Title: Blame it on Huang
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: 14 December 2009
Fandom: Law & Order: SVU
Pairing: Alex/ Olivia
Rating: PG (mild language)
Word Count: 2567
Summary: When Alex realizes how she feels about Olivia, how does she go about admitting it?
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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 the actors.
Author's Disclaimer: Law & Order: SVU and its characters are the properties of NBC and Dick Wolf. No infringement intended.
Author's Note: What follows is what I wish happened during "Hardwired" (episode 11.5). I "borrowed" lines from The Blind Side and the Star Trek universe to pay homage to Sandra Bullock and Jeri Ryan respectively. The former because she is an acting genius and the latter because her guest appearance in this episode still brings a smile to my face. All typos and awkward sentence structure are my own. The characters are certainly not.
Beta: Now accepting applications.
Blame it on Huang
Alex Cabot could be hot-tempered when things didn't go her way. Scratch that, Alex Cabot was always hot-tempered when she didn't get her way. Dependably so. That was her main motivation when she showed up to the absolute mess remaining of the undercover sting operation. She had arranged to have drinks with Olivia tonight before this whole dog and pony show had been imagined. To celebrate your success in 'clawing your way out of appeals.' Alex had noticed the sparkle in Olivia's eye when the blonde ADA had made the comment in the squad room.
They had been close before the Zapata stuff, having dinner at least once a week (more when they were involved in a particularly trying case) and would splurge on shopping trips in the face of victories. Neither one had been very good at keeping friendships very viable over the years, so their closeness—ability to understand the anguish that went along with their particular career choices—was something to be cherished.
Alex hadn't admitted it to Olivia, but it took the lawyer quite awhile to adjust to her new life. In large part the adjustment was so hard due to missing her detective friend. Alex hadn't found anyone who accepted her unconditionally until Olivia. And she hadn't since. Her brief time back on Special Victims after being released from Witsec had been awkward. Alex couldn't find a way to let Olivia know how much she missed her and didn't want to hear that Olivia had moved on with her life.
Alex didn't know what she wanted and didn't understand why she felt so possessive of Olivia. And now that she was back, she was going to do her damndest to make them both understand whatever this was.
The cool night air was welcome on Olivia's flushed cheeks. She really thought they could bring down the pedophile ring by setting up the leader. This bastard Kevin O'Donnell was truly sick, convincing men that they could have meaningful—and sexual—relationships with children and that it would somehow be undoubtedly consensual. When Eva Banks had found out the man she married to get her off the streets was actually involved in O'Donnell's heinous circle of rapists and her son Corey was the latest victim, Olivia should have had enough sense to lock up Thomas Banks and leave it. Or at least realized there was a better way to bring down the group than involving an emotionally-unstable mother whose son had recently admitted to being abused by his stepfather. Detective Benson tried to consider herself lucky that Eva had only managed to stab her ex-husband once and not killed the bastard.
Now that the whole setup had fallen apart in true SVU-fashion, the detective tried to let the anger and guilt dissipate into the lights and sirens. She felt guilty because it had been her and Huang's pressuring of Alex that had gotten them approval for this operation in the first place. It was her confidence in Eva's strength that had convinced Alex it could work. As she led Eva and her son away from the pedophiles, she spotted her friend rushing onto the scene. A uniformed must have told the ADA what was up because all Olivia experienced was the blonde tornado in full pissed-off mode.
It seemed like she was repeating the same command over and over. "Book her, book her. Her ass better be in the back of a squad car in five minutes or so help me…" It was hard to focus on Alex's demands over the cries being issued by Corey. She couldn't understand how Alex could be so cold; Olivia saw in the roll of Elliot's eyes that he expected the behavior from the ice princess. After that crazed bitch Sonya Paxton, this was standard ADA practice to him.
Olivia pleaded with her words—more with her eyes—for Alex to reconsider sending the woman to central booking. After what they'd already put Corey and his mother through, Olivia didn't think the family could handle it. When Alex refused and left with as much fury as she arrived with, Olivia was stunned.
When Alex got back in her car after doling out orders in true dictator fashion, all she was left with were the frantic pleas of a mother trying desperately not to be separated from her son. It's not that the counselor didn't have a heart, she did. It was somewhere buried within the confusion and angst that had taken over her emotions since being back on Special Victims. The blonde pounded the steering wheel in frustration, wondering how she was going to fix this latest cold-hearted blunder. After a few minutes of deep breathing, Alex felt she could safely make it home to her empty apartment.
After a restless night of sleep with dreams filled with screaming children and a pleasantly friendly Benson, Alex hit the precinct early to see if anything could be done about the mess that'd been created the previous evening. Watching Huang and Corey in the interrogation room was doing nothing for the guilt she was feeling for tossing the young boy's mother in a holding cell. Olivia handed her an out by convincing her to issue Eva a desk appearance ticket instead of actually holding her until trial. The counselor was eight-five percent certain Benson and the good doctor had collaborated to both make her feel remorse and then give her the solution. Alex managed to feel patronized and thankful at the same time; neither of which she shared with the co-conspirators. She just walked out of the room without saying a word.
O'Donnell's lawyer—who was as aggravating as she was stunningly beautiful—was calling Eva to the stand as a witness for the defense. If things could get any worse, Alex was giving herself a tension headache trying to figure out how. Olivia was trying to be supportive in her own way, saying Eva could handle it and she'd take care of prepping the hot-blooded Latina. Little did they know that Eva wasn't the only one to prove hot-blooded at trial. It was a slight miracle that Dr. George Huang, of the FBI and practicing criminal psychiatrist for the Special Victims unit, had not been found in contempt of court for various interruptions he lent to the proceedings.
Cabot couldn't blame him. Having to cross-examine O'Donnell's former child-girlfriend had almost found the counselor physically shaking some sense into the misguided and obviously brain-washed young woman. At least she had gotten to use her "Special Victimless Unit" quip. Welcome back to dark side of humanity, Alex. You know you missed it.
When the jury came back with a sentence that would see O'Donnell rotting in prison until the second coming, she let out a sigh of relief she had been holding for the past week. As a card-carrying member of the New York State Bar, the ADA would defend her belief in the righteousness of the justice system. But having the verdict come back any other way than it did would have even her contemplating its fairness.
Alex didn't know why she agreed to accompany Olivia to Eva's apartment, perhaps knowing subconsciously that this kind of closure would be good for her in the long-run. That was the practical reason. The unpractical reason, and more than likely the actual reason she was meeting the detective on the other side of town after a particularly trying deposition, was because she could deny Olivia nothing. She just hoped when Olivia discovered her unwavering devotion she would use her powers for mostly good.
The detective had Alex wait outside until she could tell Eva the outcome of the trial. Benson also wanted to feel out whether or not Eva would be inclined to have the woman who had her handcuffed in front of her son in her home. Or at least long enough to hide all the knives. Alex made small talk with the movers outside of the apartment, commenting on the unseasonably warm weather they were having. After one of the movers suggested she rent An Inconvenient Truth to check out "that global warming thing," Alex decided to wait in the entrance hall by the mailboxes. At least there she was unlikely to get into trouble.
Olivia came to fetch her a few minutes later and when she entered the nearly-empty apartment, the woman who had been through hell and back in the span of seven days actually hugged her. Thanked her even for putting both those bastards behind bars. Though her language had been slightly more colorful. Corey smiled and waved from the corner of the kitchen, and as she and Olivia departed Alex made it a point of complimenting the young man on his immense courage.
Olivia found Alex's hand and squeezed it as they walked down East 34th street. "I know how hard it is for you to be remotely humble, so thank you for coming."
"It actually wasn't as hard as I thought. When Corey burst into the courtroom and gave his piece about what a great mother he had, I saw what you saw in him. This kid is strong and—as much as a ten-year-old can be—righteous. He deserves better than he got. And his mother deserves respect for raising him so." Alex returned the squeeze and dropped her hand.
"Alexandra Cabot admitting she was wrong. That can't have tasted good." Olivia looked over at her friend, admiring her recent trend in wearing low-cut tops.
"It tasted like vinegar." They both laughed. They came to a stoop along the residential area and Alex pulled the detective onto the steps. "Olivia." This wasn't going to taste like vinegar, it could be sweeter. But it would be much harder. Cabot took a deep breath. Benson looked slightly puzzled. "I'm sorry."
Olivia stopped her, "Alex, you've already apologized for that. I understand. Tensions were high and you were just back. We put you in a tough position."
"No, I don't think that's the only reason I completely flew off the handle." The blonde grasped Olivia's forearms. "This is a personal apology." Alex reasoned against telling the detective she had gotten so angry because of missing drinks. "It's been hard for me to adjust. Not only this most recent time, but ever since I came back from Protection." She looked down at her pale hands. "And the hardest has been to see you moving on."
"Alex, 'moving on,' really? It took me months to be able to even walk by your office. Do you want me to be brutally honest here?" Olivia took on a more serious tone. Alex nodded slowly, unsure if she could handle what her friend was about to say. "Sometimes, I missed you so much that I thought it'd be easier if you had died. At least then I'd know where you were and could rationalize to myself that I needed to move on." Olivia's eyes glossed over with moisture. "How bad is that, to wish that I didn't know you were somewhere faraway being protected because it hurt so much?" Olivia let out a mirthless chuckle. "Pretty selfish."
"Liv, I didn't know." Alex drew in a deep breath, feeling absolutely ridiculous confronting Olivia with her ill-conceived assumption of what was going on between them.
"Wait, let me finish. Then a couple years pass and I see you again. Instead of being so happy, I'm jealous of your life as Emily. Because at least in Wisconsin you weren't being met with pity-filled stares that your friend, the great ADA Alexandra Cabot, was dead. And secretly knowing that she wasn't, and being kept warm at night in the arms of an insurance claim adjuster."
"Just as an aside, dying does wonders for a person's reputation. There are interns that actually refer to me as 'the great ADA Alexandra Cabot.'"
Olivia began to laugh cathartically. "And I'm sure you don't correct them. Same old Alex."
"You don't think I'm great?" Alex pouted.
Olivia sobered slightly. "Oh, I think you're great. I just also think you can be a pain in the ass." Olivia looked up—meeting Alex's gaze—to make sure she knew she was having a little fun at her expense. What met Olivia was an Alex conflicted. The detective narrowed her eyes, trying to figure out the play of emotions gracing the lawyer's facial features.
"Alex—" Calling her name triggered her motion and Olivia found the gap between them close. Alex brought her thumb across Olivia's cheekbone, her grasp coming to rest behind the brunette's left ear. Whether because of shock or compliance, Olivia's forehead met Alex's as the blonde kissed the detective for the first time. Olivia was temporarily seduced by the softness and sensation of kissing the woman she cared deeply about. The woman who had miraculously come back into her life without missing a step. The woman.
Olivia broke contact suddenly. Alex was sad to see confusion in Olivia's expression. Jumped the gun again, Cabot. Way to go. "Alex, look. You know I care for you so much. But—"
"Olivia, don't you dare give me that speech. The last time I allowed it I was a senior in high school suffering from a bad acne attack." The counselor tried to cover her embarrassment and intense desire to kiss Olivia again with a bit of humor.
The detective rested a hand on her friend's shoulder, trying to make sense of all the emotions swimming through her brain in light of recent developments. "Oh, it's definitely not that speech. Alex, I don't know about you, but I'm not used to being kissed by my best friend on a daily basis. Let me have a little time to experience the shock."
"I just want you to know that I don't see this going away any time soon. You can take all the time you need, but I do want you to know one thing." Alex boldly cupped the brunette's sculpted cheek. "Resistance is futile." That earned a full-out laugh from the detective, but Cabot knew Olivia got the message.
"What even brought all this on? This does seem a little out of the blue if I'm being honest." Olivia's comfortable sideways smile was back, a welcome change from the serious and introspective Benson of a few moments ago.
Alex sighed. "I don't know. I really think it had to do with George's outbursts in court. I mean, I've never seen him so passionate about a case before. I guess if he could take some risks, why couldn't I?" The blonde got up from the stoop and stretched her long legs slowly, for Olivia's benefit as much as for her own. And the intense stare her flexing calves received from the detective did not evade her notice.
"Likely story, blame it on Huang. I'm sure he wouldn't even mind. He'd think the admission good for your mental health." Olivia kept pace with the other woman, heading towards her parked car.
"Yes, Dr. Benson. He probably would." Alex opened the door to her vehicle and turned to face her friend. "You still owe me drinks."
"I thought you'd never ask." Olivia countered. She may need some time to get used to the idea, but looking into those sparkling blue eyes she definitely wouldn't be denying herself the pleasure in doing so.