01. Imprisoned Lives (15x02)

Olivia: The press is here? Please tell me that you have something.
Barba: An address on the homeowner's son. Fin and Amaro are en route.
Olivia: Is the vic any help?
Barba: Rollins says she may have issues. You okay with all this?
Olivia: Are you? I got a seven-year-old in the car who's spent his entire life in a basement. And God knows what else went on down there. We have no idea where this Pa is or or or who he is. And now the feeding frenzy begins?
Barba (quietly, to himself): Welcome back.

I could feel everyone staring at me, as I left the Squad room, holding my head high. This was just another consequence of Lewis' actions that I had to live with. Like the flashbacks. His voice in my head. The nightmares.

As I headed for my car I heard a voice call out:


There was so much emotion in his voice. I had not been prepared for that. When I turned around to face him, Barba was hurrying towards me.

"Hey." I didn't know what to say. I hadn't seen him in four months. He had been the last person I had seen before the abduction and this was the first time we were seeing each other without anyone being present and without being at work.

When the ADA stood before me, his green eyes were blazing, but there was no happiness or excitement in them.

"I'm...so sorry." His voice was shaking and the guilt and sadness in his eyes caused tears to appear in mine.

We stepped toward each other in the same moment and I threw my arms around him, as he held me close. His cheek was pressed against mine and I closed my eyes breathing in the smell of his cologne deeply. I think we were both surprised by the intensity of our hug. Who would have thought that merely hugging somebody could feel this intimate and so powerful?

"I'm so sorry." He repeated once more in a deep sigh.

Now might have been the time to step away so we could talk, but I found myself pulling him closer to me. My cheek rested against his and I could feel the rough skin, where he needed to shave,

"It's not your fault."

"I should have put him away."

"You couldn't have stopped this from happening." I closed my eyes tightly, fighting against my tears. Hugging him was one thing, crying in front of him was something completely different.

"I will get him, I promise."

"I know you will."

Now was probably a good time to really talk about our feelings. Had I blamed him? Yes, of course. He should have put Lewis away and had failed to do so. He should have made sure the son of a bitch stayed in prison where he belonged. He should have protected me.

But I had also blamed Amanda for bringing him in. Blamed Cragen for sending me into the interview room with him...I had blamed Nick, Fin, Melinda, Franny – Amandas dog.

And I had blamed myself, just like Barba was doing at the moment.

We didn't speak any more, but stayed locked in our embrace for a few more minutes. We would talk this through, I would help him forgive himself by explaining how I had forgiven him. How I didn't blame him any longer. That it was a process.

But I closed my eyes and enjoyed his presence.

Despite going to therapy, taking care of myself, learning to trust myself and others again, I had missed my friend. I had missed his humour, his voice and the way we just understood each other wordlessly.

I was in love with Brian and he had helped me through this time, but even he and I hadn't clicked the way Barba and I had.

So I left my arms around him and relaxed at his touch, feeling relieved at finally being with him again. With Barba by my side I had truly returned to SVU and despite my failure with Ma today, I had made my position clear. This was where I belonged.

We could still talk about guilt another time. We would be seeing each other more again now.

Hi guys, I am SO excited to be back with Season15!
Thank you for all your reviews for the last chapter for Season14 :)

Takara: Thank you for your review! I've always wondered about Harris and Barba too, but I guess they worked together before. I have high hopes for Season17 for some more personal scenes, there are so many things we do not know about Barba after all.

Andreyna Sousa: Thank you for your review :) Season 15 is here now ;-)

I hope you enjoyed this chapter, can't wait to hear what you think!