Part 1

Chapter Thirty:

Immediately after Olivia and Charlie walked out of the diner, Casey flipped open her cell phone and started to dial 911. She didn't know what Olivia had planned, but she wasn't about to let the stupid, foolhardy detective walk off with her mentally ill ex-fiancé. She was surprised when her phone lit up with Elliot's name before she could place the call. Even after all these years, Stabler was still in her list of contacts. He even had his own ringtone (although he shared it with Olivia).

For once, the ex-ADA didn't answer his call with a crisp 'Novak'. "Elliot, she's done it again..." she started to say, but the former Marine interrupted her.

"Casey, Alex and I have a lead on your stalker. We think it's–"

"Charlie, I know," Casey said sourly. "You're about a quarter of an hour too late!"

Dumping the contents of her wallet onto the table without bothering to wait for the bill, Casey slung her purse over her shoulder and ran out of the diner as fast as possible, cell phone tucked between her shoulder and cheek as she looked frantically around for Olivia, hoping to catch a glimpse of her retreating form. She didn't see anything. "Olivia just left with him when he approached us in the diner. I have no idea where she went or what idiotic plan she's come up with this time."

Obviously, Alex heard Casey's response, because the redhead was forced to pull the phone away from her ear. She winced in pain. She had no idea Alex could shout that loud. "She did what? That stubborn, mulish, impetuous, temerarious..."

"Elliot, where would she go?" Casey said urgently into the phone, ignoring Alex's string of adjectives, which were growing more colorful by the second. She couldn't help raising her eyebrows when her fellow attorney added 'fuckwit' to the list. "Should I call 911?"

"Did she have her gun with her?"


"Was Charlie armed?"

"Not that I could see." Casey knew better than to assume anyone was unarmed unless they had been searched. She had seen the ugly results when less-experienced cops made that mistake in the past. "But he has a serious history of mental illness." Dodging people on the street, she took a gamble and headed right, figuring that heading one way was better than just standing still. She realized that her instincts had taken her in the direction of Police Plaza.

"Go to the one-six," Elliot said, his thoughts obviously mirroring Casey's subconscious instincts. "She'll take him there."


"Did you say you were in a diner? She probably left to get him away from you and the other civilians. If she keeps him calm, he won't attack random people on the street, but if he snaps, the best place for that to happen would be in a building full of trained police officers. Olivia knows that."

Casey groaned. "But Olivia doesn't know that Charlie hates the police..." she said, quickening her pace despite the heels she had chosen. "Once he realizes where he is, he might get violent. The police... haven't been very kind to him in the past..." She couldn't help panting as she broke into a jog, leaving several passersby staring at her as she ducked and weaved through the crowd on the sidewalk.

"What?" Alex screeched. Normally, the blonde had a very pleasing alto voice, but right now, she sounded like an enraged harpy. "Hey, Rubirosa! Connie, thank God, give me your keys..." The conversation grew too faint for Casey to make out through the speaker of her cell phone. Connie? Who the hell was Connie? She decided it didn't matter.

"Alex, don't take her purs- ... oh, never mind..." Elliot said. "Casey, we're on our way." He hung up without another word.

Casey thought, not for the first time, that everyone associated with the NYPD and the DA's office of New York County was officially crazy. Still clutching her cell phone in her hand, she broke into an all-out run.



Connie Rubirosa sighed. Her day was not going smoothly at all. Judge Donnelly had granted the defense's motion to withhold evidence during her upcoming trial, her stockings had a run in them, and her car had just been hijacked by two (possibly insane) coworkers. She was regretting her decision to skip breakfast. It didn't look like lunch was in the near future for her, either.

"Alex, what's going on?" She and the blonde were on first-name terms, but barely. They had only known each other for a few months, and the last she heard, Cabot had been prosecuting a case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"Olivia Benson is in trouble. Sorry about jacking your car."

Olivia Benson. The brown-eyed detective was a bit of a legend around the DA's office. So was Alex Cabot, for that matter. According to the gossip circuit (which included Jack McCoy, Michael Cutter, and even Judge Petrovsky), Benson, Cabot, Abbie Carmichael, and Serena Southerlyn had formed a little 'clique' of sorts, and the four of them got into their fair share of scrapes. The most recent had occurred several months ago, but since the tale was better than a soap opera, it was still making the rounds in the DA's office. Something to do with Cabot and Benson shooting a perp and then kissing heatedly in the blood-drenched crime scene, unable to prevent themselves from confessing their undying love. Secretly, Connie thought it was romantic, although a little bit disturbing.

"Jesus, Alex, that's a red light!" Elliot Stabler hollered, clutching Connie's shoulder to keep her from tumbling forward, for which she was grateful. The ADA hadn't gotten a chance to fasten her seatbelt. She took the opportunity to correct her mistake.

"Do you want to explain this to me?" she asked Elliot. Alex was obviously concentrating on driving, even if she was breaking several traffic laws.

"Sorry about her," Elliot said. "She's a bit of a basket case when it comes to Olivia..."

Alex seemed to prove his statement by honking her horn violently at the car in front of them, even though the poor man in his Sedan was unable to move because of the other cars in line before him.

Connie sighed heavily, the puff of hair lifting her bangs. "Oh well. If she wrecks my car or gets a ticket for speeding or reckless driving, she's paying for it. And if I'm late for court with Patel this afternoon, she gets to explain it."

"Come on, move it!" Alex hollered at a particularly unfortunate driver. "Your mother should have sued the damn condom factory!"

"I guess you deserve the lowdown," Elliot continued. He took a deep breath and started to explain. "Former ADA Casey Novak is being stalked by her ex-fiancé, Charlie. He confronted her while she was getting brunch at a diner with Olivia, and she smooth talked him out of the place and onto the street. We think she's heading to Police Plaza, but what Olivia doesn't know is that Charlie hates the police and might get violent once he realizes where Olivia is taking him."

Alex apparently wasn't satisfied when a Nisan took too long to accelerate when the light changed. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! I know we're descended from apes, but obviously Darwin was wrong and you haven't evolved enough to operate a car!"

Connie groaned. She clutched Elliot Stabler's thick forearm when Alex took a turn too sharply for her liking. "Please don't wreck my car, please don't wreck my car, please don't wreck my car..."


Chapter Thirty-One:

"Where are we going?"

Olivia made sure to keep Charlie close by her side as she led him around a busy Manhattan corner. They were getting closer and closer to One Hogan Place, and the last thing she wanted to do was spook him. "We're going somewhere safe. Somewhere Casey can meet you."

"When will she meet me?"

"Soon." At first, Olivia thought that silence was the best way to handle the walk to Police Plaza, but eventually, her curiosity got the better of her, and she started talking. "Casey thought that you were dead, Charlie. She said that she saw your body. That's why she was so afraid of you. You can understand, right?"

"She should have known I would never leave her. It was a mistake."

The part of Olivia that was Casey's friend wanted to bring up the time that Charlie had hit her and the fact that he had stopped taking his meds, but the detective part of her knew that agitating a schizophrenic was a very stupid idea. Alex would probably think she was crazy for walking him to the Station as it was...

' Alex. Oh shit, she's going to kill me.'

"I understand," Olivia said, attempting to form some kind of bond with Charlie so that he would be less likely to turn against her if things went downhill. "I'm with someone, too... I want to propose eventually, but we haven't been seeing each other long enough yet."

Charlie frowned, his eyes clouding, but he didn't seem upset at Olivia. Instead, the emotions on his face seemed nostalgic. "Casey was so happy when I proposed to her. Things were good. I was seeing a new doctor. But he tried to put me on another pill. I didn't want any more pills... God, too many pills, they made everything so foggy..." Charlie's focus returned immediately, and he suddenly pulled away from Olivia, glaring daggers at her and holding out his arms in a defensive pose. "What have you been telling Casey about me? Did you tell her to stay away from me? I think you stole the letters..."

Unlike so many of her unfortunate brothers and sisters in blue, Olivia had proper training on how to deal with mentally ill people who weren't taking their medication. She also knew that one of schizophrenia's symptoms happened to be extreme paranoia. She stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, ignoring the stares from the people passing by. A few just kept right on walking – they had seen and heard everything during their time in Manhattan. "I didn't steal any letters, Charlie. I told you, Casey thought you were dead, so she didn't want to open them. She didn't know they were really from you."

Charlie stared deep into her eyes, and Olivia felt her stomach tie itself into a slippery knot. "Everyone wants to keep her away from me. I don't want to hurt her."

"I know... Casey knows too."

"She tried to help me, even when they told me to hit her. They told me to hit her because I had to stop... to..." He lost his train of thought, then continued walking forward at such a brisk pace that Olivia had to jog in order to keep up.

"To stop what, Charlie?"

"To stop her from calling the doctors. They were going to pump drugs in me and take out my organs. She didn't know. But they told me." Olivia knew better than to ask who 'they' was. She wasn't even sure if Charlie knew. "Then the police came."

Unfortunately, that was when the buildings that made up the heart of the NYPD came in to view. At first, the tall man just stopped and stared, looking around with slightly unfocused eyes. Then, he started screaming, lashing out with his feet and throwing his arms out to both sides. Olivia ducked, barely missing a swing, but he didn't seem to be attacking her. In fact, he hardly seemed to notice that she was there at all.

Before Olivia had time to reach for her gun, Charlie threw his full weight against a black metal trashcan, taking out his rage on the inanimate object, kicking and punching as though he was fighting for his life. Half of the people on the street stopped and stared with a mix of horror and fascination. The other, perhaps wiser half, looked for cover or escaped around the nearest corner. Some pulled out their phones to call the police, but even they paused as Olivia, using slow, deliberate motions, approached the frantic man.

"Charlie." No response. "Charlie!"

When he still refused to answer her or show any signs of stopping, Olivia made a decision. She couldn't let a violent man have some sort of fit in the middle of a crowded street. The detective lunged forward, using her considerable strength to try and lock the joints in her opponent's shoulders.

Charlie flinched and reeled backwards, struggling against the hold and sending both of them off-balance. Olivia went with the fall, knowing that submission holds were most effective on the ground. As soon as Charlie hit the pavement, she grabbed his right wrist with both hands, twisting it past the joint's range of motion and preventing him from moving. His feet continued to kick, and Olivia knew she would be sporting several bruises on her legs from where his knees connected with her shins.

"I'm not going to hurt you, Charlie. Everything's going to be all right," Olivia said, trying to slow her racing heart and catch her breath. "I'm going to start letting go of your arm, okay?" When Charlie's body remained limp in her hold, Olivia gradually released pressure on the joint.

"Olivia? Charlie! The police are coming!"

Olivia mentally groaned when she heard Casey's familiar voice. A distraction was the last thing she needed. Charlie started squirming again, desperation lending him the strength to free his arm and reach into his pants. Before she knew what was happening, Olivia felt a white-hot pain above her knee. She looked down, tears clouding her eyes, and saw the handle of a knife sticking out of her thigh. Shit... how had she missed that?

Taking advantage of Olivia's reaction to the pain, Charlie wriggled out of the detective's hold. Before she could recover, he scrambled to his feet and started towards Casey. Olivia tried to follow, but the knife still stuck in her thigh made it impossible to stand. Blood soaked through her pants and pooled on the sidewalk beneath her. Blinking rapidly to clear her eyes of tears, Olivia started fumbling at her belt, trying to pull out her service weapon.

"Charlie! Stop!"

Casey's voice did the trick, and Charlie stopped just a yard away from her. Seeing the redhead's pale hand pointing behind him, he turned and stared into the barrel of Olivia's gun.



Chapter Thirty-Two:

"Alex! Pull over!" Elliot's sudden shout and the large, strong hand that clasped Alex's upper arm caught her attention immediately, and the ADA swerved towards the curb, trusting her lover's partner implicitly.



The attorney didn't even care that she was double-parked and blocking a lane of traffic. She slammed her foot on the brakes and looked at Elliot for further instructions, but the former marine was already hopping out of the passenger's side door and running towards the sidewalk.

That was when Alex saw her. Olivia, sprawled on the pavement of the sidewalk, surrounded by a crowd of people. Her gun was aimed at a large, intimidating man, who was standing in front of a terrified looking redhead that Alex recognized immediately. Her stomach sank. Elliot rushed to kneel beside Olivia, but the stalwart detective didn't spare him a glance. She kept her gun pointed squarely at the large man, whom Alex assumed was Casey's mentally ill ex-fiancé, Charlie.

"Oh my God, what's going on?" Connie said from the backseat. Alex jumped. She had almost forgotten that the other ADA was still in the car. "Is that blood?"

"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph..." Alex had been so consumed by the scene that she hadn't noticed the crimson pool spreading around Olivia's legs. The blonde's first instinct was to leave the keys in the ignition and follow Elliot out of the car, but she knew from personal experience not to walk into a situation that might involve gunfire. Even Elliot was keeping a careful distance, although he too had drawn his weapon. Alex rolled down the window in order to hear what was going on.

"Charlie, I need you to put your hands behind your head," Elliot was saying, walking sideways in order to stand as close behind Olivia as he could get without startling their target. "Can you do that for me?"

"You're one of them. I knew they'd come after me, they said... they said..."

"Charlie, you need to listen to the police officers," Casey pleaded, the words tumbling out of her in a rush. She was obviously terrified, but she was trying her best to keep it together. "No one wants to hurt you, I promise."

"I'm so sorry, Casey – so sorry..." Without a glance back, Charlie hurled himself into the street and began running. Fortunately, traffic was already mostly stopped, with several motorists parked in the middle of the road in order to see what was going on. As soon as Charlie bolted, Elliot bent down next to Olivia and began trying to staunch the flow of blood. That was enough for Alex. Not caring that the passenger door was slightly ajar, the lawyer did the first thing that came to mind. She started weaving through the spotty traffic after the runaway perp.

Ignoring the loud, terrified gasps and squeaks coming from the back seat, she pressed down on the gas and narrowed her eyes as the car lurched forward. Fortunately, since she had been blocking a lane, there were almost no cars on the stretch of road in front of her – a minor miracle on any Manhattan street. Alex blared her horn constantly, warning any drivers ahead that she wasn't planning on slowing down, and several cars nearby slammed on their breaks in order to avoid hitting her. Several honks and angry swears followed.

"Oh God, Oh God, Oh God..." At first, Alex thought Connie was the one muttering, but then she realized that the words were coming from her. Alex might have been able to go faster in a car, but Charlie had much more maneuverability on foot, and she was swiftly losing ground as he veered out of the street and began racing along the sidewalk towards the end of the block. If he turned the corner, Alex knew she would lose him at the light.

"Hold on!" With that brief warning, Alex looked for an opening between parking meters and followed her quarry onto the sidewalk, car and all. Luckily for her, the pedestrians had already noticed Charlie fleeing from the insanely weaving car, and most were backed as close to the buildings as possible.

Half on the sidewalk and half on the road, Alex felt the side of Connie's car scrape against another parking meter as she drew closer and closer to the man who had stabbed her lover.


Just a little further... Too much!

Alex's eyes widened with horror as she realized that she was approaching Charlie far too fast. Frantically, the attorney threw all one hundred and thirty-five pounds of her weight against the brake pedal and flung her hands in front of her face, trying to shield herself. With a sickening thud, she felt the car come to a stop and the airbags explode.

Her last words before she passed out were, "don't worry, Connie – I'll buy you a new car..."




When Alex opened her eyes, she was staring up into a bright fluorescent light. The silhouette of someone's head and a curtain of long hair was peering over her. Alex squinted, but it took her eyes a minute to focus. "Liv... Where's Liv?"

"Calm down, sugar," came a familiar southern drawl. "Your detective is right here next to ya." Alex's vision started to clear and Abbie's face came in to view. The blonde tried to turn her head to the right, but it tightened the skin around her face and neck to the point of pain.

"How bad was the crash?"

"It could have been worse," came another voice that Alex recognized. "You're pretty lucky."

The skin covering the lower half of Alex's chin stung even though the sheets were below her arms. "I don't feel so lucky, Ser. What's wrong with my neck and chin?"

"No fractures or breaks, but you've got some nasty bruises and a lovely chemical burn."

Ah, so that was why it felt like someone had taken a cheese grater to her skin and dumped hot chili pepper into the open wound. Olivia would be upset when she found out... "Wait, Liv! Where is she? I want to see Liv."

Knowing that Alex was bound and determined to see for herself that her lover was all right, Abbie stepped in. "Here, let me help ya, darlin'." Using one arm, she carefully helped Alex turn partially onto her left side. The ADA let out a sigh of relief as she took in the sight of her lover, who was peacefully sleeping in a second bed just a few yards away. She didn't have any visible injuries on her face, but a blanket covered the rest of her body. "They don't usually have double rooms like this, but Serena, Casey, Elliot, Cragen and I set things straight. The nurses didn't expect a whole bunch of cops and lawyers to gang up on them."

"Really? Everyone's here?"

"That's just the tip of the iceberg. There's a whole crowd out there waiting to see you. Oh, and we picked up Calvin from the apartment... didn't your mama ever tell y'all not to leave a minor unattended at home?"

Alex's entire body locked up as she remembered Calvin. She felt her heart sink like a stone into the pit of her stomach as she realized for the first time that she had left the poor kid by himself with no explanation. "Oh my God, is he all right? I can't believe I left him... I'm so stupid... Olivia would never do something like that. Why am I so terrible with kids?"

"Calm down. You're not stupid or terrible with kids. Calvin's in the waiting room with the others," Serena hastened to reassure her. "We went and picked him up while Elliot rode with you two to the hospital."

"I can't believe I –"

Abbie interrupted before Alex could go on a self-deprecating rant. "Cabot, he's fine, so let it go. The kid hadn't even woken up until we got there. He's sharp, didn't wanna let us in while you weren't home, but when Elliot called on the phone and explained the situation, he asked to come see y'all."

"The blood – I saw blood on the sidewalk... Casey? Charlie... I didn't – Connie!" Now that her foggy brain was starting to clear, Alex suddenly remembered all of the people that had been in danger. She had put some of them in harm's way herself, and that only amplified her guilt.

Serena managed to interpret Alex's fragmented thought process from years of experience. "Charlie's knife sliced an artery in Olivia's right leg, and she lost quite a bit of blood, but other than that, she's fine. Casey is shaken up, but she has no physical injuries, thanks in part to you. Connie had her seatbelt on and there was no airbag in the back, so she's all right, even if the front end of her car is totaled. Charlie's in surgery now, but he's not in critical condition."

"I didn't kill him? He's alive? I didn't want to–"

"Argh," came a groan from the other side of the room. "Talking. Too loud."

"Welcome back to the land of the living, Benson. How's the leg?"

"Hurts like a bitch. Why? Alex, how are you?" Olivia shifted to sit up in bed, giving Alex a better view.

Seeing Olivia up and alert brought a stop to Alex's minor panic attack. She started to laugh with relief, ignoring the way her throat lit up with pain. "Compared to being shot, this is a piece of cake. I don't even think they gave me the good drugs..."

"They did, but they're wearin' off now," Abbie said.

Alex was surprised that Olivia wasn't more upset by their injuries. In fact, she seemed pretty relaxed. Usually, hospitals made her antsy. "Did you wake up before me?" Alex asked. "You're awfully calm about all this. You hate hospitals."

"I never passed out. You're the one who caused a car accident, I only got stabbed by a crazy person," Olivia pointed out. "Once the doctors checked us out and you assured me that you felt okay, you went to sleep and I joined you."

"I don't remember coming to the hospital."

Abbie laughed. "Really? When the doctor asked for your name, you started reciting the Bill of Rights to prove your brain wasn't scrambled."

Alex had no idea if Abbie was joking and decided not to ask. "Well, the last thing I can recall is the crash. How long have I been out?"

"About four hours," said Olivia. "Not too long."

"Four hours?" Alex said incredulously, eyebrows rising on her forehead.

"Yeah. And speakin' a'which, there are a lot of visitors who haven't had the chance to peek in since ya woke up, Sleeping Beauty. Feel like some more comp'ny?"

Alex paused, evaluating the pain in her head and neck, and decided that the pain was tolerable. "All right, Tex. Corral them in here."


Chapter Thirty-Three:

A few minutes later, Olivia and Alex were surrounded by their friends and surrogate family. Under Munch's watchful eye, Elliot and Fin pushed Alex's bed close to Olivia's so that the two women could hold hands across the narrow gap. Alex noticed the worried crease in Olivia's forehead when the detective saw the vivid bruise on her inner wrist where a drug cocktail and saline drip had been taped down, but decided not to draw attention to the fact that her normally tough lover was fretting.

"So, everyone's accounted for?" Alex asked as she looked over the group crowded around her. "Actually, why are so many people in the room at once? I thought hospitals frowned on that sort of thing."

"You've got four lawyers in this little group," Serena pointed out, nodding her head in Casey, Abbie, and Connie's direction. "We can be very persuasive."

"I'll bet," the ex-ADA mumbled. "Connie, I'm really sorry about your car. I don't know what possessed me to try for a career with NASCAR."

"Are you making fun of me?" Abbie quipped. "Besides, if that was your best attempt at racecar drivin', you suck at it, Cabot. All ya need to do is turn left."

"It's all right." Connie brushed aside Alex's apology. "The car isn't important as your life." Grateful that Connie Rubirosa was taking the afternoon's events in stride, Alex gave her an awkward smile.

"Thanks. I promise to pay for the damages, and if the car's not drivable, I'll buy you a new one."

"You oughta take her up on that," Fin advised Connie. "Have you seen Alex's ride? It's a Lambo. Pretty sweet."

Olivia remained silent, staring at Abbie and Serena, who were holding hands as they stood at the foot of the two beds. She looked at their threaded fingers and then back up at their faces, giving Abbie a wink. The Texan grinned and winked back. Things between her and Serena were the best they had ever been, and even though it was a little scary, she wouldn't go back.

While the others made an appropriate fuss over the two bedridden patients, Elliot quietly noticed where his partner was looking. He too studied Abbie and Serena's joined hands, and then glanced at Olivia briefly for confirmation. The detective gave him a subtle nod. She and Elliot had always been able to communicate silently.

"Do you mind if I go and grab Calvin?" Munch asked, interrupting the moment. "He's with the Cap in the waiting room and he's anxious to see you. We wanted to make sure neither of you looked too gruesome for young eyes."

"It's too late for him, Munch. He's already seen you," Olivia shot back.

"Ha ha, very funny. I'll go bring Dad and your kid to come and see you. Don't have any fun without me," the thin, bony detective said as he left the room.

"My kid, I like that," Olivia mused, glancing sideways at Alex.

The blonde squeezed her hand and smiled back. "Calvin worships the ground you walk on."

"He's not the only one." Casey hesitantly stepped forward, walking out from behind Abbie and Serena to stand at Olivia's bedside. So far, the redhead had been understandably silent, but now she couldn't help speaking up. "Thank you, Olivia, for protecting me today. You saved my life."

"I don't think Charlie would have hurt you," Olivia said, trying to dodge the compliment, but Casey wouldn't allow it.

"He wasn't on his medication. You and I both know that he was in a very dangerous place, and it was brave of you to protect me by leading him away. Brave, but stupid." To everyone's surprise, Casey aimed a light smack at the back of Olivia's head.

"Hey, ow!"

"Don't do it again."

Alex burst out laughing. "Novak, I like you a lot more this time around." Her expression suddenly turned sober. "I'm sorry about Charlie. I have no idea what was going through my head, but I didn't intend to ram into him with the car. I just wanted to make sure he didn't get away..."

"Thanks," Casey said. "I don't blame you. Besides, now he's in a hospital where there are people who can help him. I've already talked to his doctors, since I'm still listed as next of kin. They think he'll be all right."

"Maybe he can get proper treatment this time. I can recommend a good psychiatrist... Oh, shit. I forgot–"

"Your Xanax? I have it," Abbie said. She reached into her purse and tossed a plastic bottle to Alex with a loud rattle.

The attorney sighed gratefully and popped the top, dry-swallowing two pills. "Thanks, Abbie, although this only proves that we spend way too much time around each other."

"You shouldn't be taking those until you ask the doctor," Olivia chastised. "It might not mix well with whatever drugs they've got you on."

As always, Alex tried to argue. "The prescription is listed on my medical chart. They wouldn't have given me something that reacted badly with it."

Elliot shrugged. "I'm with Alex. If anyone deserves anti-anxiety meds, it's you, Cabot."

Alex snorted, but didn't have time to respond before the door opened and a quiet and subdued looking Calvin crept into the hospital room. He looked as if he expected his guardians to be hooked up to a bunch of beeping machines, and he seemed relieved when they appeared relatively alert. "Olivia! Alex!" The boy ran over to both of them, wiggling into the space between their beds and giving both of them a big hug. "You're okay! What happened to your neck?"

Alex was relieved to see that Calvin was none the worse for his short time alone. It would have been terrible for him to wake up and realize that he had been abandoned yet again. "My neck is fine," the attorney said. "Have you ever wondered how an airbag pops out so fast?"

Calvin shrugged. "How?"

"It's a chemical reaction. However, the same chemicals that make the airbag inflate can also burn your skin."

"Like an explosion?"


"Cool. You're good at explaining stuff, Alex." Calvin smiled and turned to Olivia. "She explained sex to me this morning," he calmly informed her.

Olivia raised one eyebrow. "Did she now?" Elliot, who had five kids of his own, could barely contain his laughter.

"And how was that conversation, Cabot?" Alex groaned and chose not to answer the question.




"Ms. Cabot, do you honestly expect me to just throw out these charges?"

Alex shifted uncomfortably beside her lawyer, a friend from Harvard Law who had traveled all the way from Albany to help make her case before whichever judge happened to be on fate's bad side. Nobody wanted to see Alex Cabot go down for reckless driving and endangerment, especially with chemical burns still fresh on her cheek and neck. However, it seemed that Alex was the one who had some karmic debt to pay off, because The Honorable Lena Petrovsky was presiding over her Motion to Dismiss.

The ADA's lawyer opened his mouth to speak, but Lena shushed him with a glance. "I want to hear Ms. Cabot answer for herself. Alex, what on earth were you thinking?"

"I wasn't," Alex said bluntly.

"Why doesn't that surprise me? It seems to be a recurring theme, doesn't it?" Petrovsky muttered, rolling her eyes. "For such a bright and well-educated woman, you seem to get yourself into an awful lot of stupid and dangerous situations."

Alex thought there was a compliment in there somewhere, but her head hurt too much to make sense of it. In addition to the burns, she was still recovering from whiplash, and needed to see a chiropractor sooner rather than later. A few yards away, the prosecutor (a smug young pup just out of law school that probably needed his tie loosened and a foot to the behind), began to protest. "Your Honor..."

"Bradley! I'm not addressing you. The Defense has requested a motion to dismiss the charges against Ms. Cabot, and I want to hear their excuses before I kick them to the curb. Go on, Alexandra. Give me one good reason not to toss you in jail again."

The way Petrovsky stressed 'again' stuck in Alex's craw, and she narrowed her eyes determinedly. "I wrote a nice fat check to the city to make up for the damage to the parking meters and the sidewalk."

"And I'm sure New York County's Taxpayers appreciate it," Petrovsky drawled.

"I paid all of Charlie's medical bills and even put him in a psychiatric hospital..."

"To assuage your own conscience."

Alex didn't deny it. She wasn't particularly fond of Charlie (after all, he had stabbed her lover and terrified Casey Novak), but she did feel bad for ramming into him with Connie's car, even though a blue mailbox had taken most of the damage.

"I bought Connie a new car."

"You can afford it."

"I could have just paid a mechanic to repair her old one." Petrovsky gave her a bored look. "I also wrote a letter to her insurance company... And I'm paying her premiums for the next year as a personal favor, not to mention the fact that my own premiums have quadrupled."

"Money doesn't impress me, Cabot. Try again."

Alex stuck out her lower lip in a pout. She was starting to get frustrated. "I already got my license suspended! I went to remedial driving classes... do you realize who takes remedial driving classes?"

Petrovsky stared Alex down from over the rims of her glasses, and Alex glared back through her own square, black frames. "I would assume negligent ADAs."

"Creeps! That's who! I had to sit next to a 'gentleman', and I use the term in its loosest sense, from Brooklyn who told me he'd love to, and I quote, 'let me ride his stick shift' in the back of his 1996 Honda. And I won't even start on the pimple-faced teenager that kept staring down my shirt! Who did he think I was, Mrs. Robinson? But the worst was the twenty-something bimbo constantly smacking her gum and texting on her cell phone. God, was I that annoying back in college? If I was, I wish I were dead..."

For the first time, a flash of sympathy showed in Petrovsky's steely gaze. "In my opinion, Ms. Cabot has paid her debt to society, and it isn't necessary to file criminal charges. I'm granting the Defense's motion to dismiss. Oh, and please tell Detective Benson that I'm glad she's out of the wheelchair. I know it was bothering her."

Alex tried not to faint from shock.

"But Your Honor..." Bradley opened his mouth to protest, but a warning look from Petrovsky and a satisfied smirk from Alex made him tuck his tail back between his legs. His Bureau Chief had been right, he thought as he sullenly packed up his briefcase. No one at the DA's office wanted to convict Alexandra Cabot.


Chapter Thirty-Four:

"Alex, stop that," Olivia protested, grabbing her reluctant girlfriend by the shoulders and gently shoving her back onto her own side of the bed. The ADA had started by simply nuzzling Olivia's neck, but nuzzling turned into kissing and sucking, and a few hickies later the detective kept having to remove Alex's hand from inside her pajama pants.

"But I want to celebrate!" the attorney pleaded, hooking one leg over Olivia's waist and pulling their pelvises together.

While she was eager to share body heat, Olivia remained insistent. "I knew Petrovsky would dismiss the charges. Why was she listening to them anyway? She's several steps up from traffic court."

"I think she asked McCoy to assign her to my case just to screw with my head." Deciding to try her luck again, Alex reached around to grope a handful of Olivia's ass beneath her sleep pants, but the detective wasn't having any of it.

"Well, your head is the only part of you that's getting screwed. Your doctor and your chiropractor said no funny business. They don't want you to hurt your neck."

Alex reluctantly moved her hand to the slightly more neutral expanse of Olivia's back. "But your physical therapist said that it was all right..."

"For me, not for you, Miss Whiplash."

"Exactly. So why don't you just shut up and let me do you?"

The detective kissed Alex's forehead to soften the blow before rolling onto her other side and scooting away from the ADA's questing hands. "Name a sex position that won't put strain on your neck," she said.

Alex saw the exercise as a teasing challenge instead of a rebuff. "You kneeling over me?" she said in a husky whisper, pressing her breasts into Olivia's shoulderblades from behind.

"You'll hurt yourself trying to reach up and follow me."

"You on your back, with me on my stomach between your legs?" Alex murmured, placing a string of kisses down Olivia's neck over the hickies that she had left behind the first time.

"My hips will buck too much."

"Missionary, me on top."

"You'll bend your head down to kiss me." The attorney let out an exasperated sigh and nipped Olivia's shoulder in frustration. "Ow, hey! Be nice."

"Fine then, missionary with you on top."

"You'll lift your head up to kiss me."

"What if we don't kiss?"

"Yeah, right." Alex and Olivia both preferred a heavy amount of kissing when they made love, and taking kisses out of the equation entirely would be next to impossible. Unless...

"Cowgirl, you on top. You'll be too far away for me to kiss you even if I want to."

"You like to watch. You'll lift your head up anyway."

Alex slid one hand over Olivia's hip, reaching beneath the waistband of her lover's pajama pants one last time and cupping firmly between her legs. This time, Olivia allowed Alex to squeeze her fingers into place before pressing her thighs shut and trapping her there. "Doggy style?" the ADA suggested, reluctant to admit that she was running out of ideas.

"Now you're just being ridiculous."

Ignoring Olivia's less-than-enthusiastic attitude, Alex tried to move her palm as best she could despite the tight confines of Olivia's pants and her clenched leg muscles. If she got a straight out 'no' or 'stop' from the detective, Alex would have immediately reclaimed her questing fingers, but she could read her lover's body language well enough to know that Olivia would eventually cave. The fast pace of Olivia's breathing and the way her hips were subtly rocking into the heel of Alex's hand gave her away.

"How about like this?" Alex whispered against the soft place just below Olivia's ear.

"We're both on our sides. No strain on my neck."

"I don't think – oooh..." Olivia's voice trailed off and she rolled partially onto her back so that she could spread her thighs. Feeling Olivia open for her touch forced Alex to squeeze her own legs together uncomfortably. The next item on her agenda definitely needed to be an orgasm of her own, but for now, she was completely focused on Olivia.

Keeping her strokes light and teasing, Alex probed at the sensitive ring of muscle around Olivia's entrance, catching the tips of her fingers inside and curling forward. She let out a satisfied sigh as warmth coated them, and she felt Olivia laugh softly into the pillow where she had buried her face.

"Is your body betraying you, Detective Benson?"

"Nah. It's working just fine," she said, shifting a little so that the pillowcase didn't cover her mouth. She began a circular grinding motion against the heel of Alex's hand, which was still cupping her tightly. The indirect stimulation wasn't quite enough, and Olivia reached between her own legs to try and reposition the ADA's fingers.

Alex clicked her tongue disapprovingly. "Ah-ah-ah, I'm getting there."

"Baby," Olivia pleaded, "you're the one that started this," but even as she said it, she knew that she was completely at the attorney's mercy. She could never say no to Alex. All that the blonde needed to do was whisper a suggestive phrase in her ear. If Olivia was being honest, hearing Alex's recite case law in her bedroom voice would probably still turn her on.

"Tell me what you need."

Olivia began chewing on her lower lip, and even though she was still facing away from Alex, she knew that the ADA could sense how tightly wound up she was. "My clit, baby..." she panted, struggling to find words. "I need your thumb on me." She gasped and shivered when Alex's thumb slid into place directly over her sensitive bundle of nerves.

"And?" Alex prompted, knowing there was more.

Although she tried her best, Olivia couldn't control the urgent rocking of her hips. "I want – I need you inside me–"

Alex slipped one, then two fingers as deep as they would go. "Do you like this?"

"Mmhmm," Olivia moaned in approval.

"Good, because I love being inside of you," she cooed against Olivia's ear, starting to pump her fingers in time with the motion of her thumb. When she curled them forward, Olivia cried out and pressed her hips back against Alex's pelvis, clearly asking for more.

Alex's smile spread as she listened to the needy sounds that Olivia was making. Touching Olivia like this, taking the lead and slowly making her come unhinged, was something she always treasured. No one else ever got to see her strong, tough detective this vulnerable, and Olivia was definitely all hers. She had to admit that it made her feel a little smug – well, maybe more than a little...

The attorney circled her thumb lazily over Olivia's hard point, enjoying the way that the detective's hips bared down on her hand, swallowing her middle and ring finger over and over again. Alex wanted to look down and watch as they disappeared inside of her lover, but she knew that it would hurt her neck, and so she had to be content with just touching. Feeling Olivia's tight walls clench and pulse around her hand was driving her crazy.

It was obviously driving Olivia crazy, too. "Lexi..." she whimpered, spreading her legs and thrusting so hard against Alex's hand that the ADA's knuckles ached, "please!"

Alex thought about teasing Olivia, considered reminding her that she had been dead-set against this just a few minutes ago, but eventually, she decided to be generous. "You're lucky I love you," she said, grazing her lips over Olivia's cheek.

"Love – you – ... Fuck... me..."

Alex smiled as she remembered Olivia's speech a few weeks ago. "Because I love you," she murmured, finally settling into the rhythmic curl-and-stroke that she knew would send Olivia over the edge. It only took a few seconds. Olivia's pelvis froze, the delicious abdomen muscles that Alex adored flexing rhythmically against the part of the attorney's arm that was draped across them.

Finally, Olivia collapsed back onto the mattress, flinching every few seconds with pleasurable aftershocks. Making sure not to dislodge Alex's fingers, she turned her head so that she could look into amused blue eyes. "What's so funny?"

Alex's grin was almost too wide for her face. "Nothing important."

"Tell me."

The ADA started to laugh. "I was just thinking – hypothetically, of course – how much easier my old job at SVU would be this time around..."

"Oh?" Olivia raised her eyebrows, blinking a few times to clear her head.

"All I would have to do to stop you from mouthing off is... that." Alex squeaked as Olivia flipped over, pinning her body against the mattress.

"I don't think that would work, sweetheart," Olivia growled, making sure that Alex's neck was comfortably situated against a pillow before giving her a brief but hard kiss. "You've always been a screamer, and I don't think Jack has the budget to sound-proof the walls."




"Hey, Alex," Kathy Stabler said, sitting on her couch as the ADA answered her phone call. "I don't suppose you've seen my husband around, have you? He isn't home yet."

"Hold on, Kathy, let me check... he was supposed to leave by now." There was some rustling as Alex carried her cell phone with her into the next room, peeking around a doorway. Muffled giggles followed. "Your husband is currently fast asleep with three drunk lesbians on top of him."

"I hope for his sake that they are also asleep, and that they're clothed," Kathy said, picking up on the humor in Alex's voice. She was not overly concerned.

"Yep. He, Olivia, Abbie, and Serena are all squeezed on my couch, defying the laws of physics and snoring away. I'll wake Odysseus up for you and send him home to his endlessly patient, ever-faithful Penelope."

"Who is this Penelope chick? I'll kick her ass," Kathy teased back.

"Bye, Kathy. Give the kids our love."

"Actually, they're out tonight, and Eli's asleep. That's part of the reason I want my husband to come home."

"I'll let him know he's required for husbandly duties."

Hitting the End Call button, Alex left her cell phone to charge and wandered back into the living room where her girlfriend and their pile of guests were still snoozing. Olivia, the lightest sleeper, opened her eyes as soon as Alex entered the room. "Huh – what?" she slurred, immediately realizing that she was in an awkward position. She tried to move, but thought better of it when she realized that wiggling free might disturb Serena's head and Abbie's pelvis. "Um..."

"You all fell asleep playing Twister," Alex said, approaching the couch and stroking Olivia's hair away from her forehead.

The soft conversation woke Elliot up next, who became similarly wide-eyed and uncomfortable once he realized that he had three women mostly on top of him. "Uh, how did this happen?"

Olivia grinned at him, giving the back of his calf a nudge with her conveniently placed toe. "I guess you're just a chick magnet, partner."

"Kathy called," Alex said. "I informed her that you were sleeping with three lesbians."

Elliot groaned, causing Abbie and Serena to stir. "You didn't really tell her that, did you?"

"She isn't mad, I explained the situation, but she wants her husband to come home. She implied that you might get lucky tonight."

Elliot shoved Abbie Carmichael off of his leg and tried to stand up. "Mff," Abbie mumbled, suddenly finding her face on the couch. "Don't tell anybody about this, Stabler," she warned him. "I don't sleep with men."

"Well, now you just did." Elliot stuck out his tongue, but the gesture was lost on Abbie, whose eyes remained firmly shut.

Serena did not add to the conversation. While Olivia and Elliot stood, she cuddled closer to her girlfriend, sighing softly as she buried her nose in Abbie's hair and spooned her from behind. Seeming grateful for the extra legroom, Abbie stretched out, letting Serena's arm wrap around her waist.

"Aw, they're cute. Get the camera, Alex," Olivia said.

Abbie growled low in the back of her throat, sounding like a dog that didn't want to be touched.

"I don't think so," Alex said. "Do it yourself if you're so inclined, but I know better than to irritate Abbie. She'll find a way to irritate you right back five times as much."

"Damn straight. Uh, not straight. Whatever."

"Stay there for a bit and sleep it off, Tex," Olivia said. "We'll send Elliot home."

"Bye, Elliot," Alex said. "Use protection! I don't want Olivia in any more car accidents driving your wife to the hospital."

Elliot laughed. "No thanks, Cabot. No more kids for us. Five is plenty."

Making sure that her partner was alert enough to drive, Olivia ran her fingers through sleep-tangled hair and walked him to the front door. "Want me to see you to the car?" she asked.

"What are you, my date to prom?" Elliot snorted. "I think I can handle it from here."

"I'll come anyway." Olivia's cop instincts and protectiveness towards Elliot wouldn't allow her to do anything less. Putting on a pair of Alex's boots by the door, she grabbed a coat and one of her girlfriend's scarves. When Elliot saw what she was wearing, he began to laugh. "What is it, smartass?"

"That scarf is pink."


"It's... not you."

"What, I can't wear pink? I'm a girl, you know. I wear bras and panties..."

Elliot rolled his eyes. "Ugh, please don't remind me," he requested as they headed down the stairs. "You're hot and all, but you're my partner."

"- and thongs and everything..."

"Stop before Alex has to kill me. I got a wife and kids at home!"

"- and tampons..."

"Shut up, Liv, before I make you shut up. You might be a girl, but I'll still kick your butt like a man if you force me to."

"You mean I'll make you cry like a girl if you force me to." Giving her partner a clap on the shoulder, Olivia saw Elliot into his car and watched his taillights pull out to join the stream of nighttime traffic. It wasn't too congested, so hopefully he would be home before Kathy had to send out a search party.

Heading back upstairs, the detective was met by her smiling girlfriend waiting for her in the doorway. As Olivia stepped inside and closed the door, Alex pulled her in by the pink scarf for a soft, lingering kiss. "Hmm. Hi there, lover."

"Hi..." Olivia said dreamily, unable to stop smiling.

Alex unwound the scarf from around Olivia's neck and draped it over the coat rack while Olivia kicked off Alex's boots and unthreaded her arms from the sleeves of her coat. "Interesting ensemble you're wearing there, Detective," the former ADA purred, snagging Olivia by the beltloops of her jeans instead. "Well, all three children are out like a light..." She nodded her head in the direction of the living room where Abbie and Serena were snoozing contentedly. Clearly, they were the second two children she was referring to, since Calvin was already asleep in his room. "Want to have some grown-up time?"

Olivia's sweet smile turned into a sly grin. Pressing her body against Alex's side, she deliberately kissed the corner of the attorney's mouth, nibbling her way to the center and tugging on a plump lower lip. "Mmm. I'm sure..." Kiss "... We can..." Kiss "- Entertain ourselves..." Nip.

Pulling up the hem of her sweater, Alex tugged it over her head and tossed it against Olivia's chest. Turning around to remind Olivia just how well she filled out her jeans, the blonde lawyer swayed down the hallway leading to the bedroom in just her bra. After a few moments of dazed observation, Olivia collected herself and ran to catch up, still holding the sweater. Hopefully, she could convince Alex to shed even more of her clothing in the next minute or two.

Meanwhile, back at the Stabler household, Elliot was also greeted at the front door by a kiss from his wife. However, the kiss was followed by a mock glare. Kathy put her hands on her hips, regarding her husband with a frown. "Do you want to explain why Alex Cabot called to tell me that she caught you sleeping with three lesbians?"

"She told me that you called her, and sleeping with lesbians is no fun at all," Elliot muttered, taking off his coat so he had more mobility in his shoulders. That taken care of, he gave his wife a hug. "If tonight's anything to go by, they just get drunk and fall asleep watching TV. What you really need to worry about are bisexuals. They're more of a threat."

"Like your partner?"

Elliot rolled his eyes. "Olivia? No way. Not only would that be incestuous, but you and Alex would have to do Rock, Paper, Scissors to figure out which one of you got to castrate me."

"Good boy. I trained you well."

"Maybe you and Alex should write a book for women: “ How To Make Sure Your Spouse Is Whipped ..." Elliot suddenly realized that the house was awfully quiet aside from his wife's soft laughter. "Where are the kids and Eli?"

"Eli is fed, changed, and asleep, and your other two nestlings are out for the night." Since Kathleen and Maureen were in college, Eli was asleep, and Lizzie and Dickie had apparently flown the coop, all five Stabler children were absent, giving Elliot and Kathy some time to themselves for a change.

Elliot winked. "I guess Cabot was right."


"She told me to use protection."

Kathy laughed. "Oh. I suppose she doesn't know about the vasectomy Olivia and I are pooling our money to give you on your birthday."

Elliot immediately went very pale. "... Kathy?"

"Just kidding."


The End

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