"In the criminal justice system, sexually based offences are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories."

It Comes with the Badge

Last Time:

Olivia tried to forget the sight of her son's deep brown eyes. Eyes just like Jerry's. Clamping her eyes shut, she struggled to sleep. It was difficult with all the thoughts swirling through her head. Elliot had been kidnapped. Jerry had called her. She would have to go back to work soon enough. It wasn't until she was finally asleep and dreaming that her son came to mind. And the thoughts weren't pretty...

Chapter Twenty-One

Returning to Work

Sighing softly, Olivia adjusted the holster on her belt. She hadn't been up at seven in the morning since her maternity leave started... She was exhausted. Evan had kept them up until three, but slept through the night from then on. He was still asleep. 'A miracle,' the detective thought to herself as she combed through her hair neatly. After adding frizz-control mousse, she headed down the stairs. "Kathleen! Are you driving the twins to school today or sleeping in?"

Olivia couldn't make out the girl's shouted response over Liz and Dickie fighting in the kitchen. Quickly telling the two to be quiet while Evan slept, she opened the door for Alex before the doorbell woke him. Frowning softly, she yelled once more for Kathleen, then left.

---

Elliot paced the station house, a frown set firmly into his visage. It was almost ten, where was Olivia? He sighed, sitting back in his chair.

"Stop pacing, you're making us all nervous," Fin quipped quietly as Cragen emerged from his office again.

Clearing his throat, Elliot gave Fin a faint smile; it was the best he could do under the conditions. Cragen leaned against Olivia's empty desk as his eyes wandered over the four detectives before him. "Well, it seems our leading lady has not shown up. I'm not going to put the department on hold on her account. We have a job to do. Munch, do you think you can contact Ryan and figure out when she'll be rejoining us?"

The older man nodded respectfully and picked up his phone. Fin looked over to Elliot, sighing. "Are you up for casework? Didn't the cap offer you time off?"

Elliot nodded, "The sickos aren't going to take time off from victimizing women and children, and until they do, I'm needed here."

Cragen frowned, "In that case, we have two cases to look at. Fin, can you run this one with Elliot? Munch and Serenity can handle the second."

Taking the manila folder into his hand, Elliot sighed and nodded. That file was thick already, and it only weighed more heavily on his heart. Where was Olivia?

---

Alex answered John's call, frowning softly. "Ryan's not here John."

"Well, why doesn't she have her cell with her?" he asked impatiently, in no mood to beat around the bush.

"She can't use this number right now," her voice sounded distraught as the new Stabler baby cried in the background.

John sighed heavily, "How long?"

Alex bit her lip, fighting back the loneliness that she'd been battling for far too long. "Two months now..."

He shook his head, "Any idea when she's due out?"

"Indefinitely, but she said the situation was improving. I don't think I can take two more days of this, let alone four months, John." She sounded exhausted, and the infant did not seem to be helping matters at all. "I haven't seen her in two weeks."

John frowned deeply, hanging his head. "I'm sorry to hear that Alex. When you see her next, will you tell her we're waiting for her?"

Alex nodded, hearing Mariah calling as she clamoured down the stairs loudly. "I have to go. It's lunch time."

Laughing softly, he nodded. "All right. Keep in touch Alex. You don't have to be cooped up in that estate all alone."

"Thanks, John. I'll talk to you later." She clumsily found the hook for the phone, turning to Mariah with a big grin, "What does this little four-year-old want for lunch?"

---

Olivia stared over the steering wheel of her vehicle as the New Jersey state line faded in her rear-view mirror. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she struggled to put the life she'd come to love behind her for the sake of her son. My son. Olivia shuddered; she loved the thought and hated it at the same time. She would not risk hurting him, that's why she had to leave. Sniffling softly, she pulled off an exit to get gas and a cup of coffee.

She missed Elliot immensely and it hadn't been more than six hours since she'd seen him. How was she going to get through this? Frowning heavily, Olivia locked her car and tried to forget.

---

Ryan dialled home as soon as she got out of the building, hoping to hear from Alex at least for a couple minutes. Hearing the repetitious pattern of her heels on the stairs, she almost missed the sound of Alex's meek 'hello' over the line. "Alex?"

"Hey, honey." the sound of her girlfriend's voice was so comforting. "How've you been?"

Smiling broadly, thrilled to have reached her, Ryan hopped into her truck. "I've been well. How is Mariah?"

Slightly insulted that her lover would first ask about Mariah rather than her, Alex sighed. "She just misses her mother. I think we all do, Sam." Alex's voice sounded weary, desperate almost.

"I'm sorry, honey. Is the little Stabler brat really that bad?" she joked with a laugh.

Alex, however, seemed to miss the pun. "I just miss you, sweetheart, that's all. I can't help it."

Ryan still sounded cheery, something Alex found rude. "Well, I've got good news."

Had she even heard her? She was lonely! She wanted Sam back! Sighing heavily, she raised a brow, "What's the news?"

"I'm re-signing with Manhattan SVU in a week. We've got to do a few preps for the trial, but after that all I have are court dates." Opening the front door to their home, Ryan held her arms open for a hug.

Alex turned around, eyes wide with surprise and delight. "Sam!" She ran up to her hugging her tightly and spinning around. "Oh, I've missed you." She kissed her passionately.

Returning her lover's ardent kiss, Ryan smiled at her. "Surprise."

Tugging her hand, she escorted her up to the second floor and down the hall to Mariah's room. "She's sleeping, but I'm sure she wouldn't mind being woken up for this." Opening the door, Alex and Ryan stared down at her charming little four-year-old.

---

Olivia sat in a roadside diner, eating what would've been lunch if she'd been at home. Instead, it was terrible coffee and an overcooked burger. Frowning, she tried to pretend her fiancé wasn't on her mind. She missed him immensely. It was like a part of her was incomplete without him, but when her mind wandered to her home, it was her son that brought tears to her eyes.

The tears she cried were tears of desperation and regret. How could she have forgotten? What had she expected? All her life, she'd known if the worst could happen, it would happen to her. Now it had. Her son was just like she was and Olivia refused to subject her son to the kind of parenting her mother had bestowed upon her. Being a constant reminder of her mother's rape, Olivia had been hated as a child. Her mother was constantly drunk during her childhood and rarely home unless she was passed out.

Drying her eyes, she shook her head. She wouldn't let Evan go through that, even if he was evil. He was three-fourths rapist... Olivia's blood ran cold at the thought.

---

Cragen frowned, "Munch, hold up."

Turning around, he looked less than pleased. It'd been a miracle when the man who'd raped their vic was simply her ex. The easiest collars were never easy, but they were a lighter burden to handle. Severely worried by the look in Cragen's eyes, he raised a sceptical brow. "You rang?"

"I've got a girl here saying she needs to talk to an SVU detective, can you and Serenity take it?"

He sighed, "Yah, Cap."

Serenity even looked down-hearted at the thought. Sitting back into her chair, she folded her legs and waited for the girl to enter the room.

A small girl, about elementary school aged, walked into the bullpen with a beat-up stuffed rabbit in her arms. "I'm Lily," she said meekly.

John led her over to him, setting her on his lap as he sat down. "Lily's a lovely name. Do you know your last name too?"

Her curly brown pigtails bobbed as she nodded. "Jensen."

Serenity smiled at her, "Lily Jensen? That is a pretty name. And what is your rabbit's name?"

"Cock," she said just as quietly, her eyes shifting from one detective to another.

John's demeanour shifted immediately. His frown settled in his jaw, "Who gave you the rabbit?"

Bowing her head a moment, she pursed her lips. "I'm not supposed to say..."

"Aw, sweetie, can't you tell us?" Serenity smiled broadly, "We can keep a good secret, and besides, we're the good guys."

Chewing her lip in deliberation, the child nodded again. "Jason gave it to me."

Serenity started writing things down, deeply troubled over their new apparent case. "Who's Jason, honey?"

Again, Lily looked perturbed. "He won't be happy if I tell about him."

John ran his hand over her hair, "Don't worry, sweetheart. We're the police, we'll protect you. He can't do anything to hurt you if you tell one of us."

Looking resigned, she set her rabbit into her lap. "He's my master."

The air in the room grew incredibly stale as one partner looked to the other. Serenity's chocolate eyes were appalled and remorseful. John's darker ones saddened immensely and he ran a stressed hand through his hair. "You mean your father?"

"No," she giggled. "Daddy doesn't like Jason."

Serenity bit her lip, "What about Mommy?"

Lily frowned, her soft hazel eyes glancing down at the ground. "Mommy is the one who gave me to Jason."

"Gave you?" Munch asked cautiously.

She squirmed nervously, "Jason had something Mommy wanted so she gave Jason me. Now, I live with Jason. He let's me see Daddy and Mommy, but I sleep at his house."

Serenity smiled, trying to hide her feelings. "Do you know the address?"

"Thirty-six fifty-two North Ninety-Eighth Street, Brooklyn." Her feet dangled a ways above the ground, her heels bouncing into John's shins as she recited the address from memory.

"Very good, Lily." She grinned at the young girl. "Tell me, how old are you?"

Lily hugged her rabbit, "Seven, I think."

John looked down at her, surprised. "You think?"

"Well, Jason doesn't like birthday parties, so it's hard to keep track. We only celebrate his birthday." She stopped kicking, looking distressed.

Serenity sighed, "How do you celebrate it?"

Lily shook her head strongly, "Jason won't let me say."

"What do you mean, honey?" John tried to humour the young girl, easily telling how nervous she was. It infuriated him to see this young girl so terrified.

---

"Alex?" Ryan sat up, shocked to find herself in her own bed. It'd been ages, two months and three days to be precise, not that she was counting. Smiling softly, her ears tuned into the sound of the shower running. Sliding down the bed and slipping her delicate feet into soft furry slippers, Ryan padded down the brief hall to the bathroom. As she untied her hair and began to style it, her lover emerged in a baby pink bath towel with a gracious smile. Kissing her tenderly, Ryan grinned. "I have missed you so much."

Laughing softly, Alex shook her head. "Flattery will get you everywhere, Detective."

Ryan chuckled softly, setting her hairbrush aside to embrace the lovely blond before her. "I like it," she motioned to her re-bleached hair. Her roots had been showing, so Alex had opted to dye it back to its natural colour. Ryan had been thrilled. "I was worried you were up to no good..."

Alex kissed Ryan tenderly, a soft smile painting her lips. "Maybe you should strip search me, Detective."

Her lover's hand made quick work of her towel. "I'm happy to oblige."

---

Elliot set down his phone, eyes filled with immense worry and a hint of fear. When Cragen walked from his office, his perceptive gaze fell upon Elliot. His lead detective looked perplexed and lost in thought. Frowning, he called Elliot into his office. "We've got a seven-year-old girl out there who thinks she has a master. Usually, you'd be livid, what's wrong?"

The hard blue-eyes gaze of the ex-Marine didn't waver. "Olivia hasn't shown up for work yet, and she's not answering her cell."

Cragen sighed, "Seeing as you won't be able to focus until you find her, get out of here. When you've found her, you can both come back in."

Elliot nodded, grabbing his jacket and offering Cragen a thankful smile.

---

Olivia locked the door to her hotel room, her eyes surveying the economy room and she shook her head. Elliot wouldn't be here to keep her warm tonight. After taking a warm shower, Olivia wrapped up in one of Elliot's oversized t-shirts. Crying softly as the TV lulled her to sleep, she tried so hard not to think of the large family she was leaving back home. She couldn't handle what might happen if she returned. Olivia knew she wouldn't drink, but there were many other ways to ruin a child's life. What if she hit him? She'd never thought she'd hit her own child, but this wasn't her child. That little boy was Jerry Hobson's son. Closing her dark doe eyes, she begged sleep to come.

---

Elliot was panicking by now; it was not like Olivia to go this long without calling. She wouldn't just take off like this. Where was she?

As he laid out dinner for his four children and fed Evan the breast milk Olivia had stored in the fridge, his mind wandered. He knew Olivia had been through a lot with Evan's birth and his kidnapping, but surely she should be home by now? He blinked, realizing Dickie had asked him a question. "What was that?"

"Where is she, Dad?" He frowned, missing her presence (and cooking) immensely already, along with the rest of the family.

Sighing heavily, he laid Evan into his playpen, set up in the living room. "Olivia had to take some time to clear her head, she'll be home soon." He wanted so desperately to believe his own words. He put the children to bed, did the dishes and settled into his empty bed. The tender blue eyes Olivia had always admired began to cry for the first time in a very long time. Where was she? Was she okay? What was wrong? Evan began to cry around 2 am and Elliot stayed up with him before finally giving into exhaustion around 5 am.

---

John walked into the station house, his face set gravely. They would be interviewing Lily Jensen's mother today, an event he both dreaded and anxiously awaited. He wanted to know what was going through this woman's mind when she traded her daughter for crack and yet didn't want to hear the reasoning at the same time. From what Lily had said, her father thought that Lily was in an open adoption, completely clueless to his wife's arrangement with this 'Jason.'

Joining her partner and bearing strong coffee, she shook her head. "I wish we could find that bastard," she said, referring to Jason. The search warrant for his residence had yielded plenty to make their case, spare the perp. Child pornography both purchased and personally produced, a room filled with bondage and costumes which he presumably used with Lily and a journal detailing his horrific acts made their case against this man concrete. Now, they needed their suspect.

"We'll find him," John said in a serious tone. "I owe it to that seven-year-old." His eyes looked so wounded. Drinking the coffee, he shook his head. "Maybe the mom can tell us where he is..." As if on cue, Holly Jensen walked into the station house.

---

Olivia woke and immediately felt like crying. She missed making the kids breakfast, missed feeding Evan, kissing Elliot goodbye and taking the kids to school. Her heart ached as she began to weep again. What she was doing was for the best for her family, but that did not make it any easier on her heart. No matter what, she couldn't go home.