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Our Atoms Collide

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• one •

can we change or is this surrender

[ 1 9 9 3 ]
The 16th Precinct
Locker Room Deviation


It’s something that rests within her bones. Within her very blood. She yearns for it, she can taste it, she can just feel it saturating her soul like a bruise that blanches out beneath the skin. The need for it almost is overwhelming at times, and with every single person she encounters, it grows. It makes her…want for it.

She’d just transferred to the 16th Precinct in Manhattan a year ago, and had been partnered with Officer Choi. Until, he’d gotten transferred to Major Crimes six months ago, and then they gave her Officer Brenden O’Keefe. O’Keefe made her miss Detective Choi, despite his abandoning her, she hoped he really had a successful career in Major Crimes. But Officer Brenden O’Keefe? She had to roll her eyes, and had invested in a bottle of ibuprofen…because Brenden’s partner had been promoted and transferred to the Bronx around the same time as Choi had left her and his personality left much to be desired.  

“Listen, Benson…” he’d announced one afternoon while sipping on his cup of coffee (light and sweet…disgusting) looking out the windshield of the cruiser they were occupying in Midtown. “Domestic Violence calls? Usually it’s one big misunderstanding.” She turned her head and looked out the window. Please, Brenden, shut the hell up now. “Like, usually it’s a husband and wife and you know how that is, bein’ a woman and all, yeah?”

Your observational skills are impeccable, O’Keefe.

Yawning, she made a show of covering her mouth and glancing at the dumbass in the driver’s seat from behind her hand, “Yeah.”

Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. Shut. Up. O’Keefe. You are an idiot.

It wasn’t two hours later they found themselves at one of those calls. As soon as they’d arrived, the man, Mr. Martin Sterrick was seated on the front stoop and that’s where O’Keefe had stopped, Olivia, deciding to check of Mrs. Sterrick, climbed the stairs to the third floor and knocked on Apartment 3C. When she was told to enter, she wasn’t surprised to find Mrs. Sterrick seated on the couch, with a split lip, a black eye, and holding a bag of peas to her face.

Standing up a little taller, she rolled her shoulders back and stuck her thumbs in her belt loops.

“Listen, it’s all one big misunderstanding,” Mrs. Laura Sterrick tried to defend her scumbag of a husband, “He just lost his temper a little because I burnt his dinner.” Olivia nodded, trying to understand why women stayed in relationships where men just “lost their temper” and then would say the dreaded next phrase she often heard as a beat cop, “It’s the first time something like this has happened.” The woman stated, readjusting her peas on her eye. Olivia had resisted rolling her eyes.

It was never just one time. She’d been a cop for three years and in that time, she’d learned a few things about people, and human nature. One of the things being that if a person used physical violence against you just one time chances were pretty damn high that they’d do it again. If they did do it again, it usually escalated. Escalation was rarely ever pretty.  

She knew Laura Sterrick was not going to press charges against her husband, Olivia could just tell. She wishes she would, because no one deserved this sort of thing. No one.

She glanced over toward the hallway and her eyes softened, because standing there in the middle of the dim hall was a little girl wearing a nightgown and holding an ALF doll close to her chest. Her large brown eyes looked red and puffy as though she’d been crying, herself. Her base instincts seemed to kick in, because she smiled down at Laura Sterrick understandingly, and then turned to walk toward the little girl.

“Hello there.” She crouched down so she was the girl’s height, reaching out and wiping away the tear tracks on the girl’s face. “My name is Officer Benson. Olivia. I see you have ALF, did you feed him a cat today?” She asked, smiling at the young girl who looked absolutely petrified.

The little girl looked down at her stuffed alien and then back to Olivia, “He’s stuffed. Why would I feed him a cat?”

“Because that’s what he likes to eat.” Olivia winked at the little girl. “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Jessica Schultz.” The little girl spoke with a determined and proud tone. Olivia turned to look at Laura who smiled sadly at the female officer. “Is my step-daddy going to get arrested?”

“Well, that’s up to your mommy, Jessica. That’s a pretty name, by the way. My best friend’s name is Jessica.” Olivia wishes there was something she could do for this little girl, take her somewhere safe, take her away from the pain, the terror she must’ve been feeling while her step-father had punched her mother in the face.

It was at this moment that O’Keefe returned with Mr. Sterrick. “Alright Benson, listen, it was all a misunderstanding’, we’re gonna head out. Thanks for clearing things up, Martin.” O’Keefe reached forward and shook the bastard’s hand and Olivia felt the rage bubbling in the pit of her stomach, but turned her attention back to Jessica. “Ma’am” O’Keefe waved to Laura who still had the bag of peas over her eye.

“Alright Jessica, you take really good care of ALF and don’t forget to feed him lots of kitties.” Olivia placed her hand over the little girl’s hand and slipped a card in between the stuffed animal and the girl’s hand. “Have a good night.” She stood and walked over to where Brenden was waiting by the door, shooting Martin Sterrick a look before walking out into the hallway as the door closed behind them.

After they reached the car, Olivia slid into the seat and waited on Brenden to climb in the driver’s side before she looked out the window and shook her head.

“We’ll be back here again.”

“Nah, I think it was a one-time thing. Guy seemed sincere.” O’Keefe replied.

“They all do, O’Keefe.” Olivia bit back, rolling her eyes at her partner. “Let’s just get back to the precinct.”

“Geeze, Benson, you got PMS or something?”

She turned to look at Brenden, wanting nothing more than to tell him to fuck all the way off. Instead, she chose to be more diplomatic in her answer, and settled on the simple act of ordering him to just drive.

Drive.” Yes, Olivia was going to request a new partner. This prick could work with someone else.

As soon as they’d arrived back at the Precinct, she’d gone to the Commanding Officer and requested a change of partner. When asked why, she just told the Captain that it wasn’t going to work out between her and O’Keefe, their personalities weren’t compatible and she didn’t trust him to have her back when she needed it.

Her thoughts stayed on Jessica Schultz. She hoped with everything within her that she never would really see the little girl again. Despite this hope, Olivia had a hunch that she most likely would be seeing the Schultz and Sterrick family soon. It was a sad reality that she’d learned to accept early on in her career. He was only going to escalate. She leaned forward, resting her head against the cool metal of the locker in front of her when all of a sudden her peace was interrupted.

“THAT BITCH.” And then she saw him. The man who had just walked into the locker room shouting walked by the first row of lockers and the second and then his fist made contact with the side of the third row. She knew from the sound it made that he had to have either put a dent in the lockers, or he cracked his knuckles.

Olivia leaned back away from her locker and their eyes met one another from ten feet away. She felt the air leave her lungs. She felt like she was going to pass out. As she reached up to grab hold of her locker she suddenly found herself falling toward the ground, but before she landed she was caught.

A few minutes later, she opened her eyes and found herself looking up into the blue eyes of the man who had come in cursing about that bitch moments earlier.  While she’d just seen him punch the row of lockers, as he was cradling her head in his hands, his eyes were searching hers, which were just now coming back into focus.

“Hey.” He smiled, when she finally opened her eyes completely and they’d widened. “No. Don’t move just yet. You alright?”

“Yeah, I think so. I just…don’t know what happened. I think my blood pressure probably dropped or something.”

His jaw clenched as he glanced down at her, making sure she wasn’t injured further, his thumb slowly moving over her cheek. She felt her breath hitch in her throat as she made a move to put her hand on the ground to push herself up out of his lap.

“No. Not yet, Officer.” His smile was warm as he looked down at her, and she opened her mouth to say something but then thought better of it when she realized he was making sure her neck was alright before allowing her to move. “Do you hurt anywhere?”

“You mean, other than my tailbone and my pride?” She asked, embarrassed. “Because I’m almost positive your reflexes caught me before I hit the ground.”

“Don’t be embarrassed. I did move pretty quickly. I think you’re good to sit up, so, hang on a second, I’m going to lay you flat and then move so I can help you sit up. I’m Elliot, by the way.”

“Olivia.” She took a deep breath as he gingerly lowered her head to the ground from his lap and then stood, his legs on either side of her body as he reached down, his sleeves rolled up to his elbow, gripping her hand in his own. “That’s never happened before.”

“When was the last time you ate?” He asked, sitting on the bench as she pulled herself up to sit next to him, their knees brushing. She felt a fluttering in her chest as she turned her head to look at him, her mouth opened slightly. “You don’t even remember, do you, Olivia?”

“No, not really.” She glanced down at his hand resting on his knee. There was a tan line where a wedding band had once sat, but no longer graced his finger. She felt the warmth spread from her chest through her body and down to her toes.

“Well, are you off the clock now? I’ve not had the chance to eat all day and I’d like to go grab a bite – if you wanna join me, I’d like the company.”

Gripping the bench beneath her, she tilted her head and pushed her hair out of her face. It’d fallen out of the ponytail she’d been keeping it in since being transferred to the 16th Precinct. Biting the corner of her lip and glanced down at his lips and then back to his eyes. His eyes reminded her of the sky on a clear day, and when she released her lip, she allowed her mouth to curl into a smile. “You’re buying. I’m just an officer, they don’t pay me enough to buy a plate of fries around here.”

His lips spread into a smile as his eyes flashed warmly at her, trailing down and looking at the young woman in her uniform. “Alright. Yeah, I mean, I did ask you to go with me, so absolutely. You wanna change first?”

“Yeah, I’ll uh, just go do that now. I’ll meet you in a few minutes outside the locker room?” She asked, blushing a little.

“Alright, Benson.” He reached over and placed his hand on her own and squeezed quickly, before standing up and leaving her next to her locker. She watched him walking away, he had a nice ass. This might be an interesting evening after all.

“Forgive my partner, Detective Stabler, he likes to exact his revenge by punching inanimate objects. Chill the hell out, Elliot.” The woman who had followed him into the locker room spoke, with her hands on his upper arms, staring into his eyes, nodding. “I’m going back upstairs, just, go home or wherever you’re going tonight.”

He turned his attention toward Olivia who was shaking her head. “You new here?”

“No. I’ve been here – I think about a year.” Olivia answered, reaching in her locker for the t-shirt she’d stuffed in there this morning before buttoning up her uniform, now she just wanted to get showered and changed quickly so she could go home, “Officer Benson.”

“Detective Stabler.” The man said, sticking his one hand in his pocket, the other one had cracked knuckles that were bleeding, so she didn’t blame him for not sticking that one in his pocket. “Sorry about that. Just…personal stuff.”

“Yeah. Normally I take my rage out on the lockers as well.” Olivia smiled at him, as she walked by him toward the showers. She had to wash away the conversations that O’Keefe had with her in the car all afternoon.

“I just don’t remember seeing you around here, that’s all.” he spoke out loud as she stepped into the changing area of the shower stall. “I think I would’ve remembered you.”

“Usually I’m stuck in a squad car with my now ex-partner, listening to him talk about his latest piece of ass he managed to nab.” Olivia supplied, “But luckily today was the last day with him.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. I have bad luck with partners too. Both here at work, and uh…at home.”

She stuck her head out of the stall and looked at the man. Appraising him. “I’d work with you.”

“Maybe one day, Benson. If you last that long on the streets.”

“Oh, I will, Stabler. Mark my words.”

He chuckled. “You wanna work with Special Victims?”

“More than anything.”

She was a curious one, that Officer Benson. He just shook his head, looking to the door. There was something about this woman, something interesting and he couldn’t put his finger on it. She was beautiful, witty (from what he could tell), and seemed to know what she wanted for herself.

“We’ll see, Officer Benson. Have a good evening, and I'll uh - see ya around, yeah?"

"You too. Yeah. I'm sure we will."

In another universe, he would’ve asked her out. In this one? He was a married father of two with two more on the way. But one thing was for sure, he liked this one, this Officer Benson. There was just something about her.


Chapter Text

"She was practically throwing herself at me." Elliot spoke, as they walked away from the Brownstone Townhouse. "Did you see that?"

"El, who doesn't throw themselves at you?" Olivia stopped walking, tucking the stray strand of hair behind her ear as her brown eyes surveyed her partner of a year and a half. 

"You don't." His blue eyes studied her face, taking in her reaction to him, trying to figure out whether or not she was going to say anything further. Instead, she stood there and her jaw clenched. "You don't throw yourself at me, Liv."

"You're married, Elliot." She shook her head, her eyes traveling from his eyes down to his lips. "I don't throw myself at married men. I learned a long time ago that nothing good can come from that."

"But if I wasn't?"

Olivia studied him for a moment, taking a deep breath as she willed the thoughts in her mind away. 

"Elliot, where the hell is my bra?" She asked, down on her hands and knees, hand stretching out underneath the bed,  fingertips trying to find the material that had been unceremoniously pulled off of her body and tossed about the room in their haste to connect. 

"I dunno, I thought you dropped it down."

"No, that was my underwear that you dropped straight down, before you picked me up and tossed  me on the bed and put your mouth on me." She sighed, standing with her hands on her hips, her underwear already on her body,  but her breasts bare to the room, nipples pebbled at the chill in the air. Skin covered in goosebumps. 

"You're so damn sexy, Olivia. Forget the bra and come back to bed." He reaches out and places his hand on her hip, yanking her down onto the bed and covering her body with his. Their lips connecting. 

"If you weren't married, I would wait for you to make the first move, but then, Stabler, you'd have to offer me something I couldn't refuse. Especially if we were partners. I wouldn't just...break up our partnership for a quick fuck."

Elliot watched as his partner began to walk away and his brows raised.

A quick fuck? 

Did she really think so low of him?

Her honesty was something he loved about her. She was always straight to the point, sometimes almost crude in her responses, but he loved that about her. The fact she didn't shy away from the conversations that most other people would avoid. 

[ YEAR 6]

"A missionary man?" Elliot asked, watching the video they'd collected as evidence.  "Why the same position?"

"I think of you as a missionary man." Olivia stated, taking a sip of her coffee. 

"You're wrong, Benson. I'm adventurous."

"Hm. What do you think of me?" She asked. "Since I gave you my opinion on you."

"I think you most likely have to be in charge of the situation. I think that you're the type of woman who has to control everything. How deep. How fast. How hard. I think you're a top." Her brow quirked, he wasn't wrong, but how the hell. "But I think if you trust your partner enough, you'd relinquish control and enjoy being taken from every possible position."

She sat there for a minute, dumbfounded. How the fuck. Yeah, the right partner. But she didn't trust just anyone. Ever. She'd learned her lesson with the few dates she'd had over the years. Don't tell them you're  a cop, they'll want to use your handcuffs. Don't tell them you work sex crimes, they'll want to roleplay. Which is just cringey if she's going to be honest about the whole situation. 

"Well, how'd I do?" He asked, taking a sip of his coffee. Her cheeks were tinged slightly pink as she blinked a few times turning toward the monitor where they were supposed to be watching the film. 

"You're wrong." She lied, unable to meet his eyes. 

"No, I'm not. You won't even look at me, Liv." Elliot paused the video and she turned in her chair, her brown eyes meeting his blue ones. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have -"

"You didn't do anything wrong, Elliot. I asked." She reached her hand out, resting it on his knee for a moment. There was a familiar pull in the pit of her stomach as the air in the room felt thick. 


"I'm sorry." He apologized again, standing abruptly and moving away from her. "So, I don't think we're going to find anything else on these videos. What do you say we call it a night and go get a beer?"

"Kathy expecting you home tonight?" She asks, as she turns off the television and pops the video out, putting it into the evidence box. 

"No." Elliot answers, his eyes studying his partner. Trying to decide what was going on in her mind. She quickly blinked and looked away.

"Good. But you're still not going to get shit-faced, Elliot. I'm not hauling your ass out of the bar by myself again. Been there, done that."

"You liked it, Benson." He teased as they made their way out of the small office space they'd been occupying and to their desks. 

"You know how you can make up for asking me stupid questions, Stabler?" She asked, smiling at him. "You're buying a round."

"Alright, but if I'm right about what I said, you buy the first round." Elliot shoots a toothy grin at her and she rolls her eyes. 

"You're getting the second one."

"Fuck." She moaned, her hands stretched out against the mattress as he thrust in from on top of her, his body pressing hers further into the sheets. His hand traveled over her sweat beaded skin as his hand wrapped around the back of hers, his lips meeting with the middle of her shoulders. "Right there, Jesus, Elliot."

"You're amazing, Olivia, so fucking amazing." He whispered between the kisses he placed against her wet skin. "I want to see your face though." 

She pressed her ass against him, pushing her elbow into the bed as she rolled them over onto their sides. His arm slung over her stomach as his hand splayed right beneath her breasts as her leg moved over his, opening herself up more for him as  she turned her torso to the side and looked into his eyes as he kept with the agonizingly slow pace he'd set this time around. Her hand rested against his cheek as his face leaned in, lips meeting her own. She moaned into his mouth as their tongues slid over one another.

She could still taste the two beers on his lips as he moved his hand down from her breast and to her clit where he massaged the bundle of nerves, while his mouth broke from hers and trailed to her neck. As he sucked on the skin there, she let out a deep moan while her whole body began to shake as her orgasm overtook her body and he watched as her eyes rolled back into her head.

"So amazing.You're beautiful. Fuck, Liv."


Chapter Text

our atoms collide
chapter 3: denouement [part one]

It’s year eight of their partnership when they meet Victor Gitano. They’d been told by Dr. Greenfield in Pennsylvania that Victor was a sociopath, sadist, and pathological liar. He wasn’t exactly booksmart, nor was he overly intelligent, but he was observant and by being observant, he could identify weaknesses in people. Weaknesses that he would zone in on and exploit to his advantage. That he’d learned how to imitate normal human behavior.

Elliot and Olivia should have known, with that information, that they were beyond screwed when it came down to it.

Elliot’s eyes widened as he watched Victor slash Olivia’s throat, and her hands immediately clasped, blood seeping between her fingertips. By the time he made it up the steps, Ryan had been killed, throat slashed, and he’d gotten away with Rebecca.

Things could’ve ended so much more differently for Olivia if he’d have just moved a couple more centimeters, according to the medic, Olivia could’ve been put in a pine box. That scared the shit out of Elliot. The thought of life without Olivia. Doing the job without her by his side.

He shuddered at the thought.

As the case progressed, they were at one another’s throats. He accused her of being reckless, of him needing to make sure that she was okay. That she could do her job without him coming to the rescue.

He spoke with Huang. Telling him that she makes him care – had been more revealing than he was ready for. Huang had told him it’s what made him a good partner. Elliot wasn’t so sure about that, anymore. It also made him an asshole.

When they arrived in New Jersey, at J&R Industrial Site – that’s when things went south.

“You better make sure you take me out with one shot. One perfect, perfect shot. Of course, my reflexes are pretty tight. I could pull the trigger before the bullet even hits me. Or maybe you miss me all together. Either way there’s an 80% chance I’m gonna take this guy’s head clean off. But, you try it, definitely. You’ll probably turn out great.” Gitano mocked. Pompous asshole.

“You can kill us both, Victor.” Elliot couldn’t believe what he was hearing, seriously, Olivia?

I’d rather die with him than live without him.

Her eyes screamed at Elliot, and he couldn’t believe his partner. What the hell was this case doing to them? Don’t do it, Olivia, don’t run from this.

“How’s your neck?” Victor asks, and if Elliot wasn’t afraid to wind up dead, he’d turn around and kick this piece of shit in the balls. “God, you two are a couple of screw-ups…maybe you’re just incompetent.”

The shot rang through the air and Olivia stood, staring at her partner, tear-stained cheeks – eyes wide as SWAT moved in.

They managed to get Rebecca – thankfully. At the end of the day, while sitting in the hospital hallway, outside of Rebecca’s room, Elliot turned to Olivia, told her he knows she would’ve taken the shot.

“What about your kids? What about me?” She asks, staring at him. He’s not listening to her.

“Look, we both chose each other over the job. I’ll never let that happen again. Otherwise, we can’t be partners.”

Later, when they arrive back at the Precinct, she knocks on the Captain’s door, requesting a new partner.

She’s running. Running from wrecking their partnership.

That night, she sits on her couch with a beer in her hands, staring at the black screen of her television, silent tears running down her cheeks. Their partnership was already wrecked. She’d always choose him over their job. He just didn’t know that.


After leaving the hospital, she went straight home. She’d do the paperwork in the morning. It wasn’t necessary, and it would still be waiting. She could better fill it out once she cleared her mind. She was thankful that she’d not made any rash decisions. That she’d taken the time to take a step back. Elliot’s words repeated in her head and the more she thought about what he’d said, the more she got stuck on part of it.

You and this job.

Was he separating the two of them? Her. The job. But, she was his partner. Wasn’t that the same thing as being part of the job?

She was so damn confused, especially once she realized that Victor had played on their insecurities twice. He’d slashed her throat, because he knew Elliot would be distracted. He’d taken Elliot at gunpoint, because he’d realized that Olivia would be distracted.

It worked. She thought bitterly.

It was just then that a knock came from her door and she moved her arm from above her head, throwing her legs over the side of the couch and standing, walking to it. Placing her face against the peephole, she looks through. Great.

Standing there, with his head bowed down, was Elliot. With a heavy sigh, she opens the door, her brows furrowed as she looks at her partner. “Elliot, what are you doing here?”

“I – Liv, I wanted to tell you that I requested a transfer.”

“What? Why? Elliot, what did you do?”

“Hear me out, can I come in?”

She’s confused, why the fuck would he request a transfer? She thought they’d be okay, it’s the only reason she hadn’t requested a transfer or a new partner. She was content with her partner, she was happy with their dynamic. He just yanked the rug out from under her, she opens the door the rest of the way and he storms into the living room, shrugging off his jacket as he turns to look at her, she’s leaning against the wall between the living room and kitchen, arms crossed. She feels like she’s going to be sick.

“Elliot, what the hell do you mean you requested a transfer?”

“Liv, - I realized – yesterday, when Gitano cut you – that I couldn’t imagine…fuck.” He’s pacing back and forth and she’s nervous, she feels her stomach churning. What is he doing? “I heard what the medic said, and I couldn’t imagine my life, my days without you in it. Somehow.”

“So you request a transfer? How the hell does that make sense, Elliot?” She throws her arms in the air as he rushes over to where she’s standing. Personal space has never existed between the two of them, but with his closeness of where he is now, it’s frightening to her. What is he doing?

“I requested a transfer because I don’t want to be your partner anymore, Liv.”


“I want – Liv, I can’t…”

“What are you saying, Elliot, calm down.”

Her eyes are searching his for a hint, something. ANYTHING. But she can’t decipher his expression or the look in his eyes for the first time, and her eyes widen when she finds it. Before she can say anything, she’s being pressed against the wall and his hands are in her short hair, his lips are crashing into hers and his other arm snakes around her back, pulling her closer.

“I don’t want to be your partner because I want to be more. Olivia, I can’t do this without you.” She’s staring at him, shocked. Yearning for more. “I signed the paperwork and dropped it off at the house, before I came here – I’m going to do this right. I told Don that I couldn’t…wouldn’t be able to work at SVU anymore because I was going to take a chance, take a shot, and he’s supportive of the whole thing – Liv…I want this. I want us.”

“Oh. O-Okay.”

In parallel universes, sometimes the end of something is the beginning of something more beautiful. Something lasting. Something special.