Retrograde Rescue

Disclaimer: I am not at all responsible for how amazing Law & Order: SVU is.

Pairing: Elliot/Olivia friendship.

Genres: Angst, family, friendship, and hurt/comfort.

Rating: 14 Advanced due to some coarse language.

Spoilers: "Rescue" Season 12, episode 10.

Summary: There are really only two types of people in the world: people who have bad experiences and people who have good experiences. Post "Rescue" (12x10)

Author's Comment: To be quite frank I hated the end of "Rescue". I mean it was exceptional in every way possible but it killed me that Calvin was forced to leave, which is why I wrote this little diddy. Enjoy!

It may simply be your inner pessimist talking but you realize that there are really only two types of people in the world: people who have bad experiences and people who have good experiences.

So which do you want?

You choose good experiences, don't you?

Yeah well, those suck too.

No, that's wrong, those suck worse.

And that's because the people who have bad experiences lead happy lives, very happy lives with unhappy exceptions. Meanwhile, the people who have good experiences lead unhappy lives with surprise exceptions. So those people who experience the most wonderful moments have just that: moments. Nothing more. And the thing is that those people (not unlike yourself) wait days, weeks, months, and even years to have that handful of moments, which turns out to never be enough. And what do you expect; that a simple handful is enough to make up for everything that is wrong with your life?

Logically you don't but you won't stop praying that one day it will.

Oh, you're so naïve—not by any accident but by your own volition—because you have to be or else you would never have lasted so long. The pain, you know that empty throbbing ache, would have been too much for you or anyone else to bear. Those people, your kind of people, would have been broken down and buried by now if they had given up their hold on false hope.

The downfall?

You're always left wanting more and more but you won't reap the rewards of your labour for days, weeks, months, or even years.

Then, right when you thought you wouldn't have to put up with raised expectations anymore, the most wonderful opportunity was thrust into your arms and who are you to look a gift horse in the mouth? Compassionate and optimistic, you fell head first without a doubt, taking that boy home like he was really yours. And he was yours for that night and the next and the one after that, which made you so happy and him so so happy, in fact it made both of you so very happy that neither one of you had a care in the world any more.

You were doing the right thing: taking care of him, keeping him safe, and loving him. And he was no more at fault than you are because he fell just as hard as you did: always trying to make you smile, being so strong for you so you wouldn't have to be for him, and keeping himself busy by fulfilling you mutual fantasy of being a part of a real family. Clearly you are the right choice, the best choice. You fed and bathed him, made sure he went to bed and school on time, and kept him smiling even when you knew it hurt.

Always on the straight and narrow, never once touched a needle to your skin, never once abandoning a child, not like she had.

Fucking druggie bitch.

It hurts to think that way about someone, especially when that someone is the mother of the boy you love so unbelievably, but the hurt your feeling is blinding and it makes you sick when a parent who doesn't deserve to be one gets to keep their child. Maybe once she gets cleaned up, sits down to talk to someone, and gets her life in order than Vivian Arliss could have Calvin back. But even then she may not deserve him; she may never. Not like you do, anyway. And you're not being selfish, you've always had Calvin's best interests in mind. That's why you loved him so hard and why you couldn't let him go.

It just isn't fucking fair: Vivian gave Calvin away and then Calvin is taken from you?


In the middle of your happy moment, one of your few happy moments, in which you and Calvin and your partner had been sitting and smiling without a care in the world. Playing and joking and laughing, the three of you making something that resembled an actual family. It reminded you—it still reminds you—of waking up to the barrel of a gun and chasing Calvin around your apartment with that water pistol grasped in hand; you laughed so hard just like you when you were with 'your boys' in the precinct.

Then everything fell apart.

Vivian had showed up with the CPS in tow and instead of your life flashing before your eyes—which, honest to God, you expected since you felt so much like dying—all you saw was Calvin, shocked or panicked or both, as well as Elliot's expression of surprise and (in retrospect) troubled knowing. There was talking but all you heard was noise and there were words thrown back and forth but all you caught was, "because I'm his mom" and there had been movement but all you felt was being torn apart and then, in contrast, being barely held together.

And worst of all you hadn't even seen it coming.

"All good things come to an end."

Sooner or later; in this case it had been sooner.

Too soon, you think, but it's not like you can do anything about it now.

Hell, you couldn't do anything about it when it was actually happening. In fact, all you did was press Calvin to you in a desperate attempt to keep him from falling apart as well as to keep yourself composed. You don't think it worked out very well, seeing how your partner had to jump into action and hold you back, restrain you from allowing all Hell to break loose. That and how you are now kid-less. Looking back you know that you could have handled it so much better than you had but at the time you were just so overwhelmed. Shocked, confused, angry, and heartbroken. You were naïve to think you would keep him, like Elliot said, "it was always temporary" but you like to believe in happy endings.

You need to.

But it's so damn hard to keep your hopes up when things like these keep happening, beautiful things come into your life and oh-so suddenly ripped away, and it makes you wonder why they even come along anyway. People say things like "everything happens for a reason", but maybe the reason isn't suppose to be altruistic, maybe the moral of the story is that shit happens, that the game of life is an enduring one, and that the innocent suffer at the hands of the wicked.

Sobbing subtly, weeping really, you clutch the only solid thing in your life anymore: Elliot. You're not sure which stings more: the feeling of loss or the taste of your own tears. Embarrassed by your actions (and over-reactions) you burrow your head into his collarbone, hiding yourself from him and the rest of the world, for that matter. He never cries around you, well once or twice he has, but with such little experience to draw on you decide to concede to playing the crybaby in this partnership.

After all, what is strength without the presence of weakness? Surely one could not exist without the other one to define it, to give it meaning, to give it significance.

Not unlike the way that Vivian and Sarah had lived: one for another. As well as how Calvin had relied on you, perhaps just as heavily as you had relied on him, which was likely what doomed you two from the start. But that need, that dependency, was probably what made the Captain's rhetoric about a cop wanting her own family so desperately that she would take someone's child have an undertone of truth to it.

Even though it hadn't been true, not one little bit; you never asked.

But it was Vivian who signed her own son away to you.

It was her who had washed her hands of him when it got too hard.

And it wasn't you who was willing to do it again without a second thought.

Soft-spoken words lull you from your sob-session long enough to make you shift into a less pathetic position, one in which you are no longer folded over your partner like a limp rag doll. You are a total mess: red-rimmed eyes, stained cheeks, tousled hair, and wrinkled clothes. Unfortunately, as bad as you look on the outside, you are ten times shittier on the inside. Dry throat, hollow stomach, pounding head, and aching heart. If you could you would curl up into a ball and never come out, as in ever again. However, that isn't allowed, at least not when Elliot is still around.

Never allowed to wallow in your own self-pity, Elliot is the one dragging you away from yourself and forcing you to shake it off and stand your ground again. He is constantly backing up you as well as your idiocy and sometimes—in the past rather than more recently—he stands down. You suppose that El is under some impression that you don't want his help, you're too strong to ask for assistance, too ashamed to let anyone else is, and that you know better than to let whatever it is that is getting to you get to you too much. And for once in a blue moon, Elliot would be wrong.

Readjusted, you place your hand over his shoulder as he keeps his placed between your shoulder blades. For a moment it strikes you that this might be wrong, being held like this considering that there are protocols regarding physical closeness in the workplace as well as the fact that this instant could be totally misconstrued. Then—as suddenly as the thought had come to your mind—it is abandoned.

Your nose almost presses into Elliot's neck, so close that you can inhale and be immersed in him. So you do. Again and again, hoping to be enveloped in that familiar, comforting scent. The scent that you have known for the past twelve years and now has become almost as lovely as fresh air, oh Hell, maybe even more so. Wrapping your arms around him, a wave of nausea rushes right through you. This is nothing as you remember it and for a moment you are left stumbling; wondering what is happening. Then, once the realization strikes you, a tension tightens against your breastbone. The last person that you held, that held you, was the same person being torn from your arms and heart.

And you thought that you were hurting before.

Calvin Arliss.

Calvin Benson.

Elliot must be reading your mind again because he shifts you closer and his thumbs are rotating in semi-circles that are on the move up and down your spine. Thankfully, after what feels like ages, the few tears that have been collecting in your tear-ducts are now streaking down your face. Unintentionally, you use your friend's shirt as a tissue before rubbing your burnt eyes with the back of your hand. An arm winds around your arm and your world is turned onto another angle, into Elliot.

You feel like free-falling must be like; out of breath and heart bounding from chest.

Weightless, you are powerless to fight back as everything whips past you in flurry, so intense that it feels as though you are smashing through barriers as you continue to tumble aimlessly. The funny thing is the fact that you are not at all afraid of the end result: death. More than anything, it is the impact that frightens you. Fuck heights, fuck flying because none of that shit can hold a candle to how petrified you are to imagine the moment before landing. It is like nothing you have ever experienced before, there is nothing to compare it to.

It's all too much but you can't seem to get enough.

It's the feeling of bone meeting Earth, skin scraping cement, and the coming together of hope, fear, and adrenaline.

All of which explode inside of you.

The moment drags on and maybe, like that fairytale, your time is running out. So you press your lips to Elliot's shirt but stop yourself before you kiss him there because, to be honest, you're a little afraid that if you keep showing affection you're never going to be able to stop and sooner or later, El is going to be gone too. Against the soft fabric of your best friend's shirt, you mouth the words you can't speak aloud, namely because, along with your heart, your voice has been taken too.

'Save me.'

And he does.

His lips against your temple, your hair, your worn out body. You don't how but Elliot always manages to save the day especially when you don't want him to. So you stay there, in his arms, for just a second longer and than a minute and than a few. It feels like your anchored for once in your flighty life. Bursting at the seams to outgrow childhood, spreading wings to leave home and everything it entails, and running away emotionally when things get too hard. Not now though, not after you've opened yourself up too much for it to heal back to normal over night.

It will take time but like El says as he murmurs against your temple, your hair, and your worn out body; "I won't leave you."

Reassured, you know that Elliot's promise is true because he could and would never leave you. It almost sounds pompous, presumptions even, when you word it like that but that does not at all deter the truth of the matter. El is far from oblivious (he can always see right through you) and so you know that he knows, just as well as you do, that he won't be one to abandon you. You are always going to need saving.

Author's Note: Teenage angst = not so good for personal life but great material for stories ;)