Detective Fin Tutuola looked up as his partner made her way towards him.
"You still on for tonight?" he asked her.
Fin had invited Amanda and all the other detectives at SVU to his house for a New Year's Eve party. They had all promised they'd come, including Amanda, but she had been acting a little off lately and he half-expected her to change her mind.
But she surprised him by grinning and nodding her head. "Of course. Why pass up an excuse for a few drinks?"
He chuckled. "I should have known you'd say that. Just making sure you weren't gonna get cold feet last second."
"Come on, I wouldn't do that. You need at least ONE normal person there."
"Yeah, but you haven't exactly been acting yourself lately."
Her teasing smile faded, and he regretted saying anything,
"What do you mean?" There was a hint of ice in her voice, almost daring him to say something wrong and he preceded with caution.
"I just mean you aren't your usual cheerful self. You just seem more withdrawn and isolated lately."
"It's been a long week."
"Ive noticed it going on for longer than a week."
"Fine it's been a long COUPLE of weeks. I'm fine, just a little stressed lately."
"Does this have anything to do with your assault or abduction?"
He nearly cowered under the look he received.
"Fin, that happened a month ago."
"Recovery is a long process."
"Not when almost nothing happened."
"What are you talking about? You were raped-"
"Do you have to keep bringing that up?!" The words came out in a growl." It was all over in the matter of minutes! Why should it take over a month to get over a two-minute thing?"
Fin was silent. She had assured all of them that nothing happened when he abducted her. That they had saved her just in time. But he wasn't sure if he believed that. And he definitely didn't think she was as ok about it all that she was trying to convince them she was. But he decided to drop it for now.
"Alright." he said. "I'm sorry."
She nodded curtly, ducking her head. Probably slightly ashamed of losing her temper so quickly. Not that she'd ever admit it.
"But I'm here if you ever want to talk." he told her, placing a gentle hand on her arm.
She instinctively pulled away from his touch. He withdrew his hand, noticing the emotion that flashed through her eyes.
"I'm sorry, Amanda." Fin began. "I wasn't thinking-"
She waved away his apology. "No it's fine." she said. "I just didn't expect it."
She started walking away. "I got to get some paperwork done. I'll see you tonight."
She turned around to look at him. "I was serious about what I said before." he told her quietly. "About being here for you."
Her expression softened. "Thanks, Fin. But really, I'm fine."
She turned and walked away.
It was getting increasingly loud in Fin's apartment. With no help from Amanda, who had, evidently, bailed on him. He shouldn't have interrogated her earlier and risked upsetting her.
Because now it looked like she wasn't coming.
Liv appeared beside him. "Is Rollins not coming?"
Fin looked at her. "We're not at work, Liv. We don't have to be on a last-name basis. Just call her Amanda."
Liv shrugged. "Rollins seems more formal. And it's what I'm comfortable calling her by."
"Plus there's the fact we all know you don't really like her." Nick said, walking past.
Liv grabbed his arm to stop him.
"The hell's that supposed to mean?"
"Um...that you don't like her?"
"Yeah I got that, Nick." She was angry. And her alcohol consumption wasn't helping. "I mean why do you think I don't like her."
Nick rolled his eyes. "You are aware that you called the rest of us by our first names? What's so hard about calling Amanda by HER first name?"
"That doesn't mean I don't like her."
Nick shrugged. "Whatever you say. Sargent Benson."
She glared at him, knowing he called her that intentionally.
"Fine if it means that much to you, I'll call her Amanda. Jeez."
"Speaking of Amanda," Munch said, joining their group. "You told us she was coming, Fin."
"She said she was."
It was quiet for awhile, before Nick spoke up. "Has anyone noticed she seems to be acting a little different lately?"
"So I'm not the only one that noticed then?" Fin asked, relieved.
"Nah, I did too." Munch admitted.
"I didn't." Liv said.
The word was spoken barely audible. But Liv heard it anyway.
She whirled on Nick, who braced for her outburst.
Instead she walked away. "I'm not even going to dignify that with a comment. AMARO."
Fin snickered. He knew the two detectives had feeling for each other. And Nick proved it by rushing to catch up to her. He could hear him apologizing profusely.
He personally agreed with Amaro. Liv should notice these things. Amanda had been raped. You would think that Liv, of all people, would notice the effects of it.
Just then, the door opened almost on cue. "Amanda!" Fin said. "You decided to show up."
He smiled to show his comment was good–natured. She returned it.
"Yeah. Sorry, I fell asleep and lost track of time."
"No biggie. I'm just glad you're here. Grab a drink and join us."
She laughed. "I could use a drink."
Amanda looked around, trying to find who was calling her. It was Liv.
Fin could have laughed at Amanda's startled expression. "Oh hey boss." she said.
"Boss is too formal." Liv said. "We're at a party."
"Oh...okay." Liv looked at Fin, who shrugged, grinning.
Amanda looked at Liv closely. "Don't take this the wrong way." She told her. "But are you drunk?"
Nick nearly spit out his wine and was so overcome in a fit laughter he had to walk away.
"No." Liv said, pretending like she didn't notice Nick. "Why?"
Amanda shook her head. "Just wondering."
It was getting really late and his colleagues were still going strong. He looked around for Amanda and found her sitting by herself. There were seven bottles scattered on the floor around her.
"Hey." He said. "Don't you think you should slow down a bit?"
She responded by taking another swig of her beer bottle. "No I'm good." Her speech was slurred.
Fin gently took the bottle from her hands, causing her to object loudly.
He stood up, pulling her with him. She stagggered, unable to support herself. Liv, who had walked over to see what was going on, was able to grab her around the waist before she hit the floor.
"Whoah, Amanda." she said, trying to keep her on her feet but was struggling under her weight.
Fin took over and lead Amanda over to the couch. She giggled. "Wow Fin! You're so strong!"
Oh dear God. He prayed that Munch or Nick wasn't watching. Or he'll never hear the end of this.
"You're so cute." She continued. "Especially when you beat bad guys up. It's pretty hot."
He exchanged looks with Liv, who was laughing behind her hands.
"I'm glad you find this amusing." he told her.
Liv was giggling to hard to answer, which sent Amanda into another fit of drunken laughter.
Then Amanda stopped laughing. "I sound funny."
Liv snickered. "That's because you're drunk, Amanda. Your words are slurring."
"I feel so happy." Amanda said. "And I don't have to think about stuff. Or feel scared."
Fin sat down beside her. "Scared of what?"
"Them. They scare me."
She shrugged, before grinning.
"But I don't have to be scared around you. You'd beat them up for me."
"I'd beat who up?"
"You won't let them hurt me."
Fin felt like he was talking to a toddler who couldn't understand what he was saying.
Liv sat on the other side of Amanda. "Can you tell us who?"
"The people that sent the scary texts."
"What did the texts say?"
"They scared me over the phone, too."
"Someone's been calling and texting you?" Liv asked. "Were they threats?"
Suddenly, Amanda seemed to shut down and wouldn't answer.
"No." she sad, before trying to stand up. "Stop asking me questions."
"I think I'm gonna go home."
Fin immediately shook his head. "You are way to drunk to get behind the wheel."
She tried to walk around him, but lost her balance and fell to the floor. "I'm not that drunk." She said, struggling to her feet. "And I'm going home."
Liv rolled her eyes as Fin helped her to her feet. He grabbed Amanda's shoulders and shook her. "Amanda, look at yourself!" he snapped. "You can't even walk!"
Comprehension finally started to dawn over her, and she looked down. "Yeah I guess." she muttered, allowing him to lead her back to the couch again.
"Amanda," he tried again. "Have people been threatening you?"
She shook her head. "No. Can we talk about something else now?"
"But Amanda," Liv told her. "If someone's been scaring you, you have to tell us."
"So we can help."
"What if there's nothing you can do about it?"
"What do you mean."
"If they're good at what they do."
She leaned forward and whispered, "Like they're invivisble."
"We found a lot of people who were said to be 'invisible', remember?" Liv said.
"We're good at what we do."
Rollins heaved a sigh. "I'm tired. Can we talk about this some other time?"
Fin open his mouth to object, but Liv shut him down with a look.
"Sure." she said. "We can talk about it when you feel more up to it."
She looked at Fin. "There's no way I'm letting her drive home."
Fin gave a humorless laugh. "Yeah." he said. "You and me both. Maybe..."
He could hardly believe he was suggesting this. "She could spend the night here."
Liv looked at him. "You have a spare bedroom?"
He wished. "No. But I can change the sheets in my bed and she can sleep there. I'll camp out on the couch."
"You're willing to do that?"
"Why not?" He nudged Amanda. "That sound good to you?"
Between him and Liv, they were able to guide her to the bedroom. Liv held her by the waist, trying to keep her on her feet as Fin changed the sheets.
"Okay." he said, setting her on the bed. "Go on to sleep." He tossed her a t-shirt that was too big-even for him. "You can sleep in this if you want."
"Kay. Thanks Fin."
He nodded, thinking it was cute how dependent she was when she was drunk.
He went to shut off the light.
"No!" Amanda's tone was frantic. "Can you leave it on?"
Wondering what made her so afraid of the dark, he smiled. "Of course. Sorry about that."
He left, closing the door behind him.
Fin and Olivia just looked at each other.
"Well something's definitely wrong with her." Fin said.
Liv looked trouble. "I was the ONLY one who didn't realize something has been off with her."
"Don't be so hard on yourself. You have a lot on your plate."
"I'm the boss. It's my job to look after you all."
She shot him a look. "You know what I mean." she said. "I should be the one to realize something is wrong."
Fin didn't know what to say. So he just leaned against the wall and scanned the party. Everyone seemed to be having fun. He wished he knew what was wrong with Amanda. Knew who's been bothering her. Then he could've fixed it and they could both be happy and having fun right now.
That's when his eyes fell on the phone lying on the dining room table. It was Amanda's. He picked it up.
"We could read her messages." he said quietly.
Liv looked conflicted. "As your superior, I'm telling you that I can't let you do this."
Fin faced her, ready to have an arguement about it.
"But as your friend...." she continued. "I just assumed that you were reading your own messages."
He smiled, punching in the passcode to unlock her phone. "How did you know that?" Liv asked."Did she tell it to you?"
"Do I want to know how you know Amanda's passcode?"
"Do I want to know how many passwords you know?"
"Everyone's on the squad."
"I mean nope."
She gave him a look before looking over his shoulder to look at the phone.
Fin opened the messages, scrolling through them. "Wait." Liv said, stopping his search by pointing to an unknown number. "What's that one?"
He opened the conversation and they read it silently.
(Amanda)MAY I ASK WHO THIS IS?
(Unknown)YOU DONT NEED TO KNOW
(Unknown)YOUR'RE A WHORE
Liv and Fin shared a look. Was this person referring to her assault? (Amanda)WHO THE HELL IS THIS
(Unknown)YOU'RE PRETTY. I LIKE THE T-SHIRT YOURE WEARING
(Amanda)ARE YOU STALKING ME? LEAVE ME ALONE!
(Unknown)YOU THINK WHAT HAPPENED
LAST WEEK WAS BAD?
IM THINKING OF DOING A
WHOLE LOT WORSE
Fin shared a look with Liv. "It'll be pretty hard to move on from what happened with this bastard threatening her like this." Liv said quietly.
They read the more recent ones.
(Unknown)WHY ARENT YOU
ANSWERING MY CALLS
(Amanda)PLEASE I NEVER DID ANYTHING TO YOU. STOP.CALLING.ME!
(Unknown)DID YOU GET MY PRESENT
(Amanda)YES.HOW DID YOU GET THAT PICTURE OF ME? I WAS IN MY ROOM.
(Unknown)I LIKE WATCHING YOU.
(Amanda)STAY AWAY FROM ME
"I can see why she's been scared." Fin whispered.