It's All About Timing

By. Rainbow Life

Spoilers: This chapter takes place directly during the episodes Loss and Ghost (Thanks for the correction, Little People!) so it would be helpful to have seen it, but since it's an AU, I think you can follow along just fine without the episode in your head. Still, there are spoilers, so if you don't know what happens in the episode and want to be surprised, I suggest coming back after you've watched it :)

Author's Note: After about four different ways of writing this, I finally broke out of my writer's block. This one is a little more CaseyThought than the other, but I hope it still works. Please review and let me know what you think! Also, it is in Casey's POV - probably not 100 clear all the time, but just so you know, I'm not going back and forth between character POVs :)

Shout Out: Shout out to the Softball and Sex Crimes: ADA Casey Novak forum at – You all are amazing, thanks for keeping me entertained and sharing a love of Casey and Olivia :)

Chapter 2

We lasted four days without seeing each other outside work before she came to my door. I was afraid it would affect our work, but after seeing each other every night for a week, I ignored my rational mind and just felt. I could feel myself falling for her. I didn't want to, but it couldn't be helped. Three weeks after our first meeting and we finally talked about what was going on between us. Well, she talked; I listened and nodded a lot. She didn't want a relationship. Maybe it was because Alex had just died, but we never talked about her and she didn't even know that I knew they had a relationship. I agreed saying it was for the best while secretly thinking that after a month or two she would feel the way I felt and we could pursue a relationship. I thought that was the end, but she kept coming over night after night. And she left night after night. I think it was her way of protecting herself – if she woke up next to me in the morning, it was too real, but in the cover of darkness, it was nothing more than a fling.

Three months in and she stayed the night. It was an accident and she didn't come over for three days. We never talked about that, either. I just welcomed her back inside with a glass of wine and a kiss. Every night I want to ask her about her fears of relationships and tell her that I'm in love with her, but something behind her eyes stops me.

Seventeen months after our first meeting and I was almost certain I was going to lose her. Completely blindsided, I discovered that Alex Cabot is alive and well and, because of me, she is back in New York. If I hadn't ordered the arrest for the murder of Alex… no, they should have told me when I came on to SVU. At least she should have told me. The moment I saw her with Alex, the smile that crossed her face when Alex attempted a joke, I knew that look behind her eyes. I knew she was still in love with the former ADA and I was simply physically therapy for her pain. Perhaps Alex's return is for the best – perhaps I can move on and find someone who doesn't mind spending the night in my bed. That thought makes my throat tighten, reminding myself that it would mean giving up the only woman I've ever loved.

Pushing these thoughts aside, I focused on the case at hand. I had to sit with Alex and talk to Antonio and then talk to Alex myself about her testimony. I had to swallow a fight when she questioned my preparations for the case since I knew the fight would only be rooted in the fact that she's not dead and Olivia still loved her. I sat in my office after Elliot whisked Alex away to the secret hotel she'd be staying in for the trail staring blankly at open folders and note-filled legal pads. The knock on the frame of my open door shook me out of my reverie and I looked up.

Olivia stood in my door way and the shock must have been evident on my face because she laughed a little before shutting the door and walking into my office. "Can I sit down?" she asked, pointing at one of the two chairs in front of my desk. The dim lighting in my office cast beautiful shadows across her face and I had problems looking away.

"Of course," I answered with less of a voice than I had expected. "I thought you'd be with Alex…"

She sat down and crossed her legs, a smirk tugging at her lips. "I have to leave in a few hours to relieve Elliot. I'll be there all night." I nodded in understanding, trying to keep the disappointment from my face.

"I'd only met her once before she died – she's brilliant." I was at a loss for conversation and just wanted to curl up with a nice glass of scotch and watch a terrible movie. This love shit is too draining.

"Yeah, she is." There was silence. I knew it was my turn to talk, but I felt it was her turn to ask a question or change the subject – anything to end the silence. "What's the matter, Casey?" Okay, anything but that.

"Nothing, I'm fine. Just a lot of work to do."

Nodding in pretend acceptance, she looked around my office for a second before seeming to gather her wits. "It's Alex, right?" Again with the shock on my face – she tends to do that to me. My lack of an answer seemed to answer that affirmatively for her as she leaned forward with a different look in her eyes. "I'm sorry I never told you about her and about our relationship. It seemed like everyone knew, especially after she was taken to Witness Protection, so I just assumed you did, too." I nodded, but was afraid to say anything. "I loved her, but she didn't love me the same way. I think she could have gotten there if it weren't for being taken into Protection. Seeing her again, I realized that I had been holding onto her when I should have moved on months ago – a year ago, even. I think it was harder knowing she was alive, thinking we could be together again once she was out of Protection."

"Olivia –" I started, not really sure what I would say, but determined to slow this down. I had not expected this conversation to ever happen. I was still stuck on her apologizing for not telling me things.

"Please," she whispered. "I never meant to hurt you. I was just afraid that something would happen and we would be split up just like me and Alex. I don't know how you feel about all of this, but I…" I noticed her eyes beginning to well up just as the hitch in her throat interrupted her proclamation.

I stood up and walked around my desk, kneeling in front of her. "I feel the same way. After this case is over, we can talk through all of this."

She nodded, holding back the tears that threatened to fall. I raised myself slightly off the floor and pressed my lips against hers, determined to remove her tears. She responded to the kiss by standing, allowing me to stand as well, and put a hand behind my head to deepen the connection.

I melt in her arms as the kiss intensifies. My hands press against her back, pulling her closer to me so I can feel her heart pound against mine. Our lips wrestle with the fervor of every unspoken word and unacknowledged emotion of the last seventeen months. Overwhelmed by her touch, it barely registers that she's playing with the hem of my shirt. Her warm fingers brush against my now-exposed skin, her other hand attempting to pull my shirt further up my body to dispose of it.

Then I remember Alex. The case. My office. Damn my inhibitions! I pull back while putting a hand on the hand of hers lifting my shirt. "Wait, wait," I say regretfully. I want nothing more than to lay her down on my office couch and discover each other all over again. She stills, my shirt re-clothing my stomach and back. "You have to leave soon, if you were late…"

She nods and takes half a step back. "You're right." She covers my cheek with her hand, her eyes boring into mine. "We will talk about this, I promise." Her sudden openness worries me slightly, but it's a welcomed transition. I silently curse Alex, the case, and my office, but settle for kissing her softly on the lips. "I need to go to my apartment and pick up a few things for tonight and tomorrow," she says after we part.

"Do you want me to come with you?"

She smiles mischievously. "If I say yes, I will never make it to that hotel. Elliot would murder me." I laugh. She places a quick kiss against the corner of my mouth and with a quick smile, she leaves my office.

The next day was long and stressful. Thankfully we were able to put Liam Connors behind bars. Alex isn't so bad – I kept telling myself not to like her because of who she was to Olivia. I'm sure I'm only saying that because Olivia shot down my fears and punctuated it with a make out session in my office. Still – the two of them were different after Olivia's sleep over the night before. Something had changed and I think it was just necessary for them to be able to talk it out face-to-face.

Standing in Cragen's office with the SVU squad, I feel at home. I don't know how I would work in any other department after working in this one. I share in the laughter and try to keep Elliot from over-filling my plastic cup with alcohol. Olivia looks genuinely happy and I can't keep the smile off my face. Suddenly a shadow in the squad room quiets the office and we all stand staring at the door ready to toast to Alex Cabot.

When the DEA agent walked in instead to pass along Alex's good-bye, I saw her face fall. I was furious that Alex had to be put back into Protection and I was shocked by that anger. Truth be told, I would cut off my own arm to see Olivia happy and if having Alex in New York was what she needed to look as happy as she had moments ago, I'll fight to have my former opponent back. Within minutes, the DEA agent left and everyone put their cups down, celebration far from everyone's minds.

I watched Olivia have a silent conversation with Elliot, jealous that I didn't have anyone I was that connected to. After a moment, he nodded and she crossed the two or three feet to stand in front of me. "I'm going to head home. Great work today." I smiled thinly and thanked her. I knew she'd just be going outside to wait for me so we could go to my apartment.

Once she left, conversation returned to the room, although sparsely. I knew they knew about Olivia and Alex and wondered how they would react to my sudden involvement with their detective. I bet Munch would just make some off-color joke about Olivia being attracted to ADAs. I said my good-byes, knowing the moment I met Elliot's eyes, that he knew where I was going and the small tug of a smile at the corner of his mouth gave me his approval.

I walked out of the squad room and down the elevators to the main floor. Walking out into the lobby, I looked around for the brunette I was so infatuated with. I found her outside the main doors, head tilted back looking at the sky. It was less than a minute before I reached the doors and stepped outside. "Hey," I said quietly, not wanting to interrupt her.

"Hey," she said. "Let's go." We walked to where sidewalk met street and Olivia raised an arm at an on-coming taxi. She was the first one in, giving the cabbie my address as I climbed in. Settling against the ripped seat, I felt her fingers lace through mine. I knew she wasn't looking for affirmation, so I continued to look ahead while her gaze remained focused out the side window.

Arriving at my apartment, I paid the cabbie and we walked up the stairs to my door. Once we were inside, she removed her shoes and waited for me to do the same. She was silent the whole time and I feared her promises of yesterday were only valid if she wasn't shoved into a pit of depression. We walked into my bedroom and I turned on the bedside lamp, which lit very little of the room.

I watched Olivia as she removed her socks and then her pants, leaving her clad in her t-shirt and underwear. She stood in the middle of my room looking completely lost. Knowing I could risk losing my head, I stepped forward and put a hand on her shoulder. I felt her body shake with held-in tears. "Liv?"

She turned around, her eyes red and welling with tears. "I thought she would say good-bye like last time," she whispered.

Not knowing what had happened the first time Alex was put into Protection, I just put my arms around the woman before me, offering my shoulder to alleviate her pain. She wrapped her arms around my waist and every so often I would hear her sniffle. I rubbed her back soothingly and felt her body stop shaking.

"Want to lay down?" I asked. She nodded and walked over to my bed. I shed my clothing, putting a tank top and boxers on before climbing into bed next to her. Bringing the covers up over us, I spooned up behind her and wrapped an arm around her waist. "I'm sorry she had to go away again." I felt her nod and she moved to take my hand into hers.

"Can I stay here tonight?" she asked softly.

"Of course," I responded, almost shocked she felt the need to ask. I reached over and turned the bedside lamp off flooding the room in darkness.

As I opened my mouth to say goodnight, she filled the comfortable silence with, "I love you."

After seventeen months, a smile spread over my face that paled in comparison to all the others. "I love you, too, Liv." Not a minute later, I felt her breathing even out and I knew she was asleep. Promised conversations would happen tomorrow and knowing that, I closed my eyes holding the woman I love close.

Continued Author's Note: I hope it was up to par with my first chapter. I have a few more chapters I'd like to add, so please tell me if I should continue it. Also, I'm hoping writer's block doesn't set in the moment I post this like it did for my first chapter lol Thanks for reading!