In A Song (part 4 of 12)

Saturday: 11:51pm: Clocktower

“Are you sure? I can stay here just as easily as I can stay out at the manor,” Dick said.

The concern in his voice was genuine and it brought to Barbara a warm swell of affection. “Really, I’m fine. Thanks for a lovely dinner.” Dick furrowed his brow and eyed her critically. “You don’t believe me?” Barbara asked, amusement evident in her tone.

“Oh no, Babs, I believe you. I’m just stunned and amazed by you, as always.” He leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Call me if you need anything, or if you just want to talk.” He pressed the button for the elevator and the door slid open immediately. Dick held up a hand in a small wave as the elevator’s door slid shut.

Barbara backed away from the elevator and turned her chair around. She glanced over at the Delphi, still in sleep mode on its platform in the middle of the room, and then out the clock’s face at the New Gotham skyline. She guided her chair out the doors and onto the balcony.

She came to a stop near the ledge. As a slight breeze ruffled her hair, Barbara shivered and wished she’d put on a jacket before coming outside. While street level still held some of the city’s heat, the balcony was like a preview of New Gotham’s upcoming weather. Barbara sat quietly and looked out over the city for a few minutes before she spoke.

“Are you going to hang out in the shadows all night?” she asked without taking her eyes off the horizon.

Helena sighed and stepped from the deepest shadow on the balcony. “Should I even bother to ask how you knew?”

“You can ask.” Barbara smiled, “But I’m not going to reveal all my secrets tonight.” Barbara turned to look at her. In spite of her loose stance, tension rolled off Helena in waves; simple proximity was enough to make Barbara nervous. She shivered again as the breeze picked up. Within seconds, Helena’s coat was off and draped around Barbara’s shoulders. The inside of the coat was warm and the rich smell that was uniquely Helena enveloped Barbara, simultaneously jumpstarting her libido and making her feel safe.

“You never remember to put on a jacket,” Helena said, her eyes sliding away from Barbara’s face.

Barbara looked at Helena as love and fear fought each other for dominance on her emotional compass. The breeze blew again and Barbara could see the effort the brunette made not to shiver even as gooseflesh rose on her exposed arms. Barbara gathered the excess material from the coat in her lap so she could turn her chair around. “Come inside with me, you’ll freeze out here without this and it’s too damn cold for me to give it back to you,” Barbara said.

Helena looked out over the skyline as her world dulled under a miasma of hopelessness. Barbara’s hand felt extraordinarily warm when it touched the exposed skin of her arm. “Helena? Please come inside.” There was something in Barbara’s voice that strengthened Helena’s resolve. She would find out tonight what she needed to know. When Helena turned to move, Barbara proceeded into the clocktower.

Saturday: 11:55pm: Gabby’s room

Gabby paused after she shut and locked the door to her room. Some part of her didn’t want to turn around and face Dinah, afraid of the spillover from the strong emotions at the bar and her own insecurities earlier in the evening. She jumped a little when she felt Dinah’s arms circle her waist from behind. Gabby leaned back into the warmth of the taller girl’s body as Dinah nuzzled her hair aside and kissed the back of her neck.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” Dinah whispered, as she brushed the shorter girl’s ear with her lips.

“It’s OK,” Gabby said, tilting her head back to allow for better access to her neck. “So, Helena and Ms. Gordon, they’ve got a thing?”

“I don’t really want to talk about Helena and Barbara right now. I’ve got other plans,” Dinah said softly.

Gabby smiled. “Do you?” She felt the girl behind her nod along with her soft murmur of agreement. Soft fingers worked Gabby’s shirt free of the waistband of her jeans as softer lips moved to the curve of her shoulder at the base of her neck. Gabby covered Dinah’s hands and stopped their motion even as those gentle fingers brushed the soft skin of her belly. She turned in the circle of Dinah’s arms and slid her own arms around the other girl’s waist.

“Are you sure about this?” Gabby asked, her eyes never leaving Dinah’s.

Dinah kissed Gabby softly, teasing with the tip of her tongue. “I’m very sure,” she said after pulling back from Gabby’s mouth.[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 3 of 12)

Six Weeks Later: 12:43am: In a dark alley somewhere in New Gotham

Helena felt the thug’s nose break as she shoved the heel of her hand into his face. She stepped back from the gush of blood as her attacker put both his hands up to his wounded face leaving his midsection completely open. Her foot landed hard in his soft middle and sent him flying into the brick wall across the narrow passage.

< Huntress? Where’s Canary? >

“She’s got her end under control, Oracle,” Helena replied, glancing over to where Dinah held the other two of their three attackers suspended four feet off the ground. Despite mile-long police records, reputations, and experience on New Gotham’s grimy streets, both men had wet spots across the fronts of their pants.

Helena pulled a pair of plastic riot control handcuffs out of her coat pocket. She rolled the thug with the broken nose over, crossed his arms at the wrist, and secured him with the plastic cuffs. She sauntered over to where Dinah kept a careful eye on the two levitating men. Dinah grinned. “You guys have a couple of choices. I put you down and you cooperate. We cuff you and you wait quietly for the police.”

“Or?” the blond one asked.

Helena’s smile was full of teeth. “She puts you down, you don’t cooperate, and you still end up cuffed and waiting for the cops, only you look like him,” she jerked her head toward their now unconscious cohort. “And maybe you aren’t so quiet for all the moaning in pain.”

She was cuffing the second of the two unscathed attackers when she heard sirens in the distance. “Cops are on their way,” she said to Dinah who held the men immobile still. “Hit the road. I’ll catch up in a few.”

The men stumbled as Dinah’s TK let them go. She grinned and levitated herself slowly but steadily up to the roof of a nearby building. Helena snorted and shook her head.

< Is she showing off again? >

“Big-time showing off happening here,” Helena said as the two men sat down heavily on the ground. “Stay.” She pointed a finger at them, grinned, and scrambled up the fire escape in a blink.

She watched from the rooftop as a squad car arrived immediately followed by an unmarked sedan, tan, with a small dent in the right front quarter panel. Reese. Damn it. She turned to Dinah. “Give me a sec, OK?” Dinah nodded her agreement as Helena went over the edge of the building and dropped down behind Reese as he emerged from the mouth of the alley after talking with one of the uniformed officers.

He’d gotten used to the rush of air that presaged her presence but the woman herself still made Jesse Reese a little nervous. “Hey there,” she said quietly.

Reese turned around to look at her. She still took his breath away even after so many months. “Hey, yourself. Nice packages you left in the alley there. I particularly like the one with the broken nose.” He examined her clothes for evidence of blood and found none.

Helena shrugged. “He’s mine but I can’t take credit for the other two. Had a little help.” She flicked her eyes upward.

“Right, your other mysterious partner.” Reese nodded. “Seems like a pretty straight forward mugging attempt.”

< It’s not. You and Canary picked those guys up at the warehouse the other night. >

“We did not pick anyone up. Nobody follows me, you know that,” she replied to the voice in her ear.

“Oracle?” Reese asked, gesturing with his pen.

Helena nodded. “Those three work for the outfit that owns the old Bond Bread warehouse.”

“The one they’re turning into condos?” Reese watched a uniformed officer load the thug with the busted nose into the back of the squad car.

“Uh huh…Know anything about it?”

“Just that the floor plans look great and the rent is way more than I can afford on a detective’s salary,” Reese turned his gaze back to Helena. His tongue darted out and wet his bottom lip. “Listen, about the other night, I’m sorry.”

In the clocktower Barbara was suddenly left with mostly silence over the comms frequency as Dinah’s transceivers picked up little of the business four stories below on the street. “Canary, is something happening to Huntress?”[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 2 of 12)

Saturday: 8:56am: No Man’s Land

“I’m sorry to call you so early but I didn’t know what else to do,” Deke said, his eyes darting back and forth.

Gibson glanced at the woman bent over the pool table to make a shot across the green felt. The pool cue slid swiftly and cleanly over flexed knuckles. The target ball caromed into the pocket. “How long’s she been here?”

“She was here when I came on at two. Bill said she came in around 10pm, asked for about $20 in quarters, ordered a double vodka rocks, said to keep them coming, and fed the juke for about 15 minutes,” Deke replied. He ran nervous fingers, the edges slightly blurred, through his van Dyke. “It’s been nothing but blues all night. Oh, and she said to give you this if she wasn’t here when you came in.” Deke reached under the bar and pulled out a CD in a white paper sleeve. The note stuck on the front read simply ‘Thanks, –H.’

Gibson took the CD from Deke’s now blurry grasp and put a hand on the other man’s arm. “Deke, relax, you’re starting to speed up to where I can’t see you,” Gibson grinned as Deke nodded, slowing down to normal human speed. “How’s she been acting?”

“Not friendly but not bad. She’ll take on anyone who wants to play her, hasn’t lost a game in about five hours. Mostly she just racks ’em, runs the table, and starts over. What worries me is this,” Deke said, gesturing to the mostly empty shelf behind the bar where a dozen types of vodka would normally be. “I’ve already been into stores once. I finally gave up trying to serve her and just gave her a bottle. I can’t figure out why she’s still standing up.”

Gibson glanced over at the pool table where Helena was dropping balls into the plastic triangle to rack for another run. He turned back to Deke. “Grief will do that to you,” he said, patting Deke on the shoulder. “You did the right thing calling me. Take the extra hour and go home early.”

“Thanks, boss,” Deke replied, relief clearly heard in his tone. He came around the end of the bar, grabbed his coat off a hook on the wall, and headed for the elevator.

Gibson turned on his stool and regarded Helena thoughtfully as she downed the rest of her drink and poured the remainder of the bottle Deke had given her over the ice in her glass. She moved over to the pool table, bent, took aim, and broke the setup with a smack from the cue ball. Gibson looked down at the CD he still held, pulled out his cell phone, and started thumbing through the electronic phone book.[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 1 of 12)

Saturday/Sunday: 1:26am: New Gotham Club District

Helena sighed and moved some pebbles around with the toe of her boot. Her body and brain screamed out their boredom in a feeling that left her simultaneously restless and lethargic. Ever since Harley Quinn had been wrapped up in a big bow for the New Gotham PD the rest of the city’s criminal element had been laying low and regrouping.

< Something happening, Huntress? >

Helena’s pulse leapt as the warm, silky tones insinuated themselves into her brain via her ear. She just barely quieted the sharply drawn breath at the mental image of Barbara sitting in front of the Delphi, glasses slipping down her nose, brows knitted in concentration as she juggled more than a dozen simultaneous tasks. She could hear the soft sounds of typing coming through the comms channel. “Not a thing, Oracle. That’s the problem.” She made no effort to keep the boredom out of her voice. “I’ve been out here for three hours and all we’ve got to show for it is one foiled mugging, and even the foiling wasn’t all that hard. What’d it take, five minutes?”

< Four and a half, to be precise. >

It wasn’t a stretch for Helena to picture the half-smile gracing Barbara’s lips. That mental image gave her libido a kickstart it really did not need.[Continue Reading…]

The Quality of Mercy

Despite the darkness, Olivia could tell as she pushed open the door that her apartment wasn’t empty. Olivia had hoped Alex would choose to come here after leaving her at Bellvue to wait for the outcome of Cheryl’s surgery. She’d thought she’d find Alex sound asleep in bed at such a late hour. "You’re awake. That’s a surprise," she said, shutting the door quietly and snicking home the deadbolt.

"A good one I hope."

"Definitely," Olivia replied, shedding her coat and hanging it up. "There’s a reason you have your own key." She crossed to the couch and sat, one leg folded under her, facing Alex’s huddled form. Olivia reached under the shade of the lamp on the table behind the couch.

"Please don’t," Alex said.

"OK," Olivia replied, moving her hand away from the lamp and laying her arm out along the back of the couch. Her eyes had adjusted enough to pick out the familiar lines of Alex’s face which, even in the dim light from the street lights outside, looked drawn and tired.

"There’s more tea if you want some." Alex sipped from the steaming mug she held, her eyes slipping away from Olivia’s steady gaze.

"I’ll get some in a minute."

Alex nodded, pulling the edges of the comforter she’d dragged off Olivia’s bed tighter around her shoulders. "How’s Cheryl," Alex said finally, her eyes meeting Olivia’s.

"Physically and emotionally brutalized. She came out of surgery and the doctor says she’ll recover from her injuries."

"You sound like you aren’t sure that’s a good thing," Alex said, her voice soft.

Olivia ran a hand through her hair as she tried to clear her mind’s eye of the image of Cheryl’s bloody, swollen face. "I don’t know, Alex. They patch her up in the hospital so that she can go right back to Riker’s where the same thing will probably happen again." Olivia shook her head. "Sometimes just surviving physically isn’t enough. Cheryl’s going to have to find a way to make peace with with the body she has now if the rest of her is going to survive to be the person she feels she is."

Alex nodded. She took another sip from the mug of tea, the scent of raspberries filling her nose. "When did you finally make peace with your body?"

[Continue Reading…]

Secrets and Lies

The burn in Olivia’s calves began mid-way through her third
loop around the Central Park Reservoir. Nearly five miles and she
hadn’t managed to shake the thought that had been with her for the
past three weeks: when would she get time alone with Alex?

Munch and Fin had managed to catch all the cases that had any
hope of going to trial while a series of unlinked stranger-rapes in
the East Village had kept Olivia and Elliot running at all hours of
the day and night. Though she and Alex had managed to squeeze in
half a dinner before Olivia had been called away, their interaction
had largely consisted of a few late night phone calls, including
one memorable conversation during which Alex admitted she’d never
actually seen Casablanca. The phone calls, while pleasant, weren’t
enough for Olivia.

Alex’s polite decline of her dinner invitation the night
before had puzzled Olivia. Fridays were usually an early-out day
on the court schedule. Olivia’s mind drifted back to their
conversation as she jogged.

“I have a previous engagement,” Alex said.

“I understand,” Olivia replied, keeping her voice neutral
for all the listening ears in the squadroom.

“If I could get out of it…”

“But you can’t. Look, we’ll talk about it some other
time, OK?” Olivia mouthed a thank you at the file clerk dropping
off some files in her inbox.

“Olivia…” Alex’s tone had been soft, almost placating.

“I’ve got to go.”

“I’ll call you tomorrow.”

The spaces in between their calls had given Olivia too much
time to think about why it wasn’t enough; about why she couldn’t be
as calm and collected as Alex appeared to be. She wasn’t sure she
was comfortable with the answer, and she had no intention of
sharing her feelings anytime soon, but part of her insisted that
she just enjoy the discovery, enjoy the fall, and not worry about
the inevitable landing.

[Continue Reading…]

Repercussions (part 2 of 2)

Alex’s conscious mind rose slowly from the depths of sleep. The sensation of gentle hands caressing her back, which she assumed was leftover from a dream, was soon joined by the touch of warm lips on the back of her neck as she tried to roll over.

“I didn’t expect you to wake up so soon,” Olivia whispered, barely lifting her mouth from Alex’s skin. In the soft darkness Olivia’s voice focused Alex’s attention instantly.

Alex tried to shift her weight but Olivia pulled her closer into their spooned position. Olivia’s warm, solid presence so near should have been relaxing. It was anything but.

Olivia’s hand ranged under the hem of Alex’s short, cotton night shirt and came to rest on one of her breasts. Her lips continued to caress the soft flesh near Alex’s hairline as her thumb brushed Alex’s nipple. The touch of Olivia’s lips and fingers urged on the light throbbing between Alex’s legs that had begun at the sound of her whisper.

“When did you expect me to wake up?” Despite a muted beeping from the street below, Alex’s question sounded loud in the near silence.

“I’d hoped I could at least get you wet first.”

“What makes you think you haven’t,” Alex said, smiling into the darkness.

Olivia trailed her hand down Alex’s belly. Her fingers slipped under the waistband of Alex’s panties and moved downward. The beeping from outside increased in volume and persistence. Alex covered Olivia’s hand with her own trying to move it lower to cup her now pleasantly aching mound. Olivia kissed the back of Alex’s neck one more time. “That’s your alarm clock, Alex. Time to wake up.”[Continue Reading…]

Repercussions (part 1 of 2)

The small brass bell mounted on its frame jingled as Alex Cabot pushed open the door to the flower shop. The sweet, organic smell of roses, irises, orchids, and a dozen other flowers suffused the air. The scent of fresh coffee mixed with the flowers’ sweetness in just the right proportions to remind Alex of the lingering smell of Olivia’s perfume on the empty pillow she’d awakened to this morning.

Alex inspected the arrangements in the cold cases as she waited for someone to emerge from the work room at the back of the store. Alex’s heart rate quickened as the memory of Olivia’s mouth on her breast streaked across her mind.


She turned to find Jonas Issacson regarding her with more than a little confusion.

“Did I forget a family birthday? Please tell me you’re not here for a funeral arrangement.”

“It’s good to see you too Jonas,” Alex said with a smile as she crossed the intervening space to receive his offered bear hug.

Jonas squeezed her tightly. He released her and caught her serious expression. “Dear god, you are here for a funeral arrangement.”

“I have a…situation, and I need some advice Jonas.”

“Flower advice is the only kind I’m good at Alex, you know that.”

Alex nodded. “I need the right flowers Jonas. They need to be convincing but not…”

“Pushy,” he finished, a question in his tone.


“Convincing ‘I’m really sorry’ convincing or convincing ‘I want to take you to bed’ convincing?”

Alex allowed a small smile to touch her lips.

“Well then,” Jonas said, returning Alex’s smile, “I think I have just the thing for you.”

Olivia Benson scrubbed a hand across her eyes and yawned as she fast scanned the last of a tall stack of video tapes. The perp had posed as a room service waiter to gain access to his victims’ rooms. He’d targeted mid-priced hotels with less than cutting edge security. So far he’d been careful to avoid hotels with more than a single camera per floor. He’d finally slipped up by going back to the first hotel he’d hit. They’d upgraded the security on most of their floors since the first attack.

She and Elliot had been working this case for weeks, interviewing and re-interviewing bellhops and cleaning crews to find anyone who might have seen the guy. Lack of sleep, and random flashbacks to the sound and smell of Alex, did nothing to help Olivia’s concentration.

She stood and stretched, loosening muscles that never quite had the chance to relax into deep sleep the night before. Alex had dropped off almost immediately but Olivia found herself wide awake in the unfamiliar surroundings. She’d also surprised herself with her unwillingness to get up right away and go home. Her stomach growled, coffee for breakfast and too long a wait for lunch. “Where did he go for those sandwiches? Home to Queens,” she thought, glancing at her watch.

The video tape rewound automatically as it hit the end of the cassette. Olivia shut off the machine when it finished. The sunlight streaming in the windows of the squad room had her blinking rapidly as her eyes adjusted. It took her a few seconds to notice the vase sitting in the middle of her desk. The five dusty purple flowers that surrounded it made the single longstemmed red rose that much more vivid “When did these come?”

“During your marathon movie viewing,” Munch said without looking up from the paperwork on his desk, “I signed for them but was a gentleman and refrained from reading the card.”

Olivia plucked the small envelope from the plastic holder at the side of the vase. She slit the sealed flap. Thank you for a memorable evening. -A. Olivia folded the card and slid it back into the envelope. The silky brush of the rose petals brought back the feel of Alex under her hands.

“Are those tulips,” Elliot asked, putting a bag from the carryout on her desk.

Olivia shook her head. “Roses of some sort.”

“Sterling roses,” Fin said, putting an identical bag down on top of Munch’s paper work.

Munch picked up the bag with two fingers and moved it aside. Olivia slipped the envelope and card into her pocket.

“They signify a courtly, romantic intention,” Fin continued, “and they’re not cheap.”

“When are flowers ever cheap,” Munch said looking at his partner, “and when does sending them ever have a point?”

“You don’t have a romantic bone in your body. That’s your problem,” Fin said, shooting his partner a pointed look.

“How not cheap,” Elliot asked.

“Between $80 and $125 a dozen usually. Not that it matters if the sentiment is appropriate.”

“Must have been a hell of a date,” Elliot said, biting a big hunk out of his sandwich.

“It was…memorable,” Olivia said, skimming her fingers over the rose petals again.

[Continue Reading…]


“Who is responsible for this? Who approved this,” the young man’s mother demanded.

Cragen, Benson, and Stabler avoided the woman’s eyes.

“I did,” Alex Cabot said.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” the woman said quietly.

“We’ve got the person who did this to him,” Cragen said, attempting to alleviate some of the tension in the hallway.

“That’ll be a comfort to my Tommy if he lives.” The woman placed the surgical mask back over her nose and mouth and pushed through the swinging door into the burn unit. Alex tried to swallow the guilt clawing its way up her throat from her stomach.

Cragen looked at his detectives. “Go back through the files and see if we can find anything, and I mean anything, that ties these cases together.”

Stabler nodded and started down the hall toward the elevators. Olivia shot Alex a quick look of sympathy and headed after her partner. Cragen turned to Alex. “It wasn’t your fault, Alex. There’s no way you could have anticipated this.”

“Call me, at home if you have to, when you get them. I want to be there for the interview.”[Continue Reading…]