DISCLAIMER: I don't own any of the characters of Law & Order SVU; they're owned by Dick Wolf, NBC, the bank and who-knows-who-else.  I've only borrowed them for a little while and I promise to put them back when I'm done.  No copyright infringement is meant, implied, un-implied, etc.; and no money is being made off of this anytime, anywhere, anyhow.  So there.
WARNING: Severe Casey-bashing ahead.  You've been warned, so don't run crying to me later.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Ransom Notes
By Del Robertson

Monday 11:45 a.m. - SVU Squad Room

"Listen up, people!"  Cragen's voice instantly demanded the attention of all his detectives.  "Has anyone seen or heard from Novak today?"

Elliot glanced up from the case file he was reading over.  "She should be in court, Cap."

"Should be is right.  She pulled a no-show in Petrovsky's courtroom."

"That for the Baldwin Brothers' case?"  asked Munch, smelling a conspiracy a mile away.

"Exactly,"  Cragen confirmed.  "Petrovsky had to toss the case out.  Thanks to Ms. Novak's disappearing act, the people failed to meet The Speedy Trial clause.  The brothers are back on the streets."

Liv snorted from behind her case file.  Cragen's head spun around, his beady eyes narrowing in on the direction of the offending sound..  "You got something to add, Detective Benson?"

"Hmm?"  Detective Olivia Benson, the picture of pure innocence, dropped the folder onto her desk, folding her palms on the hardwood. 

"You snorted.  I take it to mean you got something to say?"

"Just that even if ADA Novak had put in an appearance today, we still would have lost."

"That's a piss-poor attitude to take, Benson,"  scolded Cragen.

"I'm just saying; Look at her prosecution rate.  It's like, what, five percent win/ninety-five percent loss?"  Elliot rolled his eyes, knowing what was coming next.  "I'm just saying; we've had better ADA's."

"Heads up, people!"  Fin burst into the room, a Ziploc bag held firmly in his grasp.  "This just arrived."

The squad gathered around as Fin dropped the baggy on Olivia's desk.  Inside was a plain sheet of typing paper, with newspaper letters cut and pasted to spell out a message:

We have your ADA.  She will be returned to you, unharmed, if you do exactly as we demand.  Gather $100,000 in small denominations.  Drop into the garbage can beside the fountain in Central Park at midnight tonight. 

"It was delivered by courier about ten minutes ago.  No return address.  No idea of who sent it,"  Fin summarized.  "Novak really missing?"

"Guess so,"  Cragen confirmed.  "No one's had contact with her since she asked Liv if she wanted to play softball with her last night."

"Let me get this straight,"  Elliot couldn't keep the smirk off his face as he looked across the desk at his partner.  "Casey wanted to play a night game with you?"

"With the whole team,"  Detective Benson glared at Stabler.  "Apparently, her league plays mostly at night."  Probably so they don't have to watch her lurch around the bases if she actually hits the ball.

"All right, people, enough chit-chat.  Let's hit the streets and see what we can find out about this,"  Cragen instructed.  He divvied up the assignments, then returned to his office to make the phone call to Liz Donnelly about one of her assistant district attorney's being nabbed.



Tuesday 08:22 a.m. - SVU Squad Room

"Heads up, people!"  Fin rushed into the office, dropped another Ziploc baggy onto Olivia's desk.  This one also contained a plain sheet of typing, with newspaper letters cut and pasted to spell out a message.

We waited until 3 a.m. for you to deliver the ransom for the return of your ADA.  Perhaps we didn't give you enough time to gather the full ransom amount.  Drop$50,000 into the garbage can beside the fountain in Central Park at midnight tonight and she will be returned unharmed.

"Where's Cragen?"  asked Fin, looking around the squadroom, noticing his captain's absence.

"Meeting with the brass over Novak's disappearance."  Liv grabbed Elliot's donut from off his desk, bit into it.

"Hey!"  He exclaimed, snatching the pastry back.  "Get your own!"

Liv pouted.  "Can't.  It's the last one."

"Well, that's hardly my fault."  He got up from his chair, stalked to a corner of the room, and proceeded to eat his donut, glancing left and right, to make sure no one was going to attempt to jump him for the last pastry.

"Yeah,"  Munch chimed in.  "Since Alex's been gone, we haven't had anyone to bring us sweets every morning."  He looked pointedly at Liv.  "And, no one's made the effort to be nice to Casey so she'll feel obliged to bring us breakfast."

"Yeah, well, Casey's not here, is she?"  Again, Liv made with the too-cute-hangdog look.

"Speaking of which, I guess we should do something about this, huh?"  Fin asked his fellow detectives, gesturing at the ransom note.



 Wednesday  11:04 p.m. - Central Park

Detectives Benson and Stabler sat in their plain, unmarked car watching the park.  So far, they had seen a bag lady and several young punks on skateboards.  But, no sign of Novak or her kidnappers.  Elliot took another sip from his coffee cup, stretched, settled back in his seat.  So far, they'd talked about his wife, his kids, Alex, the Yankees, Alex, his vacation plans, the vacation plans Liv had made with Alex; and quite frankly, he was bored.

"Hey, Liv, let me see that  note one more time, huh?" 

Detective Benson passed the note to Stabler, turned on the interior car light so he could read it better.

Your ADA was very sorry that you didn't pay.  $10,000 in a plain brown bag.  Central Park.  Midnight tonight.  Garbage can beside the fountain.

Stabler glanced at his watch again.  11:15 p.m.  He turned off the interior car light, sat in the darkness, staring out the windshield. 

"What time is it, now?"  asked Liv, a short time later.

"11:21."  Elliot took another sip from his cup.  "Coffee's gone cold."

"Yep,"  confirmed Liv, sipping from her own cup.

They sat silently for a moment, both staring out the windshield.  A man approached the garbage can, and they both sat up in their seats.  Then, slumped down when he threw a plastic bag in and walked away.

Elliot turned to face Liv.  "Wanna go get another?"


"Of course,"  replied Detective Stabler, cranking the car.



Thursday 10:36 a.m. - SVU Interview Room

Detective Stabler leaned all his weight onto his open palms on the table.  He was about an inch from invading the bookie's personal space.  Three hours of playing good cop/bad cop with this scum and he was rapidly loosing his patience.

"Tell me again; who did you get this from?"  He yelled, the veins in his wrists and arms bulging as he waved the Ziploc bag in front of the perp's face.

"I don't know, man!"

Elliot backhanded Lenny the Snitch.  He raised his hand to strike him again, when Detective Benson's restraining arm stopped him.  "Maybe he's telling the truth,"  Liv said in a hushed tone. 

The perp furiously bobbed his head up and down.  "Yeah, man.  Listen to her.  Some dude passed it to me on the street, along with a c-note.  Told me to bring it to you."

"Can you identify this dude if you were to see him again?"  asked Stabler.

"Naw, man.  It all happened so quick, ya know?"

 Lenny braced himself for another blow from Stabler.  He was surprised when the detectives told him he could leave.  He risked a look back over his shoulder as he was escorted from the room by a uniformed cop.  Benson and Stabler were too engrossed in the contents of the Ziploc bag to witness his departure.

Last chance: $500 in an envelope in the trashcan at midnight in Central Park.



Friday 07:18 a.m. - SVU Squad Room

Please.  We'll pay you $5,000 to take back Casey Novak.  You can pick up her and the money at the Harbor - Warehouse 15.  Come anytime; she'll be tied to a chair waiting for you with an envelope full of small, untraceable bills.

Detective Benson read the note one more time, not quite believing her eyes.  Quickly, she looked around the squadroom.  She was alone, no one else having arrived, yet.  Not even the Captain.

Liv glanced at the note again, flipping it this way and that.  Whistling nonchalantly, with one final look around the squadroom, she wadded the paper up and threw it into the trashcan beside her desk.

The End

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