An Eye for an Eye 2/3

An Eye for an Eye 2/3
Written December 2003
Rated PG-13
Synopsis: An attack on Olivia’s life sends her to the hospital and Elliot on a hunt to find the man who shot her.

Disclaimer: The characters you recognize are property of Wolf Films and Universal Television. No infringement is intended. Some of the characters and situations are my own.


Elliot Stabler’s Apartment
250 East 40th Street
Sunday, July 13

Police swarmed Elliot’s apartment, searching his bathroom and hallway for fingerprints, DNA, or other trace materials leading to the person who had written the message. Elliot simply sat on the couch while they worked, hands on his knees, staring at the blank television screen.

“How you holding up?” Huang asked, sitting beside him. After Elliot had notified the police, Huang requested to come along and had arrived with Munch and Fin.

He gestured to the officers that swarmed his home. “Now I know how the perp feels.”

“Only you’re the victim.”

“And not just of this home invasion.” He looked at the psychologist. “The guy who did this shot Olivia to get to me, didn’t he?”

“It looks like it. Do you have any idea who would’ve done this?”

“Not specifically, no. I just…” Elliot sighed and shook his head. “Why didn’t he come after me? Why did he have to hurt her?”

“The message he left – ‘An eye for an eye’ – implies revenge. You took someone very important away from him. Now he’s trying to do the same to you. He wants you to suffer the way he suffered.”

“We need to get a police detail outside of Olivia’s room.”

Huang offered him a sympathetic smile. “Cragen already ordered it.”

Munch walked into the living room. “Either the guy wiped the place down clean, or you’re the biggest neat freak on the planet. Not a print anywhere in your bathroom or hallway. The Sharpie marker used to leave the message was found floating in your toilet, effectively destroying any evidence that was on it. The photo of you and Olivia was the same one used in a newspaper article about six months ago.”

Elliot nodded. “I thought I recognized it. Cragen has it on his wall of fame. Can’t remember what story it went with though.”

“Fin called the New York Times. Apparently, the photo was an original stolen from their archives three nights ago.”

“Does anyone have keys to your apartment?” Huang asked.

“Yeah, Olivia. She had them on her when she was shot, and they were with her personal belongings at the hospital. I have them now.”

“Then not only did the perp have to get someone to buzz him in,” Munch said, “he had to pick the lock to your door. Could he have done that without being seen?”

Elliot stood. “Maybe not.” He left his apartment and knocked on the door across the hall. “Randy, it’s Elliot.”

His neighbor appeared after a few moments, dark hair sticking up from all directions, eyes half closed. “Hey.” He peered around Elliot and noticed the police. “Is Olivia okay?” When Elliot frowned, he continued, “Some of your buddies came knocking on my door at nine-thirty this morning. I’d just gotten back home and into bed. They told me what happened. I’m really sorry.”

“Did you see anyone over at my apartment?”

“Today? No, I’ve been asleep. Why, what’s going on?”

“Nothing. Sorry to bother you.”

Randy nodded. “Look, if you need someone to talk to…”

“Thanks, Randy.” He went back to his apartment and met Fin in the doorway. “What’s up?”

“Just got off the phone with the head of archives at the Times. Seems one of their staff has a curious little habit.”

***

The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
Sunday, July 13

“Everything’s going digital, you know? Newspaper printing technology hasn’t caught up yet, so we prefer our photographers to use film. Better quality anyway.” Fred Newton walked Elliot, Fin, and Munch through the archives in the basement of the New York Times building. He was a stout, balding man with a born-and-raised Bronx accent. “We keep all of our storage areas temperature controlled. Greater longevity that way.”

Fin fell into step beside Newton. “You said something about an employee taking photographs?”

“Not taking them, per se. But borrowing them.” He shook his head. “His name is Eddie Greene. He’s responsible for keeping the archives in order. Damn good at it, too. Since he started, I’ve been able to find anything I’m looking for.”

“But?”

He led the trio to a computer terminal in the center of a room full of metal filing cabinets. “We use this computer to keep track of our files. You can come down here, type in some search criteria, get the lot number of the photograph you want, then go hunt it down. We have another program that scans photographs into our layout program. Once you obtain the image and place it on the scanner, you have to enter your user ID before it’ll do anything. The program also keeps a record of all scans and references them by user, photograph, date, and time. That way, we don’t use the same image more than once in any given period of time.”

“What does this have to do with Eddie Greene?” Elliot asked, rubbing his temple absently.

“There have been one hundred sixty-seven photographs scanned by Anna Fitzgerald in the last month.” Newton looked at them expectantly, as if they should know why that was significant. “She’s on maternity leave. Someone has been using her ID to scan and print images. All of them have been done from this terminal during Eddie Greene’s working hours – the midnight shift. There’s no one else down here but him.”

Munch gestured to the computer. “Can you tell if any of the scanned images were of Detective Benson?”

“When Detective Tutuola called me and reported finding the photograph of the two detectives, I did some checking.” He punched a few commands into the keyboard, and a long, detailed list showed up on the screen. “We have four different images of Detective Benson by herself in our archives, and all of those images were scanned and printed using Anna’s ID.”

Elliot’s eyes narrowed. “Where’s his locker?”

***

Special Victims Unit
Interrogation Room
Sunday, July 13

Eddie Greene was the type of perp that Elliot hated. Cool, uncaring, smart-assed. The man was somewhere in his mid-twenties with short brown hair and a permanent smirk attached to his face. He sat back in his chair, relaxed, hands clasped behind his head.

Munch and Elliot circled him like vultures. “So, Eddie, any idea why we brought you down here?”

He sneered at Munch. “Some sort of fascist plot to wipe out the good guys from the planet. I’m supposed to be at work in an hour so let’s quit the games.”

“We got a look inside your locker, Eddie,” Elliot told him, dumping out the contents of a manila folder. Photographs of Olivia, Judge Lena Petrovsky, the mayor’s wife, and many other local women spun across the table, resting in front of Eddie. “Recognize these?”

“That’s invasion of privacy!” he shouted. “You can’t take my things!”

“We had probable cause, and your boss, Mr. Newton, gave us permission. Even went so far as to bust the lock for us.” He put his hands on the table and leaned forward. “Care to explain all these photographs? No? How about the comic strips?” Elliot opened another folder and spilled a dozen explicit, hand-drawn cartoons over the photographs. “They are pretty comical after all. You think that the mayor’s wife is actually going to have sex with you?”

“You can’t bust me for using my artistic talent to fulfill my fantasies.”

“I bet the judge wouldn’t be too happy if she saw herself in your ‘fantasies.'”

Eddie shrugged. “Maybe she’d get excited.”

Elliot wanted to slap the damn smirk right off his face. “And this one?” He shuffled the drawings until he found one featuring Olivia. “You think she’d enjoy that?”

“What, sucking me off?” He laughed. “Come on, Detective, admit it. You’ve had the same thoughts that I have. Those beautiful lips wrapped around your–”

Eddie released a pitiful yelp as Elliot grabbed him by the neck and slammed him against the wall, holding him a few inches off the floor. “Listen to me, you little prick. I’ve had it with your attitude. Either you’re going to answer our questions, or you’re going to find yourself the object of some inmate’s fantasy at Sing Sing. Got it?” He squeezed a little tighter on Eddie’s windpipe before letting go. Eddie reached for his neck, glaring at Elliot. “Now sit down.”

“Where were you last night, around midnight?” Munch asked.

“At work. I was making up my hours because I’m taking next Friday off. I’m going to have to work even longer tomorrow to make up for the time spent in this dump.”

“So at midnight, you were at work.”

“Are you hearing impaired, old man? Yes, I was at work.”

“Now, see, that’s funny because according to your time card, you didn’t show up until 12:24.”

“So I was running late. What’s it to you?”

Munch made a slow circle around the table. “It just so happens that one of your fantasy women was shot last night at midnight.”

“Who?” He looked around blankly. “Oh, God. Detective Benson?”

“What’d you do, Eddie, proposition her and have her turn you down?”

“What?” Eddie started to jump out of his chair but was promptly slammed back into it by Elliot’s hand. “No way, man, I did not shoot anyone!”

“Oh, come on, Eddie,” Elliot whispered in his ear, “you know how it is. Fantasize about a beautiful woman, how luscious her lips are, and you can’t resist. So you decide to tell her–”

“No.”

“–maybe show her your package–”

“No!”

“–and when she turns you down, bam!” The sound of Elliot’s voice echoed in the room, and he shoved Eddie forward then stood up. “You shot her. Can’t take ‘no’ for an answer, can you?”

Eddie shook his head over and over again. “No. No, no, no. I would never hurt Olivia.”

“You’re on a first name basis now?” Munch asked. “Sounds like the M.O. of our perp. Real friendly.”

No!” Eddie looked up at Elliot with wide eyes brimmed with tears. “I didn’t do it, I swear.” He lowered his head, fingers splayed protectively over the photographs on the table. “I swear…”

Elliot looked at Munch and frowned. “We’ll see. Now about Thursday night–”

“I was on time Thursday.”

“Yeah, we know. But we also know that someone stole a photograph of Detective Benson that night.”

“No, not of her. Of you and her,” Eddie said, looking up again. “He paid me five hundred bucks for it, and it’s not like we were going to use it again anyway.”

“Who paid you?” Munch asked.

“I don’t know. Some guy.”

“You better come up with a name,” Elliot growled, rolling up his shirt sleeves. There was a tap on the other side of the two-way mirror. “Think about it, Eddie.” He stepped into the hallway where Captain Cragen was waiting with Huang and the assistant district attorney, Casey Novak. “What is it?”

Huang pointed to the man in the interrogation room who was thumbing through his photographs while wiping his eyes. “Eddie Greene is not the man who shot Olivia.”

“Yeah, we kinda figured that when he started sniveling like a little baby,” Munch said, joining them. “But he might give us some clues as to who bought the photograph.”

Novak spoke up. “Now that you’ve established his innocence, you’re holding him without probable cause.”

“We haven’t established anything,” Elliot told her.

“You have to release him. “She exchanged glances with the captain. “Hopefully he won’t press charges against you.”

“Press charges? Did you see those drawings? That guy is a fantasy away from rape.”

Huang half-smiled. Elliot knew what was coming next: a rebuttal. “As detailed as Eddie’s drawings are, he has no intention of raping or murdering any of the women in them. They are his ideal fantasy: beautiful, powerful women in a position of authority. It’s likely that if Olivia were here, and she had been interrogating him on a separate charge, he wouldn’t be able to speak or make eye contact.”

“Can’t you at least charge him on selling the photograph?” Munch asked.

Novak shook her head. “The Times can discipline him as they see fit, but he hasn’t broken any state laws.”

“This is ridiculous,” Elliot muttered. “Fine, we’ll let him go – after he tells us about the guy who bought the photograph.” He returned to the interrogation room. “Okay, Eddie, did you come up with a name yet?”

“He didn’t give me a name. I was walking past McDonald’s on Times Square on my way to work, and this guy bumps into me. He excuses himself, hands me a piece of paper.”

“What did the paper say?”

“He told me he would pay me five hundred dollars to bring him the original picture of Elliot Stabler and Olivia Benson from the January 13 article about the Lily Angelo murder, when they arrested the guy who did it.”

Lily Angelo. The name was familiar. “Guess what, Eddie? You just got yourself a ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

***

Everyone gathered back in the squadroom after retrieving the file from archives. Elliot leaned against his desk next to Huang. Munch and Fin sat in their chairs, and Cragen stood in the center, listening to Munch read the highlights from the final report.

“October 22, 2002. Lily Angelo, age twenty-five, was found murdered in her apartment. Cause of death: multiple stab wounds. The murder weapon was never recovered – probably swimming in the Hudson somewhere. There were signs of sexual activity which led to the processing of a rape kit. Semen was present, matching that of Lily Angelo’s fiancé, David Morris. He claims he was there the night she died, they had sex, then he left. However, what Mr. Morris neglected to tell us was that Lily had confessed to having an affair with one of his business partners. All evidence put the fiancé there at the time of death. Motive sealed his fate. He’s doing twenty-five to life in Sing Sing.” Munch paused, flipping the page. “Strike that. Turns out about two and a half months ago, David Morris was killed in a prison brawl over a pack of cigarettes. Guy who did it got another twenty years tacked onto his life sentence. Case closed.”

“Why that particular photograph?” Cragen asked. “I’ve got half a dozen pictures of Elliot and Olivia on my wall from the Times, all of them better poses.”

“It could be related to the case,” Fin pointed out. “Perp could’ve picked that picture because he read that article. John, were there any other suspects? Anyone who was unhappy with the outcome?”

“Uh, Lily’s mother was the one who found her in her apartment. Her father died when she was ten. David’s father was in Singapore on business. David’s mother was at a day spa. We also checked out the guy Lily was having the affair with, Patrick O’Dell. He said he was at home, asleep, when Lily was murdered. Didn’t have an alibi, but with all the evidence against David, I guess he didn’t need one.”

“You’re thinking one of them tried to kill Olivia?” Huang asked. “I’m not sure the profile fits. Remember, this guy is most likely someone she knew on a personal level. I doubt she got close to any of the suspects.”

“You’re probably right, but we should still re-interview everyone,” Elliot said, “see if anyone’s holding a grudge against me.”

“Uh, Elliot, let Fin and Munch handle this one.” Cragen gave him a weak smile. “Go home and get some sleep.”

“But, Captain–”

“You won’t be any good to the investigation. You’re coming up on forty-eight hours of no sleep.”

“I’m fine.”

“Have you looked in the mirror lately?” Munch asked. “You look like hell.”

“Well, thank you, John.”

“We aren’t going to wake these people up at midnight, Elliot.” Cragen put a hand on his shoulder. “Go home. I want you to take tomorrow off, too. Go see Olivia in the hospital. But not until you get some sleep.”

***

Elliot Stabler’s Apartment
250 East 40th Street
Monday, July 14

Elliot awoke with a start, his skin covered with a thin film of perspiration. His bed sheets were twisted around him. He was glad he couldn’t remember whatever nightmare had caused him to thrash around and nearly strangle himself. He looked at the clock. 9:30. Groaning, he untangled himself and climbed out of bed. After some breakfast, he’d get cleaned up, head over to the hospital and–

The coffee had barely begun to percolate when his cell phone rang. “Stabler.”

“Detective Stabler, this is Doctor Page calling you in regards to Olivia Benson.”

His heart stopped beating for a moment, and he weakly asked, “How is she?”

“She’s doing quite well. We’re going to keep her in CCU for a few more days just to be sure, but she’s regained full consciousness and her vitals are stable.”

“Oh, thank God. When can I see her?”

“She’s asked for you several times since she awakened.” Elliot smiled at that. “I would be willing to let you see her for a very short time, but I have to inform you that Olivia has mild amnesia from her head injury.”

“Amnesia? Well, how bad is it?”

“She told me the last thing she could remember was you calling a cab.”

Elliot sighed. “About fifteen minutes before she was shot.”

“I’m afraid so. Eventually, her memories will resurface, but as for now, she won’t be able to answer any questions. You’re still welcome to visit her, but try not to excite or upset her too much. Her vitals need to remain stable, including her pulse and blood pressure. Any undue stress could be harmful.”

Someone knocked on the door, and Elliot walked toward it. “Thank you for calling, Doctor. I’ll be by in about an hour.” He hung up and opened the door. “Hey, Randy.”

His neighbor stepped inside. “I, uh…” He looked at the rectangular gold box in his hands as if debating whether or not to give it to him. “How’s Olivia?”

“Actually, her doctor just called me. She’s awake. I’m going to see her in a minute.”

“That’s great news. Give her my regards. And some chocolates.” He handed over the box. “Does she eat chocolate?”

Elliot chuckled. “More than you know.” He couldn’t keep the stupid grin off his face, but Randy didn’t seem to mind; he actually smiled back. “I don’t mean to run you off, but–”

“But you’ve got somewhere important to be.” He winked. “Hey, Yankees versus Cleveland Saturday. You in?”

“Absolutely. See you then.” Elliot shook the box of chocolates. “Thanks.”

***

Residence of Clara Morris
Trenton, New Jersey
Monday, July 14

“That was Elliot,” Munch said, snapping his cell phone shut as he and Fin headed up the walk to Clara Morris’s house. “Olivia’s awake. He’s going over to see her now.”

“Good. Can she finger the perp?”

“No. Amnesia from the head injury.”

Fin shook his head. “Man, when we find this guy…” He punched the doorbell a bit harder than necessary and pulled out his badge. A thin, pale woman answered the door. “Detectives Tutuola and Munch, Special Victims Unit, NYPD. We’d like to ask you a few questions.”

“You’re a little out of your jurisdiction, aren’t you?” She stepped aside anyway and led them through the house to the living room. “And I’m hardly a special victim.”

“Ma’am, we’re here about your son, David Morris,” Munch said.

“I know who you are. I remember you and the other two.” She folded her arms across her chest and glared at them. “It’s not often you forget the faces of the people who put your innocent son behind bars.”

“Your son was hardly innocent,” Fin told her, returning her gaze with equal suspicion.

“My son would never have killed Lily. He loved that woman. You know, he never once changed his story. He left Lily’s apartment at midnight and drove home. She was killed after he left.” Clara wiped at her eyes. “What’s the point in bringing up the past anyway? David was killed in prison, in case you didn’t hear.”

“Where were you Saturday night around midnight?” Munch asked.

She chuckled dryly. “The same place most people my age are at that time of night. Asleep.” She sunk into the couch and crossed her legs. “What is this about?”

“One of our detectives, Olivia Benson, was shot Saturday night.”

“A pity. When she wasn’t accusing my son of murdering his fiancée, she was really a nice girl.”

Fin walked over to the mantle, examining the photographs above the fireplace. His eyes fell on a picture, and he frowned. “Who is this?”

“Who?” Clara stood and walked beside him. “Oh, that’s David with my husband, Randall. Well, ex-husband. We divorced after David was sent to prison.” She shook her head. “He was in Singapore on business when Lily died. Couldn’t even make it back in time for the trial. He was so angry and hurt when David was found guilty. Said there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him.”

“John, check this out.” He pulled the frame down and pointed to Randall. “Why do I know this face?”

Munch stared at it for a moment, brow furrowed in thought. “You said your husband was angry, Mrs. Morris?”

“Of course. Wouldn’t you be angry if your only son was convicted of murder?”

“Just how angry was he?” Fin asked.

“He used to call me every night – from Singapore! He thought the police botched the investigation, missed key evidence that proved David wasn’t guilty. Actually, he blamed most of it on Detective Benson’s partner, Detective…Stabler. Yes, Stabler. Detective Stabler thought it was David all along.”

“Randall Morris.” Munch spun the picture around so Fin could see it again. “Randy Moore. That’s Elliot’s neighbor.”

End of Part 2

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