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I'm Going Slightly Mad

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The door flew open and the cold air immediately stung her face. Her eyes shut reactively and her hands reached up to swat away at tears.

Amanda stumbled forwards, only slightly leaning on the side of the building as she intended to make her way towards the nearest subway station. 

The street lights provided a dimly lit path for her to see, but the abundant amount of alcohol she had just consumed was now impairing her vision. Amanda looked up from her feet to see a group of men loitering at a bar across the street.

She watched them closely, warily, while her eyes tried to focus on one person in the group. Her hands anxiously searched her coat pockets for her pack of cigarettes and a lighter. 

With one hand still in her coat pocket, Amanda suddenly fell forward. Her free hand instinctively grasped for something to hold onto, something to protect her face from smashing into the pavement. Her feet slipped out from under her, and she hit the ground hard.

Her free arm had saved her from face planting, but she knew she would wake up covered in bruises the next morning.  

During the tumble, her hat had been discarded into a pile of snow. She drunkenly attempted to reach for it, and get back onto her feet at the same time, when she felt someone grab her arm and begin to pull her up.

Amanda felt as if her head was spinning, so she accepted the help without knowing who was giving it.

"I must look so pathetic," she worried. 

"Hey." A soothing voice silenced the thoughts in her head. "Let me help you up; grab onto me."

Olivia Benson was holding onto her waist, still trying to help her up. "Are you hurt?" she asked.

"I'm fine," Amanda mumbled, refusing the help now that she knew who was offering it.

She was unsure of how her boss had suddenly appeared before her. She wondered if she actually had hit her head when she fell because she couldn't remember hearing anyone approach. How could she let herself be so vulnerable? 

With her vision still impaired, she was unable to stand up on her own, and while Olivia was strong, she couldn't lift one-hundred and ten pounds of dead weight by herself, so Amanda begrudgingly accepted the help. 

So many questions raced through Amanda's brain. How did her boss even find her? Did Fin let something slip back at the station?

As if reading her thoughts, Olivia tilted her head a little to get a better view of Amanda's face. "I sensed something was wrong when you stormed out of the station after work without saying goodnight, so I figured you'd be at a bar." Olivia huffed. "This is the tenth one I've canvassed."

Amanda's eyebrows rose, her bottom lip hung open dismaying her shock. Her eyes closed and she shook her head. "You... You followed me?"

She didn't think Olivia Benson gave a damn about her. Olivia Benson, the person she respected the most, and the reason she moved to New York in the first place. Olivia Benson had noticed her anxious state, and had been searching for her, while she tried to get drunk enough to forget her own name.

"Fin was worried about you..." Olivia smiled sadly. "I was worried about you." She put her other arm on Amanda's shoulder. "Lets get you home."

With Olivia's help, Amanda turned slightly, facing the street. There was a black Mustang convertible parked along the side of the road. She had never seen her boss drive a personal vehicle, but she immediately knew who it belonged to.

Amanda snorted. "Figures. Hot boss drives a hot car," she murmured. "Wait. Did I say that out loud?"

Carefully, Olivia walked Amanda towards the Mustang, hiding her smirk under her hair, all the while making sure the other woman didn't injure herself further before she got her home.

Olivia opened the passenger door and Amanda reluctantly got inside.

"Liv, I'm sorry," she whimpered. The inebriated woman sighed loudly and collapsed onto the seat, resting her head while she closed her eyes for a slight moment. Tears were beginning to form in her eyes again, but this time she didn't swipe them away. She was too tired and too drunk to fight with them. They feel freely.

Olivia stopped fumbling with the seat belt and looked at Amanda. It was obvious she was suffering to hide her emotions. Olivia understood the other woman's desire to hide and retreat when she got emotional. She was the same way.

Neither of them wanted to burden others with their emotions. Through years of therapy and a lot of self introspection, Olivia was learning that sharing personal hardships didn't make a person weak. Being vulnerable with others actually took a lot of strength.

It certainly took a hell of a lot of strength to admit the hellish things Olivia had been through. It took even more strength to forgive herself and make the changes she needed to heal herself emotionally, as well as spiritually. Olivia assumed Amanda hadn't undergone the same therapeutic transformations, recalling a conversation they had shared years prior, where Amanda had told her she didn't need to "pay someone to talk about [her] problems."

"Hey. Amanda, listen to me." Instinctively, she grabbed both of Amanda's hands. "We all have bad days. Wanna talk about yours?"

Amanda looked down, refusing to meet Olivia's eyes. She didn't respond. She hiccuped. It was becoming obvious Olivia wouldn't get through to her in this state.

"Sober Amanda isn't any easier to talk to, either," Olivia thought.

Olivia almost smiled at this woman's stubbornness before her brows furrowed. She shouldn't leave Amanda alone tonight. She should take her back to her apartment until she's feeling better. It was the least she could do after failing to catch Amanda before she had left the precinct for the night, knowing she was hurting.

"Amanda," Olivia spoke softly.

Amanda turned her gaze from her lap to meet her boss's eyes. The somber look in Amanda's eyes made Olivia's heart ache.

"I'm gonna take you back to my place for the night." She could see Amanda start to protest before she had even finished her sentence. "I don't want you to hurt yourself any further than you already have tonight," she encouraged.

Amanda shook her head rapidly. "You really don't have to do that. I'm fine. I will be fine." She smiled, but it failed to reach her eyes.

Olivia let out a sad laugh. "You know saying you're fine over and over wont magically make it true? Come on. I have an extra room and could use some company tonight. Besides Noah." She smiled again, hoping she was getting through to Amanda.

Amanda nodded, but didn't say anything else. Denying her boss was not going to be added to the list of foolish decisions she made tonight.

Olivia carefully closed the passenger door and moved for the driver's side.