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A Light in the Darkness

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Amanda stared into the darkness; the gentle sound of her daughter’s breathing was the only thing that kept her from spiraling back into her old habits. She looked down at Jesse who was nothing more than a dim shadow, a small glow surrounding her which was caused by the single bulb of her nightlight.

She had intended on going to a bar, getting wasted and getting herself into an unhealthy debt with the help of a guy whose name she would likely forget in the morning. But she knew that she couldn’t do that anymore. She was a mom now and despite everything, her job, her addictions, motherhood would always come first.

She leaned down and kissed her daughter's soft hair, the scent of childhood innocence washing over her as she did so. Her movement caused Frannie to stir and she repositioned herself from Amanda’s lap and onto the cool surface of the bedsheets.

For a moment she felt content, her little family creating a world far away from reality but before she knew it her mind wandered back to the events of that day. She sunk her teeth into her bottom lip, trying her hardest not to break down again because she didn’t want Jesse to see her looking so volatile. In her daughter’s eyes she was a hero but that day she felt like anything but.

She had killed her. The girl who had needed her more than ever. Her intentions had been good, but like so many times before they had backfired. But this time they had taken such a turn for the worse that she couldn’t fix it, no matter what she did or however hard she tried. She couldn’t make it up to her because she was gone, and she was the reason for that.

Tears had fallen involuntary and she had to swipe at her cheeks with the back of her hand to wipe them away. She sniffed and tried to regain her composure but her mind would not cooperate. Esther’s face floated into her subconscious and no matter how many times she blinked she couldn’t seem to rid her image. Her sunken eyes which had seen things that nobody should have seen, her solemn smile which never quite reached her eyes and her petite frame which resembled that of a child.

And she had been the one that had killed her.

Amanda’s thoughts were interrupted by the intruding knock at her front door. She hadn’t been expecting anyone, especially not at such a late hour. She gently removed her arm from underneath Jesse and quietly left the room, pulling the door closed as she left.

Cautiously she made her way to the front door, not knowing who to expect to see at the other side of it. She gripped the handle and the person standing on the other side was perhaps the person that she has least expected to see.

“Liv,” she whispered, her voice failing to find the volume that she had hoped for. She stared at her, trying to read her face but she knew only too well that Olivia was a closed book. “What are you doing here?”

Olivia stood in the doorway, her mask fully set in place as it had been previously that day. Truthfully, she didn’t know why she was there. The day had been a tough one and she was exhausted but after an hour of tossing and turning she knew that she had to see Amanda. “Can I come in?” She asked and felt strangely nervous but she’d be damned if she let that show.

Amanda looked her up and down; somewhat suspicious as to why her lieutenant was at her door at gone midnight. She held the door open, not saying a word and watched as Olivia walked in. “If this is about IAB I’d prefer to talk about it in the morning.” She sighed as she closed the door and made her way over to the couch, practically falling down onto it.

Liv shook her head and sat down beside Amanda. “It’s not about IAB.” She started and paused as she looked at the broken woman before her. She wished things had been different, she wished that it had been somebody else that had fired that fatal shot. But it had been Amanda and there wasn’t much that she could do to change that.

She had acted sternly before; she knew that she had to be professional when she delivered Amanda the news but her own behavior and how she had acted even disappointed herself. She hadn’t expected Amanda to act like she had either; she had expected her to be angry, to lash out, to storm out of her office before breaking down but that hadn’t happened. Instead, she had crumbled just inches away from her and she had frozen, not knowing how to act at such an unexpected and heart-breaking sight.

“Amanda?” She whispered and tried to grab her attention away from the discarded sweater on the floor which was currently occupying her eye-line. Amanda continued to stare off into the distance and so she rested her hand gently on her knee. “Amanda?” She said a little louder and the slight twitch of her head signaled that she was back to reality.

“What?” Amanda said hoarsely and she suddenly whipped her head around to face her superior. “What is it Liv?” She moved her knee abruptly distancing herself further from Olivia. “Why are you here? What could you possibly want?” She could feel her voice beginning to shake and she snapped her mouth closed before she could say anything else. The way Olivia had reacted had not gone unnoticed and she had found herself embarrassed on top of all of the other emotions that she had felt. She shook her head and looked over at Liv who was looking at her so softly that she had to look away again.

“I don’t want anything, Amanda.” She kept her eyes on her, hoping that she’d look at her once again. “I came to see how you were doing.” She sighed quietly, why was it that she could never say all that she wanted to say to her?

Amanda snorted and waited for a beat before her anger had dissipated somewhat. “A little late for that, isn’t it?”

“I should have...” Olivia paused, she needed to stop acting like a lieutenant for a moment and act like the human being that she was. She cared for Amanda, a lot, but she found it hard to show her true emotions. It was much easier to take on her job role and hide behind her title. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

Amanda looked over, the genuineness of Liv’s voice was impossible not to hear. She looked her in the eye, those big brown eyes which she had, unbeknownst to Liv, fallen into so many times before. They were watery this time and had a faint tinge of pinkness framing the edges. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing came out and once again she found herself involuntarily starting to cry.

“‘Manda,” Liv inched in closer to her and this time she kept her walls down and stretched her arms out. Amanda fell into them, her chin resting on her shoulder as more and more tears streamed down her cheeks.

Amanda sobbed unapologetically, Liv’s strong arms wrapped around her working like an anchor on pulling out all of her emotions.

After a few minutes Amanda had settled and had pulled herself away from Olivia. She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and couldn’t help but feel embarrassed at her second break down in front of Olivia that day. She cleared her throat and again distanced herself by looking away from the other woman.

“You can talk to me, Amanda,” Olivia whispered and hated how Amanda was reserving herself once again although she couldn’t fully blame her. “I know what you’re going through, I can help you.”

Amanda looked over at Liv cautiously; she did want to talk to someone. Sonny and Fin had both called her earlier in the evening but she couldn’t face talking to them about it. “How can I fix this?” She asked, wiling for Olivia to come up with a magical solution which she knew did not exist.

Liv sighed quietly upon hearing the question, if only she knew the answer. “I’ve found that time is often the best healer.”

Amanda wiped a stray tear which had fallen and gave Liv a small nod in response. “You must think I’m a complete fuck up.”

“Not a complete one.” Olivia smiled and Amanda gave her a small smile back. “We all make mistakes, Amanda. We just have to make sure that we learn from them.”

Amanda nodded once again, knowing that Liv was right. She didn’t know what it was but talking to Olivia seemed to have made her feel significantly better than she had done before. One thing still played on her mind though, why had Olivia visited her at home? And why had she left it so late to do so? “Why did you come here, Liv? You could have called.”

Olivia opened her mouth to answer but thought better of it; she should really be honest with Amanda. “I was worried about you.”

Amanda had not expected that answer and she didn’t know how best to respond to it, she knew that it must have taken a lot for Liv to have been so open with her. She also knew that she shouldn't read too much into Olivia's answer because, of course, she was her superior, part of her job was to make sure that her team was okay. “You don’t need to worry about me, Liv. But thanks for, you know, coming over.”

Olivia was glad that she had come over and checked on Amanda, she knew that if she hadn’t she would only have been up all night thinking about how she was doing. She watched as Amanda slowly started to recover, she had a long road ahead of her but she was confident that things would work out. Their team was strong and they had each other’s backs and that was one of the most important things in the NYPD.

There was a short silence and Olivia was starting to feel a little awkward but she wasn’t entirely sure why that was. “I should be going,” she sat up a little straighter on the couch, “it’s late and we both have early starts tomorrow.”

Amanda stood up and Olivia repeated the action moments later. “Right. Wait, where’s Noah?”

Olivia smiled at just the mention of her son’s name. “He’s staying at a friend’s house.”

“He is? Are you okay with that?” She frowned slightly, knowing that Liv was, rightly so, a little overprotective of Noah lately.

“Yeah, I can’t let my fear of losing him stop him living his life.”

“You did a background check on that kid’s family, didn’t you?” Amanda smirked, knowing that if she had been in Liv’s position then she would more than likely have done the same.

Olivia laughed lightly and raised an eyebrow, “I may have accidentally typed their name into the database.”

Amanda, too, chuckled at Olivia’s revelation. She bit her bottom lip as she contemplated whether to ask Olivia the question which she had been pondering for the last two minutes. Olivia made a move towards the door and Amanda placed her hand on her arm stopping her in her tracks. “You can stay if you want to?”

Olivia froze, not knowing whether staying over at Amanda’s house would be a wise decision. “Okay,” she agreed without fully thinking it through. Amanda’s smile was enough to convince her that she had made the right decision and she followed her through to the guest room. She would deal with the consequences in the morning…