I don't own Law and Order: SVU. This is a continuation of These Days and won't be understood without reading that first.

Better Days

3 Year Later

Alexandra Cabot sighed once again as the lights in her apartment flickered on and off from the thunderstorm that was raging all around her. The news meteorologist had said that rain should be expected, but had failed to mention that the rain would be torrential and that some people might need to consider building an ark. Alex couldn't remember the last time it had stormed like this.

She looked out the nearest window once again, flinching slightly at the rapid bolts of lightening that streaked the darkened sky, and silently prayed that Olivia would be safe out in the weather as she went out to investigate another case that had fallen into her more than capable hands. Alex held back the urge to call Olivia, knowing that she would do her best to stay safe. So, to take her mind off of the weather and the person she loved who was out in it, she turned her attention back to her lap where one of her case reports was waiting for her further perusal.

A knock at the door startled her from her reading. She looked at the nearest clock, surprised to see that it was already well past midnight. She put down her report, and then walked over to the door. She looked through the peephole and was surprised to see a scruffy familiar looking figure standing outside. She quickly opened the door with a smirk on a face. "What's up with you and the rain?"

Using both hands, Lexa brushed back the wet hair that had fallen all around her face. "Fuck if I fucking know."

"Your language is improving at least," Alex responded sarcastically.

"Can't go changing too dramatically on ya, now can I?" Lexa grinned. "Are you going to let me in or am I going to have to knock on someone else's door to see if they'll take pity on me?"

"I guess you should dry off," Alex stepped to the side so that Lexa could walk past her. She closed and locked the door, then went back to where she was sitting before Lexa's unexpected visit.

Lexa walked to the kitchen so she could set her wet pack down on the tile instead of the obviously luxurious carpet in the living room. When she walked back she stood in front of Alex and bent down in front of her.

"Where have you been, Lexa?" Alex asked, knowing that becoming too emotional right now wouldn't be the healthiest thing she could do. "It's been almost two years."

Lexa sighed heavily, allowing her more guilt ridden thoughts to be taken over by the uncomfortable feeling of how her cold, wet clothes felt against her skin. "I've drifted, mostly," she answered honestly. "Went on tour with the band, signed a record contract, boring shit like that. I haven't been trying to save the world one person at a time like you and Olivia." Lexa looked around her like she suddenly expected someone or something to pop out of one of the dark corners of the apartment. "Where is Olivia?"

"She's working a case," Alex replied evenly.

"Now that's dedication." Lexa winked then stood up. She stretched out her body. "It's like a fucking blizzard out there, except instead of snow it's rain that's falling from the sky, which I guess would make it a monsoon or something, huh?"

Alex re situated on the couch so that her body didn't appear to be as rigid as she knew it had become since Lexa had shown up at the door. "Why are you here?"

Lexa gave her friend a weak shrug. "I grew up."

"You grew up?" Alex asked incredulously.

"I was eighteen and fucked up when you left," Lexa softly replied. "Now I'm twenty-one and maybe not as fucked up."

"I thought you might have died."

Lexa rapidly blinked a few times. "I thought I was."

Alex bent over. "I shouldn't have left."

Lexa fidgeted a bit before she pointed in the direction she thought a bathroom might be in, "I'm going to clean up." She walked away before Alex could call her back.

Alex watched the young woman move away from her, reminded once again of what had happened between them after she had left for New York. It had been such a busy time for her. She came back to New York and immediately tried to rebuild friendships that had long been neglected. She took another job as the bureau chief and got caught up and overwhelmed by everything that was happening to her and around her.

She emailed Lexa and told her all about it, at first, but eventually her emails got shorter and shorter and then stopped altogether as the stress of her life took over. Lexa had called her a few times, bringing Alex's spirits back up when she felt the most overwhelmed, but Alex hardly ever managed to make calls to Lexa.

By the time Alex had realized what she had let happen, Lexa had disappeared. She didn't let anyone know where she was going or what it was she was doing. The only time Alex had heard anything about her was when she accidentally saw the young woman singing her heart out on a music video playing on one of her ADA's mp3 players.

She called the record company that the band had signed with and desperately asked them to give her a number she could reach Lexa at, without any luck. For all they knew, she was just some crazed fan who might have actually worked as a lawyer somewhere.

And now…Lexa had bothered to seek her out and showed up cold and wet at her doorstep, all grown up. She didn't look much like the eighteen year old she had left in a small nowhere town in North Dakota. Lexa seemed slightly taller, if that was possible, her hair was lighter and her skin darker. She had lost weight, but gained more tone in her muscle.

Alex looked down at the lone magazine that was on her coffee table. It named Lexa—no last name given, she only went by Lexa—as one of the sexiest women in music. Alex begrudgingly admitted that Lexa deserved the title, even though she disliked the fact that Lexa's body was being put on display for the world to ogle.

Lexa exited the shower, her hair still wet, but the rest of her relatively dry and warm. She took a seat next to Alex and took her friend's hand into hers. She saw the magazine Alex had been staring at and laughed. "That's fucked up."

"Why are you here?" Alex asked again, not yet sure how she should respond to the woman sitting next to her.

"I can always leave," Lexa said, although she already knew that Alex wouldn't want her to. She had seen Alex like this before: so shocked that she consistently said things that came across as cold and harsh. Her reaction reminded her of when Olivia had first shown up at their doorstep to let Alex know she could reclaim her former life. Lexa had been a calming influence on Alex then, and Lexa wasn't quite sure how she could fulfill that role now that she was the cause of the shock.

Alex squeezed the hand that had taken hers. "Stay," she whispered.

Lexa nodded and relaxed her body. She lied down on the couch and placed her head in Alex's lap, somehow managing to not let go of Alex's hand. She sighed heavily after she situated herself and listened to the storm that was still going strong outside.

Alex looked down at Lexa and immediately recognized that the girl she had known hadn't changed that much. "Why are you here?" she asked again, but at least not as harsh as she had before.

"The band's got a concert at some big fundraiser," Lexa shifted her body around so that she could get more comfortable. "I think we're supposed to be saving children in Africa. So, I figured that while I was forced to come back here, I might as well seek you out. If you want to come to the concert, I can get you as many tickets as you need, though since it's for charity you might want to pass a few bucks my way."

Alex couldn't help but laugh. "When's the concert?"

"It's supposed to be tomorrow night, if this fucking rain ever stops."

Alex released Lexa's hand and started to caress the hair that lay across her lap. "It's been a long time since I've been to a concert that didn't include the words symphony or orchestra as part of the title."

Lexa yawned widely. "Yeah? Well if it helps any, I learned how to play a few different kinds of guitars and a trumpet."

"Why the trumpet?"

Lexa shrugged. "It was for a song on our new album. It's the only song I know how to play on the trumpet."

"Couldn't they have gotten a professional?"

Lexa yawned again, and she closed her eyes as she snuggled deeper into Alex's semi-embrace. "It's cool how I do it."

Alex continued to ask questions about Lexa's life and Lexa continued to answer until she finally fell asleep. She had been traveling non-stop for the last few months and her exhaustion had finally overcome her. She had told Alex that she had taken a train in from Canada where she had ended up after her flight from France had been rerouted to avoid the massive storm moving across most of the country.

Lexa had also said that she was leaving the band. She never wanted to be a singer, and especially never really wanted to be famous. She went away with her band only because they were going away. She didn't care about record deals or the potential money they could earn—she already had enough of that to last a couple of lifetimes—she just wanted to leave the place that no longer had any real meaning to her.

She had tried to call Alex before she left, but the phone had been answered by an irate woman who didn't seem the most reliable to leave a sensitive message with, so Lexa had hung up and didn't try calling again. She had already suspected that Alex moving across the country would impact their relationship; she suspected that the distance would make it dissolve, and she cursed her luck that she had actually been right.

So, Lexa moved around, never letting the band stay in one place too long. She was always running away from the demons that chased her when she stayed still, except this time she had a new demon that she ran from with the name of Alexandra Cabot. Lexa had tried picking up the phone to call her friend a couple of times, but decided against it. She didn't know what to say, and didn't know how to ask for help.

Now, she still wasn't so sure how to ask for any help, but she did know that she was tired of running away. She had been around the world, and no place had helped her forget her life. If she could have hopped onto one of NASA's space shuttles, she might have tried that too, but she suspected it wouldn't have helped anymore than when she climbed Mount Fiji.

When Olivia walked into the apartment, she was more than a little startled to see Alex with a woman laying practically on top of her while she caressed the woman's face. The only thing that stopped Olivia's immediate reaction was Alex making a shushing noise as Olivia had walked in the door.

Olivia walked over to the couch and looked down at the woman, and almost immediately recognized her. She looked different, older, perhaps a little more feminine than she had before. "What happened?" She mouthed silently, still not entirely comfortable with the scene that was in front of her.

"She just showed up," Alex smiled down at the sleeping woman, "in the rain."

"Is she okay?" Olivia asked; her concern not able to be overridden by the slight tingles of jealousy that ran down her spine. She had always been a little jealous of the bond Lexa and Alex shared. She saw Alex attain an amount of freedom with Lexa that she wasn't sure she herself had been able to inspire in her lover.

Alex sadly shook her head. "I don't think so," her voice was full of her guilt and remorse. "I shouldn't have…" she stopped herself before she admitted to something that she wasn't sure Olivia deserved to hear. "I shouldn't have lost contact with her."

Suspicious that Alex was about to admit to something else, but unable to prove it and unwilling to start an argument that would wake Lexa up, Olivia sat next to Alex and covered the hand that was brushing through Lexa's hair. "It's not your fault, Alex."

Alex looked away from Lexa and straight into Olivia's eyes. "I don't think you'll ever talk me into believing that."

Knowing when an argument was lost, Olivia nodded but didn't pull her hand away from Alex's. "Then, we'll just have to make it better."

They sat together looking over Lexa for a few minutes. Eventually, Olivia asked, "Are you going to stay out here with her all night?"

Alex nodded, and as Olivia stood up to go to the bedroom, Alex finally realized she hadn't even asked Olivia how her night had gone. So, she did ask and Olivia told her that they would talk about it another time. Alex was guiltily relieved that Olivia wasn't demanding her attention, she wasn't too sure she'd be willing to take her focus away from Lexa just yet.

"If you can," Olivia said before she disappeared down the hallway, "try and get some rest. She'll at least need you to be coherent tomorrow."

"I'll try," Alex's promised.

When Lexa woke up the next morning, she felt a body wrapped around hers in a small space and silently cursed herself for getting drunk again and bringing a woman back to her hotel room. It was only when she opened her eyes that she realized she wasn't in a hotel room, and that the body that was wrapped around hers wasn't one she had considered having sex with. She slowly rolled over and was surprised to see blue eyes looking down at her.

The surprise made her jump back a little, and since the space they occupied was so small, Lexa fell off of the couch. "The fuck!" She screamed as she bounced onto the floor, narrowly missing the coffee table.

Alex laughed and did her best to help Lexa up. Her body was stiff from the position they had ended up in and she was unsure as to whether or not she would be able to ever properly use her left hand again. "You must have been exhausted."

Lexa rubbed at her eyes as she sat back down on the couch. "That must have been the first time in at least a couple of days that I've slept at all."

The commotion had woken Olivia up, and after some debate she decided to join Lexa and Alex in the living room. When she walked in, two sets of eyes greeted her. Alex smiled at her and asked Olivia to join them, Lexa smiled politely but remained silent; she wasn't Olivia's biggest fan. Lexa blamed Olivia for Alex moving away, even though she understood that the blame was irrational and that going back to New York was ultimately best for her friend. Still, emotions didn't always make sense.

"Do you want some breakfast?" Alex asked, more than eager to try and spend more time with Lexa before she once again got tired of sitting still and felt the need to start moving.

"Food sounds great," Lexa replied as she looked at the nearest clock, "but I'm sure I'm going to have to pass. I think the band's supposed to be rehearsing or something. I tuned out when I was being told the schedule." She looked away from the clock and back to Alex, who looked disappointed that she would be leaving so soon. She didn't know why, but Lexa felt guilty. "You can come to the rehearsal," she gave Olivia a quick look, "both of you. Then we could maybe hang out until the concert."

"What concert?" Olivia asked.

Lexa smirked. "We're saving the children in Africa, or we're raising money to help save them anyway."

"That's good," Olivia barely restrained her sarcasm, having assumed from Lexa's tone that the younger woman didn't care about the cause she was supposed to be supporting.

Alex caught onto Olivia's tone and gave her a questioning look. She knew better than to think that just because Lexa wasn't handing out details about the fundraiser that she didn't actually know about it. Lexa was one of the most conscientious people she knew. That had been made clear to her when she had discovered how much Lexa had done for their small community in North Dakota, but then again, Alex had the fortune of actually knowing Lexa. Olivia hadn't gotten that chance, yet.

"I'd enjoy going with you," Alex answered, having decided to let Olivia answer for herself.

"I need to work," Olivia replied. "We made some headway last night," she explained.

"Cool," Lexa stood up and started gathering her things. "Let me clean myself up a bit then we can leave." She paused what she was doing, and gave Alex's body a once over. "You should probably clean yourself up a bit too," she teased her friend, "I wouldn't want you to scare people away from the concert."

"Funny," Alex barely was able to hold back the humor in her voice. She couldn't even begin to explain how good it felt to be teased by Lexa again.

"I'm just trying to be real with you," Lexa said before she walked away and into the bathroom where she immediately braced herself on the counter and stared at herself in the mirror. "What the fuck do you expect?" she asked her reflection. "Be able to walk away," she reminded herself.

She quickly washed up then went back to the living room where Olivia was still seated. She joined her and quickly began bouncing her foot on the ground, causing her whole leg to bounce which caused the couch to move slightly.

"Why did you come back here?" Olivia asked, seriousness covering her tone. "When you disappeared you broke Alex's heart."

Lexa hadn't completely explained herself to Alex yet, so definitely didn't see herself explaining any of her actions to Olivia. "I wasn't the one that disappeared, Olivia." Lexa jumped up off the couch. "Tell Alex that I'm waiting downstairs for her, please."

Alex walked out of the hallway, having heard Lexa's and Olivia's short exchange. "Leave her alone, Liv," she ordered. "Lexa and I will work this out."

"Fine," Olivia stood. "Have fun with her while you can," she warned, "because I honestly don't think she's going to stick around."

Alex dropped her gaze to the ground. "I don't think she is either." She gathered her things and brushed past Olivia, without saying much of a goodbye. She was angry at Olivia, even though she knew she didn't have a right to be. She walked downstairs to the front of her apartment building only to find Lexa surrounded by people asking for the woman's attention. Alex had to remind herself that Lexa was actually famous now. All sorts of people now believed that they knew her, even though very few people knew Lexa at all.

Lexa spotted Alex, observing the crowd around her and shrugged sheepishly. This was only one of the reasons why she wanted to leave her band. She signed a few more autographs then tore herself away from the people around her. She approached Alex and laughed loudly when Alex held out a piece of paper and a pen asking for her autograph. Lexa pushed the pen and paper away, before she grabbed onto Alex's hand and led them away from the apartment complex and towards a limo that was waiting for them.