Fighting to Survive Chapter 1

I don't own SVU or the characters associated with SVU.

"What is she doing?" Cragen watched his lead detective come unglued as she interrogated their main suspect in what was a huge rape/murder case. "Get her out of there…Now!"

Fin made his way into the small room quickly grabbing his colleague by the arms to restrain her. She had managed to pull the cuffed man to his feet, forcefully shoving him backwards into the nearest wall with one fluid movement.

"What are you doing?" Olivia hissed as she pulled from Fin's grasp.

"You're done." Fin motioned with his head toward the window making it clear that their boss had witnessed her interrogation strategy.

Olivia turned back to the seemingly unfazed man who simply stared at her with a slight smirk on his face. Her vision blurred as the room turned a dark shade of red. She was angry at what this monster had done. What they knew he had done and what she was going to get him to confess to. She took a step away from Fin, turning toward the door.

"Better luck next time, sweetheart." After choosing to indulge his right to remain silent the better part of the hour Olivia and Nick worked at him, he chose now to speak. Olivia spun around, instantly colliding into the chest of her new partner.

Nick wasn't so new anymore. It had been a few months since Elliot had decided to leave. Leave the SVU, the force, her. Olivia liked Nick and they were quickly forming a bond of their own, but he was not Elliot.

He was not Elliot, Elliot was not here and she was not herself. This would make the third time in as many weeks that Cragen had to pull her due to her lack of control.

"Easy, Liv." Nick was careful not to touch her. She was angry, that was obvious. Olivia heard her partner and his easy demeanor was enough to bring her down a notch. She ran her hand through her hair before quickly exiting the room.

"My office. Now!" Cragen's tone made her jump slightly as she hesitated giving him a head start. Olivia had been out of her element these last couple of months. It wasn't much of a surprise to those around her. Elliot had reacted the same way whenever she had left the unit for any amount of time. Cragen was concerned, finding himself worrying more and more each day about where her head was.

Olivia dropped the anger and entered her captain's office with a defeated tone to her walk. "Cap, I…"

"Lost it…again." Cragen was angry and she needed to know it. "What the hell is going on with you, Benson?"

"It's just one of those cases that…"

"All of our cases are just one of those cases. It's what we do here. I'd think you'd have figured that much out after thirteen years in this unit." Cragen had started to pace behind her as she stood in front of his desk. He stopped when he made his way back behind his desk. His eyes met hers and he could see the trouble that hid behind the dark circles. She was losing weight again and he knew this often happened when she was in over her head. He wanted to ask if she was okay, but right now he needed to be angry with her. She was the best he had and she was losing it right before his eyes.

"Maybe it's time to transfer out." Cragen met Olivia's eyes and instantly felt the panic that displayed itself in them.

"Sir, I don't want to…I can't leave…please don't do this to me." Olivia's voice trailed off as she spoke, her head falling forward as she let herself sit down in what was often referred to as the hot seat. It was usually reserved for Elliot, but she occupied it more and more these days.

Cragen made his way around to sit on the front of his desk. He watched her with a heavy heart. "Liv, you can't go on like this. I know Elliot leaving has been hard on you the most, but…"

"It's not that." Olivia's quick insistence surprised even her.

"Then what is it. Talk to me." Cragen always had a soft spot for Olivia Benson and he still cared deeply for her. Neither of them ever spoke of how he had held her like a father would when he found her in the cribs after it was announced Elliot would not return. Superior officers didn't console their charges in that manner, ever. But Don Cragen was worried about Olivia, and he continued to worry now.

There was a few moments of silence before Olivia took a deep breath. "I suppose you will be suspending me?"

"Why don't you take some down time. I know you have plenty saved up." Cragen watched as Olivia rubbed her temples. "Maybe a break will do you some good."

"How long?"

"As long as you need." Cragen stood prompting Olivia to do the same. She slightly nodded before making her way to the door.

"I need to come back, sir. I'm not done here." Cragen hated the way her voice reflected her broken spirit.

"When you're ready, Detective." Olivia waited before opening the door to her boss' office. Cragen expected her to say something more, but realized she had said what she needed to as she made her way out into the bullpen. He watched her carefully as she slowly pulled her purse from her lower desk drawer. He noticed her movements seemed forced as she favored her right side more so than normal. He forced the thoughts from his mind that she may be in over her head outside of the job. He made it a point not to pry and she very rarely shared her personal life with anybody, except maybe Elliot; sometimes.

"Hey Charlie. Double up tonight." Olivia sat in her usual spot at the bar just down a few blocks from her apartment. She had became a regular customer and looked forward to seeing Charlie after work each night.

"Rough night, Detective?" Olivia really liked her new friend. He usually called a spade a spade, never meaning any harm. He placed her double shot down in front of her asking for I.D. "I knew I'd get a smile out of that one."

Olivia didn't smile much any more, no real reason to. She forced one for her friend just to hear him tell her how beautiful she was when she did so. Charlie left her to her thoughts and her drink as he tended to the other customers, most of whom Olivia was beginning to recognize as regulars.

She found herself drinking more and more in the days, weeks and now months since Elliot had left. He called her once, but not since. He wanted to apologize for leaving so suddenly, without discussing it with her first. She heard him out because he needed her to. She was always there when he needed her to be. It's just who they were. He, however often was not. And this time it was no different. She needed him to be here, with her, for her, by her; and he wasn't. He had left her because he couldn't take it any longer. He had left her.

Olivia ordered another double and sank back deeper into her chair. Charlie brushed her hand with his as he placed the drink down in front of her. "Keep on and I just might have to take you home. I mean I might have to make sure you get home safely."

Olivia flashed a real grin his way this time. She knew he was looking out for her, but she also knew she was fine. Just needed a little something to take the edge off. She's needed that a lot lately and it only bothered her slightly that she was falling into a fairly predictable routine. She never thought she'd ever be a regular at any bar. She needed to gather up the strength to face her boyfriend of two months now.

Richard Morris. Rich was handsome, successful and attentive. He wanted to spend every minute with Olivia, often begging her to quit her job. He could and would support them both if she agreed to give up the dangerous job that kept her away from him for long hours each day. She found herself needing him even when she was feeling smothered. He came off as controlling, but Olivia knew she was so set in her ways as an independent woman that she could easily be misunderstanding his actions. He filled that void for her when Elliot left. She hadn't been intimate with Elliot, but he still filled such a strong need within her. Richard came into her life just in time to save her from drowning in Elliot's absence.

Richard was pressuring her to commit to him. He loved her, he often said after she would refuse to leave the force for him. She didn't love Richard; she needed him. She needed him to make her feel alive, wanted, needed. He treated her as only a prince in a fairy tale would, as the main hero in her childhood daydreams.

He showered her with gifts she didn't want, attention she wasn't used to and demands she ignored. It was getting worse and she was getting nervous. She had asked him to leave last night after he demanded she make love to him.

Olivia needed and wanted the contact, the intimacy, but she refused to be forced to do anything she didn't want or wasn't ready to do. It's what she fought against every day. She recalled the fight she and Richard had as she finished off her second double shot in record time. She wasn't nursing anything tonight except for what she believed to be a bruised rib. Richard was angry when she not only refused him, but demanded he leave. His knee slamming into her ribcage as he forcefully slammed her into the wall that bordered her bedroom.

Olivia reacted as she was trained. Her gun in his face within seconds. Richard made the mistake of not waiting for her to secure her weapon when she returned home. She demanded he leave, not wanting to press charges for assault on a police officer. She listened to him apologize and beg her for another chance. Her mind was yelling at her to pay attention. This good-looking, rich man that she could so easily fall in love with eventually had just attacked her. Her emotions were in such a tailspin that she allowed him to walk out of her apartment with a promise to talk tomorrow; tonight after work.

Olivia ordered one more as she knew she needed the courage to face Richard and her inability to be alone right now. Charlie served her up with a questioning look.

"I'm fine, Chuck. Just had a rough day." Olivia watched as Charlie let his eyes skim her body. "Stop flirting with me, unless it'll pay the tab."

"New York's finest? And I do mean finest. It's on the house, doll." Charlie wiped down the counter in front of her. "No more."

"I can't believe you're cutting me off, already." Olivia's could flirt just the same as she let her eyes float over his body as well.

"Just from drinking." Charlie winked as he left her alone once again.

Olivia pulled her phone from her pocket. Three missed calls from Richard. None from Elliot. That was pretty much the norm, she had stopped hoping to see his name on her phone's call list. She replaced her phone and pulled a twenty from her purse. Charlie's tip if nothing else.

She walked the short distance to her apartment hoping for some down time. She'd call Richard and set up lunch or something for tomorrow. Tonight she just wanted to crawl into bed and feel sorry for herself. She had screwed up again at work. Enough to make Cragen suggest transferring her out of the unit. Her patience was thin, her needs demanding and her heart broken. He didn't even know she loved him, she doubted it would matter if he did.

She made it to her apartment door as the effects of the alcohol began to settle her nerves. She thought about a long, hot bath and climbing directly into bed after that. Her suspension, or the alternative Cragen offered began in the morning, so she would try to sort out her life then. Tonight she would cave and let sleep consume her.

Olivia felt her balance shift as she found herself suddenly pushed face first into her door. A strong hand covered her mouth as she felt the pressure on her side as her gun was forcefully removed from her. She briefly wondered about her instincts and how they failed her, but was directed back to the now by Richard's deep voice in her ear.

"I really wish you wouldn't ignore my calls." He took the keys from her hand and unlocked the door. His hold on her was tight enough to make her comply as her heart began to pick up it's pace. Once inside, Richard locked the door before releasing Olivia. He held her gun in his hand, carefully inspecting it.

"What are you doing?" Olivia was unsure of her plan of action. Her head began to swim just slightly, enough to make her doubt her reflexes.

"I called you, but you didn't answer. I called the station, they said you had left for the day. I don't like to be ignored, Liv." Richard continued to inspect the gun before aiming it at her.

Olivia wondered if he knew what he was doing with her gun. They never discussed if he was comfortable with one, but she decided he must be by the way he handled hers.

"Okay, tell me what you want." Olivia kept her hands in a surrendering position as she carefully watched his every move.

"I want you. I want you to realize you do not call the shots when it comes to me." Richard took a few steps toward Olivia who instinctively took the same amount of steps back.

"I'm sorry. I just thought…"

"No. No apologies now. Come here, love." Richard motioned with Olivia's gun for her to come towards him. Olivia shook her head as she took another step backwards. Her personal piece was on a shelf in her closet, but she doubted she could manage to get to it.

"We can do this the easy way or the hard way." Richard matched her steps as they continued the painstaking waltz across her living room floor.

"Richard, please." Olivia wasn't sure what he was capable of. She feared rape, but she did believe him when he told her he loved her.

"I didn't hear you begging for me when you threw me out last night." He laughed as Olivia continued to back away from him. "Come here." Richard's voice was demanding and it caused Olivia to shake slightly where she stood. She knew she couldn't physically defend herself against the gun, giving her no choice but to wait for Richard to make a move before she would know how to defend against him.

"You wanted to talk, so let's talk." It was a last ditch effort to diffuse his intentions and Olivia could tell by his expression it wasn't working.

"I'm not talking anymore." Richard closed the distance between them quickly before sending the gun crashing into Olivia's face. The metal connecting with her cheekbone caused her to stumble off balance directly into Richard's arms. He held her arms with his hard hands, forcing her upright against the wall.

"Now, back to last night. I want you to make love to me and tonight you will." Richard laughed at the panic that filled her eyes as he forced his mouth onto hers.