Disclaimer: The characters from SVU belong to Dick Wolf and the powers that be at NBC.
Spoilers: This story contains mild references to the season 13 episode: "Scorched Earth" specifically Elliot Stabler.
Thanks: For all the continued comments and feedback, they mean a lot and I appreciate the time you continue to invest in my tales of misadventure. You guys rock! A special thanks for Ceci who, despite being a die hard Red Sox fan, is a great mate :) and as always, the Lady B.
Alex Cabot strode purposefully into the squad room, her eyes instantly locking on the two empty desks. Stopping abruptly, she turned, meeting Fin Tutuola's dark gaze and raised her eyebrows in question.
"She'll be back in five."
Alex nodded and continued towards Olivia's desk, placing her briefcase on the vacant chair. She casually pushed a stack of files to the side and leaned against the edge of the cool surface, crossed her ankles and folded her arms, adopting her trademark, 'waiting'pose. Her jacket pocket vibrated and she slipped a slender hand in to retrieve her cellphone, sighing as she skimmed over the email from her boss. The gentle clearing of a throat made her look up from the screen.
Alex met the hesitant expression of SVU's newest recruit and smiled, "Detective Rollins?"
The detective took a step closer and lowered her voice, "I hope you don't think I'm speaking out of turn, but you might wanna check out the ladies room," she suggested, a southern lilt lacing her hushed tone.
Alex frowned, instantly straightening her posture, her cool gaze holding the younger woman's pale eyes, prompting her to continue.
"She looked like she needed a minute…" Rollins added, swallowing nervously under the intense scrutiny, "…and a friend," she whispered shyly before turning and heading back towards her desk.
Olivia's chest heaved as she fought to suppress the silent sobs racking through her body. She squeezed her eyes shut in a futile attempt to block out the pain as she breathed heavily through her nose, desperately clinging to her last semblance of self-control.
Flashes of images and fragments of conversations flooded her mind, all her thoughts focused on her now, ex-partner. She clenched her teeth and covered her eyes with one hand as she used the other to support herself against the wall of the darkened interrogation room.
Her heart pounded heavily with each urgent footstep, the rapid clicking of her heels echoing loudly around the empty hallway as they carried her closer to her destination. A tiny flicker of movement, in her periphery vision, instinctively made her stop and step towards the window. She peered through the one-way glass, instantly bringing a hand up to muffle her gasp.
The tears wouldn't stop, she wiped angrily at them with her free hand as she braced herself against the wooden ledge, willing her body to stay upright. She stiffened as the door opened and a shaft of light filled the room.
Almost immediately, the light disappeared and a hand landed lightly on her back. Taking several, deep cleansing breaths, she pushed off the ledge and slowly turned.
Alex swallowed at the sadness etched across the dark haired detective's features and instantly moved closer, shifting her hand to a trembling shoulder, "What's wrong?" she asked anxiously.
Olivia closed her eyes and shook her head, "He's not coming back," she choked out, a sob catching in her throat.
"He's resigned?" She replied, unable to hide her shock.
Olivia nodded, "Twelve years together and now…it's over…just like that," she rasped in disbelief.
Alex exhaled and smiled sympathetically, "Liv, I'm so sorry," she said, stroking her hand up and down her arm in what she hoped was a soothing gesture.
"Are you?" Olivia bit back, opening her eyes and staring directly into shocked cerulean.
Alex stilled the motion of her hand and blinked in confusion, "Of course I am, why would you even say that?" she asked, unable to hide the hurt in her tone.
Olivia felt the instant loss as the hand on her arm fell away, but continued to stare as an awkward silence filled the small space between them. She felt her emotions shift and settle on familiar territory.
Alex watched as she squared her shoulders and tightened her jaw, "You're angry with me," she deduced, suddenly realizing there was more to this than Elliot's resignation.
Olivia opened her mouth to snap off a reply, but instead, caught herself and exhaled loudly through her nose before turning away, "No….No, I'm not," she lied as she began to walk slowly across the room.
Alex followed her movement with her eyes and sighed, "Yes, you are."
Olivia reached the other side of the room and leaned her back against the wall, thankful for the shadows cloaking her in partial darkness. She exhaled again and pushed the hair away from her face with one hand as she watched the tall blonde fold her arms defensively, "You left," she accused quietly.
"I came back."
"For how long this time?" Olivia barked, more harshly than she'd intended, dropping her gaze to the tiled floor as a sea of buried emotions threatened to rise to the surface.
Alex bit her lower lip as the elephant entered the room. Resignedly, she took a step sideways and pressed her shoulder lightly against the door, arms still folded, "I had to go to Africa, you know that…" she paused, "…those people needed me."
"And what about the people who needed you here?"
Alex shrugged, "There are plenty of ADA's in Manhattan, we're all just cogs in the wheel of criminal justice," she answered flippantly.
Olivia's head snapped up, "You don't really believe that," she retorted, aghast.
Alex sighed deeply and shook her head, "No, I don't…I'm sorry," she said sincerely.
A blanket of silence enveloped them for a few tense seconds until Olivia's voice sliced through the stillness, "He won't talk to me," she confided sadly, breathing deeply as she folded her arms, her chest rising and falling sharply with the movement.
"Give him time," Alex suggested.
Olivia snorted, "Like three years?"
"Liv…" Alex warned.
Olivia ignored her as she unfolded her arms and began simultaneously counting off with one hand as she spoke, "Let's see, it was three years the first time and eighteen months this time…how long will it be next time?" she asked sarcastically.
"This isn't the time or the place for this conversation," Alex replied coolly.
Olivia shook her head angrily, "It never is, is it?" she asked rhetorically, snorting again as she pushed off the wall and strode angrily towards the door. She stopped in front of Alex and raised an eyebrow, waiting for her to move, "I've got a sexual assault in Waverley to get to," she announced, ending the conversation.
Alex searched her face; saw the pain in her eyes and the subtle swallow at her throat. Silently, she stepped aside, feeling her own emotions rising and averted her gaze before she did something foolish.
Olivia reached for the handle, opening the door slightly, "See you around Counselor," she threw out casually.
The sudden movement and accompanying bang of the door slamming shut took her by surprise. Alex stood with one hand pressed flat against the surface, effectively blocking her escape. For a few anxious seconds nobody moved.
"The first time I left, I didn't have a choice. Zapata would have had me and everyone associated with me killed…" Alex began in a voice barely above a whisper.
Olivia turned around and looked at her, unable to hide her confusion, "But you were out of witness protection for three years before we heard from you again."
Alex removed her hand from the door and bobbed her head, "A lot happened Liv, I couldn't come back and be the Alex Cabot you remembered," she offered, reluctant to open old wounds.
"A lot happened to us too," Olivia answered cryptically.
Alex frowned at her, but when no further explanation was offered, she continued, "I went to Africa to help those women and my reason for going was largely down to you," she said, continuing to study Olivia's face.
Alex smiled fondly, "Whenever I asked you why you kept doing what you did, each case tougher and more heartbreaking than the last, you always gave the same answer…" she trailed off as understanding flashed in Olivia's dark eyes.
"Because someone has to," Olivia finished for her.
Alex nodded, "I didn't think I'd be over there for as long, but we were achieving so much, helping so many women…" she lifted a hand and adjusted the dark frames resting on her face, "…I should have called," she admitted softly.
Olivia smiled, "Yeah, you should've…" she said lightly before adding, "…or I could've called you."
"I'm sorry about Elliot."
Olivia nodded, "I know."
They stared at each other, aware of the sudden shift in the room. Olivia shook her head, "I think I knew he wasn't coming back, hearing Cragen say it out loud just took me by surprise."
Alex placed a comforting hand on her arm, "I'm not planning on going anywhere," she promised.
"Alex…" Olivia stepped closer, placing her own hand on a slender arm, "…do what you have to do," she advised sincerely, catching sight of the time on her Breitling. She smiled apologetically, "I've really got to go, Fin's waiting."
Alex trailed her hand up Olivia's arm until she was gently cupping her cheek, smiling as the older woman leaned into the tender touch. She eased forward as dark eyes dipped to her parted lips and watched transfixed as Olivia's tongue left a glistening trail along her lower lip. Her pulse raced with anticipation as she closed the distance and pressed their mouths softly together.
Olivia brought one hand up to tangle in the long blonde hair as the other slipped around Alex's waist, drawing her closer. She felt the younger woman's chest heave as their fronts pressed tightly together and their lips parted, encouraging deeper exploration.
The kiss was familiar, yet different, with both women moaning softly at the intimate contact. Alex wrapped her arms tightly around Olivia's frame, relishing in the warmth radiating from her body. As the kiss intensified, hands began to caress and wander, forcing Olivia to reluctantly pull back, gasping for air.
"You…were…right," Olivia panted before leaning in for another kiss.
Alex beamed at her, "About what?" she murmured as her hands slipped into the back pockets of Olivia's dark denim.
Olivia shuddered as the hands began a slow massage, "You're not the same Alex Cabot," she breathed out as the hands stopped their teasing ministrations.
Alex pulled back slightly and frowned, "What do you mean?"
Olivia eased forward, placing delicate kisses along her jaw until she reached a tempting earlobe, "This one's a much better kisser," she husked, her soft breath tickling across the delicate flesh, causing Alex to shudder.
She squeaked as the hands in her pockets squeezed her skin sharply and laughed softly. She was about to retaliate when her cellphone rang. Alex removed one hand and slipped it into the front pocket, waggling her eyebrows suggestively as she retrieved the device and checked the caller ID, "Fin," she announced, handing it over.
Olivia answered, tucking a strand of blonde hair behind a warm ear as she did so, "Sorry Fin…yeah, take Rollins…thanks," she said, ending the call and placing the phone back in her pocket.
"You're not going out on the call?"
Olivia shook her head, "Cap said I could take a day, I think I will," she replied.
Alex smiled, "Want to go somewhere and talk?" she asked hopefully.
Olivia nodded, "You mean this isn't a good place?" she replied, sweeping an arm around the confined space.
Alex leaned closer and grinned, "It's a little too public for me," she said, indicating the one-way mirror.
Olivia frowned, "Didn't bother you that time in the old prec-"
A hand covered her mouth, effectively cutting her off and she smiled knowingly against the warm akin. She'd lost one partner today, but had hopes she'd regained another.
Author's Note: Just wanted to say thanks for all the incredible feedback for this story. I know I said Splinters was my last foray into the world of A and O, but I really couldn't let that episode end the way it did.
So is this a one time thing? Knowing me, probably not and as long as folk still want to read what i write, I'll probably keep dabbling :)