Author's note: My time to sit down and write has been vastly limited since early December. I also recently just got over a bout of the flu, so my writing skill was nullified. My goal is to update this story and Stay With Me at least once a week each, starting now. Thank you for reading, and please review.

When Casey woke the next morning, it was as if she was swimming in an empty pool. Her head was spinning, and her eyes had to be forced open. She sat up, groaning at the stabbing pain that shot through her skull. She had fallen asleep contemplating Olivia's words from the previous night. As if the alcohol was not bad enough, the spinning of her head was exacerbated by the fact that she could not decipher the meaning of the detective's comment. Was she drunk? Was she serious? And if she was serious, what did that, in turn mean?

Casey sighed and made her way into the bathroom. After a thirty minute shower, which all but removed her hangover, she dressed in a simple black suit, allowing her natural curls to fall around her shoulders. She sighed, checking the time, and noting that she had less than an hour to get to the precinct, and from there to the courthouse. All she could do was hope, by some unrealistic miracle, that there would be little morning rush hour traffic.`

Reaching the precinct, Casey practically rushed to the elevator, and from there into the squad room. Finding Olivia sitting at her desk, Casey was grateful that no one else appeared to be around. She stood to the left of the detective, who was typing what Casey recognized to be a DD5. "Good morning," she murmured.

Olivia jumped, looking up. "Hey," she replied. "You look like hell."

"Thank you for the lovely good morning," Casey answered. "Apparently, I'm the only one who is affected by alcohol, Miss I Never Get Hungover."

Olivia shrugged, reaching for her coffee. It was pitch black, just the way the detective enjoyed it. Casey shuddered to think of the bland taste. "How do you feel, besides that?" She paused. "Casey, about what I said last night..."

Casey sighed and perched on the edge of the older woman's desk. "Olivia, I wanted to talk about that as well. You revealed a curiosity about what happens beneath my clothing, and what I look like. We're best friends, Olivia. We have always joked around, flirted playfully, kidded, whatever the

case was. But what you said...I don't know." The redhead shrugged. "For the life of me, and despite my best efforts, I cannot fathom a meaning out of what you said. At least not a logical one."

"Casey." Olivia took a rather large gulp of her coffee, before placing the nearly empty mug on the desk once more. "This is not a good time or place to discuss this. Fin and Rollins left to get breakfast, and Amaro had to call his wife. Needless to say, everyone should be back any minute. Listen, I'm sorry about what I said. It was out of bounds, and I was drunk, though I know that does not excuse it. However, please forgive me." She took the signature blue paper from Casey's hand. "Thank you for the warrant. I'll call you later."

As Olivia turned back to her computer, Casey knew it was her cue to leave. Unable to think of a logical response that would hide her disappointment, the attorney left without another word. It was a drunken comment, after all. It meant nothing. But was that sharp pain inside of her a product of relief or disappointment?

That night, Casey curled her legs beneath her as she powered her laptop on. Sipping her steaming cocoa, she listened to the rain thrashing angrily against the windows. Tap, tap, tap became smash, smash, smash. Casey sighed. It was almost as if the rain was mocking her, reflecting everything she felt about the conversation with Olivia: anger, sadness, disappointment, hurt, and, conflicting sharply with all of her other feelings, relief. The thing Casey struggled most to understand, above even her jumbled thoughts, was why the situation bothered her so much. It was just words. It was a set of drunken babbles, and yet, Casey struggled to think of another instance that had affected her so.

God. When had life become so complicated? Casey sighed, and, once her computer was fully booted, she downloaded a video about brain injuries. They were, after all, the center of Donna Emmett's defense for her latest client: a teacher who was charged with the statutory rape of four of his students. Emmett argued that her client's car crash-induced brain injury was a direct cause of his inability to control himself around teenage girls. Casey, of course, knew that the defense was ludicrous, as did anyone with common sense. However, she always prepared to teach to the lowest common denominator, and if that meant learning about every type of brain injury and its effects, she would.

She had just opened the third part of the video when her cell phone rang. Startled, Casey reached for it, sighing when she read the caller id. "Novak," she answered, fully conscious of her biting tone.

Olivia sighed. "Have I ever told you that you are a genius? The warrant you got us led to an ultimate confession. I know how hard it was to obtain the warrant."

Leave it to Olivia to be nonchalant about the most awkward conversation of their twelve year friendship. Casey examined her right index finger, which was bleeding from a stinging paper cut. "You're welcome," she replied coolly. "I am greatly relieved that it helped."

"Casey, talk to me. I said I was sorry for my remark last night. I don't want to fight with you."

"I'm not fighting," Casey answered. "And I'm not angry. We all do and say things that we don't mean when we're drunk. Trust me. You did not want to know me in my law school and college days."

Olivia chuckled. As her laugh died, an awkward silence fell upon the conversation. Casey took a deep breath, and continued. "If I was angry, I would not have answered my phone. Olivia, I knew it was a drunken remark. It's okay. Honestly. I'm not going to run screaming in the other direction just because your hungover brain wanted to imagine what I look like naked. Just forget it. I accept your apology. I have to go."

"Casey, I wanted to say that I meant it-"

Casey sighed. "Olivia, the squad room was not the place to discuss this. However, this type of conversation is too important to be talked about over the phone. That is, if you do still want to discuss it."

"Casey, meet me at that new French restaurant around the block from your apartment. Meet me at ten." Olivia hung up.

Casey was left with yet another bout of indecision as she placed her cell phone on the nightstand beside the bed.