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He’s half-conscious on the couch. Barely upright, head in his hands; willing himself to stay awake because he promised to wait up. Let me stay? He’d asked, pleasantly surprised when Olivia accepted his offer with the caveat that Rollins takes Noah because still, it’s too soon.

Too much. 

Too fast.

Likely for the best, considering he’s finally met his match in an eight-year-old boy: so wildly possessive of his mom because to him, her relationship with Elliot is new. A threat to the familiar, though Noah can hardly be expected to know the intricacies of their history. Their partnership. To understand Olivia’s loyalty or Elliot’s betrayal. To recognize her heartbreak or his love.

It’s all a bit… complicated, but what he does know — what he can see — is a man he’s yet to trust, but who seems to make his mom happy. 

Very happy. 

“This your definition of waiting up?” Olivia hangs her coat, carelessly tossing her bag to the floor.

Jesus.” He startles, forgets where he is. “When you said you’d be late I didn’t realize you meant,” his eyes scan the room. “Two o’clock.” 

“Too late for you?” Her tone is even. A touch sultry. “OC have a curfew?” She delicately smooths her palm over his cheek, kissing him. Lingering. Hovering.

He catches the furrow in her brow. “You good?” 

“Tired.” Exhausted but restless, to be specific. “Long day.” 

“Sit.” He gently pulls her down next to him. “Can I do something?” 

He can. 

In fact, the very thought of what he can do — what he’s quite adept at doing — carried her through tedious paperwork and an overwhelming caseload. 

“You know,” she climbs onto his lap. “There might be…” Straddles him. “Something.”

“I meant—” Elliot grips her hips, apprehension and lust in equal measure. 

She cuts him off at the pass, devours his mouth with hers, nips his bottom lip before sliding her tongue across to soothe. She’s panting, her breath hot as she kisses him everywhere she finds bare skin. 

“Oh, I know what you meant,” she whispers, just below his ear.

“Hey, Liv.” 

“But I don’t want to talk.” Her voice is thick and low, laced with desire; waking him up, body and mind alike.

Her hands steal beneath the hem of his t-shirt, sweeping up to his shoulders until he’s forced to raise his arms and she pulls the shirt all the way off. 

Olivia explores the broad expanse of his chest with her hands, her mouth. Pinching, scratching at his wiry hairs, teasing his nipples with her thumbs. She digs her nails in as she pushes her body against his, biting, sucking, tasting. He retaliates. Flexes his hips just enough to prove he’s already hard. 

To prove he'll give her what she needs after she takes what she wants, because it’s the middle of the night and she’s begging to forget.

“Mmm,” she sighs, her forehead falling to his shoulder. “Again.” She runs her tongue along the cord of his neck, into the dip of his clavicle. He complies, gripping her thighs and pulling her down onto him as she drags her teeth over his jaw. 

“Fuck,” she exhales. 

She grinds herself against him single-mindedly. Focused, determined, and already close because God, she’s desperate. Hungry. Needing, but they both know this won’t be enough.

“You gonna—” it’s more of a statement than a question, but it feels too fast. Too frenzied.

“Just,” she grabs his hand, haphazardly shoving his knuckles against her crotch to create more friction. “Right there.” Her hips move faster, faster, faster, until finally… release. 

But it’s shallow.

Empty.

Unsatisfying, and Olivia is left frustrated and wanting as she claws at his sweats, fingers delving into the waistband. 

“Need you to fuck me.” She’s tired of waiting. Of longing. Of needing. Tired of feeling anything inside of her that isn’t him. “Now.” 

“Liv,” he cautions.

“Don’t.” She bites, a flicker of resentment in her eyes. “Elliot, don’t you dare ask if I can take it.”

“Wasn’t planning on it.” He recognizes her sensitivity. Understands her body isn’t his to question because while she’s only given him glimpses into the details of her trauma, he’s seen her scars. Can acknowledge the signs of PTSD. “Liv, I swear to you.” There’s so much — too much — he doesn’t know. “I wasn’t.” 

“No?” She tilts her head. “Prove it.”

Elliot picks her up, feels the heat of her arousal against him and groans. Five long strides and he’s setting her on the breakfast bar, reaching for her belt while she strips off her top; completely bare in a matter of seconds. He pushes her knees wide, slides his forearms under her thighs and drags her to the edge. Before she can protest — before she can say anything — his mouth is on her. 

And for a moment, she allows him to indulge.

His tongue is merciless, but he doesn’t give her the satisfaction of his fingers. She squeezes her thighs around his head and digs her heels into his back, slams her palms against the countertop. Bites her lip to steel herself, almost relieved when he stills because no way in hell she lets herself come like this. She’s too riled up, too on edge, and she needs him inside of her. 

He stands, admiring her while he removes his clothes. Takes himself in hand, stroking, eyes raking over her body.  

“God, you’re perfect.” He licks his lips, savoring the taste of her. “So goddamn sexy.” He closes in, running just the tip of his cock over her slit; instantly coated in her. “So fucking wet.” 

“Need—” she reaches for him, but he won’t have it. 

Not yet.

“Get down,” he interrupts. Considers offering a hand but it’s hardly the time for manners. “Turn around.” For decency, either. 

And while Olivia isn’t one to take orders, her need supersedes her pride and she obeys: turning away, trusting him with her body. With her vulnerability, while her desire pulses, drips, between her thighs. 

“You want to be fucked?” He positions himself at her entrance. Teasing. “Say it.” He pushes in, giving her only an inch because he wants her… oh, he wants her, but he’s a stubborn son of a bitch and needs her to submit. To give in. To fucking say it. “Come on.”

Enough, she thinks.

Enough, enough…

Enough.” 

It’s a threat, but he’s entirely unfazed. 

“Again,” he slips back, replacing his cock with one finger, plunging it in deep, infuriating the hell out of her. “You want it? Say it.”

“Elliot,” she challenges, angling her hips.  

He threads his fingers through her hair and holds her still as he growls into her. “Say it, Olivia.” 

She’s defiant. Fights his grasp and won’t succumb because, “Fuck you.” Smug bastard hasn’t earned it. 

“Yeah?” He pulls her hair; tilting her head back as he bites her neck and she cries out. “That how we’re playing this?”

Seething, she spins to face him, jabs two fingers hard into his chest. “No marks. You know that.”

In theory, he does. She’s told him countless times but her pleas fall on deaf ears because he knows she likes it. The weight of her breath and flush in her cheeks tell him as much and really, she’s resourceful enough to come up with an explanation for just one bite mark. Isn’t she?

“Too late.” Elliot sneers, unapologetic.

Too bad. 

“That so?” She bites back. Unrelenting, even when she feels him tense. “Two can play.”

Her teeth scrape his skin when he forces her off of him; it burns, and he knows he’ll be branded, too. Funny, because that was her rule and now they’ve both broken it. 

His simpering maddens her; she takes a step back and balls up her fists, eyes feral. It’s beginning to feel like too much. She wanted it — still wants it — but she’s overwhelmed. 

Elliot can see it. See her. 

He kisses her softly, and for a second she’s thrown by the sudden shift in his demeanor. He pulls her closer, touching her everywhere until all she feels is him, hot and hard against her. And god damnit she wants him so fucking bad it nearly takes her breath away, but she isn’t ready to beg. 

Not yet. 

She moans into his mouth and he molds his hands to her breasts, cupping and squeezing and kneading. He ghosts his lips over her nipples, drags his teeth and tongue across the rosy peaks, pinches and rolls them between his thumb and index finger until goosebumps prickle her skin.

Without warning, he turns her around. Hauls her up against him with a hand at her hip and his fingers splayed wide over her throat, lips grazing her skin, and now… now she considers begging.

“Olivia.” A question disguised as a demand in the abrasive rumble of his voice. 

His tongue skims over her tender flesh, tasting the salt of her, and she relents. Pulls herself from his grasp and leans forward, braces herself on her forearms, cants her hips. Puts herself on display because she knows he cannot resist it and shudders because she knows what it will feel like when he finally fills her.

“Elliot...” The chill of the countertop sends another shiver through her body. “Please.” 

“What’s that?” He hovers, quietly amused by her demure tone. Admires the exquisite view. 

Please,” she echoes; shoulders slack, chest tight. Relinquishing control because her tenacity is no match for his possessiveness, and she’s in no position to barter. 

“There we go.” He hums, appeased.

Wasting no time, he pushes in deep, stretching her with every inch. Pausing when he hears her sharp intake of breath to allow her a moment to adjust to his size. “Okay?” He softens, delicately pressing his lips to the tip of her shoulder blade. 

Jesus, Elliot.” Why he chose now to be gentle, she isn’t sure. “Move.” 

He drives into her, grinding himself deeper with each thrust. So deep, so fucking deep she can hardly breathe, and the moan it draws from her is guttural. Untamed. It sets him on fire. 

“Harder.” An impossible demand, but she craves every part of him and he responds by slipping an arm around her waist, roughly circling her clit with his fingertips. “Shit,” her knees threaten to buckle but somehow, she maintains balance. “Right there.” 

“You feel so fucking good.” There’s a dark, distinctive timbre to his voice he reserves only for her.

“Yeah?” She’s looking for details. “Tell me.” Wants him to spell it out.

“So wet.” His tongue traces his lips as he pulls out then slams in; feeling her body jerk. “So tight.” She clenches his cock and fuck, he won’t last.

“More.” A quiet contention.

“More?” He slaps her ass once, then again. “You like it?” Again. “Like to play rough?” Again.

She does. Really, she does, but as much as she longs for the catharsis that comes with rough sex, what she truly needs is the reminder that she can take it. That it can feel good, does feel good — with mutual trust, respect, consent. 

With Elliot.

Fuck." The sting of his palm travels to her thighs. “El, yes.” 

“You gonna let me come inside you?” He’s getting close; knows she is, too. “Or are we making a mess.” 

“Don’t care.” She bats his hand away, furiously thumbing her clit herself because still, he’s being too damn careful. “Harder,” she pleads, near tears. “Please.”

As her agitation escalates, so does his concern. “Breathe, baby.” His fingertips delicately trace her forearm, featherlight. “Let me.” He kisses the base of her neck, covers her fingers with his; slowing her down. 

“I need—”

“I know.” Elliot drives into her, caging her between his arms as he thrusts faster, faster, faster. He squeezes her ass, steadies her hips, presses open-mouthed kisses to her feverish skin; satisfied when she responds with a hiss and clenches him so tight his cock twitches and he’s there. 

He’s right there… and Christ, he needs to come inside her. 

“Liv,” he manages through gritted teeth. “Gonna—” his breath hitches, muscles tighten. “Fuck, I’m gonna come.” 

“Then do it.” She glances back, finds his eyes. “I want to feel you.” He’s flushed. Dripping with sweat. Absolutely focused and good, she thinks, let him work.  

Grabbing her hips, he kneads her flesh. Relentless, bruising; she’ll have marks there, too. “Fucking hell.” A low groan escapes as his orgasm overpowers his senses, leaving him breathless. Unsteady, until their hands meet and fingers intertwine. Until she grounds him. 

He’ll never tire of this, of her. Sated and overstimulated, Elliot knows full well his job isn’t done. He doesn’t stop moving inside her, wouldn’t dream of it, because she’s so close and he lives for the moment she comes undone. 

He brings a hand back to her clit and matches the rhythm of his hips. She whimpers, desperate. 

“Come for me.” He’s calm, but confident. 

He smooths his other hand all the way up her spine and drags it back down. Settles it just above her ass, and she thinks he’s going to slap her again, but his palm keeps sliding down, down, down until his thumb is between her ass cheeks pressing just there and Olivia’s entire body hums. 

“Oh fuck, El,” she gasps. Breaks apart, shatters; clenches around him so hard, so tight, it’s almost painful. Her body trembles, limbs weak, but Elliot holds steady; gathering her to him and bearing her weight as she melts — absolutely melts — into his frame.  

“I’ve got you.” He whispers into her hair, recites it like a prayer until she regains some semblance of control.

“Elliot,” she breathes. Exhausted but gratified, she relishes the rare moment of tranquility. 

“Right here.” He slips out, missing her warmth. “You good?” His quiet attentiveness is in stark contrast to his earlier aggression.   

“Mmm.” She murmurs, unmoving. Chooses to ignore the dull ache in her ribs and sensitivity between her thighs.

“Liv...” 

“I’m okay, just—” Slowly, she peels herself away from the counter. Winces. “I’m fine.”

“I hurt you?”

“Think I should be asking you the same thing.” An obvious deflection, but worth a shot. 

“Olivia,” he repeats, discontent. 

“No.” Upright, she turns to face him. “No more than I asked for, anyway.” 

Her eyes are incandescent, but there’s a certain rawness — an air of apathy — to her tone that worries him. 

“I’m good,” she assures; palms framing his jaw. “We’re good.” Leaning in, she kisses him. Slides her tongue between his lips. Tastes him. Tastes herself. “Just need a shower, okay?” 

“We gonna talk about this?” 

By this, he means her compulsion to be fucked into oblivion. Olivia’s sex drive complements his, but she’s also particular. Knows what she likes, how she likes it, where she likes it and the kitchen counter… isn’t it. Tonight stemmed from a thirst to forget. To lose herself. To disappear. 

The ramifications aren’t lost on him. 

“We will.” Her eyes drift from his. “But not like...” She gestures vaguely. “Not like this.” 

“Like what?” Elliot lightens the mood with a smirk. 

“Fuck you,” she mocks. Pecks his cheek, pushes off the counter.

He understands. They don’t keep secrets or mince words. These days, they’re free to say what needs saying and he knows she’ll tell him when she’s ready.

She wanders toward her bedroom, turning when she reaches the doorway. “You gonna join me for that shower?” 

Chapter Text

Olivia’s kitchen is barely designed for cooking, let alone fucking.

Pity, but they managed. Caused only minimal damage to a few overturned bottles. Spilled a little salt.

It was impulsive, but scratched an itch. Satisfied her physically when she struggled to compartmentalize emotionally; clearly looking for a distraction but seeking comfort in the familiar. Her need for control in contention with her desire to be overpowered.

A bit complicated, but Elliot’s her safe place to land. Always was. Somehow, still is. 

How dramatic, she thinks, to be triggered on the job — reacting to a pungent combination of sweat and smoke — but certain tastes, sounds, smells bypass her defenses and hold her in their clutches. Disappointing, but she managed to stave off the panic attack. Kept her dignity, though the anxiety lingers: a quiet, persistent buzzing in her stomach. A looming sense of dread.

Sex helped.

Elliot buried so deep she barely remembered her name, let alone the past… yeah, it helped. 

Temporarily.  

“Hey.” Steam billows; the mirror already fogged when he joins her in the shower. “You okay?” he asks when she tenses beneath his touch. 

He moves her hair aside, settles his palm at her neck; thumb pointing down the long line of her spine, fingers wrapping from her nape to her ear, squeezing gently. Kisses the dip of her shoulder, letting his lips linger there for a moment. 

“Mhmm,” Olivia hums; head bowed, eyes closed, chin to her chest. “Tired.” 

“Yeah. Me, too.”  

She turns under the spray to face him, reaches toward the shelf. “Shit,” she whispers, wincing. Draws back, curls into herself. 

“Jesus,” he steadies her, picking up the bottle. “I got it.” 

Bold of him to treat her like glass after being so merciless. 

“I’m fine,” she snaps. “Don’t coddle.”

She’s self-aware. Recognizes that she’s feeding into the notion that relationships of any kind are temporary. Fleeting. That self-reliance is the only constant and other people are moments, then memories. 

That Elliot is an example, rather than an exception.

Maybe unfair, but it’s so deeply ingrained in her psyche to assume she’ll be abandoned. Second nature, and part of the reason she’s let him in physically but emotionally keeps him at arm’s length: distant from Noah and the more intimate details of her trauma. Protecting him — herself — while holding him close because still… still, her loyalty runs deeper than her anger. Because he’s her history, and she missed him. 

Really fucking missed him.

And sometimes, it’s that simple.

“Funny,” he simpers. “Since you were just begging to be taken care of.”

“Oh, fuck you.” 

He takes half a step back; a feeble attempt at personal space in the confines of a shower stall. “Look, we were… I was too rough.” He’ll take ownership. She may have been demanding, but he decided to fuck her in the kitchen. To bend her over. “I’m sorry.” Pushing harder, moving faster, thrusting deeper, even when her sounds of pleasure could be mistaken for cries of pain because God, she was incessant. “Just— Liv, let me be sorry, alright?”

He needs to feel guilty. Craves it. 

“El, stop.” She softens, fingertips skimming his chest, gliding up the column of his neck; grazing the beard she asks him to shave but quietly hopes he’ll keep. “I liked it.” Her lashes flutter, eyes spark with lust. “I really,” first, their lips meet. “Really,” then, their tongues. “Really, liked it.” 

"That right?" Some tension dissolves and he turns her around, working a handful of soap into a lather. "You want to tell me about that?" He tugs gently at her shoulders until her back rests against his chest.

“I like it when we fuck.” Because sex can feel too intimate. “When you don’t stop.” She inhales, sinking into his frame as he splays his fingers wide over her collarbone. “Though you did take some convincing.” His palms smooth over the swell of her breasts. “We’ll need to—” she arches her back. “Work on that.” 

“Yeah?” He nips her ear. “We’ll work on it?” Traces her ribs, featherlight.

“Mmhmm.” 

His hands drift up her arms to her shoulders, down the planes of her back. They cup the generous curve of her ass, travel over her thighs and hips, map abstract patterns across her stomach. She closes her eyes, lets her head fall back.

“Keep talking.” 

Olivia cranes her neck, pressing her lips to the underside of his jaw. She’ll inflate his ego just enough to keep him wanting. “I like feeling what I do to you.” He’d appreciate specifics — how thick he is, how hard he gets, how good he feels — but she’s tired. Sore. In no shape for round two, and he may be riled up but she won’t be getting on her knees.

“I like,” her voice breaks when he rolls her nipples. “Fuck.” 

“Come on,” he coaxes. 

“I like…” a slight hesitation. “When you don’t ask questions.”

Elliot doesn’t necessarily mean to come off harsh, but, “The hell does that mean?” He does.

Because it’s unexpected. Uncharacteristic of her. Of them, but relationships are work and trust takes time. The physical flows naturally — their chemistry is undeniable, their appetites insatiable — but vulnerability needs to be earned. Deserved.

He knows bits and pieces of her past. Knows she was held against her will. Assaulted. Burned. Realizes it was years ago, but her detachment — stoically reciting facts without providing details — reflects the power her trauma possesses. 

And it stings: recognizing her disassociation as a learned coping mechanism. A necessary evil.

Burns, honestly. 

“What’d I just say?” She counters with a smirk.

“Sorry?” 

Her hand covers his. “Said I like it… when you don’t ask questions.” Slowly, she smooths their palms over the scar on her hip.

The one on her waist. 

The marks on her breasts. 

She uses his fingertips to trace each one. He’s touched them before, but this time it’s different. She wants him to see — to feel — the physical vestiges of her trauma. It’s purposeful, intentional, significant. A way to let him in; show him that he has earned her trust. Deserves it.

But forcing pleasure is futile. Nearly impossible but still, she clings to the idea. Wills herself to stay in the moment, desperate to prove she can trust him while still protecting herself.

“You good?” 

“Mhm,” she feigns a smile, but the hum of anxiety in her belly vibrates. “Keep going.” 

She wants this. Reminds herself. Repeats it like a mantra as he touches her; over, and over, and over until it’s too much. Too fucking much, and she closes her eyes, suddenly dizzy. Unsteady. 

“El,” it’s terse, but she’s defeated. “Enough.”

He stills. Senses the hushed urgency of her words. “Still with me?” Even-toned, his lips brush the back of her neck.

Her mind is wild; blurring the lines between reality and memory. Agitation steadily climbing. 

“Olivia.” 

There's benevolence in his voice and she absolutely hates it. Needing escape, she turns her focus to him because he's nothing if not consistent: achingly hard, hips subtly rocking against her. 

“I’m good,” a lie, as she arches into him just a little. “Think you’re better,” she teases, then turns. Strokes his cock with soap-slick hands.

He steps back. Pulls away. 

“Liv,” he warns. Shakes his head, and she thinks maybe he’s playing some sort of game.

“Come on. I know you like it.” She backs him into a corner; voice thick with want, lips parted. “I mean, look at you.” Her eyes dip, fingers circling his shaft. “So… ready.” 

"Hey," he tries again, hands on her shoulders. She bites her lip. Tightens her grasp but won't look at him. Won’t even pretend, and he knows she's still deflecting: using sex to her advantage because he’s clearly struck a nerve.

He squeezes his eyes shut because fuck, it feels good. She feels good, and he’s never turned her down before but she’s out of control. Absent. “Liv, no.” He gently seizes her wrists. “Stop.” He’s firm. Decided.

Oh.” She looks at their hands. At him. “I didn’t—” The implications of her actions dawn on her, and his heart breaks. “Elliot, I’m sorry.” She backs away, covering her mouth. “So sorry.” She repeats it again, again, again. “Sorry.” Eyes frantic as she seeks forgiveness.

“It’s okay.” He takes her into his arms. Holds her close, lips pressed to her temple. “You’re okay.” And fuck, she’s freezing. Shivering, until he steers her under the warm water. “Let’s go to bed, huh?” He pulls back, searching her eyes. 

Olivia wipes a hand down her face. “Okay,” a resigned whisper. “I just— I need to wash my hair.” What she actually needs is a minute without him hovering because she’s entirely overwhelmed. 

Elliot nods. Rinses the last of the soap from his body and steps out of the shower. He’d rather not leave but won’t deny her space. Pulling a towel from the rack, he dries off; brushes his teeth. Loiters, really. 

But his vigilance makes her feel safe. 

Protected. 

“I’ll be out in a couple minutes.” She tries to smile. To come across more confident than she is for his benefit. It works, because the door clicks and finally, she’s alone. 

She stands under the water, holding her breath. Exhales steadily. It takes more effort, more time, with aching ribs and fatigued muscles, but she’s thankful for the quiet mundanity of it: shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, moisturizer. The routine is calming, and by the time she’s done — ready to face him again — she feels almost peaceful. 

When she wanders out of the bathroom, Elliot looks up from his phone. Watches as she runs her fingers through her damp hair, slips into a t-shirt — his, actually — and Christ, he thinks, she’s beautiful.  

“Come here.” He holds out a hand. 

Her eyes narrow but she obliges. Settles next to him, shoulders slack.  “El, I’m—” Her tone is void of energy. Empty. “I don’t know.” She sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. 

“It’s okay.” 

“It… isn’t, actually.” Her head tilts, arms protectively wrapping her waist. “Because I shouldn’t have— you said no, and I still, I—” she studies her fingernails, avoiding his gaze. “I shouldn’t have done that.”

“Look at me?” Both palms frame her face. “It’s okay.” His fingertips smooth across her jaw. “Liv, it’s okay.” Again, because she needs to believe him. “Cut yourself some slack, alright?”

Olivia nods. “I’m sorry.” A sharp inhale as she convinces herself to make eye-contact.

“Okay.” He acknowledges her apology without giving it too much merit. “Come on,” he shifts toward the edge of the bed. “Lay down.” 

She sinks into the pillows. Allows herself to relax, relinquishing control of her body to him.

The self-guided journey of scars she forced on them in the shower was reckless. Erratic, but he grounded her then as he grounds her now.

She exhales as the flat of his thumb strokes up the arch of her foot. Astonished by how perceptive he is when it comes to what she needs versus what she wants — what she thinks she wants. 

He leans over, turning off the lamp on her bedside table. “Elliot,” she draws him in, palm flat against his cheek. “You need—” She pauses. “ I need you to know how much I…” love you. “ Appreciate you. Okay?”

He hears the unspoken. Rewards her vulnerability with a half-smile and a kiss to the tip of her nose. “I know.” Stretches out beside her, adjusting the blankets.

She rolls away from him, whether from exhaustion, guilt, or something far deeper. Likely some combination of the three but still, it disquiets him: the way he played into her narrative; hurting her, despite her insistence otherwise. Her reluctance to let him care for her. 

She trusts him in the field, trusts him to back her play. Trusts him with her life and her body, always has. Their loyalty to one another is intrinsic. Organic. Implicit and unwavering, and the significance isn’t lost on either of them. 

“I’m fine.” He didn’t ask, but she feels his eyes on her.

“So you’ve said.” He shifts onto his side behind her; doesn’t touch her yet, but slides an arm beneath the pillows. 

Olivia is hesitant to show her hand. She’s laid her cards on the table, but they’re not all face up. Not while she's still in survival mode: her fight-or-flight instinct telling her to run. To take cover, because she’s been burned and abandoned — physically and emotionally — too many times.

He wants her to trust him with her trauma. With the darkest depths of her heart. He’s patient — won’t fuck it up any more than he already has — but won’t let her sabatoge their relationship in the name of self-preservation, either. 

“I want to—” He reconsiders his words. His intention. “Can I hold you?” 

He sets a hand at her waist. When she doesn’t push him away, he drapes his arm over her torso. She sighs softly, content; reaches for his hand. Lacing their fingers together, she presses his palm to her stomach.

“I love you,” he mumbles against her neck, drowsy. Elliot wants the last ten years of her life, and he knows it’s selfish. He carries the weight of lost time and unmade memories because he wants the next ten years with her; ten after that, and then ten more. 

He spreads his fingers wide over her skin, still warm from the shower. Olivia relaxes against him and he burrows closer, nosing into her hair; breathing her in. Clean, rich, comforting. 

The apprehension and unease slowly fade. They’ll still be there tomorrow; will have to be discussed eventually, but not now. 

Not yet.