Set after Season 11, Episode 24 "Shattered"

The main characters of Law and Order SVU belong to Dick Wolf and NBC Universal. This is meant for entertainment, not profit.* There are several characters I have created. I am not sure how many chapters this fan fiction story will be. I hope you enjoy, and I welcome feedback.

"Stepping Time" Chapter 1

"Jesus Christ," Olivia mumbled to herself hearing the knock on her door. Not often had she found herself at home at 4 p.m. on a Thursday with a beer in her hand and the next three days off. She laughed at the irony of her mumblings sure that with the entryway construction to her apartment building she would open her door to some religious fanatics promising her salvation.

"Holy shit," she said as she glanced through the peephole, flipped the deadbolt handle and opened the door. "Casey Novak, I'm so glad it's you."

"Well, first I'm surprised, but glad you are home and second thrilled with your reaction to it being me," Casey smiled.

"I thought with the construction in the lobby and not usually being home at this time, that it was either going to be Jehovah's Witnesses or Girl Scouts selling cookies," Olivia smiled walking to the refrigerator. "You want a beer, wine, Dr. Pepper, water."

"Beer would be great and I am grateful that you consider me at least a notch above solicitors but you know you would have bought some cookies, "Casey said as she sat down on the brown leather couch. "How is Warner doing? I just got back into town yesterday. Munch e-mailed me after it happened, but," she paused.

"Melinda was released from the hospital yesterday. She's a tough ME. She's got a month or so of PT to go through, but other than a scar she should be back to 100% physically in about six weeks."

"And you?" Casey questioned.

"I wasn't shot," Olivia countered.

"Liv, c'mon. I know it's been what like six months at least since we even met for lunch, but I'd like to think our friendship is still where you know you can talk to me some," Casey sighed.

"So you came to check on me?"

"Yes and no," Casey replied. "I had an afternoon meeting 12 blocks away, finished that, called your work phone, then tried Munch and then thought I would swing by here on the off chance you were home because I'm not down here that often."

Olivia smiled, "That doesn't really answer the question, but I am glad you are here. I do miss talking to you, and I know I'm not exactly great with responding to e-mails."

"Well, I don't know if your e-mails would even qualify as e-mails if you weren't allowed to use good, fine, busy, tired," Casey laughed. "But you have forwarded some pretty raunchy and hilarious jokes."

"I get those mostly from Fin," Olivia admitted. "I delete his e-mail address before I forward so it looks like they come from me."

Casey laughed. "CCU wasn't your favorite assignment was it Liv?"

"Not my favorite, but it is pretty amazing and scary at the same time how much info is out there. It's a great tool and a great threat in so many ways too. I just prefer phone and I have to admit texting has grown on me."

Olivia, pleased that Casey had mentioned no immediate plans grabbed two more beers and they settled on the couch into comfortable conversation. After a few months of self-pity and then self-discovery following her disbarment, Casey had become executive director at a non-profit assisting veterans with both physical and mental wounds. It was through her position there that she had met Jeff Stockton at a fundraiser nearly ninth months ago now. Jeff was an ADA in the Fairfield, Connecticut Judicial District and a veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Three days short of his scheduled return home from a 14 month deployment to Kabul in 2006 the HUMVEE he was riding in took a RPG, killing his driver instantly, while also blowing off Jeff's left leg below the knee and sending shrapnel through his right leg and abdomen.

He had opened his eyes for the next time three weeks later in a hospital bed in Landstuhl, Germany discovering that along with missing part of his left leg he was scarred from his right upper thigh down to his knee with multiple surgeries yet ahead of him.

Olivia sipped her beer and listened intently as Casey shared Jeff's story and the progression of their relationship.

"He sounds pretty amazing Casey," Olivia smiled. "I'm happy for you. I had no idea from our lunch and e-mails that it had gotten this serious."

"Well at lunch," Casey interjected, "it was all still so new and besides if my recollection is correct we spent most of the time catching up on Paxton's antics as your ever so brief ADA and the rest of the latest one-six happenings."

"And given my e-mail brevity, I guess," Olivia laughed. "Shit it is already 7:30."

"I'm sorry Liv, did I mess up your plans?" Casey questioned unaware until then just how much time had passed while they were talking.

"No, not me, but I am a rude host. Are you hungry? I'm starving. We can order in or go out, or do you need to go?"

"I would love to stay. Let's order Thai," Casey said explaining that Jeff was down in Myrtle Beach for the next four days with his 12 year-old daughter, Amelia. Jeff and his former wife had divorced in 2008.

"So have you spent much time with Amelia?" Olivia asked.

"Yes, she's a great kid. Great softball player," Casey smiled. "I was down in Myrtle Beach with them for a few days until I came back yesterday. I didn't know about Melinda being shot and everything until I read an e-mail from Munch at the airport."

Olivia hesitated, but Casey nodded to her encouraging her to ask the question that was obviously hanging on her lips.

"Does Jeff have nightmares of what happened to him?"

"Not very often anymore," Casey said. "But he does have PTSD and triggers like loud noises and sometimes helicopters. He hit a real low when his wife filed for divorce, but then he went and got help. He still goes to counseling and now he helps other vets."

"That's good." Olivia said.

Casey wanted to try again to get Liv to talk about the shooting of Melinda Warner that had occurred just six days ago, but a knock at the door signaled the arrival of their dinner and Olivia quickly turned their conversation to lighter topics.

Liv and Casey loaded their plates with food, grabbed fresh beers and resumed chatting on the couch.

"Oh I remember now," Casey smiled laughing.

"Remember what?" Liv said cocking an eyebrow. "I didn't know you forgot something."

"Sorry," Casey giggled, "I might have a slight buzz going. Munch said I should ask you about the Babs Daffy case."

"What the fuck," Liv exclaimed recalling her averted kiss from Babs and gay vibe conversation with Elliott.

Casey sat back. "I didn't mean to touch a nerve, Liv. Munch just said she was quite the interesting character."

Olivia realized her exclamation had come across harsh and not how she intended.

"No, you didn't Casey," she smiled. "Babs DUFFY is indeed quite the character. And I think Munch and the captain were probably the only ones around for that case who she didn't hit on."

Olivia went on to explain the details of the case, Babs kiss of Elliott, her jaw drop upon her introduction to Alex that Elliott had told her about and Babs attempted kiss of her.

"I guess the evening with Babs wasn't a total loss," she laughed. "I did learn all about Twitter, not that I think I'll ever Tweet. But hell at least I understand it now. Letting her explain it to me was the only way I could prevent her from actually Tweeting."

"Embrace the technology Benson," Casey smiled. "There is some great stuff in the Twitterverse."

With the conversation and the beers flowing, Liv decided to garner Casey's opinion. She placed her beer on the coffee table, ran both her hands over her faded blue jeans clad thighs and then her left hand through her recently coiffed brown hair.

"Are you trying to tell me to steal second," Casey laughed in response to Olivia's sudden gestures.

"No," Liv smiled one of her famous lopsided grins. "I asked Elliott this and you are one of my closest friends so I want your opinion too."

"Ok," Casey smirked unsure of what Liv was leading to. Liv took another swig of beer and then looking directly into Casey's eyes she said, "Do you ever get a gay vibe from me?"

Casey paused with a half smile. "What did Elliott say when you asked him?"

"I am asking you," Olivia responded.

Casey knew she owed her friend an honest response, but she wanted a moment to measure her words and surprisingly Liv gave it to her explaining that Elliott had said that she hadn't exactly had much luck with men and she was open minded. And then she added that Babs had told her she was a combination of Ellen, Calamity Jane, Suze Oreman and she couldn't remember who else which drew a hearty laugh from Casey.

The few seconds that Liv had expounded had given Casey time to put together a sentence or two, but when Liv's eyes met hers again, she said simply, "I think you give off a Cabot vibe."