DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: References to "Infected" and "Night"

By MCSpeller


A set of compression waves make their way into her eardrums. It's shrill and unmuffled, because she was, unfortunately, expecting this. As the little device desperately begs for attention, Olivia glances at the clock. 1:31am. Damn. It's Elliot calling, it says so on the screen of her phone. But, honestly, who else would it be? So when he says, "Yeah, female, name's Martha Adlerson, says she was raped by her boyfriend. Won't give us a name. You up to it?", she's already got her jeans on.


As Olivia puts her jacket on the back of the chair at her desk, she already knows this Martha is in the "lounge" area upstairs, but she looks around anyway. Captain and Elliot are by the coffee, and they nod at her, and Elliot points slightly with his cup to the upstairs. Olivia nods with her whole body, at least she hopes it looks like that and not a weary shrug, because she's not even tired anymore.

As she climbs the stairs, she knows this one is going to be bad. When they stop crying, it is always worse. When they are just staring at some point on a faraway plane. That's when you know, he didn't just have "rough sex" with her. He didn't singularly rape her body, but her spirit as well, her belief and expectation that she has value and is a loved individual. Olivia can tell, with one look, that this woman knows. She knows that no matter how much bail and probation is dolled out as a result of this event, it cannot fix the hole inside. It's never bringing back the missing pieces and lost trust. It can't give back the idealism, or the spark that once resided in her now deflated soul. 'God, she knows'.

These are always the worst. They just say "whatever" and "yeah" when she asks if they want to press charges. They never nod slightly or mutter. Their voices never crack, and they never need tissues or shoulders to cry on. Olivia braces herself, because these are also the ones who, when nobody's around, make her sob uncontrollably. Not because they are difficult, but because she knows she is not really helping this woman, and Olivia hates not being able to do her job. This lady couldn't care less if Olivia cares, and that sucks. It sucks that the one thing, the one good thing Olivia knows how to do cannot provide even the slightest solace for this woman who has lost so much. Olivia knows this. Olivia knows a lot, and that just makes it harder.

Olivia approaches her, and Martha looks up. Vacant, non-committal eyes don't even come close to to making contact with the sympathetic offerings of Olivia's. Typical. Instead, Olivia gets a quick once-over, and it's back to the immensely interesting point on the wall.

"Martha?" Olivia inquires.

"Yeah." Sigh, 'Here we go.'


Martha was walking out the door, not even thirty minutes later. Said she could go to her Mom's, "or something". Olivia pinched the bridge of her nose as she sat down at her desk. She didn't really have a headache, in fact, physically she felt fine. But to excuse her less-than-thrilled mood at the prospect of picking up this loser of a "boyfriend", she'd go with headache. It was always either head or stomach ache after these encounters. The disgusted look on her face can easily be explained that way. Instead of admitting to being disgusted with all of herself, it can be localized to either of these places. She suspects Elliot knows it's a ruse, and possibly Craigen, but they have the decency not to point out her lack of Ibuprofen or antacids.

When the head-touching charade is over, she opens her eyes to find Casey talking to Elliot, who is still at the coffee. Casey. Another woman she couldn't help. 'No' Olivia thinks, trying to stop the wreck she knows is at the end of this train of thought. A jumbled pile of self-loathing, bruises, and and tears.

'No' she says again. 'Look at her' she tries to persuade herself. 'She looks good. Very good'. Where did that come from? 'I mean, for what is it? Two thirty in the morning? Yeah, her hair is actually combed. Oh come on, her hair has been improving lately. I wish I had longer hair again. Nice jeans. Man, sometimes she does look good.' Wait, what the fuck? 'I should not be thinking this.' Olivia chastises herself. 'But then again, anything to take away the headache...' Just as this thought ends, though, Casey takes the opportunity to look right at Olivia. Right as Olivia decided to examine Casey's profile. She's met with green eyes and a slight simile. Caught off guard, Olivia looks away, like she has been caught starting, which she has been. 'Oh, that was stupid.' Olivia chilled herself for about the fiftieth time that morning. 'Now she knows you were staring. Why can't you just be normal and smile back. She is in your squad room, Benson. Talking to your partner, about the pick up I'm about to do. I should actually be over there now, listening to her. Fuck'. Olivia has been looking at her desk for a whole minute now. Like that's not suspicious. 'Walk over, like you should have five minuets ago. Walk over, say you just finished some paperwork'. As Olivia completed the last words of her mental tirade, she started to confidently walk over to the ADA and her partner, who were still chatting. Elliot looks at her over his shoulder, as she reaches for the pot of coffee he's leaning against.

"Yeah, Olivia just finished with her statement, right Liv?" Elliot says. Olivia looks up, not exactly hearing him correctly, because of the shouting in her head, and blurts out her prepared speech.

"I was just finishing some paperwork," came out in a rush of breath. She felt the awkwardness that ensued.

"Yeah....the statement." Elliot tries again.

"Huh?" Olivia thinks for a moment. 'Oh Fuck' "Yeah, yeah." she brushes her fingers through her hair quickly, nervously. "I, I just finished....it." she finally stammers out. She also finally looks at Elliot, who has an eyebrow up, in the characteristic way that says 'you sure about that? care to rethink that one?' In return, Olivia shoots up both brows, pulls in her bottom lip, and turns to the coffee sitting behind her.

'Wow. That scene went so much better in my head' Olivia thinks to herself, as about ten sugar packets get dumped into the styrofoam cup.

Elliot looks at Olivia, then to Casey, who wears the concerned version of Olivia's last attempt at communication.

"You ok?" He asks, gently, because he thinks he knows what's up.

"I have this wicked headache" came the predicted reply.

"Ah. Sugar rush will help that out" Elliot says, testing the waters. Still too ramped up on social debaucheries, Olivia doesn't offer a quip in return. She simply looks out of the conner of her eye at him, and walks back to her desk.

"She ok?" Casey asks in a conspiratorially low voice.

"Apparently, a headache." Elliot says with an air of obvious disbelief. "Your guess is a good as mine." he adds, with a smirk. "We're gonna go pick this guy up at about nine, that's when she said he'd be home."

"And you don't know where he is now?"


"I wanna get this guy."

"We will"

"Ok, well, I have court at nine. Two arraignments, should be no sweat. I'll get here, 9:30, 9:45-ish."

"Yeah, he'll be booked by then, and we'll see what he says."

"I'd like to look over her statement, though" Casey let that hang, her mouth tightening at the corners, her eyes shifting quickly from Elliot's to the lower right of her eyeball. Looking at Olivia without looking at her.

Elliot let a single chuckle move his upper body. "Well, it's finished." he says with a slight grin. Casey's tight-lipped expression changes to a big smile as she turns her head to look at Olivia.

"Apparently" she says. She sighs, in and out. Casey is pondering Olivia for a moment. She usually never allows herself the time for such follies, because it always leads, inevitably, to all of Casey's most embarrassing moments. Like the time she struck out four times in one game. Or when she didn't know how to say 'macabre'. Or that one time she asked the M.E. about shaken baby syndrome, and Olivia gave her looks for a week. She physically shook her head, riding herself of the thoughts, and focused back on Olivia. She had her head down, with her legs outstretched to the left, like she had barely made it to her desk before collapsing. She looked exhausted, but Casey couldn't fathom why.

'Maybe it's this case.' she thought. Possibly the circumstances of this late night event had worn down the detective. 'Are the facts of this case that trying? Nothing seems out of the ordinary. Well, now that rape is an ordinary occurrence.' That always made Casey want to scream, whenever she came to that conclusion, which happened more often than she would like to admit. Sometimes she would even consider, just for second though, mind you, that those crackpots were right. That rape is just something that happens, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. It's natural. That's what they say. It happens in the animal kingdom, it happens here. 'It just.........happens. Violence occurs. Hell it happened to.......' she would always pause there, hopping beyond all hope that she would be flooded with memories she didn't have. 'Me'. The images never came. Neither did self pity, or hate, or any other emotion they said she would feel. She had come, in the past few months, to view her attack as a fact. Like how the newspapers regurgitated it in their stories after every case she won. "ADA Novack" they would always read, "who was last year a victim of a brutal attack herself..." Sometimes they would elaborate. It was news, after all. "left beaten in her own office.." "...had to use a cane for several weeks..." "found to have been targeted by a man she barley knew...". All the things she'd already been told, but herself couldn't recall. Like she needed reminding. 'But Olivia', Casey willed herself back on track. 'Something is bothering her. She's usually so strong and.....competent. And friendly, god damn it. She didn't even say hi to me. Didn't even look at me, except earlier. And she looked right away, like she didn't want to see me. Fuck that.' Casey thinks, angry boiling up from nowhere. And with that last thought, Casey walks over to the sleeping detective's desk, determined to ruin whatever kind of peace she had found on the ancient metal.

Olivia is actually not sleeping, just "resting her eyes". She hears footfalls approaching her, but does nothing. Casey shoots out her hand, and is about to push Olivia, hard. Instead, her resolve fleas at the last moment. Violence was not something she could do and feel guiltless about. 'Besides,' she muses, 'Olivia would probably break my arm out of instinct.' Casey settled on just standing there, hoping her presence would bring the detective to life. She clears her throat, still holding out for non-confrontation. Nope. 'Ok then'. Casey gently lays her fingertips on Olivia's upper arm. She jostles them slightly.

Casey's touch was heart breaking to Olivia. She had felt her approach, could feel her initial intent, which was annoyance. Olivia had woken up then, but refused to open her eyes, or lift her head. She hadn't really wanted to talk to Casey after acting like a fool earlier. Then, with that light, caring touch, Casey managed to shift her mood from sullen to crestfallen. Casey was being so nice, and she was being so weird.

Casey tries harder, this time using the last method available.

"Olivia" she whispered. No response. She leaned in a bit closer, and said it again, with the enffaces on the second syllable.

Olivia finally decided to lift her head at the second calling of her name. She kept her eyes closed, though, until her head had actually rolled all the way back. She then snapped her eyes open, and, without turing her head, directed her eyes to Casey, who now worn an expression that reminded Olivia of a deer caught in someone's headlights. And, yeah, thinking back on it, that was a really weird way to wake up.


As Casey slowly retracted her hand, as if she had caught the plague, Olivia couldn't help but laugh. 'Poor Casey. She tries so hard, and all I do fuck with her.'

As she chuckled, Casey let out a few puffs of air, to be, what? Polite? She didn't know what was so funny to Olivia, but she had a vague idea it was probably her. Again. Anger reared it's head, and this time Casey didn't try to quash it. She snapped her hand down to her side.

"What detective? What is so funny that you can't just give me the god-damned statement and let me be on my way? It's almost three in the morning, and I have don't have luxury to just pass out on my desk whenever I feel like it." Casey had lost her red hair, but not the fire that came with it. Olivia stopped laughing, and frowned. If she had a tail, it'd be between her legs right about now. Casey continued. "I don't care that you're laughing at me, I just want to get the fuck outta here." She punctuated her last statement by holding out her hand. "Give it."

Olivia was shocked. Two seconds ago, she was admiring the soothing tone of this women's voice. Now she was cringing. She should try to fix this. Now.

"Case, I wasn't laughing at you, I-"

"I said I don't care detective. Just give me her statement." That fact that Olivia had used a contraction of her name was not lost on Casey. She was trying to make amends.

That fact the Casey had not even used her name yet was not lost on Olivia. She was pissed.

"Casey, please. I was laughing at myself. Not you. I wouldn't do that."

"Lying will get you no where, Liv." Casey had calmed down considerably. She leaned into her desk, and picked up the witness statement Olivia had been sleeping on.

"Besides, you have laughed at me before."

"That was only a defense mechanism. Honest."

"Whatever." Casey was willing to move on. "Why are you so tired anyway?" She said off-handed, while flipping through the report.

"I'm just.....not feeling well. Headache." Olivia added the customary temple rub, for authenticity.

"Ah." If she didn't fool Elliot, then Casey wasn't going to buy it either. "Well, I'm out. See you in the morning detective." And with that, Casey walked away. Olivia would have let it end at that, except Casey had used that nagging 'detective' pronoun. She hated knowing Casey didn't believe her, and she wasn't going to let her leave feeling like the butt of a joke that didn't exist. She wasn't going to let another woman walk out the door withdrawn and defeated.

"Case, wait." She said as she caught up to the attorney. "I'll walk you out." Olivia caught Casey rolling her eyes. "Hey, c'mom. I'm makin' amends here."

"Right, like how you repaid me for tanking my case last week. Ya know, Branch is seriously considering revoking my deal-making privileges. And he called me a whimp." Casey was talking about Olivia's testimonial sabotage in the Phelps case.

"Why'd he say that?"

"Because I told him how you changed my mind, and how I was going to deal anyway, before the shit hit the fan."

"Oh. I didn't know that. I'm sorry?" Olivia was feeling sorry, but she asked it instead of saying it. She hadn't thought through what she said up there, and how much of an impact it would have. She just wanted Nathan to know she still cared, still believed he was a good person. She figured Casey would find a way around it. But hindsight being 20/20, only now did she understand the immense pressure she put on the ADA. And the trust she had broken.

"Your apology is kinda late Liv. And unwarranted. And unwanted." Casey said the last part quietly. She pulled open the precinct doors, and a rush of air hit her. She shivered.

"Case, I-"

"It's no big deal, Olivia. Just let me know next time you feel too strongly about a case I'm about to use your testimony on. You know, a courteous 'heads up, I'm emotionally involved' sort of thing. That way I don't get canned." Casey was getting fired up again. "'Cause, ya know, I really kind of need this job, to pay rent and shit. It's not like I'm doing this for fun, and it doesn't matter if I win or lose. It's not like I don't feel like a fool when my witness sides with the defense." Olivia's face showed obvious signs of hurt and anguish. Can she do nothing right? "It's not like I didn't trust you to do you your job, Olivia. And do it well. Why was he even allowed to see Carthage, I'll never know."


"And I don't want to know. I don't want to know if you got docked for that misconduct." Olivia hadn't been, and Casey knew that. "I don't want to know if you had to go evaluations for attachment issues." Again, Olivia hadn't. "I don't want to know. It's easier not to, because if I did, I might just quit out of spite."Olivia was feeling worse and worse about herself.

"I get it, Casey. You're pissed at me. And you have every right to be," Olivia was making sure to validate Casey's feelings. It was something they taught you to do in training, when dealing with upset people. When you wanted to gain their trust again.

"But it's not that easy. I didn't set out with the intent to fuck you over."

"No one ever does, do they?"Olivia ignored Casey's comment. "And it doesn't matter what my intentions were now. It's over. It's done with."

"For you, yeah."

"For both of us, yeah." Olivia was starting to get angry with Casey. 'Why is she drawing this out? All I want to do is apologize,' she thought. Olivia had yet to sincerely apologize though, or assert that she was trying to do so.

"No, Olivia." Casey was calling her out. "I'm on a tight leash now. I can't do anything progressive for the next few months. I'm gonna have to stick with old rulings and pretend to be happy about it. I'm going to have to be more conservative with search warrants and pleas. Until I win, oh, maybe ten more cases, I'm going to be scrutinized by everyone. It's not over for me."

"Casey, c'mon," 'Now she's just being dramatic,' Olivia thought.

"No, and you know what? You guys are the ones who are going to be the worst of them all." She was speaking about the squad as a whole, but mostly to Olivia. "You are the ones who's gonna question me when I say 'I can't make that kind of deal'. You're the one who's going to make me feel like shit about not being able to do more, when all I ever wanted to do was help." She was defiantly speaking just to Olivia now. "All I ever wanted was to have your support, your respect. Your understanding. Some form of camaraderie." A tear slid down Casey's redden face. She didn't acknowledge it. Last time she cried in front of Olivia...... "But, if you don't see that, then maybe I shouldn't want it."

It was a hard argument to be up against. Casey had a way of being especially persuasive when she was dealing with one person only. It's why she originally was encouraged to become a lawyer. In front of crowd, she was less effective. But she could convince anyone of anything, given five minutes alone with them. Olivia, faced with what Casey had just told her, looked away. Ashamed. Embarrassed. Worthless. Flooded with emotions, emotions she knew Casey wanted her to feel. She thought the tear was a nice touch too, and she was about to tell her this much, when a car sped by. Water splashed up from the street, misting them both. Not enough to be comical, but just enough to make one feel dirty. Grimy. Disgusting.

"You know what else? Maybe you're just a bad cop. You can never seem to be objective about anything, lately. You take risks that put people's lives in danger. You lack empathy for those around you. You know, maybe you're not a bad cop, you're just a bad person. I mean, you let Martha walk outta here without knowing if she had place to go to, a place to be safe at. She'll probably end up dead or damaged, just like all the people you try to help. Good thing you never helped me when I needed it, or I'd be dead too."

Casey was attacking her. Calling her names, judging her. Olivia was close, so fucking close to hitting Casey in the mouth. Just one good pop, and it'd be done. She stood admonished, misted, and hated. She would never hit out of anger. No matter how much she was baited, she'd never never hit someone because they wanted her to. But did Casey even care that it was three in the morning? That she had just been having these same thoughts?!? 'She's the blowing this out of proportion!' Olivia didn't think about the fact that it was three in the morning for Casey too.

Olivia decided it was time to fight back. She may not be as eloquent as Casey, but she knew how to break a person down. She'd been taught how to.

"Don't fucking cry to me Casey, because you want a friend. Guess what? No one here has friends. And no one here cares. So get used to it." Belittling. It was tactic taught to the NYPD for dealing with suspects. "You got in trouble, so what? I've been suspended so many times, I've stopped counting. And nothing ever happens. I could fire my gun right here, right now, and no one would give a fuck," Olivia laid a hand on her hip. Intimidation. Another learned method. "You wanna know something," Olivia stepped close to Casey, too close. Invading personal space, domineering. "I bet I could get away with a lot right now."

"Are you threatening me, detective? In some weird, oddly ineffectual way?" Casey's face was smug. Too smug for Olivia. She was not going to be made fun of like this. Ineffectual, was that even a word?

Olivia moved, and moved swiftly, connecting a right hook with Casey's cheek. She felt teeth shift, she knew she saw something white fly across her field of vision. Her hand felt wet, sticky even. Warm. Very warm. Casey stumbled, fell to a knee. Immediately, Olivia regretted it. Why had she done that? Casey was her friend, her confidant. She loved Casey, and she was definitely going to get in trouble for this. She wanted to apologize, she wanted so badly to take it back. Take back the argument, take back her feelings, take back her actions. She didn't understand why she had gotten so mad. Olivia moved to her, and wrapped her arms around the downed ADA. Casey wasn't moving. Casey wasn't breathing. 'Oh God.' Olivia was crying. Mucus was dripping out of her nose, down her mouth. It was hard to breath, she was hiccuping and struggling to inhale. 'Oh GOD!' She couldn't breath! There was blood everywhere, in her hair, on her hands, in her mouth. Her lungs burned, why couldn't she get oxygen?!! Distantly, her shoulder hurt. It was being punched. Someone was punching her in the arm.

"Onlagra! Onlaground!" Someone was shouting. For her to get on the ground? "On the ground OLIVIA!" Yes, that was it! She was going to be arrested for killing Casey. They were telling her to get down. But she can't breath, couldn't they see that? "Olivia oLIVia!"

"Olivia" she whispers. No response. She leans in a bit closer, and says it again, with the emphasis on the second syllable. Olivia inhales sharply. Gulps, really. She inhaled plastic. Plastic? A bag, on her desk, was stuck to her face. She lifts her head from her desk.

"What the, Oh God," She awoke with a start. She woke up. She had woken up. A dream. It had all been-

"Liv?" Casey says.

"I was dreaming."

"Oh? Sorry to disturb you?" Casey is confused. Olivia had only been out two minutes, not even.

"No no, it was awful. I-" Olivia stops herself. Had she really just dreamt that whole thing? Her hand was wet, coffee had spilled on it. "That was so weird." Casey has her eyebrows up as high as they will go. She wanted to enquire furtherer, but she needs the report that Olivia had been, apparently, drooling on.

"Uh huh. Well, do you still need this for a pillow, or can I get that?" She points to the document. Olivia doesn't follow Casey's hand, though. She's checking the ADA for signs of trauma. Her face seems fine, though.

"What? Oh, that." Olivia caught on. "No, I'm.....you can have it." Casey takes the report. She feels like she should say something else, but Olivia seems kind of distracted.

"Ok, well..I'm gonna go.." she lets it trail off.

"Wait, Case, I'll walk you out." 'Whoa, deja-vu.'

"Ok," Casey lets Olivia grab her coat. They begin walking towards the doors, when Craigen calls.

"Olivia, are you leaving?"

"No, just walking out with," Olivia points, rathe than saying Casey's name. "Why, something you need?" She was a competent cop, damn it. No matter what dream-casey said.

"No no," Craigen replies. "You can go home if you want. I think everyone is done here."

"Ok. See you tomorrow." Olivia says, and starts to walk again. Home. She didn't feel tired, and she only went home to sleep. She'd probably sneak back into the squad room and do some paperwork, or something. Something lonely and unnecessary.

They reach the doors, and a rush of wind hits them both. Casey shivers visibly.

"You cold?" Olivia asks, but it's more rhetorical. It's obvious that Casey is too thinly clad. Casey nods. She's always cold anyway, no sense in denying it.

Olivia shrugs off her jacket, and hands it to Casey. Because Casey looks miserable, for one, and because she is a caring person. A good person. No matter what other-casey said.

"Oh, no, I'm ok."

"Take it. I don't need it. You should be warm," Olivia says without hesitation. "Besides, it looks like it might rain."

"And you're waterproof?"

Olivia laughs. Not at Casey, but because of her. "No. I'm not going home, I don't think."

Casey raises her brows. A silent question as to why. Olivia responds. Honestly. Because she is a good, honest person, from now on. She will tell her friends when she feels too emotional to go on, or when she's too depressed to go home alone. Because what would she do, if she was alone? Cry? Break things, important things? Probably. Shot hersel-

No. But come close? Hardly. But the temptation is there, and that's enough.

"I just....I feel bad, Case. Really bad."

"Did you take aspirin?" Casey asks, even though she knows that's not what Olivia is talking about. She just gave up her jacket. Suicidal people often give up possessions for no apparent reason. 'But Olivia is strong, capable. Not suicidal, by any lengths.'

Olivia laughs again. And again, not at Casey, but because of her. She knows Casey knows. Aspirin will not help this feeling.

"No, I didn't. But maybe I should."

"Maybe....." Casey begins. Ought she ask? She'll give it try. "Maybe you'd like to come over my place? That way you can get your coat back easy."

Olivia finds Casey's excuse at the end of the invite admirable. She didn't have to do that, give her a way in while giving her a way out.

"Maybe....." Olivia was going to use Casey's syntax, to express the fact that she wants the same thing, without saying it out loud. It's understood, and although Olivia said she would be more honest, this is the kind of honesty no one wants to deal with. "Maybe I'd like that."

"Ok." And it's the last thing anyone says until they get to the door of Casey's two room walk up. On the ride over, Olivia thinks about telling Casey her dream. Thinks better of it, but then considers it a second time. 'How do you go about telling someone you dreamt you punched them in the face? Unprovoked? After that's already happened to them.' She says nothing. It would be awkward. More awkward than sitting in silence for ten minutes.

They both stand in in front of the door. Casey is feeling for her keys, and Olivia says "Oh," to the door knocker Casey has put on her door. It's a very small lion's head. You'd expect to see a big version of it on some castle somewhere.

Casey smiles when she sees what Olivia is talking about.

"I found it at a flea market a few days ago. Ten cents."

"Nice." They enter the apartment. Olivia would normally be taking in the decor, commenting on the cornflower blue of the walls, but all she can think about is Casey going to a junk store last Saturday, alone, and picking out something to put on her apartment door. To make it her castle. Olivia's eyes are red and welling with huge drops of sorrow. Her apartment is no castle. Her life is no fairly tale. Her job is not fulfilling, no matter how much of her time it fills.

Casey was about to offer Olivia something to drink, when she notices her just standing. She looks at her eyes and, yep, all red and wet. Why Olivia is upset will have to wait, as will her drink order. Casey crossed to her, and puts her hands on Olivia's shoulders. Olivia jumps, but only slightly. She is very close to letting her tears fall, and any movement would cause this to happen.

"Hey," Casey says, in a subdued tone. Trying to let Olivia know that it's ok for her to cry. Casey doesn't think for a second that Olivia is going to, though. 'Olivia is solid, able.'

Olivia turns, turns into Casey. She didn't think she'd be this raw, this unguarded. But the door-knocker, that got her. She begins to weep into Casey's embrace.

'Olivia is strong, competent. Olivia is......crying on me'. Casey is startled, but doesn't move away. She circles her arms around Olivia, and holds tight. When Olivia feels Casey hold her, actually holding her up, she cries even more. Casey is trying very hard to be strong, but she eventually shakes Olivia a bit, and says in a small voice,

"Lets go over here." Over here being the couch. Olivia crashes in the middle, and Casey sits to her right. Olivia recovers. She's stopped sobbing uncontrollably, but tears are still sliding down her cheeks, and she's sniffling hard. Casey wants to grab tissues, but they are all the way in her bedroom. Twenty feet away. Who knows what could happen in the time it takes to go twenty feet? And back? Casey reaches for Olivia again, and Olivia leans into her once more, and begins crying again.

She cries for ten minutes. Ten minutes of crying is a lot, if you've never timed it. When it lets up, she is covered in salty wetness and thick, gross slime. Casey is too, from Olivia and herself. She cried too, because Olivia was crying.

"I'll get you some tissues, ok?" Casey asks. "I'll be right back." She says, because she is very worried Olivia will leave the first chance she gets. Casey doesn't want her to go. Because she's scared for Olivia, and also, more selfishly, she feels a little depressed too. She returns, like she said, right back to where she was.

"Thanks," Olivia says, and blows her nose. But it just makes her cry again, because Casey has the same tissues as she does. Puffs plus with aloe. She has them because they are the best after crying. Soft and absorbent. One thought, 'Does Casey cry as much as I do?' and the tears are back. Casey holds Olivia, but she just collapses onto her stomach.

"Hey," Casey says in the same tone as before. "Lift your head up," Olivia complies, and Casey brings a pillow from her end of the couch onto her lap, and pats it. Olivia puts her head there, and cries some more.

Suddenly, Olivia says something through sobs. "I can't, can't listen to myself cry an, an, anymore," and with out missing a beat, Casey flips on the T.V. The Soup is on. After a few more minutes of hitched breathing, and a lot of sighing, Olivia finally stops. Through blood-shot eyes, she begins to look and listen to the jokes being told. She finally chuckles once. Casey hears this, and laughs too. They both laugh at the next joke, even though it isn't that funny. It goes off too soon though, and something even worse replaces it.

Casey had been stroking Olivia's hair this whole time with her right hand, and laying her left on her back. She was making interesting patterns on Olivia's scalp and back. They watched two episodes of "Lingo" like this. Casey occasionally whispering the answers before the contestants. But soon even Chuck Woolery went off, and something equally mind-rotting came on.

Olivia, disinterested with the new programing, turns on her back. Casey has to lift her left hand, and, unsure of where to put it, lets it hover over Olivia's body. Olivia stares up at Casey, and thinks about how easy it would be to kiss this woman. 'She just spent an hour massaging my head. Of course it would be easy for me, but for her?' To just pull her neck down, and kiss her so sweetly. But she would never do that. Never pull someone to her, not never kiss Casey. If Casey wanted her to, then it would be ok. But she'd never make the first move. Not here, anyway.

"You feeling better?" Casey asks, because Olivia is staring at her, waiting for something.

Olivia nods in response. She also takes Casey's unsure hand and places it on her own stomach, with her hand over top, to make sure it stays there. Casey returns to stroking Olivia's hair, and now, forehead. As time passes, Casey's touches become more bold. She is making swirls over Olivia's temples, gently massaging, and making tiny circles on her abdomen. After a few minutes of this, and many content sighs from Olivia, she sits up, and puts one hand over Casey's legs, and leans on that arm, trapping her there. Not on purpose, but they are on a couch, and it's kind of hard to maneuver. She looks into Casey's eyes for, what? Permission? She is still holding Casey's hand. Casey's free hand goes to to Olivia's face, and caresses it.

Casey is reading something in Olivia's face. It is that look people get, when they want you to do something for them. She reached out, and Olivia didn't move. In fact, Olivia moved into her hand. Casey pulls gently on Olivia's face, bringing them close together.

Olivia tilts her head, to her right. A small movement that accomplishes nothing. Then, a second time, she moves to a place where, if they faces came that close, they wouldn't hit noses.

Casey tugged a bit more, telling Olivia it was ok.

Olivia moves her head to Casey's, leading at first with her forehead, then, with her chin.

Casey moves only a few inches, just lifting her chin and her head slightly off the back of the couch.

Their lips touch. Both of their lips are balmy, and they stick together slightly. They both press together, but they are more just holding their lips to each other's, not even really puckering. None of that "electric current" crap happens between them, though. Olivia feels like the world is spinning around her, and that time has stopped. Casey feels like the room is rushing past her, that things around them are flying, but she doesn't care. They end the contact by simultaneously pursing their lips and- Whoa! Hey! There's that electric thingy! Guess it wasn't crap after all. Anyway, they both part, shocked.

"Oh," Olivia groans, eyes still closed.

"Uho," Casey squeaks, well as squeaky as her voice can get, with her eyes wide open in surprise. They both stop, and take in what has just happened. Olivia is first to move again. She moves close, to get another kiss, but stops when Casey doesn't move with her. Casey is only behind by a second though, and moves too, but stops, because Olivia stopped. They both laugh a single blow of air, and then continue. They go for the electric contact quicker this time, and Casey "mmms" into Olivia.

It would be easy to imagine both of them now kissing with need. Kissing harshly and using teeth to bite, suck, and grab. Hands, roaming and finding places to take hold. Olivia taking Casey's hands off of her, and putting them above her head, trailing her tongue down Casey's long, elegant neck, to the hollow where her collar bones almost met. Pulling at the bottom of her shirt, and Casey effortlessly pulling it over her head. Olivia exploring Casey's stomach, swirling a pink tongue in her belly button, and looking up at Casey, to see if she likes what's to come. Olivia leaving kisses up her ribs, even the ones that were broken, to her sternum, and licking that really soft spot. Cupping her breast firmly, squeezing slightly, feeling her need. Casey would return the favor, if thats what you wanted to call it, by running her fingers through Olivia's hair, muttering "yes" and "oooh". Casey would scrape at the buttons of Olivia's jeans, and Olivia would push her hips toward Casey, and her fly would be opened in seconds. Casey would let her finger tips lightly graze the skin above Olivia's black bikinis, then dig the palms of her hands into them. Olivia would grind hard, begging for more contact. Casey would slide her hands under Olivia's shirt, and feel the taunt nipples there. Pinch them. Twist them. Olivia would arch, and then request they take this to a bed.

"You do have a bed, right?" She'd say, in between ragged breaths.

"Oh yeah," Casey would reply, that deep husk in her voice that automatically signal desire.

Yes, that would be very easy to imagine. But that's not what happened. In fact, the more it gets mulled over, the less likely it is that something like that would happen. I mean, come on. Casey was still wearing a jacket at this point. How is Olivia supposed to lick her ribs? Who licks ribs? And feel her need? C'mon. Through the jacket, not to mention, though her breasts. And after crying for a half an hour, who wants their nipples pinched? Or even to be touched like that? Absurd.

Olivia certainly didn't want that. She dealt with violence everyday, she didn't want it in her sex life. That's why she had stopped dating men. Well, dating all together. People equate violence and sexiness. It's done all the time, and no one seems to mind. A women stares at you from a billboard with big, dilated eyes. A shrunken posture, a thin, frail body. A lip that sticks out. Pouty, some would say. Her head is bent, her eyes are looking up at you. She's selling beer, and she's supposed to be sexy. Turing men, and women, on with those "bedroom eyes" and big, plump lip. Olivia passes this sign everyday, and all she sees is a scared little girl. Eyes big with sorrow and fear. Lip stuck out and quivering, not because she wants to be kissed, but because she's afraid. She sees this look from girls and women alike who come into her squad room requesting restraining orders. All Olivia wanted to was to love, and to be loved. Olivia had a faint idea of what love was, but was unsure if she'd even been loved. Yeah. Olivia would be having no part in dominating anyone, or forcing herself in anyway on Casey. It was a turn off.

Casey didn't want that either. Casey is a battered women. If Olivia ever tried to trap her arms above her head, she'd probably kick in the shins first, then kick her out of her home. She would defiantly say "No" to any form of restraint. Casey herself wouldn't do that, even if he partner requested it. She's been alone for so long, she'd forgotten just how wonderful it was to have someone merely holding her hand. Why would she want to jump into rough sex, even if she was horny as hell. Which she was, mind you. No, it wasn't about taking it slow. It wasn't about prolonging the pleasure. The pleasure was in feeling a connection, feeling love. Yes, love! From another individual. The real pay-off was not a multiple orgasm, but in the amazement that she could feel safe enough with another person to let them touch her, in such an intimate way as this. Sex was sex. Yes, ok, it can be really awesome with a person such as Olivia. An intense, devoted person like Olivia. But in the end, Casey would just feel used. Like how she usually felt after she came home from the squad room. Tossed away after she had gotten them the warrants they wanted, not privy to any plans they were making. Just expected to show up and be understanding, helpful, compassionate even. Once she came to terms with this, though, it was easier to get through the day. Easier to accept no thanks when she left one of the detectives off the witness list. Easier to forgive Olivia when she forgot to apologize for fucking up her whole case, and bringing her into Family Court. But Casey would take being worthless. She'd take it with a swallow of vodka every night before she went to sleep. She'd take it, as long as it brought this. This electric kiss, this spin-y feeling while being sober, this pounding of her heart. She'd take it, because, at the moment, she wasn't being beaten with her own bat. And hey, maybe there was more to this. Maybe she was spinning so hard because she was falling. Metaphorically, of course. Falling in love. Falling in.....nope.

She was actually falling. Literally. Both she and Olivia were sliding ever so slowly off the couch. Olivia was gripping the cushions with all her might, and Casey was coming with her off the edge.

Olivia was giving Casey tender little pecks on the mouth, and Casey was accepting everyone of them, until she felt Olivia's weight shift for the worse.

"Liv, mm, Oli- mmm, Livia,"

"Huh?" Olivia stops her kisses for a moment, but then begins gently touching her nose to Casey's, further distracting the ADA. Olivia feels herself falling for sure, both metaphorically, and, mostly, literally, but doesn't care. It'll be a soft landing, once you realize how little you have left to go.

Casey giggles at Olivia's "eskimo kisses". Inuit kisses? "Liv, we should get up."

"Hmmm," Olivia isn't deciding. She's content.

"I'm getting up." Casey whispers into Olivia's ear. She does, and Olivia is forced to flip off the end of the couch. She landed on her feet though. They are both standing, and now, all of a sudden, they are awkward again. It really hadn't been that long since they had stopped crying, and then they started kissing, and even that had been short lived.

"Uhmmm," Casey is trying to find a way to get Olivia to stay the night. Trying to see if Olivia had meant those kisses, or if it was just a weird emotional thing.

"Heh," Olivia says, as she scratches a fake itch behind her neck. She is trying to find out if Casey thought it was weird that she had just starting kissing her. 'It was weird, Benson. You came over here without a word, cried for an hour, they tried to make out with her. I'd be ballistic if I were her.' Olivia's policy of non-dominance is in jeopardy here, with her most recent actions. In her mind, anyway.

Casey, on the other hand, is taking Olivia's sudden bashfulness as signs that this was just a fluke. Olivia didn't love her, this is all just a by-product of stress, and neither of them having anyone to turn to.

"Sorry." Olivia says.

That solidifies it for Casey. Olivia is apologizing. 'She regrets it. After all she's done to me, the one thing she regrets is the only thing I want her to not be sorry for.' Casey turns cold.

"Yeah. You're sorry."

Olivia interprets this as proof that she has crossed the line. It's just like her dream. 'A premonition?' Instead of getting violent, though, Olivia sticks her tail between her legs.

"Um. I think. I think maybe. Maybe I should....." Olivia is not going to say it. It hurts too bad.

"Go? You want to go." Casey says. Her voice is a whisper, and she is looking at the ground.

"I don't want to," Olivia whispers too. She looks at the ground, taking a cue from Casey.

"Then why would you?" Still whispering.

"I. I don't know. Maybe you want me to?" It's a leading question, Casey would have said. Leading her to say what Olivia is suggesting. Casey does not want to say that, but she looks up. Her eyes are tearing, not at Olivia, but because of her. Because she's leaving.

But Olivia doesn't see it this way. She sees the tears threatening, and falsely assumes it is her continued presence that causes them.

"You do," she says after giving Casey a quick glance. Olivia looks down and turns immediately, not seeing Casey shake her head 'No'. "I'll go," Olivia walks to the door. And walks out.

A premonition, yes. Casey felt as though she had been punched in the face. Humiliated. Wet eyes. Aching lips. Well, the ache was quite different, actually, but it is still there. Why does love always have to hurt?

'It doesn't' Casey says to herself. 'Not my kind of love.' If Olivia was going to do this, then fine. She'd take it. But she'd stop falling right now. She'd will herself to stop. Right now......

Olivia was outside of Casey's door. 'Love doesn't hurt. Not my brand, anyhow.'

Olivia waited. Waited to stop falling. 'Waiting for it......

The End

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