Location: 16th Precinct
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" Olivia Benson asked her partner Elliot Stabler.
"It's Kathy's birthday," Elliot replied, neatly stacking up his case files and clearing off his desk. "The kids and I are taking her out to dinner. And they're all at the house waiting on me. If I don't get there soon, they're gonna have my ass."
"And you're gonna stick me with the all the dirty work?" asked Olivia, referring to their recent case, in which four young girls, all late teens to early twenties, were raped and murdered, then dumped in various parts of the city. They had no leads and no DNA because the perp bathed his victims after killing them. Then he'd redress them and dump the bodies.
"Only for a few hours," Elliot smirked. "You'll be fine."
With that, Olivia went back to searching online for any leads and/or matching M.O.'s. Elliot watched her push a strand of hair out of her face. She was so beautiful. He sometimes wished he wasn't married, and wondered what life with Olivia would be like. He smiled.
"What?" Olivia looked up in time to catch him grinning. "Do I have something on my face?"
"What? Uh...no," Elliot stuttered, coming back to his senses. "Sorry, I just got distracted for a moment."
With that, he went back to cleaning off his desk. When she was sure Elliot wasn't looking, Olivia smiled back at him. She too, wished Elliot was single. She believed she was better for him than Kathy. Elliot was the only guy who knew everything about her, even things she wished she could forget, and he didn't shy away. And he was always there for her when she needed him. Olivia love how Elliot was so overprotective of her.
Why doesn't he just spit it out already? She thought. He's so cute when he's being slick.
Olivia snapped out of her trance when their captain, Donald Cragen entered the squad room.
"We got another victim," called Cragen. "And a lead. A witness at a twenty-four hour diner saw a figure in a dark blue or black pick up truck dump the body in a nearby alley. We got a partial license plate number. Olivia and Elliot, I need you two to process the scene and get statements." He walks over to John Munch and Odafin "Fin" Tutuola, and hands them a slip of paper with the make and model of the truck written on it. "Munch and Fin, I want you two to work this lead."
"But Capt," Elliot pleaded. "It's my wife's birthday-"
"Elliot I got you," interrupted Fin. He then turned to Munch. "Munch, will you be alright without me?"
"Yea, I'm good," Munch answered, sitting down to start the search.
"Thanks, Fin," said Elliot, as he grabbed his jacket and left the precinct.
Olivia and Fin arrived at the crime scene to find medical examiner, Dr. Melinda Warner, examining the body, while CSU processed the scene.
"What do have for us?" Olivia asked, as she and Fin walked over to Melinda.
"Same results as the last four victims," Melinda responded. "Raped and strangled somewhere else, the perp bathed her and redressed her, then he dumped her body here." She scribbled something on her clipboard. "There are signs of vaginal trauma, but no fluids are present. Your perp used a condom."
"Did you finding anything that could lead us to the perp?" questioned Fin.
"Not that I can tell," she replied. "But I'll know more when I get her back to the lab. Maybe you'll have better luck with CSU. They're still processing the scene."
Fin and Olivia left Melinda to finish her work. Fin took a statement from a witness at the diner. Meanwhile, Olivia questioned CSU on their findings.
"We found two sets of fingerprints on her purse," said a CSU tech. "which was found near her body. We'll run them when we get back to the lab."
"Thanks," said Olivia. "Call my captain when you get results."
Location: SVU Squad Room
"Hey Munch," called Fin, as he and Olivia strolled into the squad room. It was late. And they both wanted to report their findings to Cragen and go home. "Did you get anything off the license plate?"
"Indeed," replied Munch. "I got two matches, one which was reported stolen three days before we found the first victim. Did you guys find anything at the latest crime scene?"
"Not much," Olivia answered. "CSU did find fingerprints, but we won't know anything until they run the prints. And Warner didn't find any obvious difference between this victim and the other four. But then again, we won't know more until she gets the body back to the lab."
"Well," continued Munch. "After I ran the plate number, I went back through each case file, and found something interesting." He paused a moment.
"Are you gonna tell us what it is?" demanded Fin. "Or are you gonna stand there with your thumb up your ass?
"Patience, my brother," Munch told him. "I reexamined the last moments of each of the victims and found that three of the four were last seen going to an voice-over audition. I haven't talked the fourth victims college roommate, because it's late. But I'll re-interview her tomorrow morning."
Where's Cragen?" asked Olivia. "In his office?"
As if on cue, walked out of his office and into the squad room.
"There's been an accident," he said, worried. "A neighbor just reported a fire at the Stabler residence."
"Oh my God! Elliot!" gasped Olivia, putting her coat back on and exiting the precinct.
"Fin, go with her," Cragen ordered. Fin ran after Olivia. "And keep me posted!"
Location: Stabler Residence, Queens, NY. Earlier that evening.
Elliot drove in silence as he left the city and headed to his home in Queens. Part of him wished he could have stayed at the precinct with Olivia. He was always free to be himself around her. She understood him in a way Kathy never would. Kathy always nagged at him, made him feel smothered. But the other part of him loved his family and wanted to spend as much time with them as possible. Elliot turned right onto his street, and then straight until he approached his house, where he slowly pulled into the driveway. He turned off the ignition. He was about to get out of the car when as his cell phone rang.
"Yea," he answered.
"Daddy, where are you?" begged Lizzie's voice on the other end. "We're all waiting for you. We're not getting any younger here."
"I just pulled up," he chuckled. "I just need to shower and change my clothes. Then we'll be on our way. I promise."
"Okay," she said, reluctantly. "But make it quick! Bye Daddy! Love you!"
"Love you too." he said and hung up the phone.
Elliot slipped his phone in his jacket pocket and got out of the car. He locked the doors and went to drop his keys in his other pocket, but missed. The keys hit the ground instead. He picked them up and placed them back in his pocket, then headed towards the house.
The entire Stabler home exploded and burst into flames. Shattered glass and debris flew in every direction. The heat and force of the explosion was so powerful that it blew Elliot across the street and onto the neighbor's front lawn.
Elliot laid on the ground, his head spinning, body searing with pain, and gasping for breath. His ears buzzed as he stared in anguish at his home being consumed by a raging fire. All he could think about was his family trapped inside. How frightened they must be. He had to save them. Somehow. Someway. He rolled over and tried to stand up, but the excruciating pain shot through his entire body, causing him to cry out.
His neighbor, Ruth McAllister, came running out of her home to help.
"Elliot!" she called his name as she knelt down beside him. "Can you hear me? Elliot! Help is on the way!"
He could barely hear a word she said. The blast had burst his eardrums. But more importantly, he couldn't keep his eyes of his house engulfed in flames. He tried to get up, but once again the pain incapacitated him.
"Elliot, stop moving!" Mrs McAllister cried, trying to keep him still. "You may have serious injuries. You need to calm down!"
"My family..." Elliot started, gasping for breath. "My family... They're...in the...house..." His voice trailed off as everything faded to black.