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Detective John Munch watched as Olivia Benson turned away from the Doctor and walked back toward him. Her expression was blank, unreadable, but no more than it usually was. She sauntered toward him and her brown eyes flickered at him and in that split second He knew what they had all been dreading. "Olivia." There was an apology on his tongue, but it died when her eyes went blank as soon as his tone changed.
"I should be the one to pick her up." Olivia turned toward the door.
"They already got her." Munch tried to stop her.
"There'll be paperwork then." She said as she walked toward the car. Munch took out his phone and dialed the precinct. "Captain, it's me, he didn't make it. Benson's on her way there now." He snapped his phone closed as he whirled around and made his way to his own car
Olivia sauntered into the precinct to find Captain Cragen sitting at her desk. "Where is she?" Olivia asked.
"They're processing her. You should go home."
"I have a lot to catch up on Cap. I should be here." She was begging him to let her stay.
"I'm sorry Detective Benson I didn't mean to make that sound like a choice."
"Get out of here, Liv." She winced at the nickname and his tone, but made no effort to turn from her desk. "I'll send John over after he's finished with the family."
Olivia swallowed. "I'll do it." She whispered. "I should be the one to do it." She said quietly as she averted her gaze. Captain Cragen nodded his head silently afraid to argue with her and watched as she turned back in the direction that she came from.
Kathy Stabler sighed as she checked on her youngest son. He was finally asleep. She was going to kill Elliot when she saw him. He had promised a thousand times that he would be at the house by eight. She pushed a breath out again as she walked down the stairs and heard knocking on the door. She shook her head. "Only three hours late." She muttered to herself as she flung the door open. But instead of finding her soon to be ex-husband looking back at her Olivia Benson's brown eyes told her much of what she needed to know. She swallowed and opened the door wider to let the taller woman in and led her to the kitchen.
Olivia didn't talk for a few moments as she tried to collect her thoughts. She thought it odd that only an hour ago she had thought that it should be her sitting here talking to Kathy and now she felt out of place. Awkward like she was messing up the kitchen simply by sitting there at the table. "Elliot was supposed to pick up Dickie tonight. He knew that. He was going to be on time believe it or not." There was sadness in her voice that made Kathy sit before she even knew what she was doing. Kathy watched the other woman's mouth curve into a smile, but her eyes stayed blank and fixed on an invisible spot on the kitchen table.
"What happened?" Kathy asked when Olivia's pause went on too long.
"We were on our way out of the precinct. He had a smile. It was the first one that I had seen all day. He was going to be early." Olivia repeated.
"Olivia, what happened?" Kathy asked again, but she doubted that Olivia heard her. She was stuck in the events that had caused her partner to be late.
"Olivia, should I go to the hospital? What happened?" Olivia didn't answer and Kathy tried to get her attention again. "Olivia?" She was getting worried. "Olivia." She said more forcefully and grabbed the other woman's hand to get her attention. She was about to say her name again when Olivia finally answered, cutting the blonde off in the process. "He's dead."
And then Kathy couldn't breathe. Couldn't move. She never felt the tears start, couldn't hear her own sobs as Olivia moved around the table to comfort her
Captain Cragen looked through the window of his office over at the only female detective on his squad and sighed as she stared over at the empty chair that sat across from her. He could feel her carefulness as she looked, not letting her gaze linger too long over the empty spot. He shouldn't even be letting her work he knew it, but when she had come in two weeks ago after the morning of the shooting, in the same clothes that she had left in the night before, her eyes red and pleading with him to not make her face her empty apartment alone, he had given in. He had wanted to grab the bottle himself, he couldn't imagine how it must be for her. And so he had given in to her and let her return to work, on the condition that she stay at the desk until she saw Huang and he signed off for her to return to active duty.
He had been over to speak to Kathy, to let her know what was going on with the case and to make sure that she had someone helping her with the funeral arrangements and to check if she needed anything for herself or the kids. She had promised to call him if they needed anything and he had promised to do his best to speed things up with the processes involving Elliot's body. He was still watching the detective when out of the corner of his eye he saw HER. He froze for a moment before he could turn and reach for the door handle. He walked over to Finn's desk and whispered. "Get her out of here." His eyes pointed to Sherry Moyer, and Fin hopped to his feet as fast as he could to usher her into a different room.
"No wait please " She begged the detective as he tried to usher her out of the room. "I just wanted to say "
"What are you doing here?" Olivia was out of her seat and over to the commotion before anybody could stop her and the room froze as everyone's eyes were drawn to the tall dark haired detective. "You shouldn't be here." She said seriously.
"I just wanted to come and tell you that it was a mistake. I know that now I'm sorry." Tears were forming in the other woman's eyes as she spoke to Olivia and there was genuine regret in her voice.
"Sorry?" Olivia asked as if she had no idea what she was talking about. "You shouldn't be here, you're going to need to leave." The entire precinct let out a sigh of relief as she turned back toward her desk.
"I just need you to know how sorry I am that it happened the way it did. I didn't know what I was doing. She was my daughter, what was I supposed to do?"
"Ma'am, you have got go." Finn reached out to grab her gently by the arm and lead her in the direction of the door.
"Please Detective Benson." The woman shouted "I need to tell you how sorry I am. I know how much you and your partner put into the case. I'm s-," but in the next moment the room froze and the apology that had been present on the woman's lips died as she found herself staring down the end of Olivia's gun.
"I believe that you were asked to leave." Olivia said calmly as she held the gun steadily at the other woman. "Please do not make me ask again."
Finn swallowed and loosened his grip on Mrs. Moyer's arm and tried to slowly position himself between the two women. "Detective Benson." He started with a quiet warning in his voice, but Olivia couldn't hear anything except the hatred ringing in her ears as she locked eyes with Sherry Moyer. She couldn't see everyone around her creeping into position or her co workers slowly pulling their own weapons, there was nothing around her and nothing inside of her except the feel of her finger squeezing dangerously on the trigger of her gun as she looked at her partner's killer. "Detective Benson." Olivia blinked and unflexed her finger letting her arm waver as Finn finally succeeded in stepping in front of her. Olivia swallowed as the room came back to her and dropped her arm, unable to look at anyone in the room as she heard them re-holster their weapons and watched Finn walk the woman toward the door.
Olivia looked down at the gun in her hand and walked slowly back to her desk where she pulled the clip and unloaded the chamber of her gun and laid it on her desk. She looked at it a moment wondering if she would have shot the woman if Finn hadn't stepped in and then slowly reached up and pulled her shield from the hip of her pants and laid it next to her gun. Olivia did not look back and did not listen to the calls of the captain as she walked out of the precinct
Kathy Stabler walked slowly up the stairs of Olivia's apartment building, still trying to decide why she was there. She had tried to call her husband's partner a few times without any luck and had asked after her at the funeral, which had been that morning. John had told her what happened with Sherry Moyer and filled her in on the fact that Cragen had given her a mandatory and indefinite leave of absence, and that none of them had heard from her since. Each of them had gone over to check on her only to be left pounding at the door for ages before they gave up. Kathy took a deep breath as she raised her fist and knocked loudly at the door.
Olivia listened to the knocking on her door from the couch, but made no effort to answer it. There was no change a moment later when the knocking got louder, and finally when it turned into banging and she heard one of her neighbors shout at the knocker, all she did was reach for the bottle that sat on her coffee table specifically for moments like this so that she could drown out the noise and pass out again.
Kathy looked at Olivia's door with the same amount of nervousness that had gripped her an hour and a half ago when she had been there, only this time she held a key in her fist as she faced the door. She squeezed the metal tightly as she tried to decide whether or not to use Elliot's key. She nodded to herself as she slid the key into the lock and turned it hoping that Olivia didn't have a dead bolt.
A moment later Kathy stepped into the small apartment and looked around. Curtains and blankets had been slung over all of the windows and the room was dark. Kathy moved slowly as her eyes adjusted to the change in light. A few clothes had been strewn around the floor and she saw an empty vodka bottle on the kitchen table that caused her to worry a little as she moved further into the apartment. And finally her eyes fell on Olivia Benson curled into a ball on the corner of her couch. Another half empty bottle on the coffee table next to her along with a bottle of Tylenol PM. No wonder she hadn't answered the door Kathy thought as she watched Olivia sleep.
It took Kathy the next hour to find and dump every bottle of alcohol she could find in the tiny apartment and confiscate the Tylenol PM. She did the dishes, got rid of the bottles and pulled the blankets from all of the windows, checking on Olivia from time to time as she waited for her to wake up. It finally happened three hours later, just as Kathy had finished speaking to Maureen filling her in on the situation and telling her that it would still be a few more hours until she would be home. Maureen had just finished assuring her mother that everything would be fine until tomorrow when she heard Olivia stir on the couch.
Olivia opened her eyes and winced at the fading light of the sun filtering in through the window as it set for the day. She sat up, felt her head spin and gripped it in pain when she felt her headache. She reached for the coffee table and looked up into the eyes of Kathy Stabler when her hand could not find what it was looking for. "It takes the edge off the pain." She said not realizing that Kathy shouldn't have even been there.
"You're going to kill yourself." Kathy said as she watched Olivia stagger to her feet and head toward the kitchen.
"Not on purpose." Olivia mumbled and reached toward one of the cupboards. "What the hell did you do?" She asked when she opened her freezer and came up empty again, wincing at the throbbing in her head as she yelled at Kathy.
"I did you a favor. Here." Kathy held out two aspirin and a bottle of water.
"Kathy, that is not going to help." She gestured toward the aspirin.
"Probably not, but neither is you sitting here feeling sorry for yourself over drinks." Olivia glared at her before taking the bottle of water that she held out and drinking from it. Olivia made her way to the bathroom and five minutes later when she didn't reappear Kathy followed her and found her lying on the floor.
"The tile helps." Olivia mumbled from the floor.
"How did you get in here?" Olivia suddenly asked from the floor. Kathy chose to ignore the question as she maneuvered herself into the room around Olivia and turned on the shower.
"A shower will make you feel better." She said with a smile on her face, suddenly amused by the way Olivia was trying to sprawl her long figure over the small tile floor of the bathroom.
"I don't feel like a shower." Olivia mumbled, but Kathy was not going to let the other woman stay in the apartment and soak in her grief anymore.
"Yeah well you're getting one." Kathy mumbled back as she leaned over and began to pick her husband's partner up from the floor.
Liv felt her head spin as Kathy picked her up and tried to drop back to the floor, but the blonde was stronger than Olivia gave her credit for and prevented her from doing so. Olivia was vaguely aware of her clothes being removed and had she not been close to what must have been alcohol poisoning she probably would have felt the intrusion, but since she had not been sober since she left work two weeks ago she could barely protest as she felt herself being guided into the tub.
Kathy Stabler struggled to keep her face straight and her eyes turned as she undressed the taller woman and set her back on the floor for a moment. Olivia was beautiful, she had always thought so. She remembered the first time that she had seen her. She had no idea what she had been expecting, but she had not expected her husband to have such a beautiful partner. It had always made her jealous and now she really understood why, because as beautiful as Olivia was when she was dressed when she was naked there was not a word to describe her body. Again Kathy tried to keep her eyes from wandering over the other woman as she reached through the shower curtain to test the water and then she turned back to the other woman and lifted her off the floor despite the groans of protest the only thing that she didn't take into account was how she was going to get her into the shower. The only way that she could think of was to get in herself and then pull Liv over the side with her, so she stepped into the bathtub and pulled Olivia Benson in with her.
Olivia felt the water running over her shoulders a moment later and wondered when the last time she had taken a shower was. But her head was still dizzy and she leaned back into whoever was holding her up. Olivia let Kathy clean her up taking comfort in the softness that held her up and she was slightly less dazed when the blonde took her out of the shower and led her to the bedroom so that she could get dressed. As soon as Kathy dropped Olivia onto her bed she curled into a ball and closed her eyes. Kathy shook her head, pulled a blanket over her and began peeling off what was left of her dress
Olivia had been watching Sherry Moyer steadily for the last thirty minutes, trying to decide what she was going to say to the jury when she was cross examined. She shouldn't even be on the stand considering what had happened at the precinct, but the fact was that she and Munch had been the only people to see what had happened and even though Casey had been somewhat reluctant to put her on the stand she had told Olivia to make it work through clenched teeth, angry that the detective had jeopardized her case. She had been watching the blonde woman and part of her understood that her daughter was gone and that she would have done the same thing and the other part of her only understood that Elliot was dead. She was so lost in thought that she didn't hear Casey call her name and when the lawyer called her again her tone was a little bit sharper than it had been. Olivia couldn't feel her legs as she walked forward to the witness stand marveling at how different it felt to be sitting here even though she had been in the seat a thousand times before.
"You were present the day that Elliot Stabler died?" Olivia winced at the question, but it was barely noticeable as her mouth automatically spoke for her. "And can you tell us what happened in your own words."
Olivia paused and stopped to collect her thoughts one more time noting Casey's impatience as she did. "We were coming out of the courthouse escorting the prisoner to a squad car that was taking him to Riker's."
"And who was present?" Casey asked knowing that Olivia would need prompting because of the situation.
"It was myself, Detective Stabler and Detective Munch, along with the prisoner and a uniformed officer that was driving, but he was already in the squad car." Olivia answered and looked at Casey and then continued.
"We were walking down the steps to squad car and then there were shots fired. Two. Me and John and Elliot all hit the ground, Elliot dragged the prisoner down with him." Olivia paused and took a deep breath. "When I looked up Sherry Moyer was standing above us telling us to get out of her way. Elliot started to try and talk her down, make her give him the gun and stayed between her and the prisoner. We had all slowly made out way back to standing with Terrence still on the ground when she looked at Elliot and whispered that she was sorry and then " Olivia's voice trailed off as she tried to swallow the words that she knew she would have to speak. "She shot him. Like it was nothing. And then she shot Terrence as well and then she ran away."
"And you didn't go after her? She was dangerous do you agree?" Casey swallowed as she watched Olivia struggle with the questions. She knew that the older woman was hurting and she hated that she was causing the other woman more pain, but the more takes she got on the story the better it would be for the case.
Olivia looked at Casey. "Elliot was fading fast. Her bullet hit him in the chest and her first one had hit him in the shoulder. He was losing a lot of blood. John and I were trying to keep him with us and the squad car driver was radioing for an ambulance."
Casey could here the defensiveness in Olivia's voice and took a deep breath "But she was dangerous?" Olivia answered and Casey continued. "Can you repeat for the jury what she said just before she shot your partner in cold blood?"
"As if she knew that what she was doing was wrong?"
Olivia paused and looked toward the jury before answering. "She just wanted him out of the way." Olivia looked at Casey. "She aimed a gun at my partner and she shot him and when he didn't go down she shot him again," Olivia's voice had hardened and Casey knew that the detective was carefully losing whatever strength that had even allowed her to take the stand. "She wasn't sorry. The first bullet hit him in the shoulder, if she was sorry she would have stopped as soon as she saw the blood and Elliot Stabler would still be alive." Casey and the jury were captivated by the ferocity in the detective's voice and eyes found the object of their hatred and stared at her coldly as she continued talking. "But she shot him without regret and without hesitation-"
In a blur the courtroom was set abuzz as Olivia was unable to stop herself even as Casey was trying to get her to stop and Trevor Langan was yelling objections from the other side of the courtroom. The judge was ordering the court officer to remove her from the stand and finally Olivia looked out over the courtroom and noticed that everyone was staring at her. She caught sight of Kathy and Maureen Stabler, both with tears in their eyes as they listened to how their husband and father had his life taken from him. Casey had a furious look on her face along with the judge and Sherry Moyer's defense attorney. Sherry Moyer could not meet the fierce brown eyes that were burning into her and Olivia wished she would have shot her the day the she had walked into the squad room. And with that thought Olivia silenced herself and had the decency to look apologetic as she turned toward Casey and answered her question. "She knew that she was wrong .it's why she ran. I'm sorry." She added as she stood up and moved to get off the stand, following the court officer out of the room thankful that he spared the cuffs as he led her away
Kathy paused before she moved to open the door to Olivia's apartment. She had no idea what she was going to say to the woman. She had witnessed what had happened in the courtroom that day and had made her way to see her husband's partner only to find out that she had already been released. She had heard the anger and the bitterness in the woman's voice in the courtroom that day as she had watched Olivia relive the moments leading to her husband's death. Everyone else had probably only seen anger, but she had seen Olivia angry before and what she had seen in the courtroom that day went way beyond anger. She had watched the emotion spill over her normally blank face and had watched as she realized what she was doing and wondered what Olivia had been about to say when she had looked around the courtroom and the thought had died on her lips. Kathy took a deep breath and raised her fist to knock loudly on the door, hoping that she would not find what she had found the other day when she had entered the apartment. A moment later, when she heard nothing coming from the other side of the door, Kathy turned her key in the lock and let herself into the apartment. Given to the hour the apartment was dimly lit, but to her relief Olivia was not passed out, but sitting on her couch staring silently at the bottle of clear liquid that stared back at her from the coffee table. "I guess I should look into changing my locks." She said in greeting and Kathy looked over at her from the spot in front of the door and for whatever reason felt relieved and proud that Olivia had not given into the temptation that sat before her.
Olivia had been sitting in her apartment since she had left lockup that day staring at the bottle in front of her trying to decide what was stopping her from taking her first drink. Elliot's voice had sounded in her head telling her that she should be back at work, and then the voice of the Captain telling her, begging her not to turn to the bottle, and of course he had been followed by the rest of the squad. But she had been surprised to find that the loudest one of all, the winner of all of the imaginary voices was that of Kathy Stabler. Olivia could hear her voice the loudest telling her that Elliot loved her and that he would not have wanted this for her. Now, that voice was standing in front of her and Olivia could finally take her eyes away from the weakness that sat on her coffee table and look toward the woman who was standing in her doorway. Olivia saw her blue eyes flicker in the dying sunlight and she recognized the relief and concern that flashed through them as she looked back at her uncertainly. And then for no reason she could understand at that moment she was angry. Olivia pulled herself off of the couch and stalked over to where the blonde stood and looked her in the eyes her own brown orbs flashing in anger. "Why are you here?" She asked harshly unable to keep the anger out of her voice, though she knew she had no reason to be angry at the woman that stood before her.
Olivia knew that she was not angry with Kathy, she was only angry at the fact that the other woman refused to let her sink into her own misery. Olivia was used to dealing with things in a specific way. Her job hurt her everyday, but she had grown accustomed to dealing with it, mostly by being able to hunt down the person responsible for any horrors that she was forced to witness. By throwing herself into her work she was able to mostly fool herself into thinking that she was helping and that one day she would catch them all. As Dr. Huang told her once it was a coping mechanism, if she never gave herself enough time to be affected by the atrocities, she never had to fully feel the damage that they were working on her soul. But she, and everybody else for that matter, knew that the emotions were there and that Olivia chose to ignore them. She chose to shut out the world around her and deal with her feelings in her own way. In her younger years it had meant a bottle which had made it easy for her to toughen up over the years and push everyone away. When she had joined the police force she had left that behind her and moved on to throwing herself into her work, this had become even easier when she had made detective and started at SVU. And then she had met Elliot and everything had changed, she let him get close, too close, and now that he was gone the pain had been too much for Olivia to handle. There was nothing that she could do now that would stop her from feeling the pain of losing him. Elliot had been everything. He had been the only person that she let care about her and when she looked into the eyes of his killer the careful wall that she had spent the last half of her life building around her emotions had come apart and there had been no stopping the pain that consumed her.
Olivia had left the precinct that day after holding her gun on Sherry Moyer and was barely able to make it to her car before the tears began streaming down her cheeks. She was so angry that she was shaking and soon her anger and her tears had turned to gut wrenching sobs and Olivia was surprised to finally understand what it meant to have your heart broken and in that moment it was too much for her and when she could finally take a breath she started her car and headed toward the first liquor store that she could find. There she had bought as many bottles as she had cash and went home to numb her pain, and that's where Kathy had found her more than a week later.
This afternoon had been the same as she sat in her car going over her testimony, reliving his death wondering why she hadn't drew her weapon that day, or why she hadn't gone for Mrs. Moyer's weapon, or why she had been frozen after the first shot hit Elliot's shoulder. She hadn't bought another bottle until today, thanks to Kathy and the rest of her squad, but that afternoon when she was sitting in her car her heart went numb in her chest and she had put her car in gear and driven the familiar path to the store and then her house. She had no concept of time or anything around her as she trained her eyes on the relief that waited for her if only she could take a drink, the only thing that could form in her mind was her debate on whether it was worse to feel as if she was going to die of heartbreak or feeling nothing at all. Over the last few hours the numbness had settled over her like a blanket and then Kathy had shown up and now here they stood face to face and Olivia could see the hurt flash in the blue eyes before her own and then she could not stop herself. Olivia leaned forward and pulled the other woman toward her and pressed her mouth against Kathy's. She felt the other woman's surprise for an instant, but she only responded by pushing her up against the door and deepening the kiss. And in another instant Kathy relented and the two women were kissing feverishly, Olivia's need to feel alive fueling them as she swung their bodies around and steered then toward her small bedroom in the back of the apartment
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