DISCLAIMER: I don't own Law and Order SVU or these characters, but I wish I did.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: End of 'Guilt'.

You're Not Alone
By Nicole


Chapter 1

Liz Donnelly stood beside her open office door letting Alex know that it was time for her to leave. Not knowing what else to say, Alex passed by her and headed to her office, her head now beginning to reel with what had just happened.

'What have I gotten myself into?' She thought.

As she entered her office she saw the stack of files covering her desk, just waiting for her attention. She realized that all of those cases would now be passed onto someone else, someone else who wouldn't prosecute them as well as she could. "Fuck!" She yelled as she knocked the files and other important documents onto the surrounding floor.

"Alex?" Alex jumped at the unexpected sound and turned toward it. Standing there, in front of her couch was Detective Olivia Benson. "Olivia," Alex said, stunned. Quickly she squared her shoulders, not wanting to embarrass herself anymore than she already had. "What can I do for you, Detective?" Olivia started to move forward but saw that Alex had taken her defensive stance so she thought better of it. "I came to see if you were all right."

Alex leaned back against her desk, "Why wouldn't I be, we got Barnett, and now it seems I get to go on vacation."

"So, Donnelly suspended you?" Olivia asked.

"I'm surprised she didn't fire me, after what Petrovsky said I thought I was done for."

Olivia moved in front of Alex, hoping to be reassuring. "Of course she wouldn't fire you, Donnelly knows how good you are, and she knows how much this office needs you. Losing you would be a huge loss for this office, not to mention our team."

Alex waved her hand at the detective, trying to shrug off the compliment. "Thanks, but I'm not so sure that that's true."

Without thinking, Olivia took Alex's hand. "Why not? You've got one of the highest conviction rates in the DAs office, you're smart, you've got political aspirations, and you're very intimidating. Donnelly knows you're going places; there is no way she'd let you get away. "

Alex shook her head, "I crossed a line that I never wanted to cross with this case. I don't always agree with the laws, but they are there for a reason and when someone like me ignores them to get what they want, then we become just as bad as the perps we're trying to put away."

Olivia looked at her carefully, "You don't really believe that do you, that you're as bad as Barnett? I mean…there isn't even a small correlation between you and him."

Alex bowed her head in response, "sometimes I'm not sure if I'm cut out for this job. Before SVU I never let my emotions get in the way, but lately that's all I've been doing. These cases take so much out of you."

Olivia placed her other hand under Alex's chin, lifting her head so that their eyes could meet. "Alex, you were meant for this job. There is no one who is as passionate about the law as you; you fight the fights that any other lawyer would give up on without even thinking about who might be affected. You make us work twice as hard on these cases because we know that when it is your turn with the case you will work just as hard as we did. You should know that before you our precinct wouldn't have ever consider trying to prosecute some of the cases that we are trying to prosecute now. You've brought us hope, and that's not easy to do."

Alex lifted her hand to wipe a stray tear that has escaped down her face. "How do you do that?" Alex asked.

"How do I do what?"

"You're always here when I need you to be, making me feel better, making me feel like I am a part of something. I don't know what I would do without you."

Olivia smiled, "Alex, you and I are a lot a like. These cases aren't just cases to us, we know that each little thing that we do affects the people involved with the case. The only reason why I know what to say to you now is because I have to tell myself those same things over and over. Sometimes these cases make me feel so secluded, and sometimes I feel so attached, I slowly become too emotionally involved with the victims and allow those feelings to interfere with everything in my life. But, when it comes to those that I care about I am finally able to make the case second priority. I want you to know that I will always be here when you need me to be here, because I know that when I need someone, you would do the same for me." Alex reached her arms around Olivia breaking their hands apart to pull her close to her body.

Olivia could feel Alex inhale a sharp breath, before she knew it the beautiful ADA was crying in her arms. Olivia carefully walked them both over to the couch, trying to keep Alex pressed against her. Once they were both seated Olivia pulled Alex into her lap, cradling her so that they could be close together. Olivia didn't say anything; she just gently began to rub Alex's back to help soothe her gentle sobs. Alex's grip on Olivia began to tighten and Olivia noticed that Alex was now shaking.

"Are you cold?" Olivia asked, pulling Alex closer and placing a gentle kiss on her temple. Alex shook her head no in response and buried herself deeper into the detective.


Chapter 2

It took Alex a minute to realize what had happened. She slowly pulled back from Olivia's embrace and looked at the detective.

"I'm sorry Olivia, I didn't mean to break down like that," she said as she wiped her eyes.

Olivia lifted her hand to Alex's cheek and brushed away a stray tear that had been stranded there. "You don't have to apologize Alex, we've all had these moments."

"Why don't I ever see you breaking down like this?"

Olivia smiled, "because I've never felt comfortable being as upset as I get in front of people. When you work in a predominately male dominated field, you learn not to project emotions that flag you as a female."

Alex moved off of Olivia's lap, placing herself directly beside the detective. "Surely Elliot has seen you cry."

"Of course, but I try not to let him see how much this job really affects me. If he knew how much it hurts me to see a child suffer, or how I can relate to the pain of some of these women, he would spend his time trying to protect me rather than do his job. It just makes more sense for me to go home and be alone when I am upset, I'm like the little sister of the group and I can't let my feelings hurt the group's dynamic."

Alex grabbed Olivia's hand. "I don't really have anyone to share with either. I'm sure Donnelly is sympathetic, she did have this position before I did, but you can't share this kind of stuff with your boss."

"What about that guy you're seeing, you can't talk to him about this stuff?"

Alex laughed, "he wasn't really a share your feelings kind of guy. I actually stopped seeing him about a month ago."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I guess I don't really ask about your social life too often."

Looking into Olivia's deep brown eyes Alex decided to take a chance. "We should change that."


Chapter 3

Olivia couldn't concentrate as she sat at her desk. The precinct was abuzz with chaos, as usual, but every time she settled enough to read the file in front of her, her mind wandered back to the dinner that she and Alex had shared the night before.

After helping Alex deal with her emotions surrounding the Cavanaugh case and her immediate suspension, Alex felt that at the very least she owed the detective a meal. It had taken some convincing, but finally the two of them had ended up at a tiny little Italian restaurant two blocks from Alex's apartment.

The meal had been amicable, neither of them really wanting to talk about work. Both had shared stories about their childhoods and why they were doing what they were doing, but mostly they just talked about some of the things that they liked to do when they had some down time, which wasn't very often.

They discovered that they both shared a love for many of the same things. Alex loved running in Central Park, when time allowed, watching many of the same movies that Olivia did, and surprisingly they both liked to cook, although Alex did admit that she wasn't very good at it. When Olivia mentioned that she liked to rock climb, Alex jumped at the opportunity to spend a little time with the detective. They decided that they would go climbing the next day, after Olivia finished her shift.

Now, if only Olivia could start her shift.

The sound of someone clearing their throat behind her startled Olivia from her thoughts. Elliot was standing there with two big cups of coffee and a worried look on his face.

"You ok, you looked a million miles away."

Olivia reached out and took one of the cups from his hands. "Ya, I'm fine. I was just thinking about this new case."

Elliot wasn't convinced, but he decided to let it go. "Cragen just stopped me in the hall, said that there was a body found on 7th St."

Olivia pushed herself out of her chair, already in detective mode. "He thinks it's our guy?"

"Everything seems to fit this guy's M.O."

Picking up her jacket, Olivia moved ahead of Elliot out into the hall. She didn't realize that he wasn't behind her until she stepped into the elevator. Grabbing onto the door, she stuck her head back out into the hallway, "get a move on Stabler, we don't have all day."


Chapter 4

After a silent 30-minute drive through traffic, the detectives finally arrived at the crime scene. Elliot stepped out of the car first and waved to Fin to signal their arrival. "Good thing this wasn't an emergency." Detective Munch said as he approached Olivia who was getting out of passenger side of the car.

"It doesn't pay to have an emergency in New York City," she said. "You never know when emergency services are going to get to you."

Munch nodded in agreement.

"So what do we have here?" Elliot asked in order to get everyone back into their cop modes.

Fin flipped open the little black notebook that he carried with him. "White female, 15-20 years old. Raped, beaten, and stabbed seventeen times. The killer removed her hands and bashed in her face, it's going to be hard to get an I.D. on this one."

They all started to walk toward the scene, Elliot and Olivia putting on their gloves as they went.

"Who called it in?" Olivia asked.

Fin looked at Munch, asking him to inform the group about this part of the investigation. "A kid who lives in the apartment building. He went into the alley to avoid getting caught smoking by his mother and found the victim. Lost his breakfast all over the scene. CSI isn't sure if we lost any valuable evidence because of it. I don't blame the kid for getting sick, I had a heck of a time keeping my coffee down on this one."

"Warner get a time of death?" Elliot asked as they pushed through all the people at the scene.

Fin put his notebook away. Anything else they needed to know, they would soon be finding out. "She said she wouldn't be able to give us a time until she got the body back to the morgue for an autopsy. She mentioned something about a residue that she found beneath the corpse. You might want to ask her."

Olivia stepped past the final group of evidence technicians and saw the M.E. hunched over the muddled mass of what was once a human being. It only took a few more steps for Olivia to see the grotesque outcome of this murder. Suddenly over whelmed by the sight and smell of the scene Olivia turned and ran to the nearest trashcan, where she proceeded to lose her morning meal.

"You ok Benson?" Fin asked as he handed her a handkerchief.

Olivia wiped her mouth; she was embarrassed by her visibility. It seemed like the entire force was watching her at the moment, and all she wanted was to be somewhere else.

"I'm fine, just wasn't prepared for that."

Fin put a hand on her shoulder. "None of us are ever prepared for something like that. This guy is a real psycho."

Olivia shook her head in agreement. It was going to be a long day.


Chapter 5

The precinct was eerily still for 10 o'clock at night. Much of the team was either out following a lead or had gone home for the evening. Sitting alone under the lone light of her desk lamp, Olivia started sifting through the file of their current case. Three women had been raped and murdered, each new murder worse than the last. She had a feeling that this case was going to get uglier.

Olivia had allowed herself to become preoccupied with thoughts of Alex earlier in the day and that had gotten her nowhere with the case, so now her focus was solely on the sicko who was causing so much pain. On the ride back to the precinct she had called Alex to cancel their plans to go rock climbing, and she was surprised to find that Alex was disappointed. Telling Alex that she would make it up to her, she explained that the case that they were working on had just become more difficult and that she would probably be spending the night looking over the files. Understanding the difficulty of Olivia's job, Alex empathized and told her that if she needed any help that she would come by and give a fresh perspective.

As Olivia looked at the file for what seemed like the fifteenth time she decided to take Alex up on the offer. After three rings the ADA picked up the phone with a barely audible hello.

"Alex?" Olivia said, wondering if she had misdialed the phone.


"I'm sorry," Olivia spoke as she looked at the clock. It was eleven o'clock. "I should have realized that you would be in bed. I'm sorry I called so late."

"It's all right. Is everything ok, Olivia?"

"Everything's fine. You go back to bed."

Alex looked at her caller id. "Why are you still at the precinct?"

"I'm just going over some stuff. I shouldn't have called, I'm sorry."

Alex smiled, "You don't have to apologize, I told you that you could call me whenever."

"I know, I just didn't realize how late it was until you answered."

"Are you planning on being there for a while longer?" Alex asked.

Olivia looked at the folder of photos that she still had to go through. "I'll probably just crash here tonight. I've still got quite a bit of information to sift through." She picked up an envelope that was sitting under the pile of photos.

"You have coffee?"

Olivia laughed at Alex's question as she opened the envelope. "More like sludge, but it'll get the job done."

"Why don't I bring you something decent? How do you like your coffee?"

"You don't have to do that, thank you though." She started pulling the contents out of the envelope as she added, "I should let you get back to bed. How about I give you a call tomorrow, maybe we can do lunch?"

Suddenly a little more awake Alex said, "I'd like that."

"Me too." Olivia looked down at what was now in her hands. "SHIT!" She exclaimed.

"What?" Alex asked concerned.

"Alex, I have to go. I'll call you tomorrow."

"Olivia?" Alex said into the now dead phone. Worried about the detective Alex got up and moved to her closet.


Chapter 6

Olivia ran out to her squad car, dialing the phone as she went. As she peeled out of the parking lot she hit redial, hoping that Elliot would pick up. He didn't. When she hit the main highway going to Queens, she put on her lights and siren. She wasn't stopping for anything right now.

Dialing a new number, Olivia knew that something had to be done about the envelope that had been left on her desk.


"Captain, it's Olivia."

"Olivia, what's going on?"

"I'm sorry I'm calling so late Cap, but we have an emergency. I found an envelope on my desk about fifteen minutes ago, I'm not sure when it got there, but its contents are alarming."

"What was in the envelope?"

"Pictures of Maureen sir, Elliot's daughter."

"Have you talked to Elliot? Checked in to see if Maureen is at home?"

"I've tried calling, but he isn't answering his house or cell phones. I'm on my way to his house now, but I'm pretty sure that these photos aren't fakes."

"Ok," Cragen said. "You go get Elliot. Actually, bring in his whole family. I'll get the squad back to the precinct and we'll start working on this. Where's the envelope?"

"I left the envelope on my desk, I have its contents with me."

"Did you bag what was in it?"

"Of course, as soon as I saw what it was I put it in an evidence bag."

"Good. I know it'll be hard, but try to keep Elliot calm, the last thing we need is for him to run off on his own. If this guy is targeting Elliot, we'll have to keep him and his family safe."

"I'll do my best, but we all know that if this is really happening he's going to become a handful."

"I know. Good luck Benson, I'll see you soon."


Chapter 7

Olivia took a deep breath before knocking on Elliot's door, this was going to be one of the most difficult things she had ever done.

She reached up for the knocker and knocked three times. After a few minutes, she knocked again.

"Do you know what time it is? This better be good." Elliot said as he opened the door. "Liv? What are you doing here?"

"Elliot, I need to come in."

Elliot took a step back allowing Olivia to enter his house. "What's going on?"

"First I need to ask you, is Maureen here?"

"No, why?"

Olivia took a breath, "where is she supposed to be?"

"At her friend Megan's house. Why, what's going on?"

"Call Megan's house, see if she's there. I'll tell you once that's done."

Elliot grabbed the phone in the kitchen. The phone rang until the answering machine picked up. "This is Elliot Stabler, Maureen's father, I'm calling to talk with Maureen. If someone could please give me a call back, my number is 310-987-8978." Elliot hung up the phone and looked at Olivia, "what's going on Liv?"

Olivia moved over to where Elliot was standing. "Elliot, I found an envelope on my desk tonight, there were pictures of Maureen bound and gagged inside."

"What?! That…that can't be possible."

"We need to get you and your family out of here, give me Megan's address and I'll have a unit go over there and check for Maureen."

Elliot just shook his head, wrote down the address and went upstairs to get Kathy and the kids. She knew that he was in shock now, but soon he would be all over the place trying to find his daughter.

Olivia pulled out her cell phone. "This is Detective Olivia Benson, badge number 3859. I need to get a unit to 235 Huntington St., Queens. Approach with caution. We're looking for fifteen year old Maureen Stabler, about 5'5", brunette, brown eyes. Let me know what you find." Olivia hung up just as Elliot was walking down the stairs with the Dickie, Kathleen and Kathy were right behind him.

"You get someone to Megan's house?" Elliot asked.

"They're on their way right now."

"Let's go then, we'll meet them there." Elliot said, walking out the door.

"Elliot," Olivia said as she followed him. "Cragen wants you and your family to go into the precinct. I'll go over the Megan's house and see what's going on."

Elliot stopped in front of his car. "I'm coming with you."

"El, you can't come. You need to take your family to the precinct where they will be safe. We don't know what's going on, and you and I both don't want to put them in any more danger."

"Have a unit take them to the precinct, I'm coming with you."

Olivia placed her hand on Elliot's arm just as an N.Y.P.D. unit pulled up. "You're going to the precinct, Elliot. That unit is going to follow you there. I need you to follow Cragen's orders, don't make this more difficult than it already is."

"Don't make this more difficult…She's my daughter!" Elliot yelled as he watched his family load into the car.

"I know she's your daughter, she's my family too El. All I'm saying is, this is going to work a lot better if you work with us rather than against us. This isn't going to get done right if we have to worry about you too."

"I know how to do my job dammit! I need to help you find out what's going on."

"No, you need to leave. I'll call you when I am on my way back to the precinct."

Elliot slammed his hand on the hood of his car. "I can't believe you're doing this. I can't believe that you aren't supporting me on this." He yelled as he stormed to the driver's side of his car.

"Please, just go to the precinct. It'll be best for everyone."

Elliot got into the driver's seat and started the engine without responding. She hoped that he would listen and go to the precinct like she had said.


Chapter 8

Alex was surprised to see all the lights in the precinct on as she left the confines of the elevator. The main room was chaotic. Elliot and his family were huddled around the couches near the window, while Fin, and Cragen were working at the white board across the room. Munch was at the counter fixing the group a new batch of coffee.

Munch saw Alex first. "Hey, what are you doing here this late?"

Alex took the cup of coffee that Munch was handing her. "I was talking to Olivia a little earlier, and she suddenly had to go. I got worried and decided to come down here. I've been trying to get a hold of her on her cell, where is she? Is she all right?"

"She's in Queens right now. There was an envelope on her desk with photos of Elliot's daughter, she's missing and Liv's trying to find her."

"Oh my god, is he ok?"

"I don't think so. He's been yelling for the last fifteen minutes about how he should be out there trying to find her. We just got him to settle down, but I don't think it'll stay that way for long."

Alex looked at Elliot and his family. "Is there anything you think I can do?"

"I don't know. Maybe just sitting with them will help."

Alex bit her lip, "have you heard from Liv?"

"Not yet, I'm sure she'll be calling in soon."

Taking Munch's advice, Alex walked over to where Elliot and his family were sitting. As soon as she approached Elliot stood up and Alex could see the worry in his eyes. She embraced him, hoping that her support would show in the strength of her hug. She couldn't imagine what he was going through, she could only wonder if Olivia was feeling the same way.


Chapter 9

Megan's house was dark when Olivia arrived at the scene. The Queens unit that had been dispatched was waiting out front for her arrival. As she got out of the car Olivia noticed that there were two cars in the driveway. She hoped that meant that Megan and her parents were home and Maureen was asleep in Megan's room, but her gut told her that was probably not the case.

Noticing that she had gotten out of her car, the officers from Queens had walked up to the door and knocked. After a few minutes of no response they knocked again. Olivia's hope for the best was dwindling quickly. As the officers knocked for a third time she finally decided to walk around the house, it was when she reached the back door that she saw her reason to enter.

The window in the door was broken and the view into the kitchen was unconscionable. Sitting at the kitchen table was what Olivia could only assume to be Megan's father, and on the floor beside him, lying in a puddle of blood was most likely his wife. Maureen's disappearance was suddenly becoming a reality, and the likelihood that anyone remained alive in the house was improbable.

Moving carefully, Olivia reached into the broken window to open the door while she radioed to the officers at the front of the house. The scene was even worse than what she had first seen. The walls were spattered with blood from the gunshot wounds and the house looked as though it had been ransacked. Olivia crossed to the front of the house, carefully letting the officers in and instructing them to be careful, any evidence left behind was going to be needed. She reached into her pocket, putting on a pair of latex gloves that she had pulled from the car. There had been no sign of Megan and Maureen downstairs, it was time to go upstairs to see if the two girls were there.

While making her way up to the second story of house, Olivia heard the sirens of approaching vehicles. The Queens officers had called in for backup. Knowing that soon the house would be overwhelmed with police department personnel, she ran up the remaining stairs to the first room she saw. It wasn't until she reached the slightly ajar door of the third room that she knew she had found Megan. There, lying on the bed, was the nude and bloodied form of the young girl. Olivia had to look away and gather her bearings before continuing into the room. On the floor close to the window lay a bag that Olivia knew to be Maureen's, but there was no other sign of Elliot's daughter.

Olivia crossed over to the bag and carefully opened it, hoping to find something that would help her locate the girl. Instead, Olivia found a blood-spattered envelope with her name written on it in the same writing as the previous one had been.

Trying to do as little harm to the envelope as she could, she opened the envelope and poured the contents into her hand. On the very top of the papers was a picture of a very frightened Maureen. A tear rolled down Olivia's cheek as she saw a recognizable emptiness in her eyes. He had done something to her, and he was going to pay for it.

Pulling out the paper that lay beneath the photo, Olivia began to read:

Dearest Detective Benson,

You are probably wondering what all of this has to do with you. Why have I been taunting you with the chore of finding your partner's daughter? Well, the answer is simple; I wanted to see if the Saint of the NYPD's Special Victims Unit was up to the task.

I bet you wish you weren't so special now, huh?

Olivia shook with hatred, this was about her, it had absolutely nothing to do with Elliot other than the fact that he was her partner. It made her sick thinking about how this was all her fault. If she had convinced Cragen to not let the media peg her as the darling of the police department, then the press never would have printed her name and picture in their stories and Maureen would have never been placed in danger.

She pulled her cell phone out of her pocket to call Cragen, this guy was going to fry when she caught him.


Chapter 10

It was four a.m. when Olivia finally returned to the 16th precinct. She had stayed at the scene until the very last technician left, it was the only way to know every detail about what they had found at that time.

The ride up the elevator was silent, but she was sure once the doors opened people would bombard her for information. She didn't feel ready. She especially didn't feel ready to face Elliot. This was all her fault and soon everyone would know that.

As the elevator came to a halt, Olivia took a deep breath to prepare herself for the chaos that was sure to ensue. Munch was the first one to see Olivia as she entered the hallway. Waving a hand filled with snacks from the vending machines, he motioned for Olivia to follow him to the bunkroom. She didn't understand why she was going there until they entered. Elliot and his family were gathered in the room, the children were asleep on one side of the room while the adults were gathered on the other side. Olivia was surprise to find Alex sitting beside Kathy, holding her hand in support.

Munch cleared his throat to get the other adults attention.

"Olivia," Elliot said, jumping up from the bed with which he sat. "What's going on? What do you know?"

Olivia looked at the suddenly awake children. "Why don't we go in the other room? Munch will you stay here with the kids?" She asked.

Munch nodded his head in understanding; Olivia had something bad to tell Elliot.

Alex and Kathy followed the two detectives out of the room to a couple of couches that sat in the precinct. Before anyone could sit down, Elliot grabbed a hold of Olivia's shoulder and turned her to face him.

"Talk to me dammit, what the hell is going on?"

Alex watched Olivia carefully as she took the hand that was still on her shoulder.

"El, Megan and her family are dead. This guy has decided to make this game of his personal, he's left me another note."

A shaking Elliot sat down beside his wife, "did he leave you any indicator of where Maureen might be?"

"We gathered some evidence at the crime scene that may help us to find her, but they're just minor leads. I don't have too much to go on yet."

"Well, what the hell do you have?" He asked, accusingly.

Olivia took a minute before telling him what she had dreaded to tell him all night. "He's coming after me, El. I'm so sorry this has happened, it's my fault."

Elliot got up and stood directly in front of Olivia. "What do you mean it's your fault?"

"He's doing this because of me, not you. He wrote to me directly, leaving me little hints about what might be happening. He said…he said that he wanted to prove that I wasn't the saint that the media and the police department portrayed me to be."

"You mean he went after my daughter to mess with you?!"

"Yes." Olivia said, almost inaudibly.

"FUCK!" Elliot yelled, knocking over the file cabinet that was closest to him.

Kathy moved to get up and comfort her husband but Alex held her back. She had seen Elliot like this when he was with suspects; he needed to cool off on his own.

"El," Olivia said reaching out to touch his shoulder.

Without thinking Elliot swung his arm around to push Olivia away, causing her to fall back into a desk that was immediately behind her. No one could do anything but watch as Olivia fell backwards into the large wooden desk, the sound of her head cracking against the wood sickened everyone who could hear it. Elliot was instantly on the ground beside her, checking to see if she was all right.

"I'm so sorry Liv, I didn't mean to do that."

Olivia reached her hand up to the back of her head, the pain was so excruciating that it was hard to stay conscious. Alex was the first to see the blood on Olivia's hand as she pulled it away from her head.

Alex moved behind Olivia to give her some extra support, and to look at the wound. "She needs to go to the hospital."

"I'm fine." Olivia said trying to get up.

Alex gently put her arm around Olivia's waist. "You need to not move right now." Looking up at Kathy she asked, "can you help me get her to the locker room?"

Kathy nodded and moved to where she could help Alex get Olivia up off of the floor. It was a slow process, but with the help of the guys opening the doors, they finally got Olivia onto one of the benches. From there Alex once again sat behind Olivia in order to keep her sitting up, while Kathy went to retrieve a first aid kit from Cragen's office.

"You know none of this is your fault, right?" Alex asked.

Olivia leaned back, pressing herself into the warmth of Alex's body, letting herself feel safe if only for a brief moment. "I can't help but feel that it is. I know, psychologically that I have no control over this guy and what he's doing, but I can't help but think that if I hadn't allowed all those articles to be written about me, that this wouldn't be happening."

Alex moved her mouth close to Olivia's ear, "Olivia Benson, if it hadn't been you, then it would have been someone else far less qualified being depicted as the angel of the NYPD. This is not your fault in any way. This guy made a big mistake targeting you and this unit, and he'll realize that the moment we get Maureen back and he's been arraigned."

Turning her head so that she could look into Alex's eyes, Olivia knew that she wasn't being lied to. Alex really did believe everything that she had just said.

"Thank you, Alex. You don't know how much that means to me."

Alex pressed her lips to Olivia's cheek. "Well, you mean a lot to me."


Chapter 11

Stunned by Alex's blatant show of affection, Olivia wasn't sure what to do. Was Alex saying this as her friend, or did the desire that appeared to be seeping from her eyes ring true? Taking Alex's hand, Olivia kissed the ADA gently on the lips.

"You mean a lot to me too." She said, hoping that she had not made the wrong move.

Alex smiled and nuzzled into the detective's neck. "I wish that this was happening under different circumstances."

Olivia started to move in order to be face to face with Alex, but Alex wouldn't allow it.

"I don't want you moving around too much, we still have to check out this wound on your head." Alex said, obviously concerned.

"Alex, it's fine. I'm fine. It's just a cut, it'll heal."

Kathy saw the two of them as she walked in with the first aid kit and decided to interrupt. "Alex is right Olivia, you could have a fracture, or at the very least a concussion."

Turning so that she could see both of them, Olivia motioned for them to pay attention. "I understand your concern, but right now I can't concentrate on this. There are so many more things that we need to go over, I just don't have the time to go get checked out."

"There is a precinct full of detectives and police officers out there. I need you to go get looked at, Olivia. What good are you going to be to my daughter if the pain of that injury keeps you from focusing on the job at hand?" Kathy stated bluntly.

"Kathy, trust me, I won't be focusing on anything else. Getting Maureen back and catching this bastard are all I can think about. You don't have to worry about my focus, I am absolutely, one-hundred percent here for this."

Kathy set the first aid kit down beside Olivia and Alex. "I know you are. I'm sorry, I'm just scared for Maureen. I can't even imagine what she might be going through right now. And, to think that there may be the possibility that I might never see her again, I just can't handle that right now."

Olivia let go of Alex's hand and took Kathy's. "I promise you, I'm going to find her and bring her back." She said as a single tear slid down her cheek.

Kathy smiled softly at the detective. "Thank you." She let go of Olivia's hand. "I'll let Alex check you out, I'm going to go see how Elliot is doing."

"Tell him not to worry about me, will you? It was just an accident, no big deal."

"Ok." Kathy said as she left the locker room.

Olivia looked at Alex, "all right, let's get this wound cleaned up."

Reaching her hand up to Olivia's cheek, Alex touched the spot where Olivia's tear was drying. "You're an amazing woman, Olivia Benson." She said as she bent forward to touch her lips to the detective's.

The kiss was sweet. Olivia felt intoxicated by the touch. Never did she think that she would be kissing Alex Cabot, yet here she was, wrapped in the young ADA's arms.

Alex moved to deepen the kiss, parting Olivia's lips gently with her persuasive tongue. Olivia shuddered as their tongues stroked one another. A wave of dizziness overwhelmed her, and she couldn't tell if it was the kiss or the gash on her head.

"Alex," Olivia said, tenderly pulling back from their embrace. "I want nothing more than to sit here and kiss you, but I can't right now."

Alex took a breath and bit her lower lip to compose herself. "I know," she said. "Let's clean you up so we can get back out there."

Alex reached for the first aid kit, but before she was able to open it Olivia placed her hand over hers. "When this is all over, you and I are going to run away for a while." Olivia smiled, "I want you, without any interruptions."


Chapter 12

5 hours later.

Every police officer and detective that could be spared was sent out to follow the leads that Olivia and the others could come up with. Every time they got a step closer to actually finding something out, they felt as though they were being pushed two steps backwards. Maureen's kidnapper had yet to send Olivia another package, and the group felt as though they were beginning to run out of time.

Olivia had taken over one of the interrogation rooms, spreading out every piece of evidence that she had hoping to find something new. She was utterly exhausted, and in need of food, but she refused to stop until she found something.

Elliot, Munch, and Fin were trying to find any previous cases in the system that matched the M.O. of their guy. They were working on looking through Pennsylvania's records when Alex came in with bags full of hot food.

"Oh my god, I think I love you." Munch said as Alex sat the bags down on his desk.

Alex laughed, "You don't even know what's in them."

"It doesn't matter, at this point I was considering eating Fin."

Fin shook his head, "You don't know where I've been." He said jokingly.

"Oh, I'd make sure you were well done before sticking any of that in my mouth." Munch said waving his arm about.

Alex grabbed a small bag as the two detectives rifled through their choices. "Where's Liv?"

"She's in interrogation one, she's going over everything we've got." Munch spoke as he stuck a piece of bread in his mouth.

Alex motioned to where Elliot sat, "make sure he eats, will you?"

"Got it," Fin replied, as he piled food onto a paper plate.

Content with Fin's response, Alex headed for the closed door of interrogation room one. Not sure whether to just walk in or not, she decided to play it safe and knock.

"Come in," she heard Olivia say behind the closed door.

Alex shut the door once she was inside the room with Olivia. "I thought you might want to eat something."

Looking up at Alex and the bag of food that she held in her hand, Olivia immediately felt how hungry she actually was. "I don't even know when the last time I ate was." She admitted.

Alex sat down next to the detective. "I figured. You and I are a lot a like, once we get wrapped up in a case, we forget to take care of ourselves."

"I don't know what to do anymore Alex, I've been over all of this stuff about fifteen times and I'm getting no where." Olivia said sounding defeated.

Placing a supportive hand on her back, Alex spoke gently. "Well, first you need to eat a little something, and then you should try to get some rest. Being up for 32 hours straight isn't helping this case get any clearer."

"I can't sleep." Olivia said. "Maureen doesn't have a chance if I sleep now."

"You're no good to her dead on your feet either." Alex said sympathetically. "Explain to me what you're doing while we eat. I'll take over for a while so you can rest."

"You don't have to do that, Alex. You've already done so much for all of us."

Alex smiled, "it's not like I have anything else to do right now. Suspended, remember?"

Olivia leaned over and kissed Alex. "How the hell did I get so lucky?"

"I think we're both the lucky ones detective."


Chapter 13

Alex sat at the interrogation room table going over the files that Olivia had just gone over time and time again while the detective slept quietly in the corner. It had been nearly two hours since Alex had convinced Olivia to try to get some sleep, and Alex felt as if she too were getting nowhere. There was a pile of evidence, the problem was that she just didn't know where to start.

A knock on the door startled her from her thoughts and woke Olivia from her nap.

"Come in," Olivia mumbled.

Cragen entered the room with a couple of new folders in his arms.

"The guys found a couple of similar cases in North Carolina, same M.O."

Olivia got up from where she had been sleeping. "Anything we can use?"

"They had a sketch from a witness, but it's about 5 years old."

Olivia reached for the files, "well that's better than nothing. Anything else?"

"I talked to one of the guys that worked the case, he said that they believe this guy to be ex-military."

"Why's that?" Alex asked, excited about the new information.

Cragen looked at Alex, who was still sitting in front of mountains of papers. "They said that they found equipment at some of their scenes that was from the Fort Bragg base, and that evidence from the autopsies showed that he used offensive tactics that you get from military training."

"Those are some good leads, but none of that means that he is ex-military. He could have stolen the equipment from the base, and you can learn those tactics in self-defense classes, police academies, and from books." Olivia looked at Alex, "we'll go through these files again and see if he's still using the same tactics."

"I think we should check and see if there are any military cases that are similar to our own," Cragen said. "It's something we haven't done, and we're beginning to run out of time. It's been 34 hours, we all know that the likelihood of Maureen being alive after 72 hours is not a good one."

Olivia set the files down on the table. "I know the statistics, you don't have to quote them to me. We're doing everything that we can here, and of course we're going to look into every lead that comes up. Maureen's like family to me, I'm not going to sit here and do nothing, and I definitely don't need to be told how to do my job right now."

Alex put a hand on Olivia's back as Cragen looked at the detective. "I'm sorry, Olivia. I was out of line. Of course I know you're doing everything you can, this is just really close to home for all of us."

"I'll call Fort Bragg, see if I can speak to anyone there. You know better than anyone though that the military likes to keep things under wraps. If there was a problem with this guy on their turf, they're problem not going to divulge anything."

Cragen nodded in agreement. "I know, but anything is worth a try at this point." He looked back at Alex, her hand still on Olivia's back in support of the detective. "Thank you for helping out Alex, it means a lot to the team that you're here."

"Thanks Don." Alex replied, not knowing what else to say.

Olivia turned to Alex as Cragen shut the door behind him. "You want to go through these files, while I try to get a hold of someone in Fort Bragg?"

"Sure. You ok?"

Olivia placed a hand on Alex's shoulder. "Ya."


Chapter 14

Olivia was on the phone with a lieutenant colonel at the Fort Bragg base for close to an hour before she got anywhere. She tried to articulate clearly and authoritatively to the lieutenant just what it was that she needed, but it wasn't until she started to break down that the lieutenant started to sympathize and comply with her request.

She was told that there were indeed incidences that occurred on the base that were similar to the cases that she was describing, and that those cases had been tied to someone non-military. They even had a name and a clear description to give her. It took a little more convincing, but Olivia finally persuaded the lieutenant to fax her all the information that he had on the cases that had occurred and about the man in question. Finally she felt as if she were getting somewhere.

Olivia placed her cell phone on the table and looked at Alex. "I think we've got something."

"Really? What did he say?"

Olivia smiled, "he gave me a name. He said he'd fax over everything that he had on this guy."

Alex stood up, "that's fantastic. Let's go tell the guys, Elliot needs to hear some good news."

Both women walked out to where everyone else was. Elliot looked up immediately when he saw them.

"You have something new?" He asked.

"Fin," Olivia said. "We need to find everything we can on a guy named Thomas Winston, one of his possible aliases is William Dunn."

"I'm on it," Fin said, turning his chair so that he was in front of the computer.

"Talk to me, who's this Thomas Winston guy, and what does he have to do with my daughter?"

"I spoke with a lieutenant colonel on the Fort Bragg base in North Carolina. MO's matched, descriptions seemed to match, and best thing about this is, if he is our guy I think I know how to play with him."

"What do you mean?" Cragen asked, "Why do you think you'll be able to play with him?"

"From what the lieutenant was telling me, this guy wanted nothing more than to be a cop but he couldn't be, the military wouldn't even accept him."

"Wow, what the hell is wrong with this guy? The military will take practically anyone." Munch said.

"I don't know why exactly, the lieutenant said his files were confidential. What he did tell me was that he has a major disliking for women in high authority positions, for some reason he's decided that I am one of those women. I was thinking that if somehow I can piss him off, I might be able to make a trade."

Alex looked at Olivia, she hadn't heard any of this when they were talking. "What are you talking about, trade?"

Olivia glanced at Alex, then back at the others in the room. "If I can get him to give up Maureen for me, we'll be that much closer to having him. We just need to come up with a scheme to catch him all the while making sure that we keep Maureen safe."

"You too." Alex added.

Olivia looked at Alex. "I'll be fine, I'm trained to do this."

"I know you're trained to do this, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't make sure that this is safe for you too. You're life is important as well, and if it doesn't need to be risked then we won't risk it." Alex stated aggressively.

No one else spoke; they all had a feeling that this was a battle Olivia would have to wage with Alex a little later.

"We'll talk about this later." Olivia said, directing her comment to Alex. "What we have to do now is find out everything that we can about this guy so that I have the ammunition I need when the time comes to use it. We'll have to wait for him to contact me again, and who knows when that might be, so until then we need to get to work on a plan. Let's find a couple of remote spots that he may be willing to do the trade at, once we have those we'll figure out the rest of the plan."

Cragen decided to break the tension in the air that was building between Alex and Olivia, "That sounds like a good start. Munch, Elliot, why don't you guys start looking for locations. Fin, keep doing a background search on this guy. Let's get Olivia the info she needs."

"Thanks Cap," Olivia said. Before going back to the interrogation room Olivia walked over to the fax machine that was now filled with faxes. "I'm going to look these over, then I'll bring them out for you guys to go through." She said as she started back to the room where she had spent the last 6 hours.

Without saying anything, Alex followed Olivia into the room and shut the door behind them. They had some things to discuss.


Chapter 15

When Olivia turned around Alex was right behind her. "What do you think you're doing?" Alex asked.

"My job, what does it look like I'm doing?"

"It looks like you're sacrificing yourself for Elliot's daughter."

"Maybe I am." Olivia said, not thinking about how that sounded.

"What? Are you crazy?"

"No, I'm just doing what needs to be done."

"You're going to risk your own life when we don't even know if Maureen is still alive?"

"Alex, I have to do this. I don't know what else to do, time is running out for her."

"Sweetie, time might have run out already. We haven't heard from him in over fifteen hours."

"No. Time hasn't run out, she's still got time, we just have to get to her."

Alex put her hand on Olivia's shoulder, the detective looked so close to falling apart that it was breaking Alex's heart. "How do you know that, Liv?"

"She has to be ok, if she isn't…I don't think I can handle her not being alive, Alex."

Alex pulled Olivia close to her as Olivia started to cry. The hours of non-stop intensity had finally started to break the detective down, and now she was doing anything she could to keep hope alive.

"We're going to figure this out, sweetie."

Olivia grabbed onto Alex's shirt and pulled her tightly to her. "I don't know what I would do if you weren't here right now. I don't think I'd be able to hold it together as well as I have been without your support. "

Alex touched her lips to Olivia's allowing herself to escape into the warmth of the detective. She had wanted this closeness for so long that she could barely believe that all of this was actually happening.

Olivia reacted sharply to Alex's touch, almost instantly deepening the kiss. Alex moaned at Olivia's forwardness. Olivia moved her hand to Alex's butt, lifting her onto the table behind her and spreading her legs so that she could settle into her nook. She felt the need to feel alive again, to feel needed, and Alex was doing that for her.

Alex brought her hands to Olivia's head, gently placing her fingers in Olivia's hair in order to bring her closer. Olivia felt the intensity building between them and knew she should stop, but she couldn't. Alex gasped as Olivia brought her hand to her breast, the merciless pressure making her more excited than she had ever been. Breaking their kiss, Alex moved her mouth from Olivia's addictive lips down the detective's neck to her collarbone.

Slowly Alex began to undo Olivia's shirt, button by button. She watched as Olivia's chest heaved up and down from all of the excitement. As her hands moved to release the last button on the detective's shirt, an unsuspecting Elliot opened the door to the room.

Taking one look at the disarray of both Olivia and their ADA, Elliot turned to leave. Before shutting the door he looked at Olivia one last time, "I'm glad you're in here having a good time while my daughter is going through who the hell knows what." He said, making her feel guilty.

"Elliot wait," Olivia yelled after her partner while straightening up her shirt. She turned to Alex, apologizing to her for the embarrassing interruption as she moved for the door.

"Don't worry about me, go talk to him." Alex said. "I'll be right here when you get back."


Chapter 16

"Elliot, wait!" Olivia shouted again as she ran after Elliot through the precinct. Fin and Munch looked up and saw a fuming Elliot headed towards the elevator. Olivia caught up to him as he was pushing the button to go down.

"Elliot, let's talk. I can explain."

He turned to face Olivia. "You can explain why you were practically fucking our ADA instead of trying to find my daughter." He shouted.

Olivia looked back at the precinct and saw that Alex had joined the rest of the squad. All ears were now on them. "Elliot, it's not like that." Olivia said quietly. "I was upset, and Alex was comforting me, things just got out of hand."

"Where is your head, Olivia? Cause if you don't want to be here for this, then you can just go home."

"I'm here, El. I've been here for the last two days. Maureen is my family, and there is no way in hell that I'm not going to help find her."

Elliot laughed angrily at Olivia. "You weren't helping a minute it ago. Well, I guess that's not exactly true, you were helping Alex get undressed."

"God dammit Elliot, grow up. If you want to make this a big deal, that's your problem; I have been working my ass of trying to find your daughter."

"Get out of my face Liv. I can't deal with you right now." He said hitting the elevator button again.

"Elliot, you need to calm down." Alex said, standing behind both of them. Neither Elliot nor Olivia had heard the ADA walk up.

"I have nothing to say to you, Alex. You come down here and distract my partner, knowing full well that she has feelings for you, when we should be concentrating on finding my daughter. I want nothing to do with you right now. You and Olivia can go back to what you were doing, I'm going to get back to trying to find my daughter, you're wasting precious time."

"How dare you talk to Alex like that." Olivia said. "She came down here on her own time to help us out, and you treat her like she came down here for sex. I started it, I came on to her…Dammit, I needed her. I was going crazy in there, trying to find the smallest clue to where Maureen might be. I know this is my fault, and I'm trying to fucking fix it, but I can't figure out how." Olivia started to openly cry. "We're going to find her, El. I'm going to do everything that I can to help you get her back."

Alex put her arms around Olivia, pulling her close to help subdue the sobs. "Shh sweetie, it's going to be ok. None of this is your fault." Alex said as she ran her hand soothingly up and down Olivia's back.

Elliot started to walk away from the two of them, but Alex stopped him. "You need to wake up, Elliot. Olivia is doing everything that she can possibly do to help find Maureen, she's even willing to risk her own life in exchange for your daughter. For you to be able to stand here and act like she's done nothing but disappoint you, well she's done anything but. As for her and I, I didn't come down here to distract her, or take advantage of her. I came down here because I care for your partner, and want to support her as you obviously cannot at this time. You're right, I do know that Olivia has feelings for me, but what you do not know is that I share those same feelings. I'm sorry you saw what you did, but we are all stressed out by what is going on. You feel the need to blame others to deal with what is going on, and we were doing what we needed to do in order to deal with the situation at hand."

Elliot looked at Olivia's tear stained face before turning back to Alex. "You're right, I'm sorry that I'm taking this out on you. You two are doing a lot, I'm just…I'm scared that I'm never going to see her again." He admitted.

"We aren't going to let that happen, El." Olivia said, touching Elliot's arm supportively. "We're going to get her back."

Elliot nodded.

"Let's stop standing here, and get back to work already." Alex said. "We've got a plan to come up with."


Chapter 17

The team spent hours going over everything that they had on Thomas Winston. They found that not only had he spent time in North Carolina, but also there was a possibility that he had committed similar crimes in 4 other states. The man was sick, and they knew that if they wanted to bring Maureen back alive they were going to have to do something fast.

Fin came up with a couple of remote locations that they could try to do a trade at, and Olivia spent time studying Thomas Winston and the reports that they had on them in case the plan worked and she was able to give herself to him for Maureen. Alex was still very uncomfortable with the plan, but at this point there was nothing else that they could come up with.

"Is there cover at these locations?" Cragen asked Fin. "Because there is no way in hell I'm sending Olivia in there without backup."

Fin pointed to the board where he had posted photos of the possible places where all of this would take place. "Location 1 has a spattering of buildings throughout the property, and location 2 has a lot of overgrowth where we can hide."

"What about sound?" Elliot asked. "We're going to have to put a microphone on Liv so we know what's going on."

Munch held up a box that had been sitting on his desk. "I already got all that from the tech guys." He said.

"Well, it looks like everything is coming together, now we just have to hope that this guy contacts us soon."

"He will." Olivia said, convinced that she was getting to know their perp. "He thinks he's in control of everything, he'll want to freak us out and tell us how bad it's getting for Maureen." She glanced over at Elliot, making sure the last thing she said didn't hurt him too much. "There is no point in his not contacting us, this is more about me than him having Maureen. He wants to prove that he is stronger, smarter, and more capable of hiding from us in plain sight than we are of actually finding him. He wants to contact me, because he wants to rile me up."

"What happens if he just sends another envelope like he has been doing?" Alex asked. "If he continues with his pattern then there will be no way for this plan of ours to work. We need to speak to him directly."

"It's getting late in the game," Cragen said. "At this point, they usually start to get antsy, and when they get antsy they make mistakes. He's going to call. In the meantime, Liv why don't you go get some rest. We're going to need every one to be alert for this, but you're going to need to be on top of your game out there."

"There's so much I need to do still, I'll go rest in a little while." Olivia remarked.

"No," Cragen said with authority. "You'll go now, none of us know when we might get another chance to get a little break. If you don't go now, and he calls, then there will be no stopping for sleep."

Olivia grumbled, but agreed that she should get some rest. "All right, but if anything comes up you need to come get me." She said, making sure that they knew she meant it. "Heads will roll if I'm left out of anything on this."

"We'll be sure to get you." Munch spoke up, trying to get Olivia out of the room. "You go rest, maybe when you get back Alex will have brought us another fabulous meal." He said, smiling teasingly at the ADA.

"I think you're going to be sent out for the next meal," Alex commented. "Cragen just offered me your job," She said with a laugh.

Munch looked at the Captain, "I wouldn't doubt it."


Chapter 18

Exhaustion took over as soon as Olivia's head hit the pillow. She was sleeping so soundly that she didn't hear when Alex came in and sat on the bed beside her. The room was practically pitch black except for the small stream of light coming from beneath the closed door.

Alex just sat there, watching as Olivia slept. Her chest gently rising and falling to the rhythm of each breathe. Seeing that a lock of hair had fallen into Olivia's face, Alex reached forward to brush it out of the way. It surprised her when Olivia's hand grabbed her own.

"Lay with me?" Olivia asked in a quiet voice.

"Of course." Alex replied, slowly lying down on the bed beside her detective.

Olivia turned so her body was facing Alex's and placed her arm around the ADA. "You know everything is going to be ok, right?"

"I hope so." Alex said. "I couldn't bear to lose you before I even had a chance to have you."

Olivia pulled Alex closer to her body. "You've had me for a while, counselor." She whispered into Alex's ear.

Turning her head, Alex caught Olivia's departing lips with her own. "You have no idea what you do to me, do you?"

"I hope it's similar to how I feel when I'm around you." She said, starting to kiss the ADA again.

Alex whimpered and wound her arms around Olivia's back, deepening their experience of one another.

Pulling back Olivia smiled, "This has been one heck of a first date."

"Don't think you won't be making up for it," Alex said with a laugh. Curling back into Olivia she spoke again, "we should try to get some sleep. Who knows what may lie around the next bend for us today."

Olivia agreed, "You're right. Sweet dreams, sweetie."


Chapter 19

"Olivia!" Fin yelled as he opened the door to the bunkroom. Two heads immediately shot up from their pillows.

"What is it Fin?" Olivia asked.

"He's on the phone and asking for you."

Olivia jumped over Alex and ran out the door to the squad room. Elliot, Munch, and Cragen were set up around her desk with headphones on so that they could hear the conversation. Olivia grabbed the phone.

"This is Detective Benson," she said.

"Away from your desk, were you detective? I guess this case isn't as important to you as it should be."

"That's not the case at all Mr. Winston," Olivia said as slyly as she could without instigating anything. "Or can I call you Thomas?"

"You can call me anything you like detective, because you'll never get your hands on me."

Olivia took a deep breath. "You may be right Thomas, it seems that you are much smarter than I am."

"You sound defeated. Is it possible that the great Olivia Benson has come undone?"

"I have a proposal for you Thomas, would you like to hear what it is?"

"I'm all ears detective, propose away."

Olivia rolled her eyes as Alex put on a set of headphones. "I'll admit that you have out smarted me," she began. "I think that we need to meet. I want you to give me Maureen, and in exchange you can take me. If you really want to prove that you are better at everything than I am, and that I am indeed unworthy of the attention that I receive, who better to face off with than me? I know of a few different locations that are very open, you'll be able to see that I am the only one in the vicinity, once we're gone from the scene my partner will get his daughter. Do you understand what I am proposing?"

"Yes. You think that if I exchange Maureen for you, you'll be able to outwit me. What happens if you're wrong detective? What happens if I actually am smarter than you?"

Olivia looked at Alex. "Then an innocent girl will still have her life, and you will have what you want."

His laugh made all who were listening cringe. "Then it sounds like a win-win situation."

"I guess it does," Olivia responded.

"So, where do you want to do this exchange?"

Olivia gave Thomas the three locations that they had decided on.

"I'll call you in one hour with my decision. Oh, and Detective?"


"Tell your partner that I hope his daughter's safety is worth the loss of his partner's life." There was only the sound of the dial tone after that.

Elliot took his headphones off and slammed them down on the desk. "Where the fuck do people like this come from?!"

Olivia looked at her partner. "It's going to be all right, El." She said before heading towards the elevator.

"Where do you think you're going?" Cragen asked.

"I need some fresh air. I've got my cell phone on me if you need me."

"But he's gonna call back." Fin said.

"I'll be back in forty minutes. Don't worry about it."

The doors to the elevator closed as Alex rounded the corner, trying to follow Olivia. Not wanting to lose the detective, Alex took the stairs.


Chapter 20

Alex burst through the door of the stairwell just as Olivia was disappearing outside.

"Hey!" Alex called out.

Olivia turned and stopped when she saw it was Alex following her. "Want to join me?" Olivia asked.

Alex smiled softly. "Well, I did just run down five flights of stairs."

Olivia took Alex's hand and led her down the street.

"Where are we going?" Alex asked.

"A place I go to when I need to think."

Alex said nothing in response; she just walked quietly next to Olivia letting her think.

It took about five minutes to get to a place of solitude in Central Park. They were a little ways off of the walking path surrounded by trees. Olivia leaned against a pile of boulders and looked up into the sky.

"I'm not sure I know what I'm doing, Alex." Olivia admitted.

Alex stood in front of the detective and placed her hands on her shoulders. "I have no doubt that you know exactly what you are doing, Olivia."

Olivia reached her hand around Alex's neck, her fingers entwined in Alex's hair. "You're so beautiful." Olivia said as her eyes held Alex's.

Alex took a step forward pressing her lips to Olivia's. "You have no idea how much I want you."

Olivia touched her lips to Alex's in order to silence her. She delicately caressed her lower lip with her tongue before pulling it into her mouth. Alex moaned as Olivia continued her gentle assault on the ADA's mouth. Neither woman had ever felt so much passion in such a simple kiss.

Alex pulled away and looked behind her, making sure nobody was watching.

"Don't worry, we're alone here." Olivia said.

Alex moved back into the detective's arms, allowing her to turn her so that her back was to the wall of the boulders. Olivia moved her mouth down over Alex's neck, continuing her intense study of what pleasured the ADA. Alex laid her head back against the rock, signaling to Olivia that she was all right with where this was going.

Moving her hand from the safe position on the wall, Olivia moved her hand under Alex's shirt and up towards her breast. Alex gasped as Olivia tenderly squeezed her breast. As Olivia began to stroke her nipple, Alex knew there was no turning back.

Alex grabbed Olivia and began kissing her with a need that both of them felt. Hands began to drift everywhere, taking in everything that they could. Both of them knew that this would not only be their first time together, but it might possibly be their last as well.

Olivia pressed her leg against Alex's core as she began to undo her jeans. Her hands were unsteady as Alex whimpered against her throat. As she slipped her hand beneath the fabric of Alex's jeans, Alex took hold of her breasts and suckled at her throat.

"Oh God!" Olivia moaned, as Alex increased the pressure of her stroking.

Olivia slid her fingers into Alex, suppressing her own need to explode. Moving her arms around Olivia's neck, Alex held on for dear life as Olivia brought her to her release.

Not wanting to be the only one that got anything out of their brief moment of solitude, Alex unraveled herself from Olivia's arms and pushed the detective back against the rocks. As she began to undo Olivia's pants, Olivia placed her hands over Alex's.

"You don't have to do that." Olivia said.

Alex dropped to her knees and pulled the fabric from the detective's waist. "I need to taste you." She said.

As Alex's mouth began to devour her, Olivia couldn't find the strength to protest. If this was all the time that she and Alex would ever have with each other, she wasn't going to waste it.


Chapter 21

Their hands were all over each other as Olivia and Alex rode the elevator back up to the squad room.

"I may have a hard time acting professionally around you from now on." Alex admitted.

"Have we ever acted professionally around one and other?" Olivia said with a laugh.

"Are you finally admitting that all of those arguments you instigated were just your way of trying to seduce me?" Alex said with a grin.

"All the arguments I started? You were the one that kept getting on my case!"

Alex hit the emergency stop button on the elevator pushed Olivia against the wall and kissed her.

"What was that for?" Olivia asked.

"I thought that would stop you from starting another argument."

Olivia growled and kissed Alex again. "I don't want to go back in there."

Alex touched her cheek. "Everything's going to be ok. I have faith in you."

Olivia took Alex's hand in hers and kissed her palm. "Thank you," she said as she released the emergency button.

They stepped out of the elevator with their fingers entwined. She could feel Alex's strength coursing through her, and she knew that without it she would start to second-guess herself.

"Good, you're back." Elliot said as soon as they rounded the corner.

Fin looked at his watch, then at Olivia. "Get a lot of thinkin' done?"

Olivia just scowled at him and moved to her desk. Alex sat down beside her and reached for a paper and pen.

Munch looked over Alex's shoulder as she started scribbling on the page. "What's that for?"

Alex continued what she was doing without looking up at him. "I'm writing out something for Liv to give to Maureen, that way she's not without identification if someone else picks her up before we get to her."

"Good thinking." Cragen said.

"Do we have everything that we need to be able to initiate the plan when he calls?" Olivia asked.

"Almost," Fin said. "We just need to know which location he's chosen so we can wire you."

Olivia turned to Munch. "Did you go to my apartment for the clothes I asked for?"

"They're down in the locker room. I also got you an ankle harness for your second gun."

"Thanks Munch. Sounds like all we're waiting for then is this phone call." Olivia said.

Alex handed Olivia an envelope with the note she had written. "Make sure to give that to Maureen."

Olivia nodded and put her phone headset on. "I'm going to go change, if he calls while I'm in the locker room go ahead and connect me."


Chapter 22

Another hour went by before they got the call that they were waiting for.

"This is Detective Benson." Olivia said into her headset.

"Been waiting patiently by the phone, have we detective?"

"Of course, you're the one in charge here."

"That's what I like to hear."

"Where do you want to meet?" Olivia asked impatiently.

"Kind of antsy, aren't we?"

"I just want to get Maureen back to her family safely."

"I understand that detective, but I also understand that you want to do this on your terms, which I am very much opposed to. If you want Maureen back, you'll meet me in Queens, at Kissena Park off of 164 St. at ten-thirty tonight. We'll be waiting for you at the west end of the lake. Make sure you're alone, or Maureen won't last the night."

The phone went dead before Olivia could try and convince him to do something else.

"Well, looks like we need to develop a new plan." Cragen said to the team.

"The plan's still the same, we just need to get a better idea of the area we're going to be working in." Olivia said.

"It's nine o'clock now, we don't really have much time to check out the area." Fin said. "Not to mention that this guy could already be there, waiting to see if we go in."

"So what do you suggest?" Cragen asked.

"Maybe we can check it out online, get an idea of what the park has to offer. There will probably be pictures that we can look at." Munch said, trying to be helpful.

Elliot looked at Olivia, "you're basically going to be going in blind. Are you ok with that?"

"We're getting Maureen back, whatever else happens, happens." Olivia replied.

"You're sure about this?" Cragen asked.

"I'm sure. We don't have any other option."

"Ok then, let's get what we can and get out of here." Cragen said with authority.


Chapter 23

Olivia was dressed in jeans and a black sweater. Her service revolver was secured in its hip harness and her spare was strapped to her ankle, out of sight. The park was dark as she walked along the path to where she was supposed to meet Thomas Winston and Maureen. There was no one else around, and she knew that the guys were at least 5 minutes away if she needed them. Olivia was on high alert.

It was a few minutes before she saw their silhouettes, but she knew Maureen's outline right away. The girl was hunched over and pulling away from the man who had her arm. Olivia picked up speed, now running toward them instead of walking.

"I'm here Winston, let her go."

Thomas pulled Maureen close to him, a gun pressed to her temple. "No tricks detective."

Olivia put up her hands, "no tricks. I'm here alone, just like you asked."

Thomas looked around trying to register if this were actually the case. "I want you to take out your gun and throw it this way."

"If I do that, you need to release Maureen." Olivia said.

"Don't worry detective, if you do exactly as asked Maureen will be free to go."

Olivia removed the gun from her holster, and then separated the bullet clip from the gun before tossing both in his direction. "Ok, I did what you asked, now let her go."

"Not so fast Ms. Benson. I need you to take off your sweater and roll up your pant legs."

Olivia looked at Maureen before she did as he asked, trying to reassure the young girl that all would be ok. Once her sweater was on the ground and her pant legs were rolled up to her knees she waited for further instruction.

"Now remove your second gun." He said, smugly. "I'm pleased to see that you are without a wire."

Olivia tossed the second gun to him just as she had the first. "Let her go, I have no defense against you now, I'm all yours."

"I'm glad you understand that, Olivia." He said, clearly becoming more and more cocky about where he stood in this situation. He pressed his lips to Maureen's ear, "go say goodbye to your daddy's partner." He said, shoving Maureen in Olivia's direction.

As soon as she was released, Maureen tore away from Thomas and jumped into Olivia's arms. "It's ok sweetie, you're going to be ok." Olivia said into Maureen's hair. Maureen sobbed against the detective.

Thomas just stood and watched as Olivia tried to comfort Maureen. "You might want to tell her to get going, you and I have plans."

Maureen tilted her head back and looked at Olivia. "Liv?" She said, questioningly.

Olivia stroked Maureen's cheek, brushing aside the still falling tears. "He's right sweetie, you should go."

Maureen looked at her, not understanding that Olivia wasn't coming with her.

"Maureen, I want you to go down this path behind me. When you get to the street, wait there, your dad will be here shortly."

Maureen stood up, "what about you?"

"I have some things to work out here." Olivia said. "Now get going, run quickly."

Maureen looked at Olivia one last time to make sure that Olivia actually wanted to do this. Olivia looked at Thomas and then nodded to Maureen, her eyes telling Maureen that things were about to become dangerous.

She listened to the sound of Maureen's feet as they ran down the path, all the while her eyes never leaving Thomas's. She was on her own now, without anything to protect her. So far nothing was playing out in her favor.


Chapter 24

"And now it's down to two." Thomas said as he moved forward. His gun was purposefully trained on Olivia.

"That's right Thomas, it's just the two of us. What's the next step in your plan?"

"You want me to tell you what I have planned for you?" He smiled. "Everything you could possibly imagine, is what I have in store for you, detective."

Olivia grimaced at his confidence while slowly moving towards the water at the edge of the path.

"Are you planning to swim?" Thomas asked.

Olivia stopped moving and looked at him. "I was thinking about it." She replied honestly.

Thomas laughed and waved his gun. "You wouldn't get too far."

"I know."

Thomas was now directly in front of Olivia. "I think it's time for us to go, Detective Benson. I'm sure your friends aren't too far away."

"You can't do whatever it is you have planned for me here?" Olivia said, trying to stall.

Thomas moved quickly and grabbed Olivia's hair, moving her in front of him. "Oh no detective, there are tools that I'll be needing for this." He locked his arm around Olivia's throat and pushed his gun into her back. "How does it feel to be over powered Olivia?"

Olivia tried to pull in a full breath, but couldn't. Thomas began pushing her forward. "It seems your luck has finally run out detective, which is sad since you just started a new romance."

Olivia stopped when she realized he was talking about Alex. She struggled against his hold, finally stomping her foot down on his. She pulled away as his grip loosened, but was not quick enough. The butt of his gun came down on the side of her head, making her black out.

"Your secrets aren't so secret." He said as he lifted her off the ground and carried her to the car he had parked near by.


Chapter 25

Maureen jumped into her father's arms before he even saw her.

"Oh, thank god!" Elliot exclaimed, holding his daughter tightly.

"Where's Liv?" Alex asked from behind them.

Maureen pulled away from her father and looked at Alex. "She stayed with him, she told me to get away."

"Sweetie, can you tell me where you left her?" Elliot asked.

"We were at the end of the path, by the edge of the lake. He took her guns dad."

Fin put his hand on Alex's back as she took a deep breath. "Can you find her on the transmitter?" Fin asked Munch.

"Something's interfering." Munch said handing the transmitter to Alex so he could reach into his pocket for his cell phone.

Cragen pulled his gun, "let's go after them then. We won't accomplish anything standing here."

When Alex began to run with them, Cragen stopped. "You need to stay here, Alex. Go with Elliot and Maureen to the hospital, we'll call you when we know anything."

"You've got to be kidding me." Alex exclaimed. "I can help."

Cragen knew he wasn't going to stop her. "You stay behind us, if we find them you are not to get involved."

Alex nodded and followed the running detectives. She wasn't about to lose Olivia.


Chapter 26

Her head was throbbing when she opened her eyes to see the dungy basement that she was tied up in. Olivia turned her head as far as she could to both sides, trying to see her surroundings. 'Boy have I gotten myself into a mess.' She thought.

The only light in the small cold room filtered through a dirty window that looked like it hadn't been opened in years.

"Trying to find a way out?" Thomas asked from directly behind her.

Olivia cringed as his fingers ran through her short hair. "Where have you brought me?" Olivia asked.

Thomas began to move his hands lower, kneading her neck then shoulders. "The basement of Maureen's little friend, of course. What better place to ruin you than the place where this all started."

Olivia started to turn her head toward him, but stopped when his hand began to move down her chest. "That's pretty clever Thomas."

"Isn't it though." He said smugly. "And since you're the smartest one out of the bunch, I have all night to do what I want with you."

She moved her hands against the rope that bound her hands, hoping that it might be loose enough to work free from. "And what exactly do you want to do to me?" She asked, not really wanting to know.

Thomas walked around Olivia to stand in front of her. He kneeled down in front of her and brushed his hand over her cheek. "Well, I'm sure your victims would appreciate it if you were able to better identify with what they have gone through." He said as he continued to stroke her face. "Plus, I really want to hear you scream."


Chapter 27

Back at the precinct everyone was going through every possible lead trying to find Olivia. Alex was unable to take the chaotic mess of the squad room, so she left to be alone. Taking Olivia's squad car keys from her pocket, she opened the door to Olivia's car and sat in the driver's seat. The car smelled like Olivia and Elliot.

"Where are you, Liv?" Alex asked aloud. Spotting one of Olivia's sweaters in the back seat, she reached back to grab it and pulled it into her lap. She pulled off her jacket so she could put on the sweater and have Olivia close to her. The loud squawk from her jacket made her jump.

After rooting around through her pockets for a few minutes she found the GPS transmitter that was making the annoying noise. "What the heck." It took Alex a minute, but she finally realized that the transmitter was telling her where Olivia was. "Oh my God!"

Alex turned the key that she had placed in the ignition and started the car while she dialed Munch.


"I know where she is." Alex said quickly as she pulled out of the garage.

"Alex? What are you talking about?" Munch asked.

"The transmitter came on while I was sitting in Olivia's car. I know where she is."

"Where are you?"

"I'm on my way to her location. She's at 4876 Hillside Ave., Queens." Alex said, reading from the GPS monitor.

"Wait Alex, you can't go there by yourself." Munch said as he waved Cragen and Fin over to his desk.

"Then get your ass's in gear and get there!" Alex said as she hung up the phone.

With both hands on the steering wheel and the squad car lights blazing, Alex floored it to Queens.


Chapter 28

Olivia lay on the floor nude, struggling to defend herself from Thomas. She knew bones had been broken, but she wouldn't allow herself to give up.

"You shouldn't have questioned my ability, Olivia. Now here you are barely able to stand up, and what for, huh? So that your precious partner would get his daughter back unharmed. That definitely was not a smart decision on your part."

Olivia coughed as she tried to prop herself up against the wall, the pain in her ribs increasing. She thought that she could use the wall to lift herself to her feet, possibly giving herself the leverage to fight back.

"I made the right choice." Olivia said through a struggled breath.

Thomas picked up the chair that Olivia had been tied to and threw it at her, making her scream out in pain. "You definitely made the right choice for me."

Alex heard Olivia's scream as she crept through the dark house. She had never heard a scream like that before, and it hurt her to hear it now, coming from Olivia.

Alex clutched at the baton that she had removed from the squad car's trunk and moved in the direction of the noise. She was a little disoriented by the lack of light, but soon found herself on her way to the basement.

'Hold on Liv.' She thought as she made her way down the staircase. She stopped when she saw his shadow and purchased herself for the next move. Olivia was lying on the ground, hands up in a defensive position, and he was charging toward her.

Without a second thought Alex lunged, tackling Thomas to the ground. Raising the baton above her head she hit him, trying to keep him at bay until the other detectives got there.

"Drop the weapon." Thomas screamed as he pulled his gun from his waist.

Alex didn't listen, she just stood there, baton ready to strike if he advanced.

Thomas pulled the trigger, shooting a spot just to the side of where Alex stood. "I said, drop the damn weapon."

This time Alex listened, dropping the baton next to her foot.

"Now kick it over to me."

Wanting to do as he said, but not wanting to give him a second weapon, Alex kicked the baton under the staircase.

Thomas advanced, backing Alex into a wall until there was nowhere else for her to go. "You're going to be sorry you did that bitch." He said as he pointed the gun at her leg.

"No!" Olivia yelled. She threw herself on top of Alex, taking her with her onto the floor, all the while keeping her body on top of Alex's in order to protect her.

Alex shook beneath her, adrenaline pumping through her system.

"Not smart detective." Thomas said as he kicked her in the side. He continued to kick her, making her cries of pain more and more frequent.

Alex could feel the shock of each kick as Thomas's foot hit Olivia, but Olivia would not let her move.

"Stop!" A man's voice shouted from the staircase.

Thomas turned and knew his time with Olivia was over.

"Put down your weapon." Fin said.

Olivia moved slightly, able to see that Munch, Fin, and Cragen had entered the small basement.

"Drop the gun, Thomas." Fin repeated.

With Olivia's weight shifted off of her, Alex moved so she could put her arms around Olivia.

"There's nowhere for you to go Mr. Winston. I suggest that you drop your weapon." Cragen said, trying to keep Thomas calm.

Thomas glanced at Olivia, who was now sitting up with Alex behind her, supporting her. "I'm not done with her yet." He said softly.

"Yes you are, drop your gun."

Before anyone could move Thomas screamed, turned his gun on Olivia, and pulled the trigger.

Munch, Fin, and Cragen fired in unison, killing Thomas instantly.

"Liv? Liv, sweetie, stay with me." Alex said as she pressed her hands to the wound on Olivia's side.

Munch, Fin, and Cragen ran towards them as other police personnel ran down the stairs.

"Get the paramedics down here." Cragen barked, falling next to Olivia's body.

Fin removed his coat, placing it over Olivia's lower half to keep her nude body from the view of everyone else in the room.

Olivia put her hand on Alex's arm. "Liv?" Alex said, looking down at her fallen detective.

"I'm so sorry." Olivia whispered.

"Don't apologize sweetheart, you're going to be ok." Alex said as a tear fell from her eye. "I promise, you're going to wake up tomorrow and I'm going to be sitting right there next to you."

Olivia's eyes closed and her grip on Alex loosened. "I love you, Alex."

Cragen looked away, not able to watch Olivia fade away. "Where are those damn paramedics?" He yelled to an officer who was standing close to the stairs.

"They're on their way down sir."

Cragen turned back to Olivia and Alex. Alex was now openly crying.

Fin crouched down by Olivia's head and pressed his hand to her cheek. "Come on Liv, you gotta open your eyes. We need you to focus on something, anything."

They kept talking to her as the paramedics loaded her onto a gurney and worked on her wound. All of them prayed that Olivia would survive the night.


Chapter 29

Alex paced up and down the hallway outside the waiting room, her clothes marred by Olivia's blood.

"Alex, why don't you come and sit down? We probably won't hear anything for a while longer." Cragen said from the doorway of the waiting room.

"I will in a minute, I just…I just need a minute to think." Alex replied.

"Ok." Cragen said, trying to be understanding. "If you need anything, anything at all, just let me know."

Alex stopped and looked at Cragen. "I will, thank you Don."

"Where is she?" Elliot asked loudly, walking down the hall towards Alex.

Alex turned to the very upset Elliot. "She's still in surgery. We haven't heard anything yet."

"What happened?" Elliot asked, looking at Cragen and the detectives in the waiting room.

"He did a lot of damage before we got there." Fin said.

"He freaked when we showed up and told him to drop his weapon. He shot her, rather than giving up his gun." Munch added.

"Where is he, does the Queens precinct have him?" Elliot asked, his hands balled into fists.

"He's dead, Elliot." Cragen said. "We shot him as soon as he pulled the trigger on Liv."

"Son of a bitch" He yelled, hitting his fist against the wall. "We don't know anything? How was she when they were taking her from the scene?"

Cragen put his hand on Elliot's shoulder. "She wasn't good, El. She had a lot of other injuries, and she had lost a lot of blood."

Alex took a deep breath, everyone seemed to be talking around her, she felt trapped and alone. "I'm…I'm going outside. Call me on my cell if anyone comes to tell us something." She said while turning on her heel toward the elevators.

"Alex!" Fin yelled after the fleeing ADA. "Alex, wait up." He was too late; Alex was already in the elevator, going down to the first floor. Fin turned back to the others.

"What the hell!" Fin said. "You need to include her Elliot. She's been here with us wondering what's going to happen to the woman she loves, and you come in here like she doesn't exist."

"What am I supposed to do?" Elliot spoke back in a confrontational tone. "Alex has been with Liv, what, all of barely three days. Liv has been in my life for years, as my partner, best friend, and well, I love her too."

"And she loves you." Munch said. "But, she's in love with Alex, and you need to respect that."

"Dammit." Elliot said, hitting the wall with the flat side of his fist. "I'll go talk to her."


Chapter 30

Alex sat quietly on a bench, under a tree near the emergency room entrance. "Alex." Elliot said softly to the crying woman.

Alex looked up. "Is there something I can do for you, detective?" She asked pointedly.

"I…I want to apologize for how I treated you in there…how I've been treating you in general actually."

"Why the sudden need to clear your conscience?" Alex asked.

"Look, I know you're upset with me, and you have every right to be, but you need to understand something about Liv and I." Elliot said, trying to stay calm.

"Ok, what might that be?"

"Olivia and I have been partners for a long time, we're each other's family. For a long time it's just been the two of us. My wife and family could never understand some of the stuff that we go through, but her and I, we have each other to fall back on. Now, with you in the picture…well, I won't have that person anymore, you know."

Alex looked at Elliot, wondering where to start. "Elliot…I would never dream of taking your best friend away from you. I know what you and Liv have, how special you two are to one and other; you have to know that just because her and I have formed something together, that doesn't take away from what the two of you have. She loves you Elliot, she'll continue to love you. I'm not going to tell you that things are going to stay as they are, because they probably won't, but that doesn't mean that you're going to lose her to me. I'd never ask her to remove you from her life, and she'd never let you go." Alex said sincerely.

Elliot stood up and turned away from Alex. "I know, I'm just…I'm scared."

"I am too." Alex stood up and put her hands on Elliot's shoulders. "We're just at the beginning of something, something that I know to be extremely special…I'm afraid it'll all end before it even gets the chance to start. I can't lose her Elliot."

Elliot turned around and put his arms around Alex. "I'm so sorry."

Alex looked up at Elliot's now tear stained face. "Why are you sorry?"

Elliot's lower lip quivered. "Because this is all my fault."

"Elliot." Alex said, shocked that he might think that. "No it is not. This is Thomas Winston's fault."

"I should have protected her. I shouldn't have let her exchange herself for Maureen. I should have been there, Alex."

Alex put her hand on Elliot's cheek. "Olivia is a big girl, Elliot. She knows how to do her job, and she would have never let you keep her from doing what she wanted to do. As for being there, you can't be everywhere, all the time. You needed to be with your daughter. You did the right thing Elliot, you did what you had to do."

"I know you're right." He said. "I don't know what I'll do if she doesn't make it through this."

Alex took his hand and led him back toward the emergency room entrance. "She's going to make it through this. She's a fighter, Elliot, and we're going to be right by her side, insisting that she come back to us.


Chapter 31

Four days later.

Alex sat by Olivia's bedside, like she had for days. The detective pulled through her surgery, but still had not become conscious. The nurses knew her on sight now, and allowed her to help change the bandages, bath Olivia, and showed her how to move the detective so she would not get bedsores. Elliot and the others came by every day, relieving Alex so she could go home, shower, and change her clothes.

"Alex." Liz Donnelly said as she stepped into the quiet room.

"Liz, what are you doing here?" Alex asked as she straightened in her chair.

"Don asked me to come down."

"Where is he?"

Liz sat down in a chair next to Alex. "They're working on a big case and couldn't get down here."

"Oh." Alex responded.

"He said that you needed someone to stay here while you went home to freshen up."

"You didn't have to come Liz, I'm perfectly fine the way I am."

"No, you aren't Alex. You've spent practically every hour of every day in this hospital since Olivia arrived. I'm sure it's the few hours that you have taken for yourself that are keeping you sane."

"It's her being alive that is keeping me sane."

"All right, I won't argue. Why don't you go home for a while anyway? Get something to eat, take a shower, change into something comfortable, I'll be here when you get back." Liz said.

"Are you sure? It gets pretty quiet in here."

"That'll be perfect, I brought a couple of briefs to read over."

Alex stood up. "Thank you, Liz. I'll be back in about an hour. If anything happens, you'll call me, right?"

"Of course I'll call. Take your time though, I'm in no hurry." Liz said, patting Alex's arm in comfort.

Alex took one last look at Olivia and left the room. Liz bent down and took a brief out of her bag, then looked up at Olivia. "You better wake up soon, kiddo."


Chapter 32

Alex returned an hour and a half later wearing a fresh pair of jeans and a Harvard sweatshirt.

"Feel better?" Liz asked as she placed her brief back in her bag.

"Much, thanks. The nurse come in to check her out yet?" Alex asked.

"No, it was just the two of us all this time."

Alex looked at her watch. "That's funny, one of the day nurses usually comes in to check her fluids around this time."

"I'm sure they're just busy. Maybe they weren't sure about me, I'm a new face, it could be that they didn't want to disturb me."

"Yeah, that could be it." Alex said, not really convinced.

Liz nodded her head in the direction of the door. "Why don't you go ask someone?"

"Ok, I'll be right back." Alex said, leaving the room and heading toward the nurses station at the end of the hall.

"Excuse me." Alex said to the nurse sitting behind the counter.

"Can I help you?" The nurse asked.

"I'm a friend of the patient in room 329, Olivia Benson. A nurse usually comes in around this time to check on her fluids, but no one has been in yet. I just wanted to make sure every thing is ok."

The nurse pulled a file from the stand beside her and flipped it open. "Olivia Benson, you said?"


"The doctor told us to wait on the fluids, he was contacting her next of kin about possibly doing something different."

"Oh, um…who might her next of kin be?" Alex asked.

"I'm sorry, I'm unable to disclose that information." The nurse replied.

"Of course. Thank you anyway." Alex said as she headed back in the direction of the room.

She heard Cragen's voice as she got closer to Olivia's room.

"So you think that this might wake her up?" Cragen asked.

Alex entered the room as Olivia's doctor responded, "it's a possibility."

"What's a possibility?" Alex asked, looking at the two men.

"Dr. Steven's said that he wants to give Olivia a shot of epinephrine, he said that there is a good chance that it will help wake her up."

"You want to give her a shot of adrenaline?" Alex asked, cautiously. "Couldn't that be harmful?"

The doctor turned to address both Cragen and Alex. "There is a risk involved, but no more than her continuing to stay in this unconscious state. If we can wake her up, the possibility of her recovery increases greatly. The longer she stays unconscious, the less likely it is that she is going to wake up."

"So, what do I need to do?" Cragen asked.

"Well, since Ms. Benson has designated you as her next of kin, we'll need your signature authorizing us to do this."

Cragen looked to Alex, wanting her approval.

"Could she die from this?" Alex asked.

"There is that chance." The doctor replied honestly. "But it isn't very likely."

Alex nodded to Cragen. "I say go for it then. Let's get her back."

Cragen took the clipboard from Dr. Stevens and signed the document. "So, when is this going to take place?"

"I'm going to go get the epinephrine, and anything else we might be needing and then we will get started." He replied.

"Ok then." Cragen said and handed the clipboard back to the doctor. "I'm going to go call Elliot."

He left Alex in the room with an unconscious Olivia, and a quiet Liz Donnelly.

"You ok, Alex?" Liz asked.

"Yeah, I'm just worried that we might be pushing her to wake up before she's ready."


Chapter 33

A half an hour later Elliot, Cragen, Alex, and Liz Donnelly stood in the hallway just outside of Olivia's room. The doctor was preparing to inject Olivia with a dose of epinephrine to try and wake her up from her comatose state.

"Do you think this is going to work?" Elliot asked.

"The doctor said that there was a good chance of this working." Cragen said. "He said that Olivia didn't seem to be completely unconscious, so this might bring her the rest of the way out of it."

"Did he tell you anything about how she may be when she wakes up?" Liz asked.

"She could wake up and be herself, or there could be some damage from the trauma she went through. He said that he really couldn't tell us much until she woke up." Alex said.

"Are we all prepared for this?" Cragen asked. "If she wakes up and there is something wrong, how are we going to handle this? Liv has no one but us."

"She can stay with us." Elliot said before anyone else could answer. "Kathy and I talked about it, and we think it would be best for her while she is recuperating. This way someone will be there if she needs anything."

"That's nice Elliot, but let's wait and see what happens. I'm sure she won't be lacking when it comes to places to stay, it's going to be about who can help her the most." Alex replied.

"All right you two, we'll figure it out later. I'm sure she'll be in good hands either way." Cragen said.

"You know Alex, you do have quite a bit of vacation time stored up, that along with the remaining 23 days of your suspension could add up to a substantial time off." Liz said, trying to add to the points in Alex's favor.

"Thanks Liz." Alex said, smiling at her boss for the vote of confidence. "Did he say that he would come out as soon as she woke up?" Alex asked, looking at the closed door in front of them.

"He didn't really say, he just said that he would let us know how it went." Cragen said walking over to a bay of seats and sitting down. "I'm sure he'll be out soon."


Chapter 34

"Alex?" The doctor said, peaking his head around the now open door.

"Yes." Alex responded quickly, jumping from her chair.

"She's asking for you." He told her.

"Thank god." Alex said with a sigh of relief.

The doctor moved aside to let Alex pass and walked out to talk to everyone else.

"She's conscious, a little disoriented, but conscious. She'll probably be here for another week or so, and then she'll need to do some physical therapy, but she'll recover." The doctor said to the group that remained in the hallway.

"She'll need to stay with someone?" Elliot asked.

"Definitely for the first week or so. She's going to have some trouble getting around on her own, and she'll need to be able to rest. Basically she is going to be recuperating while she is building her strength back up."

"Ok." Elliot said.

"As soon as she and Alex are done talking you guys can go in. Don't keep her up for too long though, she's going to get tired quickly." The doctor said before heading to the nurses' station with Olivia's file.

"She's going to be ok." Cragen said tiredly to Elliot who was peaking into Olivia's room. "This is really good news."

"Yes, it is." Elliot responded looking back at the Captain. "She should stay with Alex." He said. He looked at Liz Donnelly. "You'll give her time off to spend with Olivia?"

"Of course." Liz said without pause. "They both need to get away for a little while, which I will suggest to Alex after Olivia's built her strength back up a bit." She looked at the open door when she heard a bout of laughter. "I'm going to get back to the office. Tell Olivia that I say hello."

"We will." Cragen said. "Thanks again for being here Liz."

"No need to thank me. We're all family, when one of us gets hurt, we all will be there to rally around them." She said with passion.

Cragen smiled. She was right, they were all one big family that would do anything for one and other. "Why don't we go grab some coffee Elliot? Let those two have some time together."

Elliot nodded and followed Cragen down to the cafeteria.

Alex walked in to see Olivia's smiling face looking at her.

"You're ok." Olivia said quietly.

"Yes, I'm fine." Alex said, taking Olivia's hand.

"I was worried that he hurt you. I…I couldn't remember."

"No, he couldn't hurt me, you wouldn't let him near me."

"Good." Olivia said.

Olivia felt Alex's hand shaking in her own and saw the tear that had escaped onto her cheek. "Talk to me Alex." She said, bringing Alex's hand to her lips.

"I was so scared." Alex admitted. "I thought I had lost you…and then, when I heard you screaming from the basement. I've never felt so…I don't know, protective? I thought that I could help, but I only got in the way. There you were, hurt, and you had to protect me. You could have died because of my carelessness." She said, now openly crying.

"I would have died had you not been there." Olivia said. "I was minutes away from giving up Alex, and then when I saw you, I knew I had to fight to stay alive." She paused pulling Alex's arm so that Alex would join her on the bed. Alex settled beside the detective, curling into her warmth. "I've never been so scared, or so defeated. I kept reminding myself over and over again that I had to keep going, for you, the squad, my future, but it was damn near impossible to not feel that death was staring me in the face."

"When they took you away on that gurney, I felt so lost." Alex said as she brushed Olivia's hair out of her face. "And then, sitting here, you not waking up…I fought so hard to hold it together Liv, but it was so difficult."

"I know sweetie." Olivia said. She turned her head and kissed Alex on the forehead. "I knew you were here, sitting right beside me the whole time. It was your voice that kept me going. The warmth of your hand that told me that I was still alive. If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't have survived. I know it's only been a little while, but Alex I have loved you for so long, I just couldn't imagine my life without you."

Alex turned so that she was hovering over Olivia, she was careful to not put any pressure on Olivia's body. "You're going to regret saying that, Olivia Benson."

"Never." Olivia said.

Alex took Olivia's mouth with her own and slowly kissed her. "Never?"

"Never." She repeated. "I'm yours for as long as you'll have me."

"Forever?" Alex said.

"Forever sounds perfect."

The End

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