Disclaimer: I don't own 'em…if I did, the first thing that Cabot would have done was call Liv when she became a Bureau Chief.
"Counselor, so glad you could join us," Captain Craigen said as he held the door open for Alexandra Cabot to enter his office.
The normally dressed to the nines ADA was wearing jeans and a NYPD sweatshirt. Appearing out in public dressed as casually as she was now was a habit she had adopted in the weeks following Olivia's voluntary disappearance. As she always had, the stately blonde breezed into the captain's office. "Well, you did say it was important. Though I can't imagine what warrants dragging me out of bed this early on a Saturday. You better have something good."
"Oh, we do," John Munch interjected. "It seems some lowly detective in some podunk town in eastern Pennsylvania was bored and started flipping through the reports on the wire. He came across ours and thinks it's pretty similar to a recent case they caught."
"Similar in what respect?" Cabot pressed.
"From what I could gather from the detective I spoke with, the MO was the same. The ligature marks, the positioning of the body and the word tortillera written on the wall above the body are all similar to what they have in…what was the name of that town, Munch?" Cragen asked.
"Thornier. Thornier, PA, Cap'n," John responded. "I've never heard of the place. Had a helluva time even finding it on a map. If we're talking one light towns, then we're most likely talking about this place," John laughed at his own joke.
Turning to Craigen, Alex spoke again. "I'll accompany one of your people to Thornier. Have you spoken to their Captain yet?"
Craigen motioned for his detectives to leave the room and for their ADA to have a seat.
"Once again, have you spoken to their captain?"
He opened the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out a single tumbler and bottle of scotch. He filled the tumbler half full of the amber liquid and then slid it across the desk toward Alex as he placed the bottle back in his desk.
"You still haven't heard from her, have you?" the tone in his voice now echoed that of a father talking to his child.
"I don't see what this has…"
"Just answer the question, Al. Have you spoken to her since she left?"
She swirled the liquid around the glass before taking a brief sip and placing the tumbler back on his desk. "No, I haven't. I've…I haven't been able to bring myself to look for her. That box…everything that was in it…the letter she wrote…it was her ending things. I had to respect that. I didn't like it. Hell, Don, I still don't like it," she stood and walked over to one of the windows that looked out into the squad room. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about her and wish that I had done things differently. One word. All I had to do was say one word and we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. She'd still be here and I…" she reached up and wiped at her eyes before turning back to him. "Why bring this up now?"
Don sighed heavily and stood up. "Alex, Olivia is the captain in Philadelphia."
She paled as what Don said registered with her. "How long have you known?" Alex was famous for venomous oratory in the courtroom, and Don was not looking forward to having it directed at him.
"Hold on, Alex. I just found out. When the detective contacted us, I asked to speak directly with the captain. He told me that Captain Benson would be in later this morning."
"So you're not sure that it's Liv. It could be anyone with that last name."
"It's her," Elliot confirmed. "Liv is the captain there. Has been for the last seven months."
Alex took three quick steps closer to him and stared deeply into his eyes. She drew back her hand and slapped him hard across the cheek. He didn't sway or move at all.
"ALEX!" Craigen called after her.
"It's alright, Cap'n. Luckily she doesn't hit as hard as some of the perps we deal with," Elliot turned his attention back to Alex. "She didn't want you to know where she was. I had to respect that."
Tears began to sting at her eyes, but she refused to let them cascade over her alabaster skin. "How long? How long have you known where she was?"
Stabler took her by the elbow and led her back to the chair she had been in before.
"She contacted me a few days after she left. Look, you hurt her, Al. She wanted nothing to do with you or anything that could remind her of you. There's something else you need to know." He perched on the edge of the desk and took a few deep breaths.
"What else could there possibly that I need to know? I think being blindsided with the news that you've known where she's been all this time is more than enough right now. What are you going to tell me? She's married? Pregnant? What more could there possibly be for me to know?" Alex snorted.
Stabler rubbed his eyes and didn't answer.
Alex took his silence for confirmation and quickly stood up again, "So, she's moved on? Good for her. So have I."
Craigen stepped from behind his desk and moved to Alex's side. "I think we all know that our Liv is not pregnant and definitely not married."
"Then what is it? What is there that I need to know?"
"Alex, she is involved with someone."
"Oh. Okay," she suddenly looked lost and disoriented. "I'll have someone from my office make arrangements for one of you to accompany me to Thornier so we can assess whether the same person committed these crimes."
"Counselor, are you sure it's a good idea for you to go there?" Don Craigen asked as gently as possible.
"Are you insinuating that I can't separate my personal life from my professional life, Captain?" she whirled around and grabbed her bag from beside the chair she had been sitting in. "You worry about sending your best detective," she glared icily in Stabler's direction, "and let me worry about myself."
With that, she turned on her heels and marched out of the office.