An Eye for an Eye 3/3
Written December 2003
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.
Monday, July 14
“Man, are the perps gettin’ dumber or are we?” Fin shook his head. “Randall Morris, Randy Moore?”
Munch turned the wheel to pass a semi and pressed the gas pedal harder. “Elliot would have no reason to suspect his neighbor or even someone named Randall Morris. We never questioned the father, remember? He was in Singapore; we confirmed that with his company.”
“I just hope Cragen finds Elliot before something else happens. Damn it, why did he have to turn off his cell phone?”
Bellevue Hospital Center
462 First Avenue
Monday, July 14
Carrying the box of chocolates from Randy, Elliot climbed into the elevator with two other people and pressed the button for floor seventeen. He hoped he could smuggle the food in; Olivia could probably use the sweets. Hospital food was murder.
When he arrived on the correct floor, he found the nurses’ station. An exceedingly cheerful woman grinned at him. “Can I help you?”
“I’m Elliot Stabler. Doctor Page told me I could visit Olivia Benson this morning.”
“Yes, I have the note right here, Detective.” She saw the box in his hands, and her mouth made a tiny ‘o’. “There’s no food allowed on this floor. We can hold it at the station until you’ve finished your visit though.”
He shrugged and gave her the chocolate. “Anything else I should know?”
“You’ll have to turn your cell phone off. It might disrupt the equipment.”
“I already did.” He smiled at her. “Can I see Olivia now?”
“Follow me. Now I’m sure the doctor told you, but we have to keep her vitals stable. Don’t say or do anything that could upset her or excite her.”
He raised his eyebrows. “Such as?”
“Well, discussing certain issues or performing certain actions…” The nurse blushed slightly. “Seeing as how you’re a detective, I think you know.”
“I’ll be on my best behavior.” They stopped at a doorway, and the nurse tilted her head in that direction before giving him a big grin and returning to the station.
Elliot greeted the two cops who were watching her room then walked inside slowly, a deep ache in his chest. Except for the beeping of some machines, it was quiet. Olivia lay in the hospital bed, asleep. Her skin was ashen, IVs and tubes connecting her to equipment Elliot couldn’t identify. He sat in the chair beside her and picked up her hand. It should be me in that bed, not her. His eyes filled with tears, and he closed them, bringing her hand to his cheek.
There was a weak squeeze on his thumb. He opened his eyes again and kissed her knuckles. “Sleeping Beauty awakens. How you feeling?”
Olivia started to chuckle, but the sound turned into a cough. “Okay.” Her voice was weak and ragged. “Hungry.”
“I tried to smuggle in some chocolate, but I got caught at the nurses’ station.”
“By the perky nurse, no doubt.”
All of the tension and fear he had felt about her condition suddenly manifested into a loud laugh. She’s going to be okay.
Olivia frowned at his behavior. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing.” He bent and kissed her forehead, his lips lingering for a moment. “Nothing at all.”
“Elliot,” came a voice from the doorway. Cragen stood outside, an unreadable expression on his face.
He turned around and smiled. “Hey, Cap. Join us.” When the man showed no signs of moving, Elliot reluctantly released Olivia’s hand and stood. “I’ll be right back.” He followed his captain into the hallway. “What’s wrong?”
The words had barely left his mouth when Cragen asked, “Why did you turn off your cell phone?”
“Because I’m in a hospital.”
He pursed his lips together and nodded. “Munch and Fin discovered the identity of Olivia’s shooter.”
“And?” Elliot waited but received no response. “Captain, who was it?”
“Randy Moore, your neighbor. They’re on their way over to his apartment to pick him up.”
He felt like he’d just been punched in the chest. “R–” His eyes turned toward the nurses’ station where he caught sight of a gold box from Russell Stover. “The chocolate.”
He jogged to the counter and picked up the box, immediately giving it to Cragen. “Randy gave this to me this morning. Said it was a present for Olivia.”
“We’ll have it checked out right away.” Cragen sighed. “I’m sorry, Elliot.”
“Wait here. I’m going to say goodbye to Olivia, then I’m coming with you.” He returned to her room, ignoring the emotions he felt about Randy and focusing solely on her. “Hey, Liv, something’s come up, and I’ve got to go, but I’ll come back as soon as I can.” He leaned over her bed and caressed her cheek with his fingertips. “Next time, I’ll stay the whole half-hour.”
“Be careful,” she half-whispered. “One of us in the hospital is enough.”
“One of us is one too many, if you ask me.” He dropped another kiss on her forehead and straightened. “Get better. I’ll see you soon.” When he left the room, Cragen was instructing the officers to restrict visitors to her room to Elliot or himself. Elliot nodded in agreement then followed the captain to the elevator.
“How well did you know Randy?”
The blood began to boil, and he clenched his fists. “Perhaps the better question would be how well did he know me. Damn it! He’s been planning this for months. All of it. He knew me, he knew Olivia. Hell, he used to go jogging Saturday mornings with us until he got that night job at the hotel.”
“Hilton Times Square.” Elliot sighed. “Right across the street from the Times.” He slammed his fist against the elevator button, and the door opened with a small ding. He entered, Cragen close behind, and pressed another button. He didn’t doubt what Munch and Fin had uncovered, but the fury of being betrayed raged through him. How could he have been so blind?
“We’ll get this guy, Elliot.”
Cragen’s promise meant nothing to him, and he ignored it, his eyes focused on the floor countdown. 12, 11, 10… When the doors finally opened, they hurried to the car. Cragen tossed him the keys, and Elliot slid into the driver’s seat.
When Cragen and Elliot arrived, Munch and Fin were walking out of the building, alone and empty-handed. “Where is he?” Elliot asked, climbing out of the car and slamming the door.
Munch shook his head. “We were too late. Randy was already gone.”
“Gone?” He stared at him for a moment, mouth open. “Well, how do you know he isn’t out running errands or–”
“Because he left you another note. ‘Until we meet again’.”
Olivia Benson’s Apartment
427 East 82nd Street
Thursday, August 14
Elliot balanced the bouquet of daisies and the Chinese takeout in one hand while using the other to unlock the door to Olivia’s apartment building. He was thankful that she had an elevator; getting all of the items to the third floor would be difficult if he had to take the stairs. When he reached the correct apartment, he held the sack of food between his teeth and fumbled for the right key. He needed to color-code it or something, anything, to make it easier to find. Muttering to himself, he unlocked the door and went inside, turning directly toward the kitchen and unloading his packages onto the counter.
“Hi, Daddy!” Kathleen bounced up beside him and squeezed him tightly.
He made an ‘oomph’ sound and pulled his wallet out of his side pocket as it dug into his hip from the pressure. “Careful, sweetheart.” He wrapped an arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head. “Where’s Olivia?”
“She’s changing clothes.”
He filled a vase with water and put the flowers into it. “So, what’d you guys do today?”
Kathleen rolled her eyes, taking the vase from him and setting it on the end table by the front door. “The same thing we do every day, Daddy. Watch Oprah, grab some lunch, and work on Olivia’s cardio in the park.”
Since Olivia’s release from the hospital two weeks earlier, Kathleen had spent nearly every week day with her at her apartment. “I’m proud of you, honey. You’ve done really well. I know Olivia appreciates all the help. You keeping her on her exercise regimen?”
“As prescribed by Doctor Page.” She grinned. “School starts again in a couple of weeks, but Olivia promised to help me with my homework. She speaks awesome Spanish.”
“Well, what’s wrong with me helping you?”
She sighed and rolled her eyes again. “You don’t speak awesome Spanish.”
Olivia walked into the room with a smile on her face. “¿No te gusta de su español?”
“No, es terrible.”
Elliot held up a finger. “Hey, now, we’ll have none of that.” He began unpacking the Chinese food from the white sack. “Not if you want some sweet and sour chicken and some eggrolls. You staying for dinner, honey?”
“No thanks, Dad.”
“You sure? I bought more than enough.”
“No. Um, Steve’s coming over, and he and Mom are doing some barbecue.” She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and looked at the floor. “I sort of promised I’d be there.”
Elliot nodded. His ex-wife’s new boyfriend was great according to Dickie and Lizzie, but Kathleen seemed a bit uneasy. He made a mental note to run another background check on him tomorrow. “You go ahead. You can eat with us another time.”
“Okay.” She gave him a quick hug. “Love you.” Then she did the same to Olivia. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Good night, Kathleen.” She closed the door behind her, pausing briefly to touch the flowers. “Okay, I’m starving. Let’s eat.”
“Something’s not right,” he muttered, dishing out equal portions of rice onto two plates.
“What, did they forget the fortune cookies again?” she asked, peering into the bag.
“I meant with Kathleen.”
Olivia shrugged, dropping an egg roll on each plate. “She seems fine to me.”
“I don’t think she likes Steve too much.”
“I just worry about her, that’s all.”
She ran a hand through her short hair and sighed. “Okay. Kathleen will kill me if she knows I told you this, but to stop you from moping around all night, Kathleen isn’t comfortable with Steve because Steve isn’t you.”
His head snapped up, and a glob of sauce fell from the spoon unnoticed. “She told you that?”
“In so many words. Elliot, your children love you, and they miss you. You know Kathy has good judgment.”
“I hope so.”
“She married you, didn’t she?” Olivia nudged him with a smile. “Look, I know that you’re worried about them, but don’t be. Besides, I’ve been showing Kathleen some self-defense tactics and–”
“Liv, you heard what the doctor said. No strenuous activity.”
“It wasn’t. I’m talking knee to the groin, elbow to the solar plexus type of tactics.”
“So basically you’ve been teaching my seventeen-year-old daughter to kick guys in the balls?”
“Hey, whatever keeps her out of harm’s way.”
He put his hand over hers. “Thanks.” He finished distributing the sweet and sour chicken and handed her a plate. “Oh, Munch told me to tell you that your suspicions about Granger were right but that he was taking all the credit.”
Olivia chuckled, sliding into a chair at the table and beginning to eat. “Sounds like Munch all right. So, did Cragen say that it was all right for you to share current cases with me?”
He shrugged. “You’re still my partner.”
They had been in a unique but comfortable situation for the past two weeks. Elliot had all but moved in, spending his nights on her couch just as he had done after the divorce, despite Olivia’s occasional protests. When he couldn’t be there, Kathleen was, so Olivia was never alone. He kept telling her it was for health purposes, so the tamponade didn’t recur, but in truth he was still worried about Randy. His mysterious escape at exactly the right time had raised suspicions and with good reason. The chocolates Randy had given as a ‘gift’ had been tested, and the results showed that each of the pieces had been laced with cyanide. All attempts to find him failed, despite the APB put out in the tri-state area. The LUDs didn’t give any hints as to his destination either. So far, he hadn’t returned, as his note had implied, but Elliot knew it was only a matter of time. With revenge, it always was.
“So what movie did you get?”
Elliot sighed. “I knew there was something I was forgetting.”
Her eyes widened. “Thursday has been designated movie night, and you forgot?”
“Tell you what.” He shoved an oversized forkful of rice in his mouth and stood up. “I’ll go right now.”
“Don’t worry about it. The video store’s just a couple of blocks away. Finish eating.”
“Nah, I had a donut before I left. Not really that hungry.”
She gave him a stern look before offering a smile. “Well, don’t forget your keys this time. I don’t want a repeat of last week.”
He stifled a laugh. It had been a frightful situation at the time. Elliot had forgotten Olivia’s keys, which at the time weren’t looped onto his own keyring, and repeated knocks had gone unanswered. He had tracked down the super and got the door unlocked. Thinking she was hurt or worse, he had pulled out his weapon and searched the apartment room by room. He had finally found her taking a bubble bath, listening to the radio with her headphones on. To avoid any more incidents, they made a promise: no more headphones if he always remembered his key. “Don’t worry,” he told her, pulling the keyring from his pocket and jingling it, “I have it right here. I’ll be back in ten, fifteen minutes tops.”
She watched him leave then finished her meal. Physically her situation had improved greatly. With Kathleen’s help, she was getting stronger every day. They were currently walking two miles in the park. When the humidity was too great, they went to her gym and walked on treadmills. It was a start; she used to run at least five miles every morning. As well as continuing her old routines, Olivia was anxious to get back to work, even if she had to be on desk duty. Kathleen would be starting her senior year soon, which would leave Olivia alone again. In truth, she was getting used to the idea of having someone around all the time.
She stood to clean up the dishes and noticed a palm-sized black square laying on the counter. She chuckled to herself. “Good job, Elliot. Remember your keys, forget your wallet.” The lock tumblers clicked, and she lifted her head. “Hey, looks like you forgot something.”
The man who entered the room wasn’t Elliot. It was Randy. A sinister grin made its way to his face. “I didn’t forget, Olivia.”
Elliot was tempted to run to the video store; the sooner he got there, the sooner he could get back and relax on the couch. During Olivia’s absence, he’d been partnered with some rookie who he knew wasn’t going to last in the unit for long. It was almost as if he was doing everything solo. His ‘partner’ had taken one look at their first dead body of the month and promptly lost his breakfast. Even now, three weeks later, he couldn’t step foot in the forensics lab when M.E. Warner wanted to share her findings.
Two teenagers on skateboards whizzed past him, one of them bumping into Elliot as he flew by. Having grown up in New York City, Elliot’s first thought was to check for his wallet. It wasn’t there. He spun around, ready to chase after the boys, then remembered Kathleen and the hug that had left an imprint of his wallet on his hip. He hadn’t been pickpocketed; he had left his wallet on the counter.
Shaking his head – Olivia would never let him hear the end of this one – he headed back for the apartment.
“That wouldn’t be wise, would it, Olivia?”
She looked at the knife that she had grabbed from the block by her stove. “Oh? And why is that?”
Randy tapped the blade of his own knife against the end of his chin. “See, most women aren’t strong enough to injure a man with a knife. They lack the strength and the ability to do so.”
“You forget, Randy. I’m a cop.”
“I said most women. I have no doubt that you would be able to force a small kitchen knife through muscle and sinew, no doubt that you could inflict great harm – maybe even kill with a knife like that. However, the strain it would place on your heart might cause a recurrence of the tamponade, and then what have we really accomplished? You killed me, you killed yourself. Poor Elliot would have a difficult time cleaning up all the blood.”
She knew he was right, but she didn’t release the weapon. Back when she was in the hospital, when her memories of the shooting had returned, Elliot had told her what they knew about Randall Morris. Extensively trained in military covert operations, he had made most of his money by manufacturing and selling machinery to any country willing to pay for it. His son, David, was going to take over the family business when he retired, but when David was sent to prison for Lily’s murder, Randy took it personally. Olivia knew his marksmanship was superb; he was not someone who would go down easily. “Why are you doing this, Randy?”
“Why?” He scoffed, taking a step toward her. “Why? Because your partner put my son in jail.”
“Your son murdered his fiancée.”
“My son was innocent!”
“Okay.” Olivia eased her knife onto the counter and stepped back, her hands in the air. “Okay. Let’s talk about this, Randy. I put my knife down, now you put down yours.”
He rushed toward her, and she lunged for her weapon. Her fingers were mere inches from it when the blade of Randy’s knife stopped her from reaching any further. She looked up at him, wishing her hand would stop shaking. “Don’t even think about it, Olivia.” He took her knife and tossed it over the counter. “Now come here.” She didn’t move, and he grabbed her wrist, yanking her toward him. “Come here!”
Olivia twisted from his grasp, freeing herself and backing into the end table by the door. The vase of flowers tipped over, crashing on the hardwood floor.
The hairs on the back of Elliot’s neck stood up. It was probably nothing, but the sound he had heard – something like breaking glass – had come from Olivia’s apartment. Yanking his keys from his pocket, he struggled to find the right one. He could hear voices, scuffling, a few groans. Oh, please let Olivia be watching television. He finally produced the right key and shoved it into the lock.
“Get up, you bitch.” Randy gave Olivia’s ribs another kick, and she moaned, curling up into a ball. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to her feet. She struggled again, digging her nails into his arms. He let out a yell before forcing her back against him and wrapping his arm in a choke hold around her neck. The blade of his knife slid across her arm, leaving a trail of blood to drip down her elbow and onto the floor. She cried out from the pain and clamped her opposite hand on the wound. Randy chuckled; her weakness had given him the opportunity to pin her arms down. “Say goodnight, Olivia.” He brought the knife to her throat.
The door flung open, and Elliot burst in, hand on his weapon. He pulled it out and pointed it toward them. “Let her go, Randy.”
He laughed, tightening his hold on both Olivia and the knife. “What are you going to do, shoot me? Shoot her? I don’t think so.”
He glanced at Olivia for a brief moment. Blood trickled from her arm and nose, and she was breathing heavily. Her eyes, however, were fierce; she wanted him to take the shot. He looked back at Randy, gun still trained on him. “I’m not going to ask you again. Let her go. It’s me you want.”
“Actually, I wanted Maureen, but I couldn’t find her address anywhere.”
He gasped quietly at the sound of his oldest daughter’s name. His finger tightened around the trigger.
“So it’s not really ‘an eye for an eye,’ but it’ll have to do.”
“Your son stabbed his fiancé to death. He deserved what he got.”
“My son was innocent!” Randy cried. “And you’re the cold-hearted bastard who killed him!”
“Put the knife down, Randy.” Elliot took a step forward. “Put it down!”
“You’re going to pay for what you did to my son, Elliot.”
“Your son was guilty.”
“He was innocent!” Randy moved the knife from Olivia’s throat and pointed it at him. “This is your murder weapon, Detective. I killed that bitch, Lily! No one treats my son that way – no one!”
Olivia thrust her elbow into Randy’s chest with more ferocity than she had shown Kathleen. The attack startled him, and he loosened his hold on her. She dove for the floor, and Elliot pulled back on the trigger, twice. As each bullet penetrated his chest, Randy jerked like a puppet then collapsed, choking out his final breath.
Elliot stood still for a moment, his mind void of all conscious thought. He stared at the body as he lowered his weapon.
Olivia’s weak, shaky voice brought him back to the present, and he helped her to her feet. She clung to him, staring at the man on the floor. Elliot held her tightly. “It’s all over. He can’t hurt us anymore.”
Special Victims Unit
Friday, August 15
The clock on the wall read 9:52. Elliot chewed on his lower lip, a childhood habit he had broken years ago that had reappeared last night when he found out he would be investigated by IAB. Olivia was due in at ten o’clock for her statement. Kathleen would be bringing her.
After detailing the incident to the investigating officers last night, they had relocated to his apartment and gone to sleep. He didn’t see her in the morning as he was running late and barely had time to shower. He knew Olivia would defend his actions; she had justified the shots long before he had ever taken them. But IAB had an uncanny ability to turn the truth into an excuse, and Elliot was sure they would use Randy’s previous attacks to trick Olivia into saying the wrong thing.
“Check this out.” Fin dropped a stack of paper on Elliot’s desk, startling him from his trance. “We just got in the passenger manifest from United Airlines dated October 21, 2002. Non-stop flight from Singapore to JFK.”
“Let me guess. Randall Morris was on the plane.”
“Somehow, Randy got word that Lily had been cheating on his son. Guess he decided to do something about it.” He pointed the top of the page. “There’s the receipt for the ticket. Paid cash. He landed just before midnight. We’re guessing he took a cab to Lily’s apartment, stabbed her to death, then took the red-eye back to Singapore. He was only in town for a couple of hours.”
Elliot picked up the papers only to slam them back on his desktop. “How did we miss this? How did we possibly miss this? An innocent man was sent to prison where he was murdered by another inmate, while the real killer continued to roam free. That’s hardly justice for Lily Angelo.” He sighed, his anger dissipating with his breath. “Hardly justice for Olivia.”
“Olivia got her justice, thanks to you.”
He scoffed then caught sight of Olivia and Kathleen walking into the squadroom. “Let’s hope IAB sees it that way, too.”
Cragen stepped out of his office when he saw Olivia coming toward him. “It’s good to see you again, Detective. How are you feeling?”
“A little sore, but other than that…”
Kathleen put a hand on her shoulder. “I’m going to go see Dad. I’ll be here when you’re done.”
When she was gone, Cragen said, “I’m sorry that you have to go through all of this.”
“I just want to get it over with.”
With a nod, he held out a hand, gesturing for her to go first. She briefly glanced at Elliot before turning the corner and heading for the interrogation room. Cragen came with her, and they waited in silence.
A tall, thin man in a suit entered the room. Olivia recognized him from the Internal Affairs unit. He sat in the other chair, greeting her with a nod. “I’m Sergeant Richard Brown, IAB. I’m going to make this as brief as possible, Detective Benson. You understand why you’re here?”
“You’re investigating the discharge of Detective Stabler’s firearm in my apartment last night, what you consider to be ‘excessive use of force’.”
“That, and the death of Randall Morris, alias Randy Moore.”
Cragen looked at his detective before turning to the door. “I’ll be outside if you need anything, Olivia.”
When they were alone, Brown pulled a cassette tape out of his inside breast pocket and slid it into the player, pressing record. “I need you to tell me everything that happened last night, in your own words.”
She told her story again, repeating what she had told the officer the night before at her apartment. IAB was working fast on this one, gathering information less than twenty-four hours after the incident occurred. ‘While your memory is fresh,’ they had told her when they called her in. Olivia found it humorous; last night wasn’t one she was likely to forget.
When she finished, Brown consulted his notes. “Detective Benson, do you believe Detective Stabler was acting within the realm of his employment?”
She kept her face blank and her eyes fixed on his. “Absolutely.”
“He wasn’t just seeking revenge?”
“An APB had already been placed on Randall Morris the month before. Detective Stabler did what any law enforcement officer would do in that situation.”
“A perpetrator was holding me, a fellow police officer, hostage. He had already tried to kill me with a gun and cyanide-laced chocolates. He had also escaped capture, and the NYPD isn’t in the habit of making the same mistake twice.”
The corner of Brown’s mouth lifted into a half-smile. “Given the circumstances, was there anything Detective Stabler could have done differently?”
“How many shots did you say were fired?”
He raised an eyebrow. “And you don’t find that to be excessive use of force?”
“No,” she answered, “I do not, and neither would the police academy that taught us to use the double-tap method.”
He shifted his position and gazed at her silently. She resisted the urge to smirk; she knew she had him. He reached across the table and pressed ‘stop’ on the recorder. “Thank you, Detective. You’re free to go.”
She pushed away from the table and stood, then walked out of the room and down the empty corridor to the bullpen.
Elliot looked up as she approached, wiggling a pencil between his thumb and forefinger. Kathleen picked at a donut but also lifted her head as Olivia approached them. “How’d it go?” she asked. “Is Dad in trouble?”
“No,” Olivia told her, offering Elliot the smallest hint of a smile, “everything’s going to be fine.”