To all the Duty Calls and Injustice readers, here's my latest SVU one-shot! This is really just to entertain you until I get the beginning of my new series finished! Hope you enjoy!
Summary: "Haunted" episode alternative. Olivia goes to get coffee after a stakeout and walks right into an armed robbery. Things turn ugly when the shooter tries to use her as a hostage.
I Owe You a Coffee
"The sun's up," Fin groaned, rubbing his eyes. "This freak doesn't hit after dawn."
Olivia would have laughed at Fin's uncharacteristic bleariness if she hadn't been just as bone tired as he was. She glared out the window, almost wishing their perp would break his pattern just so there'd be some kind of reason for their misery. She smirked; she'd gladly take it out on him. But, she wouldn't get that chance. At least not today.
"Want to call it a night?" she asked groggily, certain of Fin's answer.
"Yeah," he growled. "One long ass night."
She let her head fall against the car seat, closing her eyes, letting sleep flirt with her for a moment, then moaned back into reality. "You know what, Bodega's open. You want another cup of coffee?"
Fin rolled his head over in her direction. He blinked, amazed at Olivia's lucidity, but grateful for it nonetheless. "That'd be great, Liv. I'll call Elliot. I owe you a coffee, all right?"
Olivia grinned, her eyes dancing despite the bloodshot streaks in them. "Just make sure Munch didn't make it, and you got a deal. Be right back."
She stepped out of the car, and stretched, testing out her muscles. God, I'm gonna be so sore, she thought as she meandered toward the shop, her eyes sweeping the area instinctively before she entered.
Fin watched her, astonished. Right now, he could walk into a drive-by without remembering to check the scene. Wait, scratch that. He'd probably sleep through the whole thing. Trying to shake himself awake, he radioed Elliot.
"Mobile one to base. I said mobile one to base." Fin griped into the radio.
"Base here." Elliot's scratchy voice was not amused; in fact, it seemed to echo Fin's exhausted frustration.
"We're over this, man, he's not showing today."
"I think you're right," Elliot replied grumpily. "Bastard. Oh, well, I'll see you guys back at the house. Over."
"Damn, right, it's over," Fin groused, replacing his radio. He leaned back and closed his eyes as he waited for Olivia to return.
Olivia swept purposefully into Bodega's, smiling briefly at the man behind the counter.
"Lemme get two coffees, one black, one regular," she recited.
"You got it."
As he prepared the drinks, Olivia mechanically surveyed her surroundings. The only other people in the store were the cashier and a child cheerfully counting out change at the register. But as she glanced over her shoulder, she noticed two antsy men, obviously gang members, swagger into the store. A chill shot up her back when she saw how both men had one hand buried in their bulky jackets.
She turned her eyes to the little boy, her mind racing, when one of them whipped a semi-automatic and screamed, "Empty out the register, pops! You think I'm playin!"
The clerk's hand trembled as he fumbled around, but Olivia was tensely watching the little boy who jumped back into the counter in fright. He locked eyes frantically with her. She put a finger to her lips, and motioned him over to her. He quickly ran behind her legs.
One of the crooks' head jerked in response to the sudden movement. Olivia recognized the hungry gleam in his eyes as they slid up and down her body.
"Well, well," he said, stepping closer. He motioned to the other to get the money. "Looks like I score twice today."
Olivia glared at him. "You have your money," she snarled. "Get out."
He backhanded her, sending her stumbling back. But she still managed to keep her body in between him and the boy trembling behind her.
"Watch your mouth, bitch," he growled, glancing over his shoulder to check on his partner. The cashier was frantically dumping money into the bag.
While his head was turned, Olivia turned to the boy, and pointed urgently to the back door. "Run and hide!" she mouthed intensely. The boy nodded, wide-eyed, and scurried out the back.
Fin's eyes popped open. He rubbed them vigorously, and glanced towards the convenience store, wondering what was taking Olivia so long. Suddenly, he saw a kid run out the back door of building, scared of his mind, and running as fast as he could down the street.
"What the hell…"
Fin jumped out the car and made his way cautiously towards the Bodega's door.
When Olivia turned around, she saw the end of a gun in her face.
"We don't leave no witnesses, 'specially not smart-ass bitch ones." Olivia heard the gun cock, but she didn't even blink.
Suddenly, the door burst open. It slammed into the wall, and the glass shattered, and Fin stood there, gun at the ready.
"Police! Freeze! Drop the gun! I said drop it, punk!"
The other burglar froze, but the other one yanked Olivia up by her hair and jammed the gun into her temple.
"Move and I'll blow this bitch's brains out!" he screamed wildly.
Fin froze, and locked eyes with Olivia, panic gleaming in his dark eyes. His temper flared when he saw the quickly rising bruise on her cheek and blood trickling from the corner of her mouth. But Olivia's eyes were unwavering, unafraid. If there was any emotion there, it was anger.
"Bad move, bastard," she hissed, and elbowed him viciously in the groin. He yelled, and the gun went off as he fell. Olivia stumbled back with a shriek, but then yanked out her gun, and trained it on him, kicking his own out of the way.
"Liv!" Fin bellowed, jumping into action.
Her free hand flew to her shoulder where blood was pouring from a neat hole in her skin. Her face quickly paled, but she yanked her badge's chain out from under her shirt.
"NYPD!" Olivia growled, hissing in pain and wavering slightly as she pressed hard on the wound. "Don't move."
His eyes widened in furious astonishment as the light from sunrise glinted off her badge. "Shit," he muttered, going absolutely still.
Fin quickly cuffed the first guy to the counter, then made his way over to Olivia. He cuffed the other guy's hands around a pole, then turned around in time to catch Olivia in his arms as she collapsed. Her Glock clattered to the floor.
"Liv, Liv! Hang on!" He ripped off his jacket, and with one hand, tried to stop the blood. With the other, he pulled out his radio, and shouted into his radio.
"11-99, 11-99! Officer down at Bodega's on Route 15 and Lexington! Attempted armed robbery, shots fired, and officer down! This is Detective Odafin Tutuola, Badge number 4105712; I need a bus and back up! 11-99!"
Olivia's breath was shallow, and her face was paling rapidly. Already, she'd lost consciousness.
"Come on, Olivia. Stay with me. Come on, Liv, come on!"
Back at the 16th precinct, Elliot saw Munch walking suspiciously toward the coffee maker. He shot out of his seat. "Whoa, whoa, Munch, freeze! Back away from the coffee maker, and put your hands in the air!"
Munch chuckled darkly. "I knew that'd get your attention. Got problems with my coffee? You come and make some. Olivia isn't here to work her miracles with this piece a crap." He thumped the machine absently.
Elliot crossed his arms, smirking. "She and Fin are on the way. You can wait five more minutes."
Munch smirked, but his eyes narrowed inquisitively when their radios went off. "Is that an 11-99 this early in the morning!"
Elliot lunged for the radio, and brought it to his ear, curious. "Wait a minute. Liv and Fin were at Bodega's!"
"Shut up, then!" Munch ordered tersely.
"Attempted armed robbery, shots fired, and officer down! This is Detective Odafin Tutuola, Badge number 4105712; I need a bus and back up! 11-99!"
"Liv!" Elliot breathed., all color draining from his face. "Oh, no, no, no…" He leapt from his chair, stumbled, then sprinted out the door.
It was useless. Munch could hear the engine roar to life outside the station, and the screech of tires told him Elliot was already long gone. Munch dropped the files in his hands, and burst into Captain Cragen's office.
"Whoa, John! Where's the fire!" Cragen looked up, slightly annoyed at the interruption. But when he saw the pure panic in John Munch's cynical eyes, he stood.
"What's going on, John!"
Munch gripped Cragen's arm tightly, his nails digging into his superior's skin. "Olivia's been shot. Fin just called it in. There was an attempted robbery at Bodega's and Fin and Liv were there. Apparently, Olivia was hit in the crossfire."
Cragen's eyes widened, and he paled visibly. "He called for backup? Well, that's us. Come on!" He ran through the station, and stopped abruptly.
Munch grabbed his Captain's arm and pulled him back into the sprint. "Where do you think?"
They, jumped into the car, and sped off.
Fin gently popped Olivia's cheek. "Come on, Liv. Wake up. Stay with me, Olivia!"
Her eyes fluttered open, then she clenched them shut again, hissing in pain. "Shit, Fin. That hurt like hell."
Relief threatened to overwhelm him, but he just pushed harder on the wound. She winced, her eyes rolling, and threatening to pass out.
"Sorry, Liv, I just gotta stop the blood."
She nodded tightly, eyes clenched shut. "Did the boy make it out?"
"Yeah. And we caught both the perps. You did good, Liv."
Sirens sounded in the distance, but the sound of them made Fin want to laugh and curse at once. It wasn't the bus. He could tell by the certain siren's sound. It was an SVU squad car.
Elliot, no doubt.
"Fin, I'm going out. It hurts like hell, Fin. I'm going out." She went limp in his arms, and the muscles around her eyes and in her fingers relaxed completely.
"No! No, no! Come on, Liv! Hang on! Elliot's coming, Liv! Hold on, baby!"
No response. He frantically felt for a pulse with his bloody hands. Faint, but there. Shallow breaths. But she was still fighting it.
Furiously, Fin turned his head towards the shooter who watched arrogantly while his partner squirmed nervously in the corner.
"You better pray she doesn't die, asshole," Fin growled, his voice dangerously low and calm.
"Why should I, dog! She disrespected me! I hope the bitch croaks!"
Fin grabbed the nearest heavy object, a bottle of beer from the wall cooler, and slung it at him with his free hand. It knocked the offender in the head, then rolled away. The man howled with pain, and lunged against the cuffs.
"You gone pay for that man! Police brutality!"
The siren was close. Right outside. "And your punk ass is in for a needle if she dies because killing a cop is an automatic death penalty. Now shut up before I really brutalize your ass."
The bell on the door jangled frantically as someone kicked it open.
Elliot ran up to them, "accidentally" kicking the shooter in the side on his way. "Oh, god, Fin. How's she doing!"
Fin looked grim, shifting his weight against her shoulder. "She's in and out. I can't get her to stay awake."
A rare panic laced Fin's voice. But Elliot, though his heart was racing and beating wildly against his ribcage, took a deep breath, and very calmly took Olivia's hand into his own. All he knew was that if she didn't make it, he wouldn't have any reason to live.
"Olivia! Liv! It's me, Elliot. Wake up. Please, just open your eyes." His wife was gone, his kids were gone. His whole world was upside down, and he still dealt with the scum of the earth every day of his life. The only reason he even dragged himself from bed in the morning was his partner.
"Come on, Liv. Wake up. Open your eyes. Speak to me!"
Elliot's voice began to shake, but Fin's eyes widened when Olivia's eyes fluttered open.
"Keep it down, El," she mumbled, deliriously. "I'm asleep for god's sake."
He grinned hopefully. "No time for sleep now, Liv. Keep your eyes open for me."
"Fine," she studied him as if nothing was wrong. The pain had dulled as shock slowly set in. Her pupils were dilated but she frowned. "Elliot. You look like hell. You, too, Fin."
Fin tried to give her a reassuring smile, but his eyes were grave. "Do you remember what happened, Liv?"
Two more sirens were approaching, Elliot noticed, breathing a prayer of thanks. One was an ambulance, and one was another SVU squad car. No doubt it housed Captain and Munch.
"Uh… yeah," Olivia muttered. "Some asshole shot me. Shot me before I could drink my damn coffee."
"Liv, the ambulance is close. You just gotta stay awake. How many fingers am I holding up?" Elliot lifted two.
"You're kidding me." She squinted her glazed eyes in concentration. "Three. No, wait. Two. Two."
He grinned. "Good job."
At that moment, paramedics burst on the scene. But as they loaded her into the ambulance, Olivia's eyes rolled into the back of her head, and she passed out again.
"You!" the lead paramedic shouted, pointing at Elliot. "You ride. Talk to her, try and keep her awake! We're headed to Bellevue!"
With a trepid final glance at Fin, Elliot jumped into the ambulance, and the doors shut loudly behind him.
Cops began to swarm the area, drawing lines where Olivia had been, talking to the cashier, and hauling off the shooters. Fin just watched gravely until he felt a familiar bony hand on his shoulder.
"Fin!" Munch's face was paler than normal. "What the hell happened!"
Don Cragen stood behind him, arms crossed, eyes red with suppressed fury.
"We were shutting down the stakeout for the night," he began blankly. "Olivia volunteered to go grab two coffees from Bodega's. I called Elliot while she went in. But, she didn't come out. It took forever. Then, I saw a boy run out the back door and take off running down the street as if the Grim Reaper was behind him. So, I went in."
Fin retold the events as if they'd happened to someone else. Munch could see he was in shock and trying desperately to dissociate.
He was failing.
"When I saw her, she had a bruise coming on her cheek by her mouth. Her lip was bleeding. As soon as the crook saw me, he put his gun to Olivia's head and said if I moved, he's shoot her. I froze. But Olivia elbowed him in the balls. He fell over, but shot her as he went down. She yanked out her gun with her good arm and said, 'NYPD. Don't move.'"
Despite the situation, that elicited a brief, surprised grin from his two coworkers. "That sounds like Olivia," Cragen muttered distractedly.
"So, I cuff the two guys, and right as I turn around, she passes out in my arms. I try to hold back the blood; she was in and out for a while, then went out totally. Until Elliot got there. She woke up once more. Told him to shut up 'cause she was sleeping. Now they're both in the ambulance on the way to Bellevue."
"Damn," Cragen swore. It was ridiculous. Idiotic. Olivia volunteers to spring for two cups of cheap coffee and in return, gets a bullet. For being considerate. He glowered at the police car that housed the two offenders.
"Novak will see that that guy serves the max for armed robbery, probably illegal weapon possession, and attempted murder of a police officer," Munch offered lamely.
"Sure," Fin grumbled. "But that won't help me sleep tonight. Come on, and screw procedure. Let's get to the hospital. I've already talked to a few of these people. So, let's go. They have the store's security tape; that's they need. Let's roll."
His colleagues offered no protest. They rode to Bellevue together.
"She's going into shock!" One paramedic shouted. "Heartbeat is erratic."
"All right, get an IV and a bloodline. Keep pressure on that GSW." He sent a sympathetic glance towards Elliot, who looked absolutely terrified.
"Here." He tossed Elliot a wool blanket. "Cover her with this. Then sit on the other end of the stretcher and put her legs in your lap."
Without a word, Elliot did what he was told. He knew the treatment for shock. But this… this was Olivia. Shit. He was in shock himself! Maybe not physiological shock, but he could hardly focus on anything but her.
"Hey, Stabler," one paramedic ventured, noticing how close he seemed to be to the subject. "You type-0 blood by any chance?"
Somewhat dazed, Elliot replied, "Well, yeah, actually."
"All right. Good." He pulled out a sterile needle, and began to rig the bloodline. "How'd you like to donate to Detective Benson?"
Suddenly extremely alert, Elliot's back straightened in an instant. His eyes fairly glowed with the prospect of being useful. "Definitely. Hook me up."
As they did so, Elliot realized something. Before, the fantasy of having Olivia Benson's legs in his lap had been a pleasant one. But now, he wanted to kill something. Or cry.
But he did neither. He just flexed his hand like the paramedic asked.
Five weeks later….
Casey Novak sat smugly at the prosecution table as the jury filed back in to deliver the verdict over DeShaun Parker, the guy who pulled the trigger on Olivia Benson. His partner, Terrence Mitchell, had eagerly accepted to accomplice to attempted burglary and spilled the beans on Parker.
The trial had been practically flawless. No defense attorney, despite the many scummy ones she knew of, had voluntarily taken his case pro bono, and he, due to the failure of his robbery attempt, had no money to afford a lawyer. The public defender was competent and genuinely defended Parker, but knew it was hopeless. And Novak, despite Parker's offer to give up—or, as she saw it, make up—drug dealers or prostitution rings or illegal porn operations, didn't for a second mull over offering him a deal, especially considering…the circumstances.
Time seemed to slow as each juror took his or her seat. She leaned back in her uncomfortable chair to reflect on the trial.
The first witness she'd called was Detective Odafin Tutuola. He'd explained their failed stakeout, and Olivia's offer to purchase coffee at Bodega's for the two of them. As Casey had pleaded, rather than instructed, he kept his eyes on her and not on Parker. He answered every question with cool fury, no detail spared.
"After the defendant and his partner had been subdued, what did you do?"
"I turned around to ask Olivia if she was okay, and she collapsed in my arms." His voice stumbled unconsciously over the words. "She was already unconscious. I put pressure on the gunshot wound and radioed for an ambulance and backup. My colleague Detective Stabler was the first on the scene."
Elliot was pale. Dark circles underscored his bloodshot eyes. His jaw trembled with anger, and he didn't bother to hide his hatred for the defendant.
"Detective Stabler. How would you describe your partner, Detective Benson?"
It was a question they hadn't rehearsed. But Elliot hardly blinked. "I've known Olivia for over seven years. She's an excellent cop; everyone at the precinct trusts her intuition and judgment. She cares about the victims, and she's the most loyal person I know. And even despite what our jobs entailed, she always tries… tried not to let it depress her. She wanted to stay strong for us."
After describing the events that took place after he arrived on the scene of the crime, Elliot was allowed to step down. By then, he was scrubbing away his tears and shooting murderous silent glares at the thug on the other side of the courtroom. And DeShaun Parker nervously averted his eyes.
The final witness after the paramedics, the cops assigned to the case, Captain Cragen, Medical Examiner Melinda Warner, and the cashier that had been on duty that day, was a young boy named Aaron.
"Aaron, what were you doing that day at Bodega's so early in the morning?"
The little boy looked a bit intimidated, but he was fairly oblivious to the gravity of the situation he found himself in. "I was going to buy some milk for my baby sister."
"And what happened at the store that day?"
He chewed on his lip nervously. "Somebody tried to take all the money."
Looking a bit frightened, Aaron pointed to Parker. "It was him."
"What else happened?"
"Well, he came in and pointed a gun at the man behind the counter. I was scared. But I saw a nice lady in the store. She made feel a little better because she was there."
"What did she do?"
"She did this:" he used his pointer finger to pantomime how Olivia had motioned him to come over. "And I ran behind her legs. She didn't let him hurt me."
"Did he say anything?"
"Not to me. He said something to the lady. I remember because I didn't know what it means. He said, Looks like I score twice today. I didn't know what he meant because we weren't playing baseball or a game where you keep score."
"What happened next, Aaron?"
"She told him to leave because he had the money. Then he hit her and called her a bad name. She didn't say anything else. She just stood in front of me. Instead, when he wasn't looking, she whispered to me to run and hide. She pointed to the back door. I ran out the back door as fast as I could. She didn't come. I forgot the milk. But I told my mom and she said that it didn't matter because I was okay. Is the lady okay?"
Casey Novak's eyes twitched, and she swallowed hard. "Nothing further, your Honor."
The defense had no questions for Aaron.
"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?"
The forewoman stood, calm and confident. "Yes, Your Honor."
"On the first count of the indictment, illegal weapons possession, how do you find?"
"We find the defendant, DeShaun Parker, guilty."
"On the second count of the indictment, attempted armed robbery, how do you find?"
"On the third count of the indictment, attempted murder of a police officer, how do you find?"
"On the final count of the indictment, murder in the second degree, how do you find?"
"We find the defendant guilty as charged."
As the judge excused the jury, ordered for Parker's incarceration until the set date for sentencing, Casey Novak turned and gazed with sympathy on a sobbing family in the corner of the room.
They were the Mitchell family. Parker had crossed paths with his turncoat partner in Rikers before the trial and beaten him to death. Mitchell was only going to serve a few years, less with parole. And Parker, with the weapons, robbery, and attempted murder charges that were likely to come at the time, would still have been released in as little as 15 years. But after murdering his partner in the jail yard, he'd sealed his fate.
She swept all of her notes off the desk, stuffed them into her briefcase, and immediately vacated the court, meeting the entire solemn SVU squad outside, where they piled into a squad car and rode to Bellevue.
Elliot entered the hospital room alone. The steady beep of the heart monitor and Olivia's labored breathing were the only disturbances in the silence.
He didn't bring a bouquet. He did bring a single peace rose.
"Guilty on all counts," he murmured as he sat down next to her.
She smiled wearily, eyes shining. She tried to push herself into a sitting position with her good arm, but failed. Elliot, hands trembling, helped her.
"I knew Casey would nail him," Olivia wheezed softly. The bullet had grazed her lungs, and they hadn't fully healed yet. Her arm was in a sling, she was on antibiotics because her GSW had become badly infected, she'd contracted pneumonia, and she couldn't speak strongly, but otherwise, there was still fire in her eyes. A certain kind of fire in her dark eyes burned only when Elliot was around, but neither could see it.
"Where is everyone? Shouldn't we be having a party?" she rasped, indignantly.
Grinning, Elliot waved, and the doors burst open. Munch, Cragen, Fin, and Novak all piled in at once. And all started talking at once. But Fin whistled shrilly, and announced, "Me first!"
In a rare display of emotion, Fin grinned boyishly and presented Olivia with a Venti cup of Starbucks House Blend Coffee. She grinned back.
"I take it Munch didn't make this."
"Hey!" John tried to feign the angry offense, but failed. Even he couldn't help smiling.
"What's with the coffee, Fin?" Novak inquired curiously, the blush of victory still in her cheeks.
"I owe it to Liv," he replied simply.
"Olivia, I really need you to hurry up and get back to work because Elliot's been really slack on his paperwork," Cragen complained good-naturedly.
"I can fix that," Olivia whispered with a wink.
And with Elliot's rose in one hand, Fin's coffee in the other, and her entire family around her, Olivia Benson, for the first time in her life, felt truly, truly loved. And with a smile and the confidence that came with that fact, she began to heal.