Disclaimer: The story is mine, characters are not.
Author’s Notes:First I’d like to thank atfm for making me this lovely S/O icon. *shows it off* It’s sooo pretty! *glee* To all of you who asked for more Sofia/Olivia, thank atfm because her icon-making is what bribed me to write this one. Then I’d like to commend my darling Muse for sitting put with me for the entire weekend+ while I wrote, rewrote and then edited this story. Also, mucho love and a big thanks to my darling racethewind10 for doing a beta coauthoring on this piece (so any mistakes you see in here are actually her fault, not mine). And finally I’d like to thank Olivia and Sofia for looking so damn good together; it’s practically a sin.
Who ever it was that suggested a vacation in Vegas was probably insane. And you must be even more so because you agreed that it was a good idea. When did the blinding lights of endless neon signs, the perky tunes of slot machines and too many hyped up tourists swarming the Strip become a good way to unwind from the hectic mayhem that are streets of New York, and your job of policing them?
In your defense, it was a way to escape from the sorrow and despair you were faced with on seemingly daily basis. Wounded souls and ripped up lives: women and children assaulted in ways no human being should ever even imagine, let alone witness. Despite it all, it was your life, your daily routine and no matter how weird the looks you were getting seemed to be, you still loved your job, and you loved your colleagues. And Elliot, him you adored. That big hunk of teddy bear that wore steel armor around his heart, making him seem too strong and detached enough for his own good. Eventually it cost him everything he loved the most. Eventually, it cost you both too much, and you lost each other.
After the third day of your Nevada escape and so much alcohol in your system that you were starting to lose your grip on reality, the cold, icy numbness you have felt since the moment Elliot lashed out on you and you brokenly stepped into Cragen’s office to request a new partner started to thaw off. None of it had mattered at the moment when you paid your stay at one of the more luxurious suites at whatever casino it was you first stepped foot in and then practically blew your entire savings at the blackjack table in mere minutes, but that blessed detachment was wearing away faster than you could patch it with liquor.
You live only once, you told yourself as you saw your reflection in the bathroom mirror after you tried to ease some of the hangover from your head by splashing water on your face. That saying did nothing to help the pounding in your head or the weight on your heart.
“Room service,” the muffled voice came behind the thick hotel room door after a soft knock. You dried your face and then slowly went for the door to claim your order of something warm, soothing and gratifying. You made the order earlier over the phone after you found an enticing ad in the yellow pages. Something you would never, never, do back home.
She was in her early twenties. Iris, that’s what she said her name was. With her eyes as green as early spring, porcelain skin and a long, flowing abundance of auburn hair, she could have easily been the most beautiful woman you have seen in years. When she smiled, a tiny zirconium stud glimmered on her front tooth and you smiled back. You couldn’t help thinking however, how everything in Vegas seemed to be too flashy and bright for your taste. At the moment though, you liked Iris just fine.
Her touch was sure and knowing, skilled and arousing. You needed so badly to loose yourself in her touch, it took you a moment to realize that your eyes were starting to well up with tears. In the back of your mind you tried to convince yourself that the glorious sensation of this young and lithe body under you is what is unleashing your pent up emotions, but even as you thought it you knew it was a lie.
It’s been years since you allowed yourself to make love to someone, not to just have sex. Rough, exhausting, and emotionless sex. How ever attending she was, and how ever soft her voice and her touch were, you couldn’t expect fulfillment in the way you truly needed it from someone you were paying to be naked with you.
She kissed you on the mouth when it was all over and you came back from the bathroom only to find her already fully dressed. A gentle press of her cherry flavored lips against yours, warm and assuring. She gave you a sad smile, possibly mirroring the emptiness you had seen in your own eyes, and thanked you when you handed her the money she earned in previous hours by keeping you company.
“You deserve better,” she said before she disappeared behind the hotel room door and you swore to yourself that if the time and circumstances were different, you could easily fall in love with that girl. And then you’d get your heart broken in too many pieces to count, as usual.
You thought about your mother a lot lately. About how you never really got along and how you resent her for so many things. About how you actually miss her. With those thought of course, came that awful, feeling that constantly lurked somewhere in the back of your mind that you’ll end up just like her.
Like mother, like daughter. And then there was your father; may he burn in hell. Sometimes you just wished you could turn your mind off and not think about anything at all.
The bartender set another beer on the bar in front of you just as a delighted shriek accompanied with wild ringing and popping of balloons boomed somewhere behind your back. You didn’t turn to see who the lucky bastard with a fresh million in his pocket is, nor did you register the bartender’s amused whistle at commotion that the whole thing caused.
“Check, please,” you said instead, and then tossed a few folded bills onto the counter as you slid bonelessly down from your chair.
Summer in the desert is pretty damn unforgiving, you noticed as you stepped out in the heat from the coziness of the air-conditioned casino lobby. Not unlike the summer in New York, but not as heavy. Here, it’s a feeling of scorching air sucking the last bit of moisture from your skin; sharp, dry, merciless sun leering at you and your attempts to stay cool.
Outside the casinos flowed rivers of people; smiling tourists snapping pictures and chirping along, big dancing ads, screens screaming promises of entertainment all over the city... It annoyed the hell out of you. But then again, you came here on your own will when you could have just as easily rented out a cabin somewhere in Godforsakensville, Alaska, drowned in self-remorse and then drank yourself silly. Not unlike what you’re doing right here in Vegas.
You walked around for god knows how long, lost in your thoughts, daydreams, fears… the lot. Even though the sun had set and the evening offered the beginnings of a chill to offset the angry heat, you felt thirsty like you haven’t seen a glass of liquid in days. And you weren’t craving for water, either.
The name of the bar didn’t matter. It was that standard hole-in-the-wall type of joint, a place where shifty looking types and pretty loose-principled ladies liked to hang about. The lighting was dim and the smoke was as thick as a thundercloud. Somewhere in the corner stood an old jukebox that played something bluesy, and right on the money. There was a vacant seat next to the bar and you set your sights on it.
“Whiskey,” you said as soon as the bartender appeared in front of you and gave you the inquiring nod as if to ask what your poison for the evening will be. He didn’t seem surprised when you spoke though, because this surely wasn’t a place you’d come in, had one drink and then left.
“Whiskey, it is,” he nodded and then placed a shot glass and a bottle on the counter in front of you.
Jesus, did you seem that desperate?
You expected it to happen, but still hoped it wouldn’t, and when it did, you just tossed back your drink and poured another. The guy came over, hovered above you for a minute and then leaned in.
“How ‘bout a dance?” His eyes narrowed at you, his head tilting, allowing himself to have a nice view of you, from head to toe.
“No, thank you.”
“You seem lonely. I am,” the guy was persistent, “Why don’t we make it a date?”
Still not moving your attention from the drink in your hand, you kept your voice steady, “Why don’t you go away and leave me be?”
“You should let me show you the sights of the city.” He wasn’t going to give in.
He moved in closer, invading your personal space, and on impulse you reached for your hip only to find the space that your service weapon usually occupied - empty.
“Are you deaf or something?” A new voice came from your other side, and you jerked at the sound of it. “The lady said she wasn’t interested.”
From the corner of your eye you could see a shadow move in and then lean against the counter on your left. You lifted your gaze from your drink just far enough to take in the sight of the faces on the both sides of you. The guy was a sweaty mess - from his unshaved face and crumpled clothes to the way he propped against the bar - showing how he was well over his one drink too many.
And then there was the leveled stance, cold stare and fixed jaw of the newcomer. You noticed that, because you're a cop and can't help notice things like how sober the person is, how their hand strays toward their hip without meaning to... little things. The alcohol means you're not processing it though – just seeing. You're eyes and your brain still aren’t talking.
The two of them glared at each other for a moment with you in the middle. The guy spoke first:
“What,” he growled, “are you her girlfriend or something?”
With a raised eyebrow and a no nonsense tone in her voice, the newcomer offered, “Yeah. I am.”
The guy huffed, giving her and then you, a disgusted look over, “Whatever,” he said and then made himself scarce.
“You’re welcome,” said the woman with a smile, when the intruder was gone and she slid onto the chair next to you. She nodded briefly when the bartender set her drink on the counter.
“I don’t remember asking for protection,” you said flatly. “I can take care of myself just fine.”
Her chuckle made you look in her direction and then take a pause because, even though you realized it was a woman who came to your rescue, your brain was too numb to really look at her. Dressed in black, all profession-like: the pants, the shirt, the jacket, with slick blonde hair tied up in a neat ponytail, she was clearly a stand out from the clientele in this place.
She leaned forward a bit when she took a sip of her drink, and then licked her lips once after she swallowed it. When she smiled, two dimples appeared on each side of her face. Her eyes flashed like blue neon lights. “Really?” She shifted back a bit as if to take you in a bit more carefully, her eyes narrowing. “Didn’t look like that to me.”
Her voice was as smooth and smokey as your drink, but you tried not to think about that. Choosing not to answer, you tossed back another shot of your whiskey, feeling her eyes follow your movements as the liquor burns its way down your throat and you refill your glass.
“So what is a woman like you doing in a place like this?” Her eyes inspected you as she swirled her drink.
Is she for real?
“You have got to be kidding me.” Finally, you detached yourself from the glass and the bottle, pivoting in your seat so you would face her completely.
Her eyes blinked innocently at you, “Oh that wasn’t a line,” she said with a hard smile, “but a legitimate question.”
She nodded, propping her elbow against the counter. “I haven’t seen you here before.”
“I’m a first timer. Just got in to knock back a few drinks before the nasty hangover from last night kicks in.”
Her chuckle was rye and warm and low next to you, “Ah yes, the main rule of responsible drinking.”
“And what are you, a resident knight in a shining armor around here?”
“Maybe,” she shrugged. “I serve and protect for a living. And when I see someone in need of protecting, it just comes naturally.”
The confusion you felt must have been evident on your face. You watched her carefully for a minute until she decided to give you a hint. Reaching with her hand she pushed aside her suit jacket to reveal a shiny badge clipped at her hip.
“Ah Jesus,” you groaned in exasperation, and then reached over to pour yourself another drink.
Her eyes went hard and glittering. “You have something against police officers?”
“No, it’s just that I came to Vegas so I could run away from them for a while.”
“You a fugitive?” The smile was back on her face, but there was an edge to it.
“Worse,” you said and then tossed back your drink, “I’m a detective.” It must have come as a huge surprise to her because she not only raised an eyebrow at you, but also frowned a little. “NYPD,” you clarified.
She recovered quickly. “Sofia Curtis,” she extended her hand for you to shake, a surprised look still on her face, with just a hint of an amused smile curving her lips.
“Olivia Benson,” you breathed. “At your service.” Her eyebrow shot up again, glancing between you and the drink in your hand. “Or not. Whichever.”
The Las Vegas detective sat silently next to you for the next half an hour, slowly sipping on her drink. You eyed the almost empty bottle trying to count back at how many shots of whiskey you knocked back. Seven? Uh, no. Nine. Oh and add to it those two beers you had earlier… Boy oh boy, this surely must have been some sort of a record for you, the usually sober and very responsible detective. New York’s finest.
Hookers and booze, well isn’t that the whole point of this place? You chuckled at the pep talk you gave yourself in your head, making the blonde at your side throw a few glances in your direction.
You had no idea how long it was before she sat her glass down on the counter, “You wanna get out of here,” she spoke out.
Your lips stretched out in a wide and lazy smile, an indication of how much you’ve had to drink. “Lead the way,” you said, slowly sliding down from your chair.
Her fingers had a firm grip on your upper arm when your legs didn’t quite cooperate after they touched the ground. Blue eyes flashed once more at you as she then propped you up to stand straight.
“I’ll take care of that,” she pushed your hand away when you reached into your pocket to fish out the money for the drinks you’ve had. With a quick nod she signaled the bartender and he nodded back, indicating how the tab had been settled, no questions asked.
“You’re pretty strong for a scrawny girl,” you said when the two of you finally left the stuffy atmosphere of the dodgy bar and she practically carried you to her car. She smiled at your comment, not voicing her reply. “But I must warn you,” you continued, the words clumsily slipping off your tongue, “even though my judgment might be compromised by slightly elevated alcohol in my blood I am still perfectly capable of fighting back if you decide to get fresh with me.”
“No fear, detective,” she groaned as she tried to place you in the back seat of her car without you bumping your head against anything in the process. “I wouldn’t dream of taking advantage of your slightly compromised judgment.”
“’Tis a shame,” you mumbled, pretty much to yourself, “’cause I’d let you cop a feel.”
Her voice was hushed and deep. You inhaled and then blinked your eyes a few times to focus on her. She sat across from you, comfortable in her chair, a cup of something steaming – probably coffee – in her hands. Her hair was now loose, just like her shirt was, and she had lost the jacket. You licked your dry lips and blinked again.
“What, enjoying my misery? Or just waiting your chance?” It was still an effort to speak.
She smirked, “I’m not that desperate, detective.”
“But you did bring me to your lair,” you can't seem to stop the biting sarcasm that’s born out of your pain and bitterness. Trying to get yourself under control, you looked around, not seeing much due to the darkness in the room, “and you’re eyeing me like a piece of meat.”
Her smile grew bigger, bolder, and then, you allowed yourself to notice, sexier. “To that much I will admit,” she concurred.
“Hmmm. So now what?” You tilted your head at her. She shook hers and then gave you a shrug. “Well, you picked me up in a bar, not the other way around,” you pointed out.
“Maybe I’d just like to look at you.”
“Is that your kink?” Now it was your turn to arch an eyebrow at her, “You like to watch?”
“My kink,” she gripped the cup in her hands a bit tighter and then took a sip, “is not nearly as passive as that.” You caught yourself mirroring her smile, that teasing tug on the lips, subtle but oh so alluring. “Also, I like my women in a bit more responsive state than you are in right now.”
“So no sex?”
“No sex,” she replied, and then nodded at the cup that sat before you on the coffee table, which you haven’t even noticed. “Drink your tea,” she said.
She wasn’t joking when she said she just wants to look at you. This is how the folks you put in the tank must feel, it popped up in your head, all woozy from alcohol, awkward and gazed at so they wouldn’t do something stupid while drunk. Even though you were well over your drinking limit and it was bloody hard to stay sitting upright, you were doing your best to keep up at the staring contest. In the engulfing dimness of her apartment, her black clothes and piercing eyes, her blonde hair and that detective’s badge seemed to glow in the dark.
You startled when her hand landed on your shoulder. A low growl was all you could let out at the sudden brightness and a vigorous pounding in your head. It took you a few tries until you managed to keep your eyes opened and then you realized that it was now bright daylight outside.
“I fell asleep?”
“Yes.” She nudged you to get your attention and then you saw the glass of water and two aspirin pills she was offering. “This might help.”
She walked about the room, her motion making you a bit queasy. Popping the pills into your mouth and then washing them down with the full glass of water, you managed to clear your head so you could finally notice the blanket that was thrown over you, the pillow and a bucket next to the couch you slept on, in case you had gotten sick. Thankfully, you hadn’t. Moving your attention back to your hostess, you saw that she wore fresh clothes, just as nicely fitting as the ones she wore the night before.
“Sorry to wake you,” she said hastily, “but I have to go to work.” You looked at your watch, it was almost eight o’clock. “I called you a cab.”
“Thank you,” you croaked.
She stopped moving for a moment and looked you over, “Are you gonna be alright?”
You nodded your head and then realized it was a bad idea, “Yeah, I’ll be fine.” Satisfied with your response, she nodded back and then reached over to attach the badge and the gun to her belt.
“What happened,” you asked as you slowly stood up.
There was a sound of car honking outside. “Nothing,” she shook her head at you and slowly guided you to the door.
“But you brought me home…”
Her smile was even brighter in the light of the day, “I saw a woman who was about to get herself into trouble, so I stepped in. I am a police officer after all. The whole serve and protect thing, it works here in Vegas as well.”
You lingered on her doorstep for a minute.
“I’m a little-”
“Disappointed?” She was quick to cut in.
“Confused,” you corrected her.
“Because of the whole… platonic mood of the evening?”
“Yeah,” you smiled at how at ease she was.
Leaning against the doorjamb, she narrowed her eyes and tilted her head to the side, inspecting. “Would it make you feel better if I kissed you right now?”
You blushed like a shy teenager, unable to do anything else in front of her steady gaze and those relentless blue eyes. You hesitated, but she didn’t, because when there was no reply from you, she detached herself from the doorjamb and hooked her fingers behind your neck, pulling you in closer. First you felt her breath against your mouth and that alone made your eyes flutter shut, but when she actually pressed her lips against yours – firm, but not rough – your head was swimming, and it sure as hell wasn’t because of the alcohol you drank the night before.
“I have never,” you gasped, when she broke the kiss, “met anyone like you.”
“Or you’re just not used to being turned down.”
You smiled, “Yeah, that too.”
“Well,” she brushed invisible lint off your shoulder. “Go back to your hotel. Sober up. Clean up.” She waved a piece of paper in front of her face. “Call me, and we’ll see.” There it was, that devilish smile dancing on her lips again, “It would be a shame to send you back home with a broken streak, would it?”
The taxi honked again, urging you on. You waved at the driver to give you one more minute.
“So what you’re saying is that I deserve better than this,” you circled your finger in the space between you, signifying the general feel of the evening.
“Yes,” she crossed her arms over her chest, “that’s exactly what I’m saying.”
You smiled, and its like you have never felt what it is to smile before in your life. It feels new, almost painful...but oh so good. You nodded and then stepped out onto the street. The sun was too bright and the sound of the morning traffic too loud, but you clenched your teeth and slowly walked over to the taxi that waited for you by the curb. You gave the driver the address and then lay back in the seat as you drove towards the Strip. Still tired, with your eyelids heavy and head pounding, you inspected the digits scribbled down on a piece of paper under her name. You folded it carefully and then neatly placed it into the pocket of your jeans You know its there – that she's there, and right now, that's enough.