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Olivia the Closer
The ADA was exasperated this morning, Olivia could tell. "Can you believe this? Ridenour is holding a Batson hearing," Alex said. "Green claims I struck three jurors because they were minorities."
"You didn't, right?" Olivia asked.
"Of course not!" Alex exclaimed. "I struck them because they were women."
"Um . . ., isn't that illegal, too?"
"That's not the point."
Olivia couldn't hold back any longer. "Well, when you get through with that, you might want to wander over this way," she said.
"Is that so?" Alex seemed intrigued. "And what might I find when I got there?"
"We picked him up just before dawn," Olivia said.
"Oh, my God, Liv, that's fantastic!" Alex said. "I thought we'd never get him."
Her happiness was infectious. Night after night of hiding behind the dumpster across from Wie's place while Elliot crouched beside the stairwell with what looked like a bottle of sustenance was well worth it, Olivia decided.
"It's too much to hope for a confession," Alex said, "but I really think we can pull this off anyway." She chattered on excitedly about the strengths of their case against Wie as if Olivia weren't already intimately acquainted with them, while the detective listened contentedly. Far be it for Olivia to spoil the mood by pointing out the substantial holes, too, not the least of which was a shaky (at best) eyewitness. Alex had worked miracles before. She might have another one in her.
Too soon, it was time for the ADA to return to court. She would be tied up over the noon hour, Alex said with regret, so the pleasure of gawking smugly at their arrestee would have to wait until late afternoon, if he hadn't lawyered up by then. That was something he was unlikely to do, Huang had concluded. Carl Wie had ample confidence in his ability to hold his own against the collective resources of the New York City Police Department.
"Cabot says lunch is on her if we get a confession," Olivia called out to her colleagues as they approached her desk. Mmm . . . lunch on Cabot . . . that sounded better than it ought to.
"That'd be nice," Fin said. "We owe her."
They all knew what he meant: last week's monumental screwup when, in their haste, the SVU detectives failed to notice a scribbled notation by Judge Seligman on the faxed search warrant in Rooney. Bearing the brunt of Seligman's wrath, Alex scrambled to keep in at least some of the evidence they found under a plain view theory, but it wasn't pretty. As the only detective present in the courtroom that day, Olivia alone had witnessed the judge's cutting remarks that had to penetrate even an ADA's thick skin.
"Yeah," she said.
"It won't be easy," Huang warned. "He's been questioned by the police many times over the years. He never slips."
"Got any suggestions, Doc?" Munch asked.
Huang shrugged. "He's competitive," he said. "But frankly, I'm not sure . . . ."
"You're not sure a bunch of dumb flatfoots are up to it?" Cragen asked.
"Of course not," Huang said. "But Wie has six degrees, including both law and medicine. He's freelanced on everything from the Mars mission to dairy farms."
"Geek," Fin said.
"He took the bronze at the 2004 decathlon. His resume's really rather impressive."
"Start a fan club," Fin growled. "We got work to do."
Try as she might, Detective Benson just couldn't muster much interest in the turkey and ham on rye that sat on her partner's desk with her initials scrawled on the wrapper. She hadn't begrudged her colleagues' ability to consume their own lunches quite thoroughly, though. Olivia recognized that she was letting this Wie thing bother her more than it should. If Alex said they could do it without help from the bastard, then they probably could. Still, Olivia couldn't help imagining the smile that would light up the ADA's face if they were to present her with both the man and the means of his destruction when she arrived.
So far, though, that didn't seem in the cards. Images flickered through her brain . . . .
. . . . .
Wie, smiling to himself . . . . "Yes, it was Nietsche--but he was quoting Pascal."
Munch, cursing himself for the slip.
. . . . .
Grunting, muttering, and finally, the soft thud of flesh on wood as Wie pinned the back of Elliot's hand to the table.
"Let's try it again with the other one this time," Elliot challenged him.
"If you wanted to use your right hand, you should have made that a condition of the wager," Wie said. "Next."
. . . . .
Another of a long line of questions, smoothly tossed out, "What was Sam Cooke's first single?"
"Easy; `You Send Me.'"
"Bullshit. Everyone knows that."
"Ah, but a year earlier, he released a song called Lovable under the alias Dale Cooke."
"You said Sam Cooke."
"I asked about his first single, not the first under his own name. You shouldn't make assumptions, Detective."
Fin, fuming . . . .
. . . . .
Behind her, SVU's captain emerged from the observation room, cradling a large round board beneath one arm. Poking out of it, Olivia could see, were ten darts: four navy blue ones in the center circle with another barely a quarter of an inch outside, and five maroon darts squarely in the bullseye. With a slight hope, she said, "I don't suppose you had the red-"
"Don't ask," Cragen snapped.
Olivia sighed. The ADA would leave here as empty handed as when she arrived. She really hated disappointing Alex.
After a moment, Olivia opened the bottom drawer of her desk to draw out a handful of the magazines she sometimes offered visitors who faced lengthy waits. Tearing off a chunk of her slightly soggy sandwich, she grabbed a jumbo-sized Pepsi cup and that morning's New York Post and headed for the interview room.
As she shut the door behind her, Olivia gestured at an assortment of empty containers on the table. "Enjoying your stay?" she asked Wie.
"Well, I'd rather have had you than Detective Stabler as my escort to the little boy's room, but otherwise I can't complain," he said.
Lowering herself to a chair across from their suspect, Olivia began unwrapping her sandwich with one hand while balancing a three-month- old People on her thigh with the other.
"No arm wrestling?" Wie taunted her after a minute of silence.
"No point," she replied.
"I'm glad to see that someone here recognizes her own limitations," he said.
Olivia shrugged, shaking and tilting the Pepsi cup as she skimmed an article on Jodie Foster's vacation in Singapore.
"So, am I supposed to guess?" Wie asked.
She spared him a glance. "Guess what?"
"What you think you could beat me at," he said. When she did not reply, he added, "I'm sure you've heard that I'm a sporting man." He glanced disdainfully at her choice of reading material. "Something other than which celebrity is allegedly sleeping with which other celebrity, I think. I would prefer to leave the room with my three-digit IQ intact."
She set down the drink and popped the rest of her sandwich into her mouth. "No bets," she mumbled mid-chew.
He continued to eye Olivia as she noisily sucked up the last of the cola from the cup. Five minutes went by, then ten. His tone a mix of irritation and curiosity, Wie finally said, "This seems rather a waste of time."
Nodding, she said, "I agree."
"Then what's the point?"
She leaned back and propped her feet up on the table, crossing her legs at the ankles. "No point," she said. "You can ask to go back to your cell whenever you've had enough."
"I can ask?" He smiled at her. "I don't think so."
"Fine. Then I'll just sit here `til you've gotta go to the bathroom," Olivia said. "I get paid either way."
"I don't think I'll be the one leaving to use the restroom," he observed mildly.
She rolled her eyes. "Right."
"The human bladder holds approximately 16 ounces of liquid," he said, looking pointedly from the empty 32-ounce cup in front of her to the 8-ounce cup in front of him. "And at your age, the sphincter muscles aren't quite what they used to be."
"Why does it seem fitting that you're an expert on sphincters?" she said.
"Pedestrian quips, Detective? Is that the best you can do?"
"I'm not `doing' anything," she replied. "I just want to sit here and read my brain-rotting rag `til you need a whiz."
"I am not going to need to use the restroom before you do, Detective," he said again, with a hint of petulance. "It's simple logic. I'm larger than you are; hence I have larger organs-"
"That's what they all say."
Wie frowned. "Stronger and larger urethral muscles are correspondingly better able to withstand higher pressures."
"Whatever." She flipped another page.
"Irrationality is a rather unattractive quality," he said.
"You're making me cry."
Up next from Olivia's pile was the Post, which again made Wie sniff. "Shouldn't you be home watching a soap opera?" he said, crinkling his brow at the JACKO GETS OFF headline that blared across the top.
She ignored the gibe.
"Do you like your job, Detective?" he asked.
"Some days more than others," she replied. For example, days when Alex Cabot had business in the squad room, or Detective Benson had to wander over to the ADA's office for one thing or another, sometimes spilling over into a working lunch or dinner . . . .
"What do you think? Now, if you don't mind . . . ." Effectively dismissing him, she turned her attention to the sports section.
The Honorable David Seligman called it a day shortly before 6 p.m., allowing a very frustrated ADA finally to make her way to the SVU squad room. Alex doubted that Wie would still be there, but Olivia would be. Either way, it wouldn't be a total loss. As she hurried through the entrance, though, Detective Benson was nowhere to be seen. Spying Fin sauntering in from the other hallway, she said, "Where's--everyone?"
"Observation room," he said.
"Is Wie still here?" she asked, surprised.
Fin nodded. "Yep."
"Is he talking?"
Alex followed her detective to the small room off the main squadroom. Squeezing in between Elliot and Munch, she wasn't sure exactly what she was seeing. Olivia was slouched slightly against one end of the small table, supporting her chin on one elbow. Wie, meanwhile, sat upright at the opposite end, his fingers laced primly together. Neither was saying a word.
"What are they doing?" Alex asked quietly. There was no need to whisper, she knew, but for some reason the situation seemed to call for it.
"I'd say they're staring at each other," Munch replied drolly.
"Thank you, Detective," she said. "I mean, why are they doing that?"
No one had an answer.
"That's what they were doing when I came in here an hour ago," Fin reported. "Before that, Benson was doing a crossword puzzle."
"How long has she been in there?" Alex asked.
"No idea." Munch pointed at a couple of crumpled bags that looked as though they had been launched, game-winning-three-pointer style, into a wire basket in the corner. "That looks like lunch, though."
Like the proverbial car accident on the side of the road, there was something oddly mesmerizing about the complete lack of movement and sound that kept the detectives and their ADA glued to the scene. Even the slightest movement presented a stark contrast, so it did not escape their attention when Wie suddenly began tapping his thumbs together rhythmically. A few minutes later, he moved slightly in his seat.
"Is he going to attack her?" Alex asked worriedly. If Olivia had noticed the change, she hadn't indicated it.
Wie shifted again, and then again a minute later. Pursing his lips, he said, so casually that the foursome watching in the next room nearly missed it, "I killed them."
Without realizing it, Alex stepped closer to the glass. Oh, my God.
"Lara Moynihan and Lindsey Yapias?" Olivia asked. How could she sound so calm?
"You'll get them," he promised her. "But first . . ." He held out his hands, seeming to concede something.
"Sure." Olivia waved in the guard posted outside the internal security door.
"No gloating, Detective?" Wie asked.
She shook her head.
"Credit where credit is due," he said. "By all rights, that should have run you out of here hours ago." He nodded toward the trash can.
"It wasn't mine," she said casually.
For the first time in this long, exhausting day, Wie seemed taken aback. "What?" he said.
"It was my partner's," she said. "He's compensating."
The normal teasing of Detective Stabler that would have followed a comment like that did not this time. Instead, the SVU personnel continued to observe silently.
Wie closed his eyes for a moment, then smiled begrudgingly. "Well done," he complimented her. "I guess this wasn't a waste of time for you after all, was it?"
Far from it. SVU detectives didn't get a lot of down time. Not real down time, moments when there was no missing child to worry about, no rape victim to envision lying in her hospital bed. This had given her time -- a lot of time -- to think. Olivia Benson had decided to take some chances in her life.
She watched as the guard led Wie away. In the same instant that the interior door closed behind them, the exterior one opened, and four anxious co-workers poured in.
Munch pointed toward the exit through which Wie had just departed. "What the hell just happened?" he said.
"Are you all right?" Alex asked, laying a hand gently on Olivia's shoulder.
Olivia rose and answered Munch's question first. "Wie's never been stuck on surveillance duty for a week. Amateur." Turning to the ADA, she said, "I'm fine. In fact, I love you, Alex, and I would like to go out with you, but I'll understand if you don't feel the same way, no hard feelings."
"I'd love . . . to . . . ."
Alex uttered the words into empty space. Olivia Benson was racing through the squad room toward the east hallway.
While Alex stared after her, the men exchanged sympathetic glances. "Don't sweat it, Counselor," Fin said. "Lots of people have a fear of commitment at first . . . ."
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