Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
What Happens Now?

Disclaimer: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters associated with it belong to Dick Wolf and NBC. Not mine, never will be. Too bad though…

Summary: Post Witness episode (Season 11, episode 16). Set right after Alex leaves Elliot and Olivia on the steps of the courthouse. Alex/Olivia pairing.
A/N: Could be a one-shot, possibly more. Haven't decided yet. Your reviews may help sway me.

Reviews welcome, but please be nice

By the time Olivia came to her senses Alex's cab was already pulling away from the courthouse. She quickly scanned the area for a cab, but of course they were everywhere when you didn't need one and nowhere to be found when you did. "She cannot keep doing this."

"Sucks." Elliot said. "But it's for a good cause Liv. She could really do some good."

"Stuff the good cause El." Olivia shook her head incredulously. "Why does she keep doing this to me?"

"Come on Liv she didn't do this to you."

Olivia nodded. "Yes she did. We had a fight and now she's leaving. I said some things-" She shook her head. "I can't believe her."

As far as Elliot knew Olivia and Alex were just friends. They had been really close before Alex left for witness protection and had been slowly rebuilding their friendship since Alex had come back and been reassigned to SVU, but still just friends…As far as he knew. "Liv what's going on?"

Olivia looked up at Elliot, concern etched on his face. She let out a deep breath and shook her head. "Nothing. Let's get back. Captain's gonna want an update."

Elliot followed his partner down the courthouse steps. He didn't know what was going on and he did not want to get in the middle of it. If their relationship meant enough to both women they would work things out before Alex left. He quickly glanced over at Olivia. He had always suspected there was more between her and Alex than either would admit. They were the two most stubborn women he had ever met. And he had a wife and three daughters of his own so that was really saying something. He hoped at least one of them would take the first step before it was too late. With the baby at home he did not have the time to help Olivia through Alex leaving like he did the first time.

"Maybe you should call her?" Elliot suggested.

Olivia shook her head. "She didn't tell me El. That's a pretty good indicator."

"Indicator of what?" Elliot asked, but Olivia didn't answer him. "Someone has to make the first step. Maybe she wanted to make it easier." Olivia looked at him in disbelief. "I'm not saying she succeeded, but she said goodbye to us before she went into witness protection, then after the Connors trial she left without saying anything. Maybe she found it easier that way."

"Easier for who?" Olivia asked. Elliot didn't have an answer for that.

They were quiet the whole walk back to the precinct. When they got back Elliot went to talk to Cragen and see if he knew that Alex was leaving and if so, whether or not he knew who their new ADA was going to be. If they couldn't have Alex he knew everyone would want Casey. Seeing as she was disbarred, that wasn't possible so he didn't hold out much hope for the replacement ADA. The only two who ever did much good for SVU were Alex and Casey. No one else seemed to fit. Olivia went to her desk and immersed herself into the first file she picked up. If Alex couldn't be bothered to talk to her than neither could she.

World War III could have been going on around her and Olivia Benson wouldn't have noticed. She was so completely engrossed in the case before her that she didn't notice Fin and then Munch as they said goodbye and left for the night. Cragen left about an hour after that, and took a minute to make sure Elliot would get Olivia home before dawn. Then it was just Olivia and Elliot. But Olivia might as well have been alone.

She couldn't believe this was happening again. Not again. She completely fell apart after Alex left the first time. When she thought Alex was dead it was bad, but it was even worse when she found out that Alex would still be living, breathing and existing in the same world she was but just out of reach. It was hard for her to go about her day knowing that Alex was just a call or an e-mail away, but she didn't know her number or her e-mail address. She didn't know where Alex was living, whether she was still practicing law or not or even what her name was.

This wasn't the same she reasoned. This time maybe Alex would give her a phone number or an e-mail address where she could be reached. This time Olivia knew what Alex would be doing and she knew she was still going to be the same Alex Cabot she knew and loved. But this time Alex was leaving of her own choosing, of her own volition. This time Alex was willingly walking away from her, away from their relationship, and she didn't even think to tell Olivia. It wasn't the same. The first time Alex had fought the Marshal Service rules and told Olivia goodbye, the look in her eyes conveying everything she couldn't say. But this time, this time was different.

Olivia nearly jumped out of her chair when she felt a hand touch her shoulder. She looked up to the concerned gaze of her partner.

"I've been trying to get your attention for a couple of minutes."

"Just trying to close this case." Olivia explained, looking back down at the file in front of her.

Elliot looked at his watch. "It's almost midnight Liv. You should go home."

Olivia nodded. "I just want to finish this paperwork."

Elliot sat back down across from the brown haired detective and turned his attention to his own file. Truth be told, they both did have a lot of paperwork to catch-up on. It wouldn't be too bad to work on it for a while. But he was not going to let Olivia stay here all night. It was what she did. She was so used to being in control that when something happened that she couldn't control she threw herself one-hundred percent into something she could control; which usually ended up being finishing up her paperwork, killing herself at the gym or digging into the cold cases. The first time Alex left Olivia finished every piece of paperwork she and Elliot had left unfinished, closed seven cold cases and gained at least ten to fifteen pounds of pure muscle mass while losing about that much weight as she had effectively stopped eating. It was not healthy and he was not going to let her do it again.

A quarter to midnight Elliot stepped outside for a minute to make a phone call. At that Olivia looked up because she thought Elliot was calling Kathy to tell him he would be even later than he had planned or that he wasn't going home at all and with a baby at home he needed to be there. "Go home El. I'll be fine here."

"I told you Liv. You're not staying here alone."

Olivia walked over to the printer and added the papers she printed to the file in her hands. After making sure everything was there and in the correct order she filed it away with the rest and picked up the next file on her desk.

Olivia hadn't noticed, but a short while after he left Elliot came back and went back to work on his own file. Twenty minutes later Elliot looked down at a text message he received on his phone, collected his things and left with a "Don't stay here all night" that went unanswered. Elliot looked at Olivia hunched over her desk asleep and shook his head. Those two had better either get together or . . . well, getting together was probably the only way to solve their problem so he hoped they worked their shit out, set their prides aside and got together.

Olivia stirred as the smell of fresh coffee, good fresh coffee not from the station, wafted by her nose. She opened one eye and then slowly the other and smiled at the vision in front of her. A large coffee from her favorite coffee shop. "How long was I asleep?"

"Not long."

That was not the voice Olivia was expecting to hear. In fact it was a voice she desperately wanted to not hear right now. She knew it was pointless to pretend to go back to sleep. Alex knew her better than that. "What do you want Alex?" Olivia asked in a voice somewhere between hurt, anger and sadness. She sat-up, picked up her pen and turned her attention back to the file she had been working on before she fell asleep.

"I didn't poison it Liv." Alex said a little hurt, referring to the coffee Olivia had set aside.

Olivia softened at the use of her nickname. Many people called her 'Liv,' but it seemed to take on a special meaning when Alex said it. She put her pen down and picked up her coffee, turning around in her chair to face Alex. She knew a peace offering when she saw one.

Alex waited until Olivia took a few sips to begin. She knew Olivia focused better with coffee in her system. A few sips was better than nothing and she couldn't wait any longer or she would lose her nerve. She was just glad Elliot called her when he did and gave her the push she needed to talk to the detective she more often than not referred to as her own.

"Things never come easy for us, do they?" Alex began.

Olivia shook her head. "I understand the first time, and even the second time after the Connors trial and I even understand this time, but why Alex? Do you never want there to be an us? We had one fight Alex and-"

"Yes." Alex said quickly, without a second thought. She sighed and grabbed the nearest chair to sit in and pulled it over to Olivia's desk. She sat down and looked at her hands for a few moments before looking up at Olivia. "Olivia I want nothing more than for there to be an us. I know you didn't mean what you said the other night and you have to know I didn't mean what I said either?"

Olivia slowly nodded. "I shouldn't have said-"

"Neither should I." Alex interrupted. "Liv we used to fight all the time over cases before I went into Witness Protection. Lately it seems like we've been too scared to fight. And the one time we do everything we've been holding back comes out." The fight she and Olivia had were legendary. Both women were passionate about their jobs and butted heads on more than one occasion. However, it was also during one of these fights that Alex realized she was attracted to the detective. Since Alex had been reassigned to SVU they hadn't fought like they used to. Something was missing.

Olivia looked down at the coffee in her hands. ""I'm afraid that if we do you'll leave again." She shook her heads. "And you are."

Alex sighed. "I'm not moving away Liv."

Olivia was confused. "But you're joining an international-"

"I will be traveling." Alex said. "A lot. I'm not part of the group that tracks down the suspects or the group that investigates the crimes. I am joining strictly as a prosecutor. They will randomly assign me cases and I have to go to them to prosecute. I'll be gone the duration of the trials, but my permanent address is still going to be here in New York. I'm not sure where as my lease is up at the end of the week, but it will still be here."

Olivia's heart sank. Sex crimes cases took forever. And without an actual address she didn't have much faith that Alex would come back.

"I've been told the cases are a lot faster than they are here." She offered with a soft smile. She was actually told they were about the same time because the differences between the cases she was used to prosecuting in New York and the cases she would be prosecuting usually cancelled each other out and added relatively equal amounts of time to the cases. She would never compromise a case or not seek justice as zealously as she always did, but if it meant coming home to Olivia she would be zealous a lot faster. "But I'll also be prosecuting more at a time."

Olivia returned the smile as best as she could.

"I'm only taking a leave of absence from the DA's office. I did not quit." She used a gently hand to guide Olivia's face up, stopping once their eyes met.

"How long?"

Alex's heart broke at the sound of Olivia's voice. Both women's minds flew back to the night Alex was taken away. Olivia was so relieved to see Alex alive, but then she had to watch her be driven away and she didn't know which was worse; Alex actually being dead, or pretending that she was knowing full well she was alive and living in the same world. Alex knew she had to say goodbye to Olivia, but the look in her eyes and the tears pouring down her olive skin would haunt her dreams for years. It was so hard for the former ADA not to call or write, or even send an e-mail. The only thing stopping her was the fact that someone wanted her killed. She just hoped she would make it through Witness Protection alive. All of the time spent forced away from her detective would be worth it when she was back in her strong embrace, she had told herself.

"Six months to start. But most likely a year."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I was going to. When you and Elliot caught me at the courthouse I was heading over to the precinct to see you. I made us dinner reservations at the first restaurant we had dinner together at and I was going to tell you there. First, before I told anyone else. So we could talk about it and what it meant for us. But then you found out and . . ." She paused a moment, looking around the room for some explanation hidden in the walls or on the floor, the furniture, anything. "You were with Elliot. I didn't know what to say. You caught me off guard. I didn't think you wanted me telling you how much I loved you for the first time in front of your partner."

Olivia's expression softened. "You what?"

Alex reached forward and took Olivia's hand in her own, encompassing it within both of her hands. She savored the feeling for a few seconds and then brought one of her hands up to caress the side of Olivia's face. Olivia closed her eyes and leaned into her touch. All of the anger she had been feeling toward the blonde was now completely gone. Alex smiled when Olivia opened her eyes. "When I came back from Witness Protection I told myself that I would never take anything or anyone for granted again. I would reconnect with my sister, meet my nephew, make sure my friends always knew how important they were to me and finally tell you how I felt."

Alex sighed and looked up, seeing that she had Olivia's complete attention. "When I came back I was scared. My life had stopped, I was still the same. But everyone else had gone on without me. My sister got married and had a baby, not many of my friends were still in New York and those that were were too hurt that I didn't tell them I was still alive to talk to me. I didn't call you because I couldn't bear it if you had moved on too. I love you Olivia. I'm sorry it took me so long to tell you. I-"

Alex didn't get to finish what she was saying as Olivia pulled her up and looked deep into her eyes. Slowly they both leaned in until their lips meat in a kiss that was sweet, loving and filled with everything they felt toward each other. Years of dancing around each other finally melted away the second their lips met. Both women refused to pull away, but eventually did for lack of oxygen. Olivia wiped a fallen tear from Alex's cheek.

"I love you too Alex."

The smile on Alex's face was all Olivia needed in return.

"It's not going to be easy."

Alex laughed. A real belly laugh that lit up here eyes. "It never is with us. But as long as there is an us I don't care."

"I agree." Olivia leaned in for another kiss. "When do you leave?"

"Two weeks." Alex replied with a smile.

Olivia had never heard more beautiful words. She shut the file on her desk and laced her fingers with Alex's, enjoying the feeling. She had wanted to do that for too long. "I have some vacation time saved up." She said with a smirk.

"Wanna get out of here?" Alex asked with a gentle kiss to the detective's lips.

"Where to?" Olivia asked.

"Well," Alex began. "Seeing as I'm going to be staying with you whenever I'm home for the next year we should probably go to your place."

"And who says you're going to be staying with me?"

Alex smirked and turned away. "If you don't want me t-"

Olivia remained silent, pretending to be actually contemplating Alex staying with her.

A sad look came over Alex's face and she turned around to leave, but Olivia grabbed her hand and pulled her back over.

Alex looked up to see a big smile on Olivia's face. "That's not nice detective."

Olivia leaned down and captured Alex's lips with her own. She pulled away and brushed a fallen hair away from Alex's face. "Better?"

"Yeah." Alex smiled.

"So . . . my place?"

Alex leaned in for another kiss. "I would love to."