Author's Note: Here's the next chapter...there's tons of Casey/Olivia action. Hope you enjoy it. I had a difficult time writing and rewriting it, and I'm not sure I like it, but I cannae hold out on you all any longer. Haha. (F.Y.I. "cannae" is Scottish for cannot...I just love saying it)

Things are going to move a little faster, I think,

Song discovery time! "Lover" by Devendra Banhart is soooo fun. It's kinda like funk/folk and has an awesome beat. You should check it out, if you haven't already. I'm not a big folk fan, but this song won my heart. Listen to it, I promise that you'll be dancing around the kitchen table in no time. (Yes...yes I did, thank you.)

Babes...double MWAH! Hope you're feeling better.

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

Chapter 9

Saturday Afternoon, 3:37 p.m.

The days moved slowly for Olivia. Time seemed to drift by, as if stuck in a rowboat without any oars, left to just float down the river of life. She tried to dedicate that time to her other cases, but found her mind continuously going back to Anna Levis. What had she overlooked? What had she missed? There had to be something she wasn't seeing though it was right in front of her face. And she obsessed, constantly going over the case in her mind, analyzing every minute detail she could recall. The case had begun to consume her.

It had consumed her so much that she hadn't realized her phone was ringing. It was only when Munch passed by, saying, "Better answer it, Liv, before it gets mad," that Olivia even heard the phone. She picked up the phone, putting a hand to her burning eyes as she answered. "Benson."

"Hey there...are you at work?" Casey's voice floated over the receiver and into Olivia's head, filling her with a much-needed sense of comfort.

Despite her mood, Olivia smiled. "Yeah." She sighed, looking at her watch. She hadn't even realized it was almost four.

"I'll make this quick then. I was just wondering if we were still on for tonight."

CONEY ISLAND! HOW COULD I FORGET? Olivia mentally chided herself for forgetting the one thing she had been looking forward to. "Of course we're still on. I'm sorry for not calling to confirm, it's just we've got--"

"Liv," Casey stopped Olivia mid-apology. "Don't worry about it. I get it. That's why I'm calling. Can you get away?"

Olivia nodded. She was supposed to have left at two. "Yeah, I can. I'm so sorry--"

"Liv, no need to apologize. How about I meet you at your apartment at seven? Sound good?"

"I can't wait." Olivia smiled again, enjoying the short burst of contentment she was feeling at the moment.

"Me either." Casey answered, the smile evident in her voice. "I'll let you get back to work though. See you in a little while."

"Okay. Bye." Olivia said, hanging up. She took a moment to relish in the anticipation of her date with Casey before going back to work. As soon as she looked over her files, however, her mind drifted back to Anna Levis, and she returned to her previous frustrated state.

Elliot knew when a case hit home for his partner; there were telltale signs every time. Olivia was quieter, irritable, distracted. She wouldn't eat or drink properly, and had trouble sleeping. Though it mostly disturbed Elliot to see his parnter in such a funk, it also warmed his heart. If anyone ever thought that dealing with Special Victims wore down the soul, and turned a good cop into an uncaring monster, one only had to look at Olivia Benson to be proven wrong. After nine years with the Unit, she was still as dedicated to solving crimes and serving justice as she had been on the first day.

Elliot was about to comment on Olivia's mood when the phone rang, and as soon as she answered her mood changed. He saw the smile cross her face, and her shoulders relax. And when she hung up, Elliot saw her pause to savor her happiness for a moment before returning to her previous tense posture and chizzled frown. Whoever it is, they're magical. It had been a very long time since Elliot had seen his partner as happy as she was, but he knew the Anna Levis case was weighing heavily on her mind.

She needed a break. "Liv." He addressed quietly but firmly and she looked up.

"Hmm?"

"Go home." He said, and Olivia frowned.

"What?"

"You heard me. Go home. You were supposed to be gone hours ago. Besides, you need to get ready for your big second date."

"Oh Jesus." Olivia put her face in her hands, groaning.

"Yes, your second date with this mystery person you refuse to talk about. Come on, we'll leave together and you can tell me all about it."

Olivia stood. "Will you give it a rest?"

Elliot stood with her, grabbing his jacket. "Why won't you tell me who it is?"

Olivia ignored him. They both nodded to Captain Cragen, who was talking on the phone. He nodded back, giving his 'okay' to leave. As they walked down the hall to the elevators, Olivia could feel the weight of Elliot stare. "What?"

"I can't believe that after nine years you don't trust me enough to tell me who you're dating." Elliot's voice was a mixture of accusatory playfulness. Even though he smiled as if he didn't care, Olivia could see that he was a little hurt by her reserve.

She exhaled. "It's complicated."

"How so?"

"Things are...delicate at the moment."

"What do you mean?"

"Listen, I don't want to...disclose the details of my date be..." Olivia struggled to find the words. "Because things are going well so far, and I don't want to fuck it up by gushing and bragging...you know, all that stuff people do before everything explodes in their face." She looked up at Elliot for any indication that he understood. "So I don't want to talk about it, okay?"

He looked at her, his brow furrowed, but he knew what she meant. "Okay. But I will find out eventually, right?"

"Absolutely."

"Okay." Olivia took the okay to mean that the subject had been dropped, and it was, for a while. They rode the elevator in silence until reaching the parking lot. "Can you at least tell me one thing?"

Olivia rolled her eyes, slumping her shoulders in defeat. "What?"

"This mystery person...is it a man or a woman?"

Olivia looked shocked for a moment. Since when did Elliot care about the gender of the person she was dating? "It's a woman. Why?"

Elliot shrugged. "No reason." Your relationships with women are better and last longer, but your always more heartbroken when it ends. He smiled sincerely, and said, "Have fun tonight."

"I plan to. See you Monday." Olivia answered before getting into her car, waving as she backed out and drove away.

"Hope this one lasts." Elliot mumbled to himself, smiling as he got into his car.

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Olivia applied the last of her make-up and looked down, wondering if her outfit was appropriate. An amusement park date meant casual, so she wore her worn-in black boots, slim-fit jeans and a skintight black long-sleeved shirt, but she wasn't sure if it was appealing enough.

While she wondered if she should change, there was a knock on her apartment door. "Just a sec." She shouted, moving toward the door. Too late to do anything about it now.

Olivia looked thorugh the peephole and smiled. Casey was quickly going over herself, smoothing things out and wiping things off. She was also taking deep breaths, as if she were nervous. Olivia opened the door, her breath hitching in her throat.

Casey's light red-blonde hair fell elegantly around her face, cascading down over her tight dark green hoodie that hugged all the right places. She wore form-fitting jeans and dark green converse sneakers, completing her very casual but extremely sexy ensemble.

Casey found her own breath leaving her as she took in Olivia's appearance. She bit the inside of her lip to keep her jaw from dropping, but nothing could hide the lust that filled her vibrant emerald orbs.

They stood there for a few seconds, taking each other in, absorbing and recording the images, committing them to memory. Casey was the first to break the silence, her voice beginning in a cracked, awkward squeak. "Yeeah...wow...you look--"

"Stunning." Olivia breathed out, her amber eyes glistening with desire as they roamed the attorney's body. Olivia was surprised at how turned on she was by Casey's outfit; she contributed it to the fact that the dressed-down side to her co-worker was one she rarely ever got to see, making it all the more appealing.

Casey smiled, rolling her eyes. "Yes, you are, but how do I look?" She joked.

Olivia snapped her gaze upward, finally meeting Casey's eyes. "Amazing." She looked down at Casey's sneakers once again and smiled. "Nice shoes. Jimmy Choo's, I assume?"

Casey laughed. "Try Chuck Taylor's." She lifted up one Converse sneaker, wiggling it.

"I didn't know they came in that color."

"Oh, they come in all kinds of colors now. I would've preferred them in lime, but--"

"You really have a thing for green, don't you?" Olivia chuckled, leaning against her door jam.

"I do. Is that a crime?" Casey countered, putting a hand on her hip.

"If it were, counselor, I'd have to arrest you." Olivia leaned in closer, her eyes twinkling mischievously. "And I do have a pair of cuffs here--"

Casey nodded, biting her lip a bit. "If we continue down this road, we may never get to Coney Island."

"And that would be a bad thing because?"

"Because I want to share my favorite place with someone special, just like you did with me." Casey grabbed Olivia's hand and squeezed it, silently pleading.

Olivia nodded. "Okay." She grabbed her keys from the nearby bookcase and jingled them. "Let's go."

Casey smiled brightly, never releasing Olivia's hand even as she closed and locked her apartment door. As they walked down the hallway to the elevators, Casey intertwined her arm with Olivia's and leaned into her, losing herself in the warmth that her date emitted. Olivia welcomed the tingling sensation having contact with Casey brought on, and realized that she couldn't remember the last time she was so excited about dating.

As they walked to her car, though, a strange and unsettling voice drifted through her head.

"I told Susan though...dating co-workers, that never works out."

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They had a long ride from Olivia's apartment to Coney Island, so after the first twenty minutes dragged on in silence, Casey had had enough. Somewhere between her apartment door and the car, Olivia's mood had changed. Casey had picked up on it, but didn't say anything, hoping that whatever it was that was bothering her date would either go away or be put out in the open. When neither happened, Casey decided to take action. "Are you okay?"

"Huh?" Olivia mumbled without taking her eyes from the road.

"Whatever it is Liv, you should probably just get it out there."

This time, Olivia quickly glanced at Casey before returning her eyes to the road. "Whatever what is?"

"Whatever it is that's bothering you. Something changed. What's going on? Do you really not want to go to Coney Island?" Casey started to worry that her idea was a bad one after all. "Because if you don't we don't have to--"

Olivia shook her head. "No, Casey. I do want to go to Coney Island. I'm excited." She sighed, contemplating whether to share her concerns with Casey or not. She decided honesty would be the best policy. "What do you think about dating co-workers?"

Casey studied Olivia for a full minute before answering. "Well, obviously I'm fine with it, or I wouldn't be here."

Olivia glanced at Casey again. "Have you ever dated anyone you work with before?"

Casey nodded. "Yes. Once."

"And how'd that go?"

"It was fine. We went out a few times, had some fun, ended things amicably. Why?"

Olivia shook her head. "It's just...this Anna Levis case...she was dating a co-worker, a woman. They fought all the time. And it affected the girlfriend's ability to work. She actually took the day off because she couldn't face Anna." Olivia looked over at Casey, hoping she understood the meaning behind the words.

Casey nodded slowly. She looked down, picking at the edge of her shirt. "You're worried dating me will affect your work."

"No, no." Olivia quickly protested, but then thought about it. "Well...yeah." She looked over at Casey. "Aren't you?"

Casey took a deep breathed and expelled it in a long sigh. "Honestly, I haven't given it much thought, no. I've been too busy thinking about how right it feels when I hold your hand, or when I kiss you...or how privileged I am to be on the receiving end of one of your smiles."

Olivia felt her heart melt. "You have no idea how much I feel the same, Case, but--"

Casey reached across and put a hand on Olivia's forearm, silencing her. "Then don't worry about it, Olivia. Just try to have some fun tonight."

As much as Olivia wanted to disagree, the look at Casey was giving her sent her fears away. She's smiling that smile that makes her eyes squint and her face brighten. I can't chase that away with my...apprehensions. As valid as I think they might be. Just push them out of your head Olivia...just push them away. Olivia smiled back, gently patting the hand that remained on her arm. "You're right."

"Of course I am." Casey joked. I get you Liv. I understand. But I don't want to think about it...not yet anyway. "So, whattaya wanna do first? Hot dogs and then Cyclone? Or Cyclone then hot dogs?"

"I'm thinking Cyclone then hot dogs...unless you want a vomit-show during your ride."

"Point taken."

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

They walked hand in hand through the amusement park, strolling lazily so that Olivia could take in all of the sights and sounds of Coney Island. She'd been there before, but it was for a case. Now, she was just enjoying it as a civilian, and was actually glad that Casey had suggested going. The Cyclone was fun, and the way that Casey held on to Olivia's arm for the entire ride was even better. So much so that they repeated the ride twice more.

And Nathan's was delicious. The hot dogs were good, but Olivia was sure she was going to pay for the cheese fries she had on the side later.

Casey was just enjoying the fact that Olivia was enjoying herself, and showing a rarely seen light-hearted side. The side that screamed on roller coasters and playfully wiped cheese on her date's nose before kissing the soiled area. And it warmed the attorney's heart to see a twinkle in the detective's eye as they discussed rides yet to be ridden. "So...what do you wanna go on next?"

Olivia held her stomach. "Something slow."

"Yuck." Casey laughed. "Okay. How about the 'Wonder Wheel?"

Olivia looked up at the brightly lit Ferris wheel and nodded. "Seems safe enough."

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"You would pick the moving car, wouldn't you?" Olivia accused, holding on to Casey for dear life. Just as she finished her allegation, the car unhitched and began to roll backwards. Olivia's hold only tightened as she buried her face in the curve of Casey's neck.

Casey only laughed and rubbed Olivia's forearm as the car came to a halt. "No, I swear Liv. It was a mistake." She looked around, realizing that they were no longer moving. In fact, the whole wheel had stopped moving, and they were somewhere near the top. "We've stopped. Look, Liv. The view is amazing."

Olivia slowly removed her head and looked around, taking in Coney Island Beach for all it's hidden beauty. The night covered the flaws that normally would've shined in the daytime, making the sight all the more magnificent. Once she finished her overview, she turned to face Casey, who was looking on the opposite side. The moon from overhead and the lights from below cast an irrevocable spotlight on the gorgeous redhead, making her porcelain skin radiate with an unfamiliar but appealing glow. She looks absolutely stunning. If Olivia could save one moment in time, she'd fold up this moment and place it in her pocket, so that she could look upon it forever.

"Isn't it beautiful?" Casey asked, still surveying the scenery below.

"Not nearly as beautiful as what I see." Olivia answered.

Casey turned, assuming that Olivia was talking about something outside, and blushed deeply when she realized the brunette was referring to her. "Liv..." she whispered softly, her eyes grazing the other woman's lips with an unmistakable hunger.

Olivia leaned in a gently pressed their lips together, cupping Casey's face with both hands. In turn, Casey inched ever closer, placing one hand on the seat and the other on Olivia's thigh, steadying herself. Soon, their kisses became hungrier, their breathing more erratic, and their movements less controlled. When they felt they could no longer breathe, Olivia moved her lips elsewhere, placing soft, gentle kisses across the redhead's cheek to her earlobe, gently teasing the skin behind it with her tongue. Casey couldn't suppress the moan that escaped her lips as she closed her eyes and tilted her head to the side, allowing her lover easier access. She ran a hand across Olivia's back, digging her nails in, undoubtedly leaving a mark. It only fueled the detective's passion. She nipped and sucked on Casey's neck just below her jawbone, completely losing herself in desire. Casey pulled Olivia's mouth back up to her own, kissing her with fervor. It wasn't long before the women were making out, barely coming up for air.

That is, until they heard a whistle.

The women broke apart, dizzy and disoriented. Olivia and Casey looked around and realized that they were suddenly on the ground. The wheel operator gawked, some immature males hooted, and an angry mother shielded her child's eyes as she left, tossing the women a reprimanding look. Casey could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks as she fumbled with the door.

The operator strutted over to them, smiling as he assisted Casey with the troublesome lock. It opened, and as they stumbled out, he said, "Thank you ladies, I couldn't a paid for a better show." He winked.

Casey just rolled her eyes and went for the exit. Olivia visibly shivered and muttered, "Fucking pervert." before following. She caught up with Casey, wrapping an arm around her waist. "You okay?"

"A little embarrassed, but I'll survive. You?"

"I'm fine." Olivia answered, rubbing the back of her neck. Incredibly aroused, but fine. "Let's see what else they have here."

They continued walking, their arms around each other's waists, when Olivia suddenly stopped. Casey looked at her date, but realized she wasn't looking back, so she followed her gaze to a gaming booth. It was a small wooden box with three rifles lying on the counter. Above those rifles was a string attached to a wheel. In the very back of the booth was a paper with a star on it, clipped to the string. The walls of the booth were lined with various stuffed animals of various sizes and colors.

Casey smiled. She is such a cop. "Are you serious?"

Olivia shrugged. "Let me give it a try."

"Step right up, step right up, try your hand at the bullseyyyyyyyeee!" The man at the booth bellowed in that annoying carnival tone. "One dollar, one shot; five dollars, five shots." He saw Olivia and Casey approaching. "Hit the middle of the star, win a prize!"

Olivia pulled a dollar from her pocket and put it on the counter, grabbing the center rifle.

"One dollar, one shot." The man said, completely unconvinced by Olivia's confidence.

While Olivia took a few moments to aim, Casey stood behind her, her temperature rising as she watched the muscles in her date's back and shoulders flex. God...she is so unbelievably sexy...

The man was about to say something when Olivia fired. Using the string, he pulled the star forward, and was surprised to find a small hole dead center. Impressed, he nodded and scratched his arm. "Uh...pick whatever you want."

Placing the rifle back down on the counter, Olivia turned. "What do you want?"

Snapped from her reverie, Casey looked at Olivia, confused. "Hmm?"

Olivia motioned toward the stuffed animals. "Which one do you want?"

"That one." Casey pointed and the man nodded, removing and giving the women a large brown bear with a little red bow around its neck. Casey laughed and kissed Olivia on the cheek. "Thanks."

"You're very welcome." Olivia said as they walked away.

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

After all their riding tickets were used, and all the games Olivia wanted to play were played, the women walked through the exit to the parking lot. They walked slowly, Olivia feeding Casey bits of a soft pretzel they were sharing, when a man stepped out from the shadows directly in front of them.

Olivia immediately placed a protective arm in front of Casey and stepped ahead, keeping her back.

The guy appeared either drunk or high, and turned unsteadily on his feet to face them. He rocked slowly and unevenly, his eyes half open. "You got a dollar?" He huffed, his voice raspy and gruff.

Olivia relaxed, grabbing Casey by her elbow and leading her around the man, making sure she put herself between them. "No." She said firmly as they passed him and kept moving, looking back every once in a while to make sure they weren't followed.

Though Casey wasn't the least bit afraid, she felt her heart skip at Olivia's protectiveness. She knew she was safe as long as Olivia was around, and that meant everything.

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The ride to Casey's apartment was comfortable and quick due to the late hour and minimal traffic. "I hope you had fun." Casey said, looking at her bear, absently playing with the arms.

Olivia nodded and smiled at Casey. "I did. I really did. Thank you. Did you have fun?"

"Yeah." More than usual...because I got to share it with you. "I especially like my new friend here." She held the bear up, making Olivia laugh.

"Glad to see my dollar was spent wisely."

They arrived in front of Casey's apartment in record time. Olivia put the car in park and turned the engine off, unbuckling her seatbelt so that she could face Casey more comfortably. "I had a good time tonight."

"Me too."

"Whattaya say to meeting me for lunch tomorrow?"

Casey thought about it for a moment before nodding. "I'd say that sounds great." She was about to lean in to kiss Olivia when she remembered. "Oh...wait...I can't."

"Why not?"

"I promised Langan I'd meet with him to discuss a plea bargain for Thomas Moore."

"That jackass?"

Casey wasn't sure which person Olivia was referring to, so she just nodded, lightly pecking Olivia on the lips. "Sorry. How about dinner?"

"Okay, fine," Olivia mumbled in between soft kisses. "But let me take care of it. When do you get out?"

"I don't know. I'll call you though." Casey held her kiss a little longer, closing her eyes to savor the taste of the other woman's lips. Soon, she broke the kiss and opened the door. "I'll call you." She said as she started to exit the car, but warm fingers wrapping themselves around her wrist stopped her.

"Wait." Olivia said, pulling Casey back down into the seat. Casey was about to ask, 'why' when Olivia kissed her again. "One for the road." Was the detective's explanation when she pulled back. She decided not to ask for an invitation to Casey's apartment this time, sure she was going to be turned down again. God only knows why though...

Casey gave Olivia another quick peck. "Two. Good night."

"Night."

Then, Casey was gone.

On the drive home, Olivia let the butterflies of hope flitter around in her stomach. Two fantastic dates with a third on the way. Things were moving along quite nicely. Sure, they hadn't discussed the repercussions of their burgeoning relationship, but Casey was right, it was too soon to worry.

Wasn't it?

To be continued...

Author's Note: Hey, sorry, I didn't mean for the ending to sound so ominous. Or did I? Ooh...I did it again. ;)