Chapter 1: Uncertainty

Olivia sat alone in the squad room sipping a cup of coffee. It wasn't long before Elliot joined her.

"Hey, Livia, what's up?" he asked as he sat down beside her.

She jumped a little. "You scared me, El. How long have you been there?"

"Not long, but you seem a little nervous. Is everything OK?"

"I was just thinking about my past."

"Really? Why?" His voice was gentle as he took both of her hands in his own.

"I just wonder if I'm gonna be able to hang on to all this for much longer."

"Hang on to what, Livia?"

"The pain and the anger. It's been eating away at me for years, and I've gotta make it stop. The problem is, I have no idea how."

Elliot nodded knowingly. "You're still mad at your parents, right?"

Olivia nodded, too. "But my mom died a couple years ago, and my dad, well, you know his story, so there's no way for me to tell them how I feel."

"I think I know a way."

"What is it?"

"Let's go visit your mom. You can vent all you want, and I'll even come with you."

"I couldn't ask you to do that, El. Besides, we've got a job to do."

"You're not asking, Livia, I'm offering, and Cragen will call one of us if another case comes in."

"I guess you're right, El."

He patted her shoulder. "That's the spirit. "Hey, Fin, could you tell Cap we're leaving for awhile?" he called toward the back of the precinct.

Fin, who was doing paperwork in a back office, gave him a thumbs-up.

"Thanks. Tell him to call us if he needs us."

Another thumbs-up.

"Let's go." His voice was calming as he led her out of the precinct. She had started shaking a few minutes before. "You wanna walk down?"

She nodded. "It's not far."

They walked to St. Joseph's Cemetery in silence. Olivia found Serena's headstone and stepped through the gates, Elliot in tow.

"Mom, it's Olivia. I know what you must be thinking. I'm not here to apologize, or to tell you how wrong I was to turn my back on you. I'm here to ask for the truth one last time. Did I mean anything to you at all, or was I just a weak little girl that you could use as a punching bag? You pretended I didn't exist when you weren't hurting me, and I was thankful for that. I was thankful when you weren't around and terrified when you were. That's why I moved out so young. I did it to get out of your grasp. Ya know, I tried to convince myself that I had to love you because you were my mom, but after awhile, I started thinking, "Hey, she's incapable of loving me, so why should I break my back trying to love her? She'll never see me as anything more than a reminder of her rape." You've caused me so much pain, and I'm sick of it. I'm letting you and that pain go now, Mom, for good." She took a deep breath before turning to face Elliot, who wrapped her in a comforting embrace.

"You did great, Livia. Do you feel like getting some coffee before we go back to the precinct?"

She smiled. "You read my mind, El," she said as they headed down to the corner coffee shop.