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…]