Disclaimer: If you recognize it, it ain't mine!
A/N: Special thanx to my beta--you're awesome! And to everyone else----Remember to Review!
Olivia sat glumly at the bar, slowly nursing her beer and silently cursing her partner. Glancing around the room, she realized the place looked exactly how she felt today. The dim glow given off by the sparsely placed light fixtures only highlighted the dinginess of the walls and ceilings. It seemed as if the light served more to provide even more of a depressing atmosphere to the place, rather than illuminate it. The floor looked as though it hadn't been washed in months, even decades. On top of all that, cigarette smoke filled the air, giving the room a hazy appearance. As she observed the rest of the regulars, Olivia's mind went back to the incident that had significantly soured her day.
A mother had brought her 8-year-old daughter in, accusing her soon-to-be ex-husband of molesting their child. The man denied everything, claiming the woman would do anything to have full custody of the girl.
"The girl's reactions are those that would indicate sexual assault. I think she's telling the truth. I think we should bring the father in." Olivia stated, strolling back to her desk after talking to the little girl. Her remark received a nod of agreement from Munch, but had only drawn a blank stare from Elliot. After noticing the look on her partner's face, she quickly added, "If not to book him, maybe to get some straight answers outta him."
"You really think he did it, don't you?" Elliot sneered. "You of all people should be able to see right through the mother's story, Olivia. That woman would do anything to get full custody of their child. Even if it meant brainwashing her own child!"
"I agree she wants more than anything to have full custody, but only to protect her daughter from further abuse! Filing a false report would not only land her in jail, but also force the court to give her husband custody. She can't be dumb enough to risk all that!" Olivia couldn't believe Elliot was taking the father's side. Her gut told her he was guilty, and her gut was almost always right. Elliot should know that. "What's the matter with you? This doesn't have anything to do with your divorce, does it?"
It had all gone south after that subject. Elliot had blown up like a land mine that Olivia had just stepped on. He ended up storming out of the station after their argument, either forgetting or just not caring that he had been Olivia's ride. Her car was in the shop, something to do with the transmission. Munch generously offered to take her to get something to eat before driving her home. They had driven around for ages searching for a place to eat before finally settling for the smoke-filled tavern, where they now sat munching on peanuts and religiously sipping their beers.
"You ready to go home?" Munch asked, politely. Dark circles had formed under his eyes. He was tired. They all were tired. They had put in way too much overtime this past week. Hopefully, sleep would do them all some good. Especially Elliot. Maybe he would start thinking straight and see the error of his ways. Sometimes he could just be so thickheaded. It usually was one of the things she loved about him, but could also be frustrating when she was trying to get him to see things her way.
"As ready as I'll ever be," she responded, grateful that he wanted to leave. She wasn't one to complain, but the smoke-filled air was getting to her. She just wanted to go home and sleep for as long as possible. She offered to pay, but the offer was declined. If Munch wanted to do the gentlemanly thing, she wasn't going to make a fuss.
"Oop, excuse me for a moment. Mother Nature's calling me and I think I'd better answer. I've already pissed off too many women in my lifetime." Munch took off towards the restroom after paying the tab.
Olivia grabbed her jacket and stepped outside for a breath of fresh air. The autumn weather was getting colder, and the biting wind whipped her hair into her face. It felt like snow. With any luck, it would stay away for a couple of weeks. She pulled her warm jacket tightly around herself and walked briskly toward Munch's car, hoping to get out of the stinging wind.
Suddenly, she felt a chill go up her spine. Not because of the weather, but because of the sound she had just heard. It sounded like someone crying for help. She peered into the dark alleyway, but couldn't see anything through the gloom. She waited letting her eyes adjust to the darkness, barely making out the figure of a woman lying on the ground. Olivia raced to the woman's side, finding a weak pulse. It was obvious that the woman had been raped and beaten. Her yellow blonde hair was full of blood and grime, as well as her entire face and body. Most of her clothes had been torn away, leaving the bruised and bloodied flesh exposed. Olivia took off her jacket and covered the barely lucid woman. To hell with the trace evidence, she needed this woman alive. Hopefully, she could avoid hypothermia and pneumonia. Olivia held the woman's hand, which was covered with defensive wounds. There was definitely tissue underneath her long nails.
Good. She fought back. Olivia was proud of the woman already. It made her job that much easier with the DNA of the perp provided by a victim who really wanted to live.
"It's okay now. I'm here to help you. The ambulance will be here shortly, okay?" Olivia tried to comfort the young woman, as she dialed her cell phone. She reported her location to the dispatcher on the other end. She pocketed her cell, and again held the woman's hand, hoping Munch would get done in the bathroom soon and discover them.
"Can you tell me your name?" Olivia wanted to find out her identity and to keep her conscious. "Please stay with me. Talk to me, okay? Can you tell me your name?"
"Loo….look..out…" was all the woman managed to squeak out. Olivia frowned, not knowing what she meant, but glad that she was cognizant enough to speak. She definitely was a fighter. The woman coughed and struggled to finish her thought. Olivia just waited patiently, listening intently.
"Behind you…" finally managed to seep from the woman's lips. Olivia, sensing the urgency of the woman's warning, heard a faint noise behind her. She whirled around bringing her gun up with her. She didn't see anything at first, which worried her. Glancing around the darkened alley, she finally spotted the source of the commotion. A little rat was digging through the overflowing dumpster, looking for a meal. Olivia took a deep breath, realizing that her adrenaline had kicked in. While waiting for her heart beat to return to normal, she mentally chided herself for panicking. She needed to stay calm and help the poor woman.
The gun was holstered and she knelt down beside the victim again. She was began to reassure the young woman that there was nothing there, that it had just been a rodent, but she was interrupted by a sharp pain at the back of her head. Someone was ferociously wrenching her hair back, bringing her to her feet. Before she could make any noise, a cloth was placed over her nose and mouth. She immediately smelled a sickly sweet odor. Groaning with realization, Olivia tried to hold her breath but was unable to. Her head hurt too much. She didn't have any time to fight back, as her vision became blurry. Everything became darker and darker. All she could her were screams. Whether they cam from her or the other woman, she couldn't be sure. Before giving into the darkness that was beckoning her, one word managed to escape her lips, "Elliot"
Olivia hit the dark, wet pavement of the alleyway, lost in a world of shadows.
A/N: Should I continue? Review and tell me what you think.