DISCLAIMER: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and all characters are property of NBC and Dick Wolf.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: With the revelations about Elliot's home live in Season Six, this piece is now definitely AU. Everything up to Loss is fair game for possible spoilers, but Loss never happened in my little world.
WARNING: This story deals with the subject of rape and child abuse.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By kimly

Part One

"Sweetheart?" Olivia's voice carried throughout the apartment as she closed her cell and slipped it into the clip at her waist.

"Bathroom, Liv."

Olivia grabbed her gun and holster from the counter and attached it to her belt on the opposite side from her phone. "That was Elliot," she explained, leaning against the door jam to the bathroom, watching Alex apply mascara. "He wants me to meet him at Mount Sinai. We've picked up a sexual assault of a minor."

"Welcome to Monday. Any additional info? Age, name?" Alex asked, shaking her head, a frown on her lips.

"She hasn't spoken since the uniforms brought her in around three. She looks really young according to 'em." Olivia sighed before continuing. "Take the car if you want. I'm gonna grab a cab and hitch a ride back with Elliot." She turned, planning on starting her week.

A gentle hand on her arm turned her back around.

"Call when you get enough for a warrant," Alex reminded unnecessarily as an excuse to fiddle with Olivia's collar before leaning in to place a chaste kiss on her lips.

Alex pulled away then stared at Olivia's mouth, smiling.

"Problem, Counselor?"

Reaching behind herself, Alex grabbed a kleenex. "None, Detective, but you'll probably want to reapply your own shade before meeting up with your partner," she stated, wiping off her lipstick.

"Thanks," Olivia deadpanned. "I'm outa here. Call the station if you're free for lunch. Maybe Elliot and I can sneak away for an hour."

Elliot stood across from the examining room door, wishing his partner would just arrive already. Looking up, he noticed Olivia's form striding towards his position.

"What've we got? Have the parents been notified yet?"

"Still hasn't spoken so we have no idea of her name. Plus the ER doc had to sedate her before he could stop the bleeding. She can't take men in her proximity. They've got a female surgeon coming in from Boston to do the reconstruction." Elliot related then watched as his partner blanched at his last sentence.

"Reconstruction? What the hell happened to her, Elliot?"

"Doc thinks it was just simple rape, but she was so small, he tore her up pretty bad." Elliot gestured to the door to the exam room. "Look at her, Olivia. She can't be more than nine or ten."

Olivia looked through the door's window at the small form huddled in the bed.

"I figured you could try talking to her, being a girl and all." Elliot was obviously frustrated at not being able to even attempt an interview.

"Right, I'll let you know as soon as I have something." Olivia pushed open the door and slowly entered the room.

The young girl on the bed curled further into herself, watching Olivia through wary eyes, but didn't scream.

OK, one hurdle over. "Hello, honey. My name's Olivia and I'm a detective." As Olivia explained who she was, she grabbed a chair from by the door and sat down facing the girl. She drew her badge from her inside jacket pocket, extending it towards the girl.

It took almost a full minute of the girl looking from the badge to Olivia's face and back again before she hesitantly took possession of it. She ran her fingers over the gold shield, continuing to sneak looks at Olivia. For her part, Olivia sat passively with her hands folded in her lap, waiting.

"Are you a policeman?" came the timid question.

Olivia smiled. "Yes, honey. I'm a special kind of policeman, called a detective. It's my job to find people who hurt kids and make sure they never do it again." Olivia just waited as the girl continued to finger her badge. "Sweetheart, can you tell me your name?"


"That's such a pretty name, Alicia. Can you tell me your last name?" Olivia leaned forward, resting her elbows on her knees, smiling.

"Wilton. My name is Alicia Elizabeth Wilton."

"Well, Miss Alicia Elizabeth Wilton, I am very happy to meet you." Olivia sat back up and extended her right hand slowly. "I'm Detective Olivia Benson."

Alicia cautiously shook Olivia's hand before quickly withdrawing her own and sticking it back under her blanket.

Olivia returned to her slouched form after taking a notepad from her pocket. "Alicia, can you tell me your address or phone number?" She jotted down the name and looked up to see if Alicia could or would answer.

"I live at 238 32nd Street. My phone number is 555.9341." She seemed to come out of her shell while answering the basic questions. "Are you going to get my mom and dad?"

Olivia wrote the new information under the girl's name then quickly rewrote everything on a blank page. "I planned on getting my partner to go get them, he's waiting right outside. Is that okay?" She stood and watched for Alicia's reaction.

"Oh, yes! I miss them. I was so scared and so cold." Alicia was quickly working herself into a state. "And that man… He touched me and it hurt! It hurt so much! And he wouldn't stop!"

She was crying openly. Olivia stuffed her notebook into a pocket and gathered the child into the protection of her arms.

"I know he did, honey. And I promise you, Alicia, we won't let him hurt you again." Olivia continued to whisper to the girl, gently stroking her back. The detective rocked Alicia till she felt her calm and finally drift off into a restless sleep.

Moving the girl out of her arms and back on the bed, Olivia smoothed back some hair off her forehead before walking out of the room.

"Here you go, Elliot," Olivia announced, handing over a sheet of note paper. "Chances are you'll find Alicia in the system. She wants to see her parents; she seems to have a positive relationship with them, they've probably reported her missing."

"Did she say where they were?" Elliot noted the name and the address. Upper middle class neighborhood. "You coming back to the precinct with me or are you staying here?"

"Thought I'd stay; see if that specialist shows up; maybe get a description of this bastard once Alicia wakes up again."

"I'll let Cragen know and I'll be back once I track down her parents. Shouldn't be too long with the info she's given."

Olivia sat on the hard plastic chair watching over her latest victim. Her parents must be beside themselves. I hope she can give us something to go on. She winced at the bruises across the girl's cheek. God, I want to castrate this bastard.

The detective's mind wandered between listing out the questions she needed to ask to trying to find the best possible way to ask a kid to explain an act most adults couldn't even talk about without crude language or giggles. She looked at her watch. Eleven. Guess lunch with Alex is going to be out. At this rate we'll be lucky to hook up before bed.

Switching line of thought again, Olivia turned back to the sleeping girl. Age, I need to find out exactly how old she is. Her thoughts were disrupted by a cry from the bed.

Alicia twisted in the blankets before bolting upright. "No!"

Olivia quickly moved to sit on the side of the bed. Gathering up the frightened child, she rocked and whispered to her. "Shhh... It's gonna be okay. You're safe. He can't hurt you any more."

She lost track of how long she sat with Alicia, trying to give her some semblance of safety. Asleep again, Olivia returned her to her bed and resumed her watch from the chair.

She turned when the door creaked open, Cragen's head poking inside. "Detective," he said quietly. "We've hit a wall."

Olivia made one last check on Alicia to make sure she was sleeping soundly before joining her Captain in the hall. "What's the problem? Where's Elliot with her parents?"

"That's our problem. The number she gave is coming back not in service. Munch called the phone company and that number hasn't been assigned for over two months."

"What about the address?"

"That number doesn't exist on that street; neither east nor west. Are you sure you heard her correctly?"

Olivia made a face somewhere between shocked and outraged. "Captain, I think I know a number when it's spoken."

"Calm down, Olivia. I'm just trying to figure out why a kid who's been assaulted would lie about where she's from."

"I know, Cap," Olivia replied, contrite. "But nothing she's said makes me believe she doesn't want to go back home. Even in her sleep, she's been calling out for them. I just find it hard to believe if they were in somehow responsible for her being here her unconscious mind would allow her to be calling for them."

"Good point. I'll ask Huang when I get back to the precinct."

Before they could speculate any further, a tall female in a lab coat reached them and began speaking. "Excuse me. I'm Doctor Harrington from Brigham and Women's. I believe my patient is behind that door."

Olivia extended her hand. "Detective Olivia Benson, Special Victims Unit. And this is my Captain, Donald Cragen."

Doctor Harrington juggled the file and a stuffed bear before getting them both tucked under her arm. Hands were shaken all around as Olivia continued. "Does the report from the ER suggest anything to you, Doctor? A possible head injury or something? The address and phone number Alicia gave us are suspect."

"Nothing in her charts indicated a head wound." Doctor Harrington flipped through a few pages while speaking. "Has she complained of dizziness? Or vomited?"

Cragen looked to Olivia for answers. She shook her head. "I've been with her for the past few hours and she seemed coherent but skittish, especially around men."

"Understandable, considering. Well, I can't suggest anything else by these notes. Maybe I'll have something after my examination." The Doctor watched the child through the door. "Still asleep. How has she responded to you, Detective?"

"Well, I believe. She talks to me if I ask direct questions and she's let me comfort her when she gets scared."

"Hmmm. A nurse will be down in a few minutes to assist me. She's prepping a tray now. Why don't you wake Alicia and introduce us while we wait."

"I'm heading back up town. Call us when you get something new," Cragen instructed then turned on a heel and moved down the hallway.

Olivia reached around the doctor for the door handle but didn't open it. "Can I ask you a question, Doctor Harrington?"

"All right," she responded, a little leery of what a New York City cop would want to know.

"Do you deal with victims of abuse in your practice?" Seeing the surprised look of the doctor's face, Olivia continued. "You have a friend with you." She gestured to the bear. "And you didn't just barge into a sleeping girl's room and expect her to accept you. A lot of doctors I've dealt with on this job aren't that thoughtful."

The doctor took a deep breath, leaned back against the door and thought for a moment. "I've dealt with a few rape victims while covering ER shifts; all adults. For me I guess it's just common sense: someone who's suffered through having their physical safety violated is not going to trust right away. And a kid, especially one so young, none of this must be making much sense to her. I guess it's how I would want my kid treated, God forbid, it ever happened to her."

The nurse arrived just as Olivia opened the door.

Olivia slumped against the wall across from her victim's room quietly talking into her cell. "Yeah, younger than we thought, but that means she's not undersized. The doc actually said she was probably in the top quarter for her age. I wasn't able to question her further about her address." Olivia listened to her partner. "Doc Harrington had to sedate her to continue the exam. Oh, but I did get this much: last night wasn't the first time she was assaulted. She was abducted Saturday and was attacked for the first time then." Again Olivia was silent as Elliot relayed the status of the case from his end. "I want to talk with the doc when she gets done, then I'll be in. Not much more I can do here while she's asleep." A pause. "Yeah, I will."

She clipped the cell back on her hip and tried to work the kinks out of her neck. Maybe I should have asked about the phone number before her age, then at least we'd have a direction to look in. Why would she lie about that? Maybe she's dyslexic and the numbers are reversed. Need to check that out.

Her internal ramblings were cut short by the appearance of Doctor Harrington. "I'm through for now. She'll be asleep for another couple of hours." She made a few notes on a chart before handing the folder off to the nurse for filing at the station. "I'm requesting her to be admitted and I'd like to schedule the surgery for tomorrow morning. I'm assuming you know how I can get in touch with her parents?"

"Unfortunately, Doc, you assume too much," Olivia replied without humor. "As I mentioned the address and number she gave me this morning are either non-existent or inactive. Our next step is to try different combinations of the numbers but it's unusual that there's not a missing person's report fitting her description anywhere in the five boroughs. That kid is too healthy to be a street kid."

"I don't envy you your job, Detective. And I'm about to make it worse," Doctor Harrington began. "Without her life being in imminent danger, I can't operate without parental consent or a court order."

Olivia knocked the back of her head lightly against the wall and closed her eyes. Well, I wanted to see her before bed… "OK, Doc, let's find someplace quiet. I'll call our ADA and we'll figure out what to do."

There was minimal activity inside courtroom three. The judge sat on her bench with a stenographer in front. Behind the prosecutor's table stood two blonde ADAs. The defendant's table remained empty.

"Okay, Ms. Cabot, let's hear why the ADA for Special Victims is visiting my family court when no charges are pending."

"The People are requesting a guardian ad litem be assigned to a minor rape victim, Your Honor, in order to make medical decisions."

"What's wrong with this minor's parents, Ms. Cabot?"

"We're having trouble locating them."

"Why is that? Is she, I'm assuming this minor is female, correct?" At the ADA's nod the judge continued. "Is she unconscious or unwilling to cooperate?"

"She gave SVU detectives the name, Alicia Elizabeth Wilton, as the request states. Granted, we are assuming this is the child's proper name. She also readily gave an address and phone number which detectives have not been able to corroborate in any of the five boroughs. No one matching the girl's description has been reported to New York City Missing Persons. Detectives are currently investigating different combinations of the phone number given and have initiated a nation-wide Missing Persons search."

"It is my understanding that SVU has had this case for approximately seven hours? Is that correct, Ms. Cabot?" The judge flipped through several sheets of paper.

"Yes, Your Honor."

"Why the rush? Why not give your detectives a chance to locate this girl's parents? As I understand it, medical attention has been given and she is in no immediate danger from her injuries."

"Granted, she will no longer bleed to death from the trauma she sustained and has been given large doses of antibiotics to stave off infection, but Doctor Rachel Harrington, a specialist in childhood sexual identity from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has been consulted. After her examination, she is recommending corrective surgery in the morning before scar tissue has the chance to begin."

"Is it critical this surgery be performed so quickly?"

"She believes it is, Your Honor. Doctor Harrington wants to give Alicia back the physical normality of her body. Even though this will not erase the memories of her attack, this surgery will allow Alicia to mature without the visual reminder of being repeatedly violated at such a young age. The surgery has the best chance for success the quicker it is performed." That might have been a little over the top.

The judge's dour glare suggested that Alex's thoughts were correct.

"Although I find your impassioned plea a little verbose, Counselor, I will grant The People's request for a guardian ad litem for the minor child known as Alicia Elizabeth Wilton. May I assume by the presence of Ms. Southerlyn, you are not requesting that you yourself be assigned?"

"That is correct, Your Honor. As I hope to be prosecuting her attacker at some future date, The People wish to avoid any question of conflict of interest. Ms. Southerlyn has volunteered to act as guardian ad litem pending your approval."

"So approved, Ms. Cabot. Ms. Southerlyn, you are hereby appointed as guardian ad litem to the minor child known as Alicia Elizabeth Wilton. You are charged by this court to act solely in her best interest in all matters where legal approval is required. You will act as her guardian until such time as the minor child's legal parents or guardians make themselves known to this court or until you make petition to be replaced. Court is adjourned."

Dual voices of "Thank you, Your Honor," were heard over the pound of the gavel.

"Caught her in a good mood," Serena stated pulling out her cell.

"Did you see her face when she got to the evidence photos of Alicia?" Alex asked in a grave tone. "I think she realized this was no frivolous elective cosmetic surgery. As it is even with surgery I'd be amazed if she ever regains feeling."

Serena listened to Alex with one ear as she waited for her cell to connect. Once the call went through, she held up a finger to ask Alex to wait. "Olivia, Serena. Judge Valdera signed off on my guardianship. Tell the good doctor to schedule surgery for whenever she thinks best. I'll bring the paperwork to the hospital as soon as the ink dries." A pause. "Yeah, I think I can manage that. We'll see you in a few."

"What have you volunteered us for now?" Alex asked as Serena dropped the cell into her attaché case. Before she could respond, Alex started again. "Hold it. Knowing that woman, no comments from you, she wants us to bring food to the hospital. Correct?"

"Actually, no, but she wanted me to convince you to go out to dinner afterward. I'm even invited. Alicia gets to dine on jello tonight. No eating before surgery."

"Good point. Poor kid is probably relegated to water, too." Alex responded after a moment to think about the last time she had to have a procedure. "And you're always welcome to join us, Serena. You know that."

"I'll remember that come February 14th. I'm sure Olivia will find me an interesting surprise to your romantic evening."

Alex gave her companion a playful shove as the pair exited the courthouse; a blue tri-folded document safe in hand.

Serena dropped the legal paperwork with the nurses' station to be included in Alicia's file. She wandered down the hall in search of her friends and new charge, never expecting to find Alex still standing in the hall looking into the room through a small window. "Alex, what are you waiting for? Go in. I'm sure Olivia is wondering where we've been."

"Shhhh," Alex turned and quieted her friend. "Come see this." She moved slightly so Serena could also peek into the room.


The head of the bed was raised to allow Olivia to recline comfortably with her shoes dangling off the edge. Tucked into her side was a small, brown haired girl clutching a stuffed bear. Alicia watched intently as Olivia pointed to a page in a book opened across her lap.

Through the door floated Olivia's voice and giggles from a little girl.

"And here's a new trick, Mr. Knox… Socks on chicks and chicks on fox. Fox and clocks on bricks and blocks. Bricks and blocks on Knox on box." Olivia read. "Can you find the fox?"

A hand shot out and pointed to a spot on the page. Olivia smiled, nodded and turned the page.

"Very good. Now we come to ticks and to tocks, sir. Try to say this Mr. Knox, sir…"

"She's wonderful with that kid, Alex," Serena commented. Looking intently at her friend she asked: "Have you guys ever talked about having a family?"

Keeping her focus on her girlfriend, Alex answered more to herself than Serena. "Yeah, we have."

When nothing more was forthcoming, Serena pushed ahead. "And?"

"And… and, neither of us have stable enough jobs to bring children into our lives. Olivia's been shot at twice since we've been together; add a knifing and a half dozen fistfights and there's a decent chance I'm going to visit her in here, again, if not someplace worse. Hell, I've been attacked twice, once in open court. And we're just not ready to give it up. We must need our heads examined." Alex seemed almost exasperated with herself and her partner.

"You guys need a couple nieces or nephews," suggested Serena.

"Well, my brothers have kids but we only get to see them once or twice a year. And you know Olivia is an only child."

"Sorry, I should have clarified: local nieces and nephews. Hey, you can borrow some of mine; my siblings breed like rabbits."

Looking fondly at her life, Alex said, "We just might take you up on that. Come on, let's go see what she's going to read next."

Alex stuck her freshly scrubbed face out of the bathroom into their bedroom. Squirting toothpaste onto her toothbrush her eyes fell on her lover reading in their bed. She couldn't help the indulgent smile. "You really connected with that little girl, Liv."

Olivia looked up from her book. "She's a special kid, Alex. And smart. She gave one hell of a description of her attacker this afternoon while you where in court. Fin and Munch are gonna go canvassing tomorrow with the picture the sketch artist produced. We might get lucky. Chances are she was attacked near where the uniforms found her."

Alex disappeared for a moment to finish her nightly ritual then returned and crawled into bed. She slid across the sheets and fitted herself to Olivia's side. Olivia closed her book and placed it on the nightstand next to her cell phone and sidearm. She settled herself closer to Alex and hugged her tight.

Alex returned the squeeze knowing Olivia needed this quiet time to decompress from the job. She discovered early in their relationship that five minutes of 'hug therapy' as Olivia liked to call it, let both of them reconnect and revitalize their spirits.

Olivia turned and kissed Alex on the forehead. She kept her lips stationery breathing in Alex's clean sent. "Thank you, sweetheart," Olivia murmured and tilted Alex's chin up to capture her lips and slowly explore. Before Olivia could roll Alex onto her back, Alex exerted a little force, reversed their position and landed on top of her prone lover. Olivia hummed deep in her chest, enjoying the feel of Alex's weight pressing her into their mattress.

As their kisses grew passionate Alex worked the top buttons of Olivia's nightshirt open and began massaging a breast.

"Oh, God, Alex…" Olivia ran her hands under the back of Alex's shirt trying to remove the garment. Alex allowed the shirt to be stripped from her then with a hand on Olivia's shoulder, forced her back flat on the bed.

"Just relax, love. Let me take care of you."

A moment of indecision was quickly followed by a visible relaxing of the muscles of Olivia's arms. "Who am I to argue with a beautiful blonde?"

"I'll remind you of that comment the next time I tell you you don't have enough for a warrant."

"Alex," Olivia whined. "We agreed, no lawyer talk when we're naked." She rubbed her hands along Alex's back, down to her thighs.

"Technically, you're still wearing a shirt, Detective."

"Did I do something to piss you off today? Is that why I'm being subjected to such horrid teasing?" Her tone, clearly light although bordering on frustrated, took any possible sting out of the words.

"Actually, you impressed me beyond words." She gently stroked then kissed Olivia's forehead, then cheek, then chest. "The size of your heart amazes me. Thank you for loving me."

She didn't give Olivia a chance to respond before reclaiming her lips. Remembering her prior surrender, Olivia let Alex lead their encounter.

As Alex's kisses turn bold, her hand explored the length of Olivia's torso, stroking and caressing the skin along her breast, side and stomach. On the second downward pass Alex kept moving south to play in the tangle of dark hair at the apex of Olivia's thighs. She never quite understood the seemingly immense pleasure Olivia received from her simple scratching, but decided it really didn't matter. It was an easy way to bring her partner happiness and something uniquely Olivia.

When Olivia started a rhythmic pumping of her hips, Alex slipped her first two fingers through the wetness collected between the Olivia's lips. She explored the familiar topography, her fingers finding Olivia's hardened clit and rubbing it lightly.

A slight tugging on the hairs at the back of her neck signaled to Alex that her pace and pressure were very acceptable. Alex loved the little non-verbal cues Olivia used to tell her she was doing things right. At first, Olivia's lack of intense vocals during their encounters made Alex feel she was less than exciting as a lover. Past experience had led her to equate volume with enjoyment. But like in many areas, Olivia shattered her pre-conceived notions of what a relationship needed to thrive.

And it wasn't as if Olivia didn't say anything at all. If Alex shared a pillow with her while pleasuring her, she was treated to a running commentary on exactly what she was doing right. The volume was just extremely low. Olivia couldn't say why she was so quiet and had even tried to be louder but after several attempts confessed she spent so much energy concentrating on her voice that it was difficult for her to orgasm.

Alex resumed kissing Olivia as she entered her with two fingers. After a whispered "Please…" Alex added a third finger and increased her pace.

"Come on, love. I know you want it. Let yourself go."

Olivia's muscles went rigid as she orgasmed; her body holding Alex deep within herself. Covering Alex's hand with her own, Olivia kept her inside as she hugged her better half.

"Mmmmm… That was wonderful. Thanks." Olivia kissed her languidly before allowing her to withdraw. Rolling Alex onto her back, Olivia hovered over her girlfriend, playing with hair at her temple. "Now, what could I possibly do to repay your kindness?" Olivia's eyes sparkled and she seemed revitalized rather than spent.

Alex took one of Olivia's hands and kissed its palm. "Would you be terribly disappointed if I said a backrub?"

Olivia smiled and kissed her again. "Yes, but I think I'll survive." She kneeled to Alex's side. "Flip over. You want oil?"

Alex turned on her stomach, clutching a pillow. "Mmmhmm… Would you use sandalwood? I like smelling like you."

"Sure." Finding the vial in their nightstand drawer, Olivia straddled Alex's hips and poured the oil into her palm. "Let me know if you want something more, okay?"

"You'll be the first to know."

"I better be the only one to know." Olivia rubbed her hands together before starting on Alex's lower back. Thumbs working along her spine as finger splayed towards her sides; gripping and releasing, pressing into muscle, working in small circles. Moving slowly up the fair expanse of skin, Olivia worked from waist to shoulders then down her biceps before reversing direction.

"Oh, God, you're good at that. Jesus, don't stop. Ohhhh, God, that's nice." The litany was broken by sighs and soft moans.

"I aim to please."


Olivia worked Alex's back and upper arms until all the oil was worked into the skin making her back silky smooth and warm, a light blush visible. Listening to Alex's murmuring diminish as she worked, Olivia figured she was close to sleep if not already there. Stretching herself along Alex's side Olivia spooned herself against the skin she just finished manipulating. Alex rolled onto her side allowing Olivia to get more comfortable then took her hand and brought it up to her chest pinning it between her breasts.

Olivia kissed her neck. "Love you."

Three AM was never a good hour to get a phone call. Nothing positive ever needed to be relayed to another person in the wee hours of the morning. The cell was on its second set of rings when Olivia rolled away from the body keeping her front nicely warm.

"Benson." It wasn't her most professional voice but whoever was on the other end of the call would just have to live with it.

"Yeah, okay. It'll take me about an hour, I'll be there as soon as I can." She closed the cell and took a deep breath trying to will the sleep away. Carefully extracting her captive arm from beneath Alex's still form, Olivia entered the bathroom and closed the door before flipping the light. Ten minutes later she was showered, her teeth had been cleaned and her hair gelled. She thanked God Alex understood that personal grooming sometimes took a back seat to her job. She never once complained when Olivia climbed into bed with stubbly legs.

She flipped the light back off before re-entering the bedroom. Hopefully she could piece together some semblance of an outfit in the dark. Clad in a pair of french cut cotton Haines panties, she walked to the closet and peered inside.

"I'm up, Liv. You can turn on a light."

"Sorry to wake you, but thanks." She turned on the closet light and pulled a pair of slacks off one hanger and a shirt off another. She bent down to retrieve a pair of shoes.

"Wow. That sight's almost worth a middle of the night wake-up call. New case or old?" Alex rose herself up on her elbows, the covers pooling around her waist.

Olivia quickly had her pants and shoes on and was futzing with her bra. "It's Alicia. I told the nurses' station to call me if she needed anything. She's agitated and they really don't want to give her sedatives this close to surgery."

"Do you want me to come with you?"

"Always, but you need to be sharp in a few hours. Get some more sleep." The shirt was tucked in and the belt fastened. Olivia moved to the side of the bed to collect her cell and gun. She sat on the edge, leaned in and kissed Alex.

"Call the station on your way in and tell someone where I am?"

"Sure." Alex snuggled back into the covers moving over to Olivia's side of the bed.

"I'm gonna take the car. You okay with a cab?"

"I'll be fine, Liv. Go make sure Alicia's okay. Be safe and I love you."

"Love you, too, sweetheart."


Elliot was just rounding the corner to the pediatric wing when Alex called out.

"Counselor. What brings you by this early? And where's your other half?"

"She's already here. Alicia was having a rough night so the hospital called. I was hoping to grab a coffee with her before I head to the office." Alex caught up with her partner's partner and they walked the rest of the way to the room. "And I could say the same to you. Your shift hasn't started yet."

They both sighed at the sight greeting them through the window. Alicia was sound asleep wrapped in a blanket her head in Olivia's lap. The detective was also out, her hand splayed over the child's back.

"Looks like Olivia found a way to calm her down," Elliot remarked.

"Well, it's a very safe place to be."

Elliot just smiled indulgently at her. "Should we wake them?"

"I'm inclined to let them be, but I'd have thought the prep for surgery would be starting pretty soon."

"It needs to start right now." Doctor Harrington arrived without anyone noticing. "I have the OR from 9 onward."

"Onward 'til when?" Elliot asked.

The doctor shifted the medical file under an arm. "I'm hoping it'll be quick, say two hours, but I've blocked six just incase."

"That long?" Alex frowned.

"I'm not anticipating any surprises but it's always best to be prepared. Detective Stabler, correct?" The doctor switched from addressing Alex to Elliot. "I'm going to ask you to wait out here. Alicia's still not responding well to men. That will need to be addressed in the future through counseling but for now I'm more concerned with just getting her through the surgery."

"I understand, Doc, it's really not a problem. Alex, I'm gonna call in and give the guys an update. I'll be in the lounge."

"He seems like a good cop."

"That he is," Alex agreed. "And even a better man." And if he wasn't married and if Liv and I weren't involved, we'd probably be fighting over him.

"Nice of you to show your face, Olivia. Where are we on the Wilton case?" Cragen announced his presence in the bullpen with his usual abruptness.

Olivia sat on the edge of her desk. "Alicia was on her way to surgery when we left. It'll be at least several hours before we know the results. But on the upside of my 3am wakeup call, I now know why we've had no luck locating her parents..."

"Because the address is from Camden, New Jersey and not Manhattan," Munch interrupted from the doorway holding a printout in his right hand, waving it.

At the surprised look of the room, he continued, "The national search turned up a hit. Jonathan and Maria Wilton reported their daughter missing during an outing to the Philadelphia Zoo Saturday. The address on the report…"

"Matches what Alicia gave Olivia yesterday. Damn." Fin shook his head.

"So Cap'n, how do you want the notify handled? Phone, local PD or personal visit?" Elliot asked.

"Our budget's in the crapper, Elliot, you know that. Give Camden a call and have them do a notify. Ask them to have the parents get in touch with you or Olivia and you do the specifics." Cragen pointed to his two detectives. "What've we got on her attacker?"

"Munch and I are heading to the pick-up location with the sketch. We'll hit every vendor and business owner in the area." Fin picked up his coat and signaled his partner. "Someone hadda see somethin'."

"So how are you two planning on spending your time until the Wiltons' call?" Cragen asked.

"I'm heading to court. I've been subpoenaed in that case we shared with the two-three a few months ago," Elliot explained.

The Captain nodded then looked to Olivia.

"I have a date with the computer. I'm gonna run the MO and see if I can find anything. I'm planning on running Phili first then here." Olivia fixed herself a cup of coffee before settling herself behind the keyboard.

"Sounds good, people. Keep me in the loop." Cragen went back to his office in hopes of finding his desk under all the half finished reports.

"I'm outa here, Liv. You gonna be around for lunch?" Elliot shrugged into his coat.

"Depends on the surgery. I told Doc Harrington to call when she was through."

Elliot was almost out the door when Olivia's voice floated over to him.

"Hey! You with McCoy?"


"Tell Serena we've located the parents."

"I'm on it."

"Hey, you got a minute?" Serena stuck her head into Alex's office.

Alex looked up from her legal pad and played with her pen. "Sure. Have a seat." She tossed her glasses onto her desk and pinched the bridge of her nose in an effort not to smudge her eye shadow by rubbing her eyes - no matter how much she wanted to. "If I have to answer one more motion in the Donaldson case you may be trying me for assault. I could use a break." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a moment. "I'm sorry, Serena. What can I do for you?"

Serena leaned forward in her chair, resting her elbows on her knees. "Well, I'm going to try and talk you into something, but maybe it's not going to be as hard as I thought."

"If you've convinced Liz to let me take the afternoon off and you're here to talk me into a nap, put a mark in your win column."

Serena chuckled. Alex did look spent and it wasn't even noon on Tuesday. It was shaping up to be a horrendous week.

"I haven't talked to Liz yet but depending on this conversation, she may be my next stop."

Alex was more than curious. "What are you cooking up? Am I going to have to explain something embarrassing to Branch?" Donnelly, she was almost used to being embarrassed in front of her. Getting caught in a lip lock with your girlfriend of three weeks in the coat check area of the Hilton during the company holiday party was just the first of several occasions over the last few years. Liz seemed to have a sixth sense about her and Olivia. Maybe they should just stop kissing during work hours. Nah…

"Not on my account, but I will not be held responsible if Olivia is within a quarter mile of you," Serena said through a laugh.

"Okay, funny lady. What's on your mind? I really do have a pile of work and I'd like to get home at a decent hour tonight."

"Well, it has to do with that stack of work, actually." Serena took a deep breath seemingly trying to steady herself. "Now, Alex, I'm not trying to step on your toes or anything like that. But the guys over at SVU have you running ragged. Not that you haven't been handling it, or that you can't handle it."

Alex put up her hand to slow Serena down. "Hey… Take another one of those deep breaths, okay?"

Serena did as requested.

"Are you offering to help with SVU's caseload?"


Alex remained silent for a moment, thinking. "You have time for this? What does Jack say?" Do I want this? Can she handle this?

Serena leaned forward and rested her arms on her knees. "I haven't thought this all the way out, but I know the squad sometimes uses a floating ADA when they need stuff ASAP and you're in court or whatever."

"True, they just pull from the pool," Alex agreed, seeing where Serena was going. Not a bad idea. Wonder how we should sell this upstairs?

"What if they didn't? Have to use the pool, that is. What if, if you were in court and they needed, say a warrant, they try me first? Like I said, I'm not trying to take cases or horn in on your territory. I'd just like to get my feet wet…"

"In a different area?" Alex asked. And maybe get out from under McCoy's thumb for a bit?

"Yeah." Serena settled herself back in the chair and waited for Alex's decision.

"I think the detectives and Cragen will go for it. They like knowing who they're dealing with. If you can sell it upstairs, I'd welcome the help."

Serena seemed to relax at Alex's pronouncement. "Well, all right."

"Let me know what the powers on high rule."

"I'll stop back down and let you know the outcome, either way." Serena rose and headed for the door. "Oh, have you talked to Olivia this morning?"

"Not recently, no." Alex really didn't think their 3am conversation was what Serena had in mind.

"Stabler was in court with Jack and me earlier. Said they have a line on Alicia's parents. They're from southern Jersey. Figures they'll be here by later this afternoon."

"That is good news."

Before Serena could leave a young man in a suit and top coat filled Alex's doorway. "Alexandra Cabot?"


He walked over to her desk. "These are for you." He handed a stack of blue folders. "Have a nice day." He left.

Alex looked at the pile in her hand and groaned. "Ask Liz for a transfer."

With a shake of her head and a wave, Serena went to find the Bureau Chief.

"Benson." She grabbed for a pen. "Damn it. Hold on John." A clang echoed throughout the bullpen as the spent pen hit the side of the metal trash can. "Yeah, okay, go ahead." She scribbled several notes as Munch babbled in her ear. "I'll run it through the system and see if anything turns up."

"What have you got, Olivia," Cragen asked appearing at her desk.

"I've got squat. Nothing matching this guy's MO out of Phili. I'm running here now. But Munch and Fin got a hit. Two different vendors IDed the sketch as 'Peter', no last name. But one guy claims he drives a blue four door with New York plates. So, I'm gonna start a DMV search."

"Okay. Any word from the hospital?"

Checking her watch, "Expecting a call any time now. Elliot should be back soon. I'll leave him a note about the running searches. I'm gonna head over to Mount Sinai. The Wiltons will be arriving soon, if they aren't already there."

"Is Doctor Harrington out of surgery yet?" Olivia asked the nurse behind the desk at the pediatric ward. She flipped open her badge case.

"She's in post op. If you'll wait in the playroom, I'll have her meet you there." She picked up a phone. "I think there might even be an adult sized chair."

"Thanks." Olivia wandered down the too brightly lit hall. Florescent lighting was nobody's friend.

The playroom had a wall of windows that went down almost to the floor and looked out over a central grassy area with a few trees and a couple of benches. Kid sized tables and chairs dotted the room. A bookcase held volumes suitable for toddlers to teens; the dog eared one signaling favorites. Olivia looked at the spines and recognized several from her own childhood. She picked up Make Way for Ducklings and thumbed through the pages, smiling.

Before she could return the book to its shelf two small children came running into the room, diving towards a low couch.

"Beat ya!" That from a little boy without a hair on his head.

"Did not!" A second boy. This one with hair but fiddling with the sling holding his arm, a cast showing nothing but the tips of his fingers.


"Did too! That cast makes you slow!"

"Does not! Besides you're the poke going through chemo!"

"Boys!" Olivia finally raised her voice to be heard over the din. Before Olivia could investigate further a harried candy-striper entered the fray.

"Ethan! Roger! What have we discussed about running in the halls?" The words were stern but coming from a petite blonde who looked no more than seventeen Olivia had to swallow a chuckle. She turned to the Detective. "I'm sorry. Were they bothering you?"

Olivia watched the two boys glaring at each other on the couch. "They're fine. I am just waiting for one of the surgeons."

All of a sudden one boy poked the other and pointed at Olivia. "Hey! Is that a gun?"

The Detective's hand automatically went to her hip to assure its placement. Should have kept the coat buttoned. She peeled back her jacket to show the holster. "Yup, it's a gun." She let the jacket fall back into place.

"You can't have a gun in a hospital."

"Sure I can," Olivia said smiling at the youngsters as she passed her badge to the boys. She stooped down in front of them.

"You're a real cop? Where's your uniform? A cop visited my class. He said cops always have uniforms." Ethan, the boy going through chemotherapy, questioned.

"She got a badge, dummy." Roger waved the item in question.

"Hey, he's not wrong." Olivia took back her badge. "A lot of police wear uniforms. Those guys are called officers or patrolmen. I'm a different kind of cop called a detective. Detectives don't wear uniforms."

"Why not?" Ethan asked, still looking skeptical.

What is it with kids and impossible questions. "Well, detectives often have to question people at home or where they work. And it's no one else's business that they need to talk to the police. By wearing normal clothes, detectives don't draw attention to themselves. That make sense?"

"So, you need to work in secret?" This time Roger spoke up.

"No, not secret." Olivia didn't want to give that impression to these kids and thought how to explain. "With a uniform, a cop is pretty easy to see, right? The uniform kinda draws your attention? Makes a cop stick out?"

Both boys agreed, nodding their heads.

"Sometimes we need to get somewhere to talk to someone and don't want to draw a lot of attention. So we wear regular clothes to blend in with everyone else."

"You here to arrest somebody?" Roger asked.

"Can we watch?" Ethan added.

"No and no." Olivia answered. "I'm not here to arrest anyone."


"Bummer." The boys looked downtrodden that they couldn't witness a real cop in action.

"You have handcuffs?" Ethan asked, narrowing his eyes.

"Yup." Olivia reached behind herself and unsnapped the flap, producing a set of shiny silver handcuffs and dangled them from a finger. "These what you wanted to see?"

The boys answered in the affirmative and reached for the cuffs.

Doctor Harrington, who had been watching the exchange from the doorway finally made herself known. "Good afternoon, Detective. I understand you were looking for me?" She moved towards the group and shook Olivia's hand when she rose.

Olivia turned back towards the kids. "I'm gonna need those back when I leave. Don't hurt yourselves."

The adults moved to a quiet corner to talk. They leaned against a wall facing each other.

"The surgery went well; I don't anticipate any complications. Doctor Klinesmith assisted and will be taking over Alicia's care. She'll be back in her room by the time we're finished here." She scrubbed her face and the back of her neck. "I'll be heading back to Boston later today."

"Good to hear," Olivia commented, thinking of the small spot of positive news she could tell the parents. Oh, damn. She quickly added to her statement, "Good to hear Alicia's gonna be okay, not good to hear you're leaving. I didn't…"

Doctor Harrington reached over to Olivia's arm. "Detective. It's okay, I understood what you meant." She chuckled.

"I'm sorry." Olivia joined in on the chuckling. "The coffee is keeping me awake but evidently not overly coherent. I meant no offense."

"None taken but why don't you make it up to me by taking me out to dinner tonight?" The Doctor gave the Detective a slow once over.

Oh, boy! Didn't see that coming. "Can I bring my girlfriend?" Olivia responded hoping to humor her way around the situation.

"Figures someone's already snagged you," Doc Harrington said more to herself than Olivia. "Let's just forget I asked although it has been a pleasure working with you Detective Benson despite the circumstances."

"Same here." Olivia extended her hand again. "Thanks for coming down for Alicia. If you leave before the parents get here, can I give them your number?"

"Sure." With a last look the doctor left the playroom with Olivia watching her go.

One more for me. I'm only down two now. Olivia took a moment to think about the little competition she and Alex had been indulging in for the last year. Tacked to their fridge was an unassuming post-it with both their names on it. By Alex's name there were four hash marks with a fifth line running through them. As of tonight, Olivia got to add a third mark beside her name.

It was a simple game really. They just kept tally of the number of times each of them was hit on over the course of three months. Alex had won their game each of the previous four rounds. Olivia really didn't mind. It was a good excuse to pamper and spoil her lover and allowed them to bring up flirtations in a non-threatening manner.

There was only one rule: neither of them could initiate contact. Each was happy within the relationship, so it wasn't an issue.

"Ah, Detective?"


The boys calling her broke Olivia out of her thoughts.

"Yeah, guys?" She turned to look at them and immediately saw their problem. They had cuffed themselves together. She fished in her pocket for her key as she walked over to them shaking her head and smiling.

Olivia entered the bullpen carrying a box filled with take-out. She dropped it on her desk with a huff drawing the squad's attention.

"This is the last time I play lunch wench unless you guys order straight off the menu." She took off her jacket and dumped it in her locker remembering the four phone calls back to the precinct to clarify 'special orders'. "You drove me and that poor cook nuts."

The guys were digging through the box searching for their orders.

Before Munch could even start his comment Cragen joined the group. "Lunch'll have to wait for you two," he said, pointing to Fin and Munch. "I need you two to get over to City College. Students and professors have been getting anti-gay hate mail. The victims originally agreed to let the college handle it internally but the tone has gotten consistently more violent so they have requested our assistance."

"We're on it, Captain," Fin responded rewrapping his order.

"Hopefully, your effort is microwavable, Olivia." Munch looked over his glasses as he passed by her desk.

Elliot was eating contently at his desk preferring to enjoy his meal since this new case was evidently not going to involve him or his partner. Olivia had joined him silently chewing her sandwich.

Cragen looked over to them. "Well?"

The two detectives looked at him, mouths full. Olivia swallowed. "When I left, the parents still hadn't arrived. I left my card with the nurses' station with instructions to get in touch with us as soon as they do."

"Okay, that's the vic. How about a perp?" Cragen folded his arms over his chest.

Elliot spoke up. "Nothing on Liv's MO searches either here or Phili. The DMV search is still running. Should be finished by the time we're through eating. We'll start talking to Peters who own blue four doors this afternoon." He shrugged.

"Let's hope this pans out since it sounds like we don't have a lot of options." The Captain left them to their lunches.

"This has to pan out, Elliot." The 'I can't accept anything less' Olivia didn't have to say.

"We'll get this bastard, Alex will put him away and we'll give Alicia the only sense

of closure we can. It's what we do, Liv. We'll do it here too." Elliot acted as cheerleader in cases where Olivia needed it, just as she did for him.

Olivia gave him a tight smile and nodded. "Let's go talk to a Peter or two. I've gotta do something."

Elliot tossed her the keys and grabbed the printout dropped off on his desk. "Drive. That'll give you something to do."

Part 2

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