Disclaimer: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” the characters and situations depicted are the property of Wolf Films, Universal Network Television, NBC, etc. They are borrowed without permission, but without the intent of infringement. This story is in no way affiliated with "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Wolf Films, Universal Network Television, NBC, or any representatives of Stephanie Marsh or Mariska Hargitay. This story contains content between two mature, consenting adult females.
Author’s Disclaimer: These characters belong to ShatterStorm Productions and are the creations of A. Magiluna Stormwriter and Shatterpath. They also belong in the Light, Water, Muses universe, tho’ this is a standalone within the whole of that universe.
Author’s Notes: This is a mostly unbeta'd version for the lyric2lit Livejournal community. It will most definitely be expanded up and beta'd like mad, to become part of "Ripples," the fifth book in the Light, Water, Muses universe. I haven't written any Alex/Olivia in a long time, and shatterpath "accused" me of only writing for my OFCs anymore. So I took the challenge to get involved in the rest of the characters again…
Author's Notes II: The lyrics were supplied by wiccabuffy, and are "She Was There" from The Scarlet Pimpernel.
Author's Notes III: Title comes from a song I once heard performed by the King Singers. It seemed somehow appropriate.
Dedication: To my muses. I’d be nowhere without them.
"You Are The New Day"
by A. Magiluna Stormwriter
I very nearly ignored the phone when it started ringing. I'd been doing it for over a week at this point anyway. Didn't they understand yet that I really didn't want to speak to any of them? Elliot in particular?
"Ms. Cabot, my name is Michael. I believe you've been trying to get in touch with a mutual friend. When you get this message, please call me at--"
Just how many women named Michael would know someone I know? And would be calling me? Scrambling across the room, I quickly snatched up the phone. "Hello? Are you still there? Please don't let me miss this call." I didn't even realize I was holding my breath then, until she spoke again.
"So you are there," she replied casually. I could hear the undertones of humor in her voice. Kind humor, granted, but humor all the same. "Rumor has it you might have flown the coop, or worse."
"Yes, well…" I didn't finish the sentence, feeling oddly chastised. I couldn't help the sigh that followed. "Do you know where she is?"
"Yes," came the easy reply. "And so do you. Why don't you call her yourself?" I had no answer, nothing I felt comfortable admitting to a complete stranger. "And so you tried to contact me to get her number rather than talk to her former partner, is that it?"
"You wouldn't understand." The words came out before I realized I'd spoken. "There are things--"
"The Cavanaugh-Barnett case? I know all about it, Ms. Cabot. And I'm guessing that, by your attempts at contacting me, you're ready to come out of your self-induced emotional exile?"
Ire kicked in at that knowing tone of voice. I was about to hang up when I remembered she was my only link to Olivia at this point. I wouldn't beg for the information from Elliot, not when I knew he was so angry with me. "Can you help me or not?" This was turning into more work than I'd expected. Maybe I'd waited too long. Defeated by my own stubbornness.
"I think we can work something out to be mutually beneficial."
I swallowed hard, not sure what I actually felt at that precise moment. "I'm listening."
The caller ID showed a local number. Not a lot of people had my new number here in Vegas. Well, not that I didn't already have programmed into my phone, of course. Curiosity certainly had this cat by the short and curlies. Where the hell had I picked up that expression? God, I'd been hanging around Dace too long already. "Benson. Talk to me." There was a long pause. I could hear breathing and the random sounds of the casino this person was calling from. "Hello?" The noises sounded like any of the casinos I'd been in since arriving in Vegas. That pretty much killed any hopes of figuring out who this was. "Okay, if you're not gonna say anything, I'm done here."
"No, wait! Please!"
What the--? I knew that voice. "Alex? Is that you?"
There was another long pause. Maybe I'd only imagined hearing her voice.
"Hi yourself." Relief flooded over me at the confirmation. Despite the onslaught of emotions from our parting, I just wanted to feel her next to me, know she was really here. "How are you? Where are you? Where have you been?" The questions flooded past my lips; I was unable to stop the deluge. "Man, I have a million questions. Where are you? I'll come get you."
"Um… I’m at Caesar's Palace."
I smiled, biting back the amused chuckle, as I headed toward my car. "You'll need to be a little more specific than that, honey," I replied calmly. "That's a pretty big casino."
"Oh, right. Sorry." She sounded almost like she was in shock. Then again, after what Elliot had told me, I wasn't really surprised. Hopefully, she'd still be able to open up to me and talk about it. She never had done well with holding it in. "I guess I'm closest to the Garden of the Gods pools."
I grinned broadly, gunning the engine a bit as I pulled out into traffic. "Okay, you stay there. Have you eaten yet?"
"Haven't really been hungry enough to eat today. Food and my nerves just aren't a good mix."
Oh, that said a lot about her state of mind. This was serious. "Okay, honey, you've got a choice here. We can eat somewhere in the Palace or we can go somewhere else. But you need to eat. You're not used to this weather. Hell, I'm not totally used to this weather yet." Damn, Benson, ramble mode much? "Okay, I'm on my way over there. Meet me out front in about ten minutes; look for the beige Lexus convertible."
"Okay," she replied curiously.
"And, Alex? I'm glad you're here. See you in a few."
I couldn't even begin to describe the butterflies doing kamikaze duty in my stomach at the prospect of finally seeing Olivia again. It had been a month. Oh who was I kidding? It had been more like two months since I'd really last seen her. That brief reunion when she came to pack didn't really count. Well, except for the part about me being such a bitch to her.
I wandered through the Palace for a few minutes, lost in thought, memories, dreams. Finally heading outside, I sucked in a painful breath as I registered the temperature difference. This was March, for god's sake! It was supposed to be cold, crappy, and gloomy. Not bright, warm, without a cloud in the sky. Shading my eyes, I looked for the car and waited. And fell back into memories again.
The horn honking brought me back to the present, and I blinked against the glare off the car. And then I saw her. Her hair was starting to grow out just a bit, sporting just the faintest hints of sun-kissed color. Yes, I noticed it even after this short time apart. Her skin, normally such a lovely pale ivory, was now a deep bronzed tone. It looked good on her, especially against that white short-sleeved shirt. She lifted the sunglasses slightly and grinned broadly at me as my feet automatically led me closer to the expensive car.
"Nice car," I muttered, suddenly too shy to say anything else as I stood there. All at once, I felt a chill, despite the heat of the day.
Olivia parked the car for a moment and hopped out of the car, quickly coming around to my side. She wrapped me in a tight hug, grinning broadly. I couldn't help that shiver again, overcome by the smell and feel of my Olivia. But was she really my Olivia?
Olivia pulled back and opened the passenger door. "Come on, let's go. I know this great place to go to. You'll love it."
I slipped into the car, still too stunned to speak, and watched her get in. All of the memories paled in comparison to being close to her again. It was almost overwhelming in its intensity. I blinked back tears, knowing I'd blame the sun if pressed for a reason.
"So, how long are you here for? What sights have you seen? I can probably talk to the boss lady and Jim about taking some time off, if necessary. I'd really like to spend some time with you. I've really missed you."
I couldn't do anything but nod noncommittally. The sight of her brought back the easy camaraderie she, Elliot, and I had shared. Sam Cavanaugh's face swam before my eyes for a moment, and I couldn't help but wonder if I'd have done the same thing if Olivia had been in New York.
Flashback"Alex? Honey, are you okay? You're awfully quiet."
"You took a big chance."
I could tell he was mad, but I knew I could make him understand. "You were never in jeopardy. I made sure of that. It will all fall on me."
"You should have told me," he pushed.
"I am sorry."
"No, you're not."
"I am sorry you were ever in the middle of this." And I was. It should have been different. "But you're right. I'm not sorry about the rest."
I flinched at the sensation of her hand on my arm, startled out of the memories of Elliot's anger. "I've been better," I replied, finally speaking to her for the first time since I'd called her.
"Would you rather go someplace quieter? Maybe back to your hotel room for some room service?" Her concern was palpable, and it made me nervous and safe at the same time.
"No, I've had enough room service already," I said, smiling bravely at her. "Two and a half days of room service is more than any person should really handle." I didn't miss the quirk of her eyebrow at my admission of how long I'd been in town. I wasn't quite ready to answer that yet. "So where are we going?"
"Good afternoon, Ms. Benson," the maitre d' said. "We didn't know you'd be joining us today. Would you like the usual table?"
"Actually, do you have one of the rooms available?" I asked, smiling brightly at him. I felt a bit of a flush coloring my cheeks at the low whistle from Alex, but resolutely followed the maitre d' to the room, where a discreet waiter left us menus and water.
"Wow, this is different," Alex mused as we sat down to look over the menus. "Expensive car, private dining room at a high class restaurant where they know your name? How do you rate?"
"Perks of the job, to be honest." It was the truth, after all. "It took me some time to get used to all of this. And the car? Tessa wanted to upgrade, but couldn't justify it while she still had the Lexus. So she sold it to me for pretty cheap. I mean it's only like two years old and it's fully loaded. But Anastasia and Tessa have been doing their damnedest to make me feel at home out here. And I gotta admit, I like the weather so far. I'll probably change my mind in about 3 months, but this is certainly nice right now." I took a deep breath, internally chastising myself for being so damned blabbermouthed around Alex. This was just Alex, after all. It didn't matter what issues there may have been. We'd fought in the past and survived it. I had faith we would now, too. Besides, I still had the memories of those yummy kisses to give me hope. "So what brings you to Vegas?"
"I'm…doing a favor for your friend Michael." I know my eyebrows rose at that. So Jo'd been right. "I'm checking out the accommodations at Caesar's Palace for her. She said she'd had associates who had less than satisfactory service." I could tell by her voice that she didn't exactly believe that story anymore than I did. "It's her money, so who am I to say no? It's not like I've got a salary coming in right now anyway."
That brought me up short. I hoped I didn't appear too pushy in my curiosity. I'd only just been reunited with Alex. I wasn't about to fuck it up now. "Alex, you don't have to talk about it if you don't want to. Just know that I'm more than willing to listen if you want." I reached across the table to squeeze her hand. It really did feel good to have her this close again. "And if you don't want to, that's fine, too. We can just have fun, see the sights, get some color on you. I bet you'd look damned good with a nice tan. Show off a little skin maybe?"
Her eyebrows rose nearly to her hairline at that. Damn! Did I say that out loud? Dace and her contagious bluntness were going to be my downfall one day. "Are you saying you don't like the way I look now?" she asked in that slightly superior "don't fuck with me" lawyer tone. The one that always gave me the shivers.
"Not at all!" I was quick to reply to her question. "I just thought you'd like to return to New York with ammo to make Munch drool at your feet." That got a tentative smile out of her, and I relaxed again.
"You've got a point there, but I'm not sure I want to give him any further ammunition to his fantasies." Her smirk lasted a moment longer before disappearing under the weight of whatever was bothering her conscience.
"Alex, honey? You flew halfway across the country to see me and you don't think you're playing into his fantasies?"
"Who said I came to see you? I told you I was doing your friend a favor." There was a slight belligerence to her tone, a defensiveness I didn't want to appear.
"Okay, if that's the way you want it, Alex." I picked up my menu, studying the words without really reading them. I didn't want a confrontation, damn it! I wanted…I wanted Alex here with me, not miserable back in New York. But I wasn't going to have that if she kept putting up these walls like this. And I wasn't exactly sure how to stop her from doing it. And then I remembered the conversation I'd had with Dace about it. It had to be Alex's choice to meet me halfway. And then my phone rang. I smirked at the ringtone. "Hey Dace, what's up?" I noticed the glare narrowing Alex's eyes.
"Did you forget about our meeting, Dobie?" There was a bit of an edge to her voice.
"Oh shit! I'm sorry, Dace!" I exclaimed, surprised I'd forgotten in the first place. "I'm... Alex is here."
In the silence on the other line, I could see her raising the good eyebrow. "I'll let it go this time, Dobie. You two working things out?"
"Not exactly, but I'm hopeful."
"Don't give up hope, Dobie. Talk to you later."
I didn't say anything for long moments, internally fuming at Olivia's attitude. And the call from Dace hadn't helped matters. The blonde cop had taken Olivia from me, and I'd never forgive her for it. When our food came, I found myself starving, but unable to eat. I couldn't go on like this.
"I'm sorry," I finally murmured, pushing my plate away. Grabbing my glass of wine, I got up and began to pace the room.
"For what, honey?" Her voice was so patient, so caring.
"Do you know why I'm here?" I glanced at her when she didn't answer, saw that open expression on her face, the one that she always wore whenever I'd needed to talk in the past. "I fucked up, Olivia. Liz Donnelly suspended me for a month without pay."
"What happened?" So gentle, so interested.
The words just tumbled out of my mouth. I left nothing out of my tale of indiscretion and flaunting of the laws. The sense of betrayal. The anger. The retribution. The guilt. And it didn't stop there. Everything I had felt about Olivia and the case in Chicago that ended up taking her away from me. The pain and fear that I'd never see her again. The anger that she left…and that I didn't try to stop her. The loss I'd felt afterward. The denial of everything I felt for her. All of it. It was like verbal and emotional diarrhea, and I couldn't stop it if my life had depended on it.
"Alex, honey, take it easy," Olivia murmured, wrapping her arms around me tightly. She held me close, stroking my back gently.
"I can't do it anymore, Olivia. I can't live like this."
She leaned back and tipped my chin up. "Then don't."
"It's not that simple."
"Yeah, it is. Tell Liz Donnelly to take her job and shove it. I can almost guarantee that Anastasia will have a job for you that will be far more rewarding and far less stressful. We can get Elliot and the gang to pack up your stuff, just like they did with mine. And I bet Michael and Jo can help get them going on that. And you wanna know the best part of it all?"
"What?" I asked curiously, swiping at my cheeks sheepishly.
"You won't be alone anymore. I'll be right here with you, every step of the way." She hesitated for just a moment then. "That is, if you want me to."
I stared into her eyes for a long moment; saw everything she felt for me reflecting back. The very thought of what she was proposing thrilled and terrified me. She was right. I couldn't do this alone anymore.
And I couldn't deny my own feelings for her either. It wasn't fair to either of us.
Taking a deep breath, I smiled at Olivia and pulled her face down into a kiss that didn't hold anything back. Pulling back from the kiss, I couldn't help chuckling at her stunned, aroused expression. "So tell me more about this job you mentioned."
She blinked owlishly at me. "Job?"
Invigorated by my decision, I enjoyed watching her stuck for an answer. "Come on, let's eat. Suddenly, I'm starving." I led her back to the table, smirking at the confusion still clouding her expressive dark eyes.
"What the hell just happened here?"
"I think I just decided to move halfway across the country and start a new job to be with you, Olivia. Do try to keep up."
Lyrics used italicized
"She Was There" from "The Scarlet Pimpernel"
So many nights I have stood in the moonlight
Watching it fade with the dawn
Wanting her back with me, warm in the moonlight
Knowing that moment was gone
Out of mind, out of sight,
Till the moon rose tonight
All at once, I felt a chill
In a spill of moonlight, she was there
Though we both held very still
There was something pulling in the air
When she whispered through the dark
I tried hard to hold my ground
I believed I had a choice
Till the music in her voice
Turned my whole world around
I would like to understand
But the stars and I begin to blur
If she never touched my hand
Then what filled me with the feel of her?
In between us stood a wall
In a flash it fell apart
Is it possible she heard
Every last unspoken word
Racing out of my heart?
She never turned to me, but suddenly
We had so much to share!
I never took her in my arms, but she was there
Oh, she was there!
No, I never pulled her in
Still her tenderness was everywhere
Oh, she slipped beneath my skin
Just as if she'd always been right there
Has she been there all along?
Was I too far gone to know?
What a fool I must have been
For how could I pull her in
When I've never let her go?