Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
- "Fix You" by Coldplay
“Did you really expect me to cause your death, Olivia?”
His voice was a hoarse whisper, barely loud enough to be audible, but after the stress of the last few hours, he didn’t have the strength for anything louder.
Aresco – one of Wheatley’s goons – holding a gun to Olivia’s head, mocking her pleas for salvation. Aresco with his finger on the trigger, ready to pull it at any second. Aresco, waiting for the command to come from his boss to pull, if he didn’t decide to do it first. “You’re gonna be wearing her brains on your shirt if you miss, y’hear me?”
He couldn’t take the shot.
If he missed – or if he hit, but not hard enough to incapacitate him right away – Olivia would be gone. He had one perfect shot.
And now, he finally understood the impact of what Olivia had tried to tell him, all those years before, in a similar situation where the roles had been reversed: I care about you too much to let your blood be on my hands. It was as if the two nights ran in parallel, the only difference being whose life hung in the balance.
“No, but –“ she started to say. Her teeth were chattering almost involuntarily, and he pulled her into a close side-embrace. The other officers would clear the scene, but they couldn’t leave until it was over. He wasn’t going to leave her side though, not for anything, especially not when she’d just had a maniac pointing a gun at her head.
“No buts. We’ve been through too many of these experiences together,” and he knew there were others he’d missed during his time away, others that brought a shudder to her face to even be mentioned, “that I can’t. We chose each other over the job before.”
“What do you mean?” She looked up at him, her glistening brown eyes impossibly wide from beneath her furrowed brows.
“I don’t want to have to keep making the same choices over and over again,” he said. “Because I’ll make the same one every time, Liv. It’s always going to be you. I’m always going to choose you.”
“It’s always going to be you for me too,” she replied, echoing his words in her soft, fragile whisper before laying her head on his shoulder. “And that’s what scares me, because I know you’re the only person I can say that about.”
He bit down on his lower lip, and sighed, pulling her so close that he could feel the brush of fine hairs from the crown of her head brush against the scratch of his beard. The fact that the two of them were sitting there, now, after everything they’d been through together, was nothing short of a miracle. And she was alive, and other than some scrapes and bruises was essentially unhurt, and he was alive, and Aresco was dead, taken down by a sniper’s bullet, and Wheatley was being taken into custody again, and somehow, that felt like the most anyone could ask for.
“I know.” Noah was excluded; Noah was always excluded, because he existed in a category entirely his own. It wasn’t that she loved her boy any less, but almost that she loved him beyond any scope of measure. He knew, because his own kids were the same way for him. It was a different scale of measurement, when he could look into any one of his children’s faces and see some part of him reflected back – his eyes with Maureen, his smile with Rich.
But when he looked at Olivia, he saw his heart in the reflection.
She was a part of him; at one time, he might have had a part of her, too, but he’d lost any right to feeling that on that harsh May afternoon ten years before. In a teenage girl’s last dying gasps of breath and bathed in the unforgiving fluorescent lighting of the precinct, he saw it wither away.
“I know,” he repeated, and his hand rubbed up and down her back, trying to bring her some degree of comfort. “I wouldn’t ask you to.”
“That’s the thing. Neither of us would ever dream of asking the other, but we do it anyway.” She exhaled softly, burrowing herself further into his touch. “Why is that?”
I don’t know about you, Liv, but I know I love you, and I’ve known that for a long time now. That might have something to do with it.
“Because,” he said, and he knew he had to choose his next words carefully, because they might dictate the course of everything that would come after, “because I’ve meant every word I’ve said.”
Liv, you mean the world to me. You would have loved it.
If I heard your voice, I wouldn’t have been able to leave.
I love you.
Those last three words played on a loop inside his head. I love you. They’d never once spoken about his confession, or the conversation that preceded it, after it happened. But he knew she hadn’t forgotten. She’d pleaded with him, tell us what you need, and he’d replied with the most cliché answer he could imagine.
Her love wasn’t what he needed, necessarily; he wanted her, in whatever form she was willing to give – whether that was friendship, like what had sustained their relationship before his abrupt departure, or taking her hand in his and seeing where a relationship between them could go.
And if she wasn’t willing to give him anything, then he’d accept that, but based on the fact she was curled so tightly against him that there was barely an inch of space between their bodies, he didn’t think that would be the case.
“Yeah?” Her voice was soft, even; he had to strain to hear it, even with their shared proximity. “Every word?”
“All the ones that matter.”
His heart was on his sleeve; he’d always been loathe to show his emotions, thanks to his father’s warped ideals of what a man should be, but the past few months had taken that entire concept and twisted it beyond recognition to the point where he’d let his emotions ride shotgun with him on a daily basis. Still, he didn’t usually leave himself as exposed as he was in this moment, waiting for Olivia’s reaction.
“So, when you said you love me,” she murmured, her hand lightly grasping onto his arm, “was that something that mattered? Or did you think you were talking to Kathy? You were pretty far gone that night, as I remember.”
“It’s the most important thing I’ve ever said to you, Olivia. I love you.”
And there it was; she could take it or leave it, but the truth was in the open now.
Before he knew it, she’d broken their makeshift embrace and stood to face him. The officers in the background were making their own noise and focused on securing all the necessary evidence from the scene; no one was focused on what they were doing. They might as well have been completely isolated from the rest of the scene.
“Say it again.” Her voice trembled as she spoke, but it was clear something was affecting her.
“You don’t believe me?”
“Say it again, Elliot, please.”
“I love you. I love you. I will say it until I’m blue in the face, because I’ve loved you much longer than I should have and now I can finally admit it, but I love you, Olivia Benson. Do you believe me now?”
“I – I just – “ She collapsed on her knees and sank down in front of Elliot, as small tears began to cascade down her cheeks. “No one has ever told me that they loved me before, not without some kind of ulterior motive, or because we were breaking up. No one until you.”
He took the pad of his thumb and gently ran it over the swell of her cheek, wiping the scattered tears away as he drew her closer. “They’re all miserable bastards, if you ask me,” he said. “To be able to love you is a luxury few can afford.”
“Sure you can do it on a detective’s salary?” she said, the soothing rush of laughter mixing with her tears, which still fell, even as he tried valiantly to wipe them all away.
“I’m going to give it everything I can.” At this distance, he could see every detail lining her face; he wanted to take his fingers, or his mouth, and map every freckle – both those he could see scattered across her cheeks and nose, and those that were still hidden beneath her clothes. “If you’ll let me.”
It was all she managed to say before he gently grasped the back of her head with his hand and dragged her in closer. He practically vibrated with anticipation before their lips connected; the pillowy softness of her lower lip beneath his being the most exquisite feeling he’d ever experienced.
For being something he’d thought about many, many times over the time they’d known each other, nothing compared to the reality. Absolutely nothing. When he pulled back long enough to look at her, he could see radiant lust sparkling in her eyes, before she quickly descended on him and they resumed their newfound exploration of each other’s mouths.
Their noses nudged each other as they found a lilting, pulsing rhythm to their exchanged kisses. She let out a soft whimper and sigh, and he traced his hand along her jawline, trying to memorize the tactile details he’d only been able to witness from a distance before.
It was almost easy to forget they were in a dingy warehouse, surrounded by fellow officers of the law, and were only scant moments removed from a life-or-death situation.
Not when all he could see and sense was the woman in front of him, whose hand had trailed down his chest and undone the top few buttons on his shirt, as to rest her hand just above his heart.
“You think we should give them a moment?” one of the officers said to Fin, who’d just arrived to be debriefed regarding his captain’s situation. “They look fairly cozy.”
“Believe it or not, Officer,” he examined the officer’s nameplate, “Carey, this has been going on since you were in diapers and the only police car you knew was the little one your parents pushed you around in. I’d give them all the moments they need.” He rolled his eyes, but bit back a knowing smirk. Finally. He could light up the SVU alumni phone tree with the news in the morning; for now, he needed to be the dedicated sergeant that Olivia knew him to be.
“Hmm?” Olivia broke away from the kiss at hearing Fin’s voice. Elliot thought she’d never looked so beautiful as she did in that moment, her hair wild from his hands threading through it, her lips looking succulent as ever – as they should, considering he’d only just been kissing them seconds before. “You have some news for us?”
“Yeah, if you two are done being tongue-tied over there, they want to debrief all of us so you can go home,” Fin said. “Might I say though, about time, you two.”
“You saw nothing.” The three of them laughed, as they met up with the other officers for the briefing before heading out; the night was finally over, and while paperwork awaited, the worst of it was in the rearview mirror now.
Elliot met Olivia’s gaze and they silently nodded; non-verbal communication had always been one of their strongest suits as partners, and though some things had shifted over the years, they were still fluent in each other’s unspoken signals. “Oh, and Fin?” Olivia said, her voice sounding sweet as spun sugar. “Because of my traumatizing ordeal tonight with Wheatley and his men, I’m not going to be at work tomorrow, so, if you don’t mind being in charge?”
Fin could only partially suppress an amused chortle. “I understand, Captain. Make sure Dr. Stabler there takes good care of you.” He raised his eyebrows. “I’ll see you Thursday.”
“Bye, Fin,” they said, almost in unison before dissolving into a fit of giggles as he closed the door of his car and sped off into the first rays of a Long Island sunrise.
“So, since you’re not going into work today, and Bell already knows all about this and told me she doesn’t expect me in today,” Elliot said, drawing Olivia into his embrace, “what do you say we get some breakfast? There has to be a 24-hour diner around here somewhere.”
“I’ll text Lucy to get Noah to school,” she said. She flicked her eyes down to his exposed forearms, and then looked back up at him with a sense of giddy wonder reflected in her eyes. “But what if I said I wasn’t very hungry –“ The suggestive lilt at the end of her question indicated the tantalizing promise of something more.
“We can go wherever you want to go, Liv,” he said, as he opened the passenger door of his car and let her in. “A diner, the precinct, if you really want –“
“What about your place?”
“My place it is.” The delirious smile on his face did not fade away as he got behind the wheel of his car and looked at the lovely lady sitting next to him, her own nearly-identical smile looking back at him. “I love you; you know that, right?”
She glanced over at him, and rested her hand on his thigh as he began to drive back toward his new apartment. “I know.”
Olivia wanted to say she loved him. She’d thought it earlier, when Aresco had the barrel of the gun pressed up against her skull. She’d thought about screaming it, showing everyone what the reality of the situation was, but she couldn’t use her love as a weapon, even against the darkest kinds of hate. She’d thought about whispering it, as those terrified blue eyes of his met her pleading gaze. Three words, eight letters, and they’d be more potent than any bullet manufactured by man.
If he was the last face she saw, those eyes the last things she saw before she closed hers forever, then at least she’d know she was dying in the arms of someone she cared for, and who cared for her in return.
But they were alive. Their story wasn’t over yet. No matter how many twists and turns it’d taken over the years, and even when she thought their final chapter had been written, it wasn’t over.
He was there, sitting next to her as he deftly navigated through the streets of Manhattan, which were far too congested even for this early of an hour. He was there, and they were alive, and from the tingle on her lips that hadn’t yet dissipated, they’d kissed – oh, and he was a good kisser too, though she couldn’t imagine him having much experience outside of Kathy, and with all due respect to the dead, Kathy was one of the very last people she wanted to be thinking about right now.
Elliot loves me.
It’d been something that crossed her mind since the intervention, but she’d half-convinced herself that it was delirium brought on by his PTSD – that he meant he loved Kathy, or his kids, or all of them as a giant group, but she could never bring herself to think he meant her specifically.
But he did.
And it was a heady feeling to realize that she was loved by a man who felt everything as hard as Elliot did. His passion and determination had been driving forces through the entirety of the time they’d known each other, and now, she was going to learn the personally intimate side of it.
The thought should have terrified her, and maybe, if it had been her younger self, it would have. But instead, it was almost thrilling. Maybe there was a reason they had to wait this long – in order to do it right.
As he parked the car and they made their way inside his building, she took his hand with hers and clasped it tightly. They couldn’t afford to be handsy and show off their affection in front of all his neighbors; that would probably earn them a visit from their comrades in blue, and that was the last thing she wanted right now. But she could hold him, feel his warmth seep through their connection, and will the elevator to move just that much faster between floors.
“Eli should have left for school already,” Elliot said, as they walked down the hallway to his apartment. “He’s good about leaving early most days.”
“Probably someone cute he wants to talk to before class or something,” Olivia replied. “I know how your Stabler charm works.”
“As long as all they’re doing is talking,” he muttered under his breath, as he turned the key in the lock.
She’d been over to his apartment a few times; her and Noah had helped him move in – if by help, she meant her telling the movers where to put the boxes, considering she was laid up with her broken ankle then, and Noah had spent more of the time checking out all of Eli’s cool things. But she hadn’t spent much time there since.
There wasn’t much of a chance for her to glance around the apartment and look at the changes the two men had made, because as soon as the door was locked behind them, Elliot’s mouth was on hers and her hands were grasping wildly at the fabric of his shirt, clinging to him for dear life.
“So good,” he murmured, as he wove his fingers through her long, cascading waves, and she was infinitely glad in that moment that she’d chosen to grow out her hair the last few years. The heat of his mouth on hers was electric and intense, and sent sparks shooting all the way down her spine to nestle in her core. “Olivia,” he rasped out.
Hearing her full name in his ridiculously sexy rasp made her tug on his shirt and steer to navigate them blindly toward what she seemed to remember was the bedroom. She allowed her lips to descend, skating along the thick cords of muscle in his neck and shoulder; when she reached a spot along his collarbone that seemed to elicit a startled, positive reaction, she mentally catalogued its location for further examination later.
She felt the back of her knees hit the mattress, and she allowed herself to flop backward onto it, but she managed to pull Elliot down next to her. He pulled off his shirt before he laid down and threw his arm around her waist. “Hey there,” she whispered, reaching out her fingers to lazily trace the contour of his lips.
“Hey, yourself,” Elliot said, tilting her chin up with his other hand, to claim her lips with his own again; it was as if he was silently saying now that I’m finally getting to do this, I’m never stopping, you hear me? But the question was rhetorical; she never wanted him to stop, now that they’d gotten this far and breached the final barrier that separated them from being like this long before.
She’d craved this kind of intimacy with him, and she barely noticed when the fabric of her loose black shirt was lifted above her head and discarded, leaving her in her work pants and a decidedly plain, utilitarian white bra. That was the downside, from this perspective, of being captured by Wheatley’s goons when she was at the bodega on the way home from work. From the ravenous look he was giving her as he ran his hands over the curves and swells of her body, though, she would have thought she’d put on her fanciest lingerie. Maybe next time.
His hands continued to roam, and she hissed slightly as he accidentally grazed one of her more prominent scars. All these years later, and she still religiously slathered on the fancy scar reducing creams the incredibly expensive dermatologist had prescribed for her, but there were some reminders that would never fade.
Undeterred, he continued to take his sweet time letting his hands wander and grope, one thumb swiping lazily over her bra-clad nipple, and she came to a startling, powerful realization – scars or no, she was still the most beautiful woman in the world to him.
He reached down between them and ran his fingers along the hem of her pants; she took his hand and gently guided it to the clasp, allowing him to unfasten them with a silent click. She loved that he wanted her consent, and she’d freely give it; as his trembling hand pushed the material down her long legs, she anxiously kicked at the fabric, trying to let it fall to the floor below them.
“So beautiful,” he whispered against her skin, as his lips traced a path from her neck to her waist, before skirting along the edges of her hip. His words were warm and tender. “May I?” he said, his voice a muffled rumble as his mouth gradually explored the wondrous touch of her thigh.
He didn’t have to be told twice, because no sooner than the words had left her mouth, the tiny white scrap of fabric between her legs had been discarded, and he’d nudged her legs open that much further, his mouth slightly agape as his eyes and hands tried to be everywhere all at once. She felt her breath shudder in her throat. No one had ever looked at her with such tenderness, reverence and love.
“Someone’s a little overdressed for my taste,” she said, trying to sound seductive as she hooked her finger through one of his belt loops and pulled his lower half against hers. In truth, the most outwardly seductive she’d ever been was that distant night she had to pose as a hooker to preserve Elliot’s cover, and they’d both laughed later about how ridiculous her accent was. Then as now, though, she could feel how incredibly turned on he was; then, she’d attributed it to her being any halfway-attractive woman in a bra and panties, but now, she knew it was different. It was her being unequivocally herself.
In a frenzied flurry of flying fabric, he took his pants and boxer-briefs off in one fluid movement, and she finally, blissfully, unhooked her bra and let the fabric fall away, which served to momentarily divert his attention, and she was able to get an unimpeded look at the man she’d been in love with for well over two decades.
Time had been blessedly kind to him; he had muscle definition where she wasn’t even sure there was supposed to be any, and each ripple and sinew demanded its own personal attention from her at a later time.
“Mmmm,” she hummed absent-mindedly, as she drew the palm of his hand up to her chest and laid her own hand on top of it. The feeling of his skin on hers was incomparable, a warm blanket of comfort.
She was laying on Elliot Stabler’s bed, both of them completely naked, and she felt wholly at peace with the world.
She was alive; he was alive; they were still both alive and able to love and to be loved, to show each other how much they’d always meant to one another. And how much they wanted each other. No harm could come to them while they were here, together. The world could stand at bay for a while and let them soothe their weary souls with each other’s reassurances.
Laying there like this was everything she’d ever wanted, and yet, she wanted more. She wanted to feel him surrounding her, enveloping her with his body as much as she covered his with her own.
His hand on her chest kneaded at her breast, while the other slid between her legs and nudged her thighs apart before ascending to her apex, as his mouth descended on hers for a hungry kiss. “So goddamn beautiful,” he managed to whisper, in a low rumble that liquified her insides and left them pooling on his fingertips, evidence of her peaking arousal.
Lifting his hand away, she let out a tiny sob at the lack of contact, before he took each of his fingers in his mouth in turn and licked them with a finesse that she wasn’t aware he currently possessed, savoring each drop like nectar. His tongue darted out to lick the corners of his lips, and he smirked at her. “Delicious,” he murmured. “Mind if I –“
Before she realized it, in her heady lust-induced haze, his face was slanted against her slit, with his tongue dipping between her folds. Teasing. Tasting. Wanting. She couldn’t tell if the low guttural moans she could hear were his or hers, only that whatever it was he was doing with his tongue and mouth should be considered a felony for the feelings it exposed in her.
The tip of his tongue nudged at the swell of her clit, and that time the moan she heard was definitely her own, as he swirled and lightly nipped at the sensitive flesh. “Come on,” he whispered against her heated skin, “you’re close, I can feel it.”
She writhed against him; the stimulation threatened to overload her senses – and then she cried out, feeling her release course through her.
The look on his face as he slid out from between her legs, peppering kisses on the insides of her thighs and caressing his hands anywhere he could reach, was one of sheer satisfaction. “You’re incredible,” he said, his voice thick with his own arousal. He pulled her into a tight embrace, their sweat-slicked bodies clambering against each other. “I need you.”
Oh, how many times she’d thought something similar over the years, but she found it hard to hold anything against him right now except herself.
Her fingers slid, almost of their own volition, down along the slope of his abdomen, descending toward his cock, when he batted her hand away and clasped his fingers around hers.
“Why not?” she asked, on a keening whine. “You got to taste me.”
Her lip stuck out in a quivering pout, before he captured it with his own. “We have all the time in the world right now,” he said, “but God, I need to be inside you. Now.”
For having all the time in the world, he still didn’t want to waste any more of it when it came to her, and the thought made her almost delirious.
She sat up, and straddled his legs before sliding into a squat, taking his length in her hands and familiarizing herself with its intricacies; she traced a fingernail along the pulsing vein and smiled, allowing herself to think of all the time that awaited them together. “Are you ready for me?” she asked playfully, a coy smile teasing at her lips.
“Always,” he said, his voice hoarse as she settled in above him.
As she guided his cock between her folds and the first gentle push of penetration rushed through them, only one word came to mind: inevitable.
Somehow, no matter what anyone – literally, anyone – who had crossed their paths over the years they’d known each other could have done, it was always going to end up with them sharing this euphoric moment of unity. One way or another.
Gradually, she increased the tempo of her thrusts against him, taking a little more of him inside with each thrust, drawing them closer than they’d ever been – and still, she wanted more, wanted nothing to be between them.
His hands traced the contour of her hips and helped nudge her down, to take him that much deeper inside her.
She hissed. “So –“
“So what, Liv?” His words came out as broken half-syllables, coated by the fine passion that they expressed.
Feeling him inside her, looking down at him through her hooded gaze to see his normally ice-blue eyes the color of midnight, their gaze fixed solely on the transfixing, alluring sight that writhed before him, on top of him – her, she was that sight – it was a collision of emotions and sensations unlike anything she’d ever experienced.
Sex, yes. Good sex – even great sex, yes, and yes.
But nothing could compare to the thrill of almost dying and then being reborn, though she could have done without the first part, and especially when the same person both saved her and renewed her, and was currently looking at her as if she was something no less than holy and divine, to be worshiped and adored.
No one had ever looked at her with such pure devotion in their eyes, and it almost made her want to cry.
She saw a sliver of a tear creep out from the corner of Elliot’s eye, and she leaned forward to brush it away with a tender swipe of her finger. “We’re here,” she whispered, plunging back down onto him and canting her hips forward with a sway that let out a low groan from him. We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere. You’ll have to pry me out of this bed come Thursday, and you’ll have to pry yourself from my arms before you can even do that. And I don’t plan to let you go without a fight.
He slid his hand to the juncture where they connected, as her hips flattened out against his groin, and he began to stroke her lightly, his calloused fingers dancing along her tender skin. “So close,” he said, with a groan; his other hand grabbed a fistful of her hair and held on for dear life as she continued to ride him, her thighs locking around him and refusing to let go.
In a moment, he cried out her name, “Olivia,” on a moan, and her name had never sounded so beautiful said by anyone as it did from Elliot in the throes of passion.
“Olivia,” he’d moaned, and looking up at her, she was a goddess. A vision, and if this was the last thing he saw before he died, he could die a perfectly happy man. Except, tonight was about not dying, and celebrating the fact they were still there and capable of loving each other and manifesting that love in every available realm.
Her breasts bounced above him, tempting him with their utter perfection; he allowed his hand to slip from her hair, grazing along every fine curve of her neck and shoulder blade before sliding in the dip between her breasts and letting it rest in what was sure to be one of his very favorite places to learn – if he had to choose, because there was no way he’d rather spend the rest of his days than charting the myriad gasps and moans he could elicit from Olivia, and allowing her to discover the same for him.
“Come on, Liv,” he groaned, cupping one of her breasts in the palm of his hand – it fit perfectly, as he knew it would – and lightly tweaking her nipple as her hand enclosed his other and guided him to the perfect spot to help her ascend to her own crescendo.
And in that moment, he saw true divinity unfolding on top of him, as she cried out his name – “Oh God, Elliot” – and her own release surged forward. She slumped against him, spent from the energy in her release, and he held her, precious in his arms. She pressed a sloping smile against his chest, and though he could only feel it and not see it, the sheer radiance of it made his heart want to burst from the love he held for her.
He could hear nothing but their heartbeats beating in a rapid staccato rhythm, and their labored breathing gradually returning to normal. They folded together in a tight embrace of limbs, clutching and grasping, before they finally came to rest knotted together in each other’s arms.
“I’ve never felt so alive,” Olivia said, her words soft as her fingers gently stroked the side of his thigh, tracing out what seemed to be the letters of his name. She pressed soft kisses to the expanse of his neck, running her tongue along the corded muscles she found there, and he groaned out a sigh.
“Me neither.” It was stark, and honest, and the truth. “Guess facing your own mortality does that to people.”
“Let’s not do that again.” He can tell she tried to use her most authoritative captain’s voice, but between the fatigue from their long day and then the thorough round of love-making – because it wasn’t just sex, not to him, it never could have been, and especially not with Olivia – they’d just had, it came out as a shell of itself. “’m sleepy.”
“I’ll be right here when you wake up.” He knew that hadn’t always been a guarantee, but he’d swear it as a blood oath; he’d swear it in front of God and everyone they knew. From this day forward, he would do everything in his power to wake up next to Olivia in the morning and fall asleep next to her that night. He couldn’t change what he’d already done, but the future was still open to being changed.
That much, he could control.
As they both faded off to sleep, he swore he heard her say, “good.”
“More than,” was the last thing he remembered saying, before sleep claimed him for good.