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Equinox of Penitance

Chapter Text

The room was cold, half light illuminating the drab, blank walls. There were no windows aside from the two-way that reflected the scene with an intimidating, hidden gaze. The chair was metal, cold and hard.

Captain Tucker sat across from her, rearranging his papers and adjusting the microphone in front of her. He hit the record button with a jab and sat back, his icy blue eyes burning holes into her.

“Ed Tucker, Captain of the Internal Affairs Bureau, investigating the events of August 6th, 2016 which lead to the death of Ronald Duvall in the state of New Jersey.” He leaned back and clicked his pen before gesturing to her, “Detective, please state your name, rank, and precinct.”

“Amanda Rollins.” Amanda leaned forward, returning his unwavering gaze despite the less than hospitable conditions. “Detective of New York City's Homicide Division.”

“Homicide.” Tucker repeated. “But you were working an SVU case...your old precinct.”

Amanda folded her hands on front of her tightly and leaned into the mic. “I was cleared by my captain to remain on the case. It originally landed on mine and my partner's desk and we called SVU after the nature of the crime was ascertained.”

“And the nature of it?” Tucker asked.

“Seven children...little girls...murdered.” Amanda said, evenly. Tucker damn well knew the specifics of the case. He was asking her these questions to discomfit her in order to find some weakness in her statements.

“How long have you been in Homicide?” Tucker asked.

“Six months.” Amanda replied.

“And how long were you at SVU?”

“Almost five years.” Amanda said, more softly, her gaze darting away despite her best efforts to remain resolute.

“That’s twice as long as the usual tour there.” Tucker commented.

“And not half as long as many of the detectives who are still there.” Amanda snapped, sitting back in her chair.

Tucker raised a brow and she cursed herself for showing emotion. If Tucker thought for a second that she was emotionally compromised he was going to pick at the tiny string of self doubt until she completely unwound.

“Why'd you leave SVU?” Tucker asked, flipping through a manila envelope. “I have your jacket here…. You spent your first three years as a detective in Atlanta and then suddenly you come all the way up here to SVU for five years before making a sudden request for transfer…”

“I don't really see what that has to do with anything…” Amanda's voice trailed away as Tucker's eyes rose from her file to stare her down.

“I've seen you twice already about officer involved shootings.” Tucker stated. “This is your third kill in as many years.”

“In all of those situations, I used the force necessary to subdue the suspect.” Amanda replied. “I was in fear for my life or that of a hostage or victim.”

Tucker nodded slowly, “The magic words, huh?”

“I'm not just saying that to cover my ass.” Amanda replied quickly. “Duvall attacked his daughter and was going to attack me. I made a judgement call.”

“Three bullets at point blank range is a judgement call?” Tucker asked, leaning in. “How about overkill?”

“You're going to run at me with excessive force over a man that raped and murdered seven children and his wife?” Amanda asked, sharply.

“So you're saying he deserved to die?” Tucker asked.

“I'm not sure you'd blame the parents of those children for saying anything less.”

“I'm not asking the parents.” Tucker's voice rose over her own. “I'm asking you. A member of the police force who is responsible for maintaining an impartial attitude of innocent until proven guilty.”

“He confessed to the crimes he committed before he died.” Amanda ground out slowly.

“After which you shot him.” Tucker finished.

“I told you…” Amanda said, precisely, “He attacked his daughter. He came at me with a knife and every intent to injure or kill me.”

“But you thought he should die before that.” Tucker said, jabbing a finger down in the table.

Amanda breathed out and leaned her head back, “He deserved to pay for what he did.”

“And you made sure that happened.” Tucker said, his judging tone burning her conscience.

“I guess you have your mind made up too.” Amanda shrugged.

“I'm trying to get the facts here, Detective Rollins.” Tucked said, spreading his hands. “I've seen you become emotionally involved to a point that that your judgment was corrupted…. I've heard witness that you were extremely overwrought by this case.”

“From who?” Amanda snapped, leaning in on her elbows again. Her mind raced, cycling through the possibilities. Fin wouldn't betray her and she hadn't thought that Jensen would either but after the way he had left, she wasn't sure.

Then there was Olivia. Saying that she was emotionally compromised was the least that Olivia could say to destroy her career and she wondered sickly if Tucker had interviewed the lieutenant yet. She had little doubt that Olivia was going to lie for her despite her threats of disclosing their relationship in the twisted light that it truly was.

“I'm not at liberty to disclose that.” Tucker replied. “But your responses here today more than convince me.”

“Of course I was disturbed.” Amanda returned, vehemently, feeling her hands tremble and a cold sweat break out on her back. “I saw seven dead children butchered in a ditch on the side of the fucking road.”

Tucker's brows rose at her outcry but he remained silent as if waiting for her break.

“I watched a man returning to abuse a little girl's corpse and then almost get away with it.” She breathed. “I saw his wife lying dead on the floor and his daughter terrified that she was next...so yes, I was a little disturbed .”

Her heart was pounding sickly in her chest and she knew that she was only digging herself a deeper hole for Tucker to bury her in, but she couldn't stop the emotion that spilled from her lips. Her thoughts of Olivia and the possibilities of what she might say were destroying the last of her self control.

“Is this why you left SVU?” He asked, fixing her with a cool gaze. “Because you couldn't handle it?”

“No!” Amanda rubbed the heels of her hands against her forehead, trying to breath.

“Then what would cause you to suddenly request a transfer?”

“My career is not on trial here.” Amanda replied, “This is about me putting down a serial killer and child molester.”

“Your career is on trial if you made this decision based solely on emotions.” Tucker cut in. “And as far as I'm concerned, you're not only a danger to civilians but to yourself.”

“Myself?” Amanda lifted her head, feeling tears in her eyes. “You think I'm gonna eat my gun, Tucker?”

Tucker's eyes narrowed, “I wouldn't consider this so frivolous, Detective.”

“I'm a good cop.” Amanda insisted through clenched teeth. “We tracked Duvall in three days and put his killing spree to an end.”

“It was good work right up until you shot him.” Tucker said.

“You know what?” Amanda breathed. “I wouldn't have gone into that house and done what I did if Lieutenant Benson hadn't insisted on entering that house by herself. Why don't you ask her ?”

“Trust me, I'm going to.” Tucker said, lowly, “but she's not the one that shot him three times.”

“Did you not just hear me?” Amanda asked. “She went in alone and created a hostage situation!”

“So this is all Lieutenant Benson's fault?” Tucker asked. “It's very interesting that you're throwing one of your colleagues under the bus. There was a day when SVU was the most tight lipped crew in the NYPD.”

“I'm not SVU.” Amanda said slowly, through clenched teeth.

“Right.” Tucker said. “But you were supposed to be with her. Where were you when Duvall escaped?”

Amanda sat back, her words catching in her throat. What was she supposed to say? ‘Oh, yes Captain Tucker, I abandoned my partner in foreign territory in order to run back to New York to escape a sexual relationship’?

“I wasn't with her.” Amanda said at last.

“Obviously.” Tucker said with a frown. He paused before saying, “So let's get this straight. You were running around at some undisclosed location while you and your partner are in foreign territory looking for a serial killer and then when you get a location on him you two think it's a good idea to go in alone, you against a sergeant's orders… And then you shoot him. Three times. Did I miss anything?”

Amanda stared at the table, trying to breath past the tightness in her throat. She hadn't needed Olivia to destroy her in front of IAB. She was doing it all on her own.

Tucker leaned in closer to her, drawing her attention. When their eyes locked, he said in a low, even tone, “You're not telling me the entire truth, Detective Rollins. I know it and you know it and when I question Lieutenant Benson, I will be getting the entire story or I will bring you both to task.”

Amanda swallowed hard and sank further down in the chair with her arms folded against her stomach. She stared at the table, her vision blurring as the panic slowly set in.

“For now, you're temporarily suspended.” Tucker shut off the recorder and fixed her with an intense gaze, “You better be reporting to the shrink every week. Those meetings aren't optional after a shooting, Detective.”

Amanda huffed and pushed back from the table, “It's not my first time at the rodeo, Tucker.”

She rose quickly from the chair and headed towards the door. Her stomach was churning and she needed to escape from the room. Her brain was racing and all she could think was that she’d never be getting her shield back after all of this.

She yanked the door open, and in the blindness of her tears and panic, she almost slammed into the person on the other side. She drew up with a gasp, blinking quickly as her eyes climbed up the length of the impeccable suit and familiar curves.

"Olivia..?” She whispered at their eyes locked. “What are you doing here?”

“I'm here to see Tucker.” She said, lifting her chin.

Her mocha eyes were filled were determination, her expression unwavering, although Amanda could see the remnants of her anger lingering when she looked at her. Her hair and makeup were without distress, the opposite of how she had looked the last time Amanda had seen her in the hotel room. This confidence, however, was more terrifying than anything.

Amanda watched Olivia step past her, and her mouth parted as Olivia greeted Tucker with a handshake. Her stomach was twirling because this camaraderie could only mean one thing. They'd conspired against her to bury her.

She turned to leave, unable to watch, but Olivia's voice called her back.

“Don't leave quite yet, Amanda...This conversation involves all three of us.”

Amanda turned slowly, stepping back towards the open doorway. “What do you mean?”

“I need to interview you separately.” Tucker said, slowly. The confusion in his voice halted Amanda's wild conspiracy theories and drew her further into the room with curiosity.

“We can talk about the shooting later.” Olivia said, “I'm here to report myself.”

Amanda's jaw went slack, her pulse rising to slam against her eardurms. She stepped slowly back into the room as Olivia pulled out the chair and sat down.

Tucker sat down across from her, his face drawn. If he'd known about this previously, he was doing a damn good job acting like he hadn't.

“What is this in relation to?” Tucker asked after clearing his throat and rearranging his face into a professional expression.

Olivia licked her lips quickly and clasped her hands together in front of her.

“The truth.” She said at last, her voice rising above the quiver that Amanda could hear hiding beneath layers of bravado.

Tucker frowned but reached forward to turn the tape back on. “Captain Tucker of IAB speaking…Lieutenant, please state your name.”

“Lieutenant Olivia Benson of the Special Victims Unit.” Olivia said into the mic.

Amanda hovered at the edge of the table, her heart knocking as she watched the scene unfold before like a car accident she couldn't quite pull her eyes away from.

“Go ahead.” Tucker gestured.

Olivia licked her lips once more and took a breath, “On the night of September 20th 2015 I made a decision that breached the ethics and regulations of the NYPD and has since continued…” She paused, her eyes flicking to Amanda for half a second.

Amanda's stomach twisted, forcing an ill feeling up her throat. She knew that date. How could she forget the first time Olivia had taken her over the desk in her office?

“I used the power of my position as Lieutenant to manipulate a subordinate officer into a physical and….” She paused once more, catching her breath, “and...sexual relationship.”

Amanda grabbed the edge of the table to support herself, breathing heavily against bile that rose in her throat. She could see Tucker's shocked expression out of the corner of her eye and she couldn't imagine that hers was much different.

Olivia looked over at her, her darkened gaze holding hers evenly as she said, “And that officer was Detective Amanda Rollins.”

Chapter Text

The silence was deafening, ringing loud against Amanda’s ears. Shock held her breath tightly in her lungs, sapping the strength from her legs. For a long moment, all she could was stare back at Olivia’s unwavering gaze.

Finally, Tucker cleared his throat, breaking the respite of Olivia’s confession.

“Is this true, Detective Rollins?” He asked, disbelief layering even his most professional tone.

“Uh…” Amanda struggled to speak, barely able to take her eyes off of Olivia. Olivia nodded at her slowly as if to urge her to play along with what she’d just said. A frown creased Amanda’s brow as thoughts began to swarm through her mind, each one buzzing louder and louder over the last.

Wasn’t this what she had wanted? She’d pushed Olivia over and over again to put their relationship above her job and she had even threatened to expose them to save her own ass from a murder rap… But now, Olivia had swept that all away from her. She’d taken her last shred of control from the situation and simultaneously absolved herself. Just days ago, Amanda had been ready and willing to turn Olivia in for sexual misconduct and assault but that was before Olivia had suddenly laid her career down in line of fire to take responsibility for everything she’d done. Perhaps this was a power play - Olivia’s attempt outsmarting her threat - but suddenly, Amanda’s heart was caught. She’d never expected Olivia to risk her career, no, not in a thousand years.

“No...no…” Amanda shook her head at last, her breaths rushing quickly from her mouth as she turned towards Tucker. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Olivia’s brow furrow in shock that Amanda was denying her confession.

“It’s not true…?” Tucker said slowly, his eyes bouncing between the two of them in confusion.

“I wasn’t…. manipulated .” Amanda  stated, her voice quivering.

“That’s not-” Olivia began, nearly rising from the table before Tucker cut her off.

“Stop.” He held up a hand. “Sit down, Lieutenant Benson.”

Olivia sank back to her chair, her hands gripping the edge of the table. Her expression was drawn, and Amanda knew she must’ve paced for hours, conjuring the strength to come in here and lay herself vulnerable to command discipline and perhaps even expulsion from the the NYPD… And that was exactly why Amanda couldn’t let her do this.

“Detective Rollins…” Tucker gestured for her to go on.

Amanda licked her lips, her heart slamming up against her ribs, “I wasn’t manipulated, sir.” She said, quickly, “I entered into the arrangement of my own free will.”

“Arrangement.” Tucker repeated, his brows raising slightly.

“Yes.” Amanda breathed out, having to remind herself into inhale and exhale.

“So this began as…. Sexual favors?” His tone, although even, emitted with deep undercurrents of disbelief and shock. She didn’t blame him. If she were him, she wouldn’t believe it either, especially not from Olivia Benson.

“Not exactly.” Amanda said slowly. “I insisted on a romantic relationship…..”

“Captain Tucker, I’d like a chance to speak.” Olivia cut in, leaning forward.

“Can it, Lieutenant.” Tucker snapped with a deep frown. “You’re culpable either way.”

“I know that.” Olivia’s voice rose, one hand slamming down on the table. Amanda could see the look of panic in her eyes, and her heart fluttered lightly in her chest at even the idea of Olivia rushing to put her neck on the line for her. In the entire six months that they had been involved, it was perhaps the romantic thing that she’d ever done.

“Calm down, Lieutenant.” Tucker said, evenly. “You’re being suspiciously eager to railroad your own career here.”

Olivia sat back, her teeth working over her lower lip anxiously. “I’m only eager to tell the truth. She said, quietly.

“Fine, but I want to hear what Detective Rollins has to say.” He cast his strained gaze in Amanda’s direction. “Go on.”

Amanda drew in another deep breath before saying, “That’s all there is to it, Captain. We became involved. I wanted to continue the relationship, she didn’t… So I left the precinct. This is sexual misconduct at most.”

“Why are you doing this?” Olivia asked, lowly, her darkened gaze full of agony and questioning.

“Because you’re not ruining yourself for me!” Amanda snapped, blood rushing to her cheeks. “I wasn’t worth your time and I’m sure as hell not worth your life and livelihood!”

“Ladies, ladies!” Tucker held up a hand, appearing disturbed by their outburst. “This isn’t divorce court. This is Internal Affairs.”

“Fine.” Amanda gave a dramatic shrug. “Then I refuse to cooperate with this investigation.”

Tucker’s brows rose and stood from the table.

“Now, hold on just a minute.” He began.

“No, you’ve got my side of the story.” Amanda said, turning towards the door. “But I won’t say anything against her….”

“You’re unbelievable.” Olivia said, turning in her chair. “You asked me over and over again if I was ready to put our relationship of ahead of my career and you hated me because I wasn’t…. And now, you turn around and derail my attempts to take responsibility?”

“I finally accepted that it was never going to happen.” Amanda snapped, turning back towards Olivia. “I finally rose about the idea that I wasn’t good enough for you to see that you were just a selfish bitch!”

“Hold on, hold on..” Tucker shoved up from the table and rounded the table to come between them, holding up both hands. “This is not a goddamn therapist’s office either.”

“Selfish?” Olivia returned, ignoring Tucker’s attempts to break them up. “I have a son to take care of and a squad to lead and you wanted me put all of that on the line for this fucked up relationship. I have responsibilities that are more important that just our feelings.”

“And I was one of your responsibilities!” Amanda lurched against Tucker’s restraining arm, her blood boiling. “You made goddamn sure of that!”

“Calm down!” Tucker’s voice rose above her own, causing the room to fall silent.

Amanda and Olivia stared at each other, panting and flushed, and Amanda could decide if she wanted to slap her or kiss her. She was caught on the fine line of love and hate, both lustful and loathing of Olivia’s affections, and this moment, this confession was exploding every single capsule of self doubt inside of her. She’d finally accepted the fact that they’d never be together as she had once yearned for, and now Olivia decided to make this grand gesture of commitment. Whatever Amanda had thought she wanted before was crumbling at her feet, leaving her vulnerable and confused.

A voice in the back of her head whispered to her that if she had just given in to Olivia’s proclamations of love in that New Jersey hotel room, none of this would be happening. If she had let her heart have what it so desperately wanted, they would’ve never been miles apart when Duvall escaped, and they wouldn’t be here in IAB, confessing to moral and sexual corruption. Of all the mistakes she had made, this was by far the worst.

“If you need me again, call my rep.” She muttered to Tucker at last, before pulling away. She strode towards the door to make her escape. She couldn’t keep looking into the deep wells of Olivia’s sincere gaze or else she might fall. And once she fell, she might never find the ground again.

~~~~~

2 Days Later

The clock on Amanda’s bedside table read 1:53 pm when the sound of her ringtone jolted her from sleep. The cell buzzed across the surface of the table, jangling loudly, disorienting her.

She’d barely been able to fall asleep last night, even after two bottles of beer. She’d lain awake, her mind turning over and over. Without her job and her badge, she found herself drifting aimlessly through the days, barely able to drag herself up from the bed or the couch to perform basic tasks. She thought about Duvall, and the moments before she had shot him, trying to explain to herself exactly what had happened; but above all of that, Olivia’s confession to IAB replayed in her mind in the most. She could live with the flashbacks to the shooting, but she wasn’t sure she could live with what was happening between her and Olivia.

The phone buzzed once more and Amanda lifted her head from her pillow. She was lying on her stomach, her face half buried in the pillow and sheets. She threw a wandering hand over to the table and groped for the phone before picking up and rolling onto her back. She squinted her eyes against the LED screen and recognized the caller ID as that of her union rep.

She bit back the urge to answer the phone with a snarky attitude and settled for an irritated ‘hello’,

“Amanda, it’s Jen.”

Jen Salandez was a professional, middle aged woman who Amanda found to be smart and capable. Amanda trusted her advice, but she couldn’t seem to ever take it.

“Hi, what’s up?” Amanda asked.

A premonition was swirling in her stomach and she could only wonder what problem had arisen now. She wished that IAB would just make their decision. The not knowing of whether her career had seen its final days or not was breaking her down into a depressed state that she couldn’t claw out of.

“There’s been hiccup with your case.” Jen said.

“What do you mean?” Amanda asked, pushing herself up in the bed. Olivia’s confession rose up in the back of her mind again like a ghost that wouldn’t be cleansed from her thoughts.

“They’ve handed the case over to someone new.” Jen said. “Tucker is off the case.”

“What?” Amanda breathed. “Why?”

“He recused himself from the case.” Jen replied, “He cited a conflict of interest.”

“A conflict… of interest…?” Amanda repeated, her heart knocking in her chest, her pulse slowly rising. “What kind of conflict?” She demanded.

“They didn’t say.” Jen answered, “And I didn’t think it was appropriate to ask…”

“It’s not a conflict with me!” Amanda replied, her mind racing. “I’ve had nothing to do with Tucker but an investigation into my sister and my shooting her ex-boyfriend.”

“I know that.” Jen said, calmly. “The new IAB detective wants to re-interview you.”

“W-wait…” Amanda rubbed her fingers across her forehead. She could feel a headache arising and she couldn’t grab onto the racing thoughts that tumbled through her brain in order to sort them and make some sense out of this development.

“Amanda…” Jen said, firmly, “This isn’t a big deal. In fact, this might be better for us. Tucker may not have a conflict with you personally, but I sensed he had a hard-on for your job.”

“This can’t be right.” Amanda whispered.

She was hardly listening to what Jen was saying because her thoughts were spinning, dredging up theories and controversial attachments. The pieces of the puzzle were somewhere in the mix, waiting for her to put them together.

“Are you all right?” Jen asked, slowly.

“The last time I saw Tucker, he was talking to Liv.” Amanda said, her voice trembling. “He was appalled when she admitted to the sexual misconduct…. No, he was horrified. I could see it in his eyes.”

“What are you talking about?” Jen asked, insistently.

“I’m sorry, Jen, I’ll have to call you back.” Amanda hung up the phone and jumped out of the bed.

Her fingers were trembling as she grabbed her jeans from the floor where she’d thrown them the night before. She yanked them onto her legs and grabbed her phone again and began to flip through the contacts. She snatched a hoodie from the chair at her desk and slid it onto her arms as she left the bedroom.

The phone began to ring as she made it to the kitchen. She yanked the refrigerator door open and grabbed a beer from the shelf.

“Come on.” She muttered at the incessantly ringing phone. “Pick the fuck up.”

She propped the phone between her cheek and shoulder in order to use both hands to pop the beer open. She took a long, hard swig, forcing the burning liquid down her throat as the phone finally clicked.

“Benson.” Olivia’s voice cracked through the line.

Amanda’s breathing picked up into angry pants at the sound of her voice and she leaned on the table, pressing her eyes shut against the rage.

“Hello?” Olivia asked. “Amanda?”

“You….” Amanda began, gritting her teeth. “You... fucked Tucker?!”

Silence cut across the line, as loud and clear as any affirmative reply that Olivia could have given her. Long seconds ticked past and to Amanda they felt like neverending minutes.

“Answer me!” She snapped, gripping the cold bottle in one hand so tightly that her knuckles blanched white.

“It wasn’t serious…” Olivia’s even tone finally replied.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Olivia!” Amanda ground out, slamming the beer down on the table, attempting to release her anger. “First Elliot, then me, and now Tucker?”

She was met by silence once more and she could’ve only been angrier if Olivia had denied all of it.

“You destroyed my life because you said you couldn’t be with me and then you turn around and sleep with the fucking Internal Affairs dickwad psychopath?!” She demanded, feeling tears burning hotly and humiliatingly in her eyes. “You couldn’t commit to me so you spread your legs for some fucking suit with a penis?!”

She thought she heard Olivia release a trembling breath and she hoped to God that she was crying. She prayed that her venomous words burned acid across her beautiful eyes.

“I finally figured it out.” Amanda breathed, “Your sob story with your alcoholic mother and your rapist father fucked you up so bad that you don’t even know how to love someone! Then Elliot came along and ripped out the rest of your heart and now you break people’s hearts for the satisfaction of getting off. You’re a heartless, scheming, lying slut and I fucking hate you-”

The line clicked, suddenly, ending her violent tirade.

Dead silence buzzed in Amanda’s ear and she ripped the cellphone away from her cheek to stare at the screen. CALL ENDED stared back at her and Amanda growled, tossing the phone away.

“God damnit !” She screamed at the silent, lonely walls of her apartment before her voice broke down, tears shaking her entire body. She sank to the floor of the kitchen and hugged her knees to her chest. Her extremities trembled with anger and heartbreak and she whimpered into the void of nothingness that rose up to surround her, “I hate you…”

Chapter Text

One Police Plaza rose tall and proud above the city across the street from where Amanda was parked. She’d been running the meter for an hour, waiting for Tucker to walk out of the building and onto the sidewalk. She’d learned from a quick call to his secretary that he would be leaving in just a few minutes but she hadn’t wanted to miss him.

She had the window rolled down and a cigarette dangling from her fingers as she watched the traffic pass by her.

It’d been several hours since her call to Olivia and it had taken her this long to calm the rage that had taken over her. Now, he stomach only churned in a sick rhythm, her brain sloshing with questions that had no answer, at least, not yet. Olivia wasn’t going to give her the complete truth and to be honest, Amanda did not want to see her right now, but she had more than a couple of inquiries for Captain Tucker.

She was just sucking down the last of her cigarette when she saw Tucker exiting the building. He was wearing a long black, trench coat that swirled in the fall breeze and a drawn expression that was far too telling, even from this distance.

Amanda turned off the car and shoved the door open. She tossed her cigarette butt onto the sidewalk and looked both way before dashing across the street. She kept her eye on Tucker’s back as she veered onto the sidewalk and jogged to catch up to him.

“Hey, Tucker.” She said as she closed in on him.

He turned to glance back at her and she could see the way his brows furrowed. Maybe Liv had already called him. Maybe he knew exactly what was going to come out of her mouth.

“I shouldn’t be talking to you.” Tucker said, turning his eyes back towards the sidewalk.

“Why’s that?” Amanda asked. “You’re off my case. My rep called me and told me.”

“It was the best decision for all of us.” Tucker said, his eyes narrowing as he determinedly looked away from her.

“But that didn’t stop you from sopping up all the salacious details.” Amanda accused, grabbing his arm. “You sat there and you listened to Olivia’s confession because you knew damn well you’d have to toss this case to someone else.”

“Let go of my arm.” Tucker said, his tone steely, although he came to a halt.

“Fine.” Amanda said, “But I think I have a right to know hear why you recused yourself.”

“I think you already know.” He said, his icy blue eyes darting away from half a second and the rigid lines around his mouth deepened in a grimace. “And no...you don't have a right.”

“You slept with her.” Amanda ignored his rebuttal, her tone low, “And you felt no need to stop that ridiculous confession?”

“I was as shocked as you were.” Tucker said, gazing back at her. “Imagine my surprise… coming to realize that she broke up with me because of you.” He scoffed a cynical laugh and shook his head, “I was ready to give everything to her, but….she was never going to be ready.” He ducked his head and began to turn away, “And now I know why.”

“She said it wasn’t serious.” Amanda said, feeling almost smug at the disappointment in Tucker’s voice and body language.  “How long did she string you along before you realized it was a sham?”

“Three months.” He said, but continued to walk.

Amanda followed after him, saying, “And when did it start? February? March?”

“March 10th, although I don’t know why it’s any of your business.” Tucker replied.

Amanda breathed at the confirmation.

He was just a rebound…. A useless replacement…. Her heart whispered to her. She shook her head at foolish, naive thoughts. It doesn't give her a pass on having revenge sex with a man .

She felt ill at the thought of her in bed with him, fucking him. The mental images that her jealous brain conjured pushed a flush of anger up her neck and cheeks.

“You know, Liv is a person you'd do anything for.” Tucker said, casting her a narrowed gaze. “She gets under your skin with that beautiful smile and those teasing eyes…”

“And?” Amanda snapped, stiffening at his implication.

“And I think you did whatever it took to get her out of that house alive.” Tucker said. “I've been in IAB for almost 20 years and I would've taken your badge without a second thought but… I can't imagine I would've done anything differently if I had been the one standing between her and a worthless sack of shit with a knife.”

Amanda blinked quickly at his sudden outpouring. She had never expected those kinds of words from Tucker but then again she didn't even know the man. All she knew was that he was an uptight prick who loved to hold the power of his job and his overblown sense of justice over other cops but she supposed that even a prick had a heart.

“You were gonna kick me off the force.” Amanda said, slowly.

“You put your feelings above your duty.” Tucker replied. “You showed a disregard for life and the law and I think that reprehensible.” He turned away once more, leaving her shocked on the sidewalk as he said, “You should thank Olivia for your job. You don't deserve it.”

~~~~~

“How are you dealing with the suspension?”

Elizabeth Olivet’s eyes were inquiring rather than condemning but Amanda shifted uncomfortably on the couch anyways. She had never liked being on a therapist's couch and this was no different. If it wasn't required, she wouldn't even be here.

The soft blues of the wall color and the plush cushions beneath her didn't make her feel any less uneasy. Despite the decorator's best efforts, this room was still an office of an NYPD employee and nothing less.

“All right, I guess.” Amanda shrugged. “But the boredom is killing me.”

She sat on the edge of the couch, elbows on her knees. She picked at her thumb nail to give her something to divert her gaze to when the therapist's became too much.

“It must be hard to suddenly have empty days and nights when you're used to Homicide.” Olivet said. Her sympathy seemed genuine but Amanda knew better than to trust a shrink, especially one employed by the NYPD.

She'd seen Olivet before after she shot Jeff but the situation the had been completely different. Her job had been at stake then as well but maybe she had been more terrified of losing her place on the force then.

“I sleep a lot.” Amanda shrugged, picking consistently at the uneven edge of her nail. “I drink a couple beers…”

Olivet nodded slowly and asked, “Do you think that helps?”

“I don't have to think about whether I'm going to have a job tomorrow.” Amanda said, glancing up at the doctor.

“Do you have any dreams?”

“Not a single one.” Amanda laughed. “The last time I had some but it mostly revolved around me shooting Jeff and then discovering there was no gun.”

“You feel justified in shooting Duvall.” Olivet suggested.

“Why would I not?” Amanda asked, squinting her eyes. “He raped and killed seven children, murdered his wife and almost his daughter as well...I'm not losing any sleep over that.”

Olivet nodded and scratched a few notes down on her legal pad, causing Amanda's stomach to churn. Maybe that hadn't been the best answer considering Tucker accused her of disregard for life, but at least it was the truth, one thing she could admit to.

“Is that always how you felt?” Olivet asked, lifting her head.

“What do you mean?” Amanda asked slowly.

“How did you feel right after the shooting?” She rephrased.

Amanda sank back on the couch and blew out a breath. “Well...I was in shock. I hadn't expected him to slit her throat.”

“Why not?” She asked, “He had a knife to her neck.”

“I guess I thought I could stop him.” Amanda frowned. “I went in there and told myself to do what it takes to save them.”

“But when you got there…?” She asked.

Amanda swallowed as she remembered the scene that had laid out before her eyes - the gruesome and bloody mess on the floor, and image of Olivia tied and beaten...the sweet little girl choking against that blade...

“Melissa was already down,” Amanda murmured, “Olivia was unarmed and tied up… He had Sara at knifepoint and I knew he had Olivia's gun…”

“It must have been terrifying.” Olivet returned softly.

“It was horrifying to see what he'd done.” Amanda nodded. “And of course I was scared for the hostages… But I trained my whole life for these kinds of situations. I've never been scared to aim a gun at a man.”

“But tell me…” Olivet said, “If you were outside the situation what would you tell yourself to do?”

Amanda frowned at the question and heaved another breath, “Probably wait for back up, negotiate, hope for the best…”

“But instead you went inside and stood up against a man with two weapons and a child at risk.”

“Do you think I did something wrong?” Amanda snapped, leaning forward. “Because I saved two out of the three hostages and neutralized the target.”

“I'm not here to judge your actions.” Olivet assured her. “Only your state of mind.”

“Right.” Amanda scoffed.

“So you went in.” Olivet continued, ignoring her cynicism. “And went against your own good advice. What do you think made you do it?”

“I already know.” Amanda said, rising quickly from the couch, and gestured sharply with one hand,  “And I'm not going to tell you.”

She headed towards the door. Alarms were sounding in her mind, alerting her to evacuate from the situation. Although she knew that Olivet would most likely learn the truth about her relationship with Olivia at some point, but she wasn't ready to be the one to spill that information. She wasn't ready to talk to anyone about Olivia, least of all a shrink. Those feelings were far too complex to be worked out in one therapy session and frankly Amanda didn't think it was any of Olivet’s business. Like she had said, she was only here to judge her mental state and discern whether she was fit for duty or not.

Olivet’s brows rose and she stood from her own chair to call after her, “The point of these sessions is for you to work out what happened. I can't help you if you don't talk to me.”

“Look,” Amanda said, grabbing the doorknob, “All you have to know is that I'm not going to eat my gun, okay? Just like last time.”

“Except this is nothing like last time.” Olivet said softly.

Amanda squeezed the door handle hard and pressed her eyes shut against encroaching emotion. The last thing she needed was to cry in front of the psychologist.

“I'm fine.” She said, slowly, through clenched teeth, “You can write that down too.”

She yanked the door open and strode out into the hallway. She half expected to be followed but when she glanced back, Olivet was nowhere in sight.

Good. She thought as she passed rows of office doors before breaking out into the lobby.

She breezed past the receptionist, her eyes locked on the door. She needed fresh air, a smoke, room to breathe. She felt suffocated by the entire session and terrified by what she might have revealed.

She hit the sidewalk at a quick stride, only slowing down when she was several yards away from the building. She grabbed her cigarettes out of her back pocket and lit up with trembling fingers.

She breathed in the nicotine and exhaled, billowing smoke around her face before the early autumn breeze whipped it away. She tried to relax and let the drug soothe her overwrought system.

Her heart was just beginning to slow when her phone began to ring, startling her once more.

“Fuck.” She muttered, snatching it from her pocket.

She squinted her eyes against the sun to read the screen and her heart dropped. The text across the buzzing device read: OLIVIA BENSON.

“No, no, no…” She whispered, jabbing her thumb at the reject button, as her heart churned in her chest.

She could not deal with listening to the other woman's excuses and reasoning right now. She couldn't even be satisfied with the fact that it had taken her less than a day to come crawling to her after Amanda's blow up on the phone.

Amanda shoved her cell back into her pocket and continued down the sidewalk, nervously smoking her cigarette.

There was silence from her phone for less than a minute before it began to jangle again.

“Goddamnit.” She hissed, tossing her spent cigarette to the ground and ripping her phone from her pocket. She stabbed the answer button and lifted it to her ear, demanding, “What do you want?”

“Amanda…” Olivia's voice had the patronizing tone to it that Amanda hated so much and she squeezed her eyes shut.

“Will you least hear me out?” Olivia asked.

“Like you heard me out before you hung up on me?” Amanda snapped.

She gazed up at the street to find that she had arrived at her car where she had parked alongside the street. She grabbed her keys and unlocked the doors.

“I want to talk to you...not scream at you.” Olivia said with a sigh.

“Stop invalidating my anger, Olivia.” Amanda said, annoyed. “You were begging for me back two months after you were fucking Tucker. And before you say it wasn't serious again, I talked to him and he told me he was quote en quote ‘ready to give you everything’.”

“You talked to Tucker?” Olivia asked in disbelief.

“It's a free country, Liv. I can talk to whoever I want.” Amanda snapped, slamming the car door shut behind her as she climbed in.

“I think the same could apply to who I date.” Olivia returned, her voice still wrought with shock.

“I couldn't really give two fucks who you date.” Amanda replied, heatedly. “It's the principle of the thing. You threatened me with my job on grounds of conflict of interest and then you turn around and sleep with someone who is just as much a liability as I am.”

“I understand.” Olivia said, gently but firmly. “But believe me when I say I never stopped thinking about you.”

“Oh god, spare me.” Amanda tried to laugh through the tears that clogged her throat. “You didn't care what happened to me. You never once tried to call me or contact me after I put in my transfer papers.”

“Neither did you.” Olivia replied softly.

“I don't think that was my responsibility.” Amanda said, harshly. “You drove me away! Do you think I had the strength to pick the pieces of myself up and continue to chase after a false hope?”

Olivia quieted and Amanda scoffed, “That's what I fucking thought.”

“I know you're angry…” Olivia said, quietly, “but you told me you love me... and now I'm trying to give you a reason to stay…”

Amanda's heart ached in her chest and she leaned her forehead against the steering wheel. She gripped the phone tightly and swallowed against tears.

“You asked me to put you above my job and now I have.” Olivia said, her own voice growing thick and quavering with emotion. “I have given my best efforts to redeem myself for you...What else are you going to ask of me?”

Amanda choked back a sob, her fingers trembling around the phone and the steering wheel.

“I know you think we're better off apart,” Olivia went on, “but I don't believe you.”

“I thought I was a disgrace to the NYPD.” Amanda cried. “The last time I saw you, you slapped me and berated me for saving your ass.”

Silence crackled across the line for a moment before Olivia murmured, “I know and we both have to take responsibility for what we've done...but that doesn't change how we feel about each other.”

Amanda shook her head, tears breaking from her eyes.

“I have to go.” She whispered before quickly tearing the phone from her ear and hanging up.

She needed to go home and grab a beer or crawl into her bed to hide beneath the sheets, but she could not deal with the myriad of emotions swirling through her.

She dragged her sleeve across her face and sniffed back tears. She glanced at her reflection in the rearview mirror. Her blue eyes shone bright against the red surrounding them, portraying every single twisted emotion tearing her apart inside.

Amanda muttered a curse and stabbed the key into the ignition. She pulled away from the curb sharply with a squeal of tires. She managed to hold back her tears with the thought that soon she'd be in the safety of her apartment and her bed, but by the time she pulled into her parking space, her chest was convulsing with the threat of a breakdown.

She dragged herself out of the car and trudged up the steps, her head down. She was almost to the door when her peripheral gaze caught sight of a pair of heeled, shined, black boots next to her door.

Amanda snapped her gaze up the length of Olivia's long legs to see her leaning against the wall, her arms crossed. Her hair was tied back, but loose strands danced around her face whimsically, but whatever innocence it conveyed, it stopped there. Her amber gaze sparkled under the setting sun, sharp and intense.

“What are you doing here?” Amanda demanded, shoving past her to unlock the apartment door.

She couldn't ignore the way the breeze wafted the scent of her perfume and when she glanced over, their eyes met.

“Let me in.” Olivia whispered, biting her lower lip.

“Are you crazy?” Amanda asked, choking over her own emotion and the overload of her senses.

She hadn't seen Olivia in days, and although they'd spent six months apart, this week seemed almost unbearable, no matter how angry or stressed she was. Seeing her again was like letting a wave wash her out to sea, knowing it was dangerous and yet doing nothing to stop it.

Olivia grabbed her arm and the warmth of her fingers was far too convincing.

“Just let me in.” She whispered, imploringly.

Amanda glanced again at her passionate, pleading expression - her wide brown eyes, glistening, her brows delicately furrowed, her full lips turned down in a convincing pout.

“Fuck…” Amanda breathed out, pressing her head against the door for a moment before she shoved it open. She left the door open behind her and she heard Olivia enter, stepping inside her space.

Nothing had happened yet, but Amanda couldn't shake the feeling that all the walls she had built around herself to protect herself from Olivia, and all the time she had spent nursing her anger was about to become obsolete. She was tired, very tired; and the currents were very close to sweeping her out to sea.

Chapter Text

The apartment was dim despite the orange and golden beams that attempted to shine through the blackout curtains that hung over the front windows and Amanda didn't bother to turn on the lights. She wanted this cover of shadow to hide her face from Olivia's prying eyes.

“So what are you doing here?” Amanda repeated, pushing past the knot in her throat as she tossed her keys on the kitchen counter.

“I told you I wanted to talk.” Olivia said, hovering near the door for a moment as she eased it shut behind her.

“I'm not sure what there is to talk about.” Amanda's voice quavered and she covered it by yanking the refrigerator open. The yellowish light spread across her face and body as she bent to down to examine her stash of alcohol. She was already running low.

“I think there is.” Olivia objected, though her tone was soft.

Amanda snatched a beer from the fridge and turned to face her. She popped it open and took a swig before saying, “I think you sleeping with Tucker tells me all I need to know about how much you felt for me.”

“It wasn't like that.” Olivia insisted, pressing her eyes shut for a moment.

“Then what was it like?” Amanda asked. “Fucking the enemy and getting him wrapped around your finger? Was that your plan all along? Your insurance policy should I ever decide to rat you out?”

“No...that was never my intention.” She insisted, her tone wrought with sincerity.

Her brows furrowed, disbelief in her wide, dark eyes. She stepped forward, bringing her scent and her body heat a foot closer. Amanda took a halting step backwards, glaring up at her.

“I don't believe a word you say.” She whispered.

“You don't trust me.” Olivia returned in a hushed tone, “And I don't blame you.” She lowered her head, sadness tugging at her beautiful features as she murmured, “I know I've done this to you...To us..”

“If you felt so bad then why did you sleep with Tucker?” Amanda whispered, her tone nearly breaking.

“Because…” Olivia sighed and shook her head, “He offered me the company that I knew I could break off at any time.”

Amanda pursed her lips and nodded slowly, “So you used him. Just like you used me.”

Olivia grabbed her arms, suddenly, pulling her close.

“I'm so sorry, Amanda, you've got to believe that, even if you don't trust me.” Her voice was thick with tears, breaking with guilt.

“I told you sorry doesn't cut it.” Amanda whispered, although her heart ached to accept the bitter apology. Her soul begged her to release her anger if only to attempt to forgive her.

“Then what does?” Olivia asked, pressing closer.

Amanda stumbled back as the weight of Olivia's body pressured her back against the counter. She managed to set her beer down behind her with trembling fingers lest it slide from her weak grip and crash to the floor.

“I don't know.” She returned, breathlessly as Olivia trapped her.

If it had been any other day of the week, Amanda might have pushed her away and ordered her out of the apartment, but she wasn't sure she had the emotional strength to complete the task after her conversation with Tucker and Olivet.

“Take what you want from me.” Olivia groaned softly, her fingers digging into Amanda's arms, her breaths rushing quickly against Amanda's mouth. Her eyes were full of an anguish that was far too familiar to Amanda, painted over with glistening tears. Her heart moaned beneath the weight of this mural of heartache and yet she could not collapse.

“Please..” Olivia insisted, her voice rising. “I can't take this anymore. Be angry, hurt me, do something!”

She shook Amanda, the fires of desire licking up against the tears in her eyes. Even in the darkness, Amanda could see her expression clearly strained with anguish and longing and her own heart strained against the freshly stitched wounds upon it. Old scars throbbed and burned and her eyes filled up more quickly than she could fight against. God, how she wanted to crash them together, torpedo them into an oblivion of sexual abandon, if only to somehow erase all the heartache that come before. Maybe in an orgasmic abyss, she could forget and find the peace that had once filled her when she was in Olivia’s arms.

Olivia shook her again, her expression desperate and almost crazed and the motion finally uprooted from Amanda from the languishing immobility of her body.

She grabbed onto Olivia's arms and pushed her back with a low growl, punctuated with agonized tears. She slammed her back against the refrigerator, rattling the appliance with the force of it. Olivia's head tossed back and she gasped, a thick sound as a tear spilled down her cheek. She released Amanda's arms to splay herself out in a display of submission, her eyes begging Amanda from the dark depths of her blackened pupils. The length of her neck invited Amanda's mouth, forcing saliva to pool against the back of her throat even as she squeezed Olivia’s arms hard enough to bruise.

“You want me to hurt you?” Amanda demanded in a raspy, trembling whisper, giving her a rough shake.

“If that's what you want.” Olivia panted, her eyes half lidded in both pain and pleasure.

Amanda clenched her fingers around Olivia's arms, lowering her head to grind her teeth against every instinct to follow Olivia's dark offerings. Her jaw ached and her eyes burned as she panted against the tightness in her chest. Her mind whirred through agonized memories, flipping through the most painful that she could recall to find some reason to maim and bruise her although she knew she had followed this path once before and she had ended up creating the worst night of her life. She knew it wasn't wise to repeat this pattern, to take on the role of manipulator and user...and yet it was so enticing. It was so alluring to sink down into this pit of passion, where the consequences were far away and the satisfaction immediate.

Amanda dragged her hands down Olivia's arms, her fingers trembling. She reached her wrists and clenched her fingers around the soft flesh in an iron bracelet of her fists.

Olivia breathed out slowly, the sound quivering against Amanda's ears. Her own exhales rattled through her chest, stray tears dripping down her cheeks as the well of emotion began to grow cold as she drew near the gaping oracle of temptation.

She leaned forward, her mouth brushing against Olivia's neck. She was soft, smelling oh so sweet, and her pulse was racing beneath the thin veneer of flesh. She latched her mouth suddenly to the undulating length of skin, pressing in close to her as she dragged Olivia's arms above her head with a rough yank

Olivia's moaned, squirming against her as her mouth sucked down hard on her tender flesh.

“Oh, god, Amanda!” She cried out brokenly, her chest rising and falling sharply.

At her agonized pants, Amanda pressed harder against her, bringing her teeth to bear on Olivia's vulnerable carotid. She shoved her knee between Olivia's legs to bring their bodies flush as she dragged her teeth across Olivia's tender flesh.

“Aahhh….” Olivia cried out, her voice wavering as Amanda's teeth exacerbated her sense of pleasure.

Amanda could almost feel the shivers raking across her body and her own groin clenched in response.

Blind passion drove through her, tunnelling her vision down to this single moment and the visceral reactions that she could illicit. She wanted Olivia crying out, pleading and writhing beneath her. She wanted those wide, tear-filled brown eyes gazing up at her, begging for mercy as if she was the only one who could give it to her. She wanted every single agonized vocalization to salve the broken pieces of her heart and to soothe the rage that never seemed to stop burning through her.

She sucked her mouth off of Olivia's neck and dragged her hands down the soft undersides of her arms until she reached her breasts. She gathered the full, pliable flesh in her palms, extracting another loud moan from Olivia, as she roughly fondled her.

Olivia’s face was turned away from her, her cheeks shining with tears, her lips trembling as she gripped the sides of the refrigerator, taking every single painful caress up on her weakened body. It no longer enraged Amanda that she wouldn’t fight. She didn’t have the strength to struggle and strive for dominance. She only wanted to take what she needed, to rip it from Olivia’s trembling hands.

She had her hand inside of Olivia’s chest, her fingers clenched hard around her heart and when she retreated, she planned to tear that pumping, vital organ straight from her; for Olivia’s fingerprints were still etched on what was left of hers.

When she spread her hands up Olivia's chest, she curled her fingers around the lapels of Olivia's shirt. She gave a quick, hard pull and the shirt's button caved beneath the pressure, popping off one by one. The tearing of the material giving way beneath her trembling fists pushed satisfaction through her raging blood and she gave a second yank, ripping the shirt tails from Olivia’s slacks and pushing the material over her shoulders.

Olivia gasped as the shirt parted from her chest, leaving her breasts heaving beneath the thin barrier of her bra.

Amanda grabbed her arm and pulled her away from the fridge, whispering in a low, gravelly tone, “Turn around.”

Olivia's wide eyes blinked quickly, her mouth parted in shock from the onslaught of rough touches and kisses. A mixture of dried tears and mascara decorated her cheeks her lower lids and a inflamed bruise was beginning to form on her neck from Amanda’s mouth. The disheveled sight of her injected Amanda’s blood stream with a dark form of arousal that was even deeper than what she’d experienced on the beach over a week ago, but this time she wouldn’t run away.

Amanda shoved her in the direction of the refrigerator and Olivia complied, her fingers spreading against the smooth surface as she fell into position. She was panting, soft waves of hair falling over her face, hiding her visage from view.

Amanda pressed up behind her and slid her hand around her side to the cool metal of her belt buckle. She began to pull it open, forcefully, jarring Olivia's hips in the process.

“You know, when I left that hotel in New Jersey, I thought I might actually be able to get over you.” She hissed in her ear, “But now I realize… I should’ve never let you up off that bed. I should’ve beat your ass raw until you couldn’t even walk.”

She ripped the the belt from the loops, clenching her fingers about the smooth leather, and letting the sensation infuse a heady rush of adrenaline.

A cry filtered from Olivia’s lips as her body swayed with Amanda’s rough disrobing, but she didn’t turn or cower away. She didn’t fight and she didn’t even beg.

Breathing heavily, her chest burning, Amanda slid her hand around Olivia’s hip again and unbuttoned her pants. She jabbed her thumb beneath the waistband of the slacks as well as her panties and dragged them down in one sharp motion.

Olivia panted in a choked sound, her fingers curling tighter around the door of the fridge.

Amanda took a step back as Olivia’s pants pooled to the ground, her eyes raking over her naked lower half. Faded bruising marked her buttocks and thighs, reminding Amanda that it had only been mere days since the last time she’d held the belt in her hand with the intention of punishment, but she was hardly fazed. There would be no pity or mercy here, only raw, unbridled desires that she couldn’t and wouldn’t contain.

Amanda slid her hand into Olivia's hair, gripping thick locks tightly at the base of her skull. Her hips pressed against Olivia's warm, naked flesh, incurring a tremble of desire in her groin.

“Don't you wanna beg me?” She whispered, huskily, in Olivia's ear.

Olivia shook her head, slowly, “No…”

“Why not?” Amanda insisted, clenching her teeth.

“Because…” Olivia released a quivering breath, “You told me you were making decisions for yourself from now on. Not for me.”

Olivia's rebuttal hacked at Amanda's ego. She hadn't expected Olivia to use her own words against her, and truth be told, that proclamation seemed very distant, as if she'd spoken them on another plane of existence.

“Whatever you do, I want you to do it for yourself.” Olivia whispered, her tone cracking beneath emotion.

“You're saying that after you barged in here and threw yourself at me?” Amanda demanded, shaking her by her hair. “You want me to do what I want as long as it involves you. That's the truth, isn't it?”

“Maybe it is.” Olivia groaned, “I want you so much… It's burning inside of me.”

Her plaintive, impassioned words pushed Amanda an inch closer to the edge and she could feel her breaths coming quickly, her ears buzzing with white noise.

She pulled Olivia away from the refrigerator suddenly and yanked her around to the counter. She shoved her across it and Olivia's flailing arms swiped over cups and clutter, creating chaotic noise like background music to this dark and dangerous scene.

She could hear Olivia panting, moans plaguing each breath, and she shoved her face down against the cold, smooth surface. With her fist in Olivia's hair, she stood over her prostrate body and raised the belt in her other hand.

Her blood pumped heavily through her veins, her vision prickling with black dots at the headrush and her entire groin surged with sharp arousal. Her hands trembled uncontrollably, her saliva catching in her throat at the realization of what she was about to do again.

“Do it…” Olivia's voice came muffled and strangled, but wrought with pained desire.

Her body squirmed against the counter, presenting herself a willing participant in their twisted game.

If they could ever be more than just this fucked up passion play, Amanda would have a hard time believing it. And for right now, she didn't have to even imagine anything different.

She released a low growl, lunging forward with the belt dangling from her clenched, shaking fist. The strap of leather whipped through the air, curling down at lightning speed across Olivia's arched buttocks.

She bucked beneath Amanda's hand, her head tossing back, her back arching at the first lash. An agonized cry cut across Amanda's senses and she sucked in a breath at the sight of a red rising on Olivia's flesh.

She hardly hesitated to repeat the action as heat bled through her entire body, this wretched desire blazing across her like a wildfire. There would be no containing nor dousing this cruel devotion to destruction - no, not until she was spent and finished.

She lashed the belt again, driving every bit of anger and desire that she could muster into the devastating act.

“You're just gonna take it?” She demanded through heavy breaths, her heart aching beneath the bitter acid of anger seething through her.

“Y-yes…” Olivia cried, arching against the counter, her knees trembling as Amanda slammed the belt down once more.

Amanda growled out a low noise as she repeated the motion again, causing the leather to fall harder and faster across Olivia's arching, twisting body.

She could see the patches of raw redness blooming across her flesh, layered on top of old wounds, but it just wasn't enough.

“You didn't have to sleep with Tucker.” She hissed, twisting her fingers hard in Olivia's hair. “You didn't have to fuck someone else!”

The belt whipped through the air, cracking down sharply and Olivia stumbled, her body dragging down. Amanda could hear her beginning to sob but this time there would be no recompense for the penitent. There would be no mercy for these tears; no regret from the broken hearted.

She struck her, over and over, even as Olivia's knees gave way beneath her. The beltings multiplied until Amanda’s ability to count them on her fingers was lost to a dozen more.

She didn't stop until her muscles screamed her and her chest was so tight that she could barely suck in a breath around the galloping of her heart.

When she released her hair, Olivia sank to the ground completely, her shoulders shuddering as she uttered soft cries upon Amanda's ears. She leaned against the cabinet, her hair falling over her face, hiding her from Amanda's burning gaze.

Amanda tossed the belt to the ground and leaned on the counter, panting heavily. Tears that had gathered in her eyes spilt over silently as she pressed her eyes shut.

Silence stretched between them with Olivia's soft sniffles and cries drifting through the half lit apartment like a requiem for their shattered hearts; and holding on to the last of her bitter vengeance, Amanda didn't dare to listen.

Chapter Text

A dull headache throbbed at Amanda's senses as the quiet lengthened between them and finally even Olivia's soft whimpers dwindled into nothing. The sound of the clock ticking in the hallways scraped against her ears like the hollow, dark omen of a time bomb.

 At last, Olivia rose from the floor, moving slowly and haltingly as she pulled herself up against the counter. She wavered there for a moment, her eyes downcast before she turned and limped towards the hallway.

 Amanda grabbed her forgotten beer from the counter as she heard the bathroom door close. The emptiness of the apartment rose up to engulf her and she choked down the knot in her throat with a gulp of alcohol.

 Her entire body hummed insistently in the aftermath although the depravity of her actions was not lost on her. She could've thrown herself into a pit of sexual gratification. She could've done anything but this and Olivia would've followed her...but she'd she chosen to push her away once again.

 Amanda lifted the cold bottle to her forehead, and relished the way it eased the throbbing of her muscles. Leaning against the counter, she focused on the icy feeling rather than the aching of her mind and heart.

 Long minutes passed, and with each second, Amanda grew increasingly uncomfortable and apprehensive about what was happening inside the bathroom and what would happen once it opened.

 Finally, she slammed the bottle down on the counter and marched towards the bathroom door. She charged up to the door, her breaths rushing heavily through clenched teeth as she raised her fist to knock, however, a seed of doubt kept her from acting immediately. She wavered at the door for half of minute, listening for any sign of Olivia's well being, but when it didn't come, she forced herself to rap her knuckles against the wooden barrier.

 At first, silence greeted her.

 “Liv?” She called out, her voice barely breaking past a whispery rasp.

 Nothing.

 “Liv?” Amanda repeated, louder, biting at her lips nervously.

 There was another pause before Amanda was jarred by the door being pulled open. Olivia's body filled the three inch crack, one side of her face barely visible.

 “What?” She asked, her voice trembling.

 Guilt wrenched Amanda's gut immediately at the sight of her puffy eyes and reddened nose and brows. She'd hardly ever seen Olivia shed a tear aside from the weekend in New Jersey and at first she could barely speak.

 Is this what you wanted? Her mind asked, sharply gouging her conscience. Isn't this what you dreamed about?

 Amanda ducked her head, swallowing back tears. This wasn't the satisfying retribution she'd vividly fantasized but, of course, she already knew that. Had New Jersey so quickly fled her memory?

 “I was just making sure you're okay.” She mumbled, knowing it was as hypocritical as it sounded.

 “I'm not sure I should have expected any more than this.” Olivia returned, her voice thick from emotion.

 “I expected more from you at one point too.” Amanda whispered.

 The bathroom door opened another inch, revealing another slice of naked flesh.

 Amanda kept her head down, staring at the length of Olivia's legs until she felt Olivia's fingers grasp her chin. She heaved a breath, trying not to cry as their eyes met.

 “Fuck…” She whispered as their gazes locked.

 Olivia's eyes were wide and soft, shimmering with tears and emotions deep enough to drown her. Whatever Olivia had been unable or unwilling to say all those months ago lay here in her eyes, and it was almost more than she could bear.

 Instincts drove her forward, launching herself against Olivia's chest. Her hands grasped either side of her face, crashing their mouths together, trembling and desperate.

 Olivia went rigid against her as if shocked. Her fingers dragged over her arms, her nails scraping into flesh.

 Amanda pushed into the bathroom, panting heavily as she angled her mouth over Olivia's in order to slip her tongue between her teeth. Olivia moaned beneath the caress, her jaw going slack as Amanda laved her palate and sucked at her upper lip.

 Her heart raced in her chest, the aching pieces of it limping desperately towards what light she knew could lie deep in their connection. If only for one night, she needed to engage in the thoughtless, passionate union they had flung themselves into six months ago. Memories of their single night in Olivia's bed riddled her mind, as if she'd opened the locked compartment of her brain where they were stored. Feelings she'd never felt another day in her life tore her through and through, forcing her to act.

 She slid her arms about Olivia's waist as the other woman responded to her kisses, lapping back at her in quivering response. She pulled Olivia out of the bathroom, stumbling back towards the bedroom door.

 Olivia surged against her, slamming her back against the wall as her fingers clenched down in her hair at the back of her head. The sound of their breathing clashed loudly between the half second pauses of their kisses.

 Amanda grasped at Olivia's body, her fingers scraping over her back then down to her ass. She could hardly spare any gentility for the tender, beaten flesh and she elicited a sharp gasp from Olivia's lips as she pushed away from the wall.

 Their trembling, writhing bodies stumbled back into the bedroom door and Amanda pinned her up against it as she reached for the doorknob. She could barely wrangle it open as Olivia's hand dragged down her neck to tear at the buttons of her shirt.

 When the door finally opened, they fell inside and Amanda wrapped her arm tightly around Olivia's waist to steady them. She kicked the door shut behind her and walked them back towards the bed.

 Olivia's legs hit the edge of the mattress and they tumbled to the sheets with Amanda on top. She grabbed Olivia's arms and dragged them above her head as she laid hot, wet kisses down her jaw to her neck. She bit at the already bruising flesh, her hips grinding down against Olivia's in desperate pantomime.

 When Olivia was moaning and compliant beneath her, she sat back and dragged her shirt off over head, bypassing the tedious process of unbuttoning.

 Olivia pushed up, her fingers grabbing at Amanda's pants. Her eyes were wide and dilated, sparkling with arousal rather than tears and Amanda couldn't stop the pleased warmth that washed over her at the look on her face.

 When Olivia finally managed to get her pants open and over her hips, Amanda kicked them  away from her along with her panties.

 As soon as they were both naked, Amanda collapsed down over her again, her senses singing as their flesh came into contact. She aligned her chest with Olivia's and pressed her legs between her thighs as she lowered her mouth to Olivia's neck once more.

 Olivia's fingers tangled in her hair, holding her close as she frantically laid kisses down her neck and collarbone, licking at every inch of naked flesh she could, as if to worship her and this moment before it was gone.

 She urged her groin against Olivia's, moaning in pleasure as Olivia's body rocked beneath her and her legs bent and spread on either side of her.

 Panting, Amanda slid down her body, her mouth leaving a harried, wet trail down between her breasts and her ribcage. Olivia's stomach quivered beneath her as she sank down further, her face nuzzling into the soft hair between her hips.

 “Amanda…” Olivia panted softly, her fingers clenching down in Amanda's hair and the way that she said it raked shivers down her spine.

 Amanda grasped her legs, pushing her thighs apart as she pressed her mouth to the warmest, softest part of her. Olivia surged against her and Amanda gripped her legs tighter as she took Olivia into her mouth in one long, slow suck.

 Pleasure rattled her senses as her scent rose to greet her nose, causing her to salivate. She sucked off of her and pressed her tongue out, laying her open with one firm lick.

 “Oh, god…” Olivia whimpered above her, her fingers gathering thicker sections of Amanda's hair and dragging her close.

 Panting what breaths she could, Amanda dragged her tongue up her opening to her clit, finding the flesh already full and wanton. She adjusted her grip to Olivia's hips, pulling her taut against her mouth as she began to circle the engorged bud.

 “Jesus...oh…” Olivia moaned, her hips canting up against her face with each movement.

 Amanda could feel her shivering from head to toe and the visceral reactions only pushed her to pleasure her faster. She flattened her tongue to make wider circles, laving her across her entire pussy to heighten her pleasure.

 “Amanda, oh, god...please…” Olivia's impassioned groans and pleas surged desire across her entire body. Her own pussy was clenching and throbbing with arousal, growing slicker and slicker with each passing moment.

 She grasped at Olivia's hips, holding her as close as she could as Olivia began to twitch and buck beneath her with the intense sensations that Amanda worked on her sensitive flesh.

 Olivia's wetness poured down Amanda's chin by the time she went rigid against her. Her hips thrashed in Amanda's grip, her body clenching and shivering as she went into orgasmic tremors.

 Her cries rose wavering and wrought with pleasure as she came, blessing Amanda's ears with the sound of her climax; and she didn't stop pushing her towards the edge until she sank to the bed, trembling and spent.

 Amanda sank back, her heart pounding in her chest from the combination of exertion and arousal. She gazed up Olivia's body, her heart quivering at the sight of her splayed out in the afterglow of orgasm.

 She rose from between Olivia's knees and  climbed onto the bed again over top of her.

 Olivia's eyes cracked open as Amanda hovered over her, but Amanda could not dare to face whatever emotions lay bare in that amber gaze. Instead, she ducked her head to impart another kiss upon Olivia's full, parted lips.

 Olivia responded immediately, dragging her close as their lips danced over each other's slowly and deeply for a long moment.

 Amanda slid her hand down Olivia's side, stroking each passing rib before she veered down her stomach, searching for the warmth between her legs.

 “Oh, god, what are you doing?” Olivia groaned against her lips.

 Amanda couldn't conjure a response because the question was far too loaded, although she knew Olivia simply meant what she was doing physically in this moment. Rather, she dipped her fingers between Olivia's legs once more into the well of slick, hot juices.

 Olivia gasped softly, her arms clenching around Amanda as she rubbed her fingers against her entrance where her wetness pooled the thickest. She shivered at the arousal it had taken to create the abundance of wetness there, her own body gushing in response.

 She shifted lower, sitting back on heels and laying her head down against Olivia's stomach as she eased her fingers into the inviting wet sheath of her.

 Olivia's fingers dragged over her back, her body clenching. She released a soft whimper as Amanda's fingers sank deep inside of her.

 “Oh, god…” She vocalized once more as Amanda curled her fingers up against the swollen flesh inside her.

 Amanda breathed heavily, pressing her lips to Olivia's soft stomach and closing her eyes as she began to drag her fingers in and out. The sound of Olivia's wetness against her penetrating digits worked hot arousal through her, spurring her to slam her fingers in harder and faster.

 Olivia's hips arched and her body tensed as Amanda's fingers rhythmically pumped into her, driving up against the sweet, tender places inside her. Amanda could feel her muscles clenching and squeezing about her fingers, straining to take the pleasure without bursting and she laid her thumb down against Olivia's clit. Her thumb dragged over the tender flesh with each thrust, rubbing her even more quickly towards completion.

 “Ahh…..” Olivia gasped, her hips rearing up as the pleasure multiplied.

 She went slowly stiff against Amanda, her fingers dragging over her back and her head as the pleasure encroached upon her.

 Amanda quickened her pace, fucking her fingers into her faster and faster until Olivia rose up with a sharp cry. Her hips convulsed and her thighs strained to squeeze together but Amanda held her down, delivering the final thrusts that pushed her into complete abandon.

 Amanda lifted her head just to see the climax drag her features tight. Her eyes rolled back, her lashes fluttering as her mouth stretched open to release another series of trembling curses and cries. She didn't let her fingers relent until Olivia was sinking to the bed, panting heavily.

 She laid her head back down, gently extracting her fingers from Olivia's quivering body. She rubbed her cheek against Olivia's soft flesh, and breathed her scent, focusing on every small detail in order to not look up.

 After a few minutes of silence, however, Olivia tugged her at her shoulder. Amanda sighed out and ducked her head lower against Olivia's stomach. She didn't have the willpower to face what would happen after this and if she thought she saw any hint of love or compassion in Olivia's eyes she thought she might break.

 “Amanda…” Olivia's voice was soft and raw from the pleasure but holding far too many questions for Amanda to answer. Amanda felt her shift, pushing herself up on her elbows to ask, “Are you okay?”

 The inevitable question hung in the air.

 Amanda bit her lip, searching for the inner strength to raise herself up but returning empty handed.

 “Amanda…” Olivia's fingers petted over her head, a far too kind gesture for someone who had been taken advantage of. Again.

 Amanda pushed up from the bed and crushed herself against Olivia's chest. She buried her face in her neck and clung to her, trying to memorize every single moment, trying to immortalize the affection and love that Olivia was showing her.

 “Don't look at me.” She whispered in Olivia's ear, her eyes stinging. “Don't talk to me...just touch me.”Olivia hesitated, as if shocked by her words, but finally her hand settled over her back, massaging gently down her sides.

 “How do you want me to touch you?” She murmured, softly.

 “I don't care.” Amanda returned, brokenly, “I just don't want to feel anything except you.”

 Olivia's arms tightened around her and she heard her draw a breath before she pulled them both down on the bed. Amanda went lax in her arms as Olivia rolled them, pushing herself on top.

 Amanda languished back against the bed, pressing her eyes closed against hot tears. Her chest ached to release the emotion as Olivia pressed down against her, her mouth seeking across her chest to find each nipple. She shuddered as the warmth of Olivia's mouth encased her tender flesh. Her lips left each breast rosy, moist, and aching as she moved down to her stomach.

 She was being far too gentle and the tenderness laced in each movement and kiss drove Amanda nearly to the brink of emotion. She squeezed her eyes shut and locked her jaw as Olivia's head ducked down between her legs, her hair trailing softly down her stomach and thighs.

 Amanda parted her quivering legs to Olivia and reached down blindly towards her. Olivia's hand met hers, tangling their fingers together tightly as her mouth settled down over Amanda's throbbing, aching sex.

 The first few touches were soft and almost teasing but soon Olivia was grasping her thigh, spreading her legs apart to take her more fully in her mouth. Her fingers wrenched down hard on Olivia's as she began to suck and lick at her labia and clitoris.

 A choked cry rose on her lips and she trembled against the sheets, her body and mind far too sensitive to quietly take the pleasure.  She closed her mind off to whatever lay outside this room, focusing solely on the feeling of Olivia’s hand in hers and her mouth working beautiful, overwhelming pleasure upon her body because she wasn’t sure she’d be able to handle the consequences of this moment.

 Beyond these four walls, lay an entire world of doubt and uncertainty.

 Tomorrow or some day following, they’d walk into One Police Plaza and testify against each other, and perhaps even bring each other’s career to ruin.

 The next morning, Olivia would quietly leave to return to her son and her own apartment, and maybe she’d never come back.

 Maybe, Amanda was destroying herself all over again, but she couldn’t stop what felt like Fate pulling her down, washing her out to sea again and again. She couldn't stop responding to Olivia’s body as if it were some lost piece of her that she’d never known was missing. She couldn’t stop writhing in her embrace, accepting every single terrifying, intense emotion that spoke from those wide, dark eyes peering up at her.

 “I said not to look me…” She gasped in a sob, turning her face away just a as jolt of pleasure shocked her into an arch. “God, just fuck me!” She cried, pulling desperately on Olivia’s hand.

 “I want to make love to you.” Olivia’s low, raspy tone raked a shiver across her spine.

 “No…” She whimpered, a tear spilling down her temple while another slipped over the bridge of her nose.

 She cried out when Olivia’s mouth attached to her once more, licking and sucking in exquisite but tender pleasure. It was far from the intense, harsh and ravaging fuck she’d expected to be given or perhaps what she wanted. She didn’t deserve to be treated with such care and devotion, especially by Olivia, but she was a helpless mess of exposed nerve endings and raw emotion. Her body could only twitch and jerk languidly with every caress that Olivia laid upon her aching flesh.

 Olivia nursed the pleasure inside of her to it’s peak agonizingly slow, eliciting pleas and moans from Amanda’s trembling lips. All the while, her fingers remained laced through her, holding on as if to reassure her that she wasn’t alone in this moment.

 By the time the orgasm tore it’s way up through her groin and stomach, Amanda could no longer control the ragged sobs that clawed up her throat. She came, writhing and sobbing against the mattress, the pleasure devastating her from the inside out. Olivia’s mouth rode the bucking of her hips, her tongue circling her clit to the end.

 When she collapsed, she found herself shaking, sobs wrenching from her lips as the pleasure receded, leaving her to throb wantonly in aftermath while her guilt and her pain rose to overshadow. For all the time that she had hated Olivia, perhaps she hated herself more.

 The bed shifted as Olivia crawled up to her, her face etched with blatant concern. Her body covered Amanda’s, her arms wrapping around her and pulling her tight to her chest.

 “No… don’t…” Amanda tried to push her away, choking over saliva and tears.

 “Stop.” Olivia ordered, yanking her back. “You’re not going to lie here and pretend that you don’t need love like everyone else. Not anymore.”

 The conviction in her voice rattled Amanda’s fiery self-loathing. She’d done so much to push Olivia away, to isolate herself from the possibility of never being hurt again, that it was hard to imagine Olivia wanted to pursue her now. Loving Amanda should be the last thing on her mind, but here she was, cradling her to her chest like a child with more care for an angry, hopeless person than herself.

 The self sacrifice it had taken to bring them here finally crashed through the steel walls and barred up windows of Amanda’s soul, and she suddenly felt as if her entire being was imploding. The foundation that she had built her entire life around for the past six months cracked and split, shuddering beneath her as her anger finally gave way.

 “Oh, god…. Forgive me.” She sobbed, burying her face in Olivia’s chest.

 Her fingers grasped at Olivia’s back, desperately seeking purchase as she clawed her way as close to the warm, beaming beacon of Olivia’s heart as she could.

 “Shh….” Olivia murmured, caressing her hair and laying soft kisses across her forehead.

 “Fuck…” Amanda choked, her chest heaving. “You’ve got to forgive me….”

 “You’re forgiven.” Olivia whispered, squeezing her tight.

 The simplicity of it seemed too easy to be true, sending her mind reeling. This moment couldn’t be real. Olivia couldn’t be real.

 Her soul felt blinded. The light was finally coming through the cracks to dawn upon her shivering, cold heart and the warmth of it was almost more than she could take; but with a final shudder, the walls she’d spent so many months building crumbled about her, leaving her naked and raw beneath the light of love; and maybe now she was ready to escape this self made prison of hatred and anger. She was a free woman.

Chapter Text

In the deep recesses of her brain's consciousness, Amanda found herself pressed against a rough brick wall. It was dark around her, and the humid air wrapping around her crashed waves of heat over her figure. She dizzily glanced down to see the gun resting in her palms.

Confusion muddled her brain at first but when she glanced back up, Melissa Engle's house rose in front of her, ominously, although the structure seemed much larger and more insidious than she remembered.

Her own breathing rustled loudly against her ears.

She stepped away from the wall and began to wander towards the front of the house. A foreboding hovered darkly over her senses, locking up her throat in a knot. She didn't know why she was here again.

She felt like she was swimming through the atmosphere as she reached the front door. It was hanging wide open, the doorway yawning in front of her like a black abyss. She didn't want to go inside.

“Amanda!”

The cry rose sharply from inside, and Amanda jolted forward. She knew that voice. She'd spent so much time listening to it and loving it, memorizing the melody of that tone. But now, it was laced with fear and pain.

She found herself racing through the house but everything was passing by languidly, in slow motion. Her legs strove to carry her towards the sounds of distress but she felt as if every step took minutes to complete.

When she broke out of the front hallway, the house was hardly like she remembered. More doorways lay around her, covering the surface of almost every wall, each one their own hungry mouth of darkness.

The scream came again, piercing Amanda's ears but she couldn't seem to find where it was coming from. She tried in vain to find the source of it, but when she walked to each door way, they all seemed to call out to her.

Panicking and desperate, Amanda finally darted into a doorway at random. A long hallway stretched out ahead of her, rows and rows of door taunting her. She ran to each one, yanking on the doorknobs but finding them locked.

With fear rising, Amanda ran back the way she had come but the exit to the living room no longer existed. Instead, a stairway lay ahead of her, leading upwards.

“Amanda, help me!” Olivia's voice sliced across Amanda's ears, pushing adrenaline through her.

She ran towards the stairs and began to climb upward. The stairway turned, leading her up to another set, but when she reached the top, there was simply another staircase. Cursing, Amanda pushed onward, running up flight after flight, while Olivia's voice pleaded with her all the while.

Hours seemed to pass before she finally found the upstairs hallway of the Engle's home before her. At the end, Sara's door lay open, light from within reaching her in the darkness. Trembling, she stepped towards the room.

The sight of blood assaulted her first. Gallons of it. The floor was painted with the life force of the woman and child lying just within her sight. Sara’s and Melissa's bodies were broken and sliced, their dead eyes staring upwards.

“No….” She heard herself moan inside her head. “Jesus, no…”

She stepped forward, her gaze drawn to the bed.

There she lay, her love, her life, her arms stretched out like an angel’s wings. She was choking, blood spilling from between her lips. Her head lolled to the side, her heavy lidded eyes gazing at Amanda with the deepest sadness that she'd ever seen. Her gaze pierced her through again and again.

“You could've been here.” She whispered. “You could've saved me.”

“I tried.” Amanda whispered, stepping across the bloodied room. “I tried so hard.”

“Not hard enough.” Another voice cut through the room, drawing her gaze back behind her.

Duvall smiled back at her, his eyes alight with the pleasure of the kill, his clothes drenched in crimson.

Then he lifted the gun and pulled the trigger. She fell back in shock at the bullets pierced her.

“You won't ever forget me.” He murmured. “I'll be in your head forever.”

Then she fell down.

~~~~~~

Amanda awoke from the dream with a jerk, finding herself panting and sweating. Her heart was racing wildly in her chest and her mouth was dry.

She threw back the sheets and sat up on the edge of the bed, trying to still the tremble in her hands. She squeezed her eyes shut against the visceral, disturbing images of the dream.

The bed shifted behind her and she felt Olivia's hand touch her back.

“Are you okay?” Her groggy voice assured Amanda of her well being but she couldn't shake the image of her dying in the dream.

“Fine.” Amanda panted. “I just need some water.”

She rose quickly from the bed and ducked out of the room to escape Olivia's questions and sincerity.

She went to the kitchen and flicked on the small light above the sink before grabbing a glass of water. She drank it down quickly, her parched tongue soaking up the liquid gratefully.

When she finished, she leaned against the counter and stared out the window, although her vision was lost in the stream of thoughts swirling through her brain.

The dream was far too close to what had actually happened and what could've happened that night and she couldn't shake Duvall’s face from her mind, nor his promise to haunt her forever.

“Amanda?” Olivia's voice snapped her out of her thoughtful trance and she glanced up to see Olivia wandering into the kitchen wearing a Giants T-shirt she must've found in Amanda's drawer.

“Are you all right?” She asked, coming to stand in front of her.

Her palms skimmed up Amanda's arms, dragging a shiver across her flesh.

“I'm fine.” She murmured, glancing up at Olivia's concerned expression. “It was just...a really messed up dream.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” She asked, her arms sliding around Amanda's waist to pull her closer.

“It was about that night.” Amanda whispered, staring down at Olivia's necklace. She lifted a hand to graze her fingers over the golden pendant.

Fearlessness

Amanda was far from emitting the same confidence and bravery that had pushed Olivia to the height of her career… And now it could all be lost, broken to pieces on the altar to Amanda's anger and distrust. She'd spent so much time running in circles, trying every other door possible and taking the hardest route to the top that she was nearly too late to save what was left of them.

“What night?” Olivia asked softly.

“You know.” Amanda whispered, her voice choked, “The night I shot Duvall.”

Olivia nodded quietly before pulling her closer. Her fingers petted through Amanda's hair, persuading her to lay her head down on Olivia's shoulder.

“Have you talked to the therapist?” She asked.

“Yes.” Amanda choked over the tears clogging her throat. “But I'm not sure I was ready.”

Olivia sighed softly, “I want to help you, Amanda. Tonight doesn't fix everything… We need real reconciliation and you need to process what you did and why.”

“I know.” Amanda whimpered, squeezing her fingers around sections of Olivia's shirt. “I want you to help me. I need you to…”

“I'm right here.” Olivia squeezed her tighter, gathering her close against her chest. “There's nothing you could do that would tear you from my heart or my mind.”

Amanda sobbed into Olivia's neck, dragging her as close as possible, and although she felt pain for all the anger and sadness that had torn them apart, she no longer experienced the humiliation of breaking down in front of her. Collapsing in the assurance of Olivia's arms was finally what it had been before - peaceful. And maybe now, Amanda was ready to accept it.

“What about IAB?” She asked, raggedly, when her tears began to slow.

“We'll figure it out.” Olivia patted her back and kissed the top of her head. “The consequences will be what they are.”

Amanda nodded and nuzzled her face further into Olivia's neck, breathing in her scent, and squeezing her body tight. She felt secure here, like nothing could touch her, and finally the thought of losing her job didn't scare her as much as it had. The chips would fall where they would as long as the two of them fell together.

~~~~~

When Amanda awoke the next morning, the bed next to her was depressingly empty. She vaguely remembered Olivia slipping out of the bed, leaving her with a peppering of kisses and a soft apology. Amanda had held onto her as long as possible before Olivia had slid out of the bed and from her arms

Amanda groaned and rolled on her back, her arms stretched out on either side of her as her eyes struggled to open.

She knew that Olivia had a son to attend to but she had hoped she would stay for the night at least, especially after the horrendous dream. She felt achingly lonely in the quiet of her apartment, her heart longing for her presence.

Her body, however, felt light and weightless after last night's absolution and she suddenly found solitary moments unbearable. She didn't want just anyone's company either… She needed to feel Olivia next to her.

Her throat felt choked as she skimmed her hands over the bedsheets, wishing that she'd find the purchase of Olivia's hand somewhere between the folds. She sighed out heavily as she encountered nothing but empty air and rumpled sheets.

She pushed herself up and leaned over the edge of the bed to grab her crumpled pants. Her phone was still tucked in the back pocket and she pulled it out, breathing a sigh of relief when she realized there was still a charge.

Flipping the screen open, Amanda intended to text Olivia but a message from Jen, her union rep, blinked up on the screen.

IAB wants to re interview you today as soon as possible.

Amanda groaned quietly. The last thing she wanted was to put herself through another interrogation with IAB. She knew it was a second chance for her to tell her story and to clear herself but she’d much rather stay curled up in her bed, away from the worries of the world; not to mention she was going to have to deal with Olivia's confession at some point.

Even after last night’s uplifting conversation, she wished Olivia had never spoken with Tucker. Even if Amanda refused the allegations of coercion, Olivia could still face a stiff reprimand and after all they'd been through, Amanda didn't want her to suffer any more than she already had.

Amanda gathered her strength to reply to Jen's text.

I can be there in two hours.

She hesitated before tapping out another text.

What about Olivia?

She laid her phone down and stared at the ceiling. Her stomach ached just thinking about having to speak about their relationship to the top brass, whittling it down to nothing more than sexual misconduct and abuse of power. She'd been stupid if she thought she would ever bring that scenario upon either of them in order to stop Olivia from telling the truth about the shooting.

At this point, she'd rather live the rest of her life unemployed than cause Olivia anymore pain and humiliation. They'd both suffered enough.

The phone buzzed in her palm and she lifted it to glance at the return message.

What about her?

Amanda frowned and bit her lower lip. Was Jen really going to make her spell this out?

The allegations… She texted slowly, before hitting send.

Jen replied almost immediately: What allegations?

Amanda frowned more deeply and pushed herself up from the bed in order to type more quickly.

I'm sure they've told you by now about us.

She had a strange premonition that she was telling on herself, rather than clarifying a misunderstanding. If Jen truly didn't know, did the Chief of Ds not know? Typically, the bosses would be all over something as scandalous as this.

Her phone suddenly began to jangle, signaling a call from Jen and Amanda's stomach dropped. She hit the talk button with a quivering thumb.

“Hello?”

“Are you trying to tell me that you and Lieutenant Benson are involved?” Jen snapped through the phone.

Amanda released a breath through clenched teeth and rubbed her forehead with her fingers.

“I thought you would already know.” Amanda replied.

“And how would I know that if you didn't tell me?”

“B-because...she went in there and told Tucker!” Amanda burst out, throwing out her hand in exasperation.

“I asked you from day one to be honest with me.” Jen said, “I can't help you if you're not.”

“Wait.” Amanda heaved a sigh. “Tucker resigned from my case but he should've reported this to someone. They'd be all over this.”

“I don't know what's going in with the three of you, but this does not look good.”

“It's exactly what it looks like.” Amanda snapped, “I'll be at One PP in two hours. I'll see you then.”

She hung up quickly before Jen could object. She couldn't deal with the inquisitive rep right now. There was someone else she needed to talk to.

~~~~~

An hour later, showered and caffeinated, Amanda marched into One Police Plaza and and found her way up the elevator and past multiple offices until she reached the IAB offices.

She drew up at the door that read in gold lettering: Captain Edward Tucker, Manhattan Internal Affairs.

She knocked quickly on the door, her foot tapping as she waited for a response. She knew he was in the office and there was little reason for either of them to beat around the bush.

The blinds rattled for a moment and she caught his blue eyes peering out at her with acute irritation. She waved at him with a short a short smile and the blinds swung back into place.

“What do you want?” Tucker asked as he pulled the door open.

“Are you going to let me in?” She asked, gesturing towards his broad figure blocking the doorway.

“Is there a reason I should?” Tucker inquired, arching a brow, “Your case is no longer my concern.”

“This isn't about me.” Amanda replied, “And I don't think you want to have this talk in the middle of the hallway where any of your buddies can hear us.”

Tucker's lips tightened and his jaw worked for a second before he stood aside.

“You've got balls, Detective, I'll give you that.”

“More than you have apparently.” Amanda said, slamming the door behind her. “I just talked to my rep and you know what's funny? She has no idea about me and Olivia and her turning herself in to you.”

“Why is that funny?” Tucker asked, although she could see the flicker of guilt in his eyes.

“Because the Chief of Detectives would not hesitate to pull us all in and run damage control.”

“It's been less than a day-” Tucker began.

“And they're already re interviewing me for the shooting.” Amanda cut him off. “Now what did you do with the tape of Olivia's confession?”

Silence pervaded the office for a moment, the two of them standing off against each other in the middle of the immaculate space. In the distant background, Amanda could hear the rest of the building operating obliviously.

“There is no tape.” Tucker said at last, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“I saw you record it.” Amanda returned, her heart beating nervously in her chest.

“Maybe you were mistaken.” Tucker said, lifting his chin as if to appear more austere and authoritarian.

“No…” Amanda chuckled low in her throat, turning away from him. “No, I saw it with my own two eyes. You hit record.”

Tucker rocked back on his heels and directed his eyes towards the ground for a moment as if considering what to say.

“I'm not crazy.” Amanda said, “What'd you do, Tucker?”

When he lifted his head, his eyes were narrowed.

“Not anymore than what you did to save her life.” He replied, quietly.

Amanda stared back at him, her mouth agape in shock. She'd never so much as imagined a shred of impropriety from Tucker or even the appearance of it, however, at the same time she didn't trust as far as she could throw him. She felt shaken and could hardly conjure a response to him implication.

“We won't go before the brass?” She whispered.

“Whatever was said that day cannot be brought before anyone in this office.” Tucker said. “Unless she plans to walk directly into the Chief's office and confess to something so heinous again.”

Amanda paced away from him, her brain racing, her heart leaping with relief. She'd never wanted to owe Tucker anything or find common ground with him in any way but in this moment she could've bought the man a drink.

“Why would you do this?” She asked the nagging question despite her heart telling her to take the news and run with it. “Don't you resent her at all?”

Tucker's mouth curled in a short chuckle, “That'd be illogical considering she gave me the best three months of my life.”

He turned towards the desk as silence ensued. He sat down, shuffling papers and organizing the workspace as if to fill the awkward moments until she left but when she didn't move, he glanced up.

“You can leave at any time, Detective Rollins.” He gestured towards the door.

She released a sound of exasperation before throwing up her hands and turning towards the door. She was at a complete loss of words and she supposed there was nothing else to do but to follow Tucker's cue.

She had just grabbed the doorknob when Tucker said, “For the record, Detective, I didn't do any of this for you or your relationship to Lieutenant Benson…. She's the best damn commander of SVU I've ever seen and I don't want that to change. Especially not for someone like you.”

“Right.” Amanda muttered, her teeth clenching against the insult.

If he hadn't just saved her and Olivia’s asses, she might've turned around and conjured her own insult but instead she shoved the door open and let the slam of it behind her grasp the final word.