A/N: A new one. Hope you enjoy it.
DISCLAIMER: SVU and characters are owned by Dick Wolf. Story belongs to TStabler©
Do you see him?
The question was loud in her ear, there was a squeal of feedback that almost made her curse loudly, but she was too professional, too used to this by now to react. She simply ran a hand through her hair, bringing her bracelet up to her mouth. "Not yet," she whispered, the bug in the jewelry relaying her message to the waiting man in the car outside.
Keep waiting. Keep looking.
She nodded and sighed, scanning the bar. The badge at her hip dug into the tender flesh of her freshly tattooed skin. It was uncomfortable, she shifted to get it to move. She tugged at her pants, her gun and holster sliding over an inch as she moved. She grabbed the barrel and moved it back. Everything had a place, according to her.
She looked around again as she relaxed on the bar stool. She sighed wondering why this assignment had been given to her and not him. Why she had to be the one to spend seven months in a different state, in a different precinct, to trap a fellow cop. Her "new partner" was a vicious criminal, a rapist, a murderer, and a pimp on top of it.
The girls he was controlling, selling, using, were all between the ages of twelve and eighteen, and the NYPD believed she was the only one who could infiltrate his little circle and bring him to his knees.
She didn't agree. She fought like hell to get out of it. She only caved when they told her her job was on the line, she had to take the case to save her career. So off she went to Boston, to bring him in by herself.
She took a swig of the light beer in her hands as she scoffed, remembering the night she left Manhattan. Remembering the look in her partner's eyes as she said goodbye to him, remembering the look in his eyes when she told him she knew she might not be coming back.
She remembered his words. "If he finds out who you are, what you're doing, he'll kill you," he said, fear in his voice and terror in his eyes. "I'm not gonna be there, Liv. For the first time, I'm not gonna be there to save..."
She squeezed her eyes shut as she recalled how she'd interrupted him. "You don't have to save me, El," she had said. "You just have to be here when I get back. If I get..."
She took another long sip of her beer, shaking her head and laughing bitterly to herself as she played the next moment over again. As she heard him, loudly and clearly, in her mind. "I can't let you do this," he had told her. "Not without...not without telling you...without showing you..." and then he went quiet. The air went stale. The tension in the space between them rose. And when he grabbed her and kissed her, the world slipped away.
She shook her head, bringing her focus back to the present, and looked around the bar again. She wondered where this asshole was, why he hadn't shown up yet. She finished off the bottle of pale ale she held, and she sighed, thinking back to the last time she saw her partner. The last image of him she had was his naked form, watching her put her clothes back on, tears in his eyes. He refused to say goodbye, he refused to walk her out of the station and down to her taxi, he refused to look her in the eyes.
"So that's it?" she remembered asking him, her voice shaking.
"Guess it is," he told her, looking at the wall, not her.
She tried to hide the hurt as she walked out of the bunkroom doors, slamming it as she left him, and everything she had worked for and cared about, behind.
He took the only piece of her he didn't already have that night, and he shattered it into a million little pieces. She hadn't heard from him since. She knew it was a big mistake, and he was dealing with the fact that he'd slept with his partner, cheated on his wife, betrayed every single one of his beliefs, but did that give him the right to fuck her and destroy her?
It was the most fulfilling sexual experience of her life, that much she knew. It was the most emotional and real moment she'd ever spent with a man, the deepest connection she'd ever allowed herself to have, which made his unwillingness to finish it on good terms hurt all the more.
"Fucking asshole," she spat, tossing her empty bottle into the bin at the edge of the bar.
"Hope you don't mean me," a voice behind her declared with a chuckle.
She turned. She should have been watching for him instead of thinking back to the moment she became the cold, heartless, cop she was now. "Not you," she said, faking a smile as her new partner, and target, sat on the stool behind her.
"Good," he said. "You wanted to meet me here, why?"
"You know why," she said, an air of seduction in her voice. She was playing him like a finely tuned acoustic guitar.
He licked his lips and shifted, moving toward her a bit. "How big of a part do you wanna play?" he asked, his shifty eyes boring into hers.
"I know a few girls," she said, leaning closer to him. "From back in New York. Runaways, delinquents, homeless teens. They need money, they need a place to stay. I can get them here, for you, for a price."
"How much?" the man asked, intrigued.
She looked at him, her eyes narrow and the smirk on her face vicious. "I want a cut. A big one." She gave her hair a small flip, licking her lips, and she moved even closer to him. "Twenty-five percent of everything you make off of them, and I want names of every one of their clients. If they're my girls, I wanna make sure they're not putting themselves in the hands of anyone danger..."
"Done," he said, not listening to her stipulations, not caring. "Now, uh, how about you and me go someplace a bit more private and, uh, close this deal, Benson?"
She chuckled. "Devlin," she said, "You know I have rules. I don't sleep with men I work with. Especially not my partners." The words stung as she said them, the lie piercing her heart.
Devlin, his name was, laughed. "Oh, Olivia, you know," he began, something menacing in his eyes. "You know you don't have choice here." He dropped his hand to her thigh, squeezing. "This is how deals are done in this business, you fucking know that." He moved his hand up her thigh, laughing when she slapped her hand over his and stopped him from moving it higher. "Fighter," he muttered, "I am gonna like that."
"You enjoy when your women fight you off," she hissed at him, her eyes narrowing. "You don't give a shit if they say no, if they cry..."
"It makes it so much sweeter," Devlin whispered, his face close to hers. "The victory." He moved closer, grazing the tip of his nose along her cheek. "This is going to happen, Olivia. You really don't have a fucking chance of getting out of this, or away from me."
"I think she does," came a cold, dark voice, from a man with a gun pointed at Devlin.
Devlin closed his eyes. "You bitch," he spat, smirking. "I should have known. Should have realized."
The man with the gun, the man who had been listening and waiting in the car, just laughed as Olivia stood up and slapped a pair of cuffs on Devlin. "She's good, isn't she?"
Devlin bit his lip. "Too good," he mumbled. "And I bet she would have been so fucking soft, tight. I bet she tastes like...ow! Watch it!"
"Sorry," Olivia said, not really sorry at all. She twisted his arm a bit too much. She squeezed the cuffs a little too tight. She read him his rights a little too fast, and she threw him into the arms of the man who'd been her savior. "Take him in, Parker." She took the bracelet off and shoved it in the pocket of Parker's jacket.
"You're not coming?" Parker asked, looking up at her, confused.
"I'll be down in a few," she said, walking toward the back of the bar. "I have a phone call to make."
Parker nodded, making sure he had a tight grip on Devlin, and he headed out to the waiting group of officers.
A sting op gone right, no problems, no hiccups. She took a deep, shaky breath as she pulled her cell phone out of her pocket and slipped out the back door, into the alley of the grungy alehouse. She tried to stop shaking, she pushed the image of Devlin's crazy eyes out of her mind. She exhaled, through her nose, trying to get rid of the smell of his cologne and his breath.
She dialed fast and she raised the device to her ear. She bit her lip, waiting for an answer, absently trialing a finger over the angular line of her hip, over her tattoo. "Cap?" she asked, when the man on the other end picked up. "Wait, who is this?" she asked, confused. "Oh, well, uh, it's me, Olivia. I'm done here, so as soon as the paperwork is...okay, calm down, Munch. Stop laughing. It's...I'm glad you're happy, I just..." She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. "No, don't tell Elliot."
She waited another moment, listened to his perplexed question, and she said, "Because...he won't...look, he'll find out tomorrow when he comes in and I'm at my desk. Right? Tell Cassidy I owe him one for filling in for...yeah. I'll see you tomorrow. Bye."
She ended the call, letting out a long sigh as her eyes slid shut again. She wasn't sure what it was she'd be heading back to, but she knew she had to head back to it.
She shoved her phone in her pocket, then walked with her usual swagger toward the streetlamp-lit street. She shivered as she let the cold air around her finally send a chill down her back, her hot and strong demeanor fading as she relaxed into her off-duty loneliness.
She strode down the Boston street, her long, wavy locks bouncing with each step, and she looked up at the clear, night sky. Stars, which she rarely saw in New York, blinked back at her.
She would miss the calm, she would miss the numbness that the crisp, cold Massachusetts weather enabled her to have, she would miss the voluntary alienation she'd had for the last seven months.
She rested her hand on the door of her rental car, smiling in reminiscence, and thought of the maroon sedan with the coffee stains and ripped seats, dented fender, and broken radio. She shook her head as she thought about the man who usually drove that sedan.
She opened the door and got into the car. She turned the key and she leaned back with yet another sigh. Seven months gone. Seven months missed. What had changed? Did he even remember what happened the night she left? Was he still happily married? Did he have another child on the way? Why did any of it matter to her?
She pulled away from the curb, away from the bar, and drove off in the direction of the police station. She paid more attention to the city passing by, and she took in the sights of the things she'd never see again. In a few hours, she would be on a plane, heading back to New York. Back to her apartment. Back to the Sixteenth Precinct. Back to Elliot Stabler.
"Shit," she said with a self-loathing laugh. In a few hours, she thought, everything would change. Again.
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