Benson and Stabler
Olivia arrived to the hospital just in time to catch Sydney before she was about to be checked out of the hospital. She was released earlier than they anticipated because she was doing so well. She had to work fast to try and talk to her at the hospital because her dad just wanted to get her back home. After Sydney made it clear that she was tired of seeing the hospital and didn't want to stay a moment longer Olivia was able to talk her into coming to the police station instead. She brought her into her office to try and make her more comfortable instead of using the interrogation room. She instructed Rollins to make sure that no one came into the office and interrupted them.
Sydney's parents waited in one of the interrogation rooms while Olivia talked to her. She allowed her to get comfortable hoping that she would talk more.
She gave her water, let her pace back and forth a bit and Sydney's eyes settled on the pictures on her desk. "Your kids?"
"Yes," Olivia said proudly at the picture of her and Elliot on the beach after the ceremony with all of the kids in the photo.
"Wow. You guys have a lot of them," she said softly and Olivia chuckled.
"Yes we do."
"These are your friends?" she asked looking at the picture of the whole squad and everyone from the wedding.
"Yes that's them," she responded trying to read her mood. She saw the pictures as an opportunity to start the conversation. "That's the whole team and these ladies here," she said pointing to Alex, Melinda and Casey, "are my best friends. They've really been there for me during some very rough times."
Sydney put the picture down and took a deep breath. The change in topic clearly brought her back to the matter at hand and she sensed where Olivia was headed with her statement. "It's good to have friends," she added non-chalantly.
"Yes it is. But sometimes friends can hurt you." She stood in front of Sydney and lowered her head to make eye contact with her. "Or sometimes people close to your friends can hurt you." Sydney visibly flinched.
"Tell me about Maya," she said simply. She held up the yearbook with the four friends together that Elliot identified earlier. "You told me everyone called you the Fantastic Four but you didn't mention Maya." She then showed her the picture from the birthday picture. Sydney reached for the photo and tears started streaming down her face.
"Sydney, if you tell me everything we will catch this guy and I promise he won't hurt you or anyone else ever again," she consoled her. As she opened her mouth to talk there was a timid knock on the door. Olivia was annoyed for a second until she saw that it was Elliot.
"Excuse me for a moment," she said holding up a finger and walking to the door.
Elliot was standing at the door anxiously waiting for Olivia to open the door. He started talking before she had a chance to say anything.
"Hey Liv, I didn't mean to interrupt you but we have a problem," he explained.
When she saw his demeanor she was immediately concerned. "What's going on?"
"Maya and her mom are gone. Fin called me when he couldn't get in touch with you." Olivia held her hand to her head as if she was nursing a headache while she thought about her next move.
"Is she doing ok?" he asked nodding in Sydney's direction and making eye contact with her briefly.
"I'm trying to get her to open up and tell me everything. I think she's getting there," she explained.
"Do you think she may know where Maya and her mom are?" he asked. She thought it over. If anyone knew it was probably her. "She's probably our only hope," he added.
"Ok, Ill ask her," she said turning around to go back in the office and then had a thought. "Hey do you want to sit in on the interview with me?"
"Are you sure it wouldn't make her uncomfortable?" he asked tentatively.
"She seems better now. I don't want to miss anything she says and you and I used to be pretty good at this," she said with a slight lift to the corner of her lips. "At this point we have to try everything. I want this guy."
He agreed and entered the room carefully a few steps behind her. Sydney had already been watching them with curiosity and seemed to not be uncomfortable with Elliot's presence.
"Sweetie this is Agent St-."
"He's the guy in the picture. This is your husband," Sydney interrupted. Olivia and Elliot exchanged glances for a second before she continued.
"Yes it is. This is Agent Stabler with the FBI. He's working on your case too," she explained.
Elliot waved not wanting to scare her off by getting too close. They both motioned for her to sit back down and Olivia sat in the chair next to her while Elliot stood against the wall.
"I need you to tell me about Maya. Why didn't you talk about her before?" she asked again.
"Maya and I were the closest. We've been friends since we were babies," she started to explain before pausing and lowering her head. "I would go to her house all the time. Everything was fine until her mom and dad split up. They split up a little after my mom and dad did."
Olivia nodded her head in acknowledgment. "Sounds like you guys were really there for each other. What happened after her parents split up?"
"Miss Tina had a lot of men over all the time so my mom didn't want me over there any more," she said softly. "So Maya would come to our house all the time and she got mad."
With the exception of a few pauses to catch her breath, she went on to tell them that things became tense between her mom and Tina Hutchinson over her promiscuity and the men that were around her daughter. She told them that she sneaked out to go see Maya one day after gymnastics practice when Maya wasn't there. She stalled at this part of the story and began to cry.
"What happened next sweetheart? What happened when you got to her house?" she asked coaxing her along.
"I knocked on the door and no one answered. I know where they leave the key so I –I went in. I've done it before I didn't think there was anything wrong with it," she cried defensively.
"Shh shh it's ok honey. It's ok. What happened when you went in?" she asked consoling her.
"I heard her crying and so I ran to her room. He-he was on top of her hurting her," she choked out. "I-I-didn't know what to do. I just froze." She was beginning to talk more frantically and Olivia could tell she was mentally reliving everything that happened that day. She held her hand as she struggled to go on. "I wanted to help her but I-I didn't know what to do and then he was off the bed and grabbed me," she cried.
"I know you did. I know you wanted to help her," she reassured her. "I know this is hard but I need you to tell me what happened next?"
Sydney started to cry and was fidgeting with her hands. Olivia knew what happened to her at that point but she needed Sydney to tell her the details. She felt asking something of a child that she still struggled to do herself. She held her hands and Elliot brought her some water while she calmed herself.
"It's just..I don't wanna say," she choked out.
"Listen sweetie. I know. Trust me I know how hard it is to talk about this," Olivia said. "I know that it's hard to talk to someone and tell them all the ways that someone hurt you and I hate to make you think about this again. I wish I didn't have to but we have to know so we can help you and help those other little girls."
Sydney shrugged and drank more of her water trying to pull herself together. Elliot watched Olivia closely and noticed her emphasis on telling Sydney how hard it was to talk to someone and tell them what she had gone through. He felt her walls coming down and Olivia relating to her more as a victim of similar circumstances as opposed to a police officer investigating a crime.
"He pushed Maya on the floor and threw me on the bed. He-he told me to stop crying or he would hurt me but I couldn't stop. He to-took off my pants and ripped off my leotard and.." Elliot and Olivia simultaneously inhaled deeply and gave her a moment to compose herself. "What happened next?" Olivia asked.
"I couldn't stop crying. It hurt so bad and he bit me hard…here," she explained pointing to her right breast. "I screamed and it just made him madder….There were cigarettes next to the bed," she said beginning to breathe fast as if she was having a panic attack and started to rub the areas on her arms where the wounds from the cigarette burns were starting to heal.
Olivia bowed her head and had trouble keeping it together listening to her story. She willed herself not to cry and to continue asking questions. The words were not coming easily and for a moment she thought she would be sick.
"Where was Maya when all of this was going on?" Elliot asked picking up the line of questioning. He saw Olivia struggling and he wanted to go and wrap his arms around her but he knew they had to keep everything professional in front of Sydney. She made eye contact with him and silently thanked him for taking over.
"She was on the side of the bed crying. She-She was bleeding," she explained.
"What was the man's name that hurt you and Maya?" Elliot asked. He walked closer to her and kneeled down between her and Olivia.
"Mr. Jonathan. He was Miss Tina's boyfriend."
"What happened when he was finished?" Olivia asked finding her voice. She gave Elliot a reassuring look to tell him she was ok.
"He had me and Maya and told us we were going for a ride. When we got outside there was a van and they pushed us both inside," she explained taking another drink of water.
"Who is 'they' honey?" Olivia asked.
"Mr. Jonathon's son. Marshall….and Ms. Tina."
"She's part of this," Olivia said to herself in disbelief and glanced over to Elliot who was already out of the door.
"Sweetie why don't we take a little break. You are doing such a great job and being so helpful," Olivia said comforting her.
She followed Elliot out to the squad floor and he was on the phone. He put in a call to see how long until the FBI team arrived at the precinct and was given the word that they were scheduled to land in NYC in twenty minutes. They updated Fin on the new information regarding Tina Hutchinson and Rollins went hard at work running her name through all of their systems to find out as much information on her as possible.
Olivia went back into the office to get the rest of Sydney's statement. After telling the first part of her story, Sydney was more comfortable the second time around. She told Olivia that Maya was with her initially but eventually she disappeared and she thought Tina took her back home. She said that she was held with about five other girls at a time in a warehouse and they were all raped repeatedly by both Marshall and Jonathan. They were burned and beaten if they did not do what they were told and there were at least three or four babies born while she was in captivity that she could remember. She said she wasn't bothered as much when she was pregnant because they wanted to make sure the baby would be ok. Olivia's first thought was that the babies were being sold. After breaking down again briefly and being consoled by her father, Sydney admitted to trying to escape with her son shortly after he was born. Marshall caught up to her and beat her with the baby in her arms and left them both for dead.
Within an hour the squad room was filled with Elliot's team members from the Feds and Olivia called all hands on deck with her unit. Rollins had information on Tina Hutchinson and there was a tip that came in to the Jersey police about Maya and Tina's whereabouts.
"Eric so glad to see you again but not under these circumstances," Olivia said reaching out to hug him. "Thanks for agreeing to help."
"You guys just say the word and I'm here," he said hugging her back. "We all got the briefing on the plane and I brought some of our best guys. Can't wait to take this sick son of a bitch down."
Fin and Amaro were back in the squad room and Olivia was getting prepared to bring everyone together for a briefing when Chief Deputy Dodds walked in. He had a stern look on his face so she excused herself from the group and met him in her office.
"I assume you are not here to just sit in on the meeting," she said stoically.
"Well we have a slight problem. When you told me you were bringing in the Feds you neglected to mention that the Fed was your husband," he said stoically.
"What difference does it make? He's not working for me, he's working with me. We're not in the same agency or under the same command," she explained. "Are you guys really going to focus on perception while we have this bastard at large raping little girls, impregnating them and killing babies?" She was aware how political everything was but this seemed ridiculous to her considering what they were up against.
Elliot noticed the tense exchange and walked over to the office. "Everything ok?" he asked.
"Well I was just telling Lieutenant Benson, aka your wife, that there is some concern down at 1PP about the conflict of interest of having you two work on this together," Dodds explained. "I recognize what we are up against but with your wife at the helm if she were to make a decision that was perceived favoring you over anyone else on the team or if anything went wrong it could be a problem. There's a reason why we don't have police officers who are married work together."
"With all due respect you had no problem calling on me when you needed my help those months ago to help take down a serial rapist that killed my daughter's friend," Elliot pointed out.
"I recognize that but you guys weren't married then."
"But my daughter was a witness in the case. Conflict of interest is conflict of interest. You can't pick and choose when it works for you," he said sternly.
Olivia intervened when she saw Dodds beginning to waiver, "Look you said then we make a good team. That hasn't changed. We can nail this guy. We can deal with the red tape later, I've already called Barba and he said it won't be an issue at trial as long as we play by the rules. He's on his way down here and you can ask him yourself. Please. We are wasting time don't stand in our way."
He thought for a second and then agreed. "There's no doubt. Please play it as close to the rules as possible. I'll go talk to the powers that be and let them know I'm good with it and they should be too."
They both shook his hand and started the meeting. Elliot stayed off to the side with his team as Olivia walked both teams through everything they knew so far. They went over Sydney's statement, the victims that had been found, the background of the suspects and everything they knew so far. Rollins motioned for Amaro and they stepped off to the side during the briefing to take a call.
Elliot watched for any signs of Olivia being overwhelmed but with the exception of the brief breakdown she had while talking to Sydney about her injuries, she was holding strong. He observed her in awe as she commanded the room with a confidence that was all her own. She was meant to do this and as much as the idea of her continuing to be exposed to the horrors of SVU bothered him at times, he knew she didn't belong anywhere else. They would probably continue to disagree about the amount of time she spent at the office or if she was over exerting herself but he knew that whenever she needed help he would be there. It was the main perk of him working on the Feds now. He could still watch her back in some regard and it was like he was her work partner again, a role that he missed.
"Hey guys we got something," Rollins said running over to the evidence board. "This is Tina Hutchinson aka Tina Hawkins. She was last seen a few weeks ago at her home until she left suddenly with her daughter Maya," she said putting pictures of both of them up. "Maya has not been in school for the past few months and when school officials reached out to the mother she said she was homeschooling her before they vanished. Even then people only got a few glimpses of Maya from a distance. Witnesses say no visitors or anything."
Olivia and Elliot's mind both started wandering at all the reasons why Tina would be keeping Maya away from everyone's sight while Rollins continued. "Tina has a house rented under the name Tina Hawkins. Called the landlord, it's on Astor Row," she said looking at Olivia. "Shit that's the Astor we missed. Is there a warehouse in the vicinity?"
Fin was already on the computer pulling the location. "There it is," he said pointing to the screen. "A warehouse three blocks away and another one a few blocks further down. We need to check out both of them."
"Great job everybody. Let's suit up and head out," Olivia said.
As everyone scattered Fin and Elliot walked into her office with her.
"What do you mean by Let's?" he asked.
"I know I'm not going into the warehouse Elliot, there's going to be a command post truck and I will be in there," she explained.
Fin and Elliot exchanged glances but didn't say a word.
"Let's go, we are wasting time," she said heading for the door but Elliot sidestepped to block her.
"Liv, please just stay here," he said calmly. He knew he was playing with fire and she could react negatively at any time but he didn't want her anywhere near the scene. The command posts were always pretty safe and she would be inside a vehicle with other members of law enforcement but he just couldn't bear the thought of her being anywhere near the scene. Jonathan and Marshall had managed to evade police for over a year and he saw what they were capable of. If they could rape and kill children without a second thought he didn't put anything past them.
"Please," he said closing his eyes and hoping she wouldn't make this difficult. "I am begging you."
Her first instinct was to fight with him. She knew she would be safe at the command post but she also knew if he was worried about her then that could affect his ability to focus and put people in harms way. This was one of the reasons that she was sure Dodds meant when he said there was concern about the two of them working together.
As a force of habit she caressed her belly and looked down considering what he was saying. When his hands met hers on top of her stomach she knew her decision was made.
"I just need to know that both of you are safe," he whispered.
And just like that their roles changed. They were no longer Benson and Stabler one of the best teams in the NYPD. They were a husband and wife genuinely concerned for each other's safety.
"Liv, I'll get Morales to bring everything you need from the command post up here so you can have audio and video. You will have all the same accesses," Fin assured her.
"Ok," she agreed never breaking eye contact with Elliot. Fin ran out to make the call and suit up and Olivia and Elliot continued to stand in her office with their hands resting on their unborn child.
"Thank you," he said giving her a kiss on the forehead.
"Do me a favor?" she asked.
"Anything," he said knowing how much it took for her to agree to stay at the office.
She took her hands from his and held on to both sides of his face caressing his cheeks. "Be careful. Please."
"I promise," he said giving her a quick kiss on the lips.
"You ready man?" Johnson asked coming from around the corner.
He gave Olivia another kiss before answering. "Yeah let's head out."
Johnson noticed the look on her face and walked over to squeeze her arm. "Don't worry Olivia, I got his back. He will be fine."
"Thank you," she whispered squeezing his arm in response.
An hour later, Elliot, Fin and the teams were in place outside of the first warehouse near Astor Row. Olivia, Morales and Barba were at the office looking at the video feed and listening over radio to everything that was going on. The video feed was spotty because it was dark and only showed the front door. Once they were fully inside, she would not have a view so she had to rely on the radio.
"Everyone in position?" she asked.
"Yeah," Fin responded. "Looks like they are in the front room and the girls are being held in the back."
"Ok. Go," she said simply.
She watched from the feed as the team went in and she was able to make out some shouting including Fin yelling "Down, get on the ground now!"
She heard Elliot yell, "Put the gun down. Hands above your head."
And another voice she figured was Johnson saying, "Don't be stupid, put the gun down."
There were some other muffled sounds before she heard gunshots ring out and then yelling.
She grabbed the radio and screamed into it, "Fin Fin what happened?"
She waited a minute for a response but didn't hear anything. "Fin, Elliot do you copy?"
There was some other muffled shouting before she heard nothing but static on the other end.