Disclaimer: I do not own SVU or any of the characters therein, that illustrious honor belongs to Dick Wolf.

Warning: This is a work of fiction involving a somewhat graphic depiction - description of consensual acts between two woman. If that isn't your thing then re-tweak your search engine and back away slowly from the fanfic.

Author's note: I had to repost this chapter, for some reason it decided to bold and underline everything. Too strange. Thank you all for the reviews thus far – it's a nice boost to read that someone liked/likes your work.

Dinner for Two

"How long?

The words hung in the air as Olivia reached forward, her hand resting lightly resting against the cool leather clad arm of ADA Alex Cabot, confirming that the woman was indeed still alive.

Her vision blurred with unshed tears of relief as she watched Alex shrug and struggle to hold back tears of her own. There was so much to say and so much that could never be said - at least not here, not in front of the Feds or even Elliot. She watched the despair settle in beautiful blue eyes and watched the only woman she could safely call a friend climb back into the black SUV. She turned to look at Elliot and saw him watching her carefully. She tried to smile at her partner, knowing that he too felt a small sense of relief at seeing their ADA alive - knowing that he too had blamed himself for her death.

The funeral was short and like most could never fully provide a sense of closure or even convey the degree of loss everyone felt. Olivia knew only she and Elliot knew the truth, but they could never say a word. Her heart broke to see Alex's mother crying silently over an empty coffin and wished there was some way to let the poor woman know she had not lost her only daughter.

The squad room was empty and silent as Olivia entered, hanging her coat over her chair. She couldn't go home - she couldn't let it go. Every time she made the mistake of standing still her thoughts strayed to Alexandra and every memory clawed into her emotions.

What had began as a series of passionate arguments between two strong passionate women had turned into something that Alex and she had no name for. A dinner here, drinks there and lots of late night conversations had made the two of them inseparable- a fact that had been kept from everyone on the squad except for Elliot. Olivia wasn't sure why that had been the case, but Alex had insisted and though Olivia had not wanted to admit it, she was almost positive that Alex had felt the secrecy was necessary due to the varying degrees of unspoken, unexplored sexual tension between them.

That thought made her loss even more severe. Olivia had long since given up trying to stop the unbidden lust that rose in her whenever the ADA was present and the two played eye tag at almost every encounter. Slowly she sat at her desk - her will to fight the tears gone, she gave into her sorrow and hoped that wherever Alex was, she was safe and happy and alive.

Alex poured herself a hot cup of tea and slowly lowered herself into the worn in couch. She was in her third town, under her third assumed name - constantly waiting to hear she could return to the work, the city and friends she loved. Every night she relieved her attempted murder, every night she relived the sound of Olivia's voice as she asked her to say with her, and every night she awoke crying as the dream ended in that vacant lot where she had forced the feds to allow her to say goodbye. It had cut deep to see the degree of hurt in the detective's eyes - deep eyes that continually searched and probed her own for answers Alex could not give.

"How long?"

She had wanted to answer, to alleviate Olivia's curiosity to re-assure her that yes, one day, Alexandra Cabot would return - but she could not.

She cherished the few memories she had of Olivia, the few memories away from work were the other thing that kept her up at night. And when she lay at night, folded into the arms of the man who loved her, Olivia was the last name she whispered before surrendering to her dark dreams.

She wished they had both moved on the way they had felt - and Alex knew that she had not been alone in her fascination. She could see it in the beautiful deep brown eyes of her lead detective as they followed her around the room. She knew Olivia felt the crackle of electricity that existed between the two of them and the gut punch of desire when they accidentally touched.

The closest they had ever come to admitting it was on the Keppler case after Sam's mother had tried to attack her at the hospital. It was the first time Olivia had ever done anything more than pat her back or brush against her arm as they walked down a narrow hallway. The detective had stepped in front of her, shielding Alex with her body, her strong arms around her shoulders guiding her away from the attack as Elliot worked to subdue Sam's mother. That first touch ignited a spark of heat low in her abdomen and one look into Olivia's eyes and Alex knew the detective had experienced the same. Quickly they broke apart, looking anywhere but in the other's eyes. Silly now that she thought about it, but they were both too dedicated to their careers and both too scared to ruin their budding friendship with an admittance of feelings neither were ready to deal with.

Later that night Olivia had invited her for a drink with the rest of the squad, Alex agreeing only because she didn't want to go home. Only Tutuola and Munch had joined and both had left early claiming to need sleep for the full day they had tomorrow. Alex remembered the sardonic smile the tilted Olivia's lips as the two men took their leave.

Olivia had walked her home that night, insisting on seeing her up to her apartment, insisting that it was the right thing to do and Alex had allowed the chivalrous act, even though the thought of Olivia anywhere near her apartment made her blood rush and her mind playing out a thousand different scenarios that ended between the sheets. Alex could admit she was more than a little tipsy that night, but Olivia had done nothing more than open her door for her, leaning in to softly kiss her cheek and whisper goodnight and that it wasn't her fault.

Alex sipped her tea and smiled sadly at the memory.

It had been 3 years since they had caught Conners, 3 years since Alex had reappeared to testify before going back into witness protection, 3 years since Olivia had broken the rules and tried to contact her. 3 years and yet she still struggled to get over the beautiful prosecutor, She caught the puzzled look on her partners face and realized that she had said "3 years" aloud. She flashed an embarrassed smile at Elliot and looked away. He didn't know, none of them did, because none of them talked about it. There wasn't time really - sex crimes didn't stop or dwindle or go away and they kept busy, the crimes kept coming and perps kept making mistakes. Alex had been right… even when you won, you never really achieved justice.

The squad sat, lined up in the courtroom awaiting the guilty verdict on a pedophile who had used his position as a doctor to unduly influence and molest his patients. The verdict returned, guilty of course and the squad had walked out victorious only to be served with a civil suit and an IAB investigation.

When they had been called to the defendants' residence to discover he had been murdered Olivia could not have anticipated who would have been waiting for them.

The sight of the tall blond had stopped her dead in her tracks.

Alex.

Olivia felt a wave of emotions crash against her. Hurt, relief, confusion, and anger all rolled into one as she stared into the deep blue eyes from the past that had haunted her dreams searching for a reason why she had come back now.

"Alex why didn't you call…?"

Alex looked away from the hurt forming in Olivia's eyes and evasively answered that every time she picked up the phone she relived that night. That was partially true, the other reason was the awkwardness of what that conversation would be like. How did you make up for 3 years and what kind of friendship could last that long with no contact. The last thing she wanted to do was see the hurt in Olivia's eyes. She hadn't even wanted to come back to SVU, and had argued passionately against it with McCoy. She had lost and so here she was.

They resumed their roles for the rest of the day and Alex enjoyed the feeling of being part of a team again. As the day wound down she sought to right the wrong she had caused. She found the dark haired detective in a familiar place, hovered over a pile of paperwork - her hair, now grown out, shielding her face. Alex felt a wild impulse to run a hand through the visually silky locks and looked down in shock to see her hand stretched out slightly to do just that. Instead she put her hand at her side and cleared her throat, her lips curving slightly at the irritated look that detective gave her.

"Yes?"

Alex bit her lip slightly, taken back by the hostility in the brunettes voice.

"Um, I was wondering if you wanted to grab a bite to eat, a drink… my treat"

She watched as one long elegant eyebrow arched and turned away.

"No thanks."

Alex scowled slightly - this was unlike the Olivia Benson she had known. Curiosity and stubbornness overruled her confusion and Alex took a step forward and sat on the edge of Olivia's desk.

Olivia felt the brush of fabric against her arm and looked over, her eyes betraying her as they swept down long legs and then back up again to the inquisitive face starting down at her. She flushed slightly and leaned back.

"Yes counselor?"

She waited, almost enjoying the look of discomfort on Alexandra Cabot's face, twisting its lovely features in ways Olivia had previously not seen. She watched the ADA lightly bite her lip and look away.

"I missed you Olivia…"

The statement was not what Olivia had expected and an odd warmth filled her. She remained silent, wanting the ADA to continue but too proud prod the conversation along… surprised further was Alex continued.

"I know I hurt you, I know I should have called… I want to make things right between us… better… I still consider you a friend Olivia."

The last statement was made as blue eyes swept across her face and Olivia found herself captivated by the honest burning look the ADA was giving her. Olivia swallowed slowly and turned back to her paperwork, refusing to get caught in the moment.

"Friends don't just disappear Alex. I know you had to, but once you were out of the program…"

She stopped as Alex's hand rested on her arm.

"I know Olivia. You asked why I didn't call and I blew you off at the crime scene. I didn't want to explain myself to everyone on the squad - what I want to say, what I want to explain is for you and you alone."

Taking a major chance, Alex leaned forward and closed the gap between the two of them, her hand cupping Olivia's face lightly, watching the brown eyes widen slightly at her touch. At least the years between them hadn't changed that.

"And if you will stop being stubborn and come to dinner with me I can explain it to you… and if you still think I am a lousy friend then we will just be professionals from here on. Deal detective?"

Olivia nodded numbly, her mind focused solely on the soft hand under the chin and the intense eyes that stared down at her. Her heart pounded and all the emotions she thought she had buried came back to her so suddenly that it took everything she had not to act on the desire pulsing through her veins.

She slowly pulled away and stood, pulling her jacket on.

"Ok. Dinner then."

She watched the smile transform Alex's face as she stood up from the desk.

"Excellent. Lets go detective."

Alex drove in silence, the soft bass of humming softly in the background - though she couldn't tell what song. The detective had not spoken and for the first time that day Alex felt a thread of doubt as to whether they still had a friendship. The other undercurrent of emotion was still there and for a moment back in the squad room, Alex could have sworn Olivia meant to kiss her - but the detective had reigned in whatever she was feeling and acquiesced to Alex's proposition. Of course at the time Alex had no idea where they were going to go… knowing only that Olivia's favorite food was Italian she chose a small hole in the wall where they could sit privately and hopefully work through the wounds of the past. Alex did not kid herself though… in the detective's place she would not have even come to dinner so it was indicative to Olivia's own desire for resolution that she was even having to think of a place to take them.

Olivia concentrated on the soft music pouring from the speakers of Alex's car. The beat seemed familiar and yet she could not place it. Strange it would seem, for all the time she and Alex had spent together that they had never discussed mundane things like their favorite books, hobbies, music. She felt the car slowing down and looked out to see a somewhat dilapidated building. There were no signs advertising the name of a restaurant, just a small sign that advertise the building was open.

Scowling slightly, Olivia glanced at the blond.

"Um, this might not be the best time to ask but is this a restaurant or a bar… I was under the impression I was getting a meal out of this."

She watched Alex smile suddenly, a husky chuckle escaping her full lips.

"Its just a little hole in the wall I thought you might enjoy… and yes Olivia it is a restaurant - I was under the impression that I had a lot of explaining to do before you would agree to drinks afterward."

Olivia nodded and open the door, stepping out into the cold night, following the tall blond into the unmarked building. The scents that met her were unmistakably Italian and the space, though small was extensively and expensively decorated to resembled an Italian villa. Alex whispered something to the maitre d that met them and motioned for Olivia to follow. They were let to a secluded corner lit with candles and walls covered in ivy. It was in a word - beautiful.

Alex smiled at the look of wonder that came over the detectives face. This had been a good decision after all. She motioned to the small table and stopped herself from pulling out Olivia's chair for her. She shrugged out of her jacket and sat in the opposite chair.

Olivia was momentarily speechless. Who would have ever known such a shithole of a building would have housed this paradise. She looked at Alex and smiled back, forgetting for a moment that she was supposed to be angry with the leggy blond.

The table was small enough that their legs rubbed against each others as they crossed their legs and looked over the menu's that had seemingly appeared out of nowhere. Olivia paled when there were no prices listed and looked up at the blond.

Alex laughed softly.

"This place is supposed to relax you, not freak you out… don't worry about the menu… order whatever you like."

She motioned towards the waiter and looked at Olivia.

"Would you like wine detective?"

Olivia nodded and listened and watched in wonder as Alex ordered in flawless Italian, pausing only to inquire as to whether Olivia knew what she wanted to order.

Stunned into silence Olivia slowly shook her head no and listened again as Alex began speaking again. One the waiter had left she turned back to Olivia and smiled, slightly embarrassed.

"I went ahead and ordered for you, don't worry I promise you will love it."

Olivia nodded mutely and leaned forward, taking the glass of wine that had silently appeared and slowly sampled the flavor.

"Where did you learn Italian?"

Alex smiled and went into a long explanation about the year spent in Europe, something all Cabots had to do, and how she had fallen in love with the romance of the people - their language - the country. As Olivia listened she was struck by how much she did not know about Alex and the openness with which Alex appeared ready to share. Something broke in Olivia and she felt all her stubborn anger drain from her. She was on what she could only call a date with one of the most beautiful and striking women she had ever met - a date she had only previously fantasized about and she was going to ruin it if she didn't let go and give Alex the chance to try and make the past 3 years right.

Cutting right to the chase Olivia leaned forward and interrupted.

"Alex, why did you wait so long to come back… why didn't you at least return one phone call"

She watched as Alex stopped and swallowed another sip of wine.

"I wasn't lying at the crime scene Olivia… every time I picked that phone up and thought about calling, all I could remember was the feel of that bullet inside me and the fear of not knowing if I was going to live or die. I was afraid to come back to that part of my life even though I missed the job and the people in it."

Olivia sighed softly.

"What about us Alex… our friendship… the fact that you knew I blamed myself for not noticing the car sooner, for not moving you away in time, for not taking you down to the ground with El and myself. I could have accepted your decision to stay away, I just wanted to know that you were ok."

She stopped, stunned by attraction as Alex leaned back and re-crossed her legs beneath the table, her long smooth legs rubbing solidly against Olivia's.

Alex nodded, unsmiling.

"And then there is that."

She watched Olivia's eyes snap open staring at her in shock. Alex held up her hand and leaned forward, her voice soft.

"Did you think you were the only one Olivia. I feel it too but I don't know what to do about it. I've never felt this way about anyone - least of all a woman who has been nothing more than a gracious friend."

Alex took another drink of wine to bolster her courage as it were, her voice softening further.

"This is why I was afraid to come back. So much time has passed and I didn't know what all had happened in your life… were you married, did you have children, were you still a detective… so many questions and yet I was afraid of the answers. I would not be here had McCoy not made me… I know it sounds cowardly but… it is the truth. You scare me Olivia… you were able to get under my skin and take every belief I had about myself and turn it on its head… and I could never be sure if it was just me…"

Olivia searched the blue eyes looking into hers and wordlessly stood up and rounded the table. She knelt on her knee, bringing her level with the ADA and slid her hand along her ADA's jaw line, sliding it through silken hair to cup her head. Slowly Olivia pressed her lips to Alexandra's tasting the prosecutor for the first time. It was softer, slower, hotter than any kiss she had experience in the past. She felt the ADA's lips part, silently allowing the kiss to deepen. Olivia pressed closer and pulled the ADA against her body as her tongue teased the opening of Alex's mouth.

Alex trembled as the kiss deepened and slid her tongue against Olivia's, their mouths melding. Unexpectedly she felt Olivia's hand slowly against the side of her breasts and Alex moaned, loudly in the quiet stillness of the restaurant… a moan that drew them both back to reality even as their bodies burned with a desire to take it further.

Alex spoke first, her face flushed with a combination of arousal and embarrassment.

"Oops."

Olivia ducked her head down and tried to contain the bubble of laughter that escaped her lips. Smiling she looked up and leaned forward kissing Alex softly on the lips and whispered… "It was worth waiting 3 years for that counselor."

She backed up and reclaimed her seat across from Alex, her eyes partially closed as she raked her eyes, unabashed, over the beautiful features she had never been able to get out of her mind. She swallowed audibly as she felt Alex's leg sliding against hers again and caught the sexy smirk Alex flashed her. Olivia felt a slow smile curling her lips as she reached under the table, rubbing the backs of her fingertips against the inside of one long smooth thigh.

Alex jerked and bit her lip to stifle the resulting groan at the light touch, surprised by the detectives daring. If she had thought there was sexual tension between her and the beautiful woman across from her before, it was nothing compared to now. Blue eyes locked with brown as the waiter approached the table. Alex held up her hand and in the lowest sexiest voice Olivia had ever heard….

"Check please."