Title: The Set-Up
Author: Lil
Feedback address: tarnishandtears@gmail.com
Date in Calendar: 26 December 2009
Fandom: L&O:SVU
Pairing: Alex Cabot/Olivia Benson pre-slash
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1059
Summary: "Well, I'm impressed. That takes some kind of guts, setting Olivia and your mom up like that."
Spoilers: For Ghost, kinda AU from there.
Warnings: None
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW09

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 Notes: Fourth in the Left My Heart series.


"Mom!" The front door slams shut behind me as I drop my skates and take my coat and scarf off, stuffing the cap and gloves into the pockets and hanging it up. "I'm home!"

I head for the kitchen, rounding the corner to find her bent over the open oven, blowing blonde hair out of her face in irritation. She smiles at me as I give her a kiss and open the refrigerator, digging into my pocket for the liga I always keep for her.

She never thinks to tie her hair unless someone tells her to. It's a small, but noticeable difference between her and my real mother. Mama had to be reminded to let her hair down; it was constantly getting in her way otherwise. Even four years later, little things like that still pop up and make my chest tighten. Though I'm grateful every day that Alex loves me enough to want to be my mom, I miss my mama and wish she hadn't been taken from me. I do like to think that she would approve of Alex, if she'd had to pick a new mom for me.

At least, I hope mama would understand that I needed Alex to adopt me; to know she's not going anywhere, and neither can I. Ask my shrink and he'll throw around words like abandonment issues and lingering trauma. Ask Alex - my mom - and she'll give you words like family and love. I like her words better.

"Have fun?" she asks, taking the liga and tying her hair back. She grabs a glass from the cupboard in front of her and hands it to me so I can pour myself some juice as I nod. She bites her lip and looks around the kitchen, distracted. "What time did you say people would start coming?"

My stomach flutters and I try to keep my hands steady as I put the juice back in the refrigerator, trying for nonchalant. I'd begged and pleaded, and okay, whined about inviting people over for New Year's until she finally gave in. We don't do a lot of entertaining, so now she's nervous. If only she knew who I'd invited, she'd be even more of a wreck. I glance at the clock. "Uh, soon, I think," I tell her, cursing the way my voice cracks.

Of course she doesn't miss a trick. She leans against the counter and crosses her arms over her chest, eyebrows arching behind dark frames. "You think?"

With what has to be the best timing ever, there's a knock on the door. "Oh, look! Someone's here already!" I exclaim, narrowly passing her and sprinting for the door.

"Tonio!" Mom calls, right on my heels -- but it's too late. I'm already turning the lock and throwing the door wide.

"Hey, look who's here," I greet, pleased and yeah, completely nervous. My master plan is either going to go really well, or I'm going to be grounded until I'm thirty.

Mom stops short, completely shocked. I'm watching her reaction just as closely as anyone else, and it's only a matter of seconds before her breeding kicks in, and she's graciously inviting the Detectives of the 1-6 into our home, her narrow look telling me we're going to talk later. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? Only Detective Benson steps completely into the house, after a narrow look of her own to the guys with her as they hang back.

"Hey, Antonio, how are you?" Detective Benson says as she steps inside. Her voice is warm when she speaks to me, and just a few degrees cooler when she says, "Hello, Alex. Thanks for inviting us."

"You're always welcome in my home, Olivia." Mom's voice is just as cool as she responds, completely ignoring the fact that she didn't invite anyone; it was all me. "Hello, Detectives. Were you going to come in? I promise it's very warm in here." She's alluding to the fact that they call her an ice queen when she can't hear them - something I'm not supposed to know about.

"Uh, actually, mom..." I snag my coat and scarf off the hook and take a step through the door to stand with the guys on the other side, edging further back around them. "You know how you and the doc were talking about how I don't have enough interaction with strong male role models? Well, John and Fin were planning a low key night at their place, see, and I know Detective Stabler was gonna join them," my mouth keeps moving and I have no control over this verbal diarrhea. I blame Cindy. "And look, I went from zero role models to three in the space of like five minutes, but you know how they're always busy so I kind of have to cram it all in on one night and we were gonna go do guy things that I'm sure you have no interest in and in the name of preserving your sanity, we were just gonna go, but I invited Detective Benson because I know you don't like to be alone on the holidays and I --"

"That's enough," Fin interrupts, reaching for the door. "Say g'night, Frankie."

I sigh, relieved, and offer a big smile and a wave. Mom looks stunned, and it's best to make a getaway before she gathers her wits about her and comes after me. One thing she and my mama do share? A talent for kicking me in the pants when I deserve it! "G'night, Frankie!"

"Don't worry," John adds, "We got him. Happy New Year."

We're headed down the hall for the elevator when Detective Stabler shakes his head. "Well, I'm impressed. That takes some kind of guts, setting Olivia and your mom up like that."

Yeah, well. We're not counting what's going to happen to me when I get home tomorrow. But on the bright side, "If it works, I'm a hero."

Fin laughs and messes up my hair before I can duck out of the way. "C'mon, kid. We'll teach you how to play poker."

I can't help the bounce in my step even as I try for cool. This is gonna be a great night.