Author's Note: This story came about as a result of challenging myself to provide a more fitting and more realistic exit for the character of Casey Novak. It is an AU C/O fiction that begins during Undercover. All things SVU belong to the mighty Dick Wolf and Wolf Productions. No harm, foul or infringement is intended. I write for fun, not profit. All the original characters belong to me. In these first chapters we have major spoilers for Undercover and Night. Liberties are then taken for the rest of season 9. Enjoy!
Detective Elliot Stabler heard the clicking of heels on the squad room floor and looked up. "Hey Case."
"Morning, Elliot." Assistant District Attorney Casey Novak looked around the room. "Liv around?"
Munch walked over nibbling a powdered donut. "To what do we owe the honor this fine day, counselor?"
"I wanted to talk to Liv about her testimony...the Richmond case. Is she in yet?" The detectives exchanged glances. Casey looked back and forth between the two men. "What?"
"Casey, maybe you should talk to the Captain. Liv is on assignment. Undercover." Elliot fidgeted nervously, tapping his pen against his fingers.
Casey crinkled her brow. "On what case? Do not tell me the FBI scooped her up again." Why wasn't anyone looking her in the eye?
Munch walked over and sat on the edge of Elliot's desk. "The Alvarez case."
Casey looked at Detective John Munch. He was a jokester, but this was beyond even him. "You're not kidding, are you?" The statuesque woman's face clouded with concern.
Elliot shook his head and looked her in the eye for the first time.
"Ok, so I'm not imagining things here, can someone please give me the complete story? Where exactly is Detective Olivia Benson?" Her green eyes widened and her nostrils flared.
"Casey." The familiar, fatherly baritone of Captain Donald Cragen spun her around. "In my office, please."
She folded her arms and brushed passed the detectives and captain. Casey stood with her jaw set, her shoulders squared and her eyes filled with a mix of anger and confusion. "Well?"
"Sit?" The Captain offered meagerly. She shook her head. The captain folded his hands and began to explain. "Olivia has voluntarily gone deep undercover at Sealview Women's Correctional Facility. She wants to catch the CO that raped Justina and repeatedly raped her mother."
Casey sunk in to the chair as her face went white. "And you let her? Elliot let her? How? And why the hell was I kept on the outside, Don?" Her stomach knotted at the prospect of Olivia in prison...alone...unprotected...unable to protect the inmates. "The last I knew the warden wasn't cooperating."
The captain took his seat and leaned back. "It was all her idea and there was no stopping her. You know Liv." He took a deep breath and rubbed his bald head. "No one on the inside knows, not even the warden. We managed to get Fin a new job as a CO there, but that's the only lifeline she's got. She was committed as a drug offender."
"This is north of insane, Don. Let's trap Olivia in prison with a raping Corrections Officer, identity unknown, with no way to pull her out if it gets too dangerous." Casey rubbed her forehead. "Christ almighty." She exhaled.
"It's already done, Casey. I'm sorry." Don didn't know what else to say. "She's the best. You know that. If anyone can pull this off, she can."
"And I was left out here why?" Casey looked heavenward and felt tears that she'd never let fall sting the back of her eyes. "I'm her fricking ADA, Don."
"We needed to keep it as tight as we could." The captain was matter of fact. "The fewer people in the know, the safer the operation."
"I see. How is she communicating back?" She needed to think.
"Fin is her only way." The captain steepled his fingers.
"And have we heard from her yet?" Casey questioned.
"Not since she went in two days ago."
Casey sat silently turning the facts over in her prosecutorial mind. "I'm thinking the DA's office might want to offer this prisoner a deal in exchange for her testimony. Call the warden and arrange the meeting." Casey stood. "Today."
"Casey, I can't let you. It's too dangerous to send you in there." Cragen reasoned.
"Don't explain the dangers to me, Captain. Someone has to protect Olivia if you can't." Casey spat the words.
"You'll watch your tone, counselor. I don't like what you're implying." Cragen's cool exterior was heating up a bit as he placed both palms on his desk and leaned in.
"Get me in to see her. I'll find out what she knows, what she thinks and establish a way for us to come in to extract her at a moment's notice." Casey turned to walk out.
"Ok. Your plan has merit, Casey. I know you're just looking out for your detective. But you know you're not the only one." The captain held the angry green eyes with his gentle gaze.
"I know." Casey stormed through the squad room, heels clacking and her blue coat swaying as she stormed.
The guard brought Olivia in cuffed and chained. She looked pale and had dark circles under her eyes. The orange jumpsuit did nothing for her olive complexion. There was a bandage on her left arm with a dab of blood on it. "Good afternoon, Miss Warren. Thanks for meeting with me."
Olivia stayed in character and let out a whistle. She narrowed her gaze at the red haired attorney. "Well, sweetheart, I'm never one to miss a date with a redhead." She leered at Casey as she sat in the chair opposite her. Her brown eyes roving over Casey's body and lighting on the low cut of the white shell under her dark suit.
"Can I get you anything? Water? Coffee?" Casey was impressed by Olivia's act.
"Nah...not unless you want to ask Barney here to leave and you throw in a foot rub." She winked at the redhead causing Casey to shift uncomfortably in her chair.
"Well, if you're certain you don't want anything, we'll move on. I'll ask to be alone with the prisoner, officer." Casey took some files out of her briefcase. "Oh, and please uncuff and unchain her as well."
"Damn, tiger. I'd have expected you'd prefer me tied up." She licked her lips as she lifted her bound wrists for the guard. "You heard the lady."
Casey felt her cheeks color slightly. Olivia was good. She cleared her throat. "Miss Warren. Are you enjoying being a guest of the state?" She posed the question as the guard exited.
Just in case the guard could still hear them Olivia played for a moment longer. "Oh, yeah. Five fuckin' stars, darlin'. Five fucking stars."
"I'll ask you to please watch your language. I'm here to discuss a deal." Casey played with some papers and looked up.
"Casey, why are you here?" Olivia rolled her head from side to side.
"Because no one had heard from you since you went under and frankly I wanted to make sure you were safe. Oh and to tell you that you are insane for doing this." Casey held the gaze across the table from hers.
"Oh." Olivia read the genuine concern in the emerald eyes. "I like one guy for it. Justina's mother is dead. I know he did it but can't prove it. Can Warner arrange an autopsy? The inmates aren't really chatty, but I've got some leads. And I've been initiated." She lifted her arm.
"Ok, good. Write down the badge number of the guy you like. I'll talk to Melinda. God, Liv. Were you badly hurt?" Casey reached across the table, pushing a fake photo to Olivia.
"Just a scratch." Olivia smiled now. "So, you're gonna cut me a deal if I give up my dealer?"
"Something like that. And a DA witness can be yanked from the system with a simple warrant to compel." Casey pushed a paper across the table. "Just sign here."
"Uh huh." She grabbed the pen, signed and wrote down the facts they had just discussed. "Nice work, Case. Thank you."
"Please be safe, Liv. Let Fin know the minute you want out." Casey grabbed the pen back and squeezed Liv's hand. "Now on with our show."
"What should I do?" Olivia asked.
"Cause a ruckus. Just enough for me to call the guard back." Casey braced herself.
Olivia nodded and got back in character quickly. "So, whatdya say, Miss Novak? We've played let's make a deal...now..." She stood, circled the ADA then approached her from behind.
"Yes, we do have a deal. You'll be expected in court, per a subpoena that will be forthcoming. Please go back to your seat." Casey felt a little nervous as she felt Olivia standing behind her.
Olivia leaned down, her face inches from the crook of Casey's neck. She inhaled deeply. "Mmmmm, what is that, sweetheart? Honeysuckle and a hint a fear? My favorite." She placed her hand on Casey's shoulder. Casey's shudder was genuine.
Casey hit the red button on the side of the table. "Guard!"
"Shame. Things were just getting interesting." She held her palms up as the guard entered.
"Back off, bitch!" The guard grabbed Olivia hard and forced her to the ground. The crack of Olivia's head hitting the floor made Casey wince.
"Easy! She wasn't hurting me. Just a little too close for comfort. No need for undue force, officer." Casey made her thoughts on roughing up inmates known in a single sentence and glare at the officer.
"Yes, ma'am. Just can't ever trust the feisty ones." He had Olivia recuffed, chained and was leading her out.
"Miss Warren?" Casey asked hoping for one more chance to make eye contact.
The officer spun her around. "Yeah, Miss Novak?"
"Do you have any questions for me on the arrangement we decided on today?" Casey was placing files back in her briefcase.
"Only one, sweetheart. You a natural redhead?" She winked and felt the CO's forearm pull her head and body around as she was led from the room. "Wear something with a slit to court for me, huh? I'm a leg woman...can't lay off the tall ones."
Olivia's last comments were hurled over her shoulder as she was led struggling from the room. Olivia was just playing a role. There was no need for Casey to feel as flustered over the exchange as she did. She explained it away as being hard for her to watch the guard be so rough with her friend. She knew better.
She smoothed out her skirt and collected herself. She felt the color subside from her cheeks.
The moment Casey heard about the TB hold, she made a call. "Dr. Warner, it's Novak. I need to break medical protocol at Sealview to pull a witness...NOW. Meet me at Petrovsky's in 15 minutes...time to wake up a judge."
Casey and Melinda came down the stairs behind Stabler and Munch. They learned Fin had gotten there in the nick of time and Olivia was for the most part unharmed.
Both women rode with Olivia in the ambulance to Manhattan General.
"I don't know why we're doing this. I'm not hurt. Fin got there in time." Olivia just wanted to go home and shower...for a few hours.
"Liv, you know why. We need to examine you and frankly, we need to collect any evidence of your assault." Melinda spoke professionally. She knew Liv knew this.
"We can't let this inhumane S.O.B. get away, Liv. Not after everything you've been through. I simply won't allow it." Casey grabbed Olivia's hand and squeezed it.
Olivia sighed deeply and squeezed Casey's hand back. "I know. I just want to get it over with and get home."
"I'll make sure they get you right in and handle everything quickly and accurately." Melinda's voice was still all business. "That was a ballsy thing you did, Liv." She finally smiled. "We need to make sure we nail this scum."
Liv nodded weakly.
It was almost 2am before Olivia was dressed, packed and released. Casey stood in the doorway. "You ready to go?"
"I can get my own way home, Casey." Olivia laced up her sneakers.
"You did this for me once, Liv. I'm driving you home and making sure you get settled in. It's final." Casey folded her arms and set her shoulders with resolve.
"Guess Kat Warren would think I'm a pretty lucky gal having you drive me home." Liv smiled.
"Yeah, that was some performance, Liv." She grabbed Olivia's bag and walked her down the hall.
"I've seen a lot of scum try to get under people's skin. Inappropriate sexual banter is the easiest way to fluster most people...especially straight laced attorneys in power suits."
Casey led her to her car. "I'm not so straight laced, you know."
"Yeah, but it flustered you, right?" Liv played with the hospital ID bracelet on her wrist.
Casey hit the button to unlock her car. "My chariot, for instance."
"A freaking Prius? That makes you not straight laced?" Liv widened her eyes.
"Just get in. It's late and you've had a long day." Casey started the car. Liv gave her directions to her place. Casey parallel parked it like a champ in front of Liv's building.
"Thanks, Casey. I appreciate...everything." Liv said as she got out.
Casey turned off the engine and got out.
"You don't have to walk me up." Liv was getting exasperated with her ADA.
"I know I don't have to. I want to. Lead the way." Casey gestured to Olivia.
"Did you know you're stubborn?" Liv teased.
"Yes. It's on my resume." Casey could give as good as she got.
"Don't make me lapse in to Kat just to intimidate you again." Liv smirked.
"Kat didn't intimidate me." Casey countered as they got on the elevator.
"Oh no?" Olivia flipped a switch. "Alone at last, Miss Novak." She placed a hand on either side of Casey's head and pressed in to her personal space.
"Liv, stop." Casey tried to yank her arms away, but Liv was strong.
"Thought you weren't intimidated?" Liv tilted her head.
"I'm not." Casey flushed as the elevator indicated their floor and the doors opened.
"Uh huh." Liv stepped away and fished her keys out of her bag. "Here we are."
Casey followed Liv in to her apartment, uninvited. "Nice place."
"Thanks. Look, Case..." She took off her jacket and hung it up. "I'm sorry about the elevator. I don't know what got in to me. My head's not on straight."
"That's why I'm here." Casey smiled shyly.
"Thank you, again. I'm settled though. I'm showering and going to bed." Liv tried to sound like she had it all under control.
Casey loitered in the entryway. "When was the last time you ate something?" She questioned using her prosecutor voice.
"I don't remember, counselor." Liv pursed her lips. At the mention of food her stomach lurched a little. "I'm actually not feeling very hungry right now."
"Go shower. I'll make you something light. You really should eat something." Casey waited for Olivia to respond.
"You're being a special kind of pain in my ass. Good luck finding anything in there. If I remember correctly, I've got beer, spoiled milk and fish sticks." She gestured down the hall to the kitchen.
"Just doing my part to help those that protect and serve." Casey took off her coat and made her way towards the kitchen.
"Suit yourself. I'll only be a few minutes." Liv walked down the hall looking forward to a very cleansing shower.
"Take your time, Liv." Casey was opening and closing cabinets by the time Liv returned from her bedroom with a tank top, boxers and a towel. She shrugged at the woman and went in to the bathroom with a shake of her head.
Casey found two apples, some saltines and half a tub of peanut butter. She could make that work. She rummaged a bit further and found some lemon tea. She had peeled and sliced up the apples in a small bowl with a smear of peanut butter on the side and was arranging the crackers on a plate when the tea kettle started to boil. She found two mismatched mugs and poured the water so the tea could steep.
She could still hear the water running, but it had been almost a half hour. She walked down the hall to the bathroom. She heard muffled noises coming from behind the door. She knocked lightly. "Liv?" When she got no answer she knocked again. "Liv, are you ok?" She waited. "Answer me please."
Casey began to panic. She tried the knob and it gave. She turned the knob and pushed the door open. She blinked back against the steam that stung her eyes. "LIV?" This time, she heard strangled sobs coming from behind the shower curtain.
"I'm coming in, ok?" She rushed over and pulled back the curtain. Olivia sat huddled in the far corner of the tub, uncontrolled sobs racking her naked body. Her normally olive skin was bright red from the hot water raining down on her. "Oh God, Liv. No." She reached out to touch the woman, but Liv recoiled from her.
"NO! Damn it! Sonofabitch, NONONONO!!!!!!!!!!" Olivia's voice was raw.
"Ok, sweetie. I'm sorry. I...I'm here. Ok, Liv? I'll just be...right here." Casey sank down beside the tub.
After a few minutes, Olivia's sobs turned to dry heaves.
"Liv, we need to get you out of there. I'm going to turn off the water, ok?" Casey looked at the shaking, sobbing detective and her heart broke. 'What did that son of a bitch do to you?' The medical exam had returned no evidence of rape. She was beaten and bruised, but... Casey reached in and turned off the water. She got the towel and held it up. "Just stand up, ok?" Casey averted her eyes as the broken woman before her stood and stepped in to the towel. Casey wrapped it around her. Olivia was shaking.
"Dear God, Liv. We need to get you dressed, ok?" Casey's eyes filled with tears for Liv.
Olivia's face was vacant. She heard Casey's words but couldn't process them. She stood, dripping wet, shivering, wrapped in a towel her hands dangling uselessly at her sides.
Casey rubbed her face with her hands. "Ok, I'll help. That's what friends are for, right?" She carefully toweled off Olivia's hair, face, shoulders and back. She took a step back. "Liv, can you do the rest yourself?"
Olivia nodded slowly.
"Ok, I'll turn around and get your clothes. If you need help, just let me know." She turned her back as Olivia finished drying off.
"Uh, Case..." She felt a cold, shaking hand touch her arm, but she didn't turn.
"So cold." Liv's voice was a raspy whisper.
Casey looked down at the tank and shorts in her hand. "Ok, we'll get you some warmer things." She looked around the bathroom and found a robe. "Here, put this on until we find something else. Is it ok if I turn around?"
"Yes." Liv's voice was a whisper.
Casey turned. She saw a shaking, shivering ghost of Olivia Benson. A mere shadow of the brave, stalwart detective she knew. She was naked before her in every way possible. She saw the deep bruises on Liv's torso and her throat tightened in anger at the man that put them there. "Come here, Liv." She held the robe open for her.
Olivia stepped in to the robe. Casey tied it in front and rubbed Liv's arms quickly hoping for the warming effect of friction. "Better?"
"Ok, let's go get some clothes." She offered Olivia her hand and Olivia grasped it almost desperately. Olivia pulled the redhead to her and clung for dear life. Casey snaked her arms around Olivia and held her tightly.
Casey felt the woman tense and then relax in her arms. She went with it. If Olivia needed to be held, to feel warm and close and protected she was glad to provide that service. Lord knows Olivia had played that role to countless women. "Shhhh. It's ok. I'm here. You're safe now." She rubbed Olivia's back and rocked her as silent tears rolled down both women's cheeks.
After several minutes, Olivia spoke. "Sorry, I...I."
"Shhhh, don't you say another sentence that starts with sorry. You did nothing wrong. So if you're going to apologize, just don't." She was still holding Olivia.
"Ok. Thank you." Liv sighed heavily. "I should get some clothes."
"Yeah. You ok to go do that?" Casey whispered.
Olivia nodded against her shoulder. "Yeah."
"Ok, I'll clean up in here and meet you in the living room." Casey didn't want to be the one to break the embrace.
Olivia pulled back and took a deep breath. "Sounds good."