A/N – Be warned – below is a short, pointless, plotless drabble
My take on what happened post the SVU episode "Acceptable Loss". For all of its inadequacies, I do hope it brings some joy to my fellow BA Shippers.
But We Didn't
The apartment was still and dark when Alex unlocked the deadbolt and slipped through the front door, careful to close it behind her with only the slightest click. The low hum of the refrigerator, the tick of the clock in the kitchen and the melodic jingle of her keys as she hung them on their designated hook were the only audible sounds in the space. At one-thirty in the morning, the adjacent apartments were equally silent, not even the barest rustle in the hallways. The city did sleep sometimes apparently, at least parts of it.
It had drizzled for the majority of the walk home and her overcoat was freckled with moisture as she shrugged out of it and tossed it over the oak bench beside the door. The temperature had dropped significantly since the afternoon but the remnants of that evening's bourbon sufficiently warmed her blood and chased away any threat of a chill. The mail was stacked on the marble island and she used the flashlight on her cell phone to leaf through it rather than turn on a garish overhead florescent kitchen light. Mostly bills, a few product samples, a reminder that his subscription to Psychology Today was about to expire. As she fumbled around in the cupboard beside the oven, groping blindly for a bottle of water, the last vestiges of the day's adrenaline, of the thrill of the chase, waned. A weariness washed over her and settled into the marrow of her bones. It felt so good to be home. Slipping out of her heels, she relished the feeling of the soft plush carpet against her sore feet.
She was almost to the washroom when she noticed a dim light issuing from the den on the other side of the apartment. Immediately she changed direction, tiptoeing quietly across the floor until arriving in the doorway. Leaning against the white doorframe, she folded her arms across her chest and smiled lightly at the sight before her. Slouched in the overstuffed, worn brown leather chair, his long legs were stretched out in front of him, feet propped up on the ottoman. He grasped a thick tome in both hands, releasing it only long enough to flip to the next page. A pair of headphones covered his ears but she couldn't tell if he was actually listening to something or had simply gotten distracted and failed to remove them when he became immersed in his book. Her bet was on the latter. On the table beside him, an old lamp offered the watery light she had seen from the hallway and cast sallow shadows on his handsome face.
"Don't you ever sleep?"
The sound of her voice startled him and Bobby nearly dropped his book, clumsily juggling it before finally wresting it back under control. Seeing her in the doorway, he smiled, slipped the headphones down around his neck and dropped his feet to the floor.
"So much to do."
Recalling similar banter years ago on a stakeout, Alex chuckled as she stepped over the threshold.
"Thought those long days were supposed to be over the second you handed in your badge."
"Old habits die hard . . . I guess."
Bobby slid a tattered bookmark between the pages before dropping his book on the side table and stacking his headphones on top of it. His dark eyes twinkled as he crooked a finger and beckoned her closer.
Dropping her arms down to her sides, Alex cut across the small room to join him without argument. When she was within arm's reach, Bobby hooked a long finger in one of the belt loops on her pants and pulled her into his lap. The chair's leather creaked under their combined weight as she draped her legs over his. When she was finally settled, he brushed the long, loose hair out of her face.
"You look exhausted."
"Well it is almost two in the morning." Alex inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, enjoying the closeness, savoring his scent. "And it was a rollercoaster today. Some ups, some downs. But we got them. All of them."
"Impressive." Bobby slipped a hand under her blouse and pressed his warm palm gently into the small of her back, massaging the spot that he knew always knotted when she was under stress. "Congratulations Lieutenant."
"Wish I could take some credit for it," Alex muttered. "But honestly, it was the SVU crew that put it together. They saved my ass. I was sure that when that terrorist made her way into the country without us knowing that I was destined for a pink slip."
"Least they could do," Bobby murmured, nuzzling her neck gently. "They were the ones that put your, uh . . . case in jeopardy in the first place."
"Well all's well that ends well I suppose. Bad guys behind bars. City safe for another night . . ."
Bobby hadn't shaved for several days and the coarse hair of his beard on the sensitive skin of her neck distracted her and sent a shiver up her spine that was not at all unpleasant. Alex squirmed and he tightened his arms around her in response.
"Sorry, I'll shave."
Despite this declaration of intention, Bobby didn't stop, moving his mouth over to kiss the sensitive spot just behind her earlobe instead. As new parts of her came online in response to his touch, the rest of the day's worries evaporated, replaced by a contented happiness as Alex turned her face to kiss him back.
"I really should take a shower," Alex murmured after a while, reluctantly pulling away and resting her head on his shoulder, fingers traversing slowly down his chest. The fabric of his gray T-shirt was soft against her fingertips. "But I'm far too lazy now."
Bobby's low chuckle rumbled in his chest. "Well if there is anything that I can do to, uh . . . support with that . . ."
Alex rolled her eyes and shook her head with a grin. "I know who to call."
Bobby stroked a hand up and down her arm leisurely and let his head flop back against the chair.
"You should have something to eat. Are you hungry? I left you some dinner, in, in the fridge."
Burrowing deeper against him, Alex yawned. "No, I'm okay. Benson and I went out for a drink and a bite after work."
"That's quite a turnaround. Based on our conversation yesterday, I was quite sure the two of you were going to come to blows."
Alex laughed lightly. "She's not so bad. She's a good detective, heart in the right place."
Outside, the steady drizzle had evolved into full thick droplets that splattered nosily against the glass of the den's window. The sound and cadence was soothing. In the distance, a roll of thunder vibrated through the air. A gust of wind rattled the fan above the stove and the lamp beside them flickered momentarily before the light returned to full strength. There, in the warmth of the apartment and Bobby's arms, Alex could not imagine a more perfect place to be. As Bobby rested his chin on the top of her head, she closed her eyes and felt sleep start to tug at the edges of her consciousness. She barely heard him flick the switch on the lamp and send the room into darkness.
When she spoke next, her voice was thick with drowsiness.
"We talked about you tonight, by the way. Well, you and one of her partners."
"Mmmm, did you?" Bobby's voice was equally blurry, also near sleep.
Alex nodded slowly without opening her eyes, hair catching in the stubble under his chin.
"Yeah. It made me sort of . . . sad."
That seemed to surprise him because Bobby suddenly sounded more awake. "W-why?"
Alex shrugged, drawing her legs up tighter to her body. Resting a hand on her knee, Bobby traced absent circles around her kneecap with a thumb.
"Benson and one of her SVU partners, they worked together for a long time, even longer than us. And one day, he just up and quit. Years of an intense relationship, and then suddenly, he was gone. It's clear that her feelings for him were more than friendly and she's still struggling with it. I guess I could just draw a lot of parallels between them . . . and us . . . and how we could have . . . ended up."
Her words slowed as she fell into a very light doze, allowing sleep to take a firmer grip on the reins.
"I dunno, it just reminded me of how easily . . . it could have happened to us . . . how easily we also could have drifted apart . . . when you moved on . . ."
The last thing Alex felt before she fell fully asleep was Bobby's smile against her hair as he dropped a kiss on the top of her head.
"Yeah. But we didn't."