A/N: Well, this is just the beginning, obviously, so probably lots of questions, which I promise will be answered! You know the drill- I live for reviews!
Disclaimer: I still don't own them…
The evening was a chilly one; snow was beginning to fall quite heavily and a gusty wind blew through the streets. Elliot Stabler watched with his forehead pressed up against the window as the storm progressed. It was just one of those nights. The divorce had gone through three months ago but he was still feeling the aftermath. Perhaps it was the coupling of his last partner's suicide and his split with Kathy that had him so affected. After a moment he slowly peeled himself from the window and stepped across his apartment, his bare feet padding gently against the floor. Reaching into the refrigerator he pulled out a beer and headed back to the couch.
By seven the snow was already over half a foot deep. Elliot flopped onto his back, tapping his fingers lightly on the empty bottle. He was often surprised at how quickly he had lost everything, and his complete inability to handle it. He didn't sleep anymore- he tossed and turned all night thinking of what he could have done better with Kathy and what he should have seen happening to his partner. But in the end, he always ended up at the same place- that his life would never again be the same. For the first time, he truly understood how emotional pain could be so much worse than physical. Sure, he had heard people say that, but in general he'd been happy and hadn't experienced that depth of pain.
Elliot knew Cragen was worried about him, and that Munch and everyone else in the precinct thought that he was blaming himself too much. But he hadn't worked in the field since his divorce, and had no real desire too. He had even heard it whispered that it would take a miracle to save him.
Meanwhile, a young detective was sitting on a barstool, chatting idly with her colleagues- well, at least the male ones. They were crowded completely around her, constantly offering to buy her drinks and inviting her on various dates. Olivia rolled her eyes slightly as a particularly forward young man gave her a drunken hug. She gave him a couple pats on the back to get him to let go before he staggered off to finish his beer. One of the older men grinned at her and asked, "Sure you don't want anything to drink?"
"I'm sure. Pespsi is fine." Olivia answered, eying him curiously.
"So… I hear you are asking for a transfer to SVU." He said, and immediately the entire circle went silent.
"Oh my God! Are you serious? No Olivia, you must stay with us!" exclaimed one of the younger uniforms.
Olivia flushed slightly, not quite sure what to think of all of this attention. After being in Homicide for nearly a year, she was used to the usual whistles and staring, but tonight it was definitely in excess. "Yes, the lieutenant told me they got an opening. And I talked to their Captain last week."
The silence followed again, and though the guys were looking quite depressed, there was an undercurrent of something else. Finally the older man again spoke up, a Detective by the name of Randy. "Perhaps you do not know the circumstances under which there is an opening…" he began, and then stopped, running over to the newspaper stack. When he found a satisfactory one, Randy brought it back over to her. "You probably haven't had time to read this with the Emitt case."
Olivia took the paper, and in a small corner was the picture a very sad looking cop in full uniform, touching the mahogany edge of a coffin. The headline read, 'At three month anniversary of cop's suicide, still no breaks in case of tortured and murdered schoolgirl.' Olivia eyes lingered on the photo and Randy seemed to notice.
"That's Detective Elliot Stabler. His partner couldn't handle that case so killed himself. Elliot's been so screwed up since- and then his wife left him not even two weeks later."
"That's horrible. Poor guy." Olivia said quietly, slowly prying her eyes from the paper.
"He's a nice guy, generally. Just don't get him angry. You'd have to watch yourself Olivia, with that argumentative side you've got." Randy replied with a grin.
Olivia laughed and then looked up to see her partner come stomping in. "Olivia, we've got to go."
"See you guys later." Olivia said a little to cheerfully, not at all disappointed in having to leave the drunk and very smitten men.
Her partner raised an eyebrow at her and as they walked out onto the sidewalk asked, "Breaking more hearts?"
"No. I seriously haven't a clue why they are all so interested in me. Except that I am practically the only single woman under thirty at the precinct." Olivia replied, "What's up?"
"Lieutenant Darby just called… says we need to check out something at a crime scene." He answered, opening the car door for her.
Olivia nodded thoughtfully as she clipped her seatbelt. She was unusually silent for the ride to the building, and her partner noticed. "You alright?"
"Of course. Just thinking." Olivia answered, though she felt a strange bubbling of nerves in her gut.
"Don't worry. You'll do great in SVU. And I'll get to retire." He said with a grin. Olivia grinned over at him and nodded. They got out of the car, the old abandoned building looming ominous in the dark night.
The phone rang shortly before ten, when Elliot was watching a rerun of some TV show. He reluctantly got up and answered. It was Cragen, and he hastily explained that he couldn't get a hold of anyone else but that Homicide desperately needed an SVU detective on a nearby scene. Elliot agreed to go, largely because he felt he couldn't let a victim suffer because he was too absorbed in his own issues, and also because no one else could help.
When Elliot arrived at the abandoned building there was already a throng of people milling about. A uniformed officer sprinted over to him as he got out of his car. "Are you the Detective from SVU?"
"Elliot Stabler. What's going on?"
The officer sighed and then quickly said, "Two Detectives were checking out a crime scene when a perp jumped them. One of them was stabbed multiple times and he died shortly after. But the girl… we don't know what he did to her. Figured we'd leave her to you."
Elliot stared at the officer. "You left her alone? You guys ought to know better than to ever leave a victim's side!" he exclaimed, his eyes wide.
"She totally freaked out when a couple officers tried to approach her. Screamed when they tried to help her up. We figured we'd better call you, so that way you can get an idea of what happened before she totally loses it."
"Is she hurt?" Elliot yelled, furious with the way they were handling things.
The officer cringed slightly and replied, "Nothing life threatening that we could see. Of course, she didn't let them take a very good look. The medics are on their way. You'd better go see to her, she's on the second floor."
Elliot ran over to the steps of the building, jumping up them easily. As he hurried inside, he saw an older man lying in a pool of blood with several detectives standing around him. He turned his head and saw a small set of stairs. Bloody drag marks streaked through the dust. As he ascended the stairs and pushed the halfway ajar door open, his heart hammered in his chest for what he was going to find.
She couldn't remember what had happened very well, only a ripping pain to her stomach and the absolute agony that followed with being dragged up the stairs. And then there was the man on top of her, pressing into her. When she'd fought he held her wrist tighter, leaving his other hand down where it was. The cracking noise it made when it broke startled both of them, enough so that he finally pulled his hand from between her legs. But the last thing she remembered was him taking off his pants before applying his whole weight to her ribcage. After that, she blacked out.
She wanted to get up off the floor, but her back hurt too much to move. Her whole body was seized in a tremor as a fresh wave of fear fell over her. What if he came back? The panic rising in her stomach made her breathing heavier, even though it was already quite labored.
It wasn't really the pain or the cold that made her so desperately afraid. Nor was it her inability to move from where she lay on the old wooden floor. And it wasn't even the fractured wrist, ribs, or deep wound to her abdomen. It was that for the first time in her life, she had to count on someone else to help her. She had never been good at that- trusting others with anything important. But now, she was being forced too count on someone with her life. She, Olivia Benson, had to actually believe that someone was going to help her. That someone actually cared enough.
People had come, and then they had left her after trying to drag her to her feet. She didn't want them to leave her, but they had. It just hurt too much for her to not scream when they tried to get her up. And now she was all alone.
Elliot found her lying on her back with one arm clenched to her lower abdomen and the other sprawled at her side. As his footsteps echoed in the chilly room she turned her head slightly in his direction, though she didn't open her eyes. He stepped carefully around a pile of junk so that he could get to her easier. Her body immediately shook in terror as he approached, but she was far too weak to cry out. "It's okay baby. I'm not going to hurt you." He told her softly, kneeling beside her. He laid one hand on her thigh and she instantly clamped her legs shut and curled them up tighter. Glancing over her he saw that although her pants were undone and her shirt was unbuttoned, it didn't appear that the perp had had the opportunity to finish. Elliot bit his lip, fighting desperately to keep his emotions in check. He wasn't going to screw this up, too. Elliot gently pulled her arm away from her stomach, quickly finding it to be soaked in blood. As he did so, she flailed with the last of her strength, trying to pull free. Her eyes were streaming with tears and she was still shaking in fear. Elliot let her arm settle back over the gaping wound to her abdomen and then shifted her up into his lap, quietly whispering that she was going to be alright. He ran a hand down her cheek and held her up close to him. And then, quite suddenly, she opened her eyes. Elliot felt as though his heart was going to break right then and there as she looked up at him with wide, tear filled chocolate brown eyes that reflected both horrible pain and fear.
When the man took her into his arms, Olivia was quite afraid that he was going to hurt her. But there was something different about him. One hand held her back while the other stroked her hair. He was being so gentle and wasn't touching her where she didn't want to be. But she wasn't quite sure, so she opened her eyes and looked up at him. His stormy blue eyes met hers and he stared at her with profound grief. Olivia sighed and then let her head fall back onto his chest, relief filling her. "Please… don't leave me…" she gasped, one hand gripping his shirt with all the strength she could muster.
"I won't, sweetheart. You just relax, and I'm going to take a look at you, alright?" Elliot told her gently, pressing his cheek to her feverish forehead.
She nodded vaguely, blinking slowly and letting tears continue to drip down her face. He looked over at her wrist that was laying limp at her side and pulled back the sleeve of her blouse. Heavy bruising and swelling covered a wide area of it, and she almost screamed when he lightly touched it to draw her sleeve back down. Feeling her breathing steady against his chest he placed his hand to her side, tracing his hand across it. When he ran his fingers over a large swollen bump she winced and pressed closer against him. He sighed and then reached down to ease her business slacks back up so that she wouldn't freeze when they went outside. She immediately tensed and whispered, "Don't… please… I promise I'll do anything you want… just don't hurt me…"
Elliot quickly moved his hand back up to her face and cradled it gently. "I am not going to hurt you. You have to trust me. We have to get your pants back up so you can go outside and not be cold anymore." He told her quietly, trying to give her a small amount of reassurance- though he knew from experience that she probably wouldn't understand. But when he reached down to try one more time, she didn't even flinch. As he drew them to their correct place, Elliot marveled at this victim's remarkable calm. She had trusted him so completely and blindly that he couldn't help but be nothing short of amazed.
Elliot carefully removed his jacket and covered her with it before starting to stand. As he picked her up she cried out in pain, pressing her face harder against his chest. Elliot felt blood seeping out from her wound onto his shirt and again felt his heart twist painfully. He stepped as carefully as possible down the stairs, feeling her start to shake again.
When they finally reached the outside of the building, Elliot was relieved to find the ambulance just arriving. The paramedics raced over to him with a stretcher and quickly helped him ease her down onto it. Elliot gently pried her hand from his shirt and told her, "It's alright, they're going to help you." But as the medics pulled back her blouse and eased her pants down farther to get at the knife wound to her side, her eyes grew panicked and she desperately reached for his hand. He took her much smaller one and squeezed it lightly, asking the medics, "Do you mind if I ride along?"
"Sure. We haven't treated many rape victims before." One replied while he inserted an IV into her arm.
"Alright, sweetheart, you're going to be fine. Just hang on a little while longer, okay? I'm Elliot, by the way." Elliot said, smiling gently at her as medics busily worked around them. In the light he saw clearly the offensive and defensive wounds running the lengths of her arms. "You're a fighter, aren't you?"
His eyes widened slightly as she actually smiled and nodded. "I saw you in the paper… I'm Olivia." She answered in a labored breath, taking one last look at him before she shut her eyes.
Elliot watched as the final latch was placed on her bandage and then said, "Okay Olivia, you ready to go to the hospital?"
She nodded painfully, tightening her grip on his hand.
That night Elliot sat in the waiting room of the hospital, his mind in a constant blur about the events that had just occurred and about the beautiful Olivia Benson. Her lieutenant had shown up at the ER, looking extraordinarily upset. He went on to tell Elliot that she had only been a Detective for nine months, and that she had great potential. So Elliot managed to pass some time by chatting with him, though he continued to think of her, not quite sure why he was already so attached to this case. All he knew was that it was personal, and if she died, he honestly didn't know if he could handle it.
Elliot sighed and then turned as he heard the door swing open. His heart jumped when he saw Olivia's doctor come trudging out and he leapt to his feet, asking, "How is she?"