Rough Terrain

Disclaimer: The characters are only on loan. I'll return them to the library at the end of the month.

Author's Note: This story is partly taken from a previous story I wrote called "Surprises Along the Way." I wasn't happy with how that story was going, and decided to change it into something completely different. This story will be E/O and Casey friendship with some adventure along the way. Please review and let me know what you think!

Casey sat at the table in the courtroom anxiously awaiting the verdict from the jury. It had been a long trial. She was exhausted. She had spent weeks preparing for the trial. She had barely eaten or slept in ages. She had a constant headache. Her relationship with her boyfriend of 2 years was on the rocks. He had become incredibly controlling, and questioned every time she worked late, or wanted to out with friends. He had also become too demanding in the bedroom. During an argument the previous week, he slapped her and called her a bitch. Casey had a suspicion that had started using drugs. She had to find a way to break it off with Brad permanently. She couldn't stand to be around him anymore.

Casey had presented a strong case against James Grover. He was accused of kidnapping five to eight year old girls, raping them repeatedly, and holding them as sex slaves in storage containers in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He murdered all but one of his victims. He showed no remorse for any of his crimes. Casey had a strong feeling the jury would find him guilty, but could never be sure until the verdict was read. Casey looked up as the jury foreman began to speak.

"We the jury find the defendant James Grover guilty on all counts."

Casey took a deep breath of relief. She could rest easily knowing that Grover would likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

All of a sudden, a ruckus broke out in the courtroom. There was screaming. People were running out of the courtroom. Before she knew what was happening, Grover grabbed Casey and was holding her by her neck.

"You stupid bitch! You're gonna pay for this! You'll never be safe again. I'm gonna get you! Just wait! And tell that detective Benson she's next!"

Grover grabbed Casey and threw her to the ground. Her head collided with the edge of the wooden table with a sickening crack. When her body landed on the floor, he began kicking her repeatedly. He kicked Casey multiple times before he could be restrained.

Olivia realized Casey was unconscious and immediately called 911. Blood was oozing uncontrollably out of Casey's head and mouth.

"Casey Novak, 32. A.D.A in Manhattan. Assaulted in the courtroom. Major head trauma and internal injuries. Unconscious when we arrived on the scene."

Olivia stayed with Casey in the emergency room. She was surprised to see a familiar face in the trauma room.

"Melinda, what are you doing here?"

"With the hospital staffing shortage, they asked if I wanted to pick up a few shifts. I'm enjoying it. It's nice to be working with live people again."

Olivia stepped back as Melinda ordered a barrage of tests and x-rays. The doctors and nurses were buzzing like bees around Casey. Olivia's heart sank when she heard an alarm go off.

"Olivia, why don't you wait outside? I'll come get you as soon as she's stable."

Olivia followed Melinda's orders. She took a seat in the hall close to the trauma room. She prayed that Casey would be okay. Elliot Cragen, and Judge Donnely appeared few minutes later. They waited along with Olivia for news about Casey's condition. About fifteen minutes later, Casey was wheeled out of the trauma room. Melinda stepped out into the hall.

They all stood at the same moment.

"How is she?"

"She's stable now. She has a serious head injury. When she fell, her head hit the edge of the desk and managed to crack her skull. She has a severe concussion. I believe when the swelling goes down, she'll regain consciousness. She has 4 broken ribs, 1 of which punctured her left lung. She's going surgery now. She is going to need blood. I know Elliot and Olivia are the same blood type. I was wondering if the two of you like to donate? She also broke her left wrist when she fell. I believe will need to be repaired surgically. I've ordered an orthopedic consult."

Casey woke up in a hospital bed, with a blinding light shining into her eyes. She felt disoriented. Where was she? Why were all of these tubes connected to her? What the hell was in her throat? The last thing she remembered was the guilty verdict in court. She looked around and saw Olivia's jacket and bag on the chair, but Olivia was not in the room. Casey heard the door opening and saw Melinda step into the room.

"Hi Casey, I see you're awake."

"Yeah, she said groggily. She could barely speak because of the tube in her throat. What happened to me? How long was I out?"

"You were assaulted in court by James Grover. You've been out for two days."

Casey's eyes widened. "Two days?"

"Casey calm down, everything will be fine. You fell and hit your head. You cracked your skull and suffered a pretty severe concussion. You also broke four ribs which punctured your lung. You needed surgery to repair your wrist."

Casey looked down. She didn't even notice the pink cast on her left wrist.

"You're ready to have the breathing tube removed. Do you want to do it now?"

Casey shook her head yes.

"Alright take a deep breath in when I count to three."

A few seconds later, Casey was coughing uncontrollably as Melinda pulled the tube from her throat. After she finished coughing, Melinda offered her a cup of water."

"Much better," Casey said.

"Casey, there's something else," Melinda said seriously.

Casey's blue eyes focused on the doctor with fear.

Melinda spoke softly. "Did you know that you're pregnant?"

Casey became ghastly pale. She stuttered. "Pr…pr…pregnant?" Casey felt faint.

"Relax Casey. The baby is fine. It has a strong heartbeat. We did an ultrasound. It looks like you are about 10 weeks along."

Casey didn't know what to say. She didn't expect this. She certainly wasn't planning this.

"Casey, are you okay," Melinda asked.

Casey couldn't breathe. Her heart was racing. All of a sudden, the room started to dim. She felt an intense heat in her body. Then, she fell into the darkness.

Casey woke up a few minutes later lying flat on her back with an oxygen mask over her face.

"Welcome back Casey," Melinda said. Melinda replaced the oxygen mask with a nasal canula.

"I take it the pregnancy was unplanned?"

"Yeah, hugely unplanned." Casey began to cry. I can't have a baby with Brad. He's not the same man anymore. He's been horrible lately. We've been having so many problems! Melinda he hit me! I need to break up with him!"

"Did you report it?"

"No." Casey looked away. I was too embarrassed. I work for SVU and I let a man hit me."

"Based on your hormone levels and ultrasound, I'd say you were about 9 or 10 weeks along. Are you experiencing any symptoms?"

"I missed two periods, but I thought it was stress related."

"I'll tell you what Casey, I'll run the standard prenatal blood screening, and we'll do another ultrasound tonight. At least you'll have some peace of mind until you can make an appointment with your regular OBGYN and decide what to do."

Casey nodded absently. Casey was still feeling dizzy.. She couldn't believe she was pregnant. She was totally unprepared for this. "I can't believe I let this go on for 9 or10 weeks! What is wrong with me?" Thoughts were swirling around her mind.

Olivia stepped back into the room with a cup of coffee.

"Casey, how are you? I just saw Melinda leave."

Olivia could see that Casey had been crying. "Case, what's wrong?"

"Liv, I'm pregnant."

"Is that good or bad," Olivia asked seriously.

"Liv I don't know. I don't want a baby with Brad. He's been so horrible to me. I've been wanting to break up with him. He's always accusing me of cheating when I work late. He practically forces me to have sex with him. Olivia he hit me!"

"Casey why didn't you tell me? How long has this been going on?"

"About four months now. He's changed. I think he may be into drugs. What am I going to do?"

"Case, first you need to decide if you want to have this baby. You need to decide for yourself, not for him. He doesn't have to be involved if you don't want him to."

Later on that night, Melinda returned with a portable ultrasound machine. Casey laid down on the extra bed in the hospital room. She lifted her shirt to just below her bra. She couldn't believe how frigidly cold the room was. The ultrasound gel made it even worse. Melinda pressed the instrument lightly into her skin, and an image appeared on the screen.

"There's your baby." Melinda said carefully studying the screen. Everything looks good. My estimate would be that you're about 10 weeks along. It's still too early to tell the sex."

Melinda wiped the gel off of Casey's belly, and helped her fix her gown. "I'd like to go over your test results Casey. Everything is normal except your iron and glucose levels are very low. You are also a little underweight. Are you eating enough," Melinda said seriously.

"Well, I, guess not. I try, but I skip meals a lot when I'm busy…"

"Casey, no matter what you decide, you need to take care of yourself. I know your job is stressful, but it's taking a toll on you physically."

Casey needed to decide what to do. She wasn't sure if she could have a baby right now.

"I'm so tired but I don't have time to sleep. I've been up almost all night for the past few days trying to get ready for the Grover case. There just isn't enough time in a day. I feel like I'm going to fall asleep in court sometimes. Then I have to go home and keep working. The issues with Brad on top of everything is overwhelming. It's too much. I feel like I'm drowning. What the hell am I going to do," Casey thought to herself.

"Case, no matter what you decide, we're all here for you."

"I know Liv, it's just such a huge decision."