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Find Him.

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Nick sat in the hospital room beside Fin. They’d watched over her while she slept. Guarding her as they wished they’d been able to do four days earlier. “Do you think he—”

“El.” Olivia’s heart-rending cry interrupted Nick. “El!”

Nick glanced over at Fin to see he’d closed his eyes as if it might block out the pain. He stood and went to gently wake Olivia from her nightmare. “Liv? Liv. You’re in the hospital. We found you. Wake up. You’re safe.”

“Ellio—Oh. Nick.” Olivia sank back onto her pillow with a pained and disappointed groan. “Sorry.”

“Don’t be. Can I get you anything?” Nick asked.

“Retrograde amnesia.” Olivia closed her eyes and slipped back into sleep before he could respond.

“Shit.” Nick kept his voice low. He glanced over at Fin to find his eyes once again focused on Olivia.

“Let’s step outside for a minute.” Fin motioned for Nick to follow him into the hallway. He glanced around before dragging Nick closer. “Got a job for you.”

“Oh?”

Fin pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket. “Got an address in Jersey. Should find a young woman named Kathleen there. She’ll help you find Elliot Stabler.”

“Stabler?”

“Go. Get her to give you an address. And you drag his ass back her at gunpoint if necessary.” Fin shoved him in the direction of the exit. “Fast as you can, Nick. I’ll keep the vultures away from her until you’re back.”

“What the hell is Stabler going to do?”

“Put her back together or I’ll put a bullet in his ass.” Fin disappeared into Olivia’s hospital room and gently eased the door closed in Nick’s face.

Well, fuck.

Great.

Leave me with the shit job of chasing down this pendejo.

The long drive to the address near the beach in Jersey gave Nick plenty of time to think about what he’d say to the man. His partner’s partner. Nick had always wondered if Olivia considered him second best. She’d never say.

She’d stopped mentioning Elliot Stabler after clearing out his desk. But then she’d gone missing. William Lewis. Nick wished he’d put a bullet in his head.

In a dark moment in the precinct, while they’d hunted for her, Nick had heard Fin and Munch talking. They’d reminisced about Stabler. Stabler and Benson. How the two had developed a sixth sense about one another. They’d protected each other.

Always seemed to know when one or the other was in trouble.

Gone to great lengths, risked their careers, to protect each other.

Nick had easily read between the lines. They, like he, were kicking themselves for not checking on her sooner. For not doing what they believed her partner would’ve done.

They’d all seen how fixated William Lewis had been on Olivia.

No one had tried to call her.

Two days.

For two entire days.

“Damn it.” Nick punched his steering wheel. He didn’t think he’d ever get over his guilt.

Not after seeing her in the beach house. He’d been the first one in the door. She’d been standing over William Lewis, swaying on her feet about a second away from collapsing.

Covered in bruises, burns, and blood.

If Fin thought Elliot Stabler might work miracles in patching up her invisible wounds, Nick figured trekking all over Jersey would be worth it.

The beach was crowded. Nick had to park a distance away from the address that Fin had given to him. He had to push away the memories of hunting for Olivia in beach houses.

She was safe.

They’d found her.

“Can I help you?”

Nick spun around from where he’d been about to knock on the door to find a young blonde woman staring suspiciously at him. He moved his arm so she could see the badge clipped on his belt. “I’m looking for Kathleen Stabler.”

“Why?” Her blue eyes narrowed on him.

“Nothing bad. She’s not in any trouble. I just need to speak to her about her father.” Nick knew he was either talking with Kathleen or her older sister. He’d never seen photos of them so he couldn’t say for sure. “I need to find him.”

“He’s not a cop anymore.”

“It’s about his partner.” Nick hoped the Stabler children held some affection for their father’s partner. They had to, right? Hadn’t she saved his life? He frowned when she seemed to immediately crumble into tears. “Are you okay?”

“I saw the news yesterday. I didn’t know until then. Is she okay?” She dragged a hand shakily through her hair when the wind blew it into her face. “Dad’s not here. Mom thought we shouldn’t tell him about Olivia.”

“She’s alive.” Nick didn’t want to lie to her. “I really need to speak with your dad.”

“Katie? Who’s this?”

Nick glanced behind him to find the door had opened and a brightly dressed older woman stood behind him. “Detective Nick Amaro.”

“You’re here about the pretty one.” She waved a scarf at him. “Olivia. Beautiful name. Beautiful woman. Katie? Call your father.”

“Granny.”

“I know what your mother said. Call your father.” She smiled at Nick. “Come in. I’m Bernie. You look like you could use some tea.”

I could use a week of sleep and a bottle of tequila.

After forcibly pushing him onto a sofa, Bernie vanished into the kitchen. Nick took a moment to glance around the room. It was as brightly decorated as she was. Paintings everywhere. None of it fit the image of Elliot Stabler that had formed from the rumors that permeated the precinct about him.

Why had Fin made him do this? Surely a familiar face would’ve been a better option. Or, maybe Fin had been afraid of getting into an argument with the man if he refused to come?

“I’m sorry, dad. I’m sorry. I said we should—” Kathleen came slowly into the house. She slammed the door shut behind her, muttering an apology to Bernie. “I said I’m sorry. It wasn’t my decision. Yes, yes he’s right here. I’ll tell him.”

“He didn’t know?” Nick asked when she’d hung up.

“He’s been working private security all over the world. Mom’s been traveling with him. They’re in Chicago at the moment, though.” Kathleen threw herself into an armchair, grabbing a pillow and clutching it in her arms. “He’s hopping on the first flight home. I’ll give you his number so you can text him. He’ll fly into JFK, probably. Is Olivia going to be okay?”

“I hope so.”