It wasn't like anyone else could understand, not really.

Nearly every day the Special Victims Unit see things that truly disturb. A women, tortured and raped, sawn into pieces; a child, stabbed in the eye after being brutally molested; a man, viciously raped, a gunshot to the head.

Maybe that was why.

Maybe that's why, at the end of the day, they all crowd into the pub down the road from the precinct and try to forget, chat, flirt, tease. Everything is fine, after all.

Then they leave and spend nights curled under duvets, images playing repeatedly in front of tired eyes, young lined faces that had seen too much too soon, married to the job and therefore to each other.

They know each other's quirks-and why shouldn't they?-endless nights spent searching for criminals has condemned them to spending days in close proximity to one another. They know each other's food preferences, dating records- or there lack of and they always know when it's just too much to take.

When Fin pulls his trembling partner into a shaky embrace as he stares, pale faced at the remains of a Rabbi, raped and burnt alive simply because of his faith; when Olivia squeezes Elliot's hand as he worries about the safety of his family after SVU let a child molester slip through their fingers. These are the times they have to face the facts that their co-workers are nothing short of their family.

Because after all, it wasn't like anyone else could understand, not really.