“Olivia?” Rafael found her in the cribs. She’d gone to rest her eyes for a few minutes. “Why don’t you let someone take you home?”
“I just need a moment to close my eyes. I can work.” Olivia lay flat on her back on the uncomfortable mattress. “I can work.”
“I can work,” she insisted again.
She had to be able to work. It had been months. She was terrified of being forced to turn in her papers because of her health.
There were rumors patience was running low amongst the brass. She had to get back into the swing of things. No matter how exhausted she was.
“Liv. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone.” Rafael tried a different tactic. “You’re not going to lose your job.”
“I will if I don’t get back to work.” Olivia made herself sit up. It took almost all of her energy. “Shit.”
“Let me get, Fin.”
“He’s busy.” Olivia knew the minute Fin saw her. He’d be taking her home, immediately. “Rafa. I’m fine.”
“You just finished your last round of chemo. Each one had taken more out of you than the last. Olivia. It is okay to admit that you’re tired. You’re worn out. You need rest.” Rafael sat beside her on the bed. “What are you afraid of?”
“What if they force me to retire?”
“What if they do?” Olivia wanted a real gut check from Rafael. Not platitudes of hope.
“Then you retire. We fight for you to get your full pension.” Rafael gave her what she wanted. And the truth hurt more than the lies of hope had. “There are other ways to help survivors of sexual assault, Liv. Being a detective is only one way. There are foundations. Charities. A whole host of places you can be a force for good. You don’t have to do it with a badge.”
“The badge is all I’ve had.” Olivia touched her shield clipped to her belt. “It’s been my life. My family. Everything is wrapped up in this job.”
“And maybe that’s the problem?”
Olivia shrugged. She didn’t know how to respond.
“You aren’t going to lose any of us if you do retire. Squabbling until we’re eighty-five, remember?” He nudged her with his elbow. “Family, Liv. Tú eres me familia. We’ll be squabbling into our nineties.””
“Of course, we will.”
If I make it until then.
Don’t think about the cancer coming back.
“Go home.” Rafael tried again.
“I’m fine. We have a case to solve.” Olivia pushed herself to her feet. She managed to stay on them without dropping back to the bed.
I should be home. He’s right. I just….I can’t.
Without saying another word, Rafael stood up and walked out of the cribs. Olivia sighed. She knew he worried.
All of them worried about her.
Her final round of chemo had hit hard. She’d taken a few days to rest up. Amanda had made the mistake of talking about their current case; a particularly difficult one. Murphy was butting heads with Nick and Fin.
She’d made the decision to return to work. No one had been happy to see her. Not really. The squad wanted her home resting; their deputy chief seemed particularly displeased by her presence.
Olivia took a few steps then had to sit on one of the beds. “Damn it. I can do this.”
Closing her eyes for a few minutes, Olivia found herself thinking about life before. Before Lewis. Before her cancer diagnosis. Before her entire world had been turned upside down. She pinched the bridge of her nose in an attempt to stave off tears.
I am not sobbing in the damn precinct.
“What the hell are you doing, baby girl?”
Olivia kept her eyes closed. She knew he’d see the tears that hadn’t fallen yet. “Taken a second to rest.”
“I’m taking you home.”
“I’m fine.” Olivia shook her head.
“No, no you ain’t. You’re exhausted. And in tears.” Fin crouched in front of her. He rested his hands on her knees. “How much pain are you in? Doc said this time might be the worst of all. I’m taking you home.”
“Not up for debate.”
Olivia opened her eyes to scowl at him. He wasn’t moved in the slightest. Fin rarely showed his stubborn streak. He was too chill for that but when motivated; nothing was going to change his mind. “I can rest here just as much as I can in my apartment. People can keep an eye on me here.”
“You really think I’m fool enough for that to work on me, Benson?” Fin got to his feet. He lifted her up off the bed and wrapped his arm around her waist, holding her against him. “I’m taking you to my place. You’re going to rest. I’m gonna take care of you.”
“You want to spend time arguing? Or save your energy for walking out of the precinct with your head held high?” Fin proved, once again, how well he knew her. “That’s what I thought. Let me get you home.”