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She's always been good at compartmentalizing.


But sometimes too many lies to her therapist, too many little moments go unchecked, pile on top of each other, and suddenly she's boiling over. Her back is usually too tough for a last straw, but as she closes the door behind Sgt. Bell, half carrying Stabler down the hall and mercifully away, she thinks she might lose it. For good this time. Noah, thankfully, never even stirred, and she keeps her breathing in control long enough to crack the door and ensure he's still asleep.


Back in the living room, staring at the glass discarded on her coffee table, her mind is swimming in the small puddle that still encircles it.


She crosses her arms.


Drops them.


Shakes her hands.


Crosses again.


Clutches her biceps.


Her breathing is laboured.


She has too many thoughts and none at all.


It's late, but she's drowning, and as much as it hurts to ask for help, this pain is so much heavier than her pride, and she only hesitates a moment before snatching her phone from the counter.


With each ring she begins preparing the apologetic voicemail she'll leave, and when she hears a gentle "Hey" it takes her a moment before she realizes it isn't a prerecorded away message.
 

"Fin. Hi, I'm sorry, I know it's late."


"What do you need, Liv?" His voice is soft, instinct telling him this is Olivia calling, not Captain Benson. "What'd he do?"


"I'm ok. And I can't really tell you. I just..." she trails off, brings her free hand up and drags her fingertips roughly against the ridge of her collarbone before shrugging, gesturing to the empty room.


"You need me to come over there?"


She almost says yes. Almost can't stand to be alone with her racing thoughts, and wouldn't dare wake her son, but she closes her eyes and shakes her head.


"No, no, I'm ok. I'm sorry, I just. Needed to hear someone else- to hear a friend's voice for a second." She huffs a sigh. It's a self deprecating sound.


"S'not weird, Liv. You know you can call me anytime. I mean it."


"Thanks Fin." She takes another deep breath, and they let the silence stretch for a moment.


"Liv, you don't owe him a damn thing. I know you know that. But you might feel better if you tell him whatever it is you're holding on to. Just a thought."


She nods but doesn't say anything.


"Not to sound too much like your shrink, or Phoebe, but maybe write it down. Get some of it out. And Liv, you know I'll knock him around if you need me to."


She feels a little bit of her chest unfurl itself at that, and almost smiles.


"I didn't hear that," she scolds halfheartedly, and he does laugh a little on the other end of the line.


"Fin, thank you. Seriously."


"Anytime Liv. I got you."


"Get some sleep."


"Night Captain."
 

Her head is full, and her thoughts are all over the place. She sits at her laptop, with her hands in her lap for several minutes, before she finally brings her fingers up to the keys. She types like she speaks. Intentional. Pointed. Hard.

 

Elliot,
You were the single most important person in my life. I already told you that. I don't think I should have had to. We never needed to name it. Whatever it was that we were to each other.
You always showed me what I deserved. Twelve years of knowing me better than anyone, better than I knew myself, you helped me see that I was worth something. Twelve years of showing me that I wasn't alone. Not really. The past ten years have shown me that yes, we were too close, and yes we were volatile, but you were there for me. Even when we fought, when we needed space. You stayed with me, for better or worse, come heaven or hell. 

Until you didn't. You completely disappeared. And I mourned you, Elliot. As if you died. You left me with grief that I had never known before it physically ached to think about you. And I should feel guilty admitting this, but knowing that you weren't dead, that you were alive out there and simply couldn't or wouldn't talk to me? That made it so much worse.
You proved me right. That no matter what, nobody really stays. With one decision you undid twelve years of, whatever it was that we had. Twelve years of everything you gave me.
I know you're sorry. I know you feel bad. But you will never know what I had to do, to move on from that.
I didn't deserve that.

I'm so fucking mad at you. So mad at you I could scream. Part of me wants you to know that yes I'm strong, and yes I am worthy, and I learned that all over again after you left me, but you almost broke me. Part of me wants to hide that from you forever.
I'm so fucking mad at you, but I'm mad at myself too. For needing you. For loving you. For forgiving you. For not wanting to just give up and tell you to fuck off. Because I can't Elliot. 
I'm so fucking mad at you. I'm so fucking in love with you.

You'll never see this, but at least I'm actually the one writing it.
-Olivia

 

She's breathing hard and there are tears on her cheeks as she closes her laptop. She doesn't really feel better, but thinks she might be able to sleep. Hopes that tonight she doesn't dream about him, and every fucking thing that came back with his "I wrote that" and his hand in her hair.