Disclaimers: I have intended no copyright infringement in the writing of this fan fiction story that contains characters found in the television show Law and Order: SVU. This story cannot be sold or used for profit, and I have not financially profited from it in any way. Copies of this story may be made for private use, and copies must include all disclaimers and copyright notices.
The following story is fictional and does not contain any actual person or event.
Content Warning: This story contains non-graphic references to sexual assault and violence. It is SVU, after all.
Summary: A politically-charged case threatens to bring Olivia and Alex's feelings for each other to the surface.
by Annazon Fox (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Everyone in the office turned and stared at me. I couldn't
believe I had said it either. Damn. I had said damn out loud.
Elliot gave me a crooked smile and turned back toward Alex, the object of my expletive.
I shrugged at the others and looked down, suddenly interested in my cup of coffee.
"Who are you dressed to impress, counselor?" Elliot asked her.
I sipped my coffee and snuck another peak. Tailored suit jacket, short black skirt, heels. The luncheon was today. As the keynote speaker, she would be receiving an award. Still, it wouldn't be like her to brag.
"Watch it Stabler, women have gone to the EEOC for less than that," Alex said.
Elliot rolled his eyes while Munch and Fin chuckled. Still, they watched her backside as she approached me.
"Hey Liv," she said.
"Alex," I answered with a nod, crossing my arms. "What's up?"
"Do you have plans for lunch?"
I looked down, feeling my heart begin to race. Quickly, I looked back up.
"Look, it's this thing I have today..."
She was the DA's advocate of the year.
"Your award?" I said, eyebrows raised.
"Yeah. Would you like to come? I have an extra seat at my table..."
"I know, a fancy lunch at a table full of DAs isn't nearly as exciting as a burger in the squad car with Stabler, but..." Alex smiled.
She wanted me there. I swallowed.
"Great," she said. "Meet me at 11:30?"
"I'll let you know if anything comes up."
She nodded before turning and walking away.
"Male victim, early 50's," Warner told Elliot and me as we arrived at the scene of the crime.
"Cause of death?" Elliot asked.
"Trauma to the head."
I looked at the body lying on the ground. The middle-aged man had been slightly bald and was wearing a suit.
"Perhaps," Warner said. "Traces of semen and blood were found on the penis. I'll know more at the lab," she continued, holding specimen bags.
"Could have been a victim or a perp..." I said, turning to Elliot.
"Or both," he nodded.
"Any ID on the guy?"
Warner stopped taking samples from the man and stood up, nodding.
"Yeah," she said. "That's where things get interesting."
"Yeah?" I said.
"He still had his wallet-"
"Unusual for a robbery," I said.
Warner nodded and then continued, "In it were his Texas driver's license and a hotel key card.The name's Ned Peters."
"Peters... why does that sound familiar?"
"You may have seen him on the news. He and his followers travel around the country protesting abortion clinics, gay pride parades, and films that promote 'immoral social values.'"
I nodded. Ah yes.
"The holy trinity," I said. "I've seen him interviewed."
"A family values man with his pants down in an alley in New York City," Elliot asked. "Hardly a first."
"Remember when I said this is where things get interesting?" Warner asked.
Elliot and I nodded.
"Follow me," she continued.
We walked to the front of the brick building. The building was a small storefront, easy to miss. It had beer signs in the windows, but the shades were closed. In the daylight, it looked grimy and somewhat abandoned. Warner pointed upward to a shabby sign that tossing back and forth in the wind.
"The Piston," Elliot read, with mild amusement.
On the sign was a picture of a metal piston, gripped by a distinctly male hand, entering a cylinder.
"Subtle," I said.
"Hey," I said into Alex's voicemail. "It's Olivia. I... Something's come up. It's a case that's going to explode in the media. I can't make lunch. Let's talk later, though. I... I'm sorry." From my seat in the car, I saw Elliot approach with our sandwiches. "I have to go." I closed my cell phone.
"Who was that?"
"No one," I said, as he handed me my lunch.
We ate silently in the car while Elliot drove.
"You're quiet," Elliot said.
Elliot looked out the window and then back to the road.
"Liv... if you want off the case, we can talk to Cragen..."
I turned to him.
"Why would I want off the case?"
"...You know..." he said.
"If it's hard for you."
"Elliot, all of our cases are hard."
"I know," Elliot said. "This one could get... invasive."
I looked away.
"Liv, the mentality that these people have. If you're not one of them, they think you're biased."
"Elliot, this man is a potential victim of a sex-based crime. I'm not going to treat him differently because of his political views."
"I know that. They don't."
Elliot drove the car into the hotel parking lot, keeping his eyes fixed on the road.
"Let's go," I said, after he parked the car.
We walked through the lobby in silence.
"NYPD," Elliot said, as we flashed our badges to the front desk worker. "We need some information about one of your customers."
While Elliot talked with the hotel worker, I surveyed the hotel. It was relatively busy for mid-morning in the middle of the week. I noticed a placard on an easel in front of a nearby conference room. "Taking Back Our Nation," it read, and listed workshops throughout the day. Among the sessions were titles such as "Effectively countering the homosexual agenda," "Christian laws for a Christian nation," and "Homosexuality first, pedophilia, bestiablity, and incest next."
Elliot walked up next to me.
"He was here with his wife," he said.
I nodded toward the easel.
"Apparently, it's a family reunion," I said.
"Let's go, we need to talk to her."
We went to the 5th floor and knocked on the Peters' door.
A middle-aged woman opened the door, smiling.
"Eleanor Peters?" Elliot said.
"I'm Detective Olivia Benson and this is Detective Elliot Stabler from the New York Special Victims Unit. It's your husband, Ted," I said. "I'm very sorry. But we found him this morning. He's dead."
Her eyes widened and she covered her mouth. She moved aside, letting Elliot and me into her room.
"They're calling this a frame job. A hate crime," Cragen said, holding up a newspaper the next morning.
I read the headline aloud, "Activist Murdered in Alleged Anti-Christian Hate Crime."
"A hate crime?" Elliot said.
"What exactly did you tell Mrs. Peters?" Cragen demanded.
"The truth," Elliot said. "That we found him in alley with severe head trauma, behind a gay bar."
"We can't rule it out," I said. "A hate crime."
Elliot and Cragen gave me a look.
"I suppose not," Cragen said.
"Oh, come on," Elliot said, raising his voice. "It's a classic case of prostitution gone awry. This one just happens to have involved a socially conservative activist. Besides, aren't all murders based in hate?"
"Some murders are intended to send a message to certain groups of people," I said. "In this case, possibly, conservative Christians."
"Or," Elliot said. "It's a frame job... intended to defame the homosexual community. They jumped on that hate crime charge awful fast."
"I don't think they call it that anymore...homosexual," I said.
"Alright you two," Cragen said, moving between Elliot and me. "What did the lab say?"
"We don't know yet," Elliot said.
"Well how 'bout instead of playing debate club, you go see Warner at the lab and get some actual facts?"
"The semen we found at the crime scene was his own, the blood on the penis belonged to someone else," Warner said. "A male."
"Any DNA matches in the system?" I asked.
Warner shook her head.
"But take a look at this," she said, scooting the microscope on the table closer to Elliot and me.
Elliot bent down and peered into it.
"What exactly am I looking at?" he said, squinting.
"Red blood cells," Warner said. "Do you notice how some of them look like they've been squashed?"
"Sure," Elliot said, looking uncertain. He stepped away from the microscope, blinking.
"Classic SCA," Warner said. "Sickle cell anemia. A disease affecting primarily people of Sub-Saharan African descent. Given the life expectancy associated with this disease, you're likely looking for an African-American under the age of 50."
"So," Elliot said, "that narrows it down."
"I know," Warner said. "Not much to go on. But it's a start."
"Next stop..." Elliot started.
"The Piston," I said. "Question the regulars."
"Any chance we can put Munch and Fin on that?" he said.
I shook my head as I turned to leave.
"I'll meet you there at 9."
Outside of the coffee shop, I smoothed my brown leather jacket and ran my fingers through my hair. Taking a deep breath, I exhaled and entered.
Alex was already there, sitting at a table, studiously looking at the menu even though she would have already ordered for both of us. When she looked up, she saw me and smiled.
"Detective," she greeted me.
"Alex, hey," I said, sitting down across from her. "I'm sorry about yesterday. Your award. I... wanted to be there."
"I know," she said. She reached toward my hand that was on the table. I instinctively curled my fingers away from her hand, and she drew back.
"My phone's been ringing off the hook," she continued.
"This is already a media circus," I said, "as you know." I nodded toward the newspaper curled in her briefcase.
"Card-carrying members of Family Values Society have been demanding that I prosecute this case as a hate crime."
"We don't even have a suspect yet, do we?"
"No," I said. "Nothing solid."
I nodded to the waitress as she brought our coffee.
After she left, Alex lowered her voice.
"This is going to get ugly," she said. "Right now we have no reason to believe that this was motivated by anti-Christian bias, but it's going to get political on all sides fast."
Alex continued, outlining her analysis of the situation thus far. As she talked, I watched her graceful hands unconsciously adjust her glasses and then smooth the hair behind her head. As she slightly turned her head, I gazed at that delicate spot just above her collarbone.
"Do you want to kiss it?"
"Sorry?" I said, my eyes widening.
"I said did he have kids?" Alex said.
I cleared my throat.
"Yes. Grown. Elliot and I talked to his wife. She was incredibly distraught."
"Because of the death or because her upstanding husband had been leading a double life?" Alex said.
"We don't know that for sure," I said.
Alex gave me a look.
"Liv... When you hear hoofbeats, look for horses. Not zebras."
"Look to the simple explanation first."
"I know that," I said, feeling annoyed.
"I know you do," Alex said. "So why act like this case is different?"
"I'm just saying we shouldn't make assumptions without knowing the facts."
Alex shook her head.
"You really think this is a hate crime?" she asked.
I looked away.
"Well while we're jumping to conclusions, I would suggest that it was a Christian plot to turn Peters into a martyr. They sacrifice him to turn Christians into a class of victims..."
"We shouldn't assume either way," I said.
"No one is assuming anything, Liv. We're just looking at what the facts suggest and right now I don't have enough evidence to prosecute this as a hate crime."
I looked away, and finished the last of my coffee.
"I should get back to the office," I said. I pulled out my wallet and opened it.
"Liv..." Alex said, grabbing my hand. "What's going on?"
"I just don't like it when people assume."
"No one is-... what exactly are we talking about here?"
Her hand on my own was warm and I could feel her searching my eyes. I gave in to her touch for a few seconds as I looked into her kind eyes.
Somehow, I said what I said next.
"Let's not get distracted, okay?"
I pulled my hands away, stood up, and left the table, leaving Alex behind.
From outside of The Piston, I heard the thumping beat of the bass from the jukebox. A small group of men were huddled outside smoking and talking among themselves.
"Are you ready for this?" I asked Elliot as we approached the door.
He nodded, shifting his eyes to the men who were smoking.
"Don't flatter yourself," I said.
"Right," he said, opening the door.
Less than a dozen men were in the bar. They looked at us as we walked in and then went back to their bottles of beer and billiards.
"See, not so scary," I said, patting him on the back.
We approached the bartender.
"NYPD," I said, as we flashed our badges.
"Wondered when you guys would show up," the bartender said.
"We need to ask you some questions," I said.
The bartender nodded toward a man who was sweeping the floor.
"Hey Jimmy, watch the bar for a few," he said, before turning back to us. "Okay, come in back."
We followed him into the small kitchen area behind the bar.
"Stuart McDonnel," he said, extending his hand.
"Detective Olivia Benson," I said. "And this is Detective Stabler. Were you working here last night?"
When Stuart nodded, I pulled a photo of Ned Peters out of my jacket and showed it to him.
"Was this man here?"
"Yep," he said. "He was here. On a Tuesday night, I knew he wasn't a regular right away. Didn't drink though."
"How long was he here?"
"An hour maybe. Not even. Left early, around 9."
"You see who he left with?" I asked.
"Nope," he said.
Elliot and I looked at each other.
"What were you doing around 9?" Elliot said.
"I was working the bar," Stuart said.
"And you have witnesses?"
"And how drunk were they?" Elliot threatened.
"What are you implying?" Stuart said, his face turning red. "Look, I saw the paper. Those bigots are calling it a hate crime..."
"Stuart," I said, moving closer to him. "If you have information, you need to give it to us."
"Or, you can give it to us down at the station," Elliot said.
Stuart exhaled loudly.
"Fine. There were some kids in here last night," he said. "Not regulars, but I'd seen 'em before."
"You let kids in here?" Elliot said.
"Not kids. Early 20s though, three of 'em," Stuart said. "Before this Peters guy got here I overheard 'em talking. They seemed pretty amped up."
"Amped up? How so?" I said.
"Talking about imperialism and capitalism. Stuff like that."
"That seems like an unusual topic of conversation around here," Elliot said, looking at a video screen that was in his line of sight. It was showing one man in a cop uniform having sex with a naked handcuffed man.
"Anyway," Stuart said. "Two of the guys left, but the other one stayed. About 20 minutes later, that Peters guy walked in and met the one that stayed. It was like they planned to meet."
"Alright, what did the guy look like who stayed?" Elliot asked.
"Black guy, early 20s, thin. Maybe 5'6" or 5'7". Not too tall."
"You have a camera in here?" I asked.
"Here?" Stuart laughed. "Hell no. That wouldn't go over well with our more discrete clientele, if you know what I mean."
"Right," I said. "Did this guy pay with a credit card?"
"Cash. Look, if you ask me, they set this up online. I see this all the time. Married guy wants a little sausage action on the side...gets on one of the hundreds of sex-seeking sites on the internet..."
"Hundreds?" Elliot said.
"Hey, you take women out of the game, and men are damn easy. The lesbians are different though. They have sex once and practically move in together the next day. Insert U-haul joke here, am I right?" Stuart said, looking at me.
I turned to Elliot, putting my hands in pockets.
"I think we have everything we need here."
"Right," Elliot said. "Thanks for your help."
"If you can think of anything else, give us a call," I said, handing Stuart my card.
On my way home, I made a call to CSI tech to search Peters' computer for evidence.
"See the papers yet?" Munch asked, first thing when I walked into the office the next morning.
"No. Why?" I said.
"Go see Cragen," he said with a chuckle.
I went to Cragen's office and knocked on his door, which was shut.
"It's Benson," I said.
"Come in," he yelled.
When I entered he had just picked up the phone.
"No comment," he said, and slammed it down.
Immediately, the phone rang again. As he picked it up, I looked at the TV that was muted in the corner. Peters' photo was on the screen. Cragen gestured to the newspaper sitting on his desk.
I picked it up. "Peters' Detective and Prosecutor Biased, Says Values Group," read the headline. On the front page was a photo of Alex and me sitting together in the coffee shop yesterday. The caption read, "Alleged lovers, NYPD Detective Olivia Benson and ADA Alexandra Cabot," above.
"Jesus," I said, throwing it down.
Cragen hung up the phone and raised his eyebrows, waiting for me to speak.
"I have lunch almost everyday with Elliot and no one has ever suggested that he and I are lovers. Yet I grab coffee with a female ADA and suddenly... "
I shook my head.
Cragen remained silent.
"Nothing is going on," I said.
"That's none of my concern or business," he said.
"Yeah, but nothing is-"
"Look. This is New York City, not the Bible Belt. If they think they can try this sort of case in the media, bully my detectives, they're wrong."
I looked away.
"We're going to issue a statement," Cragen said.
"That we have no evidence to suggest that you will investigate this case with anything other than utmost professionalism and objectivity. Same with ADA Cabot as far as the prosecution goes."
"And that's the truth, but it sounds like a sound bite," I said.
"Moving on," Cragen said. "What did you and Stabler find yesterday?"
"More complications," I said. "We can't rule out a conspiracy to commit some sort of...anti-Christian hate crime."
"On what grounds?"
"After questioning the bartender at The Piston, we have reason to believe that Peters and the man who might have killed him met on the internet. If both men were just out for sex, what explains Peters winding up dead?"
"A lot of things, Liv," he said. "You know that."
"Shh," Cragen said, picking up the TV remote sitting on his desk. He turned the sound on and immediately, I heard a newscaster's voice.
Turning to look at the television, I saw a man on the screen following Alex out of the courthouse with a microphone. A crowd of a hundred or so was gathered in front of the building, holding protest signs and crosses.
"Is it true that you're planning to charge a person of interest with an anti-Christian hate crime?" the newsman asked.
"It would be premature to make that call at this point," Alex said, looking directly at the camera. She continued walking, trying to push through the media and protesting mob.
"Ms. Cabot can you address the allegations regarding a sexual relationship between you and Detective Benson?"
She stopped, turned abruptly, and addressed the newsman.
"I have no further comment on a pending investigation, and I certainly will not comment on a matter that is not germane to that investigation," Alex said. "Excuse me," she said,turning and pushing through the unruly crowd.
"Jesus," I whispered. "Do we have security detail on her?"
"We're on it," Cragen said, muting the television. "Now get back to work, Detective."
After leaving Cragen's office, I went to find Elliot. He was at his desk, talking on his phone and taking notes.
"Uh-huh," he was saying. "Yeah. Got it."
He hung up the phone and looked at me.
"You okay?" he asked.
Other than today's front page? I crossed my arms.
"Yeah," I said. "Did we get anything from Peters' computer?"
"Peters erased his internet browser history but apparently did a pretty amateur job of it. CSI was able to recover some information."
"We have a chat transcript between a user of Peters' computer and someone going by the name of RedBill88. They definitely set up a rendezvous at The Piston on Tuesday night. For money."
"Do we have an IP address for RedBill88? Anything that would identify him?"
"CSI is working on that," Elliot said. "It might be quicker to get a warrant and go directly to Manhole.com."
"The, um...sex-seeking site."
"Right," I said. "They would have the login and credit card information for RedBill88."
"Yeah, but I have a feeling they're going to want to fiercely guard the identity of their clients. Remember last night at the bar?"
"I agree. They're going to fight this as far as they have to..."
"We need to see Cabot. Talk about our options," Elliot said.
I nodded, my stomach dropping in anticipation.
"Let's go," I said.
"Then arrest the CEO of Manhole," Alex said, without looking up from her laptop.
Elliot and I looked at each other. We were in her office, sitting in the two chairs in front of her desk.
"For...?" Elliot said, raising his eyebrows at Alex.
"Are providers of online dating sites really responsible for people using their sites illegally?" Elliot asked.
"It's an unsettled area of law," Alex said, taking off her glasses. "Look, getting a warrant to search Manhole's database isn't a problem. Getting them to comply is. They would be charged with contempt, but threatening to arrest them on prostitution charges might make them..."
"More cooperative," I finished.
"Yes, more quickly," Alex said, looking at me. "RedBill88 could be on his way to Canada by now. Finding this out fast is a priority. Don't you agree?"
I looked away, before speaking again.
"Is this really the best time for a test case on the internet sex trade?"
"Since when have you ever been opposed to cracking down on that industry?" Alex said. "Or, let's cut to the chase here, are you concerned about the publicity this case has already garnered?"
I looked at her, surprised she went there.
"I'm doing what I have to do to help you solve this case, Detective," she continued. "It's legal strategy. Something well within my job description and public duty, to be frank."
"I-" I began.
"A man ended up dead after paying for sex with a man he met online," she continued, standing up and raising her voice. "Let's not lose sight of that over tangential distractions."
"What are you implying, Counselor?" I said, raising my voice and standing up.
"I, uh, will get Munch and Fin on Manhole, then..." Elliot said, stepping back. He stepped out of the room, quietly shutting the door behind him.
"Solving this case is my- our- first priority," Alex said. "I will not let the press, advocacy groups, or anyone else undermine the best strategy for doing that. I read the papers too. Get over it Olivia. I already have."
Before I could respond, the phone in her office rang. When she picked it up, I turned, ready to storm out of the room.
"Who is this?" Alex said. Her voice cracked on the last word, and I turned.
She caught my eye, and put up a finger, silently telling me to wait. Pressing the speakerphone button, she put her other finger to her lips.
The deep, muffled voice of a man filled the office.
"You are an abomination," said the voice.
I stopped in my tracks and looked at Alex. Her eyes steeled over.
"What you need is a good rape in the dead of night," the voice continued.
After a few seconds of heavy breathing, the line went dead.
Instead of leaving her office, I walked to Alex, who was still standing behind her desk.
"Well," she said blankly, sitting down in her chair. "That's an interesting take on what is and isn't abominable."
Moving behind her, I put a hand on her shoulder.
"I'm sorry you had to hear that," I said. My hand still touching her, I closed my eyes. "I'm sorry... for everything."
Her hand reached up, resting on mine. She leaned her head back into my stomach. I didn't move away.
"Olivia," she said. "You're always so strong for other people. When are you going to be strong for yourself?"
I opened my eyes. Her desk was meticulous as usual, her bookshelves were filled with law volumes and legal journals. Although she had won numerous awards, she instead hung art on her walls. Her desk, like mine, was devoid of family pictures.
"You shouldn't be alone," I said.
"I'll stay with you tonight," I said. "On your couch. We have to treat all threats as credible."
"Everything okay?" Elliot asked, in the car.
"It's fine," I said. "I'm just glad the arrest threat worked."
"Kudos to Munch and Fin."
I nodded. They had gotten us a name and billing address for RedBill88's account from Manhole. They were currently on surveillance at the address.
"Alex got a threat when I was in her office," I said.
"What kind of threat?"
"She alone now?"
"No," I said.
"Good," he said.
"I just don't understand... they're supposed to be Christians."
"Maybe they're not as Christian as they think they are," Elliot said. "Don't let them give all of us a bad name."
We pulled up to the address that Manhole gave us and parked across the street. It was a rather large two-story house. On the front door was a sign with some sort of symbol on it.
My cell phone rang, it was Munch.
"This is Benson," I said.
"Hey, we're down the street," he said, from his surveillance point.
I had already spotted them in the unmarked van.
"Yeah," I said. "I know. Anything going on here?"
"People have been coming and going for the past couple of hours. No sign of a suspect fitting the description of RedBill88, though."
"Well...you should have some additional information before you go in. See that symbol on the door?"
"The A with a circle around it means anarchy. The upside-down triangle is a gay thing. Looks like a gay anarchist collective to me. They're not big fans of the state."
"You're the state."
"Most people aren't big fans of us showing up and arresting them, Munch. But thanks," I said, hanging up the phone.
Elliot and I got out of the car and walked up to the front door of the house. Before we could knock, a young woman with pink streaks in her hair opened the door and looked at us with disinterest.
"NYPD," I said, showing my badge. "We're looking for Wilburn Johnson."
"Surprise," she said. "The government showing up looking for a black man."
"Is he here or not? We have a warrant to come inside," Elliot said.
The woman flung the door open and walked away, announcing, "Hey everybody, we have guests."
On guard, but with our weapons holstered, we walked through the door. To our left, were some early 20-somethings sitting on a couch. One of them was strumming a guitar. On one wall was a poster of Che Guevara. Next to that was a sign reading "What would Emma do?" They stopped talking and laughing and looked at us when we walked in.
"You gonna help us out here, or do you want us to search the place?" Elliot said, sniffing. It smelled of incense. "Where's Wilburn?"
The woman ignored him and looked at me.
"We don't recognize the racist, oppressive, prison-industrialist US government's jurisdiction over us."
"Well," Elliot said sharply, "It recognizes you."
I shot him a look. Sometimes he seemed to enjoy the bad cop routine a little too much.
"You folks have a problem with Ted Peters? Because we could bring you all down to the station."
"I'm an attorney," the woman said, continuing to look at me. She threw her thumb in Elliot's direction and said, "His threats don't scare me. I know our rights."
"There's no right to harbor a criminal," Elliot said, raising his voice. "The New York State Bar might have something to say about that."
"I have no knowledge of what Wilburn has or has not done," she said, finally looking at Elliot.
Other people were starting to come out of rooms in the house. I thought I heard whispers of "fascists" and "pigs."
"But you know where he is, don't you?"
"Probably," I said, placing a hand on Elliot's arm. "And she's going to tell us, right?" I looked at the woman.
"She?" the woman said, raising her voice.
I looked at her, my eyebrows furrowed.
"I exist beyond the gender binary and do not use gendered pronouns-"
"Oh for the love-" Elliot began.
"Sam," said a voice. "It's okay. I'll go with them. I don't want to hide. I don't want to drag the group into this anymore."
A slight man came out of one of the rooms and addressed Elliot and me.
"I'm Wilburn Johnson," he said.
Elliot and I looked at each other, before snapping into action.
"Okay, then. Wilburn Johnson, you're under arrest for the murder of Ted Peters," Elliot said, pulling outhis handcuffs. "You have the right to remain silent..."
"Don't say anything, Bill," a man yelled.
"Just do what I said, okay?" he told the man, before giving us his wrists.
Elliot continued reading him his rights as we walked him out the door.
Before leaving the house, I addressed pink hair.
"Thanks for your help."
"Assimilationist," the pink-haired person muttered, before slamming the door shut.
Knocking on Alex's apartment door, I drew in a breath. I heard footsteps and then the shuffling of somebody looking through the peephole. When the door opened, I saw that it was Fin.
"The press follow you here, lover?" he said, grinning.
"Very funny," I said. "But no."
I had made sure of that.
"She's been getting emails," he said, turning serious. "Not good."
"Actually," he said, whispering. "People on all sides of this case. Some calling her a, and I quote 'instrument of racism and homophobia,' and others calling her a..."
"Some variation of 'abomination'?"
"More or less," he said, stepping into the hallway outside Alex's apartment.
"Jesus," I said.
"Now he hasn't chimed in here, actually," he said.
"Right," I said. "Thanks. I'll take it from here."
He nodded, and before leaving he turned back to me.
"You're packing right?"
"Yeah," I said. "Of course."
My hand instinctively went to the outside of my coat, outlining my gun.
"Good," he said, before leaving.
I took a deep breath and gave a courtesy knock on Alex's front door before I walked in. I had only been here a few times and this time, as I did each time before, I took in precious bits and pieces of her life outside of work. Like her office, her living room was austere, tidy, and studious. Books lined bookshelves. A large, framed map hung on a wall. A medium-sized flat screen television was in the corner, sort of as an afterthought. A fireplace, whether functional or not, was the center of focus of the room. A half-full bottle of water sat on the coffee table, in front of an inviting sofa. The lights were dim, but bright enough to read by.
Alex emerged from another room, possibly her home office, wearing flannel pajama pants, a tank top, and her black glasses. Her long hair framed her face.
I smiled. Even though it was past 9 o'clock, she had likely been working on the case. Like me.
"Hey" I said.
"Hey," she said, sitting on the sofa. "Thank you. For being here."
"How are you?" I unfolded my arms, put my hands in pockets and walked to the other edge of the sofa, without sitting down.
"I knew what I signed up for with this job," she said.
"Yeah," I said. "But you're human. It's okay to be scared."
Still standing, I looked at the sofa.
"Liv, sit," she said. "It's going to be a long night if you stand the whole time."
Feeling her eyes on me, I draped my jacket over the back of the couch and sat at the end opposite of her.
"I am scared, Olivia. But I feel safer. With you."
She shifted her position on the couch, so that although she was still far from me, she was now facing me. She had drawn one leg up, while the other rested on the floor.
"What did you think of his attorney? Wilburn's..." I said.
"She knows her stuff. He's not talking, but I think we have enough evidence to charge him anyway."
"The hate crime angle seems to be more plausible," I said.
"Maybe..." she said.
"You seem hesitant," I said. "I was there, Alex. In that collective. They hate people like Peters."
"Liv," she said. "Those kids are pretty justified in being angry. But being rebellious and edgy doesn't automatically equate with coming up with violent conspiracies."
"Why are you giving them the benefit of the doubt here?" I said, my voice rising.
"Why are you not?" she said, her tone matching my own. "Peters went to that alley seeking sex with a man."
"And?" I said. "That Peters was a hypocrite doesn't justify murdering him."
"Jesus," she said, standing up. "That's not what I meant."
She walked to her fireplace, shaking her head. She then began laughing, angry.
"I'm sorry...?" I said, standing. "I miss something?"
Alex removed her glasses and placed them on the mantle of her fireplace. Her blue eyes were shiny, as though tears had welled up.
She walked toward the kitchen. My eyes followed her, traveling from her blond hair to her backside. When she left the room, I put my elbows on the mantle of the fireplace and put head in my hands.
"Damn it," I whispered.
"Can I get you some wine, Detective?" she said from the other room, that angry tone still in her voice. "Oh, of course not. You're on duty."
I heard her swing open a cabinet, throw open a drawer, and shuffle through silverware searching for a wine opener. Rising from the sofa, heart pounding, I stormed into the kitchen.
"I'm here to do my job," I said. "Maybe you would prefer someone else here."
Her back was to me, her arms straining to remove the cork from a bottle of wine.
She turned on me and spoke, abruptly.
"When are you going to meet me halfway, Olivia Benson?"
I searched for an answer. Something. Anything.
When I didn't find it, she turned twisting and twisting the cork of the bottle.
"Let me help..." I said. Approaching her from behind, I reached out and covered her struggling hands. She jumped slightly upon contact, but then let me guide her hands to the table so she could release the bottle. Her skin was warm and smooth. This close to her, I could smell her clean, subtle scent. Our bodies side-by-side, our hands remained connected, on the table. We briefly made eye contact, before she released the bottle and turned away from me.
"Alex," I whispered. I turned toward her and put my arms around her.
Her body stiff at first, she quickly relaxed into me.
My mouth inches from the back of her neck. I was certain that if I swallowed, my throat would make an audible gulp. I was sure she could feel my heart pounding. I felt frozen.
Twisting her body with surprising strength she turned herself around so that she was facing me. I wasn't sure whether to put my arms around her, so I held them loosely around her waist.
Taking hold of my wrists, she slowly but firmly backed me into her kitchen wall. She drew her body slightly away from mine, but kept hold of my wrists, holding them at my waist. She brought her face close to mine, inches from my lips.
I closed my eyes, giving in to the contact.
But, it didn't come.
"Aside from outright telling you," she whispered, "that I am in love with you, what do I have to do to get you all over me?"
She pressed into me, then, daring me to kiss her. Her tank top was flimsier than it looked, and I could feel her curves through it. I easily twisted my wrists out of her grip and grabbed her waist. Pushing her back toward the kitchen bar, I lifted her slightly so she was sitting on it and I was standing between her legs.
"Alex," I said softly. I moved into as if to kiss her mouth, what she clearly wanted, but went to her ear at the last second, whispering, "I'm a walking stereotype."
"Damn it, Benson," Alex whispered. "Is that your hang-up?"
"Reputations matter in this line of work," I whispered. I moved in to kiss her, but she leaned back, putting a hand to the middle of my chest.
"Liv, nobody cares."
My hands had snuck underneath her tank top, and began caressing the bare skin at her waist. I heard her exhale. Emboldened, I drew her to me.
"And," I continued. "Women have gone to the EEOC for less than this."
"I'm not complaining," Alex said, softly kissing my neck. "Are you?"
"No," I said, tilting my head back slightly. Her words echoed in my head.
"But... people do care. Like the ones threatening you."
She whispered in my ear.
"I've been with women long before this case. It's never been an issue before."
My hands stopped.
"Yeah," she said, she kissed my cheek and then nipped my ear lobe. "It doesn't come up a lot."
"I mean...a lot of women?"
"I plead the Fifth on that," she said, a smile forming at her lips. She kissed the corner of my mouth. I turned to kiss her lips more fully but she pulled away, talking. "I don't broadcast it, but I don't hide it either."
Which women? When?
Moving my hands from her waist, I moved them to her face.
"This could make things awkward... at work..." I whispered.
"Stop talking yourself out of this, Detective," she said. "And kiss me."
Closing my eyes, I inched forward. Suddenly, I heard my phone ring from the living room.
We both stopped, snapping our eyes open. The case. I looked away, exhaling with frustration.
"Damn it," I said.
My phone kept ringing.
"You better get that," Alex said.
"Damn it," I repeated. I pulled myself away from her and walked into the living room, pulling my phone out of my jacket.
"It's Stabler," I told Alex, opening it. "This is Benson, you have news?"
"Olivia. Turn on the TV," Elliot said.
"What is it?" I said, dreading his response.
Alex was in the living room doorway, eyebrows furrowed.
"Trust me, Liv," he insisted. "You don't want to miss this."
He sounded almost excited.
"Alex," I said. "The news..."
She nodded, walking to the television and clicking it on. Immediately, we heard the report.
"And that was the startling development in the Ned Peters' case. We just showed what blogger London Franz has posted. What he claims is the video of Peters' last moments."
"What?" I said. "Alex. Your laptop. Elliot, is this for real?"
"Go to the site, Liv. We think it's legit, but CSI is on it to make sure."
Alex returned to the living room with her computer.
"What's the site, Elliot?"
"They said London Franz," Alex said. "That popular gay gossip blogger."
I shrugged, while Alex opened her computer. We sat next to each other on the sofa, waiting for the site to load. I put my arm around her and she leaned into me.
"It's getting pretty heavy traffic right now," Elliot said. "But let me fill you in. While you've been babysitting our ADA, Wilburn started talking. Everything he says coincides with this..."
"Okay, it's loaded," I said.
On the website, a video frame came into play. It began as an interview with Wilburn Stevens, who appeared on camera sitting on a stool.
"Bill, tell us. Why are you doing this?" an off-camera voice said.
"Because we're tired of hypocrites bashing queers. Anti-gay activist Ned Peters pays for sex with men in every city he preaches in, and tonight we're going to prove it."
"How are you going to do that?"
"We've arranged a sexual encounter with Peters," Wilburn said. He then showed a small camera. "And this nanny-cam is going to record him ready and willing to pay for sex."
The video cut to a dark bar. In view were Wilburn and Peters, talking.
"$50, like we agreed earlier," Wilburn could be heard saying. "Blow job."
Peters looked around, coughing.
"Fine. No condom though."
The two men left the bar together. The camera appeared to have been in a messenger-type back that Wilburn was wearing, showing where they were walking to. Once they made it to a corner of the alley, Wilburn turned to Peters. The older man looked around and began unbuckling his belt and unzipping his fly.
Wilburn removed the bag from over his shoulder, and gently placed it on the ground. As he did so, the camera seemed to be shaking, as though Wilburn were nervous. Once it was steady on the ground, Peters could be seen standing with his penis in his hand, licking his lips.
As Wilburn walked toward Peters, his foot must have caught the strap of his bag. Wilburn could be heard cursing while the picture on the television turned sideways. The other side of the alley was in view, rather than Wilburn and Peters.
I began to get a sick feeling in my stomach. I put an arm around Alex.
"Alex, this isn't..." I began, warning her.
"Going to end well?" she said, leaning in to me. "I know."
Wilburn must have picked the bag up and righted it, as the view on the screen became fixed on Peters once again.
I swallowed a lump in my throat. Undercover work was dangerous. It required training.
Peters, still exposed, looked at the bag then. On screen, he seemed to be looking at us.
"What's in that bag?" he asked.
Wilburn started, picking it up.
"What the hell is this?" Peters said, angry. His hand could be seen reaching toward the camera. Although older, Peters had Wilburn by at least 50 pounds.
"No!" Wilburn could be heard shouting.
The image on the screen became jumbled, as though the bag were spinning through the air. A cracking noise could be heard, as though the bag hit a wall, and then seemed to slide to the ground. Miraculously, Wilburn and Peters came into view again, although sideways. When they could be seen again, Peters had his hands around Wilburn's neck, choking him.
"No..." I whispered, as Wilburn seemed to lose consciousness.
Peters removed Wilburn's pants and began trying to sexually assault him.
Alex looked away. I muted the computer and pulled her closer to me.
A few minutes later, Wilburn regained consciousness and began struggling with Peters.
"Alex..." I said.
She turned, and began watching the video again.
Wilburn's hand found some object off-screen. His hand came into view, wielding what looked like a brick, and slammed it into Stevens' head. With a groan, Peters dropped like dead weight.
Stumbling toward his bag, brick in hand, Wilburn turned the camera off and the screen went blank.
"Shit," I whispered, dropping my phone.
Alex and I sat in silence for a minute.
"That," Alex said, finally. "Was intense."
My heart was pounding, with alternating feelings of rage, disgust, surprise. I remembered Wilburn's command to his friend when we were taking him away.
"He..." I said. "Wilburn... wanted that posted for the world to see..."
"Even though it showed Peters sexually assaulting him," Alex said, shaking her head.
"And him killing someone."
"In self-defense," Alex said. "My thoughts about this undercover conspiracy to entrap Peters aside, Wilburn was acting in obvious self-defense."
"Entrapment" I said. "That's not a crime though..."
"It's not," Alex said. "Entrapment is a defense, and can only be used against those acting on behalf of the state."
"Which these folks definitely weren't."
"No. But he could still be charged with interfering with a criminal investigation. With prostitution..."
"Alex..." I said. "He was a victim of sexual assault."
"This just doesn't sit well with me, Liv. These people did something really dangerous."
"And his reluctance to come forward is completely understandable. A black gay man killing a white conservative Christian icon? And that anti-gay group crying hate crime immediately..."
"I'll have to think about it," she said. "I'll talk to his attorney tomorrow. If this video's legit, murder charges will be dropped. Honestly, Liv, I have to seriously consider other charges. But I am willing to make a deal with his attorney."
"Liv, this is my call," Alex said, putting a finger to my lips. "Tomorrow, okay?"
Taking her finger away, she replaced it with her lips, giving me a simple, perfect kiss.
Oh yeah. That.
I didn't think much of anything could make me forget Wilburn's case or the events of the past two days. But when Alex Cabot kissed me, I thought of nothing but the desire, deep within me that I had kept quiet for so many years. Tasting her, I deepened the kiss, using my hands to pick up her laptop and place it on the coffee table, closing it.
Once that was secure, I gently pushed Alex back, so she was lying on the sofa with me on top of her. She wrapped a leg around me, pulling me to her.
Supporting myself with one arm, I contemplated the draw-string of her pants. Later, I thought, slipping a hand up her shirt instead. I wanted more of her and wanted it faster, but this was big.
Alex was kissing my neck, urging me on.
Had never done this before.
"You're doing fine," she whispered.
I already knew that, from her moans, but actually doing this was so much more intense than all of the times I had imagined it. I had to take my time. Be patient.
"Hey, hello? Hellooooo," came a small voice from my cell phone on the floor.
Alex and I stopped and looked at each other, wide-eyed. I smiled, picking up the phone.
"Elliot," I said. "We'll talk tomorrow, 'kay?"
I clicked my phone shut and let it drop to the floor.
When, I turned back toward Alex, she was staring up at me smiling. Moving back on top of her, I smiled, leaning in to kiss her.
xxx The End xxx
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