Title: Word of Honor Author: Jenn Rating: PG (just to be safe) Summery: An old friend of Elliot's is the suspect in a rape. A/N: I've now been out of the Marines almost a year, so I decided to

write a story where the case involves Elliot's past as a Marine. Hope

you all like it. LOTS of thanks to Caillean for all the encouragment

and support.

thoughtsindicate thoughts, not spoken aloud.

MONDAY MORNING

"How as your week off?" asked Olivia as Elliot sat at his desk.

"Good. The kids seemed to love having me to themselves for a week. So did Kathy."

"I'm sure they did," she answered with a smile.

"What's been going on here?"

"There was a rape case. Fin and Munch are picking up the suspect now. Should be back any minute," she told him.

As predicted, Fin and Munch arrived a few minutes later with a suspect in tow. Looking at the suspect Elliot was shocked.

"JJ," Elliot called as he stood up, causing the suspect, and everyone else, to look at him.

"Elliot?" asked the suspect, almost as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing.

"You know this guy?" asked Fin.

"Yeah." Elliot paused for a moment. He didn't want to talk to JJ in the middle of the Squad Room. And if he observed the interrogation he'd learn everything he needed to. "Sorry. JJ, I'll talk to you later. Once these two are done with the questioning."

"They your friends?"

"Yeah."

Jeremy Jennings nodded. If Elliot called these two his friends then they were good men. He had a good chance at getting fair treatment.

"Hey, Alex," Olivia greeted the ADA who had been entered right behind Fin and Munch, but not been noticed at once due to Elliot's actions.

"Hello. I heard there was a suspect, and thought I'd come by. I assume you'll also be observing the interrogation, Elliot?"

He nodded and followed Alex to the observation room. Olivia and Cragen shared a look then also entered the observation room.

Munch sat across the table to Jennings and Fin leaned against one wall.

"Where were you Thursday night, about 1 am," asked Munch.

"I was home, asleep."

Fin spoke next. "Is there anyone who can vouch for that? Wife, girlfriend, . . . overnight guest?"

"No. I was alone."

"So you were home in bed? Not raping a girl outside the dance club half a mile from where you live?"

"I didn't rape anyone."

"We looked up your record. You were a Marine. Is that how you and Elliot know each other?"

"Yeah. We were in the same unit."

"The problem is that you talked to the girl. According to her statement you said . . . "Munch paused an opened the folder in front of him. "Good to go", when you started on her and "over and out" when you pulled yourself out of her after. Those are phases that military people would use."

"Does Elliot talk like that?"

"No," Munch admitted. A slight bit of doubt creeping into his mind.

"And even if I still did talk like that, and I don't, I wouldn't be stupid enough to talk like that while I was committing a crime."

That also rang true in Munch's mind, allowing a bit more doubt to grow.

"The woman who got raped said the guys face looked like an alien mask of some sort. Then we showed her a gas mask, and it was a guy in a gas mask not an alien, who raped her. We searched your place and found a gas mask," Fin told him.

"You can get those at any Army Surplus Store," Jennings argued.

Fin continued. "We also found a knife. A KA-Bar. The kind the Marines have. And, the kind that was used to threaten our victim."

"You don't have to be a Marine to get a KA-Bar. You said threatened, was the woman hurt?"

"She was raped. I think that counts as being hurt," growled Munch.

"I mean was she cut up, beaten?" Jennings pressed.

"She got a bunch of bruises, but no cuts."

"So the guy hit her, with his fists?"

"Yeah."

"You hit someone with your fists, your knuckles show it. Look at my knuckles. Do they look like I've been hitting someone?" As he spoke Jennings put his hands flat on the table. There was no sign of bruises or scrapes.

This time Munch spoke, even though he was beginning to believe the man's story. "You've got one more problem. We've got an eyewitness that says he saw a man fitting your description leaving the area where the woman got raped a few minutes after it happened. Just enough time, and distance, for you to take off your gas mask. We're bringing him in to see if he recognizes you in a line up."

Munch looked at his partner, then stood up. "We'll check to see if the line up's ready. Sit tight."

"Can I talk to Elliot now?"

"Yeah. But do yourself a favor and don't forget that he's a cop. A damn good one," said Fin. "Anything you say to him can still be used against you."

Jennings nodded and watched as they left. Seconds later Elliot entered. Fin and Munch joined the others watching through the one-way glass.

"Hey, Elliot."

"Been a long time, JJ," said Elliot as he sat down.

"Yeah, it has. But like they say, Once a Marine. . . "

"Always a Marine," finished Elliot.

JJ looked into his old friend's eyes. "I didn't do it. I swear."

"Give me you word, as a Marine, and I'll believe you."

"I give you my word of honor, as a Marine, I didn't rape anyone."

Elliot's lips curved slightly in an almost-smile, then turned serious. "Good enough for me. It isn't my case, I can't interfere. But Munch and Fin are good cops. They'll find out who did this."

A few minutes later Elliot left the room. They all headed to Captain Cragen's office.

"Elliot, you're sure this guy is innocent?"

"Yes, I am. He gave me his word. This guy was Military Police. He helped catch rapists. I don't see him becoming one."

"It also means he would be aware of how to work the system," Alex pointed out.

Elliot didn't say anything but looked into Alex's eyes. The tension between them was clear, and neither blinked. Familiar with their friends staring matches the others remained silent.

He didn't do it

You don't know that

Yes I do

After a moment Alex spoke. "You'd better be right, Detective."

"Elliot, I know he was your friend, but that was a long time ago. People change," Fin said.

"Not like this."

"Get off it. We see this stuff every day."

"Not from him."

"You mean not from a Marine. You were an MP, so you can't tell me that you never saw a Marine break the laws, or even commit a rape."

"Fin, I seem to remember when we had a cop accused of rape and you didn't want to believe it," Olivia reminded him.

"And I was right. The cop was innocent."

"And so is JJ. I'm not wrong about this, Fin."

"You're blind about this," he shot back.

Cragen stepped in between the two. "Fin, go get the line up ready."

After a last glare at Elliot, Fin left, with Munch following behind him.

Cragen looked at Elliot. "Let Munch and Fin handle this case."

"That an order?"

"Does it need to be?"

"Come on, Elliot. After being gone a week you have plenty of paperwork to do," said Olivia as she gently pulled him from the room.

Alex turned to Cragen. "What do you think?"

"To be honest, I'm not sure what to think. The guy made some good points when he was answering the questions. But you're right that having been a military police he'd know how to work the system. I want to believe what Elliot says, but. . . Let's just wait and see what the eyewitness says at the line up."

"It was late and dark, and he may not be able to give us a good answer either way."

"I know, Alex. I know."

"If the eyewitness identifies him, I'll have to indict him; whether Elliot likes it our not," she said, but didn't sound happy about it.

Outside Elliot and Olivia sat at their desks.

"What's the eyewitness name?" Elliot asked.

"Elliot. . ."

"I'm just asking for a name. I won't interfere."

"Samuel Hawthorne."

Elliot scowled. "I've heard that name before."

"He isn't in our system," Olivia told him.

"That somehow doesn't make me feel better."

"Right now worry about that pile of paperwork in front of you," Olivia 'scolded' him.

An hour later Munch and Fin returned to their desks.

"Bad news, Elliot. The witness identified Jennings as the man he saw that night," Munch said.

"Looks like he's changed more than you thought," Fin added.

"That doesn't prove anything. Eyewitnesses can be wrong. Especially at night," Elliot said, glaring at Fin.

"He's being booked right now, Elliot. You can talk to him again tomorrow," Munch said, to try and avoid the two fighting.