Chapter 3: Chapter 3

Disclaimer: I don't own 'em…

Liv's cool demeanor belied how she was really feeling. Merely seeing Alex again sent a flood of emotions cascading through her.

When it had first been revealed that someone from the Manhattan SVU would be coming to visit, she hadn't for one instant expected their ADA to accompany whatever detective made the trip. And now, in her office, sat the one time possessor her heart.

She watched the ADA select the seat farthest from her desk and sit down. The last two years had not been as kind to Alex Cabot has they had been to Liv. She appeared dangerously thin, prompting Liv to silently ponder whether or not Alex had re-adopted her former practice of binging and purging. Her gait had not been that of the self-possessed and self-assured woman she had once known intimately. Although she had held their gaze only briefly upon their first meeting outside her office, she saw that they had lost the luster they once had. Liv gathered that the Alex sitting before her now was a mere shell of the woman she once knew.

Alex pretended not to notice Liv. Other than the not so subtle eye-rolling that Olivia had been on the receiving end of as she entered her office, the ADA hadn't so much as even acknowledged her.

"How are Kathy and the kids?" Liv asked Elliott as she walked around behind her desk and he took a seat near her desk.

"They're…" he reply was cut short.

"I hate to be a party-pooper, but if you two would like to chit-chat, could you do that on your own time?" She took her glasses off and lowered her gaze on Olivia. "Could we have a look at the file on your case that your detective thought was similar to our own?"

Both Liv and Elliott's mouths were agape, staring at Alex. Finally, Olivia broke the silence, "You're right, Counselor. I don't want to waste any of your precious time. If you'll excuse me, I'll bring in the lead detective on the case. He can brief you on the case and can accompany you to the scene so that you can see it first-hand."

"You won't be going with us?" Elliot asked as Captain Benson stood up.

She took a deep breath and looked down at the photo of her and Scout. She thought back to concerns Scout voiced only moments earlier over moving ahead and creating a family. Decision made, she spoke, "No, my detectives can handle this. I have an appointment with Scout that I really should keep. I'll be back in a couple of hours though, if you two have any more questions."

Alex cooly slid her glasses to the tip of her nose and looked over the top of them, "You mean to tell me you're blowing off working hand-in-hand with the Manhattan ADA and SVU detective to take your dog to the vet? Your priorities certainly have changed in the last couple of years."

Before Liv could respond, Elliot rose to his feet and quickly explained that he needed to find a restroom. Once he was out of the room, Liv flipped the picture around on her desk.

"This is Scout."

Alex leaned forward in her seat and stared at the photo of Liv and the redhead. "But that's…"

"…my girlfriend. Her name is Scout," Liv said as she started to turn the photo back around.

Alex reached out and took it from her, studying the two women in the picture. "What kind of name is Scout? Sounds like she should be on a leash and chasing balls in the park with a name like that."

Olivia laughed a throaty laugh. "For someone so educated, I'd have expected you to know where her name comes from. Her mother was a high school English teacher and her favorite book was To Kill A Mockingbird," Liv watched as Alex rolled her eyes, but she continued. "Her mother named her Jean Louise, after the main character. But everyone calls her Scout."

"Lovely story. Really it is. I'm sure you thrill people at cocktail parties with that little anecdote about her name." She looked down at the photo in her hand and locked eyes with Olivia as she sat it back on her desk. "With the way you work and your personality, a dog would have been better."

Alex stood and started pacing. Olivia just watched her. She smiled as she remembered how, after an especially difficult and trying court case, Alex would pace back and forth, wearing nothing but her glasses as she worked out her summation. It was only a matter of time before she'd actually start saying whatever was on her mind. Olivia was certain she already knew the gist of the diatribe that Alex was going to lay on her. Olivia sat back in her chair, crossed her legs, and interlaced her fingers.

Suddenly, Alex whirled and took two steps toward her and held her gaze. "You left. You left me. Two years ago. Two years. Two years of wondering where you were. Two years of wondering what you were doing. Two years of wondering."

In one swift movement, Liv uncrossed her legs and stood up. "I left you a letter that explained everything. I know Don gave it to you." She turned her back to Alex and walked toward the door, shutting it tightly before closing the blinds to her office. "And we both know that you knew where I was and what I was doing."

"I knew vaguely where you were. But I never contacted you. I tried to respect your wishes," she bit her lip and thought for a moment. "We…"

"There's no 'we,' Alex. I gave you a choice and you refused to choose me. Despite everything that had happened, I was willing to give us another chance and you weren't. So I moved on. I've moved on. Haven't you, Al?"

Alex broke eye contact and turned her back to Liv.

Liv quietly walked up behind her and put her hand on her shoulder. Alex turned around to meet Liv's gaze. Liv reached down and took Alex's hand in her own, causing Alex's breath to hitch.

Liv flipped Alex's hand over and looked at the knuckles on the back of her hand. It dawned on Al why Olivia was looking at the back of her and she attempted to jerk her hand back. Liv held it tightly and finally looked up into Alex's eyes.

"Back to old habits again? I thought you were beyond this, Al. Why are you doing this to yourself? I mean, have you looked at yourself lately? You're paper thin. You're…"

"…none of your concern anymore, remember? You've moved on now. I see that. And obviously Elliot knew, but I didn't. And that's fine," Alex yanked her hand back from Liv's grasp. "You have an appointment with your vet about Scout. You should get going. Elliot and I will work with your detectives so that you can deal with your personal life."

"Al, don't be like that. We should be able to be friends, to deal with this like decent people," Olivia attempted.

"Oh please. We ceased to be friends when you were too much of a coward to tell me face to face that you were skipping town," Alex stated icily. "Now, if you'll kindly send in your detectives on this case and let Elliot know that he can come in as well, we can hurry this along."

"Sure," the captain said as she opened her office door and motioned for her detectives and Elliot to come in.

"One more quick thing. Out of curiosity, what are you taking Scout to the vet for? Worms?"

Liv glared at her and weighed not answering. The bitch in her defeated the part of her that didn't want to add insult to injury for Alex.

"Okay, guys. I have to go and see a man about some sperm," she said with a wink as she left her detectives and visitors in her office.