Never Too Late

Author's Note: Hey, I'm back with a new SVU story. It's a femslash so if you don't like that you can stop reading right...about...now.

For those who carried on, it's a Casey/Olivia (moving at a snail's pace) fic that seems to hover around seasons eight and nine without actually sticking to the storylines. I mean, there are things in there that would place the story around season eight or nine, but they are not all chronologically correct.

Anyway, there are some changes. One being that the character of Lake doesn't exist, and the character of Dani is out of the picture for good. Munch is still a detective and still partnered with Fin...mainly because I like it that way. And Kathy isn't pregnant. I don't know why, I just know that pregnancy complicates a lot, and I don't want their reconciliation to be about her not wanting to raise his child alone because that's wrong.

Another thing, I'm not too good with the forensics. I did research, and of course watched the show, but I'm no expert. The story will be dealing with things of this nature, and they can get pretty graphic. I suppose I'll put warnings on the chapters that deal with that sort of stuff so people know what they're getting themselves into. Just know that I'm not a M.E. or Pathologist or whatever.

If you know more than I do, (which I'm sure most of you do) and want to offer constructive criticism or advice, I will listen and use your knowledge to make the story more believable. And I thank you in advance.

All right, I guess you can read the story now. Enjoy.

Disclaimer: I own nothing affiliated with any "Law & Order" show.

Chapter 1

The music blared on, making the dim-lighted, barely-crowded, dingy cop bar all that more unbearable. Casey hated cop bars, purely based on the fact that most of them were run down. Cops seem to have a thing for shady bars. It was ridiculous. And high maintenance of me. At least, that's what Munch said...jerk. Yet here she was with all of her "cop-buddies," pretending to like the poor excuse for a gin and tonic she had been served. She had had three of them already, hoping they would get better with serving, but she was wrong. Too much tonic, not enough gin. And she wasn't one to just switch drinks in the middle. The first and last time she mixed drinks was in college, and the hangover was so bad she couldn't get out of bed for a day. Thank you, no.

Fin and Munch were sitting at a booth, mostly likely arguing over one of Munch's conspiracy theories that Fin, to this day, didn't believe. Munch was leaning over the table, practically on top of Fin, lightly gesticulating a point that Fin was completely ignoring. Casey could tell by the way Fin was rolling his eyes and shaking his head.

Elliot and (in a surprising twist) his maybe-not-so-soon-to-be ex-wife Kathy were swaying to Foghat's "Slow Ride," in the middle of the bar, laughing like a couple of high school love birds. They had met for dinner two hours before, apparently, and he invited her to hang with, "the guys." They spent most of their time either at the corner booth or on the dance floor. So much for group get-togethers.

And Olivia was at the bar, staring deeply into the bottom of her glass of scotch, moving her head ever-so-slightly, once every few minutes, to look at her partner and his wife, thinking that no one would notice. But Casey did, and decided that she wanted to know for real what exactly was happening.

Because she needed to know if she had a chance with the sad and hauntingly beautiful detective before she fell too deeply.

For some time now, Casey had begun to feel something more than friendly toward the detective. It started just before Olivia left to play, "undercover" with the feds. As every day during her absence went by, Casey missed her more and more. When Dani Beck, that poor braided excuse for a replacement showed up, she bristled with something akin to violent rage.

God, is this how she felt when I stepped in for Cabot? I sure hope not.

When Olivia finally did return, Casey felt the world spin back onto its axis. Granted, it was at the eleventh hour of an extremely important case, which left little room for small talk, but Benson had promised a detailed report on her experiences as a, "tree-hugging hippy-de-do-da." Another one of Munch's gems.

"No time like the present," Casey muttered to herself, downing the rest of her sour drink.

Olivia was in the middle of her unsubtle gaze-stares when Casey approached. "You realize it's impolite to stare, don't you detective?" The attorney whispered in Olivia's ear as she took the empty stool beside her.

Olivia turned and smiled sadly at Casey, glad for the momentary distraction. "I hadn't realized I was staring."

"Neither did anyone else, fortunately." She raised her hand, signaling for another drink. Fourth time's a charm. "So, I see the divorce is working out amicably." She droned sarcastically, nodding when Elliot caught her gaze.

Olivia scoffed. "I never took you for the bitter type."

Worse than a lemon when the one I like is in love with someone else. "I can be...if the mood strikes." She said, sipping her new drink, trying not to cringe at its taste.

Olivia shifted her position so that she was facing Casey. "What do you mean?"

Casey leaned in, whispering. "Listen, I know it must be tough..." Not as tough as this is going to be. "...but I'm here if you ever want to, you know, talk." She put emphasis on the last word, shifting her eyes at Liv's glowing partner as he swayed with his giggling wife.

Olivia followed Casey's gaze and sighed. "I guess you're one of those then, huh?"

Confused, Casey sat back. "What?"

"One of those people who think that I'm in love with my partner. Don't worry, you're not alone in that boat. In fact, it's becoming quite overcrowded over there."

"Over where?" Elliot asked as he walked up to the women, slapping a five down on the table, grabbing two beers from the bartender.

Olivia turned, not missing a beat despite the panic that crossed Casey's face. "Rikers."

Nodding, Elliot's eyes widened. "Tell me about it." Then, he was gone again.

Casey watched him leave, shaking her head. When Olivia spun back around to face her again, though, her attention was redirected. "Anyway...go on?"

Olivia swallowed the rest of her drink and coughed. "Let me let you in on a little known secret. I'm not in love with my partner. Don't get me wrong, Elliot's great, and my best friend, but I'm not in love with him. I'm in love with the idea."

Either the drink was starting to kick in, or Olivia was talking gibberish, because Casey had no idea what she was talking about. There were a few moments of awkward silence before Casey realized she needed to ask a question for the conversation to continue. "What idea?"

Olivia turned back to her partner as he sat in his corner booth with Kathy, gently pecking her on the lips. "The idea of having someone to go home to." She turned back to Casey. "Someone to wake up beside. Been a long time since I've had either."

Huh. Interesting. Casey pondered what this meant for her personally. Did it mean she had a shot? She decided to try a new tactic (for her anyway) and beat around the bush. "So I take it there were no romantic interludes while you were playing granola girl then, huh?"

Olivia chuckled slightly. "No." She whispered, staring into the bottom of her empty glass.

"Not even a potential--"

"I was undercover Casey." Olivia said, surprised by Casey's prodding. "My name was Persephone for Christ's sake. I was wheat-grass chomping eco-terrorist with a penchant for earth tones and yellow construction boots. Plus I felt like the oldest one there, nearly twice the age of the people I hung around with. Not even I would go out with me."

Was that a subtle hint at your sexual orientation, detective? Casey decided to try her luck. "I dunno detective, that sounds pretty sexy to me. I mean, earth tones and construction boots? You couldn't pull me away." She leaned impossibly close the to surprised brunette, her eyes dancing with an unspoken desire.

Olivia's eyebrows raised for a second before she smirked, leaning toward the redhead. "Are you flirting with me counselor?"

"If I am?" Casey answered back, trying her best not to sound too hopeful.

For a moment, both women were merely centimeters from one another, and if anyone else was watching them from afar, one would guess a kiss was imminent, but it was as if time stopped. Both women were frozen in place, just staring at one another, trying to read the other's gaze. Olivia laughed uncomfortably and pulled away, ordering another scotch.

Casey closed her eyes and expelled the breath she wasn't aware she was holding. Jesus, Casey, what are you doing? When Olivia's gaze shifted back toward her, she smiled, but the weirdness was still present.

The women fell into an uncomfortable silence for a while, lost in their own thoughts. Then, Casey decided to speak up. "So, are you going to tell me everything that happened while you were undercover or what?"

Olivia shrugged without looking at the attorney. "How much time do you have?"

Casey pretended to check her watch. "Well, I've got 14 blocks to my apartment from here, why don't you walk me?" She looked up at Olivia and smiled.

Olivia looked at her colleagues and sighed. They wouldn't be missed. "Sure." She stood, taking money from her pocket and throwing it down. Casey started to remove money from her purse, but Olivia stopped her. "No, last one's on me."

"Thanks." Casey threw on her jacket and Olivia pressed her hand to the small of her back, leading her out. At the point of contact, Casey's skin burned. She smiled inwardly as they left the bar together. That's new. Casey had never known Olivia to touch anywhere below her shoulder blades. But this...this touch was something else. Something intimate.

---------------------------

12 blocks later...

"...accuses me of assaulting him when I did no such thing. Believe me though, by the end of it, I wished I had. Nothing short of knocking him on his ass would've made the entire trip worth while." Olivia said, shaking her head. She was walking with her hands buried deep in her pockets.

Casey laughed out loud at the thought of Olivia showing that hick-cop a thing or two about assault. "Sounds like you had a good time."

Olivia shook her head. "Don't get me started."

As they walked, Casey decided to make a bold move and looped an arm through Olivia's. She was rewarded by Olivia smiling slightly, and not pulling away. Arm-looping is a pretty neutral stance. She had looped arms with straight women before, her best girl-friends in fact. But never with Olivia before. It never seemed appropriate. Maybe it was the four poorly mixed gin and tonics, but Casey was feeling more, "inappropriate," than she had in a while.

They continued walking with their arms intertwined, Olivia going back to her story. "The public defender they gave me was atrocious. He was barely out of law school, spouting procedure like he was reading aloud from one of his textbooks. He never even asked me if I assaulted Officer 'A-hole,' can you believe that?"

Casey sighed. "He'd probably make a good prosecutor one day."

Olivia smiled. "The way he handled my case, I thought so too."

"Sounds like you had a good time."

"The best." Olivia answered and both women laughed. "But I don't think I'll be doing it again for a long time." They walked along in silence for a while. Before they knew it, they were in front of Casey's apartment.

Casey reluctantly let go of Olivia and turned to face her. "Well, thanks for walking me. Do you want me to call you a cab?"

Olivia shook her head. "No thanks, I'm good. But..." She trailed off for a moment, as if to create suspense.

"Hmm?" Casey asked, thinking she hadn't heard.

Olivia smiled that secret smile that very few had ever seen and said, "Would you have dinner with me...sometime?"

Casey's eyes lit up despite her best efforts to not seem overjoyed. "Are you asking me out Detective Benson?"

"I am." Olivia said, suddenly feeling insecure. She looked down.

"In that case, I'd love to."

Olivia looked up. "Yeah?" Casey nodded. "How does tomorrow sound? I'll meet you outside your office say around...6:30?"

"That'd be perfect." Casey grabbed her keys from her purse and turned. "Good night Olivia."

"I'll see you tomorrow." Olivia answered, slowly walking away.

Casey felt as if she were floating. So this is what Cloud 9 feels like. She couldn't hide the bright smile that crept its way onto her face when she entered her apartment building. She passed a man in the hallway, and he smiled back, thinking it was meant for him, but Casey didn't notice.

She practically skipped to the elevator, and nearly danced to her apartment door, feeling as if everything were going her way...for once.

To Be Continued...

So, what do you think? Is it worth continuing or no?