

Olivia felt her stomach drop at the expression on Alex's face and instantly followed her gaze, spotting something small and pink with a point in Porter's right hand and blanched, "Abbie!" she bellowed, too far away to do anything more to help her friend. Her eyes searched for anything to use as a weapon and landed on the glass of water on the ledge of the witness box.

Abbie and Porter turned simultaneously at hearing Olivia's cry, Abbie glanced down and saw the flash of metal and gasped, shoving Porter away from her with all her Southern strength. The move caught Porter off guard, causing him to stumble sideways.

Once Abbie was clear, Olivia threw the glass of water straight at his head, striking him squarely in the face.

Porter dropped the gun and hypodermic as his hands flew to his forehead in agony.

Alex saw the gun fall and the needle roll away, instantly rushing the twelve feet to retrieve the discarded weapon.

Olivia leapt from the witness box and barreled into Porter's, knocking them both heavily to the ground with a loud thump, landing on top of his body and frantically searching his left jacket pocket and retrieving the keys, throwing them towards Abbie, "Go!" she yelled as she reached back in for the gun.

Abbie snatched the keys in mid air and fumbled to find the one that fitted the lock, she glanced behind her and saw Porter heave himself backwards, throwing Olivia on to the floor.

Porter knocked Olivia off his body and reached into his waistband for his gun, scanning the surrounding area for his needle and fallen weapon. He saw a flash of pink and scrambled across the floor, kicking wildly behind him as Olivia grabbed at his ankles.

Alex's hand landed on the weapon just as Porter reached for the pink vial, Olivia hung on to his legs and pulled with all her might, struggling valiantly to maintain her hold. Alex lifted the gun and pointed it straight at his head, finger on the trigger.

Porter swung his weapon upwards and leveled it at her chest.

"No!" Olivia roared, watching helplessly as Porter raised his aim.

The lock clicked loudly amidst the tense silence and everyone turned to the door as Abbie opened it.

Two guards immediately burst into the room, weapons outstretched.

Porter shifted his aim and squeezed off two rounds, instantly taking both men down. Abbie dropped to the floor and turned to the standing blonde, "Alex!" she shouted.

Olivia lunged for his weapon and missed, receiving a blow to her ribs, allowing Porter to reach for the vial.

Alex turned her head at the sounds of the scuffle to find Olivia in a sleeper hold with the hypodermic needle an inch from her throat.

Abbie looked into the corridor and saw the advancing guards, "Alex!" she shouted again, without turning round.

"Go," Alex instructed, keeping the gun in her hand pointed directly at Porter's bleeding forehead. She shifted her gaze to Olivia's dark eyes, "Get out of here Abbie!" she ordered, ignoring the pleading look on Olivia's face.

Abbie crawled through the door and was pulled to safety by two armed men as another two retrieved their fallen colleagues. She felt an air of dread settle in the hallway as one of the guards reached up and slammed the door.

Porter sat on the floor, the dark haired detective between his outstretched legs, holding the needle to her neck in his right hand while the gun dangled loosely from the other around her neck.

Olivia's hands were gripped around Porter's forearm, desperately trying to ease the strangle hold he had on her. She felt his knees digging in to her sides as he held her taut frame closely in front of him, using her as a shield and minimizing Alex's shooting area.

Alex swallowed nervously as the gun in her hand felt heavier with each passing second and knew he could see the tremble in her aim. She stood beside the jury railing and watched as he scuttled backwards across the floor, dragging Olivia with him until he rested with his back against the witness box. She followed his move with the barrel of her gun and eased along the front row of seats reserved for the jury, stopping halfway and adjusting her aim.

The tension in the room was palpable as they stared each other down.

Alex spoke first, "Let her go," she instructed calmly.

Porter smiled as he gripped Olivia's neck tighter, shifting the needle to the side of her face, "What are you going to do? Hope that the one shot you manage to squeeze off hits me in the head?" he asked, ducking behind Olivia for effect.

"If I have to," she replied coldly.

He laughed, "Is this where you tell me that all those years of Witsec turned you into a marksman?" he mocked.

Alex's gaze remained ice cold as she glared at him, "Something like that," she answered, watching Olivia struggle to break his hold.

Porter released his hold on Olivia's neck and raised the gun in his left hand, pointing it towards Alex while he moved the needle to the base of Olivia's throat. He sneered at her, "Would you like to try? I'll even lower my gun, give you a fighting chance Alex…if you hit me, my head will drop forward, pushing Olivia's on to the needle…" he paused, smiling up at her, "…her death at your hands…I like that idea," he added contemplatively.

Alex shifted her eyes to Olivia's face, taking strength from her neutral expression. She knew she couldn't make the shot, wouldn't even be close, but she could stall for time, confident that Abbie was updating the men in charge outside.

"Five I think…I'm not sure if they were all from the same weapon though, he has three guns and the hypodermic needle," Abbie said in answer to Lieutenant Edwards question.

He turned to Captain Taylor, "Do your men carry six shooters?" he asked.

"Yes, all standard issue 38's," he replied.

Edwards nodded his head and turned his attention back to the seated woman, "Don't worry, we'll get them out," he said, patting her knee.

Abbie lowered her eyes, "You'd better," she whispered, swallowing the guilty sob, rising in her throat.

"Let Alex go…please," Olivia begged quietly.

Porter snorted, "Olivia, you know I can't," he replied into the ear in front of his lips. He inhaled her scent deeply and felt a renewed hatred for the blonde woman to their left.

Olivia sighed, "We can't just stay here, like this"

Porter tilted his head, "Well, I don't know about you, sweetheart, but I don't have anywhere else to be," he said lightly.

"She'll never be your sweetheart, don't you get it?"

Porter glared angrily up at the young woman, "And you think she's yours?" he asked incredulously.

"I know so," Alex replied confidently, smiling at Olivia.

Porter waved the gun angrily at her, "Shut up…just shut up!" he barked.

Alex shook her head, "She wouldn't even give you the time of day," she added.

Porter gritted his teeth and breathed heavily through his nose, "Only because you corrupted her!" he retorted angrily.

"Me…Abbie…Jamie…" she trailed off, watching him process the information.

Porter dug his knees into Olivia's sides harder, "Is that true?" he asked, clenching his jaw.

Olivia remained silent as he forced her roughly to her feet and shoved her closer towards Alex, "I asked if it was true?"

She smiled at her girlfriend, "I love you," she said simply.

"And I love you," Alex replied, smiling at her.

Porter felt rage and betrayal pumping though his veins as he raised the gun and aimed it at Alex, struggling to control his finger on the trigger, "You're lying!" he said.

"Put her on the stand and ask her," Olivia suggested.

Porter blinked rapidly, "What? Why?" he asked.

Olivia smiled at Alex, "She's a lawyer, lives by the letter of the law, she would never lie under oath, it's against her judicial and moralistic obligations," she repined, hoping he believed her.

Porter considered her words carefully before motioning for Alex to move to the witness box, when she refused he adjusted his aim and pressed the barrel tightly against Olivia's temple.

Olivia winked at her, indicating for her to do as instructed.

Alex moved slowly towards the witness stand as Porter positioned himself and Olivia in front of the prosecution table. He wrapped his arm around her throat, needle poised dangerously beside her skin as he ordered Alex to raise her right hand and take the oath.

She moved the gun to her left hand and raised her right, swearing to tell the truth as her eyes never left Olivia's.

He instructed her to sit, but she refused, causing him to push the needle closer to the smooth flesh.

Alex sat down and raised the gun, pointing it directly at his head with her unsteady hand, "What's in the needle?" she asked, trying to distract him from the crushing hold he had on the detective.

He smiled, "Sodium Pentathol," he replied coolly.

Olivia felt her pulse race as she recognized the drug used for lethal injections, she swallowed nervously, even more aware of the close proximity of the small, but deadly needle.

Alex felt her stomach threaten to recoil, even a small amount of the lethal cocktail could immobilize and induce coma. She stared at him, "You would kill the woman you claim to love?" she asked curiously.

"You would die for the woman you claim to love?" he countered.

She held his gaze, "In a heartbeat," she said calmly.

"So be it," he replied coldly, lowering his arm from around Olivia's neck and moving the gun to his right hand, finger on the trigger.

Olivia froze as she saw the movement of his finger, instantly moving her right hand to her watch, conscious of the hovering needle at the left hand side of her neck.

Porter's eyes drilled into the unwavering, blue stare as he dipped his head to Olivia's ear, "Any last words for your girl, Olivia?" he asked, eager to squeeze the trigger.

"Firefly," she said loudly.

Porter barely had time to register the word when the door leading to the holding cells flew open, he spun his weapon towards the intruders and blindly opened fire, simultaneously grappling with Olivia's squirming form.

Olivia used every ounce of strength to keep his hand, holding the needle, away from her neck.

Alex watched in horror, following their movements with her gun, unable to get a clear shot at Porter for fear of wounding Olivia.

Suddenly, the room filled with smoke and shots rang out.


Chapter 45: Pink Mist

Abbie paced anxiously outside the main entrance to the courtroom, her long strides eating up the tiled floor as her mind raced. She glanced at her watch again and bit her lower lip, it had now been over two minutes since the sound of rapid gunfire had stopped.

"Would you sit down, you're making me even more nervous," Jamie said, glaring up at the dark haired woman.

Abbie stopped and looked over at the bench, "I shouldn't have left, I should have stayed," she said.

Jamie shook her head, "Olivia knew what she was doing, so did Alex…the fewer people for Porter to deal with, the easier her task to maneuver him into position without worrying about cross fire," she replied logically.

Abbie considered her words and nodded her head at the judge's reasoning. She moved over to the bench and sat down beside her, studying the sea of black clad figures, poised in front of the courtroom door. She turned to Jamie, "D'you think they got him?" she asked quietly.

Jamie met the concerned dark eyes and shrugged, "I hope so," she said, praying that Dean Porter was lying on the floor with a bullet between his eyes.

They both jumped as the SWAT team burst noisily into the courtroom.

"Liv!" Alex screamed at the ominous thud as she blindly felt her way out of the witness box. A cacophony of sounds engulfed the courtroom as she dropped to her knees, desperately trying to make her way to Olivia through the thick blanket of smoke.

Hands grabbed her, pulling her to her feet, holding her in place, instructing her to stand still.

"Let me go!" she shouted, struggling against the forceful grip as she peered into the clearing fog, "Liv?" she called urgently.

"Ma'am, it'll just take a moment for the smoke to clear," he said, sliding his goggles upwards and settling them on top of his helmet.

Alex blinked rapidly, trying to clear her vision as her stomach dropped, fearing the worst. She knew if Liv was conscious she would respond to her calls, she hadn't.

The seconds dragged by as she stared at the space in front of the prosecution table, where she had last seen Olivia and gasped as the murky mist finally lifted, revealing two figures lying lifelessly on the floor.

"Liv!" she gasped, freeing herself from the restraining arm and pushing past the men in black.

Her blood ran cold as she stared down at the bodies lying flat on their backs, both faces covered in blood and both deathly still. One of the men kicked Porter's weapon away and reached for the discarded hypodermic, Alex followed his hand and gasped as she saw the empty vial. She dropped to her knees and pulled off her jacket, frantically wiping the blood away from Olivia's face, ignoring the hands, urging her away as two EMT's raced into the courtroom.

She cradled Olivia against her chest as she desperately searched for a pulse, cursing her clumsy hands as they searched for signs of life. She glanced up as Porter's limp body was dragged away, the entry wounds clearly visible in his forehead and throat.

She ran her free hand over Olivia's torso, trying to find an entry wound, untucking the form fitting, black shirt from her trousers as her fingers felt along the warm flesh.

"If all you wanted was to cop a feel Cabot, all you had to do was ask"

Alex's eyes flew to Olivia's face, tears of relief instantly springing to her eyes as she removed her hand and smoothed bloody hair away from Olivia's forehead.

Olivia lifted a hand and brushed away her tears, "I'm okay," she rasped out.

Alex captured her hand and clasped it tightly against her heart, "You scared me," she whispered, ignoring the noise surrounding them.

Olivia felt hot tears sliding down the sides of her face, "I scared myself," she quietly admitted.

"Miss, we need to check her out," a young man said as he knelt on the floor beside her.

Alex smiled at Olivia, struggling to contain her emotions, "I'll be right over there," she said, pointing at the witness stand as she lowered her back on to the floor.

Olivia nodded her head, "I'm okay, I just got the wind knocked out of me when we fell," she supplied, hoping to ease Alex's fears.

Alex moved away, walking backwards as she crossed the floor the few feet to the witness box. She looked up and scanned the room and realized for the fist time that all three courtroom doors were open. An EMT approached her, pointing at her bloody chest and asked if she needed assistance. She shook her head and stared at Olivia, smiling as she moved, unaided, to a sitting position.

Brown eyes turned in her direction and she moved instantly, crouching beside the seated woman and offering her hand. Olivia allowed herself to be helped to her feet and wrapped her arms around the taller woman, hugging her fiercely.

They stood for a few minutes, taking comfort in the embrace before a gentle clearing of a throat broke the moment.

"Detective Benson," Lieutenant Edwards said quietly.

Olivia eased out of the loving hold and slid her arm around Alex's waist as she turned to face the SWAT Team Leader.

He held out his hand and shook her own firmly, "That was a brave thing you did, Goldie was right, you're one helluva of a woman," he said admirably, his tone laced with respect.

Olivia nodded, "Thank you, Sir," she replied, smiling warmly at him.

"You too, Miss Cabot, you could've gotten out, but you stayed," he added, patting her on the arm.

Alex smiled, "Where she goes…" she paused and tilted her head at Olivia, "…I go," she answered simply, enjoying the squeeze from the hand at her waist.

Abbie and Jamie stared anxiously at the open door, having already tried unsuccessfully to enter the room, now that it was declared safe.

Abbie leapt to her feet as she spotted the familiar figures exiting the courtroom and gasped at the color of Alex's once pristine blouse, "Oh my God," she said as the two women approached.

"It's not mine," Alex said, following Abbie's gaze.

Olivia shook her head, "Or mine," she added, smiling up at her dark haired friend.

Abbie swallowed as her eyes filled with tears, "Don't ever do that to me again, either of you," she croaked out, engulfing them in a fierce hug.

Olivia patted her back and looked over her shoulder at the silent figure sitting on the bench. She eased out of Abbie's embrace and stood in front of Jamie, "You okay?" she asked quietly.

Jamie nodded as she rose to her feet and stared into concerned eyes, "I am now," she said, wrapping her arms lightly around Olivia as she whispered into her ear, "Thank you."

"I didn't do anything, the guards pulled you out," Olivia replied softly.

Jamie pulled her head back, "Is that the way you would normally enter a hostage situation?" she asked knowingly.

Olivia shrugged, "We didn't know who would unlock the door, we just knew if it was one of you three, I would take the entry wide and give them room to pull," she said.

Jamie shook her head, "Thank you," she repeated, blinking away fresh tears.

Alex and Abbie sidled up beside them as all four women looked at each other and smiled with relief.

"Tell me there's a bullet hole in that prick's head," Abbie drawled humorlessly.

Alex turned to her, "And one in his throat," she added.

Olivia suddenly felt filthy and desperately in need of a shower, she smiled at Alex, "Let's give our statements and get out of here, I'm covered in pink mist," she said, resisting the urge to run her hand through her sticky hair.

Edwards and Taylor stared down at Porter's dead body.

"Two clean entries and exits," Taylor commented.

Edwards nodded, "And one puncture wound," he added, looking at the small needle mark, one of his agents had pointed out.

They turned to each other and shared a knowing look.

Both women were quiet as they stood beneath the powerful spray of the overhead jets. Alex washed Olivia's hair, carefully removing the remains of the day as the dark haired woman studied the pink water swirling around the drain.

Alex massaged the scalp beneath her fingertips and smiled as Olivia turned in her arms, stroking her sides softly with soap lathered hands.

"I'm glad he's dead," Olivia said flatly.

Alex nodded, "I'm just glad he can't hurt us anymore," she replied, tipping Olivia's head back as she rinsed off the shampoo.

Olivia glanced up at her, "I love the way you wash my hair," she commented.

Alex smiled, "I know," she replied.

Once she was finished, Olivia wrapped her arms around the taller frame and leaned heavily into her, "I love you Alex," she whispered.

Alex tightened her hold, "And I love you," she said quietly, kissing the top of her head.

They stood like that for a long time until both felt the chill of the room bite at their bare skin and reluctantly parted.

Casey listened as Abbie recounted the events of the courtroom and held her tightly as the dark haired woman's voice cracked with emotion. She stroked the long darks locks lovingly and placed tender kisses along her cheek as she fought to contain her own tears.

Abbie finally finished and looked up at the red haired woman, "I want us to see more of our friends, we could visit once a month or whatever, but I don't want us to be distant anymore" she said, stretching her long legs out on the large bed.

Casey smiled down at her as she shifted her position, "Me neither," she added as she wrapped her arms around her, "I'm so glad you're okay, I don't know what I would do without you," she whispered, stifling a sob.

Abbie kissed her tenderly and wiped away her tears, "I don't want to hide anymore Casey, I want people to know how much I love you," she said, swallowing anxiously.

"You want us to get married?" Casey asked, unable to mask the shock in her voice.

Abbie gasped, "What?" No! I want us to come out," she clarified, feeling her heart thump wildly in her chest.

Casey couldn't disguise the crestfallen look that crossed her face, "Okay," she replied absently.

Abbie held her close and gazed into her eyes, "Although…getting married doesn't sound like such a bad idea, now that you've asked me," she said smiling as she leaned in for another kiss.

Casey's eyes widened, "I didn't ask!"

"That's a shame," she drawled teasingly.

Casey traced the dimpled chin with her finger, "Why?"

"Because I would have said, 'yes,'" she whispered before capturing the soft lips once more.

Alex walked into the living room and smiled at the familiar sight of Olivia leaning against the large windows. She moved in behind her and wrapped her arms around her waist, nuzzling her neck playfully, "You okay?" she asked, resting her head on the soft shoulder.

Olivia nodded as she studied the headlights in the distance, "What did McCoy say?" she asked, without turning round.

"Another week off, Liz had already been in touch and told him everything…Jamie called her after she gave her statement," she replied.

Olivia nodded again, "I love Liz Donnelly," she said smiling.

Alex kissed her ear gently, "You better not," she whispered as she suckled the fleshy lobe between her teeth.

Olivia snorted softly as she squirmed away from the teasing touch and turned in Alex's arms, "Cragen gave me another week too, I've never been away from work this long," she said, shaking her head.

Alex adjusted her hold and leaned forward, "Hmm, what will we do for a whole week?" she asked, tapping a slender finger against her chin.

Olivia beamed at her, "I'm sure between the two of us, we'll come up with something," she replied, closing the distance between them.

After several, unhurried moments of leisurely exploration, they parted. Olivia adjusted Alex's dark frames that had slipped down her nose and smiled, "Elliot asked after you," she said casually, moving her hand to the soft, blonde hair.

Alex grinned, "I'm really looking forward to getting to know him and Kathy better," she added, kissing the tip of Olivia's nose.

Olivia grinned, "Me too," she said.

Alex eased away from her and moved into the bedroom, returning a minute later with her cellphone. She stood in front of Olivia and smiled, "Go start packing," she instructed quietly as she held the phone to her ear.

"Where are we going?" Olivia asked curiously.

Alex grinned as the call connected, "Hi Martha," she said, enjoying the look of pleasant surprise that crossed Olivia's features.

"Why did you ask me to have Rob wait an hour?" Alex asked.

Olivia turned her head and smiled, "I wanted to show you something," she said cryptically, reaching for Alex's hand that rested on the seat between them.

Alex smiled, "Sounds interesting," she replied, intertwining their fingers together.

"Miss Benson, we're almost there," the driver said through the intercom.

Olivia reached into her pocket and brought out a silk scarf before looking into Alex's light eyes, "Do you trust me?" she asked quietly.

"Always," she said smiling before removing her glasses.

Olivia released her hand and tied the blue silk around her head, "It won't be for long," she whispered, placing a gentle kiss on parted lips.

Alex smiled, adjusting the makeshift blindfold, "Pity," she teased.

The car stopped and Olivia waited for their driver to open the door before guiding Alex on to the sidewalk. She noticed the waiting security guard and smiled at him as Alex looped her arm through her own as she walked closely beside her.

"Where can we possibly be going at nine o'clock at night?" Alex asked.

Olivia kissed her cheek, "Patience, sweetie," she whispered, leading Alex through a series of doors before entering the gate that led to her final destination. She guided Alex along the stone path before motioning for her to sit down.

Alex instinctively reached out a hand and eased herself on to what felt like a wooden bench.

Olivia sat beside her and draped an arm around her shoulders, feeling the rabble of butterflies in her stomach flutter with anticipation. She turned to face her, "Ready?"

Alex smiled, "Always," she said smiling as Olivia removed the silk.

The air left Alex's lungs in a rush of wonderment as she looked straight ahead and then back at the smiling woman beside her, "How? When? Who?" she faltered, sliding her glasses back on as she shifted her eyes back to the fountain in the centre of Bartholdi Park.

Olivia leaned in and kissed her cheek gently, "Need to know basis only," she said, pleased that her surprise was a resounding success. She pulled Alex closer, "You said you'd always wanted to see it at night," she added.

Alex felt the tears well in her eyes and cursed her lack of control, she reached up and wiped the wetness away, "It's beautiful…you're beautiful," she said, tilting her head and kissing her softly. As they parted she snuggled deeper into the loving embrace and gazed up at the illuminated monument, "How long do we have left?" she asked, enjoying their tranquil surroundings.

Olivia glanced at her watch, "Long enough," she replied, laughing at the playful slap to her thigh. They sat for a few more minutes before moving down to the edge of the fountain where Olivia motioned for her to sit on the low stone wall.

Alex sat down and gazed up into loving brown eyes, "What?" she asked, sensing Olivia wanted to say something.

Olivia fingered the lotus mandala necklace around her neck as she knelt in front of Alex, "Remember when I told you I kept this so that I could have a part of you near me all the time…" she paused, moving her hands to the back of her neck, "…well…I want you to have this," she said holding out her gold, slate pendant.

Alex gazed at her, "You don't have to give me anything," she answered softly, reaching out and cupping her cheek gently.

Olivia leaned into the touch, "I've worn this for a long time, been inspired by the Fearlessness inscription…but when I look at you, I feel all the inspiration I'll ever need to do what I do every day," she said, swallowing the emotion rising in her throat.

Alex blew out an unsteady breath, "God Liv, the things you say…you leave me speechless," she whispered.

Olivia bobbed her head slightly, "I guess what I'm trying to tell you…is that I want you to have a part of me with you always," she said quietly as a single tear rolled down her cheek, onto Alex's thumb.

Alex stared lovingly into deep brown orbs as the tears in her own eyes threatened to cloud her vision, "I already have you with me…" she whispered, reaching for Olivia's hand and placing it over her heart, "...in here," she added.

Olivia beamed at her, "We're gonna grow old together, Alex Cabot," she said as tears of happiness coursed down her cheeks.

"With lots of kids, Olivia Benson," Alex added as Olivia secured the pendant around her neck before leaning in and sealing their promise with a heartfelt kiss.

The End


Author's note:

Okay, I really hope you liked that and felt it rounded the trilogy off nicely J

Pink Mist has a lot of definitions, but this is the one for this chapter: The blood that comes out of a snipers target when he is hit.

A lot of nods to Déjà vu and The Cabin in here, but I couldn't resist using, "If all you wanted was to cop a feel Cabot, all you had to do was ask" – cos Liv had said that after she shot Brennan in the hallway.

I also wanted to give Abbie & Casey a bit of 'screen time' and show them in the aftermath.

'A rabble of butterflies'' is the proper collective noun and that wonderful, patient, beautiful dark haired Cabot of mine challenged me to use it a few weeks ago (pay up LB).

Thank you for taking the ride, it's been a truly unique experience and my life has been like a rollercoaster since this started. I hope you'll stick around, I'm nowhere near done writing and I think I'll have to visit this story again after Charades and the Uber.

After not very much persuasion, I'll be continuing this series in a few weeks.

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