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The Perfect Victim

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[Hudson University Hopital]

With a loud noisy of a sudden explosion, the mirror glasses of the room were splitting everywhere. A young woman suddenly woke up. She feels a continuous pain from abdomen, which remind her of a surgery several hours ago. The effect of anesthetic is fading, she notices the medical machine near the bed were stopped, the broken glasses are on the ground, and there is no doctors or nurses walking around.

What happened?

Before she could think through, a man in a suit rushed into the room with a gun. He took down the gun at the moment he found a young lady in front of him who apparently was a patient with an I.V. He can’t believe there was still a person left since all people in the hospital of HU already ran and hide.

“NYPD! I am detective Carisi!” Carisi walked quickly towards her, then knew why she was left--she looked like just waking up. She must be pass out until the bomb. Carisi tried to help her stand up and said, “Miss, there were some crazy guys with guns in the hospital, you’d better to hide……”

Without finishing the sentence, a bullet shot into the room, Carisi pulled the woman down and covered her head.

“Well, well, well, the hero saved a beauty.” A harsh and arrogant voice laughed loudly from beyond, “seems that we’ll have a double kill.”

Carisi immediately realized that it’s very dangerous to leave the woman in the room, he made a risk decision, “Hey Miss, listen to me, you seems just recovered, but now you are their target too, you have to go with me!”

The young woman’s lips was shaking, she felt more and more pains from abdomen. Carisi stood up and held his gun, meanwhile grabbed her arm with the other hand. The young woman pushed his hand away, and pulled the needle without hesitation, “Move, I’ll follow you!”

Carisi looked at her and nodded, then turned around and moved along the wall very carefully. They left the room and ran to next corner. Carisi tried to get to the top floor where the ruffians held several doctors and nurses as hostages. But some ruffians blocked his way. The bullets swooshed past them, Carisi pushed an iron closet down as blindages and asked the woman to hide behind. When he has been trying to push down more, he was pulled back by a great power-- a bullet shot at the position where he just stood. Carisi turned to the woman and took a deep breath, “Thank you.”

The woman kneeled down and covered her abdomen, but the blood was leaking through her fingers. Carisi pressed her wound and asked nervously, “Were you shot?”

“No, I just finished the surgery, I think the suture was ruptured.” She smiles weakly, “You know there are more than one way in the hospital, right?” she was pointing to the door behind them.

The ruffians were shooting, there was no time for thinking. Carisi helped her up and ran to the back door where there were stairs leading to other floors. “You can’t go alone. They will find you.” Carisi climbed upstairs while listening to the noisy—the ruffians were chasing them. “You go first,” Carisi shoved her, “I’ll cover you!”

The woman tried her best to climb the stairs, she heard the gunshot and scream. She was frightened. Her legs were quivering uncontrolled. Her steps were slow down because the pain of the wound was growing in intensity. She leaned against the wall and felt the stairs seem endless. She thought she heard the hooter getting nearer and nearer, maybe the police is coming to save them, but she did not know how long she could sustain.

Suddenly, an arm encircled her waist and helped her walk, “Let’s go!”

The woman looked at Carisi and asked, “Are you all right?”

Before Carisi answered, she had a strange feeling and couldn’t help look back. A man with bleeding leg was holding a gun and trying to aim at Carisi. Then he pulled the trigger.

“No!” She screamed and pushed Carisi away.

The bullet shot through her side of the waist and brushed past Carisi’s thigh. She fell down and curled on the ground. Carisi shot the man back, then bent down to hold her, “Don’t be scared, I’m here with you.”

All things were appeared as a blur in woman’s eyes. Her face was pale with exhaustion, she was trembling with cold, “I never thought I would end up here like this.”

“No, you won’t!” Carisi said intensely, “hey, look at me, I still don’t know your name.”

“Evelyn.” She was sweating because her body was starting to hurt.

Carisi smoothed away the hair from her eyes, “OK, Eve, hang in there, stay with me.”

Eve answered faintly, “Yes, detective.”

“Call me Sonny, hang in there! Eve! Stay with me!” Carisi said softly but firmly. “The police is coming! Stay with me!”

Carisi saw two ruffians were closing. He covered Eve and shot the men down. Although wearing the bullet-proof vest, two bullets were still enough to make Carisi nearly fall unconscious. He held Eve in arms and sat against the wall, mumbling, “Hang in there, Eve, stay with me……”

As soon as Evelyn woke up, Lieutenant Benson and Fin came to the hospital room. They asked the details in the hospital and explained the attack in the Hospital of Hudson University.

Evelyn was very cooperative and tried to remember everything until the doctor told Benson that Evelyn really need a rest due to her two surgeries during past 24 hours. While Benson and Fin said sorry and decided to leave, they found Evelyn looked straight forward to the mirror, surprised but happy. She smiled and waved her hand. Both Benson and Fin turned to the mirror, Carisi was behind the mirror and looked at Evelyn with a smile.

Benson and Fin exchange glances and came out, Carisi asked, “how is she? She still looked pale.”

“She is fine, relax,” Fin laughed, “She just need some rest.”

Carisi seemed cheerful, “She is very brave, is she?”

Benson nodded and smiled significantly, “How about you?”

Carisi touch his tummy, said, “I am fine, it’s just really hurt than I thought. Did we catch the gang members?”

“Two has escaped, they killed one students, one doctor and two guards, raped two nurses on the top floor.” Benson shakes her head and sighed, “You did great to take Evelyn with you, otherwise……what about the recent rape report of HU?”

“I just talked to the doctor in the university hospital, and you know what happened next,” Carisi answered, “I’ll keep following.”

Benson nodded and saw that Carisi was looking at Evelyn with a worried frown on his face, “You know you both are witnesses, you’d better not contact each other before trial.”

“I know, I know, I just want to know whether she’s OK,” Carisi walked away with Benson and Fin, then stopped curiously, “Wait, Lieu, Why do you say ‘contact each other’?”

“It’s normal that people have special feeling for those who saved their lives.” Benson explained, “Just don’t mess up at work.”

Fin continued, “We did a little background check. Do you know she has two master degrees and passed the bar exam; She’s also a PhD student of HU and a new star in academic field? She worked in a research center and had a part-time job to support her schooling. The professors, the employers, the colleagues, they all highly praised her. She has a great credibility, the jury will believe every word she says. Don’t screw up, Romeo.”

“Hey, she’s not my girlfriend,” Carisi disagreed, “I concerned her only because she went through so many horrible things.”

“She saved you,” Fin held up two fingers, “Twice!”

“And I saved her, too.”

Fin smiled with confidence, “We’ll see.”

[Mercy Hospital]

A.D.A Peter Stone came to hospital several times to investigate the attack. This time, he stopped outside the door of Evelyn’s ward waiting for Dr. Wong to evaluate Evelyn’s mental condition before she leaved hospital.

A doctor carrying a file came by and said surprisingly, “Mr. Stone, I never realized you people need question a witness for so many times.”

Stone felt a little embarrassed. Since he met Evelyn for the first time, he couldn’t help to talk to her every time he came. She was undoubted brave and smart, sometimes humorous. But what the most attractive is her sparkling eyes with happiness when she talked about her research.

“Peter!” Evelyn found Stone’s coming.

“Hey,” Stone stood next to her and glanced at her laptop, “still working, huh?”

“Yes,” Evelyn seemed a little anxiety, “I’ve stuck here for almost… hundreds, the project has already changed another guy in charge, but it’s very grateful my colleagues send the latest files to help me speed up the work. And by the way--”

Evelyn said joyfully, “I will leave hospital in two days!”

“That’s why I came here,” Stone smiled, “We invited a doctor to evaluate your mental condition to make sure you are qualified to be a witness.”

Evelyn looked at Stone, blinked, “I am not crazy, am I?”

Stone laughed, “You know the rules.”

“Yeah,” Evelyn answered, “what happened in the hospital will be considered as a trauma to me…”

They both heard someone’s calling Stone. Stone walked forward and made a small talk, then left.

Evelyn watched the doctor coming up while her smile was fading away.

The doctor put down his suitcase and turned to her. Evelyn started smiling, but he noticed a little fear and hostility flashed her eyes.

“Dr. Wong, I presumed.” It sounded she recognized him. “I’ve read your articles on the Journal of Behavior Science,” Evelyn’s smile sweetened, “very impressive.”

“Thank you.” Dr. Wong said politely, “Are you studying behavior science, too?”

“Kind of.” The answer made Dr. Wong feel uncomfortable.

“OK, let’s begin.”

[///]

“Is everything OK?” Stone asked as soon as Dr. Wong came out of ward.

Dr. Wong pondered a few seconds and then answered, “she will be perfect witness on the court. She knew exactly what to forget and what to remember,” He paused, “but too precise to be natural, in my point of view. It’s just like…If she got answers in advance, she wouldn’t try to get 100 scores in the test, because she knew a few common mistakes will make herself more credible.”

“What do you mean?”

“Either she is a master of disguise, or she is professional,”

“She is professional, you know that.”

Dr. Wong sighed, “Yes, I knew her background from Lieutenant Benson. She has master degrees in criminal justice and criminal behavior, passed the bar exam, and is reading PhD in neurocriminology. It is frontier science which is a great risky and aggressive choice. I’ve read her articles, insightful. But in my opinion, all of these imply that she’s looking for something. But she obviously tried to conceal her professional training when I mentioned. She’s not suspect, she’s a witness and also a victim, it’s weird.”

Stone looked worried, Dr. Wong tried to make him relax, “Maybe it’s just the professional sense to avoid exposing herself, that’s not uncommon. The shrinks are very sensitive to mental assessments. In most cases, psychological evaluation aren’t applied to the psychologists.” He recalled, “Before I came in, I watched for a while, I see why you like her…”

Stone wanted to explain, but Dr. Wong continued, “Do not try to deny. She looks like a gentle woman and has passion in her work, it’s hard not to like her especially after knowing what she did in the attack. It’s human nature. Besides, she’s skillful at getting along with people. If she is a good guy, she will be perfect.”

“What do you mean ‘if she’s a good guy’, what if she’s a bad guy?”

“If she’s a good guy, she’s professional in criminology,” Dr. Wong looked at Evelyn through the mirror, “but if she’s a bad guy, she’s professional in crime. Considering what she’s studying, you must heard what Nietzsche said, ‘He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss,--”

“--the abyss also gazes into you.’” Stone looked at Evelyn and shook his head slightly, “She saved Carisi. How could she be a bad guy?”

“I hope not.” Dr. Wong answered.

[///]

On the day of Evelyn leaving hospital, Stone helped her packed the baggage in the ward when Carisi showed up with a bunch of flowers and followed by Amanda Rollins.

“Wow, that’s really awkward,” Amanda whispered behind Carisi, “you don’t know Stone is here and also bring flowers? Is this the only way men can think of to pleased women?”

“Carisi, Rollins, good to see you,” Stone seemed surprised, “why are you two here?”

Carisi felt unnecessary, “I’ve heard Eve leave hospital today, I thought she may need some help and asked Rollins to do me a favor. So… where’s Eve?”

“Wow, Eve, huh?” Amanda lowered her voice, “Carisi one, Stone zero.”

“I guess it’s legal for us to meet under the supervision of A.D.A.”

It’s Evelyn’s voice.

Carisi turned around and saw Evelyn. Evelyn was coming in with some paper and looked pleasantly surprised, “Sonny! I thought I never see you again.”

“No,” Carisi looked at her with a delighted smile, “You look much better than the last time I saw you.” He introduced Amanda to Evelyn.

“You bring me flowers,” Evelyn looked through Carisi’s embarrassment, and took the flowers with a sweet smile, “I love daisy, thank you.”

Carisi was relieved, “Good to know.”

Amanda winked at Carisi and murmured, “She’s good. I like her. And somebody forget to tell me she’s so pretty.”

“Are we done with meet and greet?” said Stone, “So Evelyn, you’ve finished all the hospital paperwork, right? And I get these two bags. We can go now.”

“OK.” Eve nodded.

“How about a big dinner on the way home? My treat.” Carisi looked at Eve and his smile boardened. Amanda rushed into room and said to him, “Lieutenant is calling us for emergency.”

“I got Eve,” Stone answered immediately, “You guys go back to work.”

“I have Peter,” Evelyn affirmed, “We can get together next time.”

Carisi looked at her with regret, “I am sorry, Eve, I…” After all those difficult moments they been through together on that day, He couldn’t even find an opportunity to have a word with her. The only thing he could do is just stand behind the mirror and hope she’s fine. The girl who took the bullet for him, her pale face and cold hands he once touched were ingrained in his head. He comforted and encouraged so many victims in SVU, but left her all by herself in fear for so long. Now, she’s standing in front of him with energy. She can laugh, she can talk, and thank god, she’s alive. Carisi opened his arms, however, seemed hesitated to embrace Evelyn since he could not make sure what Eve’s feeling is.

Evelyn stepped forward, and then tiptoed to give him a big hug, “Thank you for saving my life, Sonny.”

“Me too.” Carisi’s heart was melting with joy, his voice was tender, and he held her arms gently, “I am really sorry, Eve, we always meet each other in chaos, I wish I had more time to know you.”

“We all will.”

 

[On the Court]

The trial seems becoming a disaster when Evelyn was questioned by the defense lawyer who tried to deny her credibility. The reason is obvious--she just woke up from coma when the attack happened and the pain of surgery and gunshot was intense enough to confuse her feelings and minds.

The defense lawyer pressed her so hard that Evelyn could not speak any word in the witness box. She seemed terrified and turned to the jury with a helpless look. She didn’t try to argue with the defense lawyer, the silence and the pitiful face just showed how innocent she was. It worked. Stone found that the looks of jury showed their sympathy to Evelyn and the fierce defense lawyer was becoming a ruthless monster.

“Your honor?” Evelyn sounded frightened but firmly, “I am a witness and also a victim. Please allow me to ……”

“Yes.”

Evelyn’s voice was faltered, her eyes were wet with tears. She described the essential details which can be easily proved by the safety cameras in the hospital and roughly recalled the confused time and events which could be questioned.

The jury listened very carefully. It’s a reliable testimony that there were not too many details for a patient to remember. “A few common mistakes will make her more credible.” Dr. Wong’ word was arise in Stone’s mind.

The defense lawyer asked, “Can you describe the details when you and detective hide behind the closet? And when did your suture ruptured?”

If the jury believed what she just said, they will tend to believe what she will say next.

“I can’t remember where we were, the detective pushed maybe… two closets down to ask me to hide. I just heard…emmm…four gunshot, I guess?” Evelyn thought for a while. “Then I found a man was aiming at him across the hallway, so I pulled the detective back, I guess that’s when my suture ruptured.”

Not yet the defense lawyer objected, Stone stood up, “For the record, your honor, the investigation shows that number of the closets and the bullets on the closets are complied with what witness said.” Since we were on the same side, I’ll give you a hand, Stone sighed to himself. Evelyn consciously or unconsciously adjusted the time of gunshot and the ruptured suture to make her look clear when the attack happened. Stone remind what Carisi said in the witness box, “It happened too fast, at that time I was too nervous to remember the details, all I can heard is the gunshot, and when I noticed, she was bleeding.” It’s a huge risk, not only she knew what and how to say to jury, but also had an accurate prediction of Carisi’s reaction in the attack and on the court.

Evelyn showed the jury about the shot on her waist. The scar was shocking. Her tears was falling, “The detective even used his body to cover me when ruffians came to shot. If the police couldn’t arrive in time, I can’t imagine… me, the detective, we both would die. There are already many people of my school died and assaulted in this attack, I am here to testify what happened in the hospital and bring evil to justice, not to set the innocent people up.”

Impressive speech, the jury were touched.

“And you, Mr. Counsellor,” Evelyn turned to the defense lawyer, “if you try to deny my credibility, let me tell you, I think you’ve already done some background check, besides those degrees, I have a really good memory beyond average and no one will forget the people who want to kill you after getting through the death moment. And by the way, I also passed the bar exam, I knew all the tricks you played. So, save it!”

Stone narrowed his eyes, what kind of people he’s coping with.

Fin sat in the gallery, felt unbelievable, “She did lawyers’ work.”

The trial finally finished, and won as the extent as the chief of ADA expected. Stone turned around when people dismissed. No Evelyn. He felt he should say something to her. When he walked out of the court and took out the phone, he found she was sitting on the steps of the courtyard, alone.

“Anything need to tell me?” Stone sat down next to her.

Evelyn sighed, “People like us, we always know natural justice and legal justice are not the same thing, right?”

Stone silenced for a while, “Yes.” At that moment, he no longer need Evelyn’s explanation. That’s all what he want to heard.

“Listen,” Stone touched her shoulder gently, “if you need help, I am here, anytime.”

“Thank you, Peter, I’m so lucky to have you. But I think I should go,” Evelyn stood up, looked far into the distance, “there is memorial ceremony for the victims in school, I should go to mourn.”

“Hey, Eve,” Stone caught up Evelyn, “I know it is not a good time, but there is always no good timing.” he hesitated and said, “Would you like to have a dinner with me this evening? And if you ask, yes, it’s a date.”

An awkward silence. Stone found it’s much easier to wait for the sentence from the jury.

“I am sorry, I promised someone else.”

“I understood.” Stone disappointed but smiled, “may I ask who?”

“Someone you know, detective Carisi.”

It’s a matter of course, wasn’t it? Stone laughed at himself.

[Evenlyn's apartment]

Carisi and Evelyn stopped at the door of Evelyn’s apartment. Everything went well. They hung out several times, cooked together, called each other every day. In Carisi’s eyes, Evelyn was a sweet girl. She never complain about the random calls from his work, in fact, she liked to know his job. Sometimes, he felt he talked himself too much. But Eve seemed very interested in everything about him, his work, his childhood, his family, his grumble, his happiness and his sadness. In fact, he enjoyed time with Eve, he always felt comfortable with her.

“I have a strange feeling… when I talk about myself, maybe you treat me like an experimental object.” Carisi sounded serious but can’t help laughing.

Evelyn protested, “No way!”

Carisi held her in arms, “To be clear, the dinner on the court day was ‘you saved my life, I bought you a dinner’, but the rest are official date, you and me. Are we on the same page?”

Evelyn nodded.

“So…” He looked at Evelyn with affectionate eyes, inclined forward to her and tried to kiss her. Evelyn seemed a little reluctant and hesitated, her lips touch on Carisi’s a few times. Carisi stopped. Evelyn bowed her head and looked guilty. Carisi said concernedly, “hey, don’t. If you want to slow down, I’m OK with it. Just make sure you feel comfortable, OK? After all, a gentleman always has patience.”

“I am sorry, Sonny.” Evelyn’s looked at his eyes.

“You are so sweet when you call me Sonny.” Carisi cupped her face and kissed her on her forehead. He turned around and ready to leave.

“Sonny!” Evelyn ran to Carisi and gave a good-bye kiss on his cheek.

“Wow, I am flattered,” Carisi said softly, “Good night, sleep tight.”