Sirens blared in a cold New York street. Flashes of light from firefighters, ambulances and police cars joined together in the street, lighting the buildings on both sides of the street. Most of them were business buildings but the few that were apartments had their windows opened to see below.
Unfortunately, there was a victim being brought into an ambulance. The girl was unconscious but it wasn't too surprising due to the state she was in. Someone hurt her with passion.
"Ma'am? Just wait here, a paramedic will be with you shortly," a cop was telling a second woman, a ginger, on the scene. Said woman was holding a towel around her palm to slow down the blood of a cut. Her dark brown eyes flickered from the cops to the ambulances, scared of what would come next. She knew the process all too well but the moment wasn't the right one.
As soon as the cop turned her attention away, the ginger made a getaway. Due to the gravity of the situation, it was easy slipping away from the scene. The cops hadn't finished taping off the crime scene and by the time someone figured out she was missing, she was already in a cab.
Sergeant Olivia Benson and Detective Amanda Rollins reported to the crime scene only twenty minutes after the arrival of the others. By that time, the victim had already been taken to Bellevue hospital. Once the Sergeant got word of what happened in a brief minute, she went off on the attentive cop in question.
"You're telling me we had a witness who saw everything and you lost her?" Olivia Benson had been at the job for about fourteen years and yet somehow she was still stunned sometimes by the mistakes she saw in her line of work.
The cop stammered while he made an excuse for his lack of attention but Olivia knew it was pointless to even argue it. The mistake was done.
"You know what, just tell us you got a name from her."
"I didn't," the cop hated his situation at the moment. "It was a rush and -and it's my first night on the field."
"What did she look like?" Amanda tried another way to get some valuable information. The cop looked too green to hassle for the mistake.
"Uh, dark orange hair…" the cop thought hard for a moment, "Dark brown eyes. Baggy clothes. She was wearing a baggy green jacket. Um...she had a purse but she took that I guess. And she had wound on her palm." The last detail pulled both women's attention. The cop realized he should have started with that. "I-I guess the perp must have cut her or something. We gave her a cloth in the meantime."
"Great, and you still let her get away," Olivia mumbled to herself after jotting down the description. "Thanks."
As she and Amanda walked off, the blonde detective thought about something. "If she had a cut - a stab wound…"
"Then she had to have gone to a hospital," Olivia said for she had thought the same thing too.
While their victim underwent her treatment - remaining unconscious for the entire duration - the detectives and Sergeant put all their focus on getting as much evidence as they could from the scene. A decent amount of that time was also put into finding the missing witness who turned out to be the only witness.
"Our victim-" Detective Nick Amaro was pinning a photograph of their rape victim on their pinboard, "-Hayley Connors, is still under but we do have the obvious evidence of a violent attack. CSU found blood at the scene but so far it only matches that of Hayley's."
"Yeah, but it corroborates with the story of the knife used to cut our missing witness," Detective Fin Tutuola, or Fin, reminded them. "But let me guess, knife hasn't been recovered yet?"
Detective Sonny Carisi's languid hand gesture was enough to answer. "If only it were that easy, huh?"
"You should know that by now," Detective Munch added on with the same sarcasm.
Amanda scoffed from her seat at the table. Her attention was on her computer screen where a footage of a hospital ER room was streaming. "I may have a view on the witness, though.
"Hey, Liv?" Fin called their temporary Sergeant from her office. "Amanda may have the witness!"
Olivia came in a hurry to see the footage along with the others. Amanda replayed the specific time where a ginger in a green, baggy coat arrived at an ER reception desk. She was still holding the cloth the cop mentioned she'd been given at the scene.
"Definitely her," Amanda concluded once she checked over the description they had of the woman.
"She looks familiar," Olivia's admission came as a surprise to the detectives. She met their curious gazes with confused expression. "I don't know who she is but...the face…"
The footage didn't exactly show the woman all too well but it was enough to get the case moving. Still getting that brief familiar vibe, Olivia decided to go to the hospital herself, along with Nick, to see what they could figure out about the woman.
~ 0 ~
"Yes, I remember her," a nurse at the ER reception of the Lenox Hill Hospital nodded her head after Nick showed her the photograph of the ginger woman. "Poor thing came with a slashed palm."
"Great, did you get her name? Her address?"
The nurse gave a kind smile and shook her head. "Sorry Detectives, I'm not at liberty to give you that information."
"It's Sergeant, first of all," Olivia set her hands on her hips and sternly looked at the woman, "And second of all, this woman is a material witness for our rape case. Besides, she was hurt too and odds are it was by the same perp so she needs to speak with us."
The nurse looked around the room, clearly in a conflict. "I can't give you the address because she didn't put one down."
Nick and Olivia exchanged glances with each other. This mysterious woman was turning out to be more of a hassle than previously thought.
"She didn't put one down?" Olivia repeated. "And you didn't notice that?"
"We were a little more preoccupied with her state," the nurse said, about to elaborate when Nick cut in.
"Give us her name then. Now, please."
The nurse sighed but ultimately obliged. "She wrote down Montserrat Novak on the paperwork."
Olivia raised an eyebrow. "That was her name?" the nurse nodded her head, definitely looking sure of it. Behind her, both Nick and Amanda exchanged knowing glances. "Did she say anything else? Where she was coming from?"
"No, she was just here for the slash," the nurse replied.
"Okay…" Olivia gave her thank you and turned away, but even her walking pace had picked up in an unusual stride.
"Hey, Liv, you think what we're thinking?" Nick had to ask as they exited the building.
"I knew she looked familiar," Olivia said, though neither Nick nor Amanda wasn't sure if it had been the answer to his question or if she'd just been talking to herself.
~ 0 ~
"Detective Montserrat Novak from the Homicide division in Queens," Olivia pulled up the photograph of the familiar ginger woman for the rest of the squad to see. "She also happens to be a cousin of one of our previous ADAs: Casey Novak."
"Who's now Manhattan's Homicide ADA," Fin nodded.
"She was our witness?" Sonny raised an eyebrow. The mysterious detective seemed too put together to be such a mess for a witness.
"Yeah," Olivia took a seat at the edge of the table, arms crossed.
"And you know her how…?" Nick asked the winning question everyone was thinking about.
"I don't know her," Olivia clarified first. "I knew of her."
"Casey never mentioned she had a family member on the job," Munch leaned back against his chair, eyes examining the photo of Detective Novak. "They don't look alike."
"If you guys haven't met then...what?" Amanda shrugged. "Did Casey talk about her or something?"
"Almost nine months ago, Montserrat-" Olivia pointed at the screen, "-was set to be my replacement at SVU after I took the Sergeant's test."
"My partner?" Nick immediately took interest at that moment. Olivia gave another nod.
"Clearly she didn't make it or else I wouldn't be here," Sonny smirked. His transfer papers were put in faster after the spot before him opened up. Now he knew why.
"What a shame," Fin's joke was met a playful roll of eyes from the new detective.
"So where is she, then?" Munch asked. "Back at Homicide?"
"I have no idea," Olivia got up from the table, unfolding her arms to gently graze her fingers over the table. "She had all the paperwork to transfer - she looked like the right candidate - but then she just retracted. There was never an explanation."
"Should we start making calls to Homicide?" Amanda wondered as she closed her laptop.
"Why bother when we can go straight to the family. Let's just ask Casey," Finn wondered what the ADA would have to say about this once they informed her.
"At this point, it might just be easier," Munch agreed on the tactic.
"It is," Olivia nodded and started heading out.
"Wait a minute," Sonny called to the woman, only stopping her for a second, "Shouldn't we call Barba then first?"
"Why? I'll get him there anyways," Olivia shrugged and continued on out.
"A Sergeant and a fellow ADA to deal with?" Finn turned to his co-workers, unable to keep his smile from showing. "I'd like to see what poor Casey does."
~ 0 ~
Olivia was set to find Casey and have a civilized conversation about the situation. She honestly didn't think they'd need to subpoena Montserrat, but if things got to that point then she wouldn't hesitate.
This was exactly what her conversation with SVU's ADA, Rafael Barba, sounded like. He was surprised to find their missing witness was related to a fellow co-worker.
"I think Casey will understand our situation and she'll get us in contact with Montserrat," Olivia said for the third time since she got to Rafael's office.
"It sounds like your assuring yourself," he noticed.
She stopped pacing in front of his desk to momentarily look at him. "I worked with Casey for years. She was our longest ADA so she knows exactly what our situation looks like."
"Right," Rafael agreed on that matter, but he then added, "However, I doubt any of her cases had her own family as a witness. If this Montserrat purposely ran from the scene it doesn't exactly give good credibility."
"We don't know what happened nor why she did," Olivia pointed him to stop. "But she's a Detective - and she wanted to transfer to SVU - so she should be willing to help."
"Exactly, she should be willing to help us. But she ran off," Rafael didn't think he needed to explain more than that. "Exactly what kind of Detective does that?"
"You start asking those questions, we lose the case even before we step into the courtroom," Olivia warned. She checked her phone for the time and saw it was past noon. "Casey's lunch hour ended, right?"
"Yeah," Rafael got up from his chair and levelled a look with the woman. "I have to warn you Olivia, Casey might just protect her cousin."
"I know Casey and she wouldn't. You know Casey and you know she wouldn't," Olivia started heading for the office doors. "Plus, if we tell her that her cousin is our only witness in this case, she'll be more than willing to help us."
"She better because as of now, Detective Novak would be the only one who could tell us what happened," Rafael bitterly said as he followed Olivia. It irked him this runaway Detective was the only person who could make or break his case. "Hayley doesn't remember-"
"-yeah, because she was drugged," Olivia reminded him.
"True and I'll be sure to mention that in court. But the point still stands that she can't talk much about the rape if she doesn't remember."
"I know," Olivia sighed, about to retort when they both heard an ongoing argument from the hallway.
"...you know the deal…"
"Of course I do, Casey! I have to appear but - would you stop walking so fast!?"
"I have a meeting with a Detective-"
"-listen to me Casey!"
"Could it be that easy?" Rafael whispered to Olivia as the two continued to listen.
"Let's find out," Olivia stepped out into the hallway. As soon as they did, they spotted the familiar figure of Homicide ADA Casey Novak striding down the hall with a smaller ginger haired woman following behind her.
"I know it was wrong but I was scared!" the ginger woman was still shouting despite the attention she was getting from other people passing by. "I'm not at my best!"
"You know exactly what you need to do, Montse. They're good people-"
"-but it doesn't change my situation!"
Casey whirled around and met the woman's gaze. "You know what you need to do. And if you don't, I'll bring you in myself." She left the woman with that and headed into her office.
Olivia was not going to give the woman a chance to flee again. "Scuse me?" she started for the woman in a hasty pace. "Detective Montserrat Novak? I'm Sergeant Olivia Benson and I need to…" but Olivia trailed off when Montserrat slowly turned around.
There was one detail no one had bothered to give the SVU squad.
Montserrat Novak was pregnant.