Title: Fairytale of New York
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 24 December 2007
Fandom: Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Pairing: Olivia Benson/Alex Cabot
Word Count: 2580
Summary: Everyone believes in fairytales...even Alex Cabot....
Series/Sequel: A festive standalone.
Feedback: Never say no...
Warnings: None, once you've cleared the hurdle of lesbianism...unless I need to warn for festive sappiness? In the interests of full disclosure, I should warn I've played merry hell with the Conviction timeline and have decided that Alex Cabot reappeared as a Bureau Chief not long before Christmas...
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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: As per all my work not mine, no money whatsoever, just some writing fun and hopefully reading pleasure....they are the property of Dick Wolf et al. This story has no connection with the Christmas Song of the same title which this Christmas has been causing such a kerfuffle in the UK.
Author's Note/Status: Completed special commission for the Winter Calendar 2007, although the first few paragraphs might read familiar to a few members of one of the Yahoo Alex/Olivia groups. This story began life as a much larger idea when the 'Conviction' spoilers first appeared. By the time I had started writing it, the full reality of 'Conviction' had spoiled any hope of the story working. Now, some years later, I have re-discovered the story and re-drafted something new....which is pure festive sap!
"Benson." Olivia's greeting was automatic and unchanged over the years, her hand snatching the ringing phone and her voice identifying herself before her brain had really registered what was happening.
'Olivia?' Alex's response was timid and nervous, so different from years ago.
"Alex?" Her name was still said with warmth and concern, even if the sound of it was still strange to her ears.
'Umm...you still at work?' The question was a lame one, an unusual event for the once collected ADA.
"Yeah...why'd you call?" Olivia was, for some reason, unwilling to admit to the large piles of unsolved cases standing on her desk. For once, work didn't seem so important.
'I was wondering....wondering if...' the normally confident blonde was stumbling over her words, struggling to speak past the slab of 'something' in her throat.
As Olivia waited for her friend to complete her thought, her attention was drawn to her partner as he grabbed her notebook and scrawled something across it. Reaching to see what he'd written, the Detective couldn't stop herself from smiling at her partner in query. Seeing his confirming nod, Olivia interrupted the still stumbling Alex.
"You want to meet for a drink?"
"You take a coat to work?" asked Olivia, knowing that Alex, after so many stops in warmer states, hadn't yet got used to the idea of the cold New York and often forgot to wear an outer coat on her short commute to work.
'Yes....' Confused by the question, but glad she could obviously provide the right answer for once, Alex looked at the black wool-cashmere blend coat that was hanging on her coat stand as she waited for an explanation.
"Meet me on the corner of 59th and 5th?" asked Olivia, rattling off the street address and hoping that Alex wouldn't immediately connect the address with what Olivia was suddenly planning.
'Okay...' Alex's careful response hinted to Olivia that she hadn't made the connection.
"Great, can you get there for 6? Or is that too soon?" asked Olivia nervously, shoving papers across her desk to achieve some semblance of order.
'Six is fine.'
"Great, see you then!" declared Olivia excitedly, before hanging up the phone. Grabbing her notebook back from Elliot, she ripped out the page he'd written on before rushing out of the squad room, throwing a hasty call of 'thanks' over her shoulder at her partner: that she owed him big for letting her cut out on their file review night didn't need saying. Her partner would collect, of that she had no doubt.
"Olivia?" Stepping out of a cab, Alex called out nervously, attracting the attention of the tall, leather-clad brunette that the blonde was dearly hoping was her friend.
"Hey..." Olivia's greeting was thrown out warmly, carried to Alex on a condensing breath of air as the Detective pivoted to look at her friend.
"No briefcase?" Asked Olivia when she'd finally put her finger on what was wrong with the sight before her.
"Not that sort of job...I can't take my work home. In fact, I refuse to," declared Alex resolutely, pulling a rather strange face at the thought.
"Oh?" Olivia was intrigued by the face pulling, having never seen Alex's nose wrinkle into that particular shape before.
"I'm mother-superior to a crowd of too young, too wet attorneys who think they can change the world in a few months..." began Alex grouchily, before trailing off as she caught sight of Olivia's smirk.
"What?" she asked, resisting the urge to stamp her feet for warmth, but only just. Had New York always been this cold at Christmas? She couldn't remember, having forced herself to forget as much as possible...
"You just reminded me of something someone once told my Captain..." teased Olivia gently, gesturing for Alex to start walking alongside her.
"Why do I think I'm going to recognise this?" groused Alex good naturedly, glad to settle back into the familiar stride of Olivia Benson.
"Because a great ADA once explained to a grouchy NYPD Captain that the ADA was on the side of his squad because she wanted to stand on our shoulders to 'reach a broader constituency'..."
"I was green then, wasn't I?" asked Alex, just glad that Olivia hadn't mentioned the next bit of that little speech.
"No, just grasping...." Olivia accompanied her observation with some nimble footwork that would have looked right at home on a WNBA court as she avoided first Alex's attempted punch, followed by the swipe of her purse.
"So, it's really that bad?" asked Olivia sympathetically, returning to Alex's side as they strolled along the sidewalk.
"Yes....no....I'm not sure" decided Alex finally, unable to express what she was really thinking about her new job.
"Has starting the job helped at all?"
"Helped me feel like I'm 'normal' again?" asked Alex bitterly, prompting Olivia to drape her arm over her friend's shoulders and pull her into a strong, one-armed hug.
"Not really, I still feel like I'm living in a fairytale of some sort..." explained Alex bitterly, referring back to a conversation she'd had with Olivia a few weeks ago when the Detective had suddenly arrived on her Seattle doorstep to tell her the news about Velez.
"Best ride in your carriage then" interrupted Olivia, coming to a sudden halt, prompting Alex to look up. She'd been so caught up in reviewing her life that she'd forgotten to consider exactly why Olivia had summoned her to this windswept and slightly snowy edge of Central Park, instead trusting the calm detective to look after her. Standing quietly by the edge of the sidewalk, illuminated by the surprisingly gentle glow of a nearby streetlight, was a horse drawn carriage.
"Olivia?" Alex was rooted to the spot, surprised at the sight. Of course, she knew about the horse-drawn carriages, but had never ridden one, always regarding it as a tourist experience which she, as a 'real' New Yorker, had never had time to indulge in.
"Why don't you get in Alex? Joe will give you a hand..." explained Olivia, taking Alex's arm by the elbow and gently coaxing her forwards. As they got nearer to the carriage, Olivia called out
"Evenin' Joe!" prompting a small, elderly man in a flat cap to appear from behind the carriage, his sudden appearance startling Alex slightly, something Olivia didn't miss.
"Detective...Miss Cabot" greeted the man, touching the peak of his cap as he nodded his head towards Alex before holding out a suitably weather-beaten and gnarled hand for the shell-shocked attorney to take. As Olivia let go of Alex's shoulder, she watched with pride as she saw Alex's posture, which had previously been slumped and defeated, stiffen and straighten as long-ingrained 'Society' manners reasserted themselves, allowing Alex to be expertly 'handed' into the carriage.
"Thank you" stated Alex calmly, although her eyes betrayed her excitement at the spontaneous treat, sparkling with an enthusiasm that Olivia hadn't previously seen since the blonde had returned to....well, to being blonde.
"You're welcome Miss" mumbled Joe as he put the steps away, prompting Alex to look concerned
"You not coming?" she asked nervously of Olivia, only to be greeted with the carriage rolling slightly as Olivia athletically leapt up into the carriage, the effort parting her leather jacket and revealing to Alex the surprisingly reassuring sight of Olivia's badge and gun. After her shooting, Alex had become incredibly nervous of guns, always taking care to stand whenever possible where she couldn't see the various Marshals' guns as they moved her from place to place wherever, yet for some reason, she found Olivia's gun and badge comforting and reassuring.
Shuffling slightly, Olivia settled into the seat next to Alex, suddenly regretting her decision to let Alex get in first when she realised it meant that Alex was now sitting on the same side as her holster. Wriggling, Olivia started to reach into her coat, intending to stick the gun on her other side, only for Alex to catch her arm and hold it still.
"I don't mind...." began Alex, guiding Olivia's hand away from the gun.
"But I thought...." as Olivia started, so too did the horse, the gentle jolt causing Alex to tighten her grip on Olivia's arm in surprise.
"That I don't like guns? You're right....I hated seeing the Marshals' guns, and I sometimes wish I'd gone into civil law at least that way I wouldn't have guns coming into my office every day. But this....this is different..." frustrated, Alex gestured with her right hand as she tried to find the words. Seeing her friend struggle, Olivia tried to help.
"Is it because you know me...I mean, know me, Olivia, rather than just Detective?"
"I know Elliot too though...." Muttered Alex, only to wince when she realised she'd had that thought loud enough for Olivia to hear.
"Elliot's gun spooks you?" asked Olivia kindly, surprised.
"Don't ask me why, but you're the only one I don't think of as having a gun...no, that sounds weird...I know you have a gun....speaking of which, how can you wear it all day?" asked Alex, suddenly changing the subject.
"Huh?" confused by the sudden topic change, having been distracted from Alex's bemused rambling by the motion of the carriage, but also the blonde's firm grasp of her arm, Olivia was a little slow on the uptake. That uptake was not helped by Alex suddenly wiggling in her seat, causing the holstered gun to press into the detective's side.
"Hey, stop making my gun poke me!" protested Olivia good naturedly, glad that Alex had moved away from agonising about why Olivia was the only gun-carrying colleague who didn't make her uncomfortable. Whilst it was an important question, one which no doubt Huang would help Alex worry about later, Olivia's mind was too busy doing a 'happy-dance' to care right now. Did her gun not freaking Alex out count as a sign that maybe the blonde still liked her?
"I rest my case..." retorted Alex dryly, ceasing her wiggling and relaxing back into the seat, unconsciously drawing Olivia's arm with her when she returned her hands to her lap.
"About my gun poking me in my side?" asked Olivia, finally catching up with the conversation.
"Yes...I used to wonder, how do you cope with wearing it all the time? Doesn't it get in the way?" asked Alex, seizing the opportunity to ask the question that had been intriguing her ever since she'd first started with the District Attorney's Office. Olivia thought for a moment before replying, having never really thought about it before.
"I think it's just habit now....like you and those shoes..." teased Olivia gently, gesturing to the elegantly conservative, yet also incredibly fashionable, black heels that Alex was wearing, another indication that Alex was blessed with a short commute and a short term memory when it came to the New York winter "...but it's not as bad as it could be. Uniform is worse, as your belt is so heavy with all the other stuff, getting your shield and reducing your kit makes you forget all about the gun, so excited are you about the tonnes of crap you've dumped in your desk..." explained Olivia thoughtfully.
"I've dumped the crap on other desks now..." mused Alex, equally thoughtfully.
"I thought that was called delegation?" asked Olivia, attempting to elicit a glimmer of good humour from her friend again.
"I just feel sorry for the detectives..." admitted Alex, recalling some of the truly shocking behaviour she had heard 'her' ADAs had got up to, when really, she had even less influence over them than she'd had over her life when she had been under Federal Protection.
"You can't go back into Court?"
"My presence might prejudice the Jury...apparently..." explained Alex, somewhat bitterly.
"It should..." agreed Olivia, seeing the opportunity she had been waiting for since Alex's return not just to New York City as 'Alex Cabot' but also to Olivia's life as a friend.
"What do you mean?"
"You're intelligent, articulate, a brilliant attorney..." as she spoke, Olivia angled her body slightly so she was easing Alex nearer to her, also enabling her to make eye contact, "...who is funny, witty, beautiful..." tentatively, Olivia reached out to brush an overly long bang from Alex's face, inwardly rejoicing that her advance wasn't dismissed or rejected, "... and has been prejudicing this citizen for years..."
"You don't mean that..." dismissed Alex, trying not to think how gentle Olivia's hand, even through the thick leather glove felt, trying not to delight in the warmth that she was feeling inside for the first time since she'd lain on the sidewalk, focussed on Olivia's eyes, focussed on the sound of her voice.
"You're right...I'm not prejudiced....I'm in love..." admitted Olivia quietly, wondering how Alex would react to the admission.
"Oh..." Slightly off-balance, Alex did the one thing that lately was helping her settle she sought contact with Olivia by shuffling even closer into the protective embrace of her friend, a physical response that confused Olivia as it appeared to conflict with the verbal one.
"Good oh..." confirmed Alex, smiling up at Olivia, her smile demonstrating to Olivia what she wasn't quite able to articulate yet...that the detective wasn't the only one in love.
"You want to go around the park again?" asked Olivia, noticing they were coming back to their starting point.
"Sure..." agreed Olivia, grabbing a second rug from the seat opposite them and draping it over their now very closely tangled legs, knowing Joe was content to guide his horse around the route in Central Park until Olivia told him otherwise, be it to go somewhere else or just stop.
"It's like a fairytale..." observed Alex, recalling her childhood stories of the white knight on his horse saving the fair lady, "...and it's snowing..."
"It has been for a while..." explained Olivia, unsurprised that Alex hadn't noticed.
"Being you..." admitted Alex, as she watched the New York skyline through the gently falling snow, "...giving me this fairytale..."
"It's not a fairytale Alex..." murmured Olivia, pressing a gentle kiss into Alex's hair, "...it's better than a fairytale..."
"I'd got to the point where I dreaded Christmas..." said Alex suddenly, surprising Olivia who had got the impression, as had most of Alex's professional circle, that she was oblivious to it now being Christmas Eve, "...being forced to embrace family and happiness didn't work well in witness protection...."
"I can imagine..." agreed Olivia, recalling all the holidays she'd worked in order to avoid those same demons.
"...I think I'm starting to like it again..."
"Happy Christmas Liv..."
"Happy Christmas Alex..."
And, with the snow lightly falling, Olivia drew her friend and newly discovered lover deeper into her embrace, content to enjoy the cold night in the heart of the City for as long as Alex wanted to, the sounds of the city lost in the night, replaced instead with the gentle sounds of the horse drawn carriage...it felt like a fairytale, one that had had its fair share of evil sub-plots along the way but now, after years of forced separation, things were finally falling into place. Right now, it didn't matter how many years they'd never had, how many months they'd lost when Alex practically hid from Olivia once she'd returned...right now it didn't matter what would happen in the New Year...like all the best fairytales, everyone knew the answer...they would live, together, happily ever after...