A HUNTING WE WILL GO
A/N: This chapter is rated 'M', for violence, language, and more violence. Due to more than one person asking for a description of what Elliot went through with Blake the first time, here it is. The italics are Elliot's memories. Enjoy...
Cragen never saw her coming. He heard the ruckus in the bullpen, but before he had so much as a chance to get up from behind his desk, the door of his office was already being thrown open, and a very angry looking woman stormed in.
“Olivia…” Cragen croaked out as she strode forward and slapped her hands down on the desktop.
“Where is he?”
Despite all that had happened in the last twenty-four hours, Cragen drew a complete blank.
“Where is who…?”
Olivia’s expression turned downright dark.
“Where is Elliot?”
Cragen hesitated, staring at her in visible confusion before shaking himself back to reality and speaking incredulously.
“Olivia? Why aren’t you still in New Jersey?”
“You called me, and told me that Darius Blake escaped from prison, remember?” Olivia snapped. “Do you really think I’d stay hidden away in another state with that lunatic on the loose?”
The captain started to protest, but Olivia cut him off heatedly.
“Don’t even think about saying I’m in danger. You ought to know damned well from the last time that Blake doesn’t have any interest in me. It’s Elliot that he was after the last time, and it’ll be Elliot that he’s after now. Now please tell me that you’ve got Elliot in protective custody?”
Cragen let his breath out in a frustrated rush.
“Olivia, the truth is, we don’t know where Elliot is.”
She stood frozen, leaning across the desk and staring at Cragen in growing dismay. When she did eventually bring herself to speak, though her voice was steady and radiated calm, her eyes told a completely different story.
“What do you mean, you don’t know where he is?”
With another sigh, Cragen explained how Munch and Fin had found Elliot’s apartment thoroughly trashed, and how there was no indication of where he had disappeared to. The only indications they had that told them Elliot was not yet in Blake’s hands was the extent to which Elliot’s apartment had been trashed, and the fact that Blake had risked going to Kathy Stabler’s home to ask for Elliot’s whereabouts.
Olivia listened to all of this in silence, looking paler by the minute.
“We have to find him, Captain. Blake… What he did to Elliot the last time…”
“I know,” Cragen assured her gently. “Believe me, Olivia, I know, and we are doing everything we can to find him.”
She regarded him with a dark expression that held precious little hope.
“When did Blake escape?”
“Around twenty-four hours ago,” Cragen admitted uncomfortably. Olivia nodded, barely concealing a shudder.
“He might already have Elliot, Captain.”
“He might not,” Cragen countered gently. “He might not have anymore idea where Elliot is than we do.”
“Did Fin and Munch check my mail box at my place?” she asked suddenly, and Cragen was momentarily caught off-guard by the abrupt shift in the conversation.
“Well… Yes. It was empty. Why?”
“Because if Elliot had decided to go somewhere after all, he would have left a note for me in my mailbox.”
“Olivia, you’d already left for New Jersey…”
“He would have done it anyway, Captain!” Olivia burst out. “Elliot would have left a note in there telling me where he’d gone, and all Blake would have had to do was look inside, and he would have found it.”
Cragen shut his eyes, suddenly feeling sick. He had been clinging to the slim hope that wherever Elliot was, it was beyond Blake’s reach. But if what Olivia was telling him was for real, then Blake already knew, and he had a terrifyingly huge head-start on them all. And there was not a damned thing they could do about it.
Elliot moaned aloud, his sleep disturbed by terrifying images from his past. Bobby glanced up at him in concern for a brief moment before returning his attention to putting together the stretcher from the rescue gear. It was a little more complicated than it appeared to be and, truth be told, he had never been one to strictly follow instructions on paper, and it didn’t help any that his head felt like someone was operating a jackhammer inside of it.
Consequently, he’d had to pull the stretcher apart twice now. This time, he was reading the instructions as he went, though with not much more success. Elliot moaned again, and Bobby spared him another worried glance, concerned that perhaps he was sinking into some sort of mild delirium, but in the end there was little more he could do than just sit and wait.
Elliot sat in his car, heart in his throat. What he was doing was about as far removed from official procedure as it was possible to get, and he knew he was going to get his ass kicked for it later on, but he had no choice. At least, that was going to be his defence later on, when IAB, the DA’s office and his CO all tried to hang him out to dry. He had no choice, and his partner’s life depended on him complying with Blake’s insane demands.
Three days. It had been three days now since Blake had snatched Olivia right in the middle of a sting operation that had gone horribly, horribly wrong. For three days there had been no word, no clues and no viable leads. Blake had gone to ground with Olivia, and apparently had no intentions of surfacing... until now.
Less than an hour ago, just after he’d arrived at SVU headquarters, there had been a call to his cell phone, from an unidentified number. It was Blake, and he had been very precise and extremely firm in his demands. If he wanted Liv back alive, he had to be at a certain location in Queens in an hour, and he had to be alone. If he showed up with back-up, Liv was dead.
He rubbed a hand over his face, vaguely aware of the sweat that beaded his forehead and face. After getting that call, he had quickly scribbled a note and slipped it into Fin’s locker, explaining his actions and telling him where he’d gone in the hope that his colleagues would not be too far behind him.
Of course, he knew he was taking a deadly risk, and he was under no illusions that Blake would just let them both go. The sick son of a bitch wanted something, but right at the moment Elliot just could not see past his fear for Olivia’s safety, to know what that something was. That fear clouded his mind and, if he was completely honest with himself, his judgement as well. But Olivia’s safety was paramount to him, and he dared do nothing that he perceived as putting her at further risk.
All he could hope was that Blake would slip up somehow. One chance was all he needed, and he would take Blake down… but first he needed Blake to take him to Olivia. He needed to see her with his own eyes, and know she was alive, before he risked anything at all.
The passenger door suddenly opened, and Darius Blake slid into the seat, holding the biggest knife that Elliot had ever seen, and wearing a disturbed grin that left the detective feeling starkly afraid.
“Hello, Elliot,” Blake whispered, and it was with a chill that Elliot noted the way Blake’s eyes swept up and down his body.
“Where is she?” he demanded, and was quietly disturbed to find his voice was trembling. Blake’s grin widened.
“Relax, Elliot. I’m gonna take you to her, just like I promised. You just drive.”
“I'll tell you when to turn. You know how to follow directions, don't you? Sure you do. And here's your first one. Turn on the engine, and drive.”
Blake led him on a not so merry drive all around Queens in what Elliot supposed was an attempt to disorient him, before finally directing him to pull up in front of a disturbingly ordinary looking house, in a sparsely populated neighbourhood.
To Elliot’s growing concern, Blake made no effort to conceal the car from sight, but rather had him leave it out on the street, in full view. To Elliot’s way of thinking, that suggested very much that Blake didn’t give a damn who saw – he was either that confident in his ability to do what he was planning quickly, or he was arrogant enough to believe that he simply wouldn’t be caught. Whichever it was, it didn’t bode well for him or for Olivia.
With the tip of the knife poking between his shoulder blades, Elliot reluctantly allowed himself to be herded inside.
He fully expected to be take downstairs into a dank basement, or upstairs to a musty, dark attic, but it seemed that Blake was determined to shatter all of his preconceptions. He found himself herded into a large room that he suspected might have been used as a family room by a previous occupant. Now, though, there were only two pieces of furniture to be seen – two sturdy wooden chairs, one of which was occupied by Olivia.
“Liv,” Elliot whispered, both dismayed and relieved. By all appearances, she seemed to be unharmed; just visibly exhausted, and very frightened. He started forward, intending to go to her, only to be brought up short when Blake slipped the blade of the knife around under his chin, and held it to his throat.
“Not so fast, Elliot. I told you I’d bring you to her, but I never said you could touch. Now, have a seat.”
Elliot hesitated, his eyes flickering from the vacant seat to Liv, searching desperately for a way out for the both. Any thoughts or ideas he’d had ended abruptly in a howl of pain as Blake dragged the knife across Elliot’s left shoulder, creating a deep, gouging cut.
“Sit!” Blake roared, shoving Elliot roughly to the empty chair. Then, in a softer voice, “You don’t want to make this harder than it has to be.”
Elliot sat, his heart in his throat and his stomach churning. Blake disappeared from his line of sight, but he had no chance to move, or even think, for seconds later his arms were wrenched painfully behind his back, and he felt the cold steel of his own handcuffs as Blake closed them tightly around his wrists. Blake then reappeared in front of him, grinning maniacally.
“Now, did you have anything to say before I start?”
“What the fuck do you want?” Elliot burst out, struggling to keep his fear and panic in check. Blake laughed delightedly, thrilled by the raw fear that his prey was experiencing. He leant in close, so that they were only inches apart, before speaking in a harsh whisper.
“I want you, Elliot.”
Elliot looked past Blake to Olivia, took in her saucer-wide eyes, and knew the revelation was as much of a shock to her as it was to him. His eyes went back to Blake, and his stomach dropped at the leering way that Blake was eyeing him thoroughly up and down.
His memories rolled back over the last two months, to Blake’s victims, and the brutal way they had all been sexually assaulted and raped. Then, his gaze focused on Blake once more, and on his lecherous grin, and his blood ran cold.
No, he thought in growing panic, please no. Not that…
“We’re gonna put on a real show for your girlfriend, Elliot,” Blake whispered into his ear. “She’ll like that. Don’t you think she’ll like that?”
“Y… You crazy bastard,” Elliot gasped, cringing away as Blake stroked first one cheek, and then the other, with the tip of his blade.
“Maybe I am crazy,” Blake conceded, “but I’m the one with the power now, and that’s all that matters. Doesn’t it, Elliot?”
And then, for the next few minutes, Elliot could only sit stiffly in fear as Blake systematically sliced away every item of clothing that he wore. By the time he’d finished, Elliot was completely naked, left with no so much as his under-shorts to retain his dignity. And all the while, Blake talked with a nauseating tone of longing in his voice.
“I’ve been watching you, Elliot. For the last three days, I’ve been watching you so closely, and you never had a clue that I was there. You know, when I took your pretty girlfriend here, I thought she was the one that I wanted, but I was so, so wrong. I watched you to see how you’d react, and then I couldn’t stop watching. You fascinated me, Elliot. So strong, yet so vulnerable… And those eyes. I had to have those eyes.” He licked his lips, as though in sick anticipation. “Although, don’t kid yourself that I wouldn’t have had your precious Olivia if I couldn’t have you, because I would have. But I wanted you, and now I have you. You’re mine, Elliot. All mine.”
Again, Blake disappeared from sight, this time leaving the room completely.
He couldn’t bring himself to meet Olivia’s gaze when she finally spoke, her voice sounding hoarse and sore. Here he was, naked and vulnerable in front of her… It was hard for him to imagine how it could possibly be any worse.
Blake returned, with two or three lengths of rope, and he began to crouch down in front of Elliot with them in hand. Elliot took the slim opportunity, and kicked Blake hard in the face, feeling a grim satisfaction as he felt the other man’s nose crunching and breaking beneath the bare sole of his foot.
Blake fell over backwards, landing on his ass as he howled more out of rage at Elliot’s defiance than in pain. He prodded gingerly at his nose, whimpering softly before looking back up at Elliot in open fury.
“That’s going to cost you,” he snarled, and snatched up the knife from where he’d dropped it.
Elliot could only watch helplessly as Blake grabbed his right leg by the ankle, and lifted the foot into the air.
“I’ve heard that a cut in the right place can cripple a man,” Blake said, grinning with sadistic pleasure at the fear that lit up Elliot’s eyes. He paused for a long moment before going on. “I don’t know how to do that. I wish I did, but I ain’t a fuckin’ doctor.” He paused again, letting Elliot experience some degree of relief before speaking once more. “All the same, I bet this is gonna fuckin’ hurt.”
And with that, he drove the blade of the knife into Elliot’s calf muscle and dragged it down, almost to his ankle.
It wasn’t especially clear who screamed the loudest – Elliot or Olivia. All they knew was that the sound seemed to only egg Blake on, and he was giggling insanely as he repeated the act on Elliot’s left leg. When he was done, he looked up at Elliot’s ashen features, and into his pain-filled eyes. Blake’s evil smile widened. Elliot’s beautiful, perfect sapphire eyes…
“Did you really think I was gonna rape you, Elliot?” he asked softly. “Is that what you thought? Well, I guess it’s your lucky day, Detective, ’cause I don’t do men. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure you’d make some guy really happy, but it ain’t gonna be me. Not in that way. No, I’ve got other plans for you.” Blake twirled the knife in front of Elliot’s face, watching the detective’s eyes dilate with fear and pain. “Now it’s your turn to be the victim.”
Two hours later, Elliot was in more pain than he had ever imagined was possible. In addition to his legs, Blake had taken his precious knife to his arms, chest, back, buttocks, abdomen… Initially, the only area of his body that remained untouched was his face. Blake seemed to fancy himself as an artist, carving out distinct patterns on Elliot’s chest and back in particular. Especially cruel was the bag of salt that Blake kept with him, layering it liberally onto each new wound ‘to preserve his work’.
At one point, in sheer desperation, Elliot head-butted Blake as the killer moved around in front of him, striking hard enough to send Blake reeling backwards. But then, Blake sliced the blade along the side of Elliot’s head, just above his left ear, leaving a long, laceration and threatening to scalp him if he tried such a move again.
At some stage, Elliot managed to focus beyond Blake, on his distraught partner, but there was nothing he could do to reassure her. All he knew was pain, and that pain found a voice in the strangled screams that tore from his throat as Blake carved into him with sick enthusiasm.
After two hours, Elliot’s screams of pain had been reduced to low, pitiful, gurgling moans. When Blake finally stepped back to survey his handiwork, Elliot was barely even aware of it. He was barely aware when Blake left the room, muttering something about needing a clean knife so as not to damage his prize. He was barely aware when Olivia tried desperately to get his attention, and he was barely aware when Blake walked back in, his knife clean of blood, and gleaming and sharp.
When Blake advanced on him, new intent written all over his face and radiating from his body language, Elliot was suddenly aware again. All of a sudden, he knew he was about to suffer the same horrendous end as Blake’s previous victims, with his eyes being cut right out of his head, leaving him to either bleed out, or die from shock.
His mouth, already dry and bloodied, opened to voice a scream that was never going to make it past his lips. Blake laughed harshly, pausing in front of his intended victim, and turning the blade over and over in his hand.
“You’ve been my best work, Elliot,” he told him gutturally, and Elliot was both nauseated and horrified to realise that Blake was sporting a raging hard-on, and he knew then that once he was dead, it would be Olivia’s turn next. His surrendering to Blake had not saved her, but merely subjected her to the torment of watching him being tortured and murdered before she suffered the same fate.
He shut his eyes, not to block out Blake’s image but to block out Olivia’s. A moment later, Blake’s fingers pried his left eyelid open.
“Gotta keep ’em open, Elliot,” Blake muttered with a frown of concentration. “You wouldn’t want me to cut wrong, and damage them. That wouldn’t be a good thing at all.”
He saw the blade coming towards him, the sharpened point descending towards his eyeball, and he braced himself for what he knew was going to be excruciating agony…
And then, suddenly, Blake was gone, dragged away from him by an unknown entity and howling in rage and indignation at the interruption. Briefly, Elliot wondered it Olivia had somehow broken free. But no, she was still tied to the other chair.
A face descended into his line of sight. Not Blake’s, but someone else’s. Fin…
Voices spoke to him, uttering words that made no sense in his traumatised mind. He was vaguely aware of his wrists being released from the cuffs, and being lifted gently from the chair and laid out onto an ambulance gurney, and being covered with a crisp white sheet. For a crazy moment, he thought he was dead, but no. They left his face uncovered, so he was, indeed, still alive.
He lost consciousness completely in the ambulance somewhere between Blake’s house of horrors and the hospital, and would not regain consciousness for another five days. He was to be hospitalised for two and half weeks in total – it would have been longer, but for his determination not to stay beyond what he absolutely had to – and it was another two months after that before he was cleared physically, mentally and emotionally to return to active duty.
It was to be far, far longer, though, before he could go to sleep, or even just relax and close his eyes, without seeing Darius Blake hovering over him with that knife…
When Elliot’s low, distressed moans erupted into hysterical screams, Bobby abandoned the newly-constructed stretcher and scrambled over to where Elliot lay, thrashing on the ground as much as his battered body would allow. Talking proved pointless – wherever Elliot’s mind was right then, it was beyond verbal reassurances.
Grimacing, and anxious to keep Elliot from injuring himself worse than he already was, Bobby carefully straddled the other man’s broken and battered body in an effort to hold him down without causing more pain and discomfort than was necessary.
Mike heard Elliot’s screams and, hoping to God that nothing more had gone wrong, abandoned his search for suitable sticks that could be used as a brace and hurried back to where Bobby waited with their injured friend.
Panic rose in his gut with frightening speed, and one name lurched into his confused mind. Darius Blake…
Desperate to save himself from what he perceived to be another assault, Elliot reached out weakly with his left hand, searching for something he could use as a weapon. After a moment, his hand closed over a fist-sized rock.
Mike strode back into the clearing, and froze, his eyes going wide as he took in the scene before him. Bobby was crouching over Elliot, hands pressed gently to the other man’s shoulders and telling him loudly that he was safe, and to stop struggling. And while Elliot was apparently still incapable of a verbal reply, he had found another way to respond. In his left hand, there was a rock at least the size of a baseball, and he was slowly lifting it off the ground.
Realising what was about to happen, Mike broke his paralysis, and charged forward, shouting a warning as he ran.
“Bobby, look out!”
Bobby heard Mike’s bellowed warning, and his head whipped from side to side as he first took in his brother’s panicked expression and then back to Elliot. He caught sight of movement in his peripheral vision and started to turn his head, but was a split second too late.
The rock slammed into the side of his head and Bobby’s vision erupted in bright lights and stars. Pain exploded in his skull as he felt something give way under the violent blow, and he collapsed sideways to the ground. Dimly he was aware of Mike leaning over the top of him, saying something, but he was beyond comprehending anything.
The last thing his mind registered was the raw fear in his brother’s eyes, and then everything faded to black.
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