~ Are you? ~
by V

DISCLAIMERS: Law and Order: SVU characters in the story are the creation of Dick Wolf, NBC owns all the rights... I'm just burrowing the characters for entertainment and I'm using them without permission just for fun not for profit. No money is being made, and no harm is intended.

SPOILERS: There might be some mention of events during Season 10 Episode 15 Lead maybe others in further chapters.

PAIRING: Alex/Olivia implied.

SUMMARY: What happened that night after Alex won the trial? My own attempt on filling in the blanks left on Lead.

A/N: I'm not sure where this may go, I suppose that my muse needs to be spurred by future episodes, I don't know... yet.

Special thanks:
To Minu, because my native language is not English, she does all the dirty work, without her none of this would be possible even though she threatens to strike if I continue writing long monologues or introspections. She's still the best editor and friend anyone could have and to JD although, she threatened to hijack the first plane that was headed to my hometown if I didn't write something and finished it soon, because she wanted to read the end.
We must beware of our sometimes pesky betas. (grin) Just kidding!

Feedback: cileraine@earthlink.net

Chapter 1

They say that heroes have feet of clay and that the princesses in fairytales are just that, a fairytale; a myth that knights in shinning armor doesn't exist except in the writers' realm of imagination. In reality many things are said, some truer than others. The truth was that she didn't feel like a princess, or a heroine and sometimes not even sufficiently human to be able to feel or cry.

There was a time the audacity to feel invisible, to believe that what she fought for day after day put her in a special place, made her different. The fact that she came from a well to do family such as hers and to have a name that inspired respect and maybe something else always had been something good. She had the name, the connections, the reputation and above all the intelligence to be able to overcome whatever she set her mind to.

Being an Assistant District Attorney was only another stepping stone to greater things; things that she had dreamt of since childhood. If someone had told her that they knew her future that they knew what road she should take to succeed she would have laughed. No one could know the future or could stop it. The truth was we are the ones that dictate our path and it is our actions that at the end choose which path to take, with or without a crystal ball.

She could remember clearly the first time that she met her; she recalled her eyes full of disdain and indifference, almost as if only by looking at her she knew who she was and could read her soul. She made her feel fear, an emotion that she didn't know and behaved accordingly. She pulled from her emotional arsenal her arrogance and iciness to mask over the feelings stirred up by a single stare from her, unshackling her body and shaking her soul. For months she tried to deny the truth, for months she tried to hide the attraction that she felt with professional antagonism.

The months turned to years and before she put into words what she inspired, before she would dare let her see what she really felt, when it looked as if both would find the courage to take the first step to something more than just friendship. A friendship that ironically both had tried to maintain by pretending to not take notice, when everything seemed normal, her life stopped being normal and she had to learn to be something she was not.

And she wanted to die, and oh, she was, and she wanted to rebel against her destiny, but destiny had already decided with or without her. The Ice Queen had become Emily in some City in Wisconsin. Nothing made any sense, she had lost control of her life, and she had to learn to be the actress that she always knew she was.

Hah! Of course as an attorney you have to know how to handle your environment. You have to play a certain role even if within you are against the injustices. You have to be cold, calculating, and indifferent if only to survive in that cruel world that was SVU; a world where hopeless victims wanted to make you cry inconsolably, one where justice was everything but it wasn't.

All her adult life she had worked to bring justice to the victims but when it was her turn, the justice forgot her name. At the beginning SVU was only a stepping-stone in her meteoric rise towards becoming a DA, Senator or State Governor of NY. All of that disappeared in the moment that the victims began to have a name, face an expression of horror and then learn that it just wasn't a title that mattered in order to be happy, but something much more which she learned only too late.

To see her smile for a job well done and justice for the victims, that and more was what mattered; if she had only dared say something when she returned for her murderer's trial; just seeing her again at Connor's trial, to feel her gaze...


God, how was I able to hide everything I felt the moment I stood before her, feeling her questioning gaze. I knew she had so many questions. I could feel her fear, her uncertainty as if it were a dagger against her flesh. Each one of her words made my heart bleed and cry from within suffering as never before. But I remained silent, every word every gesture was in vain as I tried to hide my pain knowing that I had not come back to stay. That within hours I would be taken to another unknown location as soon as the trial was over, so I had to continue pretending. What good was it being Alexandra Cabot for a couple of days if within a couple of minutes I had to learn to be someone else? And to disappear once again with a new face, and a new life that wasn't my own.

For three years I've had to think and rethink, for three years I have tried to reconcile my past with my present, I have tried by every means to give meaning to my life. I tried to recapture what was mine, be what I once was, but the years in exile have had a steep price to pay. I might be Alex Cabot on the outside, but inside I know I am not the woman who lay on the sidewalk bleeding to death in front of O'Malley's. That night I not only lost my life, but the possibility of becoming what I wanted to be.

I didn't expect McCoy's call, it took me by surprise and I knew if I had given it some time to analyze it that I wouldn't have accepted. I was terrified, for three years I had denied myself the possibility of rebuilding that bridge. I felt too emotionally unstable; I thought that if I gave myself time to be me again, I could be able to find the inner strength to see her again.

Strength to extend the olive branch and see if what had been between us even though it had never been externalized was still there. But my fear held me back, paralyzing my body and my senses. I had been a coward, I still am, I was afraid to return and see her with someone else. I was afraid to discover that everything had just been a product of my forced exile. But more than anything else I was afraid of dreaming and wishing for something that had never been mine.

I should be with them like in the old times, enjoying a victory drink at O'Malley's or maybe Chauncey's. I should have accepted her invitation but I couldn't bring myself to wait, to hope that things between us could be the same. Nothing was the same, not her, not the world, nothing; they weren't my detectives and I wasn't the SVU ADA. I was only doing a favor for McCoy.

She had the perfect excuse; she was exhausted after years of not being exposed to that kind of tension. With a grateful smile I excused myself still hearing her words when everything was finally over at the courthouse, "You really are back, are you?" Still ringing in my eras with a crooked grin, the one that always made my heart skip a beat. I wanted to do something else besides smile with false confidence. I wanted to scream 'I'm back! I'm here, look at me, I'm sorry.' But I didn't do any of those things, I picked up my things, went to my temporary office, did some paperwork and I was gone from One Hogan Plaza just after five. I took a taxi and I made him drop me off three blocks from Central Park and 5 blocks from my house. I needed to clear my head, needed to be alone; I needed to find my equilibrium. And what I really needed was she...in my life, by my side, with me.

The knock at my door pulled me out of my sad thoughts, taking me by surprise. I had been staring out at the NYC skyline one of many new habits. I would stare out at the city for hours, thinking. I certainly hadn't expected any company; much less that someone would be knocking at my door not when you had to get past the doorman who would announce you before letting anyone by. I took a quick look in the mirror just above the foyer table. I was dressed in a comfortable tank top and yoga pants, one of the few things that had been left over from my days in WPP. I needed to be comfortable at home, so it didn't much matter. Without thinking I opened the door, it had taken me some time to get over looking out the peephole before doing so. But it was one of the things that I had made myself get over; after all I had no reason to live in fear anymore. I was free. I was saved.

"Are you?"

"Wh...what?" I said a bit surprised, I blinked several times, trying to shake off the stupor.

"Are you back, are you really back?"

I know I must have said something, I know I must have whispered something. I know I did because Oh God, I never thought, never dared to dream. Oh God, I know I'm crying. I can feel my body shaking and Oh God I never believed, heaven, she is my heaven.

"Yes, yes, yes, yes" I repeated time and time again between sobs.

I know I should have done something, I know it, because I am now in her arms. She holds me so tenderly and sweetly as I had always dreamt it could be. I had never felt so secure...home! I try to listen to the words she is whispering in my ear, words that I can't quite make out but are a balsam for my anguished soul. I know I must have said or done something, I know but for the moment I only want to be here in her arms. There will be plenty of time to ask for forgiveness, give explanations or say I'm sorry. But for the moment I only know that I must have done something so that now I am in her arms.

Chapter 2

When you grow up knowing your origins, it's not easy to forget that you might have been a mistake, that you are living on borrowed air and that you were a curse for your mother. One that despite the bitterness you were surrounded in since your childhood you still loved even if on occasion you feel hate and resentment for being the object of her mockery. You can't prevent it, you loved her. She was, after all, your mother and the only family you really had.
And even after rationalizing everything you feel or don't feel, you can't help ask yourself if the one that felt guilty was your mother, after all she was the one who had the final say. She's the one who decided to have you even knowing the consequences. Perhaps she felt guilty for wishing you dead and at the same time for letting you live.

Live or die, either option now that you knew, would have left your mother feeling the same. She didn't have the guts to get rid of something that she didn't want and at the same time had the courage to have you but she had been incapable of treating you, raising you or loving you for what you were...an innocent victim of your father's crime

Not a day goes by that you aren't thankful to the powers that be that despite of everything, you had managed to be where you are at now. It's true, notwithstanding the pain and the shame you managed to triumph over those feelings and used that to drive you to become a better person and do you job better. It also helped you to compensate your mother for giving you life and allowed you to empathize with the victims.

It wasn't an easy job; your mother was an English literature professor at Columbia and even though you never lacked for anything, didn't get luxuries either. Only during the first few years of your life when your mother surprisingly enough cared for you, protected you, nourished you at least until you were old enough to more or less take care of yourself. True, you were only six years old but she had looked after you the best she could before giving in to the bitterness and resentment.

Perhaps it had been because as you grew older you looked more and more like your father and reminded her of the reason for your birth. But still you managed to get ahead and become a decorated Detective 2nd grade in one of the toughest divisions of the NYPD, Special Victims Unit. You had served years working and doing your duty as best you could, serving more years than was normal, more years than would have been emotionally healthy, but someone had to do it and you are more than ready to do so and on occasion your need to see justice made you cross the line of what the "law" saw as correct.

You didn't know what it was like to have a life outside of work. Initially when you were a child you had always concentrated your energies in your studies, that and sports kept you distracted from the miserable life that you had at home. Later it had been the university at Sienna College, political science and criminal psychology as majors with only one objective in mind, the police academy.

You worked a few years as a beat cop, just enough to get experience and allow you to take the detectives exam. Once it was confirmed that you had passed the exam but before they could assign you, you volunteered to be assigned to SVU. This division was on a voluntary basis and since you had recently were named detective, you had to pass additional psychological exams aside from the norm. Of course they had no way of knowing that it wasn't a ghoulish mind that made you want to be part of SVU in the first place, but the desire to see justice done.

That's why the hours in a day were too few for you if you were trying to solve a case. You invested all your energy into each case as if it were the most important one of your career. And in reality each one was and that is why you felt powerless when you can't find justice for the victims and you promise yourself each day, that you'll do better next time and you never realize that the mere fact that you care at all is making a difference.

It was that desire for justice that made you realize that she was different. True, at first you couldn't help feeling that she was only just another of many ADA's that passed through SVU. The only difference with this one was that she was assigned exclusively to your cases and it wasn't like the other times that it was assigned to who ever was available to take a case. This time they had someone dedicated to you exclusively, that alone made you pay more attention, to notice who she was, what she thought and felt.

At the beginning you weren't sure of her intentions in SVU aside from the apparent political aspirations that she blatantly made clear to. You didn't consider that the blue blood attorney and suits that probably cost more than your monthly rent had enough convictions to last more than a year at SVU. But you were so wrong; perhaps not even she knew how demanding SVU could be. Perhaps not even she was ready for the changes that would come with the experience of working shoulder to shoulder with you trying to solve cases that could touch even the coldest heart.

There is nothing more stupid tan falling in love with someone without even knowing that you were. It was impossible not to be aware how attractive she was and not only that but she was BEAUTIFUL in capital letters. She also exuded a palpable sensuality that could enthrall a room full of people with her presence; after all she didn't become an attorney for nothing. Her self confidence, that arrogance that she carried like a second skin could drive anyone crazy and you weren't immune to her magnetism either.

You had your reservations on her assignment to SVU, you weren't the type to trust easily much less let anyone see who you really were or let them know how you felt. True your personality didn't change much from the implacable detective, Olivia Benson, from the very private woman that you were. Possibly only Stabler, your partner had been let in to occasionally catch a glimpse of the true Olivia and always with some reserve. The world in which you moved in was one in which it was best to keep your life private and far from the madness that working as a police officer in such a tough division such as SVU was necessary to maintain to keep your sanity.

But you never know quite how to balance both, that was the reason why you didn't have a love life, not even a sporadic relationship. And you weren't averse to finding yourself attracted to another woman. If occasionally you preferred to have a one night stand with a man it was just because it was less complicated; men rarely wanted anything serious and those that did soon found out that your life was not truly yours unless you wanted it to be. And apparently you didn't want it that way, and they would stop calling while you had already forgotten about them when they did try to call.

It wasn't easy forgetting Olivia Benson, you could keep your heart under lock and key but you are just one of those special women that don't need to exert themselves to be noticed for people to know how marvelous you are. One of those women that don't even realize how beautiful they really are, the kind that forget they are attractive and that either man or woman, it didn't matter who, would die to have by their side.

Perhaps that is why it took you by surprise when you found out that the attraction that you felt for Alex Cabot was much more than an objective admiration of a beautiful woman. It was small things, her smile that she rarely displayed and when she did it was in an odd way that would make you feel special; the eyes that made you want to lose yourself in their blue depths and would make you ask yourself time and again what was so special about her that you wanted to spend more time with her?

This and many other questions went through your mind during those nights that you managed to make it back to your lonely apartment. You let yourself think about the reason why you felt protective of her; you would ask yourself if being in a world dominated by men and being the only women on the team if it was normal to close ranks or if it was something else, something you refused to see, that you feared would be out of your control.

The months passed and turned into years, and each case you handled, every moment you spent by her side made you realize that what you felt for her was not just simple admiration; that it wasn't just a physical attraction to the imposing personality that was Alex Cabot. That in reality your feelings for her were more than just friendly professional companionship and that made you feel trapped; you couldn't help want to be by her side, spend time with her, be close to her and touch her even if only by accident. You thought you could control your emotions, the feelings that each day grew stronger. How wrong you were, you could be an expert at hiding your emotions, but against her you had no defense.

That need was your downfall; you couldn't help it, seeing her every day began to be a sweet torture. At times you could see Alex behave a certain way that made you feel that perhaps you weren't the only one that felt that way. But at other times you couldn't be sure if it was only your fevered desire that made you think there was more than could be seen a first sight.

How many times did you spend time together outside of the precinct over lunch or drinks after a difficult day or celebrating a victory; hours in her office preparing for trial...those and every moment spent at her side you felt the sexual tension build. You weren't a detective for nothing and you did the logical thing, looked for clues, evidence that without really accepting you wanted to find, something that would maybe and just maybe tell you it wasn't one-sided.

When the cases got to be too much for both of you, each so gruesome and taxing enough to drive you insane, and you would both seek comfort in each other, looking to redeem errors that usually weren't even yours but it felt like they were. Failures that reinforced the connection that joined you and that you didn't dare name.

It's a link that was destroyed without you being able to stop it. Your hope died that night outside of O'Malleys, in that split second when you saw her life escape between your fingers. At that moment you forgot your reservations and the love you felt for her could be heard in your anguished pleas, but it was too late, she was dead, at least to the world.

You couldn't believe what was before you as she stepped out of the black SVU, alive. Her name escaped from your lips in reverence, like a plea, your eyes could not hide your pain, your desolation; you wanted to say so many things. You wanted to hug her against you and never let her go. But you held back, your eyes locked with hers; trying to convey your feelings, too make her understand what she really meant to you. You saw her leave and your heart broke in a million pieces.

How do you repair a heart that never healed, you ask yourself? You hear Casey's surprised reaction and you turn to see what's going on, and there in front of you is...more beautiful than you remembered and once again her named escaped your lips with veneration and need and you devour her completely with all your being.

You thought you had gotten over her leaving; you thought you had made peace with that lost opportunity. But nothing prepared you for the pain and sadness that you heard in her voice when she talked about her life in the WPP. Your desire had never died, that need to wrap her up in your arms and protect her came over you like a vengeance and it became evident than ever before.

You listened to her words with eyes flooded with tears and sorrow; each word that she said was like a dagger in your heart; for the love that you knew you couldn't quench and would never be returned. Hearing her speak of that good man that would hug her during the night made you want to scream and confess your love to her; to ask her to give you an opportunity, a hope, but you knew that it wouldn't be fair for either of you, no matter how painful.

Justice would have been made if she had been able to stay after the man that tried to kill her had been convicted. Instead you heard from Agent Hammond that once again she had been ripped from your life without you being able to say goodbye, without you being able to confess the truth, your truth to her.

The truth hurts, you had been following the Velez case closely, you knew he had died in prison, you knew that Connor's had been extradited to Ireland to be prosecuted there for his crimes and you knew that Alex was back. But she never responded to your messages, she never visited the precinct nor gave any signs that she wanted to have any contact with anyone that she had worked with for nearly five years of her life, people that had mourned for her when they thought her dead. She was back, but you never imagined that it would for the price of a broken heart.


Three years of your silence, knowing that you were in NYC, a silence that felt like a betrayal in the deepest recess of my heart. And the first thing I do was the same thing I did when you returned for Liam Connors trial, exclaim your name in reverent surprise, as if just saying it would bring more than just your presence. Once again, I felt that my whole world was falling apart. What power do you hold over me? Just the sight of you makes me shiver in such a manner that my whole being is clamoring for your attention.

I saw the uncertainty in your eyes I could feel the waves of nervousness emanating from you, and for one moment, I couldn't reconcile the woman that I had in front of me with the arrogant and self assured Alex Cabot that I loved without ever you knowing it. Then I remembered that it had been five years since you had stopped being my Alex, yes, mine, because even though you never knew it you were mine.

I watched you from afar, close to you, but at a distance as if you were a specimen that I had to dissect. A part of me is furious for your silence, a part of me wants to shake you and protest your absence, your rejection of the detectives that you once called friends. However, that other part of me that never forgot you but had been hidden in the far recesses of my heart so that I could survive was now pleading for you.

I keep telling myself I shouldn't feel this way, betrayed, lost; I don't have any right because after all it never went beyond friendship, a friendship that barely scratched the surface of professionalism. The occasional drink or lunch shouldn't have been enough for me to feel that way, but I couldn't help it, I loved you then without knowing and I love you now without wanting to.

At least I think I don't want to, but suddenly I find myself in front of you, working on a case as if time had never stopped. In addition, as the days go by I can see how you are recovering the confidence that once covered you like a second skin, that arrogance and self-assuredness in yourself that could conquer the world just with its presence. And every minute, hour that passes by your side is a sweet agony. The feelings that I thought were buried and forgotten reborn with overwhelming force. I don't know what will become of me when you leave again, because I know that this is only temporary. That you are only doing a favor for McCoy, and that I will be here without you once more

Watching you tear down the president of the toy company without even batting an eye... I can't help but admire you with adoration as I pass by you with the handcuffed culprit after hearing you say him, you already have his ass, and it's on the record. To see you talking with the parents of Jeff Lynwood and telling them that he will soon be well and the subsequent deal you gave them so that they wouldn't have to go to trial. You are radiant I can't help it; my heart is bursting with pride for you, because I knew what that victory meant to you. Moreover, not being able to hold back I asked you more as an affirmation if you are really back but I didn't stay to hear the answer. I could feel your eyes following me and I told myself that it was true you were back.

The boys wanted to go out to celebrate the victory and I've been put in charge of inviting you, this is your victory more than anyone else's. We just got you the evidence but you were the one that got the results. I went to see you but you decline to accompany us, you say you're tired, that you're out of shape and besides you have to finish up the paperwork. I accept your excuse but inside I refuse to accept the reason. I could see in your eyes something that I'm not sure I know what it is; I feel that there is something more. I ask myself if you might be afraid to come back and you want to keep things impersonal. Perhaps after all, you aren't really back and everything is just a dream.

After a couple of drinks I say my goodbyes to the guys, there is something calling me, a strange feeling that I now know is associated to you. My mind won't stop thinking about you. I take a taxi and head to Central Park. I need to walk, think, clear my head, analyze myself and ask myself what it is that I want. Do I have the courage to confess what I feel for you? Will it even matter if I lose you again if I do find the courage to tell you the truth?

I am sitting there watching the people go by, couples, people exercising, it's still early, one of the few times that I could get out early from work. I didn't hang around at the bar very long, I wasn't in the mood for celebrating and ironically we had something to celebrate. Suddenly as I turn, I see you walking at a distance, it's you, and I would recognize you miles away. My first instinct was to run towards you, but I hold myself back, your expression is taciturn, tormented. I ask myself what you might be thinking, what could it be to look like that? I stand up and start walking parallel to you, I still don't know where you live, or even if you're married or living with someone. Actually, I don't know much about your private life. In the last few days since your return we have barely spoken at all about anything personal, you wouldn't allow it. I know I shouldn't but that part of me that has always felt the need to protect you urges me to do so. It has just to reassure myself that you are fine I try to convince myself. You walk absently; it's a dangerous way to be in NYC. I follow you for three blocks and you apparently have been unaware. That scares me; just what are you thinking Alex?

Finally, after a few more feet I see you going into an elegant building. Of course, where else would you live, you are Alexandra Cabot after all. You must have inherited a fortune when your mother died, one that never knew you were still alive, or at least that's what we believed. A part of me wishes that is not the case, that Hammond had a heart and had confessed the truth to your mother. You were her only daughter, she deserved to know the truth and I feel guilty I knew it. Why? I ask myself, why did you refuse to go into the program until you said goodbye? You didn't have to do it, so why did you?

I stopped in front of your building, not knowing what to do, should I go in? Should I go back to my apartment and continue to torment myself about your return? Not quite knowing what to do I noticed a café not far away and decided to go get me a coffee. I was in no hurry to get anywhere and I felt close to you just knowing you were in your apartment safe.

I went in and ordered a coffee; I chose a table close to the window where I could pretend that it was you I was looking at. Before I realized more than an hour had passed by with me lost in my memories of you, of what I once dreamt of being with you. I stood decisively; I had not reached this stage in my life by being afraid, so I always grabbed the bull by the horns, knowing there was a possibility of failure. So what could I lose now that I hadn't lost already?

With a firm step, I walked to your building and with equal determination; I stood in front of the doorman and asked for your apartment number. I told him we worked together and showed him my badge and that I needed to talk to you about a case and that you had given me the address but neglected to give me the apartment number. He smiled and told me I didn't need it that I only had to go the elevator and push PH, yours was on the right. I thanked him and entered the elevator.

There were many things I wasn't sure about in my life, but one thing I was convinced of, tonight I would tell you the truth. I needed to tell you, I couldn't keep on hiding my love, pretending it didn't exist.

I knocked on the door and waited. A few minutes and you didn't answer, I knocked louder. I was nervous; I dug my hands into the pockets of my jacket staring down at the floor, balancing on my heels. I was beginning to regret my actions when you opened the door and I said the first thing that came to my mind.

"Are you?" Looking into your eyes I could see the surprise painted on your face.

"Wha...what?" You babbled, not understanding what I had just asked point blank.

"Back, are you really back?" I repeated staring directly into your eyes, scared and full of hope. You let a soft whisper escape, Liv, you breath my name and nod, your eyes are locked on me, you can't believe that I'm standing in front of you. I can feel you and I can't stop myself, I need you! Without warning, I pull you against me and you cling to me as if I was life raft in the middle of the ocean. You hug me as if you never wanted to let me go. I feel you weeping as you keep repeating over and over again, yes, yes, yes. And I know in my heart that you aren't just telling me that you are back, you are responding to the question that I had made five years ago before they had pulled you out of my life when I thought I had lost you forever when you weren't even mine.

I can't contain my own tears, I wrap you in my arms as I continue to whisper how much I missed you, how much I need you in my life, begging you not to ever leave me again.

Alex, my Alex.


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