Author: Donna PM
Someone's dirty little secret provides answersRated: Fiction T - English - Drama - Words: 2,273 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 1 - Published: 11-26-03 - id: 1617295
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Law & Order and it's characters are not mine. This story is only for fun, mine and hopefully yours. This is my first L&O fic, though not my first fanfic. Hope you enjoy, please let me know what you think
Olivia Benson paused to fill her coffee cup as she contemplated the woman sitting in the chair by her desk. Passing in the corridor a few moments earlier, Stabler had told her that someone was waiting to speak to her, saying only that it was important and that she would wait.
The detective's brain automatically and almost instantly assessed the woman. She was in her mid to late thirties, tall and slender, with dark hair pulled into a severe braid that fell to the middle of her back. She was dressed casually, a heavy tan sweater over a rust colored skirt that fell to mid calf, with dark boots completing the outfit. A dark jacket hung neatly on the back of the chair. Her posture was ramrod straight, her back not quite touching the chair back, her hands were folded quietly in her lap, and her feet were primly together, flat on the floor.
As Benson took a careful sip of coffee, the woman turned looked in her direction. Their eyes met, and the woman raised a questioning eyebrow. Olivia nodded and held up her coffee cup, silently offering. The woman shook her head and smiled, but only briefly.
Crossing to her desk, Olivia felt the other woman's eyes on her, sizing her up. She made eye contact and smiled as she set the coffee cup on her desk and took a seat.
"I'm Detective Benson. I understand you wanted to see me."
Close up, she could feel the nervous energy emanating from the other woman.
"Clarissa James," she responded. "I have something I need to show you."
She paused a moment, then took a deep breath and spoke.
"My father died about three months ago."
"I'm sorry," Olivia interjected.
"Don't be. He was royal bastard. His greatest pleasures in life were drinking and hurting people."
She looked at the detective, watching for the look of disgust that statement normally brought. Not seeing it, she continued.
"He was one of those mean drunks, violent and sadistic. Growing up, the best days were the ones when he didn't beat me…or worse."
Olivia nodded her understanding, and Clarissa continued.
"Social services came by from time to time…talked to us…filed some papers…took me away a couple of times…but I always ended up back with him. I finally ran away when I was 16...ended up getting myself taken in by a minister who ran a homeless shelter."
Clarissa stopped and shook her head with an apologetic smile. "Sorry, you don't really need all this information. Just supplying a little background, I suppose."
Olivia gave her an encouraging smile. "That's okay."
"No, I'm sure you're very busy and wondering why I'm wasting your time. A lawyer tracked me down a few weeks ago to have me dispose of my father's possessions, since I appear to be his only living relative. I haven't had any contact with the man in almost twenty years and almost just told them to discard everything. Instead, I decided to look through some of this things to see if maybe I could find something to explain to me why he was like he was. That's when I discovered this."
She leaned over and pulled a plastic bag out from under her chair. With a look of distaste, she reached in an removed a battered notebook and quickly put it on the desk between them.
Benson reached over and picked it up.
"It's a record," the other woman explained. "Names, dates, places…details…what he…did…"
Olivia opened the cover and started reading. Her eyes widened as she took in what was written on the pages in her hand. She flipped a couple of pages and read more of the same. Her stomach clenched and bile rose in her throat as she skimmed the details of what this man had done and how it had made him feel. Finally, she look up.
"My father was a serial rapist," Clarissa confirmed. "I searched the newspaper archives at the library and found cases that matched up to some of these."
The detective nodded, putting the notebook down and wiping her hands on her pants, feeling contaminated by the filth she had handled.
Clarissa handed her another piece of paper. "This is some information about my father…his name…date of birth…some of the addresses that we lived at…the ones I can remember anyway. I know he can't be punished for what he did, but I thought this might help you to close some cases…maybe give some of his victims some closure."
After a moment, she started to collect her things to leave.
"Why?" Olivia asked her.
Clarissa looked at her curiously.
"Why me?" she clarified.
"I teach at one of the local high schools. It's not in a real good area and we probably have more dropouts than we do graduates, but I like to think we are making at least a little difference. Anyway, a couple of years ago, one of our students was found raped and murdered in an alley. She was a drug addict and had been picked up a couple of times for prostitution…one of those that people half expect to turn up dead some day. But you and your partner came to the school to talk to her classmates. I remember being impressed by how you treated not only her, but the other kids as well. You seemed truly interested in finding out about Ashley and finding who did that to her…you showed respect to her…to all of them…and these are kids who aren't used to that kind of treatment from any adults, much less from cops."
Olivia thought for a moment. "Ashley Rhodes," she finally said. "We convicted her former pimp. He wanted to show his other girls that no one got away from him."
Clarissa smiled. "Why am I not surprised that you remember?" She turned serious, biting her lip for a moment. "There's another reason, too."
She reached over and picked up the notebook, opening it to a page she had marked.
"I also remember when you were talking to a student named Serena and you mentioned that your mother was also named Serena. It's not a real common name, so I kind of wondered…"
She handed the book back to Olivia and sat back.
The detective looked down and began reading.
A familiar date…
The victims name, as familiar as her own…
The address of a landing she had visited many times…
Following her from the campus library…
The noise of the squad room faded as Olivia was drawn in to the words on the page in front of her. The story was a familiar one, one that she had heard and read many times before. She read and re-read the words, looking for some tiny detail that would change her mind.
She didn't find it.
This was the scum who had raped her mother.
This was her father.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped, looking up into the eyes of her partner and best friend. Clarissa was gone, a note with her name and number left on the desk. The rest of the unit members went on about their business, completely unaware of the serious quake that had turned Olivia Benson's world upside down.
Eliot Stabler had noticed his partner's rapt attention on the pages in front of her as soon as he entered the room. It wasn't unusual for her to immerse herself in a case and he watched for a few moments, trying to read her emotions. He quickly realized that this one was causing some intense reaction, so he walked over and laid a hand on her shoulder to draw her attention.
She said nothing, only handed him the notebook before rising to head up the stairs to the lounge.
That's where he found her a few minutes later, staring at the wall, her arms wrapped around herself as if fighting a chill.
"Where did this come from?" he asked.
She noticed briefly that he was holding the notebook with only two fingers, as though disgusted by it.
"His daughter brought it by," she told him, following with the rest of the story.
He nodded, showing his sympathy without the pity or judgment that she had feared.
"So, now what?"
She paused for a moment, trying to choose one thought from the many running through her mind.
"We talk to Captain Cragen," she replied, taking the book and heading towards the captain's office.
The next few weeks were even busier than normal for the Special Victims Unit, as they handled not only their normal case load, but also worked on the notebook. Details from Conrad James' journal were matched to open cases throughout the area. Some of his attacks had never been reported, but the detectives used the information they had to track down many of those victims. Some had simply seemed to disappear from the face of the earth, some had died. Many of those they spoke to positively identified the photo of the stocky man with the heavy sideburns. Reactions covered the entire range of human emotion, most ultimately expressing relief that the man was facing the ultimate judgment.
Through it all, Eliot kept a close eye on his partner. She was always quiet, intensely protective of her personal feelings. In this job, you had to be.
But this case was different…this case involved her personal life, her past…and everyone on the team knew about it. She had accepted the quiet support from her friends…a nod from Fin…a pat on the shoulder from Cragen…even a slight smile from Munch. She had also glared down a person or two who had stared at her just a little too long.
One afternoon, he caught her alone in the lounge and approached her.
"How ya' doing, Liv?"
His look showed just how much he believed that statement.
"Really," she reiterated, "I'm doing just fine."
"We've been through too much together for you to start lying to me now," he told her, looking her straight in the eyes.
"You're right. I'm sorry. It's just…I really don't know…"
He led her over to a sofa and pulled her down next to him.
"Talk to me."
"I don't know what I feel. I always thought that finding this guy would give me some closure…that I would be relieved…happy…something…instead I feel…"
Eliot waited while she searched for the right word.
"Numb? Detached? Empty, maybe?"
She put her head in her hands, frustrated with her inability to put a name to what she felt.
He reached out and laid his hand on her back, wishing he had the words to help her.
"I'm sorry, Liv. I can't imagine what you're feeling right now."
They sat that way for a few moments.
"Have you talked to your sister since all this started?"
She looked up at him, confusion on her face.
"My sister? I don't have a sister."
Realization hit her.
"You mean Clarissa?"
"No, I haven't talked to her. Why would I?"
"I don't know," he shrugged. "I just thought you might be keeping her updated on what's been going on. You said that she seemed concerned about his victims."
"Yes, she was."
"Also, you might have an easier time talking to her about what you're feeling, since she's probably going through a lot of the same emotions. Whatever kind of bastard her father was, I doubt she ever imagined how twisted and sick he really was."
Olivia thought about that for a moment.
"I don't know…"
"You need to talk to her anyway…see what kind of information she can give you about your father's medical history. See how she feels about having a sister…take it from there…"
"I just don't know, Eliot. She may not want anything to do with anything that reminds her of him…I may not want anything to do with anything that reminds me of him…Blood ties aren't always everything their cracked up to be, especially in this situation."
"Maybe…but maybe you'll find someone who is as alone as you are…maybe you'll have a lot in common and you'll become good friends…maybe you'll never speak again…but don't you owe it to yourself to give it a try."
He watched her struggle with her thoughts.
"At the very least, you should find out his medical information."
"I'll think about it," she finally relented.
Later that evening, after a hot shower and a glass of wine, Olivia curled up on her sofa, the phone in her lap. She looked at the piece of paper on the table beside her, picked up the receiver, and dialed. After two rings, the person on the other end picked up.
"Hello? Clarissa James? This is Olivia Benson."