Title: Fallacy Diptych
Author: Adrienne Lee & Miranda Rafferty
Feedback address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date in Calendar: 2 December 2004
Fandom: Law & Order: SVU
Series Completion Date: 11/14/2004
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC04
Disclaimer: "The Division", "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," "Birds of Prey," "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," the characters, and situations depicted are respectively the property of Lifetime Television, Kedzie Productions, Viacom Productions, and Paramount [The Division]; Jerry Bruckheimer Television, Alliance Atlantis, and CBS Productions [CSI: Crime Scene Investigators]; Tollin/Robbins, DC Comics, and Time/Warner via the WB [Birds of Prey]; and Wolf Films, Universal Network Television, and NBC [Law & Order: SVU]. This piece of fan fiction was created for entertainment not monetary purposes and no infringement on copyrights or trademarks was intended. Previously unrecognised characters and places, and this story, are copyrighted to the author. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author. This site is in no way affiliated with "The Division", "CSI: Crime Scene Investigators," "Birds of Prey," "Law & Order: SVU," Lifetime Television, CBS, the WB, NBC, or any representatives of the actors.
You're sitting in a trendy sports bar, wearing your black suit, looking like you've just come from a funeral. You know you don't fit in, but you don't give a damn. You've just tossed back your last overpriced scotch. Was it the fifth? Seventh? You've lost count. Without waiting for the burning down your throat to cease, you motion the bartender for another one. When he comes back with your drink, he picks up your platinum AmEx card, the one you keep in the bottom of your purse.
At some point or another, during the night, during the first two drinks, when you were looking vulnerable and slightly tipsy, people had tried to talk to you. They wanted to talk to you because you're a pretty blond with pretty blue eyes and a pretty smile, and they were hoping you would smile for them.
Now? Now, they stay away. They stay away because you're way passed that initial happy stage, when alcohol first hits your system. You're even beyond the point where you would pour your heart out to your confidant. Now, now your eyes are hard, your lips are pressed into a thin straight line, and you know how your father must have felt when he would drink himself into himself.
Now you're ready to confront yourself, ready to confess, to yourself.
Just when will you learn, Alex Cabot? You ask yourself as you drain another glass, and ask for yet another. Do you always have to win? Can you even bear the thought of losing? Oh, but you're just doing your job, you tell yourself. You hear her voice telling you the same thing.
Yes, but now a woman, oh, excuse you, a man technically and legally, lies unconscious in a hospital, raped and beaten, because you had to do your job. You had to win.
But you didn't put the vase in her hand, you didn't put an innocent person in jail, once again, you hear her voice, trying so hard to make you feel better about yourself.
Why does she bother? Why does she care? Why does anybody when you don't?
And does she really care? Did she mean what she said? Or was she just telling you what she thought you needed to hear?
What are you to each other, anyway? Girl-friends? Lovers? Fuck-buddies? You're dying to know. If she were a witness, you would have asked point-blank by now, long before now. Instead you let the question gnaw at you. because you don't have the gall to ask.
What happened to your backbone? When did you become so afraid?
"Daddy, Daddy, can I have a tree house like the one Mr. Langan is building for Trevor?" You hear your little girl voice asking your father. "Gee, I don't know, Princess, we don't really have the right kind of trees on our property." You hear your father protest in front of your mother, and you see the stars in his eyes, and you know you'll get your tree house one way or the other. You know you will spend the summer watching your father and probably your Uncle Jack build the house for you. You will hand them the nails and the hammers and the whatnots. You will spend the summer learning how to climb trees, so you can get up to your tree house. A tree house that you know you don't really want, but you think you should have, just because your neighbor boy has one.
"Daddy, look at me! Look at me!" You see yourself looking back at your father as you make every one of the jumps he has been trying to teach you. You see yourself on your chestnut pony, with a bright smile on your face. You tell yourself you're going to win all the trophies in the next competition. You will win them for your father, your coach, your idol. You will win every one but one, and you will cry over that one. You will cry because while there are stars in your father's eyes, you think they could have been, should have been brighter. They should be as bright as the ones in your Uncle Alfonse's eyes when he looks at his son's trophies.
Why were you not born a boy? You have wondered for the n-th time in your life. Your father's mother even said so to your face. Alexander Cabot should have had a son. Your father's brothers would not have alienated you and your mother, if you were a boy who loves another girl.
"Then why do I feel so lousy?" You hear yourself asking her earlier this evening. And you watch her drop into the chair in front of your desk, and hear her tell you, quite sincerely, "Because you look at Cheryl and you can't imagine what it's like to feel that your own body is a mistake."
No, you don't know what it's like to feel that your body is a mistake. Not at all. You like your body just fine; and you wouldn't change it for the world. But you do know what it's like to live a lie.
"Do you know why I became a lawyer, Alex?" You hear Morty Berger's voice in your head.
Do you know why you became a lawyer, Alex Cabot? You ask yourself. To serve Justice? To service Mankind?
What do you want to be when you grow up this time? What's your career track now? The first woman Manhattan DA? New York Governor? Maybe even the President of the United States?
Have you forgotten your childhood dream? The one you convinced yourself you want because you were determined to be like your Uncle Jack. The only uncle who loves you for who you are… even though you are a girl.
Do you still want to be the first woman Chief Justice of United States Supreme Court? Which lie are you going to live next?
You tell yourself you have political aspirations. You convince others you do, so that in turn they can help bolster your lie. Their belief in your abilities and your goals might even help you prevail on you.
You tell yourself you have career goals, ambitions, you want to be a woman who succeeds in a man's world, when all you really want, for as long as you have wants, is to be like your mother. No, that's not true either. You want to be like your mother's mother, nothing more than a wife, a mother, the always smiling always supportive woman behind her man.
Right, you could just hear yourself trying to explain your deepest desires to your mother and everyone else you know. You could just imagine explaining it to her. When you don't even know what she wants for the two of you.
Suddenly you're jarred from your self critique. You flip open your phone, and you hear her concerned voice asking you where you are.
"A bar, Olivia." You tell her.
"Where? What's it called?"
"It's a bar. Just Bar, Detective. Why don't you figure it out for yourself," you snap, much too hatefully than you have the reason or right to be, and you hung up your phone.
Now you're mad at her. Why are you mad at her when you should be mad at yourself? You're the one without the backbone. You could have asked her how she feels about you. You could have also just walked away, and not look back. After all, why would she buy the cow if she could have the milk for free?
You stare at the shot glass in your fingers, and you toss the brown liquid down your throat with hatred. Then you motion for another.
The bartender looks at you for a second, and hands you a club soda instead. "It's on the house," he tells you.
Great, just great. Even a stranger decides there's something wrong with you.
Suddenly, you feel her presence on the crowded floor. You don't know how you do it, you just do. And you sense her moving closer and closer.
You try to pick up your AmEx before she sees it. It was supposed to be a secret between you and the bank. She isn't supposed to find out about it, just like she isn't supposed to find out about the size of your trust fund, even though you don't touch it. That's why you use your debit card for everything; a lowly public servant should live within her means.
Oh, and a girlie-girl should not one-up her girl-friend/lover/fuck-buddy in the pocketbook department. Somehow your let the first girl-friend you had when you were sixteen put that in your head. Well, she didn't quite put it like that, she just insisted on paying for everything, and she talked about how she would support you and keep you the happy princess she thought you should be, deserved to be, even though your father left you enough money to build a hospital wing and fund it for twenty years.
Somehow you let your first failed love affair turn you into a cynic, an emotionless vacuum. Couldn't care less if you and your current Whatever-she-is were just Fuck-Buddies, colleagues with mutual emotional needs, or itches that need to be scratched...
Or at least that what you'd like to believe…
The truth is, you want that love you had when you were sixteen again. You want it so bad, you have to stop yourself from comparing her with every new person you meet. You make yourself go down on Alan Messinger, and let him come all over your hands, to prove to yourself you can be close with a man. You try not to cringe every time you feel Trevor's penis grow hard in his pants. You tell yourself you can be happy with anybody, failing that, your job, your career, your public accolade.
You want it so bad, you crave it so bad. Now you might have found it again, you're scared half to death most of the time. You're afraid that a small false move, you'll lose it again. That's why you'll never ask her that question, never clarify just what you are to each other, right?
Finally, you feel her hand on your arm, her arm around your waist. You hear her soft sigh. Of relief that she has found you, or disapproval of your drunken condition? You don't let yourself care as she leads you to the door. You try to stand on your own two feet when the night air hits your skin and sharpens your mind. You stop yourself from leaning into her embrace after she helps you into the cab.
You hear her start to tell the cab driver your address, and the cliché about not shitting where you sleep suddenly pops into your head. So you give the driver directions to her apartment instead.
It's amazing you still can remember where she lives, still can tell somebody about it, in your current inebriated state.
Oh, but you remember everything about her, don't you. All the things you learn by observation, everything you find out from other people, and especially what she chooses to share with you. You hang onto her every word like it's the Magna Carta, or the Constitution of the United States.
You're pathetic, and you know it. You just hope and pray that she doesn't find out. Ever.
Although, now you're wondering if the cliché is why she never takes you to her place when all she wants is to shove you up against the wall and fuck you senseless… It's always your office, occasionally your apartment…
To prove to yourself you do have a backbone, you grab her face in your hands and kiss her. You lay one on her like it's the last time you're going to kiss her, like you want to fuck her, want to own her. Right here, right in the speeding cab.
"It's amazing the kind of shit you run into in this City." You hear the driver say, as you catch his eyes in the rear view mirror.
It's even more amazing if you knew what we do for a living, you want to tell him. Oh, excuse you, what she does for a living, to help people; what you do to service your guilt, your conscience.
You don't wait for her to unlock her apartment door before you start to undress her. She lets you.
She lets you push her against the wall and shove your tongue down her throat. She even leads you to her bed and spreads her legs for you, and moans into your mouth as you fuck her. Fuck her furiously, frantically, as you exorcise your demons with her screams.
You bite into her shoulder hard enough to draw blood to prove to yourself you do own her. You fuck her until she begs you to stop, and you still keep fucking her to show her she wants you, that she needs you, that she's powerless over you. You know if she really wants you to stop, she could push you off of her, she could break you without effort.
You would let her break you, beg her to do it, if you thought that's the only way she would keep you.
To deny your desperation, you leave her as roughly as you took her. You tuck your shirt back into your pants, and you sling your jacket over your shoulder. You hear her call your name softly but you don't look back.
You deny her of the wistful longing looks, and the lingering caresses she gives you. That she always, always gives you after she fucks her demons out in you.
On your way out, you throw up in her bathroom.
On your way out, you survey the carnage of her clothing. Guerrilla sex, you chuckle to yourself as you feel your foot tangle up in something. You steady yourself against the wall, and reach for whatever it is. Oh, her underwear, you recognize by touch. Without thinking, you shove them in your pocket.
It's only when you're walking down her stairs do you wonder if you took them like a perp would a souvenir. Or if you took them because you can't bear the thought of her wearing them on a later date. How would you recognize them? Since it's the same utilitarian black cotton bikinis she wears under her work clothes everyday? You don't know. Maybe you don't want to wonder every time you have sex. Maybe you just don't want the reminder.
"Oh, Daddy, I can't wait 'til I'm thirteen." You told your father as you picked up his unloaded rifle and tried to aim.
When he smiled at you the indulgent way he smiled at you, you begged him with your excited little girl voice, "Can we go big game hunting then? Can we, can we? Did you see the rabbit I shot the other day, when he was running away?"
Your father nodded proudly. Of course he saw you, he was always right there, teaching you how to aim better, kill faster.
"I think I'm ready to use a rifle, Daddy, don't you agree?" You heard yourself fishing for his compliment, his acceptance.
You readily forgot how terrible you felt when the bunny stopped in its track and slumped over into a brown bleeding pile. How you ran to pick it up, when all you really want to do was to run the other way. And as you bent down, you pretended you didn't conveniently wipe your tears on your corduroy hunting jacket. The tan one that matched your father's.
No, you don't know what it's like, to feel like you've been born with the wrong body. You only know what it's like to have been born wrong.
I can see your shadows against the lights from the streets. You're facing the wall and tucking your shirt into your pants. You didn't even get undressed, I think on some level I knew that. On some level I must have stopped myself from undressing you. I knew you needed the extra layers of protection, to shield yourself from your demons, to remove yourself from the carnage you inflict.
Sometimes we're so alike, it's scary.
You're leaving. You're just going to walk out of here without a backward glance at me, after what you've done to me, after what I've let you do.
I shouldn't let you leave. I really shouldn't. But I have no strength to come after you, to try to get you stay. Try as I may to get up, I fall back helplessly. I might as well be chained to the bed for all the good my body is to me right now.
So I call after you weakly, to try to stop you the only way I can. You really shouldn't leave.
You keep fumbling with your shirt, your shoes. Maybe you didn't hear me. Soon, you're out the bedroom door.
Do I leave you like this? Feeling helpless and weak and fucked senseless? I know I asked you to stop, but you and I both know I didn't mean it. My body betrayed me so loudly.
Is that why you never ask me to stop when I fuck you like this? Because you love the adrenaline blitz, the surrender of control as much as I just did? But why? Let's face it, there is love between us, I know there is, but what we did, that wasn't love-making. I'm not sure if it was even sex…
Maybe because you know I need you, just like I knew you needed me tonight. Maybe because you love me so much that you willingly let me use you, as the anchor-buoy that keeps me grounded and afloat? A girl can hope, right?
I feel so horrible, you're getting sick in the bathroom, and I can't help you.
And I can only sigh when the front door closes.
Was the alcohol finally working its way out of your system? Or did you get sick because of this, because of what I let you do to me?
Do you understand now on some level, why I do what I do to you?
The need to control is so totally overpowering. The visions in your head won't stop haunting you and you have to exorcise the demons somehow, some way. Stopping the images at all costs before they drive you mad.
You took me again and again, but there was no pleasure in it for you. It was mindless and filled with rage, I know, I've been there too many times. Mindless, maniacal sex, controlling, owning, possessing, driving out the filth, the sickness you feel in your gut, in your soul, whatever way you can.
The whole night, save from the phone call, you never said a word to me. You acted like you didn't need me to help you out of the bar and into the cab. For a moment there, I thought you really didn't need me. You even had the presence of mind to tell the driver my address. But when you kissed me in the cab, the way you kissed me, I knew, I knew you did need me.
The whole night, you barely looked at me, taking what you wanted and thought you needed with your hands and mouth and teeth, and I let you.
Just as you do so often for me.
You took me to the edge of exhaustion and left me. You left me with nothing. A carnage visited on my body in your pursuit of forgetfulness. I hope it helped you, but so often it doesn't.
Will you regret your actions as I do, whenever I flee from your embrace?
Solace isn't what you want, amnesia would be a better answer. Your mind wiped clean of the self-loathing you feel inside. Did you think I wouldn't understand? I feel it more often than I care to admit.
You tried to help Cheryl Avery. Despite all of the things you tried to do for her, the unthinkable but completely expected happened. And it isn't your fault. You can't change people. It's human instinct to destroy what they don't understand, what they find threatening, what they find helpless and fragile.
I know you wanted to do so much more, but how could you? You can't change the law, at least not in time to help. Change moves so slowly, and there's only so much one person can do. Yet you still keep up the good fight, and I know you will for as long as you can.
There are always going to be things you wish you could change. People you want to help, knowing that you have to prosecute them regardless of how you personally feel. That's never going to stop, but you can't let it eat you up inside. As much as I know that's true, I can't even practice it myself, how can I expect you to?
I come to you when the demons get to be too much, I take what I need and leave you with regret. I don't drown my sorrows in alcohol anymore. Don't make my mistakes Alex, drowning your demons in alcohol doesn't help. They're still waiting to torment you as soon as the haze wears off.
I tried to talk to you about the case. You refused to be consoled, and I can't blame you. I saw the look on your face when they wheeled Cheryl passed us.
At first I thought you were in shock, but it was your own personal hell you were in. I wanted to take you out of that so badly, but that's something only you can do. To top it off, I still had to process the case, so I couldn't even be there to help you, help you through what I've gone through so many times, too many times...
First comes the disbelief and the refusal to recognize how cruel and violent and souless humanity can be. Next comes horror and the rage against a world that could allow such a thing to happen. You wore that look so clearly at the hospital and I knew nothing I said would take it away.
I see it every day in one form or another, there's no escape from it, and as horrible as it sounds you have to go on. You know it's a hundred time worse for the victim. You're helpless to do anything for them It's a part of their life they will relive over and over again. Until they can somehow come to terms with what happened. They have to try to put it behind them. Do they ever really move on?
Do we? I can't answer that question for myself, much less for you, Alex.
It doesn't get any easier, I won't ever lie to you about that. It's something we both know, have talked about endlessly. We've even fought over cases every step of the way, analyzing every little thing. Did we do enough? Did we follow every lead? Have we looked at it from every angle? Build a strong enough case? Did we do our best?
On some level, you have to move on, block it out of your mind. After a few years, you'd think you'd get jaded, that it wouldn't bother you anymore. For some people it's true, they simply short circuit, they don't feel anything and it becomes just a job.
I know that won't ever happen to you, Alex, you care far too much. I don't think you realized that when you first started. I know you didn't realize how much you would come to care for the victims, how desperately you want to be an avenging angel for justice, for the law, and especially for the victims and their families.
I know how hard you work, the hours you slave and the case files you take home. It stopped being a nine to five job after the first week. So often, I see you burning the midnight oil, doing your own research, carrying the workload of three instead of one.
I know you so much better than you think I do, or even want me to. I know what you are thinking and feeling. As much as you want to shut me out, I won't let you. You need someone there to catch you when you fall. Someone to hold you when you want to cry, because there's nothing else you can do.
As others have said in the past, you win a few and lose twice as many. For some, it becomes a percentage result, merely the number they put away to the number they don't, for others it's the bottle or drugs, sex or a bullet in the head. Everyone has their personal way of dealing with it. I don't want to see you choose any of those options.
You have to find something or someone to hold onto. I hope you will let it be me.
I'll be there to comfort you when the nightmares come and you wake up crying and screaming. Don't be alone if you don't have to, especially when I want to be there for you, to keep you safe and sane. You do that for me, let me do it for you.
You ran away from me tonight and I understand why. Do you?
It's one thing to exorcise the demons inside your head, it's another to have to deal with the people you use for that purpose. Do you realize now how I feel every time I leave your office?
Sick inside and the self-loathing for what you've done will never go away. But you can't help yourself because you know the other person will forgive you, and you know somewhere deep down they must love you a whole lot to allow themselves to be used like that. You know then there's some hope, somewhere. For what? I'm not sure. Your own worth as a human being?
Sometimes the purging actually helps. I go home and I'm so tired, I sleep for hours without dreaming. I'll tell you something though, it's rare, and the longer I do it, the less effective it has become. I dread the day when it won't work anymore. Where else can you go when purgatory kicks you out? Then what?
I never mean to use you that way, Alex. And I know if you don't already, you'll start hating yourself for using me tonight. But sometimes you need the human contact. You need to let the rage out before it overwhelms you and touches everything in your life. Before it seeps into every aspect of your life until it destroys everything you love and believe in.
I don't want that to ever happen to you, Alex, if I could help it in any way.
You deserve so much more for all of the hard work and dedication you put in. I know I sound like your very own cheer leading section, but it's true. You try so hard to make sure you get closure and justice for the victims and that those who would do evil are put away for whatever the law deems just.
I need to find you. Every fiber of my being screams at me. Find you before you sink further into the depths. I'm used to dealing with this, you're not. You shouldn't be alone right now, I need to be with you and help you through this. You may not want me with you, but I'll find you and convince you.
Slowly, carefully, I test my muscles, and feel the strength slowly coming back. I think I can roll out of bed without crumbling into a heap. Finally, I make it into the shower, hurrying as fast as I am able to. I'm sore, I'm exhausted, and my muscles don't want to work. What my body really, really wants is the sweet oblivion of sleep. That's going to have to wait until I find you and make sure you're all right.
God, I hope I don't leave you feeling like this every time. How do you make it through the rest of your day?
The hot water seems to help. I have more energy now than I did a few minutes ago. I get out, barely taking time to dry myself off. A few minutes later, I'm dressed. I run a brush through my hair, grab my jacket and keys and I'm headed out the door.
I stop by your office but you aren't there, that would have been too easy. I check the bars between there and the precinct, hoping against hope I don't find you at any one of them. I hope the powers that be are watching out for you, since I don't find you at all.
For the last two hours, I've looked everywhere for you. There's only one more place for me to check. Will you be there? I think about how often I had stayed away from my apartment after these purge sessions because I don't want to have the guilt compounded by the loneliness. But maybe it's different for you. Maybe your home is your safety net. Or maybe you're stronger than me, and you'd rather face your hell sooner. I wonder…
If you aren't at home, I don't know where I'll find you. I suppose you might have gone to your mother's or just checked in to a hotel. Now I realize how foolish I was to think you'd be that easy to find. I always thought you were predictable, full of routines and certainties. After tonight, I'm not so sure any more.
Finally, I'm on your street. I park the car and approach your building. Looking up, I see no lights on. Perhaps you've gone to bed already. Although you could just be sitting alone in the dark. That's something I'd do, and that's no good either.
I punch in the security code and let myself in, taking the elevator up to your floor. Quietly, I use the key you gave me, and open the door to your apartment.
It's a good thing I know the layout so well. With your curtains drawn, it's almost pitch dark. If you're sleeping, I don't want to wake you up by turning on a light. At this point sleep might be the best for you.
But the place is so still, almost uncomfortably still. And I'm starting to wonder if you're even here. I wait for my eyes to get adjusted. Then, I see the trail of clothes from the living room to your bedroom…
This really isn't like you. I've teased you mercilessly about being such a neat freak. So I find the trail of your clothing a little more than disturbing. I know I'm going off the deep end here, but I can't help it. My job has taught me to expect the worst, and right now, worst case scenarios are running through my head. Everything from you picking up someone from a bar, god forbid, I don't know if I could handle that. Or even worse, much, much worse, me finding you in the bathtub, bleeding into lukewarm water. And everything in between.
Please, please be all right. I hope you didn't do something supremely stupid, like I might do. You're so much brighter than that, Alex. You aren't nearly the drama queen I am, so please be okay. I pray in my head as I approach your bedroom door.
I breathe again when I see you laying in the bed. I don't see any empty pill bottles on the floor, or any other things out of place, and there's rhythmic movement under the covers so you're alive. You might actually be asleep. Thank god.
Instead of disturbing you, I thought I'd wait in your living room for you to wake up. As I turn to go, I hear a faint sniffle, then a long ragged breath.
I head for you immediately. Sitting easily down on the side of the bed, I place a hand on your shoulder and pull you into my arms. I'm not surprised when you wrap yourself around me and begin to cry as though your heart would break. It probably had already.
I hope when the morning comes, when you're ready, I can pick up the pieces and put it back together for you. Well, I'll at least be here, and I'll do everything in my power to help.
I really don't know what to say, so I do what I can to comfort you. Holding you, stroking your head and your back, trying to relieve some of the tension I feel in your body. When you don't stop crying, I console you, murmuring nonsensical things, and how much I care about you and understand what you must be going through. I even promise things would get better…
I don't know if whatever I'm doing is helping, I hope so. I feel so helpless when you hurt. If I could take away your pain by bearing it myself, I would.
After I don't know how long, too long, you finally stop sniffling. You're laying so still against me. Have you cried yourself to exhausted sleep, or did you run out of tears? Maybe you've finally sorted things out, and found a way to deal with it all? A girl can always hope.
I place a kiss on your head, and start to pull the cover over us. Then you shift in my embrace. Your arms around me, pulling you to me tell me your intent.
In a small hoarse whisper, you say your first words in hours, "Make love to me? Help me forget?"
I don't know if I can do the latter, but I'll try.
I'll spend my life helping you fight your demons…
If you let me.