Law and Order: SVU
Duty Calls: Chapter 12
NOTE: I do not own Law and Order: SVU or its characters.
ONE YEAR LATER
In a small cemetery in Upper East Side, early on a spring morning, a woman stood alone, standing over a small grave. Her dark eyes were solemn, yet dry. The gravestone was a few years old, but at the base was a bouquet of peach roses. There was a note. The woman had been here for the better part of an hour. She'd memorized the note.
I knew you'd come here, it read. I love you. –Elliot
She smiled, her face bright and strong. She let a hand fall over the rough edges of the tombstone, her eyes running briefly over the inscription she had insisted be engraved.
Serena Benson, Beloved Mother
Her sigh was a regretful one. When she was young, she couldn't see that her mother was suffering; every drink a cry for help. And she couldn't have helped anyway. That was the hardest part to accept. Even once she was grown, all her efforts were for naught. Her mother was drowning in her own sorrow. But now, her mother was at peace. And she'd finally forgiven her for all the embarrassments, the neglect, the abuse, because her mother truly had loved her. Why else had she even chosen to have her?
Every time the job got her down, she came here. Here was her inspiration. Her own mother was a victim, and she'd been unable to help her. For every other victim that crossed her path, she'd be there.
With a sigh, she cast one last lingering look at the stone, and turned away. She walked slowly to the other end of the cemetery, almost against her will. But there was a force compelling her.
Her feet stopped in front of a small stone. She'd been here before. A few times, after the reporters quit following her and Elliot around.
No one could have known it was the same cemetery. It was pure coincidence. Or divine intervention.
Rest in Peace
And despite it all, she truly wished it for him. He was also a suffering victim, in a twisted way. Huang said that, judging by his actions, he'd been in need of mental care.
Huang also said it was good for her to come here, but not to wallow. She didn't. It'd been a few months since she last visited. Sometimes, she would tell her mother about important things happening in her life. Or imagine sitting and talking with her mother like a normal mother and daughter.
But here, she never said anything. There was nothing to say. She just stood for a while and gazed at the stone, remembering.
Still, after more than a year, the first images to bombard her when she touched his stone were the roar of fire, his face clutching her eyes with his, his elated dance with the flames, and then Elliot, crashing through the door and saving her.
But she pushed those images away. She'd come here for a different purpose.
Her ankle was stiff from being still for so long. She rotated it gently. It wasn't painful after this long, just acted up every now and then.
She moved closer to the headstone, almost reluctantly. She'd wanted to hold on to the anger, she'd wanted to nurse it forever, but Huang told her she had to let go. That's why she'd come today.
Olivia touched the headstone, tentatively at first. Then, with a deep breath, she whispered, "I forgive you. Oscar Bane, I forgive you."
A weight was lifted from her shoulders, and she almost felt like she could fly away. A smile spread slowly and softly across her face.
It was then she noticed one peach rose lying at the base of the headboard. Elliot knew she'd come here as well. He was also having regular sessions with Huang, trying to deal with all that had happened. After all, it might as well have happened to him. Elliot left a flower not only to encourage her, but for his own step in the way of letting go.
Olivia turned away, and began to walk briskly back to her car. The morning breeze was fresh, and crisp. The flowers blooming on the trees around her sent a sweet smell her way. It was early in the morning, but somehow, Elliot had known to leave those flowers. Suddenly, her cell phone rang. And this time, she didn't flinch. She just answered.
A smile spread across Olivia's face.
"I'll meet you there."