Author's Note: This is kinda a prequel to "This is Where the Truth Begins" But its a oneshot, and thus, can stand alone. Pretty much the only connection is the OC.

Disclaimer: I dont own SVU or Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle, from where i borrowed the opening quote. There, I've said it, step off.

The story was simple: over

the course of three days – Good Friday to Easter

Sunday – Dante trekked through the nine levels of

Hell, each filled with sinners worse than the next, until

finally he came through the other side. The poem was full of

ranting and weeping and demons, of fighting lovers and

traitors eating the brains of their victims – in other

words, graphic enough to hold the interest of today's

college students…

and to provide a distraction from her real life.

Years ago, I used to be fascinated by the snow. I always thought that the cool thing about it was, that it didn't really fall like rain did. It sort of floated, its icy white particles danced through the air, slowly meandering their way to the ground. And when it finally got there, it stuck, remaining behind for days at a time. I loved being able to look out my window three days after a storm and see the traces it had left behind.

Of course, there were other things that, like the snow, stuck with you for some time. The melody of a particularly catchy song you heard on the radio, the scent of tobacco if you lit a cigarette indoors. I used to love things that created memories.

But that was before I realized that memories could be bad too.

I'd like to pretend that this story didn't start on a day where the rain was falling hard, thunder crashed in the distance, and lightning flashed ominously.

But if I said that, I'd be lying.

I want to pretend that the sun had burned warm and bright all day, and had just begun to dip lower in the sky, casting a glow of cotton candy pink on the surrounding clouds. I wished that I had watched a day like that from my bedroom window, wishing, like a child for just a moment, that it would be possible to reach out and touch them. To be able to grab a handful, and stuff your face, just like at a carnival. To not care if your hands got sticky, or if you ate so much you threw up. Because if I allowed myself to think those things, then the day doesn't seem so bad.

When I thought those things, I didn't have to face what was really going on in my life

I never pretended that I could understand people. They were all too different, and personally, I'd discovered that I was a horrible judge of character. So I couldn't understand why I'd spent that last ten minutes trying to understand exactly what was going through the mind of Detective Olivia Benson. She'd barely spoken a word, simply folded her arms over her chest and stared at me. Looked at me, as if she was trying to understand me.

"Mrs. Davenport," she said finally, "we've had quite a few calls about a fight that took place in your home…"

I felt the blush rise in the back of my next, my face flushed scarlet. Bright red. Except where I could feel it already starting to turn purple. I wondered where else I'd bruise. "I must've left the television on too loudly. And please, my name is Lexi. Mrs. Davenport makes me feel old. And I'm only twenty-three."

"Is your husband home?" she asked her suddenly, trying to crane her neck so she could see inside my home.

Deliberately, I stepped in her way, and bit my lip, and turning my head to look back into the apartment. "Yes, Will is home." I whispered the words, as if in prayer, praying he wouldn't hear me breathe his name.

But he did. He always heard me.

I felt his hands circle around my waist. Cold. Like ice to the touch. I knew it was from the booze. His never ending drinking binges were bound to lead to poor circulation. I turned to face him, the smoky grey of his eyes, the eyes I'd fallen in love with, were clouded with red. Bloodshot from the tequila he favored. Devoid of all feeling.

"Detective Benson." Will said with a curt nod in Olivia's direction.

"Officer Davenport"

"What can we do for you?"

I'd give Olivia this much, she was a damn good liar. Almost as good as I was. He knew she worked out of the 16th precinct. Knew she worked sex crimes. It wouldn't do anyone any favors to say otherwise.

"There have been a string of rapes in the neighborhood. We're just going door to door to see if anyone's seen anything."

"We haven't." he assured her, brushing his dark hair away from his perfect face.

No, I thought. No rapes here. Except the one that took place in your own home.

But why would that count?

Will looked at me again, brushed his lips gently across the top of my head. The shiver that ran down my spine was pure fear, and it took every ounce of strength I had in my body to avoid flinching.

To avoid giving myself away.

"Alexandra didn't see anything, did you love? You'd have told me if you did, right?"

"No. I mean, no I didn't see anything, of course I'd have told you."

Will smiled, flashing a set of brilliant white teeth, dazzling. "Well then, if there's anything else, Detective?"

Olivia faltered. "I…no, that's it, I suppose. If you think of anything else, Lexi, please…" she pressed her thin business card into the palm of my hand. I nodded slowly, unable to voice the thoughts running through my head. "Thanks for your time." She finished, looking directly at my husband, a hardened look in her brown eyes.

I swallowed hard, and waited while Will closed the door behind her, slid on the chain lock.


"Did you know her?" he demanded of me the second Olivia was gone.

I rolled my eyes, ignoring his stupid question. Of course I didn't know her. I wasn't friends with all sorts of cops like he was. Come to think of it, I didn't really have any friends at all.

"Are you deaf, girl?" Will hollered. "Or are you just stupid?"

My voice shriveled in my throat.

"You answer me when I ask you a question!" he roared, squeezing harder and shaking me roughly. My body felt limp, my bones gone, replaced with rubber.

Will snorted in disgust, swinging his fist hard against my jaw, holding me still so I couldn't fall. I glanced towards the locked door, towards Olivia and freedom.

"Did you think she was here to save you, Alexandra? A white knight come to your rescue? Answer me!"

My vision wobbled precariously as I was shaken again, another massive hand collapsing the veins of my arm.

"Please," I begged. "Please, please stop."

Will barked out a laugh and his fist landed solidly in my stomach, I doubled over, the force of the blow carrying me backwards.

Backwards into oblivion, the air wrapping around me like a second skin. My shoulder slammed into the coarse-carpeted stairs, then my ribs, my leg.

I was a mess of broken material piled at the bottom of the stairs. The pain rose up from all over my body, bubbling gelatinously through my veins, up into my brain, setting it on fire. My throat sanded out a low moan, my eyes jarred themselves loose enough to look at the rakish red fibers of the old carpet, only millimeters from my face.

I couldn't differentiate between body parts, for they were all tangled together so tightly, like the most complex knot.

The pain ebbed and flowed, slipping away one second, crushing back in the next.

I felt my body disentangle as I was lifted off the ground. I forced my eyes closed, opened, close, open, close, open, until everything came into a little bit of focus.

Will stood in front of me, holding me up by my upper arms, waiting for something. His face was expectant.

I took inventory. My shoulder didn't feel broken, just badly bruised. My legs were holding him up well enough. The marrow of my ribs had liquefied into magma, but I could ignore it if I held his breath. I stared up at my husband.

"Learned your lesson?" Will rumbled, and I felt the words more than heard them, in the way my bones vibrated and my broken ribs grated together.

"Yes sir," I forced out, voice scribbling roughly between high and low as it cracked pitifully.

Tenderly, he caressed my cheek. "I…Alexandra, I'm so sorry. I don't like hurting you. I lose control."

"I know." I felt myself murmur before turning slowly to walk up the stairs.

The injuries will fade. This, I knew from experience. But the memories, like the snow, who knew how long they'd last.

Maybe forever.