Credit & Comment @ http://carlyisnot.livejournal.com/10410.html
Author: Carly Carter
Fandom: Law and Order: SVU
Pairing: Alex and Olivia
Rating: PG for now
Disclaimer: Don't own anything
Summary: You couldn't stand back and let her make the biggest mistake of her life, and somehow that ended up as the biggest mistake of yours.
This is war.
You’re fighting for survival.
Every breath feels like it might be your last.
This is it, the end, hear me, Olivia?
You never realised before, not truly,
How one act,
Could change your life forever.
Was it worth it Olivia?
Words are a weapon.
More deadly, more dangerous, that the gun you carry with you each day.
You’d never be so reckless with your gun.
Never wave it around carelessly, pulling the trigger, blindly aiming.
It wasn’t a game, wasn’t a toy.
You knew this.
Why hadn’t you taken more care with your words?
Why hadn’t you realised the wounds you were inflicting?
Why, when you knew only too well how deeply her words could pierce you?
Every poisoned word shows that you never understood, Olivia. Not one thing.
Why had you never realised that so few words could mean so much?
Mean the world to you. Mean everything. And even fewer words could bring that same world crashing down around you.
You wanted your words back.
Wanted her to take hers back.
But once the shots have been fired there is nothing left.
Nothing left to do but clean up the blood.
Hoping, praying, that the bullet wounds weren’t fatal.
How could you, Olivia?
You’d never realised how easy it is to lose sight of everything, of yourself.
Or how one person could make the world stop turning.
How one act could lead to the total destruction of everything you cherish.
You made your choice. Live with it Olivia.
But you can’t live with it.
You’ve never really believed in paths with no way back.
Never believed you’d find yourself walking one.
But here you are.
There is no going back for us, Olivia. Ever.
You never understood how anyone could love another human being so much.
You’d do anything, Sacrifice anything.
Your own principles, beliefs, integrity.
Your own safety, life, comfort,
You risked it all.
And still come away from this looking like you’re the bad guy?
How did that happen?
Everybody loves a hero, don’t they Olivia?
In spite of all your sacrifices,
In spite of the battles you fought by her side,
The battles you fought on her behalf,
You couldn’t do the one thing she demanded.
The one thing her allegiance seemed conditional to.
It’s the only thing I’ve ever asked you for, Olivia.
You couldn’t stand back and watch her destroy herself.
Destroy everything she believed in.
Everything she worked for,
Everything that she treasured.
You couldn’t watch her make the biggest mistake of her life.
And, somehow, that ended up as the biggest mistake of yours.
You still don’t get it, Olivia, You never did.
That’s why you did it.
And her accusation infuriated you.
Snapped you out of any last shred of pity you felt for her.
Fuelled the battle flames.
You lost your temper.
Said things you didn’t mean and can’t retract.
Now I know how you really feel, Olivia.
You would have done it anyway,
Every last thing.
You know in your heart you would have done it without their encouragement.
But it doesn’t stop you blaming the others.
Resenting them for forcing your hand.
For begging you, manipulating you, blackmailing you.
You’re the only one who can get through to her Olivia, she’ll listen to you Olivia, we’ve all tried, You’re her last chance. Remember what will happen if you don’t do this Olivia. Is that what you want?
Got what they wanted.
You gave in.
And it cost them nothing to realise it cost you everything.
Did they realise?
I did what I had to do. What’s so wrong with that Olivia?
How could she be so self obsessed?
It’s not hurting anyone but me, It’s my problem Olivia, butt out.
You didn’t know how to tell her that she was so fucking wrong.
Not hurting anyone?
It was killing you.
Did she know that?
Did she care?
She asked you to butt out.
You asked her forgiveness,
She couldn’t give it.
Where did that leave you?
Are you really sorry, Olivia?
Tears in your eyes you refused to answer her.
Sorry you did it? Sorry you were caught?
‘Sorry it hurt you’, you had replied honestly.
Not willing to look her in the eyes and lie to her.
You went sorry for the outcome.
Weren’t sorry for your well intentioned motives.
Why should you be?
You’d do it again, Olivia, in a heartbeat. How sorry can you be?
You’re not forgiven.
It’s not forgotten.
You’d never realised how someone else’s resentment could lead you to hate yourself so deeply.
Even knowing you’d done nothing wrong.
Was that guilt?
Guilt eating you from the inside out?
And worse than her hatred, anger, resentment was that blank stare.
As if you’re nothing.
I don’t have time for this, Olivia.
You never understood how easy it was for two people who love each other to pieces to end up hating one another.
I don’t blame you, I don’t hate you. But I don’t trust you anymore.
She doesn’t hate you.
You just don’t matter to me anymore, Olivia.
But you’re afraid you hate her.
Hate her for leaving you behind for dust.
She smiles falsely when she sees you
Speaks to you politely when the job demands it.
But she doesn’t respect you anymore.
You don’t respect yourself either.
Why is it that you’re unable to pass her by without feeling sick to the stomach?
You’re both still standing.
The war isn’t over.
I’m tired of playing these games.
She’s not playing anymore.
You’re wounded, weary, broken.
You shake off the battle dust.
This isn’t a war anymore.
It’s just you.
3 Weeks Ago
The others had believed her at first. And you couldn’t say you blamed them. She was convincing. Frighteningly so. She had a way with words. A way to make people believe she was right, even when she knew herself in her heart she was not. It’s what made her so damn good at her job. It’s what made her so difficult to trust. It’s what made it impossible to win an argument with her.
Her words ripped right through your own heart when you first heard them.
‘I love him’ said with conviction, passion, certainty. She said it simply, once. She said it as she looked each and every one of you straight in the eye. Without hesitation. Without reservation. Without so much as blinking.
Of course the world believed her.
Not you though. Not when you stopped to remember that she had said those exact words to you. Only weeks ago. ‘I love you Olivia.”
You remember the way she couldn’t quite meet your eye at first, the way she was almost shy, so unlike the confident strong woman you knew her to be. You remember looking into her eyes seeing tears.
‘What’s wrong?’ You had asked.
She shook her head. ‘Nothing. Nothing at all, I just love you so much.’
Of course it occurred to you that she was just a fickle person. Maybe she said ‘I love you’ to everyone. Next week there would be someone else. Maybe she never meant it. Maybe she was just a damn good actress. Maybe she meant it in that one moment, only to have it fade into insignificance weeks later?
It was just that you’d never heard her say it before. About anyone. Ever. Until she said it to you. And only weeks later, to him.
Maybe it just meant more to you than it did to her? Maybe you were the foolish one. Giving yourself so completely? You gave consideration to these thoughts. Of course that was it. You doubted your own worth, how could she love you over him? It made sense she had found someone better than you. Something less complicated. Something straight. Someone who gave her more than you did, obviously. Someone who was worth it. Someone who knew how to love her and cherish her as you wish you knew how to do. Because you wanted to be everything she needed. If you only could, if you only knew how.
It wasn’t so hard to believe she’d found someone better than you. But it still hurt. And you felt somehow ashamed. Ashamed that you let her in so deep, that she could hurt you so completely, when she seemed to be standing so untouched. Did you ever mean anything to her? Does she even remember you? Was it all inside your head?
You needed something from her. You could make peace with the fact you lost her. Barely. But you needed some kind of goodbye. Some kind of acknowledgement. You knew you should hang on to your last remaining shred of dignity, not give her the satisfaction of seeing how deeply she wounded you. But it was harder and harder to hold onto.
There was never a moment at work to talk to her, To pull her aside and say ‘Hey did I ever mean anything to you?” You’re scared anyway, that you don’t really want to hear her answer. There used to be so many times at work that she would find to get you alone. Reasons to call you into her office. Reasons to take lunch at the same time. Now it seemed she was avoiding you. Going out of her way to make sure your paths never crossed. That hurt.
You felt cheated, she owed you more than this. And so you’d gone to her house. What did you want from her? You wanted her to tell you it was all a mistake, a joke. It was you, she did love you. You wanted it but you weren’t counting on it. You remembered the first night you’d come to her house. After Sam Cavenaugh. Remember the night you’d spent with her. Remembered it as the closest you’ve ever felt to anyone. Remember her telling you in the morning she loved you. Was it just a comfort thing? You made her feel better until someone else came along? She needed you at the time, and when she was done she tossed you aside?
She didn’t want the others to know about the two of you. You could see her point, things would get messy at work. But you also wanted to shout it from the roof tops. And it hurt more than a little that she seemed so willing to cover it up. To hide you away as if she were ashamed of you.
You’d been expecting her to tell you to go home, that you were drunk. You’d expected her to get defensive, throw you out. You hadn’t expected, although you should have, to find him there.
You opened the door to find Olivia Benson standing expectantly in the doorway. You’d wondered how long it would take. You’d been waiting for her. She stood there, looking suddenly so much like a small lost child, that you wanted to take her in your arms and tell her everything would be ok. But you could not. He was standing right behind you.
“Olivia, is everything alright?” You asked calmly, realising it was a foolish question. She looked exhausted. Broken. Her eyes red from crying. Her hands clutching one another tightly, fingernails digging so hard into her own skin you thought she would draw blood.
She shook her head slightly, saying nothing. But her eyes penetrated deep into your soul. ‘No it’s not alright,’ those wounded eyes screamed ‘What are you doing to me Alex?”
A wave of self hatred washed over you realising you’d caused that pain. The person you loved more than anyone, and you’d been the one to cause that desperate stare in her eyes.
“Did something happen at work?” You ask again, casually. You can’t afford for him to get suspicious. Even though it was killing you to stand there and not take her in your arms in that moment, and drive every fear and doubt away.
“Come in Olivia.” He said finally. “I must be going. You two chat.”
“Detective Benson.” She muttered as he stood by to let her in the house.
“Yes of course, forgive me. Detective Benson, please come in.”
It annoyed you the way he had invited her in, as if it was his house. You realised it soon will be. He will be your husband and everything of yours will be his. Everything. But. Her.
He kissed you as he grabbed his coat. It almost made you sick. But somehow you managed to kiss him back. In fact you kiss him with more passion than if you’d been alone with him. Not to hurt her, although that’s exactly what it achieves. But because it’s imperative that she walks away. You can’t have her suspicious. You need her to let go. Too much is riding on this.
You hate hurting her. It was an unfortunate consequence. It wasn’t intended. And up until that very moment, you hadn’t even realised just how deeply you had hurt her. The pain in her eyes caught you by surprise. Was she really crying over you? Somehow you had it in your head that you meant nothing to her. That it would be easy for her to walk away, that she would somehow be relieved. It broke your heart realising there would be no future for the two of you. But it was your choice after all, what right did you have to complain?
This would be the hardest thing you ever have to do. To send her away. To break her heart. It was the only way.
What you wanted more than anything was to hold her, to tell her that you loved her- only her. That you never loved anyone that way. That you wanted to be with her the rest of your life. That he meant nothing to you. You wished you could tell her the real reason behind this. But it was too risky. And you hoped once all this was over, maybe there would be a chance. But she was making it so hard. She wouldn’t let you just slip away, She was going to make you hurt her. Badly. There was too much at stake now. For you, for her, for so many people. You were in too deep and there was only one way out.
You hated the way she stood there, so fragile, as if she would fall over any moment. Shifting nervously from one foot to the other. Trying to sound angry, trying to hide the depth of her pain. It was almost too much. But you couldn’t let her break you.
“You only just met him.” She said finally.
“I’ve known him for years, since I was a child.” You replied honestly.
“Oh.” Is all she answered. She is silent for some time, and it’s almost painful to watch her standing there, lost for words.
“Look.” You finally spoke, because you couldn’t stand the awkward silence. You couldn’t stand to have her this close and not be able to touch her. “We had fun ok, It was nice while it lasted. But it’s not like it was a life long commitment.” You add coldly.
You saw in her eyes that you’d wounded her. You hated yourself for it. But you couldn’t let her see how much it was hurting you. You kept your voice steady, your gaze firm. “Just get over it.” You finished, feeling your own blood turn to ice as you heard the words escape your lips.
It worked though. She nodded. “Yeah. Right.”
And before you know it she was gone.
You sit staring into the darkness. She is gone. It’s what you wanted. Thought you wanted. Darkness engulfs you. Intense, tormenting, relentless, insidious darkness. Penetrating every part of you.
You look inside yourself. Hating yourself. For so many things. For hurting Olivia tonight. For the things that happened many years ago. Things you’ve never been able to forget. Things you’re trying to make right. You wish you could tell her. Wish you could let her see. But you know that you can’t. How could anyone understand? If she knew about those things, she would hate you. And she is the one person who you couldn’t stand to hate you.
You hate yourself for the delusion you built your life around. The delusion that you are in control. The delusion that the law means something. That the law works. Sure you know how to make the law work for you, sometimes. Better than most people do. You know how to twist it and use it, to twist yourself inside out using the law to serve justice. Compromise principles you know are right for principles the law decrees are right. You should have to work that hard. The law should just work.
But the truth is, the law doesn’t work. It isn’t intrinsically fair. There is no reason. No purpose. No sense. Like life. Like death. It’s not orderly. And it’s not under your control. The truth is the law is meaningless.
The truth is you are powerless. What you want, right now, more than anything- is Olivia. The thing you can’t have is Olivia.
You dedicated you life to the law. Dedicated your heart to her. But neither was reliable, sustainable. There was nothing to count on, not even yourself. Because the truth is you have control over nothing. Almost nothing.
But there is still one thing in your power. One thing you can make right. You couldn’t change the things that happened in the past. But somehow you can even the score. But it’s not about revenge. It’s about survival. The law can’t help you now. It’s time to take the law into your own hands.
His eyes. It was his eyes. You knew it was him as soon as you saw him. It was true what you told Olivia, you’d known him since you were a child. But you should have been careful, telling her that. He didn’t remember you, of that you were now certain. He had no idea who you were. But you could never forget those eyes, not as long as you live.
You looked back, willing yourself to remember. You had been so young. How reliable were the things you recalled. How much was imagined? How much had you added over the long years you spent remembering?
Crisp snow crunching under your feet, cold air stinging your cheeks. It was hard to breathe. Your feet hurt, you had outgrown your boots months ago, but they were your favourite and you insisted on wearing them. You saw her lying in the snow. Lifeless. Still. Like a doll. You knelt down beside her. Traced your fingers over her blue tinged lips. She looked like she was sleeping. Except that her eyes were open. Staring right at you. But they weren’t her eyes. They were dull, dead. You picked up her hand, so heavy, so cold. You called her name. But you knew already she couldn’t answer you. She looked so tiny lying there, although you weren’t much bigger yourself. You sat looking at her for the longest time. Wishing that you were the one asleep in the cold. And then, as fast as your six year old legs would carry you, you ran.
It didn’t take long for the other to start suspecting.
”She doesn’t look happy.” Fin observed.
“She’s never happy.” That was Munch.
“I mean for someone who just got engaged to the ‘love of her life’, she doesn’t look happy.” Fin clarified.
Elliot said nothing. Fin was right, she didn’t look happy. She looked downright miserable. But Munch was wrong, because you’d seen her happy. Seen her eyes sparkling with joy.
You saw none of that now. Nothing. Not the slightest flicker of passion. No joy. No conviction. No righteous fury that fuelled her dedication to her job. Just a dead empty stare. A shadow of the woman you once knew so intimately. So you stopped looking at her.
The others look to you and you realise they are waiting for you to contribute to their conversation about why Alex doesn’t look happy for someone who just announced her engagement.
You shrug. So what, she’s not happy. Who cares? She chose this. It’s not your responsibility.
‘What about me?’ you wanted to ask your colleagues. ‘Do I look happy?’
Didn’t anyone see that you were drowning? No. Maybe it was better that way. No one thought of Alex’s engagement as an event that should affect you. No one except for Elliot.
You couldn’t hide it from him at the time. Hide the fact that someone had come into your life who made you feel like you were worth something. Someone who made you believe in goodness despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary that you faced every day. Alex had somehow convinced you to keep things quiet. Professional reasons, she had told you at the time. But you look back now and wonder if perhaps she was just ashamed. Perhaps it meant nothing to her, perhaps it was never meant to be a long term thing.
The stupid grin on your face and the way you walked around humming stupid songs under your breath betrayed to Elliot that there was someone special in your life.
‘I’ve never seen you like this.’ Elliot had said.
‘I’ve never felt like this.’
And it was true. You had never felt like this about anyone. Ever.
‘Anyone I know?’ He asked.
You didn’t break your promise to Alex. You never said a word. It’s just that she walked into the office right that minute. And you couldn’t hide the way you felt. Neither could she. It was written all over your faces. She looked shyly to the ground, trying not to make eye contact with you. You hadn’t ever seen her so self conscious. It was cute.
Elliot raised an eyebrow. ‘I see.’ He had said. And that was it.
He had never said ‘That’s great Liv, I’m happy for you.’
He never said ‘Olivia, Be careful about what you’re getting into.’
He said nothing.
It bothered you at the time, but now you loved him for it.
Just after the engagement announcement Elliot turned to you, his eyes filled with pity, with questions.
He asked you, as if you had all the answers, “So, what’s up with that?”
“Ask her.” You had replied bitterly.
You could tell Elliot wanted to say more, he was struggling to find the words. Thankfully he didn’t seem able, and an awkward silence ensued.
The talk from the others had taken hold of your mind. She wasn’t happy. Why? You were curious. Beyond curious. You were worried about her. You hated yourself for caring. It was pathetic. She left you behind without thinking twice. Why should you care? But you did. You would get to the bottom of this. Approaching Alex again was out of the question. But you were a detective after all, how hard could it be to find out the truth behind this engagement?