DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Post "Ghost" Prequel to "OUT IN THE OPEN" series.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Damn You
By Adrienne Lee



Olivia lay wide awake in her narrow bed. There wasn't much use in trying to sleep, she knew sleep wasn't going to come tonight. Still you'd think after this long... three long fucking years and there was no peace of mind, no rest for the weary or the wicked.

The detective had tried her damnedest to not forget, but at least move on. There was no moving on, she was caught in some hellish limbo with no escape. Her mind might tell her to move on, but her heart was never going to let her... and did she honestly want to?

She'd never been one who had a great need for a lot of sleep, four or five hours was a good night for her. Unless she tied one on or exhausted herself in a good old fashioned roll in the hay, then she might get six or even seven.

She used hang out in bars hoping to get drunk enough to feel numb and sleep, it used to work, but it failed after awhile. Then she started picking up women for mindless sex, but that was futile. Frantic, unsatisfying attempts in the dark with a stranger. Always a blonde, always but never quite her.

Oh they told her how wonderful she was, and walking out the door her final thought was, "well good for one of us anyway." One woman offered herself as a way for the brunette to exorcise her demons. How pathetic! But who was the more pathetic one, the woman for offering or herself for actually trying?

Now she poured herself into her work, there was nothing else. Even her partner had ceased to understand her obsession. He told her: move on, start a new life, you're killing yourself.

Easier said than done. All that was left were her memories, the rare dream where she was almost there, she could just not quite touch her, long to feel, smell, taste, but nothing. Gone like a wisp of fog, a glimmer of moonlight, a fragile web outlined in dew.

Insubstantial, like a dream. I can see you when I close my eyes, hear you when I stop listening to the real world, and never, ever stop loving you. And after all of this time, all I can say is...




Outside the window, there's nothing but sand and prairie dogs. They made me the widow of a forest ranger. Said I wanted a change of scenery. Who in the hell thought that one up? They said it was different. Definitely different, bizarre, out of character, fish out of water, hiding me in plain sight, I guess. Does that really work anywhere but in the movies? I hope so.

I don't want to complain, they're just trying to do their job and keep me safe. I even get a pension and I have a little tourist shop selling cheesy souvenirs. I hate this place, this life, I want my other life back. The one that was really mine.

I wonder how long I'll have to stay here, and be this person. They've moved me twice now in the last six months. New identity, new story to remember. I'd almost stay here if I could just be the same person for a little while.

I miss her.

Now where the fuck did that come from? I've tried not to think about her, tried really, really hard and sometimes I succeed. Until they moved me here, where there's nothing to take my
mind off my past.

She was the biggest part of my regret. I could live with not being me, but I found I couldn't live without her. The strength she gave me when I had none of my own. Her quiet laugh, the gentle side she showed only to me. Nothing and everything, that's what she was to me.

Only she could make me forget my losses, my anger, and my regrets. It was her passion for our work that saw me through when mine was gone. Her shoulder I cried on when things became to difficult to bear, and her loving that took my breath away.

Soft brown eyes that gazed at me with such love and devotion. As long as I had her I could face anything. Didn't back down from any fight, including the one that robbed me of myself, but most importantly her.

Why did you have to be my hero? Why did you have to steal my heart? Why did you keep my soul? Couldn't you leave me something of my own? Did you have to keep everything for you? Everything but me?

DAMN YOU! DAMN YOU for ever accepting my love!



How could I have been so incredibly stupid?

We were pipe dreaming last night! There's no way the Feds are going to let you come back here and stay. Not so long as you're of use to them.

Why can't I hate you for your damn tenacity, for fighting the good fight? Because deep down in my heart of hearts I understand. I would have expected no less of you or myself. But...

There's always a 'but' isn't there. Why can't we be irresponsible and think only of ourselves, just once, just for happiness sake? Because it wouldn't be either one of us now, would it?

I hate you and I hate me for being the way we are. You slipped away like a thief in the night. Yes a thief, because you took my heart with you again. You made promises and I believed them.

Now who is the bigger fool? Me for believing or you for promising? I guess we're both equally to blame. Maybe we're not meant to be together... not in this life nor any other.

It was nice for a little while, a few hours of pretend that we would wake up and when the trial was over you'd come back to your old life and be mine again. A small bit of time to be in rapture, but at least we had that, some never experience that kind of feeling at all.

I wonder if they aren't luckier in a way. They say ignorance is bliss. Maybe not blissful, but it's a different kind of pain. With not knowing you still hope to have that joy one day, in knowing and
having it end, you lose hope.

Sometimes the emptiness is unbearable. I've tried so many other ways to fill the void you left. There's no answer, perhaps if I were a religious person I'd seek help that way, but I'm not, so I work. I do my job because it's never deserted me, and in some small way it keeps me close to you. Don't ask me how, I don't understand myself.

Now here I sit on surveillance. Am I thinking about the perp I'm trying to catch sneaking out? No, I'm dreaming about you and missing what we had. Promising what ever superior being there might be who listens to puny humans that I'd give my immortal soul to be with you one more time. Just to hold you, see you smile, and tell you how much I love you one more time.

Damn me... Damn the world... Damn you!



I thought I would stop breathing when I saw you standing there. I drank the sight of you in like someone dying of thirst. You were the soul of my existence, the food that fed my heart, and the very center of my world.

I sit here on the way to a new life, a new destination, and a new name. I don't know who I'll be this time or where I will end up. All I do know is I couldn't face saying goodbye to you. Call me a
coward, hate me, cast me from your life, but don't forget me. I couldn't bear that.

I honestly thought they were through with me, but they said there was a contract on my life again. I served no purpose coming out of hiding, but I did get to see you. I had one night with you, and that was worth all the rest of my life in hiding if need be. Being with you one more time, even for just one night is more than a king's ransom... And sometimes more than my world can bear.

Life without you holds no meaning, but I do have one last night with you, and that will keep me warm when the cold emptiness of my bed seeps into my bones. The memory of your touch, your words, your hands will keep me going when nothing else can.

And one last thing - Hope - we still have that. We have the promises we made to one another. I'm coming back to you one day, I swear on I don't know what or who, but I will come back to be with you. You've got to believe that. I haven't deserted you and in my heart I never shall.

Believe that, you must. Believe me. Damn You.



She sleeps on her side away from me not like you with your head pillowed on my shoulder. In the soft twilight just before dawn, if I look quickly, just a glimpse, she looks like you lying there. She isn't you, and God bless her she never could be. Even if I grew to love her, which I can't, you'd always be there first. No one would ever take your place in my heart.

I feel a sharp twist deep in my gut, I feel guilty. I don't want to, I run from those kinds of feelings. I never want to feel guilt or remorse, I'm too big of a coward for that. Yes, your wonderful, heroic detective has the moral integrity of a wharf rat.

I can forgive you your insurance adjustor. You were alone in a strange place without anyone but yourself. Even the 'yourself' part was a lie. You had every right to reach out to someone who was kind and made you feel less alone.

You were taken from me, but at least there was a purpose, a reason, something you felt was worth dying for. I have my friends, my job, my life. I gave up you, not every single thing that made me who I am. So what excuse do I have for reaching out in the dark?

You're alone again, starting a new lie in a strange place. Always looking over your shoulder, always afraid. All you have to hang onto is a promise we made to each other. I'm not sure I'm someone you should have faith in. I'm not sure I'm who you think I am.

But don't give up on me, please don't ever give up on me - I beg of you even though I don't deserve you. Damn You!



I think in some perverse way this is punishment for my not putting us first. I've lost everything that made me who I was, but I don't miss that nearly as much as I miss being with you. I even miss fighting with you, and I really despised our fights. We were so incredibly harsh and hateful, but we were alive and passionate, and I don't even have that now.

I go to work, I come home. I eat and sleep and watch TV. I have become a couch potato, you'd laugh. I used to give you such a hard time about that. Now it seems to be all I do. I've even learned to love AMC as much as you did.

I have my memories of us and everything we were to each other. Knowing in my heart that one day we'll be together again keeps me going. It keeps me sane and I'm not sure what I would do without those thoughts and promises we made to each other.

All the things we left unsaid the first time I left, I think we realized how important it was for us to say them in that brief respite we were given. Our second chance, that's how I'm looking at it. And I will be back. If they don't get him soon, well, I'll just live with the fear. At least we'll be together. Because life like this isn't living.

Truly living is being with you where I belong. Having your arms around me and your love to keep me alive - that's all I want, everything else can go to hell.

You better believe I'm coming back! Damn You!



You're back. It's what we wanted, isn't it? For this awful nightmare to be over and we could have our life together back. Nothing spectacular, just us. All the promises about not wasting any more time. Finding a nice little place we could call home, just the two of us, a haven against the rest of the world.

I can't bring myself to answer the phone, or the door, or even your emails. I can't… I just can't.

You deserve to know why, but I just don't seem to be able to tell you. I don't have the courage to open the door, pick up the phone or even take the coward's way out and email you that I betrayed every one of our promises. I betrayed our love, I betrayed our hopes and dreams, most of all I betrayed you.

I'm not who you think I am. I'm not who you deserve to love you. I'm not what you need in your life. I don't deserve you, and as much as I want to be I can't. I wasn't worthy of you before and I'm certainly not now.

So stop coming by, stop calling me, stop emailing me. Most of all stop wanting me…

Just leave me, leave me to rot in my own stinking fucking hell!

Damn You!

The End

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