Wow… so just logged onto fanfiction after years… I'm 20 years old now, and began writing on here when I was 15. I was so surprised to see that I had a ton of new comments over the last years about this story… It is quite true that I've abandoned it for some time now. Since it was written so long ago, my writing style has changed a bit, and my grammar and spelling have improved. ;) My life has changed so much in the last five years, and there is so much more emotional depth behind the things I've written more recently… However, I am feeling the overwhelming responsibility to finish this story. SVU is a completely different atmosphere now, and I am not one to create a parallel universe of OEness to write in. I like to go from exactly where they left off, all characters included, all OE truths included, and add. As you can guess, it would be INCREDIBLY difficult to continue a story from years ago… I will, however, be rewriting the story. It will be very similar, but more up-to-date, and hopefully more suspenseful, more interesting… I will start again with Chapter 1… when I update with Chapter 2, I will erase my old work. I'm just leaving it up for now, so people will know where I'm coming from… Love, love and more love to those readers who sought out this old story and compelled me to continue years later.

-Ella (Carmella)

1. The Quiet Man in Room 222

Olivia jolted awake at 4am on a Thursday morning, heart racing, covered in sweat. She tried to catch her breath as she swung her legs over the side of the bed and flicked her nightstand lamp on. She rested her elbows on her thighs and buried her face in her hands with a loud sigh. She was more than used to these nightmares. It had been almost 7 months. 6 months, 27 days and 10 hours to be exact. She didn't even try to go back to sleep anymore. She threw a cardigan over her tank top and started a pot of coffee before heading to the bathroom for a shower.

An hour later, Olivia was walking into the empty SVU squad room, 3 hours early. She started the coffee pot there too and slumped into her chair. Her eyes landed, as always, on the emptied desk across from her. She hated that empty desk, but she'd have preferred it stay empty than have a replacement for Elliot.

The day Sam Cowan showed up in the SVU squad room was the day Olivia Benson stopped acknowledging anyone existed, unless she had to. She hadn't even noticed him walk in that day, until Cragen called her into his office and introduced him as her new partner. She bit down hard on her tongue trying to hold back instant tears of anger, and instead of shaking Sam Cowen's hand, she pulled her badge and gun off of her side and set them on Cragen's desk before bitterly leaving his office, grabbing her coat and heading out the door. It wasn't the response Sam had hoped for; he had noticed her and the empty desk across from hers and hoped she would be his new partner.

Part of her knew she wouldn't be able to stay away from SVU for long. After just one day, the time alone was unbearable. At least in the squad room, she could still almost feel Elliot. Often, she'd hear footsteps down the hallway and expect to see Elliot rounding the corner, momentarily forgetting he was gone. She'd been spending 16 hours a day there, collecting cold cases in her desk drawers and doing more paperwork in a day then she and Elliot finished in a week together. Two days after "quitting," she showed up back in Cragen's office and found her gun and badge exactly where she left them. She apologized and resolved to basically ignore Sam Cowen. Cragen knew what he was in for when he accepted Sam's transfer as Elliot's replacement. What Olivia didn't know was that he had spent the last month and a half reviewing different people for the position, and had interviewed Sam twice before choosing him. He knew this couldn't be a trial and error replacement. He had to pick just the right person to fill Elliot's position at SVU, but he knew to Olivia, it would never be the right person.

Same Cowen discreetly watched Olivia as she sat at her desk, scanning back and forth over the old case file in front of her. They'd been partners for almost three months now, and he still hadn't gotten one real conversation out of her. It was obvious to him that she wasn't actually reading anything, but was merely lost in thought. Sam stood from his chair, rounded the desk and rested his palms on Olivia's desk, while asking. "What're ya thinking about?" Olivia jumped a little at the intrusion. She hadn't noticed him move from across her. "Nothing" was her only response. In actuality, her mind was on that bloody hotel room 7 months ago. She had been there to bust a rapist that Elliot was undercover with, but she was too late, and all that she found was blood- a lot of blood. She made Melinda Warner retest every bit of it, to make sure it was definitely all Elliot's. She wouldn't listen when Melinda told her that he couldn't have survived without medical attention. She didn't sleep for a week after his disappearance. She spent every second going over information and checking every random and crazy possibility for his disappearance. Kathy put up a gravestone after 4 months, but Olivia refused to attend the service and never went to the gravesite. Kathy emptied Elliot's desk that week and left his picture of Olivia and him on Olivia's desk. It seemed like a nice gesture, but Olivia knew Kathy had always disliked her. She'd tried to think well of Kathy for Elliot's sake, but she had never liked her either. Kathy was so weak and pathetic, not to mention had an uncanny habit of getting pregnant each time Elliot got up the nerve to leave her. She wondered if Kathy already had a new husband in the making to take care of her.

Sam was retreating back to his desk when Cragen approached the pair with a file.

"Benson, Cowen, I need you to take this case," he told them, opening the folder on Olivia's desk. "16-year-old girl, Anna Myers, disappeared from a club last night with a guy she met there. Her friends called the police early this morning, said she told the guy she was 21 and left with him. He's driving a black '07 maxima. The girl's friends describe him as 'tall, buff with dark skin, dark hair'."

"All right, I'll check the club for an ID," said Olivia, jumping up and heading out the door, jacket in tow. Cowan followed quickly behind her, catching up by the time she reached the elevator.

"Hey, it's your partner. Just thought I'd come along for the ride," he teased, smiling at her as he caught the elevator door.

"Mhm," she barely responded, and they rode the elevator to the ground floor in silence. Sam held the building door open for her like he always did when he had the chance.

"Want me to drive?" he asked as they approached the unmarked police sedan.

"I'm good," she said, hopping into the driver's seat and shifting the car into gear before Cowan could even close the car door behind him.

Olivia took the lead and talked to the club manager while her cheerful new partner smiled behind her. The manager recognized the regular customer's picture and found his credit card information, which Cragen quickly traced to a hotel ATM on Staten Island. Ten minutes later, Olivia was screeching into an illegal parking spot in front of the hotel and was out of the car before Sam had time to regain his composure from her driving.

"Did a David Jankowski check in last night?" Olivia was asking the receptionist when Sam approached the desk.

"*click click click click* … No, but we don't take names if you pay cash up front." The receptionist answered. "Lemme see that picture again… … Ya, I recognize him, came in with a blonde. I think he's the guy on the 2nd floor… or maybe the 7th… We only have a couple rooms occupied on each; it's been slow."

"Alright thanks," Olivia responded, "K, I'll take the 2nd floor, you take the 7th," she directed Sam, pressing the elevator button.

"Yes, ma'am," he smile at her. Olivia rolled her eyes and walked away, toward the staircase just as the elevator opened. Cowen chuckled to himself as the elevator doors closed around him. He was smitten already. Olivia reached the second floor by stairs and scoured for occupied rooms, while Sam did the same 5 floors above. He quietly knocked on each door, finding no one of interest until halfway down the hallway. Room 712 refused to open the door, but he could hear the occupants bustling around the room in hushed voices. Sam quickly retrieved a master key from a nearby cleaning cart and opened the door. His perp, David Jankowski, was bent over trying to get his shoes on with his dress shirt hanging open. Missing Anna Myers was holding a bed sheet around herself, while searching for her misplaced clothing. Sam had Jankowski cuffed before he could finish tying his shoe.

"She told me she was 21!" Jankowski claimed.

"And you're clearly aware that she's not even 17," Sam countered, pushing Jankowski out of the room by his arms. "Benson, I got him. The girl's fine," he said into his radio, "Benson, where are you?" No response. Sam figured she's left her radio in the car and found that he was correct when he brought Jankowski down to the vehicle, and called a bus to pick up Anna for a rape kit.

Olivia only noticed a couple occupied rooms as she walked through the 2nd floor hallway, but one on the end, Room 222, had a partially open door, so she headed toward that one first. She peered through the crack in the door and saw the muscular back of a dark skinned and dark haired male with just a pair of dress pants on. She pulled her gun out of its holster and held it down at her side as she slid the door open further.

"Jankowski?" she asked, taking a small step into the doorway. The man pivoted around quickly before sidestepping into the bathroom and emerging less than a second later with a 9-millimeter gun aimed at Olivia's head. Just as she began to swiftly lift her gun towards the man, a strong arm from behind, reached around her, grabbing her torso and tucking her arms against her, aiming her gun at the ground. Before she could let out a sound, his other hand was on her mouth, clamping it shut.

The tan man lunged toward them and snatched the gun out of her hand, before taking out a roll of duct tape and ripping off a piece to place over her mouth. The other man, who was holding her against him, moved his palm from her lips and held her jaw shut as the tan man stretched the tape across her mouth. Panic took over, and she kicked and elbowed and clawed at the man holding her, but it was useless. He simply lifted her off her feet and slammed her into the wall of the room, while the tan man shut and latched the door behind them. She could barely control the urge to whimper hysterically as yet another man held her against a wall the way Harris did.

"Dammit, Morris, I almost fuckin shot you," the tan man laughed in an agitated voice. The man holding her against the wall did not respond, but she took note of the name- Morris. His hands were roaming her body, seemingly checking for other weapons. His left arm, firm around her waist, held her securely, while he ran his right hand over her waistline, and pulled her badge and handcuffs off of her belt loop, tossing them to the floor. The tan man knelt down and ran his hands around her ankles. With him knelt behind her legs, she took the opportunity to forcibly kick him in the face with her heel. He stumbled backwards and reached up to catch the blood flowing from his nose.

"Fucking Bitch!" the tan man yelled, and Olivia squeezed her eyes shut, waiting for a blow to the face, as the man got back on his feet and approached her. He stopped inches from her face, which was pressed against the wall by the man holding her, and began to laugh, before stepping into the bathroom and washing off the blood. She could hear him sniffing and chuckling in the bathroom as the quiet man, Morris continued to hold her against the wall. "This bitch is perfect," said the tan man as he came out of the bathroom. He picked up his roll of duct tape and ripped off a longer piece. The quiet man released his tight grip on her waist and wrenched her arms behind her back for the tan man to tape. Olivia clenched her jaw and choked back tears as the two men easily overpowered her. She couldn't let herself seem any more pathetic than she already was to them. Then the quiet man was shoving her towards the bed, and she ducked and squirmed and pressed her heels into the ground, trying as hard as she could to stay away from that bed, but he just as quickly lifted her off her feet and slammed her onto the mattress on her stomach. The tan man got a hold of one of her legs and then the other as she kicked and squirmed underneath the quiet man, making the best screaming noise she could muster with tape over her mouth and a man on top of her. Her energy was running out more quickly then it used to, now that she barely slept or ate. The tan man wrapped the tape around her ankles. She gasped for breath when the quiet man, Morris lifted himself off of her and pulled her off the bed by the back of her arms. With her feet and hands taped together, he held her against him, while the tan man stood in front of her smirking. "I'm definitely keeping this one," he laughed. Olivia was moist with sweat and her breathing was ragged, but she narrowed her eyes at the tan man, defiantly.

"Ya, go fuck yourself, Jim," the not-so-quiet man, Morris countered, "She'd have shot your ass if I wouldn't have saved you from her. I'm taking her." Olivia froze. Her mind went completely blank. She couldn't formulate a reasonable thought. She couldn't even breathe. Elliot. She'd heard Elliot. She didn't know where or what he said, but she heard him. Then she resolved that she couldn't have heard him; she must be going crazy. She was sure he couldn't be here to save her, but she was more sure that she'd know his voice anywhere. "You clearly can't handle this one, anyway," he mocked, pointing out the tan man's busted nose. It was then that she was completely sure. Elliot. He was behind her. He was holding her. He had shoved her into the room, against the wall, onto the bed. The quiet man was Elliot Stabler. Somehow. She had still not taken a breath since he first spoke, when he swung her around to face him. "She is perfect though," he snickered at her, drawing her chin up to look into her eyes, and rubbing his thumb back and forth on her jawbone.