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This is unbeta-ed (eek!).
Disclaimers: I am only playing with the people from Oz and SVU. They do not belong to me and I am making no money from this.
Copyright: Edgar C. Gambodge, Elizabeth Lightbody, Chris's professor and Mrs. Keller are mine.
Coming in from the Cold 1/17
Part 1: Strange meeting
Chris Keller buzzed the two detectives up to his apartment, thinking he should probably call their unit and check their badge numbers first. Couldn't play it too safe these days. But Chris was not in the habit of calling the police. He preferred to have as little to do with them as possible. And old habits die hard.
It was something in the detective's voice, something he was barely aware of beyond the soft, slightly husky, Queens intonation. Elliot Stabler. Chris didn't know the name, he was certain of that. He rubbed his hand through his short hair and considered putting on a shirt. To cover the gun in the back of his jeans. Yeah. He put on a plaid Oxford shirt over his tank top. Button-down shirts were fucking uncomfortable and unaesthetic, but they did have their uses. And they made him think of Toby.
Thinking of Toby was pretty much the only reason he was continuing with therapy at this point. If it wasn't for Toby, Chris would have thrown the towel in by now. He was beginning to feel as if each session was like scooping out his guts in slow motion and then packing them back in haphazardly, leaving him to ache and bleed until the next time. He was so wrung out by it all that he did little else than sleep or watch TV. He'd been doing both on and off when the buzzer went.
It buzzed again now. They must be in the penthouse's private foyer. The first thing he'd done with the pay out was buy himself the most secure apartment he could find in the most secure building. Lock up garage, hidden cameras, security guards. The whole nine yards. He even chose the penthouse apartment, with a private elevator, to ensure he had no neighbors to worry about. The only thing he didn't have was a monitor to show who was at the door. At least, he didn't have one that worked. Fucking thing had kept flickering on and off until at last he'd killed it with a good swift thump. Kept meaning to get a new one. Hadn't got around to it. His shrink would say it was some unconscious destructive urge that made him forget all those times he could have done something about it. Now he wished he'd remembered.
He still had an old-fashioned peephole though, so all was not lost. Through it he could see a woman's face in fish-eye. Large, wide-spaced eyes, a wide mouth, fashionably short brown hair, sophisticated make up. Behind her, facing the elevator's doors stood a man Chris presumed was Elliot Stabler who had spoken over the intercom. All Chris could make out was a neutral-colored trench coat, broad shoulders and very short dark hair.
"Mr. Keller?" came the woman's voice. "It's Detective Olivia Benson. Can we have moment of your time please?"
Chris shook his head to clear it a bit. Better wake up. Should've gone down to meet them, instead of letting them into his space without knowing who they were. Where were they from again? Some special unit. Fuck. Chris never had to call the police. They were always calling him. Of course this time it might have something to do with the evidence he had. He checked the gun in his waist band as he opened the door. And looked straight into his own face.
"Christopher?" his mirror image said.
"Do you think this is a good idea, El?" said Olivia, as she pressed the door bell again. "What if he's dangerous? He's an ex-con with a long record. And what if he's not who you think he is?"
"He is." Elliot said. "I've waited for this for forty years. I'm not waiting any longer."
The door opened. The guy standing in the doorway was Elliot's height, build, and complexion. He had Elliot's nose and his eyebrows. His mouth. In fact, other than his casual, slept-in looking clothing, he was Elliot's spitting image. He even had the same hair cut. Olivia gasped.
"Well, I guess there's no doubt about it then," she said brightly, regaining her composure.
"Christopher?" said Elliot, a bit breathlessly.
The only sound for a few moments was the muffled sound of a telesales advert demanding "how much would you expect to pay for this amazing product?" Christopher Keller stuttered, tried to fall back on a smirk, failed and eventually managed, "What the fuck?"
"I'm your brother," Elliot told him, his hands twitching, as he just stopped himself from reaching towards Chris.
Keller stayed where he was, frozen in the doorway, a scowl darkening on his forehead.
"Bullshit. I don't have a brother. What the fuck is going on here?"
"I knew you'd ask that," Elliot said, reaching under his trench coat to get at the inside pocket of his jacket.
Olivia saw Keller's right hand go behind his back.
"Elliot!" she barked, going for her own service revolver. "He's carrying!"
Elliot withdrew his hands and held them up empty for Keller to see. Olivia kept her own hand on her holster, hoping Keller would see that too. Elliot shook his head imperceptibly. Olivia hesitated, dropped her hand. Keller dropped his hand too. His jaw muscles flexed. But he could not tear his eyes away from Elliot's face.
"I've got our adoption papers - I brought them to show you."
Elliot returned his hand to his jacket pocket more slowly this time and pulled out a triple folded wad of documents. He held them out to Keller. Keller stared at him, his frown turning to puzzlement, his head cocked to one side. He didn't move from the doorway.
"Take them," said Elliot.
"Look, pal," Keller said, staying where he was. "I don't know who you are..."
"I'm your brother Elliot," Elliot said. "Don't you remember me?"
Olivia felt a pang for Elliot. He'd looked forward to this day more than anything in his life. He'd even said so shyly, when they were getting coffee after he'd first told her about his lost twin a couple of months ago. But Keller's apparent amnesia had not dampened Elliot's determination.
"Christopher," he said the name as if it were a precious thing. "Chris ... you prefer `Chris', right?"
Working with him every day, Olivia tended to forget how handsome Elliot was. Seeing at him now, in front of his glowering double, she realized suddenly that might be because Elliot seldom looked truly happy.
"It's okay, `cause I remember you and I've finally found you again."
"How long have you been looking?" asked Keller, seemingly despite himself.
"Since we were three and we were adopted by different families." Elliot reached out again and checked himself. "I always knew you were out there somewhere, even though my folks - the family who adopted me - didn't even know I had a twin brother."
"I was an only child," said Keller mainly to himself.
"No, you weren't, Chris," said Elliot and reached out his right hand to him again, raising it as if taking an oath.
Keller hesitated, then raised his left hand in a mirror gesture and touched fingertips with Elliot. Elliot's voice broke.
"You remember this," he said.
Keller was looking at their twin hands. He smiled with his mouth only and shook his head.
"You do remember something at some level. The rest will come back to you." Elliot said.
Keller lowered his hand and slowly took the adoption papers from Elliot, never taking his eyes off Elliot's face.
"Left my glasses inside..." he mumbled, turning back towards his apartment.
"You wear glasses?" asked Elliot fascinated.
"Don't you?" asked Keller.
"Kathy keeps saying I should get my eyes tested," Elliot told him, clearly intent on following him into the apartment.
Olivia put a hand on Elliot's arm. She could see the bulge of the gun at the back of Keller's shirt. The guy looked buzzed. He could be drunk, high, anything.
"Who's Kathy?" asked Keller, turning back to face Elliot almost despite himself.
"My wife." Elliot explained. "You married?"
Keller studied him for a moment, head tilted to one side, a ghost of a smile quirking his dry lips.
"My first wife's name was Kitty - short for Katherine." Was all he said.
"And now?" asked Elliot.
"Still is, I guess. She's married someone else though. Got any kids?"
"Four. My youngest are fraternal twins - a boy and a girl. You?"
"Nah, but I was married four times." Keller looked pleased at Elliot's half-concealed surprise.
Elliot was rummaging in his breast pocket again. Olivia had a nasty feeling she knew what he was going to bring out next. Yes, his wallet. He wasn't going to show this guy pictures of his kids, was he? He was. Shit. Elliot had seen Keller's criminal record. Keller was capable of anything. He'd even done a stint on Death Row and had been a suspect in a kidnapping case. But...
"Here." Elliot was saying, holding the pictures out to Keller and Keller was taking them.
He squinted at them briefly and handed them back.
"Cute," he said.
"Chris, can I come in and talk? I want to find out all about you and what you've been doing. I..."
"Elliot, you're a detective. You gotta know what I've been doing already. I bet you've studied my record..."
"No, I want to know about you. I want to know how you grew up and how you like to spend your time. I want to know what your life has been like since we were separated."
"Don't think you do, pal," said Keller.
Olivia couldn't help concurring silently. Poor Elliot. This guy was so like him and yet so different. He'd been nothing but trouble in Oz, as far as she'd been able to make out from the COs. And what was the deal with this Beecher guy? Sounded like they'd had some type of violent gay relationship in prison. Wasn't clear who'd been whose bitch though. And here was Elliot, after forty years of pining for his twin, forty years too late.
"I do," said Elliot firmly, nodding his head. "I do. I've waited my whole life for this, Chris. We can go somewhere if you like, have a beer?"
A fleeting trace of discomfort flitted over Keller's face. It disappeared. Keller smiled at Elliot.
"I wasn't planning on going out today," he said.
"I'm not going anywhere until we've spent some time together."
They stared at each other with identical, stubborn frowns, while Olivia tried not to acknowledge that their similarities even went beyond looks.
Keller backed down first. His slight fatigue reeked of depression suddenly.
"Okay, but I'm warning you, I ain't been expecting guests..." He pushed the door open behind him, showing an untidy open-plan living room-kitchen. Olivia caught a glimpse of newspapers lying on the floor, along with lots of take out packaging and dirty plates and glasses. Guy must spend his life in front of the TV. Elliot would have noticed that about anyone else and would have caught her eye. But this time all he said was, "'Liv, I'll see you later, okay?" His voice was quite neutral, but he seemed to glow as he stepped towards the doorway. Keller grinned at her as she opened her mouth to protest. It was a scary grin.
"'Course you might be seeing me," he said. "You never know."
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