Feedback address: CuspofQueens@aol.com
Date in Calendar: 14 December 2004
Fandom: Law And Order: SVU
Pairing: Dude. OTP. Alex/Olivia.
Spoilers: Yes. Post-'Loss'.
Archiving: Written for the FSAC04, afterwards notify me if you'd like it.
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine, the show is not mine, I do not write for profit, because if I did I wouldn't have procrastinated so long on this, and whatever it is, I didn't do it.
"In the road of life, there are passengers and there are drivers. Drivers wanted." She turned the television off with a definite click. No one ever accused Alexandra Cabot of being a passenger in the road of life. In fact, their remarks, when they were bold enough to make them to her face, were along the lines of 'crazy driver'.
That was something the agents of the DEA knew all too well. Alex did not sit idly by while someone else made the decisions in her life. At least, not for long.
Four years. It had been four years since the day Alexandra Cabot, Assistant District Attorney, had died. Give or take a few months, she thought wryly. In her place stood Catherine Qualan, photographer. Every day that passed since the day of her death had led her straight back to where she was. In Olivia Benson's apartment, waiting for her lover to return.
Oh, it wasn't easy. And it hadn't always been fun, but it had been worth it. Every fight, every 'reckless endangerment', every move away from the last place they had set up for her had been designed to bring her back to New York. Because where was the best place to hide from someone, if not right under their noses?
She had started out in Parkville, Missouri; teaching piano to seventh graders. She lasted six months, slowly going insane at nights away from her rock, her soulmate. No contact, no word, not even the slightest whiff of gossip. How was she? Was she doing alright without Alex? Did she sleep at night anymore? Had she...moved on? Even the thought of it was unbearable in its pain. Alex--Catherine. It was Catherine now, a subtle reminder of the woman she had left behind.
The beautiful, thoughtful, amazing woman. Catherine knew there was no way she could ever forget Detective Olivia Benson, of the New York Special Victim's Unit. Knew there was no way she'd ever want to. There was also no way she could really live without the woman, either. Already after six months she looked like a banshee. She'd dropped a good thirty pounds...thirty pounds she didn't have to spare. There were dark circles under her eyes and her hair was shaggy, with awful split ends and in desperate need of a cut. A trim. Something. Anything.
Catherine's lips quirked as she remembered the day she'd snapped out of it and come back to reality. Her reality. She wasn't spending all this time away from Olivia for her health. Not really, anyway. She knew that no matter what happened, she needed to find a way back to her love. The only obstacle, of course, was how to do it and keep Olivia safe. It didn't matter what happened to her, it never had. The important thing was and had always been her family at the SVU.
They say that when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window. She need only to look for it. And of course, applying herself had never been a problem for the blonde photographer.
Eventually, she had found it. A local magazine announcing a photography contest. Submissions were open to the public and would be posted in the next month's issue. Surprisingly, she hadn't won that contest; but that did nothing to diminish her enthusiasm. With a battered second-hand camera and some film, she began shooting pictures. Candid photographs of people, of places, of everything. She was never without her camera, always looking for an opportunity to further herself. Occasionally she would write articles to accompany her pieces, and then send them in to newspapers, magazines, journals. Anywhere that would accept them, and even most places that didn't.
It wasn't so much that Catherine had a conviction that she would succeed. In fact, she knew the odds of it happening were quite slim; but that didn't matter. It was the process of working, the feeling of productivity, of doing something that made taking her pictures so comfortable.
And maybe it was because she didn't think she would make it, that eventually she did. One of her articles on poverty in urban America ran in an issue of National Geographic, titled The Hunger At Home. Looking back, it was almost funny how fast everything moved from there.
Of course, there were the arguments, the reprimands for drawing attention to herself, the ensuing retorts that she didn't care. That she was tired of waiting. After all the vehement arguments had been made, they stopped. The woman who had been Alexandra Cabot was someone who got her way; always. There was no use in fighting what was. There was nothing left but to prepare for the worst.
She stopped teaching piano, moved from Missouri to Massachusetts, immersing herself in the culture of Boston. Once she'd exhausted everything there, she moved again, this time to Atlanta. It was actually very interesting when she thought about it, the different views she'd gained from behind her lens.
After Georgia, she made her move to her ultimate destination. New York, New York. Her argument, of course, had been that the photo opportunities there were endless, and with her already famous name, it was something she would not fail at.
It hadn't been a complete lie. And everyone around her had pretended they couldn't see right though it, bless their souls.
It took her two months before she could work up the nerve to 'meet' Olivia for the first time. It had been worth it. Every moment, every shot, every ounce of blood, sweat and tears shed for this case and this life had all become worth it the moment Catherine saw the recognition, hope and joy bloom in the brunette detective's eyes.
"Catherine, huh? Does anybody ever call you Kitten?" she asked, a wealth of amusement in her rich voice.
Catherine grinned and nodded. "Once, a long time ago."
"But not now?"
She shook her blonde head. "That name is reserved for the love of my life."
Olivia sat back, satisfied. "Good." She smiled, touching a delicate hand playing with the strap of her camera. "Wanna go to the park? There's this fountain I think you'll like."
"Sure!" She responded eagerly, blushing at Olivia's wide grin. "Um. I mean...that would be nice."
Now she stood at the window, looking down at the snow falling onto the streets, the cars, and the people. Behind her a door opened and Olivia stepped in, unwrapping a maroon scarf from around her neck. "Hello, Kitten." she smiled, stomping snow from her boots and hanging her coat up on the rack.
Catherine moved forward to help her, smiling as the brunette sniffed the air experimentally. "It smells good." Olivia complimented, "Is it done?" she asked hopefully.
Catherine laughed and nodded. "I've been waiting on you." She chided, drawing the detective in to the warmth of their home. She stepped closer, wrapping her arms around the brunette's neck and looking up into deep brown eyes. "Was it very bad?"
Olivia sobered, though her arms wound around the blonde's waist. She stared off into something away from the apartment, from them. "Yes." She murmured. "It was bad."
She pressed herself closer to Olivia, laying her head on the detective's shoulder. "I'm sorry."
Olivia held her there a moment, until she became distracted again by the smell of food. "What is it?" she asked, stepping away from the embrace and moving towards the kitchen.
"Hawaiian ham and mashed potatoes. Corn on the cob and some dinner rolls."
"Sue me, I don't like turkey." Catherine shrugged.
Brown eyes laughed at her even as Olivia brought the ham out of the oven. "I know, but ham?"
She scowled. "Next time, you can make the dinner." She proposed sweetly.
This brought a laugh from Olivia. Leaning over, she gently pressed her lips to the blonde's. "Dinner looks wonderful, Kitten. Thank you."
Catherine smiled. "You're very welcome." The dinner table had already been set, Olivia noted when they brought their plates to the table. All that was left were the unlit tapered candles waiting to be lit. Catherine handed Olivia the box of matches, stepping up behind the brunette and watching from over her shoulder as she struck a match and held it to the virgin wick. Olivia smiled at the feel of the blonde's gentle kisses to her shoulders, and the gentle squeeze of her hands at Olivia's waist as she finished lighting the candles.
Dinner was mostly silent, Olivia enjoying the wonderful food made for her by Catherine. "What are you thankful for?" She asked quietly.
The blonde looked up, blue eyes surprised. "You."
Olivia smiled. "Am I it? You're not thankful for anything else this year?"
Catherine shook her head. "Not really. I suppose I'm thankful for the path that led me to you, but when you come right down to it…you're it."
She was silent a moment, contemplating that. "What about you, Liv? What are you thankful for?"
Olivia smiled, and nodded. "You." She said simply.
Catherine giggled. "Well am I it? There's nothing else?"
Olivia laughed, the rich sound reaching Catherine's ears as she reached over and squeezed her hand. "I'm thankful for the path that led me to you," she responded, repeating the blonde's earlier words. "But when you come right down to it, you're it."