Alex and Olivia Montage


...but you can choose your friends...

Email ncruuk

Disclaimer: Not mine. I promise I'm only borrowing them and will return them to their rightful owners whenever they ask for them back. My imagination took a flight of fancy.....my bank account stayed empty. (Seriously, the cast of SVU belong to Dick Wolf and NBC and I'm only borrowing them for some free daydreaming that I wrote down).


Spoiler/Author’s Notes: : No major spoilers (I think I’m assuming Olivia’s parents to be fair game here…). This is angsty, and involves some heavy issues, but I guarantee it all ends well. This is a sequel to the story You can't choose your family...

Rating: PG

Summary: Friends are incredible, especially when you pick them as well as Olivia found she had…






“Olivia.” Huang’s greeting was made in his usual neutral tone, no hint of coldness but no warmth of welcome either. He was a professional, and she was his colleague.

“Can I come in?” asked Olivia tentatively, hovering in the open doorway.

“Please.” Huang’s angular face softened into a hint of a smile and his fingers, previously firmly steepled in front of his chest spread now in a welcoming gesture towards his comfortable sofa. This wasn’t going to be a conversation conducted on the shrink’s couch.

Smiling nervously, Olivia stepped into the office and carefully closed the door behind her before crossing and sitting down. Whilst her movements were as neat and controlled as they’d always been, to the astute observer it was clear that she was thinking about how to move, rather than moving with a natural and instinctive fluidity.

“Alex has talked to you?” she finally asked quietly.

“We had a chat yesterday, yes.”

“So you know about everything?” asked Olivia, gesturing loosely with her hands as if trying to shape a definition of ‘everything’ in the space in front of her.

“Alex and I didn’t talk about the Red Sox,” said Huang kindly, his gentle voice bringing humour to diffuse the growing tension, prompting Olivia to relax slightly as she couldn’t help but smile at the thought of Alex trying to comprehend a discussion about the significance of the ‘Red Sox Curse’.

“But she told you about us?” asked Olivia, correctly recognising the subtle hint that she should tell him about what she thought ‘everything’ meant.

“Yes, and I meant to say how well it suits both of you,” commented Huang cryptically, derailing Olivia’s thoughts slightly.

“Excuse me?”

“When you talk of Alex and Alex talks about you, it shows…it sounds like I’m getting my material from Hallmark, but loving each other suits you both,” clarified Huang, happy to talk about love in a positive context for a change, rather than the more usual unhinged psychopathic variety that was more common for the Special Victims Unit.

“Oh….thanks…” Ducking her head down in a slight nod of thanks, Olivia, stuffed her hands deep into her coat pockets and pulled them inwards, bunching up her coat into her lap. You didn’t need the number of psychology degrees George Huang had in order to recognise it as an indicator of nerves.

Rising calmly from his seat, Huang crossed to the corner of his office and collected his trash can. Coming around the front of his desk, he set the trash can carefully in the middle of the space before sitting down next to Olivia on the sofa. What he was about to do he knew was unorthodox, but also knew that the advice he was being asked for was being sought by his friend, and not his colleague. Confused at the actions, Olivia turned and looked questioningly at Huang.

“Draw your weapon,” he requested calmly.

“What?” Olivia was confused, although at the mention of her weapon, she’d automatically freed her hands from her coat.

“Use the trash can as a target and draw your weapon,” clarified Huang reasonably, his face suggesting that this was a perfectly normal request.

“You want me to shoot your trash can?” asked Olivia disbelievingly.

“No, too much paperwork – aiming is just fine,” explained Huang, smiling at Olivia’s reaction to his seemingly telepathic response. He was right of course, she had been thinking about the entry on the paperwork – Target: Trash Can; Justification: Shrink told me to do it. Somehow she didn’t think that would go down well with Police Plaza.

“You want me to aim at the trash can?” clarified Olivia finally, when the humour of her thoughts faded to reveal the absurdity of the situation.

“Please,” confirmed Huang, already braced for her next question.

“Why?” Suspicious, but generally willing, Olivia stood up and began to remove her coat, obviously preparing to do it but not without further explanation from Huang. Unwilling to explain his reasoning before she did it, he just shrugged slightly before smiling the disarming smile seemingly taught to psychologists everywhere, the smile that communicated such trust (and also the paranoia that you were crazy to find their suggestions weird). Shaking her head in amusement at how easily he played her, Olivia turned slightly towards the trash can before, in one smooth gesture, drew her gun and took aim at the trash can.

“Now what?” asked Olivia still focussed on the trash can.

Rising to his feet, Huang quietly stepped over until he was standing alongside Olivia’s gun about a foot away from it. Observing her gun for a moment he stated calmly,

“You’re shaking,” before stepping away again and heading towards his desk. After a moment’s confusion, Olivia brought her focus back from the trash can and settled it instead on her gun. Concentrating on the weapon for a few moments, she finally noticed the ever so slight movement and focussed everything she had on getting the weapon back under her complete control. Seeing the Detective’s struggle, Huang quietly said,

“Re-holster your weapon Olivia,” and waited whilst she did just that. Now more confused than ever, she made sure her gun was secure before resuming her seat, this time in one of the upright chairs set out in front of the desk. Looking expectantly at her friend, she waited for the big explanation.

“It took a lot of thought to stop the shaking,” observed Huang neutrally, waiting to see how Olivia reacted to the observation.

“Yes…” agreed Olivia finally, unwilling to lie but not exactly comfortable with the truth.

“Do you know you were shaking before I told you?” asked Huang reasonably, leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingers in front of his chest, his elbows braced on the chair arms.

“No…I…” puzzled, Olivia’s brow furrowed in thought as she reconsidered the simple movement Huang had made her do. She’d drawn her weapon and taken aim, bracing the gun with both hands to ensure a stable and steady aim. She hadn’t been shaking before he said anything, she’d have noticed….wouldn’t she?

“Do you know what caused you to shake?” asked Huang, not letting Olivia dwell too long on her thoughts. Looking up at her friend in concern, Olivia tried to formulate and verbalise her thoughts, but found the words not passing a lump in her throat. Understanding her difficulties, glad too that she’d followed his thinking, Huang leant forwards once more and began to explain in his most friendly tone.

“You weren’t shaking…” before he could get any further, Olivia had interrupted him.

“Yes, I saw I was…”

“You weren’t shaking before I told you that you were shaking. When I suggested that you were shaking, you overcompensated and tensed up – you tried to correct the shakes….” Huang paused, waiting to see if Olivia, who was now chewing thoughtfully on her bottom lip, would see where he was leading her.

“…And that tensing gave me the shakes?” concluded Olivia, looking to Huang for reassurance.

“Yes. What was one of the first lessons you were taught at the Academy?” asked George conversationally, reaching for his coffee mug.

“Ah…not to tense when we draw our weapons?” offered Olivia wryly, seeing the humour in their current otherwise serious conversation.

“What happens if you do, tense that is, according to your Academy instructors?” continued George, glad to see the faint hints of a smile on Olivia’s face.

“Get the shakes,” confirmed Olivia, relaxing.

“Did you remember that when I told you about your shakes?”

“No…” the smile began to fade.

“When I asked you why you were shaking, was that what you thought of first?” persisted George, not letting Olivia have time to think.

“No…” the lower lip was once more being chewed.

“What did you think of?” asked George kindly.

“The disease,” whispered Olivia, so quietly that George wasn’t sure if he knew she’d said it because he heard it or lip-read.

“Shaking is one of the early symptoms, isn’t it?”

“Yes…every time I shake I…I panic…” clearly troubled, Olivia looked at George and for the first time ever he was positive he saw fear in the experienced Detective’s eyes.

“Which makes the shaking worse?”

“So I panic some more” agreed Olivia, glad that he understood.

“It’s probably just the shakes….” he began reasonably.

“But it could be something more…” persisted Olivia, chewing her lip in worry.

“Last week it was just the shakes….” observed Huang patiently.

“Huh?”

“Last week, if we’d done this, you’d just have shrugged and reminded me of that first lesson at the Academy, about staying relaxed. What’s so different this week?”

“I know about the disease….the shakes could be because I’ve got it…” worried Olivia, just as she had been these last few days.

“Or you’re giving them to yourself because you’re thinking you’ve got it…”

“But I might not have it!” protested Olivia, standing up in frustration.

“Exactly….you might not have it,” agreed Huang, glad that Olivia had reached the nub of the issue herself.

“The test would tell me if I had it….I’m not sure I could cope with knowing,” explained Olivia, returning to her chair as the frustration was replaced with the fear that had been her constant companion these last few days.

“But you’re already assuming that you do have it,” observed Huang logically, waiting to see how Olivia would respond.

“So if I test positive, it wouldn’t be a surprise,” agreed Olivia, glad that she didn’t have to maintain her increasingly false positive attitude on the subject.

“But you could test negative….”

“Which would be a relief,” agreed Olivia promptly.

“Right,” agreed Huang, breaking out into a slight smile.

“Thanks George, you’ve been a great help,” declared Olivia suddenly, jumping to her feet.

“You’re welcome.” George was used to detectives taking their leave of his office abruptly – it wasn’t a place you went to for small talk.

“You’ve helped me make up my mind,” continued Olivia as she rearranged her scarf and began to put her coat back on.

“No Olivia, I haven’t. You’d already made up your mind. I just helped you find it,” explained Huang, keen to confirm the position maintained by many psychologists which was that they didn’t make decisions for their ‘clients’, just helped them find the ones they’d already made. Smiling at the semantic distinction, Olivia shrugged her arms into her coat sleeves before heading to the door. Pausing to give him a slight wave of thanks, she said as she left,

“You’re the best Doc,” before she was gone, a spring once more in her measured tread.



“Can I come in?”

“Sure El…what’s up?” asked Olivia brightly from her hospital bed.

“Not much, so Cragen let me loose for a while, on the condition I bug you….” began her partner, unsure exactly what to say. He’d known his partner was in the hospital to have some tests, but actually seeing her in the hospital bed had thrown him – he’d thought these were tests to see if she would get sick, not actually make her sick now.

“You got a new bugging technique?” asked Olivia teasingly.

“No, why?” Elliot was confused.

“’Cos it’s no fun for me if you’re not in hitting range,” explained Olivia good humouredly, gesturing that he could come all the way into the room.

“Right….” Elliot glanced about him and realised where he was standing, still in the doorway.

“Oh…” smiling sheepishly, he came all the way into the room, instinctively placing his paper shopping bag on the foot of the bed.

“What’s that?” asked Olivia, curious.

“Huh?” Elliot still wasn’t quite over the shock of seeing her in the hospital bed.

“The bag – Cragen got you running errands for him?” rephrased Olivia amused.

“Oh, no, these are for you, from the guys….”

“You didn’t have to Elliot….” began Olivia, amazed at the generosity of her colleagues. After all, it wasn’t like she’d been shot, just volunteered for some shots and blood test type things.

“We wanted to….and you won’t like all of it,” he teased, taking off his coat, his regular banter returning as he recovered his ‘balance’.

“Oh?” Olivia was even more curious.

“I grabbed those travel magazines from your desk, thought you’d probably bought them to read…now seemed as good a time as any…” began Elliot, pulling things out of the bag “…we were going to get flowers but we decided to give those to Alex instead…so don’t get jealous when you see the roses in her office…”

“Roses?” asked Olivia suspiciously.

“Yellow ones….Munch said they meant eternal friendship and loyalty or something….don’t worry, we’re not making the moves on your girl…”

“Right…” Olivia wasn’t entirely convinced, but was happy to let the matter drop, instead more interested in what else was in the bag. Understanding where his partner’s attention was once again focussed, Elliot continued with his unpacking.

“This was Fin’s idea…” he explained, as he dumped a couple of NYPD t-shirts and tracksuit bottoms on the bed “…we figured they probably let you wear what you wanted here, and we’re not gonna let you forget what you are…so…” unsure how else to explain it, he just shrugged, before returning to more practical considerations “…Alex helped with the sizing…”

“Thanks….” Unsure what else to say without breaking out in too much emotion, Olivia just smiled at her partner and carefully gathered up the clothes, determined to put them on the minute Elliot had left.

“Oh, and Cragen sent you these – thought you’d have some time to finish them, but only if you’re really bored!” explained Elliot with forced brightness as he handed over the pile of DD-5s.

“Cragen sent these?” asked Olivia suspiciously, eying the rather large pile.

“He did say I could bring your paperwork over…if you were bored,” explained Elliot nervously, watching as Olivia snagged the pile of papers and began to sort through them. Seconds later, she’d sorted out a much smaller pile which she placed on the bedside table, before giving the larger pile back to Elliot.

“Tell John nice try, but he can do his own paperwork!”

“Right,” agreed Elliot easily, putting the offered papers back in the bag.

“Why’d you and Fin not send any?” asked Olivia, amused.

“We didn’t think you’d be that bored…but John’s got so much paperwork….” Began Elliot, breaking out into a grin.

“So’s my girlfriend, and I’d rather help her,” confirmed Olivia, breaking out into a matching grin which quickly turned into laughter.

After a few seconds, the partners gradually composed themselves. Taking deep breaths, Olivia finally said

“Thanks El, I needed that.”

“You doing ok?” he asked, concerned.

“Yeah, I’m doing ok….they’re not actually that bad, the tests,” explained Olivia, her fingers fiddling with the blanket.

“Pretty nice place they’ve got you…nurses seem nice,” agreed Elliot, wondering if he’d get a rise from his partner for the cheeky comment. Olivia’s answering long-suffering look was good enough for him.

“Yeah, like a hotel…” agreed Olivia.

“Never knew those deductions got us such a good place,” continued Elliot, thinking this was a neutral enough topic.

“They don’t…Alex did this,” explained Olivia briefly. Seeing Elliot’s confused look, she elaborated,

“The Department won’t pay – if I test positive, I’m not covered by the insurance, too expensive, so they wouldn’t do the tests. Alex sorted this for me….”

“Oh, I’m sorry…..” apologised Elliot, not really sure what to say.

“Don’t tell the guys hey?” asked Olivia quietly.

“That your girlfriend’s got better health insurance than we have, sure…” agreed Elliot, trying to lighten the tone again, trying not to think about the more serious point. You only didn’t get health cover if you failed the medical – if you failed the medical…it didn’t bear thinking about. Becoming serious for a moment, Elliot took his partner’s hand and promised solemnly,

“I won’t tell the guys Liv, I promise….but it’ll be ok, you’ll see…”

“And if it isn’t?” asked Olivia nervously.

“Then you’re just going to have to put up with us coming round and bugging you – you won’t get rid of us that easily,” assured Elliot, settling down on the side of the bed, prepared to keep his partner company for as long as she’d have him….



“Captain!” Surprised, Olivia opened the apartment door wider and stepped back to allow her boss to enter.

“Olivia,” greeted Cragen neutrally, appraising his Detective’s appearance. On a purely mundane level, he couldn’t help but observe that the NYPD sweats were well worn and the equally worn Harvard t-shirt had obviously been ‘liberated’ from Alex’s wardrobe by Olivia.

“You want a coffee?” asked Olivia politely, unsure what he was doing in the apartment.

“No…thank you. I just came by to see how things were…” Smiling tightly, Olivia stood up that little bit straighter, as if needing her physical presence to emphasise her verbal statement.

“I’m good…” she began, before seeing the questioning look on Cragen’s face and amending it slightly with “…considering…”

“Good…you and Alex ok?” asked Don, hating that it sounded like prying but needing the reassurance if everything was ok or the opportunity to try and fix something if it wasn’t. That was the biggest difficulty all the SVU detectives were having right now – their job was to serve and protect, but right now none of them felt like they’d done anything remotely like that for Olivia.

“We’re good….considering…” agreed Olivia again, shrugging slightly at the repeated statement.

“Good…” Unsure if it was appropriate to continue, Don trailed off. As a Detective, he’d made it his job to ask questions and to not let identity or circumstance stop him from seeking the answers. As Olivia’s friend, he couldn’t bring himself to ask, so he began to talk around the subject.

“Elliot said the place was nice….”

“Yeah, for a hospital it was….” Olivia paused to consider what word would best convey the thick carpets, warm colours and obvious presence of interior ‘design’ “…plush…”

“You just there for the day?” asked Don politely, running his hand over the back of his neck as he tried to get closer to his true question.

“Yeah, but I got a room…and Alex could order a real lunch when she came by too,” explained Olivia, wincing at the mundane details she was discussing with Don, but instinctively understanding that he was trying to ask her something.

“You not able to eat?” Don was curious as to why Olivia had specifically mentioned Alex’s lunch and not her own.

“Nothing stopping me, but hospitals make me nauseous….when I’m the patient that is,” observed Olivia wryly. Seizing on the opening, Don asked quickly,

“But you’re ok now?” before wincing at the clumsiness of the question and rephrasing.

“What I meant was, you’re feeling ok now? It was just tests, they didn’t, uh, hurt you?” he stumbled over the still awkward question but at least he’d managed to express himself finally. Understanding what he was asking, glad it was such a straightforward question and non-specific to her potential future, Olivia was quick to explain,

“No, just samples and some other stuff, just like a physical actually….but with more waiting….”

“Ah, about that….”

“Hmm?” wearily, the exhaustion that her uncertainty and worry was causing finally showing, Olivia looked up at her Boss.

“Tell me whenever….whatever….”

Understanding, Olivia smiled weakly,

“Sure thing Cap’n, I understand….”

“Don,” corrected Cragen gently, sitting down next to Olivia and placing his hand on hers. Placing her own hand on top of his, Olivia smiled her first genuine smile since he’d arrived in the apartment, understanding finally that, whilst this gnarly old detective was her boss, he was genuinely here as her friend, and that his concern for her was one of friendship first, and NYPD much, much later.



Automatically turning the page when instructed to do so, Judge Lena Petrovsky trusted in her sub-conscious ability to follow a trial and recognise when she needed to become more actively involved. During the tedious bits of trials, and this was an extremely tedious bit, she had become expert at letting her mind drift to consider other matters whilst not losing track of the case. Sometimes her mind drifted beyond the confines of her court to issues such as the contents of her fridge or the state of her bills whilst on other occasions, it focused sharply on something, or someone, within her court.

Counsel for the People looked like shit.

Chastising her inner thoughts, Lena modified her thinking. Counsel for the People looked significantly better than Counsel for the Defence, but Alexandra Cabot looked like shit: whilst the suit was impeccable and the carriage as rigid as always, Alex’s demeanour was far from normal. For such a seasoned Cabot watcher as Petrovsky, the signs were obvious – the glasses, normally such an intimidating addition to Miss Cabot’s prosecutorial arsenal were today concealing grey shadows. Normally, such signs of exhaustion in an ADA would not have triggered Lena’s curiosity as exhaustion was part of the job description for an ADA. But this wasn’t any ADA – Lena had presided over cases where Alex and her detectives had worked through the night, through several nights, immediately before court and never had Alex looked so…so grey. It was as if the ADA’s normally vibrant image had been lightly shaded over with pencil, dulling her edges and tempering her fighting passion.

Turning the page again as instructed, Lena glanced down at the third page of financial details that the defence were hoping would somehow convince her that their client didn’t do it. To say it was a weak case would be understating it, and what little value it did bring was rapidly being eroded as the point was heavily and clumsily laboured. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much Lena could do, unless Alex objected….which, thought Lena, returning her gaze towards the general direction of the Prosecution, was another indication of Alex’s state. When had that girl passed up on the opportunity for an energetic or indignant ‘Objection’? Something was definitely wrong….

Shifting in her seat to avoid rather painful numbness in the left buttock, Lena reviewed what she could recall from the judicial branch of the City Grapevine. Dismissing all that she felt was irrelevant, she finally recalled a conversation she’d overheard between two of her colleagues who had been trying SVU cases about ten days ago.

‘Something most irregular this morning…’

‘Oh?’

‘Tutuola was giving the primary evidence in my court.’

‘Hmm, now you mention it, I’ve just had a note that I’ve got Stabler for mine day after tomorrow…’

‘Wonder why they’re switching Benson off….she’s so much more pleasant right after breakfast….’

Lena hadn’t thought much of the conversation at the time, but now it made her think. This case had also had a last minute detective change. Shuffling her papers discretely, Lena found the sheet with the note from her clerk. Detective Elliot Stabler would be giving evidence in place of the case primary, Detective Olivia Benson, owing to her unavoidable commitments elsewhere. Frowning, Lena looked up as she considered the phrasing. Nobody had ‘unavoidable commitments elsewhere’ in her court unless they were either in hospital or jail…she hadn’t heard that Olivia Benson was in jail, which left hospital.

“…draw your Honour’s attention to evidence D…”

Obediently, Lena extracted evidence bag D, full of credit cards belonging to the accused, and nodded in the general direction of the defence counsel, encouraging him to get on with it. As he began to drone, Lena once more returned to more interesting topics…where was Olivia Benson, and why was Alex so weary?

Suddenly, the pieces fitted together perfectly, with half forgotten rumours and subtle clues remembered. How many times had she strode through the courthouse to discover those two sat close together on a bench? How often had she marvelled at the gentle rhythm of Alex’s examination of Olivia, their questions and answers flowing together with a naturalness that could only be derived from something deeper and more personal than just a well developed professional relationship? As smoothly as Alex would switch between lines of attack depending on what information emerged on the stand, Olivia would glide with her, understanding instinctively where Alex was wanting her to go, no matter how bizarre or unexpected the turn was. When the reporters became too much outside the courthouse, whilst it was always the SVU detectives that shielded her, it was Olivia who protected Alex; it was Olivia that Alex pressed close into the shadow of. Lena was prepared to put money on it – whatever was keeping Olivia from court was affecting Alex just as much.

Satisfied that she’d now reached some sort of resolution, Lena returned her full attentions to her court, just in time for the Defence to finish with the witness.

“Would you like to re-examine Miss Cabot?”

“No thank you, your Honour.”

“Mr Jenkins, you may step down,” directed Lena, already turning her gaze towards the list of witnesses still to be called. A quick glance at her watch confirmed that there was no way they would be getting to closing statements today at the rate the defence was pontificating.

As Defence counsel dragged himself to his feet and began to pompously request his next witness be called, Lena noticed two things happen in her courtroom. The first was that Detective Olivia Benson slipped into the back of court dressed in her usual jeans and leather jacket but without shield or gun. Wherever she’d been she hadn’t been there officially. The second item to note was the subtle shifting in Alexandra Cabot’s posture. Even without turning her attentions away from the front of the court, Alex had known that Olivia had arrived. Carefully suppressing the small smile of triumph, Lena returned her attention to the witness list before taking a sudden decision.

“I’m sorry Mr Greaves, but this court is adjourned for thirty minutes…” Even as she finished speaking, she was getting to her feet, prompting an obedient scramble to her feet from Alex. Mr Greaves was less obedient.

“But Your Honour, my next witness….” Breaking one of her golden rules, Lena explained herself even as she was preparing to sweep from court.

“You next witness will much prefer to take the stand after the presiding judge has cleared her headache. Court is ADJOURNED.”

Slumping back down in her seat, Alex threw her glasses on the table and rested her head in her hands, not interested in clearing the court once she’d realised that Greaves was attempting to sweep out as dramatically as Petrovsky had. Soon, the court was empty, as everyone charged for the coffee machines in the lobby, glad of the sudden break from extremely boring testimony and all speculating as the Judge’s sudden behaviour. Everyone that is, expect for a lone NYPD detective who carefully pushed open the gate.

“Tough day?” came the sympathetic enquiry accompanied by a supportive hand beginning to rub circles on the ADA’s back.

“Not as tough as yours,” came the mumbled reply.

“I haven’t had to cope with Petrovsky…she mad that she got Elliot and not me?”

“Not sure…she’s being a bit weird…” explained Alex, sitting up and looking into the surprisingly calm gaze of her lover.

“Must be a hell of a headache…” observed Olivia, settling comfortably against the edge of the table.

“Huh?” Alex wasn’t following.

“Bout thirty seconds after I came in, Petrovsky suddenly calls recess for a headache? She must have been really grumpy this morning….”

“She’s not got a headache….” replied Alex automatically, making a half-hearted effort to straighten her papers.

“What do you mean sweetie?” Now Olivia wasn’t following.

“If she had a headache, she’d have thrown Greaves in jail for contempt by now….god he waffles,” explained Alex, before suddenly looking at Olivia in horror.

“What is it?” asked Olivia, concerned.

“When did you say you got here?” she asked, needing the precise answer.

“About thirty seconds before she called recess…that witness was just stepping down….”

“She knows,” interjected Alex determinedly.

“Knows?”

“Knows about us, that there’s something going on…” explained Alex weakly, not sure how to process what she’d just realised.

“How do you figure that?”

“She called the recess when she saw you arrive. She’s been looking at me like I’m wearing odd coloured shoes or something. She knows there’s something going on.”

“Ah…” Olivia wasn’t quite sure what to say. She knew that Alex had hated the fact that she couldn’t come with Olivia to the consultant to get the results of her tests, but it had been hard enough to get Olivia, the star witness, out of court, never mind the prosecutor too. Somehow, Olivia wasn’t in the least bit surprised that the experienced judge had picked up on Alex’s shaken state.

“How’d it go?” asked Alex finally, not exactly wanting to pressure her lover, definitely not wanting to have this conversation in a courtroom, but equally not able to sit in silence.

“Here…” Reaching into her jacket, Olivia pulled out a letter “…he wrote it down, thought it would be easier for me to tell people…” explained Olivia, holding it out to Alex.

From the shadowy corner of the courtroom, Lena watched as Alex opened the paper and read its contents before flinging her arms around Olivia’s neck and kissing her deeply, a kiss which Lena could see Olivia returning with enthusiasm. Deciding her decision had been the right one, Lena slipped back into her chambers and began to scribble a note.

“He’s sure?” asked Alex breathlessly, unable to stop tears falling.

“Positive….I think I scared him,” admitted Olivia sheepishly.

“How?”

“I, um…maybe interrogated him a little bit,” admitted Olivia shyly, only to be pulled into another kiss, a kiss that went on for some time and communicated so much. It was a kiss that spoke of love, of commitment, of passion, of relief, but also of support, loving support.

“Hmph”

Bemused, Olivia reluctantly pulled out of the embrace when she heard the discrete cough from behind her. Suddenly remembering her location, she tried to give Alex some distance as she felt that Petrovsky’s clerk was probably more concerned with talking with Alex rather than her. To her surprise but also delight, Alex seemed unfazed about conducting her conversation with the clerk over Olivia’s shoulder, being reluctant to let go of Olivia.

“Yes?” Smiling, the clerk handed over the note Lena had asked her to give to Alex whilst delivering his official message which he would also be giving to Greaves, but only once Alex Cabot had collected herself and left the courtroom.

“Message from the Judge – her headache’s serious so court is adjourned until 9am tomorrow morning.”

Dazed, Alex thanked him and politely passed on automatic regards for the Judge’s speedy return to continued robust health. As the clerk took his leave, Olivia squeezed Alex’s hand, attracting her attention.

“You’re sure about that headache?” she teased gently, inwardly delighted that, for whatever reason, Alex suddenly had the afternoon off.

“Hmm?” Confused, Alex looked at her lover.

“What does the note say sweetheart?”

“Oh…” blinking, Alex slipped slightly out of Olivia’s embrace so that rather than being pressed up against her lover’s chest she was now leaning into her side, a position that allowed them both to read the note, which, in the Judge’s careful script said,



Alexandra,
I don’t know what is going on but I feel that whatever it is means you require Olivia Benson’s company, as she requires yours, far more this afternoon than the State of New York could ever need Mr Greaves’ advocacy. I trust you already realise that, if I could ever be of assistance, you need only ask.
Best wishes,
Lena


“Wow” was Olivia’s only comment on reaching the end of the note. Not quite sure what to say, the Judge’s kindness being the final straw on the camel’s back that was her emotions right now, Alex found herself resorting to sarcasm in order to stop herself from breaking down completely.

“Told you she didn’t have a headache.”

“She’s right though,” observed Olivia, ignoring the comment, recognising it was Alex’s method of maintaining her composure.

“About what?”

“About me requiring your company this afternoon far more than the State of New York ever could,” observed Olivia playfully, reaching around past Alex to start shoving papers into some sort of pile ready for stuffing into a briefcase.

“Ah, about that,” stated Alex, rapidly returning to an even keel, at least long enough to get out of the court house.

“Yes Counsellor?”

“Play hooky with me?”

“Always…” and, with a light kiss on the nose as confirmation of her promise, Olivia began to help her lover clear away her papers. They had places they could be, and the courtroom really wasn’t one of them…





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