It had been at least five years since I had been here last, not since my mother had passed away, it's ironic but the only place I had ever felt her love was here. Perhaps that's why when I was a child I would escape from her drunken stupors to the refuge of this grand old tree and I would close my eyes and feel as if I was that three year old child once again and her arms around me and telling me that I was her little treasure. It was the only time that she told me that, before I in all my childish innocence ruined the moment by asking for a dad that I didn't have, I was only three after all, there are some that say that you can't remember that far back, but I did. And to this day I recall her eyes filling with tears and her hugging me tighter, so tight that it hurt and I complained, but she didn't let me go, and I didn't say anything else. That was the last time that she took me to the park. After that day she began to drink religiously every afternoon while I hid in my closet crying until I fell asleep not understanding what was going on.
It was a short while later that she screamed out in all her drunken rage that I would never have a father because mine had raped her and I was the product of that heinous act. As a child of six years, I didn't fully understand what rape was, but I did understand that it was something bad. I could see it in her face. All twisted and contorted by pain, the torturous screams and cries that would shake her body when she drank. It was then when I first started to escape to the park to dream and to remember that once upon a time she had told me she loved me and to treasure that dream that during my childhood and turbulent adolescence managed to save me from those dark and violent alcoholic days of her life.
It's incredible how cruel human beings can be, not only as adults, but also as children or uncontrollable and hormonal adolescents. It would seem that the more normal life is, the less compassionate you are for the less unfortunate. It didn't matter if your father was a rapist like mine or if he simply left your life due to divorce or an accidental pregnancy. The fact that you did not have one nor had both parents was not a guarantee that you wouldn't be the object of ridicule and mockery. I learned that at a very young age, it was easier if one of your parents had died, but not having one and not having an acceptable explanation for their absence was worse. Up until this day, even after seeing all I have seen through the years working as a detective of sexual crimes and dealing with the heartless perpetrators, the innate cruelty of human beings still astounds me.
Over the years, I tried not to be just another statistic, for many years I fought against those damn genes that I was convinced ran through my blood as a product of my violent conception. Not only did I do the impossible to assure myself that I would be able to go to college, but always with the intention of serving on the police force. After a few years as a beat cop I was eventually able to pass the detective exam, finally achieving my goal in my mind. I never had a doubt what I wanted to do. SVU was my objective, my way of fighting for the victims like my mother, like me, to make a difference even though it was too late for my mother. Always waiting for the day I would do her justice. However, my years as a detective have shown me that it wasn't the past that ruled your life, but the present. It took me years and many uneasy moments to be able to recognize it. On that day, I knew that my past should not control me and that the future did not exist; much less live in fear of it.
The first time I saw her, God, it was a shock, I couldn't take my eyes off of her, so beautiful, those blue eyes that saw through you with just one glance, almost as if stripping the soul naked. I thanked the powers that be that as a detective I had learned how to control my facial expressions, otherwise she would have seen immediately how I felt and I would have felt like a fool. I was bewitched and the only thing I could do was pretend, that in reality it was the opposite and I just couldn't stand her.
Her first year at SVU as our primary ADA was a constant pull and push, a revelation for both of us. What started with sporadic invitations to O'Malley's or Chauncey's for drinks after a long hard day or to celebrate a sentencing soon turned into breakfasts at Luigi's and occasional invitations to dinner whenever I managed to overcome my shyness -shy? Me? For God's sake, I had never known the meaning of the word until I met her. I managed to invent valid excuses to stop by her office late in the evenings and seeing her still working, I would invite her to dinner to discuss this or that case. Sometimes she accepted and other times she didn't. One day that she declined because she had a date, I felt that I would die from jealousy and pain. Jealousy because she was mine, and pain because I knew that she wasn't and she would never be.
Both of us were blind, they say that there is no one more blind than the one who refuses to see. I say that there is no one more blind, deaf or mute than the one who dies by his own blade. Our courtship was the longest in the history of humanity, since the word was first invented. I say this seriously, in some ways we were always fighting over warrants, arrest orders, evidence to bring cases to trial, etc. Part of me understood that she was being reasonable just for the fact that the law was fussy that way. Isn't it supposed to be innocent until proven guilty all over the world? She would say that you are innocent until the evidence proves otherwise. Probable cause doesn't matter neither do gut feelings, even though she might believe that the perp deserves to be hung by the crown jewels from the top of the Empire State Building. The truth is subjective, the truth is impartially partial and justice isn't blind. If it were the world, would be better off, how? I don't know. Better maybe? Who knows, there are absolutes or there isn't. Sometimes there are shades of gray, the end justifies the means and at others, the price you pay isn't worth the sacrifice.
You need to be both, very strong or very dumb to do our kind of work and that's what I mean when I say that our courtship was the longest in history. One day we were arguing over an arrest warrant and in just a matter of hours, I just wanted to hold her in my arms and protect her from hysterical mothers or victims betrayed by the criminal justice system. As a detective, it was normal for her to be in the precinct going over evidence or witnessing an interrogation, what wasn't normal was that it was only my desk where she would sit or that she would stand so close that she would invade my personal space. Not that I minded of course, however, my heart and my blood pressure did but not me...besides it was completely justifiable for me to spend so much time in her office going over my testimony or that I needed to speak with her on the phone from time to time. After all, she was our ADA.
Then one day I was the victim. Eric Plummer made me remember that justice was not blind and that the life you swore to dedicate to bring justice to victims was now tainted by evidence that pointed to a suspect that in truth was not. Innocent people died because you did what you do best, be a special victim's detective.
I had never felt so alone and useless and less deserving of love as on that day that I had to pull the trigger. I felt just as murderous as anyone of the most degenerate of perpetrators I had ever arrested when I killed him and found out that his gun was not loaded. One more innocent life stained for my desire to do justice, a good man turned murderer because my evidence pointed to his culpability. I felt betrayed by the system, by my partner but most of all, I felt betrayed by myself. I didn't want to know anything about anyone or anything. IAB had suspended me until the investigation over the shooting was over. I had killed a man after all, even if there had been witnesses. I hid away in my apartment to drown myself in guilt and self-pity. The Justice is blind with open eyes.
I just fell apart; my eyes were swollen from all the crying, my body screamed with pain from tense muscles and my nervous system was almost in shock. I lie on the floor in a fetal position, crying and moaning when I heard her voice calling me from afar, and felt her warm sweet body wrapped around me. I felt warm arms surround me and heard a distant voice that whispered tender and comforting words. She refused to let me go, she refused to leave me alone.
The next day I awoke within her arms on the sofa, feeling as if a truck had run over me. I turned and her beautiful blue eyes looked straight into my naked soul. My heart skipped a beat, I forgot to breath. What I saw in her eyes couldn't be true, my tired mind tried to tell me.
"What are you doing here?" I asked in a raspy and trembling voice, a voice that I did not recognize as mine.
"There isn't any place else I'd rather be Liv, don't you know that by now?"
She and I were the typical cliché; she the princess and I part of the masses. She was a trust fund baby, with private schools, debutante balls, Harvard and a penthouse with a view of Central Park. And I was the bastard daughter of a rapist, with an alcoholic mother who was harassed and frowned upon for being who she was. I was the one who never knew what it was like to have a birthday party or a house with servants or a chauffeur, just a simple detective in the NYPD with a modest savings account and a retirement plan, a tiny apartment in downtown Manhattan with old furniture. I never thought for a moment that she might be a lesbian, fully convinced that she was not only straight, but also that she was a blue blood WASP from Connecticut. Someone that would never notice someone as common as me and secondly, that she would ever tell me she would prefer living with me in my tiny apartment instead of uptown Manhattan in a penthouse that was cold and full of luxuries if that meant having to give me up. No, no, to this day I don't believe it.
It's been years since I've been here, not since the death of my mother. The sun feels so warm, the air moves my bangs, and I'm in NYC, in the heart of Central Park. If I close my eyes even for just a moment, I can dream that she is still with me. I can feel her hand in mine; smell her aroma, a mix of orange blossoms and ginger. God, if I close my eyes for just a moment I can feel her name kissing my lips, Alex...
It contains some violence, mention of rape, nothing extremely graphic but could be disturbing for some people.
Chapter 1 Michelle
The building was falling apart you could see trash and old discarded furniture crowding the hallways, a single dim light bulb hung from the ceiling barely giving off enough light to see by occasionally flickering on and off. Detective Olivia Benson, walked slowly with her gun drawn and pointed straight ahead of her. Her partner Detective Elliot Stabler, walked behind her covering her back.
"Christ, couldn't the perp have found a worse place to hide out?" Elliot said in disgust, the sickening odor that surrounded them was nauseating. The combined smell of urine, excrement, trash and what looked like decomposing rats permeated the hallway.
"I don't think his mental state would allow him to hold a job, good enough to lease an apartment with a view of Central Park El" Olivia said sarcastically. All her senses were on alert; it was bad enough that the building was in one of the worst areas of Manhattan but any delinquent that saw them might think they were after them and a rain of bullets might get them before they could take cover.
"Here it is," Elliot said when he saw the number 324 hanging from a single nail from the door.
Olivia knocked loudly and moved to the side.
"Police, open the door!" she shouted.
You couldn't hear a sound, Olivia knocked once again waiting a few more seconds and when there was no response tried to open the door, which gave way immediately. It had been unlocked.
Elliot and Olivia exchanged glances; that silent communication that is born between two people that have worked together for many years and that allowed them to communicate without making a sound. Elliot kicked the door and immediately ducked, Olivia covering his back.
"Clear!" Elliot shouted and moved into the entry hall, the apartment was almost completely dark the only illumination coming from a distant streetlight. Olivia followed; they went into another room that was a mess and full of trash. "Clear!"
They went in further and when Elliot went into the bathroom, turning on the light, the image he saw in front of him almost made him double over. Not in all of his years in the police department and as an SVU detective had he ever seen anything so inhuman, so totally diabolical and horrific. What he saw in front of him was something much worse.
Hanging from the showerhead was the woman they had been searching for, the same woman that had been kidnapped by her assailant. Olivia and Elliot had been on a routine visit to see how she was; it had been months that they had been investigating her case, trying to find her rapist, but with no luck. A couple of days prior a new case had been handed to them with the same MO. This time the victim had been killed and their genitals had been mutilated before having been murdered, but they had been able to pick up on something that connected the assailant with the case of Michelle Perez. The perp had left a mutilated dog's penis inserted into the anus of the victim. They had found the first victim much the same way only unconscious and a dog's penis inserted in her. The perp had left her for dead, thinking that she would bleed to death before anyone could find her. Fortunately, someone had found her before that could happen.
With a possibility that this new case might be tied to Michelle's, they went in search of Michelle to see if perhaps she could recall any other details of the attack. What they found after they had asked the super to let them in when Michelle didn't answer was an empty apartment with definite signs of a struggle and a message on the wall written in blood. "Gotcha Bitch." It could be coincidence, it could be bad luck, but the message was perfectly clear. Did this mean that her abductor was the same man that had assaulted her and left her for dead? Did he know her? Had he been waiting for her? Michelle had been in Puerto Rico for the last six months recovering from her trauma at her parent's home. She had just returned only a couple of weeks before. These and other questions bounced around in their heads.
After inspecting the apartment and finding no clues, the building superintendent was able to give them tapes from the security camera that had been installed in the hallway of the apartment for Michelle's peace of mind when the perp attacked and kidnapped Michelle this time around, he had been unaware of the additional security that had been added. The fact that they didn't find a body at least gave them some small hope that she was still alive.
When they watched the tape, they saw everything, the assailant's face and how he removed Michelle's body. Now all they had to do was find him. Fortunately, for them, the perp had been sent to Rikers on a couple of previous assault charges. The problem now was finding him.
Two days of searching frantically had brought them to this building and this apartment specifically, to the very grotesque scene that would haunt Elliot in his dreams for months to come. It was too late.
In front of him was Michelle's body, hanging by the arms from a bar above the tub, her legs splayed open, mutilated. He had cut off her breasts; her tongue hung from a stone, her eyes had been taped open, the look of abject terror and pain in her eyes evident. Her abdomen had been ripped open and her entrails hung out and from her vagina hung some type of bloody animal penis.
"Oh, Shit, Motherfucker!!!" Elliot spat out at the scene before him.
"What is it?" Olivia asked at the moment she entered, opening her eyes in horror. "Oh God!!!" she gasped and the color drained from her face.
"He isn't here,' Elliot said hoarsely, turning away. "I'll call CSU and Melinda."
Olivia closed her eyes and agreed, she left the bathroom and headed into the next room, it was obvious that the perp wasn't there anymore. She went into the bedroom to look for possible evidence of the perp's whereabouts when something caught the corner of her left eye and made her stop; the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end and she felt a cold shiver run up her back. As if in slow motion, she turned and just in front of her, only a few feet away, was the perp starring at her with a diabolical glare, bathed in blood and running from his mouth a thin line of blood.
"Hi" he said his voice soft and silky, his head tilted to the side with a smile of satisfaction on his face.
Chapter 2 Falling
Their eyes crossed paths and for a moment time seemed to stand still, both lifted their guns, it was only milliseconds one slow breath...Olivia fired her gun and at the same time, she could hear him laugh hysterically as he fired as his body fell back in slow motion. Somewhere, in the background, she could hear Elliot yelling and several more shots, she couldn't breathe, she felt cold and she felt as if she was drowning, she closed her eyes.
"Officer down, Officer down, send..."
She felt Elliot kneel down besides her, she tried to open her eyes, they felt heavy, so heavy, a voice that was speaking to her, calling her.
"Olivia help is coming, hold on. Don't you dare to die on me Olivia, Olivia stay with me, open your eyes, Olivia... please Liv!!
Elliot's voice sounded anguished, was it because of her? Elliot
she tried to say, she opened her mouth but she only tasted the coppery taste of blood. Was that hers?
"Liv, open your eyes, look at me" Elliot begged terrorized. He could see that Olivia's chest was moving agonizingly slow; She had three bullet wounds in her chest and another in her neck, that one had only grazed her but it was nevertheless bleeding profusely. He tried to stop the blood with his hands, but he only had two and Olivia had four wounds.
Olivia opened her eyes, they were glassy, she could barely focus, she couldn't breathe, she tried moving her lips but nothing came out.
Elliot could tell she was trying to say something, and leaned in closer.
"Liv, fight it, please fight it!" Elliot begged.
"Alex," Olivia barely managed. Alex was the only important thing, Alex
...then suddenly everything turned black, Olivia stopped breathing and her heart stood still.
Elliot barely managed to hear Olivia's tormented whisper. Suddenly Munch and Finn came running through the door, they had been only a short distance from the building doing a perimeter check, when they heard Elliot's frantic call on the radio asking for assistance and an ambulance.
"Olivia, Olivia!!!" Elliot screamed.
Munch and Finn moved to the other side of Olivia and Finn began to apply CPR.
"1, 2, 3, 4, 5..." Finn counted off, "1, 2, 3..."
Elliot kept shaking his head in desperation, he ran to the hall and two paramedics came running in. Luckily, they had been near attending to another call when they heard the call for an "Officer Down". Dispatch had rerouted them to the scene and sent another to assist on the other call. If that was ethical or not it was a question of priorities, the other call had been to a gang shooting and this one was for a downed officer.
The paramedics knelt next to Olivia rushing to give her first aid. Munch, Finn and Stabler had all been in the business too long not to know what they were doing to Olivia. She had stopped breathing and her heart had stopped. Within minutes, the apartment was full of police officers securing the area. A team from CSU was taking notes of the crime scene.
"Clear the area." A paramedic yelled as the other continued to provide the assistance. Elliot and Finn ran along trying to help get the gurney to the ambulance.
Munch stayed behind at the scene of the crime, the perp was dead. He had a couple of slugs in the chest and another in the head entering the side, the one that Elliot had shot off when he had heard the other shots from the hallway. As soon as Elliot had heard the first shots he had run, just in time to see the perp laughing hysterically, as his body jerked from the impact of Olivia's shots. He shot his, but it was too late, the perp had emptied half his rounds into the detective.
The sound of sirens, radios and voices made for perfect chaos, frightening and cold, hurried footsteps, yells and the sound of machines, making loud noises and beeps.
Chapter 3 Is that a Threat?
As a Detective, Elliot Stabler was no stranger to the drama of seeing a fallen comrade in the line of duty. And he certainly wasn't foreign to the medical terms used in emergencies to know what was happening to Olivia in the back of the ambulance. What was foreign to him was seeing his partner of over 5 years lying there on that gurney injured and in critical condition as one of the paramedics tried to resuscitate her while the other one administered medications through an IV. They continued to search for a pulse as they tried every way they could to keep her alive. There was a huge blood loss, it was everywhere. The portable cardiogram showed her as flat lined and Elliot closed his eyes. Seconds later, he heard the blip, blip that indicated a slow but steady pulse once again.
He had refused to leave Olivia alone in the ambulance, he knew from past experience that the majority of paramedics had heard of the detective or knew her, that wasn't unheard of. But even if that were true, Elliot was not going to allow Olivia to die alone in an ambulance on her way to the hospital.
He felt guilty; she shouldn't be lying there with four bullet wounds. What the hell had they been thinking when they entered the apartment without the standard backup? It was true, that Munch and Finn were in the area looking for evidence that Michelle might have been seen by one of the neighbors, but weren't close enough to provide proper backup. True, they hadn't expected the scene that they walked into the apartment nearly destroyed but they had committed the error of breaking protocol by assuming that the perp was no longer there or that he might even be armed; an error that would now probably cost Olivia her life.
An error that he never thought he would ever forgive himself for if she died. It was assumed that he would be covering her back, that he would go in with her when she began searching the apartment for clues but his mind had been horrified by the scene that they had seen only a few minutes before, enough to stop and think for just a second that the crime scene wasn't secured.
When they finally arrived at the hospital, Olivia was taken immediately to surgery. The update that the paramedic had sent to Bellevue ER must have been that there was no time to waste in the Triage unit. Just barely giving him time to jump from the ambulance and Olivia had already disappeared into an elevator with the best ER Team on top of her trying to stop the clock in order to save the detective's life.
She's so pale,
Elliot thought, running his fingers through his hair, "Fuck, fuck." He murmured under his breath time and time again. Suddenly he felt someone at his side.
"How is she?" Captain Cragen asked having heard everything on the radio. Then after having confirmed who it had been wounded he took out Olivia's file. Don considered her almost like a daughter and knew that Olivia was alone in the world. Her only family in reality was her SVU co-workers, and he knew that since Alex's death, she had no one else; of course, he supposedly wasn't aware of that fact.
Elliot opened his mouth then closed it waving his hands impotently, "I don't...I don't know. There was a lot of blood Cap. The bastard emptied his gun on her," he ground his teeth, "He was there Cap, he was there and I..." He lost his voice in the growl that escaped him, his hands covering his face in desperation.
"She'll be fine Elliot; she'll be fine, she has to be." He patted Elliot's back. If anyone knew what Olivia meant to Elliot, they would think that there was much, much more. Even to the point that perhaps Elliot's divorce had been caused by an affair that they were having, but what they didn't know was that the love between these two was not that of a man and a woman, but the love of a brother for his sister. The kind of love that you can only feel for family that is not your own blood, but that is created from work and loyalty.
"I don't know Cap, she lost a lot of blood, she couldn't breathe, she coded once on the way."
"Don't be so pessimistic Elliot, we have to have faith. She's as stubborn as a mule and a warrior. She isn't gonna let some SOB like him win." He tried to encourage his detective, even though he was actually trying to convince himself as well.
"She..." he didn't know what to say, before she died, why did she have to die? dammit! They had already revived her couple of times and she had called for Alex. Her last thoughts were of Alex! "Is that her paperwork?" He asked suddenly.
"Yes, you're her next of kin Elliot."
Stabler nodded and extended his hand taking the folder. He knew something that he didn't believe Cragen knew or if he did, he hadn't said anything. He opened the folder and scanned the documents. A crooked grin appeared on his face; there it was, just as Olivia had told him.
They had gone through a really bad scare, a perp had hit her when she had tried to arrest him, shoving her against the wall and leaving her unconscious and kicking her a couple of times before Elliot could stop him. Consequently, she had a severe concussion from the hit she received on the head and she had to spend a couple of days in the hospital under observation along with a couple of broken ribs from the kicks. She had been unconscious for a couple of hours and Elliot had been scared. When she finally returned to work Olivia confided in him.
"Before Alex had been killed, I had my legal documents revised. You know that same sex couples don't have the same rights as married couples and she and I were planning on living together before this happened. I gave her my power of attorney and my medical power of attorney. I never got around to changing them although with her supposed death they are worthless. Nevertheless, El, you and I know that she is alive and if someday something happens to me I'll put them in the folder that has all of my emergency medical documents in Cragen's office. You and she are my next of kin El. I don't have anyone else and I trust that you will make sure my will is done.
Elliot hugged her and promised her he would do it no matter what.
It was time to keep his promise, Olivia was closet to death and he would never be able to forgive himself if Alex didn't get there in time to be by her side in case Olivia didn't make it. God, Alex wouldn't forgive herself if it should happen. They had both had enough of pain and suffering after being so far apart. When Olivia had confided in him about the true nature of their relationship with the attorney he could not fathom it, he had never imagined not even in his wildest dreams, heck! He could swear that his partner could barely stand Cabot that first year and the lukewarm friendship was more out of professional respect than anything else. He never imagined that they'd be in love, much less that they'd been together for six months.
It came as a total surprise, to say the least. That Olivia was bisexual wasn't a surprise, Liv had a horrible record in her love life and had never known her to have a study or long relationship in all the time that they had been working together at SVU. It certainly didn't bother him if she were gay, for God sake, after all the things they saw in their line of work it was the last thing he thought about. What was so hard to believe was that the attorney was actually gay and had a long stable relationship in every sense of the word with Olivia.
At first, he was jealous, jealous because he was used to being her confidant and Olivia's best friend. After all he considered himself her adoptive older brother and he wasn't sure that the blue blood attorney had any serious intentions, but nevertheless he could not deny that he had ever seen Olivia as happy or as relaxed, nor could he deny that Cabot seemed to be more human and warm for some time now. Actually ever since the incident with Eric Plummer, Cabot seemed very different, she acted differently and when Olivia confessed everything all the pieces fell into place.
And when Alex was attacked and declared dead, Elliot was there at her side every moment, giving his unconditional support because only he knew the nature of the relationship between the ADA and Olivia. And he was the only one that knew the shadow that became of Olivia without her.
Thank God, she refused to leave for the WPP without first seeing Olivia, she would never have survived otherwise. He had worried for her mental health during the two days that she thought that Alex had died; Elliot could see the alarming rate in which Olivia was slowly sinking into a deep depression. It was obvious that she wasn't sleeping or eating. When the Suburban left with Alex, Elliot hugged her before she could fall down crying with a broken heart. Olivia didn't deserve to end like this, she didn't deserve to be far from the love of her life and she certainly didn't deserve to be alone without Alex.
He pulled out his cell and found a secluded corner so he could talk. There was only one person that could help him keep his promise, and he was determined to keep it.
"Hammond" A gruff voice answered on the other end.
"Elliot Stabler" he identified himself.
"Detective, to what do I owe the pleasure?" The DEA agent answered impatiently.
"I would like, no I demand that you tell me how to get in touch with her." No names were mentioned, he wasn't stupid but he knew that Hammond knew whom he was speaking about. "It's a matter of life or death."
"Are you crazy? That's impossible!" Hammond almost yelled "No."
"Hammond" Elliot said in a rough voice, "I am not asking for a favor, I am not asking, I am demanding that you get me in touch with her. Olivia is between life and death. She needs to know!"
"I'm sorry to hear about your partner." His voice lost a bit of impatience, sympathizing with the detective. His last partner had been killed by the same group of people that had ordered Cabot's murder, but he couldn't break the rules because of that. "But it's impossible, you know that, she is under the protection of WPP and there is no way that I can put you in touch with her. Keep me posted and I'll let her know when her life is out of danger.
"You aren't getting me agent, I ordered you to get me in touch with her. Olivia needs her and she needs her here. It's in your best interest to do so.
"Are you threatening me?" The agent spit out.
"No agent I don't threaten, it's a promise."
"And I am not promising anything detective." Hammond said with contained fury. "Let me see what I can do."
"Oh, and don't forget with who you are dealing with, if you think that I am bluffing, I guarantee you that if she finds out that you know what is going on and you didn't tell her, there won't be a corner in this earth where you can hide from her wrath Jack ol' boy."
Elliot snapped the cell shut with an audible click starring off into the distance. "It's done." He said under his breath, now it was time to wait and pray. "Hang in there Liv, fight for her."
Chapter 4 The call
Emily Perkins was reviewing some documents for an insurance claim for a vehicle. It was the most boring work she had ever had as far as she was concerned. The insurance companies existed for one thing only. They were in business and the only reason was to win and not lose, therefore, they had to insure themselves that the claim was justified. After all, what were all the clauses for if not to make sure the payout meet all the requirements? Months could easily pass by before these claims would be paid out.
The door opened abruptly and Emily jumped in fright, in front of her was Agent Hammond.
"What happened?" her voice quivered.
"We have to leave Emily, Now!" The agent said without preamble and in an urgent tone.
Emily mutely nodded and quickly grabbed her purse and followed him without saying a word. She knew it was not the time to ask anything. If Agent Hammond was here, it was because her identity had been compromised and she was in mortal danger.
Hammond took Emily who was none other than Alex Cabot by the shoulder and protecting her with his body lead her out rapidly from the office. Her co-workers stared dumbfounded at what was going on. It was apparent that the man in the suit and coat was from the police or FBI agent. Everyone wondered what was going on but had the decency to keep it to themselves. Suddenly their boss appeared at his office door and said in a serious voice.
"Emily just got some tragic news; her mother is dying and wants to see her."
"But that man looked like a cop or..." Monica Seller said.
"No, that's her brother; there wasn't time for formalities Monica." The boss explained.
Everyone nodded and returned to work. Poor Em they thought. Her brother, my ass and if that was her brother they sure didn't look anything alike.
Monica thought to herself.
Emily was escorted to a black suburban, Hammond entered right behind her and the suburban took off rapidly, heading for the airport. It was then that Emily asked the questions that were running rampant through her head.
"Agent Hammond, What is going on? Did Velez find out where I was?" she asked hesitantly fearing that the response would be affirmative. If that were the case, she would have to learn everything all over again. And just when she believed she had found the way to tolerate her hateful pretend life she would have to start all over again in a new one.
Agent Hammond looked at her for a moment before shaking his head negatively. In this line of work, he was used to giving bad news, but he was more used to not having to give explanations, however, Alex Cabot had never been a typical case. They had never been able to follow any of the standards rules with the former ADA; Cabot had not been easy. Normally he would never have been able to do what he was now doing, normally he would not be doing what he was doing now, but he knew what it was like to lose a partner. He knew what it was like to live in the WPP, but mostly he knew he was a dead man if he did not do this one favor. Detective Elliot Stabler's words still rang in his ear and he knew that he would keep his promise and that there would be no human power that would be able to prove the threat.
"No, Ms. Cabot." He said in a harsh and impatient tone.
Alex felt odd hearing herself called Cabot; it had been nearly two years that she hadn't come from someone else. She knew her name, but she had been forced to forget that she had been Alexandra Cabot; ADA Alexandra Cabot.
"Then explain to me, why are we in this suburban as if my life depended on it?" Alex demanded to know.
"The reason we are pulling you out is personal Alexandra, and as of this moment, I am notifying you that I am doing this under duress and it is not my desire to do so. However, I was persuaded that it would be beneficial to my health."
"Quit beating around the bush Hammond." Alex spit out her nerves completely frayed. Nothing of what she had been thinking made any sense, although nothing had made any sense for two years now, not since she had been caught in the drug lord, Velez's sights.
"I got a call this morning from Detective Elliot Stabler. Do you remember him?"
Alex paled considerably when she heard the name and acknowledged she remembered.
"He asked me, no..." he corrected himself, "he ordered me to tell him your whereabouts or how to reach you. Detective Benson was gunned down by a perp. She's at Bellevue in critical condition. I don't know if..." Before he could continue he had to hurriedly reach out and catch Alexandra who had nearly fainted, it had only been a few seconds.
Oh God Liv!
Her mind screamed out in horror. No, no, it couldn't be! Not Olivia!
"Your cell" Alex said shakily, "You have Elliot's number right?"
Hammond agreed and gave it to her, he knew it would be useless to argue with her, but when he saw that she was shaking so hard that she couldn't even hold the cell, he took it from her hand and dialed the number himself. When it began to ring, he returned it to her.
"Stabler!" A voice that she hadn't heard in over 2 years made her tremble.
"It's me, Alex." She identified herself firmly even though her insides were quacking like a leave in the wind.
"Oh, thank God Alex." Elliot said as his voice broke, he had been checking his cell for that very reason.
"What's happening? Is Olivia..." her voice was just a whisper, fearful of finding out the truth.
"She's in surgery" he interrupted "they haven't been able to stop the hemorrhaging, she..." his voice broke again, Elliot did not want to think about that, he could not.
"I'm coming Elliot, tell..., tell her not to dare die! Tell her..." However, Alex couldn't continue, just the very idea was too painful to even say, to personal, and she wouldn't say it to Elliot, not before telling Olivia.
"I know Alex, hurry up." Elliot said and hung up not daring to tell her that it might be too late.
Alex returned the cell to Hammond and began to cry in anguish.
"If you return now...," the agent said, "You'll have to do so at your own risk Alexandra."
"Agent," Alex said in a venomous voice, "do you really think I care? I am going to a hospital that is surely covered by every police and detective in the NYPD. I think my security is the least of my problems right now Hammond. Don't you doubt it for a minute. Olivia is there between life and death; do you think that my life means anything to me now?
Alex said nothing more, but it was very clear to Agent Hammond what was not put into words. Alexandra Cabot did not care if she lived or died, if detective Benson didn't make it, there was no reason to do so. He had suspected as much when she had at first refused to go into the WPP if she could not tell Detective Benson that she was alive. She refused completely to go anywhere if she wasn't allowed to do so. He had seen the exchanged looks before Alex disappeared into the black suburban. He had asked himself then what was going on between them, now he had no doubt, the detective would ask the attorney something and she must have answered. The message was clear, very clear.
"We are getting closer to Velez; it may not be long before he is captured. I hope for your own good that it's soon and not before it's too late." Hammond said with finality. Alex did not say anything, her sight lost somewhere out the window.
Alex felt as if the whole trip had been through fog, she recalled getting on the private plane, she recalled getting met by another suburban and unmarked cars and having been led to the suburban and turned over to federal agents. She did not see the streets of NYC that she had missed so much, she did not even know how many hours had passed since Hammond had picked her up sometime after 12 p.m. Wisconsin time. If she tried to remember she could not, her mind had one objective and one objective only, to get to Olivia and see her alive.