The insistent trilling of his cell rouses him from sleep, and he groans. Fucks sake, he thinks, opening his eyes to far too much sunlight in his hotel room. I’ve spent most of the last week babysitting a billionaire’s kid on bar crawls night after night, doing nothing but trailing after him and sleeping, getting back here at seven, eight am and someone decides to call me at - he squints at the numbers on the clock that resides on his nightstand - noon. Seriously? Life after divorce is not something to be jealous of…
Deciding that the only way to shut the incessant noise up is to answer the damn thing, he picks the offending phone up, hitting the answer button and putting it to his ear. “‘Lo?” He asks, still half asleep.
A stifled sob sounds down the line, and his brows furrow, cop instincts kicking in in a microsecond at the distinct sound of someone in clear distress. “Hello?” He asks again, pulling the cell from his ear to check the screen. Unknown Number, it reads. Helpful. “Who’s there?”
“El-” Another sob. “Please… please don’t hang up… please…”
That voice. The one he would never have left had he heard… “Liv?”
“Please don’t hang up.”
Fully awake now, he sits up in bed. “Liv?” He repeats. “Liv, what’s wrong? What’s happened?” Her voice… she sounds afraid- no, terrified and it makes his heart race. “Are you hurt?” He tries, at her silence, her muffled sobbing. “Where are you?”
“…I don’t know.”
Those three words strike a fear in him stronger than he’s ever felt; stronger than the time Dickie had split his head open, blood pouring everywhere as he and Kathy rushed him to the ER; stronger than even the time Fin had come to pick him up in a helicopter, a rushed story about a car accident and Liv and Kathy and labour and so much panic then, he never thought he’d feel so frightened ever again-
Until right now.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” He asks her, forcing himself not to panic, to keep his cop brain at the forefront. Identify the problem, find out where she is, find out if she’s still in danger and get her help, his brain tells him. “Liv, what’s happened? Tell me.”
“He…” She pauses. “He… he took me… f-f-f-ffour days ago.” She stumbles over the words, fear and something else he can’t place colouring her voice.
Four days. The words sound like a gunshot through his head. Four fucking days Jesus Christ… “Liv, how bad are you hurt?” He asks her, because there’s no way in hell that ‘he’, whoever he is, hasn’t hurt her after four days. He waits for her answer while scrabbling around for the hotel room phone that he knows is in here somewhere-
“Everything hurts.” The whispered words slice through him like a knife.
He forces himself to take a breath, finally spotting the phone. Grabbing it, he prays that he’s remembered Cragen’s number correctly, dialling one handed. “Are you bleeding?” He asks her. She’s obviously conscious and breathing, she’s talking to him for God’s sake.
“A bit…” She says eventually. “Where are you El?” She asks, seemingly more lucid all of a sudden. “Will you come get me?”
His heart breaks. “I don’t know where you are sweetheart,” he tells her. He’s not sure where the ‘sweetheart’ came from, he’s never called her that in his life but he’s not about to think about that right now. “I’m calling for help, okay? I’m calling for help and they’re gonna trace the call and find out where you are and then I’m coming, okay? I’m gonna come, I promise.”
“Just stay on the line with me Liv,” he tells her. “I’m right here, I’m just getting some help, okay…” Putting the hotel phone to his other ear, the line rings twice before his old Captain answers with a gruff, harried bark of his last name. “Cap, it’s Elliot,” he says quickly. “I’m hoping you’re looking for Liv… she called me on my cell, she doesn’t know where she is and she’s hurt, I need you to trace the call.”
“Oh, thank god,” Cragen responds. He hears Cragen shouting for someone to trace the call, repeating Elliot’s cell number to whoever it is he’s speaking to. “Is she safe? Is Lewis secure, is she still with him?”
Lewis. Now Elliot has a name of the person he wants to murder with his bare hands, if nothing else. “I don’t know,” he tells his old Captain. “I’ll ask her, hang on.” Pulling the hotel phone mouthpiece away, he twists his cell phone back to it’s right position, having had it with only the speaker next to his ear in case Liv said something while he spoke to Cragen. “Liv? Is Lewis secure, are you safe?”
A pause. “I knocked him out…” She says eventually, slowly. “Cuffed him to the bed.”
“Okay, that’s great Liv,” Elliot says. “I got Cragen, he’s getting the call traced, they’re gonna find out where you are, okay?” He switches his attention back to the other phone. “She knocked him out,” he tells Cragen. “He’s cuffed and unconscious.” A sharp intake of breath from his cell speaker diverts his attention. “Liv?” He asks. “What’s happened?”
“He’s waking up…” Her voice is so quiet, Elliot can barely hear it.
“Okay,” he replies. “You said he was cuffed, right? Cuffed to the bed so he’s secure… right?”
“He’s cuffed to the bed yeah…” She confirms, to Elliot’s relief. “But it’s the bed I broke… to get away from him.”
Elliot swears under his breath. “He’s awake,” he tells Cragen. “To the bed that she just told me she broke to get away from him, so I don’t think he’s all that secure.”
It’s Cragen’s turn to swear now, before a pause as he speaks to someone at his end. “We got a trace,” he tells Elliot. “Tell her we’re on our way, we’ll be there in five minutes maximum. I’ll call you back when we’ve got her.” Cragen hangs up after that, and Elliot throws the phone onto the bed beside him. “Liv?” He speaks into his cell.
“Still here,” She whispers. “He’s awake… I can hear him trying to break the bar like I did…”
Scrubbing his hand down his face, he thinks fast. “Is there somewhere you can hide?” He asks her. “They traced the call, they know where you are and they’re coming but…” He knows that five minutes is both nothing and a lifetime, especially when alone with someone who is clearly very dangerous. “Is there somewhere you can hide, somewhere you can lock the door?”
“…No…” Her voice is so small, so afraid, so unlike the Olivia he knows, it sends him into a whole new spiral of terror.
“Okay,” he says, thinking more. “Is there something you can use to defend yourself?” He tries. “A knife, anything?”
“I… I got my gun back from him.”
“Okay,” he says. “Okay, that’s good. You got it there?”
“Okay,” he breathes. “Okay, you keep hold of it, yeah? They’re-” He checks his watch. “They’re just a couple of minutes away Liv, alright? Just a couple of minutes now, they’re almost there. You just stay on the line with me, I’m right here, and you just hold on and if Lewis… if he gets loose, if he moves you fire, okay? Don’t hesitate, just fire. You listening?”
“I’m listening. Don’t hesitate…”
“Good, that’s good Liv.” He breathes, shaky. “You just hang on, I’m right here.”
The next three minutes, mostly silent except for Liv’s shaky breathing, her muffled sobs down the phone, are the longest three minutes of Elliot’s entire life so far, until finally, finally there’s a commotion to be heard, shouts of police, of NYPD echoing down the line and then Liv’s shaking breaths vanish, replaced by Cragen’s steady tone.
“We’ve got her,” he tells him. “She’s okay, we’re gonna get her to the hospital.”
Elliot breathes a sigh of relief, collapsing back on the mattress, staring at the ceiling.
He leans around the doorway to her hospital room, a kind, gentle smile on his face.
She’s sitting on the bed; bruises and cuts on her face, her arms. Burns on her belly, what little he can see of it past the doctor who is blocking his view and he wishes, wishes so much that Lewis, whoever he is - he hasn’t yet turned on the news to see the inevitable rolling coverage that something like this gets to check - had been killed as opposed to arrested.
She looks up, sees him and lights up. “You came,” she says, voice hoarse. “You came for me.”
He’s at her side in three long strides, unceremoniously nudging the doctor out of the way so he can wrap his arms around her, feeling her arms close around his waist as his lips meet her hair.
“I promised, didn’t I?”