disclaimer: Dick Wolf and Amy Sherman-Pallindo can deck it out.
fandom: Law and Order SVU / Gilmore Girls crossover
notes: AlexCabot/LorelaiGilmore is my new crack pairing. Have fun trying to make the timeline work.
the truth, and cheesecake
As a general rule, Alex avoids engaging in Stars Hollow's collective festivities. Once, she nodded off during a town meeting, and when she woke up she found out she'd been cast as the lead in Stars Hollow's very own production of My Fair Lady. Miss Patty only let her resign after discovering Alex couldn't fake a Cockney accent, and the part was given to Kirk. The entire experience was so traumatizing that Alex has decided it's best to refrain from getting herself involved with the townspeople, because small-town crazies are the worst kind of crazy.
So when she comes home and sees the basket on the kitchen table, she knows that whatever Lorelai is up to, it isn't going to end well.
"What is that?" she asks Lorelai, who looks suspiciously innocent.
"That is a basket, silly," Lorelai answers. "And here I thought you had them in your farm." For whatever reason, Lorelai has chosen to believe that Alex, or Claire, rather, grew up on a farm in Iowa, wearing overalls and straw hats, and dangling stalks of wheat from her mouth. Alex allows the overalls and the straw hats (perhaps Lorelai has confused her for Tom Sawyer), but she draws the line at the wheat-chewing. Alexandra Cabot grew up with debutante balls and Ivy League offers and dreams of becoming governor, and the thought of herself gnawing on a stalk of wheat is simply offensive.
"I know it's a basket," Alex says. "I presume you signed up for the basket-bidding on Sunday?"
"Nope," says Lorelai cheerfully. "You did."
"No," comes as a spontaneous response. Alex digests the information for another minute. "No," she says again, giving Lorelai a look she usually reserves for opposing counsel.
"It's for a good cause," says Lorelai. "We can finally afford a crosswalk to go with that traffic light of ours."
"You don't even plan on using it."
"That's true," Lorelai concedes. "Well, for our gutters then."
Alex has to sit down before Lorelai continues to explain.
"So, our gutters need to be cleaned, and it turns out that the guy who cleans the gutter has a son who needs a date to the prom, and if he wins your basket ---"
"Lorelai, I am going to move out if you finish that sentence."
"I'm not asking you to go to the prom with him, I'm asking you to enter the auction so that he can bid on your basket and go on a date with you, and then all the other girls will realize he's not a loser, and surely one of them will go to the prom with him, and he will be so eternally grateful, he'll clean our gutters for free for the rest of our lives."
Feeling a migraine coming on, Alex takes off her glasses and rubs her temple. Five in the afternoon is too early for this.
"Okay, then," Lorelai rolls her eyes, "half price. Think of it as a humanitarian act, Claire."
"First, I'd rather donate to charity, and second, how do you even know if it'll work?"
"Oh, it will work. Ever seen Legally Blonde? Classic example in there."
Wonderful. Now her roommate is taking advice from a Reese Witherspoon movie, which Alex has watched, but only because it was on TNT and she wanted to mock Harvard Law.
"The answer is no," she says, getting up to her room in an attempt to remove herself from this madness. "And if you forge my signature on anything else, I am reporting you to the police for fraud."
"Not even the annual Stars Hollow three-legged egg-and-spoon race?"
The worst thing is, Alex wouldn't be surprised if such a thing really does exist in this town.
She comes home the next afternoon and finds Lorelai on the couch with a place precariously balanced on her knees, one hand holding a fork, the other pressing an icepack to her head.
"This is your fault," Lorelai says, and Alex sighs.
"Do I need to ask why, or will you proceed to tell me anyway?"
"I fell off the roof because, oh, I was trying to clean out the gutters, and since I am not an expert like Gutter Boy, I stuck my hand in what was possibly regurgitated squirrel food and rotten leaves, and it was so disgusting, I stumbled backwards in absolute horror, and fell."
Lorelai motions Alex to come over, and Alex applies pressure to her injury with the ice pack, so that Lorelai's hands can be freed for her luxurious meal of Kraft dinner.
"Were you wearing gloves?" asks Alex.
"I had a concussion and all you care is whether or not I was wearing gloves?"
"Well, if you were wearing gloves, the whole touching of the squirrel-vomit is far less disgusting, and my levels of sympathy are, therefore, exponentially decreased." Until she moved to Stars Hollow, Alex has never used the words "squirrel" and "vomit" together in a sentence, ever.
"I'm trying to think of an acerbic reply," says Lorelai, glowering. "But I can't, because the fall has damaged my brain, and I might be walking funny as well. Whose fault is that?"
They watch Prison Break later, slumped together on the sofa, flanked by a bag of Cheetos on one side and a bottle of warm, flat Coke on the other. Alex finds the lawyer on the show to be irritatingly incompetent, and Lorelai urges her to focus on what is more pertinent. "Forget the lawyer. Pretty boys breaking out of prison!"
"I liked her better when she had a tapeworm in her brain," says Alex.
"Wrong show, honey."
The commercials come on, and Lorelai takes a moment to harass her about the basket auction again.
"No. Discussion is over, I don't want to hear another thing about it. Return the basket tomorrow. I never want to see it again."
"But I've already named it," and god help Alex, because law school never prepared her for living under a false name with a woman who anthropomorphizes her pizza toppings and names inanimate objects. "Julio. His name is Julio and he will be very sad if we return him to Doose's. All the other baskets will mock him and call him names, and he might unravel himself, he'll get so depressed."
"Lorelai, I am going to mock you and call you names if you don't stop this."
"Sad basket. Lonely basket. Unloved basket."
Wentworth Miller comes on screen, proving to be the most efficient way to get Lorelai to shut up.
Alex used to look the other way when Elliot and Olivia interrogated their perps for hours on end, until they secured a confession. As long as they didn't cross any legal lines or jeopardize her case, she let them use whatever tactics they needed.
Dealing with Lorelai now, she thinks, must be some sort of karmic payback.
"Please, Claire," Lorelai is still begging as Alex crawls into bed.
"This is harassment," Alex warns, pulling the covers over her head.
Lorelai is still at it ten minutes later. Alex has an early meeting tomorrow, and in a moment of weakness, she hears herself saying, "Fine. I'll do it if you will just get away from me."
Next time, Alex is filing for a restraining order against the entire town.
To her amusement, Alex discovers a way to drive Lorelai batshit insane.
"What are you putting in your basket?" Lorelai tries to insert this question into casual conversation, and is usually met with Alex's stoic, "How is it any of your business?"
"I'm just trying to give you some tips. Don't put in anything with mayonnaise, or he might get food poisoning." Lorelai speaks from personal experience, since the salmonella incident last year has barred her from joining this year. Or so she says. "I recommend Pop Tarts. Chock full of artificial flavoring, and has a shelf life of forty years."
"I will take that into consideration," says Alex, and hides the basket in her room.
"No, really, what are you putting it in?"
"Why do you care?"
"The future of our gutters is at stake."
"I assure you Gutter Boy will be very pleased."
"Ding Dongs and a Bright Eyes CD?"
"You know, you can always find out by bidding for it."
Lorelai contemplates this. "But who will clean our gutters?"
"I need a moment."
"Not now, Lorelai." Two more basket until hers. Alex can scarcely believe that she has to go on a "romantic date" with somebody born in the Reagan years.
"Claire. Really. We need to talk." Lorelai pulls her away to the other side of the gazebo and waves at Kirk for him to get lost. "Bad news. Gutter Boy bailed."
"It turns out that this girl, who plays the clarinet, has a crush on him, so he's going to bid for her basket and ask her to go to the prom with him, which is really very sweet, except the clarinet is the single most uncool instrument in the history of music."
"I guess I can withdraw my basket then," Alex says, relieved.
Lorelai makes a face, the one she usually makes when confronted with avocado in her food. "Here's the bad news ---"
"I thought that was the bad news."
"That was bad news. This is bad, bad news, unless you really like Star Trek and people who are obsessed with Star Trek. Miss Patty has a couple of eligible bachelors who plan on bidding for your basket."
Alex closes her eyes and breathes through her nose. Deep breaths. "Lorelai," she finally says, seeing no other alternative short of moving to another state and starting life with another identity --- and even then, Miss Patty can probably still find her, "you're going to have to bid for my basket."
Lorelai mulls this over for a minute. "Taylor's never going to allow that."
"Like I really care about what Taylor thinks. I am not going on a date with Miss Patty's Star Trek aficionados, not even for your gutters."
"I don't have enough money. Besides, I think you should have some fun once in a while, instead of staying at home and reading Yale Law Review."
"What part of any of this constitutes as fun?" Alex is close to yelling, but Taylor's auctioneer voice drowns out most of her words. She reaches for her wallet. Two twenties and a five. She hands them to Lorelai, wondering which is more pathetic: the fact that she's bidding for her own basket, or the fact that she allowed herself to get into this in the first place.
"I am going to kill you slowly and painfully if my basket ends up with anyone else," Alex says. "Or maybe I will call up your mother and tell her you'd like to go shopping with her every week, from now until eternity."
Lorelai fakes a horrified gasp. "You are a cruel woman." She walks off to see if Luke has some extra cash, and the entire escapade strikes Alex as being so incredibly ridiculous that she shakes her head, trying to not to grin and failing miserably.
She stops grinning when she realizes that she hasn't thought of New York, or the DA's office, or Olivia for the entire morning, and it feels like such a betrayal that she doesn't even give Kirk a withering look when he intrudes her personal space.
Lorelai wins her basket for ninety-five dollars, eight-four cents, and a stick of Juicy Fruit. Taylor challenges the validity of Lorelai's bid, saying that that in the past sixty years, no woman has ever bid for another woman's basket. He only relents when Alex points out that he is trampling on the Equal Protections Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and threatens to bring the matter to court.
"Thank you," Alex tells Lorelai afterwards. "Though you did come up with the stupid idea in the first place."
"Way to show your gratitude for saving you from a date with Mr. Spock."
"You do have my basket," Alex points out, and Lorelai hugs the wicker basket to her chest.
"You know," Lorelai says as the road ends and they're making their way into the woods, "I might have bid for your basket anyway."
"You really wanted to know what's in the basket, didn't you?"
"It was the possibility of a hot date," Lorelai says somberly. She's not being serious, and it shouldn't be this easy, Alex thinks, to get used to another life.
They reach the bridge and sit down, taking off their shoes and dangling their feet over the edge. Alex feels like she's five.
The sky is bright blue, straight out of a box of Crayolas, and the full-bellied clouds are so low, they are almost palpable. When the light hits Lorelai's eyes the right way, it's the same color as the sky, and Alex admonishes herself for using such a clich Á.
Lorelai is unpacking the basket, ignoring Alex's observation that there will be ants later, and insisting that the presence of ants is essential to a picnic. "Beefaroni," she notes as she takes out the can.
Alex gives her a look as if to say, What did you really expect? Her culinary talents extend to making popcorn in the microwave and ordering takeout from Al's Pancake World.
"Snickers bars!" Lorelai exclaims. She promises to treasure each and every bite when Alex tells her they are leftovers from Halloween.
"Or I can get them for you from the vending machine at work," says Alex.
"It's the principle of the thing," says Lorelai, and Alex doesn't argue.
A bag of Fritos, two bottles of Snapple, and a couple of Pop Tarts, as per Lorelai's recommendation. Then comes the last item, a Glad container holding deliberately undisclosed contents.
"Oooh. Is it caviar? Foie gras?" Lorelai opens the box and her entire face lights up, like New York City at twilight. "Cheesecake? From the cheesecake place?"
"One and only," Alex answers. Last time Lorelai came to have lunch with her in Hartford, she discovered a bakery which makes what she claims to be utterly divine cheesecake. "It makes me want to burst into song and writhe orgiastically on the table," Lorelai whispered to her.
"Please don't," Alex said, because Lorelai really might.
"This baby is mine." Lorelai snatches the plastic fork from the basket, leaving Alex with a pair of wooden chopsticks, survivors from last week's matzo-and-wonton office party. Alex opens the can of Beefaroni. She wrinkles her nose, despite knowing that the pasta tastes much better than it looks.
It's strange, seeing her reflection in the water below, eating cold macaroni out of a can, a complete stranger who looks like herself. It's all right, though; it shouldn't be, but it is.
Lorelai interrupts Alex's thoughts, licking the last bit of graham cracker off her fork. "It's nice, isn't it?"
"The basket auction?"
"No. The basket auction, that's just," Lorelai struggles to keep her face straight.
"Insane," Alex supplies. Their eyes meet, sharing a joke that has no need for a punch line.
Their laughter scares off a duck, which only makes them laugh harder. Then they are quiet again, for a long time. Lorelai nibbles on her candy bars. Alex anticipates the ants.
"It is nice," and only when Lorelai looks at her does Alex realize that she has said it out loud.
"Wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world right now." Lorelai smiles and throws her a sidelong glance. "Not even a Coldplay concert."
Ignoring the comment about Coldplay as she finds them distasteful, Alex says, "Me neither." For the first time since she died, she's not lying, and the truth is so foreign to her ears, it sounds like welcome home in twelve languages.