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26 April 2010 @ 10:50 pm

Title: Partners

Pairing: A/O

Chapter rating: PG

Disclaimer: Not my characters, but I am using them for entertainment and not for profit.

Notes: Written in response to the fic request from shamesis and I hope this story will be one of many that will be inspired by her idea. Being me, I broke the rules and have them living in a state that revoked the law granting marriage equality and I also didn't allow both of them to get shot, but the spirit of the story is intact, I think. Not beta read, so let me know if you see stuff that I need to correct.


Part Two

“Marshals, Holt, Mendoza, has something happened?” Alex’s voice sounded tight and her body was rigid.

Olivia was glad that Alex had at least had the presence of mind to greet the Marshals, because she was reasonably sure that she herself had lost the power of speech. Terrible scenarios were flooding her mind; the worst was that Velez had tracked them to California and they’d have to move again. The business they had worked so hard to build, the house in the woods where they had learned to cook, with the breakfast nook that looked out onto a small stream, even the silly little SUV that had been used to haul everything from groceries to merchandise, medicine balls and now firewood… Everything would be stripped away overnight and they might have new identities and new jobs by next week.

“Nothing disastrous,” Mendoza said immediately, “but there have been some developments that must be discussed.”

“Can we talk inside?” His partner asked, looking around warily.

That made Olivia want to smile despite the cold feeling in her gut. Only city people thought they were more likely to be overheard fifty yards from the tree line of a dense forest, than in a building which could contain multiple hiding places for eavesdroppers. She understood that now as her sensibilities had slowly shifted. As a native New Yorker, she thought she would have minded the change in herself more than she did. That made her wonder, if it was all snatched away overnight would that be harder to go back to her old habits than it had been to adjust to rural life?

“Come on in,” she said, unlocking the front door.

The house was small and wood-framed, with old-fashioned shingles on the outside and scarred hardwood floors inside. The four of them walked in and Olivia tried to see the room from the Marshals' perspective. Without a lot of money at their disposal, she and Alex had only managed cosmetic changes, like the burnt orange paint on the walls, the new throws on the sofa and love-seat that some bureaucrat had probably chosen out of a catalog, the framed watercolors that had been obtained from a local artist in exchange for personal training sessions, the curtains that had been hand sewn in exchange for an annual membership, the lamps they’d picked up at a garage sale and bought funky new shades for and the freshly cut flowers on the coffee table. Olivia thought that it all came together quite well, despite the uninspiring beige rugs that they couldn’t yet afford to replace.

“This place looks completely different,” Holt remarked. “Nice.”

“Thanks,” Alex replied, chewing nervously on the inside of her cheek. “Please, have a seat. Can we get you anything? Coffee?”

Olivia said nothing, because all she wanted to do was scream get on with it!


“Coffee would be great, thanks. We have to drive back to San Francisco tonight.”

Alex went to put the coffee on and as soon as she came back, Mendoza said, “We came for two reasons: the first is that we believe we’ve arrested the guy who shot Miss Cabot and was contracted to kill Detective Benson. He's a pro and we have enough to charge him with multiple counts of first degree murder, so we will not need testimony from either of you unless you specifically want the AUSA to add the attempted murder rap. We advise against that, because it would make Cesar Velez aware that neither of you is dead and Velez’s organization has been weakened by competition from a Mexican cartel but we still consider him a threat.”

Alex shuddered. “I don’t need to have him charged with shooting me. A murder conviction for another crime will be more than satisfying enough. Besides, nether of us got a good look at him and I was told that there was no physical evidence because the car he used had been stolen and it was torched after the shooting.” But most of all, I don’t want to threaten the life I’ve made here. Not for some hollow concept of revenge.

Olivia had been standing at the side of the sofa watching the interaction between the Marshals and Alex. She felt self-contempt as she registered relief at the confirmation the Velez was still a threat. She knew how selfish it was to prefer the life she now had to the one she had left behind, when the opposite was probably the case for Alex, who had been an Ivy League-educated, rich socialite. She awkwardly shifted from one foot to the other, but when she saw the faint tremor in Alex’s hand she moved to sit down beside her, protectiveness making her feel strong enough to deal with whatever the second issue was that the Marshals wanted to discuss.

Mendoza cleared his throat. “The other matter really only concerns Miss Rossi.” He looked apologetically at Olivia who immediately stood to leave.

“No,” Alex said vehemently. “Whatever you have to say to me can be said in front of Gloria.”

The two Marshals looked at each other and then Mendoza cleared his throat again before speaking. It was obviously a nervous habit and did nothing to dispel the tension in the room. “Miss Rossi, we have found a way to get a substantial part of your inheritance funneled to you. A series of investments that were not brought to the attention of the executor of Miss Cabot’s will.” Alex felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland, hearing herself referred to in the third person by someone who was talking to an invented version of herself but quoting the name she'd been born with.

After clearing his throat twice, the Marshal continued, “It has taken several months to work through the process – a sort of reverse money-laundering – and now we’re in a position to say that the funds are available and will give you far more lifestyle choices than you and Miss Ferro have had so far.”

Holt looked around again. “I know it might not seem like it, but you guys actually lucked out. The long recuperation time for Miss Rossi’s injuries meant more set-up time for your new identities and an actual business. Last guy we were able to move into a small business, it was a video store.”

Although she wasn’t in the mood to make small talk and she already knew how lucky she was, Alex could see the problem with that. “Not good for future prospects in a pay-per-view and Internet-focused world.”

“Yeah,” Holt agreed. “I guess that’s why he started dealing coke out of the back room where he kept the adult movies.”

Despite her fear, a snort of laughter escaped Olivia and Alex, too found herself laughing when she realized that Holt was not joking and seemed genuinely surprised that Olivia found humor in the situation.

An uncomfortable silence descended and Alex broke it with the question. “Why did you need to speak to me? Couldn’t you have just dropped off the paperwork?” That was exactly what the Marshals had done when Alex's more liquid assets and the proceeds from the sale of Olivia's apartment had become available. They'd pooled that money to upgrade the equipment in the gym and to expand the women's locker room.

The two Marshals looked at each other. “We have been authorized to offer you legal representation. Your marriage is fully recognized in some states, but even in California you and Miss Ferro have all the rights of a married couple except the right to be a married couple. This matters because you were not given the opportunity to prepare a prenuptial agreement prior to the issuance of your marriage certificate, or to protect your assets in any way.” He looked at Olivia. “No offense meant.”

Olivia dismissed the idea with a shrug. “None taken.”

“Mainly because I didn’t have any assets,” Alex replied wryly, relaxing when she realized that the only news the Marshals had come to impart had been good.

“Well, that’s about to change,” Holt pointed out, unnecessarily and Olivia wondered if he had gone through irony-removal training.

“And I’ll be happy to sign any document that says I have no interest in… Donna’s money.”

“Can you excuse us for a moment?” Alex asked, her body language indicating that she was not happy with Olivia’s declaration.

Olivia didn’t care. “We can talk in the kitchen.” She turned to the Marshals. “Will you stay for dinner? It should be ready in half an hour.”

“We really should be heading back…” Holt started hesitantly.

“Please,” Olivia interrupted. “There are no fast food places around here, most of the restaurants will be closed by the time you get back to town and we don’t get too much company.”

“Thank you,” Mendoza replied, avoiding his partner’s gaze. Olivia guessed that it had been a long time since lunch – or whatever their last meal had been.

As soon as they were in the kitchen, Alex said flatly. “I don’t want you to sign anything.”

Olivia ignored her and opened the fridge to take out the chicken that she planned to cook. “Why don’t you take the coffee out to them and we can talk when you get back?”

Suspecting a stall, Alex narrowed her eyes at Olivia before reluctantly putting the carafe of coffee along with mugs cream and sugar onto a tray and leaving the kitchen.

Olivia sighed. She knew that Alex had lingering feelings of guilt because she had pursued a case that Olivia told her to drop, which had almost got both of them killed and which had literally made them lose everything they had worked for to that point in their lives. But it had been Olivia’s choice to leave. The threat to her would have been significantly lower if Velez thought Alex was dead, although logic was not something she’d relished betting her life on when it came to the actions of a ruthless drug trafficker.

“Olivia…” The name startled her. Alex only ever called her “Gloria” or “Fred”. It was an ingrained habit on which their lives literally depended.

“It’s not your choice,” Olivia replied firmly, before Alex could formulate her argument. “Now move over so I can take out the pan to boil the pasta.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you can’t tell me what to sign. Can you chop these for me? Really thin and about three inches long.”

Alex washed her hands and automatically started preparing the vegetables. “I think you are being unreasonable.” Her voice sounded measured and Olivia knew that meant she was angry. They had certainly had their share of spectacular arguments over the last eight months, so she knew the warning signs and sometimes she actually looked forward to the catharsis of a knock-down, drag-out war of words.

Olivia chuckled as she dropped the chicken into the pan. “I’m making it clear that I have no claim on the money you inherited from your family and that’s unreasonable?”

“Yes. Because you do have a claim to that money.”

Olivia looked quizzically at her. “How d’you figure that? You think I’m a secret Cabot from a branch of the family that migrated from Boston before the Tea Party?”

Alex clenched her teeth, resenting the teasing glint in Olivia’s eyes. She was making an important point and Olivia was refusing to take it seriously. “I’m starting to think your escape was from Salem before the trials,” she muttered.

Olivia paused, realized that Alex had just called her a witch and grinned. “You need to chop that finer,” she pointed at the zucchini that Alex was butchering.

“Which reminds you that I have a sharp knife in my hand…”

“Ok, seriously. I’m happy with everything we’re building together financially and I love being your partner, but that money is yours and you should have the peace of mind of knowing that I have no claim to it, despite the... circumstances in which we find ourselves.”

“What about the peace of mind from knowing that if anything should happen to me, you’ll be taken care of?”

Olivia’s movements stilled, but she didn’t turn to face Alex. “You’re right. We should have thought of that. Not just because we live together, but because of the business. First thing tomorrow, we’ll go into town and visit the insurance agent.”

Alex made a frustrated sound. “So that’s what our life is to you? A business arrangement?”

“No,” Olivia replied quietly. “No. You know it's not. But you've been through a lot more than I have in the last year; you were shot. You had to go through three months of rehab to regain full use of your arm. Your mom is sick and you have to deal with the fact that she thinks you're dead. And that's even without thinking about the kind of financial adjustments you had to make when we got here. I have to admit that the stress of worrying about going out of business in the first year freaked me out, but you went from being rich to being poor with nothing but rehab in between.”

“So that means that if I come into money I have to make sure I legally can't share it with you?”

“It means that I feel better knowing you have the freedom that your money will give you. You deserve it.”

It was Alex's turn to be quiet as she considered the implications of what Olivia had said. Olivia thought that the money would give her freedom. Did Olivia think that, given the choice, she would not stay in the life that the federal government had dropped them into? The life that they had worked so hard to build upon in the last eight months? Does Olivia want to be released from the cohabitation that Witsec forced us into? Or is she being self-sacrificing and stoic and giving me the option to do something that will actually hurt her?


“Look, Alex, don't. Don't decide right now. Just take a few days to think about what all this means.” And when Alex looked as though she were about to argue, Olivia added, “Why don't you go and set the table and I'll finish up the vegetables. Stay with the guys and tell them dinner will be ready in ten minutes. Maybe they can give you more information about how your payment is going to be handled.” She smiled at Alex, but it didn't quite reach her eyes. “Please?”

Alex reluctantly left the kitchen, but she felt as though she was making a mistake.


sunsetwritersunsetwriter on April 27th, 2010 04:16 am (UTC)
Awesome update! Thanks for updating so quickly as promised. I really like the way you've written them as new-but-not-new characters, while keeping them true to themselves. I could feel the surrealness (is that a word?) that Alex must have felt during her conversation with the agent regarding her inheritance. I can also see both of them pouring themselves completely into their new jobs and new life together in this situation, so I'm really curious to see what happens when they suddenly have the 'options' that may come with the sum of money.

Kudos to shamesis for this idea, and kudos to you for bringing to life in such a great story! :-)
allie_svuallie_svu on April 27th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading and for your kind comments. The Goldman Sachs testimony is in recess, so taking a sneaky surf and was every pleased to see feedback on the chapter. :) I know it's an "interim" chapter with no... climax to the story, so bear with me as I outline the changes that make them "new" while they cling to the things that keep them the same.

The next chapter should be up tomorrow, but it will mainly be about how they got to that point.

Appreciate the support.
asher_77asher_77 on April 27th, 2010 09:44 am (UTC)
allie_svuallie_svu on April 27th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
1shinyboat1shinyboat on April 27th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
Woohoo, in the updatey goodness sense...not so much on both of them and their stubbornness. Of course that shouldn't shock any reader with these two. Excellent work, again.

allie_svuallie_svu on April 27th, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting. If you think the stubbornness can't get any worse, keep reading. ;)
outdoorlvr03 on April 27th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
"So that's what our life is to you, a business arrangement?" Ha-ha, typical Alex & Olivia behavior, I feel a good argument coming on & the sexual tension ratcheting up a notch. Really good update.
allie_svuallie_svu on April 27th, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
Sexual tension has been known to cause quarrels and throwing oneself into work. Thanks for reading. :)
ormay_bormay_b on April 27th, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC)
I'm thrilled to see you've decided to take up the challenge -) ! I must admit that the choice of job made me wonder at first, but somehow it makes perfect sense considering the combative nature of them both. And well,who am i to argue if the job choice may imply a glimpse of Olivia doing some workout or an hint of Alex sashaying along in spandex ?
allie_svuallie_svu on April 27th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
I think both Alex and Olivia have the mental and physical discipline to make physical fitness a necessity for their livelihoods. I also think they have the intellects and determination to learn a new business from the ground up and to take it from mediocrity to excellence. I also think that if thrown together, both characters might take the opportunity to distract themselves with physical and intellectual pursuits, rather than deal with deep emotion. So that was why I went in that direction... but the spandex/running short possibility didn't hurt.
ormay_bormay_b on April 30th, 2010 06:54 am (UTC)
i certainly agree that running a business so different from their previous occupation implies a mental/intellectual/financial/physical challenge for both of them. And i also can see, in that drastic change of life and job, how revealing it can be for them both and how interesting it is for you (and for us, of course) to explore them in this new life, dynamic etc. The wonder i felt came from the fact that i have some trouble figuring out Alex in a job that doesn't require that much verbal skills (imo, yet i may be totally wrong, i know nothing about running a fitness business).
But i have an inkling that she'll use her eloquence and rhetoric arsenal soon in some heated debate with Liv... Another question of mine is how they will cope with the ethical/inner/ personal challenge of doing a job that has nothing to do with the pursuit of justice.
So,i'm eagerly waiting for the next chapters !
allie_svuallie_svu on May 2nd, 2010 03:14 pm (UTC)
That's the challenge of witsec, isn't it? Alex literally cannot be allowed to do a job that involves public speaking of any kind, or anything to do with the law. So yeah, she will be restricted to arguing with Olivia. I have tried not to change her personality in any way, meaning she will try to persuade, even when she suspects it is not in the other party's best interest to be persuaded. ;) We shall see...
eclecticfan: emily chesteclecticfan on April 27th, 2010 11:47 pm (UTC)
although sunsets and beaches are pretty scenery... I thought I'd throw this one into the pot for variety.

And now that I've babbled about icons...

I can almost see Olivia feeling relief that they have had to struggle and watch every cent - so much more like what she grew up with, now that Alex will be getting a taste of the life she left behind, Olivia's reactions (and Alex's play off of them) should be fairly entertaining... in a train wreck kinda way...Mainly because I see them both as always concerned about their own point of view being right, they don't tend to really listen. At least to each other. Which is kind of ironic considering their ex-careers...

allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:08 pm (UTC)
There's scenery and then there's scenery... thanks for the icon. :)

The money will definitely make the playing field uneven. Change always shakes things up, so we'll see how they handle being shaken! Thanks for continuing to read.
Nicole.poprocks_inc on April 28th, 2010 03:38 am (UTC)
Two new stories from you make me a very happy girl. I really like the idea of these two together without all of the weight holding them down in their New York lives. Great story, can't wait for more. :)
allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) Two stories from me is more than I have time for, but I will do my best to update often and complete as soon as humanly possible - work and reading obligations notwithstanding.
Lolacsigirl21 on April 28th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
this is a great story and thanks for the quick update. i hope to see more soon. keep up the good work!
allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I'll do my best!
trailmix7 on April 28th, 2010 06:36 am (UTC)
This new development certainly throws a monkey wrench in their partnership. It was smooth sailing when they were at equal footing. Now that the Cabot fortune is at Alex's disposal, pride and insecurities start to rear its ugly head. I wonder how long before Olivia gives in? The tension is already palpable this early and I'm guessing it's only going to get intense as the story progresses. Yay!
allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:18 pm (UTC)
The question is, if Olivia doesn't give in, what will Alex do? I think she might have got used to that equality malarkey... ;)

I guess I'll have to find a way to ease the tension!

Thanks for reading.
thequeenofsinthequeenofsin on April 28th, 2010 08:38 am (UTC)
oh snap! You did it again! This is awesomeness ^_^

(and I'm also going to be late for class... again... I shouldn't go on lj before college >.<)
allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:11 pm (UTC)
'S ok. I'm going to be late for work! Thanks for taking the time to post. :)
hysteria74hysteria74 on April 28th, 2010 10:54 am (UTC)
ohhhh that's a nice throw in. What does Alex do and will they eventually tell each other how they *really* feel?
allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC)
I think honestly might still be some way off. But we'll see...

Appreciate the feedback.
gigi_5gigi_5 on April 28th, 2010 11:06 am (UTC)
Well, it's a relief the agents didn't have any bad newws for them.

And look at Alex, trying to 'take care of her woman', she's such a sweetheart. And of course Olivia would refuse. Hopefully they'll come to an understanding soon, fighting over money is just awful and complicated and bleh.
allie_svuallie_svu on April 28th, 2010 01:15 pm (UTC)
I just had to correct all that. They're not agents, they're US Marshals. Somehow Hammond always seems to have a role in Alex's placement in witsec - he even got her out in "Ghost", but he's a DEA agent and his involvement in her hidden life (or even knowing where she was) is not terribly realistic. I'll correct other errors as they're pointed out, or I find them.

I think the dynamic of everybody wanting to take care of everybody else, is going to be a small problem for those two!

Thanks for your feedback. :) Really like your icon, btw.
gigi_5gigi_5 on April 28th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I love you for this! I always thought it was ridiculous to have Hammond, a DEA agent, involed in Alex's witsec placement. But seeing as how Dick and co. aren't too interested in being realistic, I wasn't surprised. All of the characters would have been kicked off the force years ago if the show was in touch with reality.

Thanks, but I can't take any credit really; you just can't go wrong with Alex AND the glasses. ;) I love your other icon (of Olivia's midsection ;).
allie_svuallie_svu on April 29th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
Yeah, realism is a lost concept with SVU and I thought last week's show reached very close to a new low (where episodes like "PC" and "Wildlife" dwell). But I have to say that despite the continued lack of realism, I thought the new episode was good. Sharon Stone and Mariska sizzled and I haven't seen Olivia share so many long lingering looks with a woman since season 4. Yeah, I know that they intended it to be the ex and current partners facing off in a proprietary way over Elliot, but it just ended up feeling to me like foreplay. Alex better come back soon if she wants to keep her woman faithful. ;)
gigi_5gigi_5 on April 29th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
I stopped watching after that crapisode with Misha Barton ("Savior"?), but I'm sure you're right about them reaching a new low since that seems to be the theme of the season. Hmm, now I'm intrigued, I'm just not sure if it's worth suffering through an entire episode. You say the episode's good, so maybe it's worth it... Marish just can't help it, she has amazing chemistry with the ladies and absolutely no chemistry with Meloni. I don't understand why she keeps insisting they have great chemistry. I mean, I know why she keeps saying it, but, eh, whatever. Tergesen and Meloni have a few minutes on screen and sparks start flying; there was more chemistry between those two then there has ever been between Mariska and Chris. IN 11 YEARS.
allie_svuallie_svu on April 30th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
WAIT!Th episode is better than last week's but that's a low bar. I'm sure the chemistry between Liv and Jo will still be there next week and there might be a more plausible plot, so don't rush out to see it. I think some of Mariska's fans tell her there's chemistry and most of the general public don't believe an attractive man and woman can work together for years without having sex (apparently) so there is external reinforcement of the idea. But when Meloni and Hargitay flirt I find it creepy, so I don't know how anyone can define that as "chemistry".

Must go to bed now...
gigi_5gigi_5 on April 30th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, ok, thanks for the warning ;) I think I'll just wait till the end of the season and then read episode comments and choose the episode that sucked the least ;)

Yeh, I was thinking more along the lines of her insisting on chemistry with Meloni, so people wouldn't get 'weird' ideas like her having chemistry with Smarch. Maybe I'm just being an arse...
butchbensonlivs on April 28th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
mmmmmm... Spandex
i think this is a perfect setting for these two. You write it really well, flows right. I haven't seen another story that takes both of them into witsec, so it's a really good read, very original, thanks to shamesis for the spark to the muse!
allie_svuallie_svu on April 29th, 2010 01:37 am (UTC)
Re: mmmmmm... Spandex
Hey, thanks. I am also grateful to shamesis for the prompt. I'm still hoping for many other writers to take up the challenge. There are so many possibilities for new situations in which they can be placed, while remaining true to the characters and pre-"Loss" canon.
laurel_hardylaurel_hardy on April 29th, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'd love another serving. Am I being a pig? There's relief that the news isn't horrific, yet the 'good' news packs it's own punch. Not that they haven't already dealt with tougher issues. And they could still turn to Aspen for some aid in 'relaxation'! I mean yoga and meditation are great, but why limit yourself?
allie_svuallie_svu on May 2nd, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
Ha! I hadn't honestly thought about getting them stoned. I know Alex would do it, but could Olivia get past the ingrained "it's against the law" attitude towards things she had as a cop? I'll have to think about that...

Thanks for reading and for posting.