Notes

 

These drabbles, which are roughly in chronological order, were written over the period of January 2004–December 2005 at http://community.livejournal.com/lawandorder100/ and

http://community.livejournal.com/svu100/

 

They were composed in response to various challenges that ran the gamut from Dylan lyrics to Shakespeare, crossovers to AUs, dialogue only to haikus, music lyrics, episode titles, and anything else you can imagine. (Both communities were blessed with very creative moderators.)  They are mostly Alex/Olivia in nature, but feature other pairings as well (including Abbie/Olivia).

 

 

1. First Date

 

As first dates went, it wasn’t disastrously bad—Alex had practically an encyclopedia of those, from A (Assholes) to V (Vomiting on Self and Waiter); spilt wine, awkward silences, heated law debates were nothing. In the cab she was drunk enough to get angry and defensive: You think I’m a bitch. You think I’m cold. You think I only care about my career. She’d thought Olivia had only kissed her to shut her up. 

The next morning, cloaked in hangover, she woke to church bells, deliciously aware of Olivia’s face pressed between her shoulder blades, and that voice—your apartment is freezing—a sweet reverberation sweeping through Alex’s chest, gently piercing her heart truer than any arrow.

 

 

2. Fifth Wheel

 

When the SVU detectives finally invited Casey along on their regular Friday-night drinkfest, the hapless ADA thought her luck was changing.

 

Still, she bitched about work. 



 

“You think your job’s hard?” Olivia countered. She hiked up her sweater. “Sumbitch nailed with a switchblade last year.”



 

Casey saw not the thin, pearly scar but a magnificent, toned torso and a black bra that hinted at bountiful treasure. 



 

Elliot yanked down the sweater like a window shade. “You’re shut off.” He steered his partner away. 



 

Casey watched them leave.

 

Munch clapped an affectionate hand upon her shoulder. “Same time, next week?” he slurred.


 

“Oh yeah,” Casey said breathlessly.

 

 

3. The Hokey-Pokey

 


“So he cornered me after the reception—“



 

“Didja kick him in the balls?”



 

“—and it’s time for another episode of ‘Olivia Benson: Pacifist Policewoman.’ Anyway, he’s looming over me, reeking of bourbon….‘Alexandruuuuh,’ he says in that fucking Hee-Haw accent, ‘Ah hear y’all are doin’ the hokey-pokey with one of your detectives.’”



 

“He called it that?”



 

Immersed in giggling, they failed to notice Arthur standing in the doorway. 



 

“Gotta work on that accent a bit more, Alexandra,” he drawled, and then left.



 

“Just my luck,” Alex sighed.



 

“At least he didn’t catch us doing the hokey-pokey.”



 

“You’re not going to start calling it that, are you?”

 

 

4. Honey White

It was nothing she expected and everything she wanted: The genteel prison of Alex’s hands pinning her wrists, milky skin luminous as a star, the silky slither of muscles in her throat—peristalsis was the term for it (thank you, Warner)—as she came.
 She dominated, she yielded. She said you are so beautiful and fuck me harder in the span of one dizzying breath. She clawed Olivia’s back, then kissed those bloodied, burning marks—a sweet sanctification. When Olivia lay over the knifepoint of exhaustion, broken and anointed with the musk of her scent, she said, We’re not done yet.
 Olivia knew then that this longing, which she had sought to cure in Alex's bed, would never abate.

 

5. Einstein in the Mosh Pit

The incongruity of Warner in a cop bar—she never went out for drinks with them—was akin to Einstein in a mosh pit. “Do you know there’s a direct correlation between over consumption of beer and gout?”



 

“Uh, no.” Olivia watched Elliot shoulder his way to the bar for another pitcher. 



 

Melinda shifted, their knees bumped, seemingly innocently. Under the table, a warm hand wrapped over hers. A flush of heat spilled across the nape of Olivia’s neck. 

“Have I mentioned that I’m separated from my husband?”



 

“I can’t promise you anything.”



 

“And even if you did,” Melinda replied, “I wouldn’t believe you.”

 

6. Positively 4th Street


Midnight. Tepid coffee, frost on the windshield, boredom. 



He watches the shadows along her profile. He knows her better than anyone. Even the woman who loved her, who probably still loves her, who will probably always love her. He spins his wedding ring—loosened on his finger by the bitter cold—as if it will somehow weave a powerful spell to protect him from his own heart. 

He can be her brother, her partner, her best friend. Beyond that? 



Olivia looks at him. “What?”



The suspect leaves his apartment, saunters down 4th Street.



“Nothing.” Elliot starts the car.

 

7. Tangled Up in Blue


“I’m off!” Jauntily, Casey tossed the long blue scarf over her shoulder.



Mary frowned. “I’m not sure about that outfit.”



“Blue and green go together! They’re in the same color family!” 



And the fuchsia? Arguing was pointless, particularly before the first mimosa of the day. Shielding her eyes from Casey’s lime green and blue ensemble, Mary merely nodded. She was pouring the champagne when the door slammed, followed by a thud and a loud, strangled cry. 

A square of blue was caught in the door. 



Mary finished the drink, and then opened the door. Casey fell at her feet, gasping, rubbing her neck. 



“Have you ever heard of Isadora Duncan, dear?”

8. Love Minus Zero

My love she speaks like silence. 



There was the look. Then she was gone.



Now, Alex is not Alex anymore. For this elusive silver moment—blades of light entrancing the chrome of the van, painkillers stealing through her veins—it does not matter. 



She knows there's no success like failure—and that failure’s no success at all.

The van gallops, clumsy over a dark bridge, a bucking bronco that nearly throws an agent from a plush seat. 



In ceremonies of the horsemen



These are the true makers of laws—men with guns. Not her. How she ever believed otherwise is now a mystery.



Even the pawn must hold a grudge.

 

9. Photograph

“Pardon me.” The dog-walker handed her a photograph. “This fell out of your book.”



Bermuda. Sun, wine, the breeze from the balcony that pressed your bangs against your forehead. Watching you watch me with those dark eyes. Your hands, twitching in sleep. Teeth flashing bold as a blade as you bit into a mango, the juice dribbling upon your shirt. Your embarrassment as I kissed you then and there, in public, caring only for the finest drops secreted away within your mouth—the smallest of gifts are always worth every foolish risk. 



The photo’s edge cleaved Alex’s thumb. “Thanks,” she murmured.

 

10. The Shrine

Casey stirred her rum and coke. “I mean, I really wanna ask her out…”



Mary sighed. If she couldn’t get Casey to shut up about Olivia Benson, her chances of getting laid that night would be nil. “Honey, give up. She has an Alex Cabot shrine in her bedroom.”



Disgusted, Casey wrinkled her nose. “Really?”



“Absolutely. Photographs, candles, pair of glasses on a satin pillow…” Mary finished another martini. 



Casey gnawed on a little plastic straw for several minutes. “Hey!”



“Hmm?”



“How do YOU know that?” Casey accused.



Mary smiled. “It’s a wonder how a little alcohol clears your mind, isn’t it, dear?”

 

11. The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (Law & Order, original flavor)

 

Serena didn’t know if it was the sunny, warm weather or the facial she got at the Oasis Day Spa yesterday, but when she awoke at 6 am, she felt imbued with a profound sense of purpose. 



Today was the first day of the rest of her life. Or something like that.



She arrived at work 2 hours earlier, anticipating the empty streets and barebones office staff, and literally kicked open the door to Jack’s office. 

“Jack, I’m totally prepared for the Kaufman case today. I feel good. I’m on top of everything. In fact, from here on out, I’m going to be the best damn ADA this office has ever seen.” Serena paused. “Why’re you wearing a flannel shirt and jeans?” 



Jack scratched his unshaven cheek. “Serena.”



“What?”



“It’s Sunday.”

 

12. Haute Cuisine

A bet was a bet, and she had lost.

Alex insisted on a certain amount of protocol, however. So the skinny waitress with pink barrettes and an Atari t-shirt brought the can of Spam to their table and opened it with great solemnity, as if it were a bottle of the finest burgundy. Aristocratic nostrils quivering, Alex sniffed the proffered tin. She hummed throatily. 



Olivia squirmed. She loved that noise.



“Grilled?” Alex asked. 



The girl nodded. “With apple chutney and asparagus tips.”



Fabulous.”



Olivia smirked. “I’ll believe it when you eat it.”



“Didn’t you say that on our first date?”

 

13. Lapsus Linguae

The pillow is a sachet of perfume, wine, lust. She buries her face in it.

On the edge of the bed Alex sits, still dressed, still triumphant, still deliciously drunk. “As I was rudely…when I was sayingly interrupted.…” Her skirt rustles. 



Olivia risks a glance back, sees only the white collar, flaring like a dove’s wing, against the black jacket.



“Don’t look. Listen: In vino veritas.” Alex’s voice gathers new clarity. She drags the smooth edge of her glasses along a bare thigh. “Corpus.” Her hand follows. “In flagrante delicto.” Her mouth is the final instrument in this symphony, this celebration. 



Olivia stiffens, cries out. Her body is the language that Alex speaks, sings, chants with even more passionate reverence than the Latin she so adores. 



“Lapsus linguae,” Alex whispers the words, now alive, against Olivia’s skin.

 

14. O Canada

For the hundredth time Olivia stared at the piece of paper proclaiming her marriage to one Casey Novak. Stupid extradition hearing! Stupid jello shots! 

As with the previous 99 times, her skull throbbed and her hangover cackled madly, not unlike Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?



Casey tossed underwear into a valise. “Don’t worry. We’ll get it annulled tomorrow.” She looked at Olivia. “Oh. Next time you sleep with someone, try to remember—calling out the name of your dead girlfriend is not a turn-on.”



“Slip of the tongue,” Olivia muttered. 



Casey narrowed her eyes. “Like that tongue is capable of making a mistake.”

 

 

15. Deadman’s Tales (Law & Order: CI, Eames/Goren)

 

She breathes a little smoke into his face. Smoking is her God. She started the minute he disappeared, promising that she’d stop when he returned. 

He came back. Rather, someone looking like him came back. She didn’t stop.

“Where’s the body?” she asks gently. 



While she worships her God, he believes in the religion of snapped necks. “Crashing somewhere in New Guinea,” he whispers, eyes closed. 



Earlier she had watched him nap on her couch. His sleep resembles the texture of rust—ancient, hinting at former glories. In the past he was always taking potshots at his colleagues while finding the murderers. Now he prowls the wasteland for bodies of his own creation. "You got no bones, no proof.” 



“Why the hell did you do it, Bobby?” Alex’s voice is thick with grief. 



“I was—tired. There is a new war everyday—inside.” He points at his chest. "It’s melted down to small black amulets. To nothing."

 

 

16. When the Rodeo Came to Town

It wasn’t Halloween and it wasn’t Gay Pride Day. But damned if there wasn’t a cowgirl in her bar, asking for Jim Beam, neat, in husky-honeyed tones as sweet as the bourbon itself.

 

“So,” Olivia said. “You’re with the circus.”

 

“Yes, ma’am. First time in New York.” The cowgirl downed the shot and grinned as wide as Texas.

 

“What do cowgirls do for fun?”

 

“Rope tricks.” Another ridiculously huge smile.

 

“I see.”

 

“No, you don’t.” The cowgirl leaned across the bar and whispered low. “But I can show you, ma’am, if you think you may be interested.”

 

“Why yes, Cowgirl Carmichael,” Olivia purred, “I think I might be.”

 

 

17. Feed Your Head

 

“I’m worried about her.” Elliot passed the joint back to George.

 

“Why?”

 

“She’s been acting weird since we hired Alex—“

 

“Who?”

 

“The new nanny. Anyway, she’s like, all uptight and nervous, spending all her time on the firing range…”

 

“You really should let her shoot in the backyard.”

 

“After I got out of the Peace Corps and we got married, I was like, ‘Liv, no guns in the house, I don’t care if you were a Marine.’”

 

“Dude, listen. I’m your best friend and your dope dealer. I’ve been telling you for years…Olivia is, like, repressed. The solution is obvious.”

 

“Huh?”

 

George smiled. “Threesome!”

 

“Dude!” Elliot was ecstatic.

 

They high-fived.

 

18. The Nanny


“You fed the kids cheeseburgers again. Elliot will freak. You know he’s vegan.”



“I’m so sorry, Mrs. Stabler.”



“Yeah, that is about the most sincere smirk you’ve had yet.” Olivia pressed the nanny against the counter. “You like pissing me off, don’t you?”



“Yes, Mrs. Stabler.”



“You keep it up, you might end up back at Mrs. Petrovsky’s boarding house. Now that you wouldn’t like, would you?”



“Oh no, Mrs. Stabler.”



“Didn’t think so.”



“Um, Mrs. Stabler?”



“Mmpf?”



“He doesn’t like it if we start without him.”



“Too fucking bad. This is what he gets for finishing off the stash this morning.”

 

19. The Morning After

Great sex. Really great sex. Elliot’s eyes opened. But not with my wife.

 

Daylight scorched his retinas. He couldn’t bear to look at the figure beside him. So who the fuck did I fuck? He smirked. Cabot. We were flirting all night. Then he frowned. But she was also flirting with Liv. And Fin. And Munch. And the caterer. And the councilman’s wife. And—

 

A quick glance revealed a dark head upon a pillow. It must be Olivia. Shit. This screws up everything…but wait. She left before me….

 

The mystery woman stirred, groaned, and smacked his ass. “I don’t know about you, Mr. Sexy Victims Unit,” growled Lena Petrovsky, “but I sure as hell could use a Bloody Mary.”

 

20. Nessie

 

She couldn’t blame drugs or booze. Stone-cold sober, Alex watched the twentieth century’s most famous chimera, the Loch Ness Monster, frolic innocently at the fabled lake’s edge.

 

She lowered the binoculars. “God.”

 

More amazed at Alex’s awestruck reverence for the creature than the beast itself, Olivia only nodded. “Yep.”

 

“Damn it, they won’t believe us. That stupid sheep ate my camera.”

 

“They’ll believe.”

 

“How—“

 

Olivia whipped out her Glock. A single shot took Nessie down.

 

Smoke curled through the air.

 

“Shit.” Olivia holstered her gun.

 

Alex glared at her. “What?”

 

“I dunno how I’m going to sneak it through customs.”

 

21. Twins

 

“Guess you had a good weekend.” Cragen tossed The New York Post on Olivia’s desk.

 

Olivia had long wondered if she would be the eventual cause of the Captain’s renewed drinking. The paper was open to Page Six; words didn’t need to accompany the grainy photo, but nonetheless did: “The resounding success of the Olson Twins’ remake of Chekhov’s Three Sisters, entitled Three Sisters Minus One! had the girls in a celebratory mood Saturday night at CroBar in Chelsea, where they became extremely cozy with a female member of New York’s Finest.”

 

“Damn.” Affectionately, Fin clapped Olivia’s shoulder. “Hope for your sake those bitches are legal.”

 

22. And the Church Bells Softly Sighed

 


On the last day of her first life she awoke early, anticipating the church bells that reminded her of the morning after their first night together and thinking about the moss gathered upon that memory—the hard hungry ache of her heart, the way Olivia asked her to stay last night and her idiotically defiant refusal, the men who wanted her dead—yet despite it all she kept going, because keeping one step ahead was the key, and so for the last time she walked out of her apartment, moving with an assured grace that she would never again possess.

 

23. Sedan

 

“Can’t believe we have to interview that junkie again,” Fin muttered, stalking toward the sedan.

 

Munch followed his partner. “At least it’ll be an entertaining afternoon.” As he opened the passenger door, his shaded, suspicious eyes focused on a gentleman who suspiciously resembled Jimmy Hoffa. He’s alive! I knew it!

 

Thus his distraction when two scantily clad women tumbled out of the car and onto the street.

 

While he never pegged Olivia for a boring, white bikini brief type, his suspicions about Alex’s padded bra were, alas, sadly confirmed.

 

“Do people have sex in bed anymore?” Munch mused aloud.

 

24. Nice Girls Finish Last

Patience was a usually masochist’s game. This time it wrought rewards: Alex on her doorstep, surrendering. Her hands skimmed fabric so smooth it could melt through her fingers. “Nice dress.”



“Yeah.” Alex’s voice was a Debussy etude—a soft, beguiling narcotic. “Well…it was a nice date.”



“Nice, huh?” The dress rippled like the sea and she plundered the ivory skin beneath: thigh, hip, and the soft nexus that made Alex arch, catlike, offering the wanton bareness of her throat, releasing a plume of a dizzying, lavish scent.



“But you know—“ Her lips were now on Olivia’s ear, sampling the intricacies of sweet skin. “I don’t like ‘nice.’”

 

25. Hannah and Her Sisters

“All right. Proceed.”



“Why do you have to write it down?” 



“I need evidence.”



“This isn’t fair.”



“You started it. So let’s go. After Hannah the Bar Slut there was—?” 



“Jennifer.”



“And she—?”



“Worked with Hannah.”



“Ah-hah. Bar Slut Number 2.”



“Well, it was their dad’s bar…”



“Wait. This Jennifer was Hannah’s sister?”



“So what?”



“You’re skeevy.”



“Do you even know what that word means?”



“No—but it doesn’t sound good, does it? Continue.”



“Let’s see…Marianne?“



“What about the Professor? Or Mrs. Howell?”



“Very funny. No, after Jennifer was…Miriam.”



“Where’d you meet her?”



“Uh, same place.”



“Oh, please don’t tell me—“



“Can we stop this now?”

 

26. The Wife

The ceiling fan spun lazily above the stifling squad room. It offered little relief from either the heat or the relentless bickering of Fin and Munch.
Christ, when will they stop? Olivia slumped over her desk. 



“I told you I was sorry!” Munch shouted. “What more do you want from me?”



“I’d like your balls in a blender, but ain’t life a bitch!” Fin stormed out of the room. 



Olivia exchanged a sympathetic look with her equally miserable partner.


“Y’know,” Elliot drawled, mopping his brow, “this just makes me glad I don’t work with my wife.”

 

27. Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted


Summer, sweat, sea, sex: The ingredients of ecstasy. 



Abbie was extremely pleased with herself. Even as the gradient of night slowly hijacked the Cancun sunset, she basked in the glow of her perfect performance. 

Lengthening shadows darkened Olivia’s too quiet, too-still form. Abbie panicked. Great. I’ve killed a sex crimes cop—with sex. The newspapers will love it.

“Hey.” She nudged Olivia.



Who, thankfully, responded: “Mmm.”



“It was good, right?”



“Mmm.”



“Like an A+ kind of good?”



“An A, definitely.”



“Why just an A?”



Olivia rolled over and looked at her. “You lose points for screaming ‘Ride ‘em, cowgirl.’”

 

28. My Fair Casey

 

After falling upon her bony ass for the twelfth time in fifteen minutes, Casey cried, “I’ll never master walking in heels!”

 

Mary took a sip from her flask and knelt down. “There, there, poppet.” She cupped Casey’s chin. “We’ll do it. We got through law school, remember? Now stand up.”

 

Like a newborn colt on acid, Casey wobbled to her feet. Again Mary began to pile the skull-crushing trio atop Casey’s head: Ulysses, War and Peace, and—Bill Clinton’s memoir.

 

Casey groaned. “Why do there have to be so many?”

 

“Would you rather read them, dear?”

 

“Are you kidding me?”

 

29. Oliver Twist

 

The beautiful, tuxedoed man gathered her hand in his own. In a gallant show of old world manners, he brushed his Ganymede lips against her knuckles. “Mrs. Cabot,” he murmured. “Alex has told me so much about you. May I get you another martini?”

 

She nodded. He disappeared. She turned to her daughter. “What’s his name again, dear?”

 

Alex smirked. “Oliver.”

 

“He’s adorable. But darling…are you sure…”

 

“What, Mother?”

 

She spoke sotto voce. “Are you sure he’s not gay?”

 

“Not in the way you think.”

 

“I haven’t the faintest idea what that means. Thank God he’s getting me another drink.”

 

30. You’re Fired (Law & Order, original)

 

Fuck it, she thought.

 

For one night, Serena sloughed off the humiliation of failure, seeking comfort in what she knew: The bar—her bar—and its denizens. There she would find acceptance in a beer on the house, a gentle hand on her shoulder, a sympathetic wince. And later she would attain the state of forgetting while pinned under the body of a beautiful yet familiar stranger, whose hands and mouth traversed her body with astonishing confidence.

 

And yet, something niggled. “Wait,” Serena gasped.

 

The groping stopped.

 

“Is this because I was an ADA?”

 

Olivia blinked drunkenly. “Whaddya mean, ‘was’?”

 

 

31. Long Island, 1977

 

The ice sculptures were heinous.

 

Liz Donnelly scowled, uncertain with whom she should be annoyed: Mary Clark, for inviting her to this fiasco, or herself, for masochistically accepting.

 

Lena Petrovsky, her colleague from the DA’s office, sidled up to her. “You’ve got guts, coming to your ex’s wedding.”

 

Liz shook her head. “I’m an idiot.”

 

“Cheer up.” Lena opened her purse: Nestled between birth control pills and breath mints was a tiny blowtorch. “What do you say we do a little work on these atrocities?”

 

“God, Lena, how in the hell did you get that?”

 

“Remember: I dated the Galloping Gourmet.”

 

“Was this before or after Warren Beatty?”

 

“Frankly, I can’t recall anymore. Now just relax and cover me. This fucking dolphin is getting on my nerves.”

 

 

 

32. The Luck of the Sidekick (Law & Order: CI)

 

“She lets him in, they argue in the foyer, he knocks the drink out of her hand”—here Eames gestures at the stain on the Oriental rug—“she runs up the stairs”—here Eames dashes maniacally up the stairs—“to get away from him, you can see where her heel snagged on the runner at the top, she runs into the room, see that smudge on the door, she was eating a Godiva truffle, gets the gun. First shot hits the Hockney lithograph; the second ricochets off the bronze urn and strikes the victim right in the carotid artery. He falls down the step and breaks his neck.”

 

Triumphantly, Eames folds her arms.

 

Goren blinks. He hates it when she wears the lucky green shirt. “Um. Okay.”

 

33. Absinthe (Law & Order: CI)

 

She wasn’t the tallest, the prettiest, the smartest, or the richest woman in the bar. Still, from that moment when, at the tender age of six, her father had anointed her with three simple, fervent words—you are special—she swaggered as if she were all these things and more.

 

Working with Bobby, she needed to believe that more than ever. But apparently, others believed it too. He’s got the brains, but you’ve got the balls, Deakins always said.

 

A woman, bold, handsome, and smiling, approached her. “Wanna dance?”

 

Eames grinned. The fiery absinthe touched her lips. “Wait your turn.”

 

 

34. The Revisionist

 

He’s divorced, she’s divorced. They laugh about it. It’s all they can do.

 

In the reflection of her glasses—still the same style, he smiles—he sees the glinting gray at his temple, and when she takes them off to wipe away tears he finally sees evidence of her age: Fine lines gathered around blue eyes, the toll of secret mourning.

 

“They never told me how she died.”

 

He remembers Olivia’s note. Don’t tell her. Please.

 

And so Elliot begins the lie, the one that’s taken nearly 20 years to hone. “How else?” he begins softly. “In the line of duty…”

 

35. The Realization

 

There’s nothing like a hostage situation involving a face-tattooed 300-pound schizophrenic serial rapist (with a penchant for pyromania) and the person with whom you’ve been having a secret torrid affair to make you realize you’re terribly in love with said person (not the tattooed rapist) despite said person’s incredibly tiresome habits, among them chewing ice cubes, carrying on one-sided, obscenity-laced dialogues with FOX News commentators, and passing out on the couch after drinking three-fourths of a bottle of cabernet sauvignon supposedly bought for you.

 

So when it’s all over, you’ll say that clichéd (yet no less meaningless) phrase to her. You’ll even kiss her. In front of a local news camera crew.

 

And you won’t care.

 

36. The Cello

 

“I can’t do it.” Melinda Warner’s confession was all the more startling for its expression in her usual, calmly confident manner.



 

The professor, however, was not surprised to hear this admission from his lovely, at times too-serious, star protégé. “You put a lot on your plate.”



 

“I know.” 



 

“You thought you could handle it.”



 

Melinda sighed. 


 

“My dear,” he said, “it’s asking a bit much of even the best and brightest to juggle being a medical examiner, a marine biologist, a concert cellist, and a part-time superhero.”



 

Wistfully she stared out the window. “I’m going to miss the cello.”

 

37. Arrested Development

 

The drunken broad in the passenger seat of the BMW aligned herself for a perfect view of New York’s Finest Breasts, which hovered tantalizingly close to her through the open window. She squinted at the badge that adorned one of these magnificent peaks. “So, Officer…Bensonhurst. Arrest me and molest me!”

 

Olivia merely rolled her eyes. Once her partner was satisfied with the driver’s sobriety, the two officers sent the vehicle on its way.

 

As the BMW sailed down Broadway, the stone-cold-sober driver, one Francis Woodward III, glared at his miscreant friend and fellow law student. “Hitting on a cop. Pretty fucking brilliant, Alex.”

 

“Yeah,” Alex slurred. “I am pretty fuckingly brilliant.”

 

38. Russian Love Poem

 

The suspect reminded Munch of prototypical Eurotrash: unshaven, bleary-eyed, reeking of clove cigarettes, open shirt collar hinting at alarming hirsuteness, and spewing Russian poetry at the nearest female, in this case Olivia, who eyed him with the languid hostility of a housebound Siamese. 



 

Outside the interrogation room, Casey awaited them. “Well?”



 

“He looks good for it,” Munch said. “If we can poke holes in that alibi….”



 

“Go talk to that guy.”



 

Munch blinked. “What guy?”



 

Casey rolled her eyes. “This Pushkin guy he keeps mentioning! ‘Pushkin said this, Pushkin wrote that!’ Obviously they’re buddies!”



 

Munch removed his glasses, melodramatically clapping a hand over his eyes. 



 

“Don’t even try to tell her,” sighed Olivia.



 

Casey frowned. “What?”

 

39. Gravity’s Consequences

 

At midnight there was no one to kiss. Elliot had been preemptive; he’d given her a brotherly buss upon the cheek an hour before, before the music erupted out of the cheap tinny speakers, before streamers slithered upon the air.

 

She hated parties. Minutes after midnight she slinked upstairs to be alone, hand curled tightly around a tumbler of chilled gin. In an empty bedroom full of coats she opened a window. The night flooded in. She leaned forward.

 

Let me fall out of the window with confetti in my hair. With a drunken ballerina’s grace she swayed, waiting for gravity’s consequences.

 

40. Romeo Void

 

Perhaps in another context, Olivia would have recognized the thrill of the hunt: Closely following on Alex’s heels, she turned the corner with long strides, nostrils flaring, heart slamming, blood chanting, aware only of her own beauty blossoming within the desperately powerful presence of lust.

 

They burst through the bathroom door like rowdies in a saloon and within seconds she pinned Alex against the ancient tiles, elegant wrists bound in her grasp. “You’re driving me crazy.”



 

“I know.” Alex whispered. “I like you. But—“



 

Olivia awaited rejection.


 

Instead, Alex breathed an embrace: “I might like you better if we slept together.”

 

41. The Pig

 

“It’s a good deal,” she advised her client. She sat in the chaise lounge, kicked off her flip-flops, popped opened another Snapple. “You should take it.”



 

“The pig is mine!”



 

“It’s a nice pig. But not worth the fight.”



 

“It’s the principle of the matter! I will fight this all the way to Pago Pago if I must!” 



 

She shrugged. “If you insist.”



 

“You are a strange woman. I’ve never understood why someone like you is here—practicing law in the middle of nowhere.” 



 

The bright summer sun glinted off her sunglasses. “The rat race got sick of me.”

 

 

42.  As You Eat It

 

OLIVIA: The Fates bring me the Fortune of the gutter,

Mine eyes, downcast, behold futility’s spin—

A fanciful orb—stale doughnut!

 

FIN: Foul and atrocious thing!

See how it lays, putrid and hard.

Lady, it doth besmirch thy fine character.

 

OLIVIA: O doughnut! Vexed I am.

Yet in innocence did I conspire to keep thy fresh.

Thy blind eye, doughnut, doeth not see—

he whose careless hand brought time’s crust upon thee.

 

FIN: The stouthearted Elliot, while covetous,

would do no harm. But Alex—

 

OLIVIA: Speak no further!

 

FIN: I shall. Your wench is wicked.

Vainglorious is she, with Prada in her heart.

 

OLIVIA: And if true? Advise me thus.

 

FIN: Victorious she shall be this morn,

And prizes she shall seek. Look for

Powder’d sugar upon her lips.

Then, Lady, seize the moment—

and smack thy bitch up.

 

43. TV Guide: Me & Bjork, 9 p.m., Tuesdays

 

Alex (Stephanie March) is mortified when roommate Bjork (herself) invites her a cappella group—consisting of a flock of swans, seven yodeling Swiss midgets, and a psychic gynecologist (Shirley Knight)—to temporarily move in. Complications ensue when Stabler (Christopher Meloni) accidentally kills a swan during an interrogation session. Meanwhile, Benson (Mariska Hargitay) grows increasingly closer to Bjork’s masseuse/hairstylist (special guest star Maria Bello).

 

44. The Dream

 

His breath smelled faintly of lunch—a ham calzone. His lips, shockingly soft, pressed hers. His kiss ignited something, a deliciously aching desire—

 

Gasping, Olivia sat up in bed. Third time this week. It’s gotta mean something. She rubbed her aching neck. Don’t be stupid, Benson. You know what it means.

 

She nudged the body on her right. “I’m going out.”

 

A muffled rejoinder: “What for?”

 

“Calzone from Vinny’s. Want one?”

 

Mary-Kate jumped. “Like, hello! I just got out of rehab!”

 

“Will you bitches puh-lease shut up?” Ashley piped up from the bed’s other side. “I’m, like, trying to sleep!”

 

45. The Rise and Fall of the City of Monogamy 

 

He thinks if he stands still nothing will happen. Few dare to broach his space, even fewer receive an invitation. But she dares. She is in flight across the room, a distant winged shadow moving ever closer, until she is there, facing him, pressed into him as if they could merge, as if they could fuck and burn right through the meaningless barrier of clothing. Her boldness is legendary—it’s what gets him about her. But it is her unexpected gentleness—her hands cupping his face, her mouth drinking, with every delectable inhalation, from his kiss—that unravels him.

 

46. Your Own Personal Jesus

 

Since Kathy left, Elliot sought a predictable solace. But the church that had always quietly awed him—with its incense, its rituals, the delicate rush of benediction, the softly uttered Latin—didn’t help.

 

He felt guilty seeking a new church, but God is God, right?

 

The change exhilarated him—at first. God may be God, but pain and loss were just as immutable.

 

He still went. As did Olivia, who had so fervently converted him, and who now slept through the sermon.

 

But even over the relentlessly throbbing techno, he swore he could hear the gentle scrape of the twenty dragged along the stripper’s abs, and he thanked God he could feel anything, even the coarsest desire.

 

47. Practical

 

The baby blue Tiffany box was a ruse. “It’s—“ Alex began dismally.

 

“—a Swiss army knife,” Olivia finished proudly. “It’s got a pair of scissors—remember when you had a string hanging off your skirt and I had to bite it off—?”

 

“Mmm. You know how to ruin a girl’s fun.”

 

“—and it’s got a toothpick, so next time you’re in court you won’t have arugula stuck in your teeth—“

 

“I did not lose a case because of lettuce. How stupid do you think people are? Don’t answer that.”

 

“And there’s tweezers—“

 

“Oh, look. A tiny knife for stabbing my lover.”

 

“That’s not funny.”

 

48. Interview

 

She fixed her stockings, smoothed her skirt, hoped her post-coital blush was gone, and casually limped out of the stall.

 

The woman was still there, meticulously washing her hands. Only minutes before, those hands had conjured bliss from Alex’s body. As the stranger reached for paper towels, Alex caught the glint of gunmetal holstered upon a belt.

 

How in the hell did I miss that?

 

A sheepish grin. “Don’t worry. I’m a cop.” A name, BENSON, was visible on the shield flashed at Alex.

 

Having interviewed with the Manhattan DA’s office that afternoon, she took this, with characteristically brazen disregard, as a good sign.

 

49. Margaritaville

 

She wasn’t sure which one she liked best: The brunette or the brunette.

 

“You weren’t really a lawyer in New York, were you?” one cooed.

 

Passing a fresh martini, the other one sensually brushed against her. “I believe it—you look the part.”

 

The former Alex Cabot took the proffered drink, basking in the glow of more flirtatious attentions than she’d received in eons. She smiled, lounging seductively in the deck chair, the sun warming her face.

 

Until a certain boss rather cruelly kicked said chair. “Table Seven—margarita pitcher. Get your ass behind that bar and start mixin’ now!”

 

50. Reunion

 

It wasn’t supposed to happen. Which, of course, meant that it did.

 

It wasn’t supposed to be anything but a futile attempt at reclamation. It wasn’t supposed to be anything but Alex hearing her real name, spoken tremulously, bathed in sex, where words break apart like glass, shattering and shimmering upon impact.

 

Afterward, Olivia lay entombed in the slab-like hotel bed while Alex traced the lines of her cheekbones; that single gesture unraveled a flimsy heart sorely unprepared for another loss.

 

“So.” Triumphant but tender, Alex smiled in the dark.

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“What the hell have you done to your hair?”

 

51. The Cat

 

You’ve ruined me for other women, she’d said to Olivia that night.

 

Hell-bent on not repeating the past, she'd completely avoided what passed as “the gay scene” in the area and carefully picked a decent man. That she failed to notice how dark bangs boyishly fell across his brow just so, his gentle brown eyes, the sensual curve of his lips, and the dazzlingly rare smiles that occasionally broke through his sweetly solemn demeanor, told Alex--tragically after the fact--that she’d been ruined for the entire species.

 

The van tore through the dark night. I’m so getting a cat this time, she thought grimly.

 

52. The West Palm Beach Ladies

 

“She’s alive!” Liz Donnelly shut off the cell phone and cackled joyfully at the sun. “Alive!”

 

Mary Clark looked up from a copy of Vanity Fair. “Who?”

 

“Cabot!”

 

Mary took this in. “You mean Benson finally found a way to clone her?”

 

“No, smart ass, she’s been in Witness Protection the entire time.”

 

Mary sipped her Bahama Mama and thought, with fleeting sadness, of Casey. “Poor poppet,” she sighed.

 

Liz rubbed her hands together with glee. “I can’t wait to tell Lena. Where is she?”

 

“On the beach, of course.”

 

“That’s odd. I didn’t see her down there.”

 

“The nude beach, dear.”

 

53. The West Hollywood Woman

 

“Have you ever been in love? There are many kinds of love. There is the tepid love that pours forth bitter and twisted, the spittle of a dying beached whale upon the swollen sands of lust. Then there is the love pulled out of you like a tampon that’s been in too long, a bloody chopped-off finger wriggling inside you—organic? Not organic? No one knows. But it points at you, red and accusing. My heart, that’s what it is.”

 

Jenny Schecter paused dramatically, gnawed on a hangnail, slurped her cappuccino.

 

“Wow,” Casey breathed. “That’s amazing.”

 

“Really?” Jenny whispered, closing her chapbook.

 

“The bestest ever.

 

54. The Alexiad

 

Sing in me, O Muse, of the woman,

the clever Cabot, the woman of many twists and turns,

who plundered the halls of justice for ambitious gain

until her exile from the land of Manhattan.

Many blights of suburbia did she see,

many manvils did she endure while heartsick within the WPP,

while striving to avoid the burning shame of shopping at Wal-Mart

and the reckless ways of the local Starbucks.

Blinded neither by Cyclops nor Pantene locks,

the rainbow-sweater warrior set upon the skim-milk latte sea

for reclamation of both her lost queendom and her butchy, sulky Penelope.

 

55. Exile

 

Snow and loneliness,

summer’s ripening wheat, and

the heart’s bitter tang.

 

56. Morning

 

 

Good morning, sunshine!

The gun and the coffee are

rivals for her mouth.

 

 

57. The Boxer

 

A savior of bleakness, the bare light bulb presided over the basement.

 

Stabler flexed his arms. Smooth, undulating muscles indicated that he was, if completely numb, at least alive. Life was movement. But he was going nowhere: His marriage long over, his badge long gone, he was distilled into the embodiment of rage.

 

Illegal boxing paid the bills; he was getting too old for the racket, but didn’t care. When he needed extra, though, there was this.

 

His hands wrapped around the victim’s neck. “Mr. Profaci wants his money.”

 

He hesitated only at the remembrance of gently touching someone.

 

 

 

58. The Interrogators

 

“You might be interested to know,” Munch said, dropping a folder on the table, “that your partner is looking at twelve to twenty upstate—if he’s lucky.”

 

Silence.

 

Fin smoothed his silk tie. “Nothin’ to say, huh? That’s cold.”

 

Her voice broke. “He lost more than I ever did. He lost it all.”

 

“C’mon, baby,” implored Fin. “How long you gonna protect that blonde?”

 

“Think about it.” Munch added. “She’s in a penthouse. You’re in a prison.”

 

“Well,” Olivia said ruefully, “she always said she’d keep me somewhere safe.”

 

 

59. The Blonde

 

An elegant leg drapes over a chair arm. Cigarette smokes scrolls above her blonde head, like a secret song crooning to Olivia and no one else: You’re mine. Like the coolest martini in the house, she sweats sophistication. Like the husky-sweet rumble from an alto sax at three in the morning, she performs the most delicate damage, burrowing insidiously inside Olivia’s heart.

 

She rises from the ashen dusk, walks across the room. “You’ll take care of it, won’t you?”

 

Her mouth is on Olivia’s. The aftertaste is bitter and blistering, sex and blood upon the lips.

 

Olivia can’t get enough of it. “Sure. Nothing says ‘I love you’ quite like murder.”

 

60. The Turn of the Screw

 

For an old broad, Liz Donnelly still had damn good legs.

 

And as any of his exes would confirm, John Munch was certainly a leg man. “I’m not usually charmed by snitches,” Munch said, “but there is something about you.”

 

“Aside from my legs, Detective?” Liz arched an eyebrow.

 

Caught, Munch smiled. “You’re very observant.”

 

“And you’re very obvious.”

 

“What made you change your mind about coming forward? You and Cabot were once so—close.”

 

Liz tapped a cigarillo against the table. “I had a friend in college who cultivated a fun, and occasionally insulting, parlor game. He liked to sum up people with titles from English plays.” The spark of a lit match hovered before her tired face; she thanked him and continued. “He was particularly fond of tragedies, Jacobean dramas—“

 

Munch waited patiently. Every criminal was a storyteller, and he a rapt audience.

 

“—you seem like a well-read man, Detective.” Her eyes glinted.

 

“You’re very flattering. The operative word here is seem, Ms. Donnelly. But please tell me what this particular summation of Alexandra Cabot would be.”

 

Dragonesque, Liz spewed smoke. “’Tis a pity she’s a whore.”

 

61. The Last Kiss

 

She refused to believe they were coming for her. No, Alex thought, they were coming for the woman who sat sprawled, cavalierly dying, in the lush Italianate leather chair behind her desk. She rather hoped that Olivia would not bleed excessively; she was quite fond of that chair. But a bullet in the stomach was always a messy thing.

 

In the darkened office the siren’s rhythmic red painted a metronome along the walls.

 

For whom the siren wails? It wails for thee. Alex thought of saying it aloud; Olivia, an English professor’s daughter, would surely appreciate the allusion.

 

But Alex felt strangely guilty. Yes, she was responsible for that slug in Olivia’s gut, but it had to be done. Donnelly’s testimony had afforded Olivia the luxury of a deal—and freedom.

 

“You know something?” Alex could feel her throat tightening. Had she been a good woman, she would have welcomed this, the irritating stranglehold of love. ”I really will miss you when you’re gone.”

 

Leaning over, she ensnared Olivia one final time with the feverish bounty of her kiss.

 

No sooner had their lips parted then a gun barrel, thickly menacing, pressed into her pale, lovely throat.

 

“Well, baby,” Olivia rasped, “I think I’d like to take you with me. You know why?”

 

Alex knew it was too late. “Why?”

 

“Hell might be a lonely place.”

 

62. End Times

 


“You’re taking everything pretty well.” 


 


“Mmm. Coffee. Good.”


“C’mon. Seriously.”


 


“My faith gets me through somehow.” 


 


“It’s not every day that frogs rain down on Manhattan.”


 


“Scraping the windshield was a bitch.” 


 


“And there’s peace in the Middle East.”



 

“You figure they must be tired of fighting by now.”



 

“The Red Sox won the World Series—again.” 



 

“Every dog has its day.” 



 

“And Munch has become a Scientologist…” 



 

“Freaks attract freaks, ya know?” 


 


“But you didn’t see this, Elliot: Casey’s outfit this morning…” Olivia paused, then choked it out: “It matched.” 



 

Terrified, Elliot stared into the sky. “We’re fucked.”

 

63. The Confession

 


Was it really so long ago? And here, in this remote Warwickshire town?



 

The Lotus Elan coursed smoothly through the countryside, while the wind tormented Emma Peel’s dark hair in a fashion similar to certain thoughts rampaging through her mind:

Boarding school.

 

Frightful cliché, Steed had said when she told him.



 

It gets worse, she had replied. 



 

Walks in the woods, the saturating scents of untamed violets and marigolds. An unforgettable day exploring castle ruins. And the first day they met: A magnificent stranger laying siege to her rooms, immaculate in fencing whites, brandishing an epée, blonde hair cascading with the calculated removal of her mask: Alexandra Cabot.

 

 

64. Blackmail

 

“Well, Counselor,” Olivia drawled, “the DNA tests are conclusive.”

 

Alex remained unperturbed. “Don’t you feel bad, wasting Warner’s time like this?”

 

“Naw, baby. She loves me. But that’s beside the point. It’s a match.” Olivia lowered her dark eyes. “I’ve got you, my pretty.”

 

“How’d you get my DNA?”

 

“Tea cup.”

 

“Bitch.” Insults, however truthful, would do no good. “Now what?”

 

“Goes in my blackmail box. Next to the photo of Elliot sporting a mullet—which is pretty funny. But the fact that I am now in possession of a Che Guevara t-shirt once worn by Alex Cabot is priceless.”

 

65. Pavlov’s Detective

 

The first time had been funny. Maybe even a little sexy. The second time bewildering. The third, awkward. And now? She wasn’t sure if the blush creeping across Elliot’s face was a result of anger, desire, or both.

 

“You can’t do that any more,” he growled.

 

Olivia sighed. “I’m sorry.”

 

Elliot grew contrite. “It’s not like I don’t like it.” He chuckled. “I mean, you’re good.”

 

Now she blushed. “Thanks. But—I just can’t help it. I see the body bag—it just triggers it.”

 

He shook his head. “Liv, you gotta stop making out with Warner in the morgue.”

 

66. Chameleon

 

Fin and Olivia walked on ahead; Alex didn’t mind—she was far too amused by their matching “we-are-seriously-the-shiznit” struts. 



 

After paying the bar tab, Elliot had finally caught up. He threw an arm over Alex’s shoulder and grinned. “Havin’ fun, Counselor?”



 

This sudden display of affection unsettled Alex. As this realization stole over her, Elliot’s beefy arm curled around her neck like a python. She smelled beer and aftershave. Panic flooded her throat.



 

“If you hurt her,” Elliot said with flat menace, “You'll regret it.”

 

His arm sloughed off Alex like a discarded coat. Giggling softly, maniacally, he headed toward his partner. 



 

Alex touched her throat.

 

67. Conversations with Dead People

The first shot took him down. He crawled through the street, bloodied, crying for a mercy never granted to his victims. 

She caught up to him easily. 



 

You see him in every man you arrest.



He looked into her eyes.



 

You look for him in every dark-eyed stranger.


Her gun grazed his cheek. The barrel parted his lips tenderly, like a lover.



 

You searched my face, year after year, for answers. I never gave you any. Except in my last words: “You were worth it.” 

You didn’t believe me, I could tell. I know you. 



 

Elliot’s hand curled gently around her wrist.

 

68. Just Another Day

 

“The body was laid out in a ritualistic manner.”



 

“During World War II the Nazis in Romania had death cults...the romanticizing of death has very ancient roots…”



 

“What the hell?”



 

“Oh God, make him shut up.”



 

“You shut up.”


You shut up.”



 

“Fuck you!”



 

“Fuck you!”



 

“Fuck both of ya! We’re gonna get it from—”



 

“HEY!”



 

“Too late.”



 

“People, what the hell is this? Kindergarten or a squad room? Everybody—take five.” 


 

“Wow. Looks like I missed the fun. Bad day?”



 

“Yeah.”



 

“So it’s not a good time to tell you…?”


 


“What?”



 

“I’m not wearing any underwear.”



 

Au contraire.

 

69. Santa, Baby

 

The slender gift of an ADA plopped heavily into Santa’s lap. “Ho…” Having consumed three whiskey sours over the past hour, it was all the ho-ing Santa could work up for the moment.

 

“Who’re you calling a ho?” Alex slurred.

 

“You, trying to put Santa’s hand up your skirt.”

 

“Love the outfit, but you’ve got to stop referring to yourself in the third person.”

 

“Santa doesn’t care what you think, because you’re a big pervert. Santa gets your dress blues fixation, but not this.”

 

“Santa?”

 

“Hmm?”

 

“Shut the fuck up.” Alex pulled off the fake beard, revealing Olivia’s face, and silenced her with a kiss.

 

The door to the Captain’s office swung open. Mercifully, it wasn’t Cragen but Elliot, who sighed in mock defeat. “Damn. Knew I shoulda been Santa this year.”

 

“What’s wrong with being a reindeer?”

 

The LED lights in the antlers atop Elliot’s head blinked indignantly. “This is supposed to a costume party…but Counselor, I haven’t figured out who you are. Does the Grinch wear Armani these days?”

 

Caught out, Alex paused. “I’m…Cindy Lou Who. All grown up.”

 

“That’s rich.” Elliot was still laughing as he left.

 

“So Cindy Lou—whaddya want for Christmas?”

 

Alex smiled. “I’ll take Manhattan.”