DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and its characters are the property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
SETTING: Immediately following the episode "Inheritance"- Episode 51, Season 3
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Hypancistrus


I lean against the wall of the elevator in my apartment building and close my eyes as it takes me to my floor. It had been a long, long day, but at least Olivia and Elliot had gotten the bastard that killed those Asian women. Now it would be up to me to make sure he went away where he could never do it again.

The elevator dings and I stand up straighter, gripping the handle of my briefcase. As the doors slide open I step out and come to a startled halt. Olivia Benson is leaning against the wall next to my door. She looks up at me and gives me a tired smile. "Detective Benson," I say with a smile of my own, "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

I step past her to open my apartment door, and she offers me a wry grin. "How many times do I have to tell you? Olivia. My name is Olivia."

I offer her a smirk. "Mmm hmm. So what are you doing here, Olivia?"

The ghost of a smile that was gracing her beautiful features disappears faster than I'd have thought possible. I motion her inside and she precedes me into the apartment. I shut and lock the door and turn, leaning my back against it. She's standing four feet away, hands shoved deep in her pockets. Eyes averted. "Rough day, huh?" I ask quietly.

She looks up at me and I can see tears sparkling in her eyes. She nods. "Yeah, something like that."

The lawyer in me feels a compelling need to ask follow up questions, but the woman in me sees something in Olivia's eyes begging me not to. If I can't use my greatest talent, then I can only fall back to lesser talents. I put my briefcase on the floor and take two long steps, closing with the melancholy detective. My right hand slides to the back of her neck as I wrap my left arm around her waist. Gentle pressure on the back of Olivia's neck brings her lips to meet mine.

Like every time, fire courses through me as we kiss. I never imagined I could ever feel so much from just one simple physical gesture, but it never fails to disappoint. I feel Liv leaning into me, her hands moving up to each side of my face. I wait for her to deepen the kiss, to take the lead like she usually will, but she doesn't, so I do. I open my mouth, tracing my tongue over her lips, begging entry, which she grants. My tongue crashes against her, but finds little resistance.

I pull away slowly, blinking my eyes open to look at her. Her eyes are squeezed shut, and tears are trailing slowly down her face. I reach out to wipe them away from her cheeks with my right hand, trying to figure out what could possibly be wrong. "Olivia," I whisper, "Tell me what's wrong."

She shakes her head, finally opening her eyes. I almost step back when I see how much pain is in those brown eyes. I frown. "Liv," I plead, "Please…."

Her voice, when she finally speaks, is haunted. "I can't."

"Can't what?"

She pulls away from me and walks over to my couch, falling down onto it and putting her head in her hands. I hesitate a moment, only a moment, before walking over to the couch and tentatively sitting down next to her. Her hands run through her hair once, leaving it looking more crazy than normal. Kind of fitting the mood, I can't help but think. She leans back against the sofa, her eyes turning to meet mine. "I can't talk about this," she whispers.

I pause, watching her watch me. "Can't?" I ask, needing to know, "Or don't want to?"

Olivia sighs. "It's nothing personal, if that's what you're asking."

She groans and shakes her head. "I mean, it is personal. But it's not that I feel like I can't talk to you. I just don't know how to talk about it."

I nod. "Okay."

She looks relieved when I don't push. I slide closer to her on the couch, reaching out to wrap my fingers around hers, and lean into the warmth of her body, laying my head on her shoulder. "I'm sorry," I whisper.

I feel her head turn to look down at me. "You're sorry? For what?"

"That you had a bad day," I reply innocently, twisting my neck to look up at her.

She smiles. A small smile, but a smile no less. Leaning down, she presses her lips lightly to mine. "Me too."

I continue to look at her, losing myself in her brown eyes. Finally I smile back, a smile I know is cocky and confident, just the way she likes me. "I bet I can make your day better, though."

Her eyes glint and her smile widens. I watch as one eyebrow raises and she regards me with humor. "You think so, huh?"

I shake my head, sitting up and reaching for her other hand, tugging on them to bring her to her feet. "Oh, no, Detective. I don't think—I know."

She stands and allows me to lead her towards the hallway that will take us to my bedroom. "Such confidence," she murmurs, "I love that in a girl."

I turn back to face her. "I know you do. Are you planning on talking all night?"

She grins. "No way."

We reach my bedroom and I push her backwards towards the bed. "You're wising up."

She laughs. Her laughter stops abruptly when I give her a good hard shove, leaving her lying on her back on my bed. Liv's eyes are always expressive and tonight is no exception. In her gaze, I see desire, amusement, adoration—all of which I'm accustomed to seeing in my lover's eyes. But underneath all of it I see a layer of pain, and somewhere beneath that, fear.

I wish she would tell me what it is that she's afraid of. I know about the demons that come with this job now. I could help her, if only she'd let me.

But there are other ways I can help tonight. I know what she wanted when she showed up here. I know what she needs to keep the demons at bay, I'm more than willing to provide it, and she looks more than willing to accept it.

Hours later, the sheets are in a sweaty tangle at the bottom of the bed. There is a breeze blowing through the window, cooling our heaving, naked bodies. I lean back into my pillows, tilting my head to look down at Olivia who is nestled against my shoulder, her eyes open but unseeing. I can't fight the feeling that something is eating at her. Olivia and I have been seeing each other on and off for a couple of months now, and she's always been a passionate and determined lover. She also has a tendency to dominate—a tendency that I love and encourage. But tonight, she was more reserved than I have ever seen her. I took the top—I made the moves and led the way. The sex was good, but Olivia was definitely holding something back, something I missed terribly.

I kiss her head, reaching up to run my hand through her messy hair. "Are you okay?"

She smiles against my shoulder. "Better than."


She looks up at me. "Yeah. Why?"

I shrug. "No particular reason. You just seem a little weird tonight."

There's a long pause. "Weird even for me, I take it?"

I can't help but smile. "Yeah. Even for you."

More silence. I stare up at the patterns the headlights of passing cars make as they shine along my ceiling. My hands travel slowly over my lover's skin, tracing unseen patterns in the sweat coating her. The air smells cool and crisp, like fall, coming a little early. I love that smell.

"This case today," Olivia murmurs, and I look down at her in the rapidly fading light, "It was really hard on me."

I regard her steadily. "It's terrible, what happened to those girls."

She nods, and then averts her gaze. "It is. But that's not it."

I don't reply, but I do shift my arm to wrap more tightly around her shoulder. After a long moment she goes on, her voice impossibly soft. "My mother was raped in 1966. She got pregnant, and she chose to keep the baby—me. I'm a product of rape."


"No, don't talk. I need to get this out, and I can't—I can't do it in pieces."

So I'm quiet as she talks. "I think she must have hated me. Or at least, hated what I represented. To have to see me every single day, a reminder of a violent, devastating attack on her body. How can you stand living with that kind of a reminder? I don't know if I could stand it, Alex. I don't know why she chose to keep me. She didn't have to."

Olivia pauses and I feel her swallow, hard. "I like to think there's a reason for everything that happens. I think that might be why I'm here."

I finally speak up. "Naked, in my bed?"

She cracks a small smile at this and the atmosphere becomes a little less tense. "Very funny. I meant here as in, working with SVU."

I smile. "I know."

"I just want to make it mean something, you know? My mother gave up the chance to free herself from memories of her attack so that I could exist. I want her sacrifice to make a difference in the world. I want to validate her trust that something good could come from something so terrible."

I don't speak after she finishes, waiting to see if there's more she wants to add, but she leans into me, her arm tightening around my waist. "Have you told anyone else? About your mom, I mean?"

She nods. "The guys know."

"You ever think about talking to George?"

She blinks and looks up at me. "Huang?"

I nod. "About what?" she asks.

"About this case and your reaction to it."

"No," she whispers, "This is hard enough, telling you."

I shrug. "It might help. I think you should consider it."

She's quiet and I can tell she's thinking. "It scares me."

"What does?"

"That I was conceived in violence. What if it really is inside me?"

I shake my head. "It's not. You are the most compassionate, caring person I have ever met."

"Not always."

"No one is perfect, Liv."

Again, she is quiet. I find myself thinking about the night's events and her confession. My mind moves rapidly, drawing conclusions from the facts at hand. "Tonight, you were different."

She looks up at me and her expression is almost… guilty? I catch her eyes with mine. "You made me take the top. You let me lead. Why?"

She finally tears her eyes away from mine. "I guess I just needed to prove that I can be something other than dominating."

"Because rapists are dominating, and you don't want to be your father?"

She nods and then looks back at me. "I know it sounds stupid."

I shake my head and reach out to her, tracing my fingers along her cheek. "Not at all," I murmur, "But you should know that I like it. I like when you're the dominant one. I like when you take charge."

Her eyes meet mine again and she's seeking proof to go with my words. I do my best to give it to her. "I like it," I repeat.

"You promise?" she whispers.

"Yeah, Liv, I promise."

She offers me a small, grateful smile. "Thank you."

I smile. "It's the truth. There's no thanks required."

Olivia burrows her head into my shoulder once more and closes her eyes. I close mine too, enjoying the feel of her warmth against my side. It seems I always find the words to say to chase away her demons. One more thing to be thankful for. Plus, this conversation we just had—it's given me my theme for opening arguments in this case.

Everyone has choices, and it is the choices we make that define who we are.

The End

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