Chapter Sixteen


Thursday February 1, 2007

East 75th Street and York Avenue


Maya Shah’s dark eyes stared at the door to her narrow office as she sighed over her paperwork. When she grew bored over her cases, she enjoyed looking at the words “Esquire” printed beneath her name on the door, always remembering the hours spent buried beneath the books of New York University’s law library to attain such a title.

Since she had nothing but time on her hands after her affair with Mason Garriston had ended so dramatically, Maya had decided to spend the early morning hours in her office to get some work done.

The case before her was for a Luis Cordoval who had been caught robbing a bodega on 110th Street and, unfortunately for Luis, the case was a wash. He was filmed by the security cameras sticking a gun in the face of the storeowner and, in his haste, had left the gun that held in his fingerprints at the scene of the crime. Her hopes for the case at this point were in getting Luis off with just three years at Sing Sing instead of the nine he had coming to him.

She took only one or two cases every few months and most of those were for people who were attempting to keep driving privileges after multiple tickets or drunk driving charges. The Cordovals had received her name from friends of friends and, once she heard the general facts of the case, Maya did not have the heart to tell them they could have saved the money for her retainer fees and used a public defender. With the prosecution holding the gun, the security tapes and several witnesses placing Luis at the scene, she would be dependent solely on the litigating strengths she normally reserved until the moment was dire.

Maya stood and placed several of her notes on Luis’s case into her Coach briefcase. That morning, she had scheduled a manicure and pedicure and knew she would be spending most of her relaxation time thinking of what she would say to ADA Sean Kendall to plead Luis down a few years.

Heading for the door, she made a mental note to also comb West Law throughout the latter part of the day for any loophole possible for giving the Cordovals the slightest glimmer of hope for Luis.

Her cell phone rang from her coat pocket as she put her hand on the door and she frowned as she stared at the unrecognized number in the display.


“Yeah! Hey, Maya,” a voice said quickly. “This is Elliot Stabler. Olivia’s partner.”

“Oh hi,” Maya said breaking into a smile. “What’s going on?”

Elliot sighed. “Have you, uh…have you talked to Olivia recently?”

“No…Last time I talked to her was Tuesday. She, um, said you were angry with her and she was worried about you.”

At the desk in his apartment, Elliot ran a hand over his head. “But, you haven’t seen or heard from her since then?”

“No,” Maya repeated, now becoming suspicious. “But, then again, I don’t talk to her every single day. I mean, we’re not sixteen anymore. Why though? Is she not talking to you or something?”

Elliot paused not knowing what to say. The last thing he wanted to do was worry Maya, but as she was the only person who knew Olivia better than he did, Elliot had nowhere else to turn.

“Elliot?” Maya said. “Are you still there?”

“Yeah, I’m here…I, uh…we just haven’t heard from her and I figured that she might’ve told you something. Maybe about where she was going?”

Maya shrugged though she knew Elliot could not see her. “Well, no. She didn’t tell me anything about leaving. Like I said, the last time I talked to her was Tuesday.” Maya paused. “The last thing we talked about was that you were upset with her over something with your son…Is he okay?”

“Yeah,” Elliot said. “He’s fine. Thanks for asking.”

“Livia also told me about…that you found out that she helped your daughter…”

Elliot let out a frustrated sigh, however, his frustration did not lie with Maya. Clearly, Maya knew everything there was to know about Olivia, but she did not seem to have the slightest idea where Olivia was.

He had awakened from a nightmare early that morning and had been calling Olivia’s home and cell numbers every thirty minutes. Each time her answering machine picked up, he closed his eyes to the memory of the expression on her face when he finally left her apartment Tuesday night. Things had gone far out of control between them and he allowed his every raw emotion to be unleashed at the same time. To make matters worse, the moment was quickly approaching when he would be forced to tell someone what had happened that night…from what he remembered.

“We’re fine,” Elliot said after a moment. “We did talk about that, but…we’re fine.”

“Okay,” Maya said sounding upbeat again. “Well…if Livia calls me, I’ll definitely let her know that you’ve been trying to track her down.”

“Thanks, Maya,” he said trying to keep the dejection out of his voice.

He closed his phone and resisted the urge to throw it across the floor as he readied himself for the day.

Where the hell could she be?

On the drive to the 1-6, he continuously shook his head as he ran through a set of people he needed to call to see if they had seen Olivia. He would need to talk to Halloway, but he would save him for dead last. The less interaction he had with the man, the better their relationship would be. He remembered the picture of the two boys on Olivia’s desk and tried to remember their mother’s name.


The moment he stepped onto SVU’s floor, Elliot made a beeline for Olivia’s desk, searching for an address book or a list of phone numbers.

“Any word from Olivia?” Cragen asked the moment he saw Elliot.

“No,” Elliot said. “And, I just talked to her best friend who didn’t sound like she even thought Liv might be…gone.”

“Who else are you are thinking to call?”

“Well, I’m trying to find a number for her friend…Jillian Something. I’ve never met her, but I’ve heard Liv talk about her a lot, and there’s that Halloway she’s been dating…, but from what Olivia told me the last time we talked, I should probably save him for last.”

Elliot opened another drawer in Olivia’s desk and shook away the sudden sensation of déjà vu unable to find so much as a rolodex containing a number for someone named “Jillian.”

“I’m gonna go back to Liv’s place,” Elliot said letting out an exasperated sigh. “Maybe…she’ll be back or I can at least find her address book.”

Cragen nodded at Elliot, a worried crease resting in his forehead and a frown set on his mouth.

When Elliot opened the door to Olivia’s apartment, he felt his shoulders hang at the sight of the apartment in the same state it was the last time he had left it. He approached her desk and saw that her lamp had fallen and had taken her bow with it. Guilt washing over him, he picked up the bow to view the full damage that the lamp had made. He had only heard Olivia play her cello once, but the experience was awe-inspiring and as he held the broken shards of his partner’s beloved instrument, every bruise on his body ached and tingled.

He set down the bow and sifted through the desk drawers, rolling his eyes at the top drawer, which was still locked, to find Olivia’s day planner. After flipping through each letter of her address book for a few minutes, Elliot gave up and went through the “Js” on Olivia’s cell phone until he found a listing for “Jill.”

“Olivia?” a woman’s voice answered. “Lemme call you back. I’m rushing to get the boys to school.”

Elliot cleared his throat. “Uh, yeah, this is Elliot Stabler, Olivia’s partner. Am I speaking to…Jillian?”

He was met with a moment’s silence before she answered. “Yes…this is Jillian. Why are you calling me from Olivia’s phone?”

“Well, I…,” he began, caught off guard by Jillian’s harsh tone. “We’re trying to get a hold of Olivia and…I mean, her phone is still here at her apartment, but she’s not…”

Silence swam over the phone and Elliot hoped that Jillian would put the pieces together without him having to actually ask her the question.

“I haven’t talked to Olivia since last Wednesday…when she told me how you almost got her fired.”

Elliot’s eyebrows furrowed for a moment as he tried to recall the last week through the absurdity of Jillian’s statement.

We don't talk as often as we should," Jillian continued as if she had not said anything significant. “Have you tried speaking to Maya Shah? They talk all the time.”

“Yeah, I’ve talked to Maya and she hasn’t seen her.”

“Well, I haven’t seen her either…Should I be worried here? I mean is there a reason you’re calling us trying to find out where Liv is?”

“No,” Elliot lied quickly. “I’m just…I’m just trying to make sure she’s okay because she’s not answering any calls or anything.”

“Oh,” Jillian said sounding extremely unconvinced. “Well, call me if you need anything. I guess you have my number now.”

“Yes. Will do.”

He ended the call and sighed as he called the “J” beneath Jillian in Olivia’s phone. When he received no answer, Elliot tried calling the same number from his own phone.

“Jonathan Halloway,” a male voice answered in a low voice.

“Yes, this is Detective Elliot Stabler. Olivia Benson’s partner. Do you have a second?”

“Why the hell are you calling me?”

“I’m looking for Olivia,” Elliot said. “Have you seen her?”

“You know,” Jonathan seethed. “You…Olivia…”

He paused for a full minute, beginning words in angry spurts, but stopping them just as quickly.

“Halloway?” Elliot said.

“You are a goddamn piece of work, you know?”


“I haven’t seen Olivia since she threw me out of her apartment a week ago! She…she…you…” He sighed. “I will not be treated like that. I don’t care if she doesn’t care who I am. I’m not putting up with that crap whether I’m a Halloway, a Morse, or a…whatever the hell your name is.”

“Halloway! I just need to know if you’ve seen Liv.”

Elliot was met with another minute’s silence before Jonathan answered.

“Have I seen Olivia,” he repeated with heavy breath. “Have I seen Olivia…Tell you what…No…No! Forget it! You know what! You, Olivia and all those other people she’s got in her life that come before me, can just kiss my ass!”

Elliot stared at the phone for a moment once Jonathan hung up, wondering what could have been said during his fight with Olivia. Sighing, he left the apartment and knocked on her neighbor’s door.

“Yes?” Mrs. Fitzgivens said, eyeing Elliot suspiciously.

“Hi,” Elliot said, flashing his badge. “Detective Elliot Stabler. I’m looking for your neighbor, Olivia. Do you know if she’s been by lately?”

Mrs. Fitzgivens looked Elliot up and down and frowned at him before answering. “No. I haven’t spoken to her and I don’t want to.”

“Well, did you notice anyone coming by here lately? Anyone you didn’t recognize on your floor?”

“All I know is that there’s been a lot of screaming and yelling over there going on this past week and thankfully, it’s all quieted down.”

“When was the last time you heard all this screaming and yelling?”

“Tuesday, I think. Lots of commotion. Kept me up half the night.”

Elliot nodded and suppressed a sigh.

“If you do see her,” Mrs. Fitzgivens said crossing her arms. “Tell her she turned her nose up on a very nice young man and if that man she’s been seeing didn’t know that he could come here at all times of the night, he wouldn’t be with her. Just tell her she missed a real opportunity with my son.”

He sighed again as Mrs. Fitzgivens slammed the door in his face, wondering how much digging he would have to do into Olivia’s private life before she appeared again. Allowing the shock of hearing such scorn come from such a small woman to wane, Elliot knocked on the doors of the other six apartments on Olivia’s floor, but with little luck. Only two neighbors were home: Sam Lauer who had been too in depth with his own work to notice anything and Mark Landon who announced that he had not heard from Olivia since Tuesday night as well.

As morning reached midday, a nervous prickling developed at the base of Elliot’s spine and he headed back to the precinct without any further knowledge on his partner’s whereabouts.

“Nothing?” Cragen said, when Elliot returned to the squad room. Elliot shook his head and Cragen continued. “Well, I don’t want to panic about this too quickly. Do we know if she had any court appearances or anything else? Did you talk to anyone who might know where she could be?”

“Called friends, talked to neighbors; nothing. No one knows where she is. And, her gun, badge and phone are all sitting on her nightstand, and her keys were on their hook.”

Cragen swore and Elliot opened up the planner that he took from Olivia’s apartment. “I grabbed her day planner and took her phone. I’m gonna start talking to anyone I can think of.”

“Her place?” Cragen said. “When you went there, it was locked?”

“Yeah, from the outside. Just the deadbolt, though. The bottom lock and door chain weren’t on.”

They stared at one another for a moment, each one fearing the worst.

“I’ll call Munch and Fin,” Cragen said. “After what Liv told me about last week, I want know exactly where Drover was Tuesday night. You know of any more of Liv’s friends who might know if she just needed some time away?”

Elliot shrugged. “I think there was a Sarah…maybe an Adam somewhere in there. I don’t know. That’s why I’ve got her phone. I’ll see what I can find…I’m sure she’s fine, just…”

“Yeah,” Cragen said, nodding and turning to walk back to his office. “Well, if you find that she’s in the Hamptons or something, tell her I’m driving up there myself to throw her ass into a sling.”




The yellow police tape in Fin’s hands brushed with punctuated friction against the latex gloves that covered his hands as he pulled the tape toward him. He pulled out the small silver pocket knife he had carried on his person since he was twelve years old and cut against the tape that was stripped across Jeffrey Drover’s apartment door.

A white warrant crinkled in Munch’s hand as Fin pushed open Drover’s door. Munch was aggravated that they were forced to get another one from Casey before they entered the premises again, but it was necessary to ensure that Drover’s lawyer was not given any ammunition to protect him, especially if they were able to expose any other reprobate acts.

An effluvious odor wafted passed both detectives as they entered the apartment to which the NYPD had laid waste on their initial intrusion into Drover’s life.  Tables were overturned, books falling off their shelves and old garbage sat in the cramped kitchen begging to be taken to the dumpster. 

“Can you imagine him even trying to come back to this place?” Fin asked his nose crinkled at the general state of the flat. “I mean, CSU didn’t have anything to do with what’s going on in that kitchen.”

Munch shook his head and stepped in the direction of Drover’s computer.

“All right,” he said sitting in Drover’s chair. “Let’s see what the pedophile has been searching for recently.”

“Hopefully, it’s something incriminating and we can keep him,” Fin said. “The stuff that went down with Liv last week isn’t gonna keep him long, especially since she’s the one who let it slide.”

Munch pulled up Drover’s Internet Explorer and sighed. “I’d be happy if she’d just show up. All this worrying about her is going to give my youthful face, premature wrinkles. Here we go!”

“What’d you find?”

“He’s been definitely doing some searches on Liv…and Elliot.”

“He find any addresses?”

Munch pulled several more searches from the history file on Drover’s computer and frowned. “He’s been to one of those people search sites and he found addresses for both of them, and also where Stabler’s kids go to school.”

“Aw, Christ,” Fin said. “Pull the thing out. We’ll take it to Morales and let him work on it. And, I wanna know where Drover was on Tuesday. If he was looking for their addresses, he’s been planning something.”

Thirty minutes later, the detectives stood with another officer in Precinct 2-7 pouring over the notes on Drover's arrest report to see what previous officers had been told while throwing him into the drunk tank, their primary visit to the suspect stymied by his languor.

“Well, he said,” Officer Langbrone began, “that he was buying drinks at a bunch of different liquor stores in Brooklyn…then he hopped the train back Downtown where he got thrown out of a few bars and we’ve got a report of him being asked to move along that night from some doorstep in the Village…then, he just disappears off the radar.”

“Disappears?” Fin said.

“He doesn’t remember where he went and we don’t have any other reports matching up to him between about two and eight when he was picked up for screaming obscenities at children walking to school Wednesday morning.”

“That’s all we’ve got on him?” Munch asked.

“Hey,” Langbrone said. “The guy’s a loser drunk. We can’t keep tabs on all of them. We’re lucky we know this much about what he was doing that night. If you wanna know details, shake him awake and ask him.”

Both detectives rolled their eyes at the officer and made their way back to their car.

“What are you thinking?” Fin asked noting the concern reflecting on his partner’s face.

Munch stared at Fin through dark glasses over the roof of their car. “Drover attacked Olivia in an alley near her place a week ago…He was kicked out of bars Downtown and they roused him from a doorstep in the Village. Now, Olivia lives on 10th and we still haven’t heard from her yet.”

“You think Drover woulda tried something else Tuesday night?”

Munch shrugged and shook his head, but his facial expression spoke for him.




Elliot winced as the phone on Olivia’s desk rang for the fourth time that day.

“Elliot Stabler,” he said softly as he answered it.

“Can I talk to Olivia…please?” Evelyn Rivers’ meek voice quivered with her last word.

Elliot closed his eyes to keep from sighing into the phone. “Evelyn…we’re still waiting to hear from Olivia, but I promise you. You’ll be the first person she calls the second we see her.”

“It…it’s just that…one of the people here told me that…she said that Micah tried to get in here Tuesday. Olivia said he wouldn’t know where I was, but he found me. How could he’ve found me?”

“Evelyn, I don’t know. But what I do know is that Micah is sitting in a prison cell right now and he’s not going anywhere. Trust me.”

He could hear Evelyn sniff on the other end of phone. “It’s just that…she said she’d by and she hasn’t. I don’t think she’d forget, but it’s just that she hasn’t come by and she promised she would. And now Micah’s come after me like he said he would, but Olivia hasn’t come here like she said she would.”

“I know, Evelyn,” he said with as much compassion as he could muster. “And, trust me. She didn’t just forget about you. Something really big must’ve happened for her not to check in on you, but I promise you that she didn’t forget.”

“Oh…okay, thank you.”

She hung up before he could reply again and Elliot felt his pulse begin to race although his spirits were completely depressed. In trying to find Olivia, he also had to manage to keep the peace for as long as possible. Her worried friends would start the kind of panic he would just as soon avoid, though he knew the storm was coming, regardless. If Olivia did not stroll into the squad room with the next few hours, all hell was going to break loose from all sides.

He picked up Olivia’s phone and ran through her speed dial numbers in hopes of finding a “Sarah” somewhere the near the top. He paused briefly through the numbers noting, with a small smirk, that while he was first, “Jonathan Halloway” was fourth after “MJ Shah” and “Mr. Huo’s.” Fourteen numbers later, Elliot stumbled upon “Sarah Hyman” and called the number immediately from the phone on his desk.

“Hello?” a female voice answered.

“Yes, hello. My name’s Detective Elliot Stabler. May I speak to a Sarah…Hyman?”

“This is…how can I help you?”

“Yeah, you know my partner, Olivia Benson?”

“Oh yeah!” Sarah said brightly. “I knew that name sounded familiar. That’s right, you’re Liv’s partner. What can I do for you?”

“Well, uh…I haven’t seen her in a couple days,” he began with an upbeat voice to keep Sarah from becoming worried, “and I was wondering if you’ve heard from her.”

“No,” Sarah said slowly. “Liv and I actually haven’t talked in a while. Too long, really. I guess since New Years…I should probably give her a ring, just to see how’s she’s been.”

“So, you don’t know if she’s visiting anyone or anything like that?”

Sarah paused. “Well, I’ve actually grown a bit closer Liv’s cousin, Allison. She works with me here in Hoboken and, actually, she just had a baby yesterday and if Liv’s not in the city, she probably came out to see the baby. When I saw her at New Years, she said her New Year’s Resolution was to get to know the little family she did have.”

“Do you have her number, ‘cause I just need to check on Olivia?”

“Sure, I do. Just give me a sec and I’ll find it. I can barely remember phone numbers anymore. I’ve always got things stored in my phone…”

Sarah rambled on for another minute before giving Elliot the number for Olivia’s cousin, but he only stared at the number once he had written it.

When Olivia’s mother had died seven years earlier, Elliot met who he assumed was Olivia’s only family; a single aunt, Sylvia. They did not seem to be a close-knit family and Olivia appeared to be closer to the seven members of the Shah family that had come to pay their respects than with her aunt. Even after the funeral, Olivia never mentioned her aunt again and she never once said anything about a cousin.

There was also the issue of troubling a relative with whom Olivia, New Year’s Resolution or not, may not have had any interaction in years. In all the years that Elliot had known Olivia, he had seen her go to just one baby shower and he knew that she left early from it, unable to take the squeals and pastels for a full day. Nothing in Olivia’s personality, from her aversion to leaving Manhattan to her avoidance of social situations that involved “oohs” and “ahs,” would lead him to believe that she would take off in the middle of the night to meet her estranged cousin’s newborn.

Elliot shook his head at the number and slid it into his desk drawer. Even if Olivia had dropped everything in the middle of the night, she would, at the very least, have told Maya that she was leaving town and she also would not have left her apartment in the shape that it was.

“Anything?” Cragen asked once he noticed Elliot was off the phone.

“Nothing. No one knows where she is.”

“You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

“One friend suggested that I talk to Liv’s cousin who just had a baby in Jersey, but the Liv I know wouldn’t skip town just to see the child of cousin she never talks to. Not leaving her apartment in the condition that it was this morning.”

“Well, what did her apartment look like?” Cragen asked crossing his arms.

Elliot paused and glanced at the glossy floor before looking his superior in the eye. “It looked the way it did when I left her place Tuesday. In fact, a little too much. Before I left, things got a little…shuffled in her apartment and I just would’ve expected to her have cleaned up a bit before she left. But everything was the same.”

Cragen stared silently at his detective, his eyes pausing on each bruise on his face and his slouched position in his chair while the words “a little shuffled” rolled around in his head.

“You know,” he said after a full minute. “I remember you telling me that maybe Kreider had a little something for Liv a while back when we first started looking at him. Why don’t you and Fin go to talk this Roy friend of Kreider’s and grill him a little harder. I’ve a feeling if he’s at all close to Kreider, he knows something.”

“What about Liv?” Elliot asked. “I mean, I’ve called just about every person I can think of and no one knows where she is.”

“I’ll have Munch keep on it, but…I want you to follow up with Roy.”

Elliot nodded and minutes later he was on his way out of the precinct to speak to Lucas Roy again.

“John,” Cragen said motioning Munch into his office. “Tell me something…what do you know about these injuries Stabler’s come in with?”

Munch, now inside Cragen’s office with the door shut, shrugged. “Nothing. He came in Wednesday all banged up and said he didn’t want to talk about it.”

“He never said anything?”

“No,” he said shaking his head. “I mean…I admit it was a little unnerving to see him like that after the way he left here Tuesday night, but…I think if it was truly serious, he would’ve spilled.”

Cragen sighed. “Do me a favor…just for my own peace of mind. Go to Liv’s apartment and talk to her neighbors.”

“Didn’t Stabler already talk to them?”

“It’s not that I don’t trust what Elliot says. I just want another perspective on what her neighbors have to say.”

Munch gave him a nod as he left the office and though his inquiring mind desired to do so, he did not pry into what Cragen meant by “another perspective.”




“Look, I told you already! I don’t know where Owen is!”

Lucas Roy’s face held red blotches where blood rushed through the capillaries in his cheeks through the force of his shouts and his breathing had intensified to the point that it was coming in gasps.

Elliot and Fin glanced at one another, as all three stood in an unused conference room, and then turned their gazes to Roy, skepticism well set in their eyes.

“Lucas,” Elliot began. “We really need to find him.”

“I know, but I’m telling you, I don’t know where he is.”

“But you’d tell us if you did,” Fin said.

Roy turned toward Fin as his eyes grew wide. “Yeah…of course I would. I mean, if he’s done all these things people are saying he’s been-”

“There’s no if to it,” Elliot said. “Owen Kreider is a murderer and if you’re hiding him somewhere, you’re liable for every murder he committed or will commit in the future.”

Roy shook his head. “I’m not…I’m not.”

“We don’t believe you,” Fin said.

“You can look through all my stuff! I don’t have any hideouts or something where he could be staying. I don’t know where he is!”

Elliot took a step toward him and spoke in a soft, deep voice. “Listen. As if what’s happened to these kids wasn’t bad enough, he murdered his neighbor just for the hell of it and now…there’s a cop missing. If you know anything about where he is and you’re holding out, believe me, you’ll be doing time right next to him at Sing Sing.”

“I promise you,” Roy said. “I swear on my mother’s life, I don’t know where he is.”

“We need to find him,” Fin said. “And after everything we've heard, you’re the one who's closest to him.”

“I don’t know anything.”

“Did he say anything about the police talking to him before he left?” Elliot asked.

Roy shook his head.

“Think before you answer,” Elliot said. “Now, think back. Did Kreider say anything to you about any of the cops who were talking to him?”

“No….at least, I don’t think so. It’s hard to remember. I mean, that feels like a lifetime ago.”

“Try harder. Did he mention speaking to the police?”

Roy stared at the table for another before popping his head up, as if the memory had simply jumped to mind.

“Yeah…I think he did mention a cop.”

“You’re sure?” Elliot said.

“Yeah,” Roy said nodding. “We were talking about the ladies who all work on the third floor and he mentioned a lady cop…He said she looked him in the eye when he talked, unlike other women he tried talking to.”

Elliot and Fin glanced at one another again, each frowning.

“What else did he have to say about her?” Fin asked. “It’s important.”

Roy shrugged. “Nothing really. I mean, he only mentioned a woman cop that one time and all he said was that she was pretty and that she looked him in the eye when they talked. That’s it.”

His eyes bounced back and forth between Elliot and Fin and widened.

“You think he might’ve done something to her? Is this the cop that’s missing?”

“If you know anything,” Elliot said. “You need to tell us now.”

“I’m really wishing I had something to tell you,” Roy said. “But…I don’t know where Owen is. Now, look. People are starting to talk about you people coming in here to talk to me. I don’t know anything and I need you to stop coming here.”

Elliot glared directly into the pits of Roy’s pupils, seeing the cowardice that lay within, before he nodded at Fin and they both left the building.




An odd mixture of apprehension and guilt came in a wave over Munch as he stepped off the elevator on Olivia’s floor. Reviewing the actions of his co-worker made him feel like a rat and each step he took closer to Olivia’s door brought the vision of seeing his friend’s face in a newspaper that claimed she had been murdered. Let into the building by the superintendent, he knocked on her door, knowing that he would not receive answer, but hopeful nonetheless. After receiving no response from Olivia’s door, Munch went to the apartment next to hers.

“Yes?” Mrs. Fitzgivens said as she answered the door, eyeing Munch suspiciously.

“Hi there,” he said, flashing his badge. “I’m Detective John Munch. You’re super let me in.”

“Can I help you?” she asked, still not opening the door to any extent.

“I work with your neighbor, Olivia Benson, and I was wondering if you’d seen or heard from her recently.”

“Another cop was just here asking that same question. Don’t you people talk to one another?”

Munch bit the inside of his lip, wondering if the hostility stemming from the woman was because he was simply a stranger to her or whether it held some deeper meaning that might ignite if he said the wrong thing.

“Well, we’re just trying to make sure we’ve got all our bases covered.”

Mrs. Fitzgivens rolled her eyes. “Like I told that other detective…her partner or whatever. I haven’t seen her.”

“When was the last time you talked to her?”

“Sunday, I think. Anyway, I don’t know see what the big fuss is.”

“An officer might be missing,” Munch said.

“Are you sure? I figured since she was just a little whore, she had just gone out whoring and had forgotten to come back.”

“Whoa! Where the hell do you get off saying that!”

“Well, I live right next to her, so I think I’m perfectly capable of making that assumption. Good day.”

As she closed the door in his face, a door behind him opened and a face popped out from the doorframe to see what had caused the commotion.

“Everything all right out here?” Mark said, staring at Munch through narrowed eyes.

“Yeah,” Munch said walking toward Mark’s apartment. “My name’s Detective John Munch. Is…is your neighbor always so hospitable to strangers?”

Mark shook his head as he leaned against the door frame. “She’s been here since as long as anyone can remember and she doesn’t like new people.”

“I see. Well, I work with your neighbor, Olivia Benson and I was just checking to see if anyone knew what she’d been up to.”

“Up to?” Mark said. “I haven’t seen her in…a couple days, I guess.”

“She tell you that she was going anywhere? Maybe taking a trip to clear her head?”

“No. She didn’t say anything like that.”

“Well, have you noticed anyone around the building lately that you didn’t recognize?”

“You mean other than you?”

Munch grinned. “Yeah, other than me.”

“No one out of the usual. I know she’s been fighting with her boyfriend or whatever and he’s been storming in and out of here for the past few days.”

“Anything else?”

“Well…I mean there’s been a lot of arguing from other there recently. I thought it was just that Halloway guy, but I think one of them was her, um…partner, I think.”

“You think?” Munch said. “What’d he look like?”

“Tall, big, strong guy. Brown hair…I don’t know. Almost every time he’s been by lately, I’ve heard him screaming. She was actually crying about it a week ago. And, you know what? He was actually here asking about her yesterday and he looked kind of…I don’t know, frazzled or something.”

Munch frowned at the news, but pulled out a notepad and began writing. He took out his card a minute later and handed it to Mark.

“If you see her…or if you hear anything else, just let me know.”

Mark nodded. “Will do.”

“Is there anyone else home at this time of day on your floor?”

“Yeah, Sam,” Mark said pointing down the hall toward the second door on the left. “He’s some kind of artist. He’s home, I think. And Mrs. Fitzgivens, but you’ve already talked to her.”

Munch gave him a nod and headed down the hall.

“No, I haven’t seen her,” Sam said several minutes later. “But, um…another detective, her partner, I think his name’s Elliot, but he was over here yesterday asking if I’d seen her too, but he didn’t have a notepad or anything like you.”

“Well, I’m sure he just memorized what you said.”

“Yeah, probably. I mean, you cops have good memories, right?”

“I did in my springy, younger days, but now…” Munch shrugged and Sam let loose a wide smile.

“Well, I haven’t seen Olivia in days. But, someone’s been over there because the other night, there was all this screaming and yelling and banging around.”

“You didn’t check to see what was wrong?”

“I was in the zone, you know. I get into a sculpture and I can’t stop until I’m out of it. By the time I thought about it again, it had all stopped. But, um…I mean, is she okay? Because this is the second time someone’s asked me about her in a couple days.”

“I’m sure she’s fine,” Munch said, not believing his own words as he pulled out one of his cards. “Give me a call if you see her.”




“Yeah, just let me know if you hear anything,” Cragen said into his phone. “Thanks George.”

He set the telephone back on its receiver and let out a deep sigh. Having called any department he could think of, Cragen called Casey to ask if she had needed Olivia for anything and when she had said that she had not seen nor hear from her, Cragen called George with a last hope that Olivia had been spirited off with the FBI again. However, George had not seen nor heard from Olivia either. As the day wore on, it seemed more and more likely that some severe harm had befallen his detective.

Cragen rested back into his chair as a small envelope popped into view on his computer monitor, telling him new e-mails had arrived. He closed his eyes knowing it was his own superior wanting a status update on SVU’s cases and ran through a quick list of all the funerals he had been to for officers cut down in their prime. The phone on his desk rang as he remembered a tenth name and the tragic funeration that followed while he reached slowly to answer it.

“Cragen,” he said.

“Yeah, it’s John. I just got back from Olivia’s place and I’m pulling her phone records right now.”

“Anything?” Cragen asked.

“No,” Munch said curtly. “No one’s seen her, but apparently Elliot neglected to tell us a few things.”

“A few things like what?”

“Like he didn’t find it necessary to take any notes on what her neighbors had to say or that he was at her place Tuesday night while, as one neighbor said, there was a lot of screaming and yelling and banging coming from her apartment. And, this was from the guy who lives all the way down the hall.”

“Anything else?”

“The guy below her confirmed the same stuff and he got a time frame. He said he heard the shouting start around midnight and everything was all over in a half hour.”

Cragen rubbed his temples and caught sight of Elliot and Fin walking into the squad room from his office window. “All right. Well, get her luds and we’ll see who she’s been talking to.”

He set down the receiver and waved Elliot into the office.

“Cap,” Elliot said, still flush from the outside cold. “We talked to Roy again and he’s standing firm on Kreider, but he did say Kreider talked about Olivia before he took off.”

Cragen put his hand in his pockets and pursed his lips before speaking.

“John went to Olivia’s apartment this afternoon to talk to her neighbors.”

Elliot shrugged. “They have anything else to say?”

“No. Just that they heard a lot of commotion coming from her apartment Tuesday night…something you didn’t say anything about this whole time.”

“I knew what it was about,” Elliot said, his eyes shifting to the side for a moment. “There was no need.”

“No need?” Cragen said taking a step forward. “Her neighbors down the hall heard this commotion that you felt there was no need to discuss.”

“I knew what it was about,” Elliot repeated. “And when I talked to them yesterday, I was still hoping that Olivia and Halloway had just run off somewhere or something.”

Cragen stared at him allowing a full minute’s silence to pass before even blinking.

“What happened that night?”

Elliot’s eyes looked toward the floor, then at the ceiling, then at the computer monitor; anywhere except at Cragen.

“Tuesday night…I went to Olivia’s. That’s why I didn’t need to take down what her neighbors were saying. I was there. I wanted Drover’s file and we had an argument.”

Cragen narrowed his eyes at Elliot. “What do you mean you had an argument? Weren’t you asked to stand down on the Drover case?”

Elliot stood silent for a moment. “I know, Don. I know. I spent most of Tuesday thinking about Drover and what Dickie said and I just…I wanted his file.”

“For what, Elliot? What could you gain by going to see Drover on your own except a reprimand from even higher up the chain?”

“I don’t know,” Elliot whispered. “I just kept thinking about my son…I just don’t know.”

“What about Olivia? Why’d you go to her place?”

“She had his file…and I wanted it.”

“And you argued?”


“And these injuries?”

Elliot just stared at him, not wanting to continue, but Cragen could read his expression regardless. Most likely, at some point during the night, Elliot had said or done something to anger Olivia and she hit him, hard.

“Did she say she was going anywhere when you last talked to her?” Cragen felt like he had asked the question a dozen times that day.

“No,” Elliot said. “I just left. S-she didn’t say anything.”

Cragen stared at him, allowing silence to settle between them again. The sun had long since set and they had not made any real progress on any of their other cases. God only knew how many others would accrue over the next night and it was looking like one of his lead detectives had actually vanished without a trace. The urge to bring out the old Scotch he kept locked away in his office pulled from all sides.

“All right,” he said after a while and a deep sigh. He marched out of his office toward Munch, who had just arrived at the precinct, and Fin and Elliot followed after him.

“Fin,” Cragen said. “I want you catching for now and I’m going to need any final reports you might have had on the Fayden case. John, Elliot…I want you both going through Olivia’s address book and her phone records. I want to hear from anyone who’s had any contact with her in the past month. She couldn’t’ve just disappeared over night.”

“Are we making this official?” Fin asked. “We going to Missing Persons with this?”

Cragen shook his head. “Not yet. I’m still hoping she’s…” He sighed. “Not yet.”

Munch handed Elliot a stack of papers as he sat down at his own desk and pulled his telephone closer as he knew he would be making numerous calls throughout the rest of the evening. Unable to look his co-worker in the eye after coming from Olivia’s building and learning what he had, Munch read silently through the lines of phone, incoming and outgoing from Olivia’s home and cell phones.

Thirty minutes later, Elliot sighed as he banged his telephone back to the receiver. Munch wanted to tell him to calm down, but seeing as the words had had no effect during previous bouts of aggression coming from Elliot, he held his tongue.

“Just got off the phone with some guy Liv had apparently forgotten to call back after dinner,” Elliot said. “He’s the fifth one. She’s pissed off a lot of people.”

Munch simply nodded and to combat the monotony, he began reading off the names that had been linked to Olivia’s phone over the past month.

“Shah, Maya,” he said. “Shah, Maya…Shah, Maya…Halloway, Jonathan. He’s not related to the Halloways, is he?”

Elliot nodded absent-mindedly as he stared at a name in her address book.

“Humph,” Munch said. “Shah, Maya…Shah, Maya…Halloway, Jonathan…It’s the same people over and over again. Shah, Shah, Halloway…Stabler…Shah, Halloway…Oh, here we go: Harfort, Joshua?”

“That’s Liv’s friend Jillian,” Elliot said. “I already called her and if I call again, she’ll file the Missing Persons report herself.”

Munch nodded. “Shah, Shah, Stabler, Shah, Shah, Halloway, Shah, Harfort, Shah…K. Stabler…” Munch glanced at Elliot who simply nodded in reply. “Halloway, Shah, Harfort…Anyone talk to a Landon?”

“Neighbor across the hall,” Elliot said.

“What about a P. Fitzgivens?”

“Neighbor next door.”

Munch frowned at the list. “No, this Fitzgivens lives across the city.”

“I think it might be her son.”

“I see…Shah, Shah, Halloway, Shah, Harfort, Halloway, Stabler…all the way down the list, it’s the same people.”

Elliot sighed and threw down his list as he came across a midnight call coming from a pay phone down the street from Olivia’s apartment on Thursday past.

“This is a waste of time,” Munch said bitterly. “We’ve already talked to anyone who’s had any contact with her in the last two months. Probably the last six months for that matter!”

Somebody’s gotta know where she went,” Fin said.

Munch stood and put a hand to his forehead. “None of us knew when she went underground with the feds.”

“Exactly,” Fin said, noting the sudden change in his partner’s demeanor. “That’s why I’m not thinking it’s time to panic yet.”

“No, now’s the perfect time to start!” He rounded on Elliot. “When was the last time you saw her?”

Elliot shook his head. “That night…I was back in my car at like…12:30 and then I went home.”

“And, you didn’t stop anywhere along the way?”

“What the hell’s that supposed to mean?” Elliot said as he glared at him.

“Elliot, as of right now, you’re the last person to see her.” He picked up the top sheet from his desk. “Liv’s last call Tuesday was with Maya Shah and it ended a little after ten o’clock. That leaves you as the last person to talk to her, too.”

“You’re making it sound as if I did something to her!” Elliot yelled standing.

“Whatever it sounds like, I saw how angry you were when you left here Tuesday night looking for Drover’s file. Between the way you looked Tuesday, what I heard from her neighbors and the way you look right now, I know something went on that night!”

“Hey,” Fin said, standing between the two of them. “John calm down. We still don’t know what’s up. Maybe she caught a lead on Kreider and hasn’t had a chance to call. Maybe she just needed to leave town and clear her head. Maybe she’s back with the Feds, maybe-”

“She’s not with the Feds,” Cragen interrupted. “Huang just got back to me. No one from the Bureau’s been in contact with Olivia.”

“And she didn’t just leave,” Elliot said. “I went to her place last night and today and her wallet, badge and gun are all sitting on her dresser. Even if she stepped out for just as second, she wouldn’t’ve gone far without all three.”

Cragen ran a hand over his face. “Is there anyone else we need to talk to?”

“Don,” Munch said. “No one’s seen or heard from her.”

“What’s the worst case scenario here?”

“Drover,” Elliot said immediately. “He attacked her last week and was stalking her before that. What if that Tuesday-”

“What about Kreider,” Munch interrupted. “Or Diorel? You two said it yourselves; Kreider talked about Olivia to people at his job and Diorel even said he wanted to take her down for the Rivers case.”

“Either way,” Fin said. “Elliot woulda seen something at Liv’s place. You said her placed looked exactly like it did when you left Tuesday. You woulda noticed if there were any sign of a break-in. Plus, you said her place was locked from outside, but her keys were on the hook.”

“But, her extra set was missing,” Elliot added.

Munch shook his head. “It’s all adding up. All her neighbors said they heard a commotion that night and now she’s gone.”

“That was me,” Elliot admitted with a sigh. Munch and Fin stared silently at him and Cragen stared at the floor, a frown set squarely upon his face. “She wouldn’t give me Drover’s file and we argued about it. When I talked to her neighbors, they all said they heard this commotion stop about 12:30…when I left. Something else must’ve happened that night.”

Elliot crossed his arms in front of him, not liking the way the conversation had turned. All three were looking at him, as if he had done something to Olivia; as if he was a perp.

She was fine when I left, he thought. Wasn’t she?

“Well, I got a call a little while ago,” Cragen said breaking the tense silence. “Drover’s conscious, so change of plans. Fin, Elliot: grill him, hard. I want to know every step he took between the time he left his cousin’s place to the time he passed out in the drunk tank at the 2-7. And, Elliot…I don’t want to hear about any trip ups with Drover.”

Elliot gave him a nod as he and Fin left the squad room and Munch followed Cragen back to his office.

“I don’t like this,” Munch said. “We need to figure what happened to her that night.”

Cragen leaned against his desk and sighed. “Calm down, John. If anyone understands, it’s me. But, I wanna know what happened here Tuesday night.” Munch raised his eyebrows and Cragen continued. “You said that you saw Stabler Tuesday night. What’d he say? What’d he do?”

“Oh, you want me to be a rat?”

“No, I want to know what the hell’s going on! From what I know about Tuesday, Elliot came back to the house for the Drover file, he went off to Liv’s to find it, then he comes in yesterday morning looking like he got hit by a truck and now Liv’s gone. We’ve busted perps with less than this.”

It was Munch’s turn to give the deep sigh. “I know what you’re thinking, but I really don’t want to go there.”

“All right, let me ask you this: Do you think that Elliot did something to Olivia?”

Munch stood silent for a moment staring at Cragen’s desk. “Cap…I don’t know. I just don’t know. If you’d’ve seen him that night…I don’t know. From what I know about the two of them, everything looks like he went to Olivia’s for the Drover file and got his assed kicked when she wouldn’t give it to him.”

“But, do you think he’d hurt her in retaliation?” When Munch did not reply, Cragen rephrased the question. “Knowing how angry he was Tuesday night, if she wasn’t willing to give up that file, do you think he’d hurt her?”

The question rolled in his mind for a full minute, but Munch each time he attempted to reply, no answer would come.




Mercy General Hospital



“So,” Fin began as he and Elliot stepped onto the brightly lit floor of the patient quarters, “you gonna tell me what really went down between you and Liv on Tuesday?”

“Look,” Elliot said, pausing his quick stride to look Fin directly in the eye. “I went to her place for Drover’s file and she wouldn’t give it up. We argued, I left, that’s all.”

Fin nodded, disbelief shining through his eyes and they continued down the hall.

“Drover,” Elliot said minutes later in Drover’s common hospital room. “Wake up! Time to talk to the cops.”

Drover, looking very pale, slowly opened his eyes and scowled at the detectives in front of him.

“I don’t have a goddamn thing to say to you people without my lawyer.”

“Oh, you’re gonna talk to us,” Fin said. “We can call your lawyer and we’ll all wait around and have a chat if you want, but you’re talking.”

Drover turned onto his side, shifting his gaze away from them. “Haven’t you people screwed me over enough? How much do I have to suffer before you’re satisfied?”

Elliot walked toward the other side of Drover’s bed to look him in the eye.

“We know, Drover,” he whispered. “We know about last Thursday and we know that you’re the one who came after my kid. We know about everything.”

Drover’s large eyes grew larger and he switched positions, but Elliot followed.

“Did you think it was all just going to go away?” he continued. “That no one would find out what you did to her?”

“That bitch!” Drover yelled shooting upward, his arm catching on handcuff that tethered him to the bed frame. “She told me she wouldn’t say anything!”

Elliot pushed Drover backward on the bed, but Fin appeared at his side a moment later shaking his head. Anger coursed through Elliot and he shook as he slowly released Drover.

“Did you get bored?” he seethed. “Did you come after my kid because you couldn’t get anything off my partner!”

“Not everything’s about you, you bastard!”

Fin pulled on Elliot’s shoulder and he shook him off as he crossed to the room’s other side, knowing that being such close proximity to Drover could lead to violence.

“We know what happened Thursday,” Fin said. “We also know all about Daniel Richardson and Ricky Schrader. And, you know from the cuffs around your hand that you’re gonna do some time for this, so it’s time to spill. Where is she?”


“Olivia!” Elliot shouted completely red-faced. “You call her in the middle of the night to lure her to an alley and now you can’t figure out who we’re talking about!”

“I don’t know where she is!” Drover screamed in return. “The goddamn, bitch liar! I swear to God if I did, I’d’ve finished what I started that night.”

Twenty minutes later, Fin and Elliot were back in the squad room, having had their fill with Jeffrey Drover.

“He said he blacked out,” Elliot said. “Says he doesn’t remember being anywhere near the village that night.”

“Police reports say different,” Munch said sitting as his desk. “Besides, with as much as he had downed that night, I’m surprised he even woke up. For all intents and purposes, he probably should’ve died from the alcohol content in his blood.”

“Yeah, but if you’d’ve seen him today,” Fin began. “He would’ve remembered if he’d come across Olivia that night.”

Cragen sighed and headed for his office as Elliot followed. “I’m grabbing a small CSU team to go over her apartment and I figure from there we’ll decide if we need to get Missing Persons involved. I want you and Munch down there when we go in a bit.”

“Cap,” Elliot said. “It’s too early to bring Missing Persons in on this.”

“Something happened to her,” Cragen said. “Unless you know where she’s gone, we’re all at a loss here. I’ve got a team, we’re going to her place and if it looks like something went down, we’re getting Missing Persons in on this. They’re not taking her case away from us, but they need to be notified.”

Cragen took his coat off his hook, but paused at the door as Elliot stood facing the far wall.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

Elliot slowly turned toward him, the bruises on his face, all deepening in colour, distorting his face into odd bumps in the false light. “When Olivia and I argued that night, things got a little heated.”

“Heated how?”

“Stuff got…thrown around a bit.” He paused as the concern on Cragen’s face grew into a glower. “Even if someone came after her after I left, we wouldn’t be able to tell.”

“How bad is her place going to look?”

“Like we had a fight. Which is why I think it’s too early to bring in CSU and especially Missing Persons.”

“Well, what else would you have us do? She’s gone and there’s no one else to call. From what I know, you and her friend Maya are the two people who know Olivia best and neither of you knows what happened. We have to expect the worst and begin an investigation.”

Elliot stared at the floor. “I just don’t want you to walk into her apartment and make assumptions as to what happened.”

“Fine,” Cragen said. “You tell us what’s different from the way you…left it and we’ll go from there.”




“Just what kind of argument did you and Olivia have, Stabler?”

Munch was standing in the middle of Olivia’s apartment glaring at Elliot as the CSU team began to take pictures throughout the apartment. Elliot stood at the door looking small and despondent and unable to look Munch in the eye.

“All right, John,” Cragen said. “We already know what initially happened and we’re looking for any signs of foul play.”

Munch crossed the room three steps and stood in front of Cragen. “Are you looking at this place?” he hissed. “What else do we need to define this as foul play?”

“Just let CSU do their job and we’ll discuss it later,” Cragen replied. He turned toward the dispersing team. “Let’s do this right and carefully. This is one of ours.”

The detectives stood back as the crime scene unit took pictures of Olivia’s apartment. Cragen stood between Elliot and Munch prepared to handle either should the need come.

Elliot allowed an involuntary shiver to slide down his back as one of the officers gave him a side glance just before photographing the rust-coloured smudge on Olivia’s rug. Though the lights were on and the heat blazing, the room felt bitterly cold to him and it had the appearance that it had lost whatever it was that made it seem so bright in the past.

His eyes fell toward the corner of the door and saw that one of the keys Olivia had thrown down her shirt Tuesday night to keep him from getting lay near the door frame. The first instinct to pick up them seemed natural, but he paused instead. Though he wondered where the second key had flown, he could not afford to arouse any more suspicions.

He saw Munch whisper something to Cragen and he studied Olivia’s window instead of looking at the pair, wanting nothing more than to close his eyes and pull himself into a ball in the corner. Whispers were floating through the air along with occasional fringe glances and he knew that every cop in the room was looking at him as if he were a criminal.

She was fine, he thought to himself. She was fine when I left. She fine when I left…

What he had done was wrong, but he knew, even through the look of desperation and scorn on Olivia’s face when he had last seen her, she was perfectly fine the moment he had left her building.

Having suffered his fill of sideways looks, Elliot gaited toward Olivia’s bedroom in hopes of seeing some sign that she had purposely fled her apartment.

“Well, at least all the action was kept out of the bedroom,” Munch said upon entering the room.

Elliot ignored the offhand comment, knowing that Munch had only followed him into the room to ensure that he did not try to take or move anything that would seem incriminating. Stifling a sigh by swallowing the air in his mouth, Elliot knew it was only a matter of time before Olivia’s disappearance became an official case and all eyes would be squarely pointed at him.

She was fine when I left…

His eyes continued to scan the room and came upon her dresser. At first, he noticed a long, thin package of pills sitting toward the dresser’s edge and he struggled to suppress rolling his eyes. Frames of various sizes lined the back edge and walls surrounding her mirror, each holding images of days long past. Some were photos of Olivia and her mother while others were most of were she and numerous friends from nights he doubted if she remembered. A smirk played across his lips as he noticed an older photo of two girls, one white, one Indian, who looked no more than six or seven, dressed up for Halloween. The Indian girl, standing with her hands on her hips, was dressed up as Wonder Woman and the other little girl, whose blonde hair looked like it was beginning to turn brown, was dressed as an Indian princess, complete with bindi and bangles. Both girls were grinning wildly and looked as though they thought their happiness could never end.

Munch continued to make small talk and sarcastic comments as he followed Elliot back into the living room and toward Olivia’s desk. His eyes slowly took in every file that had slid into a disheveled mess on Tuesday night. Manila folders for their open rape cases lay on top of one another in a perfect shift, yet something seemed amiss. Files for four of Owen Kreider’s seven victims lay across one another on her desk, yet Elliot could have sworn there were five. He sifted through the files, CSU having already dusted and photographed them, and looked for the missing file.

“Find something?” Munch asked.

“Jacob Lewendale’s file is missing,” Elliot said setting down the file.

“What do you mean it’s missing?”

“Liv had a copy of it here. It was on her desk. I remember because she went through them for a second while she pretended to not have Drover’s and now it’s not here.”

“Are you sure?” Munch said. “I mean, she’s got dozens of them here. Maybe you thought you saw his name when you saw all the others.”

“No,” Elliot said. “The Lewendale file was here on her desk and these files looked like they were moved since…Tuesday. They sort of…fell over when we were…talking, but these look like they were shifted and the Lewendale file is gone.”

Munch opened his mouth to respond, but Mark Landon’s door opened across the hall before he could.

“What’s going on?” Mark said pulling a dark blue bathrobe around him.

“Mark,” Elliot said stepping out into the hallway. “We’re just bringing in some other cops to go over Olivia’s apartment. We just want to make sure we haven’t missed anything that might let us know what happened to her.”

Mark shook his head, but he continually glanced past Elliot’s shoulder and into Olivia’s apartment, distress set in his face. “You’re making a lot of noise.”

“We’ll be done soon,” Elliot said. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine, it’s just…I mean, I’m just not sure what’s going on.”

Elliot stared at Mark’s pale face for a moment. “Can I come in for sec?”

“Y-yeah, I guess.”

He opened the door to let Elliot inside the apartment. Elliot gazed around the apartment surprised to see how bland it was. There were no pictures on the walls and nothing that had the lightest semblance of decoration. He could see into the bedroom and saw his bed lacked a comforter having only a single blanket and a sheet, both of which hung to the floor. In comparison with the normally warm embellishments of Olivia’s apartment, Mark’s home was stark and uninviting and smelled strongly of household cleaner.

 “Mark,” Elliot sighed. “We don’t know where Olivia is. No one’s seen her and we’ve called every single person in her phones and in her address book and no one knows what’s up.”

Mark’s eyes fell toward the floor as the floorboards creaked from behind him. He then stared beady eyes at Elliot with a forlorn, miserable expression set within them.

“We’re looking for her, Mark,” Elliot reassured him. “And, I know we’ll find her safe and sound, it’s just that we need to do this to give us something on where she went.”

“No one…” Mark said. “No one called me.”

Elliot felt his eyebrows furrow, unsure how to approach Mark’s comment. “Well, we’d come by to ask you and you said you hadn’t heard from her.”

Mark sighed. “I’ve been living across the hall from her for ten years and I’m not even in her address book.”

“You’re across the hall,” Elliot said shrugging. “I’m sure she didn’t think it was necessary.”

Mark stood silently for a moment staring at the floor as the wind blew against his window across the room causing a squeak in the distance.

“Well,” he said. “I work from home and I’ve got a lot to do.”

He ushered Elliot toward the door.

“If you hear any word from her,” Elliot said from the hall and handing Mark his business card, “give me a call. Day or night. We just need to make sure she’s okay.”

He added the last comment hoping he would see a flicker of interest in Mark’s eyes. Mark seemed like the type of person in whom Olivia might confide something she did not want the rest of world to know; someone who they would be least likely to question severely. Mark, however, showed no signs that he understood Elliot’s suggestion.

Looking dejected, Mark sighed again as he slowly began to close his door. “She’s in my address book.”

Elliot stood staring at the closed door for a moment, slightly taken aback by Mark’s sudden depression as he heard a commotion from the CSU team who was studying Olivia’s rug with a UV light.

“Looks like blood over here,” Officer Harridon said. “But, there’s something else over here, but I’m not sure what that is.”

The detectives crowded around the spot over which he was holding the light. The phosphorescent, green stain that served as a marker of blood glowed from Olivia's rug, but several feet away from it and towards the door sat a larger blemish, lying half on and off the rug. More blue in colour than its sister stain, each officer present seemed puzzled as to what it could be.

“I’ll take a sample and send it the lab,” Harridon said. “I don’t know what it is, but it definitely is not blood.”

“There’s another one closer to the door,” another officer said, holding her own light. “Yeah, I don’t know what that could be.”

Elliot turned on his heel and knocked on Mark’s door again.

“Yes?” Mark said, barely opening his door.

“Hey,” Elliot said. “We’re finding some stuff on the floor in her apartment. You have any idea if she’s been moving things around lately or had anything delivered that might’ve leaked?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Mark said shaking his head.

Elliot stared at him a moment, so frustrated that his partner was missing that he could have easily lashed out the small person in front of him.

“Can you think of anyone, anyone at all, who might’ve had an issue with Olivia?”

Mark opened the door a bit wider and stared at the ceiling. “There’s a guy…Philip or something like that. I think he’s Mrs. Fitzgivens’s son…He’s been around here lately. I heard him and Olivia arguing a few days ago, but I didn’t know about what. And of course…you did seem to be quite vocal with her over these past few days too.”

The narrowing of Elliot’s eyes at his last comment caused Mark to take a step backward.

“But I know,” he continued, “that you haven’t, uh, done anything to harm her. But, I would walk to Mrs. Fitzgivens’ son. Definitely give him a ring. I mean, I wouldn’t say that he’s shady or something, but he’s definitely a weird guy. Yeah, I would definitely talk to him…definitely.”




Friday February 2, 2007

339 East 13th Street



“I swear to God I haven’t seen her.”

Philip Fitzgivens sat on his couch, his head resting in hands and his arms resting on his knees. He shook violently, still startled at having been awakened in the middle of the night to find the NYPD bearing down upon him and his lanky form appeared paler than ever.

“This is the first I’ve heard that she’s even missing.”

“We haven’t announced it yet,” Elliot said. “We don’t anyone making any rash decisions too soon.”

“Well, she hasn’t spoken to me in like a week and that was just to tell me off,” Philip said.

“Her neighbors have said that you were practically stalking her,” Munch said. “Showing up all the time, cornering her in the elevators…”

“Hey, my mother lives right next to her!” Philip yelled. “I just kept running into her. That’s not my fault!”

“Just calm down,” Elliot said, noting Cragen answering his phone out of the corner of his eye. “There’s no reason to get excited.”

“No reason? The cops are at my apartment in the middle of the night telling me that some woman that I asked out is missing. You’re asking me these questions like you think I did something to her.”

Did you do something to her?” Munch asked.

“No! Of course not. She told me last week she didn’t want to see me and I said I was done with her. She was a real bitch to me and who needs that…not that that comment means I did anything.”

Munch and Elliot glanced at one another, but before either could respond, Cragen tapped Munch on his shoulder.

“We’ve gotta go,” he said. “Fin got hit on Kreider.”

An hour later, Cragen, Munch and Fin stood outside an interrogation room watching Lucas Roy stare into space, perfectly calm as he sat alone at the table. Fin had spent much of the night following up on all incoming information regarding Kreider and had found a report of someone matching Kreider’s description using a storage unit on the Lower East Side. A few calls later, he learned that the unit in question was owned by a V. Talbert and after discovering that she had died four years earlier, Fin called Cragen.

“You’re sure?” Cragen asked.

Fin nodded while they all stood in the smaller room. “Three payments of five grand going into that account.”

“And they’re all from Donaugh?”

“Every one of them.”

“Let’s go,” Elliot said.

He and Fin went into the interrogation room, but Roy did not flinch or bat an eye at their entrance.

“Now, Lucas,” Elliot said with obvious mock concern as he sat at the table with Fin’s documents. “We’ve got just a few questions for you, ‘cause we’ve been doing some digging on Kreider and we came up with the name V. Talbert. We’re not sure if he or she might be somehow related to Kreider. Do you have a lot of family in the area?”

“No. Just a brother.”

“That it? What about your parents? Are they from here?”


“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that…So, your mother…what was her name?”

Roy stared at the table in the small room. “Vanessa Talbert-Roy.”

“Talbert, eh? Well, that’s just fascinating, isn’t it? Your friend, Owen Kreider, hides out with his mother and then when he disappears, fifteen thousand dollars appears in an account of someone named Vanessa Talbert. And, as it turns out, your name is listed as an account holder on her account. Fifteen thousand in the account of your late mother, the same mother on whose life you swore that you didn’t know where Kreider was.”

Roy continued staring at the table, not making a sound.

“Better talk now,” Fin said. “The longer we wait around, the more likely our DA will be in the mood to just let your ass fry right along with Kreider. If we wake her up this early in the morning, who knows how she’ll be feeling.”

Tears had appeared on the red rims of Roy’s eyes and he looked toward the ceiling to keep them from falling.

“Why’d you hide him?” Elliot asked.

Roy sighed. “I needed the money.”

“Who doesn’t?” Fin said.

“You don’t get it! My kid brother has a gambling problem. He got in big with this kid who’s all cozied up with some mobsters. He owes them ten grand and there’s no way in hell he can repay it. They already ruffed up his place and broke his legs. They’re gonna kill him if he doesn’t pay up.”

“So, you hid someone who killed seven, no, eight people?” Elliot said, rage flowing through his voice again.

“I didn’t know what else to do. Owen…he said he didn’t do it. He said you people were trying to frame him. I needed the money and I didn’t know what to think. He’s always been a normal guy and…I was afraid.”

“Afraid of what?” Fin said arms crossed in front of him.

“Look, I got kids,” Roy said. “I was afraid of what he might do to me, to us, if I said no. I mean…I believed him when he said he didn’t do it, but there was no way to tell, you know? If he killed those kids, what was to stop him from coming back after me or even coming after my kids?”

Elliot fumed in his seat, but wondered if what he would be willing to risk if his brother Nolan got himself into the same kind of trouble.

“Why do this?” he asked. “What could Kreider have said to you to make you go along with this?”

Roy shrugged. “At first, he just said he needed to use the place because he was moving to a smaller apartment and he had some credit problems. I figured…it was just sitting there. Mom had paid the rent for the place for, like, years in advance, why not?”

“And when did you realize that story was bogus?” Fin said.

Roy simply shook his head and stared at the table. Elliot felt any remaining sympathy fly out of his system.

“What else do you know about Kreider that you haven’t told us because you knew you had fifteen thousand dollars riding on him?”

“Just that Owen kept saying stuff about wanting kids when he was older. Every once in a while he would mumble something about wanting a child’s love or something, but never being able to get it. Something like that. He even went to child welfare to try to get a foster kid, but they wouldn’t give him one.”

“And with all this going on,” Elliot began, “you didn’t think twice about helping him hide from the cops?”

“‘Course not, Elliot,” Fin said. “Not when there was fifteen grand to make. That takes care of his sib’s debts and he gets a little bonus.”

“I just…” Roy said, still staring at the table. “I just needed the money. And, he seemed liked a normal person. I didn’t think he’d done anything wrong.”

Elliot stood. He had had enough of Lucas Roy’s lies and ignorance. “We’re going to that storage unit…now.”




Mott Street and Grand Street



Elliot steadied the flashlight in his hand as he guided a handcuffed Lucas Roy toward the large storage unit at the end of the lot. He, Fin and several other officers were following the lot owner as the keys to Vanessa Talbert’s storage unit jingled in his hands.

“We do sweeps once every two weeks,” the owner said as he walked. “We don’t want people living out of these units, so we do what we can, but we’ve got to respect people’s privacy at the same time. If I’d’ve known that this guy had been staying here, we would’ve dragged him out with a stick. Here’s the unit.”

A large padlock glimmered in the light emitting from the various flashlights and Elliot felt a wave of nausea overtake him as exaggerated speculations about what was to be found inside the unit came to mind.

Roy’s past comments about Kreider’s seeming infatuation with Olivia had never left his thoughts and an image from his nightmare the previous night floated in front of his eyes: His partner lay dead, brutalized in the same manner as Kreider had ended the lives of his other victims and he, Elliot, stood over her, immobile from wild grief and absolute rage.

What if he had her? Elliot thought. God…what if he’s killed her?

The attendant held the large bolt cutters in his hand and the lock snapped apart with a metallic clang and fell to the ground. He opened the door, yet took a step backward as the rank odor of human excrement and general body odor wafted out of the locker.

“He’s been living in here,” Fin said, stepping into the unit with a hand over his face. “Looks like for days. And, he’s probably been using that bucket over there as a toilet.”

Elliot pushed Roy toward one of the officers. “Book him on aiding and abetting. Fin, I want to find Donaugh. Her little hand is all over this and there’s no way she’s gonna walk away free.”

Two hours later, they had arrested Emme Donaugh at her attorney’s sonorous disapprobation and she had rolled herself into a ball in the holding cell’s corner, having screamed incessantly for another three hours to the point where she had worn herself languid.

Elliot had set a photo of Olivia on the board they used to make connections between victims and suspects, the nausea returning in full sway.

“All right,” Cragen said in as business-like a voice he could muster. “What have we got so far?”

“We went through the security tapes from the storage place,” Munch said. “They show Kreider going into the unit and leaving three days later, we assume to kill Tyler MacFarland.”

“Yeah and we found a radio with all his trash in there,” Fin said. “He must’ve been listening to the news to try to find some info on how the case was going.”

Elliot nodded. “And we checked Roy’s story with ACS. They confirmed that he tried to become a foster parent and that he wanted a boy around twelve or thirteen, but thankfully they rejected him because of his history.”

“Well, Donaugh’s lawyer is going to have her out in a few hours,” Cragen said. “I’ve already informed Novak…what’s our status on Olivia?”

All three detectives shifted uncomfortably whether they were sitting or standing, yet no one replied.

“C’mon,” Cragen said. “This is Liv we’re talking about. What do we know?”

“Kreider had a thing for her,” Fin said.

“But we saw him on those security tapes,” Elliot said. “She wasn’t with him and the last time he was there was on Wednesday.”

“That’s right,” Munch interjected. “And for all we know, Liv went missing Tuesday night…I think he got to her.”

“Did Donaugh have anything to say?” Cragen asked.

“She just kept screaming that she did what any mother would’ve done,” Fin said. “And, she didn’t know anything about Liv, even when we asked her between screams.”

Elliot sighed and ran a hand over his face as he glanced at the clock on his desk that read ten o’clock in the morning. He had been awake for more than thirty hours and his thoughts lingered increasingly with Olivia with each passing minute. The memory of Olivia screaming that he was the reason Dominic Hedges was dead came to mind and he gave an absent-minded nod as if finally agreeing.

What if I hadn’t dragged my feet on Kreider? he thought.

He had asked himself the question once an hour since Olivia had first suggested it a week earlier and now, dealing the aspect of investigating her disappearance, he longed more than ever for her to simply be standing by his side trying her best not to give a patented “I told you so” expression instead of only being able to stare at her image on the array.

“…and then there’s Drover,” Elliot said finishing a sentence he began in his head.

“Let it go,” Munch said, irritably. “Drover was too busy drinking himself into a coma to go after Liv.”

“You don’t know that!”

“Elliot!” Munch yelled equaling Elliot’s tone. “You talked to Drover yourself. He was drunk the whole night and said he didn’t go after her.”

Elliot shook his head. “This is coming from the same person who swore he never laid hand on Connor Whickfield or Ricky Schrader…who gave his word that he didn’t even know Daniel Richardson. We have evidence showing that molested at least one of those kids and now, we’re trusting what he has to say about Olivia, the same cop who he lured out of her apartment to attack her? Someone else has to think this is ridiculous!”

“We know where Drover was the whole night!” Munch said.

“We haven’t any idea where he was for six hours! And, you’re telling me, it’s case closed on Jeffrey Drover? C’mon!”

“Fine!” Cragen yelled. “Munch, Fin. Find out which bars in the village he was at that night.”

“We already checked with the guys at the 2-7,” Munch said. “And besides, he already said he doesn’t remember.”

“Well, shake him until he does. Take his picture around the bars in the area closest to Olivia’s apartment. I also want to talk to her super. Find out if he’s got any security cameras in building and if so, see what’s on them.”

“What d’you want me to?” Elliot asked quickly as Munch and Fin parted from the group.

“I want you to track down Olivia’s every step in this past week. Go through her credit cards and bank records. I want to know where she went, who saw her and who she talked to.”

Elliot scoffed. “I don’t need to check her bank records to tell you where she’s been this week.”

A hardened scowl deepened on Cragen’s face and he took a step toward his detective. “Did Olivia take the Two or the Three Line back to her apartment on Sunday night?”

Pursing his lips and having no answer to the question, Elliot only shrugged.

Cragen nodded. “Tuesday night, did she stop for coffee…a sandwich…some tampons before she got to her place?”

Elliot remained silent, having fully realized his boss’s point.

“I see,” Cragen said. “Start with her desk. I want to know every step she took after she got off those elevators.”




SVU Squad Room



The pen in Elliot’s hand snapped in two pieces under the pressure of his palm and he jumped at the sudden release of tension.

Munch and Fin had spent the day combing the Village for evidence of Drover’s bar-hopping, while he had been tracing every dime that Olivia had spent in the past ten days, looking at every thing from credit card transactions to the receipts in her bags. The combined realization that Olivia had clearly fallen off the smoking bandwagon again and the fact that not one cent had moved in any of her accounts since Tuesday night caused his hand to close around the pen until it fell to the force.

She was fine when I left.

With Cragen coming to him hourly asking for updates, Elliot’s nerves were spent and the constant glances he gave toward his partner’s cold desk across from him did nothing to quell the stress. They had also been toying with the idea of sending news of Olivia's disappearance to the news stations, but the argument that erupted afterward, as long as it was, ended in Cragen agreeing with Elliot’s theory that if someone had hold of Olivia, he might act hasty at the news that the police were investigating. However, agree as he did, Cragen still glared at Elliot for the remainder of the day as if he, Elliot, was simply a criminal stalling for time. The expression unnerved him nearly as much as glancing once more at Olivia’s cold and empty coffee cup on her desk.

She was fine when I left.

Elliot rubbed the bridge of his nose with a wince and suppressed the urge to yell out and begin throwing anything within reach. He had not slept in two days and even after Cragen ordered him to take a nap in the crib upstairs, Elliot could not keep the haunting image of his nightmare out of mind long enough to drift to sleep.

She was fine when I left.

The other half of Elliot’s day was spent checking further into the boring lives of Agatha and Philip Fitzgivens. He did not like the response he received from Olivia’s neighbor and her son had the appearance of a stereotypical male stalker. He investigated both knowing that nothing would come of it, but he felt if he could simply make some connection, he would find Olivia faster.

She was fine when I left.

He had checked hospitals and police reports in all five boroughs and into New Jersey in hopes of finding some information on Olivia’s whereabouts, only to come up empty-handed. He had even fallen back to calling her cousin, but, as he expected, Allison had not heard from Olivia since the second of January.

She was fine when I left…wasn’t she?

As much as he tried to repeat it to himself, the haze that covered parts of Elliot’s memory troubled him. He remembered walking back through Olivia’s door, he definitely remembered sitting in his car a while later, but the parts in between were just unclear.

He had tried to remain confident, keeping to the same story: he went to Olivia’s, they argued, argued again, he left, the end. Yet, the images that played across his eyes made his chest hurt. Olivia’s hand flying toward his face; Olivia’s flush skin coming into contact with his; Olivia falling backward into her wall…

Elliot picked up the pieces of the broken pen and satisfied himself with throwing them into the trash with a hard slam.

“Elliot,” Cragen said, his voice coming in conjunction with the sound of the broken pen hitting the bottom of the trash bin.

Elliot rubbed a hand over his face trying to regain his composure and Cragen continued.

“Go through Liv’s lockers and her desk again. I wanna see if she was looking into any old cases on her own.”

“I already…” Elliot began, but simply trailed when Cragen glared at him.

It was not an ill-tempered expression, but it still said enough.

Minutes later, Cragen walked back to his office and trolled his memory for the location of his shot glasses while wondering at what time he should alert his own superiors of the investigation and send Olivia’s information to the local news.

His stride paused as he saw a tall figure pacing back and forth in front of his desk.

“Melinda?” he said once inside the office. “You have something for us?”

She nodded and sighed. “This investigation…with Olivia. It’s still technically off the books, right?”

“Why do you ask?” he said with an eyebrow raised.

“One of the techs found something in the sample CSU brought from her apartment. She knew I worked with SVU a lot and thought she would bring it to me first, before announcing it to everyone.”

“Why all the secrecy? What’d she find?”

Melinda flipped open the file she had been holding. “There were some unknown chemicals found on her floors…it’s some kind of chloroform cocktail containing about at least six different anesthetizing agents.”

“On her floor?”

“And,” Melinda continued, nodding, “they got a hit on the blood on her rug. It’s actually a mix of hers and someone else’s who popped up immediately in the system…Don, it’s Elliot’s.”

Cragen closed his eyes and sighed as Melinda slid the report she held onto his desk.

“As this is all still very unofficial, the tech gave me the one copy of the report, but I thought you should have it. I don’t know anything about what’s going on and I know this isn’t normal procedure, but I thought you might want to…maybe discuss it with him first before this became official. I’m sure there’s a valid explanation for it, it’s just…”

Her voice trailed to silence, but Cragen nodded understanding where she going with the statement.

Melinda headed for the door. “Let me know if you need anything.”

She left a moment later, leaving Cragen to stare at the file on his desk. The door to the office clicked as it closed and with the tick that left his office in silence, Don remembered an eleventh detective he had buried.