A/N: I'll be ducking for cover after posting this chapter, but I have to put up this disclaimer. Mr Blake's opinions on Bobby's eyes are not representative of the author's opinions. I think Bobby's eyes are extremely gorgeous.

Darius Blake was seriously pissed off. Everything had gone wrong, and now it seemed his prize was permanently out of his reach. Even if he got himself free of his bindings and found them, the odds that Elliot had survived that fall were slim, and he did not want the eyes of a dead man.

No, he’d learnt early on that taking the eyes while the victim was still alive was the only way to do it. Eyes from a dead body were dull and ordinary, whereas eyes taken from a living person seemed to him like he’d captured a piece of that individual’s soul.

And there was the truth that he had never confessed to anyone. The eyes themselves were not the trophies that he claimed, but a portion of his victims’ very souls. He had so looked forward to claiming his piece of Elliot Stabler’s soul. He’d planned it meticulously during the many months he’d been locked up, and he was beyond furious that his carefully-laid plans had been ruined by those two interlopers. If those other two cops hadn’t been there, he would have had his prize by now. It burned him to the core that he’d missed out.

Blake grunted in pain as he squirmed in the narrow bath tub. Maybe when he got loose, he’d do what he’d planned to them, instead. He had to admit, he’d liked the glimpse he’d gotten of one of them in particular – a pair of beautiful, Irish-green eyes. He’d only ever had one other pair of green eyes, and he wouldn’t mind starting off his new collection with another pair. No, he wouldn’t mind that at all.

As for the other cop… He had a pair of chocolate brown eyes that were nice enough to look at, but they didn’t excite him at all. Threatening to take them after Elliot had fallen down that precipice had been the rage talking. He’d been furious, and he wanted to see terror in the big cop’s eyes. He didn’t want them for himself, though. There was nothing special about them for him to want to try and take them, so… what was his name, Bobby? Bobby would be spared that particular torture.

There were, however, plenty of other things that Blake had already decided that he wouldn’t mind doing to him. His time in prison had given him a certain, somewhat twisted appreciation for the male body that he had never had before, and he was already personally acquainted with the power that could be attained through rape and sexual torture. He really liked the idea of bringing that big, arrogant son of a bitch cop down, and he believed that was the way to do it. There was nothing quite like seeing a confident personality like that cop reduced to a quivering emotional wreck.

Blake shifted uncomfortably, realising he was starting to become aroused by the thoughts of what he was going to do when he got his hands on the two cops. Never mind all that right then. Before he could concern himself with them, he needed to get himself loose.

Another grunt of pain escaped him. About half an hour ago, after a little luck and a lot of ingenuity, Blake had finally managed to get his hands on a bar of soap. So far, he’d worked one hand halfway through the cuffs, until his knuckles prevented him from getting it any further through. He suspected he was going to have to break a bone or two in his own hands to get them out of the cuffs entirely, but he stalled on doing that in the hope that he might still be able to slip it through.

He wasn’t afraid of the pain that breaking his own hands would bring. Usually he welcomed pain, but breaking his hands to escape would severely hamper his ability to deal with his prey. He needed to be able to wield a knife, and he couldn’t do that if both hands were broken. He didn’t want anything holding him back now that he’d acquired a new set of goals for himself.

Gritting his teeth, Blake pulled hard against the cuff and, finally, his hand slid through the gap. The metal edge took off more than a thing layer of skin, but the bones were all intact. His hand hurt like it was on fire, but he could still use it and it was a hurt that he could use as a driving force.

Grinning maniacally, Blake went to work on his other cuffed wrist.

“ETA, five minutes,” Cragen told them as he came back from speaking to the pilot. “We can’t land right where the cabin is. There’s not enough room for the chopper. We’ll be setting down about ten minutes away, but the PD from the nearest town has been alerted. They’ll be waiting for us with vehicles.”

“We’re going to have a hell of a time explaining all of this if Blake isn’t here,” Munch commented ruefully.

“He’s here,” Olivia said with grim certainty as she stared at her hands. “I know he is, and we have to get down there as fast as we can.”

As promised, there were vehicles awaiting their use when the chopper landed, and they soon bundled into the cars and were on their way to the Deakins’ cabin. In the second car, Alex and Carolyn sat in the rear seat, with Ross in the front with the driver. The captain glanced over his shoulder at them, taking in their pale, distressed faces with concern.

“I’m sure they’ll be okay,” he said finally. Carolyn uttered a short, bitter laugh.

“Excuse me, Captain Ross, but you don’t know Mike and Bobby. They’ve been best friends ever since that first weekend, and they’ve hardly been able to keep out of trouble since then. Every time they spend a significant amount of time together, they end up in some sort of trouble.”

“And it’s not always Mike who instigates it, either,” Alex added. She looked across at Carolyn. “Remember two and a half months back? When they got themselves arrested for creating a public nuisance, and being drunk and disorderly outside the Two-Seven? That was Bobby’s brilliant idea, putting the Staten Island Lifeguards sign up outside the precinct. Not Mike’s.”

Ross could barely conceal the smirk that crept onto his face.

“That would explain the phone call I got from Lieutenant Van Buren about maintaining adequate control over my detectives. I never was able to get her to explain that one fully.”

“Pair of idiots didn’t even remember getting arrested the next morning,” Carolyn snorted. “They woke up in a holding cell, and thought it was just a prank by some of Mike’s former Two-Seven colleagues, until Van Buren showed them the booking forms. They’re damned lucky that she’s got a soft spot for Mike, and dropped the charges pretty much straight away. That’s why it never officially got back to you, Sir.”

“Soft spot my ass,” Alex retorted. “I think she figured the hangovers they had the next day were more than punishment enough. That, and the photos that Ed Green took of them both unconscious in the holding cell.”

Ross’s eyebrows shot up.

“Tell me, would there happen to be copies of those still floating around?”

“You wouldn’t be planning on blackmailing them, would you?” Alex asked in mock horror. Ross tried to look innocent, and failed miserably.

“Of course not. Just outright threaten them the next time they act out.”

Carolyn looked away out the window, struggling against the threat of tears.

“God, I hope they’re all right.”

“Have faith, Detective,” Ross told her quietly, although he was having a very hard time concealing his own doubts and fears.

Blake was working on getting his other hand out of the cuffs when he heard the chopper overhead, and he knew beyond any doubt that it was help coming for his intended victims. Cursing angrily, he set to work in earnest to free his other hand, and snarled in pain and anger as he felt something in his hand crack as the appendage finally slid through painfully long minutes later.

Hissing in impatient anger, he quickly untied his ankles, and climbed out of the bath tub. The bathroom door was easily opened – it could only be locked from the inside, and the door opened into the bathroom, making it impossible to brace it from the outside.

Leaving his temporary prison behind, Blake strode through to the kitchen, to find a suitable knife. He wasn’t happy about losing the blade he’d come up the mountain with, but there was little he could do about it. It was going to be a case of just making do with what was available.

He went through the drawers with little care, yanking them out onto the floor and rummaging through the scattered cutlery for a suitable tool. He ignored the large carving knives – they held no interest for him, and were no good for the precision work he had in mind. What he needed was something small, sharp and precise…

Blake’s face lit up, and he snatched a small paring knife up off the floor. It felt good in his hands, was small enough for what he wanted, and it looked wickedly sharp. Grinning, he straightened up again. All he needed now was a torch, and he could go get his new prizes.

The back door that led from the kitchen outside suddenly exploded inward, and Blake cringed as he was nearly blinded by a powerful torch.

Police! Don’t move, Blake!”

He knew that voice. It was the same voice that he’d heard in his ear as he was pulled away from Elliot the first time. With a snarl of rage, Blake turned to flee, only to be forced to a halt when cops surged through the other door into the kitchen, weapons also at the ready. He was surrounded before he knew it, trapped with nowhere to run to.

Slowly, Don Cragen approached Blake, weapon drawn and ready to fire at a moment’s notice.

“Drop the knife, Darius. Just let it go.”

For a long moment, it seemed Blake wasn’t going to comply. But then, finally, he loosened his grip on the blade and it dropped to the floor with a clatter. Fin moved in and pulled Blake’s hands behind him, cuffing him firmly, while Cragen moved within arm’s length of the killer.

“Where are they, Blake?”

Blake stood frozen for a moment before a sly grin settled across his features, and he visibly relaxed as it occurred to him that these cops didn’t know he’d just escaped from the makeshift prison of the bathroom, and they didn’t know that he didn’t have their precious detectives. Oh, but he was going to have fun with this…

“Where are who, Captain?”

“Don’t mess us around, Blake,” Cragen snarled angrily. “You know who I mean. Where is Detective Stabler, Detective Logan and Detective Goren?”

Blake looked around slowly, taking in the faces that surrounded him, and his grin widened when he spotted Olivia.

“Detective Benson,” he practically purred. “Didn’t think I’d ever get to see you again. Today’s just getting better and better.”

“Where are they?” Cragen exploded, but Blake fell silent, still with that infuriating smirk on his face.

“Okay,” Ross said grimly. “Let’s secure this son of a bitch, and then we’ll search the cabin.”

Cragen nodded, grateful to have another authority figure step in. He was far too close to this case to be truly objective.

“Let’s do it, people. Now!”

“Find something?”

Fin and Munch looked around to see Ross standing there behind them, and both men automatically stepped out of the way to let him see what they’d found.

“Someone was held in here,” Fin commented soberly as they observed the bathroom from the doorway. “No way of knowing who.”

“But you could make an educated guess,” Ross put in.

“Elliot,” Munch suggested darkly, and Fin agreed.

Ross ventured forward, looking cautiously into the tub, and neither Fin nor Munch could miss the relief on his face.

“There’s blood, but not much. Whoever was in this tub, I don’t think Blake harmed them in here.” He paused, reflecting that that was probably not the most comforting thought, but there was nothing more he could offer the two anxious detectives. And, honestly speaking, he was as worried about Bobby and Mike as they were about Elliot. “Regardless of who he had in here,” he went on, “they’re not here anymore. There’s no one else in the cabin, or the immediate area around the cabin.”

“Is Blake talking?” Fin asked as they followed Ross out.

“No. The son of a bitch said he’ll talk, but only to the women. Since Cragen isn’t letting them anywhere near him, it’s turned into a stalemate.”

“Give me five minutes alone with him,” Fin said heatedly. “I’ll get him to talk.”

It took some effort for Ross to suppress a powerful desire to agree with Fin. It was all too tempting to just belt the living daylights out of Blake until he told them where their colleagues were. Sometimes, Ross thought in bemusement, he heartily wished he was still a detective, and not one of the brass. Some days, he hated having to toe the political line.

“I understand your anger, Detective,” Ross told him quietly, “but it wouldn’t achieve anything.”

“No?” Munch remarked dryly. “I’d feel better.”

“We need him to talk, Captain, no matter how we do it,” Fin said tensely. “Elliot’s life might depend on it. Goren’s and Logan’s lives, too.”

Ross paused before leading the way back into the living area, where Cragen was currently trying to interrogate Blake.

“We’ll get him to talk, Detective Tutuola. One way or another, believe me.”

He turned and walked into the next room, and Fin and Munch exchanged grim looks before following in silence.

“I can’t believe Cragen wouldn’t let us in there,” Olivia growled as she paced back and forth in the kitchen. Carolyn regarded her with sympathy.

“What good would it do to be in there? Blake just sees every female as a potential victim. He wouldn’t take us seriously, and he sure as hell wouldn’t tell us where the guys are.”

“Assuming he even knows,” Alex added quietly, drawing both Olivia’s and Carolyn’s attention to her.

“What do you mean?” Olivia asked, frowning. Alex looked back at them.

“We’re all just assuming that he has them somewhere. But what if he doesn’t? What if they got away from him?”

“If they did, then they’re on foot somewhere,” Carolyn mused. “They already found the car Blake stole, and the guys’ car had all four tires slashed.”

“If they’re hiding somewhere nearby, though, they would have heard the chopper,” Olivia argued. “They would have heard us arrive here, wouldn’t they?”

Carolyn shrugged.

“Let’s assume they did get away from Blake. Maybe they’re hurt… maybe not. But I doubt they would have stayed close by while Blake was on the loose.”

“They could be anywhere,” Alex whispered, feeling that same pervasive sense of helplessness as when Bobby and Mike had been missing that very first time.

“There’s one thing we can take comfort in,” Carolyn reminded the other two detectives. “Wherever they are, they’re together. They’ll take care of each other. They’ll be okay.”

Olivia nodded mutely and resumed her pacing, and in doing so missed the look that was passed between Alex and Carolyn, the look that said as much as they wanted to believe that their men were all right, they knew better.

Blake was enjoying himself, so much so that even Ross was having a hard time not giving in to the urge to start smacking him around. He wanted to, so badly that it almost physically hurt, but he restrained himself. A brief glance told him that Cragen was having a similarly hard time.

“We’re wasting time, Captain,” Fin said impatiently, while glaring at Blake. “He’s just jerking us around. He’s not gonna tell us where they are.”

Cragen didn’t answer. He was too angry and too frustrated even to think straight. It was a black night out there now, though, and they couldn’t start searching until first light. They had no option but to stay where they were and keep at Blake.

Slowly, Ross moved around to the door, to stand behind Blake. This required a different approach. If Bobby had been here, he knew he could have counted on the big detective to pull some trick out of his proverbial hat to ensnare Blake. But Bobby was not there, and it was up to those present to come up with a way of tricking Blake into giving up the information that they wanted.

With that in mind, Ross slipped silently out of the room, leaving Blake alone with the SVU team.

“Captain?” Alex asked softly as Ross strode into the kitchen. “What’s happening?”

“He won’t talk,” Ross told them bluntly, “but I have an idea. I’m going to go back in there, and I want you to wait about five minutes, and then come in and tell us they’ve been found.”

Alex’s eyebrows went up.

“You want me to lie?”

Ross didn’t miss the amusement in her voice, but diplomatically chose to ignore it.

“I want you to act. You can act, can’t you, Detective Eames?”

“I spent two and a half years in Vice, and six years as Bobby’s partner,” Alex said flatly. “I can act.”

Ross nodded, satisfied.

“Good. Just remember, wait about five minutes before you give your little performance.”

“So what happens after I do that?” Alex asked. “You don’t expect him to just blurt it out, do you?”

“No,” Ross admitted. He looked around at Olivia. “That’s where you come in, Detective Benson.”

Olivia ceased her pacing very abruptly.


“Yes,” Ross confirmed. “You. Once we all leave, I need you to go in there, and bait him, Detective Benson. Do you think you can do that? I know what he put you through the last time, and I’ll understand if you can’t…”

“I can do it,” Olivia cut him off abruptly. “I want to do it.”

“Okay,” Ross murmured. “Just, be careful, and don’t get too close to him, all right? Barek, you go in with her. Just stay in the background, and don’t involve yourself unless you have to.”

Carolyn nodded in wordless acquiescence. Ross turned his attention back to Alex.

“Five minutes,” he told her, and then he was gone again.

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