A/N… Here's another multi-chapter fic. It's basically a post-ep from Loyalty II which fills in the gap up to Rispetto (obviously, taking a pretty big fictional detour :). If you liked Storm Front and Turbulence, you'll be happy. This has the angst, suspense, hurt/comfort and twists from both stories. B/A is a very big element here. And did I mention the twists…? ;)
The storyline is about rape, so there is some SVU in the beginning. Their involvement tapers off. It's not a true crossover in my opinion, but SVU characters are a good complement to this story as it's developing. If you know the basics about SVU, you're fine. It's the original group (i.e., Stabler, Benson, Munch, Tutola, Cragen, etc…).
I wrote this one in third person, because it worked out a little better. It's almost entirely told through Alex's and Bobby's perspectives.
NOTE: The 'PAST' is immediately after Loyalty part II and the 'PRESENT' is about two weeks later.
~ PAST ~
Alex enters her apartment. As the door closes behind her, she releases a heavy sigh. She did what she had to do. Admittedly, she'd love to be Captain, but not at the expense of losing Bobby.
Petey lets out a series of chirps, then shuffles over on his perch to greet her. Alex turns toward her little welcoming committee with a smile. "Hi, Petey."
Petey is a blue-gray parakeet. She got him about six months ago. She hadn't planned on replacing Polly after the Jo Gage incident a few years back. But Petey is very sweet, good company and quite the talker. Her neighbor comes by to feed him during the week, usually whenever she's working late or is out of town.
"Petey biiiirrrrrrrrrrd," he vocalizes to her.
"I guess you want to eat," she says, retrieving his food and water dishes to replace the contents with a fresh supply in both.
"Petey pie! Petey pie! Petey biiiirrrrrrrrrrrd!" he mimics joyfully, shuffling on his perch as Alex goes into the kitchen.
She chuckles. Well, he does make coming home alone a little more pleasant. She opens the door to his cage to set the dishes back in and he jumps on her hand.
"What are you doing, silly boy?"
Petey eyes the perch beside his food dish for a moment but doesn't move.
"You wanna come out?"
He makes his choice by staying right where he is. She carefully lifts him out of the cage and walks over to the couch. Petey walks up her wrist and settles on her forearm.
She reaches over and gently rubs his neck feathers with the edge of her finger. "What's up, sweetie? Did you miss me?"
Thoughts of the past few days come flooding back… Captain Ross is killed. Hassan goes free. Captain pro-temp is offered on the condition that she fire Bobby.
She pulls her feet up onto the couch and her eyes dampen with tears.
Why did Captain Ross take that assignment? Why did Bobby have to push this?
"You think he's the money trail?"
"I am going to try and find out."
"I really feel I should try to talk you out of this."
"But that's always been a wasted effort…"
Then again, if he hadn't, they never would have found out the truth.
Minutes later, she stirs out of her reflections and glances toward her arm. Petey has one foot pulled up and his head nestled on his back. He's sleeping soundly.
She taps him gently with her finger and his eyes open. "Come on, Petey pie... Time to go back to your cage." He gets on her finger and rides back. After he's inside, he begins fixing his feathers.
She wanders around her apartment for a moment, trying to decide what to do. Food's not really on her mind. She could use a drink though.
She thinks about Bobby again. More than likely, he's figured out that she quit and he won't be happy.
She wants to see how he's doing.
She debates it for another minute, then collects her things, goes to her car and heads for Brooklyn.
x x x
He's just been fired from Major Case.
Back at his apartment, Bobby wanders into the kitchen for his bottle of Scotch. He's disappointed to find that it barely has a tablespoon left.
Dammit, he groans. It didn't even cross his mind to hit the liquor store on the way home. He's pondering whether to go to the liquor store or the bar, when he hears a knock at the door.
He already knows who it is. He heads for the door to answer it.
"Hi Eames…" He greets her, then steps aside and allows her to enter.
She wanders in a few paces before she turns back to face him. "I wanted to know if you'd like to have a drink with me."
"You did it, didn't you…?" he asserts. It's hardly a question, because he already knows the answer. The door is released from his hand, but it doesn't close completely.
Out comes a heavy sigh. "Well, what would you have done?"
"That's not the point! You had more reasons to stay than me."
"That's not true. You may have messed up, and I still wish I had figured out a way to stop you, but they were already gunning for you, Bobby. Without Captain Ross, they had one less obstacle. I couldn't stand to see them use Ross's death as an opportunity to take you down."
"What's done is done and I can't take it back," he replies. "But you were promoted to Captain pro-temp. To me, that's about the best thing to come out of this mess. Why are you going to throw that away?"
"Dammit Bobby, just stop it right there! You're not less of a cop than me and I wish you'd stop thinking that! Why would I want to be Captain of Major Case, even temporarily, when I can't keep the best people? I did what I had to do and you're not going to change my mind." She folds her arms and glares back at him.
Damned stubborn woman. She's loyal to a fault, and he doesn't know what he did to deserve it.
He backs up a few paces to the door, checks to make sure he has his keys and wallet on him, then grabs his jacket. "C'mon… First round's on me."
They leave his apartment and head for her car. While at the bar, there's a mention of getting dinner. They decide on Italian and he knows a good spot in Midtown.
Soon the conversations about Ross, Bobby getting fired and her resigning taper off. They stick with old cases or random topics.
They have a great time. The job pressure is off. They set the unknowns about the future aside to laugh and enjoy each other's company.
As the plates are taken away, Alex says that she wants to make a stop in Inwood to let her dad know about her resignation before the news breaks. Bobby tells her to go ahead and he'll catch the subway back to Brooklyn.
They say their goodbyes. Alex stops to use the restroom before she leaves and Bobby heads for the subway.
~ PRESENT ~
It's his second week with the Bureau. He didn't expect a job to just fall into his lap when he left Major Case, but basically it did.
The offer came the day after he was fired. He'd seen too many weeks of suspension without pay, so he couldn't exactly turn it down.
Most of his work would involve domestic terrorism. It didn't sound like a bad deal in all honesty.
The first week was spent in training at Quantico. They needed his expertise on a few pending cases, so the rest of the training was postponed for a later date. From Quantico, they sent him to Chicago for a day and a half, then to Houston for two days, before he returns to New York.
He got in yesterday afternoon.
If he doesn't see the inside of an airport or hotel lobby for a very long time, he won't be disappointed.
He likes the new job, he likes his boss and aside from the travel, he has no complaints.
The transition from police detective to special agent isn't a problem. He'll eventually get a partner.
Whomever it is will never replace Eames.
When he gets back in town, he decides to call and invite her for drinks and dinner, so he can tell her about his new job.
But she never answers. The call goes to voice mail and she doesn't call him back.
x x x
Bobby's eyes drift back to the computer monitor and he re-starts the video link.
He's been watching surveillance clips, testimonies and interviews for the bulk of the morning. Someone that the FBI's been tracking resurfaced during a riot at the campus of Hudson University.
He remains focused on the clip until he hears someone calling his name. He turns around and sees the desk agent trying to get his attention.
"Agent Goren, you have visitors."
He stops the clip once more, stands and follows them to the front desk. Detectives Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler from Manhattan SVU are waiting for him.
They all know each other, of course. Back when he worked with Major Case, he'd see them at one of the cop-frequented bars in Manhattan or around the courthouse.
They're a well-respected team in the NYPD. It's not many who can routinely and successfully handle rape and child molestation cases for as long as these two have.
He greets each one with a handshake. "Benson…Stabler… Nice to see you both. What can I do for you?"
"You got a few minutes?" Elliot asks.
"Sure," he replies.
Olivia glances around the lobby hesitantly and then directs her gaze back to Bobby. "Is there some place we can speak privately?"
He nods and escorts them down the main hallway into one of the available conference rooms.
Inside is a large table that seats about twelve. In the corner is a heavy duty ladder that is propped up against the wall with a metal tool box sitting on the top rung. There is a missing ceiling panel with some wires sticking out. Looks like someone might have been doing some repairs.
The two detectives take a seat at the table, Bobby closes the door and takes a seat across from them. "What's this about?" he asks.
"We've got a case we're working…," Elliot begins gingerly. "We're hoping you might be able to help us."
"Okay…shoot," Bobby agrees.
"So far, three women have turned up at the East River raped, sodomized, beaten and then killed. Cause of death is usually asphyxiation or drug overdose," Elliot explains. "There are a couple more missing. It's the only a matter of time before they turn up, unless we find this guy."
He nods slowly. "Okay."
Olivia opens the padded envelope she brought with her and removes a DVD case and a file folder containing some loose pictures. She sets them in front of her, but doesn't present them. "The victims are all single, all live alone. He sends SVU a DVD of himself raping these women—we never see his face, just his gloved hands. Two weeks after receiving the DVD, we find the body. No fingerprints. He cleans his tracks."
He eyes the DVD and photos, and then looks across the table at them. "I'm still not sure why you'd come to me with this. I had no open cases dealing with rape when I left. Detective Nichols took over my caseload. You've been to Major Case, I assume?"
Elliot and Olivia exchange a wary glance.
"What are you not telling me?" Bobby asks plainly.
Olivia sighs, lifting the DVD beside her. "The woman in the latest DVD…is Alex Eames."
"Looks like this creep's abducted your former partner as his latest victim," Elliot adds. "We've talked to friends, family, Major Case… No one's seen or heard from her since she turned in her badge about two weeks ago..."
~ PAST ~
Alex exits the restaurant and heads for her car. She parked about three and a half blocks away from the restaurant.
She's suddenly very tired and anxious to get home. She'll make her stop in Inwood as brief as possible. Just give them the news and head home. They can catch up another time.
The usual back alley odors make her re-think her short cut, but she's three quarters of a city block closer to the car.
A couple of blaring sirens and the hum of the large generator that's running its weekly test, fill that space with a lot of noise.
She walks purposefully, her thoughts drift from one topic to the next. She could dwell on her decision to leave the force and what it'll mean for employment, but she'd rather think about it tomorrow.
She'll have nothing else to do anyway.
Thoughts of Bobby are easier. Tonight was very nice. They never run out of things to talk about. His mind is a mysterious place which makes for some very interesting discussions.
And he makes her laugh.
She wishes they could go out together more often. Once a week might seem a little too forward. Once a month might be more reasonable.
She's about to exit the alley way when someone grabs her from behind.
Reflexively she reaches for her gun, but it's no longer there.
The perp is male, medium build, strong, maybe six foot. He's got on worn cargo pants, a leather jacket, a dark nylon mask and leather gloves.
She throws her weight into an elbow jab, nailing the perpetrator in the gut, but it doesn't slow him down.
Her taser gun is in her bag, if she can get to it. She tries to step out of his grasp when he puts a cloth over her mouth.
She detects nothing in the cloth, but she slows her breathing just in case.
Her attempts to get ahold of his arm or something so that she could take him down fail. Meanwhile he's moved her further into the alley, and out of sight of anyone who might be headed down the cross street.
She starts to feel lightheaded. Dammit, she misjudged the cloth.
She sinks in his arms, and he drags her to the back of the van that's just pulled into the alley way. Another man helps him get her inside and they take off.
Hours later, Alex awakens to a searing pain in her left temple. The rest of her isn't much better off.
What in the hell happened? Had someone thrown her down a flight of stairs?
It's painful just to lift her head, but she does.
She's blindfolded with some kind of cloth. Her hands are tied tightly behind her back with thin strands of rope. Feels like some sort of twine. There's very little room for her to move her hands without it slicing into her skin. Her ankles are bound in the same way.
There's tape over her mouth. Thick tape. Probably duct tape.
She's on the floor. It's a thin, bare carpet with no padding. It smells musty and a little like stale food. Might be a basement but there's a draft coming from somewhere.
Her jacket and shoes are missing. Perp probably has her phone, keys, wallet and bag.
She hears no sounds around her and assumes she's alone. She listens intently for a minute, wondering if there are any outside sounds like traffic to clue her in on where the perp has taken her, but she hears nothing.
It's probably too much to hope that whomever abducted her, left her to fend for herself and wouldn't be returning.
Let them try to come near me, she muses to herself. The creep will need a surgical implant just to pee again.
There is one problem…
Who will know she's missing?
This isn't like her ordeal with Jo Gage a few years back, when there were people expecting her at work the next morning.
What are the chances Bobby gets a text from the perp this time?
No one knows she quit except for the department and Bobby. She never made it to Inwood. She planned to call her parents on the way, but that didn't happen.
Maybe her sister will call and try to make plans. The call will go to voice mail and Liz will just assume she's too busy at work.
Her dad will call as soon as word gets around that she quit. He'll have to hear from one of his cohorts and he'll be plenty steamed that the news didn't come directly from her.
Then there's Bobby.
They just saw each other tonight. No further plans have been made. He might call if something motivates him to do so, but he's got to look for work and that'll be his first priority. He'll be going crazy with nothing to do and he's just come off of a suspension.
So it looks like she's on her own.
Who could have done this? Why? Could it be someone she knows personally? Someone she dated a while back? Or just some random guy who picked her out of a crowd and decided to make her his next victim?
Sure, she's been a little distracted lately...
Ross….Hassan…The captain's exam…Bobby…
Has someone been following her? Watching her? Planning this?
She starts mulling over her past few cases while she picks at the twine around her wrists. Laying on her side on a thin carpet with no padding is causing pain and she's already sore.
She's tired and she finds herself starting to zone out.
No. No…can't. Falling asleep is a bad idea.
Eventually, whomever did this is going to come for her.
She counts, pours over old cases—anything she could do to keep her mind alert. It works for a while.
Then she hears a door opening.
~ PRESENT ~
Bobby buries his face in his hands. The shock is still settling in.
"What can you remember about the last time you saw her?" Elliot prompts.
"Eames and I had dinner and drinks the night we both left Major Case. She came by my apartment—" He stops speaking abruptly and lifts his head to meet their gaze.
The pieces fall into place. The knot in his stomach starts to feel more like a twisting knife.
Some freak has Eames and the NYPD is looking at him...
He stands up quickly and the chair he was sitting in falls over.
"You think I did this?" he charges bitterly, slamming his hands down on the table. "Y-you think I'd hurt my partner? Why? Because she fired me? You think I'd rape her? Oh my God!"
He tries to catch his breath and get a handle on this, but everything feels out of control…
Someone's got Eames. Someone's raped her. The room's spinning. He's going to throw up…
Elliot and Olivia get up out of their seats and approach, intending to settle him down.
Bobby straightens his posture and confronts them gruffly. "You have no real suspects so you have to come after me, is that it?" he presses angrily.
Elliot reaches out and takes Bobby's arm, trying to settle him. "Goren, wait…"
He jerks out his grasp. "NO! You two need to be out there doing your job—"
"Stop it right there!" Olivia raises her voice, cutting him off. She takes a couple breaths before she continues.
She and Elliot knew this was going to be a difficult interview. But she doesn't want to make this any harder than it already is.
"Listen to us…" she begins calmly. "We don't think you're guilty. But you have to know that others…"
"One PP…" he groans.
She nods and frowns. "Alex comes from a family of cops… They're going to want a full investigation."
"There is no way… Absolutely NONE!" he huffs. "You know what? Fine! If you want to search my apartment, dump my phone, talk to my neighbors, go through my trash, I don't care! I have nothing to hide! But you're wasting time that should be spent looking for Eames!"
"We're on your side, Goren," Elliot adds. "And we want your help finding her."
"But… We're limited in what we can show you—"
"Until they rule me out as a suspect," Bobby finishes his sentence.
He offers a sympathetic smile. "You know the drill."
Bobby takes a couple breaths. "Like I said… Last time I saw her, we had drinks and dinner. They brought me on at the bureau and two days later, I was on a plane for Quantico. From there, I went to Chicago and then Houston. I got back to New York yesterday afternoon. I called her to ask if she wanted to have dinner again. Call went to voice mail. I didn't know she was missing."
"Help us fill in the gaps. We'll need your whereabouts since you left Major Case, where you and Eames had dinner, anything about the events leading up to when you both left," Elliot says.
He nods. "You've got it. And then I want to see everything you have on this case. Show me everything."
A/N: Reviews are always welcome! :)