I don't own the wonderful characters of Law and Order: SVU. I'm just borrowing them.

Sorry for the long absence. I've been off in my other fantasy worlds (House and The OC) don't blame me. I blame Olivia Wilde ;-) Anyway after a weekened of watching every season of SVU that Stephanie March was in, I became inspired. Hope you enjoy.

Alex was still shaking from the incident with a defendant half an hour earlier. She wasn't shaking because he had lunged at her, although that did scare her momentarily. She was furious with the man who showed no remorse for beating his children, putting his wife in a coma, and stalking and raping four women.

Luckily Alex had gotten good at channeling her well hidden anger into her work since joining the sex crimes squad. So she rose from her desk, walked over to her well organized library and began her research.

It was hours before Alex even looked up at the clock. It didn't really matter what time it was because she didn't plan on sleeping tonight. Not that she could even if she wanted to. Any case involving child abuse cases always kept her up at night either with insomnia or nightmares.

She took a brief moment to take her glasses off and rub her eyes. As she took her hands away from her face, a knock sounded on her door. Alex checked the clock again. It was a few minutes past midnight. No one ever came over that late except for the SVU detectives if they couldn't reach her at home. Alex made a habit out of unplugging her office phone after six so that she could get work done and ignore the harassing calls from defense attorneys, reporters, defendants, their families, and the occasional activist.

"C'min," she called tiredly from her desk. She pulled a fresh notepad out of her desk and was poised to write, waiting for the description of the sort of warrant she needed to get.

Olivia opened the door and stepped in, softly closing it behind her.

"What can I help you with detective?" Alex asked, keeping her sharp eyes on Olivia who remained standing close to the door, her hands in her pockets. Something about Olivia's stance seemed nervous.

"I just came to check on you," Olivia explained, "After what happened with the perp and all."

"I'm fine," Alex automatically replied, setting the pen down on the pad. She leaned back in her chair, her arms making a bridge in front of her as her fingertips touched, her elbows on the arms of her chair.

Olivia nodded, knowing that Alex really wasn't fine. She had started to notice a pattern in Alex's behavior after child abuse cases. She'd get easily agitated with perps when she was normally cool and collected. She'd always come to work the next day looking like she never slept at all. She'd nail the bastards with all the ferocity in her, usually going after the maximum sentence and beating herself up unmercifully if they weren't convicted.

"I'll buy you a drink," Olivia offered knowing that Alex wasn't the kind to open up even the tiniest bit. It took Olivia forever to even get Alex to tell her where she lived and that was only when Alex had the flu and couldn't bring the warrants to the squad herself.

Alex thought it over carefully and finally nodded, "Yeah. That'd be great."

When they got to the bar, Alex wasn't in such a great mood and ordered a double bourbon instead of her usual martini.

The blonde's silence was unnerving to the detective so she decided to pry a little into what was upsetting Alex, "Tough case."

The ADA nodded. "Yeah."

Not quite the outpouring Olivia was hoping for. She decided that since Alex had always respected straightforwardness she would cut the crap and ask her straight up.

The blonde took a long drink of her bourbon and set it down, staring down at the bar trying to get her bearings about her. The whole night had caused her head to feel like it was about to implode.

"You seem to take child abuse cases to heart," Olivia carefully worded.

Alex paused for a moment before looked at Olivia and replying, "I don't know what you're talking about."

Olivia sensed that Alex wasn't telling the truth, but it seemed to be a sensitive subject so Olivia thought she'd leave it alone for a while. Olivia bit her lip and looked down in her drink, "Okay." She noticed Alex exhale in a frustrated way so she added, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…"

"It's okay," Alex replied, "It's just been a long day." She followed the sentence with a long drink of her bourbon.

A few seconds of awkward silence later, Alex's phone rang in her jacket that she draped over the back of her chair. She reached behind her and pulled it out. Flipping it open, she answered, "Cabot."

Olivia watched intently as Alex focused on the call. "You're sure?…damn it….okay fine…I'll be there in the morning. Goodbye Don." Alex rubbed her eyes under her glasses and dropped her phone back into her jacket. "He made bail and has ignored his order of house arrest. He's in the wind."

"Corey Richardson?" Olivia asked, referring to the to the perp they had earlier arrested on the charges of child abuse and four counts of rape.

Alex nodded.

"You need a protective detail," Olivia told the younger woman who just downed the rest of her bourbon.

Alex reacted like Olivia thought she would with a stern shake of her head and a passionate, "No."

"Alex, he's dangerous. He told you that he'd get you," Olivia tried reasoning with her.

The blonde looked at Olivia square in the eye and set her jaw, "If I had a protective detail for every perp that said they'd get me I'd always have one. They're all out to get me. A few actually try, but none of them actually do." Alex stood and slid her jacket on, "Thanks for the drink."

Olivia bit her lip, "Where are you going?"

"Back to my office," Alex answered, "I have more work to do."

"I'll go with you," Olivia replied, standing and putting her jacket on.

"Why?" Alex asked, although she was sure she already knew the answer. She let Olivia open the door to the bar for her.

Olivia followed Alex into the dark night, "In case he comes after you. If not, I just waste a night sitting in a chair."

An hour and a half later, Alex could tell that Olivia was about to fall asleep in the chair she took residence in across the desk from her. The novel Alex had given Olivia to read for the sake of something to do hadn't changed pages in ten minutes. If Alex didn't know better, she'd say Olivia was asleep with her eyes open.

"Detective?" Alex asked, quietly.

Olivia's eyes went from half open to wide and seemingly alert as her head looked up from the pages of the book.

"Maybe you should try the couch," Alex offered with a kind smile. She saw Olivia looked at the couch and knew the detective wanted to sleep, but also knew that Olivia's fierce protectiveness would keep her awake if she felt she needed to. "I'll wake you up if anything happens."

"What about you?" Olivia asked, setting the book on the coffee table as she moved to the couch, "Don't you sleep?"

Alex audibly exhaled, "Not after a case like this."

Olivia wanted to asked if there was a particular reason, but Alex's reaction at the bar showed that she wasn't going to be forthcoming with any in depth answers anytime soon.

It wasn't twenty minutes after Olivia fell asleep that Alex leaned back her chair and dozed off too. And it wasn't ten minutes after she started dreaming, the dreams turned into nightmares.

Olivia was awakened by a small whimpering coming from the blonde ADA. The detective slowly rose from the couch and walked over to Alex who was in her chair, slightly twitching with tears coming out from under her closed eyes.

"Alex," Olivia cooed, deciding it was best to interrupt this particular dream. She knelt next to Alex so that they'd be eyelevel, "Honey wake up."

The blonde's eyes shot open and she immediately reached up to wipe her eyes. She took a minutes to recuperate before looking at Olivia, "I'm sorry. Did I wake you?" Alex pulled the glasses off of her face and put them on the desk.

"Don't worry about it," Olivia smiled gently, "You okay?"

Alex nodded, "Just…hazards of the job."

Olivia looked into Alex's eyes and knew that Alex could feel the weight of the world on her shoulders. She could see all the pressures Alex was holding in and all the pain that went with it. She reached up and slowly wiped away a stray tear.

Instead of becoming rigid like Olivia anticipated, Alex leaned into the touch and closed her eyes. "Is there something I can do?"

Alex kept her eyes closed and shook her head, pulling away from Olivia's hand. "No." She sat up straight and put her glasses back on, "I can't believe I fell asleep."

"It's…understandable," Olivia stood up straight. She had hoped that that moment she had with Alex would have given her insight to why Alex because so determined when it came to child abuse cases. She knew there were a few reasons why she would. From experience, Olivia knew that she became attached to rape victims because she was a product of rape. So Alex may attach to child abuse cases because she knew someone who was abused. Olivia decided to take a leap and ask outright, "Alex, do you know someone who was abused as a child?"

It took a moment for Alex to look up from her desk, but when she did she nodded, "Yeah. I did…When I was a child…She was so scared. No child should ever have to feel like that."

Olivia nodded, "I'm sorry."

Alex shrugged, "It happened. No one could have changed it."

"Do you…blame yourself for it?" Olivia asked carefully.

Alex wasn't sure why she was being so honest with her colleague, but she felt safe with Olivia like she always had. Trusting Olivia just seemed easy and Alex always had. The blonde figured it was why Olivia was so great with victims. "I do. I could have stopped it."

"You couldn't have Alex," Olivia sat on the desk next to Alex, "You were just a child too."

Alex shook her head and look up at Olivia with shimmering eyes, "I should have."

Olivia ran her hand through Alex's hair, "You couldn't have. You may have even gotten in the way and gotten hurt yourself."

Alex smiled sadly and shook her head slowly as a tear made it's way down her jaw. "I…uh…"

The detective touched Alex's shoulder, "You couldn't have done anything."

The blonde just wiped her eyes and decided to drop it, "Anyway, I almost have this case figured out."

"Great," Olivia forced a smile, happy to know a little more about Alex, but wishing that she could help Alex more. She still seemed to be affected by the incidents in her childhood. "After that are you going to go home?"

"Yeah," Alex nodded.

In a few minutes, they parted ways, both going to their separate apartments.

The next day Alex walked into the precinct after Olivia had called her in. She was curious as to how she could help.

"What's going on?" Alex asked as soon as she got to Elliot's desk, not seeing Olivia.

"One of Richardson's kids is in the interrogation rooms," Elliot explained, "He won't talk to us and Liv had to go pick up Richardson. They found him at his cousin's house in Brooklyn. Maybe you can talk to him. We need to know if he saw what happened to his mother."

"Me?" Alex asked, wide-eyed.

Elliot nodded, "I tried. Huang tried. We need to get to this kid."

Alex cautiously walked into the room where the little boy was sitting. Sadness gripped her chest when she saw the little boy's arm in a cast and a bruise on his face. She swallowed hard and sat across the table from him, leaning back in her chair.

"Chase," Alex said quietly, "My name is Alex. I work with the police." She let out a small smile, "I'm here to ask you a few questions."

The little boy just looked at her.

"What happened to your arm?"

Chase just looked at the table, not looking up at Alex.

"Chase did your dad hurt you?" Alex's heart was breaking more every second she spent with this little boy.

The boy look at Alex, but didn't answer.

Alex looked down at the table then back up at the boy, "Did your dad punish you?"

Chase slowly nodded.

"Did your dad ever punish your mom?"

Another nod.

Alex let out a breath, "Did you see your dad punish your mom when she went to the hospital?"

The boy paused and looked at Alex for a moment.

"He can't hurt you anymore," Alex explained, softly.

"I saw it," the little boy said.

"How did your dad punish your mom that night?"

Chase sighed into his chair and cautiously looked at Alex, "With a golf club."

There was a knock on the window and Alex looked behind her although she couldn't see who was on the other side.

Alex softly smiled at the little boy and stood up, "I'll be right back."

When she exited, she was surprised to see Olivia standing with Elliot and Cragen. "Did you get him?"

Olivia nodded, "He's in lock up now. Yelling to see his son, but since you got Chase to talk, we can keep Chase away from his father now."

"Good job Alex," Cragen patted Alex on the shoulder before walking out.

"I'm gonna take Chase to child services," Elliot announced.

"Why don't you let me take you to lunch?" Olivia offered after Elliot walked away and Alex picked up her attaché. "Or at least coffee? I bet you could use the caffeine."

Alex nodded, "Sure." She tiredly answered Olivia and seemed a little annoyed.

Once they had walked across the street and had gotten their coffee and sandwiches and settled at table, Alex looked over at Olivia, "Did you have them send me in with that little boy because you thought I could relate to him?"

"Actually Elliot thought that Chase would open up to a woman because his dad was the one who abused him," Olivia offered, "As it turns out you got him to open up more than anyone has yet."

"Because I relate," Alex muttered.

"I didn't tell anyone," Olivia added, "I promise."

Alex rubbed her eyes, "I'm sorry. I guess I'm just tired."

The detective sipped her coffee, "Is there anyway I can get you to go home and sleep?"

"You shouldn't have bought me this coffee," Alex let out a small smile.

"What if I tell you it's decaf?" Olivia asked playfully.

Alex chuckled, "Then I'd know you're lying. I can taste the difference between caffeinated and decaf. I drink a lot of coffee."

"I think I can top the amount of coffee you drink," Olivia smirked.

Alex shook her head, "When I was a 1L I drank three pots of coffee a day. That doubled when I started out in the DA's office. It's tapered off since then, but I still drink a lot of coffee."

"Wow," Olivia sat back, "It's amazing that you can still sleep."

Alex leaned forward and raised an eyebrow, "I don't."
"Well next time you can't sleep, call me because chances are I can't sleep either," Olivia smiled and tilted her head to the side.

"I'll have to take you up on that offer," Alex leaned back and smirked, "Maybe we can meet for coffee."