Work Header

Good For You

Chapter Text

She was ignoring his calls, sending him to voicemail earlier and earlier every time he called her back. Elliot’s not dumb, he knows how to take a hint, but the anger in Liv’s voice from their earlier call was startling. And then she had to go and mention Dani Beck, a name he had almost forgotten over the years, and somehow equate her with Angela Wheatley.

He gave up calling Liv back, dropping his phone harshly onto the table in front of him before covering his face with his hands and letting out a sigh. Not for the first time since his return to New York, he was struck with the overwhelming feeling that he’d screwed up. He was barely holding it together most of the time, thoughts constantly plagued by the best way to take care of Richard Wheatley and avenge Kathy’s death. In doing so, he had lost everything. His kids barely spoke to him, he sent Eli off because he couldn’t protect him, and every time he thought he was reconnecting with Liv something went terribly wrong. All he had at this point was anger, anxiety, stress, and an unyielding headache pounding behind his eyes.

And the kiss with Angela Wheatley, he heard Liv’s voice in his head say.

Angela Wheatley. A mistake if he’d ever made one, and he’d made plenty.

He couldn’t really narrow down the exact reason he had gone to her, had kissed her. Liv’s mentioning Dani in the same breath as Angela was giving him more insight into his actions than his own mind, however.

Dani Beck had come in a vulnerable moment in Elliot’s life. He was separated from Kathy, Liv was gone, and he was barely treading water. His life had turned upside down and he reached for the only person who was there, consequences be damned. And he had regretted it ever since. He ended up back with Kathy, a decision he wasn’t one thousand percent sure was the right one, but one he made and never looked back on. That relationship wasn’t littered with memories of Dani, but his relationship with Liv had been.

She had come back from her assignment in Oregon and the tension between the two had reached unbelievable heights. They never talked about it, not explicitly, but he wasn’t dumb, he was a detective for a reason. He knew Dani Beck was a contributing factor, but he and Liv moved past it and were partners once again. If they could overcome Dani Beck and Oregon, they could overcome anything, Elliot had thought.

But he wasn’t sure they could overcome Angela Wheatley, another Dani Beck standing between the partnership that meant more to him than anything.

He had almost lost Liv thanks to Dani, and now he was on the verge of losing her again because of Angela. It was startling that Liv was the one who made the connection, that she still knew him so well she could nail down the exact reasons why he had turned to Angela. But she had.

Elliot was drowning, trying to overcome all the obstacles that were suddenly in his path that he never anticipated. Liv was handling her own issues, trying to be there for him when she could, but she couldn’t be there to hold his hand every step of the way. She had a squad to run, her own demons to battle. Elliot wasn’t holding it against her, but he was vulnerable and desperate for some sort of connection, and he ran to the first person who was giving him even a crumb of what he thought he needed.

He regretted kissing Angela almost immediately, another similarity between her and Dani. He wished she was someone else, that he had better self control and could’ve waited for the person he really wanted to see in those trying times of his life.

But he hadn’t. And now he was paying the price.

Of course, maybe things wouldn’t be so bad had he been able to talk to Liv about it, to tell her himself that he had kissed Angela Wheatley. Then he’d be able to tell her it was a mistake, that he regretted it. Instead, she had to hear from someone else, but he wasn’t sure who told her. Not many people knew, except for the task force, and it’s not like she was best friends with anyone on his team.

Unless she was there for the interrogation, his brain supplied. The interrogation that turned left quicker than he even thought possible. Angela playing on his emotions, mentioning the kiss like that would get her any sympathy from him. Part of him wished that Liv had been there, that they had been able to question her together, partners again. It felt like he was always desperately looking for some way back into Liv’s good graces, into that easy friendship they had before he’d left all those years ago.

And now Angela Wheatley was threatening that.

Part of him wanted to punch the wall, let his simmering anger come to a head and take over his movements. But he’d been working on getting a handle on his anger, on working past the red tint of his vision when things went awry in an attempt to do something, anything, to make Liv proud. To show her that he was growing, changing, that he wasn’t the same hothead she was stuck with for 12 years. He knew she appreciated their partnership, knew that she never really saw him as a burden, but looking back now he knew how much she put on the line to protect him, to stand up for him. He didn’t want her to keep having to do the same thing now, not when she had even more on the line than she ever had before - her position as captain, her son. He wanted to make her proud of how far he’d come, how much less she had to sacrifice to keep him safe from any perceived threats from IAB or the brass.

He had seen that pride in her eyes when she visited the task force to question that little girl, had felt himself damn near blushing under her gaze. She told him he looked better, that he should keep doing what he had been doing, to keep improving. All he’d been doing was working to make himself worthy of her love, her friendship. He wanted to mean something to her again, show her that his declaration of love meant something to him.

Granted, she had never responded. Not to him telling her he loves her and not to his letter, not fully. She had wanted to talk about the letter, the rational part of his brain reminded him. She had shown up in the lobby of his building ready to talk to him about it, most likely ready to talk to him about a lot of things. They had ten years to make up for, after all.

But he brushed her off, allowing the stress and dedication to work to overshadow what she was really offering him. After that, things happened so quickly and they never really had the time to revisit the conversation (or lack thereof), and now there was more than just the letter between them, more than his rushed declaration of love.

If he could do it all again, he’d do it differently. He knew Liv’s history, knew how often she had been left behind, abandoned. He could only imagine how similar to being abandoned this news of him kissing Angela was, how much that made her think of every other time she’d been thrown aside for another option, a better option. But Angela wasn’t a better option, and neither had Dani been. They were just there, when all he wanted was Liv and he couldn’t have her.

He reached for his phone again, fingers desperately flying across his phone screen. He had to talk to her, had to straighten things out with Liv. She needed to know what she meant to him, in his own words. Not in a letter, not with him telling her he loves her while they’re surrounded by his children. No, she deserved better. She meant more than that to him.

The phone barely rang once before he was sent to her voicemail, and he knew she was still awake, still hurting. He could picture the hurt look in her eyes, trying to allow the anger to overcome it. She always tried to put on a mask for others, for herself even, to pretend that things weren’t affecting her the way they were.

But he knew her, knew her too well, even after all these years.

“Liv, please,” he begged when the message beeped and he could begin speaking. “Call me back. I have to talk to you, please don’t let tonight end like this.”

His phone back on the table in front of him, his face buried into a throw pillow from his couch, Elliot finally allowed himself to take some deep breaths. He could feel the anxiety growing in his stomach, the nervous energy making him want to get up and run to her apartment, to make Liv look him in the eyes.

But he couldn’t do that to her, couldn’t put his stress on her moreso than he already had. He just had to wait and hope she’d call him back.

When his phone vibrated, however, it was only to alert him to a text. From Liv.

‘Get some rest. You need it. I’ll talk to you tomorrow if you still have anything to say.

He knew better than to push his luck, than to call her back and plead with her to speak to him tonight, as soon as possible. He even knew better than to text her back. She was probably in bed, lights out, squinting at the bright light from her phone in her eyes. So he would try again tomorrow, would try to get her to see what she meant to him, that his missteps with Dani and Angela didn’t mean anything, not really.

He just hoped she’d listen.