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Fic: "Second Chances" (Alex/Olivia, SVU - Part XV)

Title: “Second Chances” (Part 15/??)
Authors: scarletbunny63 & bcharmer23
Pairing: Alex Cabot/Olivia Benson
Fandom: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: Approx. 5,825
Spoilers: Through “Lead” #10.15
Summary: Neither of us liked the way “SVU” handled Alex’s return in Season 10.  This is our take on why she stayed away from Olivia following her release from WPP and whether Olivia is willing to take a chance on loving Alex again once she knows the truth.
Warnings/Author’s Note:  This story contains references to a date rape.  There are no explicit descriptions or depictions of the assault in this chapter.
Disclaimer: No infringement of NBC or Dick Wolf intended.
Authors’ Note: We never intended to take a year between posting chapters 14 and 15, or to make those of you that contacted us wonder if this would forever be a WIP, but life in all its glory happened to both of us in different ways.  We won’t bore you with the details, but we wanted to let you know that we’re both in a place where we can concentrate on writing as a team once again.  And for anyone that has stuck with the story and waited patiently for this update… thank you!

Part I   Part II   Part III   Part IV   Part V
PartVI   Part VII Part VIII Part IX   Part X
Part XI Part XII Part XIII PartXIV

Jack Hammond lowered the receiver back to the cradle.  Frustrated, he’d only just managed to keep from slamming the phone down.  It had been almost seven months since he’d opened the case against Luke Jansen; nearly seven months of investigation that hadn’t yielded anything but a couple flimsy leads, nothing concrete and certainly nothing more than circumstantial evidence.  It wasn’t nearly enough to get Jansen off the streets and behind bars where he belonged.  And now his superiors were questioning his use of resources on a case that normally they wouldn’t be involved in and that seemed to be going nowhere.

Hammond had tried to buy them more time by explaining the sting operation they were getting in place for the trip he was scheduled to make in few months.  The brass was unmoved and he’d only managed to buy his team one more week.  Agent Coughlin was going to have to scramble and shift gears from surveillance to an active op for the suspect’s next scheduled trip, which was in three days.

His head had started to pound the longer the call went on and he knew it was because his blood pressure was spiking.  Jack could deal with whatever his superiors dished out.  He wasn’t so sure he could handle letting Alex Cabot down if he was unable to bring the man that raped her to justice.

He picked up his cell phone and dialed Agent Coughlin’s number.  She had contacted him earlier to let him know that surveillance was set and would proceed as planned.  Now he had to change that plan and he hoped that her team was as ready as her briefings had lead him to believe.

“Coughlin,” he barked when she answered.  “Hammond.  There’s a change in plans.  The op is a go for Atlanta.”

“Atlanta?” she asked incredulously.  “I thought the op was a go for his Denver trip in a few months.”

Hammond’s utter silence on the other end told Coughlin that she was not saying what he obviously wanted to hear.  She cleared her throat.  “Sir, if I may ask why has the timetable been shortened?”

“I have to re-allocate our resources to other active investigations that have been lingering on the back burner.”  He knew a surefire way to lose credibility in the agency was to second guess his superiors with one of his subordinates.  “This is the last chance we’re going to get to catch this bastard, Agent Coughlin.  Do whatever you need to do to make that happen.”

“Sir, you’re asking for a lot in a very little time. We already have one of our Denver agents prepared to go under cover, the cooperation of local authorities… That took months of paperwork and red tape and now you expect me to replicate all that effort in a new town, in less than a week?” Her tone was filled with frustration and measured anger. She was a special agent, not a superhero.

“Yes.  I do.  You have contacts within the Atlanta police department, correct?  I suggest you get off the phone with me and on the phone with your contacts down there to make sure this operation is a go,” he said sharply.  “I’ve seen you do more with less time and less resources.  I want you to keep me apprised every step of the way.  Understood?”

She sighed, “Yes...sir. I’ll call you as soon as I have any information.” She slammed the handset down into the cradle after she heard the call end and proceeded to rip down every single sheet of paper she had pinned to the strategy board in her office.  She called her administrative assistant in and tasked him with changing her previously scheduled flight and getting her onto the next one into Atlanta.

Coughlin returned to her desk and opened the file, pulling out Jansen’s itinerary for the Atlanta trip.  She checked her notes about his flights in and out, the hotel where he’d be staying and the subsidiary company he’d be doing business with before pulling up information for Atlanta’s Special Victims Unit.  She needed to make a call to their captain to get the ball rolling.

**********************************

Captain Cragen glanced out into the bullpen, his brow furrowing when he didn’t see Olivia initially.  “Elliot, where’s your partner?”

“Right here, Captain,” Olivia called to him as she stepped into the squad room.  “What’s up?”

“I need to see you in my office.” It was a familiar order, one that usually carried a lot of weight with it, but this time was different. He had access to information that was going to affect Olivia and Alex drastically and he felt guilty that he had to relay the news to one of his best detectives.

She followed him without a word and took a seat when he indicated that she should sit.  “Captain?”  Olivia studied his face looking for some clue as to why she had been summoned.

“I just got off the phone with Hammond.” He struggled to keep the sigh out of his voice. He didn’t need to add his own emotion to the already somber news.

Olivia sat forward and tried unsuccessfully to temper the surge of adrenaline that came each time Cragen brought her in for a briefing.  “Please tell me they caught him.”

“I wish I could, Olivia, but it seems there’s been a small hitch. Hammond’s superiors have given him a hard deadline and now he has one week left to collar Jansen.” The look on her face as she received the news said it all. He wished he could’ve sugar coated it, taken the edge off, but she deserved the honest truth.

“One week?  That's not a small hitch.”  She stood when the combination of adrenaline, aggravation and dread became too much to allow her to sit still.  “What happens if they don’t meet the deadline?” she asked, her voice pitching a touch higher.

“If they miss the window…it’s over, at least for Hammond’s team. I’m sorry, Liv.” He walked around to the front of his desk. “I know this wasn’t what you wanted to hear.”

The thought of having to break the news to Alex made her sick to her stomach.  “I know you can’t tell me any details, but do they at least have a plan?  Do they have a shot of catching him in the next seven days?”

“Hammond reiterated that he has his best agent on the case and he’s confident that if anyone can make it happen, she can.” There was very little comfort in Hammond’s words and Don was certain that it would devastate Alex on a level beyond what he was already seeing in Olivia’s dark eyes.

She paced the small area in front of her captain’s desk helplessly.  “I… I can’t tell Alex.”  Olivia glanced at the floor, unable to take the look of compassion on Cragen’s face.  “If they don’t catch him… I’ll tell her then, but not now.  I don’t want her upset anymore than she’s been the past six months waiting for them to get this guy.”

“Are you sure that’s how you want to handle this? If she finds out…” Cragen was never one to get in the middle of another person’s affairs, but he knew how much Olivia loved Alex and the last thing he wanted was for this to hurt them any more than it already had.

“I appreciate your concern, but this is my decision to make.”  She stopped before she placed her hand on the door.  “Thank you for the briefing.”  Olivia didn’t look back as she opened the door and walked back out into the bullpen, her superior’s words echoing in her head.

Elliot looked up from his computer when he heard hard and hurried footsteps approaching. “Liv, what’s wrong?” Years of working together had made it remarkably easy for Elliot to read his partner. Whatever it was that she and Cragen had talked about in his office had Olivia teetering on the edge.

“I need some air.”  She grabbed her leather jacket off the back of her chair without slowing down.  “Just give me a minute, okay.”  Olivia made a beeline for the stairwell, wanting nothing more than to call Alex just to hear her voice, but knowing her lover would know something was wrong the minute she heard her voice.

Sitting on the sidelines and out of the information loop had been difficult since Hammond had agreed to open an investigation, but knowing it was about to be shut down and that that there was a high probability that they wouldn’t be able to arrest and prosecute Jansen given the new deadline was wreaking havoc on her emotional state.

The sting of the cold January air took her breath away when she burst through the door into the motor pool.  The frigid air was enough of a shock to her system that she was able to think clearly again.  The captain was right.  Keeping the information from Alex now would only compound the impact once she did finally share the news.

“Damnit,” she muttered as she pulled her cell from her pocket and pressed the number 1 on the touch screen.

Alex wiped her hands when her phone started to ring, shades of pink and purple finding their way onto a terrycloth towel. “Hey, honey. What’s going on?” she asked, the phone resting on her shoulder as she washed the remnants of finger paint from her fingers and nails.

Olivia winced when she heard the smile in Alex’s voice. “I can’t just call to say ‘hello’ because I miss you?” she asked in as even a tone as she could manage.

Alex chuckled and dried her hands, “Of course you can...it was just unexpected, I guess. Are you working late tonight or should we set a place at the table?”

Chloe’s head snapped up from her masterpiece, her eyes lit up like lights on a Christmas tree. “Momma?” She ran over to Alex, her mom stopping her up short to avoid getting paint all over her clothes.

“Wait,” Alex whispered as she tried to help Chloe clean up and listen to Liv at the same time.

“I’ll be home for dinner unless we catch a case.  How are you and the munchkin doing?  Are you having a good day?”  She hated making meaningless small talk, but the moment she heard Alex’s voice she knew she couldn’t tell her about Cragen’s briefing over the phone.

“Yeah. As a matter of fact, she has a surprise for you when you get home. Do you want to talk to her?”

Chloe was jumping up and down, nodding wildly so her mom would notice and let her talk to Olivia.

“Absolutely.”  She couldn’t help but grin when she heard Chloe’s voice as Alex handed her the cell phone.  “Hey, Chloe.  Are you and mommy having a great day?”

“Yeah! We’re painting and mommy let me do…” She counted on her fingers. “...four pictures and one’s for you.” She was excited for Olivia to see it and maybe put it up on the fridge.

“You painted a special picture just for me?  Thank you, sweetie.  I can’t wait to see it.  Will you give me a hint?” Sometimes that worked, but most of the time, Chloe had a flair for the dramatic and made Olivia wait for her surprises.

“Um…” Chloe thought about it. “It’s blue.” She knew that was Olivia’s favorite color, so she made sure to use lots of blue in the picture.

“Is it a picture of the ocean with lots of fish?”  Even though she had a difficult conversation to have later in the evening, simply hearing Alex’s and Chloe’s voices soothed some of the apprehension away.

“No,” Chloe giggled. “I’m not telling! Hey, momma? Will you finger paint with me when you come home?” She wanted to make a picture for her mommy, but she couldn’t if Alex was helping her.

“I will.  You keep being a good girl and have fun with mommy.  I’ll see you for dinner.”  There was a rustle of noise before Alex came back on the line.  “Someone is excited about her pictures.”

“She was hyper all morning so I thought a little creativity would help her focus. We’re going to have a whole gallery by the time she’s done painting with you tonight. I can’t wait for you to get home,” Alex said wistfully. Even though Liv had only been gone for a few hours, the winter blues had taken a strong hold on Alex and she found herself missing her girlfriend in a way she hadn’t since before the holidays.

“I’ll be there just as soon as I can.  Promise.”  A gust of wind sent a chill down her spine.  “I’m going to head back inside before I freeze.  I love you, Alex.”

“I love you, too, Liv. We’ll see you in a few hours.” Alex hung up and ushered Chloe back to the table so they could keep painting for a little while longer. As much as her daughter needed something to occupy her mind, Alex did too.

Truth be told, she was nervous about the ongoing investigation and the lack of information only served to make make her worry and fear the worst.  She couldn’t live her life comfortably knowing he was out there, that he could find her or worse, find out about Chloe.

If they didn’t catch him, she’d be forced to make a drastic change or risk being paralyzed by fear for the rest of her life.

**********************************

Olivia pulled the scarf away from her face as she stepped into the loft.  The rest of her shift was uneventful, save for Elliot shooting concerned looks her way every thirty minutes or so as they sat across from one another catching up on their individual stacks of paperwork.  It made the day go by slowly and when 5 p.m. rolled around she jumped up, anxious to get home to her family.

“Hey… anyone home?” she called when near silence greeted her arrival.

Chloe’s head popped up over the back of the couch and she giggled, “Momma!” She got up and ran over to Olivia, hugging her tightly around the legs.

“There’s one of my girls.”  Olivia said as she picked Chloe up and hugged her tight.  “Ooh, I missed you today,” she said as she smushed kisses all over Chloe’s face until she was squirming and giggling.

“I missed you, momma.” Chloe put her head on Olivia’s shoulder. “Can we paint now?” She’d been eagerly waiting for Olivia to get home and help her and now that she was there, Chloe didn’t want to waste another second.

“Can I go give your mommy a hug first and change so I don’t get paint on my work clothes?” she kissed the tip of her nose.  “Hey… isn’t there a special picture for me to see?”

“Oh yeah!” Chloe ran to her room to get it, giggling excitedly the whole way.

Alex couldn’t help but smile when she peeked her head out of the kitchen. “Hey, honey, sorry I didn’t meet you at the door. I had my hands a little dirty from dinner. She wiped now citrusy fresh hands on a towel and gave her girlfriend a tight hug. “I missed you today.”

“That seems to be going around. I missed you, too.”  She pulled back just enough to kiss Alex softly.  “Can I do anything to help with dinner before I get roped into a quick finger painting session?”  She stayed in Alex’s embrace and soaked in her warm softness.

“No, I’m okay. I’ve got the salad made, chicken is in the oven and I picked up a pecan pie when Chloe and I went down to the market this morning. All you need to do is get comfortable and spend time with the budding artist.” Alex could see the weariness in Olivia’s eyes and kissed her again. “Hard day today?”

“I’ve had better,” she answered honestly, if vaguely.  “I’ll tell you after we put Chloe down for the night, okay?”  Olivia kissed her again before easing away.  She could feel the weight of the upcoming conversation bearing down on her, but she tried to push it aside until she had to deal with it a little later in the evening.

“Okay.” Alex knew there was more that Olivia wasn’t saying, but she wouldn’t push her, not when they still had dinner and an evening with Chloe ahead of them. Olivia should be able to enjoy that time without any intrusion from work spoiling it for her. “I’ll call you when dinner’s on the table. You go enjoy some time with Chloe.”

“Thanks, sweetheart.”  Olivia was almost to their bedroom when she felt Chloe’s impact against her leg when she came barreling out of her room.  She reached down and touched the top of her head.  “I still have to get changed, so give me another minute.”

“Momma?” Chloe had the picture in an envelope for Olivia and looked up. “Can I come with you?” She put on her best grin, “Please?”

“Yes.  Come on.”  Olivia made a quick change out of her work clothes and got into a comfy pair of grey sweats, thick socks and a light blue Henley.  She sighed in relief as she unclasped her bra and pulled it free from beneath her top.  When she turned back towards the bed she laughed.  Chloe was bouncing on the bed.  “Come here, cracker jack.”

Chloe bounced onto her butt and then climbed down and ran to Liv. “Momma, if I’m good, can we go see Mickey again?” They’d had such a great time during Christmas vacation that Chloe wanted to go back to Disney World and see all the princesses again.

“I’m sure we’ll go back to Disney World again.  We had a good time while we were there, huh?  What was your favorite part of our visit?” Olivia asked knowing that the answer was likely to change on any given day.

“I likeded the castle and when we went on the Nemo ride.” She peered up at Olivia and held up the envelope. “Here.”

“Is this my picture?”  She chuckled when Chloe nodded exaggeratedly.  “I like the castle and Nemo rides, too.”  Olivia carefully opened the envelope and pulled the picture out.  “Sweetie… you painted me such a pretty picture.”

“That’s me and mommy and you and Sprinkles.” She pointed to each one and looked back up at Olivia.

She was glad for the narrative, because she wasn’t sure what the smallest, black figure was supposed to be.  “You did a really, really good job.  Can I take this to work and put it on my desk?”

It wasn’t the fridge, but Chloe still thought it would be okay. “Yeah. Momma, I want a kitty… I want a black one and I’ll name her Sprinkles like that one.”

The refrain was a familiar one.  Chloe had been asking for a kitten for weeks.  “I know you do, but what did mommy and I say about that?  Do you remember?  We’re going to wait until you’re just a little bit older so you can be big enough to take care of a kitty.”

She pouted. “But...I’m bigger now. See?” She stood on her tippy toes and batted her eyelashes. “I can help with the kitty. Please, momma? Please?” She jutted out her bottom lip for effect.

“I know.  You’re growing up more and more every day.” Olivia scooped her up and pressed her finger against Chloe’s pouting lips.  “We’ll talk about it more later.  Now though… now you and I are going to go paint.  Okay?” she asked before kissing her cheek.

“Oh...kay,” she said on a deep sigh. She put her head back on Olivia’s shoulder and hung heavily as her momma carried her back into the living room.

Chloe’s disappointment was palpable, but Olivia knew if she could get her involved in another picture, her attitude would improve almost immediately.  “I think you and I should work on a picture together for mommy.  Would you like that?”

“Uh-huh,” she said, still bummed out that she wasn’t going to get a kitty. “Can I make mommy’s picture pink?” She wanted to paint them back at Disney World in front of the castle.

“You can do anything you’d like.  Let’s get your smock on so you don’t get your clothes dirty.”  She picked up the spotted material from the chair and helped Chloe slip it on, tying it loosely around her waist.  “Will you get us set up while I grab something to drink?”

Chloe grabbed the pots of paint from the flip-top box that Alex kept them stored in and set all the colors on the table while Olivia was in the kitchen. She reached for the pad of paper and flipped it open to a clean sheet, her little fingers wiggling in anticipation. “Momma, I’m ready!”

Olivia snagged a piece of baguette and dipped it into the olive oil herb mixture.  “Duty calls.”  She kissed Alex on the cheek after popping the bread into her mouth.  She picked up her beer bottle and carried it back out to the living room.

A laugh burst forth when she saw tiny fingers wiggling over Chloe’s head.  “Someone is anxious to paint again.”  She kissed Chloe’s cheek and sat down beside her.  “Are we working together or doing separate pictures?”

“You make one, too, momma.” She tore a sheet of paper for Olivia and pushed it across the table to her. “I’m pink!” She held up the pot of hot pink, anxious for her momma to open it so that she could get started.

“Pink for my princess,” she said as she unscrewed the lid with a flourish.  Olivia opened up the blue for herself and began to paint a blue sky background on her paper.  After a moment, she felt Alex watching her and turned her head to see her lover with her hand in front of her mouth, not even close to hiding the huge smile on her face.

She drank it in, knowing that her lover might not be smiling again anytime soon once Olivia broke the news to her.  “Why are you so amused?”

“Because my girlfriend and my daughter are so adorable painting their masterpieces.” She walked over and kissed Olivia on the top of the head. “I’m so glad you’re home, Liv. Evenings just aren’t the same when you’re not here.” She kissed her lover gently on the cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”  Olivia turned her head and pressed a kiss to Alex’s hand where it rested on her shoulder.  “How long do we have before I need to clear the table for dinner?” She felt like a fraud asking such a mundane question and pretending that everything was okay.

“The chicken should be done in about half an hour. I think that’s plenty of time for our baby girl to finish up her picture.”

Chloe was working the pink paint furiously over the paper, making sure to cover it from corner to corner so that she could carve out the castle with her index finger. “Mommy, don’t look. It’s a surprise,” she said when she noticed Alex looking in her direction.

“Oh, sorry, I won’t peek,” Alex said with a chuckle. “I think I’ll leave you two to it and go back to my post in the kitchen so she can finish her picture in peace.” She kissed the top of Olivia’s head again and ruffled her hair before leaving them to return to the kitchen.

“Yell if you need any help.”  Olivia turned back to her piece of paper and slid it next to Chloe’s.  “Can you paint a pink butterfly for me?”

Chloe looked at Olivia’s blue paper. “Um, I dunno how…” She knew what butterflies looked like, but she wasn’t sure she could do it on paper. “Will you help?”

“What if I paint the outline… the shape of a butterfly and you can paint the inside pink? Will that work?”  When Chloe nodded, Olivia dipped her fingertip into the red paint and drew the outline.  “Okay, kiddo, you’re up.”

Chloe swiped pink paint mostly inside of the red outline and grinned when she saw what definitely looked like a butterfly when she was done. “Momma?”

“Yeah, sweetie?”

“Can we give this one to mommy better? I like it a lot.”

“We sure can.  Can you paint a ‘C’ right here?” she asked, pointing to the bottom left corner.

Chloe painted a pink “C” where Olivia pointed and looked at her momma. “Like that?”

“Perfect.”  Olivia painted a slash and then an ‘O’ next to it.  “It’s just missing one thing.”  She painted the outline of a heart.  “Better right?”

“Uh-huh. It’s perfect.” She looked to her unfinished picture and picked it up. “Momma, can we make another butterfly? I want a purple one to be friends with mommy’s.”

“You got it.”  Olivia wiped the paint off of her fingers before opening the purple and black paints.  “Show me where you want it.”

“Here.” Chloe pointed to the middle. She would paint a picture of the castle another day, but for now, she was enthralled with the butterflies and hoped that they could live on the fridge to make her mommy smile.

She followed her daughter’s instructions and outlined the butterfly smack in the middle of the page.  “All yours,” she stole a kiss as she slid the paper over.

While Chloe was filling in the wings with bold strokes of purple, she said simply, but meaningfully, “I want mommy to be happy.”

Olivia quickly wiped her hands and pulled Chloe into her lap.  “I do, too.  You know what makes her the happiest?  When she gets extra special hugs and kisses from you.  Why don’t you go surprise her in the kitchen?”

Chloe looked down at the two pictures, the butterflies different, but beautiful together. “My picture’s not done yet, momma. We need to put letters on it.” Chloe pressed a purple tinted finger against the paper to draw a “C” and then painted a heart for her mommy. “Your turn.”

Olivia followed Chloe’s lead and painted a heart with the letter “O” in the middle of it.  “Let’s go see if these make mommy smile.”  She picked up both pictures at the corners and followed Chloe into the kitchen, clearing her throat as her daughter cleared the doorway.

Alex looked back over her shoulder, a smile coming to her face when she saw the pictures that Chloe and Olivia held up for her. “Wow, those are beautiful butterflies. You two did a wonderful job.” She never could’ve imagined her daughter having a second mom, let alone one as wonderful, loving and accepting as Olivia and it warmed her heart that Chloe could enjoy nights like these and be happy.

Chloe walked up to her mommy. “Can they live on the ‘frigerator, mommy? I want them to make you smile so you don’t get sad and cry anymore…”

Olivia watched the emotions chase across Alex’s face as she knelt down in front of Chloe.  “What do you think sweetheart, will our butterflies make you smile?” She wasn’t blind or naïve.  Olivia could spot a forced smile on Alex’s face in less than a second.

Alex sniffled, struggling to keep her tears at bay when she took the pictures from her girlfriend and daughter, “Always. I’ll put them up on the fridge once I’m done with dinner, but for now, sweetie, why don’t you go to your bathroom and get cleaned up for dinner, okay?”

Olivia jumped out of the way when Chloe dashed past her.  “Are you okay?” She asked as she stood close to Alex, her hand resting on the small of her lover’s back.  “Do you want to talk?”

Alex turned to face her girlfriend. “It’s…I just kept thinking about him.  No matter what I’m doing, he’s always there.  I try to keep it in the back of my mind and not let it affect my happiness with you and Chloe, but the fact that we haven’t heard from Hammond is making me really anxious. I feel like I’m just sitting around waiting for him to find out that I’m here and I have his daughter. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this.” She put her arms around Olivia and held her close. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize.”  Olivia’s heart sank when she felt Alex shaking in her arms.  “You don’t have to be afraid.  He’s not going to find out that you’re here or about Chloe.  She’s not his daughter.  She’s ours.”  She smoothed her hands down Alex’s back.  “Would you feel better if you could get out of town for a few days… just until the anxiety settles down?”

Alex tried to take deep breaths and nodded, never loosening her grip on Olivia. “I think that would be good. I hate feeling like this and the more time that goes by, the more I’m convinced he’s gonna get away with what he did to me.” It had become the specter in the room, taunting Alex no matter where she was or who she was with.

“He won’t.  I promise you that, Alex.  Even if I have to take care of things myself.”  She’d imagined putting a bullet between his eyes more than once.  In her dreams Olivia tortured him before she ended his miserable life.  She felt Alex stiffen in her arms.  “I won’t have to though.  Hammond’s team is going to come through for you.”

Chloe came bounding in, “All clean, mommy! Can we eat now?” She could smell the chicken wafting through the house and her tummy was growling.

Alex pulled back from Olivia’s embrace after quickly wiping away her tears. She wasn’t willing to let her daughter see her crying again. “Yeah, baby. Um, just go sit down at the table and momma and I will get you a plate.”

Olivia pulled the plates down from the cabinet and handed one to Alex silently.  She could feel the walls go up around her wife and in the moment she was helpless to do anything to bring them back down.  She understood it was what Alex had to do to get through the meal so she wouldn’t further worry their daughter.

*************************************

After a quiet dinner and a movie that Chloe picked out, Olivia backed out of Chloe’s room and shut the door softly.  She could feel Alex’s hands on her back and shoulder before she turned to face her.  “She’s out.  I didn’t even get to the end of the chapter before she rolled over and hugged her teddy bear.”

“She had a very busy day of artistic work, our little Picasso.” Alex took Olivia’s hand. “I have the feeling she’s not the only one who’s exhausted. Your eyes look like they’re ready to close, too.”

“I am tired, but there’s something we need to talk about.”  She paused, taking Alex’s hand and leading her into their room.  Olivia shut the door before joining Alex on their bed.  “I wish I didn’t have to tell you this… not tonight, not when you’ve had a tough day, but I don’t think you’d forgive me for keeping this from you even one night.”

Alex’s stomach knotted so tightly that it felt as though it might turn itself inside-out. She could tell from the tone of Olivia’s voice that the news was going to be heavy and it made her heart beat faster. “What…? What’s going on? Has something happened with my case?”

Olivia slid her hand over Alex’s where it rested on the bed.  “Cragen called me into his office today to let me know that he’d heard from Hammond.”  She could see the turmoil in Alex’s eyes and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.  “Hammond is getting pressure from his bosses to wrap up your case.”

“Pressure? What does that mean?” Alex’s head started to hurt, her neck suddenly stiff from the impending doom she sensed. She’d been on the receiving end of impossible odds more than once and she understood just how deeply bureaucracy and red tape could affect the outcome of a case.

Olivia moved closer to Alex, her voice gentle when she spoke.  “They’ve given him a deadline.  They’ve got a week before Hammond will lose all of the resources he’s using.  I’m sorry.  I hate that I have to tell you this.”

“A week?! No! No, they can’t do that! They have to know how dangerous Jansen is. If they let him get away, you know what’s going to happen, Liv.” Logically Alex knew none of this was Olivia’s fault, but she pulled her hand away and shot up from the bed, needing a little space while she processed the news.

Olivia ignored the small stab of rejection as she forced herself to remain where she was instead of going to Alex.  “I know it’s a lot to absorb, but… we have to have faith.”

“Faith? Olivia, we now have seven days before that son of a bitch gets away with what he did to me. Seven days...and you want me to have faith?” She shook her head, “I’m sorry, but the realist in me knows what this means. He’s going to walk and continue raping women if someone doesn’t stop him.”

Olivia moved from the bed and caught Alex by the elbow as she tried to pace past her.  “Babe, I understand your frustration.  I do.  I felt the same way when the captain shared the news with me.”

She looked into stormy blue eyes, her hand automatically rising to caress her cheek.  “Hammond has said all along that he has his best agent in charge of this investigation.  I have to believe that they’re going to catch him and lock him away for a long time.”

“If he gets away, we’re not staying in Manhattan. We’re taking Chloe and we’re leaving, permanently. I won’t run the risk of him finding out about our daughter.” A tear fell from her right eye and she immediately swiped it away, unwilling to cry another tear over Jansen.

“We’re not going to need to move.  They’re going to get him and if they don’t… I promise you, he’ll never know about Chloe.  I’ll make certain of that.”

Alex wrapped her arms around Olivia and held onto her tightly. “Thank you… Just...please don’t let me go right now. I need you.”

It wrecked Olivia to see her strong, independent girlfriend so off balance and scared.  It wasn’t the first time that she wondered if pushing Alex to try to get Jansen off the streets was a mistake.  She was becoming increasingly worried that Alex might not recover if Hammond’s team was unable to make an arrest and successfully prosecute Alex’s attacker.  “I won’t let go of you.  Not ever.”

Part XVI
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I'm so glad you have update this story. This is the only one I read of this fandom. Love little Chloe & how she has taken to Olivia & the support & love that Olivia has for Alex.
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December 2014

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