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 6: Contingency Plan

The shutter whirred as a chubby finger pressed the capture button as he eagerly watched his quarry through the view finder. The two female figures were oblivious to his presence as they stood outside the court building. He looked at his watch, noting it was almost six thirty and smiled, it had been a productive two days already and he was desperate for the money shot.

He watched as they stood closely together, the brown haired woman scanning the area around them.

"Come on…just one kiss," he mumbled under his breath.

He watched as the blonde leaned closer and felt his palms sweat in anticipation.

"Hey buddy, how long we gonna sit here?" the cabbie asked.

His concentration broke and he turned angrily to the driver, instinctively pulling the lens away from the gap in the window, "If you want your money, you'll keep your mouth shut," he spat out irritably. He returned his gaze to the view finder and scanned the area. They were gone.

"Dammit," he cursed.

Alex and Olivia walked with purpose along the long, deserted hallway, their destination around the corner. Olivia stopped suddenly and pulled Alex towards a closed door. "I need a minute," she said, answering the querying gaze.

Alex smiled and followed Olivia into the ladies' room.

Olivia moved to the row of porcelain wash basin's and turned on the water, cooling her clammy hands under the steady flow.

Alex moved in behind her, "It'll be okay," she said quietly, resting her head on Olivia's shoulder and studying their reflection in the mirror.

Olivia looked up and met her eyes, "I don't want you to lose your job or be transferred, just because of me," she whispered.

Alex held her gaze as she kissed her cheek, "Because of us, we're in this together sweetheart," she answered softly, kissing her again.

Olivia tilted her head into the loving kiss and smiled as she absorbed the tender touch. She shut off the water and tried to reach for a paper towel, but the body behind her limited her mobility. She laughed as long arms held her in place.

"I need to dry my hands and I don't think we should keep Liz waiting," Olivia said, smiling at her reflection.

Alex pressed into her, "Do you think she's alone?"

"No," a voice sounded from behind them before a toilet flushed.

A stall door opened revealing a dark haired, older woman who looked at both of their reflections in the mirror, "Alexandra…detective," Lena Petrovsky greeted cordially as she moved to the wash basin beside them.

Alex took a step back, releasing Olivia and looked anywhere but into the face of the gloating judge.

"Your Honor," Alex replied, hoping her tone sounded neutral.

Olivia reached for a paper towel and smiled awkwardly at Petrovsky, "Judge," she said, nodding her head.

Petrovsky washed her hands thoroughly before acknowledging either of them had spoken, "I hear congratulations are in order," she said, dropping the towel into the waste basket, "I'd heard rumors that you and Stabler were more than just, partners," she said, looking directly at Olivia.

Olivia frowned, "Elliot Stabler is a happily married father of five childr-"

Petrovsky held up her hand halting Olivia's tirade, "Relax detective, I said rumorsI wasn't implying anything untoward against you or your partner," she said shaking her head.

Alex placed a comforting hand on Olivia's lower back, "We better not keep Liz waiting," she said, wanting to be anywhere, but in a bathroom with Lena Petrovsky.

"You're right Alexandra, we mustn't keep Elizabeth waiting," she said, moving towards the door. She turned as she opened it and gave them a knowing smirk.

Alex and Olivia sat on the leather sofa, absorbing the information Liz Donnelly had just shared with them.

Lena Petrovsky moved from her position on the adjacent chair and made her way to the drinks decanter, nestled on a nearby unit, "Drink anyone?" she asked, pouring herself a large scotch.

Alex and Olivia both shook their heads as they looked at Liz questioningly.

"You want me to…blackmail…Jack McCoy?" Alex asked in disbelief.

Liz looked at her, "You don't need to make it sound so Machiavellian Alex. We're trying to give you some leverage…before you hand Jack the rope that he will undoubtedly use to hang your career," she scolded.

Lena handed Liz a glass of amber liquid before returning to her seat, as she sat down she looked at them both, "Despite your initial misgivings at what we propose Alexandra, once you've given it some thought you'll realize this is the only way," she said, taking a long swallow of the burning liquid.

Liz closed the document she held in her hand, "Nineteen judges, including your Uncle, have signed a proposed bill of no confidence against Jack McCoy. Should he try and remove you from the DA's office, this will be passed to the Attorney General for immediate investigation," she paused, nodding her head at both women, "In this modern time of Liberalism, it's important for the State of New York to be represented by someone with a broader understanding of the needs of the populous," she said, sipping from her glass.

"How did you manage to persuade nineteen judges to go along with this?" Olivia asked in a doubting tone.

Petrovsky, settled comfortably in her chair, nursing her drink in both hands, "The Cabot's have been influential in this city for many decades, your father was a pioneer for change Alexandra, he believed in a Greater Good and I know you do too, that's why you enjoy bending the rules so much," she paused, smiling at her. "Most of the appointed court officials remember him well and hold you in high regard, your private life should not hold any bearing on your professional capabilities," she finished, swallowing from the glass.

"You knew my father?" Alex asked, unable to mask the shock in her tone.

Lena Petrovsky nodded, "We attended Harvard together and were prosecutor's for the DA before he focused his attention on environmental preservation," she said fondly. She drained the last of her scotch and leaned forward, setting the glass on the table. She looked at Alex's shocked expression, "He would be very proud of you Alexandra," she said sincerely.

Alex swallowed and nodded her head, "Thank you," she said quietly.

Olivia reached for her hand and held it gently, feeling it tremble within her own. She turned to look up at Liz, "We'll only use this if he threatens to transfer her, right?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Liz looked at her, "Honestly? I would make this the first thing you have to say," she said, nodding her head in Alex's direction. "Realistically, tell him the truth and respond accordingly, one thing you're not, is meek," Liz said smiling as Alex lifted her eyes to meet her own.

Olivia nodded, "I think I should go with you," she said, squeezing Alex's hand.

"No," Liz stated, "I'm going in with her, I've rescheduled my court appearances for tomorrow and already informed his secretary to keep his morning free," she stated firmly.

Alex looked at her, "I'd rather go with Olivia."

Liz moved and sat on the edge of the sofa, she placed a concerned hand on the young woman's shoulder, "Alex, " she began, softening her tone, "You need a credible witness for whatever he may say to you," she said, giving her shoulder a comforting squeeze.

Olivia looked past Alex into the older woman's face, "I am a credible witness," she said tersely.

"You're her girlfriend," Liz replied quietly, "McCoy won't look at you as anything else once she tells him, I'll be an independent, impartial witness," she stated, ignoring the snort from Lena.

"Until you produce the document detailing the lack of support for him in only his second year of office," Lena Petrovsky drolled.

Liz shook her head at her fellow judge, "I know how he works and I know how to rattle him," she replied, looking into Alex's eyes and nodding her head, "Trust me," she said knowingly.

Olivia walked into the living room carrying two glasses of wine, smiling at the relaxed figure on the large, cream sofa. She handed one to Alex and sat beside her, placing a hand on her thigh, giving it a comforting squeeze. "I'm stuffed," she announced.

Alex smiled as she placed her hand over Olivia's and picked it up, "No wonder, you ate at least two more slices than me," she said referring to the large pizza they had just shared.

Olivia took a sip and savored the sweet flavor before she answered, "I ate those slices because you ate all the potato skins," she teased, lacing their fingers together. "I wish I could go in with you tomorrow," she said sighing.

Alex smiled at her, "Me too, but Liz is right, he won't see past the fact that you and I are together," she replied.

"It's a risky plan, threatening him with the Attorney General. At the very least it would be embarrassing for him and at worst, it could lead to a new election," Olivia said.

Alex nodded, "Petrovsky took me by surprise, when she said she knew my father," she said quietly.

"It puts a lot of things into perspective though, I think in her own way she's been looking out for you over the years," Olivia answered, taking another sip from her glass.

Alex studied her face, reveling in the affection she saw reflected at her, "She's always been so hard on me, never given me a break," she groaned.

Olivia smiled, "Probably because she knew that's what your father would have done," she said, lifting their joined hands to kiss the back of Alex's.

Alex felt the lips linger on her hand and the delicate tip of a tongue swipe across her smooth skin, "You could be right," she said thoughtfully.

Olivia leaned forward and placed her glass on the table then did the same with Alex's. She removed the glasses from the beautiful face and placed them on the table, "Come on, let's go to bed," she said quietly, reaching for her hand.

Alex smiled, accepting the offered hand and rose form the sofa, snagging her glasses from the table as she stood. Olivia frowned at her and looked to the dark frames in her hand.

Alex snorted, "You don't realize how little I can see without these," she explained, twirling them in her hand.

Olivia smiled apologetically, "I'm sorry, I never realized," she said honestly.

Alex grinned, placing the glasses on Olivia's face and raised her eyebrows, "Wow…they suit you…make you look very sexy…in a high school teacher, kind of way," she said, smoothing away Olivia's frown.

Olivia snorted, "Oh really?" she said teasingly. "Anything you'd like to share?" she husked out.

"Maybe…" Alex drawled, tugging Olivia down the hallway.

"Have I told you…how incredible you are?" Olivia panted, trying to bring her breathing under control.

"Once or twice," Alex replied cockily as she licked her lips and crawled up Olivia's heaving body, enjoying the lingering traces of her lover on her tongue. She scraped the long blonde hair behind her ears and lay beside her, draping her body over Olivia's possessively.

Olivia opened her eyes and turned to look into shining blue, "We can't keep this pace up," she teased.

"Of course we can…you have incredible stamina," Alex replied, waggling her eyebrows, "Besides…with that afterglow of yours, I'll save a fortune on light bulbs," she snorted.

Olivia groaned, accepting her fate.

Alex enjoyed the feeling of their bodies cooling as they reveled in the wake of another session of passionate exploration. She felt her senses heightened and her heart bursting with love for the woman she lay on, "If I think about tomorrow, I get nervous, but when I think about you and me, I feel as if I could take on anyone…you give me a strength I didn't know I possessed," she admitted quietly.

Olivia blinked a few times, smiling at the blonde woman in her arms, "I think we give each other strength," she replied, straining her head for a delicate kiss.

They lay in silence for several minutes, hands stroking the cooling skin and embracing their feeling of togetherness. Olivia sighed contentedly, unconcerned with tomorrow or the trial, opting to live in the moment.

Alex could hear the steady beat of Olivia's heart and smiled, "At lunch today…" she started, but trailed off.


"Elliot…what he said about the car crash…what was he talking about?" Alex asked, tracing idle patterns on Olivia's chest.

Olivia inhaled deeply and blew it out slowly, "We were working a case, involving a little boy…Elliot had to go out of town…make an arrest…" she paused, running her fingers through long blonde strands, "…anyway, I offered to take Kathy to her OB appointment…" she sighed, "…we got hit at an intersection by a drunk driver," she said quietly.

Alex shifted and lay on her back, pulling Olivia into her arms, cradling her and kissing her temple. She felt Olivia sag against her and inhale sharply before continuing.

"Kathy was pinned, her waters had broken and we were surrounded by fire crews and ambulances…it was so loud and the smell…" she swallowed, remembering the sights and sounds and acrid smells of that afternoon.

Alex kissed her temple again, "Were you hurt?" she asked quietly.

Olivia shook her head, "They cut Kathy out…she went into labor in the ambulance and Eli was born…"

Alex held her tightly as she felt her snuggle in deeper, "You saved their lives Liv," she whispered.

"No…the EMT's did, I helped her through the birth but then…she coded…all I could think about was Elliot and his kids losing the most important person in their life…I…I…" she trailed off, swallowing deeply, not wanting to dwell on the memory.

Alex held her tightly, "You saved their lives, you were there for her, you're always there for everyone Liv…always…" she aid, running her hand along Olivia's side.

Olivia looked at her, "Everybody turned out okay in the end," she said, smiling weakly.

"And how long before your nightmares stopped?" Alex asked softly, studying the dark orbs in the dimly lit bedroom.

Olivia lowered her eyes and bit her bottom lip, blinking a few times, "A while," she whispered.

Alex moved her hand to Olivia's hair and smoothed it away from her face, "Did you ever tell Elliot?" she asked tentatively.

Olivia closed her eyes and shook her head slowly.

Alex lifted her head and kissed her lips, feeling them part beneath her own. After a few minutes of conveying their love for one another, Alex pulled her head back, "Promise me you'll always tell me when something affects you," she whispered.

Olivia instantly thought of a darkened basement and blinked the memory away, "You too," she answered, studying Alex's face intently.

Alex closed her eyes, blocking out painful memories of a past she longed to forget, "Okay," she breathed out as she opened her eyes.

They looked at each other, sensing there was more to be said, but now was not the time. They both knew they needed to rest.

Tomorrow was going to be a big day.


Chapter 7: En Passant

Alex looked at her reflection in the full length mirror, casting a critical eye over her appearance. Liz had advised her to dress to impress, so she had. Charcoal gray suited Alex Cabot and she knew it. She topped the matching skirt and jacket off with a crisp white blouse and black suede heels, she smoothed her hand along her skirt and smiled at her reflection, "Bring it on,'" she said quietly.

"If he brings it…he's gonna get it," Olivia smirked form the doorway.

Alex turned to look at her girlfriend, "What do you think?" she asked, holding her arms out wide.

Olivia stepped into the room and stopped in front of her, "I think you look incredible," she answered honestly.

Alex nodded in appreciation, "Thanks."

They looked at each other for a long moment before Olivia checked her watch, "You ready?"

Alex moved closer, leaning down and kissing her soundly on parted lips. She explored the mouth beneath hers until she felt her chest expand, she pulled back and wiped the lipstick from Olivia's mouth with her thumb, "I am now," she whispered.

Olivia grinned at her, "I'll be waiting for you in Liz's office, but if you need me…" she urged.

Alex nodded her head, "I know…come on, let's do this."

He stood beside one of the large stone pillars, confident today was the day. He had watched them leave the apartment, but couldn't get a clear shot. When they had arrived at the courthouse ten minutes ago, they had maintained a companionable distance. He had a feeling though, today he'd get his money shot and earn his pay check. He looked at his watch and sighed, the blonde was dressed for something, but the brunette was casual in dark denim and a leather coat. He checked the battery gauge in his camera and smiled, he was about to open the newspaper he'd brought when his phone rang.

"Yeah?" he answered.

"Do you have the pictures?"

"Almost, I got plenty of shots of 'em comin' and goin' and lookin' real friendly but I ain't got none of them kissing," he replied, hearing a deep sigh echo through the line.

"I need those pictures today, if you're incapable of the task then I'll find someone who is…for less money," the voice said calmly.

"No…no, I got it covered, you'll have your pictures by the end of the day…I guarantee it," he said, panicking at the prospect of losing out on the promised money. He listened to the deafening silence for a few awkward seconds.

"If I don't have those pictures by 5pm, I'll assume you failed and our agreement is void," the voice advised before hanging up.

"Bitch," he muttered under his breath, placing the cellphone in his pocket.

Olivia sat anxiously on the sofa in Liz Donnelly' chambers. She sat her cellphone on the table in front of her and checked the volume on the ringer for the tenth time in five minutes. She rubbed her hands nervously along her denim clad thighs and closed her eyes, counting silently to one hundred.

"She'll be fine, detective."

Olivia snapped her eyes open and turned as Lena Petrovsky closed the door behind her and entered the room.

Jack McCoy observed the young blonde woman in the visitor's chair across from his desk, "You're looking well Alex," he commented. He looked her over, noting the cool expression, "What brings you here, aren't you due in DC?" he asked.

Alex smiled at him, steeling her nerves, "Actually, it's a personal matter that I wanted to discuss with you," she said confidently, taking strength from the commanding presence of Liz Donnelly in the chair beside her.

Jack shifted his gaze to Liz, "Not so personal that you had to invite a judge," he replied dryly.

Liz ignored the barb, biding her time.

Alex looked at him, "Liz is aware of my situation, I asked her to be here," she clarified.

McCoy nodded absently, "Well, don't keep me in suspense Alex, what is it?" he asked.

"Olivia Benson and I are in a relationship and have no plans to hide it. While we won't be flaunting our feelings in public, we won't be denying them either," she stated calmly.

Olivia watched Lena Petrovsky move across the room and take a seat on the sofa next to her, she eyed the stern faced judge curiously.

"I've watched Alexandra grow, not only as a prosecutor, but as a person since she joined the DA's office. Her father was a remarkable man, devoted to the truth and justice…I see a lot of him in her," she said, smiling fondly.

Olivia nodded, "Why d'you always give her such a hard time in court then?" Olivia boldly asked.

Lena smiled, "Do I?"

Olivia tilted her head, "Only you know the answer to that, Your Honor," she said flatly.

"Was it your arrogance that attracted her to you?" Petrovsky asked blithely.

Olivia shook her head and smiled, "Nah, the gun," she replied sarcastically.

Jack McCoy stared at her unblinking for several seconds, he turned his gaze to Liz, "And your role in this would be, what exactly?" he asked pointedly.

Liz smiled at him, "I'm here as an impartial witness," she stated, allowing the implications to sink in.

McCoy shook his head, "Witness?"

"Come Jack, have you forgotten how Serena Southerlyn was treated by this office already?" she asked.

McCoy looked at her, furrowing his brow, "That was Arthur Branch, not me," he clarified.

Liz shook her head, "Really? Was it another Jack McCoy who started a campaign to declare all gay marriages in New York illegal?" Liz replied.

McCoy wet his dry lips, "That was for a case, an abuse of spousal privilege…time's have changed, the approach of this office is different now," he answered coolly.

Liz smiled, "Good, then I trust Alex will have no issues, when she returns from Washington," she said, rising from her chair.

Alex couldn't believe it was this simple, McCoy was actually being rational about everything. She studied his face and felt her stomach drop as she recognized a familiar look. He wasn't finished.

"How I handle my office and my staff stopped being your concern the day you accepted your appointment to the bench…Your Honor," McCoy stated, his eyes drilling into Liz's.

Liz blew out a frustrated sigh as she sat back down, "Actually Jack, the day you accepted your appointment was the day we all showed our concern," she retorted, smiling as she saw his resolve waiver.

Lena Petrovsky studied Olivia's face and pursed her lips, "Alexandra will make an exemplary DA, she has a lot of support, as you witnessed last night," she said, reminding Olivia of the nineteen judges that had signed the proposed bill of, no confidence.

Olivia frowned, "Is that what this is about, the DA's chair?" she asked, trying to make sense of what she was hearing.

"No detective, it's about Alexandra's career and protecting her prospects for the future," she answered, shaking her head. "Her father never wanted her to go into law, she always wanted to teach…she chose law to please him," she said quietly.

Olivia blinked in surprise, "A teacher?" she asked.

Lena nodded, "Alex used to bring in study books Alexandra had created to help her classmates. She's always wanted to help people, it's in her nature, just like her father," she said, smiling as a sea of memories washed over her.

"She's passionate about law, spends hours researching," Olivia commented.

Lena nodded, "I've heard she can often be found in the library after midnight…I hope that will change now," she said, looking directly at Olivia.

Olivia studied the judge she had often cursed for her abrasive tone towards herself and others and saw the woman behind the judicial mask, "I think it will," she said quietly.

Lena placed a hand on her knee, "I'm glad you have each other Olivia, please take care of her," she asked, searching the dark brown eyes with her own.

Olivia hesitantly patted the hand covering her leg, "I will," she said smiling.

Lena smiled once more, "I have court, if you need anything…either of you, let me know," she said rising to her feet.

"Your Honor, can I ask you something?" Olivia said as she stood up.

Petrovsky turned as she reached the door and nodded her head.

"Why do you always call her Alexandra?" she asked curiously.

The judge smiled, "She has the same piercing, cobalt blue eyes as her father…calling her Alex, would only serve as a further reminder that he is no longer with us," she said sadly, holding Olivia's gaze before opening the door.

Alex watched Jack McCoy process what Liz Donnelly had just said to him and waited anxiously for his response. They sat in silence for an awkward moment, neither appearing to want to speak first.

"Now that I've informed you of the change in my personal status, as per employee guidelines, what do you intend to do about it?" Alex asked, deciding to break the apparent deadlock.

McCoy reluctantly tore his gaze away from Liz and shifted his eyes to meet hers, "You brought the impartial witness Alex, what do you want?" he asked.

Alex nodded her head, "I want things to go on as normal, when I return form Washington, I don't want to find transfer papers filed in my absence or a smear campaign underway," she stated.

Jack shook his head, "Is that what you think of me?"

Alex shrugged her shoulders, "I spent twenty fours being hunted down by a deranged FBI agent…I don't know what to expect anymore," she answered honestly.

He looked at her, seeing the steely resolve in her eyes and nodded, "You will no longer be able to call Det-"

"Yes, I know," Alex interrupted.

Liz sat in silence, secretly proud of her former protégé. She watched McCoy contemplate his next move and decided to strike. She produced the folder from her briefcase and handed it to him, "Should you renege on this conversation," she supplied.

McCoy accepted the folder and opened it, he studied the sheets of paper intently and blinked rapidly as understanding set in. He looked over at Liz and shook his head, "You felt this was necessary ?"

Liz held his gaze, "Jack, she's the next best thing…you know it and we all know it…if this country is to progress it needs to be more diverse," she paused, indicating Alex, "Hello diversity," she said.


Chapter 8: Equilibrium

Olivia checked her watch again, almost thirty minutes had passed since Lena Petrovsky had left her alone in Liz Donnelly's office. Every time she tried to think of something, anything other than her girlfriend telling her DA boss that she was in a lesbian relationship, she panicked. She couldn't concentrate, she desperately wanted to be there with Alex.

She looked at her silent cellphone, resting on the table and picked it up. She scrolled through her call history and cleared the list of numbers. She navigated to text messages and moved a few to a new folder, labeled, 'Alex' and smiled. They had only been apart once since returning to the city, two days ago. When Olivia met with Captain Cragen the day before, Alex had sent her a few loving messages of support that Olivia had read and found strength from. As she placed the phone back on the table, she wondered if Alex was keeping her text messages.

Jack McCoy studied his young ADA carefully, he had always know she was sharp and well connected, but he had seriously miscalculated her status, if the nineteen signatures were to be believed. After all these years serving the people of New York, he was shocked and outraged at the duplicitous act.

"If you had come to me alone Alex, nothing would have happened. I find it appalling that one of my own, doesn't trust or respect me enough that they found it necessary to go behind my back and tout for support with this ridiculous, fanciful plan of removing me from this office. Let me tell yo-"

"Enough!" Liz Donnelly barked, cutting him off. She glared at him, "If Alex had come to you alone, she would have left his office under false pretences, gone to DC and returned to find herself in some Godforsaken hole in the bowels of this building. You've been here long enough to know that I don't deal in, 'ridiculous, fanciful plans', so if you want to see how far I'm…no, we're willing to go with this, try me," she said in an icy tone.

They glared at each other once more as Alex sat quietly waiting for McCoy's response.

He pursed his lips and nodded his head, "Fine." He shifted his gaze to Alex, "I wish you and Detective Benson well, Alex…" he paused to consider his next words carefully, "If you ever pull a stunt like this again, I'll personally file your papers and see to it you never practice law again," he said with forced calmness, never breaking eye contact with the blue eyed blonde.

Alex dipped her head, "And if you ever threaten me again," she lifted her eyes to meet his, "I will personally hand that file to the Attorney General and make sure it is the lead story on every newscast along the East coast," she said in a tone devoid of any emotion.

He studied the determined blue eyes behind the dark frames and shook his head.

Alex saw the doubt on his face and smiled sweetly, "To paraphrase something you often say, Jack… if you don't think I have the juice to do it…try me," she said, enunciating the last part with crystal clear clarity.

Liz glanced to her right and took in Alex's profile and watched her raise her chin just a little higher. She fought to contain the pride that was bursting out of her chest, "Are we done here?" she asked, directing her question to Alex.

Alex turned to her left and nodded, "Almost," she replied before shifting her attention back to her boss, "Are we?" she asked.

Jack McCoy inhaled deeply and exhaled loudly, "Yes. Nothing changes, you'll remain attached to SVU. I'll have Kate amend your employee records and give you a call regarding your emergency contact details," he said flatly.

That caught Alex by surprise, she hadn't actually considered that and wondered briefly how Olivia would react if she put her name down.

Olivia snatched her phone as it rang, "Yeah?"

"Easy partner, it's just me…you okay?" Elliot asked.

Olivia blinked, then brushed her free hand through her hair, "Yeah, sorry El, thought you were someone else," she replied as she stood up and moved towards the large window.

"Let me guess, a tall, blonde, gorgeous someone else?" Elliot teased.

Olivia smiled absently as she watched the meandering people outside the court building, "You think Liz Donnelly is gorgeous?" she quipped.

"And who wouldn't think I was gorgeous, detective?" Liz asked as she closed the door.

Olivia whipped her head round, "Liz…um, El…I gotta go," she said urgently, ending the call. She looked anxiously at Liz, "Where's Alex?" she asked, unable to hide the concern in her tone.

Liz held up her hands at the fast approaching detective, "Relax Olivia, she needed to go to the ladies' room," she supplied.

"Is everything okay?" she asked nervously.

Liz smiled, "Peachy," she answered as she moved towards her desk.

Olivia headed for the door, "Be right back," she threw out over her shoulder.

Liz sat down heavily in her deluxe leather chair, closed her eyes and blew out a relieved breath then picked up the phone.

Olivia burst into the ladies' room, relieved to find it empty, "Alex?" she asked breathlessly, having ran the short distance from Liz's chambers. When she received no reply she looked at the five closed stall doors and asked again, "Alex?"

The door at the end of the row opened and a blonde head appeared. Olivia approached carefully, searching Alex's face for any sign of distress.

"Lex, are you okay?" she asked anxiously.

Alex looked at her and smiled as she moved to the wash basin, "You haven't called me Lex since we returned from the cabin," she replied as she washed her hands under the warm water.

Olivia smiled at her in the mirror, "I like to keep it for special occasions," she answered, looking deeply into blue eyes. She waited anxiously as Alex dried her hands and disposed of the paper towel.

Alex studied the expression on her girlfriend's face in the mirror. She turned to face her and stepped closer, "Are you okay?" she asked.

Olivia shook her head, "Me? Are you okay?" she asked, throwing caution to the wind and wrapping her arms around her.

Alex took comfort from the loving embrace and inhaled deeply, allowing her body to sag against the shorter frame. She felt Olivia turn her head and kiss her jaw lightly.

"Everything's fine…Liz was incredible," she paused, "When we get back from Porter's trial, I'll still be attached to SVU," she said smiling.

Olivia beamed at her, "How rough was it, honestly?" she asked, lifting a hand and brushing blonde hair away from her face.

"Not as bad as I expected, but we had to use the, 'no confidence' bill as leverage. Would you mind if we stopped off at Judge Harriman's office, see if he's available?" she asked tentatively.

Olivia bobbed her head, "Sure, what you got in mind?"

"I'd like to introduce you to my Uncle Bill, if that's okay?" she asked quietly.

Olivia grinned, "As your girlfriend?" she queried, kissing her lightly on the lips.

Alex captured the teasing lips and kissed her deeply, pouring her affection into the moment, "As my hot, older lover," she teased, before kissing her once more.

Olivia felt the world disappear as all her focus settled on the woman in her arms, causing her to hold her tighter.

Almost two hours later they emerged from the court building, surprised it was only early afternoon. It had been a mixed morning of varying emotions. The stress of the meeting with Jack McCoy, then the relaxed atmosphere in Judge Harriman's chambers, where they had shared coffee, had left them both drained. Alex had been thrilled when her Uncle had embraced Olivia and insisted she call him, Uncle Bill. They were about to descend the stone steps when Olivia's cellphone rang.

Olivia retrieved the device from her pocket, "Benson."

"Liv, it's El…how did it go?" Elliot asked.

Olivia looked sideways at Alex and smiled, "She's staying with SVU and tore McCoy a new one," she said laughing as she dodged the swat aimed at her ass.

Elliot's sigh of relief was audible over the phone, "That's great, is she okay though?" he asked, his tone touched with concern.

"Why don't you ask her yourself?" she replied, handing the phone to Alex.

Olivia listened as Alex recounted the events of the morning to her partner. She felt her heart burst with love for the woman beside her as she let her eyes drift aimlessly around the stone steps. A glint of light to her right, caught her eye and she stepped behind Alex to get a better look, a hand reached out and pulled her back, causing Olivia to turn. She smiled at Alex then looked back to the stone column, where she had seen the light, but saw nothing.

"Elliot wants to treat us to lunch," Alex said, handing back her cellphone.

Olivia smiled, "Great," she replied, glancing over her shoulder again.

Alex placed a concerned hand on her arm, "You okay?" she asked, rubbing the leather sleeve gently.

Olivia scanned the area once more before smiling at her, "Yeah," she replied, despite her instinct telling her otherwise.


Chapter 9: Defying Gravity

The sandwich bar was busy, however, Elliot had secured them a table in the corner, away from the bustling counter and next to the window. All three occupants of the booth sat with a large sandwich and a soda in front of them.

Elliot looked over at Alex, "What?" he asked, lifting his foot long sandwich carefully to his mouth.

Alex smiled, "When you said 'lunch', I had visions of subdued lighting, a nice ambience…table service at least," she said, opening her sandwich to examine the contents.

Elliot snorted around his mouthful of bread and filling, chewing loudly before swallowing and reaching for his drink. He sucked greedily through the straw and smacked his lips together in satisfaction, "Now that..." he pointed to his sandwich, "…is a sandwich," he said, poised to take another bite.

Alex sighed and lifted the top of her bread to examine the contents. A hand settled on her arm and she lifted her eyes.

Olivia gazed at her, "You'll love it Alex, I got everything I know you like and no tomatoes, or spread," she assured her girlfriend.

"Mayonnaise?" Alex asked.

Olivia nodded, "And sweet onion relish," she added, watching Alex part her lips. She glanced briefly up to meet her eyes, "A lot…of sweet onion relish," she said quietly, her eyes transfixed on Alex as she wet her bottom lip.

Elliot held the sandwich to his open mouth, watching the exchange with rapt fascination. He studied his partner and her reaction to the beautiful blonde and smiled, "Are you gonna eat it or tease it?" he asked in a playful tone before taking another large bite.

Alex glanced over at him and smiled before lifting the sandwich and taking a bite. She chewed slowly allowing the flavors to burst on to her tongue. The mixture of meats and salad topped with the sweet, tangy sauce was a taste sensation for the ADA. She closed her eyes and moaned, savoring the flavors, unaware the other two occupants of the table were staring at her.

Elliot swallowed the bite in his mouth with a strangled gulp, reaching for his soda. Olivia looked at him and shook her head as Alex continued to make soft mewling sounds of pleasure.

"Maybe we should have got these, to go," Olivia said to her partner, finally taking a bite of her own sandwich.

Elliot nodded, "If Kathy ate a sandwich like that, I'd never let her leave the house," he remarked, smiling enviously at his partner.

Olivia grinned, feeling her cheeks color. She took a drink from her plastic cup and turned to look at Alex again. As she turned she saw a flash of light through the window, as if something was being reflected. She peered past Alex and strained her eyes, trying to get a better look.

Elliot noticed the change in her demeanor instantly and followed her gaze, turning his head to the right to look out the window. "What?" he asked.

Olivia shook her head, "I thought I saw something," she replied, bobbing her head in an effort to catch another glimpse.

Alex lifted her soda and sucked on the straw, she looked out the window, "What are you looking for?" she asked, replacing the cup and lifting the sandwich again.

Olivia studied her curious gaze and smiled, "Nothing, all that moaning you're doing...must be distracting me," she teased, beaming as she received a warning glare.

Elliot looked out the window again, searching the streets for anything out of place. Nothing.

Alex placed the sandwich in front of her and licked her lips, "Why have I never eaten this before?" she asked.

Olivia laughed, "They don't serve this in the ivory tower?" she asked with mock horror, clutching her chest.

Alex snorted, "I'll ignore that…I usually order in, don't get much time to go out for lunch," she replied.

Elliot nodded, "We'll need to change that, show you the delights of the city," he said, looking over at his partner.

Olivia smiled back at him, "Yeah, we'll definitely need to change that," she agreed.

He stood behind the parked van, glancing round every few minutes and looking directly into the deli window. When he followed the two women from the courthouse and watched them take their seats across the road, he knew fortune was smiling down on him.

Twice he thought they were about to kiss and twice they pulled back at the last second. All he needed was one picture, just one and he would make a lot of money. He checked his watch, almost 3pm. He sighed wearily, he'd been with them since they left the apartment just before 9am and his patience was beginning to wear thin. Two hours to get the money shot or the last three days had been for nothing.

He knew what he had to do, he needed to get closer.

They discussed the events of the morning and the upcoming trial in DC. Elliot and Alex talked animatedly about Dean Porter and his possible expectations for the upcoming legal proceedings, while Olivia sat studying her girlfriend.

She couldn't deny the feelings of happiness that were coursing through her, nor did she want to. She had taken pleasure in ordering Alex's sandwich, confident she had learned enough about her likes and dislikes over the past ten days, to choose wisely. The sounds Alex had made and the expression on her face with every bite she had taken, confirmed that. She smiled reflexively.

Elliot listened intently to Alex, enjoying their new dynamic, due to a certain distracted, dark haired detective next to her. He motioned with his head for Alex to look to her right and smiled when she glanced at Olivia.

"Is she sleeping with her eyes open?" he asked quietly.

Alex smiled, "No, I think she's daydreaming," she replied, taking in the glazed look in Olivia's eyes.

Elliot laughed softly, "You really have her whipped…she's got it bad," he said, watching his partner.

Alex blew lightly across Olivia's face, trying to distract her.

Suddenly, Olivia blinked and leapt from her seat, racing past the busy line and bolting out the door.

Elliot was behind his partner within seconds as Alex sat momentarily stunned. She followed the fleeing figures through the window, watching as Olivia weaved her way through the crowded, mid afternoon sidewalk. She grabbed her briefcase and made her way quickly, out of the busy deli.

The moment he made eye contact with the dark haired woman through the window he knew she was on to him. He threw his camera into the protective bag and started running. He looked over his shoulder and saw a dark figure racing along on the opposite side of the street and felt his heart beating wildly with panic.

He looked at the oncoming traffic, wondering if he should hail a cab. He was about to raise his hand when the sound of a male voice bellowed behind him. He glanced over his shoulder before ducking into an alley, clutching his camera bag to his chest.

Olivia weaved through the oncoming traffic, avoiding the glares and sounds of the angry drivers. She saw the short, balding man run down a side alley and pushed her legs on harder. She looked to her left, Elliot wasn't far behind and was tearing along the sidewalk.

"Stop! Police!" she yelled.

The man glanced behind him as he searched for a way out, he spotted the fire escape and pulled it down.

Olivia groaned as she watched the man leap up and grab the railing, before ascending the iron ladder. She reached the ladder and looked up, he was already on the second level. She jumped, instantly regretting it as she felt her side pull awkwardly. She prayed ten days of skin adhesive was holding together.

He looked down and saw the brunette pull herself up onto the first rung. He cursed under his breath and continued to climb.

Elliot entered the alley and looked up as he caught movement in his peripheral vision. He shook his head as he watched his fearless partner race up the stairwell and pulled out his cellphone, calling for back up.

The balding man stumbled over the top of the ladder, falling the short distance from the eave onto the gravelly surface of the roof and looked around. He spotted the building access stairwell behind a series of ventilation fans and headed towards it.


He spun on the gravel, facing the woman he had been stalking for three days and froze.

Olivia stood on the raised roof edge staring at him, "Put the bag down," she instructed, stepping down the foot high border onto the gravel and advanced on him slowly.

He glanced down at his bag and considered his options before looking up at her, "Don't take another step," he warned, indicating with his head to the bag.

Olivia looked at the black canvas bag, back in the deli she thought she had seen a camera lens, but maybe it was a sight scope. She blanched, realizing she had abandoned Alex. Her mind began to race, 'What if it's another hit?', she thought, watching the retreating figure carefully. She cursed herself for leaving Alex.

"I mean it...not another step," he shouted, taking another slow step backwards across the crunching gravel.

Olivia looked at his sweating face. He was a short man in his fifties and balding, with dark and graying wisps all that remained of a once, full head of hair she surmised. He was overweight and wearing a cheap dark suit, jacket pockets misshapen due to over filling. The pale blue shirt looked tight and the dark tie around his neck looked more like a garrote than part of his ensemble.

She took a step forward, "What are you doing?" she asked, indicating the bag.

He wiped his sweating brow with his sleeve, eyes darting around him, "I'm getting out of here," he replied.

"Where are you gonna go? My partner's probably called for back up by now…there's nowhere for you to run," she said calmly, taking another step closer.

As if on cue, sirens wailed from somewhere below.

His eyes widened as he heard the distinctive sound. He looked at the adjacent building and bit his bottom lip.

Olivia followed his gaze, "You don't wanna do that," she advised, shaking her head.

He looked at her, "You think you've got me all figured out…you don't know anything about me!" he shouted angrily.

Olivia was only twelve feet away from him and heard footsteps echoing on the railing behind her, "My partner's about to appear over that ridge," she said, indicating behind her with her thumb, "He's got a weapon and he won't hesitate to stop you," she informed him.

"Liv?" Elliot shouted from behind her.

Olivia kept her eyes locked on the man in front, "I'm okay, take the shot if you have it," she replied loudly, watching the panic flash across the man's face.

Without warning he lunged at her, swinging the bag at her head.

The gravel caused her to lose her footing as she dodged the blow. She grabbed on to his jacket as he passed, allowing her to remain upright. They stumbled backwards, tussling with each other as they slid across the loose surface, unaware of their proximity to the edge of the building.

Elliot appeared at the top of the ladder and watched in horror as the backs of Olivia's legs connected with the low border at the edge of the roof….


Chapter 10: Precipice

Alex followed the police cars as they sped into the alley, she cursed the heels and suit she was wearing, wishing she was in looser clothing, enabling her to run faster. She turned into the alley and saw the two police cruisers parked in tandem, effectively blocking the entrance. She hurried past them, scanning the area ahead for any signs of Olivia or Elliot. She noticed two of the officers looking up towards a building on her left and without slowing her pace, followed their line of sight.

Elliot was at the top of the fire escape, standing on the building border, pointing his weapon. Alex's eyes snapped to her left as she spotted a familiar leather coat. She stopped dead in her tracks, reflexively throwing a hand over her mouth.

"Liv," she gasped.

She watched helplessly as Olivia flailed backwards with her arms swimming in mid air and ran on instinct to the base of the building.

Olivia's legs connected with the low roof border and her world tilted as gravity took control of her body. Instinctively, she threw her arms out trying to grasp onto something, anything. She saw the clouds in the sky and felt her blood run cold.

She was going over.

Alex ran as fast as her precarious outfit would allow, she was so busy watching the events unfold on the roof that she failed to notice the trash cans before it was too late. She landed in a crumpled heap on the cold, hard concrete and cursed loudly as pain reverberated through her knees.

One of the police officers rushed over to her, offering her support, but she was already on her feet and straining to see what was happening above them. She scanned the roof top and saw no movement, she looked at the ground below the building and blinked rapidly.

Of all the thoughts flashing through her head at lightning speed, the one that kept repeating was how she never got to say goodbye, to anyone, but especially to Alex. She closed her eyes, feeling her feet losing traction on the gravel and flailed her arms desperately.

Chubby hands lunged for her leather coat and pulled her back from the brink, literally.

They both fell heavily on to the gravel. He landed on his back, feeling all the air leave his chest, while Olivia fell forward, landing beside him. She panted heavily as she looked sideways at the man she had been pursuing and shook her head. Before she could speak, Elliot was on his knees beside her.

"Liv, Liv, you okay?" he asked anxiously.

She looked up at him, feeling every nerve ending in her body jangle with a mixture of fear and overwhelming relief. She nodded her head, not trusting her voice.

Elliot grabbed the stocky, balding man and hauled him to his feet. The man protested, his body aching from the exertion of pulling Olivia to safety, followed immediately by the forceful impact with the hard, graveled surface.

Elliot ignored his pleas and dragged him to the middle of the roof, throwing him against one of the large, steel air conditioning units. He made sure the man had his back to Olivia before speaking, "You nearly killed her, you stinking sonofabitch," he spat.

The shorter man, shook his head violently, "Nononono…waitaminute…Icanexplain," he blurted desperately.

Elliot glanced over at Olivia, watching as she slowly got to her feet and turned away from seeing eyes. He brought his attention back to the balding man in front of him, "What's your name?" he demanded.

"Jim..Jim McLean," he answered instantly.

Olivia breathed slowly through her mouth trying to calm her racing heart, she leaned forward, placing her hands on her knees and willed the nausea to pass. She kept her eyes closed as she focused on centering herself and ignoring what almost happened. She counted slowly in her head to twenty and then added another ten. She opened her eyes at the sound of her name and instinctively looked around.

'Alex', she thought as she heard her name called again and moved carefully towards the edge of the roof. She knelt down and gripped the stone border tightly before peering over the edge. She spotted the familiar blonde head immediately and smiled as she watched Alex argue with an officer at the base of the fire escape. Olivia pulled out her cellphone and hit her speed dial, watching as the woman below frantically reached into her pocket.

"Liv?" Alex asked, desperation evident in her tone,

Olivia smiled down at her, "Look up," she instructed, watching as Alex's head whipped upwards.

"Thank God," she said, exhaling loudly, "Are you okay?" Alex asked quietly.

Olivia nodded down at her, "I am now…I love you," she said, hoping Alex knew how much she meant it.

"I love you too," she answered quietly, smiling up at the dark head hanging over the edge. After a few seconds, she asked, "Are you coming down or am I coming up?"

Olivia looked behind her, watching Elliot with their unidentified suspect, "We'll be down in ten minutes, okay?" she asked, shifting her gaze back to the blonde.

Alex gave her a thumbs up, "Ten minutes, or I'm coming up," she stated, ending the call.

Olivia saluted her before easing backwards and straightening. She picked up the discarded black bag and opened the zipper, seeing the camera safely tucked inside. She moved towards Elliot and stood beside him, "Who is he?" she asked her partner.

"A private dick, Jim McLean," he said, handing over the business card.

She looked at him and bobbed her head, "Thank you," she said sincerely.

Mclean looked at her and smiled in relief, "I didn't mean for you to fall over, was an accident, you gotta believe me," he pleaded, searching her face.

Olivia nodded, "I know, now will you tell us what you were doing at the deli…were you at the courthouse earlier too?" she asked, frowning as realization dawned.

He nodded, "Yeah, I been following you…both of you's," he said.

Olivia's eyes widened in surprise, "For how long?" she asked.

"Three days," he answered, wiping sweat away from his head with his recently removed tie.

Olivia turned her back on him, waiting for her partner to do the same, "It can't be a coincidence, not after everything that's happened…how could he know we were back in the city?" she asked, in a hushed tone.

Elliot shook his head, "Porter?" he asked, biting his bottom lip in concentration.

Olivia raised her eyebrows, "Has to be," she said, nodding her head.

"I dunno, but let's ask him when we're back on terra firma," he said, turning back to McLean.

Alex leaned against the wall, watching closely as Olivia, Elliot and an unknown man descended the fire escape. A few minutes later, two officers led the man past her to one of the squad cars, she looked at him briefly before focusing on the brunette jumping the short distance to the ground. Olivia and Elliot walked towards her, talking in hushed tones. She met Olivia's eyes and smiled as Olivia's mouth fell open and she rushed over to her.

"What happened?" Olivia asked, placing both hands on her girlfriend's shoulders as she took in her disheveled appearance. The formerly pristine jacket and skirt were filthy, the once immaculate white shirt was visibly grubby and her hands and knees were dirty, covered in blood and grime. Olivia moved her own hands and examined Alex's blood covered ones, swallowing the panic rising in her throat.

"I'm okay…I fell in these damn heels," she said, pouting at Olivia.

Olivia looked at her knees and saw the ripped pantyhose and trails of congealed blood trapped within the confines of the thin stockings. She turned to Elliot, "Can you ask one of the guys for their medical kit?" she asked quietly.

Elliot nodded and moved quickly to one of the patrol cars.

As soon as he stepped away Olivia wrapped her arms tightly around Alex, "I love you so much," she breathed out.

Alex clung to her, swallowing hard, "I love you too, I thought…I looked up…" she stammered, her voice shaking.

Olivia pulled her head back and looked at her with watery eyes, "So did I…all I could think about was you," she confessed quietly.

Alex swallowed again, "I was so scared Liv," she whispered.

Olivia blew out a shaky breath, "Me too," she replied, her words barely audible.

Alex moved a hand and wiped a stray tear away from Olivia's cheek, "I fell over some trash cans," she admitted shyly.

Olivia shook her head slightly, "What?"

"I was so busy watching you on the roof…I fell over…ruined my favorite suit," she said sighing.

Olivia leaned forward again, "Well, at least you didn't ruin my favorite suit," she said, hiding a smile.

Alex shook her head, "Which suit's your favorite?" she asked.

Olivia kissed her tenderly on the mouth, long enough for them both to feel the connection before pulling away slightly and moving her mouth to her ear, "Your birthday suit," she whispered, feeling the body she held vibrate with laughter.

Elliot watched them from the patrol car, smiling at the tenderness on display. He decided to give them another minute before interrupting them. A voice from the backseat distracted him, he opened the rear door of the patrol car and looked at McLean, "What?" he asked abruptly.

Jim McLean looked up at him, "I'm s'posed to deliver pictures of those two by 5pm," he said, motioning with his head.

Elliot shook his head in disbelief, "Buddy, you just tried to throw a cop of a building, only pictures you'll be delivering will be your own, down at central booking," he said.

"Don't you wanna know who hired me? I can lead you to her," he said eagerly.

Elliot stared at him, "Her?" he asked in shock.

McLean nodded.

The locker room at the 16th precinct was quiet as Olivia tended to Alex's knees carefully. Elliot had returned from the squad car to inform them of the 5pm deadline where upon Alex had insisted on foregoing any clean up, in favor of heading straight to the precinct.

Alex sat skirt-less on the bench with Olivia in front of her. Olivia shifted slightly on her knees, looking up at Alex's face. She had taken quite a tumble and the skin was red and swollen with bruising already starting to appear. Olivia placed a large sticking plaster over each knee and kissed both areas tenderly.

Alex ran her fingers lovingly through the brunette hair, "Thanks," she said quietly.

"Anytime," Olivia replied, watching as Alex stood and pulled on the spare denims Olivia had retrieved from her locker. She had already given Alex her blue sweater, after washing her hands of filth and blood.

Alex smiled as Olivia reached for her sneakers and motioned for Alex to sit on the bench again, "I'll get them," she said.

Alex sat down, wincing as the tight denim rubbed against her sensitive knees.

Olivia smiled, "They're gonna sting for a bit, then bruise," she smiled sympathetically as she lifted a slender foot and slid it into the sneaker and tied the lace.

Alex watched her repeat the action with her other foot, "Olivia Benson, you are amazing," she said.

Olivia smiled up at her, "You're just saying that cos my stuff fits you," she teased.

Alex grinned at her, "Guilty as charged," she bantered back.

Olivia shook her head, looking deeply into bright, blue eyes.

Alex returned the searching gaze, "If you need to talk about anything, I'm here," she said quietly, referring to the incident on the roof. Olivia had told her what had happened, but all her courtroom instincts told her she was holding back.

Olivia nodded, "I know," she said quietly. "You ready? I wanna see what McLean has to say," she said rising to her feet.

Elliot and McLean sat in silence, staring at each other from across the table in the interrogation room. The camera sitting ominously on the middle of the table.

"Aren't you gonna ask me anything?" McLean said in a frustrated tone.

Elliot shrugged in response.

McLean looked at his watch again, "There's only two hours left or the deal's off," he said, reminding Elliot of the deadline.

Elliot shrugged again.

Olivia and Alex watched through the one way mirror as McLean grew more anxious.

"Shouldn't we be in there?" Alex asked, unfolding her arms and pointing at the glass.

Olivia turned to her, "I thought he was connected to Porter, but he told El a woman hired him…he's supposed to deliver the pictures by 5pm, the longer we make him sweat, the faster he'll talk," she reasoned, smiling confidently at her.

"Elliot knows what he's doing Alex, five more minutes," Captain Cragen said from his position behind them.

Alex nodded at him, "Fine," she answered, folding her arms again and sighing.

Part 11

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