Ren marched up the stairs of the station, she had a determined look on her face and her phone was clenched in her right hand while her handbag dangled over her left shoulder; she had tried to convince herself that she would never again set foot over that station but after Olivia had texted her that she needed help finding some information, the young PI had reluctantly agreed to drop by the station and talk to her and the team. The only thing she was hoping was that the team consisted only of Olivia, Finn and Elliot, who had recently returned to SVU.
As she climbed the stairs, Ren felt her heart starting to pound madly in her chest with anticipation, she grabbed the handrail with her free hand and forced herself to continue up the stairs; she had promised Olivia that she would help and she couldn’t just turn around and run back to her apartment, her word meant a lot and she had to be a professional.
Ren walked into the huge room full of desks and officers walking around and for a moment her body relaxed as she looked around, failing to find any known faces.
“Ren” said a smooth and hoarse voice, Ren turned to her left to find Elliot Stabler walking towards her, his kind smile made her smile back and she could see why Olivia had feelings for him.
“Elliot, hey” she answered as he approached her “I came as soon as I got the text from Liv” she waved her phone “She said it was important”
“Well, since you are a consultant for the police I think you should come over and see what we are dealing with” explained Elliot, he motioned Ren to follow him and soon she was walking behind him towards a conference room.
Elliot pushed the door open and walked inside, Ren followed and found Finn and Amaro and Olivia inside the room, looking at a board with pictures of the missing girls; Ren recognized one immediately.
“Jenn Holt” she whispered, Ren closed the door behind herself and walked towards the board, the greetings could wait a little longer, she pulled the picture out and turned to Olivia “I saw her a few weeks ago”
“So we can assume she is still alive” said Nick.
“Yes” whispered Ren, she turned to Nick and then to Olivia “But she wasn’t there when I went last week, they might have moved her”
“Ok, so I talked to the… a voice erupted in the room and Ren felt every nerve in her body freeze, she slowly turned around and her eyes meet Rafael’s clear ones as he stood on the doorway. “What is she doing here?” he asked, and Finn could have sworn he saw a blush roll over his face and disappear a second later.
“I came to help Ra… Barba” she said, Nick frowned and turned to look at Ren.
“Do we need her help?” asked Barba, he turned to look at Olivia.
“We do” Elliot answered “She saw one of the girls a few weeks ago, that might tell us she is still alive”
Barba looked at Elliot and then turned to look at Ren, his stern look was back but Finn was sure he had seen surprise in his eyes when he saw Ren in the middle of the room.
“Fine” Barba finally agrees, “Ok then, where are the others?”
“You have got to be joking!” barked Ren in her mind, she shots Barba a glare that went unnoticed to all but Finn.
“Checking on a tip we got today” answered Olivia, Ren handed the picture back to Olivia and pulled her phone out.
Please wait 4 me at the station.
Need 2 talk
She read the text and had to suppress a sigh as she shoved her phone back in her jeans, this was about to get worse than it already was and Ren had no idea how to get out of the station without creating a fuss.
The instructions from Olivia don’t take long and Ren was grateful for that, the young PI scribbled down everything Olivia wanted her to investigate and with that Ren turned around and walked out of the conference room.
“She seems to be in a hurry” said Nick, he stood up and as he stretched he noticed Ren had left her planner “She left this” he grabbed the planner and looked around the group.
“I’ll give it to her” said Barba, he extended his hand to Amaro and the detective passed him the planner “I have to talk to her anyway”
Finn raised his left eyebrow as Elliot watched Barba with questioning eyes, Nick turned to Olivia but their boss didn’t seem to notice; Barba turned to the door and walked out, Elliot had the impression he wanted to rush out after Ren but was making an effort to control himself.
Barba reached Ren as she waited for the elevator, she didn’t want to take the stairs down and she knew why; she had her eyes locked over the floor numbers and was surprised when Barba spoke her name.
“What the hell?!” she hissed, she looked around “What do you want?”
“You forgot your planner” he explained with his usual casual and stern tone, Ren looked down at his hand and snatched the planner out of his hand.
“I didn’t know you were going to be here” she spoke, she looked around the room.
“I didn’t know they had called you in” he explained “Opposite to what you think, I don’t want to make things worse”
Ren looked at Barba and for a moment she felt dizzy, she cleared her throat after realizing that she had been staring at him and looked down at her planner.
“I know” she finally said “I just - the other night…
“It got out of control” he added.
“You think?” she chuckled, she looked at Barba and he gave her a gentle smile back.
“If you are worried about me telling…
“I’m not” she interrupted, she shoved her planner into her handbag and turned to look at Barba, a smile stretched over her face “I have to go, I have to go get that info Liv wants” she sighed, and Barba saw the strained look on her face “This club Olivia wants me to check out, is far from my house and we both know I have to go change and all that shit”
Barba chuckled and looked over his shoulder, but the team seemed oblivious to his absence “Be careful”
“What, are you worried about me now?” snorted Ren, Rafael turned to look at her and she smiled before she pressed the elevator button “I’m gonna be fine, Barba, I always am”
“You know this is different” Barba explained as he shoved his hands in his pant pocket “This guy could be facing human trafficking”
The elevator beeped open and Ren walked into the metal box, Barba stopped the door and looked at her, the young woman pushed her blond hair away from her shoulders and rolled her eyes.
“I’m gonna be fine, Rafi, chill”
And for a moment the nickname froze both of them at either side of the door and then slowly Barba let go of the door that closed and Ren was gone.
Ren walked out of the station, the wind had started to get colder, the young woman pulled her sweater tighter and hurried down the street; she couldn’t wait to get as far from the station as she could, her heart racing and her mouth went dry and for a moment she had a flashback of a time when she had been incredibly happy.
She had no idea how that all was about to change.