Disclaimer: The characters in this story are the property of Dick Wolfe and NBC.
Casey closed her eyes as Cragen pressed the button on the intercom and instructed the officer on duty to send the suspects in.
"Take your time, Casey", Serena said.
Casey was finding it more difficult to open her eyes than she thought. How many times had she practically forced victims to stand in the very spot she was standing and name their attacker? And yet she was terrified of opening her eyes. Terrified of what she would see on the other side of the glass.
Casey swallowed hard but it did little to relieve the lump in her throat. Knowing that turning around and running away wasn't an option, she took several deep breaths and slowly opened her eyes.
Immediately her breath hitched. She saw him. Number four. She hadn't even looked at any of the other suspects. When she had opened her eyes she was looking directly into his. The same eyes that would haunt her dreams for the rest of her life.
She opened her mouth to identify him but no sound came out.
It was just like before. …when she was pinned to the bathroom wall. She had tried to scream then. But she couldn't.
She felt him closing off her airway.
Casey started gasping.Not again… No…
It was as if his eyes were looking directly into her soul.
Trying desperately to catch her breath, Casey took an unsteady step back.
"Casey?", Serena asked, the worry evident in her voice, "Casey, do you see the man who attacked you?"
Olivia exchanged a concerned look with Serena when a trembling Casey nodded and took another step back but didn't respond.
"Casey, I need-", Serena began but was interrupted when suspect number four suddenly lunged at the two-way mirror.
Olivia jumped when the suspect suddenly slammed into the glass and began yelling Casey's name.
The detective's head whipped around no longer sensing Casey at her side.
The young attorney was hyperventilating on the floor… desperately scrambling backwards even after she'd already reached the back wall.
Olivia quickly dropped down by Casey's side while Cragen ran out of the room to join the officers who were restraining Turner.
"Casey!", Olivia exclaimed finally grabbing a hold the younger woman's flailing arms. "It's okay, Casey! You're okay!"
Though Olivia was firmly holding onto Casey's hands, the woman's body was still thrashing furiously.
"She's having a panic attack!", Olivia called over to Serena.
"I'm calling an ambulance.", Serena replied as she pulled out her cell phone.
Olivia wrapped her arms around Casey effectively pinning the woman's arms down to prevent her from hurting herself. Pulling Casey into her lap she held onto the traumatized woman firmly and began speaking gently into her ear.
"Casey, it's Olivia. He's gone, sweetheart. It's okay… shh… It's okay… just breathe"
Casey let out a straggled cry as she continued to try to throw her body around.
"Shhh.. you're safe now, Casey. I got you. It's alright. Just breathe for me, honey. Nice and easy."
Several more minutes passed until Olivia felt a hand on her shoulder and saw a paramedic kneel down next to her holding an oxygen mask above Casey's face.
"It's Casey right?", the paramedic said looking to Olivia for confirmation.
"Casey?", the paramedic began gently, "my name is Sarah. I'm going to help you. I need you to take slow deep breaths for me. In through the nose, out through the mouth…"
Sarah positioned the oxygen mask closer to Casey's face.
Casey's eyes were still wide with fear as she continued to gasp.
"Casey, you're going to get through this… ", Sarah said encouragingly, "Nothing bad is going to happen. It's just a panic attack. It's going to pass. Don't fight it."
Several seconds passed and gradually Casey's tired body stopped struggling until she was left trembling and wheezing in the detective's arms.
"That's it, honey.", Olivia whispered. "Just relax."
"See? Focus on the anxiety, Casey." Sarah instructed. "You're going to feel it continue to go down."
Casey reached out and clutched Olivia's hand while almost succeeding in taking a deep breath.
"In through the nose, out through the mouth, Casey", Sarah said gently. "You're safe here. No one can hurt you…"
After several more minutes of encouragement and instruction Casey's heart rate and breathing finally returned to somewhat normal levels.
Olivia continued to hold Casey while looking over the young woman's head at the paramedic.
"Thank you", Olivia whispered.
Sarah gave Olivia a small smile. "My daughter suffers from panic attacks.", she explained, "they can be pretty scary when you don't know what you're dealing with but the important thing to remember is that they always go away."
Olivia nodded and returned the smile.
"I'd still like to get Casey to the hospital.", Sarah said, "She looks a little dehydrated. If you can help me get her up onto the stretcher I can call in my partner, Bob, to help me carry her out to the bus.
After some maneuvering Olivia and Sarah managed to help Casey onto the stretcher.
As soon as Casey was lying down her whole body went rigid and she once again looked terrified.
"She doesn't like being on her back," Olivia said quickly.
Sarah didn't look for an explanation but instead quickly raised the top of the stretcher so Casey was sitting up.
Olivia stepped closer and placed her hand on Casey's arm while Sarah stepped out to grab her partner.
"I'm so sorry I put you through this, Case", Olivia said softly while biting back tears. "I never should have put you in this position. I'm so Sorry…"
Sensing Olivia's internal torment and not wanting the detective to hold herself responsible, Casey reached up and covered the detective's hand with her own. Casey managed a weak but comforting squeeze before the paramedics returned and carried Casey out to the ambulance with Olivia following not far behind.