DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic is set in the world of Frank Miller's 'Sin City' graphic novels and takes some plot points from 'That Yellow Bastard.' I originally wrote a story along similar lines in another fandom before realising how great it would translate into an O/A fic. Olivia's voiceovers are in bold.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A Dame to Die For
There are some things in life you can't change. You're born, you live and you die. And then there are some things that you have to try your damndest to change. It's then that you realise no matter what the cost, even if you happen to die along the way...it was worth it.
This particular night was special. It was my last night in the hellhole known as Basin City. The next day I would have been winging my way to a new posting in New York City. That would have been a paradise compared to this place. Just one more night...
The rain continued to piss down without a single lull. The narrow ledge under which the two cops stood afforded little protection from the harshness of the elements. They were both soaked to the bone and becoming increasingly irritable.
Olivia Benson tugged up the collar of her leather duster in a vain attempt to try and keep at least a little of the water from snaking down her neck. It hardly helped. Unable to stand still, she kept pacing in the shadows and continued to grow wetter with each step. Restlessly she drew a soggy pack of cigarettes and a lighter from inside her coat.
Her short brown hair was plastered to her head like a shaggy cap. The rest of her features were difficult to make out in the darkness but her jaw was strong; her skin tanned and unblemished; lips rich, red and full. The eyes that stared out into the darkness were black until she finally coaxed a flame that burned long enough to light her cigarette. The fire danced in her intense brown eyes for a moment before it was snuffed out when she snapped the lighter shut.
Her partner, Sean Archer, lent against the graffiti covered wall behind him and puffed on his own cigarette. He was a big, fat useless piece of shit that hadn't moved a muscle for the past half an hour except to feverishly do his best to exhaust his own pack of smokes. His arms were folded tightly across his chest, a look of utter resentment frozen on his already crabby features. It was clear that he did not want to be there. It was Olivia's last night, so she couldn't care less what Archer did.
So far her last night had dragged like a dog with a lame leg...and it was shaping up to get even worse...
"The informant was bogus; if there was any coke being shipped out of here tonight we would've seen something. We've been sulking around here for two hours in this fuckin' rain and I'm as dry as a nun's cunt," Archer rasped in the whiny voice he used when he really wanted something.
"Well they probably heard you fart and knew we were sniffing around," Olivia growled, "Something definitely doesn't smell right tonight."
"You watch your trap, Benson!" Archer snapped, his patience wearing thin, "Let's knock off and head over to O'Malley's I reckon you could do with a stiff drink...and a look at that new broad they've got on stage."
Olivia couldn't be bothered with his shit tonight; she barely acknowledged his question with a slight shrug. She continued pacing the same route she had for the last two hours...to the dumpster and back. All manner of rubbish and filth gave way beneath her feet. Basin City was a city of endless filth. Olivia took one last drag on her cigarette and cast it to the ground.
Archer didn't seem to care that Olivia refused to be drawn into his conversation and continued talking all the same, "She's a real piece o' meat that one, I'd crawl over glass to fuck her...bet you would too."
Archer looked sideways at Olivia to see if he had provoked any sort of reaction. Olivia just fumbled in her pocket for another soggy cigarette and it was not until Archer thought he had been completely ignored that she replied.
"I wouldn't crawl over glass for my own mother...god rest her soul," Olivia spoke in a monotone, her voice reflected her mood, as her face was again momentarily illuminated by the glow of her lighter, "And I most certainly don't have to crawl over glass to get laid."
Archer snorted with disdain, "Fuckin' dykes get all the pussy."
"It's cos I know how to treat a woman right." You ugly sack of shit.
Olivia gave Archer a piercing glance from the corner of her eye. He wouldn't know how to treat a woman right if someone gave him a handbook. She had never liked the rotund cop. In fact she despised him. As far as partners went, she had really scraped the bottom of the barrel to dreg up Archer. Olivia glowered and turned away. There was nothing to be done about it. Corrupt, rotten to the core cops were the norm in Sin City...she was one of the rare exceptions.
"You're on a fast track to an early grave, Benson," her first partner had told her, first day on the job.
"Don't really want to hang around in this city anyway," was Olivia's all too honest reply.
Olivia couldn't stand Basin City or the scum who lived in it. It was depressing to say the least, to live in a town where even the victims were lowlife scum not worth saving. It was a rotten, shitty existence, sentenced to hell on earth.
A small shape moved in the darkness across the road and both cops glanced over. Olivia peered through the gloom and tried to make it out. It was only when the shape moved closer that she saw it was a kid. A real small kid shrouded in an oversized rain jacket.
Olivia always had time for kids. Somewhat of a contradiction for the tough as nails cop who appeared not to give a damn about anything but there was something about their innocence that meant there was hope for the future of Basin City. There was still a little room for improvement, for them to learn and grow into something other than a dirty, rotten crook or a whore. The criminals Olivia usually dealt with were fit for nothing except a long stint in jail. With kids...there was some hope.
As such, Olivia volunteered to speak to schools whenever someone was needed for an educational talk on the dangers of drugs or whatever other topical issue the suits over at City Hall decided to pay lip service to. Olivia hated the thought of someone like Archer lecturing kids on morality and how to be a good citizen...what a crock.
The kid turned its head slightly and Olivia saw a flash of white skin and blonde hair. A shiver ran down Olivia's spine. She recognised the kid instantly.
In all her school visits, one kid stood out. Bright where the others were stupid, and interested where the others were bored. Olivia racked her brain for that visit a few weeks earlier and came up with a name Alex Cabot. She was a skinny kid with nothing much to her except a whole lot of light shinning right out of her little face. The only question was, what the hell was she doing out all alone on a night like this?
Olivia's foot twitched in preparation for a step forward. As she was about to move across the road to catch-up with the kid a black Merc glided passed the two detectives skulking in the shadows and drew to a smooth halt just beside young Alex. The next thing she noticed was the personalised license plate, Olivia stopped in her tracks.
That name sent a shiver down her spine as she read the plate. Everyone who lived in Basin City knew that name and to ignore it was folly. Madame Twist ran the most exclusive brothel in town but the establishment was so much more than that. Not only was it a den of vice, filth and immorality, half of the town's drug dealing; murder and embezzlement could be traced to that place. Through its doors passed the city's most influential, most crooked and vilest inhabitants. Madame Twist herself magnified her customers' traits tenfold. Everything about her was artificial, from her bronze hair to her huge lips. Everyone knew that dame was a real piece of work.
The car door swung open just ahead of Alex and out stepped exactly whom Olivia had expected. The young man that emerged tossed his shoulder length hair with a practised arrogance. He turned his head slightly and Olivia saw his profile, delicate, pointed features that belonged on someone much younger and far less of a monster.
Tommy Twist, a sweet sounding name...for a devil child.
A second man stepped from the drivers' door and moved around the car to open up an umbrella over Tommy's head, partially obscuring him from Olivia's view. Olivia growled low in her throat. Just as everyone knew what kind of woman his mother was...they also knew what kind of man Tommy was...or rather wasn't. Tommy liked them young and pretty, the younger the better. He used them like toys and disposed of the evidence with little remorse. Olivia had been aching for years to be able to pin something on him...but the evidence was never there.
The thought of pale, little Alexandra Cabot in the hands of that child-molesting monster is making my blood boil. She's just twelve...a cute as a button kid with this stringy blonde hair and huge glasses that seem to fill her whole face. Alex is a good kid. There is no way that she deserves anything that monster will do to her, she's never done a thing in her life. It's always the innocent ones that get hurt...and I hate it when that happens. I didn't care that he was the son of that bitch and that the other cops left him alone because of it. If he was going to hurt Alex in any way, I was going to make him unrecognisable even to his own mother.
Archer was not completely stupid. He saw everything from the black Merc, Tommy Twist stepping out and the determined set of his partners jaw. He knew that this was just the kind of shit she would get herself involved in and damn the consequences. Archer had a feeling this bitch was going to get him killed.
"So, do you want to knock off or what?" Archer interrupted Olivia's concentration on the scene unfolding before her, "O'Malley's will be just warming up, first one's on me...and fifty bucks says you can't get a date with that new dancer by the end of the night."
Olivia ignored him as though he were a fire hydrant squatting on the pavement. Instead her eyes were riveted on the car, its occupants and the little girl across the street. She could not hear what they were saying but Olivia could more or less guess the sickeningly sweet honey dripping from Twist's lips as he tried to entice Alex into the car. Whatever he said had obviously not won her over as she attempted to make a sudden dash for freedom. Twist immediately reacted, reaching out to grab the scruff of her coat. He hauled the helpless girl back to him even as she continued to lash out with her hands and feet.
It was the last straw for Olivia; she reached within her coat and withdrew her badge in order to display it clearly on the band of her pants. She heard Archer whine desperately behind her and she suppressed the urge to turn around and shoot him in the kneecap.
"Benson, it's none of our business, let's get out of here!" he hissed, drawing further back into the shadows.
He's a fucking moron and I won't do him the courtesy of replying to the garbage that's spewing out of his mouth. I don't know if anyone else in this town cares, but this is my job...hell, even if it wasn't my job you better believe I'd be stepping in to stop that creep
Olivia stepped out into the streetlight, her coat billowing around her as she strode purposefully across the street. Her boots slammed into each puddle with all the ferocity of her walk. Even as rain streamed down her face, Olivia meticulously surveyed the scene in front of her. Twist was on the far side of the car, partially illuminated in the glare of its headlamps. He had Alex by her elbow, refusing to let her go as he continued to speak to her but her heels were dug in as she refused to be drawn into the car.
Good girl, just keep him talking and we'll have this sorted out in no time...
Twist was undoubtedly carrying a pistol beneath the expensive leather coat he wore. His henchman was just behind him, still trying to shelter his boss with the umbrella. There was no doubt a hefty weapon was packed inside the holster beneath his coat as well. The Merc's windows were tinted and Olivia could see nothing except her own reflection; a cloaked angel of death striding towards the car. There would be at least another one of them still inside, although she knew she ought to expect two. Olivia pictured them now, clad in Black Armani and feeling for their own pistols as they watched her approach. She didn't like the odds. For a moment Olivia wished she could count on Archer to back her up but the fat son of a bitch was probably long gone.
The umbrella holder spun around when he saw Olivia, his face morphing into a threatening growl that clearly indicated coming any closer meant risking an unfortunate accident. It was an expression that Olivia gave exactly the same consideration she'd just given Archer...almost none. Twist had seen her as well but he didn't relinquish his grip on Alex in the slightest.
"Move along bitch, nothing to see here," the henchman growled.
Olivia came to a halt just a few metres away from him. She kept one eye on both the car doors. With a casual flick, she pushed back her coat and rested her hand on the band of her pants, revealing her badge to all assembled. Both the henchman and Twist smirked.
"Surely you don't want to go around flashing a little piece of metal like that," Twist laughed, hauling Alex around in front of him, "What...you want money? A bribe? Bit short of cash to supply your drug habit?"
Olivia bristled at the brazenness of it all. Although she had the badge they knew full well they were the law. She searched out Alex's face. The little girl was terrified, her blue eyes staring wide and pleading silently for Olivia to help her.
"Cut the bullshit Tommy, it's not going to work with me," Olivia replied calmly.
Alex tried to run towards her but Twist switched his grip from her elbow to her hair. He jerked her backwards and she cried out in pain and fright.
"I don't believe it, a wannabe hero cop. Whom might I have the privilege of addressing?" Twist drawled mockingly.
"Benson," Olivia replied gruffly, her patience was wearing thin, they were just stalling for time by keeping her talking, "Let the girl go little man and I might consider letting you go with your balls intact."
The umbrella-carrying henchman shifted, purposely revealing the holster beneath his arm.
Olivia merely smiled lazily. Her casual air did not betray the state of tense alertness she was actually feeling. She watched the car for any sign of movement. There it was, the passenger door closest to her opened with a barely audible click. The sound was almost drowned out by the rain but Olivia both saw and heard it. She'd had enough of pussy footing around. They expected her to run away with her tail between her legs...instead they were going to get was judgement
In one fluid movement Olivia reached her hand behind her and grabbed the 9mm from its holster in the middle of her back. Metal and leather were as smooth as silk. Arm as steady as steel, Olivia fired into the narrow crack created as the passenger door opened. As soon as she had started to go for her weapons, the driver had urgently fumbled for his own pistol. He was levelling it in her direction when her bullet slammed into his forehead. The umbrella clattered to the sidewalk. Olivia then brought the 9mm to bear directly on Twist as the passenger door opened and a suited body slid partially out onto the pavement, a gun landed in the gutter. She was pleased to see that Twist's face had gone a sickly white.
"I think you'll be driving yourself home tonight Tommy...minus your entertainment!" Olivia hissed, she was all too acutely aware of the fact that she was soaked to the bone and freezing, it was time to get this over and done with. "Now hand her over before you get one too!"
"All this for a fucking kid?" Twist demanded in a shrill voice as he glanced down at his dead driver.
Rather than release Alex, he picked her up with one hand. He now held the kid as a shield in front of him, betting on the fact that Olivia cared too much about her to shoot him and risk hitting her. Olivia's jaw tightened, the son of a bitch was going to do this the hard way. Even now she could see his free hand twitching slightly. Olivia guessed his pistol was tucked in the band of his pants. She grew even angrier if that was possible, he was deliberately putting Alex in the firing line and in terrible danger of being hit in a resulting cascade of gunfire.
I could tell he was gonna be stupid about it, psychos always go that little bit too far...they never know when to call it quits. And this guy is used to getting his own way.
"I'm prepared to go even further," Olivia replied, not caring in the slightest about the bodies lying in the rain, and trying conceal her fear of Tommy's use of Alex as a human shield, "Are you?"
Twist answered Olivia by reaching for his gun. In his haste he wasn't nearly smooth enough and brought his gun hand out too far from his body. In a heartbeat Olivia fired a single shot with precision. The bullet took his hand off at the wrist and hand and gun fell to the pavement.
Twist stared at his bloody stump for a few seconds before his mind connected with what his eyes were seeing. He finally screamed in pain and dropped Alex. The kid fell hard on the pavement. To her credit she didn't fall apart into a blubbering mess. She scrambled to her feet and ran to Olivia's side, deciding that the safest place for her to be was holding the cop's coat.
"Run over to that stoop there," Olivia indicated it with a nod of her head, "and crouch down behind the pillar, don't move for anything! Not until I say so," she pulled her cell phone awkwardly from her pocket and handed it to the kid, "You know how to dial 911?"
Alex nodded eagerly and took the phone. Olivia watched her from the corner of her eye until she was safely hidden. A few seconds later, a white face peered out from behind the pillar as Alex looked anxiously to Olivia.
"Kid! What did I say?" Olivia growled firmly, this was no playground.
The blonde hair disappeared back behind the pillar and Olivia was able to concentrate all her attention on Twist without worrying about the kid. In the few seconds that her attention had been diverted, Twist had struggled back to his feet and had pried his weapon from his fallen hand. He stood trembling with his wounded stump tucked beneath his arm. Olivia felt the strange urge to laugh at such a macabre sight. A split second later and the bloodied weapon fired in her direction. Twist's aim was poor and the bullet merely grazed her shoulder. Olivia grunted slightly as she felt the slight sting. She then responded brutally by taking out both his kneecaps in rapid succession. Twist screamed and collapsed to the ground as though he were a puppet whose strings had been cut. The gun fell from his hand and he lay bleeding in the rain.
"You bitch, you fucking bitch!" he screamed, spittle foaming at the corners of his mouth full of gritted teeth.
Olivia calmly walked over to his side and with a firm nudge of her toe, sent the gun into the gutter where it was instantly swallowed up by the storm water. Against her better judgement, she was far from finished with Twist. Kneeling down in the street, Olivia reached out and picked him up by the scruff of his neck. He had lost a lot of blood and his face was a ghastly white. Olivia was hoping he bled to death in the rain.
"I'm the fucking bitch?" she asked with a raised eyebrow, "What about you, you sick bastard. How many girls has it been now? Twenty...more? All under the age of twelve for gods sake!"
She slammed him over the head with the butt of her gun and blood ran from the wound.
He coughed, the burning ferocity in his eyes not diminished by his wounds, "More than you'll ever know Benson...and none that you'll be able to link back to me! Does that make you feel good you piece of shit cop?"
Olivia placed the cool barrel of her weapon against his temple with every intention of blowing his brains out. The angel had had enough...and he had it coming to him.
Someone else fired, not Olivia and it was not Twist they hit. Olivia felt an aching cold radiate out from her lower back, down through her legs and up through her chest. She glanced down and saw a hole in her leather coat.
Olivia wasn't about to give up that easily. She rolled to one side off Twist and turned, bringing her 9mm up to fire at the rotten snake that had shot her in the back. Bang! Another bullet slammed into her left shoulder and sent her sprawling back against the pavement. Through the rain she saw a figure with a smoking gun still pointed at her. It began to walk forward.
Olivia let out a hoarse laugh when she saw who it was...that fat son of bitch, Archer. He'd finally chosen to do something that took a little bit of guts and he'd chosen to shoot his own partner in the back. As far as Olivia was concerned, you couldn't sink any lower.
"Drop the gun, Benson," Archer barked, trying to make his whiny voice sound commanding.
"I've got a better idea," Olivia said as she began to lift her gun, even though she knew she'd never be fast enough.
Bang! Bang! Olivia saw Archer's gun kick twice in rapid succession and felt searing pain in her right shoulder and chest. Again she was knocked flat and this time could not rise again. As she lay flat on her back she finally let go of the gun. Somewhere a little girl was screaming. Archer advanced, keeping his gun trained on her even though she was well and truly down. Olivia laid absolutely still, staring up at the raindrops illuminated in the streetlight as they fell down to earth.
"Should've taken up my offer of a drink...but you had to be the hero." Archer was basking in his power over her.
Somewhere in the distance sirens blared. They were coming closer. Olivia knew Alex had called and they were on their way. Olivia coughed violently and felt a trickle of warm blood flow from her mouth. The rain quickly washed it away.
"You can't win against them you know, I've always known but you were always too pigheaded to accept it," he continued, "There was no way I was gonna let you get me killed Benson, no friggin' way."
"There's always a day of judgement," Olivia whispered as the sirens grew even louder.
Good kid...nothing can happen to her now, she'll be fine and with any luck I'll be dead. Wish like hell I could've taken both these bastards with me...Archer and Twist...
Olivia was freezing; her eyelids grew heavy. Before they finally closed shut she saw a pale frightened face hovering over her. Alex Cabot. Olivia tried to smile.
You'll be fine kid...
It was just my luck that I didn't die, although with four slugs in me I wasn't in good shape and damn near did. The doctors slaved over my bullet-riddled body for twelve hours and even got my heart ticking again after I flat lined. So I'm awake and lying in this hospital bed, knowing full well that they didn't go all out to save me out of the good of their hearts. She had them do it.
Glory Twist stood at the end of the bed, her eyes fixed on the half-dead cop lying beneath the pristine white sheets offered at the private hospital she'd paid for. She wanted Olivia to know exactly who was behind her top of the line treatment and care. She talked and Olivia did her best to let the machines monitoring her condition down out her brazen drawl.
"If you're wondering why I'm taking such good care of someone who almost killed my little boy then I'm going to tell you..." she was at the end of the bed, both hands placed on the railing as she lent forward like some immaculately attired buzzard hovering a carcass.
She must think I'm a moron. Of course I know...I have to be punished for what I did, death's not enough...
"I'm going to make you suffer Olivia...suffer so much you'll wish you were never born. Pity you don't have any family, or I'd make them suffer as well...but not to worry," she finished brightly, obviously looking forward to Olivia's punishment, "I'll just extract more from your little hide."
"Your little boy's a monster," Olivia whispered weakly, she badly needed a sip of water, "I'm only sorry I didn't kill him. I'll get both of you one day..."
Glory laughed, "Not where you're going you won't."
I really don't give a fuck you trashy bitch...Alex is safe from your poor excuse of a son and that's all that matters.
Olivia had another visitor. She woke one morning to see the pale little face of twelve year old Alex staring at her from the side of the bed. The wounded cop managed a small smile as the kid reached out and took her hand.
"I don't know how I can thank you for saving my life," Alex whispered, her small voice choking with tears.
"What on earth were you doing out that late by yourself?" Olivia asked quietly.
Alex ducked her head as though she thought Olivia were blaming her for what had happened, "Running away I guess I was just so angry at my Mom for being so strict I didn't even stop to think that it wasn't safe "
"Your Mom's strict on you for a good reason Alex, she wants you to grow up right," Olivia tried her hardest to rise an inch from her pillows so she could see Alex more clearly but even that simple task proved impossible. "You promise me you'll listen to her in the future even if you think she's being too strict you do that, and you'll turn out just fine."
"I promise," Alex replied with a hint of pride in her voice, her chin lifted a little higher, "I'm going to law school, I'm going to spend my life putting bad guys in jail."
Olivia laughed but it came out more like a croak, "Most lawyers spent their time keeping bad guys out of jail, Alex...but it would do this city good to have a few who think like you."
A nurse entered the room and interrupted their conversation in a brusque voice, "Visiting hours are over kid."
Alex looked longingly at Olivia one last time, "Are they gonna give you a medal now? For saving me?"
Olivia smiled weakly and turned to look out the window, "No kiddo, they're not gonna give me a medal."
Olivia sat stoically in the dock, as she had done for the duration of her trial. They had already found her guilty and were now passing judgment. She smiled as she remembered just how right she had been. No one could escape judgment.
The trial is a farce. They all knew I was well within my rights to kill those two crooks...lowlife scum like that are a dime a dozen. I will admit that beating Twist within an inch of his life was a tad heavy-handed but I don't give a fuck. I'll gladly do time for the pleasure of teaching that piece of shit a well-deserved lesson.
So I sit in the dock and wait for the judge to rain fire and brimstone down upon me. I look at her from the corner of my eye, she's giving off such conservative vibes it's making my skin crawl. However, my sentence doesn't worry me in the slightest. The only concern I have is for Alex, how can her mother keep her safe in this city?
I know what the papers are saying about me. I scan the crowd in the gallery, dozens of them packed in to see the psycho cop - a pack of sheep here to get their thrills. I search for Alex's pale little face, just to be able to see her one last time and check that she's alright. Of course she isn't here and nor should she be here. She's tucked away at home, hopefully swaddled in cotton wool by her Mom...safe. Alex is safe and that's all that matters.
The judge coughed slightly before she spoke to make sure she had Olivia's full attention, "Olivia Benson, the jury having found you guilty of the aforementioned crimes, I hereby sentence you to twenty years hard labour..."
If you've never experienced a day that lasts a year, then you've never done hard time. I don't just mean hard time; I mean backbreaking, soul-destroying hard time. At the trial I was judged, found guilty and appropriately sentenced to a punishment befitting my supposedly heinous crime. Twenty years of hard labour at Basin City Women's Penitentiary. It is an innocuous name for the hell on earth where they keep the scum of the earth...the female ones anyway.
Everything about this place is shit, the buildings, the cells, the exercise yards and the prisoners. As soon as I get out I'm going to find somewhere green, I don't care if it's a solitary tree and a patch of grass in some crappy little park, as long as it's green.
My time here isn't going to be easy, I know that much but by god it was worth it. I wonder how little Tommy is adjusting to life as a cripple
With a grunt of exertion Olivia hefted the pickaxe up above her head, muscles straining with the effort, before bringing it crashing into the stone at her feet. The momentum of the heavy tool did most of the work but the jarring impact assaulted her already aching muscles. It was near quitting time but lunch had been an eternity ago and her endurance was at its limit. Olivia let the pickaxe rest on the ground for a moment as she wiped the sweat from her forehead with her grimy forearm. She looked back and surveyed the path of rock she'd broken up over the course of the day, reflecting on the fact that it was almost like the course of her life over the past eight years. It had been one rock after another.
Those eight years had had a significant impact on her body, clad as it was in a filthy t-shirt that had once been white and a pair of coveralls which had been peeled off her shoulders and tied around her waist. Her short hair was now shoulder length, although tied back in a scruffy ponytail out of her way. She would have preferred to keep it short but her luck had clearly run out the day she met Twist. She'd collared the woman who served as the prison barber. As a result she would have had more luck getting her throat cut than her hair.
Olivia had never been soft but now her trim muscles were as hard as steel and there was not an ounce of spare fat on her body due to the combination of brutal physical work and sparse diet.
Not all her fellow inmates were as hard and lean. She looked across at the small group of favoured prisoners smoking cigarettes with one of the guards. A gang of heavy set stone butches and their femme girlfriends who had never lifted a perfectly manicured finger even though they were supposedly sentenced to hard labour.
One of the gang turned and saw Olivia staring. Her name was Eva 'Baby' Sanchez, the Queen Butch of Basin City women's prison. She was six foot, two hundred and fifty pounds of angry, ruthless dyke. What's more, she'd hated Olivia's guts from the moment she'd arrived. Olivia guessed it had something to do with the fact that she was responsible for putting the small time drug dealer and all around thug away in the first place. Eva certainly hadn't wasted any time trying to get her revenge. Olivia's second day in the joint, six of them jumped her on trash detail. There was no way in hell Olivia was going to submit to that kind of shit. She'd fought like a wildcat, breaking two arms and a nose, gouging an eye, dishing out at least fifty stitches and inflicting countless bruises. She hadn't escaped scot-free. Olivia gently ran her index finger down the left side of her forehead, tracing the thick white scar which ended at her temple. In the fray, someone had got in a good slice with a broken bottle, narrowly missing her eye. It was a small price to pay for the respect Olivia has earned from the other inmates. As a cop in prison, Olivia had to maintain constant vigilance every hour of ever day, and it was exhausting. Olivia's shoulders sagged slightly, only once had Eva got the better of her. Just once...and she'd made sure it would never happen again. She tore her eyes away from the group of women and resumed work with her pickaxe, smashing the next rock with an added ferocity.
Several minutes later the bell rang to signal the end of the day's work. Olivia found herself looking forward to the slop that they dished out at dinner; at least it would be hot.
The only pure things in this stinking hole are the letters I get from Alex. One beautifully crisp white envelope arrives every Wednesday morning. I open the letters and find neatly spaced and joined handwriting. The kid's bright and for some reason that makes me real proud even though I'm nothing to her except the screwed up cop that tried to save her life. Those letters are all I have to keep me going, those and the knowledge that she's safe.
Her leaden dinner sitting heavily in her stomach, Olivia turned in that night to her narrow cot in her solitary cell. Before lights out she withdrew Alex's latest letter from the concealed compartment she had painstakingly carved out behind the grill in her room. Although it was plain, ordinary paper covered in ink pen, Olivia could swear a sweet smell drifted into the room with that letter. She lay back on the pillow and unfolded its crisp white paper. For a moment or two she stared at the neat rows of handwriting that she had watched mature with age.
Olivia honestly couldn't believe the letters had kept coming. Alex would be nineteen, or perhaps twenty? Olivia had no idea when her birthday was. She had expected the letters to stop a few months after her arrival in prison. What kid maintained interest in writing letters to an inmate for eight years?
Yet they still came. Always the same meticulous style, full of little anecdotes, humorous stories that made Olivia laugh whether or not they were made up. Alex never said where she was or exactly what she was doing. Although the word 'studying' came up a lot and Olivia hoped that Alex was realising her dream to become a lawyer. She could just see the serious kid surrounded by a pile of heavy textbooks...still the same skinny, bespectacled Alex Cabot. It was difficult to imagine her as anything else. Olivia didn't expect to see her ever again which was exactly the way it should be but she was grateful for the letters which kept her sane.
Olivia looked at the work assignments and saw with gratifying relief that she was back on 'rock' detail. Although it was exhausting, backbreaking work it was a chance for fresh air and a small measure of solitude. She supposed she ought to thank Glory Twist for making sure she got the worst details.
She waited for the bus in the bleak prison yard with the other ladies, her coveralls pulled up over her shoulders against the early chill of morning. Most of the prisoners stood around smoking fistfuls of cigarettes, Olivia stood and dreamt of being in New York.
Eva and her gang of thugs joined the assembled crowd and they threaded their way through it to stand beside Olivia. Olivia ignored them as well. It wasn't going to be that way for long however, Eva clearly had something to say. She made a point of checking that the guards were up front talking to the driver and partially obscured by the throng. Olivia sighed perceptibly as two of her goons took up position on either side of her, hemming her in. She couldn't stand crooks that lacked imagination.
"Lovely morning ain't it Benson, sleep well?" Eva asked in her clipped working class accent.
"Probably fell asleep reading her love letters," another women standing in front of Olivia sneered.
Olivia always fell asleep reading Alex's letters. She kept her eyes on her boots...they were in definite need of a polish.
"Yeah," Eva seized on this point and ran with it, "Who they from, Benson? Some little rich bitch up in Sacred Oaks? Probably lying to 'yo lil arse, telling you she still loves you when she's really out getting poked by some rich doctor."
Olivia lifted her head and met Eva's ice-like stare with one of her own. She couldn't keep her mouth shut any longer, "They're not love letters, and besides, they're none of your fuckin' business."
Baby growled low in her throat, that wasn't the way you talked to Eva and Olivia knew it...but didn't care in the slightest. Like lightning, her thick fingers shot out and grabbed a fistful of Olivia's hair. She yanked Olivia's head back and lent over her. Olivia averted her eyes so she didn't have to stare at her but Eva grabbed her chin and forced her to look.
"They're in my prison so of course they're my business!" spittle flecked at the corner of her mouth.
As her rank breath assaults me I reflect on my bad luck. Why do I always get the complete and utter psychos for enemies? They're dangerous, far more dangerous than a sane person. Unpredictable too. You never know what they're gonna pull. It could just as easily be a knife in the guts...and everything would be all over, just as simple as that.
"Could be that they're from a young lady by the name of Alexandra Cabot," Eva clearly enjoyed seeing the way Olivia's eyes widened with shock, they widened even further when Baby withdrew a thick wad of white paper from inside her coveralls. She then regarded the letters for a moment before waving them in Olivia's face. "There's a whole lot more where these came from too...couldn't find a photo amongst your shit though. Crying shame that, she sounds real pretty."
She whacked Olivia across the cheek with the letters just to rub it in even further. Her thugs laughed mockingly, the raucous sounds grating in Olivia's ears. Olivia watched the letters move in her fat hand, wanting only to have them returned to her but knowing full well they were now gone forever.
They're only paper you silly girl...only paper. They can't hurt you.
Eva continued her taunting, "You see, I got some friends on the outside that would love to pay a visit to little Alexandra...in fact, I expect to be hearing back from them any day now. Maybe they'll bring me a few souvenirs of their fun."
Olivia let out an angry roar and made to charge at her tormentor. She was seized from either side in vice-like grips, nails digging into her flesh through the material of her coveralls.
With her thugs restraining Olivia, Eva balled up her fist and with a grunt of effort, drive it straight into her stomach. Olivia doubled over instantly and at the same moment the thugs released their hold on her. She fell face first into the gravel but did not utter a sound. Eva pounced on her within seconds, turning her face so her cheek was pressed on the gravel. She could see Eva looking down on her out of one eye. A thug pressed her boot down on Olivia's cheek to keep her down.
Olivia glared, defiant even though her position hardly warranted it, "You're a lying sack of shit Eva, outside of these walls you are nothing go ahead, have one of your minions read you my goddamn letters I know you can't read them yourself you fuckin' imbecile!"
Eva was practically foaming at the mouth. With an indignant glare at Olivia she passed the letters up to a member of her gang who was standing behind her with a lighter. With a look of malice, the woman set fire to a corner of the wad and let them fall to the gravel in front of Olivia. Olivia was forced to watch her only source of hope go up in flames, and pretend not to give a damn about it.
"Consider the others torched as well," Eva ground her knuckles into the back of Olivia 's head before she lent down close to her ear and hissed, "You're never gonna make it out of here alive Benson...the next time you're alone and your back is turned, if you step into a dark shadow, if you relax your guard to so much as scratch your arse...you're dead."
I could yawn...if I had a dollar for the number of times I've heard that threat...well, let's just say I'd be set for life when I finally get out. This time however, something's different and I know it. Eva has new orders...get rid of me as soon as possible. Make me suffer...but get rid of me. This new development is of course far from surprising but it's an inconvenience all the same. As much as it pains me to admit it, I kinda like being alive
"Looking forward to it," Olivia whispered as the boot was removed from her cheek.
The guards were starting to move through the throng, organizing the work party into lines to file onto the bus. Olivia felt a rough hand on her back lift her to her feet. Eva's thugs brushed the gravel from her coveralls as though it had all been a bit of sport. They were smiling with their arms around Olivia as the guards walked past.
They eventually let go of Olivia to let her join the file which was moving onto the bus. As she shuffled towards the door, Olivia kept her narrowed eyes on Eva's back.
Let them come. One thing I know for sure, I'm taking that fat dyke straight to hell with me.
The working day passed uneventfully. Olivia worked her heart out as usual and took her seat on the bus bound for the prison covered in the day's dirt. She regarded her reflection in the window, her pale skin spotted with grime. Even in prison, the passing of years had done little to her face. Her cheeks were a little leaner, but her jaw was just as determined and her eyes even harder. She'd never been vain, what cop could afford to be? But she remembered the younger Olivia that had captivated women. She had been a rookie cop with an air of invulnerability; aloof and unreachable. Olivia had played on it for all it was worth...and by god had it worked.
It hadn't lasted long, after a year or two she let the corruption and sin that ran rampant through the police force, not to mention the City itself, get to her. Olivia barely remembered the last relationship she'd been in. It had been a whirlwind affair that was more about heaving, naked bodies than anything remotely to do with love and affection. In fact Olivia could not recall being in love with any of the women she had fucked, she liked enough of them sure....and there had even been a few she didn't like but were great in bed. However not one lover had managed to melt her stone cold heart and find a way past the barriers she had built around her emotions.
Now there was nothing but prison. Sex was everywhere whether it was consensual or not. Olivia preferred to stay aloof from that part of her world even though she knew it would be easy enough to find women willing to fuck her. Hell, she knew that there were women who would fuck her without expecting any favours in return but she refused them all the same. Instead she poured every ounce of her strength and energy into breaking rocks, breaking rocks and gradually having her soul sucked out through every pore in her body.
"Wonder what slop they're serving up tonight?" Olivia's seatmate was talking to her.
Olivia turned, supposing a little bit of polite chitchat was still possible even though she was a marked woman, she frowned slightly, "What day is it today?"
"Tuesday I think," the other woman replied.
Olivia managed a weary smile, "Beef casserole."
Her seatmate laughed and remarked with scorn, "You mean that shit they pretend is beef casserole, I reckon it's horse meat."
Olivia didn't argue, "That's why I get scared when it starts to taste good."
Not to mention wondering whether it will be my last meal...
Another five years passed with Benson spending every day of those five years behind the bars of the hellhole known as Basin City Women's Penitentiary. She'd spent almost every one of those days thinking about her enemies on the outside, as well as the inside, and she knew full well they still thought of her from time to time. When her first parole hearings started coming around, she was rejected swiftly with little explanation and she knew that someone had it in for her.
The thought of never getting out had well and truly set in by the time she came up for her third hearing and as such she paid very little attention when they sat her down in front of the panel. Their babble and her own answers sounded distant to her ears. She knew exactly the sort of crap she should spout but knew it would count for absolutely nothing.
Olivia reconnected with reality at the sound of the word and she lifted her head to stare at the heavy-set man sitting at the centre of the table. Her dumbfounded expression prompted him to repeat himself and the second time the word registered. It was all she could do to stand on her unsteady legs and let the guard lead her out of the room.
She was getting out.
Olivia passed her last few days in prison in a state of numbness, still finding it difficult to accept the fact that she was leaving her concrete cell behind after thirteen years of calling it home. Still, her new state of existence as a parolee must have had some sort of impact as she deliberately steered clear of anything resembling trouble and that chiefly meant Eva Sanchez and her goons. As numb as she felt, she could still appreciate the potential irony of being jumped and gutted during her last days in prison.
The numbness did not wear off until she was standing outside the prison wearing clothes that were a size too big and probably a decade out of fashion. She did not turn and look at the prison walls behind her but stared at the road ahead, the road leading back to Basin City. At thirty-eight, Olivia Benson was getting another chance at life but it pained her immensely to know that would never be the life she had left behind. She wasn't a cop and she had nothing. All in all, it was a pretty shitty start to her new life.
"Benson Olivia Benson."
Olivia turned at the sound of her name and for the first time noticed an Oldsmobile parked across the road from the prison. There were two women standing by the driver's door, a hard-eyed brunette wearing a long red duster and a slightly frumpy bottle blonde. She eyed both women warily and did not approach the car, even when the brunette crossed to the rear and swung open the door.
She shifted her weight slightly and nonchalantly swiped her hair back out of her face, watching as the brunette drummed her fingers impatiently on the roof of the Oldsmobile.
"Well, you coming or what?" she demanded, "We're not gonna sit around here all day and I don't see anyone else lined up to give you a lift into town."
"Who the fuck are you?" was Olivia's polite reply.
"Friends of a friend."
Olivia snorted, "I don't have any friends."
"Well, you must have are you gonna get in or what, it's freezing out here I'll explain everything on the road."
There was very little to mull over. Olivia couldn't care less if the pair of women were rotten to the bone she just wanted to get the hell away from the prison. Without taking her eyes off the brunette, she crossed over and slid into the backseat of the car. Her body tensed involuntarily when the door was slammed shut on her but a few moments later, when the brunette had gunned the engine and they were pulling away, she had calmed down enough to try and seek her answers.
"Look, I wasn't being ungrateful back there but you've gotta appreciate things from my perspective...you obviously know me so let me ask my question again " Olivia addressed the brunette driving since she seemed to be in charge.
The brunette looked in the rear vision mirror and smiled to reveal a set of pearly white teeth beneath those ruby lips, "The Name's Abbie, pleased to meet you, Benson and my friend here is Casey."
Casey grinned awkwardly and nodded in greeting from the passenger seat.
"Likewise," Olivia breathed, suddenly feeling extremely grateful, a feeling which increased along with the distance from the prison. "So who sent you...I know I don't have anyone up high that would go into bat for me."
Abbie kept her eyes on the road ahead but she reached for an object in the glove box, "Don't get me wrong Benson, you seem real nice and all, but I would never do this for you. I'm doing it as a favour for a real good friend...and she made me promise to give you this as soon as I could."
Olivia accepted the small card Abbie handed her and her eyes widened slightly as she passed her gaze over the name on the prim, white business card
A.D.A Alexandra J. Cabot
"Well I'll be damned," Olivia whispered under her breath.
"You have the nerve to come in here and tell me that fucking dyke that crippled my baby has been paroled?" The woman's voice shook the crystal chandelier above her head as she spoke. "How the fuck did she make parole after I specifically requested she be denied?"
The three grown men quailed beneath the fury of the impeccably manicured bronze-haired woman standing in front of them. Her scarlet Chanel gown tightly hugged each of curves. Glory Twist strode forward and delivered a back handed slap to the man nearest her. His eyes watered as she snatched his chin and dug her nails into the flesh of his face.
"Madame Twist, it was unexpected," he croaked, "We thought we had made it clear to the parole board I guess maybe someone new hadn't quite got the message or she had someone make a call on her behalf."
"You guess?" Glory parroted in a mocking tone, "You fuckin' morons. It's your job to know not guess!"
She released her hold and strode back to her leather reclining sofa. She sat down and threw her feet up on it, rubbing her temples as though she had a fierce headache.
The past years appeared to have been kind to her, although a closer inspection would have revealed that it was mostly the result of trips to the plastic surgeon. Her cheeks were a little too rounded, her lips too swollen and her breasts most definitely too perky for a woman of her age. She selected a grape from the tray at her fingertips and placed it in her mouth, biting down on it savagely.
"She was supposed to die in there!" Glory raged, spitting out the grape pips onto the floor where a hovering servant immediately scooped them up, "I don't ask for much from you but I did ask this one little thing. Just how hard is it to keep an inmate behind bars that no one gives a fuck about?"
"What do you want us to do...anything at all " the suited man began pitifully.
Glory picked up a second grape and threw it at him, hitting him on the forehead, "Benson isn't going to have a chance to enjoy her ill-gotten freedom. I want her good and dead you hear? Now get out!"
With a chorus of 'Yes Madame Twist' the three men scurried as fast as possible from her presence.
She called out at their retreating backs, "I still want her to suffer mind you! Make sure she does!"
With an almighty huff, Glory fell back amidst her cushions, an immense scowl completely ruining her handsome features. She silently vowed that Olivia Benson would come to rue the day she messed with the Twist family.
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