Wolf River Police Department

“You know, I don’t know whether to be grateful, or pissed off.”

Bobby smiled a little in response to his partner’s retort. They were currently ensconced in a small, disused office in the local precinct building, reading through the individual reports on each of the six murders that had happened so far.

Elliot and Olivia, Fin and Munch, and Logan and Bishop were all out seeing to various other assignments. Logan and Bishop had agreed to go to the morgue to view the body of the most recent victim. Fin and Munch were scouting around the town, and Olivia and Elliot… Actually, they had no clue where Olivia and Elliot were right then. All they knew was, they weren’t anywhere in that building.

“We’ll be out there soon enough,” Bobby murmured as he pushed one report to the side and picked up another one. “I’m happy to stay right here for now, though.”

Alex regarded him seriously.

“You mean, you’re happy to stay out of sight of that mountain.”

He paused, then looked up at her slowly.

“Yes,” he admitted quietly. “Alex, tell me something?”


“Why didn’t you come and get me this morning? Why sit outside like that? And don’t tell me it’s because you didn’t think there was any point at three-thirty in the morning, or that you didn’t want to wake Fin up.”

She sighed and looked away from him.

“I froze up. The thing is, Bobby, I was coming to get you, but when I got outside and I saw the mountain… All the memories came back like a tidal wave. I… I sat down, and then I couldn’t move. I couldn’t take my eyes off the damn thing, and then I kept going over and over in my head everything that happened when I woke up the next morning.”

“After we had that fall?”


He reached across the desk, and grasped her hand gently.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what? That I couldn’t sleep, and then I let myself get freaked out by a big hill? It wasn’t your fault. Jesus, Bobby…”

“I’m sorry that we have to be here for… for something that isn’t even our area of expertise.” He pushed the reports away from him in frustration. “This whole situation is insane. What are we doing here? This is an SVU case, we shouldn’t even be here.”

“If the Commissioner hadn’t been away, we wouldn’t have had to come,” Alex said bitterly. She paused, then a faint smile touched her lips. “He’s going to hit the roof when he gets back and Deakins tells him what Salinger’s done. Can you imagine what Adkins will probably do to him?”

Bobby scowled.

“I know what I’m hoping he’ll do.”

It was Alex’s turn to squeeze her partner’s hand reassuringly.

“We’re not the only ones who would love to see him fired, but we all know it probably won’t happen. Salinger would have to fuck up in a big way to get the boot. Anyway, what are we worried about? We’re going to kill him, remember?”

A smile crept onto Bobby’s face almost before he realised it, and a moment later he was chuckling softly.

“Right, I forgot.”

Alex smiled, pleased she’d gotten a laugh out of him.

“Well, don’t forget it again.”

She hesitated, watching as he returned his attention to the files in front of him. There was a question that had been hanging in her mind since the early hours of that morning, but she didn’t care to upset him again. She was still mulling it over in her mind when Bobby looked back up at her slowly.

“What is it, Alex?”

“Bobby, how much do you remember of that morning?”

The small smile that had briefly lit up his features vanished with frightening speed. He sat up straight, shifting his right leg uncomfortably under the desk.

“I remember waking up to find that arrow gone from my back. I remember…”

He never finished the sentence. A second later, he stood up so fast from the desk that he chair went over backwards with a crash, and he stumbled from the room, in such a hurry that he left his cane behind. Frightened and concerned, Alex hurried after him, and was just in time to see him disappear into the men’s bathroom.

One of Brenner’s deputies, David Miller, had just been coming out, and barely avoided being bowled over by the big detective.

“Something he ate?” Miller inquired of Eames, looking mildly astonished. Alex smiled weakly.

“Something like that. Sorry…”

“Hey, it’s okay. You guys are going through the reports from all the killings, aren’t you?”

Alex nodded wordlessly, and Miller smiled in sympathy.

“It’s understandable, then. There’s some pretty gruesome stuff in there. I’d probably feel like throwing up myself. Tell your partner not to worry about it.”

Miller walked off, then, walking high on the cloud of his own benevolence. Alex watched him go in amusement, then looked back to the men’s room door. She was about to consider going in after him, when the door opened and Bobby emerged looking pale but sheepish.

“Here,” Alex murmured, handing him his cane.

“Thanks. I… I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologise,” she ordered him. “Don’t you dare apologise, Bobby.”

They made their way back into the little room they’d been allocated, and Alex closed the door carefully behind them.

“You want to talk about it?”

He wouldn’t… or couldn’t look at her.

“Not really,” he mumbled. “I guess I need to, though.”

She said nothing, waiting patiently for him to go on. Eventually, he did.

“The first thing I remember of that morning is waking up next to you. For a second… I… I thought you were dead. You were so cold. I think I cried with relief when I realised you were still alive. But you were bleeding… badly… and I had to get that arrow out of your leg.”

“You don’t remember how we actually got out of the water?” she asked softly, trying to hide the disappointment she felt. Bobby shook his head.

“No. There’s nothing in between when we fell, and then. I knew that… that I had to get that arrow out of your leg, but I had to be ready to do something to stop you from bleeding out. So I crawled around… got a fire going… Then I broke off the arrowhead from the arrow in your leg, and put it in the fire.”

“How the hell did you get a fire going?” she asked as it occurred to her how much of a near impossibility that task must have been for him.

“You know, I really don’t remember? I mean, I remember finding sticks for it… but I don’t remember how I actually managed to start it.”

“So what happened then?” Alex asked softly.

“When the arrowhead was hot enough, I pulled the arrow out of your leg… and then I cauterised the entry and exit points to seal the wounds. I think… I think that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Even though you were unconscious… I was terrified you were going to wake up, and… and…”

“But I didn’t,” she reminded him gently. “I never felt a thing. I wish I could say the same for you, though.”

Bobby looked up at her slowly.

“I’m sorry you had to do that, Alex, but I would have died if you hadn’t.”

“I know that, Bobby. I don’t regret having to do it, and it was the least I could do to reciprocate.”

She stood up and walked around behind him, then slipped her arms around his shoulders and hugged him warmly.

“With all these awful memories, it’s a wonder that either of us ever get any sleep at all.”

“Only when we’re together,” Bobby murmured, shutting his eyes and taking comfort in her closeness. “That’s the only time we sleep peacefully.”

“I wonder what Elliot and Olivia meant when they said that now they know how to make sure we get a decent night’s sleep tonight?” Alex wondered.

“Who knows? They can’t have meant sending us home. They would have said that’s what they were going to do.”

“I know what I hope they meant,” Alex said with a wry smile as she broke away from Bobby and sat back down. “But I’m not getting my hopes up.”

He returned her smile with a tentative one of his own.

“How are you doing with those reports?” he asked, deciding it was time to change the subject. Alex sighed and pushed her hair out of her eyes.

“To be honest, Bobby? This is almost nothing like the Erik Mathers case. Someone is abducting women, taking them at least part of the way up the mountain, raping them and then chasing them down and killing them. The only similarities are the location, and the fact that the victims all appear to have been chased. The weapons used aren’t even the same. The victims were all stabbed, and then shot. No arrows, no…”

“Spiky metal balls?” Bobby suggested wryly when Alex hesitated. She smiled ruefully.

“Yes. Bobby, there’s no real organisation to these murders. They were all spur of the moment.”

Bobby nodded his agreement.

“There’s no… no precision or planning in this, not in the way that Mathers planned out what he’d do with each of his victims… like the way he planned what he’d do with us. Salinger would have read the basic reports, he would have known this, and yet he still demanded we come.”

“He didn’t send us because he thought we could help,” Alex said angrily. “He sent us because he wanted to hurt us. He knew damn well that coming back here was the worst thing that could happen to us.”

“Okay,” Bobby said softly. “We’ve established that these murders have nothing to do with Erik Mathers. It’s no copycat, there’s no apparent connection. So let’s get stuck into it, get it solved, and get back home.”

“And never come back here again,” Alex muttered. “Okay, let’s do it.”

“You know, as much as I respect Bobby,” Bishop said wryly as she and Logan left the morgue, “it’s kind of nice to be partnered with someone who doesn’t sniff the bodies.”

Logan smirked.

“Goren’s got a style all his own, I’ll say that much.”

“That’s the understatement of the decade,” Bishop retorted. She paused as they passed through the main doors into the sunshine, and drew in a deep breath. “So, what did you think?”

Logan looked at her thoughtfully.

“Of the bodies? I think it’s a crock that we’re even here. It should have been strictly SVU handling this, and no one else. Salinger’s full of bullshit.”

“I think we all know that,” Bishop said wearily. “But since we’re here…”

“C’mon, Bishop, there’re no similarities at all between the injuries on those bodies in there, and the injuries on the bodies of Erik Mathers’ victims. Not one of those women was pierced with an arrow. And I damn well ought to know, I had one of his fucking arrows through my arm. Remember?”

She didn’t flinch away from him.

“I remember, Mike. Don’t take it out on me. None of us really want to be here, but you’re the one who jumped up and volunteered us. Remember?”

He sighed faintly.

“I know. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Just remember why we’re here. And right now they’re sitting in a room in the local police headquarters, reading reports.”

“I know,” Logan muttered again. He looked back at Bishop as they began the walk back to the precinct. “What happened this morning, anyway? I thought you and Benson were going to keep an eye on Eames.”

Bishop reddened noticeably.

“She never made a sound. Olivia and I just didn’t wake up. Apparently Alex lay awake in bed for a few hours, and then she got up, got dressed and sat outside our room for the rest of the night.”

A frown crossed Logan’s face.

“She wasn’t there when I went out to get some fresh air about six. Wonder where she went…”

“Not far, I’d imagine,” Bishop mused. Logan shrugged.

“Doesn’t matter. She seemed okay this morning at breakfast. A little tired, maybe, but otherwise okay.”

“There’s Benson and Stabler,” Logan said suddenly, and Bishop looked around just as the two SVU detectives joined them. “Where have you two been?” he asked.

“Just seeing to some business,” Olivia said calmly. “Lyn, could I have a word with you? Privately?”

Logan looked on in surprise as the two women fell back away from the men, and began to speak in low whispers once they were out of immediate hearing range.

“What’s that all about?” he asked Elliot, puzzled. Elliot shrugged unconcernedly.

“You know, secret women’s business, and all that shit. Liv’s been so crabby this morning, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s got her period.”

Logan nearly choked.

“You better not let her hear you say that, pal. With all the sexual harassment bullshit going on at the moment…”

Elliot grinned.

“It’s okay. Liv and I have an agreement. I can tease her about her monthlies, as long as she doesn’t have it at the time, and she can harass me about wet dreams.”

Logan shook his head in disbelief.

“Can we move on, please? Too much information.”

Elliot barely concealed his smug grin. Diversion accomplished. Damn, he was good.

“What did you get from your morgue visit?”

“Not a lot. All I can tell you is that none of those victims died in even remotely the same way as Erik Mathers’ victims. That is, the ones that didn’t make it. Mathers dispatched his victims with a crossbow every time. Those women were all stabbed, and then shot dead. This isn’t a copycat. It’s just some sick fuck who happens to be operating in the same area that Mathers did. Except, this whack job isn’t going all the way to New York for his prey. He’s plucking them right out of this town.”

“So we start retracing the steps of all the victims, and seeing where their paths crossed. Let’s get back to the headquarters, and see whether Goren and Eames have come up with anything out of those reports. Then we can start looking into each of the victims, and start doing the hard yards.”

“Where’s Fin and Munch?”

“Last we checked, at the local bar, talking to the locals, seeing who knew the women. Apparently, one of them worked behind the bar.”

“Great,” Logan muttered sourly. “They get the bar assignment. We got to look at dead bodies.”

Elliot grinned, paying no heed to Logan’s griping. He looked back just as Olivia and Bishop rejoined them.

“We’re going to head back to the precinct and see what Goren and Eames have. Then we might go and find Fin and Munch at the local bar. We can have lunch there while we’re at it. After that, we can start retracing the victims’ last steps.”

Olivia nodded. “Okay. Let’s go.”

Logan and Bishop walked on, and Elliot and Olivia fell in step behind them. Without saying a word, Elliot threw a sideways questioning look at his partner, to which Olivia replied with a single, firm nod. A relieved smile filtered onto Elliot’s face, and he kept walking in silence.

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