a/n: hahaha, so i'm back, writing some svu fic. hey what's up. don't have much to say about this except i haven't written svu in years and even back then never seriously. so uh, yeah. and super unsure of this title... but i will continue this so it's more fitting. because who doesn't love awkward moments? i sure love them. that's why i watched the office back in the day. anyway uh enjoy.

blah blah blah i dont own these characters wolf, dick does. just saying.

Entering the locker room, there was nothing Detective Benson could do to stop herself - she collapsed into the cold steel, shoulders slumped, chin barely touching her chest. Her heart pounded deafeningly in her ears, her vision clouded by bright flashes, as if her body had chosen to disconnect from reality.

Not guilty.

She couldn't help it. Slender hand clenched into a fist, she pounded it rather fruitlessly on the metal, the dull clang echoing about the otherwise silent room. She felt the familiar push of tears on the backs of her eyes; blinking furiously she tried to clear them away. Closed her eyes. The soothing familiar darkness, then sure enough, Lily Fuentes. The college freshman's chocolate hair arranged haphazardly around her mocha-skinned features, eyes closed, mouth forever trapped in a sleepy little smile, throat slashed, blood staining her periwinkle lace pajama top, her pants still clinging to one ankle, blood running down her thighs, the things he had done to her, nothing was recognizable…

The bile rose suddenly, and Olivia barely made it to the garbage can. Her knuckles white, she clung to the plastic as if she feared it was keeping her from falling into an abyss of Lily Fuenteses, and Serena Bensons, and all those haunted faces and all those violated souls that would forever be broken. She inhaled and shuddered.

And then there was his face, staring smugly at her from across the courtroom, blue eyes glinting mercilessly, smile like a tiger shark's. He was a predator, damn it, she knew it and she knew the jury knew it, and if it hadn't been for her breaking into his car… If she hadn't reached into that window, she knew so much better than that…

She clenched her jaw and squeezed the rim of the trashcan murderously.

"Damn it," she growled into the barrel. A tear snaked spitefully down her cheek, tracing a path down her jawline before it succumbed to gravity and joined the candy bar wrappers, newspaper scraps, coffee cups and the contents of her stomach. She felt it, watched it fall, numb to it by now.

This is your fault, Liv.

"Olivia."

Olivia looked up hastily, quickly stepping in front of the garbage. ADA Cabot stood in the entryway to the locker room, tall and regal in her black skirt-suit, looking like a harbinger of death. To Olivia, anyway. She wiped her eyes on her jacket sleeve, forcing a smile towards the blond woman.

"Hey. Alex."

"Elliot told me you came in here." She took this as her cue to enter, and did, setting her briefcase down on the center bench and adjusting her glasses slightly. "I'm sure you know why I'm here."

Olivia scoffed, a fresh surge of tears rushing up in her own defense. Again she blinked them back, swallowing back the emotion and, tight-lipped, running her hand though short-cropped auburn locks. She nodded. Took a deep breath.

"I was wrong to take her clothes out of his car, I should have waited for the warrant to come through…" Cabot watched her, stern as an eagle. She felt the heat rise in her cheeks, indignation towards the woman who let a vicious killer go free, who would so dare judge her for just trying to make sure a brutal rapist didn't escape with the evidence. Hot tears spilled slowly down her cheeks; she couldn't help it. And Cabot sat there, statuesque, waiting to scold her, or guilt her, or Olivia didn't even know, the words just erupted out of her.

"Look, he was going to drive away with the evidence and he would have raped again, I know it! I know his type. He'll rape and kill and cut up those little girls until the day he dies if he's free." She swallowed another wave of tears, her own conviction rising. "So I couldn't let that happen again. You didn't see the body at the crime scene, Alex. You didn't see how deep those cuts were firsthand. So before you berate me for making an amateur's mistake, you try being the one that has to go to bed every night seeing mutilated bodies and broken people every time you close your eyes!" She bristled, staring Cabot down, body tense and heart racing high in her throat. Alex diverted her eyes momentarily, taking in Olivia's words. She cleared her throat.

"You really should have thought it out, Liv-"

"Oh! Thought it out? Easy for you to say, you've got the gift of 20/20 hindsight! You're not out there in the fields, you're not hunting down death or searching through garbage for condoms and knives… No, this is on you, Alex, it's your job to use whatever we can get you and he had the right type of knife missing and the drawings… That should have been enough. You've won cases on less than that, so don't you put this all on me!"

Alex continued to stare. Her face remained solemn, her eyes dark, searching. This annoyed Olivia even more. Reaching for her bag, wiping her cheek again with her sleeve, she headed for the exit, giving Alex as wide a berth as she could. She couldn't see straight. That this had happened, that she had caused this, and she knew she had… She couldn't deal with it anymore, she couldn't take one more person blaming—

A hand grabbed her own. A tug. Suddenly her face was pressed against black cotton dress shirt. Cabot's arms were around her, long, willowy fingers clutching her waist, her shoulders... With a shudder Olivia's tension escaped her; overcome by emotion she struggled to remain strong in that embrace, but as she slumped into the taller woman's chest the tears came. Alex said nothing, but rested her chin against Olivia's head, squeezing her friend more tightly. They stood that way for a long time, forever it felt like, Liv's soundless, wracked tears soaking into Alex's blond locks, her usually firm countenance contorted into grief, steadily relaxing as she let the woman's touch melt her, break down her walls. She turned her face into Alex's neck, lips millimeters away from that flawless ivory skin.

"I don't really blame you.. I'm sorry…" Her tears came more loudly now, sobs muffled against Alex's neck as she returned the hug. The ADA nodded understandingly, fingers running through the detective's hair, holding the back of her head against her, giving her comfort she knew the woman needed.

After a time the crying subsided and Olivia pulled out of the embrace, again wiping her eyes on her jacket sleeves. She locked gazes with Cabot and gave a small, sheepish smile. Alex smiled warmly down at her, in her endearingly curt fashion. They stood there for a moment in their silent but charged exchange, until Olivia looked down and rehoisted her bag.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Alex."

As she headed for the door she felt the ADA grab her hand again, pulling her back. Her heart skipped a beat. Facing her again, the pair exchanged another silent moment, neither sure of what the other's intentions were; Olivia's eyes drifted briefly to Alex's flushed lips, then back up to her eyes. Cabot swallowed nervously, squeezed her hand.

"We'll get him, Liv. I won't let him get away with this."

Olivia, still fixated on the other woman, nodded. Her eyes fell on her lips again. She leaned in unconsciously, as if being pulled by a magnetic force. Alex's fingers entwined with her own, lips parting…

And then her cellphone rang. Snapping back immediately, Olivia checked the caller ID. Elliot. Could be important. Glancing apologetically at Alex, she stepped away somewhat erratically, tripping over the bench in the process of leaving the room.

Alex watched her go, lips still parted, heart still throbbing madly in her throat, completely and totally lost in the detectives' locker room. What had just happened?

end chapter one