by Bast

These characters as well as the concept of SVU belong to Dick Wolf.

(Note: This is a less than 24 hour post after the episode Serendipity).

Olivia Benson heard the music as soon as the elevator doors opened. The

rich, mellow sound of a cello blended with the thick, dark carpet underfoot.

It was fitting ambiance for an apartment building on the East side.

The strains of the music swelled as she approached the door of 1B. She

paused for a moment, surprised and frankly bemused, then knocked.

The music stopped abruptly. There was a pause, then a voice called out,

"Who is it?"

"It's Detective Benson. Can I talk to you for a minute?"

The door opened and Casey Novak looked back at her. She was in jogging

clothes, but no shoes. Her eyes were puffy and red rimmed. In her hand

she held a cello bow. "Detective. What are you doing here?"

"I'm sorry. I probably should have called first. If it's a bad time..."

"No. No. It's fine. Please...come in. I'm just surprised."

"Well, frankly so am I. But after what happened today I thought you might

like to talk." Olivia looked around the apartment. Not much furnishings,

almost spartan, but what there was spoke of fine taste and wealth. "Pretty

big day for you. Your first time on the job and you save the life of a

child. Impressive."

Casey seemed to deflate. "I did nothing. It was just instinct. How is


"She's going to be fine--physically, at least. Who can say about the

psychological damage."

Casey nodded. "I'm sorry. I seem to have lost my manners. Please, sit


Olivia sank into a chair. Casey sat on the couch across from her. "You

play the cello."

"Yes. I play with a group of Baroque artists when time allows."

"Beautiful instrument." Olivia looked appreciately at the cello resting

across the bottom of a wooden chair. "So.. .you were practicing?"

"Actually, no. I was self medicating. Some people do alcohol. Some

people do drugs. I do Bach."

Olivia nodded. "Listen, Casey, I'm sorry I came down so hard on you

today. I had my own issues about this case and a certain resentment

toward you before I even saw you. I wasn't being fair and I want to


"Not necessary, Detective. I realize I came on a bit strong. I was

insecure and thought I could bluff my way through. I was wrong. I

realized today that this job is not about me--it's about them. The

victims." Casey got up and began to pace the floor. "God, how can

you stand it? I wanted to quit. I talked to Arthur about it."

"What did he say?"

"He told me I was the right person for the job."

"I think he's right."

"Olivia, let me tell you what happened after I left work." Casey knelt

down in front of Olivia. "I stopped at a market to get bread. By the

checkout counter was a display of Halloween candy and I thought I should

grab a bag, you know, for the neighbors children when they come to

trick-or-treat. I was standing in line and suddenly I just started

crying. I kept seeing Courtney's face. And that goddamn pedophile.

I wanted to kill him." Her eyes began to glisten with unshed tears.

"Do you still think I'm the right person for the job?"

Olivia took her hand and squeezed it. "I know you are. And I hate to

tell you this, but it never gets any easier. What we's the

worse job in the world. But it has to be done. And if you care about

the victims, it goes a long way toward making them care about themselves

again." Olivia smoothed back the auburn hair from Casey's face. "What

was that piece you were playing when I interrupted you?"

"What? Oh, Suite No. 3 in C Major." She sniffed and wiped the corners

of her eyes. "By Bach, of course."

"Think I could hear it? I need a little medicating myself."

Casey picked up her bow, positioned the cello, and began to play.

As Casey lost herself in the music, Olivia began to relax. She felt

the tension in her muscles slipping away, her mind rising to another

plane on which there were no predators, no victims. Only the rich

notes of the cello playing Bach.