They were laughing about something Munch said when Cragen gave them the news. A detective from Queen SVU was joining them for the investigation of a serial rapist. There was nothing Elliot hated more than having to adapt to someone's pace and energy while he was working. He was happy to be such a great match to Olivia and for the past two years they have been good together, great even, and he honestly didn't see the need to bring someone else on their dynamic. But this case has been going on for two weeks now and having to fight over jurisdiction was making it even harder. So be it.
It was a surprise when they finally sent the Queens detective on the next day. Dave Sanders was new on his squad, had been working on narcotics for the past five years until he finally got promoted. Elliot didn't know a lot about him, besides that he was around his mid-thirties, was a good ball shooter and a playboy.
"If it ain't my buddy Stabler," said the man as soon as he got in the room. They high-fived and shared a laugh, Elliot relaxed instantly.
"Dave, my buddy! What's up?" he smiled at his friend and looked at Olivia, noticing how confused she was, shown by the face she made.
"We play basketball together at the Blue Uniform team in Queens," he explained. "He's the best point guard we have. Dave, this is my partner, Detective Benson."
"Oh, hi. Nice to meet you," Liv smiled and gave him her hand to shake. "You can call me Olivia."
"Pleasure to meet you, Olivia," he held her hand and gave it a kiss. "Elliot never told me he works with such a beautiful partner."
Elliot watched the interaction with a raised brow. It was unusual for Liv to let anyone she didn’t know call her anything besides her formal name, plus the kiss on her hand and the compliment would be enough to get her to throw a man to the other side of the room. But she just blushed as she smiled, and Elliot feels something twisting in his stomach.
He was not naive, and being a man didn't make him blind. He knew Dave was a very attractive, charming man, and he heard way too many stories about all the different women he often brings home. He's tall, strong enough to put up a fight and very athletic. His blonde hair and hazel eyes fit his bad boy persona perfectly, and the man so happens to speak five languages, just like Liv. Suddenly Elliot's stomach sank a little deeper.
Cragen opened his door and called Dave's name, leaving Elliot and Olivia alone again.
"What was that?" he asked, noticing her still red cheeks.
"What was what?" she put a strand of hair behind her ear, avoiding his eyes.
"That. Quite the introduction," he gave her a teasing smile.
"What?" she finally looked at him. "You are the one who told me he's your buddy . I just wanted to make a good impression."
He just stared, and she stared right back at him, trying to read each other. He was usually really good at catching her moods and feelings by the look on her eyes, but in that moment, he simply couldn't name it. Elliot has experienced Liv getting hit on a thousand times before, but she usually gives a bold response and leaves, this time was different.
The rest of the day went smoothly as usual, and Olivia offered to show Dave around the precinct and gave him a chair to sit right next to her on her table. The tension easily turned into professionalism, and Elliot could focus on the work and the investigation. Every few moments Dave would pop in compliments about her work and she would blush. Elliot tried his best not to roll his eyes because everyone knows Olivia is a great detective, and fucking Dave doesn't have to say it every time she gets a lead or finds some important information on a file. It was a long day, and when they finally went home, Elliot couldn't quite name what he was feeling, so he ignored it.
It all came back on morning, when Olivia walked into the squad room a few minutes earlier than usual, carrying three cups of coffee and three bear claws. Not exactly unusual until he looked at her lips and noticed it. Lipstick. It was easy to catch the other changes too. Her hair was a little more wavy , she had a gold necklace on and her nails were perfectly painted. His heart raced as he tried his best to act normal.
"You showered," he said, hating himself for being so awkward.
Her laugh was sweet when she placed his coffee and bear claw in front of him. "Good morning to you too, Stabler."
When Dave waked in a few minutes later, she smiled at him, no longer the passive attitude she had the day before. When Dave sat next to her, she placed his coffee in front of him too and moved a few inches closer, smiling even bigger when he took a bite of his bear claw and told her 'you were right, Manhattan pastries are way better than the ones in queens '. It was only when she winked at him and replied with a ' told ya ' that Elliot finally realized.
Liv is into Dave. His buddy Dave.
Not in a school girl crush type of way, but in a I put lipstick on to get this guy's attention way.
Elliot has never seen her like this before. He, of course, heard about the guys she casually goes out with, and that is always enough to make his blood boil. But seeing it happen in front of him, with no one other than his friend, was extremely unsettling and could barely contain the urge to punch something.
After he came to this realization, his days became a true nightmare. Every day for the following week was filled with flirting between them, laughs and silly jokes. Liv was getting bolder and more confident as the days went by, and Elliot just wanted to dig a hole and die. She was still the sweet Olivia she always was to him, always checking up on him even when he hadn’t been feeling himself and would snap at her. He recognized how rude he was acting towards them, but he just couldn't help it. Still, every morning, she would bring him coffee and smile at him as she asked him about his family. He found himself wanting a different kind of attention from her. One she was giving someone else. One he couldn't dare to want.
Apparently Olivia and Dave had a great chemistry, from what he'd heard. They're both young and eager to prove something. So much that Elliot didn’t see a reason why he needed to be there too. Everyone is so amazed by how well they work together but it still hurt his ego when Cragen kindly suggested him to let Liv and Dave lead the interrogation when they finally caught the perp.
"You can watch it from the window with me. I feel like we're closing this case tonight."
And that's what happened. In less than two hours they got a full confession to all rapes and enough evidence to lock the guy away for life. Cragen squeezed Dave's hand with both of his and gives his detectives the next day off. Elliot just wanted to go home and never see any of them again, but when Dave suggests going out for drinks later that night, and no one except Olivia said yes, he nods and gives him a tight smile.
"We don't celebrate every case we close," Elliot says. "Because you know... we’ve close too many, Liv and I."
Dave just smiles at him. "I know, buddy," he gives him a pat on his back. "We're also celebrating this amazing partnership. The three of us together."
His reply is another short, tight smile.
Liv leaves with a promise to see them later, at nine on the same spot she usually hangs out with Elliot after a rough day. Safe place, so he relaxes a bit. It's 5:20 now, and to avoid any questions from Kathy and be late, he decides he's staying at the precinct until it's time to leave. Dave leaves too, and Elliot can finally breathe again. He knows that whatever waits for him later will be bad, but he can't help it. Even if he had to suffer, he would rather go and know what is gonna happen than sit at home and wonder.
When he gets to the bar, half an hour before nine, Dave is already there. Dressed up casually and smelling like expensive cologne. Elliot orders a beer and sits next to him.
"So, what a great day, huh?" Dave initiates the small talk. "I miss my unit but yours is way more fun."
Elliot hadn’t seen this nice and easy going side of Dave before he joined them at the 1-6, and for some reason he couldn't believe it was genuine.
"It was," He lies, taking a sip of his beer. "I am sure Queens misses you too."
"Don't flatter me," he laughs, "I'm gonna miss you guys. You? I'll see Sunday at the game, but Liv?" he gives Elliot an unsettling smile. "Why didn't you tell me she's so hot?"
Elliot's stomach sinks deeper. "Why would I? She's my partner, not a hook up."
"Are you gonna tell me you two never fucked?" he raises his eyebrow and not being the first time Elliot felt and urge to punch him. "I mean, look at her."
"Like I said, we're partners. And I am married."
"Ohh, true," Dave says, taking a sip of his whiskey. "Karen, right?"
"Kathy." Elliot answers, looking at the door. He knows Liv will show up soon and save him from the small talk, but he wishes she would simply cancel on them so he can go home and not worry about his buddy fucking his partner.
"Oh, right," he says in a way that makes it clear that he doesn't give a shit. "Too bad for you. I don't know how you can concentrate with that woman sitting next you, looking like that." He smiles. "Speaking of her..."
Elliot looks at the door and the first thing he notices is her black, tight dress as she walks on their direction. Smiling big, all teeth showing, she approaches and the smell hits him. Her I have a date perfume that he recognized from the one too many times she was called on a scene while she was out with some jerk. His heart sank as his stomach tightened in a way he wasn't used to. He knew what was about to happen.
She tells them she made a reservation for a table and they carry their drinks to a more excluded corner, away from the college kids that were showing up for happy hour. She's talking to both of them equally, but every time Dave says something, she just blushes and touches his hand or his shoulder and it takes Elliot around ten minutes to realize he's being the third wheel. He wants to get out of there, he really does, and that's what he's gonna do pretty soon. When Dave gets up to get Liv another drink, he tries to fight the bitterness on his voice but sounds rude anyway.
"Are you gonna fuck my buddy Dave?" he didn't mean to be so upfront about it, but she doesn't seem to mind.
"God, I hope so," she smiles. "Is that okay?"
He knows that if he says that no, it's not okay she won't do it. He knows she will always prioritize their relationship and partnership but it will be too complicated to explain why it's not okay, and why the idea of the two of them getting together feels like a knife to his chest, so he just acts dumb.
"Why wouldn't it be?" he just shrugs and avoids her eyes.
"Well, you two are buddies" she says it in a teasing way. "And I don't want to get in the way of your friendship."
"We're not buddies," he knows he sounds ridiculous, but he just can't pretend he like the guy anymore. "We play basketball together, that’s all. I don't care about who you sleep with."
He finally looks at her and she looks a little hurt, as if she was expecting him to say something else. She just nods and gives him a sad smile that is quickly replaced by a real one when Dave places two shots in front of her.
"I think you will like this one," he says.
"What is this?" she takes one in her delicate hands.
"Trust me," he winks. And she does.
She drinks it without a second thought and that's Elliot's cue to leave. Dave insists for him to stay for a little longer but Liv just looks at him with a sad expression on her face, it's just too much. So he leaves.
He's in an awful mood when he gets home. Kathy tries to kiss him when he finally goes to bed but just gives her a peck on the lips and turns his back on her, trying not to think about how Olivia is probably on a taxi cab heading to Queens with Dave right now and failing miserably. It's all he can think about until he finally falls asleep.
He slept like shit and woke up even worse. The loud screams of his children and footsteps remind him why he would much rather be at work than at home. His body ached from moving so much and not sleeping enough, and when Kathy looked at him with questioning eyes and that clueless expression, he realized that the night did nothing to quiet his terrible mood. Still wanting to punch something, he decided to go to the rarely visited by him, neighborhood gym. Every time he wanted to work out he would just use the precinct gym, but in days like today it was convenient to have a discount marine membership and a pair of boxing gloves waiting for him.
He headed to the small ring on the corner and started to move. Shutting his brain off for the time he was there, he could feel the frustration coming off with his sweat. When he couldn't think of them anymore he slowed down, just blowing off some steam until his peripheral vision caught something. A flash of blonde hair and smug smile. Fucking Dave.
He tries to go unnoticed but takes five seconds until Dave waves and gestures to him come here, buddy . Elliot really wasn’t in the mood but he goes anyway, not at all excited to hear what he had to say.
"What's up, man? You disappeared last night," he says taking a big sip of his water bottle.
"Yeah, sorry for leaving so suddenly. Diaper duty," he lies, "you know how it is."
"No," Dave laughs. "I really don't."
Elliot gives him his signature tight smile, trying to read his expression and finding nothing besides his usual confidence. Only then he notices two long scratches from his shoulders down his arm, and he raises an eyebrow without thinking. Dave follows his eyes and grins.
"That was your woman," he says it proudly. "Who the hell raised her?"
The question is enough to make Elliot's blood boil but he just swallows it down and takes a deep breath. What the fuck does this guy know about Liv's background and why does he think he has the right to ask someone else about it?
"What is that supposed to mean?" he asks in a protective way. Only then to realize that it wasn't what Dave meant.
"That woman is insane," he looks away like he's remembering something, then smiles so big that it takes his entire face. "I don't think I've ever had anyone like her in my bed before. And I've had a lot of crazy women in my bed."
Elliot feels his heart stop, not sure of how to react before Dave keeps talking without a pause.
"We barely made into the apartment before she was all over me, everywhere. She's so fucking demanding man, you should have seen it..." he laughs as if it was an inside joke between them. "I don't even know why I am here working out... last night was worth for two weeks of gym."
He can feel his body going tense and his face getting red. He wants to fucking murder this man for daring to speak about Liv's privacy like this.
"I am not sure if we're doing it again though, my neighbors are probably too traumatized," then takes another sip of his water. "I have a strong sex drive, but that woman? She's something else. I didn't think that someone could actually like to suck dick until last night. It's probably her favorite thing on earth."
And that was enough.
"Shut the fuck up Dave," Elliot takes a step closer. "Shut your mouth right now before I beat the shit out of you."
Dave has the audacity to look confused.
"What the fuck, buddy?"
"I am not your fucking buddy ," he gets even closer, now inches away from his face. "If i ever hear you talking about Olivia like that to anyone I will fucking kill you, do you understand me?"
Dave just shrugs. "Relax dude, Jesus... I just thought you would like to know."
"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Elliot raises his voice now, and people around them start to notice that this is more than a friendly conversation.
"Well, we all know you want to fuck her but you can't, so I thought I could be a good friend and tell you all about how she likes to be ch-" he's interrupted by a push, then another, right on his chest. He's not smiling anymore when he looks at Elliot and pushes him back. "Don't you ever fucking touch me again, man. Go fuck yourself and get out of here."
And Elliot does. He gets out of there before he does something he will regret. He goes back home and when he slams the door and Kathy asks him what is wrong, he feels like an asshole but he ignores her and goes straight to shower, spending the next hour in there. The rest of his day is a mix of wanting to call Liv and let her know about all of it and wanting to go after Dave and beat the shit out of him. He doesn't do either of those things, and it's another long night of frustration as he goes to bed and can't sleep again.
The night is restless but it does him good when he wakes up and the anger is gone. He's excited to go back to the old routine he had before Dave, and he feels like he can finally get some control back. When he gets to the precinct, Liv is already there, and so it’s his coffee and a croissant. She gives him a soft smile and a " good morning, El," and his feels as his body tenses by just looking at her. She's writing something on a paper and he watches her hands, slim, delicate, and can't help but think about them twisting the sheets, holding his head between her legs or scratching down his arms as he slams into her. He instantly feels terrible and tries to focus on the paperwork fucking Dave should be doing.
His day is long and slow, and every few minutes he has to remind himself that she was still the same Olivia, and he was still working in a public place and couldn't afford a hard on in front of everyone. But he couldn't help it. He hears her sweet voice while she talks to Fin about this new bodega that just opened at the 34th street and he can only think that she's a moaner and a screamer. And demanding. And oh fuck .
He gets distracted one too many times, daydreaming about her and feeling guilty about it. When it's finally time to go home he leaves before Olivia and just mumbles a ' goodbye ', not waiting for an answer. He has been avoiding her eyes for the entire day and with both of them being on desk duty it was an exhausting effort. He knows she has noticed it. To avoid having to talk to her, he just flees out of the squad room to get fresh air.
It's close to nine thirty when he finally gets home and Kathy had just put the kids to bed when he enters the room and sees her reading a book, getting ready to sleep. He doesn't think twice before he craws on top of her, throwing the book on the floor and kissing her. He just needs a good fuck and some sleep, and she can give him both of those things.
She doesn't question him when he takes her shirt off, but she also doesn't say anything else. She looks flushed and her eyes are dark and he knows she wants to have sex but Jesus Christ, would it kill her to just say something for once? He sucks on her nipple and she just silently gasps, caressing the back of his head like he's a fucking dog. He tries not to show her how pathetic he feels. She barely reacts, like usual. He can't help but picture Liv's hands going down his body, under his pants, holding him with her delicate fingers. He can't help but wish for her lips around his dick, like he now knows she loves to, and just swallowing his entire length but he knows better than asking Kathy to fulfill the fantasy. Not ever since he accidentally came in her mouth on the first year of their relationship and she had to ran to the bathroom and spit, screaming how she's never doing it again. She never did and he never asked her to.
It took him a few thrusts to realize that trying not to think about Liv was making it even worse, and the forbidden, dangerous feelings he had for her were getting him to the worst point of frustration. Because even if he really tried to, he couldn't pretend Kathy was her. Not when she's laying there, quietly moaning while he has to move for both of them.
Not when he knows Olivia would be on top of him, insatiable, relentlessly riding until she brought him to the edge with her only to start it all over again when they're done. The thought of his hand around her neck while he slams it into her. His hips holding her down while she tries to meet his movements. Her mischievous smile when she pulls her mouth away from him right when he tells her he's close, and how she moans while she swallows everything he spills in her mouth right after. Her juices all over his face while she rides his mouth, fighting her moans and screams so the neighbors don't call the cops.
He can see everything, clear as day, even though he and Kathy hadn't changed positions and she was still lying there in her back, trying to catch her breath after coming because it takes so little for her.
It's enough to send him to the edge but not enough to satisfy him when all of it only happened inside his head. He tries so hard not to let the guilt eat him alive. For Kathy who came minutes before thinking it was all about her, and for Liv who has no idea about what is being said behind her back and brought to someone else's bedroom.
And he hates himself for it.
For the little kiss Kathy gives him before he pulls out of her and rolls to his side before she passes out. He hates himself for letting it get to this point of no coming back. He hates himself for not being able to stop it. But overall what he hates the most is what he just did to his relationship with Liv and how he will never be able to just act normal around her again.
He hates himself for all of that, but he hates Dave more. For being an asshole and telling him what he did. For using Liv and treating her like a one-night stand. For calling her names. But most importantly, for not being tied around a wedding ring and kids. A marriage with a wife who won’t ever go down on him. For getting her when that's all Elliot ever wanted.
Fucking Dave .