DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to my wonderful beta who made sure I didn't sound too stupid here.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Dawnie

Chapter Two

Olivia isn't used to sharing her apartment. She can't remember the last time she's had someone up here; just the thought of another body in her personal space is enough to keep her on edge.

Working sex crimes isn't the only thing that contributes to her nearly non-existent love life. Yes, she's had her fair share of lovers who were completely turned off (or a little too turned on) when they found out what she did for a living. But they weren't all like that; her reason for cutting the strings of the few who tried to stick around was admittedly pathetic but she never can get around it.

Olivia hates sharing. And it's this ingrained possessiveness that is always the final nail in the coffin of every relationship that's ever held the potential for something more. She remembers breaking up with a guy when she woke up one morning to find that he had decided to buy a toothbrush to leave at her place on the nights she let him stay. She always has a problem with the ones that try and leave bits and pieces of themselves around her apartment as though she needs the comfort of their shadow when she's alone. She knows this is a ridiculous notion and she doesn't usually let herself think about how emotionally fucked up she really is.

But nights like this are different.

These are the nights when her body simply itches for the things that are her own, the things that she doesn't usually have to share. And she can't scratch that itch with a medical examiner one thin wall away.

There's a strip of light that beckons to her from the gap at the bottom of her bedroom door and Warner has never struck her as the type to sleep with the lights on. Not that Olivia has ever really thought about it before. She tosses and turns in frustration for a few more minutes before finally getting up under the pretense of needing a glass of water.

Careful of her bedroom door's squeaky hinge, just in case Warner does sleep with the lights on, Olivia wanders into the living room.

"Did I wake you?"

Turning toward the sound of Warner's voice, Olivia finds her standing near the window.

"No," Olivia is quick to assure. "Just…today's case. It's keeping me up," she lies.

Warner nods in response before going back to looking out the window.

"Do you want some water? I was just going to get myself a glass," Olivia offers.

"No thank you."

Suddenly desperate to escape the unease that she suddenly feels around the all too calm Warner, Olivia hurries to get her water and get back to the safety of her bedroom. She wonders, not for the first time tonight, why she decided to invite the woman to stay the night. And she hates herself for it because Warner has obviously been through hell and they do work together and Olivia remembers the moment in the hallway when the medical examiner said her name. And she remembers liking the sound.

"Olivia." Again, she feels as though she has fallen three feet through the floor as she looks to Warner from the doorway of her bedroom. "I'm not…I'm not good company right now. It's nothing personal."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Olivia asks, because this is how she would treat a victim and she never can get away from the detective inside her, always asking the tough questions, even when the safety of her bedroom calls to her.

"I came home early and caught my husband fucking someone who wasn't me. That's really all there is to it," Warner says, bluntly but without the fury, tears, and hatred normally characteristic of the 'betrayed wife'.

"I'm sorry."

"Thanks," Warner responds, and she sounds like she really means it. "How long have you been alone, Detective?"

The switch in titles surprises Olivia more than the actual question.

"A while," she says simply.

"What's it like sleeping alone? Because, I'm tired. I'm really fucking tired but I can't get to sleep and I feel like I'll never get used to not sleeping beside someone."

This is the most personal thing that Olivia has heard from her guest the whole night and she feels like the woman deserves an answer.

"I don't know. I don't really have a basis for comparison," she responds, honestly and Warner frowns softly before turning away from Olivia to continue looking out the window.

"Goodnight, Detective," she says, and Olivia immediately recognizes the defeated tone, which makes it incredibly difficult to turn away from the woman and block out any of her pain by locking herself away in her bedroom. And Olivia believes that this is the reason for what she does next.

"Do you…I mean, it's not a king size bed or anything but…it's big enough for two if you're having trouble sleeping out here," Olivia offers, and Warner turns to her with the same cool glare she issued in the bar when Olivia offered her a place to crash for the night.

"I thought this wasn't a pity thing."

"I don't pity you Melinda," Olivia says, finally using the woman's name, which takes the medical examiner by surprise.

Warner takes a few moments to consider the offer before nodding and crossing the distance between the two of them. Olivia lets her enter the bedroom first before flicking off the living room lights and following her guest. The women retire to the bed without ceremony. The silence between them is surprisingly comfortable and Olivia closes her eyes, wondering why this is. She's kicked people out of her life based on more than she knows about Warner.

"You should know that I tend to steal covers."

Olivia can hear the smile behind the seemingly serious comment and she smirks in response.

"That's okay. You're gonna need a buffer so you're not a gigantic bruise in the morning," Olivia jokes.

"You're a kicker."

"It might be why I'm single."

"Jesus, we're perfect together."

Olivia chuckles at that, taking it as the dryly issued joke that it's meant to be.

"Goodnight Olivia."

"Goodnight Melinda."

The name still sounds a little foreign on her tongue.

Olivia figures she can change that.

To Be Continued

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