6:50AM The Friday Before Thanksgiving.
Olivia dragged herself out of bed and into the kitchen, glaring at the coffee pot as if it should be making the coffee on its own. Twenty minutes later she walked into the precinct, which was already buzzing with the morning rush, uniforms and street cops busy at their desks and white boards. She dropped into her desk chair with a thud. Her head was pounding, her chest hurt to breathe and none of that was helped by the lousy sleep she'd gotten the night before, kept up by a cough she couldn't shake. They'd all been late at the precinct trying to find the guy responsible for a rash of kidnappings and sexual assaults on the Upper West Side. They'd all gone home after 1am with plans to meet at 7am sharp to plan their stakeout. Here she was, exhausted, a pounding headache and still 10 minutes late.
Munch looked over at her as she sat down. She glared back "So what's our game plan? Anyone have any brilliant ideas overnight?"
"You alright, Benson?" Munch asked. "You don't look like you slept at all"
"Yeah, fine Munch, just drop-" A rebuttal which might have been more convincing if she hadn't started coughing in the middle of it. She sat down on the edge of her desk, head hanging forward, eyes tearing and bloodshot. It felt so warm in the bullpen, she grabbed her coat and sweater and peeled them off, feeling sweat dot her forehead.
Fin eyeballed her from the whiteboard. "Liv, you shouldn't be here, you look like death warmed over"
"Plus you'll just contaminate the whole place, last thing I need is your swine flu" Munch piped in.
He looked over at Elliot who shook his head at them. "Don't look to me for help, I've fought that battle. I lose every time. For the record though, Liv, you look like you should go home."
"Leave it guys, I'm fine and not going home. Now, Central Park, 1pm? What's the plan?" Giving the white board with the map of the park a once over, she could see the sites of the assaults and the outline of the plan that the Captain and Huang had developed overnight.
Fin was still giving her a look that said he wasn't buying a word of what she said as she walked toward the screen.
Four hours later they were camped out along one of the Central Park jogging paths. The November sky had darkened and was threatening rain, but so far the roads were dry and joggers and bikers were frequent along the path. Fin and Munch went over the plan with the uniformed officers. As they walked to their posts, Fin glanced at Elliot and Olivia surreptitiously. "$50 bucks says Olivia is the one that collars him."
"No way," Munch replied "With that cough she won't keep up with Elliot or with Reyes. She'd still kick your ass though."
"And I'd kick yours old man. We got a bet or not?"
Their suspect was a regular, jogging miles through the winding trails frequency. Dressed in jogging gear, Olivia and Elliot were undercover. Fin was strolling about 50 yards to the West and Munch was hugging a bench to the east of the path. A couple of unmarked cars with uniforms sat down the road. All they needed was for their guy to show and make his move.
Their wires buzzed as their lookouts called in a sighting at the park entrance. The two partners set off jogging.
Elliot came up behind their suspect from a side path, about 10 yards behind him, with Olivia trailing to the right another 10 yards behind her partner. He was gaining on the suspect as he saw Olivia catching up on him on the right. The suspect glanced over his shoulder and seeing Elliot, set off in a sprint.
"POLICE! STOP" Elliot yelled. The guy in the black jacket and beanie didn't stop. Elliot felt his lungs about to burst and his legs burn as he tried to keep up; he was in shape, but running was never his thing. He saw Olivia out the corner of his eye. She sped past him and tackled the Ephraim Reyes to the ground, giving Elliot enough time to catch up. Panting, he got out his cuffs and slapped them on the suspect, reading him his Miranda rights. "Nice tackle, Liv." He shot out as it started to rain. He looked to his partner, Olivia was bent over, elbows on her muddy knees, coughing hard. "Liv?" he questioned, thinking he wasn't going to be able to handle the perp, who was still struggling, and a downed partner.
She waved him off and stumbled through the rain over towards a tree, still coughing. Fin and Munch strolled up the path with a group of uniformed officers followed by a squad car. "So which one of you collared him?" Munch asked, scanning the scene.
"Olivia" Stabler grunted as he shoved the man in the black jacket into the back of the car.
"Even with the swine flu, my girl's got legs" said Fin as he pulled out a bottle of water and handed it to Olivia, still coughing under the tree. "You owe me $50, John" Olivia was still bent over, still coughing. She couldn't catch her breath. Her lungs burned and her head felt like it was going to explode every time her abdominal muscles contracted, pushing the air out of her lungs. She leaned back against the tree trunk of the old oak, thankful for something to lean against and the slight break from the rain, though she could already feel the cold water soaking through her clothes. The water helped and she slowly caught her breath, looking around the scene. She saw the uniforms milling about, looking for something to do to avoid heading back to their patrols. And she saw her colleagues staring at her. She stood up quickly, fighting off the wave of dizziness that hit her.
"You okay?" Elliot asked.
"Yeah," she replied, a little breathless still. She wouldv'e paid a lot of money for some Tylenol about now. 'God, the flu sucks' she thought. Thinking of how nice her warm and dry apartment sounded about now, she forced some energy into her voice "Let's get this over with and get out of the rain."
Still in the wet running clothes, they all headed back to the station. Sitting in the passenger seat of one of the police sedans, she was thankful to just not have to move for 5 minutes. The drive was too short and when they pulled up in front of the 1-6 she sighed and used the door frame to pull herself out of the car. Her head was still spinning, made worse by the sudden movement required for her to pretend nothing was wrong.
Elliot followed her up the stairs into the stain, both of them flashing badges at the security guard without missing a step. Olivia flopped back into her chair and ran her hands through her short, wet hair, watching Fin and Munch pushing an angry looking Reyes into the interrogation room. Coughing again, she got back up to pour herself a cup of coffee, the smell made her stomach turn but she needed something to keep herself moving. She hadn't eaten anything all day, between the sore throat and the nausea and the constant cough, it just didn't seem worth the effort.
"Good job, guys" Cragan announced as he walked in, followed closely by ADA
Alexandra Cabot. "Clean arrest, no trouble."
Munch snorted, "I dunno about that Cap, my shoes are pretty muddy and Liv looks like she fell in a mud puddle" Cragan looked at his detectives and smirked as Alex followed him to the interrogation rooms. Fin got up and followed them.
"We can charge him for the three assaults, two kidnappings and the attempted murder for the second victim" Alex stated, looking at the man covered in mud in the interrogation room. "Get a confession and it's even better," she said, directed at Fin.
The three of them turned and headed back into the bullpen, figuring a little time alone in the wet clothes might soften their guy up a little more.
"What's with that situation?" she asked, gesturing with her chin towards Elliot and Olivia's desks. Elliot was talking on the phone, arguing with someone. Olivia sat, looking pale, a little sweaty, elbows on her knees and head in her hands. She looked sick and miserable.
Fin replied "Olivia's got some flu bug, won't go home. I thought we were going to have to call a bus for her in the park. She wouldn't stop coughing. Still beat Elliot in a foot race though." He said, grinning.
Cragen eyed the situation careful as he walked back into the bullpen. "All of you, go change out of those wet clothes before you track the entire precinct full of mud. Elliot, you and Munch get the reports from the ME's office to match to our guy, Fin you get a confession out of him. Olivia, as soon as you finish your report, Go Home."
She looked up. "Captain, I don't need to go home, just a quick change." She stood up from her desk and started forward only to stop when she started coughing again.
"No." he said, "You are going home. That's an order. The last thing I need is my whole squad out with the flu. And for god's sake, somebody get her some cough syrup."
Olivia heard the knock on the door and fought to open her eyes. Her eyelids were scratchy and felt like they weighed a hundred pounds each. Sitting up on the couch where she had been sleeping with an open file on her lap, the files slid to the floor. Swearing, she stood up and grabbed the side of the couch for support as another dizzy spell slowed her down.
The person at the door knocked again. "Olivia?" came the call from the door.
"Coming!" Olivia croaked, making her way to the door, wrapping an old sweater with a hood around her and hoarding some tissue in her pockets.
Opening the door she saw Elliot standing at her door with a manila file and a brown paper bag. "You look terrible, " he said, following her back into the apartment.
"That kind of flattery will get you nowhere" Olivia replied, with a stuffed up nose. "What are you doing here?" She sat back down on the couch and gave another cough.
"You have pillow lines on your face" Elliot said with a grin. "I'm glad you were getting some sleep."
She glared at him, "What are you doing here, Elliot?" He handed her the files he was carrying. "You only filled out 2/3 of the activity report from this morning. You skipped page 2 and 4. We need your signature on it to file against Reyes today."
She sighed. "Sorry, I guess my head was a little foggy this afternoon." She pulled a magazine from the table to write on and took the pen Elliot offered her. She curled her feet onto the couch, resting the files on her knees, back against the armrest of the couch. He put his hand against her forehead.
"You're burning up." he said.
She shrugged his hand away. "Knock it off, Elliot."
He walked into the kitchen as she completed the rest of the paperwork. "I'll make you some tea" he said, picking up the kettle, filling it and setting on the stove. He opened her fridge, sighing at the contents. A jar of olives, probably because she liked dirty martinis, some condiments and a container of milk that he wasn't brave enough to open were all she had.
"Olivia, you have no food in this apartment." He looked over at her when she didn't respond with some snide comment about take out and delivery service in New York. Her eyes were closed, head drowsily lying on the back on the couch cushion. He stood there staring at her, not wanting to wake her up but not having any other good option. The tea kettle began to whistle and she stirred, solving that dilemma. She started coughing, sitting up and adding her uncompleted paperwork to the pile on the floor. He moved the kettle off the stove and poured a cup into the waiting mug with a tea bag. Olivia was still coughing, a wet sounding, hacking cough, gasping for air between each cough and she showed no sign of stopping. He was just starting to get worried when he remembered the brown paper bag he had brought. Reaching into it, he pulled out a bottle of cough syrup, leaving the rest of the contents on the counter.
"Here," he said, opening the bottle and pulling out the plastic measuring cup it comes with. "How much do you weigh?"
"What?" She squawked at him between coughs, looking at him in shock. What was he thinking? He looked surprised, "Huh? You know, you measure it out, so many teaspoons for so many kilograms". She looked back at him exasperated and coughed twice.
"That's for children, Elliot. Give me that." She grabbed the bottle and drank three swallows directly from the bottle.
"Hey, watch it" he countered, trying to grab the bottle.
"It's over the counter cough syrup, El, I'm not going to overdose on it."
She screwed the lid back on and left the bottle on the kitchen counter next to the bottle of Tylenol and a digital thermometer that had also been in the bag. Sitting back down on the sofa she grabbed the paperwork and started trying to stack the files in a neat pile in frustration. He picked up the file with the incomplete Activity Form.
"Here, finish this and we'll get you back into bed." She huffed and complied.
Elliot walked back into the kitchen to get the tea. She signed the form and followed him, shrugging the sweater tighter around her. Her head felt foggy, her head felt so hot but the rest of her was freezing, her yoga pants, camisole and the knit hoodie sweater were not doing the job. Her head was still pounding, the headache never left and she was so tired, she could barely keep her eyes open. Her nose felt stuffed and she could feel the pressure moving up into her forehead. Even her teeth hurt. She just wanted Elliot out of her apartment so she could be miserable in peace.
"Here's your form. Will you get out of here now?" she said accusingly.
She knew she was being a jerk, he was just trying to help but she was sick of being treated like one of his daughters when he wasn't bitching at her about work. He looked at her and she looked back at him, obviously pissed off. He thought she looked absolutely miserable, like she wasn't going to be on her feet much longer. He walked around the counter and grabbed her by the shoulders and walked her back to the couch, grabbing the thermometer on his way. He sat her down on the couch and gave her the thermometer and said "Open up." She glared at him again but took the thermometer. The thermometer beeped after a moment and he pulled it from her mouth as she scooted herself down onto the couch.
"102.8. Good grief, Olivia."
"Leave me alone, Elliot" she mumbled as she curled into the sofa cushions, pulling an old quilt around her and closing her eyes. He pulled two Tylenol from the bottle and left them next to the tea on the coffee table.
"I'll call you later." He let himself out of the apartment, glancing back at the brunette hair barely visible on the couch.