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By seventhave


SVU Squad room
November 16, 2006

You told me once that I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. I guess it's a curse. I never really felt it until you came back, permanently. The moment I saw you again, when I knew there wasn't going to be a goodbye or another loss for either of us now, your eyes were bright. You captured the pain I'd felt the last three years, as if it was your own. I can only assume it you feel it too.

You walk into the 1-6 like a breath of wind, the entirety of the city at your back. For a second, you seem only a familiar stranger, your eyes hidden, your hair different. I wonder now if that's your natural color and if, all these years, you've been lightening it to the blonde I knew before.

Elliot manages to say your name first. It comes out as barely more than a whisper, almost choked. Munch looks over and stands, smiles. There are few people Munch actually loves. He loves you. Respects you. We all do.

You lower your sunglasses and shrug your shoulders, much like you used to do after we'd come in from a snowstorm where you'd forget your umbrella. Like snowflakes, the weight of a Manhattan autumn day slips unnoticed from you, like you've always been, like no time has passed since we discovered Livia Sandoval and today.

I envy the way you can seemingly drop your weight and I will always carry mine.

I put down the file I'm holding and push myself into a standing position. Fin's hugging you, then Cragen, from his office. How he is standing before you before I even get out of my chair, I'll never know.

He kisses your cheek and holds the back of your neck as he embraces you. I think he's always resented the fact that Elliot and I knew the truth.

Now it's my turn. I can feel my eyebrows furrow, involuntarily. I can see you, I can smell your shampoo and your soap and your perfume as I approach you, I can hear your throaty laugh, and now I am touching you, but my heart still questions if it is really you. I think that will always be the case. You've been here before, but that visit had only tortured and teased, despite whatever "justice" it may have brought. As easily as you had come, you had gone again. And that time, without saying goodbye.

I run my fingers along the last place I had touched you and I can feel your scar. You flinch, just slightly. The pain in your eyes is back for a second, until I flatten my hand against you. I think it's comforting; I hope it is. This is how I tried to save you, remember?

You hold me to you and I feel you kiss the edge of my jaw. You whisper, "I'm staying now."

And I feel that weight relax just a little bit.

The End

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