She could barely believe it. The day that she had thought would never come was here. For a year she had prayed. She'd begun to lose faith, but here she was. She was finally home. She was back in the city that she'd grown up in. It was the only place she'd ever lived, except for the last year. She'd gone to school here, her friends were here and it was where she'd worked.
The thought of work brought her back to the present. Standing outside of the building that she had worked in for seven years, she wondered why then was she so nervous? Why couldn't she talk the last steps that would put her in the one place that was as familiar as her own name? The questions were rhetorical, she knew why. She'd been gone for a year. Would they welcome her back? How would they feel about her once they heard the story? Would they treat her any differently? What would he say? She shook her head to clear her mind. She couldn't let her thoughts go down that road right now. Anyway she knew she wasn't going to get the answers if she spent the morning standing outside. Squaring her shoulders and adjusting the items in her arms she took the last steps home.
She'd timed it so that when she arrived the building was relatively empty. It was seven am and she knew that in about an hour or so it would be much louder and there would be more people. This was hard enough as it was; she didn't want an audience just yet.
As she neared the squad room she kept her head down. She didn't want to be recognized yet. She was also wearing a hooded jacket that helped keep her face hidden. When she got to the door of the squad room she glanced in. She smiled inwardly. Even after a year it hadn't changed. She sighed in relief when she didn't see anyone that she knew.
An officer saw her standing there, hesitating. Figuring it was a victim needing to report a crime, he stepped up to the woman. He gently asked, "Can I help you?" She'd come with a plan that had been formed in advance.
"Yes, actually, can you tell me where Captain Cragen's office is?" She knew, of course where it was, but she had to make it look good, she didn't want to bring attention to herself. She continued "I have an appointment with him."
"Yes ma'am. His office is right across there." He pointed to the door. "Would you like me to help you?" He thought she might want some help carrying something.
"Ah, no thank you officer. I can manage from here. You've been very helpful." She replied. She needed to do this on her own.
"You're welcome." With that the officer left.
Taking a deep breath and strode to the door and without hesitating she knocked. A moment later the door opened. "Come in."
She stepped in, keeping her head down. Cragen shut the door and gestured for her to have a seat. She set her stuff down as she did so. He sat down in the other chair nest to her. He didn't want to exude authority in front of this woman. He figured it was hard enough for her to come in. He wanted her at ease.
"So ma'am how can I help you?" Cragen asked softly
She knew the next words would be a shock. "I need you to forgive me," she whispered.
Cragen wasn't sure if heard her correctly. "I'm sorry..."
"I said that I need you to forgive me." As she said this she raised her head and pulled back the hood of her jacket.
Captain Cragen gasped. He looked as if he seen a ghost. It couldn't be...but it was. "Olivia! What the hell? We thought you were..." He trailed off, not being able to complete the sentence.
She smiled. "Dead? I know. That's why I need you to forgive me."
It seemed that Cragen was having a hard time forming a thought. She knew how he felt. It really was a miracle that she was here.
"Where the hell have you been? What the hell happened to you? What's
going on?" Realizing that he hadn't really said hello he stopped. He leaned over and pulled her in to a hug. "My God, it's so good to see you." She could hear the emotion in his voice.
"You too, cap't. You don't know how much."
Pulling back he looked at her, "Oh I think I have a pretty good idea."
Olivia knew that he had a thousand questions. But first she had something important to do before they got to that. "Captain, before I answer your questions, I have something that I want to show you."
She leaned over and for the first time he noticed what she had brought with her. She lifted a beautiful baby out of a car seat and held her up so Cragen could see her.
"Meet Abigail." Knowing he had a soft spot for babies she gestured for him to hold her. As she handed the baby over she continued. "My daughter." At that statement his head shot up to meet her gaze.
"Sit back and relax. I have a story to tell that you will never believe. It's me and Abby's story and the story of where I've been for a year. I swear to you that it's all true. It all began when I was getting ready to come to work one morning..."