Lie To Me Fan Fiction / Law And Order - Series Fan Fiction ❯ The Meaning of Family: Kinship ❯ Chapter 1: Indecision ( Chapter 1 )
The Meaning of Family: Kinship
Chapter One: Indecision
Episode: Lie to me Season 2 Ep 9 Fold Equity and 10 Tractor Man
Two weeks later
Eli methodically enter the last data tags to the video of his last date with Ingrid. Determined, if anything, that this life lesson would be research ready if anything came up in the that could make use to it. Once done he reset the video and just set back to watch. He tried to keep his mind clinical but his thoughts swiftly turned cynical and berating as he watched.
Why was it after so many years of study he was still such a failure at reading people in day to day life? Even his love of the science and equipment failed him as soon as he had a personal attachment to the outcome. As soon as he started feeling comfortable in the application of his work reality as usual was there waiting in the wing to set him straight and remind him that he was in no way a natural.
He had felt so certain at the time that they shared a connection. Then again he felt a connection with Mugisha and that had turned out equally as well. At the moment he was worried if the only connection he was truly able to feel was being lied too. Didn't say much about his future hope of ever being anything other then an unpaid intern
“Medium triple latte, “ Ria said as she walked into the lab and handed Eli his drink.
“Thanks,” Eli says as he takes a sip as he turns back to the computer missing Ria expression.
“How long have you been watching that?” she asked guilt ridden.
“Mmm, not long, “ Eli replied truthfully. It had only been about five minutes since he started just watching.
“I lied,” Ria said earnestly seeing the range of emotions playing on his face, “She likes you. “
Eli shook his head refusing her pity, “Nice try but saw the lip lick. The uh true rule of womanhood. “
“Yeah uh Loker, there no such thing as a true rule of womanhood,” she admitted getting his full attention, “I made it up. You were doing that really super annoying smug guy thing I was pissed. And I wanted the ant farm. “
“I'm smug?” Eli said doubt, “Well how do I know you're telling the truth now?”
Ria reached over him to select a data section, “Not only is she laughing she is looking at you right in the eye.”
“She's being polite, “ Eli said incredulous.
“This isn't being polite, “ Ria said leaning into him so he would clearly see her eyes, “Her pupils were dilated.”
Eli couldn't help stare directly into her eyes but couldn't get a clear read on her in the lighting though he was sure his pupils at the moment were probably doing the same.
“Well she did…” he started to say as he leaned forward into her space and reached for her leg, “Touch my knee at one point.”
Ria took a breath and quickly stepped back, “So you think I should call her and.. “
“Definitely, “ she responded forcefully before leaving the room.
Eli sat there for a few more minutes before turning back to the video and starting it from the beginning. This time he could see his original observations were indeed right but that didn't really easy his earlier misgivings because even if he had read Ingrid right Ria had been able to lead him completely astray which was not comforting.
He turned and picked up his cell phone bringing up Ingrid’s number now he just had to decide what he wanted to say.
Eli worked on clearing his mind and stopping the racing of his heart as he walked towards his apartment. The phone call he just ended did not go well but he would be lying if he said that was the reason why his heart felt like it wanted to escape his chest. No, the fluttering started after his strange yet hot encounter with Ria earlier that day. The entire day had been weird with Ria trying to crush his 'smugness' and if that meant destroying his ego and any self-confidence he was building she succeeded. Unsurprising really considering she seemed to be picking up on those tricks from Lightman.
Weird but not entirely remarkable, the day had been until she ‘confessed’ and leaned in with 'those eyes'. Then using the same guise he couldn't help but reach out and touch her leg. Like a rehearsal for the real thing even though he knew he didn't have a chance no matter how badly he wanted one.
Of course she broke the moment as easily as she had created it by telling him he should call his girlfriend. Which he had just done to end their relationship despite knowing nothing would come of what had transpired between Ria and him. For that moment had made it crystal clear that though he liked Ingrid, he liked Ria much more. Enough to overlook her lying to him anyways which was a big deal to him. Knowing that continuing to date just didn't seem fair. Eli Loker was a man who valued truth and loyalty in himself above all else despite the rumors that he was just a closet masochist.
This inconvenient truth meant that even if he couldn't have Ria, trying for someone else seemed dishonest and, well, everyone knew how he had a problem with half-truths. It just wasn't fair. If he didn't think - no, knew - Ria was a good girl at heart he would've almost think she planned this, although he doubted she could be that cruel.
Now the phone call... it didn't matter that he ended the relationship before the third date and he knew it was best for the both of them, she was still rightfully mad. Eli really hadn't wanted to hurt her because she was a good girl who might have actually liked him despite his habit of going off in topics like herd mentality. The thought made him pause and question his decision once again but the answer was the same, Ria.
Overall he was feeling the most pain over the decision to breakup in his wallet. The fact that he outlandishly splurged on a girl he ended up dumping when he had been penny pinching and working a second job to supplement his depleting savings for months made it hard to just enjoy the memory. Who knew how long Lightman was going to go on not paying him.
No. More reason to focus on the good of the experience instead of the regret because knowing Lightman, Eli might just have his loyalty rewarded by Lightman not even batting an eye at Eli quitting because he no longer had a choice to ‘volunteer’ his time. Eli shook his head to dislodge the thought while praying that is wasn't a prophecy.
Eli’s phone started to vibrate as he was putting his key in his door. Pulling his phone out of his pocket he was surprised to see who it was at such a late hour. It was almost midnight.
"Hello?" Eli answered.
"Eli, I hope I didn't wake you. Truthfully I didn't realize it had gotten so late! Guess I got distracted. I can call you back tomorrow." Doctor George Matterson quickly sputtered.
"Oh no actually I just got home. Do you have some news?" Eli asked as he locked his front door and walked to his bedroom in order not to wake his roommate.
"Well actually I do about the kinship analysis," George explained, "As I told you before we were able to confirm James Loker is not your biological father. In order to proceed with your other request I placed your DNA in a blind experiment that went through several DNA data banks. The criminal one of course but also several governmental and volunteers. I wasn't really expecting anything to pop since as you know there is just a small percentage of the population in any database but I got a hit. Well actually I got a hit two weeks ago but due to complications I had to wait to tell you," George explained.
"What kind of complication? Who came up?" Eli asked unable to ignore a sense to dread building in his stomach.
Seeming to sense Eli's uneasiness George was quick to reassure, "Oh nothing bad. It was just you matched another volunteer who was recommended through a mutual colleague. This volunteer just requested her results remain private until she could review the findings."
"Her?" Eli questioned.
"Yes your sister, Eli. Well half-sister," George told him excitedly.
"I have a sister?" Eli half asked half stated feeling emotion starting to raise behind his eyes, "What is she like?"
"She is a good deal older than you, late 30's early 40's and still beautiful. Oh and she is a New York city cop. Hence the discretion. She didn't get back to me til today but she wants to meet with you." George told him.
"She wants to meet? Does she know..."Eli started.
"About the rapes? Yes, she knows she is a child of rape but doesn't know by who. Her mother's case like yours was unsolved," George told him.
"I...I...I really," Eli tried to speak but it was like his brain stopped functioning.
"Look this is a lot to take in and it's late. Take some time and get back to me. If you are ready I'll arrange a meet for you guys. Okay?" George told him compassionately.
"Okay," Eli managed to get out, "and George... thanks."
"You're welcome and goodnight," George said before hanging up on his side.
Eli slowly lowered his phone to his lap and looked around his room blankly from where he sat on his bed. His mind was full of the implication of what finding his sister meant. Now his heart was racing for a completely different reason. Needless to say Eli didn't sleep that night.
"Hey Munch do you still have the forensic report on the Carter case?" Detective Olivia Benson asked as she looked up from the report she was typing.
"Yeah but I need it back when you're done," Munch told her as he swiveled and pushed his chair to be able to hand it to her.
"You're still not done with that yet?" Her partner asked teasingly as he looked up from his own paperwork.
"So what if i'm taking my time. I can afford to since I'm actually caught up on my paperwork," Olivia pushed back as she eyed the stack of paperwork on his desk.
"Hey I always get it done... eventually," Elliot shot back defensively.
They both returned to their tasks and Olivia tried her best to focus on the task at hand but her mind kept sliding back to personal issues. This wasn't a problem on the field but paperwork just wasn't much of a distraction. It had been over two weeks since she had found out she had a brother and two days since she made the request to meet him but she had yet to hear from Doctor Matterson. She kept telling herself that maybe her brother just needed time to respond like she did but after waiting so long to have some sort of family that might understand her it was hard not to get her hopes up. The longer the wait the more time she had to think that maybe he wanted nothing to do with her. Though logic did say there was also the strong possibility that the doctor had yet to even approach him.
"Benson!" Cragen snapped as he walked quickly from his office into the squad room getting all four SVU detectives attention, "My office now!"
"You mind explaining to me why the FBI is up in arms over you checking out one of their outside consultants?" Cragen drawled out as Olivia got up to follow him into his office.
"Sir?' Olivia asked confused. The only checking she had done was on...
"Eli Loker? Member of the Lightman Group which is currently under contract by the FBI and has high level security clearance with the Pentagon. When you go poking around someone like that it sets off red flags and that earns me," Cragen said as he jabbed his thumbs into his chest, "a nasty phone call. So I would like an explanation."
"Lightman group? As in Cal by all means swoon over my British accent as I mess with your head Lightman? He is working with the FBI? Well that sure is not going to be lasting long," Munch interjected stopping them from disappearing into Cragen's office.
"Friend of yours?" Fin asked indulging his partner without thinking, "What is the Lightman Group?"
"Cal Lightman is the self-proclaimed world's leading expert on deception. You know the whole micro-expression thing that's so hot with the Feds? He is the father of it. I had the chance to work with him several years ago when I was still in Baltimore. He was still working out of his house back then and didn't have as big of an ego problem that he has now a days, but even though I was completely skeptical of the guy I have to admit he knew his stuff. We got along great," Munch explained.
"Really, then he must be a conspiracy nut like you," Fin remarked with an impish smile.
"No just crazy with a good dose of distrust for the establishment," Munch told him before redirecting is attention at Olivia, "so what is your interest in his employees."
Olivia could feel all eyes on her, "Look I'm sorry for causing you so much trouble sir. I didn't realize he was connected to the feds like that. My interest is purely personal."
"Personal how?" Cragen asked and she knew that she could not expect him to let it go.
"Well you see sir, Eli Loker is my brother," Olivia said after everyone entered the privacy of Cragen's office.
"Brother?!" Olivia didn't see who said that but suspected it was more than one.
"Liv, a brother but..." Cragen started.
"Look...um... I had the chance to do a kinship analysis and Eli Loker came up as a match. We have...well we have the same father...by the same means. I did a background check on him because I wanted to know who I was dealing with before I met him," Olivia explained as she looked around to gauge the reactions.
"So I'll tell the feds that it was a part of a routine investigation and that it none of their business but don't do it again," Cragen warned before asking, "so who is he?"
"I'm the one who's going to have to deal with these guys over this so I want to know who he is."
"I didn't find out much, just the basics. He is 26, has no criminal record. Lives and work in Washington DC. Both parents are dead. He has a degree in individual studies from NYU, whatever that means," she gave the information as if running down a suspect.
"When are you meeting him?" her partner questioned.
"I don't know he hasn't responded yet," she told him.
"Well back to work," Cragen dismissed them from his office, "oh and Benson, Stabler I need those reports on my desk before you leave,"
Elliot give a little pained groan before shooting Olivia a look that she met with an innocent smile as she walked back to her desk.
Eli took a moment to look around and stretch his back before walking into the building and embracing the Lightman Group for the day. Truth be known this was one of those days he didn't want to get out of bed but that could simply be because he hadn't had a decent night sleep since he learned he had a sister three days ago. Ria, just as he knew she would, was back to normal, dashing any fool hearted hopes he might have been hiding but that still kept him up at night thinking about it among other things.
He still hadn't made a decision on whether or not to meet his sister. On one hand the decision was simple and obvious but on the other it was difficult and complicated. He wanted to meet her, to get to know her, and possibly have a family again but the logical part of him knew not to get his hopes up because their unique situation was complicated and ugly. Besides if this was like most things in his life she would spend five minutes with him before realizing she couldn't stand him and never wanted to see him again and then where would he be?
As much as he would have liked to stay with his self-defacing thoughts he was quickly side-railed as he walks into the Lightman Group and was confronted with a group of kids getting visitor badges. Lightman was waiting impatiently at the side. After the teacher, who by the way was pretty cute, finished putting their name tags she lead them over to Lightman who then started explaining what they did at The Lightman Group. Eli made his way over to Miss Angela and introduced himself before following the group and interjecting when appropriate as Lightman explained his talents.
"Lightman is miserable," Eli told the teacher merrily after having enough of just observing, "What strings did you pull to get him to do this?"
"I had Emily ask," Miss Angela confessed, "She tutors a couple of the kids. Thought I could turn our class problem into a teachable moment."
"Glad to be of help," Eli said with a knowing smile.
Emily was of course Lightman's greatest weakness. He was suddenly very glad he dragged himself into work today. It was times like this that showed why he was so loyal to Lightman . For as hard and jaded Lightman could be on a day to day basis he was a soft and loving father not only to Emily but also any other child Lightman deemed as innocent. Eli loved how even though it was obvious as day which kid took Clyde the turtle Lightman was focused more on teaching her a valuable lesson over getting the chore over with. This looked like it would be the distracting day he needed to take his mind of his indecision. That was until 'Agent Ben' pull them away and told them there was a bomb two blocks away. The next few minutes were chaotic until Lightman lead the way back to the kids and they lead them to the safety of the conference room.
"Hey eight third-graders in a room with no toys and no puppies?" Eli asked rhetorically," It's going to be chaos."
"Yeah. Speaking of puppies, you like kids, don't you?"
Eli did not like the look he was getting from Lightman and for half a second he thought Lightman might be aware of how he supplemented his income before giving a quick but firm, "No," to the unspoken question.
Unsurprisingly, Lightman hardly waited for the response before walking into the conference room and introducing Eli as crazy Uncle Loker. The next hour was hard and a little awkward for him since he was having a hard time breaking down his job into small enough pieces for the kids to understand. Not that he didn't know how to talk to kids, he did it all the time at the youth center he worked at, it just was hard to get these two compartments of his brain to merge on such short notice. Undeterred Eli muddy his way through since this was the assignment given to him and he thought it was important to keep the kids from finding out. But there was only so long he could keep the lecture going... the kids were already bored out of their minds.
Thankfully, Lightman popped in and Eli had him explain to the kids why they couldn't leave yet. Eli couldn't help but watch with a bit of awe at how Lightman could make lying about their bus not being there look so easy and innocent all the while continuing with his lesson about the turtle. This distraction was short lived as Lightman turned and told him to get his guitar with a slap to his back. Eli couldn't remember the last time Lightman had made that request of him. It must have been back when he was still a teen in college, around when Doctor Foster had joined. Lightman was working out of his garage when he had recruited Eli to work as a research intern. For the first two years it was just him, Lightman and a couple others that eventually left to join Jack Rader, who left right before Eli's time.
One day Lightman had called Eli to his house on short notice to work on something when Eli was at a friends house jamming. Eli, being close to where Lightman lived at the time, went straight there with his guitar. Once Lightman had seen it he insisted Eli show him what he could do with it and afterwards requested Eli bring it with him. From then on Eli did and would play whenever asked but then Lightman changed and Foster joined in as a partner and they moved to DC and the request became fewer until they stopped altogether. Now he couldn't even remember the last time Lightman asked but he still always brought it until he bought a new one a couple a years ago and then he just kept the old one under his desk that he used when he was alone and bored analyzing videos late at night. Frankly he was surprised Lightman still remembered.
After he grabbed his guitar from his desk he tried to reassure Angela who was starting to unravel a bit by telling her he trusted in Lightman to be able to get them out of this mess and that he was focusing on the task of keep the kids from freaking out. He inwardly softened at her honesty of being scared but knew the best things for the both of them was to focus on the kids and told her he would do his best to distract her if she helped him with the kids. He walked in all ready to play the first kids song that popped into his head. Who knew kids could be such a hard crowd? This really was a strange day. Puff the magic dragon was so out.
After twenty minutes of uninterrupted playing Oscar raised his hand to use the bathroom and Eli put down his guitar to take him. The last thing he expected was for Lightman and the Fed big shot to be have such a sensitive conversation right outside the conference room. Once Oscar heard the word boom Eli and Lightman both knew there wasn't anything that could undo the boy's curiosity. Lightman quickly did what he could in damage control by just telling the truth before sending them on the way for Eli to deal with the scared boy.
Once back in the conference room hunger became the main complaint of the fidgety eight year olds so Eli thought to lead Angela to the break room to scrounge up snacks for the kids. On there way back Angela asked him if knowing people lied all the time made him cynical and he told her it did but that he got to see the truth sometimes. If she had asked more he would have explained that the hope of seeing that truth is why he did this job like a treasure hunt for something most precious and valuable to him even though he did occasionally lose sight of that. Like when she confessed that she was really scared right then. Not an ounce of deception that would be beautiful if they were not in the situation they were in.
"I just-- I want another chance, you know? I'd do things different. Is that a stupid thing to say?" Angela desperately asked and it suddenly hit him what all his indecision meant because if he died today the greatest of many things he would regret is not overcoming his fears and meeting his sister.
"No, no it's not," Eli said before being told Oscar was acting weird.
Oscar actually did remarkable well before the stress of his secret started affecting him physically. Luckily this was something Eli knew how to handle out of his own personal experience. Taking the time he had to walk over to the boy to go quickly through his memories to find the most mild example he could think of to share.
"Hey. You know when I was your age, I had a crush on a this girl." He told him as he knelt at eye level, "Older woman, really. Sixth grader. I was always worrying about it, stressing out about it. And, uh, then I realized that there was nothing you can do."
"Umm," Eli continued as he reached over and grabbed pens for the paper on the desk and sat down in a chair, "So sometimes, when there's nothing you can do, you just have to believe that everything's gonna be okay. And you write a song. You can't be worried and write a song at the same time. Right?"
Eli hoped he hadn't given too much of himself away as he turned to Angela to hand her the paper and pen, "I mean, you look to me like a guy who can write some fantastic rhymes."
"Am I right? Yep? I can tell that about you," Eli told Oscar as he leaned forward in a conspiring whisper while Angela watched with a soft smile on her face, "I can see it on your face. So let's give it a shot."
The next hour went quickly as Eli and Oscar worked on the lyrics eventually including the rest of the class. After composing a quick melody they were ready to give the song a try. Boredom and fear left long behind.
I say I'm 10 when I'm nine and a half.
My Uncle tells a joke and I try to laugh
In gym I fake a headache when I want to quit
As Eli started to play Gillian came in having heard the music. While she had seen the guitar and has heard Emily mention Eli playing she had never seen it herself in the seven years she has been with the Lightman group.
I say I love the sweater my grandma knit
but that's a white lie (white lie) ~ the kids join in
That the kind you want to tell a white lie (white lie)
So your mom won't have to yell a white lie (white lie)
Everybody does it cause it feels alright and it's more polite
but a lie's still a lie even when it's white
As Eli turned the main singing to Angela he finally noticed Foster watching him with a smile on her face which in turned made him more self-aware. He could tell he was surprising her with his forgotten talent and couldn't help raise his eyebrows at her as they finished the song. It wasn't long after that the bomb crisis was over and the kids could finally leave but not before Eli got to witness the girl confess to Lightman and decide to tell Miss Angela the truth about Clyde the turtle.
Relief filled him in a way he really didn't think he has ever known as he watched the kids start filing out with Miss Angela behind him. Then Angela turned back to what Eli thought was to say goodbye to all of them until she grabbed his face and kissed him good making Lightman smirk, Foster blush and the kids laugh at the sight. Then all three of them headed to Lightman's office for a drink which Eli gladly accepted before begging off for the night and began his walk home.
As he got outside and breathed the evening air he couldn't help but feel grateful to be alive with one more chance to do things right. There was nothing like a bomb scare to help clear the fog of fear and put thing in proper perspective. He had a phone call to make that was two days overdue.