DISCLAIMER: All main characters either belong to Dick Wolf/NBC/Universal or Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS/Warner Bros.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Please be advised that the initial subject matter is very dark (very SVU)and deals with the discussion of non-consensual sex between teenagers.
SEQUEL/SPOILERS: Post "Loss." Sequel to Circumstances Beyond Control.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FANDOMS: Law and Order:SVU/Cold Case.
SPOILERS: Post "Loss."

And The Cradle Will Rock
By Cheyne

The suspect was thirteen years old. Small for his age. Nice looking boy with dusty blond hair, clear hazel eyes, freckles mixed in with a tiny spattering of the beginnings of acne, barely noticeable blond facial hair above the lip, he was teetering somewhere in the throes of puberty. He looked like the type of boy Olivia would have had a crush on in junior high. Cute, almost vulnerable in appearance except for that flash of angst in his eyes. Angst into madness.

He didn't mean for it to happen, he told them, but his tone of voice, gestures and expressions showed no remorse. He'd never been in trouble before, he swore to them, but two similar cases in Philadelphia about eighteen months earlier raised red flags everywhere. Those incidents had not resulted in murder, so if this was the same perpetrator, he was escalating.

His name was William Richard Wholaver, Billy to his family and friends. George Huang, the FBI Profiler assigned to SVU, had been called in to evaluate the teenager. Even with Dr. Huang's vast experience, he was taken aback by this young man's coldness and nonchalance, regarding his actions. Billy told George that he found violence fascinating. When asked why, the boy countered with 'why not?' It was served to him practically on a platter on a daily basis. Murder and rape were the basis of all his favorite movies and television shows, not to mention his prized video game collection and the interactive role-playing web sites on the Internet.

Dr. Huang asked Billy if he comprehended the enormity of his actions, that he had taken a life - intentionally taken a life. The boy responded with a trite 'people die every day.' Trying to reason with him, George advised him that people dying from accidents or illness were entirely different than murdering someone. Huang questioned Billy concerning his view on the finality of death. Did he understand that it was something that could not be taken back? Did he understand that the young woman he had murdered would never see her dreams realized, never go to her prom, graduate high school, get married if she chose to, never have children or provide her parents with grandchildren? Did he understand the gravity of what he had caused his victim's family, what he had taken away from them?

Once again, his indifference astounded Dr. Huang. Billy shrugged and said if someone had done that to him, his parents would probably have sent the murderer a thank you note. Then he finished that statement with, "at least if I go to jail, I'll have three hots and a cot, better than I have it now."

"Do you want to go to jail?" George asked him, "Is that why you did this?"

Young Master Wholaver shrugged again and gave no verbal response.

"Billy, you and your parents have waived all rights to the presence of an attorney. Do you want to tell me what happened?" Huang asked the boy, gently. Even though the boy's behavior and actions had been horrendous, he seemed quite fragile in his own way. George really wanted to get inside this kid's head, decipher what made him tick. He couldn't do that by challenging him or being confrontational to him. This kid wanted to talk. All he needed was the most acceptable forum. Huang suspected that the last thing Billy got from his parents was any attention, much less compassion.

As the arresting officers, Special Victims Unit Detectives Elliot Stabler, Olivia Benson, along with SVU Captain Donald Cragen and Philadelphia Detective Lilly Rush, observed from behind a two-way mirror, the boy unfolded his story.

He did it on a bet, he told Huang. He was always moving around with his mom and step-dad, so he was always 'the new kid.' He hated it. Especially now, since all the other boys his age, some even younger, were 'all grown up and haired over.' He'd seen them in the showers after gym class and they had seen him. He had nothing, was just barely getting some sparse facial hair. But if it was one thing he could get and sustain, it was an erection.

So when the guys at this new school, a combination of junior high and high school, began picking on and harassing him, he bet them he could get a girl to have sex with him faster than any of the rest of them and to show them that he had actually done it…

"He'd take their panties for proof," Lilly finished at the same time the boy said it. Never taking her eyes off Billy Wholaver, she crossed her arms across her chest and rocked back and forth on her heels. "I know this is the same kid."

The observers continued to listen as the boy explained to George that the guys took him up on that bet and even picked the girl out for him. The impossible task of Mary-Agnes Ouellette, a straight-A, straight-laced sophomore who was going to work for the Peace Corps and then enter a convent and dedicate her life to the Lord. Mary-Agnes was a very pretty young lady, the kind of apple pie, cheerleader, fresh-faced virginal appeal that unintentionally drove high school boys out of their minds. She was firm and adamant about devoting her life to God and felt as though she was in complete control of her destiny. It was this resolve that left the boys in school wanting but too afraid to be too overbearing in their pursuit. Mary-Agnes may have had the face and, one assumed, body of one of those sex kitten teen actresses on TV but none of the guys had the balls to want to pop a future nun. They didn't think Billy had the gonads to do it, either, which is why they chose the impossible. Or so they thought.

Billy Wholaver was a calculating thirteen year old. But, then, why shouldn't he have been? Every lesson he learned about how to be an "adult," he learned from the media and severely lacking parental judgment. Whatever he did not pick up from those two determinants, he had to discover on his own. Like using casual sources to find out that the lovely young Miss Ouellette tutored math. He boldly approached Mary-Agnes the next day and asked her for help. He behaved in a most innocent, harmless but desperate manner. He was new to the school, he told her, preying on her sympathy. If he didn't pass the mid-term, he was going to be grounded for the rest of the school year, if not held back for another semester, which he couldn't handle as he was already so behind. Please, he begged her, please, actual tears welling up in his eyes, she had to help him. Everyone said she was the best and it should only take a few sessions to catch him up. She advised him that he really should arrange this through their guidance counselors but since the exams started next week, she'd see what she could do.

He acted relieved and thanked her profusely. She told him she could come over the next night and help him as long as one of his parents would be there to supervise and chaperone. It was only proper, she admonished him sweetly. He told her that his mom worked evenings but his step-dad would be there - most likely in the garage, working on his mom's Christmas present. His stepfather, Harry, was making Billy's mom a new dining room table. Mary-Agnes thought that was very noble and romantic in an old-fashioned way. Billy neglected to tell her it was to replace the one Harry had already destroyed in a drunken rage two weeks earlier.

Billy asked Mary-Agnes what he needed for study aids, as he did not want to keep her any longer than she needed to be there by him searching around for the correct books. She listed his text books, his work books, a calculator, a ruler, a slide rule, a list of conversion tables, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Oh…and a big bottle of ginger ale. She loved ginger ale. Done, he told her and then thanked her again several times, giving her a chaste hug before he left.

That evening, after dinner and, after his step-dad was passed out, drunk, in the garage, Billy stole ten bucks from Harry's wallet and roamed the streets until he found someone willing to sell him as many tabs of Rohypnol he could buy with that amount. Two was all he got. No big deal, one would be enough. With the two dollars he had left over, he bought a litre bottle of ginger ale.

She was pretty, he thought, as they studied together. She was also strictly business as she highlighted everything she felt would be on the Math mid-terms, checking her first semester notes for what had been taught up to that point. It was after they covered the metric system that he brought her that first glass of ginger ale. The roofie had dissolved instantly and it was colorless, tasteless and odorless. This was going to be a breeze, he thought.

"Okay, let's go over some geometric theorems…" she began.

"You mean, like, if two sides of a triangle are equal, the angles opposite these sides are also equal?"

"Exactly. See? I think you're going to do just fine," she told him, enthusiastically. "Do you remember what the sum of the angles of a triangle is?"

"One hundred eighty degrees?"

"Yes! Yes, that's…that's…" she blinked and looked as though she was trying to steady her equilibrium by placing her arm straight to the coffee table.

"You okay?" Billy asked, sounding sincere. It wouldn't be long now.

"I feel weird. Funny. Kind of woozy."

"It's all the excitement of tutoring me," he smiled.

"Okay, let's continue," she stated, as the room really started to spin. She closed her eyes and the book in front of her. "You know what? I…I…should…go…go home. I'm not feeling well…"

And that was it. She passed out on the couch.

Billy undressed her, stuffing her underpants in his pocket as he took his jeans off. He sat next to her, naked, holding up the TV remote, switching on to a XXX porn video. He patiently got himself "ready," and then did what he pleased with the unconscious body beneath him. The best thing about roofies, he thought, was temporary amnesia. No immediate recollection of anything. The girls usually woke up embarrassed and apologetic, having no idea what had gone on in the duration of their mental absence.

It didn't take long for the thirteen year old to complete the act but he immediately hardened up ready for more action. Boy, the guys would certainly think he was some hot shit now. He'd just finished this and get her dressed and -

Mary-Agnes started to wake up, which was unexpected and unplanned. Billy was still inside her, pumping away when she opened her eyes. Wide. Speechless. Horrified. Panicky.

"If she just hadn't struggled and fought me and threatened to tell," he told George, without emotion.

"But you were going to tell," Dr. Huang, reminded him.

"Bragging to your buddies about a hot conquest that all of them want and are jealous of you over is a lot different than the cops knocking your door down and making you pay for just being a guy and doing what guys do."

"You raped her, Billy. You violated her without her consent. Do you understand that?"

"She would have gotten over it. The others did. If only she hadn't threatened to tell." He ran his hand through his closely cropped hair. "That's when I put the pillow over her head and sat on it."

There was dead silence in the observation room.

He went on to explain that his mother was an alcoholic, weak to her husband but domineeringly abusive to her son. He learned manipulation early in his life to accomplish what he needed to get done. He never knew who his biological father was and his mother never volunteered any information about him. Everything he discovered about being 'a man,' he learned from Harry Wholaver, the sleezeball who married his mother when Billy was four years old. He had found out about Rohypnol, the date-rape drug, from his step-dad and he learned what he felt he needed to know about the sexual act by watching triple-x videos with Harry. They would watch and masturbate together, sometimes masturbate each other. Whatever. His step-dad said all guys did it and he so wanted to be one of the guys, especially in his stepfather's eyes. He was desperate to be a man and he believed this aberrant behavior proved he was one. Too bad Harry hated his guts because Billy really thought they were bonding.

Dr. Huang wanted to concentrate on 'the others' Billy referred to. "You said 'the others' did," George tried to bring him back to that statement. "Who were 'the others' and what did they do?"

"The other girls - they got over it."

"How do you know that?"

"They never told."

"How many others were there?"

"Two," Lilly again answered with him.

"Well, two in Philadelphia and one in Maryland."

"Will you give me their names?"

"Why? They never told, why should I?"

"Billy, these girls were also violated by you, even though you don't think so because you don't think they ever told. They will never get over it, regardless of what you think. You have marked them forever." Dr. Huang took a sip from the water glass in front of him. "Can you tell me who they were, if you know?"

"Of course I know," he responded, almost defensively. "Sure, I'll tell you. I guess it doesn't make any difference now." He sighed. "In Philly, it was Shannon Ramirez and…"

"Kimberly Heckenkamp," Detective Rush finished again, at the same time as Billy. She bowed her head, staring at the floor.

"…and Courtney Holsinger in Maryland," the boy continued.

"These girls were ten and eleven, respectively. Twelve and thirteen now. They told. After the evidence was gone and after the little prick moved out of state," Lilly supplied, quietly, unprovoked. "Neither knew his name. Just a boy from the neighborhood. Very similar M.O."

"Sick little puppy," Elliot commented.

Detective Lilly Rush, who was assigned to reopening and solving cold cases in Philadelphia, PA, had surprised everyone, including herself, with her visit to New York City. This sudden appearance was a pleasant development to both Elliot and Olivia, although for different reasons.

Researching something entirely unrelated, Lilly had requested a fax from a state trooper in Massachusetts. She picked up a faxed ALERT by accident, mixed in with her paperwork. It announced the arrest of a juvenile for the rape and murder of fifteen-year-old Mary-Agnes Ouellette. The details of the crime sent chills up Lilly's spine. She had gone over the Ramirez and Heckenkamp reports with Philadelphia SVU because they thought it might tie in to a cold case she and her partner were working on. That didn't pan out but this looked like a perfect match.

Lilly then put in an immediate call to the 16th Precinct, hoping to connect with either her cousin, Elliot, or Olivia, the woman who had unexpectedly rocked her world several months before. Instead, she spoke with a detective named John Munch, who advised her that the partners had been 'out straight' putting this case together. He further informed the Philadelphia detective that Dr. George Huang, an FBI profiler assigned to SVU, was going to be interviewing the juvenile suspect that afternoon if she wanted to drive over and take a look.

She entered the interrogation observation room of the juvenile detention center after the interview had just begun. Dr. Huang had only asked the boy a few establishing facts by that point, like his name, nickname, parents, siblings, etc. Cragen had escorted Detective Rush in and began to speak but introductions were apparently unnecessary. A warm, familiar smile broke out on Elliot's face and he pulled Lilly into a big, brotherly bear hug.

Olivia was a little stunned but happy, nonetheless. After all, Lilly had been her saving grace, so to speak, in an otherwise impossible situation - the discovery of and dealing with her father and his family. Olivia had been a very bad girl. Except for an occasional email, which had dwindled down to forwarding jokes even less frequently, communication between the two women had ceased to exist. She hadn't been much better with her brothers. However, they were more persistent and would not allow their newfound sister to disappear from their lives. Again. The other bad thing was that Olivia had never mentioned to her partner just exactly how close she and his favorite baby cousin had become during that tumultuous time. She was quite sure little Miss Lilly had not volunteered that information, either.

"I want to go after the parents," Olivia spit out, not taking her eyes off Billy and George Huang.

"Talk to Casey and see what we can do," Cragen advised. "It certainly doesn't sound like they can walk away from this unscathed."

"Especially the step-father," Lilly commented. "What a useless waste of oxygen he is."

"At the very least, drag him in on the kid's allegations of the sex stuff. Triple X movies, touching the kid, making the kid touch him…"

"…and question him about how the kid got so familiar with the use of Rohypnol and what it can do," Elliot added.

"Let's hope his parents aren't already in the wind," Cragen muttered, shaking his head. It never ceased to amaze him that with all the years experience he had as a cop and with SVU, that he could find a case that could still outrage and disgust him.

It was early Thursday evening before they left the juvenile detention center. The interrogation of Billy Wholaver had exhausted and depressed them all, none more so than Dr. Huang. He had dealt with some pretty twisted and unremorseful adolescents in his time but none quite like Billy. The boy genuinely appeared unaffected by his actions, as though taking away these young girls innocence and murdering the last one should have been no big deal. Of course, obviously Billy's innocence had been long removed as well, but for him to feel nothing…

Even though it was late, George felt the need to return to his office to initiate a report while the details were still fresh in his mind. Cragen departed almost immediately after Dr. Huang and Elliot, Olivia and Lilly strolled outside into the crisp, snowy New York air.

Elliot glanced at his watch and then looked at his cousin. "Are you going to head back to Philly at this hour?"

Sighing, Lilly shrugged. "I hadn't really thought about it. I am going to need to call my boss and ask him how he wants me to proceed with our case now that the little bastard's confessed."

Elliot looked over at Lilly, a little startled. He wasn't used to hearing curse words coming out of that angelic mouth. He had to keep reminding himself that she was all grown up now. "If you're going to be spending the night, come home with me. I know Kath would love to see you and you haven't seen the kids in, God, how long has it been?"

"A while. Maureen was pouty about having to be at the family reunion."

"Ah…about four years then. That was her worst phase of angst. She was pouty about everything then. Kathleen is just getting over that stage and now we have Lizzie and Dickie to look forward to."

Glancing ever so discreetly over at Olivia, Lilly then said," Not that I wouldn't love to catch up with you, Kathy and the kids, but I could really use a drink after hearing all that in there."

"Yeah, me too," Olivia agreed, casually. She was also stealing glances at Lilly. She had almost forgotten how damned cute and sexy the Philadelphia detective was. The subtle fluttering of sexual attraction was beginning to well up inside both women again.

"I would love to but I can't. I'm already much later than I had intended to be." He pulled Lilly into another tight hug. "It's really good to see you."

"You too, Packy," she said, automatically, without thinking. She felt Elliot's arms suddenly stiffen around her before letting her go.

"Packy?" Olivia repeated, grinning.

"Oh, no, Lil, why? Why?" Elliot asked, staring at the sky.

"Yeah, why? Why, Packy?" Olivia poked him, laughing.

Realizing what she had done, Lilly felt a twinge of embarrassment for her cousin but had to laugh with Olivia. "He used to play right tackle in high school. He mowed down anyone who got in his way –"

"Well, that hasn't changed," Olivia commented, offhand.

"We all used to kid him by saying he 'packy quite a punchy.' So, Packy stuck."

"I will get you for this," Elliot warned her, good-naturedly.

"I have no doubt you will," she agreed, smiling. Olivia loved to see Detective Rush smile. Her eyes crinkled and the expression lit up her whole face.

"So, " Elliot began, eager to change the subject, "how are things, Lil, really?"

"Good. They've been good. Love my job. Except for days like this, of course."

"Understood," Elliot acknowledged. "Seeing anyone romantically?"

"You know me…still the loner. I did see someone about five months ago. It was sweet but short-lived," Lilly stated purposely, as Olivia looked away, smiling and then found something inanimate on the sidewalk to hold her attention.

"A cop?" Elliot wondered.

"Of course. Who else understands?"

Elliot looked at his watch again. "I really need to get going. Sure you don't want to change your mind about spending the night?"

"I appreciate the offer, honestly, but I think I just want to go have a drink somewhere and if I need to stay, I am sure I can find someplace accommodating."

"Okay. If you do, I'll see you tomorrow. If not, call me so that we can get together." He removed his car keys from his pocket. Looking at Olivia, he said, "Are you going to go grab a drink with her?"

"I thought I might, if that's okay with her."

"Fine with me," Lilly responded nonchalantly.

"Good. Keep an eye out for her, Liv. I don't want my favorite cousin falling into the clutches of some predator out there."

Lilly stared pointedly at Olivia, "No, I certainly wouldn't want that." She then returned her focus to Elliot. "I'm sure I'll be in good hands with Detective Benson."

"Well, goodnight ladies. Liv, I'll see you in the morning."

"Yes. Goodnight, Packy," she smiled as he walked away.

He saluted her with an upright middle finger. Both women silently watched him as he got in his car and drove away.

"You didn't tell him, I see," Lilly commented, still watching the taillights in the distance.

"Well…it just didn't come up, " Olivia responded. She looked at Lilly openly for the first time all day. "It's good to see you, Lilly."

"Is it? That's nice to know," Lilly said, returning the detective's appraising glance.

"I'm sorry I haven't been in touch. You know how it is."

"But it's just life, right? It's not me, is it?" Lilly wondered.

"Oh, God, no," Olivia said, immediately.

Lilly nodded, smiling inwardly and outwardly. "Kept in touch with the Rogerios boys?"

"Only a little better than I've kept in touch with you. I'm just real bad at that. They keep threatening to come to New York and kidnap me for a day or two but they've been pretty understanding under the circumstances."

"Yeah, they seemed like very nice guys. Too bad their father was –" Lilly stopped suddenly, remembering that their father was also Olivia's father. "Sorry."

"No, no, don't apologize. I'll be the first to admit that he was a Class A scrote." She sighed, able to see her breath in the cool night air, just beginning to feel how chilly it was getting. "So where do you want to go for that drink?"

"How about your place?"

"Did he look familiar to you at all?" Olivia asked, referring to Billy Wholaver. "I feel like I've seen this kid before." Locking the door behind Lilly, Olivia removed her jacket and draped it over the back of her couch. She reached for Lilly's coat and placed it over hers.

"No, but I don't deal with what you do every day. I'm sure after a while that empty, soulless look in their eyes becomes very familiar." They had discussed the Wholaver case all the way home. It couldn't be helped, it was such a negatively powerful afternoon, the memory of it permeated their every thought.

Olivia returned from the kitchen with two beer bottles, handing Lilly one. "If I had known you were going to be here, I would have made sure I had some Rolling Rock or Yeungling for you," Olivia smiled at her. She really was happy to see her again.

Just as happy as Lilly was to be around Olivia again. "Corona is fine with me, thank you." She took a swig and looked around. "I like it. It's you."


"Comfortable. Warm, yet full of mystery. I really like the Autumn color scheme."

"Thanks. I feel like I spend so little time here. When I am here, I want to feel like I belong here."

"It's a nice place to bring people back to."

Olivia nodded, smirking. She sat on the couch. "If that's your subtle way of finding out if I'm seeing anyone, the answer is No, I'm not."

Lilly bowed her head, caught, but she smiled, very pleased with the news. "No word from…what is her name – Alice?"

"Alex," Olivia corrected, amused.

"Right." Lilly grinned, knowing Olivia was onto her. She stopped in front of a framed 8 X 10 of Olivia and a stunning blonde. "Is this her?"


"Damn. She's gorgeous."

"I like to think I have good taste in women," Olivia stated, taking a drink. And choose women who taste good, she thought, recalling the nights she spent with the alluring Detective Rush at her place in Philadelphia.

Lilly turned and looked at Olivia, searing her with a smoldering gaze. "I'd like to think so, too." Olivia was sure Lilly could hear her swallow as the blonde walked to the couch and sat next to the SVU detective. "I know it's been months but I am having a very difficult time restraining myself from lunging at you and ravishing every inch of your body." Her blue eyes were locked with Olivia's brown ones.

A little taken aback by Lilly's directness, Olivia recovered quickly. "But other than that, how do you really feel?"

Lilly laughed. "That was bold, wasn't it?"

"I wouldn't want it any other way," Olivia responded, sipping at her beer, not taking her eyes off the blonde.

"So…is it okay, you know, if I stay here…tonight?" There was suddenly an uncharacteristic shyness to Lilly's tone, as though she feared rejection from the gorgeous brunette.

Olivia smiled, arching an eyebrow. "I wouldn't want it any other way."

Olivia liked the way Lilly allowed her to automatically take charge. Not that when Lilly began on Olivia that it was any less intense or aggressive, it was just…different. If this ever became a permanent relationship, Olivia, no doubt, would be the more sexually dominant of the two. Lilly would be comfortable with that, as she really liked to be in control everywhere else but the bedroom. She liked it when her partner took the lead – as long as nothing got too freaky or out of hand. Olivia was just what she wanted and needed in a lover, just the right balance of roughness and tenderness.

The two women easily and comfortably fell back into a pattern of familiarity with each other. Lilly was rhythmically and masterfully pounding her fingers into Olivia when the chirp of a cell phone ringing vied for dominance over the moaning and heavy breathing.

"Wh.…what…ha…hap…happened…to…Cag…Cagney…and…Lacey?" Olivia gasped, trying to concentrate on Lilly's mission to push her over the edge for a second time in less than a minute. She, of course, was referring to the music Lilly had chosen to program into her cell phone to alert her that her partner, Detective Valens, was calling.

"That's because it's not my partner calling. It's my boss," Lilly whispered, then silenced Olivia with a deep kiss that ended in Olivia's explosive orgasm. Lilly kept her fingers in place, decelerating her pace, wondering if Olivia might be up for a third. The panting brunette, gently placed her hand over Lilly's, stopping the movement.

"It's not that I don't absolutely cherish the way you make me feel but we need some sleep. If we don't stop now, I can pretty much guarantee an all-nighter. Which would not be conducive to a productive day and I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be another long one." Olivia breathed at her, her heart rate slowly returning to a normal beat.

"And I should probably call my boss back," Lilly agreed. She rolled out of bed, grabbing her cell. She pushed the appropriate buttons and listened for a message. "Want to split that last beer?"

"Uh, okay, I'll have a couple of sips. I am a little parched. Your fault," Olivia smiled. She watched Lilly's naked form disappear from the bedroom. She did like this woman. A lot more than she felt she should. Such an uncomplicated issue with such major complications attached to it. She was Elliot's cousin. One he clearly doted on and whose orientation he was not aware of. She lived in another city in another state. And what about Alex?

Alexandra Cabot. It all seemed like so very long ago, sometimes Olivia had wondered if she imagined the whole scenario. The detective and the beautiful assistant district attorney who used to handle all of the Special Victims Unit's cases. Olivia loved that woman more than life itself and it felt very much reciprocated. Then it was suddenly, cruelly all gone and would stay gone until fate decided to rectify the situation. Or Alex took fate into her own hands and decided to disregard her own safety by coming back to Olivia of her own volition. Instinctively, Olivia knew that would never happen because it wouldn't be just Alex's health and welfare that would be in danger. There would be a domino effect that would just not be worth it and there was no guarantee that Alex exposing herself again before the time was right to do so would allow her to stay alive.

Olivia tried to push Alex out of her head. She was with Lilly tonight and that's where she wanted to be. Lilly was the only woman who could actually make Olivia not think about Alex when they were making love. That meant something. And that scared her. Olivia felt that she and Lilly fit – in a different way than she and Alex did. She began to feel a slight panic arise when Lilly stepped back into the bedroom, talking on her cell. She took a swallow of beer and then handed the bottle to Olivia, as she slid back in next to Olivia. Taking a sip of beer, Olivia relaxed and smiled at the nice body of the blonde in her bed.

"That's what I figured. Okay. Will do. Where am I staying?" Lilly looked over at Olivia and grinned. "I'd rather not say. If you need me, try my cell. Okay," she bowed her head, blushing, "I will. Bye." Snapping her phone shut, Lilly turned to Olivia and said, "Lieutenant Stillman said to tell you Hi."

"He did? So, I guess that means we aren't fooling anyone."

"Except Elliot." And hopefully not each other, she thought.

Handing the bottle back to Lilly, Olivia said, "I guess that's a discussion we'll have to be having sooner than later."

"I guess." Lilly leaned over and kissed the sultry brunette. "I kind of like having you all to myself though, you know…like this…" she kissed Olivia again. Then again.

"You keep doing that, we'll never get to sleep," Olivia purred, only inches away from Lilly's lips.

"Sucks to be me, huh?" Lilly said, kissing her again. She blindly reached behind her and set the beer on the nightstand. With her free hand, she caressed the back of Olivia's neck and slowly began kissing her way south.

"Ooooh, Lilly," Olivia sighed, her body responding to the blonde's touch, "you should come with a surgeon general's warning or something."

This made Lilly chuckle. She looked up at Olivia from her position just below the brunette's navel. "Are you saying that I'm hazardous to your health or a bad habit?"

"Not a bad habit but definitely habit forming."

"Good to know," Lilly stated, softly as she continued kissing the woman beneath her all the way down to her ultimate destination. She parted Olivia and her tongue entered gently, probing for the right spot. Within seconds, Olivia moaned and adjusted to feel Lilly's touch more thoroughly, signaling to the blonde that she had found it. Lilly wanted this night to go on forever.

Olivia walked into the SVU bullpen at least ten minutes before Lilly. She found Elliot already at his desk, researching something online.

"Morning," Olivia called to her partner, placing her jacket on the back of her chair. "Chilly this morning, huh?" She immediately walked over to the fresh pot of coffee, pouring herself a cup. "I really don't want this to drink, I'm thinking about sticking my nose in it…or maybe my toes and fingers." She strolled back to her desk.

Elliot looked up at her, distracted at first, then focused on her and smiled. "Morning. Did my cousin stay or go back to PA?"

"To my knowledge she was leaning toward staying," Olivia stated, evasively.

"She's a great kid, isn't she?" Elliot boasted, his grin getting wider.

"She's not a kid, El," Olivia reminded him.

"She'll always be a kid to me."

"Fine. Keep thinking about her like that and she'll keep bringing up the embarrassing childhood stories and nicknames, Packy."

"Okay, all right, I see your point," Elliot put his hand up. "Can we keep that Packy thing just between the three of us?"

"That depends."

"On what?"

"Whether or not I'll need it for leverage sometime."

"Come on, Olivia, that would be just plain mean."

"Oh, poor Elliot," Olivia teased him, "maybe you need to call a WAHmbulance."

As Munch and his partner, Odafin Tutuola, carpooled more than occasionally, they arrived together at the squad room, walking in also initially discussing the weather. Taking off his jacket, Fin looked at Elliot.

"Is that hot blonde from Philly that was in here yesterday really related to you?" Fin wanted to know.

Looking at Fin, somewhat protectively, he replied, "Yes. That hot blonde is my baby cousin."

"Baby, huh?" Munch smirked. "Can I volunteer for diaper duty?"

"Okay, that's just wrong," Olivia told him, not really wanting to laugh.

"Yeah, I don't want anyone from here coming on to her. She's like a little sister – I'd have to kill you all."

"Damn," Fin commented, "if you don't want us looking, stop bringing your hot relatives in here!"

"Did someone say something about relatives?" Lilly asked, standing behind everybody. She had entered the area unnoticed and caught Fin's last statement. Looking at her, Fin was unable to decipher if she was upset or amused. He backed down and decided to err on the side of caution. "Sorry, if I offended you."

"You called me 'hot,' Detective. I'd be an idiot to find that offensive," Lilly smiled.

Olivia turned toward her desk to try to hide her expression. She didn't want Fin to think she was laughing at him. Especially since she was, indeed, laughing at him. And she also admired the way Lilly took command of a room when she entered it. It was subtle but her quiet dignity and authority, all which were enhanced by her attractiveness, did wield a power, especially over men who seemed to lose all decorum when dealing with a strong, pretty woman. Not that Olivia didn't fall into that category but the squad was just so used to her, she was one of the guys now.

As Fin and Munch retreated sheepishly and apologetically to their desks to start their day, Elliot approached Lilly and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Glad you're still here. Where'd you stay last night?"

"Oh, I holed up with an old acquaintance."

"Great. You don't look rested, though. If you stay the weekend, you may want to reconsider spending it with me, Kathy and the kids."

"I'll think about it, Pac – I mean, Elliot." She turned to Olivia. "Good morning, Detective Benson. How are you?"

Olivia wanted to say, 'Not as good as I was forty-five minutes ago when I was in the shower with you,' but she responded with a curt, "Fine, thank you. We all ready to go to work?" She wanted to do or say anything to put her partner off the possible scent of her affair with his cousin, the heat emanating from both women alone must have been warming the room. How could he not sense it? Feel it? See it? It had taken Elliot no time at all to figure out that she was sleeping with Alex. Although his noticing that may have been borne of pure envy. Even though her partner was a happily married and faithful family man, it was just as obvious that he was attracted to the blonde ADA. Their head butting had disintegrated into shameless flirting by the time they all visited Chauncey's after more than one closed case. Maybe it was that elusive always wanting what one knows they can't or shouldn't have. But Elliot didn't miss the intimate looks that passed between the ADA and his partner. Elliot knew if they weren't sleeping together at that time, they would be shortly, as the interaction between them was unmistakable. He had picked up the vibe so clearly between her and Alex, why was he oblivious to her and Lilly? Despite what Olivia felt were obvious signals, it probably didn't enter Elliot's thought process that his presumed straight cousin was fucking his partner especially since he was too busy fending off all the other hounds with a stick.

Elliot, Olivia and Lilly all rode together when they went to the Wholaver's listed address that morning. It was actually a nice little house with a garage attached, not unlike the neighborhood Elliot lived in.

There was still crime scene tape around the house. Although the scene had been processed all day yesterday, there were still reminders and a mess left behind. Billy Wholaver's mother and stepfather had been allowed back in the house close to midnight last night. CSU finished up completely an hour after that.

Elliot knocked on the door. When there was no answer, Elliot pounded on the door. The door then opened with a bang against the wall and a not-so-pleasant Emily Wholaver, who looked drunk and sleepy was standing there. Looking at her, Olivia got a not-so-pleasant flashback of her own mother.

"What do you want now? You haven't destroyed this place enough?"

"Where's your husband, Mrs. Wholaver?" Elliot asked, not too politely.

"Your guess is as good as mine," she shrugged. "He came back in with me last night, packed some shit and took off after your people left."

"Where did he go?" Olivia asked.

"Couldn't tell ya. My crystal ball isn't working today."

"Could you maybe hazard a guess?" Lilly questioned, evenly, her sarcastic tone matching Mrs. Wholaver's.

Emily gave Lilly the once-over. "I know these two," she said, indicating Olivia and Elliot, "who the hell are you?"

"Detective Rush, Philadelphia PD." Lilly offered up her badge and identification.

"Philadelphia? What's that about?" Emily took a swig from her can of Genesee.

"We think your son may be involved in two similar cases in my jurisdiction," the blonde cold case detective told her.

Emily Wholaver tossed her cigarette butt onto the grass just past Elliot and shook her head. "That fucking kid. He's been a rotten pain in my ass ever since he was born. Nothing he does would surprise me."

The three detectives exchanged glances. "What about your husband, Harry?" Elliot asked.

"You deaf? I don't know where he went. Alls he said is that with Billy in the hands of the cops, the little puke would probably tell all kinds of lies to get him in trouble. So he split."

"Aren't you the least bit curious about your husband's whereabouts?" Olivia wondered.

"No. I say good riddance to the asshole. Good riddance to both of them," she responded, taking another drink of her beer.

"Mind if we go inside and take a look for ourselves?" Elliot asked her.

"Knock yourselves out. I'd tell you not to touch anything but it's a little late for that."

While Lilly stayed in the vicinity of the doorway with Emily, Olivia and Elliot searched the house to no avail. Harry Wholaver was nowhere to be found.

"Mrs. Wholaver, were you aware of what your husband was doing to your son?" Lilly brought up.

"Only what Harry told me Billy would probably lie about."

"And you definitely think Billy is lying and not Harry?"

"You know…I don't like you."

"Well, that just ruins my whole day," Lilly admitted, sardonically.

"You blondes are all alike." She shook her head. "Look, that fucking kid has been trouble ever since the day he was conceived. I'd believe anything about him." She observed Olivia and Elliot return. "Happy?"

"No, Mrs. Wholaver, we are not happy," Olivia began, trying to control her anger. "Your son did a horrendous thing, an act – actually, several acts – that we feel were prompted by your husband's actions toward him and with him and you behave as though it's just all a regular day. What is wrong with you?"

"Stand in my shoes, Detective. Then you can ask me what's wrong with me," Emily told her, bitterly.

"We'd like you to accompany us to the station to answer some questions for us," Elliot said.

"Do I need a lawyer?"

"I don't know. Do you?" Olivia countered.

"I didn't do nothing wrong. Why can't you ask your questions here?"

"Because we would be more comfortable with you on our turf." It was the look in Elliot's eyes that compelled her to cooperate.

The interrogation room of the 16th Precinct was not as decorated or as comfortable as the one in the juvenile detention center. While Billy Wholaver was, to his ignorance, 'treated' to a chair with some padding during his questioning, his mother was not offered the same courtesy.

Police interrogation rooms all seemed to resemble each other. They were purposefully intimidating and spartan. Bleak, stark and bare, lit harshly and furnished with utilitarian equipment – a table and very hard, uncomfortable chairs. There was a two way mirror mounted on the wall, in which the suspect or interviewee always sat facing so that the people observing on the other side, could scrutinize behavior and expression.

The room, deliberately grim and almost hostile in its austere quality, was exactly why they did not want to talk to Emily Wholaver in the comfort of her own home - if the place where your son raped and murdered someone could be considered comfortable. They wanted to set the mood, control the atmosphere. They wanted her to feel secluded and defenseless. That was the best way to get someone to talk to them, someone who would probably tell the police anything to get out of that room.

Elliot went to check out a possible lead on Harry Wholaver's whereabouts while Olivia and Lilly stayed in the Interrogation Room with a now nervous Emily Wholaver. "I don't understand why I'm here," she told the two detectives. She was edgy, bordering on volatile. "Harry's the one you say abused the little pervert."

"That little pervert is your son. A child that came out of you. A boy you helped raise into the little monster he became."

Emily flared. "He was born a monster. His father was a monster. A demon that spawned a demon."

Rolling her eyes, Lilly said, "Oh, please…"

"What do you know, huh? Pretty little blonde girl, probably had the world handed to you," Emily shook her head, smiling ruefully.

"Hardly. But we're not talking about me here," Lilly told her, not at all affected by Emily's displaced anger.

"Mrs. Wholaver, the blame game is a little old, don't you think? Your son raped four girls that we know about and murdered one of them. He's only thirteen. You cannot sit there and tell Detective Rush and me that you had no idea Billy had issues or how your husband spent his time 'bonding' with the boy."

"Look, I could never control the little SOB. Ever. I had to work – Harry wouldn't. Someone had to put food on the table…pay the rent. Harry baby-sat. I didn't know what went on when I wasn't there."

"And you didn't care, did you?" Lilly challenged.

"No! I didn't!"

"What about Billy's biological father?" Olivia wondered.

"What about him?"

"Do you know where he is?"

"I heard the old fuck died about five, six months ago."

"So he never kept up on Billy's whereabouts?" Lilly asked her.

"You're kidding me, right?"

Lilly bent down, close to Emily. "Does it look like I'm kidding, Mrs. Wholaver?"

"Okay, Billy's dad is, or was, a deadbeat. What else can you tell us about him?" Olivia questioned, putting her hands on her hips.

"Not much. I knew him from work. He used to come to this bar I used to tend at. It was close to the Navy shipyards back in Philly. He was an older guy. Foreigner. Heavy accent. One night I was leaving work, he grabbed me, dragged me into the alley next door, beat me up and raped me. Surprise – nine months later, out pops Billy."

Olivia suddenly felt the need to sit down. Lilly noticed and immediately caught on, not believing what Olivia was reacting to was possible…the odds against it were enormous.

"Mrs. Wholaver, do you remember this guy's name?" Lilly asked, quietly.

"I'll never forget it. Tabor Rogerios."

Olivia thought she might faint, a reaction both Lilly and Emily witnessed.

"She okay?" Emily asked Lilly. She looked at Olivia. "Do you know him?"

Lilly looked at Olivia. "Detective Benson? Do you need to take a few minutes?"

"No. No, I'm fine," Olivia lied. "Let's get this done. Mrs. Wholaver – are you positive it was Tabor Rogerios?"

"Detective Benson, if you know the name of the man who raped you, you never forget it."

"Why didn't you report it?" Olivia asked Emily, her voice almost a desperate whisper.

"Yeah, right," Emily almost laughed. "The week I was raped by that pig? A local newswoman in Philly was doing a documentary on her own personal ordeal. She went to the police. They caught the guy, went to trial and a jury found him not guilty. If this newswoman, who was a Miss Priss, couldn't get a jury to believe her, how the fuck do you think I could get a jury to believe me?! I was a bartender in a sleazy part of town. I occasionally went home with customers. Who was going to believe me? And by the time I realized I was knocked up, it was too late to abort him, not that I had the money for an abortion, anyway."

"Would you excuse me?" Olivia said, her complexion pale, her expression stunned. She stood up and walked out of the room. Lilly looked after her, concerned.

In the observation room, Don Cragen and ADA Casey Novak, watched Olivia enter. The detective closed the door and leaned up against the wall, closing her eyes, hugging her body with her arms, looking as though she might get sick.

"Olivia? What's wrong?" Casey asked, about to approach her when Cragen stopped the redheaded assistant district attorney.

"Olivia, I can finish the interview with Detective Rush. Elliot and Fin went to a trooper barracks off the Henry Hudson Parkway, they stopped Harry Wholaver heading out of town. Why don't you get out of here?" Cragen was gentle in his approach. "Go home. Go to the gym, go to a bar, get it out of your system."

"No, I'll be fine in a minute. I just needed to –"

"Olivia, I'm giving you a choice. You can either take my suggestion to get out of here or I can make it an order. You are way too distracted to do me any good. Take the weekend, come back on Monday. We've got it from here."

Drawing a deep breath, almost feeling like she could not get enough in her lungs to sustain her, Olivia nodded, silently and exited the room.

"What was that about?" Casey asked the unit captain.

"Remember that week you chewed on my ass for letting Elliot and Olivia be off at the same time? I let Olivia go to Philadelphia to meet with Detective Rush. She works on cold cases and they had just wrapped up a case of a serial rapist of many years ago. His name was Tabor Rogerios."

"Okay…" Casey started, skeptically, "…and that affects Olivia how?"

"Tabor Rogerios raped Olivia's mother in 1968."

"Oh. Oh, God, no wonder she's upset. The same guy who raped her mother fathered this kid via the rape of Emily Wholaver? No wonder she reacted like she did."

"It gets worse."

"How much worse?" Casey's words were laced with dread.

"Tabor Rogerios is also Olivia's father. Olivia was born as a result of the rape, just like Billy Wholaver."

"So…this kid is Olivia's half-brother?" Casey was shocked. "Maybe one of us should go after her. Do you think she should be alone?"

"I'll go," a voice interrupted them. It was Lilly, who had just left the interrogation room. "I don't think Mrs. Wholaver is going to give us much more. I really don't think she knows much more and even if she did, she's not going to talk to me. She's let me know in more ways than one that she doesn't like me. I think someone else should take it from here. I'll go find Olivia."

"No offense, Detective," Casey began, almost sounding territorial, "but don't you think whoever stays with Olivia – even if she wants company – should be someone she actually knows?"

"And you are?" Lilly regarded her, curiously.

"Casey Novak. ADA on all the SVU cases." She extended her hand and Lilly shook it briefly.

"No offense, Counselor, but the first time Olivia confronted her father, I was the one who was there for her. I intend to be there for her this time." She locked eyes with Casey, then broke the stare to acknowledge Cragen. "Any objections, Captain?"

"None from me. I'll tie this up," he indicated the room beyond the mirror where Emily Wholaver sat.

"Thank you." She nodded at Casey and left the room to look for Olivia.

Casey just glared at the door. "I don't think I like her," Casey mumbled as she turned back toward the window that looked in at Emily Wholaver.

Lilly had not found Olivia at her desk and her jacket was missing. She did find her outside, however, just sitting in her car, staring directly ahead of her, as though she were dazed. Knocking on the driver's side window, Lilly saw Olivia jump slightly at being jarred back into the real world. Olivia rolled down the window and speechlessly looked up at the blonde.

"Where are you going?" Lilly asked her.

"I think I want to go home," Olivia told her, despondently.

"How about if I drive?" Lilly suggested, reaching in and pushing some hair away from Olivia's eyes.

It took Olivia a few minutes to answer. She was not hesitant of wanting Lilly to be with her, she was just so overwhelmed by the development of William Richard Wholaver being related to her. Finally, Olivia nodded and slid over to the passenger side, as Lilly got in. She started the car and put it in drive. Looking over at the brunette, compassionately, Lilly moved her hand over and placed it on top of Olivia's. The SVU detective turned her head to the right, leaning her head against the window. She closed her eyes and interlaced her fingers silently with the blonde's.

Once at Olivia's apartment, Lilly closed and locked the door behind them. "Can I get you anything, Liv?" the blonde asked, taking off her coat and placing it over Olivia's on the back of the couch.

Olivia immediately began to pace. "I'm never going to escape this rotten son-of-a- bitch, am I? I knew that kid looked familiar. He looks like Rik's youngest boy, Ronnie," she stated, referring to her half-brother's son. "How many other monsters out there did he produce?"

"Olivia, I know this is upsetting but…listen, he also fathered you, Kris and Rik and you're all good."

"I appreciate that, Lil, but we still can't make up for or overcome the damage of one." Olivia stopped pacing and pounded her fist hard against the wall. "If he wasn't already dead, I'd kill the bastard myself."

Lilly stepped forward and pulled a distraught Olivia into a tight hug. They held each other silently for several minutes, when Lilly finally said, "I want nothing more than this to be over for you. I wish I could make it go away but I can't."

"I wish you could make it go away, too," Olivia responded, in a whisper. Lilly could tell Olivia was welling up even before she looked at her. "I'm glad you're here." Olivia managed a quivering smile.

"I'm glad I'm here, too," Lilly told her, softly, kissing her cheek.

"I cannot believe that little monster is my half-brother. When does it end? What if any of Kris' or Rik's kids are like that? Or become like their grandfather at a later age? Why did he have to be such a contemptible, vile man?" And then it became too much for her. Her anger built to its breaking point. She felt the need to throw things, hit something, scream at the top of her lungs. Instead, she cried. Sobbed, actually. Lilly held her and comforted her, much like the first time Olivia broke down in her arms because of her father.

Holding her until she seemed all cried out and emotionally spent, Lilly then walked Olivia into her bedroom and laid down with her, still not letting her go. Olivia fell into a fitful slumber only to wake up a few hours later, still angry and upset but also aroused. She turned to look at Lilly who had just dozed off. The sudden movement woke the blonde, finding her looking into the deep brown eyes of Detective Benson. Olivia was hovering over her, casting an undeniable lust in her expression. The timing seemed a little odd but that didn't stop the moisture from pooling between Lilly's legs or the fluttering in her stomach.

They made love silently yet hungrily, no words passing between them, the only sounds in the room being panting, gasping and light moaning. No conversation took place, no screaming or crying out names or declarations in the throes of orgasm. Passionate but quiet. Animal yet docile. When they were finished, there was still silence. Daylight Savings Time gave into shorter days and they held each other as the room got dark before five o'clock PM.

After at least an hour of them both being wide awake, Lilly could still feel Olivia's anger and outrage. Neither had spoken to each other yet nor did they feel the need to hold a conversation. Finally, Olivia decided to break the silence.

"I feel so exhausted. My mind seems to be traveling at warp speed," she admitted, freely. "I want to get drunk but I know that I'm the one who would suffer the consequences of that. I want to be able to get up tomorrow morning and think clearly about all this and not feel as though I am part of something that I can't control."

"Liv…I sometimes have trouble sleeping. I have something with me if you think you're going to have a hard time resting tonight." Lilly rolled into her. "I think you need a good night's sleep, uninterrupted."

"I don't like to do that…chemically enhance my sleep pattern."

"I don't either. But we live very stressful lives and sometimes it's necessary. One pill won't make you an addict." There was a smile in Lilly's voice. She kissed the pulse point of Olivia's neck.

"Okay," Olivia agreed after deliberating another few minutes. "As long as you're going to be right here with me."

"Well, I'll have to check my dance card first, you know, make sure I have no other appointments tonight."

Olivia squeezed her tighter in the darkness. "You better not, Brat."

It was about eleven o'clock PM when Lilly awoke to pounding at the door. She looked over at Olivia, who was out, thankfully. Slipping into Olivia's NYPD sweatshirt with cut off sleeves and a pair of sweat shorts she found folded on a chair, she entered the living room. The pounding continued and then Lilly heard:

"Olivia!! Come on, open up! It's Elliot! I'm not going away until I see you! Olivia!! I'll stand out here all damned night if I have to!!"

Lilly hesitated, weighing her options. If she didn't let Elliot in, he would persist until he woke Olivia up and she didn't want that. The woman needed this peace. On the other hand, if she opened the door to her cousin, she would, no doubt, expose her orientation to him, possible opening a family can of worms she was not ready to deal with yet. She took a deep breath. Olivia's sanity was much more important to her right now. Guessing now was as good a time as any, she unlocked and opened the door, standing behind it as Elliot entered.

"Finally! I thought I was going to have to break it down!" He turned to face Lilly, who closed the door. "What the – what -?" It took him a second. "Lilly? What are you – what's going on?" It was an unnecessary question. She looked as though she had just gotten out of bed – squinty eyes, disheveled hair, the sweatshirt definitely not being hers. "Where's Olivia?" he asked, starting to seethe.

"Elliot. Elliot! No! Stop. She's asleep. Do not wake her. She has had a horrible day."

"I know. I heard. That's why I'm here. Suddenly my day isn't turning out too well, either."

"Why? Because I'm here, in her apartment?"

"No, because you're obviously here, in her bed."

"Which is none of your business, really."

"None of my what?!" He raised his voice.

"Business and keep your voice down. I'm a big girl, Packy. I've been an adult, making my own choices for a very long time now."

"Lilly…are you gay?"

"Well…not at this particular moment but yes, I am a lesbian. And I like to refer to it as being festive, not gay."

"This isn't funny."

"I think it's hilarious. You have no right to be angry at me or your partner."

"I don't?" Elliot couldn't believe that she seemed to be defying him every step of the way.

"Absolutely not. In case her orientation got in the way of you noticing, she is a very strong, striking woman with a good heart and a beautiful soul. I would be a fool not to grab onto this brass ring."

"Did she…did she seduce you?"

"No. That was entirely mutual and it happened before she knew we were related. I was the dog here, Elliot. I knew who she was and she didn't have a clue about me."

"Do you mean to tell me that you two got together that first time in Philly, way back?"

"Yes. And to answer another question I know is coming, no, she was not my first woman."

"How long -? When…who was?" Elliot couldn't seem to gather his thoughts.

A smiled curled the corner of Lilly's mouth. "High school. Cyndi Frost's younger sister."

"Julia or Maxine?"


Elliot was agape. "I don't believe this…does any of the family know?"

"Not unless they're channeling you right now."

"But…but, Lilly, you're Catholic, for God's sake."

"No, you're Catholic. A practicing Catholic. I consider myself a recovering Catholic."

"Hey…what's going on?" a distinctly sleepy voice asked from the doorway. They both turned to see a very naked Olivia, leaning against the frame, rubbing her eyes. "What the hell did you give me, Lil? Damn, it knocked me out." She focused on the other person in the room. "Hi, Elliot, what are you doing here?"

"Um…Liv, honey?" Lilly spoke, gently, walking over to her, "you need to go put some clothes on."

Looking down at herself, her nudity not really registering, she simply said, "Oh. Okay." She turned and disappeared into the bedroom.

Lilly then faced Elliot, who was three sheets of red, his expression more cavernous than before. "Yeah," Lilly said, smugly, "and that's the other reason we hit it off." She passed a paralyzed Elliot. "Come on, Cuz, I'll get you a beer."

"Maybe I should get going," he stated, not moving.

"You're welcome to stay. It's not like you interrupted anything…that was earlier."

"Do you enjoy baiting me?"

"Actually? Yes."

"What did you give her?"

"To sleep? I'd rather not say. I'm just glad it worked. She was pretty upset." Lilly brought Elliot and herself back a beer from the kitchen. She gestured for him to sit, which he did, opposite her.

"You seem pretty comfortable here…with her," Elliot pointed out.

"I am."

Olivia emerged from the bedroom, wearing a tank top and sweat pants. Still half-asleep, she padded over to the couch and laid down, resting her head on Lilly's lap. In no time, she was out again, softly snoring.

Elliot couldn't verbalize the emotions running through him at that moment. Happy that his cousin and his partner seemed so well suited. Confused that Lilly hadn't confessed her orientation to him before now. Betrayed that Olivia had been so intimate with Lilly so long ago and had not shared it with him…and he was so very conflicted. His religious upbringing and convictions were threatening to come back – it was okay for Olivia to be a lesbian, but Lilly? She was his family.

He watched as Lilly sat contentedly, smoothing Olivia's hair while she slept. Taking a long swallow of beer, he said, "So what happens now?"

"With what?" She was making a conscious effort not to be defensive.

"With this Wholaver case? I mean, what's Olivia going to do?"

"She'll see the case through, I'm sure. The knowledge that this little prick is her half brother doesn't change the facts of the case. What did you guys find out about the step-father?"

"Right. Harry. Well, Wholaver isn't even his real last name, that's his mother's maiden name. He's really Harold Conger from Florida and he's got at least three priors for lewd and lascivious conduct. He's a real model citizen, that one. Luckily, he's being held right now for assault as he tried to coldcock one of the state troopers who picked him up for speeding this morning."

Olivia turned over so that her back was now to Elliot and she was facing Lilly's stomach. The brunette emitted a huge sigh and her breathing pattern fell back to rhythm of deep slumber.

"I'm concerned about her, Lil," Elliot admitted, staring at the back of Olivia's head.

"Yeah," Lilly looked down at the sleeping woman resting on her, "so am I."

"It's like her father keeps haunting her from the grave. I thought once she found him and now that he's dead that she would have closure."

"Did you really think so? The man raped her mother and God only knows how many other women, which means no one really knows how many other little Rogerios are running around out there – good and bad. She'll get through this and who knows if another one of her siblings is going to pop up? How can there be closure to that?" She looked down at Olivia, wistfully. "I just wish I could be here to help her through all of it."

It was the way Lilly said it, which made Elliot sit forward in the chair. "Are you in love with her, Lil?"

She looked up at her cousin, her eyes misty. "I don't know. And what if I am?"

"Do you know about Alex?"

"Ah, yes, the phantom Ms. Cabot."

"A phantom who could return any time. If or when that happens, Olivia isn't going to give you the time of day."

"Gee, thanks for the pep talk, El."

"Come on, it's nothing to do with you personally, Lilly. Alex Cabot possesses Olivia's soul. That's the best way I can categorize it."

"Well, I have her in the mean time. And who knows? Depending on how long Alex is gone, she just may fall out of love with her and in love with me."

"I think you'd be kidding yourself to think that."

"Then let me kid myself."

"I just don't want you to get hurt."

"No, you just don't want me to be gay. But there isn't anything you can do about that. So…as long as I am attracted to women, wouldn't you prefer that I am with someone you know will treat me right?"

Elliot finished his beer. "I guess you have a point."

"I'm sorry you had to find out this way."

Elliot stood up. "I guess I don't understand why Olivia never said anything. We usually tell each other everything."

"I think she was trying to protect me. She's aware the family doesn't know. She probably didn't feel it was her place to out me to you."

Elliot set his empty beer bottle on the counter. "I should get going. It's late and I'm not doing much to comfort Olivia. Seems that you've already taken care of that."

Lilly smiled up at him. "Jealous?"

He smiled back at her in spite of himself. "Maybe a little."

She carefully moved herself out from under Olivia's head and walked her cousin to the door. "She's going to need you, Elliot. Especially at work. Even though she probably won't admit it but be there for her, anyway. And save the discussion about her and me for another, more appropriate time."

He reached over and hugged Lilly. "You're a good girl, Lil. Olivia would be lucky to have you."

"Well, I think so too, of course, but it's not just up to me," Lilly joked with him. She stood on her toes and kissed him on the cheek. "Thanks, Packy. I'll talk to you over the weekend."

Nodding, Elliot closed the door behind him and Lilly locked it. She finished her beer and went back to the couch. Olivia was sleeping so peacefully, Lilly didn't have the heart to disturb her to get her back in bed. She brought out a pillow and blanket and covered the detective up before she returned to Olivia's bed without her.

When Lilly woke the next morning, Olivia was in bed beside her, the blanket she had put over her the night before, half on the bed, half on the floor. The blonde cuddled up to her, molding her body to Olivia's perfectly. Lilly was about ready to doze back off, when she felt Olivia stir. She kissed the back of the brunette's neck. "Hey, you…" she whispered. "How do you feel?"

"I had the strangest dream."

Lilly kissed Olivia's shoulder. "Yeah? Tell me about it."

"Oh. You know, one of those dreams where everything seems normal except you're naked?"

Holding her breath, halting any movement, Lilly said, "Uh…tell me a little more about this dream…"

"I dreamed that you and Elliot were sitting in my living room, drinking beer and I walked out to join you but I didn't have any clothes on." She felt Lilly's forehead touch her back, and the vibration of Lilly mumbling something into her skin. "What was that?"

Lilly turned her head sideways, so that Olivia could hear her this time. "I said: that wasn't a dream."

Now Olivia held her breath and stiffened. "What do you mean?" She rolled over on her back and looked up at Lilly.

"I mean Elliot was here last night, we did have a beer and you did, um, kind of, you know, walk…out…"

"NAKED?!" Olivia finished for her.

"As the day you were born."

Olivia was speechless. Then she looked at Lilly. "Oh, sweetie, I am so sorry. He knows now, doesn't he? Is he really pissed at you? Oh my God – is he really pissed at me?"

Lilly started to laugh. "He'll get over it."

"He saw me bare-assed naked?"

"That he might not get over."

Olivia slapped her hand over her eyes, mortified. "Well, that's it, I'll just have to resign now."

Still chuckling, Lilly said, "You can always transfer to Philly. To my knowledge, other than me, no one in my squad has seen you naked."

Peeking out from behind her hand, Olivia grinned, but was still embarrassed. "To the moon, Alice."

"Hey, how about I buy you some breakfast, we come back here, take a shower and spend the rest of the day in bed?" Lilly said, seductively, teasing Olivia with her hands, lightly running her fingers over extremely sensitive areas.

"Tempting, tempting and I am hungry but…I think I've had enough sleep," Olivia told her, joking.

Lilly rested her body on top of Olivia's. "If I wanted you to sleep, I'd go back to Philly." She kissed Olivia's forehead. "I am glad yesterday is over." She kissed the bridge of her nose. "I am relieved my cousin now knows." She kissed her cheek, her chin and then her lips. "And I am very, very happy to be in your bed. With you."

"And I am very happy that you are in my bed. With me."

Sighing, Lilly moved off Olivia, rolled over and sat up, hugging her knees to her chest.

The action surprised the SVU detective, as she thought they were heading toward some act of intimacy. "Uh…is something wrong?"

"God, no. That's the problem, Olivia. Everything feels too right." She rested her chin on her knees.

"How can something feel 'too right'?" She turned on her side, propping her head on her hand.

"You're in love with someone else," Lilly stated, flatly, not looking at her.

"Oh. That." Olivia sat up. "Lilly…"

"I know. You've been very honest about your commitment to Alex. I'm…I just…"

Olivia moved over to Lilly, wanting, needing to be closer to her. "I'm between a rock and a hard place here. If Alex didn't exist, I'd be coming at you like a locomotive. But Alex does exist and she's still out there somewhere and I know someday she will be back."

Lilly nodded and looked at Olivia. "How do you know she hasn't moved on? Found someone else?"

"I don't," Olivia responded, quietly.

"Then how can you hang onto that? What if she never comes back?" Lilly's tone was controlled, moderate. She didn't want Olivia to think she was desperate.

"I…I guess I'm just not ready to go there yet." She touched Lilly's face. "I'm sorry. I would love nothing more than to feel I am free enough to exclusively be with you. You get me like no one else before or since Alex and you get to me like no one else before or since. I just can't make that kind of commitment to you and I would be lying to you if I said I could."

Lilly went back to hugging her knees.

"Where did this suddenly come from anyway? I thought we were clear on what we were to each other," Olivia brought up.

"You were clear. I was partly cloudy. Last night, Elliot told me that if Alex came back, you wouldn't give me the time of day. He said she possessed your soul." Olivia stayed silent. "I guess I was kind of hoping I could sweep you off your feet and you'd forget all about her." Lilly's smile was disarming but the hint of sadness in it did not go unnoticed by the brunette.

"Elliot shouldn't have said those things." She stretched out and pulled Lilly in her arms, so that the blonde's head was resting on her shoulder. Olivia was relieved that Lilly didn't resist her.

"He should have if they're true."

"I wish I could explain it to you, Lilly, but I am not sure I understand it myself," Olivia told her, sincerely. "I love Alex Cabot. She was the first person to really get inside my head, into my heart, into my veins. I felt as though she were my life's blood. I don't even think I realized the magnitude of my love for her until she was gone. And I have grieved her loss ever since, missing her more than I could ever say. Then you came along and you took me so completely by surprise. You did sweep me off my feet, Lilly. That's why I am torn. You deserve better than to be 'the other woman' but I can't offer you any more than that right now."

Lilly was also torn because Olivia was right, she did deserve better –as far as status in Olivia's life but not as far as Olivia, herself. She knew that first time in Philadelphia that Olivia had been exactly what she had been searching for, someone who was kind, not just intelligent but wise, emotionally strong, an inner beauty that just amplified the outer beauty and honest. Their last night together at Lilly's apartment, Olivia explained to her about Alex. The cold case detective told Olivia she understood and maybe at that time she felt she did. But seeing the SVU detective again this time rocked Lilly just as much if not more. She could only liken the feeling to what an addiction must be like – she knew Olivia was ultimately unavailable to her and probably not a good idea for her to keep pursuing but when she was around her, she had to have her. The gravitational pull was just too strong.

Knowing she should really get out of that bed, get dressed and go back to Philly, she pushed common sense and a piece of her dignity aside. She thought about what she told Elliot last night. She did have Olivia right now and maybe with a little more contact between them, a little more persistence, she could accomplish what really didn't seem like such an impossible goal – getting Olivia to fall in love with her. However, she wasn't going to do that by making Olivia feel guilty or pushing her to make a choice.

Lilly sat up again, looking at Olivia and smiled sincerely. "Hey…sorry about that. Momentary lapse in sanity. I can hang in there with things staying just the way they are."

"Really?" Olivia looked skeptical.

"Well…for now, anyway. But I'm warning you – if Alex stays away too long, I'm going to come at you with everything I've got."

"I don't want to hurt you, Lil. And it's not my intention to hurt you, which is why I am trying to be as honest as I can be here. I understand that this is an impossible situation and that I'm asking you to stay involved with someone who cannot be totally emotionally available to you. At least not right now. Maybe never. I realize this is so unfair to you, to expect you to give this much of yourself to me and if Alex comes back, it will turn both our worlds upside down. But right here, right now? I don't want to be with anyone else but you."

"Maybe we should just take it a day at a time, then. Let what happens happen. I know what I'm getting into. I know that the distance between us may keep things in perspective but I don't want to go as long between seeing each other as we did the last time. We really aren't that far away from each other."

"No. We're not."

"I've got an idea. Why don't we call up your brothers and have them meet us at that little Hungarian restaurant they took you to and tell them about the Wholaver kid. They really should know and you would get to see them again in a neutral setting."

Olivia laughed. "Neutral? You obviously haven't met Uncle Anyos. So much food…"

"You said you were hungry." Lilly had an anticipating look in her eyes.

It took Olivia a few minutes to juggle the idea, then she shrugged. "Not a bad idea. I think I will call them, see if they want to meet for an early dinner. I am sure they would like to see you again, too. They really liked you."

"Hey – what's not to like?" Lilly spread her arms wide, smiling.

Olivia reached up and grabbed her, pulling her down on top of her. "Absolutely nothing. I know I like what I see."

"Yeah? Prove it," the blonde challenged her.

They tenderly made love in bed and then in the shower. It was as though the conversation about Alex had never happened. They were content to let things go on the way they were. For now. But in the back of their minds, the ghost of Alex Cabot would haunt them both.

The two detectives met the Rogerios brothers at Benedek's, the family restaurant Kris and Rik had taken Olivia to months earlier when she was attempting to "bond" with her half-brothers. Uncle Anyos, Kris and Rik's uncle on their mother's side, was thrilled to see Olivia again and treated her as though he saw her every day. He was also happy to see Lilly, whom he'd never met before. Uncle Anyos was happy to see just about anyone who came into his restaurant, especially if they were family or guests of the family.

In between the courses of dinner, Olivia explained to the boys about the case they had just wrapped up. This was not welcome news but it was not unexpected. The Rogerios brothers had discovered a lot of negative things about their father since Lilly had come to them and informed them of Tabor's criminal history two weeks before he died. It was still difficult for them to believe but, unfortunately, they were getting used to hearing more and more bad things about him.

Lilly and Olivia exchanged glances, guessing that Rik still had no idea that his father had raped his wife and that possibly two of his children weren't really his. That was a Pandora's Box neither of them were sure they wanted opened.

The 'early dinner' ended nearly five hours later, well into the night. Since Lilly's place was a shorter drive, the two detectives returned there to sleep and would head back to Manhattan on Sunday.

Olivia reacquainted herself with Lilly's two cats, who couldn't have cared less about her presence. They were happy to see Lilly, however, since it meant fresh water, wet food and a clean kitty box.

Too full and too tired, they undressed for bed, immediately falling asleep in each other's arms.

The next morning, Lilly awoke first and got up to make some coffee. She had just finished pouring more dry food into the cats' bowl when there was a knock on her door. Looking up at her kitchen clock she registered the time…a little after 8:30. The knock persisted. Returning to the bedroom, Lilly grabbed a robe. She looked over at the woman still asleep in her bed and smiled.

She went back to her living room and opened the door, nearly fainting. "Diana…!"

"Hi, Lil. Surprise," the woman said, tentatively, a woman she hadn't seen in five years, a woman who could have been considered her "Alex," a woman she had been intensely in love with and who had broken her heart by leaving her to take a job in Chicago.

"What are you doing here?" Lilly's voice was barely audible as she felt she had no breath. Her timing could not have been worse.

"I'm back. And I think we should talk."

The End

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