DISCLAIMER: All main characters either belong to Dick Wolf/NBC/Universal or Jerry Bruckheimer/CBS/Warner Bros./or Stephen J. Cannell/USA Network.
SEQUEL/SPOILERS: Post "Loss." Sequel to Circumstances Beyond Control and And The Cradle Will Rock. Don't know if this will work…you tell me. Sorry about the 'pigs fly' comment. Couldn't resist.
FANDOMS: Law and Order:SVU/Cold Case/Silk Stalkings.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Running With The Devil
By Cheyne

"Can I come in?" Diana asked Lilly, pointedly.

The blonde detective was torn. She had a guest she wasn't sure she wanted Diana to see. Not that she was ashamed of the beautiful woman in her bedroom, quite the contrary, she was very proud to be with Olivia Benson in any manner of the word. But…this was Diana and – Fuck it, she thought. This woman left me, she should know I've moved on. "Sure." Lilly stepped aside and let Diana pass, closing the door behind them both. Leaning up against the door, Lilly crossed her arms, eyeballing her ex. God, she looked fantastic. The bitch.

"I like what you've done with the place, Lil." She turned and came eyeball to solo eyeball with a cat. "Oh," she said, startled, then smiled. "Who have we here?"

"That's Olivia," Lilly advised her. "Her brother is somewhere around here but he's shy."

"Her brother, huh? What's he missing?"

"A leg."

Diana smiled and nodded. "You always were good at rescuing damaged strays."

Lilly acknowledged that statement with a smirk. "Well, you should know." Lilly then immediately regretted her words. Diana's mother had died when she was very young and her father shot himself right in front of her before she hit her teens. Her childhood wasn't much better than Lilly's had been. It's not that Lilly spoke before she thought, it was just her controlled anger oozing out through her words.

Tilting her head, trying not to smile in response to Lilly's slam, Diana outstretched her hand to the cat, who immediately recoiled and hissed at her. Diana quickly pulled her hand away.

"She's a good judge of character," Lilly commented, not changing her expression.

"I'll let that pass. Is that coffee I smell?"

"Yes, it is. Would you like a cup?"

"I'd love one. Thank you." Diana sat on the couch, still admiring the changes Lilly had made to the décor and the furniture since the last time she had been there. Diana was a petite woman, about five inches shorter than Lilly. She had chestnut-colored hair that fell just below her shoulders and green eyes. Her skin was almost a porcelain pale yet possessing a glow all its own. If Lilly thought Diana resembled anyone at all, it was Alannah Myles on the cover photo of her first CD. Black Velvet, indeed. There was sophistication to Diana's look and appeal that caught Lilly the first time they met. It certainly had not decreased with age. At thirty-nine, Lilly's ex-lover was still an intriguing, mysterious beauty. As much as she hated to admit it.

Lilly entered the living room, bringing with her two mugs of coffee. "Enough cream to make the color golden, right?" she asked, unnecessarily, handing the coffee to Diana.

"You remembered," Diana smiled, her perfect, white teeth revealed behind rosy lips.

"Of course, I remembered, Diana. Are we playing a game here? Because you should remember that I don't do that. So let's just get right to it, okay? It really is good to see you but why are you here?"

"You haven't changed."

"Actually, I have. I'm wiser than I was when I was with you."

Diana sipped her coffee, looking at Lilly over the rim of her cup with an appraising gaze. "You look…great, Lil. Really. Something must be agreeing with you."

"Well, if memory serves me correctly, it won't be you."

Diana laughed, setting the mug on the coffee table. "I've missed this banter."

"I doubt that. What exactly is it you want, Diana?" Lilly's tone and expression were still amiable but she was serious in her intent. What was this woman doing here after all this time?

"How mad are you at me?" The sultry brunette asked, seriously, holding Lilly's glance momentarily with her own.

"I passed the grudge stage a while ago. But I think the disappointment will be there forever."

"What can I do to make it up to you?"

Now Lilly was annoyed. Make it up to her? After five years of silence? Of wondering what happened? Of blaming herself for pushing when she knew she had taken great pains to keep the affair on as neutral a ground as physically possible? "What?!"

"Okay, Lilly, calm down. I had to leave. I couldn't let you know –"

Lilly drew a breath as though about to explode, then stopped herself. Olivia was still asleep and she did not need to wake up to this, as hellish a week it had been for her. A thousand thoughts traveled through her head in the matter of a second, the crest of that wave rendering her speechless as it rolled over her.

Diana reached in the pocket of the jacket she had taken off and laid on the couch pillow and pulled out a slender black leather wallet case – the police ID-type Lilly carried. Opening it to reveal a badge and DEA identification, Diana handed the item to Lilly.

Accepting it, agape, the blonde studied it. She read the name out loud. "Rita Lee Lance?"

"That would be me. The real me."

"What the hell -?"

"It's a long story."

"I bet. I'm listening."

"You wouldn't have a little something to put in this coffee, would you?" Diana/Rita looked at Lilly, smiling.

"I do. But I am not going to liquor up your morning coffee with Bailey's. You owe me a sober explanation. That liquid courage is not going to be wasted on this."

Diana/Rita nodded. "Fair enough. I…uh…used to live in Florida. I worked for Palm Beach PD, as a detective for cases my partner and I referred to as Silk Stalkings – very high profile cases. The same year I got promoted to lieutenant, my partner, a man that I loved dearly, was murdered. The investigation revealed his death resulted from a complicated issue involving a silk stalking case that included a couple of international drug dealers, very rich ones – as if there are any other kind – who couldn't back him down His ethics were beyond reproach. I grieved openly for six months, taking time off from the job to adjust. Then I was approached by the DEA and went undercover as Diana Prieto. Our investigation led us here to Philadelphia and to the jewelry shop, where you and I met. I couldn't tell you, Lilly. It would have put you in too much danger."

"Then why did you respond to me at all?"

"I couldn't resist you." Rita regarded her curiously. "You couldn't tell that?"

Quite out of nowhere, Lilly Rush had entered her life. It was a very cold, unusually wintry day toward the beginning of Spring. Someone had burglarized the jewelry store where she had been working undercover as an assistant manager. The crime had been totally unrelated to her particular mission of keeping an eye on the owner, whose brother was suspected of being one of the ring of criminals who had ordered the murder of her partner, Christopher Lorenzo.

The next day after the burglary, a detective name Lilly Rush came around asking questions. The sexy, pretty, obviously capable blonde had immediately caught Rita's eye, even though they did not interact with each other. The second time Lilly came to the store was two days after the burglary. Detective Rush had already asked everyone else in the store a lot of questions and now she was back. Did this intriguing detective think she was a suspect? How ironic that would have been.

What the detective needed to know from Diana was whether she knew of anyone other than the managers who might be in possession of keys and the alarm code. Because, Lilly continued, there was no evidence of a break in, no marks to indicate a forced entry, no record of the alarm audibly activating or registering break in codes at the armed patrol company paid to monitor and respond to such alarms. So, it made sense that the crime was possibly an inside job.

Diana explained to the engaging blonde detective, simply, that the only people who would have that information would be the three managers and the alarm company. Detective Rush wrote that down in her notebook, Detective Rush with the most disarming smile and charming demeanor of anyone she had ever met in her life. Diana cooperated to the fullest and answered all of Detective Rush's questions and the blonde wrote it all down, plus Diana's name, home address and phone number.

When Lilly appeared to be finished recording all her information and closed her little notebook, she smiled and thanked her. Their eyes locked again, as they had several times during the interview. Lilly's gaydar had gone off sometime during the first question and her gaydar was rarely inaccurate.

"Any more questions, Detective?" Diana asked, returning the blonde's grin.

"Um…just one…"


"I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me tomorrow night?"

The question rendered her momentarily mute. She had never been 'pegged' quite that quickly. Diana looked around. No one had heard the detective's question. She was quite sure she was blushing.

"W- Why would you want to have dinner with me?" was all Diana could come up with to say.

Lilly stepped very close to her and lowered her voice to a husky whisper. "Because I think you're beautiful and I'd like to get to know you."

Smiling in spite of herself, Diana held Lilly's gaze for what seemed like an eternity. "Are you always this bold, Detective?"

Studying her, Lilly took a step back. "No, not usually. I just thought…I, um, apologize if I misinterpreted signals here, I…" she looked as though she were about to leave.

"Wait – wait," she said immediately, then hushed her tone. "You didn't misinterpret anything…I…I'm just not used to someone as attractive as you are asking me out."

That disarming smile was back on Lilly's face. "Thank you but…I find that hard to believe."

"No, seriously. Not only am I not used to being pegged so quickly, I'm not used to someone acting on it as well. Especially someone who looks like you."

"Time's too precious to waste, don't you think?"

"Absolutely," she smiled, warmly, unable to resist this woman standing before her. "And, absolutely, I would love to have dinner with you tomorrow night."

"Great. I'll call you."

Rita/Diana knew she should have ended it before it began. She did not need a distraction like Lilly Rush to pull her focus away from her assignment. But Lilly so impressed her, so attracted her, her mouth said Yes before her common sense could say No. The affair started fast and furiously and spiraled out of control before either could get a handle on their emotions. Rita had been so numb since Chris' murder, Lilly's sudden presence in her life was more than a breath of fresh air, it was a re-awakening.

They practically moved in together that ten months they dated. Lilly had no reason to doubt "Diana's" background, therefore believing every word out of her lover's mouth when it came to revealing 'facts' about her history. However, "Diana's" boss at the jewelry store grew increasingly unreasonable and antsy about her relationship with a cop and jumped the gun way too soon regarding the whole reason surrounding her mission in Philly. Rita had to get out of the assignment before several years of hard work went down the toilet with the case, and both she and Lilly ended up as casualties. The blonde Philadelphia detective would never know the pain the decision had caused Rita and could only imagine what Lilly had thought of her. Now, she could find out how much damage had been done and if anything could be salvaged of their once passionate relationship.

Olivia Benson awoke to voices in the other room. Sliding out of bed, she pulled on sweatpants and a tank top, ran her hand lazily through her hair and walked to the doorway that led from the bedroom to the living room. "Lil?"

All conversation ceased and two sets of eyes were on the still sleepy brunette. Smiling warmly, Lilly walked over to Olivia and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Morning." The blonde turned to Rita. "This is Olivia."

Rita looked confused, which covered her initial expression of disappointment at seeing another woman in the fold. "Olivia…? You named your cat after your girlfriend?"

Lilly gave Rita a reprimanding glare. "Olivia, this is Diana – I mean, Rita."

Olivia, who was still shaking cobwebs out of her head, looked at Lilly. "You can't remember her name?" She suddenly wondered what she had walked out into.

Lilly looked skyward. "I can already tell this is going to be one of those days." She looked at Olivia. "Coffee?"

"Sure. I'll get it." Olivia started toward the kitchen but Lilly put her hand gently on Olivia's well-toned arm.

"No, sit. I'll get it."

Olivia obeyed, still rubbing the slumber from her eyes. When she could focus a little more clearly, she looked at Rita, who was obviously studying her in return.

Lilly was doing quite well for herself, companion-wise, Rita thought. This Olivia person was quite striking. And fit. And extremely sensual. But a cat and a girlfriend with the same name? That was a little too devoted and obsessive for Rita's taste.

"I didn't know Lilly was expecting company," Olivia said to Rita, finally, as Lilly brought her current lover a mug of coffee.

"Lilly didn't know it, either," Lilly smiled at Olivia, as she sat on the arm of the chair the SVU detective was occupying.

"Well, I didn't know Lilly had company," Rita smiled, almost showing signs of embarrassment.

Olivia was curious to know who this woman was, more importantly, who she was to Lilly. Spontaneously and uncharacteristically, Olivia found her arm snaking around Lilly's backside, almost territorially.

As subtle as the movement was, it did not escape Rita. She set her mug down on the coffee table. "You know…maybe I should come back…"

"Why?" Lilly asked, amiably, "there isn't anything you say to me that you can't say in front of Olivia."

Observing Olivia staring up, questioningly, at Lilly, Rita suspected that statement was as much of a surprise to the current lover as it was to the former one.

"Um…Lil, sweetie? Can I talk to you for a second?" Olivia asked, a little lost by what was going on.

"Sure." Lilly looked at Rita, taking Olivia's hand. "We'll be right back."

Trailing behind Lilly to the bedroom, out of sight and hearing range of their guest, Olivia trapped the blonde between herself and the closed bedroom door. "What are you doing?" the SVU detective cocked her head, smiling at Lilly.

"Too obvious?" Lilly wondered, resting her hands on Olivia's slender waist.

"Well…that would depend on what's going on."

"I know this is going to sound almost staged…but, in comparison? She is kind of my Alex."

"Your Alex? I didn't know you 'kind of' had an Alex."

"Listen, Liv, I am stunned she's here. I thought she was gone, out of my life forever, I never thought she would show up. I haven't seen her in over five years."

"And you didn't stage this?" It was less an accusation than a clarification.

Lilly wasn't at all insulted or offended. "Perfect timing, I know, but…no. I don't do that kind of stuff."

"Except…you want her to believe we are more to each other than we are?"

"No. I want her to see me for who I am now and, well, that I am capable of loving someone else, of moving on."

"But, Lilly, if she really is your Alex and she has come back for you – maybe you should give her the chance to talk to you alone. Maybe there are things she isn't comfortable saying or can't say in front of me," Olivia told her gently.

"What would you do?"

"You mean if the situation was reversed? If Alex showed up at my place and you walked out of my bedroom?"


"I don't know, Lil. I am sure it would be a difficult situation for all of us. It would hurt Alex, it would hurt you and it would kill me. But out of respect for all of us, I would want to talk to her alone. Find out where her head is, what she wants from me. I would want to know what's gone on in her absence from me. I would want to know where we stood with each other and I would want to be able to hopefully rationalize my life from there." Olivia lovingly pushed a strand of Lilly's hair away from her face. "I think, at the very least, you owe it to yourself, if not to her, to hear her out. And she obviously wants to talk to you alone."

"Then she'll have to come back," Lilly said, simply.

Olivia nodded. "I have to tell you, I feel really awkward about this."

"Look, Olivia," Lilly rested her forehead against the brunette's, "my time with you is so limited and you have to go back to New York this afternoon. So either she talks to me in front of you or she comes back."

"Are you trying to use me to hurt her?" Olivia questioned, with no trace of malice in her voice.

Lilly released Olivia and took a step back. "No. I don't do that, Olivia. She left me. Five years ago. Without a word. I got a postcard from Chicago a week later and all it said was 'Sorry. I love you.' She was always in control of the relationship, always called the shots. I need for her to know that she cannot do that to me anymore. I need for her to know that I have not been sitting around for five years, putting my life on hold, pining for her. She can't just show up like this and expect to take over again."

"Maybe she isn't here for that. Maybe she is just here to apologize and explain and wish you the best." It was slowly dawning on Olivia that this same scenario could be her and Alexandra Cabot, upon when or if the former SVU ADA returned. She then realized she needed to be very careful as to how she advised Lilly.

"How do you honestly feel about being here?" the blonde asked Olivia, snapping her out of her thoughts of Alex and 'what if.'

"Honestly? Uncomfortable."

Lilly continued to study Olivia, who then smiled and pulled the blonde close again.

"…and a little jealous and possessive, okay? Is that what you wanted to hear?"

"Only if that's what you really want to say," Lilly returned her grin before giving her a short but very sweet kiss on the lips.

"Come on, we're being rude," Olivia pulled at the collar of Lilly's robe. What she really wanted to say was, 'You do that again and you need to go tell her to come back later.'

"We're being rude? We've been gone for five minutes, she was gone for five –"

"Lilly?" Olivia interrupted, "I am not going to stand in here with you for five years just to get even with her." The brunette's expression was amused.

Looking dutifully and jokingly chastised, Lilly gave Olivia a lingering kiss on the cheek. "Sometimes you're no fun."

"Yeah? I bet you won't say that later," Olivia said, suggestively.

"Really? If that's the case, I'll get rid of her right now." She ran her hand up Olivia's side, lightly brushing her fingers across the brunette's breast.

Olivia intercepted her hand before it could find its way to her other breast, bringing Lilly's fingers to her lips and kissing them. "Behave and see to your guest."

They stepped out of the bedroom to find Olivia, the feline, on the back of the couch, shooting a death glare at Rita. "Your cat doesn't like me much," she advised them, unnecessarily.

"It's not that," Olivia, the human, told her, smiling, "you're in her seat."

"Oh. Should I move to the other side of the couch?"

"No. That's her seat, too. She owns the couch. All of it. The only one she'll allow to sit on it with her is Lilly."

Rita looked up at Lilly. "You let your cats run the house?"

"Well, they spend much more time here than I do so it's only fair," Lilly shrugged.

"Word of warning – don't ever rub her belly," Olivia cautioned Rita.

"I certainly hope your referring to the cat because," Rita sized up Olivia, respectfully, "I have no intention of rubbing Lilly's." At least not while you're in the immediate picture, Rita thought. Before either woman could respond to that, she continued, "so…everything okay with you two?"

"Everything is fine," Lilly told her. "Olivia thought she should leave us alone to talk but I prefer that she stays. We don't get to see each other much."

"Why? Did I scare you away from commitment?"

"No, not at all. Olivia lives in New York. She's a detective with the Manhattan Special Victims Unit."

"Really?" Rita asked, honestly intrigued. "Isn't that rape and child victims?"

"In a nutshell, pretty much."

"Wow. That has to be very difficult." Rita appeared to be almost in awe of the SVU detective now.

"It has its moments." Olivia responded, grateful that Rita had not asked for incidents of any cases. But then, that was normally a male trait, wanting all the dirty details. It was bad enough the victims were violated once by the perpetrator and again in court, but she refused to assist in further violation by gratuitously retelling the event for the perverse sexual gratification of some jackass who got off on stories of non-consensual sex.

"How'd you get that assignment?" Rita wondered.

"I asked for it."

Rita shook her head. "My hat is off to you, Olivia, you are a stronger woman than I."

The SVU detective was suddenly, startlingly impressed by Rita. That would have been a perfect opportunity to stake her claim, so to speak, on Lilly, by condescending to and picking apart what Olivia did, vocalizing to her ex-lover a question of what pieces of Olivia must be missing to have to be filled by dealing with such an abusive, damaged, angry and heartbreaking environment every day. Instead, she complimented the brunette, which sounded intentionally straightforward.

"Rita is a cop with the DEA," Lilly volunteered.

"Was. It was temporary. Although, occasionally, I still fill in when they need something in my neck of the woods," she said, almost humbly. "That's why they let me keep the badge."

"DEA?" Olivia perked up. "Really? Ever worked with a DEA attorney named Abbie Carmichael?"

Rita thought hard. "No…no, I don't believe I have."

"Oh, trust me, you'd remember her. She's in DC now, where were you?"

"I went back to Palm Beach –"

"I thought you went to Chicago," Lilly challenged her.

Rita blinked thoughtfully at Lilly. "I went to Chicago for about three days to establish a trail and presence there in case I had been followed by anyone here. That is where I sent you that post card from, I know. I needed you to believe that's where I went in case you were approached by anyone. I went back to Palm Beach and then Miami. I do a lot of liaison work now for Miami PD and other government law enforcement agencies." She looked at Olivia, then back at Lilly, almost pleadingly. "I couldn't tell you, Lilly. If I hadn't left you when and how I did, I was positive they were going to get to me through you. I had to go. It had to be like it was. I'm sorry." She glanced almost imperceptibly at Olivia before looking back deeply into Lilly's eyes. "You'll never know how sorry."

"Tell you what," Olivia stated, agreeably, "how about we compromise? I'll go take a nice long shower and you two can at least talk about – if nothing else – whether you need to meet again and talk further."

Rita was grateful for Olivia's discreet cooperation. At least if she couldn't get Lilly back, she knew she would have lost her to a very worthy adversary. "Thank you, Olivia."

Lilly studied her current lover, torn again. She didn't want her to leave the room as she felt Olivia's presence gave her the strength she needed to resist Rita. Silently reprimanding herself, Lilly knew she had to deal with these resurfaced issues with her former lover and she chastised herself for feeling so unusually weak. Squeezing Olivia's arm, affectionately, Lilly smiled at the face that launched thousands of erotic dreams since they had met. "Thanks, Liv."

Nodding, Olivia looked at Rita. "I hope you are here when I get out of the shower but if you're not, it was nice meeting you." Olivia extended her hand toward Rita, who stood up and accepted it gracefully.

"Back at you, Detective."

Retreating to the bedroom, Olivia shed her clothes in preparation for her shower. It would be interesting to see what occurred in her absence. The SVU detective suddenly wasn't sure she was ready to give Lilly Rush up, which she knew was unfair to both of them. How could she realistically fight to keep Lilly when she was still hanging on to the memory and hope of the return of Alex Cabot. Twisting both faucets full force, Olivia then modulated the water to a temperature that suited her and stepped in, letting the steaming hot water drench her. Sometimes she felt as though a hot shower had the ability to solve all of her problems and that if she just stayed there forever, nothing would ever be wrong in her life again.

"She's…wow, Lil…I am very impressed," Rita commented, honestly.

"Why? Didn't you think I had it in me? I mean, after you?"

"You know, being defensive doesn't become you." Rita took another long swallow of her coffee, which was now tepid and on the verge of getting cold.

"Di – Rita, sorry, you've told me a very convincing story of why you felt you had to leave. But you've been gone five years, without a word. Five years. It makes no sense to me why you came back. So why don't we start by going there." Lilly sat down on the chair Olivia had previously occupied.

"Honestly? I don't know why I have been suddenly feeling the need to reconnect with you. All I can tell you is that it has been a nagging, overwhelming urge. I never felt right leaving things the way I did. Never. I don't do things like that, Lilly. I'm a good person. I thought I was protecting you, even though I know how much I hurt you. I hurt myself, as well. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would have refused your offer for dinner. It would have saved us both a lot of pain. I never expected to fall so in love with you so quickly and let it become the mushroom cloud it did. Once everything was resolved with the case and the job was done, I was too mortified to try to contact you."

"So why now – after all this time?"

"I was driving myself crazier and crazier every day by pretending I was just doing my job and I didn't owe you an explanation for my behavior. You are a wonderful woman, Lil. You had the right to know what happened. You had the right to know that it was not you, that you had nothing to do with my leaving, that you didn't do anything – never did anything -wrong. You had the right to know how special you were and still are to me. And I did come back here with the intention of pursuing you again, honestly this time, if we could work this out. But I see you're doing very well for yourself and you don't need me back in your life." Rita was managing to hold back the tears, until she looked up at Lilly, whose eyes were ready to spill over. "I'm sorry. So, so sorry," Rita said, barely above a whisper, as the floodgates opened and water rushed from the brunette's eyes freely.

Oh, this pissed Lilly off! Not that she questioned the sincerity of Rita's words or, really, the fact that she was there but…now what? What the fuck was she supposed to do now? She was absolutely head over heels for Olivia Benson but…this was Diana!!! This was the woman whose leaving so devastated her, she thought she would never be able to feel again. Until she crossed paths with a certain New York City detective. Diana's/Rita's sudden exit so messed her up, she isolated herself from any possible future paramour and she almost ended up in the arms of a man. And not just any man, the ADA assigned to her unit. What a mistake that would have been. Thankfully, she smartened up before that happened.

Tears also flowed from Lilly's eyes but much more sparingly than her former lover's. The blonde left her chair and joined Rita on the couch, enveloping the brunette in an embrace. She held the smaller woman tightly as Rita buried her face into the curve of Lilly's neck and quietly sobbed. Lilly could almost feel Rita's desolation seeping through her pores and felt her own heart breaking all over again. Had this happened seven months earlier, despite how angry the Philadelphia detective was at this beautiful woman who unexpectedly disappeared off the face of the earth, Lilly knew she would have immediately taken her back into her bed, not to mention back into her life.

Closing her eyes, Lilly inhaled the long gone but oh, so familiar, if not dangerous, scent of this small package of dynamite. "God," Lilly sighed, closing her eyes. If she had been a different type of person, she would have nailed Rita right then and there on the couch while Olivia was in the shower but she wasn't that kind of woman. Lilly kissed the top of the brunette's head, released her and returned to the chair, opposite her. It was a move that surprised Rita – not that her despair and tears had been produced for dramatic effect, they had flowed sincerely, but she had always been able to get the blonde to see things her way, especially when she cried. Lilly was right – she wasn't the same person Rita knew when Rita had been masquerading as Diana Prieto.

Lilly slid a box of tissues toward Rita, who gratefully accepted them. "When you first got here, you said you were back. What exactly does that mean?" Lilly questioned. Her insides were shaking because what she had just done – holding this woman in her arms again had become a distant fantasy now fulfilled. On the exterior, she was calm and collected. "Are you back here to stay?"

"Well," Rita sniffed, "actually, that was going to depend on you."


"Meaning if we could have worked things out, I had a couple interviews lined up and would have gladly moved here."

"Moved here to Philly or in here with me?"

"That would have been entirely up to you."

Lilly looked down at the hardwood floor, smiled to herself and shook her head. She looked back at Rita, not losing the grin. "Your timing sucks."

Rita returned the amused expression, through red-rimmed eyes. "So I see. Story of my life." She blew her nose with a thrust and honk that betrayed her petite, ladylike nature. Lilly threw her head back with a silent chuckle. "What?" Rita asked, innocently, if not somewhat nasally.

"Nothing," Lilly shook her head, still smiling. "It's just I had forgotten some of your more endearing quirks."

"So…Lilly…just exactly what is your relationship with Olivia?" Rita inquired, more than just curiously.

"Hmmm…it's actually complicated. We met on a case, the details of which I won't go into out of respect for Olivia, and the connection was just very powerful. It was immediate."

"Kind of like you and me?"

"Yeah…but different. It's hard to explain."

"And the complicated part would be that she lives in New York and you live here?"

"Somewhat…a more complicated part would be that she is my cousin Elliot's partner at SVU."

"No…not THE cousin Elliot, the one the Pope has yet to recognize into sainthood and canonize…" Rita responded, sarcastically.

"Very funny."

"Don't tell me he set you two up."

"Uh…I think you could file that under 'When Pigs Fly.' No, it was one of those coincidence things that put us together. An unfortunate one that turned out to be rather fortunate in a whole different area."

"It looks like you've reached a rather nice compromise there. You both look very happy together."

"Thanks but…" Should she tell her there was another issue? Another woman claiming Olivia's heart, possessing Olivia's soul, as Elliot put it? No, she decided she would not get into that right now. "We're working on a few things that need to be ironed out. Other than that, the relationship is perfect. I mean, sure, we could be a little closer, geographically, but we're doing fine."

"Then I guess that's my cue to exit, stage left?" Rita inquired, hoping the blonde would say No.

"Why does it have to be all or nothing? Why can't we spend some platonic time together? Who knows? We could become great friends."

Rita stood up, reaching over to pick up her coat. "I certainly can't speak for you but I know that would be too difficult for me." Her words were stated calmly but effectively. "I don't think I would be able to look at you without wanting to touch you. Intimately. And seeing you, knowing I can't be with you in the manner in which I want to be, would be just too hard. Especially seeing you with Olivia, knowing that could be me." Rita put her coat on and, with a sweep of her hand, freed her hair from the confines of her collar, a move Lilly still found to be extremely sensual.

"I appreciate your honesty." Lilly followed her to the door.

She turned to face her former blonde lover. "Sometimes I wish I was the kind of person that didn't care about other people's feelings and that I could put myself in fierce competition with Olivia. But I don't think anyone would win in those circumstances." She took Lilly's hand and held it in both of hers. "I just hope she deserves you. I didn't deserve you when I left but I was going to prove to you that I did now. Like you said. My timing sucks. If she ever hurts you, I'll be back." Rita let go of Lilly's hand and turned to leave, suddenly turning back around, pulling the blonde to her, pressing a kiss to her lips so fiery and passionate, it should have set off the sprinkler system. The action shocked and surprised Lilly and she froze, not really accepting the kiss but not pushing Rita away, either. It felt like the smaller woman's body had melted into Lilly's, as her head spun with old memories and new sensations. Slowly breaking the kiss, gently sucking on Lilly's bottom lip as she moved away, Rita took a step back. Her eyes flashed a very lusty gaze at the blonde. She mouthed the word, "Goodbye," and left the apartment, shutting the door behind her. Lilly stood there, staring blankly at the closed door.

Olivia cleared her throat. Lilly turned around to see the SVU detective, leaning against the doorway that separated the bedroom from the living room, dressed, toweling off her wet hair. "Gee…that was some goodbye."

Lilly could not gauge or decipher Olivia's tone. It was a thin line between hurt and fascinated. "I…I'm…Christ, Liv, I didn't know she was going to do that. It wasn't what it looked like…"

"Well, you did look sort of like a deer caught in headlights." Olivia continued to scrunch her hair in the towel. "What's the verdict?"

"She's…I…we…" Lilly pointed behind her with her thumb, toward the door, "she's going back to Florida."

"Is that what you really want?"

Lilly walked toward the brunette, stopping barely inches away from her. "I want…I want you, Olivia." The blonde stepped into Olivia's arms and inched her backward, into the bedroom, in the direction of the bed. "In fact, I've never wanted anyone as much as I want you and I have never wanted you more than I do right now."

"Oh, I get it," Olivia teased, "she got you horny and I happen to be available."

Lilly didn't take the bait. "You had me horny long before she got here."

The backs of Olivia's knees touched the edge of the bed and she fell back onto the mattress, rather gracefully, under the circumstances, pulling Lilly with her. Lilly began kissing the brunette's neck, throat, under her chin, cheek, nose, forehead, working her way down to those luscious, full lips that tantalized her repeatedly. "How do I know I'm not just a substitute for what you really want?" Olivia's tone was still taunting.

"I guess I'm just going to have to keep you here, in this bed, making love to you, until I convince you." Lilly ever so lightly touched her lips to Olivia's. Intense blue eyes met more intense brown ones. Another kiss, longer and deeper this time, followed by continuous contact, so intimately fulfilling that the kissing, licking, touching and sucking of every sensitive body part resulted in a near simultaneous climax for both women.

Panting, drenched in perspiration and other heady aromas, Olivia had let Lilly be the dominant one for the first time since the beginning of their couplings. The blonde had surprised her with just how aggressively accomplished she could be. It was a pleasant turn of events and one Olivia hoped would happen between them again. Soon. As reluctant as Olivia was to give up control in that area, she had rather enjoyed being the submissive one for a change.

Lilly rolled over into Olivia and propped her head up to study the woman she had just given up 'Diana' for. It was going to take some getting use to thinking of her as being Rita. Maybe she had used Olivia to exorcise some long pent up feelings for Diana/Rita but she also knew that, at that moment, there was no one else she wanted in her bed other than Olivia Benson. Or in her life. Even if things didn't work out between her and Olivia, she would never regret the time they spent together, as infrequent as it may have been. Lilly knew she had fallen very much in love with Olivia, knowing she couldn't tell her.

What Lilly didn't know was that Olivia was starting to fall in love back and that was tormenting her. What if Alex showed up tomorrow just like this Rita person had done? What if Alex never came back? She didn't want to give Lilly up for a ghost and a memory that might never reappear but it wasn't fair to make Lilly her second choice 'just in case.' She was about to ask Lilly what she was thinking with that intense gaze when Olivia, the feline, jumped up on the bed, looked at both women who were staring back at her, approached Olivia, the human, put her two front paws on the vicinity of the brunette's navel and started to knead, purring very loudly.

Closing her eyes tight, Olivia, the human, said, "not the bladder, not the bladder…" but the cat just continued, oblivious, starting to drool and the brunette could stand it no longer. She flew out of bed, pushing the cat aside as graciously as possible, and raced to the bathroom, making it just in time. "Do you teach her these tricks?" came the relieved voice and the sound of fluid hitting water, somewhat echoed, from the adjoining room.

Lilly couldn't help but laugh. "See? Now you blew it. She was offering an olive branch – so to speak – and you turned her away."

"I think you'd much rather have her feelings hurt than my pride at having to change your sheets."

"I have to change them anyway."

"I'm too old to be wetting the bed and we're not going there, okay?" The banter was interrupted by the sound of a toilet flushing. Olivia reappeared at the doorway. Olivia, the feline, was lying in the space the brunette had just left vacant. "Olive branch, my ass. She wanted me out of there so she could be next to you instead. Where is her brother? I'm going to go make friends with him."

Lilly continued to laugh, petting the contented cat curled up next to her. "That I'd like to see. Good luck pulling him out from under the couch."

Looking at the clock on the bureau, Olivia sighed. "I hate to break up this cozy little party but I should be getting back to New York. As much as I hate to go."

"Then I guess we should hit the shower and go."

Olivia's smile was sly. "Hey, I already had a shower and quite frankly, I like the smell of you on me. I think I can manage until I get back to my place."

"Hmm…well, since I have to drive you back, maybe I could spend the night, get up early and drive home tomorrow morning…"

"You could…I'll have to check my calendar, make sure I don't have any previous engagements…" Olivia teased.

Lilly got out of bed and stood very close to the SVU detective. Her lips were barely a touch away from Olivia's. "Cancel them," she whispered, huskily, and walked into the bathroom to start her shower.

The sly smile broke into a full-fledged grin. Olivia shook her head, now unable to decide if she wanted to get dressed again or join this lovely blonde in the shower. From the living room, she heard Lilly's cell phone ring to the tune of 'Cagney and Lacey.' "Never fails," Olivia muttered to herself. "Lil, your partner's calling!"

"Could you answer it? It's Sunday, it's probably important," Lilly shouted back to her.

Olivia felt a little awkward about the request but retrieved the phone anyway, pressing the little green button. "Cagney."

There was silence on the other end of the line. Then, suddenly, Scotty Valens, Lilly's work partner, realized who was most likely answering Lilly's phone. "Ah…you're the brunette, so that would actually make you Lacey."

Olivia smiled. "In theory only. Lilly's in the shower, Detective, what can I do for you?"

"It's kind of important, tell her to – no, I guess I can tell you, since it kind of involves you, too."

"What's up?"

"I stopped by work today to pick up some paperwork I need to have in by tomorrow and, as I was passing the front desk, I overheard the sergeant talking to a patrol unit before they responded to a call. Rikard Rogerios is in jail, his wife is in the hospital."

Olivia's voice was strangled in her response, "What – what happened?"

Lilly smiled as Olivia joined her in the shower. "Changed your mind, huh?" Then she saw the look on Olivia's face. "What's wrong?"

"Rik Rogerios was arrested this morning for pummeling the living shit out of his wife."

"What?" Lilly's eyes went wide with surprise. Neither woman would have pegged Rik as an abuser.

"She's in the hospital in ICU. It doesn't look good."

"What happened?"

"I don't know. Your partner didn't have all the details, in fact, he only found out by accident." Olivia soaped up and rinsed off very quickly and got out of the shower, followed by Lilly. "I called the hospital but they wouldn't give me any information. I told them that I was her sister-in-law but the nurse in charge told me that, per request of the police, no information was to be given out, except to immediate family. So I told her I was also a cop but it didn't do any good."

"That sounds pretty grim. Do you have Kris and Deedee's number?"

"Already tried it. No answer. I left a message."

Nearly jumping into her jeans, Lilly buttoned the fly, after tucking in a navy blue shirt. Olivia was already dressed and waiting by the door. The blonde put her hair up in a clip and walked toward the brunette. "I can't believe we just had dinner with them yesterday. Everything seemed perfect. Let's see what we can get out of Rik."

Lilly and Olivia walked into the temporary holding area of the correctional facility and signed in. They had both just affixed visitor pass badges on their shirts and before they had the chance to be electronically buzzed in to the sallyport, they were frantically approached by Kris.

"Thank God you're here! They won't let me see him, talk to him!!" Kris was frantic.

"That's not unusual in these circumstances, Kris," Lilly told him, soothingly. "Has he been arraigned yet, do you know?"

"No, they said not until tomorrow." Kris looked at his half-sister. "Olivia, he didn't do this. Can't you do something?" He was pleading, almost crying.

"What happened? We haven't been able to get any details." Olivia gently took Kris by the elbow and led him over to a row of chairs where they sat down. Lilly signaled to the main control officer behind the plexiglass cage that they would be a few minutes. She followed Olivia to the chairs but remained standing.

"Rik called me last night, devastated. He told me that when he got home after we both left you, that Reta was drunk. Now, Reta likes a glass of wine or two at dinner but that's it. Rik said she was plastered and was quite surprised by that. Then she starts in about you, Olivia –"

"Me? How did I get into it?"

"She wanted to know what you told him, what you told Rik about her. Rik had no idea what she was talking about and that's when she told him…that…oh, God, I still can't believe this is true…"

As Kris started to cry when he spoke, Olivia and Lilly exchanged glances. They both knew what Kris was about to tell them.

"…she said that our father had repeatedly raped her and that two of the kids weren't Rik's, they were…his…" Kris wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "She told Rik that you knew. Did you know?"

Olivia drew in a slow breath and put her hand on Kris' shoulder. "Yes, Lilly and I were both informed when we all met the first time. We didn't think it was our place to tell you." The SVU detective did not look at the cold case detective, as she distinctly remembered that had been a major disagreement between them. Lilly had told Olivia those many months before that this undisclosed knowledge might be something that would come back to bite her.

"How did you know? Where could you possibly get that kind of information?"

Olivia looked down at her lap, hesitating, when she heard Lilly gently say, "Kris, there are some things in an investigation that, the sources of which, cannot be revealed even to family members. We're sorry."

Looking up at her, relieved, Olivia nodded gratefully at the blonde who smiled back at her. "Kris, when did Rik beat her up?"

"I still can't believe he did it. My brother is one of the gentlest people I've ever known. He doesn't even like to kill bugs."

"And yet Reta is in the hospital and Rik's in jail," Lilly reiterated. "What did Rik say to you? I am assuming you were his one phone call?"

"He…said…he said he did it," Kris said, defeated.

"Let's see what he tells us," Lilly stated. Olivia took that as her cue and stood up. She was beginning to feel numb as once again her father was haunting his children from the grave. "Anything you want us to tell him?"

"Yeah…tell him I love him."

Both Lilly and Olivia nodded silently, as Lilly pressed a button that got the main control officer's attention. A drawer automatically came out of the wall and both detectives placed anything in it that could be possibly used as a weapon against them while they were inside. The drawer closed and a cell door slid open, allowing them into a controlled area between two locked points. When that door closed with a resounding click, the other cell door opened and they stepped into the corridor of the holding area. They were escorted to a meeting room, usually reserved for lawyers and police interrogators. Once secured behind that door, they waited as the detention officer retrieved Rik.

"Thank you for not saying 'I told you so'," Olivia said, solemnly.

"No point, Olivia. Chances are it would have led to the same result. And I think it needed to come from Reta or he never would have believed it."

"Boy, that name sure is popular today," Olivia commented.

"Yeah…who knew?"

Looking out at the corridor, they saw Rik standing at the door, in a blue jumpsuit and handcuffs, waiting to be let in. He looked like he hadn't slept in months. Once inside, Lilly requested that his cuffs be removed.

"Sorry, Ma'am, but he's been accused of an extremely violent crime and –" the guard stopped abruptly when the blonde took an aggressive step forward.

Lilly was not in the mood for this protocol. "We're both police officers and are perfectly capable of handling ourselves and you'll be right outside the door. I will take full responsibility. Now take the cuffs off."

The guard's eyes narrowed at her, as if to say, 'how dare you talk that way to me, you uppity little bitch,' but his voice said, "Sure, he's all yours." As he removed the handcuffs, his eyes moved between Olivia and Lilly. They seemed to be saying, 'If he goes off, you deserve anything you get.' The burly officer then exited the room and stood outside the door with his back to them. Olivia, Lilly and Rik sat down.

"Do you want your lawyer present, Rik?" Olivia asked him.

He shook his head, negatively. "No need. I have nothing to hide. I did it." He sounded calm, detached, almost as if a ventriloquist was providing the voice for him and he was just moving his lips.

"Why?" Both Olivia and Lilly were trying to be professional but gentle with him.

"I don't know. Something just took over me. She told me that Risa and Ronnie weren't mine, they were my father's, that he raped her more times than she could count and my last two kids were the result of two incidents. How could she keep that from me? I've been raising my half brother and sister as my own children. Their brother and sister are really their nephew and niece. How could she do that?"

"Rik…I work with rape victims all the time," Olivia began softly, "your wife didn't do anything to deserve what your – our – father did to her."

"I know that!" he snapped at her, then reached over and gently took her hand. "I'm sorry. I'm not mad at you, Olivia. Please understand. It's not about the rape, it's the deceit, the lies. Something in me just snapped. Have you heard anything – how is she doing?"

"We haven't been able to get much information yet. She's in ICU."

"Oh God…I can't believe this happened," Rik looked skyward. "Could she die?"

"We don't now, Rik," Olivia's tone was still soothing. "Kris is here but they won't let him see you."

"Kris is here? They didn't tell me. He must hate me."

"Actually, he wanted us to tell you that he loves you," Lilly stated.

Rik nodded. "He's a good man. Are the kids still with Deedee?"

"Again, we don't know. If that's where they went originally, I am sure they are still there. I will find out for you," Lilly promised.

"Thank you. Look, I appreciate you both coming down here but I…I really don't have anything more to say." He knocked on the door and the guard entered, placing him back in handcuffs and escorting him back to his cell.

Lilly and Olivia looked at each other as they both stood. "He's hiding something," Lilly stated for both of them.

Lilly pulled her car up to the curb, put it in park and turned the ignition off. She and Olivia got out, silently, and strolled up the walkway to Kris and Deedee's house. They rang the doorbell and waited. When there was no response, they knocked on the door. Deedee's minivan was in the driveway, so they assumed she was there. The door opened and Deedee attempted a smile at them, through red-rimmed eyes.

"Come in. I'd say it's good to see you again but under the circumstances…" She closed the door after the two detectives had entered. "I apologize for not returning your call but, as you can imagine, it's been a madhouse."

"How's Reta?" Lilly asked.

"She still hasn't regained consciousness yet. She's pretty smashed up – broken nose, cheek, ribs, elbow, leg…" Deedee shook her head, eyes welling up. "I can't believe Rik would do this…"

"We just talked to him and he confessed," Olivia offered.

"I know but I still don't believe it. He has never once raised his hands to her, never once even raised his hands to his kids. It just doesn't add up." Deedee led them into the kitchen.

"How are the kids?" Olivia wondered, as Deedee immediately put on some water for tea.

"Traumatized. All of them, even mine. They're down in the rec room, watching DVD's. But…notice how quiet it is? That is not a normal Rogerios household."

"Were the kids there last night when all this took place?" Lilly inquired.

"Just the two youngest. The older two were at a school function."

"So the two youngest – the ones Reta told Rik about – heard everything?" Olivia asked.

"I don't know how they could help it. They must have seen everything, too, but neither of them are talking. The police spoke with them this morning and they couldn't or wouldn't tell them anything. All Ronnie does is cry and Risa is like a statue."

"Understandable. I'm sure their worlds just completely crumbled. The type of things they all found out about in a heated moment of anger and intoxication must have just totally destroyed their childhoods. Everything they believed to be true turned out to be a lie. They not only suddenly discover something horrible about their beloved grandfather, both their parents are just as suddenly taken away from them as well for God only knows how long," Lilly reasoned out loud.

"Deedee, would you mind if we talked to the kids? The two who were home when all this started?" Olivia asked.

"Why?" Deedee almost looked panicked. "I told you they weren't talking."

"You said they didn't talk to the police but they know me, who I am, and I'm used to talking to victimized children. I may be able to get them to open up. It's unhealthy for them to hold all this in." Olivia watched Deedee's reaction to her words very carefully, getting an odd vibe from her. "What is it, Deedee?" The woman opposite the detectives started to cry again. "You think one of the kids did it, don't you? And that Rik is covering for him."

It took Deedee a long time to answer. She wiped her eyes with a dish towel and nodded at Olivia. "I do. I think that's exactly what happened," her voice was barely a whisper.

"You think Ronnie inherited that bastard's violent nature, don't you?" Lilly spoke up.

"No. No, I think Risa did."

It was apparent the minute Risa was in the same room with Olivia, alone, that putting it mildly, the twelve year old had anger issues. The girl looked more like her mother than her father/grandfather but she was already bigger than Reta. In full-blown puberty, Risa was showing off her burgeoning physical assets in her Britney Spears wardrobe. She may have been a statue to everyone else over the last eighteen hours but she was not quiet with who she now knew to be her half-sister.

"It's all your fault!" she screamed at the SVU detective. "None of this ever would have happened if you hadn't showed up!!"

"That's not true," Olivia told her, calmly. "What your grandfather did was nobody's fault but his."

"You mean father, don't you? Our dear old daddy?"

"I know you're angry, Risa. I'm angry, too. You and I came to be the exact same way, so don't think I don't understand. But the man who raised you is your Dad. He's a wonderful father."

"He's not my father!" she hissed through clenched teeth.

Knowing she was getting nowhere with this line of conversation, Olivia leaned up against the bedroom door. Deedee suggested that they meet in a room on the second floor, while she kept the other kids occupied in the basement. Olivia opted to speak to Risa alone with Lilly keeping vigil at the bottom of the stairs. Deedee had told the detectives that Risa had always been an aggressive, violent child. They tried to keep it within the family and everyone seemed perplexed by where this abusive streak had come from. Everyone but Reta and Deedee. "Did you attack your mother?"

Risa shot Olivia a look that made the little hairs on the back of her neck stand up. She could only describe it as demonic. A shiver went up Olivia's spine when Risa eyes closed to mere slits and she grinned, wickedly, at her. Olivia couldn't help but think she was in the presence of pure evil. She almost called Lilly upstairs but she wasn't about to give this child the upper hand. "I scare you, don't I?"

"Would it make you feel better to believe that you do?" Olivia responded, as calmly as possible.

"I scare everybody."

"And that makes you feel pretty powerful, doesn't it?"

"Yeah," she nodded, triumphantly.

"So did you do this to your mother?"

"She was a slut. She laid down for him more than once. That's not a mistake."

"She was a victim. She was afraid of him. Just like everyone is afraid of you."

"Like father, like daughter."

"Maybe in your case…tell me about last night."

"Why? Didn't my…brother…already confess?"

"Okay, you need to get over yourself, little girl," Olivia said, evenly. "If Rik didn't do this, he should not go to jail for it."

"Well, I'm a victim of circumstance, so I should not go to jail, either," Risa stated, smugly. She certainly didn't act or talk like a twelve year old. But then Billy Wholaver didn't act his age, either.

"You've got it all figured out, don't you?" Olivia shook her head.

"Sure. I watch TV. I know how it works."

"Like what – that it's everybody's fault but yours? That's how you want to go through life, dispensing blame on everybody else, never taking responsibility for any of your actions? The devil made you do it?"

"If the politicians can get away with it, why can't I?"

"Do you really have no remorse for what you did to your mother?"

"She deserved it!" Risa yelled at her. "She told my father – I mean, Rik – that Ronnie and me were not his kids. That Grandpa raped her. A lot. And that Grandpa was our real father. She told him because you came back to town and she said you knew and were afraid that you'd tell him!! So you ruined everything!!" She was screaming at the top of her lungs now.

A sharp knock on the door startled them both. "Olivia? Everything okay in there?" It was Lilly.

"Tell your fucking dyke girlfriend to leave us alone," Risa hissed through clenched teeth again.

"Yeah, we're fine," Olivia said back to Lilly. "Just a few histrionics and a little acting out. Nothing I can't handle," Olivia stated, mostly for Risa's benefit and hoping it was true. She directed her next words at Risa. "I know it makes you feel real big and mature to talk like that but all it does it shows off your ignorance. If you want to convince me or anyone else that you're a mature adult, then you own up to what happened in your house last night."

Risa emitted a half-laugh. "I already told you."

"You haven't told me anything and if you think I'm buying that Rik did this, then I have no doubt you're a liar and a coward, on top of the other things you obviously are."

No one had ever spoken to Risa this way – and gotten away with it without some kind of retaliation, that is. Rage took over the already overly hormonal girl and she lunged at Olivia, hitting her with such force, she slammed her hard against the door, nearly knocking the wind out of her. Lilly tried immediately to gain access to the room but with the weight of Olivia and Risa against the door, it was impossible.

All Lilly could hear inside was Risa screaming and the thumping of bodies against the door, the wall and finally the floor. When she was able, Lilly forced her way in to see that Olivia had Risa under control on the area rug by the bed but was struggling against what seemed to be almost inhuman strength of a pre-teenager. Lilly scrambled to her knees and assisted Olivia in subduing the girl. Risa was still shrieking and hollering and making enough noise to bring Deedee up out of the basement.

When Deedee reached the bedroom, she gasped and put her hand over her mouth at the scene before her. These two strong adult women had their hands full against a writhing, spitting, screaming form beneath them. If Deedee believed in possession, she would have thought she was witnessing one at that very moment.

"Deedee," Lilly barely managed to get out, "get us something to tie her hands and feet with."

Deedee immediately ran to the closet door and reached up onto the shelf, digging into a royal blue velvet box. She rushed back to the detectives handing them two sets of handcuffs. Seeing Olivia and Lilly exchange surprised glances in the midst of all the confusion, she simply said, "Don't ask." They didn't. They gratefully accepted the restraints and shackled Risa's wrists and ankles.

"What are you doing?!" came from the doorway of the bedroom. It was Ronnie Rogerios, so far the youngest victim of this whole mess.

"Sorry, Mom, I couldn't keep him downstairs…" Sixteen year old Brandon Rogerios' voice came from behind Ronnie, as he slid to a stop, seeing his cousin in handcuffs. "Shit!"


"She did it!" Ronnie yelled to them. "She beat Mom with my baseball bat!" Ronnie was crying. Deedee was crying. Brandon was speechless. Olivia and Lilly were breathless and Risa was screaming.

"Shut up, you little pussy!" she yelled at her brother. "I'll kill you! Shut the fuck up!!" Risa was trying to inch toward him, which Lilly stopped by grabbing the chain that connected her wrist cuffs.

"How come you didn't yell at her? She said 'fuck'!" Brandon countered at his mother, apparently not understanding the gravity of the situation.

Ronnie, an eleven year old who was small for his age, reminding Olivia and Lilly physically of Billy Wholaver, ran over and kicked Risa in the side. Brandon grabbed Ronnie by the back of the collar and pulled him backward, the younger boy's feet slipping on the hardwood floor. By then, all the Rogerios children were standing at the door. Ricky and Robin looked the most stricken but not shocked.

Dylan Rogerios was the first to speak. "Cool," he said, looking at Risa.

"Fuck you, Dylan!" Risa spat at him.

"No, fuck you, Risa!" he responded back.

"Mom!!" Brandon protested, thrusting his arm out toward his brother.

"Dylan!!" Deedee reprimanded, feeling shellshocked.

"What, Mom? She so deserves this, she is a total psycho bitch," Dylan told his mother.

"Mom!!!" Brandon's voice was now elevated in the unfairness of it all.

"ENOUGH!" Olivia yelled, getting the attention of and gaining control of everyone in the room. "You," she pointed to Brandon, "get the other kids out of here. Now!" The command in her voice told the oldest Rogerios boy she meant it. "You," she looked at Deedee, "please stay here with Detective Rush, while I speak to Ronnie."

"And I'll call the police," Lilly finished for her.

"For what?" Risa asked, defiantly. "I didn't confess to anything."

"Maybe not yet. But in the meantime, you assaulted a police officer and resisted arrest. That should amount to some time in juvenile detention. And give us enough time to figure out the rest," Lilly told her.

"I'll tell you what happened," Ronnie said, half hiding behind Olivia when she stood up.

"Don't you say a word, you little –"

"Shut up," Olivia, Lilly and Deedee all said to the girl at the same time.

"I hate you." Ronnie told his sister. "I've always hated you."

"You don't know what hate is, you little cocksucker," Risa told him.

Without warning, Deedee backhanded Risa across the mouth. "I've heard enough of that kind of talk in my house." Deedee glared at her niece. The action stunned the girl more than it hurt her, even though her eyes teared up from the sting of it.

Risa looked over at Lilly, then up at Olivia. "I'm handcuffed. I'm a child. Is she allowed to do that?"

Lilly looked at Olivia then back at Risa. "Do what? None of us saw a thing."

Olivia almost had Ronnie out of the room when he turned around and thrust his middle finger at his sister. Olivia grabbed the offending hand and looked down at him. "I said that's enough. That means you, too."

In the safety of another room, Ronnie told Olivia everything, crying almost inconsolably when recalling how he and Risa heard their parents arguing. They were both standing in the next room when their mom confessed what their grandfather had done. Olivia asked him if he understood about rape. He said he was pretty sure it meant a man making a woman have sex with her when she didn't want to. And he knew that babies came from sex but he also thought babies were made out of love and not hate and that was one of the things that had him confused. His mom had screamed at his dad that she hated his grandpa for what he did to her but he and Risa came from that, did that mean she hated them, too?

No, Olivia explained, holding the boy as they talked. His biological father – his grandfather – was also Olivia's father, she continued, and Olivia's mom hated what happened to her, too. But she didn't hate Olivia and Olivia was positive Ronnie's mom didn't hate him, either. "Your grandpa did a very bad thing. But at least two good things came out of it. You and your sister."

"You must mean me and you because you can't think that monster in there is a good person," Ronnie told her.

"Tell me about last night," Olivia prodded again, delicately.

Ronnie took a deep breath and as the story began to unfold, he started crying again. He described how after the major yelling was over with that he saw his father hug his mother for a very long time. They were both crying and they were both telling each other they were sorry. His dad asked his mom not to drink anymore, that everything would be okay, that they would work it out. His mom then asked his dad if he would run back out to the store because they were out of milk and there would be none for cereal in the morning. His dad hugged his mom again for a really long time and then left to go to the store. That's when Risa came out of his and Ricky's bedroom with his aluminum baseball bat. As he described how his sister mercilessly beat his mom with his bat, his sobbing became hysterical. Olivia held him tightly, tears clouding her own eyes and calmed him down.

Once he caught his breath, he went on. He needed to get all this out of him. "When Dad got back, he saw what Risa had done and called 911. He told us both not to say a word, to tell the police that he did it. I didn't want to, Olivia, I wanted my sister to get caught and punished for what she did but I wanted to make my dad proud of me, so I swore to him I would say what he wanted me to. But I didn't know he might spend a lot of time in jail. I love Aunt Deedee and Uncle Kris but Dylan's a butthead and I want to live with my own parents."

"Of course you do, sweetie," she kissed his forehead and smoothed his light brown hair.

"Is my Mom going to be okay?"

"Let's hope so. She was hurt pretty bad. It will take her a long time to feel better."

"I hate my sister."

"What else has Risa done to make you hate her?"

"Lots of stuff. She's always doing things that make Mom and Dad mad. They're always getting her out of trouble. And I know something even Mom and Dad don't know that she did."

"What's that, honey?"

"She made Dylan touch her."

Olivia's face turned to stone. "What do you mean?" She knew exactly what that meant and at Risa's age, it most likely indicated that she had been 'touched' by someone else first.

"We were over at Uncle Kris' one night while Mom and Dad went to the movies. Brandon was out at basketball practice, and Ricky and Robin were over at another cousin's place on my mom's side. Aunt Deedee, Uncle Kris and I were upstairs in the living room watching TV and Risa and Dylan were supposedly down in the rec room playing video games. When the tv show was over, I went downstairs and couldn't find them. I thought they were hiding on me. So I called to them and they didn't answer. So I started opening closet doors and I opened one real slowly and quietly and they were in the closet, standing up just in their underpants. They didn't hear me and I saw them. She was holding onto Dylan's…you know…through his briefs and his hand was inside her underpants and he was rubbing her. It was pretty disgusting."

Olivia now tried to control her rage and sound as unruffled as possible for Ronnie's benefit. "What did they do when they saw you?"

"Dylan knocked her hand away and stopped touching her and almost started to cry. I've never seen Dylan cry. He was really mad and upset and he said to her, 'I told you we'd get caught, I told you not to make me do that.' Then he put his hands over his…" Ronnie's hand dropped to his fly area and gestured that his cousin had had an erection. "…you know…and ran out of the closet."

"What did Risa do?"

"She started hitting me and punching me and told me, as usual, I spoiled everything and if I ever told, she'd make me do that to her, too."

"Honey," Olivia faced the boy squarely and looked directly into his huge brown eyes, "I am going to ask you a question and I want you to think about it really hard."


"Did Risa ever tell you how she learned to do what she was doing with Dylan in the closet?"

"No, uh uh," he shook his head. "But Dylan talked about it one time. He said Risa was nuts because she was always trying to get him to do stuff like that with her. He told me that she told him that it was okay because grandpa used to touch her like that and it felt good. But they had to keep it a secret because other people wouldn't understand. We didn't believe her though. I mean, isn't that sick?"

"Ronnie…your sister does things she can't control." Olivia hugged the boy to her again. "We're going to see if we can get her help."

"Will she go to jail?" he asked, breaking the hug but hanging onto Olivia, looking up at her.

"I don't know what will happen to Risa. But I do have a feeling she won't be picking on you for a very long time."

"Does this mean you're my sister now, too, and not my aunt?"

"Yeah, sweetie," she smiled down at him, "I think it does."

There was a knock on the door and Lilly stuck her head in. "The police are here and they would like your statement."

"Are they taking her away?" Ronnie asked.

"She's already gone, sweetheart," Lilly smiled at him. "Are you up to giving the police your statement, too?"

He looked up at Olivia. "Can you be there with me?"

"No, hon, I think they'll want your Aunt Deedee there, instead."

"But what do I tell them?"

"Just tell them everything that you told me."

"In front of Aunt Deedee? Even about the touching thing?"

"Um, I wouldn't go into the touching thing unless they ask. I'll talk that part over with your Dad, okay?"

"He'll be mad at me for telling," Ronnie's voice was almost a whine.

"No, I think he'll be very proud of you. I think he told you what he did last night because he was scared and he was trying to protect you and your sister." Olivia gave the boy a final hug and sent him out of the room into the waiting arms of his Aunt Deedee.

"What's 'the touching thing'?" Lilly asked, dreading the answer.

"Just a recurring pattern of abuse." Olivia squeezed her eyes shut. "What a fucking, piece of shit bastard that man was."

"Don't tell me he sexually abused Risa…"

"According to what Dylan told Ronnie, and Risa in turn sexually molested Dylan and made him reciprocate."

"Un-fucking-believable," Lilly breathed out. She looked over at Olivia. "You okay?"

"No. But let's get this over with and I will be much better when you take me home."

Nodding, Lilly half-smiled. "Whose home?"

She reached over and pulled the blonde into a hug. "Your home. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long night. I don't want to go back to New York tonight. I'll call Cragen, explain what's going on and we'll head back tomorrow…sometime."

"Deal." The blonde released Olivia, who gave her a quick kiss on the cheek before she left the bedroom.

After Olivia finished giving her statement and the police left, Kris came home to face everything that had happened there while he had been waiting to see his brother at the jail. Both detectives sat down with Kris and Deedee and told them everything Ronnie had told them. Including 'the touching thing.' Olivia advised them to get counseling for everyone in the family but to pay special attention to Dylan. What Risa provoked Dylan to participate in wasn't his fault and he was going to need to understand that. Just because the teenager's body involuntarily responded with an erection did not mean he wanted or enjoyed the sexual act. And just because it may have 'felt good,' as Risa put it, didn't mean that Dylan should be riddled with guilt. She assured them that the sooner they sought professional help to deal with these issues, the faster the family would hopefully heal.

Before they returned to Lilly's, Scotty called her and told her that Rik refused to recant his confession. The women made a side trip back to the correctional facility. When Rik saw them, he broke down because he knew they knew the truth. Olivia told her brother the same thing she basically told Deedee and Kris. His family needed guidance. Protecting Risa would not keep the family together it would only tear it farther apart. Risa needed psychiatric help, sessions much more complicated than she could get with family counseling like the other kids. Olivia told Rik that Risa had serious, deep-seeded issues that may never be resolved. But protecting her would only make her worse, not better. How could Reta ever feel safe to return to a home with Risa in it? Especially if nothing was done to adjust or correct her behavior? That's if Reta ever came home at all. Olivia pounded into Rick that he owed it to the rest of his children to recant his story and go home, with them, where he belonged. So much damage had all ready been done, all this would do is more damage. As Rik continued to cry, Olivia pleaded with him to do the right thing. By the time she and Lilly left the facility, Rik had still not admitted he had not beaten his wife.

Olivia was exhausted by the time they reached Lilly's apartment and the blonde wasn't too far behind her. It had been an emotionally gut-wrenching day for everyone. As Olivia lay in the warmth of Lilly's arms before they drifted off to sleep, she mentioned that she didn't know if she could stay in touch with her "family." Olivia had enough turmoil to deal with on her own and this added to her usual daily stress seemed as though it just might be too much.

Lilly agreed that it was a lot to deal with but suggested that Olivia sleep on it. Everything was far too fresh in her mind to make a decision such as that. The brunette snuggled tight into the blonde, agreed that she was probably right, kissed her goodnight and fell almost immediately asleep. Lilly couldn't help but wonder if Olivia categorized her as part of the 'turmoil' she had to deal with.

She didn't think so. She honestly felt that Olivia found a certain refuge in Lilly, a place to feel safe and actually be herself. At least that what she hoped Olivia felt.

That would be something to sleep on, too.

The End

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