Lie To Me Fan Fiction / Law And Order - Series Fan Fiction ❯ The Meaning of Family: Kinship ❯ Chapter 10: The Calm ( Chapter 10 )
The Making of Family: Kinship
Chapter 10: The Calm
Tagline: “For the record, it is completely your fault,” Eli said flippantly waving a hand in her direction, “Also if it was your partner instead of Lightman I'm sure he would have hit me too.”
“My fault? Lightman hits you and it's my fault?”
“Yes, thank you for taking responsibility. It's all your fault,” Eli stood and started gesturing as he paced the room.
Episodes: Lie to me Season 2 Episode 17 Bulletbump 18 Headlock
SUV Season 8 Episode 20 Annihilated
Darkness had already fallen by the time Eli squared everything away at the lab and sent the research team home. Lightman might have nailed the Governor's wife about killing someone in a drunk driving accident and then arranging the assassination of the girl chosen to take the fall, but that didn't mean the research team's got to call it a day. No, they still had to package their analysis in a neat and understandable package for the FBI's Attorney General before they could call it quits for the day.
Foreseeingly, by the time he pulled in front of Lightman's home, all his earlier resolve was all but gone. It was much too late for a house call but he got out of his car because he knew Emily would never forgive him if he did not ring that doorbell. Going threw with the plan was made harder by the fact he did not know what to brace for or expect. Given Lightman’s unusual behavior lately, Eli was seriously on edge and questioning his sanity. There should be an expectation that he should be allowed more than a day and a half between storms. Thankfully, Eli only had to wait a couple of moments after ringing the bell for the door to open and reveal Lightman standing there waving a spoon in his hand.
"Hiya," Lightman greeted chipper before jumping right into the issue at hand, "I know you were... just tryin' to look out for her, all right?"
"And I shouldn't have hit you. That was wrong" Lightman continued as he turned to look at Emily before meeting Eli's eye, "Physical violence-- right, is very, very wrong."
This was as close to Lightman had ever come in a long while to acknowledging what he knew about Eli's upbringing and Eli found it was enough. He knew for at least this moment in time things once again were right between them.
"Apology, accepted," Eli said not expecting more.
"Dad, come on. Don't blow the apology," Emily scolded.
"I'm sorry," Lightman said earnestly letting remorse show on his face.
"Well, I should've seen it coming," Eli confessed.
"What, the kiss?"
"No, the punch. You're emotional wildfire where Emily's concerned," Eli explains earning a shrug in acknowledgment.
Eli turned to leave but Lightman stopped him, "You like ice cream? It's pineapple."
Pineapple? Must be Emily's but he was no longer a kid. Oh, he was of course thrilled with the offer but he felt the need to make a point.
"I like beer."
"Go on then. Help yourself. First on the left."
The offer to come inside turn into an hour’s worth of small talk starting with Lightman's telling of how he outmaneuvered Clara Musso and regained control of his company once again. From there, there was a lot of laughter and memories from Emily. The feeling of belonging was something a few months ago he would have thought was great but the truth was it was just nostalgic. Eli would be fool-hearted to believe this was going to last or change a thing in the long run. No, he knew it was just a brief respite and then Lightman would continue as if nothing happened.
Even with such thoughts running in the back of his mind, Eli was surprised at how relieved he was when his phone broke the spell. After checking who it was Eli stood and made an apologetic gesture as he stepped out to answer the call.
"Umm hey uh are you going to be home tonight?" Olivia asked uncertainty in her voice.
"Yeah I'm done with work and now am just out. Why? What's wrong?" Eli asked.
"Oh, nothing's wrong. I guess you can say I'm returning the favor from a few weeks ago. I wanted to see you and decided to be impulsive...so... surprise I'm here," Olivia said.
"Yep, outside your building. A taxi dropped me off," Olivia tried to explain but her voice wavered, "Look I'm sorry...I just..."
"Tough case?" Eli guessed.
"Very," One word that said it all.
"Okay well this is fantastic and I mean that, Liv. Umm, I'll head home now but it will still be 20-30 minutes so how about you head down the block and swing a right. There's a cafe there that should still be open so I'll meet you there."
"Sounds good. See you there," Olivia answered before Eli hung up and headed back to the living room.
"Sorry I gotta get going but thanks for the beer."
"Hot date?" Lightman asked instantly regretting it with the look on Emily's face.
"Uh... I don't date. At least not anymore. No um someone just dropped into the city unexpectedly." Eli explained.
"A good surprise then?" Lightman asked studying Eli's face.
"Very," Eli answered smiling brightly and Lightman looked like he might question further but didn't.
"Well goodnight, boss, Emily, see you tomorrow," Eli said before leaving and hurrying to his car.
Olivia was finishing off her first cup of coffee by the time her overly energetic brother strolled through the door.
"Did I interrupt something good?" Olivia asked amused despite her tiredness.
"What?" Eli asked confused for a moment, "Oh... no, no, no. I'm just wired which makes me..."
"Bouncy?" Olivia interjected with a smirk.
"Uh...no. I am most certainly not boun..." Eli started but realized he was indeed bouncing on his heels and stopped, "Sorry... I'm done... so tough case?"
"Oh no believe me bouncy is what I need right now," Olivia said trying to ease any self-consciousness as she stood. "Before we go there I want to talk about you. Do anything interesting in the last few days?"
Eli gave her a cheeky smile as he led the way out of the cafe, "Oh nothing special. Helped ruined the governor's career though. So you know same oh, same oh."
"Virginia. He should be resigning tomorrow," Then he was off telling her about the case as they made their way back to the apartment.
It wasn't until Olivia was comfortable on the couch with a cup of tea that a thought occurred to her, “you know I wasn't thinking but should I just get a hotel? I don't want to put your roommate out.”
“Oh no. He isn't here. Really he’s hardly ever here. So you know yay for me. His job requires a lot of travel. Right now he is up in Maine. “
“Okay then I guess I'll just sleep here,” she said making herself more comfortable on the couch.
“Oh no, you won't. You will take my room… no arguing… instead tell me what's bothering you. Bad case?”
“The worst, a family annihilator,” she told him staring off.
“That's horrible but why would SVU be dealing with that?”
“Because it didn't start that way. It started with the murder of a girl that looked like a hit. Her parents believed her fiancée was part of the CIA and had people after him but he turned out to be a family guy in the suburbs. I didn't see it come…” Olivia trailed off emotionally.
“You really can't see something like that coming unless you are looking for it, the narcissism doesn’t allow for it,” Eli comforted as Olivia looked up surprised at the certainty in his voice, “I’ve researched family annihilators before but when it comes down to the science it is a very gray area. Mainly because in a twisted way the annihilator desperately needs to believe their lies. Only with years of experience and the science can anyone hope to see through it.”
“Could you see it?” Olivia wondered.
“You know I don't know. I hardly ever have to do cold reads but I doubt it. Even Lightman sometimes can't,” Eli replied.
Accepting the comfort of her brother's words and presence Olivia decided to turn the mood in a different direction, “Yeah, but can you see through me?”
“Sure can. You plan to put me to sleep with that chick flick that's hanging out of your bag,” Eli remarked earning him a playful swat to the stomach that made him flinch and slightly sucks in his breath.
“What was that? Are you okay?” Olivia asked alarmed. Even as he tried to play it off as nothing.
“What movie is it anyway?” Eli deflected while reaching for her bag.
“Eli what was that. Are you hurt?” Eli just proceeded to pull the movie out, “Are you actually considering lying to me? What about radical honesty? There is something you were holding back earlier when you were telling me about the governor's case.”
“No… you know you are making me rethink radical honesty at this moment. I do have my manly ego to protect and I'm just not ready to have this fight with you. Especially at one in the morning,” Olivia was not sure how to take that.
“Why would we fight? Unless… was it Lightman?” Olivia studied his face in complete detective mode, “ Lightman hit you? Eli!”
“For the record, it is completely your fault,” Eli said flippantly waving a hand in her direction, “Also if it was your partner instead of Lightman I'm sure he would have hit me too.”
“My fault? Lightman hits you and it's my fault?”
“Yes, thank you for taking responsibility. It's all your fault,” Eli stood and started gesturing as he paced the room.
“See if I had never met you and learned so much about life in the SVU I would not be hyper-aware of how vulnerable 16-year-old girls are and I would have minded my own business when I learned that Emily was going to the music fest. Did I mind my own business though? No, I have to send the wrong signals to her and get it in her head to kiss me!”
“She kissed you?” Olivia asked amused.
“It's not funny...officer… she's jailbait… I quickly corrected the situation but I had to tell Lightman what happened and well…” Eli trailed off.
“And he sucker-punched you. I get the picture and yeah Elliot would have done the same but that doesn't mean…” Olivia said unhappily while motioning for him to lift his shirt so she could inspect the damage.
“He already apologized. I was at Lightman's house when you called. We have squared away.” said stepping back from her after she finished her inspection.
“Still,” Olivia said letting her face do the talking.
“I'm an idealist, not a masochist, Sis. I wouldn't stay where I thought violence was an issue.”
“If you say so. Now put this in. You can fall asleep to the sound of Julia Robert’s voice,” Olivia said as she tossed the DVD at him.
The late morning sky was pleasant as Eli and Olivia strolled down the streets of Washington DC. After waking that morning Olivia proceeded to thoroughly snoop uninhibited as Eli watched with amusement answering questions that came up as she went. Once satisfied Eli offered a tour of the city starting with his workplaces. Considering Eli knew checking up on Eli's daily life was Olivia's primary motive for visiting unannounced.
“Then as we turn this corner you can see just down the block is the youth center I work at,” Eli spoke in his best tour guide voice, “So as you can see I am pretty well-positioned in the middle of all the important place I have to be. It's great for gas since I will can ride my bike if the weather allows. So what do you think?Are you satisfied that I'm not secretly living the lifestyle of a starving artist?”
“I do not… well okay but after seeing all this I think you may be better off than I am. Does the youth center pay that well?” Olivia asked as she looked around the outside of the building.
“With how high the cost of living is in this area? No way. As I said I was lucky I had a pretty hefty saving and the youth center is a non-profit so I don't want to take too much from them. It is enough to plug some of the leakages and I'm lucky Dennis is willing to cut me breaks in my share of rent and utilities because I do all the cooking and cleaning when he is home. He also has gotten me some pretty nice side jobs using my computer skills that pay pretty well for the amount of work required.” Eli explained.
“You know I've never asked how you started working here. You were a volunteer before Lightman took your check, right? How did you get involved?” Olivia asked as they started walking away.
“It wasn't too long after moving here actually. During one of the first cases we took on there was this woman that we interviewed that I noticed later in a coffee shop. Same one we are heading to now. She was trying to explain a math problem to this kid that didn't want to be there and was talking a bunch of smack to her. For whatever reason, I don't remember what I was thinking, I stepped in and helped her out and was able to get the kid to listen. I guess that impressed her because she recruited me to tutor him and I found I liked it.”
“What did you like about it?” Olivia asked curiously.
“Well actually it made me feel closer to my mom. She was already diagnosed by this time so I had been in a reflective mood over our relationship and I realized how she was always so good at reading me. She understood what I thought, how I felt, and would use that to motivate me and push me beyond my expectation. The tutoring made me feel like I could be like her too. Thanks to my studies I could read their emotions, find their fears, and help them overcome obstacles. I could take my research and practically apply it in a setting where I could help kids with a raw deal turn out better than me.”
“I think you turned out just fine. Of course, I'm biased. I've never really done any volunteer work since I left college,” Olivia admitted.
“That's because your whole life is volunteer work. There is a reason SVU is a voluntary unit. Anyways after my mom died I just kept doing it even when life got crazy as kind of a reminder and tribute from where I'm from.” Eli told her as he grabbed her arm and pulled her to the side.
“Eli what are you…” Olivia started as he pointed across the street.
“Hiding, that is Jack Rader across the street with what I would guess is a client. Really hoping he hasn't taken a liking to my coffee shop. All I want is a drama-free life. Is that so much to ask for?” Eli bemoaned.
“Jack Rader huh? I can see why you don't want to work for him from here. Full of himself ain't he?” Olivia mused.
“You have no idea. Complete glory hound with low morale. Once he's gone through we can head inside and I'll introduce you to the best muffins on the east coast.”
The next assignment the Lightman group received from the FBI concerned a dead fighter for an illegal gambling ring. Eli had spent the first part of his morning going over findings with a client. Now was excited over the phone footage from the fight that he would hopefully be able to add to his herd mentality research. He didn't even have to fight Ria for it which was odd but he wasn't one to look a gift horse in the mouth.
When he was done with the enhancement filters and almost done tagging all individuals present in the video when he noticed a jump in the footage. That was when Ria decided to rejoin him in the lab.
“Hey there is something weird about this FBI footage,” Eli told her as she walked in not taking his eyes off the screen.
“What?” Ria asked strained but he didn't notice.
“Well, It jumped like it was edited. It should be…” Eli picked up the paper that the FBI handed over with the footage, “21 minutes and 43 second but onscreen it's 21 minutes and 36 seconds, we lost seven seconds. It's probably on the hard-drive. I'll find it.”
Ria was saved from Eli noticing her panicky expression as he started doing just that, “Uh, listen. I forgot. Lightman called. He said he wanted uh you to get ready to present your research on lowland gorillas.”
“When?” that got Eli’s attention.
“This afternoon,” Ria informed him.
That was not what he wanted to hear not just after things were beginning to feel normal again “But I have at least two more days of work on that”
“Well better get on it.”
“Well… what about this case?” Eli asked feeling like he was missing something important but was too distracted to figure out what.
“I'll cover it. Go do your thing,” Ria assured as she directed him out the lab door.
He was heading to gather his research when he spied a familiar face exit Foster's office and head to the exit. Causing him to slow down and peek his head into the office.
“Well, well, Dr. Burns is it,” Eli started but stopped at the look on Foster's face, “Gillian are you okay? You look upset.”
Foster looked at him torn for a second before waving him in and gesturing for him to close the door, “You had several conversations with Dr. Burns right? Enough to make a judgment call?”
“Uh, maybe I guess that depends on the judgment,” Eli replied cautiously.
“ I don't mean to make this personal but your father, you never speak well of him. You've called him a crook?” Foster asked very tightly.
“Yeah white-collar mostly, some violent but he was mostly a conman. What does this have to do with Dr. Burns?” Eli asked not seeing the connection.
“He hasn't been truthful with me. Some of the evidence points to drug smuggling,” Foster’s voice was strained with emotion, “I'm too close.”
“So you want me to tell you if I think he is capable because what? I know criminals?” Eli asked defensively.
“I do think your past might be of benefit, yes but I want you to tell me because you are my friend and you're honest and I don't know what I should do.”
“What evidence? Because from my read on him this is a little left field.”
“Passports with other names. Charting a boat for five hours. Lying to me on why he is breaking dates,” she listed.
“Well, that doesn’t sound good. I'm not sure what you want me to say. I did notices some deception on topics concerning himself or his past, he was very closed off on the topic but that is nothing unusual, just look at me or Lightman but he genuinely cared for the kids and his jobs. Beyond that, he seems to have a high inner code of conduct and is very self-disciplined so I really am not getting the drug smuggler vibe from him. He has none of my father's markers and he cares for you,” Eli did his best to give his unbiased opinion.
Gillian looked away with her jaw clenched, “But he is lying to me, and then there are the passports.”
“Look I could just be Lightman here and tell you to get away but we both know that's not what you are after. So let me read you. You care about this guy but you are terrified to trust him, maybe with good reason. I can't tell you what to do but let me tell you a bit about my mom. She loved a man that was the kind of man you are afraid Burns is and she did it without shame because she never shielded away from the truth. She chose to love him with eyes wide open and I can look back my memories colored by contempt all I want but I can never deny it was her choice to make. A choice granted made from brokenness and I wish she could have gotten the help she deserved but she chose not to be a victim of circumstances.”
“Gillian you aren't one either. You are a smart beautiful women and that tells me if you fell in love with this man there was a reason. You need to remember there are lots of reasons to lie that aren't criminal. I'm not saying there won't be pain but don't fear the truth because for any relationship to work there has to be vulnerability. But if you ever think you are in danger call Reynolds.”
“Thank you, Eli,” Gillian told him as he turned to leave her to her thoughts to he continued on his way.
Olivia pulled her earphones off and stuck them in her bag as she wiped down the treadmill she just finished using. Checking the time she decided to head into the weight room only to run into a familiar face.
“Why hello there beautiful no bag work today?” Billy Desmond greeted from the bench press.
“Did that first today,” she told him as she headed to the free weights.
“You still owe me that rain check,” He told her with a flirty smile.
“You never bothered to come by,” she countered
“I wanted to but the timing was never right. I got stuck with a pretty complicated case and by the time I was done you were dealing with that woman who is posing as 16 to stay in Foster care? I was trying to figure out when you would be free. Figure timing might be everything with you,” Desmond said coming over and grabbing some weights for himself.
“That's true if you came I wouldn't have had the time,” Olivia said taking the time to appreciate his arms.
“Well, I'm free today. That's why I'm here. Are you or is your brother in town?” Desmond asked with a genuine smile that was hard to say no to.
“No but I'm meeting with a realtor after this to check out some places,” Olivia told him regretfully.
“Well, then how about I tag along then? I can give you a guy's perspective since you want your brother to want to live there as well right? That way I can buy you dinner after.” Desmond offered.
“Are you sure that's how you want to spend your day off?” Olivia asked skeptically.
“Oh yeah positive”
Eli was relieved to see Dave Burns in the office and Foster happy again. Knowing she found an answer she could live with and she was safe. He wished he could say the same for himself but at the moment he was far from fine or happy. Ria had lied to him, to protect Lightman as if Lightman needed protecting from him. She knew exactly how he felt about lies and half-truths on a personal level. Beyond that, she knew what this company and Lightman meant to him and still with no regard and so far no shame lied to his face. The worst of it was Eli made it easy for her cause he made the mistake of trusting her.
The betrayal of it was something he really couldn't deal with at the moment so he decided to turn his attention on more self-destructive paths. So with a deep breath, Eli braced himself for the confrontation was surely about to start. Men like Lightman don't change they just progressively got worse was a fact that would not leave his subconscious. That was why he didn't allow himself to get carried away last week when Lightman invited Eli into his house. Eli only wished he had been more vigilant over the years then maybe he would not be so emotionally invested and as Lightman progeny saw Ria’s betrayal coming.
Granted Lightman's betrayal was very mild in comparison to Ria's sucker punch but her lie highlighted something he could no longer let go unanswered.
Eli walked with determination to Lightman's door before he made sure to knock and wait for a reply before entering. Seeing no needed to poke the caged lion more than necessary with disrespect.
“Is there something I can do for you, Loker?” Lightman asked impatiently.
Eli walked over and flopped in a chair before answering, “While I know Torres was lying today about my lowland gorilla research to distract me from your misdeeds. It does make me wonder when are you going to want it?”
“I'm not,” Lightman answered flippantly.
“You're not?... Of course, you're not because interfering with my job not to mention the effectiveness of our lab, stressing out Foster and Mark for absolutely no reason is good business practice for you?” Eli shot back.
“Look you, I don't have to explain myself to a lowly unpaid intern. If you don't like the way I run things you are free to look for employment elsewhere not go crying to Foster to reduce your hours because you don't like your cut of the work.”
“Really? Excuse me for taking the opportunity to be able to make rent. I did the tasked assigned perfectly in the time I spent here. You're completely unbelievable I don't want to work anywhere else. I belong here. I helped you build this place right along with Foster,” Eli said raising to his feet as his voice rose as well.
“You belong here, you help me build this? You’ve done nothing I can't get anyone else to do in your place. I don't even know why you're here much less what to do with you. Why are you here Loker? Why don't you just take that bloody card out of your desk and give Rader a call? The two of you would go bloody good together.”
Eli forcefully tried unsuccessfully to stop himself from saying what was on the tip of his tongue as he caught some confusing and contradicting expressions on Lightman's face, “Maybe I will give him a call since I seem to have no value to you but If you believe that then why don't you go ahead and fire me, yourself?”
They stared at each other and Eli fully expected that he would do it but instead, Lightman said, “I want everything wrapped up before you leave for the night.”
Eli gave a nod of acknowledgment before heading to the door, stopping just short, “It's not my fault Foster got a boyfriend. You need to get over yourself and just let her be happy.”
He walked out closing the door behind him before Lightman could reply and ran directly into Ria, Anna, Mark, and a few other people looking anxiously in the hallway. Realizing he must have gotten louder then he realized gave them his best reassuring smile.
“Back to work people. I fully intend to sleep in my bed tonight,” Eli said as he walked by Ria refusing to make eye contact. He would deal with her tomorrow.