Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: Thanks for reading.

6

She held on to the phone for dear life as the details poured out of her, "Criminal trials nowadays almost make it an automatic thing. Too many of these bastards have connections to hitmen. We have to protect the witnesses. We have to relocate them until trial. It happens all the time, you know? I just never dreamed it would be her. . .God, Witness Protection. I was stunned, considering I had been told she was dead. Just really blown away."

SHE JUST OPENED HER EYES without a clue as to where she was or where she had been. However, she felt she had been here before in some capacity. The smells were sterile. The walls were white. The furniture a pale, peachy color. It all looked vaguely familiar, yet completely foreign at the same time. She tried to move, but noticed there was something stuck in her arm. A tube, maybe. She shut her eyes again, her lids feeling so heavy. She was so tired. And her shoulder, it hurt with an excruciating numbness. As if the limb was a mere elongation and not a piece of her.

"Olivia?" came the soft plea of a woman's voice. "Are you awake, honey?"

Was this woman talking to her? She opened her eyes again, squinting in thought as she took in the porcelain features of this gorgeous woman. She asked curiously, "Do I know you?"

The woman's blond hair fell over her face, as she dipped her head slightly to hide her teary eyes. She looked up again and forced a smile, "You, uh, hit your head. Slipped in your own blood when trying to stand up." Another bewildered look from the injured detective. "Do you remember me? What happened?"

There were flashes of something, maybe. "This . . . whole thing is starting to eat at you." The images were blurry. "Listen, babe, don't blame me for your stupidity." Brief sounds that didn't make sense. Nothing of what she could see identified who this woman was. After a few moments, she answered sadly, "I don't know who you are. I'm sorry."

Another sad smile from the blond, "Do you remember who you are?"

Another long second of thinking. "No. I don't remember."

Alex sighed inwardly, trying desperately to hold back any more tears. Olivia's face was blank. That determination usually etched in her features was gone. That fierce tenacity that encompassed who Olivia Benson was could not be seen in those confused brown eyes. Alex bit her lip before supplying the answer her heroine was waiting for, "Your name is Olivia."

Maybe Olivia couldn't remember much, but she understood sadness. It was coming off the blond woman in waves. Instinctively, she reached out and grabbed her hand. "Hey, don't cry. I have a feeling things will be okay."

Alex stared at their joined hands, remembering what Gannon had told her. Olivia had been going crazy thinking about her. Thinking about the cartels. She would do anything to find her and bring her home. Alex caught the soft stare the bemused detective was giving her and felt this strange sense of joy. Contrary to the wild look Olivia sported when storming into her home two days ago, this expression was one of deep affection.

"You see, you're already starting to remember something," Alex said, a smile full of teeth. "Always reassuring others it'll be alright. That's who you are, Olivia."

Olivia smiled briefly before yawning and closing her eyes again. The anesthesia was doing its job, effectively knocking her out every few minutes in the process of erasing the pain. Alex leaned back in her chair to watch Olivia sleep.

In the doorway, Captain Donald Cragen and Dr. George Huang watched Alex and Olivia with great scrutiny. Cragen rubbed the back of his neck, having slept very little in the last two days. The frantic call he received that morning from Alex left his skin crawling in anxiousness. "Olivia has been shot, Don. I'll explain when you get here."

As much as he wanted to know the whole story, all that mattered was Olivia. He grabbed Elliot on the way out the door, his version of the story coming out clipped and short. All Elliot really needed to hear was "Olivia" and "shot" in the same sentence to understand the seriousness of the situation.

Elliot enveloped Alex in a hug when they reached the hospital, but was quick to drop the pleasantries and ask the pertinent question: What the hell happened?

"Somehow she found out my handler was dirty," Alex lied. From what she could discern of the display earlier in her house, Olivia and Gannon had been conversing for quite some time. Maybe Olivia had thought he was a friend, a confidant. Either way, it became all too clear that Gannon had betrayed Olivia. He had betrayed them all. "She shot his partner, arrived at my house to tell me this and then that's when my handler showed up. He explained that he was going to frame Olivia for everything and then kill me. She took the bullet that was meant for me. She saved my life, Elliot."

"I think she's lying," Huang confessed to Cragen quietly as they watched Alex talk to a sleeping Olivia. The two men began to walk down the hall for privacy.

"Is this some psychiatric observation you're making here, Doc?" Cragen asked.

Huang smiled, "Actually, no. It's just a hunch."

"Why do you think she's lying?" Cragen pushed.

"Her story is too tidy," Huang observed. "She's feigning ignorance, but I know she knows more. She's the only person to exit that house with full memories intact. With Gannon dead and Olivia's mind erased, she's the only one who knows what really happened in there. Her word is all we have and she's using that to her advantage."

"I still don't think Alex would have any reason to lie to us," Cragen argued.

Huang warned lightly, "Never underestimate the bond that can be forged between two people, who obviously care for one another, under high stress circumstances."

Elliot called them out, effectively ending their conversation for the moment, walking up to them quickly. "They found some papers in Richards' van giving him instructions to watch Alex's house. It connects him to Gannon, so Alex was right. Richards and Gannon were partners. As far as I'm concerned, his death, it was a good shoot."

Cragen glanced at Huang, who still looked doubtful, then turned back to Elliot, "Was there anything else pertinent on this Gannon fellow?"

"Warner dug out two slugs from his chest, one from his leg which was non-fatal. They came from Olivia's gun," Elliot confirmed. "Other than knowing he's dead, there's not much else on the guy. He's got records of being in the FBI, but I'm convinced those records have been forged. The US Marshals do have an Agent Timothy Daniels on file, but they faxed me his picture. It's definitely not Gannon." He held up the picture which Cragen took. "If you ask me, Gannon killed Daniels, took his place as Alex's handler and then set up this elaborate scheme to frame Olivia."

"Which means we still have to locate the real Timothy Daniels," Cragen shook his head. "What do you think, Doc?"

"I still don't think we're getting the whole story," Huang stated truthfully. "Unfortunately, Olivia can't fill in the gaps and Alex claims she has nothing more to tell us. As for Gannon, he was meticulous and patient. He watched Alex for months before making his move, but why? What was holding him back for so long?"

"Well, he wanted to frame Olivia," Elliot shrugged. "Plain and simple."

"Right and let's assume that Olivia was a specific target," Huang smiled knowingly. "Do we know if Gannon had a grudge against her? How did he know she would show up? How did Olivia even end up four hours outside of the city without her own car? I feel like we're not asking the right questions here."

"And what questions would those be?" Elliot asked, sounding defensive of his partner.

"We're forgetting what Olivia's state of mind has been recently," Huang pushed. "We all know Alex's departure upset her greatly. How do we know that her obsessive compulsive behavior didn't trigger these events? How do we know she wasn't talking to Gannon before any of this began?"

"While it pains me to agree with you, you've also pointed out another very crucial fact," Cragen reminded both men. He pointed down the hall to Olivia's room, "The only person who can answer those questions is in no position to do so. She doesn't even remember who she is."

"The doctors are confidant she'll regain most of her memories," Huang provided hopefully. "Maybe she'll tell us someday. Until then, nothing can prove Olivia acted out of line. Nor can we prove that she just prevailed at doing her job."

Huang excused himself and turned the corner leaving the other two men alone. Cragen began to lead Elliot back to the room. Once there, they stood in the doorway and Elliot smiled at his partner. Olivia looked at him, but didn't smile back. She failed to recognize him and that hurt more than he thought it would. He just waved, trying to remain stoic. She finally gave a small smile in return. Elliot shook his head and muttered, "No, she won't."

"You say something?" Cragen looked up.

Elliot stood taller and shoved his hands in his coat pockets, "I said, no she won't. If she ever remembers what happened, she won't tell us."

Cragen couldn't keep from chuckling, "Yeah, I know."

"I can't help but wonder if I saw this coming," Elliot mused aloud, while his Captain listened attentively. "I kinda had this feeling that she would spend every waking hour searching for that one loophole that would bring Alex back. I kept telling myself she was smarter than that, but I still had this feeling that if there was a small chance that Alex was coming home, she would go for it. No matter how crazy, she would go for it."

"Well, she went for it," Cragen nodded, then motioned for Elliot to follow him. They still had jobs to do and now that Olivia was awake, they could go rest up and start putting pedophiles away again.

---------------------

"That man who waved," Olivia turned to the blond. "Who was that?"

"That was Elliot. Your partner from SVU."

"Special Victims Unit?" Olivia asked, unsure.

"That's right. You're remembering." Alex's grip tightened on Olivia's hand as she said woefully, "By the way, my name is Alex. Alex Cabot."

Olivia still couldn't place the face, let alone the name. There was this strong sensation from deep within her soul telling her she should know this woman, but any recognition was just out of reach. The only thing she could be sure of was the good feeling washing through her. Whoever this Alex was, she made Olivia feel good. Olivia smiled, "Hi, Alex."

"Hi, Olivia," Alex replied, her blue eyes boring deep into the lost brown eyes of her protector. Alex leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Olivia's forehead. She whispered against the newly warmed skin, "You found me."

The End

Just the sites I used to research

Wikipedia .org
PBS .org Frontline Drug Wars article on The Columbian Cartels

This is an actual book, not a site:

Grolier Encyclopedia 1993 Edition: drug abuse, drugs, alcohol abuse