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 “Everybody at APD knows about Patton, but nobody’s willing to talk about it.”

Captain Sam Reynolds looked at his drink before taking a sip of the liquid courage and finally admitted the truth.

“Chief Patton expects three things from a female detective: blonde hair, blue eyes, and how quick she is to get down on her knees.”

Olivia rolled her eyes and looked to Fin, who was sitting in the booth beside her, and across from Captain Reynolds. They had chosen a random bar close to the station to privately meet with Amanda’s former Captain, hoping he would help them build a case against Patton.

“Yeah, we’ve been getting that,” she sighed.

“He’s an egomaniac who has intel on everyone.”

Fin sat up straight, leaned forward, and placed his hands on the table in front of him, palms joined together.

“Did you know Patton was harassing Amanda?” He asked, expecting the answer to be a yes.

“Off the record? I suspected,” Sam shrugged. He  scratched at his head, a nervous tick, Olivia assumed.

He hesitantly looked to Oliva before he continued.  “She’s making a criminal complaint on the sexual harassment? It was years ago.”

She lowered her voice to a gentle whisper. “No. Actually, she’s saying Patton assaulted her last night.” 

Searching his eyes for some form of recognition, Olivia saw a micro expression of panic flash across his face. She could see the perspiration on his forehead and in her gut, knew there was more to the story than what he had revealed.

“Jeez.” Captain Reynolds groaned into his whiskey. “Look, I care for Amanda, I do, but I can’t help you here.”

Olivia grew impatient, and through barred teeth spat, ”If you cared about Amanda, you’d help her, Sam.”

In an attempt to keep Sam from walking out, Fin calmly looked the Captain in the eyes. “Amanda told me you were a good man, that you helped her transfer here after Patton assaulted her.”

Sam gasped, surprised Amanda had shared that information. “Of course I helped after her assault — Patton was out of control.”

”He still is, Sam!” Olivia yelled, catching the attention of a couple sitting with their drinks at the bar. She wasn’t as keen as Fin to stroke Sam’s ego.

Fin tried his luck. “Would you be willing to tell that to our ADA?”

“I hate Patton, but I get on his bad side, it’s not like I can walk around his office in my panties and make it all go away.”


 

“I told you I didn’t wanna talk.”

“Amanda, please. It’s important.”

Amanda scoffed and gestured at Olivia to close the door before she turned around and walked into her kitchen. Olivia closed the door and followed close behind her.

When Barba had called to say Amanda had revealed she was assaulted by Patton the night before in Central Park, her first instinct had been to find Amanda. She wanted to be there for her colleague, her friend, if she needed someone to talk to. 

Olivia knew the professional relationship she shared with Amanda since she had arrived from Atlanta had been hostile. She knew Amanda didn’t have a lot of people she felt comfortable confiding in, in New York. Knowing this made her feel protective of the detective. 

Amanda proved time and time again, she could not be trusted. They couldn’t call themselves a team if one of them decided to go rouge whenever they felt like it. It was unbelievable to Olivia how many rules Amanda broke without a care in the world.

It felt like she was being forced to clean up the messes Amanda made because Amanda always assumed Olivia would be there to fix things in the end. Like Olivia was her bailout. 

When Elliot bailed on her, Olivia promised herself she’d never let it happen again. She closed doors on people before they could leave her. She became harder, colder. 

For a while, work was the only thing that got Olivia out of bed every morning. There was a voice in the back of her head urging her to give up, but she couldn’t. Elliot may have been ready and willing to walk away from everything, the job, but there was no way in hell Olivia was. 

It may have affected her personal relationships. Nevertheless, it didn’t affect her professional ones. Except for Amanda.

The irony was, the two women couldn’t be more similar in the ways they choose to express their feelings. Amanda habituated bars in search of nameless men she could use to help her forget for a night, while Olivia drank wine with men she dated but never loved, fearing the alternative of being alone. 

Both women feared nothing more than ending up alone, wherever that may be.

Neither had had particularly good childhoods with families who showered them with love and support. For the first decade of her childhood, Amanda’s job was to protect her sister while her father beat their mother. When her father left, her mother’s drinking escalated. Her mother relied on her to take care of her sister, Kim. Amanda made the lunches and dinners, did the cleaning, paid the bills, and was always there for homework help. 

On the nights their mother came home, drunk from the bar, with men who never stayed long, Kim would crawl into bed with Amanda. They would turn the TV on in Amanda’s room to drown out the noises that came unwittingly from their mother’s bedroom. When it wasn’t their mother crying out in pain from being struck, it was cries of ecstasy. There were only two men who ever tried laying their hands on the girls. The first, Amanda chased off with a gun they kept in the house, while the second, had crawled into bed with Amanda, late one night.

He had been drunk, slurring as he told her to keep hush. At sixteen, Amanda was shocked, not knowing how to react, and feeling ashamed for liking that someone was interested in her for once. He hadn’t gotten far when her mother had run in, shouting profanities at the middle-aged man for taking interest in a child. There was a physical altercation, and then Amanda never saw the man again. 

Olivia grew up with a mother who was an alcoholic, as well. She never met her father, but she was glad he left their life. She hated him for raping her mother, for starting a new family and living happily while they struggled to make it through each day. Olivia didn’t have a sibling to look after, but she often dreamt that she did. She thought about having a little sister or brother quite often as a child, to keep herself from feeling lonely. 

They were used to relying on themselves. They found it difficult to trust others, to open up. 

To open up meant to admit they were vulnerable, they were human, and they could be hurt. To keep that from happening, they chose to marry the job, and keep everyone at a safe distance.

When Amanda first arrived at the precinct, spouting compliments at Olivia, Olivia had her walls up immediately.

At the time, Olivia didn’t care to start any form of relationship with the new transfer and made her feelings quite clear, often questioning Amanda’s judgement in front of their coworkers, and sometimes victims.

Even when Amanda had tried to open up to Olivia after Gia’s case, it had been brushed aside and forgotten as quickly as it had been mentioned. It was unusual behaviour for Olivia, who was known across borders for her empathy with victims. She hadn’t pressed Amanda any further. 

She didn’t even care to know who it was or what happened. Olivia knew whatever it was, it must have been bad enough to cause someone to uproot their entire life, move to a new state, away from their friends and family, start a new job, and endure coworkers who didn’t want to like them.

“You okay?”

Amanda leaned over her kitchen counter. She used her her arms to prop her up, while she anxiously picked at her lips with her right hand.

Seemingly deep in thought, Olivia was surprised when she heard Amanda whisper, “After what you went through Liv... I’m fine.”

Olivia strained to understand what Amanda meant by that. Her brows furrowed together and she prayed Amanda didn’t blame herself for William Lewis, too.

Sitting up straight again, Amanda readjusted her jacket and pushed her hair back out of her face. Her shoulders hunched up towards her ears and her head remained lowered. Turning her head to the right, she flashed Olivia a painted smile, as if to prove her point.

Olivia’s face remained solemn. She nodded a couple of times to show she was listening but she didn’t believe Amanda was fine at all. They had worked together enough for Olivia to pick up on Amanda’s tells. It was easy for Amanda to lie, but it was easier for Olivia to see right through them.

Amanda’s eyes met the floor, blinking rapidly. She dropped the smile and when her eyes found Olivia’s, she chewed on her bottom lip.

“Is it true that you’re dropping the charges against Patton?”

Amanda licked her lips and crossed her arms. She turned around to face Olivia.

With raised eyebrows, Amanda put her hand on her hips. “I’m exploring my options,” she drawled.

“Is that why you don’t wanna tell me the truth about what happened?”

Olivia leaned her head to one side while her eyes searched Amanda’s face for answers. Amanda was barely maintaining eye contact with her, but she wasn’t running away yet.

Shaking her head, Amanda sighed. “I never should have said his name out loud like that.”

“Why? Because it isn’t true? Or because you’re scared of getting fired?”

Looking away from Olivia, Amanda’s eyes swept the room. She couldn’t face Olivia and say the words out loud. Her eyebrows creased, but her lips remained sealed when she looked back to find Olivia still waiting for an answer.

As if sensing she wouldn’t get one, Olivia nodded. “Okay,” she continued. “Let’s say it is true.”

“I’m not ruining my career because I had a weak moment I- I- I fixed it. I apologized to Patton personally. He knows It won’t happen again.”

Amanda looked down, shamefully shaking her head.

Olivia was angry. Not at Amanda, but at Patton for abusing his power to feed his ego, and for using his subordinates to help him do it. She had a feeling Amanda’s former Captain knew about the harassment and did nothing to stop it. To her, that makes him just as culpable as the Deputy Chief. What she would give to be alone in a room with either of those men right now. 

”Why are you still protecting him?” 

When Amanda didn’t answer, she asked the question she’d been thinking about for a while. “Does he have something on you?”

“No!” she answered, too quickly, and too enthusiastically for it to be believable.

Even she didn’t believe it when she heard herself say it.

“We can fight this,” Olivia persisted.

“Don’t judge me.”

Olivia was confused. Amanda knew her; she knew Olivia would never judge a victim. 

”And don’t worry, I’m not gonna kill myself.”

An alarm bell went off. A memory of a young girl from a previous case, who had jumped off of her University building, after being assaulted by two boys at a frat party,  briefly flashed through Olivia’s thoughts. She recalled Amanda’s upset at leaving the girl alone when she had known the girl was pink-clouding.

Is Amanda pink-clouding?” She wondered.

“Alright. Well, when you’re ready to have a serious conversation, you know where I am.”

With that, Olivia turned and made her way towards the front door. There was a moment of hesitation before she turned the doorknob to leave Amanda alone with her decision, a moment where she wondered if she was making a mistake. There wasn’t no way Olivia felt safe leaving Amanda alone right now, but she had no choice. 

As stubborn as she was, Amanda would have to decide to talk all on her own, not by Olivia forcing it out of her. The detective had lost enough control already; Olivia wasn’t about to add to her suffering any longer. 

Chapter Text

She felt so stupid. She couldn’t understand why she had done whatever he demanded of her. Amanda knew she should have fought harder, but she let him do whatever he wanted to her. She gave up, when she should have punched him in his arrogant face. 

Olivia must think she’s pathetic, weak even. It’s exactly what she thought of herself.  The great Olivia Benson she’d read articles about while she was on patrol, would never lose control like that. She wouldn’t put herself into those situations. Olivia would have fought back and stood up for herself.

Olivia wasn’t a coward. She was the sole reason Amanda chose New York as her fresh start. Her career inspired Amanda, who dreamed to be even half as good a detective as Oliva one day. Before moving from Atlanta to the big city, Amanda studied up on some of Olivia’s previous cases. It helped her get through many sleepless nights. Instead of fighting through nightmares, she read case after case that featured Detective Benson and her passion for taking down scumbags. Olivia gave Amanda hope, and briefly distracted her from her shitty life.

Nothing went the way Amanda assumed it would when she arrived for her first day in Manhattan’s Special Victims Unit. To be frank, Amanda didn’t think Olivia liked her for the first few months. While Amanda was studying up on her idol’s cases, it appeared that Olivia wasn’t even interested enough to remember where the new transfer was be coming from. She had incorrectly guessed Dallas. It stung Amanda more than it should have, but she brushed it off, not wanting to give a bad first impression, and remained hopeful they would still become close coworkers.

Olivia’s standoffish vibe didn’t prevent Amanda from attempting to connect with the woman she admired, but it certainly didn’t allow room for trust. Amanda wanted to trust Olivia. She wanted to share what Patton did to her with the detective who had decades more experience handling victims of sexual assault. She wanted to no longer feel alone.

Amanda, however, did not want to be handled. She could take care of herself. She always had. She wasn’t about to open up and tell Olivia everything right away, and by the looks of Olivia’s disinterest in her, Amanda begrudgingly kept her distance. Amanda knew she had to wait until Olivia approached her. Trust clearly  didn’t come easy for Olivia either. 

Having grown up with two women who loved playing their victim cards, Amanda made a promise to herself when she was 13. She vowed to never be like Kim or her mother; she wouldn’t play her victim card — ever. But with Olivia around, she constantly thought about breaking that promise.  

 


 

 

“It started day one. My job interview. Patton said, ‘Oh, you’re beautiful, you’re bright, you could make detective one day.’ But... I interviewed five other women that are just as qualified and I’m going to hire whoever shows me she wants it the most.”

Olivia had been at a loss for words when Amanda had shown up at her apartment unannounced. Noah was asleep, and Olivia was prepared to support Amanda with her full attention.

Gently, she urged Amanda to continue. “And then what happened?” 

“He put his hand inside my blouse. His tongue... in my mouth. I was shocked. Frozen. But I didn’t run out of the room and I got the job.”

There was silence from Olivia as she listened and held back an urge to reach out to Amanda, to comfort her. Olivia knew Amanda had been holding onto this secret for so long that she needed to let it all out without any distractions or interruptions.

“And the behaviour continued. Touching... Kissing, groping. He would demand that I visit his office after work, before going home. Before I could leave, I’d have to give him...” Amanda went silent for a moment and bent over, using her hands to hide her face.

“I did a lot of undercover work in Atlanta, mostly honey traps. Patton would demand I wear that I wear... lacy panties, thigh-high stockings. Before I met with the Johns, I’d have to pretend to seduce him for the website they created, and he would tape me.”

“How long did this go on?” 

“Years. I didn’t think things could get any worse, until June they did.”

“Okay. Tell me about that.” 

“I was about to make Detective, and I told Patton, if he wanted me to stay in Atlanta, I wanted a promotion. He— He locked the door, threw me onto his desk, pulled off my clothes... and he raped me. I fought him... but I couldn’t get away. He said if I complained, he’d release the tapes that he had or worse. And that if I wasn’t happy in his precinct, he’d hire somebody who was.” 

Amanda looked down, no longer able to maintain eye contact with Olivia.

“So I didn’t report it. I straightened myself up, walked out, and I went back to work.  Like a good girl. Like a good, stupid girl.”

“Did you confide in anyone?” 

“The irony is, my Captain was the one person I told. He said he’d allow my transfer if I... God. How could I let them do that to me?”

Olivia dropped her pen onto her notepad, and rolled her chair around the table so she was closer to Amanda, but made no move to touch her subordinate. She leaned forward.  “Listen to me.”

Amanda slowly raised her head to briefly share eye contact, before losing confidence and returning her gaze to her hands.

“I know how hard it is to forgive yourself, to believe it wasn’t your fault. What Patton did to you was a crime, and if it were up to me he’d be at Rikers already.”

Amanda grinned at the thought of Olivia arresting Patton. She’d quite enjoy seeing him go down and knew Olivia wouldn’t make the experience entirely pain free.

”If it had been me instead of you, would it be my fault?”

”That’s not fair.”

Olivia slowly leaned forward and gently placed her hand atop Amanda’s before whispering, ”If it wouldn’t be my fault, then why is it yours?”