Grey's/SVU - covers a period from pre-show to post-show for both. This was a challenge over the summer and I'm posting now in case anyone else is interested. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think - please let me know.
Five Times Addison Met Olivia
1. As a child she sat on a high metal stood and watched her father's students cut into cadavers. There are things that break her heart and aspects of her job that exhaust her and sometimes all she wants to do is go home and crawl into her husband's arms and ask him why they can't have normal jobs instead of being second-year residents who see more of their Chief of Surgery than each other. But nothing prepared her for the little girl brought into the hospital before dawn that morning. She's out of her element, grateful for the experienced nurses who've examined child victims before. They're gentle and professional where Addison feels clumsy and horrified.
Two detectives meet her outside, let her know what they're looking for. A woman and a man, a matched set. They're taller than she is in their street shoes, police-issue clothes and intense gazes. She thinks they may be more tired than she is. They're in a rush - they're always in a rush - and Addison promises she'll do the best she can.
The woman comes in with her, blunt hair swinging, and her entire demeanor changes when she talks to the little girl. The exhaustion is gone; she's soft-voiced and kind, distracting her with a pop-up toy and chatting quietly to her while Addison directs the examination. The nurses move tactfully closer for her to report her findings, not wanting to speak aloud in front of the child. Finally the detective - Addison can't remember her name - looks up at her, her arched brow a question in and of itself. Addison knows what she's asking and presses her lips together, nodding.
It's not fair. Nothing is fair as she finishes the exam, as gently and carefully as she can.
Addison provides answers to the detective in whispers as the nurses smile at the little girl, cover her with a blanket.
"I - don't know what to say," Addison admits finally.
"You can say what you would to another child you're treating." The detective looks at her intently. "She's a person, like any other."
But it's not like any other.
"I don't want to upset her," Addison mutters, busying herself with the discarded tools.
"Acknowledging that she's here, in this room, won't upset her. In my experience."
Addison nods, swallowing hard.
"This is hard. I know this isn't your area specifically, and you did a good job with the exam."
Addison flushes under the unexpected praise. "I just don't want to make it any worse for her."
"You did great," Addison says as they wheel the child away. "You're such a brave girl." The child just looks up at her and Addison thinks she'll never forget those haunted dark eyes.
2. Derek's not even annoyed that she gets Chief Resident instead of him. He thinks of the job as woman's work, she realizes, all the administrative aspects of it: scheduling and guiding and organizing. She loves it, thrives on it. She gets to teach and learn all at once, to feel the pulse of the entire hospital and to shape the new doctors. "I'd rather be in the OR," Derek shrugs.
Addison's in the OR too. She's up and down and everywhere between the hospitals. She's on rounds at Bellevue late one night, examining a pregnant teenager who came in that afternoon with pain, when her intern pulls her aside.
"There's something in her lab work." She's a skinny little thing - Derek, insistent that his four interns surpass hers, refers to this one dismissively as The Mouse. Addison's always having to tell Mouse - no, Moss, that's her name - to speak up.
"Show me." Addison leans over the file and realizes with a sinking feeling what the issue is.
She ducks away while the intern and nurses deal with the teenager. She's a mandated reporter and takes her duty seriously. There will be time to figure out what happened, but for now, the important thing is making sure the child is safe. She alerts security and calls the police.
The team they send from Special Victims is familiar to her - the woman she remembers from NYU: lean and olive-skinned, now with a short haircut that makes her strong features even more striking. She's paired with a scrawny grey-haired guy now, older and shorter than the detective Addison's met before. She talks them both through the lab results - the male detective jokes that he failed high school biology, so she goes back again and breaks it down as simply as she can.
"Incest," says the woman - Detective Benson, Addison remembers.
The man shakes his head. "And you said this doting father is in the waiting room?"
"Yes. We've alerted security."
The two detectives exchange glances.
"Where's the girl?"
"I can take you to her room."
They split up, Detective Benson trailing Addison to the patient's room while the other detective tracks down the father.
"They seemed...normal," Addison says as they walk, feeling she needs to say something.
Detective Benson makes a rueful sort of smile. "They always do."
3. The outfit feels stiff and unfamiliar: conservative enough that her mother would be pleased, but off the racks of stores whose doorstep her mother would never darken. It seems unfair, the prosecutor explained, but juries notice these things, and we really want them to focus on your testimony and not be distracted by your clothes.
She pretends to be flattered but is actually a bit miffed. She's a citizen of this city, delivers its children, stitches up its injured and tends to its sick. She spent a lifetime feeling excluded and now can't help thinking of her testimony with the same dread she used to reserve for the high school cafeteria. At least there were uniforms there, though her skirts rode so high on her ever-lengthening legs that the dean finally ordered her to have the hems unstitched.
"What do you think?" she asks Derek that morning. The heels are two inches shorter than her usual, and she feels dumpy. She lounges against the kitchen island, looking for a compliment.
"You look fine, Addie." He doesn't look up from his laptop.
"I'm testifying in court today." She reaches for his coffee cup, intending to refill it, and he spreads his fingers across the top of it like she's a waitress.
"I'm not finished."
"Sorry." She shifts, feeling awkward in the knee length skirt. "Okay. Well, I should get going anyway."
She inclines her head toward him and he brushes her cheek with a kiss. "Have a good day."
"Great. That's exactly how I was hoping you'd dress," the prosecutor assures her now, when they meet outside the courtroom. She's a tall bottle-redhead with a loping gait.
Addison nods briskly, annoyed that her discomfort in the clothes is obvious to this novice.
"You should be up in about an hour. Someone will come get you. The most important thing, as you know, is just to speak clearly and slowly and, of course, tell the truth."
Addison nods. She's done this before. On the stand she directs her voice to the jury, sees their faces as the import of her words sinks in. Only once does she turn to look into the gallery. Detective Benson is sitting three rows from the back, distinguished in a blazer, her head cocked. Her hair is longer, feathered. When Addison is excused she walks right past the detective, too quickly to say hello but with enough time to see the sheen of emotion in the other woman's dark eyes.
This kind of case can take a toll, the prosecutor said. People burn out.
"Great work." The lawyer catches up to her. "Thank you so much."
Addison's in surgery when the judgment of conviction comes down. She presses her lips together at the email - pleased - and then downs a quick espresso shot. There are new parents waiting for her congratulations.
4. She lobbied for this symposium, but the signage - "Children & Sex Crimes" in large letters - wasn't her idea. She decides she'll say that if anyone asks. She gives one of the welcome talks and then escapes to the surgical floor for a few hours. The location is certainly convenient for her; she's back down in the conference center for the afternoon, where she sits on two panels. Her resident presents a paper they worked on together; she's pleased with the results. There are representatives there from hospitals across the city, and from Special Victims in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.
Detective Benson presents on two cases, gives chain of evidence maintenance tips. Afterwards, they shake hands, exchange greetings, and Addison looks at her. The ensuing years have softened the detective from the lanky woman Addison remembers meeting in the ER to a more maternal shape, rounded and dressed in looser, more forgiving clothes. Her eyes look tired. She's been doing this a long time.
After the Q&A they fall into step together outside, walking toward the subway. Addison could have grabbed a cab anywhere but she finds herself wanting to ask -
"These cases are so - how do you work on them all the time, every day?"
"You're a doctor - I could ask you the same thing."
Addison considers her words. "I get happy endings sometimes," she says finally. "A healthy baby. Excited parents. Patients who are cured."
Detective Benson - call me Olivia, she said - doesn't respond. Addison remembers the haunted dark eyes of the child whose examination she performed so many years ago. In Olivia's world, there are no happy endings.
They're close to the subway steps now, and they pause. "Do you - want to get a drink or something?" Olivia asks.
"I'd like to, but I'm meeting my husband for dinner. It's, uh, our anniversary, actually. Ten years."
Olivia's eyes widen. "Ten years. That's really something. I'm impressed."
Addison smiles, twisting her engagement and wedding rings around her finger - a nervous habit, and one that annoys her husband. "You are?"
"With the hours you work and the tough job - well, let's just say that my partner is the longest relationship I've had with a man. How do you two do it?"
"It takes work." Addison shrugs. "Prioritizing the marriage and each other and - you know, it's not always easy."
"Rain check?" Addison suggests but it's a second too late - Olivia's already got her back turned, halfway down the subway steps.
Addison debates grabbing a cup of coffee, more tired than she realized, but doesn't want to be late. She checks her makeup quickly - she's wearing the diamond studs Derek bought her for their fourth anniversary, and they gleam in her lighted hand mirror. With one last pat to her hair, she hails a cab. Ten years. That's really something, Olivia had said. Addison checks her watch again.
She's not late.
She sits alone at Le Bernardin for forty-five minutes and two glasses of cabernet before her blackberry flashes with the news that her husband won't be joining her.
5. She's paid the nanny to stay overnight and Cassie was already asleep when she called home. She has everything prepared for the blind date except for the date himself. He gave up sometime in the fourth hour of her surgery, gliding out of her life with a terse text message. Wouldn't have worked anyway, she told herself in the scrub room. But now she figures she has some time, a rare evening off, and ends up at one of the faceless faux-Irish bars a few blocks from the hospital. The dim space reeks of stale beer and overflows with interns off their shifts and post-college brats living in the glorified dorms a few blocks away. She doesn't fit in and she's not even sure why she's there. Even trying to date exhausts her, but it was her daughter's idea. "Avery's mom has a boyfriend," she pointed out, snuggled up to Addison on the window seat in the bedroom that could no longer be called a nursery.
Addison kissed her, brushing off the suggestion. "I'd rather come home for dinner with you, Cass."
"Rosa's a better cook," Cassie pointed out and giggled when Addison tickled her in revenge.
Cassie has been fed and put to bed and even without a date her night is young. So she slides onto one of the barstools and, wary of the taps, orders a Corona like she's still in college. There's a crick in her shoulder from standing in the OR. The clank of cue balls adds to the tension headache growing at the bridge of her nose. She's resting her head in one hand, thirty seconds away from throwing down a ten and getting into a taxi, when another figure slides onto the stool next to hers.
It's a woman in black; out of the corner of her eye she sees a leather jacket, hears her order a Corona with lime in a voice laced with honey. She catches Addison looking and flashes her a smile. "Makes me feel young," the woman shrugs, gesturing vaguely at the bartender, at her order, then corrects it to: "younger."
Addison's not in the mood for conversation but there's something familiar in the huge doe eyes and shaggy dark hair and she can tell from the wrinkling of highly arched brows that the other woman is thinking the same thing about her. They extend tentative hands at the same time, speak their names and recognition lights their faces in tandem.
"I haven't seen you in years. Are you-"
"I was living on the west coast for a while. I've been back about two years now."
They start and stop sentences, flowing over each other like water.
"It's been a while since-"
"This bar, I mean you can't-"
"Such a coincidence to run-"
"Still doing the same kind of work with-"
And then there's a cool frosted bottle in each of their hands. Olivia takes the proffered lime wedge and presses it between her teeth. A tiny drop of irridescent liquid hovers at the corner of her mouth. Before Addison can stop herself she reaches up to brush it away with her bare left hand. For a moment no one speaks, then Olivia breaks the silence, raising her bottle.
"To coincidences," she says.
"To new beginnings," Addison adds.
Their bottles join with a satisfying clink.