DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I make a good living as a writer, but this is my first foray into fiction! Comments are welcome. Just a note about Point of View: though flashbacks are used, the description of what actually happened is linear and chronological, unlike memories, which tend to be random. One or more points of view are expressed in the past accounts of the events.
THANKS: To Bellini195 for reviewing and suggestions, many of which I used.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Moet

Part 1

Why did it have to turn so freezing cold, Olivia thought to herself as she headed into the station. She blew into her hands. No leather jacket today, she opted for a parka-like thing she had in the back of her closet. And a dorky ski hat. Maybe Elliot would loan her his Elmer Fudd hat with the ear flaps if she had to hit the streets. Her thoughts drifted, as they always did when she came into work, about the person who meant the most to her in this lonely, desolate world. Was she in a cold place or somewhere warm? She hoped warm, although that meant far away from New York City. Far away from Olivia. The thought gnawed at her even more than the cold. Where was Alex? And more importantly, when would she see her again. Would she still want Olivia or was it all born of adrenaline... and life and death uncertainty? As she plopped down to her paperwork, she peeked into her middle drawer at a picture of the beautiful blond, smiling, blue eyes piercing. Was she still even blond? Her thoughts were interrupted.

"Olivia, where's that Cramer case report...what are you staring at in there, a petrified breakfast bar?"

"Hey, Cap'n. Here it is." She handed him a folder.

"What've you been doing on your lunch hour everyday?"

By his tone, Olivia sensed he had a pretty good idea. Someone at the Two-Seven must have seen her.

"I've been doing a litte digging is all."

"On Velez.? Are you outa your mind? Do you want to end up like...well do you want to get yourself killed?"

She looked down. "It's on my own time."

"Your off time has an impact on our "on" time. I don't wanna hear from the Feds that you're stepping on them again. Understood?"


Olivia had been interviewing former associates of the lesser drug dealers killed after Zapata's indictment. Trying to get a lead on Velez.trying to find a way to get Alex out of witness protection sooner. She couldn't just sit and do nothing. She'd find a way... maybe Elliot would help. She went back to her reports and her mind drifted again. To how it all began with the beautiful ADA, who was never far from her thoughts...

Winter was coming to an end, but it was an unusual cold snap in March, dipping into the low 20s. It was late as Olivia sat sleepily at her desk. She heard footsteps coming from the darkened station house and was suddenly startled.

"It's just me," said Alex. "I knew you'd still be here."

Olivia looked up at the angelic face. It's eleven o'clock at night-how can you look so gorgeous?

"Hey, you're still working, too. Tough case?"

"Aren't they all? Some are just worse than others. I'm glad this one's over. The guy rapes a six year old and gets 25. She, on the other hand, gets a life sentence."

"I know," sighed Olivia. She noticed Alex was wearing the necklace... and touching it absently as she spoke. Olivia wore the same one. One day while she and Alex were chatting by the coffee maker, she saw Alex's hand coming toward her chest. Wishful thinking.

"This is lovely, Olivia." She had held it delicately, while Olivia tried to remember to breathe.

"Thanks, it reminded me of a teardrop. I wear it to kind of keep me focused...ya know on the victims. So I don't lose sight of what they're going through.

"I love it," Alex said huskily, referring more to the sentiment than the actual piece of jewelry. The next day, a box appeared on Alex's desk. Inside, was an identical teardrop. She put it on and showed up in the station room. Munch, Fin and Elliot were around, so she just looked at Olivia until she noticed. They both smiled. Since then, she wore it often, especially during the tougher cases. For she and Olivia, it became an unspoken symbol of solidarity.

Olivia snapped back to Alex's perplexed look.

"So what do you think?"

"About what? Sorry."

"Going to that new restaurant after work tomorrow? I'd like to try it."

"Sure, Alex. I'm game." Olivia rubbed her temples, "I think I need some sleep."

How about with me? Alex looked at the beautiful detective and wondered how she looked when asleep. Would Alex ever find out?

"Okay, I'll come by your desk around six then." Olivia followed the graceful sway of Alex's hips as she walked away and sighed.

The next day had gone by routinely, with Olivia and Elliot interviewing witnesses on a rape case, and Alex doing follow up reports--catching up after her recent court appearances. As the day wore on, Alex became a little nervous with anticipation. Her outings with Olivia, whether lunch or drinks, always gave her butterflies. Would this be the night when she revealed to Olivia how incredible...how special Alex thought she was? Alex tried to remember when the respect and admiration she had for Olivia turned to a crush that made her feel like a teenager..that made her notice the way Olivia strutted like a cat. And stare a little too long at her form-fitting sweaters. She smiled as she thought about her funky hats, dark sunglasses and t-shirts under V-neck knits. How did she always manage to look "cool" without even trying? It was intoxicatingly sexy. Alex felt she could never pull that off. When 6 pm rolled around, she headed for Olivia's desk to check in with her.

"Hi, Liv. This new place is Italian, are you up for a good Chianti?"

"With someone's liver and Fava beans Counselor?"

"No, let's leave images of work behind us." They both laughed and headed for Vanini's.

After ordering, Alex and Olivia sipped their glasses of red wine, each letting the warmth settle through them. After chatting on about some case issues, they relaxed and the conversation turned more personal.

"Are you seeing anyone these days?" Olivia tried to sound casual.

"No, when would I even have time to sustain a relationship? You know how it is."

"So your last date was with sleaze bag, defender-of-pedophiles Trevor Langdon?"

"Oh pleeeease, Liv. I told you I lost a bet on a case...that was my penance. When he tried to "over collect" on that bet, I had all I could do not to spill my drink on his lap before I walked out. And to top it off, he wanted me to try to do a favor with a judge. Didn't you notice his hostility toward me on that preppie rape and murder case? He nearly took my head off."

"Yeah, you've referred to him as making deals with devil, no need to further explain Alex. Everyone knows he's dated every woman on the circuit and her sister. Judge Petrovsky may be the only exception."

"Hey don't count her out!" They both laughed out loud. Then Alex grew reflective. "That was the first time I felt like I'd lost your respect Olivia. It hurt to think that someone I admired thought less of me...or maybe that I was abandoning our crusade."

"Alex, one thing I've learned on this job. Things are not always as they appear on the surface. There are layers and layers underneath everyone's needs and desires."

Alex swallowed hard. Was Olivia seeing right inside her? "It's your ability to see through the layers that I've always loved...er.. I mean admired about you Olivia. You've taught me so much about compassion and fighting for the victim. It's become so much more about that than about my political aspirations. You have a good heart and way of comforting people. I'm more...I have a harder time."

"You're just more reserved about expressing your feelings, Alex. It's part of the layering process that starts when we're young. It doesn't mean you don't feel things, you've just become an expert at not showing your cards. I think it makes you a good prosecutor." Olivia always made her feel better, even when Alex chided herself about her own perceived flaws.

In an unusual display of intimacy, Alex put her hand gently on Olivia's. "Thank you," she almost whispered. She looked into those amazing brown eyes..and wished they were not in public. Then, Olivia's cell phone blared obnoxiously.

"That's me, sorry." She flipped it open, dreading that the evening would come to an abrupt halt.

Well that broke the spell, Alex tried not to show her disappointment, hoping that Olivia wouldn't be called away.

"Benson. Mrs. Hanley...what? the heat went off in the building?" As Olivia strained to hear her neighbor, she rolled her eyes at Alex. "Do you have somewhere to go? Okay...what about Mr. Sanchez? Good. Oh, he talked to the super...and when do they think it will be back on? Tomorrow morning...oh no," Olivia groaned.

Alex's ears perked up, as she assessed the situation.

"Okay, Mrs. Hanley. Yeah I can stay at the station. You call me if anyone is stranded...no one should stay on a night like this. I can have a patrol car over there in..oh okay if you're sure. Bye. She closed the phone and put it back in her belt clip.

"You are absolutely not staying at the station. You can stay with me."

"Thanks Alex, but I can't impose on you like that. It's fine, I've slept at the station before."

"We'll stop and get your things, I won't take no for an answer." What I am saying? This could get out of hand.

After collecting an overnight bag from Olivia's arctically cold apartment, the two women headed to Alex's place on 78th Street. Nice neighborhood, Olivia mused as they had headed past the doorman. As they entered Alex's apartment, a welcome wave of warmth and coziness washed over Olivia. Alex ushered her inside and locked the door behind them.

"See, plenty of heat in here, contrary to popular opinion. Could you go for some more wine, Liv? I have cabernet, shirah, merlot...or hot cocoa?" I need to keep my head

"I never go with popular opinion. And...cocoa sounds great. I'm still chilled to the bone. And I need to stay alert"

Alex went into the kitchen leaving Olivia in the living room and went about putting on the kettle and getting mugs. Olivia took in the décor. White, lots of white walls, and light wood furniture, almost Scandinavian. Tastefully placed, interesting artwork, too, it looked like the Guggenheim. Peaceful colors, periwinkle, lavender. All very calming, nothing disturbing or Picasso-like. Yeah, who doesn't need a retreat, after a day at SVU. Olivia made a mental note that she should re-think her own place, especially the color scheme.

Alex finally came into the livingroom and stood quietly, watching the strong shoulders and slim lines of Olivia's form, as she admired a Van Gogh. She interrupted the silence. "Here we go, warm you right up."

As she handed her the mug, Olivia noticed Alex's hand was shaking a little. Maybe it's from the cold...I however, am heating up already. They settled in on the comfy couch.

"Alex, I.." "Liv, what you said in the restaurant." They both spoke at the same time. Alex laughed awkwardly, struggling for some courage, while Olivia paused to sip her cocoa. "Go ahead."

Alex spoke slowly, measuring her words. "What you said meant a lot to me. And what you've done for me...well the Cheryl Avery case for example. You made me see that sometimes there is no cut and dry justice. That lines between the criminal and the victim can be blurred. More importantly, I gained some empathy for someone who felt like their own gender was a mistake. And how cruel people can be who don't understand it. I felt like crap after that case and you were there for me." Olivia thought back to when she held Alex tight after she saw the battered Cheryl Avery on a gurney. "A lot of times I've beaten myself up, second guessed myself and you've always supported me. I haven't always deserved it.

"Yes you have Alex. How many times have you gone out on a limb for me, because of a gut feeling I had? You've risked a lot. Like the Karen Smythe case, where you didn't prosecute her cop rapist to save her identity as an undercover agent."

"Well we got the bad cops on drugs anyway and put them away for a while. I guess I always had a hard time saying no to you." Alex smiled wistfully and sipped on her cocoa.

Olivia set her mug down and moved across the couch next to Alex, their thighs touching. Both were quiet as their eyes locked. Olivia gently touched Alex's cheek and she drew in a breath at the softness under her fingers. Alex caressed Olivia's hand on her face, then moved it from her cheek to her lips. Olivia made the first move to close the gap betweent them. Their lips drew together slowly, as if by magnetic force. They savored each other's mouths, tenderly exploring, each tasting of chocolate. Then their kiss grew more passionate, as darts of pleasure shot through each of their bodies. Alex's mind raced. Oh God this is like heaven, as the velvety softness of Olivia's full lips and tongue drove her out of her mind. She eased Olivia's shirt upward and reached around her back to undo her bra strap, exposing her magnificent breasts. Alex withdrew from Olivia's embrace and sat back, staring with reverence at the sight before her. "Oh my God, you're so beautiful," Alex said almost in tears. Olivia pulled her close, as Alex lowered her head and ran her mouth over Olivia's breasts slowly, holding them in her hands as if coveting a long-awaited prize. Olivia was lost in pleasure and it seemed that they would head to the bedroom. But Alex's thoughts, as usual, had turned to outcomes and consequences as she explored Olivia's body. What if I'm just another regrettable one night stand with a co-worker? What if she doesn't truly want a long-term relationship...what if people find out and harass us? Alex's habit of measuring and predicting allowed her common sense to win out over her body. With panic in her eyes, she stopped and looked at Olivia.

"Olivia, maybe we should re-think this. We still have to face each other on the job, sometimes in heated circumstances,.day after day."

Shit, Olivia thought, talk about heated. "We've handled more complicated things than this, Alex. But if you don't feel right about it, then we can let it go. Maybe that should have occurred to you as you were ripping my bra off," she added rather annoyed.

"I'm sorry. I got carried away with the passion of the moment."

"Wouldn't ever want to do that, now Counselor. It could lead to an orgasm one day."

Alex hung her head at the irony. Olivia was right. Why couldn't she give way to total abandon? Why did everything always have to make sense?

Olivia grasped the situation and thought it best to respect Alex's wishes. "Okay, Cabot we need to move past this, then. I will take the couch, you take the bed. I have to go in early and may stop and see if I have heat in my building. So...I will see you in SVU, maybe tomorrow."

"Liv, I wish things were different...it has nothing to do with us being women or anything, I'm just..."

"Alex, it's okay, I get it. I'm a big girl, I understand." She smiled sadly, fighting the lump in her throat and pulled away the blond's body. "Can I have my bra back?" she said matter-of-factly. Very early the next morning, Olivia was gone before Alex awoke.

After that night, the women tried to keep things on a professional track. And eventually, eased back into their previous friendly work relationship. Despite an occasional argument over a case. But things would never be quite as they were. There was still an underlying river of sexual tension. Olivia dealt with it by burying herself in her work and with long torturous runs through the park in the early morning. Alex dealt with it similarly, but there were nights when she only found sexual release by fantasizing about the taste of Olivia's lips and feel of her soft breasts in her hand. It became the only way she could arouse herself and relieve the relentless tension. God, if Olivia only knew. But maybe she thinks of me, too, now and then.

Olivia resigned herself to losing just one more thing she cherished. Some of us just aren't entitled to love. Why would Alex want her anyway, child of an alcoholic rape victim? Maybe Alex didn't need Olivia's baggage, along with the demands of her own job. Months passed, but then came a day that seemed on the surface, like any other. When Olivia and Elliot were called to the scene of a rape-murder. It was a typical crime scene, but with a twist: the beautiful young woman's tongue had been cut out. And it hit home even more to learn that she was an NYPD officer enlisted by the DEA. Olivia hadn't a clue that within days, this case would lead her to risk her life for the woman she still loved.

Thinking back to that day and the Zapata case made her shiver, as the random scenes played out in her mind. She shuffled through more reports, then took one more peek into her middle drawer. "I'm not giving up Alex," she whispered. Just then, Elliot came into the station, in his Elmer Fudd hat. "Jeeez, it's cold out there. Makes it hard to get anything outa anyone. You're almost lucky you have reports to file."

"Yeah, I'm wrapping up the Cramer case. Cragen has the file right now."

"Liv, is something wrong? You don't look so swift today."

"Thanks a lot, what a pal. Elliot, there are some things I have to tell you."

Elliott lifted up the flaps on his hat. "I'm all ears."

"Take that goofy thing off. Not here. Maybe over lunch."

Part 2

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