Title: I Will Be There
By: angstytimelord
Pairing: Michael Cutter/Ryan O'Halloran
Fandom: Law & Order/Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Rating: PG-13
Warning: previous non-con
Disclaimer: This is entirely a product of my own imagination, and I make no profit from it. I do not own the lovely Michael Cutter or Ryan O'Halloran, unfortunately, just borrowing them for a while. Please do not sue.


Mike held back a sigh as he raised a hand to stroke Ryan's hair back from his face, opening his eyes to look over at the glowing numbers on the clock sitting on the bedside table. It was nearly two o'clock in the morning; he really should be asleep by now.

No, it didn't matter how late he stayed up, he corrected himself. It was a Friday night; neither he nor Ryan had to work tomorrow, so they could stay in bed all day, if they chose to. Though of course, that wasn't something that Ryan wanted to do much of lately.

It wasn't that Ryan didn't want them to be close; Michael knew that his boyfriend needed that closeness, that sense of being connected to someone. And he had no problem with physical intimacy -- at least, up to a certain point. Mike didn't blame him for that.

Just thinking of the emotional harm that Stuckey had done to Ryan made him want to rage, to throw things, to scream at the top of his lungs. And knowing that there was nothing he could do to turn back the clock and take that hurt away only made him all the angrier.

He had never felt more helpless than when Ryan had told him what Stuckey had done to him; he hadn't simply felt angry, he'd felt as though he was completely powerless to help his boyfriend in any way. Nothing had ever hurt as much as knowing that he was so helpless.

The only way to exact justice was in the courtroom, and he had every intention of making that happen. He might not be able to be the lead prosecutor on the case, but he knew that Jack would be merciless in his work. He wasn't going to let Stuckey skate by.

Mike hoped that Ryan would be willing to lie here in bed for a while this morning; he wanted to hold his boyfriend in his arms, to simply enjoy their physical nearness. It didn't matter to him whether they made love or not; it was enough to just have Ryan in his arms and in his life.

And in his heart, he reminded himself, smiling at the thought. Ryan had captured his heart from the first moment they'd met, the first glance, the first smile. He hadn't been able to look at anyone else, or even think of anyone else since that fateful day.

As though his musings had woken his boyfriend, Ryan stirred next to him, blinking and opening his eyes. Michael smiled down at him, tightening his arm around Ryan's waist as the other man snuggled closer against him, resting his head against Mike's shoulder.

"Good morning," he said softly, bowing his head to brush a kiss across Ryan's forehead. "I hope you slept better last night than you have been lately." Ryan hadn't awoken during the night, which was a good sign. He hadn't slept more than a few hours a night since this had all started.

"Yeah, I did," Ryan murmured, settling himself more comfortably in the protective circle of Mike's arm. "I think that might have been the first night since it all came back that I haven't had some kind of horrible nightmare." He shuddered, closing his eyes again.

"I'm here to chase the nightmares away if you need me to," Mike said softly, wishing that he could do more than that. He didn't want to have to chase away nightmares that were already there; he wanted to banish them completely, to keep them from attacking Ryan.

"I hope they won't bother me for much longer," Ryan said with a sigh, shaking his head. "But who knows? They might haunt me for the rest of my life. But I hope not. I don't want both of us to be dealing with them years from now. I'd like to think they'll just fade away."

Michael held himself back from saying that he didn't think that was possible, at least not until they knew that Stuckey was dead and gone from this realm and would no longer pose a threat to anyone. But he didn't want to mention that name out loud.

It wasn't enough that Stuckey would be in prison for life, he thought, anger rising within him. He would be in jail for attempting to kill a police officer -- as though that Stabler baboon was somehow more important, more worthy, than Ryan was. As though his worthless life meant more.

Stabler was a loose cannon, little more than a gorilla with a badge. He was also an egomaniac -- and Mike had heard rumors that he was also one of the worst homophobes on the NYPD. That was enough to make him dislike the man, and hope that they never had to meet again.

"What are you thinking about?" Ryan asked, his words drawing Michael out of his thoughts. He didn't want to tell his boyfriend what had been on his mind; that would probably just upset Ryan, and that was something he wanted to avoid doing at all costs.

"I was thinking about ...." Mike had to cast around in his mind for something to say, but the words came to him of their own accord, tumbling out without any thought on his part. "I was thinking about how much I love you, and how I'll always be there if you need me."

"I know you will," Ryan said, his voice soft and husky. "I've known that ever since the day we first met. I just had this feeling, when you came into that hospital room and sat down and smiled at me, that you were going to be somebody special in my life. And I was right."

"I will be there, no matter what might happen," Mike told him, fighting back the lump that rose into his throat. "Nobody and nothing is ever going to take me away from you, Ryan. There might be some who'll try, but they won't succeed. I won't let them."

"I believe you," Ryan answered, raising himself up on one elbow and regarding Mike with a smile. "If you were going to leave me, you probably already would have. It's got to be frustrating to be with somebody who's having a hard time being .... intimate."

Ryan's voice dropped to a whisper on the last word; he looked down, obviously unable to meet Michael's gaze. Mike could feel his heart breaking for his boyfriend; he would give anything for all of this to never have happened, for Ryan not to have to go through so much pain.

But he couldn't turn back the clock; he couldn't change history. He and Ryan would both have to learn to cope with what had happened, deal with it, and move forward with their life together. It would be harder for Ryan than it was for him, but he would be there for his lover, every step of the way.

Mike sat up beside Ryan, taking his boyfriend's face between his hands and gazing into those dark eyes. He could lose himself in those eyes, he thought as he closed his own, leaning forward for a kiss and wrapping his arms around Ryan as their lips met.

He intended to be here with Ryan for the rest of their lives -- and beyond. He wasn't going to leave the man he loved just because of something that had happened in the past -- particularly something that had been forced upon Ryan, something that he'd had no control over.

It was good that his lover was going to be able to get closure for what had been done to him; it would be easier for him to face the past and move on. Once Stuckey had been convicted, Ryan could feel safe again; he would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was no longer threatened.

Of course, most people would say that he knew he wasn't threatened now, with Stuckey in jail -- but there was always the niggling doubt in the back of his mind that Stuckey's crimes wouldn't go unpunished. At least, not all of them -- not the ones that mattered most to Ryan.

It had been bad enough that the little worm had tried to murder a police officer, even if that officer was a goon like Stabler. But what he'd done to Ryan -- and tried to do a second time -- was unconscionable. It was for that reason that Mike wanted Stuckey to never see the light of day again.

"You're not going to have to deal with this alone, Ryan," Mike whispered against his lover's lips. "I will be there, right beside you,all the way through to the end. No matter what happens, I'll be here. I'm not going to let you go. You don't have to worry about that."

"That's not what I'm afraid of," Ryan answered, his voice almost a sob. "I'm scared he'll find some way out of this, Mike. That he'll only be convicted for what he tried to do to Stabler, and that what he did to me is just going to get swept under the rug and ignored."

"I won't let that happen," Michael told him, tightening his arms around his boyfriend. There was no way that Stuckey was going to get away with what he'd done to Ryan. No matter what he had to do, Mike would make sure that they found justice for that crime.

"I know you'll try your best," Ryan said, relaxing into Mike's arms. "Let's try not to think of what's going to be ahead of us in court, okay? I want to enjoy this weekend with you. Just be with each other and try to forget about any future other than the two of us together."

"That sounds like a great weekend to me," Mike said with a smile, raising a hand to brush Ryan's hair back from his face. Maybe, if he was lucky, he'd even be able to talk Ryan into staying in bed all day. It seemed like a plausible idea at the moment.

Ryan snuggled back down beside him again, and Mike let himself relax back into the pillows, closing his eyes. It seemed that they were going to have a quiet weekend, just the two of them -- and he hoped that this would only be the first of many to come once things were back to normal.