It wasn't what she'd meant to say.

She remembered her head pounding, her heart beating so fast that her eyes swam in the blur of the moment.

She'd begged to live. She'd told him she'd do anything to keep her life, and now she wished he'd taken it.

Olivia sat in the squad room two months and eight days after she'd said those words, just thinking in the only place she knew how. Her hand's fingers traced her jaw line involuntarily as her mind wandered, her wide eyes fixed on an invisible object on the floor a few feet away.

Her headache grew in intensity when she saw herself tied up, looking up at his gun as he brought it down on her with a sickening crack.

Olivia jumped when she heard the sound echoing through her mind again. She was so ready to move on, but she was stuck. People looked at her differently now, something she wished she could change.

Their eyes were sympathetic, their silent words cutting into Olivia. She knew what they were thinking; she'd been in their position more than once and she understood their looks. Still, it was as if they were just waiting for her to crack, to crumble into a broken soul with no hope of being put together again.

None of them would ever know it, but Olivia felt like that was what she was about to do.

Her head felt like it was going to explode more often than not. She couldn't eat. She couldn't sleep. Her life had been pulled out from under her feet, and she was struggling to stand back up.

She felt a combination of feelings she couldn't explain. She wanted to go back to being who she was before, and yet she couldn't even remember back that far. It was like she'd been erased and redrawn completely different.

She was so angry at Lewis for destroying her, and she was scared to push through it, just in case she was pushing the wrong way.

The sound on the streets below frightened her, making her jump at every honk of every horn.

The sirens gave her chills, visible shivers that seemed ready to overtake her.

The horrific experience found her reevaluating everything: relationships, her home, and her job. It was the first time that she was able to see how much of her life was already gone, memories that had already passed.

Those first steps in her apartment, two long months after her attack, were painful. The feeling of darkness was palpable, seeping into her skin and working through every fiber of her being. She was able to see that she'd been caught up for so long in giving her life to save others, that she had forgotten to save herself.


Her name was a distorted whisper as she sat in her new world.


Her partner watched her jump as he said her name for the second time. The heartbeats in his chest hurt every time he saw the expression she was giving him, after she'd just come back from a different, far more traumatic world.

"Sorry. I was just - thinking."

Olivia was ashamed every time one or all of her teammates called her out of the past she was constantly reliving. She didn't hold eye contact with Nick for long as she busied herself organizing files on her desk that were already in perfect order.

He could feel her embarrassment.

"I was just heading out. You need a lift home?" He asked her softly.

Olivia stood up, her healing wrist throbbing for some reason.

"Uh - no I can get home on my own." She grabbed her jacket off the back of her chair, but didn't move toward the door.

She stood, holding Nick's gaze in her tired eyes.

He was scared for his partner. She'd changed so much that even the feeling of her presence was now different. Even though she hadn't shrunk, she seemed smaller, less of what she used to be: a powerful force of a woman, confident and fearless.

He nodded. "I know. But I don't charge."

He smiled when he found a small grin on her lips, but it was soon to disappear.

Olivia wanted to be able to tell Nick everything she had to see and feel those four days she was Lewis' captive, but she couldn't find the words.

She nodded in reply. "Alright."

Nick smiled at her compliance. He just wanted time to spend with her, whether they were speaking to each other or not. He needed her to know that she could tell him anything, that he wasn't judging her.

Yes, she had changed. She knew that just as much as he did, but he was ready to get her back on her feet.

They stepped out onto the steps of the back lot of the precinct, the rainy night lit only by surrounding street lights.

Olivia wouldn't say it out loud, but she felt safe with Nick. She walked to his vehicle quietly, not even one glance exchanged.

He watched her wince when she reached back for her seatbelt, her ribs still giving her grief when her body moved certain ways.

He hadn't had a chance to get her alone for a possibility of a conversation with just the two of them. He hoped she would talk to him.

She could hear his silent words. They drove through traffic for five minutes before she spoke. She knew she had to.

"Nick I know you're trying to help me out." She looked down at her hands in the dark car before glancing up at him.

He looked back at her, not having expected the words that left her mouth.

"But I just need time." Her voice was quiet, laced with deep emotion as she said it.

Nick put his eyes back on the road. He didn't know what he could say, so he remained silent. He waited a while before saying what was on his mind.

"No one thinks any less of you because of this, Liv. I wish you'd believe that."

It was a touchy subject, he was well aware, but it had to be discussed.

Olivia took a deep breath, that anger returning so fast she couldn't think.

"I'm not stupid. I know when I walk into a room and everyone looks at me they're all thinking the same thing."

She recalled the moment she walked out of that house on Long Island, Nick's arm around her as she struggled to stand.

Their looks hadn't changed.

"They're thinking about how lucky they all were it wasn't them who had to go through that. Trust me, Olivia, they already know you're the strongest woman in his department. Not even Lewis could take that away." Nick finished while looking right into her darkened eyes.

Olivia swallowed hard and looked back at the road. The silence continued for another moment. It was going to come out of her; she couldn't keep it in.

"I get nose bleeds every night. I can't get them to stop." Her voice was shaky, and she cursed at it in her head as she watched the city go past her window.

Nick felt his heart break a little more.

"Have you seen a doctor?" He asked her.

Olivia gave a sad smile and shook her head.

"I don't need anymore of that."

That day she'd finally seen what victims of rape had to go through. The rape kit had taken the last of her dignity, if she'd had any left at that point.

Her mind went back to when Lewis had thrown her down on that bed, her body still struggling to take control of its movements.

It was going to come out at trial, but until then, she wouldn't tell anyone what he did to her in that bathroom.

Nick saw her leave again. He knew that frozen body position from many times before.

"Liv." He brought her back.

"Sorry." She mumbled a reply.

He gave her a small smile. "No. I get it. " He replied softly.

She sat back with a silent sigh, laying her head against the back of the seat as they drove on.

"Nick. You don't have to wonder if I'm ok." Olivia spoke in a near-whisper.

Nick let the words sink in before he even thought about his reply. A nod was all he answered with.

"Not everyone is fine all the time, Liv. I just want to make sure you know that." He said.

She felt her lips tugged into a small smile. It was comforting to know that she was understood.

"I know."

She remembered that night, the one her life began to change. He had asked her if she was alright, and for the first time she remembered, maybe the second, she'd answered with a 'no.'

Now, sitting in the quiet vehicle alongside her partner of two short years now, Olivia felt safe.

"So I'll just ask one more time, and then I'm done." Nick looked over at her and actually met her eyes.

"Are you ok?"

She hesitated before shrugging, shaking her head a little. Her voice gave out as she replied in a whisper.


Her partner gave her a little nod as his eyes returned to the road, his vision less clear as a lump formed in his throat, tears threatening his eyes.

"Call me. I'm serious, Liv. We should talk."

Olivia felt the fear creep into her veins again, thinking about telling her trusting partner what Lewis had done to her, what he'd taken from her.

She looked at him with watery eyes.

"Isn't that what we're doing?" She gave him a small smile.

Nick turned into the front parking lot of Cassidy's apartment building, stopping near the front.

"This is heavy stuff. You can't go around carrying it alone." He said to her.

Olivia swallowed hard, her hand ready to let her out of the car.

"Thanks, Nick." She left the vehicle and stood outside for a moment, the door still open to the drizzly air.

"See you tomorrow." She shut the door and gave him a small wave as he drove off.

When Nick's car was out of sight, Olivia turned to walk the hundred or so feet she had to find the apartment entrance in the darkness of the night.

She crossed her arms tightly across her chest, shivering in spite of the warm air. The darkness, the slight rain took her back to that night.

She'd been in the car when he'd shoved the bottle down her throat, choking her. She actually thought that she'd be killed with all the liquid she inhaled.

It hurt.

It tasted awful as it burned her mouth, her lungs.

Olivia shook her head as she stepped into the building and let her arms hang down loosely. A deep shaky breath led her to the elevator, where she paused and turned toward the stairs instead.

It was worse now for her than it had been before - with elevators. After being enclosed, penned in like an animal, treated like one, Olivia refused to willingly put herself in a confined, restricted area where she could not escape.

He heard the door open while he stood in the kitchen, reaching for a beer only just having gotten home himself. He stood up straight and put his drink down on the counter, finding Olivia walking toward him.

He smiled at her. "Hey you." He said quietly.

She answered wordlessly, wrapping her arms around him, longing for comfort. He held her tightly without question, feeling the pain in every beat of her heart pressed against his.

"You're ok." He whispered in her ear, feeling her then relax into him.

Olivia closed her eyes as she held him.

"I am." She nodded against his cheek.