AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the fanfic world, there are some really good stories and, well, then there are mine. With any luck, the fanfic police will send a fanfic detective resembling Olivia Benson to investigate my heinous writing crimes and a fanfic ADA resembling Casey Novak will prosecute me into submission.

Whoa, hold it. Actually, I need to amend that a little. While they are in this story, along with lots of your other favorites, they aren’t really the stars of this one. Let’s try it again, shall we?

<.cough, cough.>

In the fanfic world... there are some really good stories (I can point them out to you if you ask nicely) and then there are mine. And mine are just so incredibly _______ (since you are still with me after the other three stories you get the one time good deal offer of choosing your own word to put in there. Whoo hoo, what a deal - let me know what you pick, ‘k?) that we are moving straight to trial. The fanfic justice department will be sending in the “A” team... Abbie Carmichael and Alexandra Cabot. Hmmmmmmm, the strut and the glasses of justice.

Whoo, is it hot in here?


Anywho... these are my latest crimes. You have been warned. <.g.>

This is story number four in the series. THE LAST ONE. No applause is necessary... really. This one actually follows immediately after the last one (MISchief) and should answer all your burning questions... well, except for why did she write these stories to start with. That you would have to ask my beta, she’s the one that was nagg... umm begging for them. Now after reading all four, she is begging me to stop.

I'm holding out for a cash offer. <.eg.>

WARNING: This story contains a couple of “awwww” moments. The first was totally unintentional. This is a freakin’ comedy for goodness sake. My beta flipped over it and requested, quite forcefully, the second one. <.sigh.> Two in two hundred pages... I guess I can live with ’em.

ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.


(story 4 in the Miscommunication Series aka It Sucks To Be You Series)

Feedback…it does a bardie good:

Cabot Residence
4 months later-February 14, Wednesday, Valentine’s Day 6:20pm


Alex Cabot walked hurriedly out of her bedroom still fussing with one earring. “I’m coming,” she yelled at the door.


She reached for the knob and pulled the door open. “I said I was coming,” she said breathlessly.

“Just what I like to hear... and breathlessly too.” The voice came from a face behind a shield of a bouquet of roses. “Could you add an ‘ooh Abbie’ to it?” The speaker was leaning casually on the door frame.

Alex put her hands on her hips and smiled indulgently. “Carmichael.”

Abbie lowered the bouquet a bit and winked. “Cabot.” She offered it to the blonde.

They both broke out in laughter. Alex took the flowers and brought them to her nose. She closed her eyes while she inhaled their fragrance. When they reopened, she found a pair of brown ones at close range, staring intently at her.

“Thank you.” Alex pecked Abbie nose. Then turned to go back in the apartment. “Let me put these in water.”

“Wait a doggone minute....” Abbie caught up to Alex and snaked her hands around the blonde’s waist. She pulled her back against her body. Leaning in toward her ear she whispered. “I haven’t seen you for weeks and that little kiss is the best you got?” Alex tilted her head and Abbie took advantage and kissed her neck.

Alex turned in Abbie’s arms. Her own circled behind Abbie’s back.
She leaned in for a proper kiss. When the kiss broke Abbie wrapped her in a big hug. Abbie’s hands moved to the back of Alex’s pants and she started to pull the garment away from the Bureau Chief’s body. She looked down over Alex’s shoulder.

“Hey!” Alex backed up out of the embrace and slapped at Abbie’s hands. “Stop that.”

“But Al-lie....” Abbie whined. “We have been dating for months now. When are you going to let me see the tattoo?”

“We have not been dating for months,” Alex disagreed.

“Sure we have.”

“No we haven’t. Stalking and dating is not the same thing.”

“I wasn’t stalking. I was charming my way into your heart.” Abbie started alternating between pinching and tickling Alex’s body in various places.

Alex snorted as much from the explanation as from the tickling. The blonde mock struggled and at one point whacked Abbie on the shoulder with the bouquet. Finally, she just wrapped Abbie up in an embrace to pin her arms down. This time she thoroughly kissed her.

“You,” she poked Abbie on the nose, “have a one track mind.”

“I prefer focused... and your point is?” She reached again for Alex’s ass.

Alex moved out of her reach and again slapped at the roaming hand. “You are a very bad girl.”

“And you just love bad girls, doncha?” She lowered her sunglasses down her nose and looked over the top. Abbie assumed what she hoped would be a tough, cool looking stance. “Again, your point is?”

Alex laughed. “I shouldn’t encourage you by laughing but you are just too damned cute.” She kissed Abbie gently and then looped arms with her as they continued walking through the apartment.

“Oh, encourage me, encourage me.” Abbie grinned and bumped hips with Alex. “Y’know, I still have a few ideas left in my ‘win Cabot over with pure Carmichael charm’ arsenal....”


Bureau Chief’s Office
October 17, Tuesday 9:30am

Alex Cabot stood behind her desk, bent slightly over with her weight on her hands. She was perusing the latest case files, flipping through some of the pages. Her face held no expression, considering how disgusted she was with the contents of those files. Hearing a knock on her door, she straightened up, grimacing as the movement pulled on her sensitive skin. She tossed her glasses on her desk and looked toward the closed door.

“Come in.”

“Ms. Cabot, a messenger just delivered this.” She placed the item on the desk in front of Alex.

“Thank you, Melissa. Could you send Ms. Rossi in here when she comes back from the arraignment?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Alex waited for the door to close and then pulled the box towards her. She picked it up. It’s really light. Alex shrugged, then shook it. She heard nothing move inside. She held it to her ear. Well, it isn’t ticking. She grinned. So it can’t be from Jim.

Alex looked over the box for a return address and found none. Her brow scrunched partly in concern and partly in intrigue. Well.... Alex pulled a pair of scissors from her desk drawer and commenced with opening the box. Inside she found a mound of pink tissue paper. She moved the tissue paper aside and then stopped. Alex closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Shaking her head in disbelief she pulled the item out of the box.

Setting the item aside for a moment, she rummaged back around in the box. She found a simple note card at the bottom. She put her glasses back on.

Allie... (it said)
Got a pain in the ass? Want me to kiss it and make it better?

Alex bit her lip trying not to laugh. The pillow was pink satin and had an appliqué of big red lips on it. She rubbed it on her cheek. Oooh, soft. She pulled out her desk chair, dropped it on the seat and gingerly sat down. Finally. I was not looking forward to standing up for the next few days. How sweet. She mentally slapped herself. What am I saying?

Alex pulled her rolodex over and flipped through the listings. Finding the one she wanted she quickly dialed the phone.

“Carmichael.” The voice answered.

“I got your little gift. Thank you. And to answer your questions - Yes, I do have a pain in the ass. YOU. And NO, you may not kiss it. Come anywhere near my ass and....” Alex got flustered at the laughter on the other end of the phone. “I’ll... I’ll... aaarrrggghhhh. And don’t call me Allie.” She slammed down the phone receiver and pushed the phone away. Alex blew out a calming breath, then wiggled happily in her chair and smiled.

Abbie chuckled as she closed her cell phone. “Oh, yeah.”


Bureau Chief’s Office
October 18, Wednesday 2:45pm

Alex Cabot had just finished eating a late meal at her desk. She tossed the takeout containers into the trash and reached for the case files. With a sigh, she picked up her glasses and went back to work. The interoffice phone rang.

“Yes. Melissa.”

“Ms. Novak is on line one, Ms. Cabot.”

“Thank you.” She removed her glasses again and punched the button for line one. “Hey Casey, what can I do for you?”

“I hate to ask but, I was wondering if I could borrow one of your juniors to help with some research. I’m swamped with other cases and the Harris trial is approaching rather quickly.”

“Uhhh, sure. Any one is particular?”

“Whoever is the best at pulling case law. I drew Larsen as the Judge and you know how much of a stickler she is....”

“Okay, I’ll see who is available and send them over. Do you want them today or will tomorrow be okay?”

“Tomorrow’s fine. I appreciate it.’ She paused a second. “Uhhhhh, by the way....”

Alex cut in. “I’m okay Casey. I had a huge hangover yesterday but I am feeling much better today. How are you doing?”

“No hangover but the tattoo hurts like a bad sunburn. How’s yours?”

“You know I have a tattoo?” Alex closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Of course you do. You were there.” She sighed. “Abbie has one too.”

“I know I saw it.” Casey regretted saying that a half moment later. She bit her lip.

“Did you see mine?” Alex asked frantically. “Please don’t tell anyone.”

Casey paused for a second. “Yes, Alex I know you got a one. We all did. But you were behind a locked door when I went to check on you both. Abbie’s is pretty ironic when you think about it. Have you seen it?”

Alex blew out a breath. “Yeah, she stopped by to see Liz around the same time I did yesterday.”

“How is Liz? I haven’t heard from her.”

“She’s not exactly thrilled with Jake at the moment. His choice of an addition to her body art... well, let’s just say she needed it like she needed another hole in her, umm... head.” Alex bit her lip to stifle the groan of the bad joke. Well, it’s the truth. She mentally debated with herself for a moment. “Ummm, Casey? Would you like to go out for lunch sometime this week?”

Casey held the phone out and stared at it. Aliens have taken over the Bureau. I need to call Munch.


“Oh, right, sorry,” she squeaked out. Lunch, she wants to do lunch. She cleared her throat. “Sure, I’m always up for lunch. When did you want to go?”

Alex pulled her appointment book over and stared at the listings. “I’m free tomorrow around one, can you go then or do you have court?”

“I only have a couple of arraignments in the morning, so unless I catch a new case, I should be free after eleven.”

“Great. Do you want me to meet you somewhere? Or, even better, why don’t you come by here after court. You can meet your loaner and get them started on what you need.”

“Sounds good. I’ll see you tomorrow and if anything comes up, I’ll call.”

“Looking forward to it. Bye, Casey.”

“Bye, Alex.”

As she was absently replacing the receiver, there was a knock on her door. In startlement, Alex juggled the phone. “Yes, Melissa.” She replaced the receiver and pushed the phone back into place.

The door opened and her assistant entered carrying a box. “Ms. Cabot. This just came for you.”

Alex’s brows knit, then she smiled when she saw the logo on the side of the box. “Just set it on the table there. I’ll get to it in a minute.” She nonchalantly shuffled some papers on the desk.

Melissa did as she was asked and turned to leave. “Ms. Cabot?” She stopped.


“Is it your birthday or something?” She pointed to the box.

“No.” Alex said without looking up. She moved some more papers around.

“Oh, okay.” Melissa closed the door behind her.

At the sound of the click, Alex pushed her chair back and was up and moving to the table and the box. She picked up the package and looked for a return address. A big childlike grin broke out on her face when she saw the store logo.

The box was carried back over to her desk and she proceeded to rip into it.
Her eyes grew large as she reached into the box.

“Oh my....” She held it up. “You are so cute.” The teddy bear was light beige with brilliant blue eyes. “And so soft.” She cuddled it to her. “Oh look at you.”

The bear was wearing a tank top and a pair of boxer shorts. She turned the bear over and what she saw made her shake her head. Across the back of the shorts was a giant band-aid. “Well, now we know without a doubt where you came from, don’t we?” Alex asked the bear.

She set the bear on her desk and went digging through the box for the note she was sure was going to be in there. She wasn’t disappointed. In the bottom of the box she found a large envelope. She slid her finger under the seal and opened it. Inside she found a note and another smaller plastic bag. She set the bag aside and opened the note.

Allie... (it said)
My Mama always said that kissing a boo-boo makes it all better. So how about you kiss the bear’s butt and I kiss your... bare butt. **BEG**

PS I enclosed a couple of accessories for the bear and one for you.

Alex refolded the note and laid it down, she reached for the plastic bag and pulled it open. She dumped the contents on her desk. “I’m going to kill her.” Alex unfolded the material to find a pair of human size boxer shorts in the same pattern the bear wore. They were dark blue with the letter ‘C’ all over them. She shrugged. “I guess the ‘C’ is for Cabot.” She checked the size tag and they were her size. “Geez, Carmichael, either you are a good guesser or you’ve been studying my ass for a long time.” She wasn’t sure why, but the latter of those possibilities didn’t seem to be all that annoying. She mentally shrugged and filed that thought for later.

Alex then looked at the other contents that were dumped on her desk. She grinned while she unfolded the tiny pair of black framed glasses. She placed them on the bear. Alex laughed aloud when she saw the little briefcase accessory.

“I see; so this is supposed to be me, huh?” Alex reached for the phone and dialed. It rang once and was picked up on the other end.


“I got the bear. She’s cute. Thank you. The answer to your question this time is the same as yesterday. NO, you may not kiss it. I’ll just suffer in silence. You should consider doing the same.” Alex disconnected the call.

Abbie grinned as she closed up her phone. “You are wearing her down, Abbie-girl, she didn’t say anything....” The phone rang again.

“And don’t call me Allie.” Click.

Abbie laughed.


Bureau Chief’s Office
October 19, Thursday 11:40am

Alex Cabot, at the sound of a knock at her door, looked up from the case files she was perusing. “Yes, Melissa.”

The door opened a crack and a head appeared. “Ms. Cabot, ADA Novak is here.”

Alex took off her glasses and set them on the desk. “Send her in. Could you hold any interruptions for a short while? Oh, and find Mr. Potter and ask him to join us. Thank you, Melissa.”

“Yes, ma’am.” She turned back to the office. “Ms. Novak, Ms. Cabot will see you now.” Melissa opened the door wider and stepped out of the way.

Casey entered the office. She nodded her thanks to the assistant and then turned her attention to Alex. “Good morning.”

“Casey. Hi.” Alex got up from behind her desk and greeted the ADA. She began to put out her hand for a hand shake and thought better of it. She wrapped the surprised redhead in a light hug.

Casey’s eyes widened in surprise but she returned the hug, her eyes darting all over the office. Warning... warning. Pod person alert... pod person alert. Munch was right - aliens do exist on Earth. “Hi Alex, how are you?” She uttered when the embrace ended.

“I’m good. You?” Alex moved back around her desk to sit. Before Casey could answer, Alex continued to ramble. “Where are my manners? Would you like some coffee? Of course you would. Let me get a carafe brought in. Maybe some cookies too, yes?” She looked expectantly at Casey.

“Um, I’m fine. Coffee would be great. No need to fuss with cookies, unless you are indulging. Thank you.”

Alex hit a button on the intercom. “Melissa, could you bring us a carafe of coffee?” She mouthed to Casey. Sugar? Cream? Casey shook her head no.
“And did you track down Mr. Potter?”

“Mr. Potter will be here momentarily. I’ll have the coffee for you in a couple of minutes.”

“Thank you.” She let go of the button and sat back in her chair. She clasped her hands together and laid them on the desk. “So, Casey.” She hesitated searching for something to say. “How was court?”

“Two simple arraignments. Judge Bradley. I lucked out.” She cocked her head at the Bureau Chief - something was just not right. “Is everything okay, Alex?”

“Ummm....” Alex was interrupted by a knock. “Come in.”

“You called, Chief?” Potter said with a grin. His eyes darted between the two women.

“Nick Potter, this is ADA Casey Novak from SVU. I’m going to have you work with her on a case.”

“Ms. Novak.” Nick shook her hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you. Your high conviction rate is what Chief Cabot here keeps beating us over the head with.”

Casey straightened up in her chair while Alex sat stone-faced. “Really? Who knew I had a fan?” She smirked, highly amused.

“You do have a very high win ratio and these young pups could do worse than to emulate you.” Then, turning her attention to Nick, she added in an even tone, “Although I could try beating them with a rolled up newspaper to see what effect that has on their conviction rate." She raised one eyebrow. He gulped.

“Well, Nick, I asked Chief Cabot for the ummm....” She paused as she chose her words. “...pick of the litter.” She smiled. “She is graciously offering you. I have the case file here with me.” Casey picked up her case and opened it. She retrieved the file and handed it to him. “I need you to read it and pull as much case law as you can find for each of the points outlined.”

Nick began leafing through the case file. “If I....”

“If you have any questions, I can be reached at the office and after hours my office calls get redirected to my cell.”

“Got it.”

“If you have any ideas on anything not covered, please feel free to share. If they are good ones. we’ll see if we can... oh I don’t know... give you a cookie or a pat on the head.” Casey and Nick both laughed.

“How about a scratch on the belly?” He waggled his eyebrows. He sat on the arm of her chair.

“I should warn you - my girlfriend, the detective, does carry a gun.”

He jumped up as if burned. “A cookie is good.” He looked at Alex, who just cleared her throat and then looked back at Casey. “I’ll go get started on this,” he slapped the file on his thigh. “I’ll call you later today or at the very least in the morning. Will that be all right?”

Alex got up to help usher him out. "Get to work Mr. Potter." She opened the door.

“That would be wonderful. Thank you again.” Casey said without turning around. Her eyes caught sight of a bit of pink on Alex’s vacated desk chair. She narrowed her eyes for a moment and then had to stifle a laugh when recognition hit.

“Sure. Thank you for the opportunity. Have a good day ladies.”

Alex closed the door.

Casey chuckled. “Cute ass.”

Alex turned around quickly. “Excuse me?”

“Potter’s. He’s kind of cute in a puppyish way.” She looked at Alex’s expression. “Although yours is fine too.”

“What!?!" Alex moved back behind her desk.

“I’m kidding, Alex. You just looked so dumbfounded there for a second.”
Casey smiled. “I do greatly appreciate the help here, Alex.”

Alex nodded once. She looked down at her hands, then around the room. Then Melissa knocked and her attention was drawn to the door. “Come in.”

“Your coffee, ma’am.” Melissa set the tray down on Alex’s desk. “Do you need anything else?” At Alex’s head shake Melissa added, “Okay, I’ll hold any non-emergencies until you give me the word.”

“Thank you.”

Alex poured two cups of coffee and handed one to Casey who had scooted her chair closer to Alex’s desk.

She took a sip. “Ahhhhh.” She looked over the rim of the cup. “Okay, Alex, you want to tell me what’s really bothering you?”

“What makes you think something is up?”

“Well, you get more and more fidgety with every knock on the door. Are you expecting someone else?”

“It’s....” Alex jumped at the knock.

Melissa stuck her head in the door. “Your lunch is here, ma’am.”

Alex looked at Casey, confused. “I didn’t order any lunch. Casey?”

“No, I thought we were going out.”

“Well, the delivery boy just dropped this off.” She walked in carrying a couple of bags and an envelope under her arm.” He said it was already paid for.” She set the bags on Alex’s desk. “Oh, and he brought this too.” Melissa handed Alex the envelope.

Alex closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. She let out a breath. When she opened them, Casey was rooting through the bags.

“Alex, this is from the best barbeque place in town. We could do much worse for lunch.”

“Thanks Melissa, I guess we will be eating in.”

“Yum, there is all kinds of stuff in here.” Casey began opening containers. “Brisket, ribs, chicken, pork... wow, and side salads. Who loves you this much?” Casey took a deep breath, inhaling the wonderful aroma of the barbeque.

“I seemed to have picked up a stalker.”

“What?" Casey put down the container. "Let me call Liv and Elliot.” She reached for her phone.

Alex put her hand on Casey’s arm. “A Texan stalker.”

“You know who it is?” Realization dawned on Casey. “Abbie?”

“Yes. She’s been sending me stuff.” Alex stood up and pulled the pillow out and showed it to Casey.

“A pillow? For your tattoo?”

Alex’s eyes widened. “You know?”

“I guessed. You are sitting on it.”

“Right. And she sent that bear.” Alex pointed to the bear sitting on the file cabinet.

“Look at the little glasses. It’s supposed to be you, isn’t it? That’s sweet.” She looked at Alex’s face. “Isn’t it?”

“NO... yes... maybe... I don’t know.” She said with an exasperated sigh. “I’m so confused.”

“I thought you were getting along pretty well the other night, weren’t you?”

“NO... yes... maybe... I don’t know. I really don't remember much of that.”

“O-kay. Uhhh, do you want to be getting along better?”

“NO... yes... maybe... I don’t know.” She worried with the envelope.

“Alex, what is bothering you so much about Abbie? Do you want me to have Liv talk to her?”

“NO!” Alex answered quickly. “Please don’t tell anyone.” She held the envelope up to her chest.

“Well, at least you picked one answer that time; it’s a start,” Casey snarked.

“Cas-ey,” Alex whined. She tore into the envelope and looked at the contents.

“Al-lex,” Casey whined back. “I can’t help if I don’t know what’s wrong.”

Alex leaned over the desk and whispered. “She sent me underwear... again.”
Alex held up the boy shorts. They were bright rainbow striped with the white letter “A” on the leg.

Casey burst out laughing. "Again?"

“It’s not funny Casey; it’s the right size and everything.” Alex read the enclosed note aloud.

Allie... (it said)
Enjoy the lunch. I wish I could join you but I am on my way back to DC.
As for the short-shorts…I look forward to seeing you model them for me on my next visit. Try not to miss me too much.

“She’s just trying to get your attention and it looks like it’s working. The question is, do you want the attention?” Casey held up her hand to stop Alex from answering. “Let me guess – no... yes... maybe... I don’t know.”

"Definitely, positively, I think so, maybe."

Casey smiled at that answer.

Alex mirrored the smile thinking of the ridiculousness of it all. “I guess it could be worse.” She paused. “It could be Trevor.”

“Oooh Alex, not while we are getting ready to eat here.”

“It does smell good. I love barbeque.”

Alex and Casey picked through the containers and made themselves each a plate. Moans of appreciation floated about the room.

“Tell Abbie she can stalk me anytime. This brisket is fantastic.” Casey took another bite.

“I like the pulled pork better.”

Casey looked up, a twinkle in her eye. “Of course you should.”

Alex looked back puzzled.

“It’s Boston Butt.”


Benson/Novak Residence
October 24, Tuesday 8pm

Casey paced the apartment while she talked on the phone. “Alex. Calm down. What happened?”

Alex sighed and took a deep breath. “I got more underwear delivered. Friday brought me a pair of panties in neon pink with a ‘L’ on them and then Saturday’s were French cut in a really soft baby blue and those had an ‘L’ on them too. Yesterday. I got a thong.”

“Nothing on Sunday? I guess even stalkers have to rest, huh?” Casey joked.

“That’s not funny. What was I saying? Yesterday’s was a black thong with a red pair of lips and the word ‘Me’ on them.”

“Uh... okay.”

“Don’t you see the underwear spelled out ‘Call Me’. The woman is deranged.”

Casey chuckled. “The woman is acting like a little boy.”

“Well, the boy needs to be spanked.” She paused. “Don’t say it.”

“You’re no fun.”

“Casey, this is serious. She really crossed the line today.”

“What did she do?” Casey listened as Alex explained the latest delivery. “Oh, Lord. In the conference room? What possessed you to open the package there?” More ranting. “Oh Alex. They saw the note too? What did it say?” She listened to Alex describe what happened. “Do you want me have Liv talk to her?” She paused and listened. “Look, Liv has been upstate for a couple of days. She is due back tonight. Let me tell her what’s going on. I’ll leave out some of the more personal details, okay?” She waited for confirmation. “Alex, it will be fine. I’ll....” She paused when she heard the door opening. “Look, Liv is home. Let me talk to her and I’ll call you back in the morning.” She walked closer to the door. “I gotta go. Bye, Alex.”

Olivia dropped her bag by the door and turned toward the coat rack. She started to remove her jacket when Casey, still on the phone, walked up. She heard the end part of the conversation.

“Alex?” She hung up her coat and turned around. Liv leaned in and gave Casey a kiss. “Is Alex your new BFF? Should I be jealous?” Olivia joked.

Casey punched Liv’s arm. “You are my BFF; it says so right on my heart.” She pointed to the tattoo.

Olivia used one finger to pull Casey’s blouse away from her body and she looked down in the gap. “I dunno... maybe I better check you didn’t put a huge X over my initials.”

Casey slapped at her hand and then wrapped her in a hug. “Nope, wouldn’t help. It’s tattooed on the inside as well. You’re stuck with me, BFF.” They kissed again. “How ya doing, Detective? I missed you, y’know?” Casey put her head on Liv’s shoulder.

“I missed you too. It wasn’t my idea. It was supposed to be an up and back.” She grimaced. “I can’t believe they put him in general population. Three days playing babysitter in a Buffalo hospital. We spent all our time waiting on the perp’s medical condition to stabilize enough to transport him back here.”

“How did you end up getting sent with Munch?”

“I’m just that lucky.” She rolled her eyes. “I learned more useless stuff on this trip... not anything I can put to practical use but we should be able to at least hold our own with Rachel and Sam the next time we do the Trivial Pursuit thing.” She squeezed Casey. “Have you eaten? Do you want to go out somewhere? I’m starved; Munch wouldn’t stop on the way back. I think he had a hot date.”

They both turned and started moving toward the kitchen. Casey replaced the phone on the table.

“Nah, we don’t need to go out. I have some soup heating on the stove. If you are really nice to me I might just make you a super deluxe grilled cheese sandwich to go with it.” Casey bumped Liv with her hip.

“Oooh, spoil me.” Olivia attempted to tickle Casey but she darted out of the way.

Walking backward to the kitchen, Casey said, “I do need to talk to you about Alex though.”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“A female admirer sent her some chocolate today.” Casey was turned, her back to Liv. She missed the cringe that crossed Liv’s face.

Casey took some bowls and plates from the cabinet and put them on the counter. Liv bit her lip and waited for Casey to continue.

Casey busied herself stirring the soup. “Anyway, Alex figured since it was Godiva chocolate, she would share it with her ADAs during the afternoon conference.” Casey put the spoon down and stepped to the fridge to get out the sandwich supplies. She set the items one at a time on the counter. “Mustard?”

Liv swallowed hard and muttered to herself, “Oh no.”

“Okay, no mustard... gotcha.”

Casey pushed the fridge door closed and moved back to the counter to assemble the sandwiches. “When she opened the box, the chocolate... well, it wasn’t your typical truffles.” For emphasis, Casey waved the knife she was using. “The chocolate was molded into several different representations of the naked female form. It was embarrassing to everyone to say the least. Alex was mortified.” The sandwiches were then put in the pan to grill. “She said she opened the box and then slammed the lid back on when she realized what the chocolate looked like. It was too late; the other people saw them.”

“She wasn’t supposed to open it in the conference room. It’s not really Abbie’s fault.”

“What?” Casey turned around. “You know about Abbie?” She cocked an eyebrow. “Spill. No wait. Let me get dinner finished before I burn these. Sit.” She motioned Liv to sit. Olivia remained perfectly silent.

Casey flipped the sandwiches. While she waited for them to finish, she ladled the soup into bowls and set the bowls on the table. Liv didn’t look up at Casey until the sandwich plate was set in front of her.

“Thanks, Casey. Looks great.”

Casey smiled. “Eat; you’ll need your strength.”

“I recognize that look in your eyes. I’m going to be subject to the Novak cross-examination, aren’t I?”

“Do you want to be?” Casey asked, coyly. “Eat up.”

They ate in total silence. Each would try to steal a peek at the other to see if they could figure out what the other was thinking. After the dinner was finished, Liv got up to clear the table. As she put the dishes in the sink, she started her story. “Abbie called me yesterday....”


“Benson.” Olivia answered her phone.

“Hi ya, Yankee.”

“Carmichael.” Liv said gruffly. “I don’t think I want to talk to you right now.”

“Who pissed in your cornflakes today?” Abbie asked and was rewarded with dead silence. “Oh, I see. Casey is keeping you on a short leash?”

“Casey is perfectly capable of fighting her own battles and I can handle mine.”

“Okay, I get it. You’re still a little miffed.”

“Miffed? Miffed doesn’t begin to cover it. What you and Alex did was... was... arrrggghhh! Do you have any clue what crap I have had to endure from the guys this week?”

Abbie blew out a breath, then her voice softened. “I know. I apologize. I can’t speak for Cabot but I just wasn’t thinking. It started out with me just pushing your buttons and I let it get out of hand. I am very sorry.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Olivia said. “I know - apology accepted.” She paused. “Now what do you want, you big troublemaker?”

“I need some help.” Abbie stammered. “I’m trying to... well, get someone to notice me... romantically.”

“Notice you? You never had that problem before. You want my help? In the romance department?” Olivia laughed. “You?”


“You? The same you who dumped me because this blonde intern noticed you, romantically?”

“I did not dump you. As I recall we decided we made much better friends. We are too much alike. We weren’t called the Terror Twins for nothing y’know?”

“You do not recall correctly, and yeah, we do make better friends, so okay.”

“I mean, as much as it is going to kill me to say this, you must know something more than me. You have Casey and....”

“I said okay.”

“What? You’ll help me?”

“Sure. If you hadn’t dumped me...” Liv chuckled at the snort on the other end of the telephone conversation. “...I wouldn’t have met Alex and if she hadn’t dumped me, I wouldn’t have met Casey. So yeah, I’ll help you. Who’s the unfortunate subject of your misguided affections?”

“Well, funny you should mention Cabot....”

Olivia broke out in laughter. “Oh, that’s rich. The Texas Terror and the Ice Princess.”

“C’mon Benson, this isn’t funny.”

“It is from where I am sitting.”

“You know Cabot - just give me some pointers. What is her weak spot?”

Olivia’s mind began plotting. Oh, two for one, Benson, you lucky dog you. She was so glad that this was a phone conversation and not a face to face. She would never be able to hide the growing smirk. “What is every woman’s weak spot? Chocolate.”

“I can do that. I’m sure I can find one who....”


Olivia looked at Casey. “At that point I told her that I knew of the perfect place to get them from. I told her about an online store called GoDiva.”

“Don’t you mean Godiva?”

“That’s what she thought too, but no, the online store is actually called GoDiva. They get most of their business from folks who mistype in search engines. It’s a knockoff that specializes in molded chocolates. Anyway, I sort of told her that the chocolates were....” Liv’s voice softened to a whisper. “Au naturel”


She cleared her throat. “Au naturel.” Liv grinned sheepishly. “She might have heard it as ‘all natural’ because she mentioned that it was a nice touch that the chocolate was actually good for Alex.” Olivia rubbed her ear, nervously. “Anyway, she pretty much fell for it. I completely sealed the deal with offering to order the candy for her. I asked her if she wanted me to include a note. She told me she wanted it to say....”

Allie, (it said)
I understand melted chocolate makes great body paint. Call me; I’ll bring the brushes.


“Let me get this straight. You convinced Abbie that giving Alex risqué chocolate was not only romantic but healthy too?”


Casey shook her head and grinned. “Damn, you’re good.” The ADA patted Liv’s hand. “Remind me not to piss you off.”

Olivia sat back relieved and smiled. “You aren’t mad?”

“Nah. No harm really. You’re right. Alex has been getting weird gifts from Abbie all week. She should have known better than to open up the box in front of anyone else. I’ll come up with something to tell Alex tomorrow.” She paused while an idea popped into her head. “Hey Liv, how about we have that Halloween Costume party we talked about? We can invite the squad and a few neighbors and, of course, Cabott and Carmello.”

“I know that look. You,” she pointed her finger at Casey, “are thinking evil thoughts.” Olivia chortled.

“Well, what if I am? It’s a good excuse to get together and have some fun.”

“Why not?” Olivia shrugged. “I’ll invite my half of the terrible twosome; you get the other one.”

“Done. Don’t forget to spring it on the guys. Tell them to bring dates. Oh and Melinda, George....” Casey began to count off the people on her fingers. “Rachel and Sam and Evie....”

“Whoa! We can discuss all that in the morning. I have a really important question first.”


“Do we have anything for dessert? I’m still hungry.”

Casey got up and walked across the kitchen to the fridge. She opened the door and peered in. Her eyes lit up. “Well, look what we have here.” She removed the bottle and turned quickly, keeping the item behind her back.

“Hey, Benson.” Liv looked up. Casey held the Hershey’s syrup out and waggled it. “Picasso me, baby.”

The giggling ADA took off running for the bedroom with a grinning detective not but a few feet behind her.


Benson/Novak Residence
October 28, Saturday 7pm

Olivia took one more look around the apartment and smiled. She couldn’t believe how Evie’s magic, with some help from Casey, transformed the place. All the furniture had been moved toward the walls or moved into the bedroom to open up space to walk and talk or, if the spirit moved someone, dance in. The remaining chairs were draped in sheer black fabric with orange or lime green bow sashes. Gotta love Casey. The tables with the food were killer. Okay, Liv, killer is not a way to describe food. Well, unless you cook it. Liv snorted to herself. Good thing Evie did.

She walked down the length of the buffet table. The dry ice in the sangria punch was a nice touch and it was wafting just a bit of eerie fog down the rest of the table. The table itself had spider webs and plastic creepy crawlies decorating it. The food was something else. She marveled at the clever food items. Everyone is going to think it was a typo on the invitation. Heh. The detective shook her head. After one last glance and she made her way to the front door and picked up one of the extra invitations laying on the side table and a thumbtack. She opened the door and pinned the paper on the outer part of it.

Groan-up Halloween Party
Dress up as your favorite TV character
October 28th, 7pm-until
Benson/Novak Residence

Olivia closed the door and headed toward the bedroom. “Casey? You ready yet?” She yelled. “Folks should be coming in soon.”

“Chill,” came the reply through the closed door. “Keep your shirt on.” A giggle. “Or come in here and take your shirt off and we can vo-dee-oh-doh.”

Olivia laughed. Her intended reply was interrupted by a knock on the door. “They’re here,” she yelled back, doing her best to mimic that famous horror movie’s tagline.

Olivia opened the door to find her partner and his wife standing in conversation with their backs to her. They were looking down the hall at the Evie’s door.

“Kath, was that woman dressed like, I dunno... one of Robin Hood’s guys?”

“No, I think it was more Amazon-ish. I think she was supposed to be the sidekick chick to that warrior woman on TV.”

“You think the twins will be okay with her?”

“Yeah, Liv said she does a party for the building’s kids every year. Did you see the video game systems she has? We’ll be lucky if they want to come home with us. They’ll be fine, El, and we are right next door if they need anything.”

“Okay,” Elliot turned to knock again but Liv caught his fist in her hand. “Whoa – sorry, partner.” He looked Benson up and down, from the top of her slicked back hair to the motorcycle boots on her feet. “I thought you said this was a costume party.” He indicated his and Kathy’s clothing. “You are wearing your normal outfit.”

Olivia smacked his arm, hard.

“Ow.” He winced. “What did I say?”

“I AM dressed as one of my favorite TV characters.” She removed a comb from her back pocket but stopped short of actually using it. She threw her arms out to the side. “Ayyyyyyyyyyyyy.”

“Ooh, Fonzie... just ignore the cowboy. I think his mask is on too tight.” She elbowed him in the gut. “I think you look very authentic.” Kathy stepped into the doorway and gave Liv a hug.

“So do you Rhoda. I love the head scarf.” She returned the hug and stuck her tongue out at Elliot. “So, how come you aren’t Tonto to his Lone Stranger?”

“That’s Lone Ranger... Ranger, you dork.”

Kathy put her arm around his waist. “I think she had it right.” She patted his belly. “Although you really aren’t any stranger than most, honey.”

Olivia laughed. “Why don’t you both go look around? Case and Evie outdid themselves with the decorations. Oh and El, could you turn the stereo on? The CD is already in it.”

Elliot tipped his hat to her. “I just mosey over there and do that for you.”
He paused. “Sir.”

Olivia went to kick him in the ass but he smirked and moved quickly out of the way. Kathy joined him and slapped his butt. She turned her head and grinned at Liv.

Olivia turned to close the door and jumped back in surprise. Standing silently in the doorway was Lieutenant Uhura and... Oh my God. “Fin?”
She looked incredulously at him. “What the hell?”

“Whatcha think, baby girl?” He pointed to his afro and then his outfit, long sleeve button down shirt, bellbottoms and dark glasses. He spun completely around. “You like? The bellbottoms are a bit hard to get used to but....”

“Who? What? Where?” Olivia stammered.

“Linc Hayes, Mod Squad.” He leaned in close, “But shhhhhhhhh... I’m undercover.” He winked at her. Looking past Liv, he spotted Elliot and began walking to him. “Yo, masked man....”

Olivia turned back to Melinda. “You look great. Closet Trekkie?”

“No closet involved. I love Star Trek.” She hugged Liv. “Thanks for inviting us. Jeff couldn’t come; he’s out of town for the firm, so Fin was gracious enough to escort us. I think it’s so nice of your neighbor to throw a party for the kids. My daughter bonded with her grandson the second she walked in the door. He’s a cutie.”

“Jimmy’s very sweet too. C’mon in.” She stepped back.

“Where’s Casey?”

“Right here.” Casey walked out of the bedroom and sauntered up to Liv. She wrapped her arm around her waist. “Hiya Fonz, miss me?” She snapped her gum.

Olivia looked at Casey’s tight sweater, poodle skirt and loafers and then back to the ‘L’ on the sweater. “Hello, Laverne. You, me, Inspiration Point? Whoa!” She kissed Casey.

“Get a room!” was yelled collectively by everyone in the apartment.

“You two are just too cute together,” Melinda offered. “Matching outfits.”

“Yeah, but where I saw the shows on the original airing, the kid here caught it on reruns.” She pointed her thumb at Casey.

Casey rolled her eyes at Liv’s gibe, then linked arms with Melinda. “C’mon Doc, let me show you some of the body parts we have on display.” Warner looked back over her shoulder at Liv and mouthed ‘body parts’. Olivia just shrugged and smiled.

Olivia heard a throat clear. She turned back to the door. Her eyes widened in surprise. “I can’t believe you both did it.”

“We told you we would.” Rachel stood holding Sam’s hand. Both were dressed pretty identically. They wore school uniforms. Skirts, blue blouses, blazers with a crest on them and ties. Rachel’s tie was barely knotted while Sam’s was perfect.

“Well, Jo, why don’t you take Blair and go introduce yourselves?” She pointed to the growing crowd. They moved further into the room.

Olivia turned back to the doorway and stuck her head hesitantly into the hall. She looked left and then jumped when she turned to the right. Standing perfectly still was a tall man dressed impeccably in a suit and tie. The only odd thing was that he was talking into his shoe.

“Maxwell Smart, I presume.”

“Shhhhhhhh, you never know when KAOS might be lurking around. I need to inspect the premises for listening devices.”

“Go on in. The food’s out. Watch out for the corn - it has ears, y’know.”

“Oooh, Benson. Bad one. I like that.” John smiled and moved into the room to join the others.

Olivia heard the elevator ding and waited for the next arrivals. Stepping out was her Captain, George and someone who she assumed was George’s partner.


“No, Lieutenant.” He waved a cigar around. “Lt. Columbo.” He smiled at Liv. “Thanks for inviting me.”

“Well, go on in and interrogate everyone. The tall man with the shoe phone is very suspicious tonight.”

Don grinned. “Yeah, well since when is Munch not suspicious?” He headed into the apartment.

“Hi George or should I say, Mr. Spock.”

George lifted his hand in the familiar Vulcan salute. “Live long and prosper. Hello Olivia. I would like you to meet Michael.”

Michael, who was dressed as Batman, shook her hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

She cut her eyes to George. “I wish I could say the same. We started to wonder if you were imaginary or not.”

“I’m an Investment Counselor; I travel a lot. I hate missing your squad get-togethers. Oh and don’t worry - it’s not that kind of stuff he tells me. He just tells me about how all the detectives like to rankle each other. It’s entertaining dinner conversation.”

“George can introduce you to all the main characters. Laverne over there is my partner. Be careful or she’ll cross-examine you and coerce you into confessing all kinds of stock secrets.”

Both laughed. Olivia heard the elevator ding again and waited for her next guests. Stepping out were Liz and someone she was guessing was Jake. Liz was wearing a buttoned up trench coat so only her Go Go boots showed, and Jake was dressed as Gilligan.

“Hello Judge.”


“Sir. I’m Olivia.” She offered her hand. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess you’re Jake.”

“That’s me. Please to meet you and just call me Jake. Which one of those lovely ladies I saw that night is yours?”

“Casey, the redhead.”

“Sort of.” Liz added in a low tone with a smirk.

“Well, yeah.”

Liv turned to Elliot’s voice. “Hey Liv, could you come over here?”

“Case?” Olivia gestured to Casey.

The ADA excused herself from a conversation with Munch and moved to the door. “Yeah, honey?”

“Could you man the door and I’ll go see what the *Lone way more Stranger than anyone* wants?” she snarked.

“Sure.” Casey turned. “Hi Judge, Jake.” She hugged them both. “How are you?”

“Good, why wouldn’t I be?” Liz answered quickly.

“I haven’t seen you since my inking. Just wondering.” She turned her attention to Jake. “Please give Dite my best. Liv loved the tattoo. She’s considering getting one of her own.”

“Cool. Send her in. I’ll take good care of her.” He smiled.

“Can I take your coat, Liz?”

Judge Donnelly hesitated and looked nervously at Jake. Jake addressed Casey. “She wanted to dress as the Flying Nun but since she lost a bet, I got to choose.” He smiled and bumped Liz’s hip. “And Donnellys never welsh on bets.”

“Fine.” Liz shrugged off the coat and threw it at Casey. She juggled it since her mind was still trying to process Liz’s costume.

“OHMIG....” Casey said in a much louder voice than intended, drawing the attention of the group.

“Shut up, Novak.” Liz warned.

Catcalls started from inside. Munch whistled. Liz flushed red.

Jake looked at Liz lovingly, and said, “If ya got it, flaunt it and you still got it, baby.” He held out his arm.

Liz held her head up high and took it. They walked passed Casey into the apartment.

Olivia made her way back to the door. She continued to glance, every few seconds, over her shoulder at Liz. “Ummm, Casey?”

“Yeah.” Casey answered absently, her attention still on Liz.

“Is she wearing...?”

“A bikini? Uhh, yeah.”

“And Go Go boots?”

“Uh huh.”

“With slogans and images drawn all over her.”


“Is she about to sock it to Munch?”

“Ooh.” Casey cringed in sympathy. “Yeah. Looks like she did. Good thing we have a doctor in the house.” She cringed again. “Ow, that had to hurt. I don’t think that shoe phone was meant to go there.”


Olivia stood next to Casey in the kitchen. Liv was drinking a beer.

“It looks like everyone is having fun.” Casey pointed to Fin who was dancing with Rachel. “I caught him laughing before. Not just smiling, an actual laugh. I didn’t think it was possible.”

“Look over there.” Liv nodded waved her bottle toward the window. Melinda and Sam were standing next to the fire escape, presumably talking doctor shop. Melinda absently straightened the bow tie they had dressed the skeleton in. She laughed as Sam pointed out the decoy ducks on the book shelf that had witches hats on them.

Munch was working his way down the buffet table, sampling and shaking his head. When he got to the ribs, he turned looking for Liv. “Hey Benson,” he called out.

“Yeah, Munch.”

The ribs were laid out exactly as they would appear on a body. A half of a red pepper served as a heart. He removed the pepper with the knife through it and held it up. “I think they would call this a homicide on the streets.” He put it back in place.

Liv laughed. “Well, I call Adam’s ribs there delicious. Did you try the chicken fingers?”

“Liv, those aren’t...?” John lowered his glasses and looked over them.

Liv’s eyes widened at the implication. “No, no. Omelet is safe and sound at PS 185.”

Munch waved an empty toothpick in her direction as acknowledgment and continued down the table. He was quickly joined by Elliot and Kathy. Elliot whispered something in Munch’s ear and all three began laughing. This drew the attention of the Captain, George and Michael.

Casey smiled and squeezed Liv’s waist and then lowered her voice. “The only thing is - where are the terrible twosome?”

Liv unconsciously looked to the door, silently willing a knock. “I don’t know. Abbie said she was flying up. Maybe her shuttle was late.”

Evie popped her head in. “Knock, knock.” She looked around until her eyes met up with Liv’s and Casey’s. “Some folks came next door by mistake. I thought I would bring them over myself and see how everyone is doing. I brought some more eyeballs.” Evie opened the door wider to let them in. She followed their entrance, stepped around them and crossed the room to set down another tray of food on the buffet table. A shadow fell across the platter and Evie looked up.

“Hello, my dear lady. You must be the famous Evie O’Connor, neighbor and chef of all this incredible tasting food.” He held out his hand. “John Munch.”

She took his hand and he kissed her knuckles. Evie blushed and ducked her head. “Thank you.”

“No, thank you.” He smiled. “Very clever. Such pun worthy snacks.”
He pointed down the table. “Chicken fingers, meat eyeballs, toe jam... oh and the Adam’s ribs. Yes, very clever indeed. I see why it was a ‘groan-up’ party now.”

“I’m just a big kid when it comes to Halloween.” She tilted her head. “Are you the one who helped Livvy out with her cooking?”

John looked to make sure no one could hear them. “That would be me, yes.”

“I got to try some of your lasagna. It was wonderful.” She winked at him.
“I’m working on one more item - some Misfortune Cookies for the party. Why don’t you stop next door? You can help me make up some of the misfortunes to stuff in them. I hear you have a very unique sense of humor.”

“Lead on, M’lady.” He offered his arm.

Olivia turned from her observation of Munch and Evie, then set her beer on the counter as she and Casey went to greet their new guests.

“Trevor, how nice of you to join us. Superman?” Liv joked.

“Well, I have Clark Kent’s mild mannered good looks. How do you know I don’t wear this under my suit all the time?” He grinned.

“T-M-I Trevor, T-M-I.” Casey snarked back, causing everyone to laugh. “Hi, Serena.” She gave the other lawyer a hug.

“Hey Casey, long time. I never get to see you anymore since I went into private practice.”

“I know. You and I need to make time to do lunch or something so we can catch up.” She grabbed Serena’s arm and pulled her slightly away, leaving Liv and Trevor to talk. “Trevor does know you are gay, right?”

“Oh yeah. We ran into each other at Baron’s the other night and got to talking. Found out we were both invited here. Since neither of us is dating, we figured we’d just come together.” She shook her hair back. “I think he likes being accompanied by one of Charlie’s Angels.”

Casey grinned. “C’mon, I think you know everyone and if not, I’ll introduce you.” They headed off to the buffet table.

John and Evie excused themselves as they squeezed by. “Be back, Benson. This lovely lady wants to show me her cookies.” He waggled his eyebrows, then ooofed when she mock elbowed him in the stomach.

“Don’t kill him like the last one, Evie. I’m running out of room for burying the bodies.” She grinned at John and then went back to talking to Trevor.

“Go get some food, Supe and,” she waggled a finger at him, “no using X-ray vision to look under their costumes.” Olivia moved to close the door when the point of an umbrella stopped her.

Liv stepped back. Alex stood ramrod still. Liv took in the perfectly tailored three piece suit, the wingtips and the umbrella carried just so. Alex’s hair was tucked up under a bowler hat. She was smirking.

“Good evening.”

“Have we met?”

“My name is Steed, John Steed” she said in a flawless British accent and tipped her hat. “And you, I believe, sir, are Mr. Arthur Fonzarelli, correct?”

Both started to laugh.

“Steed, Alex? No wonder you didn’t want to tell Casey what you were wearing.”

“I loved that show; he was so smooth and so unflappable. No matter what happened, you never saw him flinch. I liked that.”

“Kinda like the Ice Princess we all know?” She smiled knowingly.

“Watch it, Fonz; I’ll hit you with the brolly.” She waved the umbrella at her. “It’s good for more than just rain protection. Although, I’m glad I brought it -it’s starting to look like we might be in for some rain.” Her smiling eyes took in the room. “Is that Liz over there? In Go Go boots?” Her brows knit in confusion. “And a Ranger’s jersey?”

“Yeah, believe it or not, she’s wearing a bikini under that jersey.” Olivia held her hands out in surrender to Alex’s incredulous look. “Honest.” She scratched the back of her neck, in nervousness as Alex continued to stare. “She lost some kind of bet with Jake and he picked her costume. She’s all decked out like Goldie Hawn from Laugh In. It was obvious that she was grinning and bearing it just for the sake of the bet, so Casey went and got her the jersey. She wanted Liz to have a good time and feel a little more comfortable.”

“Liz? In a bikini?”

“Yeah. Liz.”

“The Judge? In a bikini?”

“Yes, Judge Elizabeth Donnelly.”

“Oh, this is too good to pass up.” Alex’s eyes took on a distinct twinkle and she strolled across the room.


Liv was bent over getting another beer out of the fridge when the ADA struck. Literally. The detective jumped when the rather hard smack to her butt hit. She turned around to glare when she realized it was Casey.

She wagged her finger. “I’m gonna get you for that.”

“Promise?” Casey popped her gum. “Got any milk and Pepsi in there?”

“Ewwwwwwww.” Liv grimaced. “Why would you want to drink that? She handed her the milk bottle.

“Dare from Elliot.” She grinned. Casey reached into the cabinet and removed a glass and poured a half a glass of milk then handed it back to Liv. “It’s not that bad and then I’ll get to dare him to do something. Pepsi?”

“Oh yeah, hang on.” Olivia went rummaging back into the fridge. “Yeah, we got one.” She handed over the can.

Casey popped the can and poured it into the glass. “Hey Elliot.” He looked up at the ADA. “Cheers!” She chugged it down. “Ahhhhhh...that wasn’t nearly as disgusting as it sounded.”

“Milk mustache.” Olivia leaned in and kissed Casey. She smacked her lips. “Nope, it tasted pretty good.” She ran her thumb over Casey’s lip to remove the last of the milk. “Okay, now it’s your turn but remember if El gets sick, we have to clean it up, so be a little nicer than I would be.”

Olivia looked over at the buffet table. Everyone was eating, drinking and laughing. Melinda was ladling out the sangria. Alex took a sip of hers and coughed.

“Geez, what’s in this stuff?”


Abbie cracked the door and stuck her head in. “Hi guys.”

“Hey Abbie, c’mon in. Join the party,” Casey called out.

At the sound of the voices, everyone in the room turned to the door. Abbie walked in and unexpectedly all conversation petered out and there was dead silence.

Suddenly self conscious because of the silence, she looked over her shoulder to see if they were staring at something behind her. “Guys?” She waved her hand. “Guys? Is there something wrong with my costume?” She looked down at the formfitted leather bodysuit. She joked. “Well, granted Diana Rigg wore this better, but I didn’t think I looked too bad.”

Just then the lights flickered for a moment followed by flash of lightning. Alex jumped at the rumbling noise that followed and dropped her glass of sangria.

Casey found Liv. “Thunder?”

Olivia looked at the awestruck gaze on Alex’s face as she continued to stare at Abbie. “Nope, I think what you just heard was the Ice Princess cracking.”


Hudson University Stadium
November 11, Saturday 1pm

Casey shifted the strap from her equipment bag back up on her shoulder. “I’m telling you El, we’re going to annihilate these pencil pushers.” She grinned. “I mean really, how could we lose?”

“I hope you’re right. It’s just weird thinking about playing softball in November. Plus, having two regulars out with injuries isn’t going to help.”

“Yeah, but we have Melinda now and Maureen filling in.”

“I still don’t know how you talked Melinda into playing. How did you even know that she played in college?”

“Charm, pure charm.” She paused at the incredulous look Elliot gave her. “Okay, okay, I volunteered Liv and me for babysitting duties for a few weekends so that Melinda and her husband can do the romantic long weekend thing.”

Elliot smiled. “I’ll remember that the next time I have something you want.”

“Careful Stabler... you and romance could mean another child.”

He slapped his hands over Dickie’s ears. “Bite your tongue. We stopped at the twins.”

Dickie struggled out of his father’s grasp and hurried down the tunnel to the light. He stopped at the edge and looked over the domed field. “Whoa.” His eyes widened in disbelief. “It’s sooooooo cool.” He turned around. “Hey Dad, hurry... look. Do the Mets really practice here in the off-season?”

Elliot and Casey picked up their pace to join the kid on the edge of the tunnel. Elliot slapped Dickie’s cap visor down playfully then put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Like that boy?” Dickie adjusted his cap and looked up at him. Elliot turned to Casey. “Your Aunt Casey’s made this possible. I’m still not sure how she negotiated this.”

Dickie threw his arms around Casey’s waist in a hug. “Thank you, Aunt Casey. This is way too cool. Wait until my friends hear.”

Casey returned the hug. “You’re welcome, kiddo. I’m just glad we aren’t playing outside. We’d have to wear skates instead of cleats.” She smiled and patted Dickie’s back. Why don’t you take the equipment down to our dugout?” She pointed over towards it. “Get it all set up and then you can help me warm up, okay?”

He took Casey’s equipment bag from her and the one from his dad and headed onto field.

Casey turned and looked back into the tunnel. “I wonder where everyone is? I thought Liv and John were right behind us.”

“We’re early Case. I’m sure they will be right al....” His sentence was interrupted by the sound of a golf cart. They watched as Munch and Liv drove up.

John braked to a stop. “How do you like my wheels, Counselor?”

“Where did you, ahem, borrow that from, John?” Casey asked, her hands on her hips.

“I got it from the groundskeeper.” He waved his thumb over his shoulder. “You left us that huge cooler to carry, so I figured we’d do it the easy way.”

Olivia stepped out of the cart. She took her coat off and shook off the snow and put it back on. Then rubbed her hands briskly up and down her arms.

“Cold, Benson?” John stared at her chest. “And what’s with the dress, anyway?”

Olivia crossed her arms and glared at John. “Go to hell.” She stomped off to the edge of the tunnel.

“Well, you’d be warmer anyway.” John yelled after her.

“John.” Casey warned.

“C’mon Casey, what gives? We hardly ever get to see Benson in a dress even on special occasions. Here we are at a softball game. In November. It’s 30 outside and there is snow falling.” He peered over the top of his glasses.

Casey blew out a breath and looked around to see if Liv was out of earshot. “The first time I asked Liv to come watch me play she thought I was going to try to recruit her for the team. I mean the woman runs, she climbs, she swims, she plays golf. She had athlete written all over her or so I thought. She showed up in a dress so there was no possible way I could coerce her to play. We won that game by a ton of runs. She did it again the next game, since I was still hounding her about playing. We won that one too. She finally relented and we went to the park and batting cages together one day. The woman has no softball skills whatsoever. Oh my God she sucks.” Her voice raised on the last part.

“You better be talking about my softball skills and not our love life, Novak or there will be hell to pay,” Liv jokingly yelled back over her shoulder.

“Yes, dear.” She answered. “Anyway, I stopped hounding her and we settled on her being my good luck charm. So now when she can manage to get to a game, she wears a dress. She’s freezing her ass-ets off because I asked her to, so lay off, okay?” Then she yelled down to Liv, “I love you. honey.”

“You owe me big time, Sweet-ie.” She turned and walked back to the trio. “We need to renegotiate that good luck charm agreement to only be valid in decent weather. It’s still cold in here, brrrrr, and we are indoors.”

Casey put her arm around Liv and smiled at her. “Have your people call my people.”

Liv kissed Casey’s nose. “C’mon Munch, let’s get that stuff to the dugout and go pick out some seats. Maybe we can build a fire from old concession trash.”


The rest of the team arrived within the next twenty minutes and were warming up on the field. Casey and Dickie were playing catch along the sideline when Abbie and her team arrived.

Abbie reached the end of the tunnel and looked around the field. Spying a ‘C-No’ on the back of a jersey, she called out. “Hey Novak?” Casey turned to the voice. Abbie waved. “You starting without us?”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. We only got here a little while ago.” She pointed to one dugout. “Your team can use that one.” Then she pointed to the other dugout. “We have a cooler full of water and Gatorade over there. Help yourself. I brought plenty.” She tossed the ball back to Dickie. “I’ll be right back.”


Casey approached Abbie. “I’m glad you could arrange to come out and play today.”

“It’s for a good cause.”


“That too but I was thinking more about kicking the one-six’s collective butts.” She tilted her head and grinned.

“We have George playing left field. Do you suffer from these delusions often?” She chuckled.

Abbie looked around the field. “Okay, I see Stabler and Fin and O’Halloran.” She used her hand as a visor. “Who are the others? The third baseman looks familiar.”

Casey pointed, “That’s Kenny Briscoe, Lenny’s nephew.” Abbie shook her head. “The guy in right field is Ruben Morales from TARU. Our normal second baseman was shot in a sting, so we recruited El’s daughter Maureen to play. She played in high school. Oh and you know Doc Warner; she’s our catcher.”

Abbie whistled. “Nice team. But not nice enough. Heh.” She bumped Casey’s shoulder playfully. “Let me go get them warmed up. Some of these guys haven’t exercised since our season ended.”

“Making excuses?” They both turned to watch the field play. Casey winced as she watched a ball go through Briscoe’s legs.

Abbie laughed. “Nah, I think we are even in that area.”


The game was already underway when Alex arrived. She made her way up into the stands along the first base line. She took off her coat and folded over the seat next to hers. Once she was settled, she looked over and saw Liv, John and Don sitting along the third base line. She mentally shrugged and debated whether or not to move. Laziness won out rather quickly when she realized that Abbie was playing first base.

Abbie’s attention was drawn to a coat flapping in the stands and she looked up momentarily. She recognized Alex Cabot. “Hey Allie.” She waved her hat at her.

Alex glared at Abbie. “Don’t call me Allie,” Alex ground out between clenched teeth. Abbie just laughed and turned her attention back to the game.

A few minutes later Liz and Jake arrived. They looked up at the stands. Liz pointed over to Alex. Jake pointed over to Liv. Both made their way into the stands.

“This seat taken, Counselor?”

“Hi Liz.” She looked behind the Judge. “No Jake?”

“He went to talk to Benson; she’s been trying to decide on a tattoo.”

“Liv? Really?”

Liz ignored the small talk and got right down to business. “So, you want to tell me what happened at the Halloween party that caused you to bolt so quickly?”

“Nothing.” Alex looked away.

Liz frowned. “Try again.”

“The thunder caught me by surprise; I dropped my glass, got embarrassed and fled.”

“Alex?” Liz picked up one of Alex’s hands in her own. ”I have seen you stare down much bigger, scarier things without even a blink. You try it with me all the time.” She grinned and got a mirrored smile in return. “You were having a great time joking and laughing. Right up until the time Carmichael....” She stared at Alex. “Are you and Carmichael not getting along? I thought we fixed that. Do I need to talk to her?’” She stood and looked over the field.
“Carmichael!” she yelled.

“What?” Abbie turned to the voice.

Alex pulled Donnelly back into her seat. “Nothing, go back to the game,” she yelled back to Abbie.

Abbie shrugged and turned her attention back to the play.

“What. Happened. Alex?” Liz enunciated each word carefully. She looked into Alex’s eyes for any indication of an answer. “Are you two...?”

“NO... yes... maybe... I don’t know.”

Liz pinched the bridge of her nose. “What?”

“Abbie has been sending me things.”


“Yes and other things.” Alex looked away.

“Care to elaborate?”

“It started after our visit to your office.”

“A day that will live in infamy.” She snorted. “Go on.”

“She sent me a pillow to sit on. Then she sent me a bear with a Band-Aid on its butt. Then there was the week’s worth of underwear.” The last word came out in a whisper.


“Underwear.” Alex sighed.

“She sent you underwear?” Liz looked from Alex to Abbie and back again.

“And exotic chocolate.”


“Naked women.”

“She sent you naked women?” Liz hissed out.

Alex looked at Liz like she had grown another head. “No, the chocolate was molded in the naked female form.” She looked over at first base. “She sends me flowers every few days.”

“Alex?” Liz picked up her hand again. “Is Carmichael stalking you?”

“Not exactly.”

“Do you want this attention?”

“NO... yes... maybe... I don’t know.” She took a breath and blew it out slowly. “She always sends a cute note where she calls me Allie. I hate being called Allie.” Alex said exasperatedly.

“Well then we’ll put a stop to this right now.” Liz stood up again and braced her hands on the railing. “Carmichael!” She screamed.

Abbie turned to the scream. “What?” She turned back just as she heard the tink of the bat. She managed to get her glove up enough to block some of the speed of the line drive headed at her head. But the ball glanced off the glove and caught her in the temple. She dropped with a thud.

“OHMIGOD, Abbie!” Alex leapt out of her seat and jumped over the railing to the field. Liz made her way down the steps.

“Abbie?” Alex carefully turned her head and hissed at the knot and bruise already forming on Abbie’s face. She tapped Abbie’s cheek. “Abbie? Sweetie?”

Abbie opened her brown eyes and squinted. “Am I dead? Is this heaven?”

Alex laughed in relief. “No.”

“But I must be. You look like an angel.” Abbie closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She opened them again. Liz was now in her line of vision. “Oh, crap. I must have taken a left turn at Albuquerque. I’m in Hell.”

Liz’s eyebrow raised. “Alex?” Liz grabbed Alex’s arm and moved her out of the way to give Dr. Warner room. They stepped back a few feet. “So, I guess we can rule out the *no, maybe, I don’t know*, correct?” Liz asked sarcastically.

Alex looked down at Abbie and then back at Liz. She bit her lip and gave a curt affirmative nod. She grabbed Liz’s arm. “But you can’t tell her.”

Melinda checked over Abbie. She probed the bump and checked Abbie’s pupils.

“Hey Doc? I really am seeing stars.” Abbie said amazed.

“Those are the ceiling lights, Abbie.” Melinda replied drolly. “How many fingers am I holding up?” She held up two fingers.

“On which hand?” Abbie replied.

“I think we should take you for a little ride, just to be on the safe side.” She moved to support Abbie’s back. “Let’s sit you up. Slowly, okay?”

Abbie insisted she didn’t need a hospital but after a failed attempt to remain upright under her own power it was decided she would get one anyway.

“Okay, but no ambulance.”

“I’ll drive her.” Everyone turned and looked at Alex.

“Actually, Counselor, I’ll take her. I think my shield will get her looked at a lot faster,” Don Cragen replied.

“Take the golf cart.” Munch added and helped Don half carry her to it. “I always wanted to sweep you off your feet Counselor.” He said to Abbie with a smile. They got Abbie seated. “Hang on, okay?”

“I’ll call you when we know something.” Don got in and started the cart.
Alex watched, worriedly, as they drove down the tunnel. Liz put her arm around Alex and directed her back to the stands. “She’ll be fine, Alex. Let’s face it, the only one with a harder head than Carmichael is you.” Liz smiled.


Abbie’s team grouped off to one side. The Sex Crimes team milled about wondering what was going on. Finally, one of the players walked over to Elliot.

“We’d like to finish the game but we’re one player down.”

Elliot turned and pointed to the stands. “We really don’t have anymore players dressed to play.”

Munch saw Elliot in conversation but couldn’t hear what they said. He saw the hand gesture. John leaned over toward Olivia and whispered, “Can I borrow your dress?”

“We have a proposition.”

“Okay,” Elliot shrugged. “What?”

“We’d like to recruit your son to play on our team. We’ve been watching him handle the foul balls. He plays little league, right? So he knows how to play?”

“Yeah, he plays first base.”

“Perfect. So how about it? Will he do it?”

Elliot rubbed the back of his neck. “One way to find out.” He looked around and found Dickie near the edge of the dugout talking to Melinda. “Dickie? C’mere, son.”

Dickie excused himself and ran over. “Yeah, Dad?”

“You know Ms. Carmichael isn’t going to be able to finish the game.” He waited for Dickie to nod he understood. “These folks flew all the way up from Washington to play today and they would like to finish the game.” He placed his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Son? They would like you to finish the game in Ms. Carmichael’s place.”

Dickie’s eyes widened. “You want me to play? For the other team?”

“You have to promise to play to the best of your ability, okay?”

Dickie looked over at the other team. “For real?” They nodded. “Cool.”

“Guess that settles that.” Elliot looked at Dickie. “Get your gear boy.”


The game was in the sixth inning and the Sex Crimes team was behind by one. Olivia’s phone rang. She made her way down to the field and waited for a break in play. Olivia walked over to the home plate umpire and told him what was going on. She pointed to Elliot, Casey and Pete, the Fed’s interim leader.
The Umpire called a time out and waved them in.

Casey and Elliot stood on either side of Pete. Liv stood next to the Umpire.
“I hate to interrupt the....” Olivia was cut off by Pete.

“Ooh, baby, you can interrupt me any time.” He leered at her.

“That’s my partner, you ass,” was said simultaneously and backed up with twin slaps to the back of his head. Elliot and Casey smiled at each other.

Pete looked between them. Olivia shook her head and evilly grinned. “You three?”

Olivia moved Pete out of the way and insinuated herself between El and Casey. She put her arms around both. She leaned her head first on one’s shoulder and then the other’s. “Uh huh.”

“Benson? Benson?” A disembodied voice was heard. “Are you still there?”

“Sorry Cap,” she spoke back into the phone. “I’m here. Just gathering the troops.” She paused. “Oh, hi Abbie.” She listened for a few moments. “Abbie is going to be fine. She is staying at Cragen’s. The doc wants her to stay awake for awhile in case of a concussion.” She listened some more. “They did a scan - it was negative.”

“We always knew there was nothing in your hard head, Abbie.” Pete yelled out loud enough for the person on the phone to hear him. Everyone snickered.

“Abbie said....” Liv started and then stopped. “You sure? Okay.” She turned to Pete. “Abbie said screw you.”

Pete looked at Benson again. “All-Right! Thanks Boss,” he yelled into the phone and went to grab Olivia.

Elliot and Casey both grabbed one of his arms and pulled him back.
“Touch her and die,” Elliot growled into his ear. “I have a big gun and Casey here will make sure the paperwork goes missing.”

“Aw c’mon, I was only kidding around. I get it, I get it.” They let go of his arms.

“Oh, okay,” Olivia handed Pete the phone.

“Yeah, boss?” Pete’s face paled. “Got it.” He swallowed. “I am very sorry Ms. Benson for my rude behavior.”

Olivia exchanged puzzled looks with Elliot and Casey and then looked at the phone that Pete was handing back to her. “Abbie?” Her face creased in a familiar grin. “I’ll have to remember that one. Is it physically possible?” She raked her eyes up and down Elliot’s body. “That could come in quite handy. Okay, I’ll call you back when the game is over.” She snapped the phone shut. Both Elliot and Casey had raised an eyebrow in silent question. “Umm, play ball?” She leaned in and whispered in Casey’s ear, “Go get ’em.” Liv smacked Elliot on the butt then winked and wandered back to the stands.

“Uhh, Casey?” He looked back and forth between the two women.

“I have no clue.” She walked back to the pitcher’s mound to resume the game.


Casey had her arm around Dickie as they walked back up the tunnel. “You were great, kiddo.” She smiled and hugged him a little tighter.

“You aren’t mad?”

“Are you kidding? That was an awesome catch and a terrific double play.”


Casey stopped and looked into Dickie’s eyes. “I’m not mad, I promise. I’m very proud of you. You won the game for your team.”

“Are you mad at Dad?”

“For hitting into the double play?” Casey thought for a moment. “Nah, its part of the game. But let’s let him suffer a bit.” She smirked.

Elliot caught up to Casey and his son. “Case... I....”

“Elliot, I was just telling Dickie he could play on the Sex Crimes team next season.”

“But Fin plays first. He not playing next year?”

“No, Dickie has agreed to change positions.” She winked at the boy. “He’s going to change to shortstop.” She continued walking down the tunnel.

“That’s great, Casey.” He adjusted his grip on the equipment bags. Then realization hit. “Hey, wait a minute. I play shortstop.” He hurried down the tunnel toward the laughter. “You are joking, right? Casey? Case?”


O’Connor Residence
November 23, Thursday 7am

Evie O’Connor wiped her hands with a dish towel as she strode from the kitchen to the front door. “I’m coming, I’m coming. Keep your pants on.”
She leaned forward and looked through the peephole. She smiled. She stepped over to the small mirror on the wall and touched up her hair.
Evie took a deep breath and opened up the door.

“Good morning, my dear,” John doffed his hat to her. “How are you?”

“C’mon in, Johnnie.” She held out her hand and gestured him in. She turned back toward the kitchen. “The girls just left. I made them a nice big breakfast and filled up a couple of Thermos’ for them. I can’t believe they are going to brave pneumonia just to watch the parade they could be watching on television.” She headed into the kitchen.

John shook the snowflakes off his hat then hung it and his coat on the rack by the door. “Well, I think Benson is the only one of the group who has ever braved the elements and the crushing crowd before, although she hasn’t attended for many years. Usually she volunteers to work on the holiday. I’m guessing a certain green-eyed Counselor batted her eyes at her and the big bad Benson caved like a house of cards.” He smirked and followed Evie to the kitchen.

“Doesn’t she always?” They both laughed.

“What can I help you with?” He playfully bowed and leaned back on the counter. “John Munch is at your disposal.”

“Actually, you are at my stove. The disposal is over there.” She pointed to the sink. “If you don’t know that much, you aren’t going to be much help around the kitchen today.”

“Very funny.” He rolled his eyes. “I can assure you I know my way around a kitchen.” He placed his hands on his hips. “What would you like me to do first?”

“I need to be finishing up the breakfast dishes and then we can get to chopping. How’s that sound?” She gestured to the coffee pot. “Why don’t you have a cup? There are muffins on the table as well. Help yourself.”

He lifted up one of the muffins and sniffed it. He closed his eyes and savored the aroma. “Mmmm. Real fruit. I’m in love. Will you marry me?”

Evie smiled and shook her head and turned back to the sink. “You are a nut.”

Parade Route
34th Street/Broadway & 7th Avenue
November 23, Thursday 10:30am

The fantastic four were huddled close together as they stood on the curb watching the parade. Alex and Abbie stood in the middle of the group with Benson and Novak acting as bookends.

“Was that a snowflake? Did I just see a snowflake?”

“Either that or that Barney balloon is suffering from a bad case of dandruff.”

Abbie leaned toward Alex and started to sing softly. “I hate him. He hates me. Let's hang Barney in a... ooooof.”

Both Alex and Liv elbowed Abbie in the ribs.

“Thanks a lot, Tex. Now I am going to have that damned song in my head for the rest of the day. You suck, y’know?” A twinkle in Liv’s eyes belied any real anger.

“Yes, yes I do.” Abbie answered back. “But only if I am asked nicely.”

She got elbowed again.

“Children.” Casey mockingly admonished.

“We’ll behave, Mom.” They said in unison and then broke out in giggles.

Casey just shook her head.
Abbie bumped Liv’s shoulder. “Seriously Liv, thanks. This was an awesome idea. In all the time I lived here I never got to come out and actually see this up close and personal.”
“Thank the little woman over there.” Olivia ducked a knowing swat to the back of her head by said little woman. She stuck her tongue out at Casey. “I don’t get to do this very often. Until Casey and I got together I usually volunteered to work on the holidays so that everyone else could have the day with their families.”

Benson saw the burnt orange and white uniforms a half second before the tune they were playing registered. She turned to Abbie who had already raised her hand in the familiar salute.

“Hook’em Horns!” She cheered loudly. “Whoooo Hoooo!!!!”

“You can take the Abbie out of cattle country but apparently you can’t take the bull... ahem... out of Abbie.”

Casey butted shoulders with Alex. “Be nice.” Alex just smiled at Casey.

Once the band passed by and the noise died down a bit Casey put her hand on
Abbie’s arm to get her attention. “Hey Abbie, were you part of the band?”

“Drum major.”

“Really?” Casey’s eyes widened. “Impressive, you were a drum major.”

Abbie winked at Casey. “No, I dated her.” Alex glowered at Abbie. “What?!?” She turned to face Alex. “So Alex, are you musically inclined? Did you march?”

“Yes and no.” She paused and looked at the group. The follow-up question was evident on their faces. “Yes, I am musically inclined and no, I did not play in the marching band.”

“Can’t play and walk at the same time, Blondie?” Abbie joked.

“I play piano. I have for years. If you would be so kind to carry around my Baby Grand, I will gladly march behind you playing anything you like.” She smiled sweetly at Abbie.

Their mutual unintentional staring contest ended when Abbie turned her attention to Casey. “How about you, Case? Were you part of a marching band?”

“Virginia didn’t have the marching band when I went there. But I did play in their Pep Band. We played at all the games that no normal band who have braved.” She laughed. “We were ummm....” She thought for a second. “Freeform.”

“Y’all couldn’t march to save your life, right?” Abbie grinned.

“That would be correct.” Casey grinned back. “It was fun though. We weren’t bound by normal,” she made quote marks in the air, “‘college marching band’ rules. We had an incredible tendency to tick the University off with some of our antics and music choices. Go figure.” She shrugged.

“Ooh, you little trouble maker you.” Abbie waived a finger at Casey in mock admonishment. She turned to Liv.

“Uh uh... not me. The only tune I can carry is in an iPod.” Liv snickered.

“So let me get this straight.” She pointed at Casey. “University of Virginia.”

Casey nodded.

Abbie pointed at Alex next. “Harvard.”


She pointed to herself. “University of Texas.”

Liv bit her lip and then got a devilish glint in her eyes. “Y’know, I was reading the US News this week and they did their annual ranking of Universities and University Law Programs.” She turned to Abbie. “UT was number sixteen.”

“Go Longhorns!”

“Virginia was number nine.”

“Go Cavaliers!” Casey smiled smugly at Abbie.

“And Harvard was number two.”

Alex buffed her nails on her coat and then blew on them.

Liv reached over and grabbed Alex’s hand and lowered it. “And where I went, the School of Hard Knocks, was number one.” She looked between the trio. “Sucks to be you guys.”

They all swatted at Benson, who just laughed and ducked out of the way.

O’Connor Residence
November 23, Thursday 11am

He looked over the table once more as he continued to whisk the mixture in the bowl. Evie followed him out, straightening her apron as she walked.

“You know, Johnnie, you really shouldn’t do that to me while we are cooking.” She pulled on his tie. “We could have had a major kitchen mishap.”

He tried his best innocent look. “What? It was a kitchen and we were cooking.”

“Oh you,” she took the kitchen towel off her shoulder and popped it in his direction. Evie looked at the clock. “I hope the girls are all right. The parade should be about finishing up.”

Parade Route
34th Street/Broadway & 7th Avenue
November 23, Thursday 11:35am

“I can’t believe they got called away. I thought this was Liv’s day off.”

“You know Fin wouldn’t have called them in if it wasn’t important. I’m sure they will be back for dinner. We’ll just meet them at Evie’s.”

Alex’s attention turned back to the parade. “Oh, look...” she pointed up, “Garfield. I love these balloons.”

Abbie burst out in laughter. She sobered at the puzzling look Alex gave her and then burst out again. “Sorry.” Abbie fought to catch her breath. “It reminded me of a story my drum major girlfriend told me.”


“Actually, just a piece of Garfield.” She rubbed her nose then continued. “They... the UT Band... marched here one year. She was so excited to be here. The weather frigid and the wind was kinda blowing that day so they lowered the tethers on the balloons to keep them closer to the ground. Anyway, they ended up marching behind the Garfield balloon. So for two and half miles all she saw was Garfield’s butt. She said every once in awhile the breeze would catch his tail and swish it from one side to the other. She said it felt like an arctic breeze. By the time they got halfway through the route her teeth were chattering so hard she was hoping that he would hit a powerline just he would burst into flames and she could finally warm up. To this day if you ask her about her experience, that’s what she remembers most.”

Alex snickered. “Could have been worse.” Abbie looked over. “She could have been marching behind the mounted police.”

Alex pitched forward suddenly. She caught her balance before falling off the curb. She straightened up and looked behind.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I just got pushed. Some kid must have been pushing his way down the sidewalk, probably not looking at what he was pushing on.” They turned back to the parade. “Yow!” Alex screamed and immediately whacked Abbie with her purse.

“What?” Abbie protested.

“Keep your hands to yourself, Carmichael. Stop pinching me.”

“I didn’t pinch you. Look.” She pulled her elbows away from her body. “My hands are in my pockets. I forgot my gloves and I am trying to keep them warm.”

“Well, if you didn’t then who...?” Alex screamed again. She turned and stared at the man standing behind her. He was dressed as Santa Claus complete with white beard.

He just leered at her and blew her a kiss. Then he held up his fingerless gloved hands and squeezed his fingers together in a pinching motion. “Honk honk.” He reached around and pinched her again. “Oooh, you are what Santa wants this year.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Wanna move from the nice to naughty list this year?”

“Okay buddy, that’s it.” Abbie grabbed him around the chest to hold him.
“Alex, go get a uni....” He broke from her grasp and grabbed the purse strap on Alex’s arm as he moved by her. “Alex! Nooooo....”

O’Connor Residence
November 23, Thursday 1:30pm

Casey, Olivia, Sam and Rachel were sitting in Evie’s living room. Sam and Rachel on one couch and Olivia was sharing the loveseat with Casey. Casey had Evie’s grandson Jimmy on her lap.

Casey softly riffled her fingers through his blonde hair. She leaned down conspiratorially, playfully touching his nose with her finger and whispered. “Where did you get such beautiful hair?”

Jimmy blushed and hid his face in Casey’s neck.

“I’ve seen your Daddy.” She tickled Jimmy. “He has dark hair, so where did all this light stuff come from, huh?”

“Stop... stop....” Jimmy squirmed in her lap and giggled. “Grandma says I got it from the milkman.”

Liv, Sam and Rachel started laughing. Olivia looked at Casey. “Casey had blonde hair for awhile too, Jimmy.” She paused to get everyone’s attention. “She got it from a bottle.”

Casey picked up a throw pillow and whacked Olivia with it, much to the delight of the others. That just started another round of laughter.

“You guys are just too cute to be around.”

“Cute?” Liv pointed to herself. “Cute? I am not cute. I am... I am... intimidating. I have perps shaking in their shoes when I am around.” She turned the patented Benson stare on Sam.

Casey wiped a smudge of chocolate from Liv’s upper lip. “Lose the cocoa mustache, honey. It spoils the overall effect.”

Olivia just shook her head and grinned. “It worked this morning.”

“That it did,” Casey replied.

“What happened?”

“Casey, Alex, Abbie and I went out to watch the parade. Oh, by the way, they’ll be here for dinner later. So Fin called us and asked us to come to the station. Apparently, a Uni team brought in a suspect we have been trying to track down. They got him on a simple public intoxication charge. Anyway, I went in to question him and gave him my most intimidating look.”

Casey cut in. “He caved and started confessing to everything.”

“Yeah,“ Olivia said smugly. “I’m that good.”

“She apparently looked enough like one of his dead victims. He thought she had come back to life. I guess the alcohol and his guilty feelings helped his mind convince him to give everything up.”

“Well, yeah, I guess there was that too.” Liv smiled sheepishly.

“You are still plenty intimidating, sweetie.” Casey patted Olivia’s leg. “You sure did a number on me when we first met.”

“What happened?” Rachel sat up straight.

“I’ll never forget what you said to me either.”

“What did you say?” Sam moved to the edge of her seat.

“See what you started.” She said accusingly at Casey. The ADA just grinned.

“We were working a crime scene. I heard the sweet voice first and then looked up and see the most devastatingly beautiful sight in my life. I said I think I’m in love.” Casey pinched Liv’s leg, hard. “Ow.” She glared.

“Liar. Liar. Benson, that is not what happened.”

“Liv? Casey? What did you both say?”

“It was my first day as the SVU ADA and my first crime scene. Since they only had *years* of experience and it was my first case, naturally, I had to tell them how to handle things. I told Liv to bag up what she was holding in her hands as evidence - that it was part of the search warrant. She replied....”

“Who the hell... o... tiny ears here.” Liv stopped short and pointed to Jimmy.

Casey covered Jimmy’s ears. “She said, ‘who the hell are you’?”

Jimmy looked between his two aunts. “Aunt Casey? Did Aunt Liv call you a bad word?” The boy made a tiny fist and popped Liv on the shoulder.


“Grandma doesn’t like people using bad words. Shame, shame.” He frowned at Liv.

“It’s okay Jimmy. I got punished already. I think I’m still being punished too.”

They all snickered.

Jimmy looked around at the smiling adults. “Okay, all good.” He jumped off of Casey’s lap. “I’m gonna go to my room and play video games now, ‘kay?”

“Have fun, kiddo.” Casey tickled him one last time before he ran to his room. Casey looked at the others. “I think I’m going to go check on Munch and Evie. The kitchen is too quiet.”

“You sure you want to do that?”

“Good point. I’ll announce myself really loudly before I go in.” Casey stood and called out loudly as she walked to the kitchen. “Oh Evie? Munch? I’m coming in. You both better be decent.” She smirked. “Or at least fully clothed.” Casey pushed through the door and disappeared into the kitchen.

“What’s up with Mrs. O and Elwood anyway?” Rachel asked.

“I think he and Evie hit it off at the Halloween party. They are kinda sweet together. You should see him match wits with Billy. He may be eight but in some ways he is going on forty. He’s fascinated with space, so Munch tells him stuff about aliens. He drives Evie nuts with that stuff.”

“Too funny.”

Liv’s phone rang. “Excuse me.” She pulled the phone from her pocket and looked at the caller ID. A puzzled look crossed her face but she answered. “Benson.”

Olivia stood up and started pacing. “Calm down, you sound funny. Ab?” She listened. “Okay, I’ll be right there. Don’t move.” The detective snapped her phone shut. “I gotta go.” Liv grabbed her jacket and a scarf off the rack. “Tell Casey I’ll be a back as soon as I can. I’ll call when I know something.”


“Don’t worry. It shouldn’t take long. In case it does and dinner is ready, go ahead and eat, okay? Don’t hold everyone up waiting for me. I’ll be back.” Olivia closed the door behind her.

Sam and Rachel turned to each other.

“That was weird.”

Sam slapped Rachel on the shoulder. “You go tell Red.”

“Why me? You go tell her.”

“Because if she goes after the messenger, you are going to need a doctor. That would be me.”

“Logical.” She raised an eyebrow. “I hate that.” Rachel smiled, took a deep breath and moved toward the kitchen. She kept looking over her shoulder at Sam who was making shooing motions at her. She sighed. Just as she reached the door it swung outward.

“Hey Rach, need something?”

“Nuh uh. Everything okay in there?” She looked beyond Casey at the closed door.

“Yeah, it’s good. The turkey smells fantastic and our little chefs are sitting at the table playing cards. Evie is beating the pants off of John at pinochle.”
Casey continued to ramble, “Well, not literally... that wouldn’t be good. Although he does have nice legs....” Her voice trailed off. “What?”
She looked around and only saw Rachel and Sam staring at her. “Hey, where’s Liv?”

“Uh, about that.”

“Spill.” Casey crossed her arms and glared at the two.

“She got a mysterious phone call, said she had to go and that she would be back or at least call when she knew something.”

“Who was the call from?” Just then Casey phone rang. She pointed at Rachel who was about to answer her question. “Hold that thought.” Rachel closed her mouth.

Casey pulled her phone out of phone pouch. She looked at the ID and didn’t recognize the number. “Novak.” She began to pace. “Alex, calm down. Where are you? Okay. I’ll be right there.” She listened. “Don’t do anything stupid. I mean it. Give me twenty minutes.” She disconnected the call.

“Dammit.” Casey looked down at her attire and nervously smoothed her hands over some non-existent wrinkles. “Well, it’s not my normal stuff, but it will have to do. I don’t have time to change.” She turned to the girls. “Look, I have to go for awhile. I’ll be back as soon as I can. If Liv beats me here tell her I’ll call her.” Casey grabbed her coat. “Oh and don’t....”

“Hold dinner. We know. Go already.”

St. Vincent’s Hospital
November 23, Thursday 2:15pm

Olivia came running. She barreled through the ER doors and slid the last few steps to the desk. The detective pulled her badge from her pocket and flashed it at the nurse. She sucked in a needed breath. “You have an Abigail Carmichael here? Where is she?”

The nurse took a closer look at the badge and then looked down at the admittance chart. “She’s in room four.” She looked at the fear in Liv’s eyes. “Oh honey, its okay.” She put her hand on Liv’s arm. “The doctor just wanted her to rest before he finishes her treatment.”

Olivia briefly closed her eyes in relief. “Can I see her?”

“Sure. C’mon back with me, Detective.” The nurse lowered her voice. “Is she a bad guy? Y’know, a criminal?”

Olivia smiled. “The worst kind. She’s an attorney.”

The nurse chuckled and pointed to an ugly green curtain. “She’s behind there.”

Olivia pulled the curtain aside and stepped toward the bed. Abbie was lying quietly with an icepack over her eyes. She heard someone approach.

“Bou’time you god here.” She removed the icepack and gingerly sat up. Both eyes were ringed, barely open and her nose was swollen.

“Ohmigod Abbie, what happened?”

“Punch’d inda nose. Brok’n.”

“Where’s Alex?”

“Dunno. Gots sep’rated. Figure she’s ada precin’t givin’ a stademen’.”

“Cops? What happened?”

“Well, id kinda happen’d like dis…”

Manhattan Criminal Court
November 23, Thursday 6pm

“All rise - the Honorable Judge Stone residing.”

“Be seated.” The gavel banged twice. “Who’s the first turkey of the day, Carl?”

“People vs Alexandra Cabot. Assault and battery.” Carl dropped a file in front of the Judge.

“Cabot? I know that name. Ms. Malo…” Judge Stone looked up from the document that was placed in front of him. “Casey?”

Casey stepped through the gate and waved off the public defender. “Casey Novak representing Alexandra Cabot, your honor.” She made her way to a spot in front of the Judge and joined Alex. She then whispered to Alex, “I t took awhile to track you down. Are you okay?”

Alex’s eyes brightened at the sight of her friend and she nodded. She started to wring her hands in nervousness but stopped immediately. She decided to remain stock still with her left hand holding her right wrist.

Casey heard the low hiss and looked at Alex. Her eyes were drawn to her hands. She gave Alex a puzzled look.

“Little out of your norm, no Casey?”

“Yes, Judge.” Her attention was drawn back to the bench. “Alexandra is a colleague and friend.”

Alexandra Cabot suddenly found her shoes fascinating.

“You are that Alexandra Cabot.”

“Yes Judge,” was the whispered reply. Oh look, my sneakers match the floor tile.

“I see. This should be good.” The Judge turned to the prosecutor. “Mr. Reynolds?”

“Ms. Cabot is accused of assault and battery on an undercover police officer.”

“What?!?” Casey turned to Alex. “You didn’t tell me it was a cop.”

“It wasn’t. It was Santa.” Alex replied matter-of-factly.

“You beat up Santa? Ms. Cabot, you are never going to get that pony now.”

“He groped me and made honking noises and... and....” Alex trailed off.

“You got a Christmas goose, complete with sound effects from Santa and you decide to go ninja on him. Is that correct?”

“NO... yes... maybe... I don’t know.” She sighed heavily. “My friend held him so I could get an officer but Santa broke away and stole my purse. I got mad and I ran after him and when I caught up with him I kicked him.”

“Yes, Judge, apparently Officer Jackson can now reach those high notes while singing Christmas carols.”

Judge Stone coughed. “All righty then....” He looked at the prosecutor. “If Officer Jackson groped and grabbed, then why are the charges against Ms. Cabot?”

“Officer Jackson was an innocent bystander. He was undercover as a sidewalk Santa. He heard her calling out that someone stole her purse. He managed to recover the purse even though the perp continued to flee. He was bringing it back to her when she caught up to him. Same red suit, same white beard... you do the math.”

“Ohhhhh.” He turned his attention to Alex. “Ms. Cabot?”

“I’m sorry?” She said sheepishly.

“Judge? It was a mistake not a malicious assault. Ms. Cabot will make a formal apology to Officer Jackson. There really isn’t any reason to make this any worse for anyone. Please?”

“Mr. Reynolds?”

“No objection sir, I think Ms. Cabot can go on and lead a productive life in normal society. Given time I’m sure she can move back off of the naughty list to the good list,” he said snarkily.

Alex looked up and glared at him. Reynolds stepped back.

“Fine. Case dismissed. You are free to go.” He banged the gavel on his bench.

Casey and Alex turned to leave. Casey’s hand was on Alex’s back as she led her away. “Let’s go get your stuff and get you out of here.” She paused a second. “Alex? Is there something wrong with your hand? Let me see.”

Casey held out her own hand and waited for Alex to place hers in it. She turned it slightly and winced at the bruising and swelling. "Alex? What...?"

Alex shrugged, “I guess I must have hit the perp too.” She immediately straightened up and turned wide eyes to Casey. “Ohmigod, Abbie!”

“Alex? Abbie is probably fine and at Evie’s. I’m sure she went there after you got separated. Which is where you and I will be going, but first we are going to stop at the nearest ER to get that hand X-rayed.”

“No, you don’t understand. I....”


Casey stopped walking. “Wait a sec, Alex.” She walked back to the bench.

“Yes, Judge.”

He ripped up the case file in half. “Happy Thanksgiving, Case.”

“Thank you, Harry. I owe you one.”

“I’ll remind you the next game we play. You could try maybe to not kick my ass so hard.”

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