Author: Jaenelle Angelline PM
Alex and Olivia's pointofviews for the 5th season episode 'Loss'. FINISHED. Sequel to 'Redirect' and 'Valentine'. Read, review please! Thanks!Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Drama - Chapters: 2 - Words: 8,558 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 2 - Published: 02-15-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2802660
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rating: Mature audience only, please! Language, violence
Pairing: Alex/Olivia, featuring the rest of the cast
Disclaimer: I don't own, so you don't sue. I have nothing you'd want anyway!
Notes: This is the third story in the 'Redirect' series, which starts with 'Redirect', continues with 'Valentine', and culminates with this story, 'Run'. I know, I know, the 'missing scenes' from the 5th season episode 'Loss' has been done to death, but I wanted to examine the entire episode from the point of view of the two most important characters in it. This first chapter is from Alex's point of view; the second chapter is from Olivia's. This is very heavily in-canon, but with some off-canon elements to it. Sections of dialogue were taken from the episode 'Loss', and I've put that dialogue in boldface so there won't be any doubt what belongs to Wolf Productions and what mistakes are mine. Dedicated to Stephanie March and Mariska Hargitay, who brought this episode so vividly to life. You guys are wonderful!
Oh, one other thing: According to Mariska, the necklace she wears on the show is the Sanskrit character 'Abhaya', which means 'fearlessness'. As near as I can tell, she started wearing it in the middle of the second season, and 'Loss' happened in fifth, so the timeframe of three years for the hinted-at 'relationship' between their characters is accurate, if somewhat off-canon, because nothing was ever said directly one way or another. I've seen Stephanie March wearing a gold chain with a slider bead, (see beginning of 'Loss') but since she doesn't have a personal website that I've found that I can ask about her character, I made up the stuff about her necklace. Just so you all know that was my own conjecturing, not something from the show.
I never wanted to run.
I wanted to keep going with the trial. God, how I wanted to keep going. Olivia…she'll never really understand how much of an inspiration to me she is. It takes an incredible amount of personal courage and effort, after all the things she's seen and lived through, to get up every morning, cheerful and determined to face another day. A week ago, we both took time out of our busy schedules to go running; she faced the wind and launched herself through Central Park with the same whole-soul effort she puts into life, and I remember thinking that she really was the wind beneath my wings. I'd mentioned it to her a month ago, when we celebrated our third year 'together'; she laughed and scoffed, and told me that without me to give a case to, she'd have no reason to make them.
I regret what I said now. I regret all of it. When Lionel slammed me with that order to procure the confidential informant who gave Liv and Elliot the information I used to get them the search warrant, I took it and went to them. I told Liv and El that I'd stuck my neck out for them, and I wanted it back. I have to give it to them, they did try. But, of course, the DOJ blew that out of the water. I remember meeting with Donovan; he told me then that when things finally went down, blood was going to be on my hands.
I wish it had happened that way. Oh, God, how I wish things had happened that way. I knew I was going to have to pay the price for my refusal to drop the case. I just never thought that price was going to be my life, my identity…and my lover was going to have to pay it. I never wanted my blood on Olivia's hands.
I knew I could make the case that Olivia handed me stick. I had it all planned out. I was so sure of myself, I got overconfident. I got cocky. I said some things I shouldn't have, in that interview with Lionel and Zapata. Not about throwing Zapata's ass in Riker's for the duration of the trial; that's standard, and I would have done it, too. No, what I regret most was that final blow, pretty low even for me. I wish I could take those words back. "You will also find, Mr. Zapata, that a woman can say whatever she wants to about your performance in bed, and you aren't actually allowed to kill her." I never expected him to lunge for me; I remember jumping back from the table, my heart pounding, adrenaline flowing, wondering if I was going to have to use those self-defense courses I took all those years ago, or some of those police tactics Liv taught me during one of our many workouts at the gym. She'd learned them in a special class at the Academy, she told me, just for female officers. I could have taken him. Fortunately, it wasn't necessary. Or unfortunately.
I'm never going to forget the hole that opened up under my heart when I heard that voice on the tape recorder say my address, the one I've lived at since I started working for Arthur, and the one Liv knew as well as she knew her own. 235 West 78th. And they knew my mom lived upstate. What chilled me was when they said 'see her girlfriend'. Liv. I wanted to scream, "Leave her out of it!" but I couldn't. Not that anyone who knew us would have complained; the news that Liv and I were closer than most ADA's and their detectives was a dead topic. Everyone knew by now, after three years of seeing us together off and on. I just didn't want the Feds to know; they were sitting right there, they might have seen the need to put a detail on her too, and we all know how she would have taken that. You can't protect the wind.
I needed time to think. I needed to regroup, to plan my strategy. I wanted to go home. Liv offered to take me, and thank God that she and El have such a great partnership that he just grabbed his coat and came along, because as strong as the wind is, even she can't stop a bullet. I thought, with Elliot along, no one would try anything.
Boy, was I wrong. Just another miscalculation, another mistake, in a long string of mistakes I made that have brought me here, to the seat of a plane heading away from New York, away from my life and the piece of my heart I left behind. She begged me to stay with her that night; Elliot dropped me off, and she got out and tried to talk me into coming with her to her place. Then Donovan came up—and I have to admit, I was attracted to him, in a way I hadn't been attracted to anyone since Liv. But he told me that he would be willing to testify as a last ditch effort; and then that was his last effort. My ears rang for a day afterward from the concussive force of the blast that sent his car up in flames. I felt bad for his loss, but what made me feel worse was seeing Liv, lying beside me on the pavement, her ears ringing too. What hurt me more was seeing the pain on her face when the EMT taped her hand; she'd sustained the worst injury of the two of us, the deep gash across the heel of her hand from the flying glass. I had some cuts, too, but they were superficial and the EMT didn't do anything more than dab the cuts clean. She usually discards any bandaging the day after it happens; she hates anything encumbering her limbs, her movement. A little of that 'vulnerability avoidance' issue she has. The fact that she still had it on the next day when I met the SVU in the squad room told me volumes.
It was after I saw that that I started to seriously question their involvement in the case. It wasn't personal with them; they were doing their jobs. It was personal for me, because I'd made it personal; because I'd gotten cocky, overconfident, and I'd pissed off the wrong Colombian. It was my fight, not theirs. I didn't need them to dig any deeper for me; the DA's office has their own investigators. Bless Fin, he said what they were all thinking; that they were all in, because those investigators weren't as thorough, or had as many connections, as they did. Or as much care. They all cared about me, some more than others, but Liv…Liv loved me. I knew it when she told me it wasn't necessary for me to die for the case. The look in her eyes told me just how frustrated and afraid for me she was. At the bar that night, before my life and my heart fell apart, she made a point of sitting close to me, closer than she'd sat for a long time. It reaffirmed her feelings for me, and I appreciated it.
I don't even remember the shooting. I heard the sound of a car engine as I fell into step on Elliot's left, Liv automatically taking up her familiar, old position on his right. In retrospect, if she'd thought I was still in danger, she would have put me on Elliot's right and herself on the outside…and she would have taken the bullet that was meant for me. But Arthur had just dropped the case, my detail was gone, I thought I was safe. I didn't know anything until the shot rang out, and I felt a blinding, sharp pain in my right shoulder. It didn't register immediately; I remember lying on the ground, listening to Elliot's running footsteps, and thinking Run, Elliot. Get the plates.
Then I felt the hot stickiness, and I heard Olivia's panicked cry. My name, spoken in tones I'd never heard her use before. Panic, despair, and above everything else, fear. Fearless, that was my nickname for her, given when I gave her the necklace she always wears now and never takes off. But Fearless was afraid now, for me. I heard her scream to anyone who might be able to hear to call for an ambulance, but her voice sounded very distant and fuzzy, and the hands she pressed to my shoulder, bare hands, because she knew there was no danger of blood contaminants from me. We'd been together too long, we knew the results of each other's physicals, for God's sake. Police physicals were much more exacting and thorough than the ones I took for the DA's office, but both were pretty thorough in comparison with most people's physicals. I could hear her pleading with me, begging me to look at her, to stay with her, reassuring me I was going to be fine. It never occurred to me to doubt her. I tried to say something, but the sharp pain in my body stopped me, and I figured I'd have time later to say what I wanted to say to her.
You know, it's true that you should never put things off. If I'd fought past the pain to say what I needed to, I wouldn't be sitting here now, staring out the window of this plane and wondering what Liv is doing. The package should have arrived by now; I paid the bike messenger enough of the Feds' money to be sure that the package, and the fat envelope inside it, would be waiting for her when she got back from that horrible sham funeral she would have to attend. I was going to tell her where it was, tell her that she should get it from my apartment, but I didn't, and now I have to trust to money and a bike messenger to get it to where it's supposed to go, in my absence.
Absence. That's how I look at this. An absence. Every new beginning is some beginning's end, and this is only the start. I know someday I'll find myself back here, back in New York. Whether she'll still be there for me is another matter, but all I could do was drop a short note to Elliot. Take care of her for me. Alex. Seven words, scribbled on a piece of hospital printer paper, but Elliot will know from that that someday, I'll be back.
She'll know that by now, too; The bike messenger will have delivered by now, and my funeral was over fifteen minutes ago. I look at the time on my new watch; something heavy and bold, almost masculine, like the watch Olivia wears. Not like my usual feminine jewelry. Everything is new; my clothes, my hair, my name, my Social Security number, my address. There is only one thing I'm wearing now that isn't new; the narrow gold chain with the inscribed slider bead, the gift she gave me on Valentine's Day three years ago. I fought with the Feds to keep it; they insisted that everything be new, that I not have anything that could be traced back to my old life. No tax records in boxes in storage like Livia Sandoval.
I fought like hell for the necklace, just like I fought them like hell for that last glimpse of Liv in that out-of-the way corner of Central Park. I know they thought I was being a hard-ass. I know what they thought as they stood in my guarded room in the Federal hospital and coaxed, cajoled, threatened, pleaded, and begged me to reconsider, that it would be a cleaner break if no one here knew I was alive. I fought them. Refused to be moved. I refused to get on that plane until Agent Hammond came in yesterday, the first day of October, and told me that he'd sent a note to Cragen asking for a meeting between Liv, Elliot, and me in Central Park late that night under cover of darkness. I thanked him and chased him out, because I needed to think. To plan.
That meeting wasn't going to be long enough for me to say everything I wanted to say to her; it was more for my peace of mind, because I don't want, I can't have, my last memory of Olivia be the frantic woman I saw in the hospital. The doctors took me into surgery, into the OR, and got me patched up pretty quickly; the wound nicked an artery, but Olivia's hands on the wound stopped the blood flow just enough that the time it took for the ambulance to get to me wasn't fatal. The Feds showed up in the back of the hospital with an ambulance from a federal hospital, and they wheeled me out on a gurney, my face mostly hidden by an oxygen mask, strapped down.
Because I would have tried to get back to her, no matter how I was feeling, when I saw the doctor come out of a door down the hall and tell Olivia I was dead, and saw her scream my name in denial and pain. She ran at the window providing a view into the OR; she saw them pull the sheet over the mannequin that was made to look like me, and she threw herself at that window, screaming, crying 'no, no, no,' over and over again. She hadn't even cleaned up; her hands were still coated with my blood, drying now but still wet enough to leave streaks on the glass. She beat her fists against the window, not caring what she did, what damage she might cause in her frenzy; the last image I had of her was of Elliot grabbing her, pulling her back to her chair, and she collapsed beside him, crying, sobbing into his shoulder as he hugged her, and I knew from the set of his shoulders that he was crying too. At that moment, Feds and protection be damned, agreement be damned, I would have gone back to tell them I really was all right if I hadn't been strapped down. As it was, all I could do was lie there and watch the recessed lighting in the hospital ceiling go by, and wonder how I was going to make it all right. I was supposed to pay the price for my bull-headed stubbornness. Not Liv.
And so after I chased Hammond and the other agents out, I didn't rest. I sat thinking for about an hour, then grabbed some of the paper they'd left for me, something to write a note on if I thought of any other loose end from my life I needed to clean up. I wrote Olivia a long letter; then I went to the meager box of personal items they had gotten from my apartment, the things I asked them to get but that they'd tried to make me promise to leave behind. They were still there, the packages I'd bought the day before Liv and El got the Sandoval case.
I opened the boxes, unwrapped the foam, put them on the hospital bed side by side. I'm not a one for dolphins; I've heard of them attacking people, but Liv had a thing for them, and when I saw this pair I knew they were perfect. They were supposed to be a matched set of paperweights, the wave-shaped bases notched to fit together. When you put them together, you almost couldn't see where they came apart; they were that well-made. And because they were so well-made, there was no flaw in their tail fins.
I only had two plates left in the Polaroid camera. I had to make both of them count. I set the timer carefully and, with tears in my eyes overflowing down my cheeks, I picked up the matched set of crystal dolphins and held them close to my face as the shutter clicked. I tried to smile through the tears; it wouldn't matter to Liv, but I had to try because I didn't want this last photo of Alexandra Cabot to be of me crying my eyes out. Then I put the dolphin I was going to keep down, set Olivia's dolphin separate, and took a picture of that. I wanted to have the picture of that one to take with me; but Olivia would have the picture of me, holding both, caught together eternally by the click of a button and the flash of a bulb. It was all I could do. I repacked both dolphins in their boxes, slipping the letter I'd written to Olivia into her box, then securely taped it back together with packing tape from the box (I'd planned for that too, and the feds were so anxious to keep me safe they gave me anything I said I wanted, no questions asked—except what I wanted most; my life, my identity, my lover—back.)
I didn't have to fight to keep the dolphin. They thought I was going to fight to keep the collection of crystal unicorns in the curio cabinet in my apartment, and though I am going to miss them, mostly for sentimental reasons, the only one I really wanted was the dolphin. Everyone knew I didn't like dolphins; so they thought that was 'safe'. And as the car drove away from Liv and Elliot in the park, I clutched the dolphin, prayed she'd get its mate, prayed she'd understand. I saw the emptiness, the raw agony, in her eyes as I stepped out of the car; I couldn't speak, couldn't say anything, because the lump in my throat made talk impossible. I know I mumbled something to a shocked, stunned Elliot about being sorry that I'd dragged them both into this, but when I looked at Liv, the words wouldn't come and all I could do was cry. Her gold shield had a strip of black across it; an honor reserved for cops. She'd flaunted tradition by wearing it for me, and obviously no one stopped her. "How long?" I think she asked me, but I couldn't answer that, and she knew it. When I lowered myself back into the car, slowly, painfully, because my shoulder was still killing me and turned back to look at her, her eyes were no longer empty. She no longer had that empty, hollow, half-a-person look in her eyes, and that gave me the courage to simply nod to her as the door closed. I didn't look out the rear window.
The plane might be flying, but I'm running. Running scared, because, despite the lessons in fearlessness I've learned from Olivia, I'm not her. I'm not fearless. My fear isn't for myself, not entirely; it's for her. She does so much good in this world; she puts aside her own inward fear and becomes fearless for her victims. I need to leave her so she can continue to do that. I love my job, but it's not my life. Her job is her life. I would be no kind of lover or friend if something I did took that away from her.
I'll be back someday. But for now, I'll run.