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26 February 2006 @ 09:35 pm
New C/O! The Awakening, part two  
The Awakening
by DiNovia

Fandom:  L&O:SVU
Pairing:  Casey/Olivia
Rating:  NC-17/MA
Spoilers:  "Night", "Day"
Notes:  Sequel to The Good Earth, which was based on fewthistle's Look Homeward, Angel .

This seems to be the first in a series of C/O stories based on holidays.  Be on the lookout for the next one, dealing with Christmas/New Year's, coming to an LJ near you.



Part Two
---

The game was on in the living room and Chris and Julie had staked out the two ginger-colored wingback chairs opposite the large screen TV to watch.  A leather recliner--slightly worn through years of use--sat empty between them.  Olivia suspected that was 'the king's throne' and would only ever be shared with the grandchildren, whenever they arrived.

Casey and she had claimed the small loveseat along the wall though there was certainly room for more people to share it with them.  Casey was sitting so close to her they were practically taking up just one spot. 

Olivia tried to keep her mind on the game, watching--seemingly with interest--as the Packers attempted to move the ball down snowy Lambeau Field.  She was finding it difficult to concentrate, though, with Casey's left hand snuggled between her denim-clad thighs.  Casey didn't move it or in any way call attention to the comfortable arrangement but Liv's belly burned with a low, steady flame of desire.  She wondered if the redhead knew what the touch was doing to her and then instantly pushed the question from her mind.  It didn't matter either way, really, but she suspected that discovering Casey was doing it on purpose would reduce her to frustrated tears.  She hadn't wanted someone this badly since...

Since never.  You've never felt this way in your whole life and it scares the ever living shit out of you, Benson.  Face it.

She stole a glance at the ADA and let her eyes linger, seemingly unnoticed, as Casey concentrated on the game.  Her Autumnal hair fell gently around her face and her hawk-like eyes were trained on the TV.  Her full lips formed a gentle smile with no known cause.  Olivia suddenly felt awash in the younger woman's beauty and her stomach flipped.  Unconsciously, she licked her bottom lip.

The hand between her thighs tightened as Casey squeezed.  "Unless you want to make a spectacle of us right here in the living room of my father's house," whispered Casey out of the side of her mouth, "don't do that again."

Shocked, Olivia blinked.  "Do what?" she whispered back.  "What'd I do?"

"You licked your bottom lip," explained Casey.  "It drives me crazy."

"I did?"  Olivia hadn't even been aware of the action.  "It does?"  Casey's confession sent tingles all along Olivia's thighs.  She prayed that the young woman wouldn't move her hand again anytime soon lest she groan out loud with the sensation.

"It does.  So knock it off."

"For Christ's sake!" blurted Chris, exasperated.  "Both of you knock it off!  You need to get a room or something!  We're trying to watch the game here!"

Julie put her hand over her eyes.  "And I used to wonder why everyone would say 'That's too bad' whenever I said I was dating him," she muttered.  "He has the romantic sensibility of a cuttlefish."

"Hey!  I hear cuttlefish are very romantic!" retorted Chris.  "The most romantic of their species!  You'd be lucky to be dating a cuttlefish."

"You don't even know what a cuttlefish is, Buttbrain, so shut up."  Julie crossed her arms over her chest.  "And leave your sister and her girlfriend alone."  She shot the women a goofy grin.  "I think it's cute."

Olivia was just about to cover her face with her hands when Matt Novak entered the room.  "You think what's cute, Julie?" he asked. 

Both Olivia and Casey sent pleading looks Julie's way and she took pity on them.

"I think it's cute...uh...how Chris and Casey still pick on each other though one's a high school history teacher and one's a lawyer in New York."

"Hmph," grunted Matt.  "You have a strange definition of 'cute', if you ask me.  Sounds more like something I would define as 'annoying'."  He grinned at Chris's scowl and winked at Casey.  "Come on, girls, it's time to set the table.  Except for you, Olivia.  You're off the hook, as promised."

Olivia stood, almost as much to follow Casey as to offer her assistance.  She missed the warmth of Casey's touch already.  "I was only kidding, sir.  I can help--"

"Call me Matt, Olivia.  And I know you can help but you won't.  I honor the deals I make," he said, smiling.  "Besides...  Someone has to keep an eye on 'Buttbrain' here."

"I could have sworn the name on my birth certificate read Christopher Allen Novak!"

"And yet, son, we end up calling you 'Buttbrain' whenever Casey comes to visit.  I wonder why that is?"  Matt grinned at Chris then followed the girls into the dining room.

"Because whenever I call her 'Little Miss Priss' she goes running to you!" called Chris after his father.  

Both of Olivia's eyebrows were hidden beneath her bangs, raised high in a combination of intrigue and surprise.  "'Little Miss Priss'?" she asked, trying not to laugh.  If Casey heard her...  "Mind if I use that?"

Chris grinned.  "Be my guest."

He took a long look at Olivia and his smile slowly faded.  He looked away finally, but only to locate the remote which he grabbed and used to lower the volume on the TV.

Olivia instantly became alert and wary.  The mood had turned too serious too quickly.  She dropped back onto the loveseat.

Chris turned to Olivia with eyes that were sad and searching, but not angry like she had feared.

"Olivia, can I ask you a question?"

The detective swallowed.  Here it comes, she thought.  The she-wasn't-gay-before-she-met-you speech...

"Sure," she said, her voice sounding calmer than she would have expected under the circumstances.

Chris leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his knees.  His wolf-pelt gray eyes bored into Olivia's mahogany ones.

"Can you tell me what happened with Zergin?"

For three seconds, Olivia was frozen solid.  This was not the question she was anticipating.  It was so much worse.  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, determined to answer no matter how hard it was to do so, how damning to her personally.  Casey's family deserved no less than the truth.

"You're right," she said, resigned.  "I'm sorry, Chris.  I should have been there.  I should never have left her alone.  It was my fault--"

"No!" said Chris, holding up his hands as if to stop a runaway train.  He looked more shocked than she imagined was possible.  "Olivia, no.  That's not what I was trying to say!  We don't--"  Casey's older brother took a deep breath of his own.  "I am making such a mess of this.  I'm sorry.  I just want to know why.  Why did he go after my little sister?  She came home after it happened.  She locked herself in her room and she cried.  She cried for three days but she wouldn't tell us anything.  All we knew was what the papers said and they said nothing.  Nothing."  His hands clenched into fists and Olivia knew the emotion that drove that action better than anyone else: the frustrated desire to protect.  "The bruises and the cane.  Her beautiful face, all black and blue...  And she wouldn't tell us what happened..."

Olivia reached out and put a hand on his.  "He's a Muslim.  A devout member of a very strict sect.  His sister was the victim of a violent rapist and she was willing to testify.  Somehow the scumbag's lawyer found out about her and that she was an illegal.  She was going to be deported but Casey called in a favor with a friend down at Immigration.  She got the sister an emergency citizenship hearing but Nina had to tell everyone there what had happened to her.  In Zergin's sect, women must remain virgins until they are married.  If they don't--even if they are raped--it brings dishonor to their family.  Nina will never be allowed to marry and the men of her community will treat her and her brother as unclean."  Her hand tightened on Chris's even as she averted her eyes.  "Zergin thought that the only way to return honor to his family was to...to beat Casey for the part she took in encouraging Nina's confession."

There were tears in Chris's eyes when she looked up at him.  "Beating an unarmed woman--my sister--half to death brought honor to his family?  What kind of vindictive, pathetic excuse for a--"  He stopped himself before he said anything more.  He didn't understand a religion that would espouse something like that but he was aware enough to realize that maybe it was the follower and not the doctrine that was to blame.  "How long did he get?"

"The maximum; ten years with no early release.  And when he's done, he's going to be deported.  He's not eligible for citizenship now.  We got the rapist, too."  She shook her head, wisps of her russet hair dancing around her face.  " I know it's not enough for what she went through.  I'm sorry."

"Olivia?"  Chris cupped her hand in both of his.  "Maybe it's wrong to feel this way, I don't know.  All I know is that if she had to go through this, I'm glad you were there.  I'm glad you were there for her.  And so is Casey.  I see it.  I see it in her eyes whenever she looks at you."  He smiled a sweet, brotherly smile that made Olivia's heart clench in her chest.  "And I see it in your eyes whenever you look back."

Olivia Benson would have laughed out loud if the moment wasn't so solemn.  Here she was, having a heart-to-heart with Casey's older brother and wanting to hug him so hard...  It was absolutely absurd to her mind.  The type of thing that happened in Sandra Bullock movies, not in real life.  Not to her.  Never to her.

Casey, why didn't you tell me I would love them back?

---

Dinner was fabulous.

The turkey was roasted to a juicy, tender perfection and was seasoned beautifully with fresh tarragon and sage and two Valencia oranges, quartered and pocketed in the cavity where normally stuffing would go.  In addition, there was crisp steamed broccoli flavored with garlic and olive oil, a string bean and roasted red pepper dish that Julie claimed was her favorite, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet shoepeg corn, Julie's mother's sweet potato casserole that was topped with a cinnamon and toasted pecan crumble topping, and--last but not least--Colonel Novak's famous cornbread and sausage stuffing.  With the addition of two pies that Casey had bought at one of Manhattan's premiere bakeries and three bottles of Gamay Rouge which she herself had contributed, Olivia was sure that she had never eaten so much at one sitting in her entire life.

She hadn't even wanted the second serving of stuffing she was offered but she would have felt guilty refusing it after the business with The Unholy Deal, as everyone was now calling it.

Stuffed to the point of being uncomfortable, Olivia excused herself after the colonel divvied up the rest of the after-dinner chores.  She had tried, once again, to offer her help and, once again, her offer was declined.  Realizing that Casey had obviously inherited her stubborn streak from her father, Olivia didn't bother to protest and instead headed out a set of French doors that led to a snow-covered patio.

She had donned her scarf and gloves over her turtleneck and sweater and found the abbreviated outfit just warm enough for a snowy twilight in Falls Church.  She brushed the powdery precipitation from a bench and sat down, looking out over an unbroken expanse of white to a pristine view of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.  The cobalt blue of the coming night tumbled with the plums and peaches of the last of the sunlight and stars, like crystal snowflakes, winked on overhead.

Clouds of her frozen breath wreathed around Olivia as she gazed out at the darkening landscape.  Just when she thought it could get no lovelier, a crescent moon rose over a copse of bare birch trees.

"Aha!" said Matt Novak as he joined Olivia on the patio.  "I see you've found my second favorite place in the world."  He handed the detective a giant, steaming mug of coffee.  "Your Kona Blue Sky Peaberry, Private Reserve, as promised.  Casey told me you take it black.  The best way to drink coffee, if you ask me."  He swept a bit of snow from the other end of the bench and sat down, sipping from his own mug.

"Second favorite place?" Olivia asked before taking a sip of the brew.  The dark, rich flavor of the coffee exploded in her mouth with the power of a grenade.  She would have moaned if not for the company.  As it was, she couldn't keep her opinion of it to herself.  "Oh God, that's good."

Matt grinned.  "I knew you'd like it," he said, clearly pleased.  "You strike me as a woman of discriminating taste.  If your taste in women is any indication," he added.  He ignored Olivia's embarrassed blush and said, "As for my favorite place on Earth, it's a place that is beyond my reach.  In this lifetime, anyway.  It was being in the same room with my wife."

Olivia frowned slightly.  "Casey told me that she was fairly young when your wife passed away.  That must have been terrible for all of you.  I'm so sorry for your loss."

"You've had a similar loss of your own recently.  So Casey tells me.  Your mother?"

Embarrassed, but now for a completely different reason, Olivia nodded.  "She died three years ago."  She did not share the circumstances of Serena Benson's death.

"Hmm," hummed Matthew Novak.  He sipped from his coffee mug and looked out over the sparkling snow, his brows crowding over his eyes.  Finally, he spoke again.  "Olivia, I'd like to say something but I want you to promise you'll give an old man the chance to explain himself before you respond.  Can you do that for me?"

The older woman swallowed hard.  Is this the speech?  The you're-not-good-enough-for-my-little-girl speech?  No.  No, it can't be.  I know he likes me.  I know he does.  God, what is it?  I hate feeling like this.  So out of my depth.

Deciding that she wasn't going to find out what the colonel wanted to say without at least agreeing to his request, she gave the man an uncertain but game smile.  "I'll do my best, sir," she said.

"Well.  From the tone of that promise, it seems I have an apology to make first," he smiled.  "I'm not going to turn you out of my home or ask you to stop seeing Casey, if that's what's got you tied up in knots, young lady.  First, I am enjoying your company far too much to ask you to go and secondly, I have no illusions about my influence on my daughter and her choice of partners.  If she has chosen you--and it seems she has--then I shouldn't have any say in the matter.  Except, in this case, to say that I heartily approve.  You can relax, Olivia."

Easy for you to say.  The detective sat there, numb for the second time with one of the colonel's compliments.  "Thank you, sir," she whispered and she tried to take his advice.  She took a steadying sip of the hot, caffeinated beverage in her hands and sighed.

"What I'd like to do is make an offer to you.  Casey told me a little about your family circumstances."  The big man took a moment to look at Olivia, noting how she was instantly wary, how much she suddenly resembled a jackrabbit on high alert.  Opting for a back door into this discussion, Matt abruptly changed the subject.  "Did she tell you that I was in Vietnam?"

"Yes, sir," said Olivia, nodding.  "You were a door gunner with the First Cavalry.  You flew combat and medical reconn missions on a Huey Gunship.  She's very proud of your service there."

Pleased by the last, Matt gave her a tight smile.  "The hardest missions were the medical reconn missions.  Going into a battle situation to retrieve the wounded and the dead.  Bullets whizzing around your head like mosquitoes.  So much death.  So much destruction.  But the worst was when you had to go into a village.  Those villagers, especially the children.  With their big brown eyes, filled with terror, filled with anger, never knowing who they could trust or when they were going to die.  Every day I saw those eyes.  Every day for three years.  Terrorized children.  Angry, frustrated women.  The sad resignation of the old or the sick.  And when I left, I thought I'd never see those things in anyone's eyes ever again.  And I haven't."  He glanced at Olivia, his own eyes filled with such sorrow.  "Until today."

Confused and unable to speak, Olivia averted the eyes to which he referred; the eyes she thought had offended.  She almost wanted to rip them out. 

"Please don't.  Don't hide them.  Don't be ashamed of them, Olivia.  They show me your strength along with your fears.  And I am not making this comparison as some sort of attack.  Far from it."  He took a deep breath and steeled himself for what he was about to say.  "You were dealt a mean life from what little I know about you, Olivia Benson.  An abusive mother.  Fathered by an act of violence.  And taking all of that pain and anger and confusion and making something so good out of it.  A detective in the SVU, fighting for justice for those victims the most in need.  Seeing every day the same darkness you grew up with and worse.  Seeing--every day--the depravity and perversion of the Human spirit."  He frowned deeply.  "It must hurt like fucking Hell."

Laid bare and more vulnerable than she could ever remember being, Olivia could only agree with the colonel.  "It does," she said softly, too lost to even attempt to stop her own tears.

"My wife, Ellen, would not have tolerated pain like that in someone's life.  Particularly not for someone connected to one of her children.  It's in that spirit that I make this offer to you, Olivia.  Regardless of your relationship with Casey.  Regardless--no--because of your upbringing."  He turned to the younger woman fully and looked her dead in the eyes.  "You need a home base, Olivia.  A place to come to where people are on your side; where you belong no matter what.  Where you can feel safe.  Where you don't have to wonder who you can trust.  This place.  My home."

He held up a hand to forestall her immediate response.  "This is not something I do lightly, Olivia.  And it's also not designed to make you feel beholden to my daughter in any way.  I know that this part of your relationship is new and that you are both taking it slow.  I appreciate that.  But my conscience won't allow me to stand by and watch while someone in need goes unaided.  Please, just consider it."

Matt stood and gazed down at the detective and the streaks of moonlight that washed down her cheeks.  "Promise an old man at least that much."

"I promise," she said, though she was so turned around she had no idea what the words even meant.  "Thank you," she added, purely as an afterthought.

"No, thank you, Olivia.  Thank you."  He lay his rough hand on her shoulder for a moment then turned and walked back into the house, leaving Olivia alone with her tears and her thoughts.

---

Casey was nearly frantic.

It was almost nine o'clock and Olivia had not returned from her walk.  A walk she had gone on only shortly after a private discussion with Casey's father out on the back patio.  Casey had wanted to go along but the detective had quietly asked her to stay at the house, claiming a need to clear her mind.  Then without further explanation, she'd grabbed her coat and had headed out the door into the night and the unfamiliar neighborhood alone.

Finished pacing for the moment, Casey stood in her childhood bedroom and picked a framed photograph up off the white desk she used to sit at for hours while she did homework or wrote in her journals.  The photograph was of herself and her mother.  She remembered the day it was taken as if it had been burned into her eyelids and tattooed on her skin.  She was eight and school had just let out for the summer--which meant Casey finally got her mother all to herself.  They were in the back yard "sunning", as Ellen Novak called it.  There was lemonade and freshly cut navel oranges on the patio table and Ellen had just finished putting Casey's unruly red tresses into a long French braid.  Casey, skinny, pale and freckled, was sitting in her mother's lap, giving her a great big hug while Ellen laughed.  Her father had snapped the picture while goading them both on, deepening Ellen's laughter while little Casey giggled. 

A year later, Casey's mother was gone; killed in a freak accident.  Ellen Novak was a sixth grade social studies teacher.  She and four of her students had been chosen to attend a conference on Civics in the Schools in Chicago and were flying there in a small engine plane when unexpected wind shear forced the plane down on a sunny, cloudless day.  There were no survivors.

Casey traced her mother's photographic features with her fingers.  "I miss you, Mama," she whispered, wiping the dust from the edge of the frame.  She gazed at the photo for another moment then suddenly plunked it back onto the desk and turned away, swallowing the lump in her throat that threatened to blind her with tears.  She was already nervous and uncertain.  She didn't need to add maudlin grief to her mood, too. 

She crossed to the picture window and looked out on the snow blanketing the neighborhood.  She'd already said goodnight to her father sitting in his study and had changed into a modest pair of apricot-colored pajamas.  Chilled by the scenery and by her own worry, Casey hugged herself.

Where is she? she wondered.  More than just concern, the physical ache of Olivia's absence made Casey's nerves feel shredded and jangled.  She knew she should be frightened by the feeling but she could only manage a vague sensation of queasiness that she understood, beyond a shadow of a doubt, would be cured by a single touch from Olivia Benson.  Please come home.

As if in answer to her silent prayer, a pair of icy arms encircled her waist and a chilly chin rested on her shoulder.

"Hey," whispered Olivia as she tightened her embrace.  Casey's eyes fluttered shut with relief.

"Hey, yourself."  She covered Olivia's hands with her own then promptly began to rub them in an effort to warm them.  She said nothing.  She knew Olivia well enough to know that whatever was going to be said had to be initiated by her.  Questions would send her running and that was absolutely the last thing Casey wanted.

Finally, Olivia spoke.  "I'm sorry I was gone so long.  I just needed to...to think for a little while."

"Did the thinking help whatever it is that's bothering you?"  Casey pressed herself back into Olivia's embrace, trying to convey her concern and how much she cared through the gentle action.

"I wasn't bothered so much as caught off guard, but yes, the thinking helped."  Olivia nuzzled Casey's ear and dropped a frosty kiss just below it.

"Good," breathed the ADA in response.  She loved being kissed there; so much so that it always took her breath away.

When no more questions were forthcoming, Olivia frowned.  "Don't you want to know what's going on?" she asked, her voice caught in a snare somewhere between confusion and annoyance.

Casey turned in Olivia's arms and hugged her tightly.  "More than anything.  I've been pacing for an hour.  But I know you'll tell me when you're ready.  I'll just have to be patient until then."  She pulled back to smile down at the older woman and almost yelped.  "Oh my God!  Olivia, your lips are blue!  You've got to get out of those clothes right now."  Casey began tugging at the detective's sweater without a single thought as to how the action might be interpreted. Olivia chuckled.

"If I didn't know any better, Counselor, I'd think you were trying to have your way with me."

Casey frowned even as she blushed.  "Off," she hissed.  "All of it needs to come off!  Hot shower!  Right now!"

"Case, honey, I'm fine!  I'll warm up in a minute.  I always do.  I'm from New York, remember?"  Casey's obstinance on this point was perplexing.

The redhead pushed the door to her unbearably pink bathroom open and pointed.  "I'm not going to tell you again.  Hot shower, Detective.  Now."

Laughing, Olivia raised her hands in defeat.  "Okay, okay!  I surrender.  One hot shower it is."  She raised a wickedly arched eyebrow.  "Care to join me?"

Casey's blush battled the bathroom for the title of The Pinkest Thing in the House.  "If I said yes, Olivia, you'd swallow your tongue.  Now stop stalling.  I'll bring you some towels, your pajamas, and your bathroom things, okay?"  As Olivia passed her on the way into the bubble gum room, the attorney leaned just close enough to whisper, "We still have four more days of vacation left and I want you healthy for all of them."  Her tone was both husky and suggestive and Olivia felt warmer immediately.  She turned toward Casey and was rewarded with a flirty wink before the younger woman disappeared.

I am never going to survive this, she thought ruefully as she watched Casey walk away, her hips swaying in just that perfectly delicious motion that always--always--made Olivia feel as if she'd been rammed in the gut by a mountain goat.  Nope.  Never in a million years.

---

Olivia emerged from the cotton candy bathroom thirty minutes later, viciously scrubbing at her damp hair with a towel.  Finally finished, she gave her head a shake and tugged at her hair with long fingers.  When she opened her eyes, she found Casey sitting with her back braced against the headboard of the bed, long legs clad in shimmering apricot stretched out in front of her and crossed at the ankles.  The young woman was deeply absorbed in the contents of a manila file folder, biting her bottom lip in concentration as she paged slowly through what looked to be depositions and crime scene photos.

Suddenly the room faded in and out of time, shifting in color and place and age while Olivia imagined this single scene over and over.  Casey at 14, her hair in short pig tails standing straight up from her head as she read from a high school textbook.  Casey at 20, her long hair held back by a plastic circlet as she read and re-read a paper due at the end of break, carefully marking passages in either green or yellow highlighter depending on what she wanted to change about them.  Casey at 40, her auburn locks braided demurely down her back, faint laugh lines crinkling into existence as she read from a letter held in her hands.  Casey at 60, her silver-cinnamon hair cut shorter and tucked neatly behind her ears as she adjusted her reading glasses so she could better see the motions to be presented in her latest case before the supremes.

Olivia shook her head again, relieved when the here and now returned into sharp focus.  Quietly she joined Casey on the bed, sitting next to her while still clinging to the damp towel. 

"Hey," she said softly, closing the file in Casey's lap.  "No work, remember?  Your father's orders.  He's a colonel so he outranks Branch."

Casey sighed deeply, a gentle frown forming between her brows.  "I know.  It's just the Marshall case.  There's something not right there.  Something that's bothering me but I can't put my finger on it."  She tossed the closed file onto the night stand.  "I don't know."

"We'll figure it out when we get back, okay?  If Munch hasn't beaten us to it, that is."  Olivia brushed a few strands of Autumn gold out of Casey's eyes.  "I don't know about you," she continued, her eyes twinkling, "but going against your father's orders isn't something I want to risk."

Casey laughed and scooted over on the bed, pulling Olivia with her.  The two of them gazed at one another for a long moment and just when it seemed like Casey would lean in to kiss Olivia, she spoke instead.

"Did he say something to upset you?" she asked, laying her warm hand on the detective's cheek.  "Did he give you some sort of weird 'Do right by my girl' speech or something?"  Anger bubbled up into the younger woman's voice.  "He did, didn't he?  I'll kill him--"

"No!  Casey, he didn't!  I thought he was going to but that's not what he...had in mind.  He told me he approves of me...of us...together."

"Then what?  Olivia, what did he say that sent you out there in the cold for so long?"

The older woman looked away, focusing her attention on the looped edge of the cotton towel instead of on Casey's darkening eyes.  "You told him about me...didn't you?  About my mother.  About my...father."

Casey's voice trembled and she pulled away from Olivia, fearing what might come next.  Betrayal.  Anger.  Rejection.  "Yes," she said.  "But only what you told me.  And I told no one else."

Confused by the sudden chill in the room, Olivia looked up at Casey and saw immediately the shadow that crossed her features and clouded her eyes.  The joyous light she'd seen in those emerald depths all day was retreating fast, this new distance between them swallowing it up, expanding with every breath.  Without thinking, the older woman grasped Casey's hands, hoping that physical closeness would somehow erase the chasm that had opened up between them.

She shook her head.  "Casey, don't.  I'm not angry.  I'm not.  I was going to thank you...as weird as that sounds."

Still wary, Casey at least halted her emotional retreat, intrigued by Olivia's declaration.  "Thank me," she repeated, not sure exactly what was going on.

"Yeah.  Well, you and your father.  He said I needed a 'home base', a place to belong and where the people were always on my side.  Here, he said.  His home.  And though he didn't say it outright, I know what he's offering  me is...well...a family.  The kind of family I've never really had.  Different from Elliot and Kathy's holiday charity; different from the squad."

Casey swallowed uneasily.  This, she knew, was just the type of thing to send Olivia back into her shell and though she loved her father for his huge heart and his ability to say what was on his mind, she also felt like she could brain him with a turkey leg.  Dammit, Daddy!  What were you thinking?  But she already knew the answer to that:  There's something wrong that I can do something about so I'd better get on with it.  Her father was famous for that kind of approach to things.  She suspected it was his military training.

"What did you say to him?" she asked, trying not to imagine the awkward scene it had to have been.

"I said 'thank you'.  I said I'd consider it."

Casey took a small, surprised sip of air into her lungs and held it lest she accidentally burst the bubble that was pretending to be Olivia Benson.  "And what--if anything--did you decide?"  Why did she feel like she was cross-examining a jittery witness?

Olivia smiled gently.  "I decided that even if I'm not quite ready to be adopted, I kinda like having an open invitation.  Especially to this family."

Casey just stared.  One heartbeat, then two, then four went by.  Finally she forced herself to speak.  "Good to know."  She tried for indifferent nonchalance but somehow only managed squeaky relief.

Olivia grinned.  "Come here, Counselor," she whispered as she tugged Casey into her arms.  She captured Casey's trembling lips with her own and softly parted them, kissing the attorney deeply.  She gently pushed forward until Casey was beneath her, head nested in the plethora of pillows that had formerly been waiting for sleepy inhabitants.  Casey wound her arms around Olivia's neck and held on, finding it difficult to weather the tumultuous passion now thrumming through her body.  Unwilling to break the dance of their mouths and tongues, Casey rolled with Olivia until the older woman was beneath her.  Breathless, she pulled away from the Heaven that was Olivia's kiss and arched her back.  Her hips ground deliciously--and dangerously--into Olivia's.  Both women groaned.

"We can't," whispered the detective urgently, even though her hands apparently had minds of their own and had slipped under Casey's top, kneading the muscles of her back and sides with hedonistic abandon.

"Oh God, why not?"  Casey straddled Liv, lowering herself until she could hungrily claim those cranberry-stained lips again.  The heat of the joining of their mouths detonated a nuclear need in them both and they were nearly engulfed in the resultant inferno.  Nearly.

"Casey," panted the detective as she bared her throat to the younger woman's insistent attentions.  "Casey, we have to stop."

"Stop what?" breathed the ADA as her mouth continued its burning wet path of desire unleashed.  She was just about to lay claim to one of Olivia's tightening nipples through the thin fabric of her cami when Olivia made a last ditch effort to calm them both down.

"We're in your father's house!" she hissed.

The words were as effective as a bucket of ice water thrown directly in the redhead's face.  Her eyes still glazed with molten arousal, she reared back, stunned.  She held herself above Olivia and looked down at the older woman, her lungs heaving, until the words finally sunk in.  Then she looked over her shoulder at the unimpressive door to her childhood bedroom.  Though closed, it held no promise of keeping noise in or out of the room.  Neither did the thin walls, for that matter.

"Jesus Christ!"  She rolled off of Olivia and collapsed next to her, hiding her face behind both hands.  "This is impossible!  I want you so badly, I can't stand--"  A thought, silvery and as sharp as a needle, shot through her lust-addled brain.  "The car.  We can drive to that parking lot!  It'll be deserted and--"

Olivia laughed and rolled the younger woman into her arms, holding her gently but securely.  "Shhhh, Casey.  We're not going anywhere right now, okay?  And there's no way in Hell I'm going to allow our first time to happen in the back seat of a rental car!"

"But why not?"  Casey was close to frustrated tears and wasn't thinking clearly.  All she could feel was the need that leeched the strength from her bones and paralyzed her muscles.  Her head throbbed and her skin tingled almost painfully.   Her fingers twitched and trembled, aching to touch Olivia everywhere.  She was sick with it; sick with the absolutely overwhelming certainty of her desire.  She bit her lip to keep herself from crying out.

Olivia recognized this state; was in fact suffering it, too.  She tightened her hold on Casey and spooned her from behind, whispering in her ear.

"Because, sweetie, then your father really will kill me.  Unless your brother gets to me first."  She pressed her lips to the back of Casey's head and kissed her sweetly.  "Besides," she admitted softly, "I don't want our first time to be something hurried and hidden.  I want to take my time with you.  I want to make love to you.  And I don't want to run away afterward."

Casey turned in Liv's arms and searched her mahogany eyes for the truth behind those words.  It sparkled back at her, bright and unapologetic.

"Okay," she said simply, but the word was more a vow than an agreement.

After a long moment in which their eyes conversed like lovers in a quiet corner of a dark and romantic restaurant, Olivia said, "We need to change the subject.  Now."  There was no room for compromise and she knew it.  Another minute and she wouldn't care if Matthew Novak came after her with an M-16.

"Yes."  Casey blinked twice and pulled away from Olivia, putting about a foot of space between their bodies.  The two of them lay flat on their backs and stared at the stuccoed ceiling.  After a minute, they entwined hands.  "Change the subject.  Good idea." 

They continued to stare at the ceiling for a while, listening to each other's breathing until finally Casey thought of a question to ask.  An innocent question.  One not related to the possibility of kissing Olivia until she drowned in ecstasy.

"So what did you and Buttbrain talk about this afternoon?  You know, while Julie and I set the table."

Olivia didn't know whether to laugh or groan.  Wrong subject, honey.  "You don't want to know."

"Yes, I do."  She cast a worried glance at the detective.  "I want to know even more now.  Spill it."

"You really don't, honey.  Trust me."

"Olivia Benson," said Casey, sounding eerily like an irritated mother.  "Tell me right now."

The older woman took a deep breath.  Well, you asked, she thought. 

"Milan Zergin."

The explosion was immediate and spectacular, like the brandy in a pan of Cherries Jubilee catching fire.

"WHAT?"  Casey sat bolt upright and gaped at Olivia.  "Oh my GOD!  I'm having a nightmare, right?  Right?  Because this is not happening!"

"I'm sorry," apologized Liv.  She sat up next to the flustered young woman and tried to catch her eye.  "He was just worried.  He didn't understand why it happened.  He loves you so much, honey.  Not knowing was killing him.  He needed to know."  She waited for her words to sink in.  "You need to tell him what happened yourself.  You both need to put it behind you."

Casey wiped an errant tear from her cheek but still managed an ironic chuckle.  "Hello, pot?  Kettle calling.  You're black."

"Huh?"

Casey cupped Olivia's face in her hands.  "You need to put it behind you, too.  Stop blaming yourself.  You couldn't protect me.  Hell, I couldn't protect myself and I had a baseball bat."  She rested her forehead against the detective's.  "I never blamed you, you know.  Never.  And the only game of 'what if' I played was 'What if Olivia hadn't been the one to find me?'"

Olivia closed her eyes against the memory.  Opening the office door.  The scent of fresh coffee wafting up from the cups she was holding.  Turning on the light.  Finding Casey on the floor, her sunrise hair splayed around her head, mottled with blood.

"I thought I'd lost you," she whispered.  "I wasn't ready for that."

"Apparently neither was I," joked Casey.  When it didn't have the desired effect, she kissed Olivia's forehead then pulled back to look her in the eye.  "I'll make you a deal," she offered.  "I'll talk to Chris about what happened if you'll stop blaming yourself for not being there.  Okay?  Deal?"

Olivia looked up and found herself captivated by Casey's easy smile.  Unable to stop her answering grin, she said, "Okay.  But on one condition."

"Uh oh.  Look out.  We've created a monster," laughed the redhead.  "What condition?"

"That you convince your father that it really is necessary for us to stay in the city for the rest of the weekend, even though we'll be happy to share any meals or other touristy activities he may wish to participate in."  She leaned closer to Casey's ear and growled, "Because if I don't get you into a bed that is outside your childhood home soon, I am not going to be responsible for my actions."  She punctuated the statement with a sexy nip below Casey's ear which caused the explosive decompression of the young woman's lungs.

"I promise to explain it to him in persuasive detail tomorrow," she breathed, then quickly amended, "Tomorrow morning."  She bit her bottom lip for a brief second then ordered, "Now kiss me."

"Mmm.  My pleasure." 

And Olivia did.  Kissed Casey over and over until, exhausted by the day and their frustrated desire, they fell asleep entwined in one another's arms.

---

TBC in Part Three



Hope you enjoyed it!

Twoodles!

DiNovia
 
 
What the Voices in My Head Hear: Liv to Casey Playlist
 
 
 
Zenduckcrimsonwhisper on February 27th, 2006 12:18 pm (UTC)
I loved it. Really got wrapped up in the story. in the zone ya know. My heart is thumping, i hope they get a hotel room soon, its driving me crazy hehe...on to part 3...

seftiri: C/O Yay MOOseftiri on February 27th, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC)
Glad you are enjoying it so much. :D
shayshaych_03 on March 3rd, 2006 12:19 pm (UTC)
again, just lovely. loved the part about zergin. i love casey's family. her father is gold. everything is paced and played so well...it's easy to "hear" the dialog...

it's a fanfic feast :D
seftiri: C/O Yay Heroesseftiri on March 3rd, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
Thank you again!

Matt quickly grew to be my favorite original character in this piece. Can you tell?

;)
shayshaych_03 on March 4th, 2006 10:14 am (UTC)
no, not at all.