Disclaimer- I do not own the characters or the show or anything, nor is my name Dick Wolf. If my name was Dick Wolf, I would change my name, because it is a really ridiculous name showing an obvious urge to imply a large amount of powerful masculinity. Maybe he's compensating for something. evil laugh

But anyhow, SVU is not mine, even though it'd be nice to own it so I wouldn't just sit around here in new york and contemplate better things to do.

oh yeah, by the way, I'm a New Yorker (not british, obv.) and I call my mother 'mum'. so Olivia is called 'mum.' because I do. I have never called my mother 'mom' to her face. I don't know why. I'm a headcase, okay? y'all should know that by now.

Olivia emerged from the shower, wrapping a terry bathrobe around her body and letting her hair, soaked and looking almost black, fall on either side of her face. She took but a second to study her reflection in the mirror as she opened the door to the bathroom, hearing the soft music of Bizet playing one room over.

Her hair was longer now, under her husband's advice that she grow it out. She fidgeted with her bathrobe, eyeing hips she did not remember having a few years ago. But the part of her that had changed the most was her face. It wasn't as if it had aged; it was more as if it had matured. The lines were softer, her eyes brighter, and her mouth was no longer set in the usual hard line of days gone by.

Well, she thought, smiling to herself, some things change with time.

She turned on the nightlight before exiting the room, padding barefoot across the carpeted hallway and turning into the room on her left. She stopped in the doorway, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply the smell of a lilac candle, listening to the sound of classical music that always had to be on for bedtime. It was as if she breathed deeply enough, she could be breathing in her daughter.

Audrey was asleep already, or at least that was how it looked, with her pink pajama-clad back turned to her mother, her chestnut hair falling over her shoulders. A worn honey-colored teddy bear sat discarded beside her in bed, one of its eyes missing and replaced with a few red stitches. Olivia smiled at its one familiar button eye, and the fur that had slowly worn away from excessive cuddling.

Olivia glanced around the room, even in the darkness able to recognize the familiar figures on her child's wall. There were posters of sports teams, preferably the Mets, and pictures of characters from Audrey's favorite movies. Audrey had come to love the heroes best; the ones who did what had been right, and fought for the just cause. Olivia felt her breath catch in her throat as she saw her own face standing out among the faces of heroes. The picture on the dresser, of a tearful mother and beaming father, holding a newly born Audrey between them, was set between a framed baseball card of Mike Piazza and a toy Simba figure. Olivia's heart leapt to know she was there on that wall, present in the collection of her daughter's heroes.

Olivia moved forward, sitting down on the edge of the light green bedspread. Green was Audrey's favorite color; the color of grass stains, leaf collections, and caterpillars that Audrey liked to keep in jars in the summer. Olivia had found herself biting her knuckles in stress once her daughter had shown her reckless side, proving a tomboy as her father had predicted minutes after she was born. "She's going to be a fighter." he'd said, grinning down at the squalling infant in his hands, and Olivia had rolled her eyes. "After 15 hours of labor, no joke." she'd said, giving him her signature wicked smile. But all of their expressions had softened when Audrey had stopped crying, and she and her parents had sat in silence and awe, staring at each other with a mix of amazement and love.

Olivia stroked the back of her daughter's head, feeling the thick chestnut hair run through her fingers. Audrey shifted her shoulders, and then turned to face her mother. Olivia smiled down at her, grinning at the large chocolate brown eyes that were unmistakably her own. Thank god she'd gotten her mother's hair and eyes, but that nose and chin were most certainly her father's. And that mouth…they'd yet to figure out which member of whose family had a set of lips that could show that much expression.

"Hello mum." Audrey said, stretching in bed and yawning.

"I thought you went to sleep." Olivia said, raising an eyebrow and giving her daughter a playful smile. Audrey grinned back, laughing when her mother bent over to blow a raspberry on her cheek.

"I was asleep." Audrey said, batting her long eyelashes. "But the music woke me up."

"The music?" Olivia leaned across the bed, turning off the radio on her daughter's bedside drawers. "I thought the music put you to sleep."

"It used to, but now it just keeps me awake." She bit her lip just like Olivia did when she was thinking hard. "I guess I'm growing up."

Olivia was silent for a moment, biting her lip, and mother and daughter stared at each for at least an entire minute, their expressions absolutely identical. Finally, Olivia broke the silence, her voice breaking halfway through her sentence.

"You're not allowed to grow up, remember?" She said, touching the tip of her daughter's nose, trying to smile again.

"I know." Audrey said, and there was no lie in those huge brown eyes.

"Well," Olivia finally said, trying to regain her smile and composure, "What can we get to put you to sleep?"

"Can you tell me a story?" Audrey asked, giving her mother the puppy dog eyes that Olivia had used so many times herself, melting her husband on the spot.

"I suppose." Audrey had moved over in bed, and Olivia lay down beside her, her wet hair sending a sudden chill down the back of her neck as she pressed against it. "What do you want to hear about?"

"I…" Audrey's voice had grown softer, her eyes now wandering to the ceiling of her room and the glow-in-the-dark stars that had been tacked there. "I want to hear about my grandfather."

"Grandpa James?" Olivia could feel her breath catch again, and even though she knew perfectly well of whom Audrey spoke, she couldn't bring herself to say his name.

"No." Audrey said, her voice suddenly firm and mature. "Your father, mommy."

"My father." Olivia fell silent, and it was a long time before she had even found the words to continue. "You want to hear about my father?"

"Yes, mommy, I do." Audrey said, turning to face her mother. Olivia had bitten her lip again, and now it had begun to hurt.

"Well…" Olivia took a deep breath, her mind becoming blank once more. Why did she suddenly feel so empty inside? Was it because she wouldn't be able to tell her daughter a story about a wonderful man, who fought in a war like her other grandfather, and loved and was loved by all around him? Or was it simply because she felt like she had nothing to say to her daughter? "What do you want to know, Audrey?"


Olivia had been dreading this response.

"Please, mommy… can't you tell me a story about him?"

"I can try." Olivia said, swallowing hard. Trying was not going to be as simple as the truth. "There was once a girl who lived with her mother. Her mother loved her very much, and tried to give her the best life possible. But the girl wanted to know about her father."

Olivia let out a deep sigh. Audrey pulled on her mother's sleeve, encouraging her to continue.

"Her mother had not loved her father, because he had hurt her. He had hurt her, and hated her, and so the girl's mother had come to fear him. She feared him and hated him, and the mother did not want the girl to fear or hate him either. But it was inevitable."

"What does inevitable mean, mommy?"

"It means that it has to happen no matter what."

"So you had to fear or hate him no matter what?"

"The girl didn't have a choice. Her father had done hurtful things. She could not be proud of what he'd done, or love him for hurting her own mother."

"Why did he hurt her?"

"The girl didn't know. Her mother wouldn't say. Maybe her mother hadn't known either. The girl had never known her father. He'd been gone since before she was born, and so she'd never known about what he'd done. He had just left."

"Where is he?"

Olivia remembered asking the very same question when she had been five, and the pained expression that had come across her own mother's face. She'd remembered crying into her pillow five years later, half in hatred at the man she'd learned of, and half in anger for wanting to have known before. Was it time? Should she tell her daughter about who her grandfather really was?

"He's…" Olivia tried to think of a reasonable answer, but there was no answer now, no answer but the truth. "I don't know."

"Why? When did he leave you and grandma?" Audrey asked, her eyes widening in fascination. "Why didn't you ever talk about him before?"

"I never knew my father." Olivia said plainly. "He hurt your grandmother, Audrey." She could feel something beginning to hurt in her chest, as if her heart was truly breaking from the inside. "He didn't love her, and she didn't love him. He only hurt her, and then he left."

Audrey was silent, just as Olivia had expected. What else could be said?

"Then why are you here?"

The question was simple, and straightforward. And it had been said in such an innocent manner that at first Olivia had hardly grasped its meaning.

Why was she here? What justified that she, a child of an evil act, should remain as a constant reminder of injustice, of pain? What purpose did she play that was powerful enough to grant her life, even with the horrible circumstances of her conception? Why had something so undeserving of life received it?

But there was something else that Olivia had to remember. Something her mother had once told her in those sleepless nights of contemplating, of wondering, and of hating:

"There is a reason you are here, and a reason you are special. If you'd just stop blaming yourself for everything that happened, everything that you had no control over, then you'd realize that you're alive because of love. There's nothing wrong about that. In fact, it's one of the most important things that could ever happen to a person."

"Your grandmother loved me, despite the hurt my father had caused her. She chose to love me, and forget the pain in her memories."

Audrey was slow in her response, but there was no silence hanging between their words now. "Did she really forget it?"

"No." Olivia said quietly, remembering days and nights of hiding in her room, locking the door so that her drunken mother couldn't come in and yell at her or hurt her. Wandering around the streets, trying to avoid going home to a mother smelling of booze and screaming cuss words after her as she ran to her room, blinking back tears.

"Did you love him?" Audrey asked, her voice almost a whisper.

Olivia took a deep breath before answering. "He hurt my mother. He almost killed her. I never knew him, nor did I ever want to." Olivia bit her lip again, brushing a tear from the corner of her eyelid. "No, Audrey." There was no more denying now. The truth had to be spoken. "I did not love him anymore than I do now."

"I love him." Audrey said, turning to face her mother. Olivia turned as well, feeling a tear fall down her cheek as she faced her daughter. Identical eyes stared at one another in silence; the only sound Olivia could hear were that of quiet breathing and her own heart pounding in her chest. Audrey reached out with a tiny hand and brushed the teardrop from her mother's face, and Olivia took that hand and held it to her lips, kissing the fingers in healing silence.

"I love him because of you." Audrey finished, her small mouth bending into a weak smile. "You wouldn't be here, and neither would I."

Olivia remained silent, still holding her daughter's hand to her face, now moving it to her cheek, feeling the warmth of the child-size palm. Her gaze was now lost among the faces on the walls. Smiles that judged her, that gave her reason to question her place among them. Why had she given life to a world so full of pain? After all she had seen and done, she had still brought the child beside her into this place of hurt and hate. Had she been right?

There was something about the gleam in the brown eyes that stared up at her that told her she was right. That told her she was loved. That told her everything awful she had ever seen or done didn't matter.

"I love you." She whispered in the darkness, and through the dim light, saw the smile on her daughter's face widen. "I love you so much."

"I know, mommy." And there was no lie in her eyes.

She laid there for at least an hour more, waiting for the quiet sound of slow breathing indicate her daughter had fallen asleep. Once Audrey had rolled onto her side, Olivia sat up and crawled from the bed, pulling the cover back over her daughter's small form.

"There is a reason you are here." She whispered into her daughter's ear, pushing back the long strands of hair. "You are special, because of love." She gave her daughter one final kiss; feeling more tears forming in her eyes, she left Audrey's room.

She was surprised to find the sleeping form of her husband in the bed already, and she wondered how long she had been asleep. Looking at the clock, she saw she had been in Audrey's room for at least three hours.

She fell asleep because I was there. She thought to herself, pulling the robe off and falling into bed beside her husband. He let out a groan and turned over to face her, a small smile on his lips.

"Decided to switch beds?" He asked, giving her a playful smile. She leaned over to kiss him, her tired head falling back onto her pillow once their lips had locked.

"Audrey couldn't sleep." She said, shrugging slowly.

"When I came in, you were both fast asleep."

"Really?" She had no memory of sleeping. "I don't remember…but she…" She took a deep breath. "She wanted to hear about him." She said softly, and saw the expression in Elliot's face flicker for a moment. She wasn't sure if it had been fear or sadness in his eyes, but it had disappeared immediately, leaving only a passive grey in its place.

"Your father…" It was not a question. "What did you say?"

"I told her the only thing I could think of."

"What was that?" He asked, cupping her face in his hand.

"The truth." She said plainly, her voice trailing off.

He grinned. "I knew you'd do the right thing. I always knew." He smiled again, then rolled back onto his side, his back to her again. "I knew from the moment we met, you'd do the right thing." His muffled voice said before he fell back to sleep.

She sighed, turning to the wall.

And then she felt it. Felt the emptiness within her beginning to disappear, replaced by an immediate sensation of warmth. The pain was over. No longer would she hate her father, or mourn her mother, or blame herself for everything that she had seen and heard.

It had been her mother's decision to keep her that had begun the slow decaying of her heart, and the presence of her own daughter that had filled it.

"Audrey saved me." Olivia whispered to herself, a crooked smile appearing on her lips as she closed her exhausted eyes.

Love began it, and love ended it.

sorry the ending's kind of crappy. I am really hoping to revise it into something a bit more…refined. recall I wrote this like last year, so it kind of sucks compared to everything else.