DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
SPOILERS: Just references to the cases from Casey’s first year in SVU.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Finding My Place
By Acathla

I've been in SVU for a year now. One year of seeing things I never thought I'd have to see. Molested children, raped women, dead bodies of both children and women. I can still remember the first case I caught in SVU. I decided to be the bold as brass ADA that I thought was needed for this department and I went to the crime scene…big mistake there. Not only because the sight of my first dead body made me sick, no that was nothing compared to the icy glare I got from the detectives on the scene... Benson and Stabler. Even after all this time I can still remember the look on their faces. There was disdain but there was also pain. It was the pain that made me take a mental step back that day.

I knew that SVU would be a harder assignment than white collar crime but I never knew how hard it could be until that first case. It took a lot out of me. So much in fact, that I went to Arthur Branch and asked to be reassigned… he said no. I am glad, now, that he said no. It gave me the chance to get to know these amazing detectives. After a few weeks, they began to warm up to me…not enough to really bring me into their group. The after work drinks and stuff like that. I knew that the ADA I replaced, Alexandra Cabot, would be a tough act to follow…especially after she died for the job, for her dedication to justice.

The detectives still miss her but they seem to have accepted that she's gone and not coming back and that they are stuck with me. In my year here, I've won some and I've lost some but the case that sticks in my mind is the one that gave me a glimpse of what I could have…a friendship with Olivia. Three high school blondes on trial for killing their classmate over, of all things, a boy?!

I remember the leader up on the stand describing how she did it and why and the extent of her two little accomplices' participation. Still, even with her testimony the other two looked like they might get off on some bogus small group dynamic bullshit. Until, I noticed the ring one of them was wearing. The ring that belonged to the victim, taken no doubt from her already dead body. I almost couldn't believe it, on trial for murder and this little idiot wears the victim's ring to her trial?!

That alone made me smile inside, knowing that something so small yet so important was not only noticed by me but also exposed to the whole court. I admit, maybe I got a little theatrical for a moment when I was revealing the ring. Even in my mind as it was happening I was telling myself to tone it down but I couldn't help it…I knew right then that I would win this one. And I did and the feeling was a good one. Especially after, in the court hallway, when Olivia put her arm around me and joked, "remind me to give you the names of all the girls I hated in high school."

That brief moment of friendship warmed me for at least a week, cuz I knew that eventually, Olivia and I would be friends. But I knew not to push, the rumors about her and ADA Cabot having been…involved were still flying around the DA's offices. If the rumors are true then any friendship Olivia extended to me would truly be blessings. And if I wanted more than just her friendship, well, I know when not to push things (contrary to popular belief).

It wasn't until a few weeks after that moment of friendship that I realized just how much more I wanted from Olivia. That was when I figured out I was in love with her. But she wasn't showing any signs of being interested, so I began to play with my look. Different outfits, hairstyles, make up, even shoes all in an attempt to get her to notice me. I started to get as obsessed about the cases as she was, not only to get her to notice me but because it was hard not to. Slowly but surely, I was accepted into their group. Treated not as the annoying lawyer who replaced their great Cabot but as the lawyer who was on their side and on their team. It got a bit easier but there were still moments of doubt.

The most recent one being the Osborne case. That one took more out of me than I thought there was to take. And the look on Olivia's face after we walked out of that meeting room, when she tried to convince me to drop the charge against Michelle Osborne, that look just killed me. There were tears in her eyes as she explained that what that doctor did to those women was genetic rape and then she challenged me to tell her that didn't affect me on some level. I couldn't, because it did. I never wanted to take Michelle Osborne to trial but I also couldn't just let her get away with breaking the law, my job was on the line. So I compromised, told to find proof the doctor deliberately did something wrong and I'd…consider pleading Michelle out. The relief on Olivia's face was too much for me and after she left I went into my office and cried. Not totally sure why I cried but I knew that I had to let the emotions I was feeling out somehow and there was no time to do anything else.

When the trial began, Michelle had kidnapped Patty Branson and I had no choice but to take her to trial then, I was torn. I knew there could be no real winner here. Those two mothers would never stop fighting over that little girl so I went to the only person I knew who had kids. Someone who could give me a different perspective on the whole parental love thing…Elliot Stabler. Playing basketball with his two little kids, Dickie and Elizabeth if I remember correctly, cute little kids.

Now, when I first met him I kinda thought that Elliot resembled a real life version of Bert from Sesame Street but that was only briefly and never really meant in a mean way. That day though, the wise advice he gave me, helped and also made me realize that even though he too probably missed Alex Cabot he was willing to help me out. That meant a lot to me.

Having to put that little girl through that ordeal, making her cry just to see if Michelle would do what I was hoping she'd do almost killed me. But it paid off, Michelle changed her plea and let go of Patty. I was almost in a place of pre readiness to being slightly happy about the result, standing there in the squad room with Elliot and Cragen when Olivia came in and shattered all that by telling us that there are at least three more kids out there with Michelle Osborne's DNA.

But that's all in the past now. Cuz tonight marks the one year anniversary of my arrival in SVU. And here I am, in the only place, outside of my home, that I feel comfortable enough to be myself… in a lesbian bar. A friend of mine owns the place and tends bar most nights, but she's not here tonight. And I am sitting here alone simply because no one but me remembered the significance of this day. They are all too busy at their cop bar drinking beer and celebrating their win. Not only did they capture a serial copycat killer, but they found his last victim before she died. Forgetting for a moment the two women they were unable to save, they had a lot to be happy about. Enough that even my small amount of help with the warrants for Humphrey's locker (which I got by interrupting the judge's poker game…again) went unnoticed. I'm not bitter or anything like that, I am used to being ignored by them, but considering the date and my feelings for Olivia I guess I was kinda hoping she'd remember. I guess I should know better by now, Olivia will never want anything to do with me outside of the office. And I just gotta accept that and move on. I ordered another drink from a passing waitress. I was determined to drown in the liquor and let it do its magical comfort thing, when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice that was both foreign and familiar.

"Is this seat taken?" the owner of the voice asked. I looked up and found myself staring into the greenest eyes I'd ever seen. The red of this woman's hair just made her green eyes jump out and her smile warmed something in me I hadn't even realized was cold. In shock I simply shook my head. She took that as a sign to sit down and I didn't mind. "You're Casey aren't you?"

Now that got my attention, this woman knew my name. "Yeah, who are you?" I asked, getting a bit defensive. The woman just smiled.

"My name is Lynn Daniels. We have a friend in common." She simply said, obviously she was going to make me work for it.

"We do? And who would that be?" I didn't have many friends and none of them had ever mentioned a Lynn Daniels. Now I was intrigued.

The woman smiled again, "Olivia Benson." Was all she said. That was all she needed to say and she had my complete and undivided attention. This woman knew Olivia?

"How do you know Olivia?"

"We go way back, I actually used to have your job a while back. I was one of the ADAs assigned to SVU. Olivia and I became friends. Then I had to go."

"I see, so what brings you to my table instead of going to the cop bar and seeing Olivia?"

"Olivia doesn't need to see me anymore than I need to see her, it would just be too painful seeing's how I am only in town for tonight. So I came here, to find you."

"Why me though?" I wanted to know. Something about this conversation had a surreal element to it.

"Because you love Olivia… much the same way I loved her. But I can't be with her anymore…at least not anytime soon. There are complicated issues at work here that I can't explain. But I do know that she needs someone to love and I think that someone should be you. She's ready now, it's time. That's why I sent her a note at that 'cop bar' as you put it. Telling her to be here by nine." The woman named Lynn checked her watch, I already knew it was ten minutes to nine, I had a clear line of sight to the clock behind the bar. "which means I only have five more minutes because, knowing Olivia she'll be here five minutes early. Don't be afraid to make your move Casey. I know for a fact that Olivia won't say no. She's ready to move on from Alex."

"What do you mean, move on from Alex?"

"C'mon Casey don't tell me you haven't heard the rumors about her and Alex. They were a couple, until she died. I know this for a fact because Alex told me herself."

"So, the rumors were true? That certainly explains a lot but how do you know she's ready to move on from Alex?"

Lynn smiled and simply said, "I just know. Trust me on this one. I have to go now, it's best if she doesn't see me here. Good luck Casey oh and one more thing, Olivia has a thing for Long Island Iced Teas, and a high tolerance for it. Don't let her drink you under the table you'll never win." With that, Lynn smiled and walked away from the table and out of the bar.

And I just sat there, processing everything she'd just told me. It was a lot to take in but I'm a smart person, I knew enough to realize that whoever this Lynn was she'd just given me the chance I'd always wanted. Olivia, relaxed and off duty, here in the one place where I felt comfortable enough to actually make a move.

When Olivia walked up to my table ten minutes later, I was ready for her. She sat down and I turned on the charm and the Iced Teas. Lynn and Olivia didn't know that I too had a high tolerance for alcohol. When Olivia didn't get up and leave after I confessed to wanting her I took it as a good sign.

And when I woke up in her bed the next morning, with her arms wrapped around my body I took it as a great sign. But the best sign of all came mid morning, when she told me that this wasn't just a one night stand for her that she wanted to try to have something more…with me. That was when I knew that I had found my place…it was with Olivia. And, for once, there were no doubts, no fear, and best of all, no limits.


Shortly after leaving the bar, Lynn Daniels stepped into a black SUV parked across the street and watched. She sat there as Olivia entered the bar and she sat there still as she saw Olivia leave with Casey, her arm around the younger ADA. Lynn then followed the pair to Olivia's place and sat there until mid afternoon when they finally emerged, holding hands and smiling. Oblivious to the world and looking like they were happy. A part of Lynn's heart broke at the sight but she knew it was for the best. No matter how much she loved Olivia and wanted to be with her, she couldn't…not yet. Not until Cesar Velez was killed or otherwise dealt with, until the threat on her life was gone. So, Lynn Daniels, who once upon a time was known as Alexandra Cabot, upon hearing that Olivia was still alone a year after her "death" took the ultimate risk. She came back to New York. After learning that Casey Novak was in love with Olivia Alex made the decision to bring them together. Even if it broke her heart to do it, she would rather know Olivia was happy than allow her to stay miserable waiting for something that might never happen. That's what love was after all, wanting the other person to be happy even if it's not with you. Luckily, with her freshly dyed red hair and green contact lenses, she was hardly recognizable as Alex Cabot, whose most obvious features were her blond hair and blue eyes. But, she knew that Olivia would recognize her no matter what, which was why she went to Casey instead of telling Olivia directly to move on with her life. Having never met Casey it was easier to fool her.

But, if Casey made Olivia happy then that put her firmly in the good column in Alex's book. And so, as she watched the happy couple get into a cab and ride away, a tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek. She knew that if she did ever come back, this would make getting Olivia back that much harder, but it was worth it. Seeing Olivia happy was worth anything to Alex, even if it meant a tougher fight for her later on when she wanted Olivia back. So, Lynn Daniels turned the key in the ignition and drove away, heading for the highway. She got on I95N and drove for hours nonstop until she reached the little town in Maine where the Feds had placed her. She walked into her little house and went straight into her bedroom and threw herself on the bed and cried.

She cried for all the things she'd lost and the things she'd given up and the things she'd never have again. She cried until she fell asleep, with the face, voice, and memory of Olivia Benson, the only woman she'd ever loved, vivid and clear in her mind.

The End

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