Distorted Ambience

BY : SisterWine
Category: G through L > Law & Order
Dragon prints: 394
Disclaimer: I DO NOT OWN Law and ORDER FANDOM! Law & Order: SVU (2000) is owned by series creator Dick Wolf and Universal Studios. I make no profit from this work.

Kevin Monroe
427A North Amhurst Rd
Queens, New York

Stabler and Benson stood on the doorstep of a condo. Elliot knocked on the door and held up his badge to the peephole. When the door opened, they introduced themselves to the man, who was getting ready for work. "Kevin Monroe? I'm Detective Stabler. My partner, Detective Benson. Mind if we ask you a few questions?" He took in the man's appearance and as the door opened more, could see odd similarities between Kevin and Detective Anders.

The man's brow furrowed briefly as he held the door open for the two detectives to step in, closing it behind them. "What's this about?" Well-groomed brown hair was parted on the right, letting a few strands of bangs fall over his forehead. Leading them in from the front door, down a small, darkened hallway spilling out into the front room, with the kitchen to the right and the stairs to the bedrooms, on the left, he showed them into the living room. He had finished buttoning his pressed white shirt before picking up the gray tie from hanging over the back of the wicker-backed barstool, from the kitchen countre and placing it around his shoulders before tying it.

"Do you know an Erik Matthews?" Olivia stopped in the middle of the white shag carpet of the living room. She stared out at the view of the city, from large, floor to ceiling length windows, her back to the front door. She glanced down at the glass table between them and the plush white, three cushion sofa that faced them. She noted the bowl of half-eaten cereal and milk placed on the opposite side of the sofa and a large throw pillow on the floor, in front of it.

Kevin stopped fixing his tie and stared at her, as if shocked by the name. "Yea, I know him. Why?" After a deep breath, he calmed himself and reached for his coffee cup of half-full coffeethat he had been sipping, prior to the knock on the door.

Elliot cleared his throat and checked his notes. "You were friends with Alex Anders?"

"Operative words being 'were friends'? Yea, I was friends with Alex. A long time ago. Something happened to them?" Kevin's eyebrow raised as he heard his old friend's name and waved a hand to the gray armchair, to his left, for Elliot to sit down and offered Olivia the twin chair, to his right.

Sitting down on the edge of the seat and placing his notepad on his right knee, Elliot covered his writing and looked up at the man as he sat back down on the sofa. "They're fine, actually. We're investigating the death of Erik's ex-lover, Jacob Martinelli. Ever meet him?" Making eye contact with Kevin, he watched the man's expression closely.

Kevin shook his head. "Was that the asshole that was in the news for killing that kid? Never met him and, for that, I'm grateful."

"Why's that?" Olivia asked, sitting down on the chair across from Elliot.

After taking a sip of coffee, Kevin cleared his throat. "From what I read in the papers, what he and the other guy did to Erik, was damn right shameful. Erik didn't deserve that. The other kid, either." He glanced up, at the balcony, and stared at his daughter's closed bedroom door. "Casey, honey, let's go." He called before turning back to the detectives. His downstairs was virtually spotless, with white polished tile and very few trinkets or photos around the living room. The second floor of the condo only took up half of the downstairs, leaving the living room open with a high ceiling.

Elliot leaned forward and looked up from his notes. "How long have you known Alex Anders?"

Kevin sighed and looked up at his daughter's door, after hearing it open and seeing the twelve-year-old step out, still in her pajamas, with a towel and an armful of clothing, heading towards the guest bathroom. "We met in junior high. Plus, he lived down the street so, our meeting was inevitable." He smiled as he recalled racing bicycles up and down the street, where they lived.

"When did he find out you were gay?" Olivia asked.

Kevin shrugged. "Around the same time, I guess. I mean, it's kinda hard to remain oblivious when your best friend is checkin' guys out in third period PE"

Nodding, Elliot raised an eyebrow. "He didn't care that you were gay?"

Laughing and shaking his head, Kevin took another sip of his coffee. "No. As long as I didn't get frisky with him, he was fine."

"What about Erik?" Olivia asked.

"What about him?" Kevin quirked an eyebrow at her.

Olivia watched him as he finished his bowl of cereal and wiped his mouth with a paper napkin he had sitting neatly folded, beside the bowl. "Do you know when Detective Anders found out Erik was gay?"

Another shrug as Kevin sat back with his cup of coffee in hand. "His mom knew, though; Erik's. I think Alex's mom did too but, didn't really say anything. All I know is, the day after Alex found us together, the Captain threw Erik out. If I had to take a guess,... I'd say right around when Erik was in eighth grade. But, when Alex found out and when it finally dawned on him were two different things."

Elliot nodded. "We understand they weren't the closest of brothers."

"Erik was always hanging around us. Wanted to go to the movies with us, play ball with us, or just be included in whatever Alex and I did." Shaking his head, Kevin agreed. "Alex wanted nothing to do with him. He only let Erik hang around because his old man told him so. Erik could have gotten lost or taken and Alex wouldn't have cared. When his mom got sick, Erik stopped everything and lived for her. She must have gotten tired of him or saw that he was spending way too much time at home so, she asked Alex and I to take him to a ball game or something, one day after school. He was like fourteen or so. That's too young to have so much weight on your shoulders and I think she knew it."

"When did you start having feelings for him?" Olivia inquired, still writing but glanced up as she finished.

Kevin smiled at the memory. "When his mom went into hospice, Erik became really withdrawn. Only left his room to go to school and visit her, then, right back to his room and stayed there. The kid didn't have a friend in the world and Alex wasn't making his life any easier with the taunting and teasing with Erik crying at everything. So, what started out as a 'hey, how are ya?' passing conversation, in the kitchen, fifteen minutes turned into an hour and then, eventually a hangout." He paused to think about the differences between brothers. "Erik was a sweet kid. Beats me how he got involved with the Martinellis. Yea, he was annoying at times but, he looked up to Alex and just wanted to be a part of the family. The Captain, though,..." Kevin shook his head. "The Captain thought those two were like little soldiers. He was constantly yelling at them for whatever reason."

Olivia's brow furrowed. "Did you ever see him get physical with them?" She looked up from her writing and watched Kevin's expression closely as the man on the sofa stared straight, at a spot on the far wall, by the door.

Kevin turned to look at the female detective. "No but he had a temper so, I wouldn't have been surprised. When Alex went into football, the Captain went to all the games but took it personal when Erik did things like Home Ec. or Debate Team. And, let me tell you, he was a force to be reckoned with at the debate tournaments."

Elliot smiled. "He was a hell of a lawyer, too."

"So I hear."

"When was the last time you and Erik saw each other?" Olivia asked and then glanced up as the upstairs bathroom door opened and Casey, now clean and fully clothed, stepped out and made her way back to her room while struggling to clip a barrette to the end of a long braid.

Kevin sighed and watched the twelve-year-old walk down the hallway. "About fifteen, sixteen years ago. Alex found us together, pulled us outta bed, knocked Erik around a bit and then chased me out of the house and down the street. Alex could get very possessive about things." Taking a breath, he stood up and gathered his coffee cup and neglected bowl of cereal. "Ten minutes, Case." His voice carried out to the whole condo.

After a moment, a muffled and annoyed "kay" was the response from behind the guest bathroom door.

Elliot nodded again and stood up. "You were never interested in pursuing a relationship with Erik, after that?"

Again, Kevin laughed. He had asked himself that same question many times, over the years but never brought himself to answer it. "It wouldn't have worked. Erik was a good kid, great kisser and friend but, he wanted a relationship. I just wanted the fun. Besides, although it would have made an interesting sex life, two tops aren't a good foundation for a home life. I regret it now. After I saw what that creep did to him, on the news, I felt bad for him. I even tried to see him, when he was in the hospital but the Captain had me denied. Told me I 'was a bad influence on his son.' Please. They still think of him as a little kid."

Olivia stood and followed Kevin and Elliot over to the sink, where he washed out his coffee cup and placed into the stainless steel dishwasher. "It looks like you've grown up, since then." She motioned to a small 5x7 wood framed photo laid on its side, sitting on the raised bar. She smiled briefly at the photo of Kevin and a younger Casey enjoying a picnic at a park, on a bright sunshine day.

"Yea. My ex-partner was in a relationship with a girl who wanted a baby but he couldn't have kids so, she asked me and I said yes. It worked for a little while and then he got jealous. I get Casey during the summer and she lives with her mom during the school year. Her mom's a teacher at her school." Kevin made his way back over to the coffee table and collected the two bowls, bringing them back to the sink for washing. When he turned around again to call for his daughter, he found her coming down the stairs with her backpack on.

Elliot glanced over at the preteen before thinking of his wording for his last question. "One last question; did Erik ever lose his temper around you? Any violence on his part?"

"Erik? No. I've seen him mad but not physical, not angry physical, anyway. He's more passive aggressive. Alex was the physical one. Guess that's why he became a cop. Why?" Kevin raised an eyebrow at the question.

Writing in his notepad, Elliot paused and looked up at the younger man. "Erik's not the type for revenge?"

Kevin laughed, finding amusement in Elliot's question. "Revenge? No. Not Erik. Erik would rather debate things, talk about things. He wouldn't get back at the person, even if they assaulted him. I know that for a fact." He turned and looked at his daughter, standing between Olivia and Elliot. "Got everything? Mom's not going to drive all the way back here just because you forgot Pokey, again."

Giving her father a bored look, Casey sighed and trudged back upstairs to check and make sure she had everything.

"People change from high school." Elliot blinked.

Inhaling and scratching his right side, Kevin shook his head. "After Alex found out about his girl making out with his gay little half-brother, we all took turns hazing Erik before stuffing him in a locker. After lunch, the entire football team was called into the Principal's office and Mr. Jones asked Erik if he wanted to press charges. He said no and instead made an excuse for us. He even begged Mr. Jones not to call the Captain. I guess that's when I started to notice him. After that, the team continued to give poor Erik hell." Shaking his head in regret, Kevin sighed. "Erik never said a word. It's like he expected it, ya know? It wasn't until they held him down and dressed him up as a fairy and then shoved him into the girl's locker room, after practice, that Alex kinda got the hint to lay off. A week later, they found out Erik's mom was terminal." He paused and sniffled as the memory came back to haunt him. "If you're looking for who offed the guy, it wasn't Erik."

~~~~~~~~~

The Candied Apple
26 June, Friday
11:30 PM

Elliot sat in the driver's seat, in an unmarked vehicle, across the street from the gay nightclub and watched patrons enter and leave, mostly in couples. The rain had let up but the storm still lingered above. Picking up his radio and pushing the button, he spoke quietly. "Captain, how long are we gonna sit here? He doesn't look like he'll hit here, tonight." He watched the entrance for the suspect that was wanted in a string of hate crimes against the gay community while Fin## sat in the passenger seat and took photos.

Cragen's voice came back from a car, on the opposite side of the street, staring at the front door from a few car lengths back. "We'll give him another hour. Everyone stay in position." A pause before he spoke again. "Liv, anything around back?"

Olivia sat in her darkened car, backed into a corner parking spot, in the back lot and watched for anything unusual. "Not a thing. A few couples making out, a few leaving. I don't see our boy." She had gone back to picking apart a small styrofoam cup to mask her boredom but it did little to occupy her thoughts.

Sighing and shifting in his seat, Elliot checked his watch and rest his elbow on the door. He watched a few more couples enter and noted a familiar face making his way into the bar. Clearing his throat, he picked up the radio again and pressed the button. "Captain, our boy just arrived." He released the button as his eyes fixed on another familiar face, also entering the bar. Pressing the button, he spoke again. "Erik Matthews is also in there."

There was radio silence for a complete minute as Cragen thought of how to approach the situation next. "Stay put. The attacks have been outside, so far. I don't think Dallas will try anything in a crowded space. As much as Erik's been through, he's a big boy."

An hour went by and the incoming crowd was winding down. After another forty-five minutes, the door to the club opened and Erik held the door open while the perp the squad was after stepped out and wrapped an arm around the ex-attourney. The two men started walking around the to the back of the building and stopped a few cars down and across from where Olivia had parked.

Olivia sat up in her seat and picked up her radio. "Dallas and Matthews are around the back, Matthews is leaning against Matthews' late model BMW, perp is making his move." Her eyes widened as Erik turned to unlock the driver's side door only to be shoved against his own car as the other man slammed Erik's head against the roof. Grabbing her door handle, she opened her door and stepped out in time to see Erik spin around and defend himself by blocking another blow with his left arm before punching the man once in the stomach and then sending the man sprawling away from him with a mean right hook. Hurrying to Erik's side and identifying herself as an officer, she bent down to cuff the man before glancing back to ask if Erik was alright.

Erik panted and nodded as he wiped the corner of his mouth with the side of his hand where the assailant had managed one final swing. He leaned against the side of his car and turned to see the rest of the detectives making their way to them. He held up a hand to stop Elliot from getting too close to him. "I'm fine, Detective."

"We're gonna get you checked out by an EMT and then, if you don't mind, we need to get your statement, Mr. Matthews." Captain Cragen reached out his arm and placed it on Erik's shoulder, guiding the younger man over to where Olivia's car had been parked and away from the suspect that was being escorted over to an awaiting squad car. When they reached the car, Cragen stood in front of Erik and visually inspected the ex-lawyer. "Do you feel alright, Erik?"

Nodding again, Erik leaned against the hood of Olivia's car. "Yea, just a headache."

Cragen sighed. "The EMTs are on their way. If you're feeling up to it, we can give you a ride to the station for your statement." He turned his head to watch as the ambulance made its way into the small parking lot and waved them over to where he and Erik now stood. While the medic checked Erik out, Cragen made his way back over to talk to Olivia on what happened before giving directions to the rest of the detectives for controlling the scene before getting the report on the ex-lawyer's health from the medics. "How is he?"

A well-toned medic with dark hair turned and glanced back at the captain. "He's in good condition. Gave him some antibiotic for the laceration on his forehead and he turned down a ride to the hospital but, all in all, he's doing good." The man in a blue t-shirt turned back to check the bandage just above Erik's left eye before giving him one more vision test to make sure.

Cragen eyed Erik, who sat on the gurney containing his annoyance. "Feel up to giving a statement?"

Sighing, Erik glanced over at the older man. "Do I have a choice?"

~~~~~~~

For the late time of night, the squadroom was unusually busy as Stabler and Fin escorted their suspect to an interrogation room and Cragen escorted Erik to Munch's desk for his statement. As Munch shuffled papers from another case off to the side of his desk and grabbed the statement form, Erik sat patiently in the chair beside the desk and waited for the senior detective to situate.

"Don't take this personally but, I am really getting tired of dealing with you people." Erik sighed and glanced over at Munch as their eyes met. His elbow rest on the side of the desk and his hand cradled his right cheek. It was the last place he had wanted to be tonight and he knew his father would give him grief for the reason. The one thing that would make his night more miserable would be to have the retired Homicide captain waltz into the squadroom and demand an explanation of why his youngest son was taken to the SVU precinct.

Munch picked up his pen and started writing the essentials of the report. "None taken. This isn't where I want to be on a Saturday night, either. Luckily for you, this won't take long." Munch had been right about the time length of the report and even took the time to chat with Erik about the hours leading up to the incident. They were almost done when a familiar sight caused Munch to look from Erik to the doorway, where the newly appointed Brooklyn Homicide Seargent Anders now stood. "Don't look now but your worst fear just walked through the door."

Alex Anders had been in full uniform looked rather exhausted but cleared his throat and straightened as he searched the room for his little brother. Spotting the Special Victims captain making his way back to his office, Alex spoke up. "Captain Cragen. I was on my way home tonight when I heard my little brother's name mentioned over the radio. Might I ask why?" Taking a quick look over at Munch's desk where Erik still sat, looking rather guilty, he turned back to find Cragen walking over to speak to him.

Sighing and shoving his hands in his pockets, Cragen swallowed. "Erik's fine, he just was involved in an incident at a club. He's giving his statement, now and when he's done, you can take him home." The captain came to a stop two feet from the sergeant and also glanced over at Munch's desk.

Standing and also making his way over to his brother, Erik raked his teeth over his lip and stared calmly at his brother. "I'm fine, Aleksei. No need for dramatics."

"'No need for dramatics.' After that nonsense with Martinelli, last year? You're damn right I'm going to be dramatic about hearing my half-brother's name mentioned along with a known gay club you, for some reason, love to frequent, come over the police radio." Alex paused to glare at Erik. "You're lucky it's me coming to get you and not Pop." Taking a closer look at Erik, his eyebrow raised as he noticed the bandage over Erik's eye. "What happened?"

Erik shifted and averted his eyes. "Nothing to concern yourself with."

"There was an altercation between Mister Matthews and our suspect." Captain Cragen chimed in. "If it's any consolation, the other guy looks worse."

The sergeant sighed angrily at his brother but turned his attention back to the captain. "Is he done?"

Cragen glanced back to Munch, who nodded completion of the report and then turned back to notice Erik's disguised embarrassment of the situation. "Yep. Go home, get some rest. If we have anything further, we'll let you know." He nodded a goodbye to them before watching Alex escort his little brother back to the elevator and turned to continue on to his office.

~~~~~~~

"Someone must've done something to you that you just thought, 'hey, I'll go beat up gay guys for a living.' But, there was a flaw in that plan, Dallas. You see, you could have just carried on with your pathetic life but, you must love punishment because now you have four innocent victims pressing charges on you. That's some hobby you got there." Olivia sat on the corner of the table and stared at their suspect calmly. "That last one actually fought back, didn't he? Bet that was a first for you." She and Elliot decided to take turns interrogating Dallas Campbell, a violent suspect with a mean streak and appetite for beating up homosexual men.

Dallas stared at the table, in front of him, his left arm rest on the cool metal surface while his right played with a scratchy, bloody tissue from his broken nose Erik had given him. "That pansy bitch got lucky. Hope he didn't break a nail." A smirk adorned his swollen face but it was short lived as Olivia slipped off of the table and came within inches of his face to stare at him.

Olivia smiled. "That lucky pansy bitch just kicked your pathetic ass in front of a handful of cops. Not to mention, he isn't laid up in the hospital, like the other three men you attacked." She studied his expression as he slouched back in the chair across from her, picking his nails. She pushed away from the table and moved to walk behind him. "Assault is only the first charge they're hitting you with. The three men, in the hospital, had a hefty dose of Rohypnol in their system. But, you didn't have time to drug and rape the last one, did you? Your fingerprints are also all over your first three victims' houses, where you robbed them after beating them up and raping them. My partner is acquiring a search warrant for your home, as we speak. What do you think we'll find there? Hm? Maybe some leftover stolen possessions? Maybe some pawning tickets from the seven items you pawned from your first victim?"

Again, Dallas sat still and silent, slouched in the chair. He scoffed at the mention of the pawning tickets, as he hadn't been lucky enough to sell the few expensive items he had taken, on the black market.

Walking casually around to the other side of him, Olivia stopped. "Was there a method to choosing your victims? Other than being gay, all four men had successful jobs, good rapport with the community and each man had a family member with strong ties to the business world." She paused again to glance over at the man in the chair. "That last one would have been like kicking a hornet's nest, had you have gotten away with it. So, what's the matter, Dallas? Have something against upstanding homosexuals? Or, do you just like pissing off high ranking city officials and their families?"

Scoffing again, Dallas shifted in his seat. Smirking as the door opened and a man in a pressed Armani suit and salt and pepper hair stepped in.

"Not another word, Dallas. This interview is over." The man looked from his client to Olivia and smirked. "Jack Reagan. I'm Mister Campbell's attourney. Unless you're charging my client with something, we're done here. Any further questions you have for my client can be directed to my office."

Olivia shifted. "He was arrested for assaulting a Defense Attourney outside of a night club as well as three prior assaults to homosexual men, in the same area."

"Then your victim will tell you the same thing I'm about to tell you. Charge him, or let him go. Either way, we're done here." Turning back to wave Dallas out of the chair, Reagan motioned for the man to step towards the door. He raised a taunting eyebrow at Olivia as he turned and followed Dallas out of the interrogation room.

Sighing and following them out of the room, she paused to give a deflated stare at Cragen. "He was so close to give us everything."

Cragen stared back at her and nodded. "Tomorrow morning, you and Elliot stop by and talk to Erik Matthews about what went on before the fight. Maybe he has some insight."

"You think they know each other?" Elliot leaned against the wall, the window to the empty room behind him. He stood there with his arms folded and watched the lawyer and Dallas stroll out of the squadroom.

Glancing from Olivia to her partner, he shrugged. "It's possible. His brother mentioned Erik frequents the club often and two out of four beatings happened in the parking lot. Maybe Erik's seen him around or heard about him from others."

Elliot shoved off of the wall and stepped closer. "That's a pretty big risk to take, if he had."

"Talk to him but do it nicely. And, in the morning. We don't need anyone upset from this, tonight." Cragen waited for them to nod in understanding before telling them to go home for the night. As they turned away, he stopped them again with another thought. "What's the update on Martinelli's murder?"

Pausing and turning around, Elliot walked back to where the captain stood and updated them on their visit to Erik's ex-boyfriend. "We talked to a Kevin Monroe, Erik's first crush, this morning. He mentioned that Erik was very passive aggressive when it came to bullies, in school but his brother Alex, on the other hand, could get pretty violent when it came to possessions of his. Knocking his little brother around for getting in bed with his best friend, having the entire Varsity football team hase Erik for snuggling up to Alex's girlfriend. Sergeant Anders is looking like a possible suspect but, we have a few more people to talk to, including Martinelli's cellmate. Cabot's getting us a rendezvous with him, tomorrow afternoon."

Cragen nodded and sighed. "Don't lose sight of the possibility that Justin Paxton might also have had a hand in Martinelli's demise."

"All the way from another facility?" Elliot quirked a brow. "He got what he wanted, Martinelli was in prison for his crimes."

Cragen shifted. "But for the wrong reason. Paxton involved Aaron Jasper and Erik Matthews, not to mention following Martinelli from town to town, just to make his brother's murderer pay for his crime. Maybe Martinelli's bunkmate was paid a visit by someone in Paxton's circle."

 

 

Continued.



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