Author: TStabler PM
I used to think it was just a hypothetical question. Something psychiatrists ask to gauge the level of crazy you're on. You wake up in a white room with no doors or windows, what do you do? I never had an answer to that. Until now.Rated: Fiction M - English - Suspense/Hurt/Comfort - O. Benson & E. Stabler - Chapters: 11 - Words: 27,418 - Reviews: 153 - Favs: 34 - Follows: 31 - Updated: 12-12-11 - Published: 11-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7522526
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Coming home.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters belong to Dick Wolf. TStabler© owns this story.
This is actually more unsettling than being in that basement. People we once trusted make us nervous, people we used to love we can't stand to be near. I...I just think...I'd really like to go home.
Olivia takes a deep breath, her eyes focusing on Fin's face as he lands on the bottom step. "What happened?" she asks, her body curling even more into Elliot's.
"Oh, man, are you a sight for sore eyes!" Fin holsters his gun and runs toward them, but is stunned when Olivia backs away, hiding behind Elliot. He stops. "Are you..." he blinks, confused. "Are you okay?"
Elliot nods. "Fine," he asks. "What...what happens now?"
Fin squints. "We take you home," he says, nodding once. "Come on, Baby-Girl," he whispers, and his arm reaches for Olivia.
She swats at his hand, moving back, and she narrows her eyes. "I got it," she says, her voice dry, almost cold. She grips Elliot's hand even harder, and she waits.
Fin runs a hand down his face, and he clears his throat. "Come on," he says, and he leads them up the stairs, into the house they've never seen, and through the door they can't remember.
"Oh, my God," Olivia moans, her eyes shutting tight as soon as they make it outside.
It hurts, the sunlight, and they both squint and flinch. Elliot pulls Olivia closer to him, tying to blindly make his way to the van to which they're being led. He feels someone grab his arm, and his first reaction is hard jab to the jaw of whoever it was. He isn't sorry, he's just pushing forward with a shivering Olivia in his arms. "I got you," he whispers to her.
"I'm freezing," she returns, and the flashbulbs going off in her face aren't helping her vision any. The reporters shouting questions at her are ignored as she tries to keep walking. She lifts a hand to try to shield her eyes, but the cold air around her proves too much, and she drops her arm again to keep warm.
Blankets are thrown around them, and they're handed two bottles of water as they climb into the dented van. He sits and slides in, and he pulls her almost into his lap, wrapping both blankets around them, keeping them as close as possible.
She rests her forehead against his, and she whispers, "Where's Jackson?"
"I don't know, baby," he says to her, and he looks around, seeing Dean Porter behind the wheel. He notices Cragen, in the passenger seat, rubbing his jaw and looking at him with hurt and confusion in his eyes, and he sees Fin, sitting next to Olivia, looking out the window. "Where are we going?" he asks, directing it toward whoever will answer.
Dean bites as he turns the key. "Home," he says with a nod.
Elliot scoffs. The only home that he's known for almost two months is fading in the rearview mirror, and he vaguely remembers what Manhattan is like. He isn't going home, he thinks. He closes his eyes and wraps himself around Olivia tighter, hoping that it won't be as bad as he thinks.
The drive to the airport is silent, and Elliot and Olivia ignore all attempts at conversation with Cragen, Fin, and Porter. They nod, and they mumble answers to yes or no questions, but that's as far as it goes, and it's worrisome.
"Are you sure you two are all right?" Cragen asks, another effort on his part.
Elliot looks at him, and he nods. "We're fine," he says. "For the hundredth time, we're fine." He waits, and then he bites his lip. "I'm sorry I punched you."
Cragen looks away from him. "You're not," he says, "But I know why you did it. Huang warned me not to touch you, I should have..."
"Huang?" Olivia says, her head snapping up. It's the first thing she's said since they were taken out of the house. "What's he got to do with any of this?"
Cragen sits and buckles his belt. "He needs to talk to you when we get home."
Olivia scoffs. "I don't need to talk to him," she defends.
"Buckle up," Cragen says, ignoring her protests. "It's not a long flight. We'll be home soon."
Rolling her eyes, Olivia snaps her seatbelt together and then grabs Elliot's hand. "I can't talk to Huang," she whispers to him.
He nods and kisses her. He knows why, and he feels the same way. He doesn't want to talk, because he's afraid of what he's going to say.
"Dad!" Dickie yells, rushing through the squad room toward his father.
"Oh, my God," Elliot breathes, his arms wrapping around his son. He feels the rush of bodies running into him, and the arms wrapping around him, and one by one he feels them let go, but only for a moment.
Olivia can't fight the tears that build and fall as she, too, is pulled into a tight, emotional hug by each one of Elliot's children, and then it becomes a mass of tangled arms as they somehow end up in a group embrace.
Cragen shakes his head, and he turns to Doctor Huang. "Can you explain that?"
Huang smiles. "They're his kids," he says. "It's his biological connection to them, the unconditional love for them, that binds them. For a while, I imagine they are the only other people that will be able to get near either Elliot or Olivia."
Fin folds his arms. "I've known them for years," he says. "Benson's like my sister, and she pushed me away. They ain't even her..."
"In her mind, and most likely her heart, they are, Fin," Huang interrupts. "Her maternal instincts are at an optimum level now, she's pregnant and she has helped raise those kids. She's just as connected to them as any mother would be."
Porter clears his throat. "Someone needs to go down and..."
"Warner," Fin says, shaking his head. "Right." He nods at Munch, who wipes his eyes, and the two leave the room, heading down to the morgue.
Cragen turns his attention back to Olivia and Elliot, and he hesitantly walks toward them.
"We missed you so much," Maureen sniffles, holding onto her father.
Lizzie's arms are wrapped around both her father and Olivia, and she mumbles, "I'm so glad you're okay! And thank God you're home!"
Olivia runs her hands over the teen girl's head and part of her is truly thankful for that, too. The other part is scared and nervous, she's been away so long she isn't sure what's changed. "We missed you guys," she finally says, and her lips touch the top of Lizzie's head.
"I don't wanna interrupt," Cragen says, taking a breath, "But we need to talk to the two of you. You know that."
Elliot nods, hugs each child tightly, and says, "I'll be right back, I promise." He catches Kathy's eyes, and nods at her before turning with Olivia's hand in his and heading for the conference room.
Cragen holds the door open for them, and he watches them move in and sit. He closes his eyes after seeing Elliot move his chair impossibly close to Olivia's, and he knows that if they were dependent on each other before, it would be life-threatening to tear them apart now. "I'm gonna go get you some coffee," he says.
"Water," Olivia says, one hand on her bump.
Elliot nods at Cragen. "I'll take the coffee, thanks," he says politely.
Cragen nods as he leaves, and he closes the door behind him. "Would you..."
"Yeah," Porter says, leaving the pit to get the water and coffee, allowing Cragen and Huang to observe Olivia and Elliot for a moment.
"What do you think?" Cragen asks.
Huang tilts his head. "I think they're completely reliant on each other," he says, "And they're very cautious of the people around them now. They were taken from a hospital, Don. A place they felt safe. It's been a week shy of two months, where they only had contact with each other and a captor that was caring for them. They've been..."
"Victimized," Cragen interrupts. "Because Jackson never hurt them, they grew attached to him. They confused his lack of violence for kindness, and he turned them into..."
"Don't call them weak," Huang warned. "They're both stronger now than they were when they left, I can tell you that. They're just more protective of themselves, each other, and their child. They'll have trust issues for a while but..."
"Oh, no," Cragen interrupts, watching from behind the glass as Elliot gets up and locks the door. "What's he doing?"
Huang folds his arms. "Did you leave the reports in there?"
Cragen's eyes dart toward Olivia, and he sees her hand over her mouth as she reads a file. "Shit," he spits. "They know." He fishes in his pockets for a key with one hand as the other bangs on the door.
"Go away!" Elliot yells. He huffs for a moment, listens to the knock again, then yells, "He didn't...you didn't have to shoot him! He didn't hurt us!"
"Damn it, Elliot!" Cragen yells. "He killed a doctor right in front of you! He killed two FBI agents! You..." he stops as he fumbles with his keys.
Olivia breaks and falls into Elliot's arms, crying, and he holds her tight and tries to calm her, backing them both away from the door. "Stay there," he warns, narrowing his eyes at Cragen.
Cragen puts both hands up. "Elliot, it's me, I'm not gonna hurt either of you. We just...we need to talk to you."
Elliot eyes him for a minute, then looks at Huang. "We don't really have anything to say," he says.
Olivia pushes out of his arms, and she turns, her guilt and sadness over Jackson's death has turned to anger. "I am not a victim! He never touched me! He never even tried!"
Cragen takes a slow step toward her. "Olivia, honey, listen to yourself," he whispers. His eyes plead with her, and he gingerly takes her hand as she sits.
"Oh, my God," she gasps, "I sound just like..."
"A victim," Elliot offers, sitting beside her with a huff. "We both do," he says, stunned.
"Talk," Cragen says, sitting across from them. "You need to tell us everything. Every single thing you can remember. From the beginning."
Olivia looks at Elliot, and when he kisses her forehead and nods, she turns to Cragen. She takes a deep breath, and she starts talking. "I used to think it was just a hypothetical question," she says. "Something psychiatrists ask to gauge the level of crazy you're on." She looks at Huang. "You wake up in a white room with no doors or windows, what do you do? I never had an answer to that." She smiles and gives them a small, bitter chuckle. "Until now."
A/N: The end?